Friday, July 14, 2006

Nobles: “Strikeout for Troops,” founded by Oakland A’s pitcher Barry Zito, for honoring the real American All Stars.

Generally speaking, all-star games don’t generate the same excitement as regular-season games, despite the presence of the best players in baseball, because they don’t mean anything — well, other than deciding which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series.

All-Star pitcher Zito wanted to change that: “I don’t want this date to pass without recognizing our country’s brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines, who are America’s true all-stars and who represent our country with honor while fighting for our freedom,” he said before the game Tuesday night. So, Zito decided that for every strikeout thrown, he would donate $500 to assist wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Bethesda Naval Medical Center and other military hospitals in the country.

That was $300 more than Zito and dozens of other players have pledged to donate during regular season games through “Strikeout for Troops.” Since the program’s inception in April 2005, it has raised more than $190,000, much of which has come from players and fans. After Tuesday’s night game, Zito added $5,500 to that total, thanks to the whiffs and curveballs of his fellow players.

Readers can check out the good work players like Zito are doing over at their Web site,, which explains how they can get involved.

For making a strikeout not such a bad thing (for the batters), Zito and the rest of the players at “Strikeout for Troops” are the Nobles of the week.

Knaves: Cindy Sheehan, whose “Troops Home Fast” ended rather fast.

On July 4, Mrs. Sheehan pledged herself to a hunger strike that would last until September to protest the Iraq war. The usual Hollywood lefties like Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon joined in — well, not really. Their fast consisted of a one-day hunger strike which they would then “pass on” to the next person.

Anyway, it turns out fasting is really quite a grueling practice. Who knew? On Day 6, Mrs. Sheehan wrote the following update on a blog: “I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy, yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it.” So, now drinking smoothies — not to mention coffee with ice cream — qualifies as fasting?

She continues: “However, there is not a Jamba Juice on every corner, so blended juice drinks with protein powder are impossible to find.” Indeed, that was Gandhi’s biggest complaint as well.

For exposing the vapidity of the celebrity left, Mrs. Sheehan is the Knave of the week.

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