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

We have great baseball info every day!!!! Week 1 CFL info on CFL page.

Monday’s 6-pack
— Going into Sunday’s games, big league pitchers were batting .112 this season
— Texas Tech beat Florida, Arkansas beat Texas in the College World Series.
— Astros went 10-0 on a 3-city road trip to Texas, Oakland, Kansas City.
— Bryce Harper is a free agent this winter; he is hitting .217 right now. Not good.
— Oakland A’s are 36-36 with 90 games left and I’m OK with that.
— If the baseball playoffs started today:
AL: New York-Cleveland-Houston. Wild Cards: Boston-Seattle
NL: Atlanta-Milwaukee-Arizona. Wild Cards: Chicago-Washington

Tweet of the Day
“I’m personally getting tired of getting punked by Tumpane. I think we all are. And I think it needs to be looked at. I’m not saying there’s bias there but I’m sure it will go back to whoever it needs to go back to.”
Royals’ P Danny Duffy, talking about umpire John Tumpane 

Monday’s quiz
When Gerald Ford took over as President in 1974, who was his Vice-President? 

Sunday’s quiz
In the movie Oceans 13, Al Pacino played casino owner Willy Bank. 

Saturday’s quiz
Jim Kelly played for the Houston Gamblers in the old USFL. 

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

13) Brooks Koepka is first guy since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 to win the US Open two years in a row; he has only one other Tour win, the 2015 Phoenix Open. 

12) Rangers 13, Rockies 12— Horrendous pitching in this game; Colorado closer Davis walked four guys in 0.1 IP, then gave up the game-winning single to a 3rd-string catcher as Texas scored four times in the ninth inning for the comeback win. 

11) Single-season record for most home runs by a team is 264, set by the 1997 Mariners. That record could easily fall this year. 

10) Rookie QB Chris Streveler started for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this week; he is the first rookie QB straight out of college to start a Week 1 CFL game since 1994, when Anthony Calvillo did it in 1994, playing for the Las Vegas Posse. 

Yes, for a while in the 90’s, the CFL had teams in America; I think Baltimore won a CFL title. 

Calvillo is now a CFL Hall of Famer. 

9) Read on the Interweb this week that the country of Iceland has roughly the same amount of people as Santa Ana, CA. 

Only thing I know about Iceland is that when Bobby Fischer played Boris Spassky for the world chess championship in the early 70’s, it was held in Iceland, in a town called Reykjavík, and I had to look up that spelling. Long way to go to play chess. 

8) Giancarlo Stanton’s OPS in his nine-year career:
2010: .833, 2011: .893, 2012: .969, 2013: .845, 2014: .950, 2015: .952

Then the last three years: 2016: .815, 2017: 1.005, 2018: .798

He used to get hurt a lot, now he just seems unsure at the plate; too much film study? 

7) Keith Hernandez was saying on TV last week that if he was still playing, he couldn’t do the all the film work that modern players do, as far as studying pitchers. Ron Darling came out and said that if a player now doesn’t want to do it, he is viewed as a malcontent by the team. 

6) Giants 4, Dodgers 1— Giants scored five runs in their first six games at Dodger Stadium this season, but salvaged the last game of this series. 

5) Kelly Johnson is the only ballplayer who played for all five AL East teams. 

4) Go to Deadspin’s Twitter account and find the GIF of the fan at the Montreal-BC Lions CFL game Saturday who ran on the field during the game. A defensive back on the Lions absolutely crushed the guy, laid him out. I’m sure when he sobered up, it hurt like hell.

3) In top of 8th inning in Milwaukee Sunday, a Brewers reliever named Adrian Houser was puking his guts out behind the mound. Somehow, he finished the inning. He looked like Jamie Foxx in Any Given Sunday, when the backup QB barfed on the field before he started to play. 

2) Most greeting cards sold, by holiday:
1) Christmas 2) Valentine’s Day 3) Mother’s Day 4) Father’s Day

1) NBA Draft is Thursday, so that’ll be in the news a lot. Most interesting player in the draft is probably Slovenian Luka Doncic. He is a 19-year old wing who played for Real Madrid in the EuroLeague this past season. ESPN’s Seth Greenberg tweeted Sunday that he is a better passer than Lonzo Ball, as well as a better shooter .

His description of Doncic: “ a bigger Lonzo Ball with jumper, a better feel for reading ballscreens and the toughness of a grown man.”

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

13) Seattle Mariners are 23-10 in one-run games this season, which means………
a) They’ve gotten the most out of their team up to this point.
b) It will be difficult to sustain this level of winning; a slide could happen.

12) Marlins 5, Orioles 4— In their last 18 games, Baltimore is 2-0 against the Mets, 0-16 against everyone else. Orioles are the third team since 2000 to reach 50 losses before 20 wins in a season (’03 Tigers, ’10 Orioles).

11) When a major league ballplayer reaches eight years of service time, he gets a gold pass, which is a lifetime pass for two to any major league game. 

10) Mike Bibby is 40 years old now; he played 14 years in the NBA, where he averaged 14.7 ppg in his career. 

Current pictures of Bibby surfaced on Twitter this week; he looks like a bodybuilder or a WWE wrestler now. He last played in the NBA six years ago. 

9) Milwaukee Brewers have newly-acquired Brad Miller playing shortstop at AAA Colorado Springs; it figures that he could become the Brewers’ shortstop fairly soon. 

8) Middle Tennessee State has had a really good basketball team the last few years, but with coach Kermit Davis off to Ole Miss, the Blue Raiders had a rough week. Two of their best returnees transferred out, and they threw two other kids off the team. 

7) Obscure trivia: Detroit Tigers played in the World Series in both 1968 and 1984. Only six players played against Detroit in both those seasons: Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Tommy John, Rollie Fingers, Tom Burgmeier and Graig Nettles. 

6) Sounds like high school basketball players might once again be able to go right from high school to the NBA, as early as 2021 or 2022. That would be a good rule change. 

5) Phil Mickelson shot an 81 on his 48th birthday, including hitting a putt on 13 when the ball was still rolling on his previous putt. Not his finest moment. 

4) In the Canadian Football League, coaches can use an instant replay challenge on pass interference calls/non-calls. 

3) Giants’ 3B Evan Longoria will undergo surgery on Tuesday to stabilize the fracture in the fifth metacarpal of his left hand. He is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks. 

2) Arizona’s Patrick Corbin has allowed two homers to lefty batters this season; both of them hit by the Mets’ Michael Conforto. Before his 2nd inning homer last night, Conforto was 0 for his last 30 with men on base. 

1) Calgary 28, Hamilton 14— #82 on the Stampeders made a tremendous one-handed catch late in the first half of this game. If it was in the NFL, it would be in highlight films for years. 

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

13) After seven years and one ring, Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio; rumor has it he wants to go to the Lakers. Leonard is from Riverside, CA about 50 miles from LA. 

San Diego State went 59-12 in Leonard’s two years with the Aztecs, but he was only a 25% shooter behind the arc in college, averaging 10 rebounds, 2 assists a game. Indiana drafted him 15th in 2011, then traded him and two other players to San Antonio for George Hill. Leonard wasn’t considered a star in the making, but not a great day for the Pacers. 

I guess my point here is that the Spurs’ staff transformed Leonard from a player who earned $1.7M a year as a rookie, to a guy makes around $20M a year now. We said Leonard shot 25% on arc in college; he is a career 38.6% shooter from the NBA arc, which is a longer shot than the college shot. Leonard worked hard to improve his game, with the help of the Spurs’ coaches. 

Not a lot of gratitude here, especially considering he played a whole nine games last year, for his $18,868,625. You wonder why the Spurs have usually had a lot of foreign-born players?

12) Kid named Ashton Hagans, considered the top point guard in Class of 2019, has re-classfied to the Class of ’18 and will enroll at Kentucky. 

Kentucky’s freshman class that now features four five-star prospects and could also add Reid Travis, a 6-8 graduate transfer from Stanford. But if your PG is a kid who should still be in high school, is that a good thing? 

11) Duke alum Marvin Bagley III signed a 5-year footwear, apparel endorsement deal with Puma, as part of Puma’s plan to re-launch its basketball footwear business after being out of the game for the last 20 years, when they had Vince Carter as a client.

10) Stephen Curry was the 7th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft; Minnesota had the 5th and 6th picks that year, and took Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. Whoops.

9) Basketball prospect Michael Porter Jr played three games at Missouri last year. Three. He had a hip injury and missed virtually the entire season. It was his only season of college basketball. 

Despite that, NBA people are talking the kid up as a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft. He was supposed to work out for NBA teams this week but cancelled the workout because of “hip spasms.” Not good. 

I wouldn’t draft this kid, its an extreme risk that he would be able to last through an 82-game season. But someone will, and then they’ll justify it with some babble about how talented he is and they’ll hold their breath that he is healthy. 

I’m not even mentioning the fact that he was home-schooled in high school, then in his one year of college ball, didn’t seem to get along with his teammates. Is he even coachable? His father was an assistant coach on his college team, and his brother was a teammate. 

8) The guy who shot 92 at the US Open Thursday shot a 75 Friday, so hopefully that sent him home with a smile on his face. 

7) In their last 15 series, San Diego Padres are 1-14 in the series openers, then 23-7 in all the other games. One of those stats for which there is no explanation. 

6) Former major league pitcher Kevin Brown was responsible for two mail thieves being caught this week. After several reports of stolen mail in a north Macon, GA neighborhood, Brown hid in a neighbor’s yard and waited on the thieves to strike again.

From The Telegraph: “A 15-year-old and another man were arrested Wednesday afternoon outside of Brown’s multimillion-dollar home off Rivoli Downs. The mailbox was ajar as the baseball star explained the situation to four Bibb County sheriff’s deputies.”

5) White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech faced 21 batters in a AAA game Thursday; he walked eight of them, allowing five runs in three IP. He threw 86 pitches, only 35 strikes; he was part of the Chris Sale-to-Boston package, along with Yoan Moncada. 

Kopech is 2-5, 5.20 in 13 AAA start this season; it is possible he throws too hard. He has 82 strikeouts in 62.1 IP, but also 42 walks, nine hit batters. 

4) Miami Marlins averaged 20,395 fans per game last year; they’re averaging 10,283 this year. It helps to draw fans when you don’t give away all your best players (except one).

3) Surprising stat: Seattle’s Juan Segura leads the major leagues this year- he has 14 games with 3+ hits. Coming into Friday’s play, no one else had more than 11. 

2) Back when I was a kid, in the 70’s, baseball’s trading deadline was June 15, which is really, really early in the season. Very good idea making the trade deadline July 31 like it is now. 

1) There was a secretary who worked for the Philadelphia Eagles for 30 years; she was the head coach’s secretary, but when Chip Kelly was head coach, he fired her in 2013.

This week, the Eagles gave out their Super Bowl rings, and owner Jeffrey Lurie gave one to the former secretary. Each ring has 219 diamonds in it. Pretty nice thing to do. 

Friday’s List of 13: Our first 2018 dose of college football knowledge

One of the best days each summer is when the Phill Steele college football magazine comes in the mail. It is a great resource to use all season long. 

13) According to Phil Steele Magazine, the three toughest college football schedules for 2018 are: 1) UCLA, 2) Purdue 3) Michigan 

12) Best three offensive lines: 1) Wisconsin (150 starts back) 2) Georgia (69 starts) 3) Alabama (103 starts). 

11) Offensive lines with most returning starts: Wisconsin (150), Boston College (139), Wake Forest (131), Florida Int’l (129). 

10) Four best QB’s: Will Grier (West Va), McKenzie Milton (UCF), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn), Jake Browning (Washington).

9) Four best kickers: Matt Gay (Utah), Austin Seibert (Oklahoma), Rodrigo Blankenship (Georgia), Jameson Vest (Toledo).

8) Tulsa was the only team in America last year that lost five games by a TD or less. They didn’t win any games by a TD or less.

7) Army won six games LY by a TD or less; they lost two games by a TD or less. Troy and North Texas both won five games LY by a TD or less; they didn’t lose any. South Carolina won five and lost one. 

6) Since 1991, 369 teams have been +10 or better in turnovers in a season; of those 369 teams, 240 had worse records the next year. Only 85 (23%) had better records the next year. 

Over the last seven years, only 6 of 48 teams who were +14 or better in turnovers had a better record the following season. 

Best turnover ratios is 2017: Wyoming (+24), UCF (+17), Stanford (+16), Memphis (+15). 

5) In the past 27 years, 311 teams were -10 or worse in turnovers; of those 311 teams, 208 of them had better records the following season. 

Worst turnover ratios in 2017: San Jose St (-26), Rice (-23), Kansas (-17), New Mexico (-16). 

4) Four teams Phil Steele thinks will be the most improved this year: Florida, Utah State, North Carolina, Colorado. 

3) Underdogs are 4-0-1 vs spread in last five national championship games (3-2 SU). 

2) Over last four years, underdogs are 4-1 vs spread in these bowls: Orange, Holiday, Pinstripe, New Mexico Bowls. 

1) The current King of Bowls is Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who is 11-1 as a head coach in bowl games. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Happy Armadillo Day!!!!

13) 17 years ago today, armadillosports.com was born; the world has changed a lot since then, not always for the better, but hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this space, thru good and bad. 

As year #18 begins here, let’s hope the world becomes a happier, more cohesive place. 

12) June 14 also means it is my friend Big Dawg’s 29th birthday (again); happy birthday!!! 

11) Nationals 5, New York 4— Juan Soto is 19 years old; he is hitting .349 in his first 20 major league games and hit two homers in this game. 

Soto played only eight games in the AA Eastern League, batting 31 times; he skipped over AAA, which is very unusual, but Soto appears to be an unusual talent. 

10) Detroit 1B Miguel Cabrera (biceps) is done for the year, but a doctor posted on Twitter Tuesday night that he should be 100% for 2019. 

Tigers are on the hook for $154M for Cabrera AFTER this year (2019-23). He better be 100%. 

9) Ruben Amaro Jr is first base coach for the Mets this year, which is only newsworthy because from 2009-15, he was general manager of the Phillies. Guys don’t go from being GM’s to base coaches, very unusual. 

Amaro took over the Phillies the year after they won the World Series, let their nucleus get a little too old before he broke it up, then got fired. 

Now he is trying to work his way up into becoming a field manager. Interesting career. 

8) Speaking of the Mets, they hit .147 on their recent 9-game homestand. Thats the worst batting average EVER for any homestand of 7+ games, for any team in baseball history. 

7) In 1970, Bob Gibson went 23-7 pitching and hit .303; he is the only pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award and hit .300 in the same season. 

6) Someone at the Westgate SuperBook bet $1,200 Tuesday on Eldrick Woods to win the US Open this week at 20-1. 

5) Paid attendance in Miami Tuesday night for Giants-Marlins; 5,928 (announced). As the old saying goes, many of those 5,928 “fans” were disguised as empty seats.

4) Braves 2, Mets 0— Jacob deGrom pitched Wednesday; he has a 1.31 RA in his last eight starts, but won only one of the eight games. Mets haven’t hit for him, and the bullpen has blown leads late in the game for him. 

Braves pitched Mike Soroka had a no-hitter thru six innings, trying to become the third Canadian pitcher to throw a big league no-hitter. 

3) There have been two no-hitters thrown by Canadian pitchers; James Paxton in Toronto earlier this season, and on September 9, 1945, Philadelphia’s Dick Fowler no-hit the St Louis Browns 1-0 in the second game of a doubleheader. 

That was Fowler’s first start in three years; he had served in the Canadian Army during World War II and this was his first start after returning from the war. 

Fowler wound up going 66-79 in 10 years in the major leagues, all with the A’s; he passed away at age 51 in Oneonta, NY.

2) Major league umpire Stu Scheurwater is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, not a place you’d expect a major league umpire to come from.

1) Seven weeks left until the trade deadline in baseball; media types will keep themselves busy with useless speculation. Wake me up when an actual trade happens.

Why I call it useless speculation; Mets have already said that deGrom isn’t available, but until he’s still a Met on August 1, you’ll see speculation that he’s going to be traded. 

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

13) The NBA wanted an “integrity fee” from states with legalized sports betting across the country, but when Lebron James had a broken hand in the NBA Finals and the Cavaliers/NBA kept it under wraps, where was the bleeping “integrity” then? 

Every state with legalized sports betting should hire people from Las Vegas to run their legalized gambling; thats the best way to assure that things will be the run the correct way. 

12) Orioles’ DH Chris Davis is hitting .150 thru 57 games this season; Baltimore is on the hook for Davis— $21M a year thru 2022. From 2013-16, Davis hit 164 homers. Now? Not so much. 

11) Andrew Luck threw a football at Colts’ mini-camp Tuesday, first time in over 500 days he threw a football after his shoulder injury. Good news for Indianapolis. 

Deshaun Watson is practicing at Houston’s mini-camp with no knee brace. Watson threw for 19 TD’s with only 8 INT’s in seven games (6 starts) LY, before he hurt his knee. Texans were 3-3 in his starts. 

10) Pretty cool pic on Twitter last night of Vegas Golden Knights’ goalie Marc Andre Fleury playing street hockey with kids in his Las Vegas neighborhood. Imagine being a little kid and going outside to play ball with a pro athlete? 

9) Sounds like the NHL’s Ottawa Senators have some problems; the wife of one Senators’ player filed a restraining order against the fiancé of another Senators player.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, “…..the order of protection filed by one player’s wife alleges that the longtime girlfriend of another Ottawa player is behind an extensive and aggressive campaign of harassment against them since at least November of 2017. “

How would you like to be coaching a team where two of your better players’ wife/girlfriend hate each other’s guts? 

8) Dodgers put P Walker Buehler on the DL with a microfracture in his ribs. 

A’s put P Trevor Cahill (achilles) on the DL. 

Miguel Cabrera left the Tigers’ game early Tuesday with a ruptured left bicep tendon that will require surgery- he is out for the year.

7) Ken Pomeroy posted that Nevada Wolf Pack called only 0.70 timeouts per game (not counting OT periods) last year; no one else in the country averaged less than 1.13 TO’s per game. 

6) Quote of the Day, part 2: “Having worked at 7 different universities,  I can tell you changing AD’s is like the starter’s pistol for exit of coaches.”
Bob Valvano, who was a pretty good college hoop coach himself

5) Oakland Raiders released QB Christian Hackenberg from its 90-man roster Tuesday, three weeks after getting him from the Jets for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in 2019. 

If I were a friend of Hackenberg’s, I’d suggest he play in the Arena League- think it helps develop a QB’s decision-making. 

4) Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh has mentioned “playing two QB’s at once” when Baltimore has the ball this season, which may be a veiled way of suggesting Lamar Jackson will play some WR while not actually saying he will be playing WR, since Jackson sees himself as a QB only. 

3) Mets’ TV guy Ron Darling was frustrated when Zack Wheeler gave up a hit on an 0-2 pitch that allowed the Braves to score a run; Darling hinted that pitchers are hesitant to waste pitches nowadays because it goes against their pitch count, shortens their appearances. 

“No way should a batter get anything good to hit on an 0-2 pitch.” 

2) Ashton Grewal of covers.com points out that since 2006, CFL underdogs are 115-66-2 against the spread (63.5%) in the first four weeks of the season.  

1) Brewers 4, Cubs 0— Big sigh of relief in Milwaukee.

Before this game, Brewers were 1-8 in their first nine games against the Cubs this season; they scored 11 runs total in those nine games. 

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

13) New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed the sports betting bill. Sports betting begins at Monmouth Park at 10:30 am Thursday, the same day soccer’s World Cup starts.

12) NBA Summer League is next month in Las Vegas; 76ers still haven’t announced if last year’s #1 pick, Markelle Fultz, will play or not. 

11) If you really like the NBA, I highly recommend going to the Summer League; for $30, you can sit inside in air conditioning all day (it will be 110 or so outside) and watch NBA games, and you might meet some famous people, since everyone pretty much goes in/out the same doors. 

10) Detroit Pistons gave new coach Dwane Casey a 5-year contract.

9) If Shohei Ohtani needs Tommy John surgery, he won’t pitch again until 2020. Angels aren’t saying much yet. 

No idea how it would affect him as a hitter if he has TJ surgery. Could he DH late next year if he has the surgery this summer? 

8) Texas 4, Tennessee Tech 1— Longhorns are in College World Series for 36th time; no other school has been in the CWS more than 25 times. 

7) In college baseball, six of eight Super Regionals series went the maximum three games, which is most ever. This is the 20th year of the Super Regional format. 

6) In their last ten home games, Mets are 3 for 55 with runners in scoring position. 

In their last four home games, Red Sox are 2 for 37 with RISP. 

5) QB Hunter Johnson transfers from Clemson to Northwestern; he will sit out this season, then have three years left to play for the Wildcats.

4) NY-Penn League starts Friday night; the short season rookie league has a team over the river from here in Troy at Hudson Valley CC, where the Astros’ farm club the ValleyCats play home games. 

If you’re in the Albany area and like affordable fun, the ValleyCat games are well worth it. 

3) Giants’ 3B Evan Longoria made his 11th error last night in Miami; he had 12 errors all of last season, when he played more than half his games on artificial turf. 

2) Speaking of artificial turf, lot of these college baseball teams have artificial turf fields. Wonder if that makes scouting infielders tougher? 

1) Baseball can be a tough business; Ji-Man Choi hit a grand slam for the Brewers in a huge spot Saturday in Philly, was mobbed by his teammates in the dugout. 

The next day? He got traded to Tampa Bay, for Brad Miller.

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

13) Astros 8, Rangers 7— Houston had men on 2nd and 3rd in top of 9th with two out, tied 7-7. Pitch is thrown, swing is checked and Astros come out of the dugout, claiming the pitcher balked. To this point, no umpire had said a word. 

Umpires huddle together, a balk is called, and Astros take the lead. Huh? 

I’ve never, ever seen that; a balk being called 3-4 minutes after the pitch was thrown, and for it to happen in a tie game in the ninth inning, hmmmm. Will be curious how the league office spins that call tomorrow. 

Rangers are having a lousy year, and when you’re struggling, stuff like this happens. 

12) Padres 3, Marlins 1— Clayton Richard has a 4.40 ERA; he had a no-hitter here through six innings in this game. Marlins are on pace to lose 105 games this season. 

11) Youngest player in NBA Draft is a 6-4 Ukrainian PG named Issuf Sanon, who is only 18 years old. 

10) On the Red Sox telecast Sunday, Dave O’Brien/Dennis Eckersley touched on the debate of who was the best closer ever in baseball. Its an interesting debate. 

Living in New York, Mariano Rivera is the obvious choice, but you have to realize that he was a “3-out” closer, he pitched one inning at a time. Brilliantly, but only three outs a day. 

Looking back at Bruce Sutter/Rollie Fingers, they often came into a game before the 9th inning and finished the game. In Fingers’ five busiest seasons, he AVERAGED five outs an appearance, meaning on an average day, he came in with one out in the 8th inning, and closed it out. 

Something to think about when you’re debating who the best closers were.

9) Toronto Blue Jays’ #1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be shut down for the next four weeks- he has a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.

8) Knowledge slipping through the cracks; until this year, I had no idea that Paul Giamatti the actor is (former baseball commissioner) Bart Giamatti’s son. 

Also didn’t know until recently that Angelina Jolie is Jon Voight’s daughter.  

7) Trailing 5-3 in 6th inning Saturday night, Rangers’ OF Joey Gallo bunted to third base for an easy hit; the Astros put everyone on the right side of the field, defying Gallo to bunt for the hit. I’m wondering what Justin Verlander was thinking when Gallo finally bunted, and how many times does he have to do it before teams modify their shifts? 

6) JD Martinez hit 21 homers in Boston’s first 65 games; he is the first Red Sock to hit that many in their first 65 games since Manny Ramirez in 2001. 

5) Texas Rangers put P Doug Fister (knee) on 10-day DL. 

Carlos Correa (side) missed his 4th straight game but isn’t on the DL yet. 

4) Random trivia: In 1944, the Reds had a pitcher named Joe Nuxhall who pitched 0.2 of an inning in the majors when he was a month short of his 16th birthday. 

Nuxhall re-appeared in the majors eight years later, and then pitched the next 15 years in Cincinnati- he later became a long-time broadcaster for the Reds. 

3) Colorado Rockies are 5-2 when Chad Bettis starts on the road (4-1, 2.03); they’re 2-4 in his home starts (0-0, 7.76). 

2) Colorado Rockies TV guys had their scouting director on TV during the game Sunday; it was interesting hearing them talking about how a scout thinks and what he sees when he goes all over the country watching games. 

These scouts are always on the road; the scouting director said he will be on the road again for the 2019 draft, starting next Sunday. The 2019 draft is 50 weeks away. 

1) Guy in Miami made a nice catch on a foul ball Sunday, while holding his scorecard in the other hand. He was wearing a sun visor. Why would a bald guy wear a sun visor? Got to protect the top of that head. 

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

13) The Stanley Cup goes all over the world once the finals are over; each player/coach gets it for a day and it can go anywhere. Giants-Nationals game was Saturday’s destination for the Cup, a game that for some reason started at noon. Capitals only have six American players, so the Cup’s passport is going to get a lot of business this summer.

12) Pretty soon I’ll write about my favorite baseball announcers, a longer article, but I’ll say here one of the very best analysts is Steve Stone of the White Sox. I could listen to him talk about pitching all day. Good natured, smart and not full of himself. 

When he says before the pitch what that pitch should be, he is right an awful lot. 

11) Astros 4, Rangers 3— Charlie Morton got 11 Rangers out in this game; he walked six and hit four others. No major league pitcher has ever hit five batters in a game.

10) Texas put 20 men on base, scored 3 runs; they were 1-17 with runners in scoring position. 

9) Auburn made the NCAA basketball tournament for the first time in 15 years last season, so coach Bruce Pearl got a 5-year contract extension. The idea that the FBI has been investigating his program, and one of his assistants got arrested, apparently doesn’t matter. 

8) Favorites have now won 11 of the last 18 Triple Crown horse races. 

7) Still makes me shake my head that the quickest overtime TD in NFL history (0:11) was a TD pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas, in a Bronco-Steeler playoff game in 2012. 

6) Giants’ long snapper Zak DeOssie lost both his Super Bowl rings when he placed them on the roof of his car as he unlocked the car, then drove away with the rings still there. 

One ring was recovered but was smashed; the other ring wasn’t found. Combined value? $34,000. Oy. 

5) Why is Trayce Thompson in the major leagues? He can’t hit: last year, he hit .122 in 27 games with the Dodgers- he is hitting .126 in 125 PA’s this year. 

In 2016, he hit .225 with 13 HR’s and we know he is Klay Thmpson’s brother, but he cannot hit and should be in AAA. Maybe when Avasail Garcia comes off the DL, he’ll get sent down. 

4) Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) is on the 10-day DL.

Masahiro Tanaka (hamstring) also went on the DL. 

3) Bad news for the Mets: Jay Bruce has one RBI in his last 97 plate appearances. Yoenis Cespedes left his rehab game in Trenton with more tightness in his quad. 

2) Mets lost their last eight games; their starting pitchers’ ERA during that time is 2.16. 

1) A federal court temporarily blocked a pizza delivery man’s deportation one week after he was turned over to immigration officials while trying to drop off food at a military base in New York.

The guy’s wife and two kids (one of whom is very sick) are American citizens; he’s lived here for over 10 years, and filed for his green card in February- he is waiting for a response. 

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has gotten involved in all this; hopefully this guy can get his green card and have a decent life. We need all the pizza delivery guys we can get.

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

13) Tennessee Titans made the playoffs LY, but changed coaches anyway; over last 20 years, they’re the 13th team to change head coaches when they made the playoffs the year before.

Of the previous 12 teams, eight made the playoffs the following year, four made it to the Super Bowl, going 2-2. Raiders-Bucs in 2002 were two of those four teams, playing each other. 

12) 2000 Cowboys and 2003 49ers are only teams to change coaches after making the playoffs, then finish under .500 in the new coach’s first season. 

Dallas is only NFL team in last 20 years to change coaches twice after making the playoffs. 

11) Washington Capitals came into the NHL in 1974; they went 8-67-5 that first year, with one road win the whole season. Imagine being a Capitals’ fan since then? 

44 years later, the Caps are Stanley Cup champs; they won 10 road PLAYOFF games this year, so congrats to them. Congrats to all the fans who stuck it out all these years. Enjoy. 

10) Capitals were the second team ever (’91 Penguins) to win the Stanley Cup after trailing in all four of their playoff series. 

9) Vegas Golden Knights also had a truly great season; an expansion team that won the Western Conference and inspired a city that was devastated by a mass shooting in early October. 

Not sure if they had any idea or not, but the NHL struck gold by putting a team in Las Vegas. 

8) Mets’ 19th round draft pick Tommy Wilson from Cal State-Fullerton is son of Thomas Wilson, the actor who played Biff Tannen in the movie Back to the Future.

7) Miami Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2000; since ’02, they’re 0-1 in playoff games, with that game coming in 2008.

6) Angels put Shohei Ohtani on the DL with a sprained UCL in his elbow; he will be re-evaluated in three weeks. 

Noah Syndergaard had a setback with his finger and will stay on the DL; Seth Lugo starts in his place Sunday against the Bronx Bombers.

Masahiro Tanaka left his start in the 6th inning with tightness in both hamstrings after running the bases, when he reached base on an error by Adrian Gonzalez.

5) Cubs 3, Pirates 1— Ian Happ had a tremendous game in left field for Chicago; he made two great catches, including the game-ending catch off of Josh Harrison in the LF corner that could’ve been an inside-the-park homer if he had not caught it. 

Pittsburgh is under .500 for the first time this season. 

Mariners 4, Rays 3— Seattle has 40 wins, 20 of them by one run. 

4) Through Thursday, 258 of 542 instant replay reviews (47.6%) resulted in the call being changed. When replay started, don’t think people expected the number would be that high. 

3) White Sox 1, Red Sox 0— From Doug Kern: This is Chicago’s first 1-0 win at Fenway Park since July 21 1989, when the only run scored on a homer by Carlton Fisk.

2) Warriors 108, Cavaliers 85— NBA season is mercifully over; the NHL’s playoffs are so much more fun to watch, and I’m a basketball guy. 

To me, the NBA’s offseason is more interesting than the real season; I’m thinking the Lakers will look a lot different in October than they do now. Cleveland? Could be headed downward. 

1) In light of things that happened this week, here is the suicide hotline number: 1-800-273-8255.

Please remember to keep in touch with people; your words matter to family or friends who are struggling and feel isolated and/or despondent. Say hi, let people know you care. 

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

13) When Kevin Durant moved from the Thunder to Golden State as a free agent, he ruined the NBA playoffs. At least for a while. 

Competitive balance is what makes sports interesting to watch; it is why the NFL is so damn popular, any team can win from year to year. The NBA is sorely lacking that right now- the same two teams met in the finals the last four years. No bueno.

12) Durant bolted a very strong Oklahoma City team that led Golden State 3-1 in Western finals two years ago; since then, the Warriors are 31-6 in NBA playoff games. 31 wins, 6 losses. 

How the hell is a team supposed to beat Golden State four out of seven now when they’re 31-6 against the whole league when it counts the most? Houston came close this year, but it seems like the only way Golden State won’t keep winning titles is if they get a ton of injuries. 

11) In their Game 3 win over Cleveland, the Warriors took 26 3-pointers, 44 shots in the paint, and only 11 2-point shots outside the paint. 

Analytics people are pretty adamant about not taking 2-point shots outside the paint, but no matter where you shoot from, you still have to have guys who make those shots. 

10) You can bet on just about anything, including teams in each quarter. In their last 20 games, Golden State Warriors are 15-5 vs spread in 3rd quarter. 

9) 76ers and Bryan Colangelo “parted ways”, a nice way of saying they told hm to take a hike over Colangelo’s wife having burner Twitter accounts that criticized people, disclosed medical information that she obviously got from her husband.

It is unclear whether Colangelo knew that his wife was doing this. Doesn’t matter now. 

8) Some things are so weird you couldn’t possibly make them up. Terrell Owens informed the Pro Football Hall of Fame he won’t attend his own induction ceremony in August, apparently because he is annoyed that he wasn’t voted in until his third year of eligibility. Oy. 

7) Las Vegas Bowl ended its association with the Mountain West, starting in 2020, when the new Las Vegas domed stadium opens. From 2020 on, a Pac-12 team will play another power-5 team in the Las Vegas Bowl. 

6) There was a cool article in the New York Times Thursday on Sammy Gelfand, the Warriors’ 31-year old analytics guy who has worked his way up from an internship with a sports agents’ firm to a member of the Golden State front office. 

The guy is my hero, and I mean that. Hope he is enjoying the experience. 

5) JT Realmuto doubled twice, hit a triple Wednesday, and was also hit by two pitches, which makes him the first player in the live-ball era, for any team, to have three extra-base hits and two hit-by-pitches in the same game.

4) Shohei Ohtani left Wednesday night’s game with Kansas City with a blister problem; Angels are playing well this year, but Ohtani has started only nine games, thrown around 50 innings. 

3) Former Indiana/UAB coach Mike Davis is the new coach at Detroit Mercy; he had been at Texas Southern the last seven years. Now at least he can play some home games before conference play starts- at Texas Southern, all his non-league games were on the road.

2) They told an interesting story on the Rockies game Wednesday about Colorado pitching coach Steve Foster; in 1993, Foster was doing well pitching for the Reds- he was 26, and was a guest on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show in LA, where he threw some balls at milk bottles, like you would at the county fair. No big deal. 

Foster pitched against the Dodgers that night, did well, but when he woke up the next day, his arm hurt badly and he never pitched again. He denies the Tonight Show caused any injury, and now he is a major league pitching coach. Go figure.

1— RIP Red Schoendienst, 95, a Hall of Famer who played/managed the Cardinals. He was 95 years old. People in St Louis referred to him as “Mr Cardinal” which is something when you realize that Stan Musial and Bob Gibson were also Cardinals. 

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

13) Can’t be lot of fun for these major league managers of losing teams when they face the media day after day when they’re losing most of their games. Watching Mickey Callaway of the Mets, who is a rookie manager— you try to stay as positive as possible in your press conferences, but losing sucks- Mets have scored two runs in their last 42 innings.

12) NBA teams that fall behind 2-0 in playoff series have won only 20 of those 301 series. 

Lebron James’ teams have fallen behind 2-0 in seven series, but won three of them. 

11) List of pitchers who struck out the side on nine pitches more than once in their career: Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Max Scherzer. 

Scherzer is obviously still active; the other four are all in the Hall of Fame. 

10) During OTA’s this week, new Chicago Bears’ coach Matt Nagy showed his team the JR Smith brain cramp from Game 1 of the NBA Finals as a teaching moment for the importance of proper clock management. 

9) Sounds like Michigan basketball coach John Beilein netted himself roughly a $500K annual raise from the Wolverines after his flirtation with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. 

8) On the first day of legal sports betting in Delaware, $322,135 was wagered. The governor of Delaware made the first bet, putting $10 on the Phillies (+$190) to win, and they did win. 

7) US Open golf tournament is next week on Long Island; Eldrick Woods will be staying on his 155-foot, $20 million yacht that is docked at the Montauk Yacht Club. Shinnecock CC where the Open will be held is in the town of Southampton, about an hour from the yacht club.

6) With the US Open next week, there are only nine players out of the world’s top 50 in the Memphis Open this week, 

5) In 46 career games vs Texas, A’s OF Khris Davis has 47 RBI. 

4) JD Martinez hit his 20th home run Tuesday; last year, the first Boston player to reach 20 home runs did so on August 29. 

3) Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to re-attach a tendon in his lat.

Angels’ SS Andrelton Simmons goes on the DL with an ankle injury. 

Diamondbacks acquired OF Jon Jay from the Royals in exchange for pitchers Gabe Speier, Elvis Luciano. 

2) John Calipari’s in-laws have been married for 65 years. Wow, good for them.

1) Reds lost 9-6 Tuesday, despite getting 17 hits; it was the first time they got 17 hits in a 9-inning game and lost since September, 1984 against San Diego. 

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

13) Movie recommendation: I told you about the book last summer, but Molly’s Game the movie was even better. Very good. 

Story deals with a young woman runs celebrity poker game in Los Angeles and New York City; she eventually gets in trouble with the law when she begins raking the pot, which is what makes it illegal. Having members of the Russian mob playing in her games complicates things. 

Anyway, very good movie. Worth your time to watch it. 

12) Jake Arrieta’s complaints with the Phillies’ defensive shifts over the weekend confirmed what I had suspected; when the shifting doesn’t work, it drives some pitchers nuts. 

11) Sporting News ranked all 32 NFL starting QB’s; 19th for Cam Newton seems very low- 30th for Eli Manning seems ridiculously low. 

10) Max Scherzer got three strikeouts on nine pitches in the 6th inning vs Tampa Bay Tuesday, just the 92nd time this has happened in major league history. 

9) Good trivia, part 1; we talked yesterday about the A’s drafting Kyler Murray, the Oklahoma QB/CF. His dad and uncle were also outstanding athletes. 

Turns out his uncle Calvin was the batter when Randy Johnson hit that bird with a pitched ball in a spring training game and the poor bird exploded in mid-air. 

8) Good trivia, part 2: When Jesse Owens won the gold medal in the 200-meter sprint in the 1936 Olympics, Mack Robinson won the silver medal- they both broke the previous Olympic record. 

Mack Robinson was Jackie Robinson’s older brother. 

7) Vince McMahon’s XFL hired Oliver Luck (Andrew Luck’s dad) as Commissioner/CEO. The elder Luck was also once President of NFL Europe and AD at West Virginia- he was a backup QB for the Houston Oilers back in the day. 

XFL starts in 2020; the AAF will also be a spring football league— it starts next year. 

6) Nebraska Cornhuskers signed dual-threat QB Luke McCaffery, the youngest son of former NFL WR Ed McCaffery, and brother of Panthers’ RB Christian McCaffery. 

5) A horse named Gronkowski is 12-1 to win the Belmont Stakes Saturday on Long Island. 

4) When a team is rebuilding like the Kansas City Royals are, they tend to draft more college players, since they’re obviously older than high school kids and generally take less time to get to the major leagues. The Royals need help. 

First 11 players the Royals drafted this week are college players. 

3) A government contractor was taken into custody at a Secret Service checkpoint at the White House when he showed up for work. He was wanted for attempted murder. Yikes. 

2) Get well soon to New Jersey Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman, who diagnosed with lymphoma this week. Hope he is feeling better soon. 

1) RIP CM Newton, 88, former basketball coach at both Vanderbilt/Alabama, who was later the AD at Kentucky. He was the President of USA Basketball from 1992-96. RIP, sir. 

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

13) Crossed paths last week with a group of four families and their 8-10 year old kids who were visiting from California, and were off to a trip to Cooperstown later that day. 

I always wonder when people come so far to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, what they think of it once their trip is over. Cooperstown is in the middle of nowhere, 72 miles from Albany- if you like trees and lakes, you’ll enjoy the drive there. Very rural. 

Baseball Hall of Fame itself is tremendous, and Sal’s Pizza across the street is very good. 

12) Legalized sports betting starts today in Delaware; West Virginia hopes to have sports betting up and running by the start of football season. New Jersey is supposed to start sometime this month. New York? Who the bleep knows. 

11) Danny Hurley is the new basketball coach at UConn; he threw out the first ball at the Mets’ game Sunday. This will take some getting used to. 

How good a job is UConn? Not a lot of great players in-state, and the fanbase was spoiled by Jim Calhoun, not to mention how often the women’s team wins. 

10) Why does the baseball Wild Card exist? The ’93 San Francisco Giants went 103-59, and didn’t make the playoffs— how about that? 

Wild Cards started in baseball in ’95, but oddly, the Giants had losing seasons is 1994-96, after winning 103 games in ’93. They’ve made up for all that this decade. 

9) Oakland A’s drafted Oklahoma CF Kyler Murray with the #9 pick in the baseball draft; the thing here is, Murray is also penciled in to be the Sooners’ QB this fall. He is 5-10, very short for a potential NFL QB, but Brees, Tarkenton, Jurgensen, Russell Wilson are all under 6-feet tall. 

By way of information, the No. 9 pick in last year’s baseball draft got a $4M signing bonus. 

We’ll see how that works out, but would he leave Oklahoma now for $4-5M? 

8) Washington Nationals lost P Jeremy Hellickson (hamstring) after four pitches Sunday; he had been doing great work for Washington. Hamsrings generally take a while to heal. 

7) On May 1, Colorado Rockies were 30-1 to win the World Series; on June 1, they were 22-1. 

6) Part of the reason why? Arizona Diamondbacks hit .193 as a team in May. 

5) Have you seen David Letterman lately? He has this big, bushy white beard that makes him look like Rutherford B Hayes. First time I saw him with the beard, I didn’t recognize him. 

4) Philadelphia Eagles went for it on 4th down 29 times last year, most in the NFL. 

3) Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell tied an American League record Sunday when he struck out the first seven Mariners he faced in Seattle. 

2) ESPN wants to televise New York-Toronto game on Sunday Night Baseball July 8, but New York has a doubleheader in Baltimore the next day- they want Sunday’s game to be a day game. 

The two sides, MLB and the union are negotiating to reach a compromise, but if one isn’t found, New York might boycott dealing with ESPN personnel. 

Dodgers-Angels, Braves-Brewers or Cardinals-Giants would be alternative games to show. 

1) Baseball draft is weird, since it falls during the college baseball national tournament. How does it affect guys who are still playing? Lot of money on the line for these high draft picks, and the rookie leagues start on June 15th.