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« April 2021 | Main

May 7, 2021

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #355: The La Russa Rules

Don't go near him! Plus: Cubs Might Be Forced To Keep Kris Bryant; The Rest Of The Bears Draft Not So Great; and more!

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #355: The La Russa Rules

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SHOW NOTES

* 355.

:52: Tony Larue.

* La Roosa, like Johnny LaRue.

Also:

* Rhodes: "Maybe his coaches don't wanna go near him because he doesn't wear his mask right."

* White Sox bench coach Miguel Cairo is in his first full-time coaching job.

* Sullivan, Tribune: "You may not have known the entire rule either. I sure didn't."

* Rhodes: "People who make their living criticizing others not being able to take criticism themselves is what makes journalists the most hypocritical people on the planet."

* Coffman: "What a joke! What a joke."

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36:10: Cubs Might Be Forced To Keep Kris Bryant.

* Most versatile MVP ever?

* Clemens, FanGraphs: Kris Bryant, High Ball Hitter.

* Plus: More like El Castro.

* And: Assignment Desk: Was Pedro Strop the best middle reliever in Cubs history?

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58:45: The Rest Of Bears Draft Not So Great.

* Dickerson, ESPN: Analysis For Every Selection.

* Flashback:

* Teven Jenkins: "The number one thing I've always learned is you keep your quarterback clean, you always keep him upright, no matter what you have to do - be dirty, hold, whatever you've got to do."

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STOPPAGE: 15:10

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 PM | Permalink

May 6, 2021

Company C, 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

When curator Diana L. Dretske discovered that the five long-gone Union soldiers in a treasured photograph in the Bess Bower Dunn Museum were not fully identified, it compelled her into a project of recovery and reinterpretation.

Utilizing an impressive array of local and national archives, as well as private papers, the author's microhistorical approach records events that often go unnoticed, such as a farmer enlisting in the middle of a crop field, a sister searching her brother's face for signs of war, and an immigrant dying in an effort to become a good American citizen.

This book, the most intensive examination of the 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry since the regiment's history was published in 1887, centers on immigrants from the British Isles who wished to be citizens of a country at war with itself.

Far removed from their native homelands, they found new promise in rural Illinois. These men, neighbors along the quiet Stateline Road in Lake County, decide to join the fighting at its most dangerous hour. The bonds of war become then the bonds of their new national identity.

9780809338207.jpg

The Bonds of War uncovers the common soldier from the cataclysm that is the American Civil War by offering a collective biography of five soldiers of the 96th in the Western Theater. The human drama of their lives unfolds before the reader on battlefields such as Chickamauga and within the high pine stockades of Andersonville. Their lives argue that those who seem to matter least in military history are the very ones who can tell us the most about the experience of war and the reasons for remembering.

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See also:

* The 96th Illinois Infantry Regiment.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:08 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Sports Market To Pass $2 Billion In Revenue By 2026

The fantasy sports market is expected to grow at approximately 14% during the period 2020−2026, according to a new report.

Key Report Highlights:

* Global fantasy sports market expected to witness an absolute growth of around 120% between 2020 to 2026 with an incremental growth of over $1 billion.

* The growing demand for improving online gaming infrastructure and the rise in application-based user experience is expected to boost the fantasy cricket market, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 13% during the forecast period.

* Owing to the popularity of the sport in the biggest fantasy sports market in the world, American football has been able to draw a significant audience. North America is expected to record an incremental revenue of around $539 million during 2020-2026 in the football fantasy sports segment.

* The female segment in global fantasy sports is expected to reach $737 million by 2026 due to the rising awareness about fantasy sports among female through social networking websites.

* Application-based fantasy sports market has a large customer base with rise in use of smartphones, where the segment is expected witness an incremental revenue of $729 million between 2020 to 2026, growing at a CAGR of around 14%.

Fantasy Sports Market - Dynamics

The rising number of sports events across the world is creating high opportunities for fantasy sports. It is encouraging the maximum participation of fantasy sports players.

However, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, various sports events were either canceled or postponed, which had a negative impact on the fantasy sports market.

Since the beginning of 2021, some restrictions and regulations were relaxed for conducting sports events. However, the presence of a physical audience at live sports events is still regulated but has created an opportunity for fantasy sports, as people sitting in their places can play fantasy sports as well as enjoy the real game.

In addition, sports events today have a global reach as traveling has become much affordable. Earlier, tickets for sports events were largely sold in the domestic market but as interest is growing and tickets have become affordable, people have started taking part in fantasy sports to enhance their sports experience.

Fantasy Sports Market - Geography

North America is a key region for the global fantasy sports market owing to the high popularity of various sports there. Ever since the inception of fantasy sports in the region, several vendors such as ESPN, Yahoo, FanDuel and DraftKings, among others, have launched their wide range of fantasy sports offerings.

The region is home to more than 60 million fantasy sports players today and is a highly promising market for the vendors to target.

The region has undergone several transitions regarding regulatory restrictions related to the fantasy sports business. With the demand for betting rising in recent years, regulatory authorities have taken stern steps to prevent the same from penetrating restricted areas.

The thin line of difference between fantasy sports and betting is differentiated as a game of skill versus a game of chance; this topic is a highly debatable one.

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Previously in markets:
* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

* Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021.

* Luxury Vinyl Tiles Flooring Market Worth $31.4 Billion By 2024.

* Global Condom Market On Fire.

* Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire.

* Industrial Lubricants Market Booming.

* Global Electric Guitar Growth.

* Early Impacts Of COVID-19 On The Pet Food Packaging Market.

* Global Music Recording Industry Trajectory & Analytics 2020-2025.

* The Global Premature Ejaculation Market Is Exploding Quickly.

* Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market On Fire.

* Global TV Market Spikes With Pandemic.

* The Robust Undercurrent Of The Sports Flooring Market.

* Data Historian Market Heating Up.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Dinosaur Drive-Thru!

GURNEE - Dinosaur Drive-Thru's family attraction will be located in the parking lot of Six Flags Great America from May 13th through June 6th.

Dinosaur Drive-Thru is a COVID, and family, friendly activity, as everyone remains in their own vehicle during the show. The attraction presents over 50 animatronic dinosaurs that will educate, entertain and engage kids of all ages.

The dinosaurs are uniquely set up in order of when they existed. The entire drive-thru adventure is guided by a very entertaining and educational audio tour, in both English and Spanish, that is filled with jokes and shocking fun facts about each dinosaur. Also included in the audio tour, is an interactive trivia game that the entire vehicle plays throughout the show. Each vehicle receives a scorecard when the show begins, then every winner is awarded an official Dino Guru certificate at the end! Tickets are $49 per vehicle (which includes up to 8 people.)

"We are dads of little kids, and nothing feels better than taking them to an experience that we can share together versus buying them something that they only play with for a few times," said owner Troy Diskin.

"It's not just seeing robot dinosaurs," said marketing director Jim Wojdyla, "it's the only interactive and educational experience that you can do while feeling the vibration from the roar of a 40-foot T. Rex in your chest. What's cooler than that?"

Wojdyla is also the lead singer of the popular Chicago-based band Modern Day Romeos. After COVID took away the Chicagoland music scene, this business venture was created.

"After taking the show to many southern states during the winter, I am very excited to bring another form of entertainment back to Chicagoland until the music scene gets back in full force," said Wojdyla.

Enjoy the museum-quality detail of each dinosaur during the day, or while they are illuminated with colorful lights at night for an even more realistic experience. The website offers many free downloads including coloring pages for adults, kids and toddlers, word searches and a joke sheet. Tickets and more information are also available at www.dinosaurdrivethru.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 AM | Permalink

May 5, 2021

Shit Jobs

My first ever job in 1967 was loading cases of orange-flavored, drink-generating powder Tang onto truck pallets at a General Mills facility.

It was a sweaty job for minimum wage. The minimum wage in 1967 was $1.40 an hour. Various calculators assert this is $11.08 in 2021 dollars. But that judgement is an optical - and fiscal - illusion, wrought by economists who would not work for minimum pay, no matter what century it is.

That pay scale was exactly then what it seems like now. Roman galley oar rowers got more for sea duty. They were fed nutritious slop.

Zag of the Pleistocene Era would not work for $1.40 an hour, even if you tossed in free brontosaurus filets as a bonus. That's about 2.5 pennies per minute. Even Cro-Magnons won't work for that.

Yes, I sweated blobs of orange-colored Tang breakfast libation powder for 2.5 pennies per minute.

Being generous with the federal tax bracket, I paid 14 percent of my hourly pay to Washington. About 8 cents. I also sent 3.23 percent to Indiana's government. About 4 cents.

So I got to keep 120 pennies for every hour I hoisted the 50-pound cases. Ah, yes. Death and taxes, I reminded myself.

I had been informed that I would be uplifted as a youthful working citizen, but I found the experience vaguely disquieting and unfulfilling.

In truth, it was a shit job for shit wages. And I felt like . . . shit?

If you are getting $1.40 every hour - 140 pennies every 60 minutes before taxes - you also are counting every second to keep track of how much this miserable job is worth. And by inference, how little you are worth. And by further inference, how little do I value my own miserable life to spend it doing this?

And thinking after two minutes, "Hey I just earned 4 cents." In 1967, you could buy one drink from a friend's Coke bottle for 4 cents.

Of course, you don't actually make 2 cents a minute. It's actually 2.334 cents. It's the last four-thousandth of a penny that makes you feel special. It's a performance bonus, just for really miserable people.

The current environment suggests some self-interested employers view such experiences of job misery as noble moments of human growth. Yours. Not theirs.

Yes, it's the modern post-Depression version of, "When I was your age, I walked to school four miles in the snow every day. Uphill. With no shoes. It was six miles back home."

That rearview mirror education has reinforced to me that the Tang Experience was, as I have come to judge such things, a shit job paid by a shit employer for shit wages.

In the approaching aftermath of the pandemic, America seems to acknowledge that it's awash in such job openings that no one wants or should. Employers are disturbed and perplexed by the rejection, as if government unemployment benefits were better at feeding a family than a shit job with shit pay.

Of course unemployment benefits are better. You can almost live off them.

Shit employers are shocked and angry at this disloyalty, though what they tangibly contribute to the nation is debatable. Their business model depends mostly on someone else's shit experience and galley slave pay.

You can see placards on many storefronts announcing snarkily that they cannot open because no one - the ungrateful louts - will take the offered positions they once had before they were ditched.

The concept of "shit jobs" and the harm they do is not merely a crude observation. It's a scientifically studied phenomenon.

As opposed to the vulgar but colloquial "shit for brains," "shit sandwich," "shit storm" and "shitload," the term "shit jobs" is the scientific term invented by the late cultural anthropologist, professor and author David Graeber. He had a doctorate from the University of Chicago and taught at the London School of Economics. He did not have shit for brains.

In 2018, he wrote Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, postulating the existence of meaningless jobs and analyzing their harm to our humanity. He suggested more than half of societal work in private enterprise is pointless, and "becomes psychologically destructive." These jobs drain us every day, We are told they are good for our self-worth.

The dead-end pathways to nowhere are ubiquitous.

Graeber broke down the categories of uselessness as flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters. Yep, that sounds like my professional life.

Here's the useless roster as Graeber labeled them:

1) flunkies, who serve to make their superiors feel important, e.g., receptionists, administrative assistants, door attendants.

2) goons, who act to harm or deceive others on behalf of their employer, e.g., lobbyists, corporate lawyers, telemarketers, public relations specialists.

3) duct tapers, who temporarily fix problems that could be fixed permanently, e.g., programmers repairing shoddy code, airline desk staff who calm passengers whose bags do not arrive.

4) box tickers, who create the appearance that something useful is being done when it is not, e.g., survey administrators, in-house magazine journalists, corporate compliance officers.

5) taskmasters, who manage - or create extra work for - those who do not need it, e.g., middle management, leadership professionals.

We once thought - at least predicted by economist John Maynard Keynes in 1930 - that automation would create 15-hour-a-week jobs. It hasn't. But it did spawn lots more meaningless jobs that no one would choose if they had a choice.

The premise of shit jobs is they pay shit wages, though this is not universally true. Aaron Rodgers is willing to pay the Green Bay Packers $23 million from a returned signing bonus not to play for them. He suggests the Packers are a shit organization.

I firmly believe I have held several of those meaningless jobs and earned just enough not to starve to death. It was a close call.

A few points of historical enlightenment.

That idea that work was intrinsically valuable was invented by 16th century European aristocrats so somebody else could do the work. The Puritan Capitalistic Work Ethic turned that arrangement into religious philosophy. Shit jobs apparently are God's will.

Current politicians worry about having enough jobs so they can take credit for them. But they do not much care that such shit jobs are worthless.

Does this sound like your life?

The Urban Dictionary immortalizes the term in its definition: "An unfulfilling, tedious waste of 8+ hours of the day, five days of the week, that you only persist with in order to pay the bills and the ever mounting debt that comes from having to increase your spending in order to entertain yourself outside of working hours as you are so brain dead from the hours you spend in work."

Yep, that about covers it, except for the "entertainment" motivation. After eight hours of lifting cases of Tang, you are not capable of entertainment.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was BMW Is The Answer To The Begged Question. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:26 PM | Permalink

May 3, 2021

Judging Tony

Bobby Winkles, who managed the Angels and A's after winning three College World Series in the '60s with Arizona State, used to tell the story about Nolan Ryan when the Hall of Famer was pitching for the Angels.

Seems that Ryan was tiring in the late innings of a close game when Winkles went to the mound to make a change. Before handing the ball to his manager, Ryan said, "You mind if I ask you a question?"

"No, of course not," replied Winkles, who had great respect and admiration for one of the game's all-time greats, especially since he won 21 games for Winkles' club in 1973 while striking out 383 batters.

"Would you rather have a tired Nolan Ryan face the next hitter or that guy warming up in the bullpen?" deadpanned Ryan.

Winkles didn't hesitate. "You go get 'im," said the skipper, turning on his heel and heading back to the dugout.

That's what you call direct and effective communication, something that was missing last Tuesday between White Sox ace Lucas Giolito and his manager Tony La Russa.

Facing the last-place Detroit Tigers, Giolito had sailed through six innings with a 2-1 lead. Lucas had thrown 89 pitches; he had walked one hitter while striking out seven and yielding just three hits. In this era, that's a full evening's work.

Nevertheless, Giolito jogged to the mound for the seventh inning, which opened with an eight-pitch walk to Willi Castro, a .217 hitter at the time. In a tight game with a vaunted bullpen at his behest, one might have expected La Russa to call upon one of his hard-throwing relievers. But that didn't happen.

A flyball ensued before Wilson Ramos's double tied the game, followed by Niko Goodrum's home run to give the visitors a 4-2 bulge en route to a final 5-2 victory. Only then did Giolito depart.

According to Paul Sullivan's account in the Tribune, Giolito disclosed after the game that he "didn't have much left in the tank," to which La Russa replied, "Is that what he said?" Apparently the skipper thought Lucas had a few gallons remaining.

At the risk of focusing undue attention on the one loss to Detroit last week - the Sox swept the Tigers in two seven-inning games on Thursday after a rainout on Wednesday - La Russa received a barrage of criticism for staying with Giolito. Perhaps Sox followers and scribes haven't forgotten La Russa's faux pas the first week of the season when he summoned Matt Foster in relief of Dallas Keuchel in Seattle with the Sox holding a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning.

Required to face a minimum of three batters, Foster faced eight, retiring just one, before La Russa mercifully removed him. By then the Sox were losing 8-4. Adding to the daggers thrust La Russa's way, the Sox still held a 4-2 lead after Foster's three-batter minimum.

Robert Arthur, writing in Baseball Prospectus, claimed, "La Russa's error with Giolito highlights one of the ways the oldest manager in the majors has failed to adjust to the modern version of baseball," namely that starting pitchers simply don't pitch deep into games anymore. Arthur pointed out that Giolito threw a 91.5 mph fastball, one of his slowest this season, at the start of the seventh inning on Tuesday, indicating that fatigue had reared its ugly head.

La Russa's lineups also have been scrutinized on social media and elsewhere. In Thursday's first game of the doubleheader, he used Jake Lamb, Andrew Vaughn, Zack Collins, Billy Hamilton and Leury Garcia in the five-through-nine slots in the batting order. That quintet entered the game with a .193 composite batting average.

Nevertheless, despite garnering just four hits for the game, the bottom of the order accounted for the three Sox runs in the bottom of the fifth inning for a 3-1 victory. Garcia's bases loaded single with one out plated Vaughn and Collins to break a 1-1 tie, and Carlos Rodon (six innings) and closer Liam Hendriks limited Detroit to just two hits. Score one for the Sox skipper.

In the Sun-Times' Saturday Sports readers' poll, 62 percent of respondents replied "less" to the question of "A month into the season are you more or less confident in Tony La Russa than you were when the White Sox hired him?"

La Russa clearly has faced some momentous challenges in his return to the dugout, not the least of which is guiding his team toward the lofty expectations not only to win the Central Division but also to advance far into the post-season.

Aside from his strategical and personnel decisions, La Russa should either trash his COVID mask or at least cover his nose as well as his mouth, just like the protocol dictates. His schnazola has been sticking out prominently since Opening Day. In his defense, Cleveland manager Tito Francona displayed the same medical or sartorial, if you will, method during his weekend visit to The Grate. Both could benefit from a re-do.

La Russa also looks, well . . . old, in these post-game Zoom interviews. He appears tired and beaten even when the ballclub wins. A smile or a stab at humor, the funny variety, would help.

So now that we've pointed out a few of the items for fodder for La Russa's critics, there is more to the story.

As mentioned, despite the paltry lineup last Thursday, the Sox did win the game. Lamb, who bats from the left side, also appeared again in left field on Saturday against Cleveland righthander Triston McKenzie while Garcia, a switch hitter, sent Nick Madrigal to the bench with his .316 batting average.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Sox leading 5-2, Yasmani Grandal and Lamb both walked. Despite it being relatively early in the game, La Russa pulled Lamb in favor of Hamilton to run at first base. Garcia came through again, lining a ball into the right field corner as Hamilton turned on the jets and scored from first, a feat that easily would have escaped the slow-footed Lamb. Tim Anderson and Adam Eaton followed with infield ground balls, so La Russa's maneuvering produced the runs which provided a nice cushion for what turned out to be a 7-3 Sox win.

In his own defense, La Russa explains that keeping his bench players "fresh" is the objective, an explanation failing to receive high marks from his detractors. I wonder if those fans recall the championship season of 2005 when Ozzie Guillen, citing the same rationale as La Russa, used Pablo Ozuna, Willie Harris, Timo Perez, Chris Widger and Jeff Blum liberally to rest his regulars while keeping the bench players involved. We all know how that turned out.

La Russa also has done a masterful job with Michael Kopech, who apparently is on an innings-limited schedule this season. La Russa has been clear that he spots Kopech both as an occasional starter and reliever. When he does pitch, Kopech has a relatively long leash, having logged two innings or more in six of his seven appearances, including three innings on Saturday in relief of winner Lance Lynn. Kopech allowed just one hit while fanning three.

Kopech has had at least three days off between appearances. In 18⅔ innings, the righthander has allowed just eight hits while striking out 30 and walking only four hitters. His ERA is 1.45 (and his FIP an even more sterling 1.24). Of course, Kopech deserves the lion's share of credit, but his manager has been able to sell his prized young hurler on plans for his role this season.

After a lackluster 5-0 loss on Sunday against Cleveland, compounded by Luis Robert's strained hip flexor sending him to the IL, the Sox stand at 15-12, a game worse than a season ago with Rickey Renteria at the helm. No doubt the club misses Eloy Jimenez, who after 27 games last season was hitting .295 with nine homers and 20 RBIs. Yermin Mercedes has taken up some of the slack, and La Russa's starting pitchers, with the addition of Lance Lynn and the resurgent Carlos Rodón, have performed far better than the group Renteria had a year ago.

Let's just say that the criticism aimed at La Russa has been overly severe while few can argue that La Russa is the same manager he was at Oakland and St. Louis. With 135 games remaining on the schedule, there still is plenty of time to see if TLR still has something left in the tank.

Final Note
Much of the consternation and concern about baseball these days centers on the fact that approximately one-third of plate appearances result in either a strikeout, walk or home run. If you observed the first three innings Saturday of the Sox victory over Cleveland, you got a huge dose of that exact dilemma.

Fourteen Sox hitters went to the plate, first against Triston McKenzie followed by Phil Maton. McKenzie struck out the side in order in the first inning as did Maton in the third. In the second frame, McKenzie again struck out the side. However, he also walked four hitters and gave up a grand slam home run to Tim Anderson.

Summary: 14 batters, nine strikeouts, four walks, and one home run. And that, my fellow fans, is why we can be thankful the White Sox were the batters and not the pitchers.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:23 AM | Permalink

May 2, 2021

TrackNotes: Evil & Earworms

They ran a race and nobody got hurt, so that's something.

Class willed out as Medina Spirit gave trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh Kentucky Derby victory. Earlier in the day, his Gamine gave him a record-breaker for Grade I wins, after the horse was reinstated to an Oaklawn victory from last year that was drug-disputed by what Baffert called "uncontrollable environmental factors." It never ends.

After Medina's Derby win, even Baffert seemed blasé, as if to say "HA! Chumps" as he walked to the winner's circle.

More later, but television fans were stomped upon by NBC's painful coverage and this wagerer was injured by satanic internet demons, which perhaps could have been anticipated in such close proximity to Churchill Downs Inc.

The break was clean as Hall of Famer for a reason John Velazquez got/let his son of Protonico (Giant's Causeway and Storm Cat on pop's side, which explains it) take the first lead.

Soup and Sandwich followed him and Mandaloun was close as they settled in for the 10-furlong journey. Luckily, some of the bums we talked about trailed. Hot Rod Charlie, who acquitted himself well in the end, had his name called too. How many times? Mandaloun and Florent Geroux tried hard, but he just couldn't catch Medina Spirit, even if they'd have run another furlong, and Baffert's trainee had wired the race.

Medina Spirit paid a healthy $26.20, $12.00 and $7.60 on 12-1 odds. The exotics followed with a $503.60 exacta, $848.84 for the trifecta and $9,456.40 for the super. Mattress king Jim McIngvale of Runhappy fame was gaudily shown making his $2 million bet on the favorite Essential Quality. I'm thinking' it's pretty obscene to be able to bet and lose that kind of money, but maybe that's just me. Mattress Mack does a lot of good things for people, as he must, when non-existent climate change keeps pounding his beloved Houston with hurricanes, flooding and petroleum accidents. Rock Your World finished a bumper-car 17th and he's going to need to get off his knees and run again if we are to have faith in him.

I was happy for my Mandaloun, and Hot Rod Charlie finished third, indicating that this race restored a kind of order in the world when Churchill Downs tries so hard to upset the apple cart every year with such a ridiculous race. Favorite Essential Quality finished fourth, which I think was just about right. Soup and Sandwich faded to 19th. Pole sitter Known Agenda came in ninth and O Besos took fifth. The Preakness will feature a bunch of new shooters. If you want to, remember some of these Derby runners for the summer. If you don't want to, that's alright too.

I'll explain my travails a bit later.

Terrible Tirico
We don't expect much; I was expecting NBC's coverage to be rote and lazy. It was, but it was also even worse.

You be the judge of why MikeTirico still has a job. I guess he did what he was told to do, and it felt like "For this kind of pay, I'll do what I'm told."

His lack of interest and knowledge and even his seeming disdain for horse racing was obvious. His earworm was "some sort of normalcy as a reduced crowd comes back to the Derby." Mike, when you only know three things, maybe it's time to sit down and learn more.

Again, he went nuts for football when they showed Aaron Rodgers lurking on the balcony rail in his super suite. He went nuts when they mentioned, many times, that Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim was part owner of one of the horses. For 260 years, Boeheim has represented to me the dark underbelly of college sports. He just hasn't been caught in any meaningful way.

But the blood coursing through Tirico's veins was OLYMPICS. NBC cut away from pre-race analysis of the Turf Classic entree race into the Derby to talk to a sprinter. Not a 6-furlong horse - an Olympic sprinter. I think Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey were really peeved when they got back to talking about the race. Gary Stevens might have said something if he were there.

NBC is part of the problem when they launder boatloads of money into the bubbling Olympic cesspool, and I get why they were talking about it so much. The Olympics must be stopped, NOW. The best we can do is make sure they are never held in America again.

But Tirico was a kid-in-the-candy-store gleeful shill for an agenda that had nothing to do with American Thoroughbred horse racing. Dennis Green, we know exactly who Mike Tirico is.

The Normalcy Chorus
Gravity. But what Tim Layden does, with the help of a symphony of violins and video images, is very easy to do. Buy into it, give 'em what they want and schmaltz it to Saturn. His "essay" pinkies up, about how Churchill Downs was empty this time last year, created a new victimhood for both himself and the American masses. That's cheap and easy. It's a lot harder to write when you have to deal with the truth.

"A shrine with empty pews. A party with no revelers. A tradition painfully interrupted. We had already begun to long for the undefinable something we call 'normal.'"

Garth, I think I'm gonna hurl! When I see crap like that, I wonder, how much is he getting paid?

Brothers & Britney
Let's go positive for a moment. Commentators like Kenny Rice were right on the edge of pook and reality, scripted. But Donna Brothers asked all the best questions of the winning jockeys in the return to the winner's circle. As usual. You do know she was an accomplished jockey, right? Britney Eurton must have been mortified as Tirico fell back on one of the four or five things he knows about racing and kept mentioning how Britney's father, Peter, is a horse trainer of high skill. But she's a young veteran by now and asked the trainers the right questions too. My friend, The Girl With a System, I'm seriously not kidding, from Wisconsin's Fox Valley, was itching to see what kind of shoes Britney might wear on the trek from the barns, across dirt, to the paddock. We never got to see. As she said, "She's walking with no problems."

Lava, Luis & Belichick
The video features, without Tirico involved, were very good, except for one, which included Tirico.

The piece on Lava Man, who went through claiming and racetrack glory both, was really sweet. His cheap price and personal travails, and race heroics, make his story worth reading. Now, he's a companion and lead pony for current runners, and don't think that's easy. Imagine stepping on the track, which you used to dominate. The heartthrob Kona Gold did the same thing, to the point of helping his charges.

The piece on jock Luis Saez was also sweet, although it failed to mention that his and Maximum Security's disqualification in the 2019 Kentucky Derby was justified. They portrayed him and his horse as the victims, but it was so nice to see his wife and children's support, and the very young daughter sit on top of a horse.

Then, they had a gratuitous video of Bob Baffert and Bill Belichick talking to each other via video about "the numbers." The numbers of championship wins. Tirico moderating, fawningly of course. Baffert was on his ego horse, although it looked like he could see through the concept. Belichick showed how he is really a big horse racing fan and was relaxed and jovial. They should have just let those two jawbone together, but with the amount of money they're paying Tirico, they have to give him something to do.

Betting Bungle
In the "They're Going To Hear From Me Monday Morning" department, my betting platform froze up 27 minutes before the Derby. For you eagle eyes out there, I know I said I would never bet Churchill again. But after much research, I determined that my miserly gold doesn't really reach CDI. And that's all I can say.

But imagine my shock and disappointment of not being able to put in what would have been a sizable bet. I had to jump over to another service I have, but it only had $30 in the bankroll. The best I could do was get in Win and Place on Mandaloun and a couple others. I would have had the top two and the exacta. Funny, I didn't get totally angry. Now I want to see what I can extract from the website.

Our Very Own Evil Incarnate
One more thing, Columbo. There was no mention of the homicide Churchill Downs Inc. is committing on Arlington Park. I didn't expect it. On Friday morning, Fox32 news sent Roseanne Tellez, a very likable person and you should know her story, out to Arlington for a clueless valentine to the track on its opening day.

She clearly doesn't understand the impact of what evil incarnate is doing out there, but she was clearly gobsmacked and giddy over the magnificence of what I will say again is the greatest sporting venue in the world.

The place looked great, to the point of tears. She interviewed Arlington's general manager and rusted horseshoe Tony Petrillo. I kept saying to the screen, here's your question: "What on Earth would possess Churchill Downs Incorporated to close this place? Huh? HUH?"

Instead, because they don't know better, she allowed Petrillo to just say "We'll see what happens."

Petrillo has worked there a long time. He is as responsible for the violent acts CDI has perpetrated on racing, and racing in Illinois, as anybody. With a smile on his face, I couldn't help but wonder how he squares selling his soul to what they're doing. I'm sure money has something to do with it. Does he breeze past the grooms and hot walkers without even acknowledging their existence, if he even goes down there? Paul Lynde for the win, I say yes, he does.

Vexing Valets
Just a minute, ma'am, the valets at Churchill Downs backed down on their threat to strike during the Derby. They're the guys who take care of the jockeys so all they have to worry about is riding. I would kill for that job. What an opportunity wasted! I don't get it.

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Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:21 PM | Permalink

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