The Cable

Is Trump Making Appointments Based on Baseball Films?

Let's play ball with this theory.

baseball

A theory: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could be picking secretaries, advisors, and ambassadors based on baseball films. Before you call that a strike against us, consider:

Trump is reportedly considering former Mets and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine as U.S. ambassador to Japan. In the 1992 comedy film Mr. Baseball, an over-the-hill baseball player is traded to the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese Central baseball league. Culture clash ensues, as does plenty of laughter and — spoiler! — a little bit of love. A template for Trump’s ambassador?

Terry Branstad, Iowa governor, is Trump’s pick for U.S. ambassador to China. Branstad considers himself close to Chinese leadership — including President Xi Jinping, who invented the notion of fulfilling the “Chinese Dream.” Also from Iowa: the magical ballfield that hosted 1989’s Field of Dreams, an inspiring tale of a hallucinating Iowa corn farmer.

Trump himself might have felt like The Natural when he rode his outsider instincts to a historic upset, and The Bad News Bears may well have influenced some staffing inside the White House or at least Trump’s prospective press shop.

Moneyball certainly resonates after yet another Goldman Sachs alum picked to spearhead Trump’s populist revolution. Eight Men Out does kind of describe the scramble for secretary of state. Most political observers would agree the whole presidential transition so far has definitely been Major League, and certainly not a daunting show for The Rookie. We’ll have to see if Fear Strikes Out.

Just don’t expect much inspiration from A League of Their Own. Unless, of course, Trump ends up sending respecting ex-wife Ivana’s wishes and sends her to represent the United States as ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering ambassadorial and diplomatic affairs in Washington. @emilyctamkin

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