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Cracking The Code
Steve Rushin
April 22, 2002
The sports page reveals its deepest secrets only to those who know how and where to look
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April 22, 2002

Cracking The Code

The sports page reveals its deepest secrets only to those who know how and where to look

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Allow eyes to wander to Transactions column, which features its own clubby cryptography: INF recalled from PCL to replace LHP placed on DL. Read this, and understand it, and feel like a World War II code breaker.

Attempt to decipher hieroglyphs in horse-racing form. Endeavor to divine names of horses themselves, all of whom have had vowelectomies to fit the column space. Thus Mrkt Mltdwn is 7-1 in the third race at Aqueduct, and the greatest horse of all time is enciphered as Scrtrt. From your throne, daydream about the Sport of Kings. Decide that if you ever buy a thoroughbred, you will name it Swagger Stick—and follow its progress in the papers as Swggr Stck.

Idly browse advertisements in the back of SPORTS—for strip clubs, Viagra wholesalers, alcohol-abuse counselors, betting hot lines, penile-enlargement surgeons, Las Vegas air charters, adult bookstores, fireworks merchants, ticket scalpers, cut-rate keg rentals and the latest in hair-replacement techniques—and ask yourself: Who, exactly, do these advertisers think I am?

Tear out coupon for cut-rate keg rentals.

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