Major League – Does it matter?

January16/ 2000

  I went to a minor league baseball game Thursday night with a group of good friends.  We had a great time.  It was as much fun as the time I had in Texas a few weeks ago watching the Yankees – Rangers.  I also attended a Nationwide Tour golf event as well as a PGA Tour event … and both a Busch and Nextel NASCAR race.  … it’s looking like Raleigh’s NHL Hurricanes might be joining the Skyhawks, Bullfrogs, Cobras and IceCaps very soon.  Does “Major League” sport really matter?

   For what I enjoy about “going to a game”, the Major vs Minor League differences are totally irrelevant.  I go to enjoy good friends and fellowship in a casual group setting.  I can do that just as easy with a $6.00 ticket as I can with a $50.00 ticket.  OK … being a cyber celebrity I don’t usually have to pay for the ticket regardless … all the more reason that I have a ball at a Durham Bulls game, a Nationwide golf event, or a Busch race.  Give me a bunch of bright and fun buddies and a coupla hot dogs and who is in the uniforms don’t mean squat to me.

   The National Hockey League is in a mell of a hess.  To compound their problems their premier event, The Stanley Cup, is between two obscure teams – Tampa & Calgary.  Not even hardcore hockey fans are watching or can name three players from either team.  Regardless of unlikely resolution to the players contract … a handful of teams including The Hurricanes are already on life support.  It’s a safer bet that John Bunting’s Tar Heels will be in a BCS Bowl in January … than it is that the Carolina Hurricanes will exist as a franchise 9 months from now.

   I attended five ‘Canes games this past season.  I was with 3-4 friends each time.  We had GREAT seats but it was still a bunch of guys skating around really fast swinging sticks at a puck I could never see.  They were all millionaire athletes … if they had been the Cary Rotary Club playing the Hayes Barton Baptist choir I would not have known the difference nor cared. We “sorta” watched the game but spent most of the time “solving the world’s problems and scoping out hotties wearing lowriders”.

   At Thursday night’s AAA Bulls game our normal “gang” expanded to include two UNC Basketball coaches and their wives.  We “sorta” watched the game but mostly “solved the world’s problems and scoped out hotties wearing lowriders”.  The wives were better at spotting the hotties than we were … and reminding us that most of them were younger than our daughters … YEOW! 

   I had a great time with Tommy Frazier and his son at the Ranger – Yankee game … if the Frazier boys had been in Durham with us they would have fit right in.

   I was with 150 of the top 300 professional golfers in the world last week … at a Nationwide Tour event at Raleigh’s TPC @ Wakefield.  You probably would not recognize a single name but any one of them could tee it up on your regular course and shoot a 65 without benefit of a yardage book.  Most all of them can boom it 300+ off the tee and make a lob wedge “back-up” on an asphalt parking lot.  Tickets were cheap and freebies were available all over town. 

   A few weeks ago I was with Tiger, Vijay, and Joey Sindelar at The Wachovia in Charlotte.  They can all shoot a 64 on your course without a yardage book and can hit a pie plate with a One Iron from 250 yards. Tickets were much more expensive unless you did business with Wachovia or another sponsor.  Both the events were pretty days on manicured golf courses watching other people do stuff I can’t do.  Again … give me my bright fun buddies and those coupla hot dogs and I’m a happy camper either place.

   Here’s the trick … beyond the top 15 PGA “celebrities” 95% of you could not pick out the rest of the weekly field in a police line-up.  A Nationwide player could show up for Ben Curtis’ tee time and “who would know the difference”.


Swagger’s Stumper

Tony Curtis & Kirk Douglas co-starred in TWO ancient epic films … name’em?



   Busch vs Nextel Cup Races … here’s a case where Major vs Minor truly doesn’t matter one iota.  30% of the guys driving “Busch cars” Saturday are the same guys driving Nextel Cup cars on Sundays.  It’s a screwed up system but that’s the way it is.  Same guys just wearing different race suits and sitting in different colored cars.  The differences in the cars is so minute that automotive engineers can hardly tell.  A Busch ticket is cheaper and its held at the same track. Go fast … turn left … make a lot of noise.

   Which brings us to The Hurricanes.  If the ‘Canes fold is it “THE END” for Raleigh, The Triangle, and Piedmont North Carolina … Nope.  It will have even less economic impact than Rockingham losing its NASCAR race.  Twenty or so big fancy houses will go up for sale and Peter Karmanos will be called a lot of nasty names (Hint: call Hartford and borrow the nasty names they used on him a few years ago).  Jim Rutherford and Chuck Kaiton will move on to other teams and I wish them well … both men are real gentlemen and a credit to whatever they end up.

   The operational future of the RBC Center will be discussed ad infinitum and paranoid Wuffies will react in a paranoid fashion.  In the end, after the City of Raleigh and The Centennial Authority sue Karmanos and his various holding companies and track down his secret Cayman bank accounts … the building will stay open … Yanni and the Royal Lippizan Stallions will keep coming back each year and Tar Heels will jabber jabber about “the taxpayers” having to subsidize the Wuffies’ building … which, of course, is what the taxpayers already do for the Dean Dome.

   The 8,000 “hockey fans” in the Triangle might justify a return of the IceCaps or their minor league equivalent to Dorton Arena or even to the RBC Center.  Me and my buddies will go to their games just as often and … “solve the world’s problems and scope out hotties in lowriders” … and the coupla hot dogs will be half the price as ‘Cane Dogs’.

   Raleigh will still be a very pleasant place to live whether or not it gets scrolled along the bottom on Sportcenter as Stu Scott is bantering with Dan Patrick.  Did “Carolina –2; San Jose –1” really make Raleigh A WORLD CLASS CITY!

   A “sporting event” is a wonderful place to go with your family and/or a group of good friends.  If it’s millionaire hockey players or soccer chicks making $500/game and a handful of Wendy 2for1 coupons … it really doesn’t prevent you from having a great time with good friends … like so much of life … that’s pretty much up to you!


   Rice Krispy Kids = Snap, Crackle, & Pop.  We are pretty sure this was the first time that Snap, Crackle & Pop were mentioned in an article titled “Buffalo Sex”.  Now “Manny, Moe & Jack” might have been … but not Snap and Friends.

BobLee is coming to The Big Apple this week.

Swagger disciples in New York City … this Thursday – June 10 @ 7:00

Brother Jimmy’s at 428 Amsterdam (between 80th and 81st)  

(212) 501-7515   

Tell the hostess you are looking for “BobLee Swagger” … she’ll know where we are … Dutch treat but the good time is courtesy of BLS.   

   Ol’ Roy has just signed “his Kurt Heinrich” – Bobby Fraser … his “Nick Collison” will be next.  Ol’ Roy has got a plan and it involves young men who can play basketball AND appreciate the long term value of a 4-year college education.  As I’ve said from Day One … TRUST THE BLUE MESSIAH!

   We had a fine time with the Raleigh Kiwanis on Friday.  Swagger and Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker did Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First” … the Mayor is keeping his day job; but the fellow does have “a stage presence”.

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