Top second half bet: Pittsburgh Pirates

Jul 10, 2007 6:08 AM

This will be one slow week with the All Star break in baseball. Little or nothing to bet that has any interest.

The Pittsburgh Pirates fan in me has noticed that these "Buccos" are much improved and could create some noise in the tough NL Central if they can have a second half to match last year. Pittsburgh is only nine games out of first place and has already shown they can handle the Cubs and the Brewers. They also finished the first half on a 7-3 spurt with seven of the games against the Cubs and Brewers. Look out for the Pirates and their very good young pitching staff in the second half.

One interesting stat: Their record is the opening game of series is a stout 16-6, That could be a good bet the remainder of the season.

Another pick four shaft

”¡ As I was making my way through the many race and sports books throughout the city in this 115 degree heat I ran into tons of people that wanted to know what my opinion was in different things in the race and sports book industry. One question was what player did I like in the home run derby. I had only one answer for that question and his name was Mickey Mantle.

”¡ In the race books the big question was the pick four at Ellis Park. When I first got the news last Tuesday that Ellis Park was going to lower the takeout of their pick four (last four races on the card), to a meager 4 percent, while most tracks are 20 and above. This appeared like something good was finally happening to us lowly horseplayers, who always seem to get the worst of everything in the game.

Well, I got my racing form for the next day, went home, did my handicapping and was ready to play Wednesday. The pick four was there but, as luck would have it, the race books in Nevada were not accepting any bets on the Ellis pick four! No one that I spoke to knew why.

Several ticket writers told me there was no pick four at Ellis. All I know is that this past Wednesday, the day I made my $48 wager in $1 pick four (it paid $10,858 for a $2.00 bet) no one could take it. I said that it was pari-mutuel, but for some reason it was not in the system. Apparently, there was no contract in Las Vegas to take a bet like this with a lowly 4 percent take out.

One more strike against the downtrodden horseplayers!

At last something good happens and we here in Nevada can’t get a shot at the wager. I would bet my on line account at Pinnacle, but they have been put out of business in the USA, as most on line books have. With the oppressive heat and gas prices at almost $3, I am thinking about just stopping at Lee’s. I’ll get a few bottles of wine, watch the races on the tube and bet.

At the end of the month, I’ll just mail a check to my favorite book in the amount that I would have lost. By the way, I would have had a piece of the 10k opening day pick four. On Sunday I think it paid something like huge $$$. The last voice I heard was that of Gee Gee, a race writer who looked me in the eye and said "No pick four 4 you!"

Tracking first "Big Red"

As the football season nears, I remember when Las Vegas was a small town and much like my native gambling town of Steubenville, Ohio. Today, everywhere I go in town, I seem to run into someone from the "Ville" wanting to know what I have heard about the mighty Big Red —the nickname of Steubenville High.

Last year, Big Red finished their third straight undefeated regular season and captured a second consecutive Ohio state championship — going 30-0 in that span. There was a guy listening to the conversation and stated that Wisconsin was the first team in college to be called Big Red. I couldn’t agree or disagree, so I just "Googled" the internet the next day.

Surprisingly, I learned it could have been Nebraska. The Huskers borrowed it from Steubenville Big Red from a player named Harry Wilson. In 1962, Harry was a sophomore and the players called him Big Red. Harry is legendary in Steubenville for his many heroics on the football field. I actually tutored him when he was in my Spanish class. He became known at Nebraska as "Light Horse Harry Wilson" and was an All American for the Big Red Cornhuskers.

When Harry was playing for Nebraska he called them Big Red. I’m not positive about the Big Red theory, but that’s what I brought up on Google. Hopefully, this tidbit will become an interesting conversation piece. If anyone knows another story, please e-mail me at [email protected]

Note: Google did not mention that Cornell from the Ivy League is also known as the Big Red.