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Friday Four-Pack 7.28.23
Jaylen Brown's supermax. Amusement Park Adventures. Barstool does golf.
I have an announcement.
Canobie Lake Park still rocks.
Growing up on the mean streets of Pepperell, Massachusetts, one of the highlights of the summer was the annual trip to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire.
My dad worked for Digital Equipment Corporation - they held their annual summer outing there. We must have gone for four or five years in a row, starting around the time I was nine or ten years old.
It had been about that long since I had been to an amusement park. We did Sea World - the one in Ohio, not Florida, and I have the proof.
So much hair. Dad looks thrilled. What a crew.
But I always associated my summers as a kid directly with trips to Canobie Lake Park and vacations in Drake’s Island, Maine.
So it was very nostalgic walking into the former Thursday morning with my two sons, ages 7 and 10, and my wife who planned the trip.
Eight hours in the park later, I can tell you it did not disappoint.
Yankee Cannonball still an absolute A+.
Old school, original, six-ball Skeeball with no lights. Still just a quarter.
The “Matterhorn” is now the “Ice Jet” but still rips your guts out when it goes backward.
No Corkscrew. That was a bummer. Apparently, it is now in the National Roller Coaster Museum.
But now you have this huge waterpark area. This “Boston Tea Party” ride that shoots water 100 feet in the air and gets anyone walking by soaking wet. You have a sick-looking “Untamed” coaster that, no, I did not dare get on. Food selection is 100x better than 1994 for sure. All good.
The games are still highway robbery. Dumped entirely too much money into those things. THE BASKETBALLS ARE BIGGER THAN THE RIMS YOU CAN’T ACTUALLY WIN…as I put another $5 in. And another. And another.
The two boys had a blast. Thirty years ago my brother and I waited forever to get on the Flume ride. To us, in the 90’s, that was the best damn ride in the park. So I was thrilled when they both ranked it in their top rides of the day, along with the Boston Tea Party. The Giant Sky Wheel also received some votes.
Five out of five MutStack Stars. Would go again. Probably still would not go on Untamed. Or the Turkish Twist. Saw someone vomit everywhere on that one back in the day.
And on that note, on to today’s Four-Pack.
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On a supermax deal for Jaylen Brown…
Not a fan.
Of the deal, not the player. Though to be honest, not the player’s biggest fan, either.
Five years and over $300 million for the second-best player on the Celtics roster.
Most importantly to me, a player that has not shown he’s an A-level compliment to your team’s best player, Jayson Tatum.
And in a perfect world that’s what you're looking for. A Scottie Pippen to Tatum’s Michael Jordan. So far, Brown has not shown that. I’ve long agreed with hoops guy Jeff Goodman that the two are not a great fit together on the Celtics.
I’m with Jeff: unless Jaylen Brown decides that with this money he’s ready to accept a Pippen-type role, it’s just not going to work in the form of a championship for this team.
His injuries have to be a concern given the amount of time he’s missed over the years. His turnover issues late in-game are maddening.
We’ll never know what the real delay on the deal was. Maybe Brad Stevens was looking for a trade. Maybe Jaylen was thinking about becoming the first player in NBA history to turn down the supermax deal.
I get it, the team was stuck here. You can’t take fifty cents on the dollar in a bad trade with Brown. And you couldn't just let him walk. They were stuck. They had to
pay him overpay him.
Over the next three seasons, the aftermath will be felt in the way the Celtics try and build out their roster. After next season, the deals of Tatum, Brown and Kristaps Porzingis will launch the Celtics well into the luxury tax penalty. The following offseason, the three will account for about 90% of the team’s salary “space.” If the team is still intact, then you’ll either be into the very punitive repeater tax penalty OR have to move from one of the big salaries.
If the team gets Banner 18 in the next two seasons, this will all probably be worth it and fans might and ownership can live with a messy breakup.
If they don’t win, we might look back at this deal and its impact on the teams’ books as the reason why.
On Shohei Ohtani not being traded…
If you’re an Angels fan you’re not booing, I get it. But anyone here on the east coast has to be. Really any baseball fan who doesn't root for the Angels.
This generational talent, a guy who just threw a one-hitter in the first half of a double-headed and then blasted two home runs in the second game, is stuck on a team out west that doesn’t seem to care all that much about winning. A team that, until a trade this week, had never bothered to spend over the luxury tax threshold.
Sure it’s selfish, but we want to see more of this guy. Playing in a market like Boston, or NY, or Philadelphia or Chicago…sign me up.
The guy a unicorn. I want him in primetime most nights. I’m sure MLB does too.
I guess the reports are he wanted to stay in LA rather than move during the season, but eventually, he’ll be traded. It will suck for Angels’ fans but assuming he ends up in a market where half of his games are not played at 10 PM EST, it will be good for baseball.
Between Shohei, Elly De La Cruz, Julio Rodriguez … it feels like baseball has some buzz right now. That buzz would have grown even louder with Ohtani in a real pennant race on a real contender.
On a three-pack of quick hitters…
Caught about 20 minutes live and then dozens of clips of the Barstool.TV coverage of the Korn Ferry tour. The Barstool Bowl game had some technical difficulties, but from what I saw on Thursday this was pretty clean. It looked like a good ESPN+ golf broadcast but with more entertaining announcers. Kirk ripping on Jake was good television and thought Jake took it well. Will be watching more this weekend. The partnership between Barstool & Korn Ferry is getting me - and I’m sure thousands of other people - to not only watch live Korn Ferry golf but also go to Barstool.TV. That is a major win for both companies. Other than not being able to find a place to bet on it here in Massachusetts, I’m a fan. Seriously, why can’t I bet on this? No, seriously. Let me know where I can. DMs are open.
Speaking of sports betting and Massachusetts, the MGC came down with the penalties for sports books offering illegal bets back in February. From SportsHandle.com
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Tuesday issued three fines totaling $50,000 to the state’s three casinos, following hearings earlier in the summer regarding their respective sportsbooks offering wagers on unapproved markets. MGM Springfield (BetMGM) and Plainridge Park (Barstool Sportsbook) were each fined $20,000 for violations, while Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET) was fined $10,000.
DraftKings will be dealing with the issue soon as they offered and took bets on UTR Tennis - not an approved sport for Massachusetts.
As far as what this means for Barstool and the fallout from“Can’t Lose Parlay” promotion, if the MGC took five months to get to these rulings then we’re looking at October or November for a ruling on that issue. Won’t pretend to have any idea what that penalty might look like, given the MGC’s approach with Barstool so far in Massachusetts.
Had heard from a few fellow sports bettors, asking about when Maine is going to go legal. It looked like 2024, but now this fall is in play. Vermont is set to launch sports betting in January 2024, thus allowing you to bet on sports across New England by early next year. America.
Today’s Friday Four-Pack is Presented by NYRA Bets
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On the Jim Dandy Stakes Saturday…
Yes, it’s only a five-horse field. Let’s get this out of the way first.
The small fields in big stakes races at Saratoga (and NY in general) is rough.
It’s not a great optic overall. It speaks to a lack of competition. And most importantly to a degen like me, it hurts the betting product.
As Andrew Chamange notes above, this should be a major concern for racing. It speaks to a lot of things - crop size being down year after year, stakes schedules that cannibalize each other, too many horses sent to the same super trainers. Just a few of the reasons.
In this case, NYRA runs the Curlin Stakes, a race for three-year-olds going a mile and eighth, just eight days before they run the Jim Dandy. I think if you want the Jim Dandy to be a strong “prep” for the Travers in August, just move the Curlin race.
But I’m not here to play racing secretary or try to fix all of racing’s problems. At least today.
The five-horse Jim Dandy is still a fascinating race.
#1 Disarm - A huge fourth in the Derby when rushed into the race. Crushed in the Matt Winn last time, beating the horses that ran 1-2 in the Indiana Derby in their next race.
#2 - Forte - Two-year-old champ ran big in his Belmont comeback. Gets blinkers for this race and has been training like a monster.
#3 Hit Show - Part of the pace in the Derby and still held fifth.
#4 - Saudi Crown - Surprise entrant in here is quick from the gate and ensures no easy lead or Forte.
#5 - Angel of Empire - Third of three in here for Brad Cox. Our Derby pick will be coming late.
A star-studded group. In fact, three of the top four in the 113th Annual MutStack.com Rest of Season 3-year-old Power Rankings.
Angel of Empire
We’ll have to wait to see the Belmont winner Arcangelo in the Travers, I guess, even with track buzz about how well he’s training.
We will handicap the race with our friend from Parx racing Jessica Paquette tomorrow, barring another dumb technical mistake by me. Plus our usual Saratoga coverage.
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Here’s a shot of me and my new bestie from Canobie Lake Park. Yes, I paid $10 for the waterproof phone holder.
Thanks for reading.