Every season, Sox fans believe their team will win (in fact, the slogan of Red Sox Nation is “we believe”), that this is the year the curse will finally end, and every year they are disappointed. The Yankees had a weak team this year and ended up suffering defeat at the hands of the Marlins in the World Series. On the other hand, the Red Sox had one of the most powerful hitting lineups in baseball as well as a solid pitching corps. The Sox had momentum from their comeback win over the A’s and the Sox’s relief staff, which had been questionable at best throughout the season, looked unbeatable. The team couldn’t possibly lose, yet they did.
In every election year since 1992 when they lost control of Congress, the Democrats have believed they will regain control of the House of Representatives, and every year they are disappointed. A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts whose office I interned in two summers ago (and who is a rabid Sox fan) showed me an elaborate account of how the Democrats couldn’t possibly lose last year’s election. He said that every president who was involved in a war saw their party lose power in mid-term elections, even notoriously popular presidents such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In last year’s horrific election, the economy was weak and the administration was tied up with scandals at Enron and other corporations making the time ripe for a Democratic takeover. Some highly optimistic Democrats even claimed that the Democrats could pick up as many as 20 seats, yet the Republicans knocked off a few incumbent Democrats and easily maintained leadership in the House.
In addition to the constant disappointment that both groups cause their followers, each entity has a loyal base that passionately hates its opponents. Sox fans constantly cheer “Yankees suck” and have been known to riot when their team loses. They will also watch game after game even when their team has no chance of attaining a winning season, let alone making the playoffs.
Democrats believe that House majority whip Tom DeLay is a truly evil man and think that President Bush is one of the worst presidents in the history of the country, derisively calling him “Dumbya” and a “misleader.” Commenting on the unabashed hatred of Bush among the faculty at Amherst, conservative Professor of Political Science Hadley Arkes said, “The only debate about Bush here is whether he is more like Himmler or Hitler.”
Democrats watch CSPAN and read Roll Call meticulously, watching how their party is doing even if it means sitting through a vote of 250-137 (with multiple abstentations of course) in the House against their bill.
Each entity has also recently experienced problems with leadership. The Red Sox fired their manager, Grady Little, after the Pedro Martinez fiasco and the Democrats totally screwed up the California recall, splitting their resources between Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante, thereby letting the Terminator walk into the governor’s mansion.
Since the connection between the Sox and Democrats’ misery has clearly been established, the only question that remains is if the loyal fans of both constituencies are condemned to be miserable next year and in the future.
My answer is an emphatic “no!” Followers of both groups have reasons to be optimistic of the future. Next season looks promising for the Red Sox. They almost beat the Yankees this year and they will be returning with largely the same team. They will also have a new manager who will hopefully know that when your star pitcher is tired, you need to take him out of the game.
Meanwhile, Clemens is retiring and the Yankees have proved themselves beatable, having lost the World Series to the Diamondbacks in 2001 and now the Marlins in 2003.
Going into the 2004 election, confidence in the Democratic party is again on the rise. Despite signs of growth in the economy, consumer confidence is low and unemployment remains very high. As the death toll of American troops in Iraq continues to climb, support for continued military presence in Iraq will continue to drop. Bush is finally being attacked on the domestic front for failing to fully fund his “No Child Left Behind Act” and environmentalists’ critiques of Bush’s policy are finally starting to make themselves heard. Instead of rubber stamping Republican bills, the Democrats have begun debating, questioning and filibustering. The Democrats have two energetic candidates for the Presidency in Howard Dean and Wesley Clark, and many people believe the two might end up combining on a Democratic ticket.
I know it is early to make predictions for the new year, but since baseball teams are beginning to make offseason changes and the Democratic primary is starting to get exciting, I feel justified in looking ahead. The unabashed faith-some would say delusion-that comes with being both a Sox fan and a loyal Democrat makes me believe that 2004 is our year-the Sox will win the Series and Bush will lose the Presidency.