He’s freaking named after a tool of the game–you’d think he’d understand it better!

One of Mitt Romney’s aides badly needs to give him a crash course in baseball.

A few weeks ago, Romney, in attempting to explain a fib that was unusually slimy even for him, he talked about how he saw the Patriots win the World Series. Confident as I am that love of America beats strong in Manny Ramirez’s breast, I don’t think that’s what Romney was talking about.

Then, in the wake of his defeat in Iowa, Romney flashed that TV anchor grin and said,

This is obviously a bit like a baseball game, first inning. Well, it’s a 50-inning ball game. I’m going to keep on battling all the way and anticipate I get the nomination when it’s all said and done.

Please, for the love of our country, couldn’t somebody talk to the guy?

Hooray! The animated baseball has been indicted!

Wait, what? Oh, sorry. Wrong

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Scooter.

Congratulations, George Bush!

With the sale of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the subsequent firing of the only general manager in the team’s history, Chuck LaMar–he of the .400 winning percentage over the team’s 8 seasons–the field has been cleared for the Bush administration to take sole possession of first place in the “least accountable organization” standings.

Manifest failure? Sickening incompetence? Take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld. Smile while you’re picking up your consulting check, Brownie. If you worked for anyone else–even the new and improved Tampa Bay Devil Rays–you’d be out of a job. As someone more clever than I put it, “Not only does the buck not stop there–it doesn’t even slow down!” Well, it’s finally landed, for the Devil Rays, at least.

Next step for the Devil Rays: setting some goals. Any kind of goals.

Perjury

Well, we’ve found out what it takes to get Congressmen pissed off about being lied to under oath these days: .289/.371/.516, with 569 home runs, 1834 RBI, and 3018 hits. The chair of the House Committee on Government Reform, Tom Davis III, has asked for information from MLB about Rafael Palmeiro’s positive steroids test. The committee is expected, says Congressional Quarterly, “to pay close attention to the timeline in baseball records” to determine whether the juice might have been responsible for the convincing bristle in Palmeiro’s mustache as he denied ever having been juiced.

Us ordinary folk, we just have to settle for writing a letter to the editor when we’re outraged. Congress is special. They can do something! They can order Palmeiro to shave that mustache and let them test every hair if they get a mind to.

You close followers of Congress in the audience will note that this is the first time Congress has paid close attention to anything since their surprisingly close interest in Mary Carey’s gubernatorial campaign.

And it’s the first time Congress has been outraged over possible perjury since the good ol’ innocent days in the summer of 1998, when, so a reliable source tells me, the most-searched terms of the online posting of the Starr Report at a certain major daily newspaper were “Sosa” and “anal.”

Too bad Palmeiro can’t be impeached! Think of the lesson that would teach America’s children about the seriousness with which Congress takes their duty to . . . uh . . . do whatever it is they do. Has the White House issued marching orders on Palmeiro yet?

Then again, if it does turn out that Palmeiro lied brazenly to Congress, then surely Karl Rove won’t waste any time before hiring him. After all, lying smoothly under oath is a skill that could come in mighty handy at the White House as Patrick Fitzgerald’s Amazin’ Prosecutin’ Machine keeps rolling.

Bonds and Steroids

Given the illegal leaks from the trial last month of that shady character Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi were hanging out with, it’s become more difficult to believe that Bonds has not used steroids. I remain in the innocent until proven guilty camp (a camp that, along with great s’mores, boasts the absence of both our former and our soon-to-be Attorneys General), but assuming the testimony is accurate as reported, then Bonds is either dumb, which anyone who’s watched him play knows he’s not, or he used some steroids that his shady trainer gave him.

So say Bonds used steroids. How does that make me feel about his accomplishments, since I’ve spent the last few years in the “Bonds is probably the greatest player ever” camp? King Kaufman gave his take on it at Salon: Bonds has fallen, in Kaufman’s estimation, from best player ever to one of the best ever.

I still wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Then one day, it hit me. I realize this isn’t by any means a perfectly analagous situation, but I feel a lot about Bonds probably using steroids as I do about Bill Clinton getting blown in the Oval Office: I honestly don’t really much care about the act itself, but I am irritated that either man would be so dumb as to do what he did, knowing the tremendous, irreparable damage it would do to his overall achievements if it came out.

As I said: not exactly analagous. For example, while there’s no rule against getting Oval Office action, there is a rule against using steroids while playing Major League Baseball. And while the damage to Bonds’s reputation is sad for me as a baseball fan (and as a champion of players of this era as, overall, the best ever), the damage to the country from Clinton’s public gelding at the hands of Ken Starr’s inquisition is much, much worse. Bonds’s possible cheating was unfair to those who played by the rules, while Clinton’s definite cheating was only unfair to his family.

But other than that, I find I can’t get all worked up about it. Sure, I wish Bonds definitely hadn’t used steroids. I wish Clinton hadn’t unzipped. But that doesn’t fundamentally change what I saw. With Bonds, I saw the best batting eye I’ve ever seen coupled with baseball smarts, a fierce competitveness, and a punishing work ethic. Without steroids, I firmly believe he would still have been the best player of his generation–he was well on that path way back when he was still skinnny. With Clinton, I saw the best politician of our lifetimes, who, while frequently frustrating me on particular issues, left our country in much better shape than it was when he took office. The fact that the Democrats were unable subsequently to capitalize on that, though partially his fault, doesn’t change my perception of Clinton’s gifts.

We’re less than six weeks away from pitchers and catchers.

Original comments…

Dan: One small point, though… Steriod use was illegal only from the beginning of 2003 (I think), which makes him “legal” for certain for at least 613 of his homers.

Sure, if he was using it, it was an unfair advantage, from the standpoint that he used it and the pitchers (that we know of) didn’t. But it was within the rules, on a very technical level. And all those pitchers could have used the same drugs to enhance their performance, too, during the same period.

All that said, the greatest player of all time remains Howard Johnson. With Barry Bonds and Melvin Mora “among the best.”

-DR

Toby: In my opinion, he’s not even the best Giants player ever (Willie Mays) or the best Pirates player ever (Roberto Clemente). Of course that could be a little biased since he left the Pirates (and made no secret he was going to…

Another potential benefit to the Red Sox win

This is an Associated Press photo of Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney removing a sign in Boston that is supposed to read “REVERSE CURVE,” but has often been graffitied to read “REVERSE THE CURSE,” and which has on this occasion been graffitied with a slightly different message…

According to the AP’s caption, the sign has been up for at least 33 years. Now, here’s the good news about it being removed: it’s nonstandard. It’s a warning sign, so according to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, it should be black letters on a yellow background. You know, like one of these. So let’s hope the Massachusetts Department of Transportation or the city of Boston (I’m not sure who has jurisdiction over that sign) is going to replace it with better signage.

Call this an omen

When my alarm went off just now, the first three words I heard were the last three words of a news story: “…in Davenport, Iowa.” My first thought was, “If KFWB was going to do a story on our road trip, why didn’t they call me?” But really, I assume they were talking about the fact that both major Presidential candidates are there this morning.

The other half of this omen is that, when I went to the KFWB web site just now to verify their URL, one ad on the site read, “Arizona Office of Tourism wants to send you on a Road Trip!” Thanks, Arizona, but I’m already going on one, and you don’t really need to capitalize “road trip” there!

Original comments…

Levi: What must it be like to be in Davenport today? Crazy. Are the two candidates going to accidentally meet in a local diner and have a bare-knuckle brawl? I’m picturing the scene in _The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence_ where Liberty throws a steak on the floor and Tom Donothan orders him to pick it up. But in this case, there’s no Ransom Stoddard to intervene and prevent bloodshed. That’s okay. Kerry can take Bush in a fistfight any day.

Good day, bad mom

Any day that the Cardinals and Cubs both have off is a bad day. Not as bad as a day when the Cardinals lose, but pretty lousy.

In part to make up for those teams having an off-day yesterday, I sneaked out of work at noon with my coworker, Peter, an Angels fan, to go see the Sox play the Angels. It was an exciting game on a beautiful day. When the Sox got runners at the corners with one out, the Angels called Jose Guillen in to play at the second base position while they shifted the second baseman to the left side to join the shortstop; Guillen went to the dugout to borrow someone’s infield glove. When you have five infielders and they’re all playing up on the grass, it looks like a wall of fielders. So Juan Uribe hit it over them, way over them and off the left-center-field wall for a long game-winning single.

Around the third inning, a couple of women showed up with about ten kids in tow, ranging in age from about 5 to 9. Each kid had a plastic cup of some particularly noxious-looking red slush. They sat a few rows behind us and watched the game. Then, in the 8th inning, with the Sox down 8-5, I heard the lead mom say, “OK. It’s time to go. Put down your cups [of particularly noxious-looking red stuff] and come along.”

Just as I was about to turn and give the mom the glare I usually reserve for SUV drivers who run red lights while talking to their broker on two phones, I heard a boy pipe up, Oliver-like, “But the game’s not over.”

It wasn’t an exclamation; it was more a combination of clear statement of fact and implied question. “Exactly!” I thought. “That kid gets it. That kid is going to go far. Reserve the Oval Office, because I’m ready to vote for that straight-talking kid as soon as he hits 35.”

But the kid might as well have been Helen Thomas in the briefing room, the way the mom Ari-Fleischered him. She ignored him. He might as well have spoken in Ancient Assyrian. She didn’t even pretend there was a legitimate answer to his statement. The kids filed out, the Sox tied the game, then won it, and everyone got back to Rolling Forest Meadowsville Park Hills half an hour earlier.

My only hope is that the boy’s clarity of thought, his sharpness of understanding, are not damaged in coming years by his mother’s obvious lack of same. I have little hope, though. We all know that the sins of the fathers have a habit of redounding unto the seventh generation; can the sins of the mothers be any less malevolent?

Original comments…

Toby: My only hope is that word of this post doesn’t get back to the mom, who, in turn, sues Levi for the emotional pain it has inflicted on her.

Jason: Levi could always countersue her for the emotional pain *he* had to suffer because she took her kids home early.

He could even try pinning child endangerment on her, as well.

Becky S: Sheesh, what kind of values are people teaching their kids these days? My brother once dumped a woman because she wanted to leave a Phillies game during extra innings. He’s gonna make a great dad!

Levi: Should I have called DCFS? I don’t have a phone, but I bet I could have borrowed one for the sake of the child.

Last word on the flag flap

On Saturday morning, Bush signed an order raising flags back to full staff in advance of Independence Day. So we were only officially mourning Reagan for 27 or 28 days. Some of the flags around here are still at half-staff, so either they didn’t read the “brief” in Saturday’s paper, or there was a separate order from Governor Schwarzenegger that I’m unaware of. (The LAPD station near my apartment had their flag at half-staff this afternoon, but a Burbank fire station was flying theirs at full-staff, to name the two government facilities I noticed.)

I’m leaving for New York early Tuesday morning, and probably won’t have computer access until I get back late Sunday. I intend to go to the Yankees-Devil Rays game Thursday night, but may be going solo because certain people have to work, or so they claim.

Perhaps while I’m gone, everyone can complain about the All-Star Game selections. Where’s Victor Zambrano and his awesome June?! Where’s Maura’s favorite player?! Why can’t I do a write-in on this “final vote” thing?!