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Former Dodgers co-owner Jamie McCourt to be named ambassador to France

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You might recall a couple of months ago that¬†White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was reported to be in favor of nominating Marlins owner Jeff Loria to be the ambassador to France. I’m not sure what happened with that in the interim, but Prebius just got pushed out so, presumably, his ideas no longer hold currency in the West Wing.

Enter a new nominee for the title of ambassador to France: Jaime McCourt, the ex-wife of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Or so reports the Boston Globe. So at least they’re keeping it baseball-related.

For those who don’t recall, Jamie McCourt’s tenure as co-owner of the Dodgers was tumultuous. That is, if you even consider her a co-owner. She claimed at various times that she was or wasn’t depending on whether or not it suited her financially at any given moment and Frank, of course, claimed the opposite whenever it suited him. It was complicated. The important part was that, when she and Frank got divorced, all hell broke loose for a couple of years, making a lot of lawyers rich.

Jamie McCourt also acted financially sophisticated or unsophisticated depending upon what the situation called for. She has an MBA from MIT and a law degree, and worked in private practice as an international securities lawyer for years, representing sophisticated companies in complex deals. Then, after buying the Dodgers, she became deeply involved in matters relating to broadcasting and regional sports network negotiations and ran the team’s charitable operations. That is until all the lawsuits and investigations started and she pretended to be a babe in the woods, wholly unaware of how complicated business was. Since then she’s gone on speaking tours in which she tells women just how bad it is to be unaware of one’s financial situation like she was. Good work if you can get it!

As for the job in France: diplomacy is a tricky business. You have to be able to navigate complicated situations and maintain complicated relationships as facts and positions change on the ground. You have to be flexible and not be afraid of shifting positions as the political winds blow from different directions.

Which is to say that Jamie McCourt outta be perfect for the job.

The 2017 Yankees are, somehow, plucky underdogs

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There’s a lot that has happened in the past year that I never, ever would’ve thought would or even could happen in America. Many of them are serious, some are not, some make me kinda happy and some make me terribly sad. I’m sure a lot of people have felt that way in this oddest of years.

There’s one thing in baseball, however, that still has me searching my feelings in a desperate effort to know what to feel: The New York Yankees are the postseason’s plucky underdogs.

This is not about them being lovable or likable — we touched on that last week — it’s more about the role they play in the grand postseason drama. A postseason they weren’t even supposed to be in.

None of the three writers of this website thought the Yankees would win the AL East or a Wild Card. ESPN had 35 “experts” make predictions back in March, and only one of them — Steve Wulf — thought the Yankees would make the postseason (he thought they’d win the division). I’m sure if you go over the plethora of professional prognosticator’s predictions a few would have the Yankees squeaking in to the postseason on the Wild Card, but that was nothing approaching a consensus view. Their 2017 regular season was a surprise to almost everyone, with the expectation of a solid, if unspectacular rebuilding year being greatly exceeded. To use a sports cliche, nobody believed in them.

Then came the playoffs. Most people figured the Yankees would beat the Twins in the Wild Card game and they did, but most figured they’d be cannon fodder for the Indians. And yep, they fell down early, losing the first two games of the series and shooting themselves in the foot in spectacular fashion in the process. Yet they came back, beating arguably the best team in baseball and certainly the best team in the American League in three straight games despite the fact that . . . nobody believed in them.

Now we’re in the ALCS. The Astros — the other choice for best team in the American League if you didn’t think the Indians were — jumped out to a 2-0 lead, quieting the Yankees’ powerful bats. While a lot of teams have come back from 0-2 holes in seven game series, the feel of this thing as late as Monday morning was that, even if the Yankees take a game at home, Houston was going to cruise into the World Series. Once again . . . nobody believed in them.

Yet, here we are on this late Wednesday morning, with the Yankees having tied things up 2-2. As I wrote this morning, you still have to like the Astros’ chances given that their aces, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, are set to go in Games 5 and 6. I’m sure a lot of people feel still like the Astros’ chances for that reason. So that leads us to this . . .

It’s one thing for no one to have, objectively, believed in the Yankees chances. It’s another thing, though, for the New York Yankees — the 27-time World Champions, the 40-time American League pennant winners, the richest team in the game, the house-at-the-casino, U.S. Steel and the Evil Empire all wrapped into one — to officially play the “nobody believed in us” card on their own account. That’s the stuff of underdogs. Of Davids facing Goliaths. Of The Little Guy, demanding respect that no one ever considered affording them. If you’re not one of those underdogs and you’re playing that card, you’re almost always doing it out of some weird self-motivational technique and no one else will ever take you seriously. And now you’re telling me the NEW YORK FRIGGIN’ YANKEES are playing that card?

Thing is: they’re right. They’ve totally earned the right to play it because, really, no one believed in them. Even tied 2-2, I presume most people still don’t, actually.

I don’t know how to process this. Nothing in my 40 years of baseball fandom has prepared me for the Yankees to be the David to someone else’s Goliath and to claim righteous entitlement to the whole “nobody believed in us” thing.

Which, as I said at the beginning, is nothing new in the year 2017. I just never thought it’d happen in baseball.