Do Not Count Christie Out
by Anthony Stasi
May 20, 2014 | 6717 views | 0 0 comments | 129 129 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a phone conversation with a friend who has worked on many a Republican campaign, I explained how I still see New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the front runner for the party in 2016.

In order to win the nomination, one has to preach to the conservative choir, and Christie, although a pragmatic politician, does that. But he is also good “in between” politician for conservatives and middle-of-the-road voters. What is more, he campaigns like a hardliner, which is great in primary battles.

The Republican leading in many straw polls is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, an ultimately unrealistic candidate, which is common at this point.

The bridge scandal did not stick to Christie. Even if voters believe he turned the screws to the mayor of Fort Lee, primary voters would not mind such a show of partisan energy. In fact, it just registers to them as being tough. In the general population of voters, punishing a fellow politician is still not as big of a deal as unleashing the IRS on political foes.

The bridge scandal in New Jersey was seen as manna from above for people trying to find a cure for a tough centrist Republican. The problem is that the story is basically over.

The same way that the Gennifer Flowers story faded away in 1992, so goes Bridgegate. And Christie, if he has a good year, can still win a primary in his party.

Christie may not be the Republican Party's best choice when you consider that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is still a possibility. But Christie is widely known and politically visible.

This is not about the general election in 2016, this is about who wins those low turnout Republican primaries and caucuses in 2016. Even in years like 2008, the average turnout at GOP primaries was under 50 percent.

These are the hardliners and diehards. They don’t care about a bridge or what a Democratic mayor thought about the bridge. In fact, in some circles, that will only endear the New Jersey boss-governor to them.

There are some who think Christie’s hug with President Barack Obama will hurt him, which is a ridiculous notion. A governor has to protect his state and work with presidents. And Christie was a big Romney supporter.

Winning the presidency for a Republican is going to be difficult given a host of things that the party has to contend with, but the nomination is another story, that is winnable.

Christie is still the most muscular presence on a ballot. He won’t poll as high as the nutty candidates, because until the actual primary, these polls are like Disneyland for fringe voters. But as we get closer to 2016, the real candidates – the grownups – will emerge, and without another embarrassing scandal, Christie can still be the nominee.

Why Are So Many Pitchers Getting Injured?

For the better part of the last 30 years, pitchers needing Tommy John surgery - the elbow ligament fix that puts pitchers back into action after extensive recovery time - were rare.

There were not many arms that required the surgery, named for the former Dodger starter that was the first successful recipient. Now, young pitchers are falling to this diagnosis more than ever before. What is causing such a change?

Today, pitchers are watched closely so they do not throw too many pitches in one outing. The idea is to preserve their arm. But that is not working so well if they are not only getting injured, but requiring surgery.

Recently, some experts have claimed that the mound might be too high, and the pitchers are landing a certain way, while throwing hard, thus causing strains. What is not mentioned is how many hard throwers come out of the minor leagues.

In this day of specialist pitchers, starters can throw as hard as they can for five innings, and then hand the ball to a middle reliever. Thirty years ago, a starting pitcher was required to at least try to throw a complete game, so they rationed their speed.

Young pitchers are burning out because they are expected to throw pitches in the mid-90s more than they used to. As a minor league baseball fan, I have seen more Single A-level starters throw in the 90s in recent years.

We rarely see older pitchers getting Tommy John surgery because they pace themselves better. Younger pitchers are used to mid-game relief help, so they can rear back and throw harder, which eventually burns out their arms.

Maybe coaches and managers need to focus on what these pitchers are throwing, as well as how many pitches they are throwing.

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