Forget about waiting until Election Night to discover the identity of California’s next governor.
If history is any indication, the race will be decided no later than six nights earlier: Wednesday, Oct. 27. That’s the tentative date for Game One of the 2010 World Series.
Simple. Go back over the past 40 years and California gubernatorial races and look those years in which the Democratic candidate prevailed.
What you’ll find is: when a Democrat was on his way to victory, a California team was playing in the Series.
Here’s the rundown:
1962: Pat Brown (Jerry’s pop) wins a second term, defeating Richard Nixon; the San Francisco Giants lose in seven games to the New York Yankees (neither California team qualified for the 1958 World Series, when Brown earned his first term — and, coincidentally, major-league baseball first arrived on the West Coast);
1974: Jerry Brown picks up where his old man left off, winning his first term as governor; the Oakland Athletics knock off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ in baseball first all-California Series;
1978: Jerry wins a second term; the Dodgers again come up short in the Series, this time to the Yankees;
1998: Gray Davis, Jerry’s ex-chief of staff, wins his first term as governor; the San Diego Padres are swept by the Yankees;
2002: Davis is re-elected; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (or whatever they called themselves back then) defeat the Giants in another all-California Series.
Of course, the system isn’t fool-proof.
The Oakland A’s also appeared in the 1990 World Series, the same year that Democrat Dianne Feinstein narrowly lost to Republican Pete Wilson. And the Dodgers were swept in four straight by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1966 World Series – the same year Pat Brown was swept out of office by Ronald Reagan.
So where does all of this leave Jerry Brown?
First, he’d better start rooting like mad for the Padres or the Giants, the only two of California’s five MLB franchises with a realistic chance of advancing to the playoffs.
Then, he has to cross his fingers and hope that one of those two has what it takes to make it to the Series, but then loses — the common denominator in those aforementioned Brown victories being that the California-based team, representing the National League, fell to its American League rival.
So, for the moment, let’s see if Jerry starts sporting a Padres cap (San Diego, with the best record in the National League, having a better chance than San Francisco of getting deep into the playoffs).
Or, better yet, a padre’s frock and sandals, from his days at the Jesuit seminary.