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

13) Part of our new reality; I had to go to the bank Tuesday, but you can’t go IN the bank, so I was 20th on line at the drive-thru window. No bueno.

— I had never been thru the drive-thru window at a bank before, but its kind of like going to Wendy’s, with a much longer line, and no food. Whole thing took me an hour.
— Woman two cars ahead of me didn’t have use of her left arm; she had to get out of the car to use the container that ships the paper inside to the bank.
— Everyone was civil, which is a good thing.

12) Grocery store I go to isn’t much different than normal, except you can’t put your stuff on the runway to the register until the previous person is done.

One item the store was out of; Welch’s grape jelly. Guess I’m not the only person eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

11) Little eerie that there was almost no traffic, at 4pm in an area where there is usually a lot of traffic at that time of day. I’ll be happy when there is a lot of traffic here again.

Elsewhere……
10) Four of the five pitchers who struck out 20+ batters in a major league game are easily recognizable names; then there is Tom Cheney.

Cheney pitched for parts of eight years in the majors, for the Cardinals, Pirates, Senators; his career record was 19-29, with only 345 career strikeouts in 466 IP.

But on September 12, 1962, Cheney pitched all 16 innings of 2-1, 16-inning win over the Orioles, before 4,098 fans in Baltimore. He struck out 21 hitters, the most in MLB history.

Cheney faced 62 batters; if he threw 3.6 pitches/batter, which is likely with four walks, 21 K’s, then he threw around 220 pitches. Manager/pitching coach would both get fired if that happened today.

Some good trivia in this game:
— Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams pinch-hit for the Orioles; so did the hitting guru of the future, Charlie Lau.
— Milt Pappas started on the mound for Baltimore; he would later be traded to Cincinnati for Frank Robinson, one of the worst trades in baseball history.
— Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell both played for the Orioles that night.
— Jimmy Piersall pinch-hit for Washington.
— Whole 16-inning game took 3:59 to play.

9) Some notes on Duke in the NCAA tournament:
— Since 1995, Duke has played in 79 NCAA tourney games; they were favored 74 times.
— Since NCAAs went to 64 teams, Duke is 97-26 in tournament games:
1st round) 30-4 (19-15 ATS) SU since ’85, ATS since ‘87
2nd) 25-5 (13-15 ATS)
3rd) 16-9 (11-13 ATS)
4th) 12-4 (8-7 ATS)
5th) 9-3 (7-4 ATS)
6th) 5-4 (5-3 ATS)

Duke ATS in rounds 1-3: 32-35……rounds 4-6: 20-14

8) Tom Izzo became Michigan State’s coach in 1995:
— Izzo is 52-21 in NCAA tourney games; they were an underdog 28 times (15-13 SU/ATS)
1st round) 17-5 (10-12 ATS)
2nd) 14-3 (8-9 ATS)
3rd) 10-4 (8-6 ATS)
4th) 8-2 (8-2 ATS)
5th) 2-6 (2-6 ATS)
6th) 1-1 (1-1 ATS)

Izzo is 16-8 ATS on the 2nd weekend of the tournament.

7) Bill Self became the Kansas coach in 2004:
— Self is 38-15 in NCAA Tournament games at Kansas; 21-24-1 ATS when favored, 4-3 as an underdog.
1st round) 14-2 (8-7-1 ATS)
2nd) 10-4 (7-7 ATS)
3rd) 8-2 (5-5 ATS)
4th) 3-5 (2-6 ATS)
5th) 2-1 (2-1 ATS)
6th) 1-1 (1-1 ATS)

Self is 9-12 ATS in the tourney when Kansas wasn’t a #1-seed.

6) Jersey Mike’s sub shops were founded by a guy named Pete. Go figure.

5) Back in 1992, San Diego Padres’ TV voice Don Orsillo was the TV voice of the Springfield Indians in the AHL; he posted a clip on Twitter the other night of a Springfield goalie scoring a goal in a game, which is a very rare occurrence. Pretty cool, an empty net goal by a goalie.

4) Glad to hear that Tom Hanks and his wife are back in this country after coming down with the Coronavirus while in Australia- they’re both doing well.

3) Atlantic 14 is thinking about expanding to a 20-game conference season, in part because their teams are having trouble scheduling quality non-conference games. Lot of the big $$$ teams have gone to 20-game conference schedules, to artificially inflate their power ratings.

2) UConn is switching from the AAC to the Big East in basketball, but PG Anterique Gilbert will stay in the AAC; he bolted the Huskies and will play for Wichita State as a grad transfer.

1) MLB Network needs to take each day and focus on one star player that day, and show some of the great performances of the game’s greatest stars.

Mike Trout, Dwight Gooden, Albert Pujols, Nolan Ryan, Roberto Clemente; lot of great content to show there. 

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

13) Atlanta’s young star OF Ronald Acuna batted .469 LY in the 159 AB’s where he put the ball in play on the first or second pitch of an at-bat.

Once he had two strikes on him, Acuna hit only .179.

12) Watching all these re-broadcast baseball games the last two weeks, I’m surprised by one thing; that no manager has lost a replay review, then run to the guy with the phones to New York, grabbed the phone and started yelling at whoever is on the other end in the Big Apple.

Frustration makes me people do nutty stuff.

11) Six teams don’t have a first round pick in next month’s NFL Draft:
Bills, Bears, Texans, Colts, Rams, Steelers.

Miami has three first round picks; four teams have two— Jaguars, Vikings, Raiders, 49ers.

10) I’d be curious to know how much lower the electric bills are for Las Vegas casinos this month, as opposed to a normal month, with all those big signs turned off for 30 days.

9) Something to remember for a year from now:
— Last four years, underdogs are 11-5 ATS in NCAA tourney regional finals.
— Last three years, underdogs are 14-10 ATS in Sweet 16 games.

8) Dallas Cowboys poached special teams coach John Fassel from the Rams; now they’ve poached the Rams’ kicker, Greg Zeurlein.

7) Last July 25, Orioles OF Stevie Wilkerson became the first position player EVER to earn a save in a big league game, in the O’s 10-8, 16-inning win in Anaheim.

Baltimore scored three runs in the 15th, but a young pitcher gave those runs right back in the bottom half of the inning, then that same pitcher started walking guys in the 16th, so he was yanked for an outfielder, and Wilkerson got the save.

6) Justin Verlander was the first pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same visiting ballpark; he’s thrown two no-hitters in Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

5) 61 major leaguers hit 30+ homers last year; will the baseball be juiced this year, too?

I’ll be fascinated to see what changes they come up with for this (shortened) 2020 season, if there is a season; how much will they experiment with rules? Hopefully, not too much.

4) For some reason, Aaron Rodgers was in freakin’ Peru last week, when it was announced that the country was shutting down air travel because of health concerns. Luckily for him, Rodgers was flying on a private plane- he got out of the country with 15 minutes to spare.

3) Hey, Giancarlo Stanton is healthy now, ready to play ball, good news for my fantasy baseball team.

Bad news for my fantasy team: Regular season ain’t starting until June 1st at the earliest, maybe July 1st- what are the chances that Stanton is still healthy then?

2) If there is no baseball in 2020, and that could happen, these five players are among those who become free agents next winter: Betts, Springer, Realmuto, Bauer, Stroman.

1) Cruise lines didn’t get any bailout money from the government, mainly because they register in other countries, to avoid paying taxes in this country:
— Carnival Cruises- Panama
— Cruise Norwegian- Bermuda
— Royal Caribbean- Liberia

Monday’s List of 13: Some of my favorite non-sports movies…….

13) The Hangover— Four friends go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, but chaos ensues; there were two sequels made; Hangover 3 is actually pretty good, too. Wouldn’t recommend the first of the sequels. The scene where Alan makes $80,000 playing blackjack is pretty cool, Mike Tyson makes a cameo

12) The Verdict— Paul Newman stars as a lawyer who sees a chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling. Jack Warden is his friend who gets him the case; James Mason is the opposing lawyer.

James Mason, Jack Warden also appeared together in Heaven Can Wait, when Warren Beatty played a QB for the Rams who wins the Super Bowl.

11) Prince of Tides— Nick Nolte is a high school football coach from South Carolina who comes to New York City to see about his sister, an author who is having mental problems. He talks to his sister’s psychiatrist about their family history and falls in love with her (Barbra Streisand) in the process.

10) Lost In Translation— Bill Murray plays a movie star on the back nine of his career who meets a lonely young woman (Scarlett Johansson) while filming a commercial in Tokyo- they form an unlikely bond.

9) Bulworth— A suicidal politician (Warren Beatty) puts a contract out on himself, but tries to cancel the contract when he falls for a woman (Halle Berry), the person who was hired to kill him. This movie is 22 years old, but lot of the themes still resonate today.

8) The Bodyguard— Whitney Houston plays a famous signer who is getting death threats; Kevin Costner plays a former Secret Service agent who is hired to protect her.

7) The Gambler— Remake of an old James Caan movie; Mark Wahlberg plays a Literature professor/gambler whose debt causes him to borrow money from both his mother (Jessica Lange) and a loan shark (John Goodman).

6) Begin Again— A disgraced music business executive (Mark Ruffalo) discovers a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley), new to Manhattan; will this discovery save his career, ruin his marriage, or both? James Corden is great in this, as the singer’s friend from back home.

5) Good Will Hunting— Matt Damon plays a janitor at MIT who has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist (Robin Williams) to find direction in his life. Ben Affleck is Damon’s best friend; Minnie Driver plays a Harvard student who falls for him.

4) Leap of Faith— Steve Martin is excellent, playing a fake faith healer whose entourage gets stuck in a depressed Kansas town during a drought; Meat Loaf, Philip Seymour Hoffman are part of his crew. Debra Winger is his assistant; Liam Neeson is the town’s sheriff.

3) Last Vegas— A more sedate version of The Hangover; four (much older) friends go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party— Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Kline, with the 70-ish Douglas set to marry a 30-ish woman.

2) A Star is Born— 4th time this movie has been made; this one greatly resembles the 1954 version, with Judy Garland/James Mason. The 1976 version, with Kris Kristofferson, Barbra Streisand, is little bit different in several ways.

Bradley Cooper plays a musician who helps a young singer become famous, as age, alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Andrew Dice Clay plays the young singer’s father; he adds a lot to the movie— Sam Elliott plays the older musician’s brother.

1) Rounders— A young, reformed gambler has to go back to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks, while balancing a relationship with his girlfriend and commitments to law school. John Malkovich plays Teddy KGB, a Russian club owner; John Turturro plays Joey Knish, a card player who tries to give the young gambler solid advice. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Random stuff from your socially distant friend……

13) We sit home and try to keep everyone healthy; I listen to lot of music, watch even more than usual TV. In these unique times, some interesting stuff has appeared.

Thursday night, MLB Network re-played 1994 Opening Day from Wrigley Field, with the late Harry Caray and current White Sox analyst Steven Stone on the call.

If you’ve never heard Harry Caray call baseball, it is worth a listen; he was unique.

12) I’m scrolling thru Instagram Friday afternoon, and actor Jeff Goldblum is there, wearing a back/white checkerboard shirt, reading Dr Seuss books, for no apparent reason. It was excellent.

11) If you’re on Twitter, you need to follow former NBA player Rex Chapman; he posts the most unique, uplifting stuff on his feed. Some of it is inspirational, some of it just makes me laugh.

10) Major League Baseball needs to take the blackouts off of out-of-market game replays; people are bored, this is a time they could fall in love with baseball. New fans could be created; seeing Mets games every day has been fun, but seeing other teams would be great, too.

9) In his first five days as Iona’s new basketball coach, Rick Pitino signed six recruits; Gaels lose lot of seniors off this year’s team, so that was necessary.

Pitino actually has a tough act to follow, replacing Tim Cluess as coach; only 13 college basketball teams made the last four NCAA tournaments, with Iona/Gonzaga the only mid-majors on the list. Gaels weren’t going to make this year’s tournament, but there was no tournament, so the streak continues.

8) Teddy Bridgewater is the Carolina Panthers’ new QB; he’s been preparing mentally for this season by playing Madden, and being the Panthers, to get used to the offense. Funny how video games are actually a tool to help real players get ready to play real football.

7) Pittsburgh Steelers have already signed five players from the XFL; teams can’t scout college players as much this spring as previous years, so they already scouted the XFL guys, and they signed them instead. Curious to see how that plays out.

6) Lot of TV news programs have correspondents broadcasting from home; weird seeing them all dressed up in suits/ties. You’re home, just wear what you normally wear at home.

5) There are 24 new college football coaches this year; their debuts will be greatly hampered by not having spring practice.

There are 23 new offensive coordinators, 11 new defensive coordinators.

There are seven teams with the same head coach, but new coordinators on both sides of the ball.

4) Odd stat: Baltimore’s Hanser Alberto led the major leagues LY, reaching base 13 times via error. Not really sure what that means.

3) Like I said the other day, I’m reading a book about a stock trader who bets baseball; at one point in the book, he makes a sarcastic comment about “risk-averse” people. When he sees an edge, he tries to capitalize on it, with both feet, for better or worse. A gambler.

It is interesting reading about the connection between stock trading and sports betting.

2) University of Mississippi sent out a letter to donors Tuesday, asking them to consider adding the University to their wills, in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gee, that’s nice- we know you might die soon, why not give us your money?

Wow.

1) A telethon hosted by the Los Angeles Rams and KABC Tuesday raised more than $2.2M for United Way and the LA Regional Food bank.

Drew Brees and his wife committed $5M to the State of Louisiana in 2020.

Saturday’s Den: Brackets for a hypothetical 1-on-1 tournament with NBA players

13) People at the Action Network www.actionnetwork.com came up with a great source of discussion Thursday; a hypothetical, 64-player 1-on-1 tournament. Tremendous stuff to argue about and good way to spend time filling out brackets. It is worth a look.

12) #1 seeds: Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden.

#16 seeds: Jonathan Isaac, Kelly Oubre, Aaron Gordon, Blake Griffin.

Harden-Griffin first round game would be entertaining.

11) #2 seeds: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid

#15 seeds: Eric Gordon, Domantas Sabonis, LaMarcus Aldridge, Eric Bledsoe

Durant is coming off of an achilles injury; those can be tough to recover from.

10) #3 seeds: Jayson Tatum, Pascal Siakim, Ben Simmons, Paul George

#14 seeds: Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Danilo Gallinari, Nikola Vucevic

Simmons can’t shoot; passing doesn’t matter- Gallinari would be a live 14-seed.

9) #4 seeds: Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler

#13 seeds: D’Angelo Russell, Buddy Hield, Carmelo Anthony, Jaren Jackson

8) Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, Russell Westbrook are all 5-seeds, not sure how Curry would defend a much bigger player, but that guy would have to go outside to guard him, too.

7) When they had a 1-on-1 tournament in the early 70’s, JoJo White won one of them; he was a good NBA player, but I doubt he was one of the favorites. Good shooter, though.

Bob Lanier beat Connie Hawkins 50-46 in a legendary game (games were up tp 20, but you had to win by either 3 or 4 points).

6) Harden, Curry and Jimmy Butler are all in the same region; Curry-butler would’ve been a really interesting second round game.

5) Nikola Jokic as an 11-seed is interesting, because he could back a smaller player in, but he can also make 3’s. Could he defend a smaller sharpshooter?

4) One factor if this was really going to happen; how far apart would each round be? Guys coming off injuries, or older players might struggle if there were two games on same day, or if they had to play 2,3 days in a row. One of those intangibles we’ll never know.

3) Think about it; even if you’re a #16-seed here, it means you’re on of the 64 best basketball players in the world, which would be pretty cool.

2) My Final Four: Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Danilo Gallinari, James Harden.

1) Anyway, there is a printable bracket at www.actionnetwork.com If you’re interested, print one out and give it some thought. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random thoughts for a sunny day……

13) Wednesday night, CBS Sports Network replayed some of Steph Curry’s Davidson games from the 2008 NCAA Tournament; was funny how they talked about him then, like he was some upstart kid shocking teams from bigger leagues. 12 years later, Curry might be the greatest shooter in basketball history; he’s not a spunky underdog anymore.

12) All of which raises the question; Steph’s dad Dell Curry played 16 years in the NBA, and he went to college at Virginia Tech. How the hell did the Hokies not recruit Steph or his brother Seth? Wasn’t that malpractice? To me, it is mind-numbing that they didn’t.

11) Jon Gruden has been an NFL head coach for 13 years; 14 different QB’s started at least one game, seven of them started at least 11 games:
48— Rich Gannon
33— Brad Johnson
32— Derek Carr
24— Jeff Garcia
21— Brian Griese
15— Chris Simms
11— Bruce Gradkowski

10) Mike Tomlin has coached the Steelers for 13 years; Ben Roethlisberger started 168 of the Steelers’ 208 regular season games since then. Seven other QB’s have started a game since then for Pittsburgh, with Mason Rudolph (8) having the most.

9) Then there is Andy Reid, who has been an NFL head coach for 22 years; he’s had 14 different start for him, with Donovan McNabb (142) starting the most games:
142— Donovan McNabb
76— Alex Smith
34— Michael Vick
31— Patrick Mahomes

Current Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson started nine games at QB for Philly in 1999, which was Reid’s first year as the Eagles’ coach.

8) Random fact: Dr. Anthony Fauci was captain of the basketball team at Manhattan’s Regis High School in 1958.

7) Random stat I saw on Twitter; on an average American day, around 2,000,000 people fly on commercial airlines. These days? Not so much.

Guys posted on Twitter Thursday that you could fly from Detroit to Las Vegas for $19. Not sure what you would do when you got there, but…….

6) They showed a live shot of Times Square in Manhattan at 11pm the other night, normally one of the busiest places in the world. There were three people on the street. Three. Amazing.

5) There is a commercial on TV for a pill that causes you to gain weight; they showed an attractive young lady who supposedly gained 53 pounds after taking this pill. Why in the name of Karen Carpenter would someone take a pill to gain weight? Just eat junk food!!!!

4) Steve Ballmer owns the LA Clippers; Wikipedia says he is worth $51.8B, thats billion, with a B. Ballmer recently bought the old LA Forum in Inglewood, where the Lakers/Kings used to play; it is mostly a concert venue now. He paid $400M for the arena.

Ballmer bought the Forum from James Dolan, who owns the Knicks, and who is also one of the worst owners in all of sports. Clippers are going to have their own arena in a couple years; they will move out of Staples Center, and Ballmer will make even more money.

3) Cecil Fielder hit 319 home runs in 1,470 major league games.
His son, Prince Fielder, also hit 319 home runs, in 1,611 games.

2) Great minds think alike?

My friend Ken in Las Vegas sends me a link to a fake 64-team bracket that someone posted on line, and asked me to fill it out; I did that, and came up with Dayton as my national champ.

Turns out Ken also tabbed the Flyers as national champs; he had them beating Baylor in the final, I had the Flyers beating Florida State in the final.

This is an argument that will never end; we’ll never know what would’ve happened.

1) Thursday should’ve been on of the best sports days of the year:
— Opening Day in baseball
— Sweet 16 in college hoop
— Hell, even my golf pool was supposed to start

Now we stay inside and are smart and hope this passes with as few casualties as possible; then next year we can have fun. Until then, please be safe; I need all the readers I can get!!!

Thursday’s Den: My Mt Rushmore for a variety of things……

My Mt Rushmore of certain areas; we all have our own opinions, thats what makes life interesting. Make your own lists, see what you come up with. 

13) Quarterbacks, in Super Bowl era:
John Elway, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Tom Brady

12) Major league starting pitchers (since 1960):
Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Greg Maddux

11) NBA players:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Lebron James

10) Places to eat in Las Vegas:
— Battista’s (in strip mall across from Bally’s sports book)
— In ’n Out Burger (multiple locations)
— Bonnanno’s pizzeria (by MGM Grand sportsbook)
— Claim Jumper (in Golden Nugget)

9) Places to watch a college basketball game:
UNLV, ACC tournament, Cal-Santa Barbara, Pac-12 tournament

8) NFL QB’s, now:
Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson

7) Sportsbooks:
Westgate, MGM, SouthPoint, Rivers in Schenectady (only one I can get to without an airplane)

6) Television characters:
— Oscar Madison, Odd Couple
— Jonathan Higgins, Magnum PI
— Ray Donovan
— Henry Blake, M*A*S*H

5) Major league managers:
Bruce Bochy, Dick Williams, Sparky Anderson, Terry Francona

4) My favorite sodas:
— Dr Brown’s cream soda
— Cherry Coke
— Orange Crush
— Dr Pepper

3) Best major league ballparks I’ve been to:
Houston, Pittsburgh, The Trop (Tampa Bay), Fenway Park

2) College football venues:
LSU home game, USC home game, Florida-Georgia game, Texas-Oklahoma game

1) Batman villains:
Riddler, Joker, Catwoman (Julie Newmar), Penguin

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

13) I’ll start today by asking that you support local restaurants that need our help so they can stay open, and their employees can keep getting paid.

When I first heard the term “social distancing” a few weeks ago, I laughed because it described my life to a tee: “…..sit in your house and watch TV all day”, except that I went to lunch for a couple hours every day, then came home and watched games.

Now? No lunches, no games. I’m looking forward to going out to eat again.

12) I re-discovered an old hobby this week; reading books!!!!

Read Andre Iguodala’s book The Sixth Man and am now reading a book about a stock trader who became a sports bettor, Trading Bases, which inspired me to do some research on last year’s baseball season.

Not sure if we’ll have baseball this year, but have to be ready to roll if we do.

11) First of all, there is bad news for the Mets; Noah Syndergaard needs Tommy John surgery, is done for this season, and probably part of 2021.

10) Washington Nationals won the World Series last year, despite going 31-35 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs. That is unusual; they went 93-69 and won a World Series despite that.

9) San Francisco Giants went 77-85 in Bruce Bochy’s last year as manager, but they were an amazing 38-16 in one-run games, which means a significant regression would be in order this year, if there is a this year.

8) Chicago Cubs finished 84-78 LY, despite going 29-45 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs; they sent manager Joe Maddon packing and brought in neophyte skipper David Ross, because GM Theo Epstein doesn’t value the job of field manager as much as other GM’s.

Epstein told Terry Francona to take a hike in Boston after Francona won two World Series, then sent Maddon on his way three years after he won the Cubs’ first World Series in 108 years.

Francona’s wins in Boston: 98-95-86-96-95-95-89-90; how did he get fired?

7) Milwaukee Brewers went 51-30 LY in games decided by 1 or 2 runs, which signals that they could regress this season. Brewers are a team that does weird stuff with their pitchers, but they won 86-96-89 games the last three years— they stole Christian Yelich from the Marlins.

Elsewhere in the world…….
6) NBA players with highest all-time win %age in games they played in:
.753— Kawhi Leonard (.658 in playoffs)
.740— Magic Johnson (.674 in playoffs)
.736— Larry Bird (.684 in playoffs)

5) QB doings in the NFL:
— Carolina Panthers released Cam Newton, signed PJ Walker from the XFL; they previously had signed Teddy Bridgewater.
— Panthers then traded Kyle Allen to the Redskins for a 5th-round draft pick.
— Kansas City Chiefs signed QB Jordan Ta’amu from the XFL.

4) Pittsburgh Steelers have only one selection in the first 100 picks in next month’s NFL Draft.

3) Former White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle threw two no-hitters in his major league career; the same umpire (Eric Cooper) worked the plate in both games.

2) How long do you think spring training will be, once they decide (if they decide) to re-start the baseball season? Toronto president Mark Shapiro thinks it should be four weeks; I’m thinking it’ll be a little less than that.

One thing I think will happen; they’re going to have scheduled doubleheaders, with 7-inning games, like they do in the minor leagues.

1) Odd fact: There are six state capitals that are located west of Los Angeles. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Some of my favorite games, ever……

If you know me, you’ll roll your eyes at some of these; make your own list, see what you come up with. These are some of my favorite games, listed in chronological order:

13) May 10, 1970: Bruins 4, St Louis 3 OT— Bobby Orr scores an overtime goal and the Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in 40 years; it was first time one of my favorite teams won a title, so that was fun.

It was also Mother’s Day, and my family was waiting to go out to dinner (Veeder’s restaurant in Colonie) but the overtime pushed things back some, then watching the Bruins carrying the Cup around took some more time. The family cut this 10-year old some serious slack that day.

12) May 1972: JT Garry 1, Greenhouse 0 (7)— I’m playing first base in this Little League game; not many Little League are scoreless after six innings. We had one really good pitcher, but he left after six innings and the reliever threw a ball about ten feet over my head at first base with the bases loaded and two outs. No bueno.

To this day, I don’t know what Greenhouse was; they were nice enough to sponsor a team, but no idea what business they were in.

The next year (1973) the Colonie All-Stars made it all the way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport- my one year there was fun.

11) October 22, 1972— My greatest day as a sports fan:
— A’s 3, Reds 2— Pete Rose flies out to LF; A’s win their first World Series.
— Rams 15, Bengals 12— David Ray kicks a 54-yard FG on the last play.
— I should’ve bought a lottery ticket that day; hell, I was only 12.

Thing that seems weird now; the A’s game, Game 7 of the World Series, started at 1:00, and was over before the Rams started at 4:00. World Series is all night games now.

10) October 1973, 1974— A’s win the World Series both years, making it three in a row; as a 14-year old. I’m guessing I may have been slightly annoying. Depends who you ask. 🙂

9) March 1974— NC State 80, UCLA 77 (2 OT)— UCLA had won seven national titles in a row; NC State was my favorite team, led by the great David Thompson- they also had a 5-5 point guard (Monte Towe) and a 7-3 center (Tom Burleson, who was my favorite player). 

UCLA whacked the Wolfpack in a December game, then took a 7-point lead in the second OT here, but NC State rallied back and pulled the upset, then beat Marquette in the national title game two nights later.

One of NC State’s other starters was Tim Stoddard; he wound up as a major league pitcher for 13 years, for five teams, mostly the Orioles. In 1979, Stoddard pitched in the World Series.

8) November 1974: USC 55, Notre Dame 24— I grew up in an Irish Catholic household where everyone rooted for Notre Dame…….except me. I was a USC fan; Trojans coach John McKay looked like my dad, but my dad rooted for Notre Dame, or whoever he had on his football ticket.

Notre Dame runs out to a 24-0 lead; things looked bleak, but Anthony Davis winds up scoring six TD’s and the Trojans score 49 second half points. By this time, I was probably lucky my family didn’t throw me out on the front lawn for the winter.

7) February 22, 1976— Colonie 73, Shenendehowa 68 OT— As luck would have it, these teams wound up tied for first place in the Suburban Council, and played the last game of the season in their gym. Winner-take-all. I was the student manager for Colonie, a junior in HS.

We had three buses of kids/fans go to the game, but when we get there, the gym is already filled with Shenendehowa grade school kids— they pulled a fast one on us. My dad and all the Colonie parents got locked out of the game, but our principal, Bruce Crowder, told them that if they didn’t let one busload of our kids in the gym, the game wouldn’t be played. The photogrspher for the Albany newspaper wasn’t even allowed in the building that night.

So the busload of our kids rings the court, standing right next to the game; it kind of helped us. They were up 7 with 0:58 left, but we rallied to tie the game— Bruce Olson hit a long jumper to the game, and we won in overtime. Quite a night.

6) March 1981: Albany 88, Potsdam 86 OT— I was lucky enough to put myself thru college as the student manager of the basketball team at Albany; Potsdam was our biggest rival, but we beat them on their court to win the conference title. It was Division III basketball, but there were at least four players in that game who could’ve/should’ve played D-I ball.

We won the conference title, but they won the national championship, beating us in OT in the Sweet 16 round, also on their court.

5) March 1990: UNLV 103, Duke 73— Loved the Runnin’ Rebels, used to stay up late and watch Big West games all the time— they killed Duke in this game, giving coach Jerry Tarkanian a national title.

Watched the game in a roomful of people; I was the only person there rooting for UNLV. There were some comments made that I won’t repeat here. It was a fun couple of hours.

4) March 1998, 2001— I was lucky enough to be an assistant basketball coach at Schenectady HS; we won two state championships, three years apart; the whole experience was every educational and also a whole lot of fun. Weird thing is, we beat the same team (Hempstead HS) both times we won the state title.

3) January 23, 2000— Rams 11, Buccaneers 6— I’m in St Louis for the NFC title game, sitting in the last row in the end zone. Kurt Warner hits Ricky Proehl for the game-winning TD late in the game and the Rams were off to their second Super Bowl. Pretty excellent day.

Met Ron Jaworski in the hotel bar after the game; good guy. He was happy the Rams won, having played for Dick Vermeil with the Eagles. We talked about the movie Heaven Can Wait, which used some of Jaworski’s old clips from the Rams (Warren Beatty’s character wore #16).

2) January 30, 2000— Rams 23, Titans 16— The best Super Bowl ever played (ha!!); Warner-to-Bruce for a TD just after the 2:00 warning, then Mike Jones tackles a Titans’ WR on the 1-yard line as the game ends. To this day, watching replays of that makes me nervous; I still think they’re going to score the next time they show it.

1) March 2006: Northwestern State 64, Iowa 63— Demons are a 7-point underdog; during the week, I go on John Graney’s (very good) radio show here in Albany and predict an outright upset for the 14-seed.

Iowa runs out to a double digit lead, but the Demons storm back and pull off the unlikely upset win. That summer, I’m in Orlando watching AAU games and Mike McConathy, the Demons’ coach, sits next to me. I thanked him for making me look good; he had a very good team, and is a good guy. He still coaches the Demons. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a very quiet weekend…….

13) Kansas 75, Memphis 68 OT— They replayed the 2008 NCAA title game on CBS Sunday; Memphis led by 9 with about 2:10 to play, had Derrick Rose on their team but couldn’t put the game away. I’m sure they were thrilled to see this on TV again.

Was good to hear Billy Packer call games again; he was very good at his job.

12) AFC South QB’s, 2019/2020:
— Texans: Deshaun Watson/Deshaun Watson
— Colts; Jacoby Brissett/Philip Rivers
— Jaguars: Nick Foles/Gardner Minshew
— Titans: Marcus Mariota/Ryan Tannehill

11) I’m watching the Matt Damon/Robin Williams movie Good Will Hunting the other night, and they show Carlton Fisk’s dramatic home run from the ’75 World Series.

One of the other clips was just of Reds’ reliever Pat Darcy warming up, before that inning started; imagine now, 45 years later, Darcy seeing himself in a movie? Obviously he wasn’t happy how things wound up, but has to be kind of cool to be in a well-known movie.

10) Keno Davis has been the basketball coach at Central Michigan for the last eight years; he is the son of Dr Tom Davis, who was a very good coach at Boston College/Iowa, and later, Drake.

Keno Davis’ first head coaching job was in 2008, at Drake in the MVC, where he took over from his father. Davis led the Bulldogs to an amazing 28-5 season (they had been 56-142 in MVC games the previous 11 years), but they lost 101-99 in OT to Western Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA’s. Kid on WKU banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Drake was a 5-seed that year; since then, Wichita State in 2014 is only MVC team that was seeded higher than that. When the Shockers made the Final Four in ’13, they were a 9-seed.

Anyway, Drake had that one great year and Davis bolted to Providence, where he went 46-50 in three years, 18-46 in conference play. From there, he went to Central Michigan.

My point in all this is if you’re a coach and you have a really good year, why leave? I know Drake isn’t a basketball power, but in eight years at CMU, Davis is 59-83 in MAC games, so maybe he’s no great shakes either.

9) When the Indianapolis Colts signed Philip Rivers, they cut Brian Hoyer, who figures to wind up back in New England with the Patriots, where he could be the starter for a while, until they draft a young QB to build around.

8) It is weird watching CNN and seeing Anderson Cooper broadcasting from his home, instead of a TV studio. His house looked pretty nice, though.

7) Remember when football parlay cards were a big thing? You had to pick at least four teams, win them all, and if you had $1 on a 4-teamer, you collected $10 for a win. When I was in high school and college, they were a solid source of entertainment on football weekends.

Flash back to December 17, 1978, last day of the NFL regular season. My father and I played a card every week, and it was a big deal to us. Not much money, just the satisfaction of winning.

We hit the first three games that week; our last game is Chargers over the Oilers in the Houston Astrodome, two good teams going at it. Can’t remember the spread, but it was small. I was the student manager of the basketball team at U of Albany and we had practice, so I grabbed a bunch of quarters and went to practice.

This is way before cellphones, so the quarters were to call my father on a pay phone for score updates; every time I called, Dan Fouts had thrown another TD pass— San Diego pounded the Oilers, 45-24. My dad was very happy. We won a lousy $10, but it seemed like a lot more.

6) I’m sure you all woke up this morning and asked yourself; who was the best teacher I had in high school? Well, I was thinking that a little while ago, and here is my answer.

I was/am a nerd, not good with tools, but I took shop class all four years of high school, and one of my teachers was a guy named Joe Botta. Big Joe Namath fan (this is back in the mid-70’s, don’t forget), an excellent teacher, very patient. Somehow I got thru all those classes working with wood without losing a finger— I even made a chessboard and a cutting board.

So 18-20 years ago, I’m at a high school football game around here and the QB for Burnt Hills HS is wearing white cleats with his burgundy uniform, which was very unusual then. I look up the kid’s name in the program and sure enough, his last name is Botta. Joe Namath wore white shoes, too.

I’m thinking the good teachers don’t get thanked near enough. Thank you, Joe Botta.

5) QB Case Keenum and his wife must be very good at packing:
— 2014-15: Houston Texans/St Louis Rams
— 2015: St Louis Rams
— 2016: Los Angeles Rams
— 2017: Minnesota Vikings
— 2018: Denver Broncos
— 2019: Washington Redskins
— 2020: Cleveland Browns

4) Graduate transfer basketball player Seth Towns bolts from Harvard to Ohio State; Ivy League players can’t use a 5th year of eligibility if they have one, so the oft-injured Towns moves back home to Columbus. Towns missed the last two years with injuries, but was a productive player his first two years at Harvard.

3) Next time there is a football season, how many fantasy teams are going to be named “Coronavirus” or “Abundance of Caution”?

2) There is lot of interesting content on ESPN+ and it only costs $5 a month; these days, solid entertainment for $5 a month is a good value.

1) When you get to be 60 years old, you realize that time is an important commodity, maybe moreso than money. I feel like we’re being cheated out of time right now, that this situation should’ve been handled sooner than it is/was. Hopefully the scientists will hit the jackpot, find a vaccine fairly soon and things can get back to normal. 

Sunday’s Den: Random thoughts for a sunny Sunday

13) This made me laugh today; these days, we all need to laugh:

The New York State Liquor Store Association notified liquor stores that they have been deemed an essential business and can stay open. Seriously.

I’m just shaking my head, reading that. Strange times we live in.

12) Betting totals for Tom Brady this fall:

over/under interceptions: 10.5
over/under passing yards: 4,350
over/under TD passes: 32.5

11) Flashback to March, 2010; I’m sitting in the sports book at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, watching the NCAA Tournament- the day’s games had just started.

Not 100% sure what game it was, pretty sure it was Wake Forest playing, but they weren’t at the second TV timeout yet and this white kid makes a basket— the three 20-ish guys next to me go nuts, hugging each other and laughing loudly.

I ask one of them, “Was that your brother who scored the basket? Why are you so happy?”

Had no idea the MGM offers a “first team-to-15 points” prop bet; so you’re simply betting on which team gets to 15 points first. Those guys had Wake Forest, and they got to 15 points first.

To me, that was the basketball version of a craps table; I’ve wondering a few times since then if that could be researched and would it help, but decided against it.

10) Was watching a replay on NFL Network the other day; Colts-Chargers from Week 1 of last season, Philip Rivers winning an OT game against his new employers. 


If they play football this fall, the whole new-QB thing is going to be fascinating, especially when you factor in LSU rookie Joe Burrow, likely to wind up in Cincinnati.

9) Jameis Winston won a lot of games in college at Florida State, but he is 28-42 as a starter in the NFL, and threw 30 INTs last year. Winston led the league in passing yards, but his first pass and last pass of the season were both pick-6’s. Winston is a free agent who isn’t going to start next year; if the Chargers don’t sign him, not sure where he winds up.

If you’re a QB and Bruce Arians doesn’t want you, why would anyone else want you?

8) Atlanta Falcons are expected to start 10 players on offense this fall who were first round draft picks, which would be the first time that has happened in the Common Draft era (since 1967).

7) There are already 19 college basketball teams who have had 4+ players transfer out of their program this spring; six schools had six players each bolt to greener pastures.

6) There are 385 college basketball players in the transfer portal, more than one per team.

5) Seven first-year college hoop coaches won at least five more games than their program did the year before they got there:
— Donnie Jones, Stetson, +9 wins
— Ron Hunter, Tulane, +8 wins
— Dane Fischer, Wm & Mary +7 wins
— Dustin Kearns, Appalachian State, +7 wins
— Mark Fox, California, +6 wins
— Kevin Broadus, Morgan State, +6 wins
— Billy Donlon, UMKC, +5 wins

4) UAB signed Andy Kennedy as their new basketball coach; he coached at Ole Miss for 12 years- he played at both NC State/UAB. I’ll miss Kennedy’s TV work on SEC Network; he was a very good combination with Tom Hart. Two friends sitting around, watching ball.

3) Red Sox are now up to $80M in dead money on this year’s payroll:
— Chris Sale $30M
— David Price $16M
— Rusney Castillo $14,271,248
— Dustin Pedroia $13,125,000
— Pablo Sandoval $5M
— Manny Ramirez $2,013,418

2) I’m not saying that John Elway is hard to work for but……..this fall, Denver Broncos will have their fifth offensive coordinator in five years.

1) There was a video on Twitter Friday of two cats walking on top of a frozen swimming pool, and it was very funny when the cats began struggling with the slippery surface, then panicked and tried to escape, with very little success. Like I said, we all need to laugh these days. 

Saturday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here…….

13) I’ve tried really hard to keep politics out of this space, but not today, because I am pissed off, and every other American should also be very, very pissed off.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (NC) sold as much as $1.7M in stock last month before the stock market began to tank; he and other Senators had been briefed about how serious this pandemic was going to be. Turns out he then privately warned supporters that the Coronavirus was very serious. Publicly, he said no such thing.

Senator Kelly Loeffler (GA), whose husband is the chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, also dumped a ton of stock, worth anywhere from $1.275M to $3M, right after the briefing about the Coronavirus, during which she sat next to Senator Burr.

Ms Loeffler is said to be worth $500M, the wealthiest member of Congress.

Dianne Feinstein sold seven figures ($1.5M to $7M) worth of stock after the briefing. 

Jim Inhofe (OK) dumped as much as $450,000 in stock.

These people are supposed to represent ordinary people like us, but instead of warning voters about this horrible virus, they protected their own pocketbooks first. What they did is legal, but it sure as hell wasn’t ethical.

Go figure.

On to more pleasant subjects……..
12) How are you passing the time with no sports on TV and everyone mostly staying home? Let me know if you’re doing anything interesting; e-mail me at ffib13@gmail.com

As for me, it is mostly Magnum PI re-runs, replays of New York Met games, replays of college hoop games, NFL games and catching up on Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Go. Either that, or just shut the TV off and listen to music while I play Words With Friends.

Seriously, I’m tired of sleeping. Am going to start reading some more books.

Let me know how you’re dealing with more time indoors.

11) Someone posted a bingeing bracket, 64 shows that you should catch up on, seeded like the NCAA Tournament would be.

#1 seeds: Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad— I’ve never seen any of these shows, I must admit. Heard of them, but never watched.

#16 seeds: Glitch, Peaky Blinders, House of Cards, Big Little Lies— Never heard of these shows, I watch sports more than movies.

Where my favorites were seeded:
Billions is a #4-seed— I highly recommend it.
The West Wing is a #2-seed— Not a bad show.
Ray Donovan is under-seeded as a #9— Violent show, but very good.
Curb Your Enthusiasm is a #3-seed— Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cringe. Lot of big stars have been in this show. I’m still making my way thru the older episodes.

10) If you’re on Instagram, find Olivia Harlan Dekker’s account; she has done a short thing with her dad (Kevin Harlan) every day this week, talking about sports from Harlan’s living room. It is a few minutes where they talk about both of them being professional announcers, and how they prepare, things they look for when getting ready to do their jobs.

Nice to see a father/daughter with such good chemistry.

9) How can there be an amateur baseball draft in June? There won’t be a college or high school baseball season. Picking players would be a complete crapshoot. Wonder how they will handle that.

8) In 1969, the Mets swept a doubleheader in Pittsburgh, winning both games 1-0, with both runs driven in by the starting pitcher in that game (Jerry Koosman, Don Cardwell).

7) Red Sox pitching ace Chris Sale is going to have Tommy John surgery.

6) Weird baseball scheduling thing: Washington Nationals played 13 games against the Mets LY, before they played any games against the Atlanta Braves, with both being division rivals.

5) Detroit Lions traded CB Darius Slay to the Eagles for 3rd, 5th round draft picks.

4) Rams released RB Todd Gurley and LB Clay Matthews Thursday.
— 22 running backs were taken in the 2015; Gurley was the last of the 22 that was still on the team that drafted him.
— Of the top 15 picks in the ’15 Draft, only two are still with the team that chose them; G Brandon Scherff (Redskins), WR DeVante Parker (Dolphins).

3) With Nevada casinos closing for a while, 206,000 people are out of work; the pictures from a vacant Las Vegas Strip are eerie to look at, even mores because I was supposed to go out there on Monday.

2) Get well soon to the numerous NBA guys who tested positive for Coronavirus, as well as Saints coach Sean Payton, who also tested positive.

1) One of the weird aspects of all this is that I now have a problem knowing what day of the week it is; there are no sports to analyze, I’m not going out to eat— before, when my friend Chris was the daytime bartender, I knew it was Wednesday. Now every day is mostly the same, as our new reality sets in. Hopefully the scientists will do their thing and come up with a solution. 

Friday’s List of 13: Great players who played their whole career for one team……

13) Ted Williams— Played 19 years in major leagues, despite missing 1943-45 because he was flying airplanes in World War II. He led the league in walks eight times.

His career on-base %age was .482; he hit .314 in his last season, when he was 41.

Williams later managed Senators/Rangers for 3+ years, but only played for Boston.

12) Dan Marino— Threw 122 TD passes in a 3-year span from 1984-86, with Dolphins going 34-14 in those years; remember, teams didn’t throw the ball as much back then as they do now.

Miami lost the Super Bowl in Marino’s 2nd year (1984) and never got back; he wound up with an 8-10 career playoff mark. In the 20 years since Marino retired, Dolphins are 1-3 in playoff games, with their last playoff win in 2000.

11) Bill Russell— Won 11 NBA titles in a 13-year NBA career; 1967 was only time in his career that the Celtics didn’t make NBA Finals.

Russell was player/coach his last three years in Boston; he later coached the Seattle Sonics and Sacramento Kings, making playoffs twice in five years.

10) Tony Gwynn— Played basketball and was later the baseball coach at San Diego State; Gwynn had a career BA of .338, with an OB% of .388.

He won eight batting titles, knocked in 119 runs in 1997, but had more than 72 RBI in only one other season, when he had 90 RBI in ’95.

9) Jack Youngblood— Was a great defensive end for the Rams; he broke his leg during the 1979 playoffs, but played in the Super Bowl despite that, telling the trainer to “Tape it up!!!”

He got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001; I was lucky enough to be there to see both Youngblood and Ram teammate Jackie Slater get inducted.

In the airport on the way home, I turned a corner and collided with Jack Youngblood; he is a good guy— we talked about the Rams and Arena Football (he worked for the Orlando Predators at that time). I found my mini-helmet in my bag and had him autograph it. Pretty good day.

8) Magic Johnson— Won national title at Michigan State in ’79, then won NBA title as a rookie with the Lakers. Played 12 years for LA before HIV sidelined him— he returned five years later for a 32-game cameo appearance.

Johnson won five NBA titles as a player.

7) Mario Lemieux— Scored 690 goals in 17 years with the Penguins, leading NHL in scoring six times. Pittsburgh won two Stanley Cups while Lemieux played for them- lot of people think he saved hockey in Pittsburgh.

6) Johnny Bench— Played 17 years with the Reds; he is one of all-time best catchers. Early in his career, Bench had couple of 40+ home run seasons— he wound up with 389 homers.

5) Lawrence Taylor— Played 13 years in NFL, was a legendary pass rusher who disrupted offenses- Giants won two Super Bowls while he was there.

Taylor is also a pretty good actor, with 15 acting credits, appearing in Any Given Sunday, Shaft, The Waterboy and The Sopranos.

4) Larry Bird— Bird led Indiana State to the Final Four in ’79; Sycamores are 1-3 in NCAA Tournament games in the 40 years since he left. Celtics won three NBA titles while Bird was there, losing couple of other years in the Finals.

3) Mike Schmidt— Led league in homers eight times, had career OB% of .380, played 18 years in Philadelphia, a town where it ain’t always easy to play for the the home team, especially if the home team ain’t winning. Phillies made playoffs six times in eight years from 1976-83, winning the World Series in 1980.

2) Barry Sanders— Ran ball for 15,269 years in ten years with Detroit, which hasn’t won a playoff game since he retired- they were only 1-5 in playoff games while he was playing. Sanders led NFL in rushing four times, scored 109 career TD’s.

1) Tim Duncan— Played 19 years for San Antonio, winning five NBA titles; not only did Duncan play for only one team in his career, he played for only one coach- Gregg Popovich. Duncan is now one of Popovich’s assistants with the Spurs. 

Wednesday’s Den: NFL is having a very busy week……

13) Biggest NFL news of the day: Tom Brady becomes a free agent at 4pm Wednesday, and won’t be signing with New England, he’s going to Tampa Bay, to play for Bruce Arians, and with the Bucs’ terrific corps of receivers.

Which begs the question: Who plays QB for New England this fall?

Brissett? Dalton? Newton? Stidham? Winston? Babe Parilli?

12) Philip Rivers is heading to Indianapolis to play for the Colts, which would fuel any Brissett speculation.

NFL schedule makers have to be going nuts, with all the sub-plot games that will happen next year- traded players against their former team.

11) Teddy Bridgewater will sign a 3-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.

Jameis Winston, Cam Newton remain the odd men out in QB Musical Chairs.

10) Drew Brees gets $50M for two years to stay with the Saints.

9) Cleveland Browns are trying like hell to improve their offense:
— QB Case Keenum got $18M for three years to back up Baker Mayfield
— OT Jack Conklin got $42M for three years.
— TE Austin Hooper got $44M for four years.

8) Las Vegas Raiders signed QB Marcus Mariota, LB Cory Littleton, LB Nick Kwiatkoski; they also signed TE Jason Witten and two other defensive guys from the Cowboys.

7) Miami Dolphins are spending lot of money:
— CB Byron Jones signed up for five years, $82.5M
— Former Eagles RB Jordan Howard gets $10M+ for two years.
— LB Kyle Van Noy gets four years, $51M.
— DE Emmanuel Ogbah gets $15M for two years.
— DE Shaq Lawson gets three years, $30M
— OT Ereck Flowers gets three years, $30M

6) Big trade Monday; Houston Texans sent WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for RB David Johnson and a 2nd-round pick.

Social media brutalized Houston’s Bill O’Brien for this trade; Texans later signed Randall Cobb to help fix Hopkins’ shoes, but Arizona has a big-time WR to team with Larry Fitzgerald, at least for this year.

5) 49ers traded star DE DeForest Buckner to the Colts for the 13th pick in the draft.

4) Minnesota Vikings traded WR Stefan Diggs to Buffalo; they get a first-round pick, plus a 4th, 5th, 6th round pick from the Bills.

Vikings also gave QB Kirk Cousins $96M over the next three years.

3) With Brady heading to the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay’s futures dropped from 25-1 to 16-1 to win the Super Bowl, and from 12-1 down to 8-1 to win the NFC. 

2) 4am the other night, I’m looking thru every NFL teams’ transactions, and only one team hadn’t added anyone yet- the Rams. Oy.

I have a lot of faith in Les Snead/Sean McVay and obviously there are no games for five months, but the squad is likely to look a lot different this season.

1) One NFL player’s reaction to all this:

“Coaches/GM’s should all be drug tested.”

Tuesday’s List of 13: Athletes who became actors…….

13) Marc Blucas— Played basketball at Wake Forest with Tim Duncan, was one of the stars of Necessary Roughness, a series that ran on USA Network for a couple years. He’s been in a lot of things since then; guest spots on CSI, Killer Women and The Fix.

12) Carl Weathers— Most famous for playing Apollo Creed in the Rocky series, Weathers played CB for the Oakland Raiders for a couple years, in the CFL for another three years.

11) Alex Karras— Was a great defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions; he also had 39 acting credits, most notably Against All Odds, Blazing Saddles and the TV series Webster.

10) Terry Crews— Played for the Rams, Chargers, and Redskins, from 1991-95; he’s been in a lot of stuff: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Arrested Development, Draft Day. He looks like a body builder to this day, even at age 51.

9) Chuck Connors— The Rifleman from 60’s TV also played a little bit in both the NBA (Celtics) and major leagues (Dodgers, Cubs). A Hollywood casting agent saw him hit a homer in a winter league baseball game, and when Connors backpedaled around the bases, the agent knew he found an entertainer.

8) Ed Marinaro— Was a RB for the Vikings for six years, then became an actor, appearing in Hill Street Blues, Sisters, Champs. He has 60 acting credits. 

7) Merlin Olsen— Followed up a terrific football career with the Rams (the football field at Utah State is named after him) by becoming an actor, appearing in Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy, and also had a great gig doing commercials for FTP Florists.

6) Bob Uecker— Mediocre major league catcher (hit exactly .200 for his career) becomes one of the funniest people ever. Was the dad in Mister Belvedere; he should’ve won an Oscar for his portrayal of Indians’ radio announcer Harry Doyle in Major League.

When the Brewers cane to LA, Johnny Carson would have Uecker on The Tonight Show, just because he was so damn funny. Thats the ultimate compliment.

5) Fred Dryer— Another former Rams’ lineman who became an actor, starring in Hunter and also 46 other movies/TV shows, including NCIS, Cheers, Cannonball Run 2, Lou Grant and Laverne & Shirley. Dryer played 11 years in the NFL, was a very good defensive end.

4) Mark Harmon— Former UCLA QB whose dad was Tom Harmon, a great player at Michigan; Mark Harmon is best known now for NCIS, but he’s also been in Summer School, West Wing, Chicago Hope, Charlie Grace and Reasonable Doubts. An excellent acting career.

3) Burt Reynolds— Very famous actor was a running back at Florida State, where the QB at the time was Lee Corso, who has become famous for his ESPN GameDay career.

2) Dwayne Johnson— Pro wrestler-turned-actor was Warren Sapp’s backup on the defensive line at Miami, FL; The Rock makes a lot of movies and must be making a freakin’ fortune.

1) Jim Brown— Arguably the greatest athlete ever (football/lacrosse), Brown has 52 acting credits; he was in He Got Game, Any Given Sunday, Draft Day, The Dirty Dozen, TJ Hooker, The A-Team.

Brown played nine years in the NFL, led league in rushing eight times.