Rest In Peace, Al Kaline

Al Kaline died yesterday at the age of 85.  Kaline played 22 years for the Detroit Tigers and then went on to be a broadcaster for Tigers’ games for another 25 years or so.  His stature as one of the all-time great players in MLB combined with his long-term association with a single team made him an iconic baseball figure.

Rest in peace, Al Kaline.

It was about a year ago when there was a flurry of salacious reports related to Orchids of Asia – that strip mall massage parlor where Robert Kraft allegedly received services beyond a therapeutic massage.  As I recall, the police and the prosecutors in that Florida case asserted that the spa was part of a multi-million dollar international sex trafficking ring and that they had used that suspicion as the basis for a court-issued warrant to do video surveillance inside the spa.  Moreover, the portrayal of that spa – – and others allegedly tied to the sex trafficking ring – – was one of wretched conditions where the sex slaves were forced to sleep on the massage tables and could not leave the premises because their passports had been confiscated.  It was a pretty grim story; in addition, it was a false narrative.

After several months of lurid stories asserted by prosecutors, a Florida court was informed that no sex trafficking happened in the Orchids of Asia spa – and presumably at the other spas that were linked to the case.  The video evidence collected regarding Robert Kraft’s dalliance in the spa has been ruled impermissible as evidence because the warrant used to collect it was flawed.  Other evidence proffered by the prosecutors has also been dismissed in the case.  What is left is the Robert Kraft is still charged with soliciting prostitution – he continues to fight that charge – and that is only a misdemeanor in Florida.

A year ago, the image of Robert Kraft was as a rich guy who did as he pleased and figured that “the rules” did not apply to him.  As those lurid reports began to unravel, it is interesting that the same sort of opprobrium was not heaped upon the “Law and Order guys” in the matter.  Recently, the image of Robert Kraft seems to have gotten a significant makeover.

Working with the Governor of Massachusetts, Robert Kraft sent a Patriots’ team plane to China where they somehow got it loaded with more than a million N95 protective masks needed by health care workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.  The bulk of those masks will remain in Massachusetts but 300,000 of them were donated to New York City.

Of course, what Robert Kraft did for Massachusetts and NYC is laudable; if Mayor de Blasio does not give Robert Kraft the “Key to the City” once the pandemic is under control, Hizzoner should be placed in stocks in a public square for a day or so.  Let me ask the Patriot-haters reading this to sit down now as a safety precaution:

  • Perhaps Robert Kraft deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom for this delivery?

[Aside:  Before the Patriot-haters get themselves into high dudgeon, please remember that Whittaker Chambers, Eddie DeBartolo, Bill Cosby and Aung San Suu Kyi are prior recipients of that award.]

However, just as the whole “Orchids of Asia” story had a bunch of loose ends, so it would seem does this one.  It is not possible to tune into CNN – or most other TV news outlets these days – without hearing governors from various states saying that they are running short of protective equipment for health care workers and that they cannot buy any new supplies.  There are stories that the states are bidding against one another and that the Feds are also in the auction game outbidding the states.  OK, I’ll buy that for the moment.  Now, how about those news sources probing this matter a bit more thoroughly:

  • How did Robert Kraft find a way in just a few days to fly a plane – his own plane to be sure – into China, load it with more than a million needed N95 protective masks and fly it back to Logan Airport in Boston when various governors and the Feds are not doing the same thing?

Every time I hear one of those governors speaking into a microphone, they say that they are working night and day on the pandemic problem and that they are leaving no stones unturned worldwide to secure the PPE – personal protective equipment – for the health care workers in their state.  If that is true, how does a rich guy just waltz into the middle of this jumble and get possession of more than a million pieces of such rare and cherished cargo?  Maybe the governors should take some time away from their microphones and ask Robert Kraft how he did what they keep saying is vitally important to them.  Just asking…

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will cause lots of scrambling and reorganization of logistical matters in order to pull off Tokyo Olympics 2021.  The folks involved in that massive undertaking have 15 months or so to “get it done” and I am confident that they will make the Games happen.  There is a shorter-term casualty involved here that seems to have gotten much less attention:

  • NBC was supposed to broadcast more than 7500 hours of Olympic coverage on TV and on streaming platforms.  There is no way that they are going to have 7500 hours of “dead air” in July/August 2020 and there is also no way for them to produce 7500 hours of new programming between now and July/August 2020.

This is serious business; advertising revenue anticipated from the Summer Games is not going to be there on the books for the year.  Executive bonuses are in jeopardy.  Holy belt-tightening, Batman!  Here is some of what we might expect:

  • NBC has a cache of Law and Order SUV episodes that date back about 20 years.  If they play them sequentially as reruns, we can watch Marissa Hargitay’s career progression from Detective through Captain.
  • NBC has available reruns of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D and Chicago Med.  Maybe they will have time to produce a few episodes of a new series – Chicago Veterinarian – to augment that line of broadcasting.

I would suggest that NBC execs might be in line for the Presidential Medal of Freedom simply if they refuse to yield to the temptation to give us reruns of America’s Got Talent and Miami Vice.

Finally, here is a timely comment from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

Worth saluting: Good news for some of us of a certain generation. Under the current self-distancing rules, it’s now a patriotic act to yell, ‘Get off my lawn!’”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “Rest In Peace, Al Kaline”

  1. I applaud Robert Kraft for getting those N95 masks and giving them to the medical people who need them. My complaint is why does a private citizen have to substitute for the Federal Government?

    1. Doug:

      And for State governments and for hospital system ordering folks and for …

      This is not Robert Kraft’s responsibility any more than it is his responsibility to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

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