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How much will McCain and Obama use baseball to campaign?

Big League Stew

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John McCain attended the D'Backs game on Sunday. Southsider Barack Obama takes a playful jab at Cubs fans on tonight's SportsCenter. It's enough to get you wondering: What kind of role is baseball going to play in this fall's election? More importantly, will the chances of either be hurt if their teams take a swan dive and miss the playoffs? Will they be helped by a World Series run?

If you think I'm being a little overimportant here, be mindful that baseball — along with kissing babies and riding in tanks eating with the common folk at McDonalds— is one of the easiest ways for a politician to generate impenetrable positive headlines. (Consider that the most positive memory Dubya might leave us with is his first-pitch strike at the 2001 World Series shortly after 9/11.)

So do you think McCain or Obama aren't drooling over the opportunity to hop on a plane and be seen each night by a prime-time audience across the country (so long as Fox doesn't get scared away by equal-time laws if one of their teams tanks?) Is there a chance that the pair could hold a debate in the Bullpen Bar at U.S. Cellular Field? Poolside at Chase Field/The BOB?

Then again, there's recent evidence that suggests no matter how well a candidate's team does — yes, even if they quench an 86-year-old World Series drought a week before the nation decides your fate — it still won't help at the polls come November.

(For a reminder of exactly what I'm talking about, follow the jump:)

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