October 20, 2011
Back on Sept. 12, when the St. Louis Cardinals trailed the National League wild card by 4 1/2 games with 15 to play in the season, some slaphappy fan at the MGM sports book in Las Vegas put down $500 of faith in his team.
What were the odds that the Cardinals were going to come back from the brink and make something of themselves and make this dude some cash? Well, not only can we tell you the odds, but we can also tell you what the payoff is.
The sap true believer, Deadspin reports, wagered $250 at 500-to-1 odds that Team Fredbird would take the NL pennant, along with another $250 — at 999-to-1 odds — that the Cardinals would win the World Series.
Well, the fella (a St. Louisan, Deadspin says) is already $125,000 richer after the Cards upset the Phillies and Brewers in the NL playoffs, and he's three more St. Louis victories away from winning $250,000. Sounds great, doesn't it, cashing in on the old hometown team? But there's a downside.
Having so much money on the line must take away some of the joy he could be feeling as a fan right now. You know how people get on Monday nights when their fantasy football score is coming down to a reception from Wide Receiver "A" against the extra-point total for Placekicker "B"? It stops being fun and starts to become something else. They turn into real jerks. (I know, having turned into one myself from time to time.) This is 250 grand on the line, too, not just a reason to exclaim "I love Drew Brees."
Does the guy who bets the Kentucky Derby every year love horses? Or does he just love betting on them?
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This Cardinals bettor — and maybe he's a great fan otherwise — has become something like a team owner. Only, he has no authority and no actual pride of ownership. Just a fleeting monetary investment. To him, the Redbirds aren't a great comeback story for the sake of being a great comeback story; they are just a deposit to his bank account. A way to pay off his car, or install an above-ground pool, or sock some away for the kids' college fund. A means to an end. And this is if the Cardinals win.
If they lose, the Cardinals will always be the guys who almost won him $375,000 (before taxes), but instead only won him $125,000. It's actually kind of sad, the loss of innocence. It's like the man says: He who gambles lives in shambles.
(Update: Hey, let's give credit where it's due: Joe Sports Fan had this story THREE DAYS ago. Be sure to check their handiwork.)
More World Series coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Albert Pujols leaves without a word after Game 2 loss
• Video: First-hand look at Series with NLCS MVP David Freese
• Which World Series players are the best bargain for their teams?