A trip to the Holly Center

September 30, 2006 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Personal stuff, Politics · Comments Off on A trip to the Holly Center 

One casualty of my recent focus (bordering on obsession) to the baseball playoff picture was a visit I made Tuesday last to a community forum held at the Holly Center. For those of you not from Salisbury, the Holly Center is a facility that houses severely to profoundly mentally retarded individuals. I suppose this was a case of rank having its privileges – the sole reason I was invited is because I’m soon to be a politician. In fact, out of perhaps 50 to 75 that attended this breakfast I’d have to say at least half were political candidates, and the reason for the breakfast (to put it bluntly) was to justify the Holly Center’s very existence. In their word, they wanted these elected officials to “confront” the state’s bureaucracy.

The actual sponsor of this gettogether was Holly Community, which is a group dedicated to serving what I’d call the ancilliary needs of the Holly Center population and benefit their quality of life. The overriding goals of Holly Community are to improve the lives of those who reside at Holly Center, provide options for private caregivers, and utilize the facility as a whole more fully; in essence making it a “one-stop shop” for individuals in need of their services.

At this continental breakfast, we were given a Powerpoint presentation that included a short history of the Holly Center facility. The site along Snow Hill Road was deeded to the state back in 1969, and 6 years later the Holly Center opened. As originally built there were nine residential cottages and buildings for recreation, education, administration, and an infirmary. Basically it was built to be its own little community with a target population of 225. The population has never gotten to that point though, at its peak in 1991 there were 205 residents and now there’s about 100. Because of this population shortfall, 3 of the buildings (including the original infirmary) have been converted to other uses, while one cottage was converted into a new infirmary. Groups that use former Holly Center buildings include Healthy U, the Child Advocacy Center, Wor-Wic Community College, and the Eastern Shore Laboratory.

A goal of the Holly Community group is to build up the population by giving those who have dependents in need of their services the ability to choose care at the center. Currently the state of Maryland has a preference for integrating those who would’ve been the target population of the Holly Center into the community at large as part of group homes. (My stepdaughter works in a similar group home in Ohio, she is one of the caregivers to five adult individuals whose mental ages range from infancy to age 12.) In 1981, claimed the presenters, there were 11 facilities similar to theirs in Maryland, now there’s just four and Holly Center is the lone one on the Eastern Shore (there’s state-run facilities in Hagerstown, Cumberland, and Owings Mills as well.) The Holly Community group argues that because the facility is there and already on the state’s budget, it should be one of the choices available to those in need; however, the state discourages admissions and only a few have occurred in the last decade. Currently the state has money in its budget for what’s called “respite care” (allowing temporary admissions to avoid family caregiver burnout) but that program will sunset in September of 2007. The Holly Community group chided Governor Ehrlich for wishing to shift the focus of caring for the severely mentally disabled to community-based services, but admissions to state-run facilities were practically ceased in 2001 before he took office. They also noted that a bill allowing the choice of using state-run facilities for care didn’t make it out of committee in the last General Assembly session.

The Holly Community group also talked about the loss of employees in the last decade; at one time there were 374 employees and now the number is about 285. They asserted that payroll is about $15 million (of a budgeted $18 million) and the economic impact to the region is over $90 million. Additionally, the group complained that other state agencies who advocate community-based care get 90% of the budget targeted for those individuals who have severe to profound mental retardation.

One asset the Holly Center does enjoy is a large parcel of land. The site is 75 acres and stretches back from Snow Hill Road all the way back to the apartments at the end of Onley Road. At one time it was planned to sell the “back 40” as state surplus land, but that was shelved in part by Delegate Conway, or at least that was what was said. (I’d have to say that the Holly Community folks are pretty strong backers of Norm, they frequently referred to him doing things for the center including the respite care funding.) A portion of that land is going to be developed soon as a new senior center, the 30,000 square foot facility is on target for a mid-2007 groundbreaking.

What the Holly Community advocated to those of us in attendance was a model that is being used in the commonwealth of Virginia, that of a “community resource center”, or, the “one-stop shop” I called it earlier. And to me that actually seemed fairly logical. With an estimated 700 families on the Eastern Shore in need of these services, it makes sense to have this concept become reality.

Let’s face it, there’s a large NIMBY factor that comes into play when word gets out that a group home for the profoundly retarded is plopped into the community at large. To a large extent, that’s fear of the unknown, but just as there’s communities that are tailored to “active seniors” and are age restricted enclaves, maybe here’s an opportunity to have a community of individuals who are in various states of mental retardation have the care they need in one facility. Perhaps the entities who run group homes in various areas could have a parcel leased to them by the state on the Holly Center grounds and locate the group homes there. With a senior center coming on site, there’s the possibility of interaction between these two distinct communities as well. This would also allow the current facilities to be used for their intended purposes more fully and also allow for better training opportunities for the personnel in the privately-run group homes.

Until mankind figures out a way to magically cure the condition of severe to profound mental retardedness, there’s going to be a need for someone to take care of these less fortunate individuals. While families of those afflicted and privately-run entities take up an increasing portion of the slack, it’s still been dictated by the citizens of Maryland (as is their right as one of the “several states” under the Constitution) that the state assist to one extent or another with seeing to the needs of that population. Given that, I think that this care should be given as efficiently (yet effectively) as possible and to me the Holly Center has some underused assets in that quest that should be taken advantage of. Let’s allow people more choice in the matter.

Baseball playoff update 9-30

September 30, 2006 · Posted in Detroit Tigers, Sports · Comments Off on Baseball playoff update 9-30 

As I predicted, this will get a lot shorter today as fewer games are meaningful. Tonight the Yankees locked up home field throughout the A.L. playoffs, thus the playoffs in both leagues go through the Big Apple. Also, Oakland’s loss to the Angels leaves them in the #3 seeded spot in the American League – thus all that’s left to decide is where the Tigers and Twins end up. They’re still tied as both lost tonight, the Tigers blowing a 5 run lead to the Royals.

But the National League stayed jumbled as Philadelphia won to stay alive while the Dodgers moved back into a tie for first in the N.L. West.

I’m writing this early in the A.M. and will bury this in the morning since there’s other stuff I’ll write on today.

American League:

1. New York (97-63, clinched A.L. East and home field throughout playoffs).

2. DETROIT (95-65, tied for A.L. Central lead with Minnesota). The Tigers will know how the Twins fared today because they have a 7:10 p.m. start while Minnesota plays a real matinee game, they have a 11:10 a.m. local start. Kansas City will again provide the opposition and they send out Ambiorix Burgos (4-5, 5.60) against Zach Miner (7-5, 4.37) of Detroit. The magic number for Detroit dropped to 2 with the Twins losing.

3. Oakland (92-68, clinched A.L. West and will be #3 seed).

4. Minnesota (95-65, tied for A.L. Central lead with Detroit). The Twins will have to get up early for this one, the reason they play the 11:10 a.m. local start is because the Metrodome also hosts the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team. And if there wasn’t enough rivalry between the Twins and Tigers, the Golden Gophers host the University of Michigan Wolverines for the Little Brown Jug trophy tomorrow night (go Blue!)

But the baseball game takes precedence, and the Chicago White Sox will start Jon Garland (17-7, 4.61); he’ll face Minnesota’s Matt Garza (3-5, 5.32).

National League:

1. New York (95-65, N.L. East champions and home field through N.L. playoffs).

2. San Diego (86-74, tied for N.L. West lead with Los Angeles). As with the Detroit/Minnesota situation in the A.L. the Padres win the tiebreaker because of a 13-5 season mark against the Dodgers. So if both teams win or the Phillies lose, this would be the order in the event San Diego and Los Angeles tie for first. First things first though – the Padres send out David Wells (2-5, 4.80 between Boston and San Diego) against Arizona’s Edgar Gonzalez (3-3, 3.86). Magic number for a division title stays at 3 for the Padres but their playoff magic number is now 1.

3. St. Louis (82-77, leads N.L. Central by 1 1/2 games over Houston and 2 1/2 games over Cincinnati). The Cards won tonight and with help from Atlanta beating Houston, their magic number dropped to 2. More importantly, it lessened the chance of playing a Monday makeup contest with San Francisco. Milwaukee provides today’s opposition for the Cards, the Brewers have slated Ben Sheets (6-7, 4.05) as their starter while the Cardinals tap Jeff Suppan (12-7, 4.18) as their pick.

4. Los Angeles (86-74, tied for N.L. West lead with San Diego, lead wild card by 2 games over Philadelphia). A LA win (or Phillies loss) puts Dodger blue in the postseason, but it could be Sunday before the order is determined. Tomorrow they send out veteran Greg Maddux (14-14, 4.26 with the Cubs and Dodgers) to face the barely half his age Matt Cain (13-11, 4.09) of the San Francisco Giants.

5. Philadelphia (84-76). Both the Padres and Dodgers could be in the playoffs before they start tomorrow as the Phillies play a 1:20 game in Florida. It’s Randy Wolf (4-0, 5.24) out to keep the Phillies alive, he goes up against Scott Olsen (12-9, 3.97) of the Marlins.

6. Houston (81-79). With the Rocket fizzling tonight, the Astros are now all but on the bubble as they continue play in Atlanta. Rookie Chris Sampson (2-0, 2,10) is listed as the Astros’ starter but Phil Garner’s been known to pull out all the stops in situations like this. The Braves are much more likely to give Lance Cormier (4-5, 5.00) his appointed turn.

7. Cincinnati (80-80). They held on tonight by beating Pittsburgh, but the situation comes down to needing 2 more wins and rooting for Atlanta and Milwaukee, plus a San Francisco treat on Monday. Heaven help us if all three of these N.L. Central teams finish 82-80, which is mathematically possible. What’s more likely though is Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo (14-10, 3.27) taking on Pittsburgh’s Marty McLeary (1-0, 3.38).

But it IS possible that this would be the last installment of this series and Sunday’s games rendered meaningless if the right combination of teams win. I’ll likely know this by about 10 p.m. tonight.

GOP headquarters opened

September 29, 2006 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · 1 Comment 

The Wicomico County Republican Headquarters is open for business.

Today at noon we had the “media opening” of the Wicomico County Republican Party headquarters. It’s unfortunate that despite the fact we were almost IN SIGHT from WBOC-TV (Channel 16) that no TV cameras were there. We did have a photographer from the Daily Times there, that was it.

Front view of headquarters showing the signs in the window.

Another view looking toward the corner.

Here’s a couple views of the building, just so you get an idea. The reason I placed the second one in was to give a better idea of what it would look like traveling southbound on Salisbury Boulevard. It’s just before the corner of Northwood Drive and Business Route 13.

A number of local politicians were present to cut the ribbon.

I was one of those who participated in the ribbon cutting. If the picture in the Daily Times comes out like I think it should, it’s one of those rare times you’ll see me on the extreme left! Obviously I wasn’t in this picture because I took it. Some of those present from left to right are State Senator Rich Colburn (in the blue suit), County Council candidate John Cannon (shirt and tie), Clerk of the Court candidate James Gillespie (light blue shirt), Delegate Page Elmore (dark shirt), current Central Committee member Louise Smith (partially hidden in the red outfit), Wicomico County Ehrlich campaign manager Ellen Andrews (holding ribbon in center) and County Executive hopeful Ron Alessi (in the dark suit). The gentleman with the hands raised and his back to my camera is Wicomico County chair Dr. John Bartkovich. The candidates were in the middle of the shot while us flunkies were more to the outside; thus there’s a few faces I can’t place there.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs.

It’s a pretty utilitarian building, I was told it was a parts counter for a former auto dealership. There’s not a whole lot of sitting room in there but it does have a nice long counter for putting literature on. We only have to put up with it for six weeks, I’m already signed up to work on the 20th and 27th of October in the afternoon.

I suppose I should mention that we had all but one of the incoming Central Committee there, only M.J. Caldwell was absent. I can account for his good health though (at least as of 4 p.m. this afternoon) as he got to shove a lot of paper at me. Yes, once again I am a homeowner. And I can take this opportunity to put a shout out to Bill, my sort-of new neighbor for the time being and the guy who sold me the house. He happens to be a monoblogue reader so I can tell him good luck in his new place. I’ve walked through his new neighborhood and I’m sure he’ll like living there.

Also today I went up to the Board of Elections to change my address and pick up the precinct results for my Central Committee race. I found out that campaigning and getting my name out did pay dividends.

There were two precincts where it turned out I did probably 90-95% of my lit drop. Those two were precincts 005-003 (voting at Delmarva Evangelistic Church) and 005-004 (which voted where I did at the Civic Center). In precinct 005-003 I finished 6th, but 5th through 7th were separated by 2 votes so I stayed pretty close to the field. In my home precinct (005-004) I finished 4th of the 7, and it was my second best percentage showing in the county. Because those two precincts had the second and fifth largest turnouts respectively, that’s what carried my totals. I also did better than average in the Camden area, which just may be an area where many of my readers live for all I know.

So that does prove what a little shoe leather and bike riding will do I suppose. It’s going to be interesting to see now that I’m a homeowner whether I’ll have politicians beating on my door.

Baseball playoff update 9-29

September 29, 2006 · Posted in Detroit Tigers, Sports · Comments Off on Baseball playoff update 9-29 

Three days left in the regular season. Almost certainly this will be the last night that I’ll have to go through 11 games, as Cincinnati and Philadelphia are on the bubble tonight and Oakland could find itself locked into the #3 seed in the American League.

But thanks to a mistake on my part and then my damn server dropping on me for about 10 minutes, I only have time for the matchups and pitchers.

American League:

1. New York (96-63, won A.L. East). Toronto pitches Gustavo Chacin (9-3, 4.90) is at New York , who starts Mike Mussina (14-7, 3.57). Magic number for home field throughout is 3.

2. DETROIT (95-64, tied for A.L. Central lead with Minnesota). Kansas City will start Runelvys Hernandez (6-10, 6.38) in Detroit, the Tigers send out Wil Ledezma (3-3, 3.58). The Tigers’ magic number remains 3.

3. Oakland (92-67, won A.L. West) sends Esteban Loaiza (11-8, 4.84) to the mound in Los Angeles; the Angels counter with Ervin Santana (15-8, 4.43).

4. Minnesota (95-64, tied for A.L. Central lead with Detroit). The Twins host Chicago, pitching for the White Sox will be Freddy Garcia (16-9, 4.65) and he’ll square off with the Twins’ Boof Bonser (7-5, 4.15).

National League:

1. New York (94-65, won N.L. East and locked as #1 seed).

2. San Diego (86-73, leads N.L. West by 1 game over Los Angeles). In Arizona, the Padres turn to Clay Hensley (11-11, 3.73) to take on the D-backs’ Livan Hernandez (12-13, 4.95). San Diego’s magic number for the division title is 3; a Padres win or a loss by Philadelphia assures San Diego a playoff spot.

3. St. Louis (81-77, leads N.L. Central by 1/2 game over Houston and 2 1/2 over Cincinnati). Milwaukee is the Cardinals’ opponent tonight, they’ll start Chris Capuano (11-11, 3.87) against Jeff Weaver (7-14, 5.79 between the Angels and Cards) at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals’ magic number is 4.

4. Los Angeles (85-74, leads wild card by 2 games over Philadelphia) will pitch Hong-Chih Kuo (1-5, 4.12) at San Francisco; the Giants counter with Noah Lowry (7-10, 4.84). A win by the Dodgers and a Philadelphia loss will put the Dodgers in as at least a wild card.

5. Philadelphia (83-76). It’s all on the line for the Phillies tonight, they’ll place their season in the hands of Jamie Moyer (10-14, 4.36 between Seattle and Philadelphia) as he takes on Florida’s Brian Moehler (7-10, 6.22).

6. Houston (81-78). They’re only alive for the N.L. Central title, but they’re sending out the Rocket, Roger Clemens (7-5, 2.35) to face Atlanta; the Braves will counter with Chuck James (10-4, 3.94).

7. Cincinnati (79-80). Again a must-win for the Reds, a loss would end their playoff hopes if either St. Louis or Houston comes out on top in their games. Cincinnati will start Aaron Harang (15-11, 3.83) against Pittsburgh’s Zach Duke (10-14, 4.44) in PNC Park.

I’m thinking I’ll have about 9 teams to do tomorrow.

Baseball playoff update 9-28

September 28, 2006 · Posted in Detroit Tigers, Sports · Comments Off on Baseball playoff update 9-28 

Some of these teams have already played today so the standings may be jumbled. It was getaway day for a number of road teams.

American League:

1. New York (96-62, won A.L. East). Tonight they host Baltimore for the last of three games with Daniel Cabrera (8-10, 5.05) taking the mound for the O’s against Darrell Rasner (3-0, 2.50) for the Yanks. At the moment it looks like Cabrera and the O’s are in command, leading 5-0 in the 6th. The Yankees host Toronto over the weekend.

2. DETROIT (95-64, leads A.L. Central by 1/2 game over Minnesota). The Tigers lost a matinee affair to Toronto 8-6 so their magic number essentially stays at 3 (a tie for the division title is a win for the Tigers.) The Tigers wrap up the season with 3 at home against Kansas City.

3. Oakland (92-66, won A.L. West). I wrote down tonight’s pitching matchup (Zito vs. Lackey) last night as Oakland starts their final 4-game series of the season in Los Angeles. Can you tell I was tired?

4. Minnesota (94-64, assured of no worse than wild-card). They finish up the 4 game series with the Royals now trying to draw into a tie with Detroit. Luke Hudson (7-6, 5.49) gets the nod for Kansas City against Minnesota’s Brad Radke (12-9, 4.46). After tonight, the White Sox come to Minnesota to conclude the regular season.

National League:

1. New York (93-65, won N.L. East). Fans in Washington will get to see the Mets’ second-stringers and rookies get some playing time this weekend.

2. San Diego (85-73, leads N.L. West by 1/2 game over Los Angeles). The Padres took 2 of 3 from St. Louis, now they end the season with 4 games in Arizona. First on the list is Jake Peavy (10-14, 4.13) for San Diego against Arizona’s Miguel Batista (11-7, 4.36). Magic number for the Padres is 4 for a division title and 3 for a playoff berth. Los Angeles (see below) already won today.

3. St. Louis (81-76, leads N.L. Central by 1 game over Houston). The pressure is on as Houston already won today. Now the Cardinals are in danger of being 1/2 game up if they lose a game in progress with Milwaukee. Doug Davis (10-11, 5.02) got the start for Milwaukee while the Cards sent out Jason Marquis (14-15, 5.80) and Milwaukee leads early, 2-0. This is the first of 4 against the Brew Crew in St. Louis that the Cards play this weekend.

4. Los Angeles (85-74, leads wild card by 1 1/2 games over Philadelphia). The Dodgers played a football game in Denver today, or at least the score was football-like as the Dodgers rolled 19-11 over the Rockies. Colorado must have came up short in the red zone late. Anyway, now the Dodgers head to San Francisco for a weekend 3 game series against their old rivals, the Giants.

5. Philadelphia (83-75). The Phillies are getting their backs firmly placed against the wall and worse yet a rainstorm in Washington has delayed their getaway game, possibly washing the Phillies out for tonight. If they can get it going, it will be Jon Lieber (9-10, 4.92) for the Phillies against Washington’s Michael O’Connor (3-8, 5.04). What also needs to be kept in mind is that Philadelphia needs to catch a plane to Miami tonight so they can play at Florida to finish the year, so a long delay is not helping their cause nor did the Dodgers’ earlier win.

6. Houston (81-78). They shut out the Pirates 3-0 this afternoon in Pittsburgh, now the question is whether Roger Clemens will pitch his last game tomorrow night in Atlanta. They’ve won 9 straight to make the N.L. Central a race.

7. Cincinnati (78-80). Their loss last night put the Reds’ season on life support, but nevertheless they sent out Kyle Lohse (4-10, 6.04 between the Twins and Reds) against Florida’s Ricky Nolasco (11-10, 4.70) and thus far the results are encouraging as Cincinnati leads in the 6th inning 5-1. But if they blow that lead and St. Louis wins, the Reds’ faint playoff hopes are snuffed out. The Reds close up shop this season in Pittsburgh.

It’s starting to look like the National League will have all of the excitement this weekend, with the exception of the A.L. Central title race. But all that determines is who would get the Yankees in the first round.

Baseball playoff update 9-27

September 27, 2006 · Posted in Detroit Tigers, Sports · Comments Off on Baseball playoff update 9-27 

These get shorter each night. All of the playoff teams are decided in the American League and now it’s a matter of seeding. The National League has three separate races underway now, battles for the NL West, NL Central, and wild card involve 6 teams.

(Late edit: I have tonight’s scores but there’s a few afternoon contests tomorrow so I’ll have a partial update when I do this tomorrow evening.)

American League:

1. New York (95-62, A.L. East champion). The Yankees attempt to maintain the lead they hold in the home field race, their magic number for that is 2 for the first round and 5 for the overall since they won the season series against Detroit. Tonight Baltimore is in Yankee Stadium and sends out Kris Benson (11-11, 4.49) against Chien-Ming Wang (18-6, 3.57).

2. DETROIT (95-62, leads A.L. Central by 1 game over Minnesota). The Tigers’ magic number is actually 4 to clinch the Central because they won the season series against the Twins. Since both teams are assured a postseason berth, there will be no playoff in the event of a tie. Toronto continues their trip with Ted Lilly (14-13, 4.41) facing Nate Robertson (13-12, 3.66).

3. Oakland (91-66, A.L. West champion). Unless the Athletics get hot, they’re going to be the lowest seeded division champ and will be forced to play 3 games on the East Coast. But they finally made it after several tries and send out Barry Zito (16-9, 3.89) to take on Seattle’s Gil Meche (11-8, 4.48) up in Washington state.

4. Minnesota (94-63, clinched at least wild card). The Twins continue their series against Kansas City and hope for a Detroit stumble. Kansas City’s Mark Redman (10-10, 5.83) is pitted against Carlos Silva (10-14, 5.95) for the Twins in the Homerdome.

National League:

1. New York (93-64, N.L. East champion). No worries.

2. San Diego (85-72, leads N.L. West by 2 over Los Angeles). Little noticed in their NL West race is that the Padres are drawing closer to punching a playoff ticket regardless of position – their magic number to secure a spot in the postseason is down to 3, and 4 to win the NL West. The Pads finish up their series in St. Louis tonight – Chris Young (11-5, 3.55) goes for the sweep of the tumbling Cardinals, he draws Anthony Reyes (5-7, 4.92) as the Cards’ starter.

3. St. Louis (80-76, leads N.L. Central by 1 1/2 over Houston). Their slide has made a race of the N.L. Central and kept two teams who probably should be making tee times for next week in the hunt. See San Diego above. However, St. Louis still has a magic number of 5 and sooner or later they’ll knock it down. At least they hope so!

4. Los Angeles (83-74, leads wild card by 1 game over Philadelphia). The Dodgers have flipped back on top as Philadelphia’s stumbled the last couple nights. Derek Lowe (15-8, 3.57) gets the ball for LA against Colorado’s Aaron Cook (9-14, 4.11) on what looks to be a chilly evening in Denver.

5. Philadelphia (82-75). Usually it’s the Marlins who screw up the Phillies’ playoff hopes. While they’ll get their chance this coming weekend, right now it’s the Nats who are throwing the wrench in Philly’s postseason drive. But the Phillies will start Cole Hamels (9-8, 4.06) against Washington’s Pedro Astacio (5-5, 6.12).

6. Houston (79-78). The surging Astros have stayed alive moreso because of the St. Louis swoon than they’ve held serve in the wild card chase. Houston goes with another rookie starter, Jason Hirsh (3-4, 5.83) against Pittsburgh’s Shawn Chacon (7-6, 6.25 between the Yankees and Pirates).

7. Cincinnati (78-79). A Los Angeles win tonight eliminates the Reds from the wild card race, but should both the Cards continue in the tank and the Astros fall in, Cincinnati still could be the most shocked participant in the playoffs as N.L. Central champs. They’re down in Miami tonight, Chris Michalak (2-3, 4.50) sets up shop against Mister No-hitter, Anibal Sanchez (9-3, 2.80).

For the first time in a few days no team can be eliminated tonight, but some can help themselves quite a bit by winning.

And if I get back in time from a couple things, I might make a political post! Maybe people miss those?

Hang in there, the regular season ends Sunday. But then I’ll be sitting up at night watching the playoffs – oh well.

Baseball playoff update 9-26

September 26, 2006 · Posted in Detroit Tigers, Sports · Comments Off on Baseball playoff update 9-26 

I see I was linked on Duvafiles, the post in question is here.

This will be quick since it’s past 12:30 a.m.

American League:

And then there were five as Chicago bit the dust bigtime tonight, 14-1. If Oakland manages to come back after blowing a 9-3 lead in Seattle, the four AL playoff teams will be set and they’re jockeying for position from here on out. The order would be like this:

1. New York (94-62, won A.L. East). They hold the tiebreaker over Detroit because they won the season series. Tomorrow the Yankees host Baltimore, Hayden Penn (0-3, 15.43) for Baltimore against the Yankees’ Cory Lidle (11-10, 4,86 between the Phillies and Yankees).

2. DETROIT (94-62, leads A.L. Central by 1 game over Minnesota). The Tigers face Toronto, it’s Dustin McGowan (1-1, 8.34) for the Jays against the Tigers’ Jeremy Bonderman (13-8, 4.11).

3. Oakland (91-65 if they win in Seattle, won A.L. West). Oakland continues the series in Seattle, Rich Harden (3-0, 3.79) takes on Jake Woods (6-3, 3.88).

4. Minnesota (93-63, clinched at least a wild card tonight). They continue to feast on Kansas City, the Royals send out Odalis Perez (6-8, 6.06) to tangle with Minnesota’s Johan Santana (18-6, 2.79).

Just in case Seattle takes it and keeps the Angels (85-71) alive in the A.L. West, it’s Texas and Robinson Tejada (4-4, 4.50) against Los Angeles’s Kelvim Escobar (11-13, 3.40).

National League:

1. New York (93-63) is set as N.L. East champs and best record.

2. San Diego (84-75, leads N.L. West by 2 games over Los Angeles). They beat St. Louis tonight and send ex-Cardinal Woody Williams (10-5, 3.53) out to pitch against Chris Carpenter (15-7, 2.93) on Tuesday.

3. St. Louis (80-75, leads N.L. Central by 2 1/2 games over Houston). See San Diego above.

4 (tie). Philadelphia (82-74). They were knocked off by the Astros, now they move on to Washington, a team who won 3 of 4 from the Mets. It’s Brett Myers (12-6, 3.94) vs. the Nats’ Ramon Ortiz (10-15, 5.40).

4. (tie) Los Angeles (82-74). The Dodgers open up a set in Colorado, sending Greg Maddux (13-14, 4.25) out to square off with Jason Jennings (9-12, 3.65).

6. Houston (78-78). Don’t look now, but the Astros are knocking on the NL Central door. They’re now off to Pittsburgh, where they reestablish order in their rotation by sending out Andy Pettitte (13-13, 4.31) against the Pirates’ Ian Snell (14-10, 4.67).

7. Cincinnati (77-79). The Reds begin an elimination matchup with Florida tonight, first-game loser is out of the wildcard and winner has to sweep all three to stay in it. It will be Matt Belisle (2-0, 4.45) for Cincinnati against the D-Train, Dontrelle Willis (12-11, 3.77) for Florida.

8. Florida (76-80). See Cincinnati above.

I could lose one or possibly two teams tomorrow, so the list is starting to grow shorter. With the Cardinals swooning, it puts the Astros and Reds in better shape for the division title than the wild-card.

WCRC meeting – September 2006

While we didn’t quite have the throngs we did pre-primary, it was still a pretty respectable gathering tonight at the September WCRC meeting, my guess is that we had about 50-55 people there. And a lot was accomplished tonight as we settled several business items for the upcoming election.

As always, we got ourselves started with the Pledge of Allegiance, then did the Lord’s Prayer and went through the August minutes. There was actually a attendance count within the minutes, and when I said 65 or so I was off by one – we had 64. Maybe I forgot to sign the sheet? No, I’m sure I did. But I was pretty close, so I guess that explains my success at predictions (for all you Central Committee folks out there.)

Also, we had our treasurer’s report. It was about this time last year that we started building up the war chest we have, between last year and this year it’s only about 60% higher rather than double like we were running. But the Crab Feast was quite a financial success, I believe the totals worked out to about $8,000. I did underestimate the proceeds on the silent auction, it came out to $1,430. That’s all right, I had no money invested in that result so I can miss on that prediction.

Anyway, inside jokes aside, we quickly disposed of old business. Bob Miller thanked all those who helped with the Crab Feast and Woody Willing called for even more silent auction items next year, along with letting the members in on the ballot language for Question A, which would allow the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Department collective bargaining rights with binding arbitration. The binding arbitration portion is what Willing stressed voters be most aware of.

At that point we got to what would be several items of new business. On one, I’m reserving my right as the author to make additional comments so that will be covered after I go through the remainder of the meeting.

But the first item was comments by M.J. Caldwell about encouraging people to switch parties if you find they’re in agreement with you on most issues. Instead of Democrats voting for Democrats because that’s the party they’re aligned with (even if they’re in agreement with the GOP on most issues), changing their perception of identity by getting them to switch parties generally results in more votes downticket. People are more likely to cross over for big races but then stay with the party line farther down.

Ellen Andrews of the county’s Ehrlich campaign was looking for volunteers, as campaigns are known to do. Unfortunately, I dropped the ball on one item. There was a list of accomplishments that Governor Ehrlich had done for Wicomico County at the meeting and I forgot to pick one up! These could be the basis for a letter-writing campaign, or talking points if you will. She also was looking for phone bank volunteers, one upcoming opportunity is Wednesday night from 5:30 to 8:30 at M.J. Caldwell’s office here in Salisbury. Andrews also informed us about a fashion show up in Baltimore on October 12th (I believe First Lady Kendal Ehrlich puts this together) and introduced intern Josh Wick, who’s working on the Ehrlich campaign with Andrews.

Most importantly, she emphasized getting out the vote, particularly in this area where the governor is strongest. The only area of the state where opponent Martin O’Malley is winning big is the MoCo/PG area, even Baltimore is a tossup (this according to the Sun, so given that source I’m sure Ehrlich’s leading by a few points in Baltimore then.)

Next, we heard a representative from the Maryland Public Policy Institute (who I met and shook hands with, then promptly forgot his name. Sorry.) But more importantly, they are hosting a Town Hall meeting here on the SU campus on Wednesday, October 25. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce their new book, Maryland 2006-2007: A Guide to the Issues and solicit public input. Something tells me monoblogue will be represented.

The last issue (after the one I’m reserving comment on) was that of spending some of the “war chest” we have collected during this cycle. It was resolved that we should spend as much as we legally can on local candidates (as needed) while leaving a cushion of a few thousand dollars in the bank to begin the next cycle with. As John Bartkovich would comment on later, some of that funding would go to advertising for the Republican team.

With that, we had our first speaker, County Council at-large candidate John Cannon. The native of Wicomico County stated that he was “no stranger to community service or the political arena” and did go through a pretty impressive laundry list of organizations he’d served with and political posts he’d held, including some time on the Republican Central Committee.

John focused on two main issues during his address, growth and education. He used the analogy of cutting a diamond to express his thoughts on growth, saying that you only have one chance to get it right. Growth, he continued, should be managed and kept within the metro core and close to other county municipalities. Cannon also cited a need to “take advantage of the developer’s ideas” where possible, as the best ones would take initiatives and help to take the burden of cost off the taxpayers. Above all on the growth issue, Cannon stressed a “no surprises”, consistent approach.

Cannon told the group that he’d looked through the education budgets for both administrative and capital expenditures and, while there was a little bit of pudginess on the administrative side, the report he cited said that Wicomico County’s BOE delivers “good value for the dollar” overall. But he wanted to work on finding creative and efficient solutions to some budget areas and sought more state money to help the 12% of students that he claimed used 20% of the budget.

In response to a question from our assembled regarding the revenue cap, Cannon asserted that the county had an $18 million surplus with the cap, and while it could be said that the government never has enough money, John prudently said that the county simply needs to “set priorities” and that it would be up to the voters to create a groundswell of support for removing the cap. (Fat chance of that happening.)

Then, for a second time, it was M.J. Caldwell’s time to speak. This time he had the candidate hat on as opposed to club officer. Caldwell is a Maryland native, but not an Eastern Shore native. (As he put it, he came here by choice.) I found it quite analogous to the experience on the Eastern Shore though as he related how his once-staunch Democrat family (including himself) slowly switched over to the GOP column as the Democrats moved away from the values his family held closest. M.J. also alluded to his personal persistence as he recited the story of how he came back from law school (at Tulane University) and couldn’t get a bite on the resumes he’d sent to various Eastern Shore law firms, so he took a day and drove the stretch from Ocean City to Easton along Route 50, meeting people face-to-face. Coming home, his wife told him she’d lined up four interviews for him from phone calls he’d gotten back and the rest is history. (I can vouch for that approach, I got my last job in Ohio via a similar method within a day after being laid off by my previous employer because of a slow workload.)

One asset Caldwell claimed would be helpful on County Council was having the law school background because there he was trained to listen and analyze. He also claimed to have a hand in job creation as a minority shareholder in two local companies which had grown from startup to a combined 300 employees. Other items he used to buttress his argument were his efforts to rewrite the Wicomico County charter a few years back and then, after being against it at first, how research into the matter persuaded him that a County Executive would be a good step to take for Wicomico County. Another little-known but important task he’s done is to serve on the committee that decides legislative compensation. While it may not seem like a lot of money to give a raise to 188 members in the General Assembly, the dirty little secret is that all of the retirees get a raise as well because their pension is tied to the salaries. Caldwell and the committee were successful in holding the line on raises this time around.

While M.J. agreed with John Cannon on the growth issue, he did amplify one aspect in talking about the farmers and their role. With a moratorium on growth, the average farmer wouldn’t have the ability to recover from a bad season by splitting off a small parcel or two to sell for extra income. He also chided the county’s planning and zoning department for not always operating in a “timely” fashion. Caldwell also stayed pretty much in lockstep with John on education, although M.J. did advocate more “neighborhood-type” schools rather than the centralized setup we have now where kids from outlying parts of the county are bussed all the way into Salisbury to attend school. (Three of the four local high schools are in or close to Salisbury.) M.J. also noted that since now the majority of the Board of Education is Republican, there’s a better chance for a good relationship between the two if the County Council is likewise GOP-controlled.

Caldwell continued on from these points of agreement though, saying that the “number one priority (for the county) is the safety and security of citizens” and calling for the budget money to be made available to improve the disability plan of the Sheriff’s Department. He also vowed that he “will not vote for tax increases” including an excise tax, calling taxes “government’s legal right to pickpocket” the public. In his message, Caldwell called on the county to make priorities and choices first, and stated the budget was still increasing at a 12.5% annual rate even with the revenue cap in place. In summary, he spoke for himself and John Cannon saying that they “weren’t afraid of being Republicans.”

M.J. also answered a post-speech question regarding the aforementioned Question A, which he was against only because of of the binding arbitration factor. If it were simply a question of collective bargaining, he had no problem with it.

With the speakers concluded, we got our Central Committee report from John Bartkovich. First he thanked the volunteers who helped at Riverfest (you’re welcome) and the Women of Steele event last Saturday. He also was on the hunt for future volunteers, first for the Winefest on October 21-22 and also for the headquarters. The GOP headquarters will be at the corner of Route 13 and Northwood Avenue in Bob Lawrence’s building. The “media opening” is Friday at noon and staffing will begin on Monday, October 2nd. I signed up for two Friday shifts and encourage other Republicans here to do so. And as mentioned before, Bartkovich spoke about the advertising campaign the party would fund for local candidates. These ads would tout the Republican Party as the party of leadership and fiscal responsibility.

This brings me back to one piece of new business that came up. A motion was made from the floor regarding the current situation where local blogs (including monoblogue) are linked from the WCRC website. The motion was made to remove these local links from the site if they were deemed harmful to the GOP cause. (Note to my readers who also partake of the other local blogs: the motion was not made by Mr. Alessi, Mr. Ollinger, or Mr. Bellachico.) After amendment, local candidate websites were exempted as well as generally recognized national conservative websites. As amended the motion passed with one dissenter (three guesses who, first two don’t count.)

I was told afterward that the ban was obviously not pointed at me, but then again there could be cause sometime to do so. It’s not that I’m going to change political stripes or anything like that, but following links from monoblogue one can access almost any Delmarva political website, including those of minor parties. And regular readers know that I’d like to see more choices on the ballot, despite the fact that could cut into the number of Republicans out there someday. (I doubt at the moment too many would switch from GOP to Populist or Greens, but a Conservative Party – maybe.)

But let’s face facts here. The ONLY reason this came up was because the other three major players on the local blogging scene have found fault with County Executive candidate Ron Alessi. Even so, this still may not have come up had Charles Jannace (a.k.a. Hadley V. Baxendale) not began a write-in campaign for County Executive because Alessi won the GOP primary by a handful of votes.

If you go back through the entire body of work of these other three local blogs you’ll find that they are all on the relatively conservative side. I’ve been reading Duvafiles for about the last year and a half (since the “wetback” controversy) and Justice For All? since before the Blogger crash last winter. National Joe-A-Graphic is newer on the scene, it’s only been around since the spring. To me these are good background sources of information mainly because I’m the newcomer of this group, the others have been here for years.

And this so-called “feud” has escalated to this point, a point where bloggers like myself (even though I’m not who he meant, I get tarred by association) are called a “cancer” and one blogger decides that he’s going to make a statement by getting into the race as a last-minute dark horse candidate. I know that Dr. Bartkovich wants unity among Republicans, but in this case events aren’t going to dictate that and it seems to me that this action may make the WCRC look closed-minded.

I operate on the principle that I’m not afraid of competing views because I believe I have the better argument on the issues. This is why I link to all the websites I do and ask the questions I ask. I’d like people to compare the stances and platforms because it’s become apparent to me that people who have any sort of common sense will see that government that governs best governs least. Sometimes that puts me at odds with my adopted party, but my goal is to bring about change from within by enabling a tide of support for a conservative and Constitutional point of view – to me it’s too late for that sea change to occur within my Gen X’ers so I’m placing my hopes on the Millennial Generation (born after 1975 or so). And where do they get their news? It sure ain’t from the newspaper or the 6:30 nightly network broadcast.

On that principle, I voiced my opposition to the proposal when it was voted on. But after the November election when things have cooled down, a motion to reconsider will be in order because it’s time for me to speak up. I’m not afraid of checking out all of the corners of the “big tent”, neither should the WCRC be.

Election Calendar – September 25 thru October 8

Not too much new on the Election Calendar this week. Have no clue why. Maybe it’s because we’re almost to the new month.

Monday, September 25: As is customary, the Wicomico County Republican Club will have its monthly meeting at the Chamber of Commerce Building, 144 E. Main Street in Salisbury. Social time at 7 p.m., meeting begins at 7:30. Wicomico County Council at-large candidates John Cannon and M.J. Caldwell will be the speakers.

Tuesday, September 26: I’m not sure if it’s too late to RSVP for this, but the Public Awareness Forum at the Holly Center will get underway at 8:00 a.m. and run through 9:00. It will be held in the gymnasium of the Massey Activities Building, 926 Snow Hill Road in Salisbury. District 38B House of Delegates officeseeker Bonnie Luna and Clerk of the Courts candidate James Gillespie have this event on their respective schedules.

Wednesday, September 27: No events scheduled.

Thursday, September 28: Delaware State Treasurer (and also monoblogue-linked blogger) Jack Markell formally begins his re-election campaign in Georgetown at the Old Sussex County Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. (his first stop.) Also having this on his calendar is Delaware’s U.S. Senator Tom Carper.

Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30: No events scheduled, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if candidates are campaigning at a local high school football game.

Sunday, October 1: Delegate Jim Mathias hosts a “Meet the Candidate” get-together from 1 to 3 p.m. and again from 4 to 6 p.m. at Occasionally Yours, 10514 Racetrack Road, Berlin.

Monday, October 2: No events scheduled.

Tuesday, October 3: In talking with the folks at PACE yesterday, I found out that there’s a candidate forum on the SU campus that night in the Wicomico Room of University Center. It starts at 7:00, and if you’re like me and can’t be there it’s also being taped for PAC-14.

Wednesday, October 4 through Friday, October 6: No events scheduled.

Saturday, October 7: I believe this is a fundraiser, but State Senator Richard Colburn is having a dinner at the American Legion #91 post in Cambridge at 6:00 p.m. More details as they become available.

Sunday, October 8: No events scheduled.

Upcoming on WICO’s Bill Reddish morning show, 7:40 to 8:00 a.m.:

September 25: City of Salisbury District 2 Councilwoman Debbie Campbell.
September 26: District 38 State Senator J. Lowell Stoltzfus.
September 27: Wicomico County Sheriff candidate Kirk Daugherty.

September 29: Wicomico County Council District 4 aspirant Bryan Brushmiller.

At the moment, there’s no one scheduled for Thursday the 28th.

Baseball playoff update 9-25

September 24, 2006 · Posted in Delmarva items, Detroit Tigers, Sports · Comments Off on Baseball playoff update 9-25 

I actually have the Election Calendar ready to go, it will be posted above this once the games are settled.

Some teams are idle on Monday, and Sunday’s results were the end of the playoff road for the two NL teams on the bubble, Arizona and Atlanta. Monday could be cruel to others.

American League:

In:

DETROIT (94-62, lead AL Central by 1 1/2 games over Minnesota). The black cloud hanging over the Tigers for the last 20 seasons is finally dissipating as they have assured themselves at least a wild-card berth! Even better, by beating the Royals today combined with another stumble by the Yankees in Tampa, they now are in the catbird seat for home field advantage, at least for one day. The Yankees won the season series against the Tigers so they win the tiebreaker if it comes to that. The Tigers are idle Monday, they begin a series with Toronto on Tuesday. Magic number for the division title is now 6, for home field throughout is 7.

New York (93-62, AL East champions). The Yankees still control their own playoff destiny, but they need to figure out how to beat the D-Rays. Jaret Wright (10-7, 4.52) will get the chance against Tampa Bay’s Jae Seo (3-10, 4.85 between the Mets and Rays). After this game the Yankees are home the remainder of the season.

Possibly in after today:

Oakland (90-65, leads AL West by 6 over Los Angeles). Now that chilled champagne needs to be flown north with the team as they couldn’t clinch the AL West against the Angels. On Monday the Athletics send Esteban Loaiza (11-8, 4.70) to the hill against Seattle’s Cha Seung Baek (4-1, 3.67).

Minnesota (92-63, leads wild card by 5 1/2 over Chicago). The Twins took 2 of 3 in Baltimore but lost ground on the Tigers, who swept the Royals by a combined 33-11 score. Now those same Royals pay a visit to Minnesota before once again facing Detroit next weekend. The games have to be played though and the Royals will soldier on with Jorge De La Rosa (5-5, 6.66 between Milwaukee and Kansas City) facing the Twins’ Boof Bonser (6-5, 4.36). A win combined with a White Sox loss ends the one-season reign of Chicago as world champions.

Could be gone today:

Chicago (87-69). The White Sox hit the road for their last chance needing a LOT of help from the Royals. Chicago’s in Cleveland to start their last road trip, it’s Jon Garland (17-6, 4.37) for the Pale Hose facing the Tribe’s Cliff Lee (12-11, 4.58).

Los Angeles (84-71). The Angels try to stay alive to face the Athletics again next weekend, but first things first. Texas arrives in town and the Rangers will start Edinson Volquez (1-5, 6.53) against Joe Saunders (6-3, 4.29) for the Halos.

National League:

In:

New York (93-62) is in and has home field throughout.

Possibly in after today:

Nobody. This may not happen until about Thursday.

Working on that magic number:

San Diego (83-72, leads NL West by 1 1/2 games over Los Angeles). A huge series between the NL West and NL Central leaders begins Monday night. If things break right, it’s a possible playoff preview and would be a rematch of 2005’s NLDS. San Diego will send the veteran David Wells (2-5, 4.80 between Boston and San Diego) to the mound while the Cardinals counter with Jeff Suppan (12-7, 4.07).

St. Louis (80-74), leads NL Central by 3 1/2 over Houston). See San Diego above. The Cards had a lost weekend in Houston but now get home cooking where they’re 46-27. The magic number stays at 5.

Philadelphia (82-73, leads wild card by 1/2 game over Los Angeles). A makeup game tonight as the contest scheduled against Houston was rained out earlier this month. Now the Phillies will get the opportunity to eliminate the Astros. Houston is slated to send out rookie Matt Albers (0-2, 6.00) to face Randy Wolf (4-0, 5.47) but that’s subject to change.

Falling away:

Los Angeles (82-74). The Dodgers are idle on this Monday, Tuesday they start a series in Colorado.

Houston (77-78). See Philadephia above.

Could be gone today:

Cincinnati (76-79). Finishing their home season with an afternoon contest against the Cubs, they’ll face the slants of Chicago’s Wade Miller (0-2, 4.97) and counter with Bronson Arroyo (14-10, 3.38). The season’s on the line for the once-hot Reds in this one.

Florida (76-80). They can only watch and root for the Astros because the Marlins are idle.

San Francisco (75-80). It could be over playoff-wise before they begin, but San Francisco is slated to face the Arizona Diamondbacks on the banks of McCovey Cove. Arizona will toss out Edgar Gonzalez (2-3, 4.41) while the Giants place their hopes on Jason Schmidt (11-8, 3.50).

The update might be a lot shorter for Tuesday’s action as there’s now 3 teams on the bubble. With 3 late games and me not necessarily wanting to stay up half the night to find out how they came out, there’s going to be a partial update for Tuesday.

Baseball playoff update 9-24

September 24, 2006 · Posted in Detroit Tigers, Sports · Comments Off on Baseball playoff update 9-24 

Now 8 days to play until the end of the season next Sunday. We lost Boston but the Angels and Arizona stayed alive. Many of these teams are either finishing their road or home schedules today, which may be an advantage to those who will have home cooking the remainder of the season.

American League:

In:

New York (93-61, AL East champions). Their magic number to clinch home field remained 8 after losing yesterday, magic number for first round stayed at 7. Today the Yankees continue their series at Tampa Bay, Mike Mussina (14-6, 3.57) faces rookie Brian Stokes (0-0, 6.94).

Possibly in after today:

DETROIT (93-62, leads AL Central by 1 1/2 over Minnesota). A win today at Kansas City assures the Tigers at least a wild card. Justin Verlander (16-6, 3.74) goes for the Tiger sweep against the Royals’ Runelvys Hernandez (6-9, 6.40). For the division title, the Tigers’ magic number is now 7. They conclude the season at home after an off day tomorrow.

Oakland (90-64, leads AL West by 7 over Los Angeles). The champagne stayed on ice yesterday, but they again host the Angels in the series finale. Pitching matchup is Ervin Santana (14-8, 4.57) for Los Angeles against Danny Haren (14-12, 4.01) on the hill for Oakland. The Athletics would love to clinch the division in their home regular season finale.

Working on that magic number:

Minnesota (91-63, leads wild card by 5 1/2 over Chicago). The Twins square off against Baltimore in the finale at Camden Yards for 2006. Matt Garza (2-5, 5.40) is the Twins starter, the Orioles counter with Adam Loewen (6-5, 5.35). Their magic number to clinch at least a playoff berth dropped to 3 yesterday as they knocked off the O’s. Today’s ballgame is the last road game for Minnesota.

Falling away:

Chicago (86-69). The White Sox are still on the division title bubble today and a loss could drop their only hope to winning out and hoping the Twins lose all their games at Kansas City this week. Seattle’s rookie Ryan Feierabend (no record or ERA in 6 innings pitched) starts against onetime Mariner Freddy Garcia (15-9, 4.63), who shut down the Tigers for Chicago in his last outing. It’s the last home game for Chicago for the regular season and it’s looking likely to be the last for 2006.

Could be gone today:

Los Angeles (82-71). See Oakland above. A loss by the Angels and you can stick a fork in them. If they do win they will play home games the rest of the way.

National League:

In:

New York (93-61) is in and has home field throughout.

Possibly in after today:

Again, no team can clinch a playoff spot in the NL today.

Working on that magic number:

San Diego (82-72, leads NL West by 1 1/2 games over Los Angeles). San Diego got a little breathing room as they won last night while the Dodgers lost. Their home finale today against Pittsburgh sees Pirates’ minor league veteran Marty McLeary (1-0, 4.76) face the Padres’ Clay Hensley (10-11, 3.81). Magic number for the Padres is now 7 for the division title.

St. Louis (80-73, leads NL Central by 4 1/2 over Houston). The Cardinal swoon continues, they’ve dropped 5 in a row. Tonight they play on ESPN with Jeff Weaver (7-14, 5.84 between the Angels and Cards) against Houston’s future Hall-of-Famer (whenever he decides to retire!) Roger Clemens (7-5, 2.37). Their magic number to win yet another NL Central crown stayed at 5, but they do finish their season at home.

Philadelphia (81-73, leads wild card by 1/2 game over Los Angeles). They flipped places with Los Angeles as they won yesterday while LA lost. Today’s contest against the Marlins was supposed to be their last home game, but Philly fans get a bonus tomorrow night with a makeup game against Houston that now looms large. Youngster Scott Olsen (12-8, 3.87) goes for the Marlins against veteran lefty Jamie Moyer (9-14, 4.27 between Seattle and Philadelphia). Now they hold the magic number of 8 to secure the wild card.

Falling away:

Los Angeles (81-73). The Dodgers were blown out last night, so now they’ll sit and watch the scoreboard as the Phillies game should be concluding when they start. This will be the Dodgers’ last home game as they tangle with Arizona, it’s Livan Hernandez (12-13, 5.08) for the visitors and Hong-Chih Kuo (1-5, 4.72) on the mound in Dodger blue.

Houston (76-78). See St. Louis above. Could this be the final chance for Houston fans (and everyone else via national TV) to see the Rocket? He’s going on three days rest to pitch the Astros’ last scheduled home game.

Florida (76-79). See Philadelphia above. Florida finishes the season at home, but the question is now becoming if they’ll even draw 100,000 for their last 6 home games since they’re dropping from the race.

Cincinnati (75-79). The Reds continue a series with the Cubs today as they struggle to stay in the race. Rookie Juan Mateo (1-3, 4.38) gets the nod for the Cubs, he’ll square off with Aaron Harang (14-11, 3.91) for Cincinnati.

San Francisco (75-79). This Midwest trip has pretty much killed whatever chances the Giants had, but they’ll press on with Matt Cain (13-10, 3.99) as their starter against Milwaukee’s Ben Sheets (5-7, 4.21). After today San Francisco is home for what’s left of their season.

Could be gone today:

Atlanta (75-80). Another loss by the Braves last night has put them in an odd position, needing to win out to avoid a non-winning season for the first time in 15 years. That effort starts today in Colorado as the Braves go with Chuck James (10-4, 3.62) against the Rockies’ Juan Morillo (12-8, 4.62 at AA Tulsa) making his major league debut. Then the Braves come home for the last 6 games needing the miracle of all miracles to make the postseason.

Arizona (73-81). See Los Angeles above. Still seeking the .500 mark at least.

I’ll probably do tomorrow’s update during the St. Louis – Houston game tonight (since most games will be completed by then) so the standings may not quite be in perfect order unless one team’s getting blown out. A few teams have travel days tomorrow so the schedule will be lighter.

Political day in pictures

September 24, 2006 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Personal stuff, Politics · Comments Off on Political day in pictures 

Me and my (somewhat) trusty camera were out and about today checking out the political scene.

Signs in a nice geometric march.

The afternoon started at the Stoltzfus Picnic, which this year was held inside the Civic Center. They were tired of being rained on, last year’s event was soaked.

District 38B hopefuls Bonnie Luna and Michael James applaud remarks by Senator Stoltzfus (center).

This event worked in a pretty tried and true fashion. We all got our food first – they had the hot dogs and sauerkraut again, along with some really good pulled pork. A little cole slaw, a ladleful of baked beans, a few cookies and my lunch was filling. This photo was taken after most of us ate, when the candidate introductions started. Luna and James both made remarks. Stoltzfus even got down to introducing the Central Committee people for each of the three District 38 counties (Somerset, Worcester, Wicomico) which meant I was introduced and got a wave in.

Senator Stoltzfus introduces a U.S. Senate hopeful, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

We actually were introduced after Lieutenant Governor Steele got to the event. He patiently waited a few minutes and here he’s shown just before making his remarks. Steele made what’s probably a pretty typical stump speech to a crowd of supporters but he had some help. Steele spotted a toddler-age girl scampering in front of the stage and bade her come up. With her on his shoulder, Steele pointed out that his job was to help this little girl’s future (as he pointed at her for emphasis.) You couldn’t ask for a better photo-op and hopefully someone got it.

Michael Steele's ride on his 24-county Maryland tour.

This moving billboard is Michael Steele’s bus for his state tour. I snuck out after he finished to take the picture, then walked back inside to renew acquaintances with the Lieutenant Governor, as well as many other politicians in attendance that I knew. In fact, I found out that once the new Central Committee gets underway it’s been decided that I should act as Secretary (which I did for the Toledo Young Republicans years ago.) Gee, a guy with a blog doing a job that requires writing. Whoda thunk it?

Write-in County Executive candidate Charles Jannace - a.k.a. Hadley V. Baxendale of Justice For All? -  (in green on left) with fellow blogger Joe Albero, who does National Joe-A-Graphic (in green on right). Albero is helping to finance the Jannace campaign.

One person I hadn’t met yet was Charles Jannace, who is the “Hadley V. Baxendale” of the local Justice For All? blog, and also a write-in candidate for County Executive. It was a pleasure to meet him and place a name and face behind a blog that I regularly read. Now I hope Joe Albero got the picture of Steele with the young lady I mentioned above. She’s the daughter of Beau Oglesby, an attorney in the Wicomico County State’s Attorney office who’s running for the job in Worcester County where he lives.

Just like last year, the event also had a live auction that was conducted by Lewis Riley, Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture. I didn’t keep a running count, but I’m guessing they totaled in the $2500 range on the items sold. They were also supposed to have Kristen Cox (Governor Ehrlich’s current running mate) come and say a few words but unfortunately she was running late. I did get to meet her at the next event.

Arriving at the 'Your Vote, Your Voice' event.

Frankly, I was disappointed with the turnout to this event, but it was a nice Saturday and SU doesn’t have a whole lot of on-campus housing.

A nice setup for the Senate hopeful.

U.S. Senate candidate Ben Cardin had a nice table set up even though he didn’t come to see it. At left are two Wicomico County candidates, District 4 Council hopeful David MacLeod and incumbent Orphans’ Court Judge Melissa Pollitt Bright. Seated behind them is another Orphans’ Court candidate, George Ossman.

On the other side, the Republicans had plenty of signage.

The College Republicans put together a rather impressive display. I took the shot looking down the row but theirs stood out.

Two of the Green Party contingent on the SU campus.

These two young people were very nice and polite, but they’ve never heard of monoblogue! I told them I’d make them world-famous. Well, at least they’re now on the World Wide Web.

I do have a question though. Since we have far fewer hurricanes in 2006 than we did in 2005 (with none of them being “major” hurricanes), does that mean we’re having global cooling?

County Council at-large candidate Bill McCain.

In between the band sets, there would be a speaker or maybe two who would go up there and talk about the importance of voting. Judging by the attendance though, not a lot of students find it that important. But I have to commend the folks at PACE for trying.

The politicos outnumbered the students.

However, there were times like this one where I saw mostly candidates who were running for offices speaking to their counterparts, sometimes of the opposite party and sometimes not. I spoke to Joe Albero (in green on the left) and he sadly noted the same phenomonon at forums he attended – they were 1/2 to 2/3 politicians and most of the rest were their hangers-on. Just a handful of citizens show up. At the end, I was chatting with a young lady who’d volunteered to sit at the PACE table and they’d registered only about a half-dozen voters.

U.S. Senate aspirant Kevin Zeese during his address.

There were some bright spots though. I liked Kevin Zeese’s brief message about voting for what you believe in and not against what you fear. Actually, the Green Party’s Senate hopeful is running a fairly positive campaign aside from being virulently anti-war. I did take this occasion to introduce myself and thank him for participating in my Ten Questions. Also, I got to speak at length to his son Alex, who was there helping his dad. He’s a bright young man who told me about his unusual childhood – instead of getting to watch cartoons on weekend mornings, the one TV in his house was tuned to “McLaughlin Group”. So he was immersed in politics at an early age.

In fact, I spent the largest part of my time there speaking with Democrats and Greens. Obviously I’m loyal to the GOP, but it’s good to find out about people on the other side. So I spoke at some length to Democrats like Hilary Spence, James Adkins, Melissa Pollitt Bright, and Sheree Sample-Hughes (who didn’t deny it when I told her she could be a political force to be reckoned with at a higher level), as well as the Green Party’s Zeese. Most of the time we actually spoke about things that were non-political – for example, Spence got a little bit of my history with taking the architectural exam, and Adkins told me about referring folks to monoblogue to read his Ten Questions answers.

As a group, the Democrat and Green candidates stuck around longer than the Republican ones did. I think I was about the last one on the GOP side (excepting the College Republicans) to leave, but I was enjoying talking to some of the younger people there as the affair wound down.

So like in years past the Stoltzfus Picnic will be an early-fall affair next year, but I believe that the SU event will be shelved because there’s no state or federal election in 2007. It may return in two years though as the Presidential election winds down. But after the event I told the organizer to invite me whenever it returns, I’ll be there. This year’s event may not have been what they’d hoped, but there’s no harm in trying since that generation is going to be a pivotal one in history.

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