I love baseball. Best thing America ever produced. Greatest sport in the world. But I also love horse racing. Even after having the day I had at Santa Anita yesterday ( One of my greatest days at the track was Santa Anita Derby day 2008. Yesterday, Santa Anita Derby day 2014, Other side of the spectrum…) I still love the sport. Learn about horse racing, learn about life. It's amazing the parallels you see.
You know that the term "Upset" is a horse racing term right? You don't act sad when an underdog defeats a heavy favorite. You're shocked, surprised, maybe even angry, but you're not grieving. No the term "upset" refers to the name of the only horse to defeat the great Man O' War. Learn the game, learn about life.
My mother got into horse racing handicapping and since she couldn't drive, that pretty much meant that I got into horse handicapping. Our teacher held class at Hawethorne at 9 am. I remember him asking me who I liked that day. I told him I liked "Downtown Clown" in the 8th and as a way to send it home I told him that Dave Feldman of the Sun Times liked him too.
My teacher's jaw hit the floor. "Adam" he said. "If I teach you one thing and one thing only, it is this. Do not, under any circumstances, read or believe anything Dave Feldman says…." He then went on to explain the myth of Dave Feldman. "Dave Feldman loves to tell people that he's a track lifer, that he's been in the business for over 60 years…." ( And this part is true, he looks like he had money on Man O' War back in 1919…) " But the truth is, he learned everything he knew in the first year, and he's been doing the same dumb things over and over again for 60 years. He has one year of experience 60 times over….." This was hard to take. After all, he was the Horse racing guy in the Sun Times, He's supposed to know SOMETHING.
But as I got better at handicapping, and the more I saw, the more I knew my teacher was right. He did know nothing. And was to my advantage to ignore everything he says. When Cigar arrived in Chicago to equal Citation's record for consecutive wins, Feldman wrote an article blasting Arlington because Feldman wanted to bet 10,000 dollars on Cigar to Show.- to come in 3rd place or better. That's his big move. Bet tons of money on the favorite to come n 3rd or better.
So I look around baseball, and I see some of the lunacy that's being written about the Cubs. The sports editor of the Sun-Times wrote an article about how embarrassing it is that Ryne Sandberg isn't the manager of the Cubs…..Gordo is on chapter 20 of "Ricketts aint got no money" and everyone is over analyzing Samardzija's starts and the Cubs lack of hitting and making doomsday predictions about both…. It is April 6th. APRIL 6TH!!!!!!!!!!!! Last year we all warned not to overreact to everything that happens in April. And it appears the only people that didn't listen cover baseball professionally.
Remember the Feldman Rule- Not 60 years of experience. 1 year of experience 60 times over. Don't think of anyone as an expert. Read, learn, form your own opinion. That's when Baseball, Horse racing, ANYTHING, gets good.
Learn the game, learn about life.
SWINGS AND MISSES
Speaking of Derby, California Chrome probably sealed himself as Derby favorite with a killer run. But 2nd place finisher Hoppertunity got wiped out before making a run at the leader in the stretch and really blew by him in the gallop out…. The Derby is such a joke race, if Hoppertunity is the right odds he's probably my horse.
John Arguello took a selfie of himself right before he was to watch his first round of minor league baseball games for his excellent Minor league "Wraps". It will be an interesting comparison to see what he looks like in 2 months, three months….
By the way, where is Trey Masek these days? Last year they had him pitching every day after drafting him and signing him. He looked like one of those "Express to bullpen" guys. Scott Frazier too.
What's amazing about the wraps these days is that it's almost always someone new. Bryant one day, A Daytona pitcher the next, yesterday was Almora….
Variety is a spice of life.
Again, I usually wait till around Memorial Day before making conclusions about players. But I have to say… Justin Ruggiano, Jose Veras and Wesley Wright are doing a great job living down to my expectations of them.
Game of Thrones returns tonight. Really excited. I have not read the books. But I have developed a good loathing of those that have read the books and keep trying to spoil everything with their knowledge of all things Westeros. Anyway, Sunday Night is becoming quite the log jam of TV. Shameless, Cosmos, Mad Men will soon be back...
I just have a feeling (probably more of a hope) that the hitting will come together quicker than the pitching will fall apart. That's why I'm not too upset about 1-4. Even though I probably should.
Let me address something here. In the opening day wrap, I wrote a joke that some people found offensive and in poor taste. And that's fine. I don't think anyone did anything wrong. The people who objected spoke their mind- they were right to. Some people chose to defend me-they were right to. In the end John edited the joke, it's his blog- it's his right to. The only thing that happened that I wish I could take back ( other than hurting people's feelings because that wasn't my intent.) was that the board dissolved into a name calling free for all. And I feel terrible about that. The Cubs Den board has always been place where people spoke their opinions and respected the opinions of others. Frankly it's what separates us from all the others. And it dissolved into…well….your typical sports message board. I don't want that to happen again. So if you have a problem with something I wrote (and trust me, you will…) on a personal nature, I suggest you reach out to me first my email and Twitter feeds are both printed on the website. Holler at me first. Let's see if we can't take care of it that way before getting everyone else involved.
Bob Mould's "Workbook"- maybe one of the most influential albums of my life- is my Sunday music.
What can honestly be expected of Villanueva today on the bump? 5 innings? Ricky Ticky is going to burn through the bullpen today. Game might end around 6.
Josh Vitters is slugging .583……Anybody?…..Anyone?