by West Coast Craig
LOS ANGELES, CA – This weekend was a baseball nadir for me. Nothing seemed to go right. The Yankees were ignominiously dispatched in Boston and are starting to look like the Colorado Rockies of the late nineties: The Blake Street Bronx Bombers. The starting pitching hasnâ€™t gelled, the middle relief has been thus far shredded, so the only chance they have is to bludgeon opponents in their cavernous new ballpark. I had more to say with this analogy, but it devolved into comparative analysis between the nicknames Big Tex and the Big Cat, and then quickly broke down. Again, nothing went right.
Sinatra said riding high in April, shot down in Mayâ€¦ but five of my six baseball bets were shot down early over the last two days, including two on the aforementioned Bombers. I wish baseball betting was more funâ€¦ Sure, itâ€™s not simple with nice round numbers like football bets, but youâ€™d think with so much statistical minutia that goes inherently hand in hand with it, there are a thousand ways for you to feel smart by getting completely lucky. Football is king, as King Rex pointed out yesterday in his beautifully exasperated post about the draft. Gambling and the NFL mix like fire and oxygen to create the burning man of sports popularity today. Gambling and baseball went out of style in 1919â€¦ Just ask Pete Rose. Our National Pastimeâ€™s greatest asset, the thing that somewhat amazingly keeps it close in profitability to football, is that itâ€™s played almost every single day for over half a year. Thatâ€™s a lot of hot dogs and beer, parking gouging, and big foam fingers. Playing everyday is also what gives the game its richly layered mathematics, appealing subconsciously to the left sides of our brain, the same side of the brain used when trying to figure out if the Nationals +156 is a huge overlay against Ollie Perez (sorry Met fans, that was my one right decision). Thereâ€™s something more primordial about betting baseball, itâ€™s not built around the weekly payday like football, itâ€™s more of a grind, playing by attrition, trying to tread water, going through peaks and valleys, and hoping that the numbers you look at turn out to be the important ones in determining the outcome more times than not. One could almost make the analogy that itâ€™s like baseball itself, but of course batting .300 in this game is a good way to find yourself heading to the cash machine, as it were. Playing everyday is what makes baseball a superior fantasy sport as wellâ€¦
â€¦ So why is gambling on it so difficult? And does that make it more compelling? Is it that there’s opportunity every single day, not just waiting for a weekend… If you get beat, you always have tomorrow to try and make it up? Is it also what makes it potentially dangerous to the addictive personality? What does Mets -155 over Florida mean today? It means you have to bet $155 to win $100 (conversely, the Marlins are +135, meaning you bet $100 to win $135, got it?). Now that the weekend is over, maybe my luck will change as well. Unfortunately, perusing the spreads doesnâ€™t look too promising today. I donâ€™t mind that Marlin bet, though I imagine the Mets will want to avenge their early season disaster in Miami. I donâ€™t like the Yankees to be such heavy road favorites (-145) against the lefty Verlander and the Tigers, and if I ever bet against the Yankeesâ€”which, unfortunately, I donâ€™tâ€”I would be sorely tempted to take the Tigersâ€™ +125, especially with CC still trying to get his groove back. What I will take, however, is that over 9.5 (and thatâ€™s even money). Thatâ€™s got to be a lock right? Okay, Iâ€™ll do itâ€¦ Iâ€™ll take out my over-sized novelty shoe and call that Over Bet my Shoe In of the Day.
At any rate, back to the weekend. I went 0-3 at the plate today, against pitchers I can totally hit, and our team lost to a team we should be able to beat. Alas, another rebuilding yearâ€¦and though this one looks more promising than yearâ€™s past, it was just par for the course for this weekend for me. My fantasy team decided to stop hitting, and my pitchers all got shelled. Then there was my kidâ€™s t-ball game, in which our squad had one of those days where none of them could hit it past the opposing pitcher, who routinely chased them down for the unassisted out. He could do thatâ€¦a lot of other kids try to chase down runners and end up following them all the way around the basesâ€¦which, to their way of thinking, must be the safer play than actually throwing the ball to somebody. Oh well, I bring this up only because in this weekend of darkness I found one shining beacon of hopeâ€¦ An incredible development, after the t-ball game over in Glassell Park we walked back to our car only to discover a guy selling bacon wrapped hot dogs from an illegal cart! So what if it was only ten in the morning, you donâ€™t let opportunities like that pass you byâ€¦ Especially when the parents of one of your kids insists on paying for it. So, with a warm glow in my tummy, and a burn in my heart, I look forward to brighter things in the coming week.
Here’s a little something to make you warm, courtesy of the Chairman and King: