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Curt Schilling is putting his New England cred to use by stumping for John McCain in New Hampshire. He compared Obama's edge in money and polling to the one held by the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.
"The size of the payroll has nothing to do with the heart and talent of the team. They'd have you believe that we're down 3-0, but let me tell you I have a little bit of experience with that and it doesn't mean anything."
The Phillies shortstop has recorded a robo-call with the attention-grabbing intro: "Hi, this is Jimmy Rollins of the World Championship Philadelphia Phillies." Rollins goes on to say he's calling for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and invites everyone on the other end of the line to a Monday evening rally in South Philly's Marconi Plaza.
I've never seen an election generate this kind of interest from the world of sports.
For a long time, the view of athletes toward politics followed Michael Jordan's. When asked to support the opponent of Jesse Helms in a North Carolina senate race, Jordan famously declined and said, "Republicans buy Nikes too." This year, though, there's been endorsements from players, hockey teams inviting Sarah Palin to drop ceremonial pucks, and rumored touchdown celebrations in Obama's honor.
It's hard to picture the kind of voter who would be swayed toward one candidate or another because an athlete is a fan of theirs, but it isn't hard to picture someone being turned off because of the affiliation of a team or player. The risk of turning off a chunk of the audience has often trumped individual beliefs. Jordan's words spoke to the truth of professional sports, after all. It's a business and reliant on discretionary dollars for survival.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for people speaking their minds. Still, it is surprising to see it occurring in so much of the sports world this year.
Jimmy Rollins and Curt Schilling Trying to Swing States on Election Eve originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Mon, 03 Nov 2008 14:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.