Again with the "Jeopardy!"

On tonight’s “Jeopardy!”, one of the contestants had taken a baseball road trip with his father in which they saw 9 baseball games in 9 cities in 8 days. If I ever get on the show, it’s going to look like I’m copying with my “11 baseball games in 11 cities in 10 days” story. Maybe I’ll just talk about my cat.

Now what am I going to talk about when I’m on the show?

A transcript of Alex Trebek’s interview with a contestant on tonight’s “Jeopardy!”…

Alex: Tim Woodward is a teacher from Salem, New Hampshire. There is, ladies and gentlemen, a fine line between “fan” and “fanatic,” and I suspect that Tim may have crossed over that line with regard to baseball. Tell us.
Tim: Yes, a friend of mine and I had some summer free time, and we decided to see nine baseball games in nine days all across the country. We started in Los Angeles, drove 26 hours to Houston, and then went on from there. Dallas, Wichita, Oklahoma City. Ended in Chic– oh, ended in Detroit after going to Chicago.
Alex: What was the purpose of this?
Tim: To see some baseball.
Alex: How cool. Nine games in nine different cities — you know, you can see nine games in the same city. We have the Angels and the Dodgers here. You could see four or five —
Tim: The Angels were out of town.
Alex: Oh. That explains it. All right.

Their other fan in Los Angeles is a quiz show writer

About a month ago, “Jeopardy!” brought us this nugget of information, and then on Monday, as the $600 clue in a category called We’re No Angels, this came up…

Then, on the Thursday show, the $2,000 clue in Musical Instruments was the following. Not baseball-related, but I know Levi will enjoy it…

(Monday’s clue was correctly answered — or, you know, correctly questioned. The three contestants didn’t even attempt the Thursday one.)

Holy crap! They do exist!

If it’s the subject of a “Jeopardy!” Daily Double (a category called Swimmers, for $600), it must be a legitimate thing to

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name a baseball team after…

Answer given in the comments, if you need it.

Oh, Pat!

I only watch “Jeopardy!” and reruns of “Super Password,” so I depend on the L.A. Times sports section to let me know what’s happening on any other game shows. It seems recently, there was a “Same Name” puzzle on “Wheel of Fortune” that had the solution ULTRAVIOLET AND TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS. After the puzzle was solved, Pat Sajak quipped, “They’re both invisible to the naked eye.”

Come on, Pat — some might say you are the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of game show hosts, having come out of relative obscurity as a local weatherman to host “Wheel of Fortune.” That’s in contrast to Alex Trebek, who represents the New York Yankees in this analogy, having been groomed for greatness back in Canada and having a succession of fairly successful shows, from “High Rollers” to the non-super-sloppy “Double Dare” to the non-Activision “Pitfall,” before getting the “Jeopardy!” gig — and even then, there was a time when he was being seen on three daily game shows at once (“Classic Concentration” and “To Tell the Truth” in addition to “Jeopardy!”), which is like winning the World Series every day or something like that. Hey, I didn’t say this was a perfect analogy.

In the form of a question

“Jeopardy!” is currently in the midst of a gigantic, 3-month-long tournament in which they’ve invited scads of former champions from throughout the 21-year run of the show back to see who gets to play in a special 3-day-long match against Ken Jennings. So on tonight’s show, a 5-time champion from 1989, a 5-time champion from 1995, and the College Tournament champion from 1993 were faced with this Final Jeopardy! clue, in the category Major League Baseball:

“The team names of these 2 expansion clubs start with the same 3 letters; one might catch the other.”

Only the 1989 champion got it correct. (The college champion got one of the two.)

Original comments…

thatbob: Which makes me wonder, when does an “expansion club” just start being thought of as a club? I thought the Mariners were around when I was (broadly) a kid.

Levi: Depends on how broad you were in 1977.

thatbob: For almost all of 1977, I was 2 years broad.

Jim: Given baseball’s love of history, as long as there are people who still remember when the Angels didn’t exist, they’re still an expansion club. (They were the first expansion team in modern baseball, in 1961, along with the team that’s now the Texas Rangers, but then was the Washington Senators, replacing the other Washington Senators, who had moved to Minnesota and become the Twins.)

Rumors and reports of rumors

With Major League Baseball’s trading deadline edging up on us, I am beginning to feel skittish. Talking last night to Dan Rivkin, who will be covering the hoped-for frenzy on Saturday for MLB, I confirmed that he’s heard the same rumors that I’ve heard trickling in all week: Baseball-Related Program Activities 2004 is considering trading me for a player to be named later and the usual “cash considerations.”

I thought it was odd when Jim started talking about reviving No, No, Nanette, but it was only in the last week, when I discovered that Ken Jennings would be taking a break from driving the Jeopardy question writers around the bend, that I began to worry.

I can’t really even blame Jim. Think about it: what do I bring to the trip that Ken Jennings can’t? I’m sure he even knows St. Louis Cardinals history better than I do. Taking me on the trip is like writing Rey Ordonez into the lineup when Alex Rodriguez is available.

But then I remembered my little version of the no-trade clause: I do have the Cardinals tickets. And I bet Ken Jennings’s family doesn’t live within convenient driving distance of Busch Stadium.

Maybe I’ll get to stay on the roster after all.

P.S. One more thought about the deadline. I really dislike that MLB has moved it up to 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. I think it should be the stroke of midnight on the 31st, and that at that moment, Bud Selig’s voice should come over the speaker phones of every general manager: “Time. Put your pencils down.”

Original comments…

Jim: As far as I know, Ken Jennings is unavailable for the trip because “Jeopardy!” is taping shows on August 24th and 25th. But even if he’s lost, you don’t get your “Jeopardy!” winnings check from Sony until after your last air date (and it can be up to 120 days later), so it’s not like he’d be able to spring for, say, rooms in the SkyDome Hotel.

Also, he may be the fun, easy-going type of Mormon, but he’s still a Mormon, and for all I know, he might spend the trip berating me for drinking caffeinated beverages. True, Levi might spend the trip berating me for eating hot dogs, bacon, hot dogs wrapped in bacon, and other meat products, but at least I know how to deal with him — distract him with some sort of reading material, and he’ll be quiet for hours (why do you think I made sure to get all those AAA Tourbooks?). Ken Jennings seems to like movies better than reading, believe it or not, and there won’t be a DVD system in the rental car.

Jason: I would think Ken Jennings would be Jim’s nemesis. (Or is that ‘arch-nemesis’?)

Toby: I say trade Levi for me. I have a press pass.

Toby: …And I eat nothing except meat!

No matter what the question is, the answer’s always "Jeopardy!"

I tried out for “Jeopardy!” today for the third time in three years, and passed the test for the third time, which means you get to play a brief mock version of the game and be grilled by the contestant coordinators. I mentioned this trip, and was asked what city/stadium I was looking forward to the most; I said Boston and Fenway, because I thought it would take too long to explain that I’m looking forward to all the stops for different and varied reasons. Then, when asked what I’d do with the money, I said maybe I’d do an “all 30” trip…but it’s probably a little too early to start planning that one, since they didn’t call me for the 2002-03 season, and they didn’t call me for the 2003-04 season. Perhaps the problem is that they calculate everyone’s expected winnings based on how well they do at the tryout, and I would blow the show’s budget.

Really, what I’d first do with my game show winnings is move to a place big enough to hold a pinball machine without it taking up half the space in the living room. And then I’d get a pinball machine.