Week 2: Sox -- Twins, Cleveland and Detroit; Things I've Read (and haven't); Mad Men thoughts


Went 3-2 over the week and this week you saw a team that might be decent. The problem is that the Tigers and Royals are building quite the lead; even factoring in the coming regression for both teams, the Sox aren’t exactly built to be chasing teams who might now win 92 games instead of 88.

The pitching, overall, has been pretty good. If anything they’ve been unlucky; both BABIP and the ERA/xFIP spread are out of whack and will only get better for the Sox.

It’s the hitting that you’ve got to start to worry about a bit. While the BABIP gods aren’t helping, the Sox aren’t walking. If you’re not getting guys on base, you’re not going to score many runs. Both Eaton and Melky don’t have a walk yet this season… this is very very bad. And Abreu isn’t walking enough so far. It’s early, yada, yada, but if the top of the order doesn’t start being more patient, I’m not sure this team can win 75 games even with better pitching.

That said, the Sox have been super unlucky so far (Eaton, Melky, and Abreu all have BABIPs south of .206) and being 3-6 isn’t great, but there’s no need to hit the panic button either.

I’ll discuss Robin at another point, but he’s got to be on top of things more. I didn’t see the play at 2nd in the 9th from Friday, but just reading and hearing about it… yikes. That can’t happen if you’re the manager.

Quick Bulls thought: I’ve started looking into some defensive stuff with them, but have yet to finished it. Aim to this week. Anyway… since I don’t think the Bulls will struggle at all with the Bucks (silly of me considering how maddening the Bulls have been), it won’t change anything in Round One. Bulls in five.

Most Interesting Things I’ve Read this Week:

1) Enjoyed this story from the Trib on Natalie Jaresko, who was born in Chicago, worked for the State Department, and is currently the Minister of Finance in Ukraine.

2) Florida Ex-Senator Pursues Claims of Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Attacks

“In sworn statements in the two cases, Mr. Graham has said there was evidence of support from the Saudi government for the terrorists.”

Yet we blamed Iraq (eventually indirectly). Though it is fair to ask why the FBI and CIA would still be covering up for the Saudi’s if there was a connection (other than conspiracy which I am doubtful about for a number of reasons starting with it’s a conspiracy). Either way, worth watching.

3) Were Chicago’s Famous ‘Lakefront Liberals’ Really All that Liberal?

Whet’s the best.

What I haven’t read:

Sometimes people are the most telling when talking about someone/thing else. Take this quote from Republican Ron Gidwitz, one of many Republican’s who donated to Rahm’s campaign:
Garcia, whose biggest donations came from the Chicago Teachers Union, the Service Employees International Union Health Care and the SEIU State Council, had repeatedly said he had warned those same unions they better be ready to share the sacrifice. 
But Gidwitz scoffed at that suggestion, saying: “Is [Garcia] really going to bite the hand that got him elected?”
It’s a fair point. But that’s not what’s telling. The telling part is the irony of Gidwitz’s quote: he’s also saying that Rahm isn’t going to cross the guys who fund him and got him elected.

There’s nothing news breaking in Gidwitz’s point—we all know that politicians are going to do everything possible to not hurt their supporters. But sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all.


***Mad Men spoilers from here on out***

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d have no clue how to conclude Man Men, especially Don’s story. But once again, in the moment of watching this week, I’m left worried that this is not only going to be unsatisfying, but also potentially ugly as far as endings go. If we leave Don as pretty much the same guy who he was at the start of the show, then what’s the point? Don in 1970 is emptier than Don in 1959 (literally and figuratively after Megan’s mother cleaned the apartment out). We’ve watched someone who over 11 years has, thus far, barely grown as a person even if he’s more accepting of his past. Even if Don Draper isn’t (as?) worried about anyone knowing he’s actually Dick Whitman, it doesn’t change the fact that Don still isn’t real. And an unreal Don Draper can continue to never change.

Sepinwall handles this head on in a cutting, negative review:
...I often hear complaints from fans who have grown weary of the show, and particularly about how Don keeps making the same mistakes time and again. It may be true to his character, they acknowledge, but if — to borrow Peggy Lee's question from last week's premiere — that's all there is, then why is the show still going? What's the point to it all?
The AV Club’s review is more optimistic than I am:
And what has Don built? That’s the question. Mad Men’s final half-season is taking an ingenious approach to the problem of how to end Don Draper’s story: Let the creative genius himself try to figure it out.
And we’ll see! As far as endings go I think we’re more headed towards a Wire ending, not perfect but good enough. Five more weeks until we finally see. But Pete probably summed it up:

"Think you're going to begin your life over and do it right. But what if you never get past the beginning again?"

--One last Mad Men thought: once again put to the test, and once again I enjoy watching Game of Thrones so much more than Mad Men. It was true last year. It was true last week. And I think I enjoy watching the Americans more than Mad Men too. That doesn’t mean they’re better, but Mad Men really has become a chore to watch, mainly because I care less and less about Don the more the show continues. I’m not sure when Peak Don was, maybe sometime in Season 5? But ever since the latter half of Season 6, I’ve cared less and less about Don Draper since watching the same guy make the same mistakes and either refuse to learn from them or to change. Watching a rich*, white, male, struggle—especially after all his insecurities and mysterious past has been stripped away—just isn’t that interesting in 2015.

*To critique the critics… Don’s wealth is often overlooked in a lot of the criticism I read on a week to week basis on Mad Men. Don, unlike most people, can buy his way out of any situation (i.e. Megan last week) which allows the show to sidestep a lot of potential issues. In fact, Don’s wealth has been a means for the writers to ignore plot for much of the show’s run: money has set Don Draper free from everyday life, therefore we can study the character.

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