Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Most people don't care too much about politics. And even though I care, I can't really blame anyone for not caring. It's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.

But politics have an effect on sports. Just a few issues that won't be talked about too much on CNN, but will have a major impact on the American sporting environment.

1. The Cuban Embargo.
For decades, the US has prohibited importing any Cuban products. On the other side, the Cubans don't let anything get taken by America (See: Elian Gonzalez). This has kept one of the richest talent pools of baseball players away from the Majors. If Cuba and the US open up their respective relationships, the flood of Cuban players will significantly increase the average talent of Major League Baseball.

2. Drug Testing
For some reason, the Federal Government has led the crusade against HGH and steroids in sports. I guess everything else in the country/world is fine. The Senate, as well as the President can come down hard on MLB and the NFL, or they can let the leagues test the way they want to test. The Government has more of a reputation for fucking things up than the NHL has. Don't be surprised if Federally mandated drug tests are inefficient, expensive, and ineffective.

3. Arlen Specter vs. the NFL
Senator Specter's ongoing war with the NFL (most recently fought on the SpyGate front) is a prime example of the unjust powers of campaign financing. Specter's top 2 contributors are Comcast, and the law firm that represents Comcast. Not surprisingly, he's trying to get the NFL's antitrust exemption pulled, which is what Comcast wants. Ironic, eh? If this were to happen, teams would be on their own. Things like revenue sharing and a salary cap will change dramatically, and possibly go away. Big teams like Dallas, Philadelphia, both New Yorks, Chicago, and New England would have a huge advantage over teams like Green Bay, New Orleans, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Arizona.

4. Globalization
Basketball is the most popular sport in China, baseball is the most popular sport in Japan, and Russia has tried desperately to steal players away from both the NBA and NHL. Shady governments, like Russia's, allow for tax free salaries of star athletes. Jaromir Jagr, for instance, will make more at the end of the 2008-09 season than Marian Hossa. Dealing with globalization is a major political issue, the effects of which will be felt dearly in the sporting world.

5. Publicly owned stadiums
Did you know that Boston's sports teams are some of the only teams in the country that have privately owned facilities? The Garden, Fenway, and Gillette are owned by the Bruins, Red Sox, and Patriots, respectively. The new Yankee Stadium will be privately owned, as well. Usually, cities, counties, and states own stadiums. But financially fucked governments are less willing to pony up huge sums of money for new stadiums. The Bills, for instance, desperately need a new one. But they can't afford to build it, and neither can the state of New York. So they might just move to Toronto in a few years.

So even though the Red Sox/Yankees game will be watched by way more people than tonight's coverage of the Democratic National Convention, be sure to keep one eye on the politicians and make sure they don't fuck up our sports.

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