Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit Velocity: Chaos Is Coming

Danville, Kentucky -- Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, chaos strikes to restore balance to the universe. When a forest grows too wild, a purging fire is natural and inevitable. Folks, Trump is here to return America to its equilibrium. The billionaire classes have become ignorant and fat in their dotage, extravagantly feasting upon the lower classes with the help of politicians like Crooked Hillary. For centuries, good folks around the world have been suppressed and kept down by myths of opportunity propagated by aristocrats in their high, cold ivory towers. All that is about to change. The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests, and cast out into the cold world that folks like me know and endure. The detached finance capitalists in Washington and Brussels now quiver in fear like convicts awaiting the guillotine in France circa 1972.

Folks, the United Kingdom just won a great victory in the battle against corrupt globalism. The hard-working battle-tested factory workers of Northern England have risen up against their elitist Londoner oppressors. It is a battle being played out in every corner of the globe. Across the Atlantic, Donald Trump is leading the battle against criminal establishment politicians like Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted. It is a battle we cannot afford to lose. All Hillary and her liberal globalist allies care about is money. America deserves a better class of criminal. And Trump is going to give it to us.

Every political order eventually disintegrates. The Roman Empire gave way to the Byzantine Empire which gave way to the Napoleonic Empire which gave way to the Galactic Empire. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Trump and his legion of globalization's victims are casting away the musty chains of history to usher in a new and more glorious political order than ever before.

Folks now warn of the Brexit causing a new recession. Folks warn it might cause disintegration of the European Union, a time-tested multilateral body forged from the ashes of a war-ridden continent. Folks, that’s the point. Folks like the Clintons and Dave Cameron are obsessed with “stability,” when often what’s needed is good-old-fashioned chaos. Trump knows this. Trump welcomes chaos. Chaos is good for business – ‘crisis’ is after-all a synonym for ‘opportunity.’ Trump knows this. The Brexit wasn’t just the greatest exercise in English self-determination since Susan Boyle won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009; it single-handedly turned Trump’s golf courses in Scotland into cash-machines thanks to a newly worthlessly British Pound (£).

Donald and his anti-globalist allies Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson are going to introduce a little anarchy: when you upset the established order, everything becomes chaos. He will take America back from the corrupt, the rich, and give it back to the people. The moment of truth now awaits. Those who might serve this noble cause must now step forward. Will America stick with the boring status quo, or will we vote for chaos and upheaval by electing Donald? Are we going to carpool in a minivan to work or try to hijack a rental car? Are we going to play it safe and order our fried chicken with parmesan garlic sauce, or risk our explosive intestinal pain by by doubling down on Blazin’ Wings?

The United Kingdom has spoken. Now it’s time for the United States to get on the Brexit ramp for chaos. Buckle up, folks. Take all the money out of your bank account and invest in gold bonds or stash it under your mattress. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Yankees Must Extend CC Sabathia

Danville, Kentucky -- Everyone has a happy place. A special place, soaked with sepia-toned memories of golden days gone-by and childhood friends; an old playground, a quaint ice-cream shop, or a scenic vista perfect for watching sunsets. Folks, I had a special place. The Bowlarama Lanes on East Lexington Road in my hometown, Danville. This joint used to be the premier social gathering spot in all of Danville. The bowling experience was unparalleled. The Danville Bowlarama attracted serious bowlers and the casual crowd alike. But for me, the banging eats were the real selling point. Plump onion rings, perfectly round and shimmering with luminous fried grease. Thick french fries, recently unfrozen and heated in a microwave, coated in rich brown chili and bright orange nacho cheese. Watery yellow beer, lovingly poured into a dirty pitcher for a criminally cheap price.

The Danville Bowlarama was a special place, appropriate for any occasion. The bowling alley's rental shoes were always in good condition, if a little musty and well-trodden. The jukebox was always playing the greatest hits of the mid-seventies and eighties: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bon Jovi, and Aerosmith songs written before Joe Perry and Brad Whitford departed the band in untimely fashion. At this bowling alley, a man could escape a furious ex-wife and maybe even fall in love at first sight with his next ex-wife. The alley offered escapism at an affordable price, and there was nowhere in Danville that a man could find a meal as satisfying. The Bowlarama was and is among the best attractions that the city of Danville has to offer.

Yet, not everybody recognizes and appreciates the sublime excellence of Danville's finest bowling alley. The rise of 21st century technology and globalization has all but cast the Bowlarama into the dustbin of history. Kids don't come to the alley anymore; they'd rather play Angry Birds on their smart phones, or watch bad movies while wearing goofy 3D glasses, or ride around in Uber-mobiles.

CC Sabathia, the 35 year-old lefty veteran ace of the New York Yankees, long dismissed as washed up and beyond his expiration date, has been similarly dismissed as a relic of a more glorious past. Prognosticating Mr. Sabathia's doom has become something of a hobby for sabermetrically-inclined nerds. In 2014, nerd extraordinaire Buster Olney wrote: 'Better for Yanks if Sabathia calls it quits'. The vicious New York media has been calling for his demotion for years. Earlier this spring a writer at Pinstripe Alley boldly proclaimed: 'Ivan Nova should be the fifth starter over CC Sabathia,' arguing that CC "looks like a shell of his old self" and writing him off due to pessimistic ZiPs projections. The chorus of cries announcing CC's demise are now looking like the worst predictions since Norman Angell wrote that economic integration would make interstate war obsolete in 1909, on the eve of the first World War.

Yet, in spite of the doomsayers or perhaps because of them, CC has rediscovered his happy place. Far from being washed up or useless, CC has been the Yankees' best starting pitcher. As of writing this he has pitched 59.1 innings of 2.28 ERA ball. The 2.28 ERA is the best of any Yankees starting pitcher and trails only the unhittable Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman for the team lead. CC has not only been one of the best pitchers on the Yankees, a team stacked with pitching talent, but one of the best pitchers in the MLB period.

Most incredibly, CC has conquered adversity and silenced his haters after battling his own personal demons in the most public way possible. Folks, wise baseball fans could've told you not to sleep on a guy who is a World Series champion and Cy Young award winner. CC has proven he is capable of putting the team on his prolific back and anchoring the Yankees rotation for years to come in spite of his diminished velocity. Bulldog innings-eaters like CC don't grow on trees. It's time for Brian Cashman to show he's serious about the team's future and lock up CC Sabathia long-term, at least through his age 40 season. Folks, I know he's got a year or two left on his current contract and a vesting option as well. But the free agent market for starting pitchers has been bonkers, and the next few years there will be a dearth of good arms available with aces like Scherzer, Strasberg, Price, and Alfredo Simon having been recently locked up. The Yankees cannot afford to let CC hit the open market, where his asking price will inflate beyond the means of even a high payroll team like the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees need to do everything they can to keep the core of A-Rod, Carlos Beltran, and CC together. Cashman must be proactive and immediately sign CC to another contract extension, so that he can retire a Yankee.

CC Sabathia, like the Danville Bowlarama, is a timeless treasure, even if his critics don't always acknowledge it. At the Danville Bowlarama, it always feels like 1975 -- just as CC is pitching like it's 2008. In the interest of keeping the dream of the Yankees' golden days alive, CC Sabathia must be extended.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sins of the Father: The Avila Story

Danville, Kentucky -- They say a man spends his entire life fighting for the approval of his father. As boys, we spend our childhood in the symbolic shadow of an elusive paternal figure, eager to emulate his strengths and learn from his failings. My own father was a great man. He introduced me to baseball, hunting, and sweet Kentucky bourbon. I remember spending sticky, sunburnt days with him at the old Crosley Field, marveling at the prowess of greats like ace Jimmy Maloney and the slick-fielding Woody Woodward, the Tyler Saladino of his time. The ballpark experience was different then. In the era before the price-inflating effects of NAFTA, hot dogs cost less than a buck a pop, a bargain for working families like my own. My dad was my hero. He taught me the value of teamwork, playing the game the right way, always hustling down the line, and pitching to contact and the score. Lessons that would see me through many hardships.

Yet, Ezekiel 18:19 tells us that the son bears the iniquities of the father, and indeed, I still carry the burden of my father's shortcomings. 1972 was a time for choosing; between the steely resolve of Nixon and the untested grassroots hucksterism of George McGovern. McGovern's naivete and glossy-eyed idealism would've been disastrous to a country in the midst of a Cold War against the cruel and failed ideology of communism. At a time when America was waging war against the enemies of freedom around the world, George McGovern proposed slashing the defense budget and pronounced: "Come home, America." McGovern's sunny disposition was simply anachronistic at a time when democracy was under siege and dominoes were primed to fall. He hoodwinked otherwise noble men like my father by promising a grossly expanded welfare state and government hand-outs. My father and I had much in common. We loved utility infielders, sacrifice bunting, frankfurters, and the smell of gun-powder after firing a hunting rifle in the Kentucky backwoods. But our differences had become irreconcilable. Drawn to the siren song of socialism like a moth to a flame, my father voted for McGovern at a time when our country needed Dick Nixon. We have spoken to each other only grudgingly since.

Alex Avila is another man suffering for the sins of his father. Alex was a cornerstone player on the 2011-2014 Detroit Tigers teams that won the AL Central Division four times in a row and were perennial World Series contenders. He deserves credit for the Cy Young studded pitching staffs of these teams. He provided veteran leadership behind the dish and cerebral game-calling prowess for a pitching staff filled with excellent hurlers like Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly. On a team of free-swingers, Alex showed sturdy plate discipline and patience. In his absence, the 2016 Tigers have struggled to generate consistent production from the catcher position.

Why then, did the Tigers let Mr. Avila walk, only to watch him sign a reasonable contract with the division rival Chicago White Sox? Like myself back in 1972, Alex was betrayed by his father: Al Avila, general manager of the Tigers. Fearing accusations of nepotism, Avila Sr. parted ways with his own son in a cruel and callous fashion. A family reunion of sorts will take place this weekend, as the White Sox visit the Tigers for a three game series. It will be hard for Alex Avila, upon his return to Comerica Park, not to reminisce on the feelings of pain and rejection inflicted by his own father last offseason.

Alex has been a blessing to the 2016 White Sox; in a clubhouse shaken by the sudden absence of Drake LaRoche, Avila has been an achor of stability and reliability. His pre-existing friendship with former-Tigers Austin Jackson and Avisail Garcia has been a boon to the team's chemistry.

He has helped studs like Chris Sale and Jose Quintana achieve their God-given potential with his superb game-calling skills. Yet, Alex can't help but feel dissatisfied, as he still bleeds, hurts, and fights for the approval of his father. For the White Sox to truly scale the peaks of baseball glory, Alex must forgive the sins of his father. A man cannot thrive in the present while dwelling on the follies of the past. For Alex Avila, the dream of reconciliation with his father must be superseded by the dream of a World Series championship.