Originally published on Saturday, November 17, 2012
James Baker knew he was close to the top of the AdvoSports' Pigskin Pick 'Em contest. He thought he had a shot at the grand prize, but it was too close to call until after the final week of games.
After the last week's games came to a conclusion, Baker stood on top of the leader board with 102 points out of a possible 120. His point total was just one point above seven other competitors, giving him an all expense paid vacation to Disney World, courtesy of Pest Solutions Inc.
"It was really exciting because there was a lot of close games," Baker said. "I've never been on a trip like this before. It'll be special."
Baker, who lives in Port Lavaca, hasn't decided on when to take his trip, but his wife, Rachel, and 3-year old grandson, Nikolas Seaton, along with Nikolas' mother Leigh Ann Baker will be joining him on the trip to Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
"We've told him, but he just said 'okay,'" Baker said with a laugh. "It's something I've wanted to do, but never got around to it. I never thought I would either."
Each week whoever accumulates the most points won a prize of various things. However, Baker never won one.
"I was close to the top, but never won a week," Baker said. "After a few weeks I thought I had a shot because my name was near, or at the top of the leader board."
There wasn't a special secret Baker used to pick his games, but he did stick to a simple strategy.
"Well, naturally, I picked the Sandcrabs and Refugio," he said. "There were some obvious choices, but there were a lot of coin flips. A lot of them could go either way."
The toughest week to pick games was the final, and most crucial, week of games when teams were either playing for a playoff spot or resting for the upcoming post season.
"I think some of the teams had their playoff spot wrapped up and they didn't need to play," Baker said. "Some other teams needed to win to get in the playoffs and they played a little bit better than they normally do."
In the end, there wasn't much strategy or secret to picking winners for Baker. But like the former New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez said, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
"I don't know if there was a secret," Baker said. "Luck had a lot to do with it."