Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was just sentenced again in federal court.
So let’s talk baseball.
While such a segue is admittedly strained, the all-American game has lessons to teach sensible citizens who hang our heads over a combined seven-and-a-half-year sentence for Manafort that could allow the 69-year-old to still walk out of prison rather than be carried out on a slab.
Baseball today is a different game than the one many of us grew up with. ESPN’s Sports Center highlights helped turn the sport into one big home run derby, which prevented newer fans from ever learning baseball’s nuances. The stolen base, the hit-and-run, the run-scoring double off the wall are all exciting plays that are mostly unappreciated by newer fans who are conditioned to only get excited when the ball is hit over the fence.
It’s a crime, really, and speaking of crime, that brings us back to Manafort.
Yes, I was hoping for a couple of home runs in terms of maximum sentences handed down to Trump’s front man, the guy who lifted the lid on a Pandora’s box that has this country mired in unprecedented criminality and boorishness from the executive branch of government. On the grandest scale, Manafort’s crimes helped turn friend into foe; neighbor into enemy; family into stranger. That such infamy warranted only seven and a half years in prison boggles the mind.
But baseball — old-time baseball — teaches that even a bloop single can score the winning run. Though Manafort’s sentences might have been stiffer, prosecutors did not strike out. In fact, just when we thought the game was over, it looks now like we’ll be going into extra innings: The ink wasn’t even dry on Manafort’s latest prison sentence before prosecutors in New York charged him with 16 new crimes, which, importantly, will be pardon-proof should the president choose to take pity on his old buddy, as many suspect he will.
As for Trump himself, his legal woes are not insignificant. While we begrudge every day he remains in office, the Southern District of New York is now going through his operations with a fine-toothed comb. For anyone who has followed Trump through the years, it is simply inconceivable that investigators won’t find something, and more likely several significant somethings.
And, too, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s federal investigation is still not complete. While it might appear nothing is happening, don’t forget that for a real baseball fan, even a 9-inning pitching duel can be plenty exciting.
With Trump as with Manafort, we need to stop looking for the big score. Remember, even 1-0 still wins the game.
Squeeze play, anyone?