Arts & Entertainment

Picking Splinters: Big Brown’s Triple Crown and More

Mike Hume tackes questions from his magic mailbag, saying that all a Big Brown win at Belmont would yield is a slew of children’s book-worthy headlines.



What’s your take on the Triple Crown bid by Big Brown? Psyched? What do you think a triple crown winner would mean for the sport and for fans?


The Stable in the Sky

The only thing I know for sure a win by Big Brown will mean is that come Sunday morning there will be more headlines rhyming the words “brown” and “crown” than a Dr. Seuss book about UPS.

I’ve read and heard a lot of people saying that a triple crown is exactly what the sport needs to get back in the public eye and shake some of its PETA problems. Maybe.

I just don’t think people care about horse racing because in order to appreciate it properly, you have to really get into it. You have to know the history, the bloodlines, the past performances of a horse’s parents and the temperature and humidity on the day that it was conceived. No casual observer wants to do that much leg work unless he’s raised in the Midwest, not addicted to NASCAR and is addicted to mint juleps and women who sport hats the size of Swaziland.

All the casual fan cares about is the novelty of the accomplishment and the potential payout on a bet. The novelty ought to last a day. The payout on a $2 bet might be enough to buy me a postage stamp. Neither one is going to make me care any more about the sport for more than 5 minutes three times a year.

Personally, I just think it would be nice to have Big Brown not end up in a puppy’s supper dish a few weeks after the race, a fate that has befallen more than a few of his unfortunate peers. Which, brings me briefly to my last point. If you think a win by Big Brown would make PETA go away, you don’t know the animal rights group very well. A triple crown winner would generate buzz around the sport from the media, if not from marginal fans, which would more likely attract the activists’ attention than anything else.

If Big Brown wins or loses, horse racing still has some serious animal rights issues to address.


How you feel about the NBA Finals? This match is going to be for the ages right? Boston and Los Angeles? What more could you want?


New York, N.Y.

Well for starters, I’d want a TiVo so I could fast forward until the game clock winds down to five minutes in the fourth quarter when the action starts. Next question.


What’s the best we can hope for with the Nats this year? Injuries are mounting, as are the losses. Anything to look forward to this season?

Frank R.

Some Sunny Beach

I regularly look forward to the delectable half-smokes served “all the way” at Nationals Park. Of course, those bad boys are about as healthy as the middle of the Nats’ lineup right now.

You’re right, when it comes to the Nationals’ the injury bug looks something akin to Godzilla’s nemesis Mothra right now. Losing Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson hurts, not because they were setting the league on fire before they went down, but because now they have to worry about getting healthy instead of getting on track.

Thursday’s entry draft, and a long look at a burgeoning farm system, may yield the best dividends to investors seeking better days though. Things aren’t likely to improve by leaps and bounds until next season and even then it will be only if the front office can immediately improve the major league roster.

The idea to see who would reach their full potential from a group of Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Willy Mo Pena wasn’t a bad approach, but a few seasons of middling numbers seem to suggest that long term answers lie elsewhere.