Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Politics Of Baseball

Interesting, now that The Red Sox have beaten The Yankees for the American League title, all these political comparisons are coming out of the woodwork. Certainly, there's the fact that the Democratic National Convention was held in Boston and the RNC was in New York. As Jay Leno joked back in July:
You know Boston is a perfect city for Democrats because the Democrats are like the Red Sox: They're optimistic in the spring, concerned in the summer, ready to choke in the fall.
Not this time, Jay. If the Democrats are the Red Sox then the Republicans are the Yankees and they're the ones that choked this year. As The AP recently put it:
The Yankees are successful - winning American League pennants in five of the last six years, just as the GOP has won four of the last six presidential elections. The team's most visible fan is one of the nation's leading Republicans: former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The Red Sox, like the Democrats, seem more vulnerable. Last year's crushing loss in the American League Championship Series resembled the Democrats' loss in the last presidential race - narrowly missing a prize that many felt should have been theirs.

The Red Sox were five outs away from winning the decisive seventh game of the series, only to lose the game in extra innings; Democrat Al Gore lost the presidential election despite getting more votes than George W. Bush, in an election that took weeks to sort out.

Now that we know the Red Sox are in the World Series, we'll have to wait until later tonight to see if the fight for the ultimate title in baseball will more literally mirror the race for the highest political office with a Massachusetts vs. Texas World Series. But in the meantime, we defer to The New Yorker for a look at the more practical ramifications of The Red Sox going all the way:

Shaughnessy has already looked ahead and calculated that the seventh game of the World Series would be played on Halloween, a Sunday. "The American League has home-field advantage this year, so they’d be playing Sunday at Fenway," he said, hopefully. "And the election is two days later, so it’s already occurred to me that the victory parade would be Election Day. The parade’s always Tuesday, and, with Kerry running, it’d just be an interesting mix."

It would be an interesting mix, yes, and one that isn’t likely to bode well for Kerry’s count in the popular vote. Think about it: after eighty-six years of suffering, would the registered voters of New England—i.e., the Democratic base—dare skip the most heavily anticipated celebration in modern sports history merely to cast ballots for a fair-weather fan?


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