Deleted Scenes: Sterling Wisdom

“You can’t predict baseball.”

If you’ve ever listened to even one of the nine innings of a New York Yankees radio broadcast, then chances are that little nugget of brilliance has made its way past your eardrums and into your brain. The oft-repeated line, courtesy of the golden throat of John Sterling, has joined the ranks of “Some you win, some you lose” and “Go fuck yourself” as one of my steadiest personal mantras.

To some extent, he’s right. You can’t predict baseball. Too much potential for screw-ups, too many X-factors. If one or the other starting pitcher has an off day, the entire game changes. And these things are hard to predict. Where Mr. Sterling has it wrong is to think this only applies to the sport to which he’s dedicated most of his career as a broadcaster.

Things are not looking good right now for President Obama. He’s had a rough go lately. Let’s face it: By any metric you might choose, the healthcare rollout did not go well. People aren’t signing up, the right wing is attacking the site (allegedly), and all over the place, the same paranoid weirdos who don’t think government should offer a healthcare option are saying “I told you so” for a dysfunctional law that doesn’t actually provide one. Top that off with spying on world leaders, Bill Clinton turning on the president so that he can test the waters for his wife distancing herself from his administration as she begins her own presidential campaign for 2016—give ‘em hell, Hilldawg—and the usual smattering of jobs figures, wars, etc., and yeah, wow, kind of a rough autumn on Mr. Obama.

Not to say it’s not well earned. Obamacare was gutted when he went too far in compromising with asshole republicans who played him for a fool and turned around to eviscerate him with his own policy in 2012. Didn’t work in getting their own faceless dope elected president, but the anti-Obamacare rhetoric seems to have won out, and nothing in the implementation of the policy to date has dissuaded nonbelievers of their nonbelief. It’s what you’d call a flop.

But as I read the reports of President Obama’s doom and about how his signature policy has been a total blunder and how it’s his legacy and all that crap, I can’t help but go back to John Sterling saying, “You can’t predict baseball,” and think that anyone calling this for either side is being shortsighted. Yeah, the website sucked, but they’ll fix the website, and who the hell knows where it will lead from there? Or what they’ll do to fix it? Or maybe they’ll finally get one of their 700 votes to repeal it through. I don’t know. This isn’t baseball, but I’m not about to start predicting it.

When George W. Bush went to war in Iraq a decade ago, did you really think that seven years later in 2010 he’d be taking credit for the Arab Spring? Or that that would then turn out to be such a clusterfuck? Okay, maybe we saw that last one coming, but the point is that our own venerable Jim Campion calls the Barack Obama “Joe Cool” for a reason beyond the simple pleasure of the Peanuts reference and I’m not about to say he’s done and gone into lame-duckery with three years left in his second term. By the time midterm elections roll around in 2014, this whole healthcare rollout could be a distant irrelevant memory, much like the actual passing of the law was by the time Mitt Romney tried to run on undoing it.

I’m not trying to argue that’s definitely going to be the case. I’m only saying I don’t know, and that anyone who says they do is probably trying to sell you something. If you want a hint as to what it might be, wait for them to stop talking and see which commercial follows. Because it might be November, and it might be football season, and it might be that the psychotic White male contingent of our legislative branch of government refuses to go to work with a Black guy sitting as the executive, but you still can’t predict baseball.

JJ Koczan