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About rlhardesty

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  • Birthday 9/11/1977
  1. I am currently working on my doctorate at George Mason, and my dissertation is on the Orioles and what they mean to Baltimore. In one version of the dissertation, I began by writing, "If I ever had a son, I would like to name him Brooks after Brooks Robinson." My wife (then-girlfriend) didn't like the line because she felt we would have no choice but to name our son, if we had one, after Brooks. She was not willing to commit to that. Then, we finally met him. Brooks was doing an autograph signing at the Dugout Zone in Ellicott City in November 2014. If I remember this correctly, there were certain tickets you could purchase. There were tickets that enabled you to get a picture and autograph, and tickets that just allowed you to get an autograph. My wife and I found out about the signing late; as a result, we could only get the tickets that only allowed for an autograph. After the group who received a picture and autograph finished, we got in line based on our number. We moved up closer to Brooks, and I recall a family that was 10-15 people in front of us having Brooks sign for them. Their son was in a wheelchair, and the mother asked, "Mr. Robinson, would you be willing to take a picture with our son?" The gentleman sitting next to Brooks said, "Unfortunately, the session for pictures has ended." Brooks then cheerfully said, "Sure, I will be happy to take a picture." He proceeded to get out of his chair, walk around the table, kneel down, and take a picture with the young man. Given Brooks's health issues at the time, the action was quite remarkable. The family was thrilled! The people that followed the family also asked for a picture and, while the person sitting next to Brooks said no, Brooks said yes. Everyone who wanted a picture got one; everyone who wanted messages included with their autograph got that, too. To paraphrase Roy Firestone, Brooks gave the people what they wanted, and he gave them more. When my wife and I reached the front of the line, I was shaking. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, "I waited my whole life to finally meet you!" Brooks smiled, noticed my shaking, and said, "I've been here this whole time. What took you so long?" We all laughed. He took a picture with me and my wife and signed our ticket stubs from Game 2 of the 2014 ALDS. I told him about my dissertation, and he seemed genuinely interested in it. When we finished, Brooks said, "I really appreciate you coming out to see me today. I wish you the best of luck in your studies." Brooks Robinson was everything everyone said about him and then some. My wife and I walked back to my car and, as we sat down, my wife turned and said, "We can name our son Brooks."
  2. To me, Taylor is an intriguing president, though he only served for a brief period of time. First, Taylor entered office at a time when sectional animosities started to intensify. The United States just received Mexican territory from the U.S.-Mexican War, and questions rose as to whether those territories would be slave or free. A slaveholder from Kentucky, Taylor actually felt slavery was not feasible in the newly acquired territory and declared he would sign any bill that outlawed slavery in federally-controlled territories. Secondly, entering office, Taylor proclaimed that he would defer to Congress on issues of national importance, while also seeking to use compromise to maintain sectional peace. However, Taylor threatened to veto the major piece of legislation that Congress worked on during his presidency: the Compromise of 1850. Taylor would die before the Compromise of 1850 reached the White House. Yet, Taylor's presidency seems most noted for his death. He died in July 1850, with cholera being the cause of death. Over the years, some have speculated that Taylor was assassinated by a pro-slavery sympathizer who poisoned him, to the point where a University of Florida history professor convinced Taylor's closest living relative to exhume his body for testing. The tests, which took place in the early-1990s, revealed that Taylor was not poisoned, though that has not stopped assassination theories from appearing. Some have overlooked a few things surrounding Taylor's death. First, until 1850, sewage tended to find its way to public grounds not far from the White House. Making matters worse, the White House water supply was seven blocks downstream from a depository of human waste. This all meant that the food and water at the White House could be easily contaminated. Keep in mind, when Taylor died, he capped a troubling trend: three out of the past four presidents had died either in office (Taylor, William Henry Harrison) or not long after leaving office (James Polk - three months after leaving office). Taylor and Polk died of cholera, and, while pneumonia is often cited as Harrison's cause of death, recent studies speculated that he could have died from enteric fever. Furthermore, several members of Taylor's cabinet were experiencing gastrointestinal problems, but survived.
  3. Brian pitched against Lakewood on July 6' date=' giving up 6 earned runs on 8 hits in 5.2 innings pitched. He pitched well through five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2016_07_06_lwdafx_delafx_1&t=g_box
  4. To me, John Kennedy is mourned greatly not so much for his accomplishments in office, but the possibility surrounding his presidency. That possibility could be felt as he was running for president in 1960. Then, the nation had been through two terms of Dwight Eisenhower. He was 70 at the time of the 1960 election and viewed by some as a grandfatherly caretaker. To compound matters, by 1960, the nation was undergoing a slight recession, and Sputnik in 1957 caused (unfounded) fears that the Soviets had a missile advantage over us. Kennedy, with his image of youth, energy, and charm, promised to get this country moving again. He reinvigorated that American can-do attitude that characterized most of the 1945-1963 period. To be sure, Kennedy's record in office has been subject to debate and criticism over the years. He won the presidency by such a narrow margin, and that, in part, shaped his approach to his domestic agenda. Kennedy not only acted like a politician without a mandate, but he also acted like a politician with his eye on being re-elected. So, Kennedy didn't act on civil rights unless he was absolutely forced to act (e.g. Birmingham). He did push for wide-ranging civil rights legislation, which ultimately became the Civil Right Act of 1964. However, at the time of Kennedy's death, the bill had stalled in Congress, and Kennedy was negotiating over various aspects of the bill. There's reason to believe that the bill would've either died or lacked bite had he lived. Kennedy stood tall against the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and that's viewed as a high point of his presidency. Yet, some scholars and historians believe that the Bay of Pigs and Operation Mongoose pushed Fidel Castro to allow those Soviet missiles into Cuba. This doesn't include the deteriorating situation in Vietnam during Kennedy's term. Still, even though Kennedy's record appears slight, his presidency was pretty much a work-in-progress. The Bay of Pigs was a disaster, and Nikita Khrushchev beat him up pretty good in Vienna in 1961. Yet, by 1963, it seemed like Kennedy was coming into his own as president, as illustrated by the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Moreover, as a popular president, there was a belief that Kennedy would have been re-elected in a much more convincing fashion in 1964. He would have had the mandate he didn't have after 1960, and he would have at least an opportunity to accomplish more things in terms of domestic policy. Most of all, the possibility that surrounded Kennedy's presidency becomes magnified by the events that happened afterwards. Vietnam continued to escalate and became a major American tragedy. Moreover, the nation became embroiled in the political nightmare of Watergate by 1974. There are a lot of people who believe that neither of these things happen if Kennedy survived. In fairness, no one knows with certainty how Kennedy would have responded to Vietnam during a second term, and his survival doesn't necessarily keep Richard Nixon out of the White House in 1969. The last images the nation has of John Kennedy is that of a charismatic and energetic man coming into his own as president. Before the assassination, he had gone into hostile territory, and it appeared that things were going extremely well. The best seemed yet to come, and that magnified the possibilities when he died. What could have been? With Vietnam and Watergate looming, Kennedy's death became even more tragic.
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