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

NBA stuff on hoops page……..We have great baseball info every day!!!!

Monday’s 6-pack
SouthPoint released college over/under win totals for football season:
— Colorado 4
— Georgia 10.5, over -$115
— Houston 7.5, over -$115
— Utah 7
— Washington 10.5, under -$120
— West Virginia 7, under -$120

Quote of the Day
“We have an opportunity to play for a championship. It doesn’t matter what the story line is going to be, it doesn’t matter if we’re picked to win or not. I’m the wrong guy to ask. I just like to compete.”
Lebron James, who is good at basketball

Monday’s quiz
When Michael Jordan played minor league baseball, who was his manager? 

Sunday’s quiz
James Harden played his college basketball at Arizona State. 

Saturday’s quiz
Seahawks/Mariners used to play their home games in the Kingdome. 

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

13) Indians 10, Astros 9 (14)- Emotions ran high in this game; Houston manager AJ Hinch got tossed by the home plate ump while there was a 3-0 count on his batter at the plate in the 6th inning. 

Previous batter had been called out on a close pitch. 

Jose Altuve drilled the first pitch after the ejection for a triple. It was Altuve’s 9th consecutive hit- he later added his 10th consecutive hit, but the Cleveland CF made a sliding catch to end the streak in the ninth inning. 

12) Walt Dropo holds the MLB record with 12 consecutive hits, in 1952. Dropo knocked in 144 runs as a Boston rookie in 1950, but in his 13-year career, he never knocked in 100+ runs again.

11) Cleveland bullpen has struggled; Terry Francona left Trevor Bauer in to throw 127 pitches in a game they led 3-2 in 8th inning. the reliever came in, threw eight pitches, and it became 5-3, and later 8-3, which made it obvious why Francona is reluctant to change pitchers.

Astros then blew an 8-3 lead in 9th inning and lost it on a walk-off homer in 14th inning. 

10) Over is 15-1 in the Indians’ last 16 home games.

9) There is a race car driver named Will Power; he won the Indianapolis 500 Sunday. Feel free to make your own jokes.

8) Not to say the Padres are hurting for pitching, but they traded for Phil Hughes, who the Twins had DFA’d earlier this week. Hughes’ ERA’s the last three years: 5.95, 5.87, 6.75.

7) Ronald Acuna left Sunday’s game with knee/lower back pain after he ran out an infield single in Boston. It looked really bad, but the initial reports weren’t as bad; he hyperextended the knee.

6) Oakland A’s have only 18 home runs in the Coliseum this year, but 47 on the road.

5) The guy that founded ESPN over 40 years ago did so after he was fired as Communications Director of the NHL’s Hartford Whalers. One door closes, another opens.

4) Colorado Rockies are 15-7 when backup catcher Tony Walters starts. 

3) Zach Greinke has thrown 151 innings since the last time he allowed a stolen base. 

2) Rays’ pitcher Austin Pruitt got a rare 5-inning save for Tampa Bay Sunday; the last pitcher to throw 5+ innings and get a regular season save was Joaquin Benoit in September 2002- he threw seven innings in his save. 

1) Cavaliers 87, Celtics 79— Pretty solid day in Cleveland Sunday; Indians rally back from down five runs in 9th to win, then Cavaliers win a Game 7 in Boston. 

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

13) Warriors 115, Rockets 86— Golden State outscored Houston 93-47 over the final three quarters, 64-25 in second half. Game 7 is Monday in Houston; the health of Chris Paul’s legs will obviously determine whether the Rockets have a chance or not. 

12) This is first time since 1979 that both conference finals will go to a seventh game. 

11) Houston’s PJ Tucker played 87 college games for Texas; he was 2-4 behind the arc in those 87 games, but he’s worked like hell on improving his game. 

In the NBA, Tucker is 436 for 1,225 behind the arc (35.6%); he shot 37.1% on 3’s this season. He’s worked his butt off and now he makes $8M a year playing ball. Good for him. 

10) Madison Bumgarner struck out eight of 12 hitters he faced in his first rehab game; he only threw 47 pitches, so he may have one more rehab game before the Giants activate him. 

9) Mike Trout’s on-base %age the last three years: .441, .442, .461

8) Russell Martin played shortstop for Toronto Saturday, his first appearance at short in 1,555 major league games. He’s played third base in 33 games. 

7) There are only three major leaguers this year who have 10+ homers and 10+ stolen bases: Mookie Betts, Mike Trout and White Sox SS Tim Anderson. 

6) When Mets’ SS Amed Rosario walked in the 5th inning Saturday, it was his first walk in his last 92 plate appearances. 

5) 45-year old Bartolo Colon throws fastballs 83% of the time, the highest %age of any starting pitcher in the big leagues. 

4) Reds 6, Rockies 5— Colorado had bases loaded, none out in 9th inning, didn’t score- they hit into a line drive DP to end game, the 5th double play they hit into in the game. 

3) Reds’ 2B Scooter Gennett had the second 5-hit game of his career Saturday; the first one included four homers and 10 RBI. 

2) Greedy bastard update: Mobil station on corner of Wolf/Sand Creek in my town raised the price of gas 20 cents a gallon this week, because it is Memorial Day weekend. It is $3.05 there, it is $2.89 at the Mobil station a half-mile away at the corner of Central/Fuller. 

1) San Diego 3B Christian Villanueva hit two homers last night, is 2nd in the NL in homers, behind only Bryce Harper.

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

13) James Harden has missed his last 20 shots behind the arc; during that time, Houston has still outscored the Warriors by 12 points. Go figure. 

12) Rockets’ star Chris Paul (hamstring) is out for Saturday’s Game 6 at Golden State.

11) Sunday afternoon was supposed to be Tanaka vs Ohtani in the Bronx, but the Angels scratched Ohtani from the start, saying “they are just managing his workload.”

Ohtani has thrown 40.1 innings in seven starts this year, not really that big a workload. Am guessing the TV people in Japan are upset; Tanaka-Ohtani would be big ratings in Japan. 

10) Milwaukee Brewers are 32-20, in first place in NL Central, but they’ve been shut out in nine of their 20 losses, which means they’re 32-11 when they score at least one run.

9) Eli Manning has a contract with memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports to sell some of his game-worn stuff — he was accused of defrauding collectors by selling equipment that he never actually wore, but he recently settled the suit out of court. In other words, Eli is a greedy creep. 

While Manning bought his way out of the suit, the Giants fired three employees who worked on the team’s equipment staff. It is good to be rich- they only fire the worker bees. 

8) Back when the Giants had training camp here in Albany, a friend of mine’s son asked Eli to sign a mini-helmet for him. Eli said yes, but he wouldn’t sign with a silver Sharpie, he insisted on signing with a black Sharpie, which doesn’t show up as well on the dark blue helmet. 

Apparently the only time he uses a silver Sharpie is if he is getting paid to sign stuff for Steiner Sports. 

7) Giants’ Gorkys Hernández had the most plate appearances without a home run last season (348); he already has five homers this season. 

6) Red Sox activated Dustin Pedroia from the DL, DFA’d Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez was 302 PA away from his $22M option kicking in for 2019, so they told him to…..take a hike. 

5) Mariners traded for Tampa Bay closer Alex Colome and CF Denard Span. giving up pitchers Andrew Moore, Tommy Romero. Moore is 1-5, 5.34 in 11 MLB games (9 starts), none this year. 

Span will play CF with Dee Gordon likely moving back to 2B until Robinson Cabo’s 80-game suspension is over. Mariners add $9M in salary with this movie, but they saved $12M when Cano got suspended. 

4) Going into Friday’s games, Mets were on pace to have the lowest OPS from the cleanup spot in the history of baseball, which obviously isn’t good. OPS is on-base %age plus slugging percentage. 

3) Going into Friday’s games, major league home teams are winning only 49% of the time this season; there has never been a season where home teams lost more games than they won. 

2) Before the playoff game Friday night. a gambler at SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas bet $100K on the Cavaliers to win their series vs Boston at +$165. Same bettor also put $25K on Cleveland to win NBA title at 18-1, and another $25K at 15/1.

1) Last time both NBA conference finals went seven games was 1979; Sonics-Bullets was the NBA Finals, the year before Bird-Magic. Could happen again this year. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff after a fun vacation…….

13) Rockets 98, Warriors 94— Golden State’s bench was a combined 2-8 from floor in 53:00 in this game; I didn’t think Houston could beat the Warriors unless they outran them, but they held Golden State to 92-94 points in their last two games. 

In their three series wins, Houston has taken 123 3-pointers, 122 2-pointers; in Golden State’s two wins, Rockets have taken 71 treys and 95 2-point shots. Harden was 0-11 behind the arc in this game, but his team leads series, 3-2. 

12) Again, in their three wins, Houston has taken 81.7 shots/game; in their losses, 83, so they’re winning with their defensive performance, which is a big surprise. 

11) Had an excellent conversation in the Westgate SuperBook Wednesday night with a smart bettor who retired from the military and now lives in Las Vegas. He likes to play parlays and explained to me why; he knows a lot about soccer (I know NOTHING). Learned a lot from talking to him.

10) My godson Tom knows a lot about soccer; he likes Belgium in the World Cup. 

9) There have been 23 baseball games this season where a pitcher had a no-hitter going thru six innings. That seems like a lot. 

Thru Wednesday, the MLB batting average was .244; last time a full season ended with a batting average that low was 1972, the year before the DH came into being. 

8) UConn totally dominates women’s college basketball, so I’m wondering, how many UConn players are in the 12-team WNBA? Must be two or three per team, no? 

Turns out there are currently 17 UConn alumni in the 12-team WNBA. 1.4 per team. 

7) SEC-Big X college basketball challenge this winter has some solid matchups: West Virginia-Tennessee, Florida-TCU, Kansas-Kentucky being three of the best. 

6) Baseball’s amateur draft is coming up; apparently it is very wide open this year. Detroit has the first pick and consensus is they’re still torn on who their #1 pick will be. Unusual. 

5) New England Patriots were practicing in OTA’s in number-less jerseys; the NFL told them to grow up and put numbers on, so Belichick had them wear numbers they won’t (can’t) wear in regular season games. Do rival teams spy on OTA’s? 

4) Orioles’ Dylan Bundy is 2-1, 2.86 in three starts since he gave up seven runs on 28 pitches in a hideous start against the Royals earlier this month. 

3) Since 1970, 50 QB’s were taken in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft; of those 50, 42 started at least one NFL regular season game. Christian Hackenberg hasn’t even gotten into a game yet; I’m curious why the Raiders traded for him this week. 

2) Last year, Oakland averaged 4.14 points less per game than their weekly over/under; Atlanta averaged 4.06 less points per game. Falcons were an “over” machine in 2016; last year, not so much.

1) Indians’ Trevor Bauer and Astros’ Gerrit Cole played college baseball together at UCLA- they did not get along well.

Says Bauer: “We had a rocky relationship in college, because he told me that I had no future in baseball and he insulted my work ethic as a freshman.” Alrighty then.

The two hurlers face each other in Cleveland Sunday. 

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

13) When I was lucky enough to be an assistant high school basketball coach a long time ago, the time during the National Anthem was special to me; it allowed me to collect my thoughts about what was about to happen, and to appreciate the blessings I have. It was a good two or three minutes to get my mind organized.  

12) My take on the National Anthem issue in the NFL and my opinion on this is pretty much my opinion on most things in this country:

Its a free bleepin’ country. Let people do what they want, within reason.

Freedom of speech, freedom of expression is a vital part of our democracy. I would never kneel during the National Anthem, but I respect another person’s right to do so. But thats me. 

11) In his last six starts, Jacob deGrom has allowed one run in 33.1 IP; he’s won two of the six games. Mets’ bullpen did him in again last night, blowing a 9th inning lead in a 2-1 loss.

10) Paul Zimmerman was a really good football writer for Sports Illustrated; his advice to young football writers? 

“Talk to the offensive linemen; there won’t be crowds around them, and they know why everything happens.”

9) The NHL commercial where the all-time stars of the game spell out their last names is a great one; the pride that comes with having your name etched on the Stanley Cup is special. 

8) Albany Great Danes’ basketball team is heading to Northern Ireland for an 8-team tournament in late November. I’d prefer Hawai’i or Las Vegas to Ireland, but no one asked me. 

7) Aaron Judge went into a slump after the All-Star break last year, so he’ll be skipping the Home Run Derby in Washington in July. 

6) My plan to re-align the major leagues, by geography:
Division A: both NYC teams, Red Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays
Division B: Rays, Marlins, Braves, Orioles, Nationals
Division C: Pirates, Indians, Tigers, Twins, Brewers

Division D: Cubs, White Sox, Cardinals, Royals, Reds
Division E: Rockies, Mariners, Rangers, Astros, Diamondbacks
Division F: A’s, Giants, Dodgers, Angels, Padres

5) Travel costs would go down a lot; now if MLB expands to 32 teams soon, and it sounds like they might, then it becomes eight 4-team divisions. Portland, OR and Montreal are listed as the frontrunners for expansion teams. 

4) From SI.com: Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells and Hank Aaron both homered off former major league pitcher Al Downing, Parcells in an American Legion game in a high school game in New Jersey, Aaron with his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974.

3) White Sox catcher Welington Castillo is done for 80 games after flunking a PED test; bad news for the Pale Hose and also my fantasy team, which doesn’t need any more bad news. 

2) Washington 4, Tampa Bay 0— Congrats to Alex Ovechkin on making his first Stanley Cup final; he’s led the NHL in goals seven times. Good to see him get a shot on this great stage. 

1) If you enjoy gambling, you should make a trip to Las Vegas and visit the SuperBook here. Great place to watch games. You can wager on just about anything you like. Baseball, NHL, NBA, golf, soccer and of course, football and college hoop. Very fun place to hang out. 

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

13) Rockets 95, Warriors 92— Houston held Golden State to 12 4th-quarter points as they evened Wester finals 2-2. 

Rockets’ PJ Tucker didn’t score a basket (0-4) but he grabbed 16 rebounds and was +7 in 44:08, which means Houston was outscored by 10 points in the 3:52 he sat out. 

12) A gutty gambler dropped $50,000 on the Rockets to win the NBA title at 10-1 at the SouthPoint Casino Tuesday. Later on Tuesday, someone put $10,000 on the Rockets to win Game 4, at a +$400 money line. 

11) Michigan Wolverines opened as a 7-point underdog at Notre Dame this coming football season; they’re now a 1-point favorite.

10) Tampa Bay Rays brought SS prospect Willie Adames up Tuesday; he got to the ballpark a half hour before the game, but still started and homered off of Chris Sale. 

9) On May 22, 1990, the Reds lost 3-1 in 16 innings to the Cubs; Cincy walked Andre Dawson intentionally five times that day. 

Who was batting behind Dawson? Former big league manager Lloyd McClendon was 0-6, then Dave Clark went 1-2 

Cincinnati wound up winning the World Series that year. 

8) Seattle Mariners put CF Dee Gordon (toe) on the DL. Tigers’ P Matthew Boyd left with an oblique injury after allowing one hit in four IP at Minnesota. 

7) Chargers’ TE Hunter Henry tore his ACL, is done for 2018. 

6) Reds 7, Pirates 2— Matt Harvey wins his home debut for the Reds, allowing one run in six IP. Devin Mesoraco is playing well for the Mets, so a good trade for both teams. 

5) Jets traded QB Christian Hackenberg to Oakland for a 7th-round pick. Hackenberg suited up for five games with the Jets, but never took a snap. 

4) Orioles’ SS Manny Machado is married to the sister of Indians’ 1B Yonder Alonso. 

3) Someone didn’t vote for Jayson Tatum on the NBA’s all-rookie team; whoever that is should lose their right to vote. 

2) Mets signed OF Jose Bautista not long after the Braves cut him; he batted 5th, and scored the Mets’ only run in a 5-1 loss to the Marlins. 

1) Super Bowl champ Eagles released starting LB Michael Kendricks Tuesday; he had been with the club the last six seasons. 

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

13) Major League Baseball has something they need to clean up, for their own good, if they  want to promote their product. I’m thinking it would be a pretty simple fix. 

There was one 10pm Eastern time game Monday night; Rockies-Dodgers, but the game wasn’t shown in the Westgate SuperBook because Dodger games are blacked out in Las Vegas. Why? 

12) LA and Las Vegas are 265 miles apart, a 4-hour drive; why in God’s name would Dodger games be blacked out here? 

There were over 100 people in the SuperBook when the NBA game ended Monday; lot of them would’ve stuck around and watched the ballgame, and thats good for the sport, but they all either went home or played blackjack or whatever. 

They’re playing ballgames in Japan and England next year, to “grow the game”. How about showing the Dodgers in Las Vegas? That would grow the game, too. 

11) Was playing video poker Monday and was talking to a guy who is a Chicago cop; good guy. He told me the Westgate comps him his room because he plays video poker for ten hours at a time. Ten hours!!!! I wouldn’t be able to see the screen after half that long. 

10) SuperBook had ESPN’s volume on Monday night; the 90 minutes before the Celtics-Cavs game was a seemingly eternal pre-game show. I mean, a 2-hour game doesn’t need a 90-minute pregame show, where very little, if anything new is ever said. 

Best of the on-air personalities is Jalen Rose, who actually says stuff you can learn from, or will at least make you think. He claimed Monday night that Kyrie Irving won’t be happy if Boston wins the NBA title with him sitting out, since it would increase the chances that he would have to move elsewhere when his contract comes up. 

Interesting theory; not sure if it is true, but it something to consider going forward.

9) 19-year old Juan Soto hit his first major league homer for the Nationals Monday night; he started this season in A ball, got only 35 plate appearances in AA before getting the call to the major leagues. 

If Soto does real well in Washington, it’ll put pressure on Toronto’s brass to promote their #1 prospect, 19-year old Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who is batting .421 in the AA Eastern League. Thats .421 in 39 games, roughly 25% of a season.

8) Orioles 3, White Sox 2— Chicago had guys on 1st and 3rd, two out and Jose Abreu up in the 9th inning; he was quickly walked intentionally, which isn’t a surprise. Abreu is the White Sox’ best hitter, and Buck Showalter doesn’t let the other team’s best hitter beat him, if he can help it. 

When he was managing Arizona, Showalter once walked Barry Bonds intentionally in the ninth inning, with the bases loaded and the Diamondbacks nursing a 2-run lead. He walked a guy with bases loaded!!! Next guy lined out to right to end the game, by the way. 

7) Nationals 10, Padres 2— Padres’ 22-year old prospect Franmil Reyes hit his first big league homer Monday night in Washington; he is 3 for 20 in his first seven MLB games. He had 14 HR’s in 130 AB’s in AAA ball this season, before he was called up. 

Reyes is listed at 6-5, 275; he looks bigger than that; his future may be as a DH. He didn’t look so good playing right field Monday. 

6) Washington 3, Tampa Bay 0— Golden Knight fans were delighted when Washington won and forced a Game 7, while the Las Vegas team rests its tired legs. 

5) Cavaliers 111, Celtics 102— This was by far the best game of this round of the playoffs, and it wasn’t that good. Home teams are 6-1 SU/ATS in the conference finals so far. 

4) Phillies 3, Braves 0— Atlanta got shut out only once in its first 42 games; they’ve been blanked twice in their last four games. 

3) 53% of NBA players have played in the G-League, which surprised me. 

2) New Jersey Giants’ coach Pat Shurmur threw out the first pitch at a Mets’ game this weekend, after they were turned down by #1 draft pick Saquon Barkley, who was born in the Bronx and has different baseball allegiances. 

1) Something I’m curious about but will probably never know: when good players leave the Patriots and go play somewhere else, are they happier away from Foxboro?

I’m not inferring they are or aren’t, other than I’ve read some stuff lately that suggests that maybe some guys are. Brady/Gronkowski aren’t at OTA’s this week; thats not a good sign. 

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

13) In 2003, 44 starting pitchers threw 200+ innings in the major leagues. Last year, 15 pitchers threw 200+ innings. Pitchers are getting like race horses; way less durable. 

12) Tampa Bay Rays are doing something different this year; with Archer-Snell-Faria their only three regular starting pitchers, they’re patching together the other games using their bullpen, even starting the same pitcher (Sergio Romo) in games Saturday/Sunday over the weekend. 

So far, the Rays are 6-9 in the bullpen games. 

11) Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault is the first NHL player ever to score a goal in the first minute of a playoff game, and also in the last minute of the same game. 

10) A golfer named Michael Arnaud on the web.com tour shot a 27 for nine holes this weekend; his first seven holes went: birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie- he shot 60 on the day.

9) Braves 10, Marlins 9— Atlanta scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. 

8) Cubs split a twinbill in Cincinnati Saturday; they went 3-27 with runners in scoring position in the two games. No bueno. 

7) HBO’s Hard Knocks should do training camp with Hamilton TigerCats of the CFL; Johnny Manziel is one the QB’s and 75-year old Jerry Glanville is the defensive coordinator, which means he’ll be leaving tickets for Elvis Presley at TiCat games all over Canada. 

6) PJ Tucker is a key player for the Houston Rockets now, but from 2007-12, he played pro ball in six different countries, improving his game, preparing himself for his big chance, and when it came, boy was he ready. 

5) A 93-year old guy in Ohio got his first hole-in-one last week, after playing golf for 65 years.

4) Golden Knights 3, Jets 2— Las Vegas is mad about hockey; everywhere you go, there are tons of people here watching Knights’ games. An expansion team playing for a title is a great story. 

3) Mariners 3, Tigers 2 (11)— Francisco Liriano had a no-hitter going in 8th inning, but then Mitch Haniger tied the game with a homer off a reliever in the 8th inning. 

2) A’s 9, Blue Jays 2— Oakland wraps up a stretch of 13 games against Houston-NY-Boston and Toronto, with last 10 of those games on the road and they went 7-6, 7-3 on the road trip. 

1) One thing about Las Vegas sportsbooks; every time I wear a golf shirt from a college, and I mean every time, at least a couple people will comment on whichever team’s shirt I’m wearing, which leads to interesting conversations.

Saturday night it was an LSU shirt, Sunday a USC shirt. Doesn’t matter which team. 

May 17, 1979: Phillies 23, Cubs 22….a recap

On May 17, 1979, Phillies beat the Cubs 23-22 in 10 innings, in one of the strangest games ever:

13) Phillies were 24-10 at the time; Chicago was 16-16. Cubs had 26 hits in the game, Phils had 24. 

12) The game was 7-6 Phillies, after the first inning. Somewhere, someone bet the under in this game. 

11) Phillies starting pitcher Randy Lerch homered in the top of the first inning, never finished the bottom of the first. Both starting pitchers got only one out before being removed. 

10) Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt hit 3rd/4th in Phillies’ order; they combined to score seven runs and knock in eight. Light-hitting Larry Bowa was 5 for 8 in the game. 

9) Bob Boone was 3-4 with five RBI’s; his son Aaron is now the manager in the Bronx. Boone and Schmidt were both walked intentionally twice. 

8) Reliever Tug McGraw faced 10 batters; seven of them scored. McGraw is the father of the great singer Tim McGraw. 

7) 22 of the first 53 Cubs who came to bat scored, but Rawly Eastwick slammed the door shut in the last two innings, retiring all six Cubs he faced. 

6) Donnie Moore faced 14 batters and seven of them scored, but he did hit a triple, one of his two career three-baggers. 

5) Phillies led this game 21-9 in the 5th inning but Cubs tied the game off of Ron Reed in the 8th inning; Reed pitched 19 years in the major leagues and also played 119 games for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons from 1965-67. 

4) Dave Kingman hit three homers for the Cubs; Bill Buckner knocked in seven runs, seven years before his infamous error in the ’86 World Series. 

3) Phillies went home the next day and got swept in a 3-game series by the Expos. Chicago lost its next four games after this one. 

2) 1979 turned out to be the only year in a six-year stretch where the Phillies missed the playoffs; they finished 84-78, the Cubs 80-82. 

Phillies fired manager Danny Ozark late in 1979, hired Dallas Green and won the ’80 World Series. 

1) Naysayers like to criticize baseball now but attendance that day was 14,952; when was last time the Cubs drew less than 15,000 for a home game? 

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

13) Solid food recommendation here in Las Vegas: Villa Pizzeria on Durango Drive. Really good pizza, and not expensive at all. Nice people work there and they had four TV’s in there showing the Golden Knights’ game. One of best pizzas I’ve ever had. 

12) National League hasn’t won the season series from the AL since 2003; they’re off to a 37-16 lead so far this season. 

11) Talk about how fragile life is: Texas governor Green Abbott uses a wheelchair. Why? 

Back in the 80’s, when Abbott was a law student, he went out jogging one day and a tree fell on him, severely injuring his spine, which is why he has used a wheelchair ever since. What are the odds that someone goes out jogging and gets hit by a damn falling tree? 

10) Major league record for most one-hitter thrown by one team in same season? 

The 2015 Cleveland Indians threw six one-hitters. 

9) Former Louisville AD Tom Jurich gets $4.5M from the school to take a hike. I mean, the guy got fired and still gets $4.5M. 

8) Texas center Mo Bamba has a wingspan of 7-feet, 10 inches, the longest wingspan ever recorded at the NBA Combine. 

7) Orioles won 7-4 in Boston Friday, snapping a 13-game road losing streak. Boston is 13-13 since starting the season 17-2. 

6) QB Blake Barnett will be eligible to play ball at South Florida this year, after going to Alabama and Arizona State; he started the first game of Alabama’s 2016 season but was benched before halftime of their opener with USC and never got his job back.  

5) In their history, NHL’s Washington Capitals are 3-5 in series when they grabbed a 2-0 series lead. By way of comparison, Montreal is 51-5 in series that they led 2-0. 

4) Ohio State graduate transfer quarterback Joe Burrow has committed to finishing out his collegiate career at LSU; he’ll have two years to play in Baton Rouge. LSU beat out Cincinnati for the young man’s services. 

3) NFL star JJ Watt is going to pay for all ten funerals of the people who were murdered in Texas Friday. Watt is a great football player but a way better person. 

2) I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something else about the shooting in Texas Friday; as Americans, it is our duty to speak our minds, while we still have the right to do so.

It makes me want to puke to hear a politician invoke religion, or God, or “Sorry for your loss” after the 22nd school shooting this year. It is May 19, so in 138 days, we’ve had 22 shootings in a school. If you’re bad at Math, thats one every 6.27 days.

Hanging flags at half-staff means jack; tightening the gun laws would mean a whole lot more. Other countries have virtually eliminated these types of murders. Why can’t we?

1) Our politicians are so damn corrupt that even though ONE OF THEIR OWN SENATORS GOT SHOT last year, they are still in the NRA’s pocket. They should all be ashamed of themselves. 

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

13) I’d like to thank Ken Thomsen of SportsXRadio and Andy Iskoe for having me on as a guest last night on their excellent radio program. 

You know what? If you go to SportsXradio.com, you can listen to an archived recording of the show. Even better? I’ll be on the show again tonight; sports talk radio at its finest!!! 🙂

12) Vegas Golden Knights are a great story, an expansion team that is six wins away from winning the Stanley Cup, but what about these Winnipeg Jets? 

Before this season, the Atlanta Thrashers/Jets franchise had a combined record of 0-8 in Stanley Cup playoff games over their first 17 years. They’re a pretty good story, too.

11) We’re going to learn a lot more about Baker Mayfield this summer; HBO’s Hard Knocks will be covering the Cleveland Browns this summer. 

10) NBA prospect Luka Doncic told reporters he’s still undecided about whether he’ll stay in the EuroLeague or join the NBA team that drafts him in June. He still has two games left in his season, so maybe he is just putting an announcement off until this season is finished. 

9) First five picks in the 2008 NBA Draft:
1— Bulls-Derrick Rose
2— Heat-Michael Beasley
3— Wolves-OJ Mayo (traded to Memphis)
4— Sonics (Thunder)-Russell Westbrook
5— Grizzlies-Kevin Love (traded to Minnesota)
35— Clippers-Deandre Jordan

8) From 2007-17, Robinson Cano played 1,744 games at second base, the most-ever games by a second baseman over an 11-year span. Nellie Fox held the old record, playing 1,701 games from 1952-62. 

7) If/when the Orioles trade Manny Machado, that will be the most pivotal transaction of the summer; Baltimore is 13-29, going nowhere, can they upgrade their future by getting some prospects for Machado, who is a free agent after this season?

6) Seattle Seahawks spent only $6.2M on their offensive line LY, least in the NFL.  

5) Steven Souza Jr was miked during Sunday night’s game; we could listen to him as he played in right field. Think this is a wave of the future, trying to make the game more viewer-friendly. 

4) How weird is it that part of this Michael Cohen/FBI investigation includes Ice Cube’s Big 3 half-court basketball league, and foreign investors in that league? 

3) Who would’ve thought that on the morning of May 17, more than 25% of the way thru the baseball season, that the Dodgers/Marlins would have the same record? 16-26 ain’t good, but at least Miami was expected to be bad. 

Dodgers beat Miami Thursday, are now 17-26, but they’re struggling badly. 

2) I’m walking thru the Westgate Casino Wednesday night, going to get dinner and I walk right by Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders, who will be the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020 or 2021. This does not seem like the kind of hotel an NFL owner would be staying in. 

Saw him again Thursday afternoon; there are people who live in the Westgate, maybe he is one of those people. 

1) Best $8 I spent so far this week was for the WiFi on my flight west, which made the flight seem a lot shorter. 

Thursday’s List of 13: NFC trends for 2018……

Arizona— Cardinals won four of their last five post-bye games. 

Atlanta— Falcons are 12-2 vs spread in last 14 home openers; under is 10-3 in their last 13 road openers. 

Carolina— Panthers open at home for only 2nd time in last seven years; they’re 0-5 last five times they started season at home. Carolina’s last Week 1 home win was in 2003. 

Chicago— Bears open on road for only 2nd time in last nine years; they’re 2-5 in last seven road openers. Under is 12-2 in their last 14 road openers. 

Dallas— Cowboys played Giants in Week 1 five of last six years; they host Big Blue in Week 2 this year. Dallas covered nine of last 11 road openers. Under is 5-2 in their last seven home openers. 

Detroit— Lions won five of their last seven home openers; over is 6-2 in their last eight. Detroit started season 1-0 six of last seven years. 

Green Bay— Packers won 10 of their last 11 home openers. Over is 10-2 in their last 12 road openers. Green Bay is 0-5 vs spread in last five pre-bye games. 

LA Rams— Rams won five of their last six home openers; they’re 2-14 in last 16 road openers, 3-15 vs spread in last 18. LA is 8-2-1 vs spread in last 11 post-bye games. 

Minnesota— Vikings won eight of their last nine pre-bye games (9-0 vs spread); they’re 2-7 vs spread in last nine post-bye road games. Minnesota won/covered its last three home openers. Under is 10-4 in their last 14 road openers. 

NJ Giants— Giants lost five of their last six home openers (0-6 vs spread); five of those six games stayed under. This will be first time in six years Big Blue opens the season at home; they open against Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars. 

New Orleans— Saints lost their last three home openers, six of last seven road openers- they started last four seasons 0-1. Saints are 7-1-1 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Philadelphia— Eagles won eight of their last nine road openers, three of last four home openers. Under is 7-3-1 in their last 11 home openers. Philly is 7-3 vs spread in its last 10 pre-bye games. 

San Francisco— 49ers won six of last nine home openers (7-2 vs spread), last four of which stayed under. Niners are 0-5-1 SU, 0-6 vs spread in last six post-bye games; they won/covered six of last eight pre-bye games. 

Seattle— Seahawks open on road for 6th time in last eight years; they lost their first road game 10 of last 11 years; they’re 1-12 vs spread in last 13 road openers. Seahawks won last nine home openers (7-2 vs spread). Seattle won its last seven pre-bye games (6-1 vs spread). 

Tampa Bay— Bucs lost four of last five home openers; they didn’t play in Week 1 LY because of a hurricane. Over is 7-3 in their last ten home openers. Tampa Bay is 8-4 vs spread in last dozen post-bye games. 

Washington— Redskins lost five of their last six home openers; they’re 2-6 vs spread last eight times they were favored in a home opener. Redskins are 3-6-1 vs spread in last 10 pre-bye games, 2-7 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

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

13) I usually have a great time sitting in the sportsbook here at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas; usually find lot of interesting people to talk to. Comfortable chairs, big screens to watch the games on. Had great fun watching games Monday, but last night……..

I’m sitting there last night, and this guy sits in the chair next to me, on my right; within 90 seconds, he starts in by criticizing every team he has bet on. For the next two hours, I heard in loud and obscene terms:

— Washington Caps pass too much in the offensive zone.
— Mike Matheny doesn’t know how to make a lineup.
— Matt Carpenter shouldn’t bat 2nd.
— The Flaherty kid pitching for St Louis should be in AAA.
— Matt Chapman sucks as a third baseman.
— Matt Carpenter shouldn’t be playing.
— Daniel Mengden can’t field his position. And on and on………..

12) Now two of those guys play for the Oakland A’s, and if you know me, you know I’ve been an A’s fan since 1965, when Phil Roof was the A’s catcher and Jose Tartabull played the outfield. I love the freakin’ A’s. I’m biting my tongue so hard with this guy it hurts. 

He bet the Cardinals and A’s in the first five innings; both bets win, but he doesn’t say one positive word about either team. He loses his NHL wager. I am considering whether he has Tourette’s syndrome or is just a degenerative gambler without any filter at all. 

11) He blurts out “Winner, winner, chicken dinner” as the 5th inning ends in the A’s game, and goes to cash his ticket. I say to him “Mengden won the game for you” and he protests with a profanity (“He can’t field his (bleep)ing position”) as he storms off, never to be seen again. 

Should’ve said something about an hour earlier…….

10) Robinson Cano gets an 80-game suspension for failing a drug test; weird timing, since he broke his hand Sunday, and the suspension/injury will be served at same time. Cano will be eligible again in late August, but if Seattle makes the playoffs, he is ineligible to play in them. 

Cano loses roughly $11.85M with the suspension; Mariners can use that money to try and replace him, or fortify their team somewhere else. Seattle is 24-17 with roughly 25% off the season gone; they’re half-game out of the 2nd Wild Card spot. 

9) David Tepper, a billionaire hedge-fund manager who owned a small part of the Steelers, will buy the Carolina Panthers for $2.2B or so and keep the team in Charlotte. Mr Tepper is said to be paying cash to buy the team. 2.2 billion dollars. In cash. 

I can barely afford a team in my fantasy league. Good for him. 

8) Supreme Court has opened the door for states other than Nevada to start taking bets on sports; New Jersey is already rumored to be starting on Memorial Day. 

7) New York-Washington baseball game was suspended in the middle of the 6th inning last night, with game 3-3; it’ll be resumed at 5:05 ET today, and then the regularly-scheduled game will be played. 

Orioles-Phillies got rained out last night; that game will be made up July 12. 

6) Guy named Tom Haberstroh is a better man than I am; he counted how many times each team dribbled in the Rockets-Warriors game Monday. Houston 1,105, Warriors 812. 

Point being that part of Golden State’s greatness is that they get great spacing and they find open men quickly with passes, the way basketball should be played. Plus the open men they find can all shoot, otherwise it would be pointless to get them the ball. 

5) Phoenix Suns won the NBA Lottery, so they get the first pick in the draft; seeing as they already hired a foreign-born coach who was once coached international prospect Luka Doncic on a national team, you’d think he’ll be the choice, yes? 

But Deandre Ayton played one season for the Arizona Wildcats; most people seem to think he is the best player in the draft. We’ll see what the Suns do. 

Sacramento/Atlanta pulled upsets and moved up to the 2nd and 3rd spots in the draft. 

4) Arizona Diamondbacks lost star CF AJ Pollock (broken wrist) for 4-6 weeks. 

3) You can wager on what color hat the Queen of England will be wearing at the royal wedding this weekend. Green is the current favorite, bet down to even money. 

2) So you bet the Astros-Angels game last night; maybe you bet the game because Fielden Culbreth was the home plate ump, but Culbreth got drilled in the mask by a foul ball in the 3rd inning and was replaced by CB Bucknor, who is more of a pitcher’s umpire. 

Sometimes stuff happens during a game and it either helps you or hurts you from a gambling perspective; when you’re hot, things fall your way. When you’re cold, you lose replay challenges and guys drop fly balls on you. Part of what makes gambling so challenging. 

1) I made a wager on the Dodgers-Marlins game last night, forgetting that they can’t show Dodger games here in Las Vegas unless they’re on national TV. Las Vegas for some stupid reason, is considered part of the LA market, so their games get blacked out.

Think I realized all this about 30 seconds before the talkative gambler sat next to me and brightened up my world. Today will be a better day!!!! 

Tuesday’s Den: AFC teams’ early season trends…..

Baltimore— Ravens won 11 of last 13 home openers; under is 4-1 in last five of those. Baltimore is 13-3 vs spread in last 16 post-bye games. 

Buffalo— Last 18 years, Bills are 2-16 in their pre-bye game. Buffalo is 8-3 vs spread in its last 11 home openers. 

Cincinnati— Bengals open on road for 8th time in last nine years; over is 8-1 in their last nine road openers. Cincy is 4-0-1 in last five pre-bye games. 

Cleveland— Since re-joining the NFL in 1999, Browns started season 0-1 18 out of 19 years; they’re 3-12 vs spread in Week 1 home games. 

Denver— Broncos open at home for 8th year in row; they’re 26-3 SU in last 29 home openers,6-3 vs spread in last nine. Broncos won six of last seven post-bye games. 

Houston— Texans open on road for only 2nd time in last 10 years; they won seven of last nine road openers. Under is 5-2 in their last seven season openers. 

Indianapolis— Colts lost their last four home openers, three by 4 or fewer points. Indy started season 0-1 seven of last eight years- they’re 1-9 vs spread in Week 1 the last ten years. 

Jacksonville— Jaguars lost last six home openers, four of last five road openers. Last time they were favored in a home opener was 2010; their HO this year is against New England, so they probably won’t be favored this year, either. 

Kansas City— Since 2006, Chiefs are 1-8-1 vs spread as favorites in home openers. KC is on road three of first four weeks this season, with a QB who has started one NFL game. 

LA Chargers— Bolts covered five of their last six home openers; over is 12-3 in their last 15. Chargers lost their last four road openers, but covered five of last six. Chargers lost five of their last six pre-bye games (1-5 vs spread). 

Miami— Dolphins won five of last six home openers; eight of their last nine home openers went over the total. Miami also covered four of last five road openers; under is 19-5 in last 24 road openers. 

New England— Patriots won six of last seven road openers (5-2 vs spread); they’re 14-2 SU in last 16 home openers, but just 1-5 vs spread in last six. New England won its last nine pre-bye games (8-1 vs spread). 

NJ Jets— Jets won six of last seven home openers; they’re 15-6 vs spread in last 21 road openers. Gang Green is 3-6 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Oakland— Raiders won their last three road openers, are 4-0-1 vs spread in last five; they lost four of last six home openers, last four of which went over the total. Oakland covered five of its last six post-bye games. 

Pittsburgh— Steelers won 14 of last 15 home openers, are 10-3 vs spread in last 13. Under is 7-2 in their last nine home openers. Pitt lost five of last seven road openers; they’re 2-8-1 vs spread in last 11. Steelers covered only one of last seven post-bye games. 

Tennessee— Titans lost five of last six home openers; they’re 9-2 vs spread in last 11 road openers. Under is 16-5 in their last 21 road openers. Titans are 2-6 vs spread in last eight post-bye games.