Thursday, January 27, 2011
Of No Particular Importance... Most major league baseball teams have pitchers and catchers report to spring training round about Feb. 14. It doesn't mark the end of winter, but perhaps the beginning of the end and that is something. Boston has had 50 inches of snow this winter. Do you think Red Sox fans are anxious for spring? I'm still nursing the hurt over the Diamondbacks and Rockies abandoning Tucson in favor of another spring training outpost in the Phoenix suburbs. So much for old school. Baseball in the spring has been a fixture in Tucson since 1946. Not this year. The D-backs and Colorado will share a spanking new ballpark - Salt River Fields. I'm boycotting and plan on seeing the hapless Cubs in Mesa, the A's in their venerable little band box in Phoenix and the World Champions in downtown Scottsdale. Hope springs eternal in the spring. Everyone is in first place on opening day. Kennedy Memories My old friend Joel Connelly had a nice piece recently at the Seattle P-I's online site on memories of John Kennedy in the Northwest. Joel, a great recorder of the region's political lore, relates a wonderful story about JFK and legendary Washington Sen. Warren Magnuson. The Times on the Times I've long believed the single most difficult thing for "the media" to do is to report on itself. Most reporters and editors are generally loathe to criticize each other, unless its someone like Bill O'Reilly tweaking Keith Olbermann. That makes this story in the New York Times reporting on dissatisfaction in Los Angeles with the L.A. Times so interesting. Here's the money quote. The NYT's media critic quotes a long-time LA Times reader as saying: “We need a paper that’s more, and this is less. I think it’s just not a world-class paper, no matter how you cut it. It used to be a world-class paper.” Analysis and comment at the Columbia Journalism Review site further dissects the Times coverage of the Times. My take: I have long admired both papers and have had my gripes with each, but the LA Times is today a far cry from what it was when Otis Chandler was in charge. Sargent Shriver Lots of memorials, appropriately, to the first man JFK put in charge of the Peace Corps - Sargent Shriver. The wake for the very Catholic Shriver was a classic sad and hilarious recalling of his quite remarkable life. The serious side of Shriver is well summarized in a nice piece by Richard Reeves and the funniest story was told in Adam Clymer's tribute at the Daily Beast. Clymer told a story he attributed to Democratic consultant Bob Shrum, a longtime friend of Shriver's. "One afternoon [Shrum] and Shriver arrived at the Shriver home as Eunice was running a Special Olympics event. She had put out a wine punch for the athletes' parents. Sarge sampled it and asked what wine was used. A servant said Eunice had told them to just take anything handy. They had opened a case of Chateau Lafite Rothschild '48, a gift from Giscard d'Estaing, president of France when Shriver served as ambassador. Shrum reports that Shriver was momentarily nonplussed, but then smiled and said, 'Then we'd better drink a lot of it.'" I have no idea what a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild '48 is worth, but a bottle of '82 sold at a wine auction in 2009 for $3,300. The 1948 vintage is rated as a "moderate to good vintage." That was some wine punch.