BY VIN CAPPIELLO, ballino.blogspot.com contributor
Gary Carter is in the MLB hall of fame as a member of the Montreal Expos, but he is also a member of the New York Mets hall of fame as shown in this plaque. Carter sadly died at the age of 57 last week and will forever be known as "The Kid." Photo by: Up Along First / Flickr
Gary Carter’s unfortunate, and to some of us, unfair death due to brain cancer has left us with questions. It’s never fair when anyone dies of cancer; on this I’m sure most of us agree. However, one cannot help but press our lips together and shake our collective heads in wonder as the major news outlets, while scrolling news of Carter’s death along the bottom of the TV screen, spent last week camped out adjacent to New Hope Baptist Church in hopes of finding out the latest details of the late Whitney Houston’s imminent funeral.
Houston’s death, while tragic, has resulted in the deification of a woman who could sing like no other. But she played too hard. Period.
Carter, on the other hand, played hard because it was his job. Playing catcher is considered by most baseball writers, fans, players and coaches as the toughest, most demanding position on the diamond. But Carter, a Hall of Famer, when he left the locker room after a win or loss, went home to his wife, his children, and his Bible.
Is anyone (besides me) watching the early bowl games? You know, the ones that ESPN is careful to selectively telecast through a limited number of cameras and no blimp shots in order to hide the fact that the stadium, like the pessimist’s glass of water, isn’t just half empty. It’s dead … as a doornail. No overhead view revealing the nothingness below. Cameras only pointing at the 50-yard-line crowd, purposefully avoiding shots of the empty upper deck. Sad. Very said.
Or is it?
Seventy-two teams make a bowl game. No doubt, this explains why lifelong Wyoming Cowboy fans are crazy enough to drive for two full days to Albuquerque to endure a lashing by the mighty Owls of Temple, only to turn around and drive straight home. Attendance: 25, 762. Payout: $750,000 per team.
At least the Utah State Aggie fans had the chance to drive only five hours up to Boise to watch their beloved WAC also-rans lose to the Mid-American Conference runner-up Ohio Bobcats, coached by deposed Husker headman Frank Solich. Attendance: 28, 076. Payout: $750,000 per team.
And finally, let us not forget the always-competitive Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (formerly the St. Petersburg Bowl), which the Thundering Herd of Marshall won over the might-as-well-have-been-playing-at-home Florida International Panthers. You remember these guys … they were on the receiving end of a literal beating at the hands of the Miami Hurricane-Convicts a few years back. Attendance: 20,072. Payout: $1 million per team.
Let’s compare these three blockbusters (hey, whatever happened to the Blockbuster Bowl?) to say, the granddaddy of ‘em all, the Rose Bowl Game, presented by Vizio. Jan. 2. Oregon versus Wisconsin. Pac 12 versus Big 10. Savvy versus strength. Two top 10 teams. Attendance: 100,00-plus. Payout: $22.3 million per team.