Jack Breslin Student Events Center

7 12 2008
  • 1 Birch Road
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • (517) 432-1989
  • Website
The view from our seats for a Michigan State basketball game at the Breslin Center

The view from our seats for a Michigan State basketball game at the Breslin Center

A year ago, when I stood in the Peoria Civic Center and watched Bradley University almost upset Michigan State, I never imagined that I would see this year’s Bradley/MSU from a seat in the Breslin Center.  Earlier in the week, J and I made sugar cookies like we do every year from my grandma’s recipe.  She took a few to work and one of her co-workers said he’d like some more.  He’s got access to MSU basketball tickets and I offered up a trade.  Two dozen home made sugar cookies for two tickets to the Michigan State vs. Bradley basketball game.  I lived up to my end of the bargain and two days later, J came home with a pair of tickets.

I have been to a number of college basketball games, but surprisingly, never as a spectator.  I do a lot of work for sports networks that broadcast these games and that’s how I usually go…including last year’s MSU/Bradley game that was aired on ESPNU.  I had been to the Breslin Center one other time, but that was for a volleyball game earlier in the year, so I was really looking forward to getting to go to a game.  J had never been to a college basketball game either, so it was a treat for both of us.

Before we ever got inside the Breslin Center, I already had a sour taste in my mouth.  Parking sucks.  Really sucks.  I tried looking online for a parking map before we left, but couldn’t find anything.  There were no signs directing you to a public lot and everything near the arena had a temporary sign out front that said those lots were for passes only.  I finally found a paid lot on Kalamazoo heading back towards Lansing and by the time we got there, it was almost full.  We were one of the last cars they let in and one of the parking attendants had to move their car to create more parking spaces.  The spaces were really tight and my mid-size truck didn’t want to fit very well.  Had we not left the game five minutes early, leaving would have been a mess. Read the rest of this entry »


Illinois Casino Revenue Down…

4 12 2008

….and they’re blaming it on the smoking ban.  When you look at the numbers, it’s pretty hard to argue with that assumption.  Overall, casino revenue is down 7 percent while Illinois’ numbers are down 20.3 percent.  It’s not that attendance is down.  There’s another reason.

“Although the number of people coming to the casinos is about the same, the time they spend inside is down. They’re outside smoking. And in this business, if you’re not putting money in the machine or on the table—time is money.” (Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association)

Illinois is different from Michigan in that all casino’s are effected.  There are no tribal lands in Illinois.  The problem is there are also no land based casino’s right now.  All the casino’s are old riverboats that are permanently docked, so they’re all on rivers.  The rivers are all close to the border states of Iowa, Indiana, and Missouri so in most cases, you can literally go a mile and a half across a bridge and be in a casino that allows smoking.   What the article doesn’t say is how Peoria is doing.  The Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria is at least an hour and a half to two hours from a smoking casino.  I’d be surprised if they saw a 20 percent drop, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Moline riverboat dropped much higher due to another boat in Davenport, IA less than a mile away.

My opinion is still that Illinois is not the problem.  The problem is the surrounding states being pansy’s and giving into the casino lobby.   They need to create a level playing field.  It’s always tough to be the first to do something.  Illinois is going to take some hits, but in the long run, they are making the right decision.  Delaware did the same thing and while their revenues dropped at first, they have recovered and are now above the pre-ban level.  It can be done.  It just takes lawmakers with some guts to make the right move.

Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders

5 06 2008
  • 6520 S. Cedar #4BMancino's Pizza and Grinders
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 887-6300
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m going to try not to confuse you, but I’m still a little bit confused myself.  Growing up, my family would always eat at Mancino’s Pizza and Grinder’s in Bradley, IL.  I loved the sandwiches.  So, is this the same Mancino’s?  I’ve been searching the net for days and can’t come up with a good answer.  There’s no corporate website that links the two together.  I found another Mancino’s website that lists the Mancino’s on Clippert and that one is linked Samuel Mancino who is from St. Clair Shores, MI and started this concept for a store.  This website doesn’t list either the store on S. Cedar or the two in Bradley that I’ve always eaten at.  To make things even more confusing, there is a chain called Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders which had stores in Peoria, IL where I lived the last five years.  Bellacino’s had the same menu and made the exact same sandwiches that Mancino’s did, but there is no Bradley store listed on their website either.  On their franchise info page, they say that the recipes are those of Samuel Mancino.  So, are all these stores related?  I still have no freakin clue………… Read the rest of this entry »