Although this is primarily a Sports blog, we're taking a slight detour here into the relationship between sports and politics, and we hope that Hunter S. Thompson would be proud. As you may or may not be aware, Presidential politics are dependent on a multitude of factors, not the least of which is the outcome of various sporting events. To wit: it turns out that last night, "The Redskins Rule"* has failed for only the second time in 72 years. More interestingly (and personally resonant) is "The Baseball Rule".** Indeed, San Francisco has had two massive wins on a National scale in the last fortnight, and that's a beautiful thing. (And yes, we're chalking up the Obama re-election in the SF column.) And yet, there are others: "The Crimson Tide Rule"*** which really, primarily indicates that Alabama will win another BCS, most likely edging a win over Oregon in a bowl game, in spite of it's being the most reliable presidential indicator of all. (We here at The Pitch & The Diamond have a few acquaintances with some serious money riding on the BCS outcome, so we're pulling ever so slightly for the Tide. Not that we care about college football, but still. Science is science.) Also, "The Dow Jones Rule" & "The Lakers Law", **** both of which predicted Obama.
(see below for explanations of these indicators, some of which are slightly confusing...)
What can we take away from all of this noise? Only this: people will find meaning in virtually any random series of events and look for significance in patterns where there is none. We, as a species, are rather adept at finding order in chaos, after all. Jesus' face in a flour tortilla, for example. What matters is this: The GIANTS won the World Series, and Obama gets another four years. It makes us feel as though we've collectively turned a corner, somehow. And that the Supreme Court is safe from becoming a three-decade bastion of cruel, petty, partisan, small-minded, retro-kneejerk conservative judicial activism, at least for a little while. Dodged that bullet. Whew!
Cheerio, -The Pitch & The Diamond
* Redskins Rule: A win in the Redskins final home game before the Presidential election means that the Incumbent stays in power; in this case, the Redskins lost :-( but Obama won :-) So, that's a FAIL for the rule. Was it the exception that proves the rule? Well, the only other time the Redskins rule didn't work was in 2000 when Gore narrowly failed to defeat the babbling idiot and his evil puppeteer, but everyone knows that 2000 was rife with vote tampering and fraud on the Republican side, and Gore actually won that one. So 2012 is the first actual refutation of the rule, GOP shenanigans notwithstanding. (There's also some sort of amendation to the rule involving the 2004 election and Kerry, but we're ignoring that for now, and trying our best to forget the Bush years in their entirety.)
** Baseball Rule: If the National League team wins the World Series, the Democratic nominee for president wins the presidency; if the American League team wins, the Republican takes office. This one has been a bit less reliable over time, with 12 of the last 16 Fall classics accurately predicting the general election, including the last four in a row (including 2012), but still. You gotta love the fact that the National League = the Democratic Party. It's all about the Pitch and the Defense; Democrats don't need no stinkin' DH! And as long as the Giants continue to win it all every two years, we're set.
*** Crimson Tide Rule: Since 1984, whenever LSU has won the LSU-Alabama game, the Republican nominee has taken the White House. In election years when Alabama won, so has the Democrat. The Crimson Tide prevailed on Nov. 3rd, 21-17, and Obama won by a similar margin yesterday (when averaging the Electoral College and the Popular vote margins, by our highly scientific and incredibly accurate mathematical techniques.) This rule has yet to fail, but it's an admittedly small sample size. Go Tide!
**** Dow Jones Rule: Though not technically a sport, the Stock Market is looked at with a discerning sporting eye by all major bookmakers, so we're including it here. When the DJIA is up more than 5% a year, the incumbent party has held on to the presidency. The Dow is up at an annualized rate of almost 13% since Obama took office. In the last fifteen elections (including 2012) this has held true 12 times and failed only thrice. So, BOOM. That's what's up. And finally, the Lakers Law: The Republicans win the Presidency in any year that the Lakers reach the NBA Finals, regardless of the series' outcome, because who really cares what happens in basketball? Interestingly, this predictor has only failed once before, in 2008, when the Lakers met the Celtics (again, who cares who won?) and Obama took his first term. But this time it held, since the Lakers suck. (And if there was a Dodgers Rule, we're pretty sure it would have something to do with Tommy Lasorda being a fat loser and the Giants kicking Dodger ass.) So at any rate, the indicators seem to have held up, with the Redskins Rule being the exception (that may or may not prove the rule). And now we've got four more years of sanity on the horizon, which comes as a tremendous relief.
Thus concludes our foray into political waters, and we now return to our regularly scheduled sports obsession.
p.s. also, as a footnote, there's something floating around out there about Obama playing a pick-up basketball game with friends and aides before an election, which he did on 2008 -- and he subsequently won that election. Then he did it again yesterday, so there's that.