Eber: The different pitches of politicians

Looking at the lexicon of baseball you can tell the lexicon of current politically allowed thought.  Words have meaning, and the meanings continue to change.

The slider- This pitch is especially effective when a legislator has a law that that needs to be passed but it can’t be done because no one wants to take credit for it.  In this case the way to take care of the problem is by sliding the offensive legislation into a non controversial bill such as supporting the Constitution or giving aid to the widows of rattle snake bite victims.

The fork ball-  This is an old tradition when an elected official has to attend 3 crab feed dinners  in one day or must go to a fundraiser at a hotel that has the worst ever “rubber chicken” on the planet.  Throwing the “fork ball” allows the politician to leave quickly because their fork must go elsewhere even if it is to the automobile take-out line at Jack in the Box.

Who says politics is dull?  It can be fun, if you don’t take it too seriously or if you puncture the hyperbole of the pompous practitioners.

The different pitches of politicians by Richard Eber

Richard Eber, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  8/10/19 

Norman Rockwell, apple pie, politics, and baseball are forever intertwined as an intricate part of American culture. This is especially true during the dog days of summer when political debates are starting prior to Presidential elections.

Even though the two pastimes seem to be unrelated, baseball and politics have more in common than meets the eye. As such I was wondering what the favorite pitch of politicians might be?  Much like a baseball hurler, they attempt to fool their constituents with a combination of speed, deception, guile, and posturing, to obtain victory.

We should remember what Richard Nixon once said, “never leave a game before the last pitch because in baseball, as in life and especially politics, you never know what will happen.” With this in mind below, below can be found the strategies of premier pitchers in baseball matched up against the most cleaver politicians from your home town to Washington D.C.

The change-up or switching positions on issues is an excellent ball to throe. Who says a politician needs to be straight all the time. That’s why this pitch is so effective because it allows elected officials can take different sides and confuse their advisories without missing a beat

The curve ball- AKA putting additional conditions on legislation: Sometimes it’s good to make things slightly more complicated than is necessary.  As an example when granting a building permit to a developer, it is often better to delay issuance not only to show concern, but also to tell the developer that you can make their life difficult.  This is an excellent message to deliver, especially close to election time when campaign contributions are helpful.

 The Fast ball- In that same curve ball situation when it is desirable to gain approval without allowing enemies to question what is transpiring; the fastball strategy works when quickly making a motion to suppress discussion not allowing the ball to be struck in the hitting zone.

The Sinker:  This is a time honored pitch when wants to kill proposed  

Legislation or table the matter while at the same time moving on to a less controversial topic.  A sinker brings on the ground game to wreck most unwanted proposals with little fanfare and can lead to a double play.

The screwball- We have plenty of them in elected office and elsewhere. Just listen to the public comment periods of most city council meetings. There are more screw balls that stand up to speak than there are fruit cakes baked in Claxton Georgia. Most elected officials make it appear that they are interested in what these 800 numbers are talking about while they ponder if a martini or Jack Daniels is to be consumed when the meeting concludes.  .

Circle change- This is keeping the same position on an issue while making it appear that compromise has been reached.  Then everyone is happy because the Circle change has hit its mark.  To borrow a basketball term, “no harm, no foul.” Everything stays the same or so it seems.

The slider- This pitch is especially effective when a legislator has a law that that needs to be passed but it can’t be done because no one wants to take credit for it.  In this case the way to take care of the problem is by sliding the offensive legislation into a non controversial bill such as supporting the Constitution or giving aid to the widows of rattle snake bite victims.

The fork ball-  This is an old tradition when an elected official has to attend 3 crab feed dinners  in one day or must go to a fundraiser at a hotel that has the worst ever “rubber chicken” on the planet.  Throwing the “fork ball” allows the politician to leave quickly because their fork must go elsewhere even if it is to the automobile take-out line at Jack in the Box.

The Palm Ball: In cases when a politician has to shake hands with slime ball advisory that they despise, this pitch is helpful. The sleight of hand Palm Ball is a great asset to have in one’s arsenal.  In such instances when throwing the palm ball produces a lot of grease or makes a big stink, it is best to wash your hands or better yet take a shower ASAP.

The 4-Seam fastball- (When a politician wants to please everyone they make conflicted statements on the same issue without offending anyone.  This is also called talking out of both ends of your mouth.  If what is said appears to be different and alike at the same time, the pitcher has thrown just the right pitch.

Quick Pitch:  This is a time honored move that can be made at any time when speedy action is required without anyone being aware of what is going on.  A quick pitch allows a politician to call for the question from Roberts Rules of Order without anyone voting or in the audience knowing what the question might be.

Hesitation pitch:  Historians claim this famous pitch was thrown by baseball legend Satchel Page.  It consists of a slow curve which takes forever to reach the plate that hypnotizes the batter. In politics this means when the issue is finally put to the question, other legislatures can’t remember what they are voting on.  Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

The cutter:  This pitch is something that frequent advisories kamala Harris and Cory Booker have tossed recently.  Both, while being members of the Senate, frequently used the cutter to miss important votes when being on the campaign trail.  Enemies of both men criticized them for being AWOL from the Senate but to no avail.

The Knuckleball: This is one of the weirdest things thrown where one does not know where the ball is going.  This is a specialty pitch of Hillary Clinton whose stands on issues varied according to opinion polls and which way the wind was blowing.  When the Clinton Foundation was involved the pitch went directly to the bank.

The spit ball: This pitch made famous by Hall of famer Gaylord Perry had a foreign substance such as spit or Vaseline illegally applied to the ball prior to it being thrown.  This caused strange movements and made it difficult to hit this pitch.  In politics we call this simply call such a phenomena taking a bribe or payoff

Slip Pitch: In politics the slip pitch has been made famous by legislatures who have had to abruptly leave office in the midst of a scandal. They are known to resign while at the same time slip out the door to “spend more time with their families”, enter a 12 step program, or enroll in an ethics seminar taught in the Siberian tundra. Leland Yee had one of the best slip pitches ever when he transferred his operations from the California State Senate to join Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

Nothing Ball:  This is last pitch thrown by burned out political figures that have “nothing” left to offer their constituents. What does one expect after more than 20 years on the job when it’s time to move on?  In this case they table a motion that is to be taken up in the next legislative session.  The issue will then be someone else’s problem to deal with.

The last pitch  In baseball this means the manager walks out to the mound and takes the ball . The pitcher is out of the ballgame. In political circles the last pitch means an elected official has either been termed out of office or has been put on the sidelines by voters who selected another player (candidate) to represent them.

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About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.