Alex Minshew is a shiny new Capitol intern. Capitol readers should track him down and buy him lunch. Minshew is also a sagehen, but we don't hold it against him. Much.
As a brand new intern at the Capitol, I went to the annual Legislative Softball game with all the hope and excitement that I'm told is onlypossible because I'm a young pup. Walking in through the hallowed gates at Raley Field, I thought to myself, "Legislators playing softball? How could that fail to be entertaining, especially considering they'll be serving beer?" The lamentable tale that follows will tell you exactly how.
The softball game started only about an hour and a half late, so things seemed to be going well. But tragedy struck in the bottom ofthe first inning, with the Republicans at bat. After a few batters, the Republicans commenced with their diabolical plan for softball game domination when they cunningly stopped swinging at any pitch. This might not seem quite so diabolical, except for two things. First, the umpire behind home plate took his job extremely seriously, and had quite possibly the smallest strike zone known in the history of softball. Either that or his lips were temporarily incapable offorming the word 'strike.' Second, the Republicans must have cast some strange spell on the Democrats, because I swear I watched twelve consecutive pitches bounce in front of the plate. The Democrats couldn't have thrown a strike of Social Security itself had depended on it. It was a perfect storm, and the Republicans walked in about thirteen runs that inning.
An hour later, the Democrats had gotten two outs, and the fans were gettting pretty vocal. Bipartisan chants of "Swing the bat!" rang through the stadium, and finally the Democrats managed to get the third out. As the top of the second inning began and the first Democrat came to the plate, the fans held their breath. We all wondered: would the Democrats sacrifice fan enjoyment for a chance towin by boldly not swinging the bat, or would they bow to the pressure and swing away?
One thing was clear: it was time for another beer.
Well, this report shouldn't go on as long as that first inning did, so I'll end the suspense: the Democrats tried theDon't-Swing-at-Anything strategy, and it worked all right -- I think they came up with four or so runs. But it didn't work quite as well because the Republican pitcher was actually able to get the umpire to call strikes, perhaps because his pitches didn't bounce three feet infront of the plate. I waited in vain to see if the leadership of either team would try to barter some back-dugout deal (maybe pitchers could pitch to their own team, and only five pitches per batter?) but, alas, the legislators had traded in their bargaining hats for baseball caps.
At about this time, my friends and I decided to leave, so I unfortunately cannot describe the dramatic 312-6 Republican victory, but I'm told it was quite a sight. This may just be a rumor, but there are whispers in the halls around the Capitol that the Democrats are already planning stratgey sessions for next year's game. Will they come up with something so bold and effective as the Republicanso-called "Stand and Watch" strategy? Only time will tell.
Monday, August 29, 2005
[Don't] Swing While You're Winning
A guest post on last week's Legislative All-Star Softball game by Alex Minshew: