Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Other World Series

The Other World Series
Greg Merson won the World Series of Poker.  Never heard of him, right?  That's the fascination of  this tournament.  Every no-name "everyman" who can buy in gets to play, and often gets to endure to the end.. . and win!   Greg won in a grueling 12 hour session at the final table.  Being 24 probably helped, but those old-timers with the weathermap faces used to do pretty well, too.  Greg won 8.5 million dollars.  I wonder what was the average salary of a San Francisco Giant for an entire season from April to October?

I know the hierarchy of hands in poker, and the announcers call the odds because we get to see what each player holds.  That's not the point of high stakes poker. It's all about the betting.  It's who can bluff, who can nurse along a hand to get the biggest pot, who has the "nerves of steel."

Is poker a "sport?"  ESPN thinks so, and I agree than it's more than gambling. Anyway, we love gambling.   There's probably more gambling on one pro football game than at the poker table.

The Other LBJ
I  tuned in to watch the start of the basketball season last night.  Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics.  LeBron cramped up and took the bench, but still scored big.  Then, it was time to pick up Robert Caro's remarkable book about Lyndon Johnson.  Caro said he has devoted his writing life to his series of LBJ biographies because he is "fascinated by the use of power."  It reads like a novel.  Great stuff.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tigers on the Prowl

Now that the Tigers are headed for the World Series, I'm thinking fondly of my "Tiger memories."  When Briggs Stadium was about to close, I travelled to Detroit with my friend Ron, to catch one of the last games at the Stadium of my youth.  We stopped for dinner on Michigan Avenue and sat sadly as the rain poured relentlessly outside.  Ron said: "Well, even if they call the game, I'll take a picture of you in front of the place."

We got back into the car and, just as we approached the parking lot, the rain stopped.  The sun came out of nowhere.  Happily, we went on to watch the Bengals win 11-2.  I stood in line with fans from all over (Texas, Minnesota, California) to snatch some last relics of Briggs.  I'm wearing my "big D" hat today!

I hope my euphoria is not in vain.  Those Cardinals, who are poised to win again, are the absolute definition of the "undead."  Don't you think it would be simple for the "big beast of the jungle" to squash a little red bird?  Isn't that the "law of nature?"  The answer is "no."  The laws of baseball, which continue to amaze, will, as always, prevail.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Night That Will Live . . .

To my friends who are agonizing over the presidential race, and biting their nails even harder after the first debate, I have a cure:  Turn to baseball!  Last night, two of the most dramatic games ever were played. One was on the east coast, and then, if you could stay up late enough, another in California.  And, even though the two games were won by the teams I wanted to lose, I loved the action too much to regret a minute of it.

Alex Rodriguez, the priciest Yankee of them all, is hitting so poorly, that he was BENCHED in the ninth for a pinch hitter.  Raul Ibanez, a 40 year old bench man, took the first pitch into the stands for a game-tying home run.  Then, in the 12th inning, that same no-name, no big salary guy, hit another homer to win it.  This stuff just doesn't happen . . . except when it does.

Later last night, I couldn't believe that another walk-off run won the game for the pesky Oakland team.  These are the "moneyball" guys that have no reason to be there, but they don't know that. My Tigers are on the ropes.

Call me and tell me about Biden/Ryan.  I'll be tuned in elsewhere having as much fun as a baseball fan can have.  And my team isn't even playing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Border Wars

My friend Jim and I like to joke that if Romney wins the election we are going to Canada, preferably Vancouver.  We brought this up at lunch yesterday with Trudy.  She said: "Fat chance.  I've already looked into it.  Unless you have a "desirable" skill, you won't have enough points to get into the country." How many points for an oldster who writes an occsional blog?  My guess is zero.

Now I read that Andy Borowitz, who provides a daily dose of timely wit, is covering the story.  He reports that Canada is bracing for a flood of "illegal aliens" after November 6.

I wonder how long it would take those friendly Canadians to call us "takers not makers" and lazy moochers if we tried to take advantage of their national health care system.

Maybe Puerto Rico will take us.  Or Guam.  I think they are "American."  Wow.  I need to get down the atlas and figure out where things are, and who controls them.  "Papers, please, indeed."