“A Short History of Sports Circa 2015,” by Ravi Mangla

Apr 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Prose

It began with soccer overseas but spread like most European trends to the United States. It catalyzed a domino effect. The NBA was the first to go with Milwaukee trading in their antlered zealot for a dancing cup of joe. The Milwaukee Starbucks were born. They struggled after replacing water coolers with the considerably less popular Starbucks personal barista that caused their all-star power forward to caffeine crash come halftime of each game, curling up to fall asleep in some vacant corner of the court. The Denver McNuggets and Orlando Disney Magic followed suit. Owners were quick to package up their teams and sell them to the highest bidder. They were compensated generously. Most found solace in their avaricious actions on a private island the size of Delaware in the Caribbean or farther east.           

The revolution swept across the board – MLB, NFL, NHL, MLS, and so on. Hanes bought out both the White Sox and Red Sox, becoming the first multi-team owner. They lobbied not to have their teams play each other, and they were exempt from direct competition. San Francisco of the NFL climbed to third on the Forbes annual “Most Profitable Franchise List” in their inaugural season after being acquired by entertainment leviathan “Girls Gone Wild”, who renamed the team the San Francisco $4.99s. Between fan giveaways and the cheerleaders, it was easy to forget that a ticket also bought you a three hour game. Some corporations funneled more money into their teams than others. Several franchises banded together to lobby against the salary cap. The cap was removed – in all sports. The Buffalo Cheap and Easy Phone Bills Brought to You by AT&T became the most expensive team, dethroning the New York Yankee Candles, with player salaries equaling roughly the gross domestic product of Denmark. They were a relatively successful team, but really, winning didn’t seem so important anymore. Buffalo was about as far east as you could go before you met the “Iron Curtain”. National defense contractors bought up most of the major cities along the coast: New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston – with the exceptions of course being the Baltimore Nabisco Oreos and the New York Yankee Candles. Even the New York Red Bulls were plucked by Lockheed Martin after a defect in a new zero calorie variety of the popular energy drink plumped the head to twice the size of a soccer ball. The Iron Curtain made a pledge to build teams around a strong defense but found themselves preoccupied with engineering high-powered offenses. Everyone knew once you broke through the hard outer crust, East Coast defense was like slicing through meringue. But that offense…wow!          

Even the teams that nobody expected to sell out inevitably did. FedEx sank their teeth into the once community owned Green Bay Packers, and UPS purchased the Cleveland Browns. The Los Angeles Lakers battled against the sprouting trend, eventually settling on a compromise in which they could preserve the Lakers team name on the grounds that a small “Brought to You By…” subheading could be found under all mentions of the team, both in print and following any verbal references. Rising energy costs provided the energy sector with enough expendable capital to spawn the Miami Heating and Cooling. It wasn’t long before every minor league and professional team had dissolved into nothing more than leaves on the corporate redwood – or levers on the wood chipper (either/or).          

Employees of the Cincinnati Oscar Meyer Red Hots went on strike in protest of their uniforms. Cincinnati cleaned house and hired a wave of teenagers. A similar thing happened when Wrigley Doublemint bought out the Minnesota Twins and tethered the legs of staff.           

The Los Angeles Galaxxon-Mobil hiked ticket prices and turned in record profits. They filched players from the top European clubs and swallowed up rival teams like a vicious twister. Soon, Galaxxon-Mobil owned and controlled every team in every major sport (after Microsoft’s New Jersey Internet Explorers and Chevron’s Edmonton Oilers finally capitulated), manufacturing results according to the proclivities of their investors. Fans didn’t like this and, little by little, stopped showing up to the games. They tried to buy the fans, obtaining some, but most weren’t having it. They started losing money. It didn’t make any sense. They sold their shares to the fans and communities, who seemed to be the only ones interested in procuring the failing franchises. Slowly the leagues settled back into normality. Galaxxon-Mobil was left scratching their head, wondering what went wrong. 


Ravi Mangla is currently working on a film-to-novel adaptation of Big Momma’s House 2. Visit him at http://ravimangla.blogspot.com/ .

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