I mentioned the small crowd at Belmont on Sunday only in passing, even though I was rather taken aback by how deserted the track was. I mean, we all know that not that many people come to the downstate tracks anymore, and how many ways are there to say that? Plus, I don't want to always be negative (and I guess I was kinda crabby about Saratoga this summer).
But I saw that Jerry Bossert also noticed that it seemed particularly empty on that day.
Sunday, on a cool, showery day, Belmont Park was empty, with an announced crowd of just 3,615.I was gone by then myself, but I'd guess that Bossert is not exaggerating. In fact, at one point I felt the urge to count the number of people in the backyard. And though I got interrupted when I felt a bigger urge to bet the 3rd at Arlington, there couldn't have been more than 50 people back there. That's 130 total counted between Bossert and I; not sure where the other 3,485 were hanging out. But it's sure easy to get lost there.
The giant grandstand held approximately 30 people, and about another 50 were on the apron when longshot Gentle Ride lit up the board at 57-1 to take the eighth, returning $116. [NY Daily News]
It's not really negativity, just that I can't help but to be preoccupied with the emptiness there. I find it as oppressive, though in a different way, as when it used to be packed. The Foolish Pleasure - Ruffian match race was the most crowded day I've ever spent there, the fact that there have been more highly attended Belmont Stakes in recent years notwithstanding. They know how to handle crowds now; that day, me and my buddies ended up leaving and watching the match race on TV. I guess it's totally taboo to talk about this....but I had Foolish Pleasure. I booked any of my friends who liked the filly, thus getting a premium price too (hello, exchange wagering!).
I don't make it for a full day when it's like this either. The place is just too big for the sport in this era; and as excited as we all might be for
It's been widely reported that Genting is going to spend some $1.3 billion on the racino, including I guess the $380 million upfront fee which is now officially due. Genting says it will deliver the check this month. I wonder if they'll have a ceremony with a beaming Governor Paterson being presented with one of those giant checks. (God, I'm gonna miss that guy, aren't you?) I'm guessing that the $1.3 billion is in addition to the $250 million to be raised by the state via a bond issue. If that's right, then this place will cost nearly as much as the $1.6 billion new Meadowlands football stadium.
El Angelo asked if I was at Monday night's Spoon show in Brooklyn, but I was instead making my first appearance at the new stadium for the Jets-Ravens game. (Guess the music would have been a better choice.) Man, I can't believe that Genting is going to spend as much as was spent on a massively big football stadium on a little bitty slots parlor in Ozone Park. Makes you wonder just what they have in mind....and just how appropriate it is going to be for that locale.
Whatever it's going to be, there will surely be more bells and whistles than at the Meadowlands. This stadium is little more than a big drab gray ring (next to a racetrack which could very well become additional parking spaces before too long). It doesn't even look like it was finished. Were they really going for the industrial motif?
Of course, I'm relegated to the atmospheric non-PSL sections; all the fancy stuff is reserved for those who shelled out the big bucks. Besides being unbelievably high up...I mean, really high up.....a swarm of aggressive moths settled in for the second half. I was eating a sandwich, looked down and saw one in my bag. Still, as a place to watch a football game, it's fine, despite the height. But I was expecting more.....more what, I can't exactly say. But just more.
Mario Batali was there. Or....maybe not really.
Green Day played at halftime, but not for very long at all.
OK, it was longer than that. But not much; just one song before all hell broke loose.
Yeah, I know, no fireworks from the Jets offense. jp is having some fun at my expense, and that's fine, and surely fair following all the yappin' we've all heard from the Jets. I will however point out that you didn't hear any of that bravado coming from this corner. I've been horrified at all the hype, both self-proclaimed and otherwise. I love the Jets as you know, but let's face it; this was a 7-7 team until the seas parted and the Colts laid down their arms. Sure, they played well in the playoffs, but that's where anything can happen and where Nate Kaeding can't kick field goals. And all the expectations presume a lot regarding the development of the second year quarterback (of whom, based on the game plan, the coaching staff remains wary and cautious). So I never bought into the Super Bowl talk, and wasn't very surprised at the result.
Having said that, the Jets committed 14 penalties and made six first downs. That's freaking pathetic, not worthy of a team calling itself professional. And still, they lost by a point to a very good team. The defense will keep them in a lot of games, even with the injuries. Don't know if they'll handle the Pats on Sunday, but I'll be looking - from far, far above - for a much smarter and more spirited performance.