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Ken Hoffman bets against ESPN 97.5 host's 3-point shootout success

ESPN 97.5's Raheel Ramzanali (pictured in this photo illustration) looks to sink at least 14 shots. Raheel Ramzanali/Twitter

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

UPDATE: Official results: Raheel made 11 of 25 shots, and the over/under was 13-1/2 ... so "Under" won the bet.

There also was a prop bet: "Will Raheel make three shots in a row during the shootaround?" He did not. So "No" won the bet.

"I am disappointed that I didn't make more shots, and I must admit that I got nervous when I made two in a row. I was never able to hit the money ball," Raheel explained.

"Hey, I'm not happy, either. I bet on myself to hit three in a row."

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Ten minutes after noon Friday, October 26, ESPN 97.5 host Raheel Ramzanali will shoot 25 3-point basketball shots at the Downtown Club at the Met. He believes that he will make at least 14 of them.

You can bet on it.

Or, like me, against it.

The online gambling site, My Bookie, is posting odds and taking action on Raheel’s 3-point accuracy. Yes, you can wager real money on Raheel. They’ve set the over/under at 13-1/2, meaning if Raheel sinks 14 or more shots, the “over” wins. If he makes 13 or fewer, the “under” takes the money.

He will shoot the 25 shots like the NBA 3-Point Contest — five shots from five different spots beyond the 3-point arc. 

There is a $100 limit on the over/under wager.  Let’s not get too crazy here, Raheel is a talk show host, not a pro athlete (his deluded fantasy doesn’t count).

There is an interesting prop bet, too: Will Raheel make three shots in a row during the shoot-around? You can bet up to $100 on that, too.

Naturally, I pulled Raheel into the Gow Media interrogation room, aimed a bright light in his face, and grilled him for insider information. (Talk to me. Look, we can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way.”)

“I’ve played basketball since I was 5 years old. I played for Clements High School,” Raheel says.

Wait, did you actually “play” for Clements High?

“Okay, I was on the team at Clements High, but I played a lot in daily practices. And now I play twice a week in an adult recreation league,” Raheel clarifies. “I’m a much better player now, I’m much stronger. I wish I could go back and play high school ball. I’d get more than 5 minutes a game this time.”

I’m in. Eric Sandler, CultureMap’s food editor and I set up a My Bookie account. We’re betting $50 on the “under,” that he’ll make fewer than 13-1/2 shots, and $50 on yes, he will make three shots in a row. 

Here’s why I think Raheel will come up short of the over/under. The NBA 3-point line is 22 feet in the corners and 23.75 feet at the top of the key. Raheel brags that he’s a dead-eye shooter. Okay, but the NBA 3-point line is not a natural jump shot for an amateur – yes, Raheel you are an amateur. He will have to put extra oomph to reach the hoop from 23 feet. That will cut into his accuracy.

Steph Curry may be the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history. Last year, he made 46 percent of his 3-point attempts. For Raheel to go “over,” he will have to make 56 percent of his shots. Raheel waved that fun fact away, “I am better than Steph Curry.”

Remember what I said about deluded fantasy?

“The Met has NBA leather balls. Uh-uh, I’m bringing my own soft college ball. Another thing, I’ve heard the rims at the Met are nice and loose, so the ball has a better chance of falling in,” Raheel said. “I’ve done a few practice sessions and I’m telling you, I’m going over.”

What’s a five-letter word for “deluded” that start with a C and ends with a Y, and is worth 19 points in Scrabble? I’ll spot you the Z.

Continue reading on CultureMap.

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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