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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The South Was Just Pro Choice

I saw a post today about whether or not the Civil War was a battle over slavery.

Now, I believe that the South was fighting the Civil War to preserve slavery. They were pro-slavery. That's why we had the horrific American Civil War.

But what if we look at it this way: The South wasn't pro-slavery: they were pro-choice. They wanted the right to choose whether or not they kept slaves. And they told opponents - "Don't approve of slavery? Don't have any."

And how would that make them any different than pro-abortion people who label themselves pro choice?

The label and the choice don't make the underlying activity, be it keeping slaves or killing babies in the womb, any more justifiable.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Who's Laughing Now, Holmes?

Really, Watson? You think the butler did it?
But Holmes, it was Brunton, the butler.
Oh, Watson, do be quiet.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bob's Books - The Last Good Season by Michael Shapiro

Michael Shapiro’s The Last Good Season looks at 1956: the year after the Brooklyn Dodgers won their only World Series. With the same cast of characters, the Dodgers spent most of the season chasing the Milwaukee Braves, edging them for the pennant by just one game. Ted Kluszewski’s Cincinnati Reds finished only two games back.

Facing (naturally) the Yankees once again in the Fall Classic, they ran into Don Larsen’s unlikely perfect game and saw league MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Don Newcombe, hammered in the game seven loss.

This book interweaves three stories: First, the actual on-field play of the boys of summer.

It’s also the story of the changes in Brooklyn, as the ethnic makeup was undergoing a transformation. And that change played a part in the third story: that of Walter O’Malley’s attempt to get a new stadium, leading to the move to Los Angeles.

Though getting a bit long in the tooth (Jackie Robinson would be sold, then retire after the Series), the offense dominated National League pitching, while Don Newcombe and Clem Labine started and finished wins. Perhaps because so much has been written about these fifties Brooklyn Dodgers, the actual baseball part doesn’t make up quite as much of the book as expected. There’s still plenty there, but it’s not as big a part of the whole as the title leads one to believe.

There are long passages looking at the experiences of Brooklynites and the changes going on in the borough. I found these to be the least interesting parts of the book.

There is much about O’Malley’s attempt to build a new stadium in Brooklyn, and about powerful  New York City official Robert Moses’ lack of interest in helping O’Malley on the latter’s terms. Whether or not O’Malley’s domed stadium and site selection was actually feasible, Robert Moses wasn’t interested in facilitating the project. In the end, he tried to push the Dodgers into a site in Flushing, which a few years later came to host Shea Stadium.

Every book seems to take sides. While Shapiro isn’t particularly sympathetic to O’Malley, he clearly states, “In the end, Robert Moses is the bad guy in this story.” I happen to be in the camp that there is much blame to be assigned to both sides. But O’Malley wanted to improve his business, couldn’t get what he wanted, and went somewhere else where he could get it. That’s a simplified view, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate.

I think that this is a pretty good book about the second-to-last season of the Brooklyn Dodgers, with quite a bit of information on the power struggle for a new ballpark. One interesting tidbit is that Los Angeles officials were in Ebbets Field, wooing Clark Griffith of the Washington Senators when O’Malley sent a note down, saying he wanted to talk to them. The Senators, of course, moved to Minneapolis and became the Twins.

I give it four stars, with its strength being the O’Malley – Moses tussle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jackie Robinson Day is Tomorrow (April 15, 2015)

Tomorrow, April 15, is 2015 Jackie Robinson Day in MLB. I've written about Robinson several times here on the blog. The Dodgers are hosting the Mariners for a game on ESPN2. It's the 2015 Civil Rights Game and there will be all kinds of tributes.

Sharon Robinson (Jackie's widow), Don Newcombe, Sandy Koufax and Roy Campanella's daughter will all be involved in the throwing out the first pitch.

Tune in and remember Jackie. You can use the search line above to find all my Robinson, Newcombe and Dodgers related posts on the site.

BTW, I do pretty much all my posting these days over at my current blog, Almost Holmes. I'd like to free up some time do some more baseball writing here this summer, though.