Monday, May 10, 2010

Politics Trumps Sports

President Barack Obama appointed Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

Apparently, he's still trying to embrace bipartisanship. His previous nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is a Yankee Fan, while Justice-designate Kagan is a Met fan.

I used to think Yankee Fans and Met fans hated each other more than Democrats and Republicans do. But after the vile hatred spewed forth by the right wing since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, and especially since Obama was elected in 2008, I no longer think so.

And yet, every source I'm hearing suggests that Kagan's confirmation will be easier than Sotomayor's, which was tainted with suggestion from white Southern right-wing men that she was a racist. (I think they were just mad that, as a federal judge, she was the one who issued the injunction that forced baseball team owners to back down, ending the Strike of '94. A lot of baseball team owners, then and now, are big Republican donors. George W. Bush then owned the Texas Rangers.)


In spite of my baseball leanings, I support Justice-designate Kagan's appointment. Politics trumps sports. Seriously.

I've always enjoyed watching Massachusetts politicians, and have particularly admired the Kennedy family, even though they're mostly Red Sox fans.

When the Chicago Bulls played the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals, and when they played the Utah Jazz in the 1997 and '98 Finals, I was heavily in favor of the Bulls, not because of Michael Jordan, but because Chicago is a liberal Democratic city while Arizona and Utah are heavily conservative Republican States.

I always root against Florida teams -- and have even before the 2000 Presidential election, when Governor John Ellis "Jeb" Bush fixed their vote for his brother. While I'm not old enough to remember the Miami Dolphins' titles of the 1970s, I rooted against them when they played the Washington Redskins in 1983 and the San Francisco 49ers in 1985; for the Houston Rockets against the Orlando Magic in 1995; for the Colorado Avalanche against the Florida Panthers in 1996; for the Cleveland Indians against the Florida Marlins in 1997; of course, for the Yankees over the Marlins in 2003; for the Calgary Flames against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004; for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008.

Occasionally, I may root for Florida State. But never for the University of Florida or the University of Miami. Unless they play each other, in which case I hold my nose and root for the Gators. The Hurricanes are scum. Such scum that, in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, I actually rooted for Penn State to beat them. (I have never rooted for Penn State again. If I ever have to choose between (SC)UM and the Shittany Lions again, I think I may have to root for (SC)UM.)

You may have noticed that some of these were before November 2000. Well, I've been to Florida, and it's just too damn hot. And full of old people who don't know how to drive. (As opposed to New Jersey, Mike?) We're not as bad as Florida.

I've made two exceptions in Florida-based Finals: The first was in 2003, in Super Bowl XXXVII, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders. I'm sorry, but no matter how liberal California's East Bay is, I do not root for Da Raiduhs. The A's, maybe; the Warriors, possibly; the Raiders, never. They are evil, and what's worse, they enjoy it.

The second was in 2009, when the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic. I was able to rationalize picking conservative Central Florida over liberal L.A. by the fact that Florida did vote for Obama in 2008. Besides, how can anybody root for Kobe Bryant? What's worse, he'll get into the Basketball Hall of Fame. I hope the commentators talk about what he did in Colorado at least as much as they talked about Lawrence Taylor's peccadilloes (the ones he already had at that point) when he got into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In the 2006 NBA Finals, I unsuccessfully rooted for the Dallas Mavericks over the Miami Heat. Me, root for a Dallas team? The home town of the Cowboys? Of Bush's Rangers? Of Norm Green's (Norm Greed's) Stars and Derian "Hatchetman" Hatcher? A, I still wanted to punish Jeb Bush's State for how it fucked up the 2000 Presidential election; and B, I like Mark Cuban, because he pisses off other team owners. He's bipartisan, having made big donations to candidates as conservative as Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, and as liberal as Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, California.

Those of you familiar with Canada may ask why I supported the Flames over the Lightning for the 2004 Stanley Cup, when Alberta is Canada's only truly conservative Province, what with all the oil making them "Canada's Texas." Sorry, but even Albertans support Canada's social safety net.


"But Mike," you may ask, "Didn't Yankee owner George Steinbrenner make contributions to Richard Nixon in 1972? And didn't he get convicted over it?" Well, yes. But he got dragooned into it, in connection with his shipbuilding contracts. Hard to defend George on this one, but it was hardly all his fault.

And Robert Wood Johnson IV (a.k.a. Woody Johnson), owner of the New York Jets, is a major Republican contributor. But I'm not a Jets fan. Besides, you have to look at a team's fan base. If, say, the Green Bay Packers (of Wisconsin, a State so liberal even its Republicans tend to wear the "Progressive" label) are playing, say, the Cincinnati Bengals (Cincinnati being the home town of the Taft family and one of the few big cities, especially outside the Sun Belt, that is truly conservative), then I take the Packers. Even if Mark Chmura turned out to be the football equivalent of a Republican Congressman.

Good luck, Justice-designate Kagan. In your hearings, anyway.


Chelsea beat Wigan 8-0 (even bad teams playing great teams usually don't lose that badly in top-division soccer) and won the Premier League. Captain Adultery himself, John Terry, lifted the trophy. Oh well, better them than Manchester United.

Arsenal won their finale, and arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur blew a 2-0 lead against relegated Burnley, and lost 4-2. So Arsenal finish 3rd, Tottenham 4th. Happy St. Totteringham's Day.

Rest in peace, Lena Horne. I read somewhere that a movie about her life was in the works, but stalled when their intended star, Janet Jackson, got in a little trouble during a Super Bowl. I wanted Alicia Keys to take her place: They don't sound much alike (like Janet does?), but she looks a little like the young Lena, and is an amazing singer. Alicia would have been a lot better as Lena Horne than Pink (as much as I like her) would have been as Janis Joplin (another project that collapsed around the same time).

On this episode of Sesame Street, Lena sang "Bein' Green" with Kermit the Frog.


Paul said...

Greetings from enemy territory!

I have a local friend with a similar methodology about not rooting for teams from right-wing conservative states so I found your post additionally entertaining.

I know I'm the hated scum, but I do agree with you on politics. Let's see if the right can keep this objective - I figure they'd be looking to stick it to Obama because they're still cranky over the whole healthcare thing.


Joe Critic said...

I'm a Mets fan and a liberal and ive always done the same thing in regards to sports teams. I actually rooted for the Yankees over the Dbacks for that reason even though any other year I would have hated them, although that was probably more due to it being a month after 9/11

by the way, I posted on the Alternate History Lounge as The Donut. I don't think that we interacted that much before we got banned but I always found your posts enjoyable. cheers!