On June 7, the Orioles star shortstop was fed up after Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura plunked him in the back with a 99 mph fastball—especially since, in the previous at-bat, Ventura threw high and tight multiple times. Machado charged the mound, avoided a punch from Ventura, came pretty close to landing a clean one of his own, and tackled the pitcher as a melee briefly ensued. Beyond Machado's awesome right hook/DDT combo, a lot of important things came after: Chris Davis running like a wild man into the pile to defend his teammate, the back-to-back homers from outfielder Mark Trumbo and Davis that put the team ahead, centerfielder Adam Jones and manager Buck Showalter backing Machado, and the series sweep. All of which to say it was a rallying moment for the O's. Hopefully they can keep the mojo going.
↓ Bernard C. "Jack" Young
While no one should doubt Jack Young's dedication and commitment to the city's youth (he proposed a dedicated fund of 3 percent of the city's budget, has annually advocated for youth employment and recreation centers, and quietly presides over an annual baseball tournament, for example), the city council president's threat to "shut down city government" if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake doesn't restore $4 million in program funding smacks of grandstanding. Petulant, incredible, and counter-productive.
The former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, not much heard from since he left office last year (Oh, wait! didn't he run for president?), penned a Sun op-ed extolling his crime-fighting record while bemoaning all that has been lost since the end of his mayoral term. He's not wrong about everything—the police department has been sapped and the Comstat system (and other initiatives) have been watered-down—but O'Malley's claim to superlative crime reductions under his watch is belied by reality. Yes, the statistics got better, but that was in large part because the stats were manipulated. Yes, the zero tolerance policies he pushed may have gotten attention, but they also helped fuel the uprising. Progress is, indeed, a choice.
↓ Baltimore City Housing Authority
Last week, 37 more women came forward in the ongoing sex-for-repairs scandal which brings the total to 56. Over at Perkins Homes, Communities United organizers including Perry Hopkins and Perkins residents confronted Housing Authority Commissioner Paul Graziano and accused him of delaying or avoiding talking to them. They insist that repairs remain un-done and the conditions in some apartments are deplorable. Graziano was defensive, accusing activists of staging a "media circus," the Baltimore Brew reported. It's shameful that Graziano has not yet been fired—our lame duck mayor and City Council should have demanded his resignation months ago. One more time: Graziano has got to go.
Baltimore, along with cities across the country, responded to the mass shooting at Orlando LGBTQ+ club Pulse where 49 people were killed and 50-plus injured with expressions of solidarity. So far, there have been three vigils (on Sunday night at the Washington Monument and Memorial Episcopal Church and Monday night at the Ynot Lot). Also, Florida-born, Baltimore-based rapper TT The Artist released a song for Orlando titled 'God Bless the Children' and City Hall was lit up in rainbow colors. These are heartening symbolic gestures, but this mass shooting—number 133 in the U.S. this year so far—highlights the staggering need for harsher gun control laws. Tragically, it also highlights the rampant homophobia, transphobia, and racism that pervade the country--as reflected in attitudes and policies.