David “The Godfather” Mork
The Mosconi Cup is played in a 9-Ball format annually, and every other year, it is held in the USA. There are two teams consisting of five players each, plus a non-playing coach, who are considered to be the best players in the USA and Europe. This year, seven members of the IronOaks Breakers Pool League attended the Mosconi Cup which was held at the Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas. Several significant others attended the venue and they found time to shop while the league members were seated in the U-shaped venue witch had 1,200 plus seats. Over 94 million viewers watched it around the world, which was shown on ESPN3 online and on the Sky Sports Network, worldwide. All seats for the live action at the venue were sold out for the four day tournament.
While there, we all went to dinner at Battista’s Hole in the Wall (fitting as we were pool players). We had a great time at an Italian restaurant that has been serving authentic Italian food at the same location since 1970, a real fixture in the Las Vegas dining scene. It was a fun time and we enjoyed a great meal celebrating the USA’s comeback in the match play to be just two matches down with 10 matches to play in a race to 11 match wins. As I write this, the European team is leading six matches to four for the USA.
While three league members were out for dinner during the Cup, Red “The Preacher” Boyles, Sonny “The Shine” Williams and I, David “The Godfather” Mork, went to a pool hall and restaurant combination just off the Strip called Rum Runner’s. While admiring the plaques on the pool hall wall, and during our play on the bar tables, we were introduced to a legend and a former professional pool player, none other than Jimmy Mataya, who, during his pool playing years from the 1960s to the 1980s, was known as “Pretty Boy Floyd.” Jimmy is a holder of over 30 major titles in professional pool. He also had a part in the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise movie, The Color of Money. He gave us a non-monetary lesson in the game of 8-Ball and it was a real trick shot! During his days as a professional player, he stated to us that, “his money had no home.” He was a real gamer, and has played many professionals in his day, including Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats and even our own league member Rod “The Babe” Thompson. During the second day of the Mosconi Cup, both Jimmy and Rod were happy to see each other, as they had not seen or played against each other in over 30 years! When I met him at Rum Runners, it was a real thrill to meet a 30-time world champion, and he was very gracious to allow a photo to be taken.
The play at the Mosconi Cup is excellent. There are a lot of great shape making of shots for each game and if one team makes a mistake, the other team will in all likelihood run out to win the game. I have lost count how many times the winning team ran the table. The USA made their fourth match win on a combination shot with the 2-Ball and the 9-Ball, today, which in over 70 games of 9-Ball between the world’s best players, was the first combination shot on a lesser number ball and the 9-Ball. Not only was it a distinct shot, but because of the 9-Ball being pocketed, that shot not only won the game, but was the fourth match win of the event for the USA. Go USA! Check back in future issues for the final words on the event winning score and winning team!
Now, let’s play more pool!