Technically there were just four basketball games played today at Portland's Rose Garden, with the most pressing, of course, being the afternoon battle in which the Washington Huskies men's contingent earned a 71-58 first-round victory against Mississippi State.
For many, though, the main action took place outside Paul Allen's sports palace. Buyers and sellers of every description carried out the ticket-exchange ritual. No one did better than this observer and companion. Driving to Portland on the eve of the U-Dub's latest journey to the NCAA March Madness tournament, I was alerted by text message from my host, who lives in my natal Portland. Seems a buddy of his had a pair of primo seats (eight rows up, center court), for which he wanted $55: for both. Let's see, $27.50 each for seats that were scalping for several hundred?
Pulling over so that I could legally and promptly respond in the affirmative, I asked, Why such a deal? Answer: The owner of the tickets bought the entire four-day slate, but all he really wanted to see was Gonzaga playing later in the day.
And, why the disregard for ticket-value compensation? Because the seller, according to my sources, is a multi-millionare, and he isn't even a former exec for AIG. A couple of years ago the man went out for a quart of milk at a convenience store in another state, spending the change on lottery tickets. A few days later he learned that he'd won several million dollars.
Thanks to me, he's got another $55 bucks.