During the euphoria last spring over the return of baseball to the nation's capital, I said that the Nats would have to be a winning club and be in a
new stadium for the big crowds to continue to come. Well they were not winners last year and they are still playing in the dump known as RFK Stadium.
So in the home opener yesterday, there were '5000 empty seats' based on the announced attendance, which really amounts to the number of tickets sold
and not the turnstile count.
That means 11% of the seats were not even sold. The local sports radio station was trying to do analysis on this situation and tried to assess blame
on everything from the fact that there are still not owners for the team to Hurricane Katrina. Yes, they admitted that trying to blame Hurricane
Katrina was a stretch, but that's how far afield they were looking for 'answers'. Here's the answer. Washington is not a baseball town; it will go
out to see champions or near champions; it will go out to see a ballpark that other people have convinced them is a 'special place'. Other than that,
the baseball interest in town resides mostly in the minds of the baseball poets who write about how deep the love of the game is here. Remember
folks, some writers produce fiction...
To be thorough in the analysis here, the Nationals do have a larger, stronger and more loyal fan base than do the Florida Marlins. According to Greg
Cote in the Miami Herald, the Marlins have sold fewer than 5000 season tickets. I heard a disembodied voice on a sports radio program say that the
Marlins had only sold 3500 season tickets. Only 31,000 fans showed up for the Marlins' home opener yesterday; that's a drop of 45% compared to last
year's home opener when the Marlins were the defending World Series champions. Once the Dolphins go to training camp and the NFL season is just about
to happen, the Marlins might be able to do a promotion called 'Count the House'. The fan who correctly counts the house for that night gets a prize.
I know; they can give him free tickets to a game; they'll have plenty of them to spare.
A judge in Florida sentenced Doc Gooden to a year and a day in prison because Gooden violated his probation and used coc aine. I've lost count
of how many substance abuse arrests/trials/convictions/rehabs this makes. Instead of tracking that, maybe someone needs to set an over/under line for
how long it might be before he runs afoul of that societal ban after he gets out of prison this time...
I'm no doctor, but there may be some important medical information in this next item. Former Phillies' catcher, Darren Daulton, has gotten into
numerology and mysticism. He has said that the number 11 is very significant because it represents balance and equilibrium; and through his study, he
has concluded that the ancient Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. From this, Daulton has concluded that the world will end at 11:11 GMT on
that day and 'those ready to ascend will vanish from this plane of existence like the crew of the Enterprise in Star Trek'. Recall for a moment the
'Heaven's Gate' folks who committed suicide and clutched rolls of quarters as they waited for the space ship hiding behind a comet to come pick them
up; maybe the ship missed one of its passengers? Anyhow, what is the potentially important medical information in here? Well, for years, Daulton was
the designated catcher for Steve Carlton. Maybe this shows that weirdness is contagious? Call the Nobel Committee...
In the Canadian capital, the final phase of a sports cataclysm played itself out recently. The Ottawa Renegades of the CFL folded operations. This
is the second Ottawa CFL franchise to fail in the last several years. The CFL had hoped to expand from nine to ten teams this year; now they will
have to fall back to an eight-team league and they will move Winnipeg from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference to balance the schedule.
There was a time when the CFL was televised on a weekly basis to the US and I came to enjoy watching the game. When the CFL made a bad decision to
try to double in size and add a bunch of franchises in the US, I watched the televised games and went out to see the Baltimore franchise. I'm not
trying to represent the CFL product as something equivalent to the NFL product; in fact, I prefer college football to CFL football. But I do wish the
CFL could find its way onto ESPN2 because it is fun to watch and it is infinitely better programming than poker re-runs and/or Cold Pizza.
And while I'm on the subject of how ESPN fills its airtime, let me say without any equivocation here that they have played the
'Is-Brett-Favre-Retiring-Or-Not' card far too many times. Let me make sure I understand this situation fully. Brett Favre called a press conference
and announced that he had not yet made his decision as to whether or not he would come back to play QB for another season. And ESPN gave that event
coverage and had their experts do 'analysis' on that factoid.
Memo to ESPN:
There is no news there. Until and unless Brett Favre announces his decision unequivocally, please stop covering this
Related to this hyper-coverage of Brett Favre's career deliberations, I heard someone say that former Lions' and 49ers' coach, Steve Mariucci, had
said that Favre had earned the right to take whatever time it took for him to make this decision. If he indeed said that, he would probably have been
the 2,446th person to do so. And so to all of those 'experts', let me remind them:
One does not earn a 'right'. One earns a 'privilege'. Rights are 'unalienable' and people's rights are 'endowed by their Creator'. Brett Favre's
touchdown-to-interception ratio has nothing at all to do with his 'rights'. He is now exercising a privilege he may have earned.
I now have some good news for everyone who is a resident of the state of Florida. Every social, economic and political problem that may have ever
existed there is now fully resolved and there is no end to that utopia in sight. That must be the case because one of the representatives in the
Florida House of Representatives has proposed legislation that would require two Florida high schools to resume their football rivalry. Either this
guy has a very different view of the role of law in our society than I do or the Florida House of Representatives has way too much time on its
Finally, here's a comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret Morning News regarding Utah State's loss to Washington in the first round of the NCAA
tournament. That loss brought Utah State's tournament record since 1970 to 1-12:
'Not even Pauly Shore has starred in that many flops.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...