Running scared of the Red Sox

Published October 21, 2004 4:30PM (EDT)

All of a sudden, the Kerry campaign is looking like a 24-hour cable sports channel. The Democratic presidential nominee watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees last night from a hotel room in Boardman, Ohio, then spent the morning hunting geese on a farm outside of Youngstown. The early report: Kerry bagged one bird.

The Bush-Cheney campaign seems a little nervous that sportsman John might make inroads with the ESPN and "Fish & Game" set. As if Kerry didn't do enough to damage his jock credibility this morning by describing himself as "giddy" over the Red Sox' win, the Republicans are doing all they can to make sure the public knows Kerry is a poseur when it comes to pro sports.

Wednesday afternoon, the Bush-Cheney campaign circulated an email chronicle of "John Kerry's Sports Flubs." Up top was a photo of Kerry bobbling a football on the campaign trail, and down below was evidence that Kerry once stumbled over the names of Red Sox first baseman David Ortiz and the home field of the Green Bay Packers. More shocking news: Kerry said in August that he cared more about his chances of winning the White House than about Boston's chances of winning the World Series.

The Republicans pushed back a little more this morning, releasing a letter from 24 athletes who support the president. "The same qualities that make a great athlete make a great president," they say. "The determination to do what's right, regardless of the latest polls, the personal strength to bear the weight of the nation on your shoulders, and the faith that a higher power will direct the actions of good people."

Now, we're not sure what any of that has to be do with being a great athlete, although we'll certainly concede that David Ortiz -- or whatever his name is -- didn't look at "the latest polls" before launching a two-run shot last night. But apparently, the Bush-Cheney campaign was able to get 24 athletes, including the likes of John Elway, Karl Malone and and Mary Lou Retton -- to agree to the letter's language.

No, there aren't any Red Sox among the 24. But if Kerry and the Democrats need a little extra incentive to root for Boston, let it be known that the Houston Astros -- who may face the Red Sox in the World Series -- are well represented among the letter's signatories by center fielder Carlos Beltran, left fielder Craig Biggio and pitching advisor Nolan Ryan.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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