August 24, 2007

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

Jose Tomas’ TJ Performance May be Cancelled Over $$

The aficionados were ecstatic when it was announced that Spain’s José Tomás, who many consider to be the most artistic torero in the world, would soon perform in Tijuana.

But, those hopes may turn to disillusionment. According to usually reliable sources, the issue is money. It was initially agreed that Tomás would perform for $50,000. In further negotiations, that figure became $70,000, with no guarantee that an even higher pay day would be demanded by the matador’s administrators, before a formal contract could be signed. As a result, the Hurtado brothers, owners of “The Beautiful Bullring by The Sea,” reportedly threw in the towel and decided that Tijuana could get along quite well, without Tomás.

So, the question remains. Will José Tomás perform in Tijuana? Will he not? Nobody seems to have a definitive answer.

A WHACKY IDEA

When you’ve been around the bullfight world a while, you’re likely to hear all kinds of ideas concerning toreo, rules and regulations, and other notions, all designed to make bullfighting even more profitable and, of greater importance, more acceptable to non-aficionados.

But, there is now a movement, designed to make wagering part of the scene.

Bettors would place their money on which matador will be awarded the greatest number of ears.

You’d better re-read the above paragraph, for it’s such a cockamamie idea that it might actually come to pass.

First of all, the granting of ears is totally subjective and is prone to fraud, not the least of which could be the bribery of plaza judges.

Second, the number of ears awarded an individual matador does not necessarily reflect that he was the best torero of the day. Another matador may have performed much better, but for a variety of reasons, was not rewarded in kind. His bulls may have been tougher and his work may have had greater technical merit that went over the heads of the hedonists in the stands. But, he cut only one ear, while some nondescript tremendista won two ears for a kamikaze performance, complete with lots of tossings. The “winner”, of course, would be the tremendista.

The entire situation reeks of an attempt to “reform” bullfighting, by making it more acceptable to the masses, and in so doing, bringing it closer to being a competitive sport, rather than a performing art. Anything for a buck.

There is only one way that wagering on bullfights might work, and that would be to remove the matadores from the equation and make bullfighting a combat between two bovines. It would be messy, for sure, and it would certainly tweak the senses of the animal rightists, but who cares, if it makes money for the promoters?

There has to be somebody out there, perhaps an NFL quarterback, who would be willing to back such a venture.

In the meantime, genuine aficionados will just have to sit back and wonder who is going to come up with the next idiotic idea, and if some greedy empresario will be willing to give it a go.

Such would certainly lay to rest the dispute over how much money José Tomás will be paid for an afternoon of work.

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