Dallas Green speaks about the loss of his granddaughter

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As you certainly remember, Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed during the shooting rampage in Tucson last month, was the granddaughter of ex-MLB manager Dallas Green and the daughter of current Dodgers scout John Green. Yesterday, Dallas Green, who works as a consultant for the Phillies,  spoke to the media about his family’s loss.

I’m struck by Green’s bluntness. We’re so used to hearing cliches when someone dies, especially children. About God’s plan, and little angels looking down and all sorts of things that, while understandable for those grieving to cling to, have become somewhat empty and, in a strange way, desensitizing.  Green’s sense of loss and his concern for his son and his family is far more palpable than we’re used to hearing in these situations and thus more affecting:

“Baseball helps me.  You sink yourself into your work and you don’t see a little girl with a hole in her chest as much … This isn’t about me.  It’s about my son, John, and his family. They are hurting desperately. It’s a terrible thing on John, Roxanna and Little D. I can get through it, but they’re going to hurt like the devil for a long time … This is still the best country in the world to live in.  You would hope there would be some understanding that there are crazies in the world.”

There are crazies in the world.  And, as Springsteen sang, there’s a meanness. And more chaos than we dare admit. We try to convince ourselves that there is not. That there is an order to things and purpose.  Part of that unsavory business in which so many felt the need to cast the Tucson shooting into political terms is part of that. There must be a cause, we tell ourselves.  Our orderly universe cannot just unravel like that without a purpose and intention.  Someone — someone who isn’t mentally deranged like the shooter — is to blame.

And while often there are many thing that, on a very basic level contribute in some small way to such incidents — someone who missed a warning sign, some law, some song lyric, some video game, some novel or some inflammatory rhetoric — these things rarely if ever truly own or deserve anything approaching a substantial chunk of that blame.  It’s craziness, sickness, meanness and chaos that is the true culprit.  We don’t want to believe it because it doesn’t bring much comfort to admit it, but it’s true.

Keep a good thought in your heart today for the Green family.  And always make sure that the people you love know that you love them.  It’s the most effective bulwark against the chaos of our world.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.