"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eagles dispose of two foes on weekend

The above photo shows Craig Knochenmus batting for the Morris Eagles against Appleton at Chizek Field. Photo by B.W.

The Morris Eagles have impressed in the 2010 playoffs thus far. The next chapter will be on Sunday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m. when the blue-clad Morris crew will take on either Montevideo or Appleton at Chizek Field.
Monte will host Appleton at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Appleton beat Benson 7-4 to climb.
The upcoming weekend promises much excitement in the amateur ball playoffs. Wheaton and Dumont, obvious rivals, are set to vie on Friday. Madison is set for a clash with Rosen. Clinton has arrived in the region fold as a surprise entry in the eyes of some. Ortonville has a region nod, and Raymond is in for region competition in the Corn Belt South.
This past weekend was a busy and successful one for Morris Eagles baseball. First the Eagles defeated Appleton in their Saturday assignment, here at Chizek Field. Then on Sunday, their success was vs. Montevideo at the Benson diamond.

Morris 9, Appleton 1
The Eagles shone in Canvas Division play, living up to their top-seeded status with a decisive 9-1 triumph in front of the friendly home crowd. Eric Asche wielded an explosive bat. Eric pounded out four hits in five at-bats and drove in three runs, with RBI singles in the first, third and eighth innings.
Kirby Marquart connected for one of his trademark home run blasts in the seventh inning with a baserunner on. Kirby's long round-tripper seemed to end any doubt as to the outcome.
Adam Torkelson was in command the whole way on the pitching mound. Adam tossed a five-hitter, fanning six Appleton batters while lowering his microscopic ERA to 1.75. He threw the kind of stuff that caused frequent ground balls off the Appleton bats. Someone was counting and there were 14 ground outs that the Morris infield was able to capably scoop up.
The line scores showed Morris with nine runs on 16 hits and two errors, while the Appleton A's posted 1-5-1 numbers. Morris scored one run in the first inning, two in the third, four in the seventh and two in the eighth. Appleton spoiled Torkelson's shutout bid with one run in the ninth. Torkelson walked just one batter on the night.
Let's review the hit parade. Kirby Marquart's soaring home run highlighted his three-for-four performance with two runs scored and two RBIs. Cory Marquart had a hit and scored three runs. Ross Haugen had a two-for-four evening from his No. 3 spot in the order, and this Eagle scored twice and drove in two runs.
Eric Asche had those sizzling four-for-five numbers with one run and three RBIs. Craig Knochenmus had two hits and drove in a run. Dustin Sauter went two-for-five and drove in a run. Matthew Carrington had a one-for-three evening.
Jamie Van Kempen had a hit and scored a run. Walks were issued to Kirby Marquart and Matthew Carrington.
Montevideo beat Benson 4-2 to advance and play the Eagles the next day.

Morris 5, Montevideo 2
Sunday saw Morris Eagles baseball take the diamond at Benson and again there was a winning outcome. The Eagles struck quickly with a two-run first inning en route to their 5-2 triumph over Montevideo.
Craig Knochenmus worked the pitcher for a bases-loaded walk in the first. Dustin Sauter picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice.
Matthew Carrington hit an RBI ground out in the fourth, putting the Eagles up 3-0.
The sixth frame saw Jamie Van Kempen sock an RBI double to right-center. Carrington came through with a run-scoring single to left in that frame also. Van Kempen and Carrington both came through with two outs.
Andy Lembcke dealt with a sore hamstring and overcame that potential liability. Andy gamely pitched for eight innings, contributing to the win by allowing just two runs and striking out six Monte batters.
Craig Knochenmus took over on the mound with two baserunners on in the ninth inning. Knochenmus bore down to retire the final three batters and he was rewarded with his fifth save.
Monte outhit the Eagles 7-6 but Morris played errorless ball compared to Monte's two errors.
Let's review the hit parade. Kirby Marquart was the leadoff batter and had a hit and a run scored. Ross Haugen crossed home plate once. Eric Asche had a hit in his only at-bat and scored a run. Knochenmus contributed an RBI to the mix.
Dusty Sauter came through at two-for-four, scored a run and drove in one. Jamie Van Kempen went one-for-three with a run scored and an RBI.
The ageless Matthew Carrington had no trouble bouncing back from a Saturday night game, as on Sunday this veteran went one-for-three with two RBIs. Haugen and Asche reached on hit-by-pitch. Walks were issued to Asche (2), Knochenmus and Tony Schultz.
The Eagles would love to see a generous and vocal fan turnout for the home Sunday contest.
Remember, game-time is 1 p.m. and it might be a classic summer afternoon.
Playoff fever. . .it's catching!
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

An "almost" homer breaks Post #29 hearts

BOLD 6, Morris 5 (American Legion playoffs)
Fans held their collective breath as the ball sailed toward the fence, having taken off like a rocket from the bat of Eric Riley on Saturday. An area newspaper described it as a "towering shot." Majestic as it was, it didn't make it over the fence.
This was a pivotal moment in the Morris Legion baseball team's showdown with BOLD. The Post #29 boys clashed with the "Mudhens" of BOLD at the Montevideo diamond, which had been abuzz for days with district tourney action. Morris and BOLD were the last teams left standing in this District 7-II affair.
The "towering shot" by Eric Riley ended in heartbreak for the Post #29 cause. Mudhen Alex Gay was able to gather the ball in. Had the ball landed beyond the fence, it would've been a three-run homer. Morris might have been Dilworth-bound by the end of the day (site of the state Legion tourney). But as it turned out, Morris settled for a modest sacrifice fly from this "towering shot." In the end they were defeated 6-5.
BOLD entered Saturday's action carrying the winners bracket banner. The Mudhens needed only to win once Saturday. The Morris task was to win twice, as Morris had already been dealt a loss in the tourney (by those nemesis Mudhens).
Andrew Brooks was a clutch performer for BOLD Legion baseball Saturday. Brooks drove in a run with a single in the second inning, and he made a bigger statement with his bat in the fifth when his double drove in two runs to break a 4-4 tie.
Morris drew within one on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. But they were blanked after that, coming up shy against BOLD's third pitcher of the day, Kyle Krause, who gained the save with his one inning of work in which he survived one hit. Shawn Dollerschell started for BOLD, and it was Jake Stevens getting the win.
Tyler Hansen pitched gamely for Morris and went the distance, having to battle through some adversity. Tyler gave up eight hits and six runs (five earned) while walking three batters and striking out one.
Hansen's bat was typically reliable as he posted two-for-four boxscore numbers. Eric Riley was denied that home run but he finished two-for-two anyway with two RBIs. That long fly ball drove in a run via sacrifice, so no official at-bat was recorded.
Cole Riley had a productive day at two-for-three and two ribbies, and his two-run single in the fifth highlighted a three-run rally that got the score tied. Other hit contributors for Post #29 were Dustin Sauter (one-for-three), Brady Valnes (one-for-four) and Ethan Bruer (one-for-one).
Brooks was a terror at bat for the Mudhens, posting three-for-three numbers including a double and three RBIs. Kyle Athmann was also a perfect three-for-three and this Mudhen drove in one run. Derek Smith stole two bases to go with his one-for-one stats. Alex Steffel had one hit in three at-bats. Zach Remillard failed to hit safely but he picked up two very key RBIs for BOLD. Zach did the job with a sacrifice fly in the second and a ground ball in the fourth.
Morris actually outhit BOLD 9-8. The error category wasn't so flattering, to say the least, as Morris committed four miscues to BOLD's zero. But only one of BOLD's runs was unearned. Nevertheless, BOLD's crisp fielding represents a strong suit that looks good with their champion's status in District 7-II.
The Mudhens carry a 16-6 season record into state. They'll take on Ada at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Dilworth as the curtain opens for state Division II play. It's a milestone for those Mudhens as never before has a BOLD Legion or high school team reached the pinnacle of state.
Morris fans ought to sit back now, relish the memories of the 2010 season for their team, and cheer for those Mudhens!
BOLD Legion baseball is indeed striving for a "bold" stance now that the season's climax is here.
Go Mudhens!
(Sorry this post is a couple days later than I originally planned. - BW)
Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, July 26, 2010

Should we have such affinity with word "prairie?"

The prairie has its share of color to offset some of the blandness of what might seem a monotonous landscape. This photo was taken along the Pomme de Terre River. It is said the land immediately next to the river is unchanged from way back before Morris. (B.W. photo)

A recent op-ed in the local legacy media indicated we're having one of those periodic inspecting-your-navel discussions about Morris. I would paraphrase the question being posed as: "Is Morris dying?"
As a "lifer" in Morris I have the license to admit the question gets broached from time to time. But usually not in such a public way.
We have always been a little defensive out here in West Central Minnesota, hitching our wagon to the University of Minnesota as if we'd surely be doomed without it. The closing of Coborn's has stimulated much more of the negative talk.
It's unfortunate because in the final analysis, we have always found the community to have both feet firmly on the ground.
It's here to stay like rock 'n roll.
We attach the word "prairie" to this town so readily. We recently celebrated our annual Prairie Pioneer Days in what seemed like pretty hardy fashion.
I'm not sure the word "prairie" is the most advisable to attach to Morris. The word implies emptiness. It doesn't help having that word hovering over us as we begin to hear this talk of whether we're slowly sliding into troubling obscurity.
What is Morris known for besides "prairie?" Surely we can think of something - another word that denotes some distinct quality of the community.
I have become accustomed to the occasional naysayers who sense decline, yet the years go by and people generally seem to be content. High school reunions project the feeling that this is still "home" to all - "if only in our dreams," as the Christmas song lyrics suggest.
Yes, we have now lost our 24-hour grocery store. But maybe we should all be sleeping at night.
I took a long walk on the outskirts of Morris very late on a recent Saturday night and had a police officer in an unmarked vehicle pull up beside me. Maybe it's nice to live in a small town where the mere sight of a lone walker on a dark highway shoulder prompts the police to pay attention.
At least I couldn't be cited for no seat belt (LOL).
But is Morris really dying in a manner as speculated upon in the newspaper column?
It's fine for such talk to sprout in the local coffee shops, but I'm not sure it warrants such an official forum.
If the local paper is concerned about community decay, maybe it should look in the mirror. The paper has gotten smaller by any yardstick you want to employ, and does anyone think it puts any special oomph into its news product? The shrinkage has been marked.
The paper foists ad circulars on us incessantly that promote commerce outside of Morris - outside of Stevens County in fact. To the extent that all this advertising has pushed even more local consumer dollars to Alexandria or elsewhere, maybe the paper is a primary culprit in whatever economic travails are seen.
Coborn's was a good neighbor in this town for a long time but it's gone now. It's profoundly sad for their employees.
But I'm sure business is considerably more brisk for Willie's Super Valu.
Think back to when Willie's was in its previous location. The store was so much smaller and more humble in its atmosphere. Of course, wherever the late Willie Martin presided, the atmosphere had to be nothing but classy.
The iconic Willie stayed with us long enough to oversee the move "across the street," to where the new and palatial Willie's is now located. It has been a while since that move, so a lot of people take the "new" store for granted now.
When I first visited the new store, I was awestruck, thinking that it was almost too much for me. On the outside it looks like a big casino. Inside there seems to be enough space to play a baseball game.
Getting to the point here, maybe Morris wasn't big enough to sustain both this store and Coborn's. A struggle slowly developed and Willie's won.
I'm not sure any of this points to any community decline or decay. It means we have a state of the art grocery store that has cornered the market. We just can't make a dash there at 2 a.m. to get a carton of milk of loaf of bread. Or buy gas.
But we all seem to be getting by just fine. And we should be in bed anyway, not scurrying around town or out walking along the bypass and being accosted by police.
At least I wasn't attacked by the black bear (LOL again).
It seems questionable for police to be out and around in unmarked vehicles because people aren't going to accord them the kind of respect they would if the cars were standard cop cars.
When I see a cop car I slow down, make sure my seat belt is on (which might require distracted driving for a few seconds), make sure I use my blinker and make total stops (not those rolling "California stops" as a former MHS band director would call them when giving us a lift, initials J.W.).
Maybe all the seat belt citations are chasing people away from Morris. What is the cost of these now? $110? Wasn't it considerably lower not long ago? In six months will it be $150? Or $200?
My friend Glen Helberg calls this the "creeping effect" of our financial anxieties. I don't think the official inflation statistics take into account all the price hikes. They're all over the place, like for getting a haircut or - gasp - seeing the dentist.
I mean, you try to do the right thing in seeing the dentist to promote health, but then he says "you need a filling under a crown" and you'd better be prepared to head downstairs and print more money.
I know one thing you can do without: the newspaper. We've decided we don't even want the Ad-Viser in our home. It's all superfluous.
And, there's no need for any of the columnists down there to stoke discussion of whether Morris is going downhill or dying. These "coffee shop" type of comments should just stay there.
Morris will be just fine, and content and safe.
Maybe we should just ditch the word "prairie." Morris doesn't conform to my image of a pure prairie anyway, as I associate that term with the flat-as-a-board topography that you find to the west. Just drive to Wheaton and you'll vividly see this.
Anyone who has never seen such topography before will be just as awestruck as someone viewing a mountain range for the first time.
How can anyone have a sense of "place" in the "pure" prairie surroundings? There seems to be no identifying features. But people adjust and they can be quite content.
Flooding is a danger along the Red River because the water spreads out as if on a table.
No flood worries in Morris. Or oil spills. We're not in "tornado alley" and we don't have fire ants or rattlesnakes. Indeed we are blessed, even without an all-night grocery store.
Rock 'n roll is here to stay, it will never die, and neither will Morris.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Post #29 boys to challenge BOLD again

The Post #29 boys came out of the losers bracket with guns blazing Friday, beating Sacred Heart for the second time in the 2010 playoffs. They turned back Sacred Heart 6-4 to earn the right to face BOLD with top district honors at stake.
Post #29 is back at the Montevideo diamond today (Saturday) for the much-anticipated 11 a.m. matchup with the BOLD Mudhens. Will it be one or two games? It could be either, because Morris will need to win twice in order to shake its losers bracket status and garner No. 1 in District 7-II.
A review of today's game(s) should appear on this site Monday afternoon. (At age 55 I need my day of rest Sunday! - BW)
On Friday the Morris Legion squad got going early with a three-run first inning and one run in the second. The score stood 4-1 going into the fourth frame, when both teams pushed across two runs. Sacred Heart managed a single run in the top of the seventh. But Morris had a good enough cushion.
Nate Gades pitched the whole way as Morris Legion baseball upped its season record to 17-8. The goal today (Saturday) is to hike the win total of 19 in order to reach the state Division II Legion Tournament. The state diamond action will unfold on July 30 in Dilworth.
Any success today, at Montevideo, would undoubtedly be hard-earned. The Mudhens sent Morris to the losers bracket and they play a polished brand of ball.

Morris 6, Sacred Heart 4
Ryan Beyer connected for a solo homer in the second inning against Sacred Heart Friday. This blast helped give Post #29 the 4-1 scoreboard advantage. The rally in the fourth put some needed distance between Post #29 and its capable foe.
It was fun seeing the bottom of the batting order come through in a timely way. Mitch Kill rapped a single in the fourth as did Travis Rinkenberger. These two scored when Dusty Sauter hit a grounder and Beyer sent up a sacrifice fly ball.
Sacred Heart, a team that has hovered around .500, found a flicker of hope in the seventh when Brian Feldman reached on a hit-by-pitch. Jordan Daugherty then tripled to bring Sacred Heart to within two runs. But Gades bore down with poise to get the final out on a fly ball.
Gades struck out six batters and walked two in his seven innings of work. He gave up six hits and four runs (three earned).
Morris Legion baseball scored its six runs on nine hits and committed two errors. Sacred Heart also had two errors, and scored its four runs on six hits.
Tyler Hansen doubled as part of his two-for-four showing. Dusty Sauter drove in a run while going one-for-four. Beyer's homer highlighted his day at bat.
Brad Valnes, Travis Rinkenberger, Nate Gades and Cole Riley all went one-for-three, and Gades and Cole Riley each drove in a run. Mtich Kill had a one-for-two evening.
The losing pitcher was Ben Trochlil, and Dakota Freiborg also pitched for Sacred Heart, a gallant squad that finally reached its end of the road.
Morris is striving to keep its 2010 road open and wide coming out of this weekend! Stay tuned.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, July 23, 2010

Temporary bump in road for Legion boys?

The top teams in District 7-II are vying at the Montevideo diamond as Legion baseball progresses into its most climactic phase. The playoffs are ascending up the ladder with each new day. Yesterday (Thursday) saw the Post #29 boys of Morris take on BOLD in a game that had the look of a championship game.
Well, it was a championship game but with an asterisk! It was the championship game of the winners bracket. Winning that is nice but it doesn't mean all hurdles are past. The victor has to fend off the representative of the losers bracket.
Morris Legion baseball came up shy Thursday, which means they will have to try to come out of the losers bracket. The Post #29 boys were defeated 6-3 at the hands of BOLD, a team with a special nickname: "Mudhens." Minnesota Twins fans will remember that our Triple-A minor league team was once the Toledo Mudhens. "Mudhen" is another name for the "coot" waterfowl, who like to call Lake Crystal home for much of the year.
The Morris setback vs. BOLD was heartbreaking because BOLD broke a tie with two outs in the seventh inning. Those Mudhens rallied for three runs with two outs and gained the decisive advantage.
Morris will have a rematch with Sacred Heart at 6:30 p.m. today (Friday). Morris cannot afford another loss. Morris previously turned back Sacred Heart in the playoffs.
The absolute final championship game(s) will be played at 11 a.m. Saturday.
BOLD got the early advantage Thursday, getting to Morris pitcher Eric Riley for one run in the first inning and two n the second. But Riley found his groove and shut down the Mudhens over the next four innings.
Tyler Hansen hit a two-run single in the sixth inning to get the score tied at three-all. But the momentum ended there for Morris, and it was the Mudhens getting blessed with the next burst of "mo." BOLD got three runs pushed across in the top of the seventh.
Morris sought optimism going into the bottom of the seventh as they had the meat of the order coming up. The cleanup batter would lead things off. But Morris was stymied by BOLD hurler Jake Stevens. Stevens set down the side with a 1-2-3 flourish. He was awarded with the save in the boxscore.
The winning pitcher for BOLD Legion baseball was Kyle Krause. Krause scattered ten hits, getting outs at pivotal moments during his six-inning stint.
Morris outhit BOLD 10-7. But Morris had some lapses in the field with three errors compared to BOLD's one.
Tyler Hansen had two RBIs to go with his one-for-four showing at the plate. It was another day at the office for the hot-hitting Dustin Sauter who went two-for-three.
Other hit contributors were Ryan Beyer (one hit in four at-bats), Eric Riley (three hits in four at-bats), Cole Riley (one-for-three) and Mitch Kill (two-for-three).
Eric Riley struck out seven batters and walked four in his route-going performance on the hill. Two of the runs he allowed were unearned.
Glenwood Legion baseball had its season come to an end Thursday with a 5-0 loss to Sacred Heart. No one had a multiple-hit game for Glenwood. Hitting safely were Cory Holten, Eric Elbe, Andrew Amundson and Taylor Kollman. Kollman and Dustin Helmick pitched for Glenwood.
Sacred Heart Legion baseball was paced at the plate by Jordon Daugherty who went two-for-four with both of his hits doubles, and drove in two runs.
Anticipation is high for today's match between Morris Legion baseball and Sacred Heart!
Does anyone want summer to end?
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eagles aim to continue surge into playoffs

The above photo shows Jamie Van Kempen of the Eagles in an all-out bid to score against the Appleton A's at Chizek Field. Photo by B.W.

Bring on the playoffs! The Morris Eagles have the top seed as they embark on post-season play which will feature two games Saturday at Chizek Field. The games will start at 3 and 6 p.m.
The Eagles will vie with Appleton in the 6 p.m. game, and Benson will play Montevideo at 3 p.m.
The Morris bats are healthy entering this phase. Those bats resonated for 21 hits in the 19-2 win over Montevideo on July 16, here.
On the next day, the Eagles won 6-4 at Clinton to end the regular season. They own 13 wins on the season against five losses.

Morris 19, Montevideo 2
Morris Eagles baseball built its win skein to six with this offense-flavored triumph at the home diamond. The offense flowered with six runs in the second inning, nine in the fourth and four in the sixth.
Montevideo misplayed some fly balls which helped in the Eagles' fourth inning success. But the Eagles also pounded out ten hits in that fourth inning.
The ten-run rule limited the game to seven innings. Adam Torkelson pitched all seven for the win, his sixth of the summer against one loss. He sported a shimmering 1.88 ERA coming out of this game. He fanned four Monte batters and walked just one. Neither of the two Monte runs was earned.
Morris committed three errors to Monte's one, but defense wasn't going to be the deciding factor in this game. Hitting was, and the 21 Morris hits were the story of the day. Matthew Carrington hit a frozen rope bases-clearing double. "Skip" drove in three runs and scored two.
Kirby Marquart had a hit, scored two runs and drove in two. Cory Marquart's bat was sizzling to the tune of four-for-five numbers, and this Eagle scored four runs. Ross Haugen, the capable No. 3 batter in the order, had his hitting eye focused as he went three-for-four with two runs scored and three ribbies.
Eric Asche was a perfect three-for-three with two runs scored and three RBIs. Craig Knochenmus had three hits in five at-bats, scored a run and drove in three. Adam Torkelson complemented his winning pitching night with a two-for-four showing at bat, along with two runs and an RBI.
Dusty Sauter, having his stamina tested by playing in both the Eagles and Legion post-season games, was most sharp with three-for-four numbers at bat, two runs scored and one RBI. Jamie Van Kempen went one-for-three with two runs and two RBIs.
Asche was the recipient of two walks and Van Kempen received one. Asche doubled along with Carrington.

Morris 6, Clinton 4
Morris Eagles baseball had to contend with a thunderstorm along with their diamond foe on Saturday. The clouds opened up which forced a one-hour delay at the Clinton diamond.
The delay came after three and a half innings had been played. The teams eventually took the field again, and when the full nine innings were done, the Eagles were the 6-4 victor for win #13 of the season. That's the win total they'll take into the post-season which begins this Saturday, here.
Ross Haugen had the kind of hot bat that he hopes to brandish again Saturday. Haugen blasted two doubles as part of going three-for-three, plus he had a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He drove in the winning runs in the top of the ninth (thanks to one of his doubles), and finished the game with three RBIs. Ross carries a .477 average into the playoffs. Five of his hits have been doubles, and his RBI total is 16.
Matthew Carrington kept his pitching arm limber through the rain delay and he ended up working eight innings for the win. "Skip" scattered ten hits and gave up four runs (three earned). He struck out five batters and walked three.
Craig Knochenmus polished things off by pitching the ninth to get the save (his fourth of the season). Knochenmus pitched efficiently, setting the Clinton batters down 1-2-3, striking out one along the way.
Dusty Sauter built his average up to .408 as he went three-for-four. Dusty has five doubles on the season, and his 18 RBIs are the team-leading total.
Morris Eagles baseball scored one run each in the first and third innings and two runs in the fifth. Clinton plated one run each in the first, fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
Kirby Marquart manned the top of the batting order capably, scoring three runs and rapping a hit. Cory Marquart scored two runs and had a hit. Craig Knochenmus had a hit and an RBI. Andy Lembcke contributed a hit to the mix.
Walk recipients were Kirby Marquart (2), Ross Haugen (2) and Dusty Sauter. Van Kempen reached on a hit-by-pitch.
Morris Eagles baseball aims to parlay the significant late-season success and momentum into the post-season.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dusty Sauter's 3-for-3 helps propel Post #29

Is it possible to hold Dustin Sauter hitless? The prolific Morris batter who swings the lumber for both the Morris Legion and Eagles was perfect at bat Tuesday. It was a Legion game. It was a high-level playoff game with lots at stake.
"Dusty" delivered a hit in each of his three at-bats. These contributions were part of a 4-2 win by Morris Legion baseball over Sacred Heart. The site was the Montevideo diamond. Morris met Sacred Heart in this District 7, Division II contest.
By winning, the Post #29 squad earned the right to play BOLD tomorrow (Thursday). BOLD climbed with a 4-3 win over Glenwood, also at Montevideo.
Game-time will be 7:45 p.m. Sacred Heart and Glenwood aren't done as they'll vie in a losers bracket game at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
Hits did not come frequently in the Morris win over Sacred Heart. Both teams finished with six hits, meaning that Sauter accounted for half of the Morris total.
The telling number in the line scores was the four errors by Sacred Heart. Morris had just one fielding miscue.
Sacred Heart had zeroes on the scoreboard until the seventh (and final) inning when they finally got to Morris pitcher Alex Erickson for the two runs. But Morris had scored one run in the first inning, two in the third and one in the sixth.
One of Sauter's hits was a double and he drove in a run. Nate Gades drove in a run with a double. Tyler Hansen scored two runs and went one-for-two. Mitch Kill contributed the other Morris hit.
Alex Erickson pitched the whole way despite being roughed up a bit in the seventh. Alex still finished with a nifty six-hitter. His sharpness was further underscored by zero walks and eight strikeouts.
The losing pitcher was Dakota Freiborg. At bat, Freiborg connected for a solo home run. Trent Novotny went two-for-three for Sacred Heart.
Erickson had a two-hitter going until the seventh inning, when Freiborg homered and Ryan Fransen singled to drive in a run. Freiborg pitched the distance for Sacred Heart and fanned six batters.
The BOLD Legion baseball team had a big three-run rally in the fourth inning vs. Glenwood, lifting them to the 4-3 win. The score was tied 1-1 when BOLD got untracked for that rally. Glenwood answered with a two-run burst in the fifth but their efforts came up just shy.
BOLD goes by the nickname "Mudhens."
Glenwood threatened with baserunners at second and third in the seventh, with one out, but the momentum fizzled against BOLD pitcher Kyle Krause who got the save.
Tate Neubauer was a key contributor for BOLD even though the boxscore shows him with no hits. Tate's groundouts were well-timed and accounted for two BOLD runs coming across home plate.
Taylor Kollman of Glenwood Legion baseball had a double as part of a two-for-three showing. Jake Stevens was the winning pitcher for the Mudhens while Cory Holten was tagged with the loss for Glenwood.
All eyes will be on the Monte diamond again tomorrow (Thursday) for the climactic phase of the 7-II "Final Four."
The Post #29 boys of Morris will strive for a peak performance, whether they are led by Sauter or anyone else. Morris Legion baseball has given fans a treasure of memories in the summer of 2010.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Morris Legion boys eyeing 7-II championship

Wow! The Morris Legion Nine disposed of two opponents in weekend post-season play, and the young men are infused with a strong sense of "mo" to be sure. They'll take to the diamond again, hopefully buoyed by that optimistic feeling, today (Tuesday) at Montevideo.
The weekend success came at the expense of Wheaton and Madison. The reward was the garnering of the Northwest Division title. Morris Legion baseball (Post #29) came out of the weekend with a 15-7 season mark. Lots of special memories are being made along this win-filled road, which over the weekend was blessed by classic July sunshine at the local Chizek Field.
Now the Post #29 boys are vying for the District 7-II title.

Morris 5, Madison 1
Eric Riley was a key contributor in the contest to determine the Northwest Division title. The foe was Madison, and Riley was sent out to the pitching mound to throttle the Madison bats. Throttle them he did, as Eric allowed just five hits and struck out ten in a route-going performance (seven innings). The one run he allowed was unearned. He issued just one walk.
Complementing Riley's heroics on the offensive end was Ryan Beyer. Beyer knocked in a run with a single in the first inning. He worked the pitcher for a walk with the bases loaded in the second. He came through with another RBI base rap in the fourth.
In the boxscore, Ryan sported two-for-three numbers with three RBIs.
Tyler Hansen and Dustin Sauter both went one-for-three, and Sauter turned on the jets to steal two bases. Brad Valnes had a nifty one-for-two showing.
For Madison, Ryan Hoium was the only multiple-hit achiever at two-for-four. Scott Borman pitched for Madison and impressed with a five-hitter, albeit in a losing cause.
Morris scored one run in the first inning and then enjoyed a big three-run second, before finishing things off with a single run in the fourth.
The line scores showed Post #29 with five runs, five hits and three errors, and Madison with 1-5-3 numbers. Madison's lone run came home in the fourth.

Morris 3, Wheaton 2
Morris needed each of its three runs to get past a stubborn Wheaton team in the game leading up to the championship. A Ryan Beyer home run with the bases empty put Post #29 up 2-0. Brady Valnes drove in the doubling Eric Riley to give Morris Legion baseball the 3-0 advantage which proved to be enough.
Wheaton threatened with its two runs scored in the seventh, but Morris and pitcher Alex Erickson were able to put out the fire.
Wheaton's Kevin Coffman and Mason Lampe got to Erickson for RBI hits in that suspenseful seventh. Erickson bore down to finish the job. He ended up with a five-hitter and the "W" in the pitching summary, plus he impressed with his eleven strikeouts (while walking only one).
The losing pitcher was Zach Fridgen.
Morris played an errorless brand of ball while Wheaton committed one error in this crisply played game. Morris scored its three runs on nine hits, and pitcher Erickson had a role at bat with a double and RBI.
Tyler Hansen had a hit in his four at-bats. Beyer's solo home run stood out in his day's stats. Eric Riley pounded a double to highlight his two-for-three showing.
Brady Valnes went one-for-three with an RBI. Cole Riley finished at one-for-three and Mitch Kill at two-for-two.
Madison looked menacing as it marched to the final Northwest Division showdown with our gallant Post #29. The Madison boys beat Clinton 13-5 and Wheaton 11-3 before being humbled by Morris Legion baseball - a winning group.
Good luck to the Post #29 squad as it confidently takes to the diamond again today (Tuesday).
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Fit to Print" explores a crumbling industry

A while back I wrote about "The Imperfectionists," a novel that encapsulates (memorializes?) the newspaper industry as we once knew it. Consider it a time capsule. The ink-on-paper media are racing into obsolescence.
It won't disappear, and people will always have an appetite for journalism, but that's not the point. The business model is dying.
Now there's a documentary in the works on the topic. It's called "Fit to Print" and it's being put together by two young filmmakers: Adam Chadwick and Bill Loerch. The documentary is being assembled through the course of this year.
Chadwick and Loerch have identified three perspectives, that of a publisher (presumably an autonomous publisher and not just manager of a branch), a reporter, and a journalism school graduate. A website detailing the Chadwick/Loerch project gives all the background on the tumbling fortunes of the "dead tree" media.
News on paper will never disappear. As one media writer put it: "The print media will survive for as long as there's a 'print' button on your computer."
But what is rapidly dying is the monopolistic print media that was once infused with such a sense of entitlement.
The erosion began slowly and with the inhabitants of the old system in denial. Much has been written about that. Eventually the numbers ruled. The online world advanced first with a crawl. Then, with the advent of Web 2.0, it was an invigorated sprint..
It has been good news for society as a whole. But as with any industry forced into rapid retrenchment, there is a painful human toll, because the old system did support a lot of people.
It's that human toll that "Fit to Print" will largely focus on. The title of the documentary is a takeoff on the New York Times slogan "All the news that's fit to print."
The slogan has been a target for parody through the years, such as what a college instructor of mine shared: "All the news that fits."
The instructor, J. Brent Norlem - a real character in the tradition of newspapering - was just looking for a little humor. But of course the finite space in any newspaper is an issue that doesn't really show them in a good light.
Norlem taught at St. Cloud State University. One of my classmates went on to become publisher of "Minnesota Moments" magazine. Another is now publisher of the Western Guard newspaper in Madison, MN.
I'm sure others went on to find considerable success and/or fame. Me? I was privileged to have a 26-year career in the community press. It was right here in Motown, during what I would call the heyday of our Morris newspaper.
Back when our Morris paper was twice a week, I would estimate the average number of pages of newspaper product they gave us per week was 38. Now as a weekly, it seems to hover around 22. I'm not including special sections.
The page size has gone through creeping reductions ever since the paper was acquired by non-local interests. Sources tell me the page width was shaved again recently. I don't bother to document all that because I have better things to do with my time, like being a new media writer.
You can still slap a paper together no matter how big (or small) it is. The owners really don't care about the "news." What they get on their knees and pray over is whether the advertising revenue will keep rolling in.
They don't even care that much if you plunk down your dollar and buy a paper. The cost of printing and distribution is substantial. The fixed costs are becoming a millstone around their neck. Their obsession is over advertising revenue and how it can be maximized, or preserved, or whether the retreat can just be slowed down.
Advertisers aren't motivated by wanting to subsidize newspapers. They'll buy ads for as long as it serves their interests. Businesses of all stripes have seized the amazing frontier of the Internet - who hasn't? - to target their message in more precise and economical ways.
They should be jumping up and clicking their heels (and probably are).
But for the people who once gravitated to the newspaper industry as a means of employment, this transformation in our culture has been harrowing.
At one point us print types (my former identity) felt stunned and then defensive. But the numbers rule. And ultimately we had to concede to that massive wave of change.
Thousands of jobs have been wiped out. Over 100 newspapers shut down in 2009. The newspaper business lost $7.5 billion in ad revenues in 2008.
At the same time, the industry has reduced spending on journalism by $1.6 billion per year over the past several years.
The background being cited here is from the "Fit to Print" website. There are many other web sources from which to learn this.
The "Fit to Print" site asks: "What does this mean for the individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by the crisis?"
Continuing: "Decline has spurred debate about what comes next and how to adapt journalism to a world in which the digital world is replacing the printed word. But such stories are usually abstractions.
"Newspapers are a business, they are crucial to the functioning of a democratic society, but they are often more than that. They are a way of life for those who are a part of them - ordinary individuals contending with turbulent times."
I think most of us don't pause to think how much our whole culture has changed since online came along. It's human nature to focus on the present. That's understandable. But to get perspective, try to remember when simply "typing" was considered a godawful chore by nearly everyone.
First there were manual typewriters and then electric ones, but the latter weren't that much of an improvement.
We saw the invention of "white out." Hey, wasn't Michael Nesmith's mother the inventor of that? (Nesmith was one of "The Monkees" on TV in the 1960s.)
No amount of innovation or tweaks could make the old method of typing pleasant.
The old newsrooms were filled with the piercing clatter of typewriters which created a real air of "something important" happening - news being generated. It was a frenetic atmosphere.
I entered the newspaper business right at the end of the manual typewriter era. You didn't make changes in copy by "selecting" something and typing something new in (as with our computers now).
Typically a story would get ripped out of the typewriter and then the writer or editor would whip out a good ol' ballpoint pen. By the time the process was done, in many cases you might as well have just started out with the pen!
The story on paper as ripped out of the typewriter could turn out looking like the quintessential mess. There was no better way. I think we took a perverse sort of pride in that.
"Hey, look what we go through to get the story out." (Implied: Who else in their right mind would do this?)
Newspaper writing was like an odd stepchild within the writing craft. But it was a craft that fit the work to be done. It definitely got done, with a typo here and there and perhaps a brewsky hoisted up at the end of the day.
"Fit to Print" will seek to capture the craft as it was. "The Imperfectionists" novel already has.
I remember the first time seeing a users' manual for a Macintosh (word processor) and right away reading: "The Macintosh is not a typewriter." How absolutely true.
I felt like I was looking at a robot from "Star Wars."
The typewriter can be filed away with horse and buggy travel.
But the speed of change began overwhelming a lot of us. Negative scanners (for photographic negatives) meant negatives could go through a new tech process, and no prints needed to be made. Darkrooms were nixed.
But in a flash even that new system became obsolete! Digital cameras came along and improved by leaps and bounds. Faxing, which once seemed almost like magic (as in the movie "Almost Famous" when it was very primitive), was pushed aside by electronic mail..
I remember making frequent trips to the fax machine at the Morris newspaper office and finding a pile of travel deals to the Bahamas. Spam of the fax world! It seemed like 90 percent of the faxes we received were unnecessary or superfluous. It certainly wasn't a step toward "paperless."
Digital cameras seem like a godsend but I became worried that they weren't really a boon for the newspaper industry. But how could they not be? Let me elaborate: Their very ease of operation and economy just made them more accessible for the broad public (what that BP Amoco official would call "the small people").
Taken together, all the tech inroads which seemed to make our lives easier at the paper, were really just empowering people on the outside who could ultimately do an end run around newspapers! Got it?
That's exactly what is happening. Newspapers should have been thankful when they were dependent on costly and cumbersome processes that no one in his right mind would want to employ on an amateur basis.
Just like typing was once anything but "fun."
Now all these communications tasks are fun and economical (free in many cases). I remember telling a former Morris mayor that local government could end up putting all its legal notices online and it wouldn't cost anything - a real boon compared to the cost of paying the newspaper to publish it.
He realized it would be cheaper but he said "oh, it would cost something."
Oh no it wouldn't.
Finding an audience is child's play. And you're not limited by a finite number of pages to fill.
"All the news that's fit to print" is such a quaint slogan.
The "Fit to Print" documentary is another step in making sure we realize the magnitude of the changes and the huge effect on people who once made a living in the old model, like me.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Legion boys defeat Clinton twice, advance

Morris 6, Clinton 2
Morris got a quick rematch with Clinton as the District 7-II NW playoffs got going Thursday. The rematch ended up quite similar to the previous game, as Morris won 6-2 to advance. The score in the previous game, which is summarized further down in this post, was 5-3.
Morris Legion baseball pounded out ten hits in the Thursday success while Clinton was anemic in the hitting department (two hits, thanks in large part to Tyler Hansen's pitching).
Playoff action is continuing for the Post #29 boys this current weekend.
Morris shot out to a 6-1 lead Thursday, buoyed by a big five-run second. Hansen gave the first big push in that rally with a single that drove in two runs. Travis Rinkenberger came through with an RBI single.
Other ingredients in that decisive burst were an Ethan Bruer run-scoring double and Ryan Beyer's sacrifice fly.
Hansen's pitching arm was good for the full seven innings. He set down five batters on strikes and walked three. One of the two runs he allowed was unearned, and he gave up just two hits.
The losing pitcher was Jesse Weick (four innings of work), and Anthony Satran also pitched for Clinton (two innings).
The Morris line score showed six runs on ten hits and just one error, while Clinton posted 2-2-2 numbers.
Clinton scored one run each in the first and sixth innings.
Alex Erickson contributed to the offensive mix for Morris with two-for-four numbers including a double. Hansen also went two-for-four with two runs scored and a pair of ribbies.
Dustin Sauter socked a double as did Ryan Beyer, and Beyer drove in two runs.
The following Post #29 batters all went one-for-three: Brady Valnes, Cole Riley, Travis Rinkenberger and Ethan Bruer. Rinkenberger drove in a run. Bruer's hit was a double and he drove in a run.
Morris Legion baseball is squaring off against Wheaton at 11 a.m. today (Saturday) at home. Wheaton advanced by beating Madison 9-2 Thursday at Wheaton. Saturday started off as an ideal summer day but some ominous clouds loomed overhead as of about 12:30 a.m.

Morris 5, Clinton 3
Tyler Hansen excelled with his bat and patching arm, supplying key ingredients in Post #29's 5-3 win over Clinton Monday on the road. The Morris Legion baseball team maintained its perfect record in District 7 play, upping its mark to 9-0. It was the 12th win overall for the surging squad.
Hansen's hitting eye was focused as he connected for three hits. He was also handed the ball for starting pitching duties and excelled in this department too. He may not have been the pitcher of record - that honor was carved out by Travis Rinkenberger - but he set down four Clinton batters on strikes and allowed zero hits.
Hansen did struggle some with control, issuing four walks, but Clinton failed to push any runs across against him. He pitched three innings before yielding to successor Rinkenberger who got the "W" next to his name in the boxscore.
Rinkenberger pitched three innings too and was roughed up a little as he allowed five hits and two runs (both earned) while walking two and fanning two.
The "S" in the pitching summary of the boxscore ended up going next to Nate Gades' name. "S" is of course "save," and Gades pitched one inning to pick up that stat. He allowed one run, walked none and struck out two.
The losing pitcher was Tanner Taffe who pitched the distance for host Clinton.
The curtain opened for the Morris scoring with Dustin Sauter, always with a reliable stick, doubling in the first frame. Post #29 scored one run each in the first through third innings while holding Clinton scoreless over that span. Eric Riley pushed in the third inning run with a single. The other two Morris runs came home in the fifth.
Clinton scored one run each in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
Morris played a clean brand of ball in the field with just one error, but Clinton had no errors. Clinton's problem was that their pitching allowed eleven Morris hits. Clinton's hit total was eight.
Hansen had a memorable day at bat with three-for-four numbers including a double. Dustin Sauter also had a double and posted two-for-four stats with an RBI. Ryan Beyer crossed home plate twice and finished at two-for-four. Eric Riley sported two-for-four numbers also and he drove in a run.
Nate Gades socked a double. Cole Riley picked up two ribbies as part of going one-for-three.
For Clinton, Justin Seifert stood out at two-for-four.
In other Monday Legion action, Glenwood sneaked past Benson 11-9 and Litchfield downed BOLD 7-3.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oddball spelling, political views can be kin

I have had an inside joke with Sharon Martin through the years about the spelling of her first name. That spelling really should be as obvious as the nose on your face. Our banter may not seem terribly funny but it carries a lesson on how we ought not assume things like spelling.
This story goes all the way back to when - gasp - Sharon, who today is a Morris Area High teacher, was a student there herself. No, there were no I-pads then.
She was getting her photo taken with some classmates, perhaps for Homecoming or maybe class officers. As was common when I made these rounds (for the local media), I made certain my spelling was "just so."
I had to carefully clarify name spelling for at least one student in the "lineup" on this day, perhaps by making sure a vowel was correct. As the group broke up, Sharon made sure there was clarity with her first name, saying "that's Sharon with an 'o'."
It's funny because, how else could you spell Sharon?
Well, I got a lesson last week. I was referring to the Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate in Nevada - the challenger to Harry Reid. It's a woman and I was certain of the spelling of her last name: "Angle." But despite my years of journalistic background, I made the mistake of assuming the spelling of her first name. I spelled it "Sharon."
After all, any dispute over how to spell that common name would be unheard of, and perhaps only undertaken for purposes of levity as with me and the extroverted Ms. Martin.
Crusty old journalists know anything is possible. But I was still taken aback, with wrinkled forehead, when discovering a day or two after I posted about Ms. Angle, that this upstart politician is named "Sharron Angle."
It's her right to spell her name any way she wants. But it almost seems like she's trying to irritate people, like she does most assuredly with her extreme tea-partyish political ideas. What possible purpose could the addition of the superfluous "r" accomplish?
Her parents had something to do with this. I wonder what they were thinking when they arrived at the "Sharron" spelling, which would require their daughter to explain and clarify the spelling all through school and probably the rest of her life..
I'll be politically incorrect and describe the spelling as "retarded." Funny, but Angle's political views would seem to call for the same description (in my view).
It's scary that she's actually a viable candidate. Our best hope for understanding this is that Angle comes from the very idiosyncratic state of Nevada.
The late political humor columnist Art Buchwald was gauging public sentiment on an issue once and decided to visit "a typical American city" and its "local hangout." That city was Las Vegas and its hangout was Caesar's Palace.
Humor was Buchwald's stock and trade. He is missed among the punditry. He taped a news report about his own death when his health was failing.
Art's heyday was during more moderate, thoughtful and temperate times for political discourse (i.e. pre-cable TV news). I have to wonder if he could adapt to the environment of today, where views that were once on the margins can seep into the foreground. Like the tea party views. And libertarianism.
Pundit Michael Gerson (Washington Post) had a firm warning for Republicans in an op-ed that appeared Saturday in the Star Tribune: "Don't hitch your wagon to these people."
He did spell Angle's first name right. Kudos on that.
I'm not sure we need to worry so much about what happens in Nevada though. Las Vegas promotes itself with the saying "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."
We should be so lucky with Angle's tea party refrains emanating from Nevada. But such talk is gaining some currency and the polls show she's viable, at least now.
Angle is certainly diametrically opposed to President Barack Obama.
I think we need to look back to when Obama made comments about conventions in Las Vegas and how this location might not represent putting your best image forward. At the time I thought "oh no, you're going to be raising some hackles."
I have visited Las Vegas several times through the years and I know what makes that city tick. Obama would become persona non grata there, and fellow Democrat Reid would get pushed into a defensive corner. But what could Obama say to backtrack?
"I guess gambling isn't so bad after all?"
No. Because once this issue is out in the open, certain realities have to be acknowledged. Gambling is dangerous and corrosive for an appreciable percentage of our population.
I actually thought it was refreshing to see President Obama bring the issue into the open. It's rarely done anymore, as we are today surrounded with state-sponsored gambling in the form of lotteries, along with pull-tabs and God knows how many other gambling distractions in a society no longer encumbered by any moral restraint about this.
But Obama implied that there are image-related issues connected with conventioneering in America's gambling mecca.
Ironically many skeptics about gambling argue that the vice is best kept out in the desert in a destination setting. Quarantined? You can visit there as a deliberate and defined action and then withdraw.
Fat chance for some people. But the hope was that the vice could find some acceptable boundaries.
The fundamental moral question of gambling seems so quaint now. Minnesota's late Governor Rudy Perpich kicked the can and kept his own hands clean by saying "let the people decide," regarding having a lottery.
The door was open and it wasn't going to get closed again. In these recessionary times, gambling looms as a more dangerous distraction than it otherwise might be. Maybe the moral question should be introduced back into the equation.
In the meantime, we have the oddball Senatorial candidate from Nevada, Angle, venting in a way that ought to push her to the margins quickly. Is her venting a form of pushback from Las Vegas and the gambling-oriented state as a whole? Who knows, but between this situation and the Arizona immigration imbroglio, we are looking at potentially serious cracks in the solidarity of our Federal Union.
Maybe the Vermont secessionist movement has it right. That movement asserts that the U.S. has become too big and complicated to be managed out of Washington D.C. Can the American Southwest stay in the fold, or will it start to crumble away? If Senator Reid fades and Angle climbs, those dark clouds will be accentuated.
Angle has uttered quotes beyond belief. She sees the Second Amendment as a license to contemplate violent response to "a tyrannical government."
This would be a French Revolution type of response. Fun, right? Palatable?
Angle is scrambling to try to re-state, clarify or sanitize her blunt positions. It's uncertain whether she or the idiosyncratic wave of libertarian politicians like Rand Paul (Kentucky) can be dragged kicking and screaming closer to the mainstream. Because surely they can't hold firm to their positions, not if America is to stay on its steady course with certain fundamental understandings like the 1964 Civil Rights Act (representing a totally settled matter).
It isn't? Ask Mr. Paul about that. Or ask Angle about Social Security. There was a time when questioning any aspect of Social Security would immediately sink you as a politician.
Apparently not now. You can't assume anything anymore, not even the spelling of "Sharon."
It's 2010 and where are we headed?
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eagles stay on roll, beat Appleton, Benson

The above photo shows Ross Haugen focusing in the on-deck area at Chizek Field prior to an at-bat. Photo by B.W.

Morris 8, Appleton 2
Morris Eagles baseball pushed its win streak to five with an 8-2 win over the Appleton A's on Friday, July 9. The game was played on a typically hot midsummer evening at our Chizek Field. It was the Friday of Prairie Pioneer Days weekend.
The Eagles needed some time to get untracked, but they got some early help from Appleton errors and a wild pitch. Those Appleton lapses accounted for three of the Eagles' first five runs coming in.
Kirby Marquart had an RBI single in the Eagles' four-run fourth. Former UMM Cougar Bobby Culbertson drove in a run with a base rap in the seventh. Dusty Sauter delivered a run-scoring double in the eighth, and scored himself when Craig Knochenmus singled.
Knochenmus was a key pitcher, appearing in relief and helping the Eagles escape a bases-loaded threat. Knochenmus set down the Appleton batters with strikeout form, recording seven outs this way over his stint of two and two-thirds innings. He relieved Ross Haugen who is normally a hitting standout but not associated with pitching.
Haugen's appearance on the hill Friday was actually his first in his Eagles tenure - a long tenure. It was a brief fling in which he struck out one batter but otherwise struggled. A little like Dan Gladden being called on to pitch.
Knochenmus picked up his third save.
It was Andy Lembcke getting the pitching win. Andy pitched six innings, giving up three hits and one run (earned) while striking out four batters and walking two.
The visiting A's scored one run each in the sixth and seventh innings.
The winning Eagles played an errorless brand of ball. Their hit total for the night was twelve.
Kirby Marquart, manning the leadoff spot, had two hits in four at-bats and drove in a run. Jamie Van Kempen was busy on the basepaths and scored three runs even while getting thrown out at home once. Jamie also drove in a run.
Ross Haugen may have to dream of pitching another day, but at bat he was in his usual groove, finishing two-for-five. Dusty Sauter went one-for-two with a run scored and an RBI. Craig Knochenmus had a hit and an RBI. Matthew Carrington added a hit to the mix.
Adam Torkelson had a two-for-four evening with two runs scored. Andy Lembcke's bat came through at two-for-three and this Eagle scored a run. Bobby Culbertson went one-for-three with a run scored and an RBI.
Walks were issued to Marquart, Van Kempen, Asche and Culbertson. Doubles resounded off the bats of Sauter and Lembcke. Stolen bases were recorded by Van Kempen, Carrington and Lembcke. Asche reached on a hit-by-pitch.
The winning habits of late have elevated the Eagles' stock, as shown by the No. 1 seeding position they've earned for the Canvas Division playoffs (Land O' Ducks League). The Eagles could celebrate Prairie Pioneer Days in Morris with an overall won-lost mark of 11-5. In league: 10-2.
Now they're getting ready for another home game this Friday, July 16, against Montevideo (a 7:30 p.m. start).

Morris 10, Benson 2
Morris Eagles baseball visited Benson on Friday, July 2, to take on the rival Chiefs. A productive third inning set the tone as the Eagles cruised to a satisfying 10-2 win. Big blows in that four-run third were a two-run double off Chase Rambow's bat, and Matthew Carrington's RBI base rap.
"Skip" Carrington is excelling as a graybeard veteran and he should maybe do a commercial for the Regional Fitness Center in Morris. He put an exclamation point on the July 2 win with a majestic home run that landed beyond the left field fence in the ninth inning. This was Skip's second round-tripper of the campaign and 50th of his storied amateur ball career.
That homer was just part of the fireworks in the ninth, as Eric Asche and Chase Rambow connected for successive RBI doubles. Carrington complemented his homer bat with a nifty two-inning stint on the mound. He allowed one hit and no runs and fanned three batters.
It was Adm Torkelson getting the pitching win, working seven innings and fanning seven Chief batters. Adam gave up four hits and two runs (unearned) while walking just one.
Each team had three errors. The Morris hit total was a robust 14.
Leadoff man Kirby Marquart contributed an RBI. Cory Marquart rapped two hits in five at-bats and crossed home plate twice. Ross Haugen was productive from his No. 3 spot in the order, finishing at two-for-five with three runs scored.
Eric Asche's bat was sizzling with three-for-five numbers with two runs and a ribbie. Chase Rambow attacked Chiefs' pitching with three-for-five numbers with one run and an RBI harvest of four.
Matthew Carrington's bat sizzled at three-for-four with a run scored and two RBIs. Bobby Culbertson had a one-for-four showing with a run scored.
Rambow had two doubles on the day while Asche and Culbertson each had one.
Benson's two runs both came home in the second inning.

Attention Eagles fans: "I Love Morris" invites you to compare the quality of Morris Eagles baseball coverage that you find here, with other local news media!
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Morris Legion finds fifth inning "mo," wins

The Morris Legion baseball team used a big inning, the fifth, to get out of a hole and eventually prevail in Thursday home action. The big six-run rally in the fifth propelled the Post #29 squad to an eventual 8-3 win over Benson at Chizek Field.
It was the eleventh season triumph for Post #29 and gives the squad some cushion over .500. Their loss total coming out of the day was seven. They scored eight runs on eight hits and committed two errors. The Benson line score was 3-6-2.
The first three innings were scoreless. Then Morris took a short-lived lead with one run in the bottom of the fourth. Benson got untracked with a three-run rally in the fifth that gave them the 3-1 advantage.
Then Post #29 got the skids greased with that decisive outburst in the bottom of that frame. Key hits in that outburst were off the bats of Tyler Hansen and Brady Valnes, each with a single that plated two runs.
Morris scored its final run in the sixth.
Dustin Sauter supplied his usual punch at the plate with a double as part of his two-for-four showing. Dustin drove in one run. Tyler Hansen was the other multiple-hit achiever for Post #29 and he went two-for-four while drive in two runs and scoring two.
Ryan Beyer tripled and scored two runs. Brady Valnes accumulated three RBIs while going one-for-three. Travis Rinkenberger finished at one-for-three and Cole Riley one-for-two.
For Benson, Cameron Simmonds stood out with his double good for driving in two runs in that team's most impressive rally (that three-run fifth). Simmonds had two hits in the boxscore. The following Benson batters all went one-for-three: Carter Fennell, Kyle Pederson, Brennan Kent and Anthony Frank.
Nate Gades and Eric Riley handled the Post #29 pitching. Gades picked up the win with his five innings of work in which he struck out six batters and walked none. Nate gave up six hits and three runs (all earned).
Eric Riley hurled for two innings and set down three batters on strikes while walking none. He allowed no hits and no runs.
For Benson Legion baseball, Brennan Kent worked the whole way on the hill. Brennan gave up seven hits and eight runs (six earned) while striking out three batters and walking two.
Morris Post #29 aims to put some more distance over .500 on its mark as the season approaches the playoffs. The firepower in the bats promotes optimism.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, July 9, 2010

Evaluating the lot of working people today

I once read that the reason kids hate school is that the purpose of school is to prepare them for a world of work that they will often find to be unpleasant. I read that many years ago when one of the main complaints about work was its tedium. What we have witnessed since is a lot of that tedium being wiped out by technology-stoked efficiencies.
Back in about 1980 I had a chance to be a "distribution clerk" at the Minneapolis Post Office. But the job rang of so much tedium as to rob you of your soul.
Who would have dreamt in 1980 the kind of storm clouds that lay ahead for our stalwart U.S. Post Office? The institution was the hero in the movie "Miracle on 34th Street," when it could demonstrate that there really was a Santa Claus.
The U.S. Post Office has been a wonderful work haven for our nation's military veterans. It had a union that asserted itself quite effectively.
But then we had the microchip which opened the door for inexorable technology advancements. Indeed tech moved forward like a relentless bull. A piece of folk wisdom has it that the whole tech avalanche happened because of that flying saucer that crashed in New Mexico. Whatever the origin, tech has turned our world upside down.
The Post Office may still have a union but I would guess it's vestigial. Unions seem like an annoying throwback - annoying because the vast majority of us simply aren't in one. Today you're supposed to thank the Lord if you simply have a job. Owners and bosses rule.
And even many of the bosses are what George Ure of "Urban Survival" would call "mid-level corporate suck ups" with no more job security or real prestige than those at the bottom.
But none of us are supposed to complain. When I was in college, the youthful and exuberant boomers of the time flirted with the "new left." We had high regard for unionism and workers' rights.
Students willing to call themselves Republicans were as rare as that elusive spotted owl.
Workers' rights are so yesterday. Unions are in retreat as shown by the Florida governor's veto that was the only thing standing in the way of teacher tenure getting nixed. Not that I don't think teachers need to be declawed a little.
But there is no discernible uprising against this chipping away process vs. the once important pillar of basic job security and worker dignity in this country.
If you want to see a rare exception, tune in to the Ed Schultz program on MSNBC.
I hear no meaningful outcry against the growing gap between rich and poor. This amazes me, based on my recollection of those "new left" years on college campuses. But maybe that was a mirage in the first place. Because, I remember that at the same time the rhetoric of Malcolm X seemed so appealing, a lot of students calling themselves "business majors" quietly made their rounds on campus. They looked poverty stricken like the rest of us but they were ready to leapfrog beyond that.
A top executive of the Wells Fargo Bank was a student at St. Cloud State University at the same time as me. He was probably one of those little mammals scurrying around the rocks while the "new left" dinosaurs were headed to extinction.
I have always been amazed at how these prevailing moods come and go, in academic settings and society at large.
Given the trend of the rich getting richer (but crying for more tax cuts) and the poor struggling ever more, you might think that college campuses would be the place for a rebellion to begin. Hardly.
Colleges court well-heeled benefactors. As my friend Glen Helberg is fond of putting it: "Money talks and bulls--t walks."
Of course, unionism and workers' rights were always about money but it was about money for the masses of working types. I don't sense even a hint of a pushback from America's working class now.
Have we just been pounded into subservience now, like the horse character in George Orwell's classic "Animal Farm" (who protested only after he had gotten too old to fight back)?
Ed Schultz advocates for it, but his voice gets lost. The common folk instead seem enamored with tea party rhetoric which insists that more of the shackles allegedly imposed by government be thrown off. The rich can thus get richer.
Wall Street can continue its gluttonous ways. Politicians look the other way as the privileged hogs indulge themselves at the trough. Consider the TARP legislation.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann gets by with rhetoric that would have gotten her tarred and feathered in the marketplace of ideas of the 1970s. She warns BP Amoco to not get bilked by the U.S. government (us) in the wake of the oil spill. What amazes me is that her words still have currency.
And the tea party thinking sprouts from a common class of citizens, people who ought to appreciate the kind of safety net an active and benevolent government can provide. Why?
It probably sprouts from a primal sort of paranoia. A well-known book on the topic, which I confess I haven't actually looked at, is "What's the Matter with Kansas?" I doubt that the author is as blunt as me, using words like "primal," but I think he looks through the same lens.
I remember that in the 1970s, any political candidate who even hinted that Social Security needed some scrutiny (for possible austerity) was toast. Instant toast. "Liberal media bias" - bless that - would pounce on it.
Then conservatives got the idea that they could just buy out the media. Remember the movie "Mississippi Burning" in which the local motel wouldn't do business with the G-men who were attacking racial persecution? The top G-man (Gene Hackman) gave instructions to a subordinate to just "buy the motel."
"How much do we offer?" the subordinate asked. The answer: "Whatever it takes."
As Mr. Helberg states, "Money talks and bulls--t walks."
Conservatives solved the problem of left-leaning public television by getting power and then making sure that conservatives got installed there, like Tucker Carlson (a whining dweeb, eventually signed by Fox News and then marginalized).
Of course, today in the new media universe, we need public television as much as we need two parts of the human anatomy associated with waste excretion. (I learned that expression from an old trombone player who used a coarser term for the part of the anatomy in question.)
It is not at all taboo today to discuss possible austerity with Social Security or anything else in government. The Republican challenger to Senator Harry Reid in Nevada has actually talked about eliminating Social Security. Well, she certainly would eliminate Social Security as we know it. Although she backtracks like heck when she's challenged on it.
President George W. Bush did the same thing, initially talking about "privatizing" Social Security and later scrambling for euphemisms that would enable him to sell the idea better. Finally the likes of Bush and tea party product Sharron Angle in Nevada pushed the language of "personalizing" Social Security. How could anyone argue with "personalizing" something? Let's invent new language to deceive the public. Maybe not.
George W. Bush tried those end runs for a long time. He even tried paying off pundits.
Angle has a track record that makes me think she climbed out of a crashed flying saucer in the New Mexico desert. But the shocking thing is that she's actually a viable candidate. The polls show she's in the running.
Perhaps the thing that's wrong with Kansas is spreading through the whole country.
The slumping economy hasn't kept people from streaming through turnstiles to watch major league baseball players who are paid in sums that are so wildly high they become mere empty numbers. They don't mean anything to us anymore.
The money that Tiger Woods rakes in (or that his ex-wife gets in a divorce settlement) playing golf becomes a number on a page (or computer screen) only. There is no populist revulsion. Yet.
Times can indeed change. Maybe the Ed Schultz rhetoric will begin to take hold. Maybe we'll soon see a "tea party on the left," as Bill Maher would put it (and he'd readily join).
I'm old enough to have seen grand swings in the political mood, and it could certainly happen again, as could a flying saucer crash in the desert somewhere.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Big Cat Field not quite the cat's meow

I have written before that the abandonment of Coombe Field was sad for this community. That site is still very visible in east Morris and it's not very attractive, even if the City of Morris manages to keep the grass cut.
It's hard to pass by that site and not envision the heyday when it not only was a quite fine football field, it was a festive gathering place for the community - a "town square," as a current school board member put it to me once.
Now we have Big Cat Field. Big Cat undoubtedly works well for the U of M-Morris. That's something to celebrate. I checked it out when the Cougars played their Homecoming game last year, on a day when patches of snow were on the ground, and found the bleachers to be full. A facility like this helps the UMM Cougar program with its recruiting.
Also, even though the stadium was built between UMM and the public school, it has the definite feel of being part of the UMM campus. A visitor who didn't know better would assume that it was simply part of the campus. It's right next to the P.E. Center, and the parking lot there is an official UMM lot.
You might be asking "so?"
It was my understanding that the stadium was built as a cooperative venture between UMM and the public school. Community leaders were known to trumpet this when it was proposed and promoted. One told me that the project was somewhat cutting edge in that regard, and that the state was most approving.
I'm not sure I'm so enthralled by the approval of "the state." There is no substitute for the judgment of people at the local level. When you drift away from that you have to bow to priorities that may not be in our interests.
The "cooperative" nature of Big Cat was a concept that seemed appealing at a bureaucratic level. In reality we have a field that is a fine showcase for UMM and serves its interests - wonderful - but leaves the public school feeling as though it's riding piggy back.
And even though Big Cat seems like a boon for UMM, was there really anything wrong with the old UMM field? I remember attending games at the old UMM field as far back as about 1970. I never saw any shortcomings, and it's not as if UMM football grew in its competitiveness (or talent) through the years.
Is there anyone among us who doesn't feel wistful and nostalgic about the days when UMM played schools like Winona State, Moorhead State, Bemidji State and Northern State? Those foes were known quantities - household words. Now so many of the opponents seem obscure and almost mysterious, like Principia College.
But I don't think anyone argues that Big Cat Field isn't in the best interests of the local college.
The primary issue to address here is whether the other partner in the field, our local high school, is being served well enough. We're into July and the pre-season workouts aren't far off. Then we'll see if somehow more fannies can get parked in the Big Cat bleacher seats for MAHS Tiger football.
Cougar football is played during the bright daytime hours. The temperature tends to be warmer of course.
But for the prep action? Big Cat Field with its location on the edge of town seems bleak and desolate at night. It overlooks total barrenness to the east.
There is an assumption that fans will come and park their butts on hard bleacher seats and seriously watch football for four quarters. Here we have a disconnect between reality and what might appeal to bureaucratic planners. Anyone who attended Coombe Field through the years knows that a huge percentage of fans paid only partial interest to the football. It was, as my school board acquaintance pointed out, a "town square."
I have previously written that this town square is now "gone with the wind." And how very regrettable. No such warm feelings could ever be felt about Big Cat. It sits there like a big airy mausoleum most of the year. At the end of August we'll see if our public school leaders can think of ways of getting more people to show up for football.
Kitschy promotions? Who knows.
The school has discontinued cheerleading. To those who might suggest that cheerleading is anachronistic, I would respond that we could have a "cheer team" with both male and female members - a quite fine contemporary model.
We also have a band program that seems to me indifferent to supporting Tiger football. It should be a given that a band of some sort play for every home football game, especially since we're supposed to feel so proud of this new stadium. There was no band for the Tigers' playoff game against Minnewaska Area last fall. The poor attendance for that game should have been a wakeup call for the community.
Resurrect Coombe Field? Only in our dreams. That would make too much sense. We have a new field designed to please "planners" of the ivory tower type and now we have to try to make it work. I think it will be uphill.
Here is an absolutely huge issue: Can fans feel totally comfortable parking close to Big Cat? In other words, can fans use the "UMM" parking lot without inhibitions? My goodness, you would think "yes" because high school games are played on Friday night when the campus is pretty much cleared out anyway.
But no, it came to my attention from a friend last fall that there were actual P.A. announcements at the public school encouraging fans to use the public school parking lot for football games. This is disastrous. This friend was actually at the school and heard one such announcement, so it's irrefutable.
I passed this information on to a school board member (a different one from the one I cited earlier), and he/she got confirmation of this. He/she (anonymity granted) got an explanation from the school that these announcements were just intended to encourage use of the public school lot by fans who wouldn't be inconvenienced by this.
In other words, "we'd appreciate if you could use it." I don't want to misquote or misinterpret.
But I still disagree 100 percent. It's hard enough in this town to get townspeople to feel comfortable going out to the campus. There is a social/cultural division, for one thing, plus the parking permit required in daytime that seems to make the campus off-limits.
In light of this, the absolute last thing we should be doing is encouraging people to park at the public school for prep games at Big Cat.
There is an attendance problem at Big Cat, apparently not for the Cougars (based on my Homecoming glimpse) but for the Tigers. In theory the field was built as a 50/50 proposition between the two institutions. But it doesn't seem to be coming across that way.
As an experiment last fall I actually visited the public school parking lot and walked to Big Cat Field and back. There are issues like a long fence that makes this more arduous than the sheer distance might suggest. But even the sheer distance is an issue, especially for many people or kids who might be physically limited in some way.
Were those P.A. announcements at the high school the result of requests from UMM? I don't know the answer to this.
Put the shoe on the other foot: I can't imagine a situation where people affiliated with UMM would be discouraged, even via a hint, from using any UMM parking lot. So why would people with an interest in high school football be getting this seeming dirty end of the stick?
Big Cat was supposed to be a totally cooperative venture. One lesson from this might be that there's no such thing as a totally cooperative venture.
I don't doubt that players like Big Cat Field. But I don't think they had an issue with Coombe Field. Home football games at Coombe Field were one of the most heartwarming chapters in the history of this community.
During good economic times it's easy to think in terms of just tearing everything down and building new.
The economic realities are different now. The City of Morris is coming off like "Oliver" (of the musical of the same name) asking for "more gruel," such is the apparent austerity it's being forced to deal with.
Come to think of it, I attended the all-school musical "Oliver" at the old elementary auditorium in about 1970. The place was packed and it was wonderful.
That auditorium was perfect for music and theater. Oh, but we had to turn thumbs down on this ultimately, so now the grand art deco facility sits there decaying and haunted, like Coombe Field.
I think it's overwhelmingly sad.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4, the fair, and our too-short summer

Is a holiday really a holiday if one doesn't get excused from work on a weekday? The July 4 holiday this year reminds us of how an "artificial" holiday gets carved out sometimes. July 4 was on a Sunday.
Isn't it enough to acknowledge our nation's independence on the proper day and just resume our normal lifestyle on Monday? I guess not.
I'm writing the first draft for this post at 5 a.m. Monday morning, July 5, at which time I'm being informed that the stock market is closed, and the usual Joe Scarborough TV program at 5 isn't on. Adding insult to injury, the MSNBC network (Joe's) is putting one of their prison documentary re-runs on the air for that slot.
There is a certain element of the population that must be captivated by those prison shows. MSNBC relies too much on these re-runs to fill their weekend programming.
Fox News, meanwhile, does much better airing live and relevant shows on the weekend or on holidays. That's profoundly sad because Fox News is a megaphone for the political right wing.
It's 5:05 a.m. right now and I'm noticing that "Fox and Friends" has their weekend personalities (i.e. second-stringers) on the air instead of the usual automatons spouting the tea party-ish talking points. It's embarrassing that the latter category includes Gretchen Carlson, a native of Minnesota. She's joined by Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. They've been at it for way too long. They need a breath of fresh air.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) we'll see a sense of routine again and we can hold our breath to see if the stock market resumes its tumble. You don't suppose a bailout could be arranged for all the common folk affected by by this, like what George W. Bush arranged for the banks? Not that these were banks as we have come to know them. They're mutant banks. Whatever, their interests are being taken care of. The common folk are treading water.
Perhaps a push-back is already starting as evidenced in those Mark Dayton (for Minnesota governor) TV ads openly suggesting the rich should pay more taxes. Until recently such a message would have been taboo.
There was a time when "trickle down" seemed palatable, but there are too many people hurting now. Maybe the populist message will roll over Fox News and prevail. Populists have been on the defensive for too long.
Not everyone is taking a work day off for the 2010 Independence Day. The Morris Senior Nutrition Center served on Friday and will again today (Monday). Hats off on that.
I'm sure the Hancock community had a festive Fourth celebration with the parade and all the other bells and whistles. Hancock July 4 makes that town a mecca while Morris is in a relative slumber.
Now that the Fourth is past, the dog days of summer will truly set in. Getting ready for the Stevens County Fair will be a priority for a lot of people.
Our fair has grown enormously in the past 30 years. I remember when our fair had fallen into sort of a malaise in the late 1970s. I remember a barber (not Dave Evenson) who remarked with the fair nearing that "if it weren't for the 4-H kids, there wouldn't be much there."
We were inclined to chuckle at such a comment. It just seemed to express reality.
It almost seemed like the institution of the small town county fair was close to becoming an anachronism - a throwback.
I covered our fair for the media for the first time in 1979. The fairgrounds were considerably smaller than they are today. The company running the midway seemed as small-time as you could get. The commercial exhibits were in a rickety-feeling wooden building - a far cry from today's Lee Center.
I remember how the seating was configured in the 4-H foodstand, accommodating far fewer diners than now. And these days it gets packed. There was no outdoor arena for the livestock shows if you can believe that. The 4-H kids would parade their animals on the opposite side of the livestock buildings from now, with no roof overhead and in front of some aluminum bleachers that the City of Morris crew would run in.
We in this county went through a period of an incredible inferiority complex when the Traverse County Fair in Wheaton brought in big-name talent, while we just sort of sat on our hands. Wheaton's run of success with that began with some luck. They parlayed it.
One could sense that the momentum was slowly building for an improved Stevens County Fair. It would not suffer the "anachronism" fate. Quite to the contrary.
We went through a copycat phase as we, too, brought in some big-name entertainment like the Statler Brothers and Ronnie Milsap. It began with Donna Fargo.
Why would these big names bother with small county fairs in the rural countryside? My goodness, we got Donny and Marie (Osmond) here, plus some other names that were big at the time even though they are obscure now (e.g. Charly McLain, who by the way was a woman).
Why would such luminaries come here? Ah, casinos hadn't proliferated yet. Gambling had an immoral stigma. That barrier came crashing down almost without discussion. Casinos became a gold mine for entertainers and they have probably been a particular boon for the smaller-time ones like Sherwin Linton. I'm happy for that.
County fairs have gone back to their staples of earthy grandstand activities, the kind that throw up dirt. Everyone seems happy with that too.
It will be interesting to see if county fairs keep their vitality as outstate Minnesota continues to lose population, and economic travail is felt more here.
But forget about the "anachronism" scenario. County fairs have an appeal that will endure.
After the fair we all start thinking about the school year nearing. Labor Day weekend is one of the "bookend" holidays of summer, the other being Memorial Day which kicks it off.
But Labor Day weekend is rather strange because there are no formal ceremonies to acknowledge it. It's just a three-day weekend. That probably hurts the turnout for the home high school football game if one is scheduled for that weekend (and it would be the opener).
On Labor Day weekend we can kiss goodbye to summer, which always seems a little too short.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Post #29 wins twice; Erickson tosses 1-hitter

The offense and defense took turns leading the way for Morris Legion baseball (Post #29) in impressive recent triumphs.

Morris 6, Glenwood 0
The defense took centerstage for the Thursday game at Glenwood. In particular it was Alex Erickson leading the way with his performance on the pitching mound. Erickson was stellar in his hurling as he recorded a one-hitter in Post #29's 6-0 win.
Not only couldn't the Glenwood batters break through for hits, they were retired to the dugout on strikes a total of 17 times.
Erickson walked just one in his seven innings of work. The only hit allowed by this righthander came off the bat of Trenton Berg: a single with two outs in the third. One Glenwood batter reached on an error, but no Glenwood baserunners got as far as second base.
Erickson retired the side on strikes in three innings. He has been a Chokio-Alberta Spartan in his past prep exploits, but he will don the orange and black of Morris Area for his senior season.
The Morris Legion baseball boys scored one run in the first inning, two in the sixth and three in the seventh. Tyler Hansen scored two of the Morris runs and he rapped two hits in four at-bats.
Dusty Sauter tripled and had a sacrifice fly while going one-for-three. Ryan Beyer supplied some fireworks leading up to the Fourth (July 4) as he hit a two-run home run in the seventh.
Eric Riley joined the attack with two-for-four numbers and an RBI, and Cole Riley finished one-for-three.
The losing pitcher was Cory Houlten, and Mike Whittemore also pitched for Glenwood.

Morris 12, Big Stone 1
The offense propelled Post #29 to victory in its next game, to the tune of twelve runs scored, and this success was over big Stone on Friday. Actually the defense was good enough to set the pace also. The Morris Legion baseball squad allowed one run in the first and after that it was all zeroes in this 12-1 win at the comfortable home diamond.
Post #29 had the superb line score of 12-16-0 (runs-hits-errors). Nate Gades and Travis Rinkenberger combined on a pitching gem: a three-hitter. Gades hurled for five of the innings, fanning nine Big Stone batters; and Rinkenberger had a two-inning stint on the hill in which he allowed one hit/no runs.
The ten-run rule abbreviated the action. Alex Erickson rested his pitching arm on this day, but his hitting instincts were activated in a big way! Alex was a perfect three-for-three with two of his hits doubles and the other a two-run homer. He scored three runs and drove in two. His homer was his fourth of his sterling campaign.
Dustin Sauter excelled again with the stick (his norm), as on this day he went two-for-three with an RBI. Ryan Beyer connected for a solo home run, his fourth of the summer, as part of going two-for-four, plus he scored two runs.
Eric Riley smacked two doubles among his four at-bats. He scored two runs.
Brady Valnes came through with a hit. Nate Gades doubled as part of his two-for-three day, plus he drove in a run.
Cole Riley had a hit in his two at-bats and drove in a run. Mitch Kill went one-for-three as did Evan Schultz, and Mitch drove in a run.
The losing pitcher was Taylor Rademacher.
Morris Legion baseball came out of the recent stretch of success with a 10-7 season record. The squad wants to establish further distance over .500, and based on their recent play, prospects are excellent!
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Eagles score in double digits in two wins

The month of June wound down in an upbeat way for the Morris Eagles baseball team, which won Friday and Sunday contests on June 25 and 27. It was upbeat for the Eagles as a team and for Chase Rambow as an individual, with Chase continuing to develop a new chapter in his diamond career after shoulder surgery.
Rambow, whose mechanics have always appeared textbook (not that this guarantees against injury), was called to the pitching mound to help right the Eagles' ship in the fifth inning of the Friday game.

Morris 13, Wheaton 7
Rambow relieved an off-and-on Andy Lembcke in the June 25 contest. Lembcke allowed the Wheaton Walleyes to score six runs (five earned) in four innings. He walked six batters and allowed five hits. It wasn't quite his day at the Wheaton diamond.
Chase Rambow got into the groove, fanning eight Walleye batters as he finished out the game in this 13-7 triumph.
Rambow allowed five hits and one run (earned) in his five innings. He walked two.
Wheaton seized the early lead, 2-0 in the second inning, but the Morris Eagles surged to score five in the third. The host Walleyes found new life in the fourth inning with four runs, and now the score is 6-5 with Wheaton up.
The Eagles drew up even on the scoreboard with one run in the fifth, and they persevered by adding one run each in the sixth and seventh innings and then three in the eighth and two in the ninth.
The Morris line score was a solid 13 runs, 12 hits and just one error. Wheaton's numbers were 7-10-2.
Chase Rambow complemented his pitching with one-for-four numbers at bat, plus he scored two runs and stole a base. Ross Haugen had the other stolen base. Haugen, the #3 batter in the order, drove in three runs and scored two while going one-for-five.
Lefty leadoff batter Kirby Marquart scored three runs while going two-for-five. Cory Marquart, batting #2, pounded three hits in four at-bats, drove in three runs and scored one. Eric Asche had a one-for-five day with two runs and an RBI. Dusty Sauter contributed with two-for-four numbers and a pair of ribbies. The ageless Matthew Carrington went two-for-four, scoring a run and driving in one.
Former UMM Cougar Bobby Culbertson crossed home plate twice and drove in a run. Walks were received by Cory Marquart (2), Asche, Rambow (2), Adam Torkelson (2), Carrington, Culbertson and Craig Knochenmus.

Morris 12, Appleton 4
Two days after their winning exploits at the Wheaton diamond, Morris was at it again, carving out a victory with a double-digit run total. The Eagles had a short-handed look as they took the diamond in Appleton to play the A's. This has been a dues-paying season for the A's and they got no relief in the June 27 affair.
John Lembcke helped the Eagles by "coming out of retirement." John did more than just hold his own, as he connected for a two-run home run (to left-center) in the third in this 12-4 Morris Eagles win.
Dusty Sauter attacked the A's with five hits in six at-bats. One of Dusty's hits was a double, and he drove in three runs while upping his average to .361. He has set the pace in RBIs.
Andy Lembcke supplied a distinctive highlight by stealing second, third and home (on a throw) in the fifth inning. Wow!
Adam Torkelson did a workmanlike job on the mound, overcoming some early control difficulties. Adam pitched six innings, fanning eight batters, to get his fourth win of the summer. He gave up five hits and walked five batters.
Jamie Van Kempen had his pitching arm called on for two innings and he fanned one batter and walked one. Craig Knochenmus set down two A's on strikes in one inning.
The Eagles were aggressive on the basepaths, epitomized by Andy Lembcke's work in the fifth, and other Eagles with stolen bases were Sauter, Knochenmus and Culbertson.
Matthew Carrington worked Appleton's pitching for three walks. Chase Rambow occupied the leadoff spot in the order and he posted two-for-six numbers with two RBIs. Craig Knochenmus had a hit and scored a run.
Carrington managed three official at-bats in spite of walking three times, and he went one-for-three with two RBIs and a run. Adam Torkelson socked three hits in six at-bats and scored two runs. John Lembcke went two-for-six with two runs and two RBIs.
Jamie Van Kempen had a three-for-five day with two runs and one RBI. Andy Lembcke had a hit and scored a run. Bobby Culbertson went one-for-four with two runs and an RBI.
The Morris line score was a superb 12-19-0 (runs-hits-errors).
This was the Eagles' ninth win against five losses, and in league the numbers were stellar at 8-2 coming out of the weekend.
Morris Eagles baseball came out of Sunday with a four-game lead over Montevideo with four league games remaining. Fans are starting to sense the home stretch of the schedule, and then the playoffs where the results count most!
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, July 2, 2010

Senator Franken revives craft of doodling

A psychologist might have certain interpretations of what doodling represents. Is our U.S. Senator Al Franken reviving the practice, the innocence of which is open to debate? Franken did a quite nice little drawing of one of his colleagues.
Does this mean his attention wasn't adequately focused during the Elena Kagan hearings? The Senate Judiciary Committee was examining the Supreme Court Justice-to-be.
Perhaps Senator Franken wanted to take his mind off the predictable and in many cases (from Republicans) tedious/chafing line of questioning/grilling. I don't blame Senator Al for wanting to doodle instead of paying attention to some of the attack dog Republicans.
I remember glancing over to a fellow student on the first day of a college semester once, and seeing that he had drawn a pizza and beer on his notebook page. He even labeled them "pizza" and "beer" lest his artwork was seen to have some shortcomings.
But is doodling art? Is it a bad habit? Is it subversive? Is it a window into someone's soul? Does it reveal psychological issues?
I think the world would be a better place of more of us doodled. We have an instant gratification society in which our pace of thinking and living has become intense to a troubling degree. Do people even slow down to ponder if they're happy?
I read an analysis recently that asserted that boredom had been completely eliminated in our tech-fueled culture. Driving a car isn't enough to occupy one's attention. How often do you see people with a mobile phone to their ear when driving?
Doodling is a basic, retro way to slow down. Ironically there was once a time when doodling could combat boredom. Today we can use it as a wedge to withdraw from our tech distractions and frenetic pace of life. Ergo, it has a transcendent purpose!
I'm thrilled that Senator Franken, who might have the most creative mind in our nation's capitol, brought some sudden attention to the pastime. And it's not like he merely drew a stick figure. It was just as good as those drawings you'd see on matchbook covers promoting an art instruction school. "Draw Winky" they would implore.
I presume that matchbook cover art and advertising have faded along with the pastime of smoking itself. If someone hasn't done an interpretive study of matchbook cover communications, it should be done. Attention, some graduate school student somewhere.
Doodling is fascinating because of its informal and impulsive nature. Surely serious art instructors pooh-pooh it. When I was in college, I considered general education art classes to be exercises in pure garbage - a pretentious exploration of crap that might somehow be rationalized as serious art when most of it could be toted to the nearest dump.
No, doodling is a craft to be respected. It deserves a revival, if that's what Franken's little episode can inspire.
Bored in class? Do a little caricature of your instructor. You might get kicked out of class but so what? All the info you might get in the class is available on the Internet anyway.
All our traditional educational systems, as Tim Pawlenty famously pointed out on The Daily Show, are sinking rapidly into obsolescence just like newspapers.
How I'd love to see those art courses or "Sociology 101" be given a proper burial. Whoever decided that "Sociology 101" was something that had to be thrust on impressionable 19-year-old minds? Hats off to any student who chooses to doodle when such drivel is being shoveled at him/her.
The Franken episode reminded me of when I did gargoyle-type drawings on spiral notebook pages during bus trips for high school activities. I was in the Morris High School marching band when it made some quite long trips. I also kept the stat book for the MHS Tiger baseball team.
My drawings were sometimes offered as caricatures of some of my peers, and I can remember at least two of them who resented it. I didn't get punched out. The lines could be a little squiggly because I was drawing on a moving bus, but all in all I think the drawings had merit and they were somewhat unique.
How would I have engaged my time if not drawing? Horsing around with other kids or playing a mundane card game on a band instrument case?
I think doodling has advantages because it taps creative impulses and requires some sober concentration. For Franken he could escape some of the Republican-uttered rhetoric that was so trying to ingest.
Senator Al, I hope you have brought some renewed interest to a true "street craft," an artistic pastime truly of the people, a craft that can make a statement like "I'm bored and I can find better things to do."
In the old days my generation might describe it as a "beatnik" type of thing to do. "Beatnik" is a term that the oldest baby boomers are most familiar with. Bob Denver did a nice portrayal as "Dobie Gillis" on television. This was before Denver went on to great fame as "Gilligan" (vs. "the Skipper," remember?) in a show that was the epitome of lowest-common-denominator TV entertainment in the 1960s.
The beatniks preceded the hippies and the Yippies. "Do your own thing" was a trademark phrase of the liberated young crowd, and doodling seemed consistent with the whole blooming credo.
Doodling springs from your own life experience, and its impulsive nature means it's free of external guidance or discipline. It's a window into the soul. It's a way to escape tedious discussions or distractions.
A surprised onlooker will say "oh, look at that!" and immediately the attention is suspended on the purported matter at hand, which is often a great relief.
Elena Kagan will become a Supreme Court member and our Constitution will be safe under her scrutiny. Maybe she'll be tempted to doodle sometime on a napkin at a Chinese restaurant.
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com