The Fire that Burned Baltimore into the Big Leagues

The Fire that Burned Baltimore into the Big Leagues

It’s hard to imagine a more unusual set of circumstances which propelled Baltimore’s arrival into the pinnacle of professional sports. For fifty-two years, the city was relegated into minor league status when the major league Orioles pulled up roots and became the New York Highlanders, and ultimately, the Yankees. When the Federal League disbanded, International League Orioles owner Jack Dunn moved his team into Terrapin Park, located at 29th and Greenmount, and renamed it Oriole Park. It was a wooden edifice, seating 11,000, and the bleachers were repeatedly treated with creosote to ward off deterioration and decay.

Then on the evening of Independence Day, 1944, the place caught fire and was burned to the ground. The Orioles went on a 12-game road tour while Municipal Stadium, an earthen football stadium located on 33rd Street, was readied for baseball. Because of its immense size, the old stadium, which had previously been used almost exclusively for football, was able to draw unusually large crowds for minor league baseball games. That same year, the Orioles made it to the Little World Series and vied with the Louisville Colonels for the International League title.

At the same time this series was drawing in excess of 52,000 in Baltimore, the major league cross-town series, between the Cardinals and the Browns, was drawing a paltry 31,000 at Sportsman Park in St. Louis. People across the country took note, and began talking about the potential in what was, at that time, the eighth largest city in America.

Yet, it was football that made the first splash onto the scene when the All-American Football Conference awarded the defunct Miami Seahawks franchise to Baltimore. A fan contest to rename the team saw three submissions suggesting the name “Colts”. Because of an essay touting the Colts name and its tie to Pimlico and the Preakness, Charles Evans Hughs of Middle River, Maryland won first prize- a lifetime pass to Baltimore Colts games.

Meanwhile, a sports editor at the Baltimore Sun, one Roger Pippen, began to urge the city to re-build Municipal Stadium in order to attract major league baseball. Facing a lot of criticism, even from the editors of his own paper, Pippen went on a one-man crusade to spur interest in the project. In 1949, he succeeded and over the next two years, Municipal Stadium was gradually transformed into Memorial Stadium, which could accommodate both sports equally well.

At first, the new stadium was a concrete, single-deck facility seating 31,000. When it became known that St, Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck was interested in selling his team, the city decided to add an upper deck increasing the capacity to 49,000 seats- large enough for big league baseball. Attorney Clarence Miles assembled a group of investors, and the St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. Ironically, another Browns franchise would relocate to Baltimore forty-two years later, and return Baltimore to the NFL twelve years after their beloved Colts had departed for Indianapolis.

Since the early fifties, Baltimore’s professional teams have been sometimes hot, and sometimes cold, but always of great interest, regardless of their standings. Yet, were it not for the fire of 1944, and the impetus that provided, they might not have been teams at all. From the ashes of 1944, Baltimore rose to a prominent place in both sports boasting world championships in 1958, 1959, 1966, 1970, 1983 and 2000.

(author’s note- the Baltimore Ravens won their second Super Bowl following the 2012 Season,  six years after this was originally published in the Baltimore Sun)

-Drew Nickell, 14 March 2007

© 2007, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

 

A Declaration of Personal Rights

A Declaration of Personal Rights

February 26, 2015- In the City of Virginia Beach within the Commonwealth of Virginia

When in the course of history, the growing encroachment on Constitutionally-protected Freedoms causes one to avow his Rights, under a growing and pervasive threat to such Rights, I do hereby proffer the following notice to the Government of the United States, and to the Commonwealth of Virginia, in which I was born and continue to reside.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that I am an American Citizen, endowed by my Creator with certain inalienable Rights and that amongst these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, as well as those Rights specifically enumerated in the Constitution of the United States. I further avow that these Rights may not and will not be abridged without due process of law by any entity within, or outside, the Government.

I will not surrender specifically the Rights that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Amongst these are the right to Free Speech, Assembly, Publication of my opinions in any venue, and on any subject, as well as the right to Worship my Creator, in my own Way, and that the expression of such cannot and will not be abridged by any individual, entity or Governing body, on the basis of what such entities deem to be politically, socially, academically and/or morally incorrect. I further avow that it is my right to keep and bear arms as specifically enumerated in the Second Amendment, if I should so choose.

I hereby lay claim to these Rights which I will not surrender under any circumstance, other than my own demise. Signed and sealed on this twenty-sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Fifteen.

 

-Drew Nickell (seal)

 

© 2015, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

Wars, and Rumors of Wars

Wars, and Rumors of Wars

 

I believe it t was Aeschylus (525 BC – 456 BC), the Greek tragic dramatist, who once wrote that “In war, truth is the first casualty”, and all of us must consider this purview with regards to what is taking place in the world, today.

I am going to say something that is not popular, not politically correct, and would certainly not be uttered by President Obama, nor by his predecessors, Bush (both) Clinton, and not even Reagan, nor by any leader in Europe or elsewhere.. Nevertheless, I am going to say it because it needs to be said… whether or not we want to own up to it…and that is that we are at war with radical Islam…there, I have said it and I will say it, again…we are at war with radical Islam.

Why?

Simple- Radical Islam is at war with us. They know it, they say it, and we don’t… which places us at a tremendous disadvantage. No war can ever be won unless the enemy can be identified and called by its name. History has borne this out. For instance, in the World Wars, we were at war with Imperial, and then, Nazi Germany, which is not to say that we were at war with Germans, per se, but rather with their rulers- a slight and delicate distinction, perhaps, but altogether meaningful and substantial. We identified the enemy and we defeated the enemy twice, in a span of thirty years. So to be clear, we are not at war with Muslims, we are at war with radical Islam, and this distinction must be made clear, lest the point of this missive be missed.

In southeast Asia, in the hills of Asia minor, in the Middle East, and in Northern Africa, radical Islam is waging war against the west, and by “the west”, I mean the United States, western Europe and, of course, Israel. Just as this war is being waged in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia and all over the Muslim world, it is also being waged in Europe, including Great Britain, and here, even in the United States. The problem is that the western concepts of sensitivity, inclusion and political correctness will not allow us to own up to this very fact- but it is a fact.

When Nidal Hassan launched his murderous rampage at Ft Hood, Texas, does anyone with half a brain in his head want to say that this was merely a case of workplace violence, as the Obama administration would have us believe, rather than an attack by a radical Islamist in the name of jihad? Does anyone think that the bombing at the Boston marathon last year was anything other than an attack by radical Islamist brothers for the purpose of waging jihad? Just how many of these acts, not to mention the 9/11 attacks, will it take for we in the west to realize just who the enemy is, be willing to call the enemy by its real name, and wage war against it.

Please forgive me for saying so but “terrorism” is nothing more than a generic euphemism orchestrated to hide the real truth- and that truth is that we are at war with radical Islam…not Muslims, nor even with the silent, so called, “moderate Muslims” who refuse to condemn the radical counterparts within their same religion…but we are at war with radical Islam, and we will lose that war unless we as a society, grow up, say what needs to be said, without regards to sensitivity, inclusion, or political correctness, and wage this war with the righteous determination- bent on victory that is so necessary in what is most certainly not a rumor of war, but of a real war, itself. If we fail to do so, we are finished, period.

-Drew Nickell, 13 June 2014

© 2014, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

The Inadmissibility of the Left

The Inadmissibility of the Left

 

Disclaimer- Some of my very best friends are liberals. I don’t know why this is the case, given the fact that I am pretty conservative in my own political beliefs. Perhaps, in the end, I just feel sorry for these otherwise deplorable Democrat dolts (talk about alliteration) because, at the end of the day, they are usually proved to be wrong but never, EVER admit to having been proven wrong. You just gotta love such stupendous stubborn stupidity (okay, enough of the alliteration) when, in the face of facts which eventually bear out, they just can’t admit they had it all wrong. Cases in point:

  • “Ronald Reagan is just an ‘amiable dunce’, a ‘reckless cowboy’ who will get us into nuclear war with the Soviets.” As it turns out, Reagan was an erudite reader, who actually studied up on the issues, made the right decisions, despite advice to the contrary from his own cabinet, and his policies brought about the end of the Soviet Union without having fired a single shot.
  • “By 2013, the polar icecaps will have completely melted causing a catastrophic rise in the sea levels which will obliterate coastal cities in the United States…” Al Gore’s blathering, once taken so seriously, have been completely debunked, and that “Man-made Global Warming” is nothing more than a farce, not supported by scientific data, but a farce that made him quite wealthy, nevertheless.
  • “George Bush is an idiot who thinks that if Obama pulls the troops out of Iraq too soon, that a force more dangerous than Al Quada will take over large parts of Iraq and cause death and destruction on a scale not yet seen”   ummm … ISIS anyone?
  • “There are no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq- it’s just a lie made up by that dunce, George Bush, and his evil counterpart, Dick Cheney, as a lame attempt to justify an illegal War in Iraq.”    Well, as a New York Times article published just this morning, by one C.J. Chivers, has pointed out there were WMDs in Iraq- lots of them, and they even caused injury to our soldiers there…. Here is an excerpt from that article:

“From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops  repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by,  chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of  participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence  documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act”

And then, there’s this…

  • “Our experts here at the CDC and across our government agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States,” -President Barack Obama, 13 Sept 2014.    As it turns out, someone with the virus got on a plane to the United States and, so far two of the health workers tending to him in Dallas have become infected with the virus…in short, it’s here…In essence, the Inadmissibility of the Left is a nothing more than a play on self-righteous indignation- one whose asinine arrogance is only exceeded by the President they elected twice, whose very own asinine arrogance has now brought a disease into the United States for the first time since its first outbreak in 1976.

 

In a word- dangerous men, given power, beget dangerous results to those who empower them…and those of us who saw through the lies of liberalism must now suffer along with the fools who refused to see otherwise.

Sooooo… do you think all of these liberals will ever admit that they had it wrong about Reagan? Wrong about Bush and Cheney? Wrong about WMDs? Wrong about pulling out of Iraq too early? Wrong about the wisdom of Obama easing travel restrictions on flights from Western African nations where Ebola has become pandemic?…Don’t hold your breath….At this very moment, these same liberals are now blaming Bush for the Ebola virus coming to the United States.

.-Drew Nickell, 15 October 2014

© 2014, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

 

The Coming Pandemic

The  Coming Pandemic

 

Pandemic- (n) an epidemic occurring on a scale which crosses international boundaries, usually affecting a large number of people. (source “Dictionary of Epidemiology” Oxford University Press, p. 179. Copyright 2012)

It is often said that what we don’t know can be deadly, and while humanity is always under the threat of extinction, be it from an unthinkable nuclear war, the strike of a large meteor on the surface of the earth, a gamma ray burst, or the eruption of a caldera which would result in a years-long blockage of sunlight, it is the microscopic world of viruses that pose the biggest threat to humanity.

Pandemics are nothing new. In 430 BC, a pandemic of Typhoid Fever wiped out 25% of Athens. Smallpox took the lives of as many as ten million during two outbreaks in the second and third centuries AD. Beginning in 541 AD, and lasting until 750 AD, the first pandemic of Bubonic Plague wiped out 25% of the known world population, and resulted in a 50% decline of the population in Europe. More infamously, it was the second wave of Bubonic Plague that killed 75 million people, beginning in the fourteenth century. Known as the Black Death, as much as third of the world’s population was completely wiped out during a six-year period, 1348-54 AD, and repeated waves of this plague continued to eviscerate as much as 50% of the European populace, up until the Great Fire of London in 1666 which virtually eradicated the disease in that city. Another wave of the Bubonic Plague hit China in 1855, spread to India, and killed an additional 10 million. Bubonic Plague even hit San Francisco, in the six years leading up to that city’s devastating earthquake in 1906, killing many thousands.

Smallpox, brought by Spanish conquistadores in the 1500s, virtually wiped out the native populations of Central America in the decades that followed- the same smallpox that killed off 90% of the Native Americans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the mid-1600s. Recurrences of smallpox, along with influenza and measles, ravaged the Plains Indian tribes in the mid-to-late 1800s, and killed millions around the world, as well.

More recently, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, infected 500 million people across the world in a brief eighteen-month period, and killed some 50 million during a six-month period during the height of its devastation- more than were killed in the First World War that was just ending when this pandemic began.

Respective outbreaks of Asian flu in the late 1950s, and Hong Kong flu in the late 1960s, killed three million people worldwide, including over 100,000 in the United States, alone.

Today, one third of the entire world’s population has been infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis- that’s two and a half billion people around the world. Five to ten percent of these people will progress to having active tuberculosis- that’s anywhere from one to two million people developing a disease which has a mortality rate in excess of 20%.

And then, there is Ebola. This excerpt from a CDC report dated 29 July 2014:

“Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). Ebola HF is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebola virus. When infection occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. The first Ebola virus species was discovered in 1976 in what… is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically. The natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses remains unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne) with bats being the most likely reservoir. Four of the five subtypes occur in an animal host native to Africa”

The bad news is that Ebola hemorrhagic fever has an 80% mortality rate, and up to 100 health care workers who went to West Africa as part of a humanitarian effort to control the disease have become infected themselves, DESPITE the protective precautions these professionals have taken to prevent contracting the disease. Two of these professionals, Americans working for the Samaritan’s Purse, are now en route to the United States, destined for Emory University’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a decision that boggles the mind, when one considers the illnesses that are coming into this country by illegal aliens on our southern borders, 600 of whom have been placed in isolation for being infected with Tuberculosis.

Whether these latest developments are due to gross incompetence, intentional disregard for public safety, or some kind of ulterior and nefarious intent, by the Obama administration, is yet to be known- but this much we do know…the introduction of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever onto American soil is something we should all be attuned to and, combined with the health crises erupting from Obama’s decision to relax the deportation of illegal aliens who are carrying virulent diseases, is something that should not be tolerated, regardless of one’s political inclinations, moral philosophies or humanitarian concerns. To do otherwise, and abide in this onslaught, is morally repugnant, intellectually degenerate, and pandemically suicidal.

-Drew Nickell, 2 August 2014

© 2014, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

The Coming Constitutional Crisis

The Coming Constitutional Crisis

 

Created September 17, 1787 and ratified June 21, 1788, the Constitution of the United States, on which representative democracy is based, has long stood the test of time. It replaced the 1777 Articles of Confederation, which proved unworkable as the result of Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts, the preceding year. Born of this crisis in the early years of our republic, it has been the foundation of what it means to be an American, and is the oldest constitution in the entire world still in use- an attest to its brilliance in forming a government of, by and for the people. Following the first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, created September 25, 1789 and ratified December 15, 1791, it has been amended an additional seventeen times- amendments which have also proved, with the exception of the 18th Amendment, to be lasting.

Since its inception, there have been a few occasions in which there occurred a constitutional crisis. Most notable was the constitutional crisis of 1861, where eleven states seceded from the Union, to form the Confederate States of America. This secession brought about the deadliest war in the history of the United States, as well as the Western Hemisphere, as civil wars throughout the world very often do prove to be so deadly. Another constitutional crisis erupted in 1937, when President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to pack the Supreme Court, which unanimously struck down FDR’s National Recovery Act, two years prior. Yet another constitutional crisis in 1974 brought about the resignation of President Nixon, following the Watergate scandal. Since then, the Constitution has been occasionally tested, most notably in 1998, when President Clinton obstructed justice and perjured himself in Clinton vs Jones that previous year, which resulted in the second impeachment of a President in US history.

This week, on the 25th of June, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he is introducing legislation to allow the House of Representatives to sue President Obama for his refusal to execute our laws, for exceeding his constitutional authority in the use of his executive actions, and for his continuous attempts to bypass Congress. This confrontation has been slowly percolating since prior to Obama’s re-election and has, in the wake of the border crisis and many other brewing scandals, begun to boil over into a crisis within our federal government. Already, the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled against the president twice, in his attempt to make recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board without consent of the Senate, and in his attempt to have the National Security Agency monitor the cellular telephones of American citizens without due process.

Now it will ultimately be left to the courts to rule as to whether Speaker Boehner, at the behest of Congress, has legal standing to proceed with this lawsuit- perhaps and potentially the most important litigation in the history of our republic. If Boehner is successful, then the constitutional balance of powers, outlined in the Constitution’s first three articles, will remain intact. If Boehner fails in his attempt to curtail Obama’s overreach, then this delicate balance of power on which our nation has survived, will forever be lost and this president will have destroyed representative government as we know it. Under such a contingency, future presidents would become de facto dictators, and the legislative branch of government will be emasculated to the extent of outright impotence, rendering the United States Constitution irrelevant, thus completing the hidden agenda of Barack Obama and his nefarious allies.

-Drew Nickell, 27 June 2014

 

© 2014, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl XLIX

 

Super Bowl Sunday 2015 fast approaches and the New England Patriots will soon be facing the reigning world champion Seattle Seahawks, in a quest to wrest the Vince Lombardi Trophy from the grasp of its current owners. Despite all of the back and forth about deflated footballs and the like, my guess is that Seattle will retain their title. Granted, I personally have no stake in this particular matchup…I’ll care about the big game, itself, when Baltimore returns to it… ‘til then, it’s just another football game, as far as I am concerned.

Having thus opined about this year’s Super Bowl, I continue to marvel at the spectacle the Super Bowl has become, of late. For anyone who knows me, that should be no surprise…after all, I am older than all of the players, and most all of the coaches who will be participating in this year’s contest, and even eight years older than the game, itself. I do have memories of what came to be known as the Super Bowl, from its very beginning when it was known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game.

In the first such contest, the NFL’s Green Bay Packers faced off against the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which was only two-thirds filled at kickoff- amazing, considering that the tickets to that game were $ 6.00 (that’s six bucks, folks), not to mention the fact that it was the only Super Bowl to be simultaneously broadcast by two networks, CBS and NBC. The halftime show consisted of a traditional college football bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University, along with jazz trumpeter Al Hirt. There were no special commercials aired for the Super Bowl back then…just the normal ads one might see for any run-of-the-mill football game, mostly for beer and cigarettes…yes, cigarettes. Miller High Life (“The Champagne of Beers”) squared off against the Marlboro Man (“Filter, Flavor, Pack or Box”) for viewer interest during the minutes between football plays.

Two years later, in what was to be the first so-called Super Bowl, a husky ten-year-old in suburban Richmond, Virginia was crying his eyes out when the Joe Namath-led New York Jets pulled off the greatest upset in the annals of sports and defeated the heavily-favored, Earl Morrall-led, Baltimore Colts. Coached by Don Shula, who stubbornly refused to play all-time-great Johnny Unitas until the fourth quarter, when the Colts were down 16-0, it was to become second darkest day in that young lad’s life as a football fan. Given more time, Unitas would easily have beaten the Jets, but it was not to be on that particular Sunday afternoon.

Two years later, that same husky ten-year old (now twelve) became the happiest kid in America, when Jim O’Brien kicked a field goal with five seconds remaining, to lift the Baltimore Colts over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V, which was the first time the newly minted AFC squared off against the newly-minted NFC, following the great merger of 1970. It was ironic that the first NFL team to lose a Super Bowl would become the first AFC team to win a Super Bowl, but that was the irony that was the Baltimore Colts. The darkest day in his life as a football fan, would follow thirteen years later when, on March 29, 1984, the Robert Irsay-owned Baltimore Colts snuck out of town in the middle of the night and thus became forever, in the mind of this fan, the Indiana-no-place Counterfeit-Colts.

In the decades that followed, the Super Bowl became a bacchanalia of excess, with “nip-slips”, “wardrobe malfunctions”, and even a platform for the sitting President, to take advantage of vast viewerships and drone on and on about something that has long since been forgotten. The pre-game show, which had been fifteen minutes, back in the day, now comprises five hours, yet the game itself is no better now than it was back then, and actually worse given all of the rules changes that have summarily ruined what was a great game in the 1960s.

That statement even holds true when the Baltimore Ravens won their pair of Super Bowls in 2001 and 2013…but, alas, I digress…

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, after all and the time for talking about it will end, soon enough…that is, until next year…Go Ravens !!!

-Drew Nickell, 20 January 2015

© 2015, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved