Archive for March, 2009

Destination Las Vegas: Playing In An APA Pool League

Something I have been wrapped up in for a few years is shooting pool in sanctioned APA leagues.  The APA has offered pool leagues for over 30 years nationally.  I enjoy playing both 8-Ball and 9-Ball and have been on some teams that have made it to playoffs, but have yet to be on a team to make it all the way to Las Vegas. 

I first became interested in shooting pool at a young age.  My father had a table in the house and liked to shoot.  A good friend, Dan Pagley, would come to the house frequently and we would play for hours.  Coincidentally, Dan and his wife Gina own Pagz, a bar I shoot with on Tuesday and Thursday.  Dan knows the game and would tell you he would rather coach than shoot some days. 

 When a session starts, a team of players assigned handicaps play against another team from a different sponsored establishment.  The leagues are fun and competitive and I would encourage anyone who likes to shoot pool to get on a team and get involved.  At the end of each session, a team mini-tournament known as Tri-Cup takes place.  You have to win a couple of matches at Tri-Cup for your team to advance to the next round.  Winners from the Tri-Cup tournaments face off to compete for a trip to Las Vegas with the APA picking up the tab for the flight and the hotel. 

I have several friends who have made it to Las Vegas to shoot at the APA championships.  I feel like a couple of the teams I am playing on can make it if everyone is having a good day and brings their A game.  I am a 5 handicap in both 8 and 9-Ball.  For some reason I seem to shoot much better when playing 9-Ball. 

So my Monday night ritual is to go to my home bar, The Bowery, and either settle in there or meet the rest of my team to travel to our competitive destination.  The matches vary in time, but usually friendliness overrides competitive punity and everyone has a nice night.  I do not drink alcohol, so if you think people join pool leagues as a reason to get torn up once a week, you are sadly mistaken.  I have seen a few heavy drinkers from time-to-time, but not coincidentally, the next time we play that very same team, the obnoxious member is gone.

Some of the rules in the APA are different than other leagues.  In 8-Ball, making the 8 on the break nets you a win.  In some leagues it is spotted and pocketed as a shooter’s last ball.  Lately, the rage issues have come over handicaps.  A team can not go over 23 total for handicap in a match.  So if someone has a decent session and gets hiked to a 6 handicap, on a night that player shoots, there are only 17 more handicap rating points to use.  A team that wins will have trouble staying together long for this reason. 

Bernie Pavlok is my local APA representative.  He and his wife, Nohaud, are fair and in contact with most players.  They have always been cordial and accessible to all members of my league. 

There are not many things you can do for $7 a week that are much fun in today’s smashed-up economy.  I would encourage you to try and shoot pool.  If you win, you advance and reap the benefits, if you lose, it’s back to the drawing board for next session.

Pop into the local Papa’s Sports Club in your neighborhood and see what you have been missing!

Lesser Known John Cena Movies From Jimmy Fallon

Promoting his new movie, 12 Rounds, and Wrestlemania XXV, John Cena made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s new late night show.  His first legit movie, The Marine, did well in sales and WWE Films is hoping that 12 Rounds will do as well if not better. 

Fallon uses Cena wisely in these little skits.  Wardrobe must be hurting for dough as Cena is wearing the same shirt in all of the phony film trailers. 

Look for a bunch of WWE Superstars to be all over television this week to hype up the 25th edition of Wrestlemania which is this coming Sunday.

 

Vitamin Water Is The New Advertising Pig At NCAA Tournament

Remember years ago when people saw the Gatorade coolers on the sidelines of every major sporting event? Vitamin Water has taken over those sidelines for a hefty price I’m sure.  I did notice while watching a few Elite Eight games that the Vitamin Water coolers were behind the bench of each team.  The neat part was that when CBS switched to a different game, the coolers were a different color.  Great marketing but dumb at the same time.  If Vitamin Water really had their act together, they would have coordinated the coolers to match the team colors.

Personally, I do not like the way the stuff tastes.  It is like Kool-Aid without sugar and just tastes bland.  Gatorade still is better tasting than Vitamin Water.

The Weekend Highlights – Other Great Stories

Here are some stories from other great sites!

 

In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Tiger * Josh Q. Public
Blake Griffin Is Too Cool For School * Total Pro Sports
The Final Four: Who Will Win It All? * Sports2Debate
Minor League Baseball Team Offers “Gassy” Promotion * Zoner Sports
Examining The Indians Competition: Minnesota Twins * Sharapova’s Thigh
Lebron James Pregame Homerun Video, What’s Next Shaq? * NESW Sports
Why Jamie Dixon Won’t Leave Pitt * PSAMP
Indians Send Trevor Crowe Packing * Deep Left Field
The 10 Ugliest Uniforms of The 1970′s * Fantasy Pros 911
Andrew McCutchen Sent To The Minors * BUCCO Fans

Enjoy These Great Stories!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame, But Take Me To The Nearest ATM Machine First

Few things in life gave me more pleasure than listening to Harry Carey sing Take Me Out To The BallgameWGN was pretty much a cable staple in the 1980′s, so I watched more than my share of Cubs games.  Carey would start yelling and slobbering in the middle of the seventh as several video shots of the crowd are panned through the air.  The Chicago people went nuts everytime I ever watched, singing along with Harry.

To analyze a bit, being taken out to the ballgame is going to require a stop at the nearest ATM machine.  Parking around most stadiums usually runs between $15-$20.  Tickets, depending on a seating preference, are widely varied.  $35 is a fair average for a ticket before all of those taxes and fees make it a $45 expense.  So if a man takes his wife out to the ballgame, he is looking at a $100 bill before he can even watch batting practice.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks…  a few bucks for these snacks.  Figure on a hot dog and a couple of beers each.  Another $35, easily pitched away.  Food and beverage prices at live sporting events is totally outrageous.  The markup is usually about three times of what a decent restaurant would charge. 

Root Root Root for the home team…  as the owners count up what we are throwing at them.  Don’t forget that the average commute to a major league stadium is about 45 minutes.  Gas is definitely not cheap.  Figure on using at least three-quarters of a tank to get there and back.

Now comes the worst part.  Major League Baseball can’t seem to decode the secret combination.  If you have a couple of kids with the wife, it turns into about a $300 day.  Airfare from Youngstown to Florida is cheaper.  The stadiums that draw sellouts could care less.  The small market teams who draw an average of 20,000 could do a better job marketing packages for families.  So you sell four seats for $10 apiece.  Wouldn’t that make more sense than seeing the bright paint of all those empty upper deck seats?

So, if you are planning to go to a game this season, plan on spending some serious cash, or its One! Two! Three! $trikes You’re Out At The Old Ball Game!

 

Lebron And Cavs Working Towards Home Court Advantage And #1 Seed

The Cleveland Cavaliers took another big step toward a number one seed in the Eastern Conference against Dallas Sunday.  The Cavs used a balanced scoring attack to blow Dallas out 102-74.  The most impressive part of this victory was the teamwork again displayed by the Cavs who are playing like one big happy family.  With just nine regular season games left, the Cavs seem to have a firm grip on home court advantage throughout the playoffs. 

The reason why it is essential for the Cavs to finish ahead of Boston in the East is because both teams are nearly unbeatable at home.  They share 35-1 home records.  The Cavs are also a couple of games in front of Kobe and his LA Lakers.  That could weigh huge if Cleveland can get to the finals.  Tuesday, Cleveland hosts Detroit in a possible preview of a first-round playoff matchup.

Kevin Garnett sat out again as his knee is acting up again, and that is bad news for Celtics fans.  Garnett needs to be 100% for Boston to have any shot at all with Cleveland.  Whichever team ends up with the home advantage will be the team likely to advance.

Fresh off of a 60 Minutes interview, Lebron James is in the national spotlight more than ever.  Senior citizens who do not follow sports got an inside look at the force driving The Cleveland Cavaliers, and The NBA for that matter.  Look for Lebron to have a huge game Tuesday against The Pistons.  I’m calling it here and now, a triple-double with at least 40 points.

Weekend Volley – Other Great Stories

Great Stories From Other Great Sites!

 

Who Is The 2009 MLB Sleeper Team? * Sports2Debate
Rudy Fernandez Scores 5 Points in 3 Seconds * The Hoop Doctors
Larry Bird 1985 Ford Escort Commercial * NESW Sports
Blue Jackets Goalie Steve Mason: Rookie Sensation * Josh Q. Public
Looks Like Billy Donovan May Be Kentucky Bound * Midwest Sports Fans
Greatest Dunks Compilation * A Stern Warning
Kobe Bryant And Wife Deny Maid Allegations * Moon Dog Sports
Scott Lewis Gets Drilled After Being Named Starter * Tribe Daily
Mad Love: Lebron And The Cavs * The Love Of Sports
Lebron James Hits Miracle Shot For Upcoming 60 Minutes Piece * Ball Don’t Lie
The Rocket That Fell To Earth: Q & A With Jeff Pearlman * Hugging Harold Reynolds

 

Enjoy These Great Stories!

Arthur Abraham vs Kelly Pavlik Coming This Fall, Hopefully

Good news Kelly Pavlik fans!  Arthur Abraham and his group are coming to the states to meet with Top Rank and Kelly Pavlik’s management group to negotiate a potential fall bout between the two.  Details are still a bit sketchy, but both will have a must win tune-up fight before their potential meeting in The Big Apple. 

Kelly Pavlik wants to unify the middleweight championship belts and Abraham holds one of the two remaining pieces.  Abraham is recognized by the IBF as it’s middleweight champion.  The last remaining title belongs to Felix Sturm, who is the WBA champion.  Pavlik has said many times that it is his goal before moving up in weight to unify all of the belts and to be recognized as the best middleweight by all of the major boxing organizations.

Bob Arum, the voice of Top Rank Promotions, is quick to point out that nothing is set in stone yet but if both sides can agree that the fight will probably take place in New York City in either October or November.  Arum also said that the fight would be broadcast by HBO or Showtime.

Pavlik is expected to fight Sergio Mora, a former WBA champion, this summer in Atlantic City.  Abraham is also going to line up a summer fight with an opponent, possibly with Vernon Forrest.  Abraham defeated Lajuan Simon in a 12 round decision on March 14.

The two fighters share a common opponent, Edison Miranda.  Abraham fought Miranda last summer in Florida and won in the fourth round.  Pavlik stopped Miranda in 2007 on his way to Jermaine Taylor.  The Miranda fight was the only time Abraham has fought in The United States.  Conversely, going overseas has pretty much been ruled out by Team Pavlik.   Jack Loew, Pavlik’s trainer was quoted as saying, “the only way to win a fight over there is to have your opponent carried out on a stretcher“.  Loew has seen and heard too many times of controversial decisions favoring the foreign champions.  Location was the sticking point all along, but hopefully, New York will end up being the site for the potential matchup.

Abraham is 29-0 with 23 KO’s.  He is a respectable boxer and Pavlik acknowledges the dangers of facing him.  I don’t think there are too many marquee names on Abraham’s resume.  If I had a crystal ball and the ability to draw up a scenario, I would want Abraham to fight Felix Sturm first to eliminate the extra hurdle for Pavlik.  However, by fighting Abraham, a demand will be created to fight Sturm, if Pavlik is indeed victorious, to set up complete title unification.

I will be interviewing Jack Loew, Kelly Pavlik’s trainer in the next couple of weeks and there will be video footage of that interview right here on Paneech.com.

Missouri Bounces Memphis, Marcus Denmon Connects From Half Court Video

All I kept hearing this week was that Memphis was the hottest team going into the tournament.  This half court shot by Marcus Denmon was kind of the exclamation point in Missouri’s 102-91 win over Memphis in their Sweet Sixteen matchup.  The reason I say kind of is because Memphis never quit and made quite a comeback, ultimately falling short in their frantic effort.    J. T. Tiller was the man for Missouri all night.  Tiller pumped in 23 points and always seemed to be the guy to flatten the momentum of Memphis throughout the game.  One more win for Missouri and they will be making their very first Final Four appearance.

Final Predictions for Wrestlemania XXV

With Wrestlemania XXV just a week away, I am going to attempt to predict the results of the big card.  It gets tricky trying to follow the storyline and thought patterns of Vince McMahon.  Wrestlemania is in Houston, Texas this year.  Keep in mind, I stand by my predictions if there are no huge swerves in stoylines leading up to Wrestlemania on next weeks Monday Night Raw or Smackdown shows.

Chris Jericho vs WWE Legends : The WWE legends are Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Ricky Steamboat, and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.  Jericho should destroy the three legends as he has been for the past several weeks on Raw.  I see Stone Cold Steve Austin getting involved somehow, perhaps as “guest enforcer”.  I also see Ric Flair attacking Jericho after the match.  My prediction for the match is that Jericho will be rolling along, the ref gets squished in the corner “accidentally” as Jericho continues to control things.  When he feels he is ready to win officially, he starts screaming for a ref to come out and count, look for this to be Stone Cold Steve Austin.  The legends will get the tainted upset victory after Chris Jericho gets punked.  Look for Mickey Rourke to be at ringside or in the legends corner.

25 Diva Battle Royal:  I didn’t know there were 25 divas in the WWE.  I can only come up with about 18, so it will be interesting to see someone like Mae Young get tossed over the top rope.  The only other possibilities I can see are Gail Kim making a WWE debut, Lillian Garcia competing, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley competing, and possibly bringing back Wendy Richter for nostalgic purposes.  Santino Marella is supposedly trying to get into this match as a diva participant.  Look for the entertaining Santino to get his wish but cost his girlfriend the Glamazon her chance at winning.  I see that relationship ending in this match.  My prediction is that Gail Kim will show up and be the last eliminated by winner and suprise entrant Trish Stratus.

Money In The Bank Ladder Match: First of all, I don’t think Mark Henry can climb a ladder without breaking it, so we will eliminate him now and focus on the other seven combatants.  Kane, Kofi Kingston, CM Punk, Finley, Shelton Benjaman, Christian Cage, and MVP will be participating in this years ladder match.  These have been the most exciting matches for me over the past few WM’s.  I do not think that Kane or Finley will win.  Kane is no good in a high risk match like this one and Finley will employ his dwarf son Hornswaggle at some capacity.  Usually the WWE will make the winner of this match someone who is ready for a big push to main event status.  Last year CM Punk won, so I don’t think he will repeat.  It comes down to two guys in my opinion – Christian Cage and MVP.  My official prediction is that MVP will win as the WWE is really trying to push him as a babyface. 

Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker:  This should be interesting.  16-0 is the Undertakers unblemished Wrestlemania record and Shawn Michaels has had the nickname Mr. Wrestlemania for years.  Something has to give here.  I am going to say that Undertaker wins and keeps his perfect record at Wrestlemania in a long and tough match.  I would guess this match will go over a half hour which is epic, especially from two 40+ year old veterans.  The Undertaker will use questionable tactics to win.

Primo and Carlito vs Miz and Morrison:  The big tag team unification match.  I am kind of sick of this angle and am hoping for Carlito and Primo to win to end the Miz and Morrison run.  I think John Morrison is the WWE star in waiting as a singles wrestler.  Unfortunately, I feel that Miz and Morrison will win this match.  The newly divided Bella Twins will start on opposite ends of the ring but end up walking out with unified champions Morrison and The Miz at the end of the match.

JBL vs Rey Mysterio:  This match has received the least amount of promotion on WWE programming.  It is another weird matchup as big, bulky, and powerful faces off against, fast, risky, and high-flying.  I hope WWE lets JBL keep the belt because he is such a great heel.  However, the WWE loves to give Mysterio gold he should not have.  I predict that Rey Mysterio wins the Intercontinental Title.

Edge vs Cena vs Big Show:  I’m sure if everyone voted on this that Cena would have about 90% of the votes to win the match.  I don’t see it that way.  I am sticking by my gut instinct here and saying that Christian will be out to give Edge the assist.  Look for the Big Show to land outside somehow and lay there for most of the match.  Cena will have the match pretty well in control and just when it looks like he is going to win, I am calling for Christian Cage to come out and help his lifelong pal, Edge, retain the title.  When Big Show comes to his senses, he will swear off Vicki Guerrerro, as will Edge, leaving her broken hearted in this contest to win not only the belt, but Vicki’s love.  Edge retains the belt here!

Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy :  This is the hardest matchup to predict.  Either Jeff is going to dominate and win or Matt will do something underhanded to win.  Saying that Jeff will win is just too easy, so I am going to call for Matt Hardy to win this match.  Something really goofy is going to shock Jeff before he gets pinned.  Momma Hardy yelling for her boys to stop fighting each other, drug relapse, car wreck footage, firework mishap, or the reappearance of the dog Jeff thought died in the fire.  Somehow, Matt is gonna win.

Triple H vs Randy Orton:  This is the match getting the most WM 25 hype.  Pretty good storyline that Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase have been a part of from the word go.  I am sure they will appear at some point in the match.  Someone will come to the aid of Triple H, and I am guessing it will be Vince and Shane McMahon.  Look for the McMahons to prevent Rhodes and DiBiase to interfere allowing Triple H to get the win here.