Quick Takes


          Barry Bonds will not play in the World Baseball Classic. Why? Injury! Injury my rear end! Could it be that the strict drug testing at the WBC doesn’t exactly appeal to Bonds?!


          Jack Kowalski of Hamtramk, MI. wants to know who my all-time favorite players are in the major sports. As a regular reader of my site, he obviously knows my feelings about Jackie Robinson. Football: Roger Staubach. Basketball: Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Hockey: Jacques Plante. Boxing: “Sugar” Ray Robinson. Although I don’t necessarily consider golf a sport (there I go again), it’s Gary Player. There are feature stories about them all on this website. (I don’t follow tennis, but I liked Bobby Riggs very much, and I’ll do an article on the colorful Riggs in the future.)


          I saw Kirk Gibson interviewed Monday night on ‘The Best Damn Sports Show.’ He looks great. Being the Dodgers (& Cardinals) fan that I am, Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series is my all-time single favorite play. There is a feature story about Gibson on this website.


          Had Jackie Robinson lived, he would have been 87 on January 31st.


Thanks to my friend, Bill Casey, himself an avid Red Sox fan, for this classic:

A New York family of Yankee fans goes to a store to shop for the eight-year-old boy’s birthday. The kid sees a Red Sox jersey, he likes it, he decides he wants to be a Red Sox fan, and he wants that jersey. He tells his older sister. She tells him no brother of her’s is going to be a Boston fan, and she slugs the little guy. He goes to his mother and tells her the same thing. She promptly tells her son that she won’t permit him to be a Red Sox fan, and she clobbers him, also. Then he goes to his father and tells his dad the same story. His father becomes incensed, yells and screams at the kid, and beats his rear end to a Red Sox red. The family leaves the store. The little boy is obviously without the Red Sox jersey that he so desperately wanted. They get in their car and head home. The kid, now having stopped crying, proceeds to address his family, “Ya know, I learned somethin’ today. I’ve been a Red Sox fan for just one hour, and I already hate you Yankee bastards!”


Story of the Week



          It’s only fitting that this article be posted today. The big game is right around the corner. I thought it would be good timing to share with you the relationship of the Super Bowl to the entertainment capital of the world.

          It becomes increasingly clear with each passing year……….if you cannot attend the Super Bowl in person, then Las Vegas is the next best place to be. Some 285,000 flocked to Vegas last year for the big game. To be sure, I could tell as I drove to and around the “strip” last year.

          Las Vegas has been a popular destination on Super Bowl weekend for decades, but the influx of tourists has intensified in the last 10 years. The 2005 Super Bowl weekend visitor count was 64.7% higher than the 1995 crowd of roughly 173,000, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

          The non-gaming economic impact on the city doubled for Super Bowl weekend during that 10-year period, growing from $49.7 million in 1995 to $100.3 million in 2005. The number of hotel rooms in town increased by 47.8% during that period.

          Fans continue to flock to Nevada sports books in ever large numbers to make Super Bowl wagers. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the statewide handle on the Super Bowl was $90.8 million last year, a 30.5% increase over the 1995 handle of $69.6 million. Nevada remains the only state that allows legal, over-the-counter sports betting.

          Las Vegas has made overtures to the NFL to build a huge domed stadium in exchange for a pledge from the NFL to play the Super Bowl in Las Vegas from time to time. The NFL nixed the idea because the casino industry indicated it was unwilling to dispense with betting on the Super Bowl, now or ever. Mayor Oscar Goodman denounced Paul Tagliabue and the league for apparent hypocricy.

Mayor Goodman is absolutely right about Tagliabue. The commissioner doesn’t want the Super Bowl in Vegas because of the sports books here and the game wagering. Apparently, he wants his NFL to appear very clean. That is positively hypocritical; betting on NFL games fuels fan interest and drives up TV ratings enormously. There is no doubt that the NFL needs Las Vegas; Tagliabue must realize this.

The NFL is missing the golden opportunity of showcasing its greatest game in the greatest venue there is for such an event. Las Vegas would positively put any other Super Bowl site to shame for sheer excitement. The Super Bowl and Las Vegas; it's the ultimate sports natural.  


Last Week’s Trivia


          Vic Power had a total of only 45 stolen bases during his 12 years in the "bigs.” He had just three of those steals in 1958. But two of those steals were quite unique. In 1958, Power achieved the rare feat of becoming one of just a handful of players to steal home twice in the same game. (Now that’s a rare feet.)


Trivia Question of the Week


          Thanks to my longtime friend, Jim Zimring, for this one. Not a surprise as Jim is the most avid Broncos fan I know. Who was the first player to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Denver Bronco? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.