MLB Rookie of the Year Awards
Major League Baseball announced the winners of the American and National League Rookies of the Year today. ESPN excerpt:
NEW YORK -- Huston Street kept the AL Rookie of the Year award in-house. Oakland's poised closer became the second consecutive winner from the Athletics, and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard won the NL award on Monday.
Street, who took over as Oakland's closer in May, got 15 of 28 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and finished with 97 points. New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano came in second with 57 points, followed by Tampa Bay Devil Rays designated hitter Jonny Gomes with 39.
Called up from the minors for good on July 1, Howard replaced injured star Jim Thome at first base and led all rookies with 22 home runs. He received 19 of 32 first-place votes and 109 points to beat out Houston Astros outfielder Willy Taveras, who got 78 points. Atlanta Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur was third with 60.
Both top rookies only got a chance to play in the big leagues this season because teammates got injured.
Baseball is full of stories like this in which an established player, sometimes a star, gets hurt, or is in a prolonged slump, so the manager, in an effort to shake things up, will sometimes give a rookie a chance to play, and occasionally, the rookie makes everyone forget about the player he replaced. Every baseball fan knows the story about Wally Pipp of the Yankees getting a day off in 1925. A rookie named Lou Gehrig played first base in his place and played every day for the next 14 years.
Street took over for inconsistent closer Octavio Dotel (a great example of a nasty setup man who somehow can't carry that nastiness over to the closer's role) in May, and was nasty all season long. If he stays healthy, he has a chance to be a great one.
Howard stepped in for Thome and the Phils never missed a step. Howard actually played better than Thome, given the former Indian star's slumps and injuries. Howard, like Thome, also strikes out quite a bit (100 times in his time with the Phils), but experience should help him curb that tendency a little. But since Thome was blocking Howard's path to the bigs, Howard gets a late start to his career (age 26). But 22 homers in a little more than 300 at-bats is a pretty decent point off of which to jump. Now the question for the Phils is who plays first base in 2006?
IRS Threatens Church for Anti-War Sermon
The Infernal Revenue Service has taken the BFEE tactic of harassing a church because one of it's ministers gave a sermon that was critical of the Iraq war and Preznit Petty Little Overlord's idiotic policies. Columbus Dispatch excerpt:
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Internal Revenue Service has warned a prominent liberal church that it could lose its tax-exempt status because of an anti-war sermon a guest preacher gave on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, according to church officials.
The Rev. George F. Regas did not urge parishioners at All Saints Episcopal Church to support either President Bush or John Kerry, but he was critical of the Iraq war and Bush's tax cuts.
The IRS warned the church in June that its tax-exempt status was in jeopardy because such organizations are prohibited from intervening in political campaigns and elections."It's important for everyone to understand that the IRS concerns are not supported by the facts," Bacon said.
Bacon later said he chose Sunday to inform the congregation because Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu was in attendance and because he believes a decision from the IRS is imminent. He called the IRS threat "a direct assault on freedom of speech and freedom of religion."
An IRS spokesman in Washington declined to comment Monday, saying he could not discuss particular cases.
Some All Saints members said they feared the 3,500-member church was being singled out for its political views.
All Saints has long been vocal about its positions. Its Web site mentions the upcoming special election in California and says three Republican-backed propositions would "alter the very fabric of our lives as a democracy by limiting the right to representation and the right to express a political point of view." Regas, who gave the 2004 sermon, retired 10 years ago as the church's rector.
Marcus Owens, the church's tax attorney and a former head of the IRS tax-exempt section, said the agency offered to drop the proceedings if the church admitted wrongdoing. The church declined the offer, he said.
What a bunch of bullshit. If the IRS was serious about "crimes" like this they would have put assholes like Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and pat Robertson out of business years ago. But NOOO!!!!! That's not how the game is played now that the Religious Right has gotten it's filthy hands all over the federal machinery (mostly GOP).
That crap about the IRS "dropping the proceedings if the church admitted wrongdoing" is nothing more than a BFEE tactic to suppress dissent. If I'm wrong then tell me why the IRS never blinked an eye when there were several reports of churches that told their congregations to vote for Bush while also going out of their way to slam John Kerry.
Stories like this one or this one or this one are filled with stories of preachers who nearly had orgasms pimping for Bush while sliming Kerry. Yet not a peep from the IRS in any of these instances. Such is the complete lack of subtlety that is a character flaw with this joke of an administration. It's just too bad that 35% of the people still approve of the job this boob and his crew have done, and are doing.