It’s been an amazing year for Boston Sports.

Last Year the Red Sox Won their Division, the Patriots went to the Superbowl, the Bruins are tied for the lead in their division with 3 games to go and the Celtics, even without their Superstar Kyrie Irving are in 2nd place in their division with a chance to be the #1 seed with five days to go.

This year is starting just as good the Boston Red Sox after losing their opener thanks to one wild inning have won five straight, the team has yet to commit an error in the field and no starting pitcher on the staff has an ERA above 1.70 and that’s with Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz or Steven Wright all starting the season on the DL

In the days before the Red Sox broke the curse of the Bambino a 5-1 start with their ace carrying an ERA of under 1.00 there would be no other story in the state. Newspapers would be hailing the teams start, TV shows would be talking about the upcoming series with the Yankees with bated breath and the phone lines of sports talk radio would be full of optimists proclaiming this being the year and naysayers noting that their big free agent signing JD Martinez is hitting .200 and has yet to go yard and proclaiming the limited offense in the opening games as a harbinger of doom.

But in this post curse era none of that is happening.

What is the number # 1 topic on Boston sports radio, on TV and in the papers: The Patriots.

What are the Patriots doing with their off season moves. Will Belichick trade more players for draft picks or draft picks for players. Why did they let Brandon Cook and Danny Amendola go? Will Grok retire? Is Brady planning to retire before 45, will they Draft a quarterback and why the hell DID the Patriots sit Malcolm Butler in the Superbowl?

Oh the Celtics and Bruins get some mention in passing and if either get to the conference finals the might get more but even on WEEI the home station of the Red Sox the only thing I hear in my drive to work or my drive home is Patriots Patriots Patriots.

Now to be fair the Patriots are an incredibly newsworthy topic, they are the longest running dynasty in the history of football and have arguably the best coach and best player in the entire history of the league and as the end of their time together gets closer they will become even more newsworthy than they are now.

But I submit and suggest if David Ortiz, Curt Schilling and their gang of idiots had not broken the curse 15 years ago, there is no way that the Patriots offseason would be a bigger story than the Red Sox start and when I turn on the radio looking for news of how the Red Sox when my workday ends, I would certainly find it.

Closing thought, I wonder if they’re seeing the same thing in Chicago.

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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

The most important sign of spring has arrived, the grapefruit league is now in full swing and the Boston Red Sox have started Spring 6-2.

Over the last year all I heard on local sports radio was how the Yankees (6-1 so far this spring) are the team to beat how their acquisition of slugger Giancarlo was going to make all the difference and unless the Red Sox put together a deal for someone like J. D. Martinez they were doomed.

Well the Red Sox have Martinez now but it’s my opinion that even before Boston picked him up, they were well positioned to not only repeat as Division Champions but to Challenge the both the Yankees and the Astros (who despite winning the World Series last year seem to be getting little attention) this year and you only have to look at the stats to see why.

On the mound the fact is that other than Chris Sale, 2017 was a disaster for the Boston Pitching Staff.

We lost our knuckleballer Steven Wright, who had gone 13-6 the previous year to injury after only 24 innings vs the 156 2/3 he pitched the season before

David Price found himself injured making only 11 starts vs 35 the year before and while effective out of the bullpen saw his innings drop from 230 to 74 2/3.

Meanwhile Rick Porcello followed up his CY Young season with one his worst season ever setting personal worsts for Hits, Runs, Earned Runs and Homeruns given up.

At the bat things weren’t all that much better if you look at the numbers.

The team batting avg of .258 was only 3 points above the MLB avg
The team was dead last in the AL in Home Runs hitting only 168 the whole season. last in the AL No Red Sox player hit 25 home runs last season for the first time in a quarter century (1992).
They were near the bottom in total bases in the AL (only the Angels, White Sox and Toronto had fewer)
And if that wasn’t enough they were 3rd in the AL and 4th in the majors in hitting into double plays.

Yet despite this not only did the team win 93 games and the division but anyone who watched them last year will remember the excitement particularly in the late innings as the team always managed to come back to win. All during the regular season someone always manged a key hit, a big steal just when the team needed it.

And this was despite Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogarts, Jackie Bradley, Hanley Ramirez and even Mookie Betts all having seasons far below their production of the previous year.

How do you think the RedSox would do in 2018 if even half of those players returned to their 2016 ways, not to mention if they get back the nearly 300 innings lost from Price and Wright and Porcello had even an average year instead of a Cy Young one?

I submit and suggest that it would be more been enough to win the division again even without a JD Martinez. With him the East will be theirs to lose and with solid pitchers behind Chris Sale to help carry the load there is no reason why Boston shouldn’t go a lot farther than they did last year in the playoffs.

To be sure there are some wild cards, a new manager, how you fit Martinez in the lineup and questions about a rookie third baseman and Pedroia’s advancing age, plus you never know where or when the injury bug will strike.

But it seems to me the smart money this year is on Boston to repeat and challenge the Yankees and Astros come the post season.

It’s certainly not going to be a boring year.

Today at Drudge there is talk that baseball players upset that at a time of falling attendance are not spending a fortune on overpriced free agents are thinking about taking action:

One day after commissioner Rob Manfred shrugged off the sluggish free-agent market for Major League Baseball players this winter as a blip, and one week after Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen suggested players ought to consider whether to strike, one of baseball’s most prominent agents issued a manifesto Friday that hinted players might not simply ride out the remaining four years of the current collective bargaining agreement.

“The players are upset,” wrote Brodie Van Wagenen, co-head of CAA Baseball. “No, they are outraged. … Their voices are getting louder and they are uniting in a way not seen since 1994.”

That was the year of baseball’s last player strike. The calendar has turned to February, and more than 100 players remain available in free agency, including such stars as Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez.

Van Wagenen raised the possibility of a boycott in spring training.

“There is a rising tide among players for radical change,” he wrote. “A fight is brewing. And it may begin with one, maybe two, and perhaps 1,200 willing to follow.”

I remember the players strike, it nearly destroyed the sport and at a time when fans have plenty of other alternatives baseball would be well advised to take advantage of Football pissing on their demographic and reinforce their connection with the fans rather than acting like spoiled brats.  In fact they might even look worse that the football idiots who while wrong headed can claim to be kneeling on principle rather than striking over a few million less.

If big market teams like the Red Sox are sensible enough to realize they have an excellent nucleus that scored a ton of runs and came back over and over again then the more power to them.

And if small market teams have decided that a single big free agent isn’t going to be enough to win that’s fine too.

Of course if a team thinks Arrieta, Darvish, Hosmer or Martinez is worth the cash that’s fine too but consider this example:

 Boston has actually offered something more in the vicinity of $125MM over five years, per Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). Obviously, that’s a far sight more than what had been reported a few days back — and generally within the range of what might reasonably have been anticipated for Martinez entering the winter.

That sounds like an awful lot of money to me but apparently Martinez thinks he’s worth more.

As we covered recently, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reported less than a week ago that Martinez is preparing to wait for those numbers to move northward. The veteran slugger is said to want six years with an annual value at or above the $30MM rate. That’s a massive ask — well over the six-year, $150MM prediction that MLBTR made entering the winter.

want to offer him $125 million that’s on them, and if Martinez wants to decide that it’s not good enough that’s his right too.

But if the Major League players are stupid enough to strike because a JD Martinez isn’t getting that 6th year then they deserve all the trouble they are going to get from it.

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

“All I was saying was that a losing team, plus bread and circuses, was better than a losing team and a long, still silence.”

Bill Veeck

While Tom Brady prepares for his eighth trip to the Superbowl in 16 years (not counting the season he spent injured) to close his season Tim Tebow who won a playoff game against the Steele’s before being crushed by Tom Brady’s Patriots in what would be his final NFL start is about to start a season in Major League Training camp:

Tim Tebow is about to receive his most significant exposure yet to top-level baseball competition. The Mets announced Friday that they have invited Tebow to Major League Spring Training, giving the former college and professional football star another opportunity to stride forward in his baseball career.

Tebow is among 13 non-roster invitees to Spring Training — a list that also includes blue-chip first-base prospect Peter Alonso (ranked as the Mets’ No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline) former Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton and Drew Smith, the reliever the Mets acquired for Lucas Duda last July.

Tebow put up respectable numbers last season in the minors and the taste of the Majors in spring training certainly can’t hurt his development and while he would be a longshot to make the Major league squad he will likely sell quite a few tickets this spring.

Of course there are those who have made a career hating Tebow for his unapologetic very public Christianity who aren’t going to be too happy and there are a few who figure that the Mets a planning on Tebow to financially salvage a season brimming with low expectations.

Taking that cynicism even further, you could see Tebow’s spring training invite as a test run of sorts for the Mets in preparation to bring him up for a promotional tour later in the season if the Mets are out of the playoff race and looking to sell some tickets in August and September.

Given it’s the job of teams to sell tickets there’s nothing wrong with that idea plus while his numbers in the NFL were never impressive his teams had a regular habit of winning games he started.

And if things don’t work out in the next two years with the Mets there’s always the Orlando team of the XFL in 2020.

As the world series gets ready to start (I’ll be cheering for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers) I think it’s a good time to revisit an issue hanging over baseball.

I’m not a fan of the steroids era in baseball, I think it put players in a position where they had a choice of a chance to make millions or not and, in my opinion risked their health in making the wrong choice. I also think that baseball took too long to clean itself up and put in rules to change things.

Nevertheless I think it’s time to put Barry Bonds in the Baseball Hall of Fame and have seven good reasons for doing so.

First of all let’s remember that before he got on the juice it must be remembered and acknowledged that he had already put up Hall of fame stats. He was one of the most exciting players in the game, in the field, at the plate and on the basepads. He had won 3 MVP’s If he had retired before the start of the 20th century there is no question that he would have been a first ballot hall of famer.

Second of all his post 2000 stats didn’t take place in a vacuum. Bonds was hardly the only player juicing I don’t doubt that there were plenty of people on the mound who he faced that were juiced, plenty of people in the field defending against him who were juiced, yet he not only put up monster stats, he put up monster stats beyond all of those other players who were juicing just as much as he was.

Third of all it hits me that a lot of the backlash against Bonds is that frankly he seems a bit of an arrogant ass. As true as that might be his job as a baseball player was to produce runs and boy did he do so.

Fourth of all in the end Baseball never suspended him for breaking the rules, nor has he been convicted of any crime. All of the games he played in were legal games that counted in the standings and unless you want to alter the record of every single game ever played no about of outrage will strip him of a single hit, run, homer or walk.

Fifth of all I think he’s already been punished. By every rational standard Barry Bonds should have been signed after the 2007 season yet he remained unsigned despite leading the league in walks and onbase percentage. His breaking of the all time HR record is the least celebrated performance (and holding of the all time walks both intentional and unintentional) are consigned to the dustbin of history. He is likely the least celebrated great player in the history of the game

Sixth of all I can’t get over the stats on walks. In the 21st century Barry Bonds came to the plate 3465 time and of those 3465 times pitchers walked him either intentionally or unintentionally 1379 times. If those had been hits that would come out to a batting avg of .397 without taking a single swing. That’s over a freaking seven year period (one of which was shortened by injury) and it’s without flexing a single steroid enhanced muscle.

Seventh of all I think the game can’t get the steroids era behind it until we vote Bonds in, acknowledge of all the juicers he was the greatest beyond compare and be done with it. I think the best way to do so would be to do it sooner rather than later. it’s the best thing for the game in the short and long run.

I think these seven reasons good reasons should be enough to carry the day.

Now here is the one bad reason why I think the sportswriters, still outraged by Bonds will eventually vote him into the Hall:

Voting Bonds into the Hall of Fame would be the final and most effective way for those who hate him in the game to humiliate him one more time.

It has been said that the reason why Bonds started juicing was because he felt upstaged in both financial and fan recognition by players like McGuire and Sosa who had produced power by steroids. This grievance drove him right up until his last at bat. I might be wrong but in my opinion said mentality is now comfortable to him. He can point to his stats, his success and the game’s unwillingness to acknowledge him as one of the greatest ever to play as proof that Baseball was out to get him and humiliate him.

He has now been on the ballot 5 times and in 2017 drew 53.8% of the vote. Next year it’s likely that Clipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman and Vlad Guerrero (and hopefully Omar Visquel) will make it in while he slowly inches up toward 60% in his 6th year on the ballot. By the time Ichrio makes in on the first ballot Bonds will likely be in his 13th year of eligibility and might have finally broken the 70%.

Can you imagine how he will feel if he finally makes it in say his 14th year squeaking by with 75.1% of the vote? Can you picture him getting on the stage at Cooperstown and having to thank all those who kept him off the ballot for so many years for acknowledging what he had already done and grudgingly let him in the door?

I think that is their last chance to put the knife in, it’s a cruel and dishonorable reason to do it, which is why I suspect it will be the reason why it will be done.

Yesterday I wrote about Nolan Ryan greatness in reference to Chris Sale’s 300 Strikeout season. Today it hit me that Ryan is a great example of the follies of convention wisdom. The subject deserves a little more elaboration.

Of all the outs a pitcher can produce a strikeout is the most valuable, in my opinion even more than a double play. A runner can score on a double play, but without an error by the catcher a runner can’t score on a third strike nor can a runner advance on a strikeout without trying to steal a base. With no outs and runners on a strikeout makes an inning ending double play possible and with one a strikeout means that you don’t have to play your infield in, risking a hit getting through.

Nolan Ryan struck out 5714 in his career, he is the ultimate strikeout pitcher in baseball history and to understand just how good he was consider this.

While Ryan struck out 300 men five times in the AL since the DH was adopted he also struck out 300 men the year before (1972) for a total of six 300+ strikeout seasons including one at age 43 (1990). As you do ponder those numbers consider that Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Bert Blyleven, Chuck Finley, David Cone, Frank Tanana, Mike Mussina, CC Sabathia, Jim Bunning, Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro, Ferguson Jenkins, John Smoltz, and Cy Flipping Young, all on the top 24 all time strikeout leader list, never managed to do it once.

But believe it or not there was a time when people actually argued if Ryan was a great pitcher, let alone a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher, consider this from The Bill James Baseball abstract’s 1985 edition:

I may get kicked out of the sabermathmatics union for saying this but it seems to me we’ve got to start taking Ryan a little more seriously as a great pitcher. He has had six straight winning seasons (through 1984), which I didn’t expect either, but anyways he is now about twenty wins better than the teams he has pitched for. That doesn’t break any records but it is comparable to man of the pitchers listed here.

Remember when this was written Ryan had already been in the majors 18 years, had already won a world series, won 231 games, held the MLB record for most no hitters with five (he would throw two more) and was already the all time strikeout leader with over 3800k’s. In fact if he had retired that year he would still hold the record for no hitters and would be currently 4th all time in strikeouts (behind Randy Johnson 4875, Clemens 4672 and Steve Carlton 4136).

Yet here was one of the best minds in baseball stating in print that calling Nolan Ryan a great pitcher was a controversial opinion at at the time to many it was.

Of course while the experts argued the fans who saw him pitch got it. I watched him pitch at Fenway once. Everyone in the stands knew we were in the presence of greatness. He pitched deep into the game leaving behind a collection of dumbfounded hitters before giving the game to his bullpen who would give up the lead and then the game to the Red Sox to the delight of the fans.

It wasn’t until he became the grand old man of baseball that people would eventually come around and recognize Ryan for the all time great that he was. The writers got when he was eligible for the hall of fame in 1999 98.8% of the voters had him on their ballots tied with Tom Seaver for the highest percentage of votes all time. Only Ken Griffey Jr’s 99.3% in 2016 would beat it.

If you told Baseball expect’s in 1984 that this would be the case they’d have laughed you out of the room.

Nolan Ryan career is the best example of one of my favorite sayings. Conventional Wisdom is always right, up until the moment it isn’t.

I suspect we’ll have a lot of use for both this example and this saying over the next 7 years.


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You’re not paid to play, you’re paid to win

Bill Russell to Charlie Rose 2001

I was going to put up the first of two posts on DACA when I saw this and my jaw dropped.

CC Sabathia took issue with what he called a “weak” Red Sox attempt to bunt on him in the first inning of the Yankees’ 6-2 victory on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, the second consecutive matchup in which Boston has attempted to take advantage of the hurler’s troubled right knee.

Eduardo Nunez reached base after bunting a 1-1 fastball that Sabathia fielded, but threw wildly for an error. After two walks, Sabathia escaped the inning with a pair of strikeouts and shouted toward the visiting dugout, later saying that his words were intended for the entire team.

Here is Sabathia’s interview

My answer, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I think Eduardo Nunez answer to this was right on the money his job is to get on base, if Sabathia is not well enough or not fast enough to field his position and the Yankees put him out there that’s on them and him. Let’s not forget at end of his career Cy Young put on weight, the players of his era bunted on him too, only he didn’t whine about it. Nor did Yankees fan ever see Jim Abbott complain about having to field a ball sans right hand.

I’ll give the last words to Jim Rice

and Leo Durocher

Mr. Rickey, I thought when I signed the contract I signed for one thing. There is a ‘W’ column, and there is an ‘L’ column. I thought it was my obligation and duty to put as many as I could under that ‘W’ column.

And in fairness to Sabathia, he did get the win in that game.

Personally if I was managing the Sox if Sabathia is having trouble fielding bunts I’d be having my players drop them all night long.

If you are looking for a distraction from the news of the day and a lot of people are these days, you’re in luck.  Major League Baseball is giving us a some division and wild card races this season that (unless you are a fan of the NL East) really fits the bill.

Let’s start in the American League East The first Boston Red Sox Team without David Ortiz in 15 years has managed to keep first place in the East despite injuries to Price and Pedroia and the Bust that was Pablo Sandoval who they finally released eating tens of millions in salary. However their arch rivals the New York Yankees are under five games out and with more than a 3rd of their remaining games against either the Yanks or teams currently in First place they will be hard pressed to keep themselves 16 games over .500 when the season comes to a close.

In the Central Cleveland continues to prove that last year’s Pennant wasn’t a fluke sitting five games up, but both Minnesota under 2nd Year manager Paul Molitor and the 2015 World Champion Kansas City Royals have no intention of going quietly. The next three weeks will be the key as the Tribe will be playing a 17 game where their opponents are Boston, the Yankees, Twins and Kansas City. If they get through that three week stretch still on top then Terry Francona has to feel really good about their chances for another shot at breaking their 69 year championship drought

In the west The Houston Astros are likely the only team breathing easy. With an 11.5 game lead in their division and only three games against a 1st place team before the last week of the season (and those against the Washington Nationals also sitting pretty and safe) it will take a massive collapse for Houston to fail to win their first division title since 2001 not to mention their first since joining the American League

AL Wild card: Wild is the way to describe this race. The Yankees currently hold the first wild card spot and two games behind them sits the Angels but seven count the SEVEN teams Minnesota, Kansas City, Baltimore, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Texas and Toronto, sit within 3.5 games of that final spot. but are as close to the Yankees as they are to the Red Sox. More teams will be playing more meaningful games this later in the season then we’ve seen in a long time.

In the National League East Washington sits in a similar position as Houston in the AL west. With a comfortable 13.5 game lead and schedule lacking in division leaders their have an entire two months to try to figure out how to get by the LA Dodgers in October

The NL Central is where the action is.  The World Champion Cubs (It’s still odd to write that) hold a slim 1.5 game lead over StL with Milwaukee and Pittsburgh both under five games out. While August isn’t so bad 18 of their games in Sept will be against teams chasing them. If they win that division they’ll have earned it.

In the West the only question left to answer is will the LA Dodgers break the record for most wins in a season.? They are already at 83 wins and if they only play .500 ball for the rest of the season would finish with 105.  With 26 games remaining against sub .500 teams a record breaking 117 wins is very possible and an earth shattering 120 while unlikely is not outside the realm of possibility. One caveat, the two teams that hold the 116 win record for a single season, one failed to get to the World Series and the other failed to win it.

NL Wild Card. Thanks to the Dodgers both the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondback have no prayer to win their division but with 66 wins each, enough to lead the central division in either league they share the wild card lead with only St. Louis, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh anywhere near close enough for a real challenge. The one fly in the ointment? Both teams have two series left with the record chasing Dodgers.

Put simply half way into August two thirds of major league clubs are still playing meaningful games so if you are a baseball fan watching a game this week you can expect some excellent baseball.

So great that Red Sox fans gave him a standing Ovation for robbing Hanley Ramirez of a Home Run:

 Red Sox fans know greatness when they see it.

That’s why Cleveland Indians center fielder Austin Jackson received a standing ovation from the Fenway Park faithful on Tuesday night after taking away a home run from Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez.

I was watching at the time it was the best catch I’ve ever seen in my life,

Basically he made the catch that Torii Hunter missed by 2 inches against David Ortiz back in 2014

If there was ever a play that deserved a standing ovation for an opposing player, it was that one, however Red Sox fans were rewarded for their good sportsmanship in the last of the 9th when Catcher Christian Vasquez hit a three run homer with two outs in the 9th to win the game for the Red Sox.

So all’s well that ends well

By John Ruberry

Deep in southwestern Germany in the Rhineland-Palatinate state lies the small village of Kallstadt, which has about 1,200 residents.

It is well-known for two reasons. It’s a stop on the German Wine Route and it’s the ancestral home of Henry J. Heinz, the founder of the H.J. Heinz Company, and President Donald J. Trump. In fact, Heinz and Trump’s grandfather, Kallstadt-born Friedrich Trump, were second cousins.

I was digging deep–very deep–on Netflix for something interesting to watch when I stumbled across Trump’s face on a movie poster for Kings of Kallstadt, a documentary by Simone Wendel, a Kallstadter. It was filmed in 2012 and released in 2014; her movie probably would have been forgotten outside of Rhineland-Palatinate had the Trump Train not steamrolled into Washington last year.

Much of the dialogue is in German–with subtitles of course.

There is a Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon feel within Kallstadt, because Wendel tells us that “the sun always shines and the wine never runs out.” And while Kallstadt has only 1,200 inhabitants it counts 1,600 members in its 27 clubs. “That amounts to 135 percent of love,” Wendel beams. Does Kallstadt have a Miss Kallstadt? No, it has a Wine Princess. No, make that two of them, which is a situation you might expect to find in the Andy Griffith Show’s Mayberry. Kallstadt’s culinary delicacy is saumagen, that is, stuffed sow’s stomach.

Yummy!

Trump is interviewed here, along with the family historian, Trump’s cousin John Walter. If you ever imagined what our president would be like if he was a modest accountant–that’s Walter. Because he’s a modest, albeit retired, accountant.

Fascinatingly, even before he officially entered the political world, the man who was then simply known as the King of New York felt compelled to bring up his troubled relationship with the media.

“Okay, I think (there are) a lot of misconceptions about me,” Trump explains to Wendel in a Trump Tower conference room. “I’m a lot nicer person than the press would have you think. I don’t want to ruin my image by telling you that, but I believe that.”

Not discussed in the film is what Donald and his father, Frederick, said about their heritage–the Trumps were Swedish–which the legions Trump-haters jumped on during the presidential campaign. But the Swedish fib is an understandable distortion of the truth. During World War I it was quite common for German-Americans to hide their ethnicity. I regularly run into people who tell me stories of a grandfather or great-grandfather who changed his name from say Muller, to Miller, after being hounded out of a town as Americans fought the Kaiser’s army. After World War II Trump’s grandmother, Elizabeth, and Frederick rented many apartments and sold many houses to Jewish New Yorkers, who understandably had extremely uncomfortable feelings about Germans.

“He had thought, ‘Gee whiz, I’m not going to be able to sell these homes if there are all these Jewish people,'” Walter told the now-failing New York Times last year about the dilemma of Trump’s dad.

More on Grandma Elizabeth in a bit.

“After the war, he’s still Swedish,” Walter continued. “It was just going, going, going.”

As for the Swedish tale, Donald repeated it for his best-seller, The Art Of The Deal. Frederick was still alive then. But by 1990 the Swedish stuff was dead lutefisk.

Outside Chicago’s Trump Tower in 2017

Friedrich Trump left Kallstadt at age 16 for America where he enjoyed great success in Seattle, Yukon, Alaska, and then New York. Walter tells Wendel that Grandfather Trump married Elizabeth Christ, a Kallstadter. She demanded that he sell his American properties and return to Kallstadt, which, in a story Trump confides to Walter that he never heard, Prince Leopold of Bavaria deported Friedrich. Yes, a Trump was deported! Friedrich died in 1918 in Queens, likely an early victim of that year’s flu pandemic. Elizabeth and Frederick then founded Elizabeth Trump and Son Company, now known as the Trump Organization.

Back to the almost present: a group of Kallstadters are invited as guests of New York’s German-American Steuben Parade. Trump was the parade’s grand marshal in 1999. They also visit Pittsburgh and the Heinz History Center, where amazingly, no members of the Heinz family meet them. Say what you will about Donald J. Trump, but he earnestly tries to make himself accessible except to those who are openly hostile to him. Trump could have easily dismissed Wendel’s request for an interview for her quaint little film. But Trump has alway been a salesman.

The Kallstadters attend a Pittsburgh Pirates game–big league baseball–but one cranky woman constantly complains that there is “no action” in the game.

But is there is a lot of action in a 0-0 soccer match, frau? Other than the brawls in the bleachers?

Then comes the Steuben Parade. As the Kallstadters–two of whom are carrying a giant model of a saumagen–and Walter gather on the route, an “Obama 2012” sign is seen from a window behind them.

Blogger in Washington State last year

Late in the film Wendel asks Trump if would like to visit Kallstadt. “When I’m over there I will certainly visit,” he replies. “Absolutely.”

The president will be in Germany next week for the G20 summit. No word of a Trump homecoming yet, along the lines of his visit to the birthplace of his mother in Scotland in 2008. Although Trump isn’t very popular in Kallstadt, at least according to media reports, since his political rise.

“Believe me,” Trump just might respond to such stories, “that’s just fake news, believe me.”

In addition to Netflix, Kings of Kallstadt is also available on Amazon. It’s an enjoyable, wunderbar, and yes, big league movie. Even if you hate Trump. Believe me.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.