Saturday, February 16, 2008

MLB: The Rites of Spring

Who says Baseball brings us all together?

Having watched just snatches of Thursday's hearings of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I am confused about some things.

Hall-of-Famer slam-dunk hunk Roger Clemens was testifying one seat away from his ex-trainer, Brian McNamee. McNamee claims he injected Clemens with steroids.

In the first place, as a baseball purist, I could care less about the use of steroids. What I don't like about Major League Baseball are two things: designated hitters and asterisks. So, the use of steroids bothers me only because high school kids will emulate the 'Bigs' if they were made legal.

Two other things - not about MLB - bother me, though. They're not very sophisticated, complicated or subtle. Basically they are two fundamental legal concepts that we live under the rule of laws and not of men, and It's against our laws to lie under oath.

This testimony between Clemens and McNamee is a 'he-said & he-said' situation? Well, if it's true that McNamee has the syringes to prove he juiced Clemens, I certainly think that justifies some kind of indictment. Secondly, if Clemens maintains he did get the right stuff, and he did, that's more serious, legally, than being denied his Hall-of-Fame seat.

But what gets me is how politically partisan these hearings became. Totally polarized, in fact, is my impression. The Republicans on the HCOGR lined up totally in Clemens' corner and the Democrats on McNamee's side.

Why was this?
  • The Republicans are just naturally on the side of the defendants because they are respecting the presumption of innocent?
  • Clemens is a personal friend of George W. Bush, has a standing and open invitation to the White House and is an even closer horseshoe-playing friend of George W. H. Bush?
  • Republicans just have a knee-jerk reaction against Rep. Henry A. Waxman and feel than anything he schedules a hearing about is superfluous or wasteful witch-hunting?
  • Roger Clemens is rich (arrogant and throws right) and the G.O.P. (Greedy Old Party) is genetically pre-disposed in favor of right wings and wealth; Brian McNamee is the underdog, a working stiff, drawing a paycheck from The Rocket, struggling to stay in the middle class?
  • Republicans are Yankee fans and Democrats are for the rest of us?
Before the hearings, Clemens both lawyered-up and lobbied-up, according to ESPN, Clemens went door-to-door chatting up members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform over the past week, and the effort apparently scored points with many of the committee's Republican members. Richard Emery, a lawyer for trainer Brian McNamee, was amazed at the GOP's lock-stepped stonewall defense arrayed in Clemon's defense:
Clearly, someone OK'd letting the dogs out of the kennel. There was a palpable difference in tone along party lines. I thought it was a disgraceful display.
And, probably uneccessarily so:
It would be the easiest thing in the world for George W. Bush, given the corrupt proclivities of his administration, to say Roger Clemens is an American hero, Roger Clemens helped children.
Get it? The standard ol' Alredo Gonzalez Defense!
It's my belief they have some reason to believe they can get a pardon.
Quite so. It's called the Libby Maneuver.

One can argue, of course whether, with all of the burning and smoking issues lying around for governmental oversight, why pick on baseball? Well, let's not open that can of worms. At the very, very least we can say, in behalf of these pre-spring training hearings: Republican congressmen proved that that their vocabulary includes the L-word. You know, as in the usage,

You're a liar!
The question is, can the Democrats purse their lips and pronounce the same word?

Chicken Hawks vs.Chicken Doves

Hardball or Softball? Tackle or Touch?

Barack Obama says he wants not only to undo our invasion and occupation in Iraq, but to annul the thinking that lead to it. I believe him. Obama also says he wants to end the game(s) played in Washington. I want him to clearly delineate what game(s) he's talking about.

For example, is it political baseball or political football?

I don't frankly know which. If it's baseball, the Chickenhawks have been playing hardball; and if it's football, the Chickenhawks have been playing 'tackle'. Liberals are countering with their version of 'softball' or 'touch-football'.

Hardball is Bush's well-known pitch to Congress: support the troops through funding or be labeled as backstabbing, Der Dolchstoß traitors. Impose no time-lines or you're emboldening the enemy. The surge is working, don't'cha see?

Softball and touch are the games the Democraptic Senators have been playing. Coach Harry Reid doesn't even want to play. He just wants to run out the clock:
We have the presidential election. Our time is really squeezed.
In the House, Coach Nancy Pelosi’s locker room speech is less than inspiring. She doesn’t want to control ball-possession , just her field position:
We just didn't have any plays we liked down there … you just have to play the field-position game....
Wait 'til next year:
We'll have a new president. And I do think at that time we'll take a fresh look at it.
The problem maybe that Democrap coaches are not really leaders but gamblers, engaging in point-shaving:
Our focus is on the Republicans. How can we juice up attacks on them?
Progressives need a blunt team captain, maybe a Lynn Wollsey willing to hold the line on defense by refusing from the beginning to approve any funding that wasn't tied to a troop withdrawal:
If we'd been bold the minute we got control of the House — and that's why we got the majority, because the people of this country wanted us out of Iraq — if we'd been bold, even if we lost the votes, we would have gained our voice.
There are worse things than losing.
Make no mistake: 2007 has been a losing year for us. The Progressives have been shutout by the retrogressives. So, going forward into the next political season, I have to ask myself which of the two general managers we are choosing between - Hillary or Barack - have more 'Game'?