Thursday, May 31, 2012

THE ORIOLES WERE NEVER THE BROWNS!


  The Orioles were never the Browns! As the first Public Relations Director of the Orioles I can testify to the fact that neither those of us connected with the club or the fans of Baltimore ever thought of ourselves as a continuation of the Browns. We were a new franchise, a new ball club, an entirely new organization, and our history was tied into the long history of Baltimore Orioles baseball, not St. Louis baseball.
The St. Louis Browns had their own history. Unfortunately their story came to an end in 1953. There’s no need to tack on Baltimore’s history to their history.  To read something like the following is really annoying to me:

When the Orioles were the St. Louis Browns, they played in only one World Series, the 1944 matchup against their Sportsman's Park tenants, the Cardinals.    

That’s a quote from a current Wikipedia article on the "Baltimore Orioles.'' Here’s another from the same article:

        The Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's American League. One of the American League's eight charter franchises in 1901, it spent its first year as a major league club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the Milwaukee Brewers before moving to St. Louis to become the St. Louis Browns. After 52 mostly hapless years in St. Louis, the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and adopted the Orioles name in honor of the official state bird of Maryland. 

Memorial Stadium, home of the American League Orioles from 1954 until they
 moved to Camden Yards, following the 1991 season. The once proud stadium
has since been demolished.
That last sentence is totally false! The Browns did not adopt the name "Orioles." The new owners of the Baltimore franchise assumed the name.
        Note that the article traces the Orioles’ history back even to the Milwaukee Brewers, but I can’t fault the anonymous author of the article, because he or she is just repeating the commonly accepted version of things. But the commonly accepted version of things needs to be corrected!
Baltimoreans take no pride in the fact that Hugh Duffy of the old Milwaukee Brewers is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Yet he along with several former Browns’ are grouped with the Orioles Hall of Famers under the general heading “Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famers”! That’s ridiculous! The Orioles were never the Browns, and the Orioles were never the Brewers!
        When the group of Marylanders led by Attorney Clarence W. Miles purchased the St. Louis Browns franchise in 1953, the Browns ceased to be. The new owners also purchased the International League Orioles from their owner, Jack Dunn III, part of whose compensation was the guarantee of a permanent front office position with the new Major League organization.
        The city of Richmond, Virginia, was awarded the International League franchise vacated by Baltimore. The owners of the new American League franchise had no intention of calling their new team anything else but THE ORIOLES.
Don Larsen, a former Brown
pitcher, who, after a 3 and 21

season with the Orioles, was

traded to the Yankees, where

he pitched a perfect game in

the 1956 World Series vs.

the Brooklyn Dodgers.
        Seventeen of the former Browns players were retained by the new Orioles General Manager, Arthur Ehlers, and team Manager Jimmy Dykes. For these players, as for all other professional baseball players, their individual statistics include their time with any and all teams for whom they played, including the Browns.
        The Major League Orioles’ team records, however, date from 1954, their first season in the American League. Now here’s where baseball historians, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and The Baseball Encyclopedia (the holy bible of Major League Baseball), are all completely wrong, in my view. In adding up the team records of the current Orioles, they include the St. Louis Browns’ records, as if they were a continuous franchise!
        If the records of the present team are to be linked to those of any other American League team, let it be to the 1901 and 1902 American League Orioles. That franchise, incidentally, was moved to New York, but the Yankees were never the Orioles! Rather the Orioles joined the International League, where they remained for 51 years!
Oriole Park on 29th Street, where the International League Orioles played
until the ball park burned down the night of July 4, 1944. They then moved
to Baltimore Municipal Stadium, which was converted into a baseball park
 in ten days under the supervision of Orioles Business Manager Herb
Armstrong. The AAA Orioles outdrew ten of the Major League clubs
that season!
        Furthermore, before the original American League Orioles, there were the National League Orioles from 1892 to 1900! To complete this historical outline, Baltimore’s first professional baseball team made its debut in 1872, when they obtained a franchise in the second year of the National Association of Profession Baseball Players, the first organized baseball league, commonly referred to as The National Association. They were known then as “the Canaries,” also referred to as the “Yellow Stockings” or the “Lord Baltimores.”                    
        Their three-year history in that league ended rather ignominiously and even scandalously, so that organized baseball did not return to Baltimore until 1882, when the city joined the newly formed American Association, which was started to rival the seven-year old National League. It was in 1883 that they became known as “the Orioles,” and Baltimore’s professional baseball team, whatever the league, has been called that ever since.
        There is another aspect to my argument that needs to be pointed out. Who owns a team’s nickname? Since I’m not an intellectual properties attorney, there are legal issues here about which I’m not qualified to speak.  But I can express my opinion about the moral/ethical implications. As a PR person, I worked hard to build the loyalty of our fans. The Orioles were their (the fans') team. They were Baltimore’s team. They were the Baltimore Orioles.
        Perish the thought, but if the franchise is ever moved, I think it would be wrong for the owners, be they new or the same individuals, to take the nickname with them. The nickname belongs to the community, in my opinion. If it doesn’t, it should. I realize that other communities could name their team “the Orioles,” but that should not preclude a new Baltimore team from becoming the new Baltimore Orioles, if that’s what the fans want.
        Maybe there’s a time factor here that should be figured into any decision related to a community’s claim to the nickname of its sports teams. If a city has been linked to a team’s name as long as Baltimore has to the Orioles, the fans of that city should have the first claim to that name as long as they want.
        When Walter O’Malley moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles, he had the legal right to move the franchise, but I don’t think he had the moral right to call them the Dodgers. Because of their long association with Brooklyn, they should have been called something else. To the Brooklyn fans, they were their Dodgers!  Nor should the team records of the two franchises be combined! The Brooklyn Dodgers had their records and the Los Angeles Dodgers have theirs.  Brooklyn fans can take no civic pride in L.A.’s accomplishments.
        If in the unlikely event that Brooklyn should ever again acquire a Major League franchise, and if the fans so desire, they should have the right to call themselves the Brooklyn Dodgers again. I feel the same way about the Athletics and the Braves and every other team that moves. The name belongs to the community! Baltimore got it right, so let's not muddy the Crab Town waters by saying the Orioles were once the Browns. No! The Orioles were always the Orioles.
        So when Horace Stoneham, at the encouragement of Walter O’Malley, moved the New York National League franchise to San Francisco, even though he continued to be the owner, and even though he may have trademarked the name of the team, they ceased to be the New York Giants. Again, the records of those two franchises should not be combined.
        In the case of the Browns, the franchise was acquired by new owners, and as stated above, the Browns ceased to be. It would have been wrong, in my opinion, for Baltimore to call its new team “the Browns.” The Browns belonged to St. Louis, and that’s where their memory, as the Browns, should rest in peace. The franchise was buried in St. Louis, not in Baltimore.
        The Baltimore Orioles were never the Browns! Who will join me in spreading that word?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

THIS WILL MAKE YOUR SPINE TINGLE!

The Ambassadors of Harmony, a 160-member chorus from St. Charles, Missouri, won the International Barbershop Chorus Championship in 2009. All of the competing choruses were excellent, but if you watch this video, you'll know why the Ambassadors, under the direction of Dr. Jim Henry, took top honors this time with two spectacular arrangements by Dr. David Wright, this being one of them. Turn the sound up, click on the link below, then click on the full screen button at the bottom of the YouTube picture. Be sure to watch the entire video, because the ending is spectacular! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QmDGntpZC3I

SEE ANY ADDRESS!

Here's another link, sent by my friend Lee Neuwirth.
You can type in and view any address in the world!
Check it out.

http://showmystreet.com/

CHECK THIS OUT!

A friend sent me this link today, which I had never seen.
Maybe you haven't either. Give it a click. It's amazing!

http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/flash/

Sunday, May 27, 2012

IT'S NO SURPRISE


        President Obama deserves neither the credit nor the blame for the price of gas, over which he has no control whatsoever. Yet his Republican critics were quick to blame him for the high gas prices a few weeks ago. Now that gas prices have fallen significantly, those same critical voices are predictably silent.
        Is anyone surprised about that?

WAKE UP AMERICA!

        If you want to know what a right-wing Republican administration would be like, just look at what is happening in Republican controlled States around the country. Their attack on public education is frightening (e.g. Pennsylvania and Ohio)! Their war on women's rights continues (e.g. Virginia). Their efforts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters, including especially the poor, the elderly, and immigrants, the overwhelming majority of whom have voted Democratic (e.g. Florida) is outrageous. Their determination to destroy labor unions (e.g. Wisconsin) is a frontal attack on a basic American right.
        Yet these Republican Governors have Mr. Romney's full support. Republican contributions from outside the State of Wisconsin, for example, have enabled Governor Scott Walker to outspend his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, 25 to 1 in his effort to prevent his being recalled from office! It is astounding and terribly disturbing that half of Wisconsin's voters either do not realize what is going on or are too partisan to care. Wake up Wisconsin!
        Wake up, America!






Saturday, May 26, 2012

COMPARING THE CANDIDATES

        Mitt Romney claims that he is better qualified than Barack Obama to fix the American economy because of his experience in the business sector. President Obama is challenging that claim ---effectively, in my view.
       While acknowledging that private equity firms have their legitimate place in our free enterprise system, President Obama points out that their main purpose is not to create jobs but to make money for their investors. He concedes that Mr. Romney did a good job at that at Bain Capital. The President argues, however, that such a role does not qualify someone to be President, whose main concern must be the welfare of all the people, not just investors, and certainly not just the wealthy.
        Since the Republicans want to make the economy the focus of their campaign, President Obama has every right to engage them on that issue. The economic statistics tell a different story from the one presented by Mr. Romney and his surrogates. Government spending under Mr. Obama's administration, for example, is actually the lowest it has been in decades. More than four million private sector jobs have been created. Corporate profits as a share of the nation's GDP are the highest they have been since 1950! Millions more Americans have health care insurance. The auto industry is back on its feet. But these and other positive accomplishments are conveniently ignored or discredited by the Republicans.
        Everyone knows, and the President is the first to admit, that there is still much more to be done. The unemployment rate is much too high. Our infrastructure is in desperate need of a major overhaul. There's a long way to go to a full recovery, but we're moving in the right direction. Partisan voters have short memories, but they must not be allowed to forget the state of the economy when Barack Obama entered the White House. The question posed by the President, echoing what many Americans have asked, is "Why should we go back to the same Bush policies that got us into this mess in the first place?"
        Mr. Romney apparently is either unaware that his policies would do that, or he doesn't care. Either alternative is unacceptable to those who remember what the Bush years were like, and how his trickle down tax policies led to the huge national debt, the budget deficit, the Wall Street financial crisis, and the high unemployment rate inherited by the Obama administration.
        It is a mystery how so many Americans can be bamboozled by Mr. Romney's platitudinous rhetoric. They obviously don't want to be confused by the facts. Their hatred of Barack Obama blinds them to reality.They refuse to give the President credit for any of his many accomplishments, most of which were achieved without any support or cooperation from the Republicans.
         To be sure, both the President and Governor Romney must be held accountable for what they say. The difference between the two men, however, in their factual accuracy, in their specific proposals, and in their basic commitments, is plain to any objective observer. It is obvious which one is on the side of the poor and the middle class, and which one is on the side of the wealthiest one percent. Mitt Romney's views on public education and taxes are evidence enough as to where he stands.    
         Mr. Romney, whose record as Governor of Massachusetts was apparently not worthy of his using it as proof of his readiness to be President (he prefers to point to his record as a venture capitalist), feels he is nevertheless better qualified to be President than the man who will have already held the office for four years, and who has accomplished much in those years.
         His opponents have every right to differ with the President on the issues and challenges facing our nation and how to solve them. But the tone of their attacks is often despicable. His attackers bristle when anyone suggests their criticism reflects their latent if not their overt racism. But what else can it be, when their comments about him are so disparaging, unfair, and untrue?
         And what is most disturbing is that Republican Party leaders, including Mitt Romney himself, do not forthrightly repudiate those attacks. Witness Romney's silence on Donald Trump's continual questioning of the legitimacy of Mr. Obamba's citizenship.
         Mr. Romney has been widely criticized for his mendacity. The truth is, however, that it is not politically expedient for him to tell the truth about his opponent or about himself. Instead we are forced to keep waiting for the real Mitt Romney to reveal himself. Maybe the real Mitt Romney is none other than the Mitt Romney we've been watching all along ---the flip flopping Mitt Romney.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

PRODIGAL PARALLEL

Herb, many years later
My brother Herb was seventeen, when he one day in May
got up at dawn, loaded his car, and quietly drove away.
He left a note to tell our parents not to worry, for
he’d make a fortune and not be a burden any more.
Before that morning I had never seen my father cry.
The news hit both my parents like a ton of bricks, and I,
a twelve-year-old, did not know what to think, or say, or do,
for why my brother would run off like that nobody knew.
My brother’s disappearance was reported right away.
Police were searching everywhere throughout the U. S. A.
My father blamed himself, because he felt that he had failed.
It was a mystery in view of all that it entailed,
for as an intellectual my brother had few peers.
He’d sparkled at Johns Hopkins University three years,
where he was one of the best students they had ever seen.
He would have graduated at the age of just eighteen.
He might have been too smart for his own good, and maybe bored.
There was a fascinating world out there to be explored.
Herb had been difficult to raise, my parents often said;
no punishment or force could drive a notion from his head.
He scoffed at unexamined rules and hated to be bossed.
In his rebelliousness he sometimes failed to count the cost.
I, on the other hand, they said, was more obedient.
I almost never had to suffer any punishment.
My brother thought that I received more love from them than he,
but they’d spent far more raising Herb than they had spent on me.
They bought him a used car to drive to Hopkins every day,
and that’s the vehicle he used to make his getaway.
He’d told no one at all his plans, and when someone at last
located him in New Orleans, some seven months had passed.
They found him in a frat house living under a false name,
deeply in debt, remorseful, and holding himself to blame.
He’d sold his car, hocked all his books, and had nowhere to turn,
and all the grand illusions of the fortune he would earn
had been shipwrecked upon the reef of grim reality.
Embarrassed and ashamed he yearned to see his family.
My parents were elated and relieved, to say the least,
for every day that Herb was gone their worry had increased.
And now they couldn’t wait to have their son back home again.
They hadn’t been so happy since I can’t remember when.
My father wired Herb a large sum to pay off all his debts.
It was a sacrifice for one paid what a teacher gets.
He also sent Herb money for his lengthy train-trip home.
No longer was Dad’s main concern, “What led my son to roam?”
It was three days till Christmas Eve, when Herb walked through the door.
I’d never seen my Mom and Dad rejoice like that before.
My father never asked Herb to explain why he had left,
or indicated how much he and mother were bereft
by his departure, or blamed him for their anxiety.
They simply celebrated his home-coming gratefuly,
and I remember feeling some resentment of the fact
there was no mention of the pain he’d caused them by his act.
But I was glad to have my older brother home again,
and we became much closer after both of us were men.
The prodigal was home again, and I the younger son
observe that in the parable it was the older one
who stayed at home, and did his work, and was obedient.
The younger son did not return till all he had was spent.
He’d squandered his inheritance and wallowed with the pigs.
How very like the plight of Herb, alias J. R. Diggs.
I learned so much about myself from Jesus’ parable.
I also learned about God’s love, “forever flowing full.”
I saw my father’s aching heart reach out in selfless love
and welcome home his wayward son, as God has done above.
I understand how God relates to those who stick around,
and why there is such joy in heaven, when the lost is found.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TO THE FAIR-MINDED PEOPLE OF WISCONSIN


Don’t let Scott Walker buy his reelection with big bucks from corporate interests outside of Wisconsin. You have a powerful weapon: the right to vote. Use it!

Republicans and Democrats alike should be alarmed that Governor Walker is outspending Mayor Tom Barrett 25 to 1, largely with money from outside the State. According to current polls, it is having its effect. It is incredible that even some union members, who have the most to lose if Walker wins, have been deceived by his "divide and conquer" strategy. Are you going to let the Koch brothers and their ilk determine who wins the election on June 5?

Wisconsin is a microcosm of America. Karl Rove has a new $10,000,000 ad out attacking Barack Obama that is full of false information about his record as President. Wisconsinites can lead the way in exercising the power of the people to prevent a few rich billionaires from buying any election. Rest assured they’re putting their own interests ahead of yours.

A million people signed the petition for Walker’s recall. It was a grass roots movement. Those who until now have been undecided, or who have been hoodwinked by the deluge of  Walker’s campaign ads, should take your stand and do the right thing for your fellow citizens whose basic rights are being threatened by the Walker administration.

We’re watching, Wisconsin.  Set an example for the nation!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A CHILD'S FAITH

Gray (6) with his older brother Derek
We're happy that our little grandson Gray
        enjoys the times he spends the night with us.
Because he loves the bedtime games we play,
        he always goes to bed without a fuss.
Indeed, he bounces up the stairs with joy,
        anticipating a "Good night" routine
well calculated to delight a boy
        who knows his lines in this well-practiced                            scene.    
So when we've finished all the games once more,
        I say, "I think it's time to go to sleep."
And then I make a move toward the door.
        But Gray, who knows just what to say to keep
me there, reminds me that I haven't yet
        told him a story.  "What about?" I ask.
He knows just what reply will always get
        me to remain:  "'bout Jesus!"  That's a task
he knows I can't refuse.  And so I smile
        and take my seat again upon his bed.
Then, after I have thought a little while,
        about the many things that I have said,
in all the stories I've already told
        about the love of Jesus for us all,
I try to talk in words a six-year-old
        will understand and later on recall.
One night, when I had told how Jesus had
        raised Lazarus his good friend from the dead,
I thought, "How can I help this little lad
        to deal with such a concept in his head?"
The two of us were soon deeply engrossed
        in theological discussion.  Gray
was listening intently, and was most
        intrigued by everything I had to say                                               
about how even though we cannot see
        the Christ, we still can love him as a Friend,
unseen, but real.  It is a mystery
        a six-year-old would hardly comprehend,
one might have thought.  "Gray, can you understand?"
        He nodded, as I went on to explain.
"He's always here in spirit, and his hand
        is reaching out to heal when we're in pain.
Wherever you may go, you can be glad
        he'll be there when you need him. And if you
should ever do something you know is bad,
        he will forgive you, if you ask him to,
because he loves you, Gray, and what is more
        he'll be your Friend forever!  Even when
Gray (center) with his older
brother Derek (L) and cousin Seth (R)
you die, you can be absolutely sure
        that you will be with him in heaven."           Then
I asked Gray what he thought of what I'd said,
        as I stood up to go turn out the light.
My grandson, who was lying in the bed,
       was wiggling with furious delight!
No wonder Jesus wants us all to turn
        and be like little children in our praise.
For what we lukewarm Christians need to learn
        is childlike trust and joy in Christ
        ---like Gray's!*

* Gray, now 29, is completing his Ph.D. program in Astrophysics at 
Columbia University. He is married and has a 2½-year-old son named 
Gabriel. Now it's the stars that make him wiggle with furious delight!

Monday, May 21, 2012

HOPE FOR THE CHURCH


There is hope for the Church
     in these trouble-filled days.
There is hope, since the One
     in whose name the Church prays
is still Lord of the Church
     and the Church cannot fail,
for he said that the gates
     of hell shall not prevail.

There is hope for the Church
     in this world of great need.
There is hope for the Church
     that will follow the lead
of the Suffering Servant
     whose good news the Church bears.  
And there's hope for the world,
     if the Church really cares!

(from Enough, Already! and Other Church Rhymes)





Friday, May 18, 2012

NUCLEAR DISASTER

The global impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster is far more serious than most people realize. If you are wondering why, click on the link below and read the article! 

http://www.nationofchange.org/pacific-ocean-dying-1337346516




CONVOCATION DAY

Our son Ricky died of leukemia at the age of five and a half. His death occurred on the morning of the Convocation of Princeton Theological Seminary’s 144th year. It was the day that marked the beginning of my three years as a seminary student. I didn’t feel at all like attending the Convocation, but my wife Margie thought it would be good for me to go. The memory of that experience haunted me for years, until, after years of struggling, I finally was able to put my thoughts into words. The following poem,
entitled "Convocation Day," is the deeply personal result of that effort. It is included in my book A Sense of Being Called, along with a much more detailed account of  Ricky's story and its impact on my pilgrimage from professional baseball into the ministry.

Ricky (14 months)
Are these my thoughts, or are they dreams?          
The voice is real,
and yet I feel
beyond the reach of any well-intended word
I may have heard
but did not really hear.
So near
the vocal sound, and yet so far
from my half-conscious mind, it seems.
My mental door is left ajar,
as in a stupor, vaguely sensing all
yet feeling not at all.
My dry, unblinking eyes are seeing naught,
as though they have been caught
in some weird state of flux between
reality
and fantasy,
while I am bound
with chains unseen
by those around,
who, far from mean,
are quite transfixed by words addressed
to them but nonetheless expressed
Ricky (two)
in unfeigned sympathy
for me
because our son has died
this very morn—their convocation day.
Why am I sitting here this way?
Because, resolved
to be involved,
I forced myself at last to come.
My body, mind and soul are numb.                                                            
I have not cried
as yet.
I feel as if I'm in a kind of trance,
aware enough to dare
to hope
by some divinely ordained chance
that this indeed is one nightmare
from which I shall awake
to find our son still there.
But my heartache
is much too strong,
though all along
Andy, Ricky, and Ellen 
his Mom and I have known this day
would come.
Still we had hoped by some
much prayed-for miracle of grace
that God would spare our son,
whose face
is in my mind's eye clearly now.
The speaker's voice announces how
"One of our students and his wife today
have suffered a great loss,"
and something else about a cross.                                        
Then, for some reason, suddenly
I'm jolted from my reverie
by my harsh rediscovery
that all these words of sympathy
are meant for Margie and for me.
It is our son whose death is news
to all the strangers in these pews.
The voice confirms my saddest fears,
and now I'm fighting back the tears.
The muscles of my throat are sore
from swallowing the lump. What's more,
In front of Univ. of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia
I feel a claustrophobic urge
to rush out from this crowded place.
I'm on the verge
of screaming, No!
It can't be so.
I can't erase
the awful truth, and yet. . . and yet
there's still a shade
of disbelief that will not fade,
nor will it let
me rest at ease until I know.
Is it false hope, or morbid fear,
or grief compelling me to go?
The friendly greetings that I hear,
as I push through the parting crowd,
are answered with a weak, forced smile,
but not aloud. And all the while
my heart pounds with anticipation,
not in hopeful expectation.
It’s as if some heartless fiend
has gleaned
a devilish delight
in tempting me
to think tonight
Our last family photo with Ricky
that Ricky might be there,
and thus propelling me
by hope
that soon would turn into a deep despair,
a cruel trick, the kind
a sadist plays upon a tortured mind.
The tempo of my heartbeat
now is faster than my running feet,
crossing the lawn, as I have done
so many times to see my son.
Then bounding up the concrete stair
and pushing wide the door, I stare
into the darkness of the room,
where normally there is a light.
But not tonight,
for Margie is exhausted by her long ordeal.
She did not feel
that she could go with me
to such a convocation.
Having had to bear the brunt of Ricky's recent tribulation,
she has gone for days
and days
with very little sleep or rest,
and both of us had thought it best
that she stay home instead.
Since she is now in bed,
I gently close the door,
and then, I do the same
as I have done so many times before:
I softly call his name.
It's not that I
think he'll reply,
but that I must now play again
the little game
we played, we two,
which in the final days I knew                                                             
would have to come to this,
a sad pretending, like a lover's kiss
bestowed upon the breeze,
to sadden, not to please
the heart,
which, though about to break,
must from the start
indulge its pain
for love's sake.
So I wait in vain,
suspended in the silent void,
to hear once more the bravely cheerful voice of one
I so enjoyed
and loved, reply
"Hi, Daddy!" to be followed by
my "hello hug." But now
I feel the agonizing absence. Yet somehow
I cannot let myself believe our little boy is gone.
My loving wife will comfort me
and I her, and we both will see,
that life goes on,
as people say,
and convocations like today,
while she and I,
so painfully bereft
are left
to wonder,

Why?













Monday, May 14, 2012

ALL EYES ON WISCONSIN

      A million Wisconsinites have signed a petition to recall their Republican Governor, Scott Walker. It is a grass roots movement to prevent the Walker administration from eliminating the collective bargaining rights of State public 
employee unions. With some of his aides under criminal investigation, the Governor himself engaged two criminal defense attorneys, all of which has heightened the demand for his recall. The recall election will take place on June 5.
      Walker has mounted an aggressive defense, having raised millions of dollars outside the State from his Republican allies, including the Koch brothers. Yet he falsely accuses his opponents of doing the same, even while vastly outspending them. The reality is that the recall movement has been supported largely by the people themselves, whose small donations cannot match the huge contributions of Walker's corporate contributors.
      Walker raised five times more than the four Democratic candidates put together in the recent primary, yet he and his supporters are trying to paint him as the victim. Witness the following excerpts from a recent article in the right-wing on-line publication NEWSMAX:
      "The left-wing labor unions, the screaming hordes of anti-capitalists and every member of Barack Obama's Administration hate Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker because he is a true American Patriot who stands for what he believes in.
      And these radicals have assembled the largest and most sophisticated recall campaign in American history in order to exact their revenge on this brave man.
      Governor Scott Walker needs the help of every conservative regardless of where you live! Stand up to Barack Obama and his big government union allies and make an emergency donation of $25, $50, $100, $250 or whatever you can afford to the Conservative StrikeForce. . . 
      You see, there is no way we can leave Scott Walker on his own to defeat the unions. The left is spending tens of millions of dollars to destroy this man[False! The Wisconsin Democratic Party is appealing to the Democratic National Committee for help they have yet to receive. At the moment they are being outspent 20 to 1 in television advertising!]  That's where the Conservative StrikeForce PAC comes in. We are ready to fight hard in Wisconsin to defeat the greedy unions and keep Scott Walker in office. . . 
 
      It was just one year ago when Governor Scott Walker proposed revolutionary legislation aimed at reining in public sector unions and saving Wisconsin's economy. . . The state legislature passed his reforms. Unemployment in Wisconsin fell, and the nation took notice. [Early reports showed Wisconsin ranked last among all the States in job creation last year. In an unusual move to counter this statistic, the Governor used information schedule to be released from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 28 to announce today that Wisconsin had gained gained rather than lost jobs in 2011. Even so the figure, which is not yet official, is far less than the Governor's announced goal.] . . .
      The unions and all their leftist allies are trying to destroy Scott Walker by spending millions upon millions of dollars in the nastiest and most dishonest campaign I have ever seen! [False! See above.] 
      Just consider what Scott Walker is facing:
  • A left-wing judge who signed a petition demanding that Walker be recalled and whose wife works for the recall campaign just ruled that Wisconsin's ballot security law [Part of the Republicans' voter suppression efforts!]  cannot be enforced this election! [Good!]
  • Twenty-nine additional judges in Wisconsin have violated their oaths of office and have openly declared their support for Walker's recall. [That 29 judges feel Walker should be recalled does not speak well for the Governor!]
  • And, twenty-five Wisconsin "journalists" have openly come out in favor of Walker's defeat! [Nor does that!] . . . 
      This is how committed the left is to beating Scott Walker. To them, this is a battle for survival and they will do anything – ANYTHING – in order to win. [Wrong! It is Walker who is fighting for survival and is doing anything he can to win!] . . .
       Governor Walker and his allies are being outspent massively by the labor unions and he needs our help. [
That is absolutely false! The amounts raised are public information.] . . .
      The big labor unions are draining the bank accounts of their affiliates from states all across the country and are sending the proceeds directly to Wisconsin to pay for attack ads! [Not true!]

For America,

Dennis Whitfield
Chairman, Conservative StrikeForce PAC


This is the kind of propaganda we're getting from the Republican superPACS. I hope discerning readers will not be deceived.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

THANK YOU, SENATOR LUGAR!


Senator Richard Lugar
When Senator Richard Lugar was defeated by Tea Party backed candidate Richard Mourdock in the recent Indiana Republican primary, it marked more than the end of the 36-year term of a distinguished public servant. It reflected and symbolized the drastic change that has taken place in the nature and purpose of the Republican Party. The G.O.P. is not the grand old party it used to be. It has been taken over by right-wing extremists.

Before entering national politics Richard Lugar was an immensely popular, exceptionally effective, and highly respected Mayor of Indianapolis, whom I knew personally and admired greatly, when I was serving a church in that city.

As a United States Senator he has exhibited the highest and best of bipartisan politics. Throughout his long career he has been a man of stature and integrity. Because he was willing to put principle above political expediency and the good of the nation above partisan loyalties, he was able to work with his colleagues across the aisle on matters of national importance. That spirit, along with his wisdom and good judgement, earned him the respect and gratitude of his colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and of our nation and its allies.

In reflecting on his recent defeat, Senator Lugar commented, “I knew that I had cast recent votes that would be unpopular with some Republicans and that would be targeted by outside groups. These included my votes for the TARP program, for government support of the auto industry, for the START Treaty and for the confirmations of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan. . .  But I believe that they were the right votes for the country, and I stand by them without regrets. . . ” (quoted from the Newark Star Ledger of May 11, 2012).

How different his attitude and demeanor from that of the Republican leadership in the House and Senate today. Their announced goal has been to make Barack Obama a one-term President. To that end they have opposed every proposal put forth by his administration and given him no credit whatsoever for any of his accomplishments. The Party of Lincoln has become the Party of No! What a tragic development!

There have been many glowing expressions of appreciation for Senator Lugar’s service in the Senate. We wish him well, as he finishes his term in office. Would that there were more Republicans like him today.

Friday, May 4, 2012

MR. MET WAS NOT THE FIRST M. L. MASCOT!

Mr. Met
Mr. Met
 
Mr . Met is credited by the Mascot Hall of Fame with being the first Major League costumed mascot.

WRONG! Ten years before Mr. Met or any other Major League mascot appeared there was MR. ORIOLE! The New York Mets mascot was conceived in 1963 and made his debut in 1964. Mr. Oriole was hatched in 1954!

Here's the story in brief. I was the first Public Relations Director of the Orioles, having joined the club a few days after the St. Louis Browns' franchise was purchased by a group of Marylanders headed by Clarence Miles, a prominent Baltimore-Washington attorney, in the Fall of 1953. There was much to be done in establishing the new Major League organization, especially when our new home, Memorial Stadium, was still under construction.

An early priority was to develop a stylized Oriole for use on our baseball caps, stationery, and various concessions items. We announced a contest, inviting local artists to submit their versions, the winner to receive a cash prize. I was looking for a jaunty but likable bird, one with plenty of personality. Several excellent entries were received, but one set stood out above all the rest. They were submitted by Jim Hartzell, a cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun.   

We named our new mascot "Mr. Oriole," and his perky bird face was quickly popularized. About the same time I wondered if would be possible to create a costume that would replicate the expression and appearance of Mr. Oriole, so that a three-dimension version of the bird could cavort on the field and in the stands during the games. My high school friend and teammate Johnny Myers knew a costume designer whose name was Tinker, a relative of the famous Chicago Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker. After examining the sketches of Jim Hartzell, Mr. Tinker excitedly accepted the challenge, and within a few weeks had produced a handsomely made costume. I prevailed upon Johnny to be the first "Mr. Oriole," because, as I jokingly put it, "he had the legs for the part!"

Johnny Myers
Mr. Oriole as he appeared  in the
1955 Baltimore Orioles Sketchbook
 
Early in the 1954 season, when the strikingly colorful bird made his first public appearance at Memorial Stadium following a proper introduction over the public address system, the fans went wild. Mr. Oriole cavorted with the fans and the players to everyone's delight, but the pièce de résistance was when he whipped out from beneath one of his feathered wings  a trumpet, which he could play through his beak. Johnny was an excellent jazz musician, and the effect was sensational! We had the only trumpet-playing bird in captivity!


I don't know what ever happened to the original Mr. Oriole.  I left the Orioles at the end of the 1955 season in order to enter Princeton Theological Seminary to study for the ministry. Apparently the costume disappeared along with many other invaluable materials, including front office files and records, when the Birds moved to Camden Yards. It is hard to imagine how an object that large could vanish. I don't know how long it has been missing. It might be in someone's garage or basement. I'm the last surviving member of the first front office executive staff of the Orioles, so there's no one I know who can shed any light on the mystery, including Johnny Myers, who died prematurely.

The irony is that when I called the Orioles Public Relations Office to see if they could help, the person I talked with had never heard of Mr. Oriole. "Our mascot is The Bird," he declared almost belligerently. "He was hatched in 1979!"

"I've got news for you," I replied as pleasantly as I could. "The Bird had a predecessor named Mr. Oriole, who was hatched in 1954!"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

THEIR RECORD STILL STANDS

        There are more than a few baseball fans still living who remember Connie Mack and his Philadelphia Athletics, winners of nine American League pennants and five World Series. The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society is doing a great job of keeping their memory alive. I happen to be the last surviving member of the Athletics' front office executive staff, having served as the A's Public Relations Director.
        Baseball historians recall the Athletics' stellar second base combination of Eddie Joost and Pete Suder, with Ferris Fain at first base and Hank Majeski at third.* In 1949 they set a double play record (217) that remains to this day, and a record three-year total (629) that will probably never be surpassed, despite the fact that the season is longer now (162 games) than in those years (154).

       Their fielding exploits were celebrated in this poem, which I sent out as a press release  Other players contributed to the record, of course, but because my poem was a take-off on Franklin Pierce Adams' famous poem** commemorating the Chicago Cubs' renowned trio of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, I focused on the A's three key infielders and called it Joost to Suder to Fain. The poem appeared in newspapers throughout the baseball playing world. It is included in my third volume of poetry, entitled If I Do Say So Myself.

____________________________________

*   The photographs are from the Philadelphia Athletics 1952 Yearbook.
   
** The actual title of Adams' poem is Baseball's Sad Lexicon, but it is best known by the recurring line, "Tinker to Evers to Chance."


         JOOST TO SUDER TO FAIN                    


Voluminous prose has been written by those
who have this one thought to advance:
that the greatest combine in the double play line
was Tinker to Evers to Chance.


Those three famous Cubs were surely not dubs.
Their fielding was something sublime.
They were far and away the class of their day,
the double play kings of their time.


But they’ve since been dethroned and partly disowned.
No longer as kings do they reign.
For a new DP team is ruling supreme,
known as Joost to Suder to Fain.


These sensational A’s have perfected their ways
to the point where they lead all the rest.
As twin killings go, three years in a row
they’ve ranked as the major leagues’ best.


There’s never a worry; they’ll comply in a hurry,
when a quick double play is desired.
A roller or liner just couldn’t be finer,
you can bet that two men are retired.


You may already know what the record books show,
three years they’ve continued to shine,
all others surpassing this record amassing:
a total of six twenty-nine!



Eddie Joost rings the bell as a shortstop as well
as a mighty good man with the stick.
To select someone who has an arm that’s as true,
it would be an impossible pick. 









On second there stands “the man with the hands.”        
If a ball’s hit to Pete there’s no doubt.
You never need look, jot it down in the book,
it’s a cinch that the batter is out.







A hitter’s accursed with Ferris on first.  
There’s no one as clever as he,                                          
in spearing a bounder or sizzling grounder
and completing that tough three-six-three.       





A long time from now, when they’re telling of how
so and so could get two with no strain,
we’ll think of the days of Connie Mack’s A’s,
and of Joost and Suder and Fain.



 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

SURLY RECEPTIONISTS

Those who work in doctors' offices should be especially
kind and gentle, for the patients who are waiting anxiously
to be seen by a physician, little knowing what's in store,
or who may have seen a doctor and are worried even more,
need to know that a receptionist perceives and understands
what they're feeling when they put their life into a doctor's hands.
I was sitting in a doctor's office just the other day
and could not believe someone would speak in such a callous way
to a woman who was asking how much longer it would be.
That she wasn't feeling well at all, most anyone could see.
If a person is compassionate, it should, in any case
be reflected in one's voice and the expression on one's face.
This receptionist, however, showed no sympathy at all
to the woman, who was fighting back the tears, as I recall.
Then I thought: maybe the surly one is not always that way;
it could be that things had not been going well for her that day.
But I asked myself this question, as I pondered that a while,
is it wrong for patients to expect receptionists to smile?

Richard Stoll Armstrong

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

JOGGING

When I first started out on my jogging career,
to a friend I remarked with a smile,
"If I jog every day, by the end of the year
I'll be able to run a whole mile!"

I decided to start at a pace I could keep,
so I'd have something left at the end.
I'll admit it was tough, and those slopes seemed so steep---
how much effort I had to expend!

Not a few of my colleagues thought I was insane,
and they simply could not comprehend
why a person my age should submit to that pain.
"But it's worth it," I'd say, "in the end."

For my heart and my lungs were now functioning well,
  and my weight was where it ought to be.
It was great to feel fit, and my friends now could see
  that it sure had done wonders for me.

Later on I decided to enter a race
just to see how it felt to compete.
I was not too concerned about where I would place;
just to run was enough of a feat.

That experience taught me a lesson or two
that I'll carry the rest of my days:
In the race they call life, do not quit till you're through,
  for the ones who go on earn God's praise.

I've seen people who run with severe handicaps.
I've seen runners much older than I.
I've felt the respect in the cheers and the claps,
when someone in a wheel chair rolled by.

The most wonderful thing about running, you see,
is the fact that you set your own goal.
So no matter how fast or how slow you may be,
to succeed is within your control.

You may shuffle along, even stagger about,
in your desperate fight to survive.
But I'd rather do that than give up and get out,
for a quitter can never arrive.

It's a matter of starting, and doing your best
      to finish each race that you run.
If you stay in the race and trust God for the rest,
      you can say at the end, "I have won!"
    
(from If I Do Say So Myself, by Richard Stoll Armstrong,
CSS Publishing Co.)