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Politics and Baseball

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Despite my better judgement, I am something of a political animal. My formal academic training is in social and political thought, so I like to think of it as an intellectual pursuit. But in reality, I probably just love the competition of it. I have a favorite side and I have favorite competitors, but seriously, in the end, it doesn’t really make one damn bit of difference, right?

The state of New Hampshire is holding its presidential primary today, the first primary in the nation (Iowa caucused last week, but that is apparently a different thing and not at all the same). Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are most likely to earn the most votes of their respective political parties today, which is notable. Both have fashioned themselves as iconoclastic anti-establishment candidates, which could preface some major political upheaval in the coming months. Okay, so New Hampshire has a reputation for a wild iconoclastic bent that doesn’t necessarily translate to the rest of the country, but it is notable nevertheless.

I think what is most interesting about this development is that it comes on the heels of two terms with a particularly modest center-oriented president. Historically, this kind of revolutionary rancor is a response to executive radicalism, or ineptitude and malfeasance. Barack Obama may be many things, but only his most ridiculous critics would call him radical and inept. Of course, the same cannot be said for Washington as a whole. So maybe that is where this transformational ardor is coming from. We may blame the president, but that’s really only because he is the face of the entire system.

So yeah, politics is like baseball, and politicians are like baseball players. To wit:

Barack Obama / Jay Bruce

Generally, not well-liked. He exploded onto the scene, filling the hearts of many weary spectators with hope that things would soon change. Things did change, but not as many had hoped. The hype was such that some expected him to be one of the greatest of all time, but instead he turned out to be merely good. He had some big accomplishments (Repealing DOMA, The Clinch). Now, most are over him.

Donald Trump / Jonny Gomes

His personality is certainly brusque and he never shies away from a fight. If he is starting for you, your team isn’t going anywhere.

Bernie Sanders / John Lamb

The wily-haired lefty is considered by many to be too old to be a prospect. He might just surprise us, though.

John Kasich / Zack Cozart

Inoffensive and generally competent, but unlikely to be of any consequence this summer.

Bill Clinton / Pete Rose

This guy will never go away. By most measures, he was really one of the greats. He will always be remembered (and rightly so) for his off-the-field exploits rather than his contributions to the game.

George W. Bush / Wily Mo Pena

Tons of power, very little to show for it. Watching him in the field was absolute torture.

Franklin D. Roosevelt / Joey Votto

FHA, WPA, wOBA, wRC+, DRS, NLRA, BsR, SEC, FLSA, ISO …

Marco Rubio / Billy Hamilton

One incredible tool.

Hillary Clinton / Babe Ruth

That’s a girl’s name lol

Ted Cruz / Yadi Molina

Toilet Monster