Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic withdrawl

In the aftermath of the Beijing Games, I ask you these questions:

1) Did you watch?
2) How often?
3) What was the best part of the Olympics?
4) The Worst?
5) The biggest surprise?

As I've said before, I actually enjoy watching the Olympics. I'm not sure if I'm in the minority here since I know many people who were really into it and many who didn't watch a single minute. I actually found myself missing watching it when I got home from work last night.

With the time difference, I had the chance to watch many live events in late-night broadcasts. I got home last night -- and awoke early this morning -- to find regular TV programming. Oh well, I probably watch too much TV anyway, so it was nice to a good night's sleep for the first time in a couple of weeks.

It was still fun while it lasted.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Never a safe bet

The biggest horse race around these parts -- the Travers Stakes up in Saratoga -- takes place tomorrow and with that, I ask those of you -- who like me are no experts in this -- all this question:

"How do YOU go about betting on these races -- if you bet at all?"

I've heard people betting on everything from color of the horse to the color of the jockey's silks. I've heard of people using a strict number system and those who use the "eenie, meenie, miney, moe" technique.

I save my betting for the Triple Crown races -- Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont -- as well as the Travers (and maybe sometimes the Breeders Cup Classic) and I have a rather sophisticated philosophy. (You might want to get a pen and write this down -- make that a pencil)

I look at the horses running, check out their odds to see just who I can bet on and make money, forget betting on the favorites. If a name jumps out at me, for whatever reason, there you have it.

My claim to betting fame came in 2007 when I bet on Bernardini in the Preakness. Why Bernardini? Well, I remember some local soccer players from the area who have last name. Well, most remember that Preakness as the race where Barbaro fell and months later had to be euthanized.

I remember that race as betting on the winning horse.

Oh, by the way, that's the only time I've ever won using that method -- hence the pencil suggestion. So, have fun tomorrow and if some horse with a cool name or cool look or a cool jockey win the Travers, you might be seeing a very happy sports editor around here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fixing the system

As I said in a previous post, I find myself watching the Olympics quite a bit these days. And with that, I have to make the observation I much prefer sports where judging is not in the equation.

In basketball, the team with the most points win. In baseball and softball, the most runs wins. In soccer, the most goals decides the winner. You get my drift.

A lot of the discussion -- outside of Michael Phelps -- has been the judging at gymnastics. I'm no expert by any means, but when you have one gymnast who beats the other out by virtue of a tiebreaker since they both received the same score, that might be a little too out ther for me.

I'm sure people will also argue since the gymnast who won was from the host country China and she beat out an American for the gold, "homerism" figured into the scoring.

Like I said, I'm not expert so I cannot say definitively whether the allegations have merit, but really -- when it comes to the greatest sporting event in the world -- should there be any doubt.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Radio going to the Dogs

I must admit I was surprised and a bit saddened to hear of the official ending of the "Mike and the Mad Dog" radio show on WFAN. Although there had been numerous reports of the popular talk show's split in recent months, I figured it was just a contract negotiations ploy.

When word broke their 19-year run was over on Thursday, I said sports talk in New York will probably never be the same.

Most times, I disagreed with them. I looked at Chris "Mad Dog" Russo as a blithering idiot who hated pretty much all New York teams and Mike Francesca as the know-it-all blowhard -- and judging from readers' responses in the New York papers, a lot of other people felt the same way.

But -- on most days -- I found myself -- like millions of others -- tuning in to WFAN (if I were driving) or YES (if were at home) to see what they had to say next.

Francesca will fly solo now on WFAN and reports say Russo is heading to Sirius Satellite Radio, so their careers will certainly most certainly continue.

But New York sports talk will certainly be less entertaining.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The best athletes of all-time

I was watching ESPN this morning and in the wake of the magic Michael Phelps is performing in Beijing these days, the hosts were discussing where he ranks with the greatest athletes of all-time.

Then they began to discuss what defines an athlete since one of their first selections was Babe Ruth and then they pointed out the Babe wasn't much of an athlete as he was a sport-changing player.

It made for an interesting discussion.

So I ask you guys, who would you rank as your top five all-time greatest athletes? Where would you rank a Michael Jordan? Jesse Owens? Carl Lewis? Michael Phelps? Jim Brown? Bruce Jenner? Babe Ruth to name a few?

Let me know, I'd really be interested in seeing what you guys deem as an athlete.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic viewing

I don't know about the rest of you, but I find myself actually getting into the Olympics a bit.

I didn't expect to, but there I was last night cheering on the U.S. Olympic men's 100-meter swim relay as they edged out France to win Olympic gold. After hearing about the French team boasting about crushing the Americans (I believe crush was the word they used) it gave me much satisfaction to see the U.S. deliver.

Other than Michael Phelps, the U.S. men's basketball team, the U.S. softball teams as some track and field athletes and gymnasts, I probably couldn't name that many American competing over in Beijing.

But I guess that won't stop me from rooting for the U.S. team.

I'll be very interested to see if people around the area and the country feel the same way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The nightmare is over

So the Brett Favre saga is finally over?

Thank goodness.

I don't know if I'm happier for you Jets fans, who seem to be extremely excited about getting a Hall of Fame quarterback in his last couple of years of playing or for many, like me, who are simply happy not to turn on ESPN to see hour after hour after hour of coverage of whether Brett will play in Green Bay or not.

While I don't believe Favre will be the savior to lead the Jets to the promised Super Bowl land, I do believe he is a short-term (two seasons) substantial upgrade over Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens. Favre might make the Jets a wild card contender.

More important than that for Gang Green is Favre helps the Jets grab the spotlight from the Super Bowl champion Giants -- at least for now.

So it should make for an interesting football season in New York. Let's just hope this is the last I have to blog about Brett Favre until he does something during the season.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

NFL's game of chicken

As I write this it's approximately 4:30 p.m. and still no word as to where -- or if -- Brett Favre will be playing this season.

If you're like me, you're probably all fed up with this, but it does make for some fun water cooler talk.

It'll will be interesting to see who blinks first -- Favre or the Packers.

Green Bay doesn't want Favre back, but doesn't want to release him, where in all likelyhood he'll sign with division rival Minnesota Vikings. They are willing, however, to trade Favre to another team outside the division. As of now, Favre doesn't want to go anywhere, but Minnesota.

For now, Favre is in the Packers' training camp and on their active roster, but not on the practice field. Expect that to change -- either way -- sometime soon.

It will be interesting to see if the Packers give in to Favre's demands and deal him to the Vikings, who by the way play the Packers in their season-opener next month. Or, will Favre will give in and allow the Packers to deal him to the Jets, or the Bucs, etc.

Until then, let's call this "Favre holds the NFL hostage. Day 8."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hedging my bets

What a difference a week makes.

It was this time last week, I said it would not surprise me to see a Subway Series. Boy was I wrong.

Since then, the Mets, who stood silent on trade deadline day, have hit the skids. They are essentially playing with two outfielders at this points (Carlos Beltran and Endy Chavez) and the bullpen -- especially closer Billy Wagner -- looks very hitable.

Do any of you Mets fans trust your team in a big spot?

I didn't think so.

The Yanks, meanwhile, saw a true Series contender in the Los Angeles Angels. If not for a truly horrible defensive game Sunday, the Halos would have won 3 of 4 at the Stadium. Do any of you Yankee fans truly believe IF the Bombers make the postseason (Tampa, Boston, Chicago and Minnesota will have a lot to say about that) they can match-up with the Angels?

I didn't think so.

Making predictions is always fun and I'm sure next week, IF the Mets and Yanks are playing well again, I'll change my mind once again. This flip-floppin' is fun.