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By Michael K. Savit

This is a serious business, this matter of voting. I mean it's one thing to punch those Gillette computer cards when you're already half-cocked in the Fenway bleachers, because it doesn't really matter if Fred Stanley or Steve Dillard is starting American League shortstop in the All-Star game.

Tuesday, however, it will be quite different. For one thing, Fred Stanley and Steve Dillard are not running for anything including the baseball which just skipped off their gloves into centerfield, and for another, even if they were, they'd probably lose.

Which brings us to Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (the transition was provided by the word "lose," as in loser), for as far as the general sporting public is concerned, it really doesn't matter who's elected president.

It's not as if a Carter victory will mean better national exposure for the Atlanta Flames, or a Ford triumph political favors for the Detroit Lions' second-string linebacking corps.

The only part of the ballot, in fact, which will affect the world of sports involves the section where you have to possess a magnifying glass in order to see what you're doing--the amendments.

Now seeing as how I sent out requests for 50 absentee ballots and received but one reply (from Massachusetts), a percentage which nearly duplicated my college acceptance ratio, I'll have to limit this discussion to the Bay State ballot:

QUESTION NO. 1--This one's really easy, for how can anyone who's ever dreamed of pitching a perfect game not vote in favor of ERA? As any sane baseball person will admit, the ERA is the only true indicator of a pitcher's performance. It's those 2-1 games (not those 9-5 thrillers) out of which Cy Young winners are made.

If you're a bit uncertain about what exactly the ERA is, then pay close attention. All you have to do is take the number of innings which a pitcher has worked, divide by nine, and then divide the quotient into the number of earned runs which the person--I can't say he because we are talking about the ERA--has allowed.

Really simple, especially if you've had long division, so vote yes on number 1 or take the chance of being a contributor to the degeneration of our national (it's way) past (its) time.

QUESTION NO. 3--Basically, this amendment would provide for absentee voting by persons who are involved in sporting contests which are in conflict with election day.

A 'no' vote here means that if you and nine friends decide to break the Guinness record for the longest basketball game ever played on water, and you decide to do so on the day of an election, you'll either have to reschedule the game or be deprived of your right to vote.

So why not have the best of both worlds--vote 'yes' and break a few records.

QUESTION NO. 5--Unless you look forward to the day when some irate fan tries to take Mickey Rivers's head off, vote 'no' here.

This amendment, which prohibits the possession of guns with a barrel length of less than sixteen inches, is specifically aimed at those people who like to run on football fields after the game has ended.

QUESTION NO. 6--Since this question applies to, among other things, beer containers, and since sports fans generally prefer warm milk to beer, it's really pretty useless to even discuss it.

Actually, I just lied, for, more so than any other amendment, the bottle bill is directed at sports fans. And you have to vote 'yes.'

Why, because if Massachusetts adopts this amendment, other states will doubtless (see "1776" for proof) follow. And as soon as New York passes the amendment, those Yankee Stadium bleacherites will refrain from throwing their empty Rheingold cans at the enemy rightfielder so as not to lose their nickel of a deposit. You dig.

QUESTION NO. 9--"Shall retail stores including package liquor stores, so called, be allowed to open for business on Sunday?"

What a stupid question. How far a drive is it, after all, to New Hampshire, where the liquor stores are open eight days a week? See you around the ballot box.

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