The debate over whether or not President Obama was "booed" or "Youuuuked" in Boston Monday night continues to rage. The answer probably depends on whether or not your ears are Red or Blue. This foolishness reinforces the long-standing position of this blog that sports and politics just don't mix, or mix well. Hard to determine what was more absurd: The president coming to Boston and poking at Red Sox fans when their team is in last place and his spokesman trying to spin that into a plus? Or Mitt Romney's campaign suggesting Obama should have congratulated the Red Sox for winning the 2004 and 2007 World Series? Red Sox fans stopped congratulating the Red Sox for winning the 2004 and 2007 World Series as soon as the team lost Game 7 of the ALCS to the Tampa Bay F. Rays in 2008.
If the campaigns really want to appeal to fans, they should substitute Thomas and Ray Allen for Romney and Obama in the second presidential debate. Allen could definitely help Obama in Florida. Toss in Rachel Maddow and Glenn Beck as moderators and watch the carnage. It could be better than UFC 148.
Athletes who talk politics and politicians who use sports to try and connect with voters as fans all too often swing and miss. Athletes offer their political views to appear intelligent and broad-minded. Politicians on all sides of the aisle fumble the ball trying connect with voters by dropping sports references to sound like they're in touch. Having the Super Bowl, World Series or Olympic champs on the White House lawn is a slam dunk since everybody loves a winner. But too many times pols look awkward when they go jockular. The results usually range from uncomfortable to downright hilarious.
Often sports precede politics. Before becoming governor and president, George W. Bush owned the Texas Rangers and fired Manager Bobby Valentine. John Henry might end up following in Bush's footsteps without ever running for office.
We don't do politics here, but we'll mock and ridicule politicians whenever they try and muscle in our turf. We're always looking for an excuse to roll out some of these all-time classics. They're posted in no particular order - after this all-time classic "inonic" moment of Boston's Mayor Menino recalling Super Bowl champion Adam Varitek:
And lest we forget "KJ" and "Hondo":
Hizzoner once labeled Tom Brady's two favorite targets as “Rob Grabowski” and “Wes Wreckler” and tabbed the NBA commissioner "Donald Sterns":
Texas governor Rick Perry helped Tebowmania "jump the shark" during one of the Iowa GOP debates when he vowed to overcome his low standings in the polls by calling himself the "Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses":
That made Romney the Eli Manning of the GOP nomination process. In his closing statement during that same debate, Perry quoted a famous NFL player "whose name doesn't come to mind," who apparently said: "If you don't get your tail kicked every now and then, you're not playing at a high enough level." Bill Belichick would be proud.
Vice President Biden had two turnovers on the same play when during a Bay Area appearance he had the San Francisco Giants "on their way to the the Super Bowl" a few days before the San Francisco 49ers played the New York Giants in the NFC championship game.
There was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's classic intro of home run kings "Mike McGwire" and "Sammy Sooser":
Sen. John Kerry's outspoken admiration of Red Sox slugger "Manny Ortez" (who hit 84 home runs in 2004 and eventually tested positive several times for PEDs) remains an essential part of Red Sox lore. Kerry also renamed "Lambert Field" in Wisconsin and lauded the home-state "Buckeyes" in Michigan while running for president. It didn't hurt as he carried both states in the 2004 election.
During a 2007 GOP debate, Romney recalled the decades of misery endured by Red Sox fans between World Series titles in 1918 and 2004:
The 2010 campaign for the U.S. senate, brought us Martha Coakley's accusation that Curt Schilling was a Yankees fan. She never said anything about his ability to blow $75 million of the state's money in Rhode Island and live to tell about it.
Several of the Democrats who were hoping to unseat Scott Brown struggled to answer the simple question of "In what years did the Red Sox win the World Series in this century?" We do get our correct answer in about 41 seconds thanks to Jim King:
While Obama was firm in his White Sox knowledge this week, both nominees dropped the ball making football analogies in 2008 during stops in Pennsylvania. John McCain subbed in the Steelers for the Packers during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh while recalling an oft-told story about his days as a POW. McCain apparently altered his story to suit a pro-Steelers crowd. A couple of months later, then-Senator Obama called Penn State the "Nittaly Lions":
If only that was the worst thing to call Penn State these days.
At least Obama knows his baseball, if not his crowd. The Youkilis deal was a bargain-basement swipe for the White Sox. No one heard the President lament the loss of Zach Stewart or fret about the "Curse of Brent Lillibridge."
The same can't be said of five-year-old Corban DeWitt, who was a little upset when he heard the news that Lillibridge was headed to Boston.
Hard to blame him. Red Sox fans react the same way when they realize Carl Crawford is under contract through 2017 and John Lackey is making $15.2 million this season and has the Red Sox on the hook for another two years.
And if you need more reason to cry - we're still 132 days away from the election.
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