Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the prognosticator's mea culpa

when i was seven or eight years old, i used to set the odds for the gulf coast mob's afl football gambling setup. a guy named eddie joseph called bobo every sunday night(right after all the games)to give him the odds for the next week. bobo printed the odd sheets that were distributed at various venues. he probably took the bets too but i can't say that for sure. amazingly, he was out of this by the time the feds finally busted the organization decades later. i suppose an organization that was relying on a kid for their odds wasn't seen as much of a threat back in the day.

there were two reasons i had this non-paying gig. first, it was the VERY early days of the american football league, years before the merger. hell, it was years before the first super-bowl between the leagues. no one watched the afl. nbc carried the games. cbs got the older, more respected league. at least, none of the bookies watched the afl. i did. i knew everything about jim nance & lance alworth & darryl lamonica & lenny dawson & don maynard. when bobo told eddie joseph this, they both asked my opinion about some upcoming games. folks were beginning to want to bet on the games & they didn't have a clue. hard core gamblers will bet if they're bowel movements will be soft or hard. betting on the afl was kind of like that.

my first week's tips were 100% on the money. eddie joseph was astonished. for that season, i ended up being right nearly 90% of the time. i made money for the mob. i'm surprised i didn't get a real job w/these guys. the real bookies took over calling the shots the next season. my day in the sun was over. ah, what could have been...

i mention all this because for the first time in years i made some sports picks earlier this year at the beginning of baseball season. baseball is pretty much the only sport i truly follow nowadays. that said, i'll also add that baseball is one of those games i've always thought impossible to call in terms of who'll win & who'll lose. too many games, too much human stuff(missed ref calls, crazy luck, injuries), too many variables to make a sensible call. nevertheless, i made the picks. it's time to pay the piper.

i can't say that eddie joseph would be impressed. of the six divisions, i got one right(the angels in the al west). i will say in my defense that i did have four of the other teams who did win their divisions listed as contenders(phillies, st louis, dodgers & boston)& several others who were in the running till the last week or so of the season(texas, giants, whitesox). i tanked on the mets & the cubbies & arizona but who could have seen how dismal those teams would be(injuries & chemistry did them in, for the most part)? i also didn't give the rockies, the braves, the twins, or the tigers a snowball's chance. i did make noises about what the yankees would do if their pitching came through(it did)etc etc. i said it at the time: cheap rationalizations & qualifications don't count in the end.

the season itself was fun. that it ended w/a one game do-or-die playoff between the twins & the tigers that went into extra innings & broke jim leyland's heart just one more time added to the excitement for the post-season. i'll say it now: i can't see how the yankees can fail to win another world series. the angel's small ball game may out fox them but i just don't see it. too much power & dominant pitching usually get you the wins. i think the cardinals will take the nl. they've got the pitching that i don't see in phillies. i think they're quicker too & have the better manager. if it's the cardinals & the yankees in the world series, i think it will be a great series but, as bobo spins in his grave, the yankees will take it.

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