Saturday’s 6-pack, Quote and Quiz of the Day…….

Baseball information on MLB2 page………Week 5 CFL info now on NHL page……

Saturday’s six-pack
— Braves 12, Dodgers 3— Pitcher Jaime Garcia hit a grand slam for Atlanta, the first one by a visiting pitcher at Dodger Stadium since Steve Carlton, in 1984.
— St Louis dealt P Marco Gonzales to Seattle for OF prospect Tyler O’Neill.
— Cardinals’ P Carlos Martinez pitched Friday with green hair.
— Dodgers’ utility guy Austin Barnes is the nephew of former A’s 2B Mike Gallego.
— Zack Cosart’s hit in the All-Star Game ended an 0-25 skid by Cincinnati players in the Mid-summer Classic.
— John Wall cashes in with the Wizards: four years, $170M.

Quote of the Day
“Believe me when I tell you this… can only get better.”
Al Pacino’s character in Any Given Sunday, trying to encourage a struggling backup QB

Saturday’s quiz
There is a river behind the right field fence at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati; which state is on the other side of that river?

Friday’s quiz
OJ Simpson finished his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.

Thursday’s quiz
The Arizona Cardinals used to play home games in St Louis and before that, Chicago.

Saturday’s List of 13: Random thoughts on a summer day……..

13) Golden State Warriors are going to rip off season ticket holders by making them buy a PSL, which is forcing fans to pay a hefty fee for the right to buy season tickets for even more money  in their new arena.

This is prevalent in the NFL but has never been done in the NBA before. This is a scummy way to treat a fanbase that was loyal to the Warriors, even before they were really good.

12) Kyrie Irving is set to make $20M a year over the next three years; recently, he told the Cavaliers he wants to be traded, preferably to the Knicks, Spurs, Heat or Timberwolves. I’m surprised he doesn’t want to play for the Warriors.

Who doesn’t want to be Lebron’s wingman?

Some information about the first game of a series or home/road trips…….
11) Over is 11-4-2 in Dodger series openers, 12-5 in San Diego series openers, 10-4-1 in Detroit’s.

Under is 10-5 in Cincinnati’s series openers, 12-3 in Cleveland’s, 10-5 in Baltimore’s.

10) Astros are 11-3 in the first game of a road series, only 8-8 in home series openers.

9) Washington is 21-11 in series openers, Colorado 21-10, the Dodgers 20-12.

Phillies are 10-21 in series openers, Pirates 12-19, St Louis 13-18, White Sox 10-20, Angels 12-19, Oakland 12-18.

8) A popular word the last year or two is “process.” Front office types now always say “It is a process” as a general way of saying nothing about what they actually do.

7) Madison Bumgarner makes $12M a year; he missed 13-14 starts this year because he got hurt riding a dirt bike on a team’s off-day. Giants are 0-6 in his starts in 2017. Bumgarner has done an awful lot for the Giants in his career, but none of it has been this season.

6) In the first five innings of Luis Severino’s last five starts, New York was outscored 10-0; they haven’t scored a run in the first five innings of any of his last five starts.

5) Dodgers have an awesome lineup; their 7th/8th place hitters are Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig.

4) Atlanta Braves’ TV announcer Chip Caray complained pretty loudly about the loud music at Dodger Stadium, calling it “ears bleeding loud”. He also said that the stadium is beautiful but doesn’t need the constant music/noise.

3) Recruiting never stops: New Mexico added a 6-5 kid from Australia this week. Lobos’ new coach Paul Weir has lot of international connections and is a very good recruiter.

2) I hope Sean Spicer puts his feet up and has a cold one tonight; he quit Friday as White House press secretary. In the history of man, no one looked as uncomfortable as Spicer did at the podium during press briefings- hopefully his next job will be a little more fun.

1) There are lessons to be learned in life every day: our lesson from Hugh Freeze getting fired at Ole Miss is this: If your boss gives you a cellphone to use and you want to call an escort service, get your own phone and use that one, not the school’s phone.

This is how you keep your $5M a year job. Buy another phone.

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

13) Our best wishes to Senator John McCain, who got bad medical news this week. Mr McCain has had a great life, is a tough man, a leader. We wish him well in his recovery.

Senator McCain’s mom is 105 years old; she was born two months before the Titanic sank, and is still hanging in there. Good for her.

12) Tony Dungy ranked Tom Brady as the #6 QB of all-time, behind Elway-Steve Young-Rodgers-Marino and Peyton Manning.

Steve Young? He inherited the champion 49ers from Joe Montana and went 8-6 in playoff games. Yeah, he’s the #2 QB of all-time. And I’ll be on the cover of GQ next month.

Montana, by the way, went 16-7 in playoff games, with basically the same nucleus that Young went 8-6 with. But Dungy doesn’t think too much of him.

11) Guy named Phil Scott is governor of Vermont; apparently he is also a stock car driver, has been driving stock cars for 27 years and still does it, at the Thunder Road racetrack.  Wonder how many speeding tickets the governor has gotten?

10) OJ Simpson got his parole, will be released on October 1st. What do you do after nine years in the slammer? Does he still own a house? Whats the first thing he does after he gets out? Does he go to In ’n Out for hamburgers?

Simpson is 70 now. Hopefully he will disappear from the public eye and just be a normal person.

9) Chicago White Sox sold roughly 5,000 tickets for Wednesday’s game after the Todd Frazier trade and they announced that top prospect Yoan Moncada was being brought up to the majors. White Sox have 10 of the top 68 prospects in the minor leagues, which is fine, if enough of them realize their potential. At least there is optimism on the South Side.

8) Baseball doings:
— Giants signed Pablo Sandoval to a minor-league deal.
— A’s signed Chris Carter, which is dumb, but probably signals that a Yonder Alonso deal is imminent. Alonso is a free agent-to-be and was always injury-prone before coming to the A’s, so getting a prospect or two for him isn’t the worst idea.
— Seattle acquired reliever David Phelps from the Marlins, for four prospects.

7) One of the Mets’ big giveaways this summer is Noah Syndergaard/Thor Bobblehead Day; the Angels have Mike Trout Bobblehead Night coming up. Solid giveaways, both of them with the A’s as the visiting team, a sure sign the home team thinks you’re no good.

6) This season, 26 NBA teams will have their own G-League affiliate; two years ago, only 19 teams had one. Only four more to go and every NBA team will have one.

5) Hugh Freeze quit/got fired/both as football coach at Ole Miss last night. Rebels are going to get bludgeoned by the NCAA over recruiting violations. July 20 is not a great time for a head coach to quit/get fired, seeing as fall practice starts in a couple weeks.

4) Pirates 4, Brewers 2— Pittsburgh is 11-2 in its last 13 games, is only three games back in the NL Central. Milwaukee has lost five in a row; they have 10 days before the trade deadline. What will their front office do to fortify their struggling team?

3) From Pro Football Talk: “Arizona Cardinals scaled back Carson Palmer’s workload in practice last season and have limited him in offseason practices as well this spring and summer. According to Bruce Arians, the biggest reason for that was Palmer had thrown so much last year that he wore down quickly once the season started and his production suffered.”

2) Captain Obvious checks in with this observation: “It isn’t a good idea to go to war with the media, especially if they already dislike you. Very bad idea.”

1) Mets’ TV analyst Keith Hernandez called his Twitter critics “gutless wonders” during Wednesday night’s broadcast; that would be a great name for a racehorse. Down the stretch comes Gutless Wonders……it is Gutless Wonders, in front!!!

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

13) A helicopter carrying WWE’s Shane McMahon made an emergency landing Wednesday in the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island; the helicopter took off from Westchester County Airport, made a stop at a heliport in Manhattan, then was flying east along the Long Island coast when the incident occurred.

The pilot issued a mayday call before going into the water; a commercial flight heading to Kennedy Airport heard it and relayed it to FAA controllers at a radar facility. McMahon and the pilot are both OK.

12) Quote of the Day, Part 2:
“My sense is the law will change in the next few years in the United States……..People want to bet throughout the game. It results in enormous additional engagement with the fans.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, on sports gambling becoming legal in the near future

11) You wonder why the other 29 NFL teams looked the other way when the Rams, Raiders and Chargers pulled up stakes and moved? There are relocation fees those teams have to pay to the league. EACH of the other 29 teams banked $55M in relocation fees this year. Must be nice.

10) Los Angeles Dodgers have been held to 1 or 2 runs in six of Clayton Kershaw’s 20 starts this year; they won five of those six games, thats how good Kershaw has been. LA won his last 14 starts- they’ve also won Alex Wood’s last 11 starts.

9) Dodgers are on a 30-4 roll; last major league team to go 30-4 in any stretch? The ’77 Royals.

8) Cubs’ 3B Kris Bryant left Wednesday’s game early with a sprained pinky he hurt while sliding head-first into third base……..Freddie Freeman left the same game early with an illness……… Stephen Souza Jr left the Rays’ game early with a hip injury suffered while sliding feet-first…. …….Charlie Blackmon left the Rockies’ game with a tweaked hamstring.

7) Rockies 18, Padres 4— In three games in Denver this week, San Diego starting pitchers allowed 24 runs in 10 IP. No bueno. Nolan Arenado had 3 HR’s, 7 RBI for Colorado.

6) Rockies’ catcher Ryan Hanigan is the son of an FBI agent. Has to be difficult to get away with childhood hijinx when your dad is a federal agent.

5) Todd Frazier is going to be the everyday 3B in the Bronx; Chase Headley gets the next shot at being the everyday 1B.

4) Chargers’ first-round draft pick, Clemson WR Mike Williams, might need season ending back surgery, not how the Bolts wanted their first year up north to start.

3) There have been 19 games where a team scored in every inning of a major league game; by way of contrast, there have been 21 perfect games in the big leagues.

2) In 1972, Robert Irsay bought the Rams for $19M, then traded them to Carroll Rosenbloom in exchange for the Baltimore Colts. Think something like that could ever happen today?

1) Wednesday was National Hot Dog Day; there is an ongoing question on the Interweb, as to whether a hot dog is indeed a sandwich. My opinion; a hot dog is a sandwich. Meat in between bread, that would qualify it as a sandwich. Others disagree, some vehemently. So be it.

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

13) ran a very interesting feature this week— an all-time draft of NFL players, with some veteran NFL minds drafting the players. Bill Polian, Ernie Accorsi, Dan Fouts, Gil Brandt were four of the 12 people picking teams.

None of this solves anything, but it is great fodder for debate. Here are the 12 QB’s who were taken, in the order they were selected.

1) Unitas 2) Brady 3) Otto Graham 4) Montana 5) Elway 6) Staubach 7) Manning 8) Bradshaw 9) Rodgers 10) Favre 11) Marino 12) Aikman

12) Other highlights of the draft:
— Lawrence Taylor was the first player taken. I have a friend Scott who knows more about football than anyone I know— when he reads that, he is not going to like it.
— Dan Fouts drafted Terry Bradshaw; he should’ve drafted Dan Fouts, who was better than Bradshaw and Aikman.
— Fouts drafted Ray Guy in the first round; I don’t have an explanation for that.
— Sammy Baugh got drafted, but as a punter, not a QB.
— Each team also drafted a coach; here are the 12 coaches picked, in order:

1) Lombardi 2) Walsh 3) Levy/Dungy (co-coach— Bill Polian did that) 4) Noll 5) Shula 6) Gibbs 7) Landry 8) Belichick 9) Coryell 10) Paul Brown 11) Curly Lambeau 12) Madden

No Parcells is weird; picking your buddies Levy/Dungy over Belichick is plain stupid. George Allen could be in this group of 12, but some of these guys just took their friends. Then again, if I was picking a team, my coach undoubtedly would’ve been Dick Vermeil. 🙂

Again, the whole draft is on It is kind of fun to look through.

11) Best coaches who were left out: Parcells, Vermeil, Hank Stram, Bud Grant, Jimmy Johnson, Tom Flores, Sid Gillman.

10) Best QB’s who were left out: Bart Starr, Drew Brees, Ken Stabler, Kurt Warner, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young.

9) Dodgers have swept 11 series this year; Clayton Kershaw didn’t pitch in 3 of the 11 series.

8) Announced attendance in Oakland Monday night was 9,736, a very quiet 9,736. It was the A’s smallest home crowd in six years.

When you start selling off players, it may be good business over the long haul, but it sends the message that “we’ve quit for this year.” People don’t like to shell out money to watch teams who have quit for the season.

White Sox are 0-4 since dealing Jose Quintana; A’s are now 1-2 since trading the two relievers to the Nationals. I’m going to track this as teams sell off guys the rest of this month. Detroit won its first game after JD Martinez was sent packing.

7) Former big league 1B James Loney is off to Korea to play for the LG Twins on a $350,000 deal. Eric Thames played over in Korea for three years and now he is back in the majors with Milwaukee.

6) Weird Story of the Day: Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead is asking for help locating his pitbull Blitz, who was abducted; the thieves are demanding a $10,000 ransom. Seriously, they are.

5) I wish they’d legalize online poker in this country so ESPN would start showing the World Series of Poker again (no one will buy commercial time if online poker is illegal). First prize this year is $8.1M; the final table is set, but I’ve never heard of any of the nine guys.

If you’re the first guy eliminated at the final table, you still bank $1M, so thats not too bad.

4) NBA season is starting October 17 this year, earlier than usual, as the league tries to reduce the amount of back/backs each team plays by stretching the regular season out as much as possible.

3) Astros’ SS Carlos Correa is out 6-8 weeks (thumb), another victim of the headfirst slide. Guys need to wear that hand protector Mike Trout is wearing now if they want to slide headfirst.

2) White Sox traded Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Shaker High’s Tommy Kahnle to the Bronx for Tyler Clippard (???) and two prospects. According to someone on Twitter who says they know a lot about the minor leagues, White Sox have 10 of the top 68 prospects in the minors, but top prospect Yoan Moncada is now headed to the Windy City.

1) Arizona acquired free agent-to-be JD Martinez from Detroit for three prospects. Guy on MLB Network said the three prospects aren’t that great, and that Arizona got off cheap on the deal.

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

13) Carolina Panthers fired their GM Monday, 8 days before training camp opens. Panthers had a 40-23-1 record while Dave Gettleman was the GM, playing in the Super Bowl two years ago.

Former Panthers Steve Smith/DeAngelo Williams openly gloated about the firing on Twitter. Gettleman was (obviously) not well-liked by the players on the Panthers.

Must be an interesting story behind all this, then again, Carolina owner Jerry Richardson also fired his two sons when they worked for the Panthers.

12) Kansas City Chiefs fired their GM last month; also odd timing. You would think this is a down time for NFL teams, just before camp starts, yet two teams canned their GMs. Go figure.

11) Houston Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander put the team up for sale Monday; he’s owned the Rockets for 24 years. No one saw this coming, not even people who work for the team.

Rockets just traded for Chris Paul, gave James Harden a huge contract extension- they’re the most popular NBA team in Asia (because of Yao Ming) so that inflates the value of the franchise a decent amount. Last thing I saw had them ranked the 7th-most valuable NBA franchise.

10) Red Sox have been shut out eight times this year; five of the eight games were Rick Porcello starts. Boston-Royals-Angels-Giants have all been shut out eight times, most in MLB this year.

9) As of late Sunday night, Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas had taken 56 bets on whether or not the Lakers will make the playoffs this coming season. All 56 bets were “yes”.

8) Nationals 6, Reds 1— Washington sweeps 4-game series; they had a 5-0 lead in all four games. Daniel Murphy scored from 2nd on a sac fly in this game- the RF made a lunging catch in right-center, fell down, and Murphy kept going. Rough weekend for Cincinnati.

7) Milwaukee Bucks’ prospect Thon Maker fouled out of a 40:00 summer league game, when the foul limit was 10 per player. Thats not easy to do.

6) Mets’ TV analyst Keith Hernandez made a cryptic comment during Sunday’s game. His partner Gary Cohen was talking about manager Terry Collins, and Hernandez chimed in, “Terry has a lot more to deal with than the fans know about.” Wonder what he meant?

5) Golden State Warriors’ over/under win total for next season: 66.5.

4) Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins will play under the franchise tag again this year, will try to get by on his $23.94M salary and likely will be playing elsewhere (SF?) in 2018.

3) Indiana’s new basketball coach Archie Miller signed three top 100 recruits over the weekend, and kept the three recruits Tom Crean had coming in to Bloomington this fall. Miller is a very good coach.

2) Texas Rangers were 36-11 in one-run games last year, finished 95-67, won the AL West by nine games……..this year, the Rangers are 7-15 in one-run games, are 45-46, 16.5 games behind the first-place Astros. Little things make a big difference.

1) Roger Federer banked $2,880,240 for winning Wimbledon; his on-court winnings in his great career have now grown to $107,325,425. That is before endorsements.

By way of comparison, Dwight Howard has earned just around $190,000,000 in salary in his career.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend……

13) Being an A’s fan isn’t as fun as it used to be; Oakland had a great walk-off win Saturday night- they’re 7-2 in their last nine games, but then Sunday they traded Doolittle/Madson to Washington, for two Class A prospects and Blake Treinen, who if he was any good, this trade wouldn’t have happened.

I mentioned the other day how the A’s had roughly $24.5M on the books for 2018-20, total; well, dealing Doolittle/Madsen eliminates about half of that amount.

It is now an annual event, like the swallows returning to Capistrano; the A’s don’t contend, then they sell some of their decent players for minor leaguers in July, then are lousy the rest of the year, they make excuses about being a small market team. Oy.

On July 31, 2014, the then-contending A’s traded Yoenis Cespedes for free agent-to-be Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes- since that genius move, Oakland is 201-270, but no one in the front office gets fired. Coaches on field get fired; they don’t create the roster. Go figure.

12) A’s social media was working overtime after the trade was announced, liking every positive tweet that ran after the walk-off win Saturday night, trying to create positive vibes.

Positive vibes come from having a contending team, or at least trying to have one.

11) NL Wild Card race is going to get crazy; Rockies are 6-15 in their last 21 games; Arizona is 3-11 in its last 14 games, as the Dodgers pull away in the NL West. The Wild Card pack is going to catch up quickly unless the Rockies/D’Backs wake up.

10) Christopher Kamka on Twitter pointed out that Jose Quintana is 9th guy to pitch for both Cubs/White Sox in same season; last one was Matt Karchner, in 1998.

9) I’m adamant that when a player assists on a 3-point basket, he should get 1.5 assists; just like if a pass leads to free throws, he should get half an assist for each foul shot made.

8) Phillies-Brewers wore late 70’s/early 80’s throwbacks this weekend; Phillies wore light blue road unis, which lot of teams wore back then.

They closed the roof at Miller Park in the 2nd inning, which according to Brewers’ TV guys, changes how fly balls carry in the park. Ryan Braun struggled on a fly ball right after the roof closed. Once the roof is closed during a game, it cannot be re-opened during the game.

7) 7-foot and 8-foot high outfield fences are awesome in baseball, because guys can rob home runs. Marcell Ozuna made a great catch Sunday, robbing Kike Hernandez of a homer in the sixth inning. Check out MLB Network for highlights; you worry when a fielder climbs a chain-link fence- you don’t want his cleats to stick in there, but this was a tremendous play.

6) Chris Paul’s AAU team won the Peach Jam tournament in Augusta this weekend, which is a very good tournament. Decent amount of NBA players sponsor AAU teams.

5) Jordan Spieth’s brother Steven is on the Dallas Mavericks’ squad in the Las Vegas summer league. Steven went to college at Brown; he had 5 points against the Celtics Saturday night.

4) Odd Stats of the Day: The Cubs have won their last 13 games played on July 15.

Mets won their last 18 games when one of their pitchers homers in that game.

3) Seattle Mariners’ catcher Mike Zunino grew up in Florida; was he destined to play for Seattle? He played for Mariner High School is Cape Coral, FL.

2) Jed Lowrie makes $6.5M; he is now the Oakland A’s highest-paid player, which means he will be gone too, soon. Sonny Gray makes $3,575,000 a year; he better not get traded unless they get back really, really strong prospects in return. Good starting pitchers are invaluable.

1) Another Bastille Day passes with no mention of Sebastian Cabot, who played Mr French on the 60’s sitcom Family Affair. Who was more French than Mr French?

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

13) Two-way G-League contracts that marginal NBA players will sign (two per team) can be worth as much as $270,000 per player. Beats going over to Europe to play. So technically, NBA teams will have 17-man rosters this year- the two-way players can spend as many as 45 days in the NBA, before their deal would have to be upgraded to a regular NBA contract.

12) In NBA Summer League, when guys are fighting like hell to get a contract, they run over and pick up teammates after they get fouled. They root for their teammates while they’re on the bench, they do all the little suck-up things that scrubs in high school do when they’re fighting an uphill battle to make the team. It is amusing.

I’ll check back in in November/December and see how much of this is going on once the regular season starts.

11) Dennis Smith Jr looks like a steal for the Mavericks with the #9 pick in the draft; he had an excellent July in two summer leagues, but he tried to dunk in traffic during Thursday’s game, and missed. He really has great athletic ability- maybe the Knicks should’ve taken him with the 8th pick in the draft.

Anyway, ESPN’s Mark Jones lost his mind on the air about the dunk attempt, gushing over and over about a missed dunk. Luckily the mute button was within arm’s reach.

10) The one thing you don’t want to hear a scout say about a prospect: “Sometimes I question his motor.” Translated: “He doesn’t try hard all the time.”

9) White Sox trading Jose Quintana to the Cubs Thursday was the first Windy City trade in 11 years, when the Sox dealt lefty reliever Neal Cotts for David Aardsma and Carlos Vazquez. Over the last 50 years, the two Chicago teams have made 18 trades with each other.

8) I had never heard of Steve Whitmore until this week; turns out he has been the voice of Kermit the Frog since the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson in 1990. Whitmore was fired as Kermit’s voice this week; Disney, which owns the Muppet Studio, offered no explanation.

Kind of sad that a guy who worked for The Muppets since 1978 is now out of work.

7) Former Georgetown coach John Thompson III has surfaced as a studio analyst on NBA TV, during the summer league, at least.

6) Western Kentucky hired Mark Hsu as an assistant basketball coach; he comes from New Mexico State/Cal-Bakersfield— this hire was widely approved on Twitter. Hsu will help the Hilltoppers, who lost two assistants earlier this month.

5) Knicks traded a 2nd-round pick and cash to Sacramento so they could hire Scott Perry as their new GM. Perry went 19-61 as coach at Eastern Kentucky from 1997-2000, and never was a head coach again after that. Now he is the GM of an NBA team.

4) ESPN analyst Rip Hamilton said that he used to change sneakers every two games, when he was an NBA star. When you’re a star and the sneakers are free, you can do that.

3) For whatever reason, Bark at the Park Night has become a popular night at some major league ballparks. No idea why anyone would want to bring their dog to a ballgame, but they do.

2) Mets 14, Rockies 2— Friday night, Colorado had a runner thrown out at home on a sac fly to fairly deep left field when the score was 9-2. Great throw, horrendous baserunning.

1) Warren LeGarie is Executive Director of the Las Vegas NBA Summer League; he is also an agent, for both coaches and players— he started as a player agent for guys playing in Europe. Among his current clients are Rick Carlisle, George Karl, Terry Stotts and Dave Joerger.

The success of the summer league is mostly his doing— it has become a fun event to attend, and it is also good on TV. Filled up the baseball All-Star break for me, I know that. Thanks!!!

In a perfect world, where I made all the decisions………

13) If you’re making a certain amount of money ($20M a year??) in the NBA, then you’re not allowed to take “recovery” or “maintenance” days off. Steph Curry makes $40M a year; James Harden makes almost as much as that. You’re tired? Too bad. Show up and play— people pay a boatload of money to watch you play.

If you’re hurt, thats another thing, but some guys are just taking off one night of back-to-backs when it isn’t that hard to play on consecutive nights- they did it when they were kids.

12) No radios in NFL players’ helmets; you have six days to prepare for these games. Give the QB a wristband with plays on it and let the players play. Coaches have all week to coach.

11) Get rid of the Electoral College; the Presidential candidate who gets the most votes wins. I’ve heard arguments by both sides. This one is simple: candidate with the most votes wins. For me, this goes back 15-20 years, it isn’t about last year.

10) National League and American League would have the same rules where the DH is concerned; I don’t even care if there is/isn’t a DH anymore, just have the same rules in both leagues.

I’d be willing to eliminate the DH, in exchange for 26 or 27-man rosters for each team, with  expansion to only 30 players after September 1st.

9) Every relief pitcher would have to face 2+ batters in a game, not one, unless the one batter is the last out of an inning. This would quicken the game, eliminating the L-R-L pitching changes that slow the game down to a halt.

8) I’d lower the drinking age to 18; if you’re old enough to go to war, then you’re old enough to have a beer.

7) No more visits to the pitchers’ mound by coaches/managers. None. Ever. Again, let the players figure it out on their own.

6) Could we put an NHL team in Quebec City, and one is Saskatoon? I hear they like hockey there. Having teams in Raleigh, Brooklyn and Arizona just doesn’t seem smart.

5) The NFL would eliminate Thursday Night Football, except for the Week 1 game and the Thanksgiving games.

4) Would shorten NFL preseason to two games; would also allow teams to do more in the offseason, as far as actually practicing football. An 18-game regular season with the Super Bowl on Presidents’ Day weekend would be good.

3) In ’n Out Burger would have one, preferably two places in the Albany, NY area. Please????

2) NCAA basketball tournament would go back to 64 teams.

1) People would be more respectful of each other’s opinions, and of each other. Everyone hates everybody these days— take a deep breath and tolerate other people. it isn’t that hard to do.

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

13) Justin Bour hit 22 homers in the first round of Home Run Derby Monday night; he didn’t advance, but the reaction his two teammates (Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna) had after he finished his round was one of the things that makes sports great.

Stanton/Ozuna are both more famous than Bour, but their joy at his success was very cool- when you have teammates that enjoy other teammates’ successes, that makes things fun. It was refreshing to see.

12) You could wager in Las Vegas on whether the first pitch of the All-Star Game would be a ball or a strike. Turns out Jose Altuve swung/missed at the first pitch.

11) Joey Votto is a great player, but he is 0-10 in All-Star Games, tied with Terry Moore for most AB’s in All-Star Games without getting a hit.

10) Arizona Diamondbacks are usually short on pitching. On December 8, 2009, they made this trade:

Arizona got: Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy
Detroit got: Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, Daniel Sclereth
New York (A) got: Curtis Granderson

Not a great trade by the Diamondbacks. Scherzer is 126-59 since leaving Arizona.

9) PJ Carlesimo said De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum were the two most impressive rookies in the Las Vegas summer league.

8) New England Patriots have had the same coordinators since 2012. Every other team in the NFL has had at least one coordinator change in the last two years.

7) Atlanta Falcons have a new domed stadium opening this fall: at least the food will be affordable. $2 hot dogs, $3 nachos, $5 for a Bud Light. Tickets to the games are probably expensive as hell, but the food is definitely reasonably priced.

6) Random fact: Oakland A’s assistant general manager Dan Feinstein, in charge of pro scouting and player personnel, was a Medieval European History major at Cal-Davis. Not sure if they had baseball in medieval Europe, but at least the guy went to a state college.

5) They had 7,024 people at the AAA All-Star Game in Tacoma Wednesday night. Minor league baseball is solid, affordable entertainment.

4) Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough signed a player named Mike James, who at one time played ball at Eastern Arizona College, a school McDonough said he had never heard of (me either). James went on to play at Lamar, and then in Europe for a while.

Eastern Arizona is in Thatcher, AZ; its teams are known as the Gila Monsters.

3) Las Vegas sports books saved around $100,000 because a lot of people who bet on the Cubs to win the World Series last year decided to keep their winning tickets as souvenirs, rather than cash them in. The 180-day deadline to cash winning tickets passed in May.

2) Every NFL team got $244M from the league’s national revenue sharing program last year; that is $7.8B in total revenues and thats before a ticket is sold in the stadiums. Must be nice.

1) Kid Rock might run for the US Senate from Michigan; Dwayne (Rock) Johnson might run for President. This is life in 2017.

Looking at AL teams at the All-Star break…….

60-29 Astros— Houston is 33-11 on road; they’ve got a .884 OPS on road, .823 at home. Astros are only 15-11 vs lefties- they’d like to avoid Dodgers (Kershaw-Hill-Wood) if they get to World Series. Altuve makes $4,687,500 this year; starting next year, he’s going to get really rich.

50-39 Red Sox— Will play 11 more home games (25-14) than road games (25-25) the rest of the way. David Price is 4-2, 3.91 in nine starts this year; he’s been sparring with local media. Seeing as he is on the books for $31M a year for the next five years, thats a problem.

47-40 Indians— 21-24 at home, 26-16 on road; unusual. They’re 22-9 when Kluber/Carrasco start, 25-31 with anyone else. Need more production from 1B Carlos Santana, who is hitting .238- he has generally been a better second half player (.835 OPS/.781) in his career.

45-41 New York— Severino is 0-2, 5.75 in his last five starts; Pineda is 1-1, 8.39 in his last five. NY is 7-18 in its last 25 games. This is their lowest payroll in 10 years; Sabathia/Holliday/ARod come off the books this winter— when do they resume trying to sign big $$$ free agents?

47-43 Rays— They’re 27-19 at home, hold 2nd Wild Card right now. Rookie P Faria has 2.11 ERA in his first six MLB starts. Need to find a solid 5th starter for last nine weeks of season. Tampa has four guys under contract for 2018; they’ll be avoiding arbitration a lot this winter.

45-43 Twins— 25-15 on road, 20-28 at home; they’re 18-11 when Santana/Berrios start, 27-32 with anyone else. Rumored to be trying to trade for another starter; Santiago is 0-5, 9.31 in his last five starts. Sano has 21 HR, 62 RBI, .368 OB%, he has become a star.

44-43 Royals— Rebounded from 7-16 April; they’re 22-13 since June 1. Need more from the leadoff spot; their #1 hitters have .207 BA, .236 OB%, which is feeble. KC is 13-4 in Vargas starts- he is 7-0, 2.96 in his last 8 starts. Their $143M payroll is $50M higher than in 2014.

45-47 Angels— Trout comes back Friday; they’re still in contention, Halos are locked into $62M a year for Trout/Pujols for 3 more years. Rookie P Bridwell is 3-1, 3.72 in five starts; he’s been a life saver. #5 hitters are batting only .218 for Angels; they need a bat to protect Trout/Pujols.

43-45 Rangers— Texas has seven players making $10M+ this year; Hamels is 2-0, 1.26 in his last two starts- they need a big 2nd half from him. Could use more from Odor (.220 BA); Texas is 13-16 in games where GW run scores after 6th inning.

43-47 Mariners— Felix Hernandez (4-3, 4.44) is a junker now; they’re 4-5 in his starts, and owe him $27M a year thru 2019. Team ERA is 3.98 at home, 5.30 on road. Mike Zunino had one HR, 4 RBI on May 31; he hit 10 HR’s, had 31 RBI in June, has only one RBI in July.

42-46 Orioles— Despite their struggles, Orioles are 16-6 in games where winning run scores after 6th inning- they’re 25-16 at home, 17-30 on road- their pitchers have 5.78 ERA on road. O’s are 26-20 vs division foes, but are 16-26 vs everyone else.

41-47 Blue Jays— Underachieving team with payroll of $163,381,937; will they deal guys before July 31? Had strong 18-10 May, but are 15-20 since June 1. Estrada/Liriano/Happ earn $41M combined this year; Toronto is 21-22 in their starts, 10-12 at home.

39-48 Tigers— Aging roster with payroll of $199,750,600; they have six guys making $16M+ this year- they’re not getting their money’s worth. They’re hitting .275 at home (.815 OPS), only .234 on road (.691 OPS). Owner Mike Ilitch passed away earlier this year; not sure what they’ll do.

38-49 White Sox— Team to watch for rest of this month; will they dump salary? Cabrera/Frazier make combined $27M, closer Robertson makes $12.5M. Sox are 19-18 at home, 19-31 on road; they have 13 home games to make up in 2nd half. Chicago has some good prospects at AAA.

39-50 A’s— Can’t keep starting pitchers healthy, defense has deteriorated badly with infield coach Ron Washington off to Atlanta. Brought up couple of promising young players, but 1B Alonso is a free agent. Three of their eight highest-paid players are relievers. Go figure.

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

13) Giancarlo Stanton is my favorite active baseball player; he’s been on my fantasy team since he was an 18-year old in the Florida State League. But very little makes me happier than seeing him lose in Home Run Derby— the thought of him hurting his wrist or pulling an intercostal or oblique during this stupid exhibition makes me queasy. I don’t like to be queasy.

12) Was nice of FXM to show Moneyball opposite the Home Run Derby, so I could watch that fine film one more time. Too bad the A’s always lose at the end of the movie.

11) This from Bobby Marks on Twitter: “Tim Hardaway Jr. was traded for Jerian Grant who was traded for Derrick Rose who was renounced so NYK could sign Hardaway Jr. for $71M.”

How did people this incompetent get wealthy enough to own/run an NBA franchise?

10) Hector Cruz brought his cellphone to the plate in the top of the 6th inning of the All-Star Game and had Yadier Molina take a pic of him and ump Joe West at the plate. Cruz then hit with the phone in his back pocket. He flew out to center— good thing he didn’t have to slide.

9) New Jersey governor Chris Christie is done as governor in December (term limits); he tried out as a talk radio host on WFAN Monday. Reviews were mixed.

Christie is incredibly unpopular in New Jersey, but he is a good talker and he knows his sports. Controversy sells these days; someone will give him a talk radio gig.

8) San Jose State basketball coach Dave Wojcik unexpectedly resigned Tuesday; Spartans were 14-16 LY, an improvement over Wojcik’s first three seasons in San Jose. Personal issues were the reason given; hopefully his health is OK.

Coach Wojcik’s son Jake is a senior-to-be at Bellarmine Prep in California. He is committed to Siena for his college, but it is unknown if this move effects Jake’s commitment to the Saints.

7) One of my favorite new phrases: when someone is “getting salty” about something. When I watch HBO’s Hard Knocks from last summer, I get salty because the Rams just didn’t care about offense as much as an NFL team should. Offense is important.

6) Mike Trout will be back in the Angels’ lineup Friday night, good news for the 45-47 Halos, who are only three games out of the AL Wild Card spots.

5) Notre Dame hasn’t finished a football season with a positive turnover ratio since 2012; the last three years, they’ve been -4/-6/-3 in turnovers. Hard to win that way.

4) Jon Lester allowed 10 runs in two-thirds on an inning Sunday; he threw 53 pitches and did not finish the first inning. Francisco Cervelli became the 4th player in the last 100 years to hit a first inning grand slam while batting #2 in the lineup (think about it).

3) You don’t think sports are big business? The D-League is now the G-League. Why?

Because Gatorade now sponsors the league, therefore the G.

2) NBA Summer League is not only a tryout for players trying to make the bigtime, it is for referees, too. Guys from all over the world are in Las Vegas this week, including three officials from China. Before and after games, players/refs go thru film sessions and/or workouts, trying to get better at their craft, whether it be playing or being a ref.

1) Its funny; RC Buford is the GM of the San Antonio Spurs, one of the most successful teams in NBA history, but they showed him on ESPN just now and I had no idea who he was. Know the name, obviously, but not the face. This is a guy who does a great job and keeps out of the spotlight. We need more people like that.

Tuesday’s Den: Looking at NL teams at the All-Star break……….

61-29 Dodgers— Are 39-11 at home, 13-0 in Kershaw’s last 13 starts. Wood is 10-0, 1.67 with a WHIP of 0.89. #5 hitters are batting .204 against them, #6 hitters .206.

53-36 Arizona— Stumbled into All-Star break on 3-7 skid; they’re 33-15 at home, with a home OPS of .840- their road OPS is .689. Goldschmidt has 20 HR’s, 67 RBI, an OB% of .428.

52-36 Washington— Bullpen has been awful, but they’ve got a 9.5-game lead in a bad division- they figure to add to their bullpen before July 31. Hitting .293 at home, .261 on road. Murphy is hitting .342, Zimmerman .330, Harper .325.

52-39 Colorado— Four rookies in the starting rotation is a red flag heading into second half of season. Rockies are 5-13 in their last 18 games. SS Story has an OPS of only .699, after his .908 in his rookie year LY.

50-41 Milwaukee— Have stunning 5.5-game lead in NL Central; their best pitcher Anderson is out for another month (oblique). Brewers have been in playoffs twice in last 35 years (’08, ’11). Thames has 23 HR’s after spending last three years playing in Korea.

43-45 Chicago— Weird that only five NL teams are over .500. Defending World Champs have struggled all year; Lester’s ERA is 4.25, Arrieta’s 4.35. LF’s are hitting combined .217; leadoff hitters have a combined OB% of .323.

43-45 St Louis— 18-7 vs NL East, 25-38 elsewhere. #3 hitters are batting a combined .221 with an OPS of .712. Wainwright has slipped; his ERA is 5.20, WHIP 1.49. SS Diaz hit .300 LY; he is in AAA now, after hitting only .260 this year.

42-45 Atlanta— Surprisingly good record for this group; they’re 20-16 since June 1. Signing Matt Adams got them thru Freeman’s injury; now Freeman plays 3B so Adams can stay in lineup. Have 13 HR, 51 RBI out of catching combo; solid production.

42-47 Pittsburgh— Get Marte back from 80-game suspension next week. Leadoff hitters have only a .305 OB%. McCutchen has surged since they moved him to #6 in order, now he is back in 3-hole- he is hitting .294 with 50 RBI for season.

41-46 Miami— Sadly, a fire sale is coming after All-Star break; their payroll is unwieldy for team that is about to be sold. Have formidable lineup; they hit .283 on road, .251 at home. Injury to lefty starter Chen has hurt the pitching rotation.

39-47 New York— How does their trainer still have a job? Mets are racked by injuries every year. Have OPS of .699 at home, .826 on road. #2 hitters are batting .219, #9 hitters .218, which isn’t good for an NL team. Harvey has a 5.25 ERA, Syndergaard has thrown only 27.1 innings.

39-49 Cincinnati— Have 63 homers on road, 62 at home, despite small home park. Pitchers have 4.67 ERA at home, 5.45 on road. Billy Hamilton may be fast, but a .293 OB% at leadoff ain’t good enough.

38-50 San Diego— Have three Rule 5 (minor league) players on roster this year; hard to win that way. Padre 3B’s are hitting .196, catchers .210; need more production. Young starter Lamet has 55 strikeouts in 41 IP, looks like a future star.

34-56 San Francisco— When your team gets old, the bottom falls out quickly. Pitchers have 5.49 ERA on road; top 4 spots in opposing batting order all bat .300+ with .370+ OB% vs Giants. Posey is hitting .324 with .406 OB%; will they move him to 1B to preserve rest of his career?

29-58 Phillies— 23 of 58 losses are by one run; they’ve started to bring prospects up. Could be good fairly soon, but need another starting pitcher or two. Nola-Hellickson-Pivetta look like a good start for a solid rotation. Their AAA team is winning a ton of games; there is talent there.

Monday’s List of 13: Random stuff at the All-Star break…..

13) There are still rows of tickets available for the All-Star Game Tuesday in Miami. Tickets are $280 apiece, which seems a little high. What do you think?

12) Colorado’s Kyle Freeland didn’t allow a hit until there was one out in the 9th inning (Melky Cabrera); the Rockies waxed Chicago, 9-0. Freeland is a Colorado kid; he threw 126 pitches.

Ubaldo Jimenez is the only Colorado Rockie to toss a no-hitter- he did it in Atlanta. Hideo Nomo threw the only no-hitter so far at Coors Field, in 1996.

11) Auburn Tigers opened at 50-1 to win the college football national title this fall; they’ve dropped to 22-1, amidst optimism that Baylor transfer QB Jarrett Stidham is the real deal.

10) 76er fans have to be worried about Markelle Fultz and his ability to stay healthy; he missed six of Washington’s last eight games last winter (sore knee) and know he got hurt in the Sixers’ second summer league game.

An 82-game NBA season is grueling; Fultz is still a kid. We’ll see.

9) Lot of talking heads like to use cumulative “run differential” as an important stat; Astros beat Toronto 19-1 Sunday— what does that show? Houston has a solid lineup that pounds on lousy relief pitching. So what? Astros are 18-13 in games decided by 1-2 runs. Dodgers are 22-16.

Houston is 42-16 in games decided by more than 2 runs, Dodgers are 38-13

8) Cubs were 42-13 last year in games decided by 5+ runs. This year? 10-14.

7) Knicks and former Cavs’ GM David Griffin couldn’t come to an agreement on what Griffin’s role would be in New York, so they’re going their separate ways. Thats bad for Knicks fans.

6) Seattle’s Danny Valencia was called out on strikes Sunday, then spit on the plate before he went back to the dugout. Wonder how that went over with the home plate ump?

5) Former NFL lineman Richard Seymour was playing at the World Series of Poker last week; he had a Super Bowl ring on top of his chip stack. Good conversation starter.

4) On June 20, Colorado was a half-game ahead of the Dodgers. 20 days later, they’re 9.5 games behind LA, but they still lead the race for the 2nd Wild Card by 7.5 games.

3) Dodgers are now 45-9 in Clayton Kershaw’s last 54 starts.

2) SEC has its college football media days this week, which is pretty fun TV some of the time. Les Miles is sadly gone from this group, but good to hear which cliches coaches break out in the middle of summer, with real games still 8 or 9 weeks away.

1– If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not), they’d look like this…

AL- Boston-Cleveland-Houston. Wild Cards: New York/Tampa Bay
NL- Washington-Milwaukee-Los Angeles. Wild Cards: Arizona/Colorado

Sunday’s List of 13: Random stuff for a summer day……

13) Gregg Popovich is 1,316-612 as an NBA head coach with five championships, but his first year as a head coach at any level was in 1979-80 at Pomona-Pitzer, a D-III school in California.

That team went 2-22. Long way from there to today.

12) Clippers-Lakers summer league game Friday night in UNLV’s arena had a huge crowd- looked liked the whole lower bowl was full, which would make it a crowd of around 8,000 people.

Lakers-Celtics game Saturday night was a complete sellout at Thomas & Mack Center. Adam Silver has to like that, but I bet NBA people are surprised at how popular summer league has become.

$30 a pop for the whole day is a good deal. Can watch four games in an air conditioned arena.

11) It isn’t good when your favorite college basketball team has two assistant coaches resign in July; thats whats happening at Western Kentucky. One of the assistant coaches is the godfather of their best recruit, Mitchell Robinson.

10) Twins manager Paul Molitor played his last big league game in 1998; Bartolo Colon pitched for the other team that day. Here, in 2017, Molitor will be managing Colon.

9) Biggest division lead at the All-Star break since 1910; 2001 Seattle Mariners led Oakland by 19 games. 1986 Mets led Montreal by 13.5 games.

This year’s Astros have a 16-game lead in the AL West.

8) Most career home runs without a grand slam:
190— Andrew McCutchen, Glenn Davis
176— Ron Kittle

7) Andy from New York points out that the Cubs are the only MLB team who have zero stolen bases from the leadoff position in the batting order.

6) Jim “Bones” Mackay, who caddied for Phil Mickelson for 25 years, is going to be an on-course golf commentator for NBC/Golf Channel. His first assignment is the British Open.

5) NBA doings:
— Indiana Pacers gave Brian Bogdanovic $21M for two years.
— Cavaliers gave Jeff Green $2.3M for one season.
— Celtics traded Avery Bradley to Detroit for Marcus Morris.
— Warriors gave Zaza Pachulia $3.5M for one year.
— Minnesota gives Jamal Crawford $8.9M for two years.

4) Tim Hardaway Jr is going to sign a $71M contract with the Knicks; Atlanta declined to match the offer sheet. Tim Hardaway Sr, made $46M in his whole career, and he was a much better player than his son. Go figure.

3) James Harden got a 4-year contract extension from the Rockets, supposedly worth $228M, which is $57M a year, and that is eye-popping.

2) Canadian team beat the Americans 99-87 in semi-finals of the U19 championship in Egypt. Canada will face Italy in the finals.

1) NBA Summer League story: I was at UNLV a few years ago, watching the summer league— you can bet on these games, but you have to be careful.

I’m sitting there and this really big guy, likely a bodybuilder, sits in front of me, drink in hand. He is explaining fairly loudly to the guy next to him how he is betting on the Timberwolves, who had won their game the day before by 20+ points. The bodybuilder was confident in a Minnesota win.

One small problem.

Some teams don’t play the same set of guys every game. Timberwolves had 18 guys on their roster; nine had played the day before in the big win, the other nine were playing this game.

Minnesota’s second group wasn’t very good- they got trounced. The big guy lost his money, wasn’t happy about it.