The Dash For Cash
[Editor's note: Several local runners were anticipating January and February 2000 meets on Penn State's new indoor track. Someone suggested a one-mile match race. Predictions were made, odds were proposed, and one thing led to another....]
March 12, 2000. Marvin "Big Jule" Hall, who for years posed as a forage management professor at Penn State, was today exposed as the alleged kingpin in a bizarre betting and race-fixing scandal that has rocked the quiet community of State College, Pennsylvania. John Dowd, former head of security for major league baseball who was called in to lead this investigation, said that Hall had created a convincing false identity as a researcher specializing in cornfields. "Mr. Hall had everyone fooled," according to Dowd. "He even managed to get tenure and USDA funding" while masterminding his bookmaking operation.
The investigation continues to unfold, but other key figures known to be under scrutiny include Thomas "Cartel" Cali, a frequent winner of age-group running awards with a taste for fine foreign cars, and Martin "Press" Mazur, hardbitten local running scribe. In a surprising development, Cali and Mazur's high-profile attorney Tony De Boef announced he has hired former baseball star Pete Rose as a consultant to the defense team. This fuels suspicion that, in addition to other charges, the pair may face suspension from the Nittany Valley running hall of fame and pizza place.
March 15. John Dowd, lead investigator in the State College, PA race-fixing case, has announced that several local runners initially implicated in the scandal have been cleared. While Marvin Hall, Thomas Cali, and Martin Mazur are still suspects, "We believed some other individuals were deliberately losing races," said Dowd. "But our best evidence at this point suggests that they are innocent. FBI forensics experts tell us that these runners are just incredibly slow."
March 22. Developments continue in the weird dash-for-cash story in State College, PA. Movie mogul Oliver Stone announced that he has purchased film rights from one of the pivotal figures in the scandal, gambler Marvin "Big Jule" Hall. The sports-crime flick is tentatively titled Blood on the Track, and will star James Woods as Hall, with Salma Hayek as Jenny Zilberberg, Therese Brown as Sandy Gregorich, Virginia Smith as Rachel Smith, and Rachel Smith as Virginia Smith.
March 30. In a joint press conference with attorney Big Tony De Boef, Thomas "Cartel" Cali has categorically denied any wrongdoing. Cali states that he has been misunderstood and his comments taken out of context. De Boef notes, "Mr. Cali would like to thank all of his teammates and credit any of his success to all those who support him." Cali added, "I'm just a businessman."
April 4. Alleged race-fixing co-conspirators Cartel Cali and Press Mazur announced in a press conference today that they are negotiating a film deal with Peter and Bobby Farelly. Mazur said, "Tom and I greatly respect and admire the Farelly brothers' oeuvre." Cali then entertained assembled reporters with bits from the stuck-zipper and hair gel scenes in There's Something About Mary.
April 14. Investigative reporters Morgan Wasikonis and Mike Casper, who originally broke the Pennsylvania run-for-the-money story, have spurned Hollywood money to strike a lucrative publishing deal. However, Wasikonis and Casper are said to be unhappy with the Runner's World working title, "Run Your Best Marathon Ever."
April 16. In the latest twist on a scandal that has exposed the seamy underbelly of recreational running, AT&T, Pepsi-Cola, Barnes and Noble, Microsoft, and Nike have paid to ensure that their names and corporate images will be "forever and in perpetuity" disassociated from any and all uses by the Nittany Valley Track Club. NVTC treasurer Dave Eggler negotiated the unique stealth sponsorship deal, but he refuses to reveal how much money is involved or how it will be used. NVTC insiders Amy Paster and Robert Crowe disavow knowledge of the deal.
April 18. Penn State spokesman Bill Smith today announced that professor David H. Eggler has retired unexpectedly. Eggler has relocated to his newly purchased beachfront villa on the Caribbean island of Martinique.
April 25. In the wake of wall-to-wall media coverage of recreational running and intrigue in central Pennsylvania, clean-cut Penn State administrator and marathoner Kenneth G. Forstmeier has emerged as a popular commentator on the sleazy sports-crime imbroglio.
The handsome, articulate Long Island native first came to national attention during a Wolf Blitzer CNN interview, but his wholesome appeal immediately struck a chord with viewers. He soon appeared on all the major network morning shows, as well as Fox News, ESPN, MTV, and the Family Channel.
April 29. Previously sealed records from the National Science Foundation reveal that dash-for-cash personality Kenneth G. Forstmeier and wife Elizabeth, who have five sons, are the so-called "Boys Town" parents, purportedly capable of producing male offspring on demand.
Alleged bookmaker Marvin "Big Jule" Hall claims, "Five boys in a row? That's 32 to 1 against. I don't know how, but they've got a fix in." However, in an interview on last night's Larry King Live, Forstmeier shrugged off the Boys Town phenomenon, saying, "Gosh, there's no secret. Golly, Larry, do you think it could it be all that marathon training? Gee willickers."
A CBS made-for-television movie based on the Boys Town story is in production; The Stud will air during fall sweeps. The film will star real-life couple Jim and Liz Kisenwether as the parents, with David Boger as pediatrician Quinn Huxtable, Ron Cunfer as Uncle Ron, and Gerry Glyde as the kindly grandfather. Spike, a shadowy figure from a government-funded lab, will be played by Bob Jones.
May 3. In the convoluted Pennsylvania run-for-money scandal, speculation continues about the identity of "Deep Lungs," who provided reporters Wasikonis and Casper with crucial early leads.
Former baseball star Pete Rose, consultant to the defense team, allegedly sparked rumors about "Deep Lungs" at a sports bar early Tuesday morning. Bartender Nick Harris claims that Rose said, "Wanna bet it's that Frederick what's his name? The thin guy. C'mon, how much?" Customers Paul E. Bolin, Charles P. Phillips, Jr., and Randy Jepson also heard Rose's comments.
Rose was apparently referring to Boalsburg, Pennsylvania resident Gregory L. Fredericks, age 49. Fredericks has refused comment, except to politely decline Rose's offer to autograph his running shorts for $50.
May 11. Jim "Swifty" Moore and Jim "Swifty" Myers of super-agency JM2 announced today that Bob Cornwall will appear in the run-for-the-money pic Blood on the Track in the part of Mike Tyson. Cornwall, who has never boxed, admits, "this role may be a stretch."