Calling Balls and Strikes

Posted on Tue 09/25/2018 by


By Burt Prelutsky ~  

As a baseball fan, it infuriates me when home plate umpires crouched down behind catchers and batters pretend they can actually determine whether a pitch clipped the strike zone or missed by half an inch. I would prefer it if the calls were made electronically, the way that 125 m.p.h. serves are called at tennis tournaments. So-called purists complain that would remove the human element. I assume the same could be said for radar, but how many of us would think of boarding an airliner that wasn’t equipped with it?

But, worse yet, umpires are constantly being fooled by catchers who have been taught to catch low pitches and then subtly raise their mitts. It’s called “framing the pitch,” but should be called “conning the ump.”

It makes the umpire look as dumb as Charlie Brown when year after year, Lucy pulls away the football just before he kicks it, and he winds up on his behind.

In somewhat similar fashion, it troubles me that newspapers are so willing to publish leaks they happen to know are fraudulent. The pretense is that the First Amendment was created so that they can print lies and rumors while pretending they’re carrying out their role to inform the public, when everyone knows their true function these days is to act as the propaganda arm of the DNC.

Although some may doubt it, I’d be equally offended if all the newspapers and most of the TV outlets were conservative and they made it their mission to lie about liberals. The difference, as I see it, is that you don’t have to lie about leftists in order to make them look bad.

The truth is, I have no objection to newspapers having a liberal bent so long as they limit their lies to the editorial page. But that, I’m afraid, is a thing of the past.

Sen. Angus King of Maine claims that Russian meddling in the 2016 election was every bit as evil as the attack on 9/11. What’s more, he was being serious, although I can’t imagine how seriously someone who calls himself an independent despite caucusing with the Democrats and voting the way Chuck Schumer tells him to vote expects to be taken.

Unfortunately, Sen. King isn’t alone. Consider all the liberals who compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler and refer to Republicans as racists and even Nazis.

Allow me to point out something that should be obvious even to a mad hatter like King: When the most appropriate verb you can come up with is “meddling,” never, ever even think of comparing it to an attack that left 3,000 Americans dead, an American city in smoke and rubble, and left us all with nightmares of human beings leaping off the rooftops of skyscrapers because their only option was burning to death.

Speaking of a second day that will live in infamy, I recently saw a video recounting the evacuation of New York City on 9/11. It actually dwarfed what the Brits accomplished when fishermen and weekend boaters rescued English and French soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. When the word went out that thousands of people were looking to get off the island of Manhattan because they thought the city was being bombed, tugboat captains, fishermen, and people who just happened to own boats heard the cries for help and responded.

Whereas it took English heroes nine days to rescue 339,000 troops, New Yorkers rescued 500,000 civilians in nine hours. It helped that the Nazis weren’t strafing them and that the distance they had to sail wasn’t as far as the English Channel, but it was a heroic effort and those who took part had no idea of the dangers they would face.

When one of the rescuers who took part was asked later why he had ignored his wife’s pleas to stay home, he said: “I never want to say, ‘I should have.’ It’s like I tell my children, if you should do something, just do it.”

That sure sounds a lot better coming from him than from Nike.

In his new book, Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation, former Special Counselor Ken Starr reports that he considered calling for a grand jury indictment of Mrs. Clinton for perjury after she replied she did not recall or remember 100 times to questions during a three-hour time span.

When asked by Tucker Carlson why he hadn’t done it, Starr said it would have been too difficult to prove she was lying. I suppose that would have been true if the jury consisted of people all wearing “I’m With Her” sweatshirts.

My follow-up question would have been why is it so difficult to prosecute the woman born to play Lady Macbeth or Cruella de Vil.

For one thing, to prove his case, Starr could have relied on circumstantial evidence. Would anyone have believed that a woman in her early 50s exhibiting no other signs of Alzheimer’s or amnesia couldn’t recall recent events?

How about putting her on the witness stand and asking her if she recalled campaigning for her husband, coming up with HillaryCare, and trashing the countless women her no-account husband had sexually assaulted?

How about asking her if she could pick Chelsea out of a police lineup?

I enjoyed a cartoon I came across recently that showed Barack Obama with the caption “Donald Trump shouldn’t use the FBI or the Justice Department to punish his political opponents. He should use the IRS, like I did.”

Penny Alfonso sent me a short message that consisted of a photo of President Trump with a caption reading: “Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.”

It reminded me of the old magazine ads showing a bully at the beach kicking sand in the face of a 97-pound weakling. But after the scrawny chump invested in whatever body-building technique Charles Atlas was selling, he magically morphed into a goliath who, in the final panel, shoved that same bully around while his girlfriend swooned.

We have all seen much the same thing happen with America once Donald Trump replaced sissy boy Barack Obama as the head of state. Anybody notice Russia, China, Iran, Syria, or North Korea kicking sand in our face lately?

I recently had a disturbing experience while watching Tucker Carlson’s show. His guest was the usually levelheaded, commonsensical Brit Hume. Mr. Hume took the host to task for referring to those who call for open borders “enemies of this country.”

Since I also consider those who are essentially calling for an end to our national sovereignty— for how could we even claim to be a nation if our borders ceased to exist? — America’s enemies, I waited for Hume to explain himself. I waited in vain.

I was surprised to see Carlson take it in stride, as I assume he was as shocked as I was to hear such left-wing swill coming from someone other than his usual coterie of loons, Richard Goodstein, Chris Hahn, or Kathy Areu.

To me, Brit Hume has always come across like your favorite uncle, like someone who dropped out of school after his father had a stroke, perhaps giving up his lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian, to come home and take over the family’s hardware store. You know, the type of role that made Jimmy Stewart famous.

But, suddenly, before our very eyes, Mr. Hume turned into the goofy uncle who shows up on Thanksgiving, gets drunk, and winds up wearing the mashed potatoes for a hat.

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