Monday’s Den: Random thoughts on a warm night

13) Usually, Saturday nights in May are filled with baseball, bantering with Chris the Bartender and other friends, eating food that tastes good but is probably bad for me. These days? Not so much.

Most interesting thing on TV tonight is the civil war that has broken out between protestors and police, all over the country. It is frightening and horrible to watch. I pray for all of us.

Not sure what else to say about this; our country has no leadership at the federal level, it is almost like the imbecile in the White House wants this to happen.

12) How come over 100,000 people in this country have died from the Coronavirus, while in New Zealand, the virus has been virtually snuffed out? Maybe they have a mart person in charge of their country. There’s an interesting idea, a smart person as president. We should try it.

Have to move on to happier thoughts……..
11) ESPN actually shows cornhole tournaments now; this is stuff people do at tailgate parties before football games, and they’re showing it on national TV.

Only thing MLB Network showed all weekend was old Derek Jeter games, so didn’t watch that at all. We already have the YES Network in New York; MLB Network shows almost as many Bronx games as YES does.

10) Was watching a 1990 Portland-Phoenix NBA game, Dick Stockton/Hubie Brown on the call; this was 30 years ago, and Hubie Brown is still on the job, calling games. A great analyst..

Suns had my all-time favorite NBA uniforms; very sharp. This was when Kevin Johnson was their point guard; he went on to become mayor of Sacramento.

9) The new onside kick rule didn’t pass, and this might be why:

Over the last ten years, the kicking team recovered 10.6% of onside kicks; over the last 15 years, according to football expert Warren Sharp, teams converted 3rd/4th and 15 yards to-go situations 15.6% of the time. Apparently, some NFL owners were concerned that going for the 4th-and-15 would become too popular and greatly change the game.

8) Sad to read about a bar in Manhattan closing for good; Foley’s on W. 33rd St was a hangout for baseball people in Manhattan- they had a collection of over 3,500 signed baseballs there, as well as jerseys and tons of memorabilia.

Open for 16 years, it sounds like the owner may open a place somewhere else down the road. Seemed like a very cool place, though.

7) Max Scherzer’s favorite baseball movies:

6) Moneyball
5) The Sandlot
4) Rookie of the Year
3) The Rookie
1a) Bull Durham
1a) Major League

6) Over the last nine years, Milwaukee Brewers have had eight different starting first basemen. Eric Thames is the only guy who was the primary first baseman for two years.

5) Quarterbacks who threw Larry Fitzgerald the most TD’s:
39— Kurt Warner
28— Carson Palmer
12— Josh McCown
7— John Skelton
6— Josh Rosen
5— Kevin Kolb, Matt Leinart

4) I’ve been binging The Sopranos this week, trying to find shows I haven’t seen that are fun to watch; the scenes with Paulie Soprano and the therapist are great TV, the rest of the show is a little too violent for me. Don’t need to see people get pummeled/shot every ten minutes.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is more my speed; laughter is better than violence.

3)  In the last couple weeks, two guys who both worked in the Oakland Coliseum press box for the last 40+ years both passed away:

Roy Steele was the A’s/Raiders’PA announcer; Chester Farrow ran the scoreboard at the Coliseum. Both guys were beloved by the folks there; they passed away about a week apart. We hope they rest in peace.

2) Which actor has died the most in TV/movies?

According to my research, John Hurt died 43 times in TV/movies; Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price are next on the list.

1) Some good news, I think/hope; Las Vegas casinos are scheduled to open Thursday, June 4. Korean baseball games start at 2:30am local time in Vegas, which could make it tough on the good people who work in sportsbooks, but it would be fun as hell to sit there and watch them while I had a slice of pizza. 

Sunday’s Den: All-time lineups for NL Central teams

All-time lineups, (for players since 1960):
NL Central teams
Chicago Cubs
C- Randy Hundley
1B- Ernie Banks
2B- Ryne Sandberg
SS- Don Kessinger
3B- Ron Santo
OF- Billy Williams
OF- Andre Dawson
OF- Sammy Sosa
DH- Mark Grace
SP- Ferguson Jenkins
SP- Greg Maddux
SP- Jon Lester
SP- Rick Reuschel
RP- Lee Smith

Cincinnati Reds
C- Johnny Bench
1B- Tony Perez
2B- Joe Morgan
SS- Dave Concepcion  
3B- Pete Rose
OF- George Foster
OF- Vada Pinson
OF- Eric Davis
DH- Joey Votto
SP- Johnny Cueto
SP- Mario Soto
SP- Tom Browning
SP- Jose Rijo
RP- Clay Carroll

Milwaukee Brewers
C-  Jonathan Lucroy
1B- Cecil Cooper
2B- Jim Gantner
SS-  Robin Yount
3B- Paul Molitor
OF- Ryan Braun
OF- Greg Vaughn
OF- Christian Yelich
DH- Prince Fielder
SP- Teddy Higuera
SP- Ben Sheets
SP- Yovani Gallardo
SP- Jay Haas
RP- Josh Hader

Pittsburgh Pirates
C- Manny Sanguillen 
1B- Willie Stargell
2B- Bill Mazeroski
SS- Dick Groat
3B- Bill Madlock
OF- Roberto Clemente
OF- Barry Bonds
OF- Andrew McCutchen
DH- Al Oliver
SP- John Candelaria
SP- Doug Drabek
SP- Steve Blass
SP- Rick Rhoden
RP- Kent Tekulve

St Louis Cardinals
(my friend Pete helped me with this one)
C-  Yadier Molina
1B- Albert Pujols
2B- Tommy Herr
SS-  Ozzie Smith
3B-  Ken Boyer
OF- Lou Brock
OF-  Jim Edmonds
OF-  Willie McGee
DH- Ted Simmons
SP-  Bob Gibson
SP- Steve Carlton
SP- Chris Carpenter
SP- Adam Wainwright
RP-  Bruce Sutter

Saturday’s Den: Random thoughts on a stormy night

13) If MLB winds up expanding to 32 teams, to make up the money they’re losing this year, what two cities would they pick to expand to? Montreal? Portland? Nashville?

12) Let’s see that when the inevitable expansion draft happens, and teams can protect, say 15 guys on their roster, there are going to be some very interesting decisions involved with who gets let go and who gets protected.

Usually when there are two new expansion teams, one tries harder to win right away, and the other has better long term success. This will be an interesting process to follow.

11) Someone posted a thing the week about how long it takes college basketball coaches to win their first national title; for most, longer than you might think.

27th year— Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim
24th— Gary Williams, Lute Olson
22nd— Norm Sloan, Jerry Tarkanian, Jay Wright
21st— Dean Smith
20th— John Calipari
18th— John Wooden

10) If you look at the 12 NFL teams who scored the most points over the course of a regular season, none of them won the Super Bowl that season.

9) Mets’ pitcher Jacob deGrom was a shortstop in college at Stetson; he didn’t pitch much in college. deGrom his one home run in college, against Florida Gulf Coast, off a pretty good major league pitcher— Chris Sale.

8) Japanese pro baseball leagues will start up on June 19, also without fans.

7) Most walk-off home runs, all-time:
13— Jim Thome
12— Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Babe Ruth
11— Tony Perez, David Ortiz, Ryan Zimmerman

6) Al Leiter started two games on the mound for the Mets in the 2000 World Series; he threw 126 pitches in Game 1, 142 pitches in Game 5. At age 34.

Leiter went 162-132 in a 19-year career for four teams; he pitched in the playoffs in five of those seasons.

5) Last 36 years, every NBA Finals has had at least one guy in it who was, at one time, a teammate of Shaquille O’Neal. Last one that didn’t? 1984.

4) San Diego Padres have been a major league team for 51 years; they’ve never had the same starting second baseman four years in a row.

3) Jalen Kitna, son of former NFL QB Jon Kitna, signed on to play college football at Florida this week. Jon Kitna played 14 years as a QB, for Bengals, Seattle, Lions, Dallas.

2) In his great NFL career, Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has caught TD passes from 16 different quarterbacks.

1) Longest games ended by a walk-off homer:
25th inning— Harold Baines 1984, White Sox over Milwaukee

22nd— Pedro Munoz 1993, Twins over Cleveland

21st— Dick Allen 1973, White Sox over Cleveland

19th— Brandon Moss 2013, A’s over Angels
Joe Rudi 1972, A’s over White Sox
Albert Pujols 2014, Angels over Boston
Mike Cameron 2000, Mariners over Boston
Andy Etchebarren 1967, Orioles over Washington
Willie Kirkland 1963, Indians over Washington

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

13) As if 2020 hasn’t sucked enough already, one of boyhood idols passed away this week, and way too young.

Biff Pocoroba made his major league debut on April 25, 1975; I was 15 and a huge baseball fan, and my first name is also Biff. Not surprisingly, I became a big fan- as I type this, there is a post card signed by him on the bookshelf in my living room.

Pocoroba lasted 10 years in the major leagues; he was a good defensive catcher, was especially good catching Phil Niekro’s knuckleball. He made the 1978 All-Star Game, coming in for Bob Boone in the 9th inning, when Niekro was brought in to pitch.

Biff once hit a bases loaded double off Tom Seaver on Monday Night Baseball, when that was a big deal; he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Montreal Expos. He was one of Brave owner Ted Turner’s favorite players; when it was time for him to be released, they waited until Turner was out of the country to do it.

Biff Pocoroba was 66 when he passed away Sunday. RIP, sir.

12) Here are the salary proposals MLB gave to the players, for playing a reduced 82-game season:

— $1M player would now make $434,000
— $5M player would make $1.6M
— $10M player would make $2.9M
— $15M player would make $4M
— $20M player would make $5.2M

There are bonuses involved if the playoffs/World Series are completed, but there is no guarantee that the players aren’t risking getting the coronavirus and thereby jeopardizing their lives by playing.

Serious question: If you were a player, would you agree to this?

11) Something to consider: Mark Attanasio, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, said that MLB typically generates $9.4B per year in revenue, half of which goes to player salaries. A half season would yield about $5B, and without fans, would be closer to $2.85B for the entire 2020 season.

10) Every July 1 from now until 2035, the Mets pay Bobby Bonilla $1.19M, the deferred payment he gets from an agreement he made in 2000.

If the players were to accept the deal the owners recently offered them, Bonilla would make more money this year than 22 of the 25 current players on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bonilla hasn’t played ball in 19 years- retired after the 2001 season.

9) Happy birthday to the great Jerry West, who turned 82 Thursday. Great ballplayer, and along with Red Auerbach, the best executive in NBA history.

8) On October 16, 2006, the Chicago Bears beat the Cardinals 24-23 at Sun Devil Stadium on a Monday night, after trailing 20-0 at halftime. The win improved the defending Super Bowl champs record to 6-0, but it is one of the flukiest wins ever.

— Total yardage: 286-168, Arizona
— Bears turned ball over six times, Arizona twice
— First downs: Cardinals 17, Bears 9
— Chicago didn’t score an offensive TD; Arizona had two.
— In the last 16:00 of the game, Bears scored three TD’s:
a) a 3-yard fumble return with 0:03 left in the third quarter
b) a 40-yard fumble return with 5:00 left to play
c) an 83-yard punt return with 2:58 left.

Not too often an NFL team has nine first downs, six turnovers, and they win.

7) USC lost both their backup QB’s the last week or so; Jack Sears transferred to Boise State last week, and now JT Daniels has bolted to Georgia.

Kedon Slovis is entrenched as the Trojans’ #1 QB, which means the other two QB’s, to twist the immortal words of Garry Templeton, said “If I ain’t starting, then I’ll be departing.”

6) American cities with most total hotel rooms; think the NBA can find enough nice hotel rooms to house all of its teams?
— Las Vegas: 152,275
— Orlando: 144,125

5) Former big league pitcher Dan Straily has made five starts for the Lotte Giants in the KBO; he is 1-2, 2.86 in his first five starts, but the Giants scored a total of two runs in his last three starts. Kind of hard to win games when you don’t score any runs.

4) Watching the KBO games, I realized the other night that a couple of teams don’t wear fitted caps, they wear the adjustable caps — I haven’t bought a hat with an adjustable back in 20 years. My head is usually too big to wear them.

Pitcher on the SK Wyverns was making his fourth start of the year this week; his hat looks like it got run over by a bus, has to be the same one he wore last year.

3) I’ve finally decided that the Samsung Lions have my favorite KBO uniforms; kind of the same shade of blue as the Detroit Lions, without the silver trim.

2) Good news from Las Vegas; on June 4, MGM Grand, Bellagio, Signature and New York, New York will be opening. All other M Life properties will be taking reservations after July 1st.

1) This headline actually ran on the Baltimore Sun’s website for a few hours Thursday, before it was finally deleted/changed:

“Robert Kraft sees a happy ending for the NFL”

Make your own jokes people, and drive home carefully!!! 

2 Lists for today- Thursday’s Den: All-time rosters for NL East teams

All-time rosters, (for players since 1960):
NL East teams
Atlanta Braves
C- Javy Lopez
1B- Freddie Freeman
2B- Glenn Hubbard
SS- Rafael Furcal
3B- Chipper Jones
OF- Hank Aaron
OF- Dale Murphy
OF- Andruw Jones
DH- Eddie Mathews
SP- Greg Maddux
SP- Tom Glavine
SP- Phil Niekro
SP- John Smoltz
RP- Craig Kimbrel

Miami Marlins
C- JP Realmuto
1B- Derrek Lee
2B- Luis Castillo
SS-  Hanley Ramirez
3B- Mike Lowell
OF- Giancarlo Stanton
OF- Marcell Ozuna
OF- Christian Yelich
DH- Gary Sheffield
SP- Ricky Nolasco
SP- Josh Beckett
SP- Dontrelle Willis
SP- Brad Penny
RP- Robb Nen

New York Mets
(3 friends who are Met fans did this one)
C- Mike Piazza
1B- Keith Hernandez
2B- Edgardo Alfonzo
SS- Jose Reyes
3B- David Wright
OF- Darryl Strawberry
OF- Cleon Jones
OF- Carlos Beltran
DH- Rusty Staub
SP- Tom Seaver
SP- Dwight Gooden
SP- Jacob deGrom
SP- Jerry Koosman
RP- Jesse Orosco

Philadelphia Phillies
C- Daren Daulton
1B- Ryan Howard
2B- Chase Utley
SS- Larry Bowa
3B- Mike Schmidt
OF- Bobby Abreu
OF- Greg Luzinski
OF- Garry Maddox
DH- Richie Allen
SP- Steve Carlton
SP- Cole Hamels
SP- Chris Short
SP- Curt Schilling
RP- Tug McGraw

Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
C- Gary Carter
1B- Andres Galaragga
2B- Jose Video
SS- Trea Turner
3B- Tim Wallach
OF- Andre Dawson
OF- Tim Raines
OF- Bryce Harper
DH- Vladimir Guerrero
SP- Max Scherzer
SP- Dennis Martinez
SP- Stephen Strasburg
SP- Steve Rogers
RP- Jeff Reardon

Thursday’s List of 13: Some of the more prominent college basketball transfers this spring

Some of the more prominent college basketball transfers this spring:
13) Matt Haarms— 7-2 C. Purdue to BYU

12) Terrell Gomez— 5-8 G. Cal-Northridge to San Diego State

11) James Akinjo— 6-0 G. Georgetown to Arizona

10) Alterique Gilbert— 6-0 G, UConn to Wichita State

9) Jalen Harris— 6-2 G. Arkansas to Georgetown

8) Cartier Diarra— 6-4 G. Kansas State to Virginia Tech

7) Jonah Antonio— 6-5 G. UNLV to Wake Forest

6) Caleb Grill— 6-3 G. Iowa State to UNLV

5) Kobe King— 6-3 G. Wisconsin to Nebraska

4) Alex O’Connell— 6-5 G. Duke to Creighton

3) Joshua Pierre-Louis— 6-3 G. Temple to Cal-Santa Barbara

2) DJ Carton— 6-2 G. Ohio State to Marquette

1) Jacob Toppin— 6-8 F. Rhode Island to Kentucky

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

13) Perils of the rich and famous; Mets’ pitcher Noah Syndergaard is being sued in a Manhattan federal court after missing rent on his $27,000/month Tribeca apartment.

Syndergaard signed an eight-month lease on a three-bedroom, 2,700-square-foot duplex; he never moved in and hasn’t made any rent payments. The agreement was signed a month before New York City shut down because of the coronavirus.

Four days after Syndergaard’s lease was scheduled to begin, his season officially ended because he had Tommy John surgery; he is a free agent after the 2021 season.

12) Syndergaard made $6M last year, the 10th-highest paid Met; back in 1985, Mike Schmidt made $2,130,000 and he was the highest-paid player in the majors that season.

11) Washington Senators’ star Juan Soto made his major league debut on May 20, 2018, but on June 18, he played in a game that had been suspended on May 15, and he homered. Soto hit his first major league homer in that June 20 resumption of the May 15 game, so technically he hit hit first major league homer in a May 15 game, three days before his major league debut.

10) Longest streaks as a regular season favorite by a QB:
74 games— Tom Brady, 2015-present
62 games— Steve Young, 1993-97
48 games— Kurt Warner, 1999-2003
42 games— Terry Bradshaw, 1972-77

9) AFC West betting opportunities:
Denver:
5-9 wins: -$180
10-14 wins: +$250
0-4 wins: +$350
15-16 wins: 150-1

Kansas City:
10-14 wins:-$190
5-9 wins: +$155
0-4 wins or 15-16 wins: both 18-1

Las Vegas Raiders:
5-9 wins: -$180
10-14 wins: +$250
0-4 wins: +$350
15-16 wins: 175-1

LA Chargers:
5-9 wins: -$170
10-14 wins: +$225
0-4 wins: +$375
15-16 wins: 175-1

8) Biggest point spread in NFL history? In 1976, the Steelers (-27) shut out the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-0 in Three Rivers Stadium. Tampa Bay went 0-14 that season.

7) There are seven college football teams this season with the same head coach, but with two coordinators:

Arizona Sate, Louisiana Tech, Syracuse, Texas, Toledo, Utah State, Vanderbilt

6) Caylin Newton, Cam Newton’s younger brother, will transfer from Howard to Auburn, where his brother won the Heisman Trophy and a national title in 2010.

Caylin Newton led Howard to the biggest pointspread upset in college history when Howard (+47) upset UNLV 43-40 in 2017; he has two years of eligibility left.

5) Jose Bautista hit 344 home runs in a 15-year major league career, playing for eight different teams. Bautista wore nine different numbers in his career, even though he wore #19 for four different teams.

4) Korean baseball looks weird with no fans at the games; the biggest stadium in the KBO seats 26,800 fans, the smallest one 13,000.

3) The NBA will be resuming with all 16 playoff teams in the same city; this would be a good time to seed all 16 playoff teams #1-16, regardless of conference. Would be a worthwhile experiment at a time where it doesn’t hurt to try it.

2) Baltimore Orioles trailed by 4+ runs in 73 games last year, winning only three of those games. Angels (4-64), Detroit (2-65) were next on the list.

Houston Astros trailed by 4+ runs in only 23 games LY, and won two of them.

1) NHL announced the start of its plan to resume this season, with 24 teams taking part, at two hub locations. From what I saw, NHL games won’t resume until July, but at least they’ve come up with a format.

Top four seeds in each conference will play a round-robin for seeding; teams 5 will plays teams 12 in each conference, 6 plays 11, 7 plays 10, 8 plays 9. Apparently, regular season overtime rules will hold in the early rounds, which means playoff shootouts, for the first time. 

The seven NHL teams whose season is now officially over will take part in the draft lottery June 26. 

Tuesday’s Den: My first book report since 8th grade……

When I was a kid, we had to do book reports for school; read a book, then write a report on it, to prove we read it, I guess. This is my first book report since 8th grade.

My birthday is right around Christmas; when I was 12, my dad gave me a book, The Open Man, written by the Knicks’ Dave DeBusschere, a diary of the Knicks’ 1969-70 championship season, when they won their first NBA title.

This was the first real book I ever read; it grabbed my attention and I basically ignored the rest of the week until I finished the book. The nucleus of the Knicks was still mostly intact, so this was good stuff, and I devoured every word. A lot of my enthusiasm for basketball got its start from reading this book. 

Now it is 2020, our current life is at a standstill, so this weekend I re-read The Open Man; brought back lot of memories, but boy, a million things have changed since 1970. Maybe more than a million.

— The current Madison Square Garden opened in 1968; DeBusschere scored the first basket there, but he was playing for Detroit then. Knicks traded for him during the ’68-’69 season; he was the missing link, a solid defender, a glue guy who made the Knicks a championship contender, the hottest ticket in town.

— DeBusschere was player/coach of the Pistons when he was 24; he also pitched for the White Sox, when being a two-sport athlete was possible. He is pretty honest in this book; he makes fun of his wife’s cooking a lot, pokes fun at Bill Bradley (his roommate on the road), and explains how draining it is to be a starter in the NBA.

— Back then, players roomed two-to a-room on the road; now? Not so much.

— In 1963, the White Sox had to decide whether to protect DeBusschere in a waiver draft, or another pitcher named Denny McLain- they let McLain walk.

McLain won 31 games in 1967, 24 more in ’68 for the Detroit Tigers, and DeBusschere quit baseball, which helps explain why the White Sox have sucked for a long time. Of course, McLain later wound up in prison because of off-field issues, so there’s that.

— Keep in mind, the NBA then wasn’t like it is now; light years different
a) Back then, the minimum salary was $13,500; now, it is $898,310
b) Teams didn’t have their own airplanes, and they often played three nights in a row, in three different cities.
c) These days, Steph Curry makes $500,000 a game; lot of stars don’t play the second night of a back/back, even of they’re not hurt. There was no load management in 1970.

— This season, the Lakers have seven assistant coaches, two video coordinators; in 1970, the Knicks had a head coach (Red Holzman), a scout (Dick McGuire) who wasn’t with the team much- their trainer (Danny Whelan) did a lot of game management-type stuff. They practiced in a cold, cruddy old gym called Lost Battalion, which DeBusschere complains about constantly in the book. Teams have their own practice facilities now; they’re really nice.

— The book is a running diary of the season; the starters played a lot during preseason games; that doesn’t happen anymore.

— One preseason game in Bangor, Maine was sponsored by Celtics’ player Don Nelson, who put up the money to hold the game, and pocketed whatever profits there were. Nelson went on to be a very good head coach in the NBA, with the Bucks/Warriors.

— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a rookie that season; he got the Bucks to the Eastern Conference finals in his first season, which was the second season in Bucks’ history. Interesting to read how DeBusschere describes him as the season goes on.

In a November 1st regular season game, Kareen played the whole 48:00; don’t think anything like that would happen these days, or else……..

— There was no 3-point line back then; getting shots close to the basket was the premium, so big guys had much bigger rebound totals than they do now. Missed 3-pointers give out longer rebounds, so these days big guys get fewer rebounds.

— The ABA was going on at this time, so lot of prominent players didn’t cross paths with the Knicks that year. When his playing days were over, DeBusschere became commissioner of the ABA, before it folded and four of its teams joined the NBA.

— In 1970, if you got fouled while shooting, and the other team was over the limit, you got three free throws to make two, a terrible rule.

— Oscar Robertson played for the Cincinnati Royals that year, coached by Hall of Famer Bob Cousy; weird thing is, after the Bucks lost to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference final, they traded for Oscar, before the Knicks-Lakers series even started.

— DeBusschere wasn’t that glowing when talking about Baltimore Bullets’ star Earl Monroe, who was a great scorer; he criticized his passing/defense, which must’ve been awkward a couple years later, when the Knicks acquired Monroe. Earl the Pearl helped the Knicks win their 2nd (and last) title, in 1973.

— Bullets, by the way, became the Washington Bullets, and eventually Washington Wizards years later.

— There were no NBA teams in Portland, Cleveland, Dallas, Sacramento; there were almost no international players; DeBusschere complains that the Knicks went 4-9 on national TV that year, even when they won the title. Nowadays, every freakin’ game in available nation-wide.

— Playing for a winning team in New York back then had its advantages; celebrities like Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford sat behind the Knicks bench, much like Spike Lee sits across from he bench now.

DeBusschere tells the story of playing the Phoenix Suns in Utah, before the Jazz existed; after the game, he and Bill Bradley go to Redford’s home in the snowy hills, making the last couple miles of the trip on snowmobiles.

Cocktail parties with rich and famous people were the norm, and still are, especially when you’re winning.

— His persoanl matchups with stars like Elgin Baylor, Gus Johnson, Connie Hawkins were fun to read about. Teams played against each other more, so the players knew each other’s tendencies much better. Lot of physical play.

— Reading this book was fun, brought back lot of memories, and now that the NBA may be starting up in Orlando next month, motivated me to get my NBA notebook ready. Pretty soon there will be live basketball on TV again, and that is a good thing. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a very quiet Sunday

13) Memorial Day without baseball is unfathomable; won’t even be Korean baseball, since Mondays are off days in the KBO, and Memorial Day isn’t exactly a holiday in Korea.

Sounds like baseball, the NBA and NHL will start up training camps soon, then there will be viewing choices on TV, and better stuff to write about in this space.

Until Billions came on at 9:00 Sunday night, my viewing choices were:
— A 2005 Spurs-Suns playoff game
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, made in 1969
Bulworth, an off-beat Warren Beatty movie from 1998
— The 23rd showing of a Mets-Red Sox World Series game, from 1986

12) Apparently baseball is making progress on a plan for this season:
— 82-game season
— 30-man rosters, with taxi squad of roughly 20 guys
— 14 teams make playoffs
— Universal DH

11) Jets signed Joe Flacco as their backup QB; Flacco had neck surgery in April, should be ready for the start of the season.

Jets lost their last 11 games started by a backup QB; their last win with a backup was December 11, 2016 in San Francisco, when Bryce Petty led the Jets to a win.

10) Of all the major leaguers who played last season, which one has been traded the most? Getting cut/waived doesn’t count, just trades.

8— Jesse Chavez
7— Cameron Maybin, Edwin Jackson

9) Few years ago, I get up early on a Saturday morning in Las Vegas and ran off to a Boys Club in Southern Highlands to watch the junior college showcase, played on one court, in a way less glamorous setting then the elite high school kids played in.

This was the Last Chance Saloon for kids trying to get a college scholarship; those kids played their butts off, trying to impress the college coaches there. Fun games to watch, but a little sad, because you knew most of these kids weren’t going to get an offer.

Which college basketball conferences recruit the most junior college players? Last year, it was the Sun Belt and Southland Conferences.

Best things about that day at the Boys’ Club:
— They didn’t charge me to get in.
— It was 105 that day, and I had to park in a strip mall parking lot down the street, but after the games, when I had lunch in a Mexican restaurant there, won $75 playing video poker.

8) Rhode Island/Seton Hall are starting a home/home basketball series this season, which could be interesting.

7) Michael Jordan’s teams, head-to-head vs other stars’ teams:
11-7 vs Magic Johnson
3-2 vs Tim Duncan
12-9 vs Shaquille O’Neal
4-4 vs Kareen Abdul-Jabbar
3-5 vs Kobe Ryant
11-23 vs Larry Bird

6) When Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961, he wasn’t intentionally walked once the whole season; New York had an excellent lineup, hard to pitch around guys.

Weird thing is the next season, playing against against the Angels, Maris was walked intentionally four times in one game.

5) One of the underrated facts about football coaches is that a lot of them are nomadic, they switch jobs from year-to-year, moving all over the country.

Here is where former Panthers/Bears coach John Fox worked at the start of his career:
1978— San Diego State— grad assistant
1979— US International— DB’s coach
1980— Boise State— DB’s coach
1981— Long Beach State— DB’s coach
1982— Utah— DB’s coach
1983— Kansas— DB’s coach
1984— Iowa State— DB’s coach
1985— LA Express (USFL)— DB’s coach
1986-88— Pittsburgh Steelers, DB’s coach. His big break, and he ran with it.

4) In 1980, each member of the World Series champs got $35,000; last year each Washington National got a check for $382,358.18.

3) Get well soon to Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing, who tested positive for the corona virus. Washington DC is one of the current hotspots for the virus.

2) RIP to coach Eddie Sutton; he won 802 games as a college basketball coach; he passed away this weekend, at age 84. Here is Sutton’s record at the various stops in his career:

Southern Idaho CC: 84-14
Creighton: 82-50
Arkansas: 260-75
Kentucky: 88-39
Oklahoma State: 368-151
San Francisco 6-13 (was an interim coach there)

1) Jerry Sloan played for the Chicago Bulls for 10 years, after playing his rookie season with the Baltimore Bullets; he was a tough, defensive-minded guard who scored 14 ppg in his career. He made the All-Star team twice, the All-Defensive team six times.

Sloan coached the Bulls for three seasons, then went on to Utah, where he led the Jazz for 23 years, and is the reason he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2009.

Coach Sloan passed away last week at age 78; he was old school, a tough guy. RIP, sir. 

Sunday’s Den: Mt Rushmore of QB’s for AFC teams

Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens (moved to Baltimore in 1996)
— Otto Graham— 57-13-1 as Cleveland’s QB, won three NFL titles.
— Joe Flacco— Won a Super Bowl, also threw ball for 38,245 yards.
— Lamar Jackson— Won 19 of first 24 starts, but is 0-2 in playoff games.
— Brian Sipe— Threw for 23,713 yards, went 57-55 before jumping to USFL.

Buffalo Bills
— Jim Kelly— Four straight AFC titles, threw for 35,467 yards- helluva run.
— Joe Ferguson— Threw for 27,590 yards, handed off to OJ a lot. 1-3 in playoffs.
— Jack Kemp— 43-31-3 with the Bills; went 22-6 with the Chargers.
— Doug Flutie— 21-9 with Buffalo, 38-28 overall in NFL; also played in USFL, CFL.

Cincinnati Bengals
— Ken Anderson— 91-81 with Bengals is impressive; threw for 32,838 yards.
— Boomer Esiason— 62-61 in Cincinnati; threw for 27,149 yards, won an AFC title.
— Andy Dalton— 70-61-2 in regular season with Bengals, 0-4 in playoff games.
— Carson Palmer— Threw for 22,694 yards with Bengals; went 38-21-1 in Arizona.

Cleveland Browns
— Tim Couch— Went 8-6 for Browns in 2002, but didn’t play in playoff game.
— Baker Mayfield— 12-17 with Browns; too bad he doesn’t play as well as he talks.
— Derek Anderson— 16-18 in Cleveland from 2006-09; lasted 13 years in NFL.
— Brian Hoyer— 10-6 with Browns; 38 career starts in 11 years.

Denver Broncos
— John Elway— 14-7 in playoff games; I think he’s the best QB ever.
— Peyton Manning— Went 45-12 with Denver, won two AFC titles.
— Craig Morton— Went 41-23 with Broncos, got Denver to first Super Bowl
— Jake Plummer— 39-15 as Denver’s starter, retired at age 32.

Houston Texans
— Deshaun Watson— 24-13 in three years with the Texas.
— Matt Schaub— Went 46-42 in Houston, threw for 23,221 yards.
— David Carr— Got pummeled as QB of the expansion Texans (22-53).
— Brock Osweiler— 8-6 in one year with Texans, 15-15 overall in NFL.

Indianapolis Colts
— Johnny Unitas— 117-60-4 with Colts, won three NFL titles.
— Peyton Manning— 141-67 with Colts, threw for 54,828 yards.
— Andrew Luck— Went 53-33 with Indy before his early retirement.
— Earl Morrall— Won 24 of 28 Colt starts, including 16-7 loss in SB III.

Jacksonville Jaguars
— Mark Brunell— 63-54 in Jacksonville, 24 more wins than any other Jaguar QB.
— David Garrard— 39-37 for Jaguars, threw for 16,003 yards,
— Byron Leftwich— 24-20 with Jags, is now Brady’s OC in Tampa Bay.
— Blake Bortles— Started for five years in Jacksonville, was backup for Rams LY.

Kansas City Chiefs
— Len Dawson— 93-56-8 with Chiefs, started 2 of first 4 Super Bowls.
— Patrick Mahomes— 24-7 with Chiefs, won KC’s first Super Bowl in 50 years.
— Trent Green— 48-40 for Chiefs, threw ball for 21,459 yards.
— Alex Smith— Underrated career; 50-26 in KC, 94-66-1 overall.

Los Angeles Chargers
— Dan Fouts— Threw for 43,040 yards, playing in a more defense-friendly era.
— Philip Rivers— 128-107 in San Diego, only 5-6 in playoff games- he threw 411 TD passes.
— John Hadl— Wore #21, threw for 26,938 yards, also coached in the USFL.
— Stan Humphries— 47-29 for Chargers, led San Diego to their only Super Bowl.

Miami Dolphins
— Dan Marino— Threw for 61,361 yards, 420 TD’s, but never won a Super Bowl.
— Bob Greise— 92-56-3 with Miami, won two Super Bowls.
— Jay Fiedler— 36-23 in Miami from 2000-04, only 1-2 in playoff games.
— David Woodley— 27-12-1 with Dolphins, led them to a Super Bowl.

New England Patriots
— Tom Brady— Won six Super Bowls, threw 614 TD passes.
— Steve Grogan— Went 75-60 with Patriots, led them to Super Bowl in 1985.
— Drew Bledsoe— Threw for 29,657 yards, 166 TD’s; also played for Bills, Cowboys.
— Babe Parilli— 44-32-7 for Boston Patriots in early AFL days; they played at Fenway.

New Jersey Jets
— Joe Namath— Won Super Bowl III, was only 62-62-1 as Jets’ QB, hampered by a bad knee.
— Ken O’Brien— Threw for 24,386 yards, 124 TD’s.
— Mark Sanchez— 33-29 in regular season, went 4-2 in playoff games.
— Chad Pennington— 32-29 as a starter, also won a couple playoff games.

Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders
— Ken Stabler— 69-26-1 for Oakland in 70’s; won their first Super Bowl title.
— Daryle Lamonica— 62-16-6 for Raiders, was Oakland’s QB in Super Bowl II.
— Jim Plunkett— 38-19 for Oakland, winning two Super Bowls. 8-2 in playoff games.
— Rich Gannon— 45-29 for Raiders, 37-18 from 2000-02; was 4-3 in playoff games.

Pittsburgh Steelers
— Terry Bradshaw— Won four Super Bowls in six years; was 107-51-1 for Steelers.
— Ben Roethlisberger— Has thrown for 56,545 yards, won two Super Bowls.
— Neil O’Donnell— 39-22 for Pittsburgh in early 90’s; lost Super Bowl XXX to Dallas.
— Kordell Stewart— 48-31 for Steelers in late 90’s, only 2-2 in playoff games.

Tennessee Titans
— Warren Moon— Threw for 33,685 yards for Oilers, was 27-13 from 1990-92.
— Steve McNair— 76-55 with Titans, got them within yard of OT in Super Bowl XXXIV
— George Blanda— Won first two AFL titles with Oilers, kicked in NFL until he was 48. 
— Dan Pastorini— Was Oilers’ QB in Bum Phillips era; was also their punter for five years. 

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

13) Back in the early days of this website, maybe 2006 or so, I used to go Florida every summer for 7-10 days and watch AAU basketball at Disney World for 10-12 hours a day; I enjoy that kind of stuff, met a lot of nice people, learned a lot about basketball, got material for this space.

I also saw Michael Jordan’s sons play basketball.

There were six courts under one roof at the Milk House; games ran all day, with last ones scheduled to tip off at 10pm. Michael’s sons played in the 10:00pm game on Court 1 three nights in a row, with a roped-off area in the corner, where Michael and his friends sat.

12) The older son Jeffrey wore glasses when he played; not goggles, actual glasses, and the night I’m there the kid’s glasses break, one earpiece comes off. He runs over and hands the glasses to his coach, who wants nothing to do with them, but hey, they’re Michael Jordan’s son’s glasses, so he gets his little screwdriver out and puts the glasses back together.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting next to 2-3 of the kid’s friends, and they’re giving Jeffrey a hard time; “How many fingers am I holding up?”, stuff like that. The kid took it good-naturedly.

Marcus, the younger son, was the more talented of the two; both kids wound up playing at Central Florida. Can’t be easy being Michael Jordan’s son; you have a target on your back every time you play.

11) So the game ends and Michael signs autographs; maybe 50-75 kids surround him, and there is a guy standing behind him, a very, very big human.

I knew the guy who was supervising that court; asked him “Who’s the bodyguard?”

“Thats no bodyguard, thats Charles Oakley.” Charles Oakley is a very, very large person, and I would never, ever want him to be mad at me. Ever.

10) Speaking of Disney World, sounds like the NBA is leaning towards resuming their season in mid-July at Disney World, with playoffs ending around Labor Day, then next season not starting until roughly Christmas-time.

9) Parking lots at Dodger Stadium, Anaheim Stadium and Santa Anita racetrack are all packed with cars, because no one is traveling, no one is renting cars, so they’re stashing the cars in those parking lots.

8) Watching an old NASCAR race the other day, I learned that in 1971, Richard Petty won a stock car race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, about 20 miles north of Armadillo World HQ. Never knew that; think it is a dirt racetrack.

Few years ago, I was at a restaurant about a half-mile from the track while a race was going on; those cars are very, very loud.

7) The last three months seems more like three years; had to remind myself that they had a few weeks of spring training before everything shut down. Some things to remember:
— Joe Girardi manages the Phillies now.
— Mookie Betts got traded to the Dodgers.
— Joe Maddon is managing the Angels.
— Texas Rangers are opening a new retractable domed stadium this year.

6) Steve Kerr played for the Chicago Bulls when they won three straight NBA titles from 1996-98, then he got traded to San Antonio, and he won the ’99 title with the Spurs. Not lot of guys play for four consecutive world champions.

5) I’m looking through UCLA’s basketball page today for some reason, and it dawned on me that Ben Howland made the Final Four three straight years, from 2006-08, then over the next five years, he went 58-32 in Pac-12 games, and they still fired him!!! Why?!?!?!

4) Kid named Isaiah Washington played basketball for two years at Minnesota, for coach Richard Pitino, then transferred to Iona, where he scored 11 ppg last year. Iona’s coach quit for health reasons this spring, and who do they hire? Rick Pitino, Richard’s father.

Guess what? Isaiah Washington is transferring again. Oy.

3) Been watching a decent amount of Korean baseball; haven’t decided on my favorite hats/jerseys yet, they’re all pretty nice. Hanwha Eagles might have the best hats, not sure yet.

2) Read on the Interweb that the money the owners will lose out on this season could be made up by the major leagues expanding from 30 to 32 teams, when all this is over. The two new teams will have to cough up a lot of money to join the big leagues.

1) When Shaquille O’Neal was playing for the Lakers, they had a game with the Clippers on Shaq’s birthday, a Clipper home game. Shaq needed extra tickets for friends/family, but the Clippers made him pay for them. Bad move.

Shaq scored 61 points, grabbed 23 rebounds, then said:

“Don’t ever make me pay for tickets.”  

Friday’s Den: Mt Rushmore of quarterbacks for each NFC team…….

St Louis/Arizona Cardinals
— Jim Hart— Was  87-88-5 as starter, 40 more wins than any Cardinal QB.
— Neil Lomax— Threw for 22,711 yards, 136 TD’s.
— Charley Johnson— Went 36-28-5 as a starter, from 1961-69.
— Carson Palmer— Went 38-21-1 as Arizona’s starter, from 2013-17.

Atlanta Falcons
— Matt Ryan— 109-90 with Falcons, twice as many wins as any other QB.
— Steve Bartkowski— Threw for 23,470 yards, 154 TD’s.
— Michael Vick— Went 38-28-1 in Atlanta, a great dual threat.
— Chris Chandler— Led Falcons to their first Super Bowl, in 1998.

Carolina Panthers
— Cam Newton— Threw for 29,041 yards, led Carolina to a Super Bowl.
— Jake Delhomme— 53-37 with the Panthers, threw for 19,258 yards.
— Kerry Collins— 22-20 for expansion Panthers, in their first four years.
— Steve Beuerlein— 23-28 here; only four QB’s won more than 8 games for Carolina.

Chicago Bears
— Jim McMahon— Went 46-15 as QB of great Bear teams in the 80’s.
— Jim Harbaugh— Took over for McMahon, went 35-30, threw for 11,567 yards.
— Jay Cutler— Threw for 23,433 yards, most in Chicago history.
— Bill Wade— QB of ’63 NFL champs; went 27-20-2 with Bears.
I didn’t include Sid Luckman on this list, because he played so long ago (1939-50), but I probably should have; he at least deserves a mention. 

Dallas Cowboys
— Roger Staubach— Went 85-29 as Cowboys’ QB, from 1969-79.
— Troy Aikman— Won three Super Bowls, threw for 32,942 yards.
— Tony Romo— 78-49 in regular season, only 2-4 in playoff games.
— Don Meredith— 47-32-4 when Dallas first became good, in the 60’s.

Detroit Lions
— Bobby Layne— Won consecutive titles as Detroit’s QB in ’52, ’53.
— Greg Landry— 40-41-3 as Lions’ QB, for 1968-78
— Matthew Stafford— 41,025 passing yards, no playoff wins (0-2)
— Scott Mitchell— 27-30 as Lions’ QB, from 1994-98.

Green Bay Packers
— Bart Starr— 9-1 in playoff games, won five NFL titles.
— Brett Favre— 160-93 in Green Bay, threw for 61,655 yards.
— Aaron Rodgers— Packer fans aren’t spoiled, are they?
— Lynn Dickey— Threw for 21,369 yards on sub-par Green Bay teams.

Los Angeles Rams
— Kurt Warner— Hall of Famer won Super Bowl XXXIV.
— Norm Van Brocklin— Went 42-20-3, won ’51 NFL title for Rams.
— Roman Gabriel— 74-39-6 as LA’s QB in the 60’s.
— Jared Goff— 35-16 as the Rams’ QB the last three years.

Minnesota Vikings
— Fran Tarkenton— Went 91-73-6, won four NFC titles.
— Tommy Kramer— Thew for 24,775 yards, went 54-56 in Minnesota.
— Brad Johnson— Went 28-18 for Vikings, won Super Bowl in Tampa Bay.
— Daunte Culpepper—- 17 Viking QB’s have won 10+ games; they switch QB’s a lot.

New Jersey Giants
— Eli Manning— Won two Super Bowls, threw for 57,023 yards.
— Phil Simms— 95-64 with the Giants, threw for 33,462 yards.
— YA Tittle— Went 32-13-3 in early 60’s; was one of opposing coaches in Any Given Sunday.
— Charlie Conerly— 57-31-1 as QB of the Giants in the 50’s.

New Orleans Saints
— Drew Brees— 65,068 passing yards, 467 TD’s, a Super Bowl title
— Bobby Hebert— 49-26 while leading the Jim Mora-era Saints.
— Aaron Brooks— Threw for 19,156 yards, 120 TD’s in 82 starts (38-44).
— Archie Manning— Played for terrible Saints teams; I heard he has three sons. 

Philadelphia Eagles
— Donovan McNabb— 92-49-1 in Philly, threw for 32,873 yards, 216 TD’s.
— Randall Cunningham— 63-43-1 with the Eagles; once had a 91-yard punt.
— Ron Jaworski— Threw for 26,963 yards, led Eagles to their first Super Bowl.
— Nick Foles— Only 25-13 for Eagles, but he won then a Super Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers
— Joe Montana— 100-39 as a starter, won four Super Bowls.
— Steve Young— 91-33 in regular season with 49ers, won one Super Bowl.
— John Brodie— Threw for 31,548 yards in era when passing wasn’t a big thing.
— Jimmy Garoppolo— 19-5 in his first 24 games, won NFC title last year.

Seattle Seahawks
— Russell Wilson— 86-41-1 as a starter, won a Super Bowl, almost won two.
— Dave Kreig— 70-49-1 as a starter, threw for 26,132 yards.
— Matt Hasselbeck— 69-62 as a starter, got Seahawks to their first Super Bowl.
— Jim Zorn— Mobile lefty QB’d the expansion Seahawks, threw 107 TD’s.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Doug Williams— 33-33-1 with Bucs; they were 2-26 before he got there.
— Brad Johnson— 26-23 with Bucs, won them their only Super Bowl.
— Trent Dilfer— 38-38 in Tampa, then won a Super Bowl for Baltimore.
— Jameis Winston— 28-42 as a starter, threw for 19,737 yards- they let him walk.

Washington Redskins
— Joe Theismann— 77-47 as a starter, threw for 25,206 yards, won a Super Bowl
— Sonny Jurgensen— Threw for 22,585 yards, went 52-51-5 in Washington.
— Mark Rypien—- 45-27 playing for Joe Gibbs, also won a Super Bowl.
— Billy Kilmer— 50-23-1 in George Allen era, got Redskins to their first Super Bowl. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) Several years ago, I’m at the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, watching ball all day in air conditioned comfort; first game of the day is in Cox Pavilion, where UNLV’s women’s team plays— gym seats around 2,000 people, and it is close to full.

Golden State’s team is playing; midway thru the first half, they put in a kid named Ian Clark, who I remembered from his days playing at Belmont— good shooter.

Two of his first three shots are airballs; I mention this to the guy sitting next to me, that this kid Clark is a good shooter, but is off to a rough start. The guy replies that Clark had played in the Orlando summer games earlier in the week, and was probably tired.

Out of 2,000 people in the gym, how was it that I was sitting next to Ian Clark’s brother?

He is a good guy; we talked some more the rest of the game, but I felt like kind of a jerk.

12) NBA has used Spalding basketballs since 1983, but starting in 2021-22, the league will switch to Wilson basketballs. Wonder what the league’s better shooters think of that.

11) Last week, we talked about records that will never be broken; here’s one.

July 3, 1966, Braves in San Francisco. Tony Cloninger is Atlanta’s pitcher; he hits two grand slams, knocks in nine runs in Atlanta’s 17-3 win.

Nine RBI for a pitcher? Good luck breaking that record, because the universal DH is coming, and it is possible that pitchers may never hit again.

10) KBO expert Dan Kurtz posted this the other day, about a 1987 KBO playoff game that ended in a 15-inning tie; both starting pitchers threw complete games. Korean playoff games end after 15 innings if the game is tied (12 innings in regular season).

One pitcher threw 232 pitches, the other guy 209 in the 2-2 tie.

9) NFL teams can no longer block assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator jobs with other teams; this is expected to lead to more minority coaches getting coordinator jobs.

8) Underrated sports family; the Bibby family.
— Henry Bibby played basketball at UCLA, then played nine years in the NBA; he was on the Knicks’ last title team, in 1973. He scored 8.6 ppg for his NBA career.
— Henry’s brother Jim Bibby pitched in the major leagues for 12 years, going 111-101, with 239 starts, 101 relief stints. He won a World Series with the ’79 Pirates..
— Henry’s son Mike Bibby played ball at Arizona; he played 14 years in the NBA, scoring 14.7 ppg for his career. He played in the NBA Finals for Miami in 2011, when they lost to the Mavericks.

7) One thing I think we’ll see more of over the next year or so; more animated movies, because you can make them virtually. They’re probably cheaper to make, anyway.

6) Some college scheduling things:
— USC/Ole Miss will play home/home in football in 2025-26; these teams have never met, but Lane Kiffin used to coach the Trojans.
— Oklahoma/Florida will start a home/home basketball series.
— Kentucky-Michigan pushed back their basketball series a year:
a) December 2021, Kentucky @ Michigan
b) December 2022, Kentucky-Michigan, in London
c) December 2023, Michigan @ Kentucky

5) QB Jack Sears transfers from USC to Boise State; he has two years left to play. Sears played one game for the Trojans last year, completing 20-28 passes for 235 yards in a 38-35 loss to Arizona State.

4) Guard Mac McClung will transfer from Georgetown; looks like Patrick Ewing has almost a complete rebuild with the Hoyas. Georgetown is 49-46 in three years under Ewing, 19-35 in Big East games. Hoyas’ last winning season in Big East play? 2015.

3) Was watching a 1978 playoff game, Phillies-Dodgers on TV the other night. Nowadays, there are no day games in the playoffs, except for the round of 16, but this was a Saturday afternoon NLCS game, with Al Michaels, Don Drysdale, Johnny Bench on the mike.

It occurred to me that I had never seen this game; back then I was in college, and my work-study job in college was keeping stats for UAlbany football games, so I was there, not at home watching this game, and if I was home, I was probably watching a college football game anyway.

And there was no ESPN or CNN in 1978, so hard to find highlights. Lot of the names in the game brought back memories, but it seems like 1,000 years ago now.

2) A Virginia family discovered two bags containing nearly $1M in cash while on an afternoon drive. The family contacted the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, which sent deputies to the home, and they took the money back to HQ.

Here’s the question; What would you do if you found $1M lying in the street?

1) My dad passed away five years ago this week; it is important for me to acknowledge all that he did for me, and continues to do, since his example of how to live is something I try to follow.

He was from New York City, but wasn’t abrasive or rude; he was respectful, loved to laugh, and he loved golf, the Mets and the Knicks. He wanted his family to be happy, and were always happier when he was around. I miss him every day. 

Wednesday’s Den: Playoff trends for NBA teams……

Watching The Last Dance the last five Sundays, I got curious about teams’ records overall in playoff rounds over the years; since I have absolutely nothing to do these days, other than write about Korean baseball, I decided to do a research project, how every NBA team has fared in playoff series since 1980, Magic/Bird’s rookie year.

Here is some of what I found:

13). From 1989-98, Chicago Bulls played on 34 playoff series, won 30 of them, winning six NBA titles. Their record in actual playoff games during that stretch? 120-49.

Since Jordan/Pippen left the Bulls 22 years ago, Chicago has been in the playoffs 11 times, winning five of 16 playoff series. Bulls are 39-52 in playoff games since their last title.

12) Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been in the playoffs since 2013; they would’ve made it this year, or will make it, if they continue the season.

From 1980-89, the heart of the Magic Johnson era, Lakers won 28 of 33 playoff series, winning five titles, going 111-48 in playoff games.

From 2000-10, Lakers won 25 of 30 playoff series, winning five more titles, going 114-57 in playoff games. Lot of success for sure, but their last series win was in 2012.

11) From 1980-88, the Celtics won 22 of 28 playoff series, and three NBA titles. Boston went 92-57 in playoff games during that time.

Celtics’ title in 2008 is their only one since 1986.

10) From 1980-2005, Cleveland Cavaliers made the playoffs 10 times, went 3-10 in playoff series, 21-38 in playoff games- thats for a 26-year period.

Since 2006, Cleveland is 21-8 in playoff series, 97-55 in playoff games; having Lebron James obviously helped them win a lot of playoff games. 

9) My point here is that it is really difficult to sustain prolonged success in a 30-team league where great players determine who wins and who loses.

Watching Jerry Krause seem anxious to break up the Bulls’ nucleus when they were on a roll seems like a sketchy strategy; when you going to have a combo like Jordan/Pippen again? You milk it for all the wins you can, then you move on, but thats not what happened.

8) Then there are the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have been in the NBA since 1989-90; they made the playoffs eight years in a row, from 1997-2004, but have only made the playoffs one other time. Timberwolves are 2-9 in playoff series, with both wins coming in 2004- they’ve lost 34 of 52 playoff games in franchise history.

7) From 1999-2014, San Antonio Spurs won five NBA titles, but unlike the Bulls, Lakers or Golden State, they never won consecutive titles. Spurs’ record in playoff series in the years following an NBA title? 4-5, not very good, but five titles is damn good.

6) From 1980-2014, the Warriors were only 5-8 in playoff series, that is five series wins in 34 years, pretty poor. When I would go to Las Vegas summer league games, the Warriors always had the most fans, it was strange. Avid fanbase, less-than-stellar team.

Things have obviously changed; since 2015, Golden State made the Finals five years in a row, winning three titles, winning 18 of 20 playoff series, going 77-28 in playoff games, after going 27-37 in playoff games, from 1980-2014.

5) Washington Bullets/Wizards won the NBA title in 1978, lost the Finals in ’79, but since then, Washington has lost 16 of 21 playoff series, thats five series wins in 40 years. During that time, Wizards are 38-61 in playoff games.

4) Over the last 40 years, Atlanta Hawks lost 26 of 39 playoff series, with 2015 the only time they’ve won two playoff series in the same season (since ’80).

Weird stat: despite their lack of playoff success, the Hawks have played in 14 winner-take-all games, whether they were best-0f-5 or best-of-7 series, and Atlanta went 7-7 in those games. They were swept in 8 of those 26 series losses.

3) Sacramento Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006; their franchise has moved from Rochester to Cincinnati to Kansas City to Omaha (kind of) and then to Sacramento- over the last 40 years, the Kings have lost 13 of 20 playoff series, winning two series in both 1981, 2002. During that time, the Kings are 43-54 in playoff games.

2) New York Knicks won NBA titles in 1970, ’73; my dad was a huge Knicks fan. They made the Finals in 1994, 1999, but lost both times, to Rockets/Spurs. Since 1980, Knicks are 20-21 in playoff series, but like the Lakers, they haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, but unlike LA, the Knicks’ present isn’t looking too bright.

If Michael Bloomberg wants to help New York City, and I know he does, he should buy the Knicks from Dolan, hire a smart basketball person and let things take off from there.

1) Its kind of funny that there may not be an NBA or NHL champion crowned this year, when both defending champs, the Toronto Raptors/St Louis Blues, won their first-ever titles last year, so they could both get to be defending champs for an extra year. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Best/favorite play-by-play announcers:

1) Al Michaels:
— Has been doing baseball, football on TV since I was in Little League.
— Called 1980 Olympic hockey Miracle on Ice
— Called numerous Super Bowls, including the only Super Bowl the Rams won
— Called numerous World Series, including the ’72 Series, which the A’s won

2) Dick Enberg:
— Was part of the greatest college hoop broadcast team ever, with Al McGuire and Billy Packer.
— Did NFL games on NBC for years.
— Did baseball for years; his last job was with the Padres just a few years ago. 
— Hosted a good TV game show, Sports Challenge.

3) Curt Gowdy:
— When I was a little kid, Gowdy called everything; college basketball, baseball, AFL/NFL.
— He worked 13 World Series, 16 All-Star games.
— He worked nine Super Bowls, 14 Rose Bowls, 24 Final Fours.
— There is a state park in Wyoming named after him.

4) Vin Scully:
— By far, the best baseball announcer ever.
— He broadcast Dodger games for 66 years. 66 years!!!!
— Also did NFL and golf on network TV.
— Was very good playing himself in the baseball movie, For Love of the Game.

5) Keith Jackson:
— To me, he will always be the voice of college football.
— Was also the first play-by-play guy on Monday Night Football.
— Did baseball playoffs and also did basketball games with Dick Vitale.
— Also was ABC’s lead play-by-play guy on NBA games for two years.

6) Brent Musburger:
— Is still working at age 80, doing Raiders’ games on radio.
— Is most famous for doing NFL Today pre-game show with Irv Cross, Jimmy the Greek.
— Did lot of college basketball and college football.
— Has a talk show now on Las Vegas-based VSIN on Sirius Radio.

7) Jim Nantz:
— Golf, basketball, football; Nantz is good at everything.
— Played college golf at Houston, teammates with Fred Couples, Blaine McCallister.
— Once worked Utah Jazz games with Hot Rod Hundley.
— With his voice/demeanor, would be the greatest funeral home director ever: “Welcome, friends. Sorry for your loss.”

8) Jack Buck:
— Was more relaxed than his son Joe is; he was almost flippant at times- I mean that in a good way.
— Did baseball Cardinal games in St Louis for years.
— Did Monday Night Football on the radio with Hank Stram.
— I was lucky enough to meet him in Cooperstown the day he got inducted into the Hall of Fame. Good guy.

9) Marv Albert:
— A New York icon; he did Knick/Ranger games for years.
— One of the best NBA announcers ever.
— Did NFL games on NBC for years.
— His son Kenny Albert will be on this list before too much longer.

10) Pat Summerall:
— In my mind, the best NFL play-by-play guy ever.
— Also did golf and tennis on CBS, as well as NBA/ABA games.
— Was a kicker for the Giants for 10 years.
— Jerry Jones referred to Summerall as “royalty in the broadcast booth”

11) Sean McDonough:
— Has very quietly put together a tremendous career for a long time.
— Was watching a replay of the ’92 NLCS; McDonough was doing that game. 1992.
— College football, college hoop, baseball, Monday Night Football; he’s done it all.

12) Mike Emrick:
— Best-ever NHL announcer (along wth Dan Kelly)
— Has won six national Emmy awards (no other NHL voice has more than one)
— Worked NFL games with Matt Millen, Hank Stram in 1992, 1993.
— Was voted into US Hockey Hall of Fame, in 2011. 

13) Joe Tait:
— Never got any national love, but was great doing Cavaliers/Indians games on WWWE.
— He broadcast Cavalier games on the radio for 39 years.
— When I was a kid, listening to games on the radio was a big thing, especially before the spread of cable TV. Listening to Joe Tait on WWWE was a lot of fun for me; he did baseball with Herb Score, the pitcher whose career ended early because of an injury- they were a great team.

If you’re wondering why Bob Costs isn’t on this list, he disqualified himself when he dismissed the A’s 20-game winning streak in 2002. You can hear it in the movie, Moneyball. “a certain element of randomness……”

Ray Scott was at the end of his great career when I was really young, in the mid-60’s; he probably belongs on this list, but I didn’t hear him call very many games.