Sports World To Change With Election

    In 1989, George W. Bush became a vested owner in the Texas Rangers. With his run for governor, his interest in the team waned, and in 1998 he sold his part of the club for a $15 million profit. During his time as an owner of the Rangers he had some successes, a few winning seasons and some failures, such as the trade of Sammy Sosa.

    Given Bush’s long-standing association with the sports world — he played baseball as a freshman at Yale and is an avid runner — I think the question must be posed: What will his probable presidency mean for American sports?

    In baseball, there will be no salary cap. It seems as if a cap would run against this Republican’s principles of letting the economics dictate what happens.

    What does a cap do except put teams on equal footing? As Bush’s plans for social security, tax cuts and prescription drugs show, he is not interested in equal footing for anyone. Let us see the rich get richer like the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the poor become poorer, like the Milwaukee Brewers, the Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins. Sounds like a good plan to me!

    Baseball has had more fights than usual over the last couple of years, and Frank Robinson has been doling out punishments like a madman.

    With Bush’s record on crime — he has presided over more than 130 executions during his time in office — it looks like Robinson will not only be able to suspend practically the entire Dodgers team for the season as he did last year, but he will have a new weapon at his disposal: death. That’s OK, however; America needs less stuck-up primadonnas like Albert Belle.

    What about basketball? Players such as Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal and Rick Fox are becoming multidimensional on and off the court. They are reaching across boundary lines to become basketball, movie and rap stars.

    If Bush and the Republican Congress have anything to say about this kind of faceted approach to life, these guys will be in trouble. This kind of cooperation between different sects of society is just unacceptable. Bipartisan mannerisms can only be given lip service, and not actually followed through.

    What about the traditionally marginalized sports, those that exist on the fringes of our American sporting conscience: sports like soccer, cross country and diving. These are sports that many people play, but they bring in much less money than baseball and basketball. The majority of Americans rarely think about them.

    Considering that Bush wants to help only “”real Americans”” — he has published a 16-page pamphlet called “”Real People, Real Americans: The Middle Class”” — and sports like cross country don’t seem like “”real”” American sports, it looks like these marginalized, neglected aspects of the sporting world are going to be in for four more years of being swept under the table. They will be allowed to come out occasionally, for things like the World Cup and for a couple of TV appearances every once in a while, but most of the time they will be locked up in the closet.

    Football is the only sport that will be safe under a Bush presidency. It is just a bunch of big guys running around and hitting each other. Bush should be comfortable with this.

    Considering his inability to say what he actually means, and his numerous verbal blunders, Bush will get along just fine with all the concussion-ridden NFL quarterbacks and players. As one USA Today reporter said, “”[Bush’s] verbal gaffes are so numerous they are not even worth reporting any more.”” Just six days ago, he said social security is “”not a government program.””

    That is how I see the sports world with Bush as president. A rather interesting place, don’t you think?

    I can see Papa Bush and Dubya in the governor’s mansion in Austin right now talking about the next four years, and I bet that Papa has just one question for Junior: “”Son, are you going to be pitching or catching?””

    Good luck to George Jr. and the sports world in general.

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