Thursday, November 29, 2007

LaRussa's DUI Video

I'm sure you've seen it, but just to be sure...



I first watched this with Roser, who said, "Man, that must suck. Hey, you going out for a drink tonight?"

Some kids just won't learn...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

1 Down, 3 To Go for the Grizz

It was broached on the CVS yesterday (that's Chris Vernon Show to those of you who don't sit at the cool kids' table) that this current stretch of games for the Grizz is huge for them. In a tough, tough Western Conference, all of a sudden there are 4 winnable games put together. And I'll be honest - I thought last night versus the Nets was going to be the toughest one.

But can the Grizz put two road wins together on back-to-back nights? This year, they've only won once on the backside of back-to-backs, and that was the home win against the Wizards Saturday.

Vegas has the Grizz as 7 point dogs, and the Raptors haven't played since Sunday. But once again, I see that the public is beginning to play heavily on the Raptors. So give me those points.

THE PICK:
The Grizz +7

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Decision Makers at Ole Miss Must Read this Blog

I gave Coach O a little grief the other day. And it was well-deserved, apparently.

From EVERY PERSON I TALKED TO going into the Egg Bowl, Coach O was going to be the coach at Ole Miss next year unless something crazy happened.

Friday = Crazy.

Coach O might have been better off if he had just gotten blown out from the beginning. If Mississippi State demonstrated that they were just a physically superior team and dominated the game, I don't think the concern/reaction would have been the same. You could have just chalked it up to it being the last game of what was a dreadful season, and the kids kind of threw the towel in. No big deal, really.

But that's not what happened. For 3 1/2 quarters, Ole Miss was the better team. Actually, they were the better team the whole game.

They could have won the game.

They SHOULD have won the game.

And they didn't. The opportunity was presented to have a slight silver lining on the season to beat your in-state rival, and he blew it.

The athletic department and influential figures at Ole Miss really should be happy that it turned out the way it did. Otherwise, they could have been in the same position this time next year, and be yet another year behind everyone else in the SEC.

With the momentum that is building for State, Ole Miss needed to make this move.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How do you like your turkey? With gravy or when it coaches Ole Miss?

Yes, the holiday had me miss another Grizz prediction, however since we are now officially into the holiday spirit, I give myself - another win. And that's that.

Also, Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at 730 ESPN. I hope everyone had a safe and happy day with the family. I am currently back in Bama, but I did get a chance to check out the Egg Bowl earlier today...

I have defended Coach Orgeron in the past, saying that he needed time and was given an empty cupboard to start with and has recruited well. Brent Schaeffer turned out to be a bit of a bust, and he is just coaching during a time that Auburn, LSU, and Arkansas have all been hot. It's hard to be successful when all of those things are going on.

But Friday - I had no defense for the man. Talk about giving a game away. Let's start in the when Ole Miss is up 7-0 with just under 10 minutes to go in the half. Ole Miss' defense is playing out of sight, and the Rebels can pin the Bulldogs deep with a punt, get a stop, and start out with great field position to close the half.

But noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! Coach O straps it on and decides to go for it on his own 49 on a fake punt. No dice. Somehow the Rebels escape the half with the lead 7-0. But this is a terrible call where it can only give the Bulldogs momentum. Coach O gets lucky here.

TiVo on up to the 4th quarter, 12:20 on the clock. 4th and 1. On their OWN 49. WITH A 14-0 LEAD.

Coach O goes for it. And doesn't get it. Loses 3 yards.

Why?

State turns around and scores a touchdown, taking only 2:14. (GO STATE!! - pause - GO STATE!!) And State is back in the ballgame.

State eventually wins the game due to some special teams plays and the fact that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE for Ole Miss can catch a pass. No one.

But I've got to go back to this unnecessary aggressiveness from Coach O. From what I understand, 7-0 & 14-0 are NOT unusual football scores. Especially when you are ahead, when your defense is playing like gangbusters, and you're not exactly playing an offensive juggernaut in Mississippi State. It just doesn't make sense. And I think it's poor guidance and decision-making from the coaching staff.

Going into the game, all reports were that Coach O will be back next year. He better be, because he owes Ole Miss a win. Because he gave this one away.

Aside from that rant, the Iron Bowl is the big game here in my home state (AND YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE GAME ON 730 ESPN!!! - shameless plug). The buzz down here is kind of so-so, as I think the Thanksgiving holiday just throws everybody off-schedule. But from the few fanatics I've talked to, the Bammers all feel really good about the game and are convinced that Saban will have the team bounce back from the embarrassment last week.

I say they are crazy. Bama has been awful all year on the road (Vandy doesn't count, and they didn't even play great there.), and I see no reason why that would change here. Bama has regressed, and it seems that JP Wilson has been watching tapes of Brandon Cox, since for the last 4 games JP has managed to do nothing but hold onto the ball for waaaaaaayyy too long and stare down receivers. He might even do it better than Cox. Guess we'll have to wait till Saturday night to tell.

My pick for that game, though it pains me, will be the Tigers by 10. At least.

Oh yeah, there's a Grizz game tonight, so I'll give you a pick that you can be thankful for.

The Pick:
Memphis +12'
(The public knows not...)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Andrea Kremer Would Tear Me To Pieces

I came across this video just a little while ago, and I think Andrea Kremer might be a bit of a cougar.



Look close, I think she might have slipped him her hotel key. And what's she doing with her other hand?

Tigers' Prediction vs. Arkansas State

Calipari's Dapper Dan is giving up 26' tonight, and I'll be happy to take them.
The public is leaning on the Tigers big time tonight, and Vegas wasn't built on winners.

And Indians are crafty.

The Pick:
The Indians +26'

Monday, November 19, 2007

Glavine Back to the Braves

Tom Glavine agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves earlier today. And I'm okay with this. After all, it's those early 90s teams that I remember. I turned on the Braves earlier this year, and outside of Chipper, Andruw, and Smoltzie, I had no clue who was on the team anymore.

You see, I was just about to reach my teens right when Francisco Cabrera hit that single out to Barry Bonds in left field and Sid Bream limped his way around third and then Skip Caray went crazy. I can honestly remember every single thing about that moment. I was watching the game with my dad, and right as David Justice, Ron Gant, and Deion Sanders were leaping onto Bream, my dad and I were 90 miles away jumping around like idiots in our living room. It was great.

And I think it's a good thing to have Glavine coming back. He is still a serviceable pitcher. No, not like he once was, but he is still a quality #3 starter. He did win 13 games last year and pitched 200 innings.

And not only is Atlanta picking up a good (not great) pitcher, but they are giving folks another reason to go back to the ballpark and remember the magic. You see, back then when the Braves won that pennant and got to that first World Series, it really was magical. They had been so bad for so long - and out of nowhere - they tripped up and won the pennant.

This was also back when baseball was baseball. Jose Canseco hadn't yet shown half the league what he had in his workout bag, and Bud Selig wasn't too far into mismanaging the game into player strikes and the steroid era. It was just a team of a bunch of nobodies (plus one guy who was returning picks for touchdowns on weekends) that put together an improbable second half in 1991.

But unfortunately this organization became a victim of their success. After that run, Atlanta put out a run of like 100 straight division titles, but only 1 World Series victory. And that Atlanta apathy set in.

So, I'm excited that they are bringing the old man back. Now only if they could get the rest of the band together. What's Deion doing during the summer now? And how about Mark Lemke and Ron Gant? Surely Rafael Belliard is available.

I Went All Marbury on the Grizz

So I missed a game this weekend. So what? I know that I would have picked a winner, so that's what I'm going to give myself. I don't need to show up to every game. So go ahead and chalk up another win against the spread for 'Ol Harry.

Anyways, to tonight's game: The Sonics are AWFUL, and word around the studio today had Durant just hanging out around Beale today. Perhaps he was acosted for pocket change, and he has not recovered mentally.

The Pick:
The Grizz -6

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tigers & Grizzlies Predictions

I have to go back to Alabama this weekend, as I believe this will mark the 13th wedding this year that I have been invited to. I don't think I'm going to have any friends left.

That said, I should have already left an hour ago, so here are the quick plays for tonight -

The Grizzlies come home tonight, but only to disappoint.
The Pick: Hornets -4

Calipari hates Calhoun. This is not good for the Huskies.
The Pick: Memphis -9

There you have it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tigers' Prediction #3

After the early stumble out of the gate, I am slowly pulling myself back to my winning ways. Just to recap, my picks against the spread so far:

Grizzlies: 3-4
Tigers: 1-1

And tonight, the Tigers go at it under the big lights in MSG against a real team. And the big topic is how Derrick Rose is going to respond to the big time pressure. And I'm interested too.

What I am really curious to see is the dynamic of this team when the game is on the line, and who will be the go-to guy. When you need that basket with :10 left to go, sure it's nice to have options, but it's better to have that ONE GUY that you can ride on to either win or lose the game. And I'm curious to know if the team will look to Rose or Douglas-Roberts.

It's one thing for the media to buy into the hype, but how are the more experienced players on this team responding? And now that Memphis is on the big stage, will those players turn to their talented Junior in Douglas-Roberts or will they be willing to give the keys to the Freshman Superstar?

So if the game gets close tonight, be sure to watch closely on where the supporting players look to for on-court leadership. Should be interesting, but too bad it won't be close enough. Maybe next time.

The Pick:
Memphis -7'

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Grizzlies' Prediction 7/82

So, how will the Grizz respond tonight after the big win? You know, this is against my nature, but I'm feeling pretty positive about this. I guess I'll go all-out like when George Costanza went opposite of all his instinctive thoughts and ended up working for the Yankees. Whatever the absolute opposite of what I think, I'm going with.

So, may we bask in the sunshine that we now find shining upon us and be sure to pass all the warm-fuzzies round the campfire. It's the Winter of Love, baby.

Leeeeeeeetttttt the sunshine!! Leeeetttt the sunshine in!!! The suuuuunnnnnnn shine in...

C'mon, feel the love.

The Pick:
Memphis +6'

I Will Make No Such Apology

Last night's Grizz game? First off, it was a great win. When you the win games that you aren't supposed to, it's like found money. It's like they stole something and got away with it last night.

It's too bad that Memphis lost that Portland game that we had NO BUSINESS losing. The Grizz could be 3-3. That's how close it is. So maybe there is hope for this team, which is pretty crazy since I was all about ready to just throw in the towel.

But you can't continue to lose those Portland-type games. If Memphis is ever supposed to win a game, they HAVE TO win it. There isn't enough wiggle room for this team to lay down on any night, if they want a shot at the playoffs.

Which leads me to wonder - now that we are 1/14th in, what are the goals of this team? We can see how close we are to being .500, but we are only that close because of a better than average night against the Rockets. Otherwise, it'd be 1-5, and we'd be throwing in the towel.

So I guess what I'm asking the Grizzlies coaches, players, and management is: what is the real goal this season?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Grizzlies' Prediction 6/82

Okay, after the game tonight, the Grizz will be 1/14 through the season. The time does fly, doesn't it? Unfortunately, to be 1/14 through the season also means that they will have to play Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming tonight.

I wonder what is going through Darko's mind right now. Anything? Be sure somebody sets his alarm so he doesn't sleep through the game, as he shows about as much emotion as a corpse.

The Grizz are catching 6', which I would think is a pretty low number considering what a mismatch this is. Good news is - that's what the public thinks too. And Vegas wasn't built on winners...

So I'm going against the grain, and hoping that my anti-public strategy works in our favor.

At least against the spread.

The Pick:
Memphis +6'

Scheduled for tomorrow's blog: Apologies for that pick

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Believe I Have Finally Had My Fill

In the summer of 2002, I worked at a bar in Tuscaloosa as a doorman. We weren't the most popular bar in town - we were mostly the bar you went to if the popular bar was too crowded. (And also, you would get in if I was working the door. In the three and a half months I was checking IDs, if you had a face - you were in.) And this was back in the old Tuscaloosa days of when the bars NEVER closed. So I was consistently not getting home until 4 or 5 in the morning.

But this was no big deal, as my whole day was oriented around me being awake by 4:30 in the afternoon. Why 4:30? Because that was when this great new show, Pardon the Interruption came on. And it was great. There had never been a show like it. Two sportswriters (who were long-time colleagues and friends, which is key to the chemistry) debating the hot sports storylines of the day, but never for more than two minutes per topic. It was always moving.

And it was great. Kornheiser and Wilbon would take cheap shots at each other, they were funny, and they were opinionated. Did I mention the show would never stay on one topic for too long?

Since then, Kornheiser and Wilbon have expanded the PTI brand further than anyone could have ever expected. And for a long time, I was a fan of it. Because it was pushing the opinion-oriented format. As opposed to a bunch of talking heads searching for the next big catch phrase (Boo-Yah!), we got a little bit of substance that engaged the viewer to participate. Did I agree or disagree? Was Kornheiser a genius or an imbecile? At least I got to decide.

Before we go further, let me state - I AM a Tony Kornheiser fan.

TiVo on up to today. When ESPN got the rights to MNF, they decided to throw the gig at Kornheiser. After all, he was the hot commodity of the time - almost a new age Howard Cosell (please hold your hatemail on the comparison - I didn't say as good as Cosell, just the new age version).

Initially, I was very much for this decision.

(I was even a big proponent of the Dennis Miller days. I thought they should have put Chris Rock on the sidelines. Tell me you wouldn't of wanted Chris Rock doing the sideline updates and interviews. Would of been TV gold.)

However, as it has unfolded, MNF has developed in to a bad episode of Entertainment Tonight. This was never more evident than in the second half of Monday night's terrible Seahawks-Niners game.

I don't know if it's the producers, suits at ESPN, or just somebody trying to mess with me, but JUST WHO IN THE HELL continues to think that these in-booth celebrity interviews are good television? Talk about a complete drag on the game multiplied by its awkwardness.

Drew Carey was the guest Monday night, and Drew may not be everybody's favorite, but he is funny and quick on his feet. The booth trio could not have conducted an interview with more awkward questions and transitions.

And the problem is... (wait for it)... THERE'S A FOOTBALL GAME GOING ON!!

Tirico is trying to continue play-by-play, while Tony's asking if he can play Plinko, Jaworski is huffing a few laughs at Tony's softball jokes, and Drew can't figure out when he is supposed to speak and when not to.

And it's the same week after week. It's not Drew's fault and not Jimmy Kimmel's, although Kimmel at least poked fun at how ridiculous it all was. His reward - a lifetime ban from MNF. It's not even Christian Slater's fault - who was probably even more surprised than I that he got to be the interview. (Was a special edition DVD of Prince of Thieves coming out?)

Here's a tip for the folks at MNF. During the US Open (tennis), where do they do the celebrity interviews? From the stands. And it's always less than three minutes, and maybe during a changeover even. You know, so there's not a huge lapse in coverage of the action, and the actor/comedian/whatever can plug their project, talk about what a great time they are having, and who they are a fan of. And it's done.

Why can't this happen on MNF? Can we not send Suzy Kolber into the stands or a suite to talk to Nick Lachey? Do we really need to talk more with Jonathan Silverman after the break?

And last night, it got worse.

Not necessarily worse, but it showed what MNF could be. Steve Young joined the booth, started commenting on the action on the field (novel concept), and his give-and-take with Jaworski was VERY GOOD. Imagine - two quarterbacks who know oodles and oodles about football, are poised, and can communicate well. Tirico guided the conversation with ease, and it sounded like a real broadcast. My man Tony K? Nowhere to be found. I actually thought he had left to go prep for another PTI after the game until a booth shot showed him sandwiched between Young and Jaws.

So, it is with great remorse that I say, Tony's got to go. (Wiping away a tear.) I don't think it's all his fault, but sometimes you've got to cut ties and repackage.

Tirico may not be Al Michaels, but he is very poised, well-spoken, and brings an energy to the broadcast when the show isn't constantly trying to squeeze in another question for Russell Crowe.

Jaws is and has been one of the most knowledgeable NFL analysts for almost 20 years. He too, brings energy to the broadcast, and as long as he sticks to commentary on football, he is very effective. It's just when he gets sidetracked...

Tony... well, you get my drift.

And if we can't get better games, we need to at least have a better broadcast.

ESPN, please do what's right. Please fix Monday Night Football.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Save Chris Vernon from Deletion

Below is the link to Verno's Wikipedia page. And those bastards are trying to get rid of him. Revolution!

Be sure to add your comments on why Chris is notable. Don't let Verno disappear like Marty's brother in Back to the Future.

What would we have done without Dave, and what will we do if Verno doesn't have his own Wikipedia page?

You decide.

Verno's disputed Wikipedia page.

"See ya later, Pop. Whooo, time to change that oil."

Roser Brings the Pain

Before I get into the topic of this piece, let me briefly comment on last night's Grizz game. The Jazz Were Who We Thought They Were. Jerry Sloan is a cold-blooded killer, and it doesn't help when he has a Ruskie in his arsenal. Verno's Power Forward theory also held true, as Boozer went for 31 yesterday. Any and all PFs should be looking for career days versus the Grizz this year. Popeye Jones could come out of retirement and put up 25 and 12 versus the Grizz.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled rambling.

Yes, our man Jon Roser did turn 23 this past week. (You did hear about it, didn't you?)

And as he loves the Windjammer, that is where we celebrated Saturday night. This was my first attempt at the Windjammer, and aside from the copious amount of cigarette smoke, I thought it was a nice joint. Nothing too fancy, but it definitely serves its purpose.

And that purpose Saturday night was for Jon Roser to get hammered and sing "Zombie" by the Cranberries. There was even a buzz about it going in. Seriously.

I arrived prior to Verno and big-time listener Hank, so I grabbed a chair at what I deemed the "Old People's Table" - considering I was going to be at least 4/5 years older than the next youngest person. And I can't even count up how much older Verno would be.

Roser got there shortly after I did, and judging by his entrance... Hammered? Check.

All that was left on the menu was Cranberries.

And it had been kind of a quiet night by the karaoke - I mean, people were singing, but there wasn't a whole lot of attention being paid to it by the what had become substantial crowd. And then the call came out for "Roser?"...

Now, I'm not easily impressed. In fact, there are very few things that I actually like. But for some reason, I liked what I saw.

With everyone crowded around the karaoke-performance-sphere, Roser belted it out like he was some short-haired-Irish-woman-folkrocker. Didn't even need the prompter. Yes, it was the highlight of the night.

And out of all songs, too. "Zombie"?? I guess if you can pull it off, that's as good of one to go with that I can think of. Normally I don't do much karaoke, but I did bring in New Year's 2003 at Wanna-Be's in Nashville with a little "Purple Rain". Verno's karaoke go-to? "Run-Around Sue". Not kidding.

Verno, Hank, and I had to shut it down not long after, as we are all over the hill, and dammit, sometimes it is just time to go to bed. But kudos and a happy birthday to Jon L. Roser.

"Zah-ombie! Zah-ombie! Zah-ombie, ay! ay! ay! oh! oh!"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Grizzlies' Prediction 5/82

So much for our road-crafty squad. Way to go and completely blow it last night, guys.

We're catching 10' tonight in a game where Darko Milicic might ACTUALLY be one of the best defensive players on the floor. And David Stern should be concerned about this.

The Pick:
The Jazz -10'

(Please remember before you call your bookmaker that I am 1-3 on my Grizz picks. And in case anyone hasn't heard yet - Jon Roser turned 23 this week.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Grizzlies' Prediction 4/82

The Grizz are catching 2' tonight in Portland, where the Blazers are 1-3, but they are UNDEFEATED at home (a whopping 1-0). While the Grizz are UNDEFEATED on the road (another whopper).

Somebody's got to give, and I'm getting a warm fuzzy about our road-crafty Grizz...

The Pick:
Memphis +2'

I'm No Soulja Boy

Since moving to Memphis, yet another phenomenon that I was in the dark about has been exposed to me. This Superman Dance. They did not do this in DC.

I got a brief glimpse of it a few weeks back, but I got the full court press of it last night. One of the members of the sales staff here at 730 was nice enough to invite me out for a few drinks last night and meet some of her friends. It all started innocently enough, then a few jager-bombs later, and the girls want to go dancing. Funny how that happens.

(Little background here: I am a HORRENDOUS dancer. And what's a shame is that I actually enjoy dancing. I have a severe case of the white man's disease. If I'm sitting down, I can bounce around alright - but once I stand up and try to add a little footwork to the equation, it just all falls apart.)

So, off we go to the ooncha-ooncha club. And it's a nice place - big, not too crowded. But the dance floor doesn't have too many people on it, as we were kind of at the stage where nobody was quite drunk enough and nobody wanted to be the lone person/couple out on the dance floor. But then...

"Aaaaaaaawwwwwwww Soulja Boy up in this ho!"

I mean people could not get on the dance floor fast enough.

It was incredible. All these folks dancing in step to this rap song, and they all knew exactly how to do it. Beautiful, actually.

But is this something that is exclusive to the Memphis area? Apparently not, as a quick trip to the YouTube showed me. What a phenomenon this has become. There are literally THOUSANDS of people who have videotaped themselves doing this dance.



Unbelievable.

So, my next goal is to learn this dance. Surely I can do it as well as those guys. But if you happened to get bumped this weekend by a white kid that looks like he has a 2x4 stuck in his shirt, I apologize.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grizzlies' Prediction 3/82

Some would call it a hot streak. I just call it the beginning of my season-long endeavor to absolutely CRUSH the NBA and college basketball season, Memphis-style.

When I first arrived in Memphis for my interview with 730 ESPN, I was renting a car, and the girl behind the counter was trying to talk me into upsizing to an Impala. I asked why I would want to do that, and she simply responded, "'Cause in Memphis, we do it BIG."

Doing it big sounded like a good time, so I wanted to do it big too. You better believe I was pimpin' that Impala.

The Grizz go to Seattle tonight, who are playing on borrowed time. I believe Kevin Durant was even caught out at a Stockman's in Duncan, OK getting some riding gear.

Tonight just might be the night. Too bad it won't be for Jon Roser.

So here we go with Grizzlie's prediction #3, DOIN' IT BIG.

THE PICK:
GRIZZLIES -1.5

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tigers Prediction 2/(Still Haven't Counted)

Okay, everybody, happy thoughts.
The Tigers are giving up 29', and word is that Derrick Rose has Arachnophobia...

The Pick:
Richmond +29'

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tigers Prediction 1/(Haven't Counted It Up Yet)

I'm in a bit of a rush, but Memphis is favored by 35 tonight. And Calipari's Dapper Dan will be in full effect.

The Pick:
Memphis -35

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Keeping Up With the Vernons

Friday night marked my first weekend here in Memphis, and as he is such a gracious host, Verno was kind enough to offer up his evening so that I wouldn't be stuck in my new, furniture-less apartment watching my worn-out West Wing DVDs (the cable people are coming in next week).

So where does he take me? Southland Greyhound Park.

I loved this place.

I arrived before Verno and Mrs. Verno, and I was not there more than 5 minutes before I saw some poor fellow getting an earful from his pregnant wife/girlfriend. Great start to the evening - I thought it couldn't get any better. I was wrong.

Keep in mind, I'm new to the area, and I wasn't aware that they had the electronic gambling machines. I have never trusted anything that allows a computer to choose what my next card would be, but Friday night, I just assumed the role of "When in Rome..."

I had just secured my rewards card where they gave me a generous $25 starter amount (still not sure if my mention of Chris Vernon at the counter gave me anything extra...), so it was off to the video poker machine. My game: Deuces Wild.

You have to put your rewards card into the machine in order to use the free plays. It took me about 4 tries to just enter in the information so I could start playing. I haven't even started playing, and I'm already poised as the night's big patsy.

I play for a few minutes with less than stellar success, and so I kind of zone out while I wait for the Vernons to arrive. All of a sudden the machine starts making some noise, but I'm not paying attention and keep hitting the 'Deal' button. The next thing I know, my credits are over 220. Right as this happens, Verno and The Wife see me and walk up. I tell them I think I've won like 200 dollars. This is great news.

Then, Mrs. Vernon points out to me that I'm wrong - I haven't won 200 dollars. Immediately, I think it's because I'm still playing off of the 'free play' $25 from my rewards card, so I must not be eligible. She then goes on to tell me that I must have hit the $2/credit option, and that I have actually won over $400. This is even better news. I had not been there more than 15 minutes, and I was already up $400. Conventional wisdom would tell a person that they should have left right then. But what would I do with the rest of my night? And besides, I was on a hot streak. I couldn't lose - not tonight...

Off to the track!!

The Vernons and I head over to the greyhound track, and in my head, I had pictured it being like 500 Bert Sugars all running up and down the concourse like it was 5 minutes to the bell on the NYSE. But it was surprisingly low-key.

While Verno studied the greyhound racing program (apparently he's a big fan of any dog with 'Silver' in the name), the wife and I discussed the better places to go out in Memphis. Verno decides that the #7 is our dog of choice for the race.

After a few races, I believe that the excitement of my earlier winnings pulled us back downstairs to the poker floor. Either that or the fact that Verno was shooting 0 for everything on the dogs. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Even with my disastrous encounter with the dogtrack, I was still in the black for the evening. Even better, The Dempseys were playing downstairs. Now, I had no idea who they were, but Verno sure was excited about it. They were this rockabilly-style band that played just about everything, and apparently they were even in Walk the Line. I thought they were really good, and Mrs. Verno concurred. Highly recommend.

After a couple of hours playing video poker (and redepositing some of Southland Park's money back into their pocket), Verno draws me over to the blackjack table. Great. I love blackjack. I even have a strange blackjack strategy regarding double-downs that would take way too long to explain here. But trust me, it works.

Problem is, I've never seen a blackjack table like this before. There's a table, there's chairs, even a dealer - just NO CARDS. It seems that the cards are just dealt electronically, and you have to assume that everything is on the up and up. After already giving back almost half my winnings, I normally wouldn't have taken such a leap of faith. But tonight I was a winner. Let's play.

I started out ON FIRE. I employed my crazy double-down strategy - which drew the ire of a few of the other players at the table. And I've never understood this - these folks down at the third base position get all pissy when I draw a card that could have potentially helped. Excuse me, but my understanding is that I'm playing for me to win. Not the guy on third base. Or any other base for that matter. They won't be giving me any of their winnings at the end of the night. So screw 'em.

After quickly doubling up my money, a dealer switch is made. You know what happened next.

30 minutes later, Verno and I had given it all back. And that was enough of a clue for us to shut it down.

Fortunately, I was at least sensible to store off some of my winnings in the "don't touch" area of the wallet, so I did actually end up a winner for the night. Sometimes I even surprise myself.

But here's the moral(s) of the story:
1) The Southland Greyhound Park is a lot of fun, I'm glad I got to go, and I'll probably go again soon.
2) Looking back on it, it seems that whenever Verno was around - I lost. I might go back to Southland, but I may not let Verno know about it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Grizzlies' Prediction 2/82

Wasn't it like just about week ago that the Grizz gave up 140 points to Indiana and lost by 27? Now, we're 5 point favorites. Nowhere else but the Association.

Since I'm off to such a hot start (0-1), I'm feeling good about the only winless team in the Southwest Division. Besides, Indiana's 2-0, and Karma requires balance in the Force.

The Pick:
Memphis -5

Friday, November 2, 2007

*

Barry Bonds says he's going to boycott the Baseball Hall of Fame if they display the 756 baseball with an asterick branded in the leather. I say good for him.

MLB has never informed the media of any positive test for steroids by Bonds. And you better believe that if he had tested positive, confidential or not, that bit of info would have definitely leaked out. So why should his legacy be villified in the most stoic hall in all of sports - when he's never been proven to have done anything wrong. (And you can keep your illegally obtained documents and totally biased opinions from Game of Shadows to yourself.)

Baseball desperately needs to move beyond the 'steroid era' and the uncertainty that surrounds it. For MLB to openly allow and support this era by letting the HoF DISPLAY one of the most prominent pieces of the games history with an asterick branded onto the ball would be atrocious. It's not good for the history of the game. Ty Cobb might have been a jerk, but that's not engraved into one of his bats or written on the side of one of his spikes. People can decide for themselves if Cobb was a jerk without the endorsement of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

MLB shouldn't allow the HoF to display a piece of history that dictates what people should think. The ball should represent just what it is - the baseball that was used in a play that broke the all-time homerun record. And let the people who visit the HoF decide for themselves.

Barry's right on this one. MLB should follow suit.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Kobe Bryant is a Baby.


It's been 5 months of total teen-queen drama starring Kobe, Phil, Jerry, and the gang - and it finally looks like we could be nearing the end. Or are we? He could already be wearing Chicago red, but he's threatened to veto any trade that involves Luol Deng.

And that's a problem, because the Lakers want Deng. And who wouldn't? A great young player, never causes any problems, has been taught the team game (Dukie), and is one of the more uniques talents in the Association. So, the Lakers want something in return for (arguably) the best player in the NBA. That seems reasonable, right?

Problem is that Kobe Bryant is a baby that is unable to view things from anyone else's perspective. Kobe wants out - so he thinks that it should just happen because he wants it to and is completely oblivious that other people could be negatively affected.

You know how in fantasy football there is that guy in every league that throws out these crazy trade requests, like he'll take Tony Romo for Nate Burleson and Antwaan Randle El? And he thinks there's nothing wrong with that.

But you go back and counter with something like Romo for Joseph Addai, for example. And he feels insulted. That's what we've got here in Kobe - he wants the world, but isn't willing to give anything up for it.

Perhaps Chicago ought to be glad that Kobe's being this way. Why would they want to be the next to change his diapers?