Commentary

Says who?

Updated: November 19, 2012, 3:16 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

Somebody sent along a horse that was supposed to have a chance to win at odds of about 9-1.

The nickname of the person sending the tip horse was about what you would expect from the internet. The sender was anonymous. Who hasn't wished to remain nameless after watching a 9-1 horse run poorly?

About the only things coming across the internet that aren't anonymous are the names of writers, and the names of alleged stars misbehaving.

There's a place for anonymous responding to internet material. Good ideas don't require names. And some people are simply shy.

Not long ago I wrote a couple of newspaper columns about internet dating. Here's what I found out about anonymous names and profiles. People see themselves as being thinner and better looking and much smarter than might actually be the case. Photos placed with the dating services often resemble what could pass for daughters of the women, and not the actual prizes themselves. No women admit to being hopeless drunks. Yet most seem to take pride in being social drinkers. Most women would seem to be gratefully inclined to accept communications from much younger men.

Whereas the profiles of single women looking for love in thin air are written from the heart and are so honest in their desires to meet somebody true and honest, you sometimes sensed sadness in the air, knowing that mostly lunatics are reading about these innermost feelings. Many of the men responding to the women online showed up with anonymous nicknames that turned out to be pretty much the opposite of real life: The fake names suggesting power, strength and wisdom are often used by mousy little characters operating from the corners of cheesy apartments.

People who misuse the joys of anonymity spread anger and hate and would be fired tomorrow if they listed their real names and addresses and phone numbers at the bottoms of their responses.

Have you wondered what happens as a result of personal attacks made anonymously?

Bad news: No matter how mad you get from behind a nickname, nobody gets fired. You don't get anybody's writing job. Most writers only read the good stuff.

Horse players use anonymity better than any internet responders. Nicknames are hopeful and funny, Overdue Lou, Dead Heat Danny.

When somebody anonymous sends along a horse just to be nice, the first thing you have to do is decide whether or not to bet it. Next: Do you even watch the race?

I couldn't have found this one on form. So I bet nothing and watched the anonymous tip win a turf sprint by four and pay $18. The horse popped quickly from an outside post position, got the lead, moved to the rail, and sailed home to emerge victorious by daylight and change.

The anonymous horse player who had emailed this one along going as Super Somebody quickly sent his full name, address, zip and phone numbers evidently in case there was something to share, which there wasn't; because as everybody knows, tipping is easier than wagering.