A victory for the urbanist ideal? Biking for Baseball hits Minneapolis, Zen of the town pool, the life of a mayfly, and what hath Tommy John wrought?
Posted at 11:57 AM on July 17, 2012
by Jon Gordon
Filed under: Politics
DFL Governor Mark Dayton appeared on The Daily Circuit this morning. Here's an account via local reporters on Twitter:
Gov. Dayton says to @kerrimpr MN will do "anything within reason" to help get the Verso Paper Mill in Sartell back online.— Conrad Wilson (@conradjwilson) July 17, 2012
Gov. Dayton tells @kerrimpr Verso Paper is still waiting to hear from their insurance company re: Sartell mill.— Conrad Wilson (@conradjwilson) July 17, 2012
Gov. Dayton says SW LRT has broad support in the business community but not in political arena. Doubts it could move forward w/out #mnleg— tomscheck (@tomscheck) July 17, 2012
Dayton says he supports funding the line but doesn't sound bullish on using DEED bonding funds for it.— tomscheck (@tomscheck) July 17, 2012
Gov. Dayton predicts that the amendment that would ban same-sex marriage will be defeated in November. He opposes the amendment.— tomscheck (@tomscheck) July 17, 2012
Gov. Dayton says the "many arrests" of Vikings players in recent months "troubles me."— tomscheck (@tomscheck) July 17, 2012
On MPR, Gov Dayton defends #vikings Adrian Peterson after arrest: "He's an upstanding citizen...a fine role model".— Patrick Kessler (@PatKessler) July 17, 2012
Posted at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2012
by Jon Gordon
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on MSNBC this afternoon refused to comment on whether he's gotten "the call" from Mitt Romney for a possible spot on the Republican ticket.
Pawlenty says the VP process will unfold in due course. He said he's focused on yard work and other business this week.— tomscheck (@tomscheck) July 17, 2012
An MSNBC blog analyzes Pawlenty's strengths and weakness as a vice presidential candidate:
STRENGTHS: Though once a rival for the GOP presidential nomination, Pawlenty has become a constant and loyal surrogate for the Romney campaign. His conservative credentials are rock-solid, which would please the GOP base (opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, is an evangelical Christian). His Midwest roots and clear middle-class/working-class background (his mother died when he was 16; his father lost his job at a trucking company) could be advantageous to Romney. As someone who has run for president before, Pawlenty is more than familiar with the national scrutiny and high-profile debates.. Could he put Minnesota in play? On the one hand, he's a former two-term governor of the state. On the other hand, he never received 50% or more in those two races. In 2006, he barely won re-election against challenger Mike Hatch (D), 47%-46%, and he might have lost had not Hatch referred to a female reporter as a "Republican whore" right before the election. In 2008, by comparison, Obama won Minnesota, 54%-44%.
WEAKNESSES: There are some holes in his conservative record (signed 75-cent fee on cigarettes into law, once championed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases). How much do conservatives really like Pawlenty? Remember that despite going all-in to win it, he finished a disappointing third to Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at the 2011 Ames Straw Poll; the day after that third-place finish, Pawlenty dropped out of the presidential race. How much does Pawlenty owe Romney? According to an analysis by USA Today, more than half of the political donations Pawlenty received after he suspended his campaign -- to pay down his debt -- came from Romney donors. Pawlenty recently joined the board of Smart Sand, a Pennsylvania firm that has built a large frac sand plant in Wisconsin. That sand is used in a controversial process to extract natural gas from rock.
Adam Kraemers, left, of Denver and Chase Higgins of Minneapolis could be forgiven if the idea hatched at the Metrodome years ago seemed like a better idea at the time than in the execution this summer.
"It still is a good idea," Higgins said, however, when I stopped the pair along a road in Dakota County this afternoon.
Higgins, Kraemers, and two other friends -- Steve Lunn of Boulder and Rex Roberts of Eagle, Co. -- have put 6,500 miles behind them already in their goal to cycle to all 30 major league cities, conducting baseball clinics for kids at each one. They were on the way to Minneapolis this afternoon, following the All Star break in Kansas City, the hometown of both. They've cycled almost 500 miles in the last four days.
"The foundation was baseball so we were thinking it's a dream of every baseball fan to see all 30 (stadiums), so we thought, 'let's go cycling,'" Kraemers said of the discussion at a bar after the last baseball game ever played at the Metrodome. "We met someone in Anaheim who drove to all 30 stadiums and he said if he could do it again, he'd do it in a minute."
Four cyclists left Seattle around opening day, headed for California, then Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Florida, snaking back west by way of Atlanta, St. Louis and Kansas City (See route).
"When we had the idea,I had just become a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and I could see with my little Shontrelle right then how important it is to be a positive influence in a kid's life," Kraemers said. "So we partnered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters in Colorado and starting putting on baseball clinics, and soccer clinics, and volleyball clinics."
It was natural, then, to add the idea of clinics to their dream of spending the summer riding to baseball games. And now, it would seem, it's the kids that are the dream more than the games.
The idea of riding a bike across America -- several times -- in this summer's heat seems hard enough to believe. But it's nowhere near as puzzling as this: "A lot of the kids have never played baseball before so we show them how to put the glove on their hand and how to step up to bat," Higgins said.
When you're riding across the country, you pass a lot of ballparks -- usually empty ballparks. "Do you see a lot of pick-up games that kids are playing on them?" I asked.
"No," Kraemers said. "The thing we see predominantly the most everywhere are baseball fields. Everywhere. But you rarely see actual playing." But, he says, "it's America's pastime and it always will be."
"We get to work with kids in every city and we get to teach kids the game of baseball. It's cool to introduce people into a new game. After the clinics we hear, 'I'm going to go to Toys R Us and get my glove and my bat,' So that's pretty cool," he said.
The two admit, though, admit there were times they thought the idea wasn't such a good one. "Pretty much right from the start," Kraemers said. When they started in Seattle last spring, "it was really cold and really rainy. We didn't anticipate the effect on our knees. It was really slow to go 100 miles from the start. But we talked to people who had ridden long distances and they said it would go away, 'just ride through it.' And when we got to San Diego, it was, like, 'boom,' and it went away."
"We thought we were going to be able to watch a lot of baseball, but that hasn't been the case," according to Kraemers. "We get most of the baseball through social media. When we come into a city, we start interacting with the fans and you hear a totally different perspective on everything."
The cyclists will take in tomorrow night's game at Target Field, then conduct the youth clinic on Thursday night from 6-8 at Bryn Mawr Park in Minneapolis, and then head back on the road with four days to ride 460 miles to Chicago.(3 Comments)