Friday, June 02, 2023

Jury Duty "Near Miss"

I got the email from the Ingham County Circut Court yesterday afternoon that I had to report this morning for Jury Duty.  Not a major grumble, it's the price we pay for living in the republic, right?  Apparently the courts are still clearing their Covid backlogs, so we were called in on a Friday.

The lady who did the initial juror intake was what you wish every bureaucrat was - she had personality, a sense of humor, didn't take herself too seriously, and appeared to actually enjoy her work.  Good job, Gloria!

We were in Judge Aquilina's court today.  If you followed the Nasser trial you know who she is.  If you followed the open carry in Lansing Public Library case a few years ago, you know who she is as well. 

I had only been called for jury duty once before, and the case plead out after we all got there so we never went through the selection process.  It was quite interesting to watch.  There weren't enough chairs for all of us in the courtroom, but the Judge said "don't worry, I know how to clear a room quickly - there'll be seats soon".  And she was right.  The first thing she did was read the charges, which were multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct against a minor.  That cleared about half the pool right there - I was amazed at how many people either have had CSC experiences in the past, or had already judged him just because he was there and had so many charges against him, and they couldn't get to the "innocent until proven guilty" premise of our criminal justice process.  I guess it was good that they self-selected that quickly.

Then they seated the first 14 jurors, and the prosecutor went into a very impressive voir dire presentation.  She was very friendly and personable as she went through all her questions, and made all the jurors feel comfortable telling her about themselves and their thought processes.

The defense counsel was not nearly so personable as the prosecutor, but seemed nice enough.  It seemed like he took about 20 minutes for his voir dire to the prosecutor's 90!

What I found interesting about both of their presentations was they were telegraphing how the case was going to be argued, spending a lot of time on reasonable doubt, circumstantial vs direct evidence, determining credibility of a witness, reasons why there would be a delay of several years between the commission of a crime and its being reported.  The defense was not calling any witnesses, so it was obvious he was going to be going after the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses.  That may well have been his only option in a case like this - I don't know.  But interesting to see how it was likely going to play out. I suppose you kind of have to do that as an attorney so you get a feel for what kind of people are on the jury and how they're going to process what they are presented in the trial.

Between them the attorneys dismissed 5 or 6 of the original panel.  My number didn't come up as a replacement, so when everyone was satisfied with the panel, the rest of us were released. Thus, my "near miss".

All in all a very interesting way to spend a Friday.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day 2023

Having a child in the military has put Memorial Day into an entirely different light for me, as I "have skin in the game" so to speak. It brings the sacrifices made over the years by those in our military much closer to home for me, and makes me much less cavalier about where we send them to fight, and for what reason, than I would have been ten or twenty years ago.  It also makes me much more intensely interested in the character and integrity of those in the political class who are in charge of them.

And so, on Memorial Day I remember those who were left behind to die in the pullout from Afghanistan, and I remember those whose ineptitude led to their deaths.  Those soldiers expected good faith from their command and they didn't get it, and so I remember them with honor.  And I remember the dishonor those who left them there now bear.  There will be a reckoning for them - perhaps not on this earth, given the utter lack of accountability in our government these days, but there is one who judges men justly, and there is no escaping his court or his sentence.  

And for the benefit of the NSA reviewers, I am referring to the judgement of God, and I am not calling for vigilantism against anyone, or any other type of unauthorized actions.

So to those soldiers, who were doing their jobs in a place they didn't want to be under impossible conditions, and to their families, I say with General Patton “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

Wednesday, December 07, 2022


Is it just me, or does every vehicle made in the last 5 years have fusion powered headlights that are putting out about 20 billion candlepower?  Driving on a two lane road at night is like driving into a spread of photon torpedos or something! I can feel my retinas frying!

Maybe my little Cruze isn’t tall enough to trigger the auto-dim feature and they’re just blithely driving along on automatic high beam or something. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Political Pragmatism

 I have been reading and listening to post mortems on the recently (almost) complete mid-term elections, and why the results for Republicans were so disappointing.  There are lots of reasons thrown around, some better than others.  But what those analyses have prompted in me is a big question which I'm starting to ask myself: At what price political power?  Or to put it another way: Which of your convictions are you willing to sacrifice to gain and hold political power?

This was brought home to me while listening to the local conservative radio host on his morning show. He was talking about why in my state of Michigan, Tudor Dixon lost to Gov. Whitmer. His comment was that Dixon's "no exceptions" stand on abortion was a major reason for her loss, and "most people" are OK with some kind of cutoff (8 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, or some other arbitrary number) but they don't want a complete ban with no exceptions.

Now, this host (I'll call him "H" for anonymity here) seems like a really great guy, and I enjoy his show tremendously.  I'm not trying to bash him or throw him under the bus or anything like that.  But when he made that statement, instantly in my mind was that very question - at what price power?  Which prompted even further questioning:

  1. Is political pragmatism a valid moral position?
  2. Is "the will of the people" the end of the question?
  3. How do these questions shape my participation in the political process in the future?

I don't think I'll get to all of those questions in this post, but I at least want to touch on the first.

Is Political Pragmatism a Valid Moral Position?

I mentioned abortion earlier because that is what really brings this question home to me, as it has such huge moral and spiritual implications for humanity.  On one side of the abortion question is the "Pro Life" position - that human life is sacred and begins at conception, and to kill that child is murder.  On the other side, the "Pro Choice" position - that the clump of cells that is the product of conception is not human and not viable until birth, and what to do with that material is under the complete control of the woman in whose body it is contained, and those choices include abortion as a legal right.

As you might expect, someone who describes himself as a "conservative, Christian, dad" is going to be  in the "Pro Life" camp, and indeed I am.  I believe that there are very few cases where the life of the woman is in immediate and serious jeopardy such that to save her life the baby must be taken.  Ectopic pregnancies are one of those, but there are a few others.  Anything outside of those few instances is in fact murder and should be dealt with accordingly.   There is theology and Biblical imperative behind this position that I would be happy to deal with in another post, but for the sake of *this* post let's just state the position and proceed.

H's position is based in the idea that in order to make change you have to get elected, and anything that keeps those who hold to my position from getting elected is bad.  So in this case, a "no abortions" stance is bad because people won't vote for it, and you won't get elected and you won't be able to implement the changes you want.  So if abortion is the issue that keeps you from getting elected, then soften your position.  Compromise.  Since most people seem to want some restrictions but not a total ban, then we'll take a "no abortions after x number of weeks" position, and people will vote for us so we can do all this other good stuff we want to do.

Believe me, I understand that position.  There are so many crises in the country today that conservative principles and policies would improve or solve that it's easy to rationalize away that issue, telling ourselves it's for the greater good.  But how good are you, really, if you can justify building your political (or personal) resume on the foundation of the murder of innocents?  That is the real cost of such pragmatism - millions of murdered humans. A million a year nationwide, roughly.  And everyone needs to take that into account as we consider what we want to be as individuals and as a society.  And not just because it's good to do a moral self-assessment every now and then, but because some day we will stand before God and have to answer for everything in our lives.  I know personally I have enough to answer for without adding a pragmatism that allowed me to rationalize the murder of the innocents so I could have economic prosperity or border security.

So to answer H - no, I won't be pragmatic about abortion.  A state or a nation that has economic prosperity, good roads, and a secure border but still allows infanticide is in fact evil at its root, and cannot stand.  

Let me bring in a little scripture at this point, from Matthew 16:

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.   (emphasis mine)
If we gain political success, policy success, and public acclaim by means that cost us our very soul, why would we do that?  Shouldn't both our personal and political calculus start with this verse, by asking the question "will this cause me to forfeit my soul?"

I hope we as individuals and as a nation can find our way to the right answer to that question.


Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Wow - Two years since last post. Election 2022 thoughts

 Yes, still breathing, still on the right side of the sod!  And pondering the election madness this year as the polls are closing and the counting begins on this election day.

 So the theme of "Red Wave" is pervasive even in the regressive media, and while the thought of democrats being tossed out of office is a happy one (especially here in Michigan!), I'm old enough to remember other times when Republicans had majorities in Congress and held the White House, and they fell flat on their faces (thanks*cough* George Bush 43 *cough* Paul Ryan *cough cough*).  Vote counting shenanigans two years ago, weak candidates (Dole, McCain), and a litany of cowardice and compromise have left me with little hope that even if there is just a red puddle, that there will be any real and lasting change at the end of the day.  

So, while ridding government at any level of the infestation of "progressive", leftist democrats is a satisfying thing,  I would say this to R's that get themselves elected:  your work isn't done, it is just beginning.  We don't want show trials of Fauci.  We don't want you to be the same thing we have been witnessing the last two years with the Trump Kangaroo Courts.  There are too many issues economically, socially, and constitutionally.  The border must be permanently addressed, energy must be permanently addressed, and nuclear brinksmanship must be reigned in.  There is so much important stuff to do, you can't be distracted by show trials and theater and virtue signalling.

So skip the parties, skip the show trials, and GET TO WORK!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Covid Study among US Marine Corp Recruits - Interesting Results

 First, here is a link to the study abstract if you want to get into the nitty-gritty.

This study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (no backwater medical journal that!) Was conducted by Cedars Sinai Hospital in New York and the U.S. Navy.  Marine Corp recruits at Parris Island, SC were the test subjects.

The basic conculusion drawn from this report was that extreme quarantine, sanitizing, and personal hygiene procedures are not effective in stopping the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  Infection rates within the study group were 1.9%, which is slightly higher than rates I have seen for the general population.

Here are some of the details;


The study took place during a supervised (by Marine Drill Instructors!) quarantine period each recruit (regardless of participation in the study) had to undergo before their actual boot camp started at Parris Island.  The participants were tracked and had additional study-related testing performed while they were in the supervised quarantine.  Here is a description of how the quarantine was implemented, pulled directly from the NEJM abstract:

To reduce the risk of introducing SARS-CoV-2 into basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, in South Carolina, the Marine Corps established a 14-day supervised quarantine period at a college campus used exclusively for this purpose. Potential recruits were instructed to quarantine at home for 2 weeks immediately before they traveled to campus. At the end of the second, supervised quarantine on campus, all recruits were required to have a negative qPCR result before they could enter Parris Island.

After potential recruits had completed the 14-day home quarantine, they presented to a local Military Entrance Processing Station, where a medical history was taken and a physical examination was performed. If potential recruits were deemed to be physically and mentally fit for enlistment, they were instructed to wear masks at all times and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet during travel to the quarantine campus.

During the supervised quarantine, public health measures were enforced to suppress SARS-CoV-2 transmission.  All recruits wore double-layered cloth masks at all times indoors and outdoors, except when sleeping or eating; practiced social distancing of at least 6 feet; were not allowed to leave campus; did not have access to personal electronics and other items that might contribute to surface transmission; and routinely washed their hands. They slept in double-occupancy rooms with sinks, ate in shared dining facilities, and used shared bathrooms. All recruits cleaned their rooms daily, sanitized bathrooms after each use with bleach wipes, and ate preplated meals in a dining hall that was cleaned with bleach after each platoon had eaten. Most instruction and exercises were conducted outdoors. All movement of recruits was supervised, and unidirectional flow was implemented, with designated building entry and exit points to minimize contact among persons. All recruits, regardless of participation in the study, underwent daily temperature and symptom screening. Six instructors who were assigned to each platoon worked in 8-hour shifts and enforced the quarantine measures. If recruits reported any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, they reported to sick call, underwent rapid qPCR testing for SARS-CoV-2, and were placed in isolation pending the results of testing.

Instructors were also restricted to campus, were required to wear masks, were provided with preplated meals, and underwent daily temperature checks and symptom screening. Instructors who were assigned to a platoon in which a positive case was diagnosed underwent rapid qPCR testing for SARS-CoV-2, and, if the result was positive, the instructor was removed from duty. Recruits and instructors were prohibited from interacting with campus support staff, such as janitorial and food-service personnel. After each class completed quarantine, a deep bleach cleaning of surfaces was performed in the bathrooms, showers, bedrooms, and hallways in the dormitories, and the dormitory remained unoccupied for at least 72 hours before reoccupancy.


This is my commentary, not pulled from the study.

First, it should be understood that the military undertook this study because they are looking for ways to keep their soldiers, sailors, and Marines healthy and out doing their jobs rather than being in quarantine or in the hospital.  Their solutions to these problems will be different than what can be implemented on the general public, as we in the general public are not under orders or military discipline as these Marines were.  Indeed - most people would not accept the kinds of restrictions placed on these Marines.

When I first heard of this study, I thought that it was a special group that were selected and quarantined in this way.  But as I re-read the abstract, it became clear that this is how all Marine recruits are processed into Parris Island, and the study participants were just a tracked and studied subset of the entire recruit class of around 3000 Marines. Having this subset allowed the Navy to understand how effective the measures they had implemented actually were.

Second, it is apparent to me that quarantines and lockdowns and even some of the public health measures we are being told are the best way to combat the Wuhan virus are not effective.  In this case, the virus spread at a slightly higher rate than in the general public, even with double-masking and rigorous sanitizing, and social distancing - things that most people don't do.

One would have expected the infection rate to be significantly lower with the extreme measures taken with these Marines.  Yet it wasn't - it wasn't even slightly less, it was slightly higher.  How could this be? The study doesn't go into that. But to me it calls into question the effectiveness of lockdowns and quarantines.

Another interesting factoid from the study: none of the infected Marines were discovered via the health screenings - that is, the temperature test and short questionnaire.  Zero.  None.

There is still much more to learn about controlling this virus, but this study adds to the growing body of evidence that lockdowns are not effective, even extreme ones, and that we have to find other ways of dealing with the virus that are not injurious to our lives, property, livelihoods, and liberty.  The petty tyrants have had their chance and their methods are not working.  So rather than repeating things that haven't worked, let's spend the public's money on discovering new things that do work, that are effective, and that preserve our society.


Tuesday, November 03, 2020

The Yearly Blog Post

Scene from near the end of "Big Jake", Starring John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara, and a host of the same faces you see in every John Wayne movie:

Boone (while dying): Who are you?

Wayne: Jacob McCandles.

Boone: I thought you was dead.

Wayne: Not hardly

 The first thing I thought of when I opened up the editor to write this post - sorry.

No Tigers retrospectives this year.  I've lost most of my interest in sports of any kind, although it was enjoyable to see Michigan State expose once again the fraud that is the Jim Harbaugh era at Ann Arbor Community College.  I hope it takes a few more years for the athletic department down there to realize it.

I have been through a year that many would consider hellish. A serious medical issue in the spring that could have killed me.  My married daughter living in Minnesota now with her husband.  My soldier daughter is deployed overseas until August.  And my wife is now my ex-wife.  Not by my choice, though certainly better choices could have been made along the way.  So I am living alone for the first time in 26 years.

And yet, I find I am not alone.  I am beginning to rediscover friends that I lost touch with for various reasons over the years.  I am reconnecting with family that we pushed away because of personality conflicts.  I want to continue to reach out and embrace those relationships.  Technology helps me stay connected to my kids in ways that I could not have dreamed of just a few years ago.  I am grateful for FaceTime and other apps that enable this communication. Like my soldier calling me today from the other side of the world and sounding like she was just across town.  What a blessing the modern smart phone is!

And most importantly, God has not left me alone.  In the midst of what could be considered my greatest failure, He is still present.  Not to scorn, not to punish, but to heal and restore.  And He is doing just that.  Perhaps that will be an ongoing theme of future blogging here.  

Grace amazing, pure, and deep
that saw me in my misery
that took my curse and owned my pain
so I could bear your righteous name

It is by His grace alone I stand in circumstances that have destroyed others in bitterness or loneliness or despair.   It is none of my own strength or fortitude or will - only His.  This is my great treasure in these trying times.


Sunday, August 04, 2019

A Baseball Posting Retrospective

Looking back over some old posts and was mildly amused at some of my baseball predictions/suggestions for the Tigers from 2 years ago.  Here they are again with some new comments inserted

Position Players
Shows how much I know!  The only one of these position players left on the team is Cabrera, and he's still a singles hitter.  And it's not his back that is the problem, it's his knees.  He's now the full time DH.
Mahtook, CF.  He's played way above expectations and deserves to return as the starter next year.
Cabrera, 1B.  You have to keep him because of his contract, but confound it Miggy, you have to find a way to get your back fixed this offseason.
McCann, C. Still developing, and playing better of late.  Best of the bunch between Hicks and Holaday.
Romine, OF/IF.  Fills the role that Don Kelly used to, only he hits a lot better.  Useful guy.
Upton, LF.  If he wants to stay, keep him.  He's been the most consistent hitter on the team since last August.

Kinsler, 2B.  If you can get something for him, do it.  Seems to have hit the age barrier and performance seems to be declining.
Castellanos, 3B.  Defense has regressed, probably better at first base going forward, but unless Cabrera moves to DH, it won't be in Detroit that this happens.
Iglesias, SS.  Machado seems to be ready to go here, and is a lot cheaper.  Get what you can.

Fence Guys:
Assorted pieces and parts, keep or package as needed for depth or prospects.
Adduci, Pressley.

V. Martinez, DH.  God bless him, he's been a great Tiger and a great hitter, but the legs are gone and he's just a singles hitter now.  The shift has been his downfall.  Give him a coaching job, make him a scout, or put him in the front office, but his body has given out on him.


Another washout of my predictive powers.  Zimmerman, Norris, and Boyd are still in the rotation.  Stumpf is still around too, I think. Jiminez is still around, and is the new closer until his inconsistencies force Gardenhire to try someone else.  Buck Farmer is my bet-he has pitched surprisingly well lately.  Fulmer had Tommy John and won't be back pitching in the majors for another year, realistically.
Fulmer, SP.  New #1 guy, someone you build a staff around.  Only trade for multiple spectacular players.
Saupold, RP.  Found his niche as a long man and has done really well this year.
Greene, RP.  Only thing resembling a closer on the roster right now.  Eventually the closer will be Jiminez, but not yet.
Jiminez, RP.  Just needs to pitch in the bigs.  Nothing left to prove in the minors.
Zimmerman, SP.  Going nowhere because of the money he is owed, but he needs to find himself next year.
Norris, SP.  Another guy that needs to find himself, but too much talent to let go of.
Boyd, SP.  Just needs to pitch in the bigs.  Probably a 3rd or 4th starter long-term.
Bell, RP.  Another guy who is doing well in the long relief role
Stumpf, RP.  Has shown some progress since returning from the minors.

On the Fence:
Rondon, RP.  Big arm, no maturity.  Has to show up to camp in shape and ready to rock or he gets cut.
Wilson, RP.  Another guy who needs to find himself.  Still has potential.
Verlander, SP.  Never thought this day would come, but he deserves to go to a contender and get a championship.  I just hope it isn't the Yankees he goes to.  Must bring a big haul of prospects wherever he goes.

Sanchez, SP.  Whatever he may have found earlier, he has lost again.  Time to let him go.

The other thing I talked about back then was the need for a new manager, and I was dead on with that one at least.  Brad Ausmus is back managing in the majors after taking a year off, and he's just as bad with the Angels as he was with the Tigers.  The Angels lost 2 of 3 to the Tigers, who hadn't won a series since May.  And this after getting swept by Baltimore - another team stinking up the American League this year.  I watched one of the Tigers games with the Angels last week, and they looked as uninspired as the Tigers did when Ausmus was managing them.  So I look for that experiment to end by the end of the season.

The Tigers new manager, however, is terrific!   Love Ron Gardenhire!  Keep him on, because when your teams get good again you're going to want someone like him managing the team.  Meanwhile, he's doing a good of a job as can be expected given the team full of Triple-A imports, aging veterans, and guys looking to start over because they sucked somewhere else.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Becoming an Empty Nester

It is currently six days until my oldest daughter gets married.  This day has been coming for two years, but the reality of it hits me more and more each day.  It is a very strange mix of emotions occurring as the day draws near and the milestones are reached. 

Two days ago I walked into her room to drop off her mail, and it looked barren.  All her artwork was off her walls, most of her "stuff" was gone too.  Now, she has been slowly packing and moving stuff ever since her fiance moved to Jackson a few months ago, where they are going to live after they get married, but it was a stark contrast to what it has been, that the reality of it just smacked me: She's only here for a few more days. 

I know this isn't a unique place to be - it has been happening to parents for several millennia!  Still, it is one of those life milestones that remind me that a large part of my life is over.

Don't get me wrong, that isn't a morbid thought thought in my mind - there are still things for me to accomplish in this life, and I'm not looking to just lie down and rot away!  But there are fewer days to do those things than there used to be.

So, this week, I'm going be happy for her and her future, even though it takes her out of my house and fully into the wide, wide world.  And I'm going to miss her terribly when she and her new husband drive away together on Friday.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Its Baseball Season Again!!!

Yes, just as the daffodils and tulips and chives are popping up, the Tigers have come north and are playing baseball again.  A couple of weeks in and there haven't been nearly the rainouts as last year, but one snow-out in Minnesota!

Being a Tigers fan has been painful the last few years, especially during the tail end of the Brad Ausmus human tranquilizer era.  But I feel like the hiring of Ron Gardenhire last year was the beginning of the turnaround for the Tigers.  He brings emotion, intensity, baseball knowledge, willingness to innovate, and the necessary prior success to gain the respect of the players.  I really like him and I like what he's doing on this team that is very young and inexperienced.  I hope he's still around when it's winning time again.  He's been through a lot since being fired at Minnesota.

Which brings me to the players.  An interesting bunch to be sure and if Gardy has anything to say about it they'll be competitive even though it's likely they'll finish with more than 90 losses again.

Unfortunately, they have already lost one of their pitching mainstays - Michael Fulmer - for the year to "Tommy John" surgery.  Probably won't see him again until next year around the All-Star break.  It also adds to the concerns that he is injury prone and will never be be a 30+ starts and 200+ innings pitcher they hoped he would be. We'll see what happens there.

Speaking of oft-injured pitchers, Daniel Norris is back for another try.  After coming over from Toronto in the David Price trade as the prime part of the deal, he has had nothing but health issues.  This will be a key year for his career, as he needs to show he can both stay healthy and pitch consistently.  Came north as a long-reliever, but almost immediately got put in the rotation due to a knee injury to free agent Matt Moore, who will be rehabbing to see if he can avoid surgery to repair a meniscus issue.  The Tigers are hoping he can be another Mike Fiers that can be flipped for prospects at the trade deadline.  This puts a big question mark on that possibility.

The other free-agent pitcher, Tyson Ross, has been OK: 1-2, 3.50 ERA, 1.28 WHIP.  He's getting nearly 6 million dollars this year, so he needs to do well, not just OK

So the other Starters:

Jordan Zimmerman - highest paid pitcher has really been a bust so far for the Tigers. He is another one who just can't stay healthy.  Here's hoping this is his year to rebound, like Justin Verlander did a couple of years ago after some rough seasons health-wise.  Because we're likely stuck with him this year and next.

Matthew Boyd - the real gem of the David Price deal, he has been the steadiest pitcher the Tigers have had over the last couple of seasons.  Really coming into his own now.  Keep going Matthew!  You'll be beloved here like Verlander if you do.

Spencer Turnbull - promising rookie who has all the tools.  Hopefully he'll keep his head above water and grow into what the Tigers hope is a solid starter for years to come.


Shane Greene has been lights out so far, setting some save records already.  Gardenhire is concerned about overusing him early and he should be.  Tigers need to score some runs so they aren't in the save situation every game, and Joe Jiminez needs to find some more consistency to spell Greene once in a while.

Joe Jiminez.  Frustrating is the word to describe him.  Can be lights out one day, then give up three runs the next.  He is young still - only his second full season.  But he needs to find the consistency that will keep him employed in Detroit for a long time.

Blaine Hardy.  What a great story.  DFA'd last year and cleared waivers, which meant nobody wanted him.  Went back to Toledo and found himself, then got called up and was one of the most consistent pitchers on the team, while handling several roles along the way, including starter when they were short there.  You've got to pull for a guy like that, and he's putting up good numbers so far. Keep it up, Blaine!

Farmer, Alcantera, Stumpf, and Garrett round out the bullpen.  Alcantera needs to be consistent - he's got the stuff to make it.  Stumpf has done well so far but doesn't have much of a track record.  Garrett is a Rule 5 pickup that has some promise, and will be put in positions where he can learn without damaging the team too much.  VerHagen was doing well until an injury in spring training set him back, so data on him yet.

Position Players - Miguel Cabrera is back, but right now is just a singles hitter.  Hopefully as the weather warms up so does he, otherwise it will be like watching the decline of Victor Martinez.  Supposedly he is hitting the ball hard, just doesn't have anything to show for it.  Given his history and the serious injury he's coming back from, he deserves some benefit of the doubt. He'll see a reduced role at 1B as Gardenhire tries to keep him fresh and healthy for an entire season.  That will be his first in about 3 years of that happens.

We imported the Pittsburgh Pirates middle infield from last year - Josh Harrison at 2B and Jordy Mercer at SS - and by all accounts they are doing well,  Except of course that Harrison pulled a quad in flipping Minnesota and is on the DL for a while.  Harrison will be intriguing on both offense and defense, and has already made some big plays.  Mercer is a good glove with a moderately good bat.  Not the defensive whiz of his predecessor, but a little better stick, so we'll see what happens there.

On the other corner Jeimer Candelario is back for his second full season with the Tigers.  Like most younger players he is looking for more consistency at the plate, but has played 3B pretty well.  Hit the wall last year as most rookies do, and struggled at the plate.  Look for him to improve there this year.  There are 3B prospects coming up so if he wants to keep his job he definitely needs to improve.

The outfield has been brutal so far this year.  JaCoby Jones hurt his shoulder making a diving catch late in spring training and was just activated this past Friday.  Center field play has suffered, as Jones is top-notch out there.  Mikie Mahtook didn't play well there and was batting .000 for the year, which got him DFA'd.  I think he cleared waivers but honestly, this was two years in a row he started out badly at the plate, so I don't see him staying around, as there are some prospects coming along that the Tigers will want to invest more playing time in.

Christin Stewart is the new left fielder.  Has a lot of potential and the Tigers are going to let him play and see what he's got.  Already has a Grand Slam, but it is his rookie year so you don't expect him to be lights out for the whole year.  This is where Mahtook's struggles hurt the team.  If he hits even a little he's a guy you can plug in there and he will play a good left field to give the kid a break now and then if he hits a little slump.  Not sure what the plan is there now.

Nick Castellanos is still here, despite being on the trading block the last two years.  Is still learning to be an outfielder but by all accounts has improved even from last year.  A proven major league hitter, of which the Tigers have all too few.  Personally I hope he stays around and gets to be a part of the next playoff contender here in Detroit.  He's put up with a lot of criticism over the years because the Tigers didn't put him in the best position to be successful defensively and I would like to see him have some success after settling in and finding his niche.

Catchers - Greyson Greiner is the rookie starter who by all accounts is a good receiver, caller of games, and has a strong, accurate arm.  If he hits, he stays.  If not, Jake Rogers is coming on in the minors.

John Hicks returns after missing last season with injury - he will share time with Cabrera at first and Greiner behind the plate.  Good spot for him to be - should see a lot of him this year.

Spare Parts - Niko Goodrum returns to his super-utility role after spending much of last year at 2B.  He is off to a great start, and will play most of the positions on the field at some point this season.  Gardenhire really likes him, and he seems to be a spark plug.

Gordon Beckham, against all odds, made the team as a backup infielder.  Has struggled since his rookie year with the White Sox and has bounced around a lot the last few years.  Veteran guy, won't see a lot of time on the field this year, although is the likely fill-in for Harrison while he is on the DL.

Dustin Peterson - called up when JaCoby Jones went down, has only played a little, so not much to go on here.  Lost favor in Atlanta and was put on waivers, where the Tigers promptly snached him up.  Apparently had a good reputation in the minors, which was why it was surprising to find him on waivers, but there it is.  Will likely spend most of his season at Toledo once Jones and Castellanos are back on the lineup.

So there you have it - my "expert" once-a-year analysis of the Detroit Tigers.  Sorry I missed it last year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Dump Rudy

I'm just going to say it - President Trump needs to dump Rudy Giuliani.  Every time that guy opens his mouth, both of his feet go in and he ends up having to walk whatever he said back.  Which must really hurt given the placement of his feet.

Rudy - you've lost it.  Whatever your qualifications as a lawyer you have lost your PR touch, and you're doing more harm than good, both to the President and to your own reputation.

Mr. President, repeat after me:  "Rudy - you're fired"

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Snyder unveils plan for broadband throughout Michigan

This was the headline in The Detroit News today.  I have two things to say:

1. Hey Rick:  FIX THE DAMN ROADS!  If you've got money to do this, you should be spending it on the roads.  I'll bet there would be a much bigger economic impact from good roads than broadband to 350,000 rural households.  And if there are a couple of billion in positive economic impact in those 350,000 households, why aren't companies building the infrastructure themselves?  They want to make money, don't they?

2. If the government has so botched and mismanaged road repairs over the years, why would anyone think government could construct and manage a project like this?  Road technology doesn't change nearly as quickly as data infrastructure does (I know - I worked with a lot of it in my years in IT), so we'll end up with outdated infrastructure that will take more billions to upgrade in addition to the roads you've already messed up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Jim Brandstatter Out as Lions Color Man? Wow.

This was rather surprising news today (for Brandstatter too!).  Given the proverbial "going in a different direction" by WJR execs today.  Being replaced by Lomas Brown?  Really?  I loved Lomas as a player but he's hard to listen to as a speaker.  Just another painful color man to go along with a pretty good play-by-play guy, joining Jim "art of pitching, double buggywhip" Price (Tigers), Paul uhh Woods uhh (Red Wings), Jason "that's right George" Strayhorn (MSU Football).

It almost makes me want to listen to a UM Football game, just to hear someone who knows the game and can speak intelligibly as well.  Almost.

Jim Miller deserves better, as does Dan Dickerson and George Blaha.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dear Mr. President: No Pardon for Kwame

Yes, for those of you who follow my blog, I am still alive and kicking, and have finally found a topic that has my dander up enough to fire up the computer and write about it.

I nearly choked on my morning peanut butter sandwich when I read in The Detroit News that Kwame Kilpatrick, former Detroit mayor and current federal inmate, has appealed to President Trump to commute his sentence for swindling the taxpayers of Detroit, Wayne County, and the State of Michigan out of millions of dollars during his term of office.  To say nothing of the excruciating process and more millions of dollars it took to drag Detroit through the bankruptcy that got it back on the right track. 

It is not known if he has filed a new request or if this is a holdover from his prior appeal to the now ex-President Obama.  The article goes on to detail Kilpatrick's conversion to Christianity, his earning a Culinary Arts certificate, and all the mentoring he does in the prison as reasons for the pardon.  Additionally (and incredibly, in my mind) Kilpatrick actually has supporters out there who have given statements in the article and have set up a website to garner support for him.

So, since I know he reads my blog whenever I post (although probably at 3 am while he is Tweeting!), here are my thoughts, Mr. President:  DON'T YOU DARE!

Now, if Kilpatrick's prison conversion and subsequent good work with young prisoners are all true, no one will be happier about it than me.  God rejoices when anyone finds his way back to him, and all Christians should do the same.  So God bless and keep you Kwame, and guide you in all his ways.

However - none of this really releases you from the consequences of your prior actions that led to your conviction and incarceration.  You still have to bear the consequences of that, and that means a long prison term for you to serve.  Billy Graham would still have to pay his speeding ticket if he had been caught speeding.  His relationship to Christ would have no bearing on that infraction or it's consequences and he couldn't expect to get off because he was a really godly man who made a mistake.

So Mr. President, as a citizen of Michigan whose tax dollars have gone to recover from the mess this guy made in our state, I implore you NOT to pardon Kwame Kilpatrick.  It would be a slap in the face to all of us here in Michigan who still suffer from his past corruption.