Eric Meany
Sunday, February 5th, 2006

This was the view I had from just offstage as I waited to join in with J.P. McDermott & Western Bop in playing the music of Buddy Holly last night at the Rodeo Retaurant. The band and their many guests put on a fantasic show as always, and it was my pleasure to play a small part in the proceedings.

posted by funafuti - 8:52pm

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

If you're looking for a good time in the greater Silver Spring area this coming Saturday night, you could do a lot worse than stopping by the Buddy Holly celebration being held at the Rodeo Restaurant on Georgia Avenue. J.P. McDermott & Western Bop have been putting on this annual show for a few years now, and it's always a great time. I've had the honor of singing a song or two with them during previous shows, but this year I get to sit in on keyboards for about 10 songs. I'm looking forward to it, it should be a blast. I even feel like I might actually have learned all of the songs, which is good because the rehearsal is tonight. More info on the show here and here.

posted by funafuti - 2:22pm

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Two items in the news today: Samuel Alito has been sworn in to the Supreme Court, and Coretta Scott King has died.

Does it get any more freaking symbolic than that???

posted by funafuti - 2:54pm

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Hi, hello, and happy new year. In an event sure to stun internet users everywhere, I have finally posted the second installment of my podcast. It was to be (and I hope it still may be) a monthly feature, but I must've been busy since last April. Anyway, the podcast lives here, and is also available via iTunes.

And on an unrelated subject, Google Earth is just about the coolest thing ever. Check it out.

posted by funafuti - 3:01pm

Friday, December 9th 2005

Soriano’s Dillema
by Eric Meany

From 1975-1978, Pete Rose (you may have heard of him, he collected the most career base hits in major league history) played 613 games at third base for the Cincinnati Reds, an average of 153 games a year. In each of those seasons, Rose was selected to the National League all-star team as a third baseman. Prior to the 1979 season, Rose signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent, and proceeded to play 321 games at FIRST base for them over the next two years. In his major league career up to that point he had played only three games at first base, but it seems he had joined a team which already had an all-star third baseman (Mike Schmidt). In each of his first two seasons at his new position, Rose was selected to the National League all-star team as a first baseman.

In a more recent example, Alex Rodriguez played the first ten seasons of his major league career as a shortstop. He played 1267 games at that position with Seattle and Texas, winning two gold glove awards and being selected to the American League all-star team seven times. Prior to the 2004 season, Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees and proceeded to play 316 games at third base for them over the next two years. In his major league career up to that point he had never played a game at third base, but it seems he joined a team which already had an all-star shortstop (Derek Jeter). In each of his first two seasons at his new position, Rodriguez was selected to the American League all-star team as a third baseman.

These are not the only examples of all-star players changing positions for the good of the team. Chipper Jones moved from third base to left field to make room for Vinny Castilla. Paul Molitor moved from second base to the outfield to make room for Jim Gantner. Rod Carew, Robin Yount, Harmon Killebrew, Mel Ott, and Johnny Pesky all changed poitions at various points in their careers. The list goes on.

All of which is to say that Alfonso Soriano should shut up and get over himself.

Soriano has spent the past five seasons as a starting second baseman, first for the Yankees and more recently for the Texas Rangers, averaging 152 games a year at that position. He has been selected to the American League all-star team four times as a second baseman. He was recently traded by the Rangers to the Washington Nationals, who have indicated their intention to ask him to primarily play in the outfield. He has never played a game in the outfield at the major league level, but it seems he has joined a team which already has an all-star second baseman (Jose Vidro).

So has Soriano pledged to throw himself into his new role with gusto for the good of the team? To do whatever it takes to win? Let’s see what he’s had to say...

“Of course I’m not going to play the outfield” he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


Well, maybe he thinks he’s going to slide over to shortstop to replace the disappointing Christian Guzman, or play third to give rookie Ryan Zimmerman a chance to grow, or....

"I think that if they traded for me, it's to play second base," he told the newspaper.


Maybe he was just in a bad mood, and would have something different to say to

“I didn't change positions when I came to Texas from the Yankees, why would I change now? I'm an All-Star at second base."

I’m thinking he meant “Why?” in a sort of rhetorical way, much like Ricky Waters once asked “For who? For What?” when pressed about not giving a full effort on the football field. Nevertheless, I can think of an answer to the questions asked by both Soriano and Waters. One that must have seemed obvious to Rose, Rodriguez, Yount, Jones, and others, but probably seems quaint and ridiculous to Soriano.

Because your team needs you to.


posted by funafuti - 3:30pm

Thursday, December 8th 2005

DC and the Nationals: Perfect Together
by Eric Meany

It really could only happen here, in the district that is also a city but definitely not a state.

In 1974, the United States congress established in the District of Columbia the concept of limited home rule, allowing the D.C. government to function much like a state, with a few notable exceptions. Chief among those exceptions are the facts that congress retains control over the District’s revenue and expenditures and that congress has repeatedly denied D.C. the right to establish a commuter tax on those who work in the district but reside elsewhere. The Washington Nationals baseball club finds itself in a similarly awkward position by virtue of being owned and controlled by the very league in which it plays. Thus both the District Of Columbia and the baseball team that plays there give off the appearance of being independent entities while actually being subject to the whims of others.

Both the Washington Nationals baseball club and the government of the District Of Columbia enjoy limited autonomy but are ultimately beholden to the collective will of the organizations to which they belong. In the case of the Nationals, owned by Major League Baseball as a whole, it’s the owners of the other 29 teams as well as the commissioner’s office who have the ultimate say over what they may or may not do. In the case of D.C., it’s the congressional representatives of the 50 states as well as the President who hold that power.

Washington D.C. is the only locality in the United States forbidden by congress from imposing a commuter tax on people who work there but live elsewhere (Virginia and Maryland, in this case). How could this be? People who work in New York but live in New Jersey or Connecticut have to pay New York State taxes, and no act of the federal government has made it otherwise. Why doesn’t the District enjoy the same privilege? Simply put, because under the terms of the D.C. government charter the District’s laws must be approved by the United States Congress, which includes 13 voting members from Virginia and ten from Maryland but none from D.C. Shockingly, these representatives seem to have put the financial interests of their constituents over any sense of fairness or justice. Similarly,. The Washington Nationals baseball franchise has the vast majority of it’s local TV revenue owned and controlled by a rival club, the Baltimore Orioles. Sheer insanity, you must be thinking. The commissioner’s office would never force the New York Mets to hand over 90% control over their local media revenue to the Yankees, or force the White Sox to run their decisions by the cross town rival Cubs, would they? Of course not. But then again, those clubs are all independently owned and operated, unlike the Nationals. The 29 owners of major league baseball teams other than the Nationals, including Baltimore’s Peter Angelos, see no problem in forcing such an absurd situation on the Washington club.

The ownership situation of the Nationals franchise actually predates its recent relocation to the District Of Columbia. It would be giving far too much credit where it is most certainly not due to believe that poetic justice entered into the decision by baseball commissioner Bud Selig and his relocation committee when they moved the former Montreal Expos to Washington, but one can hardly deny to striking similarities between the baseball team and it’s new home.

There’s a good news/bad news scenario brewing for baseball fans living in Washington today. The good news is that it seems likely that Major League Baseball will finally sell the Nationals to a private owner by the end of the year. Or by opening day in 2006. Well, eventually, at any rate. The team will then be free to act as other teams do, to boldly overspend, to mortgage their future for an uncertain present without first checking with Bud Selig to see if it is OK that they do so. Freedom, sweet freedom, will be theirs at last. The bad news? No such reprieve is in the cards for the self-governance of D.C. residents.

posted by funafuti - 3:03pm

Thursday, September 15th 2005

I heard the first 20 minutes of the Bob Edwards show on the radio this morning and was blown away by the guest, a guy named George Lakoff. He spoke very intelligently on the different ways in which conservatives and progressives see the world, and how they communicate their message. Here is a print interview I found that covers some of the same ground.

And here's some fodder for you Red Sox fans out there: my prediction is that your team is not even going to make the playoffs. The Yankees will take the East, Cleveland will take the Wild Card, and the Red Sox will take a nap.

posted by funafuti - 2:09pm

Tuesday, September 6th 2005

Anyone out there stumbling upon this blog sometime in the last several months may have been left with the impression that soon after last November's general election I either threw myself under a bus or simply gave up caring about the world. I am happy to report that neither of these things happened. I'm just a lazy-ass blogger is all, nothing more than that. I'm going to try to do better, with a goal of one entry per week. Why not tune in regularly and see how long it takes me to fail miserably at this attempt.

posted by funafuti - 11:44 am

Thursday, November 4th 2004

I'm trying to salvage something from Tuesday, anything really. Turnout was really good, which I'm very happy about. Not as impressive as it could've been, but it was really good. The raw number of voters in the general election was the highest in US history, which is great. But as a percentage of the voting age population, we didn't break any records. The highest since 1968 is what I've heard, and while that's nice I'm still baffled by those who don't vote. There really should be a rule about not being alowed to complain about the government if you don't excersize your right to help select it. And to those of you out there who think you're getting out of jury duty by not registering to vote, they're going to get your info from the DMV anyway, Einstein.

posted by funafuti - 3:22 pm

Wednesday, November 3rd 2004

Let's just say I've been happier. First the Yankees, now this. Damn.

posted by funafuti - 7:30 pm