Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Makes The Hall Of Fame

Rush Limbaugh Makes The Hall Of Fame

Spring training!  Nothing can warm the heart of a baseball fan more than the excitement of pitchers and catchers, the breathless reporting from Florida or Arizona about the latest phenom, the tape measure shots through the warm air, the battles for the last roster spots.

After a long and grim winter filled only with hot stove league news and hot air emanating from Washington,  baseball takes us back to the place where we are eternally young.  It’s a sunny summer afternoon, and I’m sitting in Yankee Stadium with my mother (a die-hard Joe D. fan) munching on a salami sandwich wrapped in foil and hooting and cheering to my heart’s content. Or, with friends, on a sweltering 4th of July watching the impossible-Dave Righetti tossing the first no hitter since Don Larsen’s perfect game, and the old stadium literally vibrating with joy and disbelief, with complete strangers hugging each other.

Spring Training, and everything is possible (except, perhaps for the Mets, but that’s a different story.)  Everyone has a clean slate.  There are even green shoots of hope in Washington, where the National’s owner has spent for some free-agent stars, and the farm system has developed some stupendous talents.  The first Washington team, the Senators (with, perhaps, some cosmic foreshadowing) were not so good.  “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League.”  But the Nats could make the playoffs.

The GOP, of course, is still in spring training, and Super Tuesday didn’t do much to clarify the rotation.  Old Doc Paul is spinning his screwballs, and veteran Newt is back for another year, though he’s becoming more erratic.   But the real battle is for the opening day start, between the good-looking guy with the big contract and the scrappy career minor-leaguer from the sandlots of a hardscrabble section of Pennsylvania who leads the chapel services.

But, there have been a lot of clubhouse distractions this year.  The boys aren’t really getting along.  Yesterday, Mitt demanded everyone else stand down and let him be staff ace. Needless to say, no one went along.  Mitt apparently has difficulty pitching on the road, especially in older stadiums without luxury boxes, and the coaching staff thinks it might be psychological.  Ron’s absolutely fearless out there on the mound, but his arm isn’t what it used to be, and he has a hard time winning games. Newt has turned into a sort of Luis Tiant (English speaking version, of course) tossing up every type of pitch from every angle, but his effectiveness is waning, and there’s a concern that at this stage of his career, he’s only a warm weather pitcher.  And Rick has anger management issues-he tends to be a headhunter with a real proclivity for throwing high and tight to left-handed batters while quoting scripture.  That makes him wildly popular with a portion of the fan base, but doesn’t always lead to the best results. 

The front office is a little dysfunctional as well.  There’s some real star talent in the minors, but they aren’t ready.  Last season’s telegenic number 2 took her bonus, created the first political-themed reality series, then retired to an ashram in Alaska from which she occasionally emerges with some malapropism that is greeted with ecstatic rhapsodies by her considerable fan base.  Her agent indicates she’s keeping in shape in case she’s needed later in the year.

In the owner’s box, there’s a lot of strife.  The blue-blooded family that had owned the team for several generations decided to diversify their holdings into polo ponies and strip-mines in right to work states, but the heirs to the tea fortune they brought in have been making a lot of noise.  First it was a demand that wine and cheese be banished from the clubhouse and the stadium.  Then they had maintenance remove every hot water faucet when one of them noticed that “hot” was on the left and had clear sexual overtones.

And, finally, there’s been PR problems with one of the minority owners, a raffish, teddy bear type named Rush, who occasionally shows a little too much wit with his wisdom.

Somehow, I think this is all going to work out.  Mitt’s agents have been working the numbers, and his Super Pac’s been buying up tickets in every field that has a game between now and the time they break camp.  When the team comes to town, the local media will beat the drums for him and run unflattering stories about the rest of the staff.  The blue bloods and the tea folk will sit down for a simple repast of duck l’orange and brats, and carve out a solution-less government when it comes to private property, and more government when it comes to private behavior.   

And Rush?  Have no fear.  He’s about to do something that even Yogi Berra couldn’t.  He’s going to the (Missouri) Hall of Fame.  A rendition of Rush, in bronze, will be added to the collection of several dozen busts in the Capitol rotunda. 

Steven Tilley, the Republican speaker of the Missouri House, who enjoys sole discretion on whom to honor, said he had no intention of changing his mind “in my part of the state we’re proud of him.”

Mr. Limbaugh is to be added along with Dred Scott, a slave who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom in a landmark Supreme Court case. 

It’s hard to imagine anything more fitting.