Monday, October 21, 2013

Hoosier Buddy?

Back when the Colts played in Baltimore, I used to go to their summer training camps to watch them get ready for gridiron glory (or ignominy.)  For a couple of years, there was a goofy-looking ball boy stumbling around the sidelines, doing menial chores and generally looking about as useful as Jerry Lewis at a brain surgery.

"That's the owner's son," someone sighed, and that was to be the first look at I ever had at the bumptious oaf named Jim Irsay.

Jim Irsay

  Irsay, son of Bob Irsay, a man who went to his reward in 1997 and left the Colts (since moved to Indianapolis, in case you missed the story) to Sonny Jim.  Bob Irsay was the plumbing and heating contractor who traded the Rams for the Colts with Carroll Rosenbloom, a man so anxious to move in higher circles that he became the sixth husband of a former showgirl named Georgia.  Rosenbloom moved to LA with his trophy wife and drowned seven years later under circumstances not entirely clear, and it was to be some fifteen months until Georgia found solace in the arms of Dominic Frontiere, who was her steadfast companion until he went to jail for scalping Super Bowl tickets.  When Dominic walked out of the Walled-Off Astoria, Georgia dumped him, but gave up on marriage after only seven tries, and became the companion, for nineteen years, of a man named Earle Weatherwax.

And you think YOUR family is screwy?

But Robert "Bob" Irsay, whose hand I personally shook as he, drunk as a lemur, staggered through the stands at Memorial Stadium during a game in 1978, is the man whose own elderly widowed mother called him "the devil on earth."  

That had to sting.

Kerouac and scroll
Anyway, the thing is, Bob kicked the bucket and left the team to Jimbo, who is the owner of the original scroll on which Jack Kerouac typed his first draft of "On The Road"  and George Harrison's guitar.  So he is a preserver of our pop culture as well as being almost as big a jackass as his father, because, having run quarterback Peyton Manning out of town several years ago, now decided this past week to trash all that Manning, quite possibly the best ever to play his position after Johnny Unitas, did for him while wearing a horseshoe helmet.

Peyton Manning
Looking back on Manning's 14 years in Indy, Jim said, "You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times.  It leaves you frustrated."

So, you only won the Super Bowl once, and you're gone. You filled the seats, got the Colts a new stadium with the fan support of your play, and you've moved on to a new job. It was not a sporting, or pleasant, or warranted slap at the memory of a man who actually went out and accomplished something in his life.  Jim Irsay became the owner of the Colts because he was his father's son.  

And that is really too bad.

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