Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Baseball and Election Day notes

Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential nominee Mitt
Romney, at Game 4 of the World Series. 
On this "I Voted" sticker day, a few threads connecting the election and the National Pastime:

Terry Ryan, the Twins general manager, and Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice-president, are related -- cousins of one degree or another. They're both from Janesville, Wis, and there are apparently a lot of Ryans there.

President Obama irked a few
people by wearing his White Sox
apparel rather than generic
All-Star Game gear when
throwing a first pitch at the
2009 All-Star Game.
President Obama is well-known to be a White Sox fan. Mitt Romney's baseball loyalities are a bit less well defined; as a former governor of Massachusetts, he probably had to at least pretend to be a Red Sox fan, but he grew up in Michigan, and his wife, Ann, wore a Tigers cap to Game 4 of the World Series last month. That was probably a sincere rooting interest, but it was politically astute as well. There aren't a lot of GOP votes in San Francisco anyway, and Michigan is closer than California to being a swing state.

Major League Baseball has a political action committee, the MLB Commissioner's Office PAC, created in 2001. A story in a recent Baseball America said the PAC had raised $465,700 for the 2012 election cycle; the teams leading in contributions are the Giants ($46,750) and the Twins ($30,000). Historically, the PAC has given more to Democrats (58.9 percent) than to Republicans (44.1 percent).

The Pohlads have long been contributors to DFL coffers; this listing of 2012 donations by team CEO Jim Pohlad totals $60,000, all to either the MLB PAC or to Democrats. The trio of brothers (Jim, Bob and Bill) had given more than $300,000 as of last summer to the group fighting the marriage amendment in Minnesota.

Mitt Romney's eldest son, Tagg, was director of marketing for the Los Angeles Dodgers for less than a year around 2005, when Frank and Jamie McCourt owned both the Dodgers and valuable real estate in downtown Boston (parking lots) and Daddy Romney was governor of Massachusetts. Tagg didn't last long, and this story from the Los Angeles Times paints an unflattering picture of his tenure and qualifications. Of course, pretty much everything from the McCourt era draws scorn in L.A. these days.

(Mitt? Tagg? There's some cheap, corny baseball pun to be made there ... and normally I'm the man to make cheap, corny baseball puns, but today I'll resist.)

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