In a very real sense, both the National League Championship Series and the Presidential Race could end before Thursday morning.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, down 3-1 in a best-of-seven game series against the Philadelphia Phillies, face Cole Hamels in the ultimate presser situation on Wednesday evening at Dodger Stadium. Leading every game they have lost in the series, the Dodgers must learn how to appreciate the wealth they have accumulated – and not to squander it late in the game. Philadelphia, on the other hand, can enjoy the moment. They sit just one win away from a trip to the World Series. With that awesome task on deck, the Phillies need to get more consistent play from the top of their lineup. Winning an incredible baseball game on Monday night gives Philadelphia a tremendous surge of momentum.
Still, the Phillies must remember the Florida Marlins of 2003 and the Boston Red Sox last season. Both teams looked finished after the fourth game of the LCS and both teams went on to win the World Series. Then again, Josh Beckett won the fifth game of both series for the Marlins and Red Sox. Unless the Dodgers start Beckett this evening (which they can’t), the conventional wisdom arrow still points south for Los Angeles.
Barack Obama, ahead by at least eight points in every poll you can find, needs to act like the Phillies tonight. Bring a concise list of bullet points that you wish to discuss with the American people, don’t instigate a “war or words” with John McCain and stay on topic. If Obama accomplishes that, he’ll likely win the presidency next month.
John McCain has found out that a negative campaign turns him into a grandfather figure who appears angry at Thanksgiving dinner. Morphing an image of “straight talk” into “harsh talk,” the Republican nominee needs to steal the script from Ronald Reagan in Wednesday’s final debate. Speak slowly, talk from your heart and give the American people ideas and dreams we can believe.
In the history of the League Championship Series, only seven teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit. In the history of presidential elections, only a handful of nominees have battled back from an apparent hopeless cause.
Television’s most compelling events happen simultaneously on Wednesday evening.
Get your TIVO’s ready.