So far it's been a bad day for Canada, the country, in Las Vegas on Day 2 of the winter meetings.
First came the results of the Frick Award, as Canadian broadcasting standard-bearers Tom Cheek, Jacques Doucet and Dave Van Horne finished up the track behind Tony Kubek. Then came the official report on bat safety by baseball's Safety and Health Advisory Committee staged at the podium in the press room with power-point presentation and all. It came down hard on the breakability and danger of Maple bats without actually banning them. There will be random grain-testing at stadium batracks throughout the summer. Maple, of course, is mostly Canadian.
Then came the appearance of, in the hallways, Jays' GM J.P. Ricciardi, outside the same press room, reiterating the dilemma the Jays face in losing payroll and still trying to compete. Tomorrow is another day for Canada, hopefully a more successful one, with the announcement of the Spink Award for excellence in baseball journalism. The Sun's Bob Elliott is among the three finalists for inclusion at Cooperstown. He would become the first Canadian to be so honoured.
In other Canadian news, there was a report last week that tourism in Las Vegas was down overall, but that Canadians were not part of that decline. In fact there were more Canadians than ever traveling to Sin City. Need proof? Consider these facts, from the posted Caesar's Palace Sports Book odds of winning the World Series and the Stanley Cup. In baseball, the original odds were set on October 24. Since then, the Blue Jays odds have dropped from 25-1 to 20-1 to win it all. Yikes! What are these people smoking?
As for Canadian NHL bettors it's interesting to note that since odds were first posted here on June 5, the Habs have gone from 10-1 to 5-1, the Flames from 22-1 to 15-1, the Canucks from 30-1 to 10-1, the Leafs from 40-1 to 30-1 and the Oilers from 50-1 to 12-1. It seems most of our country's hockey realists reside in Ottawa where the Senators odds of drinking from Lord Stanley's mug have gone from 12-1 to 25-1. Of the 15 teams that have lower odds now than when first posted, five are Canadian-based.
I picked this information up in the nice little Sports Book off the main part of the casino at my personal headquarters hotel, Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon (hard by the venerable Flamingo with a clear view of the Bellagio Fountains).
By the way, I appreciate all the advice I have received from readers on future bookings in Vegas, but I happen to love the intimacy of Bill's Gamblin' Hall. Why, three times per day, Elvis performs live in Bill's Lounge. There is a top notch after hours bar with live music until five in the morning. There is a stained glass window in my shower and the water pressure could blow a tick off an elephant. Margaritas go for 99 cents and you can get a hot dog and a beer for four and a quarter at any hour of the day or night. In addition, there is free valet parking and when I asked the guy how long ahead I should call down to get my car out, he said "thirty seconds." Sweet.
More from Vegas later tonight.