So I’m sitting in the barber chair Thursday morning with Sue C. applying whatever mix of gunk she concocts to keep my beard and few remaining hairs dark (I know, I’m 61 and at this point it’s waste of time, but for $30 a week, screw it), and I’m immersed in Twitter when all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. A couple of high profile and I would say well respected pick sellers are battling with an industry watchdog serving as the third man in the ring.
I have no stake in this scrap but decide to comment that I find the whole thing, while entertaining, really counterproductive. I’ve literally been in this game longer than most of the current crop of pay ‘cappers have been alive, so I think I know what I’m talking about as far as the business itself is concerned.
I’ll make this very simple. It’s not that these feuds are a black eye for the industry. Hell, we ran out of eyes to blacken back in the 2oth century. But it’s still kind of dumb to start firing off public accusations. In other words, if Mr. X has an issue with Mr. Z, keep it private. It’s one of the ultimate glass house industries, and you know what that old axiom is regarding glass houses, right?
As for the watchdog, as well intentioned as he or she might be, my sense is that the only people who care about what they publish are almost exclusively those who already know the score for the most part. I’ll pass along an absolutely true story that proves this theory.
I can’t remember the year precisely, but it’s circa 1990. The sports advisory industry was simply blowing up back then. I kid you not, if you were high visibility, you basically had a license to print money, and some of the stuff going on was just incredible.
Right around that time, Sports Illustrated, HBO and the Wall Street Journal each decided to expose the practices of a handful of really big names in the industry. I would imagine you can still find the SI piece in their online vault, as they’re pretty good about archiving virtually everything they’ve put into print over the years.
Anyway, they came down really hard on some of the allegedly shadier members of the business. I remember my first thought at the time was that the names they’d exposed may as well find a new line of work, as they were going to get destroyed with this negative publicity. I could not have been more wrong.
The outfits that came under attack simply spun all the bad print to make themselves seem more legitimate. I can specifically recall one very big name tout who had been crushed in the Wall Street Journal. I mean, they annihilated him! Next football season, he’s running full page ads in every rag, and in bold print he’s got “featured in the Wall Street Journal!” I did not know this individual personally, but through the very reliable pipeline, was told in no uncertain terms that the phones rang off the hook like they never had before and they raked in millions. All as a result of negative publicity.
Before I turn this into a short novel, I’ll wrap it up with this. My sage advice to all in the pick selling business is to simply mind your own business. Trying to make the other guy look bad is not going to hurt the other guy, and in fact might actually help him as in a sense it’s free pub. I could go on and on with examples, but I’ve made my point, and you can take it for what it’s worth.
Okay 2-1 on Thursday, with a pair of easy winners and a contrary opinion that wasn’t very good. Nevertheless, it’s another winning night and I’m looking forward to tonight’s card.
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Northern Arizona was good as the Thursday comp. The Lumberjacks were only up four at the half, but they were controlling the game and I was not surprised when they blew it open down the stretch. Tonight, it’s an Ivy League free play.
03/07 04:00 PM CB (823) PENNSYLVANIA (824) COLUMBIA
Take: (824) COLUMBIA -9.5
A big part of the task for any sports forecaster is gauging mindsets. I think that’s the key tonight as Penn pays a visit to Columbia in an Ivy League hookup.
The Lions are back home after a disastrous Saturday obliteration at the hands of Harvard. Columbia was simply throttled for the full 40 by the Crimson, eventually losing by an amazing 33 points.
I see Columbia bouncing back mentally tonight, or at least I’m hoping that’s the case. This team is still 18-11, which means a 20-win campaign is within reach, along with the possibility of a post-season invite to one of the smaller dances.
Penn is going no place, and they were not good at all in a pair of home losses to Brown and Yale last weekend. I watched the Brown game and the way they were beaten up and down the court all night long was really troubling. That was a nationally televised home game, not exactly an everyday occurrence for the Quakers, and I thought they mailed it in. If they could not get up for a game like that, I have to think there’s a reasonable expectation they might do the same in a meaningless road game.
There’s also revenge involved here, as the Lions lost at Penn in early February. So it would appear to me like the intangibles all favor the home team tonight. I’m sure they don’t want to get swept by this rival, the Lions surely want to put the Harvard debacle behind them, and there are still some good goals within reach. I’ll back Columbia to notch a substantial win along with the cover tonight.