Like many civic-minded Americans last night, I was watching the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates debate on stage in Nevada. Also like many Americans, I was only half listening, spending most of the debate scrolling through Twitter rather than analyzing the rhetorical takedowns and theoretical government policy. (And, really, how many times do we need to rehash the Medicare-For-All vs. Medicare-For-All-Who-Want-It debate?) Most of my Twitter feed consists of baseball writers, baseball teams, baseball followers, baseball players, and baseball mascots. So, with my mind half consumed by politics on the one side, and baseball on the other, I came up with an idea. Introducing your 2020 presidential candidates…as baseball teams!
Please note: Standing Room Only is not endorsing any candidate at this time. If we were, we’d be all in on John Delaney, because of this photo alone.
But since he’s dropped out of the race, and he looks like my big toe after I’ve stubbed it on a coffee table, we’ll move on to the other candidates.
Joe Biden: The Philadelphia Phillies
Grandpa Joe has been around the block. He can’t remember which block, but he’s pretty sure there was a Studebaker dealership and one of those fancy ice cream stands on it — like what the kids these days call Doppin’ Dits, or something. And while its worth respecting Joe’s extensive political experience, it’s also worth pointing out that he’s never won a single primary or caucus, despite running for president in three separate decades.
The Philadelphia Phillies have also been around the block. Active since 1883, they’ve managed to rack up just 2 World Series in 136 years. That’s the fewest of any team that began in the 19th century, back when Joe Biden was just a junior senator from Delaware.
But maybe, just maybe, things are changing for both Biden and the Phillies. They’re both trying to bring the country back to 2008:
They’re both attaching their 2020 campaigns to superstars that everybody loved in our nation’s capital:
And they both hired Joe Girardi to manage their campaigns!
Bernie Sanders: The Tampa Bay Rays
Bernie’s got ideas. Free healthcare? Sure. Forgiveness of student debt? You bet! Whether you call them inspired or insane depends on your preference, but he’s certainly not afraid to propose a new way forward for America. And neither, for that matter, is Rays manager Kevin Cash. Starting pitchers only throwing one inning? Let’s do it! Four-man outfields? The more the merrier!
Like Tampa Bay, though, Bernie has a problem. Billionaires. They ruin everything these days. They’ve ruined Tampa Bay’s chances to win the division time after time, and they might ruin Bernie’s chances to win the White House. There’s only one solution: a political Rayvolution.
(Note from the editor: I would like to apologize on behalf of the author for that terrible pun.)
Elizabeth Warren: The Seattle Mariners
Elizabeth Warren has based her entire candidacy on one thing: She has a plan for that. Whether’s it’s her plan to fight corruption, or her plan to install a wealth tax, or her as-yet unveiled secret plan to fight inflation, Warren has a plan for everything. You know who else has a plan for everything?
Jerry Dipoto makes trades like normal people make breakfast. He’s made over 100 trades since being appointed Seattle’s GM in 2015. He traded Jean Segura to the Phillies from his hospital bed. He acquired Mallex Smith from the Atlanta Braves, then just an hour later sent him to the Tampa Bay Rays. While Elizabeth Warren goes to sleep at night dreaming about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Jerry Dipoto goes to sleep dreaming about how he can flip a third-string utility infielder and a LOOGY for a Nespresso machine and a box of jelly-filled donuts.
Michael Bloomberg: The New York Mets
Michael Bloomberg has money. I don’t know what he stands for, and you don’t know what he stands for. He probably doesn’t know what he stands for, either. But he has a lot of money, and that buys shiny new toys, and occasionally it buys World Series rings.
So why is Mike Bloomberg not the New York Yankees, the team most famous across baseball for spending big on free agents and buying titles? The New York Yankees spend money on smart things (mostly). They buy guys like Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and Giancarlo Stanton, players that have the Yankees installed as early favorites to win the World Series.
Mike Bloomberg doesn’t know how to spend money. He didn’t even bother running in the first four states. He spent $188 million on his campaign in the last quarter — more than Biden, Bernie, Buttigieg, and Warren combined. To date he’s spent some $350 million on his political vanity project, all leading up the catastrophe that was his debate performance last night. If that doesn’t sound like the New York Mets, the team that gave us Mr. Middle Finger, the Yoenis Cespedes Boar Incident, the Resurrection of the Founding Fathers, a Ponzi Scheme, the Jason Vargas “knock you the f*** out bro” incident, the Bobby Bonilla contract, and a literal dumpster fire, I’m not sure what does.
Pete Buttigieg: The St. Louis Cardinals
Well, old people like him. White people like him. People from the Midwest seem to like him. And no one can deny that the guy is smart and well-spoken. But when he starts talking about unity, Midwest values, and the Cardinal Way, I get flashbacks of Tony La Russa glowering at me from the dugout in Busch Stadium.
Tulsi Gabbard: The Pittsburgh Pirates
Because like the Pirates, the best Tulsi Gabbard can do for 2020 is declare herself present.
Donald Trump: The Houston Astros
Why the Astros? Uh….no reason….why do you ask?
Scott is the guy you see at the ballpark with a loaded hot dog in one hand and a marked-up scorecard in the other. He’s been following baseball since 2006, when his beloved Tigers made the World Series. Scott is an expert in baseball film trivia, a connoisseur of ballpark food, and a firm believer that pitchers should have to bat (I’m looking at you, Bartolo Colon).