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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday Morning News and Notes - Oct 7

- The hits keep coming for Learn and Earn in Ohio. Now, a state report claims that the group's projections of raising nearly $1 billion $853 million a year for scholarships is way off the mark. The report from the state's Office of Budget and Management, using statistics from neighboring midwestern states that have gambling, claims that Ohio would support just 10,000 slot machines, not the 31,500 that Learn and Earn claims, and generate a mere $324 million a year.

"This report is so appalling and so ridiculous that we’ve asked a group of third-graders to review it because the math is so bad," Learn and Earn spokeswoman Robin Hepler said. [Columbus Dispatch]
All of these estimates are just guesses of course, but to have a state report, even one from a panel that reports to the state's corrupt governor who opposes the plan, is powerful ammunition against a group that has done nothing to earn voters' trust in the first place.

One of the reasons for that mistrust is the group's continued attempt to blur the fact that the education money will be raised via gambling, and that 55% of that money will go to the operators and racetracks, tax-free for the first two years. The Cincinnati Enquirer published this text of a Learn and Earn TV ad, and slots are not mentioned once. Cincy Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz, an outspoken opponent of the plan, said of the ad: "That is just plain deceptive. The only mention of anything remotely close to gambling or slots is the word 'lottery....This ad is the same type of deception they used to get people to sign the petitions in the first place."

- As reader Steve D pointed out, the conspiracy theorists are out in force over the cancellation of the Pick Six at Belmont on Friday due to a satellite problem (which was corrected before the first leg went off). Gee, what a coincidence that the big carryover will go into the Super Saturday card.

But NYRA's Bill Nader told the Form's Steve Crist [sub. or print ed. only] that those suspicions are off the mark.
"I just had a guy call me up and scream at me that we did this on purpose, but that's just crazy.....Why would we do that? We don't want to have a huge carryover on a day like [Saturday] with small fields and big favorites any more than you do. We saw this as a fairness issue.

"Without the signal, our handle on the first three races was off 52 percent from a week ago. We don't know if people couldn't bet or wouldn't bet, but this seemed the fair thing to do. Look, the first leg was a maiden claiming race won by a firster who was bet down to 4-1. How loudly would people be screaming if they'd played the pick six and hadn't been able to see that?"
Crist points out that those who did invest their time and money on the bet were not even able to get their cash back until after the card; Nader explained that the software made timely refunds impossible.

And the NY Daily News is reporting that the State Lottery Division issued a statement indicating that their approval of the Aqueduct racino is not forthcoming.
"Contrary to statements made by NYRA, the Lottery Division received NYRA's restated and amended MGM Management Agreement during the second week of August. Since then, the Division has met with the parties on numerous occasions to attempt to resolve the remaining issues that have been caused by NYRA's past and current fiscal problems - the same problems that have led NYRA to state that it may file bankruptcy. In light of the current situation, the Division cannot proceed until these issues have been resolved and the State's interests have been protected."
NYRA pointed out the obvious in that once the racino is approved, the remainder of their loan is released and the bankruptcy issue goes away.

- It's amazing how perceptions can change so quickly in sports. Just a couple of days ago, the Yankees lineup was the so-called "Murderer's Row Plus Cano," a lineup of All-Stars that seemed unbeatable. Now, on the verge of elimination, they seem like just another offense susceptible to good pitching in a short series.

Kenny Rogers has always been somewhat of a joke around here, based on his highly-publicized flop as a high-priced Yankee free agent in 1993-4; as well as his walking the Braves' Andruw Jones with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th to give the Braves the 1999 NLCS over the Mets. But as long as an athlete plugs on, there's always the chance for redemption, and you could sense that Rogers was pitching against the Yankees as if to vindicate his entire career. He looked like Tom Glavine in his prime, pitching with flawless command and striking out eight Yankees, all on breaking pitches, some of them in the dirt.

The Yanks can bitch about some bad luck, and with good reason. An awful call at third base in the bottom of the 2nd eventually led to two Tigers runs in an inning in which ground balls hit off Randy Johnson found their way through the infield. When the Bombers did connect with Rogers' pitches, some were hit hard. Bernie Williams just missed a 2-run HR in the 5th with the score still 3-0; and Johnny Damon ended the inning with a rocket hit right to short. Derek Jeter led off the next inning with a line drive that nearly took off Rogers' head, but turned into a 1-3 groundout. And Yankee fans can second-guess Torre's decision to play Williams (0-3, 2K's) over Gary Sheffield, and to leave Johnson in for too long in the sixth, when he had eschewed his fastball entirely in favor of a series of toothless breaking pitches that the Tigers eagerly awaited.

But hey, it was 6-0, and without taking anything away from Rogers, there's little excuse for this lineup to get shut out by him in a pivotal postseason game.

Alex Rodriguez was 0-3, now 1-11 in the series with 4 K's; he's just an embarrassment, really. A-Rod was simply overpowered by Tigers' reliever Jose Zumaya in his final at-bat, meekly flying to right. The postseason can convert a mere name like Zumaya that you might notice in the box scores, into a living, breathing, 102-MPH-throwing menace. That's why, as Tommy Lasorda says, you must watch the postseason even if your team is out. I mean, Red Sox fans are on the verge of having the disappointment of their season become a thing of the past. To the TV!


Anonymous said...

I am not a big fan of NYRa but this is the ulitmate goverment induced Catch 22. NYRA is being screwed, if I were them would just get it over with and declare bankruptcy and delay this thing ad infinitum.

Alan Mann said...

Yup, you took the words "catch 22" right out of my mouth. Will be interesting to see if the state blinks as they did last year once NYRA prepares to file bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

re baseball playoffs:


Happened to be in CT for NY/Detroit game 2. I listened on the jerks on local radio crack dumb jokes -- i mean for hours -- about how the tickets the station was giving away for game 5 would make 'great wallpaper' & crap like that.

No way there would be a game 5 in the series they said.

Stupid Yankee fans.

But come to think of it --- they may (for once) have been right.

Heck I'll bet money right now on No Game 5!

That and the fact that I've kept a loose eye on the Mets all season -- I really dig NYC despite your tolerance of those Yankees -- and decided long ago to go ahead & Hoot 'em along.

All in all these playoffs thus far have been a Cheap Thrill Ride for an orphan Red Sox fan!

Anonymous said...

I just tuned into The Deuce to watch the Vosburgh, and wouldn't you know it, the baseball game is running long. Goood Grief. Oh well, at least it's not a Little League game. This i can understand. And speaking of baseball, rumors of the Tigers' demise have been greatly exaggerated. I was increduolus after the Yanks' easy win in Game One, that the entire country seemed to be writing off the Tigers, thinking that the result was a foregone conclusion. I even heard some idiot on the radio say that the series price "should've been -1000" (it was Yanks -270, i believe). Sure, the Yanks are a nice team, with a great lineup, but their pitching is average at best, and the Tiger's offense of Granderson, Ordonez, Irod & Co. are certainly capable of scoring a few runs. Public perception was such that the Yanks were an overwhelming -280 in Game 2, but unfortunately i chose not to bet the Tigers. I knew it was a great price, but Verlander just hasn't been pitching well of late, and i figured Mussina and the Yanks would likely get the better of them. Even at home in Game 3, the Tigers were +150. That one i DEFINITELY should've bet, but again i passed. Ugghhh. As for Arod, i just don't get you New Yorkers. Why do you hate the guy so much??? You act as if the guy has been BAD since becoming a Yankee. The guy won the AL MVP last year, for cripes sake. Even this year, the guy went .290/113/35/121/15. That's All-Star level, my New York friends, not something to get you panties in a twist over. Incidentally, i just checked the Yankees boxscore to get those stats, and Arod is batting EIGHTH today??? Even Torre is getting involved in the Arod-hating!!! Now i've seen everything. If the Yanks lose this series, no doubt it'll be all Arod's fault. Don't bother blaming your pitching... 8^P