AuthorLew

This Memorial Day, take time to remember

by John Taylor

You have to admit that, despite the financial woes and political in-fighting and every other really crappy thing going on, we have a pretty damn good life, living in these United States of America.  It’s a far-from-perfect country, but, dammit, it’s ours.  Ours because our own have and will continue to shed their blood in the ultimate sacrifice.  Gave and will continue to give their lives, their hopes, their dreams so that we — and our children and our children’s children and their children — may live and realize ours and theirs.

As you go about your day today, doing whatever it is that you do on Memorial Day, take a second or two or sixty — or more — to reflect on what exactly this day is all about.

Please.  Just take a moment.  Take a moment to God bless those who have given so much.

God bless those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we enjoy day-in and day-out.

God bless those hundreds of thousands who’ve lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in the ultimate sacrifice paid forward to every single one of us, for our freedoms.

And thank you — thank you, thank you, thank you with every fiber of my being — to those who continue serving this country and keeping this great nation safe.

And, again, God bless families torn apart and made lesser by the heartbreaking losses, hellish and unthinkable holes in the soul that allow us to do whatever the hell it is we want to on this day and every other day of the year…

Memorial Day look back: Eagle photo touches hearts

1tevlin0810

Frank Glick took this photo of an eagle on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Requests for the photo of an eagle on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, and use of the story, have come from the Department of Veterans Affairs, military publications and Arlington National Cemetery.

 

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by Jon Tevlin

Talk to anyone in my business and they’ll all say the same thing: No matter how long you write stories and put them in the newspaper, you are never really sure which ones are going to strike a nerve.

What you think might be a Pulitzer-quality epic might draw only a nice call from Mom, while a simple tale tossed off on deadline causes an uproar, or an avalanche of praise. One legendary former investigative reporter at this paper wrote scores of stories that changed laws and saved lives, yet never did he get more mail than when he wrote about burying his cat.

And so it is with my June column on the amateur photographer, the widow and the eagle on a gravestone.

A quick recap: Amateur photographer Frank Glick was on his way to work when he drove through Fort Snelling National Cemetery early one morning. He spotted a bald eagle through the mist, perched on a gravestone, and snapped shots with his aging but ever-present camera.

Nice shot, he thought.

An acquaintance saw the photo and suggested that he see if the deceased soldier had any living relatives who might want it. Indeed, Maurice Ruch’s widow was alive and well and delighted to receive a copy of the eagle watching over her beloved husband.

Glick’s friend called me. Nice story, I thought.

Then it began.

Mail and calls from Minnesota, then Chicago, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and finally, Afghanistan. The picture and story had gone viral. I noticed 11,000 people had recommended it on Facebook. I forwarded scores and scores of requests for reprints to Glick. Unfortunately, he had become ill and has been in the hospital off and on since the column ran. Mail piled up. (To reach Glick about the photo, e-mail him at liketophoto@yahoo.com. Be patient.)

“It’s been pretty hard to keep up with this stuff,” Glick said from his hospital bed. “It’s pretty amazing what’s going on.”

Requests for the photo, and use of the story, have come from the Department of Veterans Affairs, military publications, Arlington National Cemetery. Soldiers in Afghanistan have inquired about the photo, including some from the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division, stationed at Bagram Airfield.

“I sent a good-sized one to a base in Afghanistan because they wanted to build a memorial to members of their unit who had been killed,” Glick said.

This letter, from Atlanta, was typical:

“You have no idea just how much this photo and story mean to so many of us who have served. We do not ask for special treatment; we do not ask for your gratitude; we don’t even ask for your patience when we occasionally ‘geeze’ with old stories. We would like to have some understanding just how much service to this great nation means to each of us. Your picture and story show me that some do understand.”

One person wrote a poem based on the photo, another wrote a song and a third sent me a short story based on the column. Veterans have called the Fort Snelling cemetery, crying.

Not surprisingly, there were few readers who insisted that the photo was a fake. The bird was too big, they said. There’s an aura of light on one side that reflects the use of Photoshop, said others.

“It’s not Photoshopped,” said Glick. “I did crop it [as did the newspaper]. If I had Photoshopped it, I wouldn’t have the eagle’s tail covering the name.”

He also may have put the eagle on a different headstone to make the composition perfect, he said. “It’s a good picture, but it could have been a much greater picture.”

Glick took the photo with an older Nikon camera and a multi-purpose lens. He took more than 60 shots of the bird at the cemetery, from different angles and locations. Some are sharp, some are blurry. Some are not very well composed.

“But I just like the feel of this one.”

Star Tribune photographers studied the original that Glick sent me and said there’s nothing conclusive to say whether it is faked. They also looked at a photo of the bird from the front and said it seemed legitimate, and consistent with the other photo.

As for the size of the bird?

The tombstones rise about 22 inches from the ground. Eagles can grow to 37 inches tall. So the proportion seems right.

I asked a cemetery employee if they ever see eagles.

“All the time,” she said. Her boss concurred.

Glick’s significant other, Jo Edwards-Johns, got a call from Glick shortly after he shot the photos because he was so excited. She has tried to keep up with the mail between trips to the hospital to be with Glick.

Meanwhile, the woman who received the free print, Vivian Ruch, has likewise been flooded with calls.

“I can’t tell you the impact it has had,” she said. “It’s because it’s just not about Maurie, it’s about all of them [soldiers].”

“It’s just got some quality about it,” said Glick. “Sure, I wouldn’t mind getting rich off of it, but that probably isn’t happening. It makes people feel better. It makes them feel warm and fuzzy. That’s what it’s for.”

 

Josh Hamilton to be activated by Rangers Monday

Josh Hamilton will be back in the bigs before long.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jeff Wilson reports that Hamilton will fly to Cleveland Sunday to join the Texas Rangers for their 3-game series with the Indians that begins Monday. The team will activate the slugger on Monday.

“I am excited about it,” Hamilton said Saturday night. “It’s been a process from surgery to now, to work hard and get healthy and mentally focused.”

Hamilton was acquired in a trade from the Angels towards the end of April. He had shoulder surgery in February and was recovering in Texas, away from the Angels’ spring training facility.

Since being acquired from the Angels, Hamilton has spent time in Double and Triple-A. He has batted .364 with five doubles and a home run in 44 at-bats over 12 games.

The former MVP seems to have put his cocaine and alcohol relapse well behind him and looks ready to get back to playing in MLB.

Rangers totally dismantle Yankees 15-4

by Lew Patton

There is nothing like winning a ball game, but when you can totally dominate the New York Yankees in the process, it’s even sweeter.

Shin-Soo-Choo hit a go-ahead single and a three-run homer in a 10-run third inning that chased CC Sabithia  from his shortest start in six years, and the Texas Rangers routed the reeling Yankees 15-4 Saturday to send New York to its ninth loss in 10 games.

This was great news and a great game for the Rangers as every starter had at least one hit for Texas. The Rangers, who rode a seven-run third Friday to a 10-9 win, won their fourth straight and at 20-23 are three games under .500 for the first time since they were 6-9. New York lost its fifth in a row.

Nick Martinez (4-0), who pitched just 3 miles from Yankee Stadium for Fordham in 2009 and `11, beat New York for the first time in three career starts. The 18th-round draft pick, who has a 1.96 ERA, allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, including a pair of solo home runs. He has given up three earned runs or fewer in 15 consecutive starts.

These kinds of games don’t happen often, but when they do, it is a pretty cool accomplishment.

 

Time to take a stand: You either allow domestic violence or you don’t

There are several of us “old-school” Cowboys fans still around. We remember when the Cowboys were a class organization.

The other day, I had the chance to hear former Cowboys great Roger Staubach speak about the new types of players like new Cowboys defensive tackle Greg Hardy.

Staubach said on KTCK-AM that while he admires the way Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson has taken a leadership role in the NFL’s efforts on domestic violence, he still has a hard time justifying allowing a player like Hardy on the team.

“Well, it depends on getting a chance to understand the red flags . . . like the Hardy situation,” Staubach said. “Charlotte Jones is fantastic. She’s involved with the NFL on the committees. I think she had a hand in trying to understand that this guy deserves a second chance. I don’t have any tolerance toward domestic violence. If I was making the decision, it probably wouldn’t have been good for the Cowboys.”

“I wouldn’t really enjoy being in the locker room with someone I knew was a domestic violence person. That’s how I feel,” Staubach said. “Today you know more about the personal lives of players. Back in the old days, there were some issues. But we never really had a domestic violence, smoking marijuana or . . . I’m sure it happened though, we just didn’t know about it. I would have really had a hard time with a teammate that you look at as a courageous, tough guy on the football field . . . to abuse a women in any shape or form, there’s just no excuse for it.”

So that pretty much makes it sound like it’s a direct opinion from Staubach. A clear definition of terms regarding domestic violence.

You either allow domestic violence or you don’t. It’s really a pretty simple equation.

 

Ron Washington officially hired by the Athletics

There were reports about this yesterday. Now it’s official:

 

Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that Washington will be in uniform but is not eligible to be on the bench during games, as the A’s already have a full complement of coaches.

Washington coached the A’s from 1996 through 2006 before becoming the Rangers’ manager, so he knows his way around. As reported yesterday, he will primarily be used as an infield coach, helping the A’s address their awful defense.

So long Dave!

As the case is so many times, saying good bye to a legend is difficult.

Here is the final montage video from the final David Letterman show. I didn’t like the video because there were way too many pictures flying by so quickly, I couldn’t “see” the photos. Maybe that was by design. Maybe Dave didn’t want us to stay too long on his behalf. Regardless, here is the video to watch many times to get the full effect?

So long Dave, we are gonna miss ya man.

One step forward, two steps back

It was a so-so week for your Texas Rangers, as they won 3 games but lost 4 games for the week.

The Rangers split the 4 game series with the Royals in the first part of the week, then lost the three game set to the Indians to finish the week.

Some positives for the week include Adrian Beltre hitting his 400th career homerun dufing the week, and Josh Hamilton is doing pretty good and getting his hitting down in the minors before probably joining the Rangers sometime this week (probably).

It looks like the bullpen is a little better today since Tanner Scheppers and Ross Ohlendorf were brought up from the minors as Texas designated Kyuji Fujikawa for assignment and used  Ross Detwiler’s trip to the disabled list (thank goodness) to bring in another arm for a bullpen that was growing more concerning by the day.

On Sunday, Ohlendorf and Scheppers went right into the fire. Nick Martinez gutted out five innings and allowed only one run despite the Indians getting nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Ohlendorf came in for the sixth and sent the Indians down 1-2-3. Scheppers followed with an eight-pitch seventh inning and came back out for spotless eighth. It was one of the better victories for the Rangers and a win for the bullpen.

Up Next:

May 19 @ Red Sox 6:10 PM

May 20 @ Red Sox 6:00 PM

May 21 @ Red Sox 6:10 PM

May 22 @ Yankees 6:05 PM

May 23 @ Yankees 12:05 PM

May 24 @ Yankees 7:00 PM

Josh Hamilton went 0-for-4 and signed a baby’s butt

All the positive, optimistic quotes about how goodJosh Hamilton looked at the Rangers’ extended spring training complex have given way to him going 1-for-7 with three strikeouts through two minor-league rehab games at Triple-A.

Hamilton hasn’t played since October and is making his way back from February shoulder surgery as well as drug and alcohol relapses, so a couple tough games is no big deal. Still, it seems pretty clear that he’ll need a while to get back into game shape following the trade from the Angels to the Rangers.

Oh, and his time at Triple-A Round Rock also included this, via the Associated Press (and pictured to the right):

Hamilton obliged an unusual request before the game when a fan asked him to sign a baby’s butt.

“That’s happened before. … When you play long enough you’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff,” he said.

He’s expected to spend at least two weeks at Triple-A, so keep those pens ready.

Leonys Martin reaggravated his sprained left wrist

From beat writer T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com comes word that Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin aggravated his sprained left wrist Monday night when he got jammed by an inside pitch. Martin is not in the Rangers’ lineup on Tuesday against the Royals and he could be looking at an extended absence.

Martin missed four straight games last week with the same injury and it obviously hadn’t fully healed. The 27-year-old was batting just .209/.246/.278 through his first 123 plate appearances this season.

Delino DeShields Jr. is playing center field and batting ninth for the Rangers on Tuesday night.

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