I Was Ahead Of My Time…

Back in the late 60’s, I was toiling away on research for my dissertation in a chem lab. There were moments of successful results mixed in with hours of tedium and lack of results and one of the things that a few of us grad students would do was to come up with ideas for a career that did not project to be a lifetime of that sort of laboratory plodding. I remember once coming up with the idea of starting a mutual fund – only it would not invest in stocks and bonds. I named my “fund” the Exacta Fund and its investment objectives would be to play exactas on horse races around the country and have the net asset value of the fund go up and down depending on the success from day to day. It did not seem to me to be such a radical departure from buying shares on the NYSE…

Of course it was all a fantasy and a way to deflect attention from our research travails – except now it appears as if something very much like the Exacta Fund is coming to reality. According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal [where else?], Chris Connelly has founded Contrarian Investments LLC. It is a “sports betting entity” that became legal in Nevada last June. For the moment, Connelly only bets on pro football, college football, pro basketball and college basketball games.

There are now six such investment possibilities in Nevada. You can read about them and how this fits into the Nevada wagering industry here.

Anyone who has read these rants for any length of time knows that I think the Pro Bowl – and all other All-Star Games – are meaningless twaddle. Nevertheless, there is news regarding the Pro Bowl that deserves commentary.

    1. The Pro Bowl will revert to the format of AFC versus NFC in 2017. The idea of having Hall of Fame players choose up sides from the players who chose to show up for the game was supposed to increase interest in the game. It did not; the idea was stupid from the start; now the NFL is going back to the original format which is also stupid – but not as stupid.

    2. Starting in 2017, the home of the Pro Bowl will be Orlando, FL. Starting in the mid-70s the game was always in Honolulu – except for one time in Miami and one time in Glendale, Arizona. I have not been able to detect any cries of pain and angst from the good folks in Hawaii over “losing” this spectacle which indicates to me that they really don’t care all that much about the change of venue.

    3. Orlando is a perfect place to hold the Pro Bowl. It is city whose economy is driven by theme parks that deliver fantasy experiences to customers. The Pro Bowl will provide a fantasy football experience for anyone who buys a ticket and goes to the stadium for the game. It fits like a glove…

Last week, The Big Lead reported that Chris Berman would be leaving ESPN – retiring – at the end of the upcoming football season. Berman’s agent subsequently denied the report saying that Berman is too young to retire – he just turned 61 – and that Berman loves his job. Time will tell if the report was accurate or not but when I read the report it got me to thinking of some of the nicknames that Berman has given to athletes in his years on the air. Three that I remember and really enjoy are:

    Eric “Sleeping With” Bienemy
    Odibe “Young Again” McDowell
    Von “Purple” Hayes

Bill Simmons’ new website – The Ringer.com – has launched and it looks interesting. As with his previous venture, Grantland.com, the site features long-form articles on sports and entertainment. One of the early offerings is by Bryan Curtis under the headline “Meet Joe Buck”. I thought it was very well done and I commend it to your reading.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are the Class A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers and play their games in Appleton, WI. If you have never been to that part of the world, Appleton is about halfway between Green Bay and Oshkosh. The Timber Rattlers are worthy of mention here because of a few of their culinary offerings at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. [Seriously, that is the name of their ball park.] Should you find yourself in the neighborhood and in search of dinner, consider:

    The Meatlover’s Pizza Burger: Here is how you construct one of these. You take two pieces of pepperoni and sausage pizza; then, you stick a bacon cheeseburger between the two of them and eat it as a sandwich. For dessert, might I suggest 40 mg of Crestor…?

    Grilled Cheese Venom Cheeseburger: The ”bun” for this burger is comprised of two grilled cheese sandwiches. The cheeseburger between those two “bun components” also has four slices of pepperjack cheese, jalapenos and an optional shot or two of sriracha sauce. With all that cheese, you may not be regular until Halloween…

    Big Mother Funnel Burger: You guessed it. This bad boy features a bacon cheeseburger in a giant funnel cake – sprinkled with powdered sugar to be sure. I wonder if one should have a Bordeaux or a Burgundy with this concoction…

Finally, since I mentioned Contrarian Investments LLC and gambling entities above, let me close today with an observation from noted curmudgeon, Ambrose Bierce:

“The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.”

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