Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

No. 756 for Bonds, Nothin' But Net: the Sequel, Sucker Bet & More Bad 'Graphs


Barry Will Hit Home Run No. 756 at Home

Anyone who wants to buy tickets to the historic Barry Bonds home run game, listen up. I'll tell you when to buy your tickets. If you buy seats for every Giants home game from June 8-13, you'll see it. Now, I'm offering no sort of guarantee on this of course, but I actually do have some reasoning on my side.

First, let's do the whole on pace thing. So far this season, Bonds has hit 11 home runs in 29 games. Since he'll break the record with 11 more home runs, we can assume that will take him 32 games. Why? Because Bonds didn't play in three games this season. Assuming he'll rest the same amount and stays on pace, he'll hit the shot on June 12 against the Toronto Blue Jays at home.

I'm sure many of you don't know (I had to confirm what I heard), but Braves manager Eddie Mathews got in trouble with then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn for sitting Hank Aaron at the beginning of the 1974 season so that he could beat Babe Ruth's then record No. 714 at home. Aaron finished the previous season at 713 and the team opened with a three-game series in Cincinnati. Kuhn ordered Mathews to play Aaron in two of the three games. Aaron hit a home run in Cincinnati, but conveniently waited until they returned to Atlanta to hit No. 715 in front of a then-record Braves attendance of 53,775 fans.

I spoke with his marketing guy Jeff Bernstein today, who assured me that Bonds would not skip games intentionally so that he could hit his all-time record shot at home. "Any player's natural preference is to do something like this at home," he said. "But when his team is trying to win games, he'll do what he has to do -- even if it happens on the road."

I say Bonds is going to do exactly what Aaron did. Wait. I've got the stats on my side. Check out my Bonds Home Run Chart:

These are all records of note -- No. 567 was single season; No. 73 and No. 661 was he passing his godfather Willie Mays. Hmmm, I think we have more of a trend here, folks. Barry Bonds likes to hit his milestone home runs at home. Count on it.

"Nothin' But Net" Take II

Last month, Ad Age reported that McDonald's was considering recreating the famous 1993 "Nothin' But Net" commercial that featured Michael Jordan and Larry Bird (a later version featured Charles Barkley), but instead use Dwayne Wade and LeBron James. Well, thankfully we have readers worldwide like Terence Lau, who lives in China. Lau calls our attention to a "Nothin' But Net" reprise featuring Chinese basketball players Zhu Fongyu and Yi Jianlian that is already running in China.

After you watch that, watch the original. Three thoughts here:

1. Jordan and Bird are much better actors than Fongyu and Jianlian.

2. What in the world is Michael Jordan wearing? How could he ever wear that?

3. If James and Wade re-do this thing, they can't just copy the original; they have to one up it.

As was pointed out in the Ad Age article, there was a battle over the "Nothin' But Net" trademark rights between McDonalds and a 9-year-old girl, who apparently trademarked that phrase to go along with a game she invented. I found that there are five businesses that have live "Nothing But Net" trademarks (computer services, basketball tournaments and mutual fund investment services). No one currently has rights to "Nothin' But Net."

Sucker Bet

I love Kentucky Derby betting stories. But this one tops the cake. It's from Bob Matthews of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicleand unearthed by the folks at Deadspin and Sportscolumn. It's about this bettor who came up the brilliant idea to place a $2 trifecta bet on every single possible combination in the 20-horse field. It cost him $13,680, but he only won $440. Classic.

Despite this man's help, total betting on the Derby dropped for the first time since 1991. Total wagering was $118.3 million. Churchill Downs reported yesterday that its first quarter losses were stemmed by more racing at its Fair Grounds track in New Orleans this year. The company usually reports a loss this quarter because many of its tracks aren't fully operational.

Gene Simmons of KISS and his girlfriend Shannon Tweed supposedly bet $100,000 on a horse, supposedly. No biz like showbiz...

Worst Autograph Submissions

We got a great response from our "send us your worst autograph" plea. My friend Rich Klein at Beckett, an authoritative source in the collectibles industry, I think had the best, with Vernand Morency. Horrendifferous.



Roger Willcutt submits Jonathan Cheechoo and Kyle Rohde presents the live autograph he got last year at the Kansas Speedway from Danica Patrick. Said Rohde: "Now she was nice enough to pose for a photo with me, which is about 300 percent better than an autograph, but still, you can't even slightly make out that signature.

Questions?  Comments?