Wednesday’s 6-pack, Quote and Quiz of the Day

NHL information every day on NHL page……college/pro basketball every day on Hoops page. Baseball information on MLB2 page

Wednesday’s six-pack
Some over/under win totals for college football this coming fall:
— Miami, 8.5, under -$120
— Louisville 9, over -$120
— Kentucky 6, over -$130
— TCU 7, over -$125
— Tennessee 7.5, under -$130
— Texas 7.5, under -$120

Quote of the Day
“I’m not for that at all,. We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been, you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way, and that’s not a very good example for young people. The rules were changed for a reason, and I thought we had a good outcome. Again, this is a team game, and … I don’t understand why we want to give in to individual celebrations.”
Marvin Lewis, on the NFL loosening celebration rules

Tweet of the Day
“A whole gang of wide outs just hired choreographers.”
Rams’ punter Johnny Hekker, on the same topic

Wednesday’s quiz
Gregg Popovich is the oldest coach/manager in the four major team sports. Which baseball manager is second on that list?

Tuesday’s quiz
In the movie Varsity Blues, the backup QB who was the hero winds up going to Brown but didn’t play football there.

Monday’s quiz
When Richard Nixon was first elected President, Spiro Agnew was his Vice President.

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

13) Washington Nationals are only current division leader in the major leagues who were in the playoffs last season. Lot of upheaval early this year.

12) Why would you catch a home run at a big league ballgame and throw it back on the field? That bothers me every time I see it; you catch a home run, keep the damn thing or give it to a little kid.

Speaking of home runs, Cincinnati’s Amir Garrett has allowed 10 homers in his last 25.1 IP, which is not good.

11) Nationals 10, Mariners 1— From Justin Havens on Twitter: Seattle’s Christian Bergman is the first big league pitcher since 1950 to allow 14+ hits, 10+ runs in a game, without striking anyone out. Much of the damage against Bergman came during a very steady rain, but still, hard to believe he isn’t on his way back to AAA as you read this.

10) Xavier got great news Tuesday; star guard Trevon Bluiett will be back with the Musketeers this winter; decisions like this turn teams from marginal contenders to top 25 teams, with an outside shot to make the Final Four.

9) Mets 9, Padres 3— For the third time in their last four games, San Diego’s starting pitcher allowed 5+ runs in the first inning. Hell of a job GM AJ Preller is doing— he went to Cornell, so of course he is qualified to run a major league baseball team.

Meanwhile the manager Preller fired in San Diego two years ago, Bud Black, has the Colorado Rockies in first place. Black went to San Diego State.

8) Baseball oddity last night: Michael Conforto is the first Met leadoff hitter EVER to drive in three runs in the first inning of a game.

Conforto homered to lead off the game, then when the Mets batted around, he knocked in two more runs in his next AB.

7) SLS Hotel/Casino was sold this week to the owners of the Grand Sierra in Reno. SLS has the smallest hotel room I’ve ever seen— I was laughing when I first checked in at how small it was, but SLS is a cool place with lot of good food choices. Not much of a sportsbook, though.

6) If you see the Progressive Insurance commercial where the guys are in a man cave watching football, the game on that TV is from the USFL around 30 years ago— Jm Kelly playing for the Houston Gamblers, against the Memphis Showboats (I think it is Memphis).

If companies use NFL highlights for commercials, they have to pay for them. Old USFL footage is apparently free, even though Donald Trump owned one of the teams (NJ Generals).

5) Over the last seven years, Oregon’s basketball team is 33-15 against the spread when getting points in a conference game— Vanderbilt is 27-13-1 over the last four years as an SEC underdog.

4) Since joining the WCC, BYU is 2-11 against the spread in WCC tournament games; 2-6 when a favorite, 0-5 when an underdog.

3) Odd fact of the day: 18% of the world’s milk comes from India, making India the largest supplier of milk/butter in the world. They said it on Pawn Stars; it must be true.

2) Cavaliers 112, Celtics 99— Cleveland leads this series 3-1.

1) Bad news for my right thumb; Odell Beckham Jr got a huge deal with Nike this week, meaning there will be a flood of commercials with the Giants’ WR this season and in coming years, which means increased use of the mute button on my remote and/or simply changing channels.

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

13) Apparently there are severe political problems in Venezuela which are stressing out lot of the Venezuelan ballplayers playing in the major leagues here.

Chip Caray said on the Braves game last night there are over 90 players/coaches from Venezuela in professional baseball right now. If a ballplayer here speaks out against what is going on there, it can have severe repercussions for his family back home. Not a good situation.

12) So far, 631 college basketball players have announced the intent to transfer; 271 of them haven’t said where they’re going yet. Thats just about two transfers per Division I team.

11) According to people in Las Vegas who know about such things, when Celtics (+16) won Game 3 in Cleveland Sunday, it was the third biggest upset in ANY NBA game in the last 22 years, coming after a Nuggets (+17) upset of Washington in ’97 and the Lakers’ (+17) upset of Golden State last fall.

10) Gonzaga/Creighton signed to play a home/home series; sounds a made-for-TV deal, which is good for us, the viewing public. Good for Gonzaga’s strength of schedule, too. Creighton plays in the Big East, so their SOS doesn’t need the help.

9) No baseball team has ever started 12-24 or worse and rallied to make the playoffs.

8) Last fall, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave around 200 policemen in North Little Rock game tickets and transportation to Cowboys’ games in Dallas, as a way of thanking them for their service. Now all that has been ruled an ethics violation, for the cops accepting the gifts. Jones refused reimbursement; seems to me that all this lacks some common sense, but thats just me.

7) Monday was former major league pitcher Tommy John’s 74th birthday; the crafty lefty pitched 2,544 innings AFTER the revolutionary elbow surgery in 1963, that now bears his name.

6) Atlanta Hawks’ Paul Millsap is voiding the last year for his $21.4M contract and will become a free agent this summer. Millsap is 32 but still a highly productive player.

5) Braves 5, Pirates 2— Ender Inciarte had five hits for the Braves, first Atlanta player to do that since Jason Hayward four years ago.

Newly acquired Matt Adams homered for the Braves, making him the first person to homer for two different teams in brand new SunTrust Park— he homered for St Louis there earlier this season.

4) We talked a few days ago about Arizona’s Chris Iannetta getting hit by a pitch in the face, breaking his nose and a couple of teeth. Iannetta came off the 7-day DL Sunday and hit a homer in his first at-bat back, which can’t be an easy thing to do.

3) Warriors 129, Spurs 115— Took Kevin Durant’s advice and watched baseball instead. Golden State now awaits the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, assuming Cleveland can put away an underdog Celtics team playing without its best player, Isaiah Thomas.

This was the last NBA game for Manu Ginobili, who had a great, great career.

2) Two drivers who will compete in the Indianapolis 500 this weekend were robbed at gunpoint of a drive-thru window at a Taco Bell in Indianapolis Sunday night. The crime was perpetrated by two kids, a 14 and 15-year old, at 9:40 pm. I have no idea what else to say about this.

1) Nashville 6, Anaheim 3— Predators are in the Stanley Cup final for the first time ever.

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

13) Had an excellent time Sunday night at the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame induction dinner in Troy; my friend Rob got inducted- he was a great player at U of Albany and also won a gold medal in the 1980 Empire State Games, when he was a teammate of Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle- their team played small ball and beat teams with more famous players.

Carlisle, former NBA coach Kevin O’Neill and former Marquette coach Mike Deane all spoke at the dinner. Albany Great Danes’ coach Will Brown was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. All in all, an excellent evening.

12) Odd Sunday in baseball; 30 of 32 starting pitchers got decisions in their games. None of the 16 games played saw the game-winning run score after the 6th inning. Very unusual day.

11) Over is 14-1 in last fifteen games played at Wrigley Field; wind was blowing straight in on Friday and the game still went over the total.

10) Friday night, the Dodgers’ Corey Seager swung at a 3-0 pitch while LA led 5-0, which for some reason ticked off Miami manager Don Mattingly. Soon after that, the Marlins drilled Brett Eibner with a pitch, so then the Dodgers threw a ball behind Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton got hit in the face with a pitch a couple years ago in Milwaukee and still wears an extra face guard, so Mattingly endangered his best player’s health because an opponent swung at a 3-0 pitch in a 5-0 game. Brilliant!!!

9) Movie recommendation: Wizard of Lies on HBO,  with Robert DeNiro playing Bernie Madoff, the Ponzi scheme huckster who bilked a lot of people out of billions of dollars. It isn’t a pleasant movie or at all uplifting, but it is really well done.

8) Indiana Tech, a college in Fort Wayne, is offering scholarships to video gamers who play League of Legends and Hearthstone. This is a world I know nothing about, but apparently it is a growing industry. Go figure.

Too bad they didn’t offer Pac-Man scholarships back in the day; could’ve saved some money.

7) Astros catcher Brian McCann (concussion) goes on 7-day DL. Dodgers sent Julio Urias down to AAA, called Josh Ravin up for some bullpen depth.

6) Brewers-Cubs game was rained out very early Saturday morning, but then it didn’t rain in the afternoon, so the game could/should have been played. It was the Cubs’ decision and the Milwaukee people didn’t see too happy about it; they also seemed a little mystified as to why.

Milwaukee called up pitcher Tyler Cravy from AAA Saturday; the game got rained out, then Ryan Braun got activated off the DL and Cravy was sent back to Colorado Springs. No bueno.

5) Jose Reyes got his 2,000th hit Saturday night; 1,398 of them have come with the Mets. He sat out Sunday’s game with a “tweaked rib cage”.

4) Looks like Kawhi Leonard will sit out tonight’s Game 4 of Spurs-Warriors series, meaning we won’t see him play until next fall, since Golden State will end this series tonite.

David Lee has a partially torn patella; been a rough couple weeks for the Spurs.

3) In the last 24 days, utility infielder Chase d’Arnaud has gone from the Braves to the Red Sox to the Padres, who need all the major leaguers they can get. He was a 1.000 hitter for Boston (1-1 with two runs scored in two games).

2) Celtics 111, Cavaliers 108— Cleveland led by 21 points against a Boston team playing without star Isaiah Thomas, but Celtics rallied and pulled a huge upset. Good for the Celtics, good for Brad Stevens, great for the NBA, which desperately needs some competitive playoff games.

1) What would happen if American Idol had one season where all the contestants were 50+ years old? I think it would be a big hit. Would be a gamble, but in my opinion, a winning one.

Sunday’s List of 13: Random stuff on a spring Sunday……..

13) Lebron James isn’t one of the three finalists for NBA’s MVP; they should change the name of the award to Player of the Year, because no one is as valuable to their team as James is to the Cavaliers. He is so consistently great he gets taken for granted.

12) Atlanta Braves acquired 1B Matt Adams from St Louis for a minor leaguer; they need a bat with Freddie Freeman out for the next 2-3 months.

11) Baseball oddity; in Jason deGrom’s last two starts, he had the same home plate umpire, Phil Cuzzi, who switched crews this week, for some reason. Very rare for the same umpire to work two starts in a row by the same pitcher.

10) Cloud Computing ($28.80) won the Preakness, only the 4th time in the last 34 years the Preakness winner was a horse that didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby.

9) White Sox are apparently close to signing 19-year old outfielder Luis Robert, who is thought to be the best unsigned Cuban prospect right now. The young man defected from Cuba and is Haiti these days— he is going to be really, really rich pretty soon.

8) Best wishes to Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who recently had an 8th operation on his right eye, after he detached a retina last year. Zimmer missed one game and coached another while wearing an eye patch.

7) Texas Rangers quietly won ten games in a row; while they’re still 6.5 games behind Houston in the AL West, if the playoffs started now, Texas would be one of the Wild Card teams.

6) When he went to the NBA Combine 10 years ago, Kevin Durant couldn’t lift 185 pounds, which isn’t good but hasn’t seemed to hamper his career much. Now Durant advises prospects to skip the combine. At some point in all of this scouting over-analysis, the primary question has to be: “Can he play?”, not “Is he is a candidate to win a gold medal in the clean-and-jerk?”

5) Astros’ pitching ace Dallas Keuchel is on the 10-day DL with a pinched nerve in his neck. The new 10-day DL allows teams to simply skip a pitcher’s turn if he has a minor injury, which this one supposedly is.

4) Pointspreads on Cavaliers (-14.5) and Warriors (-13.5) this weekend are the biggest in any NBA conference final game since 2005.

3) Before the Nationals-Braves game Saturday, after the national anthem on what was Military Appreciation Day, Bryce Harper posed for pictures with service members for several minutes. Pretty cool to see; the media is so quick to point out bad things about people. Nice to see the good things these guys do.

2) Oklahoma City Thunder’s Enes Kanter is from Turkey; he was traveling in Europe this weekend, but because of his political beliefs (I have no idea what they are), his passport was voided by the Turkish government. With no “valid” passport, Kanter was not allowed to enter Romania and was later put on a flight to London, on his way back to this country.

NBA has thought about putting some teams in Europe eventually; you wonder if stuff like this will put a kibosh on those ideas. It is a crazy world out there.

1) Think about this week in Washington, when Kurdish protestors were getting beat up by the Turkish president’s bodyguards out in the open on the street; Turkey must be a really fun place to live. We are lucky to live in this country; it isn’t perfect here, but it is a hell of a lot better than most places.

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

13) Paolo Espino is 30 years old; he’s pitched in the minor leagues for 10 years— 291 games, 191 starts, 1,304 IP. Finally, this week he got the call to the major leagues and started for Milwaukee at Wrigley Field Friday.

Imagine the emotion he felt? How excited he must’ve been? His dad flew all the way from Panama to see the game. Luckily for him, the wind was whipping hard and it was blowing in, which makes Wrigley a supreme pitchers’ park.

12) Brandon Kintzner is the Twins’ closer; he’s 32 years old, from Palo Verde HS in Las Vegas and Dixie State in Utah. Back in 2009, he was offered a chance to try out for the role of Tim Hudson in Moneyball, but chose instead to play in an independent league all-star game.

Luckily for him, the Brewers spotted him at the All-Star Game, signed him to a minor league deal and he made it to Miller Park the next year. Now he is the Twins’ closer and a good one.

11) Jose Abreu hasn’t homered in 66 plate appearances at home this year; he’s hit seven in 95 PA’s on the road. That could be weather-related; Abreu’s bat has often heated up when the weather does. Hasn’t been too warm on the south side of Chicago this spring.

10) Quick story from my days coaching Little League:

I was an assistant coach; my future ex-wife’s nephew was on the team, which wasn’t a good team. I’m warming up our starting pitcher at practice one night; he throws strikes, but didn’t throw hard, but at least he throws strikes.

After three pitches, the kid says to me, “You know, I can pitch left-handed.” I’m thinking to myself, “Kid, you can barely pitch right-handed.”  But our team wasn’t good, so I tell him to throw me a couple left-handed.

Well, what do you know; the kid threw much harder, and a heavy ball— he was good!!!! I’m like, what took you so long to tell us? Now I have to break the news to our head coach without him thinking I’m pranking him.

We didn’t have a good season, but the kid did real well pitching lefty (he also was a catcher and played righty as a catcher); he would’ve made the All-Star team except his dad got transferred out-of-state for work so the family moved as soon as school got out.

Just goes to show you; keep your ears open. You never know what you might hear.

9) Anaheim Ducks’ Corey Perry has three overtime goals in the NHL playoffs this spring, the first player to do that since Maurice Richard in 1951.

8) There have been 26 overtime games in the NHL playoffs this spring; the record is 28 (1993), they had 27 in 2013. Playoff hockey is way more fun to watch than the NBA playoffs.

7) When the Las Vegas Golden Knights have their expansion draft next month (yes, the NHL has a team in Las Vegas now), the Knights will select 30 players- they have to take at least one player from every team in the league.

6) Stayed up late Thursday night watching a replay of Super Bowl XIV, from January of 1980, Rams-Steelers. Long time ago, but I had never seen the replay of that game. Rams had won seven division titles in a row, but only made the Super Bowl in ’79 after they started the season 4-5 and survived a bunch of injuries.

Some observations from the broadcast:
— Football was way different in 1980; guys got hit out of bounds a few times- no flags.
— TV graphics were obviously way worse; no game clock on the screen until the last minute.
— CBS analyst Tom Brookshier wouldn’t have lasted two weeks in today’s politically correct world. He was funny as hell and told the truth, but people today don’t always want the truth.
— The whole world is so different now; there were over 100,000 people there, doubt any of them had phones in their pockets. How many people go to games now without a cellphone?
— Rams basically played that Super Bowl at home, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. It was their last year at the Coliseum before they moved to Anaheim.
— Teams substituted so much less then than they do now, from play-to-play.

5) Miami Marlins hired former big league OF Todd Hollandworth as a TV analyst this year; he is very good, and for one reason— Marlins’ broadcasts are like listening to Hollandsworth and Rich Waltz sit around and talk about ball. They’re not announcing the game as much as they’re just talking about baseball and having a good time. Very relaxed; fun to listen to.

4) My personal opinion on the NBA Draft is this: If I ran an NBA franchise and could take Lonzo Ball, I wouldn’t let his father’s antics make me pick someone else.

That is assuming I thought Ball was the best player available and fitted what my team needed. UCLA had a terrific season this past year; the kid is a really good player. NBA players are well-versed in tuning out distractions.

3) Ryan Fitzpatrick signed as a free agent QB with the Buccaneers; if he throws a pass for Tampa Bay this season, he’ll be the sixth QB in NFL history to throw a pass for seven different teams, joining: Jeff Blake, Steve Bono, Chris Chandler, Gus Frerotte and Vinny Testaverde.

2) Je’rell Springer didn’t play HS basketball last winter due to eligibility issues after he changed schools in Las Vegas, but he got a scholarship from Southern Utah anyway, turning down BYU, an unusual choice. Springer is a great get for the Big Sky’s Thunderbirds.

1) Will Nerd Power catch on in Milwaukee? Eric Sogard (he wears glasses when he plays) came up to the Brewers this week and went 10-17 (.588) in his first six games with the Crew, with two 4-hit games. This is the same guy who hit .239 in 1,210 AB’s over six years in Oakland.

Sogard was once a 2nd round draft pick by the Padres out of Arizona State; terrific fielder. Wish he had hit like this for the A’s.

My condolences to Brewers’ TV analyst Bill Schroeder, whose mom passed away this week. I lost my dad two years ago last night; miss him every day.

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

13) Bad news for my Rams (and the Chargers); there has been so much rain in Los Angeles this year that excavation at the construction of the new stadium in Inglewood has been delayed- the opening date for the new stadium has been pushed back until the 2020 football season.

12) One small quirk here; the Super Bowl after the 2020 season is supposed to be in this stadium, but NFL rules say a stadium can’t host a Super Bowl in the first year it is open. We’ll see about that.

11) More LA Coliseum news; the Coliseum has apparently sold its naming rights to United Airlines; hopefully this doesn’t mean fans will get dragged out of the stadium by their feet if games are sold out.

10) Jose Altuve had two doubles and two triples Wednesday, the first major leaguer to do that since Carl Crawford in 2005. Oddly, Altuve didn’t score a run despite the four extra-base hits.

9) There are seven schools in the SEC West; all seven of their football coaches make $4M+ a year. Boosters at the schools who finish 6th and 7th ain’t gonna be happy.

8) Jalen Poyser has transferred from UNLV to St Bonaventure; there are very few places in this country more different than Las Vegas and Olean, NY.

Mountain West and Atlantic 14 are very similarly-ranked leagues. Poyser is from Ontario so he is a lot closer to home now. He should be a much stronger kid by time he is eligible to play in 2018-19.

7) New York Mets’ starting pitchers have an ERA of 5.13 this season, 14th in the 15-team NL, which is really hard to believe, given the level of hype their pitchers get.

6) Bad news for the Atlanta Braves; star 1B Freddie Freeman has a broken wrist, is out 8-10 weeks. He was hit by a pitch Wednesday night.

5) Miguel Cabrera will miss the next couple of games with an oblique strain, which I think used to be called an abdominal muscle. Not having many muscles myself, I’m not totally sure.

4) Weird story of the day: A Girl Scout leader in Kentucky absconded with $15,000 in Girl Scout cookies and is now on the lam. What makes people do stuff like this?

3) A writer in California who used to write jokes for Jay Leno is suing Conan O’Brien for stealing at least five jokes from him in 2014-15. Stealing jokes is no laughing matter.

2) In the NBA this season, 77.2% of free throws were made, the highest percentage ever. Last year, 11 of 12 teams in the WNBA shot higher than 77.2% on the foul line- Connecticut shot 71.5% on the foul line. Seven of 12 WNBA teams shot higher than 80% on the charity stripe last year.

In the NBA this season, 35.8% of 3-pointers were made. Only three of 12 WNBA teams shot better than that on the arc last season, even though the basketball is smaller and the arc is slightly closer than in the NBA.

1) Somebody didn’t vote Russell Westbrook 1st team all-NBA this season; this person needs to be identified, because thats just dumb. They should probably lose their voting rights, too.

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

13) Today’s weird story: The king of the Netherlands has revealed he has been living a secret double life as a co-pilot for a commercial airline.

For 21 years, King Willem-Alexander has taken to the skies twice a month to ferry passengers around on short-haul services for the Dutch airline KLM.

Go figure.

12) They’re honoring the 1967 World Champion Cardinals in St Louis this week; they had Steve Carlton on TV for half an inning Tuesday night, mainly because Tim McCarver is one of the TV guys for the Cardinals now- he and Carlton are great friends.

Was interesting to hear Carlton, who doesn’t speak publicly much, if ever. He doesn’t own a TV now so he doesn’t follow baseball much these days, but he talked about how he and Bob Boone didn’t see pitch selection the same way when he was on the Phillies, which is how McCarver became his personal catcher at the end of each of their careers.

McCarver was great when he did Mets’ games on local TV in the 80’s and he is really good now, but why was he not as good on FOX national broadcasts? Seriously, he just sounded like a different person on national TV, less relaxed.

11) Chris Davis homered in the 12th AND 13th inning Tuesday night in Detroit; to the best of my researching ability, he is the 4th major leaguer ever to homer in consecutive extra innings:

a) August 12, 1966— Art Shamsky homered in the 10th/11th innings, but the Reds lost in the 13th inning to Pittsburgh

b) June 4, 2013— John Mayberry Jr homered twice against the Marlins- his walk-off grand slam gave the Phillies a 7-3 win.

c) September 17, 2016- Curtis Granderson homered in the 11th/12th inning of the Mets’ 3-2 win over the Twins.

10) Willie Mays (22) hit the most extra inning homers in baseball history. Pitcher Elroy Face (21) has given up the most extra inning taters- no one else gave up more than 14.

9) Conference USA will hold its basketball tournament the next few years at The Star in Frisco, TX, the 12,000-seat arena Jerry Jones owns that also is the home field for eight high school football teams in that city.

8) ESPN laid off 80 people a couple weeks ago, but is paying Mike Greenberg $6.5M a year to host a 3-hour morning show? What genius decided that was a good idea?

7) Division I basketball teams are poaching lot of transfers from low and mid-major teams, which is why we’ll see fewer first round upsets in NCAA tournament. Kid plays well at the lower level and it is almost like he expects a promotion to a higher-level program.

6) They have an actual payphone at Chase Field in Arizona; don’t see many of those anymore. Put a quarter in, make a phone call; they used to be everywhere, before cellphones.

5) Nov 16-17, Madison Square Garden has a college basketball tournament: Providence, Saint Louis, Virginia Tech and Washington (former Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins is coach).

4) Dodgers 6, Giants 1— Clayton Kershaw has had nine starts against the Giants where he didn’t allow a run; seven of those nine starts were in San Francisco- he has a 1.31 ERA in 20 career starts at AT&T Park.

3) Before we anoint these one-inning closers the “greatest ever” keep in mind that in 1974, Mike Marshall of the Dodgers appeared in 106 games, and threw 208.1 innings- thats just about six outs per appearance. Marshall was 15-12 with 21 saves that year for the NL Champs. In the 70’s, great relievers got more than three outs to close out games.

2) Cavaliers 117, Celtics 104— Cleveland was up 22 at the half.

1— Arizona 5, NY Mets 4 (11)— Metropolitans finish their first 0-6 road trip since 1963. Backup catcher Chris Hermann hit a walk-off homer in the 11th.

Braves 8, Blue Jays 4— Atlanta scored six runs in this game before they made an out.

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

13) Further proof the world is slowly going crazy…..

“Volunteers at an overdose prevention site in Vancouver say they saved the life of a (pet) rat named Snuggles after the little rodent overdosed on heroin.”

CNBC reported the pet rat was brought in by a woman who said it had eaten heroin off a table.

You cannot make this stuff up.

12) Cosmopolitan Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas started charging customers to park this week, the 23rd Strip property to charge customers to park in visits to resorts. Self-park is $7-10 a day; valet parking is $13-18 a day.

11) Supposedly, one of the main reasons that Ben Simmons spent his six months of college at LSU is because lot of higher-profile college programs weren’t fond of the idea of having a camera crew following him around all season, for the infomercial his people did on him that aired on Showtime.

I mean, how do you do a 90-minute “documentary” on a basketball player, but never have either his high school or college coach on to talk? Supposedly Simmons has grown another two inches since we last saw him play– he is now just about 7-feet tall. I’ll be very curious to see him play in NBA games.

10) Since 2005, there have been 30 games that weren’t played at Coors Field that had a total of 12 or more runs. Under was 17-13 in those games.

9) Washington Redskins signed free agent LB Nico Marley, grandson of music legend Bob Marley; his dad Rohan Marley played ball at Miami.

8) 16.9% of Ben Roethlisberger’s passing attempts last year went 20+ yards downfield; the next highest percentage of any NFL QB last year was Cam Newton, at 13.9%.

7) For the first time in 10 years, the winner of the Main Event at the World Series of Poker will be crowned in July and not November. Wish they would legalize online poker in this country so ESPN would start showing the WSOP the way it used to- enjoyed watching that stuff.

6) Diamondbacks’ catcher Chris Iannetta was hit in the face by a pitch over the weekend; he broke his nose, a couple teeth and got stitches in his upper lip. Catchers are tough people.

5) Stanford/Long Beach State will play basketball the next three years; this year in Long Beach, the next two years on the Farm. At least Stanford goes on the road once, more than most Power 5 schools do.

Tulsa/Oklahoma State will play a home/home series starting this winter, which is very unusual.

4) Back in late January, Alabama opened as -4.5 over Florida State in the college football season opener this fall. That spread is now Alabama -7.

3) Alabama hired Yasir Rosemond as an assistant basketball coach; he has extensive recruiting ties in the Atlanta area- he previously was an assistant at Georgia and Oregon.

2) Old Italian proverb: “When the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.”

1) Geddy Lee, lead singer of Rush, was at the Braves-Blue Jays game in Toronto Tuesday. Lee is a huge baseball fan and apparently has a great memorabilia collection.

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

13) Week 1 of the NFL season, ESPN has a Monday night doubleheader; this year, one of the announce teams that night will be Beth Mowins/Rex Ryan, an unusual pairing.

Mowins has done college football on ESPN for years; she is highly competent but she isn’t getting this gig because she is good, she is getting it because she’s a woman- that’s the world we live in now.

Look at the people ESPN fired this month; they’re working on evening out the demographics of their workforce.

This will be Ryan’s first-ever NFL game behind a microphone and he gets it in primetime, which is odd. If he is outspoken he should be good– he acted in an Adam Sandler movie couple years ago and was very good at it. Thing is, he has to be outspoken and not hold back on criticizing people he knows. We’ll see.

12) Someone on Twitter (a media professional) was critical of Kenny Albert getting national TV gigs, which is ridiculous, but again typical of the world we live in. If you prepare really well, set up your partner to look good and have no shtick, then some people won’t like you, because they care more about style than substance. Albert is everything a play-by-play guy should be.

11) For a good part of this weekend, the Cubs’ outfield was Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez and Ian Happ, a catcher and two infielders. At some point, this will hurt you defensively.

10) Mets blew a 7-1 lead Sunday, lost 11-9 in Miller Park; Neil Walker’s baserunning didn’t help them any.

When the Mets were up big, they had a half-inning end on a first-to-second double play, when Walker was a runner on third base. He coasted towards the plate; had he sprinted, he would’ve scored before the third out was made on a tag at second base. But he didn’t, the run didn’t count and it turned out to be a run the Mets really needed later on.

9) Texas Rangers are 6-0 when AJ Griffin starts; they scored 52 runs in the six games.

8) Kyle Stanley birdied the 17th hole island green at the PLAYERS Championship all four days this past weekend, just the second person ever to do that (Paul Azinger).

7) Former big league catcher David Ross makes his ESPN analyst debut on Wednesday night’s Boston-St Louis game, with Jon Sciambi and Aaron Boone.

6) Duke landed PG recruit Trevon Duval, a 5-star recruit. He’ll be in college from Labor Day until the Blue Devils get KO’d from the NCAA tournament. Duke will be a very young team next season.

5) There are now 58 billionaires living in Los Angeles County; hope they all buy suites in the Rams’ new stadium.

4) To people who are complaining about Colin Kaepernick being a free agent, what about Jay Cutler? You don’t think Cutler is better than Kaepernick? If a team had shown interest in signing Cutler, no way would he be working on TV this fall.

3) New idea in marketing: Florists were running ads Monday to sell Mother’s Day stuff to people who forgot to send flowers/gifts on Sunday. Balloons with “I’m really sorry!!!” on them?

2) Toronto Blue Jays have 14 pitchers, 11 position players right now; that means they have only one bench player, other than the backup catcher. Nobody better get ejected.

1) Would Gregg Popovich make a good President? Our country needs someone who is respected by most everyone– there is too much hatred/divisiveness these days. We need someone who can do the right thing without a political agenda. Hard to find people like that nowadays.

Monday’s List of 13: Coaches in movies I’ve enjoyed watching

This isn’t a ranking, just a numbered list of coaches in TV/movies that I’ve seen………

13) Ken Howard, The White Shadow– One of my all-time favorite TV shows, Ken Howard did a great job of portraying Coach Reeves, a former NBA player who becomes a high school coach in Los Angeles. He patterned Coach Reeves after his HS coach; Carver High’s uniforms are even the same colors of the school he went to, Manhasset HS on Long Island.

12) Gene Hackman, Hoosiers– He wins the state title and gets the girl (Barbara Hershey) in the end, but for the love of God, why didn’t he know enough to give Jimmy Chitwood the ball at the end of games? Even the drunk assistant coach (Dennis Hopper) knew enough to get Jimmy the ball.

11) Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday– Most people remember the “Life is a Game of Inches” speech before the last game, but what he said to Jamie Foxx at the dinner in his house earlier in the movie “You’re a goddamn QUARTERBACK!!!!” was the better speech, to me. This movie was made in 1999, but the divide between old-school thinking and modern analytics is in play, even back then.

10) Emilio Estevez, The Mighty Ducks– Mostly a goofy movie, but the underlying theme of a former star player coaching against the guy who coached him was interesting. Having players play catch at practice with raw eggs instead of hockey pucks was a curious coaching technique.

9) GD Spradlin, One on One– This is an underrated movie and also fairly old now, but Robby Benson was a hot-shot high school basketball star who was mostly in over his head when he went to play college ball at a bigtime school. This movie was filmed at Colorado State, which still plays in the same arena. Coach Smith was played by GD Spradlin, who also played Tom Landry in North Dallas Forty; if he such a great coach, why did he recruit Henry Steele (Benson), a flashy, small guard who couldn’t guard anyone?

8) Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own– Hanks was a great player who is now a crude drunk who wasn’t healthy enough to be in the service during the war, so he coaches a girls’ baseball team with Madonna and Geena Davis on it. A guy could do worse. When Hanks was a kid (in real life), he was a vendor at the Oakland Coliseum; this was a pretty good movie, but my friend Dennis kills me every time I say that.

7) Wilford Brimley, The Natural– Pop Fisher is manager of the New York Knights; all he does is complain about bad his team is, but when Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) shows up to play for the Knights, he won’t give him a chance to play, until Hobbs puts on a prodigious display in batting practice. This movie was filmed in Buffalo, in the stadium where the Bills played before Rich Stadium was built.

6) Jon Voight, Varsity Blues– Whoever made this movie had a high school coach they really hated; lot of unrealistic behavior by Voight’s character, the legendary football coach Bud Kilmer. He berates players, doesn’t give his best running back the ball near the goal line (the kid cites racist motives for that) and just seems like a miserable human. Eventually the players quit on him, but not before going to a strip club for an all-nighter on the night before a game, like that would ever happen.

5) JK Simmons, For the Love of the Game– Simmons is manager of the Detroit Tigers whose best pitcher is fading star Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner). Simmons is a Tiger fan in real life– he played the part well. Simmons is a great actor who plays a music teacher in the disturbing movie Whiplash– he pushes his students unmercifully, trying to get them to reach their potential.

4) Nick Nolte, Blue Chips– Nolte spent lot of time around Bob Knight’s Indiana teams prepping for this role, so you see lot of Knight’s antics, and the climactic game for Western U is against the Hoosiers (in scenes filmed in a high school gym in Indiana). Nolte gets the role down well; he coaches against Rick Pitino, Knight and George Raveling in games, recruits against Jerry Tarkanian and Jim Boeheim.

3) James Gammon, Major League– Mr Gammon passed away seven years ago; he had such a great voice that one of the truck companies still uses his voice for their commercials. He plays Lou Brown, manager of the Cleveland Indians, who leads a rag-tag bunch of players to the AL pennant. He later wound up as Don Johnson’s father in the TV series Nash Bridges.

2) Gabe Kaplan, Fast Break– I love this movie. Kaplan is the manager of a New York City deli who takes a chance and becomes the coach at obscure college in Nevada; he doesn’t get a big contract ($60 for every win) until he beats Nevada State– he has to beat the Nevada State coach in pool just to get them on their schedule. Cadwallader University– Bernard King was one of his players, another player turned out to be a girl. This movie should be on TV somewhere (NBA Network?) every now and then.

1) Billy Bob Thornton, Friday Night Lights– I think this is the best representation of a coach I’ve ever seen on TV or in the movies. The movie is from a book that is based on a true story about Permian HS in west Texas, where high school football is a religion. Thornton has the coach thing down pat; his speeches before a game and at halftime are realistic and not over-the-top. Tremendous acting job.

Sunday’s List of 13: Happy Mothers’ Day…….

13) On July 2, 1963, the Giants beat the Braves 1-0 in 16 innings. Willie Mays won the game with a home run. Until Buster Posey’s walk-off in the 17th inning Friday night, that was the latest walk-off HR in Giants’ history.

This would get people fired today: both starting pitchers in that game (Warren Spahn, Juan Marichal) PITCHED THE WHOLE GAME!!!! Spahn faced 56 batters, Marichal 59.

Warren Spahn pitched 11+ innings fourteen times in his career.

12) Umpire Tony Randazzo is a tough human; he worked the plate at the Reds-Giants game late Friday night and he took a beating. Four different baseballs hit him at some point, including one direct shot to the chin of his mask, which knocked him flat for a few minutes, but he continued.

Eventually, the game went into the wee hours and after the 13th inning, Randazzo had enough and left the game, with Clint Fagan taking over, but not until he had called pitches for over four hours. Difficult job.

11) Extra-inning games in San Francisco are odd; the seagulls swoop in off the bay to get their dinner from the trash left in the outfield bleachers, but if the game is still going on, it can make things unpleasant for people still sitting in those bleachers.

No doubt about it, though; extra inning baseball is tremendous. Just better without seagulls.

10) Seattle Mariners’ four best starting pitchers are all on the DL, plus Robinson Cano is banged up. Astros could easy run away with the AL West.

9) Jim Delany is the commissioner of the Big 14 Conference; in 2015, he made $2.4M. The league is making so much money off its TV deals, Delany is set to receive bonus payments that could add up to a total of $20M. Wow.

Funny thing is this: Delany’s $2.4M salary is LESS than what the commissioners of the ACC, Pac-12, Big X and SEC all make. It is good to be one of those guys.

8) Former Baylor basketball player Rico Gathers spent last season on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad; the Cowboys expect him to make the 53-man roster this season as a tight end.

7) One of the problems with interleague play comes with rainouts; lot less places to put a postponed game on the schedule when you only visit that city once a year. It creates lot of day/night twinbills; there are two of those today, in Washington and in the Bronx.

6) Can’t even imagine what it is like to be a NASCAR driver during one of those big wrecks- they’re trained with what to do, obviously, but you see a car’s wheels leave the ground and maybe some flames and it has to be scary as hell.

5) Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 1 OT– Senators lost a game 8-5 in Pittsburgh back in December; they’ve won three in a row against the Penguins since then, allowing three goals.

4) Cody Bellinger is a star rookie for the Dodgers now, but he said when he was in high school, he wasn’t recruited by Arizona or Arizona State, even though he grew up in Scottsdale- had he not signed with the Dodgers, Bellinger would’ve played college ball for the Oregon Ducks.

Colorado Rockies TV guys said this: “Maybe that’s why Arizona State is 21-25 this year.”

3) Nationals 6, Phillies 4– Bryce Harper celebrated his new contract with a walk-off HR after Nationals had been rained out the last two days. These teams have a day/night doubleheader Sunday.

2) Cardinals 5, Cubs 3– World Champs are 18-18, in 4th place in a tightly bunched NL Central.

1) Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there (I’m sure tons of moms read this site….lol). Anyway, make sure you call your mom if you can and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.

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

13) Exit velocity is the new popular stat baseball announcers lean on after a batter hits a line drive. Giancarlo Stanton lined a single to left the other night that had a 115 mph exit velocity, which is why they call third base “the hot corner”.

12) We talked earlier this week about the Reds sending starting pitcher Amir Garrett to AAA to “manage his innings”; he threw 29 pitches in two innings in a brief AAA appearance Friday night. Am guessing he will be back in Cincinnati in 3-4 weeks.

Garrett threw 144 innings LY, meaning the Reds want to keep him to 173 or less this year. Teams don’t want young pitchers increasing their innings pitched by more than 20% in one year. He’s already thrown 36 innings for the Reds this year.

11) Freshman guard Frank Jackson is staying in the NBA Draft, even though he isn’t projected as a first round draft pick; if top recruit Trevon Duval doesn’t go to Duke, that means the kid they outrecruited Eastern Kentucky for might be the Blue Devils’ starting point guard next season.

Jackson started only 16 of Duke’s 36 games last year.

10) Brad Johnson, who won a Super Bowl as QB of the Tampa Bay Bucs, has a son in 9th grade who is a QB; he’s already gotten nine scholarship offers from D-I programs. Brad Johnson went to Florida State; Seminoles, Auburn, Georgia, LSU are among the schools to offer young Johnson.

9) Brewers 7, Mets 4– Matt Harvey allowed five runs in 5+ innings, giving up back/back homers to Eric Sogard/Orlando Arcia in the 6th inning. Harvey is very, very ordinary.

8) Good info from The Big Lead: Over last three NBA Drafts, an average of 15 foreign players were taken, with players from 32 different schools selected.

In 1986, the first 17 players drafted came from 17 different schools; from 1984-86, the first 60 picks in those three drafts came from 47 different colleges.

7) Sports Illustrated laid off college basketball writer Seth Davis this week, who also does studio work on CBS. ESPN laid off the great Andy Katz; tough spring for college hoop writers- those two had a combined 40 years in before they got laid off.

6) Random irrelevant fact: former FBI Director James Comey is 6-foot-8.

5) Seattle pitcher Chase DeJong threw five innings in Toronto Thursday, threw 88 pitches. Blue Jay batters swung at 30 of those 88 pitches, with no misses. Pretty sure that’s the most pitches I’ve seen thrown in a major league game with no swings/misses.

4) College football coaches are out on the road recruiting these days; Illinois defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson had an emergency appendectomy while recruiting in Jacksonville. I had one of those in 1993; scary thing. Hope he is feeling better soon.

3) Minnesota Twins have homered in 13 straight games, their longest such streak since 1988.

2) Wizards 92, Celtics 91- Onions!!! John Wall nailed a 3-pointer with 0:03.6 left to keep Washington alive; Game 7 is in Boston on Sunday. Home team is 6-0 in this series. This was a hard-fought game, first one in series decided by less than ten points.

1) Tip of the cap to Dick Vitale; Friday night was his annual gala down in Florida- he has raised over $100M over the years to fight cancer for the V Foundation. Good for him.

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

13) We talked the other day about Sabres-Rangers playing at Citi Field on New Years’ Day; Buffalo will be the “home” team for that game, meaning they give up a home game in Buffalo for this game to be played in NYC. It is the Rangers’ third outdoor game in NYC- they were the “visitor” in all three.

Why? Because if the Rangers play a home game outside of Madison Square Garden, it costs them a tax exemption that could be worth as much as $40M—that’s million, with an M. Oy.

12) More bad news for the New York Mets; closer Jeurys Familia has an arterial clot in his shoulder and might need surgery.

11) This is one I’ve never heard before; Yale has a really good guard named Makai Mason, who helped the Bulldogs make the NCAA’s in 2016, where they upset Baylor in a first-round game. Mason broke his foot last year and missed the whole season.

Mason is going to graduate from Yale at this time next year; he is going to play for the Bulldogs this coming winter, then he is going to be a graduate transfer at (ironically) Baylor in 2018-19.

I’ve never heard of a player announcing where he will transfer to a full year before he actually transfers. Ivy League players can’t take a redshirt season like most D-I players can, but still it is odd that he got the suspense out of the way and now everyone knows he will be in Waco in the fall of 2018.

10) If you’re looking for a good TV series to follow, I’d recommend Billions on Showtime; it is about a rich hedge-fund trader and a US Prosecutor who despise each other- the prosecutor’s wife works for the hedge fund guy, which complicates the whole story tremendously. It is really well done with lot of twists and turns. I’m a little disappointed that Season 3 won’t be on until 2018.

They’ve had 24 episodes over two seasons; you can stream them on

9) Pittsburgh Penguins have played ten playoff series against Washington and won nine of them.

8) Washington’s Alex Ovechkin is a great player, but he’s played 12 years in the NHL and has never been past the second round of the playoffs.

7) The guy who went to the A’s game in Oakland Wednesday dressed as an elf did that because he was the last place finisher in his office’s March Madness pool and that was his penalty for finishing last.

6) A senior media relations guy for the Milwaukee Brewers had a cool job Thursday; he was the ball boy down the leftfield line at Miller Park. He took a decent amount of grief on Brewers’ TV but seemed to be enjoying himself.

5) Arizona Cardinals signed Blaine Gabbert as a backup QB, unwittingly igniting a controversy, since Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed. Supposedly, three teams have inquired about Kaepernick, but ain’t no one signed him and off-season workouts have already begun.

Fact of the matter is this: Whomever convinced Kaepernick to take his political stand last fall screwed him over and greatly hindered his NFL career, costing him millions. Hope it was worth it.

4) Rookies pitchers started the Colorado Rockies’ last four games; kid from North Colonie (I live in South Colonie) pitched for Colorado last night. He is winning 10-1 as I type this, so good for him.

3) Steve Stone was just saying on the White Sox game that the ideal difference in speed between a fastball and change-up is 11 miles an hour. Interesting thing to monitor while watching a game.

2) Teams ask players weird stuff at these draft combines; an NBA team asked Kansas’ Frank Mason III this week “……how he would prefer to die?” What does that have to do with basketball?

Apparently, Kawhi Leonard was so nervous at his Combine interview with the Phoenix Suns that he sweated thru his suit. Because of that, the Suns took him off their draft board. Brilliant!!!!

1) Spurs 114, Rockets 75—Leonard didn’t play in this game, so of course the Spurs won by 39. Bookmakers in Las Vegas had to enjoy this outcome. This, from David Payne Purdum on Twitter: “(A bettor in Nevada) placed 3 six-figure money-line bets on Rockets to beat Spurs tonight, totaling $386,000, to win $120,000.”


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

13) Serious question; what does this guy James Comey do now? I mean, he gets fired as FBI Director, does he collect unemployment? Write a book? Drink himself silly? Consult with his lawyer to make sure he isn’t in trouble? Hang out at home and watch NBA playoff games? Coach his kid’s Little League team?

I’m guessing he could write a very interesting book; doubt he has done anything horrible enough that would make coaching Little League a suitable punishment.

Seriously, I was a Little League coach for four years. Never again.

12) To get a lot of RBI, it helps to have a lot of men on base when you bat. Here are the guys who’ve come to bat with the most men on base this season:

Daniel Murphy 115, Rizzo/Cano 113, Maikel Franco 109.

11) Here are the players who’ve driven in the highest %age of runners who were on base when they hit (minimum 100 PA): Charlie Blackmon 25.3%, Nomar Mazara 25.0%, Chris Owings 24.6%.

10) A fairly tall guy went to the A’s game in Oakland Wednesday afternoon dressed as an elf; no idea why, but he got himself a decent amount of TV time and he seemed to be enjoying himself on a sunny day in the Bay Area.

9) A’s 2, Angels 1—Andrew Triggs has five wins and a 2.21 ERA, 9th-best in the AL. Muy bueno!!! .

Yonder Alonso is batting .444 with runners in scoring position; rest of the A’s are hitting .175 with RISP.

8) Tampa Bay Rays are 17-19, but if games ended after the 5th inning, they’d be 23-8-5. Rays are 4-11 in games when winning run scores after the 6th inning- they’re 2-6 in one-run games.

7) Our fantasy league has 25-man rosters; you add a 26th guy if someone goes on the DL, then after the season, you cut a guy to get back to 25.

Last winter, it was an easy choice for me to get back to 25. Colorado signed Ian Desmond, had David Dahl and Manny Parra to play LF or 1B, so I sent Mark Reynolds packing, since it was unsure if he was even going to be on the 25-man roster. No bueno.

Dahl is hurt, Desmond was also hurt but is back now, while Reynolds is batting .333 and appears headed to the freakin’ All-Star Game. Wow. I can’t even call myself an idiot for this one; nobody saw it coming.

6) Cubs’ OF Kyle Schwarber played college baseball at Indiana; only two other colleges offered him a baseball scholarship: Miami OH and Cincinnati. Scouting really is an inexact science.

5) San Antonio Spurs drafted Manu Ginobili when James Harden was 10 years old.

4) Still wish they’d let kids jump right from high school to the NBA; if they don’t get drafted, then they can go to college, but for at least two years. Seems like a better idea.

3) Adam Wilk, who was an emergency starting pitcher for the Mets Sunday when Matt Harvey was suspended, was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins, so he is still in the major leagues and is having a very good week.

2) Our thoughts/prayers to Chris Berman, who lost his wife in a car accident this week. From reading Twitter, it is obvious that Berman is very well-liked by co-workers, past and present. Cathy Berman was a school teacher; she is survived by her husband and two children. RIP, ma’am.

1) Over the last three years at PLAYERS Championship, Freddie Jacobson has the best score on par 5’s: -24. Chappell, McIlroy and Garcia are all next at -23.