Monthly Archives: April 2010

Padre Steve a Marxist? Oh Please Give the Padre a Break

“You took a few well known history facts added some negroid glitz and glam, and arrogantly rest on your piss bucket of drivel as if you know something. You meinen Herr are a cretinous asshole of predictable disposition. I smell the ratty fumes of a Marxist lurking beneath your pebbled vskin.” Briar Cavendish

I had this interesting comment a couple of nights ago from an obviously devoted fan.  I have never met this fan but obviously he is sure that he knows me pretty well. I was surprised by the comments since they occurred in reference to a piece on World War Two and not anything to do with anything controversial that I have written.  What is strange is this devoted fan, let me call him Briar Cavendish who would have an e-mail address something like “briarcavendish@yahoo.com” decided to post the following as a comment on my article “Can Anybody Spare a DIME: A Short Primer on Early Axis Success and How the Allies Won the Second World War” located at http://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/can-anybody-spare-a-dime-a-short-primer-on-early-axis-success-and-how-the-allies-won-the-second-world-war/#comment-1050

My admirer Briar, wow that rhymed! Maybe I should be a poet.  Anyway I digress; my admirer Briar penned this poisoned post in response to that rather innocuous article. Of course I must add, and I will add for the record that this rather innocuous article is in fact is so innocuous that any person with more than half a working brain would wonder what in it could be so onerous that my admirer Briar found it so objectionable.  Please help me here I beg you my readers. You must help me here because with the amount of venom spewed by Briar I have to wonder….I have to ask myself the questions “Why this? Why me? Why now?”  What have I done in this innocuous little article that would engender such a hateful response?  Why this article and not the one criticizing Glenn Beck? Why me, certainly there are bigger fish to fry, real Marxists and why now of all times?  Could it be that it is my admirer Briar himself who is a closet Marxist and lives his life in shadows afraid that he might be exposed like the Cretin, the Vulgar Latin type that he is not?  Perhaps he must do this because he is afraid that the NSA and its Carnivore program will uncover his dirty little secret. But I speculate.

Obviously my admirer Briar really doesn’t know me as well as he thinks that he does, however from the tone of his little love note I would dare say that he is obviously a person that hangs on the words of very popular talk show hosts like Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, G. Gordon Liddy and Josef Goebbels to name but a few.

I find it interesting that he first insults my work using racist language and then calls me arrogant and my work a “piss bucket of drivel.”  Actually I found this rather amusing except for the horribly blatant racial slur directed at African Americans which I thought was pretty hateful as I would expect most patriotic Americans would.  But since I attend a historically African American church I sort of take such comments rather personally as the folks at St James are my dear friends. Since obviously my admirer Briar is a racist and I’m not referring to someone who worships at the Church of NASCAR, Indy, Formula One or even the Kentucky Derby, but rather Klan kind of racist. Thus I must presume that my admirer Briar is a racist who doesn’t like black people and probably doesn’t like Mexicans, Asians, Jews or Moslems either but again this is purely speculation and I wouldn’t want to impugn my admirer Briar’s character.

As far as being called arrogant well, I cannot entirely claim innocence.  My friends I hate to admit that in some parts of my life the charge of being arrogant is true as my dear wife the Abbess can attest.  She can also attest to the fact that on occasion I can be an asshole a charge that that again it would be wrong of me to deny.  However I would patently object to being called “cretinous” as the term is used by my admirer Briar in a pejorative sense implying that I am some sort of deformed and retarded person.  However my admirer Briar then if you look at the actual definition of the word is comes from the Vulgar Latin term for Christians. The definition is here:

cre·tin (krtn) n. 1. A person afflicted with cretinism. n2. Slang An idiot. [French crétin, from French dialectal, deformed and mentally retarded person found in certain Alpine valleys, from Vulgar Latin *christinus, Christian, human being, poor fellow, from Latin Chrstinus, Christian; see Christian.] cretin·oid (-oid) adj. cretin·ous (-s) adj.

So obviously in the Vulgar Latin I would have to plead guilty to being “cretinous” since at last I recall I am a Christian and have papers to prove it, even wear a Cross on my uniform.  Likewise, as most people that know me can attest I certainly cannot be called “predictable” unless it is in my love of the one true religion of Baseball so my admirer Briar is just a tad off in knowing my habits.

I do like being addressed as “my Lord” as my paternal family hailed from Scottish nobility, although the correct use of the German should have been “Mein Herr” as that is the nominative masculine case instead of the masculine accusative case which would have been correct if he had said “Ich hasse Meinen Herr Padre Steve” or in English “I hate my Lord Padre Steve.”  So my admirer Briar is not good with German grammar but then how many people are outside Germany.

As far as being a Marxist such would be difficult as a Christian since I like believe in God which I believe that Marx, not Groucho, Harpo or Zippo but Karl called the “opiate of the masses.”  But even so such a characterization of this cuddly but miscreant Priest would be inaccurate as I am certainly not a Marxist sympathizer but rather a pretty middle of the road moderate American who has served his country for over 28 years and served in combat.  As far as “ratty fumes” I do confess to occasionally have some flatulence but usually do to the healthy salads that I consume which by the way chalked full of vegetables including plenty of banana and jalapeño peppers.  What can I say? I have turned over a dietary leaf.

Now as far as my skin goes most people would be proud to have my luxuriant skin which certainly cannot be called “pebbled” because the medical and biological description doesn’t wash.  My skin is pristine for my age, something that men and women would lust after and probably pay money to have. In fact it is so nice that in order to show more of it I shave my head which is a perfect shape to display my luxuriant skin which graces the top of my head like dome of the Jefferson Memorial.

I have no idea what my admirer Briar’s major malfunction is. Perhaps he is just a racist bigot who assumes that anyone who chooses to use their brain is a Marxist.  Why do it on this article I haven’t a clue.  Perhaps he is just a hate filled person mad because his party didn’t win an election.  Maybe he is a coward who has never served his country and to cover up his shame has to accuse someone who has served his country; someone who has been decorated for his service in Iraq who went unarmed into very dangerous situations because it was the right thing to do as being a Marxist.

I think this is reflective on the character of this man.   It appears that he is too much of a coward to do anything but do a drive by on my blog to attempt to do some character assassination and limp away like john Wilkes Booth.  Maybe my admirer Briar is a frustrated wannabe military historian or perhaps a hack who also happens to be a hack with no more than a high school education but presumes that because he has seen a few movies and read a few books that he is an expert in military history and theory.  Whatever he is I am sure that he does not have my academic credentials including being a graduate of the Marine Command and Staff College and having multiple graduate degrees in theology and military history. If he did he would not stoop to this kind of ad hominem attack.

You see I think that my admirer Briar is a poster child for the sick condition of political and intellectual debate in this country. I mean what the hell is going on? This isn’t the country that I grew up in.  In fact I believe that that my admirer Briar is symbolic of the vitriolic hatred that has consumed both sides of the political aisle.  Let’s face it voices like Briar’s fill the airwaves and the internet as pathological ideologues sacrifice civility, decorum and truth on the altar of gross political expediency defaming, maligning and using the basest language, actions and symbols to paint their opponents as Marxists, Fascists, Socialists or even Nazis. We don’t live in the United States of America anymore we have been transported through some sort of tear in the space time continuum back to the days of Weimar Germany. My Lord what’s next? Street battles between extremists consumed by such hatred that they would destroy the country in order to save it? God help us all.

In the interest of fairness I ask you my readers to write my admirer Briar at briarcavendish@yahoo.com and tell him what you think of him.  Please know this is the e-mail that he left with his approved comment on this site so please let him know what you think.  If you of course disagree with me the manner to do so is in the comments section.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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NO HITTER! The Lights Go Out in Georgia; Chris Tillman Blanks the Braves

Chris Tillman no-hit the Gwinnett Braves on Wednesday night

It was a magical night in Georgia when dreams came true for a 22 year old Baltimore Orioles prospect named Chris Tillman as the lights went out in Georgia on the Gwinnett Braves.

Tillman became the first Norfolk Tides pitcher to pitch a 9 inning no-hitter since May 15th 1992 when Dave Telgheder no-hit the Pawtucket Red Sox.  In 2001 Steve Trachsel pitched a seven inning no-hitter against the Ottawa Lynx.  Back then the Tides were with the Mets in the pre-Minaya era.

The Tides changed up their road uniforms tonight wearing the old red jerseys that hearken back to early 1960s when the Tides were an affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals and had not been worn regularly since the 2008 season.

Tillman who had begun the year with a series of rough starts has turned things around in a big way on this road trip. He began the trip with an eight inning 5-3 win in Charlotte where he controlled the game.  However, tonight Chris made history in Lawrenceville Georgia where at Coolray Field on a chilly night in front of 2989 fans he tossed the first no-hitter of the year at the AAA level and is setting himself up for a rapid promotion to Baltimore along with his stable mate and the leading pitcher in the International League Jake Arrieta.  These young and talented pitchers will along with Brian Matusz be the mainstays of the Orioles rotation for years if managed right.   Both are exceptionally talented and though some are calling for their immediate promotion to the Orioles it would not be unwise to let them work a while longer in AAA before going up.

Chris allowed just two base runners both in the 5th inning, one a walk to Brent Clevlen and the other on an error committed by First Baseman Michael Aubrey.   The rest of the game Tillman was perfect striking out 6 Braves and getting 13 more on ground outs.  He threw just 105 pitches in the effort making it all look easy.  With the win Tillman improves his record to 2-3 with a 4.05 ERA.   Jim Parr would take the loss for the Braves his first of the year.

Chris was aided by excellent defense by a number of Tides players including Corey Patterson who ran down a deep fly ball by Wes Timmons in the 3rd inning which easily could have gone for a hit had Patterson not tracked it down.

Tides hitters came forward tonight scoring 6 runs on 9 hits aided by 3 walks issued by Braves pitchers and 3 errors two by Brandon Hicks and 1 by Joe Thurston.  Seven of the nine Tides hitters hit in the game with Joey Gathright and Jeff Salazar having two each and Scott Moore and Michael Aubrey both connecting for doubles against Gwinnett starting pitcher Jim Parr.  Jeff Salazar had two stolen bases and Corey Patterson stole another as everything came together for Chris Tillman and the Tides tonight.

If you have never been to a no-hitter in person or watched or listened in rapt suspense as one unfolded before your eyes on television or a broadcaster poetically called one on the radio then you have missed what I think is one of the most suspenseful and riveting events in all of sports. I saw Ed Halicki no-hit the Mets 6-0 in Candlestick Park back on August 24th 1975.  I have been close to attending a couple of other’s missing Clyde Wright of the California Angels no-hit the A’s on July 3rd 1970 as our tickets were for the fireworks on the 4th and Nolan Ryan on May 1st 1991 when I had tickets for the following day.

However one has to imagine what it would be like for this young man to walk out onto the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning knowing how many no-hitters have been lost to unknown players who got a base hit, perhaps a line drive into the gap or a bloop into Right Field or even a grounder with eyes that gets past the outstretched glove of an infielder trying desperately to make the play to save his pitcher’s no-hitter.

Knowing things like this when the bench begins to realize that their starter is pitching the no-hitter the pitcher is left alone in the dugout.  No one talks about what is happening as they do not want to “jinx” the pitcher.  The tension begins to mount from about the 5th inning on as players and spectators alike sensing that something magical is happening before their eyes.  With every pitch and especially every time the a batter puts the ball in play there is a collective gasp as everyone, except the opposing team prays to whatever Deity they worship, and I know that even the Atheists are praying to someone at this point for a putout to be made.

I was doing that as Tides Announcer Bob Socci called the 9th inning.  Tillman got Brandon Hicks to ground out to Josh Bell at Third Base, Bell made the play and threw to Michael Aubrey for the out.  He then faced Clint Sammons and his first pitch to Sammons was a strike.  Sammons then swung at and missed the second pitch to take the count to 0-2.  His next pitch was a ball that was high in the zone followed by another low.  With the count 2 balls and 2 strikes Sammons hit one back to Tillman who ran towards first and tossed the ball to Michael Aubrey for out number two.  My heart was now racing as Chris stepped up to the rubber and faced Braves lead off hitter Michael Young.  The first pitch was fouled off by Young.  Tillman’s next pitch was a ball, the count one and one.  The next pitch also a ball and Tillman was behind in the count to Young a 250 hitter.  Chris then wound up and delivered a called strike to move the count to two and two.  Tillman paused and then delivered his fifth pitch to Young which Young hit a ground ball to Shortstop Robert Andino who threw to Aubrey for the out.  The Tides mobbed Tillman coming out of the dugout to congratulate Chris and celebrate his accomplishment.

Steve Melewski of MASN.com  has a page with audio of Bob Socci’s call of the last out, an interview with Chris and another interview with Tides pitching coach Mike Griffin.  That page is linked here:

http://masnsports.com/steve_melewski/2010/04/audio-from-chris-tillmans-no-hitter.html

Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com the Orioles’ major league beat reporter was able to ask Tillman about the game:

“Everything kind of fell into place,” Tillman said Wednesday. “I was pitching around my fastball. I had my curveball when I needed it. I was able to throw my changeup and my cutter.  My catcher [Adam Donachie] did a great job calling pitches. I had three or four great plays behind me.”

Congratulations Chris and congratulations to the Tides in the field and at the plate who helped this dream come true.  I do think that this might be a magical season for the Tides as well as Chris Tillman and maybe, just maybe things will begin looking up for the Orioles.

Peace and blessings

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose Opener in Georgia 7-2 Leave 9 Runners in Scoring Position; Orioles defeat Yankees 5-4 at Camden Yards

Brandon Hicks went 1 for 3 on Tuesday Night

The Norfolk Tides went down to Georgia to open their series against the Gwinnett Braves in cool and windy weather under a cloudy night sky more reminiscent of Norfolk than suburban Atlanta in front of 2547 fans at Gwinnett County Coolray Field.  The Tides hoped to come off of a loss in the final game of their series against Charlotte on Monday to restart their recent winning streak against the Braves but that did not happen as the Braves defeated the Tides 7-2 behind the solid pitching of four Braves pitchers who allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits despite walking 7 Tides batters.

Brandon Erbe fell to 0-4 continuing to struggle at AAA

Tides starter Brandon Erbe went down to Georgia seeking his first win of the season but got in trouble early walking Matt Young to lead off the inning followed by a single to Gregor Blanco, another walk this time to Freddie Freeman and a bases loaded single to Brent Clevlen which drove in Young and Blanco.  He gave up a third run in the 2nd inning when Wes Timmons and J C Boscan both singled and Timmons was driven home by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Matt Young.

The Tides would get a run back in the top of the 4th inning when Josh Bell doubled on a sharp line drive to center and was advanced to third on a single by Scott Moore.  Braves catcher J C Boscan allowed a pitch by Braves starter Tim Gustafson to get by him giving Moore the chance to take second base. With two on and no outs Brandon Snyder grounded out to short scoring Bell.  The Tides mustered nothing else in the fourth as Corey Patterson flied to left and Justin Turner grounded into a Fielder’s Choice in which Moore was out at third.

Joey Gathright went 2 for 4 with a double

The Braves took that run back in the bottom of the fourth as Brandon Erbe’s woes continued.  Erbe walked Brandon Hicks and Wes Timmons. J C Boscan dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt that Tides Catcher Adam Donachie fielded but who only had a play at first.  This advanced Hicks and Timmons and brought Matt Young to the plate.  Young hit a sacrifice fly to Left Fielder Joey Gathright scoring Hicks.  Erbe want to the showers when he gave up a walk to Gregor Blanco.  Chris George entered the game to get the final out.

In the top of the 5th the Tides got another run when Adam Donachie singled, Joey Gathright doubled and Robert Andino hit a sacrifice fly to right which scored Donachie.

With the score 4-2 and the Tides looking to get back into the game the Braves literally “stole” the game and put a stake in the heart of the Tides hopes for the night. Chris George who has been a solid middle reliever this year walked the first batter Brent Clevlen and then got Mitchell Jones looking.  George then walked Joe Thurston.  The Braves then pulled off a double steal which advanced Clevlen to third and Thurston to second.  George then got Brandon Hicks to strike out and intentionally walked Wes Timmons.  With the bases loaded J C Boscan hit a soft fly to right which fell for a hit and scored Clevlen and Thurston and advanced Timmons to third.  With Matt Young batting Wes Timmons did what is seldom done and on a double steal attempt stole home for the third run of the inning.

The game would finish with the Braves using three relievers beginning in the top of the 6th inning to shut down the Tides.  The Tides would make an 8th inning rally attempt which fell short with the bases loaded.  Ross Wolf came on for the Tides to pitch the 6th and 7th innings and Frank Mata closed out the game with neither pitcher allowing any Braves runs.  Braves pitching was adequate Tim Gustafson (1-1 6.75) got the win giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and two walks. Both teams committed an error.

For the Tides Joey Gathright went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Brandon Snyder and Jeff Salazar each had an RBI.  Brandon Erbe got the loss dropping to 0-4 on the season with an 8.35 ERA.  Brandon gave up 4 runs on 6 hits walking 5 in 3.2 innings work. Chris George (1-0 4.50) had his first bad outing of the year going only one and a third innings giving up 3 runs on 1 hit with two walks.  The story for the Tides was the inability to score runs. They left eleven men on base and had eleven in scoring position of which only one the Tides brought home.

The Tides and Brave meet tonight at 7:05 PM with Chris Tillman (1-3 6.11) taking the Hill for the Tides and James Parr (1-1 3.48) on the hill for the Braves.

Alberto Castillo got his first win of the year in Baltimore against the Yankees

Meanwhile at Camden Yards the Orioles got their first home win of the season as well as their first winning streak by defeating the Champion New York Yankees and their wrecking crew holding on to win 5-4.  It was a night where former Norfolk Tides shined to secure the win.   In the 6th inning Rhyne Hughes continued to shine beginning an Orioles rally with a RBI single, this was followed by one by Nolan Reimold and Cesar Izturis.  Recent Tides Alberto Castillo got the win and Alfredo Simon in his appearance as an Oriole got the save.  Tonight the Yankees send C C Sabathia against the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie.

We’ll see how the night goes.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Fall to Knights in Final Game of Set 9-7 despite Bell’s Dingers


Tides 3rd Baseman Josh Bell shown at Harbor Park hit 3 home runs in two games against Charlotte

In front of an early rising crowd of 4996 on a beautiful sunny Carolina morning with temperatures in the high 60s the Norfolk Tides met the Charlotte Knights at Knight’s Stadium in Rock Hill South Carolina Monday in the final game of a four game set.  The Tides had dominated the first three games on outstanding pitching performances by Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergeson as well as an 18 run attack that featured 8 home runs.  However, on Monday the Tides were outslugged by the Knights who used the long ball effectively to prevent the Tides from completing a series sweep.

Troy Patton got hit hard on Monday against the Knights

Tides starter Troy Patton (1-3 8.00) was hit hard giving up 7 runs on 10 hits including three home runs in 6.1 innings worked. Dayan Viciedo was a nemesis to Troy hitting two home runs and driving in two runs. Patton also gave up 2 doubles in the game before exciting in the top of the 7th inning. Troy was relieved by newly acquired Pedro Viola (0-0 10.80) who surrendered 2 runs on 2 hits and two walks pitching two-thirds of an inning. Tyler Flowers drove in the runs with a triple.  Jim Miller (1-0 5.59) back in a closing role got the Knights out in the 8th surrendering a walk but no runs.   Patton got the loss and Matt Zaleski (3-0 4.13) the win giving up 4 runs on 5 hits including two homers by Josh Bell.  Former Tide Greg Aquino got the save for the Knights, his second of the year taking the Tides down in order in the top of the 9th to secure the win for the Knights.

Scott Moore shown here at Harbor Park doubled twice in the loss

The Knights had pulled out to a 9-4 lead at the top of the 7th but the Tides did not go quietly scoring three runs in the top of the eighth in a rally that unfortunately fell short.  The Tides offense continued where it had left off Sunday afternoon.  Josh Bell led the attack with 2 home runs with 3 RBIs in his biggest game of the season.  Justin Turner, Scott Moore and Michael Aubrey all had doubles for the Tides with Moore getting two of the two baggers driving in a run.

The big story for the Tides was 3rd Baseman Josh Bell who in the last two games has hit 3 home runs and driven in 5 runs.  Bell who came to the Tides after a year split between the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League and Orioles AA Eastern League affiliate Bowie Baysox where he hit .295 with 20 home runs, 35 doubles and 5 triples.  After a slow start Josh appears to be coming around under the tutelage of Tides Hitting Couch Richie Hebner and is now “Bell ringing” as you may  using his bat to make some offensive music and by offensive I mean offensive if you are the Tides opponents.

Overall the Tides hit and run production in coming up. In the four games against the Knights the Tides scored 25 runs on 31 hits including 10 home runs and 7 doubles which means sport fans that if you are mathematically challenged that the Tides hit for extra bases 55% of the time in Charlotte.  The Tides team batting average is still low at .232 but coming up and the slugging percentage has improved to .391.  The Tides 18 home runs for the season have them tied for second in the International League in this category.  Jeff Salazar leads the Tides in the hitting department with a .291 average with 4 home runs 3 doubles and 11 RBIs. On the mound the team ERA has improved to 4.31 and though the Tides still are among the lead leaders in runs and hits allowed many of these runs came in only a few games where the Tides gave up double digits in losses.  Jake Arrieta leads the league in pitching at 2-0 with a 0.36 ERA allowing just one earned run in 25 innings pitched.   The fact is that this means despite the loss and the Tides falling into a three way tie with Charlotte and Gwinnett for second in the International League South that things are beginning to look up for Tides in 2010.

Tonight the Tides are in suburban Atlanta to face the Gwinnett Braves.  The Tides will start Brandon Erbe (0-3 7.98) who is still seeking his first win at the AAA level against Tim Gustafson (0-1 8.64) who gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 6.1 innings work against the Tides on the 22nd of April.  The weather could be problematic with temperatures in the high 50s, 15 mile an hour winds and a 50% chance of rain.

Alberto Simon was called up to Baltimore

On the personnel side of the house the Orioles optioned relief pitcher Kam Mickolio back to Norfolk and purchased the contract of pitcher Alfredo Simon who has done yeoman’s work for the Tides as a starter and reliever over the first two weeks of the season.  Up in Baltimore the Orioles go for their first home win of the season against the World Champion New York Yankees who are fresh off of their visit to the White House yesterday.  The O’s will pitch Kevin Millwood against the Yankee’s Phil Hughes, more tomorrow.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Adjusting Strategy to Reality: The Pacific War- Why the Japanese Lost

Lead aircraft ready to take off of IJN Carrier Akagi to attack Pearl Harbor beginning a 6 month chain of Japanese victories in the Pacific

The outcome of the Pacific war was directly related to the ability of the Americans to adjust strategy to the realities of the Pacific war, a unity of effort directed by the National Command Authority and superior industrial, technological and logistical capabilities. The Japanese after initial success did little to adapt and were hamstrung by inter-service rivalries and inadequate industrial capacity and limited natural resources.

US Destroyer USS Pope being blasted out of the water by Japanese Cruisers at the Battle of Java Sea

The Japanese and the Americans each had war plans in place for the Pacific campaign.  The American plans, Plan Orange had been developed since the early part of the 20th Century after the Spanish-American War and Russo-Japanese War.  Predicated on holding the Philippines until relief could arrive Orange assumed that the US Pacific Fleet would sail across the Pacific and fight the Japanese Navy in a manner written about by Alfred Thayer Mahan; see Weigley in The American Way of War and Ronald Spector in “Eagle Against the Sun: The American War Against Japan.”

IJN Carrier Hiryu heavily damaged and abandoned at Midway. Hiryu, Akagi, Kaga and Soryu the creme of the Japanese carrier fleet were lost at Midway, the Japanese found it hard to replace them or their decimated air crews

The Japanese were conflicted.  The Navy desired a campaign that would destroy the American Navy and expand the Empire to the East and to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. The Army was fixated on the China strategy having been embroiled on the Asian continent since the early 1930s. John Toland discusses this in good detail in his book “Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945” In addition other Japanese Army leaders had designs on Siberia and fought a brief campaign against the Soviets which ended in a defeat.

Japanese destroyer shown sinking after being torpedoed by a US submarine

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor as well as the Philippines and Southeast Asia defeating American and Allied forces in detail, crippling the American Navy and dooming the Philippines the Americans were able to adjust strategy to first a defensive one supplemented by raids against the Japanese perimeter by carrier forces and the beginnings of a nascent submarine campaign against Japanese merchant shipping.  The Americans were able to parry the Japanese thrust at the Coral Sea and inflict a major defeat on the Japanese Carrier Forces at Midway prior to launching the first limited offensive by the Navy and the Marines at Guadalcanal.

Aircraft like the F6F Hellcat drove Japanese aircraft such as the A6M2 Zero from the skies in the Pacific


The Japanese remained mired in their conflicting strategies with the Navy primarily fighting the Pacific campaign aided by limited Army and Army Air Forces on the islands Japan had occupied or fortified while the bulk of the Army was engaged in China, Southeast Asia or sitting on the Manchurian-Soviet border.

Heavily fortified Japanese islands were either bypassed or taken in bloody assaults, here a 8″ gun on Tarawa

Once the Americans shifted to the offensive a campaign of island hopping coordinated between the Southwest Pacific Area under General MacArthur and the Central Pacific Area under Admiral Nimitz focused on gaining control of islands which contained airbases and anchorages capable of sustaining the American advance while bypassing islands not necessary for this along with their Army garrisons. Both American advances in the South Pacific and Central Pacific focused on retaking the Philippines and cutting the Japanese lines of communication and supply with Southeast Asia. From late 1942 on the Japanese strategy was focused on individual areas of danger versus a overall coordinated defensive effort.

Japanese war industries were woefully ill equipped to match US war production. Here a factory producing Oscar fighter planes

The Japanese were hamstrung from the beginning of the war by limited natural resources, especially oil and oil refining capacities, limited industrial capacity, especially in the realm of the manufacture of steel and machining tools.  All of these were supplied in large part by their opponents and were cut off once the war began.

The Carrier Taiho was the equivalent of the Essex Class but the Japanese could only produce one unit

Michael Barnhart in his book Japan Prepares for Total War” has an excellent account of the limitations of Japanese economic, industrial and natural resource capacities, as well as the continual struggle by the Army and the Navy for priority in access to them and the inability of Japanese planners, both civilian and military to resolve this conflict. The Americans had a different situation; although American industrial capacity was enormous it had to be split between to Theaters of Operations and support the needs of American Allies, Britain, the Soviet Union, Canada and China.

An Armada of US Essex Class Carriers in 1944 the Japanese could not keep pace with US Naval production

Despite this the Americans in a relatively short time were able to amass forces equal to or great than the Japanese who were unable to replace losses in ships, aircraft or the highly trained personnel needed to man them.  At the beginning of the war Japanese Air and Naval forces in the Pacific outmatched everything the Allies could offer, however once they began to experience significant losses at Midway and during the Guadalcanal Campaign their air and naval capabilities diminished to the point that they had to conserve ships and aircraft hoping to be able to gain local advantage in critical defensive areas.

The US Amphibious warfare capacity was a key factor in the ability of the United States to take the war to Japan

New American ships and aircraft introduced during the war were superior to Japanese designs, many of which had reached their apex by 1942.  American advantages in radar, communications equipment added to American advantages throughout the war.  Japanese ground forces in the Pacific were dependant on the Navy and merchant marine for supply and reinforcements. As the American submarine campaign became better organized this became more difficult as the American submarines copying German Wolf pack tactics decimated the Japanese merchant Marine. I particularly like Samuel Elliott Morrison’s account of this in “The Two Ocean War” and “The History of US Navy Operations in World War II” which has a volume devoted to this subject.

US Navy Submarines cut off Japan from its vital natural resources in Southeast Asia. A Sub Squadron above and USS Barb below

Japanese forces would always fight determined battles but they often expended great amounts of manpower in senseless Banzai charges rather than make the Americans force them out of well prepared positions.  Where the Japanese maintained excellent defense such as at Tarawa and Iwo Jima they made the Americans pay greatly for their gains.  American Marines were apart from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions were the best infantry in the US Military and their skill at amphibious operations and integrated air-ground and naval warfare increased as the war went on.  The Americans were well equipped with modern weapons while the Japanese operated antiquated tanks and often substandard artillery.

Japanese leadership at the strategic and political level was inept throughout the war. They failed to coordinate any strategy with the Germans and failed to enunciate any sort of Grand Strategy.  On the operational and tactical levels the Japanese forces, especially the surface navy performed well, however as the American numeric and technologic advantage increased the Navy became less effective.  After the death of Admiral Yamamoto in 1943 Japanese Naval Leadership became far less effective. The Americans as mentioned before were able to devise a Grand Strategy which not only dealt with Japan but also Germany and coordinated the efforts of forces, war production, planning and logistics to advance their war aims.  At the operational and tactical level American forces, especially the Navy and Marines and later the Army Air Forces and Army became more skilled and than their Japanese counterparts with the possible exception of General Simon Bolívar Buckner at Okinawa. See Spector and Thomas Costello “The Pacific War.” In the air the Americans continued to increase their combat capabilities at the tactical and strategic level and used massed fire bombing raids to devastate the Japanese homeland.  The Japanese in contrast due to inexperienced pilots and fewer competitive aircraft were forced into suicide or Kamikaze missions as the war neared Japan.

B-29 Super-fortresses leveled Japanese cities and even excellent fighters like the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden could not stop them


The outcome of the Pacific war was directly related to the ability of the Americans to adjust strategy to the realities of the Pacific war as well as the unity of effort which enabled the American superiority in industrial, technological and logistical capabilities to overwhelm the Japanese. The Japanese after initial success did little to adapt and were hamstrung by inter-service rivalries and inadequate industrial capacity and limited natural resources, fell behind in technology and were unable to replace losses among the ships, men and aircraft that they needed to fight an effective war.  Japanese leaders at many levels failed to adapt strategy, tactics or methods to match the reality of the war and the places that they did do so were done by local commanders and never instituted throughout the Japanese military.

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Tides Win 4-2 and 7-2 in Charlotte: Pitchers Dominate and Home Runs Fly

Jake Arrieta Continues to dominate opponents

After a slow start to the season with a fair number of disastrous outings the Norfolk Tides pitchers and hitters seem to be back in sync and performing to the level expected at the beginning of the season.  Playing  in cloudy and cool conditions On Saturday night the Tides took on the Knights at Knight’s Stadium in Rock Hill South Carolina in front of 3621 Charlotte fans. Tides starting pitcher Jake Arrieta dominated the Charlotte batting order Tides hitters continued to hit the Knight’s pitching staff hard.  Arrieta has been as close as perfect to perfect a pitcher can be this early in the season and absolutely dominating in each game that he has pitched.  Jake won his second of the season against no losses pitching seven innings of scoreless ball bringing his ERA down to an International League leading 0.36 ERA.  Jake gave up two hits and a walk and struck out eleven in getting the win.  Armando Gabino (0-0 2.70) pitched the 8th inning giving up a run on one hit and a walk while striking out two. Frank Mata (0-0 S3 2.00) closed the game notching his third save while giving up a run on two hits and a walk.  Tides pitchers allowed no extra base hits and only 4 hits during the game.

Josh Bell homered against the Knights

The Tides made the most of their hits in this game being very efficient and got their four runs on five hits while playing error free ball during the win.  Catcher Adam Donachie hit his second home run in two days off of Knights starter Carlos Torres and Scott Moore got his second of the season a solo shot also off of Torres.  The Knights had two runs on four hits also with no errors in the loss.

Jeff Salazar continued to pound opposing pitchers

On Sunday afternoon in front of 2835 fans in ideal weather conditions of cloudy with 75 degree temperatures and 14 MPH winds blowing out to Center field in this very hitter friendly park. Sunday’s game Brad Bergeson (1-0 2.57) making his first start for the Tides after being sent down by the Orioles to get back “in the groove” got his grove back dominating the Knights in seven innings scattering 7 hits and allowing 2 runs with a 4 strikeouts and gave up a solo home run to Robert Hudson in the 5th inning.  Alfredo Simon made his first relief appearance after going 1 and 1 and a 1.59 ERA in three starts. Simon pitched a one two three eighth inning and was followed by Ross Wolf (0-1 2.38) in the ninth who also put the Knights down in order with 2 strikeouts.  Knight’s starter Jeffrey Marquez (1-3 6.00) got the loss giving up 4 runs on 6 hits including 2 home runs, one to Jeff Salazar his 4th of the year and one to Robert Andino in five innings work.  Clevelan Santeliz gave up a run on two hits including a home run to Josh Bell and Ryan Braun gave up a run on one hit.

Alfredo Simon made his first relief appearance for the Tides

The Tides hitters were once again very efficient producing seven runs on eight hits with no errors and once again hammering Charlotte pitching with the deep ball with Jeff Salazr, Robert Andino and Josh Bell all hitting dingers from the Tides with Blake Davis adding a double.  The Knights scored 2 runs on seven hits and an error. The error came in the 9th inning on a ground ball off the bat of Robert Andino to C.J. Retherford which scored Blake Davis.

So far in this three game series the Tides have produced 8 home runs which is the largest number of homers in a three game period than I can remember in recent times.  The Tides pitching staff has been superb with the three starters, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergeson pitching 22 innings and only giving up 5 runs on 14 hits.  The Tides have also played error free ball and not been their own worst enemy.

The Tides and the Knights will conclude this series on Monday with an 11:45 start at Knight’s Stadium. Troy Patton (1-2 6.94) will make the start for the Tides and face Matt Zaleski (2-0 3.50) before travelling to Gwinnett County in suburban Atlanta to face the Braves in a four game set beginning Tuesday.

During the series the Tides had Rhyne Hughes move up to Baltimore on Saturday and saw Justin Turner return to the team from his sojourn in the show to make room for the bat of Hughes.  In Hughes’ first two games with the O’s playing in Fenway against the Red Sox Hughes went 4 for 9 including a double with 2 RBIs.  Hughes was one of the best acquisitions made by the Orioles during the latter part of the 2009 season coming from the Durham Bulls in the Tampa Bay system. (See the video of Hughes’ RBI single on Sunday here http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=7658009

The Orioles broke a five game losing streak against the Red Sox defeating the Bosox in extra innings 7-6.  This was the first win in ten games for the O’s against the Red Sox.  Although the O’s dropped 2 of 3 to the Sox their bats caught fire for the first sustained time in the 2010 campaign scoring 16 runs on 40 hits against Red Sox pitching in the 3 games and were competitive in the series. The O’s return to Camden Yards where they have yet to win a game this year to face the Yankees on Tuesday getting a day off tomorrow.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win in Charlotte 5-3: Rhyne Hughes Promoted to Baltimore

Chris Tillman pitched 8 innings and got his first win of the year

The Tides began their 8 game road trip through North Carolina and Georgia with a win in Charlotte with a 5-3 victory over the Knights.  The Tides won in front of a Charlotte crowd of 4359 in ideal conditions partly cloudy with a temperature of 81 at game time and light winds.  The win was highlighted by Chris Tillman’s (1-3 6.11) best start of the season.  Chris pitched 8 innings giving up 3 runs on 7 hits striking out 5 allowing no walks.  He threw just 90 pitches of which 62 were strikes.  Chris seems to have gottn his confidence and mechanics back as he pitched with control and efficiency. The Knights runs came with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th on a three run home run by Knight’s Catcher Tyler Flowers.  Frank Mata (1-0  S2  1.13) got the save retiring the Knights in order striking out two.  Charlotte reliever Vince Elarton (0-1 2.84) got the loss.

The Tides offense showed power again with Brandon Snyder, Michael Aubrey and Adam Donachie going yard on three solo shots. Snyder also had an RBI double and it seems that Brandon is getting his time and mechanics back after a dismal start.  The Tides and Knights will face off tonight at 7:15 at Knights Stadium with Jake Arrieta (1-0 0.50) facing Carlos Torres.

Brandon Snyder had a home run and double in the win

On the personnel side of the house Rhyne Hughes who has helped lead the Tides offense was promoted to Baltimore.  The move is not official but according to the Orioles news site was posted on Hughes’ brothers Facebook page and confirmed by a source “close to the situation” on Saturday morning.  No corresponding roster moves have been announced by the O’s but the Orioles news speculates that relief pitcher Alberto Castillo, Shortstop Julio Lugo or reserve infielder Justin Turner.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides fall to Braves 8-3 Erbe gets Third Loss

Jeff Salazar seen on Tuesday hit his second home run in as many days

After winning convincingly on Wednesday night the Norfolk Tides could not repeat and fell to the Gwinnett Braves 8-3 on a sunny spring afternoon at Harbor Park in front of 4375 fans.  While fog enshrouded the home of the Tides in the morning it had dissipated by game time to reveal a beautiful day for a baseball game. I personally don’t give a kilo of Limburger cheese if the rest of the country is focused on the NFL Draft tonight as I prefer Gordon Biersch draft beer, preferably Czech Pilsner and the Church of Baseball to football in general.  However I also enjoy the seasonal so long as it is not a Weizen and my mind and heart still believe the baseball is the true love of the Deity Herself and that she finds football in all forms only a mildly interesting metaphor for the Valley of Megiddo, but I digress.

After a convincing win on Wednesday night Tides starter Brandon Erbe (0-3 7.98) gave three runs in the top of the first inning on three hits and two more in the fourth on three hits.  All told Erbe gave up 5 runs on 7 hits however he gave up two home runs to Tides killer Freddie Freeman who hit his third home run of this series and doubles to Gregor Blanco, Mitch Jones and Jean Boscan.  The Braves would score 3 runs off of reliever Andy Mitchell before Jim Miller stood into his closer role in the bottom of the eighth giving up one hit and no runs.

Brandon Erbe continues to struggle

The Tides did have some hitting; Jeff Salazar hit a two run shot in the bottom of the third driving in Joey Gathright.  Rhyne Hughes hit a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fourth.  The Tides would muster no more runs although Joey Gathright would double in the fifth.  The Braves had 8 runs on 13 hits with no errors and the Tides 3 runs on 8 hits with two errors one of which a throwing error by Second Baseman Blake Davis resulted in a Braves run.

Brandon Erbe took the loss, his third of the young season and one has to wonder if it is a matter of confidence or mechanics that is the root cause of his lack of success. I would lean toward being uncomfortable in his first start and then lost his confidence and has not regained it. Andy Mitchell gave up one earned run on 3 hits in two innings of relief work and Jim Miller reprising his closer role from the first half of 2009 where he made the International League All-Star team allowed no runs on one hit.

With the loss the Tides fall to 5 wins and 10 losses falling 7 games behind the Durham Bulls who appear to a be the league Leviathan who are 12-3 and have scored 98 runs on 155 hits devastating many of their opponents with lopsided double digit wins.  Their pitching has been equally dominating allowing the fewest hits and the second best ERA in the League.  With the Tampa Bay Rays looking good and appearing deep the Bulls could well be on their way to repeating their 2009 AAA Championship and lead their nearest division competitor the Charlotte Knights by five games.

International League Southern Division April 22nd 2010

TEAM         W      L      PCT       GB

Durham     12      3     .800         -

Charlotte    7       8     .467     5.0

Gwinnett    6       9    .400      6.0

Norfolk       5     10   .333       7.0

Unfortunately I had to work and had to catch snippets of the game between meetings and patient visits on MiLB Game Day.  The Tides will travel to Charlotte for a four game set against the Knights beginning Friday night which kicks off an eight game road trip which will also take them to Gwinnett. Chris Tillman (0-3 8.38) will try for his first win of the year going up against Charlotte’s Lucas Harrell (1-1 5.82) who defeated the Tides on the 13th allowing no runs and five hits in six innings work.

The Tides have added Left Handed Pitcher Pedro Viola who the Orioles picked up off waivers from Cincinnati.  Viola provides a badly needed left handed arm for the Tides bullpen and will be on the Orioles 40 man roster.  With Alberto Castillo and Kam Mickolio called to Baltimore and Dennis Sarfate on the DL the Tides bullpen has lost some of its power pitchers and the Tides have but two left handed pitchers on their roster.

The Tides for better or worse are inexorably bound to the fortunes of their parent club the Baltimore Orioles who have taken some major losses to injuries and are struggling.  While I believe that they will recover for the time being they have been forced to call upon the Tides incredibly early in the season for position players as well as pitchers, something that was not expected.  will return to Harbor Park on May 1st to face the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Patton and Salazar lead Tides over Braves 6-3

Troy Patton, show striking out Gregor Blanco got his first win of the season

The Norfolk Tides got back in the win column on a cool and damp Wednesday evening at Harbor Park.  With the cool temperature and threat of rain the attendance was only 2571 but those in attendance provided good support for the home team. With the exception of some mist and very light rain in the 6th and 7th inning it was actually a beautiful night for a ball game with calm winds and temperatures from the low 60s to mid 50s.

Joey Gathright gets his first of two hits to lead of the 1st inning

After two games where the Tides bats didn’t produce, the Tides hitters gave their pitchers the hitting support that was lacking the past several games.  Troy Patton got back on the winning track going 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts.   Troy was solid throughout the night and did not lose focus or control after a 4th inning home run by Braves Designated Hitter Freddie Freeman.  The Braves collected an unearned run in the 8th off of Chris George on a walk and then a throwing error by Josh Bell.  Frank Mata came on in the 8th to take over for George and he gave up a wild pitch which scored Matt Young. Mata would get the save shutting down the Braves in the 9th.

Jeff Salazar crosses the plate after his three run  homer in the 3rd

However, tonight’s big story was the Tides offense which when it is good is very good but when it is cold is colder than a hospital morgue. Tonight was a good night for the offense.  The scoring was highlighted by a three run home run by Jeff Salazar in the bottom of the 3rd.  The Tides never trailed and scored additional runs in the 5th and the 8th which were the difference in the game.  Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder both had solid doubles; Snyder broke out of his slump with 2 hits and Bell had 2 hits and 2 RBIs.  Joey Gathright went 2-3 with an RBI and Jeff Salazar went 2-3 with the home run and 3 RBIs.

Brandon Snyder ended his slump with 2 hits including a double

The Tides attack began in the bottom of the 3rd when Joey Gathright got a 2 out single. Robert Andino singled Gathright to third bringing up Salazar. Salazar got down 0-2 but worked the count fouling off a number of pitches before smashing his home run over the right field wall. In the 5th the Tides were led by Blake Davis who played in Norfolk last year and was recently brought up from AA Bowie. Davis scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Joey Gathright. In the bottom of the 8th the Tides added two insurance runs when Robert Andino got aboard with a base on balls. Brandon Snyder doubled to deep right advancing Andino to third. Josh Bell then pounded a double to deep right scoring both Andino and Snyder.

Troy Patton (1-2 6.92) got the win and Frank Mata (S1 1.29) got the save.  For the Braves Ryne Reynoso (0-3 6.60) got the loss.   Tomorrow the teams will close out the series with a 1215 Businessperson’s special.  Brandon Erbe (0-2 7.45) will get the start for the Tides seeking his first AAA win and he will face the Braves Tim Gustafson (0-1 12.27). The weather will be in the mid 70s with partly cloudy skies. I wish I could see you there but work beckons.

On a side note I collected my third foul ball of the season making me 3 balls for 9 games.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose Heartbreaker: Drop 5th Straight

Errors and unearned runs have been the bane of the Norfolk Tides this year. On a beautiful night in from of 3292 fans the Tides lost a game despite excellent pitching for their starting pitcher on an unearned run. Last night the Tides lost 4-3 to the Braves but gave up three unearned runs and tonight the Braves scored the deciding run on a throwing error by Tides Second Baseman Scott Moore to first.  Tides starter Alfredo Simon pitched a solid game surrendering just one earned run in the first inning on a little twisting fly ball that was knocked down by the wind and fell in front of Jonathan Tucker by Brent Clevlen which scored Matt Young.  Simon would give up just that one earned run on 7 hits with 5 strike outs in the loss. Simon had an excellent night continues his solid performance for the Tides and might wind up with a mid or late season call up.

For the second night in a row the Tides gave up three errors.  Some of this is due to players like Moore playing out of position. Moore had not played the middle infield before this season and obviously has not adjusted to it.  Of course he is there because Justin Turner was called up to Baltimore when Brian Roberts was injured.

Gwinnett was the beneficiary of an outstanding start by Todd Redmond who pitched 7.1 innings giving up one earned run on 6 hits with 4 strike outs.  Scott Proctor got the two outs in the 8th and Craig Kimbrel got his third save of the year taking the Tides down in order in the ninth.

Joey Gathright grounding out to third. Gathright went 0-4 in Tuesday’s game

The Tides woes at the plate continued Joey Gathright, Scott Moore and Brandon Snyder all were hitless in 4 trips to the plate each.  Robert Andino doubled deep to left center with 2 outs in the bottom of the eighth to drive in Adam Donachie.

Robert Andino getting one of his two hits, a single

The loss drops the Tides to 4 and 9.  The anemic Tides hitting has driven the team batting average to .230 which is third from the bottom in the International League and their team on base percentage is a miserable .304.  In 13 games the Tides have given up 68 runs on 131 hits while scoring 55 runs on 99 hits.

Jeff Salazar doubled in the bottom of the 8th to drive in the only Tides run

Now the Tides have already felt the ripple effect of the glut of injuries at Baltimore.  Lou Montanez, Justin Turner and Kam Mickolio have all replaced injured O’s and Tides Alberto Castillo was brought up when Brad Bergeson was optioned to Norfolk.   The talk is that if Bergeson can get his sinker and confidence back that he may go back up to Baltimore on May 1st to face the Red Sox.  If he is not ready the belief is that Tides starter Jake Arrieta who is not on the 40 man roster could make his major league debut on that day.  In one other personnel move Blake Davis was promoted to the Tides from AA Bowie.

Although the season is very early it appears that the depth, talent and youth of the Tampa Bay Rays organization is paying off big for their International League affiliate the Durham Bulls.  The bulls lead the league in almost every offensive category.  Durham’s pitching is solid giving up only 4 earned runs on 95 hits.  In the past four games the Bulls have produced 39 runs compared with 5 by their opponents. When one looks at the Rays and the Bulls it is clear that unless both are hit with a ton of injuries that the Rays could challenge the Yankees in the AL East and the Bulls could well repeat as the Governor’s Cup Champion.

On Wednesday the Tides will send Troy Patton (0-2  11.12 ERA)  against the Braves’ Ryne Reynoso (0-2  6.30) The weather might be on the soupy side with temperatures in the 60s and 50s and a 50% chance of rain showers.  I’ll be there and hope that you are too!

Peace

Padre Steve+

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