Another Reason to Hate the Bosox
The white Red Sox jersey with the name “Bush” and the number “07” on the back travelled around the clubhouse. One by one, the World Series champions signed it with a blue Sharpie.
It’s a gift from Boston’s players to President George W. Bush, who will preside at the annual White House ceremony honouring baseball’s best today (mlb wrapup).
Where’s Carlos Delgado when you need him? (At least Manny was spacey enough to skip the reception both times). It’s one thing to take the obligatory phone call/photo-op from the big cheese, but whose idea (*cough* Schilling *cough*) was it to force the entire clubhouse to sign a cutesy personalized gift for Bushie? Sure your average major leaguer is in a republican tax bracket, but there had to be at least a couple of players grinding their teeth as the sharpie came around.
Even if you don’t care about the upcoming election, think about the effect it could have on the future of baseball! Bush is clearly trying to weasel himself into a future job. My favorite anecdote about the leader of the free world is in an old Vanity Fair article. While Bud Selig was cementing his own grip on power and leading Bush along that he one day could be commissioner, big oil was desperately trying to get Georgie Boy into politics:
Then, in the fall of 1992, they came to him again—the party kingmakers, the moneymen, and the political consultants—urging him to run against the now popular Governor Ann Richards. They would raise all the money and pave the way. This was one decision in his life over which George Bush lost sleep.
Shortly after Fay Vincent was forced out of his position as the commissioner of baseball that fall, he got a call from the one owner who had boldly defended him—George Bush.
“What would you think of me becoming commissioner?” Bush blurted.
Surprised, the old family friend said gently, “George, I think you’d be terrific. However, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Bush sounded confident. “I’ve talked to Selig and he tells me he’ll support me.” (Bud Selig, then owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, had helped oust Vincent and was acting commissioner.) Bush confided to Vincent, “But they’re pushing me to run for governor. I’m going to have to make up my mind one of these days.”
Vincent applauded the idea of Bush’s running for governor. “You’d be great, and if you want to run—”
Bush interrupted. “I think I’d rather be commissioner than governor.”
Bush wanted the baseball job so badly that he stalled for a full year, as frustrated as a bride at the altar waiting for the groom to show up. When he called Vincent the next fall, he was still not entirely resigned to losing out. “Selig still says he wants me to be commissioner, but nothing’s happening,” Bush reported. “I told them I have to decide in a couple of weeks.” He made one last glum call to Vincent: “You were right, nothing happened. I’m going to run for governor.” And then, in November 1993, he announced he was challenging Ann Richards.
So the powers that be in baseball had a better sense of character than the American people, and Bush Jr. eventually gave up and grudgingly accepted what was probably his only other employment option at the time: a fast-track to the white house. Baseball sure dodged a bullet there, but it’s not necessarily over yet.
“I would have guessed that when George grew up he would be the commissioner of baseball,” says Hannah. “I am still convinced that that is his goal.”
One assumes that this close pal of the Republican presidential candidate is speaking with tongue in cheek. But no. “Running for president is a résumé-enhancer for being the commissioner of baseball,” he insists. “And it’s a whole lot better job.”
Hang in there Bud, you old corrupt coot. 2012 is far too soon for this game of ours to descend into a quagmire.