NFL almost here!

Jul 26, 2005 8:41 AM

NFL preseason is right around the corner and I will be making selections on all the games each week.

We start with the American Bowl on Saturday, Aug. 6 between the Falcons and the Colts, followed by the Hall of Fame matchup Monday, Aug. 8 pitting the Bears against the Dolphins and the Ricky Williams mess. I really like betting August football, which presents a lot of good opportunities. Like how long Ricky stays in camp.

Some coaches want to win, while others just go through the motions. There are also a lot of scheduling dynamics that will lead to winners. Let the games begin!

You can also look forward to a special feature from the 2/4/2 Tuesday guys, who will pick a conference and release their two best plays of the week out of that league. I will be using the Big Ten and hopefully do half as well as my baseball has fared.

Speaking of the majors, a couple of weeks ago in my article I was talking about how you don’t see any players with nicknames anymore. Well I got a lot of response from you old timers out there and I really appreciate it.

Several also brought up how boring the broadcasters are now compared to the colorful guys of the past, who would always come up with great lines like "bug on the rug," and "Spahn and Sain, pray for rain." That one was if you had to face those two great pitchers in a double header, it usually meant two losses.

A few others mentioned are "Texas Leaguer," and "that missed by a gnats eyelash." The list is endless. I was sent pages of nicknames for players and teams like the Bronx Bombers, Miracle Mets, etc. The players in the pre 1970s almost all had nicknames like Smokey, Vinegar Bend, The Deacon, Preacher and so on.

I remember back in my misspent youth in the books and pool halls in Steubenville, it seemed like everyone had a nickname. There was cue ball, sea haunt, sluggo, wig, whitey, blacky, lefty, one eye. I could go on forever.

One thing that I do notice is that players were a lot smarter in the past. Just take the story about Yogi Berra, the great catcher from the Yankees. Yogi on his off days loved to read the newspaper. There was no Internet back then and very little sports on TV, so the only way to get information was from the newspaper. Yogi read it from cover-to-cover and when he got to the sports section, he read every letter and went through all the box scores.

This particular day, he noticed that in the box scores they had him going 1 for 4 the previous day. Yogi was furious because he had two hits that day. He promptly got on the phone and called the sports desk at the paper, yelling as only Yogi can do. The poor guy at the sports desk tells Yogi it was a typographical error. Well, Yogi goes nuts and says typographical error my butt, it was a clean hit to left field. Yes, you couldn’t fool those old timers. They were on top of it and just a lot smarter.

The second half of the baseball season is in full swing and I can see the White Sox fading. I also like Atlanta to come on late as usual. The Braves have managed to stay right there, even with all their injuries and 10 rookies on the team. Houston and Oakland both got off to horrible starts but are really heating up.

There are some really good races — Yanks and Red Sox in the AL East, White Sox, Twins and Indians in the Central, along with Angels, Rangers and A’s out West.

In the NL, we have Washington, Atlanta and Florida in the East. It looks like St. Louis will win the Central, while the slumping Padres will get the job done in the West in what is one sorry division. The Giants still have a chance at nearly 15 games below .500!

If you are looking for somewhere to bet that 4 p.m. Friday post at Del Mar, try one of your favorite Station properties. They are holding a great drawing every Friday night during the Del Mar meet. Every time you make $20 worth of wagers in the race book you get a drawing ticket.

Each property will draw three winners after the last race and they must be present. First prize is a trip for two to Del Mar as part of a special group leaving Labor Day (Sept. 5). Second prize is $200 in cash. Third prize is $150.

See you at the beach.