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T.J. SIMERS

I'm heading to Vegas, and there might be a hitch to it

March Madness means Sin City, with a possible son-in-law thrown in for good measure.

March 18, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

We're off to Vegas tonight for the annual father-daughter bet every single game the first four days of the NCAA tournament and ignore everything else in life extravaganza.

In some ways this trip will be different, the daughter no longer required to walk around between games wearing a sandwich board to advertise her availability.

That's right, the contest was a success and I've found a son-in-law I just love.

I realize he still has to go on a first date with the daughter without Page 2 as chaperon, but I've already e-mailed Janice, the kid's mother, to discuss how we will divvy up the holidays now that they will be getting married.

"We might as well be on first name basis since we will have the nuptials soon," writes Janice. "Grandma and I will have to get cracking on making a quilt for the newlyweds as that is one tradition we have begun. My best to my future daughter-in-law."

Now before I get to Phil Jackson's MVP choice, and the MGM Mirage bookmaker and his tournament picks, I'd like to thank the three guys I took out on dates this past week.

There was Neb, arriving in this country only a few years or hours earlier, who says he's a Siberian, Serbian or Suburban -- a little difficult to say given his accent.

He came dressed as Johnny Cash, which was a nice touch, and said he was looking for a green card, or to make it even easier to stay here, a wife. He said there are places on the web where you can pay $5,000 for a wife -- pretty cheap given my experience.

Then there was David, the attorney, who kept saying, "strike that" while telling us about himself. He brought flowers, offered to pay for dinner and was willing to sit there all night or as long as it took to tell us all about his ex-girlfriend and the three husbands his mother has had.

Mike was the winner, though, even his bowling average climbing from 218 to 219 in the two hours we had dinner.

He didn't seem to have any interest in talking to Page 2, other than inquiring about a dowry and made no effort to pick up the bill. I already have one of those son-in-laws, but he kept the daughter awake, made her laugh and she even put down her fork.

I don't know of any other man who has ever made her do that.

Now I don't know if you have daughters, but if you do, just imagine the repercussions if repeatedly calling her in the paper, "the daughter who can't get a date."

What are the chances she'd being joining you in Vegas?

Obviously I'm dealing with a pretty special kid here, and while she probably wishes at times her father was a traveling salesman, she looks forward to this trip.

As a father, I can't imagine more fun than spending four days away with one of your kids. And what a great kid.

And it might be the last time before a husband joins us.

I DON'T understand why Frank McCourt had to make the announcement Tuesday that his wife is now CEO. I know that's just understood in our home.

JACKSON MENTIONS Wade, James and Bryant as MVP candidates before the game and says, "It's a hard choice; glad I don't have to make it."

"Wouldn't you pick Kobe?" I ask.

"No, not automatically," Jackson says, while saying he has to be prejudiced, "but if I'm sitting back objectively I don't have to automatically say that. You have to say that because you work for a Los Angeles newspaper."

"So I'm more of a homer than you are?" I say, but then most of you already knew that.

MARK KOVINSKY e-mailed, reminding Page 2 his 5-year-old son, Jake, did better picking NCAA winners two years ago.

Last year the kid flopped, so now the old man wants to break the tie, promising to donate $500 to charity win or lose. But if Page 2 loses, he wrote, "you have to write an article about youth hockey."

Not interested.

ALL OF a sudden I'm getting very nice e-mails after matching NCAA brackets with Jerry Tarkanian.

Or, as Chad from Aliso Viejo put it: "I am immediately extending a courtesy invite for you to join every office pool I am in."

I thought it odd, my genius already on display in the paper and on our website, looking closer to see I had Pitt beating North Carolina in the semis and then again in the finals.

I was just trying to make it clear -- I really like Pitt. Some e-mailed, though, to say it was mistake, and now you can see what happens when you hang around Tark. Everyone cries foul.

ANOTHER PART of the trip to Las Vegas is collecting a charitable donation from Robert Walker, who set the betting lines at all the MGM Mirage properties. He never could beat Page 2, as long as Page 2 kept track of how everything went, and so no surprise he opted to retire rather than try again.

Jay Rood takes his place, and will also make a charitable donation if his picks are as lousy as they appear at first glance.

Rood disagrees with Page 2 on 18 selections, the bookmaker reaching to take Tennessee, Xavier, Texas, Butler, Clemson, BYU, Marquette and Maryland in the first round. Unlike Page 2, he also has Arizona State, Kansas and Washington advancing in Round 2 -- agreeing, though, Pitt will win it all.

There's justice in this world when a bookmaker has to pay up, so I see no reason why justice won't prevail again.

TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from Roger Newell:

"My father, the late Pete Newell, considered Tark one of the finest teachers/coaches in his lifetime. He tried diligently for years to get Tark recognized for Hall of Fame induction to no avail. This really bothered him because he felt it was so unjust. My father was inducted 19 years after he coached his final game. He wasn't even inducted as a coach. He didn't coach long enough, according to the rules, despite his coaching accomplishments, being the first coach to win the Triple Crown -- the NIT, NCAA championship and Olympic Gold. My dad was inducted as a contributor. That's all you need to know about the Hall of Fame process."

Amen.

--

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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