Beer Summits and Baseball

I know. I should be writing about important things today: Sonya Sotomayor, health care, the continuing unemployment crisis in Ohio and elsewhere, my chronically sore foot and leg. Instead, I’ll opine on this afternoon’s White House kegger. And the Cleveland Indians, now defunct for 2009, 2010 and so on.

First the beer summit. I kinda like the idea that Prez O is going to sit around a picnic table this afternoon and quaff a few beers with police officer Jim Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In many ways this is a textbook example of how the theory of public relations can be applied in the real world: two-way communication, establish relationships, mediate disputes and resolve a crisis, create mutual understanding and so on.

Will the beer blast lead to a national dialogue on race relations? Nah. It’s a worthy goal and good thought but unlikely given the nation’s and media’s attention span.

More likely it will lead to a debate on the choice of beers: American made versus foreign. Here’s the lineup: Obama — Bud Light; Gates — Red Stripe; Crowley (Blue Moon). Yet as the Wall Street Journal online edition reports this morning (“White House ‘Beer Summit’ Becomes Something of a Brouhaha“), those selections are not sitting well with some American firms, particularly among the growing list of micro-brewers. And is there a marketing guy or gal alive who wouldn’t spend the afternoon staked out naked over an ant hill to get the White House to serve up a brew made by his/her client or employer? I digress.

And then there is baseball. The Cleveland Indians yesterday traded Cliff Lee, last year’s Cy Young Award winner, to Philadelphia — and received just less than a handful of minor league players with apparently major league potential in return. Sigh. I know. This is baseball and this kind of trade happens all the time. And realistically, the only way that a small-market franchise like Cleveland can compete is to pull together a gaggle of young players — hope they all mature and become stars at the same time while under contract — and then watch them go to the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and so on.

Hey. As Jimmy Carter said, life isn’t fair.

But it irks me when teams basically give up in mid-season. If nothing else, it cheats the fans. Full disclosure: I have tickets to a game with the Twins next week. And I’ll have a good time regardless. Still — WTF.

Also, it’s amazing that the Indians have slipped from near-champions two years ago to a team that has resigned itself to another long uphill climb.

And this provides a cautionary tale for another Cleveland sports team, the Cavaliers. Many times teams have one shot at a championship — and it slips away for a variety of reasons never to return.

If that happens this winter, there will be a lot of people in Northeast Ohio crying in their beer. (C’mon. You know I had to write that.)

And for those attending the White House kegger this afternoon, I offer this wisdom from Dos Equis: Stay thirsty my friends.

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One response to “Beer Summits and Baseball

  1. burghthoughts

    Welcome to my world!! We have just had the 17th consecutive summer fire sale by the Pirates. Only one player left from the starting lineup on 7-31-08 and he might be gone before the deadline later today.
    Ah well…did I mention the Super Bowl champs report to St. Vincent’s today??

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