January 26, 2004

Die, Trade, Die! Alex Rodriguez was named captain of the Rangers, after a long meeting with Buck Showalter, Tom Hicks and John Hart. Good, I really want Manny Ramirez in Boston this summer. "I definitely think I'm going to be here [Texas] for a long time," Rodriguez told reporters. "I'm probably pretty sure it will work out for the best." Probably pretty sure? Uh, okay. ... Today in Baseball History: 1990: Boston hires Elaine Weddington as assistant GM, making her the highest-ranking black female in the major leagues. ... 1963: The ML Rules Committee votes to expand the strike zone, restoring it to pre-1950 standards: from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the knees. ... 1930: Carl Mays, whose underhand pitch killed Ray Chapman 10 years earlier, ends his ML career with 208 victories and signs with Portland (Pacific Coast League). ... Oogie Update: A judge dismissed charges against Urbina, saying he fired his gun in self-defense when a man on a motorcycle tried to rob him.

Some suggestions on how Howard Dean can act more presidential. ... Hamid Reza Zakeri, an Iranian spy, allegedly tried to warn the CIA of the impending September 11 terrorist attacks. German secret service agents said Zakeri worked in the department of the Iranian secret services responsible for "carrying out terrorist attacks globally." ... How many other countries tried to warn the US? Mainstream news reports here say at least 12: Afghanistan, Argentina, Britain, Cayman Islands, Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco and Russia. Since that article was written, it's become known that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan also had some knowledge of the attack beforehand. And Iran. So that's 15 countries. And the US still clings to the fiction that the attack came with no warning whatsoever.

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