October 22, 2004

Re-Elect the Senators!

Hello, everyone. As I've mentioned previously in this space, my friend and blog colleague BallWonk has been running a most entertaining series on what to name Washington's new baseball team. In the spirit of the election season, he's even created a little primary in which the names can run against each other. Isn't it cute?

There's just one itsy-bitsy problem. If you look at his list, you'll notice there's a name missing. And not just any name, but the name that I've argued at some length is the only proper choice: Senators.

How can BallWonk leave out the name to which generations of Washingtonians became accustomed, you ask? Well, he has an undeniably clever little explanation on his site, something about the Constitution saying we can only have two Senators. Despite the ingenuity of this argument, I have sussed out the true force at work here: BallWonk is attempting to impose term limits on the name "Senators."

Well, as Tom Hanks famously said, "There's no term limits in baseball!" More to the point, the Constitution does not prescribe term limits for Senators. BallWonk, being the Constitutional scholar he apparently is, undoubtedly knows this. I was all set to steal a page from my conservative friends and accuse BallWonk of "legislating from the bench," but then I recalled that he is not, as far as I know, a judge. Rather, he's manipulating the party apparatus to keep Senators out of the primary.

Well, I'm not going to take this lying down. Senators is the incumbent here, and a popular incumbent at that. If BallWonk is going to rig the primary to keep the incumbent out, then Senators is prepared to run as an independent. We're not going to settle for being run out of office by some overzealous party boss with a grudge against the incumbent.

We're not the first Senators to go the independent route. Lowell Weicker, former Republican senator from Connecticut, maintained a running battle with the state party before they forced him out in 1988, with conservative groups funneling support to his Democratic opponent, Joe Lieberman. Two years later, Weicker ran for the governorship of Connecticut as an independent and won. More recently, Jim Jeffords of Vermont became tired of his increasing isolation in the Republican party and became an independent. The Senators name will follow the honorable tradition of men like Weicker and Jeffords and seek re-election without party backing. (Besides, one-party rule's gone on for too long in Washington anyhow.)

Therefore, today I'm announcing the independent candidacy of Senators as the name of Washington's new baseball team. The polls all suggest that the people are behind our cause, and I believe in giving the people what they want, even if BallWonk doesn't. I hereby challenge his winning candidate, after the primary, to a series of debates, to be broadcast on his blog and mine. The number, format and scheduling of debates will be determined when and if BallWonk and his candidate consent to debate.

Recently, BallWonk ran a campaign ad on his site for the presumed favorite in his primary, the Grays. It's a pretty strong ad, but unfortunately it's riddled with distortions and misinformation. I posted a countering ad on his site, and I'm now re-running it here. I hate to go negative so early in the campaign, but given the way the primary has been set up, it's clear that laying back and taking the high road isn't going to cut it. I present to you the first ad of the Re-Elect the Senators campaign.

* * * * *

Grays has made a strong and persuasive case for itself. But if Grays is the candidate of confidence and strength, why does their campaign feel the need to run an ad so full of inaccuracies -- and even outright untruths?

CLAIM: "At the Hall of Fame, it's Grays 8, Senators 3."
FACT: Your undeniably cute little graphic conceals the fact that Negro League players were not, by and large, inducted with logos on their caps. Whereas you required Senator inductees to be wearing a "W" on their caps, your Grays inductees were allowed a much looser standard. None of the players in your graphic is wearing a Grays cap, and two of them are actually wearing the logos of different clubs (Joe Williams has a Lincoln Giants logo, while Willie Wells sports the insignia of the Newark Eagles). If you go by cap logos, it's Senators 3, Grays 0. If you go on the qualification of having played for the team, it's Senators 14, Grays 8.

Come on, Grays, you can't expect the American people to fall for your cheap distortions. What else might you be trying to conceal from us?

CLAIM: "Do we want to wallow in nostalgia for a team so chronically, embarrassingly bad that the St. Louis Browns were our daddies."
FACT: During the existence of both franchises, from 1902 to 1953, the Senators went 594-538 against the Browns. That's right, a winning record.

Is that the kind of propaganda and outright lying that the people are willing to accept from a name candidate? I think not.

CLAIM: "Do we want to admire the clever pun in our name while the Phillies mince us into cheeseteak fillinh, throw us on the griddle with some onions and white American cheese, and serve us on a hot bun?"
FACT: As we all know, the Grays' campaign manager hails from Minnesota. No true son of Philadelphia ever orders anything other than Cheez Whiz on his cheesesteak. That's right, Cheez Whiz.

If we can't trust the Grays to get the most basic facts straight, how can we trust them with our precious new baseball franchise?

CLAIM: "All zero expansion Senators in the Hall of Fame"
FACT: That... oh, actually, that's correct. Alas, my campaign to put Bernie Allen in the Hall has come to nought.

CLAIM: "Naming our team the Grays isn't just the right thing to do. It's the best thing to do."
FACT: Well, judge for yourself, America. Given that this campaign ad has been nothing but a teeming mess of inaccuracies and innuendo, can you really trust this conclusion?

It's time to come clean, Grays, and be honest with the people, instead of hiding behind exaggerated claims and cheap political tactics.

Though some may find it inconvenient to recall, "Senators" remains the incumbent in this debate, and we will not rest until we've beaten this sham primary and secured re-election.

Vote for experience. Vote to re-elect "Senators."

I'm Mediocre Fred and I approved this message.

(Paid for by the Committee to Re-Elect the Senators)

* * * * *

Honestly, I don't want this to be a campaign of mud-slinging and name-calling. I'm prepared to have a forthright dialogue with BallWonk and his chosen candidate. I only hope that he's prepared for an honest debate, one free of the sort of manipulation of truth we saw in his ad. That is, assuming he's even willing to engage in debate with the people's choice, the popular incumbent. I eagerly await his reply.

On a happier note, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, who captured the NLCS last night with a 5-2 win over the Houston Astros. The Astros' 43-year run of frustration continues, as they've still never played in a World Series. I feel particularly good for the Cardinal fans, one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in baseball. The Cardinals-Red Sox matchup pits two of baseball's best sets of fans, and that can only be good for the game. (And I might point out that I've called every series winner correctly so far. This has never happened before. I have no idea what to do with this information. I can only assume that the Apocalypse is, indeed, nigh.)

There was a drive-by parading here this afternoon! I came home from work and I heard the sound of drumming. I found this bizarre, since I didn't know that anyone in my building owned drums. I'd certainly never heard them before. Then I heard the sound of... a marching band?! I was, to say the least, befuddled. I dashed out to the scene and discovered that the local high school was having its Homecoming parade, and it was marching right by my apartment!

I stayed out to watch the whole thing. It's one of those kitschy small-townish rituals I dig on. My high school never had a homecoming parade, probably because it's a magnet school that drew from the whole county, and therefore didn't have strong ties to the surrounding community. At the time, I didn't miss it. But since then I've seen a couple such parades, and I've really come to enjoy them. The band, the cheerleaders, the homecoming dressed up and waving from the backs of fancy convertibles, the clever floats, the high-schoolers with faces painted chanting and clapping... I'm a sucker for the whole experience. (And definitely a fan of the candy that they tossed from the floats in the style of Mardi Gras. I was a good boy, though... I didn't fight for the candy with any of the little children standing next to me. Well, except that one. But he was being a real jerk. I'd absolutely called dibs on that Tootsie Roll. But he and his little seven-year-old pals won't be crossing me again, I assure you.)

Time to roll downhill to the weekend, and try to catch up on sleep before the World Series begins. See you Monday!

Posted by Fred at October 22, 2004 10:00 PM

Oh, no. I am not for naming them The Washington Senators. Sorry. I'm a Minnesota Twins fan, and I'll not have you put a jinks on them by having their old name reused by an old Canadian team. It's down right UnAmerican!

Where's Joseph McCarthy when you need him?

Posted by: Rook at October 23, 2004 08:07 PM
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