The Red Sox Should Have Dropped Out

By Paddy McGuire of Portland, Oregon. Paddy is a former executive director of the Democratic Party of Oregon, a former Clinton Administration appointee, and a former deputy Oregon Secretary of State. In March, he contributed "On Winning and Dignity". He has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.

The setting: Fenway Park on October 17, 2004. The New York Yankees hold a commanding three games to none lead over the Boston Red Sox. Yesterday, right here, the Yankees embarrassed the Sox 19 to 8. It was ugly. No major league baseball team has ever come back from a three to none deficit. Major League Baseball has been around since 1876 and it has never happened. By any reasonable measure, there is no chance for the Red Sox to win.

The reasonable thing to do is to quit. Quit, for the good of the American League. The odds are just too long. It just can’t happen. The Sox’s futility will go on. The Curse of the Bambino will not be broken this year.

So what that the Yankees haven’t won four games. It’s inevitable. They are so far ahead. The math just doesn’t work. It’s never been done. It can’t be done. Isn’t the important thing beating the National League anyway (what with that whole pitchers batting thing)?

And then it’s the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera is on the mound for the Yankees and they are ahead by a run. He’s the greatest reliever of all time. Lights out. Party over. Quit, for the good of the game. Never been done. Can’t be done. Quit, for the good of the league. It’s impossible to win. Quit.

The Red Sox should have dropped out.


Comments

  • (Show?)

    I (heart) Paddy. That is all.

  • (Show?)

    I think the parable is funny, sure.

    But I'm also amused how Barack Obama has become the Yankees in this story, considering how he was the tremendous underdog behind the Clinton engine up until Iowa, and even sometimes after that.

  • (Show?)

    ... unless it's all completely ironic and I'm just too tired/uncoffeed/depressed by rain to get that through my thick head. If that's the case, pay no attention to my little old ramblings.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    This is something like the third time I've heard sports analogies coming from the Clinton campaign. It's a mind-numbingly stupid analogy. Candidates win delegates through voting. Votes are cast because people make up their mind to vote. If the same were true of baseball, every hitter would get a hit every time to the plate, and every pitcher would strike out every batter. But it's not a baseball game. In the end, no one cares if the Yankees and the Red Sox like each other, or whether New York and Boston has a big municipal hug. And the two teams will never need to suit up together to take on the Marlins or the Rockies.

    It's a stupid analogy, but it's the only way to prop up a candidate who, by all rights, should focus on thinking of a graceful and supportive way to bow out.

    If you really want an analogy, think chess. The moves are calculated way ahead. Each one is intentional. The spin of a ball or random chance make no difference. And when a checkmate is coming down the road, and is unavoidable, the chess player knows to gently tip the king over. It's not dishonorable, it's just recognizing inevitability.

  • (Show?)

    I support Obama. That said, if Hillary wants to run - hey it's a free country.

    But baseball, with inherent massive changes of fortune based on sheer luck, is the wrong sports analogy for Presidential contests. A much better one is long distance running.

    Hillary and Obama are nearing the end of a marathon, and Obama is firmly in the lead by at least 300 yards. Judging by the total distance they've both run, this is really a small difference - about 1%. But judging by the distance they've got left to the finish line, and the fact that Obama is by no means fading, the race is already won.

  • (Show?)

    Utterly misses the point. Wow. (I don't think anyone accused the Red Sox of damaging the sport, or of damaging themselves, or of damaging the Yankees, for starters.)

  • (Show?)

    I don't think Hillary should withdraw but I'm with Ben on this one. Obama as the Yankees makes no sense.

  • Nick C. (unverified)
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    I think Hillary should officially compare herself to the Red Sox. That will go over great in NY.

  • (Show?)

    Hillary was the front runner in this presidential since, um, she FIRST ran for senate. That said, I don't think she should drop out either. It's a close race and although I'm over it (Go Obama), I don't assume all of America has made its final decision.

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)
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    Quit, for the good of the game...for the good of the league.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but the goofy analogy simply does not work, or at least does not extend very far:

    --Most obviously, there were no bloggers and alleged Yankee "surrogates" broadcasting to the world that the Red Sox needed to quit...and no Red Sox "surrogates" broadcasting back.

    --The baseball playoffs were entertainment. The Democratic nomination contest is not (unless you're the sort of person who takes enjoyment from gladiatorial contests).

    --This is just another straw man. Back in 2008 reality, Barack Obama is saying nothing to Hillary Clinton about dropping out, and obviously does not regard Clinton as a hopeless cause. In the baseball analogy here, Obama is the pitcher on the mound, and he knows the batter at the plate is going to jump on any pitch in the middle of the strike zone and hit a home run.

    Yeah, I'm SURE that there will be folks posting the same old "drop out now, Hillary" blurbs in this discussion thread, but so what?

    Meanwhile, back in Oregon in 2008, Hillary Clinton's visit to the "Portland metro area" is actually coming to a Hillsboro high school cafeteria near you. No disrespect to Hillsboro, but--to stretch the baseball analogy to the breaking point--this would be like suspending that Yankees/Red Sox game and telling the fans that it'll recommence somewhere in upstate NY.

    BTW I'm an Obama supporter.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    The analogy here is false.

    A more appropriate, but still flawed analogy (this is still a stupid sports metaphor) would be Hillary claiming to still have a shot at winning after having already lost, 4 games to 3, pinning her hopes that somehow the umpires or league commissioner will overturn one of the games, or better yet, count a game in which the other team did not take the field.

    And if she doesn't win, she threatens to burn down the stadium, or something like that.

  • Ron (unverified)
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    I agree with the posters above. This is a really bad analogy. You should take the republican meme of comparing everything to war... then Hillary shouldn't give up because she has a nuclear bomb.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    yeah, i get so tired of the baseball or football analogies. (giants vs patriots anyone?)

    as pointed out above, if you're going to use a sports metaphore, use marathon running. there gets to be a certain point where, given the current pace of each runner, one runner is far enough ahead that the other needs either a gargantuan burst of speed or for the frontrunner to get injured.

    and they can be very close to each other at this point, so it's misleading. but there it is. in long distance endurance sports a tiny advantage in lead and pacing can be absolutely insurmountable. one big game-saving grand slam home run or hail mary pass is not in the sport's structure, and can't save the runner who's lagging.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Pete Forsythe, "damaging the sport?" So now you're blaming Clinton for what, damaging democracy? Because she's running for office? Ugh.

  • (Show?)

    Katye, I'm not blaming anyone for anything. I don't really care that much whether Hillary stays in. Just find this post very far off the mark.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Dear Paddy. Sorry, but that was a total apples and oranges comparison. A baseball game is never over until twenty seven outs are recorded. And if it was a baseball analogy, Hillary would be the Yankees-more money than God, bigger name, bigger egos, a team that was anointed by everybody in the press during the pre season as destined to go all the way. A team that feels entitled by it's birthright to win the World Series whenever it wishes.

    In my comparison I see Obama more as a scrappy Boston Red Sock underdog type.

    It's as if it's 2004 and the Yankees have just lost the 7th game and refuse to leave the field. They are making up excuses and looking for loopholes and denying reality and that there are actually are three outs and are refusing to believe that they have simply BLOWN THEIR CHANCE this time to win.

    The Yankees are saying "The Red Socks can't possibly beat the Cardinals" and we Cards fans remember quite vividly how that turned out. So Paddy, accept the fact that, at this time, she is a long shot. Not impossible, but a horse that is several significant lengths behind the leader going down the stretch.

  • (Show?)

    What a surprise. The Yankee, uh, Obama fans think the analogy doesn't work.

    I agree that the analogy is slightly off, however. In this World Series, the Yankees have won three games, the Red Sox have won two and are up by a run in the 6th inning of Game 6. The Yankees have formidable batters coming up, including NC, Indiana, and Oregon, but the Sox have PA, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

    Oh yeah, and the Yankees contest the legitimacy of a Game 7.

    Great piece, Paddy.

  • (Show?)

    If anything, we need a boxing analogy.

    Something about technical knockouts and judges' scorecards.

  • (Show?)

    For the record, I am a Dodgers fan.

    Would that be John Edwards? Or Jerry Brown...

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)
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    Well, as that great Yankee Yogi Berra said, it ain't over 'til it's over. Let's all leave it at that, please.

    Or maybe use a soccer analogy. I think we need referees giving players the "red card" (aka kicking them out of the game). I have my shortlist of people who deserve a red card, and so do you :-)

  • (Show?)

    It's the bottom of the ninth and Hillary is down by 5, 1 out and Bob Eucker is batting for her. Not from his playing days...today's Bob Eucker.

    It was over when her husband said it was--after failing to win Ohio and Texas.

  • Sox Hater (unverified)
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    I can't tell you how tired I am of seeing Boston Red Sox hats in Oregon. And now how tired I am about hearing Boston Red Sox sports analogies. STOP THIS NOW!!!!

    Are you from Boston? No

    Did you go to one of the 50? colleges in Boston? Yes

    Does that make you part of Red Sox Nation? No.

    The Red Sox were and still are cursed - does that hold the same for Hillary? To this Obama fan it does. Hey, at least you didn't compare Hillary to the Patriots. Would that make her a cheater? I heard that Bill Bellicheck made Randy Moss' skin darker in the team yearbook.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Hmmmm -

    Sports is a for-profit concern. They make more money the more games they play.

    Paddy - I'm glad you have clarified the Clinton motivation for staying in the game for me. I had wondered what she saw in this losing proposition. More time = more money. I get it now.

  • (Show?)

    Two issues I have with this analogy. First, baseball, though I love it so, is entertainment; the Presidential race has some actual consequences beyond bruised egos. Second, the Red Sox and the Yankees hate each other and it's a zero sum game in that situation, whereas two Democrats in the primaries may be competing in the short term, but their ultimate goal is the same.

  • (Show?)

    wrong baseball analogy.

    it's 1988. Clinton is Dennis Eckersley. Obama is Kirk Gibson. this is a done deal: the A's will sweep the Dodgers and claim their rightful crown ... o no!

    "I don't believe what I just saw!"

    in the Dodgers' 50th anniversary in LA, how appropriate.

  • (Show?)

    wrong baseball analogy.

    it's 1988. Clinton is Dennis Eckersley. Obama is Kirk Gibson. this is a done deal: the A's will sweep the Dodgers and claim their rightful crown ... o no!

    "I don't believe what I just saw!"

    in the Dodgers' 50th anniversary in LA, how appropriate.

  • (Show?)

    When the primary season first started I was initially most interested in Bill Richardson. Although I'm not a baseball fan per se, when he tried to tell Tim Russert that he could be both a Red Sox fan AND a Yankees fan I knew that he was more about trying to be all things to all people than anything else. Even Tim Russert was incredulous.

    The notion that Obama rather than Clinton best fits the forced role of the Yankees in ANY baseball analogy rightly produces similar incredulity.

  • (Show?)

    Sox Hater, you should talk to those people wearing Boston hats. 90% of them ARE from New England--and if you broach the subject, they'll hyperventilate telling you about a prospect whom they have playing for the Sea Dogs in Portland. I married into a New England family, and spent years absorbing the love prior to their '04 run Paddy describes. There are only two teams in the country who have such rabid, authentic, loyal fans--the Red Sox and the Packers.

    As to the analogy, I get it, and it's fun to tweak Obamaniacs who, as good-hearted and true American leaguers all hate the Yanks (we're mostly M's fans, right?).

    But this is a totally bogus meme. I call BS: except for a few of Obama's supporters--mostly elected officials who have a fairly defensible vested interest in the outcome--no one's calling for this.

    It strikes me as victim-mongering, a way to identify Obama as as the bully. But does anyone really think that dog will hunt?

  • (Show?)

    the patriots analogy has already been used, by Mr. Chisholm to describe the Speaker. Mr. Novick was to fill the role of Hofstra, according to him.

    Seems like Hofstra's up by a FG in the 3rd quarter...!

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    It's also not ripe for a sports analogy because in most every (or every) sport, finishing is really important. You run the marathon to finish, and the second and third place don't drop out because it's a shoe-in that they won't finish first (not even the five thousandth racer does that). In political primaries, you DO drop out if you're not going to win, because you realize the fractious effect of continuing, and the ridiculous amount of money you waste beating up someone from your party who is going to get the nomination.

  • steve (unverified)
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    The Red sox suck. New England sports teams suck. The analogy you bring before us also sucks.

  • (Show?)

    haha TA,

    Did I ever tell you that I was at that game?

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)
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    HRC gets the chance to hit a home run or go down swinging. A bunt won't help. :-)

  • Dan (unverified)
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    There are only two teams in the country who have such rabid, authentic, loyal fans--the Red Sox and the Packers.

    You obviously haven't been around too many Yankee fans or been to Yankee Stadium, then. :)

    That said, this whole thread is a dumb analogy. In baseball, there's always a chance to catch up. The game goes forever as long as you don't get three outs. Politics is more like a race, as others have noted. There is a definite, known end point. Hillary isn't going to catch Obama at this point, but she can keep on trying for the silver medal.

  • (Show?)

    wrong baseball analogy.

    it's 1988. Clinton is Dennis Eckersley. Obama is Kirk Gibson. this is a done deal: the A's will sweep the Dodgers and claim their rightful crown ... o no!

    "I don't believe what I just saw!"

    in the Dodgers' 50th anniversary in LA, how appropriate.

  • Taylor M (unverified)
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    This is an obnoxious and poor analogy. If you can seriously call Barack Obama the NY Yankees of Democratic politics, you either have retreated to a HillBlazers-decor cave for the last year, or read Taylor Marsh waay too much (actually, those two circumstances are pretty similar).

    But congratulations on discovering circumstances where after a long battle, one challenger is significantly ahead and one is behind.

  • (Show?)

    You obviously haven't been around too many Yankee fans or been to Yankee Stadium, then. :)

    I knew, even as I was writing that, that there would be some push-back. But I stand by it! At least 50% of Yankees fans nationwide are of the softest, bandwagony types, like Lakers fans. But a cheesehead is a cheesehead is a cheesehead. I was in Hawaii during the playoffs, and when Seattle (2600 miles away) played Green Bay (4300 miles away), the bar I went to had but two poor Hawks fans. It's the same with the Sox.

  • (Show?)

    Paddy you know I got love for ya but this analogy doesnt work.

    That said - Hillary is perfectly in her right to stay in the race as long as she wants but the only caveat is that I would like to see her continue her current form and tone of attacking McCain and speaking positively about her candidacy.

    On a political analysis level - I think Hillary figured out it was over when Obama bounced back so strongly from the Wright fiasco, if she couldn't get ahead of him with that then she knew it was over. Thats why you have seen a change in tone for the better from her. She knows it's gone and it's time to start attacking McCain.

  • Michael Vick (unverified)
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    I think dog-fighting is a better analogy. And who called these dogs out, anyway?

  • Tom Seaver was right! (unverified)
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    Hillary = 69' Baltimore Orioles Obama = 69' Amazin' Mets

    "This rags-to-riches story is regarded as one of baseball history's great turnarounds, giving hope to underdogs, also-rans and lost causes everywhere. Soon after the season ended, Tom Seaver lent his name to a commercial saying "If the Mets can win the World Series, America can get out of Vietnam."

  • (Show?)

    I'm all for Clinton staying in the race right up until the point where the only way she can win is to have David Ortiz come out of the dugout and mow down the entire Yankees lineup and (as many fans as he can get) with a high powered machine gun. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's quite where she draws the line.

  • (Show?)

    I wish Paddy hadn't sucked my Red Sox into this. Obama's not the Yankees, and Clinton's not the Red Sox. I have far too strong feelings for the Red Sox and against the Yankees to feel that way. I don't know which teams match them, but not those. I'm also sorry that some are offended by those of us from the Nation wearing Red Sox hats. As for me, I can't walk into a grocery store here in Bend without seeing someone wearing one. It's a nice feeling. It's sort of like seeing someone in Ontario with a Democratic bumper sticker -- there's a feeling of kinship in a place where you don't expect it. I'm a New England native and a Democrat, and proud of both. I'm happy that Oregonians are re-registering in record numbers to be Democrats, and I'm happy if an Oregonian decides to wear something with a nice, old-fashioned style red B.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Jeff, all I know is that Sox caps began sprouting like toadstools in Portland lawns around this city after 2004. The "B" must stand for Bandwagon? :)

    I've attended Mariners games against both the Sox and the Yankees. The Yankee fans are far more numerous, vocal, and rabid.

  • (Show?)

    i swear to god (who wears Dodger blue) i only posted once.

    Stephanie: i hate you. no, i was holding my 2-yr-old son on my lap, depressed and sad because no way could we beat Eck. and then Mike Davis walks, and steals second, and Gibby hits the greatest World Series homer ever. i scared Alex half-to-death jumping up and yelling. i never get tired of the footage or Jack Buck's call.

    '69 Mets: coached by Dodgers great Gil Hodges (who should be in the Hall with Maury Wills) '69 Orioles: Dave McNally, from Billings, MT, where i grew up (and still the only pitcher to hit a WS grand slam)

    and Josh, the Yanks & Sox play in the ALCS, not the World Series. sheesh.

  • (Show?)

    TA, I knew the Dodgers would win because there were a bunch of A's fans behind the 1st base dugout with BROOMS. I'm sorry, you don't bring BROOMS to Game 1 of the World Series! You are just begging the karmic gods to slap you silly if you do that.

    Seriously, it was THE most amazing moment I have ever experienced in a sports context. I didn't really have a rooting interest in the game (which is unusual for me) but when Gibson limped up to the plate the atmosphere in Dodger Stadium was unbelievably electric. I mean you could FEEL it. IIRC they played the music from "The Natural" but in the moment it all seemed perfectly reasonable. I had lousy seats (in right field) but the ball came down just a couple of sections over to my right (in the center field bleachers) and I have never experienced anything like it, even in 1983 when I was there in Philadelphia when my own team won the World Series. The Gibson home run tops them all.

    And by the way, DO NOT EVER MENTION the 1969 Mets to me again.

    (Off-topic, I know. Sorry.)

  • (Show?)

    Some differences:

    The Red Socks can count. The Red Socks didn't try to change the rules in the middle of the game. The Red Socks didn't only plan for three innings, thinking it'd be over after that. The Red Socks didn't let their performance be undermined by a pervasive victimization mentality. And the Red Socks didn't spend a lot of time praising John McCain and Gordon Smith.

    BTW: I don't think Hillary should get out. I just think her campaign should get out of the gutter.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks, Wayne. That's what I get for posting while on a conference call. Have a great weekend.

  • (Show?)

    Anyone who has lived in the South as I did for ten years knows that the correct sports analogy is Nascar.

    This year's Daytona 500 is our best example, where winner Ryan Newman was helped to victory by his Penske teammates.

    The quote from the story seems particularly opportune for the Clinton campaign:

    "Obviously, [I want to thank] Kurt Busch. Without a doubt, he could have easily gone three-wide and split us through the center and made one heck of a mess going into [Turn] 3.

    "But he chose to be a teammate, and that's the most honorable thing that he could be -- and I would have done the same thing for him."

    One wonders if the Senator from New York is willing to do the honorable thing, or just wants to create a big mess in the faint hope that she rolls to victory.

  • riverat (unverified)
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    Re: Ben's "If anything, we need a boxing analogy."

    Didn't Hillary already do that, comparing herself to Rocky in Philadelphia? Didn't Rocky lose to Apollo Creed?

  • SDG (unverified)
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    The team with the lowest score should be declared the winner.

  • Tamerlane (unverified)
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    One important difference, for example, is that every time the two baseball teams play a game, thousands of fans are harmlessly amused and lots of revenue is generated. By pointlessly prolonging the nomination fight, however, HRC is squandering tens of millions of dollars in resources, and forcing Obama to squander tens of millions of dollars more, in a depressing ritual of mutual assured self-destruction. Maybe a better sports analogy is professional boxing. At some point in the match, if one opponent is too bruised and outmatched to keep going, either his manager throws in the towel or the ref calls the fight. This very civilized solution saves us all the depressing spectacle of having every match drag on until the victor, long in control of the fight, literally beats his opponent to death. I think we can agree that's no fun to watch at all.

  • (Show?)

    The reason Obama is "the yankees" in this scenario is because his is the bought campaign. He has more money and in spite of the very good PR involved in requiring his high-finance donors to go through bundlers, he has surpassed Hillary in high-finance contributions in many categories (including, as John Edwards pointed out, the health insurance industry - no wonder he offered Ohio Harry and Louise redux.)

    But what's more, he's got the widest net of opportunists in the party (and some without) believing everything he's promised them - including a lot of leash to work their own agendas. That's why he's got more and more self-interested power-brokers lining up behind him - because they want a president who gives them a lot of leash. Some here call that "grassroots", but at the top level it's anything but.

    Of course, some of us who -aren't- pols want a President who actually has some moxy to hold an executive branch accountable and reconstruct all the efficiencies that Bush/Cheney and their loose, often-at-odds ruling coalition dismantled.

    Hillary will need a lot of support and a lot of heart to win, but the ball game's not over.

    Go Hillary!

  • Charlie Burr (unverified)
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    Obama outraised Hillary two-to-one this month by attracting more donors than anyone else in the history of modern politics. Period. No one forced Clinton to run a top-down campaign, but that's exactly what she's done. No amount of spin will change that. She squandered every advantage she enjoyed at the beginning of this race. Here's the lesson: don't run a reelection campaign in an open race.

  • Gina Lacava (unverified)
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    <h2>The sad thing is, Hillary Clinton's determination to stay in this race is, in fact, based on this most inept and illogical analogy. It just doesn't carry over... So, quit harming the party, Hillary, and exit before you loose all of your dignity and incur the wrath of all who fear that we, the Democrats, may loose this race because of you!</h2>
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