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

Baseball stuff is posted on baseball page…….We have basketball info every day

Friday’s 6-pack
Boston Bruins are -$155 to win the Stanley Cup finals. Other props:

— Bruins in 4: 10-1
— Bruins in 5: 7-2
— Bruins in 6: 9-2
— Bruins in 7: +$360
— St Louis in 4: 15-1
— St Louis in 5: 17-2
— St Louis in 6: 5-1
— St Louis in 7: 11-2

Quote of the Day
“You do what you can. The most important part is we have a vast majority of our guys here. In terms of your installs, what we’re doing offensively, our calls and our adjustments receiver-wise, it’s obviously a challenge for our quarterbacks in terms of the receiving corps that are out there, but that’s part of the deal. It’s their job to make them right.”
Cleveland Browns OC Todd Monken, on Browns’ best WR’s missing OTAs. 

Friday’s quiz
Without looking it up, how many regular season games does each WNBA team play? 

Thursday’s quiz
Bill Laimbeer is the head coach/GM of the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA. 

Wednesday’s quiz
OJ Simpson finished his NFL career with the 49ers. 

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

13) How is it possible that the voting for NBA awards determines which players can get max contracts going forward? Who agreed to this? 

“A player is eligible to sign a designated veteran contract if they’ve logged at least eight years of NBA service time and either
a) earned an All-NBA team in the most recent season or
b) earned two of them over the past three seasons.”

So the media helps determine who can get a max contract? How is this a good idea? 

12) Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal didn’t make any of the top three All-NBA teams, so they can’t get a max contract. Same for Karl-Anthony Towns. 

I’m pretty sure Thompson sacrifices his individual numbers for the betterment of one of the best teams in NBA history, but he isn’t eligible for a max contract. Wow. 

11) Raptors 105, Bucks 99— Toronto grabs a 3-2 series lead with road win here; Fred Van Vleet scored 21 points in 37:00 off bench; Raptors were +28 with Van Vleet on the floor. 

10) College administrators are all on the gravy train.
— Scott Woodward bolted Texas A&M for LSU.
— Ross Bjork bolted Ole Miss for Texas A&M.

These are big time fundraising jobs that pay six figures. 

9) Eight teams from the SEC and AAC will play home-and-home series over the next two college basketball seasons:

Georgia-Memphis, Houston-South Carolina, Ole Miss-Wichita State, Vanderbilt-SMU

8) LSU-Mississippi State played a 17-inning game in the SEC baseball tournament that ended at 4:03am Thursday; SEC Network apparently did a postgame show afterwards. Watching a game you don’t care about until 4am is one thing. Watching the postgame show would be weird.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Mets put 2B Robinson Cano, 3B Jeff McNeil on IL. 

— Bronx put P CC Sabathia on IL.
— Tampa Bay put 3B Yandy Diaz on IL. 

6) High temperature in Las Vegas Wednesday was 67, six degrees lower than the previous low high temp for May 22. 

5) Minnesota Twins have hit 6+ homers in four different games this year; the rest of the major leagues have done it only three times (Dodgers, Cubs, Bronx). 

Twins have hit 98 homers, allowed 58. 

4) Jared Walsh allowed a run pitching the 9th inning Thursday; that was only the 4th major league game for the Angels’ first baseman, who is 3-9 hitting so far in the big leagues. Not often a position player pitches in his 4th career game. 

3) Agent Scott Boras has pulled another stunt to try and put more money in his own wallet. 

Last June, Braves picked Carter Stewart with the #8 overall pick of the MLB Draft. Stewart didn’t sign and pitched a season at a junior college this spring; now the kid has signed with a Japanese pro team- he signed a 6-year deal. 

If you had a 19-year old kid, would you want him spending the next six years in Japan? He’ll make more money up front than he would if he got a signing bonus and played his way thru the minor leagues, but will it increase his chances of becoming a big leaguer? Only time will tell.  

One thing for sure; Boras makes more money up front, too. 

2) Some day in late September, a couple of baseball teams who miss the playoffs a by a couple games will play the “what if?” game as to whether they should’ve signed Craig Kimbel/Dallas Keuchel early this season, when everyone had the chance to do so. 

Teams don’t like to give up draft picks to sign free agents, but these guys are proven starts; hell, Kimbrel was the closer on last year’s World Series champs. Makes you wonder what is going on. 

1) Michigan coach John Beliein quit the Wolverines and is now the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Wolverines alum Juwan Howard is the new coach at Michigan.

Hypothetical question: Who would be better off had Beilein stayed at Michigan and Howard became Cleveland’s coach? Would it make any difference at all? 

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

13) Michigan hired Juwan Howard as its new basketball coach; Howard had been as assistant with the Miami Heat and of course is a Michigan alum, playing in the Fab Five era. 

12) Giancarlo Stanton looks like an NFL tight end, but good grief, he gets hurt a lot. 

First, a biceps strain; rehab from that led to a shoulder issue. Then, in his first rehab game in Florida, he strains a calf muscle trying to avoid a pitch in a Class A game, so now he’s been shut down another 7-10 days. Oy. 

Stanton has been on my fantasy team since since he was an 18-year old in the Florida State League, so I’ve been down this road before:
— Missed 39 games in 2012
— Missed 46 games in 2013
— Missed 88 games in 2015
— Missed 43 games in 2016
— Missed 45 games already this season. 

Guy gets paid $30M a year; would be nice if he played more.

11) Monday is Stanton Bobblehead Day in the Bronx; that should go over well. 

10) Race for the two Wild Cards in the AL:
— Tampa Bay 27-18
— Boston 25-23
— Cleveland 25-23
— Texas 24-23
— Oakland 25-25
— LA Angels 22-26

9) Gleyber Torres has 12 homers this year; ten of them were against Baltimore. 

8) Iowa passed a sports betting bill this week; their goal is to begin taking wagers around August 10th. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Cleveland DFA’d OF Carlos Gonzalez.
— Rockies put P Wade Davis (oblique) on IL.
— Angels put C Kevan Smith on 7-day concussion IL. 

6) St Louis Blues came into the NHL in the fall of 1967, and made the Stanley Cup finals their first three years in the NHL, going 0-12 in those finals. This will be the first time since then that they’re back in the finals, playing the same Bruins’ squad they lost to in 1970. 

5) Colonial Country Club is hosting a PGA Tour event this week for the 72nd consecutive year, the second-longest streak behind Augusta National.

4) Vanderbilt hired Faragi Phillips as an assistant basketball coach; he went 105-31 in four years as a head coach at the high school level in Memphis, winning two state titles. Memphis is a very fertile recruiting ground in basketball.

3) Future NFL Draft sites: 2021: Cleveland, 2023: Kansas City. No word on 2022. 

NFL Combine is staying in Indianapolis for at least the next couple years. 

2) A’s 7, Indians 2— Oakland won its last six games, is back at .500 (25-25). 

1) Robinson Cano actually ran out a ground ball last night, so of course he leaves the game right after with a strained quad muscle. 

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

13) Mets have a problem with Robinson Cano, who twice didn’t run out balls last weekend, both of which resulted in double plays. Cano is making $24M a year from now thru 2023; is it too much to ask him to at least pretend that he cares? 

I don’t need him sprinting to first on a ball where he has no chance to be safe; Aledmys Diaz of the Astros got hurt doing that Friday. Tampa Bay lost Evan Longoria for 87 games once when he pulled a hamstring sprinting on a ball he had no chance to beat out. 

But Cano has to at least go 60-75% to first base; he is an elder statesman of the game, the team is struggling badly, the manager’s job is hanging in the balance. It isn’t a lot to ask. 

12) Mets were shut out both Saturday and Sunday in Miami, the first time since 1967 that the Mets had two or fewer hits in consecutive games. 

11) According to guys on, a 6-foot-11 Croatian forward named Luka Sumanic made the biggest impression at the NBA Combine this weekend. 

10) According to observers, LSU PG Tremont Waters outplayed fellow point guards, Tennessee’s Jordan Bone and St John’s Shamorie Ponds

9) Sunday, the A’s scored two runs in top of the 7th inning to take a 5-3 lead in Detroit, but rain stopped the game and it never resumed. The game will resume September 6, when hopefully it will matter if Oakland can get the last nine outs of the game. 

A’s lost the last six Sundays; at least they didn’t lose this game, and it’ll be resumed on a Friday, so that helps. 

8) Tampa Bay Rays have two catchers active; Travis d’Arnaud ad Erik Kratz; neither guy was in the Tampa Bay organization two weeks ago. 

7) Jerry Glanville is going to the defensive coordinator of the XFL team in Tampa; he was in the CFL working under June Jones LY, but didn’t go to Houston’s XFL team with Jones. 

6) Brooks Koepka’s +4 Sunday was the highest final round score by a major champion since Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA. Thats when it is good to have a 7-stroke lead. 

5) Eight golfers have finished 2nd in all four majors: Mickelson, Nicklaus, Norman, Oosthuizen, Palmer, Tom Watson, Craig Wood and now, Dustin Johnson. 

You make a boatload of money for finishing 2nd in a major. 

4) Training camp in the CFL started last weekend. Football is coming close to being a year-round thing. 

3) When Bronx-Red Sox play couple of baseball games in London next month, the games will be played on artificial turf. MLB had use of the stadium for 21 days; they decided there wasn’t enough time to install real grass, so artificial turf it is. 

2) Providence basketball coach Ed Cooley turned Michigan down Tuesday, as John Beilein’s old job remains open. Cooley got a contract extension from Providence. 

1) No Buffalo Bill has worn #32 since OJ Simpson left the team in 1977, but free agent RB Sinorise Perry was wearing #32 during Buffalo’s OTAs this week. 

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

13) There was some grumbling in Toronto Monday when last week’s AL Player of the Week, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, was given a day off for the Blue Jays’ Victoria Day game with Boston, a game the Red Sox won easily, 12-2. 

Why give a 20-year old kid a day off when he is hot? When you have a big crowd in the house on a holiday? When you can use him at DH and at least let him get four AB’s in front of the home crowd, which is rooting for a lousy Toronto team this season?

12) Strange stat: Boston’s Andrew Benintendi is 2-for-35 in his first at-bat of a game; he is hitting .326 in all his other AB’s.

11) The softball coach at Oklahoma, who has won four national titles, makes $1M a year. We were guessing Sunday night how much softball coaches get paid, so I did a google search and was stunned to find that out. 

10) Washington Redskins’ LB Reuben Foster was carted off the field Monday with a knee injury during the Redskins’ OTAs. 

9) Tampa Bay Bucs released DT Gerald McCoy, who was set to make $13M this season. 

8) Mets’ OF Yoenis Cespedes suffered multiple fractures in his right ankle on his ranch down in Florida, so who knows when he’ll be back in the major leagues. Unlike Gerald McCoy, Cespedes will keep getting paid, because baseball contracts are guaranteed- most NFL contracts aren’t. 

7) Conference USA reached a broadcast deal with NFL Network, which will show 10 of their games next season. 

6) ESPN’s Hubie Brown said over the weekend that he has worked with 21 different TV play-by-play broadcasters during his career, including Al Michaels, Brent Musburger, Marv Albert, Dick Stockton and Mike Breen. He is 85 years old and still going strong. Amazing guy. 

5) Toronto’s Ryan Feierabend returned to the majors Saturday as a knuckleballer; he is the first lefty knuckleballer in the major leagues since Baltimore’s Danny Boone, in 1990. 

4) All the passengers on a flight at JFK Airport in NYC had to deplane before takeoff Monday afternoon due to a guy who refused to turn his phone off after they closed the boarding door. Police removed him, but only after everyone else was off the plane first. 

3) Former Florida State QB Deondre Francois will walk on at Florida Atlantic this fall; hr got tossed from FSU because of a couple of domestic violence incidents. He will compete for the QB job with LY’s starter Chris Robison, who was suspended this spring due to an investigation into an alleged sexual battery that led to no charges being filed.

Francois played in 25 games at quarterback for the Seminoles, throwing for 6,291 yards, 36 TDs and 21 INTs.

2) Vegas Dave, the huckster/tipster featured on Showtime’s Action series last month, had been indicted in January by the Federal Government on 19 felony counts carrying a potential sentence of 40+ years in federal prison, but in the end winds up with no felony convictions, because of a plea bargain. 

A judge ordered that he must stay out of Las Vegas sportsbooks for three years; he also gets three years probation, must get gambling treatment and do 150 hours of community service.

1) Am guessing there is no way to know this, but I’d be curious how many fantasy baseball leagues there are in this country. Every time Mike Trout or Bryce Harper hits one out, how many owners are they helping out?

Am also guessing that being an official scorer for major league games has become a much tougher job, with people having money on the line, as far as what is a hit and what isn’t. 

Monday’s Den: In a perfect world, where I made all the decisions……

13) Kids could go right from high school to the NBA; going to school for only one year is a farce, so if a kid goes to college, then he is there for at least two years. College baseball has that rule, but I think it is three years for them. 

12) Both leagues would have the DH; this will happen in a couple years. Add a player or two to rosters, to appease the players’ union.

11) NFL would have an 18-game regular season, only two preseason games; Super Bowl would be Sunday night of Presidents’ Day weekend. 

10) College football teams wouldn’t play I-AA opponents; SEC teams do this a lot. Last year, Alabama played The Citadel, Ole Miss played Southern Illinois, South Carolina played Tenn-Chattanooga. Seriously? Go play a MAC team or a Sun Belt team, at least. 

9) Online poker would be made legal so the poker companies would advertise on TV and ESPN would start replaying the World Series of Poker again, like they used to. The stuff ESPN puts on in daytime on weekdays is mostly terrible. Mike Greenberg, Stephen A Smith both make around $6M a year, a tremendous waste of money. 

Listening to talking heads in contrived arguments is a waste of electricity. Much rather watch people play cards, or replays of games, actual competition. 

8) As far as college basketball transfers go, if you poach a transfer from a team, then you have to go play a game in that team’s gym. Most of the teams that poach transfers are way better than the teams they poach from anyway, but they often don’t have the onions to play road games. 

By way of explanation, over the last seven seasons, Duke has played only three non-conference road games, all mandated by the ACC-Big 14 challenge. When Duke poached Seth Curry from Liberty, they should have had to go there and play a true road game. 

7) I would take the radios out of NFL players’ helmets; coaches have six days to prepare their teams to play. Gameday should be the players’ day; let the QB’s call their own plays, which would make the game lot more exciting. QB’s calling the plays would make the game more fun. 

6) I’d eliminate the American/National Leagues and go to geographic realignment, which would reduce travel costs and invigorate regional rivalries. Going to 32 teams (which will happen soon) will make scheduling a lot easier. 

5) NBA playoff series would be best-of-3, with finals best-of-5. Less games, more drama; it is more interesting when the best team has a chance to lose. Would the NCAA tournament be at all interesting if a 16-seed played Duke/Kentucky best-of-3? 

4) I’d get rid of the Electoral College in our presidential election; whoever gets the most votes wins, just like in all the other elections. 

3) Would definitely move the NBA Draft Lottery back to a half hour before the actual draft; imagine the drama then? Lot of executives would have to think on their feet. 

2) You want to make baseball’s All-Star Game more interesting? Make it USA vs the World, and it’ll become a serious game fairly quickly. Maybe too serious.

1) Would like to make people happier; nowadays, there is so much anger in the world. There is a lot less tolerance of others than there used to be. You be you, and let others do what they do. Cheer the bleep up!!!!

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

13) Warriors 110, Trailblazers 99— Looks like the two conference finals could be very short series. I’ve said this before, but basketball doesn’t need best-of-7 series. Would be way better with best-of-3 series, with a best-of-5 final; imagine the drama? 

Kevin Durant’s first game against the Warriors next year has to be on national TV, right? Opening night? Christmas?

12) Earlier this year, a guy at Caesers Palace in Las Vegas bet $20,000 that Eldrick Woods would NOT win all four majors this year, so when Woods missed the cut at the PGA Friday, the guy won his bet, which paid him off a handsome $20. 

He risked $20,000 to win $20. Oy.

11) Astros’ pitching coach Brent Strom was the 2nd guy to have Tommy John surgery back in the 60’s, which means he came close to being the first guy to have Brent Strom surgery. 

10) Former NFL QB David Carr works on NFL Network now; this week, Carr left Joe Montana out of his list of the top 10 QB’s in the Super Bowl era.

If you know me, you know I’ve been a Ram fan since the mid-60’s and I’m no Notre Dame fan, so Montana isn’t my favorite player, but good grief, you lose credibility when you leave him off a top 10 list of QB’s in the last 53 years.

9) Orioles averaged 30,805 fans per home game in 2014; they’re averaging 15,720 this year. Its not that they’re losing, its that they have no chance of winning- there’s a difference. 

From 2012-16, Baltimore won the most games in the AL; now? Not so much. 

8) College basketball transfer portal:
— South Dakota State G David Jenkins bolts to UNLV.
— Javonte Smart is coming back to LSU next year; must pay well to play ball there. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Minnesota put DH Nelson Cruz (wrist) on the IL.
— Washington put P Anibal Sanchez (hamstring) on IL.
— White Sox put P Manny Banuelos (shoulder) on IL. 

6) Rick Porcello is the last major league pitcher to throw a shutout where he didn’t strike anyone out- that happened in 2014. 

5) From “Local, state and federal law enforcement conducted a massive heroin bust in Connecticut on Friday, resulting in 51 arrests and the seizure of guns, $15,000 in cash and thousands of bags of heroin packaged for sale.”

I have a question; what happens to all that heroin? What happens to the money? Seriously, inquiring minds would like to know. 

4) White Sox 4, Blue Jays 1 (5)— Ryan Feierabend made his first MLB appearance in five years; it was his first start in the majors since 2008. This game was shortened by rain. 

3) If the Bruins win the Stanley Cup this spring, then Boston would have the reigning champs in the NHL, MLB and the NFL. Last time that happened? Detroit, in 1935. 

2) Joke of the Day: Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon? 

Great food, no atmosphere.

1) May 19 is a sad day in my house; my dad passed away four years ago tonight. He was a terrific guy; loved golf, the Mets, Knicks and his weekly football pools. He was a great example of what a person should be, and I miss him every day.

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

13) You watch Angel Hernandez call balls/strikes, and the electronic strike zone that will come to baseball someday doesn’t seem like a such a bad idea. 

I’m against the electronic strike zone, but Hernandez is a terrible umpire, and has been for a long time. Friday night, Colorado’s Jon Gray walked the opposing pitcher on 10 pitches; three of the four pitches Hernandez called balls were strikes on the electronic strike zone on TV. 

I had no dog in the fight, no fantasy players involved, was just watching the game. No one pays to watch the umpire; call strikes, especially on the opposing pitcher. It isn’t that difficult. 

12) Not sure if I’ve told this story here before, so here goes. It is a little random, but it was a funny moment. Was listening this week to some people talk about their kids going to high school now, and it reminded me of this: 

I’m in 10th grade, long time ago (1974-75) and it is Biology class, which was a struggle for me. I sat in the back of the class, where I had a great view of a classmate named Joann who was very pretty but didn’t know I existed (go figure). 

Anyway, our teacher was a little……different. If a kid was talking in class, the teacher would take an eraser (yes, we had chalkboards back then) and drill the kid with it. I mean, he would fire the eraser at the kid, drill him, and no one ever complained. These days, he would get sued. 

One day, the kid sitting three seats in front of me was yukking it up about something, a big kid named Nick, and the teacher takes aim with his eraser, but he misses and drills the young lady sitting next to Nick. Stunned silence, then muffled laughter; the girl started crying. 

Was very difficult to sit there the rest of the period and not laugh; never saw another eraser thrown though. Could you imagine if they let that nitwit carry a gun in class? 

11) Last three seasons, Golden State Warriors are:
— When Curry plays and Durant doesn’t: 32-4
— When Durant plays and Curry doesn’t: 28-18
— When neither one plays: 1-6
— When they both play: 163-46

10) 50 years ago Friday, Colts, Browns, Steelers agreed to move from the NFL to the AFC, so that when the NFL/AFL merger happened, there would be an equal number of teams in both conferences. 

According to Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, Raiders’ owner Al Davis came up with the idea, but no one would agree to switch until $3M was put on the table; then the teams became willing.  Funny how that happens. 

9) Indiana Pacers’ G Tyreke Evans was dismissed/disqualified from the NBA for two years, for violating the terms of the NBA’s anti-drug program. Under the program, he is eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years.

Evans averaged 10.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 2.4 apg in 20.3 mpg this year- he’s scored 15.7 ppg in his 11-year NBA career, and was due to become a free agent this offseason.

8) I’ve said this here before, but if you like the NBA, then the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in early July is an excellent thing to see. 

They play in two gyms at UNLV, there are usually eight games a day, and it costs around $30 for the whole day, which is worth it, just to be out of the 110-degree desert heat. 

I’ve gone a few times, and it is good stuff. You see all the rookies, some 2nd-year guys; most of the coaches/GM’s are there. I was walking in the hallway one day, and Jerry West was there, talking to some people. If you like the NBA, it is an excellent thing to do. 

I would discourage you from wagering on the games, however; teams need to take a look at certain guys, so they don’t always use their best possible lineups every game. 

7) If you’re heading to Las Vegas this summer, right now Treasure Island, the Wynn, Venetian, Palazzo, SLS, Tropicana, Circus Circus, and Stratosphere are the casinos on the Strip that offer free parking. Lot of casinos charge to park now because of the T-Mobile Arena not having its own parking lot.

6) Las Vegas casinos pretty much now all have betting lines up for every NFL game this season, except for Week 17. Lot can change between now and the season, but if you think you’re better than the oddsmakers, you can take your shot at the windows now. 

Golden Nugget is posting spreads for its college games of the year on May 30.

5) From Ralph Michaels:

Since 2015, Week 2 NFL road teams that also played on the road in Week 1 are 1-14 vs spread; there are four such teams this season. Only cover in that sample was Kansas City winning 42-37 at Pittsburgh LY, after they led 21-0 in first quarter. 

4) Baseball stuff:
— Giants activated C Buster Posey from the 7-day concussion DL.
— Colorado brought up 2B prospect Brandon Rodgers.
— Toronto P Aaron Sanchez (blister) left Friday’ game early.
— Justin Turner (bruised shin) left Friday’s game early

3) QB Tommy Stevens transferred from Penn State to Mississippi State, where he’ll play for Joe Moorhead, who used to be OC at Penn State. 

2) Most teams pitched for, MLB history:
Edwin Jackson: 14, Octavio Dotel: 13, Mike Morgan, Ron Villone: 12 each. 

1) Jim Nantz turned 60 years old Friday, which makes me feel old. 

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

13) Warriors 114, Trailblazers 111— Is it getting to the point where you ask if Kevin Durant has played his last game for Golden State? Warriors lead this series 2-0; Durant isn’t close to getting back on floor, and in this series at least, they don’t even seem to need him 

12) In 2020, ESPN is opening a studio at The Linq Hotel along the Las Vegas Strip; Caesars will serve as ESPN’s official odds data supplier across TV and digital programming and content.

11) Arizona Cardinals’ 8-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson is being suspended the first six games of the 2019 season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

10) Scott Pioli resigned as assistant GM of the Atlanta Falcons this week; he said he wasn’t fired, isn’t sick and doesn’t have another job lined up, but there is speculation that he might be going to TV or is a candidate for the vacant Jets’ GM job. 

9) Quote of the Day, part 2; Chris Sale talking about getting pulled with 17 strikeouts:

“I don’t think there’s any pitcher on the planet … you’ve got 17 punchouts, you definitely want to go out for [another] inning. I’d love to have gone back out there, but I respect him as much as anybody on the planet and I’ll never question anything he does, even in regard to that.”

8) Ian Anderson is the Braves’ #1 pitching prospect, drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Shenendehowa HS here in the Albany area. So far this season, Anderson is 2-3, 4.04 in eight starts in the AA Southern League; he’s walked 28 hitters in 35.2 IP, which is alarming.

He is only 21, but he’s going to have to cut down on those walks to succeed in the majors.

7) Here is the difference in this year’s A’s and last year’s A’s (so far):
— 2018— A’s were 46-29 in games decided by one or two runs.
— 2019— A’s are 10-13 in games decided by one or two runs.

Beating a cruddy team like Detroit 17-3 doesn’t impress me; holding a one-run lead in the 9th inning is very impressive, especially on the road. 

6) College basketball transfer portal:
— Texas Tech G Khavon Moore bolts to Clemson.
— Oregon big man Miles Norris bolts to UC Santa Barbara. 

5) Bruins 4, Hurricanes 0— Boston sweeps Eastern Conference final 4-0, moves on to the Stanley Cup final against the San Jose-St Louis survivor. 

4) Brown University offered 7th grade QB Ryan Downes, a 6’3 13 year-old who is at IMG and already generating some interest from recruiters. 

Not sure what they actually “offered” him, since Ivy League schools do not give athletic scholarships, but no doubt they have their ways of paying for the right kid, if he expresses an interest in their school.

3) Yale did a smart thing and signed basketball coach James Jones to a contract extension thru 2026. Last five years, Yale is 52-18 in Ivy League games, making NCAA’s twice in last four years. 

2) Gene Simmons of KISS gave a news conference in the Pentagon briefing room Thursday. 

Seriously, he did. He was there to help promote military service and thank the service members who were there. 

Simmons’ mother survived a Nazi concentration camp when she was 14, and because of that he has always been a big supporter of our troops, so good for him for doing that.

1) Happy birthday to the great Joe Tait, the voice of Cleveland sports when I was a kid, who turned 82 this week. Loved listening to him call Cavalier games, and also Indian games on WWWE with Herb Score as his baseball analyst.

Before cable TV became a big thing (yes, I am that old), listening to games on the radio was fun for this teenager. WWWE was within range of upstate New York, so listened to Mr Tait a lot. 

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

13) New Jersey Jets fired GM Mike Maccagnan Wednesday; first-year coach Adam Gase will serve as interim general manager. Jets are 24-40 the last four years, but…….

…….it is May 16, three weeks AFTER the draft. 

If you were going to fire the GM, shouldn’t this have happened BEFORE the draft?

12) Not sure why the NBA paraded prospective draftees out to the draft lottery Tuesday; they had egg on their face when New Orleans won the lottery and Zion Williamson was ushered out of camera’s view pretty quickly. It was apparent that being a Pelican isn’t his goal in life. 

All winter we had it shoved down our throats by ESPN how great a kid Zion is, blah, blah, blah. Well, if he is such a great kid, he goes to New Orleans and helps the Pelicans win games, while he is paid very handsomely, and increases his bankroll with a huge sneaker contract. 

Steph Curry has played in Oakland the last 10 years and makes $500,000 a game, because he worked his butt off and is a great player. He does a ton of commercials. You can get rich anywhere in the NBA; doesn’t have to be New York or Los Angeles. 

11) Bucks 108, Raptors 100— Milwaukee outscored Raptors 32-17 in 4th quarter; Brook Lopez scored 29 points, 13 in fourth quarter. Bucks lead this series, 1-0. 

Milwaukee’s bench played 79:00, Toronto’s played 40:00. 

10) Giants 4, Blue Jays 3— Edwin Jackson started on the mound for Toronto, his 14th MLB team, which is a new major league record. 

9) College basketball transfer portal:
— Virginia Tech grad transfer Chris Clarke transferred to Texas Tech.
— Stephen F. Austin grad transfer T.J. Holyfield also transferred to Texas Tech.
— Minnesota transfer Isaiah Washington committed to Iona.

8) Central Florida basketball alum Tacko Fall has a 8’ 2 1/4” wingspan, 10’ 2 1/2” standing reach, which means he can grab the rim without jumping. Will be curious where he gets taken in the NBA Draft in June.  

7) Baseball injuries:
— Twins put C Mitch Garver (ankle) on IL.
— Rangers put SS Elvis Andrus (hamstring) on IL.
— New York 3B Miguel Andujar (labrum surgery) is out for the year. 

6) Eldrick Woods didn’t practice at Bethpage Wednesday, a day before the PGA Championship. 

Not sure if this is connected, but Woods is being sued because back in December, a bartender at his restaurant in Florida died in a drunk driving accident, with a .256 BAC, which is really high. 

5) It has been 100 years since an English golfer won the PGA Championship. Just thought you’d like to know. 

4) Seahawks signed QB Geno Smith to help back up Russell Wilson. 

3) Rays 1, Marlins 0— Miami hasn’t scored a run since the third inning on Saturday, thats 24 innings ago. They’ve lost seven games in a row, are 10-31. 

2) Vanderbilt PG Darius Garland, who played four games in college before getting hurt and missing the rest of the season, left the NBA Draft Combine, making people think that Garland “got a promise” from one or more teams that he will get taken in the lottery.

1) Cubs’ 2B Ben Zobrist took a leave of absence from the team; he is getting divorced from his wife of 14 years. They have three kids, so this is a sad thing for the kids. 

You always think pro athletes have this perfect life; they make a ton of money, they’re famous, but they’re also on the road for 100-120 days a year. Stuff happens. Nothing is perfect.

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

13) New Orleans wins the draft lottery; does that mean Anthony Davis will want to stay with the Pelicans? Memphis got the #2 pick, Knicks #3, Lakers #4. 

12) What would it be like if they did the lottery just before the start of the draft in June? Make people think on their feet. 

6:30 lottery, draft starts at 7:00. Would be better than jamming it in before the start of a playoff game on the other side of the country. 

11) Seeing Patrick Ewing at the lottery reminds me that I saw him watching Zion Williamson play at an adidas tournament in Las Vegas two summers ago. Tons of kids there; Ewing gets up to go to the concession stand, and not one kid asks him for an autograph or says anything to him. One of the 50 greatest players ever, 7-feet tall, and he got as much attention there as I did. 

10) New Jersey took in $313.7M in bets in April, according to numbers released Tuesday by the state’s Department of Gaming Enforcement. 81% of those bets were made via a mobile betting app. 

Meanwhile, across the river in New York State………nothing, zero, bupkis. 

9) Warriors 116, Trailblazers 94— Lillard/McCollum combined to shoot 11-31 from the floor. Would be odd if Golden State swept its way to another title and Durant never came back to play. 

8) Rockies 5, Red Sox 4 (11)— Colorado batters struck out 24 times in this game, while receiving only two walks. Home plate ump Dan Bellino didn’t win many friends in the Rockies’ dugout. 

Chris Sale struck out 17 but didn’t get the win; he is the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2001 to strike out 17+ and not win- Johnson had 20 strikeouts for Arizona that night. 

Colorado is third team ever to strike out 24+ times and win; the other two:
June 2, 2018: Cubs beat the Mets (24 K in 14 innings)
June 8, 2004: Brewers beat the Angels (26 K in 17 innings)

7) Baseball stuff:
— Brewers put 3B Travis Shaw (wrist) on IL, promote 2B Keston Hiura.
— Dodgers’ P Julio Urias was arrested Monday on suspicion of domestic battery.
— A’s traded Kendrys Morales to Bronx for cash or a player to be named later. 

6) Four teams left in the Hard Knocks sweepstakes: Lions, Giants, Raiders, Redskins. You figure the Raiders are 2020’s team, with the move to Las Vegas and all, so they’re out, too. 

5) The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is about to become the Ring Central Coliseum; they signed a 3-year deal at $1M a year for naming rights.

4) College basketball transfer portal:
— PG Elijah Mitrou-Long bolts from Texas to UNLV.
— Justice Kithcart bolts from Old Dominion to Nicholls State.

3) If you don’t living in this country is an honor, keep this in mind: the S Sport TV station in Turkey will not televise the Blazers-Warriors playoff series because of Enes Kanter’s history of criticizing Turkey’s government. Kanter plays for Portland. 

Living in a democracy is a good thing; we need to make sure it stays that way.

2) In a related story, if Portland-Toronto play in the NBA Finals, will Kanter go to the games in Toronto? Pretty sure Kanter skipped a regular season game in Toronto in March, fearing for his safety outside of America. 

Kanter had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 and has had a warrant out for his arrest in Turkey since January. Turkey also reportedly seeks an Interpol red notice for Kanter, which could result in him being detained and deported back to his home country.

1) RIP to the great comic Tim Conway, who passed away Tuesday at age 85. He was on McHale’s Navy and the Carol Burnett Show. just a really funny guy. RIP, sir. 

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

13) John Beilein signed a 5-year deal to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers:
— Beilein is 66, so worst case scenario for him, he fattens his retirement fund.
—  Beilein is one of 28 coaches in NCAA history (all divisions) with 750+ career wins (754-425); he will be the first of those 28 to coach in the NBA.
— Beilein’s last losing season was 2009-10 (15-17) at Michigan. He is a very good coach, but the NBA is more about players than coaches.
— This figures to set off a domino effect of other coaching changes.
— What %age of college coaches have the itch to try the NBA? 

12) Kawhi Leonard took 39 of Toronto’s 89 shots in Game 7 Sunday; rest of the team was 18-50 (36%) from the floor, and they still won. 

Don’t see lot of NBA games where one team used only two subs, the other one three subs. 76ers’ subs played total of only 27:00 Sunday.

11) Brett Brown will return as the 76ers’ coach next year; not even sure why this would be an issue, but apparently it was. Who could they hire that would be better?

10) Justin Thomas (wrist) withdrew from this week’s PGA Championship Monday. 

9) Former Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan is returning to his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan to punt for the CFL’s Roughriders this summer. 

8) PG recruit Boogie Ellis switched his commitment from Duke to Memphis, as Penny Hardaway establishes himself as one of the best recruiters in the country.

7) Baseball stuff:
— A’s activated Mark Canha, DFA’d 1B/DH Kendrys Morales
— Bronx put P  Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder), 3B Miguel Andujar on IL
— Detroit put P Tyson Ross on IL.
— White Sox P Carlos Rodon needs Tommy John surgery, is out for the year. 

6) First-round matchups for the Paradise Jam tournament in November:
— Valparaiso-Grand Canyon
— Fordham-Nevada
— Illinois State-Cincinnati
— Bowling Green-Western Kentucky 

5) On Sept. 28, 1974, Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter against the Twins, walking eight and striking out 15- he threw 158 pitches that night. Safe to say you won’t see that happen anytime in the next 10-20 years, at least. 

4) David Letterman is going to be a guest on the Sunday Today show this week; he has this thick gray beard now and looks like he should be on Duck Dynasty instead of the Today Show. 

3) College basketball transfer portal:
— Pitt grad transfer Malik Ellison bolts to Hartford. 

2) St Louis 4, San Jose 2— Western Conference finals are tied 1-1. 

1) Get well to former President Jimmy Carter, who had surgery for a broken hip today after he fell while leaving his house to go turkey hunting. Mr Carter is 94 years old. 

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

13) Raptors 92, 76ers 90— Kawhi Leonard hit one of the most dramatic shots in NBA history at the buzzer; he scored 41 points as Toronto advances to the Eastern finals against Milwaukee. 

As Leonard was dribbling around the perimeter with :02 or :03 left, some imbecile at the bar I was at (me) says “We’re heading to overtime.” Not so much. 

Leonard made $23,114,067 this season; he earned every penny Sunday night. 

12) Portland 100, Denver 96— Trailblazers play Golden State in western finals, which will make for a long few days for the Curry family. Seth Curry plays for Portland- they trailed by 17 in this game. 

11) If you like listening to podcasts and you like football and you like movies, there is a MMQB NFL Podcast that is periodically going to analyze football movies- they’ve already done Draft Day and Any Given Sunday. Good stuff. It is available in the iTunes store for free. 

One thing though, it is weird hearing a podcast when the people doing the podcast are maybe half your age, and they’re talking about a 20-year old movie like Any Given Sunday

10) Podcasts are fun, especially late at night, but they also make me a little sad, because they’re slowly replacing writing as a way of communicating, and writing is a great skill we should cultivate in young people. If we stop reading and writing, thats not a good thing. 

Podcasts are a lazy way of communicating; instead of sitting at your keyboard and thinking about what to type, you just blurt out whatever comes into your mind. It is faster and a lot less strenuous. 

Some podcasts aren’t so good, but some are really, really good- you have to be a good consumer so you don’t waste your own time. 

9) Madison Bumgarner is likely to get traded in the next couple months; he’s posted an 8-team no-trade list, with every team on the list a contender. 

Bumgarner’s in the walk year of his contract, and probably wants to get a contract extension before he’d agree to approve a trade to one of the eight contenders. 

8) Meanwhile, today is May 13 and Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel are still free agents. 

7) Baseball injuries:
— Mariners put P Felix Hernandez (shoulder) on the IL. 

— Astros put Jose Altuve (hamstring) on the IL. 

6) Dodgers 6, Nationals 0— Hyun-Jin Ryu didn’t allow a hit until the 8th inning. 

5) Astros 15, Rangers 5— Houston scored 26 runs the last two days. 

4) Red Sox 11, Mariners 2— Boston outscored Seattle 34-8 in this series. 

3) Pirates 10, Cardinals 6— St Louis lost seven of its last nine games. 

2) Bruins 6, Hurricanes 2— Boston grabs 2-0 series lead in eastern final. 

1) Further evidence the world may be going nuts: an American Airlines pilot was dragged from a plane in Kentucky and arrested this weekend for the 2015 triple-homicide of three of his former neighbors. Oy. 

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

13) Tip of the cap to Dick Vitale, whose V Foundation gala raised $4.3M this week to fight pediatric cancer. Vitale works very hard on this fundraising effort; good for him. 

12) Cubs 2, Brewers 1 (15)— Milwaukee is first team since the 1984 Indians to have their first two extra-innings games of a season go at least 15 innings.

It was the Cubs’ third walk-off win in their last five games. 

11) Lakers signed Frank Vogel as their new head coach; he went 250-181 in six years as coach of the Pacers, then had two rough years in Orlando, going 54-110. 

Apparently Tyronn Lue passed on the job because he didn’t want Jason Kidd as an assistant. 

When Vogel was a kid, he appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, because he could spin a basketball on a toothbrush, while he was brushing his teeth. Wonder if he can still do that. 

10) Pro golfer Taylor Duncan hit his wife in the head with a shot this week; hope he wins a lot of money this week, to make up for it. 

9) I traded Luis Castillo in my fantasy league (for Corey Seager) which looks like a terrible trade, but how about the Miami Marlins trading Castillo TWICE? 

First the Marlins traded him to San Diego, but that deal got voided because one of the pitchers they got back from the Padres was hurt. Then they traded Castillo to Cincinnati, as part of a package for Dan Straily; I’m kicking myself for screwing up a fantasy league trade, and these geniuses bungle a deal when they run a franchise that is worth a billion dollars? Brilliant!!! 

8) Lakers/Knicks are having a pretty good duel to see which team can be more dysfunctional, and right now, LA might be winning. Hard to tell who is making the decisions for the Lakers, but whoever it is, they’re also doing a terrible job. 

When Luke Walton was gobbled up by Sacramento about ten minutes after the Lakers let him go, you got the idea that LA is a complete mess. 

7) Baseball injuries:
— Tampa Bay put P Tyler Glasnow (forearm) on the IL; he is out 4-6 weeks.
— Phillies put P Vince Velasquez (forearm) on the 10-Day IL.

6) SouthPoint casino in Las Vegas put up an interesting college football prop bet Saturday:
Odds to win national title this coming season:
8-5: Alabama-Oklahoma-Ohio State
3-2: Clemson-Georgia-Michigan
12-5: Everyone else 

5) College basketball transfer portal:
— California transfer Justice Sueing commits to Ohio State. Sit one year, play two. Averaged 14.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg. Someone wrote “Needs to work on his motor,” which really means “He doesn’t try hard all the time.” Pretty bright red flag right there.
— Pacific G Ajare Sanni is transferring to UC Santa Barbara.
— Memphis poached Little Rock grad transfer G Rayjon Tucker (41% of 3’s).
— Mbacke Diong removed his name from the portal, will stay at UNLV.

4) San Francisco Giants claimed OF Aaron Altherr on waivers from the Phillies. 

A’s traded P Edwin Jackson to Toronto for cash; Blue Jays will be Jackson’s 14th team. 

3) Golden State Warriors won three of the last four NBA titles, and the year they didn’t win was the year they went 73-9 in the regular season. Go figure. 

2) A’s 3, Indians 2— Oakland’s third walk-off win in last four days. 

1) The guy in Detroit who caught Albert Pujols’ home run Thursday (Pujols’ 2,000th RBI) had a change of heart and will give the ball to Pujols. Originally the guy had declined, saying he would just keep the ball. Apparently he turned down a few good offers of memorabilia combinations on Thursday, from both the Angels and Tigers.

One small problem…….now Pujols says he doesn’t want the ball; I’m wondering if he thinks a switch has been made, and wouldn’t be 100% this was the actual baseball he hit. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Random Lists of 3……

13) Three favorite dinners:
— Pizza, just a plain cheese thin pizza. Excellent.
— Spaghetti and meatballs
— Scrambled eggs with sausage

12) Three underrated things:
— NHL playoffs
— Taking the train from Albany to NYC (as opposed to driving)
— Pinball Museum in Las Vegas; 250 vintage pinball machines under one roof

11) Favorite TV shows:
— Law and Order
— Odd Couple

10) Favorite Bob Seger songs:
— Turn the Page
— Travelin’ Man
— Against the Wind

9) I watch a ton of baseball every day, thanks to the Extra Innings package on DirecTV. These are my favorite announce crews to listen to, if there are no games on that I have rooting interest in:

— Milwaukee Brewers: Brian Anderson/Matt Lepay with analyst Bill Schroeder
— Texas Rangers: Dave Raymond with CJ Nitkowski or Tom Grieve.
— Colorado Rockies: Drew Goodman, moreso when Jeff Huson is the analyst, but Ryan Spilborghs is getting better. 

8) Three movies I’ve never seen:
— Star Wars
— Rocky V, or any of the Rocky movies after that
— Godfather II or Godfather III

7) Three favorite sporting events I’ve been to:
— 2000 NFC title game, Rams-Bucs in St Louis
— 2008 World Series game, Rays-Phillies
— AHL playoff game in Glens Falls that went triple OT, sometime in mid-80’s. Game ended around 12:50am; the concession stand ran out of food. 

6) Favorite three non-sports movies:
— Rounders
— The Bodyguard
— Begin Again

5) Three favorite Billy Joel songs:
— Piano Man
— Vienna
— She’s Got a Way

4) Three favorite basketball movies:
— Blue Chips
— One on One
— Fast Break

3) Favorite Kevin Costner movies:
— For Love of the Game
— The Bodyguard
— Bull Durham

2) Three best Oakland A’s managers:
— Dick Williams
— Bob Melvin
— Tony LaRussa

1) Three best head coaches for the Rams:
— Dick Vermeil
— Sean McVay
— Chuck Knox