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Hail to the fantasy party system
02/13/2008 10:32 AM ET
You might know that John McCain is an American war hero.

That he was a POW in Vietnam for five and a half years. That he looks like your grandpa and seems to favor the Straight Talk Express over most modes of transportation -- I don't know if that includes the Batmobile, but certainly the Oldsmobile.

You might know that Hillary Clinton has a lot of experience. That she was both the First Lady of Arkansas and the White House before becoming a senator. That she would be the first female president of the United States if elected, and that she found her voice somewhere in New Hampshire.

You might know that Barack Obama stands for change. That he turned his audience into mush at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. That he would be the first African-American President of the United States if elected, and that he rolls deep with celebrity endorsers, including Oprah, Scarlett Johansson and Hulk Hogan.

What you might not know is how each of these candidates -- and others -- would assemble their fantasy baseball team. And although there's still some time for them to settle this looming question, perhaps in an upcoming debate or over a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, I've taken the liberty in analyzing this pressing issue myself.

So with that, I present the 2008 Presidential Candidate Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.

You might know it as the 2008MLBPCFBDG.

Or maybe not ...

Barack Obama, Democrat

It just seems like everyone loves this guy. He's young. He's energetic. He's a great speaker. He's funny. He speaks of promise. He speaks of change (Yes we can!). He speaks with charisma. Have I mentioned he has Oprah in his inner circle? In essence, he is the baseball equivalent of Grady Sizemore (minus the Oprah): A lot of style peppered with substance, but with the promise of a huge future. So, Grady Sizemore, yes you can.

Who else would Obama want to pluck for his team? Obviously the Kennedys. I mean, if it worked in politics, why not baseball? So Ian and Adam, yes you can!

(Staying on the Kennedy theme, wouldn't Roberto Clemente have to be the baseball equivalent of JFK? Both were one of the best as what they did, both were iconic symbols for their countries, both rose to prominence in 1960, with Kennedy getting elected and Clemente playing in his first All-Star Game and winning his first World Series, and both had their lives cut tragically short. The parallels are uncanny. Is there any other president/baseball player combo that even comes close?)

And after finding out that Barack Obama used to go by "Barry O'Bomber" in high school because of his basketball skills (um, what?), I have to think that he'd want someone on his team who can play some hoops. So Kenny Lofton (backup point guard on the 1988 Arizona Wildcats' Final Four team), come join Barry on his path to changedom.

Hillary Clinton, Democrat

I would have to believe that any Hillary draft strategy would begin with Alex Rodriguez. They are both the "safe" picks. They are both New Yorkers ... well, kinda. They both have the experience. And perhaps most importantly, they both laugh and smile at really strange, unexpected times. Whether or not Hillary fails to come through when she's needed most has yet to be determined, but it's safe to say that she has a No. 13 white and navy-blue pinstripe pantsuit somewhere in her closet.

In light of how Hillary has struggled after initially being regarded as the leading favorite for the Democratic nomination, it would only be appropriate that she draft players who were hot early in 2007 before fizzling toward the finish line. So Justin Morneau (.243 AVG, 7 HR, .384 SLG after All-Star Break) and Jose Reyes (.251 AVG, .718 OPS in the second half), come cry on Team Hillary.

And since she would be the first female president in history, it only makes sense (OK, it probably wouldn't) that she would want some players whose names could be mistaken for women. So Torii Hunter, Alexis Rios, Shelley Duncan, Jamey Carroll and Pat Neshek, come find your voice on Team Hillary.

The former First Lady's prospects appeared to take a hit after she left her co-owner, Bill, in charge of scouting potential draft picks in the South. Despite his wry smile and cocksure demeanor, Bill's skills seemed a bit shaky when he started smack-talking to the other owners on the league message board instead of focusing on the flow and cohesion of his own team. Add in a surprisingly shrinking payroll, and Hill and Bill's much-lauded reign may soon turn into a fairytale of their own.

John McCain, Republican

Although he may be too old to be called a kid, John McCain has certainly shown America what a comeback looks like. I have to hand it to the guy; only four months ago, it seemed like Screech had a better chance of dating Lisa Turtle than McCain had of winning the Republican nomination. Now the 72-year-old war vet is a virtual lock to represent his party in this year's election. Just don't tell his main competitor (and alleged co-owner), Mike Huckabee.

So what baseball players would get to ride the Straight Talk Express with this elder statesman? Considering that he, too, was once being left for dead, I would have to think that Carlos Pena and his 2007 Comeback Player of the Year trophy would be invited. Assuming, ya know, they actually have a trophy for that. And what the hay, Josh Hamilton, come aboard as well.

Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Julio Franco, you have a combined age of 613. So, by default, you're all invited. Please find a seat by Yoda and Strom Thurman. Just make sure to leave room for the first inductee into the John McCain Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame: The man who has endured so much pain, sacrificed so much and had such a life-changing surgery that they actually named it after him, Mr.Tommy John.

And last but not least, Don Zimmer, who might as well be the bus driver of the Straight Talk Express. Like McCain, he has adorned an army helmet (albeit for different reasons). Like McCain, he has experienced serious physical pain (he has four holes in his head ... and no, I didn't make that up). And like McCain, Zimmer is 143 years old.

Mike Huckabee, Republican

It seems like the Achilles' heel of Huckabee's fantasy baseball campaign is his inability to branch out and connect with well-rounded players. In addition to suspiciously donating every other pick of his to Senator McCain's team, Huckabee limits himself to niche players like Juan Pierre and Jack Cust, who provide help in only one or two categories.

Despite being 50 points behind first place and virtually guaranteed to lose this league, Huckabee still sings an optimistic tune. In his last message-board posting, he was quoted as saying that "as long as Jesus Colome, J.C. Romero and David DeJesus are on my team, I know I can win."

Other random political participants

Rudy Giuliani, Republican: In the preseason, the former mayor was considered the odds-on favorite to take home the league title. But his team quickly tanked after he strangely decided to skip the first four rounds of the draft and select only Florida Marlins the rest of the way. He, along with Huckabee, is under investigation by the league commissioner and auctioneer, Howard Dean, for colluding with Senator McCain.

Ralph Nader, Green Party: This guy has no interest in actually winning the league. He just wants to make enough moves and trades to make sure that certain owners won't win the league.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist & Aaron Burr, Democratic-Republican: These two troublemakers have had a guaranteed spot in the league since winning the 1804 MTV VMA for "Best Action Scene." Burr was quoted as saying that the VMAs have been unwatchable ever since. Frankly, I really can't argue with this.

William Howard Taft, Republican: This hefty former leader of the free world earned his spot in the league for eternity after becoming the first president to ever throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game, in 1910. He's been known to have a habit of drafting Babe Ruth, Cecil Fielder, John Kruk, Fernando Valenzuela, David Wells and Rich Garces.

Steve Forbes, Republican: Not coincidentally, this guy is the league treasurer and a master sabermetrician. He came to draft with detailed rankings and photographs of the top 100 players in the league. And yes, he called it the "Forbes Fantasy 100 List." Not surprisingly, he's been trying to convince Alexander Hamilton to endorse his "Flat Tax Amendment" in the league.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.