August 02, 2004

Politics? Yeah, sure, what the heck? I had planned to do some heavy DNC-blogging last week, but I ended up being busy pretty much every night and was in my most-not-feeling-like-the-blogging mood since DeWitt Wallace and I founded The Donk back in 1922. I did listen to Kerry's acceptance speech on the radio, so while I unfortunately missed him sweating like a hemophiliac referee at a porcupine fight (to paraphrase Elrod the Albino), I did catch both the most-proudly-told horrible joke I have ever heard (get it: the West Wing!) and his seven Vietnam references, which helped me retain my undecided state of being.

But anyway, I figured it was time to give an update on the Spanish Tavern Patron's Poll, and damned if I wasn't completely shocked as I drove up Route 22 over the weekend. When last we checked, Kerry had a 52.4% to 47.6% lead over Bush, and while today's USA Today reports that not only did Kerry not receive a bounce from the DNC but that Bush may have actually gained ground, I was still shocked to find Bush ahead by a sizable margin, 56% to 44%. As always, I have no idea how this happened or what it means and will instead link to that donkey riding a banana.

But getting back to the politicking: as anybody who's spent more than 20 minutes with me can attest to, I am incredibly and annoyingly skilled in the art of the convoluted sports analogy. No matter what the topic or event, I am able to bring it down to the level of "the common man" (basically my friend Keith) by succinctly comparing it to, say, the 1990-91 Cleveland Cavaliers.

So when bigshot blogger Mickey Kaus suggested that John Kerry employ a Moneyball strategy in his campaign...well, here was finally a debate I can contribute to. To put it simply, Kaus was suggesting that rather than try and "present himself as a dynamic leader who is more appealing than Bush," Kerry instead draw as little attention to himself as possible, employing a patient strategy not unlike his self-professed favorite ballplayer Eddie "The Walking Man" Yost. Yost was a hitter of average speed and power, but whose ability to draw walks (six times leading the league) put him regularly among the league leaders in runs scored.

It seems to make sense, but as I saw it, there was one fairly large problem with this strategy. As I put it in my letter to Mr. Kaus:
Not to get all sabermetrical on you, but the biggest snipe against Beane's 'Moneyball' strategy is that while it may help a team rack up regular season wins against weaker teams whose pitchers lack control (for some reason Howard Dean comes to mind here), it has little success come postseason against opponents who make fewer mistakes, as evidenced by the A's utter lack of playoff series victories. In other words, while it may win division championships (or primary/nomination victories), it doesn't bring home the title.
You see what unemployment leaves you time for?
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