Out of the Lineup

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Posted October 19, 2005 by Static in News

Statistically, the crowd at Fort Worth Cats games next year may be slightly younger – but surely not as much fun. Longtime Tarrant County politico and baseball aficionado Howard Green, who sat nightly behind home plate at LaGrave Field, passed away last week at age 84. A few days before that, Cats manager Wayne Terwilliger, fresh off a Central Baseball League championship, announced he was going out on top, retiring at age 80.

Green was a former legislator and county judge, but baseball was a big part of his life. He’d been involved in minor league baseball in Texas since the 1940s and helped bring the Texas Rangers here in the ’70s. He loved to share his wisdom and passion regarding baseball and politics, usually passed along with a good laugh.

Terwilliger just figured this was the right moment to get out of the dugout. This summer he managed at age 80, the first man to do that since Connie Mack did it for Philadelphia in the 1950s. Twig was in pro baseball for 57 years, but on the field he threw batting practice and hit fungoes and ran around like a teen-ager. He still may do some consulting work for the Cats.

Static has a question for him. In Fort Worth Weekly’s profile (“Terwilliger Bunts One for the Books,” May 25, 2005), the old guy said he might get his ear pierced after he retired. We’d like to see that, Twig – maybe at home plate before the opener next year?

Hear No Evil …

Ah, how pleasant it is to be the Good News paper. Take the United Way’s recent survey of human service needs in Tarrant County – a valuable effort that produced some sobering findings: Poverty in Tarrant County is at 11 percent and rising. Homelessness is increasing. There’s a growing need for public transportation. The rate of children failing in school has risen. Gang violence is a serious issue. Those findings weren’t buried in the small print in the United Way’s report – along with the cheerier news, they were front and center in the overview, highlighted in United Way president Tim Carter’s cover letter.

But hey, why bring people down? The Fort Worth Star-Telegram put on its rose-colored glasses and found the proper approach to this story: “Residents view neighborhoods in positive light,” the resulting headline read. Five paragraphs later the story finally delved into the bad news – and spent a whole eight words on it: Though the survey “revealed concerns about transportation, crime and health care,” folks also liked their neighborhoods! Yay!

The S-T tried again a week later, and did a decent story on the need for public transportation. Issues like drugs and gang violence were still kissed off – but this time, in the lead paragraph, at least.

Don’t rely on us gloom-and-doomers here at the Weekly to explain why telling folks the bad news is just as important as the good. Let the United Way’s Carter do it: In reading survey results, he wrote in his letter, “you may discover a different Tarrant County than the one you have experienced. I invite you to reflect upon what you learn,” then decide how to help.

Just don’t figure you’re always going to learn it from the don’t-Startle’em-Gram.


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