Space: As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Moon landing, Buzz Aldrin has a piece in Time about the state of the US Space Program. Buzz Aldrin expresses his desire that NASA be revitalized by the US Government. NASA currently is basically running on fumes, and needs to carpool with Russia to get into space. Aldrin expresses dismay at the current path set forth to go back to the Moon saying that we’ve been there and done that, and suggests going to an asteroid or something like that as a change. Many other famous Scientists like the Neil deGrasse Tyson would agree with this assessment and have argued that the NASA budget needs to be increased. Tyson suggest that the budget be raised from a half penny on a dollar to a full penny saying that “we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.” From what I’ve read the budget as a portion of the Federal Budget is like at .4% that’s a pre-Apollo number and that’s not a good thing.
Baseball: As we are around the mid-season having had that All-Star Game being played last night (American League won again and everyone bid farewell to Derek Jeter). First off over on Netflix there is a great documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball. It is about the Portland Mavericks, a Single A ball club that was run independently from the Major league “system” from 1973-77. The team was owned by Bing Russell, Kurt’s father. The team consisted of has been’s and never was’s and over the five years in existence had record attendance. The Mavericks played in the Northwest League and were not affiliated with any major league team, they played well against the affiliated teams during the regular season but as the season ended and the playoffs picked up all the affiliated teams would have a bunch of players moved down to prevent the Maverick from winning the pennant.
The other interesting baseball story comes from of all places Politico Magazine. In the article The Last Time America Rooted for Washington, Frederic J. Frommer looks back at the 1924 Washington Senators\Nationals and their World Series victory under first year manager Bucky Harris and pulls some parallels to first time manager Matt Williams and the current squad. It is a great read for fans of baseball. The Nationals\Senators were seen as America’s team who were going to take down New York, as the previous World Series had featured both New York teams and most people were tired of this. Sure the Twins have the 1924 Championship but they have also won two by themselves and it means a whole lot to the folks in Washington. Hopefully the current Nationals can add another championship to this one, and it doesn’t involve someone making a deal with the devil for Washington to make back to the World Series.