Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Did Richard Blumenthal Have His Tim Johnson Moment?

When I learned that Connecticut Democrat Senate hopeful Richard Blumenthal had falsely claimed he had served in Vietnam on multiple occasions I immediately thought of Tim Johnson.

Johnson was the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during the 1998 season and had led them to a respectable 88-74 record. It's worth noting the Jays haven't matched that win total since.

Johnson would motivate players by telling them about his experiences in Vietnam. Except he never served in Vietnam although he did serve in the Marine Reserve.

When the story broke shortly before spring training in 1999 it became such a distraction Johnson would be fired before the season began and would be replaced by Jim Fregosi.

Well, I'm not the only one who thought about Johnson. Ashby Jones of The Wall Street Journal wrote about the Johnson affair and how it relates to the current row over Blumenthal.

What Jones doesn't mention is that Johnson has never held another job in MLB, managerial or otherwise. Over the past decade, Johnson has managed in the Mexican League and in a couple of independent leagues. Currently, Johnson is at the helm of the Tuscon Toros of the Golden Baseball League.

If lying about one's military record can cost someone a managerial position in MLB and be relegated to the fringes of professional baseball then surely there should be similarly severe consequences for someone who is seeking election to the United States Senate.

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