The Far Middle episode 130 begins by going back 77 years ago today, to November 15, 1946, when Ted Williams earned his first American League MVP award, which he would earn again in 1949. “Teddy Ballgame” serves as this episode’s sports dedication.
Nick looks back at the awesomeness that was Ted Williams, from the Hall of Famer’s accomplishments on the diamond (nineteen-time All-Star, two-time Triple Crown, the last to hit .400 in a season, the list continues) to his military service off the field during World War II and the Korean War. Nick notes that he’s the only Hall of Famer to have served in two wars. To put it simply, Ted Williams was, “The greatest hitter that ever played the game, a true individual in every sense of the word, and one of the greatest Americans,” says Nick.
Williams made hitting a science. Indeed, he wrote a book on it, The Science of Hitting. In true Far Middle fashion, science then continues as a recurring theme across this episode’s connections.
Those connections begin with a bit of political science and geopolitics in terms of what people in prominent positions often say or backtrack from once said, highlighting JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon’s comments regarding communism (and indirectly China) as one recent example.
On the topic of China, Nick calls out Climate Czar John Kerry for doing everything in his unelected power to destroy domestic energy and manufacturing jobs, while helping bolster the Chinese workforce in the “interest of tackling climate change.”
The episode’s lineup delivers back-to-back-to-back hits on topics ranging from America and the West’s policies on climate and energy, and the resulting heavy price being paid by the developed and developing world; to, examining science as a philosophy that challenges consensus, versus science as an institution driven by ideology.
And with college basketball season having tipped off, Nick heads to Durham, NC, to close out the episode. Nick discusses Duke and Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game as an example of how much of the dysfunction discussed in this installment’s connections is rooted in academia.
“Do you think our rivals in China are focusing on the same things that our supposed best and brightest at Duke are focused on,” asks Nick; concluding that instead of treating American academia as the authority on all things policy and science-related, we should rather be demanding academia’s reform.
Notes from the Far Middle: The great Ted Williams was born on August 30, 1918, and was considered for dedication this past August 30th for the release of episode 119. However, legendary Boston Celtics Coach and Executive “Red” Auerbach earned the episode’s honors. As Far Middle connections are a constant, Coach K turned down an opportunity to join the Celtics (and Auerbach) as coach in 1990. He’d go on to win five NCAA Championships, second only in all-time wins to UCLA Coach John Wooden’s ten-championship tally, whose greatness was recognized in episode 121.