In one of my earlier blog articles, I discussed how one-third (1/3) of my handicapping methodology involves situational analysis. Situational handicapping takes into account a myriad of issues that affect teams, such as injuries, travel schedules, look-ahead situations, letdown spots and distractions within the locker room. One of the most overlooked components to handicapping involves the daily distractions that adversely affect both college and professional sports teams. Fortunately, this week presents two example of how situational handicapping can give an edge to the professional handicapper.
Exhibit #1: The Hanley Ramirez Saga
Florida is currently dealing with turmoil between shortstop Hanley Ramirez and manager Fredi Gonzalez. Gonzalez pulled Ramirez in Monday’s game after he accidentally kicked a ball and then lightly jogged after it, allowing two runs to score. “It’s his team. He can do whatever,” Ramirez said, mixing in an expletive. “There’s nothing I can do about it. That’s OK. He doesn’t understand that. He never played in the big leagues,” Ramirez said. Responded Gonzalez: “He’s right, but I know how to play the game. I played six years in the minor leagues and I know what it takes to play this game and I know the effort it takes to play this game,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez also benched Ramirez Tuesday and said he would not see the field again until the 26-year-old addressed his teammates and gives an apology for lack of effort. “We got a lot of people dogging it after ground balls,” Ramirez said. “They don’t apologize.” Veteran infielder Wes Helms hopes Ramirez apologizes to his teammates. “I can’t overlook it,” Helms said. “I know people say that’s just the way he is, but you know what? That’s not the way it is. That’s not the way the game’s supposed to be played.”
If you are currently betting baseball, consider fading the Florida Marlins until the chaos within the team’s locker room is resolved.
Exhibit #2: Amare Stoudemire’s Mouth and Mother
Phoenix Sun’s forward Amare Stoudemire’s mother was recently arrested for failing to have an ignition interlock device on her vehicle. After Carrie Stoudemire refused to participate in a field sobriety test, the officer handcuffed her and put her in the back seat of his patrol car. According to the report, Amare Stoudemire and another man arrived at the scene a few minutes later. Carrie Stoudemire began to yell “Amar’e!” and asked for a lawyer. Police said Carrie Stoudemire was charged with speeding, operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device and failure to drive in a single lane. She was booked into the Scottsdale jail and later released.
As if having his mother arrested during the playoffs was not enough distraction for Stoudemire, he compounded matters after suffering a 128-107 blowout loss to Los Angeles on Monday. Stoudemire essentially stated that Lamar Odom’s 19 points and 19 rebounds in Game 1 was “lucky.” “I’m not giving him no hype right now; he had a lucky game in Game 1,” Stoudemire said after Suns practice Tuesday at Staples Center. “We just got to make sure we box him out. I think I focused so much on Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to where he snuck in there and got 19 boards, so now we just got to make sure there’s three guys out there that can rebound well [when] adding Odom. So, we got to do a better job on them.”
Both of the above-referenced examples demonstrate how situational analysis is a critical component to a successful handicapper’s arsenal.