Sox Fever Throws Politicians a Curve Ball

This article originally appeared on page 2 of the Oct. 2, 2003 edition of the Reporter.

Reporter's Notebook by Bill Forry

To: City Council Candidates

Re: Your Campaign's Sorry Fate

Dear Council hopeful (state your name):

You all know from reading the Reporter faithfully that politics is definitely the number-one fall sport in these here parts.

Unless, of course, the Red Sox happen to be in the playoffs. And, since you've been too busy taping personalized phone messages that I'll immediately erase on election eve, let me fill you in: As fate would have it, the Sox actually did make the cut. The playoffs started last night. At approximately 10:05 p.m. Wednesday, your campaign officially came to a screeching halt.

Here's the bad news: The deeper the Sox go into the postseason, the longer the odds are that anyone will pay the least bit of attention to you and you're probably going to lose.

The good news: Your opponents are caught in the same nightmare.

There is nothing you can do to change this situation. Just make the best of it and, whatever you do, do not call undue attention to yourself by trying to break through the Sox fan force field.

Here are some ground rules for the next month (we hope):

•Go home early. You're going to have a lot less ground to cover in the next few weeks. Think about it: What politico in his or her right mind is going to go door-knocking this Thursday evening? And Saturday and Sunday are out altogether. Interrupt a single pitch of a Sox fan's date with the TV and you might as well write off the whole family. Note to your campaign volunteers: Unless your candidate's palm-card grants the bearer access to Fenway Park for the weekend, you're better off dropping said flier in the mailbox and calling it a day.

•Don't think you'll have better luck on the neighborhood civic circuit, either. Community meetings get better attendance in blizzards than they do when the Sox are playing October baseball. Important: Senior citizens will not entertain your non-baseball related advances either, even if you do bring snacks this time. Remember: These people have been waiting for this moment for... ever. Best bet: stay home. By saving the gas, you might finally have a shot at the Green Party endorsement next time. Smart, huh?

•Special events. Your only hope is to go to those handful of annual events that are too expensive to get cancelled. Like Thursday night's Men of Boston Cook for Women's Health gala at Codman Square Health Center. Great hit. Five hundred good voters, easy.

And they can't cancel the thing, right? No, they cannot. But they can truck in enormous television sets that will be tuned into Game Two for most of the night.

Please, do not try to change the channel to see who's on Joe Heisler. No one's on Joe Heisler. Joe Heisler's watching the game at Doyle's. Step away from the TV, make a generous bid at the silent auction to win a Tim Wakefield authographed baseball and go get yourself a free beer. It's okay. If things go well, no one's going to remember it was you they saw shot-gunning a cold one in the corner.

You know as well as the next guy on the ballot: politics is a numbers game, plain and simple. So here's the black-and-white on this one: The World Series starts on October 18, which means this thing could go straight through to the 28th. And then, if the unthinkable happens, well then - of course - there's no telling how long it will take the city to be put back together. The victory parade alone will be a three-day affair. If you actually somehow win, you'll spend the next 12 months figuring out how to pay for the clean-up so the Democrats can mess it up again next year.

Let's see, that brings us up to November 3. Congratulations, you now have 24 hours to win an election.

But, hey, look on the bright side. Odds are the Sox won't even make it through the first round.

After all, this is your year, right?

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