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October 24th, 2002:

Aggressive baserunning

So I’m watching Game Five of the World Series. It’s the top of the fifth and the Giants are leading the Angels 6-0. The Angels lead off with pinch hitter Orlando Palmeiro, who hits a one-hopper off the wall in right. Palmeiro, running aggressively, chugged into second for a double. A good throw might have had a shot at him. David Eckstein then singled, and after a sac fly Eckstein went from first to third on a single by Tim Salmon, just beating the throw from Kenny Lofton.

Eckstein then scored on a wild pitch, again just beating the throw from Benito Santiago to pitcher Jason Schmidt. That’s Angels baseball, scratching out runs. Both runners’ aggressiveness looked good when Garrett Anderson struck out – it would have been second and third with two outs and only one run in otherwise.

Of course, Troy Glaus then doubled off the wall in left, just missing a home run, to drive in Salmon. Had Eckstein run the bases like Mo Vaughn, he still would have scored. Go-go baserunning is fun and can certainly pay off, but I’m the kind of stodgy grump who believes in not risking outs on the basepaths when you’re down by more than two runs. Tim McCarver praised Eckstein for his aggressiveness but never noted either the risk involved (the Angels would have been held to one run had Eckstein or Palmeiro been erased) or the fact that Glaus’ double made the whole exercise moot. That’s a pet peeve of mine – announcers never do that sort of thing, which in my mind always skews the perception of the risk/reward ratio.

OK, enough crotchetiness. Back to the game.

CNN on Ron Kirk

CNN says Ron Kirk has the buzz, though they say his campaign is the hare to John Cornyn’s tortoise:

At a recent fund-raiser in the affluent Dallas neighborhood of Highland Park, Kirk worked the crowd of mostly wealthy, white Republicans with a master’s touch. His smile beamed; he seemed to know everyone and was in a constant motion of handshaking and backslaps.

When he was Dallas mayor, Kirk won firm support from these white Republicans who helped Bush when he was governor of Texas. And that is what has Republicans worried. “All the excitement is on the Kirk side of this election,” said Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

He said Cornyn was a solid candidate who was likely to win, but “none of the sizzle is on his side of the equation.”

“This is one of the more high profile races in the country simply because there is a highly qualified black candidate who is within striking distance of winning this race,” he said.

I just hope their fairy tale analogy is wrong. Via Mac.

Enron grand jury eyes Kenny Boy

From today’s Chron:

The Houston federal grand jury investigating Enron has heard from several witnesses this week about the personal finances of former Chairman Ken Lay.

The witnesses are the first indication the grand jury is considering the possibility Lay engaged in insider trading when he sold $70 million in stock last year as the share price spiraled steadily downward. Federal investigators, however, indicated months ago they would look into Lay’s stock trades.

[…]

In November 2000, Lay and other Enron executives began taking advantage of a new rule allowing options to be exercised and sold regularly year-round as long as it is done on a plan approved by securities regulators.

Almost every workday, Lay exercised a fixed number of options and sold the same amount of stock on the market, netting the difference. From Nov. 1, 2000, until early February 2001, Lay exercised about 4,000 shares per day; from February to April 2001, the amount dropped to about 3,000; and from May 1 through Aug. 21, the amount went back up to 3,500.

Lay began these programmed sales shortly after Enron stock hit a peak of more than $90 per share in August 2000. He continued on a similar pace as the stock began dropping in February 2001 and throughout the year.

Programmed trading has yet to be tested as a defense against insider-trading charges.

Investigators are likely, however, to be interested in several sales outside the programmed schedule that netted Lay as much as $70 million. In each of those transactions, Lay sold about $4 million worth of shares back to Enron. His attorney previously explained that they were used to pay off loans to various banks that were secured with Enron stock.

The first such transaction was on Dec. 28, 2000. Others came in February, April, May (two), June (six), July, late August (four) and early September.

“Between June and August 2001, the pattern of Lay’s insider trading was substantially inconsistent with his prior trading behavior, inconsistent with rational behavior assuming Enron’s shares were fairly priced by the market but consistent with rational behavior assuming Lay had a reasonable expectation that the price of Enron’s shares was inflated,” the report said.

The report concluded there was only “remote chance” the sales were not related to his knowledge of information relevant to the company’s stock performance.

Start practicing your perp walk, Kenny Boy.

Webhost problems

Couldn’t get logged into Movable Type until now due to CGI errors. My web host still hasn’t answered my email, but at least the problem is solved. Let’s hope it stays that way.