After the World Series, mixing baseball with politics

Matsui noticeably absent from Elias Rankings
Open Thread: A night with Joba

Rarely do we mix baseball with politics around here. We all have varying opinions on the political landscape, and we use River Ave. Blues to argue over Joba Chamberlain and his role on the pitching staff, not health care and the debate over a public option. Trust me; it’s just better that way.

Sometimes, though, the political stories involve baseball, and winning the World Series certainly brings out some amusing baseball stories from the political realm. So as your work day draws to a close, we’ll just jump right in with one the more amusing pieces The Times has run in a while. Yesterday’s Week in Review section featured a Yankee-related Op-Ed from former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

Fleischer has been a long-time George W. Bush confidante and is close friends with the former president. Still, he knows who’s responsible for the Yanks’ World Series drought:

It is hard to find a bigger admirer of President George W. Bush than me. I support his policies; I believe in him; he’s a really good guy to be around; and he throws a mean fastball. As his press secretary, I stood by him through thick and thin. But recent events require me to speak out about my former boss: For eight long years, President Bush put a curse on my New York Yankees.

It’s not lost on me, as a lifelong Yankee fan, that the Bronx Bombers won the World Series four times during Bill Clinton’s presidency, the last time in 2000. On Wednesday, they won it again — in the first year of Barack Obama’s administration. Yankee success bookended the Bush presidency and that presents a problem for fans like me.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was standing in the Oval Office when the president secretly put his curse on my team. The 2000 champions paid a celebratory visit to the White House in May 2001. President Bush gathered the players in the Oval Office and was telling them what role models they were when George Steinbrenner, the team owner, suddenly tried to talk over him. “George,” Mr. Bush interjected, “not even the Boss gets to interrupt the president.”

The Boss tried to talk over the President, and the Baseball Gods did not smile upon the Yankees. Or maybe the Baseball Gods didn’t look kindly upon President Bush’s silencing of the Boss. Either way, as Fleischer wrote, “For eight straight years — all of which perfectly coincided with his time in office — the Yankees didn’t win.”

Fleischer notes that the previous eight Yankee World Series wins have come under Democratic presidents and wonders what a G.O.P. Yankee fans is to do. “If you’re a Democrat who wants the Yankees to lose — like the Boston Red Sox president, Larry Lucchino — you need to start voting Republican,” he said. “And if you’re a Yankee fan like me, well, I just can’t bear to say it … ”

Fleischer’s Op-Ed comes on the heels of a House vote on H.Res. 893, congratulating the Yankees on winning the World Series. Usually, these ceremonial bills pass the House with little debate and most are unanimous. Not this one though for baseball brings out the partisan debates like no other.

As you can see from the above map and this roll call list, not everyone in the House voted to congratulate the Yankees. It passed with a vote of 386 for, 17 against, 11 present and 19 non-votes. The nays were a nice mix of Democrats and Republicans from anti-Yankee districts. A few Phillies fans objected; a few Red Sox fans voted no; some Yankee haters couldn’t stomach the bill; and one guy voted against it because the Yankees, well, “just they’re not the Padres.”

“I’m usually rational but when it comes to the Yankees, I take a hard-line position. For those of us in Red Sox nation, it was a sad, sad day,” Bill Delanhunt, a Massachusetts rep, said. “It tells you something about the corrosive nature of money in sports and politics.”

Even Mets fans from the New York delegation to the House who supported the bill heard from their colleagues while 2013 mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner voted for the resolution but did not support it. All in a day’s work for the House.

Just a friendly reminder to play nice in the comments…

Matsui noticeably absent from Elias Rankings
Open Thread: A night with Joba
  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    This amuses me to no end. It really, really does.

  • TheLastClown

    A whole frosty box of whim-sicles.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    You think GWB “cursed” the Yankees, Ari?

    Stop thinking like an idiot Boston fan. It’s beneath you. Curses, jinxes, and hexes are the dominion of the weakminded.

    • Pablo Zevallos

      I’ll take it. One more reason for me to hate GWB.

      Exits stage right

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


    • Mode

      I don’t know. I’m pretty sure the only reason the Yankees won this year was because they got that Ortiz jersey out of the stadium.

      • thurdonpaul

        i think they won this year cause you can have alcohol again in the bleachers

  • A.D.

    I enjoy the random “no” pockets

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals

      its not really random…its a big spot in arkansas and places that should remind you of arkansas…


  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    For voting nay on H.Res. 893, you are now officially back on the shit list, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. [R-WI]. You’ve been warned. One more screwup, and I’m going to be forced to write you a very nasty letter.

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals

      a very interesting page, but i have to ask why you picked him???

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Long names are funny.

        tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

  • pat

    Weird because I felt cursed by W’s 8 years in office too.

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime


    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I felt like cursing during his 8 years in office, does that count?

  • JSquared

    Yeah, i believe this theory as much as i believe MLBTR thinking the Red Sox will sign Chapman, Scutaro, Jason Bay and Rich Harden.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      WAIT WAIT WAIT. Are you telling me that outside forces don’t impact the Yankees or their chances of winning? I know for a fact that my wearing the same jersey throughout the playoffs is why they won the World Series.

      Pssh on you, JSquared.

      • JSquared

        How Dare You. I didn’t get a Swishawk before game 3 for nothing… I Made Nick Swisher Hit that Home Run and get hits. My Swishawk even rubbed off on A-Rod. My hair got us the World Series win… not your jersey.

      • Moshe Mandel

        All I know is that I never grew a playoff beard since I’ve been able to grow an actual beard until this season. This year, I let it grow, and BOOM, world champs. Coincidence? I think not.

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          Same year I stopped trying to whack off with my left foot (planter’s wart), we win. Coincidence? I drink not.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      I STOPPED trying to affect the outcome of the games at home for the first time, and they won. Coincidence, you say? Not in a world where correlation equals causation, I respond.

      The Yankees won BECAUSE I did nothing to ensure that the Yankees will win. A strategy I will continue.

  • Tom Zig

    Well if the Yankees can’t win when a Republican is in office, I’m cool with that. I don’t see the Republicans ousting Barack Obama in 2012, a Palin-Jeb Bush ticket (I’m kidding, I don’t think my party is that short sighted) will maybe win you one state. The Yanks are due for another dynasty anyways.

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals

      yeah…as a right-wing kook with libertarian bents i’m pretty much willing to endure whatever to see the Yanks win four in a row :)

    • r.w.g.

      So.. the choices are Obama or Jeb-Palin?

      I swear to God to hate this country.

      • pat

        then leave?

        • r.w.g.

          or you guys could vote for ron paul, too?

          • Doug


          • Jersey

            I like my monetary policy non-crank-driven, thanks.

            • r.w.g.

              it’s much better to place it in the hands of the 12 families who own the private, for-profit federal reserve bank. yes, that is the ticket.

              • Jersey

                I rest my case.

                • r.w.g.

                  … but that’s how it actually works…

                  it’s illegal to sell, buy, or trade federal reserve stock… you must inherit it..

                  .. so it can never be owned by anyone other than the original shareholders and their descendants, who have been ‘granted’ the authority to print money.. outside the legal bounds of our constitution [to coin money and regulate the value thereof].

                  i’m surprised people disagree with this. it’s plain as day.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Yes, it’s illegal to sell the stock in the Fed.

                  But no, the stock in the Fed is not currently “owned by 12 private families”.

                  It’s owned by other banks. Dozens and dozens of them, not just 12. Some of those dozens of banks are owned by private families, yes. Some of them are corporate organizations owned by hundreds of shareholders. In no way, shape, or form, however, is the Fed run by (nor does it kowtow to) some secretive cabal of 12 rich families who rule on everything.

                  That’s wrongheaded and needlessly alarmist.

                • r.w.g.

                  Who owns those banks? Who are the controlling shareholders?

                  Look up the house banking committee staff report of August 1976. You’re probably the smartest guy on here, so I’d bet you’re probably familiar with it.

                  Same people. I really don’t consider it alarmist at all. The financial links between those families, the central banking institutions they control, and the myriad of firms, conglomerates, think tanks, and foundations that make up the military industrial complex is very well documented… except on MSNBC, Fox, and CNN of course.

                • Jersey

                  They should have a Fire Joe Morgan for conspiracy theorists.

  • helix

    Right-leaning Yankee fans needn’t fret though; they could just as easily call this the Senator Hillary Clinton Curse (something like what the conservative Weekly Standard churlishly referred to after the ’03 Series loss). Their tenures in those respective offices had an almost-identical timeframe.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      All 27 Yankees title have come with a male president.

      We gotta keep these uppity broads out of the White House at all costs.

  • Marcus

    The interesting thing to see will be what happens to baseball and the Yanks if the health care reform bill gets passed. My thoughts:

    1. Salary cap. Socialized medicine jinxes the Yankees’ free-spending ways.

    2. DFA’d players go before the Death Panels in order to cut costs for teams under the new salary cap regime. New term: Death Paneled For Assignment (DPFA).

    3. Players spared by the death panels and all non-tendered players are eligible for the public option, which is a pool of players that collectively can band together to form a new, government-financed team. The owners protest this change as they claim they can’t sign players to competitive salaries if they are guaranteed a contract by a government bureaucrat.

    Scary times ahead…

  • Joe G.


  • dkidd

    what’s with all the nay votes in arkansas?

    doesn’t aj burnett’s joy more than compensate for cliff lee’s pain?

    • JGS

      “all the”?

      there was only one, and neither Burnett nor Lee hail from that district

      • dkidd

        didn’t tread the list, i was just going by the big red blotch on the map

        i was also joking…

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    Don’t be a hater, vote for Nader.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Yea MN-5 Ellison, Keith [D]

    Muslims love the Yankees.

  • larryf

    Our last 2 Presidents at least were/are American Leaguers. Bloomberg in 2012. He is a Yankee fan and he buys the Presidency and the rest of the country can shove it! And for VP-Ron Blomberg-the first DH. Bloomberg/Blomberg

    That’s the ticket….

    Guiliani already looked worse than Swish on a Lackey changeup…

    • Victoria

      Bloomberg is a Red Sox fan…………….

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)


    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Sory, supposed to be a response to the previous post. My bad.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)


        • larryf

          you are redeemed Rock. Mayors for sure. They both have Presidential aspirations…

  • Bo

    Its terrific that these politicians dont have important matters like war, troop levels, economy, unemployment, islamic terrorists, gas prices, crime, etc to deal with and can focus on really important stuff like this.