Speaking of gallimaufry, “A Heavy Dragoon” is one of the best Gilbert and Sullivan “list” songs, but you seldom hear it. Erudite is the listener who can identify all the historical figured named! The song is from “Patience,” the firs show I ever directed, and still one of my favorites. The singer in the clip above, Darrell Fancourt, played the part of the Mikado more times than anyone, and even dropped dead while playing the role.
1. In baseball history, it’s Moral Luck Day. On July 17, 1941, New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio didn’t get a hit against the Cleveland Indians, in great part due to a pait of great plays by Cleveland third baseman Ken Keltner, finally ending his historic 56-game hitting streak, the longest in MLB history then and now. Largely on the basis of the streak, though it helped that the Yankees won the pennant, DiMaggio was awarded the American League MVP award, despite the fact that Boston’s Ted Williams hit .406 that season, nearly 50 points higher than DiMaggio. In fact, Williams outhit the Yankee during the same 56-game period.
The end of The Yankee Clipper’s amazing streak was luck, and the streak itself was luck. All hitting streaks are. Baseball is the sport most governed by random chance, especially hitting: a well-hit ball can become an out if it happens to be hit within a fielder’s reach, and a ball barely touched by the bat can dribble down the baseline for a cheap hit. DiMaggio was undeniably a great hitter, but many players in baseball history were better; he just was lucky—good, but lucky—for a longer stretch of games than anyone else. Yet of all his many achievements, the 56 game streak in 1941 is the first thing baseball fans cite when assessing the greatness of Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio.
2. It isn’t what it is! Yesterday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that releasing prisoners onto the city’s streets to avoid their infection by the Wuhan virus in jail had made New York City safer, saying, “We now have fewer people in our jails than any time since World War II and we are safer for it and better for it.” De Blasio’s office announced that more than 1,500 inmates had been released from city jails in three weeks, reducing the number of prisoners to its lowest level in 70 years.
The problem is that his assertion is ludicrous. De Blasio’s boast that the prisoner release made the city safer defied the evidence of the results of the prisoner release the NYC Bail reform law required in January 2020. Of those who committed felonies that were no longer eligible for bail, 19.5% were re-arrested at least once after an initial non-bail eligible felony arrest, 1,798 of 9,227 individuals were re-arrested. 2020 recidivism resulted in 1,452 major crime arrests (murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny of a vehicle) vs. 681 in 2019. Meanwhile, shootings in the city were up 205% in June compared to a year earlier. Continue reading