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

13) Victor Oladipo’s 3-pointer at the end of Game 7 of Pacers-Cavaliers didn’t help Indiana win the series (they lost Game 7 by 4) but it helped Pacer backers win their bets. Most sports books opened Game 7 with the Cavaliers as 6.5-point favorites and closed at either 5 or 5.5. 

“It was probably a swing of $3 million to $5 million in Nevada. These types of things happen five or more times a week in our industry, whether it’s a two-run home run to cover the run line in the bottom of the ninth or an empty-net goal in the last minute of an NHL game.”
Johnny Avello, head of race and sportsbook for the Wynn in Las Vegas

12) Review of 40 notable mock drafts by the Arizona Cardinals’ PR guy shows average of 1st round “hits” (right player/right team) was just 3/32; average of the previous five years was 4.2. 

For second straight year, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah led these mock drafters with 8 hits.

11) Tough times for the Dodgers: Dodgers’ SS Corey Seager will have Tommy John surgery, is out for the season. Yasiel Puig is on the DL after getting hurt running into the wall in San Francisco Saturday. Rich Hill is on the DL with a cracked fingernail, which is a big deal if the nail is on your pitching hand. 

10) Manny Machado is making $16M this season and the Orioles are terrible; he’ll be a free agent after this season. Would the Dodgers trade for Machado to fill Seager’s spot? 

9) In 1983, Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas put up a 126-foot tall sign that contained 9,280 individual lamps; they started taking that sign down Monday, as part of a $192M project to modernize the Palace Station. Hopefully they keep the good Subway sub shop in their sportsbook. 

8) Veteran NBA player Ener Kanter said at the start of his N.B.A. career in 2011, he swore at referees, but exclusively in Turkish, his native tongue. He went his entire first season without referees calling a technical on him- he’s had 15 technicals since- “I should’ve stuck with Turkish,” was how Kanter described those.  

At the start of this year’s NBA postseason, 62 foreign-born players from 33 countries were on playoff rosters. 

7) Red Sox (Xander Bogaerts) hit their 6th grand slam of the season last night; 14 teams haven’t hit one yet this season. 

6) Leading money winners on the PGA Tour this season:
1) Justin Thomas $5,221,300 2) Bubba Watson $3,690,454 3) Patrick Reed $3,580,252

5) Leading money winners on the Senior Golf Tour this year:
1) Steve Stricker $630,235 2) Jerry Kelly $539,890 3) Vijay Singh $500,380

4) High school basketball star Romeo Lankford will stay close to home and go to Indiana this fall; the hoopla surrounding his announcement was ludicrous, with roughly 4,000 people in his high school gym for the event. 

Lankford is a 6-5 guard who was listed as the #6 HS prospect in this year’s class, but he was the best prospect who had to yet to commit. This is the first time since 2007 that the Hoosiers signed up the top-ranked senior from Indiana.

3) An authenticated signed Sandy Koufax jersey that he wore pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956 was sold for $414,279 at a recent auction. 

2) Cubs 3, Rockies 2— Chicago won its last five games, allowing total of four runs. 

1— Guy named Joe Ganim is the mayor of Bridgeport, CT; never heard of him until just now, but he wants to enter the Democratic primary to be governor of Connecticut. He’s been elected mayor of Bridgeport five times, with a little break in between.

The “little break” in between was a 7-year federal prison sentence; from his Wikipedia page:

“On March 19, 2003, Ganim was convicted of 16 federal counts: one count each of racketeering, extortion, racketeering conspiracy and bribery; two counts of bribery conspiracy; eight counts of mail fraud and two counts of filing a false tax return.”

Would you vote for this guy to be governor of your state? Good grief. 

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

13) Lost in the Ravens taking QB Lamar Jackson in the draft this week is this:

It gets Baltimore completely off the hook for potentially signing Colin Kaepernick; Ravens have Joe Flacco, Robert Griffin III and Jackson- they don’t need another QB. 

12) In baseball, you can wager on teams to win series as opposed to games. Here are best and worst teams in series so far this season:

Best: Arizona 9-0, Red Sox 7-2, Mariners 6-1-2, Braves 6-1-2
Worst: Royals 0-6-3, Orioles 2-7, White Sox 1-7-1, Reds 2-6-1, Rangers 2-6-1

11) When Pablo Sandoval pitched an inning in the Giants’ 15-6 loss Saturday, he was the first position player to pitch for the Giants since 1991, when Greg Litton threw an inning vs Houston. 

10) Marlins 3, Rockies 0— Colorado went to Miami and scored two runs in three games against the sad sack Marlins. 

Cubs 2, Brewers 0— Milwaukee went 0-4 in Wrigley this week, scoring total of two runs. 

9) Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jordan Mailata, a 6-foot-8, 346-pound rugby star from Australia; he has no football experience, but is expected to play tackle. From the film I saw of him carrying the ball and running over rugby opponents, maybe he should play fullback. 

8) New England Patriots made seven trades this weekend; they’ve got six picks in the first three rounds of next year’s draft. 

7) Sprint and T-Mobile are going to merge, creating a wireless phone provider with 100M customers, second only to Verizon. The all-stock deal would combine Sprint, which has a market value of $26B, with T-Mobile, which has a market value of $55B, based on Friday’s closing prices. The two companies also have about $60B of combined debt.

6) Al Pedrique is the A’s first base coach this year; in 2007, he convinced the Astros to sign a second baseman from Venezuela. Kid named Altuve; you may have heard of him. 

5) Baseball players get hurt a lot:
— Padres’ RF Wil Myers pulled an oblique swinging the bat Saturday and is on the DL
— Arizona P Robbie Ray hurt his oblique pitching, left his start in 2nd inning.
— Miguel Cabrera (biceps) left Sunday’s game in the 5th inning.
— Yoenis Cespedes hurt his hand sliding into third base, left game in 3rd inning. 

4) Michigan’s football team had their spring practice in France; why? Who foots the bill for that? 

3) 123 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft; 83 were drafted. 

2) I still don’t get why teams bat their pitcher 8th; haven’t seen one compelling argument for doing it, other than “Tony LaRussa did it.”

1) This year was Mel Kiper’s 35th NFL Draft on ESPN; the man knows his stuff. Not often one person stays in the same place for 35 years in the TV business. 

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

13) The Interweb has so many NFL mock drafts in the months before this weekend, you should know this: Of the 100 draft picks Thursday/Friday, 51 of those picks were traded before the pick was eventually used to select a player. 

Kind of hard to pinpoint who is going where when the picks get traded so much. 

12) Remember the Tom Cruise movie Jerry Maguire, when Cruise played a sports agent? The actor who played the GM of Arizona Cardinals was singer Glenn Frey of the Eagles. 

11) Alabama had 12 players taken in the this year’s draft; NC State/Ohio State were next, with 7 each. Seven players taken in one draft is an NC State record. 

10) Alabama punter JK Scott was drafted by Green Bay; his agent is Alexa Stabler, daughter of the late Hall of Fame QB/Alabama alum Ken Stabler.

9) This from an NFL source about LSU RB Derrius Guice, who the Redskins drafted:

”He got into an altercation at a meeting with the Eagles. He had several meetings where he came across lazy only wants to play video games. We caught a direct dishonesty from him in our meeting.”

Guice disputes that story, but apparently lot of teams believed it; he dropped to the 59th pick. 

8) White Sox 3B Matt Davidson has seven homers at Kauffman Stadium this season; thats the most by any visiting player EVER in one season at Kauffman Stadium, and it isn’t May yet. 

7) Thunder vs Utah with Carmelo Anthony on-court: 194 minutes, -58

Thunder vs Utah with Carmelo Anthony off-court: 94 minutes, +32

Sometimes life is simple. 

6) Arizona Diamondbacks won their first eight series this year, the first team since the 2001 Seattle Mariners to do that, and first NL team since the ’77 Dodgers. 

5) Earl Anthony was one of the best bowlers of all-time; turns out the lefty with a crew cut was once offered a $35,000 bonus to pitch in the Orioles farm system, but he turned them down. 

4) Utah Jazz PG Ricky Rubio strained his hamstring in the clinching win over Oklahoma City, and will be out 7-10 days, bad news for the Jazz as they take on the Houston Rockets. 

3) As I’m writing this, a teenager in a t-shirt and gym shorts just read the Packers’ draft pick. Don’t be afraid to get dressed up, son. You’re on national TV. 

2) Colts had four 2nd-round picks this year, first team since the ’09 Patriots to have four 2nd-round picks in the same draft.

1) Washington Nationals’ rookie manager Dave Martinez messed up Saturday; Arizona was going to send up PH Chris Owings in the top of the 10th inning in a 3-3 game, so Martinez went out and removed his lefty reliever so a righty could face Owings. One small problem…….

Martinez took the pitcher out before the pinch-hitter Owings was announced, so Arizona left the lefty batter Dyson in the game to face the righty reliever. A pitcher has to face one batter before he can be taken out; the pinch-hitter isn’t officially “in the game” until the PA announcer says his name over the PA system.

Owings walked and then the next batter walked and Arizona won 4-3. No bueno. 

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

13) Utah Jazz led Oklahoma City by 25 in Game 5 of their series before the Thunder came back and won Game 5 of their series. 

A guy in Las Vegas had $4,000 on the Thunder (-2.5); he tossed the ticket in the trash when Utah got up by 25, and he had to do some mad scrambling thru the garbage to get the ticket back after OKC stormed back for the win/cover. 

Luckily for him, a) the trash hadn’t been emptied and b) he found the ticket.

12) In the 6th inning Wednesday nite, Tampa Bay Rays put a lefty reliever named Jonny Venters in to face lefty slugger Chris Davis. No big deal; that stuff happens over and over all throughout baseball. Lefty vs lefty. One batter. Venters retired Davis on four pitches. 

But this was different; Venters hadn’t appeared in a major league game in six years, or 2,008 games; he was 15-10, 2.25 in 230 games for the Braves from 2010-12. 

Since then, Venters has had three Tommy John surgeries on his left elbow; the hours and hours of rehab he went through—- there had to be times he thought Wednesday night would never come, but now he is back in the major leagues. Good for him.

 11) Carolina Panthers took WR DJ Moore with the 24th pick Thursday night; the kid had 8 QB’s in his three years playing WR at Maryland. Eight QB’s in three years is an awful lot. 

Norv Turner is the Panthers’ new OC; Cam Newton will be a fascinating follow this season.

10) Eagles got an extra 2nd round pick in 2019 for dropping down 20 spots in this draft so the Ravens could take Lamar Jackson. 

9) Cal-Riverside has a new basketball coach (David Patrick); one of the Highlanders’ new assistant coaches is Mike Magpayo, who at one time was the CEO of a multimillion dollar real estate firm in SoCal. 

8) Seattle’s Jean Segura has come to bat with a man on 3rd base 10 times this season; he knocked that runner in all 10 times.

7) Players who have come to bat with most men on base this season (thru Thursday):
Khris Davis 94, Didi Gregorius 86, Giancarlo Stanton 85, Marcell Ozuna 84

6) Players who have driven in the highest %age of baserunners this season (min 50 PA):
Brad Miller 33.3%, David Peralta 32.4%, Preston Tucker 28.3%, Nick Ahmed, 27.8%

5) Portland Trailblazers had an excellent season, going 49-33, but now they’ve lost their last 10 playoff games so you hope it doesn’t cost coach Terry Stotts his job.

4) Dodgers/Kershaw were -$380 to beat the Marlins Wednesday night; they lost. Long time ago, I read something that said laying anything more than $-150 in baseball is a bad idea. Whether that is still true or not I’m not sure, but laying more than -$200 isn’t wise.

3) Miami Dolphins drafted TE Mike Gesicki in the 2nd round; for some reason. NFL Network showed highlights of Gesicki playing high school basketball— he scored over 1,800 points in HS, which is nice, but its a football draft. 

2) It is April 28 and national baseball writers are already speculating on where stars on struggling teams or small market teams will be traded to. As an A’s fan, few things make my blood boil as quickly as this, like Oakland, Tampa Bay and the Orioles are bleepin’ farm clubs for the %$#@& rich teams.

1) Umpire Will Little worked home plate in April 21’s Toronto-New York game, the 8th time in last four years Little has done the plate in a Bronx Bomber game. Here is how those games went:

2015
Bronx W5-2 @ Baltimore +$123 U9

Bronx W3-1 @ Seattle -$115 U7

2016
Bronx W6-3 vs Tampa Bay +$103 O8
Bronx W7-3 vs Kansas City -$130 O8

2017
Bronx W3-2 vs St Louis +$123, U8

Bronx W3-2 vs Oakland -$145, U9.5
Bronx W7-4 @ Baltimore +$121, O9.5

2018
Bronx W9-1 vs Toronto -$148, O9

8-0, outscoring opponents 43-18, and they were an underdog four times. Not going to say another bleeping word except this: if you were a big league manager, would you want Will Little umping the plate in a game against the Bronx Bombers?

Friday’s Den: Running diary of first two hours of NFL Draft

8:16: Cleveland Browns take Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the #1 pick in the draft; time will tell on all these picks, but my quick analysis is this— when we last watched actual college football games, no one had Mayfield in the top 10 picks. No one. 

Now all of a sudden, he is the #1 pick. The team that took Johnny Manziel took a guy who has a lot of similarities to Manziel. 

Cleveland is 2-41 in its last 43 games; they traded for Buffalo’s QB Tyrod Taylor this winter. How long before Mayfield gets to play for the Browns? 

8:21: Giants take Sequon Barkley and my godson, a huge Giants fan, isn’t happy— he wanted Big Blue to take Sam Darnold or trade out of the pick. 

Have to think the Giants could’ve gotten a boatload of picks from Buffalo to move out of this spot, but they didn’t. 

Is it possible that Eli Manning is the real GM of the Giants? They fired Ben McAdoo LY when he benched Eli for a game, after Eli had gotten Tom Coughlin fired the year before. Manning is a 37-year old QB who needs a better offensive line than he currently has. 

8:29: Jets and Giants didn’t use up much time; Jets grab QB Sam Darnold from USC. 

NFL Network has Deion Sanders doing player interviews; I can’t stand him, so it is off to ESPN, where they just had a package about how Darnold’s parents, grandfather and sister all played college sports. I’m sure the Jets drafted Darnold because his sister played volleyball at Rhode Island. 

Cleveland has had 28 different starting QB’s since 1999; that not good. 

8:36: With the second pick of the night, Cleveland takes Denzel Ward, a DB from Ohio State which means that QB’s Allen/Rosen are now sliding down the draft board, since Denver and the Colts don’t need a quarterback, and they have the next two picks. 

8:43: Broncos have to be happier than hell to get Bradley Chubb, the DE from NC State. No way did they think he would be available with the 5th pick. 

8:47: Colts take offensive lineman Quentin Nelson from Notre Dame; Andrew Luck will be a happy guy, but not often a guard is the #6 player in the draft. 

8:53: Finally, the Bills make a trade- they move up to the #7 pick. They take Josh Allen; he might be only kid in country where playing for Buffalo is a weather upgrade. 

Tampa Bay got two second round picks to drop down to #12; good haul for them. 

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock thinks Allen is a project; right now, AJ McCarron is the Buffalo QB, so the project will hit the field sooner than later. 

Allen and Carson Wentz had the same college coach; Craig Bohl, who won multiple I-AA national titles at North Dakota State. That had to help Allen here. 

9:01: Chicago Bears take Roquan Smith, a LB from Georgia; Bears’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio got a hole-in-one playing golf Thursday, so that plus drafting Smith makes it a big day for Fangio.

49ers, Raiders are next on the clock and don’t need a QB; Josh Rosen can’t be having fun right now. 

9:04: 49ers take Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey; Fighting Irish had two offensive linemen taken in top nine picks- their OL coach has bolted and now works for the Bears, who didn’t take an offensive lineman. 

9:09: Arizona trades with Oakland to move up to #10; Carson Palmer retired and Sam Bradford is always hurt, so this has to be a quarterback, doesn’t it? 

Josh Rosen is an Arizona Cardinal, taken 10th; he is the 4th QB taken in the draft. Last time five QB’s were taken in the first round was 1999. It is good to play QB in a dome; eight home games indoors, plus at least two road games in California every year. 

Of course, the term “chip on his shoulder” got tossed around, since Rosen slipped out of the top five. 

9:18: Dolphins take S Minkah Fitzpatrick, as Nick Saban contributes a player to the team he used to coach. 

This is the 10th year in a row Alabama had a player taken in the first round of the draft. 

9:24: Tampa Bay takes Vita Vea, a defensive tackle from Washington. Bucs traded for Jason Pierre-Paul and drafted this guy, so they’re intent on improving their defense. 

Couple of guys on TV said Via has to work to control his weight so he’ll be more durable and have better stamina. 

9:31: Washington Redskins aren’t popular in Dallas, but they took Da’Ron Payne, a DT from Alabama. Having two of the top 13 players selected has to help your recruiting, right? 

Imagine how different college football would’ve been for the last decade if Nick Saban had won while coaching the Dolphins and stayed there? 

9:40: Saints traded next year’s #1 pick to move up from #27 to #14; they took DE Marcus Davenport from UTSA, after guys from NFL Network went on for five minutes about how great Lamar Jackson would be playing for the Saints. Whoops. 

They must really love Davenport, to trade a #1 pick to the Packers to move up. Saints DL coach Ryan Nielsen and UTSA coach Frank Wilson worked together at Ole Miss, so he must know. 

Green Bay now has two #1 picks next season. 

9:45: Oakland takes T Colton Miller, then Bills traded up to #16 to take Tremaine Edmunds a LB from Virginia Tech. 

9:56: Chargers get a steal with S Derwin James from Florida State; he was hurt a couple years ago when Showtime did their reality show on FSU football. Good kid; he’ll help them. 

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

13) Here are record of major league teams with best/worst records in games where winning run scores after the 6th inning: 

Best: Mets 8-2, Phillies 7-2, Blue Jays 6-2, Rockies 4-0
Worst: Bronx 0-5, Indians 1-5, Nationals 1-5, Padres 1-5

12) Mentioned yesterday how 181 college players declared early for an NBA Draft where only 60 players will be taken. Last year, 137 players declared early.

11) Thing is, if he didn’t hire an agent, the player who declares can go thru workouts, get an evaluation, then drop out of the draft if he isn’t  going to be drafted as high as he would like and go back to college— its a no-lose situation for the player, which is why lot of guys do it. 

10) In last five NFL Drafts, only three teams haven’t drafted a player who has made at least one Pro Bowl; Bills, Broncos, Colts. 

9) Braves called up prize prospect Ronald Acuna Tuesday night; he was 11 for his last 33 in AAA ball. 

8) When Marlins’ OF Cameron Maybin was a kid in Asheville, NC, he had an excellent summer job one year. He was batboy for the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League, the same team Crash Davis wound up playing for at the end of the classic movie, Bull Durham.

7) Baltimore Orioles are off to an awful 6-17 start; their starting pitching is suspect, and it could be a long year at Camden Yards. Without starting pitching, you have no chance to compete. 

From 2013-16, Baltimore hurler Chris Tillman was 56-30 with a 3.62 ERA, a good pitcher. Things have changed. 

Since May 24, 2017, in 19 starts, Tillman is 0-11, 9.35. Is he hurt? Is he tipping his pitches? Something is amiss. 

6) Richmond Spiders had a QB named Kyle Lauletta, who may or may not be drafted tonight; watching some clips of him, one thing is very obvious; Richmond’s football team has great helmets- that spider logo looks tremendous on a helmet, either dark blue or white. 

5) Former Vikings’ coach Brad Childress will be head coach, Michael Vick offensive coordinator of the Atlanta team in the new AAF, a spring football league that starts next year. 

4) According to Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com, Josh Rosen went to the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana in 2016 and did not make a favorable impression while there. 

Manning Passing Academy bills itself as “…..the premier offensive football skills camp in the nation for QBs, RBs, WRs, and TEs.”

Friend of mine’s son went there 15 or so years ago; former LSU/Patriots’ QB Tom Hodson was his camp counselor.

3) I have two friends who know more about football than any of my other friends; one says Josh Rosen is the best QB in the draft, the other says Baker Mayfield, so go figure. 

2) Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was the 12th pick in last year’s NFL Draft; I will predict right here that none of the QB’s in this year’s draft will be as good as Watson. Teams messed up last year when they dismissed Watson. 

1) President Macron of France is 39 years old; his wife just turned 65. 

When Macron was 15, he was a student and Brigitte Trogneux was a 40-year old teacher at La Providence, a private school in Amiens, northern France. At the time, she was married with three kids. 

In this country, the scandalous affair that followed would have been serious trouble for Ms Trogneaux, who is now Mrs Macron. Not so in France. 

In today’s world, it is just another day, another weird day.

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

13) First round draft picks in the last five NFL Drafts:
SEC 50, ACC 30, Pac-12 29, Big 14 21, Big X 11. 

12) The definition of tone deaf:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that Rogers Centre in Toronto is in need of an update. The downtown stadium has been the Blue Jays’ home since 1989.

Not sure if Mr Manfred ever watches CNN, but there was a tragedy in Toronto yesterday, with a van killing ten people in an apparent act of terrorism. I’m guessing that today wasn’t the best time to be asking for improvements to the city’s domed stadium. 

11) 76ers 104, Heat 91— Philly is on to the second round for first time since 2012. 

10) UCLA QB Josh Rosen has good bloodlines for athletic success; his father Charles was a nationally ranked ice skater who nearly qualified for the Olympics in the 1970s; his mother, Liz, was captain of the Princeton lacrosse team. 

9) Mets’ SS Amed Rosario got his 4th walk of the season last night, in his 67th plate appearance; last year, he had three walks in 170 PAs.

8) Big 14 is already moving to 20 conference games next basketball season. ACC will do the same in 2019-20. Now the Pac-12 might go to 20 league games, too. This will hurt mid-majors trying to get an at large NCAA bid- extra conference games will raise teams’ power ratings. 

7) Reds 9, Braves 7 (12)— Atlanta scored four runs in 9th inning to tie game, but Scooter Gennett sent everyone home happy with a walk-off homer in the 12th inning.  

6) Golfer Matt Kuchar has made 28 consecutive cuts, longest current streak on the PGA Tour. 

5) There have been 77 home runs hit into McCovey Cove behind the RF fence at Giants’ Pac-Bell ballpark in San Francisco; 35 of those were hit by Barry Bonds. 

4) Houston Rockets led 50-49 at halftime in Minnesota Monday night, then outscored the Timberwolves 50-20 in the 3rd quarter, as they took a 3-1 series lead. It was only the second time ever a team had a +30 quarter in a playoff game.  

3) I wonder if someday baseball will go to flat bases, like we used to have in kickball when we were kids. Two reasons:
a) Players sometimes turn an ankle stepping on a base, especially if it is raining.
b) Once in a great while, batted balls hit a base and provide a lucky hit.

Not saying I would endorse that, but could see it happening. 

2) 236 players declared as early-entrants for the NBA Draft, 181 from colleges; those who did not sign with an agent can still go back to college. There are only 60 picks in the NBA Draft, so do the math. Salary in the G-League is $35,000 a year, about the same as tuition for a year in college. Some kids have some very interesting choices to make. 

1) I have no sympathy for guys who are eligible for the NBA or NFL Draft who fail a drug test before the draft. You’re on the verge of getting a job that potentially can pay you millions of dollars; you KNOW you’re going to get drug tested. You KNOW it!!!

A wide receiver from Florida failed a drug test at the NFL Combine. At the freakin’ Combine? Not good. 

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

13) I’m tired of mock drafts, people guessing about what the Browns/Giants are thinking, just want to get to Thursday night and watch the real draft. 

The guys who get drafted have to be relieved once they find out where they’ll be playing. Getting interviewed by teams and the media for two consecutive months has to be tiresome. 

12) According to Mark Dalton, Senior VP of Media Relations for the Arizona Cardinals, a review of 37 prominent mock drafts from 2017 reveals the average number of first round “hits” (right player to right team) was 4.2/32. Four out of 32. No bueno. 

11) Sounds like Browns’ GM John Dorsey isn’t going to tell his coach who the Browns will draft until Wednesday night. Nothing like getting your working relationship off to a fast start. 

Next to “dysfunctional” in the dictionary, there must be a picture of a Browns’ helmet. 

10) Phillies’ LF Rhys Hoskins had 67 RBI in his first 70 major league games. 

9) In 2008, there were 32,884 strikeouts in major league baseball; last year, there were 40,104 strikeouts. Thats a 22% increase in eight years. 

Is defense less important now because there are fewer balls put in play? 

8) It wasn’t less important in Denver Sunday; Cubs’ CF Albert Almora made two great catches in the first two innings against the Rockies. You need fast outfielders to play at Coors Field, which has a bigger outfield than most places; Almora laid full out running to left-center twice; two great plays.

7) Movie trivia: The 1998 poker movie Rounders is one my favorite movies. In the movie, Matt Damon’s character watches Johnny Chan play poker on TV at the World Series of Poker, and later tells a story of how he beat Chan in one hand playing in Atlantic City. 

Turns out when the movie was originally written, Phil Hellmuth was supposed to be in the movie, but someone convinced the movie’s writers that having Chan in the movie instead of Hellmuth would be better casting, so the change was made. 

6) This from the website of former NFL executive Phil Savage: Most teams have 100-150 names on their “draftable” board. Some teams allow scouts are allowed to put red stars or black dots next to a prospect’s name, the star to denote a favorite prospect- the dot would have a negative connotation about that player. 

5) Teams do last-day, last-minute prep to make sure players to be picked are alive and well.

Savage tells a story of how one time in the Canadian Football League, a team drafted a player who literally died several hours before the draft. Seriously. 

4) When baseball teams have giveaway promotions, they generally have the best giveaways on days when the worst teams are in town, so more people will attend those games. 

Sounds like the people who run the Bronx Bombers don’t think too much of my Oakland A’s, seeing as how the A’s are in town for Bat Day on May 12. 

3) You can actually wager on the NFL Draft: over/under on number of Alabama players in the first round Thursday is 3.5, with over -$130, under +$110. 

2) I’ve said this several teams in this space over the years, so one more time won’t hurt: the NCAA should allow kids who leave early for the NBA but don’t get drafted to keep their college eligibility. What would it hurt? Would increase the talent level in the college game.

1) Could you imagine what it would be like if the NFL did their draft like the NHL, with the league’s executives all in one arena for one night? 

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 NFL.com, 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: “……..is 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.