Barack Obama and Ernie Shore

Perhaps the best model for Barack Obama as he begins his presidency is an obscure pitcher named Ernie Shore who threw his last pitch in 1920 and is remembered by only the most intense baseball historians and sabrmetricians. More than 90 years ago, Ernie Shore was brought in to a game after the starting pitcher, whose first name coincidentally was George, had give up a walk to start the game. Shore proceeded to pick the runner off first base and retire the next 26 batters, essentially throwing a perfect game. This remains the greatest single relief pitching performance in baseball history and a task comparable to the one that now faces Obama. To continue the baseball imagery, if George H.W. Bush was, as Jim Hightower famously described him, a man who was born on first base and thinks he hit a triple, than Barack Obama is like a relief pitcher who was brought in to pitch with his team down by about ten runs and is somehow expected to lead his team to victory.