Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

UPDATE: the guy who said he bet his life savings on the Cubs faked the ticket


UPDATE: Dang it, it’s a fake. Turns out it’s an altered ticket, per ESPN’s gambling expert. Stand down. But continue to read Hunter S. Thompson quotes. He had his moments.

3:57PM: Hunter S. Thompson once said that it’s important to know that losing comes with the territory when it comes to the business of gambling. He even compared it to playing linebacker in the NFL, saying “just as getting crippled for life is an acceptable risk in the linebacker business,” so too is losing when one gambles. “They both are extremely violent sports, and pain is part of the bargain. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

A Chicago man named Don Majewski bought the ticket and will be taking the ride for the next five and a half months or so. And he paid big for the ticket. $200,000 to be precise, which is most of his life savings. And he plunked it all down on the Chicago Cubs. From NetOneSports:

“I know it seems crazy, but what am I risking, really?” asks the 54-year-old Majewski. “I could save for six more years, and maybe I’d have, what, a quarter million to live on for the rest of my life? And that’s if the market doesn’t tank again.”

He’s a sanitation worker-turned-carpenter. And he’s married. He says his wife approved of the bet, as long as he slept on it. Which he did. But then he put $200K on a baseball team. In May.

I’m pretty risk averse. I don’t gamble much and don’t enjoy the ride terribly much even when I do buy the ticket. But I don’t think you have to be risk averse to give Mr. Majewski the side eye on this one. You just have to know how baseball works and remember just how often the best looking team in May tanks it down the stretch. And just how often the team that wins it all was nowhere close to being the best looking team in May.

Good luck, good sir. But hoo boy.

Michael Bourn signs a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks


It’s been quite a journey for Michael Bourn in the past year. He started last season in Cleveland before being traded to the Braves. He didn’t make the Braves roster this spring and was released. Then he signed with the Blue Jays, but they released him too. Now he’s on club number three: the Diamondbacks, who just announced that it has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with Bourn and that they have assigned him to Double-A Mobile.

Bourn, 33, put in 41 plate appearances at single-A Dunedin with the Jays and hit .257/.366/.371 with a pair of doubles and a triple. Not great. Nor has his production anywhere else been great for a couple of years. But now he has another chance to prove himself.

Donald Trump was wrong about the Stephen Strasburg shutdown


Remember the Stephen Strasburg shutdown? That time in 2012 when Strasburg, not terribly removed from Tommy John surgery, was given a hard innings cap, the Nationals didn’t use him in the 2012 NLDS and then they lost the series in five games? And remember how, in 2013, the Nats underperformed and pundits continued to argue that the Strasburg shutdown not only cost the Nats the 2012 NLDS — which it probably didn’t, but never mind that — but also somehow cursed them going forward?

Yeah, that was something of a drag. A drag other teams who later dealt with fragile, recovering starters avoided because, unlike Mike Rizzo and the Nats, they didn’t make a big show of announcing a hard innings cap. Maybe that messed with Matt Harvey and the Mets last year, but since no one with the Mets made a super big show of it like Rizzo did, it’s mostly being ignored. Mostly.

Anyway, today I was reminded that the first guessers were, in some cases, just as wrong as the second guessers about all of the consequences of the Strasburg shutdown. And one of those first guessers WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!

Strasburg, of course, just signed a multi-year extension with the Nationals on relatively team-friendly terms.

Donald Trump: wrong for the Nationals baseball decisions, wrong for America.