Miami


Serena-Williams-Maria-SharapovaSerena Williams (R.) with her much lesser rival, Maria Sharapova.

SONY OPEN WOMEN’S FINAL — SATURDAY, MARCH 30TH, 2013 (12:15 PM EST)

Maria Sharapova:  + 215

Serena Williams:  – 290

Note: these odds have shifted exactly half a dollar (or fifty units on a 100 unit play) since last night, when Serena was – 340.  Sharapova opened at +240, so obviously, the late money has been on Sharapova, which has corrupted this line.  Las Vegas must be thrilled with this development, as Sharapova has virtually no chance to defeat Serena, based on recent history, and yet, the wagering on Sharapova has stimulated a movement in her direction.

Anything can happen, of course, but if you are placing your money on Maria Sharapova today, you best have some inside information.  In looking at the h2h, Serena leads 13-2 and has not lost to Masha since 2004.  Almost a clean decade.  Sharapova has not taken so much as a set in 5 years (Charleston, 2008).  We think Serena is an enormous bargain here at -290, -320, -340, etc.  Serena is fit, and she is a far superior player who takes Sharapova’s time away.  Watching Serena dominate Radwanska the other night, who played Serena very well at Wimbledon, and barely allow her to get a game does not bode well for the Russian, since in a similar circumstance to Radwanska, at the London games, Sharapova was bagel bread sticked.

This is probably going to be ugly.  Serena is looking for 6th title here, while Sharapova is 0-5 in finals played at Cramden, Stadium Court.

SONY OPEN MEN’S FINAL — SUNDAY, MARCH 31ST, 2013 (11:40 AM EST)

David Ferrer:  + 240

Andy Murray:  – 320

……

Murray is a great player, obviously, and the surface suits him, as does the locale.  But enough about Murray and South Beach and that “great love affair.”  The h2h is 6-5 in favor of Murray, and Ferrer has taken 2 of the last 3, and the last matchup on hards, in 2011.  Murray will probably win, but not a lot separates these 2.  And Ferrer is an absolute pit bull, and will be really gunning for Murray in this spot.  This line is out of whack.  We’d take Ferrer at these prices.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

federer_nadal_indian_wells_sferturi_finalaThe 2 fair haired boys (above) are back at each other in Indian Wells.

BNP PARIBAS @ Indian Wells — Men’s Quarter-final (Approx. 10 PM EST)

Roger Federer:  – 140

Rafael Nadal:  + 110

…….
The h2h is still grizzly (Nadal, 18-10), which won’t be helped by Nadal’s precarious nature, because we don’t really see him making it too deep at the events where Federer can make headway in the h2h.  Just like when Roger was king, and he’d lose to Nadal at 2 Masters Finals and the RG Final every year–his reward for constantly going so deep–while Nadal hid from Roger at the events where Roger has a surface edge, like Cincinnati (where they’ve never met), the USO (where they’ve never met), and indoors (where they’ve only met 4 times and only at the YEC).

Tonight’s match, should Nadal keep his appointments, will be the 1st in the matchup since Key Biscayne in 2004 when the players have met before the semi-finals, and only the 2nd time ever.  Frankly, after watching Nadal handle Federer in Melbourne last year on Plexcushion (a 2nd terrible defeat against Nadal at Oz), we were shocked to see Federer have such an easy time with Nadal, when he beat Nadal 6-3, 6-4 here at Indian Wells.  Especially surprising also considering that in 2011 on a similar court with similar if not the same weather conditions–cool and windy–Nadal gave Federer what was probably the worst hard court loss he has ever suffered (6-3, 6-2 with a 62-39 edge on points).

But really, that was Rafa at his all time best, not too far removed from completing the career slam, and this is not.  Obviously Nadal is not himself, and any time when that’s the case, we’d favor Federer in the matchup.  Though Federer didn’t look all that hot himself in fending off Stan the Man last night.  Federer said that he and Nadal both “have issues” at the presser today.  Federer seems to have a lingering back issue that a lot of guys are speculating about.  We heard some good conjecture from we think Mark Knowles, who claimed that Roger is hampered, from what he can tell, on overheads and stretches.  But like the great Johnny Mac likes to say, the Fed back is an injury that hurts way more when he is losing.  We recall the whispers about Fed’s back within 48 hrs of the great man laying absolute waste to Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at Wimbledon, 2012.  Federer, a picture of health usually, has shown a tremendous ability to shake off back problems, which while they do nag, they have not proven degenerative.  And then you kind of say ‘well Roger doesn’t seem too bothered’ when he goes out and plays well, because unlike some, Roger has not spent his career whining about injuries.  Then Roger will lose to a Berdy or Soderling or Tsonga and suggest that he wouldn’t have lost if the back were not a factor.

For us, we see it as pride before the fall.  We don’t think Roger played hungry tennis against Soderling (RG, 2010) or Tsonga at SW-19 in 012, and against power players like that, the great man hasn’t looked good.  Sure, eventually a guy like Berdych is going to win a night match on Ashe and eventually Federer is going to lose one.  But the power is a problem, and seems to be Roger’s worst one, especially when really taking apart the recent losses and all the trouble he’s had with guys like Berdych and Del Potro, who serve big and who can control the baseline.  We don’t see it as as great a problem on quicker surfaces, then again, we didn’t think Dubai was that slow.  We didn’t think London was that slow at the YEC or any of the back end spots where DP got him at the end of 2012.

So we don’t actually see Nadal as the great threat to Federer he’s always been, and we won’t either, until or unless Nadal finds a way to make his legs his biggest weapon again.  Especially on a clay like surface as bad as this one.  Until that day, Federer has a more comfortable matchup here, back willing.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

RkdBSTk4N25LQ00x_o_the-scumfrog-feat-sting---if-i-ever-lose-my-faith-dub-

On Sunday morning, December the 23rd, after copious pre-partying at my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, our group of 5 split up, with three driving into The Village as a unit, and the other two, myself and who we’ll refer to for these purposes as “Dr. No”, taking car service down to 218 Sullivan St. for the purposes of taking in The Scumfrog, live and in person.  At exactly 3:03 AM, we sprung from the taxi, presented our pre-printed tickets to some very amenable door men, when we found out that we were the last on the “Want Tickets” list to arrive (you know, best for last sorta thing), thanked them, tipped them, and bounded in for our red stamps.  Coat check seemed daunting so we held our coats for a bit, as some of the drinking crowd seemed to be hitting the exits–as always–before things had even gotten good.  We entered to the sound of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, a creepy rendition, quite frankly, which we found much to our liking.  It’s very easy to identify a deejay by sound.  We’ve been doing so for years.  We could see it was Scumfrog, as he was visible in the booth, and we probably were never more than 50′ from him on the whole evening, which is a credit to The Sullivan Room, an incredibly intimate venue.  But if he were perhaps obscured, we’d have known it was him.  The Scumfrog is very distinct and has a fondness for Rock & Roll–over thick, chunky beats, which these were.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/dj-chus-scumfrog-set-the-standard-in-weekly-podcast-series/

Dr. No had taken a wrong turn somewhere upon entrance.  No doubt he would turn up.  So I grabbed a drink and went right for the upper deck, where there was plenty of seating, so I settled in with a prayer that no one would approach me, and just listened to the set.  While there’s a lot we admire about The Scumfrog’s music, if we had to narrow it down to one thing, we’d say it is the beats.  He’s very aggressive and we can appreciate that.  We grew up with Danny and JP, and cut our teeth at after hours clubs, here, in Miami, and in Las Vegas, for the most part.  Frankly, we don’t even like JP, who to us, is very “Jersey”, and whose sets are often, shall we say, askew.  To come out to a regular party, during “regular hours”, when you don’t even need to submit to a body cavity search upon entrance, and to be wowed by hard beats is very notable.  We’re sure that Scumfrog appreciates that the ear of the city is very refined, and we think the set reflected his respect for this House Music community.  Chunky is the word that best described the consistency of beats, which is a very high bit of praise, and was the word we were mumbling when Dr. No caught back up with us a few minutes later.

Dr. No had found a seated perch right off the dance floor and when he saw me, he called me over to that spot.  While we hate moving, it was the right thing to do.  Like any house party, the patrons are going to be predominantly men, but there was definitely some talent on the floor, and it only takes a few hot chicks dancing, because really, how many places can your eyes be in at once?  A couple of stripper quality chicks dancing (Saturday night strippers, not Monday night strippers) can go a long way.  Once I got set up over there, a guy came over and approached Dr. No.  I was happy to ignore it, happier still that he hadn’t approached me.  But I could hear the conversation, and this cat had a very Aussie accent, and so right away the very paranoid patron that I am started doubting it, wondering if this guy wasn’t a fake Australian/real pig.  So I am patiently waiting this thing out, when Dr. No mentions the Australian Open, and directs this kid to me, because I am a very big tennis fan.  Fuck.  It turns out, the guy probably was from Australia because he knew enough to talk about Aussie prodigy Bernard Tomic, which frankly, is not much of a topic among local 5-0.  He said that Tomic had some issues and I had said back that a player that good, that young, often has hiccups because they are raised in the spotlight.  Then the guy asked me for drugs.  LOL.  We knew it was coming and were glad to get it out of the way.  We do not know where to get drugs in The Sullivan Room and wouldn’t have told him, even if we knew.  Surely, if he approached everyone in the bar as he had us, he’d find them.  So that’s what we told him.  Ask around, but we can’t help you.  He was cool, and we really hope he found what he was looking for.  Surprisingly enough, he was the only person who asked us for drugs, which has to be some sort of a record.  One that we appreciated, because we are too para to get solicited in a situation like that.

We were paranoid indeed.  We were paranoid that our friends, “Dr. Mo”, his wife, “Dr. Jo”, and our friend “Dr. Bo”, had retired early and weren’t really on their way to the club.  Yes, we roll with doctors.  Three M.D.’s and one D.C.  And to tell the truth, they sorta look at me like a Godfather of sorts in these situations.  I had vouched heavily for The Scumfrog, so I was of course anxious to see them and to see them having fun.  Dr. Mo, an avid House fan (How serious, you ask?  His email tag is “twilofire”!), had also gone way back with The Scumfrog, and had lived in the same apartment building as him about ten years ago, on 34th and 3rd, where he saw him all the time.  It had turned out that they had been there, on the other side of the club, so they had heard a bit of the set.  A track came on–“No Can Do” by Hall & Oates.  Dr. Mo settled in on my left and asked me the following questions:

“Do you think he played ‘Trippin” yet?”

“What do you think of all the popular music?”

I knew he had not played “Trippin'” yet, and stated as such.  He asked me why I felt that way.  Because to play “Trippin” early in a set was amateurish, and probably even an amateur would not disrespect that track that way.  Also, I felt it would be bad form to play a request early in a set.  “Trippin'”, besides, is more of a set’s linchpin, and you wouldn’t waste it by blowing it prematurely.

The second question was more interesting.  My answer was honest.  I said that some hardcore fans would probably frown on popular music in that spot, think it’s campy.  Then again, we’ve all heard it done.  I’ve heard Steve Lawler drop the Red Hot Chili Peppers, heard Danny drop from Michael Jackson to 50 Cent (boo!), even heard Victor Calderone drop “Without Love” by the Doobie Brothers at the Old Crobar in Miami, and that selection probably made the most impact on me of any record I’ve ever heard spun.  We all love to hear identifiable music, especially when it’s good, and Scumfrog has an excellent sense of what the fans want to hear.  But this was a two part answer.  “As long as he drops them over hard beats, he’s got nothing to worry about.”, I said.  And Scumfrog really delivers at that, and we feel he has even improved at that, that his craft right now is extremely tight and polished.

In short, we picked the right spot to come out from under a rock.  Scumfrog was amazing, and we will be sure to repeat the affair the next time he plays The Sullivan Room, which was also even better than we remembered.  It’s an easy place to hang out.  Drinks are cheap, and all the workers are very appreciative, when you tip, whether they be barmen or bathroom attendants.  That’s the nice thing about going out these days.  We can actually afford to spend money, and always prefer to tip well for the enjoyment and the unofficial benefits that go with tipping, which we’ll not discuss in this space.

Somewhere around 4:25 AM, close enough to the end for us, and to 4:20 for that matter, The Scumfrog dropped “Trippin'”, B Side, as he so graciously sent us the link to.  What a gentleman.  We knew what it was immediately, and we went right to the booth to thank him.  We hope he heard us.  If not, here it is as well.  From there he played “If I ever Lose My Faith”, as we expected, and then to chants of “One More Track!”, he played “Asteroidz” by DBN Featuring Matilda, and it was quite a bomb.  In fact, it was the only time we took out our phone all night, as we did not want to seem rude, but at that point–last track–it hardly mattered.  We also actually felt bad about guilting The Scumfrog into playing “Trippin'” because we didn’t feel like the crowd was that warm to it, like these kids don’t know “Trippin'”, and therefore it felt a bit selfish on our part.  At any rate, we’ll take it.

The Scumfrog played a great set in a great room, and the only recognizable music we heard was either classic, or Scumfrog classic, in which case, we knew to expect some things because any deejay will fall back on a few tracks here and there.  And now, we have just a couple of questions.  Well, more, but we’ve narrowed it to 2.  One was, after a triumphant show like that, what does an ex-NYer from New Mexico do with himself?  Our bet would have to be real pizza.  The other, was he sporting a bit of a mustache now?

And for the unsanitized version of events, you may inquire within.  But if we tell you, we may have to kill you.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)