Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Post Mortem: Excalibur Hates America

But as somebody smartly pointed out, it is a casino based on an English castle so that does make sense that they would hate America.

The Excalibur became the latest in a long-line of greedy, patron-hating corporate casinos to ban free drinks in the sports book. Like nearly all of the remaining haunts of the Rat Pack circling the drain, the notion of a Las Vegas casino actually wanting you to enjoy your stay is quickly vanishing.

And sure, there are free loaders who don’t bet on the games (like me) looking to sponge some free drinks. However, most patrons at the Excalibur (and mostly likely all casinos) have to wake up pretty early in the morning to even get a seat in the book and should be rewarded with a Miller Chill for their effort.

(And speaking of that, who are the people who wake up at 9:30 a.m. on the first day of March Madness and think that they can just get a seat for the game in the book or bars? These morons are likely disappointed every year when they walk up to the ticket office at the Super Bowl, only to find that the event has been sold out. Jerks.)

Maybe the Excalibur didn’t want the book to turn into the world’s biggest fraternity party by giving out free beers. Instead it looked like a NASCAR tailgate party with people rolling in coolers full of beer, because the cocktail waitress couldn't even sell you booze.

The people you feel the worst for (and it’s not the fans – because they are going to get their drink on no matter) is the waitress who likely lost out on $1,000 on the day. Thankfully the Excalibur waitress are a bunch curmudgeons who don’t want to hustle for a few bucks.

But even with all of that said, there is nothing like being in a sports book for the opening rounds of March Madness.

And before we take a moment to dive into the March Madness, let’s take a moment to toast the Master’s … a tradition unlike any other.

One of my dreams for Cal State Fullerton’s hoop program was to have that one moment in the NCAA tournament where they jumped out on the favorite and got the crowd shot of the fans going wild, forcing the other team to call a timeout.

And that’s what happened on Thursday, complete with me tossing a fist-full of confetti into the air after the first bucket and generally acting like an idiot.

Fullerton didn’t look bad – a huge fear thanks to Long Beach State’s debacle last year – and if not for a complete homering by the officials, who knows was could have happened. In fact, Fullerton played so well that the loss was a huge disappointment. If Fullerton gets blown out at halftime, you are kind of over the whole thing and will to roll with the changes. But when the Titans took a second-half lead, you start thinking, why not Fullerton?

But Wisconsin was the better team and was able to wear Fullerton out. Nothing to be ashamed of. The only thing is, Fullerton fans are used to losing in Omaha.

And thankfully it was Wisconsin who have some of the best fans around. All the Badgers fans were classy, except for the one guy who kept grabbing his crotch like he was in a 50 Cent video and telling me to "Eat a (Richard)."

Of course, that guy is probably a doctor in real life when he isn't busy berating Fullerton fans.

  • Somehow Gonzaga has become almost as hated as Duke as most fans seemed to be on Davidson. Not sure what the Bulldogs have done to get such scorn, but it is kind of a surprise. Instead of boos, you would figure there wouldn't be a dry-eye in the house after seeing Morrison again.
  • If you are a fan of Duke, why do you even bother to go out in public? You know the house is going to come down on you, and your basketball team isn't very good. And even though Duke stinks now, everybody still enjoys a good Duke choke job. Watching Duke choke, is like watching Scrubs over and over again. You know all of the jokes, but you still enjoy it like it's the first time you are seeing that. Hopefully Duke will continue to be decent enough to get these high seeds, only to once again have it come crashing down.
  • Congratulations to Jim Nantz for ruining Duke’s loss in the second round. CBS doesn’t have enough announcers so they need Nantz and Billy Packer working both Friday and Saturday? CBS needs to find a way to space out all of the games so Gus Johnson can call them all. He doesn’t even have to be in the arena. Let him call the game from some studio, watching the game live with all of us.
  • At what point do you forget about your bracket and start rooting for the upset. A dilemma many people who picked Georgetown were faced with on Sunday. Unlike Dr. Hibbert, nobody was laughing when the Hoyas folded. Funny, Georgetown always seemed like an underachieving team under John Thompson, and it doesn't look like the apple has fallen very far from the tree with his kid, either.
  • Congratulations to Kent State for showing up in the first half against UNLV. Ten points, guys? The most amazing thing? The game still ended up going over (for those of you who following gambling). They should have a special channel set up just for gamblers. A station that would never go off a huge blowout, because it would be working the over/under. Maybe they could even have a countdown to the number, and spreads instead of the actual score. Tell me, which channel would be more popular? Of course, those guys who wagered on the UNLV/over were celebrating like their team had just won the whole tournament. Some even called it the miracle cover of the weekend.
  • Hard to figure who was the most disappointing this week, USC or the Drake. Oh wait, it was the drink ticket system at Excalibur. That’s right. Whoever first thought of “drink tickets in the sports book” is one of the most evil people in the world. Even members of Al Queda think you are a jerk. We might never get Bin Laden, and that's cool as long as we find the jerks responsible for drink tickets in the sports book. They must be brought to justice.
  • What was Stanford coach Trent Johnson thinking when he got tossed out of the game against Marquette? The final week of the season should have prepared him for bad officiating, right? Stanford needs to be given a break in the Sweet 16. Maybe the Collins twins can brandish a chair or something, because Stanford might not be around long enough for all of the makeup calls that they deserve.
  • Stephen Curry is as awesome like drinking mint julep.
  • The "smell" from the Tropicana is gone. That over-power deodorant was kind of annoying, but was a recognizable part of the Trop experience. Must be more penny-pinching from the new owners. Thank you Columbia Sussex for taking one of the friendliest staffs in Las Vegas and treating them like crap. Having a Titanic exhibit at your hotel seems fitting.

The only thing that could have made this weekend better … if that’s possible, would have been to have free Zimas and this playing over the loudspeaker on an endless loop.


Tommy Tuck Rule said...

That is the only Mullet greater than Steve Perry's.

Diane said...

I think we can all agree that Chris Cornell has nice hair, but if there is a connection between Soundgarden and this post, it escapes me.

Cali Tejano said...

Holy shit. I haven't heard REO Speedwagon since about 1990, or when mullets were not confined to hockey rinks and heavy metal bands.

Nothing beats the mullet of Barry Melrose. That mudflap is timeless.

The Hatriot said...

Of course you had trouble securing the Berlin Airlift quantities of alcohol your party required at Excalibur. That's because noone over the age of 12 goes there. What? Were all the good spots at Treasure Island taken? I know you were pounding Zima in a 7/11 Slurpee cup on the ride home. The only question is whether you were wearing one of those pointy princess hats from the gift shop...

JD said...

In fairness to JTIII, this is really the first year any of his Georgetown teams "underachieved," and honestly, they were overrated all year (they were about the only team to get as many homerriffic calls as UCLA and Dook this year). Last year, they made the Final Four as a #2 seed, the year before they made the Sweet 16 as a 7 (and were a Jonathon Wallace 3 away from beating eventual national champion Florida), and the year before that he took a team that had won 13 games (and went 4-11) to the NIT.

NFL Adam said...

Actually, the Excalibur -- like a lot of the other hotels built during the Disneyfication of Las Vegas -- have gone through a big transformation to get rid of the kids. That era ended quickly, much like 3-2 payouts in black jack.