Friday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

Baseball information on MLB2 page………Week 18 CFL info coming soon on NHL page..……college football info on CF page……..NFL knowledge on NFL page……..NBA stuff on hoops page

Friday’s six-pack
More NFL trends with Week 7 upon us……..
— Saints are 11-2 vs spread in last 13 games away from home.
— Minnesota is 15-5 vs spread in last 20 home games.
— 49ers covered six of their last eight games.
— Miami is 12-32-1 in last 45 games as a home favorite.
— Washington is 16-8 vs spread in its last 24 games.
— Buffalo is 8-4 vs spread coming off its last 12 byes.

Quote of the Day
“On a scale of 1 to 1,000……zero. Zero!!!”
Charles Barkley, on the Lakers’ playoff chances this season

Friday’s quiz
How many NFL teams share a stadium with a major league baseball team?

Thursday’s quiz
ESPN’s Mark Jackson was coach of the Golden State Warriors before Steve Kerr.

Wednesday’s quiz
Colin Kaepernick played his college football at Nevada.

Friday’s List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend

13) How tired are the Falcons of hearing about last year’s Super Bowl? Now they get to visit Foxboro the week after blowing a 17-0 halftime lead to Miami. Matt Ryan went to Boston College, so a homecoming of sorts for him.

12) Michigan beat Penn State 49-10 last year; Wolverines are 5-1, but it is a shaky 5-1 and they are playing a backup QB- they needed OT to beat Indiana last week.

11) Brett Hundley gets his first NFL start at home against New Orleans; no pressure, replacing Aaron Rodgers 🙂 Saints are actually a road favorite in this game.

10) Arizona Wildcats ran ball for 882 yards in their last two games; now they’re a road favorite at Cal— Golden Bears upset Washington State last week. Interesting game.

9) First round of rematches this weekend, three of them. Can the Jets sweep Miami? Eagles sweep Washington? Denver sweep the Chargers?

8) USC-Notre Dame is a stellar primetime game Saturday night. Trojans lost their last two visits to South Bend.

7) Cardinals-Rams in England is a big game in NFC West; Adrian Peterson added a running element to the Arizona offense last week. Both teams are a LONG way from home.

6) Think the boosters in Knoxville are happy that Tennessee is a 35-point underdog this week in Tuscaloosa? Hopefully Butch Jones has his resume updated, because he is going to need a job in a few weeks. His bank account will be healthy, though.

5) Giants got their first win last week, now Seattle visits Swamp Stadium coming off its bye. Giants’ young WR’s will have hard time getting open against a stingy Seahawk defense.

4) Texas is 3-3, losing to USC/Oklahoma by total of 8 points; now Oklahoma State comes calling, another tough game. State scored 48 ppg in winning its first three road games this year.

3) Jacksonville is +11 in turnovers in its wins, -1 in its losses; they have a very winnable game in Indy against a Colt team that might be without Andrew Luck for the whole season now. Jacoby Brissett hasn’t played badly, but Indy has been outscored 85-22 in the 4th quarter this year.

2) Louisville beat Florida State 63-20 LY, but Cardinals lost their last two games, allowing 84 points. Seminoles are struggling (2-3) with a true freshman QB who is skinny as hell- their only two wins are over Wake Forest/Duke.

1) Trap game for the Titans, a road game after a Monday night win. Winless Browns are going back to DeShone Kizer at QB; maybe they should’ve drafted Deshaun Watson. Ya think?

Thursday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Philadelphia Eagle fans are not happy with NFL referee Pete Morelli; the last four times Morelli worked an Eagle game, his crew called a total of 40 penalties for 396 yards on the Iggles, only 8 penalties for 74 yards on their opponents. Its enough to make a guy paranoid.

A petition was circulated; last I heard, over 60,000 people had signed it, requesting that Morelli not work any more Eagle games. Alrighty then.

12) Andrew Luck had a setback with his injured shoulder, and now there is talk he won’t play at all this season, which is bad news for everyone in Indianapolis except Jacoby Brissett.

11) 2018 NFL Draft will be at Jerry World in Dallas, the first time the draft will be in an actual NFL stadium.

10) General Electric shelled out a lot of money to put their patch on the Boston Celtics’ uniforms this season; less than six minutes into the Celtics’ season, newly-acquired star Gordon Hayward breaks his ankle, is lost for the season. So much for seeing those patches in June.

9) Celtics were the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference last year, but they’ve got 11 new players on their team this season. Am I the only person who finds this unusual?

8) Jacksonville told its kicker Jason Myers to take a hike, signed former Chargers’ kicker Josh Lambo, who in a perfect world, would kick for the Packers (Lambeau Field…..get it??)

7) BYU’s football team is 1-6, with only win 20-6 against I-AA Portland State; they’re off to their worst start since 1969. Cougars need to join a league- -maybe when the new dome gets built in Las Vegas, UNLV/BYU can join the Big X as a western tandem.

6) When I was a kid, I loved game shows, totally enjoyed them. One of the games was Jokers’ Wild, hosted by Jack Barry, where contestants played with a simulated slot machine to try and win their money/prizes. It wasn’t the best show, but it had an odd appeal.

Now it is coming back on WTBS and it is being hosted by Snoop Dawg. I have no opinion on this, other than I’ve got to watch it at least once. In the commercials I saw, Snoop Dawg appears to be wearing a velour smoking jacket. If gameshows make a comeback, that would be good.

5) Yu Darvish walked with the bases loaded Monday night; he is the first pitcher in 40 years to walk with the bases loaded in a playoff game. Larry Christensen of the Phillies was the last pitcher to draw a bases loaded walk in a playoff game, in 1977.

4) Nick Young scored 23 points for the Warriors Tuesday night, but Golden State was also -10 in the 29:00 he was on the floor in their 122-121 loss to Houston. Warriors were +9 in the 19:00 he was on the bench, -10 when he was on the floor. Thats more important than his point total.

3) There are rumors that the Big 14 is considering moving to 20 conference games next season, with the eventual goal of juicing up their teams’ power ratings so mid-majors get blocked out of at-large bids for the NCAA tournament. That would be sad, if that is the reason.

2) Baseball playoffs:
New York 5, Houston 0— Astros have scored 9 runs in five series games.

1) When you watch NBA/college games this season, consider this:

Several years ago, I was sitting at an AAU tournament talking to a college basketball coach who is very good at his job. I was asking him lot of questions, trying to pick his brain as far as what he looked for at these tournaments with mostly glorified pickup games being played.

“I look at what their college skill is” the coach said. “Some guys shoot it well, others pass it well, some rebound well. I’ll tell you this, getting loose balls is a skill, too”

So when there is a loose ball in an NBA game and the same couple guys are getting most of them, know that their toughness/quickness is what helped get them to the NBA in the first place. Its not an accident.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……..

13) 5:15 into the Boston Celtics’ season, Gordon Hayward severely injured his leg/ankle when he came down on an attempted alley-oop. It was a gruesome injury, reminiscent of Jason Kendall or Joe Theismann’s grotesque leg injuries.

12) Damn, this is Lebron James’ 15th year in the NBA? Time flies. I remember sitting in a bar having dinner, watching his high school game that ESPN showed. Think Bill Walton was the TV analyst that night; people were excited that Lebron scored 31 points.

Hell, I thought, if he’s going to be in the NBA next year, he SHOULD score 31 points in a high school game, shouldn’t he?

Obviously, Lebron has outperformed those huge expectations; good for him.

11) By the way, sounds like pretty soon, kids will able to go straight from high school to the NBA once again, which helps everyone, except veterans trying to hang on in the G-League.

10) Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter this season: they’ve been outscored 85-22, allowing 1,034 yards on 139 plays, an average of 7.4 yards per play.

Colts are 2-4, but they haven’t trailed at halftime since Week 1 against the Rams.

9) Tennessee Titans have 7 takeaways in six games, but they’re the only team in NFL that hasn’t scored a touchdown after one of their takeaways.

Titans-Colts game Monday night had no punts in the first half, the first game in NFL this season without a first half punt.

8) Injured Vikings’ QB Teddy Bridgewater is practicing this week, as he comes back from his severe knee injury; Minnesota has three weeks to decide whether to activate Bridgewater or IR him for the rest of the season. Bridgewater and Sam Bradford are both in the last year of their contracts; Vikings have some interesting decisions ahead of them.

7) Chicago Bulls Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight today at practice and Mirotic wound up with broken bones in his face; he’s going to be out for a few weeks, at least.

Curious how the analytics geniuses take this into account when they measure Portis, Mirotic as players. There is a human element to sports that can never be quantified— these guys live and travel together for months at a time. Part of being a good teammate is staying out of fights that send yourself or teammates to the hospital.

6) Best red zone offenses in NFL:
Packers 5.68 pts/possession, Eagles 5.56, Cowboys 5.33, Texans 5.25— Aaron Rodgers is gone for the year, so going forward, Green Bay’s numbers figure to drop dramatically.

5) Best offenses on drives starting 75+ yards from end zone:
Saints 2.47, Chiefs 2.46, Titans 2.37, Patriots 2.16

Worst offenses on drives starting 75+ yards from end zone (includes points lost on TD”s scored by the opposing defense):
Colts 0.42, Bengals 0.51, Buccaneers 0.91, Lions 0.97

4) Most plays of 20+ yards this season:
Rams 31, Vikings 30, Patriots/Cardinals 29, Chiefs 27

3) Most TD’s on plays of 20+ yards:
Raiders 8 (out of 13 total TD’s), Chiefs 7 (18 total TD’s), Titans 7 (13 total TD’s), Jets 6 (11 total TD’s), Lions 6 (14 total TD’s)

2) Baseball update:
AL: New York 6, Houston 4— Astros’ bullpen imploded; series is tied 2-2.
NL: Dodgers 6, Cubs 1– Chicago is going down meekly.

1) One of the best days of the year for me is when the Blue Ribbon Yearbook arrives at my door every October; the bible of college basketball, Blue Ribbon has a ton of useful information in it, and it got here Monday. If you like college basketball, it is well worth your time.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……..

13) You hear a lot of cruddy things about people these days; here’s something nice about someone, Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

Votto is the Reds’ biggest star; when a 6-year old boy in Cincinnati had cancer this past summer, Votto visited the kid, without wanting publicity, and tried to make the kid feel as good as possible as this horrible disease took its toll. He helped in a fundraising event for the boy’s family that the Reds sponsored- he contributed $10,000 of his own money.

The little boy passed away 10 days ago; Votto was at the memorial service, again not wanting publicity, but in this age of negativity, how can you can not talk about such a nice person?

12) Detroit Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford is on pace to get sacked 61 times this season; the last NFL QB to get sacked 60+ times in a season? Jon Kitna, also of Detroit, back in 2006.

11) Maryland fired its athletic director, in part because the guy tried to get the AD job out at California, and Maryland’s school president wasn’t happy about that.

10) Rams play Arizona in London Sunday, but they’re staying in Jacksonville until Thursday, to get solid practices in, as opposed to doing tourist-type stuff in England. Different teams have taken different approaches to the London games; we’ll see how this works out.

9) New York-Houston playoff game Friday was the first time ever that the two cleanup hitters in a playoff game were the starting shortstops.

8) Cubs’ pitching coach Chris Bosio takes a while to the walk to the mound, but with good reason; he has a broken ankle, and is wearing a boot on his foot.

7) 37-year old Damien Wilkins has been out of the NBA since 2013, but he made the Indiana Pacers’ roster this season— good for him.

6) Nebraska hired Washington State AD Bill Moos as its new athletic director, which may be bad news for both football coach Mike Riley and basketball coach Tim Miles, both of whom have been struggling to win as much as the wealthy boosters would like.

5) Ike Iroegbu played an exhibition game for the Clippers last week with no name on the back of his uniform; he had arrived in LA just a few hours before the game. Clippers cut him over the weekend; he is probably headed to the G-League.

4) Golden State Warriors may have found itself a steal in Oregon alum Jordan Bell; the 38th pick in the draft scored 29 points in 49 minutes in the preseason.

3) When Cavaliers’ JR Smith drinks coffee, he puts in 8 creams and 8 sugars in each one. Not a lot of room left for the coffee.

2) 49ers released LB NaVorro Bowman last week, a once-great player who is still good enough to play in the NFL. He signed with Oakland Monday.

1) Chiefs were at the last NFL team to lose this season; last time the “last team to lose” won the Super Bowl that year? The 2006 Indianapolis Colts

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday…….

Eagles 28, Panthers 23— Philly’s first two TD drives were 12-17 yards; they improve to 5-1 and now have 11 days until their next game. Eagles are 3-1 on road; their only loss was to the Chiefs. Newton threw for 325 yards but threw three INT’s; guys on TV wondered if he hurt his shoulder on the play when he dove, trying to get the ball into the end zone. Road team covered all six Panther games this season.

Dolphins 20, Falcons 17— Atlanta led 17-0 at the half, then didn’t score in 2nd half, running 23 plays for 100 yards on four empty drives. Miami went TD-TD-FG-FG on their second half drives, after scoring 3 offensive TD’s on 46 drives in their first 4.5 games. Falcons are now 4-12 as home favorites under Quinn. AFC East road teams are 8-2 vs spread outside the division.

Vikings 23, Packers 10— So you’ve got Aaron Rodgers on your fantasy team, or you bet the Packers or are just a Packer fan; on one play, everything goes up in smoke, when Rodgers leaves in first quarter with a broken collarbone. Case Keenum is way better than Brett Hundley, as far as backup QB’s go. Next week, Hundley will become only the 7th starting QB for Green Bay in the last 25 years- since ’08, Packers are 3-5-1 without Rodgers, not including two other games they lost when he got hurt in the first quarter.

Saints 52, Lions 38— One of strangest games in NFL history; Detroit scored a defensive TD and had a punt return for a TD, yet they trailed 45-10 with 6:10 left in 3rd quarter. Then with 5:20 to go in the game, after being down 45-10, Lions had the ball down only 45-38.

New Orleans defense scored three TD’s in this game; when they were on the field, they scored 21 points and the Lion offense scored 24. In last three games, all wins. Saints have 9 takeaways (+6), after having zero takeaways in their first two games, both losses.

Patriots 24, Jets 17— At 1:48 Sunday afternoon, Josh McCown was 11-15/149 passing with two TD’s, as Jets led 14-0; McCown wound up 31-47/354 but a key call on a goal line fumble by the Jets cost Gang Green a huge TD. The play was very similar to Todd Gurley’s goal line fumble against Seattle LW, involving the pylon and the player recovering his fumble.

Jets gained 408 yards but turned ball over three times; they covered on a FG with 3:40 left- they’re 13-5 vs spread in last 18 games as a home underdog. Gronkowski caught two TD passes for New England.

Redskins 26, 49ers 24— Niners became 5th team in first six weeks of season to bench their QB for non-injury reasons; in other words, because the guy sucked. Iowa alum Beathard is grandson of former Redskins’ GM Bobby Beathard; he was 19-36/245 in his NFL debut. 49ers may be 0-6, but their last five losses were by 3-2-3-3-2 points- they’re 3-1 as road underdogs. Washington is 5-11 vs spread in its last 16 games as a home favorite.

Bears 27, Ravens 24 OT— Baltimore scored two TD’s on special teams, and still lost- their offense averaged 3.8 ypa, gained 291 yards, turned ball over 3 times. In last six days, Chicago has four TD passes; one each by the punter and RB Cohen, two by rookie QB Trubisky. Bobby Rainey had a 96-yard kickoff return for a Raven TD, the first kickoff return for a TD in the NFL this year. Ravens are +8 in turnovers in their wins, -6 in their losses.

Texans 33, Browns 17— Deshaun Watson woke up on draft day last spring with a text from Browns’ coach Hue Jackson, telling him to “be ready”. Then Cleveland passed on Watson; they are now 6-12 vs spread in their last 18 games as a road underdog.

Meanwhile, Houston scored 33-57-34-33 points in their last four games behind rookie QB Watson, a player the Browns could’ve taken themselves. I went to a damn state college, but even I know that quarterback is an important position in football— you need a good one.

Cardinals 38, Buccaneers 33— Arizona led 31-0, KO’d Bucs’ QB Winston (shoulder), but then Tampa Bay roared back behind backup QB Fitzpatrick, scoring four TD’s on their last six drives, but they never got ball back with chance to take lead. Cardinals averaged 11.3 ypa, scored 31 points on five red zone drives- they head to England next to play the Rams.

For the week, team over/unders are 13-13 heading into the Monday night game.

Rams 27, Jaguars 17— Special teams, special teams, special teams. John Fassel is the Rams’ special teams coach— his dad used to coach the Giants. When they fired him, he was replaced by Tom Coughlin, who now runs the Jacksonville franchise. Rams ran opening kick back for a TD, then blocked a punt for a TD later in the game.

Leonard Fournette’s first carry was a 75-yard TD; rest of the day, he ran ball 20 times for 55 yards, before leaving with a sprained ankle. Jaguars are +11 in turnovers in their three wins, -1 in their three losses.

Rams were held to 20-16 points in their two losses; they scored 27+ in their four wins.

Steelers 19, Chiefs 13— First half yardage: Pittsburgh 216, Kansas City -21. Despite that, KC trailed only 19-13 with 3:40 left when a bad pass by Roethlisberger took an unfortunate bounce off a defender’s hand and into Antonio Brown’s hands, were he scored the game-clinching TD.

Chiefs scored 17 TD’s in their first five games; they scored one here and rushed for only 28 yards- they lost despite an 11-yard edge in field position. Since start of LY, Chiefs are 0-3 vs Pittsburgh, 17-3 vs everyone else.

Chargers 17, Raiders 16— Five of six Charger game have been decided by 5 or less points; they won their last two games, both on road. Rivers found TE Henry with couple of key passes to keep game-winning drive alive- they kicked FG as time expired to win the game. Novak is their third kicker in six games, by the way.

Oakland lost its last four games, scoring 10-10-17-16 points; Carr played despite his back being not fully healed. Raiders ran a lot of shorter pass patterns so Carr wouldn’t be subjected to hits from linemen— thats why Amani Cooper’s numbers were down in this game.

Giants 23, Broncos 10— New York gets its first win of the year as 12-point underdogs; their reshuffled offensive line paved way for 146 rushing yards, second week in row they ran for 145+ yards. Siemian threw an awful pick-6 right before the half that broke the game open.

Denver was -3 in turnovers; NFL teams are 4-33 this season when they’re -2 or worse in TO’s. Giants play their next three games vs NFC West teams; Seahawks-Rams-49ers, with a bye mixed in there.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Rough week for big favorites:
Syracuse (+24) 27, Clemson 24
Boston College (+21) 45, Louisville 42
Arizona State (+18) 13, Washington 7
South Alabama (+18) 19, Troy 8
California (+14) 37, Washington State 3
Tulsa (+13.5) 45, Houston 17
Florida International (+13.5) 23, Tulane 10
UConn (+9.5) 28, Temple 24
Boise State (+7) 31, San Diego State 14

12) Friday the 13th hijinx; If you put $10 on a Syracuse/Cal moneyline parlay Friday night, you cashed a ticket for $700.

11) Washington State alum Klay Thompson was on the sidelines at Berkeley for the second half of the Coogs’ loss at Cal Friday night. Wazzu turned the ball over seven times; everything they tried went wrong. Just a very bad night, after they had beaten USC/Oregon their last two games.

Warriors beat Sacramento at home earlier Friday night.

10) South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9— Vols started a freshman QB, Vols didn’t score in second half. Vols play Alabama next; good luck with that. Just for the record, Butch Jones’ buyout is over $8M. You know someone dislikes your performance if they pay you $8M to go away.

9) LSU 27, Auburn 23— Auburn led this game 20-0; LSU ran punt return back for a TD early in 4th quarter, then kicked two FG’s in last 2:36 for the upset win.

8) Air Force 34, UNLV 30— Rebels led this game 30-7 in the 3rd quarter.

7) South Florida 33, Cincinnati 3— Bulls have won their last ten games, the longest current win streak in college football.

6) Rained so hard at the Akron-Western Michigan game that they postponed it until Sunday; the stadium had some damage with the heavy rains, they weren’t 100% sure they could play Sunday.

5) Texas A&M 19, Florida 17— Not often you beat a good team on the road when your QB is 8-24 passing, but Aggies pulled this win out- they’re 5-2, after blowing a 44-10 lead in their opener, a hideous 45-44 loss at UCLA. At one point early in 2nd quarter, A&M had four true freshman playing in their secondary— you don’t see that very often.

4) Ohio State 56, Nebraska 14— In its last two games, Ohio State outgained opponents 390-35 in the 1st quarter. Maybe Mike Riley can go back to Oregon State when Nebraska fires him.

3) Oklahoma 29, Texas 24— Sooners blew a 20-0 lead, but pulled out a win; Longhorns covered the last four games in this rivalry. Two of Oklahoma’s three TD’s in this game came on plays of 50+ yards.

2) USC 28, Utah 27— Utes scored a TD with 0:42 left to make score 28-27 USC, then went for two points and the lead— they failed on the attempt. I’ve said this before in this spot, but I really dislike this play— it is the macho thing to do, but if you’re the underdog, keep the game going as long as possible, plus this— YOU’RE ON NATIONAL TV!!!! National TV exposure is PRICELESS.

1) Army 28, Eastern Michigan 27— Eagles did the same thing as Utah, except with 0:49 left; this is even more of a blunder against a service academy, since chances are you have a better kicker than they do, as far as overtime goes. Army didn’t complete one pass (0-5) in this game, so they weren’t gonna score in the last 0:49 of regulation.

Saturday’s List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here…….

13) Back in the late 60’s/early 70’s, the great basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian said this:

“The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, that they’re going to put Western Kentucky on probation”

Well, North Carolina got off with a slap on the wrist from the NCAA Friday, after wide-spread academic fraud was uncovered at UNC:

“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes.”
Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer.

That means one thing: Western Carolina, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina? They best be careful, because the NCAA is mad again, but they’re not gonna punish one of their fat cat teams.

12) Syracuse (+24) 27, Clemson 24– Clemson’s QB got hurt, didn’t play the second half; they missed two FG’s- their regular kicker got hurt in practice couple weeks ago. Tigers never led in this game. Big win for Dino Babers and the Orangemen.

11) Ezekiel Elliott’s 6-game suspension was upheld; Cowboys have their bye this week— will the suspension start in Week 7?

10) Brooklyn Nets’ coach Kenny Atkinson has seven brothers; imagine growing up in a house with eight boys in it? You couldn’t help but be a tough kid.

9) If you don’t think poaching is rampant in college basketball, consider this: There are 18 Division I college basketball transfers who are eligible this season, who scored 15+ points/game in their last stop. Kids who score 15+ a game aren’t transferring because they’re unhappy with their playing time.

8) Turns out that Roger Goodell’s wife had a secret Twitter account where she defended her husband against some of his detractors, which is pretty cool. Jane Skinner Goodell used to be an anchor on Fox News Channel; she has been married to Goodell for 20 years.

7) Random trivia: Bill Sharman played for the Boston Celtics in the 50’s; he was backcourt-mate with the great Bob Cousy. Sharman’s career free-throw %age: 88.3%; that is 13th on the all-time NBA list for FT %age.

Sharman also coached for 10 years in the NBA/ABA, going 466-353 in a 10-year career; in fact, he won the 1971 ABA title with the Utah Stars (Zelmo Beaty, Willie Wise, Ron Boone), then got the Lakers’ job the next year and won the 1972 NBA title (Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West).

Sharman also played minor league baseball, he played OF/3B, hitting .292 in 133 minor league games from 1950-55. He was called up to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, but never got into a game.

6) 76ers’ coach Brett Brown has a 75-253 record in four years in Philly, but expectations are a lot higher this season, with the Sixers having so many good young players acquired thru the draft. Philly’s over/under win total in Las Vegas this season: 42.5. In other words, the 76ers are expected to make the playoffs this season.

Some umpiring facts to stash away for next season:
5) Over last three years, underdogs are 50-45 in Ted Barrett games; thats a strong trend.

4) Last four years, home underdogs are 7-24 when Conroy is behind the plate.

3) Last two years, under is 40-18 when Barksdale is umping the plate.

2) Thursday night, the Cubs had four baserunners in a row reach base with this sequence: Intentional walk, strikeout/passed ball, catcher’s interference and a hit-by-pitch.

Big rally, huh?

Well, in the HISTORY OF BASEBALL, this was only the 6th time ever a team had all four of those things happen in the same game, the FIRST TIME EVER in the same inning.

1) What is going on with guys managing in the baseball playoffs? Starting pitchers come in the game at any time now, everyone manages like they’re guessing. Cubs left Wade Davis in the game Thursday until he had thrown 44 pitches, 10 more than he had thrown in any game this season. Like Joe Maddon looked around and realized he didn’t have anyone else left.

Friday’s List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend……

Things I’m looking for this weekend……
13) 49ers are playing on road for third week in row; since 1997, underdogs are 23-34-1 vs spread if they’re on road for the 3rd week in a row.

12) LSU is honoring the 2007 national champs Saturday night, which means Les Miles will be in the house. Maybe if they ask him really nice, he’ll come back and coach the Bayou Bengals, who already have a 37-7 loss at Miss State and a home loss to Troy this season.

11) Dolphins are 2-2, despite scoring three offensive TD’s in four games; their OL coach being fired for alleged drug use, and their having played one home game so far. Miami visits Atlanta this week, a Falcon team coming off a bye— Falcons are 6-2 after their last eight byes.

10) TCU is the last unbeaten team in the Big X; Kansas State covered 9 of its last 11 tries as a home underdog, but they’re coming off an OT loss to Texas.

9) Giants lost 3 of their top 4 WR’s to injury last week, then suspended one of their best DB’s for four weeks after a sideline confrontation with the coach LW. Giants are a double digit underdog in Denver this week; an 0-6 start would have people calling for more heads to roll.

8) Coming off of wins over USC/Oregon, Washington State has a trap game in Berkeley, where the Golden Bears are 8-16 vs spread in last 24 games as a home underdog.

7) Chiefs are rolling at 5-0, but they lost twice to Pittsburgh LY. Roethlisberger is coming off one of the worst games of his career (5 INT’s vs Jaguars). Can Steelers bounce back here?

6) Last three Oklahoma-Texas games were all decided by 7 or less points, with Longhorns 4-0 vs spread in last four series games. Texas State Fair is the backdrop for this historic rivalry, with Sooners coming off a loss to Iowa State. when they were favored by 31 points.

5) It is Week 6 and Bills-Patriots-Jets are all tied atop AFC East, at 3-2. Buffalo has the week off, so winner of Patriot-Jet game is atop AFC East by himself. Jets won their last three games, but can their offense put up points against a struggling New England defense?

4) San Diego State is 6-0 and Boise State is in the rare situation of being a road underdog in a Mountain West game. Broncos are 37-18  vs spread in last 55 road games, but they were favored in vast majority of those games. Aztecs are 29-13-1 vs spread in their last 43 conference games.

3) Cleveland Browns passed on Deshaun Watson not once, but twice in LY’s draft; you think he remembers (undoubtedly, he does)? Texans scored 124 points in their last three games. Browns were held to 18 or less points in four of their five games.

2) Florida State is 1-6 for the first time since 1976, when I was a senior in HS and Bobby Bowden was in his first year as the Seminoles’ coach. FSU lost to Miami last week for the first time in eight years— can they win here and get their season jumpstarted?

1) Minnesota is 14-5 vs spread in its last 19 home games; they beat the Packers in Green Bay’s first visit to the Vikings’ new dome LY. Packers are playing their third dome game in six weeks to start the season; they’re 8-3 vs spread in their last 11 games.

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) Red Sox fired John Farrell Wednesday; he went 432-378 as Boston’s manager, winning the World Series in his first season (2013) but winning only one playoff game (1-6) the last four years. Farrell had a health scare with cancer in 2015, but that is behind him now.

If the Red Sox hire Brad Ausmus, who worked with Boston GM Dave Dombrowski in Detroit, then it figures that the GM just thought that Ausmus is a better manager than Farrell.

This Tweet from writer Peter Abraham:
“Dombrowski said Farrell was fired for reasons he won’t disclose and that no level of team success would have prevented that.”

He would’ve fired Farrell even if the Red Sox won the World Series? Hard to believe.

12) Washington 5, Chicago 0- Game 5 is Thursday night at 8 in Washington.
New York 5, Cleveland 2— Indians lost last seven games when they had a chance to wrap up a series. New York-Houston ALCS starts Friday night.

11) New Jersey Giants suspended CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Wednesday when he came to practice and then went home without practicing- it apparently relates to something that happened on the sidelines during Sunday’s game with the Chargers.

10) Giants also lost 3 of their top 4 WR’s for the season in last week’s loss; of those four, only Sterling Shepard will be playing in Denver this weekend.

9) Utah Jazz big guy Rudy Gobert wears number 27 because he was the 27th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Not that he takes it personally or anything.

8) Butler Bulldogs are on their 4th basketball coach in the last six years, and they usually win. Texas Tech is on its 5th coach in eight years. Coaching can be a nomadic profession.

7) Guy named Tony Ressler owns the Atlanta Hawks; he is or was a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. He has been married to actress Jami Gertz for 29 years— she was in movies like Less Than Zero, Sixteen Candles and Twister.

6) Minnesota Timberwolves have the longest active playoff drought in the NBA- 13 years.

5) Tennessee Vols are changing QB’s for their game with South Carolina this week; redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano gets the start over sophomore Quinten Dormady, who may transfer from Tennessee as a result of this.

4) Revenge in the CFL this week? On July 29, Calgary embarrassed Hamilton 60-1; Ti-Cats changed coaches shortly after that, and are now 4-2 in their last six games under new coach June Jones. Stampeders visit Hamilton this week on a serious roll; they’ve won 10 games in a row (8-1-1 vs spread).

3) South Alabama (+18) 19, Troy 8— Troy’s last game was an upset win at LSU, but teams that turn the ball over four times (-3) don’t win a whole lot.

2) Louisville brought in former Nevada/LSU coach Trent Johnson as an assistant, then fired assistant coach Jordan Fair, as fallout from the SneakerGate scandal continues to unfold.

1) If you have NBA TV and I think just about everyone does, Open Court is a good show to watch; there are two hour-long shows that were filmed this summer in Las Vegas, one with five NBA owners, the other with five coaches. Educational stuff if you like the NBA.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

13) San Francisco 49ers are 27th NFL team since 1997 to play overtime games on consecutive weekends; Niners lost both games, are now 0-5, with last four losses all by 2 or 3 points.

12) Of the previous 26 teams who played consecutive OT games, five had a bye the following week, so that takes us down to 21 teams- those 21 teams went 11-10 SU in the third week, but 13-7-1 against the spread.

11) A breakdown according to how the teams did in the OT games:
WW?— Teams that won both OT games went 2-2 vs spread in that third game.
WL?— Teams were 1-3 vs spread in the third game.
LL?— Teams were 4-2-1 vs spread; this is where the 49ers trend this week.
LW?— Teams were 5-0 vs spread in the third game.

10) For the record, Baltimore has played OT games on consecutive weekends four times in the last 21 years; no one else has done it more than twice.

9) Ironic that with lot of college basketball coaches in hot water over fraud allegations with the shoe companies, the 16-team PK80 tournament taking place in Oregon next month to honor Phil Knight’s 80th birthday will be a big deal.

16 teams, all Nike-affiliated, will play three games in this event; might make it easier for the FBI to serve their subpoenas, with so many teams in the same city all at once.

8) Thru 4.5 games this season, Chicago Bears didn’t have a pass play longer than 30 yards, the only NFL team without one. Finally Chicago scored on a 38-yard TD pass in the third quarter Monday night; problem is, it was a pass thrown by punter Pat O’Donnell on a fake punt. Oy.

7) Mitchell Trubisky is the 30th starting QB for the Bears in the last 25 years.

6) San Diego State is bowl-eligible already, which means coach Rocky Long gets a $50,000 bonus, and the athletic director, for some reason, gets a $12,500 bonus.

5) New Orleans Saints traded RB Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals Tuesday for a conditional draft pick. Why would a RB without great receiving skills have signed with a Payton/Brees team in the first place? Arizona’s skill players have lot of miles on them; we’ll see if this helps them.

4) Greg Bird hit a home run in a 1-0 playoff game the other day; the first player to ever hit a home run in a 1-0 postseason game was Casey Stengel in 1923, he of course went on to be a famous manager in New York City, but he was also a good player, hitting .284 in 14 MLB seasons.

3) Political trivia: when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in college, he was a drummer in the University of Texas marching band.

2) I’m glad the NFL lightened up and allows (most) celebrations after TDs now. They don’t hurt anyone and I think most people like them. Maybe most importantly. the media likes them and over time, that will help the public’s perception of the league, which could use some help.

1) RIP to the great QB YA Tittle, who played 17 years in the NFL with Colts-49ers-Giants; his W-L record was 78-50-5, but he never won a playoff game (0-4). Keep in mind it was a lot harder to make the playoffs back then. Mr Tittle passed away over the weekend at age 90.

Tittle was also one of the opposing coaches against Al Pacino’s Miami Sharks in the excellent football movie Any Given Sunday. RIP, sir.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……..

13) Connie Hawkins was the first basketball player I can remember palming the ball, just holding it in his hand like it was a softball. He had huge hands and was a great player— the Phoenix Suns jumped from 16-66 in their expansion season to 39-43 in his first NBA season, then 48-34 and 49-33 the next two years.

12) Suns lost a coinflip with the Milwaukee Bucks for the first pick in the 1969 NBA Draft- the Bucks took Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of 3 or 4 best players of all-time. Suns took a center from Florida named Neal Walk with the #2 pick, but the NBA also awarded them to rights to Hawkins, who played a couple years in the ABA after being wrongly banned from the NBA after a point-shaving investigation that never implicated him— he sued the NBA and collected $1.3M from the league, which was a boatload of money in the late 60’s.

11) Hawkins passed away over the weekend at age 75; he was Dr J before Dr J and ESPN— if he played today, he’d have a huge sneaker deal and would be on highlight shows every night. I’m trying to think of a modern comparison to him— Giannis Antetokounmpo comes to mind. Big wingspan, rangy, fun to watch.

As a little kid just learning basketball, Hawkins was great fun to watch. RIP, sir.

Elsewhere in the world……..
10) Alex, I’d like “Career Suicide for $200″, please: Miami Dolphins’ offensive line coach quit Monday after a video was released on social media showing him snorting a white powdery substance. Dolphins have scored three TD’s on 42 drives in their 2-2 start; this genius was making between $2.5M-$3M a year as a freakin’ assistant coach.

25 years as an NFL assistant coach; hope he saved some of that money.

9) Watched the Celtics-76ers preseason game Friday night; Sixers’ TV guys said the goal for Ben Simmons this year was “70% from the foul line.” Say what?

Simmons shot 67% from the line at LSU two years ago; the goal should be 75% or 80%, not 70%; what did he do all last year when he wasn’t playing? Should’ve been working on his shot, yes?

He can really pass the ball, he is a high-level passer, but he has to develop a pull-up jumper to make defenses respect him, which takes a defender out of passing lanes. He picked up at least two charging fouls against the Celtics.

Simmons is still a young guy (21) but if he wants to be a great player, his shooting has to improve.

8) UCLA held a outdoor practice at Venice Beach over the weekend; it is good to live in southern California. UNLV held an outdoor practice in downtown Vegas last year; its a cool gimmick to get the fanbase interested.

I’m curious to see UCLA without Lonzo Ball this year; he made all his teammates a lot better. They’re not going to get as many open looks this year without Ball running the offense.

7) Houston Rockets were sold this summer for $2.2B, thats how profitable NBA teams are now, with the worldwide appeal of the league.

6) Why the Sacramento Kings are almost always bad:

They had the 20th pick in the NBA Draft in June, and took Duke’s Harry Giles, who when he was a 9th grader, was the #1 player in the high school Class of 2016, but then he tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in 2013, then his ACL in his right knee in 2015..

In his one year at Duke, he averaged 3.9 ppg in 11.5 mpg, hardly numbers for a first round draft pick, but the Kings being the Kings, used the 20th pick on him.

Now Sacramento says Giles is out until at least January, to “improve his overall health.” Oy.

5) Sacramento’s record the last 10 years:
33-49, 38-44, 17-65, 25-57, 24-58, 22-44, 28-54 (twice), 29-53, 33-49, 32-50.

4) 76ers gave Joel Embiid a 5-year, $148M contract extension; he played 25.4 mpg in 31 games LY, scoring 20.2 ppg, grabbing 7.8 rpg. Missing 51 games is a red flag, especially after sitting out the previous two years; wonder what kind of games-played incentives are in the contract.

Embiid scored 11.2 ppg in 23.1 mpg in his one season at Kansas, then sat out his first two years in the NBA with injuries- he is 23 years old.

3) Big 14’s conference basketball tournament is leaving the midwest and is headed to Manhattan in March; thats New York City, not Manhattan, Kansas.

Because the Big East has Madison Square Garden in Championship week, the Big 14 agreed to have its tournament a week earlier than normal, which means their teams will all play a couple of conference games the first week in December, to make up for the week the league loses in March due to moving the tournament up.

This is a 5-game stretch of Indiana’s schedule in late November/early December:
Nov 29- Duke, Dec 2- @ Minnesota, Dec 4- Iowa, Dec 9- @ Louisville, Dec 16- Notre Dame. Tough stretch of games for the Hoosiers.

2) Washington State football coach Mike Leach played rugby, not football, in his college days at BYU. He is one of only four I-A head coaches who didn’t play college football.

BYU had great passing teams in those days; Leach credits LaVell Edwards for having a big influence on the Air Raid offense Leach runs now.

1) Baseball playoffs:
Astros 5, Red Sox 4— Houston moves on to ALDS, using Justin Verlander in relief.
Cubs 2, Nationals 1— Chicago takes 2-1 lead in this series.
New York 7, Indians 3– Game 5 is in Cleveland Wednesday.
Los Angeles 3, Arizona 1– Dodgers advance to the NLCS.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Patriots 19, Buccaneers 14— Tampa Bay missed three FG’s; they’ll have a new kicker next week. Bucs had ball on Patriots’ 15-yard line when game ended, but ran out of time. Both teams gained 400+ yards, but combined to score only 27 points on seven red zone drives. Big improvement for New England defense, but they still allowed 409 yards.

Chargers 27, Giants 22— Manning was sacked/fumbled on his own 11 with 3:46 left, Chargers scored three plays later for their first win of the year. Giants are 0-5 and head to Denver next week without WR Beckham, who broke his ankle. Four of Chargers’ five games were decided by 5 or less points. Giants never got in red zone in this game; their TD’s were on plays of 23-29-48 yards. Chargers are 23-11-1 in last 35 games as a road underdog.

Bengals 20, Bills 16— Cincy outgained Bills 388-221, but turned ball over three times (-2); they held Buffalo to 3.8 ypa. Both teams scored 13 points on three red zone drives. Buffalo is now +8 in turnovers for the year, but they need their passing game to drive the bus now and then. For the week, individual team over/unders are 14-12 Under heading to Monday night.

Jets 17, Browns 14— Cleveland changed QB’s at halftime, trailing 3-0; Hogan went 16-19 for 194 yards in two TD’s in 2nd half, would think he is now the #1 guy. Browns had ball in red zone three times, scored zero points, turning ball over twice in red zone in first half, then losing ball on downs in 3rd quarter. Suddenly Jets have won three games in row and tied for first in AFC East with Bills/Patriots. Browns are 4-11 vs spread in last 15 games when favored.

Jaguars 30, Steelers 9— While the Giants are 0-5, Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars are 3-2- they picked Roethlisberger off five times in this game (+4), with pair of pick-6’s 2:30 apart in third quarter when Steelers led 9-7. Jaguars are +10 in turnovers already. Steelers lost two of last three games; they didn’t score a TD in this game. Jax ran ball for 231 yards; they’ve run ball for 155+ yards in 4 of their 5 games.

Dolphins 16, Titans 10— Awful offense on both sides; they averaged 3.1, 2.8 ypa- these are NFL teams!!! Dolphins have three TD’s on 42 drives this season- why are they paying Cutler $10M? Backup QB Cassel was 21-32/119 passing for Titans, who lost 57-14 LW. Titans are 8-34 on 3rd down the last three games- they went 3/out on 16 of last 26 drives. Longest play from scrimmage in this game was 17 yards- very rare there is a game with no plays of 20+ yards.

Colts 26, 49ers 23 (OT)— All three Indy home games have been decided by 3 points; Brissett threw an awful INT in red zone on Colts’ first possession of OT, but Vinatieri bailed them out on next possession, bitting 51-yard FG to send everyone home happy. Colts had 7 plays of 20+ yards, most of any NFL team this week; they had 11-yard edge in field position, but scored only 13 points on four red zone drives. At 2-3, Colts are still alive with QB Luck expected back soon.

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7— Philly won this game easily, holding Cardinals to 31 rushing yards- they averaged 9.6 ypa. Eagles are 39-73 on 3rd down this year- they’re up 1.5 games in NFC East. Arizona gave up 12 TD’s in their three losses, one each in their wins, by a FG each over Colts/49ers. Cardinals have run ball for only 51.8 yards a game this year- they lost field position by 15 yards in this game. Hard to win that way.

Panthers (3-1) @ Lions (3-1)— Carolina is now 3-0 on the road, scoring 23-33-27 points. Cam Newton lit Detroit up; he was 26-33/334 passing, averaging over 9.0 ypa for 2nd week in row. Newton lost his Dannon yogurt commercial because of his comment to a woman reporter last week- Dak Prescott takes his place. Detroit was +9 in turnovers coming in; they were -1 here, and lost field position for first time this year.

Seahawks 16, Rams 10— Los Angeles in the red zone Sunday:
1st quarter: Lost fumble on 1-yard line
2nd quarter: Kicked a 34-yard field goal
3rd quarter: Missed a 35-yard field goal
3rd quarter: Threw INT on a screen pass
4th quarter: Lost ball on downs as game ended.

Thats five trips to red zone, 3 points, a total of five turnovers (-3). Can’t win that way.

Ram opponents are 24-49 on 3rd down the last three games.

Ravens 30, Raiders 17— Baltimore’s season so far:
First two games: +7 turnovers, won 20-0/24-10. Led 17-0/21-7 at half.
Second two games: -5 turnovers, lost 44-7/26-9. Trailed 23-0/19-0 at half.
Sunday at Oakland: 8.5 ypa, no turnovers, led 21-3.

Raiders lost their last three games; their QB has a broken back, and his backup lost his last six NFL starts. Not good.

Packers 35, Cowboys 31— Aaron Rodgers drove Green Bay 75 yards on nine plays for the winning TD with 0:11 left, after Dallas had taken the lead with 1:13 left. Cowboys led 21-6 at one point, but Rodgers is a great QB- Packers are 4-1 now. Green Bay is now 7-1 in last eight games against the Cowboys, winning last three visits to Dallas, 37-36/34-31/35-31.

Chiefs 42, Texans 34— JJ Watt broke his leg, which took the air out of the building early on; Kansas City won/covered its first five games, scoring 17 TD’s on 52 drives. Chiefs are 13-2 as a road favorite under Reid. Rookie QB Watson threw five TD passes in a losing cause; in last two years, Cleveland has passed on Wentz, Prescott and Watson- their QB now is Kevin Hogan. Good thing guy that runs their franchise went to an Ivy League school- an educated imbecile.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) Iowa State (+31) 38, Oklahoma 31— I hope Iowa State’s Joel Lanning gets a vote for the Heisman Trophy; this kid used to be the Cyclones’ QB, but when Iowa State decided to start Jacob Park at QB this year, Lanning willingly switched to middle linebacker, because thats was where he was needed.

Park left the team this week to deal with medical issues; senior Kyle Kempt started at QB, but in running situations, Lanning came in and ran the read-option.

Imagine a kid in the Big X playing both ways? He recovered an Oklahoma fumble near the goal line, sacked Baker Mayfield with 9:04 when the Cyclones led 31-24— he ran the ball 9 times for 35 yards, was 2-3 passing for 25 times. Tough kid.

12) Miami 24, Florida State 20— Seminoles’ freshman QB James Blackman is listed at 6-5, 165 pounds; thats really thin, but it illustrates why most freshmen football players redshirt, so they can hit the weight room and training table so they get bigger/stronger before they actually start playing. He needs to add a lot of muscle to his frame. Not many 165-pound quarterbacks in the NFL. Or in major college football.

This game had a great second half, after a sleepy first half; Miami scored winning TD with 0:06 left after Florida State had taken the lead with 1:24 to play. Hurricanes ended a 7-game losing streak against FSU. The Seminoles are 1-3, and that doesn’t happen much.

11) Michigan 14, Michigan State 10— Wolverines turned ball over five times (-5) and lost by only four points. Spartans gained only 252 yards, were 2-14 on 3rd down but pulled out a road win.

10) Arizona 45, Colorado 42– Arizona’s backup QB Khalil Tate rushed for 327 yards and four touchdowns, setting the single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. Arizona’s starting QB got hurt on the first series of the game, and Tate took over from that point.

9) Navy 48, Air Force 45— Middies blew a 31-10 third quarter lead, then scored winning TD on a 16-yard pass with 0:15 left. Navy is 5-0; their next two games are Memphis/Central Florida.

8) Bowling Green 37, Miami OH 29— Talk about hideous losses; Miami had the ball on the BG 1-yard line, down 30-29 wth 1:40 left- they botch the shotgun snap, Falcons pick it up and run 93 yards for a TD, instead of taking a knee and ending the game (Miami had only one timeout left at the time). But BG’s defense held, so it wound up not mattering.

Miami had 37 first downs, gained 612 yards, but lost; stuff like that doesn’t happen very much. Only four of their 37 first downs came on third down plays, so they moved the ball at will, but turnovers undo a lot of things.

7) Virginia 28, Duke 21— Cavaliers are quietly 4-1, with a win at Boise State in their only road game- they visit 1-5 North Carolina next week.

6) South Carolina 48, Arkansas 22— Arkansas is now 10-24 in SEC games under Bielema; no bueno. Gamecocks led 20-10 until they scored two defensive TD’s 4:10 apart to break game open midway thru 3rd quarter. Hard to win when you’re -4 in turnovers, which Arkansas was.

5) Upsets of the Day:
Iowa State (+31) 38, Oklahoma 31
Bowling Green (+14) 37, Miami OH 29
Southern Miss (+13.5) 31, Tex-San Antonio 29
Central Michigan (+12) 26, Ohio U 23
UAB (+11.5) 23, La Tech 22- UAB blocked tying PAT with 3:32 left.
Arizona (+7) 45, Colorado 42

4) Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 14— Dawgs ran ball for 423 yards here; they have two very good QB’s, one a sophomore, one a freshman. But the best QB in next year’s HS class just committed to go to Georgia, too. Why? You can only play one at a time……..

Looking down the road, don’t two of those three kids wind up transferring away from Georgia?

3) Western Michigan 71, Buffalo 68 (7 OT)— Game went seven OT’s, after WMU blew 10-point 4th quarter lead. Both teams had 30+ first downs, ran 90+ plays in this marathon.

2) Nationals 6, Cubs 3— Chicago’s bullpen imploded during a 5-run 8th inning that evens series at 1-1, heading back to Windy City. Ryan Zimmerman hit the go-ahead homer.

1) Bad Beat of the Week: Texas (-4) 40, Kansas State 34 OT— K-State missed a 53-yard FG off the upright in OT, then Texas ran the ball in for the winning TD on 3rd-and goal from the 2, with the runner dragging several tacklers over the goal line with him. If you had +4, it was a pretty tough beat.

Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind……..

13) I made a rare appearance in the Hannaford grocery store near my home Thursday; I eat out just about every day, so I don’t need a lot of groceries, but I had 5 or 6 items as I went to the checkout aisles. (If you must know, had Fig Newtons, Cherry Coke, hamburger rolls, Rice Krispies, hot dog rolls and milk.)

One aisle had 6 or 7 people waiting on line, so that wasn’t an option; I’m not fond of waiting on lines. The other aisle was the Express Aisle; 14 items or less. My kind of aisle, I was there.

I’m behind one woman in line, a woman with an entire shopping cart full of items. She starts taking the items out, and she obviously has more than 14, and thats counting the five 2-liter bottles of Pepsi as one item. She has 23 items; how do I know this? I counted them.

12) Now I’m annoyed, because it is just a lack of respect for anyone other than herself; she looks to be around 50, a normal suburban person, except for the fact that she is taking 23 items thru the Express Aisle (14 items or less). I look at the young kid working the register, debating whether to make a fool of myself and call her on this indiscretion. I would’ve laughed if the cashier had refused to wait on Ms 23Items- he didn’t.

I’m bailed out by two other aisles being opened up just as I was about to make a decision; rather than create a scene, I just scoot over to the next aisle— I was out of the store before Ms 23Items got her bags into her shopping cart.

11) In the larger scope of life, obviously none of this is important, but it points out how the basic respect we have for each other is decaying throughout society. No one cares about anyone except him/herself. We need to have more respect for other humans; it doesn’t cost anything, and it improves everyone’s quality of life. Less stress equals a better life.

Elsewhere in the world…….
10) Watching Justin Verlander pitch in the playoffs Thursday gave me the creeps; he’s made five playoff starts against the A’s and was 4-0, 1.23 in those games- the one game he didn’t win was when the A’s rallied from behind in the late innings to beat Detroit’s bullpen.

Verlander is two decent years away from being a Hall of Famer.

9) How offense in the NFL is changing; the receiving leader for 7 of the 32 NFL teams is a running back. Teams are running ball less but are using RB’s out of the backfield to beat linebackers in individual matchups.

His first two years in the NFL, Todd Gurley caught 64 passes for 515 yards (8.0 yds/rec) in 29 games, with no touchdowns. In four games this year, he’s caught 20 passes for 234 yards (11.7 yds/rec), three TD’s. Twice as many catches per game, 46% more yards per catch.

8) Tampa Bay Bucs lost Thursday night, but now they get 10 days off before their next game, which is especially helpful in their case, since they already had their bye week in Week 1, because of the hurricane damage in Florida caused their game with Miami to be moved to Week 11.

7) I’d love to see a team playing New England let the QB call his own plays, just in case they’re still doing any BS stealing signals (chances are they are). They couldn’t do it if the QB called his own plays- no signals to steal.

Of course, that would greatly reduce substitutions by the offense, but the coach could send in personnel groupings and let the QB pick what plays he wanted that used those groupings.

6) Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan owns a ship that is 312 feet long (almost an entire football field) and cost $200M to build. You can rent this ship, for $1.2M a week, plus expenses.

If you’re wondering, $1.2M a week works out to $7,142.86 an hour for the week.

5) Toronto Raptors signed 3rd-year guard Norman Powell to a 4-year, $42 million contract extension; Powell has started 42 games in two years, averaging 16.7 mpg in his 125 NBA games.

$10.5M a year to a guy who has played 16.7 minutes a game? Wow.

4) Was glad to find a Golden State-Minnesota game on TV live from China in the middle of the night Tuesday—game started at 2am Wednesday morning here in NY. The reason substitutes like Powell make $10.5M a year is that the NBA is wildly popular world-wide, which makes all the teams extremely profitable.

3) Charlotte Hornets’ Nicolas Batum tore ligaments in his elbow and will be out for six weeks or so. Batum averaged 15.1 ppg and 5.9 assists a game last year.

2) Former NBA star Walt Frazier still does Knicks games on MSG TV in New York City; he is very good. The other night, he was talking about how some NBA teams have only 3-4 preseason games this year, due to the shortened preseason.

Back when he played (late 60’s/early 70’s), Frazier said the Knicks played 16 preseason games, and sometimes traveled from City A to City B with their opponent, which had to be odd.

1) Washington Post reported this week that 78% of Americans do not own a gun; 19% of Americans own 50% of our country’s gun, while 3% of our population owns the other 50%.

3% of Americans own 50% of the guns. Think about that.