Memo from The Sports Desk: Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you

6 November 2010

By Raoul Duke Jr.

(Editor’s Note: As soon as the World Series ended, we knew the Mojo Wire would be heating up. The Pure Gibberish offices received Duke’s latest missive a week later.)

Sportswriters by nature are degenerate gamblers. Saying this is like saying alcoholics are debauched drinkers or politicians are pathological liars. Res ipsa loquitur. Sportswriters are wrong more often than they are right, they are worse than your local weatherman, Mellish Meter be damned. There is a reason I cannot go into half the ballparks in the country, I owe too much. You name it and I owe. I once bet $30,000 on three pitches.Sometimes, sportswriters get one right, and that is exactly what I did. In April I made a bold prediction, sure, it was alcohol and amyl nitrate induced and I regretted writing it at the time, but I stuck by it. ( I went out there in the wilderness and picked the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. The only other of my brethren to get it right was Jim Caple of Sure, I took ribbing from other writers worse yet; my bookie started demanding the money upfront. Who is laughing now? Who is searching for the bastard that owes me money now? This guy.

How did the Giants do it? That’s an interesting question. Had I watched a single second of the World Series, I would tell you. Normally I attend the games but this year, like the rest of the country, I couldn’t care less. Need proof, an AP report stated it was the lowest watched World Series ever. Only 8.4 million people tuned in to watch it. Americans care more about a faux dancing contest with “celebrities” than the real drama of baseball. SF Chronicle beat writer Henry Schulman reported that in the fifth-inning of game two, the entire Giants bench was spotted watching “The Mentalist” on an iPad. Can you blame them? The game was a blowout as the Matt Cain pitched a gem and “The Mentalist” had a great plot line. Abby Fitzwilliam goes missing from her grandmother’s wake. Austin, her boyfriend is found stabbed to death. Abby’s mother, Pauline is a federal judge. She believes that Raymond Tubbs had her daughter abducted. Tubbs is a white supremacist and a bank robber. She recently sentenced him to 40 years without parole. It was incredible to watch Lisbon and Jane solve this overtly layered case.

Is the lack of interest in the World Series something of a national malaise to the sport or the fact that it wasn’t a marquee name team line the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs (if only), Mets or Cards? Surely Commissioner Bud Selig, a man who does his level best to ruin the sport on a daily basis, wants every WS to feature any combination of the aforementioned teams, thus assuring huge ratings. This year offered second-rate franchises in first-rate markets: San Francisco and Dallas.

The Giants are an old school team, a baseball original if you will. They were formerly in New York but made tracks in 1957, after winning the whole thing in 1954. That series is best remembered for Willie Mays’s catch. Most of the NY Giants fans have died off, with the exception of Larry King.

As for the Texas Rangers, they started life as the Washington Senators in 1961 and proved that the Senate wasn’t the only futile body in Washington D.C. In 1972, they moved to Arlington Texas. They are best known for being owned by a failed oilman who happened to have a successful father.

Earlier this year the team declared bankruptcy and was turned over to former major leaguer Nolan Ryan. All he did was turn them into a contender in one year. Something the former owner couldn’t do at any time in his life, but I digress.

For me the sad state of baseball lies at the bloated feet of baseball itself. The price of a night at the old ballpark has gone up so much that normal folk can’t afford it. Wrigley Field alone has 20 different prices for seats. In addition, the Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908 when there were only 46 states, have the highest average ticket prices, $52.26! That doesn’t include a 12% amusement tax added to every ducat. Who knew mediocrity was so pricey? If it weren’t for the fact that I have a press pass, I wouldn’t go. Hell, I have made enough friends that I’m invited to media owners’ boxes and if that fails I have a cadre of ushers on the pad who take care of me.

As for the WS, you can blame the networks for that debacle. A normal game takes about three hours; a WS games clocks in at 3:30. The games start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, how can a boy of 10-years-old, who may be a burgeoning baseball fan, watch a game that will end two and a half hours after his bedtime? In its quest for more money, baseball has chased the few and ignored the many. It has come home to roost and while football and basketball each lap “The National Pastime” baseball lags behind. The once great game is in danger of becoming barrel jumping.

While baseball flails, I can rejoice in that I picked a winner. Now I have a mission, find my bookie. I have left more phone calls for him than a VISA after a missed payment but he won’t return my calls. I spent a week at his favorite haunt, Starbucks in Frankfurt, IL but nothing. Don’t you worry, I will find the villain.

There is a personal bounty on that ridiculous Jew-fro. The shit-hammer is closing in on you Benn, I’m gonna get you and the $36K you owe me. You gave me the odds, I placed the bet and you took it. Don’t try any of your lame-ass excuses to weasel out of it. I will find you and skin you if you don’t give me what’s mine. By the way, what’s the line on Da Bears winning the Super Bowl, I’m feeling lucky.


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