A Brand New Way to Govern Our Grand Old Game
By Tom McFeeley
I’m sorry to interrupt your impending Opening Day joy and prep for the upcoming season, but we have to talk politics. Things in Washington, D.C aren’t working and we’ve been ignoring the problem for too long.
We have to do a better job of not only paying attention but understanding how our government operates. In order to avoid what many pundits and scholars are calling a Constitutional Crisis in the Executive and Legislative branches of government (translation: things are really messed up), I propose a dramatic first step.
Let’s actually model the game we love after the democracy we are supposed to love. If we can get the country to run like baseball is run, it won’t be perfect. But trust me, it will be better than what’s going on. In D.C., the president relies on his Cabinet to run the various parts of the country. So I’ve proposed an MLB Cabinet that will share the responsibility of governing our game. Please note (and trust me) that these cabinet positions are exactly the same titles at the political cabinet:
Secretary of Defense: This one is so easy even Yankee and Red Sox fans can agree: Byron Buxton, whose glove is where line drives go to die and whose legs are faster than CC Sabathia at the post-game buffet.
Attorney General: The AG is widely considered the most powerful position besides the president, so the players deferred to Mike Trout, the undisputed best player in the game. Trout, a New Jersey native who admitted he “may or may not still be banged up” from the Eagles Super Bowl Win, punted the question. “I’m from Jersey and I never went to no college, so why’d you make me the general lawyer or what not? Go find a smart guy. Just take the first Ivy League player who was drafted – those guys are smart, but they can’t play for beans.” The players then took his advice and chose Beau Sulser, a right-handed pitcher from Dartmouth, drafted 298th overall last year by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 40 innings at the Pirates A- team, Sulser yielded a 5.31 ERA. “See that’s that I’m talking about. That guy don’t know how to throw a change-up, but he sure knows whatever lawyer guys should know,” Trout said.
Secretary of the Treasury: Anyone who knows baseball agrees that finances are key, to both owners and players. They dispute which side should get a higher percentage of the hot dog you eat at the game. Then they argue about the bun. (Don’t even ask about relish deliberations). So the players chose not a player, but the firm of Kershaw, Greinke, and Price, who represented the three highest paid players in 2017. Trout tops the list in 2018, causing the firm to point out “See, he didn’t go to no college and look what kind of coin we got him.”
Secretary of Labor: Chris Archer. Archer is one of just three pitchers to throw 10,000+ pitches (10,264) over the last two seasons (Chris Sale, 10,1383, and Max Scherzer, 10,033). Sale and Scherzer were more efficient, managing 35 and 44 more innings with their pitch counts. Further, Archer’s 3.77 ERA over that time was more than a half run over Sale and a full run over Scherzer (3.21 and 2.76).
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 15, 2018
Secretary of Education: Tom Emanski
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Kevin Rand. Rand has been in professional baseball for 37 seasons and recently stepped aside as the Tiger’s head trainer. Eno Sarris and Jeff Zimmerman at FanGraphs studied the last five seasons of disabled list data and found that the Tigers, and Rand, ranked number one in fewest overall disabled list days. Former Tiger Manager Brad Ausmus said “Kevin does a great job. Being the healthiest team overall is a huge advantage and an immense challenge. It’s even more impressive because I’ve seen Miguel Cabrera naked. He’s only been on the DL TWICE, for a total of 51 days. That’s a friggin miracle.” New Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire deflected a question about having a new head trainer or about Long’s tenure. “I ain’t never seen Miggy naked, so I got nothin’ to say about that.”
Secretary of State: Sean Doolittle. Asked about the curious choice, a source with the players union simply said “Doolittle is an activist and states what’s on his mind. He even tried to trademark the phrase ‘Just Doo-a-Little Something.’” Doolittle, of course, took to Twitter following the Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., refuting President Trump’s take on the event. The union rep added “White boy Sean stands up for his black teammates, their cause and takes on the President? That man ain’t afraid of nothing. We’re gonna let him State anything he wants.”
Secretary of Homeland Security: Blake Parker. Parker, an Angels relief pitcher, only allowed hitters a 0.99 batting average in Anaheim of California in the United States of the World last season. It was the best mark since 2009 when Jonathan Broxton yielded a silly .094 average at Dodger Stadium.
Secretary of Energy: Aroldis Chapman. Chapman’s 2017 “walk-up song,” which for a relief pitcher should be called a “walk-in song,” was “La Gozadera” by Gente De Zona. Why does that qualify him for this post? Well, Spotify gave that tune a 0.989 “Energy” ranking, the highest of any MLB walk-up song. (Yes, I actually did the research on this. I’m divorced, penniless and sleeping under a bridge now, so please laugh.)
Secretary of National Intelligence: The players, taking the no-college, Jersey Boy advice of Mike Trout, looked for the most accomplished Ivy League player in MLB and decided on Kyle Hendricks, who attended Dartmouth. Nicknamed “The Professor” by his teammates – a name given not only for his Ivy League schooling but because Greg Maddux, whose intelligent approach to pitching gave him the same nickname – Hendricks earned an economics degree. “Dude is smart as poo,” said teammate Kyle Schwarber. “I like to play in the ivy, but Kyle knows like the Latin name of the plant. And he like reads on the team flights. Like I get it if Pornhub is down, but he does it all. The. Time.”
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Derek Jeter. Jeter is an expert on building up not only a franchise, but how to erect a new development to replace historical landmarks. Players noted not only those accomplishments, but his recent experience taking a wrecking ball to a lesser franchise within weeks. Bottom line, he performs like a boss. And D knows hou2ing.
Secretary of Transportation: The most remote MLB team is Seattle, partly because they play in an area where there are only pine trees, Starbucks and umbrellas. Like who would ever go there? So the Mariners are the only Major League team scheduled to log over 40,000 travel miles this year. Jack Mosimann is the traveling secretary for the Mariners and is the natural choice for this post. After he complained to the players they said “Come on Jackie, nobody cares about the traveling secretary. Just do a good job and we’ll leave you a few jerseys at the end of the season.”
Secretary of the Interior: Brandon Barnes. Barnes is a 31 year-old minor leaguer with the Cleveland Indians. In 2014, he hit two inside-the-park home runs for the Rockies within 10 days of each other. His manager at the time, Walt Weiss, gave him the sarcastic nickname “Barnes Stormer” but otherwise spoke highly of his personality, or possibly his skills, saying “He tends to keep things inside. He believes what happens at Coors Field stays in Coors Field.”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs – Bartolo Colon. He’s done it all, he’s seen it all, but mostly the players needed to give him something to do because they are tired of his stories about the kinder side of Ty Cobb, how Shoeless Joe actually wrapped his feet in Saran Wrap to keep them dry, and that time he bullied rookie Christy Mathewson into wearing a pink tutu because of his girly name.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB): Odell Beckham Jr. No he’s not a baseball player, but his appointment let Hunter Pence write a white boy rap song about ODB is the OMB. Like Pence’s teammates for years, the union just let Pence do what he wants, for fear of what might happen otherwise.
Administrator, Environment Protection Agency: Jason Heyward. Nobody protects the vines like Heyward.
UN Embassador: Dovydas Neverauskas. Neverauskas, a Pirates relief pitcher, was not just the only player born in Lithuania to appear in a Major League game last season, he is only the second Lithuanian-born player ever to play in The Show, according to MLB’s Cut4. Joe Zapustas played in just two games for the Philadelphia A’s in 1933, recording one hit in five at-bats. Somehow he also appeared in just two games for the New York Football Giants in the same year, recording one catch. Zapustas also engaged in a homing pigeon war of words (the 1930s version of Twitter) with Moonlight Graham who called him “a lilly-livered scallywag” and told him “to grab a stethoscope and get to work.” Asked about Zapustas, Neverauskas said “Hey man, he was only born in Lithuania; he was raised in Boston. Which means he ended up talking funny, being a racist, and loving hockey way more than is healthy.”
U.S. Trade Representative: Jerry DiPoto. In only 29 months as the General Manager of the Seattle Mariners, DiPoto has completed 62 trades – 35 percent more than the next teams on the list (Orioles and Braves at 46 each, including four each with the Mariners).
Director, Small Business Administration: George Brett. Small market teams gave baseball players unique lessons in business. When Brett signed a 1987 contract for $2.2 million annually (how quaint), he received a guaranteed minimum $1 million in annual revenue from Country Squire Ltd., a 1,100-apartment complex being developed by the Royals owner. “I told them it was a bit wacky, that Mattingly and Schmidt were getting cars, night clubs and luxury boxes, but hey money is money,” Brett recalls. “But I made it clear I wasn’t going to change lightbulbs or plunge any toilets. No way, no how.”
Secretary of Agriculture: Nick Gruber. Gruber is the owner and operator of Produce Denver, which oversees and maintains food gardens at Coors Field. The Rockies’ head chef uses the ingredients from the garden in meals for team VIPs. Gruber told a local news station that they hoped to inspire people to garden at home and have made the Coors Field project symbolic. “(W)e have some purple cosmic carrots, purple basil, black opal, and purple/red lettuces.” A source close with knowledge of the decision said Gruber was chosen not only because of his experience, but because he legally could add some, um, Purple Haze plants to his garden.
Secretary of Commerce: Rollie Fingers. Long story somewhat shorter: In 1972, Reggie Jackson showed up to spring training with a mustache and he refused to shave it. A’s owner Charles Finley went the other way and encouraged all his players to grow mustaches, even holding a contest. Any player who grew out his mustache by Father’s Day was given $300. Fingers grew his trademark facial hair, earned his $300, and negotiated to have $100 of mustache wax provided to him by the team every season. That’s the kind of opportunistic commerce we need to establish in America. And, wouldn’t we be better off with a few more handlebar mustaches in this world?
Because Fingers is 71, he enlisted recent retiree Carlos Beltran to be his Assistant Secretary. In Beltran’s $119 million 2005 contract with the Mets, he secured a “Conditioned Ocular Enhancement” (and the services of a trainer to maintain it.) You don’t know what a conditioned ocular enhancement is? Then clearly you didn’t go to college either. The device was essentially a motorized device that shot tennis balls out of a six-foot pipe in a range from 90 to 150 mph. The balls each had a number that the hitter had to identify after it crossed the plate. We have not confirmed if any of the balls read “don’t swing at Adam Wainwright’s curve ball.”
Seems like a good start, no? We’ll assess the performance of our Cabinet members at the All-Star Break. If it’s not working, we’ll hire James Earl Jones to give an emotional soliloquy about how baseball makes us great and will always be there for us. Even in Russia.