Welcome, boys of summer!

April 01, 2008 7:00 PM
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Diamondís Gems by Sid Diamond | As college basketball is nearly finished, and the real NBA season has not yet begun, this article will be directed to this writerís favorite sport Ė Major League Baseball.

As a fan, bettor and lover of the game, I must admit that I could not care less about the muddled steroid era. From the start, the entire subject has been a Barnum & Bailey extravaganza. Guilty as charged, or totally innocent, itís completely irrelevant to me at this point.

Let the sunshine and the boys of summer do their thing and all us devoted fans will enjoy yet another great baseball season.

Here are a few constants that may help you, especially throughout the month of April.

1. The pitchers are somewhat ahead of the hitters, but they do not go deep into games. Bullpens become as significant as starting pitchers. So, if good pitchers start at an inflated price, you may only get them for 60 to 70 percent of the game, maybe less, as most teams today have strict pitch counts, especially in April.

2. Many players from Latin American countries play winter ball and they have a distinct advantage over many other players that donít. They may have already reached mid-season form, especially the pitchers.

3. Pertaining to betting totals, cold weather always favors the under, as when the ball strikes the bat it stings the hands of hitters, especially on inside pitches. The psychological aspect of hitting changes during batting practice, when the temperature is in the 40s. Trust me, itís true.

4. Unlike any other team sport, injuries in baseball are not necessarily significant. So, if a big gun is out that day, donít let that fact alter your thinking. All Major Leaguers can fill in and play up to the level of the superstars for a short period of time, or they wouldnít be on the 25-man roster.

5. Donít ever lay over $2 on a game, as I canít count how many +180ís cash during the course of a season, especially in April, as you get very few deep innings from your starters. If you must, lay a run and a half, but never if your team is still a minus. Passing stone cold locks is essential to having winning seasons.

Bring it on brother Ė I canít wait for my MLB on DirecTV to kick in.

P.S. There are three college games left. Bet over on all of them, and you must win at least two.

Notebook

I got a letter last week from Marty Wiesman of Escondido, California. Marty responded to a line I wrote a few weeks ago about if anybody remembers Taps Gallagher. Marty wrote some nice things, but he really sent me down memory lane by enclosing a photocopy of signed autographs by some of my childhood heroes. Amongst the names are Alex Groza, Cliff Barker, Ernie Vandeweghe, Dick McGuire, Tony Lavelli, Ralph Beard, Warren Perkins, Wah Wah Jones and a few others that I couldnít make out.

Wow, what a line up these guys would have made collectively. Incidentally, Taps Gallagher was the head basketball coach at Niagra University and coached my best boyhood friend, Harvey Weisenberg. Harvey went on to become a State Senator from Long Beach, New York, for many years.

Ironically, Harvey, myself and Tom DeLuca all signed up for the volunteer draft together in 1953. We signed up for the buddy system, but that fell apart our first day as Harvey was 4-F and Tom and I got on different buses and I didnít see either of them for the next 30 years or so.

Tom went on to a stellar athletic career at NYU and coached on Long Island for years. Tom now lives in Las Vegas and operates a fantastic antique store called Toys from Yesteryear on Charleston and Fremont streets. So, how about me? Well, Iím a broken down old bookmaker who found a great woman who raised a fabulous family and have enjoyed every moment of it. Thanks Marty for stimulating my trip down memory lane.

Have a great week; check my daily picks at gamingtoday.com.