Know What I Hate? Market this: get your circus off the tarmac so I can see the post parade.

by Merv Oswalt

I always thought marketing was what my wife Bernie does on Saturday mornings when she gets up at the crack of dawn to pick and paw at fresh fruits and vegetables. Apparently not.

I’m told that marketing is the reason why I have to listen to a half-baked stand-up comedian or some blockhead in a cowboy hat do an impersonation of some rattle-and-bang rock band between races nowadays.

If I’ve never heard of the supposedly famous version, how much do you think I want to see the knock-off making a racket? They could have Mel Torme himself and I still wouldn’t want him singing while I’m trying to watch the post parade.

I remember when entertainment at the track was watching the light bulbs flash as the odds changed on the toteboard. That was nice. There was mystery, suspense, intrigue and interactivity — everything you could ask for. I could be entertained for hours.

Now, they play “Let’s Make A Deal” in front of the grandstand all night long and sometimes even rope the poor drivers into the act. I want my driver focused on bringing home my 6-1 shot in the next race, not urging me to pick what’s behind door #2.

A few years back, my racing buddy Carl went to visit his sister Shirley in Indianapolis. He told me, if you can believe it, some redheaded whippersnapper threw Mardi Gras beads at him at the track down there and another guy winked at him. For the love of Christmas, what’s going on here??

My son Robbie says that all this stuff is just trying to ‘grow the game’. I told him, ‘You know what Del Miller did to grow the game? He built a racetrack, that’s what he did.’

“Whatever,” Robbie said, rolling his eyes, as he left to put his name in for the third round of Let’s Make A Deal.

I have no son.