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

We have great baseball info every day!!!! Week 2 CFL info now posted on CFL page.

Friday’s 6-pack
— Dodgers’ pitcher Ross Stripling is also a licensed stock broker.
— Gleyber Torres passed on the Home Run Derby; they’re having trouble getting guys.
— Marlins’ P Dan Straily got suspended five games for drilling Buster Posey.
— It is possible that Brooks Koepka lost the trophy he won for winning the US Open. He says he doesn’t know where it is.
— Mike Trout had a stretch this week where he reached base 29 of 36 times, the best 8-game stretch of on-base %age since Stan Musial in 1953.
— In their first 74 games, Kansas City Royals started 11 different players in the #2 spot in the batting order. Not good.

Tweet of the Day
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised the last three weeks what a good teammate he is, how smart he is, how he sees the game. He should be playing in the National Football League, and I believe he will when he gets through with us.”
Hamilton Tiger-Cats coach June Jones III, talking about Johnny Manziel 

Friday’s quiz
Which NBA team drafted Chris Webber?

Thursday’s quiz
Washington Nationals were the Montreal Expos before moving to our nation’a capital. 

Wednesday’s quiz
Shaquille O’Neal finished his NBA career with the Boston Celtics, in 2011. 

Friday’s Den: Running Diary of the 1st round of the NBA Draft…….

7:25: Before the NBA Draft, some NFL news. Bucs’ QB James Winston will be suspended for three games, for something that happened with an Uber drive in Arizona two years ago. 

Buccaneers open at New Orleans, then the Eagles/Steelers come to Tampa Bay. Not great to play those teams without your starting QB. 

Winston had character-related issues in college, too. This isn’t good for him or the Bucs or the NFL or coach Dirk Koetter, who needs a good season to keep his job. 

7:30: NBA Draft is in Brooklyn; they need to do what the NHL/NFL do now and move the draft around the country, get out of New York City. 

Commissioner Adam Silver is one of my heroes; a tall, bald man with glasses who has a great job and does it very well, but stop with the opening statement. Drafts get over-hyped; need to see teams picking players as soon as possible. 

7:35: Jay Bilas has already questioned Deandre Ayton’s “motor” which means he doesn’t try hard all the time. Good Lord, that bothers me, if you spend your #1 pick on someone who is often lethargic. Effort should never be an issue. 

Anyway, the Phoenix Suns take Ayton, whose Arizona team got plastered by Buffalo in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I picked Arizona, but I’m not bitter at all. 

ESPN has Chauncey Billups (good) and Bilas (annoying) as its analysts, Rece Davis (very good) as its host. Billups compares Ayton to Joel Embiid. Davis points out that Ayton is the 9th straight college freshman to be the first pick in the draft. 

7:44: Marvin Bagley III goes #2 to Sacramento. Bilas downplays Bagley’s defensive abilities, but Duke played a 2-3 zone almost all of last season. Go figure. Billups compares Bagley to Chris Bosh. Bagley is happy to be in Sacramento, which is refreshing. 

Duke had a player picked in the top 3 in the last five NBA Drafts, which is a record. 

NBA saved me lot of money by putting four patches on the right side of each team’s hats which they’re selling on the Interweb. I’m not a fan of a lot of junk on the hats I buy, so this saves me a decent amount of money, because the front of the hats are nice. 

7:48: Worst part of the NBA Draft is they don’t announce the trades as they happen, which is stupid and misleading. Atlanta Hawks take Luka Doncic but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says he is being traded to Dallas, with the Hawks winding up with Trae Young. 

7:55: Memphis takes Jaren Jackson Jr, whose mother is Director of Player Ops for the WNBA. At first, Jackson said he didn’t want to play for Memphis, but I’m sure he won’t mind being paid by Memphis. Billups compares him to Joakim Noah.  

Jackson’s dad played 13 years in the NBA; his first eight years in the NBA, he played for a different team every year. 

8:00: Dallas takes Trae Young, who will be traded to Atlanta. ESPN ruined Young’s season at Oklahoma by over-hyping him a sickening amount and putting a huge target on his back. The Hawks get a 2019 first-round pick from Dallas in addition to the Young/Doncic swap. 

8:08: Orlando takes Mo Bamba with the #6 pick; he has a 7-foot-10 wingspan, the longest wingspan ever recorded at the NBA Combine. Bilas says he needs to get a lot stronger. 

They showed video recently of Bamba making ton of 3-pointers in a workout, but he shot 27.5% behind the arc at Texas last year, so we’ll see. The NBA 3-point shot is longer than college. 

NHL Draft is Friday; it’ll be different than this draft. Not better, not worse. Different. 

8:13: Bulls won their fewest games in 14 years this year; they take Wendell Carter, a center from Duke. Carter could’ve gone to Harvard had he wanted to; he is a good shooter, but again, Duke played a ton of 2-3 zone last year, so will defense be an issue, especially on pick/roll? Billups compares him to Carlos Boozer. 

8:18: Cavaliers take Alabama PG Collin Sexton, who Billups compares to Eric Bledsoe. Kid is highly competitive, but Cleveland might be a sad place to watch basketball for a few years, with Lebron James expected to skip town. 

8:24: Knicks missed the playoffs the last five years; why does ESPN have to show Spike Lee before their draft pick? New York takes Kevin Knox, another Kentucky player. John Calipari’s recruiting has to get easier and easier with every year all his guys go in the 1st round. 

Knox played quarterback in high school, which hints at leadership qualities.

8:30— 76ers take Mikal Bridges, a 4-year player who played on two national title teams with Villanova. He is 6-7 wth a 7-2 wingspan; Billups compares him to Nicolas Batum of the Hornets. 

Bridges’ mother is VP of Human Resources with the 76ers. 

8:37: Charlotte Hornets take a Canadian PG and another Kentucky player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who reminds Billups of Michael Carter-Williams, but the kid will be traded to the Clippers. I’d rather live in LA than Charlotte anyway, but no one asked me. 

He shot 40.4% on the arc and 82% on the foul line, both good things, and he didn’t start early last season- he earned his way into the starting lineup. 

ESPN has an international scouting guy named Mike Schmitz on; he says Gilgeous-Alexander was the best guard in the draft. 

8:43: Clippers draft Miles Bridges, who will be traded to the Hornets. Bridges would’ve been a high draft pick LY; Billups compares him to Shawn Marion, a pretty big compliment. 

Clippers gave Charlotte two future 2nd-round picks to swap the 11th and 12th picks. 

8:48: University of Buffalo’s social media people posted this on Twitter: 

“Congrats to @DeandreAyton on being selected #1 overall in the #NBADraft by the @Suns! We hope your @NBA career starts better than your college one ended”

Wow. Ayton’s college career ended with an ugly loss to Buffalo. 

8:50: NBA Lottery started in 1985; Boston College’s Jerome Robinson is the Eagles’ first player ever taken in the lottery— Clippers took him at #13. John Bagley was the 12th pick in the ’82 Draft, taken by Cleveland. 

Tonight is June 21; on July 6, the NBA Summer League begins in Las Vegas, so these kids who get drafted will be fighting for jobs in 16 short days, against other kids who didn’t get drafted and veterans who’ve played in the NBA before, or are fighting to get there. Very competitive. 

8:54: Denver owner Stan Kroenke’s son Josh started for Missouri’s hoop team 15 or so years ago; if they don’t take Michael Porter Jr, who the hell will?

8:58: Nuggets draft Porter; their trainer should ask for a raise. Billups compares him to Kevin Durant, which is a total insult to Durant. Porter played three college games, and one of them was for two whole minutes. He is more suspect than prospect. 

In totally unrelated news, Flava Flav threw out the first pitch at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game tonight. Squirrels are the AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. They had 6,117 fans in Richmond, for a game that was shortened by rain. 

9:06: Washington Wizards take Oregon alum Troy Brown, who I think is a Las Vegas kid and is considered a versatile player. Billups compares him to Andre Iguodala. 

There is a guy sitting next to Arizona coach Sean Miller who has the shiniest bald head I’ve ever seen. As a bald man myself, just don’t have the energy to do that day after day, keep my head totally slick. Plus I’d look like Mr Potato Head if I did that, so no thanks. 

9:14: Zhaire Smith played one year at Texas Tech; the Suns drafted him, but he’s getting traded to the 76ers for Mikal Bridges, which puts the kibosh on Mrs Bridges’ happiness from 45 minutes ago. Smith wasn’t an ESPN top 100 recruit coming out of high school- it is rare for a player like that to be drafted so high. 

9:22: Milwaukee Bucks take Donte DiVincenzo, who started only 10 of Villanova’s 40 games LY, but he played starter’s minutes (29.7 mpg), scoring 13.4 ppg, making 40.1% on the arc, in his only season of college ball. 

He scored 31 points in the national championship game, but anytime I hear a kid raised his draft stock in the Combine, it bothers me. Billups compares him to Tyler Johnson. 

Random fact; over half the players in the NBA (53%) have played in the G-League. 

Talk about draft/trades in the NBA; on June 24, 1998, Dirk Nowitzki was traded by Bucks with Pat Garrity to the Mavericks for Robert Traylor. How did that work out? 

9:29: San Antonio Spurs drafted G Lonnie Walker from Miami, FL, who has had knee issues and also has ballhandling/defensive issues, but he can score. Spurs’ coaches will develop him. Not many kids who go to high school in Reading, PA go to college in Miami. 

9:34: Atlanta Hawks take a kid from the Albany area, Kevin Huerter from Maryland. Huerter’s dad and brother play/played for Siena College; Kevin is an excellent shooter; good luck to the young man. I was surprised when he came out of school, but shooters are always in demand. 

People have too much money: LeBron James’ jersey from Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals just closed on @NBAAUCTIONS to a winning bid of $100,322. Oy. 

9:42: Minnesota takes Josh Okogie, a guard from Georgia Tech. Bilas says his man asset is that “…..he plays his tail off all the time.” No wingspan, no upside, he just tries hard. There are worse things someone can say about you. 

Budweiser just ran a commercial with John Starks, the old Knicks’ guard who talks about being undrafted, then fighting to make it in the NBA. Damn good commercial. 

Starks played 13 years in the NBA, scored over 10,800 points. 

9:46: Utah drafts Grayson Allen; Jazz are coached by Duke alum Quin Snyder. Now I have to watch all of Utah’s summer league games to see if someone kicks Allen’s ass. He got away with being a dirty player in college because Coach K sheltered him, but now he is out on his own. We’ll see how that works out. 

9:51: Chicago Bulls take Chandler Hutchison from Boise State. He is the first Boise player drafted since 1999, which should help their recruiting. Billups compares him to Kyle Kuzma. 

OK, I have Madison Bumgarner on my fantasy baseball team and he’s pitching in a few minutes, so time to grab some food and watch that game. Hope you enjoyed this…….

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

13) OK, so minor leagues and major leagues use different baseballs. Why? 

Brewers’ TV guy Brian Anderson was saying Tuesday night how some minor league pitchers carry major league baseballs around with them, and when they throw in between starts, they use the major league baseballs, so when they get called up, the adjustment is minimal.  

12) Was told recently that it looks like the Oakland A’s AAA affiliate will be moving to the new ballpark in Las Vegas next season (actually in Summerlin). Mets bought the Syracuse Chiefs, so their AAA team is moving there, Word has it the Nationals’ AAA team will be moving to Nashville. 

11) Looks like the CFL will be adding a 10th team soon, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Having an odd number of teams in a league has to be a logistical nightmare. 

10) On ESPN Sunday night, Alex Rodriguez was talking about former Seattle teammate Edgar Martinez, about how Martinez would do drills to improve his vision before games- he claimed it helped him see the ball better. Edgar was a hell of a hitter, so the drills must’ve worked 

9) Mets had only three healthy outfielders, so they’re playing 1B Dom Smith in LF for the time being. Smith is not America’s finest athlete; playing the spacious LF in Denver ain’t easy. 

8) When you blow the lead in the 9th inning, don’t compound your mistake by punching the door or wall in the clubhouse and breaking your hand. Thats what Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland did Monday night, now he is out at least two months. 

7) St Louis Cardinals haven’t made the playoffs since 2015; last time they missed playoffs three years in a row was 1997-99. 

6) Jaren Jackson and Mo Bamba have told the Memphis Grizzlies, who have the #4 pick, not to draft them. This is a big problem for the NBA; there are some teams none of these guys want to play for. Everyone wants to be on the Warriors, Rockets or play in LA. Hell, Kyrie Irving didn’t want to be Lebron’s teammate. 

When the Spurs were winning their titles, most of their players were foreign-born. Not a coincidence, either. 

5) Former NFL referee Jeff Triplette is joining ESPN as a rules analyst. Triplette is the ref who once threw a penalty flag, hit a Browns’ player in the eye and cost the guy three years of his career with the damage done to his eye. 

4) Kentucky lands graduate transfer Reid Travis from Stanford. He scored 19 ppg and grabbed 8.7 rebounds a game LY. Wildcats have a bunch of freshmen coming in, as always; two of them are kids who should be high school seniors but re-classified to the Class of 2018. 

3) The son of former Rams’ CB LeRoy Irvin will play college football at Washington; he will wear number 29 in honor of the great running back Eric Dickerson. 

2) A’s 12, Padres 4— Oakland hit back/back homers in consecutive innings for the first time since 1997, when Canseco-McGwire/Stairs-Canseco did it against Milwaukee. 

Ironically, Matt Stairs is now San Diego’s hitting coach. 

1) You can’t make this stuff up: Cubs’ closer Brandon Morrow went on the DL when he hurt his back putting on a pair of pants. I’m 58 but am still pretty nimble when getting dressed.

Wednesday’s List of 13: College football knowledge…….

13) Since 2009, Alabama has been an underdog once in 125 games; in 2015, Bama was a 1-point underdog at Georgia. Alabama hammered the Dawgs 38-10 that day. 

12) Over last decade, Texas A&M is 14-22-2 vs spread as an underdog; average total in their last five bowl games is 79.6. 

11) Since 2010, LSU is 14-7 vs spread coming off a straight-up loss; since 2012, they’re 22-28-1 vs spread coming off a win.  

10) Ole Miss is 17-8 vs spread in its last 25 games as road underdogs; favorites covered their last five bowl games, only one of which was decided by less than 14 points. 

9) Since Urban Meyer bolted Florida eight years ago, Florida is 12-19-1 vs spread coming off a loss. Over last decade, Gators are 2-5 as home dogs, 7-10-1 as road dogs, 15-8 as road favorites. 

8) Last three years, South Carolina is +23 in turnovers; underdogs covered their last four bowl games. In two years under Muschamp, Gamecocks are 11-5 vs spread in SEC games. 

7) Auburn lost four of its last five bowl games, allowing 34+ points in all four losses. Since 2009, Auburn is 12-6 as a home underdog. 

6) Arkansas hasn’t covered as a road favorite since 2010; they’re 0-5 since then. Razorbacks are 9-15-1 vs spread the last two years.

5) Kentucky lost its last four bowls; their last bowl win was in 2008. Last two years, Wildcats are 2-9 vs spread when favored. 

4) Tennessee is on its 5th coach in 11 years, not counting interim coaches; last two years, Vols were 1-6-1 vs spread as an underdog, 3-12-1 vs spread in SEC games. 

3) Vanderbilt was 1-7 vs spread in SEC games LY, ending a 6-year streak where Commodores went 5-3 vs spread in SEC tilts every year. Vandy QB Kyle Shurmur is the son of Giants’ coach Pat Shurmur. 

2) Since 2009, Ohio State is 9-1 vs spread as an underdog. 

1— Over last decade, Michigan is 16-31 vs spread in road games. Wolverines lost four of their last five bowl games. Last four years, Michigan is -17 in turnovers. 

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

13) Some odd baseball trivia yesterday, in Washington DC. 

On May 15, New York-Washington had a game suspended in the 6th inning; it was finished Monday. On May 20, Nationals’ rookie Juan Soto made his MLB debut. 

So Monday, in the completion of the suspended May 15 game, Soto homered, making him a player who homered in a game that was started five days before his MLB debut. Go figure. 

12) Soto is really good, by the way; he is hitting .316 in his first 79 at-bats as a rookie. 

11) Nationals acquired closer Kelvin Herrera from the Royals Monday for three minor leaguers, one of whom is a 24-year old who hasn’t even made AA ball yet.

10) Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in their 45-year history this season, so of course, their coach quit Monday.

In four seasons under Barry Trotz, the Capitals were 205-89-34, the best record in the NHL. A two-year contract extension that had been negotiated previously was on the table if they won the Cup, but it was only a $300K raise per year and Trotz wanted the pot sweetened-  obviously it was not. Everyone loses here. 

I’m guessing Trotz wil be a hot commodity in the coaching free agent derby. Right now, the only NHL team without a head coach is the New York Islanders.

9) Keith Hernandez on TV in the 4th inning of the Mets-Rockies game last night: “I’ve never seen so much in-game coaching in my life.” 

He didn’t seem real happy about it, but players get to the major leagues faster now than they used to and they still need coaching when they get there. 

8) Nevada Wolf Pack hired Michael Musselman, the son of Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman, as a graduate assistant. 

Eric Musselman: “I’m really excited to add Michael to our coaching staff. He will provide high energy and a great work ethic to our coaching staff. I was very fortunate to work for my father at a young age and the opportunity to work with my son is something that is very special.”

Eric Mussselman’s dad Bill was coach at U of Minnesota and also in the NBA. 

7) Pirates and Mariners have both won four 1-0 games this year, most in major leagues. 

There were 29 games last year that ended 1-0; so far this year, there have been 30. 

6) Pretty serious upgrade for the Carolina Panthers, going from Mike Shula to Norv Turner at offensive coordinator. Panthers will be an interesting team to follow this fall. Turner has a great reputation as an offensive guru; how will he mesh with Cam Newton? 

5) Unintended consequence of the immigration crackdown: “Avocado farmers in Santa Barbara County, (CA) are currently struggling to find workers.” 

So if the price of avocados goes way up, you know who to blame…….

4) There are two guys in professional baseball named Josh Smith; they both pitch for the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s AAA farm club.

On Saturday, one of the Josh Smiths started for the Sox; on Sunday, the other one did. 

3) Red Sox are 13-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’ starts this season.

2) Cleveland Cavaliers dumped two of their assistant coaches; read into that what you will. 

1) Umpire Tony Randazzo is a tough guy; he took a foul tip off the knuckles on his left hand last night, then took another foul ball off his collarbone. Both direct hits- they had to hurt like hell, but he stayed in the game. Tough. 

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

13) Brooks Koepka is first guy since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 to win the US Open two years in a row; he has only one other Tour win, the 2015 Phoenix Open. 

12) Rangers 13, Rockies 12— Horrendous pitching in this game; Colorado closer Davis walked four guys in 0.1 IP, then gave up the game-winning single to a 3rd-string catcher as Texas scored four times in the ninth inning for the comeback win. 

11) Single-season record for most home runs by a team is 264, set by the 1997 Mariners. That record could easily fall this year. 

10) Rookie QB Chris Streveler started for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this week; he is the first rookie QB straight out of college to start a Week 1 CFL game since 1994, when Anthony Calvillo did it in 1994, playing for the Las Vegas Posse. 

Yes, for a while in the 90’s, the CFL had teams in America; I think Baltimore won a CFL title. 

Calvillo is now a CFL Hall of Famer. 

9) Read on the Interweb this week that the country of Iceland has roughly the same amount of people as Santa Ana, CA. 

Only thing I know about Iceland is that when Bobby Fischer played Boris Spassky for the world chess championship in the early 70’s, it was held in Iceland, in a town called Reykjavík, and I had to look up that spelling. Long way to go to play chess. 

8) Giancarlo Stanton’s OPS in his nine-year career:
2010: .833, 2011: .893, 2012: .969, 2013: .845, 2014: .950, 2015: .952

Then the last three years: 2016: .815, 2017: 1.005, 2018: .798

He used to get hurt a lot, now he just seems unsure at the plate; too much film study? 

7) Keith Hernandez was saying on TV last week that if he was still playing, he couldn’t do the all the film work that modern players do, as far as studying pitchers. Ron Darling came out and said that if a player now doesn’t want to do it, he is viewed as a malcontent by the team. 

6) Giants 4, Dodgers 1— Giants scored five runs in their first six games at Dodger Stadium this season, but salvaged the last game of this series. 

5) Kelly Johnson is the only ballplayer who played for all five AL East teams. 

4) Go to Deadspin’s Twitter account and find the GIF of the fan at the Montreal-BC Lions CFL game Saturday who ran on the field during the game. A defensive back on the Lions absolutely crushed the guy, laid him out. I’m sure when he sobered up, it hurt like hell.

3) In top of 8th inning in Milwaukee Sunday, a Brewers reliever named Adrian Houser was puking his guts out behind the mound. Somehow, he finished the inning. He looked like Jamie Foxx in Any Given Sunday, when the backup QB barfed on the field before he started to play. 

2) Most greeting cards sold, by holiday:
1) Christmas 2) Valentine’s Day 3) Mother’s Day 4) Father’s Day

1) NBA Draft is Thursday, so that’ll be in the news a lot. Most interesting player in the draft is probably Slovenian Luka Doncic. He is a 19-year old wing who played for Real Madrid in the EuroLeague this past season. ESPN’s Seth Greenberg tweeted Sunday that he is a better passer than Lonzo Ball, as well as a better shooter .

His description of Doncic: “ a bigger Lonzo Ball with jumper, a better feel for reading ballscreens and the toughness of a grown man.”

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

13) Seattle Mariners are 23-10 in one-run games this season, which means………
a) They’ve gotten the most out of their team up to this point.
b) It will be difficult to sustain this level of winning; a slide could happen.

12) Marlins 5, Orioles 4— In their last 18 games, Baltimore is 2-0 against the Mets, 0-16 against everyone else. Orioles are the third team since 2000 to reach 50 losses before 20 wins in a season (’03 Tigers, ’10 Orioles).

11) When a major league ballplayer reaches eight years of service time, he gets a gold pass, which is a lifetime pass for two to any major league game. 

10) Mike Bibby is 40 years old now; he played 14 years in the NBA, where he averaged 14.7 ppg in his career. 

Current pictures of Bibby surfaced on Twitter this week; he looks like a bodybuilder or a WWE wrestler now. He last played in the NBA six years ago. 

9) Milwaukee Brewers have newly-acquired Brad Miller playing shortstop at AAA Colorado Springs; it figures that he could become the Brewers’ shortstop fairly soon. 

8) Middle Tennessee State has had a really good basketball team the last few years, but with coach Kermit Davis off to Ole Miss, the Blue Raiders had a rough week. Two of their best returnees transferred out, and they threw two other kids off the team. 

7) Obscure trivia: Detroit Tigers played in the World Series in both 1968 and 1984. Only six players played against Detroit in both those seasons: Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Tommy John, Rollie Fingers, Tom Burgmeier and Graig Nettles. 

6) Sounds like high school basketball players might once again be able to go right from high school to the NBA, as early as 2021 or 2022. That would be a good rule change. 

5) Phil Mickelson shot an 81 on his 48th birthday, including hitting a putt on 13 when the ball was still rolling on his previous putt. Not his finest moment. 

4) In the Canadian Football League, coaches can use an instant replay challenge on pass interference calls/non-calls. 

3) Giants’ 3B Evan Longoria will undergo surgery on Tuesday to stabilize the fracture in the fifth metacarpal of his left hand. He is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks. 

2) Arizona’s Patrick Corbin has allowed two homers to lefty batters this season; both of them hit by the Mets’ Michael Conforto. Before his 2nd inning homer last night, Conforto was 0 for his last 30 with men on base. 

1) Calgary 28, Hamilton 14— #82 on the Stampeders made a tremendous one-handed catch late in the first half of this game. If it was in the NFL, it would be in highlight films for years. 

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

13) After seven years and one ring, Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio; rumor has it he wants to go to the Lakers. Leonard is from Riverside, CA about 50 miles from LA. 

San Diego State went 59-12 in Leonard’s two years with the Aztecs, but he was only a 25% shooter behind the arc in college, averaging 10 rebounds, 2 assists a game. Indiana drafted him 15th in 2011, then traded him and two other players to San Antonio for George Hill. Leonard wasn’t considered a star in the making, but not a great day for the Pacers. 

I guess my point here is that the Spurs’ staff transformed Leonard from a player who earned $1.7M a year as a rookie, to a guy makes around $20M a year now. We said Leonard shot 25% on arc in college; he is a career 38.6% shooter from the NBA arc, which is a longer shot than the college shot. Leonard worked hard to improve his game, with the help of the Spurs’ coaches. 

Not a lot of gratitude here, especially considering he played a whole nine games last year, for his $18,868,625. You wonder why the Spurs have usually had a lot of foreign-born players?

12) Kid named Ashton Hagans, considered the top point guard in Class of 2019, has re-classfied to the Class of ’18 and will enroll at Kentucky. 

Kentucky’s freshman class that now features four five-star prospects and could also add Reid Travis, a 6-8 graduate transfer from Stanford. But if your PG is a kid who should still be in high school, is that a good thing? 

11) Duke alum Marvin Bagley III signed a 5-year footwear, apparel endorsement deal with Puma, as part of Puma’s plan to re-launch its basketball footwear business after being out of the game for the last 20 years, when they had Vince Carter as a client.

10) Stephen Curry was the 7th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft; Minnesota had the 5th and 6th picks that year, and took Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. Whoops.

9) Basketball prospect Michael Porter Jr played three games at Missouri last year. Three. He had a hip injury and missed virtually the entire season. It was his only season of college basketball. 

Despite that, NBA people are talking the kid up as a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft. He was supposed to work out for NBA teams this week but cancelled the workout because of “hip spasms.” Not good. 

I wouldn’t draft this kid, its an extreme risk that he would be able to last through an 82-game season. But someone will, and then they’ll justify it with some babble about how talented he is and they’ll hold their breath that he is healthy. 

I’m not even mentioning the fact that he was home-schooled in high school, then in his one year of college ball, didn’t seem to get along with his teammates. Is he even coachable? His father was an assistant coach on his college team, and his brother was a teammate. 

8) The guy who shot 92 at the US Open Thursday shot a 75 Friday, so hopefully that sent him home with a smile on his face. 

7) In their last 15 series, San Diego Padres are 1-14 in the series openers, then 23-7 in all the other games. One of those stats for which there is no explanation. 

6) Former major league pitcher Kevin Brown was responsible for two mail thieves being caught this week. After several reports of stolen mail in a north Macon, GA neighborhood, Brown hid in a neighbor’s yard and waited on the thieves to strike again.

From The Telegraph: “A 15-year-old and another man were arrested Wednesday afternoon outside of Brown’s multimillion-dollar home off Rivoli Downs. The mailbox was ajar as the baseball star explained the situation to four Bibb County sheriff’s deputies.”

5) White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech faced 21 batters in a AAA game Thursday; he walked eight of them, allowing five runs in three IP. He threw 86 pitches, only 35 strikes; he was part of the Chris Sale-to-Boston package, along with Yoan Moncada. 

Kopech is 2-5, 5.20 in 13 AAA start this season; it is possible he throws too hard. He has 82 strikeouts in 62.1 IP, but also 42 walks, nine hit batters. 

4) Miami Marlins averaged 20,395 fans per game last year; they’re averaging 10,283 this year. It helps to draw fans when you don’t give away all your best players (except one).

3) Surprising stat: Seattle’s Juan Segura leads the major leagues this year- he has 14 games with 3+ hits. Coming into Friday’s play, no one else had more than 11. 

2) Back when I was a kid, in the 70’s, baseball’s trading deadline was June 15, which is really, really early in the season. Very good idea making the trade deadline July 31 like it is now. 

1) There was a secretary who worked for the Philadelphia Eagles for 30 years; she was the head coach’s secretary, but when Chip Kelly was head coach, he fired her in 2013.

This week, the Eagles gave out their Super Bowl rings, and owner Jeffrey Lurie gave one to the former secretary. Each ring has 219 diamonds in it. Pretty nice thing to do. 

Friday’s List of 13: Our first 2018 dose of college football knowledge

One of the best days each summer is when the Phill Steele college football magazine comes in the mail. It is a great resource to use all season long. 

13) According to Phil Steele Magazine, the three toughest college football schedules for 2018 are: 1) UCLA, 2) Purdue 3) Michigan 

12) Best three offensive lines: 1) Wisconsin (150 starts back) 2) Georgia (69 starts) 3) Alabama (103 starts). 

11) Offensive lines with most returning starts: Wisconsin (150), Boston College (139), Wake Forest (131), Florida Int’l (129). 

10) Four best QB’s: Will Grier (West Va), McKenzie Milton (UCF), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn), Jake Browning (Washington).

9) Four best kickers: Matt Gay (Utah), Austin Seibert (Oklahoma), Rodrigo Blankenship (Georgia), Jameson Vest (Toledo).

8) Tulsa was the only team in America last year that lost five games by a TD or less. They didn’t win any games by a TD or less.

7) Army won six games LY by a TD or less; they lost two games by a TD or less. Troy and North Texas both won five games LY by a TD or less; they didn’t lose any. South Carolina won five and lost one. 

6) Since 1991, 369 teams have been +10 or better in turnovers in a season; of those 369 teams, 240 had worse records the next year. Only 85 (23%) had better records the next year. 

Over the last seven years, only 6 of 48 teams who were +14 or better in turnovers had a better record the following season. 

Best turnover ratios is 2017: Wyoming (+24), UCF (+17), Stanford (+16), Memphis (+15). 

5) In the past 27 years, 311 teams were -10 or worse in turnovers; of those 311 teams, 208 of them had better records the following season. 

Worst turnover ratios in 2017: San Jose St (-26), Rice (-23), Kansas (-17), New Mexico (-16). 

4) Four teams Phil Steele thinks will be the most improved this year: Florida, Utah State, North Carolina, Colorado. 

3) Underdogs are 4-0-1 vs spread in last five national championship games (3-2 SU). 

2) Over last four years, underdogs are 4-1 vs spread in these bowls: Orange, Holiday, Pinstripe, New Mexico Bowls. 

1) The current King of Bowls is Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who is 11-1 as a head coach in bowl games. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Happy Armadillo Day!!!!

13) 17 years ago today, armadillosports.com was born; the world has changed a lot since then, not always for the better, but hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this space, thru good and bad. 

As year #18 begins here, let’s hope the world becomes a happier, more cohesive place. 

12) June 14 also means it is my friend Big Dawg’s 29th birthday (again); happy birthday!!! 

11) Nationals 5, New York 4— Juan Soto is 19 years old; he is hitting .349 in his first 20 major league games and hit two homers in this game. 

Soto played only eight games in the AA Eastern League, batting 31 times; he skipped over AAA, which is very unusual, but Soto appears to be an unusual talent. 

10) Detroit 1B Miguel Cabrera (biceps) is done for the year, but a doctor posted on Twitter Tuesday night that he should be 100% for 2019. 

Tigers are on the hook for $154M for Cabrera AFTER this year (2019-23). He better be 100%. 

9) Ruben Amaro Jr is first base coach for the Mets this year, which is only newsworthy because from 2009-15, he was general manager of the Phillies. Guys don’t go from being GM’s to base coaches, very unusual. 

Amaro took over the Phillies the year after they won the World Series, let their nucleus get a little too old before he broke it up, then got fired. 

Now he is trying to work his way up into becoming a field manager. Interesting career. 

8) Speaking of the Mets, they hit .147 on their recent 9-game homestand. Thats the worst batting average EVER for any homestand of 7+ games, for any team in baseball history. 

7) In 1970, Bob Gibson went 23-7 pitching and hit .303; he is the only pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award and hit .300 in the same season. 

6) Someone at the Westgate SuperBook bet $1,200 Tuesday on Eldrick Woods to win the US Open this week at 20-1. 

5) Paid attendance in Miami Tuesday night for Giants-Marlins; 5,928 (announced). As the old saying goes, many of those 5,928 “fans” were disguised as empty seats.

4) Braves 2, Mets 0— Jacob deGrom pitched Wednesday; he has a 1.31 RA in his last eight starts, but won only one of the eight games. Mets haven’t hit for him, and the bullpen has blown leads late in the game for him. 

Braves pitched Mike Soroka had a no-hitter thru six innings, trying to become the third Canadian pitcher to throw a big league no-hitter. 

3) There have been two no-hitters thrown by Canadian pitchers; James Paxton in Toronto earlier this season, and on September 9, 1945, Philadelphia’s Dick Fowler no-hit the St Louis Browns 1-0 in the second game of a doubleheader. 

That was Fowler’s first start in three years; he had served in the Canadian Army during World War II and this was his first start after returning from the war. 

Fowler wound up going 66-79 in 10 years in the major leagues, all with the A’s; he passed away at age 51 in Oneonta, NY.

2) Major league umpire Stu Scheurwater is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, not a place you’d expect a major league umpire to come from.

1) Seven weeks left until the trade deadline in baseball; media types will keep themselves busy with useless speculation. Wake me up when an actual trade happens.

Why I call it useless speculation; Mets have already said that deGrom isn’t available, but until he’s still a Met on August 1, you’ll see speculation that he’s going to be traded. 

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

13) The NBA wanted an “integrity fee” from states with legalized sports betting across the country, but when Lebron James had a broken hand in the NBA Finals and the Cavaliers/NBA kept it under wraps, where was the bleeping “integrity” then? 

Every state with legalized sports betting should hire people from Las Vegas to run their legalized gambling; thats the best way to assure that things will be the run the correct way. 

12) Orioles’ DH Chris Davis is hitting .150 thru 57 games this season; Baltimore is on the hook for Davis— $21M a year thru 2022. From 2013-16, Davis hit 164 homers. Now? Not so much. 

11) Andrew Luck threw a football at Colts’ mini-camp Tuesday, first time in over 500 days he threw a football after his shoulder injury. Good news for Indianapolis. 

Deshaun Watson is practicing at Houston’s mini-camp with no knee brace. Watson threw for 19 TD’s with only 8 INT’s in seven games (6 starts) LY, before he hurt his knee. Texans were 3-3 in his starts. 

10) Pretty cool pic on Twitter last night of Vegas Golden Knights’ goalie Marc Andre Fleury playing street hockey with kids in his Las Vegas neighborhood. Imagine being a little kid and going outside to play ball with a pro athlete? 

9) Sounds like the NHL’s Ottawa Senators have some problems; the wife of one Senators’ player filed a restraining order against the fiancé of another Senators player.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, “…..the order of protection filed by one player’s wife alleges that the longtime girlfriend of another Ottawa player is behind an extensive and aggressive campaign of harassment against them since at least November of 2017. “

How would you like to be coaching a team where two of your better players’ wife/girlfriend hate each other’s guts? 

8) Dodgers put P Walker Buehler on the DL with a microfracture in his ribs. 

A’s put P Trevor Cahill (achilles) on the DL. 

Miguel Cabrera left the Tigers’ game early Tuesday with a ruptured left bicep tendon that will require surgery- he is out for the year.

7) Ken Pomeroy posted that Nevada Wolf Pack called only 0.70 timeouts per game (not counting OT periods) last year; no one else in the country averaged less than 1.13 TO’s per game. 

6) Quote of the Day, part 2: “Having worked at 7 different universities,  I can tell you changing AD’s is like the starter’s pistol for exit of coaches.”
Bob Valvano, who was a pretty good college hoop coach himself

5) Oakland Raiders released QB Christian Hackenberg from its 90-man roster Tuesday, three weeks after getting him from the Jets for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in 2019. 

If I were a friend of Hackenberg’s, I’d suggest he play in the Arena League- think it helps develop a QB’s decision-making. 

4) Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh has mentioned “playing two QB’s at once” when Baltimore has the ball this season, which may be a veiled way of suggesting Lamar Jackson will play some WR while not actually saying he will be playing WR, since Jackson sees himself as a QB only. 

3) Mets’ TV guy Ron Darling was frustrated when Zack Wheeler gave up a hit on an 0-2 pitch that allowed the Braves to score a run; Darling hinted that pitchers are hesitant to waste pitches nowadays because it goes against their pitch count, shortens their appearances. 

“No way should a batter get anything good to hit on an 0-2 pitch.” 

2) Ashton Grewal of covers.com points out that since 2006, CFL underdogs are 115-66-2 against the spread (63.5%) in the first four weeks of the season.  

1) Brewers 4, Cubs 0— Big sigh of relief in Milwaukee.

Before this game, Brewers were 1-8 in their first nine games against the Cubs this season; they scored 11 runs total in those nine games. 

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

13) New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed the sports betting bill. Sports betting begins at Monmouth Park at 10:30 am Thursday, the same day soccer’s World Cup starts.

12) NBA Summer League is next month in Las Vegas; 76ers still haven’t announced if last year’s #1 pick, Markelle Fultz, will play or not. 

11) If you really like the NBA, I highly recommend going to the Summer League; for $30, you can sit inside in air conditioning all day (it will be 110 or so outside) and watch NBA games, and you might meet some famous people, since everyone pretty much goes in/out the same doors. 

10) Detroit Pistons gave new coach Dwane Casey a 5-year contract.

9) If Shohei Ohtani needs Tommy John surgery, he won’t pitch again until 2020. Angels aren’t saying much yet. 

No idea how it would affect him as a hitter if he has TJ surgery. Could he DH late next year if he has the surgery this summer? 

8) Texas 4, Tennessee Tech 1— Longhorns are in College World Series for 36th time; no other school has been in the CWS more than 25 times. 

7) In college baseball, six of eight Super Regionals series went the maximum three games, which is most ever. This is the 20th year of the Super Regional format. 

6) In their last ten home games, Mets are 3 for 55 with runners in scoring position. 

In their last four home games, Red Sox are 2 for 37 with RISP. 

5) QB Hunter Johnson transfers from Clemson to Northwestern; he will sit out this season, then have three years left to play for the Wildcats.

4) NY-Penn League starts Friday night; the short season rookie league has a team over the river from here in Troy at Hudson Valley CC, where the Astros’ farm club the ValleyCats play home games. 

If you’re in the Albany area and like affordable fun, the ValleyCat games are well worth it. 

3) Giants’ 3B Evan Longoria made his 11th error last night in Miami; he had 12 errors all of last season, when he played more than half his games on artificial turf. 

2) Speaking of artificial turf, lot of these college baseball teams have artificial turf fields. Wonder if that makes scouting infielders tougher? 

1) Baseball can be a tough business; Ji-Man Choi hit a grand slam for the Brewers in a huge spot Saturday in Philly, was mobbed by his teammates in the dugout. 

The next day? He got traded to Tampa Bay, for Brad Miller.

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

13) Astros 8, Rangers 7— Houston had men on 2nd and 3rd in top of 9th with two out, tied 7-7. Pitch is thrown, swing is checked and Astros come out of the dugout, claiming the pitcher balked. To this point, no umpire had said a word. 

Umpires huddle together, a balk is called, and Astros take the lead. Huh? 

I’ve never, ever seen that; a balk being called 3-4 minutes after the pitch was thrown, and for it to happen in a tie game in the ninth inning, hmmmm. Will be curious how the league office spins that call tomorrow. 

Rangers are having a lousy year, and when you’re struggling, stuff like this happens. 

12) Padres 3, Marlins 1— Clayton Richard has a 4.40 ERA; he had a no-hitter here through six innings in this game. Marlins are on pace to lose 105 games this season. 

11) Youngest player in NBA Draft is a 6-4 Ukrainian PG named Issuf Sanon, who is only 18 years old. 

10) On the Red Sox telecast Sunday, Dave O’Brien/Dennis Eckersley touched on the debate of who was the best closer ever in baseball. Its an interesting debate. 

Living in New York, Mariano Rivera is the obvious choice, but you have to realize that he was a “3-out” closer, he pitched one inning at a time. Brilliantly, but only three outs a day. 

Looking back at Bruce Sutter/Rollie Fingers, they often came into a game before the 9th inning and finished the game. In Fingers’ five busiest seasons, he AVERAGED five outs an appearance, meaning on an average day, he came in with one out in the 8th inning, and closed it out. 

Something to think about when you’re debating who the best closers were.

9) Toronto Blue Jays’ #1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be shut down for the next four weeks- he has a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.

8) Knowledge slipping through the cracks; until this year, I had no idea that Paul Giamatti the actor is (former baseball commissioner) Bart Giamatti’s son. 

Also didn’t know until recently that Angelina Jolie is Jon Voight’s daughter.  

7) Trailing 5-3 in 6th inning Saturday night, Rangers’ OF Joey Gallo bunted to third base for an easy hit; the Astros put everyone on the right side of the field, defying Gallo to bunt for the hit. I’m wondering what Justin Verlander was thinking when Gallo finally bunted, and how many times does he have to do it before teams modify their shifts? 

6) JD Martinez hit 21 homers in Boston’s first 65 games; he is the first Red Sock to hit that many in their first 65 games since Manny Ramirez in 2001. 

5) Texas Rangers put P Doug Fister (knee) on 10-day DL. 

Carlos Correa (side) missed his 4th straight game but isn’t on the DL yet. 

4) Random trivia: In 1944, the Reds had a pitcher named Joe Nuxhall who pitched 0.2 of an inning in the majors when he was a month short of his 16th birthday. 

Nuxhall re-appeared in the majors eight years later, and then pitched the next 15 years in Cincinnati- he later became a long-time broadcaster for the Reds. 

3) Colorado Rockies are 5-2 when Chad Bettis starts on the road (4-1, 2.03); they’re 2-4 in his home starts (0-0, 7.76). 

2) Colorado Rockies TV guys had their scouting director on TV during the game Sunday; it was interesting hearing them talking about how a scout thinks and what he sees when he goes all over the country watching games. 

These scouts are always on the road; the scouting director said he will be on the road again for the 2019 draft, starting next Sunday. The 2019 draft is 50 weeks away. 

1) Guy in Miami made a nice catch on a foul ball Sunday, while holding his scorecard in the other hand. He was wearing a sun visor. Why would a bald guy wear a sun visor? Got to protect the top of that head. 

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

13) The Stanley Cup goes all over the world once the finals are over; each player/coach gets it for a day and it can go anywhere. Giants-Nationals game was Saturday’s destination for the Cup, a game that for some reason started at noon. Capitals only have six American players, so the Cup’s passport is going to get a lot of business this summer.

12) Pretty soon I’ll write about my favorite baseball announcers, a longer article, but I’ll say here one of the very best analysts is Steve Stone of the White Sox. I could listen to him talk about pitching all day. Good natured, smart and not full of himself. 

When he says before the pitch what that pitch should be, he is right an awful lot. 

11) Astros 4, Rangers 3— Charlie Morton got 11 Rangers out in this game; he walked six and hit four others. No major league pitcher has ever hit five batters in a game.

10) Texas put 20 men on base, scored 3 runs; they were 1-17 with runners in scoring position. 

9) Auburn made the NCAA basketball tournament for the first time in 15 years last season, so coach Bruce Pearl got a 5-year contract extension. The idea that the FBI has been investigating his program, and one of his assistants got arrested, apparently doesn’t matter. 

8) Favorites have now won 11 of the last 18 Triple Crown horse races. 

7) Still makes me shake my head that the quickest overtime TD in NFL history (0:11) was a TD pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas, in a Bronco-Steeler playoff game in 2012. 

6) Giants’ long snapper Zak DeOssie lost both his Super Bowl rings when he placed them on the roof of his car as he unlocked the car, then drove away with the rings still there. 

One ring was recovered but was smashed; the other ring wasn’t found. Combined value? $34,000. Oy. 

5) Why is Trayce Thompson in the major leagues? He can’t hit: last year, he hit .122 in 27 games with the Dodgers- he is hitting .126 in 125 PA’s this year. 

In 2016, he hit .225 with 13 HR’s and we know he is Klay Thmpson’s brother, but he cannot hit and should be in AAA. Maybe when Avasail Garcia comes off the DL, he’ll get sent down. 

4) Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) is on the 10-day DL.

Masahiro Tanaka (hamstring) also went on the DL. 

3) Bad news for the Mets: Jay Bruce has one RBI in his last 97 plate appearances. Yoenis Cespedes left his rehab game in Trenton with more tightness in his quad. 

2) Mets lost their last eight games; their starting pitchers’ ERA during that time is 2.16. 

1) A federal court temporarily blocked a pizza delivery man’s deportation one week after he was turned over to immigration officials while trying to drop off food at a military base in New York.

The guy’s wife and two kids (one of whom is very sick) are American citizens; he’s lived here for over 10 years, and filed for his green card in February- he is waiting for a response. 

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has gotten involved in all this; hopefully this guy can get his green card and have a decent life. We need all the pizza delivery guys we can get.

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

13) Tennessee Titans made the playoffs LY, but changed coaches anyway; over last 20 years, they’re the 13th team to change head coaches when they made the playoffs the year before.

Of the previous 12 teams, eight made the playoffs the following year, four made it to the Super Bowl, going 2-2. Raiders-Bucs in 2002 were two of those four teams, playing each other. 

12) 2000 Cowboys and 2003 49ers are only teams to change coaches after making the playoffs, then finish under .500 in the new coach’s first season. 

Dallas is only NFL team in last 20 years to change coaches twice after making the playoffs. 

11) Washington Capitals came into the NHL in 1974; they went 8-67-5 that first year, with one road win the whole season. Imagine being a Capitals’ fan since then? 

44 years later, the Caps are Stanley Cup champs; they won 10 road PLAYOFF games this year, so congrats to them. Congrats to all the fans who stuck it out all these years. Enjoy. 

10) Capitals were the second team ever (’91 Penguins) to win the Stanley Cup after trailing in all four of their playoff series. 

9) Vegas Golden Knights also had a truly great season; an expansion team that won the Western Conference and inspired a city that was devastated by a mass shooting in early October. 

Not sure if they had any idea or not, but the NHL struck gold by putting a team in Las Vegas. 

8) Mets’ 19th round draft pick Tommy Wilson from Cal State-Fullerton is son of Thomas Wilson, the actor who played Biff Tannen in the movie Back to the Future.

7) Miami Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2000; since ’02, they’re 0-1 in playoff games, with that game coming in 2008.

6) Angels put Shohei Ohtani on the DL with a sprained UCL in his elbow; he will be re-evaluated in three weeks. 

Noah Syndergaard had a setback with his finger and will stay on the DL; Seth Lugo starts in his place Sunday against the Bronx Bombers.

Masahiro Tanaka left his start in the 6th inning with tightness in both hamstrings after running the bases, when he reached base on an error by Adrian Gonzalez.

5) Cubs 3, Pirates 1— Ian Happ had a tremendous game in left field for Chicago; he made two great catches, including the game-ending catch off of Josh Harrison in the LF corner that could’ve been an inside-the-park homer if he had not caught it. 

Pittsburgh is under .500 for the first time this season. 

Mariners 4, Rays 3— Seattle has 40 wins, 20 of them by one run. 

4) Through Thursday, 258 of 542 instant replay reviews (47.6%) resulted in the call being changed. When replay started, don’t think people expected the number would be that high. 

3) White Sox 1, Red Sox 0— From Doug Kern: This is Chicago’s first 1-0 win at Fenway Park since July 21 1989, when the only run scored on a homer by Carlton Fisk.

2) Warriors 108, Cavaliers 85— NBA season is mercifully over; the NHL’s playoffs are so much more fun to watch, and I’m a basketball guy. 

To me, the NBA’s offseason is more interesting than the real season; I’m thinking the Lakers will look a lot different in October than they do now. Cleveland? Could be headed downward. 

1) In light of things that happened this week, here is the suicide hotline number: 1-800-273-8255.

Please remember to keep in touch with people; your words matter to family or friends who are struggling and feel isolated and/or despondent. Say hi, let people know you care.