President Obama, like most politicians, is a fan of using sports metaphors in his off-the-cuff speeches, but he got his games confused in a recent NPR interview. From the transcript:
What I said was that when it comes to foreign policy, that oftentimes the United States has made mistakes not by showing too much restraint but by underestimating how challenging the environment is out there, not thinking through consequences, that there is a lot of blocking and tackling to foreign policy, to change sports metaphors, or, if you want to stick to baseball, that a lot of what you want to do is to advance the ball on human rights, advance the ball on national security, advance the ball on energy independence, to put the ball in play.
And every once in a while, a pitch is going to come right over home plate that you can knock out for a home run. But you don’t swing at every pitch. And we have opportunities right now, for example, and I talked about today, to advance an Iranian agreement on their nuclear program that could be historic. We may not get it, but there’s a chance that it could still happen.
Obviously, the idea of “advancing the ball” is a phrase reserved for sports in which players actually possess the ball, such as basketball and football, and need to get closer to the goal to score.
Perhaps Obama just has the game on his mind: He’s been no stranger to the diamond in recent weeks, making a surprise stop at a Little League game (here’s analysis of the president’s pitching motion, courtesy of the Washington Free Beacon) as well as visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.