Statistics don’t care who your parents are …
Case in point: Jaden Agassi, son of tennis superstars Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf. At 15, young Jaden can hit a baseball more than 400 feet and hits .400 against the top competition in the country.
His fastball clocks about 90 mph. He’s 6-feet-2 inches tall and weighs 205 pounds.
These stats have made Agassi one of the hottest teenage baseball prospects in the country. On Monday, he announced he’ll attend the University of Southern California. His verbal commitment ended a nationwide courtship from colleges including North Carolina, the University of Miami and Texas Christian University. USC had been hoping for a year that Agassi would pick them as his college institution.
A two-position standout (pitcher and third baseman), Agassi has been home-schooled while playing for the traveling team LV Recruits. In January, he was named the team’s Most Valuable Pitcher as LVR won the prestigious Perfect Game West MLK Championship at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz.
Agassi was also named to the Perfect Game All-Tournament Team after hitting .405 and allowing one run in 23 innings on the mound during Perfect Game USA events through the year (Perfect Game is the nation’s largest baseball scouting service).
The phenom’s legendary parents have not spoken publicly about his recruiting trips or his long-awaited decision. Jaden previously dabbled in other sports, including soccer (but not tennis), before his passion took hold on the diamond. He’s obviously a kid to watch.
No call here
Andre Agassi doesn’t have a prediction about who will will this year’s U.S. Open men’s draw. Agassi says he’s witholding his opinion because he’s been coaching Novak Djokovic, the former No. 1-ranked men’s player who missed this year’s Open because of an elbow injury.
Doubleheader at Flamingo
We’ll see more of Piff the Magic Dragon at Bugsy’s Cabaret at Flamingo Las Vegas this year and next. The satin-costumed comic magician and noted parent of canine sidekick Mr. Piffles is headlining on the Strip through the end of next year. He’s also extended his contract with Stabile Productions through all of 2018. And fellow Bugsy’s headliner Tape Face is back from Sept. 29-Nov. 19.
Twelve and done
When Mike “Beans” Benigno began his run as the cat character in “The World’s Greatest Rock Show” at the Stratosphere, he wore a mask rather than applying makeup for the role. It was widely assumed by the cast that Benigno wouldn’t have enough time between numbers to apply the full-face kitty makeup, originally made famous by drummer Peter Criss.
Unlike the other members of the Kiss lineup in the show, Benigno plays multiple sets and has scant time to change costumes, even without a full-face makeover.
But Benigno has persevered. He now finishes the nightly task in just 12 minutes.
As Benigno crowed after Tuesday’s show, “And they said it couldn’t be done!” He was still in full cat costume, but because his makeup is water-based, it washes right off.
Let’s go to the Hopper
Uber-talented pianist and vocalist Jimmy Hopper headlined the Fontana Room at Bellagio in the years before it was replaced by Hyde Lounge. Before that, in the late 1990s, he was the original headliner at the then-new VooDoo Lounge at the Rio, when that place was about the coolest spot in the city.
Hopper has been kicking around town recently, spotted at Clint Holmes’ show at the Showroom at Golden Nugget and in appearances at the Italian American Club. Hopper is also making a run at a residency, appearing in no-cover-charge shows at 9:30 and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Tropicana Lounge. He’s back Oct. 6, too, and worth a look-see.
What works in Vegas …
Cindy Williams as a guest star in “Menopause the Musical” at Harrah’s. The former Shirley Feeney of the hit ’70s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” is with the wacky musical through Dec. 16. Williams originally planned to depart after Labor Day weekend.