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Friday Four-Pack 2.17.23
I was on a podcast. The Celtics new coach. A big horse race.
Heard some World Baseball Classic talk on my radio this week.
I’ve done World Baseball Classic talk on the radio…more than once.
I’m not proud of it but we’ve been there.
And by “we” in this case… I’m talking about sports talk show hosts post-Super Bowl.
And if I could go back in time (and some suggested I pulled off the Marty McFly look this week) I’d beg myself not to do that.
Talk about something, anything you care about vs. something SPORTS you don’t. The audience can tell. If you care about it and I’m invested in you as a listener, chances are I might care about too.
So I’ll make every attempt to do that here. Even if we don’t always stick to sports.
Quick programming note - I sincerely appreciate all the people who have “pledged” anything to this Substack. It means a lot. But for now it’s all free. And I plan on keeping it that way. The best way to help is by subscribing and sending a link along to others you think would be interested.
Oh hey, there’s an blue button that can help you do that. How convenient!
On the Celtics new head coach…
The Celtics took the interim tag off of Joe Mazzulla Thursday - making him the team’s head coach. And given the 42-17 record heading into All-Star weekend certainly not a surprise.
The offense has looked great. The C’s two stars seem happy. Makes a lot of sense.
Is he a good coach? I don’t know! But we’re going to find out here pretty quickly.
This team is expected to win the East (+130 favorite) and the NBA Title (again the favorite at +360) and given how well they played in the first half it’s hard to imagine fans giving the team any sort of pass if they don’t at least get back to the Finals.
And that seems reasonable for this Celtics teams - Finals or Bust.
Couple of questions I still have.
What was this postgame all about?
Pretty simple question about Robert Williams not starting a game. And a not so simple answer from Mazzulla. He seemed pretty annoyed about such an easy question.
They’re 42-17. I guess if you’re winning this stuff is easy to brush past but the games and the questions are going to get a lot harder. For example based on my viewing (and I find myself with a lot more free time at night to focus in on the Celtics these days…) the Celtics new head coach has issues late in games with timeouts.
As in he sometimes forgets to use them.
What happens when that costs them a big game or a series? How does he answer the questions then?
Did Tatum and Brown sign off on this? Seems silly to ask but the as we’ve seen over and over in the NBA, you’re at the mercy of the stars. Tatum wakes up one day and declares he wants a trade … starts following other teams on IG…well that’s that. See James Harden in Houston. It was just a few months ago when Marcus Smart was still pining for Ime Udoke to come walking back through that door.
"Obviously, we wish he was here," Smart said of Udoka. "We have no control over that. It definitely sucks. I guess it was deemed that whatever happened was enough for him not to be the coach here, but I guess not enough for him [not] to be a coach anywhere else, obviously."
Can’t imagine the Celtics made the move without some sort of nod from The Js.
Speaking of Udoka…I mean what the hell happened? He did something bad enough to get suspended and now fired. But apparently not bad enough to keep him from being a hot coaching name this summer.
This doesn’t quite rise to the “Why didn’t Malcolm Butler play in the Super Bowl” level but you have to admit months later us not knowing what he actually did is pretty surprising.
When he does get hired (and he will) this summer - let’s see if that’s when the Celtics start whispering to people in the media/around the NBA what actually happened.
And let’s see if the current Celtics players are quick to support him or push away on on social media.
On this picture…
Big Yikes. Life imitating art. Or something like that.
It had been a while but thanks to Kirk (and Dave) for having me in for KMS Wednesday morning. You can listen here. A lot of it was old WEEI stuff. Some of it I’ve talked about on the air. Listening back - some of it for sure I had not planned on talking about.
And yeah I was nervous going in there. Nothing is off-limits.
Some random thoughts about it for all the KMS fans out there…many of you subscribed before, during and after the show. Huge thanks.
The studio really is a mess…Dave seemed pretty normal from my limited interaction…Kirk still has zero time for small-talk and walked right in, sat down and starting doing the show…and Tim in Canton is a lunatic.
If I have one regret…we never even got to my takes on the new MLB rules! Or how the new scheduling should play into win totals! Next time. I really do have thoughts.
I stand by what I said RE: sports/ sports betting shows - they’re here to stay. Billions of dollars are going to be bet on sports in the US this year and people want content based around that.
And these shows can be really good - and more importantly entertaining. But yes they have to include more than just picks.
But this picture. What a cry for help. Mix in a salad and some waters.
Diet starts Monday.
On the sports betting early in Massachusetts…
Only one day to report - Tuesday, Jan 31. But the numbers are in - over $500,000 in handle on day one resulting in just shy of $10,000 in tax revenue for Massachusetts on the first day of legal sports betting. There will be monthly updates provided by the State.
On Launch Day both Barstool (Plainridge) and MGM were in the black. Encore took a loss on day one but accounted for almost 75% of the handle.
It may not happen right away but I do think Massachusetts will be a Top 10 handle state in 2023. Especially considering instead of bettors leaving for NH, CT and RI to place legal bets, Massachusetts is likely so see bettors from those states place bets here because there will be so many more mobile book options.
NH - 1
CT - 3 (EDIT - Forgot about CT Lottery/SugarHouse. Thanks Andrews via Twitter for the note. This was two now three. Thanks Andrew.)
RI - 1
MA - 11 different mobile options
From famine to feast pretty quickly here.
A popular headline everywhere this week was how ALL THREE CASINOS HAVE ALREADY BROKEN THE RULES OH MY GOD GAMBLING IS BAD!!! Of course virtually every publication who reported on this story is now taking sports betting advertising money…
Basically in all three cases, in-state casinos allowed betting on in-state Massachusetts college sports. You can’t currently bet on Massachusetts college games in Massachusetts.
It was bound to happen when you are posting lines for hundreds of games a night and in some cases the people posting those lines don’t know all the rules yet.
This note from Bill Speros at Bookies.com was surprising
Almost $7K fired off on Merrimack hoops in seven hours. Wild.
If you post a line on it - people will bet.
On a big horse race this weekend…
I told you off the top the focus would be things I care about…
So late last summer a horse by the name of Tapit’s Conquest made his two-year-old debut in Saratoga. September 3rd, Race 2.
You can watch the race below at the 42-minute mark…and I’d embed it to start there for you if I had any clue what I was doing. I spent 35 minutes trying trust me.
Tapit’s Conquest was making his debut against a second-time Steve Asmussen starter who went off at 3/5 and had every right to beat Tapit’s Conquest soundly.
But Tapit’s Conquest - who wants much longer than the seven furlong debut distance based on his pedigree - made a sweet middle move then fought the favorite right to the wire and galloped out really well. I’m a sucker for horses that show that type of fight early on in their development.
All in all a good debut and I made a note. He’s raced twice since then - including a race at Fair Grounds last time where we was stuck inside but looking for anywhere to run. Ended up an “unlucky” second. Again, noted.
But I make notes on lots of “trip” horses that end up being terrible. They usually just cost me money. Lots of it. And I had sort of forgotten about him until my guy Matt Bernier tweeted last night.
Have not talked to Matt at all about this horse. But he’s not prone to hyperbole.
Tapit’s Conquest runs this weekend in Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. This is the first big Kentucky Derby prep race of the year with the winner getting 50 points towards qualifying for a spot in the Derby starting-gate. And based on the last few years that 50 points should be more than enough.
This horse looks the part and is 6-1 on the morning line Saturday. Sound like I’m not as invested as Matt is based on this tweet - but I will be betting to win at anywhere near 6-1 and for sure watching with interest.
You can watch along on TVG/Fan Duel TV. Post-time 7:14 EST. As luck would have it Matt will be on the desk for the race so we get to watch and get his instant reaction on TVG/Fanduel.
No NFL this weekend but we can root for Rory, Tiger and Tapit’s Conquest.
Thanks for reading.