Monday, July 31, 2006

Just call me Number 68

In case you missed it, America's Favorite Quiz Show® wrapped its 22nd season of the Alex Trebek Era last Friday. (I realize that most of you are too young to recall the Art Fleming Era. Trust me, the show rocked then, too.)

To celebrate this milestone, one of the participants on the Jeopardy! message boards posted a list of the show's top 137 money-winners, covering the past 22 years of J! champions. Wonder of wonders, there sits yours truly, cozily ensconced at Number 68.

Hmm. If I get bumped downward one more slot, that would really...

Oh, never mind.

Lists of this nature are always deceptive, if one proposes to use them as a benchmark of the relative quality of players over time. For one thing, everyone who's played during the most recent seasons has a leg up on us old-timers, due to the doubling of answer values that occurred a few years ago. Plus, all kind of fluke factors contribute to the size of the point totals. My own position is greatly inflated by my having turned in the performance of my life in the first round of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions last year. (Which makes up only slightly for my having played possibly the most forgettable game in Jeopardy! tournament history in Round Two.)

Were all 137 of us to play Last Jeopardy! Champ Standing, I have no doubt that more than one of the folks beneath me on the list would append my name at the end of the phrase, "I know I'm a better Jeopardy! player than..." Some of them would even be correct in so doing. Strictly on merit, there's no qualitative reason why I should outrank such J! legends as Babu Srinivasan, Doug Lach, or Eddie Timanus, just to pick three names at random.

Indeed, it's only a quirk of luck that I'm located just two slots south of Eugene Finerman, in my never-humble opinion one of the most supremely knowledgeable players in J! history. Eugene knows things that I not only will never know though I live a hundred lifetimes, but that I have no earthly clue how any single human being could know them all in but one.

So go figure.

But I have to admit, as I've noted in this space previously: It's kind of cool to be in the Top 70 of anything.

And when the "anything" is America's Favorite Quiz Show®, that's pretty cool indeed.


2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Eugene Finerman offered these pearls of wisdom...

Dear Michael,

But the supremely knowledgeable Eugene Finerman never could figure the timing of the buzzer.

Besides I would rather be one of the wittiest players on Jeopardy.

Just imagine me competing against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. That would be like a gunfight between Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef and a Jewish Gabby Hayes.


6:53 PM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Finerman vs. Jennings vs. Rutter:

I'll buy THAT for a dollar!

And I thought Gabby Hayes was Jewish. Wasn't "Gabby" short for Gabriel? His family were probably the Hymans or something before Ellis Island.

8:39 PM  

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