First there was John G. Roberts Jr., talking his way to confirmation as chief justice of the United States with the insight that "judges are like umpires."Aw, then I guess I shouldn't be so mean about sports metaphors as long as it's a baseball metaphor. Here's my (probably nerdy) idea for an SNL skit about a Supreme Court nomination hearing: the nominee, looking all John Robertsy, offers up his theory of the role of the judge, but instead of a baseball metaphor goes with the wrong sport -- sumo wrestling, perhaps.
Then there was Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, explaining last week's indictment of the vice president's chief of staff by asserting that the aide, I. Lewis Libby Jr., had, in baseball terms, thrown sand in the umpire's eyes.
And finally, on Monday, there was the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., a Philadelphia Phillies fan (short for "fanatic") who told the world that his ambition as a young man had been to become baseball commissioner.
Why are so many Washington figures, including a long list of Supreme Court justices, so devoted to the game? Easy, said Carter G. Phillips, a Washington lawyer and an old softball teammate of Judge Alito: "Baseball's the perfect sport for nerds."
November 5, 2005
That's why Washington types keep talking about it: