It happened whenI was halfway through my Raisin Bran.
My spoon ploppedinto my bowl and my forehead clunked down hard on the table and my arms hunglike Hebrew Nationals at my side.
And what was Ireading when the end came? This:
The ChicagoWhite Sox will start their home games next season at 7:11 p.m.
And do you knowwhy they're going to start their games at 7:11 p.m.? Because they signed athree-year deal with 7-Eleven for a half-million dollars a season. Yes, theChicago White Sox found a way to sell their game time.
That was it.That broke it. My switch toggled over to I Give Up. There was no fighting itanymore. For years now, I've slobbered and screamed against selling our senseof place (Mile High Stadium is now Invesco Field. Yeeesh), our history(remember the Suzuki Heisman Trophy? Yikes!), and even our sacred moments ofutter jubilation ("I'm going to Disneyland!" Yuck).
But now we'rethrough the looking glass, people. These evil geniuses have found a way to selltime. They've broken the dreaded fourth dimension of greed. That's when sanitytook the last Amtrak out. I suddenly stopped fighting. They win. Now, I thinkthey should just sell everything.
Screw it. Fromnow on, we start every game with the National (Car Rental) Anthem.
Oh say doestha-aat star-spangled
Bannnner yet wave
O'er the la-aa-nd of the free
And the Lincolns you crave.
At baseballgames, everything will start when the pitcher toes the rubber, which will readtrojans. because all the best times begin with a good rubber. And the catcher'smitt is just sitting there, every pitch, wasting away. Why can't we cyber an adin? get the catch of the day ... at red lobster would go nicely.
Also, they laydown those chalk lines every night, right? Why couldn't one of them read run tofirst (national bank)? And I don't want anybody sliding home. I want themsliding into a Richmond home.
We need tomonetize those mascots, too. The San Diego Chicken? Why not the Perdue Chicken?And you say Mr. Met? I say Mr. Clean.
Same withfootball. Get ready, Al Michaels. He's across the 50! Past the Colt 45! What amove at the Century 21! To the 9 Lives line! The Motel 6! The One-der Bread! Doyou believe in Miracle Whip? Yes!
Every crook andnanny must have an ad on it. I want Crest ads across the front of mouth guardsand Gillette Fusion across chin straps. Every referee's penalty flag should bea Black Flag (because obviously there are bugs in the system).
There are plentyof opportunities in basketball too. Let's have UNICEF stamped on every freethrow line in every arena. Make it a real charity stripe! (That'll get thedo-gooders off our backs.) And let's sign up Sherwin-Williams to sponsor thepaint.
We can make alot of jack on everything, even the rule book. From now on, when the ref callsan offensive foul in the NBA, it's not a charge, it's a Discover charge. If aplayer walks, the call is "Kobe Bryant, Travelocity. Celtics ball." Inthe NFL, I want the refs to emerge from their cocooned TVs and announce, Uponfurther review, HDTV is the only way to watch the game!
We've got tothink out of the box here, people! Any emotional moment can bring in largestackable dollars! When an injured NFL player is wheeled off the field in oneof those carts, let's pay 50 grand to any one of them who'll look in the cameraand say through his tears: "For the ride of your life, trust Michelintires!" And when they haul a poor boxer out of the ring on a stretcher, itshould say on the bottom of one shoe hope he has and on the other bluecross.
And golf couldbe a gold mine. From here on in, golfers will tap in for their Parkay, show upfor their Lipton tee times and blast out of Denny's fried-egg lies.
The Mastersalone is enough to make a Madison Avenue man drool. Blank white caddieoveralls? Get a Cadillac logo on them! Beautiful azalea-filled golf course withno houses on it? Who wouldn't want a six-bedroom Tudor at 1200 Amen Corner? Andat the end of the toon-a-mint, couldn't one of those old Southern gentlementurn to the winner and say, "Son, it's my great pleasure to present youwith the green jacket, part of the Sears Johnny Miller collection."
Hey, that's howthings are now. I accept it. It's just part of the Life of Reilly (Insured byNorthwestern Mutual).
• If you have acomment for Rick Reilly, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RIFFS of REILLY
Exclusively on Verizon Wireless V CAST andSI.com.
The White Sox will start their games at 7:11 p.m.,because these evil geniuses have found a way to sell time. They've brokenthrough the fourth dimension of greed.
PETER READ MILLER