Notes from around the Human Experience…
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’: You know, there was a time when winning ensured some job security for managers and coaches. Not anymore.
Joe Girardi manages the New York Yankees to within a game of the American League pennant? Thanks for playing, Joe, and thanks for that World Series win in 2009! That’s ancient history, however, and making it to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series this October wasn’t enough, despite the fact it was perhaps farther than your team had any right to expect to go.
John Farrell, former manager of the Boston Red Sox? Puh-lease. What a loser. A World Series in 2013 and three division titles, including one this year, was not enough to stave off his pink slip. Dusty Baker won division titles his only two years managing the Washington Nationals and he was shown the door, too.
In Other News: Jim McElwain is out as head coach of the Florida Gators football team after two-and-a-half seasons. Now, there is more to this than winning and losing because neither side was particularly thrilled with this fit but still, McElwain won SEC East titles his first two seasons, but he was 3-4 this season and the Gators have lost three straight. If the Gators had been 7-0 this season McElwain would be reviewing his contract extension with his agent right now.
Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: Is it any wonder some major division NCAA college basketball coaches are under indictment for bribery? The pressure to win and win NOW is as enormous as it is unreasonable, but there is so much money for winning teams to make none of this should be a surprise.
FunFact: John Wooden, regarded by some as the greatest college basketball coach ever, didn’t win the first of his ten national championships until his 16th season at UCLA. His 16th season! Good luck finding a school or team that will wait that long now.
This country has completely lost its mind. Now, we’re not losing too much sleep over any major league manager getting fired. They know the risks when they took the job. So did McElwain, really.
The Bottom Line: Still though, this win now mentality trickles down. Major division high school coaches feel the pressure to win now because demanding and unreasonable parents want scholarships for their kids and for years the very best schools have been competing for spots in national rankings. High school national rankings! If that is not utter insanity it is knocking on the door.
Sports, of course, is no different than government or TV: we get what we choose to tolerate, but our country is the lesser for it.
WHOOPS, MY BAD: Prussian Lt General Friedrich von Romberg surrenders 5,300 men to French General Antoine Lasalle, who was commanding a force of 800 light cavalry soldiers at Stettin, Prussia – now Poland – on this date in 1806. Von Romberg, a rather gullible sort, believed Lasalle’s claims that he had 30,000 troops on hand standing by to destroy his men. His 800 men had one gun.
Don’t Worry About Fighting Men: This was not the first example of Prussian gullibility in this conflict. Two days earlier another Prussian wizard had surrendered 10,000 troops without a fight when the French commander claimed to have superior forces.
Dry, Technical Matter: After his surrender, von Romberg was tried by a Prussian military tribunal and was sentenced to life in prison, though he was too ill to serve his sentence and he died three years later in Berlin.
The Original Fake News: Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds causes a national panic on this date in 1938. The show simulated a live radio broadcast where music is interrupted by a news bulletin announcing there have been a series of explosions on Mars. Eventually, Earth is invaded by Martians, who eventually die becuase they didn’t have immunity to Earth’s germs.
There’s Several Million Born Every Minute: The fact CBS aired four disclaimers and the fact the broadcast was only an hour long and involved, among other things, troop mobilizations and battles, an awful lot of people thought they were listening to a real news bulletin. Police stations and newspaper offices were flooded with calls and police officers actually showed up at the CBS studios in New York City wondering what the deal was.
“This Is The End Now”: Meeting with reporters after the broadcast Welles said he and everyone involved with the show was surprised at the commotion it caused.
“The Vanguard Of An Invading Army From Mars”: Our commitment to you, our reader(s) is so great we actually listened to the original recording for the first time in years. It was as entertaining as we remembered it and again we wondered how anyone thought it could be real.
Quotebook: These poor bastards. They’ve got us right where we want ‘em. We can shoot in every direction now. – Chesty Puller, United States Marine Corps
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Sir Walter Raleigh is given credit for establishing tobacco in England.
Today’s Stumper: Besides himself and his duties as narrator, what other character did Orson Welles play in The War of the Worlds? – Answer next time!