Charles Manson, the sinister hippie cult leader who declared himself “the Devil” and dispatched his followers to commit a series of Hollywood murders in 1969 that shocked the country, died Sunday night in a California hospital. Good. Manson was sentenced to death in 1971 for directing the brutal murders of Tate and six other people, but he was spared two years later and was sentenced to life behind bars when California did away with the death penalty.
Baseball’s Most Valuable Player Awards
In the American League, Jose Altuve convincingly won the 2017 MVP Award. He received 27 of 30 first-place votes, racking up 405 total points. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge finished in second place with 279 points and Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez finished in third place with 237 points. Altuve played well all year, was great in the World Series and was particularly supportive of his teammates during his post award interviews. And at 5’6” it shows you don’t have to be a big guy to play baseball at the highest level. Altuve, 27, led all of baseball with a .346 batting average and led the AL with 204 hits en route to helping the Astros win the AL West with 101 wins, then dispatched of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers to win the World Series. He also had a .410 on-base percentage, a .547 slugging percentage, 39 doubles, 24 home runs, 32 stolen bases, 81 RBI, and 112 runs scored in 662 plate appearances during the regular season. He is the first Astro to win the MVP Award since Jeff Bagwell in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was named the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He narrowly edged out Reds first baseman Joey Votto, as both received the same number of first-place votes,
but Stanton received one more second- and third-place vote. Stanton had 302 total points to Votto’s 300. It was the closest balloting in years. Stanton, 28, led all of baseball with 59 home runs and 132 RBI, and led the National League with a .631 slugging percentage. He also hit .281 with a .376 on-base percentage, scoring 123 runs in 692 plate appearances. Stanton is the first member of the Marlins to win the MVP Award since the team came into existence in 1993.
Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger Win Rookie of the Year Awards
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the Rookie of the Year Awards unanimously in their respective leagues, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Judge, 25, hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 114 RBI, and 128 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. He led the American League in home runs, runs scored, and walks (127). Judge made the AL All-Star team during the summer and just took home a Silver Slugger Award. He’s a major contender for the AL MVP Award as well. Judge is the first Yankee to win the Rookie of the Year Award since Derek Jeter in 1996.
Robert Mueller Can Now Close Down Russian Investigation
In May 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel to oversee the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, one of several investigations looking into the matter. Mueller can now close down that investigation because after chatting with former KGB agent and now President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit President Trump is contradicting the overwhelming consensus among current and former U.S. officials that the Russian leader tried to manipulate the 2016 election. In a 26-minute question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One, the president managed to dismiss probes into whether his campaign colluded with Russia as an “artificial Democratic hit job,” said he believed Putin was being sincere when he insisted that Russia did not attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, and warned that the continued focus on Russian election meddling risks lives. I was worried there for a while that perhaps Russia didn’t respect us or value our way of life. So now I guess we can close down Mueller’s Russian investigation and get on with the real work of the Administration, that of giving a tax break to corporations as well as the wealthiest tax payers. And let’s create more ciaos in the health care system that will result in people paying more for health care no matter who they are.
Astros pitcher Charlie Morton got Corey Seager to send a weak ground ball to second baseman Jose Altuve, shifted into shallow right field, who made the throw to first baseman Yuli Gurriel to clinch the World Series 5 – 1.
They scored twice in the first inning and three times in the second against Yu Darvish, sustaining them over the remaining seven innings. No surprise here: Astros outfielder George Springer was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 World Series. A game seven for the World Series is always good. It’s the last winner-take-all event and is the buildup of all the series games prior to that combined with the culmination of the 162 game regular season.
It was fitting that Altuve made the final out for the Astros, as he was the most valuable player on the team and arguably in all of baseball. He finished the regular season batting .346/.410/.547 with 24 home runs, 81 RBI, 112 runs scored, and 32 stolen bases. He won the batting title and led the AL in hits. Aaron Judge led him in FanGraphs’ version of WAR (8.2 to 7.5). Baseball Reference’s version gave Altuve the edge (8.3 to Judge and Corey Kluber‘s 8.1). We’ll have to wait a couple weeks to find out if he won the AL MVP award. While my vote would have been for Judge, after seeing Jose Altuve in action over the course of the World Series, I can see why the two players are in such a close battle for the MVP vote. So the AL MVP will either be 5’6” or 6’7”. Yasiel Puig had a bad night. His Dodgers lost Game 7 of the World Series AND some yahoos broke into his house. This is a least the second time thieves have broken into his house. You think he could afford a security plan! If he is the target of a future break-in at least they won’t be stealing his World Series Ring. Catchers and pitchers report for Spring training on February 13, 2018.
A lot of FOD to pick up. Comments welcomed of course.
Hurricane Maria Relief Efforts
We’re just beginning to grasp the scope of the devastation to Puerto Rico. This American territory has been holding on by a thread for years and has been on the verge of bankruptcy several times. Its infrastructure was already substandard and in need of major overhaul prior to Maria. Military Times is reporting, two U.S. Navy ships, National Guard, Air National Guard, Reserve troops and Army helicopters are providing aid to Puerto Rico. But questions are mounting over whether the U.S. is doing enough for its territory and people, who are American citizens. To date, the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge and dock landing ship Oak Hill have “conducted eight medical evacuations, 148 airlifts and delivered 44,177 [pounds] of relief supplies and cargo to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” U.S. Northern Command said in a statement. U.S. forces have also restored a mobile communications tower at St. Thomas International Airport to enable the airport to receive additional aircraft to evacuate residents. The amphibious assault ship Wasp has been conducting similar rescues in Dominica, but that ship will be departing the region to head to the Pacific, where it will eventually relieve the Bonhomme Richard, a Navy official said. Approximately 2,600 U.S. military personnel and National Guard members are currently involved in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, the Pentagon said. Currently, more than 700 Air National Guard airmen are deployed to Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to support relief efforts. Most of Puerto Rico has no electricity or cell phone capabilities because of Hurricane Maria’s damage to the electrical grid and cell towers. There are long lines for food and water. Likely we’ll need to do more and the more is likely to continue for years.
USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain Take Another Top Officer
Well here it is Labor Day already. The long weekend holiday is the unofficial end of summer (hate that thought), the beginning of school (hated that), the time for expansion of the baseball rosters (hate that – 40 man rosters change the game too much going into the playoffs), and it’s time to save 50% or more on your next mattress set with no payments for at least two years (don’t need a new mattress). But it is also the beginning of college football (Go Navy), the start of professional football (that’s good, but they only play once a week), a great weekend to grill some steaks (love that), International Bacon Day (love that – you can look it up), catch some of those Atlantic salmon that made good their escape and now need to be caught (love that), NASCAR’s Southern 500NASCAR auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015 (like it as it’s usually a good short track race), ride your bike (gotta love that), at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association holds their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals (some great names and cars show up for this one), and of course it’s the last day it’s considered acceptable to wear white or seersucker (who knew – OK fashion folk like Friend of FOD Mr. Fuzzy have this marked on their calendars to go along with the opening day of elk season). Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. Photo below right shows first Labor Day Parade in NYC in 1882. I was pretty much against labor unions until I joined Northwest Airlines. There was a snap back clause in the contract under which I was hired providing for a pay raise of the lesser of 3% or the average pay increase of the seven major airlines in business at the time. The math clearly pointed to the 3% option as all those airlines had received increased wages as airlines were making money. Imagine then our surprise when our paychecks in mid-September only included a 1.4% pay increase. When management was queried as to this decision, the reply was, “we think that’s what it should be.” Eight months later and utilizing binding arbitration, it took less than fifteen minutes for the pilot’s to prevail. The back pay was returned over a two month period and we each received a note from management in our company mailbox stating, that as the company didn’t have to pay back interest on the monies withheld over that time period, it shouldn’t be taken as a personal matter as it was only a prudent company business decision. They had an eight month interest free $84M loan paid for by the pilots. That’s why pilots have unions (but I’m not bitter – well just a little – no a lot – OK, I’ll let it go – someday).