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The Baseball Diaspora

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  • The Chief Justice

    Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has given Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay a nickname.  “The Federalist.”  I don’t know when this started, but I am going to have to take exception.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Bernie Miklasz.  He’s a good writer and a fair journalist. He offers good insight and perspective on the Cardinals and doesn’t shy away from criticizing the owners, the front office, the manager or the players when the situation calls for it.  What’s more, I like that he made the connection between Jon Jay, Cardinal outfielder and John Jay, founding father.  But seriously, The Federalist?

    When the term federalist gets bandied about John Jay is not the first name that comes to mind.  That would be Alexander Hamilton.  John Jay is not the second name that comes to mind, either.  That spot belongs to James Madison.  John Jay is not even the third name I would associate with federalism, because until Miklasz started calling Jay The Federalist, my list of federalists stopped after two.  If a historical figure is the third most prominent federalist and your name is (roughly) the same as his, nicknaming you The Federalist seems incongruent and inappropriate.

    What happens, for example, when a kid named Alexander Hamilton comes up as a dominant starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven years?  Are we all of a sudden going to have two players nicknamed The Federalist?  Or is poor Hamilton - the pitcher, not the guy who’s face can be found on your standard-issue American sawbuck - going to be relegated to being called “Mortally Wounded by Aaron Burr?”

    There is a solution, though.  John Jay may not be the first name that comes to mind when federalism, the Federalist Papers or the Federalist Party come up in casual conversation, but his is the first (and only) name that comes to mind when the conversation turns to the subject of “first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.”  Perhaps, as an attorney, I’m biased but John Jay will always be the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court before all else as far as I’m concerned.  Therefore, much as George Washington offered John Jay the position of Chief Justice (after Jay declined the post of Secretary of State), I offer Jon Jay the nickname “The Chief Justice.”

    Whether you believe it or not, I have been calling Jon Jay The Chief Justice in my head since long before I came across The Federalist in Miklasz’s columns.  Even if I hadn’t, though, I would still prefer The Chief Justice.  It has that combination of power and discretion that just drives the ladies wild.  Furthermore, it embodies the essence of why we remember John Jay to this day.  There were a number of federalists floating around in 1788.  There have been a number of governors of New York (the position Jay held after Chief Justice).  There can, however, only ever be one first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    This court has ruled.  Chief Justice it is.

    So no disrespect to Bernie, but Jon Jay is the Chief Justice

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    Accent Red by Neil Talwar