° The Minnesota Legislature continued its divided ways in a special session last week. That was basically a wasted week, with both sides criticizing the other side. I know, the Senate is controlled by one party and the House is run by the other party. But you'd think there would be a year where they might get something done, especially considering the kind of year — first with the pandemic and then the civil unrest — we've had so far, in just a little more than three months. It appeared they had reached an agreement on how to distribute $841 million in federal aid coming the state's way because of the pandemic. But that fell through, some say, when House Democrats added some other spending bills to the measure. Gov. Walz, to his credit, used emergency powers yesterday (Thursday) to distribute the money to counties, cities and townships, as well as $12 million to help food banks and food shelves. But the bonding bill is still in limbo, as well as law enforcement reforms that most people hoped would be taken care of in the session. At this writing another special session hasn't been called, although it seems there will be one. Please, ladies and gentlemen, give a little on each side and get something done. This — meeting and getting nothing done — is getting really old.
° The Princeton Rotary Club, after nearly 40 years in Princeton, has folded. It's always unfortunate when an organization that has done much good in the area is discontinued. The report is that there just weren't enough members to continue. Congratulations to all those who made it a viable organization for all these years. Former Princeton Union-Eagle publisher (and former governor) Elmer Andersen was instrumental in getting the organization underway. Even though Elmer didn't live here, he had a hand in lots of improvements in Princeton, a big one being the wonderful library that Princeton has. Thanks to all the Rotary Club members for all they did through the years. Original members on Nov. 17, 1980, were Bob Beattie, Tim Enger, Terril Erickson, Hugh Hacker, Jeff Haehn, Jim Hanson, Jim Heymer, Ron Kinney, Jeff Kleinbaum, Tom McCarthy, Tom Meinz, George Pederson, Cliff Peterson, Bruce Rimstad, Jacob Serber, Art Skarohlid, Bob Trier, Kevin Vance, Steve VanHooser, Mike Williams, Greg Withers and Mike Ziegler.
° So the statue of Calvin Griffith has been taken down by the Minnesota Twins. My take on Calvin, a baseball man through and through, was that he was a penny-pinching owner, although he ran his team strictly with money made by the team - he wasn't a billionaire like many team owners of today. Still, he was a penny-pincher. And, for certain, he needed a speech writer. He said things at a 1978 meeting in Waseca of the Lions Club that were incredibly stupid, those remarks being reported because a Minneapolis newspaper reporter happened to be at the same event, although not as a reporter. The Twins' statement said they couldn't ignore the racist comments made by Griffith. "Past, present or future, there is no place for racism, inequality and injustice in Twins Territory," their statement said. Thing is, Twins' all-time great Rod Carew, a black man who had a spat with Griffith over a small increase in salary that Carew wanted as he was winning batting title after batting title, said he doesn't consider Griffith a racist. In fact, Griffith was the first person Carew called when Carew was named to the Hall of Fame. "I have long forgiven Cal for his insensitive comments and do not believe he was a racist. That was not my personal experience with Calvin Griffith - prior to or following that day in 1978," Carew said in a story by Howard Sinker of the Star Tribune. Griffith was the first owner in the major leagues to bring many Cuban ballplayers to the franchise in Washington, D.C., and then to Minnesota in 1961. There's a long list that includes Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Zoilo Versalles, Julio Becquer, Jose Valdivielso, Ruben Gomez, Bert Cueto, and, oh yes, Tony Oliva. Was Griffith a racist? You'll have to make up your own mind on that.
° You've heard of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, right? I'd say in this era of removing statues, changing names, removing books from libraries, etc., that all the statues of those two guys, both known as slave owners, could be in danger, as well as all the towns, schools, streets and lakes named after them. Albert Lea, Minn., we just found out, is named after a Confederate officer who three decades earlier was a government surveyor in southern Minnesota. If they change the name of the town because of that, the world may be spinning a bit out of control. And I found it a bit odd that Minnesota's lieutenant governor said she "won't shed a tear" after the statute of Christopher Columbus was torn down. You can make the argument that the statue of Columbus could/should come down. But I was surprised that an elected member of the state's executive branch would think it's OK to destroy public property. Bad precedent.
° One of the anchors of a morning TV show in the Twin Cities said a couple days ago that maybe it was time to take a break from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram because of overuse during the pandemic. I don't do any of those, know almost nothing about them, and therefore might not be smart enough to comment. But I will anyway. Some — not all — radio and TV people continually talk about those services, one even saying the other day that "we all have" Twitter, Facebook, Zoom, etc. No, we all don't. And many of those who don't are happy they don't. It isn't necessary to have them to make it through life. I'm sure there are wonderful things about all of them, although the current resident of the White House has made us wonder about Twitter. I even went through a virtual editorial board meeting on Zoom recently, and the world didn't come to an end. I do hear so many good things about Facebook as far as keeping up with friends and relatives. For example, a friend texted me the other day that he and his wife, and two other couples, have Zoomed a cocktail hour (admitting that sometimes it turns into two or three hours) once a week for 14 weeks during the pandemic. That sounds like a good thing. But don't say someone is out of the loop if they don't do Twitter or any of the other services. And, sort of on the same track, don't make fun of someone who is wearing a mask during this unusual time. It doesn't qualify you as a sissy just because you wear a mask.
° Baseball in Princeton is having a rough time this year. The American Legion baseball program, one that's been in Princeton for about 90 years, is not being sponsored by the national organization this year, because of the pandemic, and Minnesota made the decision not to have teams this year because of that. Word came this week that the Princeton Panthers, the town ball team from Princeton that has had a bit of a rebirth the past two years, is not going to play this year. I'm not completely sure why and it's too bad because there was a good number of young players and the team appeared to be on the way to recapturing the tradition of the Panthers. Other teams in their league, the Eastern Minny, are at least playing exhibition games. It was reported in the Union-Times recently that the PrInceton VFW team (9th- and 10th-graders, 18 of them) was going to play, and was practicing. But coach Jordan Neubauer, also the PHS coach, told me Thursday the league Princeton plays in was recently shut down for this season. There is a scrimmage scheduled at Buffalo next week and Neubauer hopes to have some other scrimmages. But the league tournament and district tournament won't be happening. All of this is a direct result of the pandemic.
°A lifelong Democrat told me a few days ago, shaking his head all the while, that during this pandemic he has come around to thinking he will vote for Donald Trump in November. He thinks Trump will get things done and that Joe Biden won't. He seemed apologetic about his view but, at least right now, thinks Trump will get his vote. That conversation came a couple weeks after talking to a lifelong Republican who said he just couldn't take "the antics" of Donald Trump anymore and was planning to vote for Joe Biden, something he never thought he'd do. He also seemed apologetic. Those two sentiments might give us a clue as to where the country is as the election nears. The next four-plus months should be interesting.
° Finally, major league baseball — sort of — is set to return and that's good news for those of us who are baseball enthusiasts. You can be sure that a 60-game season, if it happens, will be strange. Teams thought to be good might fail in a shortened season, while others might surprise. Who should we blame for the delay in getting a season going? Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan, a veteran writer in the Twin Cities, penned a column two days ago that blamed team owners. He mentioned that Carl Pohad bought the Twins from Calvin Griffith for $36 million in 1984 and that now the team is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion. The other side of the coin came from Bob Nightengale who writes for USA Today and other papers. During an interview on WCCO Radio a couple nights ago he blamed the players. My take, all along, has been that both the players' union and the owners share the guilt. It seems they're all greedy. Star Tribune columnist Pat Reusse, a long-running sports columnist in the Twin Cities, heaped some blame on baseball commissioner Rob "Money" Manford (Reusse's wonderful term) in a recent column, as well as lobbing a comment or two at former player Tony Clark, the head of the union. They all deserve blame. I'll bet the Houstron Astro players are happy, however, because they will have to take grief from fans for only a couple months, not six, coming on the heels of their cheating ways. I'm happy to have baseball back, hoping COVID-19 doesn't take over again. I guarantee there will be surprises, fans or no fans in the stands.
PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES
July 1, 1965 - The Princeton town team split a doubleheader with Palmer, Chuck Skarohlid getting the 8-3 win in the first game. Fred Schwartz had three hits, Steve Lindell two.
July 1, 1970 - Note: The newspaper for July 1, 1970, is missing from the files. That paper would have told the story of the first Princeon Legion tournament when Edina beat Little Falls 1-0 for the title.)
July 2, 1975 - Dave Mingo, Mark Enger and Mike Solheim homered in a 7-1 town team win over Rush City, and Dan Kne struck out 14 in an 8-3 win over Hinckley . . . The Legion baseball team won the Grand Rapids tournament, beating Aitkin 7-6 in the title game for its 14th straight win.
July 3, 1980 - .Joel Johnson hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Legion baseball team beat St. Francis 11-9. Scott Meyer got the win in relief and Brian Peterson, Steve Wankel, Dale Perbix, Sam Anderson and Pete Finelli each had two hits.
July 4, 1985 - Buzz Johnson hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning as the town team beat O'Hara's of St. Cloud 7-4. Princeton and three St. Cloud teams played in the new Middlesota League in 1985 and 1986 . . . Michey Branchaud was the winning pitcher in all three games as Princeton, 5-7 heading into the tournament, won its Legion tournament for the first time in 10 years. He gave up two runs in 16 innings and struck out 16.
July 4, 1990 - Helen Sanborn and Teresa Dubiel won the doubles title in the women's state bowling tournament . . . The Frank Pharmacy women's softball team won a tournament in Princeton . . . Princeton lost to Sioux Falls and North St. Paul in the Alexandria Legion baseball tournament.
July 6, 1995 - Rick Cotter qualified for the state amateur golf tournament . . . Anne Schwartz and Jodi Sternquist won the President's Tournament at Princeton Golf Club . . . After being no-hitted for 7 1/3 innings the Princeton Panthers rallied to defeat the Forest Lake Brewers, 3-2, Troy Scheffel driving in the winning run in the ninth inning.
June 29, 2000 - .The Princeton Panthers, during a year in which they set a team record for homers and finished second in the state, beat Chisago Lakes 17-3 as winning pitcher Jason Miller hit three homers, on only four swings. The team was averaging 11.7 runs a game at that point, hitting .336 as a team, and had 25 doubles and 26 homers in only 12 games . . .The Legion baseball team lost its opening game in the St. Cloud wood-bat tournament, won its next three over Willmar, Brainerd (state AAA champ in high school), and Minneapolis Hellenic, and then lost 9-6 to Mandan, N.D., in the semifinal game after trailing 7-0. The wins went to Brent Julson, Tony Roehl and Luke Bakken..
July 7, 2005 - The Legion baseball team (6-7, 6-1 in league play) beat Cambridge 10-1 and Chisago Lakes 9-2 as Brandon Knoll and Josh Ludwig got the wins. Zach Neubauer had two hits in one inning in the Cambridge game . . . An eight-game winning streak ended for the Princeton Panthers but then they beat Hinckley 11-8 behind Jason Miller, and Pine City 12-2 behind Luke Bakken. Miller (3 RBIs) and Brian Dorr (2) led in the Hinckley game and Ryan Carling (3 RBIs) and Chad Carling, Jesse Zimmer and Curt Wilson (2 each) led against Pine City.
July 8, 2010 - The Legion baseball team beat Braham 13-1 as Brent Miodus got the win. He drove in four runs and Josh Vickers drove in three . . . The Princeton Panthers (14-6, 8-2 in the Eastern Minny) swept Quamba 9-1 and 7-0, Josh Ludwig and Eric Deglman getting the wins, and then handed Isanti its first league loss, 3-1, as Ludwig got the win and Brian Dorr drove in two runs.
July 2, 2015 - A 14U Princeton baseball team won its own tournament, beating Otsego 7-2, Milaca 12-4, and St. Michael 10-0 . . . PHS grad Jaydyn Bonasera earned academic all-conference honors after competing for the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth) track and field team. In the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference meet she placed second in the discus, fourth in the shot put, and sixth in the hammer throw.
(Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years) and has covered sports in the area for the past 53 years.)