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Plaque Buildup Merging all the sports Halls of Fame could fill a huge cavity in every fan's travel plans

Sept. 03, 2001
Sept. 03, 2001

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Sept. 3, 2001

NFL Preview 2001

Plaque Buildup Merging all the sports Halls of Fame could fill a huge cavity in every fan's travel plans

I have a dream. I have a dream that one day all sports halls of
fame, museums and restaurants will be conveniently consolidated
in a single theme park so that future Super Bowl MVPs, when asked
where they're going next, won't have to answer "Disney World" but
can say instead, "To a place where I have a cut of the profits."
This infotainment complex will be a paradise of unearthly
delights, where children of all ages will visit the Hall of
Presidents to marvel at an audioanimatronic Gary Bettman, who
appears so uncannily unlifelike they'll swear that it really is
the NHL prexy.

This is an article from the Sept. 3, 2001 issue Original Layout

But the first stop will be the interactive pavilion: There you'll
find Wilt Chamberlain's bed, with an endless loop of clean
sheets, like those perpetual hand-towel machines you tug on in
restaurant rest rooms. Visitors will be urged to "take a number"
from the deli-style ticket dispenser on Wilt's nightstand and to
periodically consult the NOW SERVING sign, with space for five
digits.

Guests will then be shuttled across the park in a baseball-capped
golf cart of the sort that once conveyed overweight relievers
from bullpen to pitcher's mound in electrified comfort. Or choose
more adventurous transport. Gone will be Disney's famous
monorail. In its place will be Casey Stengel's Train of Thought,
which will derail daily, every hour on the half hour. Ride it to
Tomorrowland, where you'll see a haunting vision of the future:
the 19 elbow operations that await Bronx Little League pitching
sensation Danny Almonte. Fans of Disney will thrill to our
version of his spinning teacups--the spinning D-cups of Ms.
Morganna's Wild Ride, in which families whirl away the afternoon
in the oversized brassiere of baseball's notorious Kissing
Bandit.

Then you'll be off to the carnival midway. Try to ring the bell
at the top of the tall Breathalyzer Tower. (Simply take a deep
breath and blow!) Ride the rocket-fueled bumper cars, careful to
avoid the warring vehicles of Jose Canseco and his ex-wife,
Esther. Finally, play the timeless Whack-a-Mole game, in which
contestants, armed only with a judge's gavel, will try to smack
down Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. (Hint: It's not
possible!)

By then you'll have worked up quite an appetite. So why not visit
the sports-themed Food Court? Sample the fried Calipari, the Kobe
beef or, a personal favorite, the Mobster Bisque, containing
actual chunks of the guy who blew the whistle on the Gold Club.

Still hungry? Be sure to take home our Paul Newman-esque line of
signature sports salad dressings, specially formulated for the
tastes of pro athletes: Vinaigretzky, Mustang Ranch, Riker's
Island. Bon appetit!

Wait 30 minutes after eating, and then dip into Water Park, where
you'll swim with the dolphins. Or rather, the Miami Dolphins
(ex-Dolphins, actually). Play Marco Polo with Mercury Morris!
Conduct a cannonball contest with Dwight Stephenson!! Get
de-Speedoed by a mischief-making Larry Csonka!!!

While still in your swimsuit, join the Minnesota Twins on their
Giant Slide: You'll plunge--from a great height, at breakneck
speed--straight into the crapper (but what a ride!). Then dry off,
if you dare, on Roid Rage, the state-of-the-art roller coaster.
It will take you to exhilarating heights and unspeakable depths,
and exhilarating heights and unspeakable depths, over and over in
the span of a single minute.

If all of this weren't magic enough, the park closes each night
with a ticker-tape parade down Main Street. (The ticker tape--four
metric tons of it every day--isn't ticker tape at all but rather
the torn-up pari-mutuel tickets of that day's unluckiest bettor
at Yonkers Raceway.)

And oh, what a parade! It's a nightly roll call of sport's most
memorable mascots: Youppi, the francophone shag-carpet sample who
serves the Montreal Expos; Bernie Brewer, beer-swilling wearer of
Lycra lederhosen in Milwaukee; and Chief Noc-a-Homa, the sine qua
non of demeaning cultural stereotypes, long since euthanized by
the Atlanta Braves.

And while Mr. Met marches into the moonset with Fredbird, you'll
happily head for home--via the Gift Shop--with the perfect keepsake
in your pocket: a tiny replica of the park, beneath a glass snow
dome. The snow is, in fact, genuine sportswriter dandruff,
complete with a certificate of authenticity. Every time you shake
it, the souvenir will remind you, the North American sports fan,
of the best day you ever had.

B/W ILLUSTRATION: DAN PICASSO