Baseball: Kellogg, Brown, and Root, Root, Root for the Home Team
So, I had this great idea: compare the Red Sox to the Democrats, and the Yankees to the Republicans. Seemed like a natural. After all, the Dems are meeting in Boston, and the Repub confab is in New York. And Kerry actually threw out the first pitch at Fenway, and said "go Red Sox" on national TV.
But, Mike Pesca at NPR seems to have nailed it. Of course, he did it on National People's Radio, so he had a little bit different spin. I am still going to take my shot, but with a little more edge to it.
Consider the key features of the two teams. (Color hint: Red Sox are for blue states, Yankees are for red states)
- Extremely, embarrassingly weak on defense. As a team they had 79 errors, as of Monday. Suppose we could tack on a new stat, "suck." The Sox might lead the league. It certainly describes the Sox' outfield: "Oh, gosh, that last play was a Suck-7! Manny turned the wrong way, completely misplayed the bounce, and then made a bad throw! Actually, there could have been two sucks on that one play!"
- Center Fielder Johnny Damon looks like a street person, someone who needs government handouts right away, so he can get out of the "Quest for Fire" look. He's very fast, but has an incredibly weak arm. (Actually, this may be a problem for my theory, because Damon can't get the ball to second base. A real Democrat, like Bill Clinton, Mario Cuomo, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart [I could go on], gets to second base every time, as long as their wives are not in the room.)
- The Sox strike out a lot. 738 times, for an average of 7.5 strikeouts per game. Why in the world does John Kerry think he can get the UN to help out in Iraq? He'd just strike out again.
- You might think of the Democratic approach as standing around a lot, talking about things, and then deciding not to do much. And...that's the Red Sox. They have a total of 40 stolen bases. One guy, Carl Crawford of the Devil Rays, has stolen more (41) than the entire Red Sox team.
- The Red Sox have a team payroll of $105 million, fifth highest in all of baseball. So, it's not like they are poor or anything. You'd think they would realize how hypocritical it is to whine about those "rich people," when they have tons of money, too. (I was talking about the Kerrys; I was also talking about the Edwards; did you think I was still talking about the Red Sox? Jeez, pay attention.)
- The Red Sox pitchers are handing out free passes to pretty much everyone who comes to the plate. Their 184 walks given up, combined with the total of zero times (I'm not kidding) they have held their opponents scoreless, tell me one thing: The Red Sox, like the Democrats, really don't want anyone to be shut out, or to feel bad about themselves. Can't we just all get along?
- That is worth emphasizing: The Sox starters have given up nearly 30% more walks than the Yankees starters. That is a lot of free passes. But liberals can't help it. They see a guy standing there...and they say, "You go ahead...go to first base. You don't have to swing, or do anything, just go. But we won't give you any real credit for it. We won't count it as an at bat, and it won't help your average. We just want you to take this free thing, and become dependent on it as your way of getting on base. That way, you won't ever learn to hit on your own, and you can vote Democrat forever."
- A bunch of strong-arm guys. They have perhaps the TWO best shortstops in baseball, so one of them (A-Rod) has to play third. You'd think they would say, "No, we already have a great shortstop (Jeter); we'll share the extra one." But that would not be the Republican way.
- The Yankees payroll is by far the largest in baseball. They pay their players $180 million per year. If you add up the lowest paid teams, you get FOUR TEAMS before you get the Yankees' total. That means the Devil Rays, Expos, Brewers and Royals, COMBINED, still make less than the Yankees' roster. ( I can't resist adding that the best team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, has a relatively modest $101 million payroll.)
- The Red Sox have 27% more errors than the Yankees. So, yes, the Yankees are strong on defense.
- The Yankees have stolen nearly 20% more bases than the Red Sox. They think you should try to get something started. Of course, if you get caught stealing second, you can go back to the dugout. If you get caught without any allies in Iraq, you have to stick around and take casualties for a long time. Maybe it's better to be aggressive on the basepaths than on foreign policy....
- The Yankees starters have given up 145 walks, which is really stingy. This is the equivalent of telling panhandlers, "Hey, buddy, get a job!" On the other hand, the reason the Yankees starters haven't given up as many walks is that they don't work very hard. The Sox starters stay out there and sweat, like good working men: Sox starters have thrown more than 606 innings. The Yankee starters don't need to work that hard (560 innings). Besides, the Yankees starters have some foreign worker come in and clean up the mess they have left: Mariano Rivera has 35 saves, and an ERA under 1.45.
- None of the Yankees seem to have that much fun. When your team spends $ 64 million more in payroll than the next guys (that would be Mets: second in payroll, first in suck, now motoring along at five games under .500), you are SUPPOSED to win. It would be like some guy who was born into a wealthy, politically connected family, and ended up being President. How could you say that he really achieved anything? He hardly deserved to win, but he was SUPPOSED to.
Now, there are some possible counterarguments. One could say that Billy Crystal, who made "61*" and has long worn his Yankee-love on his tiny little sleeve, is a big Democrat. There was Billy, calling the President a thug, and laughing at Whoopi's very clever "Bush" jokes. Okay, there was only one joke, about the President's name and a woman's private parts, one W probably heard in the third grade, but gosh did Billy Crystal (Yankee fan) think it was funny, over and over. How can a Yankee fan be a Dem?
The answer is this: Bill Kristol, the conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, is a big Red Sox fan. So, I can explain the apparent anomaly: someone just got their crystal ball mixed up.
FOLLOW UP: See Frederic Frommer, of AP, with a little different take on the same idea. (Thanks to MWT for the tip...)