Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports

Oftentimes the line between politics and athletics and the athletes we know and love becomes blurry… at best. But that’s just the natural byproduct of a tightly-contested and contentious presidential race of course. Athletes are after all just normal people with a platform who have opinions on issues just like everybody else.

However, that public platform can throw them into some interesting potential scenarios, like the one Derek Jeter has found himself in over this past weekend.

So, Trump-Jeter doesn’t appear to be a likely ticket for 2016, but the thought got me thinking: Who from the sports world would be the ideal running mate for Donald Trump. What about Hillary Clinton? Or Ted Cruz?

So, without further ado, here are the best potential running mates for each of the five remaining presidential candidates from the wide world of sports.

Donald Trump – Tom Brady

This is a match made in heaven. Brady and Trump are boys (if you didn’t know, here’s the proof) and neither are natural politicians. Plus, people love Trump’s ‘refreshing’ and ‘honest’ approach that has run in the complete opposite direction of the current political institution.

So with that in mind, nominating an NFL quarterback who knows nothing about foreign affairs, economics, the political process, or how to run a country, BUT, knows how to read a blitz and dodge 300-pound defensive lineman should play right into his constituents’ hands. Right? (Sigh).

Hillary Clinton – Charles Barkley

Before you rush to judgement here, hear me out. What is the one thing that nobody could ever say about Charles Barkley? Answer: he’s dishonest. Clinton’s biggest issue throughout this campaign cycle has been her perceived dishonesty and the fact that many Americans don’t trust her – especially not as much as her Democratic counterpart Bernie Sanders.

Barkley would bring a refreshing, honest approach to Clinton’s campaign and would help endear the candidate to the masses. Plus, I’d pay millions (that I don’t have) to watch Barkley and Trump debate. That would be must see TV to say the least.

Bernie Sanders – Curtis Granderson

Hard-working yet unassuming, popular but not superstar level popular and more than generous to those in need. You may think I just described Bernie Sanders, but in fact, that would be Curtis Granderson. The New York Mets outfielder is well-known in baseball circles but not outside of the sports world. But, Granderson is widely regarded as one of the nicest and most generous guys in the game on and off the field.

His Wikipedia page reads like a rap sheet of superlatives.

  • In appreciation for his efforts, Commissioner Bud Selig penned a thank-you letter to Granderson which read in part, “There are so many fine young men playing Major League baseball today, but I can think of no one who is better suited to represent our national pastime than you.”
  • When he endorsed Nike, Inc.,Louisville Slugger and Rawlings, he asked them to donate money to his foundation or equipment to inner-city baseball programs rather than pay him.
  • Granderson wrote a children’s book, All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It!, which was published in August 2009. The book is illustrated by students of the New York City public school system.
  • Granderson was chosen as the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year by the MLBPA for his off-field work.
  • Granderson paid $5 million to help UIC build a new baseball stadium in 2013.
  • In 2011, Granderson was also voted one of the friendliest players in the Major Leagues, according to a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated to 290 players.

He’s almost too perfect. Point being, if anyone could get behind Sanders’ Robin Hood-esque economic and social policies it’s Granderson.

Ted Cruz – Curt Schilling 

You may be thinking that Schilling and Trump are simpatico, but that’s not the case. Schilling was disgusted by Trump’s comments about former Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain and has since insinuated that Trump doesn’t have a real plan for governing and is full of hot air.

Cruz, meanwhile, fits the bill nicely for Schilling. Both share the same anti-immigration, pro-life and anti-establishment desires for America and could mesh well together on the campaign trail.

The question is, how much likability does Schilling have left? Cruz has the opposite issue of John Kasich – he continues to win and compete in multiple states, but suffers from a severe ‘this guy is insufferable to listen to and look at’ complex.

After numerous suspensions and high-profile controversies, Schilling might not be the best guy to help endear Cruz to the public, but on the issues, these two are a perfect fit.

John Kasich – Peyton Manning

John Kasich doesn’t really have a likability problem, he just has a winning problem. As often as mainline Republicans praise his values and suggest that Kasich is the best party guy, he still can’t buy a state that isn’t his home state of Ohio.

That’s why Kasich needs a winner in his corner. Manning went out a winner and was one of the winningest quarterbacks in NFL history. On top of that, many have Manning primed for a career in politics. Manning is well known as a proud republican, so who better to uphold the core values of the republican party and bring a winning touch to a losing campaign than Manning? Nobody I can think of.

Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for any of his other three teams.

Questions or comments? Feel free to follow Bryan on Twitter or send him an email