Sportsman's Park fixtures auction, Cicero, IL, July 8, 2003

Me and the VP KSFC decided to go down to the big Fixtures Auction at Sportsman's Park, and see if there was anything worth bidding on that was in our price range. VP KSFC kind of had his heart set on maybe the finish line pole, or something from the little farm in the infield.

A mighty crowd of maybe 100 hardy souls and looky loos assembled early this morning at the historic Cicero oval, plunked down their $500 bidders' deposits, and spread out through the empty cavern, doing one final inspection. This was actually kind of cool, as we got to poke through parts of the building we'd never visited before, like the jock's room, and the snooty sections of the clubhouse.

The auction itself was supposed to start at 10:00. It was a bit late. When things did start, the auctioneer guy announced to all that the City of Cicero had made a bid of $300,000 (something like that, anyhow) for the entire mess of all lots, and now everyone would have a few minutes to decide if they wanted to bid $350,000.

Much grumbling and unhappiness erupted, especially among those who had come a great distance for this auction, and many excited cell phone calls to distant moneybags partners ensued. Local TV stations NBC 5 and CLTV filmed the event, at least 3/4 of the crowd filed out and collected their deposits back, and various Sportsman's officials conversed in low and confidential tones. Trainers Frank Kirby, Joe Kasperksi, and Michelle Boyce completed a gala scene.

Finally at 11:00 the auctioneer came back up and asked if anyone wanted to bid $350,000, which no one did, so the entire contents of the place was sold to the City of Cicero. What they intend to do with it I have no idea. Perhaps a giant bonfire and weenie roast. Was the fix in on this all along? Only the Cicero mob knows for sure.

I remarked to the VP KSFC that I half expected Charlie Bidwell III to get up in front of what was left of the crowd and announce, "Well folks, the live event is over, BUT THERE'S GREAT SIMULCASTING ACTION RIGHT NEXT DOOR!". However, he disappointed us in that regard.

That didn't stop us, though. A very bad morning of auction was made whole by a fun afternoon of playing hosses from places like Delaware, Philly, and Fairmount ... over at the Hawthorne simulcasts.

Hasta la vista, Sportsman's Park.