To me, this is the perfect storm of sports happenings occurring over this weekend. There’s something for everyone, and everything for some of us. For me, here’s what I enjoy the most about it all:
- The Kentucky Derby is one of the best events to bet on, hands down. It doesn’t matter that I know as much about horse racing as I do about crocheting, I get to act like a grizzled old man in a fedora who whispers to the horses for a day. And the scary part is, any one of us could make a large chunk of change. 3 Derby’s ago, I hit a trifecta which paid out very handsomely. It is probably the 2nd or 3rd horse racing bet I’ve ever won in my life (making some at Monmouth Racetrack once in a while over the summer, and betting on the Triple Crown races), but my career record didn’t matter that day. All that mattered was that I hit the big one. And now I think I can do it again. Naturally, I didn’t, but I hit 3 out of 4 in my exacta bet last year (naturally because winning “just” another trifecta wouldn’t quite have the same cache, would it?). So I go into this year with nothing more than my strategy of mixing favorites with underdogs, picking by trainer, and jockey, and then the never-failing practice of looking at which horse looks like a champion. That’s right, show me the horse, I’ll tell you if I see a winner. I look at Carmelo Anthony and no matter what team he plays on, he’ll never be a winner. Why? Because I can see him, that’s why. And he’s no winner. Hey, don’t mock me too hard it did win me a trifecta one year. Actually my buddies came up with a can’t miss business idea for our strategy by starting a website called LookintheHorsesEyes.com and all we would do is show close-ups of all the eyes of the horses and make our predictions off that. Scary part is, we’d probably have a decent success rate. Look in that horse’s eyes and you will find out quickly if you are looking at a Derby winner or not!
- The NFL Draft may very well be a male soap opera or the equivalent of a dude version of the Real Housewives, but damnit I don’t care! It’s the one day (now 3 days, actually) that every fan of every team can be optimistic. Most likely that optimism lasts all of 1 pick before you start screaming obscenities at the screen and throwing things, opining on what a better job we could do as the GM due to the five 30-second YouTube clips of film study we have done of a player. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter. There’s intrigue (WHO will we pick?), drama (Trades!), scandal (wait…he failed a drug test the day before the combine???!!!), and of course 16 different talking heads throwing in their 2-cents. We have ESPN’s 3rd rate production with more dead-air than a good morning Dutch-oven, and hissy fit fights between the housewives- I mean, McShay, Kiper, and Gruden. Watch for the look on Kiper’s face when his 364 days of film study and Rainman-like memorization of a player’s times to the 3rd decimal point are completely stepped on and trashed by Gruden’s inevitable coach-speak about a guy’s “urgent athleticism” or “burning desire to tackle”. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
- Pacquiao vs. Mayweather capping off Derby Day is something that should have most sports fans excited. Unfortunately for me, it does the opposite. Not only will I not be watching, but I also won’t be giving anything resembling a crap about the fight at all, other than secretly hoping that Mayweather gets his head bashed in and retires (if reluctantly, even better) from fighting and any kind of media coverage forever. Besides being a despicable human being who has committed so many crimes that the only boxing he should be doing is the back of the shower in maximum-security facility, I think he has almost single-handedly ruined boxing. I used to LOVE boxing. I was a HUGE boxing fan. Guys like Mayweather, who has had all of 3 knockouts since 2005 (2 of them were TKOs), supposedly carried the weight of PPV “Superfights” leaving fans wondering after the final bell when the fight was going to start, are incapable of being the face of the sport. Not only is he the most unlikable human being I have seen, but he isn’t even a good villain. I don’t have to like a guy, but I frankly don’t even care enough to want to see him lose. I know some will say I don’t get the nuances of defensive strategy in boxing, or that I can’t appreciate his true talent, but I’m predicting a snooze-fest between a guy who is more known for betting a half million bucks on a football game and another who is a better politician than fighter at this point in his career. Would you watch Bill Clinton in the ring against Phil Hemuth? Me neither. Ok, maybe I would actually watch that.
- Yankees vs. Red Sox happens to fall on this weekend, and even though it’s very early in the season and doesn’t quite carry the same cache that it used to, it’s still one of the best rivalries out there. For me, it’s a good filler between the Derby and Draft to keep the sports focus tight!
So pop open a cold one, or throw a couple whiskey stones in a rocks glass and tip one (or a couple) up while enjoying some great sports action!