Monday, October 16, 2017

Doug Glanville Hits It Out of the Park ...... as Player and as Writer

Updated, 10-18-17,1:35 pm EST

-Doug Glanville with Rachel Robinson

Special to The Cool Justice Report

Hartford resident Doug Glanville made his name as a standout Major League baseball player. Over a nine-year career with the Phillies and Cubs, he won a reputation as an exceptional outfielder, at one point going almost 300 games in a row without committing an error. In 1999 Glanville batted .325 and was second in the league with 204 hits while stealing 34 bases -- surely one of the most impressive statistical years ever to go unrewarded with an All-Star honor. Retiring in 2005, he has since worked an analyst and commentator for ESPN.

  • Glanville races for inside-the-park home run via @YouTube

  • Many athletes go on to become sports announcers, but far fewer have the literary chops to become writers. Glanville, whose resume includes an engineering degree from an Ivy-League school (UPenn), is that rare exception. In his 2010 book, The Game From Where I Stand, he offered readers an absorbing chronicle of the daily challenges and rewards of life as a professional athlete, while describing his interactions with such controversial stars as Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, and Alex Rodriguez. The Game From Where I Stand garnered rave reviews; acclaimed journalist and Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger called it “a book of uncommon grace and elegance...filled with insight and a certain kind of poetry.”

    Over the past decade, Glanville has written a series of op-eds in the New York Times, pieces graced with wit and wisdom. His very first Times essay, in 2008, evoked the insecurity that shadows an aging player. “There is a tipping point in a player’s career where he goes from chasing the dream to running from a nightmare,” he wrote. “At that point, ambition is replaced with anxiety, passion is replaced with survival. It is a downhill run and it spares no one.” For him personally, Glanville recounted, the downward turn began with a torn tendon incurred while running out a ground ball. “All of a sudden,” he wrote, “I felt old.” The essay reveals how anxieties felt by all of us are concentrated in the professional athlete, with his inevitable fixation on performance. “We’re scared of failure, aging, vulnerability, leaving too soon, being passed up.”

  • Recent NYT Column: What I Learned About Cops From Baseball

  • Glanville’s major-league career coincided with has come to be known as “the steroid era,” and he has written about that subject with insight and candor. In a 2009 essay he laid out his own agonized decision not to take performance-enhancing drugs, a decision for which he credits his mother, who “taught me how to look at the big picture,” and whose moral grounding in life reminded him that those who did take the drugs “pay a big price for their decision” by way of hollowed-out confidence and abandoned self respect. Was Glanville tempted to augment his physique – and his stats – via such drugs? Absolutely. “But that’s when my mom would sit on my shoulder and remind me of the beauty of knowing that what you gave of yourself was authentic, and that anything that happened — successes, failures — was real.”

    As a writer Doug Glanville is perhaps best known for an article in The Atlantic, “I Was Racially Profiled in my Own Driveway,” recounting a disturbing incident that occurred one day in the winter of 2014. The former major-leaguer was shoveling the sidewalk outside his spacious home in Hartford’s West End, one street over from the West Hartford line, when a West Hartford police officer approached him and asked, “So, you’re trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people’s driveways around here?” When Glanville explained he was shoveling his own walk, in front of his own house, the officer simply left, with no explanation of why he had assumed that a black man shoveling snow in the West End must be hired help. In the article, Glanville explained what he only later found out:

    West Hartford had an ordinance that prohibits door-to-door solicitation. A man whom I allegedly resembled had broken this ordinance. Someone in West Hartford had called the police, and a young officer, believing he was doing his duty, had pursued the complaint to my street.

    While acknowledging that “our block would have been the first stop for the wayward shoveler if he had entered Hartford,” Glanville noted that “these practices have ‘side effects.’ They may help police find illegal drugs and guns, but they also disenfranchise untold numbers of people, making them feel like suspects … all of the time.” The incident spawned the memorable phrase, “Shoveling While Black,” coined by Glanville’s wife, Tiffany, in an email to their neighbor, state Rep. Matt Ritter, and reflecting the guilty-until-proven-innocent stigma that continues to plague so many African-Americans in their dealings with law enforcement. “In a sense,” Glanville summed up,

    the shoveling incident was a painful reminder of something I’ve always known: My biggest challenge as a father will be to help my kids navigate a world where being black is both a source of pride and a reason for caution. I want them to have respect for the police, but also a healthy fear.... But I also want them to go into the world with a firm sense of their own self-worth.
  • I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway

  • Not satisfied with merely writing about the incident, he took action, collaborating with his Matt Ritter to craft a bill, signed into law in August 2015, prohibiting law enforcement from pursuing an offender outside the officer's precinct if the suspicious activity in question is a relatively minor infraction.
  • Shoveling While Black: MLB Star Doug Glanville Turns a Bad Experience into a Good Law

  • Since moving to Hartford five years ago, Doug and his wife Tiffany have been active in their community, sending their kids to Hartford public schools and working to bolster the quality of life in the city. Tiffany, a lawyer, serves on the Board of Education. Doug serves on the board of the MLB Players Alumni Association and runs a scholarship foundation he started to honor his late father, Dr. Cecil E. Glanville. A much sought-after writer and speaker, Doug Glanville is both entertaining and eloquent, a person uniquely qualified to discuss sports and the lessons they hold for life.

    Rand Richards Cooper is the author of The Last to Go and Big As Life. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, GQ, Esquire, The Altantic, and many other magazines. A longtime writer for Bon Appétit and the New York Times, Rand lives in Hartford and writes a monthly column, “In Our Midst,” for Hartford Magazine.
    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Andy Thibault coordinates the 2017-18 Speaker Series at The University of St. Joseph.

  • Meet Doug Glanville at University of St. Joseph Nov. 14, 6p.m.

  • Facebook Event Page for ‘Responding to Injustice in Ways that Work’

  • Friday, August 25, 2017

    Trump Dossier Core Claim: The 2 Sides Had a Mutual Interest, Exchanged Info & Cooperated

  • Schiff: Important claims in 'dossier' backed up by public record

  • Dossier via Buzzfeed

  • British spy Christopher Steele tells FBI sources for Trump 'dossier': report

  • Fox News: Steele ordered to give deposition in Buzzfeed suit

  • Richard Blumenthal wants Glenn Simpson’s testimony made public; firm drafted Trump dossier

  • 7 times Trump tried to call off the dogs on Russia

  • Some In Congress Don't Get The "Gravity" Of Russian Election Meddling, Former CIA Director Said

  • 'I can tell you what the veterans of the S.I.S. [the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6] think, which is yes, kompromat was done on him. Of course, kompromat is done on everyone. So they end up, the theory goes, with this compromising bit of material and then they begin to release parts of it. They set up an ex-MI6 guy, Chris Steele, who is a patsy, effectively, and they feed him some stuff that’s true, and some stuff that isn’t true, and some stuff that is demonstrably wrong. Which means that Trump can then stand up and deny it, while knowing that the essence of it is true. And then he has a stone in his shoe for the rest of his administration.'

  • Spies Like Us: A Conversation With John le Carré and Ben Macintyre
  • Friday, August 18, 2017

    Special Greeting for Ku Klux Klan in Connecticut, September 1980

    Colonel Joseph Perry (Retired), Connecticut State Police

    By Andy Thibault
    The Cool Justice Report
    Aug. 18, 2017

    Editor's Note: This column may be reprinted or re-posted courtesy of The Cool Justice Report

    Sometimes injustice and racism hit a roadblock that can't be moved.

    It's worth celebrating these moments, especially today as we realize forces engendering and supporting racism and fascism have a comfy home in the White House.

    As Americans, most of us at least theoretically support the notion that all citizens have equal rights and standing -- even though we know it's not true in real life.

    My friend Andrew Kreig, a Washington, D.C.-based essayist and lawyer, has done a bit to stem the tide in a recent post entitled, "Words Fail But One Must Speak Out." As usual, Kreig lists links to recent news articles that are on point.
  • Kreig post

  • Speaking out is important. It makes a difference.

    Putting your body where the story is and choosing a side in history also makes a difference.

    Seemingly small acts -- for example, confronting a friend or relative over racist statements -- make a difference.

    “We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change,” said the late historian Howard Zinn. “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

    By way of disclosure, Zinn was my professor at Boston University. His "People's History of the United States" and "The Politics of History" challenge anyone's critical thinking skills and reveal how history can be hidden and manipulated by those in power. This is especially important in our current era in which a person who demanded execution of five innocent young black men in New York proclaims, “I am the least racist person that you have ever met."

    Zinn became my mentor and friend and wrote an intro for my first collection of newspaper columns. He often told me of the importance of race and racism in U.S. History. I see now more clearly than ever how our history is rich -- and under-reported -- in terms of small acts that allow or prevent racist practices.

    In that spirit, a certain incident that took place in a private room at Bradley International Airport in 1980 seems especially relevant now. Here's how a part of that story played out:

    From 1980 to 1984, the Ku Klux Klan conducted 16 rallies and demonstrations in Connecticut.

    During that time state police seized a large variety of guns, knives, swords, machetes, baseball bats, pipes and chains, as well as slingshots, weighted knuckles, a detonator and clubs.

    Progressive forces for civil rights and equal treatment began to arise -- in of all places -- the Connecticut State Police.

    A young African American trooper, Joseph Perry, was among those who had been promoted by Commissioner Donald Long. Long, a proponent of fair and equal treatment, was told by Gov. Ella Grasso he would face repercussions for his practices.

    "Ella told me, 'This is going to get you into hot water,' Long recalled the governor telling him about his support for affirmative action. "Of course, it did."

    Perry would go on, a dozen years later, to become the first African American commander of the Connecticut State Police. Even then, the department was still about 90 percent white. Progress was marginal but undeniable.

    As the KKK prepared for a series of rallies occurred over a few days in September 1980 in rural Scotland, near Willimantic in eastern Connecticut, their liaison by phone was the captain in charge of the Eastern District -- Joseph Perry.

    “The wizard or grand dragon and I were dealing with each other on the phone,” Perry recalled.

    “He envisioned cops and Klansmen standing against the commies. I had to tell him we were neutral. He told me no Indians, no Pakistanis and no Negroes were allowed at the rally.”

    Perry met with the Klan leader in a private room at Bradley airport, accompanied by a lawyer representing the state of Connecticut who happened to be Jewish.

    “I told him I was in charge of the rally for the state police,” Perry said. “I asked him if they were going to wear sheets. He said they weren’t sheets – they were uniforms or robes.”

    I smile and feel good for a moment looking back on this. Violent racists were faced directly by an African American and a Jewish American who were sworn to uphold the law, and had the power and will to do so.

    This is a time for all of us -- teachers, parents, workers -- to confront the history of white supremacism and the racist con man in the White House who would have us believe in 2017 that this is a fight about Civil War monuments. Most of the monuments were constructed long after the Civil War to keep African Americans from enjoying the rights most Americans take for granted. The monuments are tributes to segregation, Jim Crow laws and the lynchings of thousands of African Americans.

    Make a difference. Stand up. Speak out.

    Thibault, a private investigator for the Hartford office of Integrated Security Services, is the author of a second collection of newspaper columns, “more COOL JUSTICE”, credited with helping to free a woman unjustly convicted of first degree murder. Follow him on Twitter @cooljustice.