Posts Tagged ‘curveball’

A Late Curveball for Obama’s Legacy

November 16, 2016

The New York Times: THE ARTS

Historians Look at Obama’s Legacy, With a Late Curveball

It’s the “First Historical Assessment” of His Presidency. But given Trump’s Rise, How Much Should Be Revised? by Jennifer Shuessler

Princeton, N.J.–“Journalism may be the first draft of history.  But on Friday, a group of scholars gathered here for what might be the second.

The occasion was a small conference with the uncolorful title: The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment.  While it had been planned more than a year ago, the election had forced more than a few participants to look at the papers they submitted in late October–some of which referred to Donald J. Trump confidently in the last tense…”

You may go to http://www.sportsidioms, click on curveball to see the definition.  In this case, the conference recipients did not expect Mr. Trump to win and may need rewrites.


Home Run Off a Curveball: Accident Turns Wall Street Trader Into Author

May 30, 2013

San Francisco Chronicle and, Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thrown a Curveball, Trader Hits a Home Run, by James Robinson

January 2, 2011:  Joe Peta, a “baseball obsessed New York trader, was hit crossing a street by an ambulance in Manhattan, causing his leg to snap and leaving him in agony.  Peta, a former Lehman Bros. trader, was a graduate of Stanford’s MBA program.  When Lehman Bros. failed, he was hired by Nomura Securities.  Nomura fired him soon after his accident when he was confined to a wheelchair, the injuries still not completely healed.

Later, Mr. Peta, still in his apartment, was musing as “baseball’s Opening Day was approaching–and he still had a great deal of time on his hands.  Making a closer than usual examination of the statistics saturated Baseball Prospectus 2011, he began to get curious why the Tampa Bay Rays had been so surprisingly successful in 2010. Those questions would turn into a quest that would change the direction of his life.”

He began writing Trading Bases, a book about masses of baseball data which turned into a business plan.  “Baseball, Peta says, is a mechanical game.  Unlike other team sports, in baseball one player’s performance does not depend as much on a teammate’s…As opposed to basketball or football, each team in baseball really is a sum of its parts…player performance will not deviate a lot over the course of a season.  

Although baseball analysis of this sort began with Michael Lewis in the 1990s, Peta “might be the first person to use this information to create a pseudo-hedge fund that, instead of stocks, ‘trades’ in calculated wagers on each day’s baseball games. 

Trading Bases concludes with Peta raising $1 million and moving to Las Vegas for three months in 2012 to test his acumen, at his publisher’s insistence.  During the 2012 season, he says, he registered a 14 percent gain…Constructing the system behind Trading Bases has rekindled his youthful appreciation of the simple joys of baseball.”

Washington Politicians Who Know How to Play Ball

December 2, 2012

THE NEW YORK TIMES SPORTS, Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Washington Politicians Who Know How to Play Ball, by Hillel Kuttleer

BALTIMORE:  “Former professional athletes who were members of Congress in 1987 included, from left (in picture) Jack Kemp, Jum Bunning, Morris Udall, Bill Bradley, and Tom McMillan.”

Mr. McMillan, who represented the Maryland Fourth Congressional District in the House of Representatives had this advice for candidates in the elections Tuesday: “shake every hand.”

According to the article: “The Capitol’s athletic ranks have since thinned.”  However, two  are in office now:  Representative Jon Runyan, of New Jersey who was an offensive lineman in the N.F.L. (The National Football League) and Representative Heath Shuler, of North Carolina who was a quarterback.  Representative Shuler is retiring from his seat, but Representative Runyan was campaigning for another term this year.  “Meanwhile, politics occasionally delivers its own curveballs.”  

As New Jersey was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, many campaign events were canceled.  However, Representative Runyan won his reelection.”

Politicians Caught Between the Rock of Ages and a Hard Place

December 2, 2012

The New York Times, Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Science Times: Essay

Between Rock of Ages and a Hard Place, by Nicholas Wade

“It was the standard political interview, about ambition and the right size of government.  Then came the curveball question to Senator Marco Rubin of Florida from Michael Hainey of GQ magazine: ‘How old do you think the earth is?’

Senator Rubin, a possible contender in the 2016 presidential race, gave the following answer: ‘I’m not a scientist, man, but I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians.’  He went on: ‘At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created, and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all…”  

Mr. Wade, the author of the article, then speaks to religious interpretations, scientific theories and their teaching.  “By allowing that evolution is a theory, scientists would hand fundamentalists the fig leaf.  They, in return, should make no objection to the teaching of evolution in science classes as a theory, which it is.”  The author does not like Senator Rubin’s answers, but I think they are not bad for a politician.

A curveball is a difficult pitch to hit and may confuse the batter.  In this instance, the baseball idiom identifies the question Senator Rubin was asked as a difficult one to answer.  Mr. Wade thinks that Senator Rubin had “15 back flips and a hissy fit” when asked a simple question about the age of the earth.

Travelers: A Curveball and a Hurdle

October 11, 2012

NEW YORK TIMES BUSINESS Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ON THE ROAD, by Joe Sharkey

A Few Well-Chosen Words Pay the Fare for Some

“That white-knuckled flier sitting across the aisle muttering anxiously may well have a case of fear of flying.  But it may also be a case of fear of public speaking.”

Mr. Sharkey, the author of this article, states in this article that public speaking is a basic requirement for many jobs.  He then states that “one curveball being thrown at speakers, incidentally, comes from technology.  At big events, the speaker’s image is often projected on giant video screens, allowing people to see quirks that once went largely unnoticed.” 

A curveball thrown at a baseball pitcher is difficult to hit;  a tech curveball may make the comfort level a bit more discomforting.  As the author states: “If you’re in a room with 2,000 people, most people really can’t see the small inflections and changes in your facial expression.”  But with those giant screens, “suddenly they really can, which makes body language far more important than it ever was.”  

Travelers Find Frustrating Hurdle at Customs

Past Brushes With Law Complicate a Trusted Traveler Program, by Susan Stellin

“The government’s trusted traveler program has proved itself more popular than officials expected, with 1.2 million people now eligible to speed up their entry to this country using a self-service kiosk rather than waiting to speak to a customs agent at the airport.

But some people have been surprised to find that their applications for the Global Entry trusted traveler program have been rejected–not for some serious infraction but for a minor brush with law enforcement or customs inspectors that turned up during the required background check.”

In track and field sports hurdles are barriers runners must jump over. The hurdles in traveling and at U.S. Customs must be frustrating, especially if a former infraction was minor, such as an apple in a bag that was prohibited. Usually, though, according to the article, “any type of criminal conviction would disqualify someone,” as well as some prohibited or undeclared items.


April 25, 2012

The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, April 11

HEARD ON THE STREET: Financial Analysis & Commentary

On Jobs, No Celebratory Beveridge, by Justin Lahart

“Curveball” is the heading of a graph illustrating the “Beveridge Curve.”

The Beveridge Curve is a downward sloping line which plots unemployment rates against vacancy rates.

“…unemployment rates are much higher than they used to be.”   The curve looks different than before the recession, suggesting that the “labor market has become less efficient at matching workers with jobs, something that can happen when workers don’t have the skills that employers need.”

A curveball in baseball is a ball that has spin on it;  it does not go straight.


Throwing a Digital-Age Curveball

September 30, 2011

The New York Times, Friday September 23, 2011


Throwing a Curveball For the Digital Age, by Maohla Dargis

Moneyball is a  movie about the game of baseball as it changes in the digital age.  Brad Pitt plays Billy Beame, the Oakland Athletics manager who with the help of a computer whiz “trades old knowledge for new”, thereby transforming the team from one of the “poorest in baseball into a winning team in serious competition with the wealthiest franchises.”   The computer statistics changed the way everyone looked at baseball and recruited new players.

A curveball is explained in a prior blog.  In this case, the ball (computerized stats) thrown changed the game.  The headings are brilliant pulling the reader into this film review about a widely praised movie.