Tracy McGrady just got traded from the Orlando Magic. The deal has been in the works for quite some time now, stemming from last year's atrocious 21-61 record and T-Mac's inability to assume the responsibilities of being the team captain. Rather than taking a strong hand in helping the franchise regain its place among the playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference of the NBA, Tracy instead would rather bolt for the Houston Rockets where he can hide behind, under and around the giant known as Yao Ming. Regardless of what we might want to think about The Unfortunate Seven the Magic received in exchange for McGrady, there is little doubt that Orlando got the short end of the stick. So, in my relentless pursuit of making Orlando a better city, I've concocted some non-NBA-related trades that would make The City Beautiful a lot more enjoyable for most.
Walt Disney's Kingdom to Las Vegas in exchange for legalized gambling and prostitution. The first thing Orlando needs is an image makeover. Our fine city is the butt of jokes worldwide because of our association with Mickey, whereas Vegas has been trying unsuccessfully to court families for years now. So they get the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom and we get slots and sluts. We've already got the hotels, it's just a matter of installing casinos inside them. Instead of hordes of pasty Europeans coming here and clogging our roadways, we get Tony Soprano-wannabes who aren't afraid to drop some coin. Personally, I think the Bunny Ranch and Chicken Ranch would look simply divine sandwiching the old Mystery Fun House building off I-Drive. Also, we wouldn't lose Winter Park's favorite son, Carrot Top, for a few weeks out of the year when he goes to play the MGM Grand. Oh, wait ....
Carrot Top to Brooklyn for Andrew "Dice" Clay. Nothing personal, Scotty, it's just that you don't look like a stand-up comedian is supposed to look. When I look at a comedian on stage trying to entertain an audience, I want to see some fat, vulgar loser, not someone with ripped abs and huge biceps. A comedian is someone you're supposed to see staggering out of a strip club at closing time, not jogging down the street in Winter Park with no shirt on. "Dice" needs a fresh start somewhere, and he'll fit in a lot better than the Top with our new image. If I may be so bold, Dice can appear in national TV commercials for Orlando tourism. "Dice says, 'Come to Orlando or your mother's a whore!'"
Gay Days and Light Up Orlando to Key West for Fantasy Fest. This is what is known as a "win-win." Orange Avenue gets shut down to cars for a weekend as drag queens dress up as Britney Spears. Granted, Orlando loses the millions of dollars that Gay Days pumps (sorry) into the local economy, but Fantasy Fest will attract tourists both gay and straight. Plus, it's arguably the best party the Southeast has to offer. If Key West balks at the deal, Orlando will throw in Scott Stapp to sweeten the pot. What good is he without Tremonti and Phillips anyway? Wait, what good was he with them?
Church Street to New Orleans for Bourbon Street. Okay, this one's going to take some serious negotiation to get done. Orlando will likely have to include Tiger Woods, Gatorland Zoo and the St. John's River Bridge (for the Big Easy's inevitable flood). New Orleans has to be sick of those damn college kids drinking and pissing everywhere, and they'll fit right in with Orlando's new image. "Girls Gone Wild" will become a weekly television variety show right here in "Hollywood East."
Lou Pearlman to London for Simon Cowell. Sick and tired of Orlando's association with teen pop stars? Of course you are! We give up Jabba the Majordomo and get the most famous caustic Brit in return. Instead of Pearlman promising to build careers, fulfill dreams and breathe new life into a dying downtown we get a man so bitter that he appears to take delight in deflating the egos of has-beens and never-will-bes. If you're going to infect the world with crappy music, you might as well be crass about it. Orlando certainly has a steady diet of aspiring stars for Simon to chide, cajole and consume. I'm seeing a dinner-theater show that consists of Simon dismembering potential "idols" and serving their organs to ravenous diners. Hell, I'd rather sit through that than Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede!
The Holy Land Experience to Atlanta for Six Flags over Georgia. Think about it: Other than Universal's Islands of Adventure, do we really have any major vomit-inducing roller coasters? And Georgia is possibly the only place that has more Bible-thumpers than Central Florida.
There you have it. While Orlando may not necessarily get the better end of the Tracy McGrady trade (assuming it still goes through), these potential exchanges will ensure our city's prosperity for decades to come. It's time for Orlando to grow up and eschew the bogus "family-friendly" identity it's been attempting to assume for the past 30-odd years. Even with all these roster moves, we're still stuck with a few "Grant Hills," if you will: people or elements that are virtually impossible to unload onto unsuspecting cities. Things like I-4, humidity, mosquitoes and the Family Auto Mart guy are doomed to be associated with Orlando for all eternity. Then again, if we can somehow find a way to bottle that aroma wafting from the Merita Bread Factory....