Gore vs. Bush: The fans' choice

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Yes, choosing between this year's presidential candidates is a bit like choosing between Terry Bradshaw and a bobble-head doll. But we have to anyway. For there is more to being an American than simply chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" while Brandi Chastain displays her sports bra, more to patriotism than covering your heart with your New Era fitted cap during the National Anthem and far more to the democratic process than stuffing the ballot box for the National League All-Star team.

Al Gore
Al Gore pitches for the "sports vote" as he talks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a campaign stop.
To fully consider ourselves Americans, we must also take part in the demographic process. As Republican candidate George W. Bush once said, "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."

(No doubt, it was that same attitude that guided Bush as owner of the Texas Rangers when he traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox. But just as Jimmy Carter could always proudly say that he kept the Erie Canal, Bush can proudly maintain that he kept Geno Petralli. More importantly, he can also say he kept the Rangers long enough to turn a $640,000 investment into a $14 million profit after boondoggling the public into building him a stadium.)

So when you step into that booth today, think not what your country can do for you and think not what you can do for your country. Instead, think: What can each candidate do for sports?

And to help you out, here are the biggest changes we can expect from Bush should he receive a congratulatory phone call from Yankees manager Joe Torre tonight:

1. Puts Roger Clemens on death row for throwing bat at Mike Piazza.

2. Opens up the entire state of Alaska to oil and coal exploration, stripmines the Yosemite Valley and sells the Grand Canyon to a waste management company, but reaffirms his long-standing commitment to the environment with a universal ban on artificial turf.

3. Adds commissioner of baseball as a cabinet post, replacing secretary of health, education and welfare.

4. Threatens to move U.S. to South America unless Congress builds him a new White House.

5. Re-opens free trade with Cuba, but only for starting pitchers.

6. Prompts a nationwide malaise during his annual State of the Union address when he says the U.S. is losing money, that wages are too high and that there has to be a salary cap or Mississippi, Alabama and Rhode Island will no longer be able to compete with large market states such as California and New York.

7. Replaces "Star-Spangled Banner" as national anthem with "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

8. Gives long-needed tax relief to those who need it most by eliminating capital gains and estate taxes while extending NBA luxury tax to baseball.

9. Returns Elian Gonzalez to the United States, but deports Donald Fehr and Scott Boras.

10. Puts his daddy on $20 bill, replacing Peter Gammons.

Now, this would have been the Super Bowl of sports candidates had Bill Bradley beaten vice-president Al Gore for the Democratic nomination. Instead, Gore's sports connections are much more tenuous than Bush's.

Gore threw batting practice to the Tigers two months ago (in an attempt to gain votes in that crucial 35-under, multi-millionaire demographic) and played freshman basketball at Harvard, where he was roommates with Tommy Lee Jones, who played Ty Cobb in a movie.

So a Gore presidency would have less impact on the world of sports. But in the interest of equal time and fairness, here are five things we could expect to happen during a Gore regime:

1. Sees to it that Peyton Manning regains college eligibility.

2. Replaces Janet Reno with Pat Summitt as attorney general.

3. Replaces Laker Girls with Gore Girls.

4. Appears nightly on ESPN's Two-Minute Drill, insisting all his answers are correct.

5. Facilitates Beijing's mysterious winning bid for 2004 Final Four.

Jim Caple of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is a regular baseball columnist for ESPN.com.



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