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Friday Four-Pack 9.29.23
Tiki Barber walks off. A horse racing fix needed now. Red Sox disaster. NFL Picks!
Let’s open today’s Four-Pack with some video from WFAN in New York. It’s a quick watch.
What a rough look for former Giants defensive back Tiki Barber.
Joe Benigno - the guy in a Jets hat - is a former WFAN host who got a shot on the radio because he is a die-hard Jets fan and was good caller to WFAN
And rather than engage Joe in some Jets talk like the sports talk caller that he is, Tiki Barber rips his headphones out like a baby and walks out of the studio camera shot for his afternoon show Evan and Tiki.
To quote the great Artie Lange, “WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.” 😭😭😭😭
I guess you could argue that Joe was out of line by reminding the audience that while Zach Wilson was vomiting all over himself against the Patriots, Tiki was calling a different NFL game, but that doesn’t work for me.
This is sports radio. If you’re Tiki, push back on Joe and tell him you watched the entire game on the ride home, or Sunday night, or Monday morning, and explain how wrong he is. What a fan-boy he is. Call out his Jet homerism and mock him for it.
Just don’t, please, rip out your earbuds and act all offended. Mouthing to his co-host Evan Roberts or a producer “That’s bulls***., Joe.”
In 2023, THIS IS THE POINT OF SPORTS RADIO. Have some real arguments. Some laughs. Entertain the audience. Don’t take your ball and go home.
I saw where WFAN program director Spike Eskin reposted the video on X. I guess he liked it. I wonder if that means he’s okay with his star host walking off his own show. Does Joe B ever go back on that show? Will he have to apologize to Tiki on the air?
Maybe I’m wrong, you tell me.
Weird time for sports radio. And a bad look here for Tiki Barber.
We got NFL Picks. A horse racing fix that’s needed now. And more media notes! Let’s get to the rest of the final Four-Pack of September.
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On the sneaky disaster that was this Boston Red Sox season…
The above text came from a die-hard Red Sox fan this week. Manager Alex Cora actually said that he’s looking at Chris Sale to be the team’s 2024 Opening Day starter.
Even if he wants that to be the case, I can’t believe he said it out loud.
There are lots of these ‘silver linings’ stories out there about this season. From where I sit, it can’t be overstated how bad this year was for the Boston Red Sox.
It’s not like they were picked to be some great team. In fact, if they win two of three this final weekend of the season they’ll end up right around their Vegas total of 78 wins. Of course, I bet OVER 78.5, but this is not about me.
But the final win tally only tells part of the story.
This grand plan they had, led by Chaim Bloom, is now out the window. You can’t “trust the process” when the guy behind the process gets fired. Now you’re out looking for a new architect to try and navigate out of last place. Again.
Sure there are prospects in the pipeline, good ones, but they’re not all going to hit. The new guy has to figure out which ones to trade for starting pitching.
You have no real top-end starting pitching depth. Banking on Sale for anything at this point is silly. He’s had SIX seasons here where he’s dealt with serious injuries. Six seasons in a row!
Brayan Bello flashed this year, but is he a No. 1 or even No. 2 next year? You need real, front-end-of-the-rotation pitching talent.
And once you get that - and a new president of baseball operations - you need to go take on the best division in baseball.
Because while you were sinking to the bottom of the AL East again, the Baltimore Orioles won 100 games and established themselves as one of the good young teams in baseball. Along with the Rays, Yankees, and Bluejays, you’re looking at four other teams that expect to compete for the playoffs again in 2024.
Then there is the Sox popularity in Boston, which is as low as it’s ever been. You have to rebuild trust with the fans.
So you bottomed out. Fired the guy who was in charge of the rebuild after the last bottoming out. Fans bailed on you. And while all that was happening, the division’s doormat the last decade went out and won 100 games.
Cue the music!
So good! So good! So good!
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On my biggest takeaway from the Pennsylvania Derby…
I was extremely fortunate to land the opportunity to be part of Pennsylvania Debry Day at Parx last Saturday, talking about the races on their simulcast feed during the day. We had five winners and pointed to an overlaid horse that keyed a $112 exacta, but overall I think the picks were just okay.
I did not have the $3000 exacta in the finale. Hope you did.
The entire Parx team was great to work with. The fans were awesome. Yes, the weather sucked, but we had a blast.
I remember getting the text in my parent’s kitchen years ago when she was tabbed to call races last-minute at Suffolk Downs, so being there to watch my friend Jessica Paquette become the first female to call a Grade I race was something I won’t forget. No surprise, she nailed it.
But I’ll admit as a horseplayer and someone who loves the sport, there is a small moment that has stuck with me all week.
I went to the rail to watch the Grade 2 Gallant Bob. I had figured Damon’s Mound would take money, based on his form and the will-pays in the multi-race bets that ended with him, but with five minutes to post he was a chilly 4-1.
Going into the gate he was 7/2. That was the last price I saw posted at Parx.
Then somewhere in the first few furlongs of the race, he flashed on the tote at half that price, 9/5.
And of course, he would win. Congrats to the connections.
But it was the scene after the race that has stuck with me.
Two older gentlemen, probably late 50s or early 60s, were just beside themselves about how much late money Damon’s Mound took. And how much less their win payout was going to be.
I have no idea how much money they bet, but they were despondent. They hit the race but looked like they had just had money stolen from them. Which I guess in their minds, they had.
They bet the horse expecting 3.5 to 1. They got 1.8-1. Basically cut in half from the time they broke from the gate.
Big John in NJ noticed on X, too.
Imagine betting the Patriots to win at 3.5-1 at kickoff. They win, but you get paid half of what you expected to win.
As an industry, we have to fix this.
The CAW (Computer Assisted Wagering) groups are just too good. Their algorithms find overlays and just hammer them. Some tracks (NYRA) actually cut off their win bets in the final two minutes of wagering, thus eliminating the HUGE odds drops after a race has started. And the pain of the guys I saw trackside. And Big John in NJ.
But some tracks, like Parx, still allow the CAWs to bet in the win pool right up til’ they open the gates. And the optics and results of it are brutal.
These tracks should send racing executives out to the rail to see the looks on their patron’s faces when these late odds moves happen.
I’ve heard more than one analyst tell the fans to “look at the will-pays for the real odds,” but the tracks should be the ones doing the work for the customer. Not the other way around.
It’s been a weird week for racing. Super Trainer Bob Baffert suing two guys for their social media posts has been a bigger story than anything since the Travers. The sport is bleeding fans and handle monthly - to other games of chance.
I mean, Parx has a great casino attached to it. The guys I saw trackside probably headed there after the races, knowing what a blackjack would pay before and after the cards were dealt.
You’re never going to get ALL CAW play out of the game. But letting these groups bet in the win pool right up until the race goes off is only going to push more and more fans away from the game. (We’ll get to fixed odds and why it’s a must in a different Stack).
Cut them off at two, three, or five minutes.
There are a lot of issues that racing needs to fix that quite frankly, are well above my pay grade.
But this one is pretty simple.
On a three-pack of NFL Picks…
Before we get to the picks, big NFL betting news this week.
You’ll be able to bet right there on the game you’re watching, without leaving the screen. Which normally, fine, whatever.
BUT….Apparently, the technology is so good that the feed will be well ahead of a TV broadcast by up to 30 seconds- which is a HUGE advantage if you’re live betting. That delay you get watching at home will be gone. That’s a big deal.
Look forward to testing it out for Pats/Cowboys on Sunday.
As far as picks, don’t say I didn’t try and warn you. It was a good week to #fademut.
Week 1: 2-1
Week 2: 3-0
Week 3: 0-3
One side. One total. One prop.
The effin Raiders. Maybe I have been 100% wrong about Josh McDaniels for like 15 years. No one defended this guy on Boston radio more than I did. But holy hell. Kicks a field goal down by eight points late in the red zone?????????
"You're going to need another possession anyway; you know what I mean?" McDaniels said. "So, it's not a lack of confidence. We went for it multiple times."
BILLS -2.5 VS DOLPHINS. (-118 DK) I’m fine with the -118 here to avoid the 3 points - which if you want you can get on FD as of Friday morning. Good spot to bet on the best team in the division against the hottest team in the division. Dolphins offense faces a real defense (No. 2 DVOA) for the first time this year. On the road. Gimme the Bills. As of Friday, 81% of the money is on the Bills here, according to the Action Network.
BUCS/SAINTS UNDER 40. (Shop for the 40 as there are some 39.5s out there) Baker Mayfield on the road facing a competent defense. A New Orleans offense that will be run by Jameis Winston and has already played slow this season. Projection is right around the number but given it’s a divisional game with two mid QBs, happy to play this at 40.
TREVOR LAWRENCE OVER 3.5 RUSH ATTEMPTS. (-105 DK). Not running as much as he did a few years ago, but has still cleared this number in two of the first three games. Jared Goff had five attempts vs. Falcons defense. We just need the attempts here, not the yardage. Also, it’s in London on that glorious Wembley Stadium grass.
On a few other media notes…
Former 98.5 Sports Hub night host Damon Amendolra is leaving CBS Radio for Mad Dog’s Sirius XM Channel. D.A. seemed pretty annoyed, even critical, when Audacy took his producer Shaun Morash and put him on WFAN afternoons. So not a huge surprise. We started today’s Four-Pack saying how radio is a weird spot - I wonder what happens to national sports radio over the next five years. At some point, we’ll all be streaming YouTube in our cars, right? Will national sports radio even exist in five years?
While you were sleeping, Europe swept the U.S. in the first four matches of the Ryder Cup. That was the biggest story. A close second was how terrible the coverage was on USA Network. The players being introduced is a HUGE deal on the first day of the Ryder Cup and somehow, even with only four matches to cover, they somehow didn’t show all of them being announced to the crowd in Italy. Then there was the typical “shot, putt, commercial” bullshit you get for a typical Saturday of PGA TV coverage. That should not happen in the Ryder Cup. Riggs, the face of Barstool’s Fore Play podcast/brand, summed up the frustration perfectly. Golf TV coverage continues to be the rock-bottom worst, even for its biggest events.
The piling on of Curt Schilling for revealing the private health matters of Tim and Stacy Wakefield is well deserved. He did it under the guise, I guess, of getting people to pray for the couple as they reportedly are both battling cancer. Of course, he also revealed it without their permission. Schilling has eroded most of the goodwill he earned from Boston sports fans thanks to his Red Sox heroics. What was left is probably gone. I liked working with him on the radio and have defended him, but there is no defense of this.
It’s crazy - even after the Red Sox issued their own statement saying the Wakefields wanted to keep this a private matter - that Schilling has not issued a public apology.
Saturday Night in Saco, ME my friend, a man who once wished death upon me and my entire family, Kirk Minihane is doing his first pay-per-view for Barstool. I can finally say I bought a PPV for someone who has been to one of my kid’s birthday parties. Should be a good show after what looks like two very tough flag football games for the boys on Saturday afternoon. Barstool.TV/PPV #savegus
Good luck with all your bets. Thanks for reading and sharing.