Allen’s Post-Partisan Playoff Preview
Just like the primaries and the general election, baseball also has its own storylines. There are the fairy tale Rays, the quietly impressive Angels, the never-say-die Brewers and those loveable losers themselves, the Cubs. However, sometimes these stories and those from the political arena bear an uncanny resemblance to each other.
If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, you don’t have to wait any longer. Here it is. The first, quadrennial RSBS Presidency Postseason!
We start with the new kids on the block. Both the GOP and the AL came into existence a while after their older siblings but they both became powerhouses rather quickly. Quite frankly, both the Republicans and the free-swinging American Leaguers have also been putting their older brethren to shame in recent years. The AL’s Ronald Reagan, the New York Yankees, can’t be with us this year but we still pay our respects to those who try to carry the pennant.
When it comes to this year’s participants, it only makes sense to start in Abraham Lincoln’s home state and look at the Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately, the White Stockings are sadly reminiscent of the prescient yet unappreciated Ron Paul. They fight and they fight, just to even get into the dance but even though they seem to have the right pieces, it just ain’t gonna’ happen. No one appreciates them but that’s how these brutal games work.
Mike Huckabee and the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays have to be two of the most compelling stories of the year. They’re fresh, they’re chock-full of talent, they lost a ton of weight and wrote a book about it. But even though they make a great run at it and continue to push despite knowing they’ve already lost, the fact of the matter is that they, well, lose. Put them down for the semis but that’s where the story ends.
On paper the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) have to be the most impressive team, eerily evocative of their doppleganger, Mitt Romney. They have everything going for them from the best closer in baseball to really great hair. But looking good on paper doesn’t always translate to real world success. Early defeat dooms both and they’ll look back and wonder how it happened.
Which leaves us with the soon-to-be AL champion Boston Red Sox. A while ago, the Red Sox just couldn’t put it all together. There was Bill Buckner, the epic 2003 failure against the Yankees and a basic inability to get things done. Basically, they were circa 2000 John McCain. But similar to the phoenix that was the 2004 Red Sox, McCain has come soaring back in 2008. As soon as you count either one of them out you’re going to be in a whole world of hurt. And that’s why, just like McCain, the Red Sox will advance to the final.
The NL, like the Democrats, is an enigma. They seem to have the talent, the flair, the running game but they just can’t put all the pieces together. Yeah, there are flukes like the Marlins, the Cardinals and Jimmy Carter. And every once in a while a real dynasty (the old Cincinnatti Reds, Bill Clinton) comes along. But that’s about as rare as a lump of steak tartare. So, how do the perennial also-rans figure in this year?
Just like her team, the Chicago Cubs, Hillary Clinton appeared to have everything going for her. The large war-chest, the aura of inevitability. And just like Hillary, I expect the Cubs to make it to the semifinals. However, that’s where it ends for both of them. It’s a nice story but it just won’t cut it.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers bear an uncanny resemblance to Mike Gravel. They don’t really seem to know what’s going on, no one is quite sure what they’re doing here and most everyone just wants them to leave. As they go quietly into the night, people will ask themselves if that really happened. Yeah, it did but don’t worry about it.
On the opposite end of America, from a cosmopolitan megalopolis where $400 haircuts are the norm, come the Los Angeles Dodgers, the soulmate of John Edwards. Yep, they may have come from humble roots but you’re not kidding anyone these days. The question is, will Alyssa Milano turn out to be the Dodgers’ Rielle Hunter? Either way, neither the Dodgers or Mr. Edwards are going to stick around long enough for us to find out.
And that brings us to the Philadelphia Phillies. Yep, that’s right. Long-suffering Philadelphia is our Barack Obama, a story that tells us that, yes, we can. Trust me, I didn’t see it coming anymore than you did but baseball, like politics, is a funny game. They both look kind of different (Obama, in fact, may have gotten his ears from the Phillie Phanatic) and neither one of them would be the obvious pick but somehow they both make it through and remain standing in the end.
However, all of this only brings us to the final act. And this one is a doozy. The heir apparent to the fortunes of the AL East against a former also-ran from the NL East. Like McCain and Obama, both teams have the pedigree to be crowned the champions but it is a contest and, like the Higlander, there can be only one.
So, how does it end, you’re probably asking? Well, although I don’t expect either McCain or the Red Sox to lose their heads (HA HA HA), this is the year of the “How’d they get there?” scrappers. That’s right. Get excited Philadelphia! C’mon and say it with me now: Yes, We Can!