"Bring me the throwing arm of Peyton Manning!"
SOMETHING SOMETHING GASLAMP GASBAG — Fans attending last Thursday night's game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Dodgers might have been forgiven for believing they'd come down with an unseasonal case of Football Fever. No, they didn't hallucinate that they were watching a winning professional sports team in San Diego. Instead, they were treated to a pregame vision of The Wizard of SpanOz, a mysterious entity who appeared in the sky amid a burst of flame and smoke and delivered a booming ultimatum audible to everyone within a mile radius:
"I am SpanOz, the great and powerful! You dare to ask me to remain in San Diego? You cretinous Charger-clinging couch cucumber! Silence! I have every intention of winning an AFC title. But first, you must prove yourselves worthy, by performing a very small task. You must build me a publicly financed stadium, so that the Chargers' brilliant play may take place in surroundings befitting its wondrous excellence. Only then will I grant your desperate pleas for vicarious victory. Now pay! But pay no attention to the $450 million, publicly financed stadium full of losing teams behind me! The great and powerful SpanOz has spoken!"
The Padres went on to lose the ensuing game 4-8, dropping their seasonal record to 10-18, and their record since Petco Park's 2004 opening to 807-842.