Went back to Camelback, Arizona today.
Home of White Sox spring training.
"Thought I might find you here. Congratulations. You've had a pretty good week."
"Damn, AB, all I want is to watch baseball in the warm sunshine."
"How are you?"
"Big O, I'm above ground. Have one dead son that you know about. And by the way, the Veterans Affairs Department just sent me 20 letters of condolences with your name copied like you had signed them. They spelled his name wrong. So it didn't work all that well."
"Crap. You'd think with all of our records and computerization we could get a kid's name right. I'm sorry."
"I know you are. It was a nice gesture. But. . ."
"So, what's going to happen this year?"
"The White Sox are a mess. The Braves have the best rookie in MLB, but I'd put my money on the Phillies."
"You're on. I bet the Yankees do it."
"Deal, Sir. In the meantime, what in the name of reason were you thinking when you pushed this healthcare bill thru? It's a lovely concept, but who the heck is going to pay for it?"
"AB, you are part of those blessed folks that need to share with those less amongst you."
"Big O, Sir, you are full of crap. I worked my way up from lower middle class. Paid every tax I was ever asked to pay. Nobody ever gave me a handout or a hand. I just worked. I'm paying over 36%. And I fear it's about to get worse with a VAT."
"We have to do something to close the income gap. Those with means need to pay so that those without can have something."
"Really, Sir? Where in the name of all that is Constitutional did you come up with that?"
"AB, it's the only fair way. We all have to share. We all have to contribute. We all need to share in the American dream."
"Sir, then make MLB follow the NFL. Does anybody in Kansas City thing their Royals have a chance? Does anybody in Pittsburgh think their team has a chance?
If you want it all to be fair, then we all need to produce, and we all need to contribute on a fair and equal basis. If American continues to follow the MLB doctrine, you'll have the Yankees with nobody to play."
"You mean we need each person, each town, each state to play it own their own? The Federal Government is here to equal it out."
"Sir, in all respect, you've forgotten how it all got started. And how it has worked for 200 years. The U.S. government exists because the states created it. And funded it. It is the states who must make it on their own. Sometimes they are up, sometimes they are down. You can't take away personal responsibility from the individuals or their state. If you do, you have the U.S.S.R."
"Hang on, pal. That's harsh. We are just looking to share the love."
"Big O, when the Steinbrenner's share the love, let me know. And when the U.S. becomes Big Brother to us all, we are screwed. You and me both. When you move back to Illinois, do you want to pay for California's stupidity?"
"No, I hate the Angels. And the Dodgers. And the Giants. And the Guvernator."
"Don't hate on Arnold. He's doing what any reasonable person would do. The state has spent too much and promised too much and now they have to cut because they can't fulfill all those admirable, but stupid, promises."
"You mean, like, we need every state to be on their own? Like, every man and woman to make it on their own?"
"Yes sir. That's how this country got started. And how this country got strong. It grew from the strength of individuals. Not from the greatness of the Federal Government."
"You wanna burn one?"
So we walked down the stairs underneath the vacant outfield seats. I lit his Marlboro Light as I lit my Marlboro 27. We smoked them in silence.
"You piss me off, AB. But I never thought about this baseball analogy. Thanks. Thanks for your son. Thanks for the light. And thanks for giving me something to think about."
"See you later, Sir. Go get the Taliban and al Qaeda. And tell Joe Biden this discussion is a big fuckin' deal."