Monday, May 22, 2006


By Stockton

Pentagon officials have secretly told Smorgasblog that morale in the Armed Forces is at an all-time low. "We're just stretched too thin," said one official. "We have too many troops in the field and they have know idea when they might be home. We can't fight a two-front war indefinitely."
This troublesome assessment comes in the wake of America entering another defensive war: The War against Traditional Marriage. According to Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), the attack has already begun:

I basically say, Mr. Vice President, right now marriage is under attack in this country," Frist said on CNN.

However, some military analysts suggest that we don't have the man-power to fight another war.

"We're already bogged down fighting the War against Christmas," said one retired general. "Our troops are tired and our lines are stretched." According to many, soldiers fighting the War against Christmas are not getting enough supplies, including wool socks and egg nog.

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The Initial assault on Santa's Workshop - 12/5/05

Most agree that the War against Traditional Marriage will be a different kind of war. "We may have to blockade Reno and Vegas," said one military strategist. "They have to know that we are resolved to end cheap, quickie, divorces, no matter what the toll."

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Troops depart to establish beach head in Nevada

Sunday, May 14, 2006


By Stockton

I've been meaning to write about this issue for awhile. Now, on the eve of Bonds becoming the number two all-time homerun hitter, it seems appropriate.

There are a lot of arguments for and against steroids and the players that use(d) them. Some are practical: competitive athletes look for any edge. Some are technical: Baseball only recently banned the use of steroids. All arguments ring hollow.

That baseball only recently banned the use of steroids is all well and good in defending Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and the rest. Fans have always been enamored of the long ball and it puts people in the seats. But, why didn't they openly discuss the use of steroids before the drug was banned? If there was nothing wrong with it, if it was no different than taking cortisone injections, why the secrecy?

I understand the competitive edge argument. Professional athletes live in a competitive world. They compete with other teams and older athletes compete with younger athletes for a spot on the team. When a ball player turns thirty-five or forty, they start to slow down. Injuries become more prevalent. There's always a blue-chip prospect being talked up, waiting to take over. A DiMaggio hearing about a Mantle. For the older player, seeking any advantage must be tempting.

Still, age and injuries are a natural part of the game. It's part of the natural make-up of talent. Eric Davis was not a great player (I think he was very good when he played) because he might have been great if he wasn't so innury prone.

Steroid use has damaged the game in the same way that the 1919 Black Sox scandal damaged the game. I no longer know if what I watch is real.

I don't know if Bonds would have hit the same number of homeruns without steroids. Perhaps he would have. Perhaps he would be on homerun 622 right now, instead of 713. Maybe steroids add 10% to homerun totals, maybe 25%, maybe 3% I don't know.

This should be an exciting time for true baseball fans. A player is closing in on 'The Record'. The Grand Daddy of all sports records. Yet, I'm underwhelmed and could care less. I don't know what Bonds has achieved through pure athletic training and talent as opposed to drugs. Make all the excuses you want (there are apologists aplenty for Bonds) but there's a gut feeling among many fans that Bonds achievement feels false.

Bonds is a great talent. He was a legitimate five-category player. If he stopped playing baseball in the year he began taking steroids, he's a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate. Everything after that? I just don't know. And you know what? That's his problem, not mine. I'm under no obligation to prove that steroids have positively impacted Bonds' numbers.

Steroids and baseball. Forget the technical arguments for or against their use. Just ask yourself, does it feel right? For me, the answer is no.

Friday, May 05, 2006


By Stockton

I found this little nugget in Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract.

We've all watched politicians carefully select an axe they could grind for some PR play. I t occurs now, it occurred in the 1950's. It probably occurred in the pre-dawn of time (one pictures a Neanderthal leader pushing the death penalty for anyone who falls asleep while watching the sacred fire).

Thus, it's always satisfying when the axe grinder get some egg on his/her face.

In the 1950's, a Congressman published a list of athletes that received 'soft duty' during World War II. Hank Bauer, the Yankee Rightfielder, was on the list (Bauer was a very talented ballplayer).

Only one problem: Bauer, a Marine, took part in the invasion of four islands - New Georgia, Emirau, Okinawa and Guam. He took shrapnel in the back of his leg which could never be removed.

When his error was pointed out, the Congressman (I wish I had his name) said, "I didn't mean Hank Bauer, I meant Hank Sauer." Sauer was a Chicago Cubs outfielder.

Unfortunately, Sauer had also seen combat.

You have to love it.

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