Cubs fans are used to seeing the wheels fall off. We're used to miscues and misuse. And for those who reveled in the broadcasts of the immortal Harry Caray, we're used to mispronunciations as well. Maybe that's why I felt a familiar mixture of anger, incredulity, and, to be honest, kinship with Julian Batts.
Of course, that could also be due to the fact that I'm a native Hoosier and an IU fan. But let's stick with the Cubs narrative, it plays better. If you want to bypass my breakdown and get straight to the video, it's embedded below. But if you're interested in my snappy repartee then, by all means, read on.
The name might not right a bell, but you have likely seen or heard of the Indiana University student's viral Wheel of Fortune epic fail not too long ago. The young man stumbled not once, not twice, but three separate times in the face of gift-wrapped puzzles. To make matters worse, the prizes on the line in each instance were less than small.
As a matter of fact, Batts had actually landed on the $1,000,000 section of the Wheel, a small sliver wedged in the middle third of a Bankrupt panel. Tasked with simply reading the completely-filled puzzle, the contestant showed that the pronunciation of Greek names is more of a trouble spot for him than is his heel.
Yes, the board was devoid of blanks, reading: MYTHOLOGICAL HERO ACHILLES. Just read the phrase and you win $1MM. That's it. "Mythological Hero Ay-Chill-Us," Batts stated with phonetically-accurate confidence, begetting a pregnant pause from Pat Sajak.
Guh. So the young Aggie co-ed to Batts's left solved the puzzle and won the round, but the game wasn't over. In a subsequent round, the Hoosier actually picked up two halves of a car, which meant that he'd have won a Chevy Sonic for correctly solving "THE WORLD'S FASTEST _A_"
Usain Bolt certainly would have known the correct answer, but Julian Batts, likely flooded with thoughts of his potential prize, slipped on Freud and asked for a "C." Wah-wah. Again, the Texas A&M student beside him was the fortunate recipient of his error.
Because of the pressure of the situation and the fact that he was about to win a car, I can sort of understand this mistake. Even though the "R" was already up on the board, thus eliminating "CAR" as a possibility for the final word. Still, this is a little less egregious than the first one.
But the third and final puzzle Batts goofed up will forever live in infamy and has since spawned a fake word that I plan to use in perpetuity.
Facing a board reading "_N - TH_ - SP_T D_C_S__N," and with a chance for redemption staring him in the face, Julian Batts blurted out "On-the-spot dicespin."
I...I can't...just...huh? That's not a word; it's not even a slang term from Urban Dictionary (yet). I suppose, however, that it could be Greek for "derp." Of course, if that were the case, he'd probably have mispronounced it anyway.
This is like a real-life version of SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy, just without Sean Connery or Turd Ferguson. If only Batts had had the chance to solve "AN ALBUM COVER."
But despite the grammatical gaffes, there is a silver lining to this tale of Wheel woe: Batts actually went on to win the game, proving that there is still hope despite repeated instances of abject failure. Can the Cubs follow the Julian Batts model and emerge victorious from laughingstock status? Sure, why not.
As long as Epstoyer continues to make good dicespins with draft picks and player development and the team's business and baseball efforts dovetail a bit more firmly, there's no reason to believe they won't be able to win. Of course, having that extra million dollars sure would be nice when it comes to free agents and/or the international signing pool.
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Filed under: Pop Culture