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

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

Monday’s 6-pack
— Giants’ 1B Brandon Belt had a 21-pitch AB Sunday that took 12:45— he fouled off 16 two-strike pitches, before he lined out to RF. 21-pitch AB is a major league record, at least since 1986, when they started keeping track of this stuff.
— Spurs 103, Warriors 90— San Antonio staves off elimination, now trails series 3-1
— Bucks 104, Celtics 102— Milwaukee hung on after leading by 16 at the half.
— Penguins 8, Flyers 5— Pitt advances to 2nd round; not a lot of defense here.
— Indians 7, Orioles 3— Under is now 8-1 in games at Camden Yards this season.
— Cubs’ 3B Kris Bryant was hit in head by a pitch, left the game in Denver Sunday, but was said to be OK. 

Quote of the Day
“What I would say to him, I would tell him to play for himself. Because he’s the one out there putting in the work, he’s the one out there getting up in the morning staying committed to the game……his career is about him; it’s about whatever he wants to do and however he feels is right for him.”
Kevin Durant, talking about Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo

Monday’s quiz
How many current major league baseball teams share their stadium with an NFL team? 

Sunday’s quiz
Before last night, Dallas Braden was the last Oakland A’s pitcher to throw a no-hitter, in 2010. 

Saturday’s quiz
Of 30 current major league general managers, 13 went to an Ivy League school. 

Monday’s List of 13: More football notes as Draft Week starts……

13) The 2018 schedule was announced Thursday night, the best option out of 59,031 possible schedules that the league’s computer produced. 

12) FOX is doing Thursday Night Football this season; apparently they asked the NFL to move some of their prime Sunday afternoon games to Thursday, and that happened. 

Vikings-Rams, Packers-Seahawks, Eagles-Giants, Saints-Cowboys are all Thursday night games this year. FOX’s Thursday night ratings should be pretty good. 

11) No teams will play on the road following a Monday Night Football road game; that happened five times last year, and teams complained about it. 

10) Eagles-Jaguars play a 9:30am ET game in London, which means the poor ticket takers in Las Vegas casinos (6:30am there) probably have to be at work by 5:30am. No bueno. 

This is the first time ever the defending Super Bowl champ will play in England. 

9) Jets-Lions is a Week 1 Monday night game in large part because Ed Sheeran has a Sunday concert at Ford Field that week. Sheeran’s concert tour forced 8 NFL games off of Sunday dates. 

8) According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, last year the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were- they were -22 in “rest disparity”, at one point playing consecutive games vs teams coming off their bye week. This year, no team’s rest disparity is worse than -11. (Giants’ is -7)

7) NFL will play two Saturday games in Week 16—but they haven’t been announced yet. That is also Christmas week, but the four teams won’t be told their games will be played on December 22 until Halloween or so. Those two games will undoubtedly involve contending teams. 

6) Packers-Patriots in Week 9 is just the second meeting between Rodgers-Brady as starting QB’s. Green Bay beat the Patriots 26-21 in 2014, with Rodgers throwing for 368 yards, but he was hurt when New England beat the Packers in 2010. 

Rodgers didn’t start in the 2006 Packer-Patriot meeting, but replaced an injured Brett Favre in 2nd quarter of an easy New England win. 

5) Jon Gruden has been out of coaching for nine years; he’s spent most of that time on Monday Night Football, so fitting that his return to the sidelines is the Week 1 Monday Night Football nightcap against the Rams in Oakland. 

4) If you were advising Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and he told you he wanted a camera crew to follow him around for four months before the draft, would you have told him that was a good idea or a bad idea? 

Apparently there is going to be a documentary made about Mayfield’s path from his bowl game last January to the NFL Draft in Dallas. Would be fun to know what his prospective employers think of that. 

3) “Every game I’ve seen him play, he’s been the best player on the field.”

Thats an AFC GM talking about Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, who to me will be the most interesting player to follow at the draft Thursday-Saturday. 

2) According to a video on, Green Bay has the toughest schedule in 2018 and Houston has the easiest. Of course, injuries will drastically change all that as time goes on, but the NFL Network has to have something to talk about between now and the draft on Thursday. 

1) Denver Broncos signed free agent punter Marquette King, so they traded their old punter Riley Dixon to the Giants for a future conditional draft pick. 

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

13) Oakland 3, Boston 0— Sean Manaea’s first career complete game is also a no-hitter, and against a powerful lineup that was 17-2 coming into the game. 

Manaea walked only two hitters; it was the first time the Red Sox were shut out in 25 years, when current Tigers’ pitching coach Chris Bosio did it for the Mariners on April 22, 1993, so almost 25 years to the day. 

12) San Diego Padres’ manager Andy Green had himself a dilemma in Phoenix Friday night. 

Padres led 1-0 after seven innings; Green’s Tyson Ross had a no-hitter going but had already thrown 104 pitches— this was his 4th start back from injury. Ross threw 81-107-100 pitches in his first three starts this season. 

Ross’ health is very important, winning the game is important; the no-hitter is less important but is the one thing everyone would talk about.

11) Ross walked a guy, then with two out CF Franchy Cordero got Green off the hook when he misjudged a fly ball that fell for a double that tied the score and ended the no-hitter, after Ross had thrown 127 pitches. 

San Diego went on to win 4-1; hopefully Ross will bounce back and the longest outing of his career won’t cause his arm any problems. 

10) Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell was the 13th player taken in last summer’s draft; Denver took him, then traded him to Utah for Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles. 

Mitchell scored 55 points in Utah’s first two playoff games, breaking Michael Jordan’s record for most points scored by a guard in his first two playoff games. Anytime you break one of Jordan’s records, you’re doing pretty well. 

9) Cal Bears hired former UCLA assistant basketball coach David Grace to the same position; there seemed to be hard feelings when Steve Alford fired the former Air Force veteran last month. Grace was a solid recruiter for the Bruins. UCLA-Cal games might be a little more spirited than normal next winter. 

8) Seven Pittsburgh Pirates were involved on a double play in Friday’s game; the play was scored 1-3-4-2-5-8-7, which means everyone touched the ball except the shortstop and rightfielder, and that doesn’t happen much at all. 

7) From Christopher Kamka: Javier Báez is the first Cubs’ player with 20+ RBI in team’s first 17 games of a season since Billy Williams (25) in 1970. 

6) Sports are interesting because sometimes you benefit from stuff that has nothing to do with you. Take the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. 

Nikola Mirotic scored 30 points for New Orleans in their Game 3 win over Portland; the Pelicans are one of the NBA’s hottest teams, and Mirotic is a big reason why. 

Back on October 17, Mirotic was in training camp with the Chicago Bulls; he was trash-talking with teammate Bobby Portis during a practice and finally a scuffle broke out. Portis punched Mirotic in the face; Mirotic was left with a fractured face and a concussion. 

5) Nine days later, Mirotic says either he or Portis has to leave the Bulls, but Mirotic couldn’t be traded until mid-January because he just signed a two-year deal with the Bulls last summer. Other Bulls who were quoted anonymously said they preferred Portis over Mirotic as a teammate, which had to make things pretty awkward for 9 or 10 weeks. 

Finally on February 1, Mirotic was sent to New Orleans for three players and a #1 draft pick. Good move by the Pelicans; they’re still playing. Chicago finished the season 27-55. 

4) Was watching the Reds-Cardinals game on the baseball package on DirecTV Saturday; the Reds’ announcers sound like their best friend just died. Very somber. I know the team sucks, but tell some stories, entertain the viewers— talk about how to get out of slumps. Something!!!

3) 76ers 106, Heat 102— Philly leads series 3-1; Miami led all four games at halftime. 

2) Aaron Rodgers bought a minority stake in the Milwaukee Bucks this week; not bad for a guy who had zero football scholarship offers coming out of high school. 

1) They had 86,818 fans at Nebraska’s spring football game Saturday.

Number 31 on the red team scored a touchdown in that game; he is a wide receiver from Arizona and that was his first-ever college catch. Kid’s name is Kade Warner; you might’ve heard of his father, Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner.

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

13) Dusty Baker went 509-463 in six years managing the Reds; since they fired him, Cincinnati is 279-387; they just fired Bryan Price, Baker’s successor. 

Baker went 192-132 in two years managing the Nationals; they’re 9-10 in their first year since they fired Baker as manager. 

Baker went 322-326 in four years managing the Cubs; they had losing seasons five of the next seven years before the new owners came in, sunk in lot of money to the team, hired Joe Maddon and now they’re one of baseball’s better teams. 

Baker went 840-715 in ten years managing the Giants; they missed playoffs five of the next six years, but Bruce Bochy has won three World Series titles since replacing Felipe Alou, who had replaced Baker. 

Not really sure why the Reds fired him- they made the freakin’ playoffs the last two years he was their manager. 

12) Happy 73rd birthday to Steve Spurrier, who has had an interesting career:
— Won Heisman Trophy as a QB at Florida
— One of last punters who was also a player (QB, mostly a backup with SF)
— He was the QB of the original Tampa Bay Buccaneers in ‘76
— He coached the Tampa Bay Bandits (35-19) in the old USFL
— He was head coach at Duke (20-13-1) — he made Dave Brown look good!!!!
— He was a great coach at Florida (87-12 in SEC games)
— He coached the Redskins (12-20) for two forgettable years
— He revived South Carolina football (86-49, 44-40 in SEC games) for 11 years. 

11) Baker Mayfield has had a camera crew documenting his life since the Rose Bowl loss to Georgia, as he prepares for the draft. Oy. How does he or his people think this helps him? 

10) Penn State hasn’t had a first round pick in NFL Draft since Jared Odrick in 2010; he was a defensive end taken by Miami with the 28th pick.

9) Green Bay has 12 draft picks next week, the most of any team. Browns, Bills, Patriots all have three first round picks. 

8) Troy Aikman says you can’t teach accuracy throwing a football, you have it or you don’t, which if true, is very bad news for whomever drafts Josh Allen.

7) Useless knowledge: Lot of NBA players use acupuncture to try and relieve pain and maximize their performance. 

6) Cleveland Cavaliers have won 23 games this season when they were outrebounded, most in NBA; Rockets (22), Pacers (21) are next on that list.

5) 15 months ago, Trevor Richards was working in the gift shop at Miller Brewery in Milwaukee, making $9 an hour; Friday, Richards was the starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins in Miller Park, against the Brewers. He makes more than $9 an hour now. 

4) There have already been 27 games this baseball season where the game time temperature was in the 30’s; in the previous four years combined, there were 25. In four years. 

3) Miami Marlins’ rookie Jarlin Garcia’s 10 straight hitless innings in his first two major league starts ties the record for most consecutive hitless innings as a new starter – a record set by Bobo Holloman in 1953. 

Hollomon was a 30-year old rookie with the St Louis Browns who went 3-7, 5.23 in 22 games (10 starts) in his only major league season.  

2) In the first week of the season, Giants won consecutive 1-0 games over the Dodgers, with Joe Panik hitting a home run both days. 

This week, Milwaukee beat the Reds 2-0 two days in a row, with Marcus Thames hitting a 2-run homer two days in a row. 

Elias Sports reports that those are the only two times in the last 118 years where two teams played back-to-back games where the only runs scored in either of them came from a home run by the same guy in each game. 

1) Touching moment on Twitter: Barbara Bush’s Secret Service detail, many of whom have been been with her for decades, refused to leave her side until she was buried. They stood by the closed casket during her memorial service. Wow.

Friday’s List of 13: Quick thoughts on the 2018 NFL schedule

Thoughts/comments on the NFL schedule release:
13) Week 1 Monday night doubleheader: Jets @ Lions, then Rams @ Raiders. 

Super Bowl champion Eagles open on Thursday Sept 6 at home against Atlanta. 

12) NFL went traditional rival-heavy for its Thanksgiving Day slate: Chicago-Detroit; Washington-Dallas; Atlanta-New Orleans. Good set of games. 

This is third year in row the Redskins play on Thanksgiving Day.

11) Only four divisional games in Week 1, which is a good idea. Every game in Week 17 is a divisional game. 

10) There is a Week 16 Monday night game on Christmas Eve; Broncos @ Raiders. 

9) A sign the NFL doesn’t think you’re good: Miami Dolphins have a Week 8 Thursday night game in Houston- their other 15 games appear to be 1:00 Sunday games. If you NEVER play a 4:25 Sunday game, the league office isn’t too optimistic about your chances. 

8) Rams-Chiefs in Mexico City on Monday night, November 19. Bye week the next week for both teams, which is weird but good for the team, having a bye week over Thanksgiving. 

7) Chargers visit Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Denver in December, three potential cold weather games. Rams go to Chicago December 9, which will probably be a cruddy weather day. 

6) Three teams have the unenviable “3 road games in 3 weeks” scenario:
— Ravens go to Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Tennessee in weeks 4-6
— Rams go to Seattle-Denver-San Francisco in weeks 5-7
— Saints go to Dallas-Tampa Bay-Carolina in weeks 13-15, but the Week 13 game is a Thursday game so they’ll have extra rest in there before the Bucs’ game.

11 teams have three home games in a row. 

5) For first time since 2009, Bears open the season at Lambeau Field against the Packers, in the Week 1 Sunday night game. 

4) Giants play four road games in domes, which at first glance is most in the league. 

3) Speaking of domes, Lions/Saints both play three road games in domes, giving them only five outdoor games apiece this season. 

2) In next few days, Las Vegas oddsmakers will have spreads for every game thru Week 16. Season over/under win totals don’t come out until after next week’s draft.

1) Here are the Week 1 NFL spreads from the Westgate SuperBook:

Falcons @ Philadelphia (-3.5, 47.5)
Steelers (-7, 48) @ Cleveland
49ers @ Minnesota (-4.5, 47.5)
Bengals @ Indianapolis (-1, 47.5)
Bills @ Ravens (-3.5, 42)
Jaguars (-4, 44.5) @ Giants
Buccaneers @ New Orleans (-7.5, 52.5)
Texans @ New England (-7, 51)
Titans (-2.5, 47) @ Miami
Chiefs @ LA Chargers (-3, 48.5)
Seahawks @ Denver (-2.5, 42)
Cowboys @ Carolina (-2.5, 45)
Redskins @ Arizona (-1, 45)
Bears @ Green Bay (-9, 48.5)
Jets @ Detroit (-6, 44)
Rams (even, 49.5) @ Oakland 

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

13) Interesting article in Forbes magazine, written by K. Sean Pickard, about athletes and the taxes they pay. From the article: 

“LeBron James was the highest-paid athlete in the U.S. last year with more than $80 million from salary and endorsements. King James will pay his fair share of taxes, but the level of complication for James and his financial team when they are filing is off the charts since he earned money in at least the 21 states where NBA teams are located.”

12) From Sports Illustrated, on NFL players and their taxes:

“One All-Pro’s 2016 filing was 400 pages long. He spoke with his tax accountant on a near-daily basis, calling before scheduling a bye-week vacation to income tax-free Florida that saved him $20,000. And this is a guy who has played on the same team his entire career.”

This is the tax formula, for a player who earns $13M a year:

($13,000,000 x 1 day x 13.3% tax rate / 170-day season). 

So spending his bye week in a tax-free state can save an NFL player a significant amount of money. 

11) It was 29 degrees in Dodge City, KS at 5am Tuesday; by 3:00 Tuesday afternoon, the temperature had risen to 93 degrees, which is just a little weird. 

10) Tuesday night’s Price-Ohtani pitching matchup in Anaheim was Angels’ first home sellout on a Tuesday in four years. Ohtani got a blister on his pitching hand and left after throwing 66 pitches in two innings, allowing three runs. 

9) This is the first time the Toronto Raptors have ever led a playoff series 2-0.

8) Brayden McNabb scored the series-winning goal for Las Vegas in their 1-0 win over the Kings Tuesday; it was Los Angeles that left him unprotected in the expansion draft, and the Golden Knights picked him up. Quite a season the expansion Knights are having, a team in their first-ever season still alive in the NHL playoffs. 

7) Oakland reliever Ryan Dull struck out four White Sox in the 8th inning Tuesday night, he is the first A’s pitcher ever with four strikeouts in an inning at home (4th all-time). 

6) Justin Timberlake owns a small part of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. 

5) Two years ago, the Phillies’ mental skills department was essentially nonexistent. Now they have two full-time staffers and an intern. Mental. skills. 

Phillies’ GM Matt Klentak: “Like a lot of things in our business, it’s tough to quantify the importance of it, but we know it’s very important. You can tell talking to current players, ex-players, coaches – anybody that’s played the game knows there’s a tremendous amount of failure that goes along with it. Trying to identify ways to help players minimize the periods of failure even by one day can have an enormous impact on a player, on a team and on a franchise. We’re seeking as best we can to put our players in a position to succeed.”

24 of 30 major league teams have a mental skills coach; learning how to deal with failure is seen as a very big deal now.

4) Richmond Spiders tossed sophomore G De’Monte Buckingham off its basketball team for a violation of athletics department policy. Buckingham was the A-14 Rookie of the year two years ago; last year he averaged 12.2 ppg, third on the team, and a team-best 7 rpg

It won’t be hard for Buckingham to find a new home, maybe even at a higher level. 

3) A’s 12, White Sox 11 (14)— Matt Olson got his first career walk-off hit off James Shields as the gritty Oaklanders rallied back from a 6-1 deficit to win their 4th straight game. Game took just under six hours to play; the two starting pitchers combined to get only seven outs. 

2) RIP Erin Popovich 67, wife of San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich; the couple were married for 40 years and have two children, two grandchildren. 

1) Baseball teams have 25-man rosters, for teams who make the playoffs, you need more than 25 guys to get thru a season. 

In 2012, the A’s went 94-68, won the AL West on the last day of the season, but they were only 46-44 on July 18 when a sub infielder named Brandon Hicks hit a walk-off homer to beat Texas 4-3, a win that started Oakland on a 7-game winning streak. 

A’s wound up beating the Rangers out by a game; Hicks hit only .174 for the A’s that season in 22 games (64 AB) but that hit was huge— without it, they probably don’t make the playoffs.

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

Its easy to shred the Miami Marlins after they traded their whole OF from last year, plus 2B Dee Gordon. A team that went 77-85 last year is off to a 5-12 start this season. 

What did the Marlins get back for those four players? Here is a look at the 14 players they got back in their fire sale: 

13) Players acquired from Bronx for Giancarlo Stanton, a move that was a salary dump:
— Starlin Castro 2B— 28-year old major league infielder who has a .282 career BA in nine big league seasons; he is likely to get flipped for more prospects in July. Castro is hitting .295 so far this season.
— Jose Devers SS— 18-year old hit .245 in A ball last year; his season hasn’t started yet.
— Jorge Guzman P— 22-year old was 5-3, 2.30 in 13 starts in NY-Penn League LY, a Class A short season league. His season hasn’t started yet. 

12) Players acquired from St Louis for Marcell Ozuna:
— Daniel Castano P— 23-year old who is still in A ball— He is 2-0, 4.35 in Florida State League this month; Class A hitters are batting .275 against him.
— Zac Gallen P— 22-year old is 1-1, 3.18 in three AAA starts, allowing 23 hits in 17 IP this season.
— Sandy Alcantara P— 22-year old is said to be the best prospect Miami landed in these four deals. He is 0-0, 4.82 in two starts (9.1 IP) this season, allowing 8 hits, 8 walks in 9.1 IP, with 12 strikeouts. Alcantara allowed six runs in 8.1 IP in the majors (8 games) last year.
— Magneuris Sierra OF— 22-year old is 6-44 (.136) in AAA this season; he was 19-60 (.317) hitting in 22 games with St Louis last season. 

11) Players acquired from Milwaukee for Christian Yelich:
— Iban Diaz 2B— 21-year old hit .222 in A-ball last year; he is off to a 1-24 start in the AA Southern League this year.
— Monte Harrison OF— 22-year old is off to a 5-31 (.161) start in AA, wth 16 strikeouts.
— Jordan Yamamoto P— 21-year old is heading into his 5th season of A ball; he was 17-19, 4.19 in his first four minor league seasons. Class A hitters have hit .267 against him.
— Lewis Brinson OF— 23-year old is hitting .131 for the Marlins this season. He hit .106 in 47 AB’s for Milwaukee last season. 

10) Players acquired from Seattle for Dee Gordon:
— Robert Dugger P— 22-year old is 1-1, 4.91 in two starts in A ball; last year, he was 6-6, 2.75 in 31 games (18 starts) in A ball last year.
— Nick Neidert P— 21-year old is 1-0, 5.19 in two AA starts, allowing 14 hits in 8.2 IP. He was 1-3, 6.56 in the AA Texas League last year.
— Chris Torres SS— 20-year old hit .248 in three years of A ball; his 4th season of A ball hasn’t started yet. 

It is still very early this season and most of these guys are young, but if you were a Marlins’ fan, how many of the 14 players they traded for would make you optimistic for the future? 

Elsewhere in the world…….
9) Reading lot of stuff about Montreal and Portland, OR getting MLB expansion teams, which would put baseball at 32 teams and actually make scheduling easier, with an even amount of teams in both leagues. Wouldn’t have to have interleague games every day. 

8) Lot of college athletic programs have fundraisers at golf courses; boosters pay to play golf with coaches or former players and programs raise a lot of money that way. UNLV’s football team had one of those this week at Spanish Trail golf course. 

Boy, times have changed; back when UNLV basketball was a national power, Jerry Tarkanian wouldn’t hire an assistant coach who owned golf clubs.  Seriously. 

7) Atlanta 2B Ozzie Albies is the youngest player in the major leagues (21 years, 100 days old) and he is a damn good second baseman. 

6) Mavericks-76ers will play couple of preseason games in China in October; Yale-Stanford will also play in China, in the annual game AliBaba sponsors. 

5) Marlins 9, New York 1— JT Realmuto comes off the DL and hit a 3-run homer as Miami won in the Bronx. Rookie Jarwin Garcia allowed only one hit in five shutout innings; in his two starts this season, he’s allowed one hit, no runs in 11 IP. 

Marlins’ payroll for their Opening Day lineup was $21,092,142. 

Giancarlo Stanton is making $25,000,000 this season; he is 3-35 at home. No sympathy for him getting booed at home— he chose to go to New York, as opposed to St Louis/San Francisco. 

4) Brett Favre tried out for the analyst’s job on Monday Night Football recently and apparently didn’t do too well- he won’t be hired. 

NFL schedule comes out on Thursday and ESPN still doesn’t know who will be calling their MNF games. Sounds like Joe Tessitore will be the play-by-play guy. 

3) It was so cold at the Rockies-Pirates game last night in Pittsburgh that all fans got a ticket voucher good for a free ticket to a future (Mon-Thurs) home game. 

2) Question of the Day: If you owned an NFL team and had a really good QB, like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger, would you seek his input on personnel decisions regarding the offense? I’m curious what people think about this.

1) RIP Barbara Bush, 92. Only two people have been both a First Lady and the mother of a President, Mrs Bush and Abigail Adams. RIP, ma’am. 

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

13) Tonight in Oakland, the A’s commemorate the 50th anniversary of their first-ever game in the Oakland Coliseum. Admission is free, place will be packed as the A’s play the White Sox. 

50 years ago, the A’s lost 4-1 to Baltimore in their home opener; Rick Monday hit a solo homer for the A’s only run. A pinch-hitter named Tony LaRussa had Oakland’s only other hit.

12) If I was a D-I college basketball coach, I’d make sure my school offered a course called Financial Literacy, and all my players/support staff would take it. 

How to write a check, open a savings account, invest money, divorce laws, child support, stock market- all that stuff would be covered. Every day things you will need whether you play in the NBA or not. 

You read about a lot of pro athletes going broke after they’ve made millions and it makes you want to puke. They need to learn how to handle their own money instead of trusting others— in this crazy world of ours, it is a debatable strategy to trust strangers with your money.  

11) Ice problems in Toronto; CN Tower was closed Monday, after reports of ice chunks falling off the tower, endangering buildings and pedestrians. 

The roof on Rogers Centre was damaged by falling ice; Royals-Blue Jays game was postponed. 

A chunk of ice also flew off the roof of one of the Kansas City Royals’ team buses and broke the windshield of the second bus. One of the players grabbed the wheel of the bus after the driver was hit by a piece of the broken glass. 

10) Nickname of the Day: Teams at the U of Arkansas-Monticello are known as the Boll Weevils. 

9) Arizona Wildcats are hurting for basketball players; they signed 6-6 wing Omar Thielemans from Belgium, who was described this way: “…… a good athlete who is a “mid-major” level player.” That description came from someone who has seen Thielemans play in Europe, and it didn’t sound like much of an endorsement for a kid headed to the Pac-12. 

8) For the record, the last major league baseball game to have only one hit: Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs on September 9, 1965. 

Astros-Rangers was headed that way Sunday night; Bartolo Colon was still throwing 92 in the 8th inning, and he is 44 years old. 

7) High school football games in Alabama are going to have instant replay at every game starting this fall. Note to self: Never, ever visit Alabama- it seems like a very strange place. 

Even Texas doesn’t have instant replay for high school games; they probably will now. 

6) Sports Illustrated’s Peter King mentioned more than once in his weekly column Monday that the Bills might trade as many as three first-round draft picks to move into the top 4 of the draft next week. If I owned an NFL team that had a top 4 pick, I’d tell my GM to accept any offer of three first round picks in a trade, or else I’d fire him. First round picks are gold. 

Say the Browns draft a QB with the first pick, doesn’t matter which one; the Giants take either Barkley or Chubb, and the Jets take the QB they want. Then if I’m the Browns and Buffalo calls and wants to give me three #1 picks for the 4th pick, I’m just fine with that.  

5) Guy I know who knows a lot about the NFL is down on Wyoming QB Josh Allen, and that is being kind. Allen won me a lot of units when I picked Wyoming on this site, but he has to become a more accurate passer and he damn well better learn how to slide when he runs with the ball. I still like him, but the accuracy thing reminds me a little of Jake Locker. 

4) My thought is that FOX should put together a QB classroom TV show like the one Jon Gruden used to do, using Troy Aikman in Gruden’s role. I think he’d be very good at it, and I’d think he’d enjoy doing it. 

3) Baseball injuries:
— Pirates lost 2B Josh Harrison (broken hand) for six weeks
— Rays lost OF Kevin Kiermaier (thumb ligaments) for 8-12 weeks

2) This spring, someone in my fantasy baseball league offered me Aaron Sanchez and Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna for Giancarlo Stanton— not a strong offer, but Acuna is being touted as God’s gift to baseball and the second coming of Barry Bonds— I declined. 

Acuna started the season at AAA Gwinnett so the Braves can keep him under team control for an extra season; as you read this, he is hitting .139 in AAA. 

1) It was windy as hell and raining sideways for the Boston Marathon Monday; too bad. People work so hard to get ready to run the 26-mile marathon. Hell, I get tired driving 26 miles. 

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

13) Idea for a reality TV show: Pro teams do exit interviews with players after each season; would be television gold to see some of them, especially with disgruntled players, or with guys who are delusional about their abilities. Kind of like a postseason Hard Knocks. 

For instance, Cowboys/Dez Bryant exit interview in December must’ve been a good one. 

12) Los Angeles Angels used nine different starting pitchers in their first 15 games this year, the most by any team in their first 15 games since the 1960 Baltimore Orioles. 

11) Monday morning’s 11am Orioles-Red Sox game was postponed late Sunday afternoon, so no need to post your fantasy lineups early Monday. This is first time since 1984 the Patriots Day game was rained out. 

It also means I get to sleep later Monday morning  🙂 

10) Odd managing in the Brewers-Mets game Sunday; Mets led 1-0 in top of 5th inning, Brewers had a guy on 3rd with two men out, and pitcher Jhoulys Chacin was due up, you think they’d pinch-hit for him, but Chacin grounded out to shortstop. Since Chacin hit, you assume he’ll pitch the bottom of the 5th inning, right? 

Wrong. Milwaukee takes Chacin out after not pinch-hitting for him with the tying run on third base. Go figure. Must be an analytics thing. 

9) Boston media will be happy; Angels’ rainout in Kansas City Sunday means that Shohei Ohtani will make his next start against the Red Sox in Anaheim Tuesday night. 

8) Six baseball postponements Sunday; the only time in last 20 years with six postponements in one day was September 12, 2008. 

7) Oakland starting pitchers have finished the 6th inning in 3 of their 16 games; three times by Sean Manaea, zero times by everyone else. 

For the record, the A’s traded Ben Zobrist for Manaea, back when they helped he Royals win the World Series with that trade- now it is paying off for them. 

6) Saturday night in Dodger Stadium, Arizona’s Deven Marrero hit a home run, but passed the runner on first base, who was going back to tag up, thinking the ball might be caught.  

Play results in a 2-run single for Marrero, but he does not score because he passed a runner, so he was out on the play- that doesn’t happen very often. 

5) Matt Harvey hasn’t gotten an out in the 6th inning in any of his starts since May 28, 2017 vs Pittsburgh- thats 11 starts in a row. Harvey is a free agent after this season; good luck there. 

4) NFL Draft note: New England drafted a DL/LB with its first pick in five of last six drafts.

3) Pacers 98, Cavaliers 80— Lebron James teams had won their last 21 first round playoff games, but that streak was ended rudely here. 

2) Twins had a miserable baseball-free weekend at home, with a foot of snow falling; now they head to Puerto Rico to play a couple of games with the Indians in San Juan. 

1) They had 23 inches of snow in Green Bay this weekend, in mid-April. Oy. 

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

13) Philadelphia Phillies gave rookie 2B Scott Kingery a 6-year, $23M contract with options beyond that, before he ever played a major league game. 

OF Nick Williams played 83 games as a rookie for the Phillies LY; he hit .283 with 55 RBI, pretty solid production. Not only is he still making the $553,000 league minimum, they don’t start him anymore, now that Rhys Hoskins has moved to the outfield.  He started in Tampa Bay this weekend because its an AL park so they have the DH. 

Williams must be really freakin’ happy.

12) QB Josh Allen will be the first Wyoming Cowboy taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1976, when they had two players taken in first round. 

11) Weird stat: Rangers’ DH/OF Joey Gallo has 53 career home runs, 50 career singles. 

10) Foot of snow in Minnesota this weekend; why didn’t these geniuses put a retractable dome on their new baseball stadium? Twins might not play for close to a week; I have Jose Abreu on my fantasy team— he’s getting the second half of this week off. No bueno. 

Seriously; Sunday’s doubleheader was postponed at 4:00 Saturday. Awesome. 

9) UCLA fired assistant basketball coach/Air Force veteran David Grace, a decorated military veteran who served in the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm. 

He’s been given credit for bringing in some of UCLA’s top recruits over the last several years, including T.J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu and Jaylen Hands.

8) Weirdness; A’s are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first season in Oakland this year, while the Royals are celebrating their 50th season in Kansas City this year. 

A’s started playing in Oakland in ’68, after leaving Kansas City. Royals started play when divisional play started, in ’69. 

7) Miami Marlins drew 6,150 fans for a home game with the Mets Wednesday; their AA team in Jacksonville drew 6,960 fans that same night for their Southern League home opener vs Mobile. 

6) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be on Dancing With the Stars this fall; he could’ve made a freakin’ fortune in endorsements during/after his career, but he is very quiet and never showed much personality so once he stopped playing ball, he kind of disappeared. 

Kareem will by 71 on Monday; good to see him enjoying himself now. I’ve said this before here and I firmly believe it— he was the most dominant basketball player ever. 

5) Masters champ Patrick Reed sat behind the plate as the Astros game Saturday wearing his green jacket; he was also at a Rockets’ game and went to the drive-thru window at Chick-fil-A wearing the jacket. At what point does he hang the jacket in his closet and go back to playing golf? 

4) Cubs 14, Braves 10— Atlanta led this game 10-2 in 6th inning on a hideous, cold, rainy day in Wrigley Field. Braves’ bullpen got 8 outs, allowed 11 runs. 

This game shouldn’t have been played; the weather was awful. 

3) Golfer Kelly Kraft missed the cut by a stroke at Hilton Head this week, in large part because his tee shot on the par-3 14th hole hit a bird and fell into the water— he double-bogeyed the hole. Because the bird is not a man-made object, Kraft had to play the ball where it lied, or take a penalty; had he hit an airplane, apparently he would get relief. Go figure. 

2) Former Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops and legendary Arizona hoop coach Lute Olson recently had statues of themselves put up on the schools’ campuses. 

1— In 1997, Barry Levinson wrote a movie called Wag the Dog, where just before a Presidential election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer got together to fabricate a war in order to cover up the President’s sex scandal. Sound familiar?

HBO and Levinson are in the process now of creating a Wag the Dog comedy series, but the idea just isn’t funny anymore. 

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

13) Thinking about the NFL Draft and Baker Mayfield— I know there’s a lot more to it than just the QB, but Oklahoma Sooners averaged 8.29 yards/play last year, best in country. Next best was UCF at 7.46 yards/play. Sam Darnold’s USC offense was 15th on the list, at 5.56 yards/play. 

12) Jets traded three #2 draft picks to move up from #6 to #3 in the draft, so everyone’s job is on the line when they make that selection in 12 days. 

Guess it is odd that the Giants/Jets will be under intense scrutiny in a draft held in Dallas. 

11) Atlanta Falcons games in 2017 went under the total by an average of 6.84 ppg, after a 2016 season whey went over the total almost every week. 

Detroit Lions games went over by an average of 4.34 ppg, the most in the NFL.

10) Mets lost both their catchers to injury this week; Travis d’Arnaud tore his UCL, Kevin Plawecki broke his hand. When you’re excited about having Jose Lobaton on your roster, it is time to trade for a catcher. 

9) Chick-fil-A is coming to New York City, which means it is only 148 miles from Armadillo World HQ. Actually, there is a Chick-fil-A in Albany Airport, but you have to go thru security to get to it, so only time I can eat there is when I fly to Las Vegas. 

8) Dallas Cowboys sent WR Dez Bryant packing, which is what happens when you don’t run as fast as you used to. He has a reputation as a bad clubhouse guy; we’ll see where he catches on. 

7) Paul Casey missed the cut at Harbourtown this week, ending his streak of 29 consecutive cuts made, which was the longest active streak on Tour. 

6) Braves 4, Cubs 0— I know its early, I know the weather has mostly sucked so far, but Chicago is 6-7 and their lineup looks very bland. Anthony Rizzo is expected back next week 

5) Much-improved baseball announcer; Braves’ TV guy Chip Caray has gotten so much better over the years; he is fun to listen to now. He is a little ornery about instant replay, but working with Joe Simpson, they’re a good team. 

4) As the dust clears on Lonzo Ball’s rookie year in the NBA, we see that Ball averaged 10.2 ppg, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals while shooting 36% from the floor, 30.5% from beyond the arc, while missing 30 of 82 games— he played 34.2 mpg in the 50 games he did play.

3) Seahawks signed Sebastian Janikowski to be their new kicker; he’ll see his old team Oakland next season. Raiders will see their old punter Marquette King twice a year since he is now a Denver Bronco. 

2) Here in Albany, Siena gave basketball coach Jimmy Patsos $350K to take a hike after five years with the Saints. Patsos was 77-92 at Siena, 47-51 in MAAC games- he didn’t make the NCAA tournament. He did make the NCAA’s once in nine years as coach of Loyola, MD. 

To get out of paying most of what they owed Patsos (he had 3 years left on his contract), the school dredged up some crummy things he did within the team— he was verbally abusive to a team manager, among other things. 

Rumored replacements for Patsos: LeMoyne coach Patrick Beilein and Syracuse assistant Gerry McNamara. 

1— White Sox-Twins in Minnesota was snowed out Friday night and prospects for Saturday don’t look so good, either. Why didn’t they put a retractable dome on their new ballpark, like Milwaukee did? 

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

13) After scoring 19 points in his NBA debut Tuesday, 32-year old Andre Ingram played 35:00 for Lakers Wednesday, was +23, best on team.  

Funny how guys who have something to prove don’t mind playing back-to-back nights, while lot of guys who already struck it rich think they’re bigger than life and get soft. 

Anyway, I hope Ingram gets an invite to the Las Vegas Summer League; he’s earned it. Ingram is also throwing out the first pitch at the Dodger game tonight. 

12) Gametime temperature at Wrigley Field Thursday was 74 degrees; by the top of the 5th inning, it had dropped to 57 degrees.

11) The mayor of New York City is a Red Sox fan? How is that freakin’ possible? Shouldn’t that disqualify him?

10) Indiana signed 6-4 Laci Johnson to play on its women’s volleyball team; she is the daughter of Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson. 

9) Michigan grad transfer quarterback Wilton Speight will transfer to UCLA, where he will play for Chip Kelly this fall. 

8) There were four fans at the Kings-Golden Knights game Wednesday in Las Vegas sitting right by the LA bench; they were all dressed just like Elvis impersonators. Good stuff. 

7) Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy will pay for the hiring of an additional armed officer at each of the 10 public schools in the Stillwater, OK area- this will cost Gundy $35,000, from now until the end of the school year. Gundy has two school-age children. 

6) Gregg Popovich started coaching the San Antonio Spurs in 1996; since then, the Knicks have had 12 head coaches— next fall will be #13. 

5) Orlando Magic fired coach Frank Vogel, who was 54-110 in two years as coach, after going 250-181 in six years with the Pacers. It helps to have good players, which Orlando doesn’t. 

4) Doug Kern points out that the Cleveland Indians were held to four of fewer hits three games in row April 8-10, but they still won all three games, the first team to do that since the 1986 Texas Rangers. Only other team to do that was the ’63 San Francisco Giants. 

3) If you’re into fantasy football, this might help: 

Since start of 2013 season, on passes thrown 20+ yards downfield, DeSean Jackson has caught passes for a total of 2,255 yards, most in NFL; next highest is TY Hilton (2,213), AJ Green (2,060) and Antonio Brown (2,040). 

2) Over the last 30 years in the NHL, the team that won the Presidents’ Cup (most points during regular season) has gone on to win the Stanley Cup only seven times. 

1— By way of contrast, since 1984, only one NBA team seeded lower than #3 has won the NBA title, the 1995 Houston Rockets. LA Kings won the Stanley Cup as the #8 seed in the West a few years ago. 

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

13) Minnesota 112, Denver 106 OT— Timberwolves survive this game in OT, snap Denver’s 6-game winning streak and make the playoffs for first time in 15 years. 

12) Lot of angry baseball players Wednesday; fisticuffs in Denver and Boston. Awful early in the season for division rivals to be going at it, but thats what happened. Nolan Arenado wound up throwing punches and Tyler Austin looked like a guy in the WWE when he charged the mound at Fenway Park. Too cold for fisticuffs- you can break a bone punching a guy. 

Five players got tossed in Denver, three in Boston. These teams have a lot of games against each other the rest of the season. Will be interesting to see if the hostilities carry over. 

11) Trayce Thompson played CF for the A’s last night; he robbed former Dodger teammate Yasiel Puig of a home run with a leaping catch in front of the fence. Puig tipped his cap to Thompson as he jogged back to the dugout. Thompson hit 13 homers in half a season for the Dodgers two years ago— he is an intriguing prospect for Oakland. 

10)‘s Albert Breer touted the Ravens as a possible landing spot for Louisville QB Lamar Jackson; Joe Flacco is 33 and the Ravens missed the playoffs the last three years. 

What the Ravens really need is a new offensive coordinator; Marty Mornhinweg is hideous, but for some reason, they stick with him. 31 of 64 NFL coordinator jobs changed hands this winter, but this guy keeps his job. Baffling. 

9) NFL announced the 2018 preseason schedule Wednesday, which I don’t care about except that it means the regular season schedule announcement is only a week away. 

Bears-Ravens is the Hall of Fame Game in Canton on August 2. 

8) Brad Stevens is a damn good coach; Celtics went over their 53.5 win total for this season, despite losing Kyrie Irving for 22 games and Gordon Hayward playing five minutes the whole freakin’ season. 

7) 76ers 130, Bucks 95— Philly won its last 16 games as they head into the playoffs. Happy for coach Brett Brown, who endured a lot of BS and losing on his way to this point in his career. 

6) Knicks fired coach Jeff Hornacek after they got back to New York Wednesday night; they really need to fire their owner, but that’s not happening. Knicks lost 50+ games the last four seasons, which obviously ain’t good. 

Former Cleveland coach David Blatt is listed as a possible replacement. 

5) 2020 All-Star Game will be in Dodger Stadium; last time they had the mid-summer classic in LA was in 1980. Dodger Stadium is now the third-oldest stadium in the big leagues. 

From 1962-65, before Anaheim Stadium was built, the Angels also played in Dodger Stadium. 

4) Twins 9, Astros 8— Minnesota led 8-1 but the Astros rallied to tie this game, before Max Kepler ended things with a a walk-off HR, his second tater of the day. 

3) Baseball injury stuff:
— Mets lose catcher Travis d’Arnaud with a torn UCL
— Rangers’ SS Elvis Andrus broke his elbow when he got hit by a pitch.
— Braves’ P Brandon McCarthy’s left shoulder appeared to pop out of joint as he covered first base in a game in Washington. The trainer popped the shoulder back in place— the out ended the 5th inning, but McCarthy didn’t return to the game. Weird injury. 

2) First round NBA playoff series:
East: Celtics-Bucks, 76ers-Heat, Cavaliers-Pacers, Raptors-Wizards
West: Warriors-Spurs, Blazers-Pelicans, Thunder-Jazz, Rockets-Wolves

1) Only in today’s crazy world would 50Cent and MSNBC’s Ari Melber be on a Twitter video together talking about what happens if the feds charge you with a crime. Thats what popped up on my timeline today. 

Say Defendant A gets convicted of a crime and gets sentenced to 10 years in jail; according to 50Cent, Defendant A would serve 85% of that time, or 8.5 years. If you got nailed for 30 years, that puts you behind bars for 25.5 years, assuming time off for good behavior.

Something to think about when you watch the news these days. 

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

13) Rough start to the season for the Giants; Johnny Cueto (ankle) goes on the DL, joining Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija- those are San Francisco’s three best pitchers. 

12) Rockets’ PG Chris Paul bought an ownership stake in the Carolina League’s Winston-Salem Dash this week. Dash are a Class A farm club of the Chicago White Sox. 

11) Coming into Tuesday’s game, Ryan Zimmerman had come to bat with 33 men on base, but only knocked two of them in. In his first at-bat Tuesday, Zimmerman hit a two-run triple, which had to be a big relief to both him and the Nationals. 

10) Ronald Acuna update: Braves’ big prospect has started the season 2-15 in AAA, getting his first two hits of the season Tuesday; they can bring him up Saturday and keep his under team control for that extra year. 

Thats a rule that needs to be changed; just bring the good players up early when they’re ready, not when you can manipulate the rules to your advantage. 

9) Dodger catcher Kyle Farmer had a cameo role in the 2009 movie The Blind Side; he played the high school QB in the scenes where Sandra Bullock interrupts the football team’s practice. 

8) 7,003 fans in Miami Monday, many of them disguised as empty seats; 6,516 more Tuesday night. If you’re in the Witness Protection Program and don’t want to be seen, Marlins Park is an excellent place to hang out. 

7) Someone posted on Twitter last night that the actual paid attendance (people who used tickets to get in) on a snowy Monday afternoon in Chicago for the White Sox game was 974 loyal fans, all of whom should get a free ticket to a future Pale Hose game. 

6) St Peter’s hired Seton Hall assistant Shaheen Holloway to replace John Dunne, who moved on to Marist, a MAAC rival of the Peacocks. 

5) Oklahoma Sooners’ basketball team will do something unusual in November; making a road trip to play Tex-Rio Grande Valley and Tex-San Antonio, two mid-major teams. 

Big-time teams almost never do this, but those two clubs are both coached by former assistants to Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, so they’re getting a break— both games should draw really well. 

4) 32-year-old  Andre Ingram scored 19 points, got 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks in 29 minutes off the Lakers bench in their loss to Houston. It was Ingram’s first NBA game after a decade in the G-League.

Ingram will make $13,824 for playing Tuesday/Wednesday for the Lakers. His G-League salary for the whole season was $26,000.

3) Phillies reliever Pat Neshek collects baseball cards; he recently bought a few boxes of cards and found a Shohei Ohtani card that was signed in red ink, one of only 69 in existence. 

Neshek sold the card on eBay for $6,100, which is the good news. 

The bad news is that he sold the card before Ohtani’s great week last week; that card has to be worth a hell of a lot more than $6,100 now. 

2) Washington scored in first inning in nine of their 11 games this season. 

1) Before last night, Aaron Judge was 3-36 in his career at Fenway Park; he went 3-4 with a homer to centerfield last night. 

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

13) Was watching Invincible Sunday night, a movie about a 30-year bartender who tried out for the 1976 Philadelphia Eagles and wound up playing three years in the NFL. True story. 

Things have changed a lot in 42 years; in training camp back then, the Eagles had six straight weeks of 2-a-day practices, and also had six preseason games. 

Nowadays, teams rarely hit in practices, there are four preseason games; any coach who tried to run 2-a-days on consecutive days would probably get scolded by the league or just told he couldn’t do it. 

12) “The hockey rink is the gathering place for our people throughout Canada. You want to know what’s going on in town? Go to the rink. We’ve got no movie theater in Nipawin, no casino. We’ve got a hockey rink. That’s how so much of Canada is. That’s why this hits us so hard.”
Dan Ukrainetz, a radio announcer in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, talking about the Humboldt bus tragedy this past weekend

11) Saturday is the earliest the Atlanta Braves can bring up top prospect Ronald Acuna and keep him under contractual control for an extra year.

10) After playing in 384 games over 10 years in the G-League, 32-year old Andre Ingram finally got the call Monday; the Lakers called him up to the NBA. 

Can you imagine how exciting that must be, after 10 years to finally make it to the NBA, when he had to have thought it was never going to happen? Ingram played four years at American U; good for him. 

9) Cubs were supposed to open at home Monday, the last team to do so, but it snowed so they will try again today. Lot of cruddy weather so far in April. 

Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo (back) is on the DL now.

8) When Masters champ Patrick Reed was 10, he stopped wearing shorts and wore long pants at tournaments in hot weather, because he knew pros had to wear long pants, and he wanted to be a pro. All the other kids were wearing shorts. 

7) Reed won the Masters Sunday with 13 clubs in his bag that were made by five different manufacturers, which is very unusual for a touring pro.

6) Through Sunday, Astros, White Sox, Pirates, Diamondbacks were only four teams whose starting pitcher went 5+ innings in every game so far early in this season. 

5) Eli Manning gets a $500,000 bonus for going to the Giants” “voluntary” off-season workouts. OT Ereck Flowers was only Giant who didn’t “volunteer” to work out Monday. 

4) Last year, Evan Longoria, Logan Morrison, Steven Souza and Kevin Keirmaier all hit 20+ homers for Tampa Bay; they were all traded over the winter. 

That was the first time EVER a team traded away four players in the same off-season, all of whom had hit 20+ HR’s the year before. 

3) Baltimore Orioles turned a 1-2-5 double play over the weekend; pitcher to home to third, with two force plays- that is the first time the Orioles have ever done that- the last one anywhere in the major leagues was in September of 2012 by the Astros. 

2) NHL trivia: Tampa Bay Lightning scored 196 goals while teams were 5-on-5 this season, the most 5-on-5 goals by any team since the 2009-10 Washington Capitals.

1— Northwestern poached Evansville’s 6-6 Ryan Taylor, who scored 21 ppg for the Purple Aces last year— he is a graduate transfer, so he will eligible to play in the fall.