I was once a more-regular enemy of the people than I am today, editing a newspaper in Princeton for more than 30 years and writing about sports in and around Princeton for nearly a half century. Now I’m down to this weekly blog and an occasional story, making me – I hope – less of an enemy of the people than before.
A few weeks ago our dear president declared the media the “enemy of the American people.” And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’d like to tell you about some of those enemies of the people and all the harm they do.
Although located 1,700 miles away at the time, I noticed a story in the Union-Times a couple weeks ago about the life of a Milaca 23-year-old ending because of cancer only a few days before a benefit was to be held to offset medical bills of a couple married only a few months. Surely the writer of that story was an enemy of the people.
In a different edition of that paper there was a story about a man retiring after 50 years in law enforcement, beginning with time as a military policeman and ending with 17 years at the jail in Mille Lacs County. One wonders why an enemy of the people would write that human-interest story.
Awhile back the writer of this blog wondered, in print, why a couple people running the new stadium of the Minnesota Vikings were letting so many people in free, issuing free VIP parking passes, and dispensing food and drink to their buddies. It was a story ferreted out by a Star Tribune reporter and written about by myself and many others. You’d think the collective enemies of the people would have something better to do – but, strangely enough, those two people have since resigned their jobs. Enemies of the people have written story after story, decade after decade, about people who abuse their power.
A couple weeks ago in this space their was a piece about Bob Dunn, a well-respected member of the Minnesota Legislature from Princeton who had also served in various other capacities during his many years of public service. If it makes me an enemy of the people for writing about someone like that, I’ll gladly accept that label.
I worked with someone for nearly 30 years in Princeton who was an enemy of the people – covering meetings, writing feature stories, and taking thousands of pictures of local people and local happenings. On occasion he agonized about writing something that might put a person in a bad light, even if the facts were clear. If ever there was an enemy of the people, it was that reporter.
We enemies of the people have reported on the good and bad things in our community over the years. And sometimes an enemy of the people makes a mistake in a story, or spells a name wrong. It happens in every paper, large or small, and corrections are made as soon as possible, sometimes with a personal phone call involved. Writing obituaries of people you knew well was a trying experience but it was part of the job for an enemy of the people, as was trumpeting the accomplishments of people, some of whom you may not have been friends with. It all went with the territory when you were an enemy of the people.
Enemies of the people wrote about high school musicians, community leaders, births, engagements, weddings, honor students. 4-Hers, etc., etc. But it was something the enemies of the people had to do as part of their jobs.
And there were those long hours at public meetings often attended by no one else except enemies of the people who would then write about how your tax dollars were going to be spent, or possibly misused.
Enemies of the people masquerading as reporters shouldn’t let opinions show through in their stories, unless they’re on the opinion page. And editors – also enemies of the people – should counsel a reporter to change a story that contains an opinion.
Anyway, you get the drift. There are enemies of the people who cover government at its highest level, including the president of the country. An editorial in the Star Tribune back in February said it well: “The powerful have never like being watched, and they will do whatever they can to avoid scrutiny.”And that’s the case with Republicans and Democrats alike.
There seems to be a lot of “fake news” going around today. But remember that most enemies of the people care deeply about their profession, about truth, and about accuracy. Readers should be happy about the enemies of the people who feel that way and strive to do their best.
Twins’ front office guys confound us with decision to send Park to the minors
I left the press box at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers last Tuesday after ByungHo Park had just homered in a game the Twins won 1-0 over Tampa Bay. It was a team-leading fifth homer, surprisingly hit very well to the opposite field.
On the way out the door I met Star Tribune columnist Pat Reusse who I had a good conversation with for a couple innings earlier, talking about possible roster moves. “Well, I guess we know who the DH is going to be,” he said. “And to the opposite field.” I agreed.
The next day Park hit another homer and a day later he was told he was being sent to Triple A Rochester, the six homers, double-figure RBIs, and a batting average of about .350 apparently a mirage. Instead, the Twins said, they were keeping Robbie Grossman, a lifetime .254 hitter in the majors who has homered once every 45 at-bats in the majors.
First, let me say I’m not much of Park fan, his signing for the 2016 season surprising me because the Twins already had a bunch of DH types. Sure, he had done well in Korea. But he struck out way too much here and was sent to the minors with 12 homers (one every 20 at-bats), a low average and a ton of strikeouts. He also did poorly in AAA ball and the Twins put him on waivers and nobody claimed him. They brought back this spring as a non-roster invitee and he had a great spring.
Why did the Twins waste all those at-bats on Park this spring if they were going to dump him anyway, despite a good performance? I guess it proves that spring training means little. And it may also prove that the new guys in the front office for the Twins, Derek Falvey and Thad Lavine, are the ones making the decisions, not manager Paul Molitor.
A well-placed source hinted to me last week that reliever Alex Wimmers had done well this spring and might be the choice for Molitor instead of Michael Tonkin. But Wimmers was sent down and Tonkin, with an ERA of 5.02 in 71 innings last season, was retained.
Hey, the new guys get to do what they want. Things had stagnated a bit with Terry Ryan, a very good baseball guy, as the general manager. But the Park decision surprised me, as well as others who are closer than me to the situation on a day-to-day basis.
Maybe it will all work out. Or maybe Park and/or others will be with the Twins in the next few weeks or months. Let’s hope it all works out because this team needs a good start after a terrible year in 2016.
TWINS NOTES: Last Thursday at Part Charlotte I saw Joe Mauer – yes, that Joe Mauer – hit a homer, as did Miguel Sano and Jason Castro. How many three-homer games do you think we will see this summer? . . . Lots of speculation in Florida about how low Mauer will be in the lineup, as well as where Byron Buxton will hit, Molitor putting him in the No. 3 spot a few times the last week with Brian Dozier leading off. I hope Buxton is ready for that slot if that’s where he ends up. Meanwhile, watching him turn a single into a double with unbelievable speed is a treat for a baseball fan . . . Former Minnesota closer Joe Nathan has likely come to the end of the road. He was released last week by the Washington Nationals . . . Last season in the majors there were 31 pitchers who threw a fastball at least once that was clocked at 100 mph or faster. Aroldis Chapman, of the Yanks and Cubs, regularly threw 102 to 103, and 538 of his 972 pitches (55 percent) were 100 mph or more. Is it necessarily a good thing? There were 18 Tommy John surgeries last year for players on major league rosters, down from a high of 36 in 2012. But the number of such surgeries was up in the minor leagues and some suggest that young pitchers are blowing their arms out and that some organizations don’t care. The pressure for a young pitcher to have a sizzling fastball is great . . . Something new last week was watching Tampa Bay use a shift against the pull-hitting Buxton. Will other teams do it? . . . One wonders what the Detroit Tigers were thinking when they signed former Twin Mike Pelfrey to a two-year contract before the 2016 season. Pelfrey was 11-27 in 341 innings with the Twins over three years. Last year he was 4-10 with an ERA of 5.07 with the Tigers and now he has been released, the Tigers owing him $8 million for the second year of that contract. Speaking of former Twins, Ricky Nolasco, a bust with the Twins, is the Opening Day pitcher for the Angels . . . It wasn’t a big surprise but last week USA Today picked the Twins to finish last in the division, much different that the third place picked by Baseball Prospectus.
Some news items from the Princeton area in 1974
A second bomb threat to Princeton schools (the first had come in 1973) forced evacuation on Jan. 10 and because of the below-zero temperature many students were taken to three churches before about 1,800 were sent home on 27 buses. The other 700 students went to their residences in Princeton,
Princeton was awarded a deputy registrar position. It was filled by the city’s clerk-treasurer, Bud Lind, at City Hall.
An open house, outside, was held to commemorate the first season of the Princeton Youth Hockey Association. The rink was located beyond the center field fence of the baseball field at Mark Park.
The PHS boys basketball team, in the midst of a winning streak that would reach 13, won the District 16 title by beating Cambridge 47-39 to advance to Region Four play against Montgomery at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The team beat Montgomery 63-61 but lost 65-53 to Simley who then went to state.
The first issue of the Princeton Eagle was published on April 3, giving Princeton two newspapers. The new newspaper won three first places in the Minnesota Newspaper Association contest at the end of the year and its subscription list was soon much larger than that of the Princeton Union, in business since 1876.
The Congregational Church, Princeton’s oldest church (1856), was gutted by an afternoon fire noticed by children playing nearby. Holy Week activities of the church were moved to Immanuel Lutheran and United Methodist. Damage was estimated at $20,000 to $25,000.
Princeton Hospital signed a three-year management contract with Fairview Community Hospitals. (The hospital was located in the building that today houses school district offices, across the street from Elim Home.)
Guest speaker at the annual athletic banquet was Cal Stoll, University of Minnesota football coach.
The graduating class at Princeton High School numbered 178, up considerably from previous years.
Brenda Harren was chosen Miss Princeton during the Rum River Festival, the new name for Princeton’s summer celebration.
The Princeton American Legion baseball team won its annual tournament for the second year in a row, beating White Bear Lake, Anoka and then St. Cloud in the title game. A few weeks later the team won the District 10 title to advance to the state tournament from the toughest district in the state. The team beat Moorhead in the opening game but then lost two, including one by one run to eventual champion St. Paul Attucks Brooks whose roster included Paul Molitor, present manager of the Minnesota Twins.
School opened Aug. 27 with an enrollment of 2,614, an increase of 34 over 1973, three grades having more than 200 students each.
The Sexton’s Cafe in Santiago was destroyed by fire in September, the loss estimated at $25,000.
City voters approved the construction of a new city hall, bonding expected to be $125,000. Russ Iverson was chosen as sheriff in a race with Carl Boehm.
The four-lane section of Highway 169 from Princeton to Milaca opened in November.
Dick Satterstrom was elected fire chief, replacing Carl Neumann who held the post for nine years.
April 12, 1962 – Membership fees were held at $10 at Rum River Golf Club, with a small greens fee charged. There were 243 members the year before.
April 13, 1967 – There was an addition at the clubhouse for Rum River Golf Club that included a 32′ x 32′ lounge. There were also improvements on the course, including three bridges and three shelter houses There were 276 members.
April 12, 1972 – Baseball coach Howard Solheim had seven returning letterwinners among 26 in grades 9-12 out for the team . . . Mike Skavnak had about 40 boys out for the seventh- and eighth-grade baseball teams.
April 14, 1977 – Jim Olson, a PHS grad, lettered in swimming for the third year at Bemidji State . . . Fred Jenson pitched six innings of shutout baseball for PHS in the season-opening win over Foley.
April 8, 1982 – Jim Michael was second in the 800-meter run in a quadrangular meet and Lisa Herman was second in the two-mile run . . . Kelly Talberg and Barb Blomberg were all-conference in basketball.
April 9, 1987 – Jody Ziegler was named most valuable in gymnastics and also received the Chris Kiloran Award. Ziegler and Regi Klar were all-conference . . . Dawn Enger and Dorie Keen pitched in the season-opening softball loss to Elk River.
April 9, 1992 – Sophomore Jeremy Snow pitched four innings as the PHS baseball team won its opener. Brian Sternquist pitched two innings and Jamie Cox one . . . Senior Mark Freitag had three firsts in a conference track meet.
April 17, 1997 – Maria Hoeft was named MVP of the gymnastics team and Michelle Henry was awarded the Chris Kiloran Award. New captains were Bonnie Snyder and Patty Herou.
April 4, 2002 – Ryane Miller was named MVP for the hockey team.
April 5, 2007 – Katie Loberg, a sophomore, was all-conference in basketball, averaging 18 points and 12.6 rebounds. Nicole Dehn and Allie Johnson were honorable mention . . . Loberg won the high jump, 200 meters and triple jump in an invitational indoor meet at St. John’s University.
April 5, 2012 – Ellie McElhone and Julia Osowski were all-conference in hockey. Marissa Paulson was MVP.