Pints and Picks Week 9: A parade to the ticket window

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Each week DPB’s Kyle Magin and Andrew J. Pridgen will pour on the prose with Pints and Picks™. Who to wager and what to drink while doing it. Here then, is their point-counterpoint for Nov. 1, 2014. Or, if you’re in the car, simply scroll down for the recap (they may be verbose, but it’s better than clicking through a slideshow).

AJ: It should be noted Kyle that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity. That’s a quote from a guy called Michel de Montaigne who was an underemployed writer during the Renaissance. He didn’t have a Twitter account but I’m pretty sure he would’ve wanted one.

That’s as good an opening as I’ve got this week and though it’s going to be a little cringe-inducing, I have to take a moment and shout Scoreboard from on high—or rather, beneath the pile of losses I’ve been stocking up on like fall leaves of late. I’m bad against the spread and worse with it. It’s gotten to the point where degenerates are looking down at me and thinking of lending me a hand, or at least a five-spot at the window. I was going to be rock-bottom for Halloween, but I can’t find my costume. So, I’ll gesture to my ticket with the Giants at 12-1, 10 out of 10 seed in the Wild Card to win it all …doubled-down with my WS victory prediction. No, I had no idea Madison Bumgarner would grow a unicorn horn and Pegasus wings, but that’s why the play the games.

In truth, I’m a little exhausted KM. Your young’uns from the way underrated AL Central (if we have anything in common it’s that our respective divisions of choice—mine the NL West—are Dangerfieldean in scope and scale for the rest of the known round ball vs. round bat world) and yet, like herpes …they always seem to be in the conversation when it matters. Fancy that.

Before I roll out a modest four-pack (see: last week’s post) of predictions this week (bet against me, I dare you not to lose), I want to point out the best of/worst of media coverage from the World Series.

Best: Roger Angell, New Yorker. The man puts the senior in senior editor. He’s been writing for the NY’er since Rosie was riveting. At 94 years young, he’s sharper than most writers one fifth his age. His coverage of Game 6&7 especially are a couple of vignettes that caused me to choke down tears. Not for the subject matter, but for the fact that this treasure won’t last forever.

Game 6

Game 7

Runner-up goes to the NYT.

Michael Powell’s visit with Kevin Bumgarner (Madison’s Dad) game seven is another tear-jerker. It’s not just about a proud papa, it’s about a place frozen in time, and wouldn’t we like to walk into the restaurant and congratulate Madison …on his new horse:

Richard Sandomir’s critique of the Fox crew’s coverage of the WS is beyond compelling and veers into crushing. Sandomir didn’t even really go after Buck yet still shot more holes through the malaise than Martin Riggs at the range.

It was inevitable, but to catch Harold Reynolds in multiple lies …not to mention just misstep and fragment after misstep out in broad daylight brings an air of truth that Fox’s plummeting WS ratings may, in fact, have nothing to do with the action on the field. Watching bats bend in slo-mo is still cool though. Don’t care what anyone says.

I also wanted to end this on kind of a sad note. The San Francisco Chronicle and newly refreshed site SFGate (which looks like your nephew did it playing with free WordPress themes) truly truly stumbled and fell in this year’s World Series.

The Chronicle has always been a cream puff of a publication; which is fine, it matches the town. One thing they could rely on was the columnists. Herb Caen invented the genre and Art Hoppe who perfected it. The Chron features a handful of scribes who hark to an era where newspapers, especially the Hearst flagship, mattered.

Their prose may have mattered too at one point but between the likes of Bruce Jenkins, Scott Ostler, CW Nevius and Anne Killion, nary an original thought or spry missive was penned in this dynastic Giants push. And this isn’t being ageist, they just can’t write like your typical spry nonagenarian.

Peter Hartlaub is the paper’s current wit and why he wasn’t deployed to KC for a taste of the town (its people, its culture, its revelatory downtown scene, it’s quickly hipsetrfying neighborhoods… and of course, its barbecue) …is and will forever be a mystery.

The datelines of the aforementioned read Midwest, but lines like: It couldn’t get much wetter than the team’s clubhouse party, Champagne flying in all directions, delightfully soaked ballplayers hugging, roaring with laughter, sometimes just staring at each other in amazement. And it seemed every conversation found its way to Madison Bumgarner, who came out of the bullpen to pitch the last five innings — two hits, no runs — and win the Series’ MVP award …might as well have been penned from the staff lounge on 5th and Mission. My only hope is the three are busy finally unmasking the Zodiac.

OK, KM, if you want to jump straight into the action, be my guest, please. Let me sit here and lick my wounds with the knowledge that the greatest World Series of my time was covered better from 2,915 miles away.

Kyle: AJ, a tip of the cap to your squad. As far as the Chron goes, c’est la vie. They need to give the A’s beat writer/columnist team of Susan Slusser and John Shea the reigns when the big money is on the line and leave the uninspired coverage to the senior circuit’s regular season.

What’s got me melancholy is the continued presence of Florida State at the top of college football’s leaderboard. Like everyone else in the country not from the banjo-est parts of North Florida, I was rooting for Louisville Thursday night before Jameis Winston and the ‘Noles defense snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the final minutes of the contest. After a few such escapes in final stanza this season, FSU’s campaign is starting to take on the air of inevitability–especially with the soft nature of its remaining schedule. We’re going to be dealing with the beneficiary of a botched rape investigation (Winston) and his apologist coach (Jimbo Fisher, who somehow functions in an adult world with the name Jimbo) in the first-ever playoffs and they appear to be close to unbeatable. All we really need is one misstep–one loss–to banish this pair back to the seedy Sunshine State swamp from whence they came. It doesn’t appear to be coming.

With that said, here are my picks for week 10:

TCU @ West Virginia O/U 70
If I seem like a broken record, head down to the next pick. Every week, there’s a big Big 12 matchup where some team nearly covers the over on its own. TCU drops 50/game, the Mountaineers 37. And, although Gary Patterson’s calling card is defense, they’ve had trouble with some of the Big 12’s vaunted passing attacks in Baylor and Oklahoma. West Virginia has no analogous problem–they consistently get into shootouts in big game situations. So, again, take the over.

Auburn +2.5 @ Ole Miss
Hotty Toddy, your chickens have come home to roost. For all the signs of dominance Ole Miss shows—the nation-leading defense which holds opponents to 42 percent on third down conversions and logs roughly two interceptions per game—a few cracks are starting to appear, as well. The Rebels convert just 31 percent of their own third downs—they got over on just 5 of 17 tries last week–and the signs of wear are showing on quarterback Bo Wallace, who is struggling lately to complete even half his passes. Auburn has no such issues, and I expect the Tigers to run the Rebels’ losing streak to two in a row in Oxford.

Western Michigan -7 @ Miami (OH)
I need to brag on my hometown for a minute. The WMU Broncos (5-3, 3-1 MAC) have averaged roughly 34 points per game this season after an abhorrent 1-11 effort in 2013. Freshman running back Jarvion Franklin is quietly turning into that mid-major guy you should be, but aren’t, paying attention to, with his 5.4 ypc and 19 touchdowns. The RedHawks (2-7, 2-3 MAC) are as uninspiring as their nickname this year and get hammered at home by a WMU squad looking for bowl eligibility in coach PJ Fleck’s second year at the helm.

AJ: KM, thanks for talking me off the ledge there. I was about to cancel my subscription stop reading the Chronicle for free.

Before I jump into my fab four for the week I just wanted to say that I love how you’re grinding it out with the forgotten conference schools. From where I sit (back row, middle) you’ve pretty much announced yourself a niche industry as one who takes lines on under-researched/under-exploited spreads …and makes money. If it’s on a Bleacher Report slide show, it’s nowhere near your betting slip.

Nice work there and perhaps you can build your empire from this penny-stock state of mind (seriously). Every movement starts with a whisper.

I’d also like to say that I’m a little bereft. Four years ago tonight I was in the City celebrating a Giants’ World Series victory parade with the guys I grew up with. It was the time of day Paul Simon likes to write about, and my buddies and me—many of whom cut our baseball-loving teeth ditching class and drinking 40s by the gray tower in the Candlestick parking lot—were starting to fade just before the house lights went up.

We were pretty hammered and winding it down in the Marina Lunge (because you have to be hammered and winding it down to be in the Marina Lounge in the first place) when who should appear before us but The Machine Pat ‘The Bat’ Burrell. He sidled up next to my buddy Brady at the bar and started chatting him up like a high school crush (turns out they had an acquaintance in common, but whatever). We offered PTB a beer and a backer but he said he’d been drinking since ‘Maybe Wednesday” and still needed enough in the tank to make it back to his place and, you know (as he motioned over his shoulder to not one, not two, but three glassy eyed Marina girls in wine tasting boots who were, um, waiting at a safe distance) do his thing.

Anyway, PTB hung for a sec and took a couple fake pulls off a Bud Heavy bottle before he frenetically turned and started to go. We gave him all good jobs/and pats on the back and he obliged with an involuntary nod. As his harem made themselves look busy on their phones, he took a step away from the rail and suddenly turned around and re-joined the group.

“How come you’re all dudes. Why aren’t you guys out getting pussy tonight?”
(Silence)

He then began to point to each of us individually and say:

“You’re a no pussy-getting motherfucker.”
and
“You’re a no pussy-getting motherfucker.”
and
“You’re a no pussy-getting motherfucker.”
and
“You’re a no pussy-getting motherfucker.”
and
…”You’re a no pussy-getting motherfucker.”

…And so forth (it was awesome.)

Finally he pointed to Brady, his original wingman and said. “And you. With your long ass face on your giant face-head. You’re the no-pussiest-getting-motherfucker-of-all.”

And then reared his head back and roared for like 18 seconds. By then his three ladies in waiting had become two. He glanced their way, noticing one little Indian had left and said, ‘Good.”

And then bid us goodnight.

Anyway, that’s why WS celebrations are the best.

Got one more Kyle? If no, I’ll go straight to the picks.

Kyle: AJ, I feel like you’re baiting me into trouble by fishing for a kicker. The devil on my shoulder when I go to pick up a modest win from the 9 am games and realize I have enough time to get down on an afternoon ticket I should avoid. That said, I’m incredibly suggestible, so let’s do this…

Texas Tech @ Texas -5
I’m playing this hand of hold ’em blind, research-free (read: I’m a few tall boys deep because the boss man cut us loose early today.) Hook ’em!

AJ:

Real quick:

Purdue @ Nebraska O/U 62
Purdue hasn’t hit the over yet this year, the Huskers have once. The final on this is 24-14. No brainer on the under here.

Auburn +2.5 @ Ole Miss
Like Kyle said, Tigers roll in and roll up the one-loss Ole Miss(es) Rebel Black Bear …things. Really, there’s nothing to see here but boat shoes and Easter Egg polos. I’m pressing my contact at Lloyds of London for the odds of a sinkhole opening up in this game and swallowing both student bodies whole. Take Auburn and the moneyline.

Washington State +7 vs USC
Cougars and the points here all day. Mike Leach’s Cougs have gotten the worst final-minute breaks of any team in the conference and are about four games better than their 2-6 record suggests. SC has already given up.

Arizona +4 @ UCLA
The Wildcats are on a mission to tie it up with ASU as the tops of the Pac-12 South. As we learned from the Oregon/UCLA game, the Rose Bowl is about as good a home-field advantage as the thunderdome. Arizona and the points.

The PnP Recap:

Last week:
AJ: 4-7
Kyle: 4-6

Overall:
AJ: 16 for 29
Kyle: 13 for 20

This week:

AJ:
* Purdue @ Nebraska under 62
• Auburn +2.5 @ Ole Miss
• Washington State +7 vs USC
* Arizona +4 @ UCLA

Kyle:
• TCU @ West Virginia over 70
• Auburn +2.5 @ Ole Miss
• Western Michigan -7 @ Miami (OH)
• Texas Tech @ Texas -5

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