Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A's Fifth Starter Never Was the Problem !

Rick Kaplan
Staff Writer
OAKLAND (March 28) – Oakland Super-Sub Marco Scutaro has more than adequately filled some big holes in the A’s line-up over the last three seasons.

But can he pitch?

If you followed the papers this spring, everybody but the bat boy and Erubiel Durazo were being considered to fill the last spot in the rotation.
A friend who probably reads the Chronicle too much asked me the other day my opinion concerning fifth starting pitcher "controversy."
Komine or Windsor, Duke, or even B.K. Kim? Nah. It was always Kennedy. And, now it appears that this non-issue will not travel north with the A’s as they break camp in Arizona, to the dismay of Bay Area baseball writers, who seemed to run out of Mark Kotsay inspiration stories and Tommy LaSorda-discovering-Mike Piazza anecdotes about two weeks ago.

Spring training is for the unphotogenic work of adjustments, and apparently Joe Kennedy–the front runner from the outset–ultimately succeeded in at least penciling in his name as the fifth starter after his timely tune-up on Tuesday.
To me, there never really was a controversy heading into spring training. Joe Kennedy is probably a better-than-average back-of-the-rotation veteran sort. Now that he appears to have un-straightened out the problems with his curve ball, I’m betting he can seamlessly pick up where Kirk Saarloos left off. That would be five competitive innings every five days or so, and a hand-it-over to a superlative bullpen (Don’t ask me why the A’s traded the very affordable, versatile and reliable righty Saarloos following the 2006 season for an innocuous minor league closer, David Shafer.)
No, the problem isn’t with the relatively secondary role of the fifth starter.
Instead, what’s far more troublesome is the absence of consistency and dependability in the third and fourth slots. Esteban Loaiza is again throwing fastballs that look like change-ups (And this year there is no World Baseball Classic to blame!)
And Joe Blanton has surrendered 28 hits in 13 innings.
You may get to see that Scutaro slider yet.

Did Jackie Robinson Really "Break the Color Barrier" ??

MLB calls the Cardinals-Indians match-up on Saturday the "Civil Rights Game." Presumably, this is being promoted as some kind of acknowledgment of the sixty year anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Dodgers.
True, that was an historic event. But let’s not congratulate ourselves just yet.
Did the appearance of #42 in a major league uniform signal a fundamental and progressive change in our society? Or, was it one of the early steps in the insidious re-drawing of the color barrier, so that today’s american apartheid society admits a small number of highly skilled non-whites into its unimaginably affluent upper echelons while brutally excluding the rest.
Redlining. Gerrymandering. Gentrifying. Democracy’s devices all. Is Jim Crow coming back?
The dismal shadow of racism and exploitation may actually now fall more oppressively on a larger portion of society than it did even in 1947.
With all due respect to all the courageous players who stood up to racist harassment, actually ending, or even really denting, racism isn’t as easy as stealing home or contriving highly symbolic celebrations that do nothing to alter the worsening reality of utter hopelessness and hunger in the streets of America.
Supposedly the integration of MLB in 1947 was significant because it represented a major shift and victory in winning opportunity, equality and fairness for all people, not just a handful of major league stars.
Yet sixty years later the prison population in America is more than 90% people of color. In Oakland, of 2000 Hispanic students entering the public high schools in the year 2000, only 30 (thirty!) graduated four years later possessing the minimum credits to be eligible to even apply to the California State University system (which is a rung below the more elite University of California system in competitiveness of entry).
There is a persistent and deliberately nurtured myth in the media and in institutions like MLB that "things are getting better." What does that mean?
For exactly who are things "getting better" ?
In a 2006 study of the causes of homelessness, the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) reported that from the early 1980’s until today, a period that has seen the U.S. population grow by approximately one-third,"new construction of HUD subsidized (affordable and low income) fell from 125,000 yearly to below 2,500 today. Existing stock thinned by attrition and other causes fell from more than 250,000 units in 1979 to below 25,000 units in 2004."
Should we be celebrating, or mourning? Proud, or ashamed?
If they really cared, the MLB owners, players, and others could give the celebrating a rest and take some of those billions reserved for new stadiums and outrageous contracts and really do something to give meaning to all the self-congratulation.
I know that is not going to happen. But, then, I don’t look for morality on a baseball diamond. That’s not why I’m a fan.
If you want peace and justice, you’re not going to find them at Yankee Stadium singing "God Bless America" in the middle of the seventh inning, or in Fremont joining the Wall Street/Cisco/Lewis Wolff love fest. Rather, join with others around the world to resist U.S. imperialism in Iraq. Or fight the discarding of an entire generation of children in the Oakland schools.
And while you’re at it, go have a catch.
I love the game–the plays, the beautiful rhythm, even its tarnished history–but not its current political manipulation and imposition of patriotic, self-serving rituals.


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