2 Lists for Monday: my friend Christy’s favorite movies…….

My friend Christy loves the movies; here are some of her favorites:

Phenomenon – A simple story of a simple man who became extraordinary but never lost sight of what was most important to his heart. He loved, he worked, he played as his heart dictated. Unpretentiously … Soundtrack!

Spitfire Grill- I need to rewatch this one. Near the top of my list because I remember it being a story of strong willed women that struck a cord. I was a young mother when I first saw it and realized how sheltered I was and that reality was beyond the lies I could tell myself about the world happening around me. I also remember the song “There is a Balm in Gillead” that’s sung.

Forrest Gump- Soundtrack! Real life inserted in historical times is/was so innovative… Especially like the story told thru the innocent, forgiving eyes of a love struck optimist. At some point throughout our lives, Forrest lives in each of us. There’s always hope and what Mama teaches!

Gone with the Wind- I saw this for the first time in the theater with my dad and sisters. The only time I can remember going to the movies without mom. My dad loved this movie. My mom loved Dr. Zhivago. I’ve watched both many times.

Remember the Titans- Awesome! Historic! Football! Soundtrack! Need I say more?

Close Encounters of the Third Kind – The first “alien” movie I remember seeing. Loved it!! I remember feeling overwhelmed with Richard Dreyfuss as he tried to explain his “obsession” with shaping mashed potatoes.

The Abyss- Discovery of a new world! Heart stopping adventures. Fantasy mixed with real science and real people … it was incredible to watch the underwater scenes. I was enthralled the first time I watched.

Lord of the Rings- The Hobbit was the first classic I had ever discussed in detail with my best friend in my freshman year in high school. We both loved it! A new world with new types of people who desired the same things, adventures we did. To change the world … Tolkien has always stuck with me.

Kate and Leopold – Time travel, love story, historical perspectives, Hugh Jackman …

Highlander-Immortality, to live thru history, see it and travel thru it.

Les Miserables- Story of hope that came to me when I lost my daughter and my marriage. Life was hard. Jean Valjean’s was harder. This classic brought me hope. Loved the Broadway music! 

Goonies- Adventure and treasure maps with friends!!! It is the quest! Family favorite!

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape- Hard choices in life to be made. I remember the way the family protected one another. Need to rewatch.

Beauty and the Beast – Always my favorite love story, fairy tale. From Phantom of the Opera to Beauty and the Beast the story that lies in the strength of a woman to love past the ugly darkness or walls that hide a man’s heart … to help fight his demons until he sees his worth.  Some consider futile. The journey isn’t for the weak … even the animated version.

Toy Story – Every child has a favorite toy and a world of imagination/dreams that’s built around it.

Monday’s List of 13: Answers to difficult trivia questions…..

13) Who was player-coach of the Detroit Pistons at age 24? He also pitched in 36 games for the Chicago White Sox.

Dave DeBusschere played 12 years in the NBA, was the missing link that made the Knicks a title team in 1969, 1973. 

12) Which TV personality was QB at Louisiana Tech just before Terry Bradshaw?

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was the starting QB at Louisiana Tech for two years, but didn’t play his senior year.

11) When baseball started divisional play in 1969, which four teams made the playoffs that first season?

Mets, Braves, Orioles, Twins. For some reason, Atlanta was in the NL West. 

10) Oakland A’s won three straight World Series, from 1972-74; Dick Williams managed the A’s in ’72-’73. Who was Oakland’s manager in ’74?

Alvin Dark managed the A’s in 1974-5, also in 1966-67. He won the NL title managing the San Francisco Giants in 1962.  

9) In 1994, Montreal Expos had the best record in the National League when the season ended because of a labor dispute. Who was manager of the Expos back then?

Felipe Alou managed the Expos from 1992-2001. 

8) Everyone knows the first Super Bowl was Packers-Chiefs, Lombardi against Hank Stram. Green Bay played Oakland in Super Bowl II; who coached the Raiders back then?

Jon Rauch went 35-10-1 in three years coaching the Raiders, winning AFL title in ’67, losing title game the next year. Then he left Oakland, went 7-20-1 in two years coaching Buffalo. 

7) What team did Wayne Gretzky play his last NHL game with?

Gretzky scored nine goals, had 53 assists in 70 games for the 1998-99 Rangers. 

6) Nick Saban coached two other college teams, other than LSU/Alabama; which two?

Saban went 9-2 in one year at Toledo, 34-24-1 in five years at Michigan State. 

5) Who scored the first 2-point conversion in the NFL, back in 1994?

Tom Tupa was a P/QB for the Browns in ‘94; he played in college at Ohio State. He started 13 games at QB for the Cardinals, punted for 12 years in the NFL. 

4) Who succeeded Jerry Tarkanian as basketball coach at UNLV?

Rollie Massimino coached two years at UNLV. 

3) Which NBA team drafted Bill Russell?

St Louis Hawks drafted Russell, immediately traded him to the Celtics for Cliff Hagan, Ed Macauley. 

2) Who was Michael Jordan’s first head coach in the NBA?

Kevin Loughery was 65-99 in two years coaching the Bulls; he won two ABA titles coaching the New York Nets. 

1) Other than Wrigley Feld, Fenway Park, what is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues? 

Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, making it the 3rd-oldest stadium in the majors. 

Friday’s Den: Running diary of the first round of the NFL Draft

7:25: Hi, I’m setting up for what will be a running diary of the first round of the NFL Draft. We’ll see how this goes. I do think the unique nature of this draft, with everyone staying home, will be kind of cool. Also hope it Is the last time it happens this way.

Obvious fact #1 tonite: Roger Goodell’s basement is nicer than my living room.

8:00: Starting with ESPN, as opposed to NFL Network or ABC.

Michael Irvin has three Lombardi Trophies behind him in his house. He is the early leader for best home setup.

They show a deserted Las Vegas Blvd, in front of Caeser’s Palace, and it makes me sad. Such a busy, vibrant place, almost totally deserted right now. I look forward to being back out there as soon as it is safe to do that. 

8:05: Roger Goodell seems like a good guy, but if I made $30M a year, I’d be pleasant, too.

8:13: Dr Fauci makes an appearance. He was captain of his high school hoop team at Regis HS in Brooklyn, in 1958, which is before I was born. Good man, Dr Fauci; I look forward to the day he tells us it is safe to travel.

Please start the draft; make a pick, already. Bengals are on the clock.

8:25: Bengals take Joe Burrow, who was turned down by Nebraska multiple times.

Burrow wasn’t alive in 1990, last time the Bengals won a playoff game. This is the third year in a row a QB gets taken first overall; all three of those QB’s transferred in college.

LSU has six coaches in their football office; no social distancing there.

8:33: Washington Redskins take Chase Young a DE from Ohio State; he is wearing sunglasses in his living room.

HBO is remaking the old TV series Perry Mason, which I watched on re-runs when I was a little kid. It premieres June 21. The key is who will play Hamilton Berger, the lawyer who always lost to Perry Mason in the original series?

8:38: CB Jeff Okudah is picked by the Lions; the first three picks all played at Ohio State in 2017, before Burrow transferred to LSU.

In the Super Bowl era, which is 54 years, Lions are 1-12 in playoff games; 11 of those 13 games were on the road. Their last playoff win was in 1991.

 8:47: New Jersey Giants take Andrew Thomas, an OT from Georgia who was a drummer in high school. His high school coach played in the NFL, which has to help. Daniel Jeremiah of ESPN doesn’t like the pick very much; thought the Giants had better options.

I’m liking this TV format better than having everyone in a ballroom somewhere.

8:55: Miami Dolphins take QB Tua Tagovailoa, ending Josh Rosen’s tenure in Miami; Tua will be the first lefty QB in the NFL since Kellen Moore, who is now the Cowboys’ OC. Would expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to start this season, then hands the reins over to the kid.

When the Dolphins passed on Drew Brees in 2006, he had already played four years in the NFL, 58 starts. Big difference between that and a kid who got hurt a lot in college, especially with the league going to 17 games, starting next season.

Boomer Esiason’s 247 TD passes are the most-ever by a lefty QB in the NFL. 

9:02: Chargers take QB Justin Herbert, who started out his college career as Oregon’s 6th-string QB, so three of the first six picks in the draft are quarterbacks. He’ll sit behind Tyrod Taylor for a while, which will help his development.

Oregon had a very experienced offensive line LY; how will he do under more pressure?

9:10: Carolina takes Derrick Brown, a DT from Auburn. He wants to be a lobbyist when he is done playing ball. This is Matt Rhule’s first draft pick in Carolina; he wants to make sure the Panthers can stop the run.

9:14: Arizona Cardinals take the versatile Isaiah Simmons, who played five different positions on defense at Clemson.

9:20: Jacksonville takes CJ Henderson, a CB from Florida who is strong in coverage but needs work on his tackling. What the Jaguars really need is a GM or coach who can persuade their players to stay in Jacksonville, instead of asking to be traded all the time.

9:26: Cleveland takes Jedrick Wills, a tackle from Alabama who is the 30th Crimson Tide player taken in the first round in the Saban era.

Ten draft picks; no WR’s taken yet, kind of surprising.

9:35: Jets take OT Mekhi Becton, a tackle from Louisville; he is 6-7, 364 pounds and played basketball in high school- he can run. ESPN showed as many of his basketball highlights as his football highlights- they also showed him pushing a pickup truck down the street.

9:40: Las Vegas Raiders take Henry Ruggs, a WR from Alabama who didn’t look all that happy when they showed him in his house. Ruggs caught 98 passes in college, 24 for TD’s . Ruggs’ mom was a sprinter in high school, which doesn’t help Jon Gruden much.

Kid can dunk at 5-11; he isn’t such a great route runner yet- he is also a skilled kick returner.

9:45: Tom Brady made a trade; Bucs move up a slot to #13, take Tristan Wirfs, a tackle from Iowa. 49ers get a pick in exchange for this pick. Wirfs won state titles in wrestling and track in high school- he is very strong. He better be good, to protect his 43-year old QB.

9:58: 49ers dropped down a slot, take DT Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina who was homeless for a while as a kid, living in Washington DC. ESPN compared him to Richard Seymour. He played better against the better teams the Gamecocks played.

Coach’s and GM’s kids are now hanging around their dads to get  on TV. 

10:04: Denver takes WR Jerry Jeudy from Alabama; the 3rd Bama player taken tonite, the 32nd first round pick in the Saban era. Jeudy is a superior route runner.

10:12: Falcons take CB AJ Terrell from Clemson; Mel Kiper says he needs to tackle better, be coached more. I’m sure Dabo Swinney loved hearing that.

Atlanta owner Arthur Blank has to have a good home setup; he used to own freakin’ Home Depot. Plus he was wearing one of the Falcons’ new black jerseys.

10:19: Dallas Cowboys take WR CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, whose family relocated after Hurricane Katrina. They showed Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley’s living room, which is really nice. For some reason, he has two pairs of sneakers right by the TV. Anyway, Lamb is a very good WR; he had 62 receptions for 1,327 yards, scoring 14 TD’s LY.

Dallas hasn’t played in the NFC title game since 1995; I’m assuming Jerry Jones has a really, really nice house, but the room he’s in looks like a sitting room in a funeral parlor.

10:27: Miami Dolphins use the Steelers’ pick (for Minkah Fitzpatrick) to take OT Austin Jackson from USC, whose grandfather played five years for the Packers. He is still only 20 years old, so he may be something of a developmental project.

Last year, this kid donated bone marrow to his younger sister to save her life from a rare form of anemia, which is very excellent.

10:32: Raiders take Damon Arnette, a DB from Ohio State. This is Cris Carter’s son, the great WR from the Vikings. Arnette almost came out of school LY, but Carter told him he needed to come back for another year, to become a better player, and it paid off for him.

2022 NFL Draft will be in Las Vegas; it was supposed to be there this week, until Mother Nature intervened. Hotels can start jacking up their rates for that week now.

10:41: Jacksonville takes LB K’Lavon Chaisson from LSU, who didn’t play football until his junior year of high school- he was a basketball guy. Chaisson got his scholarship to LSU when he went to watch a friend work out, and someone suggested that he work out, too.

10:47: Philadelphia Eagles tase Jalen Reagor, a WR from TCU. His dad played nine years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts. He is a really good punt returner.

If you’re sitting in your house, even if you’re working, why are you wearing a jacket/tie?

10:55: Minnesota takes LSU WR Justin Jefferson, who was a n0-star recruit coming out of high school in Louisiana. His older brothers also played football at LSU. Jefferson played out of the slot the great majority of the time at LSU; what happens to Adam Thielen?

Kurt Warner has a strong home setup, with a Lombardi Trophy, his Hall of Fame bust and his Man of the Year trophy all there. Not as good as Michael Irvin’s, but not bad.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer must like to hunt; he had some very large heads of dead animals mounted in his living room, over the fireplace.

10:59: New England traded the 23rd pick to the Chargers for 2nd/3rd round picks; Patriots now have 13 picks in this draft. Chargers take Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray, who saved a woman’s life with CPR last year. ESPN’s Booger MacFarland liked this pick, but he’s liked every pick he’s been asked about tonight.

Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco has a surfboard in his dining room; not sure what thats about. 

11:09: Saints take Michigan C Cesar Ruiz, who can play either guard or center. He started 31 games at Michigan. Offensive linemen tend to be obscure, but other than the QB, they’re the most valuable guys on the team- they allow the offense to operate.

11:12: 49ers traded three picks to Minnesota to move into the 25th pick; Niners then take WR Brandon Aiyuk, from Arizona State. He has an 81-inch wingspan, the longest wingspan of any player under 6-feet tall in NFL Combine history.

Aiyuk is the sixth WR taken in the first round.

11:23: Green Bay traded with Miami to move into this slot; they take QB Jordan Love from Utah State. Aaron Rodgers is 36; Brett Favre was 35 when Green Bay drafted Rodgers. Love only got one I-A scholarship offer out of high school, but Rodgers didn’t have any— he played in junior college before playing for the Cal Bears.

Quote from someone close to Rodgers: “Aaron feels betrayed, he was told by management they would get him some weapons to throw to.” Uh oh.

Considering this is a virtual operation, there haven’t been many glitches on TV. Impressive.

11:34: Seattle takes Jordyn Brooks, a LB from Texas Tech; he’ll play against his old college coach Kliff Kingsbury twice a year. ESPN said he is a better pass rusher than a cover guy, but Mel Kiper called him “a tackling machine” He runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, has a balky shoulder.

11:41: Baltimore Ravens take Patrick Queen, another LSU LB; I’m guessing the Bayou Bengals will be young at LB this season. Queen grew up 30 miles from Baton Rouge, but is the first player from his high school to be offered a scholarship by LSU.

This is the first time the Ravens ever drafted an LSU player; their old GM Ozzie Newsome, played college ball at Alabama.

11:48: Tennessee takes T Isaiah Wilson, a guard from Georgia. He is 6-6, 350, very good run blocker; but Mel Kiper thought he needed another year in Athens.

This gives the SEC 13 first round picks, setting the record for a conference.

11:58: Miami drafts DB Noah Igbinoghene, a former WR who got switched to DB because he has bad hands. Both of his parents competed in the Olympics for the Nigerian track team- they both ran track in the SEC. His sister is a track athlete, also at Auburn.

With this guy and Tua Tagovailoa getting drafted, going to be lot of copy/paste by Miami beat writers. Tough names to spell.

12:02am: Minnesota takes Jeff Gladney, a DB from TCU. If you play DB in the Big X, you’re battle tested; some scouts question how Gladney will do against more physical receivers.

12:10am: Defending Super Bowl champ Chiefs take Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a RB from LSU, making it 15 first round picks for the SEC. Versatile player, this kid is only 5-8, but catches the ball well, which is obviously important in today’s pro football.

Before I go tonight, a public service announcement, from Dr Eugene Gu, a doctor, an actual medical expert. Please listen to medical experts.

“PLEASE do not inject anything into your body or ingest anything at all to kill the coronavirus. There is NO SUBSTANCE that will disinfect your body of the coronavirus from the inside. Don’t inject or drink bleach, soap, don’t do isopropyl alcohol, lysol, or ANYTHING WHATSOEVER.”

2 Lists for Twosday: Pretty difficult trivia questions……

These are difficult trivia questions; see how you do before you look up the answers. I’ll post the answers in a few days. 


13) Who was player-coach of the Detroit Pistons at age 24? He also pitched in 36 games for the Chicago White Sox.

12) Which TV personality was QB at Louisiana Tech just before Terry Bradshaw?

11) When baseball started divisional play in 1969, which four teams made the playoffs that first season?

10) Oakland A’s won three straight World Series, from 1972-74; Dick Williams managed the A’s in ’72-’73. Who was Oakland’s manager in ’74?

9) In 1994, Montreal Expos had the best record in the National League when the season ended because of a labor dispute. Who was manager of the Expos back then?

8) Everyone knows the first Super Bowl was Packers-Chiefs, Lombardi against Hank Stram. Green Bay played Oakland in Super Bowl II; who coached the Raiders back then?

7) What team did Wayne Gretzky play his last NHL game with?

6) Nick Saban coached two other college teams, other than LSU/Alabama; which two?

5) Who scored the first 2-point conversion in the NFL, back in 1994?

4) Who succeeded Jerry Tarkanian as basketball coach at UNLV?

3) Which NBA team drafted Bill Russell?

2) Who was Michael Jordan’s first head coach in the NBA?

1) Other than Wrigley Feld, Fenway Park, what is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues? 

Tuesday’s Den: An enthusiastic endorsement of ESPN’s The Last Dance


13) ESPN struck television gold Sunday night, showing an entertainment-starved country the first two episodes of “The Last Dance”, a 10-part documentary about the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. Originally slated to air June 3rd, it was pushed up because of the pandemic. Two episodes will run on each of the next four Sunday nights.

It isn’t often a program with high expectations meets those expectations, but this program was two hours of great research, artfully presented. If you like the NBA or college basketball at all, you’ll enjoy this look back at a part of our sports history.

12) Bulls had won five of previous seven NBA titles; they allowed NBA cameras access to their inner circle for what Phil Jackson knew would be his last season as the Bulls’ coach.

Back in 1997, the head of NBA Entertainment was Adam Silver, now the Commissioner, so this was his brainchild. Tall, bald guys with glasses tend to be smart 🙂

11) Phil Jackson averaged 6.7 ppg in 17.6 mpg in 12 NBA seasons. 10 with the Knicks, two with the Nets. He missed the Knicks’ 1970 title season after back surgery; he scored 8.1 ppg for the ’73 Knicks, who also won a championship.

10) Jackson coached here in Albany in five years, coaching the Patroons in the old CBA; from there he went to the Bulls, was an assistant for three years, then took over for the 1989-90 season.

Jackson was an NBA head coach for 20 years, winning 11 titles. Best NBA coach ever.

9) From November 1995 to June 1997, the Bulls were favored in 185 consecutive games, thats now great they were; but GM Jerry Krause knew the team’s great run was nearing an end, and he toyed with the idea of trading Scottie Pippen before the 1997-98 season, to try and head off the franchise’s inevitable decline. That idea was rejected by owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

8) Krause takes a pretty good beating on this show, since his professional relationship with the coaches, players deteriorated over time. Plus he is deceased, so he couldn’t be interviewed for the show, to present his side of the story.

But much like Art Howe’s portrayal in Moneyball, no team wins six titles without a really good GM; Krause made this trade, one that made the Bulls truly great:

June 22, 1987: Scottie Pippen was traded by the Seattle SuperSonics with a 1989 1st round draft pick to the Chicago Bulls, for Olden Polynice, a 1988 2nd round pick and a 1989 1st round pick.

7) Pippen missed 38 games in 1997-98 after having surgery; Chicago was 51-14 that year when he was in the lineup, 26-12 when he wasn’t.

6) Former Bulls’ center Bill Wennington is quoted a lot in the first two episodes; looks like he has a slot machine in his living room, which is pretty cool.

5) Steve Kerr won three rings playing for the Bulls; he’s won eight rings overall, three coaching the Warriors, two more playing for San Antonio. He is the only person ever to win 3+ titles, as both a player and a head coach.

4) Jordan played for three head coaches in this first three NBA seasons; Jackson was his 4th head coach in six years. One of the other coaches was Stan Albeck, who had been a coach for the Spurs, Nets, Cavaliers, and was also once Wilt Chamberlain’s assistant coach with the old San Diego Conquistadors in the ABA, in 1973-74. Albeck could write a hell of a book.

3) In one of Jordan’s North Carolina clips they showed, a Duke player named Chip Engelland appears very briefly. Engelland has gone on to become one of the best-ever shooting coaches in NBA history (Kawhi Leonard ring a bell?)

Engelland had been a ballboy for John Wooden’s UCLA teams; he scored 1,000+ points at Duke, then he played overseas for nine years. He’s been a Spurs assistant since 2005.

2) They showed when Phil Jackson won his first NBA title with the Bulls in ‘91, beating the Lakers in LA, one of the first people to shake his hand on the court was Jack Nicholson.

1) So what I’m saying here is that if you like basketball, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this look back into NBA history. I know I did. 

Monday’s Den: Colleges that produced the best NFL quarterbacks:

1) Stanford:
— John Elway, Andrew Luck, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett— Lot of depth here.

2)  Alabama:
— Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler— Four Super Bowl titles there.

3) Purdue:
— Drew Brees, Bob Griese, Len Dawson, Jim Everett

4) Notre Dame:
— Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Daryle Lamonica, Steve Beuerlein

5) California:
— Aaron Rodgers, Steve Bartkowski, Jared Goff, Craig Morton

6) Miami:
— Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde— Lot of wins, but no Super Bowl titles

7) Louisville:
— Johnny Unitas, Lamar Jackson, Teddy Bridgewater

8) Oregon:
— Dan Fouts, Chris Miller, Joey Harrington, Marcus Mariota

9) Michigan:
— Tom Brady, Brian Griese, Jim Harbaugh

10) Washington:
— Warren Moon, Mark Brunell, Chris Chandler

11) BYU:
— Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson, Gifford Neilsen

12) UCLA:
— Troy Aikman, Tommy Maddox, Steve Bono, Billy Kilmer

13) USC:
— Carson Palmer, Bill Nelsen, Rodney Peete, plus about seven other guys who are either young starters (Sam Darnold), marginal starters or mostly backups.

3 Lists for Sunday: Favorite TV shows for Bartender Chris and his wife Ashley…….

Bartender Chris and Ashley’s (his wife) favorite TV shows:

Armadillo: 24 is the only show on both of these lists; I’ve never seen 11 of the 13 shows on Ashley’s list. Thats what makes life interesting; different people like different stuff.

13) Chris: The Golden Girls

Ashley: Life

12) Chris:  Frasier

Ashley: Desperate Housewives

11) Chris: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Ashley: This Is Us

10) Chris:  The Simpsons

Ashley: Orange is the New Black

9) Chris: The Sopranos

Ashley: Lost

8) Chris: Sons of Anarchy

Ashley: Parenthood

7) Chris: Cheers

Ashley: Breaking Bad

6) Chris: Quantum Leap

Ashley: The Office

5) Chris: Alf

Ashley: 24

4) Chris: Seinfeld

Ashley: Dexter

3) Chris: 24

Ashley: Grey’s Anatomy

2) Chris: Magnum PI

Ashley: Weeds

1) Chris: Miami Vice

Ashley: Shameless

Two Lists for Saturday; Watching Game 2 of the ’72 World Series

— Struck TV gold late Friday night; a replay of Game 2 of the 1972 World Series, A’s-Reds; I hadn’t seen this game since I was 12 years old. Watching it in the same room, too.

— Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek, Al Michaels in the booth; when I post my list of best-ever or favorite TV announcers, this is why Michaels will be #1— he almost has to be the only person who was there the first time the Oakland A’s won the World Series, and first time the Rams won the Super Bowl.

— Back then, World Series games started at 1:oo; Gowdy is giving NFL scores during the game. Dolphins’ QB Bob Griese just chipped a bone in his ankle. No problem, Miami would go on to win the Super Bowl that year, going undefeated, with Earl Morrall at QB.

— Dick Williams was the A’s manager; his first year as a minor league manager was in Toronto in 1965. Who did he take over for? Reds’ skipper Sparky Anderson.

— Catfish Hunter is pitching for the A’s; my all-time favorite baseball player. Why, you say?

When I was five, I got a box of baseball cards; back then, rookie cards had four prospects on a card, all from the same team. I noticed Catfish because:
a) His name was spelled Jim Hunter on the front, Tim Hunter on the back.
b) Three guys had their minor league records on the back; Catfish Hunter never pitched in the minor leagues, so that stood out to me.

When I showed my dad the card and declared Catfish to be my favorite player, I got that look, like “Did we bring the right kid home from the hospital?” Not the last time I saw that look.

— Reggie Jackson didn’t play in this World Series; he tore his hamstring sliding into home in Game 5 of the ALCS. George Hendrick took his place.

— Before this World Series, A’s owner Charlie Finley got them to agree to a rule where the manager could visit the mound more than twice in a game, without removing the pitcher. Williams went to the mound 55 times in seven games, and I’m not exaggerating. Last time that rule existed.

— Some umpires wore the outside chest protector, with jackets and ties. This guy hides behind the catcher way more than current umpires do.

— Weird watching baseball with no graphics. They only put the score up at the end of every half-inning.

— Dave Duncan was the A’s starting catcher during the year, but Gene Tenace’s hot bat made him the starter during the Series. Duncan would start Game 7 and throw Joe Morgan out stealing at a key juncture; he would later become one of the game’s great pitching coaches, working for Tony Larussa.

— I met Pete Rose a few years ago in Las Vegas; resisted the temptation to ask him about this World Series, since he made the last out of Game 7. He was pretty cool to talk to, but then again it cost me $98 to get a baseball signed, so he was just doing his job.

— Matty Alou was the only A’s player that year who had previously experience in a World Series; he played for the ’62 Giants. 12 Reds had played in a Series- they lost to Baltimore in 1970.

— This game was played on Astroturf, which made for a different game; at one time, half the fields in the major leagues had Astrotruf fields. FieldTurf has taken over now, but think there are only four stadiums that use it; Toronto, Arizona, Texas and Tampa Bay.

— Bullpens were on the field down each foul line at Riverfront Stadium; Oakland Coliseum is one of the few stadiums that still has their bullpens on the field.

— Curt Gowdy just referenced that the A’s were an underdog in Game 2; never heard stuff like that back then. Wonder if he took some grief about saying that.

— George Hendrick is wearing his cap under his batting helmet; some guys did that, with no ear flaps on the helmets back then.

— Bottom of the 9th, A’s up 2-0; Catfish is still on the mound, no mention of pitch counts, or load management or any of the modern buzzwords.

Gowdy mentions that Catfish threw five no-hitters in high school, before getting hurt in a hunting accident, which is why he never pitched in the minors.

Tony Perez lines a single to left, then Joe Rudi makes one of the greatest catches in World Series history, to rob Denis Menke of a double. Rudi was an excellent player, a quiet guy who was very dependable.

Catfish has just given up two shots in a row when Cesar Geronimo is robbed of a hit by 1B Mike Hegan, a defensive replacement- another line drive, but Williams leaves Catfish in— the game sure has changed a lot. Hal McRae’s ground-ball single makes it 2-1, A’s. Williams brings Rollie Fingers to get the last out; can you imagine a pitcher today getting 26 outs in a playoff game?

Julian Javier is the pinch-hitter; his son Stan would later play for the A’s for parts of seven seasons, including playing for the ’89 World Champs. Dave Concepcion pinch-runs for McRae, Vida Blue warms up in the bullpen, and Javier fouls out to first base.

12-year old me was very happy that day, and even happier a week later, when Rollie Fingers got Rose out for the last out of Game 7. Was fun seeing this game again, for sure. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Movie Mt Rushmores…….

These are my favorite movies in each category:
13) Al Pacino movies:
— Any Given Sunday
— Heat
— Danny Collins
— Oceans 13

12) Tom Cruise movies
— A Few Good Men
— Risky Business
— Cocktail
— Jack Reacher

11) Baseball movies:
— Moneyball
— For Love of the Game
— Bull Durham
— Major League

10) Denzel Washington movies:
— He Got Game
— Pelican Brief
— Remember the Titans
— Out of Time

9) Gene Hackman movies:
— Hoosiers
— Runway Jury
— The Replacements
— Class Action

8) Basketball movies:
— Blue Chips
— One on One
— Fast Break
— Hoosiers
(He Got Game gets an honorable mention here)

7) Steve Martin movies:
— Leap of Faith
— Shopgirl
— Roxanne
— Grand Canyon

6) Gambling-related movies:
— Rounders
— Let It Ride
— The Gambler
— Lucky You

5) Gina Gershon movies:
— Bound
— PS I Love You
— Showgirls
— Pretty In Pink

4) Bill Murray movies:
— Lost In Translation
— Caddyshack
— Meatballs
— St Vincent

3) Marisa Tomei movies:
— My Cousin Vinny
— The Rewrite
— The Big Short
— Lincoln Lawyer

2) Robert DeNiro movies:
— Last Vegas
— Heat
— Jackie Brown
— Midnight Run

1) Kevin Costner movies:
— For Love of the Game
— The Bodyguard
— Bull Durham
— Draft Day

Wednesday’s List of 13: Favorite fictional coaches in movies……

Favorite coaches in TV/movies
This only includes fictional characters, which eliminates:
— Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night Lights
— Philip Seymour Hoffman in Moneyball
— Any coach who appeared in a documentary

I also left Norman Dale (Hoosiers) off the list, since he had to be constantly reminded that Jimmy Chitwood could score at will. Even his drunk assistant coach drew up plays for Jimmy.

13) Moreland Smith (One on One)— GD Spradlin plays a college basketball coach who recruits a small-school basketball phenom who struggles to adjust to big-time college ball. Coach Smith tries to run the kid off the team; it ends better for the kid than the coach.

12) Morris Buttermaker (Bad News Bears)— Walter Matthau plays a Little League coach who brings a cooler of beer into the dugout every game; his team is saved by him recruiting a young lady to pitch, and a motorcycle punk who winds up being the best player in the league.

11) Gordon Bombay (The Mighty Ducks)— Emilio Estevez plays a Minnesota lawyer who gets a DUI, is sentenced to community service coaching a youth hockey team that isn’t very good. The Ducks wind up beating the team he played for as a kid, coached by Coach Reilly (Lane Smith, the same actor who lost to Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny)

10) Mick Goldmill (Rocky)— Burgess Meredith played the Penguin in the Batman TV series, but is better known as Rocky Balboa’s boxing trainer. “You’re gonna eat lightnin’; you’re gonna crap thunder!!!”

9) Murray Chadwick (Youngblood)— Ed Lauter plays a junior hockey coach whose daughter likes the star player, but the coach questions if he is tough enough. Lauter also has one of my all-time favorite  coaching lines: “I didn’t come halfway to the (bleep)ing Arctic Circle to lose to these goons!!!”

8) Billy Sunday (He Got Game)— John Turturro (Joey Knish in Rounders) plays the coach at Big State, a team trying to recruit Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen). Coach Sunday is only in one scene, but he steals it, trying to convince the star recruit to play for his team.

This is an underrated movie that foretold (20 years before) the problems Louisville’s program would have. Rick Fox plays the Big State player who is the recruit’s mentor for the weekend.

7) Frank Perry (For Love of the Game)— JK Simmons is a Detroit Tigers fan in real life, so this role probably came naturally for him. New York’s manager in this movie is played by Augie Garrido, one of the best-ever college coaches (Cal State-Fullerton, Texas)

6) Hayden Fox (Coach)— Craig T Nelson plays the coach at fictional Minnesota State in one of the two TV series on this list. Nelson is a divorced father whose girlfriend may not be all that crazy about football. Lot of the laughs in this show came from his assistant coach Luther Van Dam, played by Jerry Van Dyke.

5) Lou Brown (Major League)— James Gammon had one of the best-ever voices; he was also Don Johnson’s dad in Nash Bridges. Lou Brown wasn’t a fan of analytics, bringing in Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) in to pitch to Haywood, even after Haywood had homered twice off of him earlier in the movie.

4) Ken Reeves (White Shadow)— Ken Howard was really great as a washed-up NBA player who becomes a high school coach in inner-city Los Angeles, caring as much about his players off the court as he did on it. The uniforms Carver High wears in this show are the same as Howard’s high school team on Long Island wore (in real life).

3) Tony d’Amato (Any Given Sunday)— Al Pacino plays a veteran pro football coach whose owner (Cameron Diaz) doubts him as her team struggles to remain a contender. Pacino gives two great speeches in this game, one to QB Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) and the other before the playoff game in Dallas, the “Game of Inches” speech.

Jim Brown was really good in this as one of coach d’Amato’s assistants, and Lawrence Taylor was one of the Miami Sharks.

2) Pete Bell (Blue Chips)— Nick Nolte hung around Indiana’s program for a while to prep for this role, so lot of the antics we see are stuff Bobby Knight did in real life. Marques Johnson plays one of Western U’s assistants. The scene in the empty gym where coach Bell rebounds for his AD (Bob Cousy) while he shoots foul shots is one of my favorite movie scenes ever.

1) David Greene (Fast Break)— Gabe Kaplan plays the manager of a New York City deli who is also a huge basketball fan; he is offered the coaching job at a small Nevada college, and recruits an odd assortment of players, one of whom is played by NBA great Bernard King. On of his other players is a young lady, playing in disguise.

This movie came out when I was in college; Kaplan was tremendous. For any of us who would’ve loved to have coached for a living, this may have been unrealistic, but it was also inspirational. 

Monday’s Den: Western Conference teams for our 3-on-3 tournament

Western Conference:
Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic, Michael Finley, Dirk Nowitski

Denver Nuggets: Alex English, Dan Issel, David Thompson

Golden State Warriors: Wilt Chamberlain, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson

Houston Rockets: James Harden, Calvin Murphy, Hakeem Olajuwon

Buffalo Braves/Los Angeles Clippers: Jamal Crawford, Danilo Gallinari, Bob McAdoo

Los Angeles Lakers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson

Memphis Grizzlies: Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph

Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins

New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, David West

Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant, Jeff George, Russell Westbrook

Phoenix Suns: Connie Hawkins, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudamire

Portland Trailblazers: Clyde Drexler, Damien Lillard, Bill Walton

Cincinnati Royals/Sacramento Kings: Mitch Richmond, Oscar Robertson, Chris Webber

San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan, George Gervin, Manu Ginobili

Utah Jazz: Adrian Dantley, Karl Malone, John Stockton

Seattle SuperSonics: Freddie Brown, Spencer Haywood, Gary Payton

Sunday’s Den: A hypothetical, 32-team, 3-on-3 tournament

Here is a hypothetical, 32-team 3-on-3 tournament with guys from all 30 NBA teams, plus players from the old Seattle SuperSonics and a team of guys from the ABA.

Eastern Conference/ABA (will post West teams tomorrow)
Atlanta/St Louis Hawks: Pete Maravich, Bob Pettit, Dominique Wilkins

Boston Celtics: Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, Robert Parish

Brooklyn/NY/NJ Nets: Rick Barry, Derrick Coleman, Jason Kidd

Charlotte Hornets: Larry Johnson, Glen Rice, Kemba Walker

Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Reggie Theus

Cleveland Cavaliers: Brad Daugherty, Lebron James, Mark Price

Detroit Pistons: Grant Hill, Bob Lanier, Isiah Thomas

Indiana Pacers: George McGinnis, Reggie Miller, Victor Oladipo

Miami Heat: Tim Hardaway Sr, Alonzo Mourning, Dwayne Wade

Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncrief

New York Knicks: Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Bernard King

Orlando Magic: Nick Anderson, Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal

Philadelphia 76ers: Charles Barkley, Julius Erving, Hal Greer

Toronto Raptors: Vince Carter, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valančiūnas

Washington Bullets/Wizards: Bradley Beal, Elvin Hayes, Earl Monroe

ABA: Mack Calvin, Billy Cunningham, Artis Gilmore

Friday’s Den: Mike picks his top 13 sports moments…….

My friend Mike is WAY smarter than me; here are his 13 top sports moments, in chronological order:
1936— Jesse Owens winning four gold medals in the Berlin Olympics.

1947— Jackie Robinson’s first major league baseball game.

Robinson’s brother Mack Robinson finished 2nd to Jesse Owens in the 200-meter race in the ’36 Olympics; both of them broke the existing Olympic record.

1956— Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

Two years before that perfect game, Larsen went 3-21, 4.37 pitching for the Orioles. He is probably one of the few people to play for both the St Louis Browns and Houston Astros. 

1958— Colts 23, Giants 17 (OT): NFL title game that vaulted the NFL into a national sport.
— Frank Gifford scored a TD, Pat Summerall kicked a FG for the Giants.
— Colts blew a 14-3 halftime lead; they outgained the Giants, 452-266
— Raymond Berry caught 12 passes for 178 yards; 27 years later, he coached the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

1971— The first fight between Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier; it was the first time that two undefeated boxers fought each other for the heavyweight title.

Frazier won a unanimous decision, but lost the next two meetings.

1973— Secretariat wins the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths, taking the Triple Crown. 31 lengths is roughly 248 feet, according to Wikipedia.

1980— USA 4, Soviet Union 3— Semi-final game of the Olympic Games.

One of the great upsets in sports history; Russia had beaten the Americans 10-2 in an exhibition game in New York City a week or two before this.

1984— Boston College 47, Miami 45— Flutie-to-Phelan 48-yard TD pass on the last play of the game provides one of the greatest endings in college football history.
— Flutie passed for 472 yards, Bernie Kosar threw for 447.
— Coaches: BC: Jack Bicknell, Miami: Jimmy Johnson
— TV announcers: Brent Musberger, Ara Parseghian, Pat Haden

1986— Jack Nicklaus wins his sixth Masters title at age 46, 23 years after his first title.

1988— Steffi Graf’s tennis calendar:
— won Australian Open
— won French Open
— won Wimbledon
— won US Open
— won an Olympic gold medal

1992— Duke 104, Kentucky 103 (OT)— East Regional final is Philadelphia is remembered for Christian Laettner’s game-winning shot after a 70-foot inbounds pass from Grant Hill.
— Duke shot 65% from the floor, 72% inside the arc.
— Kentucky shot 12-22 on the arc, 58% inside it.
— Duke was 28-34 on foul line, Kentucky was 17-23.

— Laettner scored 31 points; Jamal Mashburn scored 28.
— Bobby Hurley scored 22 points, had 10 assists.
— Grant Hill played 37:00 off bench, scoring 10 points.

1993— Bulls 87, Jazz 86— Chicago wins its third NBA title in a row, and its sixth in eight years.
— Michael Jordan scored 45 points, going 12-15 on line.
— Bulls were +16 with Scottie Pippen on floor, -15 with him off it.
— Steve Kerr played 24:00 for the Bulls, had 3 assists, but didn’t take a shot.

1999— USA Woman’s soccer team beats China to win the World Cup. 

Tuesday’s Den: 13 of the biggest comebacks in NFL history

13) 9-23-79— Oilers 30, Bengals 27 (OT)— 0-3 Cincinnati led 24-0 at home in 2nd quarter, behind two rushing TD’s by Pete Johnson, but needed a 55-yard FG by Chris Bahr to send game to OT, after Oilers outscored them 17-0 in 3rd quarter. Earl Campbell ran ball for 158 yards for the Oilers, who wound up losing AFC title game at Pittsburgh that year.

12) 9-23-79— Broncos 37, Seahawks 34— September 23 was a big day for comebacks that year. Seattle led 34-10 early in 3rd quarter, behind a Jim Zorn-led offense, but Denver stormed back and scored game’s last 27 points, with Craig Morton throwing three TD passes. Broncos wound up losing Wild Card game 13-7 to the afore-mentioned Oilers in the Astrodome.

11) 12-4-77— Vikings 28, 49ers 27— Niners led 24-0 in 3rd quarter, running 2nd half kickoff back for a TD, but Tommy Kramer came off bench for Minnesota and was 9-13/188 with three TD passes, leading Vikings to the comeback win. 49ers threw ball for only 57 yards in this game, with Jim Plunkett under center.

10) 12-15-74— Dolphins 34, Patriots 27— Another loss for Jim Plunkett, who led New England to a 21-0 first quarter lead, but Earl Morrall (15-23/288, two TD passes) rallied Miami back for its 11th win of the year- they lost to the Raiders 28-26 in their first playoff game. Melvin Baker caught four balls for 121 yards, two TD’s for the Dolphins.

9) 10-23-60— Broncos 31, Patriots 24— Boston, playing on road for 3rd week in row, stormed out to a 24-0 lead, with Butch Songin throwing three TD passes, but Frank Tripucka rallied the Broncos back, throwing four TD passes, two to Al Carmichael. Denver outscored the Patriots 17-0 in the 4th quarter, and improved to 4-2- it was their last win of the season (4-9-1).

8) 10-25-59— Eagles 28, Cardinals 24— Philly improved from 2-9-1 to 7-5 in ‘59; they trailed 24-0 in 3rd quarter of this game after Night Train Lane had a pick-6 off Norm Van Brocklin, but the Eagles scored the last 28 points of the game, with the Dutchman throwing two TD passes, and Billy Ray Barnes running for two more. Philly won the NFL title the next season.

7) 10-20-57— Lions 31, Colts 27— Week 1 of NFL season in ’57 was September 29; times have changed. Colts led this game 27-3 early in 3rd quarter after a Lenny Moore TD, but Bobby Layne threw two TD passes in relief of Tobin Rote and Detroit won, despite completing only 12 of 34 passes for the game. Both teams were 3-1 after this game; Lions won the NFL title that year- they haven’t won one since.

6) 10-5-14— Browns 29, Titans 28— Tennessee led 28-3 in 2nd quarter after Charlie Whitehurst threw a 75-yard TD pass, but Cleveland blanked the Titans in 2nd half, and Brian Hoyer rallied the Browns to the win, which evened their record at 2-2. Taylor Gabriel caught four passes for 95 yards for Cleveland.

5) 12-6-92— Rams 31, Buccaneers 28— Rams had lost four of previous five games, trailed 27-3 at halftime of this one, but Jim Everett threw for 342 yards and three 2nd half TD’s. Both teams turned ball over three times in a primetime game that drew only 38.387 fans in Tampa. Vinny Testaverde threw two TD’s for the Bucs, who also scored a special teams TD.

4) 2-5-17— Patriots 31, Falcons 28— Atlanta led 28-3 early in 3rd quarter, but frittered away lead and lost a chance to win their first Super Bowl. Brady was 43-62/466 passing, completing 14 of them to RB James White, who scored three TD’s, two of them on ground. Patriots had 37 first downs, outgunned Atlanta by 202 yards (546-344).

3) 9-21-97— Bills 37, Colts 35— Indy led 26-0 in 2nd quarter, behind a Jim Harbaugh TD pass and four FG’s, but Todd Collins (23-38/275) railed Buffalo back for the win. Antowain Smith carried the ball 12 times for 129 yards, three TD’s. Marshall Faulk ran ball 16 times for 77 yards for Indy, two years before he won a Super Bowl with the Rams.

2) 12-7-80– 49ers 38, Saints 35 (OT)— New Orleans was 0-13 coming into this game, but they led 35-7 at halftime behind Archie Manning, who was 24-38/377, with three TD passes. 49ers rallied back for the win behind Joe Montana; they would win their first Super Bowl the next year. Saints avoided a winless season when they beat the Jets the next week.

1) 1-3-93— Bills 41, Oilers 38 (OT)— Houston led 35-3 early in 3rd quarter of this playoff game, after Bubba McDowell’s pick-6, but backup QB Frank Reich threw four TD passes, three of them to Andre Reed, as Buffalo stunned the Oilers, won two more playoff games and wound up winning the AFC title. Reed caught eight passes for 136 yards in this game. 

Sunday’s Den; Chris the Bartender’s 13 favorite movies…….

Today we yield the floor to my friend Chris the Bartender, who has a wider knowledge of movies than I do (which means, he hasn’t seen Moneyball 100+ times). 

13) The Princess Bride (1987)— This movie had it all; story, cast, music. RIP Andre the Giant.

12) Up in the Air (2009)— We all know the feeling of getting old and unwanted/unneeded.

11) Lethal Weapon 2 (1984)— I normally don’t like many sequels, but I have many reasons for liking this movie, the biggest one being it was the one/only movie I saw with my grandfather before he passed.

10) Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)— Steve Martin at the car rental desk steals the whole movie. John Candy lends a comic hand in this one.

9) City Slickers (1991)— Another movie with a fantastic cast (Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Helen Slater, Jeffrey Tambor) and an excellent story- on the verge of turning 40, an unhappy Manhattan yuppie is roped into joining his two friends on a cattle drive in the southwest.

8) Beverly Hills Cop (1984)— Eddie Murphy at his best, teaming with Judge Reinhold- Murphy plays a  freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation, but finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.
(Armadillo’s note: Detroit Lions are 0-7 in playoff games since Murphy wore a Lions jacket in Beverly Hills Cop 3)

7) Back to the Future (1985)— “Now, Biff……”
(Armadillo’s note: My name is Biff; this movie gave Biff’s a bad name)

6) Stealing Home (1988)— Underrated Mark Harmon/Jodie Foster movie; Harmon plays a washed-up baseball player who is called back home to handle the ashes of his childhood sweetheart/first love who had committed suicide. As he searches for what to do with them, he remembers the past and the relationship they had.

5) Midnight Run (1988)— Great cast; Robert DeNiro, Charles Grodin made a great team.

4) Die Hard (1988)— You could feel the intensity from the very beginning.

3) Caddyshack (1980)— Two words; Ted Knight.

(Armadillo’s note: Bill Murray’s son Luke is an assistant basketball coach at Louisville; he’s said that he has never seen Caddyshack)

2) Rocky (1976)— I can watch this movie every time it is on.

1) The Godfather (1972)— Possibly the greatest movie ever made, and possibly the greatest movie that was adapted from a book.