Presidential Spring Training

The World Series of Presidential politics may be 19 months down the road, but the players are already lacing up their cleats and playing pepper with fungo bats on the sandlots of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Yes, my friends, its spring training for the presidency. A spring training where fund raising takes the place of calisthenics. And batting clinics are supplanted by fund raising. And the closet full of Ace bandages is now packed with envelopes earmarked for ... you got it, fund raising.

With no sitting president or vice president running for the first time in 80 years, the '08 field promises to be more crowded than a trainer's table after the first day of wind sprints for pitchers and Molinas. Besides, this is America. Where any Dominican can become a shortstop and any American can become president, although when they coined that phrase, I'm not sure they had George Bush in mind.

So here is our scouting report on some of the announced and presumed contenders for the upcoming political season in which everybody has faith that if just a few breaks fall their way, and a couple of opposing teams' managers get caught peddling steroids to preschoolers or bogus opposition research to the Washington Post, they got a shot. Except the Marlins and Dennis Kucinich, that is.

Democratic League. The Donkeys
7 to 2. New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Like the Yankees she's a converted fan of, she acts miffed the nomination isn't just handed to her and instead has to actually compete for it.

4 to 1. Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Might not be ready for hardball practiced at this level. Already got into a pimp slapping contest with Hillary and lost.

7 to 1. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Clinging to trademark "Two Americas" pitch. Extra 4 years of Bush might help public catch up to message.

15 to 1. Former VP Al Gore. Lurking on deck ready to bop someone on head with his Oscar until Florida Supreme Court takes it away.

50 to 1. Delaware Senator Joe Biden. Back on disabled list with persistent foot in the mouth disease. A little too comfortable flossing with own shoelaces.

500 to 1. The Field. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. In it for the Vice Presidency. Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. In it for the parties. Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. Who? Gravel? Alaska? Cool. In it for Secretary of the Interior.

8,000,000 to 1. Former Ohio Senator Dennis Kucinich. Could lose Iowa straw poll to the straw.

Republican League. The Elephants
3 to 1. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Highlighting commitment to traditional family values. Having had three wives just means he's extra traditional. Better chance to win Series than to get there.

9 to 2. Arizona Senator John McCain. Wily veteran. Lost a few miles on his fast ball. Doubts persist as to whether he is up for long grueling season.

6 to 1. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Wearing Al Gore's oversized flip flops. Also has Mormon thing to get past. Might be a positive. Public gets bored with 1st Lady, can always move on to 2nd Lady, then 3rd Lady and so on.

15 to 1. Fred Thompson. Warming up in bullpen, if needed to relieve. Of course America would never accept an actor as president. Oh.

200 to 1. Former Governor of New York, George Pataki. Bad timing. Country not ready for another president named George. Severe 3rd Degree George fatigue.

400 to 1. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Bad timing. Country not ready for another Governor of Arkansas as President. Arkansas fatigue.

5000 to 1. The Field. California Congressman Duncan Hunter. In it for 2012. Texas Congressman Ron Paul. In it for Texas. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback. In it for the babies. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo. In it to get the illegals. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. In it for the cheese.

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