Drop the Ball

While attending the final Nextel Cup race in Florida yesterday, Rudy Giuliani was asked to comment on the news that his beloved Yankees were close to re-signing Alex Rodriguez: “’I’m glad to see as an American League fan, as a Yankees fan, we’re keeping him in the American League, we’re keeping him on the Yankees,’ he said.”

As the Washington Post pointed out, Giuliani made sure to say that he was an American League fan before he was a Yankees fan—an allusion to his heretical claim in October that he would be rooting for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. At the time, commentators chalked up his pro-AL stance to political pandering. (He said it in New Hampshire, after all.) Giuliani, it seemed, thought that voters turn out for candidates who echo their sporting allegiances.

But if that’s the case, Giuliani should quit talking about the AL and stick to hyping his newfound NASCAR passion. For one thing, in early Southern primary states like South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, the National League reigns supreme. One look at this map of baseball territories suggests Giuliani risks alienating a whole lot of Braves, Cardinals, Astros fans.

He would be wise to emphasize NASCAR while he’s below the Mason-Dixon. Remember, “NASCAR voters” are a coveted demographic in this election for both Republicans and Democrats. Another reason Giuliani should stick with NASCAR: The mainstream press usually doesn’t know enough about NASCAR rivalries to make Giuliani choose between Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. And come to think of it, Jeff Gordon did pump $2,300 into Giuliani’s campaign. Ah, but George Steinbrenner pitched in $4,600 . Damn Yanks.

(Image via the strange maps blog .)