Barack Obama, Derek Bell … and “Operation Shutdown”

Last Saturday, my son forwarded a friend’s Tweet to me:



Started me thinking … Sequester announced on Friday … slow down on Saturday … coincidence?

Then, Obama announces that he’s shutting down White House tours because of the Sequester – the Presidential version of taking his bat & ball and going home.

Wait a second: I’ve seen this play before … bat & ball, Operation Shutdown.

Of course.

It’s the Derek Bell story.


The year was 2002.

According to Wikipedia – the arbiter of all Homa family sport bets …

In spring training 2002, while with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bell, who had hit .173 the previous season, did not feel that he needed to prove he was worthy of a starting outfield  job.

So, he skipped Spring Training

A couple of days before the regular season was about to start, Bell told reporters:

“Nobody told me I was in competition.

If there is competition, somebody better let me know.

If there is competition, they better eliminate me out of the race and go ahead and do what they’re going to do with me.

I ain’t going out there to hurt myself in spring training battling for a job.

If it is [a competition], then I’m going into ‘Operation Shutdown.

The Pirates released Bell on March 31, and he never played in the majors again.

The Pirates ended up paying him $4.5 million not to play for them.

Bell moved onto his yacht.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports columnist Mark Madden summarized the incident …

“Derek Bell becomes the ultimate Pirate: Lives on a boat and steals money.”

Rumor has it that President Obama is considering Bell for a position in the Administration … managing the Sequester, of course.

Operation Shutdown II: Mr. Bell Goes to Washington.

Thanks to SMH for feeding the lead

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One Response to “Barack Obama, Derek Bell … and “Operation Shutdown””

  1. ImpartedPursuit Says:

    Always enjoy a good Derek Bell reference. Glad I got my recent airline trips out of the way earlier in Feb!

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