By John Rolfe
September 02, 2009

Today's question of great existential importance: How much are you willing to pay for a ticket to a game?

We mean for a BIG must-see (in person) game.

Is $23,000 for a World Series tilt in your ballpark? Apparently, that's what some Yankees fans are asking for their ducats in anticipation of the team's return to postseason play. The hyper-inflated prices -- the lowest end is a more "reasonable" $100 -- are due to season ticket-holders, players, league execs and corporate sponsors getting first dibs on the 50,235 seats in the Yankees' toney new ball orchard. That leaves a mere handful for the rest of the unwashed public.

It's basically the old Super Bowl bugaboo -- a major event crowding/pricing out average fans who do not light $750 cigars with $100 bills while laughing like loons -- and the Yankees tried this season. But the money bags set didn't bite, as those vacant blue rows of $2,500 field-level "Legends" chairs attested. In today's weak-tea economy, it's no surprise that Alpine-high-end perches would go empty. Even the mighty NFL is reporting sluggish sales and possible blackouts -- the TV, not alcoholic, kind. And the Yankees have been forced to mark Legends seats down to a low, low discount price of $275 for the first round of the playoffs. World Series tix will top out at $425 -- if you're lucky.

Maybe, just maybe, we're witnessing a little market correction, although those scalpers obviously haven't gotten the news. Yet, you have to imagine that someone out there is willing to pay $23,000 a ticket. All this space can say is, at a heavenly price like that, the game better be worth it -- like Don Larsen-perfect-game-with-Babe Ruth-rising-from-the-dead-to-pinch-hit worth it.

We see that former New York Governor Eliot "Client 9 From Outer Space" Spitzer and ex-Titans/Cowboys cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones are on the comeback trail. Pacman was reportedly close to signing with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers in yet another milestone in the old "I'd play Mussolini, Hitler and Hirohito if they could help the team win" mentality that has been one of the pillars of sports. Now it seems the team has gotten cold feet and pulled the plug on the idea.

Not that ol' Pac quite ranks in the company of infamous dicators and warmongers, but aside from the publicity and mouthwatering potential payoff on the field, signing a talented loose cannon is a mighty and often maddening gamble, especially for the legions of folks who like to wager on games or assemble fantasy teams with the hope of winning a handsome pot as well as braggin' rights.

Today's second question of great existential importance: How can you make an educated bet/decision/choice if you never know when a fella like Pacman or even a coveted malcontent like Brandon Marshall is going to come off the spool again and cost you some dough?

In fact, you just never know when any titan of sport is going to do something dumb. Case in point:

Benoit Pouliot is not exactly a household name outside of Minnesota, but the Wild winger was just relieved of his driver's license for a year and hit with a $2,000 fine after he was found guilty of driving under the influence of John Barleycorn three years ago. DUI cases in sports are sadly a dime a thousand, but Pouliot's is notable for his All-Star-worthy attempt to avoid the charge by cramming his rye-and-ginger hole with chips, pulling the "Don't you know who I am?" defense, and allegedly trying to bribe the cops. Now chastened and forced to do without wheels, the philosophical Pouliot said, "I don't need a car to play hockey, so I don't see a problem at all."

However, you do need a car to race them. Case in point:

NASCAR suspended crew members of two teams for violating its substance abuse policy. If you're driving one of those contraptions at breakneck speed, it has to be a comforting thought to know that someone who was seeing all the pretty colors has been tinkering with your wheels -- or that the guy behind the wheel of the chariot next to you is wired on toxic fumes from that wreck in the rearview mirror.

We see that that Detroit Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper joined the ranks in the Goofy Injury Hall of Fame this week by tearing up his toes while stubbing his foot on a carpet in his digs. The wonderful world of sports, especially baseball, is loaded with such incidents, but in the ranks of the NFL, we'll proudly place Culpepper among Redskins QB Gus Frerotte, who famously sprained his neck while pounding his head against the wall after scoring a TD, and Broncos QB Brian Griese, who sprained his ankle after tripping over his pooch (dog, not punt).

This in from the good folks over at the American Mustache Institute, whose headquarters is apparently draped in black as they mourn the passing of Texas QB Colt McCoy's "lip sweater." In a sign of these specious times, the AMI had apparently been moved to investigate the authenticity of McCoy's 'stache as it bore an unsettling resemblance to his eyebrows. Goes to show nothing is as it seems these days.

If there was a lesson to be learned this week, it was probably "Beware the union label." Not only is the NFLPA under federal investigation for holding secret labor talks with NFL commish Roger Goodell, the NHLPA made headlines -- in Moosejaw and Flin Flon, mostly -- for abruptly axing perfectly rational boss Paul Kelly.'s Allan Muir has the gory details, but according to our corroborating sauce in the bar at the union's pow wow in Chicago, a cabal of hardliners does indeed want a more militant leader to take on the NHL in the next collective bargaining talks and destroy the salary cap.

"They're trying to hire Abbie Hoffman," says the sauce. "That old fartCheliostold them about the radical activism hookie dookie Hoffman (left, in photo) got into with the Chicago Seven back in '68 while Cheli was with the Blackhawks. Unfortunately, no one told them Hoffman passed away 20 years ago. Stay tuned."

Many thanks to those who availed themselves of the handy space-time delivery device on your right (our left) last week to politely alert us to our boo-boo in the item concerning the Cowboys' new super-sized video board. "Not sure what rock you have been living under, but 'Godzillatron' was coined for the videoboard at The University of Texas a few years ago," wrote reader Laura from Houston.

Indeed, madame. Our bad for not getting out more often. We made the fix and now go to penalty box and feel shame, but not before we shower thanks on Progressive Business Audio Conferences for their constant reminders not to miss the upcoming "Managing Employees from Hell: Discipline That Gets Results" clambake. (Today's third question of great existential importance: Why is the boss looking over here?)

So come on, get in on the fun. Simply file your complaint, order, or Writ of Fetchum in the box on your right (our left) and click Send. Besides enlightening the proprietor of this space to the error of his ways, you'll also receive an authentic response from him or someone who looks just like him. Now THAT's a deal and it won't even cost you $23,000.

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