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Rolo Tommasi

I don’t have reason to say it aloud, in real life, but I am solid. I’m a good person. When it comes to my family, or close friends, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many better than me. At least that’s how I see it in my head, the only perspective I’ve ever known.

It wasn’t always like this. What I struggled with growing up was wanting to be a good person, because the incentive wasn’t obvious to me. There just weren’t enough reasons that made being a good person cool, and I believed the key to personal success was to actively be the opposite of a good person. Call it survival of the fittest, a dog-eat-dog mentality, or whatever. Maybe I saw too many movies as a kid.

Me, I’m pretty boring. I look back to try and understand what motivated me, but only because I’m always so focused on what’s next. The future. And something I’ve thought hard about over the last year or so has been the next generation, specifically my own kids. Right now I have none, so the point is moot. But when that time does come, I now know the way to be. It’s important.

See, it’s one thing to live by Do What I Say, Not What I Do. You want to teach your kids to do the “right” thing, and be good people. However, if you don’t consistently — or constantly — attempt to lead by example and do the right things, and be a good person yourself, then isn’t that an empty way of parenting?

I’m not here to cast stones from my glasshouse. Like I said: I don’t have any kids, so I don’t have skin in the game. And I’m certainly not trying to sound sanctimonious; these future intentions are reasonable to strive for, I think.

It’s a cold world. I still believe in a type of romanticism that isn’t particularly common in 2017, mostly due to all the revelations of social media. The statistics on partners who cheat oftentimes seem overwhelming, and I generally contend that I won’t be seriously committed to a relationship unless I’m a thousand percent sure they wouldn’t go behind my back. But even at that, how well do you really know a person?

The only things I can control are my own actions, and so I’m not going to get hung up on being wronged from time to time, even if it’s clear in my face. I’m not stupid. People are going to be people, and a wise person once said that people don’t change. This is true for me the same way it’s true for you.

You can either try and fight that theory, or embrace it. I know I tried to fight, but it was always a lost cause. In the end what I realized wasn’t that I had changed, it was simply that I eventually became the person I always was, and was always destined to be. My only fight was attempting to be the person I very clearly wasn’t.

But here’s my thing: I don’t lie to people I claim to care about. Even in the slightest, most meaningless white lie, I have a hard time reconciling it with myself. The older I’ve grown, the louder my conscience has become, and the things I used to not think twice about have become the things I criticize myself most for. That’s why I’m fucking solid.

And there are some who lie even when they don’t have to lie. I mean, there will be literally zero consequence to telling the truth, and they still lie. It’s a very childish way to live, but then again these are the types of habits that — I can only assume — were developed in childhood. Maybe they saw their parents do it and they just can’t help themselves. Maybe they were always so good at getting away with everything that it didn’t matter either way. It’s what they are.

I’m not yet a dad, but I know for a goddam fact that, by the time I am, I will teach my sons or daughters to take the righteous path. By no means have I acted in the most righteous ways in the past, and even now (and forevermore) I am learning how to get better.

Anyway, none of this matters. But these are some of the things that are important to me.

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Shohei Ohtani and his likeliest landing spot

 

In June I cooked up a scenario where 23 year-old Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani signs with the Texas Rangers, who would then go on to sign his friend and countryman, free agent Yu Darvish. Well, it’s now December — almost a full six months later — and that possibility still exists.

According to MLB dot com’s Mark Feinsand, “the Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs and Dodgers were among the clubs with reason to remain optimistic [about signing Ohtani]” — which is journalist speak for “these six teams are the favorites” — though there is a long list of teams that have yet to say if they are officially out.

Somewhat surprisingly Ohtani’s representatives have said that the Yankees, who were perceived as one of the early favorites, did not make the cut. I haven’t read all the articles but, among the many baseball writers I follow on social media, everyone seems to think Ohtani prefers to play on the west coast. Since the Yankees have dropped out, it seems like the Mariners are the new sexy pick to win the Ohtani sweepstakes.

This writer still likes the idea of Ohtani to the Rangers. Would I bet on it? Probably not. But there is something about how all this is playing out, particularly with respect to how cagy the Ohtani camp has been throughout the process, that reminds me of how the Yu Darvish posting unfolded six years ago.

See, back then there was a different posting system. It was more like the Wild West: interested teams put in blind bids to get a seat at the negotiating table. The Rangers, a lot like they are doing right now, were noticeably quiet. Everyone thought the Blue Jays were the favorite to land him, since they were perceived to show the most interest and/or have the most connections to Darvish. When it all played out, the Rangers bid $51 million to have exclusive negotiating rights, while the Jays bid only about $27 million if I remember correctly.

So what’s it looking like with Ohtani? It’s looking the same way it did with Darvish:

Of course the Rangers aren’t saying a word. You’re goddam right. This is what team President and General Manager Jon Daniels and the Rangers do. And, more often than not when it comes to amateur talent on the international market, when there is someone they like they get their man. I’m not suggesting that is what’s going to happen with Shohei Ohtani, but I am saying you shouldn’t be surprised if it does.

While teams like the Mariners are supposedly pulling out all the stops to land Shohei, the Rangers have been scouting and developing a relationship with he and his family since 2012, when he was just 18 years old. Many people forget, but Ohtani was seriously considering coming to the United States five years ago, and Texas was one of three teams he was most interested in.

It should come as no real shock that I am trying to wish this into reality, but I hope you don’t blame me for my rationale. I haven’t put a ton of thought into this, if only because the pieces seem to align with minimal stress. Shohei Ohtani is the most coveted free agent in the world at the moment, and the Rangers are both desperate enough to give him everything he wants, and crazy enough to actually make it happen.

If it isn’t going to be the Rangers, a sneaky darkhorse in this race is the team everyone seems to be asking what the fuck? about, the San Diego Padres. The Texas Rangers bias is strong in this one, but A.J. Preller is the Padres General Manger. In 2012 Preller worked for the Rangers as an assistant to Jon Daniels, so one can pretty safely assume that San Diego has done their diligence and made the necessary relationships with Ohtani and his family as well.

In June I said Darvish and Ohtani are a package deal until proven otherwise, and as of now it has not been proven. If nothing else that’s something, and I really appreciate getting to sweat one out over baseball news in December, which is much earlier than expected.

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Let’s make a deal(er)

 

My best friend Trey and I frequently used to try and help our people out. Not family members, and not some of our close friends. Just good people, people that we liked. Some worked at the local Amazon warehouse, others worked elsewhere. Usually they were looking for something more, at least money-wise.

So what Trey and I did, we told them they should go to dealer school — to do what I do. We presented it as a sweet deal, because that’s exactly what it was. They didn’t have to go to college or vocational school for three or four years. They didn’t have to invest a bunch of money into a program that would pay dividends down the road. All it took was like three or four months and $1,200. Just like that they would be on their way to a good job.

We really used to tell people all the time, but then we realized no one had taken us up on it, so we didn’t try so hard. I still mention it from time to time to people that I like, and I’m sure he does too. But to us it seems like an idea that should catch like wildfire — because it’s relatively cheap and takes almost no time to go from knowing nothing to becoming a professional — and it turns out we’re wrong. People either aren’t interested, think they can’t do it, or are too comfortable to make a change.

Along this same line, I’ve badgered my older brother about getting into dealing sporadically over the last couple years. I mentioned it just often enough to where he wouldn’t get totally sick with the idea. He is two years my senior and in most ways all the things I am not, which I thought would work to his benefit as a dealer because he would be less inclined to let his ego get in the way in front of players and coworkers. He would be perfect, I thought.

So, finally, about a week after telling him I would pay for him to go to dealer school, as well as whatever bills he needed covered in his time between jobs, my older brother gave his notice at work. He is going to be the one. The one person who will finally take me up on becoming a dealer. And not only him: my younger brother — who is 21 — is going, too.

To me this is probably the best of all immediate outcomes. See, even though I’m not proud to say it, I moved in with my mom and two brothers about six months ago to help with the rent. To make a long story short, my mom got a 10 percent pay cut at her job shortly after divorcing my dad. So when her and my older brother went in on renting a house, they did it under the assumption that her pay was going to stay where it was, which was the highest it had ever been. Without an extra $2,000 a month, they struggled.

I moved in to shore up what was lost, and in the meantime I got to save some money. While it has been a pretty good deal for me — I’m never going to complain about free laundry and warm meals — my heart told me I wouldn’t be able to move out again until they were financially secure. And unless my younger brother (who is unemployed) started working, or my older brother got into something more lucrative, I felt stuck.

So, yes, part of wanting my older brother — or both brothers — to become a dealer is for selfish reasons. Because in some way I am tied to staying so long as they need the money. Right now my older brother works full-time and makes about half the money I do working 3 or 4 days. On average I work less than 30 hours per week over the course of the year, such that the casino I work for won’t have to pay me benefits.

Southern California is unique for dealers at casinos, because it’s the only place in the world where the dealers get to keep their own tips This isn’t true in all cases, since I know of a couple places in Vegas and a casino in Colorado where dealers go for their own. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, dealers pool their tokes.

As such, dealers in Southern California tend to make more money than dealers in Vegas or Atlantic City. Out there you could make $5,000 in a day and you’d have to split it with 100 or 200 other dealers. Out here, you get to keep it. I mean, after the state taxes you up the ass.

That’s why it’s such a smart idea for people my age, or younger, because in a climate without very many good-paying jobs, it gives you something to do while you figure out what you really want to do. I like to compare it to being a high school kid and going to a community college: maybe you don’t know what you want to do, so you go to a C.C. for a couple years before you transfer to something more specific.

It’s why I have tried to recruit so many people. I believe in it. For how much it costs, and for how little time you have to put in, it might be the best investment for a person with no more than a high school education. It’s an industry that’s easy to get in, and easy to get out of.

So I think my brothers are making a brilliant decision here. When I took the plunge a half-decade ago, it seemed like something I would be good at. My math was strong, my communication skills were decent enough, and I loved gambling and the casino atmosphere in general. In retrospect, I don’t think there was a more perfect fit for me at this stage of my life.

My brothers aren’t like I am, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be good at it. Both of my brothers are smart, and they’re both really nice, good people. They are going into it without the biases of having been to the casino a million times, or of knowing how to play any of the games. They are the closest thing you can get to a blank slate. That might be the one real advantage they have on me, at least going into it.

Other reasons it’s a good idea for them:

1) They are, objectively I would say, shy people. Being a dealer almost forces you not to be shy, since 90 percent of the job is customer service.
2) Every day is something different. My older brother has been working at the same place for 13 years, and it’s one of those office jobs where you do the same thing week-in week-out. My younger brother, who has been out of high school for three years and has almost inconceivably been unemployed/not going to school the entire time, will finally have some stories to tell.
3) Really this all comes down to money. My older brother already contributes to the family, but when he becomes a dealer he’ll have a good amount more on the side. My younger brother contributes nothing, so he is just a whopping bonus here. Rather than my older brother, my mom and I, chopping the rent three ways, we’ll have my younger brother pitching in as well. This makes it a better deal for everyone.

In case it’s hard to tell, I’m over the moon about this. I have always sort of known that this was the best idea, that this was the way, even. But I also never realistically thought it was going to happen. My brothers just aren’t wired the same way I am, and in my mind they aren’t inspired or motivated the way I get inspired and motivated. It takes a certain amount of courage to execute this game plan, especially given the circumstances of where they are right now.

It just had to happen, I think. My older brother could only go so long seeing me work so much less, earn so much more, and be understandably happier in the process. My younger brother could only do nothing for so long. I have been unemployed before, and I know it eats at him the same way it ate me.

I couldn’t have known it at the time — because how could I have known? — but the road I took when I was 22 paved the way for both of my brothers. Unlike me, they won’t have to go into it blind. They won’t have to start from scratch the same way I did. Not only will I be able to help them with all the games along the way, but I am also their number one connection into getting hired. I ended my first casino job on good terms — so if worst came to worst they could get in there — and the place I’m at now actually has two separate properties. I deal craps at the harder one to get into, but the other casino isn’t chopped liver. The dealers there do just fine.

So this is it. They are really going to do it. I know it’s not really my place to say it, but I am damn proud of them for taking the risk and accepting the challenge.

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The Texas Rangers payroll situation, and what they need to do this winter

Without freaking out any Texas Rangers fans, one could make a strong argument that the Rangers are in the worst position of any team in the AL West heading into 2018. When you combine current roster talent with a farm system that is still years away from bearing meaningful fruit, Texas teeters on the edge of a rebuild — even though all indications point to trying to compete again next year.

At this moment, the Rangers have roughly $88 million committed to seven players in 2018: Cole Hamels ($23.5 million), Shin-Soo Choo ($20 million), Adrian Beltre ($18 million), Elvis Andrus ($15.25 million), Martin Perez ($6 million), Rougned Odor ($3.33 million), and Keone Kela ($2.25 million). Cots Contracts expects about $10 million to get paid to seven arbitration-eligible players, and another $7.5 million for 11 guys making the league minimum.

Under those estimates, before doing anything this offseason the Rangers are on the hook for about $105 million.  Their Opening Day payroll in 2017 was a shade over $165 million, which makes you think they are a decent bet to add $40-$50 million in payroll via free agency and trade this winter.

Offseason needs: at least two SP’s, CF, 1B/DH

The focus this winter is clear. The Rangers need a lot of pitching. As some have already pointed out, Texas’s pitching staff ranked dead last in strikeout rate in 2017, while every one of the 8 division series playoff teams ranked in the top-8. In this apparent juiced ball era, the teams who pitch most effectively are the ones who eliminate the most contact. Because once the ball is put in play, all bets are off. This isn’t anything new, though.

The quickest path to adding more strikeouts to the pitching staff is to sign free agent Yu Darvish and bring his friend, 23 year-old Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, to pitch alongside him. That would give the Rangers a front three of Darvish, Ohtani and Hamels, with Martin Perez serving as more of an innings eater at the back-end.

Of course, to satisfy this fantasy scenario, Texas would likely have to pay Darvish something in the neighborhood of $150 million over six years ($25 million AAV), and another $3 million to Ohtani from their international bonus pool allotment. For what it’s worth, Texas can offer the 23 year-old more money than any team in MLB.

I would put the Rangers odds of signing either pitcher around 8:1, and of signing both as a package deal at around 40:1. Basically, a bad bet and a long-shot.

Texas didn’t take my advice last year. In September, 2016 — before he was signed to a five year, $50-plus million extension — I called on the Rangers to trade Rougned Odor during the winter. I also thought it would be a better use of resources to play Carlos Gomez in a corner outfield spot, and sign/trade for a legitimate defensive center fielder. Neither of these things happened.

As a result, Texas got a .255/.340/.462 (110 wRC+) line with average defense (+0.8 UZR) from Gomez in 105 games, and an MLB-worst .204/.252/.397 (61 wRC+) line with below-average defense (-3.1 UZR) from Odor. It was a historically bad year for the Rangers second baseman. Neither of these guys sunk the 78-win Rangers, who were doomed from the start, but they are obvious areas that could use an upgrade.

This winter’s betting favorite to get traded

I happen to love Shin-Soo Choo, but he hasn’t generated the desired results since coming to the Rangers in 2014. In the last four years he has been worth +5.1 fWAR — rendering him basically league average, or replacement level — with a .259/.358/.420 (112 wRC+) slash line and utterly bad defense. The Rangers still owe $62 million to Choo over the next three seasons, which will be his age-36, 37 and 38 years. So this decline is expected to continue.

There is obvious utility in making Shin-Soo the everyday DH in 2018, based on his ability to get on base (which is his only real strength at this stage of his career). Realistically though, we have arrived at the point where Choo’s value to the Rangers is probably exceeded by his value to not be on the Rangers, even if that means they have to eat a healthy portion of his contract over the next three years.

Texas has pitching needs, and certainly anyone they go after via trade would be of the controllable variety. They haven’t showed much interest in recent years of trading for one-year rentals. But even if the Rangers paid $10 million per year to a team in a trade, let’s say, on what is owned to Choo through 2020, it still wouldn’t come close to fetching them a #3 starter who is under club control. If Choo is involved in a deal, he would need to be accompanied by a prospect — like Ronald Guzman — or multiple prospects (which the Rangers are lacking at the upper levels of the farm).

Jon Daniels is a creative General Manager and probably at his best when the Rangers are operating as underdogs. There are teams out there who he could sell the idea of Choo at $10 million per year to, and if you throw in a prospect like Ronald Guzman, or multiple prospects, then there is a path to acquiring a #3 starter who is under control for 2-3 years.

The way the team could look

If you trade Choo and sign a real center fielder — like Jarrod Dyson, for argument’s sake — then the outfield could be aligned with Mazara in right, Dyson in center, and possibly Joey Gallo in left. Then Texas could maximize the value of Delino DeShields as a 4th outfielder.

People have tried, and people have failed, convincing me that DeShields is a starter on a playoff-caliber team. He just isn’t.

The infield is relatively set with Adrian Beltre at 3rd, Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Rougned Odor at 2nd base. Even though Odor can’t draw a walk to save his life, which was and always has been his Achilles heel, I’m betting the Rangers believe he can right the ship and is due for something of a bounce-back to his 2016 form (which still leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s an improvement). Contrary to the Choo situation, Odor is more valuable to the Rangers than he is as a trade chip, if only because he is basically worthless right now.

First base remains the only real question mark. Texas could slide Gallo there, but to do so would also be to limit his tools both as a runner and as someone with a cannon for an arm. He may end up at first base down the line — scouts probably expect him to — but in his physical prime he should be given every chance to play a position where he can use his arm and legs. Other candidates to play the position are Ryan Rua and Ronald Guzman, the latter of which will probably play the first couple-few months in Triple-A. (Assuming that he isn’t traded, of course.)

Catcher is set with Robinson Chirinos and, for the time being, Brett Nicholas. Chirinos is established as a plus player when he’s not on the DL with a broken wrist, or something weird, while Nicholas is a bat-first guy who is challenged on the defensive side. Most teams prefer to carry a defense-first backup, and as the season goes on there’s a chance the Rangers turn to 24 year-old prospect Jose Trevino, particularly if Texas is out of the race early on.

I won’t make any predictions about which specific pitchers the Rangers will sign in free agency, or acquire via trade, but I think I can say pretty confidently: if they don’t get their hands on at least one #2 starter, and at least one #3 starter, then nothing else matters. There is no path to Texas getting to 90 wins in 2018 with a rotation led by Cole Hamels and Martin Perez, and it probably wouldn’t be enough even if they got their hands on Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn — two pitchers thought to be in the Rangers’ price range.

I think it would be a gutsy move to go after Jake Arrieta, 31, if only because the perception is his stuff has fallen off since his brilliant +7.3 fWAR campaign of 2015, when he finished the year with a 1.77 ERA (2.35 FIP) in 229 innings pitched. I think he could be a buy-low option, maybe 5 years and $110 million, which if the market goes in that direction I could see the Rangers all over him.

Aside from that, I expect Texas to pick up an obligatory arm or two to help the bullpen, though I wouldn’t splurge on any of the big names — like Wade Davis, Greg Holland or Brandon Morrow — since relievers aren’t worth that much. Not unless their last name is Jansen, Miller or Kimbrel.

The best case scenario

I’m an optimist, so when I think of building the 2018 Rangers I am talking about competing with the Astros in the American League West. That means signing either Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta, signing Shohei Ohtani, and getting their hands on a legit center fielder to cover ground at Globe Life Park. You do all of these things, and you have a team you could envision getting to 90 wins.

Realistically, the Astros are built for another 95-win season, so the Rangers don’t have to do very much if they don’t see the West as a possibility. They could sign a couple mid-rotation starters, bring Carlos Gomez back on a two-year deal, and roll the dice with the rest of the American League. It doesn’t take a lot to get into the Wild Card playoff game — maybe only 84 or 85 wins — and it would make a lot of sense if the Rangers just punted this offseason and saved their chips for 2019-2020.

I don’t hate this strategy, but it is pretty boring. I spent basically my entire childhood watching the Rangers in a rebuild, even when it took them about a decade to figure out how to actually do it. This offseason feels more like how the Rangers operated when they were bad: just spending money because they had money to spend. I’m not saying that is what they are going to do, just that it feels like they will.

Even in the best-case scenario, there’s no guarantee that it will make a serious dent in the AL West. There is a very real chance that Rougned Odor is just straight up broken, that Adrian Beltre begins to show signs of aging (which to this point don’t seem to exist), that Elvis Andrus won’t duplicate his career year of 2017, that Cole Hamels continues declining. There are just so many things that need to go right, even if Texas does add 8-10 wins this winter.

That’s okay though, because it’s only November. There are free agents on the Rangers’ radar that I haven’t thought of, and trades they have lined up that I can’t picture. That is why the front office is there, and I am here.

I do think this offseason is simple, but it all depends on the direction Jon Daniels wants to go. Do the Rangers want to compete for the AL West, or do they want to be one of a half-dozen teams slugging it out for one of the Wild Cards? Once we know that, it’ll all make more sense.

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Picking football games (against the spread) in review, volume viii

Recently I made 10 picks against the spread. This post is to take account of those picks:

  1. Bills (+3) over Saints

Actual score: Saints 47, Bills 10

Outcome: Loss

2. Bears (-6) over Packers

Actual score: Packers 23, Bears 16

Outcome: Loss

3. Lions (-13) over Browns

Actual score: Lions 38, Browns 24

Outcome: Win

4. Steelers (-10) over Colts

Actual score: Steelers 20, Colts 17

Outcome: Loss

5. Jets (-2.5) over Bucs

Actual score: Bucs 15, Jets 10

Outcome: Loss

6. Jaguars (-4) over Chargers

Actual score: Jaguars 20, Chargers 17

Outcome: Loss

7. Titans (-5) over Bengals

Actual score: Titans 24, Bengals 20

Outcome: Loss

8. Rams (-12) over Texans

Actual score: Rams 33, Texans 7

Outcome: Win

9. Patriots (-7.5) over Broncos

Actual score: Patriots 41, Broncos 16

Outcome: Win

10. Falcons (-3) over Cowboys

Actual score: Falcons 27, Cowboys 7

Outcome: Win

Volume viii record: 4-6

Overall record against the spread: 41-36-3 (53.2)

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Picking football games (against the spread), volume viii

Last week’s theme was desperate teams making statements to save their season, and that didn’t work. So this week I am going to short that theory and pick mostly favorites. What could go wrong? Home teams in CAPS:

 

1.  BILLS (+3) over Saints (-125)

2. BEARS (-6) over Packers (-110)

3. LIONS (-13) over Browns (-105)

4. Steelers (-10) over COLTS (-115)

5. Jets (-2.5) over BUCS (-115)

6. JAGUARS (-4) over Chargers (-110)

7. TITANS (-5) over Bengals (-110)

8. RAMS (-12) over Texans (-110)

9. Patriots (-7.5) over BRONCOS (-120)

10. FALCONS (-3) over Cowboys (-115)

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Picking football games (against the spread) in review, volume vii

Let’s get to it, shall we:

  1. Broncos (+8) over Eagles

Actual score: Eagles 51, Broncos 23

Outcome: Loss

2. Giants (+4) over Rams

Actual score: Rams 51, Giants 17

Outcome: Loss

3. Bucs (+7) over Saints

Actual score: Saints 30, Bucs 10

Outcome: Loss

4. Panthers (+2) over Falcons

Actual score: Panthers 20, Falcons 17

Outcome: Win

5. Titans (-3.5) over Ravens

Actual score: Titans 23, Ravens 20

Outcome: Loss

6. Bengals (+6) over Jaguars

Actual score: Jaguars 23, Bengals 7

Outcome: Loss

7. Seahawks (-7.5) over Redskins

Actual score: Redskins 17, Seahawks 14

Outcome: Loss

8. Cowboys (-2) over Chiefs

Actual score: Cowboys 28, Chiefs 17

Outcome: Win

9. Raiders (-3) over Dolphins

Actual score: Raiders 27, Dolphins 24

Outcome: Push

10. Lions (-3) over Packers

Actual score: Lions 30, Packers 17

Outcome: Win

Volume vii record: 3-6-1

Overall record: 37-30-3


This was a tough weekend in the Eric house. My beloved #13 Virginia Tech was in a Pick ‘Em on the road against #10 Miami (FL), and took a convincing 28-10 beatdown. On Sunday, my Kansas City Chiefs — who were also in a Pick ‘Em when it was thought Ezekiel Elliot wouldn’t play (the line was back to Cowboys -2 once he was reinstated) — took a 28-17 loss in Dallas.

Both games were essentially coin-flips according to Vegas, and neither was all that competitive. My favorite teams were on the losing side of both contests.

To add insult to injury, Sunday was also the first time I’ve had to leave early from work in the almost four years I’ve been a dealer. Around noon I got all light-headed on the craps table, felt like I was going to pass out. My legs were weak and I had this extreme nausea.

After a half-hour trying to convince myself I could fight through it, I told the box person that she needed to get me off the game, so I got tapped out and went to see the shift manager. I sat around the employee dining area watching TV for about a half hour, in an attempt to recover, but nothing changed. I couldn’t put down any food, and still felt like shit. I went back out to the floor and told my shift I couldn’t make it, so he sent me home.

Anyway, I hate punking out. But shit happens.

This week in the NFL was a colossal failure as far as picking games. My whole logic, that the desperate teams would cover the spread against the better teams who didn’t need a win as badly, was totally fucking off. Every underdog I chose, with the exception of the Panthers (who were playing at home), lost, and even the Seahawks (a 7.5-point favorite) lost. The team they lost to was, of course, the Redskins, who happen to be the squad I said I wouldn’t pick again this year. I am awesome at this.

So that strategy failed, which doesn’t bode well for my feelings in weeks moving forward. After a hot start, I have succumbed to an 11-16-3 record the last three weeks, good for a less than optimal 40.7 winning percentage. Can it get much worse than this? Yes, yes it can. Does that mean I have to be happy about it?

In the real world, in the real betting world, I wouldn’t be spreading my money out over 10 games. There are generally 2-3 that stand out, that I have a better feeling about. And so those would be the games I’d pick in a moneyline parlay, or individually against the spread. The last few weeks have been lacking as far as surefire bets (if such a thing even exists), and as a results my win percentage has suffered.

Anyway, this is why I have stayed away from betting on football this year… at least for the most part. Retaining money is something I have been striving for, which was the whole point of starting my Roth IRA account. The odds of winning by saving money is dramatically better than gambling on anything, but especially sports. As I’m slowly realizing.