Another text message. This time, it said, meet at the base of the Peace Bridge.
It was him. Same trench-coat, same oversized shades, same Braves cap.
"It's starting," he said.
"It?" I asked.
"The movement." Was all he said.
I looked at him, waiting for him to fill in the blanks.
But he didn't. He just stared at me, waiting for my response, as if I was supposed to know what he meant.
"Did you read the Simmons article?" He was referring to an article at ESPN.com, from draft day, telling the Clippers' number one draft pick, Blake Griffin, to run as fast and as far away from LA as they can, to avoid the curse.
"Yeah," I said. "Pretty similar to what you said. The curse of the Indians, jinxing the Braves/Clippers from the moment Paul Snyder started talking about moving to Hollywood, Florida."
"He's on the right track," the man said. "More or less. The Indians might be part of it. It's more than that, though."
He took a puff on a Cuban.
"It's the ghost of the franchise, right?" That's what he'd told me the first time we met. Now that the Aud's come down, the poltergeist has been unleashed. The universe is realigning. Things are happening.
"Exactly. And now the movement has started. It's gone viral."
"God, yes!" He said, his patience visibly waning. "Google it." He said.
"Every Joe in Buffalo is chatting it up on the blogosphere. They're wanting to know how they can buy in."
"It would take every single Joe in Buffalo. And every Jo. And every John, Tom, Dick, Harry, and Byron," I said. The franchise is valued at just under $300 million."
"There are a million people in Greater Buffalo," he said, "give or take. That's just 300 bucks per person."
I laughed. He looked at me as if to say, Don't push it.
"Or three G's from 100,000 people. Or six G's from 50,000, or—"
"I get your drift," I interrupted. He gave me that look again.
"On average," he said.
"Ok, so we find 50,000 people who can and will pay an average of six grand apiece for stock in the Braves. What makes you think Sterling (franchise owner since 1981) is willing to sell?"
"Oh, he'll sell," the man said, with a Tony Soprano sneer.
And with that, the limo door opened and the mystery man disappeared inside. I watched as his ride circled around and up to the ramp at Porter Avenue, heading for the border.
Somehow, I don't know why, but I got the distinct impression that whoever this guy is, he knows what he's talking about. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was already a done deal, and only he knows about it.
Well, time will tell.
This article is second in a series. See part one:
Note: for an extensive set of links to recent videos, articles, & audio clips about Randy Smith and the Buffalo Braves, see Chris and Tim Wendel's blog, Buffalo Nation http://buffalonation.wordpress.com/