The Fix Was In?

A French newspaper alleged that the ice dancing competition in the Winter Games was “fixed” and the Toronto Star has picked up that theme. Here is what Rose DiManno had to say in the Toronto Star about figure skating as a sport:

“Strip away the sequins, wipe off the pancake makeup, delete the frozen-in-place smiles, and what’s left is a tawdry whore of a sport where the judges are the johns.”

And I thought that I did not like figure skating… All I thought is that it is an athletic spectacle that cannot hold my interest for more than about 5 minutes. I have no opinion at all on the scores awarded by the judges because I have no basis for such an opinion. However, the allegation here does raise an interesting point in my mind.

If you are to believe the people who support PASPA – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 – it is the evil of gambling that can lead to point-shaving and game-fixing. That is why sports gambling had to be limited to those states that already had legalized gambling prior to passage of the act. Well, if – I said IF – these allegations happen to be true, might the PASPA people explain where those millions of dollars in betting handle on the ice dancing competition happened? If the fix was in here, there had to be some reason other than scoring a betting coup.

Mark Emmert and the Commissioners of the pro sports leagues in the US evince apoplectic fear of fixed games; that is why they support PASPA entirely. I wonder if they worry about game-fixing/point-shaving for reasons other than gambling. Maybe the ice dancing folks could give them a heads-up on how to live with that horror.

Lest anyone think I am picking on ice dancing here, let me say unequivocally that even if the judges were paid off to secure the order of finish, it was done with a modicum of class because it was not overt. If you want overt game fixing, you need to ponder what happened in a Sicilian soccer game earlier this month.

Borgata was playing Bagheria in a tournament called Coppa Sicilia. The tournament group play was down to three teams with the possibility of advancing (Partinicaudace was the other team) and Bagheria needed a tie to move on to the next round. However, Bagheria trailed with 10 minutes left to play; so at that point, Bagheria players began shooting at their own goal to run up a score of 14-3 against themselves. By doing that, Partinicaudace advanced in the tournament instead of Borgata on the basis of goal differential. Supposedly, the Bagheria players preferred Partinicaudace to advance if they could not.

Italian soccer officials have “launched an investigation”. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no subtlety involved here; the investigation should have taken about 12 minutes to reach its conclusion. All you can do is shake your head and wonder at the brazen corruption that is at the core of Italian soccer. By the way, if you think I am making this up, here is where I learned about it.

According to reports, Roger Goodell earned $44.2M as NFL Commissioner last year. That number raised more than a few eyebrows from the point of view of “income inequality” and all that stuff. The PR folks for the league tried to tamp down some of that flutter saying that about $9M of the total figure was back pay for Goodell from last year when Goodell’s salary was reduced to $1 during the NFL/NFLPA stare-down over a CBA.

    Memo to the PR Folks: That makes it worse – not better. What you just revealed is that the whole “I will only take $1 in salary so long as we don’t have a CBA business” was as phony as giving up cliff diving for Lent. He did not work for $1; he took deferred compensation.

Right about now, Roger Goodell is going to have to work to earn this year’s tsunami of cash. He has the “Ted Wells Report” in his hands; he has Michael Sam poised to enter the league; he has to lead – or prod – the NFL out of the mid-20th Century and into the 21st Century on societal issues (bullying and sexual preferences) that have impinged themselves on the league. Pete Rozelle never had to worry about this kind of stuff even though it likely all existed in NFL locker rooms in his time because those were not big societal issues then. Cue Bob Dylan:

“The times they are a-changin’…”

I read a short report a couple days ago that Manny Ramirez has signed with a new agent (Miami Sports Management) and that he has been working with David Segui as a hitting instructor. Supposedly, Ramirez would like another crack at MLB; in 2010, he played 5 games for the Tampa Bay Rays and has been away from MLB since then. I do recall him playing for a while in Taiwan and playing for one of the Oakland A’s minor league affiliates since then. Ramirez will be 42 years old at the end of May.

Because I like to be helpful when I can, I have an idea for Miami Sports Management in the event that Ramirez is not gobbled up by an MLB team. I think they should put together a barnstorming team to go around the country to play exhibition games in minor league stadiums. Some of the players could be:

    Manny Ramirez
    Rafael Palmiero
    José Canseco
    Lenny Dykstra
    Jeremy Giambi
    Jason Grimsley
    Andy Pettite
    David Segui
    Garry Sheffield
    Sammy Sosa

Those folks would all have time on their hands this summer and Miami Sports Management would have a perfect product to sponsor the barnstorming tour. Look at the list of players; think about what they have in common; now imagine the tour sponsored by:

    The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.

No need to thank me…

Finally, let me pose a rhetorical question here:

    When a curling team is eliminated from a tournament, is it inappropriate to say that they have been swept aside?

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  • Siggurdsson  On February 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Sir: To answer your rhetorical question:

    No, but it would surely elicit a chorus of groans…

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm


      Well, at least it would not go unnoticed…

  • Rickey  On February 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Not quite the same has fixing a match. Didn’t the Canadians hint that at either the luge or bobsled that the Russians turned up the heat on the lower portion of the track. It was after the Russian team went and it enabled them to get a medal. The Canadians and Austrians were about a half second slower on that portion of the track

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm


      You should read Bill Veeck’s autobiography, Veeck As in Wreck, to learn about all of the shenanigans that baseball teams used to do with regard to their home fields depending on what team came to town to play. When Maury Wills was stealing bases at an unprecedented clip, one team – I think it was the Cubs but do not hold me to that – basically turned the area near first base where he might take a lead into a sandtrap. If the Russians did what they are alleged to have done, it would not surprise me even a little bit.

  • Ed  On February 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Curm – i think you got the soccer team advancing wrong according to Yahoo. Your link has the team on the field being the one advanced, not the third team.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm


      You are correct. Borgata advanced and Partinicaudace did not advance.

  • Doug  On February 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I wasn’t convinced Goddell was working for $1 when I read that story. I

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm


      But it made for a nice attempt to seize the moral high ground…

  • Rich  On February 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Good ell may be the highest salaried Non-profit employee on the planet.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm


      I cannot think of anyone higher on the totem pole. Unless you count some of the politicians in third world nations that rip off tens of millions of dollars per year from the economies of those basket-case entities…

      • Rich  On February 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm

        True that! Goodell can rest easy knowing that the only people in his category are tyrannical despots.
        Also, your cogent remarks on the greatest of baseball commissioners…how would you rank the fellows who headed the NFL in that position? I’ll vote here for Pete Rozelle.

        • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm


          I have not thought about NFL commissioners very seriously because there have been so few of them in my lifetime. I agree with you that Pete Rozelle has to be up at the top of that list, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>