Nobel Peace Prize: Gore, Palmeiro, and now Obama.

To start, I want congratulate President Obama for his victory in winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.   He joins Mikhail  Gorbachev (1990) and Nelson Mandela (1993) as notable leaders who won this prestigious award.  He also joins Al Gore (2007) and Rafael Palmeiro (1999) as Americans that cleary do not deserve such an award.  Now, for the record, I am making no accusation towards any of these individuals with respect to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.  However, their lack of achievement in the area (peace or defense) in which they won their awards really takes the awards themselves into the irrational.

Al Gore.  No comment.  We can save that for another day.  Rafael Palmeiro.  I can keep this brief.  Back in 1999,  Palmeiro won a Rawlings Gold Glove award for his play at first base while being a member of the Texas Rangers.  As for background, each year, a “Gold Glove” is given out to one player in each league at each of the nine baseball positions.  To his credit, Palmeiro only made only one error during the 1999 Major League Baseball season (and errors are bad things).  Ordinarily that would be an incredible accomplishment for a first baseman (who is the guy that all the infielders throw to).  However, he only played in 28 games at first base that season (and there are 162 games in a season).  The other games he played (135 of them) were as the designated hitter (a designated hitter is what is says, a player, who only hits, and does not field).  The Rawlings Gold Glove is awarded to those players who exhibit “defensive excellence.”  How that was exhibited by a player that played defense in less than 20% of his team’s games (as opposed to the normal 80-95%) is a question that will remain forever unanswered. 

Now we are presented with another award that does not appear warranted.  As legend tells us, after Alfred Nobel died in 1896, his will spoke to us and offered an annual Nobel Peace Prize “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”  I hope one day President Obama meets this standard.  To claim he already has is dishonest.

It should be noted that this peace prize is awarded by a committee of only five people, all of which are elected by the Norwegian Parliament.  In its press release on October 9, 2009, this committee awarded President Obama the prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”  When did that happen?  The press release specifically stated that the committee “attached special importance to [President] Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”  What work?  And how did the word “vision” get in there?  I believe the standard above specifically states “have done” — visions are irrelevant.  To the committee’s credit, they did try to show how the vision actually did something (”[t]he vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations”), but, seriously, can anyone argue that this rises to the level of the Nobel standard above?

Nonetheless, I again congratulate President Obama for winning this award.  (Mr. Palmeiro gets no such respect from me as that was Tino Martinez’s award in 1999.)  President Obama has obviously “done” something to win this peace prize.  In my opinion, that was impressing five Norwegians with him vision.  Imagine if he actually does something to lead us to a world without nuclear weapons.  What would he win then — a Gold Glove?

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December 14th, 2009 at 09:46pm Brian

Entry Filed under: Baseball, International, Random

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