Just five days deep into 2009, it's already been a trying new year for President George W. Bush. His wildly popular replacement has landed in town, his wife joined a bunch of his former employees by signing a multi-million dollar book deal, and there's another large-scale humanitarian crisis on the other side of the globe that he can't fix. It's the kind of thing that makes a man want let loose, blow off some steam, and host a gala dinner party for seven of the biggest names in baseball!
This past Sunday, President Bush invited Rays manager Joe Maddon and his wife, and six other baseball couples to the White House for shrimp and steak. The dinner was a set-up by noted talking head-slash-gadabout-slash-baseball purist George Will; the guest list included Brad Lidge, Lance Berkman, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Dempster, Buck Showalter, and Aaron Boone. That's quite a guest list of accomplished baseball figures, plus Aaron Boone! But really, that's a lot of white folks. George Will couldn't throw a bone to Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols and integrate the party a bit?
What direction do you suppose the dinner conversation took? I assume former Rangers owner and self-proclaimed baseball lover George Bush and the boys chatted about the national pastime instead of national security. Perhaps Bush asked Maddon for advice about turning around a habitually underperforming organization. Perhaps Brad Lidge counseled the prez about recovering from a near-career-ending failure. Or maybe Aaron Boone and G.W. commiserated about being a part-time cog in a terrible Washington organization.
Says Maddon about the affair:
"He's a baseball fan, and he likes our team. I invited him anytime to come see us, and to come address the group, so that's out there."
Yes, Joe. That certainly is an "out there" invitation. Being successful was fun while it lasted, Rays fans.