Peace in the Middle East, please, and Mr. Sandman Rivera

One thing before I launch into what I did this morning...

We freely admit that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization and they’re bad. There isn’t anything redeeming about their actions, mission, goals, or whatever else they do. Their recent actions of kidnapping two Israeli soldiers are hard, if not impossible, to justify.

BUT… at some point the Israelis really have to stop overreacting. They SHOULD know better than this. And yeah, we know that politics play a huge factor in the terrible events of the past few days. And yeah, the Israelis have every right to be pissed about Hezbullah kidnapping two soldiers. But why kill innocent civilians? It appears that the Israelis have as little care for life as their terrorist ‘brothers’. And yes, I say brothers because it seems to me that both sides, at this moment, have more in common than either side would like to admit - both sides have a lack of respect for life and peace, not to mention each other.

The Israelis have every right to be angered at the capture of two soldiers, and while we would encourage them to use diplomatic means of bring those two soldiers back to safety; we also realize that dealing with terrorist organizations can be difficult. But two wrongs do not make a right. And the actions taken by the Israelis over the past few days that include attacking the airports in Lebanon, power plants, and blockading seaports are hard to justify. Hezbullah is not an arm of the Lebanese government. They’re a rouge outfit that operates within Lebanese borders, and I don’t think we’re shedding any new light on the fact that the Lebanese government, at best, can be described as weak. It hasn’t even been 18 months since they Syrians left the country and the neo-Cons were praising Lebanon as a ‘victory for democracy’. Now it seems that these very same neo-Cons (all five of ‘em) are not only okay with, but also defending, the aggressive tactics that Israel has taken on the very civilians they were praising 18 months ago… yeah, it doesn’t add up, we know. For the most part, the civilians of Lebanon have little, to no, influence over Hezbullah. Punishing these civilians is just flat out wrong. And it lessens our sympathy of Israeli cause.

We may or may not have more over the next few days, but for now, we’ll leave it at that. Here is a very good piece from the Guardian, and makes an outstanding point: If Israel couldn't defeat Hizbullah after 18 years in which its army occupied large swaths of Lebanese territory, it is not going to succeed with air strikes and blockades, or even another occupation. The same point applies even more forcefully in the case of Gaza. Every time Israel applies the iron fist in an effort to beat the Palestinians into submission, their resistance simply re-emerges in a more extreme and rejectionist form… The civilian victims of Israel's indiscriminate retaliation have no real influence over the militias that hold them, while the militias themselves are untroubled by the spectacle of public suffering.

Okay, now on to what I did this morning. Between the Sox getting swept by the Yankees this weekend and a fantasy baseball message boards, I went back and did a bit of research on Mariano Rivera. So here’s the deal… Trevor Hoffman blew the save in the All-Star Game the other day, which prompted a Yankee fan to say something along the lines of: ‘I’ve always heard Hoffman was suppose to be nearly as good as Rivera, but the two times I’ve seen Hoffman, he blew the game, the 1998 World Series and the All-Star Game’ (they also admitted that they knew it was only twice but…). So after the Sox got swept by the Yanks, a pissed off me called Rivera overrated and that he’s so good because his strike zone is the size of Russia. This lead to the Yankee fans reminding me that Rivera’s playoff ERA is 0.81 and he has 34 saves in 72 games. Yeah, I know that’s awesome. I’m not going to fight that, but something still bothered me. Mainly: Game Four, 2004 ALCS and Game Seven, 2001 World Series. Both games Rivera ‘blew the save’. Before I launch into the numbers, two things:

1) Rivera was AWESOME in 1998 and 1999 against the AWESOME Padres and Braves. But none of those playoff series were even close. In 1999 the Yanks had a White Sox like run though the playoffs and 1998 was a near White Sox like run losing two games. He pitched 25.2 innings (and 18 games) allowing nothing going 1-0 with 12 saves. He was amazing, ridiculous, hochuli. But as I said, none of those series were even close, the Yankees went 22-3 over those two postseasons, Rivera wasn’t the key, sorry. Of course that shouldn't take much away from how hochuli he was.

2) Since we are comparing Hoffman from only two appearances, if the two games I remember most of Rivera are Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS and Game Seven of the 2001 World Series, what does that mean? He was awesome and not so awesome. For how great he's been, you'd also never expect to see a Jose Mesa performance on his CV. So what I did was look ONLY at elimination games, games were the Yankees could have been or were eliminated. Here are the results: Rivera in Elimination Games:


2005 - Game Four, Angels -- 2/0/2/0/0 -- SAVE
2004 - Game Seven, BoSox -- 0.1/0/0/0/0
2003 - Game Six, Marlins -- 2/1/2/0/0
2003 - Game Seven, BoSox -- 3/2/3/0/0 -- WIN
2001 - Game Seven, DBacks -- 1.1/4/3/1/2 -- LOSS
2001 - Game Five, A’s -- 2/1/2/0/0 – SAVE
2001 - Game Three, A’s -- 2/2/1/0/0 -- SAVE
2000 - Game Five, A’s -- 1.2/1/1/0/0 -- SAVE
1996 - Game Five, M’s -- 0.2/2/1/0/0

9 Games
15 Innings
12 Hits (1 Walk)
15 K’s
1 ER
2 Runs
0.60 – ERA
Four Saves

So yeah he's as great as the numbers say... BUT I can't get over the Jose Mesa like performance. I know it was only once, but that's a pretty big blown save. So let’s leave it at this, his Game Seven performance in 2003 was his best (over shadowed of course by Grady, Pedro, and Boone) and his 2001 Game Seven is also overlooked but for all the wrong reasons. People should bring up the fact that he blew Game Seven of the World Series, because well, he did. He cost the Yankees a ring, yet no one talks about this because he was so great while the Yanks were sweeping the Braves and Padres and winning in five against the Mets. But the fact is, Rivera pulled a Mesa in arguably his biggest game (let’s face it, it doesn’t get bigger than Gamve Seven of the World Series, I don’t care how huge those saves in the ALDS and ALCS were). His performance in Game Seven of the 2001 World Series looked very Jose Mesa like (1.2/4/2/1/1 vs 1.1/4/3/1/2). In other words “Aside from that, did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

You may have noticed that we used the word ‘hochuli’ twice above. Well…

See this weekend as we were driving around the Mid-Atlantic (DC to the burbs of Philly to the Jersey Shore to Philly to DC) with the ex-roomie#1, we found ourselves using the phrase “beyond ridiculous”. After the third time of using it, we realized that we needed a word that meant “beyond ridiculous”. So instead of saying, “Zinedine’s headbutt was ridiculous, in fact it was beyond ridiculous!” We decided we needed a new word. And that word we came up with as we were walking along the Boardwalk of Ocean City, New Jersey… hochuli. The reasoning? Well the word ‘ridiculous’ sounds ridiculous. So if we were going to define ‘beyond ridiculous’ that word needed to sound beyond ridiculous. So hochuli was chosen. And yes, Ed Hochuli has something to do with this. What, we’re not sure, but he seems like he’s beyond ridiculous since he’s jacked and likes to eat chicken.

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