I laughed when I read the Hong Kong horse racing track story. From the New York Times:
HONG KONG, March 26 — It was a device worthy of Rube Goldberg, or perhaps Wile E. Coyote. A remote-controlled mechanism with a dozen launching tubes was found buried in the turf at Hong Kong’s most famous horse racing track last week; it was rigged with compressed air to fire tiny, liquid-filled darts into the bellies of horses at the starting gate.
It’s proof that in order to get humor in front of reality, you need to be pretty ludicrous. In the Cheater’s Guide to Baseball, I lay out a way teams could bury devices in the basepaths to gain an advantage, but I never even considered using darts to dope up or poison players as they took a lead at first (or for that matter, you could set them up in any position and wait until they came out to field at the top of an inning, before the cameras get on them).
I would have thought that using darts was so far beyond the pale that they’d never warrant serious consideration. Maybe this is a good argument against allowing widespread sports betting after all — it does seem likely that the vast sums of money involved in Hong Kong horse racing made this lucrative enough to attempt.
Still, I had this mental image of a guy taking a two-step lead at first, frowning – did I feel something? – yawning, and then laying down for a quick nap while the first baseman tagged him out.