Chris Christie And Baseball Writers In Never-Never-Knew-Land

“I don’t recall,” is always the best one.

How can anyone prove what you remember and what you don’t?

The funniest part of this line — used by people as similar as Ronald Reagan and Piers Morgan — is that there’s always the allowance for this further quote: “The minute I walk out of here, I just might remember. Life’s funny like that.”

A close second to “I don’t recall” is “I didn’t know.”

It’s classically political.

“I’ll let you do this, but if it anyone ever asks me, I’ll say I didn’t know.”

Dads have said it, moms have said it, even educated bums have said it.

What they care about most, ultimately, is themselves, their own reputations, their quest for some legacy of glory.

It’s entirely understandable. It’s almost memorable.

This has been a week of unbridled ignorance.

I can’t remember which came first, as they both seemed to descend at the same time, but throbbing with indignity were both the Baseball Writers of America and Chris Christie.

Let’s take the former first, only because I suspect the latter makes for more exalted company.

Many among the baseball writers have decided that they will never vote into the Hall of Fame a player who took drugs or — in the case of, for example, Barry Bonds — who allegedly took drugs.

The baseball writers of America, you see, are above reproach. Yes, the Hall of Fame might include racists, rapists, wife-beaters — oh, and drug takers. But those drugs were different.

What’s a greenie here or there?

Governor Doesn't Know It All.

Governor Doesn’t Know It All.

Many of these writers buddied up to famous players like Mark McGwire and never once thought of asking them difficult questions about drugs. Because, well, that wouldn’t have been cricket.

And they were all having such a good time.

In a quite brilliant chronicle of baseball-writing times gone by on Grantland, we hear baseball scribes claiming that they might have been naive and stupid, but that never, no never, could they have been sure that men who grew faster and more comically than the Hulk might have taken hulking doses of steroids.

To a baseball writer, it would clearly never cross his or her mind that drugs might help someone do their job better, as they wrote their florid, sometimes brilliant columns juiced on Jack or addled by Sammy Adams.

But it’s important for baseball writers to insist they didn’t know.

This isn’t about the players, it’s about them. The writers believe they are the repositories of history. And history is always written by the winners.

In this clinging to the life-raft of history, they are joined by baseball managers. Oh, they get voted into the Hall of Fame, because they never knew either.

The highly intelligent former Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa, who had Jose Canseco and McWired beneath his wing, had this to say about the steroid times: “Treat the whole era with an asterisk and go from there.”

No, he doesn’t seem to be adding an asterisk to his own Hall of Fame entry.

Because he didn’t know. Just as Chris Christie didn’t know.

He didn’t know that his deputy chief of staff and some other close acolytes at the Port Authority might have maybe, perhaps, allegedly enacted a touch of revenge on Fort Lee?

Of course it’s possible.

But why is it often those so keen to express their own decisive, authoritative nature to the public who then claim to have been ignorant?

Just as baseball writers are the repositories of sports history, so politicians believe they are creating local, national and world history.

Knowing is their currency.

In Christie’s case, it does smack a touch of a pope or two who claimed not to know about any untoward behavior toward little children ever.

The New York Daily News makes an interesting argument that it’s not altogether likely that a man of such great pride, management skills, control and bombast didn’t know.

This is politics, the business in which people never, ever stop talking.

There must have been someone who mentioned it. There must at least have been jokes about it in meetings.

“Oh, so that’s what they meant when they said ‘we’ll shove it up his single lane.'”

But perhaps Chris Christie and the good Christian chroniclers of baseball are all telling the truth.

Perhaps they’re both isolated by the very power they hold. It could be that everyone was too scared to tell them.

But this isn’t good for America.

It’s not healthy when some of your most exalted citizens plead ignorance.

It makes the Europeans think they’re right about us.