Editor's note: The above video was filmed before the Giants beat the Mets in the Wild Card Game.
The San Francisco Giants take their Circus of the Weirdly Predestined to Illinois to face the latest in an occasional series of Chicago Cubs teams that causes people to say, “This Is The Year! I Know I Said It Before About Twelve Times, But This Time For Sure.”
This is also known as the Bullwinkle Pulling A Rabbit Out Of The Hat Theory, in which the famous cartoon moose always says “Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!” and ends up revealing a bear, a tiger, a rhinoceros, a lion, and in the denouement, Rocky.
(This is inherently funny, and if you are too young to appreciate it, just know that someday, all your favorite things will seem ridiculous to your children as well – and they will be).
But we digress.
Giants-Cubs is that odd combination of heavy favorite with no championship pedigree facing considerable underdog with lots of jewelry from conquered lands, and you, the helpless yutz with a rooting interest either way, are left to guess whether history matters more than recent form, only to find out that this is really about a master of chance with a thousand daily variables, and you end up putting your face against a belt sander just to clear your head.
But if it helps at all, Las Vegas has a clear and loud rooting interest, and it is San Francisco.
Not because the casino books love Bruce Bochy’s leonine head, or Madison Bumgarner’s adamantium arm, or Hunter Pence’s brother-from-another-alien look, but because the betting public loves the Cubs. LOVES them, I tell you, with a love so lopsided and to date unrequited that the books are rightly concerned that a Cubs World Series victory will bankrupt the town and reduce it to its pre-mob Deadwood status.
But the beauty of Las Vegas is that it never leaves itself so exposed that it could be in a position to welcome its new mayor, The Right Hon. Al Swearengen. So as it turns out, the second worst-case scenario turns out to be . . .
. . . yes, you guessed it. The Giants.
Re: the redoubtable David Purdum, the Cubs are an overwhelming public favorite at 9-5, while the Giants are a sub-modest 12-1. Plus, the Cubs usually get a lot of action every year, to the point where one could make the case that the Cubs have been as good for Vegas as Bugsy Siegel.
But a lot of people also bet the Giants as a futures proposition (all that even-year arglebargle, with a little Johnny Cueto-Jeff Samardzija money-splashing thrown in for good measure). In other words, some books would much prefer the Cubs beat the Giants, and then lose to the Nationals, Dodgers or any of the American League teams.
Now we know none of this matters to any of you high-minded and principled opponents of vice in all its many forms (yes, all three of you). But for the rest of us, the roasting of money, no matter whose it is, is a source of endless amusement, and if there must be one emoji (and even one is excessive by the strictures of any civilized society), it should be of the Monopoly millionaire pulling his empty pockets out of his trousers with a Hello Kitty expression on his patrician mug.
But it might distract you from the other popular postseason parlor game, Pretend You’re Smarter Than The Manager, in which you wait for something bad to happen to your team and then condemn your team’s manager to death for not foretelling the future, the know-nothing hunch-playing bastards.
And, if you’re planning to buy a casino between now and first pitch tomorrow, you really have a rooting interest – Dusty Baker and the Washington Nationals. It would be good for him, his managerial legacy, and the greater Nevada economy, which is preparing to bankrupt itself on behalf of the Oakland Raiders.
After all, there’s betting, and then there’s serious no-more-city-services-for-you-ever betting.