Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Bloody Sock Factor: How the 2004 World Series and Red Sox Nation May Have Influenced This Month's Massachusetts Senate Campaign

So we're a little over a week removed from the Massachusetts special election where Republican Scott Brown won- the Monday morning quarterbacking continues.

One aspect of this that's garnered some attention is what role (if any) Red Sox Nation played in the election.

In a Boston Globe piece a few weeks ago, Democrat Martha Coakley came off as snide and dismissive of Scott Brown's campaigning outside of Fenway Park on New Year's Day for the NHL Winter Classic. Never shy about airing his opinion, Curt Schilling had earlier stepped into the fray and announced his enthusiastic support for Scott Brown earlier this month and began campaigning for him. When Coakley was being asked in a relatively friendly radio interview about Schilling endorsing Brown, she had this to say:

Interviewer: Yeah, but now Scott Brown has Curt Schilling, OK?’
Coakley: “And another Yankee fan.’’
Interviewer: “Schilling?’’
Coakley: Yes
Interviewer [pressing]: Curt Schilling a Yankee fan?
Coakley [backpedaling]: No, all right, I’m wrong on my, I’m wrong

Look- this isn't like she flubbed some obscure stat like who played shortstop for the Red Sox in 1981 [Glenn Hoffman, BTW]. Even if you lived outside of New England and knew nothing about baseball five years ago, you still knew that the Boston Red Sox had broken the 'Curse of the Bambino' and won their first World Series title in 86 years. However, Red Sox Nation is without a doubt the most passionate and knowledgeable fanbase out there- hell, Baseball was practically invented in Massachusetts.

Now comes the question of what role did Red Sox Nation and, by extension, Curt Schilling play in all of this? It would be quite misleading to convey the impression that every last Red Sox fan in the Bay State was waiting for Curt Schilling to announce which candidate he was going to endorse. Hell, his unabashed red-state tendencies make him very much the contrarian in one of the bluest states in the union- much of Red Sox Nation was used to tuning him out when he wasn't discussing anything baseball related. To be honest, it doesn't take much to be a conservative in the land of Barry Goldwater or John McCain. However it certainly requires some chutzpah to be one living anywhere east of Route 128.

Schilling's endorsement of Brown wasn't necessarily a deal-breaker, but Coakley's inept response to Schilling demonstrated how out-of-touch she was with the Bay State electorate. The Massachusetts voters seemed to be applying the same line of reasoning to Coakley and Schilling that I applied to regarding Barack Obama's initial response to the Sgt. Crowley/Prof. Gates incident in Cambridge could be applied to Coakley:
"If Coakley botched a relatively small thing like professional sports as badly as she did, why should we trust her on the bigger issues of more consequence?"

Also, hardly anybody should be surprised that Curt Schilling has a blog this blogger...he uses to express his opinions and insight. Seems a little hypocritical for the Democrats and Coakley supporters to jump on there and start shrieking 'OMG! STFU- you're just a dumb Richie rich who throws a baseball and doesn't know anything!!!1111oneone' in the comments section yet have nothing to say about the remarkable insight on geopolitics and climatology offered by such intellectual luminaries as Danny Glover or Sean Penn.

Then there's the matter of the man who's passing made this election necessary in the first place.

As for healthcare being the late Sen. Kennedy's 'legacy': he wouldn't have had to have lived with the consequences of a rationed, state-run healthcare system.

Ted Kennedy never inspired thousands of New Englanders, their voices still hoarse from celebrating and tears still in their eyes, to make a solemn trip on a sunny autumn day to the cemetery with a little Red Sox pennant or trinket in hand so that they could tell their departed loved ones 'They did it!' and leave a memento on their headstone.

It seems kind of sad that a pol from Massachusetts should even need to hear this advice, but for all the tributes the 'Liberal Lion' garnered shortly after his passing, do not underestimate how sacrosanct that New England institution at the corner of Yawkey Way and Landsdowne Street is.


  1. I left a comment and something went wrong. Too tired to re-do it. Coakley not knowing who Curt Schilling is made her sound like an outsider. Not good.

  2. As for healthcare being the late Sen. Kennedy's 'legacy': he wouldn't have had to have lived with the consequences of a rationed, state-run healthcare system.

    Sure he would have. As one of the elite, he wouldn't have had to face the rations with the rest of us proles.

  3. RoboMonkey said...

    As one of the elite, he wouldn't have had to face the rations with the rest of us proles.

    Exactly my point, although the escape clause for the Dems Big Labor sugar daddies wasn't added until after his passing.