To make this post I’ve got to make a slightly embarrassing confession. I watch the Shark Tank. For those of you that rightfully and admirably have no idea what that is–it’s a reality show. There are five very wealthy “sharks” (sometimes including Mark Cuban!) and they watch proposals from inventors, small business owners, etc. and decide whether or not to invest in the company. It’s a great opportunity for the people coming on the show, because the exposure alone is worth possible millions for their business, but it’s usually a good opportunity for the “sharks” as well. They, at least in theory, are good business people. They’re in the position of power and they often squeeze sweetheart deals out of the people who actually created the product.
Aside from enjoying the cocky sharks throwing money around, I like watching for the ideas. Some are incredibly good and you know right away the person will be rich with or without the sharks. But some are terrible. The producers usually throw in one bomb a show and the investors tear them to shreds. ”Eighteen hundred in sales! Get out of my sight!” The crazy thing is, the people with the terrible ideas think they’re great ideas. They leave with their held high. I’m not going to give up, they say, and then they go borrow another 20-grand from an unsuspecting relative.
My idea is to unite these people with a passion for horrible ideas with a group of investors who have a track record of making terrible, fortune eroding investments. What class of people are famous for blowing large sums of money? How about athletes? Athletes these days are really the perfect target for fraud. They come into a ton of money in a short period of time, they often don’t have much experience being wealthy or managing any type of wealth, but more than that they all are willing. A lot of these guys want to do the right thing. They want to invest. They want to be smart and secure, but since they don’t really know what they’re doing, they throw money at anyone who says the word, “opportunity.” This is how you hear of guys who made 9 figures in their career ending up broke. Oh you wanted to build a condo complex in some Florida swamp? I can’t believe that didn’t work out.
Now, I know this show sounds a little dark. Watching people lose money–what kind of person am I? Well, the twist is, it’s not an actual show like Shark Tank. It’s more of an intervention. You get the four or five athletes together. You get the people who have sunk their life savings into a horrible idea and you let them in a room together. You watch them negotiate. You watch the terrible decisions be made, but then right before the next Antoine Walker cuts the check you have someone charge out from backstage and stop the transaction. The final step is you sit down the athlete and the person with the horrible idea with a legitimate financial advisor. They tell the athlete to save their money, they tell the contestant to give up hope on his solar-powered dog trimmer and it’s a happy ending for all. I think this is a pretty easy sell.
1. We have a Bryce Harper Debut. The Nats rushed Harper a bit because their LFs were hitting .087. Can’t do much worse than that. Harper looks pretty comfortable in the early going, and Washington’s division lead allows him to come up without huge expectations. He’s just a young guy hitting 7th right now. The Nats could eventually use some help on offense, though. They’re just 5-5 in their last 10 and leaning heavily on that pitching staff. The only sign that Harper is a little wide-eyed? After Matt Kemp’s walk-off homer on Saturday, Harper rattled off Kemp’s stats to the letter. ”He’s hitting .440 with 11 jacks and 24 RBI,” Harper said. Those were his exact numbers. You’ll almost never see a baseball player do that. They might know a guy’s stats, but they’d never ADMIT it. Tough to play it cool when you sound like a Matt Kemp Roto owner in the clubhouse after the game, Bryce.
2. Flyers slipped by the Devils in OT. I was at the Phillies game, so I missed most of the action, but I hear that the Flyers TOTALLY DOMINATED after some initial rust. You can’t keep Briere down in the playoffs. He’s either kicking pucks in illegally, or rifling shots from the point.
3. Derek Rose blew an ACL. This is bad news for Heat-haters like myself, and I suppose the people in Chicago as well. President Obama is probably crushed. It won’t alter the series against the Sixers. The Bulls could play any five guys and cruise, but it seems to really open up the East for the Heat. What Miami did to New York over the weekend was…uncomfortable. I kept waiting for someone on the Knicks roster to say, “No means no.” Elsewhere in the NBA, the Grizz blew a 24 point lead in the 4th quarter. That really shouldn’t be possible.
4. The Redskins were riding high with their selection of RG3 on the opening day of the draft. Then, they took another QB prospect–Kirk Cousins. Now, Cousins is a prospect in relation to RG3 like Miller 64 is a beer in relation to Sierra Nevada. Still, though, I viewed this as Washington controlling their own image. All this positive buzz from Griffin and they just said, “Whoa, whoa whoa. We’re still the Redskins. We’ll still make terrible decisions at the drop of a hat. Know that.” The real test will be for the ‘Skins fan base. If they even think of getting behind Cousins, they should all turn in their pig snouts and dresses.
5. Historic episode for Roger Sterling on Mad Men last night. The veteran ad-man was scuffling a bit this season, feeling a bit like a horse put out to pasture, but one week he’s taking some LSD and the next week he’s the Roger of old. On fire. I won’t ruin it any further, but Roger could be one more black-tie function away from regaining the upper hand in the accounts department.