Triple Play

BY Jim Spiri
12 years, 10 months ago

Baseball is a wonderful sport. Field of Dreams is among the best movies ever made. There is a correlation between life on the diamond and life in the real world; there are many parallels. But among the best plays ever, which happens on very rare occasions, is the triple play. As a teen, I was able to experience it only a couple of times during summer league. In the real world lately, it seems as though we are on the verge of a big time triple play. Only this is not a game.

I thought it fitting this week to call this article “Triple Play.” It’s been a busy three days around here. Just so all of you know what I’m talking about, my son and his wife became the parents of three boys on Monday the 23rd. That’s right, triplets. Jesse, Jacob and James arrived between 1018 hrs and 1022 hrs on Monday morning. They came early, but it was expected that would happen. My son, the US Army Helicopter pilot and his wife are rather beside themselves at what now is a daunting task ahead of them. But with much care, assistance from family, and lots of prayer, all will be fine. It is just a long road ahead that will be traveled one step at a time.

In other news this week….the Bush administration seemed to have upped the tempo a bit about going for its own triple play. As things heat up continually in Afghanistan, most recently due to the blazing jail house attack that freed 1100 or so “bad guys” including around 400 Taliban fighters, lots of attention has been in that direction by the media. And, just as Iraq is being reported to sustain immense security improvements  in the past year, and definitely such is the case, only last night more casualties were reported with the loss of three US Army soldiers in Mosul by IED. And still yet, another report this week told of meetings between US and Israeli officials who were said to have discussed the option of attacking Iran. Israel has recently been doing high profile maneuvers and letting the word out that it has no intention of letting Iran have nuclear capabilities. US officials are said to have been urging restraint on Israel’s part, however most observers have concluded that joint planning for such an attack is already in the works. And there you have it folks, out at first, out at second, and perhaps out at third. We’ll see.

But for the record, my job as a catcher was to cover home plate, no matter what the consequences.  What I enjoyed most about being a catcher on the field was that I had to know every possible scenario for each and every pitch that was thrown to the batter. I had to know it before it was thrown, and be prepared for whatever transpired. As I mentioned earlier, there are many parallels between baseball and real life. And herein lies the point of this writing.

I’ve never forgotten about how it was that we went into Afghanistan back in 2001, which seems like a life-time ago. It was the first time as a father I experienced having my own son sent to war. It was only a couple of months after having just lost our oldest son, a Marine. Things were still very raw. Then, in 2003, the nation saw fit to go back into Iraq and finish something that had twelve years earlier been incomplete. It was the second time as a father I saw my son off to war. And now, it’s mid 2008, and I look towards the horizon and see storm clouds brewing once again, only the target is Iran. I know once again, should the commander in chief tell my son to “saddle up,” my son would be ready in a heartbeat for his fifth deployment in the past seven years, only this time, the next generation on deck, would be awaiting his return.

It is a very difficult play, the triple play, but it can be pulled off, but not without perfect coordination and excellent timing. And remember, it is very rarely pulled off successfully, something akin to triplet boys being born naturally without using any artificial measures.

Covering home plate, the catcher must be willing to hold onto the ball and never drop it, even when some opponent is barreling around third racing to plow into the catcher as he awaits the throw from his teammates to tag the runner out before he scores. Never let the opponent score and the last line of defense is the one covering home plate. Such is the case in this global triple play that is possibly about to take place. There were lots of errors leading up to the events of 9/11. After the disaster of the twin towers, we as a nation, and rightly so, embarked upon an “easy out” on first. Come to find out, the cave dwellers weren’t so stupid as we suspected, errors were made at Tora Bora, and just when we thought the bottom of the ninth was going to end the game, we’ve all been witness to many extra innings.

There were severe errors made leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, at least that is what many believe these days in 2008. Then, once again, when we all thought the bottom of the 9th was in view, like the banner telling us, “Mission Accomplished,” it became clear that it had gone into extra innings.  That brings us to today.

I remember living in Australia for a few years when my kids were little. They learned the sports games down under, which I never could actually figure out completely. The closest thing to baseball was cricket. What I couldn’t stand about cricket was the fact that the game took an unbelievable amount of time to play, sometimes days, just for one game. It made no sense to me. I think I can speak for the rest of the fans covering home plate across the nation when I say, “if we’re going to another game, I hope it does not go into extra innings.”

A good catcher hones his skills by learning from all the errors made in previous games. I figure that’s one reason there’s 162 games in a professional baseball season. There is a real possibility that Iran has pushed the envelope too damn far. In many respects, I feel they’ve crossed the line way more than once. I don’t want to see extra innings anymore. I love having triplet grandsons now. And I always liked being a part of a successful triple play as a young baseball player. But if we go to war directly with Iran, even though we’ve already been fighting them in the streets of Iraq for many years, those in charge, all the way up the chain of command, better execute it perfectly this time, for if they don’t, there just may not be a next season.  I for one will cover home plate with my entire body, soul and spirit, whatever betides.

Jim Spiri


  1. On June 26, 2008 at 11:29 pm, Breakerjump said:

    Congratulations on your new grandchildren!

    I must say though – frankly: Neither the US nor Israel is going to launch a land invasion of Iran. The US isn’t going to launch an air campaign (for a myriad of reasons), and Iraq isn’t going to give Israel overfly rights to attack. Furthermore, Israel won’t put itself out on a limb unless the US is holding it, and we’re not gonna, this time.

    Bush cannot represent that Iran is a clear, present and imminent threat to the US or Israel, therefore he can’t marshal the public. Even if he could, he’s still leaving in January, and he knows just like everyone else that (unfortunately) Obama is going to be the next President. As shortsighted as Bush is, he’s not stupid enough to launch a land invasion to only leave it in the hands of Obama in another 7 months.

    Politically speaking, completely regardless of method, means, attitude and reason, if Bush were to attack or assist Israel in attacking Iran he would seal an Obama presidency. At the very least McCain has still got a chance in hell. If we attacked Iran in any way, McCain is beyond screwed, and no one can argue that Iran is a threat that has to be dealt with inside the next 7 months.

    I think what we have to realize here, is that the same lack of planning and orientation exists here as did in the invasion of Iraq. There is no long-term plan to attack Iran and there never has been. There’s not even a plan to deal with their border incursions in Iraq or their influx of IEDs. Bush just toured Europe to say farewell – he’s going to head down to Crawford in January and clear brush and drive his pickup – that’s it. It’s Over.

    Also, if we attacked Iran or assisted Israel in doing so, instead of just a bunch of worthless hippies protesting in the streets, I think I’d probably see my neighbors out there this time. People understand that it is the courageous men and women of our armed forces that wiped the administration’s ass for them when they fumbled the war, and they’d figure out just how sick and tired of watching it they are if another attack was force fed to them.

    Finally, I may be wrong about all this – but I very much believe it. I do know one thing, however; Israel is just crazy enough to attack them with or without our help or Iraqi overfly permission – they really are. But as I see it, hell would freeze over before Iran ever triggered a nuclear device anywhere inside Israel. The land is sacred to Muslims just as much as it is to Jews, and the most probable and valuable target is Tel Aviv – roughly 35 miles from the great city (of rubble) itself. Ain’t gonna happen. They might like to slip a small device into the hands of someone who would trigger it in America, but in reality, they do not posses the miniaturization technology that we, China and Russia do. So if they’re going to do that in the first place, their enrichment of uranium has nothing to do with that from the start; they would have to get it from Russia, as China’s not going to intentionally disrupt an economy (US) they are dependent on.

    I am NO Iran apologist, but this sort of thing requires free and rational thought. Perhaps I would be in the streets this time around as well.

  2. On June 27, 2008 at 10:46 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Don’t overplay your hand too heavily concerning this notion of Iran avoiding hitting targers inside of Israel because there are Islamic holy sites there. Take a hard look at Michael Ledeen’s book The Iranian Time Bomb for a good discussion of the real power in Iran – the radical Mullahs. The PM is a puppet. The Mullahs control everything.

    This view is that it is alright to sacrifice some to conquer a lot. It’s similar to the ideas in vogue now with AQ (see the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point concerning al Zawahiri’s recent dialogue with AQ via the internet, in which he discusses the work to produce a theological underpining in Islam for the idea not just of suicide bombing and thus loss of a Muslim, but loss of innocent Muslims as well who get caught up in the blasts; they are de factor declaed martyrs).

    The U.S. probably will not get involved, but Israel has proven willing to defend itself, and to do that pre-emptively if necessary. Frankly, I can’t blame her.

    Finally, the CIA is following events in which plans for suitcase style (small) nuclear devices have been sold by A. Q. Khan (Pakistan’s nuclear father) to rogues across the planet. Miniturization may not be so far off for others.

  3. On June 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm, Breakerjump said:

    I follow your rationale on the willingness (read: lunacy) of the Iranians (or more specifically, Mullahs) to sacrifice innocent muslims, but I see things like suicide bombings and the martyring of innocents via collateral damage as apples compared to the orange of a potential STRATEGIC decimation of thousands, along with (and more importantly) the destruction of land and air very close in proximity to holy land, if not holy itself.

    Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I cannot see a people willing to swallow a willful, strategic bombing which results in thousands of innocents dead. Sure, the Mullahs would be fine with it, but governments and ruling peoples almost never care about their governed, and so that is to be expected.

    In regards to small nuclear devices, AQK may have sold off information valuable for the intent of miniaturizing nuclear devices; that may be. But as I understand it, enriching uranium and developing a classical nuclear bomb (as you pointed out a week ago) is one thing; miniaturizing that technology is an entirely different thing altogether.

    The risk / reward ratio of a strategic invasion is way too cockeyed for me. An air campaign minimizes risk of casualties, but causes all sorts of problems itself, especially regionally. Israel MUST violate at least two countries airspace (unless they dare Saudi Arabia) and come within spitting distance of Tehran itself to hit Natanz.

    I suppose you could boil much of my sentiment down into the modern rendition of the story of a young bull and an old bull. As crass as it may be, it’s practical applications are seemingly endless:

    An Old Bull and a Young Bull were standing at the top of a hill overlooking a large meadow full of cows. The Young Bull says excitedly, “Let’s run down there and **** us a cow!”
    “No, son”, says the Old Bull, “let’s WALK down there and **** them ALL.”

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You are currently reading "Triple Play", entry #1171 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Department of Defense,Iran,Iraq,The Long War and was published June 26th, 2008 by Jim Spiri.

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