The Mockingbird

Another Reason to Hate the Bosox

with 3 comments

I felt a lot more comfortable when it was just religion being forced on players, but politics? Ugh. From an article in the Winnipeg Sun nominally about Lyle Overbay’s hand:

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.



Written by halejon

February 28, 2008 at 5:15 am

Posted in Seriousness

3 Responses

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  1. I’m not Bush’s biggest fan by a long long shot but I do wish there was somewhere I could go online where I didn’t have to endure the obsessive compulsion to bash him (which seems to be almost universal among Canadian writers). I love your baseball stuff but you are letting your hatred color the point here. Presenting a memento to the President when you visit is S.O.P. for any team…it strikes me as wildly unlikely that the Red sox are the first ones to ever autograph such a gift.

    Let’s talk baseball, eh?


    February 28, 2008 at 9:24 am

  2. Well, this is a blog- opinions happen, and they’re not always confined to box scores. Obviously that was a little bombastic because it’s fun to bash the Red Sox/Evil Empire, but embracing the use of baseball to score political points really does repulse me and I don’t see any reason not to rant about it. You’re right, though- I’m sure Reagan got a dopey Jersey while he was invading Grenada, and that would have driven me just as far up the wall. I’m sure there’s somewhere online you can find that will bottle that up.


    February 28, 2008 at 7:50 pm

  3. Well, I’m not trying to sound hostile or offended or whatever…it’s a relatively small point (and God knows I’m down with BoSox bashing) I’m just disputing the idea that there are any “political points” in play here. It’s as irrelevant to the voter – even should he be on the team that signs the jersey – as the easter egg roll or pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey. Simple ceremonial bullshit. No one votes for or against a guy based on shit like that.

    I’m still a fan, no offense taken . . . I’ve just seen so VERY much Bush-bashing for really meaningless superficial stuff (like this) that my tolerance for it is used up. People go after him for big important stuff that means something? I’m cool with that.


    February 29, 2008 at 3:32 am

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