Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Joe Around the World, day 11

Miguel Cabrera, 2012 American League Triple Crown winner (AP Photo)

BENNINGTON -- Mitt "won" the debate, and he may have won 1600.

But let's save that for later.

You want a real debate? A debate that comes with bona fide froth at the mouth?

You want that debate, folks?

OK, here's the topic: Miggy or Trout for MVP?

That'll make Mitt v. Obama 1.0 seem like an adorable exercise in voting for president of the 7th-grade chess club in Mahwah or South Milwaukee.

The real winner last night was Miguel Cabrera, third baseman of the American League Central Division champion Detroit Tigers, who captured the first Triple Crown since a Soxian by the nickname of Yaz, in '67. Cabrera won the "Big 3" -- homers, RBIs and average.

But that baseball MOMENT got lost in the vacuous space separating Mitt and Obama.

Talk of the first Triple Crown winner got lost in the distortion of politics, and that distortion looks like the red fuzzy squiggles at the 2:07 and 3:26 marks:



The java journey has taken me to the exotic lands of Brazil for a pot of Bahia, which is described as "Very mild and well-rounded cup, this coffee has a light acidity and smooth body with a subtle aroma." 

 It's a pretty solid cup of coffee. 3.75 perks out of 5. 


In the old days, and by old days I mean about 10 years ago, before the Internet gave us the ability to break it down to the very last compound, 9.999 baseball fans would have handed MVP honors to a player who won the Triple Crown. 

It would be Pavlovian almost. Triple Crown? MVP. 

Even if his team finished in last place? MVP. 

Even if he had sex with a large grapefruit? MVP. 

Even if the Triple Crown's nearest competitor was the best player in baseball? MV--- please, hold on.

Mike Trout. The WunderAngel. 20 years old. 

Here are 2 sets of numbers. Based on them, who wins MVP? Why?

One guy played 22 more games but scored 20 fewer runs yet had 23 more hits and 62 more total bases. Another guy had 8 more triples but 14 fewer homers and 56 fewer RBIs. One guy had 45 more stolen bases yet struck out 41 more times yet hit into 21 fewer double plays. One guy made fans go nuts with his highlights in the outfield and made only 4 errors in 347 chances yet the other guy plays, arguably, the toughest non-catcher position and made only 13 errors in 383 chances -- on top of the massive numbers at the bat. 

One player's team won its division title. The other player's team would have finished 50 games back had he not been called up a month into the season and turned the baseball world on its ear by doing things that had never been seen. 

Elite SABRs will take it further by saying one team in a devastating division, despite spending hundreds of millions, was 7-14 before the kid was called up and proceeded to go 82-59 with him to finish with a better record (89-73) than the other guy's playoff team (88-74). 

But a deeper look would all but squash that notion because the other guy's team was 11-10 when the other team was 7-14 -- a 4-game difference even though it bears repeating that said 11-10 team played in the same division as the Twins and Indians.

My vote for American League MVP goes to "Michael" ... 

... but the debate has really just begun. Let the froth flow! 


As for last night's presidential debate, Mitt wiped Obama's ass. 

As stated, I'm not a political pundit, won't pretend to be, but I know when I see an historical moment in politics, and Obama may have just "debated" himself out of the White House. 

Yesterday I wrote that Mitt would have to show me his big fat juicy balls. He did. He took command of the stage. He owned Obama. Obama stumbled in his answers, and this is a man whose oratory skills are second to none even if he goes into professor mode too much. 

The fact-checkers have delivered their reports on the truths, half-lies and flat-out falsehoods -- you can go find those stories online -- but last night Mitt's "words" didn't matter one iota. 

Last night was about looking and sounding Presidential, and that's really fucking important when you stop to consider that 90 percent of people are going to vote based on chatter or their own preconceived notions. 

The truths that should dictate whom we choose to lead our country always -- ALWAYS -- get lost in the red distortion that I pointed out in the Flock of Seagulls video. 

People talk about how strong Mitt looked and how feeble Obama sounded. 

People will gobble up soundbites from CNN and Fox and CNBC (even C-SPAN) and so the "real" truths about the economy and jobs and education and this and that and the other become byproducts of the process and the media circus, which is one in the same. 

We the people have short memories. 

I have no scientific data to back up this opinion, but I reckon that 1 person out of 25 -- the hardcore politico type -- remembers much of what was said last night. 

But 25 people out of 25 people who watched the debate saw two very different body languages, two very different demeanors, two very different confidence levels. 

That said, Obama might have implemented this game plan: lay low for the first debate, let Mitt over-Redbull himself and say one gobshite thing after another, and then come back hard with a point-by-point rebuttal in the next two debates. 

Or, maybe, Obama lost his fastball, curve, changeup and slider for a night and gave up 9 runs and 12 hits in two and a third before getting the hook. I don't know quite how much political baseball Obama was playing in Denver. 

Tell you what, though: Charlie Pierce over at Esquire wrote the piece I wanted him to, the piece he needed to write. He's a faithful Democrat and makes no apologies for his hard baseball against Republicans. At times I've wondered if he -- or a few other far-lefties I know -- could show me, just once, real brass by hammering Obama ... on anything. 

Charlie scored major points with THIS

Plus, if you want facts and truths, click THIS

Today those facts don't really matter. Won't matter tomorrow, either. Won't matter in the next debate when Obama comes out harder, better, faster, stronger. 

Mitt scrubbed Obama's ass last night in Denver. That does matter.

Meat (facts) and potatoes (truths) aside, I enjoyed Mitt's win. He showed me his big fat juicy balls. He pulled up his jock and played presidential politics like a big boy after a futile spring and summer of missteps and 47% soundbites.

For 90 minutes in the Mile High Grooviness of Denver, Mitt Romney won the Triple Crown of politics: confidence, composure, clarity. 

Now, if Mitt doesn't win, and that still might happen, Mitt better grow eyes in the back of his head. He won't have the Secret Service to protect him from his newest worst enemy:

The Twitterverse was in rare form last night
after Mitt told Jim Lehrer that he loves Big Bird.