BASEBALL HALL. Former Yankee and Padre reliever Goose Gossage will be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame today. What kind of player was he? I will let Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tell you:

Gossage didn't just send hitters back to the dugout, he demoralized them.

Former big league outfielder Ken Singleton, now a TV analyst for the YES Network, fared better against Gossage than most, with 12 hits in 35 at-bats for a .343 career average. But Singleton recalls how the mere sight of Gossage could alter the mood in the dugout. "At Yankee Stadium in those days, they used to bring in relievers in a bullpen car,'' Singleton said. "The car would drop the reliever off in front of the dugout and he'd go to the mound. "Well, when Goose came out of the car, it's like he was shot out of a cannon. We'd look at each other and say, 'We've really messed up now.' He had that Fu Manchu, and when he'd throw that first warmup pitch, you'd think, 'He's sure throwing harder than the last guy that was out there.' ''

"If the game was on the line, you knew he was going to throw you fastballs, and every one got harder,'' (Hall of Famer Robin)Yount said. "And more smoke came out of his ears, and more stuff came out of his mouth. He was just grunting like a wild bull out there, ready to charge.''

"The one word that comes to mind is 'intimidation,' '' (HOFer Wade)Boggs said. "When you looked out at Goose, you thought he was going to walk off the mound and beat you up. I never really had that feeling with anybody other than Nolan Ryan.

Two and three decades after sending these guys to bed without any supper, Gossage now joins them on the stage in Cooperstown. For all the grief and discomfort he brought them, the consensus is that it's about time.

"The day has come,'' Boggs said. "This is a guy whose presence exemplifies what pitchers are all about. If there were more Goose Gossages, there would be fewer hitters in the Hall of Fame.''

And then there was this little revelation in the middle of Crasnick's column: A few years ago, Yount went golfing with Gossage and a mutual buddy, Bob McClure, and was surprised to find that Gossage was one of the nicest people he's ever met. Through the many years the two players competed against each other, they had barely shared a word.

Without going into a big, long story, I can say from personal experience that Mr. Gossage is a nicer man than the "wild bull" persona he exhibited on the mound.

When we lived in Ft. Worth I had landed a job as an assistant to the sports director at a local radio station. My job was to go get local sports personalities to say stuff on tape and then bring it back to the station and write a little copy to set it up and give it all to the sports guy to read.

One day I had gone to the old Arlington Stadium to try to find some Texas Ranger to say something into my microphone.

First let me say I was ecstatic to be "working in sports". Secondly, these pro athletes intimidated the fire out of me. Sometimes I didn't know what to say or ask so that I didn't sound like the scared kid from the Ozarks that I really was.

So, I was in the Rangers locker room looking for someone to talk to and, lo and behold, I wound up talking to Goose Gossage, whom Texas had signed as a free agent.

I don't remember what we talked about and I do remember being cautious as I approached him. But I found, as did Robin Yount above and others I am sure, that he was a nice guy to talk to and he treated me like a pro.

It's good that he's in the Hall of Fame.

It's better that he treats people right.



DEMOCRATS? JUST SAY 'NO'. In the past I have tried to focus on candidates in races for political office, but national Democrats are so blinded by their rage at Bush and Rove that they are killing us.

Here's an example: Yesterday the Republicans put that principle into action, blocking the Democrats' silly "anti-speculation" legislation because the Democrats would not permit votes on amendments that would expand drilling for oil and gas. The cloture vote was almost perfectly party-line, highlighting the fact that the Republicans want to expand domestic energy supplies, but the Democrats don't. (HT:Powerline)

The Democrats are killing us. I urge people everywhere to not cast a single vote for a Dem in November. Reid and Pelosi are incorrigible, Schumer is a snake, Obama is clueless.

Well, you say, Mike, that's the national party. There's some qualified state and local Democrats. I am sure there are, but to elect these reinforces their majorities and gives the party a "deeper bench" of personnel to move up the ladder. Do not encourage them.

Incidentally, they are wrong, generally, about taxes, the war on terror, siezure of private property, abortion, and censorship of talk radio (free speech), just to mention a few.



THE PRODIGAL GOD. This quote from Tim Keller about The Prodigal God, his new book: “First, the elder brother is offended by the father's extravagant and (to him) irresponsible welcome of his younger brother. The father, of course, represents God, and legalists are always offended by the gospel of free grace.”

And my response was, “Yes, sometimes, God is portrayed as far too lavish, like He’d let just anyone into heaven!” What do I mean when I say God is TOO lavish! I am like the older brother! Honestly, sometimes it bugs me who discovers our little Christian clique. It is shameful to admit that. The truth is that a world ruled by a generous, loving, merciful, lavish Father REQUIRES that wanton souls like the younger brother will be received, praise God! Wanton souls like me!

But it gets worse. My aggravation moderated when I thought, “However, only a few will actually take Him up on the offer.” That's what I thought. It's bad enough that the undeserving get into heaven, but at least not too many will. What a wicked thought! And immediately I thought, “How wicked of me to begrudge God His generosity, grace and mercy.”

Wretched man that I am. I do not deserve His mercy, yet He gives it to me. I am a great sinner and should, for joy, rejoice when any sinner finds salvation from our Father!

"And should not I (the Sovereign Lord) pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”Jonah 4:11.

WEARY PARENT, TAKE HEART. Tim Challies can feel your pain - here.

PRESIDENT-ELECT McCAIN. Wow. That's going to leave a mark.
Read the whole thing. File it away for future reference.
If any one cares one whit about America's national security, Obama's campaign is a non-starter.

WHAT'S THIS? Do you forget what you put in your own refrigerator?

I pulled a Key Lime Pie-flavored whipped yogurt out of my fridge today and looked at the foil top. It said ’20 AUG’.

My first response was, “This year?”

DON'T FEED THE CUBS. Jay Mariotti suggests in this article that to be human you must feel for a particular Cubs pitcher: "You have no heart, no human touch, if you don't feel sorry for Kerry Wood."

I’m agnostic about Wood, whether he's healthy or not, but I hope the Cubs sink like a stone.

Meanwhile, the Cards lose again.



JOKER STEALS THE SHOW. Number One Son and I went to see the new Batman film tonight and it is everything it is cracked up to be. It is extremely grim, dark, or violent. So much so that, frankly, I was beginning to wonder if I could look at it. But, in retrospect, that is probably more a function of not knowing what was coming.

The portrayal of Joker by Heath Ledger was perfect. I'm not qualified to opine on all the talk of Ledger being nominated for an Oscar. But his Joker was perfect.

The film makes me uncomfortable in some ways and I don't feel as excited as I thought I might. I think the uncertainties the film leaves you with are a big part of my feeling here.

FROM HUGH HEWITT. "The Bush Administration has done everything a superpower can do except use military action. Iran's mullahs come to the conclusion that the U.S. and Israel either will not or cannot stop their nuclear ambitions. If strikes are launched against the mullahs' nuclear facilities, the U.S. will have tried every avenue to stop the program without resort to bombing. but Iran is an outlaw regime and it does not care a bit what the world demands of it."

Some nation needs to take Iran firmly in hand before it's too late. That is, destroy their nuclear capability.

USE YOUR BIBLE. This article from Justin Taylor's blog is very encouraging. There is some hand-wringing in the comments section, but I think most of it is over-reaction. I don't think Ryle had eternal security in mind when he wrote this. I think it is simply about the nourishment and refreshment the Bible brings to a believer's soul.

NOT YET. This article wonders how much the Cubs value might be diminished should they win the World Series.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but it's not August yet and two other baseball teams are right on the Cubs tail in the NL Central, one of them picked to finish last. And are they better than the Red Sox or the Angels?

We've a ways to go yet.



C.S. LEWIS wrote that the problem with our desires is not that they are too strong, but rather, they are too weak. He said it this way: "If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

This quote is from the book Desiring God which has been the most influential book in my life other than the Bible. And what Lewis is telling us, telling me, is to not settle for lesser things when the one thing which will make you most happy, God Himself, is being held out for you.

This notion strikes a chord deep within me for I struggle with desires for lesser things. I am constantly tempted to abandon what should be for something irrelevant. TV instead of Bible, fiction instead of prayer, cheeseburger instead of lean chicken or salad, second cheeseburger instead of saying 'no', spending instead of saving, staying up late instead of sleeping, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Honestly, I have friends who cannot relate to this. Likewise, I cannot relate to the person who doesn't struggle with this, though I know many who do not.

To be clear, I am not tempted to abandon God and become an atheist or a follower of some lesser joy. But I am tempted to fill my life with so much lesser stuff that there is little time for Him.

And this principle applies, I think, in other areas of my life because this bias for the trivial runs so deep within me. Today I went for a walk at the local nature center and a young man ran past me. Shirt off, sweat glistening on his fit torso, I saw him pass and felt a pang. I want so very much to run, like him, on the trail with no apparent difficulty. And I realize I want it so much that I want it more than iced mocha, more than other food that would hinder, more than staying up late, more than sleeping in.

Someone is probably snickering. OK, that's fine. Like I said, some don't get it. They think the answer is simply discipline. Well, I think they are fooled, it's not discipline. It's desire. They may have better, stronger, more mature desires, but it's desire, nonetheless. They are doing what they really want. So am I.

And what I want right now is to improve my wanting.



HAPPY Batman Day! My son, now at the work program at College of the Ozarks, got invited by some school chums to go see The Dark Knight last night at midnight. He did. He said it was great and he can't wait to see it again.
But, you would have guessed that.

TODAY I got to do some voice work which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I can not say much about it now, but maybe later.
I will let you know.

AT lunch today I heard Limbaugh's guest host (Mark Davis?) anticipate the media frenzy over Obama's upcoming trip abroad: "They will cover it like it was the Pope going to Mars!"
I laughed for five minutes. Imagine a Popemobile for space. A mitre-shaped helmet. Maybe you will laugh for five minutes.

FROM Charles Krauthammer:
"Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements? Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times."

Why would a State Senator represent his constituents by merely voting "present"?
Either he has no opinion, in which case, it doesn't matter who the Senator from Illinois is. It could be anybody. Or anything. Just cover the chair with ivy from Wrigley Field. Or he doesn't want his opinion on the record. Oh, it couldn't be that, could it?

Barack Obama lacked the courage of his convictions 130 times.
Or he lacked conviction.
Or he lacked courage.


Most Important Today

I wonder what color their shirts would be? Brown?
Remember this day. I think this very well may be Obama's "Dukakis in the tank" moment. The day he jumped the shark. This may be the day commentators point to in November as the day the tide turned to McCain while they try to explain his surprisingly easy victory.

Quote from Powerline about Obama:
"Barack Obama is a politician who doesn't seem to care much about any of the issues. He is a pure political machine, devoted to fundraising, the media spotlight, and personal ambition. Like Bill Clinton, as someone said, without the girlfriends. "
Haven't you suspected this?

Lengthy post about energy. Worthy reading.
The Democratic leadership in Congress is pretending to act, but not doing anything real.

Could be worse.

Theological dynamite. Small package.

Under New Management

I always thought the signs in front of restaurants and/or motels that proclaim "Under New Management" were a bad idea.

Isn't it an admission that, well, we just weren't very good before, but we'd like you to come back and try us again - we're "Under New Management". New managers, good. But what about the crabby, slow workers? Did any of those get changed?

It doesn't inspire my confidence. I have never gone anywhere because they were "Under New Management".

Now if the sign said: "Fired The Bad Seed - Promoted The Good Workers - Trained Some Great New Hires", then, I might give them a try. Oh, and "Double Cheeseburgers, Buy One, Get One Free" would also make me think twice, too.

That said, we here at Central Standard have returned to the previous blog template. I like the cleaner look. It's like my blog has shaved.

Also, I promise to think about picking up the pace somewhat on the frequency of posts. I haven't been doing very well at it.

It's like I'm "Under New Management".