Democratic Underground

Electoral Baseball
March 16, 2001
by Derek Teaney

Electoral Baseball

You can't get much more American than baseball, right? After all it is the American pastime. But as I reflect on the events of Selection 2000, I realize that the game is probably not how our all-knowing and ever-wise Founding Fathers would have designed it. For example, they would have been appalled that at the end of nine innings, the team that had the most runs would be proclaimed the winner. Therefore, as we approach Opening Day of the 2001 season, I propose the following changes to the rulebook.

The final score, for all intents and purposes, will be disregarded. Instead, the winner of a particular game will be determined by the number of individual innings that they carry. It's only fair to lesser cared for innings, such as the 2nd through 6th. Think about it. Everybody loves the 1st and 9th innings, and to a lesser extent the 7th (everybody loves a stretch). So teams design their batting orders to put their best hitters up first, to score runs early, and have their best pitchers ready for the 9th inning.

What about the poor 3rd inning, when the bottom of the order is up, and everybody needs to visit the restroom to void their bladders of all the beer they drank tailgating? To force teams and fans to pay more attention to this inning, perhaps we could double the value of every run scored in the 3rd inning. Maybe then managers would pay more attention to it and Tony LaRussa would put Mark McGwire in the 9 hole of the line-up.

Take the following fictional box score as an example:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Texas Rangers 0 1 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 6
New York Yankees 5 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 8

It would appear that the Yankees had won this game, right? That's absurd. Why should they win just because they have more votes, I mean, runs? Under my proposed new rules, the Rangers would be the winners since they carried five innings to the Yankee's four. Plus the run that they scored in the 3rd, at double value, makes the score appear closer than it really should be, making the Ranger's win more acceptable.

Who knows where this could lead? Perhaps it will finally prevent the really talented teams from reaching the playoffs and lead to the Montreal-Kansas City World Series we've all been dreaming of.

I realize that my hopes of implementing these rules are slim. But hey, maybe if W ever achieves his greatest dream of being Commissioner of Baseball, these rules would strike a chord with him. And the way I figure it, it could happen just in time for the 2005 season when the Shrub is looking for work, and the true winner of the 2000 election, Al Gore, is out of exile and serving his rightful duties as the President of the United States.

Why is it that Americans could never accept these rules in a sporting event, but to many the archaic Electoral College seems justified? Some Electoral College supporters have said to me that it gives a voice to small states, and that without it the "six largest cities would decide who is President." This to me seems to be fallacious logic, as there is no problem with the population centers determining who is President SINCE THAT IS WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE. The notion that a county or an acre should have a greater vote than a person is ridiculous. The President of the United States theoretically serves all the people of the United States and should therefore be directly elected by the people of the United States.

One person, one vote, right? Wrong. In 1999, the estimated population of Wyoming was 479,602. Those folks have three votes in the Electoral College. If you divide that number by 3, you get approximately 160,000. By comparison, the population of the state of California in 1999 was an estimated 33,145,121. If it truly was one person, one vote, then for a Californian's vote to weigh as much as a person from Wyoming, California would have to have 207 electoral votes. Today, California has 54. That means that a Wyoming resident's vote weighs almost four times as much as the vote of a Californian.

Perhaps the value of runs scored in the 3rd inning should be quadrupled.


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