When Twitter gives you a more accurate portrayal of history 

Pastor Mark Burns is a Trumpkin. He offers further proof that Trumpkins seem to be devoid of all historical knowledge. 
They’re people who argue Gen. Lee didn’t own slaves (He did. Ask Wesley Norris) and that the protesters throughout history respected private property (Ask the founders what they did with all that tea in Boston.)

Here, he offers the common errant and trite remark that the current crop of Civil Rights leaders aren’t real leaders. Not like those peaceful protesters in the 1960s.

Bernice King had none of that. 

Burn!, as the kids say. 

In case you were wondering, Bernice’s father was taken from her on April 4, 1968. 

She knows well of what she speaks. 

There are some damn fine leaders in the Civil Rights movement today, Bernice among them. 

When Twitter gives you a more accurate portrayal of history 

No one is going after statues of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington

President Trump is apparently horrified. He fears people are going to tear down statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because people want to remove monuments to the Confederacy (Motto: We make treason cool for 20th and 21st century nitwits).

Seriously. The only people arguing this are those who can only win an argument by offering slippery slope tropes. That they’re doing this to essentially defend Nazis and white nationalists should shock no one.

The premise is wrong for one glaringly obvious reason, as well as one most people don’t realize.

Let’s concentrate on the obscure one. We’ll start with a question: What were the view of the Founding Fathers when it came to slavery? That’s tough, I know. It’s actually quite complex. Maybe we’ll start with a bit of an easier one. How many founders can you name?

img_0988There’s no wrong answer here. No shame if it is just the prominent guys like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton? Can you go a bit deeper and recall Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, Sam Adams, Robert Morris and John Hancock? How about Richard or Henry Lee, Edmund Randolph, Robert Livingston or Roger Sherman? You got Button Gwinnett, William Whipple or Caesar Rodney? Again, there’s no shame if it’s seven or 18. Props if you can name all 56 signers of the Declaration, though. I’m blown out of the water if you can name the six original Supreme Court Justices.

What can you remember about our individual founders? Which ones were abolitionists? Which ones didn’t own slaves, but weren’t quite abolitionists? Which ones were slave owners? Which ones were for the revolution and against the Constitution? Which ones were for both? Which ones wrote the Federalist Papers? Which ones were born outside the colonies?

I promise you I’m going somewhere with this. If you don’t know those answers, you probably don’t know how slavery was viewed worldwide – particularly in western civilization – at the founding of the country. And knowing that tells you a lot about the difference between our country’s founders and the people who tried to break away from it.

Continue reading “No one is going after statues of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington”

No one is going after statues of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington

Dinesh D’Scuza

Is it a bad day to be Dinesh D’Souza? It’s always a bad day to be Dinesh D’souza!

D’Souza is the personification of the moral and intellectual pestilence that has infested the Republican Party for the entirety of my existence. 

It’s not shocking that Dinesh, who has long been divorced from objective reality, would argue that Lee opposed slavery. 

That argument has been based off of a few times Lee is supposed to have denounced the retched institution. Meanwhile, Lee owned slaves his entire life, did not free his slaves, and was known as a brutal master.

Let’s be honest, there were no non-brutal masters. 

And please, spare me the historically inaccurate premise that people didn’t know better. 

By 1860, these countries has banned the practice: England (1833), Spain (1811), France (1848). 

It had also been banned in many states. Hell, several founding fathers were abolitionists at the birth points in our country’s history. 

D’Souza is supposed to be a thought leader on the conservative part of the aisle. Like Pat Buchannan and Steve Bannon, he needs to be forcefully excized from the party. 

Dinesh D’Scuza

Which active players will reach Cooperstown

About 1.5* of men who play in the major leagues make it to the Hall of Fame. 

About 1,000 players will Don a big league uniform this year. That means there are about 15 players in the big leagues right now who will make it to the Hall of Fame. Assuming three of them are young guys just starting their careers or early in their careers, 12 are established veterans. 

Here’s my thought on which those players are. 

1. Clayton Kershaw: Easily one of the ten best starting pitchers of all time. 59 WAR

2. Albert Pujols: Launched 600-plus home runs during three-time MVP career. 99 WAR

3. Miguel Cabrera: Two-time MVP and 11-time All Star who will likely earn 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. 69.9 WAR 

4. Adrian Beltre: Owner of 3,000 hits and likely member of the 500 home run club. 92.4 WAR

5. Mike Trout: He’s played just seven seasons, but already owns two MVPs, and led the league in stolen bases and runs batted in. 52.4 WAR

6. Ichiro: One of the most exciting players in the game, he tallied more than 3,000 hits and stole 500 bases. 59 WAR

7. Carlos Beltran: The nine-time All Star has put up a quietly remarkable career that includes 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases. 70.5 WAR

8. Joe Mauer: A catcher with three batting titles is impressive when you realize he has more batting crowns than all the catchers in big league history combined. Don’t like batting titles. Mickey Cochrane is the only Hall of Famer with a higher on-base percentage. 51.7 WAR

9. CC Sabathia: it’s easy to forget how good he was. A Cy Young winner and 6-time All Star. 60.7 WAR

10. Felix Hernandez: The youngest of a group of borderline starters that includes Cole Hamels, Justin Verlander.

11. Dustin Pedroia: There’s a tight group of second basemen who are knocking on the door in Pedroia, Chase Utley and Ian Kinsler. But it’s doubtful any gets in without 2,000 career hits. Pedroia’s the youngest of the bunch and most likely to get there. 

12. Joey Votto: Recently, several first basemen with the credentials for induction have been held out. Votto probably breaks through. 

Of the guys mentioned but not listed, I’d assume Utley has the best shot, followed by Verlander.  
* I’d argue this number will go up to about 2 percent. When you look at individual years, the number is often higher. In the National League alone in 1979, there were 15 Hall of Famers. So I think Verlander, Utley and another veteran have a decent shot of getting in. 

Which active players will reach Cooperstown

Someone’s polling for a hype tho all republican presidential primary

American Research Group isn’t the most reliable polling outfit. 

So take the above poll with a grain of salt.  Well, take it with two grains of salt. The first for considering the group’s reliability; the second for a poll three years away from a primary that probably won’t happen. 

However, it says something about how the American Public views President Herr Trump. 

His incredibly incompetent leadership, the cast of misanthropes he’s surrounded by and his horrible ideas have caused everyone except the die-hard believer and those in congress with an R after their name to flee the SS Trump. 

I’d be shocked if we saw any other polls about New Hampshire or Iowa in the coming months. But if we do, that poll’s mere existence will be an interesting bell weather.  

Someone’s polling for a hype tho all republican presidential primary

The little boy grows up

I stood next to my nephew in the back of the hall. Before us, a party raged. The youngest of my older sisters was smiling like I haven’t seen her smile in years. My brother bounced. I’ve never seen a wedding more full of happy people. “He’s just good,” my nephew Mike said, nodding to the groom, his cousin and another nephew of mine. I saw Alex moving along the floor and agreed.

Mike summed up Alex damn near perfectly.¬† “He’s just good.”

If you could draw up the man you want your son to be, it’s Alex. If you could meet your father when he was younger, long before you were born, you hope he’s like Alex.

“Yeah, he is.”

I was an uncle at 5. Being an uncle is something that has always defined me. By the time I was 12, I had five nephews and nieces. There were 11 of them before I graduated high school. Shortly after I got married, my eldest niece was walking down the aisle. Mike, the third oldest of all the nephews and nieces, is also married.

This means I’m in a weird spot generationally. I have a great nepew who is older than two of my daughters. My siblings are approaching 50 or past it. One is a grandparent. Some are thinking about retirement. Meanwhile, my nephews and nieces are going through the same life experiences I am. More than once, I’ve had to call Sarah, the eldest niece, for parenting advice.

Truth be told, I’ve always looked at my four oldest nephews and nieces as more siblings than nephews and nieces. Even if I made them call me Uncle Pat and imposed Uncle Pat taxes.

So I stood next to Michael during the reception Saturday and marveled at how happy everyone was at this wedding. Look, I’m generally a happy guy. My wedding day was the happiest day of my life. But I wasn’t half as happy as Alex was. I never saw a man radiate joy like that for an entire day. I thought of Joe Carter bouncing around the bases after he hit a walkoff home run in the 1993 World Series. That’s how happy Alex looked. For hours. I was almost fearful. Is it OK to be that happy for that long? Might you override your system. And Elizabeth, the bride, was the same way. Brimming with absolute joy. These kids have been together for eight years and I don’t think anyone there doubted they’d be up for the task of marriage.

For a few minutes Mike and I talked about Alex. We both agreed we marveled at how good a person he is. He’s the definition of selfless. He’s dedicated. He’s a hard worker. He’s full of joy. We didn’t say it out loud, but it’s kind of intimidating.

You’re not supposed to have heroes as an adult. You’re supposed to leave those ideas behind. I guess it’s because you’re supposed to be cynical, but I’ve never bought that. I’m a believer. I’ve always had the feeling Mike is to. It’s probably safe to say, Alex has grown up to be hero for us.

The little boy grows up

First loves

I remember the conversation and, thanks to baseball-reference, I know when it took place. 

It was April 8, 1993. A Thursday. When I woke up that day, there were two sports I cared about, basketball and Penn State football. I also loved professional wrestling. For whatever reason, before the school is came that morning, I decided to tell my dad something about the WWF.  I don’t remember what it was but it was something that excited me.  My father responded by saying, “The Phillies are 3-0. They swept the Astros, who are supposed to be good this year. We’re not supposed to be good.” 

It was basically his way of responding to me telling him about something he didn’t care about by telling me something I didn’t care about. Kind of a dick move, and not really how he normally handled things. 

My father must have absolutely hated my love of pro wrestling. Everything else I ever cared about while growing up, from Transformers to archery to Lord of the Rings, he would become of a fan of. Even if I liked that topic – like archery – for a few months.  

At that time of the conversation, I knew one Phillies player, Lenny Dykstra.  I know this now because I recently saw a little league card of mine that claimed he was my favorite player.  In truth, I couldnt have picked Dykstra out of a lineup that included Warren Christopher, Jerry Garcia and Kurt Cobain that morning. 

But I was trying to collect cups with each MLB team’s logo.  You got one with a slushee at the Kmart we lived near. I had an Astros cup and I liked their logo.  

My knowledge of the game basically included Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, that the Phillies were to be loved and the Yankees to be loathed. That the Red Sox and Cubs were kind of cool. I knew a few names – I had a Bo Jackson poster – and the voice of god that came out of the radio in my dad’s blue Volkswagen Beetle or the radio in his garage. 

When I got on the school bus that day, I asked a few friends about baseball, clearly shocking them.  It would have been just as likely that 12-year-old Patrick would have started asking about nuclear physics or what I thought of “The Prince of Tides.”

A dramatic transformation took over me by the All-Star Break. I knew the stats of every player on that 1993 Phillies team by heart. I was the proud owner of stacks of baseball cards and was devouring baseball books, seemingly on a weekly basis. My dad would supply a biography of a player like Hank Aaron or Kirby Puckett, and I’d have it read and telling my dad what was on almost every page.  

I’d imitate players’ batting stances and – after not taking any interest in the game – started playing it every chance I could get.  

If ever there was a sports team for a nerdy team to fall in love with, it was the 1993 Phillies. They were straight out of a storybook. A ragtag bunch of misfits and cast offs who should have finished in last place. But instead of getting injured as all the players on that team seemed to do the rest of their careers, they stayed healthy. And they drew an insane amount of walks, forcing pitchers to tire early in games and constantly pitch with men on base.  So I fell in love with on-base percentage and different statistics. They were Moneyball before Moneyball was invented. 

Soon, I’d picked favorite player. John Kruk. But I also loved Terry Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Mitch Williams, Jim Eisenreich and Milt Thompson.  

While Kruk was an All Star, and Lenny Dykstra was the team’s best player, one member of the Phillies stood out the most. 

Darren Daulton. 

He was a god. He had the physic of a pro-wrestler, the leadership ability of Optimus Prime, the fearlessness of a Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones’ ability to do the right thing at the right time.  

I can tell you where for so many games that season. We were at an Irish Festival when Milt Thompson plucked a home run out of the air in San Diego. We were at my grandmother’s when Mariano Duncan launched a grand slam off Lee Arthur Smith on Mother’s Day. I was playing Eiffel ball with friends and my dad had the radio on when Dave Hopkins launched an improbable home run against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. 

To say that team changed my life is, in all honesty, an understatement. It’s why I fell in love with baseball and how I ended up wanting to be a sportswriter. It’s how I ended up working for a minuscule paper in Bradford County and meeting my future wife. My love of baseball hasn’t waned since that magical year.  It somehow grew. 

But one thing has stayed the same.  

Every player I’ve ever watched has been measured up to one man: Darren Daulton. 

A player doesn’t hustl!. Well, Dutch would slide into second base on AstroTurf with knees that had seen 9 surgeries just to break up a double play.  

A player swings at a bad pitch? Well, Dutch Daulton knew the strike zone. 

A guy’s got power? Well can he take Greg Maddox deep while Maddux is the best pitcher alive?

The Phillies have had several stars come through town since Dutch retired in 1997. Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Roy Halladay, Coke Hamels, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard.  

Every one of them is measured against Daulton. 

The funny thing is Daulton isn’t one of the ten or twenty best players in franchise history. He was often hurt. But when he was healthy, like in 1992-1993, he was among the best in the game. 

Those injuries meant we never saw all of Daulton’s promise. So there will forever be a “what if” when it comes to him.  Could he have been a 5 or 6 time all star, a guy with 1,200 career runs batted in?

I don’t know. Truly. 

Numbers never really defined Darren Daulton. 

I remember hearing Kruk talk about him once. He said before he came to the Phillies Kirk didn’t think Daulton was that impressive. Just a good looking California kid. Then he played with him. And he realized Dutch was from Arkansas and chiseled with grit.  

Daulton died Sunday. He was 55. Grown men and women who’d never met him choked up when they heard the news. 

First loves