Baseball season is over, which is always a little sad for me.
It’s not just that I love baseball, and now have to endure six months without it. The bigger issue is that my hometown Milwaukee Brewers just concluded their 50th season in existence, which means a sold half-century without a single World Series championship.
In any case, baseball may be on hiatus for now, but it is perpetually relevant as a metaphor. And I don’t mean in a Ken Burns kind of way, where the death of Joe DiMaggio is the end of the American Dream, or something strained like that.
I’m talking about more concrete analogies.
For example, I’m sure we all enjoyed the sight of Trump attending Game 5 of the World Series and receiving a thunderous, sustained booing that reached “almost 100 decibels, the type of disapproval typically reserved for undocumented immigrants and freshman congresswomen at his rallies.”
I mean, here was the President, taking in the national pastime, in the nation’s capital city, and hearing from the nation’s citizens that he sucks, in a spontaneous display of First Amendment zeal that has not been outlawed despite the country’s right-wing lurch. And in an irony-heavy addendum of the type that Americans are known for, he was also serenaded with chants of “Lock him up!”
I mean, if that doesn’t make you swell with patriotism, nothing will.
However, not every symbolic event from the world of baseball is so positive.
For example, major league umpire Rob Drake recently tweeted his displeasure with the impeachment process. He did so in the calm, respectful manner that we have come to expect from supporters of the President.
Ha, no — he shrieked a caps-heavy boast that he was buying an AR-15 assault rifle, “because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020”
Now, you might think that we have enough violence in this country without random umpires threatening to murder people who disagree with their politics, to say nothing of the recurring promise that a civil war is inevitable and, in fact, eagerly anticipated by GOP white men like Rob Drake who have easy access to firearms and no regard for the Constitution.
Well, yes — but you’re missing the point.
Because once again, in this case, baseball is here to help.
You see, on one side of America’s political divide we have progressives, who want to move the country toward the democratic socialist model that has found great success in Scandinavian countries, but do it with more of a multiethnic focus. The other side — Trumpian conservatives — want to create a white nationalist state built upon pseudo-Christian values where the populace is enthralled with an autocratic oligarch who siphons off the nation’s resources to the super-rich.
That’s a bit of a philosophical gap.
Fortunately, we have homicidal umpires who are happy to illustrate the difference for us. So again, baseball enlightens us.
Lastly, allow me to recount a recent email exchange that I had with a disgruntled reader. This individual informed me that I was wrong about everything, and at some point in the conversation, he stated that the Electoral College was, in his words, “brilliant” and “perfect.” He stated that a nationwide popular vote for the presidency was like insisting the winner of the World Series be the team that scores the most runs, not the team that wins the most games.
My rebuttal was that the Electoral College is like declaring the winner of a baseball game is the team that scores in the most innings, not the team that actually scores the most runs.
I thought it was a good point. But he wrote back a stream of obscenities and invectives, so I guess he didn’t agree, and that was the end of our little debate.
Yes, the guy may have been an illogical, thin-skinned reactionary. But hey, at least he liked baseball.
Featured image: Howard Earl Simmons/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images