Thursday, June 22, 2017

On hiatus

Some of you may know that I had emergency surgery to remove my gall bladder late Tuesday evening. While there were slight complications, I am officially on the mend and feeling a lot better since my Thursday morning discharge from the hospital.

While there has been a plethora of political news on which to opine, I'm just not up to digging into anything. As such, I likely won't be back into regular blogging until Monday. I figure I can take a brief hiatus since I will also be absent from this Sunday's weekly radio broadcast.

Until then......


Monday, June 19, 2017

Box Score of the Week

Boston Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski collected his 3,000 career hit in a September 1979 game vs. the New York Yankees.


In this game, the Red Sox started Ted Sizemore at second base. Why is that relevant? Well, just a month earlier he was with the St. Louis Cardinals when the Cards' Lou Brock collected his 3,000 career hit.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Miss Minnesota 2017

For the third consecutive year I had the honor of co-emceeing the Miss Minnesota Scholarship Pageant. On Saturday evening, a new Miss Minnesota was crowned.

Announcing Miss MN 2017 from Zandolee Media on Vimeo.

I first met Brianna last year when she was competing for Miss Minnesota 2016. I recall chatting with her a bit backstage a mere few hours before finals night. As a graduate assistant at Bowling Green State University as well as being a composer and freelance piano teacher, Brianna had options. She said as much during that conversation, indicating that she would give it her all in competition but that she would likely move on in life if not crowned Miss Minnesota. So when she finished first runner up last year, I assumed she was done despite having one more year of eligibility remaining.

However, in chatting with her this afternoon on my weekly radio program, she mentioned that upon finishing second overall she made an almost immediate decision to return. Sure enough, she won a local pageant in Northern Minnesota last September. When I learned of that victory, I immediately said that she will be the most formidable contestant in the 2017 group. My prediction was spot on as she performed flawlessly in the two preliminary competition nights as well as Saturday in the finals.

So within 17 hours of her crowning, Brianna stopped by the Patriot bunker this afternoon to chat about her title.

Congrats again, Brianna! I know you'll be a phenomenal representative of our state and, if the panel of Miss America judges have any common sense, our country!!


When you got a job to do, you got to do it well.....

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! I hope that after y'all are spoiled on your special day that you have an opportunity to indulge in this week's edition of The Closer. Today's 1-hour bonanza begins at 2:00 PM Central Time.

I'll discuss the shooting in Alexandria, VA earlier this week, one where GOP members of Congress were the targets. I will also weigh in on the verdict in the trial of former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who was tried in last year's shooting death of Philando Castile.

Finally at 2:30, we welcome to the Patriot bunker Miss Minnesota 2017 Brianna Drevlow. The lovely and talented Ms. Drevlow was crowned just last evening, so we'll find out what she has planned for her reign over the next 364 days.

So please call (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics we plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out via iheart radio. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast if you so desire. Check it out here.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Friday, June 16, 2017

Yanez trial

When it was announced that the jury in the trial of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who fatally shot Philando Castile last summer, was into its fifth day of deliberations, I had an inkling that a "not guilty" verdict was imminent.

Sure enough......

The jury reached its verdict of not guilty on the manslaughter charge as well as the two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm Friday afternoon after about 30 hours of deliberations.

It was delivered in a Ramsey County District Court courtroom packed with family members and friends of both Yanez and Castile.

The statements given by Castile's family members afterwards were, as you can imagine, utterly heartbreaking.

Allysza Castile, Philando’s 24-year-old sister, said after the verdict was announced that she hadn’t spoken much in the last year because she gets emotional concerning her brother’s death.

“The system really is wrong and they really failed us,” she said, in tears outside the courthouse. “They really failed us once again because my brother was a good man” who never raised his voice.

I also saw television footage of Castile's distraught mother, Valerie. In sharing her grief, Ms. Castile indicated she hopes Yanez "will die tonight." While it's inappropriate to have calls for incitements of violence against anyone, I'm not about to vilify a mother who lost her son 11 months ago in such a senseless manner.

A few other thoughts:

- It may not be a bad idea to come up with some sort of universal policy on what cops require of a citizen who, like Castile, is legally permitted to own a gun and has one on his/her person when pulled over. My understanding is one is not legally obligated to disclose such information. But while doing the honorable thing in offering up full disclosure to Officer Yanez, Castile still wound up dead. Would he still be alive had he indicated initially that he had a permit to carry a firearm before disclosing he was carrying?

- I said it last year in the shooting's aftermath and I'll reiterate. Had it been a white driver who emulated Castile's behavior, I find it difficult to believe he would have been shot to death. I'm not one who typically indulges knee-jerk accusations of racism, but I'm at a loss to come up with words to refute any such speculation involving a racial component in the Castile case.

- There was a story that circulated last year which suggested that Castile matched the description of a suspect who robbed a convenience store not far from Falcon Heights (where Castile was shot). Would that change things? Perhaps if Yanez definitively believed that he was in the midst of someone who potentially committed armed robbery. But it still doesn't explain how the officer could discern if Castile resembled the suspect given he was pulled over in twilight hours.

- Yanez will not be returning to the St. Anthony police force. It's essentially a lock that he will never work in law enforcement again. So this idea he got off "scot-free" is not 100% accurate given his name and picture have been circulated worldwide. That said, he is at least above ground.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Leftist hypocrisy: Part infinity

That was a horrific situation in Alexandria, VA Wednesday morning where GOP members of Congress were shot at by a gunman who was not shy about his grievances towards Republicans.

If certain leftists are intellectually honest (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh. Oh, I slay me), they would probably acquiesce to the fact that their blatant calls for violence (or fantasies of violence towards President Trump) should probably be dialed back. After all, this is the standard they set back in early 2011 when the Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot by a deranged individual. The left contended that vociferous right-wing opposition to high taxes and an intrusive heath care law incited Jared Loughner to shoot Giffords. Never mind there wasn't a shred of evidence to back up those utterly absurd claims, but it was the narrative they chose.

Oh, and does anyone recall this post from a college professor after the GOP House passed the American Health Care Act?

Ah, but remember. Symbolic cross hair logos are allegedly far more dangerous than explicit calls for violence.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Get a grip

It was 6:30 Monday evening when I scrolled through my Facebook feed and saw the following status update from a friend and fellow Minnesota Twins fan:

F--king Twins!!!!!

I was perplexed by this, given that their game against Seattle hadn't started at that point. What could have possibly happened? Did they trade ace starting pitcher Ervin Santana?

As I scrolled through the comments on that post, I realized it had to do with the Twins selection of Shortstop/Outfielder Royce Lewis as the top pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. My buddy's frustration stemmed from the fact the Twins bypassed high school pitcher/outfielder Hunter Greene, a stud prospect with a 100 MPH fastball. My buddy, along with a few of his FB friends, allege the Twins made this move strictly for financial reasons. The armchair critics contended that the Pohlads are just too damn cheap to shell out the bonus money necessary to corral a "can't miss" prospect like Greene, so they settled for a shortstop.

With all due respect to my buddy, I can't even count the ways how utterly moronic these reactions appear.

First off, of all the major professional sports (MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA), Major League Baseball's draft is by far the biggest crap shoot. Heck, look at the three players going into the Hall of Fame this summer.

-Ivan Rodriguez - signed as an amateur free agent at age 16.

- Jeff Bagwell - 4th round pick.

- Tim Raines - 5th round pick.

I then made the point to my buddy that new President of Baseball Operations for the Twins, Derek Falvey, knows a thing or two about building contending clubs given he was part of the front office for the 2016 AL Champion Cleveland Indians. So with all due respect, I'll trust his judgement over said armchair critics. My buddy countered with "Falvey had good pitching in Cleveland. That should trump everything." Indeed he did. So let's look at some of the key pitchers who were vital to Cleveland's success last season.

  • SP Corey Kluber (4th round pick)
  • SP Carlos Carrasco (Free agent out of Venezuela)
  • SP Danny Salazar (Free Agent out of the Dominican Republic)
  • SP Josh Tomlin (19th round pick)
  • SP Trevor Bauer (trade)
  • RP Andrew Miller (trade)
  • RP Cody Allen (16th round)
  • RP Dan Otero (signed off waivers)

The point? It's quite possible to build a pitching staff with guys not selected in the first round or even drafted by your club at all.

In the end, I'm always wary of a high school pitcher being labeled a "can't miss" prospect. It's reminiscent of the 1990 draft when the Atlanta Braves, who were in the midst of their seventh consecutive losing season, had the top pick. A Texas high school kid by the name of Todd Van Poppel was the crown jewel of that draft. The right handed pitcher was already thought to possess major league stuff to the point where then Texas Rangers manager Bobby Valentine indicated he was ready for "The Show" right then and there. The Braves desperately wanted to take Van Poppel, but the young man hinted strongly that he'd prefer to attend the University of Texas. After being unable to secure a commitment from Van Poppel, the Braves then settled for a shortstop out of The Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL. His name? Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones who, in a mere 13 months from now, will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.  

And what became of Van Poppel? He would actually be drafted by the Oakland A's with the 14th overall pick in 1990 and end up signing with the club. He would go on to have a mediocre 11-year MLB career with six different teams, compiling a record of 40-52 with a 5.58 ERA. 

So am I saying the Twins made the right move selecting Lewis and thus have a future Hall of Famer in their midst? Of course not. Heck, I'll even submit that Greene may become the next Dwight Gooden (sans the drug habit of course) and Lewis may never amount to anything. But therein lies my entire point. To say we know definitively that the Twins made the right or wrong choice is at best premature and at worst utterly asinine. 


Monday, June 12, 2017

A new addition to the protest industry

When Donald Trump was inaugurated President of the United States nearly five months ago, there was one undeniably historic component. That would be the fact Trump was the first President in U.S. history to openly support same-sex marriage on day one of his administration.

Yes, I'm aware the LGBTQ community is focused on more than just that marriage issue. But Trump's record on additional concerns within said community is also pretty solid.

Despite criticism from both sides, Trump largely stood by his “New York values” throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, paying just enough lip service to the evangelical Right to cement his working-class base while still emerging above the Republican field in condemning North Carolina’s practically unnecessary “bathroom bill.” His Department of Justice did not withdraw the Obama administration’s lawsuit against the state until the North Carolina legislature replaced it. Trump’s religious-liberty executive order was nominal at best. And between the platforming of Peter Thiel at the Republican National Convention, who famously announced, “I am proud to be gay, I am proud to be a Republican, but most of all, I am proud to be an American,” and the tapping of the openly gay Richard Grenell as the U.S. ambassador to NATO, the LGBTQ+ community has had more representation thanks to the Trump administration than any other American presidency, save for maybe that of Obama.

With all that said, I guess I'm rather confounded at the latest protest added by the grievance mongering crowd (via

President Donald Trump’s first few months have been marked by protest. There was the Women’s March. There was the Day Without a Woman strike. Then there were the March for Science and the People’s Climate March.

Now there’s the Equality March for Unity and Pride, a protest by and for LGBTQ people, on Sunday, June 11. And it could be big: Organizers expect 260,000 to 300,000 will attend.

The march will target a broad set of problems facing LGBTQ Americans, according to organizers:

The “Equality March for Unity & Pride” is a grassroots movement which will mobilize the diverse LGBTQ+ communities to peacefully and clearly address concerns about the current political landscapes and how it is contributing to the persecution and discrimination of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Although Trump and his administration’s rhetoric and actions are on organizers’ minds, the point of the march is broader — addressing nondiscrimination laws, hate crimes (including murders of transgender people), disparities in the criminal justice system, and the unique challenges of LGBTQ immigrants.

And even though it’s coming in the middle of LGBTQ Pride Month, the march is not meant to be a traditional Pride parade; it’s geared more toward protest than celebration.

Amazing. Pride Month has really evolved as a celebration over the years, specifically how the LGBTQ community views it as a festival for all segments of society (yes, even straight folks) who celebrate the freedom to live openly. Yet this "Equality March" likely did little except draw attention away from the tremendous progress which has been made over the past decade. That's not to say that the LGBTQ folks don't still face challenges. They most definitely do. One obstacle in particular is that any member of that community who in any way expresses an allegiance to right-of-center politics are pretty much ostracized by the grievance mongering crowd. Somehow I don't believe the "Equality March for Unity and Pride" had any chants on behalf of gays who don't toe the "progressive" ideological line. Kinda the antithesis of "unity," no?

As I scrolled through that Vox piece, I came across a couple of paragraphs which seemed to undermine the march's mission (emphasis mine).

So what exactly are the issues that LGBTQ people are fired up about, two years after the massive victory of marriage equality?

The issue at the front of many LGBTQ people’s minds is violence. The march, after all, is coming a day before the one-year anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in US history: the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida, where a shooter targeted LGBTQ people at a nightclub, killing 49 and wounding dozens more.

So the motive of the "shooter" isn't relevant? The fact that the "shooter," whose name was Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to ISIS prior to carrying out these atrocities shouldn't be considered? Y'all heard of ISIS, right? They're that little faction within the radical Islamist movement which happens to abhor homosexuals and thus commits unspeakable violent acts towards them. Yet I scan this entire article and find nary a mention of ISIS, Islam, jihad, etc. Seems to me that should be the biggest target of the march's ire.

Given the fact that President Trump has conveyed a unifying message towards the LGBTQ community in addition to his commitment to eradicating radical Islamic terror, I don't know that the "Equality March" could have found a more staunch ally for their cause.

Ironic, isn't it?


Box Score of the Week

The New York Giants took on the St. Louis Cardinals in the second game of a doubleheader on May 2, 1954.


The Cardinals' Stan "The Man" Musial hit two home runs in this game. In the first game of the doubleheader, Musial hit three homers, which gave him five in one day. That was a MLB record, one that was tied 18 years later by San Diego Padres first baseman Nate Colbert.