The Florida Marlins. Man. What a June. A streak of 19 losses in 20 games, an entire starting lineup batting below .280 for the month, a drop to dead last in the majors for runs scored. Oh, and the manager was replaced by a guy who was getting senior citizen discounts in the early '80s.
We don't have anything against him and certainly don't wish him ill, but it's enough to get a body thinkin'... What are the odds the cigar-smoking octogenarian will even survive until the end of the season?
We called the sports bookie at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon -- if anyone would let us bet on someone dying, it would be "the wildest hotel and casino in Las Vegas," right? The bookie was not particularly happy with our inquiry. "No, sir... no one's going to take a wager on that, no," he said. Maybe next time 'round the trail, Bill. I'll be hitchin' up my... oh, nevermind.
Then we rang Andrew, an oddsmaker at a prominent Las Vegas firm, who originally said he couldn't help because "somebody [in the front office] has independent control over what happens."
No, Andrew, not will he survive with the team. It's will he survive with a heartbeat.
It was at that point Andrew asked us not to use the name of his company.
"I couldn't, to be honest with you... I couldn't even start to... " he said. "I guess we could do something."
Though he couldn't actually run the numbers for us, he said everything is based on mathematical models. "The numbers kind of depict themselves," he said, adding that, were he inclined to calculate such odds, he'd look at factors that affect life expectancy and extrapolate from there.
"Maybe he's outlived his life expectancy as it is," Andrew said. "Maybe baseball keeps his ticker going... I think [college football coach] Joe Paterno passes away the second he leaves Penn State."
We were getting closer -- a Vegas oddsmaker seemed to think McKeon's old, crusty heart could hold out until October, but he didn't offer anything conclusive. To finally settle the issue, we called Coconut Grove psychic Sandra Richardson, who said she was reluctant to deal with issues of life and death, but then enthusiastically dealt with issues of life and death.
"That's an interesting question," she said. The line went quiet. "Hmm. McKeon, right? And you said he's 80? Hmm. Give me just a moment." She muttered something about verification. Breaths were heavily taken. Cards were flipped.
"In all honesty, in just looking at the cards and stuff, I'm not seeing the death energies, quote-unquote," she said. "I just see a lot of frustrations and stuff."
OK! We've got a manager until the end of the season, though we never did get to put any money on it. Now, the real question -- do the Marlins give a contract to a guy who doesn't buy green bananas?