Clinton, S.C., Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 7:37 p.m.
I don’t think I can muster a blog on one subject tonight. My opinions aren’t strong enough, or at least I haven’t reached the stage where I can make detailed cases.
The collapse of the Boston Red Sox is making me more literate. I wind up stanching the bleeding by reading books while the games are on TV. How bad are the Red Sox? I’m more than five hundred pages into William Manchester’s American Caesar. It’s not a light read.
Actually, I probably should write a blog about the Red Sox because I’ve certainly put lots of thought into why the fortunes of the World Champions have gone so bad so quickly. Maybe tomorrow.
The World Cup semifinals certainly dissented with the notion that all soccer matches are just alike. Germany embarrassed Brazil with a cavalry charge. Argentina and Holland dug trenches.
I’ve enjoyed it. What always impresses me about the World Cup – this is only the second I’ve really followed closely – is how all the teams are like I expect them to be. There’s a novelty song by a novelty group, the Austin Lounge Lizards, called “Another Stupid Song About Texas,” and following the premise of that tune and adapting it to international futbol:
Their Germans are the germiest / The Frenchmen are the wormiest / Their floppers are the laziest / Colombians cocainiest / The Belgians tend to waffle best / Brazil’s the humiliatedest / Argentina’s stripedest / While Holland’s the sunspottiest / Uruguay smokespottiest.
NASCAR’s owners are organizing, and it is altogether fitting that this sport would unionize at the level of ownership instead of labor. If there’s a Curt Flood, he’s a billionaire in this sport … and … guess what? … every other one.
I’m perplexed because all I know is what I read and see, and that’s just no good here. The “remain calm, all is well” chorus is so strong, it’s obviously a lie. This is one of those tense times when there is a vast gulf between on the record and off, and in the lines and between them. The same guy saying “no big deal” into the mic is saying “all hell’s breaking loose” when it’s off. A couple guys have called me as soon as theirs went off, probably because I’m not in a position to do much with it, and they have a misplaced desire to know what I think, but not with a live mic.
Part of it is a consequence of the very spin that is being generated now. The past couple years the spin on sagging attendance has been, “Hey, psst, between me and you, attendance doesn’t mean anything. We make so much money from TV that ticket revenue is getting to be a negligible part of the business. Sure, we’d like to draw a big crowd, but it’s really not a big deal.”
At some point, this led to an equal and opposite reaction, in which the tycoon car owners started saying of the tycoon track owners, “Hey, these tracks are getting rich, and I’m still trying to find $5 million from sponsors to make ends meet. How fair is that?”
To which others answered, “Not very,” followed by, “Hey, I really need someone to talk to, and do you think you could get dates for all my friends?”
Nothing raises temperatures in NASCAR like the suspicion that someone else might be making money.
When I was on the beat, my nickname for Fridays was Liars Day. That’s because the same people who say, “What I love about this track is how great the racing is,” on Friday turn into, “It’s ridiculous how hard it is to pass at this piece of crap” on Sunday evening.
Some of the pointed talkers are going to be at least frightened and at most catatonic Friday, pinned between the ruling body that owns them and the owners who own them.
An old album title comes to mind: Twin Sons of Different Mothers (Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg).
This kind of stuff happens in fiction all the time. Check out my novels, The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope, at www.neverlandpublishing.com. Have Kindle, www.amazon.com will travel. If you’re here in town, The Intangibles is available at L&L Office Supply. Signed copies of both are at Fiction Addiction in Greenville, S.C., too. Or send me a check (see “Merchandise”) and I’ll ship one or both.