Because, come on, aren’t you bored with real news on those Sunday morning talk shows?

October 10, 2012

CBS’ Face the Nation took a break in its last episode to discuss some really important issues.

Jane Leavy (formerly of the Washington Post and author of The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood and Sandy Koufax : A Lefty’s Legacy); Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda (I Live for This: Baseball’s Last True Believer; Peter Gammons (Boston Globe, Beyond the Sixth Game); and Tony La Russa (One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season) were all on hand to talk about the post-season.

Do you think this would be on the agenda if the Nationals hadn’t been one of the teams involved? The hour-long program concluded with this:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Baseball and Washington go way back but it’s been a while since we could put Washington and baseball success in the same sentence. It was in 1933 that Washington Senators last played in the postseason against the New York Giants.

(Begin VT)

BOB SCHIEFFER: And that’s our FACE THE NATION Flashback. For a hundred years, starting with William Howard Taft, Presidents have been throwing out the first ball at Washington ball games. But diamond victories have been few and far between. Washington, they used to say was first in peace, first in war, and last in the American League. Franklin Roosevelt threw out the first ball in 1933. The nation was mired in the Great Depression, and Roosevelt used baseball terms to explain how he’d deal with Congress and get the country rolling again.

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: I have no expectation of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average, not only for myself but for the team.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Roosevelt was more successful than Washington’s ball club. The last game of that series was exactly seventy-nine years ago today. Washington lost. But that 1933 team had four future hall-of-famers. Heinie Manush–yep, that really was his name–Goose Goslin, Sam Rice, and manager Joe Cronin. The team also had a catcher named Moe Berg. As far as we know, the only Major League ballplayer who became a U.S. spy. And he was a good one during World War II.

Presidents continued to throw out the first ball, but Washington kept losing. Attendance dropped and Washington lost its team in 1971. Baseball didn’t return until 2005. And George Bush did the honors–followed by the current White House occupant.

(Crowd cheering)

BOB SCHIEFFER: So forgive us for talking baseball today. It’s not often around here. We can find an excuse to do that.

You can read the entire baseball-related transcript here and watch the segment here (or below for as long as it’s available).

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