Well, there go any aspirations I had — not that I had many — of having a real “in” with someone in power in our nation’s capital. Because John Smoltz and I, as I’ve noted before, have been on the outs since 1997.
The AJC’s political insider Jim Galloway is reporting that some Republicans are interested in drafting my favorite pitcher to run for the House seat John Linder announced Saturday he’ll be leaving. I don’t live in the Seventh Congressional District, so I guess even if Smoltz got elected he couldn’t exert too much influence over, say, my subdivision. But you never know. Smoltz has a way of getting what he wants, and he’d have one bully pulpit at his disposal.
And really, would it be a huge jump from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other? Today he’s Citizen Smoltz. Come November, he could be Congressman Smoltz. From there, who knows? Governor Smoltz? Senator Smoltz? President Smoltz?
From pitching against the White Sox — which he has done, if only twice — to living in the White House. Wouldn’t that be something?
According to my esteemed colleague Mr. Galloway, Smoltz has been “paying down some dues in several Republican contests in Georgia over the past two years.” He hasn’t run for anything, but that mightn’t be what the R’s — in savvy political circles, Republicans are known as the R’s — need. He has a famous name. He’d be able to raise money because, let’s face it, who (other than me) wouldn’t love to speak with John Smoltz? And he’s pretty clearly a conservative.
Full disclosure: There’s a Hall of Fame pitcher who’s an elected member of Congress who also happens to be a friend of my mom’s. He’s Jim Bunning, the Senator from Kentucky. (My mom, I should state, was heavy into Republican state politics.) So ordinarily I’d think, “Smoltz hates me, but Sen. Bunning likes my mother, so maybe they’d cancel each other out if a certain someone, say, ever tried to enact a law that would ban a certain Atlanta scribe from writing about sports.”
No such luck. Sen. Bunning is likewise retiring, which would render me friendless-by-proxy in D.C. But I did once sit next to Ralph Reed on the plane back from Phoenix after Game 7 of the 2001 World Series — the Republican power broker had been to the game, and I’d covered it — and he and I had a nice long talk. So maybe he’d put in a word for me.
But that still wouldn’t be enough. It’s said that politics make strange bedfellows. There’s be no bed so strange, I’d venture, as to accommodate John Andrew Smoltz and Mark Andrew Bradley. If No. 29 runs and wins, I’m in real trouble. He’d be working in the U.S. Capitol, and my political capital would be down to zero.