Mad about the stats?

Well, some of us are getting ready for the play offs this week. No, I know, baseball play offs are about 6 weeks away, which are main concern for me, but this week, and indeed for about 140 others, the golf play offs start after tonight! Oh, that, well, its 125 players, and 15 rivals in the competition, if you must know!

Yes, the PGA regular season actually finishes today, but our contest season ended last week, after the final major. Somehow, more by luck than judgement, I came 4th, of 51 entries! So yes, therefore I’m in the 16 player play off, though for how many rounds, I have no idea! And like those big soccer tournaments, the play offs are 2 leg affairs, home advantage being the first to pick their 5 players! So, this round, and if qualifying, at least for the next round, I get home advantage in second leg, as the higher seed!

Let me say though, that if anyone thinks this means I have a shrewd knowledge of all things golf, you’d be wrong! Stats, darlings, stats are all I use, and go by. No, I’m not saying what stats, in case one of my opponents tries to sabotage my plan, but expert studying, and stuff like that, no chance!

Even more so, is a soccer contest I do, now that the season has started again. Thats right, a sport I cant even stand, but currently I’m in the top thousand, out of over 100 thousand entries. How, just following the stats! So if you ever wanted evidence that you dont need to know much, to do well at fantasy sports games, look at me! Oh, and soon, guesswork on NFL too, absolutely!

So yes, all those who study intently, good luck to you, I’m eating ice cream by then, lol!

Video time. Bit like my knowledge of soccer, I know nothing about Caro Emerald either. But if she’s good enough for Jools Holland, she’s good enough for me!

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Dont stop! Go, go, go!

Any UK people reading this will know what has inspired the blog title, its the Sky Sports promotional video for the start of the Premier League season tomorrow evening. Yes, having barely seemed to have been away, probably even more so because of the World Cup, football (or for US readers, soccer) is back! In truth, strictly for the lower leagues it started last week, but who worries about minor facts like that? 😛

So yes, as from Saturday (Yes, Huddersfield have a home, 3.00 kick off this Saturday), I will again be trying to beat the rush from the ground after work. Unfortunately, because I finish at 4.00, which gets me back into Huddersfield just about the same time as the football fans are hitting town, post game, and traffic chaos in town, especially as the ‘wonderful’ First Buses seem to vanish off the road at the same time…rolls eyes…!

Yes, my sole interest in football, apart from trying to win a fortune in Sky Sports silly games (free, or I wouldnt bother), is finding out when Huddersfield are at home, to try and avoid the idiots! Mind, if you’d told me a year ago that they would still be in Premier League, me, and most other people would have laughed at you. But a 16th place finish (out of 20, 17 stay up) and here we go again! No, these football contests, just lots of wild guesses, but quarter of a million (or more), for fluking 6 correct scores, who knows? Never going to happen, but guessing is no worse than knowledge, lets face it. Would solve numerous issues for me, for sure!

Oh, and for my US readers, their football (NFL) season (albeit the warm up games) start tonight. Well, there was 1 game last weekend, but for 30 teams… I now gather all teams have gone over to mobile ticketing only, so thats my chance of going to a game over, lol. Not that I was likely to, at those prices, but anyway… Just thought I’d better acknowledge it, thats all.

Right, video time. For my younger readers, who have no idea what this is, its a 78 rpm record. They disappeared when I was a youngster, but I do remember them. Unlike vinyl records, they broke easily! Ah, the memories…and for those in UK, this is the full version of the Sky Sports ad song

 

A reason to miss the US in 2026!

In truth, being practical, I suspect that 2024, or 2025 will be my last trip to the US, due to financial issues, post retirement, even assuming I last that long, as given I have no idea how long my back will be up to work, or long distance travel, I may not even get that far. But everything permitting… 2024 being my retirement year, and if I have enough saved (unlikely now I can only do a 4 day week), I might push for 2025, but as that would also be the end of my current passport, that may well be it? Of course, if I even want to go into Europe… We will have to wait and see? Maybe I’ll just retire to Blackpool, and live the life of a lady from the past, lol?

But yes, this week, I’ve been given an even better reason to avoid the US in 2026, the awarding of the Soccer World Cup to North America (primarily the US) in that year, something I will happily avoid, assuming I live that long, of course. I know, its great for tourism, if you like the sport, but as someone who dislikes it intently…I’ll happily pass!

Of course, today is an apt day to post this, given that the 2018 version started today, in Russia. Not a country that I, as a Brit would be rushing to visit currently, even less so as a Civil Servant, and all the extra issues that might bring. Of course, the irony is, that the US hasnt qualified, so Trump wont be going to see his friend, Putin, so… Fine, kidding, OK, I think? 😛

I have entered a few free competitions revolving around the event, if only because should I get things really right (and I got today’s score wrong, for starters), I could win some extra money, which would be really handy at present. But no, me, and soccer, no  chance, beyond the fact that these things are pure guesswork, and I can make guesses lol!

So no, I neither know, nor care who might be going to win it. I assume it will be one of the usual candidates, but as to me watching any of the games, no chance! Similar to me winning any prizes lol!

Funnily enough, as a child, I remember watching England win the World Cup in 1966, at a time when my father was trying to get me into the sport, and failing! Since then, nothing!

The only other soccer thing I can think of? Well, next seasons Premier League fixtures were announced today, but no, I havent yet checked when I have to try and avoid the crowds coming out from Huddersfield games! I will have to at some point, but that will be the only reason why!

Right, video. This song, in various versions has been around for over 20 years now, with a new version coming out each time England get to this, or the European Championships. No, I dont care if the hurt continues or not, I suspect it will, mind.

We aren’t the champions…just yet!

I have no idea what has happened today, but after weeks of having a steady total of 20-25 views on a day, today, with 3 hours still to go here in the UK, its currently on 84! I have no idea why, nor do I know if it might actually make the century, but I will have to wait and see.

So fine, lets do a posting of no interest to my predominantly US based readers lol! 😛

I’ve just noticed that my last posting concerning what we Brits (and indeed Europe as a whole) call football, or soccer to my North American friends, I mentioned that Huddersfield were in the play offs for a position in the top league here in England. Well, remarkably, they made it, and are playing in the Premier League this year. The amusing thing is, that all the experts forecast, what I assumed quite rightly, that they would be instantly relegated, and all the tables forecasting the season said they’d be bottom, and win 3 games, or less this season. Well, here we are, just over a quarter of the way through the season, and they’ve won 4! Yes, even beat the might of Manchester United, ooh! Exactly halfway in the table at this moment, 10th out of 20!

No, I’m not saying they’ll stay there, I’m not even saying they will stay up, and I’m not really going to care one way, or the other, whatever happens! But yes, a little bit of local pride, and a lot of debunking of so called experts just amuses me. And yes, I can say with absolute confidence that you wont get me anywhere near a game!

In truth, my main effort, whenever they’re at home on a Saturday afternoon at 3.00, will be to get home before all the crowds get out of the game, and into town. Last night, I made it, just. They were literally just coming up the street towards town as I passed them on the bus heading home, phew!

As per the title, no they arent going to be champions, but I suspect, in truth, if they’d been offered not being relegated at the start of the season, they would have snatched your hand off! So…?

Oh fine, a little bit of Queen tonight. I suspect the station cat is likely to be the only champion in Huddersfield lol! Still…

The games people play

Well, we’ve reached that time of year where one of the big US sports is just getting over the hype of the draft, and the so called experts are trying to work out what it all means. In truth, until those people make it, or otherwise this summer, we wont even start to see what the outcome of that is. But yes, NFL is desperately trying to keep itself in the news, so…

Two of the other ‘Big 4’ are now in the middle of their playoffs, and the loosest (and it is loose) interest I have in either, is Anaheim in the NHL. Its close to LA, and any team called the Ducks has to be worthy of support lol! Still as all US sports seem to do, the playoffs take on a life of their own, for a month or more!

So soon, for a couple of months at least, America’s favorite summer sport will take over events, baseball! Oh, and probably my favorite too, though I will watch football, both pro, and college, when I get the chance. Later this month, for the first time in over 18 months, I will get to see live baseball again, in the flesh. Yes, Dodgers, so sue me! 😛 In truth, you can get a seat for not that unreasonable a price, especially compared to soccer over here, and the NFL over there. Yes, you can pay a ridiculous sum for a seat, but I wont be doing that! No, not commenting on food prices, but yes, I will get some, all the same… One game, definitely, two if I can fix it, but if you twisted my arm, I’d probably say one will be as good as it gets!

Over here, the soccer season is also coming to an end, and talking of drawn out hype, we now have play offs to decide the last promotion position. Not quite as drawn out as play offs in the US, but even so…Oh fine, my local team, Huddersfield, and the team from the town where I work, Bradford City, are both in their respective play offs, so I’m told. Yes, that will be the only mention of it I plan to make! Well, I suppose if Huddersfield make the Premier League, I might, but otherwise…

Right, video time. A real oldie, which I doubt many of my readers have heard before, but I remembered it, and it seemed apt, so…

Another one bites the dust

Yes, despite the headline, this is a horse racing story, but it is US racing.

To be honest, the only strict connection between racing, as I know it in this country, and in the US, is that involves horses. Over here, the longest continuous spell of racing at any one track, is 5 days. In Ireland, I think Galway is actually 6 days, or was at one point, but thats it. In the US, tracks race pretty much non stop for months on end!

Fine, thats on dirt (as the US calls it), or all weather surfaces (as we Brits call it), so I guess the tracks can stand it? Also, over here, horses are trained all over the country, whereas in the US, as much as I can gather, most of the horses are stabled at the race tracks? Due to the amount of times they seemingly run, many horses in the US run on various ‘supplements’ to enable them to survive their regular running rate.

Most of the US racing we see over here is pretty low grade stuff, to be honest. I’m not saying that some of ours (especially our all weather stuff) isnt pretty awful stuff too, but anyway…

But seemingly, in the US somewhere, they must have better grade racing, we just dont use it for betting fodder!

One thing both do have in common, is something called the triple crown. In the US, its the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. No horse has achieved the Triple Crown since 1978, and its not hard to see why. Again, this year, California Chrome won the first two, then came up short in the Belmont. It is the race that seems to catch them out, its longer than the other two, and presumably the stamina issues show up? Not helped by the fact that all 3 races are within a 2 month span!

The triple crown over here, hasnt been won since 1970, but that is as much that horses, even if they win the first 2 legs, have more important targets than the third leg in September. Also, our first race is over a mile, the second over a mile and a half, and the last, an extended mile and three quarters! So, finding a horse who is fast enough to win over a mile, and have the stamina to win over a mile and three quarters… Also, as I say, in the old days, these sort of horses had little other challenges to go for. Nowadays, with major races worldwide, at their feet, why risk it?

So in all honesty, I wouldnt be surprised, if Nijinsky, in 1970 doesnt become the last to do it.

Oh, and fine, I’m trying to ignore it, but it wont go away, the football/soccer World Cup starts on Thursday. Much though I’d like to avoid it, with my job, its hard to do. With luck, it wont get mentioned again. Thankfully I miss the build up to the first of England’s matches on Saturday, I’m off to the Postmodern Jukebox concert in Manchester. The other two matches, hmm…

The video, for California Chrome, and all those who tried before him, a touch of Queen

Goodbye ESPN America, I will miss you

To be honest, I dont watch an awful lot of TV with sound. Before that confuses anyone, given where I work, we have masses of screens on, for the racing, for the football (soccer) and other sports, but for obvious reasons, given its a call centre, we dont have any sound on, 99% of the time. Yes, there are a few occasions when the sound goes on, but not very often.

At home, where I can have sound on, the viewing is limited. Pretty much BBC News, Sky Sports (mainly for cricket), and ESPN America for Baseball, College Football, and other things. Sadly for me, tomorrow is the last full day of ESPN America on TV. Why, its something that annoys me even more, is because of Football on TV politicking!

Basically BT Sports have bulldozed in on the football market, and have bought up the ESPN channels over here, and are only keeping the main channel in action.Even if they do (seemingly unlikely) continue to show baseball, there is no agreement with Virgin Media, so its gone for me anyway.

Let me explain. Most of the Premier League football up to the last season was on Sky Sports. ESPN had 1 or 2 games as well in a week, as well as showing plenty of other football. I didnt care, never watched the channel, as people know, I cant stand football! But I did watch its sister channel, ESPN America. Mainly for the baseball, yes, but other things too. As well as college football, they do some fantastic documentaries in the 30 for 30 series. Only Sunday, on an early shift, I sat engrossed as I watched a feature on a 1962 college football team who remained unbeaten during the season, but that was barely the feature of the film. Yes, it was Mississippi, in the days of segregation, about the first black pupil at the college. Oh wow! Unbelievable now to think that 50 years ago, in the Deep South, that was still going on. Did you know Michael Jordan played baseball, as well as basketball? I wouldnt have done, but for another film in this series.

But seriously, apart from the baseball, which I will seriously miss, there is one gem that I will miss just as much. You’ve probably missed it, its broadcast at 6 am, then again at 7 am, Tuesday to Saturday over here, and its called Around The Horn, hilarious stuff. Mainly because of one man, a genius called Woody Paige. The rest are good, but when Woody is on, its crazy!

So all I can say is, thanks ESPN America, for all the good memories, I’m going to miss you.

For those of you who have never seen Woody in action, here’s your chance