Tuesday’s Den: Random Lists of 3……

13) Three things young people have no idea about………
— Phone booths
— Encyclopedias
— Having to get up to change the channel

12) Three things I’d like to do someday:
— A’s game in the Oakland Coliseum
— LSU home football game (at night)
— New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas (too expensive 🙂 )

11) Three changes I’d make to baseball:
— Managers/coaches wouldn’t wear uniforms
— Geographic realignment
— Split-season format, to invigorate late June/July. 

10) Three changes I’d make to ESPN:
— No daily NBA shows from end of summer league to start of training camp.
— If you must have a daily NBA show, then you have a daily baseball show, too.
— Less hideous talk shows on weekdays; show poker re-runs instead, or NFL Films, or anything that doesn’t include Mike Greenberg or Stephen A Smith. 

9) Three non-sports people it would be fun to have dinner with:
— Steve Martin
— David Letterman
— Bill Murray

8) Three changes I’d make to football:
— Take radios out of players’ helmets
— Get rid of Thursday NFL games, except Week 1 and Thanksgiving.
— 18-game season, with all players getting paid 12.5% more; two preseason games, with Super Bowl the Sunday night of Presidents’ Day weekend. 

7) Three sports people it would be fun to have dinner with:
— Billy Beane
— Dick Vermeil
— Charles Barkley

6) Three most fun events I’ve been to:
— 2000 NFC title game in St Louis (Rams-Bucs)
— 2008 World Series (Phillies-Rays)
— Alabama-Tennessee game in Knoxville, in 2003

5) Three other fun things I’ve been to:
— Tailgating before Tennessee-South Carolina game in 2008
— Watching AAU nationals for 12 hours a day at Disney World in Florida.
— Knicks-Spurs preseason game (Jerry Tarkanian was coaching the Spurs)

4) Three changes I’d make to the NBA:
— Head coaches would all be active players.
— Playoff series would be best-of-3; finals best-of-5.
— Draft lottery would be an hour before the actual draft. 

3) Three things that would be an improvement:
— Baseball expands to 32 teams, making scheduling easier.
— College football playoff expanding to eight teams.
— Reducing NFL preseason games from four per team to two. 

2) Three random observations:
— Pro golf in person is amazingly quiet.
— If you like the NBA, I strongly recommend you heading to Las Vegas some July to watch summer league games. Very affordable, lot of fun and it is Las Vegas!!!
— Watching the World Series of Poker in person was really boring; you need to see the hole card camera for it to be interesting.

1) Back when they had a CBA franchise in Albany, one night I got to shoot free throws for beer at the end of the 3rd quarter. For every free throw I made in 24 seconds, I got a free case of beer:
— The CBA back then was what the G-League is now; very good basketball. Bill Musselman, George Karl and Phil Jackson all coached the Patroons.
— Good news: I made 4 out of 7 shots in 24 seconds.
— Bad news: I very rarely drink beer, and they wouldn’t exchange it for soda. 

Monday’s Den: AFC trends to think about this season……

Baltimore Ravens- Over last decade, Ravens are 9-16-1 vs spread when a home favorite in a division game. 

Buffalo Bills- Last three years, over is 18-6 in Buffalo’s home games. 

Cincinnati Bengals- Over last decade, Bengals are 20-8-2 vs spread as an underdog of 3 or fewer points. 

Cleveland Browns- Since 2010, Browns are 7-14-2 vs spread as a home favorite. 

Denver Broncos- Over last decade, Denver is 10-19-1 vs spread in AFC West home games. 

Houston Texans- Texans won their last four season openers, scoring 32.3 ppg; under O’Brien, they’re 17-22-1 vs spread as an underdog, 22-14-1 as a favorite. 

Indianapolis Colts- Over last decade, over is 32-23 in Colts’ games on natural grass, under is 57-46-2 in their games on artificial turf. 

Jacksonville Jaguars- Jaguars’ turnover ratios the last four years:
-14 (5-11), +10 (10-6), -16 (3-13), -10 (5-11)

Jaguars are 8-5 vs spread in last 13 games as a home underdog.

Kansas City Chiefs- Since 2013, under is 31-17 in Kansas City home games. 

Los Angeles Chargers- Over last decade, they’re 9-21 vs spread in AFC West home games; Bolts are 6-9 vs spread in their home games in Carson the last two years- this is their last year there, before the new dome opens in LA. 

Miami Dolphins- in three years under Gase, Miami was 7-3-1 vs spread as a home underdog, 7-15 vs spread as a road underdog. Over last decade, Dolphins are 8-19 vs spread when laying points at home against a non-division opponent. 

New England Patriots- Last four years, under is 20-11-1 in New England road games. Since 2015, Patriots are 28-13-3 vs spread as a home favorite, 9-5-2 in AFC East games, 19-8-1 in all the other games. 

New Jersey Jets- Over last decade, underdogs are 22-8 vs spread in Jets’ AFC East home games. Since 2011, Jets are 8-18-2 vs spread as a road underdog outside their division. 

Oakland Raiders- Last two years, Silver and Black is 3-12-1 vs spread as a road underdog. Over last decade, they’re 22-33-3 vs spread in games with spread of 3 or fewer points. 

Pittsburgh Steelers- Since 2012, Steelers are 15-7-1 vs spread as a road underdog; they’ve won SU in Week 17 the last 11 years (7-4 vs spread, 0-3 last three years).  

Tennessee Titans- Since 2011, Titans are 5-17-2 vs spread as an underdog of 3 or fewer points. Over last decade, Tennessee is 8-21-1 vs spread in AFC South road games. 

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

13) I have this ESPN news alert thing on my cellphone that goes off if something significant happens in the world of sports. 

Here’s a hint; I DO NOT need it to go off at 1:55am, no matter where Kawhi Leonard signed. 

20 minutes later, at 2:15 Saturday morning, it goes off again with details of the Paul George trade. Have to find out how to disable that feature. 

12) Here are all the draft picks Oklahoma City got for Paul George, in addition to Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander:
— Miami’s 1st rounder in 2021
— Clippers’ 1st round in 2022
— Miami’s 1st rounder in 2023 (top 14 protected)
— 2023- teams swap #1 picks
— Clippers’ 1st round in 2024
— 2025- teams swap #1 picks
— Clippers’ 1st round in 2026

Some kid who is in 6th grade right now will get picked in the NBA Draft seven years from now- that pick was included in this deal. 

11) In other news, Jerry West works for the Clippers; he remains the best executive in NBA history, as well as one of its greatest players ever. 

10) Russell Westbrook’s salary the next two years:
2019-20: $38,150,000
2020-21: $40,600,000
Oklahoma City needs to trade him too, right? 

9) If Billy Donovan announced tomorrow that he’s had enough of the NBA and wanted to go back to college basketball, how many schools would fire their coach to hire him? (a lot). Would be lot easier to list the teams that wouldn’t fire their coach to hire him. 

8) John Daly will have to walk if he wants to play in this year’s British Open at Royal Portrush; the powers-that-be at the British Open turned down his request to use a golf cart next week. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Twins put 1B CJ Cron (thumb) on the IL
— Pirates put P Steven Brault (shoulder) on the IL.
— Orioles claimed P Aaron Brooks off waivers from Oakland. 

6) Minnesota Twins have already hit 166 home runs, as many as they hit all of last season. 

5) Best wishes to Indians’ pitcher Carlos Carrasco, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia; he hopes to rejoin the Indians by the end of the month.

4) Holy Cross hired Marquette assistant Brett Nelson as its new basketball coach, replacing Bill Carmody, who retired June 18. 

3) MLB suspended Phillies’ OF Odubel Herrera for the rest of this season over suspicion of domestic battery.

2) Terry Armstrong is a 4-star recruit from Scottsdale who had previously committed to play basketball for the Arizona Wildcats; in order to become eligible he had to take summer classes at Arizona to boost up his GPA, which wasn’t good enough yet. 

Instead, the young man will skip those summer classes and will play pro basketball overseas in Australia next season. He is listed right now as the #40 prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft.

1) By the way, Zion Williamson is done in Las Vegas; he bruised his left knee Friday night and will not play anymore in the summer league, which should curtail attendance a little. 

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

14) Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers; he announced it around 1:55am Saturday. 

13) Few years ago I was in Las Vegas during the All-Star break, was staying at Planet Hollywood. I’m playing video poker at the bar in the sportsbook during Home Run Derby, and for over an hour, all I heard was Chris Berman’s annoying “back!!! back!!! back!!!” calling the home runs. 

I mean, its freakin’ Home Run Derby; stop getting excited every time one is hit. 

Finally I offered the bartender $50 if he would mute the TV’s; he laughed. Turned out to be a good thing for me; I escaped the sportsbook and Berman’s voice, went out and played blackjack in the casino and won $100, so guess I should thank Berman for being annoying. 

12) Miami Marlins have won two World Series, but have never been in first place on July 4th.

Teams with longest droughts since they were last in first place on the 4th of July: Toronto and Colorado, who were both in first place on July 4, 2000.

11) In 1997, a guy named Bubba Wells fouled out of an NBA game in three minutes. Really. 

Wells went to Austin Peay, played 39 games for the Mavericks in 1997-98, scoring 3.3 ppg. On December 29, 1997 in Chicago, he scored a basket and fouled out in three minutes. 

Should be noted that he also scored 21 in a game against the Spurs later that season. 

10) Sam Mitchell, an analyst on NBA TV for the summer league games, told a story about how coach Bill Fitch would have the bench filmed during exhibition games, to see which guys were paying attention to the game and rooting for their teammates when they weren’t playing.

Every basketball team has a few guys who don’t play much; they can’t be a distraction, have to be good teammates. 

9) I’ve said this many times; if you like the NBA, go to Las Vegas in July and watch the summer league— you’ll probably meet some players or coaches if you want to. It is affordable and it is fun, plus the gyms are air conditioned when it is 100 or so degrees outside. 

8) Bryce Harper got his 200th career home run and his 1,000 career hit at the same time in the 6th inning Wednesday; a nitwit fan in Atlanta cost himself some swag by throwing the ball back on the field. For trivia buffs, Bryce Wilson was the pitcher. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Astros’ P Corbin Martin had Tommy John surgery Wednesday.
— Tigers put P Victor Alcantara (wisdom teeth) on IL.
— Tigers put OF JaCoby Jones (back) on IL.
— Reds put P Amir Garrett (lat strain) on IL. 

6) Monday afternoon, Detroit’s Matthew Boyd became the first pitcher EVER to strike out 13 batters, walk none, but not finish the 6th inning- he allowed nine hits, four runs in 5.1 IP. 

5) Washington Nationals are wearing Montreal Expo throwback uniforms Saturday, which raises the question if Montreal will be getting an expansion team soon, or will the Rays move there? Sounds like a strong possibility that one of those things will happen.  

4) Jimmer Fredette left the Warriors’ summer league team and isn’t with the team in Las Vegas; he played in the Warriors’ first two games in Sacramento this week, but apparently got some lucrative offers from foreign clubs and he doesn’t want to risk an injury.

3) All four Braves’ starting infielders homered Thursday night; the last time this Braves did that was September 19, 1961. 

2) This year’s baseball schedule is odd; 12 games on the 4th of July, then only 13 games the next night, a Friday night. Next year will be easier, with July 4th on a Saturday. Once they expand to 32 teams, scheduling becomes way easier. 

1) Whats the worst day to have a birthday? February 29? Christmas? July 3rd? January 2nd? July 5? Most of the people I asked about this chose Christmas as the worst day— everyone else gets presents too.

December 26th might be an underrated day to have a birthday; people can go to the mall and get stuff on sale- do those people get more gifts than other people? 

Friday’s Den: Trends for NFC teams……

Arizona Cardinals- Last four years, they’re 7-13 vs spread as a home favorite. 

Atlanta Falcons- Last six years, Falcons are 8-2 vs spread as a home underdog. 

Carolina Panthers- Last three years, Carolina is 1-7-1 vs spread when laying points on the road.

Chicago Bears- Over last decade, Bears are 8-15-1 as a road underdog in division games, 16-17-1 in non-division games. 

Dallas Cowboys- Over last decade, Cowboys are 27-17 vs spread as a road underdog; since 2010, they’re 17-34-1 as a home favorite. 

Detroit Lions- Over last decade, Detroit is 12-24 vs spread when a divisional underdog. 

Green Bay Packers- Last six years, Green Bay is 7-14-1 vs spread as a road underdog. 

Los Angeles Rams- Under McVay, Rams are 26-10 SU, their first winning seasons since 2003; LA is +19 in turnovers in its last 32 regular season games. 

Minnesota Vikings- Under Zimmer, Minnesota is 22-7-1 vs spread as a home favorite. 

New Jersey Giants- Over last decade, Giants are 11-19-1 vs spread as a favorite in division games. 

New Orleans Saints- Last five years, over is 26-14 in New Orleans home games.

Philadelphia Eagles- Last three years, under is 16-7 in Philly home games.

San Francisco 49ers- Niners were minus-25 in turnovers LY, are minus-38 the last four years; since getting rid of Jim Harbaugh as coach, SF is 17-47 SU.

Seattle Seahawks- Over last decade, Seahawks are 15-6 vs spread as a home underdog; they’ve had seven straight winning seasons, going 7-5 in playoff games during that time. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Last five years, Tampa Bay is 4-13 vs spread as a home favorite; they’re 7-1 as home underdogs the last two years. 

Washington Redskins-  Since 2013, Washington has been an underdog in 25 home games (12-13 vs spread), favored in only 22 (9-13).

Thursday’s Den; Happy 4th of July, everyone……

13) If you know a kid who plays high school or college basketball who is really good and who dreams of making it to the NBA, make sure he watches some summer league basketball over the next couple weeks. 

Lot of guys who were GREAT high school players, really, really good college players, all fighting like hell just to make an NBA roster. It ain’t easy, only the very best make it. 

After the kid watches ball for a while, have him go out and practice his butt off; thats the only way to become a great player, to really work at it. 

12) Speaking of which, golfer Nick Faldo said recently that when he changed his swing as a pro, he hit 1,500 balls a day to get his swing right.  Thats about 38 buckets of balls. Every day. 

11) If you’re going to be in Las Vegas and are interested in betting on summer league games, remember that teams need to find out what their players are capable of- the same guys aren’t going to play the same amount of minutes every game. 

I’ve told this story before, how I sat behind a guy at a game a few years ago, and he was 100% sure he had a great bet, because Team A had won by 20 the day before and now today’s line was kind of low. Well, that was because Team A sat most of their better players, so they could take a look at the back end of their roster- they lost by 15. 

That guy was not happy. Don’t be that guy. 

10) Chicago Cubs have lost 15 of their last 19 road games; Joe Maddon is in the last year of his contract, things have to be a little tense in the Windy City. Cubs are only 45-42; first place is only 5.5 games ahead of last place in the NL Central. 

9) Looking at SEC football teams are I begin prepping for this fall:
— Auburn’s offensive line has 104 returning starts, but is starting a new QB.
— Florida has a QB with 21 career starts, but its whole OL has a combined 24 starts.
— Mississippi State’s OL has 71 returning starts, but none of their QB’s have started a game.
— Missouri, Georgia, LSU have the best combination of experience at QB, offensive line.

8) This is why rookie head coaches need an experienced head coach on their staff:

Michigan’s new basketball coach Juwan Howard was asked on a radio show about recruit Franz Wagner, the younger brother of former Wolverines star Moritz Wagner. Franz Wagner  is uncommitted, and could stay overseas and play pro ball instead of playing college ball. 

Howard speaking publicly about the young man’s future recruiting decision is technically an NCAA violation, albeit a minor one. I’m guessing Howard got some advice from new assistant Phil Martelli when this hit the fan. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Twins put P Jake Odorizzi (blister) on the IL. 

6) Coby Karl is coaching the Lakers’ summer league team; he is the son of former NBA coach George Karl who happily beat some health problems he had a few years ago. Good for him. 

5) Bad news if you have Wilson Ramos on your fantasy team; Jason deGrom, Noah Syndergaard both want Tomas Nido as their personal catcher. 

Mets need the DH to come to the National League as soon as possible. 

4) OK, I get confused when NBA teams trade for a player, then buyout the guy’s contract and he goes to a better team as a free agent. They do it for salary cap reasons, but to sign who? Teams like the Suns are always going to suck unless they get some good players who actually stay there and play.

3) Back in the 90’s, Pat Riley wrote a book called The Winner Within; it dealt with stages of team building. One of the stages was called “The Disease of Me” which is when people who are a part of the team start to think they’re “THE reason” a team wins, rather than “A reason” 

NBA free agency reminds me of this, players scattering to get paid and the whole league re-booting. When the dust clears in August, we’ll look at which rosters got better/worse, but all 30 teams re-boot this summer, with teams near the top of the league re-booting the most.

2) RIP to former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen, who passed away way too young this week at age 38; he appeared in four NFL games as a backup with the Giants, threw for 10,354 yards and 78 TD’s at Kentucky. RIP, sir. 

1) When Virginia Tech lost basketball coach Buzz Williams to Texas A&M, they also lost almost all their players; all four of their incoming recruits jumped ship (three went with Williams to A&M), plus three of their seven returning players entered the transfer portal.

Former Wofford coach Mike Young will be a first-time ACC coach at age 56; the Hokies saw their top five scorers leave, five kids that accounted for 90% of Tech’s scoring and 73% of its rebounding in 2018-19. Young will have his hands full, for sure. 

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

13) On July 2, 1963, Giants beat the Braves 1-0 in 16 innings at Candlestick Park. Willie Mays homered in the 16th inning. Time of game: 4:10. No pitching changes. 

Both pitchers threw complete games that night; Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn. Spahn faced 56 batters, Marichal 59. 

Took me a while, but I found the pitch counts for this game; Marichal threw 227 pitches, and the 42 year-old Spahn threw 201. One of the most interesting major league games of all time.

If that ever happened today, both managers/pitching coaches would be fired before sunrise. 

12) I think when they put in the 3-batter minimum in for relief pitchers, it is going to shorten games by 10-15 minutes a game. Pitching changes during an inning add around five minutes apiece.  

11) One of first things I learned about baseball is that a team must be strong defensively up the middle to win a championship; some of the analytics people who run front offices now disagree with this. Take the Mets. 

Amed Roasrio plays shortstop, Michael Conforto plays center for the Mets most days now; Rosario is a lousy SS and his on-base %age is .293. Mets have Lagares/Gomez, who both play CF better than Conforto but Dom Smith is hitting .330, so he plays left and Conforto plays center. 

Wonder what the Mets’ pitchers would do if they made out the lineup card?

10) Speaking of the Mets, they’re skipping Steven Matz’s start this weekend and will go into the All-Star break after Zach Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard make starts the weekend. 

9) According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there is currently “no market” for DeMarcus Cousins, the free agent center who played for Golden State last year. 

In 30 regular season games with the Warriors after recovering from an achilles injury, Cousins averaged 16.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.5 bpg, and 1.3 spg in 25.7 mpg- he was hoping at least for a one-year, 8-figure contract, but that looks unlikely right now. 

8) Former NFL QB Anthony Wright was shot multiple times in North Carolina Monday by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend; Wright played for four NFL teams over the course of an eight-year career, starting 19 games- he went 5-2 starting for the 2003 Ravens.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Bronx put 1B Luke Voit (ab strain) on IL.
— 1B Kendrys Morales was released, is now a free agent.
— Cardinals put 3B Matt Carpenter (back) on the IL. 

6) College basketball transfer portal:
— G Jaylen Fisher transfers from TCU to Grand Canyon. 

5) Pretty good basketball trifecta at Barclays Center Dec 17:
Providence – Florida
Temple – Miami

4) There was a hailstorm in western Mexico Sunday that covered parts of the region with as much as three feet of ice; hailstorms aren’t unusual for this time of year, but no one there had ever seen anything as extreme as this before. 

3) Texas A&M has been in the SEC for seven years and still hasn’t played a football game against Georgia. 

2) Red Sox will use Nathan Eovaldi as their closer when he comes off the IL.

1) One of my favorite hotel/casinos in Las Vegas turned 50 years old Tuesday; the Westgate, formerly the International and then the Las Vegas Hilton, opened on July 2, 1969. 

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

13) Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs passed away Monday in Texas; he was 27 years old. 

Monday’s Angels-Rangers game in Arlington was postponed. 

RIP, young man. 

12) 29 years ago today was the only time I was ever fired from a job; it was a job in the NY State court system, and I was there for 10 months- the person they wanted to have the job didn’t score well enough on her civil service test, so they needed a schmuck to fill the item until she became reachable on the list. 

I was that schmuck. 

So on July 2, 1990 I was told to take a hike by the Chief Clerk, which taught me a few lessons, the biggest one being: Money ain’t everything; happiness is way more valuable. 

Don’t stress out about things you can’t control. Do your best, be a good person, and things will work out well enough in the end. Health and happiness are the most important things. 

11) Friday/Saturday, the Cleveland Indians became the first major league team EVER to get shutout in consecutive games, while allowing 13+ runs in both games. 

10) Think about how much the NFL has changed over the last 40 years. 

In 1976, the Eagles hired Dick Vermeil as coach; he had open tryouts for the public- a 30-year old bartender made the team as a special teams player, a story that was chronicled in the fine movie Invincible, with Mark Wahlberg. 

That summer, the Eagles did 2-a-day practices six days a week for six weeks, played six games in the preseason. Now, 2-a-days are forbidden, they play four preseason games (the better players play 2 or 3 games, if that) and there is very little hitting in camp, to avoid injuries. 

9) LSU’s football team hired former USC/Rams’ head coach John Robinson as a consultant; LSU coach Ed Orgeron became friends with Robinson when Orgeron was as assistant at USC. Robinson’s wife is from New Orleans; he last coached at UNLV in 2005, is 83 years old. 

8) Tampa Bay Rays’ rookie Brendan McKay won his MLB debut on the mound over the weekend, allowing one hit, no runs in six IP. Monday night, he was the Rays’ DH.

7) Mets will pay All Stars Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso a combined $1,122,714 this season 

Mets are paying Bobby Bonilla $1,193,248 this season, and every year until 2035.

6) Golfer Zach Johnson dropped out of the top 100 in the world rankings for the 1st time in over 15 years (April 2004). 

5) St John’s sports teams (mostly their basketball team) switched from Under Armour to Nike this week; their 300 athletes will be outfitted wearing the swoosh. 

4) Two Cleveland State basketball players joined the transfer portal Monday: Tyree Appleby (17.2 ppg, 5.6 apg) and Jaalam Hill (11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg). There are rumors that four other players are also considering leaving- they’re not happy with coach Dennis Felton. 

3) Charlie Blackmon hit .412 in June, scoring 30 runs, knocking in 25 in 22 games. 

2) Kevin Durant played three whole seasons for Golden State, but the Warriors are going to retire his #35, which is weird. Golden State went 140-24 the two years before Durant got there, splitting a pair of Finals appearances. Will Andre Iguodala get his number 9 retired? Have to think Curry, Thompson, Green will all get theirs retired. 

1) I’m guessing the people who make the NBA schedule (and TV schedule) have their hands full doing next season’s schedule— once the free agent dust settles, they can come up with the games they want to feature on opening night and Christmas Day.

Toronto-Brooklyn on opening night? Lakers-Warriors in Golden State’s new arena? 

Monday’s List of 13: Happy Canada Day, everyone……

13) On Thursday, Nate Lashley was the #353 golfer in the world rankings; he was the last guy in the field in Detroit this week. Then he shot 25-under for the week and won $1,314,000 and a two-year exemption on Tour. Pretty good week. 

In 2004, Lashley lost his parents and girlfriend in a plane crash; seven years later, he almost quit golf to become a real estate agent. The guy deserves some good stuff to happen.  

12) Brooklyn Nets made the biggest splash in NBA free agency, throwing $164M at Kevin Durant, plus signing Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. 

Durant has a torn achilles and is over 30; no guarantees they won’t look foolish pretty soon. 

11) Knicks didn’t offer Durant a max contract, which actually makes sense; its the Knicks doing a sensible thing that doesn’t make sense. 

10) Darren Collison has earned $43,343,141 in his NBA career, playing for five different teams in nine years, but he suddenly retired this week at age 31, citing religious reasons. He would’ve probably earned a contract of $10-12M for this season.

9) 76ers lost Jimmy Butler to Miami, JJ Redick to New Orleans, then gave Tobias Harris $180M over five years, which is astounding. Harris’ agent must still be drinking champagne.

8) Minnesota Twins are 53-30, have two All-Stars. 

New York Mets are 38-47, have three All-Stars. Go figure.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Oakland put OF Stephen Piscotty (knee) on the IL.
— Braves put P Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) on the IL. 

6) This is when you know a fan base is 100% spoiled: Red Sox’ GM Dave Dombrowski was getting roasted pretty good this weekend on social media, thanks to the failure of the Boston bullpen this season. 

Red Sox made the playoffs last three years, won 108 games and World Series LY, you might want to take a deep breath and appreciate the four World Series you’ve won since 2004.

5) Biggest differential, NL home vs. road ERA

1. Dodgers 1.72 lower at home

2. Padres 1.55

4) Seattle Mariners got only one All-Star; Daniel Vogelbach over Domingo Santana is an odd choice, seeing how Santana has 14 more RBI and 28 more hits; Vogelbach has 22 more walks. 

3) Neither Bryce Harper or Manny Machado is an All-Star, except on payday. 

2) There are 31 first-time All-Stars, the most since 2016.  

1) Happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north.