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Suns' new bobblehead gives last stand a whole new meaning ... just sayin'

June 26, 2013

Each year the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau selects a bobblehead to give away at a Hagerstown Suns game. Past winners have included both historical figures such as Clara Barton and Ulric Dahlgren, as well as contemporaries like Nora Roberts and Elizabeth Schulze.

So far so good.

This year, however, the CVB chose Brigadier Gen. George Armstrong Custer for its annual bobblehead giveaway at Saturday’s Hagerstown Suns game.

Certainly Custer has connections with Hagerstown — he was here as the Union cavalry dogged retreating Confederate soldiers after the Battle of Gettysburg.

But the last time we heard from Old Yellow Hair he was having a Very Bad Day at Little Big Horn, suffering a beatdown at the hands of the Sioux and Cheyenne that became known as his “Last Stand.”

Considering the news from the Suns and their association with Hagerstown this year, “Last Stand” is an all too plausible allegory for the team’s future.

Or maybe that was the point. Come to think of it, the only more appropriate symbol for our present situation might have been a bobblehead of a buzzard.

I’m not saying this is the worst bobblehead idea ever construed for the Suns — some years back the team planned an Osama bin Laden bobblehead, an idea that was quashed only after it won the Suns considerable national exposure.

It is also fitting that we have to go back to the Civil War to find a worse year than the one currently being experienced by the present Hagerstown City Council.

In the space of a 12-month period 150 years ago, the city saw its streets ravaged by fighting and was held for ransom by the Confederates, under pain of being burned to the ground.

Today, we’ve lost the school board, we’re about to lose the Suns, and the last time we saw the Sora redevelopment group, they were fishtailing out of the City Hall parking lot, making it painfully obvious that they were sorry they had ever heard our name.

You would normally think that it would take some years to win the title “Worst City Council in the History of Hagerstown,” but if this group loses the Suns, it will be in danger of accomplishing the feat in less than a year.

But since we are on the subject of George Custer and history, I think there is one thing for which we can all be grateful: That this particular city council was not in place in July 1864, when the Confederate Army came calling, threatening to burn the town if we didn’t act fast.

Councilman Lew Metzner: “Hold on, I’m negotiating this with an unseen diplomat who’s ready to come forward any day now. Probably the first of August. No, October. No, after that probably, but soon.”

Councilman Kristin Aleshire: “I think we need to define our terms. Do we mean burn as in actual fire, or are we speaking metaphorically, as in the intransitive adverbial sense of ‘burn,’ meaning to scorn or to (17 pages deleted here) and until we get an answer, I don’t think we can move forward.”

Councilwoman Penny Nigh: “Gen. McCausland can just shut up and leave for all I care. Just get out. Who needs him?”

Councilman Don Munson: “I feel very strongly both ways.”

Councilman Martin Brubaker: “I still don’t know why they asked me to do this commercial.”

Well, like Custer, at least we’re going out in colorful fashion.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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