Story of the Week



“It gets late early out there.” Yogi Berra.


“What is Barry Bonds’ favorite city in California? Needles.” Jay Leno.    


TV has determined that poker is a sport; it’s all over ESPN networks. I don’t agree, but as long as TV puts poker in a sports light, then I’ll drop a few notes here about gambling in general and poker specifically. Are you aware that:

Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in America? Why? Gambling!

Las Vegas generates more money than any other business in the world? Why? Gambling!

If Las Vegas were a country, it would be the ninth richest country in the world? Why? Gambling!

Gambling produces 60 billion dollars a year in legal revenue alone? (The operative word here is legal. So how much money does illegal gambling pump………who knows?!)

Every house game you play in Las Vegas is a sucker bet, some more than others? The odds are way against you beating the house. If you don’t believe it, consider the fact that you, the players, are responsible for all the magnificent hotels going up in Las Vegas…………and in all gambling venues everywhere in the world for that matter.

So, boys and girls, when you gamble, good luck…………you’ll need it!  And as I teach my poker classes at C.C.S.N. (Community College of Southern Nevada), that definitely includes live poker. No matter how proficient a poker player you are, there’s more luck in the game than skill, and that’s precisely why there are so many unknown players at the final table of the World Series every year. Sure, skill is involved in poker, and lots of it, but you can make every right play and still get hammered on the river.

Happy birthday to legalized Nevada casino gaming. Nevada gaming turned 75 on March 19th. Without it, Las Vegas would have been known as little more than a desert car and truck stop to and from Los Angeles.


Before we leave Las Vegas, when I become mayor of the city, there will be an annual local holiday, Bugsy Day, to honor Benjamin Siegel on his birth date, February 28th.


I liked sports a damn sight more before the inmates took over the asylum. Alfonso Soriano is now baseball’s answer to Scottie Pippen. To hell with what my boss tells me to do; I refuse to do it! The Washington Nationals have only themselves to blame as it relates to Alfonso Soriano. He doesn’t want to play anywhere but second base, and the Nationals never discussed it with him before they traded with Texas for him. So what if he agrees to go to the outfield?! Yes, he hits lots of homers, but in the five years he’s been a regular, he’s made 105 errors at second base for the Yankees and the Rangers. He is a horrendous fielder; that’s not going to change when he plays the outfield. Any National League club that signs him is asking for major defensive problems. Soriano belongs in the American League as a DH period. As I’ve written often before, the DH is for baseball hitters………not baseball players, and Soriano qualifies.    



Jerry Jones introduced Terrell Owens to the media Saturday, as if Owens needs any intro anywhere. The Cowboys just signed him to a three-year deal. Owens is a great talent and a big-gamer; don’t forget his nine catches for 122 yards in Super Bowl XXXIX while playing very hurt for the Eagles. But he’s been a cancer on two different NFL teams. Would I sign Owens if I owned a team? You bet I would! But he’d be paid on a per-game basis for the length of the contract. He’d make top dollar if he behaved himself, and if he didn’t, he’d be out on his ass. Jerry Jones didn’t fall off an Arkansas turnip truck on his way to Dallas; that contract has to have a very definitive pre-nuptial agreement. It sure as hell would if I were Jones………or I’d pass on the pass receiver.


Owens’ three-year contract calls for $25 million. It includes a $5 million bonus and a $5 million salary this season, but no pre-nup and added penalties should Owens pull any of his problem-posing stunts that were prominent with his two prior teams, S.F. and Philadelphia. If this info is valid, maybe Jerry Jones really did fall off that turnip truck. If he didn’t wear a pre-nup condom in this deal, then he deserves the disease!


We Americans really should stop calling our sports titles “world championships.” They are not!  The 2004 Olympics taught us that our basketball team is not worthy of the title of world champions. Our team, loaded with NBA stars, finished in third place to Argentina and Italy in that competition. And the recent World Baseball Classic taught us the same about that sport. Team USA, loaded with high-priced talent from our major leagues, finished with a .500 record at 3-3, and did not make the semi-finals. Cuba and Japan fought it out for the title, won Monday by Japan.

Our athletes, legends in their own minds, feel that all they have to do is show up, and they can sleepwalk their way to these championships. Well, they can’t! Their incomes do not dictate the quality of their play. The teams we compete against have far more pride and put forth far more effort and preparation, both individually and as a team………and that is precisely why those countries win championships………and we don’t.

Herb Brooks and the U.S.A. 1980 Gold Medal hockey team redefined the words effort and preparation and pride. They should be a model for all of our country’s sports endeavors against international competition.   


          It’s time for the “Sweet 16” teams in March Madness. The shootout reconvenes today. My two favorite teams are still in the hunt; Memphis and U.C.L.A. Unfortunately for me, they’re both in the Oakland Regional. I predict Memphis will beat Bradley and U.C.L.A. will beat Gonzaga, and my favorite teams will square off against each other for the right to get to Indianapolis and the Final Four. That would be bitter-sweet for me. However, if that happens, GO MEMPHIS TIGERS!  That would put a great big sock in the mouths of the biased East Coast media. Let’s start with the inept and unprepared Billy Packer.


Last Week’s Trivia


          The last AFL Championship Game was played between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs won, 17-7, and went on to defeat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, 23-7. It was the last AFL-NFL Super Bowl.


Trivia Question of the Week


          Who pitched 12 innings of perfect ball only to see the leadoff batter in the thirteenth inning reach base on an error? You may know the pitcher, but I want details. Who made the error? Who got the first hit? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.