Slouching at the bar, fingers caressing the rim of her sweating rock glass, smoke curling up from the cigarette between her knuckles as she frowns over her newspaper, retired sportswriter Vera Lu Senz is the portrait of feminine noir. Or as noir as you can get on a tropical summer afternoon at the Liquor and Rubber Balls Sports Emporium and Brazilian Furball Sculpting Centre.
She rattles the ice in her glass, summoning Don Tequila behind the bar for a refill, as I walk over and greet her.
“Insipid,” she states. “Clueless. Vapid.”
Who, me? Lu, my love, you say the sweetest things.
She gestures disgustedly at the Sun-Sentinel editorial before her. I catch the headline, Believe it we’re center of baseball world. “If I’m in charge, the pis ant who sends me this rewrites it sitting balls-ass naked in the center of the newsroom, wearing a dunce cap. What an embarrassment.”
I shrug. As far as I can figure out, nobody gives a damn what the Sun-Sentinel writes about anything, let alone baseball, including the Sun-Sentinel itself.
“My buddy up in Dooray phones me, says I need to see this,” explains Lu. “Says it’s a perfect example of why he got out of journalism 20 years ago. And he’s right–this is textbook fucking wrong.” Remarkably, she sips her drink, doesn’t bite the glass.
“Right off — check out the “we.” This rag isn’t even sold south of the Dade County line, and not one item reported here takes place in the Scum-Sentinel’s market. Shit, even a parasite is intimate with its host. ‘We.‘ Please.
“Then there’s the pesky little fact that nobody who takes baseball seriously thinks the All-Star Game is important. Every player I ever met made it clear they’d rather have the four days off. It’s a marketing extravaganza for Major League Baseball, a cash-register driven celebration of brands and slogans. The players don’t play real hard, the outcome has minimal impact (although that nitwit Selig threw a wrench into the works a few years ago), both managers are expected to shuffle line-ups to give everybody a chance….. it’s a horseshit game.
“Then there’s the uncomfortable reality that down here, baseball is such a low priority that all the glitz and braggadocio they’re doing isn’t even filling the stadium. Attendance at Fan Fest is dismal. The national press is pretty much ignoring everything until the home-run hitting contest, and that’s in big part because of the Yankee kid.”
She drags on her cigarette. “Here, listen to this: The retractable roof park, which opened in 2012, is the main reason the All-Star Game landed here. The ballpark cost $639 million, of which $515 came from public funding. Hosting an All-Star Game is one of the tangible returns of that investment. By some estimates, the game and its surrounding activities could add as much as $80 million to the local economy, but those figures are historically inflated.”
What? No mention that it’s the only domed facility in sports history that experienced a rain delay?
“That stadium is hideous, and the home run abortion in the outfield looks like Liberace’s wet dream. But look at this writing — the reason the game is here is taxpayers got screwed by a bad deal, and even inflated revenue figures (no accurate ones are provided) can’t balance the books. That’s a ‘tangible return‘?”
Relax, Lu. Like you yourself say, baseball fans don’t give a damn about this game, and nobody gives a damn about the Sun-Sentinel. Why’d your pal in Delray want you to read this and get all worked up? What’s he do now that he’s out of journalism?
Lu waves her hand dismissively. “He’s got some kind of new racket — calls himself a therapist or a counselor or some such shit. Specializes in anger management…….”
We look at each other for a moment, then nod our heads in perfect unison.
For the record: here’s the editorial.