Off Base
Vote Early and Vote Often

February 5, 2008

Last week, we compared baseball to football. This week, baseball and politics.

Baseball holds an election annually. In presidential politics, it's every four years. Baseball's voters, in their infinite wisdom, study the Hall of Fame ballot, and if they don't like what they see, regardless of the fine choices presented to them, simply turn the thing in blank. No such luck in politics.

After a simple three-tier system, with eight generally well-qualified finalists, baseball determines a deserving winner in a month; October. In politics, all kinds of people get to play, with some allowed in the game long past what should be their turn, often with nothing better to do than spoil the fun for someone else. The process takes a solid year (or in John Edwards' case, five), concluding in November.

There's no crying in baseball, but there is, quite obviously, in politics.

Blow a big lead in baseball, and you're said to "choke." Come from far ahead huge to lose in politics, and, well, come to think of it.

Perhaps I'm taking this comparison thing too far, but it seems to me that if Hillary Clinton loses all of her gigantic margin (pun intended) and finishes second to Barack Obama, she's the 1951 Dodgers. And Bill Clinton is Ralph Branca…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Media Savvy: Interesting piece about Brooklyn's old Hotel Bossert, where the 1955 Dodgers partied after winning the World Series, in the New York Times last week.

And check out Orange County Register Travel Editor Gary Warner's great article on the last Spring Training at Dodgertown.

From Rotoworld: "Free agent Mike Sweeney will work out for the Padres next week at Petco Park. And try not to suffer a catastrophic back injury in the process. Despite the 34-year-old's obvious lack of versatility, the Padres would like to add him as a bench player."

In his position-by-position worst in baseball preview column,'s Dayn Perry had this to say about Juan Pierre's move to left field:  "As long as Pierre's in center field, he is mediocre enough to tolerate, but in left field, where the offensive bar is much higher, he's not adequate. He hits for average and runs the bases well, but when it comes to doing the two most important things a hitter can do — get on base and hit for power — he comes up woefully short, particularly by corner-outfielder standards."

I'll stick with what I said earlier. The Dodgers should give Pierre to another club, and sign a prototype fourth outfielder, like Shannon Stewart. Actually, not like Shannon Stewart; Shannon Stewart. He'd be worth every penny of the half a million to a million bucks it'll take to get it done...

It's good to see Rudy Seanez and Ramon Martinez back in blue. Re-signing Mark Sweeney should be next on the docket. Tony Clark is a dumb idea…

Broadcast News: So help me, I couldn't make this up. In case you missed it, Rick Monday was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame yesterday. Tough crowd, those SCSBHOF voters, definitely not ones to leave the ballot blank.

I don't know about you, but I listen to Monday for the material. And as a community service, I keep track of the classics. Don't say I never did anything for you. Feast your eyes on a few:

"Roberts is going to play all three outfield positions. Not at one time."

"Astacio is going for his fourth straight win, and fifth in the last five."

"Floyd is not exactly fleet of foot, but he does have good running speed."

In describing the difficulties of pennant stretch pressure-packed play, Monday said, “It’s like trying to hit two home runs with one swing; can't be done.”

“You would not know looking at the scoreboard the Dodgers had a 9-2 lead.” Not if the scoreboard was malfunctioning, anyway.

"Beltre's had a good day already. Doubled in the first, homered in the 13th. Make that homered in the third, it was his 14th home run."

“Art Howe was recently married. Well, not recently, but as far as right out of high school, with a baby on the way.”

And here are a couple of almost-as-good-as-Mondays, courtesy of Steve Physioc: "The Angels have left a lot of men, including five in back to back innings."

With Anaheim leading Oakland 10-0, top of the ninth and the bases loaded: “The Angels are trying to really bust this thing open.”

And one from Giants broadcaster Mark Grant, after a tide-turning hit by Pedro Feliz: "The fingers that were crossed just got answered."

Fun-Etics: It's an old joke, but no, I don't know why "phonetic" isn't pronounced like it's spelled. I do know, however, that there is no "t" in "Wimbledon," and as emphatically as I can possibly say it, there is absolutely, positively no "I" in "electoral."

It's not "elect-oh-ree-al," nor is it "elect-oh-ral." The word is pronounced the easiest way it rolls off the tongue. It's simply "electoral."

And as I've been saying for years, there's no such person as HO-nus (rhymes with own-us) Wagner. There's just not. It's Ha-nus (as in "ha, ha, ha") Wagner. Ha-nus Wagner, HA-nus Wagner, Hanus Wagner!

And finally, can we retire the phrase "Day One" for the year already, please? Day One refers to what in 2008 is Valentines Day, February 14, when pitchers and catchers report.

Old friend Mark H's birthday is the 15th, so happy birthday to you, pal. High-fives all around…

Investors Wanted: No joke. March marks the beginning of our ninth year in publication, and for that accomplishment alone, we’ll go right ahead and blow our own horn. You be the judge of the rest of what goes on here. In the meantime, we’re seriously looking to take to the next level, and welcome all business inquires. Invest a thimble full of venture capital today; make major league minimum tomorrow. Inquire

BTW: Since we're talking politics, here's one of the first articles I wrote for the site, April 8, 2000…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….






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