Thursday, June 05, 2003

In his typically elegant way, Michael Kinsley has a great essay on the "Return of the Class War" that is the result of the Bush tax cuts. Here's a passage:

"So, under the American tax system as designed by the Bush administration and congressional Republicans, the most a person of vast wealth is expected to contribute to the commonweal from his or her last dollar of investment profits is the same 15 cents or so that a minimum-wage worker is expected to pay on his or her first dollar. This does not mean that we have a flat tax. We have a tax system of vast complexity, with wildly different tax burdens on different people. But we have a tax system that, on balance, knows who's in charge."

In the words of John Cleese, "Oh, it"


Methinks she doth protest too much.


George Will waxes indignant over Sosa's bouncing bat. He mentions pitcher Kevin Gross and his suspension by Giamatti for scuffing the ball. But, historically, as Rob Ney points out [thanks to Alex Belth for the link], we call bat corkers "cheaters," but pitchers who throw balls that spray the batter with spit, "colorful." We huff and puff when Albert Belle is caught doctoring his bats, but we put Gaylord Perry in the Hall of Fame. And it was well known when he was named to the Hall that Perry practically kept a tube of Brylcream in his glove while on the mound.

But I forget that George Will is the self-appointed protector of the game's purity. He should be suspended from writing about baseball for eight columns if for nothing else than the crime of using the word "equipoise" in a piece about a baseball player.

If only Will was so concerned about fairness when talking about the Bush tax cuts. [ed., I wondered where you were going with this. This is about the convergence of politics and baseball.]

The irony of the Sosa story is that corking a bat may not even be cheating, Ney writes. The official rules say modifying a bat to make the ball travel greater distance is against the rules, but according to Robert Adair's "The Physics of Baseball," that while hollowing out a bat and then adding cork will improve bat speed, "this effect is largely (completely?) balanced by the smaller amount of inertia, and thus the ball won't travel as far as it might otherwise have. Which is to say, corking the bat doesn't really make any difference."

This whole thing does bring the much overrated Sammy Sosa down to earth a bit, so there's an upside here.


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