Democrats Wear Red Sox; Republicans Wear Pin Stripes

As I write this, the big game between the Red Sox and the Yankees is getting underway. This strikes me as a fitting moment to draw your attention to a post by the venerable Edward Champion, in which he brings up a connection I’ve been thinking of for quite some time, actually:

Mark my words: the Sox will make it. And if the Sox make it into the Series, then I have a strange feeling that Kerry will take the White House with ease. It’s only a working theory and I have nothing sizable to go on other than the Massachusetts connection. But for the love of baseball and for the love of the nation, suffuse all your good juju into the Sox, baby. Let’s take this nation back. Preternaturally. This will be Mass’s year.

I’m grateful to Ed for forcing me to put to words a version or angle of a theory I’ve been developing. You’ll want to head over there to read the whole lively thread, as Ed has some great insights into this connection (I hadn’t even considered the Yankees’ pin stripes as a factor), but I give you my contributions here.

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It’s more than just a Massachusetts connection, even if you can’t quite put a finger on it. For a while now, I’ve been developing this theory that the Red Sox are to the Democratic party as the Yankees are to the GOP. I too can’t quite flesh it out with a proof, but it strikes me as true in a very real sense.

The corollary to this theory is my belief that no one should root for the Yankees. Beyond representing support of the Right, it also strikes me as rooting for wealthy or powerful people; they just don’t need it, and even if they did, why would you want to give it to them?

But then, I live in Massachusetts and embrace the liberal reputation Bush ascribes to the state as a whole, so perhaps this theory is just me. All that said, go Sox!

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Just to clarify my position, though I did say that supporting the Yankees is “like rooting for wealthy or powerful people,” my point wasn’t really about money. That really wouldn’t make a lot of sense, because if the Sox aren’t really that poor in comparison to the Yankees, Kerry certainly isn’t poor either.

It’s just that the Yankees have had it so good and are so pretty and … oh, I don’t know, there’s just something very creepy about them in a Stepford Wives kind of way. The ugliness of the Sox might just be shtick, but it’s hardly wholly ironic. When you look at Derek Jeter (either in his shampoo commercials or on the field) standing next to any of the Sox (excluding, perhaps, Johnny Damon, who actually knows he looks good and intends to keep it that way) it’s clear that the Sox are just embracing a grittiness that has always been there, which I kinda like.

Perhaps it’s nothing more than a gut reaction, but I can’t see how supporting the Yankees can give anyone any pleasure. The Sox just make me feel good to live in Boston and like following baseball, and the Yankees don’t make me feel good about anything. And that’s basically how I feel about the respective political parties I’ve assigned them in my theory (subsituting US for Boston and politics for baseball, of course).

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Plus, have you noticed how the very logo for Yankees seems to have become synonymous with the American flag? Like its overused and abused counterpart, it’s turned into some kind of symbol for what it means to have “American pride.” Just as I can’t stand the American flags plastered all over the huge bumpers of SUVs to show how much everyone uncritically supports anything that the current administration does in the name of America, I cringe at the ubiquity of the overlapping NY I see everywhere. When I lived in Northern California last year, I began an unsuccessful search for a Red Sox cap in any sports store I could find. What did I find? Caps for every Californian team (as one would expect) … and Yankees caps.

It’s one thing for a New Yorker to be a Yankees fan. But when being a Yankees fan became the mark of a true patriot, that’s when I started associating the Yanks with Republican rhetoric.

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And now, I’m off to clutch my Red Sox cap (which I finally acquired when I moved back to this fair city) and hope for the best, in both baseball and politics. Let’s break the curse. Let’s take back the White House. I believe …

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