Baseball trends begin to take form

April 29, 2008 7:00 PM


Diamond's Gems by Sid Diamond | Here are some doís and doníts for betting the over and under totals in baseball. After the first month of the season the cream is rising to the top in most cases.

Donít ever bet the Padres to go over, due to a number of reasons, the first being that they have an excellent pitching staff, play in a stadium that is not conducive to home runs, and offensively hit in the .230s. They are the No. 1 team in the National League for unders.

Conversely, donít ever bet the Diamondbacks under, as the linemakers continue to put up their totals between 7 and 8, which are lower than the norm, and they consistently exceed it. They play in a park with thin air, and the ball carries exceptionally well and will get better as the temperature rises in Arizona. Although they donít have a real big bopper, they seem to play small-ball efficiently with good team speed and timely hitting. They emulate the L.A. Angels without a Guerrero.

In the American League my favorite under team is Kansas City, as their run production is pathetic. They have nobody that can replace Mike Sweeney as a threat in the lineup, and strike no fear in opposing pitchers as their home run total averages less than one every two games. Their pitching is decent and they walk very few batters on average. The KC ballpark has never been a hitterís park as the center field fence appears to be several miles away from the plate.

With the recent resurgence of the Detroit Tigers, I now christen them the best over team in baseball. They appear to have shaken off their hitting slumps and are now catching up offensively to the mighty Yankees and Red Sox. Much improvement is still needed in their pitching department as they still carry an ERA of over five runs per game. You still should never play them under, regardless of the oppositionís lineup.

Boy, am I glad my three boys are all grown up now. With all the admissions by present and past sports stars, it seems like an impossible task to bring kids through their teens unscarred by the evils of drugs, alcohol, steroids and basic morality. Notice I didnít include smoking, as I was never hypocritical in my guidance of my children.

However, I did mention hundreds of times that I wished Iíd never started smoking and somehow that seemed to have a positive effect on them, as none of the three has picked up my worst habit.

I worry now about my grandchildren, as every day you read or hear about sports heroes that cross the line and get away with it. It gives them an opportunity for true rationalization that is almost impossible to overcome.

The use of illegal drugs by athletes today sends a message to these kids that in their minds justifies usage. Josh Howard, the extremely talented power forward of the Dallas Mavericks, in a recent radio interview said, "Most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weeed in the off season sometimes,"

How are you going to overcome that statement to a teenager? It just sucks and so does Mr. Howard. How totally insensitive he is to disregard his fans, the younger ones anyway. Just another reason to dislike the NBA, due to the selfishness of some of their stars.

The Saturday performance of the Denver Nuggets on their homecourt, down 2-0 to the LA Lakers, was just another indication of the lack of backbone and maturity of a team in the NBA. Can you understand Carmelo Anthonyís comment, "Iím saying I quit, we all just gave up." In your wildest dreams could you ever imagine Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson saying something like that under any circumstances?

The irony of the above may be in Commissioner David Sternís arrogance in his reluctance to consider Las Vegas as a possible NBA city, without a complete overhaul of our wagering policies, due to the "cleanliness and integrity" of his bull (fill-in-the-blank) league. Sorry, Oscar, "the devil made me do it."

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Have a great week!