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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


April 7, 2016

Politics, Baseball and The Masters

Harry M. Covert

This is the week that is, if I can use most of the title of a long ago television show. Politics on both the national and local levels is incredibly stunning, baseball is back and the preeminent golf tournament, The Masters, is under way today.

 

Can it get any better than this? Probably so, but we are living in the Now.

 

As much as it is fun, entertaining and full of truths and half-truths and just plain old obfuscation – I don’t like the continuing use of lying and liars – a known television personality and politics watcher from the left coast says: “Listening to these election experts on all networks are driving me insane.” Me, too; but I’m still flipping the dial making notes and thinking who in the name of all that’s Holy is worth ensconcing in the White House and Oval Office?

 

In all my years I’ve been a staunch believer and participant in the freedom of speech guarantee. During the current political year, I wonder if the press has become a bit off kilter. The press should really be divided into the public prints versus the broadcasting venues. That discussion is for another day.

 

I confess to listening to the Frederick radio gabfest this week in afternoon drive time. The subject, creating a Frederick County police department? I almost dropped my Earl Grey tea mug.

 

Politics raised its ugly side. Sheriff-for-Life Chuck Jenkins’ full service agency is doing, has done and continues to provide the best public safety and crime-fighting. Results have been nothing short of best in the Free State. Just look at the statistics and a previous column noting the incredible falling crime statistics where bad guys and gals scare the living daylights out of locals.

 

I’m not a paid agent for the sheriff’s office. I do know what I’m talking about though. Political opponents, even from the same political party are shameless. They only want to denigrate a popular four-star leader, who’s esteem is well known around the state. Let me repeat Gov. Larry Hogan offered our sheriff the job of State Police superintendent. He declined.

 

This bid wasn’t a political deal. It recognized his ability to be a crime buster. Everybody should understand the needed quality of law enforcement around the state. A reminder should be the events last year in Baltimore, the state’s Charm City.

 

It is rather interesting that fellow Republicans, who like to brag about their desire to save money and help taxpayers, are totally players in the “gotcha” and “get even” business. They aren’t the most popular among voters and they don’t like that position.

 

I didn’t forget. The miscreants in this matter are Delegates William Folden, who by the way lost to Sheriff Jenkins in a past race for the position; Kathy Afzali, whose claim to fame comes from the Rockets dancing girls at Radio City, New York; and Michael Hough. They endorsed a bill in Annapolis to create a county police department.

 

Does this trio know just how much moolah is involved to fund a county police agency? Actually, they don’t care and word is circulating among the alleged political elites that County Executive Jan Gardner is the driving force in this effort. Shame, shame, shame. (And don’t forget that another head-strong county official tried to push this down the throats of the electorate back in the 1980s. He failed.)

 

To borrow an old saying, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” I well know “to the victor go the spoils.” When the writers and supporters of charter government got their wish, did they really mean to create a dictator, no matter who wins?

 

The Folden-Afzali-Hough endorsement was probably a shot over the bow for things to come. And, the fight is boiling in preparation for other elections.

 

Sports fans can all enjoy the balls and strikes, wins and losses and watching the millionaires on the fields, and the coming stars locally playing with the Frederick Keys at Harry Grove Stadium.

 

Now let’s go to Augusta, Georgia for The Masters, the unequalled golf tournament. As a young sportswriter wet behind the ears, I was assigned to watching Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player thrill the sports world and writers. It was thrilling and the memories are fantastic.

 

In my day in the ‘60s I strolled the magnificent azaleas at Augusta National three years. This was the time before television was the king.

 

After the first-round in 1964, the leader came to the press room, meaning the newspaper guys and answered all the questions. Midway through the Q-and-A, a commotion erupted at the back of the room.

 

All eyes turned around and spied the estimable Lincoln Werden of The New York Times arguing and lecturing the television reporters. He had unplugged the electric cords and cut off the cameras and microphones. Mr. Werden was considered the dean of golf writers in those days and informed the intruders that only the printed press could attend these events.

 

A full blown squabble erupted, and it took the wisdom of the fabled Clifford Roberts who, with Bobby Jones, founded Augusta National Golf Club.

 

They solved this matter and allowed the broadcasters, at least for this year, to have their own television news conference. Of course, the next year all was changed.

 

I know local golfers like Clyde Crum, Russ Delauter and Jim Kunkle, to name a few, may be glued to the telecasts this week. Forgive my name-dropping, but it was great for me to meet and watch Ben Hogan, Gay Brewer Jr., Arnie, Jack and Gary. But I can’t forget the late Champagne Tony Lema. Classy men and golfers all.

 

It was fun getting to know Slammin’ Sam Snead out of Hot Springs, Va.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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