On the night of Tuesday, Oct. 15, a game was played to determine whether the Washington Nationals would make it to the World Series. There was also a Democratic debate (the sixth, or fourth, depending on how you are counting), which would not even determine, as far as I could tell, who was going to Iowa (everyone is going to Iowa, and nothing will stop them) but lasted about the same amount of time and somehow required almost the same number of people to participate.

You need nine people on a baseball team, because one of them has to throw the ball and one of them has to catch it, and seven more of them also have to catch it, but other places. You need 12 people to participate in the Democratic debate because — well, I am not sure, exactly. I guess Tom Steyer wanted a hobby?

The baseball got off to a very good start, with lots of clear positions taken right away that covered the bases and made the crowd cheer. The Nationals got a run on the board, and then another run, and then three more. Meanwhile, the Cardinals whiffed repeatedly and were eventually penalized; Joe Biden, on the other hand, let a few gently lobbed questions about his son Hunter sail by, at which point moderators just went on with the debate.

In baseball, it is sometimes good to come out swinging, as it was when the beautiful Nationals heroes Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick did so. But confusingly, many debaters also came out swinging, clearly uncertain about whether they were involved in the debate or baseball portion of the evening: Pete Buttigieg, who criticized Medicare-for-all; Amy Klobuchar, who called it a pipe dream (what people who saw the Nats play in May would have called a World Series berth); Beto O’Rourke, who thought a wealth tax was needlessly punitive. At one point, the moderators inquired whether Bernie Sanders really wanted to do away with all billionaires, at which point Tom Steyer prepared to run home.

Mayor Pete and Beto then fought briefly, although Cory Booker urged everyone to stop fighting among themselves and remember the real enemy: the St. Louis Cardinals, who had managed somehow to get a single run. Could the Nats melt down, holding every advantage, and doom us to being dominated by a dreaded red team? Did this lesson hold any resonance for the debate?

Going farther down the lineup, Andrew Yang again pointed out that he has the highest UBI of any candidate in the field. Kamala D. Harris pressed for President Trump to be taken off Twitter, a position she thought Elizabeth Warren would agree with, on account of her plan to break up tech companies. “You don’t get to be the umpire and have a team,” Warren pointed out in response. At least someone knew there was a game on. Juláan Castro, who had given Biden a walk by hitting him in the previous debate, got in approximately seven words edgewise, although the words were excellent.

Patrick Corbin left the mound. Biden, on the other hand, attempted to retain his waning position of eminence, although Buttigieg began warming up in the bullpen and Klobuchar attempted to steal his base. The moderators wanted to know about whether Trump had packed the courts with too many partisans for it to make fair calls. Biden said no, even though people had been continuously making bad calls in an effort to get him thrown out, and when challenged, had said the calls were perfect.

One of the frustrating things at the end of the baseball game is that even if your brave ballplayers prevail, they do not get to come out and speak exclusively for 10 to 20 minutes about how they believed and dug deep and what percents they gave, but instead an older man involved in their hiring gets to interrupt and take credit. Biden also did this when Warren was talking about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and it was not fun then, either.

In the end, the Nats won a division series (“Why not a unity series?” Booker asked) and now face up to seven more of these. And after the Democrats’ eight more, if they don’t win, it’s a shame.

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