Working the Count
After watching the coverage of the first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, I was left wondering whether any of the pundits who live in Washington have been paying any attention to baseball this year. I know most of them are aware the Nationals are in the playoff. But are any of them actually paying attention to how the game is played?
I see Obama’s debate performance much differently than the media spin. While many in the media hang on every word spoken by the candidate they back based on partisan ideologies-exaggerating every gaffe, misstep and missed opportunity- I think Obama wisely took a pitch from Romney. After working the count to his favor before the debate, he is waiting for his pitch to hit before trying to score the winning run.
The media went absolutely bonkers. Chris Matthews had a nervous breakdown. Rachel Maddow sounded hysterical. Ed Schultz thought he was going to have a heart attack. Many in the media think Obama bombed.
Their calculations are wrong.
The way I see it, the score of the game is tied in the bottom of the ninth. This election is big. The person who wins this at-bat will go a long way in determining our country’s future path.
Everyone in the audience is on their feet. With the bases loaded and one out, Barack Obama is at the plate. After two horrible pitches from Mitt Romney, the count stood at two balls and no strikes heading into the first debate, and Obama knew that.
He went into the debate expecting Romney to throw him a fastball down the middle. He went into the debate expecting to give a scholarly performance dissecting many of the ideas Romney had been campaigning on for the last 18 months. As a seasoned campaigner who tends to deliver in the clutch, Obama knows he only needs to make contact with one pitch to win the election. So, on the 2-0 pitch, when Obama didn’t get the pitch he expected, he took Romney’s curveball for a strike.
Any good hitting coach will tell you not to swing at the 2-0 curveball in this situation. If you hit it, you are more likely to hit into a double play than score the winning run from third base. He knows the count is still in his favor at 2-1 and he still has a couple chances to plate the game-winner.
I’d still rather be in Obama is position than Romney’s.
While the Republicans are claiming victory, I see a classic setup. Romney threw his best pitch and is still behind in the count. Conservative talkingheads fail to recognize that Obama said nothing incriminating; he couldn’t strike out and he didn’t hit into a double play.
Now, Obama has seen Romney’s curveball. If Romney decides to go into the second debate throwing the same junk about being a slightly Republican version of Ted Kennedy who wants to kill Big Bird, Obama will put that pitch in the visitor’s bullpen.
Romney could always go back to his fastball: being the pushy, superficial corporate bully who believes 47 percent of the country are trying to destroy the other 53 percent by stealing their hard-earned money. Of course, Obama would put that pitch into the upper deck scoreboard seats in right center.
Either way, the media needs to stop cheering from the press box. And they need to understand the game before they get too worked up over each individual pitch. Obama doesn’t need to swing wildly at everything thrown. He didn’t swing wildly when he took a single shot at Bin Laden. Why should he start now?
I only hope Obama decides to take some of the drama out of the game and swing at the next good pitch he sees, because I don’t want to find out wheter Romney has a great slider to use as his strikeout pitch.