Lockdown in Illinois goes from smiling faces to a preview of tyranny

Blogger running on a Cook County Forest Preserve trail earlier this month

By John Ruberry

Illinois is now in its eighth day of lockdown as part of Governor JB Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Life is anything but normal here.

There’s not much good to report.

On the other hand a few days ago I planned to compose a feel-good entry focusing on the the few good things to report on from where I live in Morton Grove, Illinois about coronavirus. But things quickly turned south. And now we just might have a preview of the damage an overreaching government that claims to be looking out for us can inflict.

I’m a runner–and I’ve not let the lockdown cut back on my hobby. (Oh, Peter Da Tech Guy has been begging me to write a running post for a while–here you go!) After all outdoor activity, including running, is allowed according to Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order, as long as I practice safe-distancing, which I do. During my runs through the Cook County Forest Preserve trails near my home, I’ve seen more people on the paths, including entire families, since the issue of the shelter-in-place order. When the coronavirus crisis fades away, some of those folks might pick up a new appreciation of nature and become physical fitness enthusiasts as well.

I’ve also seen more people smiling at me and waving during my runts. And I reciprocate.

That was through Wednesday.

In Chicago in the early part of last week, particularly on the lakefront, the parks and paths were packed with runners, walkers, and cyclists. There were picnics and barbecues and basketball games. Which caused Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to freak out.

“You cannot go on long bike rides,” the Democrat scolded. “Playgrounds are shut down. You must abide by the order. Outside, is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks. I can’t emphasize enough that we abide the rules.”

“If we have to … we will be forced to shut down parks and the entire lakefront,” the mayor said that day.

And so she did. In a condescending press conference the following day, Mayor Tenderfoot announced, while upping her warning that training for marathons was also not allowed on the lakefront during the lockdown, that all Chicago parks along the lakefront, along with the 606 Trail on the North Side, were closed and would be barricaded. Violators of Lightfoot’s order face a citation and a $500 fine.

Okay, I get it. COVID-19 can be deadly. Playing close contact sports such as basketball is stupid. But cooping people up in home will be psychologically demanding. And what will happen if the internet in Chicago slows down to a trickle because of an overwhelming demand in residential areas?

Will spouse abuse instances spike? And child abuse?

And it’s not just a Chicago issue in Illinois. At a large park in Skokie, the town just east of me, a friend of my daughter’s was playing tennis with her boyfriend. Someone living next to the park called the police, they them to told stop playing and leave. The cops also cleared out the rest of park. There were no gatherings there of more than ten people. Just a few people here and there, I was told.

On Friday Lightfoot encouraged people to call the non-emergency 311 line to inform on businesses that are deemed non-essential that remain open. Employees can rat out their bosses. Violators face up to a $10,000 fine.

What we are witnessing in Chicago is a preview of life under a Green New Deal tyranny-of-the-enlightened-few led by know-it-alls like Lightfoot. Because of “climate change,” the city’s lakefront could be closed for weeks during the summer. After all, many people drive to the lakefront parks and the adjoining neighborhoods.

On a national basis industries such as travel could be altered and possibly destroyed. Travel by jet spread the virus. So let’s shrink the airline industry, which produces greenhouse gases. What about the jobless pilots, machinists, and the flight attendants? Force them to attend a green jobs training program doubling as a re-education camp.

If the government goes after jet travel will the automotive industry be next? What about recreational boating? Why not shutter restaurants that serve food deemed as unhealthy? Who hasn’t heard obesity called an epidemic?

Does a family of four really need a huge house? Do you really need to take an out-of-state vacation?

Presumably in a Green New Deal America the running trails near my home will still be open and I can train for a marathon if I choose. But I’ll expect to see fewer smiling faces there.

Yes, I’m taking COVID-19 seriously. I’m washing my hands and drowning them in hand-sanitizer. I’m keeping safe distances.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

All Time Great Team League League report: AL & NL Division 1

Here is a report on one division in the All time great league for Dynasty Baseball game. A report will come out each week for one AL & NL division. Note there are still as of this writing 7 teams looking for a non-computer manager and until 3/31 Dynasty the maker of the game is offering a month free with code USA2 You can join here.

AL Div 1

2005 Chicago White Sox

The pale hose 5-4 start while not exciting is currently good enough for sole possession of 1st place albeit only by 1/2 a game. After losing their opening series vs the 1970 Orioles back to back series wins vs Toronto and Oakland have been just good enough to keep them clinging to a lead, time will tell if that can be maintained.

Heroes: Tadahito Iguchi is on a hitting tear with a .389 avg good enough for 4th in the early season while Scott Posednick’s 6 stolen bases is a tie for the league lead

Zeroes: Bobby Jenks has found his way into four of the teams 9 games and has opponents hitting .409 against him with an ERA of 9.00 Meanwhile at the plate the only nice thing you can say about Jermaine Dye’s start is that while his anemic .182 is last in the team his .229 is better than Joe Crede or Juan Uribe but without any RBI or HR RBIs.

Wild Card: The White Sox success has been despite their failure to find a permanent manager for the season can they keep it up without one and if they find one can he continue to keep them on top?

Coming attractions: It’s a trip to the NL East for 3 vs the Mets at Shea then south to Baltimore for three more.


1970 Orioles

.500 ball over their last 12 might be good enough for 2nd place in the division but new manager Joe S expects better out of the defending division champs who found themselves dropping two straight series one to Toronto and another to the Defending World Series champion Dodgers. Will the return to the DH make the difference?

Heroes: Jim Palmer is all over the leaderboards in just about every category leads the league in wins, WHIP & HR per 9 innings while Boog Powell continues to put the fear of God into the heart of every pitcher he faces.

Zeros: Dave McNally has put the fear of God in the heart of his manager with an 0-3 start and an ERA of 8.25. Meanwhile Pete Richert’s perfect record of two losses and two blown saves in two appearances is turning heads in the wrong direction.

Wild Card: It’s always odd when manager moves on to a different franchise but when he does so AFTER leading a team to a division championship it gets harder for his replacement. Can Baltimore’s new manager get his team to the series when his predecessor could not?

Coming Attractions: 9 straight home games in division starting with the 1st place White Sox followed by Oakland and Toronto will give their fans a chance to cheer their team back into first. That is if the team can rise back to their division winning ways


1988 Oakland A’s

There are few things more discouraging than staring your season blowing a 7-0 lead but twelve games in a half game out is nothing to sneeze at for a team with both Power and pitching and 2nd flock of the games in the division they are more than in a position to strike

Heroes: Dennis Eckersley, despite his opening day loss he has bounced back saving games for Nelson, Welsh and Burns before holding on against Arizona to to even his record. Dave Henderson: With a .367 avg 4 HR and a dozen RBI’s he leads the league in 3 offense categories while placing in the top 10 in 5 others.

Zeros: Jose Canseco despite a pair of Home Runs is managing only a .143 avg and a .246 OB with 19 K’s in 49 at bats. Dave Stewart In three starts opponents are hitting a solid .375 with an ERA of 9.37 a full five runs over the team avg despite only a single loss against him.

Wild Card: Nobody in their right mind would describe Doug Jennings as anything but a backup so his season ending injury might not seem big but over the course of a 162 game season his loss means one less day of rest for a player who might need it or one pinch hit or run that doesn’t happen

Coming Attractions: The A’s get a chance to jump ahead with the last place Yanks coming to town before getting a 2nd shot at the Orioles before running back for a shot at the Red Sox.


Toronto Blue Jays 1993

The Bluejays after an incredible comeback on opening day have not fared as well as they like going 4-6 and possessing the only losing record in the division. But despite this they remain only a game out of first since but despite this remain but a game out of first, more than close enough to strike.

Heroes: Roberto Alomar is hitting over .400 (.404) with an OPS of 1.100. While Rickey Henderson has combined a .311 avg and five stolen bases with three outfield assists in less that a dozen games.

Zeros: Jack Morris has managed in two starts to go 0-2 with an ERA of 8.64 with hitters pounding him at a .389 clip in less than 9 innings. Tony Fernandez, while a single error and a .979 fielding percentage at short is not bad a .200 batting avg and OB percentage is a drag a full .89 points below the rest of the team.

Wild Card: With the only turf stadium in the league will other teams struggle on the unfamiliar surface or will Toronto pay for their surface in DL trips such as Ed Sprague‘s?

Coming attractions: A win in their final game vs Cincinnati can get them back to .500 in time to face a Kansas City team on a mini losing streak and a shot a the 1st place White Sox and 2nd place Orioles on the road.


NL Div 1

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers

The Defending World Champion Dodgers picked up where they left off last year with an 8-4 start including 7-3 in their last 10 and a +24 run differential against their foes If this pace keeps up they may repeat their running away with the division but with 4 more teams and an an extra round of playoffs to deal with they’ll need that to get started.

Heroes: Gil Hodges after winning the NL MVP last season has picked up right where he left off leading the NL in batting and 2nd in OBP & OBP + Slugging. Meanwhile on the mound Karl Spooner is making up for spending most of last season on the DL with a 2-0 record without giving up a run in two starts and holding opponents to a .059 avg.

Zeros: Jim Hughes has been a workhorse working in seven games but a horse with an era of 8.59 while being responsible for a solid quarter of the homers allowed by the team. Roy Campanella has been in a slump of epic proportions hitting a mere .095 and an even more pathetic OBP of .152

Wild Card: With Karl Spooner back this season George Shuba‘s major league stint is over. Last year he spent half a season in the majors hitting .264 in limited service and .333 during the post season. He’s back in the minors and hoping for a 2nd chance and ring, will he get it?

Coming attractions: A trip to Arizona is followed by a 15 game homestand which begins with the last place mets given them a great chance to increase their lead.


Arizona Diamondbacks 2013

For a team that had no business being in an all time great league (the 2001 version was supposed to be invited) they’ve kept pace very well including a series win against the World Champion Dodgers. Their .500 start is good for 2nd place so far and with a little bit of effort 1st place can remain in reach.

Heroes: Paul Goldschmidt .396 and 4 HR have been an unpleasant surprise to pitching staffs around the league. If a .350 avg and seven RBI’s were not enough to celebrate Geraldo Para playing all three positions in the outfield without an error but with an assist would clinch it.

Zeros: Some might think this Arizona team doesn’t belong in this league and Reliever Joe Thatcher is their patron saint thanks to an era of 10.57 and a batting against avg of .441. While Cliff Pennington’s .333 avg looks good on paper a single run scored and none driven in doesn’t make up for two errors in four games.

Wild Card: JJ Putz has been an Arizona workhorse appearing in more than half of the teams game but with a serious injury that will keep him out till early or mid May can anyone else carry the load?

Coming attractions: A six game homestand gives them a chance to repeat their fine start against the Dodgers and welcome Cincinnati who is right behind them before getting another crack at the Mets this time in Shea.


1975 Cincinnati Reds

The Big Red machine did not envision themselves at 5-6 after 11 their only winning series being against a weaker Arizona team, but can their big bats and stingy pitching staff (2nd fewest runs allowed in the league) turn things around before the Dodgers get too far ahead to catch, particularly with the Defense of Caesar Geronimo out of the lineup.

Heroes: Johnny Bench with 3 homers and .340 avg remains a terror to opposing pitchers who dare throw to him. Meanwhile while there has not been a lot to cheer from the bullpen Will McEnaney’s 1.17 ERA & 1.54 AVG has been a breath of fresh air

Zeros: The bullpen has three blown saves in three chances and the worst offender has been Pedro Borbon with 2 Blown saves and a .348 avg for batters. One might forgive Tony Perez his slow start and .226 avg, but it’s hard to be forgiving with no HR only one RBI and a single extra base hit

A Wild Card: The injury of Caesar Geronimo means the possibility of more offence at the Center Field position but will such offense come at the cost of a vulnerable defense.

Coming attractions: Four games remain in Cincinnati’s 12 game homestand one more vs Toronto and 3 against the SF Giants before they head to Arizona in the hopes of getting hot.


1986 New York Mets

There is not a lot to cheer about in New York as the Mets , after starting with two wins in a row dropped six of their last seven and between Gary Carter who was injured on opening day a team that has three pitchers with ERA’s over 10.00 and a flock of bad fielding they are resembling the 67 mets more than a champion team.

Heroes: With two saves in three chances and a 2.38 ERA Roger McDowell has been the rare bright spot in a pitching staff that has been a dismal failure. Meanwhile Mookie Wilson with a pair of HR’s a .308 avg and 12 hits has managed to do what is necessary.

Zeroes: Not only has Howard Johnson not been appetizing at the plate with a .222 avg and a single solo homer but in the field his four errors and .636 fielding percentage doesn’t even rise to the level of anemic. Meanwhile on a staff with a team ERA of 6.24 there are plenty of Zero candidates but Ron Darling with his 0-2 record & 19.89 ERA rises or shall I say falls below the rest.

Wild Card: Ed Hearn was pressed into service behind the plate with the Carter injury at the bat he has been at least serviceable with a .265 Avg 1 HR and 5 RBI but behind the plate he has allowed nine of ten baserunners to steal.

Coming attractions: The bad news continues for the Mets as they face the 1st place White Sox before taking on Philly and then with Gary Carter back traveling to LA & Arizona