( Unrelated Commentaries)
According to Wikipedia “While it is difficult to determine exactly how many Natives lived in North America before Columbus estimates range from a low of 2.1 million to 7 million people to a high of 18 million.” There’s no way to know, exactly, how many millions lived in North America in 1492 --- we don’t know how many people lived in Europe (other than a city here or there) at that time. What we do know, of course, is that the indigenous population of North (and South) America was pushed to a brink of near-extinction once White Europeans arrived. And let’s not forget that the Spanish, initially, acted as they did with the imprimatur of the Pope. As recorded in nativeroots.net, Papal decrees provided:
the legal foundation for assuming that government comes only from the Christian god and therefore Christian nations have a legal right to rule over non-Christian nations. The late Vine Deloria in his “Afterword,” for America in 1492: The World of Indian Peoples Before the Arrival of Columbus wrote:
“Columbus viewed the (Natives) themselves as a way to amass his personal wealth. He selected 500 to be exported to Spain as slaves, and 500 to serve as slaves to the Spanish on the Island. Columbus proudly boasted to the Spanish monarchs about the slave potential and its economic benefits. Columbus would capture and export more Indian slaves-about 5,000 — than any other single individual. In addition to capturing the Indians as slaves, the Spanish also hunted the Indians.”
We also know now that European (and African) diseases wiped out more Native Americans than what was lost in battle. That Columbus called the Natives “Indians,” of course, has eternally recorded the error of his navigation but it didn’t matter what the Natives were called --- as with Africans, they were seen as less than human and only worthy of subjugation and exploitation.
If Columbus statues remain standing we should, at the very least, prominently place plaques on them explaining the real history and the second Monday in October should be celebrated as Native American or Indigenous Peoples (or even “Italian-American” Heritage) Day. Here’s my history teacher question for you: We all know Columbus’s name, of course, but what was the name of the tribe/the people, he “discovered?” If you don’t know the answer, consider why --- and what that says about how U.S. history has been written and taught. If you do know, good for you, you get an “A” for the day.
Joe MUST GO!
If you’re not a baseball fan, and not a Yankee fan in particular, you may not know who Joe Girardi is. For those who are fans, you know he is the Manager of the New York Yankees --- and has been for the last 10 years. While I understood the hiring of Girardi in 2008 (he had been on the “dynasty” teams of the 1990’s when they started) and appreciated winning the World Series in 2009, I have become less and less a “fan” as the years have worn on, to the point where I was calling for his removal/dismissal last season.
Joe Girardi is a compulsive micro-manager and one of the least imaginative, least creative Managers I have observed in all my years of being a fan. And Friday night, in Cleveland, I’m hoping Joe finally had his “Buck Showalter Moment.” For those not familiar with that reference: in 1995 the Yankees had reached the post-season for the first time since 1981. They played a five-game set against the Seattle Mariners in the American League Divisional Series. Yankee fans were excited, particularly for their long-suffering first baseman Don Mattingly (who had never made it to the post- season in his storied career) and also because there was a core of young players arriving (Derek Jeter, Andy Petitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera --- the “Core Four” --- as well as Bernie Williams), boding well for the future. In the fifth and deciding game in Seattle, the Yankees took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of 11th inning and those watching in New York were ecstatic at the prospect of moving on to the AL Championship Series. However, just like that, Seattle came up in the bottom of the 11th against “Black Jack” McDowell, who proceeded to give up a Joey Cora single, a Ken Griffey single, and an Edgar Martinez double --- game over, Yanks lose 6-5, and George Steinbrenner fires Buck Showalter.
Friday night in Cleveland the Yankees held an 8-3 lead over the Indians in the bottom of the 6th inning with two on and two out. With two strikes on the batter, Lonnie Chisenhall, Yankee pitcher Chad Green threw an inside fastball that hit the knob of the bat and was caught by catcher Gary Sanchez. Strike Three! Inning over. Except Dan Iassogna, the home plate umpire, ruled the batter was hit by the pitch and awarded Chisenhall first base. Girardi, shockingly, did not challenge the call (he was successful 70% of the time this season --- far above the MLB 58% average). Worse (to me), he did not take Green out of the game. Chisenhall had fouled off SIX of Green’s fastballs --- clearly indicating Green’s “money” pitch wasn’t clicking. Actually, I don’t understand why he originally brought Green in (overmanaging!). C.C. Sabathia had only thrown 77 pitches, had one man out, and simply walked a batter --- leading to Girardi’s hook. Before the walk, Sabathia had retired 11 batters in row. But this is classic Girardi micro/over managing (instead of letting his player play!). He doesn’t challenge. He leaves Green in. Green throws a weak slider to Francisco Lindor and, suddenly, going into the 7th inning it’s an 8-7 game and ALL the momentum has shifted. Cleveland goes on to win, 9-8, in the 13th inning and Joe has his “Buck Showalter Moment.”
The scenario is the same. We have a new “Core Four” (Judge, Bird, Sanchez, Severino) with a ton of other great young prospects (Clint Frazier, Jordan Montgomery, Gleyber Torres, et al) and some great young veterans (Gregorius, Castro, Hicks, Gray, Tanaka). Let’s get a manager who has some creativity (like Joe Maddon), or charisma (like Terry Francona) or pure grit (like Dusty Baker) to lead the next Yankee dynasty. Joe MUST GO!