Seven hundred billion dollars. That’s billion. Enough to make even Mark Cuban’s heart skip a beat. Seven hundred billion just sitting around waiting to bail out struggling, failing industries. But is the government targeting the right one? Do we really need to save Wall Street, an industry based on greed that essentially made its own bed? Or even the U.S. auto industry, which went about building Hummers while Asia was building hybrids?
The industry that could really use – and deserves – some of those bucks is sports. I know, greed thy name is (fill in any sports owner’s name here). And any industry that pays guys hundreds of millions for throwing a football or baseball or handling the rock doesn’t deserve another penny.
I don’t argue those points. But there are still a few nooks in sports where a bailout is worthy, at least as worthy as Wall Street and Detroit. To name a few:
• Chicago Cubs fans: Is there any group more deserving? They could use the bucks to buy the rival White Sox and merge the two teams. Maybe between the two of them, they can end the Cubs fans’ wait for a World Series win.
• Detroit Lions: Right now this city’s beleaguered citizens don’t have a decent NFL diversion. With the money, this team could maybe buy some heart.
• Boxing: Talk about an industry in need. With its share of the money, maybe it could buy the UFC, the sport’s only shot at renewed popularity.
• Tampa Bay Rays: To keep the talent that took them to the World Series.
• Kansas City Royals: This franchise deserves to be in the bidding wars at least once. At least enough to buy a copy of Tampa Bay’s script.
• Los Angeles Clipper fans: To buy the team from Donald Sterling. Could longtime Clips fan Billy Crystal do any worse?
• Ailing former pro athletes: To somewhat compensate for seeing another generation reap the rewards of their blood, sweat and broken bodies.
• American tennis: To build more courts in inner cities like in Compton, Calif.
• Urban schools: To revive gym and the sports programs that were cut even before the economy tanked. Yes, pay the teachers. But those of us who grew up playing sports and going to class know the value of both and feel for kids whose day ends at 3 p.m.
• The BCS: Never mind. The president-elect said Sunday night on “60 Minutes” that he’s going to “throw his weight around” to create a college football playoff. The BCS is about to become Lehman Brothers … gone.
• Fans everywhere: To simply be able to afford to attend games because, with all that’s going on outside our arenas and gyms, sports fans have never deserved their joy more – and been less able to afford it.