Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Two New Citizen Tigers

Two Detroit Tigers become naturalized citizens at Comerica Park

During a pre-game ceremony at Comerica Park, twenty five people including two Detroit Tigers took their oath of citizenship. 

Leonys Martin Tapanes, a 30 year old Center Fielder, played on the 2009 Cuban National team before defecting while paying in Taiwan.  Martin then signed with Texas Rangers in 2011 and later played for the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs.  This is the first year that Martin is playing for the Detroit Tigers.

After the ceremony, Martin mused: 

"I will never forget about my country but it's amazing to be part of the United States.  Being able to do this here at the ballpark, in front of fans, that was really emotional."

Jose Antonio Inglesias Aleman is a 28 year old shortstop, who was in the Cuban National Series in 2008 but defected when the Cuban National team visited Canada in 2009.  He came to America with a pair of shorts, a tee shirt and a dream. Iglesias played for the Boston Red Sox  before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2013. 

Iglesias admitted that adjusting to America has been daunting as he observed:

"It's hard man, you came. You face a new culture, face a new language, facing new food, new everything. Still learning. I've been here ten years and I'm still learning."

One thing Iglesias learned well was to not alienate fans.  He was happy to be a newly naturalized citizen and be able to vote, but he deflected from questions about commenting on President Trump's immigration policies.

Now that they are naturalized citizens, Martin and Iglesias will be able to join the rest of the Tigers on a road trip to Toronto for a series with the Blue Jays. 

It is inspiring to see two immigrants who sought freedom to live their dreams in America who worked within the system and and embrace their new country rather than treat it like a meal ticket.

Monday, February 12, 2018

On What Propaganda is Condemned and Countenanced at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

The 23rd Winter Olympiad in Pyeongchang, South Korea had a reoccurring theme of Peace, as was evident from the Opening Ceremonies.  It was well known that athletes from North and South Korea would march as a unified team into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.  

One of the draws for casual sports fans to watch the Olympics is the Opening Ceremonies. The pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies, as expressed through artistic expression as well as thematic choice sets the mood for the Olympic Games.  Afterwards, there is the Parade of Nations, when all of the competitors gather in a gesture of unity and good will.  During this long march of nations, television viewers often have to endure commentary from NBC announcers to add color and context to the visuals.  Often this dialogue is pap or seems scripted.

However, when the Japanese team made their debut at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, NBC Asia correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramos offered an incredible generalization.  Ramos claimed that Koreans looked with admiration to Japan as an important example of cultural, economic and technological transformation.

Several hours after uttering this insensitive and insulting insinuation, NBC Sports issued a hasty apology.

NBC offeres shame faced apology for Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony insulting commentary

NBC paid $967 million for broadcast rights for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and it would seem that they did not want to insult their hosts.

With that in mind, one wonders why NBC keeps pushing North Korean propaganda while covering the Winter Olympics.  No doubt that a unified Korean team marching during the Parade of Nations was a big story.  It epitomizes the international aspiration of brotherhood and exemplifies the Pyeongchang Game's theme of Peace.  

[Front Center] Vice President Mike Pence [Back Center] Kim Yo Jung, sister of DPRK dictator Kim Jun Un
It is understandable that an Olympic broadcaster would want to capitalize on controversy by showing how close Vice President Mike Pence was seated to North Korean Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong during the Opening Ceremonies.

The coverage of the North Korea cheerleaders during the womens' hockey game between Korea and Switzerland does raise eyebrows.  It was a cute featurette to have a piece about the some of the 200 woman squad of  the North Korean "Army of Beauty" cheerleaders leading chants during the 0-8 rout of Korea.  Some say that the synchronized chants of the North Korea Beauty Cheerleaders stole the show. But what what telling is what they chanted and how they performed.  These NPDK cheerleaders chanted "Unity" waving "neutral" flags of a unified Korea. After each goal by their opponent, they chanted: "Cheer up!".  Perhaps that exemplifies a cultural trait.  

What has been shown but little explored are instances in which the female Beauty Squad use big heads of a Korean man.  Hmm.  Who could this be?  

It is dubious that it was an everyman Korean.  The Big Head looks rather like an idealized image of North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un. What does it say about the consequences of  "Unity".  Is that something that all Koreans also believe?

UPDATE 02/12/2018  BBC News quotes Korean media that the DPRK Army of Beauties cheerleaders were holding up big heads of Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (the first of the Hermit Kingdom's Juche post World War II dictators).  Yet the South Korean Unification Ministry insists that the cheerleaders were just holding up cut outs of "a good looking man". 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Being At Peace With Different Measures of Glory

Athletes from Unified North & South Korean Team at Winter Olympics
The 23rd Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea are themed to be the games of peace.  This was accentuated by athletes of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) marching with their Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) counterparts under a unified flag.

Olympic Athletes from Russia for 2018 Winter Olympics 
Due the doping ban on Russian Federation, the 169 clean Russian athletes marched as neutrals in red and grey uniforms as neutrals.  Any gold medal winning "Olympic Athletes of Russia"  will be feted with the raising of the Olympic flag and anthem. 

While the  2,952 athletes participating in the Pyeongchang games are the best winter sport athletes in the world, but only a few make it up to the medal stand to receive their glory. For most, marching in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony is the highlight of their careers. 

This makes Eric Liddell's admonition about glory all the more poignant. 

Eric Liddell on Glory

What is particularly noteworthy of Eric Liddell is not that he was the the Flying Scotsman was the first  British Gold Medal winner in track from 1924, or that he was the basis of the film Chariots of Fire (1981), or his steadfast Sabbath keeping, but for dying as a missionary in a Japanese internment camp in China in 1945. 

We should all be inspired to run a good race in life and doing our best.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kim Rhode on the Second Amendment

Kim Rhode on the Second Amendment

Aside from impacting the defense of individual liberty, six time Olympian  Kim Rhodes points out how California's ever increasingly restrictive gun laws are impacting shooting sports training.

Friday, June 10, 2016

RIP Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe on Motivation

Gordie Howe, a.k.a. Mr. Hockey, died at the age of 88. He had been in failing health for years, struggling with Alzheimer's and was debilitated after a massive stroke in October 2014.  But at Gordie Howe's passing, it is worthwhile to remember his remarkable achievements and motivation to play the sport which he loved.

Howe played 32 seasons in professional hockey-- 26 seasons for the NHL and six seasons for the WHA.  Howe played for the Detroit Red Wings from 1946 to 1971. As a Red Wing, Howe led the team to four Stanley Cup championships, was the NHL's MVP six times and was the league's leading scorer six times. In fact, Howe was in top ten scorers for 21 seasons.  Howe retired in 1971 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame.

However, two years after retiring from the NHL, Howe came back in his mid 40s to join sons Mark and Marty Howe to play for the Houston Aeros in the upstart World Hockey Association.  This stint was not just a marquee trick as Gordie Howe managed to rack up 100 points during his six seasons with the Aeros.  

Howe briefly made a comeback in the NHL during the 1979-80 season at age 52 with the Hartford Whalers.  In 1980, Howe make the starting team for his 23rd NHL All Star Game.  The welcome which greeted Gordie at the All Star Game in Detroit that year was astounding.

The new International Bridge over the Detroit River between Ontario and Michigan will be named for Gordie Howe.