Sunday, May 21, 2006

I must be getting old

By ShagOnSports

My shoulder injury was so bad that I could not even type on the computer until Wednesday of last week… I have a muscle that tightens up in the spring and the hot to cold weather has a major effect… This time I pulled the muscle; it swelled and was hitting a nerve that was causing phantom pain on the top my right hand, forearm and my elbow… I was unable to get much work done and or able put out a Blog last Monday… I am on the mend and going to try some Physical Therapy this week… Hope this thing holds out…

Pistons

I have watched five of the games between the Pistons and Cavs… This is my first time of really watching Lebron play and I am really impressed with his skills and maturity level… He makes his team better, which is why he is such a great a player and why so many great NBA players are NOT because they do not make their teams better… Players who play for themselves and not their teams is why I watch very little NBA to this point… The Playoffs starting with this round is where solid pro style basketball begins to be played…

T Prince is also impressive… Of course I am going to watch him closer because of his Kentucky ties but you have to give him great credit for his effort… The only non All Star in the Pistons first five he is leading the teams in minutes played and is second in scoring for the playoffs… T Prince plays exceptional defense and his defense on James has been well played… He is a solid ball handler, shooter, rebounder and shot blocker (Prince just picked up a weak foul guarding James and Hubie Brown agrees)… His highlight reel during the Pitons playoff run the last few years includes at least one clip of all the before mentioned skills… Remember Phil Jackson declared him the greatest perimeter defender in the NBA three years ago…

Earlier today’s Piston game the play-by-play man talked about where T Prince learned to play defense and gave all the credit to his high school coach and did not mention Tubby Smith who I think had a major impact molding T Prince into a great overall player (Credit Larry Brown for waking T Prince up in the Pro’s)… His high school coach laid a great foundation and no doubt had a significant impact on his work ethic…

As I watch game seven Prince has played every minute with 2:45 (he is the leading scorer with 20) to go and played inspired from the start… Early on he got three offensive rebounds in one stretch before putting the ball in the basket… He has also on several occasions backed his man in down and with his left hand made a great move to the basket or just put a smooth lefthander jumper ala Jack Givens (Prince who wore Jack Givens number at Kentucky and like Jack scored 41 points in his final college game) right up in the defenders face for a score… As I write this last line Hubie Brown talks about his long arms, great reach, never in a hurry style, smooth spin move and how he backs his man down and can either go to the basket or step back with a jumper… Solid!!!

James is the best player on the floor and he is a team player but the Pistons to me epitomize team play…

Barbaro

Before the race started my pick for the Preakness was Brother Derek… When you look at his trip in the Derby and where he finished you had to think he was going to come out and run an incredible race… He was seasoned and new how to win… I figured Barbaro would be there when they got in between turn three and four for the stretch run… My thought was Barbaro would stay close but lay off the fast pace that was going to be set by Like Now and Derek in chase… I though Barbaro would not be able to catch Derek in the stretch but run a close second… Sweetnorthensaint would run a distant third…

When they showed the horses I though Bernardini looked like a solid thoroughbred… He really caught my eye… My wife said after watching the pre race show on TV for about fifteen minutes that was her pick… He looked solid and I declared him my pick for my four-horse trifecta… That pick would add a little value to the box and that is what you are looking for with this bet…

As they showed more pre race coverage there was a spot about Barbaro and how they were saddling him different then at they did at Florida Derby and THE Derby because of his behavior during the saddling process… I told my wife that that point that I did not like a change in routine at this point but really thinking that it would probably have little impact… A racehorse is going to be ready to run and that bit of a change should make little difference…

I thought they were in the gate for a bit longer then normal once the last horse was loaded… Even though it was seconds those seconds in those stalls are long for the horses and riders…

I do not recall ever seeing a horse breakthrough the starting gate at this level of race… When Barbaro broke through the gate it caught me off guard and Gary Stevens seemed to think it was a bad sign… He talked about how much energy that took from the horse and seemed very concern for the horse… The replay showed Barbaro force himself through the gate using his front legs in a downward push with no view of whether or not he pushed off with his back legs… There was no evidence he was injured and apparently he was very briefly checked by the track vet who gave the horse and OK to be reloaded…

The tragedy that happened about 100 yards down the track made me feel sick… As a kid I watched the great Filly Ruffian break her leg in a match race with Foolish Pleasure and that same feeling was with me again… I hoped for the best at that point for Barbaro…

The rest of the race was surreal and I numbly watched and listened to the commentator struggle through the rest of the race… Bernardini looked like a great racehorse coming down the stretch but I could not help but wonder how the horses and jockeys who realized that Prado had pulled up Barbaro affected how the rest of the race played out… No one wants to win that way in horse racing…

I am not sure of the protocol when a horse breaks through the gate before the horses are loaded… Would the right thing to have done with the magnitude of this race be to pull all the horses out, check Barbaro thoroughly and then load the horse back??? This is not done when a horse has trouble going into the gate and the other horses have to wait so why do this now??? Could it or should it have been different in this race??? If it were not the Preakness and just a regular race would the horse have been pulled from the race??? In a regular race would the other horses have been made to wait while the horse was checked a little better??? Should the protocol be standardized??? Should the trainer have pulled the horse??? Would the trainer have pulled the horse in a regular race???

Let’s just hope Barbaro comes through the surgery and lives!!! This is a great tragedy for horse racing and a great tragedy for sports…

Fantasy Baseball

Many moves for the Scuffletown Mudcats this week… I dropped Garret Anderson (it was either him or .207 hitting but more productive in run scored, HR’s and RBI’s Jerome Lane) and added Edward Encarcian of the Reds… I also dropped Andre Beltre last week and picked up pitcher Jon Lieber (Contreas is on the DL which is killing me until he is back today) because I have plenty of pitching innings left for my team… AJ Burnett is still a month away from coming off of the DL and that hurts my team also… I dropped closer Joe Borowki of Marlins and Juan Rincon or the Twins and picked up Takashi Sato of the Dodgers, Scott Cassidy of the Padres and Jorge Julio of the Mets because all these guys are middle relievers who record allot of strikeouts Sato and Cassidy have low ERA & WHIP while Julio has 32 K’s which is a high amount for a reliever… I have given up on the saves category and focusing on the Wins, Strikeouts, ERA and WHIP… I am trying to get Kenny Rogers off of the waiver wire because he is racking up allot of wins… I am in ninth place after Saturday and have been floating between sixth and ninth for the last two weeks…

MLB

St Louis is playing well and the Red are starting to fade a little (Cards are now four up on the Reds)… St Louis has the lowest ERA in the NL (which is surprising), getting good play from its bench and has the best record in the NL… They swept the Royals this weekend with a big comeback in Friday night’s game and took two of three from the Mets and that makes me feel better about this team… The Reds are starting to have issues and their closer has blown three straight save opportunities…

The Tigers are playing well and had a nice late comeback against the Reds last night… I believe this team is for real… The White Sox, Yankees and Red Sox are keeping pace and the AL West is wide open… The Met are solid in the NL East with Philly and Atlanta trying to gain some ground and the NL West is the most balanced division in either league… All the NL West teams have winning records and only two games separate first place from last place…

Next move for baseball is the Diamondbacks to the AL West and the Astros to the NL West so baseball can have balanced divisions, balance schedules and have the teams play most of the games in September within their own divisions…

ShagOnSports Random Thoughts


- Great brawl at Wrigley yesterday… The Cubs catcher was out of line but I like to see that kind of emotion in baseball… The Cubs are done in May!!!

- Bonds caught Ruth… The steroids put a cloud over Bond’s accomplishments but will we ever know all the players who used the roids???

- Puljos… Nothing else to be said!!!

- Kentucky Football took a blow when DB Bo Smith was kicked off of the team… Smith had been in trouble before and had sat out a year with a skull fracture…

- The fourth ranked Kentucky Bat Cats won the SEC East although they lost two of three to Georgia and will be the two seed in the SEC Tournament… They are guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament…

- Lumpy wins the Colonial… This is a throwback course and a throwback player… Fitness is not a priority with Lumpy as it is with most golfers today…

- XM Radio is awesome… Having all the baseball games available to listen to is great… The music variety is great, I like the comedy and the national sports programming and I have not even discovered the all of the channels yet… It is worth $12.95 a month…

- The shoulder is feeling better and I am heading to the range on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night with plans of playing on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and next Tuesday…

- My latest EBAY adventure is collecting the Topps cards from the Kentucky Colonels Championship team of 1974 and 1975… I have two left to go out of ten and one of them I am not sure if Topps printed a card for (Gene Littles)… I have also purchased the Topps team photo and multiple player cards that depict the league leaders… This will be it for a while to I can save some more money…

- Speaking of EBAY former Colonel Trainer Pinky Gardner is going to be auctioning off a 1974-75 Game worn Jersey by one of the players soon… Keep a watch for this item…

In The CD player this Week

- XM Satellite Radio

Monday, May 08, 2006

Listen to Your Wife

by ShagOnSports
Derby Race Summary

Barbaro was able to prove the pundits wrong on Saturday with a tremendous run in the stretch to bury the field in the Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:01.36 almost two full seconds off of the course record held by Secretariat… The undefeated horse was one the pundits said could not win after an over five-week layoff and only handful career starts…

As most people had predicted the speed would jump to the front and then fade as they made the turn for home but I did not see a horse running off with the race, as Barbaro was able to do … He was literally unchallenged in the stretch run…

Sweetnorthensaint (my wife’s pick) looked to make a strong move as the horses got through turn three but he was cut off as he got started and then had an opening at the top of the stretch but had nothing left in the tank… Brother Derek had such a lousy post that he could just not get in position to run his race and never challenged Barbaro… I still believe there are too many horses allowed into the field and you would have better more level races if the field would be cut back to fifteen but that will never happen… Churchill is too greedy!!!

I hope for the sake of horse racing that Brother Derek, Sweetnorthensaint and several of the other top finishers are in the field at the Preakness to challenge Barbaro… I believe that Point Determined, Steppenwolfer, Bluegrass Cat, AP Warrior and Jazil are pointed to the Belmont Stakes… In case you missed it Jazil was in last place as the field entered turn three and came roaring back to finish in a dead heat with Brother Derek for fourth place…

My Derby Picks

On Friday my five horses were Barbaro, Brother Derek, Point Determined, Steppenwolfer and Jazil… After handicapping the race on Friday I liked Barbaro, Sharp Humor, Brother Derek, Sweetnorthensaint and Point Determined… My trifecta bet on Saturday finished 1, 4, 7, 9 and 19 (ouch!)… Bluegrass Cat was never in my thoughts because of his poor showing in the Bluegrass, Point Determined just never fired and I got off of Steppenwolfer and decided to throw in Sharp Humor since he had run with Barbaro in the Florida Derby… For what it is worth my handicap system picked Barbaro but I did not bet the horse to win… I really like Point Determined…

My Betting Strategy

I like betting trifectas on each race… Since there was three of us this year betting we boxed four horses per race, which cost us $24 per bet ($1 trifecta boxes)… This is the second year in a row that we have not cashed a trifecta ticket but I still like this bet because if you hit one then you pay for the day and if you hit two then you finish on the plus side… In six of the nine races we bet Derby Day two of our picks ran in the top three so if we were playing baseball yesterday we would have been golden… We lost about $70 a piece…

My buddy Johnny J, who had a pretty big day, likes to take one horse he likes in a race and then do an exacta box with that horse over all the horses… This is also a cheap bet, $14 to $18 per race and if you hit a big one then again you pay for the day… Johnny J ended up for the day up about $140 bucks…

My betting Screw Up

On Friday my wife tried on several occasions to get me to be the Oaks Race… I was cooking and prepping things for Saturday and did not place the bet… I told her right before the race started I would just book the bet myself for her… Should have known better… Her horse won with 47 to 1 odds…

What’s wrong with the System?

Several years ago my Dad gave me a handicap system that helps more then anything to throw out the trash in the race… The handicap method came from a Chiropractor who used to work on the jockeys at both Churchill Downs and Ellis Park in Henderson and has proven its worth over the years… This is the second year in a row we have done straight system bets and also the last year we follow this method… The problem is with hosting a Derby Party and trying to do bets for everyone at the party it is just a little to hectic and I am not able to spend enough time looking at the numbers and truly handicapping the race… We had two out of three on several races so next year I am going to ensure I have time to do my handicapping… There is nothing wrong with the system I just need the time and we will make that happen next year…

ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- My wife says, “How about those Reds!!!”

- Is it true that the NBA playoffs are going on??? I have still not watched a minute of any games thus far… Maybe next round… I believe I did here the Lakers are done…

- Scuffletown Mudcats are in ninth place after last week but only 18 points out of first… Dropped Dan Haren this week and picked up Cory Lidle… I really need Griffey Jr on off the DL and Rolen to be healthy… Without that pop in the lineup the offense is mediocre…

- Barry Bonds is getting ready to pass the Babe… To me that is not that big of a deal… The guy he is chasing is Aaron not Babe Ruth…

- UK’s Bat Cats are still alive and kicking!!! Pretty good story in the baseball rich SEC…

- Got my new TV installed on Saturday… It is a 42 inch DLP HDTV and I also bought surround sound system that is XM Ready… When the horses came down the backstretch on Saturday everyone was yelling for his or her betting interest and I screamed out “Look at that Picture”… It is awesome to watch… My wife and I watched Spiderman 2 on it yesterday and that was pretty cool…

- The Soprano’s is really sucking!!! I cannot believe this season has been this much of a disappointment… The whole Johnny Cakes thing is enough already and Tony is no fun now that he is holier then though… I want to see someone important get capped!!! They capped a couple of Johnny Sachs guys two episodes ago and nothing was even ever mentioned about it again… Is Johnny Sach going to turn on everyone??? Only three episodes left!!!

- I got a free coupon for an XM Radio from the St Louis Cardinals so I am taking the plunge today with XM… I will have to buy and antenna for the house as my new surround sound is also XM Ready… Good-Bye conventional Radio been nice to know ya!!!

- My golf game is suffering due to injury… I have a recurring shoulder/neck problem that always pops up this time of year and it hit me hard last night… I was planning on allot of practice this week but looks like that will have to wait…
- Barbaro did have one horse to beat after he had pulled ahead by five lengths in the stretch but did not catch him… Turned out that horse was Brad Jarrett’s pick for last years Derby, Bandini, who finally finished the 2005 Race…

What is in the CD Player this week?
Sonic Youth - Experamental Jet Set Trash and No Star

Friday, May 05, 2006

Final Derby Picks

by ShagOnSports


I have now put the pencil to the race and here is what I am coming up with...
If we do a five horse Trifecta Box the following will be there:
- Barbaro
- Sharp Humor
- Brother Derek
- Sweetnorthensaint
- Point Determined
If we add a sixth horse it will be either Showing Up or Keyed Entry...
I do not think Brother Derek will win due to his outside post but I cannot take him out of the mix because I think he is a solid horse and will win the Preakness if he runs in the race with the shorter distance and smaller field...
My wife likes Sweetnorthensaint... She is three for the last three...
If you are looking for another Giacamo then try Strom Treasure... He likes to come from off of the pace...
Good Luck to all!!!

They’re At the Post

By ShagOnSports

Talk Derby To Me!!! First let me say I have picked some winners and I have picked some losers… My betting preference is to take four horses and do a Trifecta Box on most of the races but then on the Derby race my syndicate usually will take five or six horses since the field is so large and box them… Last year we did not do any damage all day, which was an anomaly for us since on most Derby Days we have at least paid for the day, which is always the objective… “Lord Let Me Breakeven Cause I Sure Need the Money”…

To take you back a bit the first Derby that I really remember was 1973… I drew Sham at a backyard party and of course Sham completed the distance in less than two minutes (only two other horses have done this on Derby Day) but lost to Secretariat the greatest horse of all time… Sham ran second in the Preakness and then tried to run out with the great Red Horse in the Belmont and was crushed with the rest of the field… Anyway at that point I was hooked… I do not go to the track often but I am die-hard fan of the Derby and really pay attention when the Prep races start up through the Belmont Stakes…

Although these are not my official picks I am going to effort to give you the five or six horses that I think could be there at the finish… My goal is not to pick the winner but the horses that are going to be in the top three… Last year we had three of our horses run second, third and fourth but we failed to put Derby Winner Giacamo in the pool… If we had put him in then we would have split about $200,000 after taxes four ways… My wife woke up last year on Derby morning and the first words out of her mouth was Giacamo and the rest is history… She is on a roll picking the last three winners…

This year’s race is wide open… Lawyer Ron, Brother Derek, Bob and John and Barbaro are getting allot of play because of their wins in the four of the Derby Preps… Lawyer Ron, Brother Derek and Bob and John all have something working against them that seems silly but has to be factored in to your picks… Horses with people’s names do not win the Derby… The knock on Barbaro is the horse is lightly raced and has not raced in several weeks…

Let’s just cut to the chase… Brother Derek and Lawyer Ron like to run in the front and if they try to break from the gate to the lead on Saturday then both horses are done as far as winning the race… They drew really bad post positions, will not be able to control the pace and I do not give them any chance of winning with the outside post… Sinister Minister and Sharp Humor will set a blistering pace out of the gate and Baffert will try to steal the race with Minister… I do not think Brother Derek or Lawyer Ron will try to keep up with these two but they will be towards front of the pack… The question for these two horses is how will they handle getting a little dirt in their face and can the jockey’s hold them back a bit… I think Derek will handle it but I think Lawyer Ron will fade…

By the time the horses get to the top of turn four the gap between the speed horses and the field will shrink and as they make the turn for home or better yet “Down the Stretch They Come” like last year we will have one hell of a horse race… I do not see anyone dominating this field and there will be at least ten to twelve horses in a position to win this race… Position at the top of the stretch will be key and how well the Jockey can maneuver his horse through the traffic will determine the fate of the horse… If you watch Giacamo last year he was nowhere to be found when the broke for home but go one hell of a ride in the stretch, found the gaps and came on strong (he has not won a race since)…

So based on what I see right now here are the seven horses that I like in this race to run in the money… Barbaro, Brother Derek, Point Determined, Bob and John, Steppenwolfer, Jazil and Sweetnorthensaint… No matter which way I slice this race Point Determined comes out on top… Point Determined raced as a two year old, has shown good stamina at a mile and an eighth, has raced in a large field so he can handle traffic, is a closer who was sharp and gained ground in his final Prep, The Santa Anita Derby and has drawn a great post position… If I were going to bet a horse on the nose then this would be the one… If I had to pick five horses and box them in a Tri right now then they would be Barbaro, Brother Derek, Point Determined, Stepponwolfer and Jazil… If you are looking for a real long shot think about Private Vow…
Today I will get the form in hand and truly handicap the race but I do not see many changes in what I have selected here… On Saturday morning I will post my final picks for the race but do not expect me to get off of Point Determined… I like this horse… I will also reveal my wife’s pick… Good Luck and Happy Derby!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

My First Derby

by ShagOnSports

I remember going to my first Derby in 1987… For several weeks leading up to the Derby several of my friends and I had discussed attending that year… We finally decided to go a couple of weeks before the event and could not wait to get to the rowdy infield… The plan was we were going to stay with a friend of mine who was going to Law School at U of L and also meet several other friends who were also coming in from out of town… We loaded up on Friday night and off we went to the Ville…

I had not spent allot of time in Louisville so I really did not know my way around and was relying on the directions a friend of mine provided to his house (it is ironic that I now live in Louisville and often travel by this house)…

We made it up I64 hit Louisville to I65 and then found our exit onto Eastern Parkway… I had studied the directions for a couple of days (this was 1987 so there was no Google Maps) so I knew the names of the streets and had the directions down pretty well… If I got lost I could always call the number I had written on the directions so I was not too concerned about any miss-steps… We crossed over the street we were looking for and then made our turn on the next left which I though meant we had gone to far… At that point I needed to reference the directions so the five of us in my two door Cutlass Supreme started looking for them … There was a car behind us so I had to make a left to get out of the way…

At this point I realized we had lost the directions… We reached a point on the street where I could pull over and park and continued to search in vain… Unbelievable!!! We cannot find the directions which means we have no phone number (no one has cell phones in 1987)… It is 10:30 at night and I am thinking man we are screwed… As the debate continued in the car over who lost the directions went on for a couple of minutes I gazed up at a house to my left that was setting up elevated about twenty feet higher then the road… It was at that point I realized that there standing on the front porch wondering what the hell we were doing still in the car and waving his arms was our friend Biddy… We had stumbled to a stop right in front of his house… We laughed for an hour!!!

We did not get much rest that night and our plan was for the six of us to meet another group of our friends in turn three in the infield the next day… If you have ever been to the infield for Derby then you know how next to impossible it would be just to randomly find someone in that space (remember no cell phones in 1987)…

The next morning we went to the Liquor store, bought some bags of ice and two half gallons of vodka… We then went to the grocery store for some bread, sandwich meat, orange juice and large zip lock bags to pour the vodka into so we could seal up the bags and then strategically place them in the bottom of the cooler under a layer of ice and food… The plan was for two people to carry the cooler in after I had carried the two half gallons of orange juice ahead of them to avoid suspicion that we had any liquor…

We drove to the area of Churchill downs and parked a pretty good ways away from the track so we had quite a walk to the infield… On the way we alternated carrying the large cooler and had to stop on occasion as my friend Billy blew his referee whistle and in tandem we would scream out and made the referee signal for a pushing foul and said, “No, No, No, No!!! 52, 52, you’re pushing, we are going the other way!!!” How or why we started doing this I have no idea but it continued the entire weekend and everyone seemed to find this very amusing…

When we got to the gate we enacted our plan… My buddies went through one gate with the cooler and I moved down to another gate with my OJ… On our way in to the infield two people in front of me had there umbrellas confiscated and when they asked why they could not bring them in they were told they could be used as weapons and I thought how ridiculous is that… The security people really checked me well, made sure the OJ had never been opened and then away I went… As I made my way through the crowd there was my two buddies with the cooler and I thought they had made it through also but then I could see the look in their eyes… Dammit!!! Security took all the food out of the cooler and then dumped the ice and the bags of Vodka into the dumpster… So much for that plan!!!

We now made our way inside the tunnel to the infield with the cooler in tow now full of OJ and food… When we got inside the infield was a muddy mess and my buddy Bid D had worn his brand spanking new white tennis shoes… Bid D did not want to get them muddy so at that point someone had to put him on their back and carry him through the muddy mess… We needed a spot to have a home base so we wondered into an area between turn three and four, put down the cooler and Big D and marked our spot using the flag flying on top of the grandstand to the south, a flag on top of a food booth to the to the east and then another flag to our west… We decided we would split up into two groups and come back the spot once we found the other group of people we were looking for…

My group included Bid D so the first move is I have to pack Bid D on my back through the mud so he does not get his brand new white tennis shoes dirty until we reach the concrete… As we are walking around laughing about how we are going to find our other friends we decide that it would be a good idea every minute or two just to scream out one of the guys nicknames, Zorro! thinking he may by chance here us yelling…

We got over by the betting windows and we wanted to get some bets down on the Derby (we did not care about any of the other races) so we sent one guy to place the bets while we looked around for our friends… As we were waiting for Chill Will to place the bets I was looking over at two middle-aged women who had put a blanket down on the grass and were sitting by a row of bushes… Their husbands were standing behind them and I watched as two young drunk shirtless guys walked up behind the bushes and started pissing… It was at that point I realized the two middle-aged men were holding umbrellas and proceeded to beat the living shit out of the two guys who were pissing… I now understood the call of umbrellas as weapons…

After the bets were down we continued around turns three and four… When Bid D could he would walk on the ground but most of the time I was packing him around on my back to keep his damn white shoes from getting muddy… During the walk around we saw many shirtless people, including girls, a couple of more fights and ran into a guy we knew who had a whole wagon full of ice cold beer… He had gotten the beer with the old Trojan horse scheme of constructing a cooler inside of the wagon and then closing it all in so it just looked like a wagon… Once inside he busted it open and had let the soldiers out… During one of the fight scenes the Police actually arrested both guys and one of the guys dropped his tennis shoes and someone picked them up and they auctioned them off… I tried to buy them for Bid D but was outbid…

By this time I am thinking it is going to be a miracle to find the people we were looking for let alone the other group of people we had came with to the infield with… We were still yelling “Zorro” at the top of our lungs on occasion but this method was not working… We decided to venture on so I got Bid D on my back and off we go… We take about two steps and Zorro is standing right in front of us… Our other groups of friends had already found them so there we were united in the infield… It would be and EXcellent day from there…

We drank, watched fights, laughed at people, hollered at girls and when the Derby race went by we saw about three seconds of the horses through the chain-link fence… By the Derby Race the light rain we had experienced all day was gone the sun was shining and believe it or not Big D’s shoes were still not muddy…

The infield pretty much starts to clear out once the Derby Race had been completed even though there are two more races… We stayed for one more race and the decided it was time to head out of the infield for our next adventure… As we got our stuff and were ready to head out there was one person that was not accounted for… Where was Bid D??? By this time the main walkway through the infield was just a sloppy and muddy mess so I knew I would be packing him out but he was not where to be found… Finally we saw him… Bid D who had the winning ticket on the race that day (it paid a hefty sum) so he was a happy man, marching and high stepping like a German soldier right through the middle of the mud!!! So much for the damn tennis shoes…

As we made our way to the tunnel to exit the infield there was one last thing we were missing, our cooler… No one gave me a chance to find it since we had put it down and never gone back to the spot… I disappeared into the mass of people still in between turns three and four got my bearings on the flags I had marked our spot with identified the cooler, told the guy who was sitting on it that it was mine, opened it up and gave the contents away (I could have probably sold the food and orange juice)… I then made my way out of the crowd with the cooler in tow… When my friends saw me emerge from the crowd they begin cheering as if I had found the Holy Grail, an empty cooler… It was quite an afternoon…

I made it to every Derby after that until the last one I attended in 2001… I will save that story for next year…

MLB Baseball


At the end of the first month the Yankees and Red Sox are tied for first (My pick was the Yankees) in the AL East… The Sox are up on the Tigers (Tom C is happy about that and I am hoping for a Tigers vs Cardinals Series so the Redbirds can get revenge for 1968) and I think the Tigers have the pitching in place to sustain this start (I predicted the Indians and they are in Third… Oakland and Texas are tied for first with the Angels only a half game out (My prediction was Oakland)… Oakland and Texas are both 12 and 12…

The Mets may just run off with the NL East (I picked the Braves)… St Louis, Cincy and Houston are all at the top of the Central (You know my pick) and it looks like the early line is the Wildcard will come from this division… The Rockies are on top of the West but I still like the Dodgers whether Gagne comes back or not…

I read today that Curt Schilling would have tied Pedro Martinez and Babe Ruth for most wins by a Red Sox Pitcher in the month of April… Many people forget how solid a pitcher Ruth was before becoming the Sultan of Swat… The NY Times had a great article on Ruth today… Ruth hit homers number 712, 713 and 714 in one of his final games and final hurrahs of his career…

Jason Giambi had a nice April after finishing strong last year… His .557 On Base Percentage leads the AL as does his .828 slugging percentage, as does his 1.384 OPS… He is hitting .345 and has 25 walks so far…

Puljos has a .495 On Base Percentage to lead the NL as does his .925 slugging percentage and his 1.42 OPS… Puljos has 24 walks and has only struck out seven times… Puljos also lead the league in Home Runs and RBI’s… By the way at this stage of his career has there been a better hitter??? The numbers say no… Barring injury he could be the greatest of all time…

Greg Maddux is having a nice year for the Cubs… He is second in ERA, second in WHIP, first in wins and in the top five in batting average against… If the Cubs fold by All Star break he could be some serious trade bait if he will accept a trade (Yankees will be asking for him you can bet)…

Fantasy Update

The MudCats have moved up to sixth place… This week I get Griffey, Small, Renteria and Rolen back from injuries… AJ Burnett looks to be out a month or so which is not good for the pitching categories… Someone offered me four players for Puljos this week including A Rod as one of the four and I promptly rejected… I would like to have another closer and I may bait the hook a little this week to see what I can get…

At the top of my watch list is Edward Encarcian for Cincy, Luis Castillo, Craig Counsell, Mike Lowell, Shea Hillenbrand, Brandon Phillips, Craig Monroe, Rich Aurilia, Ben Broussard, Corey Patterson and Jason Smith… Five of these are multi position players, which are great to have in Fantasy Baseball…

ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- This week there were a couple baseball happenings that I appreciated… One involved Jose Mesa throwing at Omar Vizquel during a game not once but twice… This stems from Vizquel blaming Mesa for their World Series loss in 1997 while with the Indians… Baseball is about the inside pitch… I remember as a Little Leaguer when a friend of mine had hit a home run off of me I nailed him right in the thigh the next time up… That is baseball…

- The other involved Albert Puljos and Pirates pitcher… The pitcher had shown Puljos up when he struck him out in his previous at bat… The next at bat Albert ripped a home run and flipped the bat about half way to the mound in retaliation…

- My friend Johnny J called me from Harry Carry’s place in the middle of the day on Friday to solve a mystery for him… They were watching the Cubs play on TV and before the game they had brought an older woman and man onto the field and presented them with a New York Yankees Babe Ruth number three jersey and a bat… They could not here the TV so they could not understand what was going on with Babe Ruth and the Yankees at a Cubs vs Brewers game… It took me a minute but I realized that they were celebrating Ruth’s famous called shot from the 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field… This was of course a celebrated legend until a few years ago a man cleaning out his attic in Chicago found a home movie his father had made of the event that was shown for the first time on ESPN back in 1999… I pulled that one out of nowhere…

- I missed the golf on Sunday but it must have been an exciting finish... Chris Couch chippped in to win his first tournament... Forty nine year old Fred Funk was on the practice tee gettting ready just in case there was a playoff... Proves that if you hit it straight and can putt you can still cash a big check on tour...

- I am not a Pro Football guy but I think that Matt Leinert is better then the eleventh pick in the draft… I think that the Titans, the Jets and the Raiders all should have took him…

- I am still not watching but the NBA Playoff seems to have had some exciting games… Most surprising score was yesterdays 124 to 104 whipping of the Pistons by the Bucks… Spurs and Heat look to be in a pinch but both are at home for the final game of the series… When they reach the Semis I will tune in…

- A good derby quote I heard this week was, “Lord let me breakeven!!!” “I sure need the money… “

- The three horses I like today to be in the money are AP Warrior, Stepponwolfer and Point Determined… This field is wide open to me… I think the speed that is in the race will not allow Brother Derek or Lawyer Ron to win… Both of the horses were not challenged down the stretch of their last races and horses like people have a tendency to tense up when someone is running with them… I will publish my final picks on Friday after consulting with my experts…

- My wife has not picked her horse yet… She has picked the last three winners…

- Reality Spin called this week and told me that after last years Derby they had hauled 11,000 tons of trash out of Churchill Downs… I asked him if they also listed how much white trash they had removed…


In the CD Player This Week

Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation