Friday, September 29, 2017

NFL Week 4: Let's Remember Some Guys

So last Sunday I woke up to my buddy and fellow degenerate Matt Bentson informing me that he had a brain-fart and bet his whole online gambling bankroll on the Buffalo Bills +3.5 at home for the Denver Broncos. $972. Being the humanitarian that I am, I had to go over to his crib to be with him in his trying time/laugh in his fucking face. It was amazing. I showed up at halftime to him smoking a cigarette on his stoop in broad daylight with the Bills down 3. Cover town. Over the next hour and a half, he convinced himself he would lose 50 different ways. In reality it was actually a pretty straightforward win with our Bills winning by 10 and Von Miller giving Tyrod Taylor a down low-too slow and drawing a 15 yard penalty in the process. 

The Twins are in the playoffs for the first time since I was in high school. 2011 - 2016 was an extreme amount of ineptitude including some guys that could not have played for any other franchise. In light of our recent successes, we need to look back on our humble beginnings. Let's remember some guys.  

Green Bay -7 over Chicago

Andrew Albers

New Orleans -3 over Miami 

Rene Tosoni

Buffalo +8 over Atlanta 

Ben Revere 

Baltimore +3 over Pittsburgh 

Jason Kubel 2.0

Cincinnati -3 over Cleveland 

Josmil Pinto

St. Louis +6 over Dallas

Sam Deduno

Houston +2 over Tennessee 

Darin Mastroianni

Detroit +1.5 over Minnesota

Sam Fuld

Carolina +9 over New England 

Ryan Doumit

Jets +3 over Jacksonville 

Oswaldo Arcia

San Francisco +6.5 over Arizona 

Eduardo Nunez

Philly +1.5 over San Diego 

Cole DeVries

Tampa Bay -3 over Giants

Brian Dinkelman

Oakland +3 over Denver

Jason Bartlett 2.0

Seattle -13 over Indianapolis 

Blaine Boyer

Washington +7 over Chiefs

Danny Santana

Thursday, September 21, 2017

NFL Week 3 and the Carp win the Central League

Last week: 9-7-0
Overall: 13-15-1

Look at that - not a bad week last week.  Of games I chose to bet, I actually went 6-3 and that's counting double-dipping on the Vikings at 9.5 once Sam Bradford's knee had a dentist appointment during the game Sunday.  Speaking of that, one thing that pissed me off this week was Zimmer's quote after the game.  

"Sam is fine. He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now. Either way, he's fine."

I guess if you're not going to say anything that's one way to do it, but it reminds me an awful lot of Lati and I trying to coordinate a ride from one of his relatives in small-town Ireland.  In the States, if you're going to pick someone up, you're basically giving them turn-by-turn updates.  "Just left, be there in 10."  "Be on the NW corner since I'm coming from that way." In Ireland, it's "I'll be out front of the pub on Brady between 4:15 and 7 unless I forget."  OK then.

This past weekend, my beloved Hiroshima Carp clinched the Central League pennant for the second year in a row.  As you may know, I've been a die-hard Carps guy for about 4 months and 6 days or so.  So it's been a long time coming for me.  Anyway, since I vow to never or almost never write about football in these, I'm going to note my favorite things about my experience watching Japanese baseball since I was too tired and too lazy to write any of this shit down when it was actually fresh and topical.  Anyway.

Rams -2 at Niners

Buying tickets was kind of a wild goose chase except if you were chasing a goose and all the people who could potentially help you don't speak really any English.  I was pretty convinced that I had totally fucked this up and ruined the whole trip by not securing tickets beforehand once I failed miserably trying to buy tickets on a copy machine using a Japanese touch screen at what amounts to a Walgreens.  Seriously, you can buy GA tickets to these games, as well as movie tickets, and apparently a bunch of other shit on these goofy copy machines in the convenience stores in town, which is extremely Japan.  May as well be flying cars.  Anyway, we finally found a secondary market ticket store after being as literal as we possibly could over Google translate to this guy who owned a store that sold Carps merch outside the stadium.  Former Twin legend Kris Johnson was on our tickets.

Ravens -3.5 in London vs. Jags

The culture around baseball there is a biiiiiiit different.  There were almost zero bars surrounding the ballpark like there are in most places in the States, a fact that dumbfounded the ignorant American as we entered the ballpark with about 10 thousand others 2 AND A HALF hours before a surefire Friday night rainout.  There was sincerely a 100% chance of rain the whole night and we just went on a prayer since we were booked to leave the next day.  The rest of the people, not sure what they were thinking.  Gates were open and Asahis were being sold at a rapid pace to everyone in attendance.  There were even beer vendors who wore fuckin' kegs on their backs refilling beers in the stands.  This all went on until after their version of the national anthem and starting lineups, immediately after which they called the game.

Broncos -3 at Bills

After the rainout we went to our regular Hiroshima dive (we'd been there the night before so we were basically a couple regular Mayday Malones in Boston).  About ten minutes talking baseball with the (English speaking) locals and we made the executive decision to postpone our journey home to the last possible second in order to see what we'd been missing our whole lives.  

Saints +5.5 at Panthers

Some highlights:

  • A girl who was about my age posited that I was 37 years of old to my face which should have been a wake-up call for the lifestyle.
  • The locals thought I looked like former Twin Randy Bass, who likes like I would if I gained 40 pounds was actually 37 years old.  The reveal after I Googled him was an all-time cool your jets moment for me.
  • This is Randy Bass.

  • I had about 8 Makers on the rocks in 3 hours.
  • The owner studied abroad in Omaha and spoke better English than I did.  She had memorabilia all over her bar and I vowed to send her some Twins gear to display, which I naturally have not done yet.  I need to do that and go back.
  • Idiot American moment: I was talking about how we're Twins fans.  "It's Nishioka's team in the States, remember him?  We have a guy from Korea named Byungho Park now, do you know him?"  That's like saying "oh, you're from Canada, huh?  Well, the Wild have some guys from Finland, do you know them?"  Still cringing, which my therapist says is bad.

Steelers -7 at Bears

Everyone had Kuroda jerseys.  Like everyone.  He's like Jesus there.

Falcons -3 at Lions

There was a balloon toss during the middle of the fifth inning which is probably the coolest thing I've ever experienced at a baseball game.  Completely earnest, it's the closest I've ever felt to Heaven.

Browns -1.5 at Colts

You can bring pizza and beer into the ballpark, which we certainly fucking did.  Night one, I saw a family in the bleachers with a 20 inch Costco pizza and we were all over that the next day.  

Bucs at Vikings (no line)

The stadium was unbelievable.  Perfect size, just a little smaller than a Major League park with wide open concourses, the city to one side and mountains to the other.  Picturesque. 

I mean, come on.

Texans +13.5 at Patriots

During the rainout game, we met a Japanese fella who wanted to practice his English on a couple Yanks.  I remember him buying us like 3 beers a piece, asking if we were married, then asking if we were gay, which, OK then.  Anyway, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.  He was nice as hell all things considered.  Naturally, he had his Kuroda jersey in tow.

Dolphins -6 at Jets

They don't fuck around with the rules.  Before the rainout game, I asked an usher if I could go down by the dugout and take a photo at roughly field level.  No dice.  I tried reasoning, it's just a photo, I'll be right back up.  You can escort us back up to the concourse.  Nope.  No can do.  I may be projecting but it's not the only experience I had where I noticed just how much more orderly Japanese culture is than American culture.  I'd have had a better chance convincing an usher to let me play shortstop and hit 5th than I had trying to get closer to that damn field.

Giants +6 at Eagles

Their tarp was dope as hell.  It just covered the dirt and let the rain fall on the infield grass.  I'm not entirely sure it's practical but it looked really, really cool.

Seahawks +2.5 at Titans

In the middle of the aforementioned fifth inning, there was also like a ten minute break during which the grounds crew basically re-sodded the whole field and put the batters' boxes and the baselines down again, etc.  The President of the Saints kindly informed me that it was so the players could have a smoke break, which is amazing.

Bengals +8.5 at Packers

Hiroshima is a fuckin' baseball town.  When they're good, the people who can't get seats for the game line the streets near the stadium and watch on TVs through windows and then party their fucking faces off after a W.  It was like a Japanese St. Louis.

Chiefs -3 at Chargers

Between two different trips and after a combined 4 hours at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium (I call it the Zoom, not a big deal), we finally got to see some baseball.  The Carps' leadoff man hit a dribbler between first and the mound and beat the throw.  The crowd went fuckin' ape shit.  My best estimate at a comparable atmosphere is the atmosphere at the Auburn stadium when they returned the missed field goal for game-winning TD as time expired.  These people like baseball more than us and I love them for it.

Raiders -3 at Washington

The Carp were playing the Yomiuri Giants who are like the Yankees of NPB.  They stuck all the folks from Tokyo up in their own section.

Cowboys -3 at Cards

Best baseball experience of my life.  If you love baseball, you HAVE to go over for a game.  Go Carp, go.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NFL Week 2

NFL Week 2 Blog and My Favorite Thing About Each City Whose Team I Pick

Last Week: 5-8-1

Texans +6 at Bengals
I've never been to Houston but my senior year of college some buddies and I did a trip to Cancun for spring break.  It was cheapest to fly somewhere, spend the night, and take the connection the next morning and for about a day it was looking like we'd be in Houston with a free night on our hands.  So we're sort of brainstorming shit to do in Houston and my buddy Brett (who works in fancy-pants M&A finance and wears almost exclusively polos with the names of hedge funds on the sleeve) texts the group "God Fearing Fuck is playing a concert, just throwing it out there."  I spit my beer out when I read that text.  Just unprovoked out of nowhere.  He'd never heard of the band it turns out but I've often imagined a group of quasi-broey college seniors from Minnesota going to a God Fearing Fuck show.

Side Note: I picked Houston in my Suicide Pool week one.  Classic.

Browns +9 at Ravens
It's LeBron's chasedown block in the Finals last year.  Manifest Destiny for LBJ in Cleveland over the MonStars is the best basketball performance I've ever seen.  If LeBron dunks that shit on the last possession the Earth may have swallowed us whole.

Bills +7 at Panthers
It's this Youtube video.  Enjoy.

Cardinals -7 at Colts
Probably the Indy 500 which is my favorite sporting event that I never watch.  I'd really like to go party my face off in the infield once before I'm washed.  I've always liked open-driver racing better than NASCAR because it's bougie as hell as opposed to hick city.

Titans -2 at Jaguars
I've only driven through there and never was into country music.  I'd have to say Jack Daniels.

Eagles +5.5 at Chiefs
The fact that there was a fucking Disney movie about a garbage man turned field goal kicker played by Tony Danza.  How stoned was the screenwriter?

Patriots -6.5 at Saints
The movie Celtic Pride.  And the fact that the only time I was there I witnessed a drunken brawl in our section of Fenway and could not have been more amped.

Vikings +5.5 at Steelers
Liquor Lyle's

Bears +7 at Bucs
Everything.  My favorite city.  Wrigley.  Wrigleyville.  Lake Michigan.  Lakeview.  The L.  Michael Jordan.  The time I bribed a bouncer to get into a Hold Steady show.  $90 Lyft rides to O'Hare.  Kevin McAllister's family.

Jets +13.5 at Raiders
The fact that it's the best city in the United States and that you can get a hotdog within 200 yards of 24 hours a day.  Kind of redundant.

Dolphins +4.5 at Chargers
The times my dad took me Tijuana as a youth.  Came back from vacation stunting on my fifth grade class with a fake Rolex.

Cowboys -2 at Broncos
The time I watched jazz music v stoned after a Rockies game at El Chapultepec.

Washington +2.5 at Rams
The Swamp.  Love the Swamp.  Fill up the swamp.
Also the time I was the least interested person in the building walking around the Smithsonian while trying to follow the Gopher hockey NCAA game against Yale.  Gophers lose.

Niners +14 at Seahawks
AT&T Park.

Packers +3 at Falcons
If it's not Outkast you're wrong and probably a cop.

Lions +3 at Giants
Favorite thing about Jersey is Jersey Shore the TV show.  I used it as fodder to talk to girls in high school and look where it got me.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

NFL Week 1

Week 1
Chiefs +9 at Patriots
I sort of hate this game because it's so many points to lay but people don't get rich betting against Belichick and Brady.  I always lose the opener.  By the way, my least favorite Thursday night opener of all time was Vikings at Saints 2010 where the Vikings lost fuckin' like 16-9.  I was working at the Country Club in Hibbing and told my boss that I was "unavailable" to work that night and when he asked why I told the truth, which was a stupid thing to do.

Jets +6.5 at Bills
The Jets stink.

Falcons -6 at Bears
Lot of points to lay on the road, but I don't trust the Bears.  I will not be betting this game.  Side note - I fuckin' love the Bears.  They just stink every year and it makes me happy.  Nothing better than watching the Bears lose games and all the fans just sitting in the biting wind off the lake.  That's Big Ten football.

Jags +4.5 at Texans
I think some people think the Texans are going to be hot shit this year, which I don't really see happening, but realistically how many more times will I get to bet against Blake Bortles. 

Eagles +2.5 at Washington
I don't think this is actually true but in my brain every team in the NFC East goes 8-8 every year.  Also I heard on a podcast that Mike Lombardi thinks Doug Pederson is the least-qualified head coach in NFL history which is high praise coming from a guy who was fired by the Raiders and the Browns.

Cardinals +2.5 at Lions
I fucking love how Matt Stafford is the highest paid player in the NFL now.  Still makes basically what Ricky Nolasco makes.  My buddy hit me with the take that Stafford would be better after Calvin Johnson retired because he gets to spread the ball around more.  I laughed in his face but I think he might have been right?

Raiders -1 at Titans
This pick is completely me getting scared off by the line looking too tasty for the Raiders.  I'm not that smart.  Something's up.

Ravens +1 at Bengals
It's probably bad that I changed my pick as I was typing this and also that I had to google whether Joe Flacco is playing or not.  Makes a ton of sense that as I follow the NFL less and less I gamble more and more.  I may as well just flip coins.  Anyway, this comes down to me trusting Flacco more than Andy Dalton (ginger rivalry).  Also, Marvin Lewis is the Ron Gardenhire of the NFL.

Steelers -9.5 at Browns
I got caught betting on the Browns a lot last year.  Won't happen again.

Colts -3.5 at Rams
Give me those delicious, nutritious points at home.

Panthers -4 at 49ers
I probably picked the wrong road favorite, but I can't bet on Blaine Gabbert.  I can't.  I won't.  That's where I draw the line.  (Upon further review, Blaine Gabbert isn't on the 9ers anymore and Bryan Hoyer is.  The point stands.)

Giants +6.5 at Cowboys
I'll be betting against the Cowboys a lot this year unless I change my mind.  I like them for a down year and I think the Giants are going to be good.  First year of Brandon Marshall is always the best one.

Saints +3.5 at Vikings
OK.  I always bet against the Vikings in prime time games.  The Vikings went 8-8 last year with literal revolving doors playing all five offensive line positions.  Sam "Glass Bones" Bradford didn't even get hurt behind that line, so I expect him to miss about five games this year.

My personal Vikings preview: 7-9.  I have never been less excited about a Vikings team.  Mike Zimmer is going to go fuckin' blind coaching this group to second place finishes in the NFC North and I honestly kind of wish he'd just quit for his own good.  The defense is still going to be good but I don't believe in Bradford, I don't believe in the line, and Laquan Treadwell still only has one more catch in the NFL than I do.  I miss Teddy.

Chargers +4 at Broncos
I can't imagine the Sunday Scaries Osweiler had walking into the Broncos facility one year after signing a $70M deal to leave and subsequently getting cut by TWO teams who have historically bad QBs.  I bet it would be like if I had to move back to Hibbing with my tail between my legs, minus the $36 million guaranteed.