Saturday, May 03, 2014
The Fix Is In; Don't Tell The Horse
Wow, this weekend's sports calendar is overflowing with exciting challenges and competitions. T'is the season to become a true couch potato with all the snacky finger foods at your side. April showers (for those not in drought barren California) are over and the smell of May flowers are in the air. Money May that is, as our pound-for-pound best boxing champion, Floyd Mayweather defends his title tonight against challenger Marcos Maidana.
Boxing is the sport that invented the practice of 'fixing'. Fixing simply comes with the territory of the sweet science. They're saying nobody, not even the challenger's fans, think he has a shot at winning tonight. I heard a sports analyst compare this fight to the Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas classic upset; where the underdog challenger steps up to shock the world. Was the fix in on that 1990 fight in Tokyo, Japan?
My Golden State Warriors will participate in one of three NBA game 7 playoff contests tonight. It has just about become standard practice that NBA playoff series go the full distance. Why leave all that money sitting on the table when sports consumers and the television networks are screaming for more basketball? You want a classic game 7, you got it, in High Definition. Doesn't mean no strings are attached to the final outcome. Point shaving never hurt anybody, right?
Hockey tries to use the same formula as basketball. Six of eight NHL round 1 playoff series went six or more games so far this season. The networks love it. Round two is in full swing today and my San Jose Sharks aren't in it, so my enthusiasm ain't what it was. As we learnt with boxing, anytime there's a fight there's opportunity for a fix. And need I remind fans that Hockey is full of fighting. As I write this the Boston Bruins are battling the Montreal Canadiens with no score in the first period. Expect more game 7's on ice in May.
Baseball might just be the purest sport today when it comes to the fix. Though it carries the old bruise from the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, baseball without a clock feels truly like a "For The Love of The Game" competition. Today's performance enhancing drug scandals don't fall into the fixing category; PED's are really just competitors trying desperately to get the edge over an opponent, or over an injury. But that classic scene of the Chicago newspaper boy yelling "Say It Ain't So Joe" to White Sox star Shoeless Joe Jackson is embedded in our sports memory log. Joe deserves better.
Yeah, anybody playing any sport can be got at by the fixers. But there's one athletic body stepping up to the starting line this weekend that can't get got. He's built like a thoroughbred, needs no animal or superhuman logo to reflect his strong and fast attributes, and he doesn't do interviews or make guarantees. He's a mind of his own and in any given competition, though being urged on by trainer and rider, he can upset the field or lay down and take the day off. Nobody tells him to take a dive; and unless someone tampers with him physically to render him scratched from the event, the odds of him coming out victorious lay in his hooves. Yes, I'm talking about a racehorse.
This weekend the 140th Kentucky Derby is scheduled to be run, and the contenders ain't talking to nobody. There've been two scratches but nobody's crying foul. My money is on who else but California Chrome. Why? Well, you gotta ask the horse.
California Chrome Favored To Win Kentucky Derby