In the News

Why They Play The Game

By Wyatt Messinger

We don’t know who will win the October Classic in 2011, and we don’t know who will win the November Classic in 2012. Whether it’s playoff baseball or presidential politics, no one can be 100% sure of a winner until the final out is recorded or vote counted. That’s why they play the game.

The 2011 baseball season started with great expectations for the Boston Red Sox. New players (Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford) were added in the offseason, a power pitcher (Josh Beckett) was predicted to have a rebound season and there was no possible way the Red Sox would have to deal with more injuries (the entire roster) than they did last year. Then something crazy happened: the Red Sox didn’t win early. They opened 2-9, including loosing their first six games to start the season.  Fans became antsy. SportsCenter hosts asked Buster Olney on a daily basis to rank the Red Sox on his “panic meter.” And, sports talk radio in Boston is likely at a fever pitch. But such early analysis, changing projections and uncertainty aren’t unique to baseball.

Enter the 2012 presidential election. With Obama launching his re-election campaign on April 2, new energy and attention has been injected into the 2012 presidential election. On the GOP side of things, talk of exploratory committees, fundraising (will it take $1 billion to beat Obama?) and early primaries is bubbling up with greater intensity.

But, the political landscape has changed since 2008.

The Tea Party has become a national movement, a new healthcare bill passed and Republicans control the House of Representatives as well as 29 state houses. These changes, as well as many others, are impacting how the GOP field comes together.

For starters, GOP hopefuls are waiting longer to officially declare their candidacy than they did before the 2008 election. Major policies continue to be debated – healthcare, debt ceiling, budget and more – but since many hopefuls aren’t yet official candidates, they are staying mum on major issues or at minimum leaving themselves plenty of wiggle room. Finally, there is some discussion that GOP establishment candidates may not fair as well in traditional early primary states, like South Carolina, as they have in past elections.

A new political landscape is impacting how the 2012 field comes together, and before it’s said and done, there will be a million more twists and turns through the election cycle. A lesser-known GOP candidate may emerge or broad support may rally behind one of the hopefuls already testing the waters. Hall of Famer, Yankee great and modern day philosopher, Yogi Berra, got it right when he said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Truth is, that’s why they hold the elections (and play the games).

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