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

13) Dodgers’ pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers this year for $18M; he’s having a great season, will get a bigger one-year deal next season. Who knows, he may even get a 2-year deal. 

Contrast that to Dallas Keuchel, who is sitting out right now because he couldn’t get a multi-year contract. Keuchel would make more than Ryu if he had agreed to a one-year deal, but right now he is making bupkis this season, zero. 

Question is, was it Keuchel who didn’t listen to his agent, or the agent who didn’t listen to Keuchel? At some point, the player has to play in order to get paid, right? Either way, it has been an expensive year for the pitcher. He’ll probably sign somewhere fairly soon. 

12) Batters are 2-42 with runners in scoring position against Ryu this season.

11) Mets’ TV guy Todd Zeile played 16 years in the major leagues; he grew up in the Los Angeles area, went to a lot of Dodger games as a kid. Zeile said on air the other night that his father told him that he didn’t believe Zeile was a major league player until he heard Vin Scully say his name on the air, thats how revered Scully is/was in Tinseltown. 

10) New Packers’ coach Matt LaFleur tore his achilles tendon playing basketball this week; he is having it operated on Sunday. 

9) Since 2008, only two big leaguers have had an OB% of .340+ with 200+ PA in every season:
Joey Votto and……….Shin-Soo Choo

Funny thing about Choo is this; my fantasy team is having a dreadful season, so I’m looking to build for the future a little and Choo is 37- I’ve been looking to move him for prospects but with absolutely no luck, and he is really good. His OPS is .933, which is damn good. 

One guy actually thought I was talking about Choi on Tampa Bay, and I’m laughing, thinking “My team is worse than this guy’s and he doesn’t know who the players are.” Oy.   

8) Raptors’ coach Nick Nurse was head coach at Grandview College when he was 23 years old; he played at Northern Iowa. There’s a chance one or more of his players at Grandview was older than Nurse was when he was coaching them.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Colorado sent P Kyle Freeland down to AAA.
— Cardinals put C Yadier Molina (thumb) on IL.
— Marlins put 1B Neil Walker (quad) on IL. 

6) Tampa Bay Rays have scored in first inning in 25 of their 54 games; they’re 20-5 when they score in the first inning. 

Marlins have scored in only nine first innings, fewest in major leagues. 

5) Arizona Diamondbacks have seven of the top 75 picks in next week’s baseball draft. 

4) My favorite Al Pacino movies:
a) Any Given Sunday
b) Heat
c) Scent of a Woman

3) Cubs/Cardinals are going to play a two-game series next season at London’s West Ham Olympic Stadium on June 13-14, 2020. New York-Boston are heading to London this month. 

2) There is a newscaster at WKRN in Nashville named Bob Mueller; you can imagine that the last couple of years have been very interesting for him. 

The TV Bob Mueller pronounces his name differently than the lawyer Bob Mueller, but he gets hate mail from people and strange looks when he makes reservations in restaurants. Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

1) Los Angeles Angels are driving me nuts with the way they use the “opener”. Tampa Bay uses Ryan Stanek most every time they use an opener, which makes it easy to chart. Angels use just about all their pitchers- they’ve used nine different openers this season, in addition to their four normal starting pitchers.

Makes me wonder when you’re using minor league pitchers to start a game. 

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

13) Oh Canada is one of my favorite songs; when I got married many, many years ago, we had to pay the organist $75, whether she played at the wedding or not. This was 1992, $75 was a decent payday. The $75 annoyed me a great deal; it really irritated me. I don’t even think the priest got $75. Organists must have a good union. 

Anyway, we’re sitting there on the altar after Communion and the organist is earning her $75 and all of a sudden, I’m hearing her play Oh Canada, and there are murmurs in the church. I had no idea this was going to happen. Murmurs turned to laughter. She played it well. 

The marriage didn’t go very well, but that was definitely the highlight of the wedding. Got a text reminding me of that during that national anthem in Toronto last night. Still makes me laugh. 

12) Raptors 118, Warriors 109— Siakam shot 14-17 from floor, scored 32 points with five assists for Raptors. Green/Bell/Iguodala shot combined 6-18 from floor as Toronto takes 1-0 series lead on its home floor. 

Dell Curry played the last three years of his 16-year career for Toronto, so of course Drake shows up for this game wearing a Dell Curry Raptors’ jersey. 

12) Weird stat of the day from The Sporting News: This is the 36th consecutive NBA Finals series with at least one former teammate of Shaquille O’Neal. Danny Green and Shaq were teammates on the Cavaliers nine years ago. 

10) Back in January, when the St Louis Blues were floundering near the bottom of the NHL, a courageous bettor wagered $400 on the Blues (250-1) to win the Stanley Cup. He is three wins away from a big payday. Notable that he didn’t hedge his bet before the finals to guarantee a profit. Finals series is tied, 1-1. 

9) You can’t make this stuff up: A Jacksonville couple was arrested this week on charges of animal cruelty after a police officer rescued a pig from the couple’s steaming hot Lexus that was parked in a mall parking lot. Temperatures were in the high 90’s at the time. 

I mean, not only do you have a pig in a car, but you have a damn Lexus. Why? 

8) All-time record for home runs in a month:
— 1,119 in August 2017
— 1,101 in June 2017

So far this May, entering Thursday’s games, there have been 1,069 homers hit. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Detroit optioned OF Victor Reyes back to AAA.
— Red Sox put P Hector Velasquez (back) on the IL.
— Cincinnati optioned P Lucas Sims back to AAA.
— Marlins optioned P Elieser Hernandez back to AAA. 

Jake Odorizzi’s last six starts for Minnesota:
— 35.2 IP, allowed 3 runs, 39 baserunners, Twins won all six games.

6) Cleveland Indians didn’t hit a triple in their first 54 games; they hit three of them Wednesday, in their 55th game. 

5) MLB Network couldn’t wait to show Boston-New York games Thursday/Friday, but horrible weather postponed Thursday’s game in the Bronx- it’ll be made up August 3rd as part of a doubleheader. I’m guessing that twinbill will be on national TV. 

National TV outlets should try showing more Astros’ games; they have a dome. No rainouts. 

4) This didn’t sound right when I heard it, but apparently, Los Angeles County has more voters than 42 of the other 49 states; they have voters who speak 13 different languages. 

3) Lakers-Nets are playing two preseason games in China in October. 

2) College basketball transfer portal:
— South Carolina poached 6-9 Micaiah Henry from Tennessee Tech.
— Brad Calipari (John’s son) entered the transfer portal; guess he wants playing time.
— KJ Lawson bolts from Kansas to Tulane; another guy who wants to play.

1) In case you were wondering, people in Finland prefer silence to casual conversation.

Schools and tutors in Finland are now offering  courses in casual conversation; ‘It does not come naturally to Finns.’ Some Finns have begun to take lessons, in classrooms or even from private tutors, so they can make conversation in their international business dealings.

Says one Finnish small talk tutor: “Lower your standards; not every conversation you have has to be clever. You can comment on food, any music that is playing, even the weather.”

Who knew that could be a job? Go figure. 

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

13) One important thing in baseball now is for your starting pitchers to go deeper into games, to take stress off your bullpen. Over the course of a 162-game schedule, you can wear out your bullpen if they get used too much— after all, the starting pitchers are the better pitchers. 

So far this season, Angels have only had 10 games where their starter went 6+ innings, but they use the opener a decent amount. John Means lasted six innings Wednesday; it was only the 11th game that Baltimore’s starter lasted 6+ innings

12) Pirates 7, Reds 2— These teams don’t like each other; since 2014, 72 Pirates have been hit by Cincinnati pitchers, 64 Reds have been hit by Pittsburgh hurlers. Six players were hit in the 5-4 Pirates’ win Wednesday. 

Eugenio Suarez got drilled on the hand in 8th inning; x-rays came back negative, but Suarez had some words for pitcher Clay Holmes on his way to first base. 

11) Cubs starting pitchers gave up 6+ runs four games in a row Saturday-Tuesday, first time they’ve done that since August of 2006. 

10) Foul poles at Safeco Field in Seattle are 92 feet high. In case you were wondering. 

9) Toronto will host a college basketball tripleheader Nov 16;
— Tennessee-Washington
— Buffalo-Harvard
— Rutgers-St Bonaventure

8) College basketball transfer portal:
— Coppin State transfer Justin Steers bolts to Rider. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Astros put SS Carlos Correa (broken rib) on IL. 

6) Houston now has Altuve, Springer, Correa, Diaz all on the IL. Tough times for their training staff. Correa got hurt during a home massage; he broke a rib getting massaged. 

5) Top five starting pitchers, if you bet on all their starts:
1. Lucas Giolito CWS (8-2) +$855 
2. Clayton Kershaw LA (8-0) +$800 
3. Jordan Lyles Pitt (8-2) +$777 
4. Matt Shoemaker Tor (5-0) +$673 
5. Jose Berrios Minn (9-2) +$671 

4) Seven of Notre Dame’s football opponents this fall have a bye week the week before they play the Fighting Irish, first time that has happened to anyone in the last 30 years. 

3) Former Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis has joined Arizona State’s football staff as a special advisor to head coach Herm Edwards. Too bad; Lewis was good on TV doing AAF games and would’ve been a solid TV analyst for NFL games. 

2) Blue Jays’ CF Jonathan Davis made one of the best catches you’ll ever see to end the first inning in Tampa Bay last night- it saved two runs, cost Avisail Garcia two RBI. 

1) Random thing I learned today: singer Ariana Grande is allergic to tomatoes- she cancelled two shows after having an allergic reaction this week. No pizza for her. 

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

13) 5-star Class of 2019 basketball recruit RJ Hampton announced Tuesday that he will skip college and will play professionally in Australia/New Zealand this season to prep for the 2020 NBA Draft. He reclassified from the ’20 class to 2019 earlier this spring with an eye on becoming eligible for the 2020 draft. 

So this is a 6-5 guard who is supposed to be in a senior in high school, but who will travel all the way to Australia and play pro ball this season, then go to the NBA Draft when he could’ve been a freshman in college, in the 2020-21 season. 

It is a free country, but sometimes you wish parents would let their kids be kids. It’ll be interesting to see how this works out, and if others follow his path. 

12) Here are some guys who shunned college for playing overseas: 

— Brandon Jennings has scored 7,801 points in nine seasons (14.1 ppg); he was a double-figure scorer and starter for the first six years of his career, and has earned around $41M total.

— Emmanuel Mudiay has scored 2,901 points in four NBA seasons, including 14.8 points per game for the Knicks; he’s earned around $14M so far.

— Three years ago, Terrance Ferguson skipped college to play pro ball in Australia; he’s played the last couple years for Oklahoma City, scoring 5.2 ppg in 20 mpg over 135 games, earning $3.9M for those two seasons. 

— Jeremy Tyler played overseas in 2010, then scored 3.6 ppg in 9.9 mpg in 103 NBA games in three seasons. He still plays ball overseas; he made $2,396,488 in the NBA. 

11) Yesterday, on the same day Bill Buckner passed away, the Twins called up a rookie pitcher named Devin Smeltzer, who then called one of his old coaches, former big league pitcher Woody Williams, to tell him the good news. 

Back in 1993, when Williams got called up to the majors for the first time by Toronto. he was told by an instructor in the Blue Jays’ organization. A guy named Bill Buckner. 

10) Hitters who have come up with most men on base this season:
— Marcell Ozuna, StL- 173
— Xander Bogaerts, Bos- 171
— Rhys Hoskins, Phil- 161

9) Hitters who have knocked in highest %age of runners from 3rd base (minimum of 10 runners on 3rd base):
— Gio Urschela, NYY- 10-14 (71.4%)
— Eric Hosmer, SD— 8-12 (66.7%)
— Max Kepler, Minn- 10-16 (62.5%)

8) Hitters who have knocked in lowest %age of runners from 3rd base (minimum of 10 runners on 3rd base):
— John Hicks/Francisco Cervelli- 1-16 (6.25%)
— Martin Maldonado, KC- 1-14 (7.1%)
— Randal Grichuk, Tor- 2-19 (10.5%)

7) College basketball transfer portal:
— Joey Hauser jumps from Marquette to Michigan State.
— Sam Hauser jumps from Marquette to Virginia. 

6) Baseball stuff:
— Tigers put 2B Josh Harrison (hamstring) on IL.
— Angels put 3B Zach Cosart (shoulder) on IL.
— Twins put P Michael Pineda (knee) on IL. 

5) Phillies’ OF Odubel Herrera was placed on administrative leave by MLB after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge in Atlantic City Monday.

Very unusual for teams not to play on Memorial Day; I’m guessing Herrera wishes the Phillies had a game yesterday. This will wind up as a very expensive visit to Atlantic City. 

4) When major league teams come to New York City, they get to explore a little, whether it be at MLB Network, or the Topps baseball card HQ, or other media outlets. 

Bob Scanlan, a Padres broadcaster, posted a baseball card of a young Tony Gwynn playing for San Diego, but wearing number 53, not number 19. Looked like a spring training game. 

3) Joe Gibbs got elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame last week; he is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so that puts him in a unique place in sports history. 

Gibbs won three Super Bowl titles with the Redskins, with three different QB’s. 

2) Two TV series I wish hadn’t ended:
Without a Trace was a show about finding missing people; Anthony LaPaglia played Jack Malone, a sarcastic FBI agent who led the unit, but who also had problems of his own. Just an excellent show; it still re-runs late night on cable.

In Plain Sight used to be on USA Network; this show was about people re-located in the Witness Protection Program. They had some really good stories, there was a good mix of drama with some humor added in, but the show’s star got a better offer to be in a show on network TV, so she quit and the show ended. Too bad.

1) Speaking of late night TV, I see those Peloton exercise bike commercials and I want to trade my exercise bike in for one of those, since everyone on their commercials looks like an Olympic athlete. No overweight, bald people ride a Peloton; you think it would help? Nah, me either. 

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

13) General observation from watching hours and hours of baseball; older umpires call more strikes than younger umps. No data to support this, but just get the feeling from watching so many games than older guys give more corners. 

12) It still baffles me why major league baseball blacks out games; do they want the game to get more exposure, so younger people will like it the way we do? 

Dodger games are blacked out in Las Vegas, which is three hours from Los Angeles. To paraphrase my high school chemistry teacher, “……this is nonsensical.”

You could have hundreds of people in casinos all over Las Vegas watching baseball, rooting for baseball players, talking/caring about baseball, but they black out the games. Why?!?!?!?!?

11) Baseball is hard; long season, 162 games in 182 days.
— Sunday, Trevor Story was 0-5 with five strikeouts.
— Monday, Javier Baez was 0-5 with five strikeouts.

Both these guys are really good players. Thats why you hear people say that you have to keep an even keel over the course of a long season. There will be bad days.

10) Rays 8, Blue Jays 3— Tampa Bay starter Yonny Chirinos didn’t allow a hit for five innings, but was taken out after throwing 69 pitches, with a 4-0 lead. Interesting decision. 

9) Brewers 5, Twins 4— Twins scored first in 36 of their 53 games; they’re 30-6 in the games where they scored first. Minnesota still leads the AL Central by 10.5 games. 

8) WHIP is a pitcher’s stat; walks and hits allowed divided by innings pitched- it measures how many baserunners a pitcher allows. Seems strange to me that if a pitcher hits a batter with a pitch, it doesn’t count against his WHIP. Shouldn’t it count the same as a walk? 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Colorado put OF Charlie Blackmon (calf) on IL.
— Astros put 2B Aledmys Diaz (hamstring) on IL.
— Arizona put P Luke Weaver (forearm) on IL. 

6) David Price will start Tuesday’s game vs Cleveland; he left his last start in Houston after 15 pitches because of flu-like symptoms. 

5) World Series of Poker starts this week in Las Vegas; this is the 50th WSOP. Would be nice if they made online poker legal again, so ESPN would show more of the WSOP replays and less of their hideous talkshows that pollute the airways on weekdays. 

I enjoyed watching poker re-runs; seeing the hole card cam and watching how people reacted to bad beats. Was unscripted and fun to watch, unless the horrendous talk TV they have on now. 

4) College basketball transfer portal:
— TCU poaches George Mason grad transfer Jaire Grayer
— Arkansas poaches SMU grad transfer Jimmy Whitt. 

3) A’s 8, Angels 5— Oakland won its 10th game in a row, their longest win streak in 13 years. 

2) Monday’s game between the White Sox and Royals was suspended with two outs in the bottom of the 5th inning, tied 1-1. The game will be resumed before tomorrow’s regularly-scheduled game.

1) RIP to Bill Buckner, who passed away at age 69; he hit .289 over a 22-year career that saw him get 2,715 hits. Twice led the league in doubles; won NL batting title in 1980. 

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

13) We need to recognize more people who do good stuff in their free time. Toronto Raptors’ Marc Gasol spent his offseason last year volunteering on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea with a mission to rescue and assist migrants and recover the bodies of those lost at sea.

12) Twins 7, White Sox 0— In their last 20 games, Minnesota has scored 149 runs, an average of 7.45 runs per game. Over is 7-4 in their last 11 games.

11) Braves 4, Cardinals 3 (10)— St Louis led 3-0 in 9th inning, blew the lead and lost for the 16th time in their last 22 games. Atlanta scored the winning run on a bases loaded walk. 

Coming into the game, major league teams were 423-2 this season when leading by 3+ runs after eight innings. Now they’re 423-3. 

10) Bullpens have become so hit/miss lately; lot of bettors are leaning towards betting on first five inning results, rather than nine-inning results. Keeps the starting pitcher as the essential piece of the equation.

9) Mets 4, Tigers 3— Mets split their last dozen games; this was their only win by a starting pitcher in that span. Hechevarria homered to the opposite field for the winning homer. 

8) Baltimore Ravens will be using a completely new offense in 2019, but no one told the team’s QB, Lamar Jackson. Odd way to do business.

7) College basketball transfer portal:
— Joel Ntambwe bolts from UNLV to Texas Tech.

Texas Tech is coached by Chris Beard, who was UNLV’s coach for three weeks in March 2016, before jumping to the Red Raiders. This should make him even more popular in Las Vegas. 

6) NBA Finals start Thursday in Toronto:
— Home team has gone 19-3 SU in Game 1 of the last 22 NBA Finals.
— Last 22 years, under is 14-7-1 in Game 1 of the Finals.
— Raptors are 8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS at home in this year’s playoffs.
— Warriors are 6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS on the road in the playoffs.

Golden State is -$285 to win the series. 

5) Since 2000, most games a major league team has won without making the playoffs is 93:
— 2002 Mariners
— 2002 Red Sox
— 2003 Mariners

— 2005 Indians

4) One thing you hear baseball people say a lot: You have to have good up-the-middle defense. Apparently, baseball people in Detroit don’t say that a lot. 

Detroit Tigers are playing JaCoby Jones in CF; he’s not good. He went 6-13 this weekend to get his batting average over .200. He looks very shaky in the outfield; not really sure what Detroit sees in him. 

Niko Goodrum started all three games of the Tigers’ series at Citi Field this weekend, but he started at three different positions. Detroit has sketchy defense in part because they jerk around their players around so much, and in part because their players just aren’t very good. 

3) Baseball stuff:
— Pirates put D Francisco Cervelli on the 7-day concussion IL.
— Padres scratched Chris Paddack from his start Sunday (stiff neck)
— Astros’ 2B Aledmys Diaz (hamstring) left Sunday’s game early.
— Tampa Bay moved P Tyler Glasnow to the 60-day IL.
— Orioles put 1B Chris Davis (hip) on the IL. 

2) Get well soon to Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert, who was hospitalized Sunday after experiencing stroke-like symptoms. 

1) RIP Bart Starr, 85, who passed away this weekend; Starr led the Packers to five NFL titles, including wins in the first two Super Bowls.

Starr played college ball at Alabama; he was drafted by Green Bay in the 17th round of the 1956 draft. He also coached the Packers from 1975-83. 

Monday’s Den: In a perfect world, where I made all the decisions……

13) Kids could go right from high school to the NBA; going to school for only one year is a farce, so if a kid goes to college, then he is there for at least two years. College baseball has that rule, but I think it is three years for them. 

12) Both leagues would have the DH; this will happen in a couple years. Add a player or two to rosters, to appease the players’ union.

11) NFL would have an 18-game regular season, only two preseason games; Super Bowl would be Sunday night of Presidents’ Day weekend. 

10) College football teams wouldn’t play I-AA opponents; SEC teams do this a lot. Last year, Alabama played The Citadel, Ole Miss played Southern Illinois, South Carolina played Tenn-Chattanooga. Seriously? Go play a MAC team or a Sun Belt team, at least. 

9) Online poker would be made legal so the poker companies would advertise on TV and ESPN would start replaying the World Series of Poker again, like they used to. The stuff ESPN puts on in daytime on weekdays is mostly terrible. Mike Greenberg, Stephen A Smith both make around $6M a year, a tremendous waste of money. 

Listening to talking heads in contrived arguments is a waste of electricity. Much rather watch people play cards, or replays of games, actual competition. 

8) As far as college basketball transfers go, if you poach a transfer from a team, then you have to go play a game in that team’s gym. Most of the teams that poach transfers are way better than the teams they poach from anyway, but they often don’t have the onions to play road games. 

By way of explanation, over the last seven seasons, Duke has played only three non-conference road games, all mandated by the ACC-Big 14 challenge. When Duke poached Seth Curry from Liberty, they should have had to go there and play a true road game. 

7) I would take the radios out of NFL players’ helmets; coaches have six days to prepare their teams to play. Gameday should be the players’ day; let the QB’s call their own plays, which would make the game lot more exciting. QB’s calling the plays would make the game more fun. 

6) I’d eliminate the American/National Leagues and go to geographic realignment, which would reduce travel costs and invigorate regional rivalries. Going to 32 teams (which will happen soon) will make scheduling a lot easier. 

5) NBA playoff series would be best-of-3, with finals best-of-5. Less games, more drama; it is more interesting when the best team has a chance to lose. Would the NCAA tournament be at all interesting if a 16-seed played Duke/Kentucky best-of-3? 

4) I’d get rid of the Electoral College in our presidential election; whoever gets the most votes wins, just like in all the other elections. 

3) Would definitely move the NBA Draft Lottery back to a half hour before the actual draft; imagine the drama then? Lot of executives would have to think on their feet. 

2) You want to make baseball’s All-Star Game more interesting? Make it USA vs the World, and it’ll become a serious game fairly quickly. Maybe too serious.

1) Would like to make people happier; nowadays, there is so much anger in the world. There is a lot less tolerance of others than there used to be. You be you, and let others do what they do. Cheer the bleep up!!!!

Saturday’s List of 13: Random Lists of 3……

13) Three favorite dinners:
— Pizza, just a plain cheese thin pizza. Excellent.
— Spaghetti and meatballs
— Scrambled eggs with sausage

12) Three underrated things:
— NHL playoffs
— Taking the train from Albany to NYC (as opposed to driving)
— Pinball Museum in Las Vegas; 250 vintage pinball machines under one roof

11) Favorite TV shows:
— Law and Order
— Odd Couple

10) Favorite Bob Seger songs:
— Turn the Page
— Travelin’ Man
— Against the Wind

9) I watch a ton of baseball every day, thanks to the Extra Innings package on DirecTV. These are my favorite announce crews to listen to, if there are no games on that I have rooting interest in:

— Milwaukee Brewers: Brian Anderson/Matt Lepay with analyst Bill Schroeder
— Texas Rangers: Dave Raymond with CJ Nitkowski or Tom Grieve.
— Colorado Rockies: Drew Goodman, moreso when Jeff Huson is the analyst, but Ryan Spilborghs is getting better. 

8) Three movies I’ve never seen:
— Star Wars
— Rocky V, or any of the Rocky movies after that
— Godfather II or Godfather III

7) Three favorite sporting events I’ve been to:
— 2000 NFC title game, Rams-Bucs in St Louis
— 2008 World Series game, Rays-Phillies
— AHL playoff game in Glens Falls that went triple OT, sometime in mid-80’s. Game ended around 12:50am; the concession stand ran out of food. 

6) Favorite three non-sports movies:
— Rounders
— The Bodyguard
— Begin Again

5) Three favorite Billy Joel songs:
— Piano Man
— Vienna
— She’s Got a Way

4) Three favorite basketball movies:
— Blue Chips
— One on One
— Fast Break

3) Favorite Kevin Costner movies:
— For Love of the Game
— The Bodyguard
— Bull Durham

2) Three best Oakland A’s managers:
— Dick Williams
— Bob Melvin
— Tony LaRussa

1) Three best head coaches for the Rams:
— Dick Vermeil
— Sean McVay
— Chuck Knox

Monday’s Den: Early Week 1 NFL trends……

NFL Week 1
Green Bay @ Chicago— Packers won last four season openers, but lost five of last seven road openers; over is 11-2 in their last 13 RO’s. Chicago started 0-1 the last five years; they lost four of last five home openers (under 3-1-1). 

Atlanta @ Minnesota— Falcons won three of last four road openers; they split last eight season openers. Five of their last six RO’s stayed under. Minnesota won four of last five season openers; they won/covered their last four home openers- Vikings’ last five HO’s stayed under. 

Washington @ Philadelphia— Redskins snapped a 5-game skid on Opening Day LY; they won last three road openers. Over is 7-3 in their last ten RO’s. Philly started 1-0 in seven of last eight seasons; they won four of last five home openers (under 4-1). 

Buffalo at Jets— Bills are opening on road for first time in five years; they lost last three road openers, scoring 7-3-3 points. Since 2002, they’re 9-7 vs spread as an underdog in their RO. Jets won six of their last eight home openers. 

Baltimore @ Miami— Ravens won last three Week 1 games by combined score of 80-10; they’re 7-4 vs spread in last 11 road openers. Over is 8-3-1 in their last dozen RO’s. Miami covered five of its last six home openers  (4-2 SU). Dolphins’ last ten home openers stayed under the total; nine of their last ten RO’s went over. 

San Francisco @ Tampa Bay— 49ers lost last four road openers (1-3 vs spread), losing by average of 13.8 ppg; four of their last six road openers stayed under. Tampa Bay won its last two Week 1 games, scoring 31-48 points; they didn’t play in Week 1 in 2017 because of a hurricane. Arians was 2-3 in openers while he was Arizona’s coach. 

Kansas City @ Jacksonville— Chiefs won last four season openers; they covered five of last six road openers. Over is 5-3 in last eight RO’s. Jacksonville won its last two season openers, but lost six of last seven home openers- they’re 3-9 vs spread in 12 HO’s. Four of their last five home openers went over. 

Tennessee @ Cleveland— Since re-joining NFL in 1999, Browns are 1-18-1 in Week 1; they tied Steelers in LY’s opener. Cleveland did cover five of last seven home openers. Titans lost last three season openers, but won/covered five of last six road openers. 

Rams @ Carolina— Under McVay, Rams won their season openers 46-9/33-13; since 2000, they’re 4-15 vs spread in road openers (4-5 in last nine). Four of their last five road openers stayed under total. Carolina won its last five home openers, allowing 8-3 point last two years; they won four of last five season openers. Under is 5-1 in their last six HO’s. 

Detroit @ Arizona— Detroit started six of last eight seasons 1-0; Lions covered last three road openers; over is 9-4-1 in their last 14. Cardinals lost last three home openers, scoring 14.7 ppg; six of their last seven home openers stayed under. 

Cincinnati @ Seattle— Seahawks won their last ten home openers (8-2 vs spread); under is 15-2-1 in their last 18 HO’s. Bengals won four of last five road openers; eight of their last nine RO’s went over total. Cincy won four of last five Week 1 games. Seattle 

Indianapolis @ Chargers— Colts lost seven of last nine road openers; they’ve started last five seasons 0-1. Indy’s last three season openers went over. Chargers lost last two home openers and winning six of previous seven; 13 of their last 16 HO’s went over. Bolts started last three seasons 0-1. 

Giants @ Dallas— Giants lost seven of last eight season openers; they’re playing road opener in Dallas for 6th time in last seven years. NY is 2-7 in last nine RO’s overall, 1-4 in last five RO’s here- their last three RO’s stayed under. Dallas won six of last eight home openers; they split last ten season openers, with four of last five staying under.  

Pittsburgh @ New England— Pitt opens on road for 5th straight year. Since 1997, Steelers are 1-8-1 vs spread when an underdog in their road opener; five of their last six RO’s stayed under. Patriots won 15 of last 17 home openers, but are 2-4-1 vs spread in last seven (under 5-2). NE started 13 of last 15 seasons 1-0, losing in ’14/’17. 

Houston @ New Orleans— Saints started last five seasons 0-1; NO lost its last four home openers and were favored in three of them- last three went over total, with Saints giving up 35-36-48 points. Texans lost three of last four road openers (under 4-0); in franchise history, they’re 4-8 vs spread in RO’s. 

Denver @ Oakland— Broncos are opening on road for first time since 2010; they won last seven season openers, but obviously, all of them were in Denver. Broncos are 7-8 in last 15 road openers, with three of last four going over total. Raiders lost four of last five home openers; since 2003, they’re 4-12 vs spread in HO’s, with four of last five going over.