There may have been a better title for this, but I’m not going to spend a crap-ton of time mulling that over. I’m not a headline writer nor do I have one at my disposal.
Do I think my kids hate sports? Hate is such a strong word, but I’m sure they do not appreciate them like I do. In fact, I’m not sure within the past 30 or so years of two wives, two different families and my own family anyone likes sports as much as I do. I spent a considerable amount of time watching football by myself at various Thanksgivings. Of course, my first marriage was into a family of scholars and scientists and for Thanksgiving they brought out flow charts and graphs about their latest work (I’m not kidding). Brilliant people, but criminy it’s Thanksgiving. As such, the TV became my friend… but not the Lions, never the Lions.
Okay, the only person who ever had the same zeal for sports that I have was my father. That’s where I got it from. Whatever team I wanted to win; he’d want the other. That was the nature of our relationship. He was certainly athletic, one of those multi-sport high school stars who ran roughshod over his opponents. He was good. Country good as he grew up on a farm, but not Jerry Sloan country good. That’s a far higher level.
Back to my kids. They were treated to a ton of games as they grew up. I was in advertising, and one of my clients for five years was WSCR The Score. So yeah, we went to a lot of games. While my fandom was certainly sated, I think I completely overwhelmed them.
But they played sports. Not as much as I did. I had something to prove – that I could beat my dad in basketball. Even though baseball was my favorite sport, it’s too hard to beat another individual at it and frankly he was a better hitter than I. No, I picked basketball. It took a lot of effort, and finally when I was 14 or so I beat him at HORSE. I know it hurt him as he was not the best at sportsmanship. Pretty sure he accused me of cheating. But that was normal. Accusations of cheating caused us to stop playing cards and board games when I was growing up. I was 9 when we stopped.
It’s spring training and all the teams are out there getting prepped for the six months of regular season ahead of them. Baseball, since its season is so long, is a weird sport and team fortunes can change pretty quickly. However, I am not going out on a very long limb by stating this could possibly be the most lopsided season we’ve seen for a long time. The disparity between awesomeness and sorry-ass, to me, has never been wider.
For some teams the season will be far longer than they want. As such let’s start in reverse, like a spinning bunt that hits fair but slowly trickles right over the foul line to ultimately just be a strike… or in these collective teams’ cases, an out.
The ‘Keep your Bats in the Rack” Group
Colorado Rockies – they traded their best player, Nolan Arenado, to the Cardinals for a sack of seeds that no matter good the soil is and how carefully they water, will never germinate to anything of substance. They will be so bad that if California slides into the ocean, the Rockies still won’t win the NL West. They’re destined to be bad for a minimum of 5 years. Are there other teams worse than the Rockies? I believe yes, at least two.
I probably should have divided up like periods and done thirds, but as promised I waited until the Avalanche reached game 12, aka 25%ish, to file a report on how the NHL season is going. Twelve games. The season started in early January so my math would have the Avalanche playing game 12 on February 4th. Nope – make that February 14th.
Why the delay? COVID. Five games postponed. I guess since they played Game 12 on Valentine’s Day COVID now stands for Colorado Valentine’s Isolation Day.
On another aspect, isolation made sense. The morning temperature on V-Day was a whopping -6˚F at my place. Deep freeze people, deep freeze. COVID has thrown the whole schedule into a blizzard. I wish it were a Dairy Queen one which actually sounds kind of good and my local DQ stays open until midnight and is the size of a Culver’s which is crazy, but alas that is a negative. How is the schedule playing out you ask? Bwa, Ha and Ha. The Vancouver Canucks have played 18 games, the Avalanche 12. The New Jersey Devils? 9.
If you’re like me and you wait until the dust has settled before deep-diving into prop bets for the Super Bowl, you my friend are in luck. I have discovered some choice prop bets for Super Sunday and will simply give you the winners. All you have to do is donate some of your winnings, let’s call it a bet-tithing, to your favorite comic so they can do something positive with it. Me? I’ll be donating to Matt Drufke. Why? Because he’s a good guy and I know any money given to him will be going for something noble. Perhaps a college fund for his boys. Maybe a new re-fill for his waterbed. Or he could just blow it on a fur-lined mic.
As for the game, it’s the Chiefs vs the Buccaneers. In spite of their victory last year and their refusal to change their name or stop that insipid tomahawk chop, I will be very reluctantly rooting for them. It’s not the Buccaneers team as a whole that’s so disturbing, in fact I’d love the see former Bronco Shaq Barrett dismantle the QB machine known as Mahomey. It’s Brady. Tom Brady has been in nearly 25% of all Super Bowls. His teams are 6-3. That’s enough. He needs to lose and lose badly. I don’t bet on the game itself. It ruins the enjoyment of it for me. Therefore, I think I’ll hit the prop (proposition or ‘side’ bet) bets. Let’s take a quick look at a few of them now.
How Many Commercials will have a dog in them? This is an over-under bet and sits at 4.5. Since a half-dog is pretty much impossible let alone gross, take the over. Biden is in office now so dogs are front page news.
Will there be a COVID vaccine commercial? A ‘no’ means you need to bet 160 to win a 100. However, it’s likely there will not be one specifically about the actual vaccine.
Super Bowl Gatorade shower color? No, it’s not a weird new shower product, it’s about what color the liquid is when it’s poured onto the winning coach. Since the Chiefs will win, I’d go with red/pink. It’s at +300, so $100 wins you $300.
Total TD passes by Mahomes? The over-under is set at 2.5. Over means you need to drop 150 to win a 100. I’d do that.
Apparently the Zambonis have all been finally fixed and are able to smooth the ice so the NHL can begin their season January 13th. Luckily the 13th is not a Friday, but it may as well be. Yeah I know, it’s not the Zambonis’ fault they haven’t started the season. It was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s fault. Fine, it was COVID… or how best to navigate COVID. But, Bettman is such an awful commissioner he’s always the person to point at for NHL problems.
Last year, as you may recall it since the season just ended in the middle of September, the Tampa Bay Lightning took home Lord Stanley’s Cup. It’s so 2020 to have a team that never has any ice outside of its arena claim the Cup.
Yeah, I know. That was so last Fall. So who’s going to hoist the Cup this year… whenever the season ends given the specter of COVID? The season is slated for 56 games, roughly 2/3rds of a normal season. But for the NHL, 56 games is enough to determine who should make the playoffs and who shouldn’t since nearly every team makes the playoffs anyway. A full 16 out of 31 teams make the playoffs. Next year it’ll be a full 50% as the Seattle Kraken are coming. Damn it I love that name.
A side note: before we get into the deep chasms of ice and hand out predictions easier than a dirty carny hands out tainted sno-cones, we have a couple rule changes to go over.
Number 1 – Offsides is now determined to not occur until the offensive players last skate completely crosses the blue line. Ergo, if a skater’s foot is in the air, but still behind or above the line when the puck completely crosses the blue line, he is onside. I am dubbing this the “phantom foot” as I can envision a lot of extended time being allotted while the NHL replay monitors in Toronto spend minutes drinking Labatt’s and deciding if the foot was or wasn’t over as it hovers in frozen time threatening to cross it.
Number 2 – the Colorado Avalanche are allowed to play with an extra attacker the entire season.
Fine, the second one doesn’t exist. It should though. It’s only fair as their goalie situation is still as shaky as spring pond hockey. That’s the reason why they didn’t make it to the final and soundly whip that team from the south. Should I go on with my predictions? Isn’t that enough?
If one were to ask me, I’d say I am a casual fan of many teams – if one were to define ‘casual’ as being one who has at least enough in their tool belt of fandom to whip out the right tool for the job for discussion. I cannot recite stats. I cannot pull team folklore and craziness out of my ass and relate it to some event in a personal manner.
Nor do I want to do it.
That sort of fandom to me is a tad excessive as well as obsessive and I can see why athletes get a little wary of those types – the adults who wear a guy’s jersey and then ask for an autograph. In fact, I will take it a step further – wearing anyone’s jersey seems a bit excessive. You’re not them, that’s not your name on the back. Why are you wearing someone else’s name on your back? Why are you spending so much time and effort following a team as if you are a part of the team? And why are you all dressing up like this clown?
Here’s a little advice Bears fans – don’t. Ditka never liked you. Ever.
Three quick notes before I get on a roll here. One, I’ll miss a lot of people and there are so many I won’t name them. Note two? Well, COVID took a lot of what I’ll miss and that’s fucking sad. Note three – oh yeah, I moved to Colorado, hence the list.
Going to Art Galleries, especially Tony Fitzpatrick’s The Dime. Those were some nice nights and Saturdays – fuck COVID.
Driving to Rockford, etc with Steve Marshall to Open Mics even when he can’t fucking see half the time at night and he’s a prop comic who’s got an apartment full of stuff to take. Goddamn funny though.
Meeting at 6AM at Cesaroni’s Deli in Woodstock to watch the Tottenham Hotspur – the brothers Cesaroni open up, we buy lots of coffee and sammiches and yell at the TV.
Theatre and being a reviewer for the Northwest Herald – I got paid in tickets and that was perfectly fine… until COVID shit all over that. FU COVID. Speaking of theater…
First off, let’s just say moving from Illinois to Colorado hasn’t been without a certain amount of odd events that soon translated to humor. I moved in full nearly a week ago. By ‘in full’ I mean I finally to settle in permanence. My first journey was driving a 26-foot U-Haul truck across the COVID-hoax luvvin’ state of Iowa who still, in spite of clear evidence she’s a buffoon, re-elected Joni Ernst. After Iowa came Nebraska. Got to say, Nebraska, flat as it can be hauling ass on I-80, wasn’t so bad. I stayed overnight in York, Nebraska and they were super friendly even when I kept asking where I could see the World’s Largest Peppermint Patty. Frankly, York would be a hotbed of Nebraska tourism if someone would just get on it and erect that Patty.
Why would you ever want to drive a moving truck for 15 hours?
Good question. Because after trying to hire a moving company to haul my precious items such as my small Buddha statue and stuffed Paddington Bear, I was shafted by a fast-talking son-of-a-bitch salesman who quoted me at $2,500 to get my stuff loaded into the truck in Illinois and unloaded in Colorado “we got to get the truck their anyway and don’t want to send it back unloaded.” Uh-huh. The real estimator gave me a call a few days later to re-evaluate after he saw the notes that said I had enough stuff to Tetris a 20-foot truck. I literally gave him a tour of the stuff via Facetime, including two huge rectangles of stacked boxes. He hung up, ran the numbers to get cubic feet and called me back.