Gary Cartwright passed away over the weekend at the age of 82. He was one of the top-shelf sportswriters of the 20th Century who perfected his craft in North Texas in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In my mind, he was in the quartet of great Texas sportswriters of the time that included Dan Jenkins, Bud Shrake and Blackie Sherrod. Gary Cartwright started at the Fort Worth Press but eventually, worked for just about every paper in that area of the world. He retired from Texas Monthly several years ago; and like his former colleague, Dan Jenkins, he is the author of several books in addition to his “journalistic” offerings. My favorite of his books is The Hundred Yard War; you can pretty much guess the focus of that book.
RIP, Gary Cartwright.
Last week, a friend asked if I was going to write about the Daytona 500. I said that I would if something unusual happened. Nothing unusual happened:
- Lots of cars drove really fast and made lots of left turns.
- There were a couple of multi-car crashes. Fortunately, everyone survived those crashes.
- The race was won on the final lap in a mad dash to the finish line.
The first two of those “happenings” may be commonplace on the Interstate near where you live and work; the third “happening” is the case for just about every NASCAR race. So, nothing unusual happened there…
Until I read this report, I was not aware that there were any folks studying the status and the future of Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore. For at least the last 20 years – and probably for the last 30 years – I have said unequivocally that Pimlico is an uninviting venue for any sort of sporting event let alone as the venue for a Triple Crown event. At one point, I said it had the ambience of an upholstered toilet.
Well, it seems that some Baltimore pols and some other folks are now concerned that Pimlico’s less-than-elegant presence may jeopardize the track as the host of the Preakness Stakes. Frankly, I wonder what took them so long to come to this epiphany status. Let me say this as simply as I can:
- Absent political pressures to keep the track from falling down around itself because it was the “Home of the Preakness”, Pimlico should have been razed sometime around 1996 or 1998.
- There are beautiful racetracks where the venue itself is a reason to take in a day of racing. Saratoga, DelMar, Keenland and Woodbine come to mind in this category. Then there are racetracks that are – on their best days – dumps. Yonkers, Suffolk Downs and Fresno come to mind in this category.
- Pimlico is below the category of “dumps”. It is more than uninviting; it is repulsive. The study cited in this linked report says it will take more than $200M to make Pimlico into something attractive. That sounds about right to me because that is what it would probably cost to raze the track and everything attached to the track to the ground and to start over from scratch.
Yet again, José Canseco has provided me with material for a Daily Rant. Recall for a moment that Canseco mused via social media about a month ago that he would be “willing’ to serve as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve so that he could implement his ideas/policies which would produce economic growth in the 15-25% range year over year over year. Do not try to beat me over the head with that sort of projection; I did not say it; he did.
Canseco is back now announcing to the world – or at least that part of the inhabited world with access to Twitter – that humankind faces a real and imminent threat to humankind’s existence. Nope; Canseco is not envisioning an asteroidal encounter of “dinosaur proportions”; Canseco’s apocalyptic view focuses on ROBOTS.
The Rise of the Machines seemingly is more to Canseco than the title of a cheesy movie. Here are some of Canseco’s warnings – via Twitter of course – for the benefit of humankind:
“For 60 years, Robots have been systematically destroying us in clandestine economy based war started when eniac was turned on.”
“Robots control every industry our food supply our transportation systems our health care and education systems EVERYTHING.”
“Robots are stealing our jobs bringing economic ruin to us human by human starving us to death one by one.”
“All that will be left are uber technical humans trained to service robots.”
[Aside: I assume “uber technical humans” does not refer to engineers who take Uber to and from work.]
If you share the inevitable horror portrayed by José Canseco, have at it. Personally, I have seen too many sure-fire doomsday actors/perpetrators come and go to get my gastric juices flowing on this one…
Finally, here is an observation by Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot that rings awfully true with me:
“Bottom line: Orioles backup catcher Caleb Joseph reported to spring training with a new contract worth $700,000. But this was after an arbitrator rejected his request for $1 million. Can’t imagine why Joseph didn’t get what he asked for. He set a record last season for most plate appearances – 141 – without an RBI and hit .174. Joseph does, however, lead the league in one category: gall.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………