Get yourself a fifth of Pepto-Bismol, dude!
I've been a fan of Sports, baseball in particular, for most of my waking days...I have wondered, aloud at times, whether we have mass-mediaed all the fun and mystery out of sports. When I was a young'un, you'd be lucky to get two baseball games a week on the telly...just not enough, we thought. You could hear every one of them on the radio. Nowadays, it's odd to have a day where you CAN'T find a game somewhere.
I heard a show on the radio the other day and one of the topics discussed was the age gap in people's perception of gambling. Generally, the older one is, the more likely one will have a negative view of gambling. Mention Vegas to a pensioner and he is more likely to think of a den of mobsters and hoodlums and prostitution. Younger folks seem to perceive Vegas as a family vacation destination where the kids can have some fun while Mom & Dad lose a bit of change. The commentator was lamenting how the Donaghy story had no 'traction' (i.e. he wasn't getting much response from listeners). Now this was before the scope of that investigation spread wider, but I wonder if that will make any difference. The average NBA fan's age skews heavily into the 18-35 age bracket, the guy said, and those are the people least likely to be scandalized by the referee troubles. So damage to the NBA's credibility with their core fan base should be negligible.
Baseball is another matter, I think. I've been told by friends that I am too hard on the Pete Rose issue...the rule is no gambling on baseball....Period. Pete Rose did that, has now admitted as much, and was subject to a lifetime ban. There has been no sadder moment for my beloved game in my lifetime. I hated Pete Rose as a player, but it was the 'good' kind....he was always doing things to beat my favorite team, doing things I wished the players I rooted for would do. I admired Rose for his skills, his hustle and his never-say-die attitude. But he bet on baseball...you can be forgiven for almost anything else in that game, but you just can't bet on baseball. My friends tell me, "but he only bet on his team to win."...I say, "you said 'bet', and you can't do that." Pete Rose could have, and did, bet on all other sports. Dang it.
I know a NASCAR fan at work who also likes professional wrestling. Imagine! I like to kid him about there not being much difference between the two...I tell him that the sporting powers that be already know, in advance, who will win each race and each match. And it does not matter to him, not one bit...he figures his faves are gonna win a certain percentage of the time, so why worry? I certainly hope that his attitude is not a common one. Sports should be about the highest standards of fairness, that skill and strength and agility, along with a measure of luck, should carry the day.
I started using tivo to catch the Braves at times I could watch...inevitably, I would find out whether they won or lost beforehand...so I stopped. It is no fun watching a game in which you already know the outcome!