erik lundegaard

Wednesday May 06, 2020

The Unnatural

Voted most likely to end western civilization

This is hilarious. Apparently for years Donald Trump told journalists and pretty much anyone who would listen (which has always been way too big a subset) that at New York Military Academy he was good enough at baseball to make the Majors. From 2004:

“I was supposed to be a pro baseball player. At the New York Military Academy, I was captain of the baseball team. I worked hard like everyone else, but I had good talent. ... I will never forget ... the first time I saw my name in the newspaper. It was when I got the winning home run in a game between our academy and Cornwall High School. It was in 1964 and it was in a little local paper. It simply said, TRUMP HOMERS TO WIN THE GAME. I just loved it and I will never forget it. It was better than actually hitting the home run.”

He said his dream of playing pro ball lasted until he went to a tryout with another kid ... named Willie McCovey. And there, I guess, went the dream.

Bells should be going off for anyone with some knowledge of MLB history. Trump homered in a high school game in 1964? And he was at a tryout with Willie McCovey ... who was the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1959? That's some odd math. When was the tryout—when Trump was in seventh grade?

Even so, over at Slate, Leander Schaerlaekens decided to do a little detective work. He tracked down all the NYMA games from all the local newspapers during the time Trump was on the team.

First, he never found a headline that read TRUMP HOMERS TO WIN THE GAME. In fact, Trump's school never played Cornwall High School in 1964. Nor in 1963.

More importantly, Schaerlaekens tracks down all the box scores he can from Trump's sophomore, junior and senior years. It only amounts to nine games, a small sample size, but Schaerlaekens reminds us that Trump's entire high school career probably only spanned 30 to 40 games. So it's about 1/4 to 1/3 of the games Trump played. 

And how did he do? “An underwhelming .138.”

How underwhelming is that, non-baseball fans? Really underwhelming. It's atrocious. Good players tend to have higher averages in high school—I think A-Rod hit between .500 and .600 in high school—so I don't even know what the MLB equivalent of it would be. It's a joke is what it is. 

Schaerlaekens then asks The Athletic's Keith Law what he thinks and Law doesn't pull punches:

“You don't hit .138 for some podunk, cold-weather high school playing the worst competition you could possibly imagine. You wouldn't even get recruited for Division I baseball programs, let alone by pro teams. That's totally unthinkable. It's absolutely laughable. He hit .138—he couldn't fucking hit, that's pretty clear.”

Let's go back to the headline Trump imagined for a second: TRUMP HOMERS TO WIN THE GAME. Look at that. That's not a headline. That's a headline in a 1950s Hollywood movie about some kid named Trump that everyone underestimates. It's the sad movie that plays in his head. And then thinking the headline “was better than actually hitting the home run”? Who thinks accoloades for doing the thing are better than doing the thing? How empty inside do you have to be to feel that way? It's not celebrating with your teammates? It's seeing your name in a headline? Even Trump's fantasies are pathetic.

Anyway, read the piece. It's pretty funny. Also sad. That he got away with this stupid lie for so long. And that he got others—former teammates, coaches—to participate in the lie. Eventually he got 63 million.

Posted at 08:00 AM on Wednesday May 06, 2020 in category Politics  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard