Tuesday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

Baseball stuff is posted on baseball page………. 

Tuesday’s 6-pack
Most profitable college football teams vs spread, last 10 years:
— Stanford 81-50-3
— Temple 77-48
— Central Florida 75-53-1
— Duke 71-51-4
— Oklahoma State 75-55
— Louisiana Tech 73-54-1

Tweet of the Day
“What your kids text you when they really don’t want to be told no:
‘My phone’s at 1%.’”
Sam Farmer

Tuesday’s quiz
Which major league team used to be the Montreal Expos? 

Monday’s quiz
Brett Favre owns the NFL record for most consecutive games started by a QB (290). 

Sunday’s quiz
The first Super Bowl was played in the LA Coliseum. 

Tuesday’s Den: 13 of my all-time favorite TV shows…….

13 of my favorite TV shows (in alphabetical order):
— Batman— When you’re six years old, and in the opening credits every week, they show “WHAP!!! POW!!! BIFF!!!” and your name is Biff, this quickly becomes a favorite show. 

The villains were some pretty big stars back then (Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, Milton Berle, Vincent Price, Liberace, Ethel Merman)

I haven’t seen much of the Batman movies that have been made over the years, but the TV show had some humor; one week there was a 3-foot Martian on the loose in Gotham City, and Robin blurts out “Holy interplanetary yardstick, Batman!!!” Good stuff. 

— Billions— Showtime series about a hedge fund manager who pushes the boundaries of the law while his marriage falls apart. His arch-enemy is a prosecutor in NYC who is into S&M and his wife is his dominatrix— the wife is also the psychiatrist for the hedge fund manager’s company. 

Small world. This show is really well-written- the next season will probably run after football season. 

Trivia: Paul Giamatti plays the prosecutor; he is the son of former baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti. I suggested a cameo role for Pete Rose, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

— CSI— I spent a good chunk of my work career searching fingerprints and working for the NY State Division of Criminal Justice, so I enjoyed all the CSI shows, but especially the one set in Las Vegas— the actors seemed to have a chemistry working together. 

One of my weirder ideas (a teacher friend of mine scoffed at this) is that CSI should be taught to all high school kids, so they realize how difficult it is to get away with crimes, so maybe there would be fewer crimes. What could it hurt?

— Green Acres— As a kid, I spent lot of hours watching Green Acres re-runs; my dad would walk into the room, say “Why the hell are you watching that?”, but within five minutes, he’d be sitting there laughing harder than me and would leave the room before my mother came in and saw the both of us laughing. She wasn’t a big fan of Hank Kimball or Arnold Ziffel. 

— Law and Order— 20 years, 456 episodes, a great launching point for lot of acting careers, not to mention the spinoff shows that branched off this original show. 

Take Billions; there are 32 actors who have appeared in 12+ episodes of Billons; 14 of those 32 actors appeared in at least one episode of Law and Order, and two others were in Law and Order SVU, and that doesn’t count Eric Bogosian, who was in Law and Order: Criminal Intent for 61 episodes, but was only in 10 episodes of Billions (so far). 

— Magnum PI— I’ve never been to Hawai’i, but if I ever went, would like to visit Robin Masters’ estate; I’m told you can visit there, it is kind of a museum or something. 

One of the best episodes was when Frank Sinatra played a retired New York City cop whose granddaughter was murdered— this was near the end of both the series and Sinatra’s career. 

The overriding themes of the show were that great friends will do all kinds of stuff for each other, and if you’re really good looking and drive a Ferrari, women will like you 🙂

— M*A*S*H— Years later, after watching re-runs of this show on our local channel 10 and the Boston channel for hours at a time, it dawned on me that this was actually a very sad show, with humor/jokes masking the grotesque sadness of wartime Korea. 

The McLean Stevenson episodes were the best; he was Colonel Henry Blake for the first 75 episodes, and a lot of them were classics, just funny as hell. 

— Mr Ed— This show ran on network TV from 1961-66, so I never saw it until the re-runs came on at 4:30 weekdays on a local channel in the early 70’s. Mr Ed was a talking horse, but he only talked to Wilbur Post, an architect who worked at home but never actually seemed to work. 

Mr Ed was a big Dodger fan; his favorite player was OF Willie Davis. In one episode, the horse takes batting practice against Sandy Koufax, and hits a ball off the wall at Dodger Stadium, with the bat held in his mouth. A fun show, not necessarily a realistic one. 

— Odd Couple— As a kid, Oscar Madison was one of my heroes; a sportswriter who always spilled food on his clothes but was a good natured guy who somehow dated a doctor or one of the Pidgeon sisters. 

To this day when I see my cousin’s husband, we recite lines from Odd Couple episodes; when they owned a greyhound racing dog , or appeared on Password (a game show), or when Oscar dated a princess from some obscure European country “You bought her a salty pretzel; oh, boy!!!” Great stuff. 

— Ray Donovan— The most violent program on this list; just about everybody on this Showtime series that isn’t related to the Donovans eventually winds up dead. 

Ray Donovan is a fixer for rich people, but he can’t fix his own family; his wife passes away from cancer, and the last time we saw him, he was still struggling with that. 

Live Schreber plays Ray, Jon Voight plays his father (a genuine creep); they’ve had guest stars like Susan Sarandon, James Woods, Wendell Pierce, Hank Azaria. Alan Alda, C Thomas Howell. 

Very good show but also very violent. 

— Suits— This show is winding down its last season on USA Network; it is about a law firm that hired a young guy with a photographic memory who had one small problem— he is a college dropout who never went to law school, but he gets paid to take bar exams for other people. 

The show had to change directions because one of the actresses (Meghan Markle) moved to England after she married Prince Harry in real life. Her character was married to Mike (the fraudulent lawyer) so they got written out of the last couple years of the show. 

— West Wing— Martin Sheen plays the President in this show; his cabinet included Rob Lowe, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, John Spencer— great cast.

Actor Duke Hill was in both West Wing and Suits; Mary Louise Parker was in this and is also in Billions. Alan Alda was in this, Ray Donovan and of course, M*A*S*H

Jimmy Smits, Mary MacCormack, Tim Matheson, Gary Cole, just a ton of excellent actors. 

In one episode, President Bartlet has to throw out the first pitch at an Orioles’ game, but he never played ball, so one of his aides has to teach him how to throw a baseball in a hallway in the White House, where an errant toss breaks an expensive vase. 

— White Shadow— Ken Howard plays a washed-up NBA player who becomes a high school basketball coach in Los Angeles. Show only lasted three years, because well, high school kids graduate so they would’ve had to turn most of the cast over every other year. 

The basketball scenes were really well-done; Gwyneth Paltrow’s father was the creator of the show. Lot of the issues they tackled in this show were issues that real high school in the inner city had to deal with. Ken Howard was great as Coach Reeves; he wasn’t some all-knowing guy; he had flaws but he fought for his kids and they respected him for it (most of the time). 

Teams’ record in series

Teams’ records in series (road/home)

Ariz        9-8-4……..9-9-1
Atl          13-5-2……12-4-4
Cubs      5-14-2……14-1-5
Reds       4-9-7……..9-6-5
Colo       5-12-3……12-5-3
LA          11-6-3…….16-3-1
Miami   6-11-2……6-12-3
Milw      7-11-2……10-6-4
Mets      7-12-3……10-5-3
Philly     8-8-3…….11-8-2
Pitt         8-11-2…….7-9-3
StL          8-11-2……10-6-3
SD          8-10-2…….7-11-2
SF           9-9-2……..8-9-3
Wash     8-8-4……..11-8-1

Balt        4-14-2…….3-14-3
Bos            11-9……….6-7-6
ChiSox    6-10-4………8-7-5
Clev         9-8-5……..11-6-4
Det          3-12-5……..3-16-1
Astros     11-8-2……..15-1-2
KC           2-15-2……..5-13-2
Angels    9-10-3………9-9-1
Twins     11-6-3………11-6-3
NYY         9-5-4………16-3-3
A’s            9-8-4………13-4-3
Seattle     9-11-1………6-12-2
TB           13-4-3………10-7-3
Texas       4-11-5………11-5-4
Tor            7-9-4………4-14-2

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

13) We mentioned last week how Ronald Acuna hit a ball off the wall against the Mets but only got a single out of it, because he thought it was a homer and jogged to first base. Well, it happened again Sunday, and this time the Braves took action. 

Acuna singled in the third inning Sunday but it should’ve been a double, and he was pulled from the game against the Dodgers with Atlanta trailing 3-1. 

12) Antonio Brown wasn’t at Raiders practice Sunday because he is upset that the NFL hasn’t approved his helmet; Oakland’s front office appears to be running out of patience with Brown.

Steelers took a $21M salary cap hit last winter to dump Brown for two mid-level draft picks, and now it is very clear why. 

11) Sounds like Case Keenum will be Washington’s starting QB on September 8th, with Colt McCoy not 100% and Dwayne Haskins being a rookie. 

Here is Keenum’s career path:
2012-14— Went 4-8 as a starter with Houston.
2015-16— Went 7-7 as a starter for the Rams, was replaced by Jared Goff.
2017— Went 11-3 as the starter for Minnesota, split two playoff games.
2018— Went 6-10 as the starter for Denver.
2019— Starter for Washington; will eventually be replaced by Haskins. 

Coming into this year, Keenum has earned roughly $22M in salary, so despite his getting the short end of the stick in terms of regular employment, his bank account is doing just fine. 

10) To make room for Josh Gordon, New England cut WR Dontrelle Inman, who three years ago caught 58 balls for 810 yards and four TD’s when he played for the Chargers. Am guessing that Inman won’t be out of work too long. 

9) Didn’t realize that Rams-Cowboys tilt Saturday night was the first NFL preseason game in Hawai’i since 1976. They had the Pro Bowl in Hawai’i most years, but this was better than those. 

8) Phil Mickelson shot 71 Sunday, finished T48 at the BMW tournament, after the hotel he was staying in was struck by lightning and caught on fire Sunday morning. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Reds put 1B Joey Votto (back) on the IL.
— Colorado P Scott Oberg (blood clot in arm) is out for the year.
— Nationals put P Sean Doolittle (knee) on the IL.
— Bryce Harper (dehydration) left the Phillies’ game after the 5th inning. 

6) Red Sox P Chris Sale is visiting Dr James Andrews today for a second opinion, which is rarely good news, not that Dr Andrews isn’t a good guy. Pitchers who visit the good doctor often get their arms operated on shortly thereafter. 

5) Indians’ ace Corey Kluber hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 1; be broke his forearm. His third rehab start was cut off after one inning Sunday, because of abdominal tightness that the team trainers did not want him attempting to pitch through. Not a good sign. 

4) Liberty football coach (former Ole Miss coach) Hugh Freeze had surgery on Friday to address a potentially life-threatening strand of staph infection; he’s missed a week of fall camp already. Doctors say if his conditioned hadn’t been addressed, the infection could’ve reached his heart and that wouldn’t have been good, but now he is expected to fully recover. 

3) From the New York Post: A South Dakota woman who recently gave birth to triplets said she didn’t discover she was pregnant until she went to the hospital with what she thought were kidney stones.

The woman has two other children, but still didn’t know she was pregnant; the triplets’ names are Blaze, Gypsy and Nikki. 

2) Sunday was a strong day for celebrity birthdays: Roberto Clemente, Robert Redford, Patrick Swayze, Denis Leary, Edward Norton (Worm in Rounders), Christian Slater, Martin Mull and Shelley Winters. 

1) RIP to former NFL running back Cedric Benson, 36, who died in a motorcycle accident this weekend. Benson was the #4 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, played eight years in the league, and has the 6th-most rushing yards in I-A college football history.

RIP Jack Whitaker, 95, who passed away Sunday. When I was a little kid, he was host of the NFL studio show on CBS. I’m pretty sure he is the person who introduced the term “sack” on a pregame segment for CBS. He was also a World War II veteran. RIP, sir, 

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

13) White Sox TV analyst Steve Stone is on vacation this week, so play-by-play guy Jason Benetti recruited various replacements, one of whom was Bill Walton, who worked Friday night’s game in Anaheim. As usual, I learned a lot from listening, and this is without taking notes:

— South America is the continent with the most bird species living on it.
— There are 129 community colleges in California.
— There are more people living in Orange County than in 21 states.
— “Happy Birthday to You” is the most widely-sung song in this country.

And this historical gem; when Marvin Miller was elected Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1966, the guy he beat out for the job is someone we’ve all heard of: Richard M. Nixon. 

12) Philadelphia Eagles did a very smart thing and got QB Josh McCown to un-retire from the NFL and join them as a backup QB. McCown had recently started a studio job with ESPN- he is guaranteed $2M this year, can earn up to $5.4M with incentives. 

McCown is 40 years old, has a career 23-53 W-L record in the NFL. 

11) Which reminds me that a couple years ago, the reason CBS hired Tony Romo as an analyst is that the guy they hired first (Jay Cutler) also un-retired to play for the Dolphins (for $10M) so CBS scrambled for a replacement. Romo is a really, really good TV analyst. 

Still want to hear Cutler, though; he has retired again but is on a reality show with his wife on the E! Channel (Very Cavallari)- he has a dry sense of humor. 

10) Arizona P Alex Young is 4-3, 3.98 in his first nine games with the Diamondbacks; problem for Young is that Arizona was shut out in each of his last three starts. Hard to win that way.

9) Saturday was the 34th day in a row that a major leaguer hit two homers in a game. 

8) Brewers 15, Nationals 14 (14)— Washington blew an 11-8 lead in 9th inning, then Brewers blew leads in 9th, 13th innings before finally winning just before 1am. Teams play again today, about 12.5 hours after this game ended. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Dodgers P Julio Urias was suspended 20 games by MLB (domestic violence)
— Red Sox put P Chris Sale (elbow) on the IL.
— Colorado put P Chad Bettis (hip) on the IL.
— Braves put OF Ender Inciarte (hamstring) on the IL. 

6) On August 17, 2008, leading 7-3 in the 9th inning in Arlington, the Rays intentionally walked Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded and two out, to pitch to Marlon Byrd (who struck out). 

— Hamilton was great back then (32 homers, 130 RBI)
— Maddon could do no wrong that year; the Rays made it to the World Series. 

Grant Balfour was the pitcher who was told to walk Hamilton, then was taken out of the game; he didn’t look happy when he left the mound. Balfour would later be the A’s closer in 2012-13 when they made the playoffs— he was very good those two years (62 saves). 

5) Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens flew to Tennessee Saturday for Darryl Drake’s funeral, despite it being the same day as a 4 o’clock kickoff for the Browns. Kitchens was the RB coach in Arizona when Drake was the WR coach. 

4) Rays 1, Tigers 0 (13)— Teams combined to score three runs in 22 innings the last two nights. Detroit batters struck out 24 times, with no walks in this game. 

3) Reds 6, Cardinals 1— Rookie Aristides Aquino has 10 homers in his last 11 games; this is a guy that hit .240 with a ,754 OPS in AA ball last season (20 HR’s). Go figure. 

2) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Atlanta-St Louis-Los Angeles. Wild Card: Cubs @ Nationals
AL: New York-Minnesota-Houston. Wild Card: Rays @ Indians

1) There is a suite at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas that costs $100,000 a night; the thing is, they also tack on a $39 resort fee, and $9.99 for Interweb access. You’d think for $100K a night, they’d comp the resort fee, and aren’t Interweb fees supposed to be a part of resort fees? Oy.

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

13) Cubs led the Phillies 5-0 after seven innings Thursday night; Yu Darvish was dominant, giving up four hits, throwing only 92 pitches, but they took him out after seven innings. Why? 

Darvish has thrown 100+ pitches in four starts this year, but hasn’t gotten an out after the 7th inning all season. Cubs’ bullpen blew this game; Phillies scored six runs in bottom of 9th inning, won 7-5, and there is unrest in Wrigleyville. 

One professional gambler called it: “…….Cubs loser. Absolutely my worst beat of the season. Joe Maddon should have to pay off every Cubs bet.  Idiot.”

12) Christian Yelich, Matt Chapman have both hit 15 homers this year that put their team ahead in the game, which is tied for most in the major leagues this season. 

11) I say this every year, but every NFL team should have to dress three QB’s every game, even if the #3 QB is a designated 48th man on the roster— it is for the quality of the product, so people want to watch the games. 

Few years ago, Houston lost their starting QB on the first series of the game, so they couldn’t run any long passes the rest of the day- if the #2 QB had gotten hurt, they would’ve had to use a WR and run the option the rest of the game. Thats not professional-level football. 

NFL teams make a bleeping fortune; every team can afford to keep a #3 QB around. Eagles have already had two backup QB’s KO’d in their preseason games the month.

10) There was a guy on NFL Network talking about fantasy football who says he has a team in 12 different leagues this season. How the hell does he keep track of all of them? 

9) 49ers are only team in NFL with more $$$ per year invested in running backs than receivers. 

8) From Warren Sharp:
W-L records of top-15 draft pick QB’s since 2012:
• As rookies:  45-70 (39%)
• In year two: 97-56 (63%)

7) Baseball stuff:
— A’s DFA’d C Dustin Garneau.
— Royals DFA’d OF Billy Hamilton, who runs fast but can’t hit.
— Cubs brought 2B Addison Russell up from AAA, demoted OF Albert Almora.
— San Diego put 2B Ian Kinsler (back) on the IL. 

6) Padres’ rookie SS Fernando Tatis Jr (back) is likely out for the season. 

5) Baltimore Ravens have now won their last 15 exhibition games (13-2 vs spread). 

4) From Joe Sheehan:
The percentage of runs scored in the major leagues on home runs is now a tick over 45%. The previous record is 42.3%, and until 2015 it had never been over 37%.

3) Saw something on Twitter about Steak ’n Shake and In-n-Out Burger, and immediately I got hungry. We really do need a Steak ’n Shake in suburban Albany, preferably south Colonie. 

2) With 2:49 left in a meaningless exhibition game Thursday, rookie WR Andy Isabella caught a 59-yard TD pass from rookie QB Charles Kanoff. A kid from Princeton throwing a TD pass to a kid from UMass— it was cool to see the QB’s reaction/smile, a good moment. 

Isabella is going to make the Cardinals’ roster, Kanoff may or may not (practice squad?), but it was certainly a moment he will never forget. 

1) NFL preseason is a time for overreactions:
— Last week: Kyler Murray is the second coming of Michael Vick.
— This week: Murray is too short; why did Arizona hire Kingsbury?

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

13) In the 50 years of divisional play in baseball, only three times has a team won its division with a road record that was 10+ games under .500. This year’s Cubs are 23-38 on the road; they’re tied for first place in the NL Central. 

12) I’m guessing that these NFL joint practices where teams meet up for a couple days and practice against each other are more helpful than just a normal team practice. Breaks up the monotony of training camp- practicing against new faces increases whatever intensity there is. 

11) Marlins 13, Dodgers 7— If a baseball game was ever played in a library, it would’ve sounded like this; the 5,000 or so fans who were there didn’t make much noise, to the point where the Dodger TV guys were talking about how players/managers were more likely to be ejected on a day like this, because the umpires could hear every word they said. 

10) Interesting discussion on ESPN the other night on how catchers now value pitch-framing more than blocking low pitches or throwing out baserunners trying to steal. 

As long as there is no baserunner on third, catchers now often stay on one knee and focus on getting their pitchers called strikes. There has been an increase in wild pitches/passed balls in recent years, and this is the reason why, not because pitchers’ stuff is any nastier. 

9) When you look at stats for AAA pitchers this year, important to keep in mind that they’re using the major league (juiced) baseball this year for the first time. 

Last year, Lehigh Valley led the International League wth 145 homers; so far this year, eight of the 14 IL teams have hit more than 145 and the season still has a few weeks left. 

8) Last nine baseball seasons, the first player to get to 30 home runs has been a different player every year. Jose Bautista reached 30 homers first in both 2010-11. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Reds scratched 1B Joey Votto (lower back).
— A’s signed P Matt Harvey to a minor league deal. I’m not sure having Harvey pitch in Las Vegas is an ideal situation, seeing how Harvey has had issues getting to the ballpark on time in his career. 

6) Michigan’s basketball program offered a scholarship to rising Class of ’20 recruit Jace Howard, an unranked forward prospect from Miami. Chances are the Wolverines will get him, seeing how Jace Howard is the son of new Michigan coach Juwan Howard. 

5) JT Realmuto caught only one game as a high school senior; he played shortstop mostly, but a wise scout projected him as a catcher and now Realmuto is a very wealthy catcher. 

4) If you’ve ever seen the reality show “Chrisley Knows Best,” on USA Network, you probably won’t be seeing it anymore. Todd and Julie Chrisley were indicted on tax evasion and fraud charges, and are in custody in Georgia. 

The 12-count indictment also alleges the Chrisleys committed bank fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, as well as other illegal stuff. 

3) DeMarcus Cousins hurt his knee Monday while working out in Las Vegas; fears are that he tore his ACL. He signed a one-year, $3.5M contract with the Lakers in July, has earned $83M+ in salary in his career, but he hasn’t had much injury luck the last few years.

2) Former Oklahoma/Steelers QB Landry Jones became the first quarterback to sign a contract with the XFL, which begins play next February. Jones had recently worked out for the Detroit Lions after one of their backup QB’s got hurt. 

The XFL’s first player draft is in October. 

1) Great name for a racehorse: Tequila Sheila (25-1) ran in the 5th race at Gulfstream Thursday. Good name, slow horse; Tequila Sheila didn’t hit the board, or come close. 

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

13) Smart move; ESPN’s new gambling-related program, Daily Wager, will have a 9am Sunday slot on ESPN2 during football season. It actually should be on closer to kickoff, but a very good move to give it Sunday exposure. 

12) July sports betting revenue in New Jersey: $17,884,790 

Year-to-date sports betting revenue in New Jersey: $127,518,555

11) According to Caesar’s sportsbook, Miami Dolphins are 5-2 favorites to finish with the worst record in the NFL this season. Giants/Bengals have next-lowest odds, at 9-2.

10) This makes no sense to me; you can go into the Army and fight in a war at age 18, but you can’t gamble in a casino until you’re 21. No bueno.

9) Sounds as if LT Trent Williams won’t be playing for the Redskins anytime soon, which is bad news for Washington fans and for the health of the Redskins’ QB’s. 

8) A’s 9, Giants 5— 30-year old rookie named Corban Joseph went 1-4, knocked in a run in this game, his first in MLB this year, six years after his MLB debut. 

In 2013, Joseph went 1-6 in two games for Bronx; last year, he was 4-18 in 14 games for the Orioles. This year, Joseph hit .371 at AAA Las Vegas, so he got the call this week with Oakland struggling getting offense from the keystone position. 

That is what is cool about the minor leagues; guys who refuse to give up on their dreams, and once in a while, they get called (back) up to the majors and those dreams are realized. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Giants put 3B Pablo Sandoval on the IL.
— Mets put 2B/OF Jeff MacNeil (hamstring) on the IL.
— Rays put OF Avisail Garcia (oblique) on the IL.
— Pirates’ P Jameson Taillon had Tommy John surgery Tuesday.
— Arizona P Robbie Ray took himself out of Wednesday’s game after two innings.

6) Olive Garden is offering a limited number of customers unlimited pasta for life for $500   beginning Thursday at 2pm. At $10.99 a pop, you go more than 45 times the rest of your life, and you’re making money on the deal. 

They offered the same deal two years ago and they sold out in under 90 seconds. 

5) Odd Fact of the Day;
— Hunter Renfroe is an outfielder for the San Diego Padres.
— Hunter Renfrow is a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders. 

4) Tampa Bay Rays average 15,000+ fans per home game; they average 26,000+ on the road. 

3) On August 1, a 22-year-old gambler wagered $2,000 on the Mets to win the World Series at a FanDuel sportsbook, which would pay him $200,000. Mets were 52-55 at the time, but had won six games in a row. 

2) They had Bark at the Park at the Rockies’ game Tuesday night; there was a dog there that weighs 190 pounds. Can’t even imagine owning a dog that is so big- its owners said the dog sleeps 18 hours a day. 

1) New York 6, Baltimore 5— Hard to believe, but the Orioles were in the playoffs three years ago; they’re 39-82 this season, and have zero hope of contending anytime soon. Pitching is a very important part of baseball, and the Orioles are sorely lacking in pitching prospects.

Mercifully, this is the last time these two teams meet this season.

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

13) Phillies fired hitting coach John Mallee Tuesday, replacing him for rest of this season with 75-year old Charlie Manuel, who managed the Phillies when they won the 2008 World Series. 

Manuel managed the Phillies for nine years, winning NL pennants in 2008-09. He wasn’t at the Phillies’ game Tuesday night. 

12) Must be a ton of $$$ involved in running fantasy football leagues. ESPN had a live fantasy draft on national TV Tuesday night, as they wrapped up a 26-hour fantasy football marathon. Fantasy drafts are usually fun to be a part of, just not so much fun to watch. 

Related comment: ESPN has gone down the drain in recent years, just don’t like the way they do things as much anymore, but the 26-hour football thing they did this week was good. Maybe they should try something like that for baseball next spring. 

Actually, it is surprising that ESPN doesn’t tout NBA fantasy leagues, seeing how they talk about the NBA 365 days a year now. 

11) The more I think about it, it makes sense that I suck at fantasy football because I can’t grasp the concept that quarterback isn’t the most important position on fantasy teams.

10) Mariners 11, Tigers 6— How bad do you have to be for Detroit to be -$160 against you? Tigers are now 11-41 in their last 52 games, just an awful team, but Seattle is pretty terrible too. 

9) Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck’s calf strain has turned into a high-ankle issue, which is bad news for Indy- they can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

8) Oregon Ducks landed 6-11 center N’Faly Dante, who moved up from Class of 2020 to this year’s freshman class, as Oregon restocks a roster ravaged by five early departures last spring. 

Dante figures to team with UNLV transfer Shakur Juiston to lead the Ducks back to the NCAAs; this news pushed Oregon back into the preseason top 25. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Colorado Rockies DFA’d veteran C Chris Iannetta. 

6) New England Patriots’ recent history in divisional games:
— Won 28 of last 31 games with the Bills, won last 8 visits to Buffalo.
— Won 14 of last 16 games with the Jets, six of last eight in NJ.
— 6-5 in last 11 games vs Dolphins, 1-5 in last six visits to Miami. 

5) Houston Astros are in line to become the first team ever not to issue an intentional walk all season. 

4) Arizona State announced that true freshman Jayden Daniels will be its starting QB on August 29, with true freshman Joey Yellen as his backup; this is thought to be the second time a I-A team has gone into the season with two true freshmen atop their QB depth chart- Texas Tech in 2013 had Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb, both of whom are in the NFL now. 

3) There are people in this world who actually get upset about the ketchup/mustard debates that pop up on social media. I mean, we have some screwed-up things going on in the world today, condiments should be the least of our problems. 

I once had a date go in the ashcan (imagine that?) because my female companion got annoyed when I asked for ketchup to put on my food. This happened in Chicago, and apparently putting ketchup on food is mostly frowned upon there. Who knew? 

2) Braves 5, Mets 3— Ronald Acuna led off the first inning by hitting a ball off the wall in deep right-center field, but didn’t hustle out of the box and only got a single. He later scored anyway. 

Acuna homered later in the game and threw a runner out at home from left field; he is really, really good, but he is still only 21 and will probably get even better. 

1) Awful Announcing released their ratings for local TV announcers; I’m going to do my own ratings later this month, but in their ratings, Padres-Giants-Mets were top three teams.

Nationals-Pirates-Tigers were three lowest-rated announce teams; I would strongly disagree with the Detroit ranking. Jack Morris is really good when he talks about pitching, and Kirk Gibson is a solid analyst. Matt Shepard asks his analysts good questions and they discuss the answers openly. Very unfair rating. 

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

13) Miami Hurricanes will start redshirt freshman Jarren Williams at QB when they open their season against Florida next week, which means that Ohio State transfer Tate Martell may have transferred to the wrong school- he was expected to start. 

Martell is from Las Vegas; if he transferred home now, he could sit out next year, then play for UNLV in 2021 and 2022.

12) Bryce Harper jumped from Washington to the Phillies this season, but as of August 12, here are the standings in the NL East:

Braves 70-50
Nationals 63-55
Mets 61-57
Phillies 60-58
Marlins 44-73

They also traded for catcher JT Realmuto last winter. If the Phillies don’t make the playoffs, how does manager Gabe Kapler keep his job?

11) Dak Prescott turned down a $30M a year offer from the Cowboys. Word is he wants $40M a year, which I’m pretty sure ain’t going to happen, at least not this year. 

Russell Wilson makes $35M a year, Carson Wentz makes $32M. Wilson has won a Super Bowl and Wentz hasn’t, nor has Prescott. Wonder if Prescott would take $32M a year?

10) Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed two PAT’s Thursday, then retired Saturday before the Jets could tell him to take a hike. Catanzaro kicked for four teams the last five years; he will be replaced by Taylor Bertolet, who kicked for the Salt Lake Stallions in the ill-fated AAF.

9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 55-105 in the 10 years since Jon Gruden last coached there. 

8) If you thought you had a bad day, thieves recently broke into Alex Rodriguez’ rented SUV and made off with $500,000 worth of electronics and jewelry in San Francisco— ARod was there to broadcast the Phillies-Giants game Sunday night.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Reds claimed SS Freddie Galvis off waivers from Toronto.
— Red Sox put IF Michael Chavis (shoulder) on IL. 

6) The 2020 baseball schedule is out; the A’s open next season on March 26 at home against the Twins. There are going to be some cold fans around the country on March 26. Starting a season that early and finishing it in late September is a little odd. 

5) Mets and Marlins will play a three-game series in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 28-30. 

4) Gleyber Torres has 26 home runs this year; 13 of them are against the Orioles.

3) Caddy Steve Williams worked six tournaments for golfer Jason Day, then got told to take a hike; Day finished above 40th in only two of the six tournaments.

2) Random beverage item: Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte returns to menus on August 27, it’s earliest-ever recorded official launch. Just thought you’d like to know. 

1) We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t find a football helmet that Antonio Brown likes that is less than 10 years old?

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

13) The definition of worlds colliding is Nick Saban bringing Mike Tyson in to talk to his Alabama football team Thursday night. Tyson urged players to love themselves and manage their anger in a healthy way, and advised them on how to deal with success. 

Saban, and a lot of coaches, bring in speakers to talk to their teams, believing that kids need to hear different voices along the way. When you have unlimited resources, you can afford to bring in someone as prominent as Mike Tyson.

12) Cincinnati Reds’ rookie OF Aristides Aquino hit seven home runs in his first 10 major league games, instantly putting him on the national map as a prospect, but he also hit a combined .227 in AA ball in 2017-18, so I need a little more evidence before I proclaim him to be the second coming of Yordan Alvarez. 

11) My unpopular opinion of the day: Little League games shouldn’t be on national TV. 

10) Steelers 30, Buccaneers 28— Tampa Bay ran 83 plays from scrimmage, Steelers only 57. Buccaneers threw the ball 57 times, were sacked four times- thats 61 dropbacks. Bruce Arians likes to throw the football; Jameis Winston should have a big season. 

9) kenpom.com is a really good college basketball website that is statistically oriented; he posted a new metric recently, ranking all 353 college hoop programs for what they’ve accomplished, going back to 1997. 

Top three programs who haven’t made the NCAA’s since 1997:
#102 Rutgers, #129 Louisiana Tech, #136 Toledo. 

Top three programs who made the NCAA’s only once since ’97:
#85 Northwestern, #95 Oregon State, #99 Boise State. 

8) Dodgers went over 3,000,000 fans Saturday night for the 8th consecutive year; this is the earliest they have reached the 3,000,000 mark in a season.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Red Sox brought 2B Chris Owings up from AAA.
— Dodgers activated P Hyun-Jin Ryu from the IL.
— Angels put C Kevan Smith (back) on IL. 

6) Detroit Lions signed QB Josh Johnson after Tom Savage got a concussion in Thursday’s loss to New England. David Fales is the Lions’ only other backup behind Matthew Stafford. Detroit is Johnson’s 13th NFL team. 

5) When the new domed stadium opens in Las Vegas next year, the Raiders will play on natural grass that will be on portable trays; UNLV will play on an artificial turf field that’ll be located on the stadium floor. 

 4) Bad Beat of the Week; Under 8 in the Atlanta-Miami game Saturday; game was scoreless in the 8th inning, winds up 7-6 Miami, with both bullpens going full arson squad.

3) According to former Mets’ GM Steve Phillips, the last three World Series champs had a combined 33 pitchers who appeared in the World Series- only three of them were homegrown. Winning teams are developing position players and finding pitching where they can.  

2) QB’s who started a Super Bowl in their second year in the NFL:
— Dan Marino, Miami
— Kurt Warner, Rams
— Tom Brady, NE
— Ben Roethlisberger, Pitt
— Colin Kaepernick, SF
— Russell Wilson, Sea

1) QB’s who started a Super Bowl in their third year in the NFL:
— Joe Kapp, Minn (played 9 years in CFL before that)
— Roger Staubach, Dal
— Vince Ferragamo, Rams
— Joe Montana, SF
— David Woodley, Miami
— Tony Eason, NE
— Jake Delhomme, Caro (played for NO in ’99,’02, Panthers in ’03)
— Jared Goff, Rams

Sunday’s List of 13: Some early college football knowledge for Labor Day weekend

13) Oregon has their entire offensive line back from last year (153 starts), but last three years, they’re 3-11 vs spread as an underdog, 6-13-1 ATS outside Pac-12. Ducks also have a senior QB (28 starts)- they open with an Auburn squad that has five seniors starting on OL (104 starts), but Tigers have a new QB- they’re 8-16-1 vs spread in last 25 non-SEC games. 

12) Virginia Tech won three of last four games with Boston College, winning 23-10/26-10 in last two visits here- road team won four of last five series games. Since 2012, Hokies are 6-16 ATS as a road favorite. 

11) Georgia won four of last five games with Vanderbilt, winning 45-14/31-14 in last two visits to Nashville. Under Kirby Smart, Dawgs are 7-4 ATS as a road favorite; last two years, Vanderbilt is 1-5 ATS as a home underdog.

10) Last two years, Kentucky is 0-9 vs spread as a home favorite. 

9) Since 2014, Northwestern covered 14 of 17 games as a road underdog. 

8) Last two years, Fresno State is 22-6 SU, 5-0 vs spread as a road underdog, 8-2 vs spread outside Mountain West. Bulldogs have a new QB this year and an inexperienced offensive line, o they figure to take a step back despite having an excellent coach in Tedford.

USC has a soph QB (11 starts), three soph starters on OL; they crushed Fresno State 52-13 (-20) in last five meeting five years ago. Last two years, Trojans are 3-9 ATS as a home favorite; they start Pac-12 play (Stanford) next week.

7) Pittsburgh won its last four games with Virginia, winning 31-14/26-19 in last two meetings here. Under Narduzzi, Panthers are 17-11 ATS as an underdog- last three years, they’re 5-3 as a home dog. Since 2010, Virginia is 2-3 as a road favorite. 

6) Since 2014, UCLA is 4-13-1 vs spread outside the Pac-12; they’ve got 19 starters back, are 6-8 ATS in last 14 games as a road underdog. Last six years, Cincinnati is 10-18 ATS outside AAC; under Fickell, Bearcats are 4-5 as a home favorite. 

5) Utah won its last three games with rival BYU, by 1-6-8 points; Utes have senior QB (19 starts) but their OL has total of only 49 starts. BYU is 13-15 SU last two years; under Sitake, Cougars are 0-3-1 ATS as a home underdog. 

4) Since 2012, Tennessee is 11-23 vs spread as a home favorite. 

3) Colorado won its last four games with Colorado State by average score of 33-12 (3-0-1 ATS); Buffs have a new coach and a senior QB (27 starts). CSU has a very young OL (26 starts); last three years, Rams are 10-4 vs spread when getting points. 

2) North Carolina has a new QB, a new/old coach (Mack Brown) and a thin OL (48 starts); they lost last meeting with South Carolina 17-13 (+2) in 2015. Gamecocks covered six of last seven games on neutral fields; since 2012, SC is 2-5-1 ATS as a road favorite. 

1) Houston is 7-1-1 vs spread in last nine games as a road dog; they upset Oklahoma 33-23 (+12) in last meeting three years ago, but Holgorsen was 0-7 vs Sooners when he coached WVU. Oklahoma beat West Virginia 59-56 (-3) in LY’s meeting; Sooners scored 52.8 ppg in winning last five games against Holgorsen’s defense. 

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

13) This week, Toronto rookie Bo Bichette became the first player since 1900 to hit a double in nine straight games, and he did it in his 11th career game. Not a bad start to his career. 

12) Patriots 31, Lions 3— Total yardage in this game was 459-93, in a freakin’ preseason game. Neither starting QB played. I’m guessing the home fans weren’t too pleased with this showing. 

This is where I remind you that Detroit fired coach Jim Caldwell after consecutive 9-7 seasons, so they could hire New England’s defensive coordinator, who then went 6-10 LY.

Last time the Lions won a playoff game was 1991. No bueno.

11) I still struggle with analyzing NFL exhibition games and figuring out how much they mean; the Ravens never lose them, the Falcons never win one. Outcomes of a lot of the games will be decided by guys who will be bartenders or driving UPS trucks in a few weeks. 

Most coaches don’t game plan for exhibition games, but some do; Arizona Cardinals huddled in their game Thursday, but aren’t expected to huddle at all on September 8. 

Avoiding injuries and determining who will win the final roster spots are really the most important part of these games. 

10) Two years ago, Cleveland Browns went 4-0 in preseason, allowing a total of 29 points. There was a lot of optimism on Lake Erie. Then they went 0-16 in the regular season. 

For most part, I would disregard scores of exhibition games; injuries to key people matter, like the Eagles losing their backup QB for six weeks Thursday. 

9) Titans 27, Eagles 10— Eagles’ backup QB Nate Sudfeld broke his left (non-throwing) wrist Thursday night; the other two backup QB’s on Philly’s roster are suspects more than prospects, so they better keep oft-injured starter Carson Wentz healthy while Sudfeld’s wrist heals.

8) If any of you play fantasy soccer or are interested in starting to do it, here is an article I recommend, because my godson wrote it and he knows a lot about soccer:

https://www.fanduel.com/theduel/posts/fantasy-soccer-cheat-sheet-how-to-play-fantasy-soccer-for-the-2019-season-01dhpnjtft7a

7) Baseball stuff:
— Mets signed 2B Joe Panik, who was cut by the Giants the other day.
— Twins put DH Nelson Cruz (wrist) on IL. 

6) Someone bet $10,000 on the Vikings at CG Technology Friday, at 20-1 odds, which is a lot of faith in a team whose $28M a year QB has never won a playoff game. 

5) Bill Walton is going to broadcast a White Sox game with Jason Benetti when the Pale Hose go to Anaheim next Friday. They’ve done college basketball games together, but there is lot more dead time in a baseball broadcast. This should be interesting.

4) In case you wondering, Bryce Harper has hit his 204 career home runs off of 159 different pitchers. 

3) BYU basketball star Yoeli Childs will miss the first nine games this coming season because of a paperwork screw-up when he declared for the NBA draft last May, then decided to return to BYU after testing the draft waters.

2) This Antonio Brown thing isn’t going well…….according to Mike Silver:

“……..Brown, according to witnesses, typically glances at the screens of several tablets and his smart phone during meetings, distracting himself by engaging in activities which include perusing his bank accounts and “liking” photos on Instagram.”

“the meeting thing isn’t that bad… but the feet, helmet and going dark is an issue.”

1) Chargers’ backup QB Easton Stick has a great name; how many guys you know who are named after an aluminum bat? Stick was 49-3 playing QB at North Dakota State, where he took over for Carson Wentz. He looked good playing ball in Arizona Thursday night. 

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

13) So you want to be a major league GM? It ain’t easy. 

This year, Baltimore is a terrible team, but they were 11-6 when Andrew Cashner started for them; he was 9-3, 3.73 with a 1.19 WHIP. Pretty good. 

So on July 13, the Red Sox acquired Cashner for two minor leaguers, hoping he would be the #5 starter that would help propel them into the playoffs. 

Not so fast. In five starts for Boston, Cashner is 1-4, 7.53, with a 1.74 WHIP. 

Oy. 

12) Been a weird baseball season; who had Eduardo Escobar leading the major leagues in RBI (93) on August 8th? 

11) Remember the movie Field of Dreams, where Kevin Costner’s character built a baseball diamond on a cornfield in Iowa? 

Next summer, Bronx-White Sox will play a real game in a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark that MLB will build on that Dyersville, Iowa farm. ESPN will televise the game.

10) Alex Tanney is fighting to be the Giants’ 3rd-string QB; he is 31 years old, has been in/out of nine different NFL organizations. Tanney has played in one NFL game, completing 10-14 passes for 99 yards in a 30-24 loss at Indianapolis at the end of the 2015 season. 

If the Giants cut him, chances are someone else will sign him- competent QB’s are hard to find. Sounds like he is laying the foundation to be an NFL coach. Bet he could write a hell of a book. 

9) Bills 24, Colts 16— RB Senorise Perry is the first Buffalo Bill to wear #32 since OJ Simpson left the Bills after the 1977 season.

8) Ravens backup kicker Kaare Vedvik made FG’s from 55, 45 yards in the first half Thursday, which is bad news for kickers around the NFL who are struggling in training camp. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Cubs added C Jonathan Lucroy to their roster.
— Red Sox put P David Price (wrist) on the IL.
— Braves put 3B Austin Riley (knee) on the IL. He got hurt in the weight room. 

6) Cleveland Browns traded RB Duke Johnson to Houston for a conditional 4th-round pick.

5) IPFW (Fort Wayne) announced Tuesday that it is leaving the Summit League for the Horizon League, beginning in the 2020-2021 basketball season.

4) Arizona sophomore G Brandon Williams will miss the entire upcoming basketball season after undergoing knee surgery. 

3) Went to Saratoga racetrack the other day; saw a guy wearing one of the Jets’ new jerseys- very bright green. Look a lot like the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders’ jerseys. 

2) Rookie QB’s Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones both looked sharp in their first NFL action; not so much for Washington’s Dwayne Haskins, who threw two INT’s in his first preseason action. 

1) Air Force Captain Roy Knight Jr was shot down over Laos in 1967 during the Vietnam War; he didn’t survive. It took until this past June to find his remains. 

Thursday, travelers at Dallas airport stopped in silence to show respect as the war hero’s remains were brought back to this country.

When Captain Knight left from the Dallas airport to go overseas in 1967, his 5-year-old son came to the airport and waved goodbye. It was the last time he would ever see his father alive.

The Southwest Airlines pilot who brought Captain Knight back to Dallas Thursday was his son.

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

13) From 2015-17, Cleveland Browns were 4-44; LY, they went 7-8-1, but they let Gregg Williams walk and hired QB coach Freddie Kitchens instead- he’s never been a head coach. Browns were 9-4 vs spread as an underdog LY; they were 12-30-1 the previous three years.

Browns were +7 in turnovers LY, after being -9/-12/-28 the three years before that; finally having a good QB was a big part of that.

12) Tennessee Titans have gone 9-7 the last three years, despite not having a positive turnover ratio in any of those years (even/-1/-4). Titans only made playoffs once in those years, and even fired a head coach after he made the playoffs, and won a playoff game.

Last three years, Titans are 6-1 vs spread as a divisional home favorite, 2-4-2 as non-divisional home favorite.

11) In four years since letting Jim Harbaugh walk, the 49ers are 17-47; they were 44-19-1 when he was their coach (5-3 in playoffs).

Since 2014, Niners are 13-19 vs spread as a road underdog. Over is 20-12 in their road games the last four years. SF was -25 in turnovers LY; Garoppolo got hurt and they played backup QB’s all season. Garoppolo is back now; how much of a bounce does that give the 49ers?

10) Bruce Arians was 49-30-1 as coach of the Cardinals; he was 20-12-1 vs spread in games with a spread of 3 or fewer points, which is very strong.

This is Jameis Winston’s 5th year in the NFL; Buccaneers are 25-39 in his first four seasons, 21-33 in Winston’s starts— it is going to be on Winston if things don’t get better this season.

Last five years, Tampa Bay is 4-13 vs spread as a home favorite.

9) Seahawks are 75-36-1 SU in the Russell Wilson era (8-5 in playoffs); since 2014, Seattle is 6-0 vs spread as an underdog vs NFC West opponents. Since 2011, Seahawks covered 10 of 12 games as a home underdog.

Seattle was +15 in turnovers last year; over last four years they’re +30.

8) Cincinnati Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1990; Marvin Lewis went 131-122-3 in 16 years as the Bengals’ coach, but he was 0-7 in playoff games, so Cincy turns to rookie head coach Zach Taylor, who is the son-in-law of former Packer coach Mike Sherman.

Over last decade, Bengals are 42-27-5 vs spread as an underdog, 14-7-1 at home. Cincy won four of its last five Week 1 games, with all four wins on the road.

7) Last year, Houston Texans ran the ball on 53% of 2nd-down plays that followed 1st down incompletions, most in the NFL. Analytics people will tell you that is a bad thing.

6) Over last decade, underdogs are 22-8 vs spread in Jets’ AFC East home games; they’re 5-11 as a favorite when hosting a division foe, 11-3 when an underdog.

Over last four years, Jets are 5-12-1 vs spread on grass; since 2011, they’re 8-18-2 vs spread as an non-divisional road underdog. Over is 19-11-1 in their home games the last four years.

5) From 2015-17, Buffalo was 22-20 in Tyrod Taylor’s starts; they made the playoffs in 2017 for the first time since 1999, but then they drafted QB Josh Allen, shipped Taylor off to Cleveland and regressed to 6-10 LY, with seven losses by 11+ points.

Over last five years, Buffalo is 7-2-2 vs spread as a non-divisional road underdog; last three years, they’re 4-7 as a home underdog.

Allen’s development is essential; Bills were 33-31 in the four years before he got to Buffalo.

4) From 2005-2016, Rams were 60-113-1; in two years under Sean McVay, they’re 24-8, with a +19 turnover ratio. Under McVay, Rams are 10-5 at home, 14-3 on road.

LA is reshuffling its offensive line this year; they’ll have new starters at left guard/center.

3) Since 2014, Carolina Panthers are 7-3 vs spread as a home underdog[ 3-3 in divisional games, 4-0 outside NFC South. Since 2012, Panthers are 22-11 as a road underdog, 6-16-1 as a road favorite. Carolina won four of last five Week 1 games, allowing 14 or fewer points in all four wins.

2) Jacksonville has had one winning season since 2007 (10-6 in ’17); they were +10 in turnovers that year. Nick Foles spent two years as a backup QB on Andy Reid-coached teams, starting seven games; he’s won a Super Bowl but has never started more than 11 games in a season.

None of Jacksonville’s backup QB’s have ever played in an NFL game.

Last six years, Jaguars are 4-20 vs spread when facing an NFC team; this year will be the 8th year in a row they’ll be a Week 1 underdog (3-4 vs spread in last seven).

1) Kansas City’s turnover ratios the last four years: +9/+15/+16/+14- thats +54 in 64 games. 

Last three years, Chiefs scored 33-42-38 points in their season opener. KC covered nine of its last 12 games as a road underdog. Over last four years, Chiefs are 12-5 vs spread in games with a spread of 3 or fewer points.