Hello All!O.K., so look: I'm not saying that this will be a successful exorcism of the triple crown drought. I mean, this is a tough one, and it should be. We're talkin' a timeless champion that spans the ages and sets the bar for greatness. Greatness as in Secretariat. Greatness as in only 11 champions since 1919. War Admiral. Citation. And who in the congregation is going to ask "...who did they beat?" Not me, because all they did was beat everyone they needed to beat. That's who they beat. But I believe I am on to something and I'm putting it out there because it's time. And clearly, we must be doing something wrong. Affirmed in 1978. That was a long time ago. 1978. The first computer bulletin board system is created in Chicago.
So some pitcher is in the 5th or 6th inning and is pitching a shutout. That is to say, not just a shutout, but a no-hit shutout. Things begin to get baseball-ish in the dugout., don't they? He is sitting over in the far corner by the water cooler. Alone. The entire rest of the team...coaches, buddies, roommate, bat boy, trainer, manager, even the damn pitching coach...all avoiding him as if he just came down with a case of Bubonic Plague.
What's up? Tradition. Superstition! Over a century of protocol. Respect for the game, for the baseball gods, and a healthy fear that your slap of encouragement on the pitchers backside will be enough to dislodge the history that could very well be made this day. If only you had kept to yourself and not ruined it by smacking his butt. Or speaking directly to him. No one wants to have anything to do with him, lest they break the magical spell that is the weave of a baseball no hitter.
Let's take a memo. Silence is golden. SO: I'm suggesting that we not utter those words. You know the ones. Those two words that begin with a "T" and a "C". And so I'm not going to say T***** C**** for the next three weeks. I personally am putting my reputation on the line here, and if there is no T***** C**** at Belmont Park this year, it will NOT be MY fault.
Further, I will not say C********* C*****. No sir, not me. Won't say it. He's the pitcher, standing on the precipice of history and I, the living breathing Slew, will not be responsible for ruining his moment. But I cannot do it alone!
I'm suggesting that you join me. I am calling for the entire press corps, newspapers, magazines, DRF, Blood Horse, the entire racing and communications community and each and every racing fan to join me. And that includes you. Heck, do you really want to be known as the ONE who ruined it? Who jinxed C********* C***** and robbed him, his owners, his jockey, his trainer, his groom, and the entire world from being witness to a T***** C****?
Just maybe they should have spent the previous three weeks with their collective mouths shut! As for me, I felt just awful. Why? Because I must have said SMARTY JONES a thousand times on the train ride into Elmont that day. I'm sure I uttered T***** C**** a million times between the Preakness and the Belmont.
And look what happened! I for one, am not making the same mistake again.
Not me! No sir.
And now, as if we needed another brick added to the load, Tom Durkin is retiring. How many times has he seen the opportunity to call a triple crown champion to the winners circle? How close has he come? If you said a desperate nose, you would be correct. Here is the final chance. The chance of a lifetime.
Hollywood couldn't script it any better.
So: let's all join hands, sway to and fro, and sing Kumbaya in one voice for the good of racing. Let's unite in respectful silence and not utter his name. Let's write letters to the editor requesting the no-hitter approach to racing coverage over the next three weeks. If you see the name in print, avert your eyes. For the good of the sport, man.
For the good of the sport!
If we all work together on this, I promise you...without fail...you will see history. But if we once again fall short, you will have only yourself to blame.
Now as for my pick: the field isn't finalized but I'll make my pick anyway. I know there will be new shooters. I know there will be fresh horses. I know there will be trainers, owners and jocks itching to ruin everyone's fun. I know there will be multiple efforts to take the horse out of his game.
Rush him into the pace.
Box him in on the rail.
Slow him down.
Speed him up. No matter.
My pick is C********* C*****.
Please don't tell anyone!
Posted: September, 2016
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