I missed following the Twins' opening day last week because I was on assignment elsewhere. Fortunately, this outfit has captured the day and posted a mini-doc:
The National Guard soldiers with the American flag was certainly an impressive moment. It would have been more impressive if I hadn't already read today's Letters to the Editors in the Star Tribune.
I am writing out of frustration. My husband is a soldier in the Minnesota National Guard and was given the opportunity to be on the field for the flag-bearing ceremony at the Twins home opener, a once-in-a-lifetime event.
However, he was offered no seat for the game, no standing-room option, no offer to even purchase seats in the farthest reaches of the stadium -- and, therefore, no opportunity for at least one family member to share in the experience.
When we found out about the opportunity, we tried to log on and buy tickets as any regular fan would have expected to do. But with all the website problems, it took us more than four hours to find out that none were available.
We were left to choose an enormous up-charge with additional service fees if we wished to attend. I cannot imagine why this was arranged this way.
For some of these soldiers who are deploying (within 60 days), this may be their only opportunity to get to see a game, let alone take part in the honor of holding the flag they defend.
I hope that the Twins recognize what a terrible message this sends to those who sacrifice so much, yet ask nothing in return.
KRISTI PETERS, ST. MICHAEL
Bob - While the twins' front office clearly goofed up on this one,
you once again managed to highlight your at times seemingly sycophantic attitude towards the military.
And no, troops don't defend the "flag", they defend their buddies.
Ask anyone who's ever been to war.
What on earth are you talking about?
Goof is a bit of an understatement. I'm not a baseball fan but can admit the stadium is a beautiful place to catch a game. I hope the Twins are able to improve their customer service before they alienate all their potential guests.
And It was the soldier's wife who wrote the letter and mentioned defending the flag, not Bob.
Dear Bob - Great comeback. Do you read your own posts?
Dear nk - Re "goof is a bit of an understatement"
OK, do you think it was intentional malice?
And Bob posted the letter to make a point, so the buck stops with him.
Do you have your own opinion on the flag issue, or are you just into stating the obvious?
What *exactly* is the problem you have with the post and previous posts re: the military? Please be specific.
If your point is that the military didn't deserve a free seat at the game, why don't you consider saying that and leaving the insults out?
Dear Bob - Thanks.
The "exact" problem is that the glorification of the military is one of the factors that keeps young people - ignorant of the realities of geopolitics and war - thinking that it might be a good idea to enlist.
Most return damaged - physically, mentally, spiritually, or all three.
That's the "exact" problem.
I don't think being respectful of the sacrifice our members of the military make is the same as having a "seemingly sycophantic attitude towards the military."
Without speaking for Bob, perhaps part of that respect is actually due to knowing that many of our members of the military return damaged, which makes their volunteering for service all the more honorable, at least in my view.
//That's the "exact" problem.
What does that have to do with a sycophantic attitude toward the military? That was your allegation. I need specifics.
Not jumping to Jim's defense, but his comments do remind me of a famous poem about the old lie: "it is sweet and right to die for your country"
Let's step back here for just a second. This is a post about opening day at Target Field, with a sidebar about soldiers not being able to watch a game.
I find it hard to argue with honoring military members at a baseball game. The type of person who is willing to accept the responsibility and consequences of being an active member of the military is deserving of that recognition, if you ask me.
Now if we're going to complain about annoying things at baseball games, let's focus on getting "God Bless America" out of there. #furtherofftopic
Dear Snyder -
Thanks for the compassionate perspective. Perhaps if we spent more of our resources educating the young on the realities of war and world politics, we wouldn't have to spend so much to heal them from their frequently well-intended sacrifices.
Dear Paul -
Thanks for the powerful poem.
Dear Bob -
I apologize if the term "sycophant" caused you pain. Rather, it was intended to make you think. I used it because of the frequency with which you do a piece that puts the military in a good light. I generally respect your work enormously.
That said, to say "This is a post about opening day at Target Field, with a sidebar about soldiers not being able to watch a game."
is somewhat akin to saying "Moby Dick is a book about a big fish".
YOUR comments about the national guard and the flag and the letter you posted MADE it about the military.
Of course it's your show and you call the tune, but to use military parlance, why do you want to "withdraw" or "retreat" from this line of discourse? :-)
I'll ask one more time then. Specifics re: your previous assertion?
This is all getting a bit awkward...
Dear Bob -
If your objection is to my hyperbolic use of the term "sycophant", again, I apologize if the word caused you pain. That was not my intention.
Sometimes I go too far when I think about dead and maimed kids.
If you want me to do a statistical analysis of the times that you have done a post glorifying the military vs the number of posts that you've done questioning US involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya
I've got better things to do with my time, and I would rather opt to agree to disagree.
That said, my time is undeniably well-spent in reading your work on a daily basis, and from time to time commenting when moved to do so.
Thanks for doing what you do, and for calling me out when you see fit. I always learn something, whether or not I agree with you on a particular matter.
You should make your allegations based on facts, or not make them at all. It's a serious allegation that warranted at least a minimal effort at research.
Dear Bob -
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa.
This seems like an appropriate time to throw in a paraphrased Bill Shakespeare quote: "Me thinks you doth protest too much." (Hamlet, act 3, scene 2, line 230)
While I'll stand by the findings from my empirical research ( obtained from reading you religiously since I discovered your work September of last year), thanks for providing the archive.
Hypothetically, if I wanted to somehow prove the correctness of my opinion (that you honor the military significantly more frequently than you question any of our 3 count 'em 3 wars...
...what criteria could I use to transform my opinion into fact? Number of happy pictures vs sad ones? How many times you used the term "hero" even though no one sacrificed their life or limb to save another? Use of "proud" vs "tragic" or "foolish"?
Tell ya what. While I at times (infrequently) disagree with your opinion, I've never questioned your integrity, intelligence or skill.
If you won't agree to disagree and prefer a zero-sum result, let's play a little game. Let's call it, "As far as can be discerned from his writing, is Bob Collins more pro-military or more anti-war?"
I'll even spot ya an armed intervention.
Loser sacrifices their first born child to Ares.
Or enlists them in the infantry. Loser's choice.Same difference.
( Or we could make it a Rod Carew rookie card. The Yaz? :-)
In closing on this topic (Unless you wish to continue. I'm just happy to be let into this classy joint),
I humbly apologize one more time for suggesting that your attitude regarding the military might be sycophantic.
Henceforth, I won't throw that term around in such a willy-nilly manner, and when I simply can't resist, it will be substituted with "The S-word that Bob hates" :-)
Keep up the good work and thanks for tolerating my arrogant irreverence.
All the best,