Exaggeration is the name of the game. Those who are great, we praise, but it often isn't enough to refer to them as great. No, we need to top that, we need to be hyperbolic. Mike Trout can't run fast -- Mike Trout can fly. Aroldis Chapman doesn't throw fastballs -- Aroldis Chapman throws missiles. Craig Kimbrel isn't really terrific -- Craig Kimbrel is unhittable. We end up describing players vividly, but in ways that should never be given a literal interpretation. Literally, so much of it is nonsense.
Another example along the same vein is the suggestion that Player X ought to be president. We see this all over the place, with Stephen Strasburg, with Miguel Cabrera, with anybody who's great, or who has recently been great. In my FanGraphs chats, I've fielded a lot of suggestions that Buster Posey ought to be president. What's implied, I think, is that Player X is obviously capable of anything and everything. He can't only master the game of baseball; he can master any task placed before him. What better to master than the occupation of the presidency?
Many Mariners fans, in turn, have endorsed Felix Hernandez as a presidential candidate. Especially in the aftermath of his perfect game, against the Tampa Bay Rays, which happened, do you remember that, that was awesome. My sense is it's been all in good fun, but just in case, today being what it is, I figured it couldn't hurt to tell you why not to take this literally. "Felix Hernandez For President," haha, okay, sure, funny jokes! You really should not vote for Felix Hernandez for president. There are three major reasons, which we'll refer to as the Three W's.
(1) doesn't Want to
Voting for Felix, in theory, is supposed to be an acknowledgment, a reward. "Wow, we made Felix the president, what a reward for his phenomenal service!" But Felix has given absolutely zero indication that this is something he'd be interested in. Felix has spent his entire life getting better at baseball, and lately he's become more of a family man. He loves his wife and he loves his kids, and he loves his offseason in which he's able to relax. Felix hasn't said that he wants to be the president, and he hasn't coyly dropped hints that he wants to be the president. As far as we can tell the presidency isn't anywhere on Felix's radar. So why do it to him? Why force this all-consuming responsibility upon him? Would that not function more as a punishment? Why should we want to punish Felix? There's a difference between giving Felix the gift of an ugly tie and giving Felix the gift of the US presidency. One of those is the gift of the US presidency. Felix seems content to be conquering the major leagues, and we should allow him to blaze his own trail.
(2) Woefully under-qualified
Say what you will about the candidates on the ballot, but at least all of those candidates have a background in politics, and at least they have their ideas and their plans for how the country could be run better. We don't know anything about Felix's plan for the economy, because he doesn't have one. We don't know anything about Felix's thoughts on health care, because he probably doesn't have any. Electing Felix president would be the rough equivalent of electing some guy off the street president. Except with some guy off the street, there would be some probability that he's been schooled or trained. There would be some probability that he'd be moderately experienced. Felix's entire political resume is that people have been referring to him as the King for a few years. To whatever extent you feel like the president is just a part of a bigger machine, Felix would be a woefully under-qualified part. To whatever extent you feel like Felix could eventually get his bearings in the role, what would we do until then? There might not be a more important job in the world than the president of the United States of America. You can argue about various qualifications, but I think everyone would agree that a president should have at least some qualifications. Felix is a young man who is good at part of the game of baseball. He did not go to college, and he has never even interned for a political campaign. His English is a lot worse than his Spanish. Actually that might be a qualification.
(3) Would have to leave the Mariners
This is a point that just everybody misses. Oh, so you want Felix, or Strasburg, or Posey to be the president? Okay, so what you mean is you don't want Felix, or Strasburg, or Posey to play for your baseball team. Because even if you think electing a guy as president is the ultimate honor, being the president of the US is kind of a full-time job and a guy wouldn't have time to play for a baseball team, even a neighborhood baseball team composed of amateurs that plays once a week. As president, Felix's contributions to the game of baseball would be limited to ceremonial first pitches, and those pitches don't even count. You like Hisashi Iwakuma? Great. Do you like Hisashi Iwakuma as the Mariners' ace? Put another way: you like John Jaso and Michael Saunders? Great. Do you like Jaso and Saunders as the Mariners' best players? Felix, right now, is 26. Given a four-year term, he'd get into his 30s, and his contract with the Mariners would run out. Elect Felix Hernandez president and what you're effectively doing is having the Mariners release Felix Hernandez.
I know you've all been tempted. Don't do it. Don't vote for Felix Hernandez to be the next president of the United States of America. It might seem like a perfectly nice thing to do. In reality, Felix as president could cripple not only the Seattle Mariners -- it could conceivably cripple the entire free world. Give the Mariners and the entire free world a chance. Vote not-Felix.