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

Write-ups on KBO games are on MLB page.


Monday’s 6-pack
Standings after three weeks in the KBO:
14-3— NC Dinos
11-6— LG Twins
10-7— Doosan Bears
10-8— Kia Tigers, Kiboom Heroes
9-8— Lotte Giants
7-10— KT Wiz
7-11— Hanwha Eagles
6-12— Samsung Lions
3-14— SK Wyverns

Quote of the Day:
“First of all, let’s not take anything away from LeBron James. Because LeBron James is a great basketball player, one of the all-time greatest that’s ever played the game. LeBron James to me, when you think about all-around basketball players, he’s probably the best of all time. An all-around basketball player. But when you want to say ‘who’s the greatest ever’ it’s still Michael Jordan.”  
Magic Johnson, a former teammate of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is actually the best player ever

Monday’s quiz
Only one major league team hasn’t played in a World Series; which one?

Sunday’s quiz
Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run against the Dodgers (Al Downing)

Saturday’s quiz
Shaquille O’Neal finished his NBA career with the Celtics, in 2010-11. 

Monday’s Den: Happy Memorial Day, kind of…….

13) Memorial Day without baseball is unfathomable; won’t even be Korean baseball, since Mondays are off days in the KBO, and Memorial Day isn’t exactly a holiday in Korea.

Sounds like baseball, the NBA and NHL will start up training camps soon, then there will be viewing choices on TV, and better stuff to write about in this space.

Until Billions came on at 9:00 Sunday night, my viewing choices were:
— A 2005 Spurs-Suns playoff game
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, made in 1969
Bulworth, an off-beat Warren Beatty movie from 1998
— The 23rd showing of a Mets-Red Sox World Series game, from 1986

12) Apparently baseball is making progress on a plan for this season:
— 82-game season
— 30-man rosters, with taxi squad of roughly 20 guys
— 14 teams make playoffs
— Universal DH

11) Jets signed Joe Flacco as their backup QB; Flacco had neck surgery in April, should be ready for the start of the season.

Jets lost their last 11 games started by a backup QB; their last win with a backup was December 11, 2016 in San Francisco, when Bryce Petty led the Jets to a win.

10) Of all the major leaguers who played last season, which one has been traded the most? Getting cut/waived doesn’t count, just trades.

8— Jesse Chavez
7— Cameron Maybin, Edwin Jackson

9) Few years ago, I get up early on a Saturday morning in Las Vegas and ran off to a Boys Club in Southern Highlands to watch the junior college showcase, played on one court, in a way less glamorous setting then the elite high school kids played in.

This was the Last Chance Saloon for kids trying to get a college scholarship; those kids played their butts off, trying to impress the college coaches there. Fun games to watch, but a little sad, because you knew most of these kids weren’t going to get an offer.

Which college basketball conferences recruit the most junior college players? Last year, it was the Sun Belt and Southland Conferences.

Best things about that day at the Boys’ Club:
— They didn’t charge me to get in.
— It was 105 that day, and I had to park in a strip mall parking lot down the street, but after the games, when I had lunch in a Mexican restaurant there, won $75 playing video poker.

8) Rhode Island/Seton Hall are starting a home/home basketball series this season, which could be interesting.

7) Michael Jordan’s teams, head-to-head vs other stars’ teams:
11-7 vs Magic Johnson
3-2 vs Tim Duncan
12-9 vs Shaquille O’Neal
4-4 vs Kareen Abdul-Jabbar
3-5 vs Kobe Ryant
11-23 vs Larry Bird

6) When Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961, he wasn’t intentionally walked once the whole season; New York had an excellent lineup, hard to pitch around guys.

Weird thing is the next season, playing against against the Angels, Maris was walked intentionally four times in one game.

5) One of the underrated facts about football coaches is that a lot of them are nomadic, they switch jobs from year-to-year, moving all over the country.

Here is where former Panthers/Bears coach John Fox worked at the start of his career:
1978— San Diego State— grad assistant
1979— US International— DB’s coach
1980— Boise State— DB’s coach
1981— Long Beach State— DB’s coach
1982— Utah— DB’s coach
1983— Kansas— DB’s coach
1984— Iowa State— DB’s coach
1985— LA Express (USFL)— DB’s coach
1986-88— Pittsburgh Steelers, DB’s coach. His big break, and he ran with it.

4) In 1980, each member of the World Series champs got $35,000; last year each Washington National got a check for $382,358.18.

3) Get well soon to Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing, who tested positive for the corona virus. Washington DC is one of the current hotspots for the virus.

2) RIP to coach Eddie Sutton; he won 802 games as a college basketball coach; he passed away this weekend, at age 84. Here is Sutton’s record at the various stops in his career:

Southern Idaho CC: 84-14
Creighton: 82-50
Arkansas: 260-75
Kentucky: 88-39
Oklahoma State: 368-151
San Francisco 6-13 (was an interim coach there)

1) Jerry Sloan played for the Chicago Bulls for 10 years, after playing his rookie season with the Baltimore Bullets; he was a tough, defensive-minded guard who scored 14 ppg in his career. He made the All-Star team twice, the All-Defensive team six times.

Sloan coached the Bulls for three seasons, then went on to Utah, where he led the Jazz for 23 years, and is the reason he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2009.

Coach Sloan passed away last week at age 78; he was old school, a tough guy. RIP, sir. 

Sunday’s Den: Mt Rushmore of QB’s for AFC teams

Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens (moved to Baltimore in 1996)
— Otto Graham— 57-13-1 as Cleveland’s QB, won three NFL titles.
— Joe Flacco— Won a Super Bowl, also threw ball for 38,245 yards.
— Lamar Jackson— Won 19 of first 24 starts, but is 0-2 in playoff games.
— Brian Sipe— Threw for 23,713 yards, went 57-55 before jumping to USFL.

Buffalo Bills
— Jim Kelly— Four straight AFC titles, threw for 35,467 yards- helluva run.
— Joe Ferguson— Threw for 27,590 yards, handed off to OJ a lot. 1-3 in playoffs.
— Jack Kemp— 43-31-3 with the Bills; went 22-6 with the Chargers.
— Doug Flutie— 21-9 with Buffalo, 38-28 overall in NFL; also played in USFL, CFL.

Cincinnati Bengals
— Ken Anderson— 91-81 with Bengals is impressive; threw for 32,838 yards.
— Boomer Esiason— 62-61 in Cincinnati; threw for 27,149 yards, won an AFC title.
— Andy Dalton— 70-61-2 in regular season with Bengals, 0-4 in playoff games.
— Carson Palmer— Threw for 22,694 yards with Bengals; went 38-21-1 in Arizona.

Cleveland Browns
— Tim Couch— Went 8-6 for Browns in 2002, but didn’t play in playoff game.
— Baker Mayfield— 12-17 with Browns; too bad he doesn’t play as well as he talks.
— Derek Anderson— 16-18 in Cleveland from 2006-09; lasted 13 years in NFL.
— Brian Hoyer— 10-6 with Browns; 38 career starts in 11 years.

Denver Broncos
— John Elway— 14-7 in playoff games; I think he’s the best QB ever.
— Peyton Manning— Went 45-12 with Denver, won two AFC titles.
— Craig Morton— Went 41-23 with Broncos, got Denver to first Super Bowl
— Jake Plummer— 39-15 as Denver’s starter, retired at age 32.

Houston Texans
— Deshaun Watson— 24-13 in three years with the Texas.
— Matt Schaub— Went 46-42 in Houston, threw for 23,221 yards.
— David Carr— Got pummeled as QB of the expansion Texans (22-53).
— Brock Osweiler— 8-6 in one year with Texans, 15-15 overall in NFL.

Indianapolis Colts
— Johnny Unitas— 117-60-4 with Colts, won three NFL titles.
— Peyton Manning— 141-67 with Colts, threw for 54,828 yards.
— Andrew Luck— Went 53-33 with Indy before his early retirement.
— Earl Morrall— Won 24 of 28 Colt starts, including 16-7 loss in SB III.

Jacksonville Jaguars
— Mark Brunell— 63-54 in Jacksonville, 24 more wins than any other Jaguar QB.
— David Garrard— 39-37 for Jaguars, threw for 16,003 yards,
— Byron Leftwich— 24-20 with Jags, is now Brady’s OC in Tampa Bay.
— Blake Bortles— Started for five years in Jacksonville, was backup for Rams LY.

Kansas City Chiefs
— Len Dawson— 93-56-8 with Chiefs, started 2 of first 4 Super Bowls.
— Patrick Mahomes— 24-7 with Chiefs, won KC’s first Super Bowl in 50 years.
— Trent Green— 48-40 for Chiefs, threw ball for 21,459 yards.
— Alex Smith— Underrated career; 50-26 in KC, 94-66-1 overall.

Los Angeles Chargers
— Dan Fouts— Threw for 43,040 yards, playing in a more defense-friendly era.
— Philip Rivers— 128-107 in San Diego, only 5-6 in playoff games- he threw 411 TD passes.
— John Hadl— Wore #21, threw for 26,938 yards, also coached in the USFL.
— Stan Humphries— 47-29 for Chargers, led San Diego to their only Super Bowl.

Miami Dolphins
— Dan Marino— Threw for 61,361 yards, 420 TD’s, but never won a Super Bowl.
— Bob Greise— 92-56-3 with Miami, won two Super Bowls.
— Jay Fiedler— 36-23 in Miami from 2000-04, only 1-2 in playoff games.
— David Woodley— 27-12-1 with Dolphins, led them to a Super Bowl.

New England Patriots
— Tom Brady— Won six Super Bowls, threw 614 TD passes.
— Steve Grogan— Went 75-60 with Patriots, led them to Super Bowl in 1985.
— Drew Bledsoe— Threw for 29,657 yards, 166 TD’s; also played for Bills, Cowboys.
— Babe Parilli— 44-32-7 for Boston Patriots in early AFL days; they played at Fenway.

New Jersey Jets
— Joe Namath— Won Super Bowl III, was only 62-62-1 as Jets’ QB, hampered by a bad knee.
— Ken O’Brien— Threw for 24,386 yards, 124 TD’s.
— Mark Sanchez— 33-29 in regular season, went 4-2 in playoff games.
— Chad Pennington— 32-29 as a starter, also won a couple playoff games.

Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders
— Ken Stabler— 69-26-1 for Oakland in 70’s; won their first Super Bowl title.
— Daryle Lamonica— 62-16-6 for Raiders, was Oakland’s QB in Super Bowl II.
— Jim Plunkett— 38-19 for Oakland, winning two Super Bowls. 8-2 in playoff games.
— Rich Gannon— 45-29 for Raiders, 37-18 from 2000-02; was 4-3 in playoff games.

Pittsburgh Steelers
— Terry Bradshaw— Won four Super Bowls in six years; was 107-51-1 for Steelers.
— Ben Roethlisberger— Has thrown for 56,545 yards, won two Super Bowls.
— Neil O’Donnell— 39-22 for Pittsburgh in early 90’s; lost Super Bowl XXX to Dallas.
— Kordell Stewart— 48-31 for Steelers in late 90’s, only 2-2 in playoff games.

Tennessee Titans
— Warren Moon— Threw for 33,685 yards for Oilers, was 27-13 from 1990-92.
— Steve McNair— 76-55 with Titans, got them within yard of OT in Super Bowl XXXIV
— George Blanda— Won first two AFL titles with Oilers, kicked in NFL until he was 48. 
— Dan Pastorini— Was Oilers’ QB in Bum Phillips era; was also their punter for five years. 

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

13) Back in the early days of this website, maybe 2006 or so, I used to go Florida every summer for 7-10 days and watch AAU basketball at Disney World for 10-12 hours a day; I enjoy that kind of stuff, met a lot of nice people, learned a lot about basketball, got material for this space.

I also saw Michael Jordan’s sons play basketball.

There were six courts under one roof at the Milk House; games ran all day, with last ones scheduled to tip off at 10pm. Michael’s sons played in the 10:00pm game on Court 1 three nights in a row, with a roped-off area in the corner, where Michael and his friends sat.

12) The older son Jeffrey wore glasses when he played; not goggles, actual glasses, and the night I’m there the kid’s glasses break, one earpiece comes off. He runs over and hands the glasses to his coach, who wants nothing to do with them, but hey, they’re Michael Jordan’s son’s glasses, so he gets his little screwdriver out and puts the glasses back together.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting next to 2-3 of the kid’s friends, and they’re giving Jeffrey a hard time; “How many fingers am I holding up?”, stuff like that. The kid took it good-naturedly.

Marcus, the younger son, was the more talented of the two; both kids wound up playing at Central Florida. Can’t be easy being Michael Jordan’s son; you have a target on your back every time you play.

11) So the game ends and Michael signs autographs; maybe 50-75 kids surround him, and there is a guy standing behind him, a very, very big human.

I knew the guy who was supervising that court; asked him “Who’s the bodyguard?”

“Thats no bodyguard, thats Charles Oakley.” Charles Oakley is a very, very large person, and I would never, ever want him to be mad at me. Ever.

10) Speaking of Disney World, sounds like the NBA is leaning towards resuming their season in mid-July at Disney World, with playoffs ending around Labor Day, then next season not starting until roughly Christmas-time.

9) Parking lots at Dodger Stadium, Anaheim Stadium and Santa Anita racetrack are all packed with cars, because no one is traveling, no one is renting cars, so they’re stashing the cars in those parking lots.

8) Watching an old NASCAR race the other day, I learned that in 1971, Richard Petty won a stock car race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, about 20 miles north of Armadillo World HQ. Never knew that; think it is a dirt racetrack.

Few years ago, I was at a restaurant about a half-mile from the track while a race was going on; those cars are very, very loud.

7) The last three months seems more like three years; had to remind myself that they had a few weeks of spring training before everything shut down. Some things to remember:
— Joe Girardi manages the Phillies now.
— Mookie Betts got traded to the Dodgers.
— Joe Maddon is managing the Angels.
— Texas Rangers are opening a new retractable domed stadium this year.

6) Steve Kerr played for the Chicago Bulls when they won three straight NBA titles from 1996-98, then he got traded to San Antonio, and he won the ’99 title with the Spurs. Not lot of guys play for four consecutive world champions.

5) I’m looking through UCLA’s basketball page today for some reason, and it dawned on me that Ben Howland made the Final Four three straight years, from 2006-08, then over the next five years, he went 58-32 in Pac-12 games, and they still fired him!!! Why?!?!?!

4) Kid named Isaiah Washington played basketball for two years at Minnesota, for coach Richard Pitino, then transferred to Iona, where he scored 11 ppg last year. Iona’s coach quit for health reasons this spring, and who do they hire? Rick Pitino, Richard’s father.

Guess what? Isaiah Washington is transferring again. Oy.

3) Been watching a decent amount of Korean baseball; haven’t decided on my favorite hats/jerseys yet, they’re all pretty nice. Hanwha Eagles might have the best hats, not sure yet.

2) Read on the Interweb that the money the owners will lose out on this season could be made up by the major leagues expanding from 30 to 32 teams, when all this is over. The two new teams will have to cough up a lot of money to join the big leagues.

1) When Shaquille O’Neal was playing for the Lakers, they had a game with the Clippers on Shaq’s birthday, a Clipper home game. Shaq needed extra tickets for friends/family, but the Clippers made him pay for them. Bad move.

Shaq scored 61 points, grabbed 23 rebounds, then said:

“Don’t ever make me pay for tickets.”  

Friday’s Den: Mt Rushmore of quarterbacks for each NFC team…….

St Louis/Arizona Cardinals
— Jim Hart— Was  87-88-5 as starter, 40 more wins than any Cardinal QB.
— Neil Lomax— Threw for 22,711 yards, 136 TD’s.
— Charley Johnson— Went 36-28-5 as a starter, from 1961-69.
— Carson Palmer— Went 38-21-1 as Arizona’s starter, from 2013-17.

Atlanta Falcons
— Matt Ryan— 109-90 with Falcons, twice as many wins as any other QB.
— Steve Bartkowski— Threw for 23,470 yards, 154 TD’s.
— Michael Vick— Went 38-28-1 in Atlanta, a great dual threat.
— Chris Chandler— Led Falcons to their first Super Bowl, in 1998.

Carolina Panthers
— Cam Newton— Threw for 29,041 yards, led Carolina to a Super Bowl.
— Jake Delhomme— 53-37 with the Panthers, threw for 19,258 yards.
— Kerry Collins— 22-20 for expansion Panthers, in their first four years.
— Steve Beuerlein— 23-28 here; only four QB’s won more than 8 games for Carolina.

Chicago Bears
— Jim McMahon— Went 46-15 as QB of great Bear teams in the 80’s.
— Jim Harbaugh— Took over for McMahon, went 35-30, threw for 11,567 yards.
— Jay Cutler— Threw for 23,433 yards, most in Chicago history.
— Bill Wade— QB of ’63 NFL champs; went 27-20-2 with Bears.
I didn’t include Sid Luckman on this list, because he played so long ago (1939-50), but I probably should have; he at least deserves a mention. 

Dallas Cowboys
— Roger Staubach— Went 85-29 as Cowboys’ QB, from 1969-79.
— Troy Aikman— Won three Super Bowls, threw for 32,942 yards.
— Tony Romo— 78-49 in regular season, only 2-4 in playoff games.
— Don Meredith— 47-32-4 when Dallas first became good, in the 60’s.

Detroit Lions
— Bobby Layne— Won consecutive titles as Detroit’s QB in ’52, ’53.
— Greg Landry— 40-41-3 as Lions’ QB, for 1968-78
— Matthew Stafford— 41,025 passing yards, no playoff wins (0-2)
— Scott Mitchell— 27-30 as Lions’ QB, from 1994-98.

Green Bay Packers
— Bart Starr— 9-1 in playoff games, won five NFL titles.
— Brett Favre— 160-93 in Green Bay, threw for 61,655 yards.
— Aaron Rodgers— Packer fans aren’t spoiled, are they?
— Lynn Dickey— Threw for 21,369 yards on sub-par Green Bay teams.

Los Angeles Rams
— Kurt Warner— Hall of Famer won Super Bowl XXXIV.
— Norm Van Brocklin— Went 42-20-3, won ’51 NFL title for Rams.
— Roman Gabriel— 74-39-6 as LA’s QB in the 60’s.
— Jared Goff— 35-16 as the Rams’ QB the last three years.

Minnesota Vikings
— Fran Tarkenton— Went 91-73-6, won four NFC titles.
— Tommy Kramer— Thew for 24,775 yards, went 54-56 in Minnesota.
— Brad Johnson— Went 28-18 for Vikings, won Super Bowl in Tampa Bay.
— Daunte Culpepper—- 17 Viking QB’s have won 10+ games; they switch QB’s a lot.

New Jersey Giants
— Eli Manning— Won two Super Bowls, threw for 57,023 yards.
— Phil Simms— 95-64 with the Giants, threw for 33,462 yards.
— YA Tittle— Went 32-13-3 in early 60’s; was one of opposing coaches in Any Given Sunday.
— Charlie Conerly— 57-31-1 as QB of the Giants in the 50’s.

New Orleans Saints
— Drew Brees— 65,068 passing yards, 467 TD’s, a Super Bowl title
— Bobby Hebert— 49-26 while leading the Jim Mora-era Saints.
— Aaron Brooks— Threw for 19,156 yards, 120 TD’s in 82 starts (38-44).
— Archie Manning— Played for terrible Saints teams; I heard he has three sons. 

Philadelphia Eagles
— Donovan McNabb— 92-49-1 in Philly, threw for 32,873 yards, 216 TD’s.
— Randall Cunningham— 63-43-1 with the Eagles; once had a 91-yard punt.
— Ron Jaworski— Threw for 26,963 yards, led Eagles to their first Super Bowl.
— Nick Foles— Only 25-13 for Eagles, but he won then a Super Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers
— Joe Montana— 100-39 as a starter, won four Super Bowls.
— Steve Young— 91-33 in regular season with 49ers, won one Super Bowl.
— John Brodie— Threw for 31,548 yards in era when passing wasn’t a big thing.
— Jimmy Garoppolo— 19-5 in his first 24 games, won NFC title last year.

Seattle Seahawks
— Russell Wilson— 86-41-1 as a starter, won a Super Bowl, almost won two.
— Dave Kreig— 70-49-1 as a starter, threw for 26,132 yards.
— Matt Hasselbeck— 69-62 as a starter, got Seahawks to their first Super Bowl.
— Jim Zorn— Mobile lefty QB’d the expansion Seahawks, threw 107 TD’s.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Doug Williams— 33-33-1 with Bucs; they were 2-26 before he got there.
— Brad Johnson— 26-23 with Bucs, won them their only Super Bowl.
— Trent Dilfer— 38-38 in Tampa, then won a Super Bowl for Baltimore.
— Jameis Winston— 28-42 as a starter, threw for 19,737 yards- they let him walk.

Washington Redskins
— Joe Theismann— 77-47 as a starter, threw for 25,206 yards, won a Super Bowl
— Sonny Jurgensen— Threw for 22,585 yards, went 52-51-5 in Washington.
— Mark Rypien—- 45-27 playing for Joe Gibbs, also won a Super Bowl.
— Billy Kilmer— 50-23-1 in George Allen era, got Redskins to their first Super Bowl. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) Several years ago, I’m at the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, watching ball all day in air conditioned comfort; first game of the day is in Cox Pavilion, where UNLV’s women’s team plays— gym seats around 2,000 people, and it is close to full.

Golden State’s team is playing; midway thru the first half, they put in a kid named Ian Clark, who I remembered from his days playing at Belmont— good shooter.

Two of his first three shots are airballs; I mention this to the guy sitting next to me, that this kid Clark is a good shooter, but is off to a rough start. The guy replies that Clark had played in the Orlando summer games earlier in the week, and was probably tired.

Out of 2,000 people in the gym, how was it that I was sitting next to Ian Clark’s brother?

He is a good guy; we talked some more the rest of the game, but I felt like kind of a jerk.

12) NBA has used Spalding basketballs since 1983, but starting in 2021-22, the league will switch to Wilson basketballs. Wonder what the league’s better shooters think of that.

11) Last week, we talked about records that will never be broken; here’s one.

July 3, 1966, Braves in San Francisco. Tony Cloninger is Atlanta’s pitcher; he hits two grand slams, knocks in nine runs in Atlanta’s 17-3 win.

Nine RBI for a pitcher? Good luck breaking that record, because the universal DH is coming, and it is possible that pitchers may never hit again.

10) KBO expert Dan Kurtz posted this the other day, about a 1987 KBO playoff game that ended in a 15-inning tie; both starting pitchers threw complete games. Korean playoff games end after 15 innings if the game is tied (12 innings in regular season).

One pitcher threw 232 pitches, the other guy 209 in the 2-2 tie.

9) NFL teams can no longer block assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator jobs with other teams; this is expected to lead to more minority coaches getting coordinator jobs.

8) Underrated sports family; the Bibby family.
— Henry Bibby played basketball at UCLA, then played nine years in the NBA; he was on the Knicks’ last title team, in 1973. He scored 8.6 ppg for his NBA career.
— Henry’s brother Jim Bibby pitched in the major leagues for 12 years, going 111-101, with 239 starts, 101 relief stints. He won a World Series with the ’79 Pirates..
— Henry’s son Mike Bibby played ball at Arizona; he played 14 years in the NBA, scoring 14.7 ppg for his career. He played in the NBA Finals for Miami in 2011, when they lost to the Mavericks.

7) One thing I think we’ll see more of over the next year or so; more animated movies, because you can make them virtually. They’re probably cheaper to make, anyway.

6) Some college scheduling things:
— USC/Ole Miss will play home/home in football in 2025-26; these teams have never met, but Lane Kiffin used to coach the Trojans.
— Oklahoma/Florida will start a home/home basketball series.
— Kentucky-Michigan pushed back their basketball series a year:
a) December 2021, Kentucky @ Michigan
b) December 2022, Kentucky-Michigan, in London
c) December 2023, Michigan @ Kentucky

5) QB Jack Sears transfers from USC to Boise State; he has two years left to play. Sears played one game for the Trojans last year, completing 20-28 passes for 235 yards in a 38-35 loss to Arizona State.

4) Guard Mac McClung will transfer from Georgetown; looks like Patrick Ewing has almost a complete rebuild with the Hoyas. Georgetown is 49-46 in three years under Ewing, 19-35 in Big East games. Hoyas’ last winning season in Big East play? 2015.

3) Was watching a 1978 playoff game, Phillies-Dodgers on TV the other night. Nowadays, there are no day games in the playoffs, except for the round of 16, but this was a Saturday afternoon NLCS game, with Al Michaels, Don Drysdale, Johnny Bench on the mike.

It occurred to me that I had never seen this game; back then I was in college, and my work-study job in college was keeping stats for UAlbany football games, so I was there, not at home watching this game, and if I was home, I was probably watching a college football game anyway.

And there was no ESPN or CNN in 1978, so hard to find highlights. Lot of the names in the game brought back memories, but it seems like 1,000 years ago now.

2) A Virginia family discovered two bags containing nearly $1M in cash while on an afternoon drive. The family contacted the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, which sent deputies to the home, and they took the money back to HQ.

Here’s the question; What would you do if you found $1M lying in the street?

1) My dad passed away five years ago this week; it is important for me to acknowledge all that he did for me, and continues to do, since his example of how to live is something I try to follow.

He was from New York City, but wasn’t abrasive or rude; he was respectful, loved to laugh, and he loved golf, the Mets and the Knicks. He wanted his family to be happy, and were always happier when he was around. I miss him every day. 

Wednesday’s Den: Playoff trends for NBA teams……

Watching The Last Dance the last five Sundays, I got curious about teams’ records overall in playoff rounds over the years; since I have absolutely nothing to do these days, other than write about Korean baseball, I decided to do a research project, how every NBA team has fared in playoff series since 1980, Magic/Bird’s rookie year.

Here is some of what I found:

13). From 1989-98, Chicago Bulls played on 34 playoff series, won 30 of them, winning six NBA titles. Their record in actual playoff games during that stretch? 120-49.

Since Jordan/Pippen left the Bulls 22 years ago, Chicago has been in the playoffs 11 times, winning five of 16 playoff series. Bulls are 39-52 in playoff games since their last title.

12) Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been in the playoffs since 2013; they would’ve made it this year, or will make it, if they continue the season.

From 1980-89, the heart of the Magic Johnson era, Lakers won 28 of 33 playoff series, winning five titles, going 111-48 in playoff games.

From 2000-10, Lakers won 25 of 30 playoff series, winning five more titles, going 114-57 in playoff games. Lot of success for sure, but their last series win was in 2012.

11) From 1980-88, the Celtics won 22 of 28 playoff series, and three NBA titles. Boston went 92-57 in playoff games during that time.

Celtics’ title in 2008 is their only one since 1986.

10) From 1980-2005, Cleveland Cavaliers made the playoffs 10 times, went 3-10 in playoff series, 21-38 in playoff games- thats for a 26-year period.

Since 2006, Cleveland is 21-8 in playoff series, 97-55 in playoff games; having Lebron James obviously helped them win a lot of playoff games. 

9) My point here is that it is really difficult to sustain prolonged success in a 30-team league where great players determine who wins and who loses.

Watching Jerry Krause seem anxious to break up the Bulls’ nucleus when they were on a roll seems like a sketchy strategy; when you going to have a combo like Jordan/Pippen again? You milk it for all the wins you can, then you move on, but thats not what happened.

8) Then there are the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have been in the NBA since 1989-90; they made the playoffs eight years in a row, from 1997-2004, but have only made the playoffs one other time. Timberwolves are 2-9 in playoff series, with both wins coming in 2004- they’ve lost 34 of 52 playoff games in franchise history.

7) From 1999-2014, San Antonio Spurs won five NBA titles, but unlike the Bulls, Lakers or Golden State, they never won consecutive titles. Spurs’ record in playoff series in the years following an NBA title? 4-5, not very good, but five titles is damn good.

6) From 1980-2014, the Warriors were only 5-8 in playoff series, that is five series wins in 34 years, pretty poor. When I would go to Las Vegas summer league games, the Warriors always had the most fans, it was strange. Avid fanbase, less-than-stellar team.

Things have obviously changed; since 2015, Golden State made the Finals five years in a row, winning three titles, winning 18 of 20 playoff series, going 77-28 in playoff games, after going 27-37 in playoff games, from 1980-2014.

5) Washington Bullets/Wizards won the NBA title in 1978, lost the Finals in ’79, but since then, Washington has lost 16 of 21 playoff series, thats five series wins in 40 years. During that time, Wizards are 38-61 in playoff games.

4) Over the last 40 years, Atlanta Hawks lost 26 of 39 playoff series, with 2015 the only time they’ve won two playoff series in the same season (since ’80).

Weird stat: despite their lack of playoff success, the Hawks have played in 14 winner-take-all games, whether they were best-0f-5 or best-of-7 series, and Atlanta went 7-7 in those games. They were swept in 8 of those 26 series losses.

3) Sacramento Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006; their franchise has moved from Rochester to Cincinnati to Kansas City to Omaha (kind of) and then to Sacramento- over the last 40 years, the Kings have lost 13 of 20 playoff series, winning two series in both 1981, 2002. During that time, the Kings are 43-54 in playoff games.

2) New York Knicks won NBA titles in 1970, ’73; my dad was a huge Knicks fan. They made the Finals in 1994, 1999, but lost both times, to Rockets/Spurs. Since 1980, Knicks are 20-21 in playoff series, but like the Lakers, they haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, but unlike LA, the Knicks’ present isn’t looking too bright.

If Michael Bloomberg wants to help New York City, and I know he does, he should buy the Knicks from Dolan, hire a smart basketball person and let things take off from there.

1) Its kind of funny that there may not be an NBA or NHL champion crowned this year, when both defending champs, the Toronto Raptors/St Louis Blues, won their first-ever titles last year, so they could both get to be defending champs for an extra year. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Best/favorite play-by-play announcers:

1) Al Michaels:
— Has been doing baseball, football on TV since I was in Little League.
— Called 1980 Olympic hockey Miracle on Ice
— Called numerous Super Bowls, including the only Super Bowl the Rams won
— Called numerous World Series, including the ’72 Series, which the A’s won

2) Dick Enberg:
— Was part of the greatest college hoop broadcast team ever, with Al McGuire and Billy Packer.
— Did NFL games on NBC for years.
— Did baseball for years; his last job was with the Padres just a few years ago. 
— Hosted a good TV game show, Sports Challenge.

3) Curt Gowdy:
— When I was a little kid, Gowdy called everything; college basketball, baseball, AFL/NFL.
— He worked 13 World Series, 16 All-Star games.
— He worked nine Super Bowls, 14 Rose Bowls, 24 Final Fours.
— There is a state park in Wyoming named after him.

4) Vin Scully:
— By far, the best baseball announcer ever.
— He broadcast Dodger games for 66 years. 66 years!!!!
— Also did NFL and golf on network TV.
— Was very good playing himself in the baseball movie, For Love of the Game.

5) Keith Jackson:
— To me, he will always be the voice of college football.
— Was also the first play-by-play guy on Monday Night Football.
— Did baseball playoffs and also did basketball games with Dick Vitale.
— Also was ABC’s lead play-by-play guy on NBA games for two years.

6) Brent Musburger:
— Is still working at age 80, doing Raiders’ games on radio.
— Is most famous for doing NFL Today pre-game show with Irv Cross, Jimmy the Greek.
— Did lot of college basketball and college football.
— Has a talk show now on Las Vegas-based VSIN on Sirius Radio.

7) Jim Nantz:
— Golf, basketball, football; Nantz is good at everything.
— Played college golf at Houston, teammates with Fred Couples, Blaine McCallister.
— Once worked Utah Jazz games with Hot Rod Hundley.
— With his voice/demeanor, would be the greatest funeral home director ever: “Welcome, friends. Sorry for your loss.”

8) Jack Buck:
— Was more relaxed than his son Joe is; he was almost flippant at times- I mean that in a good way.
— Did baseball Cardinal games in St Louis for years.
— Did Monday Night Football on the radio with Hank Stram.
— I was lucky enough to meet him in Cooperstown the day he got inducted into the Hall of Fame. Good guy.

9) Marv Albert:
— A New York icon; he did Knick/Ranger games for years.
— One of the best NBA announcers ever.
— Did NFL games on NBC for years.
— His son Kenny Albert will be on this list before too much longer.

10) Pat Summerall:
— In my mind, the best NFL play-by-play guy ever.
— Also did golf and tennis on CBS, as well as NBA/ABA games.
— Was a kicker for the Giants for 10 years.
— Jerry Jones referred to Summerall as “royalty in the broadcast booth”

11) Sean McDonough:
— Has very quietly put together a tremendous career for a long time.
— Was watching a replay of the ’92 NLCS; McDonough was doing that game. 1992.
— College football, college hoop, baseball, Monday Night Football; he’s done it all.

12) Mike Emrick:
— Best-ever NHL announcer (along wth Dan Kelly)
— Has won six national Emmy awards (no other NHL voice has more than one)
— Worked NFL games with Matt Millen, Hank Stram in 1992, 1993.
— Was voted into US Hockey Hall of Fame, in 2011. 

13) Joe Tait:
— Never got any national love, but was great doing Cavaliers/Indians games on WWWE.
— He broadcast Cavalier games on the radio for 39 years.
— When I was a kid, listening to games on the radio was a big thing, especially before the spread of cable TV. Listening to Joe Tait on WWWE was a lot of fun for me; he did baseball with Herb Score, the pitcher whose career ended early because of an injury- they were a great team.

If you’re wondering why Bob Costs isn’t on this list, he disqualified himself when he dismissed the A’s 20-game winning streak in 2002. You can hear it in the movie, Moneyball. “a certain element of randomness……”

Ray Scott was at the end of his great career when I was really young, in the mid-60’s; he probably belongs on this list, but I didn’t hear him call very many games. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a warm, quiet weekend……

13) First of all, get well soon to 73-year old Art Howe, who has COVID in Houston; Howe played 11 years in the major leagues, managed for 14 more. Howe is in the ICU, but hopes to be back home soon. We wish him a quick recovery.

Howe went 600-553 in seven years managing the A’s, going 205-159 the last two years; in the movie Moneyball, they made Howe look like an overweight schmuck who got kind of lucky, which is total BS. He played infield in the majors and wasn’t fat; Philip Seymour Hoffman looked more like Whitey Herzog than Howe. 

Plus, you don’t win 205 games in two years with a tiny payroll, unless you’re a good skipper.

Anyway, get well soon, Art Howe. Thats the important thing now.

12) Sandy Koufax was obviously a great pitcher; he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972, the first year he was eligible, but he did have a very unusual career.

First six years: 36-40, 4.10
Last six years: 130-47, 2.21

Three of his last four years, Koufax threw 311+ innings, then he retired, at age 30. He won 26-27 games his last two years; you assume he would’ve won a lot more games had he not retired.

11) I’m watching A League of Their Own on TV the other night, the 1992 movie where Tom Hanks manages a girls’ baseball team; the character who runs the league is Ira Lowenstein- he looks familiar to me, but I can’t place who he is, so I look on IMDB.com.

Actor’s name is David Strathairn, and the reason he looks familiar is that he played Black Jack Foley in eight episodes of Billions the last couple years. Now 70 years old, Strathairn has 137 acting credits. Interesting to look thru actor’s careers and see all the different roles they tackled.

10) We see Ahmad Rashad on The Last Dance a lot; he is very good friends with Michael Jordan, but Rashad was a big-time athlete himself, playing 10 years in the NFL (he missed a year in the middle with a knee injury), catching 495 passes for 13.8 yards/catch and 44 TD’s.

Rashad’s daughter Condola plays Kate Sacker on Billions, so the family has competed for airtime the last three Sundays, with The Last Dance and Billions on at the same time.

9) Lonnie Smith played 17 years in the major leagues, for six different teams; he made the World Series five times, with four of those six teams. Smith had a career .371 on-base percentage and was a fast runner; valuable guy. He led the NL in runs scored (120) in 1982.

8) Was watching Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals the other day, the game where the Lakers won the NBA title in Magic Johnson’s rookie team; the announce team was Brent Musburger, Bill Russell and Hot Rod Hundley, who broadcast Jazz games for a long time. Interesting crew.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stayed back in LA with a leg injury, but Russell astutely pointed out right before tipoff that the 76ers would have trouble matching up with the Lakers’ smaller lineup.

40 years ago, and Game 6 of the NBA Finals wasn’t shown live on CBS; they showed it at 11:30, after the local news. After that season, the tape-delayed broadcasts ended, as the league started its rise in popularity.

7) Looking at the Miami Dolphins’ schedule for this fall; six of their last nine games are against teams coming off a primetime game, two more are against teams coming off a bye.

6) Korean baseball games end in a tie after 12 innings; in 720 regular season games last year, there were only seven tie games.

5) Green Bay fired basketball coach Linc Darner after five years: the guy went 51-39 in Horizon League games, made the NCAA’s once (his first year) and had a contract thru 2026, though his buyout is only one year of base salary.

Not sure why it happened, and the timing is weird, too.

4) Horse racing knowledge:
— New York racing opens at Belmont June 1. No fans.
— Preakness Stakes has been re-scheduled for October 3rd.

3) You wonder if the success of all these virtual meetings, virtual drafts will hurt the business in cities where conventions are a big deal, like Las Vegas and Miami? Will be interesting to see as we go forward if the convention business changes any.

2) When the Champions’ Golf Tour resumes this summer, Jim Furyk and Mike Weir will both be 50+ years old and eligible to play, where they figure to make a lot of money.

1) I actually enjoyed watching the NASCAR race Sunday; I know nothing about cars, but it was just fun to watch a live event that wasn’t on at 5:30am.

Apparently they have another NASCAR race this Wednesday; unless they replay a Korean baseball game at the same time, I’ll be watching. 

Sunday’s Den: The 13 best comebacks in major league (regular season) history (since 1940)

There isn’t enough laughter in the world these days, and today, there is even less; the great comic actor Fred Willard passed away Friday, at age 86.

The four-time Emmy nominee, who grew up in Ohio, spread joy through his talent for making people laugh. Boy, could he make me laugh.

In Roxanne, he was elected mayor of the town because his opponent died just before the election. His message to supporters: “I’d rather be with you people, than the finest people in all the world.”

“There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits,” Jimmy Kimmel

RIP sir. Thanks for the laughs. 

13) September 13, 1997: Mets 9, Expos 6 (11)— Expos led 6-0 in ninth inning behind Dustin Hermanson, who got 26 outs, but you need 27. Carl Everett tied the games with a 9th-inning grand slam, Bernard Gilkey walked it off with a 3-run homer.

Jason Isringhausen started on the mound for the Mets, one of his 52 starts in 724 career games.

12) August 22, 1947: Tigers 7, Senators 6— Washington led 6-0 in 9th inning, behind Walt Masterson, who got 25 outs. Eddie Yost led off for Washington; he was 3rd base coach for the ’69 Mets. Vic Wertz batted 3rd for Detroit; he hit the ball in the ’54 World Series that Willie Mays made that great catch on in the Polo Grounds.

This was first game of a twinbill, after teams also played a doubleheader the day before.

11) June 4, 1989: Blue Jays 13, @ Red Sox 11 (12)— Boston scored five in the first, led 10-0 after six innings, but Toronto scored four in the 8th inning, five more in the 9th, then won it in the 12th. Ernie Whitt and Junior Felix homered for Toronto.

Blue Jays were 23-31 at the time, but they scored 30 runs in this 3-game sweep in Fenway.

10) May 10, 2000: Cubs 9, Brewers 8 (11)— Milwaukee led 4-3 in 9th, then scored five runs in top of 9th, before the Cubs tied the game off the Brewers’ bullpen, scoring five unearned runs. Henry Rodriguez hit a 3-run pinch-hit homer in the 9th for the Cubs.

Cubs were 14-22 at the time, Milwaukee 12-22; they wasted two homers by Mark Loretta.

9) May 1, 1973: Giants 8, Pirates 7— Pittsburgh led 7-1 in ninth inning, then gave up seven runs in the bottom of the 9th; starter Bob Moose faced 32 hitters, got two outs in the 9th. Couple of relievers faced five hitters, got none of them out.

Willie Stargell had three hits, three RBI for the Pirates. Bobby Bonds batted leadoff for the Giants, who were 19-6 at the time, but wound up 88-74. Only 7,972 fans were at Candlestick Park that night, back when that stadium had artificial turf.

8) April 25, 1940— Senators 7, A’s 6— Only 3,000 fans attended this early season game in our nation’s capital; game was scoreless after four innings, Philly led 6-1 in the 9th, before Senators scored six times in the 9th for the walk-off win.

Baseball was stupid back then; George Caster started on the mound for Philly, faced 39 hitters; his reliever gave up the walk-off hit, the only batter he faced. Things are a little different now.

7) June 23, 1961— Phillies 12, @ Pirates 11— ’61 Phillies went 47-107, but they won this game after trailing 9-0 after five innings, snapping an 8-game losing skid. Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts was KO’d in the 3rd inning; future manager Dallas Green gave up three hits, hit two batters in one ineffective inning in relief.

Roberto Clemente and future Bucs’ skipper Bill Virdon had three hits each for the Bucs, who won the 1960 World Series, but went 75-79 in ’61.

6) September 27, 2011— Arizona 7, Dodgers 6— If you bet the under in this game, stop reading; game was scoreless after six innings, 1-1 after nine, then the Dodgers scored five times in the top of the 10th inning. but Ryan Roberts hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th to send the crowd home happy.

This was the 2nd-to-last game of the regular season; Arizona went to the playoffs, LA didn’t. Micah Owings got the win, despite allowing the five Dodger runs in the 10th inning.

5) August 5, 2001— Indians 15, Mariners 14 (11)— I watched this game in a hotel bar in Canton, OH, near the Football Hall of Fame, where Jack Youngblood, Jackie Slater were inducted. Indians trailed 12-0 in the third inning, 14-2 in the 7th, but they scored four  times in 8th inning, five times in the 9th, then won it in extra innings.

This was the year Seattle went 116-46, an amazing season; their bullpen got 11 outs, gave up 10 runs in this game. Jim Home homered twice for Cleveland.

4) June 18, 1961— Red Sox 13, Senators 12— First game of a twinbill; Boston also walked off in the nightcap. Senators started the day 30-32, but went into a tailspin, finished 61-100- they led 7-5 after eight innings, scored five more in the top of the 9th to go up 12-5, then their bullpen imploded- the Red Sox’ last six hitters all reached base.

How times have changed; Red Sox drew only 850,589 fans at Fenway that season; they finished 76-86, a 6th-place team. Jim Pagliaroni hit a 9th inning grand slam for Boston in this game; seven years later, he caught Catfish Hunter’s perfect game in Oakland.

3) July 28, 2001— Pirates 9, Astros 8— First game of a doubleheader (Houston won the nightcap); Astros led 8-2 after eight innings behind 6.1 strong innings from Roy Oswalt, and three homers from Vinny Castilla, but Pittsburgh scored seven times in the 9th for the win. Brian Giles had three hits, four RBI for Pittsburgh.

From 1996-98, Castilla ht 126 homers in three years for Colorado- he hit 320 career homers.

2) August 21, 1990— Phillies 12, @ Dodgers 11— Homestanding Dodgers led 11-1 after five innings, 11-3 after eight innings, but Philly scored nine times in the 9th inning; John Kruk hit a 3-run homer for the Phils. Mike Scioscia had three hits, four RBI for LA.

Phillies lost eight of their next nine games after this one.

1) June 29, 1952— Cubs 9, @ Reds 8— First game of a doubleheader; Reds led 8-2 after eight innings, but Chicago scored seven runs in the 9th for the win. Dee Fondy had three hits, a homer and three RBI for the Cubs, who improved to 37-29 with thus win, but they finished only 77-77.

Cincy won the nightcap 9-1; they stumbled to a 69-85 record that year. 

Saturday’s Den: Random thoughts on a spring day

13) Back in the late 90’s, I was a Little League coach for a few years; questionable decision, interesting experience.

One night we’re beating this team and their third baseman is having a rough time; the two dugouts were both on the third base side, so you can pretty much hear everything being said.

The other team’s coach is getting on the third baseman pretty good; he is a 12-year old, and I guess more was expected of him. Finally, the kid has enough of being scolded and snaps back:

“Hey!!! You’re the one who put me here!!!”

I had to walk away for 5-10 minutes, couldn’t stop laughing.

12) If there is no baseball this season, then the Dodgers traded three young players for Mookie Betts, David Price, but Betts is a free agent next winter, so he could walk, and LA would’ve been fleeced pretty badly on the deal.

11) Stan Musial is the only major leaguer who got his 3,000th hit as a pinch-hitter.

10) When Joe DiMaggio had his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, there were lot fewer teams, and pitchers went deeper into games; DiMaggio faced a total of only 43 different pitchers in those 56 games.

In 2009, Ryan Zimmerman had a 30-game hitting streak; he faced 90 different pitchers during that streak.

9) Strange stat; in 1986, Darryl Strawberry hit 27 homers, knocked in 93 runs for the World Series champion Mets— he was a powerful hitter, but in August ’86, Strawberry went 0-45 at home, and was often booed at Shea Stadium.

8) Wake Forest basketball coach Steve Forbes offered a 9th grader a scholarship this week; this happens sometimes, because the first team to offer a kid a scholarship usually stays in the chase a little longer than expected, so underdog teams offer early.

7) Long Beach State changed its nickname, from 49ers to Sharks.

6) Chargers have to travel 25,455 miles this season, Chiefs only 15,661, the biggest disparity between any two division rivals in the NFL this season.

5) Jong Hun-Park is a starting pitcher for the KS Wyverns in the KBO; he is a submarine pitcher, which is very unusual for a starter.

I’m watching him pitch and it dawns on me: what the hell is a wyvern?

According to Wikipedia, a wyvern is “…….legendary bipedal dragon with a tail.”

4) Doosan Bears made the K-Series the last five years, going 3-2 in those series.

3) Since 2006, underdogs in Weeks 1-4 of the CFL season are 130-82-2 ATS, but went only 15-16 LY; if there is a CFL season this year, will the early season underdogs bounce back?

2) RIP to former big leaguer Bob Watson, 74, who passed away this week. Watson played 19 years in the major leagues had a career .364 on-base %. He played most of his career for the Astors, and later became a big league general manager.

On May 4, 1975, Watson scored the 1,000,000th run in major league history, which was a big deal for a week or so back then. Good ballplayer. RIP, sir.

1) Words I thought I would never, ever say:

“I really need a haircut”

2 Lists for Friday: My favorite TV shows, and records that will never be broken……

When I was a little kid, I preferred comedies; now I only watch one-hour reruns— watch ballgames and movies the rest of the time. Here are 13 of my all-time favorite TV shows:

13) Without a Trace— Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) runs an FBI unit specializing in missing persons investigations, while his personal life falls apart around him. Sometimes they found the people, sometimes they didn’t, which is part of what made the show so good.

12) Suits— A brilliant young college dropout slips into a job interview with one of New York City’s best legal closers, and talks the guy into hiring him as a lawyer, even though the young man has never gone to law school— he took the bar exam for other people (and passed it) many times, on the sly.

This show ended in part because one of the actresses (Meghan Markle) married a prince from England.

11) Lost In Space— This show was on in the 60’s; a space colony family struggles to survive when a spy/accidental stowaway throws their ship hopelessly off course. Dr Smith (Jonathan Harris) was the annoying stowaway who provided comic relief; his interaction with the Robot (“Danger!!! Danger!!!) were one of the highlights of the show.

One of the prized pieces of my bobblehead collection is a Robot bobblehead.

10) Addams Family— The Addams Family is not your typical family: it takes delight in most of the things of which normal people would be terrified. Gomez Adams (John Astin) is an extremely wealthy man and is able to indulge his wife Morticia’s (Carolyn Jones) every desire, whether it’s cultivation of poisonous plants or a candlelit dinner in a graveyard.

Morticia would read the stock ticker, and if Gomez lost, he would say “Easy come, easy go”

Cousin Itt, Thing, Lurch were all excellent characters. 

1993, I have an emergency appendectomy; I’m in the hospital couple of days. Guy in the next hospital bed is watching Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and when they run the credits at the end of the show, I get kind of excited, because Felix Silla played one of the robots.

Felix Silla played Cousin Itt on the Addams Family; my neighbor wasn’t impressed when I gave him that bit of trivia. The nurse smiled, then checked to see if she gave me too much medication.

9) White Shadow— An NBA player retires and gets a job as a basketball coach in a inner-city high school; the uniforms that Carver High wears in this show are the same ones that the star (Ken Howard) of the show’s team wore in high school on Long Island.

Basketball scenes were very well done.

Bruce Paltrow was the show’s creator; Gwyneth Paltrow’s father. 


8) Green Acres— A New York City attorney (Eddie Albert) and his city-loving wife (Eva Gabor) attempt to live as farmers in the bizarre community of Hooterville. Hank Kimball was my favorite character, playing the bumbling county agent.

My lasting memory of this show is that seemingly every time I had it on, my father would walk in the room and say “Why the hell are you watching this?” Then five minutes later, he’d be laughing harder than I was.

7) Mister Ed— A wisecracking talking horse is the star, but he only talks to the guy who owns the barn he lives in, Wilbur Post (Alan Young). Mister Ed was a big baseball fan; he once took batting practice off of the Dodgers, with Sandy Koufax on the mound.

Good trivia; Dodgers’ CF Willie Davis was Mister Ed’s favorite ballplayer.

6) M*A*S*H— The staff of an Army hospital in the Korean War find that laughter is the best way to deal with their often-horrendous situation.

Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) is the star of the show; Alda was so recognizable as Hawkeye that it probably hurt his acting career after M*A*S*H went off the air— the series finale is one of the most-watched TV shows ever.

Alda played a therapist on Ray Donovan the last couple seasons.

 5) CSI— An elite team of police forensic evidence investigation experts work their cases in Las Vegas; in real life, I searched fingerprints for ten years for the state of New York, so I know a little bit about this line of work, but what attracted me to this show was a) Las Vegas and b) the loyalty the characters had to their co-workers and their jobs.

The eulogy Gil Grissom (William Peterson) gives after Warrick Brown is murdered is one of the great speeches (albeit a short one) in television history. 

4) Billions— Showtime series in its 5th season, a U.S. Attorney goes after a hedge fund king in a battle between two powerful New York figures. Making things sticky is that the attorney’s wife (Maggie Siff) works as a psychologist for the hedge fund guy.

Lot of interesting cameos thru the years; John Malkovich, Kevin Pollak, Eric Bogosian, pro wrestler Becky Lynch, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Durant, Mark Cuban. Great show.

3) Law and Order— 20 years, 456 episodes that follow a crime (usually a murder), usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points, the police investigation and the prosecution in court.

One of the few shows that survived the stars of the show moving on and being replaced by other characters. This show was a launching pad for many acting careers; there are 26 actors who have appeared in Billions who also appeared in at least one episode of Law and Order.

2) Odd Couple— Two divorced friends who are complete opposites share an apartment; one is really neat and stuffy photographer, the other a sloppy, easy-going sportswriter.

1) Magnum PI— The adventures of a Hawaii-based private investigator (Tom Selleck), as he solves cases with the help of his buddies, TC (Roger Mosley) a helicopter pilot, club manager Rick (Larry Manetti) and Higgins (John Hillerman) who runs the estate Magnum lives on.

The parade of beautiful women as guest stars on the show was an 80’s who’s who of  Hollywood: Sharon Stone, Jill St John, Mimi Rogers, Leslie Uggams, Erin Gray, Dana Delany, to name a few.

Frank Sinatra did an episode near the end of the series; Ernest Borgnine, Carol Burnett, Cesar Romero, Ten Danson, Dennis Weaver— a long list of famous guest stars. 

Friday’s List of 13: Records that will probably never be broken……

1) Cy Young won 511 games; he also lost 315. From 1901-03, he won 93 games; none of those things are ever happening again.

2) Vin Scully broadcast Dodger baseball games from 1950-2016; undoubtedly the best baseball announcer ever.

3) Cal Ripken Jr played in 2,632 consecutive games; that ain’t happening again. Might be a while before someone plays in 632 consecutive games.

4) Phil Jackson won 11 NBA titles as a head coach; Red Auerbach won nine, but in an era when players didn’t change teams as much.

Jackson coached Michael Jordan’s Bulls to three straight titles from 1996-98, took a year off, then won three more in a row with the Kobe/Shaq Lakers, from 2000-02.

5) UCLA won seven consecutive national basketball titles. Seven. Then they lost in the national semifinals in double OT the 8th year, and won the title again the next year.

Great college players don’t stay in college for too long these days; sustained success is much more difficult now.

6) From 1959-66, Boston College won eight consecutive NBA titles; they lost the Eastern finals in ’67 to Wilt Chamberlain’s 76ers, the only year Bill Russell didn’t play in the NBA Finals. Russell played 13 years in the NBA, won 11 titles.

7) Wilt Chamberlain had 32 games where he scored 60+ points; this is a guy who shot 51.1% from the foul line for his career- he missed 5,805 free throws in his career, or else he might have had a few more 60+ point games.

8) In 1916, Georgia Tech won a college football game 222-0, over Cumberland College; there are a few D-I teams these days trying to find Cumberland’s phone number so they can schedule a game with them.

9) Nolan Ryan threw seven no-hitters, including one at age 44. Max Scherzer is a really good pitcher these days with 170 wins, but has only 10 career complete games.

10) 109 yards is the longest touchdown in NFL history; can’t be a longer one:
— Antonio Cromartie ran a missed field goal back 109 yards for a TD in 2007.
— Cordarelle Patterson ran a kickoff back 109 yards for a TD in 2013.

11) Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases back in 1982, when he was 23 years old. Takes a lot out of a guy’s legs to run that much, plus you have to be a really good hitter to get on base that much.

Henderson had a .398 on-base %age that year, .401 for his Hall of Fame career. He led the league in stolen bases 11 times.

12) Buffalo Bills won the AFC title four years in a row, very impressive, but then they lost the Super Bowl all four years.

13) Wayne Gretzky dominated hockey so much that in most NHL fantasy leagues, Gretzky was off-limits; whoever drafted him would automatically win. Gretzky scored 2,857 points in his amazing career; next highest in NHL history is Jaromir Jagr, with 1,921. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud

13) NBA TV showed an old documentary the other night on the 1983 NBA Draft, the one with Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton, but they also had some stuff about Rick Carlisle, who surprisingly made the Celtics as a rookie.

They also did a piece on the last player taken in that draft, a guy who played D-III ball at Clark University in Massachusetts— he wound up playing pro ball in Ireland for a while, became a stockbroker in Manhattan, then tragically passed away on 9/11.

If you come across the documentary on NBA TV, it is worth your time.

12) When you live in the house you grew up in, the upstairs (at least in my case) is kind of a big storage locker of my life. Was foraging up there the other day, and found the 1975 Baseball Handbook, a paperback book I would buy every year- it had all the rosters, and write-ups on the 10 or so best players on each team.

I have about 25 years of those books, but this one is special, because on July 19, 1975, my dad took me to Shea Stadium to see a Mets-Braves game, and four Braves signed the book.

11) When you’re 15 years old, a huge baseball fan and your first name is Biff, then the Braves have a backup catcher named Biff Pocoroba, you become a fan, a big fan. I’d clip out all of his good boxscores (he made the 1978 All-Star Game) and keep them in a scrapbook.

My dad surprised me with these tickets; they were right by third base, third row off the field, tremendous seats. Never found out how he got such good seats.

As it turns out, that was the first game Biff Pocoroba started in a week, so I met Vic Correll, the starting catcher instead, as he walked down past us to the left field bullpen. Also met Buzz Capra, Elias Sosa and best of all, an injured outfielder named Dusty Baker.

10) Dusty Baker had a broken wrist, so he took a lot of time signing for fans; when he signed my book, he read the paragraph the guy wrote about him, which I had not read. Turns out the guy ripped him for always being hurt; Dusty laughed it off: “this guy don’t like me!!!”

Anyway, it was a fun day; Biff Pocoroba flied out to the fence in right field against Tom Seaver (ball would have gone out in Atlanta), and to this day, I root for Dusty Baker. Good guy.

9) There was a 1986 Mets-Astros playoff game on TV the other night; Houston was in the National League back then. Astros had those great rainbow-colored jerseys, but the thing that stuck out about this game, played 34 years ago— Joe West was one of the umpires.

Joe West is 67 years old; he was a major league ump when he was 23. Quite a career. 

8) Mets were going to retire Jerry Koosman’s #36 on June 13; Koosman went 48-28 for the Mets from 1968-70, but was only 140-137 overall for New York— he was their #2 starting pitcher for the ’69 Miracle Mets, behind Tom Seaver.

Here’s the thing; how do the Mets retire Koosman’s number before Dwight Gooden’s?

Gooden went 157-85 as a Met, from 1984-94; the ’86 Mets won the World Series. You can say Gooden had a lot of problems off the field, but Koosman did six months in the big house for tax evasion back in 2009, so he’s no angel off the field, either.

7) Last season, Toronto Blue Jays’ rookie Bo Bichette became the first player EVER to hit a double in nine consecutive games, and he did it in his first 13 major league games, which is a pretty impressive feat. 

6) Positive sign for baseball season starting up in a month or so; the factory where they make Louisville Slugger baseball bats re-opened this week.

 5) How is it that Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson has never gotten one vote for NFL MVP? Guy won a Super Bowl, lost another one on the last play- you’d think he’d at least get a vote from a writer in Seattle. Seahawks’ LB Bobby Wagner even got a vote, but not Wilson. 

4) Mid-American Conference made some changes to its basketball tournament format; no more divisions during the season, and only the top eight teams make the MAC tournament.

3) One of the weird consequences of the pandemic seems to be a comeback for drive-in movie theaters, especially in areas with nice weather. There are still one or two of those around here; good way for people to get out without being near other humans.

2) Andre Dawson was a great ballplayer, hit 438 homers in a 21-year career, mostly for the Expos/Cubs. An 8-time All-Star, Dawson was the 1987 MVP, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010— so whats he doing now?

Turns out that Dawson owns a funeral parlor in Richmond Heights, FL; 23 people work for him. Its a business where you never run out of customers, but a bit unusual for a guy who made close to $30M in his playing days to be running a freakin’ funeral parlor. 

1) RIP to the great comedian Jerry Stiller, 92, who passed away over the weekend; he had a great career, first as part of the Stiller & Meara comedy team wth his wife, the late Anne Meara, then later on as part of the cast of Seinfeld. He was married to Ms Meara for 60 years.

RIP, sir; I’m guessing St Peter and the folks up above are about to hear a lot about Jay Buhner. 

2 for Wednesday: NFC trends and Joe’s favorite actors……

Arizona Cardinals:
— Two primetime games are both on road, at Dallas and Seattle.
— Three straight road games, weeks 3-5: Panthers-Jets-Cowboys.
— Arizona is 0-3-1 SU in last four home openers (1-3 ATS).
— Cardinals lost last four road openers, by average score of 31-15.

Atlanta Falcons:
— Two primetime games are both on road, at Green Bay, Seattle.
— Falcons have only four outdoor games this season.
— Atlanta won last three home openers, by 11-7-4 points.
— Falcons are 3-10 ATS in last thirteen road openers.

Carolina Panthers:
— Panthers will see old friend Ron Rivera when they visit the Redskins in Week 16.
— Only primetime game is a Week 8 home game with Atlanta.
— Carolina won five of its last six home openers (4-2 ATS).
— Under is 6-2 in Panthers’ last eight season openers.

Chicago Bears:
— Bears don’t play Green Bay until Week 12, then again in Week 17.
— Four primetime games for Chicago, two at home, two on road.
— Bears lost five of last six home openers (under 4-1-1).
— 16 of Chicago’s last 19 road openers stayed under total.

Dallas Cowboys:
— This will be first time since 2014 their home opener isn’t against the Giants.
— Dallas opens brad-new SoFi Stadium when they visit the Rams in Week 1.
— Cowboys won seven of last nine home openers (3-0-1 ATS last four)
— Dallas covered 10 of its last 13 road openers (5-5 SU last ten).

Detroit Lions:
— Detroit is one of two NFL teams (Redskins) with no primetime games.
— Lions have only one 4:00 game; they are on national TV Thanksgiving Day.
— Detroit won six of its last nine home openers (over 7-3 in last 10).
— Detroit covered three of last four road openers.

Green Bay Packers:
— Have five prime-time games, including Weeks 3-4, at Saints, vs Falcons.
— Won seven in row, 12 of last 13 home openers (10-3 ATS).
— Four of their last five home openers stayed under total.
— Over is 11-3 in Green Bay’s last 14 road openers. 

Los Angeles Rams:
— Three east coast trips in first five games of the season.
— Week 7 Monday night home game, then 1:00 Sunday game in Miami in Week 8.
— Rams won/covered their last five home openers.
— Under McVay, LA is 3-0 in road openers, scoring 34.7 ppg.

Minnesota Vikings:
— Vikings get only two primetime games, both on road (Seattle, Chicago)
— Minnesota has only four outdoor games this season, only one after Week 8 (Tampa)
— Vikings won/covered their last five home openers (under 6-0 last six)
— Minnesota is 4-11-1 SU in last 16 road openers (5-9-2 ATS).

New Jersey Giants:
— This is first time in six years their road opener isn’t in Dallas.
— Giants started out 0-1 seven of last eight years.
— Big Blue’s last six home openers stayed under total.
— Giants are 2-7-1 ATS in last ten road openers.

New Orleans Saints:
— Three primetime games in first five weeks of season.
— Saints lost four of last five home openers (0-5 ATS)
— Average total in their last four home openers: 62.8.
— New Orleans lost seven of last nine road openers.

Philadelphia Eagles
— Eagles have consecutive primetime games vs Giants, Cowboys before their bye.
— Philly has one 1:00 game after Thanksgiving; they play at 4:25 four weeks in row.
— Eagles won last four home openers, but are 3-8 ATS in last 11.
— Under is 3-1-1 in their last five road openers.

San Francisco 49ers
— 49ers have consecutive games in New Jersey, in Weeks 2-3.
— Niners have five primetime games, four of them at home.
— Five of their last six home openers stayed under the total.
— 49ers lost five of last seven road openers; they’re 9-5 ATS in last 14.

Seattle Seahawks
— Four primetime games, three of them at home.
— Host Giants/Jets in consecutive games, Weeks 13-14.
— Under is 16-2-1 in Seattle’s last 19 home openers.
— Seahawks won their last 11 home openers (8-3 ATS).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— In their history, Bucs have won six playoff games; Brady has six Super Bowl rings.
— From Weeks 5-11, Tampa Bay is in primetime five of seven games.
— Bucs lost five of their last seven home openers.
— Tampa Bay won four of its last five road openers.

Washington Redskins
— No primetime games, only three 4:25 games.
— Weeks 12-14, they play three in row on road: Dallas, Steelers, 49ers.
— Washington lost five in row, seven of last eight home openers.
— Redskins covered their last four road openers.