Congressman responds to fan letter applying government shutdown logic to the Braves-Dodgers game

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Yesterday we ran the letter Paul Kaplan wrote to his congressman, Jack Kingston, in which he satirically suggested that the same logic behind the government shutdown be applied to the Braves-Dodgers game.  The letter has gone viral, as the kids say, and it has now inspired a response from Congressman Kingston.

It’s over at Fox Sports.com by Sam Gardner. It reads:

Dear Mr. Kaplan,

Thank you very much for your letter regarding the potential demise of baseball. Some have suggested it was a rhetorical squeeze play or a hit and run since the letter was posted online before it was actually mailed to me. Of course, it could be languishing in the post office. Sometimes, it’s hard to know when the mail service is open or closed.

I agree with you that Republicans and the Braves have much in common. You could say that the Republicans “Bravely” take on tough issues such as defunding Obamacare and trying to curtail runaway spending. And we don’t mind clearing the dugout for a good brawl. We also agree that Dodgers is a fitting name for the Democrats as they often “Dodge” serious issues such as balancing the budget or cutting spending.

Where we disagree is the game itself. If Uribe had decent bunting skills, he would have simply tied the score. Thus, the game would have continued. In such a situation, neither the Dodgers nor the Braves would have walked off the field crying “I will not ‘negotiate’ or, in this case, bat.” No, they would have stayed engaged and slugged it out. But, alas, Uribe can’t bunt — so game over.

On the bright side, winning the pennant doesn’t guarantee world peace. In fact, there are other glimmers of hope in the universe. Did you see the UGA-Tennessee game? Obviously, there is a God in Heaven. Or as we say in Athens: How ‘bout them Dawgs?

Sincerely,

Jack Kingston
Member of Congress

So, as far as I can tell, the Republican Kingston is suggesting that the opposition — be it the Dodgers or Democrats — execute a bunt. A play which makes no tactical sense, would be self-defeating and would serve no one’s interests other than the Braves/Republicans.

Man, this analogy approximates reality even better than we first thought.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.