THE BLOG

America's Pastime: Politics or Baseball?

11/25/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I need a rest from this Presidential race. Like many people, I'm too obsessed with it. And now that it's down to just days before the election it's getting worse. More and more news stories are about anything that has to do with the campaign. Maybe you're like me and need a little break from all this. A diversion. Fortunately, that diversion is being offered to us in the form of baseball's World Series.

It's great timing. Right when I think it's possible that people could be turned off by the long campaign, along comes America's Pastime to take our minds off politics. Without some other interest, I'm worried that some people are going to O.D. on politics and be completely turned off. I fear they might even stay home and not bother to vote. So if you feel you're too obsessed with the campaign, maybe you should join me in trying to get as immersed as possible in the Series. I figure I should be able to wean myself off politics at least a little bit in these last days of the campaign.

It's not going to be easy. I have to summon interest in a Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and a team called the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes, once again, my beloved Chicago Cubs blew it and won't be winning the World Series for the 100th year in a row. The Rays are the Cinderella team that went from "worst to first," finishing in last place last year and winning the American League Pennant this year. Until this season, they were called the "Devil Rays" and their record was awful. As soon as they dropped the word "Devil," they did great. Hey, maybe those on the Religious Right would say, oh, no. No way. I'm not going to bring politics into this. It's baseball. Pure and simple.

Because I grew up on Chicago's North Side -- home of the Cubs -- I generally root for the National League team. To me, the American League always represented the enemy White Sox or the always-winning Yankees. The Yankees were the team in pinstripes with the Big Money salaries, so they always seemed somewhat Republican and Oops! Sorry about that. No politics.

Anyway, I like the Rays' storybook history, but since the Phillies are in the National League, they will probably get my vote. Wait! I didn't mean to say, "vote." I meant to say that I'd probably root for them. I've got to stop being obsessed with politics. Sorry.

Even the candidates can just enjoy baseball without injecting politics into it. Or at least that's what I thought until John McCain accused Barack Obama of "flip-flopping" on the World Series. He said about Obama, "When he's campaigning in Philadelphia, he roots for the Phillies, and when he's campaigning in Tampa Bay, he shows love to the Rays."

They've traded insults for months, and the campaign has gotten pretty nasty. But to accuse someone of "baseball rooting malfeasance?" Now, that's serious. And which team is John McCain rooting for? Here's what he said, "I'm not dumb enough to get mixed up in a World Series between swing states." He refuses to answer because he's afraid of alienating Florida or Pennsylvania. And he admits it!

That probably means that Obama will accuse McCain of not having the courage to take a stance. Then McCain will proclaim that he's been a baseball fan all his life. Then Obama will say, "Of course McCain's been a baseball fan... just like George W. Bush." And on and on and on.

So, maybe it's impossible to get away from the campaign by turning to the World Series, but I'm going to try. First I have to look up and find out what network it's on. Let's see ...it's on Fox. Fox? As in "Fox News?" Does that mean the commentators are going to call the National Leaguers who allow everyone an equal chance at bat "socialists?" Are they going to call some home runs out if they are "too far to the left?" And will the Democrats cry out every time someone "steals" a base, that it reminds them of the 2000 election? Oh, man. I can't get this stuff out of my head. When will this election be over?

Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from Sesame Street to Family Ties to Home Improvement to Frasier. He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at lloydgarver@gmail.com. Check out his website at lloydgarver.com and his podcasts on iTunes.