Before I get to pressing issues like my letter to the ‘Stros, let me mention a bit about the ongoing immigration issue. In Commentary’s opinion, the Democratic Party response to the current situation is feeble, not too united, lacking boldness, drowned out by louder voices, and certainly lacking in conviction on what should be best for the children fleeing Central America. That’s why it is easy for nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr. to slap Dems around on this issue. Here is part of what he put out yesterday:
On immigration, many Democrats spend a third of their time impersonating Republicans. They spend the rest catering to blue-collar workers who are allergic to competition, and conning Latinos into thinking they’re in their corner. For the last two decades, Democrats have competed to see who can be the most cold-blooded toward foreigners.
He also doesn’t have much use for one of The President’s highest ranking Latina staffers, Cecilia Munoz. Here is this:
…. Cecilia Muñoz, the administration’s unofficial minister of damage control and propaganda on immigration. Muñoz’s official title is director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, but she spends much of her time misrepresenting Obama’s immigration policy on Spanish-language media.
Ouch. On the other hand, the other side is strong, united, bold, loud, and more than ready to put those kids on a kicking tee and boot them out and show complete disregard of their future welfare. All this is going on and certainly being noticed by Latino voters throughout the country. At this point I would say that Latino voters are a bit frustrated and disappointed on where this debate has been and where it is headed. Here is the entire Navarrette column: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Navarrette-Obama-sinks-lower-in-border-child-5633018.php.
An update: Guv Dude in the ultimate photo-op will put on his cavalry gear this afternoon and have a bugler sound “Charge” as he announces sending 1,000 cavalry troops to the border.
The following from the Chron is how all Dems should respond to Dude’s latest:
“The children fleeing violence in Central America are seeking out Border Patrol agents. They are not trying to evade them. Why would Rick Perry send soldiers to confront these kids?” U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said.
Dems certainly need to step up on this.
The ‘Stros are a young team. Name the ‘Stro on the current active roster with the most career dingers?
A good case can be made that the GMs of the ‘Stros, Rockets, and Texans aren’t getting the job done. The Rockets’ big deal fell apart last week. Yesterday, a Chron sports columnist punked the Texans’ GM for dissing future Hall of Fame great Andre Johnson. The ‘Stros on Friday blundered big time. Here is Commentary to the ‘Stros:
We are not a major market ball club like the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, or Phillies and we don’t have a loyal fan base like the Red Sox, ATL, or Giants so we don’t have the luxury of committing major f__k-ups like the one this past Friday. These other teams can afford to mess up the signing of their top draft picks, we can’t. We have to sign our top talent if we want to get better – period.
Furthermore, we can’t afford to get cute, try to manipulate the process, or try to do some sleight of hand. Not in today’s world when too many folks are watching. It looks like we got caught with our hand in the cookie jar. We’ve now taken a major PR hit in the U.S. of A.’s sports world. Notice I said sports world and not MLB world. In the eyes of many we are a laughingstock.
Here is just a sampling:
ESPN.com headline: Astros’ failure to sign Aiken a total fiasco
As for the Astros? Look, sometimes you can get too bogged down into cost-benefit analysis to realize what you are doing. Reputation is worth something, and even though the Astros may not put a dollar amount on it, players absolutely will. Was breaking a verbal agreement with a top draft pick really a good business idea? The way this shook out may very well scare a few players into refusing to negotiate with the team pre-draft in fear of being hung out to dry like Aiken, effectively telling the team not to waste the pick on them. For young players on the team who enter free agency for the first time, are they really going to be willing to sign a “hometown discount” to play for a team that has acted so miserly toward them and others in the past? As for free agents, the Astros already have to pay a premium for talent to come play for them, the Aiken saga sure doesn’t help their image on the big league level either.
From Bleacher Report:
Unfortunately, the Astros’ 2014 draft now will forever be remembered as a complete and utter failure. That said, only time will determine how the organization’s inability to sign Aiken (as well as Nix and Marshall) will impact its long-term success.
One thing is certain, however: Failing to reach an agreement with the No. 1 overall pick is a crushing blow for an Astros franchise that’s in the midst of a rebuilding process and potentially a few years away from playoff relevancy.
Here is from Evan Drellich of the Chron:
Perception, occasional misperception and the compounding effect of both have been overwhelming and self-imposed forces on the Astros, a team that has found itself and put itself at the center of attention.
General manager Jeff Luhnow’s family vacation to Mexico presumably had no effect on the Astros’ inability to sign No. 1 pick lefthander Brady Aiken. But it’s easy for someone to question why the GM didn’t scrap his plans, fly to San Diego and court Aiken.
Cubs president Theo Epstein, when he was Red Sox general manager, had Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling in his courtship of the pitcher following the 2003 season.
It looks bad, being out of the country. What good would it have done for Luhnow to return? Probably none. It’s an image matter, and the Astros haven’t been good about controlling their image, from things like this to bigger matters. They don’t draw the benefit of the doubt.
And from Buster Olney, ESPN.com:
The Astros have had an incredible opportunity, having picked at the top of the draft for three straight seasons, but time and again, they have been penny-wise and pound-foolish and damaged their brand along the way.
To Commentary, it looks like the team went into the draft with a lot of swagger and then started acting like bullies. Teams like us with three consecutive 100 plus losses seasons can’t be bullying and trying to pull some fast ones. We still need to go in with hat in hand so to speak. It is like the wimp of the sixth grade class went over and tried to bully a second grader and got caught. That’s a real shame if you ask me.
James Garner is no longer with us. It seems like I grew up with him. From “Maverick” to “Darby’s Rangers”, to “The Great Escape”, to the Polaroid TV ads, to “Rockford Files”, to “Victor, Victoria”, and the flick “Maverick” – he was all cool and all class.
The Chron E-Board said this Saturday:
(Thumbs up) Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is correct to label the plan to tear down the Astrodome as “silly.” Other s-words would be short-sighted and senseless. Anybody’s list of the most important buildings in Texas (the Capitol, the Alamo, Mission Control, Gruene Hall) includes the Dome. How can we possibly bulldoze a place that significant?
Let’s see, a place where we make laws, a place where we fought for our freedom, a place where we sent folks to the moon, a dance hall, and a place where folks hit dingers, scored TDs, and rode bulls – got it!
Chris Carter of course has 67 career dingers to lead the current batch of ‘Stros.
The ‘Stros have today off then play three with the best team in the MLB – the A’s.