Monday, November 5, 2012

Remember, Remember

Remember, remember, the 5th of November.
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
why the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

November 5, 1605: The opening of the English Parliament goes on as scheduled, because Guy Fawkes was caught in the basement with explosives.  There would be no explosion.  King James I (called James VI in Scotland) would live another 20 years (minus a few months).  The Protestant form of Christianity would continue to rule in England.

What would have happened if Fawkes and his co-conspirators, led by Robert Catesby, had succeeded? Most likely, not what they would have intended.  The heir, 11-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales (who did die on a 6th of November, 7 years later), would have been in the House of Lords with his father and mother, Queen Anne (a former Princess of Denmark), and would also have died.  The next in line, Prince Charles (who became King Charles I upon his father's death in 1625), about to reach his 5th birthday, would have been captured, and the other children, 9-year-old Princess Elizabeth (who became the wife of the Elector of Palatine) and the infant Princess Mary (who died aged 2, followed by an additional daughter Sophia who died shortly after birth in 1607), would have been captured as well.

Many of the conspirators, seemingly (but not, as it turned out) wisely already far from London, began to tell Catholics (erroneously, not that they knew) that the plot had succeeded.  Most of those that they told were appalled, and did not rally to their side.  The rebellion for which they had hoped fizzled, not even lasting long enough to form, let alone collapse, or be crushed.

Over 400 years later, Guy Fawkes is celebrated in England with "Guy Fawkes Night," or "Bonfire Night," in which children are permitted to burn effigies of the traitor; and with the mask that is said to resemble him, as with the film V for Vendetta.  Except "V" (or "Codename V," as the fascist authorities in that film's imagined dystopian future labeled him) was fighting a tyranny based on religion and bigotry.  The regime that the real Fawkes and his co-conspirators hoped to install would have been Catholic and, as Catholic regimes tended to be in those pre-Enlightenment days, every bit as authoritarian as the film's Norsefire government.

*

What does this have to do with sports, and why am I mentioning it in a sports-themed column, you may ask?

Only to remind you that tomorrow is the 6th of November, Election Day.

Do you want an authoritarian government, with a clueless business tycoon as its nominal head, while the real power rests with religious bigots? Then Mitt Romney is your man.

Do you want freedom? Do you want the best possible chance to be who you are, and to become what you want to be, with no one standing in your way of doing so? Then not only is Barack Obama your man for President, but you need to vote a straight Democratic ticket.  Vote for your District's Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.  If your State is electing a U.S. Senator or its Governor, vote Democratic in those elections as well.  State legislature seats up for grabs? Again, make it a Democratic vote.

Now, I realize that Yankee Fans, if not Democrats themselves, tend to live in 3 States that are traditionally Democratic: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Think about this: Under Republican Presidents, the Yankees have not won a World Series since 1958.  Under Democratic Presidents, the Yankees have won 9 World Series since then -- in that period, no other team has won more than 5.

From 1921 to 1958, the Yankees did very well under Presidents of both parties.  But, since then...

* Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican, 1959 and '60: 1 Pennant (1960), lost World Series.

* John F. Kennedy, Democratic, 1961, '62 and '63: 3 Pennants, 2 World Championships (all but '63).

* Lyndon B. Johnson, Democratic, 1964 to '68: 1 Pennant (1964), lost World Series.  By later standards, an aberration.

* Richard Nixon, Republican, 1969 to '73: No postseason berths, not even really a close call.  (Finished 2nd in '70, but well behind runaway Baltimore.  Still had a shot going into September '72 and August '73, but tailed off.)

* Gerald Ford, Republican, 1974, '75 and '76: 1 Pennant (1976), lost World Series.  (Came close to the Division in '74, still had a shot going into September '75.)

* Jimmy Carter, Democratic, 1977 to '80: 3 Division Titles, 2 Pennants, 2 World Championships.  (Only postseason miss was the tragic season of '79.)

* Ronald Reagan, Republican, 1981 to '88: 1 Pennant (1981), lost World Series.  (Lost Division on final weekend in '85, still in race in mid-September in '86 and '88.)

* George H.W. Bush, Republican, 1989 to '92: No postseason berths, losing season all 4 years.

* Bill Clinton, Democratic, 1993 to 2000: 6 postseason berths, 4 Division Titles, 4 Pennants, 4 World Championships.  (Still in race in mid-September in '93, led Division when strike hit in August '94, Wild Card in '95 and '97, went all the way in '96, '98, '99 and 2000.)

* George W. Bush, Republican, 2001 to '08: 7 postseason berths, 2 Pennants (2001 & '03), lost both World Series.  (Not to mention the Curse of the Bambino was broken -- like Bush's election, by cheating.)

* Barack Obama, Democratic, 2009 to (so far) '12: 4 postseason berths, 1 Pennant (2009), won World Series.

So, if you're a Yankee Fan, even if you're voting for the lying bastard Romney, you should still want Obama to win the election.  Because he's better for the economy (it was conservative businessmen who crashed it in 2008), he's better on foreign policy (ask Osama bin Laden), and he's been better for the Yankees.

*

Here's how the Yankees have done under every President since they've been in business, ranked by success (of the team, not the President), with the years cited being the years in which the seasons were completed, not necessarily contiguous with that President's time in office:

1. 1933-44 Franklin Roosevelt, Democratic: 7 Pennants, 6 World Championships
2. 1945-52 Harry Truman, Democratic: 5 Pennants, 5 World Championships
3. 1993-2000 Bill Clinton, Democratic: 6 postseasons, 4 Pennants, 4 World Championships
4. 1953-60 Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican: 6 Pennants, 3 World Championships
5. 1923-28 Calvin Coolidge, Republican: 4 Pennants, 3 World Championships
6. 1977-80 Jimmy Carter, Democratic: 3 Division Titles, 2 Pennants, 2 World Championships
7. 1961-63 John F. Kennedy, Democratic: 3 Pennants, 2 World Championships
8. 2009-12 Barack Obama, Democratic: 4 postseasons, 1 Pennant, 1 World Championship
9. 1929-32 Herbert Hoover, Republican: 1 World Championship
10. 2001-08 George W. Bush, Republican: 7 postseasons, 2 Pennants, lost both World Series
11. 1921-22 Warren Harding, Republican: 2 Pennants, lost both World Series
12. 1981-88 Ronald Reagan, Republican: 1 Pennant, lost World Series, 2 2nd-place finishes
13. 1974-76 Gerald Ford, Republican: 1 Pennant, lost World Series, 1 2nd-place finish
14. 1964-68 Lyndon Johnson, Democratic: 1 Pennant, lost World Series
15. 1903-08 Theodore Roosevelt, Republican: No postseasons, 2 2nd-place finishes
16. 1969-73 Richard Nixon, Republican: No postseasons, 1 2nd-place finish
17. 1909-12 William Howard Taft, Republican: No postseasons, 1 2nd-place finish
18. 1913-20 Woodrow Wilson, Democratic: No postseasons, closest finish a strong 3rd
19. 1989-92 George H.W. Bush, Republican: No winning seasons

Doesn't quite correspond to the Presidents' success or failure in office.  But the Yankees have still done better under Obama than under any GOP President of the last half-century.

Something to think about -- that is, if you STILL haven't decided between the lying tax-cheating misogynistic warmongering economic predator Willard Mitt Romney... and the man who saved the economy in 2009, gave 32 million Americans health care and ended the Iraq War in 2010, and killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

*

Days until the 2012 Presidential election: 1.  Tomorrow: VOTE!

Days until Arsenal play another competitive match: 1, tomorrow afternoon (evening their time), away to Fussball-Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League.  In Arsenal's last CL match, Schalke dealt Arsenal its first home CL Group Stage defeat in 9 years, and are currently 2nd in Germany's highly competitive Bundesliga (although well behind leaders and perennial winners Bayern Munich).


Days until the Red Bulls play again: 2, against D.C. United, in the 2nd Leg of the MLS Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.  The 1st Leg ended 1-1.  If it's still tied at the end of regulation, there will be extra time.  If it's still tied, there will be a penalty shootout.
Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": See the previous answer.
Days until the Devils play again: Who knows.  All NHL games have been cancelled through November 30 -- and the Winter Classic, set to be played on New Year's Day between Detroit and Toronto at the University of Michigan's 111,000-seat stadium, has been canceled.  As in 2004-05, we may not have a season at all.
Days until the Devils play another local rival: Who knows.
Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 4, this Friday night, away to Piscataway, a team they haven't beaten since 1990 -- and not at Piscataway since 1989.  This game was postponed from this past Friday night, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  The game intended for this Friday night, EBHS's "consolation match" (the game meant to take the place of the Central Jersey Group V Quarterfinal for which they did not qualify), will be played the following weekend, day, time, opponent and location to be determined.  The State Sectional Playoffs are also moved back.  The Thanksgiving game against Old Bridge will go on as scheduled -- weather permitting.
Days until Rutgers plays football again: 5, this Saturday afternoon, home to the U.S. Military Academy -- usually called "Army" for sports purposes.  Of course it's good to win, but what does it say about our future soldiers if they can't even beat Rutgers?
Days until the U.S. National Soccer Team plays again: 9, a friendly away to Russia, at Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar, on Wednesday, November 14.  There are no matches scheduled for after that.  Next up will be the last round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, for the region that encompasses North America, Central America, and the Caribbean nations.  If they finish 1st or 2nd in this group of 6, they qualify for the 2014 World Cup.  These matches are expected to start this coming March.
Days until the next North London Derby: 12, on Saturday, November 17, at the Emirates Stadium.  Under 2 weeks.  The return fixture will be on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at White Hart Lane.
Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 17.  Under 3 weeks until our annual Turkey Day beatdown by the Purple Bastards.
Days until the Yankees play again: 147, on Monday, April 1, at 1:05 PM, at home at Yankee Stadium II, against the Boston Red Sox.  Under 5 months.  Beat The Scum!
Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: See the previous answer.
Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 300 (estimated around September 1, 2013).  This is taking his recent injury into account.  Under 10 months.
Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 454 (February 2, 2014).  Under 15 months.
Days until the 2014 Winter Olympics: 459 (February 7, 2014).
Days until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 584 (June 12, 2014).  Under 20 months.
Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 649 (estimated, around September 15, 2014).  Under 2 years.
Days until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 1,369 (August 5, 2016).  Under 4 years.
Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,425 (estimated -- I'm guessing around the end of 2016, around September 30).
Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,637 (estimated -- estimating 28 home runs a year, taking his recent injury into account, I'm guessing around April 30, 2017, at age 41).  Under 4 1/2 years -- if he can.  And even if he does, will he still be a Yankee when he does it? Your guess is as good as mine -- and his.

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