I’ve been impatiently waiting to watch “Field of Dreams” with Michael and Minnie. It’s probably going to be next season.

However, I decided to show them the Abbot and Costello classic, “Who’s on First?

It’s a farcical comedic bit in which two men get into a baseball argument because the players on the team have strange names, like the eponymous first baseman, Who.

The whole big flow over Minnie’s head like a fly ball.

However, a few minutes in, Michael got it. He started laughing. “The man is Who?”

I was proud of him.

However, he didn’t catch the name of the second baseman. So he kept asking me, “Who is the second baseman?”

Michael: “Who plays second base?”

Pat: “No, he plays first base.”

Michael: “I know that! Who plays second?

Pat: “No he plays first base, do you know who plays second?”

Michael: I don’t know!

Pat: No, he plays third.

Michael: Aaaasrgh! Stop it!

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Think about the helpers

“Look for the helpers.”

– Mr. Rogers

Now let’s think about the helpers at Wednesday’s massacre. You saw four different types of helpers. The first were the teachers in the classroom. They’re on the front lines in the nation’s criminally unaddressed mass shooting epidemic. They will lay down their lives for those kids. The second were the police officers, charging into the scene to protect the teachers and children. They will lay down their lives for those kids and teachers. The third is the medical professionals at ambulances on scene. They charge toward the last en of fire, sometimes saving lives. The fourth are the journalists, charging toward the line of fire to get you information as best they can. Yes, they can screw up. But they’re going to the scene, nevertheless. They’re tells no you what’s happening and how to get safe.

Now think about what those helpers need.

Are there enough teachers on those classrooms? Are they trained enough to respond? Do they have the resources to address kids who are a threat? Do they have the mental health resources do deal with the pressure and shock of the situation? Are there enough school resource officers at school?

Are there enough police officers to stop this? Are they paid well enough? Do they have the resources after an event like this that they could address PTSD without losing their badge? Are they trained enough? Are the programs that could address gun violence funded enough?

Are those EMTs given the mental health resources they need to do their jobs? Are they trained for these scenarios?

Do those reporters have mental health resources for after they witness this trauma up close? Do they have enough training for covering an event like this?

How many times did you answer “yes”?

Think about the helpers

Baseball has the best names

My buddy Dave shared a meme on my Facebook wall today that helped you pick out your 18th century baseball name. It had fun nicknames based on your first initial and great baseball last names based on your last name.

It was quite fun. It also made me think of my favorite baseball names. Here they are:

Hall of fame division

Catfish Hunter dominated the American League as an Oakland Athletic and New York Yankee. A’s owner Charley Finley gave him the nickname as a marketing tool.

Dizzy Dean famously got hit in the head by a ball. Headlines the next day said X-rays of his head showed nothing.

Enos Slaughter had a funny enough name it was a punchline in Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” But he had a fierce bat,

Frankie Frisch owns the greatest alliterative name in history. He also has a kickass nickname, “The Fordham Flash.” Frisch hit .316

Heinie Manush was born Henry Emmett Manush in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1901. He hit a robust .330 in the major leagues.

Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown earned his “Three Finger” nickname when he lost two digits in a childhood accident. He has the third best career ERA.

Mule Suttles starred in the negro leagues before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Known for prodigious home runs, he’s probably one of the best players to ever pick up a bat.

Pud Galvin won more than 300 games in his career, becoming the first player to pull off the feat. His parents named him Hames Francis.

Yogi Berra gained fame while mangling the language in a career that included winning 10 World Series rings and three MVPs. He was born Lawrence Peter Berra.

No way! Division

Bud Weiser is the pride of Shamokin, Pa. he played in 41 games. Cannonball Titcomb had a brief Major League career. During that time, people called him by his first name, Ledell. His nickname arrived after his last game. Coco Crisp was born Covelli Crisp. He hit 130 home runs and stole 309 bases. Milton Bradley is his given name. He played in one All Star Game.

Modern gems

Oil Can Boyd pitched for three teams in a ten-year career. His birth certificate says Dennis.

Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish went by the nickname Bus in a career that lasted from 1942-1964.

Vinegar Bend Mizell pitched for ten seasons in the 50s and 60s, earning three All Star nods. After his career, Dennis Mizell became a state representative. A republican, he’d later be defeated by Zack Galifinaikis’ uncle.

X-Rated

Jack Glasscock held the record for double plays until Ozzie Smith passed him in the 1980s. Johnny Dickshot sounds bad enough, but his nickname was “Ugly.”Pussy Tebeau played in two big league games. President Trump desperately wants his baseball card. Rusty Kuntz sounds like a dirty joke, but he’s a baseball lifer, still coaching for the Royals.

Stubby Clapp sounds like a venereal disease and not a guy who had a cup of coffee with the 2001 Cardinals.

Classics from the 1800s

Alamazoo Jennings played just one big league game. Buttercup Dickerson once led the league in triples. His birth certificate says Lewis. Chicken Wolf had a solid career. He led the league in hits, batting average and total based in 1890. Con Daily needed to steal more bases. He played in 628 games, though. He swiped 92 in that time. Count Sensendorfer played in parts of four 1870s seasons. John was his given name. Lady Baldwin won 42 games in one season, but just 31 the rest of his career. His parents named him Charles. Peak-A-Boo Veach, born William Walter Veach, didn’t do much, hitting just .215 for his career.

Baseball has the best names

Light up my fries

We cut the cord years ago, so we don’t see many commercials. I forgot how absurd infomercials and “as seen on TV” commercials are. Oh, sure, infomercial fails are a funny thing.

This morning, while watching SportsCenter at my brother’s house, I realized how bonkers Infomercial successes are.

Take, for example, the Atomic Beam “tactical” flashlight.

That’s right. It’s a flashlight you can use in your fryer. Just what everyone needs. I seriously want to know how they came up with the idea of testing this.

But this isn’t the only product that has these absurd successes. How often do you see things get run over by trucks or set on fire to prove their worth.

Light up my fries

Eagles fan Sam Alito delivers a second win for PA

Supreme Court associate Justice Sam Alito is a huge Philadelphia sports fan. On his first day in chambers, there was a knock on the door. Being the rookie on the court, the New Jersey native had to open the get up from the table and open the door. When he did, the Phillie Phanatic burst in to give him a hug.

Well, a day after the Philly’s pro-football team won the Super Bowl, the state learned the conservative justice gave democrats a huge win.

This wasn’t expected by many pundits.

The court has a conservative majority. And with Clarence Thomas and Noel Gorsuch on the team, a partisan one. So when it looked at a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that the state’s congressional district map was unconstitutional, many expected Alito and the other conservatives would overturn the ruling. The funny thing is that most of the justices don’t fall on party lines when it comes to gerrymandering. Alito’ colleagues Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy seem to have really taken partisan gerrymandering up as a bette noir.

In truth, the issue is more about who is in power. Dems in Maryland are as corrupt on this as republicans in Pennsylvania. The court’s cherished One Person, One Vote doctrine appears to be at loggerheads with the issue, so Alito’s decision is shocking, but not quite surprising.

Eagles fan Sam Alito delivers a second win for PA

It’s never bad to get another source

Prefer Brahara is one of my favorite interviewers. He has a great technique, using a bit of humor, but a ton of research to get his subjects to reveal information. You can see that he was a good prosecutor.

But he has 40 minutes to do his interviews. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to interview someone when you have that much time. I often hear people say Howard Stern is the best interviewer. Of course it seems that way. His guests are there for a long time. He can slowly dig into an issue, building a rapport along the while. He also benefits from not being considered a “serious” journalist.

It’s tough to do an interview in six minutes.

That was a topic Brahara brought up with Katy Tur on his podcast, “Stay Tuned with Preet.”

The interview is fantastic, particularly because Tur honestly is one of the best broadcast journalists in the business today.

The show gave me some pause at point, but I also felt joy when Tur said something.

“It’s never bad to get another source,” Tur said.

According to Tur, she’s seen a change in in the industry in which editors are willing to sit to get another check on a story.

Now, someone will read this and say, the problem was all along that the press relied on too many one-source stories. They were reckless. That’s not the case. There rarely are one source stories. These journalists are talking to a lot of people on background. Those sources aren’t cited in stories anonymously. A journalist might have just talked with them to back up information. Or to get information that lead to the source whose information is used in the story.

I’ve been amazed with some stories in the Washington Post and New York Times in which they have more than a dozen sources referenced in their story. That likely means they have talked to even more people than that.

But Tur is right, it’s always good to get another source. Whenever I did stories of substance I’d finish my interview with a simple question: “Who else should I talk to?”

Now, I wasn’t the world’s best journalist. But I had some good stories. And more often than not the best ones came as a result of what the person said after that last question.

It’s never bad to get another source

A changing opinion on the Electoral College

I’ve always been a fan of the much maligned Electoral College. Admittedly, I knew there were many authentic arguments against it. But I also knew there were several good arguments for it.

However, I’ve been slowly plodding my way through Akhil Reed Amar’s “The Constitution Today.” Amar is probably our nation’s best Originalist. If originalism isn’t your thing, he’s still one of the country’s foremost experts on the Constitution. Arguably, he’s the expert. His new book is a collection of some of his essays, columns and reviews. So it’s somewhat dated and odd to relate to at points, but it’s full of deep thoughts on our founding document.

Throughout it, Amar heaves some broadsides at the Electoral Collage. He makes some good points, bringing up how it is steeped in slavery, doesn’t fulfill our principle of “one person, one vote,” and so on.

But I was staying strong with my strong lean toward keeping the EC. I’d argued it was still our strongest example of federalism.

Then Amar pointed out that in many ways it inhibits federalism. The states have never really had to compete with each other while expanding the vote under the EC. No matter how many people vote in Pennsylvania it’s still going to have the same number of electoral votes. However, having a direct election, Amar argues, states will want to drive up the votes to become more relevant. So that would mean States would likely try new ways to drive up the number of voters.

He had me at new voters.

A changing opinion on the Electoral College