Charlie Crist Sends Pitch Sailing in Giant Metaphor of His Campaign

Things already looked piss poor for Gov. Charlie Crist. The most recent poll had him down 12 points, and some speculated that Marco Rubio had the Senate race locked up.

But Crist had political gold awaiting. The Tampa Bay Rays had invited the light-footed governor to throw out the first pitch in game two last night of the Major League Baseball playoffs. While Rubio and Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek were off kissing babies or whatnot, Crist would have a national stage. And hell, the guy's a former college quarterback, so what could go wrong with a 60-foot toss?

The Tanned One took the mound, standing just in front of the rubber. There would

be no throwing from the grass for Crist. He picked up his left knee ever so slightly and reared back.

But like his politics, like everything that has befallen him in this election cycle, the ball took an inexplicable turn. A big, embarrassing arc to the right. The catcher jumped from his crouch and still couldn't catch Crist's sailing ball.

Crist threw up his hands in exasperation. It looked for a second like he might toss his glove on the fake turf. Sure, the pitch stank. But so do his poll numbers. So has this whole election, with upstart Rubio forcing him into a new role as an independent candidate. It all seemed to head in an unfathomable direction that nobody could grasp.

The crowd let out an "ooohhh" that underlined Crist's embarrassment. In the world of political theater, the fall from grace is everyone's favorite story line. And now Crist's possible collapse went national.

At least the wild throw had one benefit. From Crist's perspective, it sailed right. But from the catcher's, it reared left. So an independent voter might still see Crist as a moderate -- a moderate with a rubber arm.

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Eric Barton
Contact: Eric Barton