Popcorn? Check. Snuggie? Check. Phone on silent? Check. And now we slide back in our chairs as we hear the immortal words of Emerson Lake and Palmer: "Welcome now my friends, to the show that never ends." Because after what has seemed like the longest spring training in history, opening day is finally here.
Nope, I'm not talking about baseball. I am talking about our good sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, and finally we can get this whole trial underway. What, you thought the trial never happened? That everything was decided on Monday when he agreed to plead guilty to one count of false imprisonment? That was not even the beginning of things. In fact, that was not even the court that matters.
Opening day for this drama is Monday, when Ross is sentenced and the trial begins in the only court that ever really mattered: the court of public opinion. Because regardless of what happened with the original charges, this was the only trial that really mattered, and the one that will actually decide the fate of Mirkarimi's political career.
If you doubt this, you only have to look at the action that has broken out this week and where people are lining up in advance of next week. In fact, Monday is already looking to be one of the most packed days of this whole ordeal. On that day, we'll start with the sentencing, where the District Attorney's office is going to weigh in on whether Ross' guilty plea is real, then it seems that Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, will also speak to the press. Then the mayor may be chiming in that afternoon. So get that scorecard ready and sharpen those pencils.
Although, in order to keep score, you are going to need to understand who the players are at all the positions, because we have a whole new roster now. As a public service to you, the... um, public, I offer the following changes in our lineup.
The Offense (formerly the Defense). This role was previously played by attorneys Lidia Stiglich and Paula Canny, who spent the majority of their time trying to get that video out... unsuccessfully. That position is now being played by Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana, who will now travel far and wide and tell everyone who will listen (like the Bay Guardian and the, erm, Bay Guardian) that her husband is innocent. That she does this is crucial because, as has already been pointed out, if Ross does this, it makes somebody's face get all crinkly and annoyed. And that person would be...
The Defense (formerly the Offense). This position was played expertly by Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi, who spent the aforementioned 30 days taking every ball pitched by the defense and knocking it into the nosebleed seats. However, she is now being sent back to the bench in favor of her manager, George Gascon, who is getting so irate he is starting to resemble Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. And Mirkarimi keeps missing the cut-off man.
The Pinch Hitter. It's always sad when a promising young face finally makes it to the show and then never gets off the bench, but so was the fate of Christina Flores. Then again, players from Los Angeles never seem to quite fit in around here (Brett Butler anyone?). In a surprise to everyone as opening day fast approaches, this role is now being played by... Mike Hennessey? And our former sheriff wants us to all leave poor Ross alone? Then again, this is why they play the game; you never know what is going to happen between the lines.
The Pitcher. The happiest person in San Francisco is probably Judge Garrett Wong, who no longer has to suffer from "motion sickness" (thank you Joe Vasquez). And the unhappiest person is his replacement, Mayor Ed Lee. Now standing on the pitching mound, Mayor Lee is in the place he is least comfortable: out in the open. And he needs to decide whether to throw that ball and start a sequence of events he can't totally control. The big question on everyone's mind is this: will he throw that ball and start the proceedings to remove Mirkarimi from office, or not? There is nothing more disconcerting than the sight of a pitcher shaking off sign after sign, but that may be what we see. Because after he throws that ball, the play will be made by...
The Infield. The twelve jurors have now been replaced for opening day by the eleven outfielders, and how this game ends will be decided by our Board of Supervisors, where nine votes are needed to remove Ross. And I suspect these are the most terrified starters on an opening day squad ever. In fact, I would not be surprised if they were trying to figure out right now how to recuse themselves if the ball does find them. But in life, as in baseball, the ball always finds you. That pitter patter of little feet you hear is our supervisors running around City Hall right now trying to figure out how they can get out of the game. We are personal friends, so can we recuse ourselves? Nope? How about if we donated to his campaign? Still no? Crap... here comes the ball...
So fear not, intrepid reader. Opening day will come as it always does, and this game never ceases to amaze. In the words of the great Jackie Robinson, "Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit while you're ahead." At least I think he was talking about baseball. Sounds a lot like politics too. Play ball!