Norman Rockwell, apple pie, politics, and baseball are forever intertwined as a part of American culture. This is especially true during Presidential election years when the World Series is going on at about the same time.
Even though the two fall pastimes seem to be unrelated, baseball and politics have more in common than meets the eye. As such I was wondering what the favorite pitch of politicians might be? Much like a baseball hurler, they attempt to fool their constituents with a combination of speed, deception, guile, and posturing, to obtain their goal of getting batters out.
We should remember what Richard Nixon once said “never leave a game before the last pitch, because in baseball, as in life and especially politics, you never know what will happen.”
Below can be found the strategies of premier pitchers in baseball and how their abilities match-up with our elected politicians on all levels from local communities to Washington D.C.
The change-up or switching positions on issues is an excellent strategy to utilize. Who says a politician needs to be straight all the time. That’s why this pitch is so effective because it allows elected officials can take different sides and confuse their advisories without missing a beat
The curve ball- AKA putting additional conditions on legislation: Sometimes it’s good to make things slightly more complicated than is necessary. As an example when granting a building permit to a developer, it is often better to delay issuance not only to show concern, but also to tell the developer that you can make their life difficult. This is an excellent message to deliver, especially close to election time when campaign contributions are helpful.
The Fast ball- In that same curve ball situation when it is desirable to gain approval without allowing enemies to question what is transpiring; the fastball strategy works when quickly making a motion to suppress discussion not allowing the ball to be struck in the hitting zone.
The Sinker: This is a time honored pitch when wants to kill proposed legislation or table the matter while at the same time moving on to a less controversial topic. A sinker brings on the ground game to wreck most unwanted proposals with little fanfare and can lead to a double play.
The screwball- We have plenty of them in elected office and elsewhere. Just listen to the public comment periods of most city council meetings. There are more screw balls that stand up to speak than there are fruit cakes in Claxton Georgia. Most elected officials make it appear that they are interested in what these 800 numbers are saying while they ponder if a martini or Jack Daniels is to be consumed when the meeting concludes.
Circle change- This is keeping the same position on an issue while making it appear that compromise has been reached. Then everyone is happy because the Circle change has hit its mark. To borrow a basketball term “no harm, no foul.” Everything stays the same or so it seems.
The slider- This pitch is especially effective when a legislator has a law that that needs to be passed but it can’t be done because no one wants to take credit for it. In this case the way to take care of the problem is by sliding the offensive legislation into a non controversial bill such as supporting the Constitution or giving aid to the widows of rattle snake bite victims.
The fork ball- This is an old tradition when an elected official has to attend 3 crab feed dinners in one day or must go to a fundraiser at a hotel that has the worst ever “rubber chicken” on the menu. Throwing the “fork ball” allows the politician to leave quickly for another function because their fork must go elsewhere even if it is to the automobile take-out line at Jack in the Box.
The Palm Ball: In cases when a politician has to shake hands with slime ball advisory that they despise this pitch is helpful. The sleight of hand Palm Ball is a great asset to have in one’s arsenal. In such cases when touching palms produces a lot of grease or makes a big stink, it is best to wash your hands or better yet take a shower ASAP.
The 4-Seam fastball- When a politician wants to please everyone they make conflicted statements on the same issue without offending anyone. This is also called talking out of both ends of your mouth. If what is said appears to be different and alike at the same time, the pitcher has thrown the right pitch.
Quick Pitch: This is a time honored move that can be made at any time when speedy action is required without anyone being aware of what is going on. A quick pitch allows a politician to call for the question from Roberts Rules of Order without discussion or anyone in the audience being able to challenge what is ocurring.
Hesitation pitch: Historians claim this famous pitch was thrown by baseball legend Satchel Page. It consists of a slow curve which takes forever to reach the plate that hypnotizes the batter. In politics this means when the issue is finally put to the question, other legislatures can’t remember what they are voting on. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss.
The cutter: This pitch is something that frequent advisories Marco Rubio and President Obama have tossed in the past. Both, while being members of the Senate, frequently used the cutter to miss important votes when being on the campaign trail. Enemies of both men criticized them for being AWOL from the Senate but to no avail.
The Knuckleball: This is one of the weirdest things thrown where one does not know where the ball is going. This is a specialty pitch of Hillary Clinton whose stands on issues vary according to opinion polls and which way the wind blows. When the Clinton Foundation is involved, the pitch goes directly to the bank.
The spit ball: This pitch made famous by Hall of famer Gaylord Perry had a foreign substance such as spit or Vaseline illegally applied to the ball prior to it being thrown. This caused strange movements and made it difficult to hit this pitch. In politics we call this simply call such a phenomena taking a bribe or payoff
Slip Pitch: In politics the slip pitch has been made famous legislatures who have been caught taking bribes. They are known to resign while at the same time slip out the door to “spend more time with their families”, enter a 12 step program, or enroll in an ethics seminar taught in the Siberian tundra. Leland Yee had one of the best slip pitches ever when he transferred his operations from the California State Senate to doing time in prison.
Nothing Ball: This is last pitch thrown by burned out political figures that have “nothing” left to offer their constituents. What does one expect after more than 20 years on the job when it’s time to move on? In this case they table a motion that is to be taken up in the next legislative session. The issue will then be someone else’s problem to deal with.
The last pitch – This is called a lot of things ranging from the end of the game to being sent prematurely to the showers by an umpire. In political circles the last pitch means an elected official has either been termed out of office or has been put on the sidelines by voters who selected another player (candidate) to represent them.