May 17, 1979: Phillies 23, Cubs 22….a recap

On May 17, 1979, Phillies beat the Cubs 23-22 in 10 innings, in one of the strangest games ever:

13) Phillies were 24-10 at the time; Chicago was 16-16. Cubs had 26 hits in the game, Phils had 24. 

12) The game was 7-6 Phillies, after the first inning. Somewhere, someone bet the under in this game. 

11) Phillies starting pitcher Randy Lerch homered in the top of the first inning, never finished the bottom of the first. Both starting pitchers got only one out before being removed. 

10) Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt hit 3rd/4th in Phillies’ order; they combined to score seven runs and knock in eight. Light-hitting Larry Bowa was 5 for 8 in the game. 

9) Bob Boone was 3-4 with five RBI’s; his son Aaron is now the manager in the Bronx. Boone and Schmidt were both walked intentionally twice. 

8) Reliever Tug McGraw faced 10 batters; seven of them scored. McGraw is the father of the great singer Tim McGraw. 

7) 22 of the first 53 Cubs who came to bat scored, but Rawly Eastwick slammed the door shut in the last two innings, retiring all six Cubs he faced. 

6) Donnie Moore faced 14 batters and seven of them scored, but he did hit a triple, one of his two career three-baggers. 

5) Phillies led this game 21-9 in the 5th inning but Cubs tied the game off of Ron Reed in the 8th inning; Reed pitched 19 years in the major leagues and also played 119 games for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons from 1965-67. 

4) Dave Kingman hit three homers for the Cubs; Bill Buckner knocked in seven runs, seven years before his infamous error in the ’86 World Series. 

3) Phillies went home the next day and got swept in a 3-game series by the Expos. Chicago lost its next four games after this one. 

2) 1979 turned out to be the only year in a six-year stretch where the Phillies missed the playoffs; they finished 84-78, the Cubs 80-82. 

Phillies fired manager Danny Ozark late in 1979, hired Dallas Green and won the ’80 World Series. 

1) Naysayers like to criticize baseball now but attendance that day was 14,952; when was last time the Cubs drew less than 15,000 for a home game? 

Thursday’s List of 13: NFC trends for 2018……

Arizona— Cardinals won four of their last five post-bye games. 

Atlanta— Falcons are 12-2 vs spread in last 14 home openers; under is 10-3 in their last 13 road openers. 

Carolina— Panthers open at home for only 2nd time in last seven years; they’re 0-5 last five times they started season at home. Carolina’s last Week 1 home win was in 2003. 

Chicago— Bears open on road for only 2nd time in last nine years; they’re 2-5 in last seven road openers. Under is 12-2 in their last 14 road openers. 

Dallas— Cowboys played Giants in Week 1 five of last six years; they host Big Blue in Week 2 this year. Dallas covered nine of last 11 road openers. Under is 5-2 in their last seven home openers. 

Detroit— Lions won five of their last seven home openers; over is 6-2 in their last eight. Detroit started season 1-0 six of last seven years. 

Green Bay— Packers won 10 of their last 11 home openers. Over is 10-2 in their last 12 road openers. Green Bay is 0-5 vs spread in last five pre-bye games. 

LA Rams— Rams won five of their last six home openers; they’re 2-14 in last 16 road openers, 3-15 vs spread in last 18. LA is 8-2-1 vs spread in last 11 post-bye games. 

Minnesota— Vikings won eight of their last nine pre-bye games (9-0 vs spread); they’re 2-7 vs spread in last nine post-bye road games. Minnesota won/covered its last three home openers. Under is 10-4 in their last 14 road openers. 

NJ Giants— Giants lost five of their last six home openers (0-6 vs spread); five of those six games stayed under. This will be first time in six years Big Blue opens the season at home; they open against Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars. 

New Orleans— Saints lost their last three home openers, six of last seven road openers- they started last four seasons 0-1. Saints are 7-1-1 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Philadelphia— Eagles won eight of their last nine road openers, three of last four home openers. Under is 7-3-1 in their last 11 home openers. Philly is 7-3 vs spread in its last 10 pre-bye games. 

San Francisco— 49ers won six of last nine home openers (7-2 vs spread), last four of which stayed under. Niners are 0-5-1 SU, 0-6 vs spread in last six post-bye games; they won/covered six of last eight pre-bye games. 

Seattle— Seahawks open on road for 6th time in last eight years; they lost their first road game 10 of last 11 years; they’re 1-12 vs spread in last 13 road openers. Seahawks won last nine home openers (7-2 vs spread). Seattle won its last seven pre-bye games (6-1 vs spread). 

Tampa Bay— Bucs lost four of last five home openers; they didn’t play in Week 1 LY because of a hurricane. Over is 7-3 in their last ten home openers. Tampa Bay is 8-4 vs spread in last dozen post-bye games. 

Washington— Redskins lost five of their last six home openers; they’re 2-6 vs spread last eight times they were favored in a home opener. Redskins are 3-6-1 vs spread in last 10 pre-bye games, 2-7 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Tuesday’s Den: AFC teams’ early season trends…..

Baltimore— Ravens won 11 of last 13 home openers; under is 4-1 in last five of those. Baltimore is 13-3 vs spread in last 16 post-bye games. 

Buffalo— Last 18 years, Bills are 2-16 in their pre-bye game. Buffalo is 8-3 vs spread in its last 11 home openers. 

Cincinnati— Bengals open on road for 8th time in last nine years; over is 8-1 in their last nine road openers. Cincy is 4-0-1 in last five pre-bye games. 

Cleveland— Since re-joining the NFL in 1999, Browns started season 0-1 18 out of 19 years; they’re 3-12 vs spread in Week 1 home games. 

Denver— Broncos open at home for 8th year in row; they’re 26-3 SU in last 29 home openers,6-3 vs spread in last nine. Broncos won six of last seven post-bye games. 

Houston— Texans open on road for only 2nd time in last 10 years; they won seven of last nine road openers. Under is 5-2 in their last seven season openers. 

Indianapolis— Colts lost their last four home openers, three by 4 or fewer points. Indy started season 0-1 seven of last eight years- they’re 1-9 vs spread in Week 1 the last ten years. 

Jacksonville— Jaguars lost last six home openers, four of last five road openers. Last time they were favored in a home opener was 2010; their HO this year is against New England, so they probably won’t be favored this year, either. 

Kansas City— Since 2006, Chiefs are 1-8-1 vs spread as favorites in home openers. KC is on road three of first four weeks this season, with a QB who has started one NFL game. 

LA Chargers— Bolts covered five of their last six home openers; over is 12-3 in their last 15. Chargers lost their last four road openers, but covered five of last six. Chargers lost five of their last six pre-bye games (1-5 vs spread). 

Miami— Dolphins won five of last six home openers; eight of their last nine home openers went over the total. Miami also covered four of last five road openers; under is 19-5 in last 24 road openers. 

New England— Patriots won six of last seven road openers (5-2 vs spread); they’re 14-2 SU in last 16 home openers, but just 1-5 vs spread in last six. New England won its last nine pre-bye games (8-1 vs spread). 

NJ Jets— Jets won six of last seven home openers; they’re 15-6 vs spread in last 21 road openers. Gang Green is 3-6 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Oakland— Raiders won their last three road openers, are 4-0-1 vs spread in last five; they lost four of last six home openers, last four of which went over the total. Oakland covered five of its last six post-bye games. 

Pittsburgh— Steelers won 14 of last 15 home openers, are 10-3 vs spread in last 13. Under is 7-2 in their last nine home openers. Pitt lost five of last seven road openers; they’re 2-8-1 vs spread in last 11. Steelers covered only one of last seven post-bye games. 

Tennessee— Titans lost five of last six home openers; they’re 9-2 vs spread in last 11 road openers. Under is 16-5 in their last 21 road openers. Titans are 2-6 vs spread in last eight post-bye games. 

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

We start today with two examples of why baseball is a fascinating game:
13) Baseball strategy, Exhibit A: Twins-Angels are tied in late innings; Angels have game-winning run on 3rd with two out. Minnesota walks Pujols/Simmons intentionally, to bring up Marte, putting lot of pressure on their pitcher to throw strikes. I’ve never seen a team walk two hitters intentionally to load the bases with two outs, especially with the batter coming up not being a pitcher. 

Twins escape the jam, win the game 5-3 in 12 innings. 

12) Baseball strategy, Exhibit B: San Diego was tied with the Cardinals in late innings; Padres had men on first and second, no one out, and pinch-hit Spangenberg for Villanueva so he could bunt the runners over. 

Spangenberg fouls off two bunts, count is 2-2, and then he fouls off another bunt and strikes out. What are you telling a position player when you have him bunt with two strikes? Especially on the day you brought him back from AAA. 

Padres wound up with a walk-off win in the 13th inning, despite all that. 

Two teams use unusual strategy, and both win their game. 

11) Charlotte Knights, AAA farm team of the White Sox, drew 10,512 fans Saturday, their 8th sellout this season. Would Charlotte be a good city for a major league team? 

10) Nick Markakis is hitting .346 this year, having a terrific year; he is 34 years old, has 2,105 career hits, but has never played in an All-Star Game. Hopefully that’ll change this year, and if it does, it’ll be the best moment at the All-Star Game, when he is introduced before the game. 

9) Bad news for the Seattle Mariners; Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch Sunday, broke a bone in his right hand. 

8) Odubel Herrera has reached base in 41 straight games; the all-time record is 84, held by Ted Williams. 

7) Phillies 4, Mets 2— Jacob deGrom threw 45 pitches in the first inning; Phillies fouled off 20 of the 45 pitches- they didn’t get a hit or score a run. A very unusual inning, and then deGrom was lifted from the game. 

Mets said that deGrom wasn’t hurt; they just were cautious because of the rain delay before the game and the 45 pitches he threw in the first inning. Plus, it was his first start in 11 days. 

6) By way of reference, Angels’ Jaime Barria threw 49 pitches in a scoreless first inning against the Giants April 22; that was the night of the 21-pitch AB to Brandon Belt. Those two starts are the most pitches this season thrown in a scoreless inning. 

5) Atlanta Braves’ 3B prospect Austin Riley was 4-for-5 Sunday with three HR’s, 8 RBIs for AAA Gwinnett; he’ll be in Atlanta pretty soon.

4) Richmond-Albany college lacrosse game drew 4,800 fans Saturday here in the capital city of New York State. Albany doesn’t draw crowds like that for football, but they’re ranked #2 in the country in lacrosse, so the bandwagon is pretty crowded these days. Good for the Great Danes. 

3) Texas Rangers brought up lefty reliever Brandon Mann from AAA Sunday; the 34-year old Mann was originally drafted in 2002, and has played both in Japan and in independent leagues. What a journey he must’ve had; congrats on making the big leagues.

2) Major Leagues need to identify who the replay umpires are for each game; they make calls that change games, but they’re hunkered down in Manhattan and are fairly anonymous. It’d be interesting to know who is making a particular call, for better or worse.

1) RIP Coach Chuck Knox, the man who won five straight division title for the Rams in the 70’s, and went to coach the Seahawks/Bills. Coach Knox was 186-147-1 in his NFL career; he won Coach of the Year for all three teams that he coached. RIP, sir. 

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

13) Just who was Wally Pipp? You hear his name invoked even today, anytime a guy takes a day off due to injury and his replacement has a big day. 

Back in 1925, 32-year old Pipp was the regular 1B in New York; he missed a game one day and a guy named Lou Gehrig took his place and never gave the job back. That winter, Cincinnati paid $7,500 for Pipp’s contract; he played three years for the Reds, then retired. 

12) In a 15-year career, Pipp hit .281 with a .341 OB%; he never made an All-Star team, but led the AL in home runs twice, in 1916-17, with 12 and 9 homers. Seriously. 

11) There was a kerfuffle on Twitter this week when FOX cancelled a TV show called Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which I’ve never seen. Show had been on FOX for five years. So much fuss was made that Brooklyn Nine-Nine was later picked up by NBC, which made the people who complained very happy. 

Happy is good. We need more happy. 

10) Then there is Lions’ coach Matt Patricia and his 1996 arrest that never went to trial. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, the prosecution had a witness list that included a nurse, a doctor, a police detective, a police officer and a college friend of the alleged victim- there apparently was medical evidence, but the case never went to trial. 

The Lions are standing by Patricia for now, but the NFL is still investigating.  

9) 262 players made their major league debuts last season.

8) Coming into Saturday’s game, Aaron Judge had a .312 career batting average at home, compared to .239 on the road. 

This season, he has 10 HR’s, 30 RBI at home, one homer, four RBI on the road. 

7) Pretty good weekend to go to the ballpark if you’re a fan of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the California League; Logan Forsythe batted 2nd, Justin Turner 3rd for the Quakes as they rehab from injuries. Not often you see major leaguers in the California League. 

6) A man in Texas turned 112 years old Saturday; Richard Overton, America’s oldest living WWII combat veteran, celebrated his birthday. Congrats to him. 

5) Shohei Ohtani has DH’d in 17 games this season, but when he pitches, he doesn’t bat. 

4) Baseball stuff:
— San Diego Padres DFA’d 3B Chase Headley, brought Cory Spangenberg up from AAA.
— Brewers’ ace Chase Anderson (illness) was scratched from his start in Denver.
— Nationals put 1B Ryan Zimmerman on the DL. 

By the way, the genius who runs the Padres took on $13M of Chase Headley’s salary to also acquire P Bryan Mitchell, who is 0-3, 6.21 in eight games (7 starts) this year. Brilliant. 

3) Webb Simpson leads by seven shots. No player in the history of the PGA Tour has ever lost with a 54-hole lead of seven shots or more.

2) Former NBA player Kwame Brown is suing Merrill Lynch, saying the brokerage stole $17.4 million of his investments. 

Brown, who made $63,992,852 in salary as a player in the NBA, claims that his signature was forged on various authorization forms and agreements, allowing his financial adviser to make investments and stock trades without his consent. 

1) Dick Vitale’s annual event to fight cancer raised $3.7M Friday night; this event has now raised a total of $25.7M over the years to fight cancer, mostly pediatric cancer. Good for him.

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

13) Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey Friday. Really, they did. 

Last three years, Raptors went 166-80 in regular season; they were the #1-seed in the East this season, but Casey was 21-30 in playoff game, and that cost him his job.

The problem for the Raptors’ owners is this: Who do you replace that will maintain Toronto’s regular season success, but also do better in the playoffs? Won’t be easy.

I guess my point is this; all change isn’t positive. Winning 55 games a year in the regular season has to sell a lot of season tickets. 

12) Then there are the San Diego Padres, who have a terrible team every year; how does GM AJ Preller (he is also the executive VP) keep his job? Dwane Casey gets fired, Preller keeps his job. Go figure. 

This is Preller’s 4th full year running the Padres; their record during that time is 227-299. San Diego hasn’t finished within 16 games of first place in NL West since 2010.  

11) Not only are the Padres terrible, but Preller has been nailed twice by MLB for cheating; when Preller ran international scouting operations for the Rangers, Major League Baseball suspended him for a month, for improper contact with a prospect. 

In 2016, Preller was suspended 30 days without pay over improprieties related to the Padres’ trade of pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox- he withheld medical information that he was required to give to the other teams.

So a two-time cheater who runs a terrible team (but hey, their farm teams are great!!!) has a contract that runs thru 2022. He went to Cornell, he must be smarter than everyone else. 

No wonder some teams always suck. 

10) Mets played their 36th game of the year Friday; Devin Mesoraco is already the fifth catcher they’ve used this season.

9) Before Friday night’s game, Astros were hitting .227 at home, .289 on the road. 

8) Rangers 1, Astros 0— Houston has now been shut out in three of its last four home games. Texas (+$220) winning was 10th-biggest upset in the major leagues so far this season.

7) Remember Alan Alda, the great actor who played Hawkeye Pierce on MASH? Turns out he was a high school classmate of wrestling star Captain Lou Albano at Archbishop Stepinac HS in White Plains, NY. 

6) How much do college commencement speakers get paid? Oprah Winfrey was the speaker at USC’s commencement this week; that had to be a pretty hefty tab. 

Winfrey’s website says her speaking fee is $200,000; she must speak really well. 

5) Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn is 49 years old; he’s getting his college degree Saturday, 30 years after he started college. Good for him. 

4) Tilman Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas and bought the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in September- he is really rich.

Because casinos aren’t allowed to take bets on teams owned by their owner, if you bet on Golden State to win the NBA’s Western Conference at the Golden Nugget, you’ve already won, since you couldn’t bet on the Rockets in that casino.  

3) Mariners’ manager Scott Servais is off this weekend; his daughter is graduating from Ole Miss this weekend. Bench coach Manny Acta will manage Seattle, with Ichiro Suzuki serving as bench coach for the two games Servais is missing. 

2) Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3 (12)— Luke Maile homered to tie the game in the 7th inning, then won it with a walk-off homer in the 12th. Those are his only two home runs this season. 

1) Reds 6, Dodgers 2— Matt Harvey got the start for Cincinnati; he blanked the Dodgers for four innings, allowing one hit. He got only two misses on 23 LA swings, but Reds have to be pretty darned happy with his performance.

As for the Dodgers, they’re in a deep funk. 

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

13) Phil Mickelson recently signed an endorsement deal with Mizzen+Main to wear the company’s apparel on the golf course; Thursday, on a 90-degree day in Florida, he was wearing a button-down long sleeved dress shirt, because the company is pushing those as golf fashion. 

Mickelson was even par thru 13 holes; he went +7 on holes 14-17. No bueno. 

12) Giants’ coach Pat Shurmur has a son who is Vanderbilt’s starting QB; last summer, Kyle Shurmur spent some time at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana. 

Thats the same passing academy Josh Rosen went to in 2016 and according to reports, didn’t make a positive impression on the people there. 

Pat Shurmur must’ve made a positive impression on the Mannings when they met, or else he wouldn’t be the Giants’ coach right now.

11) Dodgers-Diamondbacks have already played 12 times this season; they don’t meet again until August 30, which is a little weird. 

10) Since 2000, 14 major league teams have batted out of order. Some of those included DH-related double switches that got fouled up late in blowouts. 

9) AHL is the AAA league of the NHL; good league. We used to have couple of AHL teams in this area; those games were fun to go to. 

Wednesday night, Las Vegas Phantoms beat the Charlotte Checkers 2-1 in a 5-OT playoff game that was the longest in AHL history. Charlotte outshot the Phantoms 95-53 but lost. 

8) From ESPN.com:

“Footwear company Skechers sued Adidas in federal court Thursday, claiming its competitor created false advertising and unfair competition by funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in secret payments to high school and college basketball players and their families to wear its products.”

If you’re a lawyer these days and aren’t rich as hell, then you’re doing something wrong.

7) According to people who study this stuff more than me, if the 2019 NFL Draft were today, no quarterbacks would be taken in the first round. Lot can change in a year, though. 

6) Back in 1996, when he was 21, new Lions’ coach Matt Patricia was charged in Texas with aggravated sexual assault- the charge was dismissed ten months later, before it went to trial. 

Why would something like this be made public now? Patricia has been on national TV dozens of times over the past decade; its like someone with an axe to grind spilled the beans. According to SI.com, the charge is visible on Lexis’s public records database. Why didn’t someone find this a lot earlier than now? 

Weird situation. GM of the Lions worked for the Patriots for over a decade; did they know? 

Patricia wouldn’t talk much about it Thursday; he’s moving on to mini-camp. 

5) Winnipeg 5, Nashville 1— Jets will take on the Golden Knights in the next round after they won a Game 7 on the road. 

Winnipeg is last Canadian franchise left in playoffs; Golden Knights are NHL team with most Canadian-born players. 

Last Canadian franchise to win Stanley Cup? 1993 Montreal Canadiens. 

4) Cincinnati Reds aren’t wasting any time; newly-acquired Matt Harvey gets the start for the Reds in tonight’s game at Dodger Stadium. 

3) Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez (lat strain) went on the 10-day DL; he is expected to miss only one start.

2) Red Sox pitcher David Price recently revealed that he plays video games three hours a day, but he denied that video games are why he has a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome. 

1) I won’t get into specifics, because I don’t want to get angry e-mails from people complaining about me talking politics, but the shocking lack of decency coming from public officials talking about John McCain, who is very, very ill, makes me want to puke. Simple as that. 

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

13) Reds 2, Mets 1 (10)— Mets started this game by batting out of order in the first inning; the lineup posted in their dugout was different than the one on the card given to umpires/Reds, so when Asdrubel Cabrera doubled with two out in the first inning. Cincinnati called them on it and the inning ended. No bueno. 

12) An update on players Miami Marlins got when they traded their best players this winter:

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 .305 so far this season, playing 2B for the Marlins.

— Jose Devers SS— 18-year old hit .245 in A ball last year; he is hitting .206 in 16 games so far this season in the Class A South Atlantic League.

— 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. He is 0-0, 2.45 in three starts (11 IP) in the Class A Florida State League so far this season. 

11) Players acquired from St Louis for Marcell Ozuna:
— Daniel Castano P— 23-year old who is still in A ball— He is 4-2, 3.71 in Florida State League this month; Class A hitters are batting .271 against him.

— Zac Gallen P— 22-year old is 3-1, 2.50 in six AAA starts, allowing 38 hits in 36 IP this season.

— Sandy Alcantara P— 22-year old is said to be the best prospect Miami landed in these four deals. He is 1-1, 3.27 in six starts (33 IP) this season, allowing 28 hits, 17 walks, with 32 strikeouts. Alcantara allowed six runs in 8.1 IP in the majors (8 games) last year.

— Magneuris Sierra OF— 22-year old is hitting .256 in AAA this season, with five RBI in 117 AB; he was 19-60 (.317) hitting in 22 games with St Louis last season. 

10) Players acquired from Milwaukee for Christian Yelich:
— Isan Diaz 2B— 21-year old hit .222 in A-ball last year; he is hitting .191 in the AA Southern League this year.

— Monte Harrison OF— 22-year old is .244 in AA, wth 52 strikeouts and 7 RBI in 119 AB.

— 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 .167 for the Marlins this season. He hit .106 in 47 AB’s for Milwaukee last season. No bueno. 

9) Players acquired from Seattle for Dee Gordon:
— Robert Dugger P— 22-year old is 3-1, 2.80 in six 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 2-3, 3.98 in six AA starts, allowing 42 hits in 31.2 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. 

8) Tampa Bay Rays had 12 one-run losses in their first 33 games, the first team to do that since the ’94 Phillies. Overall, the Rays are 15-18, 5-12 in one-run games. 

7) Five teams don’t have a walk-off win yet this year: Cubs-Royals-Padres-Angels-Dodgers.

6) Red Sox P David Price has a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Not sure what that means for his pitching, but pretty sure he won’t be doing any typing anytime soon. 

5) Brad Stevens got zero votes for NBA Coach of the Year; there were murmurs on Twitter that some people are wondering if the Celtics violated tampering rules when they recruited Gordon Hayward in free agency, and so they ignored Stevens in COY voting. 

4) Less than 10% of major leaguers still use bats made out of ash; Evan Longoria is a holdout for ash bats. Lot of players switched to maple bats after Barry Bonds’ success. 

3) Andre Dawson was a great baseball player, but hasn’t been heard from much since; for the last 10 years, Dawson and his wife of 40 years have owned and operated the Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in Richmond Heights, FL. 

2) Celtics 114, 76ers 112— Marcus Smart tried to miss a foul shot with 0:02.4 left and Celtics up by a point, but the ball went in. Boston was favored by 1.5 points; that must have been a fun couple of minutes in Las Vegas sportsbooks. 

1– Second round of NBA playoffs lasted only 19 games; minimum is 16, maximum 28 games. Not the most exciting times. Cleveland-Boston and Houston-Golden State in the next round should create a lot of interest. 

This is the first time in long time Golden State won’t have home court edge in a series. 

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

13) Mariners 5, Blue Jays 0— James Paxton abused the A’s in his last start, striking out 16 hitters but the Seattle bullpen blew that game. That didn’t happen here; Paxton no-hit the Blue Jays. He is a Canadian kid from British Columbia, so this is a great, great thing for him, the Mariners’ first-ever no-hitter outside of Seattle.

12) Here’s how goofy the transfer epidemic in college basketball has become: 

According to ESPN, Michael Gilmore, who played his first two years at VCU, is expected to finish his career as a grad transfer at VCU- he had a brief stop at Miami but didn’t play there-  he played at Florida Gulf Coast last season, but now is headed back to the Rams. 

Gilmore is 6-10, was playing about 25 mpg at the end of last season in the Atlantic Sun. 

Oy. 

11) Royals 15, Orioles 1— Kansas City scored seven runs, hit four HR’s before they made an out.

In 1988, the Orioles started the season 5-30; they’re 8-27 now.  

10) Pirates 10, White Sox 6— Pittsburgh starter Ivan Nova needed 77 pitches to finish the second inning in the Windy City. Not as bad a night as Dylan Bundy had, but not a whole lot better. 

9) Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott made $4.8M in 2016, the most of any college commissioner. For $4.8M a year, you’d think Mr Scott could get the Pac-12 Network on DirecTV.

8) Mets shipped Matt Harvey to Cincinnati for Devin Mesoraco. Not sure what the Reds are thinking; their ballpark is so small and Harvey has been so bad, his numbers at home don’t figure to be very good. 

Since Mets are in Cincinnati now, Mesoraco just walks down the hall to join his new team. Reds lost Mesoraco’s last 21 starts, which isn’t good.

In an unrelated move, the Mets put 3B Todd Frazier on the DL 

7) Charlotte Hornets will hire former Spurs’ assistant James Borrego as its new head coach. Borrego is only 41 years old; he was Orlando’s interim coach a few years ago.

6) Chris Doyle is the strength coach for the University of Iowa’s football team; he makes $729,000 a year, more than any strength coach in the country. 

5) Toronto Blue Jays’ closer Roberto Osuna is on administrative leave because of a domestic violence situation Monday night.

4) Cavaliers swept Toronto four straight games, but with Cleveland up 30 and 7:38 left.in Game 4, sub Rodney Hood refused to go in, which is bad form either in the NBA or junior high school. The coach puts you in the game, you go in the game. 

Hood played for Utah for 3.5 years before he got traded to the Cavaliers in February; he played one year at Mississippi State, then transferred to Duke, played a year, them jumped to the NBA. 

He had played 15.1 mpg for the Jazz this season, the most in his career— he played 12.7 mpg for Cleveland but his minutes in the playoffs had been greatly reduced. 

Hood is a restricted free agent after the season; he apologized Tuesday, but did he hurt his own career by putting himself ahead of the successful team he is on? 

3) UNLV has its graduation Sunday; students from 37 states and 57 countries will be walking across the stage to get their diplomas. 

2) David Price was scratched from tonight’s start in the Bronx and sent home; the numbness in his left hand has come back. He was removed from a game last month after only 35 pitches with the same problem.

1) They said this on the Mets’ telecast Tuesday night so it must be true: people in Cincinnati eat about 200,000,000 pounds of chili each year, topped by 850,000 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese,. Thats a lot of chili. And a lot of shredded cheese. 

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

13) Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan signed a five-year, $150 million deal ($100 million guaranteed), making him the first $30-million-a-year player in NFL history. 

Wonder what Tom Brady thinks about that?

12) Since 1998, 66 NFL teams have won 4+ more games than they did the year before; six of those were last year. How do teams do the year after making such a big improvement? 

Of the 60 teams between 1998-2016 to win 4+ more games than the year before, those teams won an average of 4.17 FEWER games the next year.

Why? Maybe teams don’t get the same breaks they did the year before, or injuries are an issue but there is usually a regression the year after teams have a quantum leap. 

11) One thing here: 36 of those 66 teams had a first-year head coach. Maybe hearing a new voice or having a new program helps a team play better. 

10) The six teams who had a quantum leap last year? Jaguars, Rams, Chargers, Vikings, Eagles and 49ers. 

9) One oddity in compiling this list; only three teams in last 20 years fit into this category two years in a row, but two of the three were coached by John Fox: Carolina in 2002-03 and the Broncos in 2011-12. 

Oakland (’15/’16) was 3rd team and they fired their coach after they regressed in 2017. 

8) Detroit Pistons fired coach/president Stan Van Gundy, after five years. If I remember right, he did some college games for NBC College Sports (CAA games?) the last time he was a free agent coach, so maybe he’ll go back on TV and we can learn from him this winter. 

7) A woman in Texas bet $18 on a pick-5 at Churchill Downs Saturday, and went home with a check for $1.2M. Justify was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, but she also nailed a 39-1 winner named Funny Duck and a 9-1 shot named Yoshida. 

6) Last three years, Baltimore Ravens finished 29th, 12th and 29th in NFL in passing yards; the problem might not be Joe Flacco— maybe they should get a decent offensive coordinator. Marty Mornhinweg ain’t the answer. 

Look at Jared Goff LY, once he had a decent OC to school him; big difference, right? 

5) CBS will have an NFL broadcast team this fall of Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Bruce Arians; Arians might need a 5-second delay in case he curses on air, but I can’t wait to hear his game analysis, especially where quarterbacks are concerned. 

4) This from TheMMQB.com: Miami Dolphins’ director of college scouting Adam Engroff has more than 7,000,000 Marriott points- he’s stayed in Marriotts for 3,778 nights in his life. 

The guy has spent the equivalent of 10.35 years of his life staying in a Marriott. Oy. 

3) NBA playoff factoid: Cleveland Cavaliers have a $100 fine for each player that falls for one of DeMar DeRozan’s pump fakes.

2) Monday would’ve been Dick Williams’ 89th birthday; Williams, John McNamara and Jimmy Dykes hold the MLB record, having managed six different major league teams. 

Williams was a Hall of Fame manager, leading he A’s to the ’72/’73 World Series titles and also winning pennants with Boston and San Diego, but he would have a problem in today’s softer times. Williams was a surly guy who would criticize a player; that doesn’t fly these days.

1— RIP Gretchen Piscotty, mother of A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty. Mrs Piscotty passed away this weekend from ALS. St Louis traded Stephen to the A’s this past winter in part so he could spend more time with his mom in her final days. RIP ma’am. 

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

13) If you’re coaching the Toronto Raptors Saturday night, don’t you have to double Lebron James and make him pass the ball? Understood that Lebron would find an open teammate, but no way that teammate wants to take the last shot- they want Lebron taking the last shot. 

12) A 64-year old guy from Wisconsin recently had his 30,000th Big Mac (he counts them); the guy doesn’t look like he is overweight, he is 64 and still alive, but doubtful that having 30,000 Big Macs is real good for you. 

Myself, I’ve haven’t had a Big Mac since I was a kid; prefer the fish sandwich or the sausage biscuit with egg at McDonald’s. 

By the way, this guy from Wisconsin used to also save the styrofoam containers the Big Macs came in, but in June 1990, he lost 7,000 of them in a tornado. 

11) NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights have already sold out their entire home schedule for next season. 

10) Rough day for some baseball stars:
— Cardinals’ C Yadier Molina had groin surgery, is out at least a month.
— Dodgers’ P Clayton Kershaw (bicep tendonitis) goes on the DL.
— Mets’ Of Yoenis Cespedes (hip tightness) left after the 1st inning Sunday
— Mets’ P Jacob deGrom (elbow) goes on 10-day DL, could return next Sunday. 

9) Random observation; new umpires call more marginal strikes than older umpires. 

8) Tuesday night is the 50th anniversary of Catfish Hunter’s perfect game, when he also knocked in three runs in the A’s 4-0 win over Minnesota. 

Only one Oakland employee from that night still works for the A’s; equipment manager Steve Vucinich, who was a 15-year ball boy that night, working down the left field line.

7) Stumbled onto a movie I’ve never seen the other night; Lucky You, a poker movie with Drew Barrymore, Robert Duvall and a bunch of pro poker players from the ESPN days. 

Movie centers around the World Series of Poker; star of the movie is a guy I’ve never heard of, but in the movie he is the son of a legendary gambler (Duvall) who is trying to win the WSOP while also trying to win the heart of his girlfriend (Barrymore). 

Not a bad movie; lot of poker in it. 

6) Brice Garnett, who won a PGA tournament at Corales Puntacana in March, shot an 88 Sunday – the highest score recorded by anyone this season on Tour. He’s the only player this decade with a win and a round of 88 or worse in same Tour season.

5) Favorites won the last six Kentucky Derbies, which is a new record. 

4) CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be an interesting team this year; not only will Johnny Manziel be one of their QB’s, but 76-year old Jerry Glanville, the old Oilers/Falcons head coach, will be their defensive coordinator. June Jones III is the Ti-Cats’ head coach. 

When Glanville was coaching the Oilers, Jones was one of his assistants, as was a young coach named Nick Saban. 

3) Royals, Tigers both lost a fly ball in the bright sun in Kansas City Sunday; neither player had sunglasses on. WTF? Shouldn’t the manager send someone out to give them sunglasses? 

2) Bryant Bulldogs of the NEC got a commitment from Murray State graduate transfer G Byron Hawkins; he was the sixth man on the Racers’ OVC championship team- before that, he averaged 14 ppg as a sophomore at Towson.

In other words, this young man will be playing for his third team in three years. He scored 14 ppg in the CAA so he is talented, but why has he bolted schools two years in a row? 

1— A lawyer in Monterrey, Mexico named Mario Gracia played in the Gulf Coast League with Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen in 2006; his friends didn’t believe his stories until this weekend, when the Dodgers played the Padres in Monterrey. Now he has proof.

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

13) Watching the Kentucky Derby Saturday, it reminded me of the one and only time I’ve ridden a horse, the same day Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes. June of 1973, my 8th grade field trip. 

I get on this horse and make the mistake of asking the lady the horse’s name: “Jumper”

Jumper didn’t enjoy the next half hour any more than I did, other than his wandering off the path to munch on bushes and ignoring anything I said to him. When he finally broke into a gallop, I wrapped my arms around his neck and held on for dear life. 

We both escaped unscathed, but not my finest moment. 

12) 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has sex three times every day while his owners charge a $200,000 fee per impregnation- that makes the owners about $30,000,000 a year.

11) The transfer epidemic in college basketball has become ridiculous. 

University of Albany (my alma mater) went 22-10 last year, lost at Louisville 70-68, but then they finished 4th in America East, the 25th (out of 32) ranked league in America. If you’re in America East and lose by a hoop at Louisville, you’d expect better than 4th, right? 

Apparently there were chemistry-related issues. Since the season ended, the Great Danes have lost four transfers, including their two best returning players. David Nichols, a 6-0 G who shot 37% from the arc- he graduated and will be a grad transfer at Florida State next fall. 

Joe Cremo is a 6-4 G who is a local kid (Scotia HS) who in three years at Albany shot 41.8% on the arc. Losing Cremo is a huge blow to Albany, but he is now being recruited as a grad transfer like he is freakin’ Steph Curry.

10) He announced his “final 5” a while ago: Creighton, Gonzaga, Oregon, Penn State, Texas, but since then, he’s taken visits to Villanova and Kansas, where he was this weekend.

We’ll see how this all turns out, but being a low major D-I coach ain’t as much fun anymore. It almost sounds like the recruiting (poaching) these high major teams do now is intoxicating to the players involved and they enjoy the attention it brings a little too much. 

9) Cavaliers 105, Raptors 103— Lebron James is freakin’ amazing; his runner off the glass to win this game at the buzzer was a tremendous shot. 

Last five years, Toronto Raptors are 263-147 in regular season games, but only made it to the “Final Four” of playoffs once, losing Eastern Conference final two years ago. Looks like they’ll fall short this year, too. 

If you own the Raptors, do you stay the course, as far as your coach goes? I would, but in this day and age, when a coach struggles to win playoff games (Dwane Casey is 21-29 in NBA playoff games), he quickly becomes expendable. 

8) Since 2009, Detroit Tigers have averaged 4.71 runs/game with Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, 4.11 when he is out. Cabrera is on the DL now with a hamstring injury. 

7) Jacksonville Jaguars were much-improved last year; lot of credit goes to Leonard Fournette, their rookie RB from LSU, but Fournette missed three games LY, and Jaguars won those three games, 27-0/23-7/45-7, while running ball for 158.3 ypg, so maybe not. 

6) Former NFL running back Isaiah Pead lost part of his left leg in a car accident couple years ago; he was running Saturday, wearing a prosthetic lower left leg for the first time. The smile on his face said a lot. Pretty cool. 

5) Wow there aren’t many catchers who can hit the ball; in my 16-team fantasy league, if you have a backstop who can hit, its a pretty big edge. Half the teams in my league don’t even have a backup behind the plate. 

4) Cardinals 8, Cubs 6 (10)— Marcell Ozuna tied game with a 2-run single in bottom of 9th, then Kolten Wong sent everyone home happy with a walk-off tater in the 10th inning. 

3) Celtics 101, 76ers 98 OT— 76ers have been favored in all three games of this series, but lost all three to a team playing without its two best players. 

Philly’s (lack of) basketball IQ hurt them here, as Ben Simmons got an offensive rebound with 0:18 left and his team winning but shot the ball instead of pulling it out and making the Celtics foul him, or someone else. 

2) Umpires who call highest %age of strikes (when starting P is in game):
Foster 20.9%, Culbreth 20.8%, Lentz 20.6%, Hernandez 20.4%

1— Umpires who call lowest %age of strikes (when starting P is in game):
Reynolds 14.1%, Holbrook 14.8%, Barksdale 15.2%, Bucknor 15.5%

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

13) Angels 5, Mariners 0— Albert Pujols becomes the 32nd player to get 3,000 hits; Pujols is only the fourth player in history with 3,000 hits and 600 home runs.

12) Dodgers 4, Padres 0— Rookie Walker Buehler and three LA relievers combined to no-hit the Padres in a game played in Monterrey, Mexico. It was only Buehler’s third career start. 

11) Pelicans 119, Warriors 100— Rajon Rondo had 21 assists, 10 rebounds in one of the greatest games ever by someone who scored only four points in that game. Golden State still leads this series 2-1; home side won all three games. 

10) If David Ortiz gets in the Hall of Fame when his time comes, then Edgar Martinez damn sure better get in the HOF with him. There are no DH’s in the Hall of Fame, but playing in a media capital shouldn’t give you an advantage over a player who played on the west coast. Edgar Martinez was also a great hitter, and he didn’t have any PED-related issues. 

9) Indians split a doubleheader with Toronto Thursday, scoring 11/13 runs; they’re first team since the ’93 Cardinals to split a twinbill despite scoring 11+ runs in both games. 

8) Rockets 113, Jazz 92— Houston led 70-40 at halftime. Not good for TV ratings. 

7) Mock me if you like, but I’ve never seen Star Wars or The Godfather. 

However, I’ve seen Moneyball a countless number of times, as well as Blue Chips, The Bodyguard and Rounders more times than you think would be normal. 

6) The mother of Clippers’ guard Patrick Beverley was a contestant on The Price Is Right this week; she won two cars and a trip to Madagascar (I had to look it up on MapQuest to find out where the hell it is), a total winnings of $41,000. 

5) Mets are going to DFA Matt Harvey Saturday, meaning that New York has 10 days to trade him, and if they can’t, he gets released. Harvey is 29 and has a 7.00 ERA in 27 innings so far this season. 

4) A’s 6, Orioles 4— Baltimore had Mancini, Chris Davis, Trumbo, Alvarez, Valencia in their lineup Friday; basically, five DH’s. They made three errors in this game and fell to 8-24. 

3) Astros 8, Diamondbacks 1— Gerrit Cole threw a one-hitter, struck out 16 D’Backs. 

2) Peter Malnati leads the Wells Fargo golf tournament after two rounds; he has one Tour win, the 2016 Sanderson Farms tournament, which accounts for much of his $2,611,198 in career earnings. On the Interweb, all that matters it that Eldrick Woods made the cut by two shots. 

1) Starting pitchers who induce the highest %age of swings/misses:
NL: Corbin 38.7%, Scherzer 35.1%, Ray 34.9%, deGrom 33.2%
AL: Ohtani 36.6%, Clevinger 35.3%, Cole 34.6%, Paxton 33.4%

Friday’s List of 13: Questions, questions, always questions……..

13) Why do baseball teams in New York City, Boston, Philly and Washington all have new managers this year, none of whom ever managed in the majors before? 

Its like all of a sudden the over-educated geniuses in the front office decided that a manager is an overrated thing. There is a human element in sports that should never be discounted, even though it can’t really be quantified. 

12) Why does an NFL prospect jump up the draft charts so far, from the time the college season ends to the draft? Games should count more than workouts. 

If the NFL Draft had been held on February 1st, I don’t think Baker Mayfield is the #1 pick. 

11) Why didn’t the Twins put a retractable dome on their ballpark? If you look at attendance in Milwaukee, Twins are losing out on 300-400,000 paid admissions a year by not having a roof. 

10) Shouldn’t high school basketball players be able to go pro right from high school, the way baseball players can? 

9) If baseball expands to 32 teams, would they dare expand to Montreal and Monterrey, MX in the same year. Seems like Portland, OR wants a team; wonder if the A’s would go there? 

8) Why are the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights so good? They’re the most successful expansion team in the history of the four major sports.

7) Why do some teams bat their pitchers 8th? It makes no sense. No one has done it in a playoff game, which tells me it is a gimmick no one truly believes in. 

6) Should a convicted felon be allowed to hold political office in this country? 

5) Shouldn’t baseball writers be able to come up with more interesting stories on April 30 than their annual speculation on which big-money teams will poach good players from small market teams at the trade deadline, which is July 31? 

4) Shouldn’t the NBA move its draft around the country, like the NHL and NFL do? Seems to generate lot of interest in the host city. 

3) Why does only one league have the DH? Who thought that was a good idea? 

2) Why doesn’t every college student take a money management course? Wouldn’t that be a good thing to be well-versed in when you get out in the real world? Managing your time and your money are very important. 

1) Why did the Red Sox fire Terry Francona as their manager? Guy won them two World Series after a drought of almost 100 years, and they get rid of the guy after 89-73/90-72 seasons.  

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

13) Sunday afternoon at Westwood Country Club in the St Louis area; 7th hole, 123 yards; two guys in the same foursome both got hole-in-1’s. 

The odds of two guys in the same foursome getting an ace on the same hole are said to be 17,000,000-1. Pretty cool, but which guy had honors on the next hole? 

12) Interesting article on Yahoo Sports about the Miami Dolphins’ scouts and how they went about their duties leading up to last week’s draft. 

Over the course of last football season and leading up to the draft, Miami’s 10-man scouting staff  graded 1,504 players, wrote 3,690 reports and visited 256 colleges. 

11) ESPN said that Kyle Korver had the ball in his hands for 30 seconds during Cleveland’s OT win in Toronto Tuesday night. He made the most of those 30 seconds, making 7 of 17 shots, 5 of 12 behind the arc. 17 shots in 30 seconds with the ball; sounds like a good job. 

10) Colorado Rockies led off Tuesday’s game at Wrigley Field with back/back homers; that was first time since 1937 a visiting team starting a game at Wrigley with back/back jacks.

9) Dodgers were 23-4 last year when Clayton Kershaw started; they’re 2-5 this year. 

8) Red Sox 5, Royals 4— Mookie Betts had three homers for Boston, which trailed 3-0 early. 

7) According to ESPN, Phoenix Suns will hire Utah Jazz assistant coach Igor Kokoskov as their new head coach; he will become the first European-born head coach in the NBA..

6) Utah State’s football team will be paid $1.91M to come to Tuscaloosa and lose to the Crimson Tide during the 2022 season. 

Thats the 3rd-most $$$ a team has ever gotten for a non-conference game; Florida is paying Colorado State $2M (as part of Jim McElwain’s buyout) for a game this fall and Auburn will pay Tulane $1.937M for a 2019 game

5) In case you were wondering, Albert Pujols holds the all-time major league record for first inning home runs— he hit his 142nd 1st inning homer off Dylan Bundy Wednesday night. 

4) Baseball players get hurt a lot:
— Jacob deGrom hyperextended his elbow while batting Wednesday night; an MRI was taken; all Mets fans and deGrom fantasy owners are holding their breath.
— Braves’ SS Dansby Swanson left that same game with a sore left wrist.
— Dodgers’ P Hyun-jin Ryu left his start in the 2nd inning with an unknown injury. 

3) Jazz 116, Rockets 108— Utah evens series 1-1 with a road win; they made 15-32 on arc, led by Joe Ingles’ 7-9. Winning a road game without Ricky Rubio is even more impressive. 

2) A’s 3, Mariners 2– Paxton blanked Oakland for seven innings, striking out 16 hitters in an overpowering performance, but they took him out after 105 pitches and the A’s beat the Seattle bullpen. 

1— Random question: What would baseball be like if there was no pitchers’ mound, just a circle in the middle of the infield where the pitchers threw the ball? Would scoring go way up?