Thursday, October 21, 2004

Odds, Please?

Boston has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win the American League pennant. That, in itself, reflects a phenomenal disregard for the law of averages. But if Houston wins game 7 against St. Louis and takes the National League pennant, we'll have a Texas team versus a Massachusetts team vying for the championship at the same time a Texas politician and a Massachusetts politician are in the final throes of their presidential race, and I'll be borrowing Shiva's tin-foil hat.

Seriously, what are the odds here? Has it ever happened that the World Series teams have reflected the state allegiences of the presidential candidates? I've looked, and the answer appears to be no. In 1972 we had Nixon, a Californian, and the Oakland A's -- but the A's played Cincinnati, and McGovern wasn't from Ohio. In 1932 you had FDR and the Yankees -- but the Cubs were from Illinois, and Hoover was from Iowa. 1936 is close: both teams were from Roosevelt's home state of New York. But his opponent, Alf Landon, was from Kansas, so it really doesn't count, does it? Reverse situation in 1920, when two Ohioans, Harding and Cox, ran, and Cleveland was in the Series.

There may be other one-team years, but it appears this year has a chance to be a true first, if the Astros win. And God, I hope they don't, because what passes for political discourse now in this country will end up reduced to talk about whether Bush needs to send in a reliever, or whether Kerry is going to choke like famous Boston teams past.