Last Wednesday America was introduced to yet another lunatic with a gun, and we were treated to a rare instance of bi-partisan accord in Congress when just about all of our elected representatives were able to agree that they didn’t like being shot at.
You may recall that one James Hodgkinson, President of the Illinois chapter of the Bonkers for Bernie Fan Club, opened fire while Republicans were practicing for an upcoming baseball game against the Democrats.
It was, indeed, tragic. Long after the horrible events had transpired, the news showed footage of the practice field, now populated by investigators instead of players, and strewn with balls and other equipment left behind in the race for safety.
My first thought was about how sad that abandoned baseball field looked. I was briefly reminded of the lyrics of an obscure Paul Simon song “Night Game”:
There were three men down
And the season lost
And the tarpaulin was rolled
Upon the winter frost
But then I thought of an even sadder image than an abandoned baseball field: a baseball field with politicians playing baseball on it.
I’m sorry–the optics just don’t work for me. First, I can’t picture these people in anything but suits or golfing attire. And second, well, check out at this picture–it looks like the starting line-up for an Old-Timers Game from the 1950’s, and let’s just say it doesn’t appear that they invited anyone from the Negro Leagues. I don’t think I’d like watching a bunch of rich old white dudes play baseball.
I also started wondering if, when the game was played, any of the following might happen:
- Would there be a souvenir stand selling bobblehead dolls of the players and, if so, would anyone recognize the irony of a Republican bobblehead?
- Since there were only two women on the rosters (both Democrats), would the other players discuss women’s health issues between innings?
- Would the Republicans have more players than the Democrats?
- If there was an argument, would Mike Pence be there to cast a deciding vote?
- Would Democratic pitcher Rep. Cedric Richmond (Democrat-La.) intentionally throw at Rep. Tom Rooney (Republican-Fla.) just because?
I looked it up and, incredibly, they’ve been playing this game since 1909. It wasn’t played during wars or the Depression, and Speaker Sam Rayburn ended the game in 1958 because he thought it had become too physical. Contrary to popular belief, it was not because Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (Black-NY) was spiked by Strom Thurmond (Racist-SC).
The game resumed in 1962 and has been ongoing ever since, although it has not been without a scandal or three. In 1972, listening devices were found in the Democrats’ dugout. In the late 1990’s, there were allegations of performance enhancing drugs recommended to players by Bill Clinton, who almost always got at least to second base. And in 2010, there was Weiner-gate (right), which was not about the hot dogs sold at the game.
Despite the shootings, this year’s game was played Thursday night, and none of the events I listed above occurred. The Democrats won 11-2, breaking an historical deadlock. Before Thursday, each team had won 39 games and there had been one tie–the infamous 26- inning game that went late into the night because of a filibuster and was finally called.
In a post-game interview, one Democrat said, “Everybody gave it 39-47 percent out there. It was a total team victory, and I’m just happy we got even for the last election.”
Also, there is no truth to the “fake news” that all the umpires were Russian.
See you soon.