Tails You Lose

We interrupt this important message about Robinson Cano and how the limousine riding him to Cooperstown just blew a couple of tires for an important message to all of you youngsters out there playing ball: DON’T SLIDE HEAD FIRST,ESPECIALLY INTO FIRST BASE. Thank you. Yeah, I know about Rickey Henderson, the all time best base runner.Henderson had a titanium rib cage, however, and instincts that mere mortals lack. My feeling has always been that I would much rather step on the fielder’s toes at first than have him step on mine. Spikes hurt. Also, you don’t get there any faster. On the rest of the bases, again, feet versus hands. Now go work on your launch angle so that you never have to slide at all.

Last week the Supreme Court, which has lost a lot of prestige ever since Diana Ross retired, ruled that it is okay now for states to regulate and tax sports betting. A full century after the Black Sox scandal that helped an inferior Cincinnati team to win the World Series, the filthy pukes that make large sums of money from hapless working stiffs who are desperate to make a quick buck are now legitimized all over this great land of ours. Hold on, you say. It was hypocritical, you say, to ban gambling because everybody does it anyway. Well, not everyone. Some people have brains. Well, come on, Mr. Holier Than Yins, I guess you never joined the office pool during March Madness. There is a large difference between small friendly wagers and what we are experiencing with nationwide betting, sanctioned or not. It all started when states began replacing actual taxes with lotteries, where millions of suckers occasionally help one lucky fool get rich. It’s not really a gamble, folks. The house always wins. And many people have had their lives ruined by addiction to gambling, just like with booze, tobacco, and other drugs. As with most of the clothing worn at a royal wedding, it ain’t pretty underneath.

What was so bad about what happened in 1919? Why did Pete Rose get banned for life? Tightwad Charles Comiskey paid his Chicago White Sox players so poorly that some of them, notably Ed Cicotte, Lefty Williams, and maybe Joe Jackson, made a deal with gambling pros to throw the Series in exchange for some of those dollars Comiskey didn’t want to pay. Therefore, all of the players not involved, all baseball fans, and everyone involved in professional baseball took a severe stomach punch. That’s how the modern game of long ball got its start, but that’s another story. If the ticket buyer can’t have faith that it’s a legitimate contest, why participate? There are always exceptions, as with the severely brain challenged folks who enjoy Donald Trump’s wrestling bouts.

So I take it as yet another sign that the tired old empire is in decline. No one cares where your money comes from, but if you want to borrow some, take off all your clothes and fill out this 18 page form.

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