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

13) Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies for 13 years, $330M, which works out to $156,695.16 per game, for every game the Phillies play thru 2031. All guaranteed money. 

Keep in mind the National League will probably have the DH starting in 2022, so as Harper gets older, he can take “days off” but still have his bat in the lineup. 

California’s state income tax, at its highest level is over 12%, Pennsylvania has a flat 3% income tax, which may help explain this decision. Giants made a 12-year, $310 million offer, which was actually a decent amount less than the Phillies’ offer, after taxes. 

12) MLB Network was showing spring training games Thursday afternoon, but the games quickly got the hook once Harper’s signing was announced. Not sure I needed to hear four hours of people discussing Harper signing his contract. I don’t give a rat’s ass about anything Bob Costas says. 

If you play fantasy baseball, not the best day to have Nick Williams on your team, like I do. The 25-year old OF loses his starting job now that Harper is in Philly. 

Funny thing, Phillies played split squad games Thursday, and Williams wasn’t in either game, which at 1pm struck me as odd. At 3:00, it made a lot more sense. 

Please trade Nick Williams!!!!! (Baltimore, Miami, Arizona???)

11) Jason Witten came out of retirement and will play for the Cowboys again next season, which opens up a spot in ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth.

10) Tommy John missed the 1975 season after he had the original “Tommy John surgery” on his elbow. Here are his career stats, before and after the surgery:

Before: 12 years, 124-106. 318 starts, one All-Star Game
After: 14 years, 164-125, 382 starts, three All-Star Games

He pitched in the major leagues until he was 46 years old. 

9) Kyler Murray made a lot of money at the NFL Combine Thursday, when he was measured at just over 5-10, and weighed in at 207 pounds. Pretty much the same size as Russell Wilson. he is going to be a top-10 draft pick in April.

8) Raiders are now expected to play home games in Oakland next season, with the plan being to move into their new dome in Las Vegas in 2020. 

7) Upsets of the night in college basketball:
— California (+13.5) 76, Washington 73
— North Dakota (+9.5) 88, Fort Wayne 82
— Florida Atlantic (+9) 60, North Texas
— Elon (+7.5) 73, James Madison 58
— Marshall (+7) 90, Louisiana Tech 79
— San Diego (+6) 91, San Francisco 90 OT
— Xavier (+5) 84, St John’s 73

6) If you live in the Albany area, the 3rd-oldest coin/jewelry store in America is on Wolf Road in Colonie, kind of near Ted’s Fish Fry. Ferris Coin & Jewelry is a pretty cool place; they’ve been in business since 1930. I have some old $2 bills that I thought might be valuable (they’re not), but the people in there were very nice and they answered all my questions. 

5) Actor Mahershala Ali, who won an Academy Award for the movie Green Book last weekend, played basketball in college at Saint Mary’s; he averaged 7 points a game as a senior, back when he was known as Ali Gilmore.

4) Something to think about two weeks from now: over last four years, Kentucky is 12-0 in the SEC basketball tournament, with nine wins by 10+ points. 

In the four tournament finals, Wildcats started 19 different players. Isaiah Briscoe was only guy to start in two of them. 

3) Johnny Manziel got kicked out of the CFL; they didn’t say why. Manziel had been playing for the Montreal Alouettes, who are coached by former Packers’ coach Mike Sherman. Sherman’s son-in-law is Zac Taylor, the Cincinnati Bengals’ new coach.

2) Kid on Xavier made a foul line jumper against St John’s last night, and it dawned on me; you almost never see that shot taken anymore. Everything is layups and 3’s; mid-range jumpers are frowned upon by the analytics people. 

1) Indiana University (PA) started the last week of the regular season ranked No. 2 in the country in Division II, but when they showed up at Edinboro State for their game Wednesday, they realized they had made the 100+-mile trip without an important thing- their uniforms. 

I put myself thru college as student manager of a D-III basketball team; I shudder to think of the grief their manager(s) took for this mistake. IUP won 87-59, much to the manager’(s) relief, but guaranteed they’ll be obsessive about not forgetting things the rest of the season. 

Indiana, PA by the way, is the Christmas Tree Capital of the World; when I was in college, we played in their Christmas tournament, the Christmas Tree Classic. Next town over from Indiana is Punxatawney, where the ground hog sees (or doesn’t see) his shadow every February 2.

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

13) Here’s a question for us to consider; if Zion Williamson doesn’t play anymore this season. where do you seed Duke in the NCAA’s? How good are the Blue Devils without him? 

I don’t have an answer to this, other than if he is indeed out for the year, Duke won’t say so before Selection Sunday, because that would diminish their seeding, maybe a couple of lines?  

12) Virginia Tech 77, Duke 72— There is a kid on Duke who has missed 28 3-pointers in a row, and his 3-point %age (26.5%) is still better than Duke’s PG, Tre Jones (24.6%). Blue Devils are shooting 29.6% on the arc in conference games, 30.7% for the season. 

11) Philadelphia Eagles are not franchise-tagging QB Nick Foles; he will be become a free agent, and I’m guessing a really highly sought-after one. 

10) Villanova 67, Marquette 61— Two best teams in Big East hooked up here; chances are they’ll meet again on March 16, in Big East tournament final. Kid named Samuels on Villanova was averaging four points a game; he had 29 points in this one. 

9) Tennessee 73, Ole Miss 71— Vols are tied with Kentucky/LSU atop the SEC; they host the Wildcats in Knoxville Saturday. 

8) Baylor 84, Texas 83 OT— Horrific loss for Longhorns, who led by 19 with 14:56 left to play; leading 83-82, they turned ball over on an inbounds play with 0:07 left. Not good. 

7) Trailblazers 97, Celtics 92— Boston is 1-8 vs spread if they played the night before. 

6) West Virginia 104, TCU 96, 3OT— These teams battled it out for 55:00 Tuesday night and the Horned Frogs went home with a costly loss. West Virginia is having a lousy season but Derek Culver is developing into a pretty good player- he had 22 points, 21 rebounds in this game. 

5) Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery got suspended for two games after he berated a ref after the Hawkeyes’ 90-70 loss at Ohio State Tuesday. If you’re going to berate a ref and curse him out multiple times, better not to do it where media people can hear you. 

4) Was wondering about this today so I looked it up; Wayne Gretzky is the NHL’s all-time leader in empty net goals, with 56. 

Marion Hossa is 2nd on this list, with 40, followed by Mario Lemieux and Alex Ovechkin, with 33 each.

3) Heat 126, Warriors 125— Dwyane Wade banked in the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer after his first shot was blocked. Miami is a half-game out of the last playoff spot in the East.

2) On Tuesday, Mets’ OF Brandon Nimmo ate undercooked chicken that he cooked himself and got sick- the team sent him home from their game on Wednesday. Mets’ plan to teach him how to cook. Ordering out would also seem to be a good idea. 

Oy. 

1) 80-year old Bobby Knoop retired this week as a coach/instructor with the Angels; he was in baseball for 53 years, playing nine years in the major leagues, mostly in Anaheim. He made one All-Star Game and won three Golden Gloves.

Why bring this up? Because when I was a kid playing in Little League, a long, long time ago, I used a baseball glove signed by Bobby Knoop. I sucked at baseball, but wasn’t a bad fielder at least, and that glove was awesome. So thank you Bobby Knoop, and enjoy your retirement!!! 

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

13) Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers is a classy guy; with 0:09.4 left in the Clippers’ win over Dallas late Monday night, Rivers grabs the PA mike at Staples Center and asks the crowd to thank Dirk Nowitzki for his great career- that was Dirk’s last game against the Clippers at Staples. The crowd responded and gave him a warm ovation. Very cool moment. 

12) NBA has a problem; Pelicans lost 111-110 at home to Philly Monday night, but their star did not play in the 4th quarter. New Orleans is only playing Anthony Davis so the league doesn’t fine them, but they’ve capped his minutes and he often doesn’t play in the 4th quarter. 

If Davis sits the whole 4th quarter in a one-point game, it is obvious they’re not trying to win. Why would you pay to see a New Orleans home game if they’re not trying to win?

11) Nolan Arenado inked an 8-year, $260M extension with the Colorado Rockies, which is great news for Colorado fans and people who have Arenado on their fantasy team. 

10) MLB Network should have a weekly window to show a game from the Japanese leagues; you don’t need announcers over there, just good graphics and an analyst in the MLB Network studio talking us through the game. Would be interesting to see how good the play is in Japan.

9) Headline in a newspaper last week: “Arizona psychic hit by a car, says he never saw it coming” Ummm, this is not America’s finest psychic.

8) Timberwolves’ star Karl-Anthony Towns dodged a bullet over the weekend after a semi truck rear-ended the car he and the Wolves’ assistant strength coach were riding in. Towns had played in 303 consecutive games before that- he returned to the lineup Tuesday and scored 34 points with 21 rebounds in Minnesota’s win over the Kings.

7) Great news for the LA Rams; LT Andrew Whitworth will return in 2019, for his 14th season in the NFL. Signing Whitworth as a free agent two years ago is a huge reason why the Rams have been so good under Sean McVay. 

6) Two of my favorite players to watch in the NBA: Montrezl Harrell of the Clippers and Stephen Adams of the Thunder. Not the most skilled players, but they play so hard and give great effort- they help their teams win. 

5) NHL’s Colorado Avalanche is 1-11 in OT/SO this season, 0-4 this month. Colorado’s only OT win this season was November 18, 4-3 over Anaheim. 

4) Good idea by the NBA; the best players in the G-League will join top college prospects at the NBA Combine every spring. Lets face it, lot of the best guys in the G-League should probably still be playing in college anyway.

3) Alabama and Clemson each have 11 players at the NFL Scouting Combine this week; schools like Tennessee, Arizona and Purdue don’t have any.

2) Eight members of the Portland Trailblazers were trapped in an elevator Tuesday for a half hour at their team hotel in Boston. Everyone eventually got out unscathed. 

1) Conference tournaments start Monday, when the Atlantic Sun tourney starts; on Tuesday, the Patriot, Big South and Horizon events kick off. Two fun weeks every year, heading into Selection Sunday, and then two more weeks of fun. 

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

13) John S. Middleton owns 48% of the Philadelphia Phillies; he went to college at Amherst and then Harvard Business School, so he is a very smart human. 

His family owned a retail tobacco shop in Philadelphia that evolved into a manufacturer and marketer of pipe tobacco and cigars; Middleton wound up selling the company for $2.9B, thats billion, with a B. 

12) Middleton flew to Las Vegas this past weekend to try and help recruit Bryce Harper to play for the Phillies. Harper still hasn’t decided; spring training has been going on for a week. 

If I’m Mr Middleton, I tell Harper and his scumweasel agent; enough already. You have one more hour to decide, either sign with us or we move on. Begging someone to take $300M isn’t cool. Sign on the dotted line or we’ll go in a different direction. 

Regular season starts in 30 days; time to make a decision. 

11) A 71-year old man in California was convicted of a double murder 40 years ago, but it turns out the guy didn’t do it, so he was released from prison in 2017, and was recently awarded $21M in a settlement with the city of Simi Valley. 

What do you if you’ve been in jail for the last 40 years and all of a sudden you’re not only free, but rich as hell? Would make an interesting movie. 

10) For 11 months out of 12, weekday television completely sucks; ESPN has hired so many nitwit talking heads it is difficult to keep them all straight. There is a lot of political talk on TV but that pretty much makes me want to puke. So during the day, it is either movies or music. 

Except for the next month, when preseason baseball games are on TV every day, and that is a great thing. Who cares that the games don’t matter? It is live baseball; nothing wrong with that. 

9) Saw Tim Tebow play baseball for first time over the weekend; he looked decent as a hitter. a lefty, he lined out to left one time, and then he hit a pretty good drive to left-center, but the CF for Houston made a great diving catch, saving a double or a triple. Sounds like he will start this season at AAA Syracuse; will be interesting to follow. 

8) Giants-Cubs spring training game this weekend drew 9,277 fans in Scottsdale; spring training has become very popular. One of these years I may have to venture out to the desert to see some baseball. I’m guessing A’s spring training games don’t draw 9,000+. 

7) This season is the Cincinnati Reds’ 150th anniversary; to celebrate, the Reds will wear fifteen different throwback uniforms. Thats right, 15 different sets of uniforms. Hopefully they’re giving their equipment guys a bonus for keeping all of that straight. 

6) Looking ahead to conference tournament play in a couple weeks; Iona is 16-2 in its last 18 MAAC tournament games. Gonzaga has won its last 17 WCC tournament games; last time the Zags didn’t win the WCC tournament was in 2012, when they lost to Saint Mary’s. 

5) Nets 101, Spurs 85— San Antonio has now lost seven of its last eight games; last time they missed the playoffs was 1996-97, the season Gregg Popovich replaced Bob Hill as head coach. Right now, San Antonio is 33-29, but seem headed in the wrong direction- if the season ended today, they’d be the #8 seed in the West. 

4) It was so windy in beautiful upstate New York Monday, I fully expected to see the Wicked Witch of the West riding past my house on her bicycle, with a bunch of monkeys flying above (obscure movie reference— the Wizard of Oz). Very cold, but mercifully, no damage around my house and even better, no snow. 

3) In the AAF, there are no kickoffs; if you want to “onside kick”, you have a 4th-and-12 on your own 28-yard line, and the game progresses from there. Happened for the first time this past week, and the team converted the first down, so they kept the ball. 

2) Stumbled across one of my favorite movies this weekend; Searching for Bobby Fischer, a movie about a little kid who is a chess prodigy, starring Joe Mantegna as the kid’s father and Ben Kingsley/Lawrence Fishburne as the kid’s chess mentors. 

If you ever get a chance to see this movie, it is worth your time. 

1) Thanks to WeTV for running a Law and Order marathon every Sunday night; it came in especially handy after the Super Bowl, when I didn’t exactly feel like watching SportsCenter that night. One of the best TV shows ever made, Law and Order was on for 20 years; 456 episodes. 

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

13) Golfer Dustin Johnson won the WGC-Mexico Championship Sunday, the 20th PGA Tour victory of his career. Read something surprising about Johnson this weekend; he is apparently “a blackjack savant” who likes to play five hands at a time, and instantly knows the odds of each hand as they’re dealt, which makes him like Alan in The Hangover movies. Who knew? 

12) How come none of the AAF teams have white jerseys? All eight teams wear the same jerseys every week. Not sure thats a great idea. 

11) Michigan State 77, Michigan 70— Spartans’ win in Ann Arbor without two injured starters? Three MSU starters played 37:00+; quite an effort. 

10) Cincinnati 64, UConn 60— Bearcats led 50-35 with 9:05 left, gave up a 16-0 run, then pulled the game out late, small consolation if had Cincy, -6. 

9) Xavier 66, Villanova 54— Wildcats lost four straight road games for first time since 2012; they looked like a tired team in this game. 

8) Rutgers 68, Minnesota 64— Horrendous loss for the sliding Gophers, who’ve lost six of their last seven games. Their #244 non-conference schedule ain’t going to help on Selection Sunday. 

7) UNC-Greensboro 60, East Tennessee State 59— These teams are likely to meet again in SoCon semi-finals. This is an underrated league with four quality teams this season. 

6) Siena 67, Marist 55— First-year coach Jamion Christian has the Saints at 15-14, 10-6 in a weak MAAC- they’ve won six of their last eight games, with experience team #247 that is playing 2nd-slowest tempo in country. Solid coaching job, cleaning up the mess of a program that was 8-24 last year, 4-14 in conference. 

5) UCF 95, SMU 48— Golden Knights’ 7-6 center Tacko Fall is fluent in four languages and is learning a fifth one. He had 23 points, 20 rebounds in this game. 

4) Tucker Barnhart batted leadoff for the Reds the other day; don’t see lot of catchers batting leadoff, even if it is in spring training.

3) AAF trivia: Salt Lake City Stallions became first team in league history to win SU as an underdog when they upset the Arizona Hotshots Saturday.

2) Houston Astros have an odd spring training schedule; they play the Mets the next three Mondays, the Marlins the next three Thursdays and St Louis the next three Fridays.

1) Stat Comp of the Day:
Someone posted this on Twitter Saturday. Player A is Stephen Strasburg’s career stats. Any guesses on which Hall of Famer is Player B? 

Player A: 1,229.2 IP, 94-52 W-L record, 2.91 FIP, 129 ERA+

Player B: 1,221.1 IP, 94-46 W-L record, 2.81 FIP, 122 ERA+

Player B is George Herman (Babe) Ruth, who I’m told was a pretty good hitter, too.

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

13) Ole Miss is having a surprisingly good basketball season under first-year coach Kermit Davis; they were 18-8, 8-5 in the SEC heading into Saturday’s game with a Georgia team that had covered only one of its six SEC road games. Rebels seemed like a good bet at -11. 

Except for this: during the day Saturday, about a mile from Ole Miss’ new arena, there was a pro-Confederate rally going on at Oxford Square. This is 2019, and there was a pro-Confederate rally going on in broad daylight. Awesome. 

During the national anthem before the basketball game, eight Rebels took a knee to protest this rally going on. Captain Obvious reports that the Ole Miss team was distracted during this game; they blew a 13-point lead, took the lead again, and wound up hanging on for a 72-71 win. 

Moral to story: I’d be wary of wagering on Ole Miss in home games going forward; hard to believe this issue is gong away anytime soon. It is one thing to take a knee in San Francisc0; whole ‘nother thing to do it in Oxford, Mississippi. 

Feel bad for coach Davis; this is a mess that has nothing to do with him, but it ain’t going to be easy to clean up, no matter what the outcome is. Good luck with your recruiting when stuff like that is going on in your town. 

12) 12-2pm:
— Virginia 64, Louisville 52- In first half, Cardinals were 10-16 on arc, 1-9 inside arc; in second half, Louisville was 2-17 on arc, 4-13 inside arc- they were outscored  37-15.
— LSU 82, Tennessee 80, OT— Tigers’ PG Tremont Waters (illness) sat this game out; refs in this game went to replay monitor constantly, Dick Vitale was, ummm….not happy about it.
— Oklahoma 69, Texas 67— Sooners (-4) led by 17 early in second half. 

11) 2-4pm:
— TCU 75, Iowa State 72— Cyclones lost three of last four games; they’re in a funk.
— UMass 80, St Joe’s 79— Visiting Hawks led by 17 at the half.
— Kentucky 80, Auburn 53— Tigers started this season 11-2, but they’re 2-5 on SEC road. Disappointing for a team that is in top 40 in country in experience. 

10) 4-6pm:
— North Carolina 77, Florida State 59— This snaps Seminoles’ 8-game win streak; not sure how good FSU is- they did beat LSU and Purdue in November.
— Dayton 70, Saint Louis 62— Flyers are 18-9, 10-4 in A-14; they’re in 3rd place right now. Top four in A-14 will have an easier path in A-14 tournament.
— Utah State 78, Boise State 71 OT— Big win for Aggies, whose next two games are San Diego State/Nevada. Need to at least split that pair to stay on/near bubble. 

9) 6-8pm:
— Duke 75, Syracuse 65— Orangemen led by 5 at half, but were 5-23 on the arc.
— Oregon State 67, USC 62— Beavers go 3-1 against the LA schools this season.
— South Dakota State 94, South Dakota 89— Jackrabbits were down 11 at the half. 

8) 8-10pm
— Texas Tech 91, Kansas 62— This game was 45-20 at the half. Wow.
— St John’s 78, Seton Hall 70— Red Storm led this game 28-5 out of the gate.
— Memphis 88, Wichita State 85— Wichita led this game by 16 early, then Memphis went on a great run, then Shockers tied it, but Tigers held on late. #3 on Memphis will play in the NBA soon; #3 on Wichita State is 3-37 on the arc this year. 3 for bleeping 37.

7) 10pm-midnight:
— UCLA 90, Oregon 83— Ducks led by 19 early in the second half, second time this season they blew a huge lead to the Bruins.
— Wisconsin 69, Northwestern 64— Badgers outscored Northwestern 11-5 over final 4:05.
— San Diego State 60, UNLV 59— Ugly last minute; Rebels missed three of their last five foul shots. UNLV rallied back from down 12, but couldn’t finish the job. 

6) Upsets of the Day:
— Cleveland State (+16) 83, Northern Kentucky 77
— James Madison (+14.5) 104, Hofstra 99 OT
— Santa Clara (+7) 68, San Francisco 65
— Cal Poly (+7) 88, Hawai’i 80
— FIU (+6) 79, Florida Atlantic 76
— Harvard (+6) 88, Yale 86
— UAB (+5.5) 76, Southern Miss 72 OT
— Central Michigan (+5.5) 64, Ball State 57
— Duquesne (+5.5) 79, George Mason 78
— Texas A&M (+5.5) 87, Arkansas 80

5) Baylor 82, West Virginia 75— Mountaineers called a timeout down 1 with 2:06 left; when they inbounded the ball after the timeout, they had six players on the court- not good. 

Baylor outscored WVU 16-5 over the last 2:50 of the game; they won despite Makai Mason going 0-7 from floor. In Mason’s last four games, he is 5-30 from the floor, with two games missed mixed in during that time. Have to assume that Mason’s toe injury is still bothering him. 

4) NHL’s Rangers beat New Jersey 5-2 during the afternoon in Madison Square Garden, then at night, St John’s played Seton Hall. Wonder how many people went to both games? 

3) One of my pet peeves when I watch college basketball is play-by-play announcers who think they’re analysts too; there are some guys who never shut up. The play-by-play guy should be the point guard, who sets up the analyst (the basketball expert) to show his expertise.

2) Oregon State 67, USC 62— Beavers were 15-19 on the foul line, USC was 0-6. At home. In Thursday’s loss at UCLA, OSU was 1-3 on the line, UCLA 15-28. Go figure. 

1) Bulls 126, Celtics 116— Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen are first pair of Bulls teammates with 35+ points in the same game since Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen on November 20, 1996.

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

13) Wrestling icon Ric Flair had a surprise 70th birthday thrown for him in Atlanta last night; guests included Charles Barkley, Todd Gurley, Evander Holyfield, Dennis Rodman and Brad Nessler, as well as the expected stars from the world of pro wrestling. Flair has overcome some physical issues in the last year. Great to see that he is doing well now.  

12) UCLA 68, Oregon State 67— I had no dog in this fight Thursday night, but the boxscore made me laugh. I’m guessing Beavers’ coach Wayne Tinkle wasn’t amused: 

Foul shots: Oregon State 1-3, UCLA 16-28. In a one-point game.

11) Texas Longhorns have suspended their leading scorer, Kerwin Roach, indefinitely. The senior guard is averaging 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

10) Congrats to Belmont coach Rick Byrd, who won his 800th career game Thursday night when his Bruins spanked Eastern Illinois 99-58. 

9) North Carolina’s win over Duke Wednesday had a Nielsen-reported audience of 4,343,000 viewers, making it the most-viewed weeknight college hoop game in ESPN’s history. 

8) Zion Williamson isn’t expected to play Saturday night in Syracuse. 

7) XFL starts play next spring; they’re trying to create interest by dragging out their announcements of who will be coaching in which cities. 

Bob Stoops is going to coach the Dallas team; Pep Hamilton the Washington DC team, and now comes word that former Seahawks QB Jim Zorn will coach the Seattle team. Zorn coached the Redskins for two years, in 2008-09. 

6) Utility guy Marwin Gonzalez signed with the Minnesota Twins on a two-year, $21M deal. 

5) Big week in San Diego; Manny Machado, the Aztecs beat Nevada and now this. Santa Clara grad transfer KJ Feagin cancelled all his other visits and has committed to San Diego State. Good get for Brian Dutcher. 

4) Over the length of his 10-year contract, Manny Machado will pay around $39.9M in income taxes to the state of California, $158M total in federal, state and payroll taxes.

3) Iowa men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin was suspended for the rest of the Hawkeyes’ season after referring to Maryland’s Bruno Fernando as “King Kong” during Tuesday’s game. 

Fernando, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the game, was born in Angola, a Southern African nation bordering the Atlantic Ocean. 

2) Remember when the Bears missed the field goal at end of their playoff loss to the Eagles? When the new league year starts next month, Chicago will cut that kicker, Cody Parkey. 

1) Friday would’ve been my father’s 93rd birthday; he passed away in May of 2015, leaving behind the perfect example of how to be a good person.

Happy birthday, dad. We miss you. 

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

13) Zion Williamson supposedly has a Grade 1 sprained knee; no one is saying how long he is out for. “Day-to-day” is the official word; seemed to me Wednesday that his injury wasn’t a minor thing. Hope the young man does what is best for him; he has a lot of money sitting on the table, waiting for him to grab it this spring/summer. 

Then there is the other side of the coin…….

Kenyon Martin played college ball at Cincinnati; he was the #1 pick in the 2000 NBA draft. Martin broke his leg in the C-USA tournament his senior season, a situation not unlike Williamson’s Wednesday. 

Martin went on to earn $113,035,975 in his NBA career, so most injuries do heal.

12) Bucks 98, Celtics 97— Is Milwaukee the quietest 44-14 team ever? 

11) Cavaliers 111, Suns 98— Phoenix and the Knicks both have 11 wins; they play each other March 6. Will either team win a game before then? 

10) Pittsburgh Steelers let star RB Le’Veon Bell walk; he will be a free agent when the new NFL year starts next month. Looks like Steelers will be without Bell and Antonio Brown, which means a much different offensive look for them next fall.

9) Western Kentucky is getting coach Rick Stansbury back this weekend; he had back surgery last weekend and has missed the last four games. 

8) Steve Stricker will be the captain of the American team the next time they hold the Ryder Cup; he will be the first American captain ever who hasn’t won a major tournament. 

7) Upsets of the night in college hoop:
— SIU-Edwardsville (+6.5) 85, Tennessee State 84
— UL-Monroe (+5.5) 63, Texas State 60
— San Francisco (+4) 77, BYU 71

6) Saw an old film clip today of the great QB Sonny Jurgensen back when he was playing for the Eagles in the early 60’s; while being rushed, he throws a pass behind his back, and completes it to a running back in the left flat. 

Apparently it was an exhibition game in 1961 against the college all-stars; back then, the NFL champs played the college all-stars in the first exhibition game the next summer. Jurgensen was a really good QB and also a bit of a character. 

5) Statistic I never would’ve guessed; who has scored the most runs this decade? How about Ian Kinsler, with 851. I would’ve sat here for an hour and not come up with that one. 

4) Arena Football League has expanded to six teams for this season, adding Atlantic City and Columbus, OH to the league, joining Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore and Albany. 

3) AA Eastern League is moving to a split-season format, meaning the first/second half champs will meet in the playoffs. You wonder if the major leagues will consider something like that down the road someday, to re-boot interest in losing teams during the summer. 

2) In case you were wondering, before the All-Star break, James Harden dribbled the ball 29,055 times, more than anyone else in the NBA. 

1) Every time it snows here in beautiful upstate New York, I price condos in Las Vegas, but this week, it has snowed twice in Las Vegas, with the snow Wednesday night enough that there was a chance schools would be closed on Thursday. Their last school closing for snow was in 2008.

In case you were wondering, the city of Las Vegas owns two snow plows. Two. 

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

13) Joel Embiid played 23:00 in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game; now comes news that Embiid will miss the next week with a sore left knee. No bueno. 

Embiid missed all of the first two seasons of his career because of injuries, and then he missed 51 games in his third year. This is his fifth year. 

Over this season and the next four years, Philadelphia will pay Embiid $146M; playing for the 76ers is more important than playing in the damn All-Star Game. 

12) Will the Big East get more than two teams in the NCAA’s? 

As of Wednesday morning. Villanova/Marquette are locks for the tournament, but no one else in the league is ranked in KenPom’s top 50. 

Joe Lunardi has St John’s as a 9-seed, Seton Hall as a 10-seed, so if they don’t stumble in the next three weeks, they’ll probably to get in, because nationally, this is a down year for quality teams. There will be a few teams in the NCAA’s this year that aren’t really that good. 

Big East had six teams in NCAA’s last year, seven the year before, so even if St John’s/Seton Hall both get in the field of 68, it is a down year for the league.

11) Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele is the only player in the country who leads his team in scoring, but hasn’t started one game this season.

10) Georgetown 85, Villanova 73— Wildcats lost their third straight road games, as Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas improve to 16-10, 6-7 in Big East. 

9) Mississippi State 68, Georgia 67— Georgia fan threw a small stuffed bulldog on the court while Miss State was shooting a foul shot with 0:00.5 left and game tied. Kid missed the first of two foul shots, but a technical foul was called, he made the second one, then missed the third foul shot on purpose as MSU escapes Athens with a road win. 

8) Upsets of the Night:
— Air Force (+14.5) 64, Fresno State 61
— North Carolina (+9) 88, Duke 72
— San Diego State (+8.5) 65, Nevada 57
— Xavier (+6.5) 70, Seton Hall 69
— Northern Iowa (+6) 63, Missouri State 43
— Georgetown (+5.5) 85, Villanova 73
— Florida (+5.5) 82, LSU 77, OT

7) Kentucky’s big man Reid Travis sprained his knee Tuesday night, is expected to be out until the SEC tournament, which starts in three weeks. 

6) Watching the first two weeks of the AAF, it seems like it might become a throwback league, a throwback to a time where teams ran the ball a lot instead of passing it all the time. 

Why? Because the quality of QB’s in the AAF ain’t that good. When Mike Martz reverts to a run-based attack, and then it works, you realize that this league might be a little different, not better or worse than expected, just different. More like old-school football.

5) Joe Gibbs has had an underrated career, parlaying being a great NFL coach with his tremendous success as a NASCAR owner. Very unique combination.

4) Franklin Pierce is the only first-term American President who had been elected president and then was denied re-nomination four years later; four other Presidents didn’t win their party’s nomination in the next election either, but all four of those guys became president because their predecessor passed away.

3) At halftime of the Villanova-Georgetown game last night, FOX’s Gus Johnson gave a very nice tribute to a young man who passed away in a car accident recently. The man’s father is the stat guy on FOX’s broadcasts lot of the time. Johnson fought back tears as he spoke

2) North Carolina 88, Duke 72— Zion Williamson played 33 seconds in this game, hurt his knee and never returned. His foot went right thru his sneaker; never saw that before.

If you like to bet futures, this could change EVERYTHING; if Williamson is done for the year, Duke is in the ashcan as far as a national title goes- more than twice as much money has been bet on the Blue Devils  to win the national title as has been wagered on any other team. 

1) For some reason, betting over/unders on the first period of NHL games has become a hot topic in some corners of Twitter. Blackhawks are 47-13 over in the first period; Dallas Stars are 41-18 under. You get a trend that goes 47-13, and people get interested. 

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

13) Manny Machado signs on with the Padres for 10 years, $300M; interesting move. 

12) Las Vegas dropped San Diego from 80-1 to 50-1 to win the World Series. Before you book a flight to the desert to bet on the Padres, here are their starting pitchers:

— Joey Lucchesi
— Robbie Erlin
— Bryan Mitchell
— Eric Lauer
— Luis Perdomo

Padres got lot more interesting Tuesday; don’t think they became a playoff team. 

11) From Christopher Kamka, a great researcher:
Bruce Bochy:
– has the most career home runs of any MLB player born in France (26)
– is the only player to hit a walk-off homer off of Nolan Ryan (July 1, 1985)

10) Purdue 48, Indiana 46— A fierce struggle, an ugly, hard-fought game where the better team won on the road. Carsen Edwards is Purdue’s best player but he was awful: 4-24 from floor, 0-10 on arc— Boilermakers won anyway. 

9) Rick Pitino’s pro team in Greece won the Greek Cup tournament over the weekend; one of the highlights of this spring will be if a college team (UCLA, UNLV?) tries to hire him, to revive their struggling program. Will take a college president who is secure in his job, since Pitino comes with some off-court baggage.

There are rumors out in the desert that Pitino could be coaching the Rebels next year. 

8) I’m disappointed that Phillies’ P Aaron Nola isn’t from New Orleans, but he is from Baton Rouge, so same state at least.

7) SouthPoint sportsbook in Las Vegas has written seven tickets on the St Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup, at 300-1 odds. Right now, the Blues are having an unexpectedly good season and are only 12-1 to win the Cup. 

6) Monday night, at the Columbus-Tampa Bay NHL game, Pierre McGuire was reporting for NBC Sports Network, in a booth right at center-ice. 

The pucks flies off the ice, goes about three inches in front of McGuire’s face (he wears glasses), and smashes into a camera that captured the whole thing. Had to be pretty scary.

5) Former Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis is doing AAF games on TV; he isn’t bad. I think more ex-coaches should be TV game analysts; they’ve thought the game through more than ex-players. 

4) Right now, the New York Jets have only 39 players under contract for next year, fewest in NFL- they have over $100M available in salary cap space. 

3) Sean McDermott has been coach of the Buffalo Bills for two years, but the Bills have only five players left under contract who were Bills before McDermott got there. 

2) Dayton 74, Davidson 73— Flyers blew a 19-point lead, but hit a foul shot with 0:02.2 left for the win. Second straight one-point game for Dayton. 

1) RIP Don Newcombe, 92, who passed away Tuesday. Newcombe pitched in the major leagues for 12 years, mostly for the Brooklyn Dodgers; he also pitched for the Reds and Indians— his record was 149-90, with a career-best 27-7 in 1956.

At the end of his career, Newcombe went over and played outfield in Japan for a year; he was that good a hitter. He hit .273 in the major leagues, in 878 career at-bats. RIP, sir. 

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

13) NBA should have an event in the summer, just after the Summer League in Las Vegas; a 32-player 1-on-1 tournament, with money going towards charities that each player chooses to represent. Do you know how popular this would be? 

They had a 1-on-1 tournament back in the 70’s, shown at halftime of games on CBS, until Julius Erving’s agent killed it but not letting his client play. 

TV ratings would be huge for this, and a ton of money could be raised for charity. 

12) The tremendous basketball movie Blue Chips is 25 years old this week; Nick Nolte plays a college basketball coach who breaks NCAA rules to bring in great players who will restore his team to excellence. Two of the players he recruited were played by Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway. 

The climactic game scenes were between Nolte’s Western University Dolphins and Indiana, coached by Bob Knight; they were filmed at Frankfort HS in Indiana. 

Know what Frankfort HS’s mascot is? The Hot Dogs!!!! Seriously, the Frankfort Hot Dogs. 

11) Indiana’s point guard in Blue Chips? Current Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley. 

10) Who would you consider to be the best shooter ever? Not player, just shooter. 

Steph Curry? Reggie Miller? Rick Barry? Larry Bird? Interesting debate.

9) When you see the sons of three former NBA players on the same college team, you’ve got a pretty good idea that this team’s coach is very good at his job. 

Cal-Irvine has the sons of Doc Rivers, Caron Butler and Christian Welp, which speaks volumes that the Anteaters’ coach, Russell Turner, is an excellent coach. 

8) Giannis Antetokounmpo was the 15th player taken in the 2013 NBA Draft. Here are some players who were taken ahead of him that year:
1st— Anthony Bennett, Cleveland
4th— Cody Zeller, Charlotte
5th— Alex Len, Phoenix
14th— Shabazz Muhammad, Utah (traded to Minnesota)

7) There have been 87 college basketball coaches who faced AP #1 ranked teams at least 7 times. John Calipari (5-4) is the only one of those 87 with a winning record in those games.

6) Michigan State loses C Nick Ward for an indefinite time with a broken hand; he is the second Spartan starter out with a serious injury, so Michigan State is in trouble right now. 

5) Bill Walton mentioned on the air Saturday night that ESPN announcers are told to talk about Duke more than other teams. The constant promos about Duke and Zion Williamson make it kind of obvious; when EVERY announcer rattles on about him during promos, you know the word is coming down from the bosses. 

4) 2019 will be Bruce Bochy’s last year managing the Giants; he’s won three World Series with San Francisco, but he also got the Padres to a World Series in 1998. A definite Hall of Famer.

3) Quinnipiac’s Cameron Young scored 55 points Sunday in a 107-100 triple-OT win against Siena, the most points by a Division I player since North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside scored 60 points against Stephen F. Austin in triple-overtime on Dec. 12, 2008.

Jalen Pickett scored 46 for Siena in that game; the record for most combined points by two players in the same game is 115, which was set in 1970 when Pete Maravich scored 64 for LSU and Dan Issel scored 51 for Kentucky. 

2) Marshall Thundering Herd is struggling, losing seven of their last ten games; not only that, but they’re 0-10 against the spread in those games. Not good.

1) Sunday morning, I found a cool t-shirt on the Interweb on a website I had never heard of, and I bought one. Ten minutes later, I’m scrolling thru Instagram on my phone, and an ad for that same website pops up on there. 

Thats a little eerie, that someone, somewhere knows everywhere we go on our devices.

Monday’s List of 13: Conference tournament trends…..

With only two weeks before conference tournaments start, here is some research I did one night while all of you were sleeping…….

13) ACC:
— Six different teams have won the last seven ACC tournaments, with Virginia only team to win twice.
— North Carolina has been in ACC final 6 of last 8 years, but is 1-5 in those finals.
— Last six years, the higher seed is 5-1 in the ACC final. 

12) Atlantic 14:
— Lower-seeded team won last five A-14 tourney finals.
— Last time the #1 seed won the A-14 tournament was six years ago. 

11) Big 14:
— #1 seed won this conference tournament six of last seven years. 

10) Big X:
— Last six years, Kansas was this tournament three times, Iowa State won three times.
— West Virginia lost tournament final the last three years; they won’t get there this year. 

9) Big East:
— Villanova won three of last four tournaments, and lost final in the other one. 

8) Big Sky:
— Last four years, four different teams won tournament; they were all the #1 seed. 

7) Big West:
— Last eight years, eight different teams won this tournament, including one team (Pacific) that isn’t in the league anymore. Riverside/Northridge are only two teams that haven’t won the Big West tournament during that time. 

6) CAA:
— Last eight years, seven different teams won this tournament.
— Last five years, tournament was winner was #1 seed or tied for 1st during season
— #1 seed won only once in last six tournaments
— Since 2003, Hofstra is 11-15 in this event, going 0-2 in tournament finals.   

5) Horizon:
— Last five years, five different teams won this tournament.
— #1 seed won only one of those five tournaments. 

4) MAAC:
— Iona won the last three MAAC tournaments.
— Last time the #1 seed won this tournament: 2010. 

3) MAC:
— Buffalo won this tournament three of last four years. 

2) MVC:
— #1 seed won this tournament four of last five years. 

1) Mountain West:
— Last five years, five different teams won this event, none of them UNLV.
— Last 10 years, Rebels are 10-10 in this tournament; only once in last seven years has UNLV won two games in same tournament.

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

13) 12-2pm:
— Louisville 56, Clemson 55— Cardinals came damn close to blowing a 7-point lead in last 0:15 of the game; they had to block a 5-footer with 0:02 left to preserve the win.
— North Carolina 95, Wake Forest 57— Tar Heels led this game, 32-7. Oy.
— Georgia 64, Vanderbilt 53— Bryce Drew is a good coach, but Vandy is 0-12 in the SEC. 

12) 2-4pm:
— Minnesota 84, Indiana 63— On Jan 5, Hoosiers were 12-3; now, they’re 13-12.
— Virginia 60, Notre Dame 54— Red flag for the Cavaliers; they easily could’ve lost this.
— Fordham 66, Rhode Island 63, OT— URI lost five of last six games, after an 11-7 start. 

11) 4-6pm:
— Iowa State 78, Kansas State 64— Wildcats lost big guy Dean Wade with an ankle injury.
— Texas State 67, Ark-Little Rock 60— Bobcats lead Sun Belt by a game over Georgia State.
— VCU 69, Dayton 68— Rams led by 22 early in 2nd half, needed layup with 0:06 left for the win. 

10) 6-8pm:
— South Dakota State 78, North Dakota State 77— Jackrabbits banked in a 40-footer at the buzzer for the win.
— Temple 70, South Florida 69, OT— Owls improve to 18-7, 8-4 in the AAC.
— Iowa 71. Rutgers 69— Hawkeyes banked in a 3-ball from the corner (hard to do) with 0:00.2 left for the road win. 

9) 8-10 pm:
— Kentucky 86, Tennessee 69— Wildcats scored first 14 points of the second half.
— Mississippi State 77, Arkansas 67— Bulldogs suspended Nick Weatherspoon, then got a solid road win. Go figure.
— Washington 72, Washington State 70— Coogs led by 14 at one point, didn’t play well in last 3:00, but they’re getting better. 

8) 10pm-midnight
— Oregon State 72, Oregon 57— Beavers sweep Civil War for first time in nine years.
— Gonzaga 79, San Diego 67— Bulldogs won their 30th consecutive WCC road game.
— Stanford 104, UCLA 80— Game was delayed for a while by a broken rim, with score 49-40; Bruins seemed disinterested when game resumed.

7) Upsets of the Day
— Fordham (+10) 66, Rhode Island 63
— NC-Wilmington (+10) 87, Hofstra 79
— UAB (+7) 68, Western Kentucky 60
— SE Missouri State (+7) 88, Eastern Illinois 79
— Xavier (+6) 75, Providence 61
— Oklahoma (+5.5) 71, TCU 62
— Western Michigan (+5.5) 84, Miami OH 79, OT

6) Have to stay away from wagering on Baylor games, because of Makai Mason’s health issues; he is a damn good player, but his feet are so brittle that he missed  two of their last three games, after playing in only one game the last two years. With Mason in the lineup, Baylor can beat anyone; without him and without  a couple other injured Bears, not so much. 

5) If I had Bryce Harper or Manny Machado on my fantasy team, I’d be very annoyed right about now; make a decision already!!! Doubt the offers are going to get any higher at this point. 

Also has to be screwing around with betting totals in Las Vegas on props regarding home runs over/unders and team wins over/unders, not to mention just fouling up the players’ actual preparation for the season. This is abnormal.

4) 5-foot-9 Chris Clemons of the Campbell Camels went over 3,000 career points Saturday, which is really hard to do. He is only the 9th D-I player ever to score 3,000 points. 

If you want to scoff at Clemons, the Big South and the Camels, keep in mind that they played at Georgetown November 24, and Clemons scored 45 points, going 9-19 on the arc, in a 93-85 loss to the Hoyas. Campbell is 15-11 this season, 8-4 in the Big South. 

3) When Alabama’s football team starts practice this spring, they’ll have seven new assistant coaches, which is very unusual. There were murmurs last season that Alabama’s staff was the weakest they had in the Nick Saban era; 7 of LY’s 10 assistants have moved on. 

2) Nevada 82, Wyoming 49— Wolf Pack is thought to be the first D-I team ever where all five starters transferred into that school. Five 5th-year starters for Eric Musselman. 

1) Wild year in the MAAC; with five games left in regular season, Canisius leads by a half-game at 9-4; three teams have five losses, two more have six. Highest-ranked team in the league is Rider, which is 8-6 in the league but is ranked only #216 (out of 353) by KenPom. 

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

13) Sitting in the front row at basketball games seems fun and all, but it can be dangerous, too. 

Thursday night in New York, Joel Embiid leaped into the stands after a loose ball, just barely clearing actress Regina King, but he did crash feet-first into Dave Fried, the MSG Network statistician working next to broadcaster Mike Breen. Fried was OK; he worked the Houston-UConn game in Hartford Thursday night. 

Few years ago, Lebron James crashed into golfer Jason Day’s wife and she got hurt; these are really big guys and you have to pay attention if you’re that close to the action. 

12) Rick Pitino is coaching pro ball in Greece this year; Pitino’s Panathinaikos team was up 40-25 at halftime in the semifinals of the Greek Cup, when the Olympiakos team went home and refused to play the second half, protesting the officiating in the first half. 

Seriously, they didn’t play the second half because they were mad at the refs. Olympiakos is coached by former Cavaliers’ coach David Blatt. 

I’m anxious to see if either UCLA or UNLV makes a run at hiring Pitino this spring. 

11) Jamal Crawford is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer (19,218 points) amongst guys who never made an All-Star Game. 

10) ACC is going to a 20-game conference schedule next year, to coincide with the start of the new ACC Network. Big money leagues are expanding their conference schedules to try and lock the mid-major schools from getting at-large bids to the NCAA’s. 

9) It makes me laugh when I see major league hitters batting off a tee at the start of spring training. Understood that you start with the basics every year, but it just looks funny. 

8) New Orleans Pelicans are firing GM Dell Demps, not really sure why. is it his fault that the Pelicans’ star player doesn’t want to be in New Orleans anymore? 

Wonder if he’d still have his job if he had traded Anthony Davis to the Lakers? 

7) Detroit Lions cut safety Glover Quin, who started every game for Detroit since 2013. 

6) Pac-12 has only one team ranked in the KenPom top 50, and if Washington falters down the stretch, then the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas becomes like a mid-major event, where the only team going to the NCAA’s is the winner of the tournament. 

5) Yale 70, Columbia 64— Bulldogs lead Harvard/Cornell by a game in Ivy League; Princeton leads Penn by a game for 4th place and last spot in the Ivy’s postseason tournament. 

4) Georgia State 90, South Alabama 81— Jaguars led by 14 at half, but lost for 8th time in last 11 games. Teams combined to go 27-66 on the arc. 

3) We mentioned the other day how golfer Matt Kuchar gave his caddy $5,000 after he won a PGA event in Mexico last year; he finally ponied up $50,000 to the guy this week, which is still less than a 5% tip (standard rate for a caddy when the player wins is 10%). 

2) Jameis Winston helped me win some picks when he was at Florida State, so I’ve pretty much ignored his antics since, but if I was a Bucs’ fan now, having Winston as the franchise QB would make me queasy, after reading some quotes from him that kind of blamed Dirk Koetter and his coaches for Winston’s struggles in the NFL. 

If Winston doesn’t thrive under Bruce Arians, a noted QB guru, then what? Arians is going to speak the truth, probably less diplomatically than Koetter did. Can Winston take being coached hard? And at some point, do his off-field issues suggest a lack of character?

Winston has a 21-33 W-L record in four years for the Buccaneers; Arians will be his 3rd HC in five years. 

1) Five people died Friday in a shooting in Aurora, IL, at a trucking company.

Last year in our country, there were 323 mass shootings in 365 days. I’ll just leave that number there, and let you draw your own conclusions. 

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

13) In the first 7.5 months of legalized sports gambling in New Jersey, a total of $1.63B was wagered; how much did those people also spend on restaurants/shopping while they were out gambling in the Garden State? It is time for New York State to wake up and legalize sports wagering. 

12) 76ers are a combined 1-7 against Toronto, Milwaukee and the Celtics, which doesn’t bode well for the Eastern Conference playoffs this spring.

 11) Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl odds before the Flacco trade: 60-1
Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl odds after the Flacco trade: 60-1

The guy who is the head of the Westgate SuperBook is a Broncos’ fan, by the way.

10) Saw a video on Twitter the other day of a woman throwing a chair off a 45th story balcony along a busy downtown Toronto street; now that woman is facing charges, She is charged with mischief endangering life, mischief endangering property and common nuisance.

I’m watching this video and thinking “Why would someone do this?” Luckily, no one got hurt; if there had been a car accident and someone died, thats criminally negligent homicide, right? 

9) Golfer Matt Kuchar apparently paid his caddy $5,000 during his win at the Mayakoba Classic last fall, where he won $1.3M. Thats a 0.38% tip. Not good. 

Going rate for caddies is 10% if the player wins, which obviously would be $130,000. 

The caddy is not Kuchar’s normal caddy; he offered the guy an additional $15,000 later on, which the caddy (for some reason) turned down. 

Weird story that basically makes Kuchar look like a cheap bastard. 

8) Lot of times, I rattle on in this space about things I think should happen, and it is just me typing stuff that has no chance of ever happening, but every once in a while……..

Late last month, the San Diego Padres informed MLB that starting in 2020, they’ll have new uniforms, and those uniforms’ main colors will be brown and gold!!!!!

This is excellent, the Padres returning to their Nate Colbert/Randy Jones roots, when they had very cool uniforms. Can’t wait to see them. 

7) Donald Trump played golf with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods couple weeks ago after not having left Washington since Thanksgiving; you know he had to have been practicing golf somewhere. Least surprising news ever: There is a golf simulator in the White House, where you can play simulated “rounds” on courses all over the world.

The new $50,000 simulator replaced an older one that President Obama used in the White House. Stressful job, the president needs an outlet to release his frustrations, and just to have fun with.

6) San Francisco Giants signed Gerardo Parra to a minor-league deal, which could be a signal that they’re out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, seeing how Parra is a lefty-hitting OF, just like Harper.

5) Oregon Ducks’ football team fired DC Jim Leavitt this week; he was making $1.75M after Willie Taggart wanted to bring him to Florida State, but Oregon boosters were mad at Taggart because he used one of their planes to fly to a job interview with FSU, so they overpaid Leavitt to prevent him from going to the Seminoles.

4) Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons, projected to be a top 15-pick in the NFL Draft, suffered a knee injury during training that is thought to be a torn ACL. Simmons was already not invited to the NFL Combine; he was seen on video in 2016 striking a woman.

3) Utah’s great point guard John Stockton missed a total of 22 games in his entire 19-year career, so I’m guessing he didn’t need “maintenance days” when the Jazz had games on consecutive nights. 

2) Unusual fact that annoys me a little; I pay for the NBA Full Court package, so I can see every NBA game live, but when games are re-broadcast late at night, those games get blacked out on the local cable channels, except for Knicks/Nets and anything on NBA TV. Since I’m paying a decent amount of money, shouldn’t I be able to watch those replays? 

I do not have the NHL package, but their late night replays aren’t blacked out, I can watch any of those games I want to- it makes no sense. Too bad I like basketball better than hockey. 

1) Last three NFL teams who appeared on HBO’s Hard Knocks went a combined 16-31-1 that season; all three of those coaches have been fired, two during the season where they were on Hard Knocks. Of course, those two coaches were also breaking in rookie QB’s that year. 

This year, looks like the final five are: Lions, Redskins, Raiders, Giants, 49ers. We’ll be seeing a lot of one of those teams next summer on HBO, and I’m guessing they’re saving the Raiders for 2020, when they move to Las Vegas.