What Obama Can Learn From the Yankees

Monday, 08 Aug 2011 08:03 AM

By Jon Friedman

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I know, I know. The world is depressing. The U.S. government is in disgrace, thanks to the S&P downgrade. The 2012 election is up for grabs. I'm nervous, too, but I can't dwell too much on it. Sorry about that.

You see, right now, I have more important things to worry about. The Yankees and the Red Sox are now locked in one of their epochal dog-eat-dog, battle-to-the-death pennant races. The two rivals have been going at it since the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees nearly a century ago.

True, Mariano Rivera blew a save in the ninth inning last night and the Yanks lost 2 out of 3 to Boston over the weekend in Fenway Park. I still think the Yankees have a really good chance to retake the world championship this season. The team is playing with poise and precision. It is being opportunistic and also forcing opponents into corners. They just swept the White Sox in Chicago in a four game series for the first time in decades.

President Obama could learn a lot about winning — with apologies to Mr. Sheen, mind you. The S&P downgrade is bracing and should serve as a wake-up call to the administration. He could figure out how to make things happen, how to defeat your opponents and how to play with a lead.

Obama is squandering his big lead now, thanks to the nation's economic fears. He had effectively a 10-game lead in the standings and let it slip away.

The Yankees wouldn't forfeit an advantage like that — not this team. The way they played against the Red Sox this weekend shows you that this group knows how to win.

I always have to smile when I see the Yankees and the Bosox having at it on the field. Granted, we haven't seen any fist fights on the diamond, like in the good old days of Lou Piniella, Carlton Fisk, Graig Nettles and Bill Lee, like we witnessed back in the 1970s. Still, even without demonstrations of violence, you know both teams want to bludgeon one another.

It's heartwarming to see the Yankees and the Red Sox trying to beat the hell out of one another. They've done this through the presidential administrations of FDR, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and both George Bush terms. Now, we've getting the best of the hated foes in Obama's presidency, too. Nothing changes — and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I'd feel even happier if my president could somehow act and play like a winner. Mr. President, watch the Bronx Bombers and even those hated Red Sox. See the grit and the swagger. You used to have a sense of grit and swagger as well. I hope you can get it back. The country needs you to have a championship season.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.

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