monoblogue turns seventeen: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

This will be crossposted to my Substack page, where you will now find all my new content.

Back in 2016, when I left the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee in the middle of my term, I said I was leaving at the time of my choosing.

After getting to post number 5,302, this is the time I choose to leave monoblogue behind.

That’s not easy since there aren’t many things I have done for seventeen years straight, but this enterprise got to a point where the passion wasn’t there as much, the website needed constant updating, and it wasn’t worth the cost anymore. (My last renewal was something like $72 to have this server access for a year.) All that for a daily readership that had dwindled down to fingers and (maybe, on a good day) toes. I realize I have sort of a niche market, but these numbers were downright depressing and I saw it was time for a change.

But there are seventeen years’ worth of memories associated with this site. To get a little autobiographical, when this started I had been on Delmarva barely a year, so I really didn’t know anybody outside of my workplace. As an introduction to some of the movers and shakers of the area, monoblogue worked like a charm.

Because I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself, I wrote about a lot of things that interested me: not just the political but baseball and live, local music had their place here, too. My website also functioned as a way to sharpen and promote my interests. In thinking back, there were a lot of things I wrote about back then that I probably couldn’t have gotten away with a few years later once I got my political reputation: for example, I closely followed my Detroit Tigers’ successful quest to the 2006 playoffs and eventually the American League pennant. Once you understand my affinity for the underdog, though, it makes more sense as a great rags-to-riches story. (I lived through 43-119 just three short years before.) There was also my time as a journalist, when I knocked myself out to be at political news events like forums and appearances to give them the coverage the mainstream media couldn’t or wouldn’t. Luckily, that era ended once I met someone I loved spending time with more than the effort to be the ace reporter.

When I started, the blog was approaching its peak as a means of expression: those who have been around since the aughts might remember BlogNetNews and the arguments we had about whether a website deserved to be number one for Delmarva. I went months and months being in their top 20, and it was fun. I have pretty much outlasted all of those competitors except Salisbury News, and if it makes whoever is the news aggregator running that place now (is Joe Albero even around anymore?) feel better he can have the pride of knowing he survived all of us.

But a year or two after I got started, things began to change. People began to migrate to what was known as “microblogging” on Twitter, limiting their thoughts to 140 characters at a time. (That definitely wasn’t for “wordy and verbose” me.) A couple years later Facebook came along and basically supplanted any need for most average, non-junkie folks to have a website when they could wax poetic to all their friends and acquaintances for free. Granted, I have used Facebook for several years to help promote what I write but the one thing I have noticed over the years is that a significant portion of my social media friend requests come from people running for office somewhere in Maryland. I suppose my reputation still precedes me.

So what’s the plan for monoblogue now? After today, there will be no new posts here but the site will remain up for awhile because a month or so ago I paid for another year of WordPress and the domain name. Until then, it will remain in a somewhat stripped-down version because I may get rid of the sidebars rather than keep them current.

However, back in October I spent a Sunday watching my content be migrated over to my Substack. Over the last few days I’ve been working on the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame page that I migrated over and found editing it is easy, so it follows that any of my monoblogue posts should work well, too. That legacy was my biggest concern and it’s now been addressed. My links to monoblogue can now go to my Substack archive.

When I began this enterprise seventeen years ago, I wasn’t sure what I really wanted out of it. I had a good-paying job, so it wasn’t really about money – although if the site had become monetized to a certain degree I wouldn’t have turned my back on making it full-time work – and it wasn’t necessarily for fame, although as I said it did serve well as my introduction to a lot of great people. I just liked to write and share my opinion, and I felt constrained by my previous home on Blogspot. Over the life of this website I have probably spent roughly $1,000 on server fees, but thanks to the occasional tip jar rattle and the compensation from my record review posts, it ended up being a net profit at (maybe) about a quarter-penny an hour. (I got exposed to a lot of good music thanks to that long-running series of posts, though, so there was that.)

As I look back here at the end, the main thing I strove for was to write content that allowed me to sleep at night because I didn’t regret anything I said, and I accomplished that. There may have been some wrong turns and misdirections along the way in business and editorial decisions I made, but the pixels that made it to screen were always from my heart and what I thought was best at the time. I’m leaving this stage of my writing career with no regrets, but looking forward to continuing my next chapter on my two Substack pages, the eponymous one and The Knothole, which is my baseball history page and new home of my Shorebird of the Week Tracker and Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame – legacy projects from monoblogue that will continue to live on.

Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, my writing career will live on too. It just won’t be here anymore. As I close this chapter, I just have one thing to say: thanks for being here for seventeen wonderful years!

Announcing: the Delaware Accountability Project, 2021-22 edition

If you’ll notice on my sidebar, I have previously called this the monoblogue Accountability Project. But in light of upcoming changes and the shift in focus I made a few years ago, I opted to change the name.

It took me awhile to do this, much longer than I anticipated. The formatting is a bit rough because I had so many votes (50) that I had split it out into six tally pages (normally it’s handled on three.) Because of the long lead time I had to make some last minute changes, for one denoting Colin Bonini as someone who’s leaving because he lost his primary.

So use this carefully in determining who to support this November. At some point I will figure out a way to move this over to my Substack, but this forum will have to suffice for now.

Under the bus?

Yes, I’m back to local political posts on the Maryland side over here. I’ve been a pretty good boy on my Substack about keeping it issue-based but once in awhile I need to point out the anamolies of races. It’s also an experiment because I’ve been having website issues here – another reason I’m relocating to Substack, because I don’t have time to chase down which version of PHP works properly with my plugins because my server is updating.

As you likely know, I keep tabs on the Indivisible movement, including what passes for a local one. And as you may expect, they’re involved in influencing the Wicomico County election with their segment of the traveling roadshow, so named as the base of the eight-twelve activists who would loudly object to whatever Andy Harris said at any local townhall meeting. They tried to look “grassroots” but it was always the same people. Anyway…

They’re attempting to phone bank for the upcoming election for a number of candidates. Of course, it’s predictable that they’re pushing for Wes “for less freedom” Moore for governor, Heather “Mazeur” (sic) for Congress, Brooke Lierman for Comptroller, and local school board Democrats, but they have a couple other interesting names in their push: Muir Boda for Wicomico County Executive and re-electing John Cannon to County Council. Wait a minute, aren’t those guys those eeeeeeevil Republicans?

Well, in Boda’s case the answer is “not anymore,” as he left the Wicomico GOP about the same time I did and rejoined the Libertarian Party. Now he’s the senior of the two elected Libertarians in Maryland, although he was initially elected in a non-partisan election for Salisbury City Council while still in the GOP, so party affiliation wasn’t an issue. On the other hand, Cannon has been a well-known moderate Republican for many years, seeking his fourth (non-consecutive) term on County Council. His website claims he “represents a strong conservative voice for Wicomico County,” but his voting record suggests otherwise.

But it’s not like Democrats had abandoned those races: County Council member Ernest Davis is the Democrat candidate for County Executive, and the Democrats nominated Brad Gillis and Meagan Outten for the County Council at-large seats held by Cannon and Bill McCain, a Democrat who didn’t seek re-election. So I wonder why they were thrown under the bus by the Indivisible regressives? As a matter of fact, Gillis was endorsed by Regressive Maryland while Outten tops him by getting both Regressive Maryland and the Lower Shore Regressive Caucus to endorse her. Is this a head fake to cut into Cannon’s Republican support?

And since any Republican would be questioned for doing this, and what’s good for the goose is sauce for the gander: what is it about Wicomico’s minority community that leads you to ignore the person of color running? Or is it just another ploy to pick off a few GOP votes? Something tells me their target audience in this call scheme is the unaffiliated voter.

Wicomico County is a microcosm of the state in that an outsider conservative Republican won the primary over the establishment choice. But instead of the GOP closing ranks as was always expected of conservatives when a RINO won – the “party over everything” camp – a lot of the establishment crew is leaving the conservatives dry. For example, in the case of former Red Maryland stalwart Brian Griffiths, it’s led to an alliance with the Libertarians in both races. (Perhaps it’s worthy to note that both Muir Boda and state Libertarian nominee for governor David Lashar were at one point members of the GOP. Lashar formerly worked in the Hogan administration for a time.) I suppose party loyalty only goes so far with that crew.

Oh, on another note: I got a text asking me whether I supported Lee Murphy or Lisa Blunt Rochester in my Congressional race.

“This is Ryan with Political Research 2022. Will you please participate in our poll for Delaware’s US House Representative? Please let us know who you support.

  • Reply (1) for Lee Murphy (R)
  • Reply (2) for Lisa Blunt Rochester (D)
  • Reply (3) for Undecided.

Of course, racist sexist me responded 1. (This despite the fact there are actually 4 people in the race, which includes Libertarian Cody McNutt and Non-Partisan David Rogers.)

And you know me…I had to do a search for the number and name of the group. What came up was a radically left-wing group that states as part of its mission:

While threats to human and civil rights may come from any direction, the most robust opposition over the past few decades has emerged from the U.S. Right, which routinely employs harmful scapegoating and clever slogans that oversimplify complex policy issues. PRA counters with reliable analysis, looking beneath the sound-bites to expose the true agendas of right-wing leaders, institutions, and ideologies.

“About” Political Research Associates.

I can’t say for sure it was these guys, but it wouldn’t surprise me they’re looking to see how racist, bigoted, homophobic Slower Lower Delaware is. Chances are I’ll vote for Lee but it’s not because LBR is black or a woman, it’s because she’s way left of me.

Shorebird of the Year – a 2022 season wrapup

We just missed our shot at history of the wrong kind.

Had the rain that fell on our area on September 11 managed to wait another few hours, we would have gotten the final scheduled game against Down East in and a loss would have saddled Delmarva with a 49-82 record, making the team the worst in Delmarva Shorebirds history. Instead, a rainout allowed the 2012 team (who finished 52-86) to retain that dubious distinction for another year.

Needless to say, it was a frustrating season to watch. But instead of running through stats like I have in previous years, I figured out I could use the same formulas that I used to determine Shorebird of the Month/Year to rank the 12 teams of the Carolina League in hitting, pitching, and fielding. So that’s what I did, with the team’s overall record determining the order.

  1. Charleston (88-44) – 5th in hitting, 2nd in pitching, 5th in fielding.
  2. Myrtle Beach (78-53) – 4th in hitting, 3rd in pitching, 7th in fielding.
  3. Fredericksburg (75-55) – 1st in hitting, 6th in pitching, 3rd in fielding.
  4. Carolina (69-62) – 7th across the board.
  5. Augusta (69-62) – 2nd in hitting, 8th in pitching, 10th in fielding.
  6. Down East (65-66) – 10th in hitting, 1st in pitching, 6th in fielding.
  7. Salem (64-66) – 3rd in hitting, 10th in pitching, 2nd in fielding.
  8. Lynchburg (63-68) – 6th in hitting, 4th in pitching, 9th in fielding.
  9. Kannapolis (58-74) – 9th in hitting and pitching, 1st in fielding.
  10. Fayetteville (55-75) – 12th in hitting, 5th in pitching, 10th in fielding.
  11. Columbia (52-79) – 11th in hitting and pitching, 3rd in fielding.
  12. Delmarva (49-81) – 8th in hitting, 12th in pitching and fielding.

The Orioles are supposed to have the number one farm system in baseball, and if you look at the teams above Delmarva it’s easy to see why: while Norfolk is a .5oo-style team playing out the string in AAA, Bowie just missed the Eastern League playoffs by one game in the second half of its season because they used many of the same players who propelled Aberdeen to the South Atlantic League first-half title (and eventually a playoff series win for first time in franchise history before losing in the final series.)

On the other hand, the story is different for the teams feeding Delmarva: the single Florida Complex League team finished second-to-last in the FCL with a 16-39 record, barely beating a split Astros team by percentage points. In the Dominican Summer League, the two Orioles squads finished fourth and fifth in the seven-team Baseball City Division with a combined 49-68 record: the Orange team was 26-34 and the Black team was 23-34. Last year I said, “Hopefully that’s a issue with diluted talent between two (FCL) teams and not a sign to come for the 2022 Shorebirds.” Sadly, it was and next year doesn’t look real promising either. It seems like our drafting is light-years ahead of our international signing, with the emphasis domestically being on college players who arrive almost ready for advanced-A so they don’t stay at Delmarva long. We seem to get the project guys and the guys who are needed to fill out the system.

But I had several guys who were picked as Shorebirds of the Month and immediately (if not sooner) were ticketed for promotion. This year I had ten players who were picked as Shorebirds of the Month; here’s a synopsis of how each fared:

  • Darell Hernaiz (April PP) – after slashing .284/6/25/.852 OPS in 32 games for Delmarva, Hernaiz was promoted May 24 to Aberdeen and only hit .305/5/29/.822 OPS for the Ironbirds. This resulted in a final promotion to Bowie, but the results weren’t nearly as good: .113 in 13 games before an injury ended his season prematurely.
  • Daniel Lloyd (April pitcher) – promoted June 6 after going 0-1 with a 4.21 ERA and 1.325 WHIP here, he almost duplicated those numbers with the Ironbirds: 3-4. 4.11 with a 1.326 WHIP there. For the season Lloyd has struck out 80 and walked 23 in 71 2/3 innings.
  • Isaac Bellony (May PP) – Isaac had two stints with Delmarva, hitting .289/6/34/.856 OPS for the Shorebirds overall. Those stats were padded a bit by a September week where Isaac went 12-for-20 in his five-game September return after being sent back down with a paltry .169/4/18/.559 OPS with Aberdeen. He never recovered after a 2-for-29 start there after his June 9 promotion, but the great week here increased his Delmarva average from .256 to its final .289 mark.
  • Alex Pham (May pitcher) – Alex was promoted a week before his month as Shorebird of the Month concluded with a 1.59 ERA in 11 1/3 innings with a 1.324 WHIP. His injury-marred season with Aberdeen concluded with a 5-2 record but a high 5.66 ERA and 1.403 WHIP in 20 1/3 innings. There was also a one-inning detour to Florida for a perfect appearance in August.
  • Trendon Craig (June PP) – After getting a late start from extended spring, Trendon came to the Shorebirds on May 10 and stayed through July, hitting .262/2/33/.734 OPS in 59 games. 27 more games in Aberdeen were enough to get his feet wet and slash a respectable .258/0/10/.630 OPS for the higher squad.
  • Carter Baumler (June pitcher) – Unfortunately, Carter was the only SotM of the first eight to not be promoted as an injury ended his season in mid-June. He hung on the active roster until July but never pitched after June 15, finishing his once-a-week regimen with a 1.54 ERA in four Wednesday starts covering 11 2/3 innings, striking out an eye-popping 20 but walking seven.
  • Frederick Bencosme (July PP) – A great contact hitter, Bencosme hit .375 in two FCL games before joining the Shorebirds on June 9 and slashing .336/3/29/.841 OPS in 59 games here. He wasn’t quite ready for Aberdeen, though, putting up only a .154 average in 12 games after being promoted August 27.
  • Dylan Heid (July pitcher) – Also received from the FCL in June (on the 23rd), Dylan parlayed a win and 2.25 ERA in four innings there to 31 2/3 innings here, with a 2-2 record and 4.55 ERA to go with a 1.516 WHIP. In 5 2/3 innings in Aberdeen, Dylan kept a 4.76 ERA and improved 1.412 WHIP. Overall, he fanned 64 and walked 31 for the season, getting a better ratio at each higher level.
  • Reed Trimble (August/September PP) – After going 0-for-6 in two FCL rehab games from offseason surgery, Reed was thrown into our fire July 22 and put together a nice stretch run, hitting .291/2/18/.747 OPS in the last 31 contests of his season.
  • Ryan Long (August/September pitcher) – Save for an injury that cost him three weeks in July and early August, Ryan was perhaps Delmarva’s best pitcher this season. His 7-5 record led the team in wins and 3.10 ERA was tops among those with 50 or more innings pitched. Add in a 73/31 strikeout to walk ratio and 1.252 WHIP and you’ll agree Ryan made some strides this season; in fact, the late injury may have cost him a promotion.

These are all good players, but none of them will join this list of Shorebirds of the Year, with that season’s Prospect of the Year in parentheses:

  • 2006 – Ryan Finan (Brandon Erbe)
  • 2007 – Danny Figueroa (Brad Bergesen)
  • 2008 – Sean Gleason (Zack Britton)
  • 2009 – Ron Welty (L.J. Hoes)
  • 2010 – Brian Conley (Tyler Townsend)
  • 2011 – David Walters (Jonathan Schoop)
  • 2012 – Brenden Webb (Dylan Bundy)
  • 2013 – Lucas Herbst (Adrian Marin)
  • 2014 – Chance Sisco (Mike Yastrzemski)
  • 2015 – John Means (Jomar Reyes)
  • 2016 – Yermin Mercedes (Ryan Mountcastle)
  • 2017 – Alex Wells (no prospect award)
  • 2018 – Brenan Hanifee (DL Hall)
  • 2019 – Adam Hall (Grayson Rodriguez)
  • 2021 – Darell Hernaiz (Jordan Westburg)
  • 2022 – keep reading (Heston Kjerstad)

Ryan Long was my best pitcher, but I don’t think anyone made as much of a positive impact (while being here the requisite 88 scheduled games) as this guy:

While he was playing third base in this photo (taken April 24 vs. Myrtle Beach) it was almost as often Luis Valdez would be at third courtesy of a walk or single and a stolen base or two out of his 59 stolen bases. Only a promotion kept him from setting a team record.

Luis Valdez left the Carolina League August 16, nearly a month before play ended, yet still led the loop with 59 stolen bases (he added 12 more in a month for Aberdeen for good measure.) While there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about for most of the season, by the time June came around it was a little like clockwork: if Valdez got a hit (he slashed .271/2/20/.689 OPS on the season for Delmarva, with a .347 on-base percentage) he would soon try for second, and if he succeeded would go for stealing third as well – assuming the catcher’s hurried throw didn’t end up in center field to move him up initially. With his 80-grade speed, this dude would steal on the toss back to the pitcher if he thought he could catch them unaware.

For being the most exciting player on an otherwise dull and hard-to-watch team, Valdez was the easy choice for Shorebird of the Year. Luis ended up in the running each month, but was beaten out by the guys who won. His consistency paid off, though, in the biggest prize.

I made the executive decision awhile back to end my Shorebird of the Month after this season, and I’m sticking by that one. But since I opted to create a second Substack page for my passion for baseball (called The Knothole) I not only created a place for my Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame and Shorebird of the Week tracker to live on, but the excuse to keep going with the Shorebird of the Year – expanded to take both a pitcher and a position player. They’ll be eligible for the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame as a Shorebird of the Year just like John Means was (or Luis Valdez will be.)

So instead of placing my picks and pans here, I’m going to use it to debut The Knothole next Thursday. By then my updated tracker will be there as well as the Hall of Fame, which looks to have either one or two new members this season.

Shorebird Player and Pitcher of the Month: August/September 2022

Well, my friends, the rodeo has come to an end.

I never believed that when Josh Potter became my first Shorebird of the Week back on April 6, 2006 that it would become a series that spanned most of the life of my monoblogue website, which was only a few months old when I started. It turned out that I featured a pretty good slice of the guys who played here in that span of time, over 250 in all.

But it has to end someplace and it’s getting harder and harder for me to put these together in a manner that I like, so when I can’t do my best work it’s time to put the feature to bed. I will saddle it up one more time tonight with my August/September combined Shorebird position player and pitcher of the month.

After an injury-induced false start last season, Reed Trimble finally showed us what he could do. This is him in one of his first Delmarva games this year back on July 24.

Let’s begin with the position player, who finally had a healthy half-season to show what he could do. An injured Reed Trimble came up at the tail end of last year after being drafted as the Competitive Balance “B” pick in 2021 out of the University of Southern Mississippi and hit just .169 in 16 disappointing games. Rejoining the Shorebirds in late July this year, he got off to a bit of a slow start again but the Tupelo native finally blossomed like a crepe myrtle in August, stroking a slash line of .307/2/16/.775 OPS in the month-plus. (Since there were only 10 scheduled games in September this season, I decided to combine months.)

It culminated a year where Reed hit .291/2/18/.747 OPS in 31 Delmarva games (after an 0-for-6 rehab stint in Florida.) Since Reed turned 22 this year, he’s not way off the timetable for a prospect although it should be noted that this season’s CBB pick, Jud Fabian, tore up the Carolina League in meriting a quick promotion to Aberdeen – in fact, he was in line to snag this honor until he was called up, as was Dylan Beavers. Unfortunately for Reed, it’s two more outfielders who have leaped over him on the Orioles’ depth chart. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Orioles pulled a Darrel Hernaiz with Trimble and kept him here for another couple months to see how he starts a season.

Besides Fabian and Beavers, the other contender was a bit of a surprise. Fan favorite Creed Willems put together a great month as part of a second half where he surged his overall batting average over 50 points after July 4. But Trimble won out for my final Shorebird Position Player of the Month honor.

Ryan Long got the win for the Gallos de Delmarva on the Sunday I took this shot back in May. Overall, he was probably the Shorebirds’ ace starter for the season.

If it weren’t for the extended month, my pitcher would not have had the requisite number of games on the roster as he came off the injured list on August 14. But Ryan Long picked up where he left off as the ace of the Shorebirds’ staff (he was close to winning in June and July as well) and thus is my final Pitcher of the Month.

Ryan came to us as a 17th round draft pick last season from the unusually named Pomona College/Pitzer College in California. (In looking this up, I found it’s two schools who compete in athletics as one, and the arrangement is over 50 years old. Whatever works for them.) He was sent to the GCL in Florida and, truth be told, didn’t burn the place up – 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in just seven innings. Regardless, once spring training ended Ryan found himself on the Delmarva staff and he’s quietly become one of our best hurlers: in August and September he finished 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 16 2/3 innings, with a nifty K/BB ratio of 17 to 4. (That’s been an issue with several Delmarva pitchers, as they are worst in the Carolina League at allowing walks.) It didn’t hurt that, despite his injury after the first appearance, he put forth four straight shutout outings covering 16 innings.

Ryan finished the season with just that three-week chunk missed with an injury but led the Shorebird qualifiers with a 7-5 record and 3.10 ERA, as well as a 1.25 WHIP. He also put up a good 73/31 strikeout to walk ratio in 72 2/3 innings. He’ll turn 23 over the offseason so it’s my suspicion he will be Aberdeen-bound to begin 2023, joining several other 2021 picks who have already made the leap.

Unlike the batting competition, Long pretty much dominated the pitching side; however, there were spirited efforts from 2022 draft choice Cameron Weston, trade piece Yaqui Rivera, and full-season pitcher Moises Chace to crash his party. But Long had the best month.

So, like Porky Pig would stutter, that’s all folks! I’ll have the Shorebird of the Year next week and that will be it for baseball coverage at monoblogue. In October it’s relocating and expanding to a new Substack page called The Knothole where my love of baseball will see the end of this era and the beginning of my historical look at the game. (I might have some Shorebird stuff, too, but no more players of the month.)

Until next week, happy trails.

The Labor Day trade

Over the years – but not so much recently – I’ve made Labor Day the topic of one of my diatribes. That’s why I decided to place this post here rather than on Substack.

But this morning I remembered a local Democrat political candidate holding the rare position of challenger here in Delaware making the remark on social media, “Enjoying Labor Day? Thank a Union.”

All right, I’ll bite. Yes, I am off today. However, I am also off several days in November and December because my employer offers vacation as part of his benefits package. It could be argued that unions led the way on that, but because practically all employers in my field have a similar package (or better) I would be led to conclude that the market has taken over where unions left off, and I don’t have to pay dues to the market.

And what have we received in return for this day off? Well, Big Labor has been hand-in-hand with the Democrat Party for a century or more, which means we’ve also received the tyrannical federal and state governments we have now in part because of them. Unions who overplayed their hands made it more difficult for employers (the ones who really create jobs) to be profitable, meaning that thousands of erstwhile union employees were tossed out of a job when they made conditions too inhospitable for employers to continue making widgets. We used to make things in the Rust Belt, but 40 years ago the factories left for points down south or (worse) Mexico or overseas in China.

Ms. Clifford, if elected, would represent the Seaford area in the Delaware General Assembly. She would be the voice for a county and city who have tried at various points to give workers true choice as to representation by becoming right-to-work localities, only to be thwarted by the spectre of an overreaching state government controlled by her party. Something I wrote in the Seaford article still rings true:

Here’s the thing. What unions seem to be most afraid of isn’t the fact that they would have to compete and sell new workers on the benefits of joining, but the prospective loss of political power they would suffer if the number of dues-paying members drops off. 

“One place gets it right,” monoblogue, January 16, 2018.

This leads to my final point. When the unions were in their heyday 50 years ago, they had the Democrat party lock, stock, and barrel. Guys like Jimmy Hoffa, George Meany, and UAW head Leonard Woodcock drove the Democrat party platform back then, but things have changed. Now Big Labor is sucking hind tit well behind a number of other affinity groups like the environmentalists, LGBT+ lobby, and the “Latinx” community. The Teamsters wanted to keep the Keystone pipeline under the Biden regime, but they were trounced by the environmental groups – probably because a significant percentage of the rank-and-file of unions decided Donald Trump was the better choice.

So let’s consider the trade here: one day off I could have took as a vacation day if I wanted to vs. decades of decline, misery, and massive government growth (with the corresponding loss of freedom) under Democrat administrations. Yeah, that turned out to be a John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander deal for us, didn’t it?

Programming note: now that the ballots are set, I can finally put up the renamed Delaware Accountability Project this week. Look for it here.

Selling out for 100 bucks?

Maybe I have done it wrong all these years. People are starting to throw money around at me now, to wit:


My name is Bethany from (a company), the content delivery wing of (a larger company), a UK-based Internet Advertising Consultancy. I came across recently and would like to inquire if we could write an article for your site.

The proposed content shall be exclusive to you. It would also include a brief citation to one of our clients, and for this, we would be happy to send $100 through PayPal as a thank you for your time.

If this is something that interests you or if you wish to see a sample of our work, please get in contact.

Still trying to chase me down on my way out the door.

So let me get this straight, Bethany. You hired some writer who’s probably not very proficient in the Queen’s English for a quarter and paid him (or her) to write an article with a link to some site that’s probably the end result of one of the seven deadly sins just to have me place it here for my dozen readers a day. Yeah, that’s a good business practice. No wonder these internet startups burn through wads of cash.

I sometimes wonder, though, if anyone ekes out a living like this. There’s no shortage of content out there and if someone was really getting paid $100 an article to post whatever dreck came their way, they would be living pretty well. So somehow I don’t think there’s $100 there, or, that’s the introductory price that comes down for whatever reason. (Sort of like the payouts did when the Examiner website was still around since that was an unsustainable model, too. When it first started the most successful could almost make a living, by the end no one was profiting, least of all people like me.)

But this is one reason that, the more I do Substack, the more I like it. Sure, right now I’m a very small-time operator who gives away his wordage for free. But there are people who do fairly well at it and I think I have a couple niche ideas that might buy me lunch once a week once I monetize it.

That’s the reason I’m going there. Losing these people who want me to post their questionable dreck is just a bonus, so to you Bethany the answer is “no, thanks.”

Shorebird Player and Pitcher of the Month: July 2022

For the penultimate edition of this series, I have two winners who have come aboard midstream to provide a spark to the team, which ended July by taking 5 of 6 in Lynchburg.

After getting yet another hit, Frederick Bencosme leads off first in a recent game against Salem.

This is a good photo of Frederick Bencosme because it shows him at a place he often hangs out: first base. After two games in June getting his feet wet in the Florida Complex League, Frederick was promoted here June 9 and has worked his way around the infield: mostly at short, but also getting a handful of starts at second and third.

Even though he hails from the Dominican Republic and not Panama, the kid reminds me a lot of Rod Carew – plays the similar positions, has good bat control, and hits it where they ain’t quite a bit – for the month, Bencosme slashed a team-best .369/2/10/.960 OPS, which followed up a similar June. For the season here, Frederick is hitting .362 in 40 games, with a knack for putting the ball in play – just a combined 35 strikeouts and walks in 167 plate appearances here. It follows up a solid season in his native DR, where he slashed .310/2/16/.816 OPS in 44 games for the Orioles 2 team.

Signed as an international free agent August 14, 2020, the cancellation of the 2020 season meant Bencosme couldn’t begin playing until last season (although it’s likely he would have waited anyway as a late-season signee.) But the 19-year-old has shown he can hit pitching at each level he’s played; perhaps the one drawback to his game so far is the need to improve his fielding a little bit as he lags behind his league peers at shortstop. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t spend a few weeks at Aberdeen before the summer’s out, depending on what happens with the plethora of infield prospects ahead of him on the depth chart.

Dylan Heid took the loss in this, his debut against Lychburg, but has recovered since to become one of the most reliable Shorebird pitchers.

Drafted in the 11th round last season out of the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Dylan Heid had a July where he led the Shorebirds in strikeouts as well as OPS against, effectively shutting down the opposition to the tune of a 2-0 record and 2.25 ERA in 16 innings pitched – close to a starter’s workload in 5 relief appearances.

2022 was the pro debut for Heid, who – like his position player mate Bencosme – made two appearances in the Florida Complex League before coming to Delmarva late in June. After strugging in his two June appearances here, allowing 6 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, he’s whittled that lofty ERA down to 4.22, with a 2-2 record in 21 1/3 innings, striking out 28 while walking 12.

Heid was one of those players who waited out last year’s draft as a member of the MLB Draft League, suiting up for the Trenton Thunder, a former Eastern League member that lost its spot to the previously independent Somerset Patriots. That experience may have been helpful for Heid, a Pennsylvania native who came from a school that’s only sent a handful of players to professional baseball. One knock surely to come on him is that he’s old for this level, having turned 24 in May, so he’ll need to be impressive to keep moving up the ladder.

This monthlong stretch may be of great assistance in that regard.

As I noted above, this is the penultimate edition. I’ve decided to combine August and September since the latter schedule has just 10 games. So the final Shorebirds of the Month will be selected September 15, with the Shorebird of the Year picked September 22. Then it will be time to embark on a new, exciting baseball-related project I’m putting together called The Knothole.

Surveying the wreckage?

The great thing about the 2022 Maryland Republican primary is that it drove Brian Griffiths out of the party – ironically, he’s leaving six years to the day that I resigned from the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee. That’s sort of funny because his reasoning was very similar to mine but he did it six years later because Dan Cox, a Trump-endorsed candidate for governor, and Michael Peroutka, who once ran for President as the nominee of my Constitution Party, both won Republican primaries. (Peroutka is running for Attorney General with the tagline, “Liberty forever, mandates never.”) In both cases, it was over Donald Trump.

Where Griffiths and I differed was that I was fed up with Larry Hogan well prior to the 2018 election. (Hogan careened rapidly downhill in the two years from 2016 to 2018 to the point I voted for the Libertarian.) When it came down to Hogan vs. Trump, he went the other way. For all Donald Trump’s flaws, at least he didn’t sell out good candidates in 2018 like Larry did; then again Hogan already had practice in selling out Eastern Shore farmers and Western Marylanders invested in the opportunity to create jobs in the energy industry by allowing fracking. And that reverse Midas touch Larry had back in 2018 really came out in this one since I’m sure he wasn’t interested in backing either Cox or Shalleck. Well, he can go vote for his dad again.

But the point of surveying what could be called the wreckage to some is to ask the question: where are all the “party over everything” people now? Are they going to be like Griffiths and take their ball and go home? Had I still been in Maryland, I may have been inclined to vote for Dan Cox and if I had I would have finally had a winner in a contested gubernatorial primary – truth be told, though, as an outsider who didn’t have a vote anyway I would probably have been okay with Kelly Schulz or Jim Shalleck winning their respective primaries. But the heads exploding in certain segments of the Maryland GOP are a spectacle to behold.

I lost with Brian Murphy in 2010 and with David Craig in 2014, although the “insurgent” in that 2014 primary would likely have been Charles Lollar. Yet those who backed the more conservative aspirants in those elections were always told by the “party over everything” crowd that staying home on Election Day was a vote for Martin O’Malley, Anthony Brown, or whoever. So guess what, Audrey Scott types – now you have Dan Cox or you have Wes Moore, so suck it up, buttercup. We had to.

In 2016, I thought for sure Donald Trump was going to lose, but after looking at it through the lens of history I found I misread the electorate. If you look at Wes Moore’s policies and consider them a state-level rehashing of what’s failing a few miles west down U.S. 50, that’s how you win the election.

I will give the Maryland GOP credit for one thing though: they only spotted the Democrats five Senate seats; unfortunately, they also gave away over thirty House seats so next year’s House of Delegates will probably look depressingly like about a 100-41 split, while the Senate should end up around 33-14 as usual. I think Maryland needs to go in a deep depression along the south end of its I-95 corridor as the federal government is rightsized to take care of that problem with its state government – either that or just burn down the Maryland GOP entirely by giving the DC statehood people the vote they demand by retroceding most of DC to Maryland as it should be, but all that is for another election to resolve.

Here are the stakes

I just figured I’d pop in over here and remind people what’s on the ballot this November.

As you likely know if you’ve been here long enough, I’ve followed the Indivisible movement pretty much since day one because they essentially billed themselves as a progressive (read: regressive) answer to the TEA Party, and as you also should know, I have a vested interest in that particular political genre. So this paragraph in their latest missive crystalized things quite well from their perspective.

MAGA Republicans know this bill will not make it through the Senate as long as the filibuster remains in place, but inaction from the Progressive bloc is simply unacceptable. With the GOP holding the future of Roe hostage and threatening access to contraception, marriage equality, and more, we must take action to expand our majorities in November, codify Roe and other fundamental rights, and then expand the Supreme Court to protect ourselves from the extremist justices who are putting us all at risk.

“Today: The Congressional Progressive Caucus just helped pass the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House”, Indivisible e-mail, July 15, 2022.

Beware the ides of July, I guess. And when my representative – whose qualifying characteristics to her were the facts she’s black and believes she’s a woman – crowed about passing this bill, I told her:

“Good thing that bill goes nowhere in the Senate… (Y)our party used to believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Now they believe it should be just another form of birth control right up to the moment the baby is born.”

But as a matter of fact, in commenting on what Indivisible said, I find inaction from those regressives quite acceptable. Maybe they should sit down, shut up, and let the adults be in charge for a bit given their adeptness in screwing up this country and its economy over the last 542 days or so. (Heck, let’s even say a century or so.)

Roe has no future aside from a hopefully-reviled footnote in history books as an example of poor decisions the Supreme Court should avoid, right there with Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. (Now they need to reverse Reynolds v. Sims to give state-level voters some relief, but that’s a post for another time.)

As for the threatening access and all the other items we’ve adopted lately on the regressive wish list, I think Clarence Thomas was right: let’s revisit some of those and revive the Tenth Amendment.

But the tell was the call for expanding the Court, which I would be all for as long as the effective date was January 21, 2025. (I’m kidding. Nine is fine.) But haven’t they said that the Republicans “stole” Gorsuch’s seat, so wouldn’t they be stealing seats until the people get to decide in an election who picks them?

Actually, if the next Republican majority in Congress had any balls and had a conservative President, they would invoke their Article I, Section 8 power “To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court” and just start over by picking all new judges for an expanded number of circuits. We could reuse the good ones and toss out all the Clinton, Obama, and Biden appointees. Probably half of the Bush appointees (41 and 43) would go, too. But I know they won’t because people seem to lose their gonads the moment they begin working inside the Beltway.

Chief among that group of gonad-losers is the Indivisible crowd, who seem to take joy in being useful idiots for those who would extingusish what little flame of liberty we have remaining. Just remember: by using MAGA as a derogatory term, what they show they’re against is making America great again. They want us to be a second-rate world citizen left to the behest of an unelected elite. Don’t forget that.

Is the era of free passes finally over?

If you want to change a body, you first have to run people to make the change.

The conservative element in Delaware has begun to learn that lesson with school boards, and while success is coming slowly, at least it’s coming.

By the same token, the Delaware General Assembly currently sits at 26-15 Democrat in the House and 14-7 Democrat in the Senate. In 2020 there was no net change in the House and Democrats gained two in the Senate; however, redistricting put one House district into play for Republicans and may have made Senate districts more competitive as well.

But since I like to do research into these things, I wondered how many free passes were given to House and Senate candidates over the last two decades. It’s easy to see from election information, so I was curious whether the decades of Democrat dominance have affected this. Let’s see how this worked out for the general election in these years:

  • 2002: 9 of 21 Senators were unopposed (6 Democrat, 3 Republican) and 17 House members were unopposed (7 Democrat, 10 Republican.)
  • 2004: 5 of 10 Senators were unopposed (3 Democrat, 2 Republican) and 19 House members were unopposed (9 Democrat, 10 Republican.)
  • 2006: 5 of 11 Senators were unopposed (4 Democrat, 1 Republican) and 16 House members were unopposed (9 Democrat, 7 Republican.)
  • 2008: 4 of 10 Senators were unopposed (all Democrat) and 10 House members were unopposed (7 Democrat, 3 Republican.) It was a big year for minor parties, too.
  • 2010: 5 of 11 Senators were unopposed (3 Democrat, 2 Republican) and 10 House members were unopposed (5 Democrat, 5 Republican.) Still a lot of minor party action.
  • 2012: 7 of 21 Senators were unopposed (6 Democrat, 1 Republican) and 16 House members were unopposed (12 Democrat, 4 Republican.) Aside from a few Libertatians, the minor parties were fading.
  • 2014: 2 of 10 Senators were unopposed (both Democrats) and 16 House members were unopposed (12 Democrat, 4 Republican.)
  • 2016: 5 of 11 Senators were unopposed (3 Democrat, 2 Republican) and 20 House members were unopposed (16 Democrat, 4 Republican.)
  • 2018: 2 of 10 Senators were unopposed (both Democrats) and 13 House members were unopposed (9 Democrat, 4 Republican.)
  • 2020: 4 of 11 Senators were unopposed (2 Democrat, 2 Republican) and 22 House members were unopposed (15 Democrat, 7 Republican.)

We went from 28 of 63 Senators in the decade from 2002-10 (71% Democrat to 29% Republican) to 20 of 63 Senators in the decade from 2012-20 (75% Democrat to 25% Republican.) Using the same measuring sticks, we went from 72 of 205 House members in the decade from 2002-10 (51% Democrat to 49% Republican) to 87 of 205 House members in 2012-20 (74% Democrat to 26% Republican.) So if there was an unopposed seat in the last decade, there was a 3 out of 4 chance that a Democrat was the beneficiary. Perhaps that explains why the state is in the shape it’s in when Democrats are spotted a couple Senators and 7 to 8 House members each election.

With a couple days left before the filing deadline here in 2022, it appears the GOP might do a little better. In the Senate, Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, and 13 have no Republicans running, giving the Democrats 8 of the 11 seats they need for a majority. The Republicans only enjoy that advantage in Districts 15, 16, 19, 20, and 21. (A total of 13 of 21 seats are unopposed right now, which would be the highest total ever.) Senator Darius Brown was the last Senator to file on Friday, leaving only two open seats as Republican Ernie Lopez and Democrat Bruce Ennis have already announced they’re leaving.

As for the House, once again the Democrats are by themselves in Districts 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 23, 28 and 24 while Republicans have 11, 21, 22, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, and 41 owned at the moment. That gives Democrats a 12-10 advantage at the moment, which isn’t awful all things considered – especially when the “DemComs” were spotted a 15-7 cushion last time around. The total of 22 seats unopposed, though, would match the recent high of the 2020 race. So far we know that Representatives David Bentz, Bud Freel, John Kowalko, and Steve Smyk won’t be back, with Smyk being the only Republican. (Steve’s running for the vacated Senate District 6 seat; the others are retiring. Freel won the March special election for Gerald Brady’s district that has been relocated to Sussex County.) At this time only Andria Bennett and Shannon Morris have yet to file for re-election, with Bennett’s seat attracting Democrats like circling sharks and Morris’s District 30 the only legislative position with no filings at all.

And while the countywide offices in Sussex County have healthy Republican primaries, apparently Council members in Districts 1, 2, and 3 along with any Democrats are waiting until the last minute. (Since I’m now in District 1 I’m waiting with bated breath too. I’ve been redistricted out of the old District 5 that John Rieley – who has already filed in the new District 5 – represents.)

Since I remain a member of the Constitution Party, I can’t vote in the primary. But I can see just what I’ll have to choose from come November.

Shorebird Player and Pitcher of the Month: June 2022

Sometimes this column is about stats, but there are times when it’s about expectations. Because of expectations – and the fact he was around the whole month – your Shorebird Position Player of the Month for June is outfielder Trendon Craig.

You see, Trendon put together a solid month at the plate by any measuring stick: Slashing .309/1/13/.826 OPS, this 20th and final pick by the Orioles last year out of the small-time Louisburg (N.C.) College turned around a slow start to the season in May to bring his overall slash to .235/2/21/.691 after Monday’s game. It came on the heels of a .294/1/8/.796 OPS mark in 24 Complex League games last season after being drafted. And watching how overmatched Trendon looked in May, I’m pleasantly surprised to be writing this. But his across-the-board consistency across the offensive numbers combined with a flawless season in the field gave him the nod.

A native of Georgia, Trendon went to high school in the Fredericksburg area of Virginia before going to the same junior college that produced some nobody you’ve never heard of, Cedric Mullins. Given the fact he’s only 20 – turns 21 this coming Sunday – and his average and OPS are trending higher, Trendon may be on track for a look-see in Aberdeen later this summer; if not, certainly for 2023. Not bad for a guy who had 586 guys picked before him – a relative position that would have put him 585 spots behind my other major contender for this month, Heston Kjersted. If Heston had been here a week (or even 2-3 days) earlier, he would have been the winner and Trendon in the agate type, but I use both cumulative and rate stats and the cumulatives is where Heston was lacking just a bit.

As for my pitcher, he was the fifth and last pick in what’s been sort of a star-crossed 2020 draft for the Orioles. Because of the pandemic and injury issues, it took until this season for Carter Baumler to make his pro debut, and Carter has been assigned so far a unique plan for this season: if you don’t come out on Wednesdays, you miss him. (Hence, I haven’t seen him since I usually go Thursday and Sunday.) Moreover, due to another arm flareup and an ill-timed rainout, Carter hasn’t pitched in a game since June 15th – since he’s not on the injured list, though, he remained eligible for Shorebird of the Month despite not pitching.

In a month where the Delmarva pitching was pretty brutal, though, the 2.08 ERA and 15/6 strikeout/walk ratio in just 8 2/3 innings stood out. A product of Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, he grew up on the outskirts of Des Moines and took a $1.5 million bonus in lieu of a commitment to TCU. (Ironically, money saved on signing the aforementioned Kjersted sweetened Baumler’s bonus pot. Wonder if Carter’s ever bought Heston lunch?) Things looked good until he needed Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2020 after beginning his workouts with the Orioles. So this is the first step back, and the Orioles are being cautious.

Overall on the season Carter’s only pitched 11 2/3 innings, allowing just seven hits, seven walks, and striking out 20. At just 20 years of age and lacking experience, I see no reason for him to pitch anywhere but Delmarva this season with the expectation he’ll be let loose a little bit next season, whether here or (more likely) with the IronBirds.

The other good pitching candidate this month was Ryan Long, who led the team in innings pitched and won one of the few games the Shorebirds were victorious in last month. No one else really had a month that wasn’t mediocre to awful.

One housekeeping note before I go: it’s looking more and more like I will combine August and September for my final Shorebirds of the Month. With only ten games scheduled in September, it didn’t seem fair to the pitchers to base it on maybe two appearances. July’s selections should be ready August 4.