This year there’s a good chance that the American elections and the World Series will end within a week of each other. And since nothing says America like baseball and apple pie, that’s good news. More than that, both of them have the chance to be doozies this time around. Baseball had it’s first play-in wild card game. The Presidential election has it’s first candidate who wears magical underwear. The whole world has turned upside down but luckily we just get to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Normally I’d spend quite a bit of time here explaining how we get to the end and who goes where. I’d predict the Yankees and Orioles while waxing rhapsodic on the Giants and Reds. I’d try to compare each one to a major figure in the two parties and then slowly whittle both sides down until we had a final face off. Somehow I’d work both Paul Ryan and Joe Biden in there, trying to set Biden’s propensity for off-the-cuff remarks (“He’s clean AND articulate!”) against Ryan’s propensity to rearrange the truth into a freakish facsimile of itself (“Yeah, bro, I totally ran a marathon in less than three hours despite having to stop to rescue a small child and his kitten from a burning tree”).
But not this year. This year is different. This year is already set. This is the year that Willard Romney and Barack Obama throw down for all the marbles. And this is also the year that my Tigers and Jeff’s Cardinals meet again for a rematch of the 2006 World Series.
That’s right folks, although it may not seem probable or even possible, you heard it here first. The World Series this year will be a Red State Blue State phantasmagoria. Justin Verlander vs. Adam Wainwright. Jim Leyland vs. the guy who replaced Tony La Russa. Prince Fielder vs. not-Albert Pujols. Triple Crown winner and likely MVP Miguel Cabrera vs. anyone stupid enough to actually throw to him. It’s a matchup for the ages.
So, how does this match up with the Presidential race, you ask? Well, like this:
Barack Obama, like the Cardinals, is the incumbent, and both find themselves in much shakier positions than when they last won. The Cardinals are playing with a ragtag team and no longer have master strategist La Russa at the reigns. Meanwhile, Obama is playing on a field that tilts a different direction each week depending on jobs reports and the unemployment rate. The Cardinals come in on the high of winning the inaugural Wild Card play-in game while Obama has been surfing the wave of Bin Laden’s death. But both of them have come crashing back to earth in the last few days with Obama’s performance in the first debate and the Cardinals’ dropping game one of the Division Series at home. But you’d be stupid to count either one out just yet.
Willard “Mitt” Romney, just like the Tigers, almost made it to the finals last time but fell just short in the end. And both of them seem to be getting hot at just the right time. The Tigers finally found that next gear they had been missing all year as they sped past the White Sox and then took a quick 2-0 lead over the A’s in the Division Series. Willard seemed to do the same as he used an excellent debate performance to make up ground in the polls. Sure, he may not have been anyone’s top choice coming out of a field that included a man whose name is now synonymous with the “frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex,” but he did pull it out in the end (no pun intended) and now has the parties elites linded up behind him (again, no pun intended). Similarly, the Tigers probably didn’t top anyone’s list limply sliding out of an impressively putrid AL Central (seriously?) but here they both are.
But, the answer you’re all dying to know is, “Who wins?” And it’s a tough one to call. On the one hand, I’d love to see my Tigers finally pay pack the Cardinals for ruining our run in 2006. On the other hand, although I realize there aren’t that many differences between the Republicans and Democrats, I really don’t think that Romney’s indebtedness to the Christian right and the Tea-Party are good for our country’s future our for our role as a leader in the international community. As I’ve said before, it’s great to have your team win but what happens in politics affects not just us but the rest of the world…
…which is why I will celebrate with a heavy heart when the Tigers win the World Series. I’ll cheer my Tigers during the first week of November but I’ll grieve for my country in the second.
Don’t hate me because I called it right last time. Hate me because I’m right this time.
Just like baseball teams and really any other sports franchise, politicians also are enterprises. They may not be incorporated in quite the same way and maybe the legal terminology is different but look at the facts. They have to build a brand around a name. They want to figure out how to get you, the consumer, to spend your hard-earned cash on whatever it is they happen to be peddling. They have no trouble floating with the winds of whatever fad has taken the country by storm at a certain point in time. The sad fact of the matter is that Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith never really existed except for in our collective imagination.
But this is where it gets fun. Sure, it’s easy to compare different sports franchises with different companies, expounding on their similarities and noting the token differences. But if politicians are corporations, too, how do they stack up against their private sector counterparts?
Well, luckily for you, RSBS is here to fill you in. Since we don’t have enough time to go down the list and match up every politician with the business that he most resembles, we’re just going to use the four most important politicians of the moment, the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. So, without further ado, RSBS presents: Candidate, Inc.
We begin with the sitting president and initiator of one of the most formidable marketing campaigns of recent memory, Barack Obama. His meteoric rise from being born to a single mother to Chicago neighborhood organizer to President of the United States is the American Dream personified. It hasn’t always been easy and six months ago it seemed that his run had finally come to an end. But somehow he used his rivals’ mistakes and his own impressive skills to claw himself back from the edge of ruin. Sound familiar? It should because it’s pretty similar to the same path taken by one of the companies he saved, General Motors.
Joe hasn’t always had an easy ride, even if it’s sometimes self-inflicted. But the man just keeps coming back. Severe stutter as a child? Bounces back. Wife and daughter die in a car crash? Bounces back. Makes vaguely racist remarks about a fellow candidate? Bounces back. Sure, he may not have ended up being number one but vice-president ain’t too shabby neither. And Joe has his moments. Remember when he managed to drop an f-bomb on national television? Or when he basically called the Republicans the reincarnation of Southern plantation owners? You may not always love him and he may not have come out on top but the man has something. Kind of like the Ford Motor Company.
Moving to the other side of the aisle, we have the scion of a wealthy and well-connected political family who just can’t seem to figure out what that all means. Sure, he’s ambitious and it’s obvious that he’ll go to all sorts of lengths to win. But what does he really do? What does he really stand for? Does he attend NASCAR races to see fast cars driving in circles or to hang out with the team owners? He’s kind of like Kodak. Like Kodak, he had all the keys to success but then he couldn’t figure out how to reinvent himself when the paradigm shifted. He was successful as governor mainly because he worked with the other party and even adopted some of their policies. And you know what? It worked! But then his digital camera moment came along, the Tea Party, and despite having all the advantages, he just can’t seem to put it together. The way things are going now, Romney appears set to follow in Kodak’s tracks. I’m pretty sure losing the presidential election would hurt just about as bad as being dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
And finally we come to the baby of the group, the newcomer who in the past two years pretty much has come to define what “Republican” means today. The “Paul Ryan Budget” plan, the championing of causes close to the hearts of the Tea Party faithful, his anointment as heir apparent and placement on the presidential ticket. It’s an amazing valuation for a young and relatively unknown congressman. In fact, it reminds me a lot of another brand that rode to national prominence based on similar parlor tricks. However, when you ask how Enron‘s stock is faring today, the best you can hope for is a look of awkward questioning as the other person hopes you’re just joking. It turns out that it was all just smoke and mirrors. Paul Ryan? Pretty much the same thing.
In today’s political landscape where corporate cash injections pretty much determine the course of events, it makes sense that the candidates themselves would have to begin acting like corporations in order to succeed. But since that mindset has become the de facto organizing principle for everything from baseball teams to high schools, chances are we should probably just get used to it. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to figure out what kind of businesses we’re dealing with.
Although the respective baseball careers of Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon took a huge hit this past week with the announcement of fifty game bans for each player, they can still count themselves as being lucky. Fifty games? That means they have to sit out the rest of the season and then come back next year. Sure, they’ll have that “cheater” label pasted on them but that doesn’t mean some team won’t go ahead and pick them up anyway. No, it could have been w hole lot worse. In fact, that’s why RSBS is using this opportunity to bring you the latest installment of the hard-hitting series, RSBS Presents. This time, RSBS Presents: It Could Have Been Worse.
They could have ruined precious artwork:
In Spain, an octogenarian parishioner took it on herself to restore a 19th Century fresco by Elias Garcia Martinez. When you take a close look at the before and after, you see that she might have missed a couple details. You know, like the eyes:
And the mouth. And pretty much the entire face.
They could have created a royal scandal:
Not content with getting schooled by Ryan Lochte in a pool at a Vegas club, Prince Harry, the third in line for the British throne let me remind you, managed to get his naked self snapped in photos with young women in equal states of undress.
Sure, he’s not the king. And at this rate, that’s probably a good thing. It’s hard for your subjects to take you seriously once they’ve seen the royal jewels and scepter.
They could have picked the entirely wrong career:
Remember when Dave Chappelle played the blind white supremacist on his eponymously named show? Well, that kind of happened in real life this past week when the leader of an anti-Semitic party in Hungary discovered that he was Jewish. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he also found out that maternal grandparents were holocaust survivors. Sure, a fifty game ban may suck but finding out that you are the person you hate and giving up all your neo-Nazi street cred? That’s a tough pill to swallow.
So there you have it. Melky and Bartolo messed up but they’ll live to fight another day. Well, unless they accidentally try restoring the Willie Mays statue. MLB don’t like it when people mess with Willie.
After a smoking start to the second half, the Tigers have seen their fortunes wane. Ok, they’ve sucked. Sure, they’re only a couple games behind the White Sox but when you’re playing in a division as bad as the AL Central, that’s not really saying a whole lot. Detroit could still make the playoffs and even if they don’t, it’s probably still safe to say that they’re the best team in the Central. That being said, Detroit has become known for quite a few things as of late but they don’t tend to be baseball related.
If the Tigers do make the postseason, you may find yourself in the position of visiting Windsor’s American cousin sometime this fall. And although Detroit does have a few well-known monuments like the giant tire and the River Rouge plant, it’s easy to find yourself wondering where you are. Since we here at RSBS would hate for you to be unaware of where you are, today we provide you with guide to identifying that you have arrived to Detroit.
Well, not yet. But if Mark Siwak gets his way, Detroit may soon be known for its roaming zombie hoards. This isn’t all bad as the plan could provide a boost to the city’s GDP. It could also increase the city’s DNA with all those body parts strewn about.
The most successful cities develop clusters that support and develop the culture and economy of an urban area. London and New York are known for their clusters of financial whizzes while the area around San Francisco has developed a reputation for tech know-how and venture capital. Detroit? Well, it has clusters, too. Clusters of feral dogs. Chances are that if you are attacked by a pack of wild dogs in a major US city, it’s pretty safe to assume that you’re in Detroit.
Despite everything else, Detroit has become somewhat unrecognizable as of late due to the arrival of something more foreign than zombies or wild dogs. Hope. The auto industry received a bail-out just when it seemed that Detroit’s last economic life-line was being cut. The University of Michigan not only had a winning football season but also managed to beat Ohio State for the first time in seven years. And the Detroit Lions, the holders of the only 0-16 record in NFL history, actually made the playoffs last year. That’s even more hope-y and change-y than Barack Obama.
Hopefully we’ll see you in Detroit this fall for some postseason baseball. If so, you’ll now be able to come prepared to identify where you are.
Continuing with the end-of-year holiday tradition here at RSBS, it’s time to separate myself from my imaginary girlfriend (NSFW) and ask the interns to lock my office door so I can get down to the meaty reflection of what was the RSBS year 2011. Additionally, I must begin the sad, fiery purge of Albert Pujols memorabilia. For those of you who went to public schools, you know that maintaining a fire within a small, confined room may cause ill-fated side effects, so before I start to look like Bert the chimney sweep, let me get to it…
First of all, no year would be a good year without you, the dear RSBS reader. THANK YOU, for your readership. THANK YOU for your emails, your tweets, your comments, Facebook shares and FingerTagging! And THANK YOU for continuing to make writing about the baseball-politico world a treat for us every single day.
Like my riveting and oft rousing colleague, Mr. Krause, I too have been very impressed with our special correspondents. For me, nothing says sweet Miggy-I-Love-You quite like Mark Piebenga’s His Game Is Like Waves. It presented Miguel Cabrera in a new light — that of teacher, and, considering how much Mark has taught me about what life should be about, I continue to find its lesson fitting (and helpful!).
And though I often refer to Mr. Johanna Mahmud as “the man who introduced me to the glories of the Deftones” and “the guy who schooled me on the NBA and proved why I should be madly in love with Derek Rose”, I still have room to refer to him as “the guy who writes Setting the Mahmud“! Dude puts the “tit” in titillating with every piece. The last article he wrote was inspiring, if only because he found a way to get a naked Yu Darvish, an ugly sweater wearing
Johnny Matt Damon and a crying Paula Deen all in one place; but, like Al, I have to admit that there’s real brilliance in his Theo-fied Arthurisms. Still, I’m a sucker for equating dead people to the performances of Adam Dunn and Miguel Tejada. Good work, good sir.
Meanwhile, no year-end applause would be complete without a nod to my longtime friend and confidant, Mr. Allen Krause. Known for his cynical twists on the political establishment and undying love of all things Detroit Tigers, it has been a pleasure to write on his wing. Sometimes he’s so “on” that he finds literary genius in imagery. Indeed, that endearing Krausian wit is often highlighted by rational thought. Sometimes it points out the un-fact-checked obvious, other times it gets serious, with a real call for responsibility. And, just in case you think Mr. Krause’s Libertarian-bashing makes him a soulless, automated Obamatron, this reflective piece will convince you otherwise.
But when it comes to knockin’ ’em outta the interwebs park, I have to kowtow to the RSBS Presents series. The brainchild of Mr. Krause, RSBS Presents has enlightened us on the finer points of fandom and how to stay classy while reminding us that, ultimately, positivity has upside during times of turmoil. But the best of them all was learning how to score a Republican. And here I thought it involved finding Jesus and quoting Alex P. Keaton.
Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah and long live King Kwanzaa!
Just in case you’ve been so wrapped up in the World Series that you missed what’s going on around the US, RSBS is here to give you a quick rundown as you slowly start to reintegrate.
Occupy Wall Street:
What exactly is going on down there?
Cool, I get it now.
Who is this guy?
I think Herman is the black guy at the end…but he could be the guy with the cigarette, too. Or maybe Herman is in all of us. Whoa.
Why don’t I identify with Generation X or the Millennials?
Sweet, it’s because I’m Jared Leto!
So, there you go. Only a game or two left. Welcome back to America, baseball fans.
The dream is over. The Tigers have been eliminated and it happened in ghastly fashion with a straight-up mauling at the hands of the Rangers on Saturday night. It’s not a fun way to end a season but it could be worse. So much worse. Ultimately, Detroit has a lot to be thankful for. And we have a lot for which we should thank Detroit. That’s why RSBS Presents: Being Thankful for Detroit.
You have to admit, that’s a pretty compelling argument.
Abandoned buildings, freezing temperatures, elevator shafts and homeless people? Where else could this happen? Detroit is the perfect storm.
And what it contains:
So yeah, I’m bummed the Tigers didn’t make it to the Series. It would have been great to see them come back and keep the run going for Michigan sports teams. But I’m not going to get too down. After all, life is still pretty good, right Louis?