This will be a quick one today because I'm going to the baseball game! And this will start my rant against Roger Clemens. For some reason, I've never liked "The Rocket." I don't know why because he's never done anything to me, but he annoys me – and I don't have any Boston Red Sox issues (he did play for them for a long time, right?). Anyway, last Thursday (I think it was) I was watching Houston play somebody on ESPN (there's a definite lack of channels at the ol' RRI) and Roger was pitching his first game of the season (not sure why – did he show up to training camp overweight or did he decide late that he wanted to pitch this season? Anybody know?) and then while Brad Ausmus was batting (the only Houston Astro I could name because he's a former Tiger), ESPN decides to show some "reporter" interviewing Mrs. Clemens. I wasn't pleased. They were discussing how Boston was having some celebration this week (yesterday, I'm assuming) and that Roger couldn't be there because he had to be in Detroit, blah blah blah. At this point, I was so annoyed that I couldn't watch Brad's full at-bat that I almost didn't pick up on the reference to Detroit.
My 13-year-old cousin and I have been discussing going to a game. Between school (now over), his soccer schedule and my work and racing schedule, we managed to pick last night's game as the game we would go to. Now this is before anybody knew that there would be the big comeback. It was a Tuesday night game, I wasn't worried about getting tickets, as I've been going to Tigers games since I moved back from SF and it's never been a problem. Yes, I know, they're playing really well and all that, but still, it was a TUESDAY NIGHT game. GtG called me on Monday to inform me that the freaking game was sold out. Apparently they announced on Friday that The Rocket would be pitching and the city went bat shit crazy and the only tix left were SRO. I'm sorry but I'm old, I do not stand for baseball games (races? That's another story.). I talked to 13YOC and verified that his calendar for today was open, so GtG, 13YOC and I are off to the ol' ballpark today for a 1:05 start time! And we're heading down earlier so that the kid can get autographs on his. So, it's all Roger Clemens' fault that I'll be outta here at 10:00 a.m. and spending the day in the sun at the ballpark. I've learned my lesson though, no waiting to buy tix to see the Tiges for the rest of the year. It's plan ahead time.
Now for my rant re: Champ Car and the Icky Racing League reunifying. I hate TFG (Tony George) more than anybody else in this entire world. He is the only reason that open wheel racing in this country is in the trouble it's in. Before his great epiphany in 1995 about an All-American, All-Oval Racing Series (I won't even go there, let's just say that that great American Eliseo Salazar was driving for AJ Foyt who drank Tony's kool-aid the day he made it. Oh wait, that's right, Eliseo is Chilean, silly me), the series formerly known as CART was flourishing! We had a 28 car count at all races, we had growing attendance at the races and growing viewership on TV. Life was good. Since The Split in 1996, sponsorship for both series has suffered, neither series has a car count above 20 (don't let the Indy 500 fool you, TFG paid for at least ten of those cars to be out there, and the drivers needed to return them w/o a scratch, hence why they were all out there driving so damn slowly trying to stay out of the "real" racers' way). Attendance has fallen, too, much as it pains me to say it. The Ickies get decent TV coverage because TFG holds ABC hostage, "You want the Indy 500, you have to broadcast the rest of my races." At certain NASCAR ovals, they also get decent attendance because if you want NASCAR tickets, you have to buy the Icky Racing League's tickets and if you have nothing else to do that day, why not use the tickets you've paid for and go to the race. And if you watched the Indy 500, you saw the empty seats which never happened prior to The Split.
There have been many rumours regarding the unification. At first TFG told Kevin Kalkhoven (love him!) that he didn't care which chassis or engine or racetracks were chosen, he wanted a 60/40 cut. Now, let's look at this objectively. Kevin Kalkhoven is a SELF-MADE Billionaire. TFG inherited his money and the race track from his grandfather. TFG is the sole cause of the rift. Who would you want running the series? The man with a brain in his head or the man with the silver spoon? I know who I would pick.
Honda apparently has been very active this season traveling not only to the IRL races (where they are the sole engine suppliers), but to Champ Car races talking to every single team saying "We have to mend this rift or we're gone." Honda, from what I understand, has never wanted to be the sole engine supplier to any series. Personally, I say Champ Car teams shouldn't give a shit if Honda wants to bail because we have Ford-Cosworth engines (owned by Kevin Kalkhoven), so we're set for engines. If Honda bails, the IRL has no engines and I'm thinking it's awfully damn hard to run a racing series without engines. And that would make me the happiest woman in the world.
Smed posted yesterday in my comments that he just wants the good racetracks saved. Heck yes, I agree with that, however, I hope and pray that we don't race at Texas. In fact, the only ovals I care about are Fontana and Michigan. I would dearly love to have a race in my home state again.
The thing that really pisses me off is that I used to absolutely LOVE the month of May and the whole insanity of practice, the excitement of Pole Day, the stress and tension of Bump Day, the worthlessness of Carburetion Day and the pageantry of the actual race. I would watch everything there was to watch re: Indy, but since The Split, I don't care at all about it. I was sitting in the bar back in May and they were showing Indy stuff on ESPN and I realised that I had forgotten completely about it. I called HRH and said to her, "I f***ing hate Tony George." She said, "Uh, duh, why did you feel the need to call me and tell me that?" I miss all the stuff I loved about Indy and no, it's not the same now, and I don't think it ever will be. All thanks to TFG wanting to be the Bill France, Jr. of Open Wheel Racing in this country without realising he didn't have the brains or ability to carry it off.
So, I say NO to the unification and let Honda go away so that the Icky Racing League goes away and my beloved series can get back to the business of racing and away from the bloody politics of it all. And let TFG come to Champ Car and beg for us to deign to come back to Indy so that he has a race in May. Fucker! (Sorry if anybody is offended, but my fingers needed to type that out.)