Thursday, May 25, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CL

- When a political candidate makes a verbal faux pas during a campaign, there can occasionally be room for nuance or an opportunity to provide further context.

But when a candidate commits a physical act of aggression towards a media member in front of witnesses? Not a lot of room for interpretation.

Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for a special House election in Montana, was officially charged with assaulting a journalist on Wednesday — just one day before the election.

As The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs attempted to ask Gianforte a question about the recently released Congressional Budget Office cost estimate of the House GOP’s health care legislation, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck and slammed him to the ground, according to Fox News’ eyewitness account.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office cited Gianforte with a misdemeanor assault. He must appear in court by June 7, a county clerk told Fox News.

This is Montana's only U.S. House seat, one which has not had a Democrat representing it in more than 20 years. Since leftists are so desperate for an electoral repudiation of President Donald Trump, they may well get it in Montana by default.

But if Gianforte is elected, the next question is will the GOP House caucus goes ahead and seat him without incident. While Speaker Paul Ryan has condemned the incident and insists that Gianforte apologize, he essentially said he would abide by the will of the Montana voters.

It is only in this current political climate that Montana is the epicenter of national political news. Heck, that was likely the case before this latest incident.

- After being a proverbial church mouse for eight years, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) feels emboldened now that he is in the minority party in Washington. His criticism of President Trump combined with aggressive questioning of Trump judicial & cabinet nominees has caused his star to rise among Dems desperate for a viable presidential candidate in 2020.

However, Sen. Fart Joke Franken is, at this time, not interested.

The Minnesota Democrat has been among several high-profile Democrats seen as likely candidates. But in an interview with People Magazine, the former comedian ruled out a run.

“I got way, way, way too much to do right now to even think about that, other than to say, ‘No, I’m not going to do that,'” Franken told the magazine.

Good. It seems to me downright laughable to believe a nearly 70-year old obnoxious, thin-skinned former TV guy could be considered a viable candidate for Pres.....

Oh, right.

-  So how about the first place Minnesota Twins?!

Yes I realize we're barely past the one-quarter mark of the season, but the Twins have (for now) defied low expectations after a franchise worst 103 losses in 2016. And while I don't expect the Twins to ultimately win the American League Central Division this year (the defending A.L. champion Cleveland Indians are still loaded), they have definitely identified some core players which could provide long term success.

Third baseman Miguel Sano is having an MVP caliber season as he is tied for A.L. lead in RBIs and is top 10 in home runs and batting average.

According to normally understated former Twins manager Tom Kelly, Center Fielder Byron Buxton is the fastest baseball player he's ever seen. While he's off to a slow start at the plate, Buxton more than makes up for it in the field.

But the latest phenom which is garnering significant attention is starting pitcher Jose Berrios.

Berrios has been downright filthy in his first three starts, winning all three while compiling a 1.66 Earned Run Average, a minuscule 0.55 Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP) and a downright stingy .111 opponents' batting average. Not since the peak years of Johan Santana (2004-06 when he won two A.L. Cy Young awards) or perhaps the 2006 version of Francisco Liriano have Twins fans marked their calendars for a game in which a specific starting pitcher toils.

Even if the Twins fall short of a postseason berth, it's no small consolation that the core of their current roster is young, talented and already providing significant contributions. For the first time in about six years, it's definitely OK to be excited about the direction of this franchise.


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