Gab Session – Vick as Sick

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I like dogs, so I’m not going to go into too much detail about this latest Mike Vick rampage.

Suffice to say, Vick owns a house in Virginia that was home to a pit bull fighting ring, in which males bet on which dog will tear apart which dog. Yes, it takes a mighty big man to starve defenseless dogs and then enrage them to the point where they want to kill. For example, I would put those people on a par with Dick Cheney hunting retarded quail and shooting his friend in the face. We’re talking big stones here, folks.

But how long will Arthur Blank, the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL and ESPN allow this incredible thug? From the marijuana in the secret compartment of his water bottle to the dogs killing each other for sport (to not being able to throw a pass to a wide receiver if his life was on the line), Vick is an absolute disgrace and total. And Blank, his boss, has spent so much money promoting Vick as the best player in the NFL (hint: he’s not in the top 40) that he can’t back down now. It’s like that sad roulette player in the corner, flipping stack after stack of chips on the number 7 with the assumption that eventually he has to hit it, and how can he leave behind so much money that he’s already lost?

ESPN, in particular, should be ashamed. The Stuart-Scottification of professional athletes may not have been born on your cable airwaves, but ESPN glorifies punk athletes like Vick to an incredible degree, yet when a story like the dogfighting farm comes up, the they sweep it under the rug until it becomes too big to ignore. For a company that prides itself on breaking news, ESPN has a blind side the size of Perry’s Fridge for the players it anoints as “its guys.”

If you think it was “misguided relatives” who ran the dogfighting ring, and that Vick “had no idea” what was going on in a house he owned, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. Am I maintaining that Vick directly ran the dog ring? No. But to say that he knew nothing, to say that there is no pattern of suspicious behavior, to say that he has not surrounded himself with the “thug life” to the detriment of everyone around him, including his fans and employers. ? That’s naive.

How surprised are you by the exit of the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA playoffs? Suddenly, Utah or Golden State are going to be in the final four in the NBA! Do you think any of those teams have a legitimate shot at a title? Who benefits most from the Mavs debacle?

Bodog Sportsbooks, Wow! Everyone loves a surprise, and there were few, if any, bigger than the ones we witnessed in Oakland. Baron Davis was unconscious; Steven Jackson focused his anger and gave a career performance in the deciding game. It was hard not to feel for Avery Johnson. The fourth quarter couldn’t move fast enough for him considering the fact that his mentor Don Nelson gave him one final lesson on how to win a basketball game. Two weeks ago I would have said neither team had a chance in the Western Conference finals, but with Davis and Jason Richardson healthy, the Warriors are clearly a force to be reckoned with. Being thrown into the fire has forced Utah’s young players to mature very quickly. The Jazz have a chance, considering Carlos Boozer is dominating and Deron Williams is running a very effective offense. Utah or Golden State could possibly slip away from the team that survives the Spurs-Suns series, but unlike in the first round, they won’t surprise anyone. Who benefits most from the discomfort? The Spurs and Suns must be licking their lips at the prospect of facing the Jazz or Warriors in the conference finals despite their excellent performances thus far.

How was the betting for the Mayweather/De La Hoya fight last weekend? It was heavy? Who made the crowd favourite? And what did Mayweather’s split decision win look like for the books?

BDB, The betting on the Mayweather De La Hoya fight was on par with the BCS championship game. It was easily the biggest fight in our history. The bets were as close as the fight itself. The public favored Mayweather to win the fight, but we took a lot of measurements from De La Hoya on the exact results to even things up. This fight was booked very well and we were in a good position regardless of the outcome.

Does signing Roger Clemens with the Yankees change absolutely everything about the way you view the AL East?

BDB, This definitely caught some people off guard, including me. He was convinced Clemens would join whatever team was in first place in search of a World Series finale before he finally called it a career. The AL East has been focused on the Yankees and Red Sox for the past decade, though the Blue Jays made a bit of noise last year. However, after losing six in a row, the Blue Jays join the others in the East basement as well.

What does it mean for the books when an underdog favorite like Street Sense wins a big race like the Kentucky Derby? Normally you’d think it wouldn’t be a great result for the books when a favorite shows up, but was that the case last Saturday?

BDB, We’ll see a lot of casual fans take the middle favorites as they know enough not to go with the favorite, but fear the odds on the true long shots. The Street Sense win wasn’t too bad for us, but we would have rather Curlin take it, or a Giacomo-type upset from Sam P. or Zanjero.

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