Football before politics; isn't it comforting to know the world has its priorities in order?
The 14th is Valentine's Day in the civilized world, an occasion that absolutely screams chocolate, red roses and BLING!
Gisele supposedly gets engagement ice as big as a hockey rink if Tom gets Super Bowl ring No. 4.
Instead of pictures of a Brady Bunch celebration at Disney World, we'd then get snaps of a Brady-Bundchen -- or is that Bundchen-Brady? -- honeymoon cruise.
Another kind of diamond makes its annual debut around the same time as Cupid: the finely-manicured fields that sparkle in the sun at MLB spring training sites throughout Florida and Arizona.
Camp openings begin smack dab on Valentine's Day and continue through Feb. 23, setting the stage for another performance by the Boys of Summer, who seem to get younger every year.
"But you HAVE to get the Super Bowl over first," emphasized Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook supervisor Jeff Sherman. "Nothing much outside of football happens until the Super Bowl ends. Bettors' minds just aren't conditioned to paying attention to baseball yet. That'll start changing about a week after the Super Bowl."
Baseball futures began popping up while the 2007 postseason still was in play.
Boston wound up sweeping NLCS winner Colorado 4-0 in the World Series and most books responded by making the Red Sox '08 favorites, with the Yankees breathing down their necks as usual.
Activity followed the initial futures posting, but Sherman says things have been fairly quiet since. It's no secret that bettors have a tough time tying up their cash in futures wagers that won't be worth anything for months, if then.
"The only trade I can see that could cause (commotion) now would be one involving (left-handed Minnesota pitcher Johan) Santana," Sherman said, making the comment hours before the Twins and Mets announced a tentative deal for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
The Hilton reacted immediately, dropping Mets Fall Classic futures from double digits to 5/1.
Many serious/advantage players sniff at betting futures of any kind, but they rermain a hugely popular wagering form with the public.
In fact, with MLB futures due to be shuffled as early as next week, a pre-Super Bowl shopping trip might be in order.
Odds to win the pennant and World Series prices often vary among stores, reflecting a particular bookmaker's own opinions as well as the amount of money that has been bet on each club.
Sherman explains discrepancies sometimes are so wide because they do mirror individual assessments of the 30 teams.
"I might think one way about a team and a guy four blocks down on the other side of the street sees it totally differently," he said. "That's how it is with baseball futures."
Discrepancies occur up and down the ladder, from the top rungs to the lowest steps.
Boston widely is a World Series preseason choice, but odds on the Beantowners in a recent survey ranged from 4/1 at the Hilton to 5/2 at Caesars Palace and plus $4.50 at Jerry's Nugget in North Las Vegas.
The Los Angeles Angels were 12/1 at the Hilton, 10/1 at Jerry's Nugget and 3/1 at Caesars.
Hope again springs eternal in the hearts of Cubs fans everywhere; after a century of disappointments, they continue to buy World Series futures by the bushel.
"You can still get the Cubs here at 11/1," Sherman said. "The early rush hasn't been as big this season."
Chicago's Northsiders were 10/1 at Jerry's Nugget and 5/1 at Caesars Palace.
The crosstown rival American League White Sox cover an even wider expanse; the Southsiders are 50/1 at Jerry's Nugget, 30/1 at the Hilton and 8/1 at Caesars Palace.
Even more pronounced are numbers at the long shot end of the spectrum.
The Washington Nationals are 125/1 at Caesars Palace, 200/1 at the Hilton and 300/1 at Jerry's Nugget.
Sherman notes that while baseball futures betting gradually will pick up once football goes into hibernation, a spike can be anticipated in early March, once the first exhibition games are played.
"That's when the money will start showing up," he said. "People want something they can hang onto and once the teams start playing, they have that."
Another popular form of baseball wagering is season win totals.
Sherman expects the Hilton to have those "by the end of February."