Friday, March 30, 2012

The Final Four

Good morning everyone.  I'm just looking at the NCAA bracket trying to whip up some 'Final Four' predictions for you.  I can honestly say that you'd be shocked if you knew how little of the tournament I've been able to watch considering how well my predictions turned out for the 'Sweet 16' and the 'Elite 8'.  As I'm typing in the fact that the bracket that I highlighted in an article here a few weeks back at the start of the tournament is in the 11.3% percentile at ESPN, I'm wondering if reading the number '11.3%' just made you choke on your coffee or orange juice laughing...  :)  Being a big 'numbers guy', I have to smile looking at this bracket because Louisville's biggest margin of victory in the tournament came in their win over the #1 seed that they faced - 13 points over Michigan State.  The 13-point win by Kansas over North Carolina was the second largest margin of victory in the tournament, only overshadowed by a 15-point opening game victory over Detroit.  Ohio State's smallest margins of victory in the tourney came against Gonzaga and Syracuse, both of which were 7-point victories.  Kentucky has beaten everyone by double-digits to this point, with 12-point wins in their last 2 games against Indiana and Baylor resulting in their closest games.  In case you're wondering, I could stall ALL DAY before making these picks...  :)

Louisville vs. Kentucky:  I'm pretty sure that they must have the game times preset for each side of the bracket before the tourney begins, because that's the only explanation I can fathom for leading off tomorrow's doubleheader with the state championship of Kentucky.  Fierce rivals facing off with a trip to the NCAA Finals on the line - yes, this game will probably be interesting...  Kentucky defeated Louisville 69-62 on New Year's Eve in the only meeting between these teams this season.  I've looked at the schedules that both teams played this season and nothing would surprise me tomorrow, but since I have to make a pick...  :)

Kentucky   75   Louisville   66

Kansas vs. Ohio State:  Kansas defeated Ohio State 78-67 on December 10th in the only meeting between these teams this season.  Both teams knocked off #1 seeds last weekend to get to this point.  As the case is with all four of these teams, neither combatant in this game has a particular advantage with the 'Final Four' being held in New Orleans.  I saw how the Jayhawks closed out North Carolina, and I just have a feeling that we're going to see the 'novel' matchup on Monday night - UK vs. KU...

Kansas   74   Ohio State   70

I wanted to note here, if any of you decided to try my fantasy baseball strategy, I would be interested in seeing the team that you drafted (yes, I am just that big of a sports geek)...  If you do want to list your team in the comment section, just type in the last name of the players that you drafted, maybe with a first initial of the first name if the last name is a common one.  That article has had a lot of views and I'm curious to know how many people will implement that strategy.  I hope that you enjoy this 'Final Four' weekend and I'll see you again on Monday!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bobcat Baseball & Las Vegas/Poker

Good morning everyone.  Maybe I should have titled this entry "Oops"...  I meant to have this posted for you yesterday, but I was surprisingly tired after operating on three hours worth of sleep, and who knew that my nap would turn into about NINE hours of sleep?...  Okay, so after I got home from work at about 4:00 a.m., I ate and watched a little bit of t.v...  I went to bed and woke up at about 8:30 a.m., then promptly cleaned up and went to the DMV, because the driver's license that I renewed last month has not arrived and the temporary expires today.  After returning from the DMV, I eat a little bit and have to make my decision.  The alma mater is hosting the Oregon Ducks in a noon baseball game, and with work precluding me from seeing the team this weekend, it would be my last opportunity to watch the Bobcats for a while.  I won't have too many more opportunities if I make the move back to Las Vegas this summer, and the last three times that I've watched the Bobcats, they have faced the Texas Longhorns and lost everytime (3-1, 2-0, 6-1).  I decide to make the short walk down past Bikini Hill to Bobcat Baseball Field to take in the game.  It is perfect weather for a baseball game and coincidentally mirrors my favorite playing conditions for baseball.  The weather is overcast but not raining, a playing condition that I experienced a lot in high school in New England.  The home team hit 2-run homers in the first and second innings (a ROCKET over the fence in left in the first, and a long fly ball that cleared the fence in right center in the second) on their way to a 7-6 victory - YES!  I walk home after the game, eat, lay down for a "quick nap" once it starts raining hard outside (although it was overcast, this hard rain was not in the forecast)....  What do you know - after hitting the pillow at 5:00 p.m., it's 2:00 A.M. when I wake up...  (YAWN..., stretch, and here I am).

I have decided that I will now dedicate Wednesdays here on 'Bikini Hill' to stories about Las Vegas and poker stories.  For those of you who may be new to the blog, that solidifies the content of the three days that I post.  I post 'rambles' here on Mondays, which are long paragraphs about whatever I feel like posting at the time.  You know what Wednesdays will be comprised of, and Fridays are about sports and predictions regarding sporting events.

My goal is to return to the desert during the summer.  I previously lived in Las Vegas for 2 years from 2005-2007, and a combination of things resulted in that happening.  My brother and his family were living in Las Vegas at the time, my mother and I were both living here in San Marcos, America, and I decided that it would be nice if she could be closer to my brother and his family, who have moved around quite a bit due to serving in the military.  The economy was really good at the time (which makes me nervous about moving back right now), and we were experiencing the 'poker boom'...  I went to dealer school for a month after arriving in Las Vegas, and ended up getting my first job (as a chip runner) and the World Series of Poker at the Rio.  After that I was able to land a dealing job on the Strip.  You know how life goes though...  My brother and his family end up getting assignments to ship out of Vegas, my mother moves back to the central U.S., and after a few years I decide that I'm sick of the desert (and a little homesick).  This coincidentally had nothing to do with the economy, and it just ended up being fortunate for me that I returned to Texas before things got tough (I always tell people that tourists go to Vegas with their extra income, so if the economy is bad, they're not visiting).  Anyway, last year we had a 'Vegas-like' year here in Texas, with little to no rain, and it's harder to find poker games here than it is in the desert.  The same goes for making sports bets at the drop of a hat, so I am planning my return to the valley.  If you haven't followed the blog regularly, I do like sports just a LITTLE BIT...  I apologize for the LONG nap, and when I return on Friday I will have my predictions for the 'Final Four'.  Have a good one!

Monday, March 26, 2012

My 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft/Strategy & Results

Good afternoon everyone.  If you are one of my regular readers who have stopped by specifically to read my Monday ramble, I have already made that entry for today and you can find it under the title 'Do You Work Here?'  (I know that some of you could not care less about sports...)  :)  For those of you who are baseball junkies, who may be curious as to what I was doing at 11:00 in the morning yesterday, or who just want to learn about an "innovative" fantasy baseball strategy (we'll see), here we go.

This is my second season competing in this particular fantasy baseball format, which is a rotisserie league composed of 10 people who each a drafted a roster of 28 players yesterday (our draft took just under 2 hours).  Under this format, our teams will compete against each other in 10 different categories (5 offensive and 5 defensive) as follows:  Home Runs; Runs Batted In; Runs Scored; Stolen Bases; Batting Average; Wins; Saves; Strikeouts; Earned Run Average; and Walks/Hits Allowed Per Inning Pitched.

Under this format last season I took 3rd place in my league of 10 teams.  The strategy that I will be using this season was implemented last season, although last year I came up with the strategy DURING THE DRAFT...  :)  If you still have not drafted your team for this season, you are more than welcome to try this strategy, and at the very least, your other nine opponents will wonder what in the hell you are doing during your draft, as I'm sure mine were...  :)  Home runs are the "sexy" category if you are a baseball fan, so when I drafted seventh in my draft last year, of course people were taking all of the power hitters before me.  That's when I formulated this strategy, which is almost guaranteed to be the complete opposite of all of my opponents in any fantasy baseball league that I choose to compete in during the future (that is until my blog EXPLODES and has millions of readers, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there)...  :)  My strategy in the draft and during the season is to win all of the DEFENSIVE categories that I can, so while my opponents are spreading their picks around, I almost totally focus on taking the best pitchers in the early rounds of the draft.  After that, I try to win the stolen bases category (also "unattractive"), and then place as high as I can in batting average and runs scored, knowing that I don't have much of a chance at all to win the home runs or runs-batted-in category.

During the first 14 rounds of the draft I selected players from the following positions, which is why my team won't be hitting many home runs this season:  First Baseman; Pitcher; Pitcher; Outfielder; Pitcher; Pitcher; Pitcher; Pitcher; Pitcher; Pitcher; Pitcher; Pitcher; Pitcher; AND (you guessed it) Pitcher...  :P  Yes, I selected 12 pitches in the first 14 rounds of the draft.  During the season our starting lineups will be made up of 13 offensive players and 9 pitchers, with a bench of 6 players.  I will periodically update the progress of my team throughout the course of the baseball season, which now bridges the gap until the next football season for me.  For those of you who are in my fantasy league, welcome to the blog and I'll enjoy competing against you this year.  For those of you who are not in my fantasy league, don't worry that I just gave my strategy away, because all of the best players were drafted yesterday...  :)  Below is a list of the players that I drafted, round by round...

3rd             A. Gonzalez (Red Sox)
18th            R. Halladay (Phillies)
23rd           C. Lee (Phillies)
38th            M. Holliday (Cardinals)
43rd           D. Haren (Angels)
58th            J. Lester (Red Sox)
63rd           H. Bell (Marlins)
78th            I. Kennedy (Diamondbacks)
83rd           J. Valverde (Tigers)
98th            J. Putz (Diamondbacks)
103rd         A. Bailey (Red Sox)
118th          D. Hudson (Diamondbacks)
123rd          M. Garza (Cubs)
138th          J. Zimmerman (Nationals)
143rd          C. Maybin (Padres)
158th          A. Pagan (Giants)
163rd          B. Boesch (Tigers)
178th          J. Weeks (Athletics)
183rd          B. Revere (Twins)
198th          A. Jackson (Tigers)
203rd          A. Escobar (Royals)
218th          I. Davis (Mets)
223rd         I. Desmond (Nationals)
238th          B. Harper (Nationals)
243rd         Y. Escobar (Blue Jays)
258th          T. Helton (Rockies)
263rd          C. Jones (Braves)
278th          C. Ruiz (Phillies)

My 'Bikini Hill Giants' will be competing this season against Red October, the Confused Red Flour Beetles, Expos Forever, the Shooting Stars, Crime Dog, the Wascally Wabbits, Time To Beat, the Royals, and the Dirt Dogs...  :)  Enjoy your day, good luck in your draft if you have one coming up, and I'll see you again on Wednesday.

Do You Work Here?

Good morning everyone.  Before I start my normal rambling for a Monday, I wanted to take a moment to compare my predicted 'Elite Eight' final scores from my Saturday post to the actual outcomes for the games, which should offer you a little insight as to why I'm chomping at the bit to get back to Las Vegas...

                             My Predictions                                                   Actual Final Scores

Louisville                 71         Florida           65               Louisville        72           Florida         68                
Ohio State               79         Syracuse        73               Ohio State       77          Syracuse      70
Kentucky                82          Baylor            74               Kentucky        82          Baylor          70
North Carolina      69          Kansas           61                Kansas            80           UNC            67

You can save your applause, and I know what y'all are thinking...  "How were you so wrong on the Kansas score???"  :)  These games complete a recent run where I was 7-1 predicting the winners of the 'Sweet 16' games, and 3-1 predicting these 'Elite Eight' games, with uncannily close scores on the latter.  Ironically, the two losing teams, Michigan State and North Carolina, were the LAST TWO 'Final Four' teams that I had on the bracket that I blogged about here.  In another welcome to my life moment, North Carolina is my favorite team, so that would be the game in this set that I would be wrong about...  :)  Anyway, this score group reminds me of my NFL playoff prediction run, and has me wanting even more (if that's possible) to return to the desert to visit some of my favorite sportsbooks...

I will make my 'Final Four' predictions on Friday, but now it's time to ramble.  I survived my trouble sleeping during my normal sleeping hours at the end of this week to complete my 2-hour, 10-player, 28-round fantasy baseball draft yesterday.  I want to welcome those members of my new fantasy league who said that they would stop by and visit my blog (the draft room opened 15 minutes before the draft started and had a chat room, and for those of you who know me, I WAS THERE 15 minutes before the draft began)...  :)  And I did enjoy chatting with you 'Red October' and 'Confused Red Flour Beetles'.  For those of you who MUST BE wondering what I named my team, we will proudly be taking the field this season as the 'Bikini Hill Giants'.  You may know by now that I am a Red Sox fan, but the Giants moniker is in honor of my friend who paid for my fantasy baseball magazine at the counter of the local video store/bookstore after I taxied him around town that afternoon (he is a New York Giants fan and I thought that I should AT LEAST TRY to steal some of that good karma)...  ;)  After I publish this post I will be blogging a review of yesterday's draft and showing the 28 player team that I drafted, and explaining why 12 of the first 14 players that I drafted were pitchers...  I'm sure that the red flour beetles must have been confused yesterday, along with the other 8 members of my league...  While on the subject of fantasy leagues, I love drafting teams so much that I wanted to sign up for another league yesterday.  I didn't end up doing this, mostly due to the fact that I have discovered that when I have multiple fantasy teams in one season for a sport (football, baseball, etc..), I have found that I do not like having a player on my team in one of my leagues while I have to compete against him in another league.  I also have this nasty habit of executing a good draft, only to watch my players get injured during the course of the season, which is why I prefer sports betting to fantasy sports now, and wish that I would have invested more time researching my sports wagers when I lived out in Las Vegas before.  The thing that the fantasy baseball will accomplished is that it will bridge that gap until football season arrives, which will also hopefully find me posting my football predictions from the desert by that time.  ;)  As I shot down my idea of entering another fantasy baseball league, I started wondering who these people are who enter these ONE-THOUSAND DOLLAR (and above) fantasy leagues.  Could you imagine being in one of these leagues and losing your top draft picks to injuries???  It's one early September Sunday, and you see Tom Brady and LeSean McCoy (for example), your top two draft picks, go down for the season...  $ 1,000.00 - ughhh, no thanks...  So I'm changing out a trash bag at work (yes, I lead a glamourous life), it's our busiest night of the week, and a customer approaches me and asks, "do you work here?"  In my genuinely helpful and sincere spirit, I answered them and solved their problem.  After they walked away, when I had a moment to reflect on their question, my mind started working on alternative answers as I continued tying the trash bag before taking it outside.... "Nah, I don't work here - this music venue is really hopping, and there are hundreds of people here, but I was getting a little bored and decided that the amount of trash in this can here isn't to my liking, so......"   :)  I also received this question earlier in the week, when I was standing on the stage at closing time, after I had been hustling around the venue for about six hours, and was now standing with my arms folded as I was surveying the crowd to make sure that everyone proceeded to leave the venue in a timely fashion, a stage that we never allow any customer to stand on...  I do love San Marcos, America...  :)  Before I proceed to SLAM a few more t.v. commercials, I would like to take the time to give one some recognition, one that caught my attention to the point that I would like to rip it off at a Las Vegas poker table in the future.  Imagine that I'm sitting at a low-limit poker game in Vegas, and I win a very small pot (the pot being small to convey that my following antics are CLEARLY a joke, and not meant to offend anybody), and as I bring in my meager winnings, you hear..... "uh... who's laughing now?.....   GA   ZELLE....   AH,  HA  HA  HA!!!!"  That's from the relatively new MiO energy drink commercial in case you haven't seen it - good job MiO, there's some potential there...  ;)  It seems to me that I may have derided this next commercial before, but if so, here it comes again because it's still being shown...  You see a passenger on an airplane, flagging down the stewardess because he has a headache, and when she offers him some Bayer aspirin, he replies, "I'm not having a heart-attack..."  Bayer aspirin, .... GET OVER YOURSELF...  Ugghhh...  And then a couple of days ago, literally right before I leave for work, as I'm getting things together, hearing but not watching the t.v., the voice in the commercial EXCLAIMS, "BEST OF ALL, THE TEN DOLLAR DINNER BOX IS ONLY TEN DOLLARS!!"  This is followed by something (???...)  ..."Pizza Hut"...  My already rolling eyes look up toward the t.v., and I stop dead in my tracks thinking, REALLY?!  Now for those of you familiar with poker terminology, that would be a bad beat, wouldn't it, if the ten dollar dinner box WASN'T ten dollars?....  "Best of all, the ten dollar dinner box is only twenty-five dollars!..."  WHO is getting paid to write this stuff, and WHO is paying them?!...  #geniuses   That is all that I have for now, except to say that in the future, Wednesdays here at 'Bikini Hill' are likely to become stories about things related to Las Vegas and poker stories (much more likely if I do indeed move back to Las Vegas during the summer).  I hope that you have a great day and I will see you again on Wednesday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

'Elite Eight Predictions'

Good morning everyone and welcome to a special Saturday edition of the blog.  I feel a lot better about showing up to give you some 'Elite Eight' predictions after going 7-1 on my 'Sweet 16' predictions that I made here on Wednesday.  Before the tournament began I let you know about ESPN's free bracket contest and the fact that they let you enter up to ten free brackets.  I just discovered that the 3rd bracket that I turned in is sitting in the 97.2 percentile of all the brackets submitted, with 7 of my teams still alive in the 'Elite Eight'.  Michigan State, the only team that tripped me up in my 'Sweet 16' predictions here for the blog, is the only team that is not alive in that bracket.  This particular bracket has Kentucky beating North Carolina 74-72 in the final - we shall see...  Here are my 'Elite Eight' predictions:

Louisville                      71                      Florida              65
Ohio State                    79                      Syracuse          73
Kentucky                     82                      Baylor               74
North Carolina           69                     Kansas              61

I hope that you enjoy the 'Elite Eight' and I'll see you again on Monday with my ramble - have a great weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Major League Baseball Regular Season

Good morning everyone.  Just a few housekeeping notes and then I will give you this season's regular season MLB predictions as promised.  I will be back tomorrow with probably a shorter than normal post which will be focused mainly on my 'Elite 8' predictions.  I went 3 for 4 last night, with the loser being another one of my Final Four teams (surprise, surprise)...  :)  My predictions for tonight's games can be found in my last post.  Ironically enough, when I typed my post on Wednesday and stated that signing Peyton Manning was a huge gamble for Denver, I hadn't looked at the Broncos opponents for this season.  Beyond facing Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego twice, the Denver schedule also includes:  vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. New Orleans, & vs. Houston, with @ Baltimore, @ Cincinnati, @ Atlanta, & @ New England.  Yeah, I'm not backing off my post - HUGE GAMBLE signing an older quarterback with a questionable health status who did not take a snap last year while shipping off an extremely popular young quarterback...  I have a lot of friends going out to Las Vegas this weekend for a wedding, punks...  I mean congratulations Sean & Kate...  I hope that everyone has a great time, punks...  ;)  The only consolation that I have is that my fantasy baseball draft is on Sunday morning...  On that note, here are your predictions for the regular season...

                                                          2012 Regular Season Predictions  

AL East                               W           L                     NL East                                  W            L

Boston                                92          70                   Philadelphia                        98          64
New York                          90          72                   Atlanta                                  87          75
Tampa Bay                        87          75                   Miami                                   85          77
Toronto                              83          79                   Washington                        84         78
Baltimore                           68          94                   New York                            64          98

AL Central                           W           L                     NL Central                           W            L

Detroit                                 91          71                     St. Louis                               88           74
Cleveland                            77          85                    Cincinnati                            77           85
Minnesota                           73          89                    Pittsburgh                           75           87
Kansas City                        72          90                    Chicago                                74           88
Chicago                               70          92                     Milwaukee                          73           89
                                                                                          Houston                              58           104

AL West                              W            L                        NL West                               W             L

Los Angeles                       96           66                      Arizona                                92            70
Texas                                   92           70                     San Francisco                    88            74
Oakland                               73           89                     Los Angeles                        86            76
Seattle                                  70           92                     Colorado                             82            80
                                                                                            San Diego                           70            92

Have fun with that gang...  :)  Oh, by the way, this little blog surpassed the 5,000 pageview mark this morning.  Thank you, I appreciate it!  Have a great day and I will see you again tomorrow.  And Sean & Kate, seriously, congratulations - have a great weekend in the desert!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sean, John, Peyton, Tim, Mark, & The 'Sweet 16'

Good afternoon everyone.  Go ahead and fasten your seatbelts - I have no shortage of topics to cover here today (not having this entry ready for you this morning paid off this time as today has already been a big sports day)...  I wanted to begin with some shoutouts.  My friend --S out in Las Vegas (commenting on a post here) and my friend Randy here in San Marcos, America (commenting on a facebook post) both predicted that Peyton Manning would end up in Denver when I predicted that he would land in Arizona - well done gentlemen...  I also wanted to give a shoutout to the 'Voice of San Marcos', who can play middle linebacker on my team anytime...  If you're sensing a little bit of a football theme here, you're dead right.  If it was up to me, the football season could start tomorrow (of course I feel like this every day during the offseason)...  For those of you who are hoop junkies, I will give you my predictions (with scores) for the 'Sweet 16' matchups later in this post.  For those of you who are baseball junkies, I will still be giving you my predictions of the records of all 30 Major League Baseball teams for the upcoming regular season on Friday.  For those of you who want suggestions on how to prepare a gourmet meal, you're in the wrong place...

Sean Payton:  Among the various punishments that the NFL gave the New Orleans Saints today for 'bounties' that were placed on opposing players, head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year without pay (starting April 1st).  As far as making predictions goes, I am at a loss here, but this is going to be interesting.  I guess that you promote someone from within the organization for one year with the understanding that Payton resumes his duties April 1, 2013???  This is a pretty shocking development considering that the prevailing wisdom was that he would receive a 4 to 6 game suspension.

John Elway:  If you ask me, Elway has never liked having Tebow in Denver, he didn't like the organization 'having' to cave into fan pressure to play Tebow, and signing Peyton Manning was his way of sticking it to Tebow and the mile-high faithful.  Don't get me wrong, Elway can do what he wants in his job, but if Manning isn't a HUGE success for the Broncos, I think that this move is going to end up blowing up in his face.  My prediction is that this explosion is exactly what we are going to see.  Tebow was EXTREMELY POPULAR in Denver, and no one knows what is going to happen when Manning takes the field again.  Let me interject here that I have always been a Manning fan.  He's a character guy and he's always produced.  The pitfalls that I see here are that Manning is not young anymore, he will have a completely different group of coaches and teammates than he had in Indianapolis, he will be playing outdoors in inclement weather in many more games, the AFC West teams (Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders) have a pretty respectable group of defenses (he will be facing them 6 teams combined), and again, there are no guarantees as to how his neck is going to hold up when he is hit.  Do you think that NFL officials are overzealous in protecting hits to the head on quarterbacks now?  Just wait and see what happens when someone gets near Manning's lid...  If Manning isn't able to hold up as Denver's signal caller, then what do the Broncos have?  Shipping off a very popular young quarterback who took over the reins of a 1-4 team and led that team to a division title and a playoff victory is incredibly risky.  AT BEST Manning has only a handful of good years left in him, and that is IF he can stay healthy...  Stay tuned...

Peyton Manning:  Again, Manning is a character guy and has had a Hall of Fame career in my book if he never takes the field again.  Just look at how the Colts played last season without Manning and in the many seasons prior with him at the helm.  Manning has known Elway for a long time and I am sure that played a huge part in his decision to sign with Denver, although I still don't think that the Broncos are the best fit for him (okay, that's the last time I'll say that for a while)...  :)  Manning is a smart, hard-working guy that doesn't strike me as someone who is afraid of a challenge, and I think that will suit him well in this situation, because getting the Broncos into the same stratosphere as the perennial elite teams in the AFC (Patriots, Ravens, Steelers) isn't going to be easy.

Tim Tebow:  Tebow is now a member of the New York Jets.  Just when you think that the Big Apple couldn't get any crazier...  I am very curious as to how Tebow and Rex Ryan will co-exist, but there is one undeniable trait that they share - they are both EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE and seemingly have a HUNGER to succeed.  Even as I type this, I would not be surprised if Tebow surpasses Sanchez as the Jets starter entering the season.  Tebow is also like Ryan in that he is fiery and wears his emotions on his sleeve, and that's just not the type of guy that Mark Sanchez is.  I am also completely under the impression that if Ryan didn't want Tebow to be a Jet, then Tebow wouldn't be in New York.  Grab some popcorn folks...

Mark Sanchez:  People that know me well know that I have never been big on Sanchez, but for someone who led their team to consecutive conference championship games (okay, 'led' may be an overstatement), having 'Tebowmania' come to New York cannot be a positive thing.  It's hard to play well when you're constantly looking over your shoulder, but I don't know how else this can play out.  How can you NOT be worried about performing poorly when a big part of your fan base will predictably be warming up their vocal chords to chant "WE WANT TEBOW!"???  I guess that's why these guys get paid the big money...

Some 'Sweet 16' predictions for you, without further commentary:

Syracuse              70             Wisconsin      65
Michigan State     73              Louisville       63
Ohio State           75              Cincinnati      64
Florida                 68             Marquette      64
Baylor                  80             Xavier           73
North Carolina     81             Ohio              68
Kentucky             83             Indiana          72
Kansas                66             N.C. State     59

I think that this sets the record for my longest blog entry ever, but since it looks like you readers are going to put 'Bikini Hill' over the 5,000 views mark by this weekend, I'm happy to do it...  ;)  If you're nice, I might do a special Saturday entry with my 'Elite 8' predictions...  Have a great day everyone and I'll see you on Friday.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Lehigh As A Kite

Good morning everyone.  Spring Break is officially over and life is back to normal in San Marcos, America.  Well, I assume it is - it's still not 9:00 a.m. and I haven't been out of the apartment, but the students are supposed to be back in town...  Let's start off this ramble discussing the NCAA Tournament.  The bad news is that my bracket has been decimated.  My dark horse pick for the Final Four, the Florida State Seminoles, was eliminated from the tourney last night by Cincinnati.  That was not as shocking as watching a 2nd-seeded Duke team getting tossed out by a 15th-seeded Lehigh squad.  I have to be honest with you here - as bad as this looks for my blog, losing half of my Final Four in the first weekend of play, I know that I'm not the only one.  Couple this with the fact that I have been a North Carolina basketball fan as long as I can remember and that I did not gamble even a penny on this year's tournament, all that I can say is BA HA HA HA HA...  :)  As I commented on my facebook account yesterday, I hope that the video of this year's Lehigh upset of Duke gets as much airplay in the future as the highlights of Christian Laettner's shot to beat Kentucky that we've been shown over and over and over...  On that note, it seems that a lot of folks in the state of Kentucky are unhappy with the UPS commercial featuring Laettner's shot of 20 years ago - DUH!!!  It's ironic that UPS didn't understand that they would get this reaction before airing the commercial, and from what I've been reading, STILL DOESN'T understand the backlash from Wildcat fans...  Okay, since my main bracket is trashed, let's talk about another prediction that I made on the blog here recently that evidently has been washed down the drain.  Peyton Manning to the Arizona Cardinals is evidently not going to happen.  I am much more surprised by this than by my bracket being dismantled.  Great climate, sharp offensive-minded coach, Larry FREAKIN Fitzgerald...  If Manning goes back to the state of Tennessee, where he played his college football and would have Chris Johnson in the backfield, I get that.  If Manning goes to San Francisco with Crabtree, Moss, Manningham, and Gore, I get that too.  I still thought that Arizona would be a great fit for Manning, but what do I know, I'm just a blogger...  :)  I still believe that Denver and that climate would be a horrible fit for a quarterback who has not exactly thrived in bad weather.  Let me take a moment here to give a shoutout to Mario Williams.  This is the man who was the center of great controversy in Houston when he was drafted ahead of Reggie Bush in 2006.  Six years later, and I'm sure that Texans fans are now sick that Williams has left in free agency to the Buffalo Bills, signing a contract that reportedly could be worth up to 100 million dollars, with 50 million of that guaranteed.  I haven't heard of Bush signing any 100 million dollar contracts lately.  If only foresight was 20/20...  I also need to give a shoutout to my friend and co-worker Emily, who visited Las Vegas recently and brought back some souvenir chips for me.  For those of you who don't know me personally, I have previously alluded to the fact that playing with poker chips (three to be precise) is a habit that I have developed since I took up the game of poker, and this habit is far from limited to occurring at just the poker tables.  Although I knew that my friend would come through on her promise of bringing chips back to me, what clinched her shoutout in my blog was Emily's facebook post about "laying under the chairs" at McCarran International Airport while awaiting her return flight home to Texas...  :)  The fact that her good friend and travel companion was ENCOURAGING HER to get married while they were in the desert (the friend said that the marriage could have just been annulled the next day) is just icing on the cake...  I will be back here again on Wednesday, when I will probably have some 'Sweet 16' predictions for you (DON'T forget your pens)...  ;)  Have a great day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Plain Old March 16th

Good morning everyone.  I just brought up my ten bracket(s) on the computer to see how I fared yesterday at ESPN.  In my 'official' bracket, the one that I gave my predictions from here in Wednesday's blog entry, I went 12-4.  I only had 1 of the 4 losers advancing to the Sweet 16, so I am not too displeased with that.  # 12 Long Beach State only lost by 7 to # 5 New Mexico, but that loss will cost me a game in the 2nd round also as I had LBSU advancing to the 3rd round.  # 9 UConn lost by 13 to # 8 Iowa State, but I didn't blink at a 9-seed losing to an 8-seed.  I was very suprised that # 11 Colorado beat # 6 UNLV because of the fashion in which it occurred.  Although the Buffaloes only won the game by 4 points, they had been up by at least 20 on the Las Vegas hoopsters (I wish that I could have seen the comeback run by UNLV but I was already at work).  # 7 Gonzaga destroying # 10 West Virginia by 23 points also caught me off-guard obviously.  The good news for me is that those were my only losses of the day.  What I found funny this morning when I brought all ten of my brackets up is that I went 14-2 in the very next bracket that I completed after doing my Wednesday post here. UNLV and UConn were my only two losses in that bracket yesterday, and yesterday's games were the only ones that I had those squads winning.

For not being a college student, this has been a pretty full Spring Break for me.  To start the week, I picked up a shift at work on Monday, a day that I am usually off.  On Tuesday, a day that I usually work, I was off and found myself able to attend the Texas State @ The University of Texas at Austin baseball game.  My alma mater was the first opponent to sellout Disch-Falk Field in Austin this season, but the Bobcats ended up with a disappointing 6-1 loss after being held to only 4 hits.  I watched the game with a friend and his family, and did have a good time.  My friend has one son who is a first-grader and one who is a second-grader, and I picked on both of them enough that I cannot remember which one this moment occurred with.  I offered my friend's son a dollar for his Bobcats shirt, and he answered "that's not worth it."  Then he noticed the poker chips that I habitually play with (yes, even at a baseball game) and he counter-offered "I'll trade you those for my shoes..."  You HAVE to love kids...  :)  On Wednesday my sister brought her kids to town and we all went out and had a burger and fries.  She is also a graduate of my alma mater, so I got to give everyone a quick tour around town, and she was able to see some of the changes that have occurred since she moved on.  The expansion of Bobcat Stadium is currently a work-in-progress for the school's move to the WAC next season.  Last night my brother dropped in for a surprise weekend visit from the east coast and we got to hang out while I worked.  Not all of the residents of San Marcos, America have returned from Spring Break, but there were enough people around that he got a good taste of it.  I have work the next 2 days, 3 more days of NCAA hoops action, and on Sunday I plan on attending a baseball card show.  Again, a pretty busy break for this camper.        

As we proceeded through the last few days, I noticed that this particular string of days on the calendar have some significance attached to them.  In the past few years with the advent of facebook and my sister being a math teacher, I am now aware that March 14th is "Pi Day".  That's 'Pi' as in 3.14, not your grandma's apple pie.  A little while back there was a writer who went by the name of Shakespeare, and he mentioned something about 'The Ides Of March' in one of his works, which is March 15th.  Tomorrow, March 17th, is Saint Patrick's Day.  Today, well, today is just March 16th, but I hope that you have a great day nonetheless.  Actually, go ahead and enjoy the whole weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's Time To Dance

Good morning everyone.  Since my Peyton Manning to the Arizona Cardinals prediction (which I think should be a mortal lock) is looking shaky, I better hustle and type in these NCAA Tourney predictions.  I hope that all of you had fun or are having fun filling out your brackets on the eve of the first big tournament day.  Let me pass along a great website to you if you want to do research.  I was looking for a site that listed all of the tournament field's records, and this was the best site that I found after checking out several websites earlier today:
The page is really done well.  My accomplishment for last year's NCAA Tourney was predicting that none of the #1 seeds would reach the Final Four.  I was correct, and only had to sweat one of those teams reaching the Elite Eight.  Let me mention here once again that you can enter a free bracket challenge contest at ESPN (there are several being offered I'm sure).  ESPN's contest allows you to fill out up to 10 brackets.  I am going to give you my predictions based on the bracket that I have completed (which wasn't easy), and then I will go back to ESPN and fill out 9 more brackets to account for spots where I was really stuck.  Let me give you a little list highlighting my upsets...

1)  #12 Virginia Commonwealth upsets #5 Wichita State
2)  #12 Long Beach State upsets #5 New Mexico
3)  #11 North Carolina State upsets #6 San Diego State
4)  #10 Purdue upsets #7 St. Mary's
5)  #10 West Virginia upsets #7 Gonzaga
6)  #9 UConn upsets #8 Iowa State
7)  #9 Saint Louis upsets #8 Memphis

In the second round, I have the two #12 seeds pulling off upsets again, with VCU over Indiana, and Long Beach St. over Louisville.  I also have #5 Vanderbilt beating #4 Wisconsin in this round.  A game that I think will be very interesting is #1 Syracuse vs. #8 Kansas State, although I couldn't pull the trigger on it.  K-State has defeated Missouri twice this season, and they also split with Baylor and Texas.  After I stuck with Syracuse, I did pick them to fall in the next round to Vanderbilt (I am obviously counting on Vandy to continue their hot shooting...).  I also picked Florida State to upset Ohio State in that round.

My Final Four has three teams from the ACC (North Carolina, Duke, & Florida State) and Michigan State.

I have North Carolina beating Duke in the final.

In about 36 hours from now this bracket may be ripped to shreds, but I hope that you enjoy the tournament as much as I do...  :)  I will see you again on Friday - I hope that you enjoy this year's tournament as much I plan to.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Raising Arizona

Good evening everyone.  I am giving you my Monday blog post just a little early this week because I have to work tomorrow night - let me explain...  I usually wake up for my 8:00 p.m. shift at work at about 7:00 p.m.  True to form, I just woke up (it's 8:00 p.m. now, but last night it would have been 7:00 p.m. right now due to the time change).  Anyway, I am wide awake, and having just slept through the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, I want to get this blog entry out, and then I can take my first serious look at the bracket for this year's field of 68 so that I can start formulating my predictions for Wednesday's blog entry.  There is a free bracket contest that I participate in annually at if you are looking for a place to compete with your picks.  The contest is called 'Tournament Challenge' and they allow you to submit up to 10 different brackets for the Men's Tournament.  The deadline for submitting your entries is the tipoff time of the first game on Thursday, March 15th.  Speaking of basketball, I want to congratulate the UC Santa Barbara Lady Gauchos on earning a trip to the 'big dance' in the Women's Tournament this year.  During my high school coaching days, we had a player who went on to play at Rutgers and is now an assistant coach for UC Santa Barbara.  Congratulations to Coach Locke as she makes YET ANOTHER trip back to the NCAA Tournament...  :)  The title of today's blog refers to another prediction of mine that I first revealed on facebook earlier today.  I believe that Peyton Manning will play for the Arizona Cardinals next season.  Manning has made visits to the Broncos and the Cardinals so far, and I saw some film of him getting off of the plane for his meeting with Arizona earlier today.  Once I put some thought into it, I believe that the Cardinals will be the best choice he can make.  Arizona has an offensive-minded coach in Ken Whisenhunt who took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl a few years ago with Kurt Warner at the helm, Larry Fitzgerald is on the roster, and Arizona plays their games indoors.  So far the word on ESPN is that Seattle and Tennessee have shown interest in speaking to Manning but have been unable to set up a meeting with him.  Considering that the Broncos play in some nasty weather in Denver, and that Manning would have to face the Chargers, Raiders, and Chiefs twice each season in that division, I think the Manning will choose Arizona - we shall see...  For those of you who like to take vacations, and/or play poker in casinos, I have a resort review for you.  Very recently one of my friends and co-workers visited Lake Tahoe with his family.  They stayed at the Harrah's property in Lake Tahoe for five days.  Early in the trip they dined at an 'upscale' restaurant on the property ('upscale' for the purpose of this blog entry refers to the fact that my friends paid $ 300.00 for 3 meals - it does not mean that they had a positive dining experience).  Two members of the family ate a seafood salad that had shrimp on it, and both of them got food poisoning.  We're talking about food poisoning that put them out of commission for over 24 hours, but even after speaking with 3 different representatives of the Harrah's corporation, they received no compensation OF ANY KIND for their inconvenience.  Instead, they were met with an "oh well" attitude, and again, this was a party that stayed at the 'resort' for FIVE DAYS...  I hope that helps at least one of you to avoid a potential pitfall in your travels.  One last piece of advice before I go dive into the brackets at ESPN....  If you are asked to leave a bar or a nightclub by the staff, JUST... LEAVE...  In the HISTORY of bars and nightclubs, I would wager that there has NEVER been one instance where a patron has been asked to leave the establishment, and then was able to overpower the whole staff, the local law-enforcement, the state police, the National Guard, and then the rest of our nation's military to remain and enjoy the festivities.  IF this did happen, I bet that the other patrons probably weren't interested in hanging around.  PLEASE, just leave...  :)  We have now reached the end of this ramble and I am going to start studying this year's tourney bracket.  I hope that you have an outstanding week, and I will see you again on Wednesday with some predictions regarding this year's field of 68.


Friday, March 9, 2012


Good morning everyone!  I'm excited about this Friday just because it stands to be the last one for a while where I won't be making a sports prediction about something.  I'll give you another ramble on Monday, followed by a list of NCAA Men's Tourney predictions on Wednesday, and I'll have some more hoops predictions on Friday based on Thursday's games, etc...  At this time I have to give credit to my brother for his call yesterday.  The following was his facebook post before yesterday's Big East Tourney games began (he happens to cheer for the Orangemen, which prompted this post)...  "Big East Tourney Failure:  UCONN/SYRACUSE at Noon, USF/ND at 9PM.  You schedule the best game of the day with the number 2 team in the country and the team from New York in the Garden when everyone is at work and most likely won't see it!"  I read this post, then went back to sleep to prepare for my nightshift at work.  When I woke up and turned to ESPN, I learned that the Huskies had won a couple of games in a row since their coach returned to the bench.  Then they showed the highlights from the extremely close 58-55 Syracuse victory.  In all fairness, Notre Dame beat South Florida by 4 in overtime, but still, nice call brother...  ;)  I have a story from a former student of the local high school that was relayed to me through facebook, and I couldn't help laughing even though the story is pitiful (which is actually why I laughed).  The student relayed his involvement in a 'fender bender' earlier in the week, and said that when his mother showed up to the scene of the accident in a BMW, the female motorist, who to this point doesn't speak a word of English, starts clapping and stomping the ground chanting "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!"  Yeah, never a dull moment, huh?...  For the moment winter has returned to San Marcos, America, as while I slept yesterday afternoon the temperature dropped from 77 degrees down to 49 degrees in an hour and a half.  I had already seen the 10-day forecast for the area earlier in the week, which made that Monday fantasy baseball studying trek to Bikini Hill imperative.  As far back as I can remember, I can only recall one spring break for the local university where the week off wasn't accompanied by rain at some point...  The break officially starts on Monday, but since most of the students here don't have class on Fridays, the festivities have already begun for all intents and purposes.  As far back as I can remember, the NCAA Tourney has also started during that week, which is why I am personally looking forward to next week.  It is one of the best sports weeks of the year with all of the games loaded up between Thursday and Sunday.  I am going to let you go now, but I hope that you have a great weekend and I will see you again on Monday.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peyton Manning, Food Stamps, & Chicken McNuggets

Good afternoon everyone.  Today is surely a sad day for Indiana sports fans as the Colts have released their longtime starting quarterback, as rumored.  Peyton Manning served as yet another example of how important one player can be to a team, as the Colts went into a freefall without him at the helm this year, dropping so far that they received the top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.  Manning is one of those athletes who has always made the players around him better, simply by his ability to get them the football.  He made his team much better by controlling the clock, opponents substitutions, and taking advantage of mismatches with audibles.  It will be very interesting to see how the Colts adjust without him and how he adjusts to whatever team he lands with.

Amanda Clayton... If you haven't heard this name before, you surely will be shortly.  According to Yahoo!, it seems that this 24 year-old lottery winner from Michigan, after electing to take a $ 1,000,000.00 lump-sum lottery payment, is STILL receiving food stamps from the state of Michigan...  The full article is at Yahoo! News, but I just wanted you to be aware of that story...  #brilliant

Have you ever stumbled across a piece of food that looked like something or somebody?  Well, in another Yahoo! News article, a Nebraska woman reportedly has sold a 3 year-old Chicken McNugget that bears a resemblance to George Washington for $ 8,100.00 on eBay.  You can't make this stuff up, nor the fact that 70 other people bid on the McNugget, nor the fact that the McNugget got over 40,000 page views on eBay...

I'm sitting here in limbo as I wait to find out whether I will be working tonight or watching college basketball.  I was able to watch some college hoops on Monday night, watching simultaneous games on ESPN and ESPN 2 as they BOTH headed to overtime - LOVE this time of year.  Earlier in the day, I did make that trip to Bikini Hill as planned, and enjoyed 75-degree weather as I spent about 3 more hours perusing through my fantasy baseball magazine.  I also saw a friend of mine show up with a guy and a small football.  Before she saw me, she was tossing the football around with him, and initially I wanted to get up from my studying to help her with her throwing.  They were only standing about twenty feet apart initially, but she was having trouble throwing a spiral, and was not following through on her throws.  However, that delivery served her well when they proceeded to stand about THIRTY YARDS from each other, and she was hitting him with her LAUNCHED spirals everytime...  Not only that, but she can catch the ball too...  :)  So Emily, if you happen to read this, good job!  ;)

I'm going to let you go for now, but I will see you again on Friday.  Have a great day!


Monday, March 5, 2012

It Looks Good On Paper

Good morning everyone.  Today, this week, actually this whole month looks good on paper - we shall see...  My day off is being forecast with a high of 72 degrees, which promises to be a perfect day to head over to Bikini Hill and do some more studying for my fantasy baseball draft, which is now just a mere three weeks away...  I mentioned in a recent blog that I was randomly selected to receive the 3rd draft pick in a 10-team league, so now I have to try to figure out which players will be available in which spots as the draft proceeds through 28 rounds.  I played in my first 10-team draft league for fantasy baseball last season and finished in 3rd place (with the top 2 teams getting paid).  If I wasn't so lazy, I would have left my apartment yesterday and headed over behind Bikini Hill to watch my alma mater complete a sweep of Notre Dame on the baseball diamond.  The Bobcats earned their fifth-straight shutout win in a row, their 3rd against the Irish.  That's the Texas State Bobcats, who will become a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in the fall - stay tuned...  ;)  My recent semi-obsession with moving back to Las Vegas (my friends, yourself included, might choose to remove the word 'semi' from that characterization) seems to leave everything else running in a distant second place on my list of interests.  Yesterday while reading stories from 1 of my 2 favorite Vegas reading sites, I was turned onto a 3rd.  I have now added the 'Las Vegas Cabbie Chronicles' to my reading list.  The website is if you're interested in reading some true tales in the life of a Las Vegas cab driver.  Don't forget 'Life As A Las Vegas Poker Dealer' (written by a good friend of mine) at or if you're interested in reading some poker stories.  Back to the month that looks good on paper, this week will be FULL OF college conference basketball tournaments as we gear up for the NCAA tournament chaos that begins next week.  Remember that the brackets for the NCAA Tournament will be announced this coming Sunday (on the 11th), and I will hit you with some tournament predictions on the 14th.  Guess what I will be doing next Monday (study, study, study)...  Hopefully I get a lot accomplished at Bikini Hill today as I will be giving you my regular season MLB predictions on Friday the 23rd.  Warmer weather, the NCAA Tourney, the start of the baseball season - what more could you want?  My intention is to do some of my 'spring cleaning' today, sandwiching it somewhere in-between and around going to Bikini Hill and watching college basketball games on t.v. tonight.  As I sit here wondering what sage advice I can pass onto you on a Monday, trying to make sure that stopping by my little blog and reading this far was worthwhile to you....  ahhh, yes...  If you ever go out in public, say to a nightclub, to a live music venue for example..., I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND that you walk up to total strangers, and, I don't know.... proceed to stick your palm in their faces, before asking them if your hand smells like chloroform...  THAT was a new one on me...  Enjoy the rest of your evening, elsewhere...  Life is rarely boring in San Marcos, America...  My new most-annoying commercial on t.v. is the Totino's Pizza Rolls commercial where the kids are on the phone with their mother, unable to locate the pizza rolls which are sitting on the freezer shelf at EYE-LEVEL, right in front of them...  Now I'm not one to be cynical (okay, maybe I am). but maybe these children don't deserve to eat if they can't find these pizza rolls...  :)  HOW can you not see them?  WHO thinks that this is clever??  And they keep showing this commerical, OVER AND OVER...???  Well, I have a lot to do today, or that I SHOULD DO TODAY, so I am going to let you go now.  I hope that you have a great Monday, and I'll see you again on Wednesday.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Tim Tebow & Taylor Swift

Good afternoon and Happy Texas Independence Day everyone.  I've got another ramble for you today, but we're getting closer and closer to the point where we'll have predictions on Fridays once again, at least for a little while.  Sports will be mixed in with today's ramble as a consolation prize though, as I'm going to hit you with a few funny things from my fantasy baseball magazine.  I have been playing fantasy baseball for close to 15 years now (I'm not EXACTLY SURE which year was my first), and throughout my 'playing career' I have purchased the Athlon Sports baseball magazine.  I like the magazine because the layout isn't "busy" (their stats aren't arranged in some bizarre matrix that is intended to give their readers migrane headaches) and they include every team's schedule.  In this year's 2012 edition, the magazine did a 'Calendar of the Weird' from which I will share a few events which made me smile.  In April of last year, Ryan Braun attempted to contact a fan who had proposed marriage to him, but he wasn't able to get a hold of her because she included her phone number on the sign that she used at the ballpark and received a TON of phone calls...  :)  In a game last May, the Kansas City Royals used two pinch-runners in the ninth inning of a tie game who BOTH managed to get picked off of first base...  :)  In early October a 97 year-old man in Milwaukee called '911' because he wanted to watch the Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks playoff game but he couldn't find his TV's remote control.  The BEST PART is that the police responded to the call and found the remote...  :)  Oh, and if you did join my fantasy baseball league, don't be drafting all of the Phillies just because I predicted that they will be in the World Series this year...  :)  So I was browsing through the Yahoo! headlines a little while ago, and happened upon one suggesting that Tim Tebow and Taylor Swift might be an item...  And you were wondering how Tebow was going to keep his name in the media during the offseason...  :)  In the little poker story blog that I found at AllVegasPoker, I read about something which I never really thought about doing in Vegas as a sports fan, but that it might be a fun idea for a football junkie.  This fan was mentioning how he went to one of the casinos to watch the NFL Draft.  It looks like they have a lot of fun doing that in New York City, and if you could get the casino packed with football fans, that definitely seems like it would be a good way to spend the day.  On the DYING TO MOVE BACK to Vegas front, I received some potential good news from a friend of mine.  It seems that he might be needing a house and dog-sitter and the end of August and start of September.  If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know the thought that ran through my mind...  'Looking after the house, taking care of the dogs, and studying football FERVENTLY with the fast-approaching football season coming...'  Yep, I'm available...  :)  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE San Marcos, America, but the ability to play poker and/or make sports bets at the drop of hat (or a 'Benjamin')...  As I look through the poker stories as the AllVegas site, it seems that there a lot more 'Aces-Cracked', 'High-Hand' promotions, and 'Freeroll' tournaments for poker players in Vegas as the poker rooms compete for business.  Oh, and more tournaments with assorted buy-ins.  When I dealt poker in Vegas five years ago, brand new poker rooms were still being opened in the casinos as 'Texas Hold-Em' was exploding onto the scene.  The blog has now been viewed over 4,300 times for those of you tracking if I'll reach my predicted 20,000 views by the end of the year.  I'm so close now I can TASTE IT...  ;)  Okay, make sure that you start doing your scouting during the coming week for your NCAA Tourney Brackets if you haven't been doing so already - 'Selection Sunday' is now nine days away...  :)  Have a great weekend and we'll see you again on Monday!