Talks to end the civil war in Syria are being conducted in Moscow among Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Foreign ministers of the three countries are meeting in one place of the Russian capital, while defense ministers meet in another. Meanwhile, while it really doesn’t matter, the United Nations Security Council adopted a French-drafted resolution on the Syrian civil war, calling for UN observers to play a role in supervising the evacuation of refugees from eastern Aleppo.
Missing in action in all of these efforts is the United States. I assume President Obama is okay with this because, if he wasn’t, he could do something to change it. But he hasn’t, so this must be fine with him. It certainly is a good summary of eight years of Obama administration foreign policy: backing off and doing less, while the world becomes a more dangerous place.1
Many of the politicians in Washington, and the journalists who report on them, are confused by some of the people Donald Trump is interviewing, and appointing, to jobs in his administration. Nikki Haley to the UN? Governor Haley endorsed Marco Rubio in the primaries and then, after he dropped out, said she hoped Ted Cruz would win the Republican nomination. In the fall, she continued to criticize Mr. Trump for things he said.
Then there is Mitt Romney, who Mr. Trump is apparently considering for Secretary of State. Mitt Romney was one of the leading Republicans criticizing Donald Trump even after he got the nomination. And yet, here are Messrs. Trump and Romney sitting down for a private dinner.1 The politicos are confused. But I think that is because they don’t understand “The Art of the Deal,” so to speak.
In 1984, Dick Locher, an editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune drew this cartoon for the Cubs' winning of the National League East. It seems even more appropriate today, and it really says it all:
For Chicago Cubs fans and Cleveland Indians fans, it's an easy choice. For baseball fans in general, it's an easy choice. For fans of America, it's a good choice, too. You can ignore the presidential election from he** for a few more days.
After 71 years, the Cubs have won the National League pennant. My dad and mom didn't get to see it. But Mom and Dad, thanks for all the games we watched and listened to and went to. This one's for you.
------- UPDATE (10/23-16 1:35 pm): I added a couple of links.
I saw it last night, and I still almost do not believe it. Obviously, I could not listen to the national broadcasters; I never do, especially when the Cubs are not going well. And on “the hometown call” (i.e., WSCR). Pat and Ron the 2nd were constantly talking about the Giants’ winning streak in elimination games, too, so I couldn’t listen to them anymore, either. There was only one thing to do: I turned the radio off, turned the sound on the TV down, and I watched. Just like at a game. There was baseball. Why did I need commentary? (I did turn the sound up for the commercials during the pitching changes, but that was just to pass the time.) I watched, without distraction, and saw a comeback to remember forever in the top of the ninth.
I didn’t watch the bottom of the ninth on TV, however. Ever since Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams, I haven’t watched the last half inning on TV if the Cubs are up. Back in 1989, it seemed if I watched Mitch on TV, the Cubs lost. So I stopped watching the last half inning when we are ahead. Therefore, I turned the radio back on in the bottom of the ninth last night and “watched” on the radio – and promptly ran into the den, where the TV is, as soon as Chapman struck out the third batter. Fortunately, the delay between the radio and the TV meant that I got there just as the batter was striking out – on TV.
Score one for Wrigley. I asked Angel Pagan if he'd have caught Javier Baez's home run if there hadn't been a basket overhanging the warning track. No basket, catch that ball? Pagan: "Yes. Of course. I was right under it. It looked like it was coming back. It was coming (down), but it was coming back. So I could see the ball coming back, but it was right in the back of the basket. It was right on the edge. But it was good enough." Question: So it caught the very edge and dropped in? Pagan: "I haven't seen the replay, but that's what it looked like. I saw (the) baseball. Right before I got to the wall, I saw (the) baseball right there. So you could see that if it kept (going), I could catch it."
Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune had a list of how well teams with the best record in the majors and/or 100 wins have done in the playoffs since the three divisions/wild card system was instituted in 1995.1 Assuming each of the eight teams in the playoffs2 has an equal chance of winning, that’s an average of 2.625 World Series championships for any team over this 21 year-period, if the team was in the playoffs every year.
Now, look at what actually happened. Over the 21 years, the team with the best record in the majors has won the World Series four times, instead of a projected 2.625 times. Actually, since five times there was a tie for best record, you are looking at 26 teams, which projects to 3.25 championships3 – versus the actual four times it occurred. Not much of a difference for having the best record in baseball.