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Politics in the Game

Curt Schilling, whose solid pitching through the post season despite a displaced tendon in his ankle helped the Red Sox to the World Series championship, had every right to support George Bush for president, just as he has every right to promote his favorite charity on the side of his baseball shoe and wear fatigues around his house.

The front page exposure that Schilling got for appearing with President Bush in Ohio on the day before the election indicates how important such support seems, at least to those who choose which photos to run on page one.

In the interests of fair play, it's worth mentioning once again the politics of another baseball star, Carlos Delgado, who was designated by the Elias Sports Bureau on Tuesday as the best Major League player in 2004. All summer long, Delgado, who plays first base for the Toronto Blue Jays, remained in the dugout during the seventh inning renditions of "God Bless America" which have become a part of Major League baseball's patriotic package."I don't believe in war," Delgado said last summer, "and this is the stupidest war ever. Who are you fighting against? You're just getting ambushed now. I don't support that."

Carlos Delgado's politics are not limited to opposing the war in Iraq. A Puerto Rican, he also campaigned for years to halt the U.S. Navy's use of the island of Vieques as a weapons testing ground...an activity that has been partly responsible for very high unemployment in the area, and may also account for the increased cancer rates there. Though the navy has now abandoned the area, the U.S. government has not cleaned up the mess it left behind.

If Curt Schilling's shining moment in the political spotlight was the photo op with Mr. Bush on the day before the election, perhaps Carlos Delgado's occurred when his Blue Jays played in Yankee Stadium on August 6th. During the seventh inning stretch on that day, Jon Green, the director of a grass roots organization that supports progressive candidates, hung a sign over the grandstand that read "Delgado for President."

Afterward, Jon Green was asked about the crowd's reaction. He said, "Now I know what it's like to be booed by fifty thousand people."

Carlos Delgado is familiar with that feeling. It's perhaps not something Curt Schilling has had to worry about.

This program aired on November 6, 2004. The audio for this program is not available.

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