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Photos: top left: David Maril with the late Chuck Thompson, the voice of the Orioles and Colts, the summer he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993; top right: a perspective shot of Maril at Wrigley Field; featured photo: journalist Ken Decoste with the late, great Harry Caray and Maril.

Cavalcade of Columns

Why won’t Trump release his tax returns to end ‘witch-hunt’ investigations of alleged Russian ties?

In promoting his plan to increase military spending the president may be weakening our security by making US armed forces seem underarmed and undermanned

New Democratic Party leader comes well quipped with cliches and slogans but lacks substance to unite extreme left, traditional liberals, moderates and centrists

By David Maril

WHILE WONDERING WHY, if he has nothing to hide, President Donald Trump doesn’t release his tax returns, which would crush all the momentum out of the conspiracy theories that he has financial connections to Russia, it’s interesting to note the following:

WHY IS IT THAT TRUMP is unable to resist building himself up at the expense of everyone and everything else?

He made a point of patting himself on the back, during his recent visit aboard the $13 billion aircraft carrier USS Jerold R. Ford, over plans to increase military spending by $54 billion. But in the process, he made the current state of the Navy sound as if it had been reduced to a few leaking vessels with the durability and might of toothpick sculptures.

To continually harp on how our troop numbers have never been lower, plus his misleading rhetoric that we no longer win, he sends a very dangerous message to our enemies around the world.

ONE CERTAINTY is the president has introduced new meaning to establishing a populist movement. With most of his cabinet appointments, he’s reducing the number of billionaires out of work and, perhaps, keeping them away from unemployment compensation.

ISN’T THERE ANY ROOM for protecting consumers in Trump’s so-called populist movement? If Wall Street regulations are rolled back, stock brokers, and all portfolio managers, should be required to formally issue a disclaimer to consumers that they invest at their on risk and these investment companies are not putting their clients first.

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADER Tom Perez didn’t waste any time spewing out cliches and tiresome slogans that will do little to mobilize voters and heal the rift and dysfunction between the different factions of the party. His zeal in repeatedly spouting “We are going to lead with our values,” grows old very quickly.

WHILE TRUMP SEEMS SATISFIED pandering to his base and not trying to widen his group of supporters, the Democrats are squandering the opportunity to build a wide and unbeatable tolerant coalition that includes the hard left, traditional liberals and moderates.

MAYBE I AM MISSING SOMETHING, but will someone explain how Sen. Bernie Sanders can seriously attempt to influence the direction the Democrats take when he refuses to drop his Independent status instead of joining the party?

Better yet, when was the last time someone in the media asked him why he has not registered as a Democrat after trying to secure the party’s nomination for president.

LISTENING TO HILLARY CLINTON’S recorded message that she intends to always “be there” for the party, played at the Democrats’ election for party chairperson, provided a chilling thought that she hasn’t written off seeking the nomination for 2020.

She just doesn’t get the message that she is responsible, thanks to her un-electability, for Trump residing in the White House.

WHY IS IT THAT SO MANY REPUBLICANS shed crocodile tears about how it would be unconscionable to leave the burden of our growing national debt for our children and grandchildren while remaining apathetic about whether they will have clean air and water to breathe and drink?

Strange how the GOP remains silent as the White House advocates a 20 percent slash in the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency.

ANOTHER CONTRADICTION is in the GOP’s talk about cutting back on federal government powers and putting more enforcement focus for officials at the state levels. At the same time narrow-minded small-thinkers, like so-called Attorney General Jeff Sessions, talk boldly about cracking down at the federal enforcement level against states that have legalized marijuana.

Sessions, apparently a graduate of Trump’s Academy of Ignoring Facts, continues to insist the crime rate has never been higher in this country despite statistical evidence that indicates the exact opposite is true. It’s no wonder he had such difficulty getting his story straight on whether or not he met with Russian representatives when he shouldn’t have.

CHUCK SCHUMER AND NANCY PELOSI, the Democrats’ minority leaders in the Senate and House, sound so partisan when they hold press conferences they turn me off even when I agree with them. Pelosi was much too gleeful when she addressed the media about Sessions’ glaring inaccuracies in his confirmation hearings for Attorney General.

THE MOST INFORMATIVE and concise hour of daily news coverage, especially when it comes to politics, continues to be CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.

THE BIGGEST WASTE OF AIRTIME on a so-called news network is the morning show Fox And Friends, lowering the bar for shoddy standards and a lack of professionalism every day.

WITH TRUMP FORMALLY DECLINING to attend the annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner, on April 29, it would be an appropriate time for the media members, who participate in this somewhat outdated affair, to modify the format and take on a more serious tone.

After months of Trump’s outrageous and irresponsible attacks on the media, it would make sense to shape the event around an affirmation of the crucial role an investigative media plays in keeping the government honest and what journalism means preserving the health of a democracy.

The media should leave the satire and slapstick humor to TV offerings like Saturday Night Live, which owes its revival to the bizarre nature of Trump’s presidential world.

CAN THERE REMAIN any doubt that Casey Affleck is a much better actor than his better known brother, Ben?

THE LATE BILL VEECK, baseball’s promotional genius, frequently would say that baseball has to be the greatest sport ever played. However, with Commissioner Rob Manfred, Veeck ’s theory may be put to its greatest test.

It’s hard to take the Commissioner seriously whenever he considers introducing changes he thinks will improve the game.

His latest obsession is coming up with a way to shorten the length of time it takes to play major league games.

So far, he’s ignored the biggest waste of time, too many commercials between every half inning. Reducing commercial air-time, of course, will never happen because this is a source of revenue for the prospering owners and players. Strange how all this extra commercial money has not kept ticket prices from rising to a level unaffordable for many families and young fans.

While speeding up the replay process on contested calls will help, what about cracking down on batters stepping in and out of the batters’ box?

Instead, Manfred’s newest gimmick solution is to make the intentional walk automatic.

Well, let’s see, pointing to first base to signify the walk a couple of times a game, instead of delivering the pitches, should shave a minute or two off every other game.

But while achieving this minuscule victory, the chance of something unpredictable happening, which is what sports are all about, is eliminated.

It doesn’t happen often, but teams have stolen bases on intentional walks and pitches have occasionally thrown wild pitches.

I remember, as a kid, watching a game between the Orioles and Red Sox, with changeup bullpen specialist Stu “The Bullet” Miller on the mound facing Boston’s Lee Thomas in a crucial late-inning situation.

First base was open but when Miller attempted to walk Thomas, the slugger swung and missed at the pitch that was way off the plate.

The same thing happened on pitch number two. Thomas wanted to hit and he was not going to settle for an intentional walk.

Suddenly handed an 0-2 advantage, Miller and the Orioles decided to take their chances with Thomas. Miller threw an 0-2 changeup that would have been a strike and Thomas swung and missed, striking out and ending the Red Sox threat.

Also under consideration, supposedly, was to no longer make it mandatory for a hitter who has belted a homer to circle the bases and touch home plate, thus removing a chance for fans to cheer their hero for the four-base feat.

Another stupid idea that had been under consideration to shorten games was having each team start extra innings with a runner on second base.

Heck, why stop there?

How about loading the bases for the start of each extra inning and providing 12 outs to score instead of just three?

Or how about a hockey puck shooting contest between each team’s top player?

Nothing like turning the games into a big joke.

GOOD NEWS FOR baseball fans is that Bob Costas, retiring from NBC’s role as TV network host of the Olympics, will have more time to do play-by-play of baseball, his favorite and best sport.

David Maril has been a columnist, sports editor and copy editor at three newspapers published in Massachusetts, winning numerous writing and section-design awards. As sports editor of the Milford Daily News, he covered the Boston Red Sox, Celtics and the New England Patriots. At the Brockton Enterprise he served as vice president of the newspaper’s guild, dealing with contract negotiations and workforce issues through difficult economic times. He also served on the board of the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, where he is a lifetime member and voter in Major League Baseball’s annual Cooperstown Hall of Fame balloting. For several years was a columnist for Voice Of Baltimore. The son of the late artist Herman Maril, whose work is included in over 100 museum collections, David splits his time between Cape Cod, MA and Baltimore, MD. He currently serves as president of the Herman Maril Foundation, which supports curatorial projects, art education programs and exhibitions related to the study of his father’s work. The website, featuring his father’s artwork, is hermanmaril.com. A graduate of Park School in Brooklandville, MD, David majored in English at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

If you wold like to comment on this blog David can be reached at david@davidmaril.com.