by Joe Fortenbaugh
January 07, 02014
If your pitcher has completed five innings of work without surrendering a single hit, you stay as far away from that dude as humanly possible. If your buddy is on the verge of breaking 80 for the first time in his golfing career, you keep your mouth shut and stay out of his way on the greens. And you NEVER, under any circumstance imaginable, make mention of a potential winning sports wager before the clock strikes zero.
Failure to comply with any of these unwritten rules brings the possibility of the dreaded mush into play. And there isn’t one person walking this vast planet who wants to spend the rest of their life coated in mush. Wearing mush is like getting blasted by a skunk, with the key difference being the latter evokes feelings of sympathy while the former conjures nothing less than disgust.
Auburn fan Mark Skiba placed a $100 wager at the Paris sports book in Las Vegas last summer on his beloved Tigers to win the BCS Championship at 500/1 odds, meaning a win on Monday night over the Florida State Seminoles would have resulted in a $50,000 payday.
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell had been tracking Skiba’s chance at a lucrative start to the new year right up until he decided to make himself a part of the story.
With Auburn shutting down Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and in possession of a 21-13 lead entering the fourth quarter, Skiba found himself 15 minutes away from $50,000. Most of us in the Vegas gambling community were well aware of the situation. Hell, this guy was closing in on cashing one of the great futures wagers of all time.
Right up until Rovell decided to put the mush on the situation with a tweet that changed everything.
“Auburn fan @markjskiba is one QUARTER away from collecting $50,000 off his $100 bet,” tweeted Rovell entering the fourth quarter.
In direct violation of the guidelines listed above, Rovell spoke too soon about Skiba’s bet and triggered a fourth quarter in which the Seminoles outscored the Tigers 21-10 en route to a 34-31 come-from-behind victory.
Skiba opted not to hedge his futures bet—which has drawn plenty of criticism in its own right—so he walked away with nothing except for 5,000 new twitter followers thanks to Rovell’s coverage (Update: Skiba placed a small hedge bet and did walk away with something!). To those people bashing Skiba’s decision not to hedge, I say this: It was his bet and he can do with it what he wants. When you’re holding a $50,000 ticket that has the very real possibility of cashing, you can hedge the hell out of it. The guy made a bet and then took a gamble. It was his choice.
As for Rovell, word on the street is that he’s at the track today betting a horse named Kryptonite.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh