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Kent Greenfield

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Red Sox and Blue Voters

Posted: 10/11/07 06:09 PM ET

Blue State voters: get behind your Team of Destiny in the baseball playoffs, the Boston Red Sox. Rooting for the Sox this year is akin to recycling, giving to Oxfam, and hoarding old "No Nukes" buttons in your desk drawer. Joining Red Sox Nation is no longer merely an expression of fandom; it is a moral imperative.

If you're from Cleveland, Colorado, or Arizona, you get a free pass. But otherwise, any person with a shred of progressive sensibility should be ordering their replica David Ortiz jersey.

First of all, look at our competition in the American League Championship series, the Cleveland Indians. All you need to know is that their team logo trades on the worst kind of stereotypes of native people. A smiling, shifty-eyed, crooked-nose icon with dark red skin and a feather sprouting from his head is probably the most racist logo in all of sport. The mascot has a name: "Chief Wahoo." Native American groups and the NAACP have protested in the past, but the team has refused to change the logo.

The Team of Destiny, however, has named itself after hosiery. Nothing offensive there.

Once we win the American League, the Red Sox will face either the Colorado Rockies, the hottest team in baseball, or the Arizona Diamondbacks.

If the Red Sox are the team of blue state voters, the Rockies have more than a bit of red state in their blood. The team plays in Coors Field, and the brewer owns a chunk of the team. I remember when boycotting the beer was fashionable among the progressive intelligentsia because of the Coors family's support for right-wing efforts against LGBT rights and affirmative action. The boycott has faded, and not because of the allure of the Silver Bullet. Now the Coors family uses a cover group, the Castle Rock Foundation, to fund conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.

There's more reason to dislike the Rockies. Another chunk of the team is owned by Fox Sports Net, a fair and balanced subsidiary of Fox Entertainment.

But there is only one thing you need to know to turn against the Rockies forever. The controlling ownership is held by Charles Monfort, who in a recent list of his favorite songs included, at number three, John Ashcroft's "Let the Eagle Soar." Really. Apparently he likes to "pump it up" in the clubhouse before games. If you need proof of divine grace, that's it. It is a miracle the team doesn't boot every pre-game meal.

As for the overachieving Diamondbacks, it is harder to find a reason to dislike them. The team's principal owner looks to be a decent, self-made sort from West Virginia who even helped an employee-owned bank get off the ground. But the team does play in Arizona, and when I think of Arizona I think of John McCain. And that makes me think of The Surge. Why spend a World Series thinking of that?

The Red Sox are worthy of your support. I realize that we have our black marks - the Sox were the last major league team to integrate and ace Curt Schilling famously campaigned for Bush in 2004. But the ownership campaigned for Dems, and the team is now a polyglot. Our best players are from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Japan, and around the U.S. Our excellent first baseman is a Jew of Romanian descent with a Greek name -- Youkilis.

And when we play the Indians, we have a chance to watch sweet, sweet irony. Our best young prospect is 24-year old Jacoby Ellsbury, who should be seeing action in the outfield as a backup. He's lightning fast. Earlier this year he scored a run on a wild pitch, which is no big deal except that he started the play on second base.

The sweet irony is that he is of Navajo descent, the first ever in the major leagues. Maybe he will steal a base, beat out an infield grounder, or rob an Indians player of a double in the gap. And I want you to be cheering with me when he wipes that silly grin off Chief Wahoo's face.

Kent Greenfield is a law professor at Boston College. He can be reached at kent.greenfield@bc.edu.

 
 
 

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