Once it all has had a chance to settle in a bit I’ll check back in with a look at the trades that have gone down over the last few days in the world of baseball. Before we get to that, though, I feel the need to deliver a kick or three to a guy while he is down. If Josh Beckett were just some journeyman pitcher then he would be having a perfectly acceptable year. He’s Josh Freaking Beckett, though, so this mess he is stringing together is total mess. There’s no excuse for being as average as he has been when you are as talented as he is and you have a good team behind you. He’s only partly to blame, though. As culpable are all of the naive, unthinking bettors who keep throwing their money at him so he can make it disappear like Houdini. Let’s take a look at the carnage:
Sports Betting Section
MADDUX'S WINNING PICKS
MADDUX'S LIVE ODDS
Philly – DeSean Jackson is hurt – hamstring – and hasn’t been on the field yet. What a shock. I long ago appointed myself the president of the anti-fan club for Jackson. Don’t get me wrong – he’s a freakish talent and he did amazing things with the ball at Cal. I just don’t think that a guy that small and, apparently, that fragile, has a long future in the NFL. I can’t put my finger on what exactly turns me off so much about the guy, but if I had to make a bet on the guy it would definitely be as a flop. He’s certainly not the answer that McNabb is looking for. From what I have read about the Eagles’ camp, though, their receiving answer might already be on the roster. Jason Avant is a talented possession type receiver who is heading into his third year. He hasn’t done much statistically so far, but he has shown progress. He’s reportedly had a spectacular camp so far – he’s fit, hungry, and he’s catching absolutely everything. On top of it all, he’s a Michigan guy, so you know he’s good.
I ended up watching most of the game between the Rays and the Blue Jays tonight. That might seem a bit obscure to some, but living in Canada I can watch pretty much every Jays game, and pretty much nothing from any other team. That was pretty fun in 1992 and 1993, but it has been kind of annoying for the last decade or so. Nonetheless, it was very interesting to watch the Rays in action, and they played a heck of a game in what was, for seven innings at least, a heck of a pitcher’s duel. The Rays ended up winning 3-0, but as I was watching it two things firmly established themselves in my mind:
With the obvious exception of the Olympics, the time has come for me to forget about basketball for a while and immerse myself fully into football. I generally don’t pay that much attention to the start of the NBA season, pay more attention to the hard court when the college season starts, and really get into basketball fully once college football ends and the NFL winds towards the less interesting (in my opinion) later rounds of the playoffs. Before I say goodbye, though, there were a couple of moves today that caught my attention and will factor into betting decisions down the road.
Impressive win by Macho Again in the Jim Dandy. As I said yesterday, I really like this horse. His race was troubled, and he was in traffic trouble on the last turn, but he found a way to make a move for the lead, and then he held off an impressive late charge by Pyro. This is the first graded stakes win for Macho Again, but I don’t expect it to be the last. The horse looks physically more impressive and mentally more mature with every start. In a perfect world he would run in the Travers next month, again in September, and then he’d make his way to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup. I’m not suggesting that he’s at the top of his class, but he is certainly among a handful of elite runners.
It is a great day of racing at Saratoga. I am not overstating my opinion or exaggerating even slightly when I say that Saratoga is unquestionably my favorite sporting facility in the world. If you have never been there you are missing out. Seriously.
It’s hot and sunny here (a rare occurrence this summer) and I am off to an outdoor music festival in just a few minutes, so I’ll apologize in advance if my concentration has been more focused at other times. I like you all, and I appreciate that you read what I write, but you don’t hold a candle to beer, music and sunshine and I’m not going to apologize for that. Before I go, though, I thought that I would share a few of the things that are bouncing through my sporting mind today:
For a change, I’m going to take a brief foray into the legislative arena today. I think that it is absolutely ridiculous that there are casinos all over the continent, and more every day, and yet you can only place a sports bet in a very small fraction of them. I’m reasonably confident that pretty much everyone who reads this will agree with me. We can bet on cards, dice, a steel ball, or a million different permutations of the whim of a microchip, yet the higher powers don’t trust us to legally bet on a football game without logging on and sending our cash into cyberspace. Silly.
I am endlessly fascinated by quarterback battles. Training camp is mostly just an exercise in exercising patience I don’t have, but the fights to see which quarterback will emerge in wide open situations is the one thing that makes it bearable. This year both the NFL and college ball have some real gems. Baltimore has a three way battle with no clear leader. My lukewarm bet would be on Joe Flacco at this point. I don’t see how a new regime can possibly stick with Kyle Boller, and Troy Smith underwhelms me. The situation at my beloved Michigan is even less clear, with no clear front runner and no choice that makes me particularly optimistic. Damn you, Terrelle Pryor!
I don’t know what it is tonight, but I am feeling testy. Annoyed. Short fused. I had a lot of vegetables with dinner. Maybe that’s the problem. Whatever it is, as I have been browsing through the sports betting news tonight a few things as stuck out to me as particularly grating:
Tony Dungy – The Colts’ coach said today that his star QB will be ready for the regular season opener. He may even be ready to play in the preseason. There’s nothing wrong with that specifically, and it may even be true. It’s just that Dungy drives me absolutely nuts, and it especially annoys me that he has been elevated to such a position by the media that I can’t dislike him without being a truly awful guy.