Using a vast array of sports data our illustrious Justin prognosticates this year’s presidential election results on yo’ ass.
Sports and politics are the most popular topics for AM radio call-in shows. I am pretty sure it’s not a coincidence and I think I know what the connection is: there are few areas of life where more imaginary patterns are conjured out of meaningless trivia. Political trivia is going to be harder and harder to avoid in Virginia, where those of us who’ve been through multiple presidential elections here know for precisely how many decades the State of Virginia has delivered each and every one of its electors to the Republican Party candidate (answer: 276). And with the Super Bowl looming, one can almost feel the gentle yet insistent tug of the sports trivia undertow at one’s ankles, as the sports trivia tidal wave builds silently off-shore until the meaningless statistics wave breaks overhead on Super Bowl Sunday and the nation is frothily notified of Tom Brady’s completion percentage in plays of between 11 and 17 yards on grass at night in a dome when his girlfriend’s hair is up.
I think this is stupid.
But Susan always says that when zombies take over the world, you might as well join them and become a zombie yourself rather than fighting in vain against the undead horde. So, with that never-say-die attitude, let’s see if we can’t use Richmond sports to figure out which political party will deliver to us our next president, like a horse delivering a baby horse except with more loud painful noises.
The Final Home Game of the Washington Redskins
First off, let’s see what we can learn from a legendary indicator of the past. The most powerful and long-lasting presidential sports indicator, as everyone knows, is the Washington Redskins final home game prior to the election. From 1940 to 2000 (inclusive), a win by the ‘Skins foretold a victory by the incumbency, but a loss indicated that it would be time to throw the sitting party out like the bums they are.
This indicator actually failed in 2004 when the Green Bay Packers proved to be more easily able to overcome misdirection than John Kerry.
What it predicts: Nothing yet. Tune in this fall.
Unrelated thought: Let’s review. William and Mary can’t have feathers on their logo, but a professional sports organization in the nation’s capital can be the Redskins?
The Final Home Game of the VCU Football Team
Sorry. Just kidding. That would be pretty cool, though.
What it predicts: Nothing yet for this one either, but someday our dream can come true. If the Richmond Braves can leave Richmond, then the VCU Rams can get football.
Unrelated thought: what do I need to do to learn whether the Gridiron Rams have political prognosticatory powers? What? Do I have to become ultra-rich and then donate my wealth to VCU with a football-related stipulation? Because I will, if that’s what it takes.
Whether the Richmond Baseball Team Leaves Richmond
By now we all have dissected the departure of the Braves quite enough, although I might argue that the proper anthropomorphic verb might be “vivisected” given the fact that the poor team still has another year left in the Diamond. But have we stopped to think about what the team’s election-year departure might mean for the future of our nation?
Consider the three previous times an established Richmond team has bid their final farewell to the city during a presidential election year:
In 1916, the Richmond Climbers played their last season in Richmond prior to being renamed the Richmond Virginians. That same year, the incumbent Democrat Woodrow Wilson (who, honestly, had no business beating a good and honest president like Taft in ’12 in the first place) recaptured his spot in Washington over the Republican and Socialist challengers.
In 1928, the Richmond Colts concluded their first multi-year campaign in Richmond when the Virginia League disbanded on June 3rd of that year. Meanwhile, Republican Herbert Hoover was elected to the presidency after Coolidge, the previous Republican president, declined to run (and good riddance, I say). The incumbency remained in power once again
In 1964, the Richmond Virginians departed for sexy and sunny Toledo Ohio to become the Mud Hens, and who can blame them. Not coincidentally, Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, was (re-?)elected after completing JFK’s term, winning 61% of the vote and 88% of the states.
What it predicts: Does a 2008 departure of the Braves mean the incumbent party will also maintain possession of the White House? Will Richmond’s loss on the baseball field become (judging by the democratic-leaning city population) Richmond’s loss at the polling station? Aw, hell, no one’s going to remember this column by November: yes. Yes it will. When Huckabee, McCain, Romney, or Paul take the White House next January, you will know that you have the Richmond Braves to thank for it.
Unrelated thought: While doing research for this article, I have found my new favorite location for a new minor league baseball stadium in Richmond. It has history, it has parking, it has convenient shopping and restaurants, it has character, and it will soon be available.
It is the current University of Richmond stadium.
Go look at the satellite image right now. No, I’m serious. Go look. Can’t you see how much it wants to be a baseball stadium? Look at the visitor’s stands, sweeping in a graceful demi-ellipse, just begging to bring outfield bleachers to Richmond baseball. Take out the hulking metal home stands and replace them with an understated, intimate infield seating area. Leave the grassy hill to the northeast and let kids play there, just like they do now during football and soccer games. Yeah? Definitely.
Photos by: rvaphotodude