Friday, July 17, 2009

A Tribute to the Most Trusted Man in America

It would be crazy for me as a writer and journalist not to pay tribute and respect to Walter Cronkite. Cronkite entered the broadcast journalism business when television was still a new commodity. The most famous events he covered were the assassination of President Kennedy, th Watergate scandal, the Vietnam War, the Apollo 11 trip to the moon, and the 1960 Presidential election.

Cronkite rarely voiced his opinions on the air. When he did however, he articulated them better than anybody else, and he supported them with irrefuatble facts and images. No event in American history was this more evident than his assessment of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War in 1968. He spoke of a standoff, not a victory or defeat, but a stalemate in which our political leaders suffered from an excess of optimism and stubbornness, despite huge losses of American troops, prestige and morale. "To say that we are closer to victory or defeat, is to believe in the face of evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism," Cronkite said. "To say we are mired in a stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could." Ladies and gentlemen, this is why as a child I was required to watch and listen to this man, even though I was only 9 years old when he left the anchor desk. As it turned out, President Johnson announced one week later that he would not run for President in 1968. "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America," Johnson said. I only wish reporters had questioned and criticized the last administration in the same manner.

Today's news, at least local television news, has become a dog and pony show. Fancy voiceovers, dizzying graphics and special effects, stupid headlines, and young eye candy newscasters don't really cut the mustard when it comes to good reporting. Don't get me wrong, I like to look at most of the young female newscasters, I just can't seem to get any substanital facts or stances on the issues that affect us the most. This is where Cronkite separated himself from everyone else. Even his replacement Dan Rather screwed up by not checking his facts and sources before reporting a story. Nowhere was this more evident than when he presented documents that were possibly forged of George W. Bush's National Guard service, as authentic. We all know George Bush has dodged many resposibilities in his life, and there is nobody that enjoys a derogatory George W. Bush story more than me. But if you're going to report a story, make sure your sources and your facts are authentic. Nobody knew this better than Cronkite which is why his signoff of "That's the way it is" is so appropriate.

I even heard Hugh Downs say that Cronkite told him you have to be liberal to be a good reporter. I know what you're all thinking. But what he meant was people should draw conclusions based on facts and evidence without fear of questioning the establishment. RIP Walter Cronkite. You're the best. And that's the way it is.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Little Irony for You

For those of you who don't know, I interviewed for a job this past winter that was as close to a dream job as I could get. I interviewed for a Copywriter position for the Washington Nationals. I didn't get the job unfortunately. No harm, no foul. Apparently they found a more qualified candidate.

However, things have not exactly gone swimmingly for the Nationals since the start of the season. GM Jim Bowden was forced to resign amid FBI allegations that he was skimming bonuses from Dominican players coming to the US. They had a prospect lie about his name and his age. Apparently the prospect they signed known as Esmailyn Gonzales born in 1989, is really Carlos Lugo, who was born in 1986. Oops! I guess there is nothing the Nats did wrong, but a little embarrassing nonetheless. As of tonight's All Star Game the Nats have the worst record in baseball (26-61) and fired manager Manny Acta today.

Probably the funniest thing I've seen however, was this incident in April where Nationals name was spelled wrong on Ryan Zimmerman's and Adam Dunn's uniform jerseys. No this is not a joke, but feel free to insert one if you like. See this link to Dan Steinberg's blog in the Washington Post. The link to the pictures of the uniform is: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2009/04/nationals_uniform_fail.html. He also comments on it at http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2009/04/washington_natinals.html Apparently they need more than one copywriter. Unbelievable.

I wonder if Dan Steinberg knows that his blog is called "DC Sports Bog" I wonder if that is a typo.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baseball On A Budget #1


When it comes to the Red Sox, there isn't much in the way of bargains, if anything. I attended my first Pawtucket Red Sox of the season for 2009. The General Admission ticket for a PawSox game is $6 and hasn't changed to my knowledge in at least 20 years. The most expensive tickets are $10. Parking is free in most areas, although there are a few lots that are $2, $5, and $10. Try finding that at Fenway. I got to see Clay Buckholz continue his bumpy road back to the majors, and Jed Lowrie continue his rehab, so we can say adios to Julio Lugo.

I will always have a certain amount of loyalty to the PawSox. Ben Mondor and Mike Tamburro have owned and run the franchise since 1977 and have revolved their product around affordable baseball for families. I had the privilege of interviewing Ben and Mike a year and a half ago for Rhode Island Home Living and Design magazine. The link to this article is at http://rhodeislandhld.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=652&Itemid=122. Ben and Mike gave me 4 hours of their time and could not have been more accommodating. They also gave me 7 free tickets behind home plate to the July 3 game with fireworks to follow. McCoy Stadium is a great place to watch a ballgame. There are no bad or expensive seats in the house. If you bring the kids I recommend you sit out on the centerfield berm with a blanket or beach chairs. Pawtucket is less than an hour away, and it won't force you to take a second mortgage on your home. There is all kinds of room for kids to roam in case they get restless too. I'll be recommending other venues soon, but Pawtucket is great for an affordable night for everyone, and it also gives the best opportunity to see Major League ready talent. Almost every home grown Red Sox player has played on Ben Mondor Way. With the All Star Game approaching, don't miss your chance to catch future Red Sox All Stars.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Red Sox Pitcher Bob Stanley

Since Jonathan Papelbon broke Bob Stanley's Red Sox team record for saves today, I thought I would pay homage to Bob Stanley: The Steamaaah. Is there anybody in the history of the Red Sox that his been put in worse positions than Bob Stanley? In the infamous Bucky Dent game, Stanley came in right after Dent hit his three-run home run. He then had to come into a game behind 3-2 with Mickey Rivers, Lou Piniella, Thurman Munson, and Reggie Jackson staring him in the face. Munson hit an RBI double and Jackson hit what proved to be the game winning home run off Stanley. Then the Red Sox proceeded to tease us with 2 runs in the 9th and Yaz representing the tying run. Yaz popped out for those of you who don't remember.

Stanley was also a central part of the WORST moment in Red Sox history. In the 1986 World Series the Mets were down to their final out and final strike against Calvin Schiraldi with no one on base. Somehow Schiraldi managed to give up 3 straight singles and leave the tying run at third. To add to the situation the diamondvision at Shea Stadium said "Congratulations Boston Red Sox 1986 World Champions". Here is where they bring in Bob Stanley. He throws a wild pitch that Rich Gedman arguably could have stopped, and then induces a ground ball(exactly what he needed) that goes thru? Well you know the rest. There is no worse situation in baseball history, and Bob Stanley did that sooo many times for the Red Sox. He wasn't the best, that's for sure, but he certainly took the biggest hit for his team. Today I salute you Bob Stanley.