The Kentucky Derby will happen in just less than three weeks. It is way too early to determine who the favorite might be and where the real value(s)
in wagering might exist. However, it isn't too early for the Churchill Downs folks to check in with another bit of excess for the day. Patrons at
the track will have the opportunity to purchase an 'international mint julep' at a cost of $1000 each. That's not a typo folks; this drink is going
to cost a grand. The julep will feature mint from Morocco, sugar from the South Pacific, bourbon from Kentucky and ice from the Arctic Circle. The
drink will arrive in a gold plated cup and comes with a silver straw.
The marketing weenies for the particular brand of bourbon that is in this concoction say that the drink was created 'to reflect the international
nature of the Kentucky Derby.' That's a crock. The real reason is that the money raised here will be used for a charity - the Thoroughbred
Retirement Foundation - which provides homes to retired racehorses. Only fifty such mint juleps will be on sale so if you want one you better get
Speaking of the Kentucky Derby, I know that it will be a small shock for me to look at the racing form on that day and not to see Jerry Bailey or Pat
Day on any of the entries. Both jockeys have retired in the past year and they were fixtures in the Derby and other races of that stature.
During the years when President Clinton was in the White House, we often read stories about and saw short film clips about his golfing exploits.
Obviously, he liked to golf; just as obviously, I find it difficult to understand what it is about golf that makes people like to do it. Whatever. I
believe that I now have a small insight into why he likes the game as much as he does. The PGA has a rule prohibiting players from gambling on the
premises where a PGA Tour event 'is being contested'; the penalty is a yearlong suspension for a golfer who violates that rule. However, the players
routinely and openly wager on the practice rounds played on the courses where the weekend tour event will happen. No one gets suspended because the
PGA says such events are outside the tour competition even though the PGA often charges fans a fee to come and watch those practice rounds where
gambling is ongoing. That's the attraction for President Clinton. Not the gambling; it's the PGA he can relate to. The PGA has found a way to parse
the meaning of the word 'is'; they charge an admission fee, but the competition 'is' not exactly happening at that moment. Now I understand...
After a NASCAR race at the Texas Motor Speedway, Kurt Busch's fiancee and Greg Biffle's girlfriend got into verbal altercation and folks intervened to
prevent it from turning into a physical one. There had been an incident in the race between the two drivers and their cars and it spilled over into
pit row after the race. NASCAR has been looking to join other corporate partners lately - remember they have some romance novelist writing some hot
steamy romance books about racing - and here is the start of a natural partnership for them. These two women need to hook up in the WWE for a Texas
Death Match. I'm sure the WWE has a pay per view event coming up sometime this summer where this can happen.
Meanwhile the NASCAR vice president for competition is being a party pooper here. After the verbal altercation, Robin Pemberton said, 'There will be
some conversations that will be had with the people that participated...' While that statement provides a level of grammar not normally associated
with NASCAR, it has to be less than helpful when it comes to setting up some torrid feud between these women for the WWE folks to 'exploit'. I think
they need to hold a big staff meeting at NASCAR Hqs and see if they really do want to keep a lid on this one.
The Las Vegas papers reported on the results of the inaugural USA Rock Scissors Paper Championship held in Vegas a week ago. There were 260 folks
entered in the competition and a gentleman from Omaha Nebraska was the winner; he pocketed the lion's share of the $50K offered as prize money here.
The key word in all of this is 'inaugural'; that can only mean that the intent is to do this again in the future. Why would I be opposed to that?
Well, it would certainly not be to prevent these folks from having a shot at a $50K purse that someone put up for the event; I don't begrudge these
folks a chance to win that kind of money. No, my problem is that if this happens several times, it might turn into programming for ESPN and you know
they'll try to turn Rock Scissors Paper into a strategy game with greater depth of subtlety than bridge. Pity the guy who is on the bottom rung of
the ladder at ESPN who gets the assignment to broadcast this and has to come up with a way to translate all of this to television. It could get ugly;
that's why 'inaugural' is a dangerous word here.
Money is important in the 'minor sports' and often competitors have to raise money themselves in order to pay for training expenses and for travel to
various competitions. Such is the case for sharpshooters; there isn't a huge TV revenue stream to provide funding for these folks. In Norway, Are
Hansen has decided to sell posters of himself posed wearing nothing but his medals and with his rifle in a place, which prevents the poster from
getting a 'XXX Rating'. Hansen said that the shooting season could cost him 150,000 NoK (approximately $25K) and the poster could defray at least
some of the costs. Because I'm feeling particularly generous today, I want to offer this suggestion free of charge to Are Hansen.
You are missing a major promotional opportunity here; you need to contact Pfizer Inc. immediately. Your poster should be part of an ad campaign in
Norway for Viagra; the slogan could be:
'Watch out! This thing is loaded.'
No need to thank me...
The Cincinnati Bengals signed Sam Adams to take up a huge volume of space in the middle of their defensive line next season and stop the run. For a
team that has to play Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice each, that's a smart addition. Adams will be in his 12th season in the NFL so of course he was
asked at his introductory news conference in Cincy how much longer he thinks he can keep doing this. Adams said that he still had plenty of gas in
the tank. I wonder how happy the Bengals' middle linebacker was to hear that pronouncement...
Finally, now that James Brown has left the FOX NFL pregame show, there had been some rumors that Terry Bradshaw might assume the leadership role on
the program. The executive producer for FOX Sports, Ed Goren, would seem to have quashed that rumor with this statement:
'I love Terry; he's the old straw that stirs the drink. But there isn't enough alcohol in Los Angeles for me to consume if I had to produce a show
with Terry being the band leader.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...