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Newz Forum: OTHER: The Sports Curmudgeon on the Vikings, Barry Bonds, Edgerrin James, Jeromy Burnitz

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posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 05:50 PM
As the Mike Tice ticket-scalping business continues to percolate, it occurred to me that ticket scalping is awfully close to the status of a "victimless crime". Here in DC, they arrest you for selling tickets to events in public places - even if the price is below face value; Mike Tice faces punishment by the NFL and maybe loss of his job.

Now I understand that the IRS might have some kind of beef with Tice here if he did not report this "Other Income" on Line 21 of Form 1040, but the IRS isn't threatening to punish him yet; it's the NFL.

Mike Tice got tix to the Super Bowl at some price from the NFL on the basis that he is a coach in the league. The NFL sold them to him for a price that they set as "fair and reasonable" - or one that they perhaps negotiated into the CBA? - and collected the amount of money they expected to get from that sale. So, why does the NFL give a rat's patootie if Tice sells his tix to me for a price that he and I agree is "fair and reasonable"? And taking that one step further, why does anyone care if I sell those same tix to you at a price that you and I mutually deem to be "fair and reasonable"? Let's just say, that I don't see this criminal activity as a harbinger of a crime wave that threatens public safety.

For the record, I believe that the only truly victimless crime is necrophilia...

Thinking about Mike Tice got me thinking about the Vikings. According to Charlie Walters' column in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, the Minnesota legislature is not going to authorize the construction of a new stadium for the Vikes again this year. In the past, one sticking point has been the non-resident status of owner Red McCombs; and with the ownership of the team not yet resolved, it seems as if the Vikes will continue to be in the Metrodome under what is purported to be the least friendly stadium lease in the NFL. Here's an idea for whoever owns the team on opening day of this year. Build your own stadium so you own the team and the field - like the Redskins do. And I have a thought as to where you could put the stadium...

In the Twin Cities area, there is a "distressed racetrack" - Canterbury Downs. I was there once many years ago and it seemed pretty clear to me that the local support for that track was not going to turn a facility of that size into a money machine. It certainly has not. But there is a lot of land associated with the track and there are parking facilities and some infrastructure. The purported new ownership group includes some "wealthy real estate developers from New Jersey". Gentlemen, the advice above is free; you'd pay a consultant a bundle for it. And remember, the Redskins are the most valuable franchise in the league in part because they don't share revenue for tickets or parking or concessions with any local government entity or pay to use their field...

Here's a quote I ran across in the San Jose Mercury News from Dante DiTrapano - the agent for Randy Moss - relative to his client:

"I don't know anything he's done that would label him a malcontent."

All I can say is: no comment.

And here is a great line from Scott Ostler yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"After running a 4.82 40-yard "dash" at the NFL Combine, Maurice Clarett has petitioned the NFL to allow him, once drafted, to replace his name on the back of his jersey with He Catch Me."

The Colts once traded away Marshall Faulk who managed to have a few productive seasons in St. Louis. Now the word is that they would be willing to trade Edgerrin James for "less than a first round pick". I realize that James wants a long-term deal that they don't want to give him and that James is trying to make himself a player they would rather have elsewhere. But less than a first round pick?

A long time ago, there was a TV show called The Six Million Dollar Man. The premise was that a guy had been fatally injured but scientists and doctors got him and "rebuilt" him with robotic parts that looked human and gave him superior strength and speed and all that stuff. The title came from the fact that it cost $6M to restore him to a functional state. Do you want to know what inflation has done to the dollar? Matt Leinart already has superior physical skills but nothing that has been robotically enhanced - to the best of our knowledge - and he is reportedly taking out an insurance policy on himself for next year for "$10 million-plus". I guess this is why Alan Greenspan fears inflation so much.

Auburn University is an institution of higher learning so you might expect that some of the folks in the athletic department there are capable of learning from the past in order to make things better in the future. Last year, Auburn went 13-0 in football and was not in the national championship game to a large extent because its out of conference schedule was so pathetic. They even played Division 1-AA Citadel. So, obviously, the folks at Auburn figured out that it would be a good idea to put a solid - if not outstanding - out of conference opponent on the schedule for the upcoming year, right? Not quite. It seems as if Division 1-AA Western Kentucky will be the new patsy on the schedule for Auburn this year. So let's not hear any complaints from Auburn fans if the same thing happens to them this year. They had a chance to make a change and didn't do it.

Lots of people have been wondering why Barry Bonds is not included on the subpoena list by the Congressional Committee holding hearings on steroid use in sports. Since I don't read minds, I obviously don't know either but here is one possibility: Maybe even Congressmen have a tolerance limit for prevarication?

The Mets' new first baseman, Doug Mientkiewicz, was part of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry down the stretch of last season and into the playoffs. Either he is oblivious to what is going on around him or he is far more insightful than anyone else on the planet because he said of that rivalry:

"It wasn't what everybody made it out to be. The Twins-White Sox was just the same to me."

Jim Hendry is the GM of the Cubbies who engineered the trade of Sammy Sosa from the Cubs over the winter and brought in Jeromy Burnitz as a way to replace some of the power in the line-up. For the record, I think trading Sosa was a good idea not a bad idea but Hendry is clearly staying up too late at night pouring over stats to find ways to justify this exchange to people who are unhappy about it. He is quoted as saying:

"[Burnitz] was sixth in the game in slugging percentage of people who struck out more than 120 times."

Well, that certainly explains things!

Finally, an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

"Q: Should we read any karma into the fact that Mt. Saint Helens blew a gasket just one day after the Rick Neuheisel trial ended in a settlement?

"A: No, not really. One has produced a lot of steam, blown the lid off a local landmark and run up a damage tab in the millions - and the other is merely a mountain in southwestern Washington."

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright the Sports Curmudgeon

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