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Monday, July 31, 2006
Updated: August 2, 12:28 PM ET
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By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

The main event at the World Series of Poker began Friday with a record 8,580 entrants paying $10,000 to compete. But out of those 8,580, I'd guess that maybe just 400 or 500 have any business being there.

The rest are wannabes who have (mistakenly) convinced themselves they're on the level of a poker "pro" because they manage to finish in the black slightly more often than not in their local Saturday night game or because they once bluffed out someone called "SugarBritches69" on PartyPoker.com for a huge $10 pot.

But here's the thing: I absolutely love the fact that these 8,000-some guaranteed losers are there in Vegas and have parted with 10 grand. I see it as a sort of tax on morons. Just think where this can lead if dumb people start willingly giving away thousands of dollars. Consider for a moment what our nation's hopelessly stupid and their discretionary income have wrought.

An endless cycle of Wayans brothers movies.

A vintage T-shirt fad in which the "vintage" T-shirts being sold are really just mass-produced new T-shirts made to look old and then marked up 300 percent.

Taylor Hicks.

The WNBA.

The list is endless, unfortunately. But there is hope.

What I propose in order to make this country of ours livable again is more poker tournaments. Bigger poker tournaments. Poker tournaments with larger buy-ins. Let's get these people separated from their money as quickly and as often as possible. And then, slowly but surely, we can start to rid our society of its unsavory elements.

When the dolts no longer have enough money to buy Taylor Hicks CDs and wear their faux-vintage T-shirts to Wayans brothers movies, the market will force Hicks back to singing in karaoke bars where he belongs, Abercrombie & Fitch will close its doors, and the Wayans brothers will … will … I don't know. Hopefully it will be something painful. (As for the WNBA? Well, unfortunately it will continue to exist as long as David Stern is around. This capital redistribution plan of mine can't really help there.)

So, anyway, please do what you can to promote the growth of high-stakes poker in your community. Or even better, invent new ways for dumb people to voluntary part with large sums of cash. Let the morons slowly give away all of their money until they no longer have any impact on our economy or culture.

It may be the only hope we have of survival.

Headlines …

Keyshawn Johnson secretly ecstatic about Steve Smith's injury

Falcons receiver Finneran felled by a Michael Vick duck striking him in the knee

Report: All American athletes apparently have naturally high testosterone levels … U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Bruce Sutter inducted into Cooperstown before thousands of die-hard Bruce Sutter fans

Source: "I'm going to lie to you about possible trades so you'll print the rumors and mislead our rivals"

Things I Thought I Thought While Hoping Coach K Isn't Forgetting to Arm Team USA for Life …

1. Negotiations between Matt Leinart and the Arizona Cardinals are said to be hopelessly stalled and Cardinals head coach Dennis Green has blamed the impasse on Leinart and his agent. I'm inclined to believe that Leinart is, in fact, to blame in this -- mostly because he sees himself as a far better player than the No. 10 overall pick -- but if I'm the Cardinals, I relent to his demands now before it's too late. I just don't think they know what they're messing with. Remember back in 1989 how U.S. troops blasted awful music outside of where Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was holed up in order to drive him out? Well, what's to say Leinart won't get his buddy Nick Lachey to hold a concert outside Arizona's offices, singing cheesy ballad after cheesy ballad, until the Cardinals give into the quarterback's contract demands? I don't think it's worth the risk. Thirty seconds of hearing "What's Left Of Me" and the Cardinals will find themselves offering Leinart a one-year, $50 million guaranteed contract to make it stop.

2. In Bruce Sutter's Hall of Fame induction speech yesterday he called the whole process "an honor and a humbling experience." I don't get why people say this all the time. What is humbling about being feted as one of the greatest of all time at your profession? I know I wouldn't find getting into the Hall of Fame humbling. In fact, it would be just the opposite. I can imagine it would do quite a lot for my ego. I'd be calling up old acquaintances: "Hey, what did you do today? Oh, yeah? You mowed the lawn? Well I got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame." The only "humbling" going on would be among everyone I came across because they'd find out I'm way better than them and that their life has been a huge failure compared to mine.

3. Perhaps since Sutter isn't the most exciting inductee ever, a lot of the talk yesterday centered on the 2007 candidates and what the voters will do with Mark McGwire. In my opinion -- not that it matters -- McGwire shouldn't get in. But I'm kind of hoping he does get enough votes just to witness his induction speech. I imagine McGwire rising from his chair, striding to the podium, looking out over the crowd and saying: "I'm not here to talk about the past," and then walking off the stage, refusing to accept induction into Cooperstown due to the Hall's stubborn insistence on focusing on the past and not the future.

4. The name that is getting all the focus from yesterday's Yankees-Phillies trade is Bobby Abreu, but I think New York's acquisition of Cory Lidle deserves more attention. By getting Lidle -- a 34-year-old journeyman starter who is 8-7 with a 4.74 ERA this season -- the Yankees have themselves a serviceable fifth starter, which is a huge luxury in today's game. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, by adding Lidle to Randy Johnson, Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon and Sidney Ponson, that now gives the Yankees five -- count 'em, five! -- serviceable No. 5 starters. That's really a luxury in today's game. Sure, sure -- some of their rivals can boast a dominant top of the rotation, but I'll put the Yankees' phalanx of No. 5 starters against anyone else's fifth starter -- because even if you beat one of them, they've got four more they can throw at you. It's a barrage of mediocrity few opponents can handle.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Fantasy Sports Monthly, and has written for The Onion and Cracked.