Counting Stars

Leave it to the rest of us to put up with the professional sports pests in the saloons and their incessant questions. Who's the only cross-dressing shortstop to get ninety hits from each side of the plate in a season? What year? How many times did Babe Ruth commit adultery on the Yankees' 1926 road trips to Cleveland? Name the three National League pitchers who threw complete games while under the influence of angel dust.

What did Dummy Hoy hit in 1898? Who cares? The real answer to all such questions is this: They don't call it "trivia" for nothing.

Now that dueling bureaucrats from the Webb administration and something billed as a "stadium site selection committee" have smoothed over their $220,000 disagreement, Denver taxpayers may still get the chance to run the extortionist Pat Bowlen and his lame-ass football team straight out of town.

Drop Dead Day was scheduled for November 4. Denver Broncos management types were feigning disappointment that it may now be delayed because of the just-solved fee-payment dispute, but don't believe 'em. As old opponents of Denver International Airport can tell you, Bowlen's Folly has a lot better chance of passing muster with voters in the springtime than in the fall. Barbecuein', baseball-cheerin', mountain-climbin' Denverites have never been much motivated to visit voting booths in the spring, and that's good for the stadium drivers. In, say, a May election, their people would be more likely to quietly slip in and steal the thing.

Is there any good reason to hand Pat Bowlen $180 million on any date?
Only if you believe that a pro football team is some kind of essential institution, that it provides some psychological necessity. And if you believe that the two exhibitions and eight regular home games the Broncos play every year produce anything like the economic impact of 163-plus dates played each year by the Rockies, Avalanche and Nuggets.

Ah, but the Broncos were here first, some say. Sure, but neither nostalgia nor the old cowtown pride in feeling "big-league" is a good enough reason to let the team owner pick the public's pockets--not with all the new games in town. If Bowlen wants a stadium, let him pay for it himself. Or ask Broncos ticket-holders to do it.

Otherwise, get thee to Los Angeles or Cleveland--where the rubes are just waiting to be herded into the tent.

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