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It doesn’t get any better than this

Right About Now

Posted: May 2, 2008 2:13 a.m.
Updated: July 3, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The year was 1988 and the Los Angeles Dodgers were playing the mighty Oakland A's in the World Series.
The A's were the dominant force in baseball that year, having won 104 regular season games and breaking the hearts of Boston fans by sweeping the Red Sox in four games in the ALCS. The "Bash Brothers," as Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco were called, combined for an amazing 74 home runs and 224 RBIs.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, were the dark horse of baseball. Winners of only 94 games, they surprised all of the pundits by squeaking out victory over the New York Mets in seven games for the pennant. The Boys in Blue didn't have a single guy batting over .300 or a bona fide power hitter with over 30 home runs. They had nothing.

In the first game of the World Series, the A's, true to form, battered the hopeless Dodgers. Taking a 4-3
lead into the ninth at Dodger Stadium, the A's sent the best closer in baseball to the mound, Dennis
Eckersly. Eck, a future Hall of Famer, was nigh unhittable in 1988, amassing 45 saves and a stellar
2.35 ERA. He was a giant on the mound. And everyone knew it.

The Dodgers, having garnished nothing but outs with their first two offerings in the ninth, were demoralized and dejected. A small ray of sunshine appeared when a pinch hitter reached first on a walk.

It was only prolonging the inevitable.

The Dodger manager, Tommy Lasorda, knew the team was finished but had one sliver of hope. Kirk Gibson, the broken and damaged team leader who was barely able to walk, was the only man capable of handling the giant on the mound. Lasorda sent him to the plate.

As Gibson hobbled to the batter's box, the hometown crowd winced with his every step. What would be
Gibson's only plate appearance of the series was sure to be pathetic. A quick 0-2 count seemed to confirm
the crowd's suspicions as many began to take an early exit.

But Gibson would not go away. Three balls later, the count was full at 3-2. Then the magic happened.

Eckersly attempted to force a backdoor slider past Gibson. It was a fatal mistake. The line drive cleared
the right-field fence and sealed the moment as one of the greatest in baseball history. It was a shock that
the A's never recovered from as the Dodgers went on to claim the World Championship in five games.

It doesn't get much better. Or does it?

A battered and bruised John McCain, left for dead last year, came from nowhere to win the Republican
nomination for president. His team, the Republican Party, object of scorn and derision by the major media
and numerous pundits, seems incapable of winning against an overwhelming opponent.

The Democratic Bash Brothers, Obama and Clinton, had massive support and mountains of cash. Their campaigns were unstoppable and inevitable. A simple acquisition of the nomination and Michelle or Bill would be picking swatches to redecorate the Lincoln bedroom.

But, aye, there's the rub. Neither has won the nomination, and the "bashing" is now against one another.
Hilary's victory in Pennsylvania all but assures her continuing the campaign into August. The ongoing
campaign prolongs the damage to the Democratic Party hopefuls by drawing down money, sapping the energy of supporters and building the perception that neither is "presidential timber" due to the perpetual
mud-slinging and Clintonesque attacks on one another.

It is a scenario that right-wing pundits could only dream of: Two Democratic candidates too evenly matched
and too prideful to either take the nomination or stand down. And, best of all, supporters who are "true
believers" in the holy grail of a black or female candidate and willing to sacrifice all in their single-minded pursuit.

Al Sharpton recently declared that if the superdelegates give the election to anyone but Obama, he will be "protesting in the streets." In fact, he may even withdraw his support from the ticket. Battle lines are being drawn within the Democratic Party, and the conflict will show, once again, how fractured and directionless the Democratic Party truly is.

All the while, John McCain begins his presidential campaign early by appearing above the fray - mature
and, well, dare we say, "presidential"? He can't bowl, play golf or do the myriad stupid things that candidates do on the campaign trial due to his war injuries. He is not able to lift his arms above his
head to comb his own hair. He can barely limp to the plate as Gibson did in '88.

But, like Gibson, his crushing blow in November will stun the Democratic faithful who were sure that 2008
was already in the bank. It doesn't get any better.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views, and not necessarily those of
The Signal. Right About Now runs Fridays and rotates among local Republican writers.


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