Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/27/20

RECORD: 18-8 (some confusion about this lately; that’s the right record)

Above all else, sports are diversions. They act as escapes from the trials and tribulations of everyday life, and as things we can turn to for entertainment, competition, and something to talk about that doesn’t have world-changing implications (except Rocky Balboa ending the Cold War in “Rocky IV,” of course, but I digress).

You know where this is going. Kobe Bryant was one of several people who passed away in a helicopter crash Sunday near Los Angeles. Among the other fatalities was his 13-year-old daughter, and seeing videos of those two at games pop up on Twitter was gut-wrenching.

Kobe Bryant was 41 years old. His daughter was barely a teenager. There was a lot of life left to be lived by those on that helicopter, and it’s horrible that this happened and took it all away. Regardless of your personal feelings about Kobe (there are plenty, and lots of them are valid), Sunday’s tragedy, above all, acts as a reminder that life is short.

Go hug someone. Tell them you love them. Don’t take stuff personally (I know that’s something I can do better), and make sure you’re focused on the things that truly matter. In that vein, I’ll finish this up by posting a video my friend Matt Dinerman took following Sunday’s last race at Golden Gate Fields. He’s an excellent announcer, but an even better human being, and he nailed this.


SUNDAY’S RESULTS: After a day off due to the hysteria of the Pegasus World Cup, I swept two plays posted on Twitter. Creighton and Ohio State both won by double-digits as single-digit favorites.

MONDAY’S PLAY: The Iowa Hawkeyes are just 2-8 in their last 10 meetings with the Wisconsin Badgers, but Monday’s game hits me differently. Iowa has won four in a row and has seemed to find itself after an early-season injury to Jordan Bohannon threatened to derail the program’s season. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is on the road, where they’re 3-6 on the year, and I don’t think their offense can keep up. The homestanding Hawkeyes are favored by 5.5 points, and I’m taking them to cover that spread.

Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/14/20

RECORD: 10-3

Friday night is a special night in horse racing. It’s the annual Beemie Awards, a smorgasbord of smartassery for racing fans on social media, and it’s always a blast. It’s organized by Jason Beem and a trio of his friends (who take pride in going unidentified), and whether the Beemies are your thing or not, there are a few concepts they hit on that I think we can all agree with.

Sports, and the discussions they foster, are diversions. At their best, they provide an escape from all of the struggles real life brings to the table, ones that seem to grow more and more daunting every year (seriously, just turn on the news). Every once in a while, someone hits on something that works and is able to provide people moments of laughter and joy. Those moments come around far too infrequently, and I think they should be celebrated when they do.

Jason Beem (and, for that matter, at least one of his unidentified friends) probably didn’t like me a whole lot for a while, but I’ve always liked him. I’ve always appreciated his passion for horse racing and the drive he has to play a positive role in its future. He’s a darned good announcer, but an even better person. I’m grateful for the role the Beemies play in bringing everyone together for a few hours every year, and it’s why I’ll get suited up, hit the Beemie Awards red carpet, sit in my seat, get shut out of all of the awards, and entertain folks at the after-party.

(PS: As much as I like Jason, and as much as I’ll appreciate everything the Beemies do, I’ve never forgotten getting passed over for the 2017 Mike Joyce Award for Handicapping Bravery and Excellence. “Bet With Kevin” winning that award was a crime akin to “Crash” winning Best Picture.)

MONDAY’S RESULT: LSU didn’t get off to the best of starts against Clemson, but when the SEC champs turned it on, the ACC champs didn’t have answers. As an aside, not being able to use team mascots because both teams are the Tigers is a real problem.

TUESDAY’S PLAY: This section is going to be dominated by college basketball over the next few months. I’m headed to Big 10 country and focusing on Iowa’s trip to Northwestern. The Hawkeyes can be streaky, for sure, but the homestanding Wildcats are one of the lesser teams in the conference, and they’re only getting 5.5 points. I think Iowa’s got way too many weapons, and that they should win comfortably.