The Nub

Could Staying Cool Be Crucial in National Political Playoff

(Posted: 5/4/12; e-mail update 5/5)

On BBC America the other night, patient a press box observer in our home ballpark noted that Mitt Romney was “pivoting” on a number of issues – immigration, drugstore health care, etc.  We thought of Ian Kinsler on second, taking a throw from Michael Young at third, and firing the ball to first, in time to catch a Blue Jay runner.  Kinsler had to shift his feet – pivot behind the bag – to complete what was a double play. 

Romney and his Team GOP will likely play the pivogame throughout the long playoff series against Skipper Obama and his team.  He will bounce from one position to another and bank on fan inattentiveness.  Romney’s stance suggests a belief that his supporters and many swingers care most about Mitt’s offense – the effectiveness of his team’s tough anti-government scoring ability.

Team Obama has played a disappointingly station-to-station game over the past three-plus years; with few exceptions, it has followed the game plan of his predecessor as skipper.  If Obama continues to play the safe, go-along game, it will be because his team believes offense-minded Romney is more likely than he to become error-prone under pressure. 

California’s Skipper Jerry Brown, who went to bat three times in national division series – 1976, ’80 and ’92 – agrees with that game plan.  Brown  told CBS’s Bob Schieffer he thought that, rather than policy differences, the key to playoff victory this year would be a team leader keeping his composure.  Brown has little doubt which side can claim the advantage in that regard:

“I’ve never seen a– a cooler, more reasoned, intelligent candidate, leader than Obama. This man under pressure shows a lot of grace and a lot of thoughtfulness, and that’s going to serve him well because I’ve been in these races. And under pressure, you know, somebody can blow or make a mistake or say something stupid and that often is the race. So I’d say Obama has the– has the strength to make it all the way.”  

A feel-good pitch before the games begin in earnest.

 Re the Assassination of Osama bin Laden: “Morality is irrelevant when it comes to running a state. ..A leader should be willing to perform evil acts when it becomes necessary to maintain the security of the state.”  – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (paraphrased in Writer’s Almanac)

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Don’t Cry (Too Hard) for the Yankees:  Emergency backup to lost closer Mariano Rivera is David Robertson – ERA 0.00 in 11 innings, 18 strikeouts, three walks.  John Smoltz said (presciently) on MLB-TV last week Robertson was ready to succeed Rivera.  Rafael Soriano can easily replace Robertson as set-up man.

Streakers (at least 5+-) Tampa Bay +5, Seattle – 6

Where Bryce Harper is Now:  Harper is…between possibilities. Within weeks he could be establishing himself in the major leagues permanently, or he could be back in Class AAA, where the Nats’ “developmental plan” projected him for much of this year.  In fairly short order, he could be on the way to true stardom in one to three years with comparisons to household names that stuck in the big time at 19 and emerged full-blown at 20 or 21 as elite players.” – Tom Boswell, Washington Post

It’s Not Yet Over for Omar: “My body doesn’t feel the aches and pains, like ‘Oh, damn, I have to get up and go to the ballpark.’ I feel excited about (it).  Maybe not every day, because there are some days you’re going to be sore.  But I still feel I want to be there.  I want to compete.” – 45-year-old Omar Vizquel of the Blue Jays

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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey.  Comments to are welcome, and only they can be addressed by the skipper.  Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)

About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.