Brandon Wetherbee is the host of the You, Me, Them, Everybody talk show. See him Friday, April 7 with Allison Lane, Pussy Noir, Haywood Turnipseed Jr and more at The Wonderland Ballroom in Washington, D.C.
Baseball is a long game. An average game is three hours and 24 minutes. It’s a sport meant for conversation. It’s ideal for what ifs. What if Babe Ruth played today? What if the game was never segregated? What if the Senators never left Washington?
The following is an all-American hypothetical that might be interesting to the non-baseball fan. What if George W. Bush got his dream job in 1992 and became Major League Baseball Commissioner?
In 1989, George W. Bush purchased 2% of the Texas Rangers franchise. This allowed him a seat at the table for owners. The only other job he wanted was MLB Commish.
In September of 1992, five MLB team owners organized to oust commissioner Fay Vincent and ‘temporarily’ replace him with Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig. Selig would hold the title of Acting Commissioner to 1998. Since July 9, 1998. he’s been recognized as the 9th Commissioner of Baseball. That’s the job Bush wanted. (If you’re at all interested in Major League Baseball and labor agreements, I highly recommend reading The Game by Jon Pessah.)
What if Bush got what he wanted in the early 90s?
Let’s say George W. Bush become Major League Baseball Commissioner in 1992. Furthermore, he prevents the 1994-95 strike.
The 1994 season has a World Series. The Montreal Expos best season (it was their best in franchise history until the strike), ends with a World Series Championship, keeping the team in Canada indefinitely, which means no Washington Nationals.
Ann Richards wins the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election, ipso facto Karl Rove doesn’t help win a Texas race or the White House in 2000.
Michael Jordan continues to improve as a minor league baseball (he said he would not participate as a union busting replacement player in 1995) and has a respectful career for a few years as a member of the Chicago White Sox, preventing the most impressive NBA teams from ever assembling (1996-98 Chicago Bulls) and one of the most eh NBA teams to be cobbled together (2001-03 Washington Wizards).
The 1998 Home Run race between Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa that saved baseball doesn’t exist because baseball doesn’t need saving. Since baseball doesn’t need saving, steroids don’t become a major issue. Related, Hank Aaron’s home run record holds and Barry Bonds’ head doesn’t grow, both figuratively and literally.
Gore’s climate change warnings are heeded and the planet is in better shape.
John McCain becomes POTUS in 2004. Candidate Barack Obama does not speak at the 2004 DNC, thus preventing Senator Obama and President Obama.
Donald Trump runs and wins as a Democrat in 2012 and throws out the first pitch for the Yankees because the Nats don’t exist. His decades long support of organizations like Planned Parenthood and hit television show appeal to both liberals and non-political types.
Trump wins re-election in 2016 by defeating low energy Jeb Bush.
On Opening Day 2017, the 45th President of the United States of America did not throw out the first pitch in Washington, D.C. If George W. Bush became MLB Commissioner, D.C. might not have a team. That would be bad. But some other bad stuff might not have happened. It’s impossible to know. The only thing we can know for sure is Pete Rose would still not be in the Hall of Fame while casinos are still allowed to advertise in baseball stadiums.
Baseball is a long game. Long enough to feature races from former presidents with big foam heads. The only presidents at Nationals Park are the racing kind.