Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Okay, Now Let ME Finish ...

Chris Matthews threw me a curveball last night. In his 'Let Me Finish ...' commentary he closed out that edition of Hardball with a little help from his friend: ME. Talking about the upcoming election, Chris borrowed one of my favorite sports metaphors: The pitching change in baseball.

Here's CHRIS:
"Elections are about the incumbent. Think of a Major League Baseball game and you are the manager. You keep your eye on the pitcher and see how he’s doing.

If he’s throwing hard, mixing up the pitches and getting them out, you keep him in. If he starts letting the other side scatter some hits, you get a little jittery. If he gives up some runs, you get them warming up in the bull pen. If you he looks like he just can’t get the other side out, you walk out there and take the ball from him.

And that’s what good managers do. And we American voters are good managers. We don’t keep pitchers in the game when they can’t finish the job.

Look at Gerald Ford. Look at the senior George Bush. We yanked them. We liked them. But when it came to it, we had no problem pulling them.

Why? Because it’s not about who is in the bullpen. It’s not how hard that guy out there is throwing. It’s about the guy on the mound, the pitcher in the game. If we figure he’s got the stuff to get the job done, we keep him in. If not, we don’t."

Here's ME, commenting on Anthony Weiner's travails, last year:
To use the old baseball analogy: It's Game 7, top of the fifth. You're the manager. Your team is ahead by two runs, and your ace pitcher is on the mound. Suddenly he loses it. His control is gone. Runners on second and third with no outs. What do you do?

Do you hope he gets his control back and manages to get three outs without giving up two or three runs just so he can notch that WIN on his resumé?

Or do you tell yourself: "I've got a 100 mph short reliever I was saving for the ninth, I've got a rested bullpen, AND I've got the whole DAMNED PITCHING STAFF to get the next fifteen outs, because THIS IS IT, THERE'S NO TOMORROW."

What DO YOU DO? Me, I'd yank the ACE in a NEW YORK MINUTE and never look back.

It's a team sport. No one's indispensable. Not even your ACE. And if he can't find the plate, he's OUT.
Okay, I'm like this giant Zeitgeist generator. I get it. I'm flattered, really I am. I mean it. I like Chris, I mean it. Plus he's looking ahead to a tough outing, having to defend the latest, shocking, revelations about JFK as reported by Meredith Vieira. His JFK hagiography is an enjoyable read. I'll give it a positive review and recommendation. That is, as long as Chris doesn't come back with some psycho babble about progressives being incapable of accepting Lee H. Oswald as "a man of the left." Well Chris, not to belabor the point but if you look at the best evidence, common sense dictates he probably wasn't. And whether or not there was a "lone gunman" is less relevant than the strong likelihood there was a conspiracy.

Here's a book on the topic that I can recommend: The JFK Assassination Debates: Lone Gunman Versus Conspiracy, by Michael L. Kurtz. The author is professor of history and dean of the graduate school at Southeastern Louisiana University. He isn't some conspiracy kook; he's a serious academic and a recognized expert on the Kennedy assassination. One of our favorite historians, Douglas Brinkley, had this to say about the book: "A smart, engaging history of the stormy debate surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy. This is a book you can trust on a topic fraught with controversy."

That's it, for now.

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