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Big money ball

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Not a pitch in anger had yet been thrown; not a game that counts played. Yet firmly, irrevocably, and indisputably the entire season's dominant theme and spirit was established the last week of March.

You think you've heard all you want or need to hear about "Moneyball"? Let me tell you, Bunky, that was all about chump change played by losers in a fantasy world. May I introduce you to the real deal from the real world. It's called "Billion Dollar Ball."

And if it's a certified production of the new American pastime, not everyone can play. Nor is it the game your dear daddy introduced you to when you were freckled, nine, and a deep believer in all the pious ballyhoo that has sugar-coated baseball's ills and injustices for a century and a half. Hey, we all have to grow up some day.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers were purchased by the House of Guggenheim from the de-frocked Boston parking-lot mogul, Frank McCourt, for the cool, limpid, and stratospheric sum of $2.15 billion, it was the jock-world equivalent of the "Storming of the Bastille," only this time the winners are not going to be the peasants. This transaction was more than historic. It was revolutionary. Every game played under the sun was substantially affected and every owner became instantly richer. And when that happens the inevitable loser, Old Sport, is "You"!

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