California Holds Back Challenge from Texas as Mythopoetic Embodiment of Battle Over Proposition 23.
Copyright 2010 by Evan Pritchard for Amazine1.mlblogs.com
Most World Series are interesting , not so much for the evolution of post-season statistics, which are somewhat dull, but for the way they come to express, through means not easily explained, the mythopoetic zeitgeist of the human condition at the time. Hardly an October (now we have to say October/November) goes by that a World Series matchup fails to bear a strong resemblance to either well-mythologized clashes of titantic forces of nature, or some socio-political struggle.
This year’s one-sided rout, of George W. Bush’s well-funded Texas Rangers by Nancy Pelosi’s underdog San Francisco Giants may seem a surprising one, ending as it did, the day before Nancy Pelosi was voted out as Speaker of the House by a Carl Rove-backed Republican surge. But there is a deeper level of meaning there to be sure. It is the story of California State Proposition 23, expressed in the language of baseball.
The Giants’ state, California, has in place a climate law designed to lower the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 levels are directly related to both oceanic and atmospheric temperatures; as CO2 rises, so do temperatures. Higher temperatures can cause drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the loss of ecological diversity. Democrats believe that rising CO2 is mainly caused by human activity, specifically carbon emissions, traced mainly back to internal combustion engines and the oil industry. The California Law limits the use and exploration of petroleum in order to protect the environment. Its existence is resented bitterly by Texas oil companies, many of them with corporate headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where the Rangers’ home stadium stands. Bush has been their champion for years, and is former co-owner of the Texas Rangers. Much of the money funding the team can be linked back to oil interests. These oil interests are credited with creating Proposition 23, a move to strike out the current laws on controlling the use of petroleum, and global warming.
Proposition 23, near and dear to Texas’ oil interests, was defeated by California voters the day after the Texas Rangers were defeated by California’s San Francisco Giants. MSNBC November 3rd, 2010, posted: “Also in California, a ballot initiative primarily funded by Texas oil companies seeking to suspend the state’s landmark climate law has failed. Proposition 23 would have delayed greenhouse gas regulations until California’s unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent and stayed there for a year. Unemployment in California is now at 12.4 percent. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, environmentalists and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs had warned that passing the initiative Tuesday would derail a growing investment in alternative-energy technology in California.”
On October 27th, in the first round, the usually unassailable Cliff Lee was lit up and sent packing in the fifth. All told, Texas pitching gave up 11 runs on 14 hits, plus committing two errors while Texas batters scored only 7 runs. It was a surprise slugfest, considering the pitching matchup, and a victory for the California team, but it didn’t stop there. On October 28th, the Texans were shut out 9-0 on a four hitter by Cain.
It was also interesting that the Rally to Restore Sanity, which attracted ten times the number of people needed to fill The Ballpark at Arlington, Texas, invaded Washington, D.C. on Saturday October 30th, 2010, just hours before the Rangers, formerly the Washington Senators, won their one game in Texas against the Giants. In a pivotal skit, Steve Colbert was depicted as a giant puppet made of paper mache, set to “attack” John Stewart in a debate. He was defeated by the chants of the largely left-wing crowd. In the evening matchup that followed, Texas defeated the Giants 4-2, getting 8 hits off of Sanchez and crew. Lewis got the win in spite of homers by Cody Ross and Torres. George Bush, who is the pop leader and figurehead of the Texas oil industry, stood in the dugout during the entire game, cheering on the players to one last lone victory before falling to two more decisive defeats the following days.
The Texas Rangers were shut out on Halloween Sunday, 4-0, held to only three hits by the Giant Bumgarner, the second shutout of their four losing decisions, foreshadowing how Californians were able to shut out Proposition 23 in their state, as well as the so-called “Tea Party,” funded largely by Texas oil interests and Carl Roves’ “Crossroads” Initiative. . It is ironic that “tea” is a nickname for both oil (Texas Tea) and marijuana. One home run for the Giants was by Buster Posey, whose name evokes memories of San Francisco’s “flower children” of the late sixties. It was one more “trick or treat” for the terror-stricken Texas fans.
Also defeated in the election was the proposition legalizing marijuana in the state of California. This was interesting because the Giants’ big star is 26 year old Tim Lincecum, who was arrested this season for smoking marijuana. On the other side, the Texas Rangers feature three colorful “hombres” who had been serious drug addicts in the past, but who have each found salvation from addiction and come back to the team; Josh Hamilton, manager Ron Washington, and co-owner George W. Bush. Hamilton had been straight enough to sock a homer in Texas’ lone win on Saturday evening.
Monday, November 1st, saw a pitcher’s duel between “Flower Power” Lincecum of California and “Texas Chainsaw” Cliff Lee of Texas. Lincecum gave up 1 run on 3 hits, ended up with a 3-1 victory on a homer by Rentoria and a 1-2-3 inning by “Beach Boy/Fear the Beard” Brian Wilson, to clinch the World Series. The Giants were happy the series did not have to go back to California–Licecum said they wanted to “shut them up” in front of their own fans, reflecting a long standing rivalry between the nation’s two most populous states, and perhaps the battle over global warming as well. The Giants’ champagne celebration in Texas was exceeded (I presume!) only by their celebration of the defeat of Proposition 23 the following night and Pelosi’s re-election to the seat in her 8th congressional district (where Obama got 85.27% of the vote in 2008) which is also the home of the Giants’ AT&T Stadium, where I presume she also still has a seat!
The stock market actually fell slightly after the tea party’s “save the economy” victory on November 2nd. On November 3rd, the Giants paraded down Market Street in Frisco amid ticker tape and confetti, celebrating a number of Democratic victories in the state, and also the House and Senate, not to mention the coming eradication of Global Warming.
In future articles, I will discuss how past World Series also reflected mythopoetic themes relevant to their time and place.