Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Saturday, March 6, 2010
Updated: April 7, 9:44 AM ET
From The Vault: Hunter S. Thompson

By Greg Hardy
Special to Page 2

Since the 1960s, Hunter S. Thompson made his bones by writing about Fear and Loathing when it comes to politics, motorcycle gangs, guns and Las Vegas. But since he joined Page 2 in 2000, writing about sports is what really got his veins throbbing.

Here's a sampling from the Page 2 Vault:

"Wild Days at the Sports Desk" (June 11, 2001)
It will come as no surprise to anybody who has ever had to work for a living when I say that there are Fast days and slow days in Every business. It is a Universal Truth that only a certified Moron would deny -- not even the Filthy Rich who have never worked a day in their lives and still believe in Santa Claus, if only because they can afford to think that way.

Not even professional Journalists can deny a thing like that with a straight face. It is an open secret on any newspaper that the Sports Desk will see more Action, on any given day, than any other Desk will see in a month. ... That is why Sportswriters are almost always the lowest-paid people on Newspaper staffs: They are charter members of the Too-Much Fun Club, and they like it that way.


Leave it to adrenaline junkie Thompson to rewrite the rules of baseball ... where the pitcher is removed in favor of a remote-controlled robotic arm, and the final score of a three-hour game can swell to 88-55 ... let's hope the Cracker Jack will remain safe:

"Baseball has become unruly" (November 6, 2000)
Hi, folks. My name is Thompson, and I don't have much space for this high-speed presentation, so let's get started and see how tight we can make it. My job is to devise a whole new set of rules and concepts to shorten the time it takes to play a game of Major League BASEBALL, or any other kind.

Everybody agrees that Baseball games Must be shortened, but nobody is really Working on it. ... And meanwhile, the games get longer and longer. The good old "meat in the seats" argument won't work after midnight, when the seats are mainly Empty, and TV networks get nasty when they start having to refund money to advertisers when the ratings sink lower and lower. Pro wrestling and golf are bigger draws than baseball games. ... I have not been to a live baseball game in 20 years, and I hope I Never see another one. Not even the New Rules would drag me back to the Ballpark -- but I am a Doctor of Wisdom, a professional man, and some of my friends in the Business have asked me to have a look at this problem, which I have, and this is my solution, for good or ill.


It's hard enough for any NFL fan to deal with Super Bowl withdrawal. Need a diversion, any diversion ... how about America's Cup sailing? At at least until Kentucky is ready for March Madness.

"Billionaire swine and Kiwi catastrophe" (Feb. 29, 2003)
The Super Bowl happened less than three weeks ago, but to football junkies like me, it feels like 22 years. I have blocked it out of my memory now, although on some nights I have agonizing flashbacks that cause me to sweat and babble in my sleep, as if a roach had crawled into my spleen to die.

These moments of total recall always leave me weak. I see Rich Gannon hurling air-balls up for grabs, staggering backwards in the grip of huge speedy brutes -- rangy 300-pound sprinters who run 40 yards in 40 seconds and love to hurt people, especially MVP quarterbacks.


As a Kentucky native, HST knows his horse racing ... and knows enough about the dark side of sports when it comes to betting on a horse when a Triple Crown is on the line.

"Thoroughbred conspiracy theory" (June 10, 2003)
We were just settling in for a frenzy of high-dollar horse-racing on Saturday, when the Sheriff was called away by news of a massive jailbreak in downtown Aspen. At least two dangerous Rapists had slithered out of Jail and were said to be heading our way. It was hideous news, but we paid no attention to it and continued to gamble feverishly&.

The Belmont was about to start, and a great roar of applause went up as Funny Cide appeared. He was the home-town hero, heavily favored to win easily. After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, he had become a national hero from coast to coast. Funny Cide was "the people's favorite," they said. He represented "the little guy, the beer-drunk brute from Brooklyn who might run amok and kill his own children, if Funny Cide lost" -- which seemed to be almost impossible. In New York City, they seriously believed he was a Sure Thing.


The Good Doctor sizes up the upcoming 2003 NBA Finals ... and preaches that a team with injuries is doomed when it comes to NBA playoff runs. Especially if those injuries come courtesy of a speeding Hummer in a dark parking garage:

"Killed by a speeding Hummer" (June 2, 2003)
Not everybody is happy with the NBA championship being decided in a showdown between New Jersey and San Antonio. It looks a little weak, for some reason. Or maybe it's just me, and these really are the two best basketball teams in the world.

Some people will tell you that surviving the NBA playoffs is the most difficult feat in Sports, and I think they are right. Surviving the NFL playoffs is like watering your lawn, compared to the stark brutality of playing 28 savage basketball games in five weeks. It would be like playing in the Super Bowl without your all-pro running back, or the Stanley Cup finals with a 15 year-old substitute goalie.

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.


Back to Page 2


• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen