Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One in millions

I play the lottery for a few weeks or a month at a time whenever the jackpot makes it worth my time and money. This gives me the opportunity to dream about what I could do if I conquer the odds.

Since the multi state games became prominent the Illinois Lotto game still exists and with its jackpot being over $20 million for at least a month and with its chance to win a life changing jackput 17-19 times better, it still seems that no one I know plays it but instead plays the multi state ones.

Even today as I purchased my state lotto game ticket, someone walked in and played the multi state ones at $75 and $100 million.

Has it gotten to the point where people are no longer comfortable with the idea of winning a $29 million jackpot but want one that is 3-4 times more? Personally I would find a way to survive the rest of my life with winning a $2 million one and realize it is best to put my money into the less unlikely scenario which creates a far greater chance of having the jackpot won by a resident of the state I live.

Monday, June 13, 2011

In the swing of things

Yesterday afternoon, I did something I have not done since July 2007, played golf. Though I have played at the Top Golf driving range, I have not been on a course in 47 months and have not hit a golf ball since last Fourth of July weekend when my left leg collapsed on the downswing and I almost fell off the second level.

When I got there, I was told there was a spot and I could basically walk up and play. I got the the par 3 first hole, sleected a 6 iron because the wind was in my face, took two practice swings and hit the ball as I felt a jolt in my left leg. The ball flew exactly as planned hitting the ground three feet from the pin and ending up 10 feet. I shook my head in disgust and screamed, "I HATE this game!."

Why do I hate the game? I am good at it but can't play golf more than every once in a while and if I play too much, my left leg starts to hurt and stops providing support to my swing.

The rest of the nine holes were in less pain and I also noticed that by having 30 lb less my swing was better than it has been in a while as the ball ended up left of where I would aim since my swing path was better. After holing out from 30 yards for par on the 8th hole, I ended up +7 on the executive 9 hole course.

That score is better than most people but still less than I expect as someone who played in the Cook County Amateur golf tournament 10 times. Here is a list of my results by year:

The one year I withdrew after nine holes on a sprained ankle since my girlfriend was ill and I was not playing well enough to qualify anyway.

I have been asked numerous times why not ride a cart when I play? The problem with me playing golf is not walking the course. It is the failure of my left leg to properly support me as I transfer the weight from the right leg to the left one during the downswing. This is caused by the bursa sac injury I initially suffered bowling in 1994 which after enough swings causes discomfort, pain, and eventually failure or even collapse.

To answer the next question: Playing left handed won't work either since my left leg would not support me on the backswing.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reliving the golden era

When watching baseball, my father would occasionally complain about what happened in the 1954 World Series between the Indians and the New York Giants especially in game 1 where the Indians who went 111-43 in the regular season lost the game due to the unusual shape of the Polo Grounds where the game was played; an event that cost him a lot of money.

This week, I was looking at you tube and noticed a new video posted by Power Salad, a group which had the number one song on the Dr Demento show a few years ago and one that features a lead singer who is older than me as opposed to the many who are from 8-13 years younger. Along with people spelling lose as loose, the song is about Cleveland sports futility and the way their sports teams lost famously over the years. After hearing the song, my first thought was why no mention of 1954 then I realized those who were alive then are now very old and would not get it.

I then decided to analyze the two significant plays from that game one being the Willie Mays famous over the shoulder catch.

Most people have seen video the play or this picture.

The other one is the game winning tenth inning home run by pitch hitter Dusty Rhodes (no relation to the wrestler). Thanks to you tube, I saw the video and as my dad described it, it barely cleared the wall down the right field line.

So what does the Polo Grounds have to do with this? The ballpark is shaped like a paper clip with the batter standing at the end of one curve and centerfield at the other. This made the foul poles at 275 in left (with the upper deck haning over the field at 250 feet) and the right field line at 258 feet. In every other park, including Cleveland's the ball is caught easily in the field of play. No current park is allowed to have a foul line under 300 feet and this guideline prevented Indianapolis in the 1990s from attempting to have a team play in the RCA dome since that field would have had a 290 foot one.

What made up for the short foul lines was center field. Dead center was 483 feet from the plate and where mays caught the ball the wall was 430 feet away. That ball would have been a home run in most other parks and in all but two today.

Here is a diagram of where those balls landed in the Polo Grounds and about where they would have been in Cleveland:

As with many things, timing is the most important aspect of all.