Math, history, & Red Sox

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JULY 03, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Caribbean island of Nevis, Google cheerily informs us, "once issued a postage stamp depicting Christopher Columbus peering into a telescope."

I like stamps, in theory. Of course, like most Americans, I haven't used one in 15 years or so.

Theories are good; snail mail … well, you know … you had a great run, Postal Service.

OK, you had a great crawl.

Columbus sailed the oceans blue, as we all know, in 1492. Which is good, because the year rhymes with "blue," and Americans are good at little jingles such as that. That's how they learn history, if not everything. Sorry, History Department. All that work for a Ph.D., and Americans learn jingles.

Unfortunately for the Nevis stamp, the telescope hadn't yet been invented in the time of Columbus — it was developed in the Netherlands, if you're interested in scoping out history, in 1608.

I bring this up because the Mitt Romney people apparently do arithmetic about as well as Nevis does stamps.

Last week, my team, the Boston Red Sox (well, OK, multibillionaire John Henry actually owns the team, and I'm still working on my first billion — I'm about $125 on the way there, but there is a water bill to be paid) traded former All-Star Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox for some loose change and some pocket lint.

President Obama happened to be in Boston the next day (June 25, if you're counting at home), and Obama, a longtime White Sox fan, chided the Boston crowd:

"Boston, I just want to say thank you for Youkilis," Obama said.

He was greeted with cries of "Yoooook, Yooook" and a few boos. (Good-natured boos, according to ESPN and the Boston Globe.)

"Yoooook, Yooook," by the way, is how Red Sox fans have long greeted Youkilis, a fan favorite in Boston; the "oooooo" is drawn out, and to the uneducated ear, might sound like a boo. The uneducated ear has long been the bane of our existence, not to make any comment about Mitt Romney's former company.

Enter the Romney camp. (As Shakespeare would say.)

"Last night in Boston, President Obama went to the heart of Red Sox Nation and committed an error by taunting fans over the Kevin Youkilis trade to the Chicago White Sox," said Romeny spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "And he was booed for it … at his own event.

"The Red Sox have suffered many setbacks over the years — the Babe Ruth trade, the ball through Buckner's legs, the Bucky Dent home run. Maybe the president should have congratulated the team for winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007. Instead, he chose to mock them for trading away one of its favorite players at a time when the team is struggling."

Well, ahem.

The Red Sox are not struggling; after their first 14 games (4-10) — yes, terrible — the Sox went 35-25 in their next 60 games. That was second-best in the majors behind the Yankees. At this point (Sunday evening) the BoSox are one-half game out of second place.

It might be news to the Romney people, but we baseball fans don't call the second-best record in the majors struggling. Struggling is what we call a GOP campaign that — despite a struggling (there's that word again) U.S. economy — can't pass President Obama in the polls. You guys keep swinging and missing at outside sliders. As Sammy Sosa never really did, you've got to learn to lay off the slider.

Of course, back at Bain, Mitt Romney did learn something about laying off.

It just wasn't the outside slider.

Not to mention that it wasn't the Bucky Dent home run in the 1978 playoff that won the game for the Yankees. The late-inning Reggie Jackson home run, combined with the great late-inning defense play by outfielder Lou Pienalla, won the game.

Not to mention that had Billy Buck fielded the ball cleanly in the 1986 World Series, there was no chance that pitcher Bob Stanley, one of the slowest guys in baseball, could have beaten the Mets' Mookie Wilson, probably the fastest guy in baseball at the time, to first base, and the winning run for the Mets would've scored anyway.

Can't the Romney camp get anything right?

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