Report from Connecticuit


ROVAC – The Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut. What an honor it was to be invited to talk about my books at their spring conference. For an author it doesn’t get any better than this.


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Camden Yards: O’s vs Cleveland


Journeyed up to the Yards today to see the O’s take on Cleveland. Manny Machado had two homeruns and Andrew Cashner pitched reasonably well and…

…that’s pretty much it from the Bird’s perspective. Except for Manny and Trey Mancini (who was out with an injury today) the Orioles batting order is rather anemic. Going into the game the 5 thru 9 hitters in the lineup all had batting averages below .200 (three were under .180 and one was less than .100).

Meanwhile the Cleveland batsmen had a very enjoyable day getting 7 runs on 14 hits including a pair of homeruns by Jose Ramirez. Corey Kluber had a very impressive outing on the mound for the Indians giving up no (as in zero) walks. Judging from the batting averages on the board, most of the Cleveland hitters are off to slow starts but this is a quality, veteran team. They will do well.

By the way, Wahoo Sam is still on their caps and sleeves. I respect the reasons why he must go but I will still miss him.

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Martinsburg 2018 Chocolate Fest & Book Faire


I am excited to be one of the exhibiting authors in this year’s Faire. Use the attached link to see my write-up. It’s toward the bottom.

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O’s vs Jays, round two


The second half of my back-to back Camden visits. The good news: attendance cracked the 8,000 barrier (still the second lowest attendance in Camden history but at least the trend is up).

Now for the game:

Innings 1-7: Andrew Cashner pitches seven shutout innings for the Birds. Jays get an occasional baserunner or two and Cashner goes deep in the count more often than I would like but still it was a very good outing.

The problem is that Aaron Sanchez for the Jays is practically perfect. As in no hits. A few walks but not a single hit. And he is doing it in a most expeditious fashion. Through five innings the pitch count is 58. After six it is 66. After seven, 82. The last time I noticed pitch counts was the Jordan Zimmermann no-hitter back in ’14. Could we be in for another one?

Top of the 8th: Castro comes in to pitch for the Birds. He has a live arm and has done some good work for Baltimore in the past. He strikes out the first batter and “almost” strikes out the next but loses it on a questionable call by the home plate umpire. At that point he seems to lose his concentration. In fact the whole team seems to lose it. A walk, a hit, a couple of errors. Come on guys! Get it together. And they do recover and hold the Jays to a single run. Jays are up one-zip.

Bottom of the 8th. Beckham get the first “hit.” A hard grounder that goes between the legs of third baseman Donaldson. Beckham winds up at second. They call it a hit. No hitter is gone. No one seems to mind. Two more hits tie the game with runners on second and third and none out.

At this point I look out to the Jay bullpen. Nothing. Gibbons is sticking with Sanchez.

Mancini is up. He has already hit three deep fly balls (all for outs) in this game. If he does it again, the runner on third will score and we will take the lead.

Mancini pops up. Intentional walk to Machado. Schoop (who is not hitting) then grounds into a double play and the moment is gone. Score 1-1.

Top of the ninth. O’Day is pitching. Granderson is up for the Jays. I have watched “The Grandy Man” for over a dozen years: with Detroit, then the Yankees, then the Mets, now Toronto. He is what you call a “tough out.” He knows the strike zone, has line drive power, and plays with an intensity. Be careful, O’Day!

I think you know where this is heading. Granderson sends a O’Day pitch over the wall in right field. Birds go out quietly in the ninth and that’s the game.

Final score: Jays 2, Birds 1.

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The few, the proud


Last night was the smallest paid attendance in the history of Camden Yards. 7,912. There were exactly five of us in section 344 (but I think the other four were folks who relocated because of the misty rain that was falling.) It was actually a pretty good game – for eight innings. The takeaways:

  1. Dylan Bundy pitched well. Not quite as well as line suggests as the Jays did hit some rockets that were straight at the defenders but still, it was a solid outing.
  2. J.A. Happ was also impressive. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him before but this was the first time I really paid attention. O’s hitters got on base but Happ delivered the goods when it counted. Which brings me to…
  3. The O’s got men on base but could not deliver when it mattered. But the thing is, I wasn’t that surprised. Yes the O’s got men on base but mostly it was seeing-eye grounders and the occasional walk. With the exception on Machado and Mancini, the Orioles batsmen are not swinging the bat well.
  4. My first time seeing Anthony Santander. I was not impressed. Batting from the right side, he just couldn’t get the bat around on Happ’s 93/94 mph fastball. His last at bat saw him swinging from the left side against a RHP reliever. He looked more in command batting from the left.
  5. Chris Davis is in a horrendous slump (Even by Chris’s standards). He struck out twice and hit into a double play. The second time he struck out, he broke his bat over his knee in frustration. Then the last time up, he tried some pathetic version of a swinging bunt. It was really sad.
  6. I do think Buck messed up in the last inning, sending out Givens to pitch the ninth. Now Givens is one of the Birds better relievers but he struggled with his command in the 8th inning and got out of the jam only because of a Blue Jay base running error (trying to score on a fly out to very short left field). Well Givens wasn’t any better in the ninth, letting the Jays load the bases. So Buck brought in Nester Castro, Jr. who is currently ranked number 25 among Oriole prospects. The scouting report says he has a pretty good curve ball but no fast ball to speak of. Well Nester couldn’t get his curve ball over the plate so he had to come in with his “heat.” Result: Josh Donaldson grand slam homerun to deep center. Adam Jones didn’t even need to look. And that was the game.
  7. Ken Dixon (pitcher from the ‘80s) and John Stefero (catcher from the ‘80s) were signing autographs. I always try to think of something to say to these old-timers who are signing so I said to Dixon,

“I remember you threw really hard.”

Before he could reply, Stefero chimed in with,

“Yeah, and they hit them out even harder.”

Mr. Dixon did not seem to the pleased by the exchange.

  1. The peanuts were pretty bad. They’re better at Nats Park.


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Return Engagement


Last February (2017), I had the privilege of addressing the Rotary Club of Tyson’s Corner. The topic of the talk was “The Pleasure of Writing Books,” and I discussed the writing process in some detail. Since then, November Third was released and I’ve been invited to return and discuss the writing of that novel as well what it takes for the county to prepare for an election. With the June 12 primaries on the horizon they felt such a talk would be of interested and I am honored to be able to oblige.

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Four Days in Staunton, Virginia


Mary and I have just returned from four wondferful days in Staunton, Virginia. We participated in the “Shenandoah Colloquium: Study with Scholars in Virginia” program. There were lectures on a variety of subjects including “Edith Wilson: Our First Female President?,” “Fundamentals of Beekeeping,” “Cattle Breeding in Colonial Virginia,” and “The Stealing of our Nation’s Parks.” Along the way, we attended an excellent production of Hamlet, visited the Natural Bridge, saw Robert E. Lee’s final resting place, learned about the legacy of George C. Marshall, and listened to a delightful concert of traditional American music. We also met some very nice people. A great time!

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