Monday, October 04, 2004

Political Baseball

(This article was written during the last week of the baseball season that has just ended.)

By moving the Expos to Washington, Bud Selig has created more U.S. jobs in a slow week than George W. Bush has created in four years. And they are high paying jobs. The fact that Selig holds a job the President once coveted makes the accomplishment even more poignant. If an accomplishment could ever be called poignant, this one can. We are filled with mixed emotions, and dreams of what might have been. What would the world be like if their roles were reversed? Bud Selig would never have invaded Iraq because he doesn’t know how to cook intelligence. (Nor would he ever have thought to phone South Carolina voters and imply that John McCain had a black love-child.) George Bush, despite the fact that he has perfected the concept with regard to millions of U.S. jobs, would never in a million years have threatened to contract Major League Baseball. Differences between the two men abound. Unlike Bud Selig, George Bush does not scowl while singing the National Anthem. Many say that George W. Bush would have been a better baseball commissioner than Bud Selig; unfortunately no-one named Bud has or ever will be elected President. It is pointless to wish.

The implication that will be engrossing the Congress this week is why, if it is unsafe to re-import prescription drugs into this country, is it all right to re-import baseball players? Like cocaine, many of the best ballplayers in the game are developed in South America. How can diverting them through Canada make Americans safer? This is a complex issue, and will probably result in a blue ribbon panel driving to Camden Yards this afternoon. Would that the season were longer, permitting more serious study.

The more crucial trade issue, the one people are failing to see because they are so focused on the Nation’s capital, is that a Japanese import is about to obliterate George Sisler’s 74 year-old record for most hits in a season. Ichiro Suzuki (no relation to the manufacturer of motorcycles and violin instruction) is only three hits away from tying Nimisila Creek, Ohio native Sisler’s total of 257 hits in a season, set in 1920. (Sisler hit .407 for the season for which he earned around $400 a month; Ichiro is batting .372 and is being paid in excess of $6 million for the season, or about $4000 an inning.)

This sacred American batting record, beloved by millions, will be crated up and shipped off to Japan unless the President intervenes. He has the power to do so, but will he? Will he travel to Seattle? Will George W. Bush once again eat peanuts in the expensive seats? (This was his main occupation when he was the front man for the owners of the Texas Rangers. Those who accuse him of trading Sammy Sosa misunderstand the “weak owner” system Bush served under.) If President Bush does go to Seattle, as Eisenhower promised to go to Korea, will he exercise charm or threaten force? Will he follow the Eisenhower model and finesse the situation? Or will he borrow a tactic from his father, George Sr., and try to put Ichiro off his stride? Will he vomit on him? This may be the President’s only option. (It is worth observing that, in the decade since George Bush Sr. vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, Japan has suffered through a prolonged economic recession. Was there a cause and effect? If there is one way to determine who won it is this: Bush Sr. has a library in Texas and nobody remembers the name of the Prime Minister he vomited on.) If the vomit-maneuver has its desired effect, keeping the single season hit record in American hands, it might swing the November election, losing Bush the state of Washington but securing Sisler’s home state of Ohio with its greater Electoral vote total. Bud Selig refused to be interviewed for this article.

(© Pasquino 2004)


Post a Comment

<< Home