I don’t give a rat’s wide receiver whether Brett Favre plays football for Green Bay, Minnesota or Manchester United. This Hamlet in a helmet has dominated the so-called news for weeks.

Who bloody cares? It’s baseball season, we’re in a pennant race, the Twins have a cool little team of overachievers who are grossly overpaid by human standards but a skinflint’s blue-plate special by pro sports standards. The Twins have lost what seems like half their fast slap-hitters because these guys slide into bases hands first, so not the way we were taught in park-board baseball. The Twins lightened their financial load by tossing overboard a great center fielder and the best pitcher of the last half-decade, and yet they’re in first place today, playing with heart and duct-tape. You gotta love ’em. If you can get to the baseball news through the NFL police blotter and the histrionics about the head cheesehead.

It’s summer. Let’s pay attention to the grace of baseball, and let these cretins in shoulder pads haul their BGH masses into training camp in the obscurity they deserve.

We’ve got a presidential campaign going on, which seems as if it will be decided by whoever has the slimiest ad creators. Maybe we should be paying some attention to who these candidates are and what they are really like so we don’t buy another Texan in a poke. Let’s lighten up on the sports coverage and take in the great story on Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the Chicago Tribune, reprinted in the Strib today. The story quotes Solzhenitsyn saying “A great writer is, so to speak, a secret government in his country.” You go, Sy Hersh. Great writers can, given time and courage, pierce the Orwellian PR screen of a Soviet Union or a Bush-Cheney administration.

Yes, we need sports and movies and tunes and the latest James Lee Burke book to take our minds off the serious stuff. But let’s not go bananas over the second coming of Brett Favre. I’d go see him if he was playing at Pearl Park near my house, tossing the ball around with neighborhood kids. But — oh well, Liriano’s back, and Morneau’s swing is so whip-fast and level, and it’s wonderfully muggy, and the last tomatoes are getting red, and I’m tuning Brett out. I’ll watch C-SPAN tonight, but right now I’m reading the box scores on the patio.

–Bruce Benidt

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