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

13) The Jaime Garcia Era in Minnesota was short and sweet; in fact, Garcia never stepped foot in Minnesota during the six-day long era— he won a game in Oakland Friday night, but was traded to the Bronx Sunday, less than a week after the Twins acquired him from Atlanta.

— Colorado acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers.
— Cubs are expected to add catcher Avila, lefty reliever Wilson from the Tigers today.

12) They played the Cubs-Brewers volume at the Westgate Sportsbook Sunday; good choice. Ernie Johnson doing a ballgame with Ron Darling is about as good as televised baseball gets.

Every game is on in the sportsbook, but only one has the volume turned up. Before the game in Milwaukee, they had the YES Network on with Michael Kay/Paul O’Neill— no thanks.

11) White Sox 3, Indians 1— Josh Tomlin didn’t allow a hit in the first four innings, but then his hamstring tightened up and he left the game. Matt Davidson had the walk-off hit for Chicago.

10) Cardinals 3, Arizona 2— Diamondbacks’ TV guy Bob Brenly doesn’t think DJ Reyburn is a good umpire; he said on the air Sunday, “This won’t be fixed until he retires,” meaning Arizona’s thinking that Reyburn is a terrible umpire who also may not like the Diamondback team.

9) Guy wearing a Dodger hat sitting by the first base dugout in San Diego Sunday had a t-shirt with “Arrogant Bastard” in big letters on the front. Alrighty then.

8) Still seems weird that the Dodgers haven’t been in a World Series since 1988. I do not want to talk about the ’88 World Series, but thats the last time LA has been in one.

7) If the Astros started the playoffs tomorrow, who would their #1 starter be?

Lance McCullers is 0-2, 10.61 in his last four starts; Dallas Keuchel threw 79 pitches in only three innings of work in his first start back from the DL. Very surprised they haven’t added a starting pitcher at the trade deadline.

6) Congrats to Adrian Beltre on his 3,000th hit, a double against the Orioles; Saturday, some goofball on TV listed his top 4 third basemen of all time and left Brooks Robinson off.

Um, no. Schmidt-Brett-Robinson would be my top three, then you can have a healthy debate on who #4 would be, with Beltre included.

5) Blue Jays 11, Angels 10— There is no clock in baseball; Angels led 10-4 after 8.5 innings, but then the Halos couldn’t even get an out in the bottom of the 9th, as Toronto scored seven runs. Steve Pearce hit his second walk-off grand slam in four days for Toronto.

4) Lucas Duda is 3-7 with two homers, four walks in his first three games for Tampa Bay.

3) LA Clippers’ forward Danilo Gallinari broke his thumb in a fight while playing in some international basketball game Sunday. He punched a guy and broke his own thumb— no bueno.

2) Very happy to see that Tim Raines got into the Hall of Fame Sunday; he was an underrated player because in his prime, and he was really great in his prime, he played for the Montreal Expos, an obscure team. When the ’94 Expos had a legit chance to win the World Series, the Series was cancelled by a work stoppage.

1) I’m thinking the Cubs benefitted from having only one guy in the All-Star Game; their position players could rest for four days, and they’ve gone 13-3 since the All-Star break.

I’m thinking back to 2014, when the A’s had seven guys in the All-Star Game and then they limped to the finish line, with a tired nucleus of older players.

Sunday’s List of 13: Stuff for a summer Sunday……..

13) Las Vegas sports books are usually pretty quiet, just the announcers on games/races drowning out conversations. When a big run or touchdown is scored, there is some yelling, but it is usually subdued and business-like (and a lot of fun).

Last night I sat down for the 7pm ET baseball games; the Houston-Detroit game was in the bottom of the 2nd. Immediately I could hear the guy behind me moaning at every out made. I figured he had the Tigers, who trailed 3-0.

But then the Astros came to bat and he kept it up:
— “You bleeping idiot”
— “You goddamn bleep-bleeper”
— “How can you take that pitch?”— This one made me laugh; it was the first pitch of an inning and the guy exploded because the batter took it.

In the 4th inning he got a phone call: “I have to sweat out 8 more runs. These bleeps are terrible.” Just then, someone hit into a double play; he was not happy.

Obviously, this guy had bet the over, which was 10.5. Detroit won 5-3, and the guy was gone, off to make someone else’s night a little more pleasant.

12) A’s 5, Twins 4— Rajai Davis ht a walk-off homer as Oakland ended a 5-game skid and gave manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th win as a major league skipper.

Melvin is a very good manager; too bad he works for an ownership that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about winning, just about making $$$$.

11) Class A Salem Red Sox are 61-44 this year, good news for manager Joe Oliver, since two of his players are the sons of big league managers Mike Matheny/Torey Lovullo. Can move up the ranks a lot quicker if you impress people at the major league level.

10) Edwin Nunez is 5-9 in his first two games for Boston; looks like the Red Sox found their missing infielder.

9) Red Sox have had 53 runners thrown out running the bases this season; no one else has made more than 46 outs on the basepaths.

8) Speaking of Boston, Eduardo Rodriguez threw 107 pitches last night, but only finished four innings. Part of why guys like Kershaw/Scherzer make a freakin’ fortune is that they eat up innings and take a lot of stress off the bullpen, which over a 162-game in 182-day season, is very important.

7) Zack Cozart/Matt Kemp/Troy Tulowitzki go on the DL; Robbie Ray goes on the concussion DL after he got beaned with a line drive Friday night.

6) Dave Stewart threw a no-hitter in Toronto in 1990; until this week, he had never seen a replay of the game, just clips of Dave Henderson catching the last out in CF. Monte Moore, who was the Kansas City A’s radio guy in the 60’s/70’s, had a CD of the 1990 broadcast and sent it to the A’s TV people, who showed it to Stewart this week.

5) Dodgers have won the last 51 games in which they led; that is a major league record and the old record was only 32 games.

4) Dodgers are 18-0 this season when Cody Bellinger drives in 2+ runs. It is weird that Bellinger didn’t come to the majors until April 25; they obviously had very little idea how good he is.

3) When umpire Tom Hallion calls a third strike on a hitter, he prances like Leslie Nelson in The Naked Gun movies, pretty much showing up the hitter. Do hitters get mad at this? Why doesn’t he get all excited when a pitcher walks a guy?

2) Congrats to the late Bill King’s family, after Mr King was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. Mr King broadcast the A’s/Raiders/Warriors; he is on NFL Films a lot in the old Raiders’ highlights. He was also in Moneyball, when Scott Hatteberg hits a walk-off for the A’s 20th straight win: “How do you explain it? Crazy!!! Just plain crazy!!!”

Congrats, sir.

1) I’m not fond of trade rumors; I know these writers get paid to provide information, but it gets old: “…..Sonny Gray will get traded to (fill in blank)”

Or “Justin Verlander will only get traded to the Cubs” or “Dodgers really want Yu Darvish”

Hey, I’d like to date Gina Gershon, but it ain’t happening. You can’t always get what you want. Just give me the facts, people.

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

13) Arizona pitcher Robbie Ray was drilled in the head by a 108 MPH line drive Friday nite, but is out of the hospital as I write this, with a gash on his head the only apparent injury. He is lucky, because it looked ugly when it happened.

The ball hit him so hard it was caught in the air….in foul territory.

12) From sound of it, Baltimore Ravens may be forced to sign Colon Kaepernick; their starting QB Joe Flacco is out for a month or so, and Friday, backup QB Ryan Mallett was so awful that the defense was mocking the offense, for everyone to hear.

Mallett threw at least five INT’s Friday- his backups right now are a kid from West Texas State and a QB from the Champions Indoor Football league.

11) Many of the things about a successful QB are things the general public cannot see; poise, confidence, composure, ability to help others in the offense— does he study a lot of film?

Mallett missed a practice in Houston once because he “overslept”, the day after he was named the #2 QB. Sounds like a lack of maturity.

10) Would love to know the won-loss record of teams that load the bases in the first inning, but do not score. Not sure how cumbersome a research project that would be- it sounds like a lot of work.

9) Rays traded for reliever Steve Cishek/1B Lucas Duda, who batted clean-up for them last night in the Bronx. Tampa Bay is 2.5 games behind Kansas City for the second AL Wild Card spot.

8) Troy Tulowitzki/Matt Kemp/Robbie Ray all got hurt last night. George Springer/David Price both went on the DL before Friday night’s games.

7) Terry Francona is a great manager; he won two World Series in Boston, and increased the Indians’ win total from 68 to 92 in his first year with Cleveland, in 2013. Just dealing with the Boston media on a daily basis and winning as much as he did there was very impressive.

6) Joel Lanning was Iowa State’s QB last year; he’s going to be their middle linebacker this year. Have never heard of anything like that at the college level. High school, kids play both ways.

5) Falcons’ WR Julio Jones lost a $100,000 earring in a lake this week. Oy.

4) Forgot to mention this yesterday; Winnipeg beat Montreal 41-40 in the CFL Thursday night; they trailed 41-28 with 1:00 to play, but scored a TD with 0:45 left, recovered an onside kick, then scored the winning TD on the last play of the game. Horrible way to lose a game.

3) Brewers 2, Cubs 1— Milwaukee hangs on to win a game that you sensed might’ve ended their contention had they blown it. Brewers are 3-9 in their last 12 games; beating the Cubs means a lot to them, since so many Cub fans trek to Milwaukee for games at Miller Park. Brewers are four games out of the second NL Wild Card spot.

2) Phillies traded Howie Kendrick to Washington, Jeremy Hellickson to Baltimore; Phils have a lot of good young players coming up— it is about time they started playing them.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
AL: Boston-Cleveland-Houston Wild Cards: New York-Kansas City
NL: Washington-Chicago-Los Angeles Wild Cards: Arizona-Colorado

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff on a summer day……..

13) Baltimore Ravens signed QB David Olsen Thursday; he was a backup at both Stanford/Clemson, and he played for the Kansas City Phantoms in an indoor football league I’ve never heard of. This should make the pro-Kaepernick people really happy.

Joe Flacco is out 3-6 weeks with a bad back. Ryan Mallett is the backup QB, and a kid from West Texas State is the #3 QB. Baltimore could use a quality backup QB.

Maybe Olsen is the next Kurt Warner. You never know.

12) Washington Nationals hit four homers in a row Thursday, and added a 5th homer in that same inning. Last time that happened was 2006, when the Brewers did it.

11) Robert Griffin III tried out for the backup QB-needy Chargers this week. He did so well that the Bolts traded for Cardale Jones right after his tryout. Oy.

10) If you’re on Twitter, a good follow: @LVcabchronicles

This guy is a Vegas cab driver from Iowa who writes about his experience as a driver. He is very smart with a good sense of humor— he needs to write a screenplay about his experiences.

9) While teenagers were climbing all over themselves couple of nights ago to get a glimpse of Lonzo Ball at an AAU tournament here in Las Vegas, a college coach got up and walked thru the crowd to a concession stand. None of the kids stopped him, talked to him or even seemed to notice him.

Weird thing; Patrick Ewing used to be really famous. Now he is just the Georgetown coach.

8) Lon Kruger, Chris Mack, Roy Williams, Bill Self were all in the Cashman Center Wednesday night, finishing up their summer recruiting efforts. With 800,000 people watching the late game Wednesday on the Interweb, don’t be surprised if the adidas tourney is on ESPN next summer.

7) There are other big tournaments here in Las Vegas: the Fab 48 at Bishop Gorman, the Bigfoot Las Vegas Classic and another tournament whose name I forget. Good place to come and watch some good basketball in an air-conditioned gym.

6) If you’re curious how the Big Ballers made out Thursday, they won another defensive struggle 111-102. Teams double team LaMelo Ball and he finds the open man— his teammates were 13-28 on the arc in the win. Play Hard, Play Smart (the opponent) was 24-42 on the foul line.

5) Baseball doings:
— Mets traded 1B/DH Lucas Duda to Tampa Bay
— White Sox traded lefty reliever Dan Jennings to Tampa Bay
— Phillies traded reliever Pat Neshek to Colorado.
— White Sox put OF Avisail Garcia (hand) on the DL.

4) When the White Sox beat the Cubs Monday, Anthony Swarzak got the save; if I was a Sox fan, I would’ve been optimistic that Swarzak could fill the shoes left empty when David Robertson was dealt to New York.

But within 36 hours, Swarzak had been traded to Milwaukee— this is depressing for the team. Every time a player does well, he gets traded. How many minor league prospects do you need?

3) Please God in heaven, no digital umpires calling balls/strikes. Do you think I would trust that major league baseball wouldn’t fix the machines to favor the big money teams?

2) Cincinnati Reds are 6-20 vs lefty pitchers this year. No bueno.

1) Adrian Beltre got tossed out of the game Wednesday because he was standing too far behind the plate when he was on deck. The umpire told him to get closer to the on-deck circle, so Beltre picked the actual circle up and moved it to where he had been standing. The umpire was not amused and threw Beltre out of the game.

On YES Network Thursday, former big league OF Paul O’Neill went off on the umpire, because O’Neill can be a jerk. The umpire was doing his job, thats all.

This happened in 1999 in a Wichita State-Evansville college game. Same situation, but instead of the pitcher asking the ump to move the on-deck hitter, he threw a warm-up pitch close to the on-deck hitter’s head to back him away from the plate. He threw the ball a little too close.

He drilled the on-deck hitter, who was Evansville’s star, broke a broke near his eye and ruined his shot at a pro career. To this day, the player has a blind spot in his left eye, poor peripheral vision and almost no depth perception. He has had surgery on the eye three times and figures to undergo more procedures periodically throughout the rest of his life.

Thursday’s List of 13: A night of basketball in Las Vegas…….

13) I was at the AAU game in Las Vegas last night, pitting the SC Supreme against the Big Ballers in a pool play game. The place was ridiculously crowded, so crowded that the game was almost cancelled due to concerns about crowding from the fire marshal.

First of all, this is a very organized, well-run event; seven games going on at all times under one roof in the Cashman Center, with bleachers and a good concession stand, but a lot more people than usual showed up to watch last night.

They put out boxscores for these games, which is great. Lot of work goes into doing a good job of running a tournament like this.

12) Most people I listened to before the game thought SC Supreme, featuring top recruit Zion Williamson, would dispose of LaVar Ball’s team easily, but the Ballers played their hearts out and didn’t get blown out, losing 104-92 in a raggedy game.

11) “Unreal. Never seen anything like it,” Kansas coach Bill Self, who was at the game, told ESPN.

10) Supposedly, Lebron James came to the Cashman Center for the game, but didn’t come in when he was told about the crowd concerns. Four or five other NBA players were at the game.

9) OK, so you know I love boxscores; here are some stats from this game:

— SC Supreme was 0-2 on the arc in this game; Ballers were 15-46. Wow
— LaMelo Ball scored 36 points; was 7-15 inside the arc, 3-12 outside the arc, 13-16 on the line. He is a good passer, but is more of a shoot-first guy than his older brother Lonzo, who was also at this game.
— Zion Williamson, one of the best high school players in the country, scored 31 points in 31:00, but was only 7-20 on the foul line- his teammates were 25-34.
— SC Supreme shot 57.1% from the floor, were 32-54 on the foul line.
— Ballers’ five subs who played took a total of two shots in 34:00 played.

8) LaVar Ball has become semi-famous for his promotional skills; he seems to crave attention, but during the game, he was quiet, sitting with this ankles crossed watching the game. He did get a technical foul in the second half.

As for the Ballers’ defense, I’ll say this: they rebounded and went after loose balls with great abandon— they trapped the ball a lot but other than that, SC Supreme got a lot of layups.

7) Underrated weird event of the evening: Guy who was coaching the SC Supreme team was roaming the sidelines while holding his young son (looked about 2 years old) with his left arm the entire first half. Kid looked like he was asleep with his head on his dad’s left shoulder.

6) I saw four games Wednesday; best of the four was Compton Magic beating Iowa Barnstormers 73-62; Compton shot 69% from the floor in the second half, pulling away late after blowing a double-digit lead earlier in the game.

5) So these end-of-summer national AAU events are fun to watch; talented kids from all over the country playing each other and trying to earn college scholarships. Good stuff.

Elsewhere in the world……..
4) Michael Vick wants to become a football coach, is an intern for the KC Chiefs this summer. Plaxico Burress is a coaching intern with the Arizona Cardinals.

3) If you’ve seen the TV show Billions on Showtime, the guy who plays pizzeria owner Bruno was a decorated police officer in real life, a “gold-star” officer, so that is pretty cool.

2) The A’s have to demote closer Santiago Casilla; he is awful. Oakland led 2-0 in 9th inning last night, Casilla faced three batters, all of whom scored. I’m grateful I wasn’t around a TV to see it.

1) Trailblazers saved $60M in salary/luxury tax by trading Allen Crabbe to the Nets.

Wednesday’s Den: Random Lists of 3:

13) If I were 17 again, three colleges I’d consider attending:
Cal-Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, Cal-Irvine…….I would’ve flunked out of UNLV as quickly as it could possibly have happened. Hell, I had a hard time getting thru UAlbany.

12) Favorite TV analysts, any sport: a) Jeff Van Gundy, NBA b) Ron Darling, MLB c) Troy Aikman NFL

11) Underrated events a sports fan should attend:
a) NBA Summer League— For $30, can watch pro basketball all day, and when you’re done, you are in Las Vegas.
b) Any pro golf tournament— Interesting how quiet thousands of people can be. A guy finishes his 18 holes, and is back on the driving range fairy quickly- they practice A LOT.
c) Minor league baseball— For $10 or $12, can watch future major leaguers in action.

10) Favorite kinds of soda: a) Dr Brown’s cream soda b) Cherry Coke c) Sierra Mist

9) If I had a son who was a bigtime basketball recruit, I’d want him to play for one of these three coaches: a) Bob Huggins b) Roy Williams c) James Jones (Yale)

8) Three stadiums/arenas I’d like to visit someday:
a) Tiger Stadium, LSU football b) Oakland Coliseum (baseball) c) Hinkle Fieldhouse (college hoop)

7) Three stadiums/arenas I loved watching a game in:
a) Thomas & Mack Arena (UNLV) b) Edward Jones Dome (St Louis Rams) c) Minute Maid Park (Astros baseball)

6) Three other random observations about sports:
a) Going to a NASCAR race would be too loud for me.
b) I’d like to see some Japanese pro baseball on TV during the All-Star break. Don’t need any announcers, just good graphics. MLB Network should do this.
c) I think I’d be a good radio talkshow host, and I bet most of you think you could be, too. I’m envious seeing some of these people make $5-6M a year to talk about sports.

5) Annoying people: a) Both Donald Trumps b) LaVar Ball c) Jeffrey Loria (Marlins owner)

4) My team has the ball on its own 20-yard line, 2:00 to go, we’re down 3. QB’s I would want running my team: a) John Elway b) Kurt Warner c) Ben Roethlisberger

3) Bases loaded, two outs, game tied, bottom of 9th; I’d want these hitters up:
a) Jose Altuve b) Paul Goldschmidt c) Josh Donaldson

2) Things that bother me, whether they should or shouldn’t:
a) When Lebron James has the ball late in the game, and he gets criticized for passing the ball to an open teammate- thats what he is supposed to do.
b) LSU firing Les Miles as football coach, because he didn’t win as much as Nick Saban has won at Alabama. Miles won more at LSU than Saban did.
c) Astros not being on national TV enough; they’re great fun to watch. If MLB wants big ratings for the playoffs, they need to promote Houston/Washington more.

1) Three other fun things I’ve gotten a chance to do………
a) Got to sit in on a UNLV basketball practice couple years ago. I was a student manager in college, was very interesting to see how a D-1 practice is run.
b) Watch first weekend of NCAA tournament in a Las Vegas sports book. Good stuff.
c) Once shot free throws for beer during a timeout at an Albany Patroons CBA game; for every FT I made in 0:24, I got a case of beer. Made 4 out of 7, but I don’t like beer. Tried to trade it for four cases of Coca-Cola; wasn’t happening. 🙁

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

13) Tampa Bay Rays traded for struggling reliever Sergio Romo this weekend; why? Rays are 51-49 this season, right in the playoff mix, but they’re 14-23 in games where the winning run scores after the 6th inning.

If games were five innings long and not nine, Tampa Bay would be 54-29-17, so they’ve taken a hit in late inning situations this season. Maybe Romo can help. At least it is a sign from the front office to the players that they’re trying to win.

12) Aaron Boone was gushing on Sunday Night Baseball about how fun/exciting this week is, because of trade deadline activity- the trade deadline is Monday.

I’ve been an A’s fan since 1965; since 1975, the A’s have spent a lot of time dealing their better/more expensive players to wealthy teams at the trade deadline. Trade deadline week isn’t fun for me or anyone else who roots for the A’s or small market teams who aren’t miraculously contending that year.

11) Colts’ QB Andrew Luck had shoulder surgery in the offseason; he starts training camp on the PUP List (Physically Unable to Perform), but has been throwing footballs and can come off that list at any time.

10) Read an article over the weekend about Red Sox pitcher David Price cursing out Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley on the Red Sox team charter, because Eckersley is often honest on the air and actually criticizes players now and then. That is his job.

Eckersley doesn’t do many road games, so he seldom travels with the team. It is sad that neither the manager or GM or Price have apologized to Eckersley, who took criticism like a man when he wore the uniform, and he was a damn good pitcher.

I watch a ridiculous amount of baseball every day for six months a year; most announce teams are glorified cheerleaders for the home team. Cincinnati would be an exception, Minnesota and St Louis to an extent, but just about all of the others are see-no-evil, hear-no-evil types.

9) I’ll say this about Michael Kay or whoever else is working on the YES Network doing Bronx Bomber games; Joe Girardi takes a lot of grief for his decisions. Saturday night, Girardi pinch-ran Jacoby Ellsbury at first and let Ronald Torreyes bat, with the tying run on first. The two guys in the booth raised an eyebrow that Ellsbury didn’t pinch-hit instead- you don’t hear that on local TV very often.

Torreyes got a hit that tied the game; Girardi is a really good manager who is not exempt from taking a good deal of grief. Was just surprised to hear it.

8) Texas Longhorns refurbished their football locker room this summer; it cost $1.1M to refurbish 126 lockers- that works out to $8,700 each. Could’ve bought each kid a crummy used car for that amount.

7) A 65-year old woman stole a taxi cab in Philadelphia, then picked up a fare before police apprehended her. The woman had picked up a 23-year old woman and her infant daughter. No word on whether got a tip from the young woman before she was arrested,

6) Jimmer Fredette has apparently signed up for two more years of playing ball in China; the BYU alum scored 37 a game over in China last season. In foreign countries, the American stars are expected to score a lot of points. Jimmer can score a lot of points.

5) Good state from theMMQB.com: In NFL history, 24 players have been targeted more than 180 times in a season, and not one of them won a Super Bowl during that season. First of these 24 players was Sterling Sharpe, in 1993.

Moral of the story; winning teams have more balance on offense.

4) Clayton Kershaw is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with his bad back.

3) Former Washington/USC coach Steve Sarkisian replaces Kyle Shanahan as OC of the Falcons. Unusual for a Super Bowl team to bring in a coordinator from outside the organization the next season. What a rollercoaster Sarkisian’s life has been the last few years, on and off the field.

2) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not), they would look like this:
NL: Washington-Brewers-Dodgers. Wild Cards: Arizona-Colorado
AL: Boston-Cleveland-Houston. Wild Cards: New York-Kansas City

1) Happy birthday, Biff Pocoroba; the former Atlanta Braves’ catcher (1978 All-Star) was one of my boyhood heroes. He caught Phil Niekro’s knuckleball, once hit a game-winning, bases-loaded double off of Tom Seaver on national TV; he turns 63 today. Happy birthday, sir.

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

13) I get annoyed when people tell me that they cannot write. ANYONE CAN WRITE!!! If you can talk, you can write. Take a recorder, turn it on and tell stories into it. Then replay what you said, transcribe it into a Word document and voila!!! You have written!!!

Good Lord, if you read this every day, you must know that any damn fool can write his own website. If I can do it, sure as shootin’ you can do it, too.

12) Does Kyrie Irving know that Gregg Popovich will be 69 years old in January, and probably won’t coach much longer? As soon as Pop leaves the Alamo, the Spurs are going to take a big dip. Mr Irving might want to keep that in mind before he jumps overboard from Team Lebron.

11) Do you think Saturday Night Live should offer Sean Spicer a guest hosting spot? Imagine if he went on the show and was really funny? He’d become a hero to the working class.

10) When games at AT&T Park in San Francisco run long and seagulls threaten to overrun the outfield, looking for food, they play “Everybody clap your hands!!!” over the PA system to chase the seagulls away. Odd thing to see. It works. For a few minutes.

9) My friend John e-mailed to remind me that the Cincinnati Airport is actually in Kentucky, which is weird. Kentucky is just over the bridge from Ohio. Cincinnati Bearcats will be playing home games in Northern Kentucky U’s gym this winter; their gym is being refurbished.

8) Weird Al Yankovic went to college at Cal-Poly; in 1979, he recorded “My Bologna” in a campus restroom. The school has put up a plaque commemorating the song on a wall outside the restroom.

7) LaVar Ball got mad at a ref at an AAU game Saturday and pulled his team off the floor, forfeiting the game. Problem is, HIS TEAM LED 69-60 when he forfeited the game.

Not sure where to start with this, but:
a) He probably cost his team a win, and valuable playing time where recruiters can watch them play. Why?
b) What exactly is he teaching the kids who play for him?
c) Does he do outrageous things just to stay in the news?
d) Do the parents of the kids on his team call him out on this behavior?

6) Red flag for the Astros: in Lance McCullers’ last three starts, he’s failed to finish the 5th inning in any of them, allowing 24 hits, 17 runs in 13.2 innings. Houston needs to add at least one starting pitcher by the trade deadline.

5) When Astros’ rookie Colin Moran fouled a ball off his face Saturday night, he broke a bone under his left eye and is now on the DL. Freak accident, and a painful one.

4) Wink Martindale posted this fact on Twitter Saturday: “A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up & down continuously from the bottom of glass to the top”

Who discovered that this is true? I mean, you have a glass of champagne sitting there, and then some wiseguy with a raisin throws it in there and everyone watches?

3) Clayton Kershaw tweaked his lower back, was taken out after the second inning Sunday. Dodgers were -$400 in Las Vegas.

Important lesson here: “There is no such thing as a sure thing, thats why they call it….gambling.” Do you want to be laying -$400 with Ross Stripling on the hill? You do not.

Dodgers won in 10 innings anyway, but laying -$400 on a baseball game is a very bad idea.

2) I’m discouraged by how the A’s are playing (44-54), but how about 44-54 Toronto, with a payroll of $163,381,937? Oakland’s payroll is $81,738,333, which is no excuse for how dismal a team they have, but the Blue Jays are just plain awful.

1) Random fact: If John McCain were uninsured, his blood clot surgery could have cost $76,000. Good thing for him politicians have way better medical coverage than most Americans.

Sunday’s Den: Ranking the months of the year………..

12) May— Slow month. Weather is getting better here in upstate New York, but it is still spring and there is a lot of rain (spring showers bring summer flowers, something like that). NHL, NBA playoffs are underway, as is baseball.

11) February— College basketball and very little else, except the Super Bowl, Daytona 500 and cold, cruddy weather. At least it is the shortest month of the year.

10) January— Just like February, except the NFL playoffs and college football title game are also in the mix. Golf starts up, so you can at least see warm people on TV.

When I was working, Martin Luther King Day was great for me; a Monday in January where I could sleep till noon. Nothing better than staying inside in January.

9) April— If you like rain, this is your month here in the Northeast, but after a long winter, rain is OK. Baseball starts, which is good. NHL/NBA playoffs start up. Excellent week to hang out in Las Vegas and sip cool drinks by the pool, before the day’s baseball starts.

8) August— I’m not a big racetrack guy; August around here means thoroughbred racing 25 miles north of here at Saratoga. It is a fun day, but lot of people trying to look rich, and thats not my thing. Exhibiton football is OK up to a point; solid baseball month.

7) June— When I was a young person, this was the best month of the year, because school ended and the weather was tremendous.

6) July— If you like basketball, you can choose which part of the month to go to Las Vegas to see either the NBA Summer League or AAU games later in the month. There are also really good AAU games at Disney in Florida at the end of the month, as summer recruiting goes to an end. I’ve learned a lot of basketball watching game after game in the summer.

5) October— Baseball playoffs, NFL/college football, and lot of college basketball research, with the season starting in early November. As soon as the baseball season ends, it is time to delve back into hardwood mode and get ready for 4.5 months of college basketball.

Side note: Everyone should spend at least one Halloween in Las Vegas; it is…….interesting.

4) September— NFL and college football start, pennant races in baseball, lot of solid action, and it is still summer weather. Since I’m not a kid or a teacher, I could care less that school starts in September. When I was a kid, September was WAY lower on this list.

3) November— Tremendous overlap of college football/basketball begins; busiest time of year for this website. NFL games on Sundays, NBA/NHL are underway. Lot of action.

When I had a job, this was a great month; three days off: Election Day, Veterans Day ad of course, Thanksgiving. Never underestimate a month with three holidays in it.

2) December— The best week to visit Las Vegas is the week before Christmas; room rates are way cheaper, there are ton of games to wager on that week, and if you don’t want to talk to anyone, you don’t have to, since most of the people in Las Vegas that week are foreigners.

1) March— My favorite month of the year. Meaningful college basketball for the first three weeks of the month, winter is ending, and spring training baseball every day on TV, to fill the gaps if basketball is off that day.

Saturday’s List of 13: Random thoughts on a summer day……..

13) Golden State Warriors are going to rip off season ticket holders by making them buy a PSL, which is forcing fans to pay a hefty fee for the right to buy season tickets for even more money  in their new arena.

This is prevalent in the NFL but has never been done in the NBA before. This is a scummy way to treat a fanbase that was loyal to the Warriors, even before they were really good.

12) Kyrie Irving is set to make $20M a year over the next three years; recently, he told the Cavaliers he wants to be traded, preferably to the Knicks, Spurs, Heat or Timberwolves. I’m surprised he doesn’t want to play for the Warriors.

Who doesn’t want to be Lebron’s wingman?

Some information about the first game of a series or home/road trips…….
11) Over is 11-4-2 in Dodger series openers, 12-5 in San Diego series openers, 10-4-1 in Detroit’s.

Under is 10-5 in Cincinnati’s series openers, 12-3 in Cleveland’s, 10-5 in Baltimore’s.

10) Astros are 11-3 in the first game of a road series, only 8-8 in home series openers.

9) Washington is 21-11 in series openers, Colorado 21-10, the Dodgers 20-12.

Phillies are 10-21 in series openers, Pirates 12-19, St Louis 13-18, White Sox 10-20, Angels 12-19, Oakland 12-18.

8) A popular word the last year or two is “process.” Front office types now always say “It is a process” as a general way of saying nothing about what they actually do.

7) Madison Bumgarner makes $12M a year; he missed 13-14 starts this year because he got hurt riding a dirt bike on a team’s off-day. Giants are 0-6 in his starts in 2017. Bumgarner has done an awful lot for the Giants in his career, but none of it has been this season.

6) In the first five innings of Luis Severino’s last five starts, New York was outscored 10-0; they haven’t scored a run in the first five innings of any of his last five starts.

5) Dodgers have an awesome lineup; their 7th/8th place hitters are Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig.

4) Atlanta Braves’ TV announcer Chip Caray complained pretty loudly about the loud music at Dodger Stadium, calling it “ears bleeding loud”. He also said that the stadium is beautiful but doesn’t need the constant music/noise.

3) Recruiting never stops: New Mexico added a 6-5 kid from Australia this week. Lobos’ new coach Paul Weir has lot of international connections and is a very good recruiter.

2) I hope Sean Spicer puts his feet up and has a cold one tonight; he quit Friday as White House press secretary. In the history of man, no one looked as uncomfortable as Spicer did at the podium during press briefings- hopefully his next job will be a little more fun.

1) There are lessons to be learned in life every day: our lesson from Hugh Freeze getting fired at Ole Miss is this: If your boss gives you a cellphone to use and you want to call an escort service, get your own phone and use that one, not the school’s phone.

This is how you keep your $5M a year job. Buy another phone.

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

13) Our best wishes to Senator John McCain, who got bad medical news this week. Mr McCain has had a great life, is a tough man, a leader. We wish him well in his recovery.

Senator McCain’s mom is 105 years old; she was born two months before the Titanic sank, and is still hanging in there. Good for her.

12) Tony Dungy ranked Tom Brady as the #6 QB of all-time, behind Elway-Steve Young-Rodgers-Marino and Peyton Manning.

Steve Young? He inherited the champion 49ers from Joe Montana and went 8-6 in playoff games. Yeah, he’s the #2 QB of all-time. And I’ll be on the cover of GQ next month.

Montana, by the way, went 16-7 in playoff games, with basically the same nucleus that Young went 8-6 with. But Dungy doesn’t think too much of him.

11) Guy named Phil Scott is governor of Vermont; apparently he is also a stock car driver, has been driving stock cars for 27 years and still does it, at the Thunder Road racetrack.  Wonder how many speeding tickets the governor has gotten?

10) OJ Simpson got his parole, will be released on October 1st. What do you do after nine years in the slammer? Does he still own a house? Whats the first thing he does after he gets out? Does he go to In ’n Out for hamburgers?

Simpson is 70 now. Hopefully he will disappear from the public eye and just be a normal person.

9) Chicago White Sox sold roughly 5,000 tickets for Wednesday’s game after the Todd Frazier trade and they announced that top prospect Yoan Moncada was being brought up to the majors. White Sox have 10 of the top 68 prospects in the minor leagues, which is fine, if enough of them realize their potential. At least there is optimism on the South Side.

8) Baseball doings:
— Giants signed Pablo Sandoval to a minor-league deal.
— A’s signed Chris Carter, which is dumb, but probably signals that a Yonder Alonso deal is imminent. Alonso is a free agent-to-be and was always injury-prone before coming to the A’s, so getting a prospect or two for him isn’t the worst idea.
— Seattle acquired reliever David Phelps from the Marlins, for four prospects.

7) One of the Mets’ big giveaways this summer is Noah Syndergaard/Thor Bobblehead Day; the Angels have Mike Trout Bobblehead Night coming up. Solid giveaways, both of them with the A’s as the visiting team, a sure sign the home team thinks you’re no good.

6) This season, 26 NBA teams will have their own G-League affiliate; two years ago, only 19 teams had one. Only four more to go and every NBA team will have one.

5) Hugh Freeze quit/got fired/both as football coach at Ole Miss last night. Rebels are going to get bludgeoned by the NCAA over recruiting violations. July 20 is not a great time for a head coach to quit/get fired, seeing as fall practice starts in a couple weeks.

4) Pirates 4, Brewers 2— Pittsburgh is 11-2 in its last 13 games, is only three games back in the NL Central. Milwaukee has lost five in a row; they have 10 days before the trade deadline. What will their front office do to fortify their struggling team?

3) From Pro Football Talk: “Arizona Cardinals scaled back Carson Palmer’s workload in practice last season and have limited him in offseason practices as well this spring and summer. According to Bruce Arians, the biggest reason for that was Palmer had thrown so much last year that he wore down quickly once the season started and his production suffered.”

2) Captain Obvious checks in with this observation: “It isn’t a good idea to go to war with the media, especially if they already dislike you. Very bad idea.”

1) Mets’ TV analyst Keith Hernandez called his Twitter critics “gutless wonders” during Wednesday night’s broadcast; that would be a great name for a racehorse. Down the stretch comes Gutless Wonders……it is Gutless Wonders, in front!!!

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

13) A helicopter carrying WWE’s Shane McMahon made an emergency landing Wednesday in the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island; the helicopter took off from Westchester County Airport, made a stop at a heliport in Manhattan, then was flying east along the Long Island coast when the incident occurred.

The pilot issued a mayday call before going into the water; a commercial flight heading to Kennedy Airport heard it and relayed it to FAA controllers at a radar facility. McMahon and the pilot are both OK.

12) Quote of the Day, Part 2:
“My sense is the law will change in the next few years in the United States……..People want to bet throughout the game. It results in enormous additional engagement with the fans.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, on sports gambling becoming legal in the near future

11) You wonder why the other 29 NFL teams looked the other way when the Rams, Raiders and Chargers pulled up stakes and moved? There are relocation fees those teams have to pay to the league. EACH of the other 29 teams banked $55M in relocation fees this year. Must be nice.

10) Los Angeles Dodgers have been held to 1 or 2 runs in six of Clayton Kershaw’s 20 starts this year; they won five of those six games, thats how good Kershaw has been. LA won his last 14 starts- they’ve also won Alex Wood’s last 11 starts.

9) Dodgers are on a 30-4 roll; last major league team to go 30-4 in any stretch? The ’77 Royals.

8) Cubs’ 3B Kris Bryant left Wednesday’s game early with a sprained pinky he hurt while sliding head-first into third base……..Freddie Freeman left the same game early with an illness……… Stephen Souza Jr left the Rays’ game early with a hip injury suffered while sliding feet-first…. …….Charlie Blackmon left the Rockies’ game with a tweaked hamstring.

7) Rockies 18, Padres 4— In three games in Denver this week, San Diego starting pitchers allowed 24 runs in 10 IP. No bueno. Nolan Arenado had 3 HR’s, 7 RBI for Colorado.

6) Rockies’ catcher Ryan Hanigan is the son of an FBI agent. Has to be difficult to get away with childhood hijinx when your dad is a federal agent.

5) Todd Frazier is going to be the everyday 3B in the Bronx; Chase Headley gets the next shot at being the everyday 1B.

4) Chargers’ first-round draft pick, Clemson WR Mike Williams, might need season ending back surgery, not how the Bolts wanted their first year up north to start.

3) There have been 19 games where a team scored in every inning of a major league game; by way of contrast, there have been 21 perfect games in the big leagues.

2) In 1972, Robert Irsay bought the Rams for $19M, then traded them to Carroll Rosenbloom in exchange for the Baltimore Colts. Think something like that could ever happen today?

1) Wednesday was National Hot Dog Day; there is an ongoing question on the Interweb, as to whether a hot dog is indeed a sandwich. My opinion; a hot dog is a sandwich. Meat in between bread, that would qualify it as a sandwich. Others disagree, some vehemently. So be it.

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

13) TheMMQB.com ran a very interesting feature this week— an all-time draft of NFL players, with some veteran NFL minds drafting the players. Bill Polian, Ernie Accorsi, Dan Fouts, Gil Brandt were four of the 12 people picking teams.

None of this solves anything, but it is great fodder for debate. Here are the 12 QB’s who were taken, in the order they were selected.

1) Unitas 2) Brady 3) Otto Graham 4) Montana 5) Elway 6) Staubach 7) Manning 8) Bradshaw 9) Rodgers 10) Favre 11) Marino 12) Aikman

12) Other highlights of the draft:
— Lawrence Taylor was the first player taken. I have a friend Scott who knows more about football than anyone I know— when he reads that, he is not going to like it.
— Dan Fouts drafted Terry Bradshaw; he should’ve drafted Dan Fouts, who was better than Bradshaw and Aikman.
— Fouts drafted Ray Guy in the first round; I don’t have an explanation for that.
— Sammy Baugh got drafted, but as a punter, not a QB.
— Each team also drafted a coach; here are the 12 coaches picked, in order:

1) Lombardi 2) Walsh 3) Levy/Dungy (co-coach— Bill Polian did that) 4) Noll 5) Shula 6) Gibbs 7) Landry 8) Belichick 9) Coryell 10) Paul Brown 11) Curly Lambeau 12) Madden

No Parcells is weird; picking your buddies Levy/Dungy over Belichick is plain stupid. George Allen could be in this group of 12, but some of these guys just took their friends. Then again, if I was picking a team, my coach undoubtedly would’ve been Dick Vermeil. 🙂

Again, the whole draft is on TheMMQB.com. It is kind of fun to look through.

11) Best coaches who were left out: Parcells, Vermeil, Hank Stram, Bud Grant, Jimmy Johnson, Tom Flores, Sid Gillman.

10) Best QB’s who were left out: Bart Starr, Drew Brees, Ken Stabler, Kurt Warner, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young.

9) Dodgers have swept 11 series this year; Clayton Kershaw didn’t pitch in 3 of the 11 series.

8) Announced attendance in Oakland Monday night was 9,736, a very quiet 9,736. It was the A’s smallest home crowd in six years.

When you start selling off players, it may be good business over the long haul, but it sends the message that “we’ve quit for this year.” People don’t like to shell out money to watch teams who have quit for the season.

White Sox are 0-4 since dealing Jose Quintana; A’s are now 1-2 since trading the two relievers to the Nationals. I’m going to track this as teams sell off guys the rest of this month. Detroit won its first game after JD Martinez was sent packing.

7) Former big league 1B James Loney is off to Korea to play for the LG Twins on a $350,000 deal. Eric Thames played over in Korea for three years and now he is back in the majors with Milwaukee.

6) Weird Story of the Day: Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead is asking for help locating his pitbull Blitz, who was abducted; the thieves are demanding a $10,000 ransom. Seriously, they are.

5) I wish they’d legalize online poker in this country so ESPN would start showing the World Series of Poker again (no one will buy commercial time if online poker is illegal). First prize this year is $8.1M; the final table is set, but I’ve never heard of any of the nine guys.

If you’re the first guy eliminated at the final table, you still bank $1M, so thats not too bad.

4) NBA season is starting October 17 this year, earlier than usual, as the league tries to reduce the amount of back/backs each team plays by stretching the regular season out as much as possible.

3) Astros’ SS Carlos Correa is out 6-8 weeks (thumb), another victim of the headfirst slide. Guys need to wear that hand protector Mike Trout is wearing now if they want to slide headfirst.

2) White Sox traded Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Shaker High’s Tommy Kahnle to the Bronx for Tyler Clippard (???) and two prospects. According to someone on Twitter who says they know a lot about the minor leagues, White Sox have 10 of the top 68 prospects in the minors, but top prospect Yoan Moncada is now headed to the Windy City.

1) Arizona acquired free agent-to-be JD Martinez from Detroit for three prospects. Guy on MLB Network said the three prospects aren’t that great, and that Arizona got off cheap on the deal.

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

13) Carolina Panthers fired their GM Monday, 8 days before training camp opens. Panthers had a 40-23-1 record while Dave Gettleman was the GM, playing in the Super Bowl two years ago.

Former Panthers Steve Smith/DeAngelo Williams openly gloated about the firing on Twitter. Gettleman was (obviously) not well-liked by the players on the Panthers.

Must be an interesting story behind all this, then again, Carolina owner Jerry Richardson also fired his two sons when they worked for the Panthers.

12) Kansas City Chiefs fired their GM last month; also odd timing. You would think this is a down time for NFL teams, just before camp starts, yet two teams canned their GMs. Go figure.

11) Houston Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander put the team up for sale Monday; he’s owned the Rockets for 24 years. No one saw this coming, not even people who work for the team.

Rockets just traded for Chris Paul, gave James Harden a huge contract extension- they’re the most popular NBA team in Asia (because of Yao Ming) so that inflates the value of the franchise a decent amount. Last thing I saw had them ranked the 7th-most valuable NBA franchise.

10) Red Sox have been shut out eight times this year; five of the eight games were Rick Porcello starts. Boston-Royals-Angels-Giants have all been shut out eight times, most in MLB this year.

9) As of late Sunday night, Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas had taken 56 bets on whether or not the Lakers will make the playoffs this coming season. All 56 bets were “yes”.

8) Nationals 6, Reds 1— Washington sweeps 4-game series; they had a 5-0 lead in all four games. Daniel Murphy scored from 2nd on a sac fly in this game- the RF made a lunging catch in right-center, fell down, and Murphy kept going. Rough weekend for Cincinnati.

7) Milwaukee Bucks’ prospect Thon Maker fouled out of a 40:00 summer league game, when the foul limit was 10 per player. Thats not easy to do.

6) Mets’ TV analyst Keith Hernandez made a cryptic comment during Sunday’s game. His partner Gary Cohen was talking about manager Terry Collins, and Hernandez chimed in, “Terry has a lot more to deal with than the fans know about.” Wonder what he meant?

5) Golden State Warriors’ over/under win total for next season: 66.5.

4) Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins will play under the franchise tag again this year, will try to get by on his $23.94M salary and likely will be playing elsewhere (SF?) in 2018.

3) Indiana’s new basketball coach Archie Miller signed three top 100 recruits over the weekend, and kept the three recruits Tom Crean had coming in to Bloomington this fall. Miller is a very good coach.

2) Texas Rangers were 36-11 in one-run games last year, finished 95-67, won the AL West by nine games……..this year, the Rangers are 7-15 in one-run games, are 45-46, 16.5 games behind the first-place Astros. Little things make a big difference.

1) Roger Federer banked $2,880,240 for winning Wimbledon; his on-court winnings in his great career have now grown to $107,325,425. That is before endorsements.

By way of comparison, Dwight Howard has earned just around $190,000,000 in salary in his career.

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

13) Being an A’s fan isn’t as fun as it used to be; Oakland had a great walk-off win Saturday night- they’re 7-2 in their last nine games, but then Sunday they traded Doolittle/Madson to Washington, for two Class A prospects and Blake Treinen, who if he was any good, this trade wouldn’t have happened.

I mentioned the other day how the A’s had roughly $24.5M on the books for 2018-20, total; well, dealing Doolittle/Madsen eliminates about half of that amount.

It is now an annual event, like the swallows returning to Capistrano; the A’s don’t contend, then they sell some of their decent players for minor leaguers in July, then are lousy the rest of the year, they make excuses about being a small market team. Oy.

On July 31, 2014, the then-contending A’s traded Yoenis Cespedes for free agent-to-be Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes- since that genius move, Oakland is 201-270, but no one in the front office gets fired. Coaches on field get fired; they don’t create the roster. Go figure.

12) A’s social media was working overtime after the trade was announced, liking every positive tweet that ran after the walk-off win Saturday night, trying to create positive vibes.

Positive vibes come from having a contending team, or at least trying to have one.

11) NL Wild Card race is going to get crazy; Rockies are 6-15 in their last 21 games; Arizona is 3-11 in its last 14 games, as the Dodgers pull away in the NL West. The Wild Card pack is going to catch up quickly unless the Rockies/D’Backs wake up.

10) Christopher Kamka on Twitter pointed out that Jose Quintana is 9th guy to pitch for both Cubs/White Sox in same season; last one was Matt Karchner, in 1998.

9) I’m adamant that when a player assists on a 3-point basket, he should get 1.5 assists; just like if a pass leads to free throws, he should get half an assist for each foul shot made.

8) Phillies-Brewers wore late 70’s/early 80’s throwbacks this weekend; Phillies wore light blue road unis, which lot of teams wore back then.

They closed the roof at Miller Park in the 2nd inning, which according to Brewers’ TV guys, changes how fly balls carry in the park. Ryan Braun struggled on a fly ball right after the roof closed. Once the roof is closed during a game, it cannot be re-opened during the game.

7) 7-foot and 8-foot high outfield fences are awesome in baseball, because guys can rob home runs. Marcell Ozuna made a great catch Sunday, robbing Kike Hernandez of a homer in the sixth inning. Check out MLB Network for highlights; you worry when a fielder climbs a chain-link fence- you don’t want his cleats to stick in there, but this was a tremendous play.

6) Chris Paul’s AAU team won the Peach Jam tournament in Augusta this weekend, which is a very good tournament. Decent amount of NBA players sponsor AAU teams.

5) Jordan Spieth’s brother Steven is on the Dallas Mavericks’ squad in the Las Vegas summer league. Steven went to college at Brown; he had 5 points against the Celtics Saturday night.

4) Odd Stats of the Day: The Cubs have won their last 13 games played on July 15.

Mets won their last 18 games when one of their pitchers homers in that game.

3) Seattle Mariners’ catcher Mike Zunino grew up in Florida; was he destined to play for Seattle? He played for Mariner High School is Cape Coral, FL.

2) Jed Lowrie makes $6.5M; he is now the Oakland A’s highest-paid player, which means he will be gone too, soon. Sonny Gray makes $3,575,000 a year; he better not get traded unless they get back really, really strong prospects in return. Good starting pitchers are invaluable.

1) Another Bastille Day passes with no mention of Sebastian Cabot, who played Mr French on the 60’s sitcom Family Affair. Who was more French than Mr French?