Cruz Wins, Clinton-Sanders Dead Heat in Iowa
February 1, 2016

The world's longest pregame show is over, and it's not even Super Bowl Sunday yet. Three out of every four years, that title belongs to the prelude to the big football game, but in years divisible by four with no remainder, we're talking about the Presidential Election of the United States of America.

Ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June, his name has been just about all we heard. Every outrageous statement, campaign rally, dinner engagement, or ride in his helicopter seemed to have been carried live on CNN. Trump's announcement was six months ago, and almost a year-and-half before the general election. Since then, there have been eleven debates and one 'Democratic town hall'. Seven of the debates have been by the Republicans—Trump skipping the last one because of his so-called feud with Fox News. There's no question that this is too much. It's not only too much, but too much, too soon. Voters want, and are entitle to, all the information they can get their hands on, but when the eleventh debate is still ten months away from November, you know something is wrong.

But now at least, there's something that counts. The voters of Iowa have spoken. Caucuses were held this evening for both Democrats and Republicans. Instead of polls, we have actual numbers. Those actual numbers don't have Trump as the front runner. Ted Cruz garnered 28 percent of the vote. Cruz picked up about six thousand more votes than Trump, who received 24 percent. Marco Rubio took 23 percent overall, and about 23-hundred fewer votes than The Donald. After Rubio, Dr, Ben Carson fished fourth with only nine percent. Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, and Rick Santorum rounded out the field with four, three, two, two, two, two, and one percent of the vote respectively.

For the Democrats, even though Republicans have targeted Hillary Clinton during their debates, and not even mentioned Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, Sanders tied Clinton in Iowa, and will split the convention delegates. The latest CNN numbers prior to this posting had Clinton with 49.8 percent of the vote, Sanders with 49.6 percent, and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley at 0.6 percent. O'Malley has now withdrawn from the race and so has Huckabee. Paul will likely suspend his campaign in the coming days, Fiorina didn't even campaign in Iowa, and Santorum won Iowa last time, but finished last tonight.

What does it all mean? Well, don't tell Iowans, but not much, and that's the point. Just because Sanders battled even with Clinton, and is likely to win New Hampshire next week doesn't mean he'll be the Democratic nominee. Just because Trump didn't win on the Republican side doesn't mean his every breath will not be televised on CNN anymore. Just because Marco Rubio finished third doesn't mean he'll continue to lecture us on the importance of him being the next Commander in Chief, and just because one state has gotten to vote early, doesn't mean 49 others won't follow.

So the 11-debate, six-month pregame show is over. The Iowa Caucuses kicked things off for real. Before long it's New Hampshire, then South Carolina and Super Tuesday. California's primary isn't until June, then the conventions, more debates, and finally November. Looking at it that way, it doesn't make CBS' lineup prior to Super Bowl 50 seem so bad. See you at the polls, and please pass the nachos. Thanks.

Monkey's Wedding?: ESPN tennis broadcaster Cliff Drysdale used a term this weekend that not only a lot of us hadn't heard, but also puzzled his colleagues. During a women's semifinal match at the Australian Open, they went to commercial with Drysdale saying “It must be a monkey's wedding.” The only explanation Drysdale offered coming out of the time out was it was a South African expression for when it starts raining but the sun is out. Further research (Google) didn't clarify the derivation of the term, but noted in other parts of the world, a sunshower (as it's known in most of the English speaking world) is also referred to as a jackal's wedding or a fox's wedding. Not sure where matrimony fits, but I guess the point is it's an unusual occurrence.

Vin Scully Avenue: On Friday, the Los Angeles City Council officially re-named the road that enters Dodger Stadium as Vin Scully Avenue. Scully said he was “overwhelmed” by the honor, but if you wonder why it took so long for something like to happen, it's because of Scully himself. He declined the idea two years ago, but accepted this time because he has announced this will be his final season in the booth for the Dodgers. In an interview, Scully says he'd like to see a similar honor for the late Walter O'Malley, the owner of the Dodgers who brought them to LA from Brooklyn in 1958.

Miller sidelined: While one esteemed Los Angeles broadcaster is honored, another is in the hospital. Bob Miller, television voice of the Los Angeles Kings, has taken an indefinite leave of absence to have heart bypass surgery. NBC's lead hockey play-by-play man Mike Emrick says the surgery will be tomorrow (Tuesday). The 77 year-old Miller is not the team's original broadcaster, but has been doing Kings games since 1973.

That's hockey?: Sports leagues other than baseball have been bastardizing their All-Star games for the last several years now, but this year's hockey “classic” wasn't so bad. Instead of West versus East, U-S vs. the World, or something like Team Gretzky vs. Team Lemieux, the NHL tried something different. The first period was a three-on-three, 20-minute “game” between All-Stars from the league's two eastern divisions. That was followed by the two western divisions' All-Stars, with the two winners playing each other for a third and final period. The winning team would divide a million dollars, while the other teams got nothing. After scores of 4-3 and 9-6, the Pacific Division defeated the Atlantic Division 1-0 in the final.

Pro Bowl: For the third straight season. Didn't watch. Didn't care.

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