Daily Archives: March 15, 2007

Baseball and Politics

I think we call all agree that baseball is the sport of politics.

I will take a back seat to no man when it comes to supporting the Iggles, but talk of that club would be inappropriate here.  With only sixteen games a season pro football is episodic, not a lifestyle so much as a way to pass some time on a fall weekend.  The gameplay is also spasmodic, albeit exhilarating, rather unlike the nuanced trudge that is baseball.

Basketball is not suitable to be the sport of politics as it has a similar spasmodic gameplay, while also being the sport of choice for the criminal elements of our society.  That’s not to disrespect a fine sport, or the majority of its law abiding fans and players, but politics already has an image problem.  It ought not be seen consorting with pro basketball players.

Hockey, as we all know, is for Canadians, and the stray Philadelphian starved for a championship in the seventies.  Soccer?  Don’t get me started.

But baseball, a peculiar American past-time, has the history and pacing to be the sport of our politics.  Or at least the sport best suited for those passionate about politics.  In order to truly grok baseball you have to marinate in the interminably long season.  You have feel the pain of its apparently random vicissitudes over time, aptly put by screenwriter Ron Shelton in Bull Durham when journeyman player Crash Davis explains the difference between a .300 hitter and a career in the minor leagues is “one more [weekly] texas leaguer, one more dying quail, one more ground-ball with eyes…”

This, as I’m sure George Will has said better somewhere else, is exactly like politics.  Long, demanding, subtle, and sometimes seemingly random.  And much like politics, baseball can suffuse your daily life.  For many the summer tableau is incomplete– whether taking a nap, doing garden work, or painting the house– without a baseball game on in the background.  It becomes a part of one’s daily foundation in spring, summer, and much of fall.  One’s political consciousness is similar.  It may not always be front of mind, but it provides the soil in which all that follows grows.

So to that end please see the links to the right for some Phillies blogs.  We Phillies fans are the most tortured sports fans in the nation.  I was sick hearing how hard the Cubs, White Sox, or Red Sox had it during the recent success enjoyed by those clubs.  Phooey.  The Phillies are without a doubt the most futile sports franchise in American, and perhaps world, history.

I know were Rudy Giuliani not from the Brooklyn he would be a Phillies fan rather than a Yankees fan.  He would want to barge in and fix that dysfunctional franchise like he fixed New York City because he is a sincere fan of the game.  This cannot, I believe,be said with a straight face by any of the others aspiring to the Presidency.  Obama probably likes lacrosse, Hillary does not like sports as they are too patriarchal, Edwards probably only cares about college football, Romney likely followed BYU until politics demanded he support the Red Sox, and McCain might have liked baseball once, but has been in the Senate so long he probably thinks the Dodgers still play in New York.

This is another reason Giuliani should be leader of the free world.

Rick Santorum and Rudy Giuliani

Let me say, for the record, that I think Rick Santorum is pretty great.  While I tend to strike a somewhat more socially moderate pose than fireballin’ Rick we are all lucky to have him around.  Most importantly, he feels in his bones the long term threat posed by radical Islam.

So when Rick comes out and says he will support the GOP presidential candidate, no matter who he is, so long as it isn’t McCain, he has pretty much said he’s OK with Rudy’s brand of classical liberalism.  In Pennsylvania, though, would Giuliani *want* Rick’s endorsement?  We on the right can complain all we want about how Rick had the media deck stacked against him when he recently lost his reelection bid, but candidates don’t lose as spectacularly as he did unless the electorate thinks he stinks like fish guts in a dumpster in July.

So while I am down with Rick, I hope he throws his support behind Romney this summer, having a change of heart in time to deliver Hizzoner’s nomination speech at the convention.