BASEBALL: It Can Help Explain Life–And Politics!

I like drawing athletes, particularly baseball players. The baggy pants are a challenge. I enjoy watching baseball games, whereas I used to hate watching baseball. Something changed in my head while I watched the 2011 World Series. I think I got hooked on watching certain individual athletes play the game and began following those players, but not teams (although I did favor the Cards).  The individual players are funny, engaging (how many actors can you say that about?) and genuine.

My favorite baseball player quote (ignoring Y. Berra for the moment) has to have been Manny Ramirez (Original Mr. Baggy Pants) who, when asked how he felt about being fined zillions for using drugs, replied “It’s only money.” When a guy can say that in the face of a huge financial setback, his head is screwed on right in some part of his brain. After all, “what DOES it profit a man if he gains the whole world and …?” Out of the mouths of babes and …baggy pants ball players. What if we had that sort of candor in politicians?

One of the things that had changed from when I had last watched the game in the nineties is the “umpire challenge” by reviewing a play on video playback. The amazing thing about the challenges is how infrequently umpires are mistaken. Plays can be incredibly close, but umpires are nearly always correct and their calls usually survive challenges. Nearly every game provides one of these very dramatic close calls by umps.

Of course, the best thing about baseball is when a really good game comes along, like the Yanks and Rangers last night. The lead had changed dramatically twice and it finally ended with the Rangers behind by one with two outs, two strikes, bases loaded and at bat was the best hitter the Rangers have. He finally hit a high fly to left, which was caught on the warning track. The game ended, but it was a great one.

As I was thinking about the Rangers-Yankees game this morning it occurred to me that one of the reasons watching sports is enjoyable is because you get to see what is happening. You get to make the call. You may even agree with the umpire. Or you may think the umpire was asleep at the switch. You even get to see the challenge replay and see it agree or disagree with you.

Of course it’s fun, right? Yes, but contrast the immediate feedback from watching the play in real time with the frustration you feel when considering the things that are concealed from most of us. Some things are, of course, by their nature, necessarily concealed. Macy’s doesn’t talk to Gimbels and that sort of thing. Putin doesn’t tell Obama what he plans to do next.

Obama doesn’t tell Putin, but he doesn’t have to. He telegraphs everything. He (and, apparently, Kerry) are the very worst negotiators. Everyone on the planet can tell what dumb thing they are going to do next. This is mostly because they generally do nothing. If you guess Obama will do nothing the next time terrorists kidnap all the Christian schoolgirls in some remote village…you will be correct. If you guess Obama or Kerry will do nothing at the next Middle-East crisis…except…throw Israel under the Hamas bus at the earliest opportunity…you will be right again.

The other way anyone can correctly anticipate what Obama or Kerry will do is (assuming you missed the first guess, ie; “nothing”) …is to assume they will do the “wrong thing.” This is their favorite move in any situation. They are experts in this method. How they invariably manage to pick the “wrong thing” is amazing. You would expect they would do the correct thing once in a while …if only by mistake. But, no.

Baseball managers and players do the wrong thing frequently and they almost never do “nothing.”  Sometimes players do incredible stuff. That’s when the game is really fun to watch. But whether they do the wrong or right thing it is fun just to watch. You get to see what really happened, even if you need the replay to figure out what you just saw. Or what the umpire saw.

We are usually deprived of the opportunity to see what happened when politicians are calling the shots…or plays…actually “shots” is more accurate when politicians are involved. What happened that night in Congress when the Republicans were locked out and Nancy Pelosi and other airheads dreamt up Obamacare. Obamacare, which we now know is an utter disaster, was birthed in the dark. Where we couldn’t see it when the doctor or Obama smacked its backside and it began breathing and devouring the nation’s wealth.

Politicians hide their labors from us. Sort of like Lois Lerner’s taking the Fifth. That’s just a fancy Constitutional way of hiding your actions. Sort of like Lois’s emails which have recently taken a turn towards the really sophomoric by revelations of her calling conservative groups she doesn’t like …junior high school derogatory names. How do such low-lifes get into high governmental positions?

Anyway, I now understand why I automatically and subconsciously hit the remote to switch from the most important televised (aren’t they all) speech of Obama to the worst and most boring baseball game imaginable. Who knows what you will see some unknown player do.

Whereas…we all know what Obama is gonna say.

Besides…it’s more fun to watch a ball team self-destruct than a nation…particularly my own.

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Steve Bowers

About the author, Steve Bowers: Steve Bowers grew up on a farm in Indiana, attended Indiana University and went into the construction business. While working on a construction project at a law school he was appalled at how lawyers could screw stuff up on a simple building project. Thinking he could do better, Steve went to law school. He’s pretty naive. View all articles by Steve Bowers

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