Every now and then the worlds of baseball and politics come together to form a newsworthy event. Most of the time it comes during a special ceremony or a time of celebration, which leaves a positive lasting image. Of course, we've also seen our share of congressional hearings centered around steroids, which is obviously much less uplifting.
All of that being said, when those two worlds collided again on Friday, it was under entirely different circumstances than we're used to. There were no celebrations or hearings, but we did hear the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, referencing baseball — and more specifically the skill set of Los Angeles outfielder Mike Trout — while discussing how strongly he feels about his newly passed farm bill.
Here's the text if you don't watch the video.
“Now, despite its name, the farm bill is not just about helping farmers. [Agriculture] Secretary [Tom] Vilsack calls it a jobs bill, an innovation bill, an infrastructure bill, a research bill, a conservation bill. It’s like a Swiss army knife. It’s like Mike Trout, for those of you who know baseball.”
Has anyone called Trout the Swiss army knife of Major League Baseball yet?
No? Sorry, finish your thought. Mr. President.
“It's somebody who's got a lot of tools and multitasks."
Well, Trout certainly fits the tools description. As far as baseball goes, he’s one of the very few who possess all five core athletic skills that are considered essential to being successful. As for the multitasking, well, his job doesn’t really call for that, but he may be athletic enough to pull it off if necessary.
Anyway, I think we got the President’s point. He’s very confident his new bill will cater to the needs of a wide range of people. But the other interesting note from a baseball perspective is where these comments were made — Michigan State University. That's a 90-minute drive from Detroit, which is the home of two-time defending American League MVP Miguel Cabrera.
Despite two historical seasons to begin his major league career, Trout has been unable to unseat Cabrera in the MVP balloting. The results of the first vote especially led to a lot of debate — some very heated — between baseball fans, writers and statistical analysts alike. And though we're certain the President's decision to drop Trout's name was made without that consideration, we're just as sure those in attendance who do follow baseball were ready to restart the debate on the spot.
Fortunately, the President was allowed to leave in peace. But you just know somebody somewhere in Michigan is preparing a letter to explain why Cabrera — or even Justin Verlander — would have been a better example to use in his speech.
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