Updated March 30, 2:30 p.m. | With Harry Reid's retirement, the Senate is not just losing its top Democrat. It's losing its foremost baseball fan.
Over the years, the Nevadan would wax about the nation's pastime on the floor, going so far as to say he and arch-frenemy Mitch McConnell were on the same page. "Mr. President, the Republican leader and I don't agree on — everything. But we do agree on some things. And there is one thing no one can dispute we agree on. And that's our love of baseball," he said on the floor last year. Reid has particular affection for the Washington Nationals, whose season starts on April 6 with the Opening Day game against the New York Mets. For those who can't wait, the Nats are playing the New York Yankees in an exhibition here Saturday.
Even though he was a fan already, Reid seemed to go into overdrive when the Nationals scooped up Nevada phenom Bryce Harper, bringing the brash slugger up to the big leagues in 2012 for their playoff run.
"When I was a boy, I dreamed of being an athlete. I listened to those baseball games on the radio, and I envisioned myself as a man out in center field at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park in Boston. But the joy I’ve gotten with the work that I’ve done for the people of the state of Nevada has been just as fulfilling as if I had played center field at Yankee Stadium," he said on March 27.
There was frequently a Nevada connection. Maddux was a standout at Valley High School. Harper was one at Las Vegas High School and the College of Southern Nevada. Williams starred at Carson City High School and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. But Reid's status as a seam-head was undeniable.
In his congratulatory speech about Maddux's Hall of Fame honor, Reid referred to the right-hander's somewhat unimposing, quiet ways and pinpoint control of the game's agenda. "He would be the first to tell you. When he was playing baseball and today about how average he was ... not a big man. That's an understatement. Not a big man. But he was precise," Reid said, in his trademark awkward, slightly backhanded-but-complimentary way.
He could have been talking about himself.
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