Selecting Baseball Teams for the Presidential Candidates by Matthew Kory February 12, 2016 If you have been exposed to media anytime between January 2015 and today, you’re likely aware there is a presidential race at hand. Those are exciting enough on their own (the whole “future of the country” thing), but this version seems to contain excessive amounts of chaos. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, who everyone knew would waltz to the nomination with ease, is once again up against a grassroots insurgence from the left. On the Republican side, the clear frontrunner since they started talking about this stuff six years ago, Jeb “!” Bush, just finished fourth in the New Hampshire primary. Like the rest of the GOP field, he’s getting crushed by businessman and former reality TV star Donald Trump. You can’t make this stuff up, though it might be nice if someone had. All this craziness isn’t unlike the 2016 baseball season. The teams are about to report to spring training and the predictions are all over the place. Coming off a World Series win, forget repeating, the Royals aren’t projected for a winning season by many (including us). The big-money teams are coming off of varying degrees of failure and have conducted themselves this offseason not unlike a fish flopping about in a boat. The National League, despite a clearer caste system in place of haves and have-nots, might be even worse. The Dodgers look like favorites in the West, but the Giants could be fantastic, and if you’re buying what the Diamondbacks are selling then… okay! Then there’s the Nationals and Mets in the East, and the Cubs, Pirates, and Cardinals in the Central. Good luck figuring all that out. The thing is, we are trying to figure all that out. We’ve got projections and odds for the baseball teams, and there are sites that are doing projections and odds for the presidential candidates. A couple days ago at the Sporting News, Jesse Spector wrote a piece assigning Simpsons pictures to baseball teams. I figured I owe it to the internet, nay the country, to write a piece in assigning baseball teams to their corresponding presidential candidates. So I am writing that piece. And you are reading it. And I’m sorry. First, a note on methodology. While it wasn’t necessarily the case several months ago when I should have written this, there are currently fewer presidential candidates than baseball teams, so not every team is accounted for. As a result, the generic odds of victory are naturally better for the candidates than for the teams. Accordingly, I’ve made an effort to pair teams and candidates who are similar in position and narrative, if not exactly in odds. Both the World Series odds and the presidential odds are from Bovada, which might offer different odds than website of your choice. With that said, here we go. Hillary Clinton Chances at Presidency: 2-to-1 Team: Cubs Team Chances: 4-to-1 Notes Like the Cubs, Clinton is the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination. She isn’t the perfect candidate, she has some baggage, but of all the possible candidates on both sides, she’s the most likely to take the oath of office next January. Like Clinton, the Cubs have a history of losing in the big game, though that’s probably unfair to Clinton, who’s at least had the distinction of winning elected office in the last century. But now, with the additions of Jason Heyward and John Lackey to a young core a season closer to their peak, the Cubs are, like Hillary, the most obvious choice to win the World Series. Now we get to sit back and watch them both screw it up. Bernie Sanders Chances at Presidency: 4-to-1 Team: Astros Team Chances: 12-to-1 Notes It’s not exactly analogous because serving in the senate isn’t the same thing as losing 111 games (probably), but the speed with which both the team and the candidate rose to contender status is surprising. While both are better than expected — even those who picked the Astros to be great didn’t think they’d do it this quickly — they both also face significant challenges ahead. Sanders in the form of Clinton’s popularity among minority voters — not to mention her rising delegate count (even after winning yuuuuge in New Hampshire, Sanders still wound up with the same number of delegates as Clinton) — and the Astros in the form of an American League rife with equality. Still, though they’re both long shots, it’s much easier than it used to be to picture either winning it all. Donald Trump Chances at Presidency: 2-to-1 Team: Royals Team Chances: 16-to-1 Notes Listen to Trump speak for just a few minutes and you’ll come away with (at least) one idea: Trump is a winner. He wins. He wins all the time. Also, he doesn’t lose, because that’s what losers, not winners, do. The strangest part isn’t that he says it, it’s that so far he’s been correct. And yet, two states down in this Presidential season and with favorable polls as far as the eye can see, this is still Donald Trump we’re talking about. It’s a bit like the Royals in that the Royals just won and are returning almost their entire championship team, but look at the projections. Apparently nobody remembers what happened last October. Or even the October before that. Like Trump, nobody with any authority in these matters believes in the Royals. The good news for both is that that didn’t stop the Royals last fall and it won’t stop them this season. Jeb Bush Chances at Presidency: 25-to-1 Team: Yankees Team Chances: 20-to-1 Notes This pairing is as obvious as the exclamation point after Bush’s name is precarious. Bush has the backing of seemingly every one of his party’s elites, he has money coming out his ears, and both he’s the son of a president and the brother of another president. This guy was supposed to win. He’s as ‘supposed to win’ as you can get. But he’s not winning! Like the Yankees. They’re set to spend over $200 million on player payroll for the second season in a row and it looks like that money may not buy them much beyond another chance to avoid buying tickets to the Wild Card elimination game. If they’re lucky. When the bell sounds on both Bush and the Yankees, it’s likely both will be at home wondering what all that money got them. Or, maybe more likely, just lounging about being rich. Ted Cruz Chances at Presidency: 16-to-1 Team: Nationals Team Chances: 16-to-1 Notes Ted Cruz is a niche candidate, but that’s not what makes him like the Nationals. What does is the fact that neither the candidate nor the team is going to win anything. How do we know? Well, we don’t, if we’re honest, but look. Just look. See? See? I mean… see? Having the reigning NL MVP is a bit like winning in Iowa, too. Neither gets you nearly as far as you’d think. And that looks to be the case with both this season. Marco Rubio Chances at Presidency: 8-to-1 Team: Cardinals Team Chances: 20-to-1 Notes Rubio and the Cardinals are the opposite of Cruz and the Nationals. While you know both the Nationals and Cruz won’t be there at the end for reasons I wrote out clearly in the Cruz comment (“See?”) you know Rubio and the Cardinals will be. Probably. Nothing is for certain, after all, but the Cardinals lost Heyward and Lackey and they’re likely to suffer regressions from players young and old in their lineup and rotation, and yet we both know they’re going to be right there at the end because they have a bat with two cute birds perched on it on their uniforms. That’s it. That’s all it takes. Rubio is a bit like that. He’s got the JFK smile, the exciting speaking style, and sure he gets a bit flummoxed and starts repeating himself over and over and over and over again from time to time, but so what? In the end, it won’t matter because, like the Cardinals, Rubio will be there when the smoke settles. John Kasich Chances at Presidency: 25-to-1 Team: Indians Team Chances: 33-to-1 Notes Could John Kasich be stronger than we’re giving him credit for? Like the Indians, he finished strongly in his most recent competition, the New Hampshire primaries. He’s clearly got talent, he’s got brains, and he’s conservative enough for today’s GOP. And yet… it doesn’t really seem that anyone is taking him seriously. Like the Indians. They’ve got a great young pitching staff, a hugely improved defense, a great back of the bullpen, and some good young hitters, and yet, nobody is giving them much of a chance. Which is kinda strange when you think about it. Though don’t spend too much time on it, because the Cubs and Donald Trump are more fun! Michael Bloomberg Chances at Presidency: 33-to-1 Team: Brewers Team Chances: 100-to-1 Notes Did you hear Michael Bloomberg might get into the presidential race? Also the Brewers are a baseball team. I swear! Ben Carson Chances at Presidency: You Are Kidding Team: Rockies Team Chances: 150-to-1 Notes The Rockies have never really figured out how to play baseball a mile high into the sky. Similarly Ben Carson has never really figured out how to run for president. Go to a Rockies game this season. They’ll be there, dressed in their snazzy purple attire, with gloves and everything. Go to a presidential debate. There will be Ben Carson, standing on the debate stage in a nice suit, probably even in the right place. But that’s as far as it goes for either one. The Rockies and Ben Carson are working together to prove that showing up isn’t anywhere near 90 percent of success. Chris Christie Chances at Nomination: Eliminated Team: Phillies Team Chances: 100-to-1 Notes Christie dropped out of the race for president earlier this week. The Phillies may have done the same thing, I’m not sure. I’d check but nah. Carly Fiorina Chances at Nomination: About as good after she dropped out as before Team: Braves (Gwinnett) Team Chances: Not Eligible Notes Fiorina also dropped out after barely placing in New Hampshire. Her political career is over, which is an odd thing to say about something that never begin in the first place. And yet that’s exactly what makes it like the Braves’ 2016 season. However, all is not lost for Atlanta because their farm system is loaded, so the future looks bright for them, which is where they part ways with Fiorina.