Alex Gordon (almost) made me cry

This may not meet the “timely” criteria of journalism, but it took a couple weeks for Alex Gordon’s retirement to set in.

I sat down and started thinking about writing the standard ode to a legend, but it didn’t feel right.

Not because Gordon isn’t a legend, because he certainly is, but because his career impacted me in ways I almost can’t explain. I’m going to try my best here.

It was a yearly tradition to head to The K with my dad for Opening Day since I was five years old. My dad was a great dad, but very busy so Royals baseball was about the only thing we bonded over.

Every year usually felt the same. Skip school, pray for an opening day win, but deep down knowing the season was likely doomed.

I mean, the team had lost over 100 games the previous three seasons. At 13 years old, the closest thing I’d seen to competence was a mediocre 83-79 2003 campaign. But things just felt different on April 2, 2007.

That’s when Alex Gordon got the call. Opening day. Some had called him the savior. The next George Brett.

The stadium was crawling with Red Sox fans (opponent that day), but nobody seemed to mind. We were all there for one reason only. And the moment set itself up better than any scriptwriter could.

First at bat for Alex Gordon. Bases loaded. Curt Schilling on the mound. Fights to a full count. Foul ball. Foul ball. Strikes out swinging.

The stadium was buzzing like I had never heard it before and never would hear it again until 2014. Everybody knows about the second standing ovation he received but what really got me is what my dad said to me: “that’s a hell of an at bat.”

That was from a man who I had never heard compliment a pro athlete striking out and haven’t since.

We then got to see him lay out his incredible career, so admirable in not just how he does things the right ways but how it seems to be who he truly is. We enjoyed the high of 2015 with arguably the most clutch home run in World Series history.

We got the storybook ending we were hoping for at the start. I was listening to sports radio a few weeks back as I pulled up to the gas station and they were interviewing Gordon and they asked about his first career at bat.

Side note, I have the worst memory ever. So I was shocked when Gordon retold the story of his first at bat exactly as I had remembered it at 13 years old. At 21, I got to see Gordon lead us to a World Series title. I’m now 26 with a beautiful wife and plans to start a family of our own soon.

Out of nowhere I felt a lump in my throat as I pulled into the gas station listening to Gordon speak about a memory that feels like it belongs to me and my father as much at it belongs to Gordon.

That memory meant more than any single player, championship, or moment could provide. I held back the happy tears and made my way inside.

I needed that on that day. Thank you sports. Thank you Alex Gordon.

Mr. FC

Week 6 NFL Bets (Non primetime games)

So it’s Week 6 eve and despite several scares it appears football is on as planned this weekend. Each week at Full Count Betting, we pick a minimum of six games we feel confident about, but every once in a while there’s a seventh we have to throw in there.

We are currently hitting at a 61% success rate, 6% higher than the so called experts. Let’s dive in to our first four picks of the week:

Early Sunday Games

We start off on Sunday with the Bengals at Colts. Although recency bias is a bitch, let’s remember the Bengals have scored 30, 23, and 33 in their previous three games before getting dismantled by Baltimore last week.

Phillip Rivers is having his usual turnover troubles to the point that people are calling for Jacoby Brissett, so this will be a tight one with Cincinnati having a much better chance to win than people are giving them. Either way, hammer CIN +8.

Our second early game is Falcons at Vikings. It’s inexplicable, but the stats show teams tend to overperform the following week after their coach gets fired. Riding this logic with the Vikings not having their most important player on offense, Dalvin Cook, the best bet here is to bank on the Falcons to find win number one or at least keep it within a field goal. The play here is ATL +3.5.

Later Sunday Games

After a strong morning start, the two games to get in on in the late afternoon is Jets at Dolphins and Packers at Bucs.

We stay with the underdogs as our algorithm likes the NYJ +8. The Dolphins showed out last week, but neither of these teams are good enough to be even close to a double digit favor. Look for a close, low-scoring game.

Perhaps the most anticipated matchup of the week is the Packers and Bucs. It could easily be argued this is the first legitimate test for each team this season, but the extra week of rest and several years of experience in the system gives Rodgers the edge over Brady, take GB -1.5.

As always, tips are accepted when we help you hit big. We are proving the validity of our algorithm and picks this season and will begin charging a small fee next year. Full Count members from this year will receive special pricing and discounts for the 2021 season for their loyalty, so feel free to reach out on twitter @itsafullcount.

FCB