Starting Out On The Right Foot …

Since I am confident this will not continue into the future, let me begin today by patting myself on the back. In my NCAA Mythical Picks earlier this week, I made 4 selections for Thursday night games and hit all 4 of them. For this brief and shining moment, I am – mythically of course – way ahead of the game. Now that I have “strutted my stuff” so to speak, let me use this as a teaching moment.

After those 4 picks in Thursday games, I can look at the Friday schedule and see that there are 2 games where I made picks. If I were to fall victim to the gambling fallacy of “being on a hot streak”, I would bet the mortgage money on those 2 selections for tonight. Let me be clear:

    I will not do that.

    “Hot streaks” always end – and if you fall for the gambling fallacy of “pressing bets while on a hot streak”, they will end badly.

But I can still feel good about myself for now…

Tim Tebow has an offer to play pro baseball. The Aguilas del Zulia – the Eagles of Zulia – in the Venezuelan League have offered him a chance to play winter baseball there. Zulia is a state in Venezuela in the far northwest of the country on the border with Colombia; the largest city in Zulia is Maracaibo – the heart of the oil industry in the country with a population a bit over 1 million. Luis Aparacio came from Zulia and the stadium where Aguilas del Zulia play their games is named for Aparacio.

This is a classic good news/bad news situation:

    Good News: This is professional baseball; it is certainly not MLB but if Tim Tebow seriously wants to get to that level one of these days, he needs as much time on the field to develop his skills as he can get. As of this morning, it is the only offer on his plate. And, by the way, lots of players who made it to MLB have spent time in the Venezuelan Winter League in the past.

    Bad News: Venezuela is a country that is plummeting downward such that it may sink below “Third World Status” into “Iron Age Status”. Some minor league players here in the US are suing teams claiming they are not making minimum wage; I suspect that those players are still living in better conditions than prevail in many parts of Zulia.

According to an AP report earlier this week, the IOC has stripped 4 more athletes of medal they won in the Olympic Games due to detection of PEDs. That sounded like a simple and straightforward report; I did not think there would be much of anything therein worthy of comment. I was wrong. These 4 athletes won their medals in Beijing; those Games happened in 2008.

    Question for the IOC and for the Drug Testing Mavens:

      It took 8 years for these test results to come to everyone’s attention. So, is the testing lab is on one of the moons of Saturn?

According to a report in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Coca Cola is now going to sponsor the Saudi Arabian Football Federation providing support for the Saudi National Team and three major soccer tournaments in Saudi Arabia each year put on by the Football Federation. In the big picture of “world soccer”, this is not such a big deal. I mention it here because every time this sort of thing goes down, you get to read a statement by parties to the agreement that take “soaring rhetoric” and leave it in the dust. Consider these words from a representative of the Saudi Federation:

“Today we witness an important partnership with Coca-Cola, one of the leading global brands renowned for their history in supporting sports, as an official sponsor of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. This new partnership reflects the importance and the stature of our federation, teams and the competitions we organize.”

For the last decade or so, Coca Cola Zero has been the “Official Fan Refreshment” of the NCAA. Is this what the guy meant by “renowned … history in supporting sports”?

Naturally, someone from Coca Cola took the opportunity to say a few words. In this case it was Middle East Region Marketing Director for Coca Cola and here is what Coke hopes to do:

    Coca Cola will use various platforms and channels to tell the “…real human stories of Saudi’s pride and passion for the sport”. He went on to say, “We are certain the Saudi National Team will inspire fans of all ages, including the generation who will represent the country at the 2018 World Cup qualifications.”

Let me add just a bit of perspective here. I believe there are 165 countries that FIFA recognizes as having a National Team. In the latest rankings I can find, Saudi Arabia ranks 101st. Moving on …

Finally, since I mentioned the IOC and the Beijing Games above, I think it appropriate to close the week with two comments about the Rio Olympics from sportswriters that I read regularly:

“Ryan Lochte is reportedly set to join the cast of ‘Dancing with the Stars.’

“Sources say he chose the show over an offer to debut a Brazilian series called ‘Leaving the Scene.’” [Brad Rock, Deseret News]

And …

“According to Brazilian media, 20-year-old Ingrid Oliveira and 17-year-old Giovanna Pedroso have ended their Olympic diving partnership after Oliveira kicked the teen from the room they shared at the Olympic Village in Rio so she could enjoy a night of sex with Brazilian canoeist Pedro Gonçalves. Um, is that a canoe, or are you just happy to see me?” [Greg Cote, Miami Herald]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………