State pols catch sports fever

By: - October 19, 2007 12:00 am

A sports-themed week in state politics spelled trouble for an attorney general candidate in Mississippi and the governor of Arizona – but turned out to be a treat for Colorado’s chief executive and the late baseball great Roberto Clemente.

Al Hopkins (R) already has the unenviable task of unseating an incumbent in Mississippi , Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood; now the Dallas Cowboys are breathing down his neck. Lawyers for ” America ‘s Team” contacted Hopkins ‘ staffers and advised them to remove a blue star from the top of the candidate’s Web site, because it too closely resembled the Cowboys’ famed logo, The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger discovers.

It being October, baseball was the focus when Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) bet on the outcome of the National League Championship Series between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ritter’s office notes in a press release . The bet didn’t provide much in the way of drama: The upstart Rockies dismantled the Diamondbacks in four straight games, and Napolitano soon will be posing for a photo in a Colorado Rockies jersey.

Turns out, Ritter had to rub it in. The governor saw the baseball playoffs as a wider political issue, The Denver Post reveals. “Of the eight Major League Baseball teams in the playoffs, seven come from states with Democratic governors,” Ritter told the paper. “Only California has a Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he’s not really a Republican.”

In Pennsylvania , where the Philadelphia Phillies provided a glimmer of hope for hometown baseball fans this year before being eliminated by – you guessed it, the Colorado Rockies – Pittsburgh Pirate great Roberto Clemente got a boost from the General Assembly this week, the Harrisburg bureau of The Associated Press discloses. Thirty-five years after the slugger’s death, the state House of Representatives passed a resolution urging Major League Baseball to retire Clemente’s number.

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