Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Training and Primary Elections

Well, it's March, which means two things for Illinois. Primary elections and hearing spring training baseball games on the radio. Sadly I can't find a station around the Chicago area that will play Cardinals games, and that's a shame. However, spring training and primary elections are very similar. How is this possible, you might ask. I think I can explain it pretty easily.

Primary elections set up a party-by-party slate of candidates to compete with other political parties. Spring training sets up a roster of players to compete against other teams. During spring training, veterans and rookies who have been contacted by the same team have to also compete against each other for the limited number of slots available for starting players. If you're good enough, you'll get a starting spot. If not, back to the minors with you. Likewise, if you don't win the primaries, you can really only hope to get in at a secondary level, like hoping for a job if your party's winner gets into office.

Once the rosters are pared down and the party slates are confirmed, the game begins in earnest. The political parties do their best to rally their loyal voters into convincing others to vote the same way. The baseball teams do their best to keep their fans happy by winning baseball games, thus bringing in more money and thus better chances to land the most skilled players. Political parties and baseball teams want to be viable enough to win come November. It's kind of amusing to see that the World Series and the general election happening simultaneously. Each one has its group of loudmothed supporters and has to impress the vast majority of people who are relatively undecided but want to know the outcome either way. To the candidates, this brings in votes. To the baseball teams, this brings in money to pay the guys who are best at driving in runs, pitching high-speed sliders and keeping the ball from leaving the park. Both groups are looking to the future with the big game on their minds. Who's going to win the big game? At the moment, all the parties and all the teams have equal records, and it's up to them to play to win.

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