In an op-ed in today’s New York Times, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is seeing Reds.

Calling on his Senate colleagues to hurry up and vote on House-passed legislation that would sanction China over alleged currency abuses, Brown makes this unfortunate analogy that, I suppose, he thought was funny: 

Our exports to China have increased. But reporting only exports is like reporting just one team’s score in baseball: the Cubs scoring five runs sounds good, until you hear that the Reds tallied 12.

Excuse me? The Reds? Now, I realize that "Reds" is the name of the beloved Cincinnati ballclub in Brown’s home state. I also know that back in the bad old days of the cold war, the Reds changed their name to the "Redlegs" to appease anticommunists. (When passions eased, they started calling themselves the Reds again, and by then the focus of fanaticism had changed. The celebrated Tampa Bay Devil Rays changed their name to the simpler “Rays,” apparently to assuage Christian conservative who through that maybe the team’s owners were counting on Satan to add a few miles per hour to Devil Rays’ fastballs.)

Those who’ve read my recent piece in The Nation, "China in the Driver’s Seat," know that I don’t think that sanctioning China is a productive idea, and neither do folks such as Robert Reich. It’s crass electoral politics, and that’s bad enough. But adding “Reds” into the mix makes it worse.