The Upside of Getting Blown Out (or The Way-Too-Early Preview of the 2020 Atlanta Braves)

I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but if you are, you probably turned off yesterday’s Game 5 of the NLDS in the 1st inning.

The St. Louis Cardinals opened up to a 10-0 lead before every fan at Suntrust Park could get a 2nd beer in their hands. The series was, for all intents and purposes, over.

To be sure, there are a lot of folks who will over-analyze this series, questioning Atlanta manager Brian Snitker on all sorts of things…from sticking with Brian McCann the entire series (even though Tyler Flowers was better against RHP, which made up the entire starting staff of the Cardinals) to waiting to Game 5 to barely jiggle the lineup, inserting Adam Duvall over Matt Joyce.

Snitker played matchups, trying to get as many left-handed bats that could make a difference offensively as he could, but now that the series is over, we probably know the answer to why McCann played the whole series.

It was the veteran’s curtain call.

McCann, with very little fanfare, announced in a postgame interview, that this was it for him. He’d be retiring after 15 great years as one of the better offensive catchers in baseball. He got a chance to go out with the team he started with, and helped lead them back to the playoffs. He said he figured out he wanted to retire over a month ago, and I’m sure the conversation between Snitker and McCann was poignant.

You can understand why Snitker, a player’s manager through and through and a Braves man, wanted to give McCann the chance to play all 5 games of the NLDS. It was McCann’s swan song.

If you’re looking for any more analysis of the Braves 2019 season, you’ll have to look elsewhere, because this is not about that. Instead, like any good hangover, let’s drink down some Hair of the Dog and get this season in the rear-view.

The fact is the 2020 Atlanta Braves 25-man roster could look a lot different than this year’s squad, for a lot of reasons. First off, there are a fairly large number of guys who are free agents or free agents-to-be. That list is long:

Josh Donaldson
Dallas Keuchel
Julio Teheran ($12MM team option/$1MM buyout)
Nick Markakis ($6MM team option/$2MM buyout)
Tyler Flowers ($6MM team option/$2MM buyout)
Billy Hamilton ($1MM buyout)
Francisco Cervelli
Darren O’Day
Chris Martin
Adeiny Hechavarria
Josh Tomlin
Matt Joyce
Jerry Blevins

On top of those guys, Ender Inciarte, Johan Camargo, and Charlie Culberson (all under contract for 2020) will be coming back and ready for spring training.

First, let’s talk about the people who I think will not be returning in 2020. I don’t expect the Braves to extend Cervelli, even though now it’s just he and Flowers as primary catchers. With Alex Jackson at AAA and really having done all he can do there (28 HRs in 2019), I expect him to come to spring training in 2020 as the #2 catcher behind Flowers.

Flowers has the 3rd best WAR of all the free agent catchers, and is still one of the best pitch framers in baseball. I fully expect them to pick up his $6MM option for 2020 and Flowers and Jackson will be your catchers for the 2020 campaign.

For many reasons, I don’t think Dallas Keuchel will be given an offer to stay with Atlanta. His postseason was fairly abysmal and outside of good home numbers, was really mediocre as a Brave. Couple that with a plethora of arms in the minors chomping at the bit to make the big league club, and I think that equals out to Keuchel being gone.

Speaking of starting pitchers, I think we’ve seen Julio Teheran’s final day in Atlanta. With his buyout only $1MM, and the option being more expensive than he’s worth (in my opinion), I think we’ve seen ol’ Julio pitch his last game in a Braves uniform. Again, all you have to do is peak at the Braves farm system to know that we’re ready to make this club a bit younger.

The other big name on that list that I don’t expect to be in Atlanta next year is Nick Markakis. Throw out the fact that his trademark durability took a hit in 2019 with his stint on the IL, his production at the plate is just not worthy of a full-time spot. Adam Duvall and Rafael Ortega would make a good platoon option in LF, and with Inciarte coming back, until Cristian Pache is ready, I think you move Ronald Acuna, Jr. back to RF and thank Markakis for his service and send him on his way with a $2MM buyout.

And now we come to the payoff. To me, the biggest question mark for the Braves this season will be what they do with Josh Donaldson. Postseason scuffle aside, he had a memorable 2019 campaign, and put to rest his history of staying injured and not playing a full year. I don’t have the stat in front of me, but I think at one point, he started in 113 or so straight games.

Combine that with his power at the plate and his defense at 3rd, and I think needing Austin Riley to be ready right now to take over at 3rd base is not necessary. As everybody who follows the Braves knows, Riley got off to a torrid start, just crushing baseballs. Then pitchers found a Mack-sized hole in his swing, specifically sliders away, and Riley didn’t adjust.

Then Riley got hurt and never really regained any of that early form at the plate. He did get a lot of good experience playing 3 different positions this year (LF, 3B, 1B) and that will only go to help his value, but if he can’t sort out his plate woes, he’ll be stuck in a bench role.

I think the Braves give Donaldson a decent offer, considering they won’t be paying Teheran or Markakis their full salaries. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Braves offer Donaldson 2 years/$44 MM with a 3rd year option. I think Donaldson really bonded with the team mid-year and is a favorite in the clubhouse.

There’s no doubt other teams will come calling on Donaldson’s services, but in the end, I think he ends up coming back to Atlanta.

Considering Inciarte, Camargo and Culberson will all be back in 2020, I don’t expect the Braves to find room on their roster for Billy Hamilton, Matt Joyce, or Adeiny Hechavarria. To me, the only one of those three that might find themselves on the roster is Hechavarria, since he showed late in the year he could play anywhere on the infield. Of course, so can Camargo, and the fact that, before he got injured in September, Camargo was showing signs of finding his way at the plate, I think he’ll be given every chance to regain his 2018/late 2019 form at the plate.

That leaves Darren O’Day, Chris Martin, Jerry Blevins, and Josh Tomlin as free agents. I fully expect O’Day to be on the roster, since he had a good showing in September, didn’t really hurt himself too bad in the postseason, and is finally healthy. As far as the other pitchers go, I think they’ll probably all get fairly inexpensive offers to stay. To me, the only question is if anybody wants Tomlin to start, he’ll probably bolt Atlanta for that.

Let’s take a stab at what I think the 25-man roster will look like come Opening Day, first the starting lineup:

RF Ronald Acuna Jr.
2B Ozzie Albies
1B Freddie Freeman
3B Josh Donaldson
LF Adam Duvall
SS Dansby Swanson
C Tyler Flowers
CF Ender Inciarte

Pitchers
SP Mike Soroka
SP Max Fried
SP Mike Foltynewicz
SP Kyle Wright
SP Bryse Wilson
RP Shane Greene
RP Josh Tomlin
RP Luke Jackson
RP Jerry Blevins
RP Chris Martin
RP Mark Melancon
RP Sean Newcomb

Bench Players
C Alex Jackson
OF Rafael Ortega
UT Charlie Culberson
UT Johan Camargo
UT Adeiny Hechavarria

I think Riley starts the year back at AAA after spending most of spring training with the Braves. Ortega is a piece that makes sense because of his left-handed bat. He’s the 2020 version of Matt Joyce. I know it’s a risk starting two young guys in the rotation like Wright and Wilson, but Wright showed a lot in September after call-ups, with an improved slider, and everyone raves about Wilson’s make-up. If it doesn’t happen to be one of those two guys, don’t be surprised to see Ian Anderson or Tucker Davidson be given a shot.

Some minor league names to watch in 2020 (either to start the year or during the year…)

OF Cristian Pache
OF Drew Waters
SP Ian Anderson
SP Tucker Davidson
OF Trey Harris
SP Patrick Weigel

I think any of those guys could see the big club in 2020, with Pache and Waters at the top of the list.

The future is bright, Braves fans. Let’s put the misery of this year’s postseason behind us and look forward to the 2020 season. Just 136 days until the Braves open up their spring training schedule with the Orioles on February 22nd!

#ChopOn!

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These past 419 days…

“Into each life, some rain must fall.”

Apropos of many things, these lyrics have been rattling around in my brain for the last few days. Not only because here in the Birmingham area, rain is falling, but because tonight is the last night of me in my apartment.

welcome1

Welcome to this beat-up door.

The apartment I entered upon leaving almost 18 years of marriage. The apartment that was picked because of it’s proximity to my old house and my boys’ school. The apartment that didn’t really feel like home until God healed my heart.

thehome

Remember when my kitchen trash can was so small?!?

I haven’t cried, yet, but I’ve come close. When I was cleaning out the part of the kitchen where I kept cereal, I found an old box of Dollar Tree cereal I had bought when things had been rough towards the end of 2017. I took down all the drawings of the boys’ art that I had posted up in the dining room and hallway of the apartment. My wife, April, helped me so much with packing but for the last few days, it’s just been me, and that’s just fine. I only say that because it feels like me doing the bulk of it is helping me close this chapter properly.

Tomorrow, the movers will show up at 8:30am. And that will be it.

But as much as I hate things about this apartment, like the too-small shower stall, the way the water goes scalding hot when you flush any toilet, the creakiness of the floors, having to live with a neighbor for half the time who kept hours more akin to the Crypt Keeper and liked everyone to know when he had friends over, how hot it gets in here when it’s 95+ degrees outside because the air is working overtime just to keep it around 75…

But damn it all, I’m going to miss this place too. This place saw me through a lot of changes this past 419 days.

myboys

My boys could often be found playing in this floor just like this (when they weren’t pushing each other’s limits to the max).

It saw me move in and drink myself silly for the first few weeks. It saw me start and thrive at a job that I have now been at for 15 months and counting, where I just had one of the best months of my career.

It saw me go on a few kind of pointless dates and stumble happily into finding the best woman I could ever have found for me and my boys.

mylove

I mean, did I hit the jackpot or what? Look at this dame.

It saw me lose my temper with the boys several times, but it also saw me rally and reign in my own temper to reach them and teach them.

It has seen a lot.

It saw me celebrate my first Halloween post-marriage. It saw me celebrate my first Thanksgiving and Christmas post-marriage.

christmas1

I wasn’t sure I could do my own Christmas tree. I hadn’t ever really done it.

It saw a huge snow storm that nobody saw coming.

snow

Snowmageddon! Snowpocalypse! Frozen rain falling in large amounts!

It saw me through each and every step in my journey with April, and now, it’s seeing me leave for my new home with April, her mom, Tripp and my boys.

I’m married now. I’m in a job that I really love. My boys are happy and healthy and mostly good to each other (working on that last one a real whole lot). I have a wife that loves me and is there for me.

And starting tomorrow, we’re living together. Finally. At last.

I’m ready for this new step. For anyone who has continued to follow me and be a part of this ride, thank you for being so amazing to me. Each friendship that has remained has gone to strengthen me, and I will continue to need each one of you. I hope that I can repay your kindnesses towards me by being an equally amazing friend to you all.

Onward, friends!

What I Know (2018 Edition)

(Writer’s Note: I’ve done these posts at least twice now, this makes #3…a pattern? Yes. These are merely my opinions and nothing more.)

I know that the children from Parkland, Florida who are standing up for more gun laws in this country are braver than they have any right to be.

I know that if my boys were old enough, I would want them to know how brave these kids are, and to tell them to be just like them in this life.

I know that gun violence is a problem in this country that can’t be solved until we realize that the right to own a gun isn’t more important than anyone dying from someone using a gun.

I know that there are many responsible gun owners who disagree with me, and that’s okay, but as Doug Jones put in his campaign, “Don’t you want to be on the right side of history?”

I know that if we don’t do anything about access to guns in this country that the rate of mass shootings will not decrease, it will increase.

I know that I spend more time than I should worrying about my kids’ school being the next one that this happens to.

I know that too many of us are positioned at the far ends of political thought but sometimes good conversations can lead to enlightened opinions and changes of mind.

I know that sometimes, social media discussions (a.k.a. arguments, sometimes) can be a force for good and for change in this country.

I know most of you reading this would disagree with me on that, and that’s okay too.

I know that cherishing loved ones, family and friends should be at the top of my list for the rest of 2018 and beyond.

I know that I should probably spend less time in the “On This Day” section of Facebook, at least for a few more months.

I know that my future is secure, in more ways than one, because I have my God, a woman that loves me, kids that are my own heart, and family and friends that care for me.

I know that you can’t know the future, but you know a good thing when you see it, and forgiveness is for yourself, not for others.

I know that forgiveness is not ever a one-time thing.

I know that you may have stopped reading by now, and if you haven’t, you should know that I think you’re awesome.

And finally, I know that life is a series of choices, moments, and opportunities. Making a bad one, or missing the other two doesn’t make or break your life. Just bow your head, thank God for another chance, and get back up and try again.

You can do this. I know…

Because I did.

Doug Jones Won – What Did I Learn?

Last night, in a remarkable turn of events that even many of my friends couldn’t have predicted (I’m looking at you, Dana Pace), Doug Jones, a Democrat, won the special election for the vacant US Senate seat here in Alabama over former Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore.

I spent a hefty part of the evening (after getting my boys to bed) on Twitter and Facebook, enjoying the moment and reading all the reactions in real time was really a delight. It felt like I had won something, and to be honest, in a way I did. We all did, even if you didn’t vote for Doug Jones.

We managed to put Country over Party in this election, but having slept on the results, I think there are some other things we learned in this election that are going to be crucial going forward if we are going to turn things around in this country.

Black Lives (And Their Issues and Concern) Really Matter

In an amazing show of solidarity, black voters overwhelmingly picked Doug Jones in this election. Overall, the black vote (which accounts for roughly 30% of the population of Alabama) voted for Jones at a 96% rate, whereas white voters overwhelming voted for Moore (nearly 3 out of every 4 white votes went to Roy Moore).

Many pundits and commentators in both traditional and social media circles pointed to Jones’ lack of attention that the candidate paid to issues around race. Jones was always quick to point out his role in the prosecution of the KKK members who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, but beyond that, his message was fairly weak to black voters.

Regardless of that fact, black voters turned out in droves to support Jones and probably got him elected. Beyond what I feel is the obvious fact that black lives (and their issues) matter, I think it’s clear that the Democratic base needs to strengthen their message and stance on issues that impact black Americans because by and large, the way to win back control of Congress will go through minorities and women.

White People – We Need To Talk

It happened in 2016 with Trump and it happened again in 2017 with Roy Moore – overwhelmingly, white voters have voted for the Republican candidate on the ticket, despite the veracity of the allegations surrounding the candidate.

I’m not one of those white people. I’m proud to say that I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and I voted for Doug Jones in 2017. And I know a ton of white people who did the same thing I did. But I know there are also a lot of my fellow Alabamians who I know voted for Trump and likely either voted for Moore, wrote in someone’s name, or didn’t vote at all.

The simple fact is I feel like many Republican voters are acting like they are brainwashed into thinking that no matter what, you simply cannot vote for a Democrat. They are convinced that a vote for a Democrat is going to kill babies, take more of your money, and make you bake cakes for gay couples.

Regardless of how true or not those statements are, the divisiveness of our current political process is only working to hinder our progress as a society. In my humble opinion, I believe some Republicans voted for Doug Jones this time around and more need to find a way to put their faith in candidates because of the issues, and their character, instead of whether or not the man (or woman) has an “R” or “D” next to their name on the ballot.

The Republicans Across The Country Just Heaved A Big Ol’ Sigh of Relief

Republicans took to Twitter and tweets poured in last night and continued through today and the message seems to be “Hey Roy – you lost…move on buddy”. But the vibe I’m getting from most of these tweets is more a collective sigh of relief than actually wanting Roy Moore to move on and concede the election.

Despite how voter turnout came down in this election yesterday, I believe a lot of Republicans are silently glad that Moore didn’t win. A Moore victory yesterday would’ve been hung around the neck of every single GOP candidate in the 2018 midterms and it likely would’ve given Democrats even more momentum. As the tweets suggest, it seems as if many Republicans are eager to move past this and start re-establishing their message. The problem with that is the standard bearer you’ve chosen is still Donald Trump, and you can bet these sexual misconduct allegations around him aren’t going away anytime soon.

So if you value decency over corruption, if you value progress over backwards thinking, if you want us to move forward and not go back in time, then you should hold your head up high today and know that Alabama (of all places) sent the US and the world a message loud and clear last night.

And Roy, if you’re reading this…you’ve got to go, but Sassy can stay.

Welcome (156 Days)

welcome

This is the front door of my apartment. This is my new home. I’ve lived here now for 156 days. And this is my new welcome mat.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had in my divorce is learning what it means to be vulnerable and what support looks like. Are there layers to vulnerability? Are there different types of support?

When I updated my blog with a post in July of this year, I was in a pretty dark place. I think it came across as mostly hopeful (and I think that was probably not entirely inaccurate) but in truth, I was struggling to find myself in this post-divorce, newly-single-and-definitely-very-awkward-and-not-ready-to-mingle phase of life. I was attempting to discern in real time what being vulnerable about my divorce was like, and what support I could expect to receive as a result.

But I was also looking to write, because writing to me has always been cathartic. It has been in years past a salve to my heart, and I was hoping it would be again. I knew it would ruffle some feathers. I knew it might even make some people angry with me (again).

This place, this apartment, this home…really hasn’t felt a lot like home to me for these 156 days. There are all kinds of little things that annoy me about this place. The shower in my bathroom has tiles that are loose in the bottom. There’s a crack in the threshold panel going from the living room to the kitchen. It’s small…oh so small compared to the house I lived in with my family for 13+ years.

But in a lot of ways, I’ve been able to find comfort here. It hasn’t been easy.

Those that know me know that I’ve found someone and it’s been the most pleasant surprise I could ever have hoped for. April is constantly a blessing to me and I am thankful for her beyond measure. But this post isn’t strictly about her, so I don’t want to get too much off topic here.

As I walked through Walmart with April this weekend, and I saw all the Christmas stuff in the aisles, things we were looking through to determine what all I would want to buy to decorate my apartment with for Christmas, I realized that I hadn’t ever bought a welcome mat.

A welcome mat is really a small thing, and many people don’t bother to put one out. But after talking with April, I decide to wander over to the Home Living section of Walmart and see what they have. I decided on this one. I like it.

April and I are having some friends over for a Christmas party next month. To this very apartment. To this home. I can’t wait to invite these people in, welcome them, and make them feel at home. I’m encouraged that after 156 days, I finally have a welcome mat.

Divorce – All The Things They Don’t Tell You (At Least They Didn’t Tell Me)

TL:DR – As of Spring 2017, I am a single man. My wife of 16+ years decided that we were no longer moving in the same direction as husband and wife, and told me she wanted a divorce. She wanted to raise the kids with me but didn’t want to be married to me anymore.

So that’s it. There’s a LOT more to this story, as you can probably guess, but for now, let’s just leave it at that.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with what it means to be newly single in 2017. I’ll be honest with you; my marriage wasn’t great in probably the last 18-24 months of it. I’m sure my ex-wife would attest to the same being true for her. Oh sure, on the outside, things were okay. We still did things as a family, we came together when my ex-wife’s mother had health issues and ultimately passed away in November 2016, but at home, things were just…not right.

So here I am, wondering what my focus should be. I have my boys, C and E. C just turned 8 and E is 4. They are awesome, and rambunctious and curious, and so super smart. So I know my time every other week is going to be devoted to them and their schedules and routines. But when I don’t have them, which is for 7 days at a time, I find myself with a lot of idle time.

I have a lot of options, but my gut reaction is to go and find some companionship, because you know, that’s what I’ve had for the last 24+ years! I don’t know what it’s like to be alone.

So the first thing they didn’t tell me when I got divorced is that I’m going to have a LOT of free time and I better find a good use for it or you know…idle hands make for, something not good, I don’t remember the old saying.

I found myself dipping my toe back into some bad habits, nothing too run-off-the-cliff crazy but certainly in the vein of what some would consider “bad decision making”. I had friends warn me that I needed to take it easy, not go crazy hitting the bars and what-not, and to my credit, I really haven’t done that at all. To be fair, my bank balance has more to do with that than anything.

But I truly found myself looking for love in all the wrong places…well, not ALL the wrong places, but you get my meaning. God, it is so hard to be alone! Especially when you haven’t been alone for as long as I wasn’t…I mean, I had been with my ex-wife longer than I was alive before I met her!

So one week, I decided to start the process of “putting myself out there”. I downloaded Tinder, and began swiping right…and a lot left. Within a day, I had begun about 10 different “Hi, how are you? Where you from? What do you do?” conversations before I realized one thing, which is the second thing they don’t tell you…

I have the stamina for a great many things in this life, but I don’t believe I’ve got the stamina to have that many first conversations. Having to repeat the same things over and over and over again, it’s exhausting. I just want someone to get me, and think I’m awesome, and want to spend time with me, and wow, I really need to get laid I think.

So Tinder wasn’t for me…it seemed very “in the moment”, and I needed a bit more control over the situation. I started up a profile on match.com, and began the process there. I was able to connect with people there, but the conversations were more like emails being passed back and forth, way more my speed…and it seemed to go okay. I met this really nice girl and we went out on a couple dates.

I don’t know if that’s going to go anywhere, it’s still in the very early stages so I’m hopeful. But I’ve also come to realize that I really cannot put all my eggs on one basket, and most of those eggs probably need to stay in my basket for now.

I’m overweight…I could stand to lose maybe 50 pounds to be really feeling better about myself. Certainly 30 would get me going in the right direction. I’m eating horribly for the most part, a lot of quick meals and microwave things because cooking used to be something I loved doing for my family, and well, I don’t really have that same family anymore. I know, I know, I need to stay with it because you can really control your calorie intake more when you cook healthy.

And that’s the third thing they didn’t tell me…the things about your old life will seem stupid and not worth doing when you get divorced. There’s a stigma associated with cooking for me now…I’m not doing it in my kitchen, I don’t have all the things I had to cook with nor do I have as much time now that I’m working full time. It just doesn’t hold the same allure it did for me when I was married. Maybe that will change one day…

This adjustment isn’t going well for me, but I’m determined to make this work. I’m rededicating myself to eating right and reducing the calories I take in every day, which means I’m done with drinking on the regular. I’ve got a beach trip next week that I’m taking by myself, and I’m sure I will drink on that trip, then there’s a music festival in Birmingham I’m going to my birthday weekend next weekend that I’m sure I’ll drink at, but after that, I’m taking a break.

Alcohol is just empty calories and I’m going to stick to 1500-1700 a day!

Anyway, this was a long rambling read, so if you got this far, thank you. And if you came this far, maybe you’ll go a little further. You remember the name of the town in Mexico don’t you? Oh wait, wrong movie.

Do me a favor. Pray for me. And if you’re not the praying type, send good vibes my way, or drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook. Let me know that you’re thinking of me and my boys and that you’re hoping that things work out right. If you’ve been through this thing called divorce, hit me up with something that helped you get through the lonely nights (keep in mind, I’m swearing off regularly drinking on August 6th).

Most of all, love yourself, you’re the only one of you there is. And you’re worth it.

 

Making the Case for Hillary Clinton

Last night, the citizens of the United States were treated to the first of three televised presidential debates. I watched the coverage via CNN (on my Sling TV via Amazon Fire TV) and watched as my Twitter feed lit up with comments and evaluations of the candidates.

Most folks who follow politics are pretty quick to say that Hillary won the debate, although people like Chuck Todd want to say she was “over prepared”.

There could not be a more ridiculous comment than that, but then there’s what Brit Hume said about Hillary.

 

So there’s a lot to take away from the debates, but that’s not what this post is about. Speaking personally, I want to make the case to you why you should vote for Hillary Clinton in November.

5-pieces-of-evidence-that-hillary-clinton-won-the-big-presidential-debate

First, let’s get some facts straight. There are two major party candidates running in this election, and then there’s a third party candidate running who has almost zero chance of winning. I say “almost” because clearly anything is possible, but the likelihood of Gary Johnson making the kind of waves he would need to make in order to actually be a viable candidate in November are slim to none. Besides, in recent days, Johnson has taken to the air to discuss colonizing space as a way to help our country, and famously had no response when asked how, as President, he would handle Aleppo and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Considering the fact that he has raised only just over $7 million dollars in campaign donations (compared to over $500 million raised by Clinton and the “self-funded” Donald Trump raising around $168 million), Johnson has really no chance at winning. Many pundits have even suggested that voting for Gary Johnson is a waste of a vote. That’s not what I’m here to debate either.

For the purposes of this talk, let’s assume that there are really only two people that can conceivably win the Presidency come November 8th. Those two people are Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. Now, let’s talk about who should be President out of those two people.

But wait, Matt, that’s my point, you say. Neither one of them should be President.

Yeah, I know. Picking between these two makes you and a lot of other people frustrated at our political process. Many have shouted from the rooftops about it. How is it possible that these are the two best candidates for the job?! How can this be what America is reduced to, a lifetime politician who has made her share of mistakes, and perhaps even broken the law, and a self-described “successful businessman” who has filed for bankruptcy more than 4 times, been sued over 3500 times, and refuses to let us see his taxes until his “audit” is complete, something financial experts around the world say he doesn’t have to do.

But, Matt! But, Matt! Hillary Clinton had a private email server on which she illegally sent classified information and that’s breaking the law! Lock her up!

Okay, sure. You can believe that. But FBI Director James Comey (a noted Republican), when hauled in front of a Republican-led House of Representatives committee to testify on these emails, said he did not believe there was sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation into Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Many news outlets have reported and continue to report that she did break the law but at the end of the day, you can only evaluate this situation on what is, not what should be. And the director of the FBI has stated that there isn’t sufficient cause for an indictment or warrant for arrest.

So, again, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s just say that Hillary won’t be charged with a crime.

So you’ve got two candidates. One of them WILL be President of the United States.

You have to pick one, and here’s why.

You may not like to hear this, but if you don’t think Hillary Clinton should be President, then you really have to believe even more that Donald Trump CAN’T be President.

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Donald Trump cannot be President. He has repeatedly refused to give details on his positions and plans, and he is in no way ready to lead anything, much less this country. He’s built his companies on the backs of individuals who have consistently sued him for various civil offenses. He has shown an utter lack of civility and then whined when shown even the smallest amount of it back to him. He lies like it’s a regular habit. He even lied last night at the debate when, about an hour after he said not paying taxes made him “smart”, he denied ever saying it.

He wasn’t prepared for last night’s debate at all, and he came across as smug and immature compared to how Hillary was calm and level-headed and approached issues with real plans, not pie-in-the-sky “I’m so great and I have the best words” rhetoric.

As John Oliver states on his show this week, if you are alarmed by Hillary Clinton’s scandals, then fine, but you should be even more outraged at Donald Trump’s.

I don’t have the time nor the inclination to get into the ramification of a Trump presidency, but sufficed to say, if he won, he would set not only the country back but the GOP back many years, and we can’t be sure that he wouldn’t do something drastic to our reputation in the world community.

Some small research would also turn up many articles pointing out why voting for Hillary is clearly the only choice we have. You may not be persuaded by any of those, and that’s fine. But at the end of the day, we simply cannot have Donald Trump be President. And while you are entitled to use Hillary Clinton’s scandals as a reason not to vote for her, I urge you to reconsider, because while it may not be the best, she’s the best we’ve got.