Jack Hall Blog
SOUTH HOLLAND, IL---JULY 26, 2016-12:52 A.M. CT
From one side of Chicago to another. That's what I did on Monday after the Big League Girls won the Central Regional Championship in Elgin, on the northwest side of the Windy City. Next was a drive to the city's south side...to South Holland...where the Junior Girls are also trying to win a Central Regional Championship and earn a trip to the World Series.

The Escanaba-Gladstone combined team whipped Poland, Ohio, 16-6, to finish pool play with a perfect record. The quarterfinal game is at 6:00 ET Tuesday night and you can listen live on Kool 105.5 FM, NewsTalk 600 AM, and on-line at rrnsports.com.

It was good to see the girls' bats come alive instead of Gabi Salo having to pitch a shutout in the circle. Let's hope the bats keep rocking and rolling!

A couple of idle thoughts. Driving throughout the Chicago area, you have to do something we don't have to do anywhere in Michigan or Wisconsin: pay tolls.
Every so often, you have to poll over and cough up $1.50, or $1.10, or even 60 cents, depending on the road you are on. But some of these toll booths don't even have people in them anymore. You have to drop coins in a shoot. What if you don't have any coins, and are from out of state like me, so don't have their I-Pass electronic account?

Another thing. I watched a bit of the Democratic National Convention when I was updating our web site. I watched Bernie Sanders' speech. Why do I like him so much? His proposals for everything to be free are dead wrong. I would never vote for him. If he were president, the country would be completely screwed because there is no way to give free college and free health care and other freebies by "taxing the rich".

Maybe I like him so much because he didn't bend over and kiss Hillary Clinton's behind and made her sweat through the primaries. Yep. That's got to be it!

---later, Jack

ELGIN, IL---JULY 25, 2016-2:44 A.M. CT
Just a quick note to thank all of you for listening to our Little League coverage this weekend, with me in Elgin, Illinois, with the Big League Girls...and Ron and I in South Bend, Indiana, with the Senior Girls. The Senior Girls did not win, but I am still proud of how those Escanaba, Gladstone, and Rapid River girls came together to represent us!

And, if you haven't heard, the Big League Girls won their tournament and are headed to the World Series in Delaware! We all had to sit through long rain delays and didn't get out of the stadium until 11:30 ET. That's why I'm still awake...updated RRNSports.com as well as our news pages. And sending E-Mails to my boss and others about the next steps and the teams that we still have alive.

I will be heading across Chicago later today for the Delta County Junior Girls at their Central Regional tournament in South Holland. Game time is 6:00 on Kool 105.5 FM and NewsTalk 600 AM. Will write more tomorrow night, but I am completely exhausted right now. Thanks everyone who has supported our broadcasts!

---later, Jack

KALAMAZOO, MI---JULY 19, 2016-1:08 A.M.
Watching the Republican National Convention tonight left me wondering just how big Donald Trump's head is right now. Speaker after speaker got up there on the podium and talked about him like he's the Second Coming. And you know darn well that many of them didn't mean a single word that they were saying.

I am still convinced that Mr. Trump ran for this office as a giant ego trip, and he is getting plenty of boosts to his ego. And there's three more days of this crap. But what can we do? Vote for Hillary Clinton? No thanks. Because I'm convinced that she is the Wicked Witch of the West.

I will be leaving this great town of Kalamazoo in the morning and heading back to Escanaba. Yes, my own bed. For two nights anyway, before heading back on the road to cover our girls in the Central Regional in Indiana and Illinois.

---later, Jack

KALAMAZOO, MI---JULY 18, 2016-1:40 A.M.
As I sit here in my hotel room in Kalamazoo, I am having a blast watching a heavy thunderstorm roll through the area. Ever since I was a little kid, I've always loved thunderstorms. The only time I hate them now is when I'm trying to broadcast a local baseball or softball game and the kids are trying to get the game done, and it rains.

Speaking of which, congratulations to the Delta County Junior Girls for their impressive state championship. The 13 and 14 year olds were completely dominant, outscoring their opponents 66-1 this weekend. And Gabi Salo was in complete control, mixing her fastball with a biting curveball and a devastating change-up.
She threw a no-hitter in the state semifinal on Sunday, striking out all 18 outs. And then in the championship game, Salo threw a perfect game: 15 up, 15 down. She is already being looked at by colleges who need a strong, poised pitcher. But of course, they will have to wait a while, as she only enters the ninth grade this fall!

I will have the Escanaba Major Girls (age 11-12) state quarterfinal game on the air against Grandville at 12:30 Monday afternoon on NewsTalk 600 AM and rrnsports.com on the Internet...unless the heavy rains that I am watching now make the field unplayable. Then, I won't be liking this thunderstorm very much.

---later, Jack 

GRAND RAPIDS, MI---JULY 14, 2016-1:53 A.M.
Another state championship for Delta County Little League softball! This time, it was a very hard-fought 7-5 win for the Escanaba Big League Girls (age 17-18) over a Grand Rapids All-Star team from District Nine that had girls from five differnent high schools.

But the Escanaba girls have all played softball at such a high level that there was no intimidation at all. They've been there, done that. Seven of the ten girls on this team that won the state championship Wednesday night were on the team that went to the World Series in Delaware last year. And they have the potential to do so again this summer.

So, we have the Delta County Senior Girls (age 15-16) and the Escanaba Big League Girls both set to play in Central Regional Tournaments July 22-24. The Senior Girls in South Bend, Indiana, and the Big League Girls in Elgin, Illinois. I do not know which team I will be covering, in fact, I hope to get games on the radio for both, since the fields are 120 miles apart.

The bad thing is you have to go through Chicago to get between the two, so I don't know how that's going to work out. I will let you all know when I know!

Anyway, I am not resting, because the Delta County Junior Girls (age 13-14) open their state tournament today about 15 miles from where I am sitting. I will be on NewsTalk 600 AM and rrnsports.com for the girls with two games today: at noon and 4:00. Hope you can all tune in, and thanks to all of our sponsors for supporting my broadcasts!

---later, Jack

GRAND RAPIDS, MI---JULY 13, 2016-2:01 A.M.
Greetings from Grand Rapids, the first stop on who-knows-how-many I will have away from home covering our local Little League teams in All-Star tournament play.

The Escanaba Big League Girls played a nice game and beat the host District Nine team, 2-1, Tuesday night. But in the second game, the host team took advantage of a bunch of walks and they got timely hits to beat Escanaba, 8-5.

So, it's a split...and it sets up a huge game Wednesday night. That game will be for the state championship, and a spot in the Central Regional Tournament in Elgin, Illinois.

How's that game going to go? Well, Tina Baar is a good pitcher. She's fast, and she moves the ball around the plate. She will be tough to beat. But so will the Escanaba girls. Seven of these ten girls played on the Senior Softball team that went to the World Series in Delaware last summer, and they want to go back. These girls have a lot of experience playing in big games.

This game is going to be a complete war. I am already looking forward to broadcasting it. We will be on Kool 105.5 FM, NewsTalk 600 AM, and rrnsports.com at about 6:45 p.m.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI---JULY 11, 2016-1:42 A.M.
This entire "Black Lives Matter" movement has the positive effect of getting more people of color involved what's going on in their communities. And it has a positive effect in leading more people to get involved with politics. But that's about where the positives end.

To me, the whole premise is wrong, because it implies that white people...especially police officers...are out to exterminate black people. That's ridiculous.

And now, just hours after a black man murdered five white police officers in Dallas, the group encouraged nationwide protests over the weekend. How does standing in the middle of an Interstate highway (as people did in St. Paul, Minnesota, and other cities on Sunday) change anything in this country? It only makes the relationship with police even more strained.

Disobeying the law is a sure way to get into trouble with it. And that helps nothing.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI---JULY 9, 2016-1:55 A.M.
The murders of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, Thursday night hit an Escanaba Public Safety officer harder than most.
Brian Madalinski is an Upper Peninsula native who worked for the Dallas PD from 2008 until 2015. He moved back to Delta County two months ago, and began his new job with Escanaba Public Safety in June.
In an interview with me Friday afternoon, Madalinski expressed shock and other emotions after watching his former co-workers gunned down in the streets of downtown Dallas.
"It's heartbreaking," Madalinski said. "You put this uniform on, and it doesn't matter what patch is on your shoulder. It's a brother and sister hood that you are swearing into. Every officer is a family member, especially for an agency that you worked for. You really get to know each other on a personal level. You care about each other."
Besides worrying about the families of the five officers who were gunned down by a sniper Thursday night, Madalinski also worries about the police officers who survived the massacre.
"The number on rule is that you go home at night, and your partner goes home at night," Madalinski said. "It;s heartbreaking because, as one who is going home that night, you feel like you let your partner down because they're not going home. It's the ultimate sacrifice that anyone can pay when doing this job."
What was it like for Madalinski to watch the live television coverage Thursday night from a city that he swore to protect and serve for almost eight years?
"Being 2,000 miles away, from potentially family members, is a feeling of helplessness," Madalinski said. "Any one of us that's wearing the uniform would be running right to them to be by their side. And all you can do is stand and watch from your home, 2,000 miles away. It's very difficult.'

ESCANABA, MI---JUNE 8, 2016-1:50 A.M.
What the hell is wrong with people?

I am sure that's what's on the minds of many people in Dallas, Texas, after the massacre of police officers in the downtown streets late Thursday night. As I write this blog entry, four police officers are dead and eleven others are injured, some of them severely.

As I write this, we don't know who did this, or why. But it happened at the end of a rally in which people in Dallas were protesting this week's shootings of black men by white police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana. I find it hard to believe that is a coincidence.

Already on CNN tonight, people were talking about passing more gun control laws. No doubt President Obama will head to the microphone and do the same, as he does every time there is a mass shooting like this. As if making it tougher for millions of people to legally buy guns would really stop the murderers and criminals from getting ahold of guns if they want them.

I am white. So, I don't know what it's like to be a black person who gets pulled over for no obvious reason just because he's black. But all of this anti-police rhetoric that has being spread across this country ever since the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting is shameful.
And it may have lead to what happened in Dallas tonight. But again, we don't know that yet.
All we DO know is this: These police officers were ambushed from the tops of tall downtown Dallas buildings while they were protecting demonstrators who were calling police officers every bad name in the book. Sadly, tragically ironic, isn't it?

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI---JULY 7, 2016-1:12 A,M.
The Senior Little League Softball State Tournament will be held in Escanaba this weekend, but now the tournament is down to four teams. That's because the District Seven champions from the Port Huron area are not coming. So, the schedule had to be redone for a four-team event.

The tournament begins at noon on Friday with Escanaba taking on Calumet on one field, while East Jordan faces Taylor on the other field. The teams all face each other in the round robin tournament, also at 2:00 Friday and at 10:00 Saturday morning.

The state championship game is at noon on Saturday, with the winner going to the Central Regional Tournament in South Bend, Indiana, on July 21st.

It's a fun time of the year, and also very busy! I have updated all of the Little League schedules on our web site, RRN Sports.com.

---later, Jack

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