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. 

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

13) Was watching a ballgame the other day; Pittsburgh shifted against a lefty hitter, putting the 3B where the SS usually is, which confuses me. 

Why not just leave the SS where he is supposed to be, and put the 3B behind 2B? Having the rangier fielder as the only guy on the left side seems smarter. 

As it was, Colorado dunked a pop-up for a hit into short left-field, because 3B Colin Moran does not have great range, and Melky Cabrera was playing LF and he has virtually no range. 

Different teams approach shifts differently, which makes it interesting. 

12) Minnesota Twins hit 101 homers in their first 50 games, joining the ’99 Mariners as the only teams to homer 100+ times in their first 50 games of a season. 

11) Major league baseball teams hit 59 homers in 14 games Friday, 2nd-most in a single day in baseball history, trailing only the 62 homers hit on July 2, 2002- there were 16 games played then, with a doubleheader in Boston that day.

10) Wrigley Field organist Gary Pressy worked his 2,633rd consecutive game Saturday; that means he hasn’t missed a home game since sometime in 1987- very impressive.

9) Went to an AAU tournament Saturday, first time I’ve done that in a couple years; the Gym Rat Challenge is a Memorial Day weekend tradition here in Albany– it is very well organized, spread out all over the Albany/Troy/Saratoga area. 

They have three courts in the Times Union Center in downtown Albany, a 15,000-seat arena that is way too big for an event like this, but kids must enjoy playing there. Teams from all over the northeast come to the Gym Rat— good chance for kids to play against solid competition.

8) Astros 4, Red Sox 3— Boston starter David Price left this game after three batters with flu-like symptoms. Correa walked it off with a single in bottom of 9th. 

7) College basketball transfer portal:
— Middle Tennessee State poaches Jalen Jordan from St Francis NY. 

6) Diamondbacks 10, Giants 1— Arizona outscored San Francisco the last two days by combined score of 28-6. Going to be a rough summer for the Giants. 

5) Mets 5 Tigers 4 (13)— Both teams ran out of position players, used a starting pitcher as a pinch-runner, graphic evidence that baseball is more interesting without the DH. 

4) Phillies sent OF Nick Williams down to AAA earlier this week; he took the maximum amount of time to report, then played one game (went 2-5) and was given the weekend off by the Phillies to attend his girlfriend’s college graduation. I wish I was making this up. 

Two years ago, Williams hit .288 with 12 homers in 83 games for the Phillies, but when the new regime took over last year, Williams’ star dimmed noticeably, and with Harper/McCutchen now in the Phils’ outfield, Williams is the odd man out. 

I’m assuming he wants to be traded, but taking a weekend off to attend your girlfriend’s college graduation raises red flags about how much you care about playing, which makes it more difficult for you to be traded. 

3) Baseball stuff:
— Angels put P Matt Harvey (back) on the IL.
— White Sox put C Welington Castillo on the 7-day concussion list.
— Pirates put P Chris Stratton on the IL.
— Astros put OF George Springer (hamstring) on IL. 

2) Raptors 100, Bucks 94— Toronto advances to NBA Finals for first time, by sweeping last four games of series after losing Games 1-2 in Milwaukee. 

1) Thoughts/prayers to Wisconsin assistant basketball coach Howard Moore, whose family was involved in a deadly car accident Saturday morning; coach Moore lost his wife and his daughter- he and his son are fighting for their lives. We wish them well. 

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

13) George Springer leads the American League in homers and RBIs; he bats leadoff. No leadoff hitter has ever led their league in homers or RBI for a full season.

Springer hurt his left leg in Friday night’s game and appears headed to the IL.

12) Fran Fraschilla posted a note on Twitter this week that college basketball coaches spend 30% of their time on actual basketball. NBA coaches spend 99% of their time on basketball, and that is probably the appeal of the NBA to guys like Brad Stevens, Billy Donovan, John Beilein.

11) From 2011-18, when Max Scherzer started a game, his teams went 176-85 in those games. 

This season, Washington is 2-9 when Scherzer starts. Go figure. 

10) Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, which has won three National High School Invitational basketball championships, isn’t expected to field a team next season. Findlay had a run of 11 consecutive appearances in the national tournament stopped this year- the school is going to look for a new campus and could resume play for the 2020-21 season. 

Since starting the program in the 2006-07 season, Findlay is 378-43; they could have three alums taken in the NBA Draft in June.

9) Raiders-Packers might play a preseason game in Winnipeg this summer. Seriously. 

8) There are four NFL head coaches who played QB in either the Arena League or the Indoor Football League:
— Jay Gruden: Tampa Bay Storm, Orlando Predators, Nashville Kats
— Matt LaFleur, Omaha Beef, Billings Outlaws

— Matt Nagy: New York Dragons, Carolina Cobras, Georgia Force, Columbus Destroyers
— Sean Payton: Chicago Bruisers, Pittsburgh Gladiators

7) Baseball stuff:
— A’s put DH Khris Davis (oblique) on IL.
— Marlins put C Chad Wallach (concussion) on IL.
— Arizona put OF David Peralta (AC joint) on IL.
— Mets signed Ervin Santana, Matt Kemp to contracts. 

6) This week in 1935 in Cincinnati, the first-ever night baseball game was played; there were 20,422 fans there to see the Reds beat the Phillies, 2-1. 

5) Kansas Jayhawks get Silvio DeSousa eligible to play this coming basketball season, which is very good news for them.

4) Former Baylor football coach Art Briles is the new coach at Mount Vernon HS in Texas. 

3) In case you were wondering, the 2011 Mets went 77-85; they left 1,257 men on base that year, the most of any team in this decade. Six of the top nine teams on this list won 91+ games. 

#8 on the list are the 2016 Cubs, who won the World Series that year. 

2) Tres Tinkle dropped out of the NBA Draft and will return to Oregon State for his senior year; he is a very good player, but his dad is also the OSU head coach. Beavers finished 10-8 in Pac-12 games last year, their first winning season in conference play this century. 

1) Chicago Bears are -4 over Green Bay in Week 1 this season; Bears are getting 59% of the money so far, in wagering at William Hill sportsbooks nationwide; of the 16 Week 1 games, that is the game where the money is most evenly divided.

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

13) How is it possible that the voting for NBA awards determines which players can get max contracts going forward? Who agreed to this? 

“A player is eligible to sign a designated veteran contract if they’ve logged at least eight years of NBA service time and either
a) earned an All-NBA team in the most recent season or
b) earned two of them over the past three seasons.”

So the media helps determine who can get a max contract? How is this a good idea? 

12) Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal didn’t make any of the top three All-NBA teams, so they can’t get a max contract. Same for Karl-Anthony Towns. 

I’m pretty sure Thompson sacrifices his individual numbers for the betterment of one of the best teams in NBA history, but he isn’t eligible for a max contract. Wow. 

11) Raptors 105, Bucks 99— Toronto grabs a 3-2 series lead with road win here; Fred Van Vleet scored 21 points in 37:00 off bench; Raptors were +28 with Van Vleet on the floor. 

10) College administrators are all on the gravy train.
— Scott Woodward bolted Texas A&M for LSU.
— Ross Bjork bolted Ole Miss for Texas A&M.

These are big time fundraising jobs that pay six figures. 

9) Eight teams from the SEC and AAC will play home-and-home series over the next two college basketball seasons:

Georgia-Memphis, Houston-South Carolina, Ole Miss-Wichita State, Vanderbilt-SMU

8) LSU-Mississippi State played a 17-inning game in the SEC baseball tournament that ended at 4:03am Thursday; SEC Network apparently did a postgame show afterwards. Watching a game you don’t care about until 4am is one thing. Watching the postgame show would be weird.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Mets put 2B Robinson Cano, 3B Jeff McNeil on IL. 

— Bronx put P CC Sabathia on IL.
— Tampa Bay put 3B Yandy Diaz on IL. 

6) High temperature in Las Vegas Wednesday was 67, six degrees lower than the previous low high temp for May 22. 

5) Minnesota Twins have hit 6+ homers in four different games this year; the rest of the major leagues have done it only three times (Dodgers, Cubs, Bronx). 

Twins have hit 98 homers, allowed 58. 

4) Jared Walsh allowed a run pitching the 9th inning Thursday; that was only the 4th major league game for the Angels’ first baseman, who is 3-9 hitting so far in the big leagues. Not often a position player pitches in his 4th career game. 

3) Agent Scott Boras has pulled another stunt to try and put more money in his own wallet. 

Last June, Braves picked Carter Stewart with the #8 overall pick of the MLB Draft. Stewart didn’t sign and pitched a season at a junior college this spring; now the kid has signed with a Japanese pro team- he signed a 6-year deal. 

If you had a 19-year old kid, would you want him spending the next six years in Japan? He’ll make more money up front than he would if he got a signing bonus and played his way thru the minor leagues, but will it increase his chances of becoming a big leaguer? Only time will tell.  

One thing for sure; Boras makes more money up front, too. 

2) Some day in late September, a couple of baseball teams who miss the playoffs a by a couple games will play the “what if?” game as to whether they should’ve signed Craig Kimbel/Dallas Keuchel early this season, when everyone had the chance to do so. 

Teams don’t like to give up draft picks to sign free agents, but these guys are proven starts; hell, Kimbrel was the closer on last year’s World Series champs. Makes you wonder what is going on. 

1) Michigan coach John Beliein quit the Wolverines and is now the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Wolverines alum Juwan Howard is the new coach at Michigan.

Hypothetical question: Who would be better off had Beilein stayed at Michigan and Howard became Cleveland’s coach? Would it make any difference at all? 

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

13) Michigan hired Juwan Howard as its new basketball coach; Howard had been as assistant with the Miami Heat and of course is a Michigan alum, playing in the Fab Five era. 

12) Giancarlo Stanton looks like an NFL tight end, but good grief, he gets hurt a lot. 

First, a biceps strain; rehab from that led to a shoulder issue. Then, in his first rehab game in Florida, he strains a calf muscle trying to avoid a pitch in a Class A game, so now he’s been shut down another 7-10 days. Oy. 

Stanton has been on my fantasy team since since he was an 18-year old in the Florida State League, so I’ve been down this road before:
— Missed 39 games in 2012
— Missed 46 games in 2013
— Missed 88 games in 2015
— Missed 43 games in 2016
— Missed 45 games already this season. 

Guy gets paid $30M a year; would be nice if he played more.

11) Monday is Stanton Bobblehead Day in the Bronx; that should go over well. 

10) Race for the two Wild Cards in the AL:
— Tampa Bay 27-18
— Boston 25-23
— Cleveland 25-23
— Texas 24-23
— Oakland 25-25
— LA Angels 22-26

9) Gleyber Torres has 12 homers this year; ten of them were against Baltimore. 

8) Iowa passed a sports betting bill this week; their goal is to begin taking wagers around August 10th. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Cleveland DFA’d OF Carlos Gonzalez.
— Rockies put P Wade Davis (oblique) on IL.
— Angels put C Kevan Smith on 7-day concussion IL. 

6) St Louis Blues came into the NHL in the fall of 1967, and made the Stanley Cup finals their first three years in the NHL, going 0-12 in those finals. This will be the first time since then that they’re back in the finals, playing the same Bruins’ squad they lost to in 1970. 

5) Colonial Country Club is hosting a PGA Tour event this week for the 72nd consecutive year, the second-longest streak behind Augusta National.

4) Vanderbilt hired Faragi Phillips as an assistant basketball coach; he went 105-31 in four years as a head coach at the high school level in Memphis, winning two state titles. Memphis is a very fertile recruiting ground in basketball.

3) Future NFL Draft sites: 2021: Cleveland, 2023: Kansas City. No word on 2022. 

NFL Combine is staying in Indianapolis for at least the next couple years. 

2) A’s 7, Indians 2— Oakland won its last six games, is back at .500 (25-25). 

1) Robinson Cano actually ran out a ground ball last night, so of course he leaves the game right after with a strained quad muscle. 

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

13) Mets have a problem with Robinson Cano, who twice didn’t run out balls last weekend, both of which resulted in double plays. Cano is making $24M a year from now thru 2023; is it too much to ask him to at least pretend that he cares? 

I don’t need him sprinting to first on a ball where he has no chance to be safe; Aledmys Diaz of the Astros got hurt doing that Friday. Tampa Bay lost Evan Longoria for 87 games once when he pulled a hamstring sprinting on a ball he had no chance to beat out. 

But Cano has to at least go 60-75% to first base; he is an elder statesman of the game, the team is struggling badly, the manager’s job is hanging in the balance. It isn’t a lot to ask. 

12) Mets were shut out both Saturday and Sunday in Miami, the first time since 1967 that the Mets had two or fewer hits in consecutive games. 

11) According to guys on, a 6-foot-11 Croatian forward named Luka Sumanic made the biggest impression at the NBA Combine this weekend. 

10) According to observers, LSU PG Tremont Waters outplayed fellow point guards, Tennessee’s Jordan Bone and St John’s Shamorie Ponds

9) Sunday, the A’s scored two runs in top of the 7th inning to take a 5-3 lead in Detroit, but rain stopped the game and it never resumed. The game will resume September 6, when hopefully it will matter if Oakland can get the last nine outs of the game. 

A’s lost the last six Sundays; at least they didn’t lose this game, and it’ll be resumed on a Friday, so that helps. 

8) Tampa Bay Rays have two catchers active; Travis d’Arnaud ad Erik Kratz; neither guy was in the Tampa Bay organization two weeks ago. 

7) Jerry Glanville is going to the defensive coordinator of the XFL team in Tampa; he was in the CFL working under June Jones LY, but didn’t go to Houston’s XFL team with Jones. 

6) Brooks Koepka’s +4 Sunday was the highest final round score by a major champion since Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA. Thats when it is good to have a 7-stroke lead. 

5) Eight golfers have finished 2nd in all four majors: Mickelson, Nicklaus, Norman, Oosthuizen, Palmer, Tom Watson, Craig Wood and now, Dustin Johnson. 

You make a boatload of money for finishing 2nd in a major. 

4) Training camp in the CFL started last weekend. Football is coming close to being a year-round thing. 

3) When Bronx-Red Sox play couple of baseball games in London next month, the games will be played on artificial turf. MLB had use of the stadium for 21 days; they decided there wasn’t enough time to install real grass, so artificial turf it is. 

2) Providence basketball coach Ed Cooley turned Michigan down Tuesday, as John Beilein’s old job remains open. Cooley got a contract extension from Providence. 

1) No Buffalo Bill has worn #32 since OJ Simpson left the team in 1977, but free agent RB Sinorise Perry was wearing #32 during Buffalo’s OTAs this week. 

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

13) There was some grumbling in Toronto Monday when last week’s AL Player of the Week, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, was given a day off for the Blue Jays’ Victoria Day game with Boston, a game the Red Sox won easily, 12-2. 

Why give a 20-year old kid a day off when he is hot? When you have a big crowd in the house on a holiday? When you can use him at DH and at least let him get four AB’s in front of the home crowd, which is rooting for a lousy Toronto team this season?

12) Strange stat: Boston’s Andrew Benintendi is 2-for-35 in his first at-bat of a game; he is hitting .326 in all his other AB’s.

11) The softball coach at Oklahoma, who has won four national titles, makes $1M a year. We were guessing Sunday night how much softball coaches get paid, so I did a google search and was stunned to find that out. 

10) Washington Redskins’ LB Reuben Foster was carted off the field Monday with a knee injury during the Redskins’ OTAs. 

9) Tampa Bay Bucs released DT Gerald McCoy, who was set to make $13M this season. 

8) Mets’ OF Yoenis Cespedes suffered multiple fractures in his right ankle on his ranch down in Florida, so who knows when he’ll be back in the major leagues. Unlike Gerald McCoy, Cespedes will keep getting paid, because baseball contracts are guaranteed- most NFL contracts aren’t. 

7) Conference USA reached a broadcast deal with NFL Network, which will show 10 of their games next season. 

6) ESPN’s Hubie Brown said over the weekend that he has worked with 21 different TV play-by-play broadcasters during his career, including Al Michaels, Brent Musburger, Marv Albert, Dick Stockton and Mike Breen. He is 85 years old and still going strong. Amazing guy. 

5) Toronto’s Ryan Feierabend returned to the majors Saturday as a knuckleballer; he is the first lefty knuckleballer in the major leagues since Baltimore’s Danny Boone, in 1990. 

4) All the passengers on a flight at JFK Airport in NYC had to deplane before takeoff Monday afternoon due to a guy who refused to turn his phone off after they closed the boarding door. Police removed him, but only after everyone else was off the plane first. 

3) Former Florida State QB Deondre Francois will walk on at Florida Atlantic this fall; hr got tossed from FSU because of a couple of domestic violence incidents. He will compete for the QB job with LY’s starter Chris Robison, who was suspended this spring due to an investigation into an alleged sexual battery that led to no charges being filed.

Francois played in 25 games at quarterback for the Seminoles, throwing for 6,291 yards, 36 TDs and 21 INTs.

2) Vegas Dave, the huckster/tipster featured on Showtime’s Action series last month, had been indicted in January by the Federal Government on 19 felony counts carrying a potential sentence of 40+ years in federal prison, but in the end winds up with no felony convictions, because of a plea bargain. 

A judge ordered that he must stay out of Las Vegas sportsbooks for three years; he also gets three years probation, must get gambling treatment and do 150 hours of community service.

1) Am guessing there is no way to know this, but I’d be curious how many fantasy baseball leagues there are in this country. Every time Mike Trout or Bryce Harper hits one out, how many owners are they helping out?

Am also guessing that being an official scorer for major league games has become a much tougher job, with people having money on the line, as far as what is a hit and what isn’t. 

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!!!!

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

13) Warriors 110, Trailblazers 99— Looks like the two conference finals could be very short series. I’ve said this before, but basketball doesn’t need best-of-7 series. Would be way better with best-of-3 series, with a best-of-5 final; imagine the drama? 

Kevin Durant’s first game against the Warriors next year has to be on national TV, right? Opening night? Christmas?

12) Earlier this year, a guy at Caesers Palace in Las Vegas bet $20,000 that Eldrick Woods would NOT win all four majors this year, so when Woods missed the cut at the PGA Friday, the guy won his bet, which paid him off a handsome $20. 

He risked $20,000 to win $20. Oy.

11) Astros’ pitching coach Brent Strom was the 2nd guy to have Tommy John surgery back in the 60’s, which means he came close to being the first guy to have Brent Strom surgery. 

10) Former NFL QB David Carr works on NFL Network now; this week, Carr left Joe Montana out of his list of the top 10 QB’s in the Super Bowl era.

If you know me, you know I’ve been a Ram fan since the mid-60’s and I’m no Notre Dame fan, so Montana isn’t my favorite player, but good grief, you lose credibility when you leave him off a top 10 list of QB’s in the last 53 years.

9) Orioles averaged 30,805 fans per home game in 2014; they’re averaging 15,720 this year. Its not that they’re losing, its that they have no chance of winning- there’s a difference. 

From 2012-16, Baltimore won the most games in the AL; now? Not so much. 

8) College basketball transfer portal:
— South Dakota State G David Jenkins bolts to UNLV.
— Javonte Smart is coming back to LSU next year; must pay well to play ball there. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Minnesota put DH Nelson Cruz (wrist) on the IL.
— Washington put P Anibal Sanchez (hamstring) on IL.
— White Sox put P Manny Banuelos (shoulder) on IL. 

6) Rick Porcello is the last major league pitcher to throw a shutout where he didn’t strike anyone out- that happened in 2014. 

5) From “Local, state and federal law enforcement conducted a massive heroin bust in Connecticut on Friday, resulting in 51 arrests and the seizure of guns, $15,000 in cash and thousands of bags of heroin packaged for sale.”

I have a question; what happens to all that heroin? What happens to the money? Seriously, inquiring minds would like to know. 

4) White Sox 4, Blue Jays 1 (5)— Ryan Feierabend made his first MLB appearance in five years; it was his first start in the majors since 2008. This game was shortened by rain. 

3) If the Bruins win the Stanley Cup this spring, then Boston would have the reigning champs in the NHL, MLB and the NFL. Last time that happened? Detroit, in 1935. 

2) Joke of the Day: Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon? 

Great food, no atmosphere.

1) May 19 is a sad day in my house; my dad passed away four years ago tonight. He was a terrific guy; loved golf, the Mets, Knicks and his weekly football pools. He was a great example of what a person should be, and I miss him every day.

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

13) You watch Angel Hernandez call balls/strikes, and the electronic strike zone that will come to baseball someday doesn’t seem like a such a bad idea. 

I’m against the electronic strike zone, but Hernandez is a terrible umpire, and has been for a long time. Friday night, Colorado’s Jon Gray walked the opposing pitcher on 10 pitches; three of the four pitches Hernandez called balls were strikes on the electronic strike zone on TV. 

I had no dog in the fight, no fantasy players involved, was just watching the game. No one pays to watch the umpire; call strikes, especially on the opposing pitcher. It isn’t that difficult. 

12) Not sure if I’ve told this story here before, so here goes. It is a little random, but it was a funny moment. Was listening this week to some people talk about their kids going to high school now, and it reminded me of this: 

I’m in 10th grade, long time ago (1974-75) and it is Biology class, which was a struggle for me. I sat in the back of the class, where I had a great view of a classmate named Joann who was very pretty but didn’t know I existed (go figure). 

Anyway, our teacher was a little……different. If a kid was talking in class, the teacher would take an eraser (yes, we had chalkboards back then) and drill the kid with it. I mean, he would fire the eraser at the kid, drill him, and no one ever complained. These days, he would get sued. 

One day, the kid sitting three seats in front of me was yukking it up about something, a big kid named Nick, and the teacher takes aim with his eraser, but he misses and drills the young lady sitting next to Nick. Stunned silence, then muffled laughter; the girl started crying. 

Was very difficult to sit there the rest of the period and not laugh; never saw another eraser thrown though. Could you imagine if they let that nitwit carry a gun in class? 

11) Last three seasons, Golden State Warriors are:
— When Curry plays and Durant doesn’t: 32-4
— When Durant plays and Curry doesn’t: 28-18
— When neither one plays: 1-6
— When they both play: 163-46

10) 50 years ago Friday, Colts, Browns, Steelers agreed to move from the NFL to the AFC, so that when the NFL/AFL merger happened, there would be an equal number of teams in both conferences. 

According to Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, Raiders’ owner Al Davis came up with the idea, but no one would agree to switch until $3M was put on the table; then the teams became willing.  Funny how that happens. 

9) Indiana Pacers’ G Tyreke Evans was dismissed/disqualified from the NBA for two years, for violating the terms of the NBA’s anti-drug program. Under the program, he is eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years.

Evans averaged 10.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 2.4 apg in 20.3 mpg this year- he’s scored 15.7 ppg in his 11-year NBA career, and was due to become a free agent this offseason.

8) I’ve said this here before, but if you like the NBA, then the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in early July is an excellent thing to see. 

They play in two gyms at UNLV, there are usually eight games a day, and it costs around $30 for the whole day, which is worth it, just to be out of the 110-degree desert heat. 

I’ve gone a few times, and it is good stuff. You see all the rookies, some 2nd-year guys; most of the coaches/GM’s are there. I was walking in the hallway one day, and Jerry West was there, talking to some people. If you like the NBA, it is an excellent thing to do. 

I would discourage you from wagering on the games, however; teams need to take a look at certain guys, so they don’t always use their best possible lineups every game. 

7) If you’re heading to Las Vegas this summer, right now Treasure Island, the Wynn, Venetian, Palazzo, SLS, Tropicana, Circus Circus, and Stratosphere are the casinos on the Strip that offer free parking. Lot of casinos charge to park now because of the T-Mobile Arena not having its own parking lot.

6) Las Vegas casinos pretty much now all have betting lines up for every NFL game this season, except for Week 17. Lot can change between now and the season, but if you think you’re better than the oddsmakers, you can take your shot at the windows now. 

Golden Nugget is posting spreads for its college games of the year on May 30.

5) From Ralph Michaels:

Since 2015, Week 2 NFL road teams that also played on the road in Week 1 are 1-14 vs spread; there are four such teams this season. Only cover in that sample was Kansas City winning 42-37 at Pittsburgh LY, after they led 21-0 in first quarter. 

4) Baseball stuff:
— Giants activated C Buster Posey from the 7-day concussion DL.
— Colorado brought up 2B prospect Brandon Rodgers.
— Toronto P Aaron Sanchez (blister) left Friday’ game early.
— Justin Turner (bruised shin) left Friday’s game early

3) QB Tommy Stevens transferred from Penn State to Mississippi State, where he’ll play for Joe Moorhead, who used to be OC at Penn State. 

2) Most teams pitched for, MLB history:
Edwin Jackson: 14, Octavio Dotel: 13, Mike Morgan, Ron Villone: 12 each. 

1) Jim Nantz turned 60 years old Friday, which makes me feel old.