Saturday, May 1, 2010

Who has more Ariz. pull, Quinn or Cubs?

When it comes to all the elements that make our beloved Chicago so unique, who or what has more potential to actually influence all those people in Arizona who actually believe their state Legislature did the right thing in passing a nativist-inspired immigration measure into law?

Pat Quinn, or the Chicago Cubs?

THE SAD THING is that the latter probably would have more influence, although it is The Mighty Quinn who is most likely to open his mouth on the issue.

He did so on Friday, giving us a predictable statement saying he thinks Arizona goofed big time in passing the measure that now requires local cops to take actions in enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Quinn says he agrees with the critics who say that people whom some cop might think “look” Latino or have a Spanish-sounding surname are most likely to suffer harassment, which Quinn calls, “un-American.”

He also said that anybody in Illinois who thinks the Land of Lincoln should enact a similar measure can forget it. He would veto it, and he is among those who wants federal government officials to pass some sort of reform measure that makes it clear many of the people who will be singled out by Arizona’s laws DO belong here in this country.

NOW I PERSONALLY do not have a problem with anything that Quinn said. I like it that I’m not the only person using the phrase “un-American” to describe this measure. In fact, I’d go farther in saying that most of the rhetoric and actions that come from the opposition to immigration reform is “un-American.”

Could it be that these people see all these Latin American newcomers to our country and feel threatened because their work ethic makes it likely they will become more worthwhile assets to the United States than these people could ever hope to be?

That’s laying it on a little thick. I don’t expect anyone to seriously be swayed into a sensible position by it. Which is about how I expect Quinn’s rhetoric will come across. It will be ignored by Arizona nitwits who don’t want to hear anything coming from anyone outside of their home state.

As for people in Illinois, the ones most likely to sympathize with Quinn’s view are the people who already are most solidly in his camp come the Nov. 2 elections. The question I have is how far will Republican gubernatorial nominee William Brady go to avoid saying anything about this issue?

KEEP QUIET AND draw no attention to immigration, and perhaps he can pass unnoticed. Express any kind of view, and he goes further toward driving more nails in the campaign “coffin” that says he’s too much a product of the rural part of Illinois to govern a state where two-thirds of the population lives in the metropolitan Chicago area.

Keep quiet, and maybe he’ll be able to keep part of that 7-point lead that recent polls show he has. Open up, and he fizzles into a loser. I expect Brady to say nothing, so this will likely not amount to much of an issue in our local elections.

But like I said, the Chicago Cubs could be the ones who have a bigger effect on the matter – because they can hit Arizona in its wallet.

Remember that deal Arizona officials negotiated by which a special tax on all baseball spring training game tickets would be charged to raise money to help pay to build the Cubs the upgraded training complex they so desired?

THE CHICAGO WHITE Sox might be able to relax that their fans are going to have to help pay for it, because the same Arizona Legislature that approved the nativist law never did get around to passing the bill that would approve the tax.

So it’s not official yet, and there were clauses in the agreement that the Cubs signed with Arizona officials that allowed them to negotiate with other cities that might want to host Cubs spring training if the Legislature failed to keep its end of the bargain.

Well, the Legislature failed. Could we now get the officials of Naples, Fla., who previously wanted the Cubs to relocate to renew their offer? Could the combination of political ineptitude combined with political idiocy cause the Cubs to think that now might be a good time to leave Arizona?

No matter how many activists picket outside of Arizona Diamondbacks games in Chicago and other National League cities nor threats to pull the All-Star Game from Phoenix in 2011 are likely to sway people. Not even getting baseball officials to join the Major League Baseball Players Association (the ballplayers’ union) in issuing statements condemning Arizona for its actions will do much.

BASEBALL’S BIGGEST HAMMER is all those spring training camps that liven up the economy and bring national attention to the suburbs of Phoenix every March.

Let’s not forget that the Cubs are considered the jewel of the whole Cactus League scene, with their games in Mesa usually selling out and all those Chicago-area tourists deprived of bad baseball being willing to cram their way into other teams’ ballparks to gain a glimpse of their cutesy Cubbies.

I don’t know what, if anything, the Cubs are inclined to do about this situation. But I can’t help but think that our city’s biggest hammer on this issue might very well be the baby bears clad in blue. And if it meant that the team could take a meaningful action, then for once, I might just have to chant, “Go Cubs!”


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