Playing The Game

In 1923, who hit the first home run in a world series game at then brand new Yankee Stadium?  I know you want to say Babe Ruth, but that would be wrong.  It was Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel, playing for the New York Giants.

In 1949 he became the manager of the Yankees and was a perennial world series participant until he was dismissed in 1960.   He became a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1966.

1962 to 1965 is the interesting part of his career.  He led the expansion New York Mets.  The “Amazin’ Mets.”  They won just over 30% of the time.  Not half as often as his Yankee teams won.  To say they were inept would be a monumental understatement.

Jimmy Breslin wrote a book about Casey’s experience.  Its title tells the story.  “Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game?”

A fair question.  This quote from Casey about sums up how the Mets worked.  “See that fellow over there? He’s 20 years old. In 10 years he has a chance to be a star. Now, that fellow over there, he’s 20, too. In 10 years he has a chance to be 30.”  Not exactly Mantle, Berra, Ford and Maris.  No one knew how to play the game.

Jumping ahead 50 years we have the government in Ontario and the government in Ottawa.  Neither behaves as if there are any skills required to be a government.  Judging by Ontario’s performance it is near certain that all of them know how to be a politician and none of them know how to govern.  People could live with weak politicians who knew how to govern, but not the reverse.

The jury is still considering evidence in the case of the new federal government, but a straw vote might not come down on the side of “skilled.” Ontario is hopeless.

Voters need to be a little wiser.  A vote for a good politician is currently antithetical to the real needs of the people. Under the current valuing system, it is near certain that politicians who are adept at politics will not know how to govern.

What should we do when they are playing a different game than the one we think they are playing? Vote for governing and not for politics.

Political skill harms us.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.


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