Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Know Thy Enemy: Phillies v. Yankees 

The Phillies square off with the evil empire tonight at 7.

Perhaps it has something to do with the inferiority complex people from Philly have about New York, but when the Mets or Yankees come to down there is more tension, more of a hatred. Maybe it comes from the tendency of New Yorkers to view the world as centering around their city (and Manhattanites as seeing little outside of their little island) that makes them so easy to dislike. And the Yankees are easy to hate: perpetually buying their championships, dominating the media, wallowing in their storied history.

The current team is a gallery of contemptible figures: over-rated and over-hyped Derek Jeter, a man sabremetricians take particular pleasure in needling and criticizing; Johnny Damon, who greedily abandoned the plucky Red Sox for the Yankees' big bucks; Alex Rodriguez, the greedy, self-absorbed metrosexual; Randy Johnson, the mercenary in search of a World Series title … I don’t like the Yankees. Nobody outside of Manhattan can.

The Evil Empire circa 2006 seems to be a diminished lot. They struggled out of the gate and have to deal with the fact that they:

1. Don’t even come close to having either the best or the second-best record in the AL.
2. Have extra competition for the AL East this year, in addition to the Red Sox, the Blue Jays are pretty good this season. Gotta love parity, don’t ya New York?

To be fair, the Yankees pitching has looked pretty decent thus far. Mike Mussina has really had a nice season for the Yankees, however Randy Johnson has really struggled since coming to New York: in his final year with the D-backs he had a FIP ERA of 2.18. His FIP ERAs with the Yankees: 3.77 in ’05 and 4.99 in ‘06. Mariano Rivera is great as usual, but the Yankees pitching seems a little weak.

Meanwhile, anyone noticed that A-Rod is in a major slump? One home run in June, his sole extra-base hit, and a .283 OBP for the month. With A-Rod slumping and Gary Sheffield out of the lineup, the Yankees have been relying on Jason Giambi. Giambi, much-maligned for his steroid abuse, has had a decent year with a .442 OBP and .621 Slugging percentage: .354 GPA, .347 ISO …

How do the Yanks match up to the Phillies? The Yankees have really become grinders this season: they lead the AL in OBP and are in the upper-middle for slugging percentage. Their pitchers have done well, but I cannot help but think that is party because they have improved tremendously in terms of defense in 2006.

The Phillies finally snapped their six-game losing skid. I'm still befuddled that they lost two of three to the D-Rays. That could sting in October. That said, I think the Phillies matchup well with the Yankees. The Yankees aren't really hitting for power and if Phillies pitchers can throttle Giambi, they can take care of the Yankees offense easily. Still, this is going to be a hard series for the Phillies to win.

Here is some news to cheer everyone up! I checked Baseball Prospectus’ website and according to them, the Phillies have an 8% chance of making the playoffs. The Mets? 97%! The Braves have just a 3.5% chance of making the playoffs.

I’ve been watching “The Revolution” on the History Channel and I couldn’t help but compare the Phillies and Yankees to the Colonial Army and the British Army. The British Army was a solid machine, generally thought to be the best in the world, fearless, well-equipped, while the Colonial Army was under-equipped, scrappy and rag-tagged. Washington described the Colonial Army’s camp as having a “mercenary” air to it when he arrived outside of Boston following the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Phillies have always had that mercenary, scrappy feel to them, haven’t they?

I’ve seen all three episodes of “The Revolution” as well as “Washington: The Warrior” on the History Channel and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. Someone wrote recently that there are two phases from American History that people obsess over, the Revolution and the Civil War. Right now we are in the middle of a swell in interest concerning the Revolution: David McCullough’s “John Adams” , as well as his “1776” are part of a spate of books on the subject to have been released within the last few years. There have been a number of biographies of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and the Founding Fathers generally put out in recent years, as well as several books talking about the Revolution. Right now I am reading George Leckie’s "George Washington’s War" , which is a very good, readable one-volume on the revolution. If anyone is interested I wanted to suggest two books: “The Cousins’ Wars” by Kevin Phillips and “The Crucible of War” by Fred Anderson.

Phillips is a political writer who started out as a political writer who famously forecast the rise of the Republican Party in 1967 with the book “The Emerging Republican Majority”, which stunned people by predicting that the Great Society would fail and give birth to a renewed conservative movement. Phillips was right, but progressively turned away from the Republican Party when it abandoned “sound money” principles in the 1980s in favor of Reaganomics and has since written a number of books and articles critical of the Republican Party’s embrace of theology and, particularly, of the Bush Family. “The Cousins’ Wars” looks at the English Civil War, the Revolution and the Civil War as being a conflict over faith. e.g., Phillips draws parallels between the divide between Low Church Loyalists to the King and High Church Parliamentarians in the English Civil War to the split in the American Civil War between Low Church Southerners and High Church Northerners. The eventual outcome of these three wars was the triumph of the core values of the Protestant faith. It is an ambitious book full of information and it will open your eyes.

"The Crucible of War" is fascinating. The author’s theory is that the French & Indian War, the conflict fought from 1755 to 1763, which was arguably started by George Washington in Southwestern Pennsylvania, placed the seeds for the Revolution by forcing the colonial armies to take a pivotal role in their own defense and it put the British treasury is so big of a hole that their decision to levy taxes after the war ran up against the colony’s newfound sense of independence and triggered the Revolution. It is a terrific book that I highly recommend, if only for Anderson’s work shattering the myths surrounding the climatic Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759: popular history credits General James Wolfe, whose daring assault on an undefended bluff led to the battle, as a hero and credits the British victory as the death-blow to the French in Canada. Not true, Anderson argues, and makes a compelling case that Wolfe knew he was dying and wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, so he launched the attack hoping to get killed, not hoping to win. Anderson also says that the Battle of Quiberion Bay, where the English fleet annihilated the French fleet off the coast of France, was the decisive battle of the war because it ensured that the French couldn’t re-supply their forces in Canada and had to quit. Anderson goes on to argue that the debt the British government had to enter to win the war led to the revolution because Parliament was forced to tax the colonies. The taxes, combined with the contempt regular British politicians and military officers showed the colonials during the war, gave birth to the revolution.

If anyone is interested, check out the links to those books.

Oh, I'd be remiss if I didn't point this out and gloat about it: anyone notice who is in dead-last in the NL East? The woefully under-manned Marlins? The Nats? Nope, the Atlanta Braves, the team "built to win" by their self-annointed genius G.M. They are mired at 30-40, fourteen games out of first place. Assuming that a team will need 90 wins to make the playoffs, that means the Braves are going to have to go 60-32 the rest of the way (.652). Good luck with that, Braves fans.

Interesting piece, but it was the Dems' abandonment of "sound money" policies that was largely respoinsible for Ronald Reagan's election. Jimmy Carter was the first President to give us both high inflation and non-existent economic growth. Restoring sound money, in other words, wringing inflation out of the economy, caused a fairly severe recession in the early 80's, but the defeat of inflation and the low interest rates that's made possible has led to the strong economy (only two recessions, both mild by historical standards) since.
Aad by the way, it was the High Church crowd (the Tories) that was loyal to the King in the English Civil War. The Low Church people were the Parliamentarians. Remember that Cromwell (briefly) dis-established the Anglican Church. Note too that many of the leaders of the Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis, were Episcopalians. Phillips, who knows nothing about theology (he thinks the Baptist churches, collectively are known as "the Baptism") has his facts backwards. I wouldn't begin to trust his scholarship on much of anything.
Well the Phillies Payroll is pretty high up there too ;) while nothing like the Yankee's abomination it's still amoung the tops.

As for the Yankees, their defense has been far from great this year, albite that makes them about 100 times better than they were last year I guess, they have a real CF again, Robinson Cano manage to be the best defensive 2B for the Yankee in about a decade by posting slightly below average defense. Giambi seemingly able to hit while DHing and thus allowing an actual 1st basemen to play more has also been helpful.

Although, Bernie Williams is ever more of a joke out there in the outfield, although the relatively smaller OF in citizens should make that a bit less apparent.

In some sense, the Yankees are a bit more lovable this season because they actually have some exciting young players again, and are fighting their way through some really tough injuries.

Just how crazy have the Yankee season been? their sophmore starter Chein Ming Wang has made all his start this season and have a recorded save, that's right, he came in and saved a game in the 10th inbetween starts. and then won the next game by shutting down a powerful Boston offense. and then yesterday tried to go for complete game with a 1 run lead due to the overworked and injured bullpen. Only to get walked off homered by Zimmerman.

It should be a good series though, we get to see which side's manager are actually as stupid as their fans have been making them out to be ;)
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Six Steps to Success
Throughout the centuries history tells of men and women with the midas touch, who achieved greatness against what seemed insurmountable odds. To some their successes appeared to be the result of blind luck, to others the reward for hard work, but the truth about the successes of men such as Andrew Carnagie and Henry Ford is much more interesting.

Success is a state of mind to which all people should aspire. Like many others you can unlock te gate to achievement and the fulfilment of yor personal desires. With the six steps outlined below anyone can arrive at a set destination, with the added advantage of renewed self-confidence and secure in the knowledge that every goal is attainable.
Step 1. Desire
The key factor involved in the process of achieving any desire lies in the response of one's mind to the objective. If a complacent attitude is apparent then there will be a lack of enthusiasm leading to failure or only half-success.
If a goal is to be reached determination is needed to carry set plans through to a successful conclusion. This determination must have enough mental 'weight' behind it to propel you forward onto the road of achievement. This mental state can only be instilled by one thing - desire!
As can be easily seen, when we look around us, it is this desire-force that has launched mankind on his frenzied zest for ever-new knowledge and has enabled him to push back the boundaries of science to never dreamed of achievement.

It is this same desire-force that must be used in our business and personal affairs if the success we seek is to materialize. It is not very hard to develop this kind of desire for all you have to do is go after what you really want - its that simple. With this desire you will have all the persistence you need to accomplish your goal. There is a great saying "you never fail until you give up"!
Take heed of what Napoleon Bonaparte said "What we ardently and constantly desire, we always get".

Step 2. Goals
If success is to come your must realise what is expected to materialize. This statement may seem obvious at first but if careful thought is given its meaning takes on deeper significance.
Many people fail to gain satisfactory results from their endeavours because they did not know what they wanted to accomplish in the first place. Your objective must not be hazy or incomplete. Before you reach your goal you must be able to identify how your life will be different when you achieve it. You must know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. How will your life be better/different? How will you feel? What way will you look? What situations will you find yourself in? Will other people in your life be effected and if so how will they react? You need a clear definite picture in your mind of what the attainment of your goal will mean to you.

Step 3. Belief
Belief is the back-up system of desire. It keep the fires of enthusiasm burning and makes us continually strive to get nearer the goal attainment. Faith can truly move mountains; the mountains of fear, inferiority, worry and low self esteem - 'the success killers'!
Once a goal is firmly fixed in mind and our desire-force is hurtling us toward seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the firm belief that we can gain a favourable outcome can spur us on to victory. When the mind has been manipulated to reflect this state, wonderful physical results can ensue, producing symptoms of success in our lives in every area imaginable.
Although many can attest to the power of belief and to the wondrous accomplishments that were achieved through nothing else except faith, it still remains that many individuals find it hard to believe that a positive outcome will be forthcoming when they are faced with momentous opposition. Whether the opposition is mental or physical the fact that nothing seems to be going right and everything seems to be wrong is enough for even the strongest of us to 'throw in the towel'. But it is in these very situations that faith can conquer all. Faith in yourself, what you are doing and belief that that your objective will be reached.
There are some who bemoan "easier said than done". This is exactly the kind of mental attitude that sustains the problems that they are trying to eradicate. If your belief power is not apparent, take hope for it can be acquired.
Each morning and night recite your intentions from a written list of your goals. Voice your belief in your own abilities. Tell yourself that in due course you will be successful. As you go about your daily affairs reflect as often as possible on your goals and affirm that they are yours now. Fool your mind into believing it and you will see your world reflect it!

Step 4. Plan
Having decided upon your goal and being determined to build your faith you need to give your desire-force a 'vehicle' through which it may materialize. This 'vehicle' will take the form of a definite plan of action.
Do you need to acquire certain skills? Do you need to know certain people or be in certain places to help you achieve your goal? Make a plan that will help you get closer to your end objective. Research your desires and get clear on what you need to do. Then do it!
Ensure that your plan is workable and realistic for you. Although your plan should remain flexible so that changes can be made when appropriate only make changes after careful consideration. Trial and error will eventually show the way to a good plan although you should be open to intuition also.
However, I should point out that, it is very likely your goal will materialize in a most unexpected way. The fact that you have set a plan for its accomplishment tends to set things in motion and like a chain reaction (or the butterfly effect) subtle changes made by you may cause dramatic changes elsewhere and your goal may come before your plan is completed.

Step 5. Visualization
Visualization is the art of creating mental movies of your completed goal. This has many beneficial effects upon your consciousness. Without going into the deeper esoteric benefits of using this art let me just say that you are truly designing your life when you use it. It has one other major benefit - it strengthens your desire and persistence because you momentarily experience the thrill of having achieved your goal!
Just form a mental picture of having achieved your goal. See what you will see. Feel how wonderful it will be. See how it effects everyone around you. Hear people congratulate you. When this state is experienced nothing will stop you in your quest for your objective and thus your belief-power will also be reinforced.

Step 6. The Subconscious Mind
It is within the subconscious part of your mind that you hold all th positive and negative beliefs about yourself - your self-image. These beliefs are reflected back to you in the form of attitudes. Therefore it is from the subconscious mind that the thought of failure or success comes.

Attitudes are just mental programs and so is your self-image. They can easily be changed (yes I said 'easily'). Any attitude or belief can be changed by using the formula outlined in this article - by combining affirmations with visualization. Henry Ford used it, as did Ralph Waldo Emerson and even Arnold Swatzeneger. It is reported in some circles that a similar technique was employed by Bill Gates to build his global empire. Andrew Carnegie used it exactly as described to attain and give away multi-millions even though he was an unschooled manual worker when he started it. Carnegie's legacy can still be seen today when you freely borrow a book from any Carnegie library of which there are thousands.
If you use these six steps there is nothing you cannot achieve. Luckily we have the advantage of living in the Twentieth Century with all its new technology and innovations such as hypnosis and subliminal programming. Use these steps in conjunction with your favourite personal development system and you are assured success. hypnosis spiral
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