Thursday, October 28, 2004


Small market teams like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, & Milwaukee have no chance

For many years the Red Sox were cursed. Right after giving away (not trading) Babe Ruth, they went posted several years of their losingest seasons in franchise history. Then when they were able to win several AL pennants, they found new and excruciating ways to lose.

But, the explosion of free agency and the post-1994 strike "wild-card" era ushered in a different landscape for Major League Baseball. The gap between rich teams and poor teams has grown dramatically. George Steinbrenner has always pushed for the Yankees to find the best players and win but he finally found the winning formula in the 1990's. The Red Sox pursued the Yankees in the arms (and bats) race, especially after the new ownership team arrived on the scene. The zealous pursuit of the World Series trophy, and the bottom-less bank accounts, helped propel big-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox way ahead of their lowly competitors.

PNC Park attendance for the Pirates fell from 2.4 million in 2001 to 1.6 million this year.

NYTimes: Postseasons Are Empty for Small-Market Fans

The Fenway Faithful suffered in heart-breaking fashion until the likes of megastars like Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Manny Ramirez were acquired because of a willingness and ability to pay big contracts.

But what about the Pittsburgh Pirates? They have a great history, have won the World Series over teams like the Yankees and even won it twice in the 1970's. The Pirates have a beautiful new ballpark but almost no team to sustain any fan enthusiasm. Teams like the Brewers, Tigers, & Reds play in new stadiums but have not made the playoffs nor do they have a chance of playing in the post-season any time soon.

The Red Sox proved that dollars can beat a crazy curse any day. Not that the Yankees have not bought championships before - they have. But, the 2004 Red Sox finally reached the dizzying heights of immortality by behaving in the way that they said made them hate the Yankees.

Next year, the cursed fans of Baltimore, Toronto, Detroit and Seattle will be chanting "Red Sox suck!"



I guess it's time to admit that the Curse of the Babe is over. Oh, well

This is the 1918 team photo of the Boston Red Sox. Locals questioned their guts because they were on a baseball field instead of a battlefield. Fans soured on them after their demands for more money held up a World Series game. And when the 1918 Boston Red Sox finally won the title, the feat was greeted with little more than mild enthusiasm. (AP Photo courtesy National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY)

Babe Ruth's career statistics

163 G, 94-46, 107 CG, 1221.3 IP, 488 K, 2.28 ERA

2503 G, 2873 H, 2213 RBI, 714 HR, .342 AVG



Now that I've got your attention, make sure you read this.....

New York Post Online Edition: NO DRAFT


October 26, 2004 -- THERE is not going to be a military draft. No matter who is elected. No draft. None. Period.

Clear enough?

The shameless lies told for political advantage, the immoral scare tactics behind the warnings that President Bush has a "secret plan" to bring back the draft, have reached a new low point in recent American politics.

Sen. John Kerry knows there isn't going to be a draft.

Sen. John Edwards, who doesn't know much else, knows there isn't going to be a draft.

The Democratic National Committee knows there isn't going to be a draft.

And they're all warning us that a draft is on the way — unless, of course, young people vote for the Democratic ticket.

Apart from assuming that all young Americans are cowards with no sense of patriotism, the naked dishonesty of the "draft scare" tactic is stunning even to someone who's watched politicians misbehave for decades.

There isn't going to be a draft.


1) The military doesn't want a draft. The generals and admirals would fight tooth-and-nail to prevent the resurrection of the draft. We've built the best military in the world through the all-volunteer force. At this point in our history, draftees would do more harm than good.

The magnificently skilled forces that have turned in such remarkable performances in Afghanistan and Iraq rely on soldiers who want to be there. Morale is crucial, and morale is high among those proud professionals. Herding in a crop of smug undergraduates who think they're too good to get their hands dirty would hurt both morale and combat effectiveness.

Postmodern war is a job for long-term soldiers. This isn't Sgt. York's Army anymore, in which courage and a Springfield rifle get you through.

The youngest Infantryman in a Bradley Infantry Combat Vehicle-equipped platoon has to master approximately two dozen complex skill sets. That takes lengthy training and a positive attitude. Even a motivated draftee would just be reaching a basic competence level by the time his or her term of service ended.

Our casualties remain so low by historical standards because our soldiers and Marines know what they're doing. We win so impressively because our troops believe in what they're doing. Forget the Hollywood lies — the average infantry soldier or Marine loves his profession. The last thing our military leaders want to do is to return to the "when do I get on the freedom bird for home" mentality of Vietnam.

If you want to break the finest military in the world, bring back the draft.

2) A draft is entirely unnecessary.

Short of a protracted ground war with China, North Korea and the Cayman Islands simultaneously, there's no need for a draft. Our ground forces are too small, but that can be fixed if Congress allocates the funds. The Army needs about 50,000 to 60,000 more troops — not Christmas help, but permanent positions — and the Marines could use another 20,000. We can recruit that many soldiers and Marines, if the end-strength increase is authorized.

Why on earth would we need or want to bring back the draft when we have sufficient volunteers? With the personnel turnover and lowered effectiveness it brings, a draft no longer even saves money.

The outrageous lie that, if our president is re-elected, millions of young Americans will be dragged off to basic training is so shameless that printable language doesn't suffice to describe it.

No president is going to ask for a draft that the military doesn't want and the country doesn't need. And if he did, Congress wouldn't give it to him. End of issue.

Ralph Peters is a retired military officer who maintains close contact with our troops.

Update: Check out great insight by Jen Martinez.


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