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

13) According to the Sacramento Bee, a former top executive of the Sacramento Kings is suspected of siphoning off $13.4M from two of the team’s top sponsors and using the funds to buy beachfront property in Southern California. 

FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating Jeffrey R. David, 44, the former chief revenue officer for the Kings who currently holds the same job with the Miami Heat. 

12) There have been 81 walk-off homers in the major leagues this season, which is a new record. 

11) Florida Atlantic has a QB named Chris Robison, a 4-star recruit from Texas who originally signed with Oklahoma out of high school and enrolled in Norman in January 2017, He was arrested for public intoxication three months later and was later tossed in August 2017 for another unspecified violation.

Now Robison is playing for Lane Kiffin at FAU; the Owls haven’t announced who the starting QB will be for their opener at Oklahoma, and most figure they’ll play more than one QB anyway, but has to be emotional for this kid to start his college career against the Sooners.  

10) Phillies lost a game 5-4 this week when they had the tying run on 2nd base with one out; batter hits a fly ball to center, the pinch-runner on second (pitcher Vince Velasquez) tags up and goes to third, but he left second too early and Washington appealed the play and the game ended. Not the ideal way to lose a game when you’re in a pennant race. 

9) A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill has started 17 games this year:
— Home: eight starts, 0.85 ERA
— Road: nine starts, 7.02 ERA

8) Houston Astros finally gave manager AJ Hinch a contract extension, which he earned by winning the World Series last year. 

7) Giants dealt OF Andrew McCutchen to the Bronx for two prospects; does this mean Aaron Judge might not be ready for the playoffs? 

6) David Price got hit on his left (pitching) wrist by a 102 mph line drive Wednesday and left the game. Last thing the Red Sox (or anyone) needs right now is an injury to a pitcher. 

5) Albert Pujols had knee surgery, is done for this year. Shohei Ohtani will pitch for the Angels against Houston on the Sunday night ESPN game, his first start since June 6. 

4) Memo to TV people; don’t show roughing-the-passer penalties in slow motion. EVERY hit looks like roughing if you don’t show it at game speed. 

3) Royals traded 1B Lucas Duda to Atlanta; teams will equally divide the $600K Duda is due the rest of this season. 

2) LSU’s starting QB Joe Burrow is a transfer from Ohio State; he threw 11 passes LY as the Buckeyes’ 3rd-string QB. Two of the three guys he beat out for the starting job have already transferred out of Baton Rouge.

Wonder how Bayou Bengal fans feel about Ohio State’s 3rd-string QB being their starter. 

1) NFL teams will cut their rosters down from 90 players to 53 this weekend; to lot of us, those are just names on a computer screen, but those are 1,184 young guys who are looking for a job- guys with families and friends. Much respect to anyone who even made it to a training camp. 

College football trends for games that didn’t make my top 13……..

13) San Diego State (+8) upset Stanford 20-17 last year; Aztecs are 12-6 vs spread in their last 18 road games. Stanford is 3-7 in its last ten games as home favorites. 

12) Since 2014, UCLA is 8-16 vs spread at home; they play Oklahoma next week. Cincinnati has a new QB, only 21 starts back on OL; they’re 13-10 vs spread in last 23 road games. 

11) Since 2012, Florida Atlantic is 20-7-1 as a road underdog; Oklahoma covered 13 of last 17 tries as a home favorite- they play UCLA next week. 

10) Wake Forest’s QB is suspended for this game; Deacons are 10-6 vs spread in their last 16 road games. Tulane is 7-5 vs spread at home under Fritz. 

9) Since 2011, Navy is 24-14 vs spread on road; Hawai’i allowed 653 yards in their upset win last week at Colorado State, but 537 of those were thru air. Since 2011, Rainbows are 8-15-1 as a home underdog. 

8) Syracuse is 7-3 vs spread on road under Babers; Western Michigan is 7-5 vs spread in its last 12 home games. Last seven years, ACC teams are 16-10 vs spread when playing MAC opponents.

7) Central Michigan is 7-3 as road underdogs under coach Bonamego; since 2015, Kentucky is 4-10 as a home favorite. 

6) Marshall’s QB has 20 career starts, but they were at I-AA Wagner; Thundering Herd is 10-3-1 vs spread in its last 14 games as road underdogs. Miami (-1.5) lost 31-26 at Marshall LY; Red Hawks are 4-7 vs spread in their last 11 home games. 

5) Indiana won its last two games with FIU, 34-13/36-22; Hoosiers are 11-15 vs spread in their last 26 road games. FIU was 4-0 as a home underdog LY, in Butch Davis’ first year there. 

4) SMU won its last three games with North Texas: 54-32, 34-21, 31-13; Mustangs are 6-4-1 vs spread in their last 11 road games. Since 2011, Mean Green is 14-7 as home favorites. 

3) Since 2008, Boise State is 36-16 as road favorites; they’re 12-8 vs spread in last 20 non-MW games. Since 2008, Troy is 3-4 as home underdogs. 

2) Since 2012, UNLV is 21-8 vs spread as road underdogs; since ’11, USC is 25-17 as home favorites.

1) A final word on betting college football, from Alex Kolodziej, betting writer for The Score:

“…….however, a warning: More teams mean more opportunities, and more opportunities mean increased betting volume. And I’ll be the first to say that when Week 1 of college football arrives and there are 40 more games to choose from than the opening week of the NFL, there will be a raging impulse to take every nugget from your Phil Steele magazine and apply them.

Do not listen to that impulse. Be selective. Or be broke.”

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

13) If you’re watching HBO’s Hard Knocks, you hear Cleveland OC Todd Haley a lot, and since the Browns’ offense is struggling, Haley is often unhappy. Steelers-Browns in Week 1 has to be at least a little personal for Haley— he spent the last six years working for Pittsburgh, where he replaced Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator. 

By the way, if I owned the Browns and my coaches told me that Tyrod Taylor was our starting QB, thats fine, but then he dislocated his left pinky vs Philly last week and they put him back in the game— who does that???? Its a damn exhibition game. I’d have some harsh questions for the head coach. 

12) By the way, Cleveland LB Michael Kendricks was charged Wednesday with insider trading by federal prosecutors; he made nearly $1.2M in illegal profits on four major investments four years ago. Kendricks spent the last six seasons with the Eagles; he could be facing “substantial prison time” if he is convicted.

Did the Browns know about this before they signed Kendricks? In any event, they released him Wednesday night. Chances are he’ll be in the next sequel they make to The Longest Yard

11) Most profitable starting pitchers this season (thru Tuesday’s games):
1. Mike Fiers (17-8) $1,567
2. David Price (19-6) $1,194
3. Eduardo Rodriguez (16-3) $1,160
4. Mike Leake (17-9) $1,156
5. Jon Lester (20-7) $1,129
6. Aaron Nola (19-8) $1,091

10) How times have changed: in May of 1968, Catfish Hunter pitched a perfect game for the A’s, in their first month playing in Oakland. He also had three hits in the game (this was five years before the DH). 

But there is no video of that game; it was against the Twins too- they had some really good hitters- Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva batted 2-3-4 that night.

9) Cincinnati Bengals gave two their best defensive players big contract extensions this week; Carlos Dunlap gets a 3-year, $45M extension and Geno Atkins gets $65.3M for four years. Bengals open the season in Indianapolis. 

8) From Ryan Spaeder: Cole Hamels is the first in-season acquisition in baseball history to allow one or no runs in each of his first six starts with his new team.

7) Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be the only Week 1 starting QB’s who didn’t take a snap in preseason, and it isn’t 100% that Wentz is starting in Week 1, as he recovers from his knee surgery. Goff is healthy.

6) Aaron Rodgers signed a 4-year contract extension with Green Bay, with a lot of zeroes in it- he will be making $33.5M a year, or $33,500,000.

Packers then traded backup QB Brett Hundley to Seattle for a 2019 draft pick, which moves DeShone Kizer up to the #2 QB job in Green Bay.

No matter what, Russell Wilson and Rodgers better stay healthy. 

5) If you watch Phillies games on TV, Aaron Nola is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young award. 

If you watch Nationals games on TV, Max Scherzer is the favorite to win the award.

If you watch Mets games on TV, Jacob deGrom is the favorite to win the award.

You get the idea.

4) MLB announced 2019 spring training schedules Wednesday; A’s-Mariners play on February 21, which is very early because they’re heading to Japan to play March 20-21.

3) NFL announcers on CBS will not be mentioning pointspreads during games this season. 

In semi-related news, Westgate Super Contest had its 2,000th entrant sign up Wednesday, and there are still 11 more days to enter. For a mere $1,500, you pick five NFL games a week against the spread- the winner will get over a million bucks. 

2) Astros put Charlie Morton (shoulder) on DL, so they’re down two starting pitchers, with Lance McCullers also on the shelf. 

1) Jets traded backup QB Teddy Bridgewater to New Orleans for a 3rd round draft pick, so the Saints now have Drew Brees’ successor on their roster. 

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

13) If you care about such things, Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer is 43-21 against the spread as an NFL head coach. Hue Jackson is 17-30-1; he coached the Raiders for one year, before coaching Cleveland the last two seasons. 

12) Someone at SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas wagered $20,000 on the Houston Texans to win the AFC title at 10-1 odds; so if the Texans make the Super Bowl, that person banks $200,000. 

11) Dodgers had their fantasy football draft this week; Clayton Kershaw took Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford in the 8th round. When Stafford was playing HS football in Texas, his center was….Clayton Kershaw. 

10) If he hits all his incentives, Odell Beckham will make $19M a year from the Giants; there are 52 guys in the NBA making $19M a year. Seriously. 52.

9) Highest-paid major league managers:
$6M a year: Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon, Bruce Bochy
$4M a year: Terry Francona, Buck Showalter

Showalter is the only one of those five guys who hasn’t won a World Series; he has a 9-14 career record in playoff games. 

8) Lowest-paid major league managers:
$700,000 a year: Jim Riggleman, Mike Shildt, both interim managers (Shildt got the full-time job Tuesday, so he’ll be getting a big raise)
$800,000 a year: Alex Cora, Scott Servais, Brian Snitker

7) Chris Davis plays first base for Baltimore; he hit 47 homers in 2015, 38 in ’16, but is hitting .167 this year, with a .246 on-base %age. 

Davis is making $23M a year, now thru 2023. To make matters worse, from 2023-37, he gets an additional $42M in deferred payments. Yikes. 

6) Not only does Nebraska have a true freshman starting at QB this season, his two backups are walk-ons, one is another true freshman, the other a transfer from Scottsdale CC. 

5) Feast or Famine: Washington Nationals have scored double digit runs in nine games this year; they’ve been shut out 13 times. 

4) University of Albany’s freshman class has students from 23 different states and 21 countries. They have a basketball player from Fullerton, CA; if you live near Disneyland, why in the name of Jim Cantore are you spending four years in upstate New York? 

3) St Louis Cardinals named interim manager Mike Shildt their full-time skipper; Cardinals are 26-12 since Shildt took over as manager on July 15. 

2) Chicago Cubs are 14-1 at home in games where the winning run scored from the 7th inning on; they’re 11-10 on the road in games like that. 

1) Dwayne Wade’s son will be a junior in high school this fall; he picked up his first scholarship offer last week; Nebraska offered him a full ride to play for the Cornhuskers. 

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

13) Darius Bazely was a top-10 basketball prospect in the 2018 high school class, but he decided to skip college and play in the G-League; now he has decided not to play in the G-League either and will use the year to train and prepare himself to be a pro. How? 

I’m not sure who is advising this young man; disappearing for a year and not competing at all isn’t going to help him. Apparently “his group” as he calls it, isn’t happy because Bazely would be subject to the G-League draft and couldn’t choose where he wanted to play this season. 

12) Why don’t the Philadelphia 76ers have a GM yet? 

11) Manu Ginobili retired; he played 16 years in the NBA, all for the Spurs, scoring 14,043 points and winning four NBA titles. One of the NBA’s best-ever international players. 

10) New Jersey Giants signed Odell Beckham to a 5-year, $90M contract; $41M of it is guaranteed, $65M of it guaranteed for injury. 

9) South Carolina Gamecocks are fully replacing their football field less than a week before the season opener after hosting a Jay-Z/Beyonce concert last week.

Crews trucked in sod from Sugar Hill, GA after the old field had to be removed following the concert last week.

Carolina is home the next three Saturdays, against Coastal Carolina, then Georgia, Marshall. 

8) Not only is true freshman JT Daniels the starting QB at USC, he is a kid who graduated high school a year early, so he is REALLY young. Daniels, the 2017 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, went Mater Dei High School in LA. 

But, in this age of “If I ain’t startin’, then I’ll be departin’”, they worked their butts off to recruit Daniels, and they want to keep him a Trojan. Plus, the three candidates Daniels beat out for the starting job are also all freshmen or sophomores- how many of them will transfer? 

7) Rice 31, Prairie View 28— Huge sigh of relief from Houston after the Owls rallied from a 28-19 4th-quarter deficit to escape the horror of losing to a I-AA team. 

6) Everyone seems to like Players’ Weekend in baseball; didn’t hear one bad word about it, other than sometimes the nicknames on the jerseys don’t always help identify who I’m watching. 

I wouldn’t mind if MLB let the players wear whatever shoes they want, whenever. 

Washington’s Adam Eaton had four hits Sunday using a red bat that was very colorful, he was told he couldn’t use it Monday, because Players’ Weekend was over. Oy. 

5) Serious question: Do rookie head coaches in the NFL try harder in preseason games than experienced coaches? They have to get into the routine of what happens during a game, so maybe they gameplan more than guys who are just trying to pare their roster down and get ready for Opening Day.

I’m going to have to research that one for next summer.

4) Miami Marlins are averaging 10,054 fans per game, less than half what they said they averaged last year; rumor has it last year’s numbers were exaggerated to help sell the team. 

Toronto’s attendance is down 10,442 fans per game; Detroit, Kansas City are both down over 6,000 fans a game. When your team has zero chance to make the playoffs, people don’t go to the games. 

3) Atlanta Braves just finished stretch of 22 games in 20 days with a 13-9 record; teams are not allowed to play more than 20 days in a row- thats in the collective bargaining agreement.

2) The hurricane relief fund JJ Watt started in Houston last year wound up raising $41.6M; all of that money has been given out. Good for him. 

1) I’m guessing this is a good time financially for people who sell metal detectors; with all the public shootings, metal detectors are going to be everywhere pretty soon. 

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

13) There are two NFL handicapping contests at the Westgate in Las Vegas; in one you put up $1,500, pick five NFL games a week, and lot of people get prizes (30? 50?). First prize last year was right around $1M- they wound up with 2,748 entries, so $4,122,000 was in the pot.

This year, 1,768 people have signed up so far, with 13 days to go for more people to enter. 

The second contest is winner-take-all, with a $5,000 entry fee. Last year, 94 people entered, so first prize was $470,000. This year, 64 people have entered, as of Saturday. 

12) Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas also a contest, one where you pick seven games a week, but they can be college games, too. Entry fee is $1,000, and top 20 finishers get paid. 

11) If you like to bet on sports, you should listen to SportsXradio, which is on 10-12 pm every weeknight here in the east. It is on radio station 720am in Las Vegas, or you can listen on sportsxradio.com. Shows are archived if you can’t listen to them live. 

Why do I say this? They have a guy named Joe Lisi on Friday nights who knows a ton about college football- he pegged 17-point underdog Hawai’i as a SU winner at Colorado State. Host Ken Thomson is as sharp about sports as anyone in the country. 

10) Nebraska will be starting a true freshman QB in Scott Frost’s first season coaching the Cornhuskers; Adrian Martinez was supposed to go to Tennessee, but when Butch Jones was told to take a hike, Martinez went elsewhere. 

Martinez had an operation on his throwing shoulder and missed his senior year of high school ball; will be interesting to see him play next week. 

9) Bad news for my A’s; Sean Manaea (shoulder) goes on the DL. All five members of the A’s starting rotation from the start of the season are now either hurt, or coming back from injury. 

Oakland is 45-16 since June 16, but the Manaea injury is a problem. 

8) Seattle Seahawks’ rookie punter Michael Dickson is getting rave reviews this summer; he has great hang time on his punts and stuck a couple of them inside the Minnesota 10-yard line in this weekend’s game. Dickson is an Australian who played college football at Texas. 

7) Pirates’ pitcher Chris Archer wore neon green baseball shoes when he pitched in Milwaukee Sunday; kind of like Baylor’s basketball uniforms- very bright. Wonder if it distracted hitters at all. 

6) They drew 3,000 fans in downtown Las Vegas for a Raiders watch party when the Silver and Black played in Green Bay last week; it’ll be fascinating to see how the Raiders’ move to the desert works out. 

5) Toronto 1B Kendrys Morales has homered in seven straight games; the record is eight, held by many, including Dale Long, who wound up doing weekend sports on Channel 10 here in Albany. 

4) Michigan Wolverines’ WR Tarik Black probably broke his foot Saturday at practice and is expected to miss an extended amount of time; he is an important part of their offense. Black also missed ten games last year with a foot injury. 

3) Albany Great Danes’ basketball team has six international students; they have players from four different countries. No players from New York City, only 148 miles down the road. 

2) Weird seeing Matt Holliday playing for Colorado again; when we started our fantasy baseball league (a keeper league) in 2005, the first three players I drafted were Holliday, Adam Dunn and Brandon Webb. 

Holliday was totally awesome in ’07, knocked in 150 runs; in ’09, Colorado traded him to the A’s, who held on to him for half the season before dealing him to St Louis, in a horrific pair of trades that set the A’s back at least a couple years. Wish he had stayed in Colorado. 

1) Odd thing: Holliday’s dad was at one time the baseball coach at Oklahoma State, but he got fired. When Holliday was on the A’s, Brett Anderson was his teammate; Anderson’s father was the guy who replaced Tom Holliday at OSU. Had to be at least a little awkward.

Then in 2012, when Frank Anderson left Oklahoma State, Holliday’s brother Josh replaced him, and remains the Cowboys’ baseball coach to this day. 

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

13) ESPN’s Sunday night game this week is New York-Baltimore, because ESPN is obsessed with New York and the Red Sox. There is no other way to explain it. 

Putting the pathetic (37-93) Orioles on national TV in late August during the heat of the pennant race is gross stupidity. Meanwhile, Cardinals-Rockies is an important series in the NL Wild Card race, but no chance ESPN ever puts Colorado on national TV, and for that, they’re idiots. 

12) Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pirates 7-6 in 15 innings Friday night, in a strange game where the Brewers scored four times in the first inning, blew a 9th-inning lead, then scored three times to win the game after Pittsburgh grabbed a 6-4 lead in the 15th. 

Milwaukee never scored from the 2nd to 14th inning; they were down 6-4 in the 15th, had two on and two out with pitcher Jordan Lyles, a career .123 hitter up- he drew a walk, and two hits later, the Brewers had an emotional win.

11) Why did the Cubs trade for Daniel Murphy? Murphy has the best batting average of any regular player ever at Wrigley Field, over .400.

10) One of my all-time favorite TV shows was Magnum, PI; for better or worse, I can still recite stuff from episodes I first saw 35 years ago. 

CBS is re-making Magnum PI this fall; not sure how I feel about that. 

9) Detroit Lions tried a 62-yard FG just before the half in Tampa Friday; Adam Humphries caught the ball nine yards deep in the end zone and ran it back 109 yards for a TD, lot like the Alabama-Auburn game a few years ago. 

Not a lot of real fast, athletic guys blocking for field goals, so Detroit’s tackling was suspect. 

8) Lions were down 27-6 in third quarter of this (meaningless) game, but rallied to win 33-30, scoring a TD with 0:30 left for the win, after an 80-yard punt return for a TD brought them back to within 30-26 with 4:53 left. Meaningless, but very entertaining. 

7) New Orleans Saints faked a punt in the first quarter of their game with the Chargers Saturday, then went for 2 points after their first TD. Thats what preseason games are for, to try stuff. In two weeks, everyone will get real conservative and we’ll know the regular season is here. 

6) I wouldn’t hate it if the NFL put in a rule that said any kickoff that went thru the uprights would be worth one point, kind of like a rouge in the CFL. Would make kickoffs more exciting.

5) Pretty big change to basketball recruiting next spring/summer; there will be only two weekends of games (one in April, one in July) where college coaches can go to the games. 

4) Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, who made his living with a great curveball, says kids shouldn’t throw a curve until they’re 13 or 14 years old. 

3) Happy 72nd birthday to the great Rollie Fingers, who saved 341 games during his Hall of Fame career. In his five busiest seasons, Fingers AVERAGED five outs an appearance, which means he would come in with one out in the 8th inning and finish the game.

Anybody doing that these days?

2) RIP to Senator John McCain, who passed away Saturday after a bout with brain cancer. He had a lot of what we need more of today; character, guts and the knowledge that even though we often disagree on things, we’re all Americans and our opinions need to be tolerated.

RIP, sir.

1) This tweet is from Steve Schmidt, who ran Sen McCain’s Presidential campaign in 2008:

“John McCain belongs to the ages. He perfectly loved this country and served it with valor, courage and integrity for 60 years. He was a patriot and a hero and America will never see a political leader like him again. He was the greatest man I’ve ever known. Godspeed John McCain”

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

13) Cole Hamels’ last five starts with last place Texas: 1-3, 11.86.

Cole Hamels’ first five starts with the contending Cubs; 4-0, 1.06. 

Go figure.

12) Browns’ QB Tyrod Taylor dislocated the pinky on his left hand Thursday night, but for some unknown reason, came back into the game later on. Not sure that was a smart thing to do. 

11) Speaking of which, Cam Newton scrambled against the Patriots Friday night, not only didn’t he slide, he dove head-first, got upended and landed on his left shoulder. He was OK, but whats the point of diving head-first and taking a hit? 

New rule this year: if a QB dives-head-first, it gets treated just like he was sliding feet-first, it gets marked at the furthest point backwards where he touched the ground. 

10) If you look at Week 1 NFL games the last five years, under was 42-36-1 in those games. 

I’m thinking that since starters play so little football in the summer and in exhibition games, teams aren’t going to be as sharp (or in as good condition) as later on in the season. 

Last year, under was 11-4 in Week 1 games. Something to think about. 

9) Detroit Lions were only NFL team LY to have two WR’s catch passes for 1,000+ yards: Marvin Jones caught 61 passes for 1,101 yards, and Golden Tate caught 92 passes for 1,003 yards. 

8) Over last 14 years, only preseason #1 college football teams to win the national title that year were USC in 2004 and Alabama last season. 

7) Over last five years, best five college football teams against the spread:
— Temple 40-21, 65.6%
— Colorado State 37-23, 61.7%
— Duke 36-23, 61.0%
— Houston 35-24, 59.3%
— Navy 35-24, 59.3%

6) Home team lost eight of the last ten Cowboy-Eagle games.

5) Cubs’ rookie infielder David Bote has five home runs this year; all five either tied the game or put the Cubs ahead- two of the homers were walk-offs. 

4) Xavier and Illinois basketball teams are both playing in the Maui Classic in November; the two teams are chartering a plane together, so they can get a bigger plane and have more room than if they flew commercial. Teams are on opposite sides of the bracket in the tournament. 

3) Former Xavier coach Chris Mack is now the Louisville coach; his non-conference schedule this season includes games with Tennessee, either Kansas/Marquette, Michigan State, at Seton Hall, at Indiana and Kentucky. They’ll be ready for ACC play. 

2) Indians-Royals game Friday night was delayed because the fountains behind the centerfield fence at Kauffman Stadium overflowed, flooding the warning track in part of the outfield.

1) A wiseguy who lives near the Milwaukee airport painted “Welcome to Cleveland” on the roof of his business, apparently to confuse people flying into Milwaukee. Funny guy.

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

13) Next weekend, after the last preseason games, NFL teams will cut their rosters from 90 guys to 53; thats 1,184 players who will be out of a job. Lot of them will move to other teams and make other guys unemployed; couple hundred will get signed to practice squads, but it is high drama and it is why the last episode of Hard Knocks (Sept 4) will be excellent TV. 

12) 2019 baseball schedule notes:
In addition to the A’s-Mariners series in Japan next March, Monterrey, Mexico will host a couple of two-game series; Reds-Cardinals in April, Angels-Astros in May. 

AL East rivals New York-Boston are playing a two-game series in London in late June. 

Royals-Tigers will play a game in Omaha, two days before the College World Series starts. 

Pirates-Cubs are playing in the Little League Classic, in Williamsport.

11) The NL Wild Card race is so tightly bunched; someone came up with a scenario where eight teams in the NL would all wind up with the same record. How would those ties be broken? 

Here’s the thing: right now, the current tie-breaking procedures don’t go any further than a four-way Wild Card tie. What if five teams tie? Its not likely, but it could happen. 

From MLB.com:
“If MLB found itself in a situation not covered by the existing rules, it would be up to the Commissioner’s Office — likely with input from the Competition Committee — to determine the best course of action.”

10) Tampa Bay Rays swept a 3-game series in Kansas City May 14-16; of the 25 Rays who were in that series, only ten of them are still with Tampa Bay, and they’re somehow 66-61. Tremendous amount of turnover during the season for a major league team. 

9) Browns 5, Eagles 0— Third week of exhibition games are supposed to be dress rehearsals for the regular season opener; this game was very, very ugly. Both teams have reason to worry about their offense. 

Back in 1970, an NFL playoff game also ended 5-0; Dallas beat Detroit. I was 10 at the time, so not sure if that game was as bad as this one, but it was a more important one. 

8) MGM is opening a new hotel/casino in Springfield, MA this weekend; they’ve been sending me lot of info, both online and in mail- I live 90 miles from Springfield. Aggressive marketing. 

7) Bill Parcells turned 77 years old this week; as a player, he was a tackle drafted in the 7th round of the 1964 draft by the Detroit Lions. 

The pick before Parcells? Cowboys drafted WR Bob Hayes, who was a very fast man- he played 11 years in the NFL and averaged 20 yards per catch. 

6) Madison Bumgarner is also one of only five players in baseball to hit a home run off each of Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Bumgarner, obviously, is the only pitcher to do that. 

Other four: Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos González, Hunter Pence and Gregory Polanco

5) Royals’ 2B Whit Merrifield is the only player this season with three hitting streaks of 12+ games. 

4) One thing I’ve learned from watching too much TV: everyone who rides one of those Peloton exercise bikes looks like a model or an Olympic athlete. Maybe I should get one; my current bike hasn’t improved my looks any (its a joke!!!)

Peloton must have an unlimited advertising budget; commercials are on all the time. 

3) From covers.com, the best “over” umpires in the majors:
1. Chris Guccione 16-4
2. David Rackley 14-5
3. Adrian Johnson 16-6
4. Brian Knight 15-6
5. Roberto Ortiz 7-3
t6. Ted Barrett 16-7
t6. Jim Wolf 16-7
8. Kerwin Danley 15-7

2) Urban Meyer gets suspended for the first three games of the season, for not firing one of his assistant coaches, who should’ve been fired. Buckeyes’ first three games are against Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU- that TCU game will be very interesting.

If you care about such things, Ohio State was -12 over TCU before Meyer’s suspension; they are now -10.

1) Interim coach at Ohio State is Ryan Day, who was once a college QB at New Hampshire, where the offensive coordinator was a guy named Chip Kelly. There are rumors that Day passed on the chance to be the Tennessee Titans’ OC this season, in order to stay at Ohio State. Interesting decision.

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

13) Quality TV from the Mets’ crew Tuesday night when roving reporter Steve Gelbs asked pitcher Zach Wheeler if it bugs him when he gives up a hit that wouldn’t be a hit if the team hadn’t shifted, and Wheeler quickly replied “100%”

There are people online who keep track of “runs saved” with the shift; I mean, lot of hard drives up the middle are now caught by infielders, so the shift is useful, too, but there is a plus/minus that exists, and you just know it drives some guys nuts when the shift fails. 

12) Tampa Bay Rays were -$210 against the Royals Monday, which says a lot about how awful Kansas City is. Pretty interesting wagering quandary. 

How can you lay $210 with a team, when you know the starting pitcher is going to get only four or five outs before he is removed, and you’re not totally sure who his replacement will be? 

Rays won the game easily; the “opener” has changed baseball though, to a small degree. 

11) 2019 baseball season starts on March 28, except A’s/Mariners, who play two games over in Japan March 20-21. MLB decided to schedule some 2-game interleague series on weekends, so there will be teams who have Fridays off, which is weird. A’s have two Fridays off in August. 

When they expand to 32 teams, and they will soon, scheduling will become much easier. 

10) Ever see American Restoration on the History Channel? Guy in Las Vegas who has a place that refurbishes old stuff (cars, Coke machines, wagons, motorcycles) and makes them look like new again. They do excellent work. 

Saw an episode last night where they worked on one of Billy Joel’s motorcycles, then they delivered the finished bike to a shop Joel owns in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Pretty cool stuff. 

9) Random musical opinions: 

— Favorite Billy Joel song: Piano Man
— Favorite Bob Seger song: Turn the Page
— Favorite Van Morrison song: Into the Mystic

8) Buster Posey is likely going to have season-ending hip surgery, which will probably also end his career as a catcher. Does that mean the Giants will trade Brandon Belt this winter? 

7) Nationals’ TV analyst FP Santangelo told a story on air Tuesday night about when he was playing and his best friend on the team got traded, and Santangelo went 0-20 right after that, as it became painfully obvious to him that baseball is indeed a business. 

I’m trying to remember what old-time player told this next story, I want to say Al Kaline, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyway, when the young player first came up to the majors, one of the established stars of the team came up to him and said, “…..they cut our friend to bring you up” and then walked away from the young guy, and they weren’t nice to him until he established himself as a really good player. Nowadays, young players get treated a lot better. 

6) Washington didn’t trade Bryce Harper to the Dodgers (who claimed him on waivers) because they know they can get a first-round draft pick if he bolts in free agency this winter.  

5) There are some people on Twitter pushing for an 8-team college football playoff, which would involve getting rid of conference championship games, and playing the first round of the playoff tournament at campus sites. Not a bad idea. 

4) Former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Bruce Arians will work for CBS on NFL games this fall, along with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green. Curious to hear Arians analyze games. 

3) Major league All-Star Game was later than normal this year; it is earlier than normal (July 9) next summer, in Cleveland. 

2) From covers.com, most profitable starting pitchers this year, based on $100/start:

1. Mike Fiers (16-8) $1,467
2. Mike Leake (17-8) $1,256
3. Jhoulys Chacin (19-8) $1,164
4. Eduardo Rodriguez (16-3) $1,160
5. David Price (18-6) $1,094
6. Aaron Nola (18-7) $1,039
7. Yovani Gallardo (9-2) $951

1) Worlds colliding; You know I love college basketball and Seth Davis is a college basketball analyst for CBS and writes for The Athletic. It is just odd to me that Davis’ father is Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen’s lawyer, who is on national TV about every 90 seconds this week. 

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

13) Washington Nationals threw in the towel Tuesday, trading Daniel Murphy to the Cubs, and Matt Adams to the Cardinals. Cruddy day to be a Nationals’ fan. 

Addison Russell is hitting .213 since July 1; early speculation has him as the Cub likeliest to lose the most playing time because of this deal. 

12) Looking at how many starting pitchers throw 100+ pitches in their starts, from baseball-reference.com– this refers to a team’s first 125 games of the season:

Eight years ago, 1,924 pitchers threw 100+ pitchers.
This season, 998 pitchers have thrown 100+, or 48.1% less than only eight years ago. 

11) Toronto Raptors are hiring Jeremy Castleberry to their coaching staff; what are his qualifications for this job? 

Castleberry played with Kawhi Leonard in high school and at San Diego State, where Castleberry was a walk-on. He also worked with Leonard as a Spurs staffer, so to keep their new star happy, Toronto brought him aboard, too. 

10) Florida State has a new football coach, Willie Taggart, who coached Oregon last year and South Florida two years ago. Three schools in three years doesn’t happen much for a head coach. 

Florida State’s athletic director quit and is moving on to the NCAA; whomever takes his place at FSU will become the 8th AD Taggart has worked for in his nine years as a head coach. Thats a lot of bosses for a guy to have. 

9) 2003 Seattle Mariners may go down in history; they’re last team to go thru a 162-game season while using only five starting pitchers. ’03 Mariners went 93-69, but fell apart after that, going 63-99/69-93 the next two years. 

8) From 1992 to 2014, Detroit Lions went 0-24 in Wisconsin, losing twice to the Packers there in 1994. The last three years, Lions won two of their three visits to Green Bay. 

7) Patriots won 12 of their last 14 games against the Jets, since losing to Gang Green in the 2010 playoffs; Pats won last four meetings, the last three by a combined score of 91-26. 

6) Cardinals beat Dodgers 5-3 Monday night, despite walking 10 LA hitters; that raises major league teams’ record to 4-22 this season when they walk 10+ batters.

Dodgers went 2-13 with runners in scoring position, which cost them the game. 

5) Houston Texans are only NFL team that still has all their first-round draft picks since 2010 on their roster.  

4) There is a 15-second video going around the Interweb of a dog watching herself on TV, as she runs around an obstacle course in a competition- the little dog jumps up and down as she watches herself on TV. It is actually fun to watch. 

3) Jason Witten’s high school football coach was his grandfather; not sure I’ve ever heard of that before. 

2) Will be lot of new faces on NFL games this season; league has hired four new referees, which seems like a lot, almost 25% of the league’s referees will be new. 

1) National League teams had first shot at claiming Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams today; had they not been claimed, then AL teams could’ve put claims in for the players.

Teams in the same league have first shot at claiming guys on waivers.

Murphy would be the ideal DH; hit like hell, leave your glove at home. 

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

13) This is one of the many reasons Moneyball 2 could be coming to a theater near you in the near future:

On February 12, 2016, Milwaukee traded Khris Davis to the A’s, for minor leaguers Bubba Derby and Jacob Nottingham. 

In three seasons for the A’s, Davis has hit 122 homers, knocked in 311 runs. 

Derby is 5-5, 4.92 in 28 AAA games this year (15 starts); he hasn’t pitched in the majors yet, and is playing for Colorado Springs, where the high altitude can inflate your ERA. 

Nottingham has played in seven MLB games; he is hitting .286 in AAA this year, again playing in a hitter-friendly environment. 

Part of the reason Milwaukee traded Davis is that he can’t throw very well so he would’ve been a liability playing the outfield in a league with no DH.

12) Davis has four homers and a double in 10 career AB’s vs Justin Verlander. 

Monday night, a bunch of Make-a-Wish kids were on the field before the game in Oakland; Davis had one of the kids sign his jersey, and he played the game with the kid’s signature on his left shoulder. 

Second time, up, he hits a very long home run. The type of stuff Hollywood loves. 

11) With college football starting soon, there was an article written with results of a poll where coaches were asked anonymously which of their colleagues was overrated/underrated. 

Penn State’s James Franklin was one of most often mentioned as overrated, to which I say, “If you win at Vanderbilt (they went 24-15 under Franklin, 11-13 in SEC games) then you ain’t underrated.” 

Penn State is 22-5 under Franklin the last two years. Enough said. 

10) Jose Ureña tossed a complete game 2-hitter in Washington Sunday; now he can go on his 6-game suspension from hitting Ronald Acuña and life can resume. 

Pitching inside has to be allowed; if a pitcher makes the batter move his feet, then all the better for the pitcher. You don’t want to see getting hitters getting drilled by pitches, but pitchers can’t allow them to be so comfortable in the batters’ box. 

9) When Brandt Snedeker shot a 59 at the Wyndham Classic Thursday, he made only three putts longer than 10 feet, thats how well he was striking the ball. 

8) Baseball is hard: Phillies’ IF Scott Kingery played in the Little League World Series when he was a kid, but he went hitless in Williamsport: 

“We played three games [in the Little League World Series], went 2-1, and got knocked out because of a tiebreaker. I had zero hits, [in] probably 10, 11 at-bats. I hit a kid right in the chest at third base and he picked it up and threw me out. It was tough.”

Phillies’ P Nick Pivetta didn’t make his league’s All-Star team when he was 12. 

7) Denver Broncos won their last six Week 1 games, the longest active winning streak on Opening Day in the NFL. This will be 8th year in row they open the season at home. 

Dallas Cowboys are opening on road this year for the first time since 2012. 

6) I was surprised to learn that San Antonio is the 7th-largest city in America, and San Diego is the 8th-largest. Why did the Chargers leave San Diego?

5) The Cactus Bowl will now be called the Cheez-It Bowl, and will be played at Chase Field (where the Diamondbacks play) on December 26. 

4) From 2005-08, Doug Pederson was a high school football coach, at Calvary Baptist Academy in Louisiana. Now he is head coach of the Super Bowl champs. Life is funny sometimes. 

3) Mets’ 1B Wilmer Flores has two brothers who are also named Wilmer. Seriously. His father must be related to George Foreman, who has four sons named George. 

2) Clarification: Last week I was wondering why the kid on Puerto Rico’s Little League team was taken out of the game in the last inning, with a 2-0 lead- he had thrown 88 pitches. 

Turns out it is a LLWS rule; when a pitcher hits 85 pitches, that is his last batter, so they had to put a new pitcher in at that point. 

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves-Cubs-Diamondbacks. Wild Card: Phil or Colo @ Milwaukee
AL: Red Sox-Indians-A’s or Hst. Wild Card: AL West #2 @ New York

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

13) Sunday the Cubs became the first team in major league history to score exactly one run in four straight games, with each run coming on a home run.

12) What does it say about Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien’s job security that the Houston Texans hired seven new assistant coaches this offseason? New strength coaches, new special teams coaches; not really sure what that says. 

As long as Deshaun Watson stays healthy, O’Brien should stay employed. 

11) Sportsbook at the Palms in Las Vegas took a $20,000 bet Saturday on the Texans +2.5; third-string QB Joe Webb led a 5-play, 75-yard TD drive for Houston in the last 2:00 of the game- they scored on a 41-yard TD pass with 0:27 left to win 16-13, when replay showed the receiver should’ve been down on the 3-yard line. 

They probably would’ve scored anyway, but it was a pretty obvious error by the replay guys. 

Imagine betting $20K on a freaking exhibition game and needing Joe Webb to pass well for you to win the bet? Webb is a 31-year old journeyman who has played special teams as much as he’s played QB in his career, but Webb came up big in this game and the bettor won his $20,000. 

10) All of which reminds me of watching NFL games in the Westgate Theater a few years ago; if you love football and betting on football, you have to do this someday— great fun. 

I’m watching games, and talking to a guy wearing an Arizona Cardinals’ jersey; we talked for an hour or so, football stuff, and all of a sudden the guy tells me he is betting $6,000 a game on the four 4:00 (ET) games. 

$6,000 a game?!?!?! I’m queasy about my three $30 bets— hahaha, and this guy has $24,000 out there and is relaxed as you could be. Sometimes when I’m visiting Las Vegas it eludes me that I’m sitting on the fringes of the big leagues of gambling. 

9) It also dawned on me the other day that Arizona State hired 64-year old Herm Edwards as its football coach and that is going to be fascinating to follow this season. 

Edwards last coached in college in 1989, as an assistant at San Jose State; if he recruits well at ASU, and he is a former NFL head coach, then he should be alright, but Todd Graham just went 46-32 in six years with the Sun Devils and he got fired.

Put it this way; UCLA hired Chip Kelly as its coach; which hire do you think was better?

8) Mariners 5, Dodgers 4 (10)— The seldom-seen walk-off balk (balk-off?) gave Seattle this win late Saturday night; Mariners had the bases loaded with one out, so they probably would’ve scored anyway, but hell of a way to lose a game. If you have Kyle Seager on your fantasy team and you need RBI’s this week, you lost a big chance for an easy one there. He was batting when the balk happened.

7) Presented without opinion: Paul O’Neill said on TV this weekend that if he was up with three hits late in a game, and had a chance to hit for the cycle, he would rather hit a second homer than hit for the cycle. Apparently, media makes more out of hitting for cycles than lot of players do. Interesting. 

6) Most games pitched this year allowing 0 or 1 earned runs, with 7+ IP:

Jacob deGrom: 11
Aaron Nola: 9
Corey Kluber: 8
Carlos Carrasco: 8

5) Mookie Betts has scored 100 runs in 103 games this season. Red Sox are 15-2 in David Price’s last 17 starts. Boston is getting ready for the playoffs already, I’m sure. 

4) Best record in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on:
A’s 30-11, Cubs 23-11, Mariners 28-14, Red Sox 18-10

3) Worst record in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on:
Orioles 9-23, Royals 11-21, Indians 12-21, Nationals 14-20

2) Five college basketball teams with most experience returning this coming season:

1. Washington, 95.2% of minutes return  
2. Wisconsin, 93.9%  
3. Syracuse, 90.8%
4. Iowa, 90.5%  
5. Kansas State, 89.0%

1) Damn, Robert Deniro turned 75 years old this week, Robert Redford turned 82. Not even sure what to say about this, other than time sure goes by quickly. 

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

13) I asked a few days ago why Ohio State never got rid of this assistant coach Zach Smith, despite multiple off-field screw-ups. Now I kind of know. 

Turns out Smith is the grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, the coach who succeeded the legendary Woody Hayes as Buckeyes’ coach. 

Urban Meyer once called Bruce “his second father”; Smith was considered a good recruiter but not much of a football tactician/teacher. 

Meyer tried to give an old friend’s grandson the benefit of the doubt, and the guy badly abused the privilege. Now it is a mess, but not many coaches with a 73-8 record get fired. 

12) It is unclear whether Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz will be available for Philly’s season opener against the Falcons. Super Bowl hero Nick Foles hurt his shoulder when he was sacked in the game Thursday night, which leaves open the possibility that Nate Sudfeld could be the #1 QB for the Iggles when they open this season in 19 days.

11) Giants’ pitcher Dereck Rodriguez, who has been doing great for the last month, went on the DL with hamstring issues; he tweaked his hamstring jumping over the dugout fence to get on the field during the Nick Hundley/Yasiel Puig incident the other night. 

Not good.

10) Bills’ QB AJ McCarron broke his collarbone Friday night, basically handing the starting job to rookie Josh Allen.

9) I know it is preseason, but Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes threw a TD pass to Tyreek Hill Friday night that traveled 68.6 yards in the air, longer than any TD thrown in any game all of last season.

8) Friday night, Daniel Zamora became the 54th player to play for the Mets this season, tying their all-time franchise record for most players used in a season. Zamora was brought up from AA Binghamton, which is unusual.

7) A reminder that in 1972, Steve Carlton went 27-10 pitching for a Phillies team that went 59-97. One of the greatest seasons ever for a pitcher. 

6) Another reminder: actor/pro wrestler Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson played college football at Miami, FL and in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders, before he started his career as a pro wrestler. If I remember right, he backed up Warren Sapp at Miami. 

5) When he was 14, Mets’ 3B Todd Frazier worked as a carnival barker on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. At the basketball shooting booth, where the rim may not have been totally round. 

4) Red Sox’ AAA farm team is moving from Pawtucket, RI to Worcester, MA in 2021; they’ve been in Pawtucket since 1973. Worcester is much closer to Boston; they’ll build a new stadium that hopefully will revitalize the Worcester area. 

3) Pirates lost consecutive games 1-0 games Thursday/Friday for first time since May 9 (at Padres), 10 (at Dodgers), way back in 1985. Both Chicago runs came on home runs. 

2) White Sox put Yoan Moncada back in the leadoff spot Friday, despite fact that he was hitting .144 since the All-Star break, with 31 strikeouts in his last 60 plate appearances.

1) Thanks to Ken Thomsen and Andrew Fain for having me on their excellent radio show Friday night. Good baseball talk from out in Las Vegas; you can listen weeknights from 10-12pm on sportsxradio.com. You’ll be smarter about sports if you do. 

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

13) Never give up on your dreams: In 1976, Cornell fired its football coach. When an Ivy League coach gets the boot, it is often a career-killer. Especially when your record was 3-15. 

But this guy went back to coach in college, coached DB’s at Stanford for three years, got hired by the 49ers as a DB’s coach, was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1983, then was named head coach of the 49ers in 1989. 

13 years after being fired by a freakin’ Ivy League school, George Seifert won the Super Bowl as head coach of the 49ers. Never give up on your dreams.

12) After practice the other day, Steelers’ WR Antonio Brown caught 129 passes on the JUGS machine, the last 50 with a defender trapping one arm so he had to catch balls one-handed. 

Much like Steph Curry shooting 3’s, you become great at your craft by working at it.

11) George Kottaras played seven years in the major leagues, caught 246 games; I remember him best from helping the A’s win their division in 2012. 

Kottaras is the last catcher to hit for the cycle, which he did for Milwaukee in 2011. His triple that night was one of only three career triples that he hit. 

10) Speaking of cycles, 2B Aaron Hill hit for the cycle twice in 12 days for Arizona in 2012; Hill hit .266 in a 13-year career, but he did hit over .300 in both 2011, 2012. Hitting for the cycle twice in 12 days is a hell of an accomplishment. 

9) Alex, I’d like Stupid Decisions for $100, please:

Back in 1979, when the Big East was founded as a basketball-only league, two teams turned the new league down; Holy Cross and Rutgers. Whoops. 

Holy Cross wound up joining the Patriot League, had a nice run with Ralph Willard as coach 12-15 years ago, but they could’ve been in the freakin’ Big East!!! 

Colleges use sports as a way to raise big money for the entire school, via wealthy boosters; if Holy Cross had been just a decent Big East team (their program was very good in the late 70’s), they’d probably be D-I in football now, too. One decision sent their school in a totally different direction. 

8) Remind me not to ask Jalen Ramsey of the Jaguars for help evaluating NFL QB’s for fantasy football. His analysis this week of both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady: “Doesn’t suck”

7) Marlins’ pitcher Jose Ureña got a six-game suspension for drilling Ronald Acuña in the first inning Wednesday; lot of outraged people on Twitter about the incident.

Our society has gotten very soft; when I was a little kid, stuff like that was normal. Hitters knew how to protect themselves, how to get out of the way. 

Last time a starting pitcher hit his first batter of the game and got ejected: John Lackey on May 16, 2009, when he drilled Ian Kinsler after Kinsler had homered twice the day before. 

Don Drysdale hit 154 batters in his Hall of Fame career, one because he was told to walk him intentionally, so he plunked him with the first pitch instead, to save time. 

6) Kid named Trey Quinn is a WR who played for SMU; he was the last player taken in the NFL Draft last spring, but has had a strong training camp and may make the Redskins’ squad. 

Ten years ago. Quinn threw a no-hitter in the Little League World Series; his team from St Charles, LA lost the US Championship game, finished 4th in the World Series. 

5) What was up in Green Bay Thursday? 9:35 left in 3rd quarter, Packers led Pittsburgh 48-22; they went on to win, 51-34. A wide receiver named Kumerow caught a long TD pass, wound up with three catches for 114 yards; he played college ball at Wisconsin-Whitewater, a long way from Lambeau Field. 

4) Oakland pitcher Brett Anderson’s last two home starts:
— A 1-0 win over Detroit in 13 innings
— A 2-0 loss to Seattle in 12 innings. 

3) When I watch the Padres play late at night on the Extra Innings package, I wish they’d go back to their brown/gold uniforms that they wore when they first came into the major leagues. 

San Diego’s best player back then was a first baseman named Nate Colbert; boy could he hit. On August 1, 1972, Colbert hit five homers, knocked in 12 runs in a doubleheader in Atlanta. 

Colbert hit 38 homers that year, knocked in 111 runs; he wound up with 173 career homers, and one of the best single days in baseball history. 

2) Mets beat Philly 24-4 in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday; teams can bring up a 26th player for twinbills, so it should be illegal for them to use a position player to pitch in a doubleheader. Teams have enough pitchers; they just coddle them so much, it is ridiculous. 

More and more, teams are openly giving up in games, letting position players pitch, letting the regular pitchers stick to their normal schedules. God forbid anyone’s feelings get hurt. 

1) People bet on the Little League World Series; I wish I was making that up.

Thursday, a kid from Puerto Rico was pitching a no-hitter in the last inning, leading 2-0, when his manager took him out— he had thrown 88 pitches, and was untouchable. But he was taken out of the game. 

I was watching the game in a bar with no sound, so I’m assuming the guy removed his pitcher because if he hit 90 pitches, he was done pitching for several days.

What a gamble, and a losing one. The reliever quickly squandered the lead, and the Asian team won 3-2 in nine innings.

Good theater, but lot of stress for 11-13 year old kids. And the people who bet on them.