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Another Hero Falls... and the Royals Keep Playing

America's sacred national innocence, long under assault by Barry Bonds, Arod and anyone who uses stats to explain our holy sports, took another hit yesterday when one of our greatest treasures was exposed. Coming on the heels of the tragic, national-soul-altering losses of Gerald Ford, Barbaro, Anna Nicole and John Heath-Stubbs (ok, he was English, but it still left us shattered) many are left wondering what they have to fall back on, as Popper was long-venerated as one of the great musical and moral voices for a generation.

His greatest documents, "Runaround" and "But Anyway" guided millions through the boredom turmoil, strife and discord of the 1990s. He was our Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bono, all rolled into one. Now, only darkness and oceanic despair. Perhaps we can still use Popper's teachings, especially his salient analysis of life in "But Anyway", "I shouldn't have been clocked at 111 while driving a car full of drugs weapons and my survivalist gear, but anyway."

Popper needs to defend himself forthrightly in a court of LAW! In a post-Katrina world, he damn well knows Bush and FEMA don't care about Black Harmonica People.

Inside the black Mercedes SUV, officers found a cache of weapons and a small amount of marijuana, the Patrol said. A police dog searched the vehicle, finding numerous hidden compartments containing four rifles, nine handguns and a switchblade knife. Authorities also found a Taser and night vision goggles. The vehicle was seized.

Forget the Surge, just send Popper to Iraq.

I won't live in an America where people pictured with Tara and Paris use drugs. I just won't.

But even if we must admit that man is born to suffer, we might take a lesson from William Cullen Bryant and realize that in the harmony of nature and the cycle of the seasons there is solace:

STRANGER, if thou hast learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares,
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of nature.

- from, "Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood"

And fittingly, that brings us to the Royals and their current pursuit of glory in the redolent Spring of Arizona, a state that perfectly typifies the harmony of nature with its flowing, natural rivers, bubbling streams and its annual transformation from a dark and cold world into a land of grass and flowers. Ahh, the glories of the sunbelt in bloom! Such a lovely emblem of the resurrecting sprirt of man! So entirely authentic, with its ancient, tradition-filled cities and humble, natural, unadorned maidens!

As it did for Bryant and as it did for Wordsworth, we realize that no universe that could gift us with the glory of spring could possibly be a godless one. We realize that, despite Popper's fall (or his being framed), we still have each other and we still have the Royals!

Buddy Bell, pray for us
Angel Berroa, pray for us
Reggie Sanders, pray for us
Joe Posnanski, pray for us

In this holy spring place Ross Gload is tearing the cover off the ball (GLOAD WILL EXPLODE!). Berroa and Blanco are slappin' singles like its their job (ohh wait, it is) and according to Alan Eskew of "Meche is Rarin' to Go". Rarin'!

The Royals take on the Mariners today, a collision of forces that will resonate in our souls for the rest of our lives. Meche will show the Mariners just how happy he is, setting the tone for his 28-2, 2.95 ERA season in 2007. I suspect this will be a painful game for Mariners fans, but I encourage them to remember they have Raul Ibanez.