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.

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.

Knees jerked with record speed

You know, they couldn’t do much with important stuff like the economy, gas price relief, or using the state’s vast surplus of borrowed out of thin air federal funding to give the taxpayers a realistic break, but I tell you what: take an incident where kids were killed by a combination of evil that pays attention to no law and police incompetence that failed miserably in upholding the right to life of some number of children and suddenly there’s a stampede by the majority in the Delaware General Assembly to DO SOMETHING – even if it does little to nothing to address a problem. And while everyone was fixated with their criminal stupidity on one issue, they took advantage of it to ramrod a provision that may allow them to keep themselves in perpetual power.

Here are the issues I have with Delaware’s gun bills: first of all, you copied off a bill that’s been shown to do nothing in Maryland over ten years aside from curtail peoples’ Second Amendment rights. The criminals laugh and keep killing people in Baltimore, which has “achieved” a record number of homicides since the bill was passed in 2013 – the last four years have been four of their top six years in terms of homicide numbers. Essentially, all this series of bills will do is make people either criminals or defenseless, and something tells me that these newly-minted criminals who run afoul of the complex new gun regulations will be prosected with the greatest of zeal in comparison to run-of-the-mill street criminals.

Secondly, what kind of business has it become of yours just how large a magazine someone owns? Leaving aside the Uvalde police force’s ineptitude or cowardice, having a force of multiple police officers means you probably have more rounds than the criminal does. Having said that, though, would those of you who voted for this garbage rather face a quartet of armed home invaders with a ten-round magazine or a thirty-round one? Thought so. (And remember: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.)

Nine years ago I expressed my opposition to the Maryland gun law the DGA essentially copied and I still stand by every word. The only difference is the number of coffins while ignoring the hundreds of lives saved by law-abiding gun owners who respect their weapons. Ask some folks in West Virginia, for example. (And pay attention in that story to how well gun laws stopped the criminal perpetrator. He was stopped by a good girl with a gun.) Since it didn’t match the narrative, I bet you never heard this on your nightly news, now did you?

And one more thought on this gun subject: remember how Sussex County Council turned gutless on the great idea of a county-level right-to-work law because they were worried about how they would be sued? The same went for the City of Seaford when they passed the fetal remains law but put it on hold because the state bullied them with a lawsuit? Obviously the knowledge that the state would face a lawsuit on these prospective laws on Second Amendment grounds wasn’t going to stop our Democrat legislature because power-seekers gotta power-seek, I suppose.

Speaking of that, notice how they let the voting bill sit for the better part of a year before rushing to pass it in the final weeks of the session? Moreover, they rejected an amendment to push the effective date back to next year, meaning that the Democrats couldn’t stand the thought of having an election without the crutch of mail-in ballots. (Wonder how many mules are in Delaware these days?)

The least that could be done before mail-in balloting would be accepted is to clean up the voter rolls of duplicate, deceased, and inactive voters. After the 2020 election where the results of machine votes and mail-in balloting were so drastically different, an audit of the voter rolls is a must. (In 2020, machine votes would have given the state to Donald Trump, elected Lee Murphy to Congress, installed Donyale Hall as LG, resulted in a 12-9 Democrat Senate instead of 14-7, and a 24-17 Democrat House instead of 26-15. It would have flipped three offices in Kent County as well. All these changes accrued to Democrats at the expense of the GOP. What a shock they voted for it, huh?)

I know I should take a deep breath because I know God is in control, but sometimes I get angry about the foolishness my fellow man does in the name of law.

A less worrisome trend

One of the things that surprised and helped attract me to this area 18 years ago was the fact that Salisbury had a minor league baseball team. I’ve always had a little bit of familiarity with the minor league system from following my Detroit Tigers and seeing the back of thousands of baseball cards, but it never dawned on me that Delmarva was the team representing Salisbury, just like one may not guess that the old Tidewater Tides were actually playing in Norfolk, Virginia or that the Down East Wood Ducks are from Kinston, North Carolina.

After the pandemic wiped out the 2020 season, we learned that a few of our erstwhile opponents in the South Atlantic League would be saying goodbye to the affiliated baseball ranks without giving their fans a chance to say sayonara to the team. While the Lexington Legends transformed themselves into a franchise in the independent Atlantic League, followed by the West Virginia Power – who were reborn as the Charleston Dirty Birds – the Hagerstown Suns disappeared from the baseball world, done in by poor previous attendance and facilities. (The good news for them: they will get a new stadium and also join the Atlantic League for the 2023 season, at least as of last September.)

In baseball’s realignment for 2021, the Shorebirds were one of five former South Atlantic League teams shuttled to the Carolina League, which flipped levels with the SAL to become a full-season class A league. (The SAL became what’s known as an advanced-A league.) In that respect we were joined in the move by the Augusta Greenjackets, Charleston (South Carolina) Riverdogs, Columbia Fireflies, and Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (who had already planned a name change from Intimidators and new stadium for 2020 before the season was scrubbed.)

This all may be old news to the folks who read this website and know I’m a passionate fan of the Delmarva Shorebirds: enough so to take the time each month to select a position player and pitcher of the month, pick a Shorebird of the Year each season, and host a page on my site for the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame for all the guys who make The Show. But it’s important to the reason I felt it necessary to do this post.

In the winter of 2020, I was very concerned that the Shorebirds would follow the fate of the aforementioned Legends, Power, and Suns. Knowing that the Orioles enjoy having most of their affiliates within easy driving distance and also knowing the game of musical chairs enforced by Major League Baseball was going to leave one team standing on the sidelines, it was apparent to me that the cut was going to come down to either us or Frederick, since the teams in the upper minors appeared safe and they were going to find a way to keep Aberdeen with the closeness to Baltimore and the Ripken influence. As it happened, Frederick was the odd team out.

Because of the pandemic restrictions for 2021, I knew attendance would be way down – truth be told, I was just happy to get the season we did given how heavy-handed the government reaction to the CCP virus was. The Shorebirds ended up with about half their usual attendance, although toward the end of the 2021 season things began to look a little more “normal.” So I was concerned about how things looked in April this season, when we had several nights with three-digit attendance figures. And I got to thinking: was it just us, or was this a league-wide thing? So I decided to do a study, and here’s how it worked.

As I said above, there were five teams that shifted from the SAL to the Carolina League which I could use as comparisons to a previous base year, 2019 – the last full “normal” season. However, the new stadium in Kannapolis eliminated that apples-to-apples, leaving me Augusta, Charleston, and Columbia to use as comparisons. While there were affilation changes at all three due to realignment, I presumed that would be of little to no effect. (Maybe somewhat in Augusta since they went from the San Francisco Giants to the nearby Atlanta Braves, but Yankees to Rays in Charleston or Mets to Royals in Columbia – eh, not so much.)

My methodology, taking games played between the season opener and Memorial Day – which was a leaguewide day off this season – accounted for both attendance and weather, since the box scores indicate both. I even came up with a formula to determine how good the weather was for each team and season because that’s an important factor as well: based on the weather at game time I factored the weather as a zero for rain or drizzle, one for overcast, two points for cloudy, three for partly cloudy, and four points for clear or sunny.

So is the issue only with Delmarva or are we not alone? Let’s take a look, beginning in alphabetical order with Augusta.

Augusta Greenjackets

Home stadium: SRP Park (2018), capacity 4,782

In 2019, they had 23 home dates prior to Memorial Day and averaged 4,125 fans per game. Their average temperature at game time was 83 degrees and the weather factor was 3.44, meaning their games generally occurred in clear to partly cloudy weather (only one had a delay.) Their record at Memorial Day was 24-27.

Three years later, they had 24 home dates prior to Memorial Day and averaged 4,175 fans per game – basically a wash. This despite an average temperature that was three degrees cooler and weather just slightly worse at a factor of 3.33, with just one delay. This year they were 23-22.

What this tells me is that whatever slight bit of luster the stadium has lost is being countered, perhaps by taking marketing advantage of the new Braves affiliation. (Three of their four affiliates are now in Georgia.) They look to be in pretty good shape for the time being.

Charleston Riverdogs

Home stadium: Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (1997), capacity 6,000

The 2019 season saw the Riverdogs average 4,327 fans for their 27 home dates prior to Memorial Day, with great weather: a 3.52 weather factor, with just one delay, and average of 80.8 degrees at game time. (Can we borrow some of that?) The team was 28-23 at Memorial Day 2019.

This year, despite a better team at 31-14, their attendance slumped to 3,810 per date for the same 27 dates. I don’t think there’s THAT many passionate Yankee fans in Charleston, so perhaps the reason was the weather: while the weather was less than one degree cooler at 80.4 degrees, the weather factor was down to 2.78 thanks to three cloudy days and two games that began in the rain. In terms of real bottoms in the seats, the team is down 14,000 from their 2019 total-to-date, and if that tracks for the season like 2019 did it would make a significant dent in attendance that totaled over 300,000 that year. A drier summer, though, may allow the Riverdogs to catch up or at least hold serve.

Columbia Fireflies

Home stadium: Segra Park (2016), capacity 9,077

The Fireflies were still rather new to Columbia in 2019, so they averaged 4,201 per date for their 22 pre-Memorial Day dates that year – this despite a weather factor of 2.77 and three games with rain delays, as well as an average gametime temperature of 77.6 degrees. The team wasn’t great on the field that season, hitting Memorial Day with a subpar 19-32 record.

Three years on, they still don’t have a great team despite new affiliation, trailing the Carolina League with a 14-31 record on Memorial Day. So even though the gametime temperature (77.4 degrees) held remarkably steady between the two years, and they had better weather (a 3.24 factor) and only two delays, their attendance has declined markedly to 3,367 per game.

Historically, Columbia hasn’t been able to keep a team very long – their previous team, mostly known as the Capital City Bombers, lasted a couple decades before being moved upstate to Greenville in 2005 and becoming what’s now known as the Greenville Drive. But it’s somewhat of an unfair comparison because the team came to Columbia in 2016 and had the benefit of Tebowmania in 2017, so attendance wasn’t going to stay on such a plateau. Still, a drop of nearly 20 percent would be concerning to most owners and league officials. And that leads me to…

Delmarva Shorebirds

Home stadium: Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (1996), capacity 5,200

At the start of 2019, the Shorebirds were opening a fantastic season – they began with a 24-4 record, hit Memorial Day at 39-11, and finished with 90 wins and the first half SAL North title. So despite a weather factor of just 2.96, one delay, and an average gametime temperature of 70 degrees, the Shorebirds averaged 2,398 for their 25 openings.

Fast forward to 2022, and we have the opposite team: just 16-29 on Memorial Day. While it’s seemed like a cold spring here, our gametime temperature was only a degree cooler at 69.3 and the weather factor only slightly worse at 2.86. The team had no weather-related delays. (They did get an umpire delay at a game I was at. Need to make sure not to eat where he did.)

So the drop in attendance to 2,147 per game is a little troubling, but not as significant as Columbia’s. In fact, it’s fairly comparable to Charleston’s, which means a dry and warm summer could get us back into the neighborhood of 200,000 fans overall. (We will have four fewer scheduled dates for the foreseeable future as A-ball teams are now scheduled for 132 games instead of the previous 140.) Based on average, that’s a drop of 12,000 fans for the Shorebirds right there but because most of that shortage is on the Mondays they now have as an almost-perpetual off day, it’s more like about 8,000 fans.)

And because this is a phenomenon hitting three of the four teams I studied, I think it may be the setting up of a new normal that’s hopefully just a base which can be improved upon once economic conditions finally improve – that, however, will have little to do with baseball.

If – and that’s a pretty big if at this point – the Shorebirds do somehow manage to get 200,000 fans at this point, that’s going to be a testament to a loyal fan base that hasn’t minded the mediocre-to-bad teams Baltimore has normally sent us over the years to show up and see the boys play. To see all the empty seats in April I was pretty worried Seventh Inning Stretch LLC, the owners of the Shorebirds, may find an excuse to leave our friendly confines by their selling the team to someone who wants to move it either the available facility in Frederick or the new stadium in Hagerstown but if attendance stays reasonably steady or improves for the next few seasons they’ll maintain their investment.

Do that and, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be there.

Postscript: since the original draft of this I wrote the week after Memorial Day while the Shorebirds were on the second and last two-week road trip for the season, the Shorebirds had a five-game homestand that featured wildly varied attendance figures: high triple-digits on Tuesday and Thursday, the usual nice 2,000-ish crowd on Wednesday from the Silver Sluggers (age 55+ promotion where they get discounted tickets) and solid crowds on Friday and Saturday of over 4,000 apiece – the two largest crowds of the year and first ones over 4,000. Friday may have been helped a bit by the long-awaited pro debut of Heston Kjerstad (2nd pick overall in the 2020 draft, sidelined in 2021 by myocarditis and since early spring training with a hamstring injury) and Saturday was a Little League day. Both Friday and Saturday had fireworks as well. (Sunday’s game was rained out and Saturday’s was delayed two hours by rain as well.)

Overall, they drew 12,957 for the five games, so if you round it up with what could have been a decent Sunday attendance of 2,043 to make the math easy it’s 15,000 for the set. (That number would have been doable since the Shorebirds were planning a postgame mini-clinic for kids.) Going back to my “picks and pans” last year I mentioned that their largest 6-game set in 2021 brought 14,249 to friendly confines of Perdue; well, this year they beat that number with the last 6-game set before Memorial Day and most likely would have again this week had rain not foiled those plans. (In looking back, though, that six-game set was only five due to a Thursday rainout so it probably would have been someplace around 16,000 for six games – just about even with what we drew the last week of May.)

Going forward, the end of the school year will hopefully help build the midweek numbers a bit and there are several good promotions and big-crowd events still to come. So I feel a little less worried than I was and I like having the numbers to back it up.

A rookie mistake?

While I work in Wicomico County, my wife and I neither live nor vote in Wicomico County. So this misdirection seems a little strange.

As you can see from the photo, I am in possession of a mailing from one Julie Giordano, who is a Republican running for Wicomico County Executive. (This actually came in our mail for my wife’s “household,” which is logical as she at least is a registered Republican.) I do believe most people who read this are familiar with the fact that I’m a recovering Marylander and ex-Republican who now lives a few miles across the line in Delaware.

So this probable simple mistake by the company mailing this out (not noticing that the address pre-printed on the flyer was in Delaware) got me to thinking about how the political process works now. One thing about my leaving the state of Maryland and the Republican Party is that I don’t get their mailings anymore, but my wife does. However, since she’s not a 4-4 Republican in Delaware yet I don’t think she gets the volume of stuff we (mainly I) received in Maryland. But what she does get seems to reflect the idea of security.

Believe it or not, I took a photo of the total of two flyers my wife received for the entire 2020 election from State Senator Colin Bonini’s ill-fated campaign for governor – one extoling his 2A bonafides and the other as a letter from his wife. (I think I was going to use them for a post I never ended up writing – until now.) It was obvious that Bonini was scanning the voter rolls looking for a few nuggets as well as cutting into the “mama bear” vote in a primary where his main competition was a woman, that being Julianne Murray (who ended up winning.) So here’s that example, a blast from the past.

We didn’t feel at home in Delaware until the political flyers started showing up. But in the election of 2020, this was all we got – both addressed to my wife. Definitely going for the female vote.

To me it’s obvious Julie Giordano is looking to shore up the female vote in an election where she’s going up against the man who’s currently the acting County Executive, but who doesn’t have a ton of name recognition because he’s never sought office before. (John Psota, who was initially appointed as the Director of Administration for the county, is the acting executive who stayed on because County Council couldn’t agree on a formal successor to the late Bob Culver, who passed away in July, 2020. After going through the process twice without success, they threw up their hands and kept Psota in the job until this year’s election.)

While Giordano has a background as a teacher and parent, this flyer talks about security, as in not defunding the police but defending them. On the other side is a quote, presumably from Julie, that says, “If you want to change policing and the end product, I suggest you go to the academy and walk their walk.”

It’s actually a pretty good flyer, but it’s not going to get Giordano any votes from our household because we can’t vote in Maryland anymore. (At least my wife’s name better not be on the list, since I made sure mine was removed.) Maybe they were thinking in terms of donations or word-of-mouth? If so, I suppose she’s getting some pixels but maybe not in the sense she would like. A better campaign would have culled the list before spending a buck or two on printing and postage given she only has about $8,000 in the bank to play with and her primary opponent was bankrolled by some serious coin. (For example, why is lobbyist Bruce Bereano involved in the Wicomico race? That’s a post for another day, particularly since a reporting date is coming up.)

Let’s hope the attention to detail is a bit better if she’s elected as County Executive. (And a message for the current one: can you get your folks to cut some of the roadside weeds around the county? It’s a hazard at some corners.) In the meantime, I’ll be interested to see what shows up in our mailbox later this fall from candidates we can actually vote for.

The rapid jerking of knees

Every time there’s a disaster, whether natural or man-made, there’s always that moment of passion when it’s determined the politicians have to DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter whether that action is really necessary and not ill-advised, it just has to appear to deal with the problem and make them look good.

The last time the liberals came so hot and heavy for our guns was the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but that was a case of curious political timing: since the shooting occurred during the lame duck period between the election and the swearing-in of a new Congress, it meant that some of the momentum for change was blunted by the three-week interim before a new Congress, who hadn’t run so much on gun control, was sworn in. Yes, there was a call for “common-sense” (read: overrestrictive and unconstitutional) gun laws, but that wasn’t really part of the Obama re-election platform.

Almost a decade later – and with a detour to a Florida high school included – we have the same situation with the Uvalde massacre. Yes, the situation in Uvalde is complicated by what appears to a be a badly botched response by local officials, but that portion of it doesn’t fit the narrative that the guns the shooter had were completely responsible. By gummy, dem guns just up and fired themselves – a shame the guy holding them had to be shot by a police officer to stop the gun from shooting. And it’s amazing that all this comes up in an election year when the Democrats have exactly zero avenues of success to run on.

Anyway, some of these bills were already languishing in the Delaware General Assembly, but in the days after the tragedy there was a renewed push for gun reform in the same warmed-over package that was going nowhere. The bodies were barely cold when most of these provisions were introduced:

  • Banning the sale of assault weapons (HB 450) – new bill
  • Limiting high-capacity magazines (SB 6) – introduced in March 2021, substitute bill put in place June 7, 2022
  • Raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase most firearms (HB 451) – new bill
  • Strengthening background checks by reinstituting the Firearm Transaction Approval Program (FTAP) (HB 423) – introduced May 2022.
  • Holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable for reckless or negligent actions that lead to gun violence (not yet introduced)
  • Banning the use of devices that convert handguns into fully automatic weapons (not yet introduced)

Out of the six, the Republicans seem to be most supportive of HB423, as several are either sponsoring or co-sponsoring the measure because it brings the background check back to the state. That bill has advanced out of committee already, as has HB450 and HB451. The substitute SB6 has already passed the Senate on a 13-7 vote, with the “no” side being bipartisan thanks to lame-duck Senator Bruce Ennis.

A state 2A advocate by the name of Brad Burdge had this to say about these bills being considered in Delaware:

HB450 – “Cut & Paste” law from Maryland’s law, passed nearly 10 years ago that would outlaw purchase, possession and sale of AR-15 and similar weapons.  Weapons already owned would be grandfathered.  This has been proposed and rejected by several legislative sessions, yet the current rash of events reported around the country appears likely to sweep it into law.  The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) is already preparing to take this to court as an unconstitutional abridgement of Article 1, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution with provides that ” A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”  The AR-15 and similar rifles are not “weapons of war”, as no military in the world uses them.  They are a semi-automatic version that is cosmetically similar to the M-16/M-4 “Automatic/Select-Fire” weapons used by many military units.

HB451 – Increases the age of purchase, possession and ownership of any firearm from 18 to 21, excepting military service or under the supervision of someone over 21.

SB6 – Outlaws firearm magazines with capacities in excess of 17 rounds.  It requires those currently possessed to be turned in to law enforcement within a matter of weeks.  Amendments that modified this law to penalize persons who commit felonies with high capacity magazines (over 20 for pistols and 30 for rifles) is scheduled to be stripped from the bill.

HB423 – Would shift the responsibility for background checks on firearm purchases from the Federal NICS system to the Delaware State Bureau of Investigation.  This would appear to provide for approvals based on more accurate and timely data.  Delaware DOES NOT report all felony violations to the Federal NICS process – only mental health issues!  Delaware condones potential sale of firearms to convicted felons!  Many of the gun rights/activist organizations SUPPORT this bill as an improvement on the current process and it is co-sponsored by several Republican legislators.  It would also negate the value and avoid the issues associated with SB3, which requires a “License to Purchase” a firearm.  SB3 is redundant and adds bureaucracy and expense to the purchase process, as these checks would be performed at the point of sale – again.

“Unconstitutional, Anti-Gun Bills on the Legislative Hall Agenda,” June 6, 2022.

Given that description of HB450, I just might have to go back and update my testimony against that bill from 2013. I especially love some of my rewrites of the Second Amendment they seem to be proposing.

But these are troubled times for those who believe in the Second Amendment. Even with the defection of Bruce Ennis, there’s a 13-8 majority in the Senate that will pass these and probably 24 (if not more) votes in the House. Methinks if we can hold this off (even in court) until November, though, we may be able to turn these things away.