Tuesday, November 01, 2005
New Judge to Hear Delay Corruption Case. AL Gold Glove Winners.
New Judge to Hear Delay Corruption Case
In yet another example of corrupt leaders manipulating the justice system we have Tom Delay (R - Douchebag) gaining a temporary victory in his attempt to avoid serious jail time by whining that the judge assigned to the case, Bob Perkins, was too liberal to be impartial. This nonsensical claim is based on the allegation that Perkins made contributions to John Kerry's Presidential campaign, and to MoveOn.org. AOL News excerpt:
AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 1) - In a courtroom victory for Rep. Tom Delay, the judge in the campaign-finance case against the former House Republican leader was removed Tuesday because of his donations to Democratic candidates and causes.
A semi-retired judge who was called in to hear the dispute, C.W. Bud Duncan, ruled in Delay's favor without comment. Duncan ordered the appointment of a new judge to preside over the case.
The ruling came after a hearing in which Delay's attorneys argued that state District Judge Bob Perkins' political donations created the appearance of bias. Perkins, a Democrat, has contributed to candidates such as John Kerry and the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org.
"The public perception of Judge Perkins' activities shows him to be on opposite sides of the political fence than Tom DeLay," defense attorney Dick DeGuerin argued. Perkins had declined to withdraw from the case, and prosecutor Rick Reed argued at the hearing that DeLay had to prove that a member of the public would have a "reasonable doubt that the judge is impartial" before Perkins could be removed. "Judges are presumed to be impartial," Reed said.
What a load of bullshit. This development shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone who is even slightly familiar with Delay's career. I didn't come up with much on this judge Duncan who decided that Perkins should recuse himself. Here's a link to the Daily Kos web site that has some vague stuff about how independent Duncan is: Judge Duncan. But as if getting the mean old judge you don't want eliminated wasn't enough, Delay is continuing to try to reach for more in his effort to avoid prosecution. Read on...
DeLay's lawyers are also seeking to have the trial moved out of Austin, citing the media attention and noting that Austin, widely perceived as a liberal college town, is "one of the last enclaves of the Democratic Party in Texas."
Judges are elected in Texas and are free to contribute to candidates and political parties. DeLay's lawyers repeatedly said during the hearing that they were not accusing Perkins of doing anything wrong, but that there should not be a public perception of partiality in the case.
The issue came up for Perkins before. He voluntarily stepped aside in a 1994 case against Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Perkins had made a $300 contribution to Hutchison's opponent. Hutchison, who was also represented by DeGuerin, was ultimately acquitted of misconduct charges.
DeLay was forced to step down as House majority leader after being charged with funneling corporate campaign contributions to GOP candidates for the Texas Legislature. Texas law forbids the direct use of corporate money for campaigning. Delay's lawyers cited 34 contributions Perkins has made to Democrats since 2000, including donations to Kerry and to MoveOn.org, a group that has waged a campaign against DeLay.
Well, as distasteful as all this posturing is, it will just make it that much more satisfying when that petty little shithead is dragged away by bailiffs in handcuffs at the conclusion of his trial.
American League Gold Glove Award Winners
The American League Gold Glove Award Winners were announced today. Yahoo News excerpt:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, Minnesota outfielder Torii Hunter and Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez won their fifth straight Gold Gloves on Tuesday.
Boston catcher Jason Varitek, Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira and Toronto second baseman Orlando Hudson were first-time winners, while Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells won for the second straight season. Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers won for the fourth time overall and second in a row.
Hudson was surprised he beat out Baltimore's Brian Roberts. "I would have bet anything that he was going to win,'' Hudson said. "This has always been a goal of mine, so I've accomplished one of my goals already.''
Chavez, Suzuki and Varitek each earned $100,000 bonuses, while Rogers and Wells earned $50,000 apiece and Hunter $25,000.
Gold Gloves, presented since 1957 by St. Louis-based Rawlings, are voted on by managers and coaches before the end of the regular season. They may not select players on their own teams, and they vote only for players in their own league.
Now for the analysis: The extraordinary baseball reference web site just released the 2005 stats, so we should be able to access them to determine how solid these selections are. Let's go position by position:
Catcher: Jason Varitek is a bull. He works well with his pitchers, but he only had 33 assists for the year--by far the fewest amount for any catcher who appeared in 100 or more games (Varitek appeared in 130 games). His eight errors tied for the second most in the AL. A better pick would have been A.J. Pierzynski of the World Champion White Sox who made just one error in 128 games while leading AL catchers in double plays with eight.
First Base: Mark Teixeira led AL first basemen in putouts (1322), was second in assists (100) and double plays (127) while committing only three errors as part of a scary Rangers infield. Solid choice here.
Second Base: Orlando Hudson led AL second basemen in putouts (302) despite only appearing in 130 games (120 starts). Despite the missed time, he was fourth in assists (390) and sixth in double plays (80), all while committing just six errors. Perhaps the most eye-catching stat he claims is that of Range Factor. Hudson averaged 5.83 chances per nine innings--by far the best in the AL, so he has no need to apologize to Roberts.
Third Base: Eric Chavez had the second most putouts (121) and fourth most assists (301) of AL third baseman. He was also second in the AL in double plays turned with 27. He is as solid as they come in the AL. Detroit's Brandon Inge was second in putouts (128) led the league in assists with 378, double plays with 41, but also led in errors with 23 (to Chavez's 15), so it is difficult to justify giving him the hardware, but he bears watching, especially since he is a converted catcher.
Shortstop: Jeter was second in the AL in putouts (262) and assists (454), and fourth in double plays (96) while making just 15 errors. His stiffest competition would be the Angels Orlando Cabrera who made just five errors, but handled 148 fewer chances than Jeter. Jeter did appear in 16 more games, but that alone doesn't explain this discrepancy. Until last year, Jeter annually ranked near the bottom of the AL in shortstops for Range Factor. In 2004 he ranked 8th. In 2005 he ranked second (for shortstops who appeared in 100 or more games). Why the sudden improvement? Is Jeter getting better as he gets older? Probably not. For years the Yankees had a dominant starting pitching staff that was always near the top of the AL in strikeouts. More strikeouts means less balls put into play, and therefore fewer chances for fielders. In 2005, Randy Johnson was the only dominating strikeout pitcher the Yankees had, so it stands to reason that with more balls being put into play that Jeter was able to make up for lost time (and ground).
Outfield: Let me begin this portion of my analysis by saying that it is stupid not to assign the outfield gold gloves by position. Hunter and Wells are both center fielders. Ichiro plays right field (albeit like a center fielder). Why can't the voters give one award to each position? Carl Crawford of the Devil Rays was far and away the leader in putouts for AL left fielders with 341, committing just two errors (he also snagged 20 putouts in center field). Why shouldn't he merit gold glove consideration? Torii Hunter is a terrific outfielder, but he only appeared in 93 games after breaking an ankle chasing a long fly in Fenway Park's center field triangle 420 feet away from home plate. Sorry Torii, but you got to give your award back. Crawford deserves it more.
Vernon Wells had 351 putouts and 12 assists without making a single error, so his gold glove is secure. If Johnny Damon could only throw, he'd merit consideration with his AL leading 394 putouts. Seattle's Jeremy Reed and Chicago's Aaron Rowand, second and third in putouts also had good years with the glove.
Ichiro had 381 putouts, good for fourth in the AL to go along with nine assists while making just two errors. His putout total was better than that of a lot of everyday center fielders, and was by far the leading total for right fielders, so his award is also secure.
Pitcher: Kenny Rogers was second in the AL with 46 assists, and he led AL pitchers in double plays with seven. Plus he has a deadly pickoff move, and almost nobody attempts a stolen base against him, so his award is also a good choice. Still, when you consider that the average everyday AL left fielder handled between 200 and 250 more chances than Rogers, does it make sense that left fielders don't get their own gold glove while pitchers, even ones as smooth with the glove as Rogers do?
Anyway, that's all for now. NL gold gloves will be announced tomorrow.