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

13) Monday night was a weird baseball night; Brewers-Dodgers had a 23-minute power outage in Chavez Ravine, while in Phoenix, a haboob (dust storm) blew thru the desert and caused the lights to go out at Chase Field for a while at the Rangers-Diamondbacks game.

I had to look up this “haboob” thing; it is like a weather front going thru, except it is in a hot, dry area and it has a ton of wind/dust. You learn something every day. 

12) During the delay at Dodger Stadium, Cowboys’ coach Jason Garrett was sitting with Tommy Lasorda- looked like they were talking about how different pitches are gripped. Garrett was holding a baseball while they talked. 

11) NBA is the first major American sports league to sign an official betting sponsor.

Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday that the league has a deal with MGM that will give the gaming company rights to use league highlights, names, logos and its direct data feed, as well as exclusively market itself as the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA.

People bet on the WNBA? Wow. If I could accurately predict how women will react to certain situations, I wouldn’t spend 80% of my life writing on index cards. (Its a joke!!!!)

10) Guy named Charles Robinson covers the NFL for Yahoo; he posted this on Twitter Monday: 

“I’ve been very skeptical of Sean McVay supposedly having a photographic memory. When we were talking this week, he recalled our conversation from one year ago and exactly where we were standing when we had it. I’m not memorable. It was weird.”

The Rams’ head coach has a very good memory. 

9) News Item of the Week: “Police are looking for a trio of thieves who stole a shark from the San Antonio Aquarium over the weekend by stuffing it into a stroller.”

Um, why would you steal a shark? 

8) Cubs’ P Kyle Hendricks has allowed 10 first inning home runs this season; no one else has allowed more than eight. 

7) Because of the Seattle Mariners’ trades this weekend/Monday, their AAA farm team in Tacoma had only nine position players available for Monday night’s game, and three of those were catchers. Managing in the minor leagues can be challenging. 

6) Monday night in Boston, Aaron Nola and David Price both went 8 innings, only the 4th major league game this season (27th in last 3 years) where both starters went 8+ innings.

By way of contrast, in 1988, there were 169 such games. 

5) Baseball doings- there were lot of trades Tuesday:
— Red Sox put Chris Sale (shoulder) on the DL
— JA Happ has hand, foot, mouth disease, the same viral infection Noah Syndergaard has.
— Cincinnati Reds traded Adam Duvall to Braves for P’s Lucas Sims, Matt Wisler and OF Preston Tucker.
— Red Sox traded for 2B Ian Kinsler, giving up their #19 and #23 prospects.
  Pirates acquired reliever Keone Kela from Texas in exchange for two players to be named later.
— Pirates acquired Chris Archer for prospects OF Meadows/P Glasnow.
— Toronto 2B Lourdes Gurriel is out 2-to-6 weeks. He has a high ankle sprain and a Grade 1 left knee sprain.

4) Detroit Tigers are only team that hasn’t made a trade this season.

3) Cubs’ 1B Anthony Rizzo got on base 34 times in his first 15 games batting leadoff.

2) Nationals 25, Mets 4— Washington led 10-0 in the 2nd inning. Wilmer Flores left early with dehydration and dizziness, thats how long he was out on the field. 

1) NFL exhibition games actually start tonight; Ravens-Bears from Canton. Chicago is only team that hasn’t signed its first round draft pick (LB Roquan Smith). 

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

13) I always wonder about guys who get traded during the season; what happens to their stuff? 

Manny Machado went from Orioles to LA last week; who moves his stuff to the west coast? If a player is married, the spouse gets stuck with all that work, but if not, then what? 

Asdrubel Cabrera got traded to the Phillies but they were in Cincinnati over the weekend, are in Boston now. He hasn’t even been in Philadelphia since the trade. Where does he live when he gets there? 

The better players are so wealthy they can pay people to help them out; does the agent do the logistics for the move? 

12) I also wonder how Michael O’Keefe’s acting career would’ve turned out if he hadn’t played golf against Judge Smails in Caddyshack.

Think about it; he blew the clerkship because he played golf with Ty Webb against the judge; what is Danny Noonan doing now? 

a) Golf pro, is on the Senior Tour.
b) Bartender in the clubhouse at Bushwood CC.
c) Went to law school anyway, became a judge
d) Owns a driving range like Roy McAvoy in Tin Cup 

11) Jacob deGrom has started 21 games this season; six of them were 0-0 after the 5th inning. Mets lost five of those six games.

10) If I were advising Dez Bryant on how to get another NFL job, the first thing I’d tell him is to shut his bleeping mouth. 

It doesn’t matter if what he says is right; what matters is that Bryant is perceived as a cancer in the locker room and for a marginal player to get signed, he has to fit in, not stand out. 

9) Have been reading online how NFL players get messages on social media from fantasy football owners who have those players on their team and lose games. 

A guy tweeted this to Odell Beckham: “this is my real life too. Remember that dropped pass on 4th down with under 5 to play? Want to refund me my league entry fee?”

There are thousands of fantasy leagues around the country; make/don’t make a big play, and ton of money changes hands. That doesn’t even take legalized gambling into effect. 

8) On, an interesting piece by Jason Witten, geared towards players:

Jason Witten’s Social Media Commandments
1. Don’t read your mentions good or bad — the feedback that matters is from your coach and those you respect.
2. Don’t reply to a negative; keep your eye above the spectator line.
3. Negative social media is often not indicative of the real world.
4. Use social media as a way to stay informed and connect.
5. Don’t post anything that wouldn’t make your family proud.

7) Sound wagering advice from Todd Fuhrman (@toddfuhrman) on Twitter:

“if you plan to bet football this fall and want to make ONE simple change  to your betting habits; make it a priority to give yourself multiple lines (outs) to bet into rather than placing all your wagers at just one  shop”

6) We read lot of cruddy stuff about famous people; here is a good thing: 

The LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron Public Schools opened a new elementary school for at-risk children on Monday. James donated $50M of his own money to the program. 

The I Promise School focuses on educating children from challenging situations or backgrounds. The school will begin with two grades, 3rd and 4th, with plans to expand in the coming years, until it is Grades 1-8. 

The I Promise School has a longer school day and longer school year.  

5) Jets finally signed rookie QB/savior Sam Darnold, which was the smart thing to do. Media at Jets’ camp wasn’t thrilled that Darnold was unavailable for interviews afterwards. 

4) Lions’ coach Matt Patricia, on advice he got on being an NFL head coach:

 “…….Be yourself, make sure the players see who you are, make sure they see the passion, the love for the game, make sure they understand the message.”

3) Broadcast of Monday’s Blue Jays-A’s game on Oakland radio was commercial-free, with the commercials replaced by memories of late announcer Bill King, a year after his enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

2) There are rumors about that Adam Jones blocked a trade from Baltimore to the Phillies. When a player declines to go from a last-place team to a first-place team, it makes you wonder. 

1) Rick Pitino has a book coming out in September that will “lay all his cards on the table” about his time coaching, both in the NBA and in college.

If you’ve seen Spike Lee’s excellent movie He Got Game, none of the Louisville stuff should be a big surprise. Some of the scenes in He Got Game were similar to the Louisville mess, and that movie was made in 1998!!!! 

I’ll read the book at some point, but what we really need is Pitino on TV analyzing games, so I can learn from him. At least put him in the studio. Please?  

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

13) Red Sox are 40 games over .500 in July, just 5th team since 1969 to do that. Here are the other four: 

1969 Orioles— 41 games over .500
1970 Reds- 40 games over .500
2001 Mariners— 47 games over .500
2017 Dodgers— 43 games over .500

Good news for the Red Sox; three of those teams got to the World Series that year.
Bad news for the Red Sox; none of those teams won the World Series that year. 

12) Why haven’t the Jets signed Sam Darnold yet? Quit nitpicking over contract details; he’s your franchise QB moving forward— get him in camp. 

11) Not only did Angels’ rookie catcher Francisco Arcia knock in 10 runs in his first two major league games, which is an all-time major league record, it came after he played 12 years in the minor leagues. 

10) According to RJ Bell, when the Royals won in the Bronx Saturday afternoon, it was the biggest baseball upset since Tampa Bay upset Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox (-$460) back in September, 2004. 

9) If you follow college basketball, you probably know who Seth Davis is; he appears on the CBS college basketball studio show, writes for The Athletic, used to write for Sports Illustrated. 

Davis’ father has been in the news a lot lately; he is Lanny Davis, one of Michael Cohen’s lawyers. 

8) Mets are paying injured 3B David Wright $20M this year, then $15M next year and $12M in 2020, but they recoup 75% of that money from an insurance policy. Too bad they don’t re-invest the $15M they saved this year. 

7) Duquesne’s basketball team brought in seven new players for this season, all of whom have a wingspan of 7+ feet. One kid has a wingspan of 7-7.5. Will they play more zone, with all those long arms ready to deflect passes? 

6) Why did the Cubs trade for Cole Hamels? Tyler Chatwood has 11 starts this year with 5+ walks; no one else in the major leagues has more than six. Thats why. 

5) Cincinnati Reds are 28-21 since June 1; problem is, they were 20-37 before June 1. 

4) When Matt Carpenter homered in six straight games earlier this month, he didn’t hit any singles in those games; he is the first player since Travis Hafner (in 2005) to do that. 

3) For some reason, ESPN decided to rank the last 20 college football national champs, and they came up with the 2002 Ohio State team as the worst of the 20 champs, all of which annoyed a lot of people in the Buckeye State. 

2) Baseball strategy: Mets led Pittsburgh 1-0 in top of 7th Sunday; they had men on 2nd, 3rd with two out and pitcher Zack Wheeler was due up- he is pitching a shutout and has thrown only 89 pitches. Do you pinch-hit or not? 

Mets send Conforto up to pinch-hit; the Pirates walk him intentionally, loading the bases, and then they get Rosario out to end the inning, so not only is Wheeler out of the game, you’ve wasted your best pinch-hitter. 

This isn’t a clear-cut decision; they probably figured they were only getting one more inning out of Wheeler no matter what, so they should go for the runs. Decisions like this are one of the big differences between managing in the American and National Leagues. 

Mets won 1-0; from Mark Simon “Wheeler becomes first Mets pitcher with only RBI in a 1-0 win since Nino Espinosa in 1977 against the Phillies”

1) Braves 4, Dodgers 0— Lefty Sean Newcomb was masterful for Atlanta, no-hitting the Dodgers for 8.2 innings, before Chris Taylor singled with two out in the 9th.

He threw 117 pitches in first eight innings, 134 for the game, most of any pitcher in the major leagues this season. He had never thrown more than 111 as a pro. Will be interesting to track him going forward.

Newcomb was 1-3, 7.00 in his previous four starts. Go figure. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Random thoughts on a summer night

13) Saturday was the great Vida Blue’s 69th birthday; damn, typing that made me feel old. 

Blue was Dwight Gooden before Dwight Gooden; he was a lefty wunderkind who led the Oakland A’s to the 1971 AL West title, then struggled thru a lengthy contract squabble in ’72, but he saved the deciding game of the ’72 ALCS as the A’s won the first of three consecutive World Series. 

I was 11 years old when he became the answer to a great trivia question, last switch-hitter to win MVP of the American League (AL pitchers still hit in ’71).

Vida Blue wound up with a career record of 209-161- he was underrated. Happy birthday!!! 

12) How does Allen Trammell get into the Hall of Fame but not Lou Whitaker?

11) According to Baseball Prospectus, when teams have the bases loaded with no one out, they score at least one run 85% of the time.

10) Angels 11, Mariners 4— Francisco Arcia, a 28-year old rookie catcher, has 10 RBI in his first two major league games- thats an all-time record. 

9) Nick Saban makes $7.5M a year coaching Alabama’s football team; Alabama governor Kay Ivey makes $119,500 a year running the state. 

8) Kansas City 10, New York 2— This game was bet down late to NY -$450; depending on who you ask, this game or Astros (Verlander) against Detroit on July 15th was the highest betting line so far this season. 

Please, if you don’t learn anything else from reading this space, never, ever lay more than -$200 on a regular season baseball game. 

7) Coming into this weekend, the 7th inning ERA for the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen this season was 7.93, which explains why they traded for reliever Seunghwan Oh. 

6) From the AP: Baker Mayfield is paying for the Browns’ QB’s to hang out in an RV at training camp.

As part of his initiation into the NFL, the #1 overall draft pick is funding a camper that the Browns QBs go to between practice sessions to relax. The recreational vehicle is parked just outside the training facility.

Backup QB Drew Stanton brought the idea of the camper from his time with the Detroit Lions, and says Mayfield initially thought he was kidding. Stanton says “it’s just someplace that you can go. You can get out of these four walls that start to close in on you after a period of time.”

5) In the first seven games after Manny Machado was traded, Orioles’ 2B Jonathon Schoop was 11-for-27 (.407) with six HR’s, 11 RBI.

4) Mason Williams is a rookie OF with the Reds; his grandfather is Walt (No Neck) Williams, who played for the White Sox a long time ago and actually had no neck. Good ballplayer; he hit .270 in ten major league seasons.

3) Last three years, when the home team is favored in Arizona Cardinal games, the Redbirds are 10-18  vs spread; 7-11 as a home favorite, 3-7 as a road underdog. 

2) Over the last decade, Atlanta Falcons are 12-4 vs spread as a home underdog. 

1) Last four years, Buffalo Bills are a combined 33-31; that surprised me a little, but they were +28 in turnovers in those games— you go +28 in turnovers, you should be over .500. 

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

13) Has to be brutal to be a manager/coach for a bad baseball team; you play 162 games in 182 days, and you lose the great majority of them. Not fun. 

When you see the manager/pitching coach get tossed in the top of the first inning of a game, you know the frustration level has to be high. White Sox lost both last night, on a checked swing call. 

Umpires who are respected don’t get barked at as much as other guys. The ump in this case, Fielden Culbreth gets barked at a lot. 

12) When Mets’ TV analyst Keith Hernandez isn’t bored, he can be very good; Friday night he was complaining that in between at-bats, hitters go to clubhouse and look at their at-bats on video with the assistant hitting coach, before they bat again. 

Hernandez is an old-school guy; he thinks players should watch the actual game, talk about the opposing pitcher with teammates, and leave film study for after the game. 

11) Baseball stuff:
— Mets traded IF Asdrubel Cabrera to the Phillies for Franklyn Kilome, a pitcher who was 4-6, 4.24 in the AA Eastern League.
— Twins traded utility guy Eduardo Escobar to Arizona, for three Class A prospects. Escobar leads MLB with 37 doubles this season.
  Cardinals traded P Sam Tuivailala to the Mariners for P Seth Elledge.
— Late night trade; Brewers got Mike Moustakas from the Royals for Brett Phillips and a minor leaguer.

10) Aaron Judge broke his wrist when he was hit by a pitch Thursday night; he is expected to be out at least three weeks. 

9) Movie admissions: I’ve never seen Jaws or Star Wars; just saw The Godfather for the first time earlier this month. 

On the bright side, I’ve seen Rounders and Moneyball at least 50 times each. 

8) Mets’ OF Brandon Nimmo looks like he’ll be a good player, but it bugs me when he sprints to first base after a walk. False hustle stuff like that has always seemed like BS to me. 

7) Lamar Odom says he is going to play pro ball in China next season; hopefully he has his life back in order after a tumultuous couple of years. 

6) Tampa Bay (19-23) has played the most one-run games in the majors this season. 

5) There are seven new head coaches in the NFL this year; Seattle/Carolina are only two teams who have the same head coach as last year, but changed both coordinators. 

4) Chargers’ CB Jason Verrett tore his achilles, is out for the year. 

3) New Mexico State basketball coach Chris Jans makes $429,000 a year; he also gets an extra $5,000 every time he beats New Mexico or UTEP. Aggies were 4-0 vs those teams LY, but last year the bonus was “only” $2,500, so he banked an extra $10,000 for those wins. 

2) Nick Saban signed a new deal with Alabama that extends his contract by one year through 2025. His base salary in 2018 will increase to $7.5M plus a bonus of $800,000. The deal will increase $400,000 annually through 2025. 

All he has to do to make people happy is win the national title every year. 

1) Cole Hamels’ home/road splits this year:
Home: 1-7, 6.41 in 10 starts
Road: 4-2, 2.93 in 10 starts.

There is no DH in the National League; he threw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field in 2015, so the Cubs figure his numbers should improve. 

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

13) If you like the NFL and play fantasy or bet games or want to learn more about football, the Warren Sharp Football Preview is something you need to buy. 

A softcover textbook basically, the Preview goes thru each NFL team, which explicit breakdowns on red zone targets and formations run and all kinds of fun technical football stuff. 

12) For instance, when Buffalo Bills threw an incomplete pass on 1st-and-10 LY (in quarters 1-3), they ran ball on 2nd down 82% of the time, averaging 3.4 ypc. In the 18% of the time when they threw the ball, they averaged 5.5 yards/play. 

It makes me laugh that so many NFL teams automatically run ball on 2nd-and-10, because 3rd-and-10 situations make most coaches want to puke. 

Anyway, thats the kind of stuff that is in this book; educational football things. 

11) My suggestion for the AAF and XFL, the two new spring football leagues that will sprout up the next two years, is to not have radio transmitters in the QB’s helmet. Let the QB call the plays- the game is way more exciting/fun when the players run the game. 

Coaches have six days to prepare the players to play; game day should be the players’ day!!!

10) Lebron James’ son is 13 or 14 years old; he was supposed to play an AAU game at Liberty HS in suburban Las Vegas Wednesday night, but the game got cancelled when the tiny gym got really crowded after Lebron Sr showed up. “Security concerns” was the reason given. 

This gym had three rows of bleachers; tournament organizers are going to have to make special arrangements for this kid’s games, if his very famous father is going to show up to watch.

9) When Tampa Bay traded one of its three starting pitchers (Nathan Eovaldi) to the Red Sox, the prospect they got back was Jalen Beeks, who is 5-5, 2.89 in 16 AAA starts this year, but was 0-1, 12.79 in two big league games, throwing 6.1 innings.

8) Was listening to a podcast this week where an author received 800 rejection letters for his writing— the guy kept all 800 rejection letters, to fuel himself to work harder and stick with his craft. The guy has now written around 20 books, including a NY Times bestseller. 

7) White Sox 1B Jose Abreu went from June 26-July 25 without hitting a double, which is hard to believe. He had 27 doubles on June 25; now he has 28. He also homered twice Thursday. 

6) Read something on the Interweb this week that CBS/Kelsey Grammer are talking about bringing the TV show Frasier back, which would be a good idea- the Cheers spinoff was a fun show. 

5) Angels 12, White Sox 8— Angels’ starter Nick Tropeano allowed five hits Thursday, all home runs, becoming the 4th pitcher ever to do that, joining Denny McLain, Mat Latos and Steve Stone, who ironically was broadcasting this game on White Sox TV. 

4) On February 12, 2016, Milwaukee traded Khris Davis to the A’s, for Bubba Derby and Jacob Nottingham. If Oakland makes the playoffs this year and they make Moneyball 2 (the sequel), this trade is a big part of why, absolute larceny. 

Since coming to Oakland, Davis has hit 112 home runs, scored 235 runs, knocked in 289. 

Nottingham is a catcher who is 4-20 in seven MLB games. He hit .259 in six minor league seasons. Derby is a pitcher who is 4-5, 4.95 at AAA Colorado Springs this season. 

3) I’ve been an A’s fan since the mid-60’s; remember driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in 1986, thought it was so cool that I was listening to an A’s-Angels game on the radio, coming in from San Bernadino. Now, the A’s were dreadful that year, and they had a relief pitcher named Eric Plunk. 

Plunk comes in, walks the first three hitters he faced, so of course, the 4th guy hits a grand slam. To this day, 32 years later, when a pitcher walks several guys then gives up a homer, I think to myself “….bleeping Eric Plunk”

Milwaukee rookie Freddy Peralta is on my fantasy team; Tuesday, he walks the first two guys in the 5th inning, then of course the next guy hits a 3-run homer. Eric bleepin’ Plunk, and Peralta damn sure will wind up being better than Plunk was. 

2) From the NY Post: “……..Jets surprisingly fired senior director of team operations Clay Hampton last month. Hampton had worked for the team for 30 years and had been in charge of operations since 2006. His father, Bill, was the team’s equipment manager from 1964 through 2000.”

Former Jets coach Rex Ryan said this: “He was awesome. The six years I was there, he was better than great. Everything was done at such a first-class level. Not one time ever did we have an issue with any of the places we stayed, the airlines. It was awesome. To me, he was an amazing guy and someone I was really proud that I had the opportunity to work with him.”

1) Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 6– Chicago hit back/back homers in bottom of 9th to split this series. Tough loss for Arizona, which is in the middle of the playoff chase.

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

13) Dodgers-Phillies played a 16-inning game Tuesday, with LA using IF/OF Kike Hernandez as a pitcher in the 16th- they would’ve used starter Rich Hill if they had the lead, but they didn’t and they basically gave a game away. 

Game took 5:55 to play, ended after 1am, then teams had quick turnaround, playing a day game on Wednesday. Dodgers’ AAA team is in Oklahoma City, so tough to get another arm in town quickly. Phillies’ AAA team is closely in Lehigh Valley, easier for them. 

12) Cardinals were in Cincinnati this week; they started pitchers Monday/Tuesday who were both making their first MLB start. Neither pitcher allowed a hit in the first six innings, but neither pitcher got a win, either.  

11) Maui Classic is loaded this November: first round matchups are…….
Auburn-Xavier, Duke-San Diego State, Arizona-Iowa State, Gonzaga-Illinois. 

Thats three pretty solid days/nights of TV watching for me. 

10) Former Penn Quakers basketball coach Jerome Allen allegedly took bribes from a Miami businessman who wanted his son to get into Penn “as a recruited basketball player” which would increase his chance of being admitted to the prestigious school. 

When the father was accused of health-care fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and bribery a while back, the government uncovered more than $74,000 in gifts that the father gave to coach Allen in 2013 and 2014. 

The son got into Penn and still goes there; he never played on the basketball team. Allen got fired three years ago and is now one of Brad Stevens’ assistants in the NBA with the Celtics. 

9) Tampa Bay beat the Bronx Bombers 3-2 Wednesday; they brought in a lefty reliever in the last inning, moved Sergio Romo to 3B for a batter, so Romo could come back and face the next hitter. Romo struck out Brett Gardner to end the game; Kevin Cash is doing an amazing job, having that roster at 52-50. 

8) Bronx catcher Gary Sanchez got pummeled on social media Monday night after he failed to hustle on a couple of key plays that were important in a 7-6 Tampa Bay win. 

Sanchez is a lousy defensive catcher who is hitting .188; why is he the starter? If he’s not going to hustle, why is he even in the major leagues? 

Tuesday, Sanchez was put on the DL with a groin injury, which diffuses the issue. Whether he is really hurt or just getting 10 days off to shut the media up is open for debate. 

7) Random trivia: An actor named John Hurt has 207 movie/TV credits to his name; he died in 43 different movies, which appears to be the all-time record.  

6) Obscure TV/movie trivia: I’m watching an old Law and Order re-run the other night, from the series’ first year or two— one of the opposing lawyers is the guy who played the manager of the baseball team in Bull Durham. So I look the actor up on the Interweb. 

Turns out that the Law and Order episode was Trey Wilson’s last acting job; he died from a cerebral hemorrhage a few weeks before his 41st birthday, only a couple years after he made Bull Durham. 41 is way too young to die. 

5) Angels are wasting Mike Trout’s prime; Angels lost 5-3 to the White Sox Monday night, with Trout walking four times and hitting a sac fly. Five plate appearances, no official AB’s. 

Justin Upton usually hits behind Trout; he’s come to bat with 309 men on base and knocked in only 36 of them (19 of 48 from 3rd base). Knocking in 11.7% of baserunners isn’t good for the guy you have batting cleanup. 

4) Baseball doings:
— Red Sox acquired P Nathan Eovaldi from Tampa Bay for rookie P Jaylen Beeks.
— Mets put Yoenis Cespedes (heel) back on the DL. He’ll have surgery and may not even be back for the start of next season.
— A’s P Kendall Graveman (elbow) will have Tommy John surgery
— Orioles sent P Zach Britton to division rival New York, getting three pitching prospects in return: Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers, and Cody Carroll. Tate is 5-2, 3.38 in 15 Eastern League starts (AA level) this season. 

3) Looking at an action chart for Week 1 NFL games, Texans-Patriots is getting most evenly balanced action at William Hill books. 52% of play is on New England (-6.5). 

Most one-sided action is on the Falcons (+4.5, 95% of $$ bet), Colts (-2.5, 92%). 

2) Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield got a $21.85M signing bonus; a 4-year, $32.68M fully guaranteed deal overall. Mayfield told his agent not to quibble on some contract details so he could be in camp on Day 1 to compete for the starting job. 

1) Teams that use defensive shifts the least: Angels, Rangers, Cubs.

When Joe Maddon managed in Tampa, he was at forefront of using shifts, so thats an interesting change. 

Wednesday’s List of 13; Some of my favorite movie scenes……

13) Jack Nicholson as Colonel Jessup on the witness stand in A Few Good Men– “You WANT me on that wall; you NEED me on that wall!!!” Great acting. 

12) In Prince of Tides, when Nick Nolte’s character takes Barbra Streisand’s husband’s Stradivarius violin and dangles it over the edge of the balcony, until he apologizes to his wife for being rude. Then he tosses the million-dollar violin in the air but catches it, then walks out of the dinner party. 

11) In Any Given Sunday, when QB Willie Beamen visits the coach’s house for dinner and a “talk” and coach Tony D’Amato lectures him— “You’re the goddamn quarterback!!!” 

I think this scene is better than the “Game of Inches” speech that Pacino gives near the end of the movie, before the last game. 

10) Rocky II wasn’t a good movie, but the last fight scene, where Rocky Balboa wins the heavyweight title for the first time, is a great fight scene, probably the best scene in all the Rocky movies. 

9) In the movie Heat, there is a scene with Al Pacino (the cop) and Robert Deniro (bank robber) where they actually talk in a diner about how someday, their situation will come to a head and either the arrest will be made, or harm will come to the cop. Deniro and Pacino; a great scene. 

8) Susan Sarandon and James Spader were in a 1990 movie called White Palace; I only saw this movie for the first time in the last year or so. 

There is a scene where a lot of people were at Thanksgiving dinner and they’re talking about politics; the patriarch of the family is Steven Hill (the original DA on Law and Order). 

When a younger person says something Hill’s character sees as uninformed, he snaps at her, “Would it kill you to pick up a newspaper?” Good stuff. 

7) In the true story Invincible, when 30-year old bartender Vince Papale breaks the news to his best friend that he made the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster, despite never having played college football. 

6) In Friday Night Lights, when the coach (Billy Bob Thornton) delivers a halftime speech when his team is getting smoked. He talks about “being perfect” and how giving your all is the most important thing of all. 

Of all the sports movies I’ve seen, I think Thornton’s character in this movie is the best portrayal of a coach that I’ve seen. 

5) In the original Bad News Bears, when the coach is talking to his worst player, ordering him into the championship game- the kid is too nervous to go out and play. 

“Listen, Lupus, you didn’t come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya? Now get your ass out there and do the best you can.”

4) In Roxanne, Steve Martin’s character has a very long nose, like Cyrano de Bergerac; guy in a bar insults his long nose, the whole bar shuts down, and Martin mocks the insult. 

“I suppose you could do better?” and Martin proceeds to give 20 jokes (actually 26) that were all funnier than the guy’s insult. 

3) In Rounders, the scene where Mike (Matt Damon) finds his law professor (Martin Landau) in a restaurant and the professor tells him how his parents disowned him because he chose to study the law instead of becoming a rabbi.

2) Oakland A’s 20-game winning streak in Moneyball; at least they showed Miguel Tejada’s walk-off homer in the 18th straight win- they gave him almost no credit in the book/movie for how good the A’s were that year— he was the best shortstop in the game. 

1) Bob Cousy shooting free throws in an empty gym with Nick Nolte in Blue Chips. Cousy was 65 at the time, made 10 in a row while wearing a shirt and tie- they filmed the scene in one take. 

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

13) When I was a little kid, my dad always brought the New York Daily News home from work with him; I remember reading Dick Young’s great columns and learning about sports. 

As time went on, the New York Post passed the Daily News as a sports section, and Monday, the Daily News cut their sports staff from 35 people to only nine.

Lot of people out of work; sad day. 

12) More I think about it, geographic realignment would help baseball a lot. 

Think about 18 Dodger-Angel games, Cubs-White Sox games, or Subway Series games every season; its not going to help every team that much, but it’ll reduce travel/travel costs and increase regional rivalries, which is good for the game. 

Having two new teams will make scheduling so much easier, too. Don’t have to have interleague games every night, if hey do indeed keep the AL and NL intact

11) NFL players are getting aggravated because NBA guys make so much guaranteed money and football players don’t; we mentioned the other day, how Tobias Harris TURNED DOWN an $80M guaranteed deal with the Clippers. NFL guys have to be shaking their heads. 

When the next NFL labor contract rolls around, negotiations will be contentious. 

10) They had Big 14 football media day this week and 13 of the coaches show up in jacket and tie; Jim Harbaugh appeared in a polo shirt with baseball cap, both with the Michigan block M on them. Sometimes those interviews are fun to listen to; don’t often learn a whole lot- they sound like politicians, speaking words without actually saying much. 

9) You go to the racetrack, and you forget how dangerous it is to be a jockey. 

Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza fractured a vertebrae in an accident at Del Mar on Sunday ; he will miss the remainder of the Del Mar meeting. 

Espinoza will have to wear a neck brace for the next six weeks, “more to remind him not to turn his head sideways suddenly”, according to his agent. 

8) Baltimore Ravens had 30 draft picks the last three years, and 29 of them are still with the club, the only exception being a former Naval Academy QB who is doing his four years of service in the actual US Navy- they’re going to be a very young team. 

7) Clemson gave basketball coach Brad Brownell a 6-year contract extension; Tigers made the NCAA’s last year, for first time since 2011. 

6) Fernando Tatis Jr, the Padres’ #1 prospect, is out for the year after breaking his thumb. The 19-year old SS was batting .286 with 19 HRs, 19 steals at AAA El Paso. 

5) David Payne Purdum posted on Twitter Monday that at Caesar’s Palace sports books, there were 64 bets made on the Red Sox-Orioles game; only one of the 64 was on Baltimore. 

4) Diamond Sportsbook International (@betDSI on Twitter) posted odds on who the starting QB will be for these teams:

Alabama: Tagovailoa -230, Hurts +165
Ohio State: Haskins -600, Martell +370
Oklahoma: Murray -600, Kendall +370
Clemson: Bryant +130, Lawrence +160, Johnson +510, Brice +820

3) Reds 2, Cardinals 1— Young man named Daniel Poncedeleon made his MLB debut for the Cardinals in Cincinnati; he no-hit the Reds for seven innings, throwing 116 pitches, then was pinch-hit for in top of 8th inning. 

St Louis blew a 1-0 lead in 9th inning, costing the kid a win in his MLB debut. 

In 2016, Ross Stripling threw 7+ hitless innings in his MLB debut; he didn’t get a decision that night, either. 

In 1967, a kid named Billy Rohr threw 8.2 hitless innings in his MLB debut in the Bronx, giving up a hit to Elston Howard with two outs in 9th inning of a 1-0 Boston win. 

2) First five days after the All-Star Game are weird; lot of good pitchers struggled in their first start after the break, maybe because hitters are most rested after the four days off? 

1) Nate Silver points out that the NBA started tracking games started in 1981-82; since then, Carmelo Anthony is only NBA player to play in 1,000+ games without ever once having come off the bench. Wouldn’t expect Anthony to be a 6th man at his next destination (Houston?)

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

13) Mike Shildt is the interim manager of the St Louis Cardinals; his first job in baseball a long time ago was as a clubhouse attendant for Charlotte in the Southern League. 

In the summer of 1980, one of his jobs was to shine Cal Ripken Jr’s shoes. 

12) Ken Rosenthal and MLB Network research came up with this item:

Of all the baseball teams ever that were 60-40 or better thru 100 games, the ’54 Brooklyn Dodgers had the worst run differential (+14). 

Right now, Seattle Mariners are 60-40, with a +1 run differential. 

11) Mets’ P Noah Syndergaard goes on 10-day disabled list with hand, foot and mouth disease; this is a real thing that is a viral infection characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. No bueno. 

10) A GoFundMe page was started to help Washington Nationals assistant GM Doug Harris with medical costs as he battles leukemia; the owner of the Nationals is worth $5.2B, thats BILLION, with a B. How about picking up the tab there, Mr Lerner? Its probably tax deductible. 

9) Good college hoop tournament in Las Vegas Thanksgiving weekend; North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State, Texas. I’m assuming it is at T-Mobile Arena. 

8) Phillies’ 1B Carlos Santana is hitting only .209, but he’s walked 76 times and has a .350 OB%. He’s knocked in 15.4% of baserunners, only 25 of 44 from 3rd base. 

Last four years, when he was in Cleveland, Santana knocked in 13.1%, 13.8%, 13.8%, 13.4% of baserunners— he’s not a great RBI guy. Maybe he should bat leadoff. 

7) Golfer Zander Lombard was in contention at the British Open Sunday, before shooting an 82 in the final round. Coming into the Open, Lombard had missed 13 of his previous 15 cuts. 

6) Is it possible the LA Chargers have no analytics people working for them? Can’t find any of them listed in their media guide. In this day and age, that would be unusual. 

5) Cubs’ Hall of Famer Ernie Banks was famous for saying “Lets play two!!”; in his career, Banks played in both ends of 318 doubleheaders. 

4) I’ve never heard of Augusta State in any sport except golf; they won the national title in 2010 and 2011— Patrick Reed played there. British Open champ Francisco Molinari would’ve played there, except he played well in a European Tour event and turned pro instead. 

3) Reliever Jeurys Familia is the 939th player to play for the Oakland A’s. 

2) I have no idea if who the President is effects the stock market or not, but these are facts and they are not in dispute:

January 20, 2009— Dow Jones was at 7,949
January 23, 2017— Dow Jones was at 19,827
July 22, 2018— Dow Jones is at 25,058. 

1) RIP to former Dolphins’ coach Tony Sparano, who passed away Sunday at age 56. He had been in the doctor’s office Thursday, complaining of chest pains. Too young, man. RIP

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

13) Damn, there was some serious drama in my neighborhood Saturday. 

I live on a quiet suburban street just outside Albany; went out to meet my cousin for dinner at 7:00 last night and Central Avenue, the main street in town, was totally barracaded off west of my street by the local police. That never happens here. 

Turns out a Cadillac was speeding in the eastbound lanes towards Albany and the police gave chase— finally the Cadillac smashed into one of the police cars. The Cadillac was disabled on the side of the road, missing a tire. Everyone was OK- they shut down the road to do the CSI-type re-creation of the scene, for the investigation of whatever other crime there was. 

12) So a word of thanks to the Colonie Police for protecting us and keeping our town safe. 

11) Bad news for the Mets: Yoenis Cespedes says the cause of his medical issues is calcification in both heels. He says the only way to fix the issue is surgery; the recovery time is apparently 8-10 months. Might as well get it done now, right? 

Eight months from today is March 21, just before Opening Day for 2019. 

10) This from an outstanding article written by West Virginia alum/Memphis Grizzlies’ rookie Jevon Carter, talking about practices under his college coach, Bob Huggins: 

“And the treadmill was our punishment if we made a mistake in practice. If your guy was able to dribble to the middle of the court while you were guarding him, you had to get off the court and get on the treadmill and run 18 mph for 45 seconds. Right on the side of the court. Allow an offensive rebound … you’re on the treadmill. Let your guy drive past you. Treadmill. Turn the ball over. Allow an uncontested layup, miss a box out, lag getting back on D … you’re running.”

9) Red Sox are 28-8 vs Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore this season; New York is 19-13 vs those teams, and that is why the Red Sox are leading the AL East. 

8) Colorado CF Charlie Blackmon was miked during the All-Star Game; he was explaining how at Coors Field in the high altitude, balls don’t slice away/towards outfielders as much as they do in other ballparks. Interesting knowledge. 

7) Rutgers’ football team has its 9th offensive coordinator in nine season this year. 

Utah has had eight OC’s in ten years, but at least this year they have the same OC they had this year, so maybe a little continuity for once will help the Utes. 

6) Red Sox have had 73 games started by lefty pitchers this season, most in the big leagues. 

5) Baseball doings:
— Rockies’ 2B DJ LeMahieu strained his oblique.
— Cardinals’ P Carlos Martinez strained his oblique. 

4) Carmelo Anthony took 463 jump shots last year that were outside the paint and inside the 3-point arc, otherwise known as mid-range shots. Analytics people hate mid-range jumpers. 

The entire Houston Rockets team took 562 mid-range jumpers last year, so if Anthony signs with the Rockets, his shot selection will be interesting to track. 

3) In the CFL, coaches can challenge pass interference calls via replay, which is interesting. Not sure if I like that or not, but its something different. 

2) Washington Wizards will finally have their own G-League affiliate this winter, making 27 NBA teams with their own G-League team. Only three teams that don’t have one: Pelicans, Trailblazers and the Nuggets.  

1) Cardinals’ IF Matt Carpenter has now homered in six consecutive games; he didn’t start in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, but pinch-hit in the 7th inning and homered. MLB record is eight straight games with a home run.

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

13) Lot of nights while you’re sleeping, I’m watching movies, listening to music and researching obscure facts/trends that I can use in this space. Sometimes the stuff I find is useful, sometimes it is useless, you never know- the research is what makes it interesting. 

Other night I was thinking about how NFL coaches in their first year with a team do in their first game with that team, so I spent a few hours looking it up. 

12) Biggest trend I could find is that those teams with new head coaches went under the total 55.6% of the time (74-59-3) since 1998. Eliminate Dallas (over 5-0) and the Rams (over 4-1) and under becomes 73-50-3 (59.3%). 

11) Teams with new coaches went 68-60-8 vs spread, 47-40-6 as underdogs. Nothing huge there. My thought in looking this up is that you have to examine the situation each team is in. 

Last year, the Rams opened at home against Indianapolis; only a fool would’ve laid points with a Rams’ squad that had been pointspread poison for several years, but the Colts were starting Scott Tolzien at QB and he shouldn’t be a starter in the Canadian League. 

Rams won 46-9. Sometimes life is simple. Most times it isn’t. 

10) For the record, there are seven NFL teams this season with new coaches: Cardinals, Bears, Lions, Colts, Giants, Raiders and Titans. 

Of those seven, three are favored in Week 1: Lions, Titans, Colts. 

9) Clemson signed defensive coordinator Brent Venables a 5-year contract for $11.6M, the biggest contract ever given to a college football assistant coach. 

$2,320,000 a year for a defensive coordinator? They better have a damn good defense. 

8) There is an actor named Marc Blucas who has been in 64 movies/TV shows, including a starring role in USA Network’s Necessary Roughness and guest shots on Arli$$, CSI and Blue Bloods. 

When he was in college, Blucas played basketball at Wake Forest, where one of his teammates was a guy named Tim Duncan. 

7) In 2015, the White Sox had a payroll of $118,619,378; this year, their payroll is $71,217,000 so of course they’re still terrible, Jose Abreu is their best player and he will be 32 when next season starts. There aren’t any prized pitching prospects on the horizon, unless you count Michael Kopech, who has walked 57 batters in 88.1 IP this year in AAA— not good. 

6) Five years ago, the Astros had a payroll of $26,105,600 and were an awful team- five short years later, they’re World Champs and their payroll is $160,393,900— it figures to swell even further with McCullers, Bregman and Correa all making less than $3M a year this season. 

5) Then there are the Mets, a dreadful team with a payroll of $150,558,894. 

Jay Bruce, David Wright and AJ Ramos are getting paid a combined $40M this season. Yoenis Cespedes is making $29M; Friday was his first game since May 13. 

4) Yogi Ferrell backed out of a contract agreement with the Dallas Mavericks, after agreeing to a two-year, $5.3M  deal earlier this week. His agent said: “We felt uncomfortable and will weigh our options.” He must have some better options than $2.65M a year. 

3) St Louis 1B Matt Carpenter was 5-5 with three homers, two doubles Friday; his 16 total bases was only three bases shy of the all-time record. They took him out in the 6th inning; teams play a twin bill Saturday, plus the Cubs had position players pitching at that point. In his career, by the way, Carpenter is 22 for 42 with the bases loaded. 

Reminds me that a very underrated baseball record is most total bases in one game, held by Shawn Green, who had 19 total bases in a game. Tough to do; four HR’s still leaves you short. 

2) Jameis Winston is out for the Buccaneers’ first three games, so how will Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter dispense playing time in exhibition games this summer? 

Have to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick, because if he gets hurt then Tampa Bay is really screwed in Weeks 1-3, but he needs work to get ready, too. Winston also needs work, so that he isn’t too rusty when he comes back in Week 4. Maybe Winston plays more in the 4th exhibition game, when starters usually rest? 

1) Here’s a solid stat to close with today: over the last 15 years, the Super Bowl loser is 2-13 vs spread in their first game the following season, 2-10 when favored.

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

13) Cleveland Indians acquired relievers Brad Hand, Adam Cinder from the Padres, in exchange for hitting prospect Francisco Mejia, who is a catcher/OF. Cleveland’s bullpen is a mess, so this  was necessary for the Tribe, while Yan Gomes’ resurgence made Mejia more expendable. 

12) Washington plays Auburn on September 1st; over last seven years, there have been only 11 football games between SEC/Pac-12 teams. SEC is 8-3 in those 11 games, but Pac-12 teams won both meetings last season. 

11) They experimented with a new rule at NBA Summer League; when a team got an offensive rebound, the shot clock re-set to 0:14, not 0:24. Makes sense; think that rule would have more of an impact in college than the pros. 

10) If you like to make “first 5 innings” bets on Washington Nationals games, don’t play on the Nats when Tanner Roark pitches. Washington is 3-10 in Roark’s last 13 starts, 1-12 in the first five innings of those games. 

9) Since 2013, UConn’s football team is 0-11 vs spread as a home favorite, 2-17 since 2011. 

Since 2012, UNLV’s football team is 21-8 as a road underdog. 

8) Remember when Blockbuster video stores were all over the place? There is only one left in the whole country now, in Bend, Oregon. 

7) There is a statistic in college basketball called “Minutes Continuity” which measures how much the current players have played together. I find it pretty useful. 

There are 351 Division I teams; here is UNLV’s minutes continuity the last five years: 

334-347-310-350-311. Thats almost a whole new roster every season. 

Here is Kentucky’s: 336-176-335-322-348.
Here is Duke’s: 207-266-334-180-339

Difference is, Duke/Kentucky are getting best freshmen in country, UNLV doesn’t. This year, their continuity should be a little better, and their record should improve. Last time Rebels had a winning record in the Mountain West was 2013-14. 

6) By way of comparison, Loyola of Chicago made the Final Four last year, after having their first winning conference season in 11 years. Their minutes continuity? #82. 

5) Denver Nuggets’ #1 draft pick Michael Porter Jr had another procedure done on his back last week; for a young kid, he’s had a lot of physical issues. Nuggets haven’t written off him playing this coming season, but he played only 2 or 3 games for Missouri last year. 

4) Part of the reason there was such a scramble for QB’s in April’s NFL Draft is that this year’s crop of college QB’s is expected to be especially weak. Think about it: Oklahoma’s quarterback has already signed a pro baseball contract for next year. 

Maybe things will change drastically once the games start next month, but for now, scouts are down on this year’s crop of signal callers. 

3) Stephen Curry is the only player from the ’09 NBA draft still with his original team.

2) Oklahoma City traded Carmelo Anthony and a protected ’22 1st-round pick to Atlanta for PG Dennis Schroder, Mike Muscala. Anthony will be waived and become a free agent. A team that doesn’t care about defense will sign him. 

Trade gives Oklahoma City gets huge salary and luxury tax savings, and having Schroder allows them to play Russell Westbrook off the ball for 20 or so minutes a game. 

1) 5 ways to think like a champion, from best-selling author/motivational guru Jon Gordon:
a) Champions expect to win.
b) Champions celebrate the small wins.
c) Champions don’t make excuses when they don’t win.
d) Champions focus on what they get to do, not what they have to do.
e) Champions believe they will experience more wins in the future.

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

13) San Antonio Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 1st-round pick.

Over the last five years, the Raptors went 263-147 in the regular season, only 21-30 in playoff games, so they fired their coach and traded their best player. We’ll see how that works out. 

12) I’m thinking managing a major league team now has to be more difficult than it used to be; back when I was a kid, guys like Sparky Anderson, Earl Weaver, Dick Williams were big names who unquestionably ran their teams- that doesn’t exist anymore. 

Front office/analytics types run the show on most teams now; managers with strong personalities don’t get hired as much or don’t keep their jobs— see Joe Girardi. 

Managers, by the very nature of their jobs, dictate the tone of their teams, but they dictate less and less of their team’s tactics and roster management, but they still have to answer to the press, which can’t be a lot of fun. 

11) On July 17, 1963, Braves-Giants played a game in San Francisco, Spahn vs Marichal, two Hall of Fame pitchers. 

Game was scoreless into the 16th inning with both pitchers going whole way, when Willie Mays ended it with a solo-homer off Spahn. Marichal threw 227 pitches and Spahn threw 201.

If that happened today, both managers would’ve been fired after the game. 

10) One of the coolest nights I’ve spent in Las Vegas was during this week back in 2015, late on a Wednesday night. 

Diamondbacks game in Phoenix went 14 or 15 innings, ran very late; at same time, live coverage from the BBC or some channel in England had live first round coverage of the British Open on, so you could watch live action on TV’s next to each other, one on Wednesday night, the other Thursday morning. It was oddly fun.

9) All nine people who made the final table at the World Series of Poker made $1M+; the winner got $8.8M, runner-up got $5M— no wonder he was smiling in the pictures afterwards. 

8) They had another poker tournament that ran Sunday-Tuesday, 27 people entered with a buy-in of $1M. Top 5 cashed, the other 22 had to explain to their wives why they blew $1M to play cards for a couple nights. 

Guy who won took home $10M and he was losing for most of the heads-up period. 

7) Golfer Hideki Matsuyama finished in the top-20 in each of the last seven majors and 11 of the last 14.

6) From gambling expert Bill Krackomberger, talking about the start of legalized sports betting in New Jersey: 

“…….of the $15.4 million wagered, the casinos/state won just under $3.5 million in 16 days. That is a hold percentage of over 22%. In relation, Nevada’s hold for 2017 was 5.1%.”

KL Wheat reported in from New Jersey Wednesday:

“…….went to bet Ricky Fowler at 17-1 on board, went to bet 10 seconds later, it was 12-1.” That was at Monmouth— he got 16-1 on Fowler at Borgata. 

5) Back in 1983, Donald Trump could’ve bought the Dallas Cowboys for $50M but passed; now they’re worth $4.8B.  Thats billion, with a B. 

4) Of the eight guys in Home Run Derby this year, only Harper/Freeman are making more than $660,000 this season. MLB needs more established stars to do Home Run Derby. 

3) One really cool thing about the derby this year is that the two finalists both had unusual guys throwing to them. Had to be a ton of pressure on these guys to throw hittable pitches. 

Bruce Harper had his dad throwing to him, which is great- Robinson Cano’s dad threw to him a few years ago, and Kyle Schwarber’s buddy threw to him- the graphic actually said under the guy’s name “Kyle’s friend”

2) Apparently, Juwan Howard holds an NBA record he had 236 different teammates during his long playing career. Vince Carter could break that record this year if he plays; he’s had 228 different teammates in his career. 

1) Imagine being A’s reliever Blake Treinen Tuesday night; run out of Washington last summer, exiled to Oakland because he was having a bad year (5.73 ERA in 37.2 IP).

Now he has 24 saves for an Oakland team that is a surprise contender in the AL Wild Card race, and he has been awesome. He comes back to Washington a year after they ran him out of town and he is a freakin’ All-Star. That had to be tremendous. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: My favorite sports-related movies

1) Moneyball— Beginning isn’t very good, the end sucks, but I’m an A’s fan and this movie is about how the 2003 A’s put together a team that won 20 games in a row, made the playoffs. 

If the next ten weeks go really well, could Moneyball 2 be in the works? 

Only really bad thing about this movie is they made skipper Art Howe look like a bad manager, and he was anything but— you don’t win 20 games in a row by accident. 

2) Blue Chips— Nick Nolte is a college basketball coach who used to win a lot; in order to start winning again, he has to decide whether to break the recruiting rules or not. 

Bob Cousy is the AD; Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway are two of the recruits. Lot of cameos from basketball people; Jerry Tarkanian, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, Dick Vitale. 

3) Invincible— True story about Vince Papale, a 30-year old bartender who tries out for the 1976 Philadelphia Eagles and makes the squad as a special teams player. 

4) Fast Break— Gabe Kaplan manages a New York City deli until he applies for a job as a college basketball coach in Nevada. Bernard King, Michael Warren are two of his players; another one is a girl disguised as a guy. 

5) Any Given Sunday— Al Pacino is a pro football coach whose team is struggling; Cameron Diaz is the owner, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx are two of the QB’s. 

Miami Sharks play against four teams in the movie, all coached by NFL Hall of Famers. 

6) For Love of the Game— Kevin Costner is a star pitcher for the Tigers who is at the end of his career; he has flashbacks throughout his last game. 

Detroit’s manager in this movie is JK Simmons, who is a Tigers fan in real life; New York’s manager is the late Augie Garrido, one of the all-time great college baseball coaches. 

7) Friday Night Lights— Billy Bob Thornton is a high school football coach in west Texas, where they take high school football very seriously. 

8) One on One— Robby Benson is a hotshot high school basketball player who gets recruited by a big-time college team, then finds himself in over his head.

9) Bull Durham— Costner is a minor league catcher who is brought in to mentor a hot-shot pitching prospect. Robert Wuhl is the pitching coach, Susan Sarandon mentors the prospect off the field. 

10) Draft Day— Costner does lot of sports movies; he is GM of the Cleveland Browns in this one, Denis Leary is the Browns’ coach. 

The year this movie came out, NFL pushed back the draft so the movie could be promoted more, but Radio City Music Hall wasn’t available for the later date, which is why they started moving the draft around the country. Sometimes great ideas happen by accident. 

11) Major League— Bob Uecker should’ve won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Indians’ radio announcer Harry Doyle.  

12) He Got Game— Underrated film about college basketball recruiting; if you saw this movie, you weren’t surprised by the problems Louisville had the last couple years. 

13) Rocky— The original was a true classic; a journeyman boxer gets a chance to fight for the heavyweight title, and makes the most of it. 40 years later, tourists who come to Philadelphia still pose for pictures near the Rocky statue.