[Guest post by Harold Pollack] On Tuesday, the Obama administration released its National HIV/AIDS Strategy. It's imperfect, but its authors should be proud. Whatever criticisms one may have of this administration, its policy analysts are allowed to discuss serious problems as mature adults, with a minimum of the embarrassing oversimplification, euphemism, or blatant political shading.
Writing back and forth with a fellow Yankee fan just after the news broke about George Steinbrenner’s death, I was surprised how touched we were. Like Yankee fans generally, we had lambasted Steinbrenner for decades. He was a meddlesome pain in the ass. He brought an obsessively willful football coach’s mentality to a subtle sport played over a very long season. And his strange emotional twists and turns with other troubled men, above all his many-time manager, Billy Martin, played havoc with everyone’s psyches.
Playoff season is here! Today, TNR celebrates America’s pastime with a selection of our best baseball pieces from the archives. "Who's on first?" by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, September 1, 2003. How statistics geeks revolutionized baseball. "Yankee, Stay Home," by David Greenberg, October 30, 1995. Saving urban baseball from George Steinbrenner. "Field of Kitsch," by Nicholas Dawidoff, August 17, 1993. Is nostalgia wrecking baseball? "Another Good Season," by Eugene McCarthy, April 22, 1978. The 1968 presidential candidate's ode to the sport. "Baseball on Trial," by Hugh S.
On the basketball courts of New York City, there may be no truer measure of a player's stature than his nickname. If a player is considered good, then his moniker will be something straightforward: "Pee Wee" if he is short; "Lefty" if he shoots with that hand. But if a player is viewed as great, then his talent can actually inspire poetry. He will be called "Half-Man Half-Amazing" for his superhuman dunks or "Skip to My Lou" for the way he hopscotches down the court as he dribbles past hapless opponents.
Pardon us for harrumphing, but whatever' became of the fresh-faced, clear-eyed ball player who played clean and lived the same way, and whose idea of a good time was to go to a children's hospital and sign a few autographs? Even if such athlete-heroes bulked larger in legend than in reality, at least there used to be more conscientious efforts to keep up appearances.