The Breakdown: When ‘dogs’ fly |

The Breakdown: When ‘dogs’ fly

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans

Working in journalism, you really come to appreciate the art of good headline writing. After all, if you don’t throw something good above a story, people might not read your work.

Mainly, a good headline is supposed to do two things: grab the readers attention and give them an idea of what the story is about.

For instance, the headline I put at the top of this column does that. I mean, if you’ve gotten this far into reading the story, I at least got the first part down, right?

As for the second part, well, we’ll get to that.

You see, another aspect of working in journalism is following stories that come through on our Associated Press feed, which gives live updates from the world of sports.

That’s where I found this doozy: “Fan claims injury by hot dog.”

Pretty catchy, huh?

So, the story goes like this: A guy attending a Kansas City Royals’ game is seeking more than $25,000 in damages after allegedly being injured in the stands by – you guessed it – a hot dog. According to fan John Coomer this was all part of a malicious act from the Royals’ mascot, Sluggerrr, who, unbeknownst to Coomer, decided to toss free hot dogs into the stands for the fans that actually paid money to watch the Royals play. Now, our particular fan must have been so transfixed by the incredible play of his last-place team that he didn’t see the foil-wrapped projectile coming his way – that is, until the wayward wiener whacked him square in the eye. Coomer claims the dog detached his retina and that he’s now developing cataracts because of it.

Now, I bring all this up for two reasons.

The first is obviously that this headline and story – apart from the alleged injury, of course

– are pretty friggin’ hilarious, and I just wanted to make sure everyone knew about all of it.

The second is that this all helps shed light on one of the great things about sports. And, no, I’m not referring to getting pelted with food by mascots with ridiculously bad names. (Really, why does Sluggerrr – a lion with a crown for the top of his head – have to have three r’s in his name?)

What I’m talking about here is the anything-can-happen-on-any-given-night scenario that comes with the purchase of tickets to a game. Or even just watching them on the tube.

That night in Kansas City, our buddy Coomer could have left the ballpark having seen a walk-off grand slam or a no-hitter or even someone hitting for the cycle. Instead, he simply left seeing double and eating a cold dog off the ground.

Sometimes things go well; sometimes they don’t.

Either way, though, it’s that unpredictability (and, yes, I’m pretty sure I made that word up) that keeps us interested.

Think of the Olympics this week. Would we have watched the men’s giant slalom alpine race had we known Bode Miller was going to go off course? Whoops, bad example; none of it is shown live, so we did do that. Ignore that I wrote that.

Well, how about the Canada-U.S. men’s hockey game? Yeah, that’s better. If the game went exactly how it was “supposed to,” how many of us would have tuned in to watch the Canucks win, rather than American goalie Ryan Miller stand on his head to shut down the home team in a U.S. upset?

(Tangent: Can people on TV please stop referencing the “Miracle on Ice” game when discussing this win for the U.S.? It isn’t even remotely close to the same scenario, and the game, by and large, meant pretty much nothing. Leave Mike Eruzione out of this.)

Really, the excitement of sports comes from not knowing what’s going to happen.

Even if it’s as simple as reading one of those nicely executed headlines the next day, it’s just good to be shocked once in a while.

Just watch out for the flying dogs.

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