non sequitur (noun) — 1. a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement. 2. a kick-ass comic strip by Wiley Miller

Looking at the title, you’re probably wonder, “WTF does a baseball manager have to do with saving our country from further disaster?” Well, if you haven’t clicked the “back” button on your browser yet, I’ll try to explain below the fold.

Sunday night, LaRussa’s St. Louis Cardinals played the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the World Series. In the first inning, someone in the bullpen was watching the FOX network coverage when they highlighted a dark spot on the hand of Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers.

The player contacted the bench, and LaRussa came out to request that the umpires take a look at Rogers’ hand. The umpires investigated, determined that it was “merely” dirt, and told him to wash his hands between innings.

Most of the sports talking heads have railed against LaRussa for not raising a bigger stink — they are positive that it was some sort of foreign substance; theories range from pine tar to a substance used by string musicians (violinists, harpists) to keep their fingers sticky for plucking the strings. In any case, these folks say, LaRussa should have protested more and had Rogers ejected.

I’ve got a different take on it.

LaRussa didn’t make a bigger deal because he wanted to keep the focus where it belonged — on winning the damn Series. If he had complained louder, his players might have started wondering, “How are these guys going to get over on us next?”, doubting their own abilities. Instead, LaRussa kept the focus on the ultimate goal…winning 4 out of 7 games. The Cardinals lost that Sunday game, but they won last night and hold a 2-1 lead in the Series.

So what has this got to do with the midterm elections, now less than two weeks away? Well, I’ve been reading a lot about “October Surprises”, Diebold trickery, and other means the Republicans might use to “steal” the elections and retain control of Congress. I’m not saying those issues aren’t important, but they must not take our energy away from our primary cause: winning the damn Series. We need to keep up the good work — get the message out, get voters to the polls, and other things that are within our control. We can’t go worrying about things that are out of our control, or when the day comes, we’re going to be standing at home plate with the bat on our shoulders, watching the called strike three in the “sure knowledge” that we could never beat these assholes anyway, because the game is rigged against us.

We’ve got less than two weeks to do what we can to make a difference. If you’ve got time and health, go knock on some doors for your favorite candidate/cause, or make some phone calls. If you don’t have time and/or health but have a few extra dollars, write a check (or use the Internets) to contribute some needed green (the sooner the better). And even if you’re short of everything, tell people who you’re supporting, and why. Pick up a button or two at the local campaign office and wear it proudly. I’m usually not a fan of campaign bumper stickers because they go out of date; I still see Kerry/Edwards stickers two years after the fact (which just remind me of what might have been). But if you don’t mind scraping them off your bumper in a couple of weeks, go for it.

It’s not going to be easy — we’re heading for the ninth inning, and the game is tight. The Republicans are going to be bringing in their closer, and he throws a wicked curveball. Are we going to focus on how unhittable he is and how unbeatable the Republicans are, or are we going to get that key base hit that brings in the winning run? The manager’s looking at you — grab a bat and get to the plate…

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