Joe Lavin

June 2006

From Boston Sports Review

Start Scratching

Only in Boston would there be a lottery game, where the million-dollar prize is second to baseball tickets. But that's the case with the Massachusetts Lottery's new Red Sox Instant Ticket game, whose grand prize is a pair of Red Sox season tickets for life. It's a great deal, although the Mass. Lottery would like to point out that it is not responsible for any costs incurred from the lifetime purchases of hot dogs, watered-down beer, soda, peanuts, pretzels, bottled water, Wally paraphernalia, other souvenirs, and parking while using your free tickets for life. Part of me hopes I don't win because I'm not sure I can afford free lifetime season tickets at Fenway.

Judging from the $6.5 million in sales during the first three days of the game, others clearly are hoping to win. However, if you don't win tickets for life, don't fret. There's always the chance to win the million-dollar prize instead. This means that for the first time ever someone will actually utter the phrase "Damnit, I won this stupid million dollars" when they miss out on the chance for the season tickets.

Each Red Sox Instant Ticket costs five dollars, which marks the first time in several years that "Red Sox," "ticket," and "five dollars" have been featured in the same sentence. Still, it might just be worth the five bucks. Even if you don't win big, there are tons of fun baseball-related prizes that are sure to please, including:

A free haircut by a member of the Red Sox. How would you like to get a Wild Thing Mohawk just like Jonathan Papelbon had? Or how about Manny's blond dreadlocks? You could even go for the retro unkempt Johnny Damon look from last year. Let's face it. Members of the Red Sox are known for their unique hair styling skills, and now thanks to the Mass. Lottery, you can put their skills to work on your hair, or whatever's left of it. Just as Jonathan Papelbon somehow ended up with a Mohawk after winning a bet with Kevin Youkilis, your winning scratch ticket could turn into a haircut that no one will ever forget.

Throw out the first pitch at Fenway. But, wait, there's more! Stick around, because you'll also become a full-fledged member of the Red Sox bullpen for a night. You'll never boo the Sox in quite the same way after you've had the chance to blow a save in front of 35,000 at Fenway.

Get your checkbook balanced by Bill James. He's the mathematical wizard behind many of the Red Sox's best moves. Now, we'll put him to work on your checkbook to figure out exactly what the hell is going on there. If Bill James can't get your checkbook in shape, then nobody can.

Ladies, win a date with Theo Epstein! Note that the Mass. Lottery cannot guarantee that Theo will know about the date ahead of time, but they will be happy to stalk him and provide you with his exact whereabouts. The rest is up to you. Unfortunately, men who just want to meet with Theo in order to discuss their trade ideas are not eligible for this offer, no matter how interesting those trade ideas might be.

Worried about your fastball? Worry no more with free Tommy John surgery for ten lucky winners. In just twelve months time, you'll be throwing high heat to batters everywhere. Or at least in the upper fifties.

A trip to the ballpark with Pete Rose. Now that the Mass. Lottery has helped teach you the basics of gambling at the ballpark with the Red Sox Instant Ticket, let Pete Rose show you the finer nuances.

And, finally, a visit to your place of employment by none other than Wally The Green Monster. There's nothing quite as exciting as a visit from Wally -- at least before you realize it's just some sweaty guy in a foam costume. Still, thanks to the Mass. Lottery, Wally will be all yours for a day. Get your cubicles ready, because for eight hours, Wally will be temping for you. His typing skills aren't so hot, but he more than makes up for it with personality.

©2006 Joe Lavin
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