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Chip Bok | St. Petersburg Times

Rays baseball on the brain

There's a perfectly good reason why Florida's Republican presidential primary by all rights should trump Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. • Why should four states with the combined populations of Oz and the political clout of Silvio Berlusconi's ethics adviser hold disproportionate influence over presidential politics? • This is a bit like NATO looking to Liechtenstein for military advice. • After all …

By the way, don't you think Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon should receive the Nobel Peace Prize, be granted early sainthood and have a national holiday named after him?

Jeepers, the past few days around here have been real nail-biters, that is if you have anything left to chew on.

And the Boston Red Sox? Jeez-Louise, these guys wilted under the pressure of a playoff run faster than the Rick Perry campaign.

The Boston Botox sure got their money's worth with former Ray Carl Crawford — $142 million, .255 batting average. Rick Santorum isn't a bigger nonfactor.

Sorry, I got distracted there for a moment. Where was I? Oh yeah, now I remember.

That's right. The Florida presidential primary.

A special committee of Florida Republican spats is expected to officially designate Jan. 31, 2012, as the presidential primary date, thus forcing Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, with the combined population of Chernobyl, to try to adjust their dates to compete with Florida.

You know why they will do this? They will do this because in the absence of having a presidential primary, these four states attract about as much political interest as Tim Pawlenty's memoirs.

So it only makes ...

Don't you think they should replace the Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol with Evan Longoria? And surely the pope would probably agree to switch out the images in the Sistine Chapel with Johnny Damon and Dan Johnson touching their fingertips.

It only makes sense. When you manage to overcome a nine-game deficit over the Rex Sox in what was either the greatest comeback and/or the greatest choke/gag/wilt job in history since President Thomas Dewey, this was either a miracle in the mangroves, or maybe God is still ticked off over Babe Ruth being sold to the Yankees.

Sorry again. It's hard to focus on political machinations when you stop and think Maddon should receive the French Legion of Honor, an Academy Award for his bravura Olivier-like performances in getting thrown out of games (the last toss at Fenway Park was particularly "Richard III-ish") and the Pulitzer Prize simply for filling out the lineup card.

Okay, back to ... that's right, the primary kerfuffle thingy.

In the end, aside from the fact that Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina have combined populations that barely exceed Monaco, Florida certainly deserves to have more sway over the nomination process if for no other reason than the Rays reside in this state.

But will it really matter? Well, considering the cast of Jersey Shore loom as more viable presidential timber than the current Republican field of cranky, delusional, megalomaniacal, huckstering, whiny candidates, the nominating process has lost some of its luster.

With crowds cheering over letting uninsured people to go ahead and die, this has not exactly been a Lin-colnesque moment on the hustings.

You might say the entire nominating process has been ...

When you really think about it, the GOP should nominate Joe Maddon for president. If anybody knows how to take a seemingly hopeless situation and turn it around it certainly is Maddon, who should be awarded a MacArthur genius grant, a knighthood and Penelope Cruz's phone number.

No matter what lies ahead in the playoffs, this summer was the stuff of Field of Dreams, Bull Durham and Major League. This is what baseball should be all about: fun, crazy, unpredictable. And that's just the mangling of the national anthem. Then there's all the stuff on the diamond.

By the way, did I mention Joe Maddon should be given an honorary degree from Harvard (on second thought, let's make that Yale), an ambassadorship wherever he wants and a lifetime membership to Augusta National?

Okay, back to business. For finagling the presidential calendar, the GOP scowlers have threatened to strip Florida of some of its delegates when the party holds its convention in Tampa next year. Oooooh, so scary. Even with fewer delegates, Florida still has more juice than Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina with the combined population of Easter Island.

Or put another way …

You know, it just occurred to me that the city should rename itself St. James Shieldsburg. It's entirely possible Mayor Bill Foster might have a secret plan to do just that if Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn doesn't beat him to it first with Maddonampa.

Now where was I?

Rays baseball on the brain 09/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 5:18pm]
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