Mets appear team
to beat in National

Apr 3, 2007 5:32 AM

By the time you read this, a few major league games will have already been played, but fear not as it’s a long season so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to triple your bankroll.

My projected participants in the World Series include one team from New York but it’s not the Yankees, which leaves your deduction as the Mets in the National. In the American League I’m projecting the Boston Red Sox.

Both teams have bought themselves great ball clubs. This incidentally is the major problem with professional baseball as it stands today, but more about the negatives at a later date.

Nonetheless, on Sunday night the Mets looked to be in mid-season form. They have an awesome lineup and a solid defense — especially where it counts the most, on the infield.

Moreover, Willie Randolph appears to be doing a wonderful job skippering the club. The only question (past Glavine!) is pitching, but they should be able to out-slug most teams.

Also this season, there are two teams you should bet on a fairly regular basis — Milwaukee in the National and Cleveland in the American League.

The Brewers will rarely be a favorite on the road and will win 80-90 games this year. They have a solid team and are somewhat overlooked by the oddsmakers.

Cleveland has an even better lineup offensively and would have won the pennant last year if they could have gotten any help from their anemic bullpen. They’ve shored up their pitching and will be another club that will be an underdog on most occasions.

Both of these clubs fall into my betting philosophy of never meeting a dog I didn’t want to pet. Bet the dogs all summer and go to the cashier’s teller at the bank. Bet the favorites and you’ll go to the loan officer.

We lost a great character last week as the colorful Sam Angel passed at the ripe age of 87. Sam was indeed a fixture in Vegas for many years and his smiling face and warm personality will surely be missed.

For years Sam was in attendance at every major event in town, talking, laughing and selling whatever he had available at the time. I consider myself a friend and customer for as long as I can remember. I can recall many stories about Sam, but I’ll relate only this one, as I think it’s a classic.

On a football Monday night in 1980 or 1981 Sam bet $2,000 on the under of a Pittsburgh Steelers game at the Royal Las Vegas Sports Book. The line was 37 or 37½ and during the first half the two teams amassed 35 total points. They almost scored at will and Sam was positive he had a losing ticket.

He asked me if I wanted to buy the ticket for $50. I declined. "Sam the Plumber" was a writer who Angel also asked and he declined. One of my other writers was Greg Liose, and shockingly he accepted and gave Sam the $50 for his ticket. We all made fun of Greg’s action as only as field goal in the entire second half would have made the ticket a loser. Well, wouldn’t you know it the second half was scoreless and the joke was on us, and especially Sam himself.

He took it with a smile and laughingly never looked back. Greg got back $4,200 for his $50 investment and went on to bigger and better things by eventually ending up as a casino manager for Bob Stupak at what is now called the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino.

Have a great week and fall back and fire!