Last week I was so pumped for the start of the 2016 baseball season and wanted to make it a special occasion.
I couldn’t find anyone able to fit a trip into their schedule to either San Diego or Anaheim for the opening series, so I decided to stay in Vegas and watch them all.
I’ve always enjoyed past “stay-cations” at Red Rock or Green Valley Ranch and the South Point has always been my go-to move, but I wanted something a little different, a change of pace. I wanted to be able to watch every baseball game for four straight days with the clearest of screens, loud enough sound on a featured game and being able to do it in pure comfort.
I decided on the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, which just built this amazing new book that cost almost $12 million.
The thing I liked best right off the bat was how SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay shifted the race side and sports side from the old layout with each other.
The sports side is now the larger of the two sides. There’s also no smoking throughout the book, a good.
When I sat down for the opening game in these huge comfortable seats with a table top to rest my coffee and sheets, it really felt like I was in heaven. I had these massive screens in front of me.
The video display was out of this world and a testimony to the evolution of the modern sportsbook, which first wowed us with the SuperBook in 1986, then three years later with the Mirage until the ultimate video display was born at Red Rock in 2006 (and again in 2015), which was kind of the birth of the technology the SuperBook has expanded upon.
The SuperBook video wall has the ability to post odds on every section of it or use video on the entire 20 x 240 feet of screen that curves around the room. They can have seven monster movie screen pictures in HD on display or break it down to smaller screens to accommodate a busy MLB, NBA or NHL schedule.
I wanted to know more about it, so I asked to see assistant manager Jeff Sherman. I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. I knew he was busy prepping his six pages of Masters props and I was doing a story on it, so I’d ask him some questions I’d use for quotes while also getting to visit the control room.
When I walked into the room, there were three other administrators working the boards, making sheets and controlling race sound. It looked like the NASA control room. Manager Ed Salmons was seated in one spot booking the games, Sherman was in the midst of finalizing his props and they had a mini-version of the entire screen out front located in the back. It was an awesome operation.
Kornegay walked into the back room and I couldn’t throw out enough descriptive words to him about how impressed I was with the entire operation, and that was just for back-of-the-house, not even the front.
Meanwhile, there was another big game on the day that was a bonus for me – the National Championship basketball game with North Carolina being a 2-point favorite over Villanova. Salmons said the kids (smaller public money) were all over Carolina. I had bet Villanova a day earlier, but almost forgot about the game on Monday because of the baseball rush my mind was enjoying.
The one thing all will agree on is it might have been the greatest championship game ever played and I felt lucky to be part of it in a such a great environment. I’m like “really glad I came for a baseball week of fun and I ended up watching perhaps the best basketball game ever.”
The rest of the week played out well with day baseball – my favorite – as opening days were happening for several teams. I even got a taste of some great Champions League soccer play on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I have never watched matches indoors on such a big screen – because it doesn’t exist – and they had the sound on for it, too, with dozens of people oohing and awing every kick. And then on Thursday they had multiple feeds from the Masters opening round action and the color green never looked so brilliant on television.
So to the entire staff at the SuperBook, the maids that kept my beautiful room up daily (60-inch HD flat screens a nice amenity) and the overall vibe I got from everywhere at the Westgate, let me just say thank you.
It was one of my favorite opening day baseball experiences ever, and I didn’t even go to a game. You brought the games to me in a manner I had never known and seen before.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].