Posts Tagged ‘Annapolis’

What the Heck Happened to Sports?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

My Little League mitt, circa 1951.

My Little League mitt, circa 1951. RJ Photography

Ruminations of an old sports editor:

     The daily grind of following and writing about the Trump/MAGA assault on our democracy can be tiring, so I sometimes turn to sports in search of a break.

      For example, former major league ball player Art Shallock celebrated his 100th birthday April 27. The one-time Yankee pitcher is said to be the oldest living major leaguer.

   Perhaps his most notable moment in baseball history is when he replaced 19-year-old Mickey Mantle on the Yankees roster when the future Hall of Famer was optioned to Triple A for more seasoning. That was in 1951, which is the same era in which I used the glove pictured with this column to play center field for my Little League team. So I’m an old sports editor in both senses of the word.

      Shallock won a few games with the Yankees, collected three World Series rings and never made more than $5,000 a year, but he seems content with his journey.

       Less content recently is Yankees manager Aaron Boone. It’s not enough that he’s going through a divorce, but he recently was ejected from a game because a fan sitting directly behind Boone and the Yankees dugout was harassing the umpire.

     Even when everyone pointed out that Boone hadn’t said anything, the ump still tossed him, saying, “The manager’s in charge.”

      The umpire, Hunter Wendelstedt, stuck by his guns and his ego and the Yankees appealed and, surprise! MLB actually said the ump was wrong and will be penalized. 

       I’d say a couple of weeks without pay for this dumb stunt and a refresher umpire school. The device that charts balls and strikes said he also missed 68 percent of the strikes thrown in the game. A few other umps could use refreshing, too. Robots are looming.

      In another recent case of a major sports entity surprisingly admitting it messed up, the NCAA gave Reggie Bush his 2005 Heisman Trophy back, conceding that times had changed.

        Indeed.

        Bush was given then denied the award for his efforts as a running back at Southern California because his family had benefited financially (trips and gifts) from his success, a big no-no for the world of amateur college athletes. 

         Well, that was then and now is apparently now and today’s college athletes receive lucrative payments for use of their likenesses because colleges have made millions from their efforts, much of which also went to coaches, but not to the athletes (who were supposedly getting a free college education.)

      So, traditional college conferences are now scrambled to get richer TV contracts, coaches and colleges are making millions, college athletes now go where they can get the best contract, the NFL avoids establishing a farm system like baseball did and Reggie Bush is finally getting his Heisman.

     Further signaling the steady demise of amateur athletics, medal winners are apparently going to be awarded cash prizes for the first time at the Paris Olympics this summer. Ain’t capitalism great?

     Oh, and lest we forget, you can now legally bet on pretty much anything in any sport, while the game is in progress, in (sort of) full confidence the athletes aren’t doing the same. 

    I patched together this sports report mostly from social media because, if you haven’t noticed, traditional — to wit, newspaper and magazine — sports reporting has been replaced by sports personalities with opinions “reporting” on TV. 

       Sports Illustrated, having laid off most of its staff, was recently saved from oblivion when some company said it would keep the onetime sports standard bearer going as a monthly, not a weekly. 

      No thanks. Not when the magazine has lost its immediacy and stable of top sports writers that once included Frank DeFord and the incomparable Jim Murray.

      Plus, The New York Times actually eliminated its sports staff, reassigning reporters to who knows what and hiring something called The Athletic, whose writers apparently know a lot about WAR and leaving the park velocity in baseball and whatever conspiracy theory potential Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers is currently spreading.

     Red Smith they are not (when he was writing about sports with The New York Herald Tribune as well as The Times.)

      Nor are they Al DeSantis in Middletown, N.Y., Joe Gross in Annapolis, Md., John Fox and, well, me in Binghamton, N.Y., or Dick Young, Jimmy Cannon and Mike Lupica in New York City or, for that matter, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg, who once lent me his typewriter at Yankee Stadium so I could write a piece about Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, whom I had just interviewed while he was sitting in a whirlpool bath. Yes, naked.

      Guess those were the good, old days.

PS: Thanks to just-retired John Sterling, longtime Yankee radio broadcaster, for all those marvelous home run calls. “It is high! It is far! It is gone!“ A sterling effort.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

What Would Barbara Say About Today’s GOP? A Tribute to a Colleague and Straight-shooter

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Barbara Bedell

Barbara Bedell

 A colleague with whom I spent 29 years carefully avoiding talking politics died the other day. In my sorrow at her passing, I contemplated what it would be like talking politics with her today.

    She would have hated it.

    Barbara Bedell was a prominent fixture at the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, NY, when I started working there in 1978. She was an even more prominent fixture when I retired from the newspaper 29 years later.

      She remained another 10 years, cranking out her daily column of news you can’t find in local papers today. Fund-raisers, charities, non-profits, civic organizations, the stuff that makes a community. Names, names, names. Everyone wanted their name or their group mentioned in Barbara’s column.

      I worked at a desk next to hers for about a decade. It offered handy access to the famous Bedell candy dish and was close enough to share gossip.

     Barbara knew a lot of people. But she also knew about being discreet and had learned to reconcile her somewhat conservative political views with the decidedly liberal views offered daily on the paper’s editorial page, editorials written for the most part by me.

     I knew she was a longtime, loyal registered Republican, a Ronald Reagan Republican, from her proud roots in Annapolis to stops in South Dakota and Poughkeepsie. She often donated to Republican political campaigns, but she never let her political preferences influence who was mentioned in her column. Or who was not. She played it straight.

     It was that straight-shooter trait I remembered when I ran into Barbara four years after I had retired. I was working on a column for my blog and the 2012 presidential campaign was in full swing.

   Not having talked politics in a while, I asked, in total innocence, “What do you think of the presidential candidates your party is offering?”

      She did not disappoint.

       “It is absurd, insulting. None of them is qualified. It’s embarrassing. Obama is going to win in a landslide. I couldn’t vote for any of them.”

    “Not even Romney?”

    “No.”

     “But how did this happen? How did this gang become the Republican Party’s best and brightest?”

     “They’re not. And all those (Tea Party) Republicans who got elected last time are going to lose next time. It’s a disgrace. I got phone calls from all the Republican campaign fund-raising committees. I told them not to call me. I’m not giving any of them any money.”

       “So who would you like to see run for president?” I asked Barbara.

        “Hillary Clinton. And don’t use my name.”

        “Spoken like a true Republican,” I wrote.

         It was a great kicker for the column, but how prophetic those last lines proved to be.

         A disgrace, she had called her party’s leading figures at the time. The Republican candidates for president in December of 2011, when Barbara and I had this brief conversation, were Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and the two Mormon candidates, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney.

       The field ate each other up. Huntsman was too smart and reasonable. Romney simply said whatever the audience of the day wanted to hear. He won. Then, as Barbara predicted, Obama beat him.

        The story at the time was that loyal Republicans kept quiet about the candidates’ obvious lack of presidential qualifications until and unless they were vying for the same nomination. Republican candidates could see their fellow candidates’ flaws all too clearly. They keep quiet about them only when it suited them to do otherwise.

    The traditional party faithful, the “moderates,” as Barbara described herself, mostly kept their opinions of the candidates to themselves. And Barbara was wrong about one thing: Some of those Tea Party candidates kept winning. As a result, the party core steadily became more and more conservative, anti-science, anti-immigrant. anti-education, anti-gay, anti-anything but white, Christian nationalist philosophy.

      Mostly, they kept this to themselves as well. Then Donald Trump came along and let them out of the closet to trumpet their ignorance, intolerance and occasional inclination to violence. Party leaders, well aware of the shortcomings of Trump and many of their fellow elected Republicans, again kept it to themselves.

      And so fear and cowardice have become the bywords of the Republican Party today. It doesn’t matter that what you know in your heart is true, just do not speak ill of the ignorant elite if you don’t want to lose your job, or worse.

    Today, having become the party of Trump — a man twice impeached, found guilty of sexual assault, charged with campaign finance fraud for paying hush money to a porn star, indicted for attempting to overturn the legitimate results of an election, a conspiracy to threaten the rights of others, a conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding before Congress and obstruction of an official proceeding, about to be indicted for a separate conspiracy to overturn the results of a legitimate election and indicted for concealing and refusing to return classified government documents  — the continued silence of most Republicans is deafening.

      So what would my departed friend and colleague, Barbara Bedell, think of the Republican Party candidates for president today?

       I don’t think she’d mind me speculating. Listening over the divider that separated our desks, I think I can hear her muttering quietly, “They’re a disgrace, Gaydos. An embarrassment to America. And you can quote me.”

rjgaydos@gmail.com

A City Boy’s Tips on Country Etiquette

Friday, January 13th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

If you flatten it, you replace it. That oughta be the rule of the road.

If you flatten it, you replace it. That oughta be the rule of the road.

 For most of my life, I’ve lived in small cities (Bayonne, Binghamton, Annapolis, Middletown) and one large town (Wallkill), which is really a mall-dotted highway surrounded by housing complexes. Throw in a few years living on college campuses. Basically, it’s been city or community living.

    When you live with a lot of other people close by and you want to be relatively content, you learn the rules of the road, the do’s and don’ts of getting along. Mostly, it’s mind your own business and don’t make a lot of noise.

     A few years ago, I moved to the country, a bit of upstate New York between the Hudson River and the Catskills that is often protected from major weather issues by the imposing Shawangunk Ridge.

     Country living means owls, woodpeckers, coyotes and starry skies, oh my.

     It’s nice. Well, usually. It’s quiet. Usually. In any case, it most definitely has its own rules of the road. Things a transplanted city boy ought to know. Something I call country etiquette.

     The notion (see how I used the word “notion“ instead of “idea“?) that there was such a thing as country etiquette grew out of a recent conversation about a not uncommon country experience.

     A couple of years ago, our quiet summer evening at home was disrupted by a loud squealing of tires and a loud thud. Right in front of our house.

     We rushed out to find a car sitting in a culvert in front of our house, a distraught young woman sitting behind the wheel and our mailbox on the ground, post and all. I don’t recall who called 911, but state police arrived quickly, talked with the driver (who was shaken but not hurt), someone called a tow truck, we went back in the house and eventually everything was back to normal, except for the mailbox. Its career was over.

      In short order, we replaced the mailbox and occasionally wondered what happened to the young driver. I suspected alcohol may have been involved.

     A couple of weeks later, the whole scene repeated itself. Nighttime. Squeal. Thud. Car. Culvert. Young woman driver. Unhurt. Mailbox kaput.

     Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra once said. Same follow up. Police. Tow truck. Mailbox flattened.

      Again, we replaced it and the new one has survived ever since. But here’s the thing. Neither driver offered to pay to replace the mailbox (they both got out of their cars and talked to us) or to have it repaired. Now, it seems to me that a basic rule of country etiquette ought to be that if you wipe out someone’s mailbox (and get caught at it), the decent thing to do is to make it right again. Pay for a new one.

      And that’s what got me thinking about other rules of country etiquette. What are some things to help someone new get along with neighbors who may not live right next door? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

— Having a handy supply of eggs is nice, but keep your chickens in your own yard as much as possible. Free range doesn’t mean the whole neighborhood, or, especially, the busy road.

— Don’t shovel your driveway snow into the road. It’s only extra work for the highway crews and it’s dangerous.

— When driving, wave at people walking along country roads. It’s neighborly.

— Walkers, please wear reflective clothing at night. It’s awfully dark out there sometimes and the roads are often winding and have no shoulder. We’d like to get to know you.

— Don’t let your dog walk on the road side. Preferably, don’t walk your dog on the road at all. Some drivers are less attentive than others. (See reference to mailboxes above.) And yes, clean up.

— Slow down for people at their mailbox. (A personal peeve of mine.) You can even wave.

— In fact, slow down in general. Posted speed limits are not merely suggestions.

— Be patient with a farm tractor on the road. He’ll be out of your way shortly, or he’ll pull over as soon as he can. He’s working.

— Be honest at roadside honor stands. Act like there are cameras in the trees.

— Free stuff at the foot of a driveway is really free. If you want it, take it. Someone always does.

— If you’re not going to back up a lot of traffic, be nice and let people back out of their driveways. It can be tricky sometimes.

    That’s what I came up with so far. If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comment section.

    While I’m at it, I figure I might as well add another feature of country living — a potpourri of handmade road signs. Here are a few I noticed this past year:

— Corn maze, hay ride, pumpkins, pickles, sweet corn

— Beef sale

— Fresh garlic

— Sunflower patch, mums, hay for sale

— Farm fresh eggs

— U pick pumpkins

— Fresh key lime pie, 

— We buy ATVs dead or alive

     Like I said, nice.

     ‘Til next time at pet-friendly Tractor Supply.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Country Life (and more) Midst COVID-19

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

Bob Gaydos

THE REPORT … emus, swans, secrecy and third parties

A couple of new neighbors. RJ photography

A couple of new neighbors.
RJ photography

  I’m a city boy. Bayonne, Binghamton, Annapolis, Middletown. Not big cities, but places where most stuff you need was in walking distance, there were downtowns, buses (in varying degrees), lots of kids, stickball, cats, dogs, and people you might nod and wave to. No emus.

      Today, I’m a country boy. Pine Bush. Burlingham actually. Slightly upstate New York (about 75 miles from the city), but definitely not urban or even suburban. It’s nice, except for the stuff you need not being in walking distance. The pandemic has made even that less of a nuisance since we’ve discovered that you can order anything online to be delivered to your door. It eliminates the human connection, but society has been working on that for some time now.

       Back to the emus. One of the pleasures of country living is the abundance of non-human neighbors. In the past I’ve commented on eagles, coyotes, owls, woodpeckers and the variety of visitors to our bird feeders (still just two cardinals). But that’s chicken feed compared to the menagerie we’ve seen on just one local road over the past few months.

       In the four-and-a-half miles under discussion, we have seen: Two stunning black swans, two emus, flocks of chickens, one beautiful white swan, one peacock (please get off the road)  a pig, two score of horses, herds of cows, four white, domesticated geese, Canada geese galore, a llama, several sheep (please stay off the road!), a blue heron, grazing herds of deer, a bull and one outspoken burro. A recent addition — a mare and her foal. Most of these are permanent residents we look forward to seeing regularly. Toto, we’re not in Bayonne anymore. By the way, I’ll give a shout out here to any reader who can identify this road.

       Hint: It’s in Orange County.

      — By the way … speaking of shouting out. Mitch McConnell is probably wishing he’d kept his mouth shut last week. The Senate majority leader first said that Barack Obama “should’ve kept his mouth shut” instead of criticizing the Dotard’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Classless,” McConnell suggested. He got mocked all over Twitter and Facebook for this absurd comment, given the lack of class demonstrated by the person he was defending. Then, McConnell had to eat crow by admitting that, contrary to what he and Dotard were saying, the Obama administration had indeed left a detailed playbook on how to handle future pandemics. Dotard got rid of it. That’s what happens when lying becomes so automatic you do it as naturally as breathing. McConnell is a disgrace.

       — By the way … Kentucky, the state represented by Republicans McConnell and the foolish Rand Paul, both of whom have objected to further stimulus funds for people who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19, is one of the states most economically impacted by the pandemic. This from the Lexington Herald-Leader: “Figures released Thursday show that another 103,548 Kentuckians filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total number of initial claims since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak in mid-March to nearly 500,000, or 24 percent of the state’s total civilian workforce. Two analyses from financial technology companies show Kentucky is one of the most-impacted states when measuring the number of claims as a percentage of the workforce, and when measuring the percentage increase in unemployment claims from the start of the COVID-19 crisis.” But hey, Kentuckians, keep electing these yohos because, you know, they’re poking fingers in the eyes of The Man.  And you’re about to lose your old Kentucky home. 

        — By the way … A lot of state and local governments have used the pandemic as an excuse to make it difficult or impossible to get access to public records. Many are routinely denying Freedom of Information requests. Of course, at the same time, these governments are making major decisions and spending billions fighting COVID-19. Not a time when government secrecy should be encouraged. David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, a California-based nonprofit fighting this trend, says, “It’s just essential that the press and the public be able to dig in and see records that relate to how the government has responded to the crisis. That’s the only way really to avoid waste, fraud, abuse and to ensure that governments aren’t overstepping their bounds.” Or to find out if they even have a clue as to what they’re doing.

        — By the way … Rep. Justin Amash, an independent Michigan congressman who had the guts and good sense to quit the Republican Party, has again come to his senses and given up his foolhardy and potentially damaging bid to run for president as a Libertarian. (You didn’t know?) Amash blamed COVID-19 (it’s become a handy multi-purpose excuse) for making it so difficult to campaign. Call it a mercy killing. He didn’t mention that maybe he had no shot at winning and the effort would mostly be an exercise in ego and spreading routinely rejected Libertarian views. He was running because of his dislike for Drumpf, which is commendable, but his candidacy would also have gotten votes from Republicans and others who don’t like Drumpf, but can’t find themselves voting for Joe Biden or another Democrat. Shades of Ralph Nader and Al Gore and Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein. This is no year for symbolic votes, people.

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

Happy Birthday to Us, America

Monday, July 1st, 2019

By Bob Gaydos

DF7D27AC-9A10-4CDF-8AB5-9978FC52E730My country ‘‘tis of thee,

Today, I fear for thee.

The Orange Pretender, having stolen the presidency, plans to heist the nation’s birthday party as his own. At the memorial for America’s greatest president, no less. It will be a celebration of ego and pomposity on a grand scale. (He wants tanks!)

Such is the shell-shocked state of the republic, many Americans will go about their lives as if this is normal. ‘Burgers, hot dogs and fireworks. Business as usual. It’s an effort to preserve sanity, which, I understand, is necessary when so many others who share the same situation seem to have no problem with the behavior of the dotard on the dais.

But it’s not normal, America, not by a long shot, and it pains me to have to reflect on what this pretend president did in the days preceding the 243rd birthday of the republic.

On the anniversary of the killing of five journalists in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin, the man who helped install him as president. Putin is a president who routinely locks up Russian reporters or, if they are really troublesome, has them poisoned or thrown out hotel room windows. Trump and Putin joked about how it would be nice to be “rid” of such annoyances. Trump also jokingly asked Putin not to interfere in the next U.S. election. Ha ha.

Trump subsequently professed his close friendship with the Saudi crown prince who had done exactly what Trump joked about — he ordered the torture and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi writer who was living in America and working for The Washington Post. Trump thinks this is no big deal because Saudi Arabia will be spending a lot of money on “a lot of things” in America. And staying at Trump hotels.

And, in a great meeting of the minds, Trump met Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, on his turf, to create the photo op both yearned for — thereby giving instant credibility to a murderous, nuclear-weapon-armed tyrant who is much less circumspect than Putin or the Saudi prince in terminally eliminating impediments to his dictates. (Of  course, Trump also lied that Barack Obama had yearned for and been denied a similar meeting with Kim in North Korea when Obama was president. But that was just typical Trump B.S.)

You can throw in Trump insulting our ally and his G20 summit host, Japan, backing down on his China tariff threat in the one area it made sense, exhibiting a profound ignorance of what the word “busing”” refers to when discussing schools, and denying yet another allegation of sexual assault by saying, “She’s not my type.“ A class act this Trump.

Even for Trump, the week was quite a display of ego, ignorance and insensitivity. And now we get Trump at the Lincoln Memorial telling us his version of what America is all about. There will apparently be lots of tanks and troops and planes. Someone will probably slip the words freedom and liberty into his speech. He will mouth them uncomprehendingly. Look at the great party I threw for America!

I’ve said it before. I take it personally when the president calls me “the enemy of the people.“ I take it personally when journalists are murdered for doing their jobs. I take it personally when not enough people seem to get the connection between the president’s words and the dead journalists. Like it’s OK for a president to say such things.

I know there are plenty of people who share my views and are as appalled as I am with Trump and many have voiced their opinions. But I’m still waiting for the Republicans among them to state so publicly. He has branded their party as surely as he has branded every one of his failed business ventures.

So have your burgers and fireworks. Take a dip in the pool. If you have time, maybe stop and think about what this holiday signifies. Liberty, opportunity, and, as Lincoln, a president who could actually craft coherent, profound messages, noted, “the proposition that all men are created equal.” Were he writing today, Lincoln would have said “men and women,” so that his message was clear.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” The words of another eloquent statesman, Edmund Burke, Ireland, in the 18th century.

What Trump is doing is not normal, America, and it’s important to say so. In fact, I’m proud and grateful that I live in a country that still grants me that freedom.

So, happy birthday, to us.

Bob Gaydos is a freelance writer. He was news editor and executive editor of the Evening Capital in Annapolis in the early 1970s. rjgaydos@gmail.com

‘Enemy of the People’? Not the Press

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

By Bob Gaydos

capital gazette reader

I began my most recent column lamenting that this all-Trump-all-the-time insanity we are experiencing has sucked much of the joy out of life and made it difficult to write a “normal” column. “This has become personal,” I wrote.

Little did I know.

A week later, an angry white male with a shotgun and a history of threats shot and killed five people at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md. For a brief time in my career, I was managing editor of the Evening Capital, which the Baltimore Sun later bought and merged with the Capital’s sister paper, the Maryland Gazette.

When I saw the first report on the shooting, I had an “Oh my God” moment. Who? But I quickly did the math and realized that, having left Annapolis more than 40 years ago, the odds that anyone I worked with was still there were slim to none. Also, the paper had long moved from its old offices on West Street — a convenient walk to the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, Historic District, the Naval Academy and City Dock — to a modern building farther from downtown.

Still. People were shot at The Capital, I said, processing the information, and Donald Trump keeps calling the press “the enemy of the people” and conservative commentators and “pundits” keep issuing warnings about the media’s “time being up.”

This is not only not normal, this is dangerous because the most rabid followers of Trump and the media-bashers include some people with a violent nature who are looking for any excuse to use the guns they are hoarding to attack the “enemy” as fingered by their leader. That includes, at the top of the list, those who report the facts.

For Trump, that means anyone who points out his daily lies, mistakes, failures and contradictions and their impact on the rest of us. The so-called mainstream media. The big guys, to him. But to many Trump followers, that label translates to any journalist anywhere, including Annapolis.

This is classic government by fear-mongering. Angry white males keep slaughtering school children in America and newspapers report the facts and, in many cases, publish editorials and columns calling for more responsible gun laws. Trump, after first acting like he agrees with the need to pass sensible gun restrictions and criticizing Republican congressmen for being “afraid of the NRA,” then gets in bed with the NRA and points his finger at “the enemy” — the press — for reporting “fake news.”

“Defend the Second Amendment!” shout the zealots. “It’s the press’ fault!”

They apparently never heard of, or don’t care about or understand, the First Amendment, but I think most Americans do. I also think most Americans are a bit spoiled and lazy about understanding and appreciating what Freedom of the Press means to them.

It means that reporters in Annapolis, for example, can keep readers informed on meetings of local groups and schools, report on city council or state legislative action, local sports news, the status of the Chesapeake Bay and changes at the Naval Academy and editorial writers can offer reasoned opinion on the news of the day, unswayed by political or business interests.

Does this happen so purely every day at every paper in every community in America? Of course not. But I believe it it does in most. I am convinced by more than a half century of working with journalists that getting the story right and telling it the best way possible is still the primary objective.

For most journalists, the pay is good, but not spectacular. The ego is fed by the byline. The job is alternately fun, interesting, boring, challenging, stressful and always unpredictable, which may be the best part.

I mentioned I was managing editor of The Capital briefly in the 1970s at the height of the Watergate scandal. The unpredictable happened to me one morning when I was news editor. At the regular morning news meeting, the managing editor and editor got into an argument over something of great import of which I no longer have any memory. The managing editor abruptly stood up and said, “I quit!” and marched out the door of the editor’s office. Without missing a beat (at least that’s how I remember it), the editor pointed to me and said, “Gaydos, you’re managing editor.”

I eventually left Annapolis with that good personal story and wound up in Middletown, N.Y., another small city with a lot of good local journalists telling readers what was going on in the area. Among other things, I wrote editorials calling for sensible gun control laws, not repeal of the Second Amendment. Those sentiments continue to be expressed in the local paper and reporters and editors continue to do their best to serve the public, operating with sharply reduced resources due to an industry-wide corporate culture that is more interested in maximizing income than increasing the news hole.

Those newsroom people may irritate a politician occasionally, but as I see it, that’s part of the press’s responsibility of telling the truth. They are not, however, the enemy of the people any more than the five employees of the Capital Gazette who were gunned down in Annapolis. Just average Americans doing their jobs.

Words have power. When those in position of power use words recklessly — and Trump does so routinely — innocent people can be hurt. The facts speak for themselves. The Amendments to the Constitution are in order for a reason. People should not have to live in fear for speaking or writing the truth. That’s what makes America great.

I have many memories and mixed feelings about my time in Annapolis. It’s a great town. In the end, it’s all part of my story. But I am saddened by the newspaper’s — the city’s — loss and I hope and pray that more Americans wake up soon to the real enemy of the people.

rjgaydos@gmail.com