My fellow fans of the Colorado Rockies, rejoice. Our suffering is over.
That may sound nonsensical, like saying “Welcome the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.” But you see, I’ve found the way to end our early-season woes, now and into the future.
Are you ready? Here it is.
Every season, from Opening Day until May 15, we declare that runs against our relief pitchers don’t count.
You see, every Rockies fan knows that the three sure things in life are death, taxes and that our bullpen will blow a late-game lead. So we simply don’t let them. Let the opposition do what it can against our starters; once the relievers come in, their batters will be shut down to zero … by decree.
It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s …
What do you mean, illegal?
Well, no, the rule book doesn’t currently allow that. But don’t worry about that. If we don’t like the rules, we can simply ignore them.
Just ask the great state of North Carolina.
For those who missed it, two North Carolina legislators have introduced a bill that would let the state set an official religion. And to those with worries about that pesky First Amendment (and that equally inconvenient Fourteenth Amendment that applies its protections to the states), have no fear – the bill explicitly says the federal courts don’t get to decide what’s constitutional in North Carolina.
That’s right. If we don’t like the rules, we get to ignore them.
Mind you, declaring independence of federal authority used to be called secession, but I’m sure nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Right?
Now, to be fair, no one really expects the North Carolina bill to go anywhere. It’s a statement, sort of like pounding your shoe on the table, only less likely to leave an impression.
And yet, and yet … it’s always tempting to set aside the rules, isn’t it?
Note that I’m not talking about constitutional challenges in the courts. There’s a long and honored place for that. Any rule set can be re-interpreted over time, from theology to baseball, and fresh debates help keep the rules alive, by forcing us to consider what we mean by them.
But interpreting the rule book, even revising it, is a different thing from throwing it out all together. And there’s been a lot of states ready and willing to do just that.
Don’t like the mandated health insurance that the Supreme Court called constitutional? Go ahead, set it aside.
Federal laws on marijuana seem draconian? Repeal them locally and hope the feds don’t care enough to do anything.
Federal tariffs not to your liking? Go ahead and … whoops, that’s the South Carolina nullification crisis of 1832. My mistake. (I guess everything old really is new again.)
To be fair, the feds have the same temptation. It can be so easy to shortcut due process by just sticking a terror suspect in Guantanamo Bay, or to whistle at rules against unreasonable search and seizure while allowing a choice in airports between “virtual strip search” or actual groping. If thy rule offend thee, cut it off.
But it’s only when we agree on the rules that we really have a nation.
Again, I’m not saying the rules can never change. I’m sure we can all agree on many that should. But that’s the point – changing the rules requires agreement. Ignoring them requires a roll of masking tape to mark off your side of the room and a declaration that “I’m not listening to you!”
If we’re going to do that, we might as well call the ballgame. And frankly, I’m not willing to give up on the season yet.
But then, I’m a Rockies fan.
Call me an optimist.