I am thrilled that my hometown Major League baseball team, The Cleveland Indians, have staged an impressive and determined late season rally to earn a spot in the Wild Card playoff game – and a shot to advance in their improbable quest for the Tribe’s first World Series crown since 1948.
My Indians will play the Tampa Bay Rays in a single game tomorrow, Wednesday October 2 in Cleveland, to determine which team advances to face the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series.
There will be a lot riding on that one game tomorrow: the hopes and dreams of both teams and the millions of fans that follow them in Northern Ohio and the Florida Gulf Coast. For the players and fans, there will be a lot of pride, prestige and money at stake. A great deal will be on the line when the two teams face off between the lines.
When the Wild Card game is over, there will be a winner and a loser. The winning team will advance and the losing team will not.
The team that loses may claim a moral victory. The Indians and their manager, Terry Francona, certainly could console themselves with a moral victory as nobody expected this young team of no-name players to get anywhere near the playoffs this season. But, more likely, they won’t. Instead, like all good and honorable athletes and sportsmen, they will look to the future and rededicate themselves to earning playoff victories next season.
And you won’t hear a lot of gripes from the players on the losing team about the umpires being unfair or how they really won but the media, or the opposing team, or their opponent’s fans are Un-American liars and cheaters. They will behave like professionals. They’ll have measured, respectful, even complimentary words to say about the team that defeated them. They’ll thank their fans and they’ll take their lumps in the press and the court of public opinion depending upon the merits of their performance on the field.
And that’s why I love sports. Because, in the end, if you play the game the right way – sports builds character. In life, you must learn how to win with grace and humility – and how to lose with dignity and an optimistic resolve to improve and persevere.
Which is also why I can’t stand the GOP majority in the House of Representatives and their poor sport tactics that have led to this unfortunate, self-inflicted government shutdown. Driven by the right wing ideological anarchists of their rabidly anti-government Tea Party caucus, the GOP has steered itself – and the nation – into an easily avoidable ditch. And why?
Because the GOP refused to behave like professionals when they lost the big game.
Last year, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, played a long, marathon playoff series called the Presidential Election of 2012. At stake in that contest was a public referendum on the key legislative accomplishments of Obama’s first term, especially the Affordable Care Act. Romney made it clear that he would abolish “Obamacare” (as though he actually could do such a thing on his own, which he couldn’t) and President Obama defended the new health care law as a fundamental step in restoring out nation’s economic and physical health.
After all the games were played, The Democrats outscored the Republicans to take the championship.
President Obama won the election 51% to 47%. He won by 5 million votes. It wasn’t even close. Democrats also increased their majority in the Senate and won additional seats in the House. In fact, half a million more Americans cast their votes for Democrats in the House than they did for Republicans. So, the GOP could claim no mandate (no moral victory) coming out of the big game.
So what did the poor sport Republicans do?
Did they endure their loss with dignity and look forward with optimism and a resolve to improve and persevere?
No, that’s not the way these sore losers play. Instead, the GOP refused to accept the final score and have tried over and over to re-play the game all by themselves. They voted dozens of times to overturn Obamacare — despite the fact they could not possibly prevail because the President and the Democrats in the Senate had already won that crucial game and had no reason to re-play it. The same was true of the GOP House majority’s constant votes to degrade a woman’s right to choose, weaken voting rights laws, and re-play other critical games they lost in the Presidential Championship Series of 2012.
And now these poor GOP-Tea Party losers have decided that, rather than compete in a new season with new ideas, more popular policy positions and a rededication to making progress through the small-D democratic process – they have forced themselves and the nation into the damaging, self-defeating equivalent of the 1994 Major League Baseball strike.
That baseball strike wiped out the second half of the season, the playoffs and the World Series. It was devastating to the Great American Pastime – and to Cleveland in particular. When the strike began on August 12, 1994, the Indians were just one game back from the division-leading Chicago White Sox and were leading the AL Wildcard Race over the Baltimore Orioles by 2.5 games.
Now, these whining Conservative House Republican losers have shut down the political season because they couldn’t compete on the playing field in last year’s championship playoffs. And their manager, John Boehner, has proved himself a wimp of a leader: a man who knows how the game should be played but is too weak and venal to lead his unruly players in a manner that respects their opponents and the great American game they all play: democracy.
I wish my Cleveland Indians good luck tomorrow and I dearly hope they win.
And I hope John Boehner and his Tea Party-GOP children are watching. It will be good for them to see how adult professional sportsmen compete.
Play ball, GOP.
In the adult world, you can’t just take your ball and go home when you’re on the wrong end of the score.
6 responses to “Poor Sports”
I’ll disagree. I think the “law of the land” clalim is specious. National health programs have been tried and failed over the years, and by that logic, the democrats should criticize themselves for not getting the message. Also current immigration law is the law of the land, but democrats seem little interested in enforcing it or ending the efforts to change it.
Democrats attempted to laugh at Ted Cruz thinking he missed the point of Green Eggs and Ham, but I don’t see many of those critics sticking themselves in the eye with a sharp stick or jumping off cliffs to see if they like it. Sometimes in a filibuster or long senate speech they do things to just kill time. He was just reading a bedtime story to his kids. Get a grip Democrats!
Now with a majority of the public opposed to starting the program today with corporate mandates delayed but the individual mandate in force, clear evidence exists that the technology and processes aren’t ready for production roll-out. They couldn’t anticipate these volumes? They insist on a “big-bang” roll-out instead of something a little more controlled?
The president mentioned Apple Computer, but at least Apple would delay the introduction of a product or service that isn’t ready. They know the importance of customer trust and the high cost of fixing a mistake. They’ve been burned in the past by pushing out things that were not ready and really care about their customer’s perceptions of them. Because of this, Apple keeps their product development plans close to their vest. Unfortunately, with Obamacare, the schedule has been sacrosanct, every democrat under the sun has been running around the country talking about all the great things they think it will do and very little has been done to figure to address the mismatch between the project work to be done the the delivery date. Good thing they aren’t launching people into space with this effort.
Obamacare was pushed through in a way that while allowed by the the rules of the Senate at the time, was less than honorable given its magnitude, impact on the country and the shellacking the Democrats has just taken in the 2010 elections. I also don’t view Harry Reid or Barack Obama as having tried to sit down and discuss matters with his political opposition.
At least the Indians showed up played, the Democrats don’t want to even talk.
Thank you, Robbie, for your thoughtful reply to my post. However, I think you missed my main point. I never made a defense of The Affordable Care Act under a “law of the land” claim. What I was saying is that if you want to change legislation in the American democratic system, there is a way to play the game: get votes in elections, win seats in both houses of Congress and/or the Presidency – and effect your agenda through the legislative process that has served the country since its founding. You don’t try to retroactively overturn legislation through the budget process or the debt limit. You can’t try to win the game you couldn’t win on the field by subterfuge off the field.
Democrats didn’t “attempt” to laugh at Ted Cruz – we simply did. His faux filibuster – during which time no legislation was pending — was purely a piece of political theatre. I often enjoy a laugh while watching a theatrical performance.
Some of your concerns about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act may have some merit – but speed has hardly been a problem. Many of us Democrats were dismayed that our Senate negotiators caved in to the GOP and delayed the sign-up process until after the 2012 Election. So, we already compromised. No glitches in the system are worth denying coverage to millions of uninsured Americans any longer.
And there was nobody on the left pressing for corporate mandates to be delayed. That was another concession to the right. To use it against the President now is a specious argument. Obama never gets credit for compromising with Republicans, he simply encounters a new attack. That’s because the primary objective of the GOP is to do their best to insure that Obama is a failed President. Mitch McConnell said so.
When George W. Bush rammed through his Medicare Part D giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies, the vast majority of Democrats opposed that legislation. But it passed. Dems didn’t spend the next few years trying to extort President Bush into nullifying his signature piece of legislation by holding up the budget and debt limit.
Go, Indians! Beat those Rays!
Love your stuff, Paul….by the way, have three tix to UCLA womens basketball tonight Wednesda, the second, if you wanna go….BZ-F next-door….
I’d like to see every GOP rep or senator who vehemently opposes the Affordable Health Care Act live w/out health care insurance for a while, like many of us (yours truly included) have done. Then try to find care other than a frantic trip to the ER. Then try to find an “affordable” option. My only beef with the Act was that it didn’t go far enough. But someday we too may have a single payer option. Well stated, as always, Paul.
Having said that, now how ’bout that those AC72s and that other never-say-die series?
This squad should be disenfranchised from the league!