Lessons From The Past
Progressive socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) brings to mind a comparison with the once-popular baseball star Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants. Now before you dismiss the article because you either don’t know him or dislike baseball, read on. Politics and Baseball have parallels.
Much like Sanders, Sandoval was a very popular third baseman for the World Champion Giants. Bernie became the rising star of the Democratic Party. They both played their respective games in an unorthodox manner which delighted their base of fans and brought begrudging praise from skeptical management who wondered how long it could last.
In his glory years with the Giants, Sandoval was the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 World Series team that beat the Detroit Tigers. Sanders became the champion of the progressives who challenged the establishment in 2016, nearly beating Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination of the party.
Their fan bases cheered them on loudly, even as Sandoval let weight problems become a liability and Sanders threatened to undo the Democratic Party’s pecking order. The tumble from grace was sudden and forthright for both men.
Sandoval denounced his former ball club during negotiations on a new contract and signed a multi-million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox. He blamed Giants management and many of his former teammates for his decision. It left a bad taste in the mouths of many supporters who had been fiercely loyal to the rotund ball player.
Sanders lost an epic struggle to Clinton and accused her campaign of dirty tricks and chicanery during his primary run. It helped set the stage for a large divide in the Democratic Party and was one of many reasons Hillary Clinton lost her bid to be the first woman president.
After signing with Boston, Sandoval got even bigger around the waist, suffered many injuries and was finally released from his contract, with the Red Sox owing him more than $50 million dollars. Sanders distanced himself even further from the Democrats and cheered on his progressive base to challenge the traditional Democratic Party elites.
Limping Into The Future
Fast forward to today.
Pablo, having been released by the disgruntled Red Sox with years left on his contract, re-appears on the Giants radar screen. Bernie Sanders, the defeated second banana in the 2016 presidential race with Hillary, is now a champion of the radical far left.
The once-proud Giants are having a bad year and trail the division leader by 30 games. They have no hope of making the playoffs and have made a desperation gamble to reunite a fan favorite over the objections of many baseball experts. It is a desperation move to bring more people into the ball park during a down year.
Meanwhile, the defeated candidate Sanders is filling the empty seats Hillary suffered during her lackluster campaign. It has brought back many Democrats disillusioned and seeking a quick fix. He is supported by a small percentage of the Democratic Party, but they are loud and pay the admission, aka fundraising.
Pablo will bring back some die-hard fans to see him play, but few think he will make much of a difference in a disastrous season. The fans and management know he is not the third baseman of the future for the team.
Meanwhile Sanders’ adoring base is cheering on the 76-year-old as a viable presidential contender in 2020. The idea is he can bring back the enthusiasm of years gone by. But in the long run, like Pablo, he has grown old and he has run his course as the legitimate choice to move the party forward. The desperate Democrats without a bench are stifled.
Both men have a chance to make the team and fill the seats. But in the long run, their time has passed and both fans and management will realize that to win, younger and better talent will win ball games and bring the pennant they desire.
The Lesson Not Learned
What is the lesson in all this? You can fill the cash register and the seats of arenas, but that doesn’t change the reality of the raw talent it takes to win. How many blockbuster films with big star power have failed at the box office? It takes an entire crew, team or political party to field a winner. Desperation never fields a winner.