What Happens in Vegas…

As mentioned I was headed to Vegas this past weekend for our fantasy football draft that is held at The Palms. Usually it is poolside in our cabana, but this year the start of the draft was pushed back until 5pm due to one owner who had to do pictures with his kid’s sports teams on Saturday and was not able to get in on Friday, like myself. As mentioned, it is usually a 3-day weekend, arriving Friday and departing Sunday morning or early afternoon. This year was the first time I actually stayed the night. Honestly, I had no choice as there were no flights departing at time we would be done.

I was planning on taking an 1045am trip from San Francisco, with a 2 hour layover in Fresno and then on to Vegas, arriving about 415pm. I got lucky when I arrived at the airport and made my way around security [more on that in another post] and to my office. There was a trip leaving in like 15 minutes and there was one seat remaining, which I was given, so I quickly made my way up to the gate and seat my ass down, ready to go. This was cool, because after out minor mechanical delay I got there about 1230pm and was poolside by 115pm.

I took at $25 cab ride to The Palms and called up to the suites where we were staying. No answer, so I headed poolside. As I walk out the door I see my group waiting for their cabana to be made up. I had not even said hello to all the guys and a drink was pushed into my hand. This is sort of how the weekend went. Since I was not really planning on staying, I did not bring a change of clothes or bathing suit. But not to worry, my buddies picked me up with shoes, a shirt and a suit. As mentioned, I was poolside by 115pm at the cabana ordering a Long Island Iced Tea.

for the next 3 hours we lounged around and hung out in the pool. As I told my wife, this is the only time during the year I really get to hang out with guys I grew up with and talk about the past and growing up, along with bullshitting about football and life, in general. The drink flowed through out the early afternoon hours from sweet drinks to Coors Light. This for starters.

A couple of the guys went to check out the blackjack tables, I headed inside for a bit to see if Roulette was worth playing. I guess when no one is at the wheel, not much good is bound to happen. I blew $40 on the slots and quit, went back outside for more sun, pool and beer as we waited for the last owner to arrive.

To be honest, the pool scene is not me. Never has been. But I tell you what, compared to my buddies, I look good! Most of these guys are into their mid-30s like myself, but all have developed a beer belly over the years. Even those [which is most of them] who were athletes! Thankfully my gut was nowhere as “developed” as theirs. So I felt right at home with a bunch of pale white guys with a beer in my hand.

Once the last owner arrived, he was a few drinks behind, so a round of Patron Silver tequila was delivered to the cabana and shots passed out. While he now had one drink in him, it was not long before he had caught up with us and we were ready to draft.

The draft is the main reason we are there. It does make for a great weekend event, but there are more of us with kids and families these days. I think we only have two bachelors in our group at this point. We pulled playing cards to see who would get the top draft and what the remaining order would be. I pulled the 3 card, not bad as it was one of the higher choices I have had recently. The draft itself lasted about 3.5 hours, so we pushed back dinner reservations from 9pm to 930pm at The N9NES Steakhouse.

Now I had heard about “The N9NES” but never did experience it or eat at it. I must say their steak was some of the best I have ever had. I chose a 16 ounce fillet, rare. OMFG! It was tender, juice, the best! No other way to describe it. At that point of the night, I started in on scotch and water after countless drinks and only a half of a cold steak sandwich while poolside. So any food that was put in front of the table was devoured. Unlike those other upscale restaurants, The N9NES was jumping with activity and loud. Too loud for my taste actually. It was mainly the music, but it was bearable. After appetizers, and our meal, which was ala carte and numerous rounds of drink, dinner was over. The damage was close to $900!

It was now time to gamble, hopefully not all the money you brought, away. I am nowhere the high roller these guys are. Hell, I am the same guy who said, “damn a $5 roulette table, thats too much for me.” Haha…so I find it rather funny I took a seat with two buddies at a $15 blackjack table. I find it even funnier that I told my wife I won some money, but then went back and dropped a $50 bet and hit blackjack! That is when I called it a night, about $375 up on Las Vegas. It’s nice to go home, but even nicer when you win money and not loose it to the house.

So that was the trip, all in all a great time being in Vegas, hanging with my buddies, talking shit, drinking, eating and drafting football. Not sure 3 days is in my future when this rolls around next August, the last weekend in the month, but rest assured we will all be looking forward to it. Oh, by the way most of the weekend was comped. I don’t ask questions and don’t want details, but it has something to do with how much money some of the guys spend playing in the casino.

Fantasy Football Friday Debut

Today marks the start of a new weekly feature on T6F, it’s called Fantasy Football Friday. Each week I will post fantasy football related material prior to the weekend games. Today, I talk about the draft because this weekend I spend Saturday in Las Vegas for our 22nd year playing fantasy football. As the commish, I am in charge of the draft and will fly in with our draftboard. Thankfully I will not be carrying the coveted, ‘Tidy Bowl Award’ which is awarded to that fantasy team, in our league that comes in last place, the cellar, the shitter. The guys I play with I grew up with, played sports with and now that we are a few years old, some of us are none the wiser when it comes to fantasy football. So, along the way you will learn some of these characters, as I talk fantasy football each Friday. I look forward to another interest draft, as there are always some surprises and great moments at the draft. Alcohol does the damnedest things, doesn’t it? Enjoy FFF #01 – Draft Day 2006-2007.

Rotogeeks Unite!

As August draws to a close, with pre-season football in full swing, it is nearly that time of year that every fantasy owner looks forward to. The fantasy football draft! I have been running a league since 1984. When a little known wide receiver named Louie Lipps was selected just because of his name. LOL! I have been playing with the same group of friends since the inception of the league. Sure, we have had the odd man go, only to be replaced by another. But for the most part the core group has not yet failed to take ownership of a team.

As kids, it was “can your mom drive us to the draft?” Now it’s a weekend out in Vegas at The Palms. Man, how things change. Sure we are older now, but that does not necessarily mean we are are wiser, or does it? The draft is that special time of the year when all owners are seen as equals. Okay, not really because there will be someone who makes a stupid pick, only to be mocked.

In the last few years we have instituted the ‘Tidy Bowl Award’ which is presented to the owner who comes in last place, also known as the cellar or shitter. Thus it is fitting they must carry around a wooden toilet seat during the offseason. Yes, I can say I was a winner of this dubious award. What made it worse was walking through Las Vegas airport security and being asked if I was carrying on a toilet seat. My response, “don’t ask!” Fortunately, this past year as I dropped from contention to cellar I was able to stay out of last place. Thankfully!

In the past, or can I call them the “olden days” we used to go out to the local bookstore and pick up the newest copy of Street & Smith’s or similar publication in order to check stats and organize our draft sheets based on position. Since the introduction of the Internet, the “work” and time you put in has decreased. Sure you can still do it the old way, or pay for some of these fantasy football services that do all the legwork for you. Rest assured there is a service out there who can create draft lists for your, based on YOUR league’s scoring.

While I don’t buy the magazines any longer, we [my pops and I] subscribe to a service for the year. It is almost imperative to do this just because of how quickly things change. But it does take some of the fun away from putting all your players in order, looking for those “sleeper” picks that could be difference maker for you. Nowadays you can read these different articles and a player they named last week as a potential sleeper now shows up on the overrated article and should be avoided. WTF?

You must also put aside your hatred for specific players. Tha same holds true for you favorite NFL team. I tried this last year and ended up with Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Talk about a long year! It’s no wonder my hatred for both have grown. Hometown players usually go a bit higher than anticipated just because you want to have someone to watch on Sunday from your favorite team.

This year, like last I will be flying into Vegas on the day of the draft, as I am not able to get away for the full three day weekend. I am still preparing my draft lists in anticipation for the Saturday draft. Unfortunately, this years draft takes place in the late afternoon, early evening, unlike the previous few years, which was held poolside at The Palms. Also, alcohol comes into play, be it from the previous night hangover or the alcohol flowing during the draft. I know it hit me last year, as I probably had one too many Long Island Iced Teas.

As for expectations this year…we have one original member returning to the league. He has already been glossed with a nickname, Dunbar, as in that not so famous Saints running back, Vaughan Dunbar. Nicknames are a must. I am known as AWOL, as in ‘absent without leave’ because I was not able to attend a draft one year, so I am now AWOL the Commish. Other owners in our league, Darth Kremers, Philly Cream [yes, as in the cheese], Noodle [or Drew], Kaz Maloof, named after the Maloof Brothers who own The Palms [no relation though], LBH or Long Beach Hillbilliez and finally Cummy.

I feel good going into the draft, while I am not fully prepared, I will be by Friday. Get some food and drink into me on Saturday prior to the draft, drop some coin on Roulette and then get ready for the draft. Seeing as I will not be there since Friday, the pre-draft hangover will not be a factor. As I do every year I will breakdown the draft and layout who will win the year. Looking forward an evening of enjoyment as I see childhood friends I played sports with and grew up. Oh yeah and watch out for the shit talking!