The National Pastime

Posted: Mar 29, 2006 2:16 PM

  • I have gotten to do some pretty interesting things in my life: Press secretary to Congressmen and Senators, Whips and Speakers; been on television, been in Iraq (not too different, really); traveled to amazing places and met remarkable people.

  • None of that compares to this: I am officially the Washington Nationals baseball reporter for the Alexandria (VA) Times, the weekly newspaper of the People’s Republic of.

  • I have a credential and everything.


      I picked up my credential at RFK stadium Monday morning. I have been wearing it around my neck ever since. Happily, it is waterproof, as I found out in the shower yesterday morning.

      When people ask me about it, I say: “Oh, this? My credential to cover a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM? The one which allows me to go on THE FIELD? And into the PRESS BOX? And even into the LOCKER ROOM? Huh. I forgot I had it on.”


      Dear Mr. Mullings:

      You are barely qualified to comment on politics in which you’ve been involved lo these many years. What, on Earth, qualifies you to be a baseball reporter?


      The Grantland Rice Society

  • Well, for starters I have exactly zero teams remaining in my Final Four bracket. In fact, I had only two teams still alive in the round of eight.

  • Second, I know a lot about baseball. For instance, I know the words you should never utter in a baseball press box:

      Face off

      Penalty flag


      Three pointer

      Quarter pole

      Half time

      Left side tires

      To mention just a few.

  • Obviously, because the Alexandria Times is a weekly newspaper, no one will be going there for the box scores, so my job will be to write, what we in the sports writing biz like to call … Well, I’m not certain what we call them.

  • I am more likely to write about the kids sitting in the left field stands, attending their first Major League game than I am about Alfonso Soriano who will be standing in left field for the first time in his first Major League career.

  • More likely to write about the quality of the hot dogs at the concession stand than a player hot dogging it by jumping into the stands.

    Enough! We get it.

  • Part of the thrill of all this is, I am one-upping my back-door neighbor, James Carville. Carville has some gig with XM Radio to do weekly sports show.

  • Satellite radio. Feh! I am the beat reporter covering the Washington Nationals. For the Alexandria Times, baby. The A.T.!

  • New topic: Andy Card resigned as White House Chief of Staff yesterday.

  • Andy is one of those I mentioned last week (“Fresh Legs” Mullings DATE***) as having been on the job since noon, January 20, 2001. I suspect he wanted to make it to 11:59 am, January 20, 2009; but he has decided that the 18-hour days; and seven day weeks have gone on long enough.

  • There will be a period of adjustment at the White House as Josh Bolton re-works the operating system to suit his style, but having a new person running the shop will be healthy for the Administration.

  • Andy Card was able to maneuver through the thicket of the Washington political underbrush on behalf of his boss as well as anyone in modern history. Unlike many of his predecessors, he was not intent on having his name imprinted on major accomplishments; preferring to allow others to get the credit.

  • In fact, I have never heard anyone – Republican or Democrat – say a harsh word about Andy Card. This is a town where saying harsh words, or repeating harsh words said by others, is the true national pastime.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Alexandria Times; Grantland Rice; and an explanation of the Alfonso Soriano line. Also the Mullfoto is my actual CREDENTIAL and a Catchy Caption of the Day.