Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press, a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find this issue to be worth your time.
Comments and reader suggestions are always welcome.
More Mourning in Minnesota
As I’ve observed throughout many issues of The Good Press, sports are often an outlet for us to unwind and decompress from the rigors of everyday life.
During the height of the pandemic last year, the absence of sports and other forms of entertainment was more noticeable than ever. We were left with a void that did not allow us any respite from the eerie, dreary silence outside.
Baseball and other sports had games postponed due to COVID-19, but by the summer and fall of 2020, games had come back and were appreciated on a deeper level by sports fans (and non-sports fans alike) with a renewed fervor.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing that forced postponements of games last year. Baseball deals with its occasional weather-related postponements, but last August, the overwhelming pain of police violence against predominantly Black Americans was a major breaking point for athletes all over sports, leading to wildcat strikes and game postponements.
In 2020, a year that had people sheltered in place for much of it, there were unfathomably still only 18 days in 2020 where police did not kill somebody.
National Police Violence Map
Researchers and journalists have utilized Mapping Police Violence data to expand our collective understanding of how…
Back in Issue #20, I explored that remarkable week in sports last summer, when athletes spanning the WNBA to the NBA to Major League Soccer to tennis and baseball all staged protests in the wake of a non-lethal police shooting in Wisconsin. That protest came as Americans were still grappling with the trauma of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Fast forward to April 2021. The trial of Floyd’s killer, former officer Derek Chauvin, is ongoing in Minneapolis, and tensions are predictably high. As we await the decision by the jury in the weeks to come whether or not there will be some semblance of justice for Floyd’s untimely death, the simmering tensions in the region were turned yet up another notch on Sunday after police killed a 20-year-old man named Daunte Wright after a traffic stop.
'Another Black man has died at the hands of police': Outrage builds over the shooting of Daunte Wright
Monday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins baseball team announced that they would not play their scheduled 2:10 pm ET game, with a public statement released and displayed on the stadium scoreboard (seen in the above photo).
Shortly after the Twins’ decision, the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team and Minnesota Wild hockey team followed suit, as the pain and trauma of yet another case of senseless state violence rolled through the region.
In his column for Minnesota’s largest newspaper, the Star Tribune, prominent Black sports columnist La Velle E. Neal III agreed wholeheartedly with the teams’ decision to echo the response that many players chose last summer.
Neal: For Twins, Timberwolves, and Wild, Monday was the right day for a break
It was a decision made in the best interests of their respective franchises, fans, players, and staff.
In Other Words
As Neal wrote in his column, Monday was just no day to play a ballgame. So that makes two straight years with sports games postponed by heartsickness.
Far be it from me to say so in a newsletter of original writing, but sometimes it’s difficult to find the proper words to do justice to what we are seeing.
Back in September when I wrote about the athlete protests, I shared a link to a story written by Howard Bryant that continues to be just as relevant today:
The reality of Black pain is breaking American sports' status quo
by Howard Bryant, ESPN Senior Writer
I don’t want to hear about whatever alleged sins that George Floyd or Daunte Wright or Tamir Rice or Eric Garner or Breonna Taylor or Botham Jean or the countless other victims of state violence had in their past. Those are inhumane excuses that never justify the lack of due process and suppression of civil liberties that are at the core of these violent incidents.
The turmoil of state violence against everyday Americans is an epidemic. And it hurts so much to see it happen over and over and over and over again. And that’s why it’s so important to call it out and challenge it and denounce it; as many times as necessary until it’s no longer a plague upon our fellow citizens.
Our gun violence epidemic, generally, is another side of the same coin.
These stories of senseless violence are hard to keep up with, though groups like Everytown do their best. The lack of congressional action in the wake of all these tragedies hammers home that this is a uniquely American problem.
Gun Violence in America | Everytown Research & Policy
Every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and more than 230 are shot and wounded. The effects of gun…
In what has become one of the most biting series of satire articles around, The Onion has written and rewritten an article entitled, “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” repeatedly since 2014.
'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens - Wikipedia
'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens is the title of a series of satirical articles about the frequency of mass shootings in America and the lack of action taken…
Sometimes, some dark humor for levity can be a cathartic coping mechanism. The bottom line is, we cannot sit here and say “America is better than this.” Unfortunately, this is who we are, until this violence is stamped out for good.
Tuesday afternoon, in the bitter cold of a 33-degree day with snow flurries, the Twins were back on the field, playing with heavy hearts again. Will the peaceful protests of Americans of all races, religions, and creeds be heard this time, leading to meaningful action and change? Or will we be here again?
I wanted to spend this week, my 52nd straight week of writing The Good Press, doing some more baseball fun facts and haikus and the like, as I did back in the golden issue two weeks ago. There are still 20 teams to preview! Life got in the way again, as it is wont to do. These true tales of life and death are a sobering reminder that the fun and games can’t distract us all the time. So tune in to an issue sometime in the near future for continuing coverage.
But a notable achievement happened this week in baseball, so I’d like to spend a few sentences on the San Diego Padres throwing their first no-hitter.
8,205 games. That’s how many games the San Diego Padres played in their franchise history before throwing their elusive first no-hitter last week.
9 amazing facts about SD's 1st no-hitter
You never know what's going to happen on any given night of baseball, and Friday was no exception. Fans were treated to…
It was especially sweet for Joe Musgrove, the 28-year-old Californian who grew up a Padres fan, was traded to San Diego this winter and achieved the incredible achievement of a nine-inning no-hitter all by himself. Musgrove was well aware of how special his 27-out, no-hits-allowed performance was.
“It’s awesome to have it be in a Padres uniform,” Musgrove told the media after the game, about the first no-hitter he’s thrown at any level of baseball. “To have it be the first in the history of the franchise… that’s incredible.”
That no-hitter meant that the Padres became the final MLB team to throw their first no-hitter, 8,206 games later after their establishment in 1969. According to the extraordinary online encyclopedia, Baseball-Reference, there had been 307 no-hitters in MLB history before the Padres’ first one: 293 of them thrown by individuals and 14 “combined,” by multiple pitchers.
Sports are fun. Let’s hope for more fun days full of joy in the future.
Next week? I suppose I’ll whip up something of an anniversary issue.
Thanks for reading.
Till next time,
Previously in The Good Press
The Good Press — Issue #51: Recoil
Sports leagues continue to find themselves at the center of flashpoint political discourse; same as it ever was
April 7, 2021
The Good Press — Issue #50: Baseball Fun for 2021
The gold edition of The Good Press is dedicated to fun baseball things including some team haikus. Which way will the ball bounce this year?
March 31, 2021
The Good Press — Issue #49: Rally
A baseball rally is exuberant, evoking feelings similar to the many ways that we rally throughout our lives, finding…
March 24, 2021