The Washington Nationals and DC Politics
How about the inspiring performance of the Washington Nationals, who “stayed in the fight” to become World Series champions? I must have missed Donald Trumps “Tweet” informing the world that he was solely responsible for the Nationals’ victory, claiming their success was solely derived from his political theme of “Nationalism.”
Two former Major League Baseball teams in Washington were called the Senators. Although they did win the World Series in 1924, the adage about the former team’s record was “first in war, first in peace…and last in the American League.” The Nationals are in the National League, but the old team would have had won many more championships if they had been called the “Washington Americans”.
The original Washington Senators team was founded in 1901 and relocated to Minnesota in 1960 and renamed the Twins. An expansion franchise was awarded to Washington in 1961, which relocated again in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers. The team name was doomed from the beginning because of the nickname. Senators, defined as “a group with power in the government, never quite applied to the Washington Senators…other than Frank Howard and Harmon Killebrew, none of the former Senator baseball players hit with power.
The Nationals were created from the remnants of the Montreal Expos, a team that had great promise but could never win…like the Libertarian Party. When the team relocated to DC in 2005, politicians were finally happy with something imported from Canada…eh? The name “Expos” was originally chosen after Montreal’s big show, World Fair Expo 67. Major League Baseball is also called “The Show” and if there was another place defined as “The Show”, DC certainly fits. Since DC politicians have been floating the country down the river (The Potomac) for years, the new team name in 2005 could have been the “Washington SHOW-boats”, instead of the Nationals.
In late May, The Nats had a horrible record of 19-31 and a few frustrated Congressmen were proposing a bill for the U.S. Government to take over the team. They proposed adding a “G” for “Government” to alter the team name to the “Gnats”. That seemed like a perfect fit for DC politicians, since gnats are aggravating. They bite, swarm and are bloodsuckers too.
Washington Nationals’ ownership thought a name change would bring better luck, so several nicknames were proposed, like the “Swamp Creatures”. With falling attendance in May at National’s Park, the team wanted to run the movie “Creature from the Black Lagoon’ and the TV series “Swamp People” on the big screen during the game for added entertainment.
The club discovered that the song “Baby Shark” had become popular to play during the game, as fans demonstrated various moves to mimic a shark bite. A switch of the name to “Sharks” was a logical conclusion to create a winning team. It was also a perfect description for DC politicians who, like sharks, are often predatory and very cunning.
The club was so desperate for help, they accepted a call from Donald Trump, who suggested the team name should be renamed the “Washington Trumps”. Trump also promised an executive order that every time Washington played the St. Louis Cardinals, the Trumps would automatically win by Trumping the Cards. As a quid pro quo, Trump demanded that all revenue from team promotional clothing and marketing material would be assigned to a company controlled by Ivanka Trump. In addition, the products would include the inscription “Trumps…The Best Major League Baseball Team Ever.”
Given the spendthrift philosophies in Congress over the last 50 years, the Tea Party members in Congress suggested a new name of the “Washington Drunken Sailors.” To boost attendance, the team would offer free beer night when they played the Milwaukee Brewers. However, the name was discarded after an objection was received from the Department of the Navy.
Around that time, the House of Representatives began to focus on the impeachment of Donald Trump. The battle cry was “Impeach…impeach…impeach” so a few Democrats proposed the name “Washington imPeaches” with a rotting peach as the team image.
In early June, the club was evaluating various strategies to improve the Nationals’ record. However, the team suddenly began to win, so they postponed the decision on the nickname. With a World Series Championship now in hand, the club has officially decided to keep the name “Washington Nationals”.
With the political wars taking center stage in the media, most folks haven’t heard about the rumor that the Houston Astros are planning to protest the World Series outcome, insisting that the Nationals stole their signs and demanding to replay the games they lost. Another story circulating reported the House Intelligence Committee is planning to investigate President Trumps’ quid pro quo phone conversations involving the Washington Nationals.
Baseball…America’s Favorite Pastime Nap-time
The long, boring Major League baseball season has started and once again, the old fogies who control the rules rejected ideas about speeding up the sport…so baseball still barely edges out watching paint dry or grass grow in a list of most exciting events. The committee has some new concepts, but use Spring Training games or the minor leagues to test the ideas. I predict that one minor change will be adopted over the next twenty years. Team owners, however, are very content to maintain outdated rules to ensure that games continue at an excruciatingly slow pace to encourage more beer sales and time for fans to buy overpriced crap at the concession and souvenir stands.
The sport must be turned upside down to speed up the game and add more entertainment value, especially for fans who don’t understand how the game is played. Here are my recommendations:
- All batters start out running toward the current third base and then around the base path clock-wise, which seems logical moving in a forward direction. I could never understand why they’ve run backwards all this time.
- Let’s get rid of the confusing terms. For example, a pinch runner or hitter is not actually pinched before entering a game, so let’s simply call that player a substitute (“sub” for short). A baseball striking the foul line is in fair territory, so logically, the white line is now called the fair line. The word “ball” can be easily be confused with a baseball, so a pitch formerly called a ball will now be termed a “miss” and an “out” will now be termed a “kill.” The word “run” is easily confused with “race” or “go” and therefore will be replaced with “dit” (short for digit). A homerun is now called a “1-dit” and likewise, what were formerly known as a 3-run-homerun and a 2-run homerun are now “3-dit” and “2-dit” respectively. Obviously, a grand-slam homer will be a “4-dit”. Finally, since no bulls have ever been seen in a baseball park, the term “bullpen” is replaced by “snooze-zone”, since relief pitchers have always taken long naps there.
- Tagging the runner with a baseball or a force-out at a base is boring. Infielders must now tackle the runner to the ground to record a kill. All base umpires will be replaced by wrestling judges who are more qualified to decide a take-down.
- Baseball is the only professional sport where the outfield dimensions can vary from park-to-park, so an annual contest among fans will determine the park with the most creative design. Unique field characteristics have always been a part of baseball history, such as the old Yankee Stadium, where statues of famous players were placed in deep right filed. The left-center field wall at old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh was so far from home plate that the batting cage was stored there during live games. Boston has the famous “green monster” and the LA Dodgers initially played at the Coliseum, where a huge net was erected above the left field wall, a mere 250 feet from home plate. Crosley Filed in Cincinnati had an outfield terrace near the wall, where the outfielders had to run up an incline. The Polo Grounds layout was certainly different.
- There is simply too much green grass in the outfield, although various mowing patterns have been adopted in recent years to add some creativity. However, at least four colors must be used in the future to paint sections, creating unique patterns.
- The home plate umpire will be replaced by a robot, whose right arm is programmed to dramatically signal strikes. To help amateur fans, voices of famous actors will be used to call strikes and misses over the public address system.
- Players are no longer allowed to leave the batter’s box after they step in. The penalty is an automatic kill if they do. Batting gloves are not permitted either, so incessant delays for unwrapping and rewrapping them are eliminated.
- Pitchers must throw a pitch within five seconds of receiving the ball. If they violate the rule, the batter will be allowed to hit the baseball off a batting tee set up on home plate.
- Players will be encouraged to color their beards and tank tops will be allowed for players to exhibit armpit hair.
- The home team will pitch with yellow baseballs while the visitors use traditional white ones.
- Player’s uniforms will be fashioned by famous clothing designers.
- The only tattoos permitted will be the image of the team mascot, nickname, or insignia.
- Players will have ten seconds to take their positions in the field to start an inning after three kills are recorded. Therefore, no more silly fan contest stunts or distracting scoreboard advertising pitches. Failure to meet the ten second limit will result in a reduction of one point, even it results in a negative score.
- With the huge number of Latin players populating Major League rosters, a few batting terms will be in Spanish. A single is a “soltero” (i. e. “the batter hit a soltero into centerfield”); a double is a “doble” (i. e. “the batter lined a drive down the left field fair line for a doble”); a triple is a triple (pronounced trip-lay).
- Only one relief pitcher will be permitted for each team during a game, eliminating wasted time for relievers to get to the mound from the snooze-zone, to throw warm-up pitches, and catcher consultation to set the pitch signs.
- In the past, 4 balls resulted in a “walk”, encouraging batters to saunter to first base. To speed the game along, “walk” is now replaced with “sprint”, requiring the batter to sprint to first base within five seconds. The penalty will be a kill if the player doesn’t make it in time.
- Under the new rules, 3 misses constitute a “sprint” and 2 strikes constitute a “kill”.
- Limit the game to 7 innings. In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by a fastest representative from each team to chug a 16-ounce beer. A new league statistic will be created for the quickest time without spilling. The Las Vegas betting odds currently favor the rep from the Milwaukee Brewers.
- “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” the traditional baseball song, is obsolete and banned in every ballpark. It will be replaced with a new tune “Béisbol’s Been Very Good to Me”. The lyrics and the melody will be written by Stevie Wonder and played during the 4th inning stretch. With only ten seconds allowed between innings, the song will continue to be played during live action.
- With the problems in the Catholic Church regarding priests, the Major League Office has requested that the San Diego baseball club owners drop the name “Padres”. In addition, after two years of investigation, the Mueller Report has concluded that the Cincinnati Reds baseball has ties to Russia, so the League Office has also requested that the club owners drop the name “Reds” immediately.
- The “wave” is getting too old. To create more fan interaction, a new concept called “pop-up” will be directed by the public address system and the scoreboard. Every ten seconds a random section of the stadium will be announced and displayed on the scoreboard. The fans will pop up immediately and scream loudly. The fans in the section with the best performance will be given a ten-cent coupon to purchase a pop (soda) at a concession stand.
- Starting in June and each month thereafter, the team in each league with the lowest attendance will be allowed to have three naked men and three women contestants participate in a “streaking” contest between the 6th and 7th innings for 10 games during the month.
The list could be longer, but that’s a good start…too many revolutionary changes will destroy the spirit of the game. My prediction is that the average game will take no more than sixty minutes, unless there are too many injuries with the runner take-downs. It should be entertaining for fans and players alike.
So, now let’s Play BALL! … I mean Play BASEBALL!