Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a warm, quiet weekend……

13) First of all, get well soon to 73-year old Art Howe, who has COVID in Houston; Howe played 11 years in the major leagues, managed for 14 more. Howe is in the ICU, but hopes to be back home soon. We wish him a quick recovery.

Howe went 600-553 in seven years managing the A’s, going 205-159 the last two years; in the movie Moneyball, they made Howe look like an overweight schmuck who got kind of lucky, which is total BS. He played infield in the majors and wasn’t fat; Philip Seymour Hoffman looked more like Whitey Herzog than Howe. 

Plus, you don’t win 205 games in two years with a tiny payroll, unless you’re a good skipper.

Anyway, get well soon, Art Howe. Thats the important thing now.

12) Sandy Koufax was obviously a great pitcher; he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972, the first year he was eligible, but he did have a very unusual career.

First six years: 36-40, 4.10
Last six years: 130-47, 2.21

Three of his last four years, Koufax threw 311+ innings, then he retired, at age 30. He won 26-27 games his last two years; you assume he would’ve won a lot more games had he not retired.

11) I’m watching A League of Their Own on TV the other night, the 1992 movie where Tom Hanks manages a girls’ baseball team; the character who runs the league is Ira Lowenstein- he looks familiar to me, but I can’t place who he is, so I look on

Actor’s name is David Strathairn, and the reason he looks familiar is that he played Black Jack Foley in eight episodes of Billions the last couple years. Now 70 years old, Strathairn has 137 acting credits. Interesting to look thru actor’s careers and see all the different roles they tackled.

10) We see Ahmad Rashad on The Last Dance a lot; he is very good friends with Michael Jordan, but Rashad was a big-time athlete himself, playing 10 years in the NFL (he missed a year in the middle with a knee injury), catching 495 passes for 13.8 yards/catch and 44 TD’s.

Rashad’s daughter Condola plays Kate Sacker on Billions, so the family has competed for airtime the last three Sundays, with The Last Dance and Billions on at the same time.

9) Lonnie Smith played 17 years in the major leagues, for six different teams; he made the World Series five times, with four of those six teams. Smith had a career .371 on-base percentage and was a fast runner; valuable guy. He led the NL in runs scored (120) in 1982.

8) Was watching Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals the other day, the game where the Lakers won the NBA title in Magic Johnson’s rookie team; the announce team was Brent Musburger, Bill Russell and Hot Rod Hundley, who broadcast Jazz games for a long time. Interesting crew.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stayed back in LA with a leg injury, but Russell astutely pointed out right before tipoff that the 76ers would have trouble matching up with the Lakers’ smaller lineup.

40 years ago, and Game 6 of the NBA Finals wasn’t shown live on CBS; they showed it at 11:30, after the local news. After that season, the tape-delayed broadcasts ended, as the league started its rise in popularity.

7) Looking at the Miami Dolphins’ schedule for this fall; six of their last nine games are against teams coming off a primetime game, two more are against teams coming off a bye.

6) Korean baseball games end in a tie after 12 innings; in 720 regular season games last year, there were only seven tie games.

5) Green Bay fired basketball coach Linc Darner after five years: the guy went 51-39 in Horizon League games, made the NCAA’s once (his first year) and had a contract thru 2026, though his buyout is only one year of base salary.

Not sure why it happened, and the timing is weird, too.

4) Horse racing knowledge:
— New York racing opens at Belmont June 1. No fans.
— Preakness Stakes has been re-scheduled for October 3rd.

3) You wonder if the success of all these virtual meetings, virtual drafts will hurt the business in cities where conventions are a big deal, like Las Vegas and Miami? Will be interesting to see as we go forward if the convention business changes any.

2) When the Champions’ Golf Tour resumes this summer, Jim Furyk and Mike Weir will both be 50+ years old and eligible to play, where they figure to make a lot of money.

1) I actually enjoyed watching the NASCAR race Sunday; I know nothing about cars, but it was just fun to watch a live event that wasn’t on at 5:30am.

Apparently they have another NASCAR race this Wednesday; unless they replay a Korean baseball game at the same time, I’ll be watching. 

Sunday’s Den: The 13 best comebacks in major league (regular season) history (since 1940)

There isn’t enough laughter in the world these days, and today, there is even less; the great comic actor Fred Willard passed away Friday, at age 86.

The four-time Emmy nominee, who grew up in Ohio, spread joy through his talent for making people laugh. Boy, could he make me laugh.

In Roxanne, he was elected mayor of the town because his opponent died just before the election. His message to supporters: “I’d rather be with you people, than the finest people in all the world.”

“There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits,” Jimmy Kimmel

RIP sir. Thanks for the laughs. 

13) September 13, 1997: Mets 9, Expos 6 (11)— Expos led 6-0 in ninth inning behind Dustin Hermanson, who got 26 outs, but you need 27. Carl Everett tied the games with a 9th-inning grand slam, Bernard Gilkey walked it off with a 3-run homer.

Jason Isringhausen started on the mound for the Mets, one of his 52 starts in 724 career games.

12) August 22, 1947: Tigers 7, Senators 6— Washington led 6-0 in 9th inning, behind Walt Masterson, who got 25 outs. Eddie Yost led off for Washington; he was 3rd base coach for the ’69 Mets. Vic Wertz batted 3rd for Detroit; he hit the ball in the ’54 World Series that Willie Mays made that great catch on in the Polo Grounds.

This was first game of a twinbill, after teams also played a doubleheader the day before.

11) June 4, 1989: Blue Jays 13, @ Red Sox 11 (12)— Boston scored five in the first, led 10-0 after six innings, but Toronto scored four in the 8th inning, five more in the 9th, then won it in the 12th. Ernie Whitt and Junior Felix homered for Toronto.

Blue Jays were 23-31 at the time, but they scored 30 runs in this 3-game sweep in Fenway.

10) May 10, 2000: Cubs 9, Brewers 8 (11)— Milwaukee led 4-3 in 9th, then scored five runs in top of 9th, before the Cubs tied the game off the Brewers’ bullpen, scoring five unearned runs. Henry Rodriguez hit a 3-run pinch-hit homer in the 9th for the Cubs.

Cubs were 14-22 at the time, Milwaukee 12-22; they wasted two homers by Mark Loretta.

9) May 1, 1973: Giants 8, Pirates 7— Pittsburgh led 7-1 in ninth inning, then gave up seven runs in the bottom of the 9th; starter Bob Moose faced 32 hitters, got two outs in the 9th. Couple of relievers faced five hitters, got none of them out.

Willie Stargell had three hits, three RBI for the Pirates. Bobby Bonds batted leadoff for the Giants, who were 19-6 at the time, but wound up 88-74. Only 7,972 fans were at Candlestick Park that night, back when that stadium had artificial turf.

8) April 25, 1940— Senators 7, A’s 6— Only 3,000 fans attended this early season game in our nation’s capital; game was scoreless after four innings, Philly led 6-1 in the 9th, before Senators scored six times in the 9th for the walk-off win.

Baseball was stupid back then; George Caster started on the mound for Philly, faced 39 hitters; his reliever gave up the walk-off hit, the only batter he faced. Things are a little different now.

7) June 23, 1961— Phillies 12, @ Pirates 11— ’61 Phillies went 47-107, but they won this game after trailing 9-0 after five innings, snapping an 8-game losing skid. Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts was KO’d in the 3rd inning; future manager Dallas Green gave up three hits, hit two batters in one ineffective inning in relief.

Roberto Clemente and future Bucs’ skipper Bill Virdon had three hits each for the Bucs, who won the 1960 World Series, but went 75-79 in ’61.

6) September 27, 2011— Arizona 7, Dodgers 6— If you bet the under in this game, stop reading; game was scoreless after six innings, 1-1 after nine, then the Dodgers scored five times in the top of the 10th inning. but Ryan Roberts hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th to send the crowd home happy.

This was the 2nd-to-last game of the regular season; Arizona went to the playoffs, LA didn’t. Micah Owings got the win, despite allowing the five Dodger runs in the 10th inning.

5) August 5, 2001— Indians 15, Mariners 14 (11)— I watched this game in a hotel bar in Canton, OH, near the Football Hall of Fame, where Jack Youngblood, Jackie Slater were inducted. Indians trailed 12-0 in the third inning, 14-2 in the 7th, but they scored four  times in 8th inning, five times in the 9th, then won it in extra innings.

This was the year Seattle went 116-46, an amazing season; their bullpen got 11 outs, gave up 10 runs in this game. Jim Home homered twice for Cleveland.

4) June 18, 1961— Red Sox 13, Senators 12— First game of a twinbill; Boston also walked off in the nightcap. Senators started the day 30-32, but went into a tailspin, finished 61-100- they led 7-5 after eight innings, scored five more in the top of the 9th to go up 12-5, then their bullpen imploded- the Red Sox’ last six hitters all reached base.

How times have changed; Red Sox drew only 850,589 fans at Fenway that season; they finished 76-86, a 6th-place team. Jim Pagliaroni hit a 9th inning grand slam for Boston in this game; seven years later, he caught Catfish Hunter’s perfect game in Oakland.

3) July 28, 2001— Pirates 9, Astros 8— First game of a doubleheader (Houston won the nightcap); Astros led 8-2 after eight innings behind 6.1 strong innings from Roy Oswalt, and three homers from Vinny Castilla, but Pittsburgh scored seven times in the 9th for the win. Brian Giles had three hits, four RBI for Pittsburgh.

From 1996-98, Castilla ht 126 homers in three years for Colorado- he hit 320 career homers.

2) August 21, 1990— Phillies 12, @ Dodgers 11— Homestanding Dodgers led 11-1 after five innings, 11-3 after eight innings, but Philly scored nine times in the 9th inning; John Kruk hit a 3-run homer for the Phils. Mike Scioscia had three hits, four RBI for LA.

Phillies lost eight of their next nine games after this one.

1) June 29, 1952— Cubs 9, @ Reds 8— First game of a doubleheader; Reds led 8-2 after eight innings, but Chicago scored seven runs in the 9th for the win. Dee Fondy had three hits, a homer and three RBI for the Cubs, who improved to 37-29 with thus win, but they finished only 77-77.

Cincy won the nightcap 9-1; they stumbled to a 69-85 record that year. 

Saturday’s Den: Random thoughts on a spring day

13) Back in the late 90’s, I was a Little League coach for a few years; questionable decision, interesting experience.

One night we’re beating this team and their third baseman is having a rough time; the two dugouts were both on the third base side, so you can pretty much hear everything being said.

The other team’s coach is getting on the third baseman pretty good; he is a 12-year old, and I guess more was expected of him. Finally, the kid has enough of being scolded and snaps back:

“Hey!!! You’re the one who put me here!!!”

I had to walk away for 5-10 minutes, couldn’t stop laughing.

12) If there is no baseball this season, then the Dodgers traded three young players for Mookie Betts, David Price, but Betts is a free agent next winter, so he could walk, and LA would’ve been fleeced pretty badly on the deal.

11) Stan Musial is the only major leaguer who got his 3,000th hit as a pinch-hitter.

10) When Joe DiMaggio had his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, there were lot fewer teams, and pitchers went deeper into games; DiMaggio faced a total of only 43 different pitchers in those 56 games.

In 2009, Ryan Zimmerman had a 30-game hitting streak; he faced 90 different pitchers during that streak.

9) Strange stat; in 1986, Darryl Strawberry hit 27 homers, knocked in 93 runs for the World Series champion Mets— he was a powerful hitter, but in August ’86, Strawberry went 0-45 at home, and was often booed at Shea Stadium.

8) Wake Forest basketball coach Steve Forbes offered a 9th grader a scholarship this week; this happens sometimes, because the first team to offer a kid a scholarship usually stays in the chase a little longer than expected, so underdog teams offer early.

7) Long Beach State changed its nickname, from 49ers to Sharks.

6) Chargers have to travel 25,455 miles this season, Chiefs only 15,661, the biggest disparity between any two division rivals in the NFL this season.

5) Jong Hun-Park is a starting pitcher for the KS Wyverns in the KBO; he is a submarine pitcher, which is very unusual for a starter.

I’m watching him pitch and it dawns on me: what the hell is a wyvern?

According to Wikipedia, a wyvern is “…….legendary bipedal dragon with a tail.”

4) Doosan Bears made the K-Series the last five years, going 3-2 in those series.

3) Since 2006, underdogs in Weeks 1-4 of the CFL season are 130-82-2 ATS, but went only 15-16 LY; if there is a CFL season this year, will the early season underdogs bounce back?

2) RIP to former big leaguer Bob Watson, 74, who passed away this week. Watson played 19 years in the major leagues had a career .364 on-base %. He played most of his career for the Astors, and later became a big league general manager.

On May 4, 1975, Watson scored the 1,000,000th run in major league history, which was a big deal for a week or so back then. Good ballplayer. RIP, sir.

1) Words I thought I would never, ever say:

“I really need a haircut”

2 Lists for Friday: My favorite TV shows, and records that will never be broken……

When I was a little kid, I preferred comedies; now I only watch one-hour reruns— watch ballgames and movies the rest of the time. Here are 13 of my all-time favorite TV shows:

13) Without a Trace— Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) runs an FBI unit specializing in missing persons investigations, while his personal life falls apart around him. Sometimes they found the people, sometimes they didn’t, which is part of what made the show so good.

12) Suits— A brilliant young college dropout slips into a job interview with one of New York City’s best legal closers, and talks the guy into hiring him as a lawyer, even though the young man has never gone to law school— he took the bar exam for other people (and passed it) many times, on the sly.

This show ended in part because one of the actresses (Meghan Markle) married a prince from England.

11) Lost In Space— This show was on in the 60’s; a space colony family struggles to survive when a spy/accidental stowaway throws their ship hopelessly off course. Dr Smith (Jonathan Harris) was the annoying stowaway who provided comic relief; his interaction with the Robot (“Danger!!! Danger!!!) were one of the highlights of the show.

One of the prized pieces of my bobblehead collection is a Robot bobblehead.

10) Addams Family— The Addams Family is not your typical family: it takes delight in most of the things of which normal people would be terrified. Gomez Adams (John Astin) is an extremely wealthy man and is able to indulge his wife Morticia’s (Carolyn Jones) every desire, whether it’s cultivation of poisonous plants or a candlelit dinner in a graveyard.

Morticia would read the stock ticker, and if Gomez lost, he would say “Easy come, easy go”

Cousin Itt, Thing, Lurch were all excellent characters. 

1993, I have an emergency appendectomy; I’m in the hospital couple of days. Guy in the next hospital bed is watching Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and when they run the credits at the end of the show, I get kind of excited, because Felix Silla played one of the robots.

Felix Silla played Cousin Itt on the Addams Family; my neighbor wasn’t impressed when I gave him that bit of trivia. The nurse smiled, then checked to see if she gave me too much medication.

9) White Shadow— An NBA player retires and gets a job as a basketball coach in a inner-city high school; the uniforms that Carver High wears in this show are the same ones that the star (Ken Howard) of the show’s team wore in high school on Long Island.

Basketball scenes were very well done.

Bruce Paltrow was the show’s creator; Gwyneth Paltrow’s father. 

8) Green Acres— A New York City attorney (Eddie Albert) and his city-loving wife (Eva Gabor) attempt to live as farmers in the bizarre community of Hooterville. Hank Kimball was my favorite character, playing the bumbling county agent.

My lasting memory of this show is that seemingly every time I had it on, my father would walk in the room and say “Why the hell are you watching this?” Then five minutes later, he’d be laughing harder than I was.

7) Mister Ed— A wisecracking talking horse is the star, but he only talks to the guy who owns the barn he lives in, Wilbur Post (Alan Young). Mister Ed was a big baseball fan; he once took batting practice off of the Dodgers, with Sandy Koufax on the mound.

Good trivia; Dodgers’ CF Willie Davis was Mister Ed’s favorite ballplayer.

6) M*A*S*H— The staff of an Army hospital in the Korean War find that laughter is the best way to deal with their often-horrendous situation.

Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) is the star of the show; Alda was so recognizable as Hawkeye that it probably hurt his acting career after M*A*S*H went off the air— the series finale is one of the most-watched TV shows ever.

Alda played a therapist on Ray Donovan the last couple seasons.

 5) CSI— An elite team of police forensic evidence investigation experts work their cases in Las Vegas; in real life, I searched fingerprints for ten years for the state of New York, so I know a little bit about this line of work, but what attracted me to this show was a) Las Vegas and b) the loyalty the characters had to their co-workers and their jobs.

The eulogy Gil Grissom (William Peterson) gives after Warrick Brown is murdered is one of the great speeches (albeit a short one) in television history. 

4) Billions— Showtime series in its 5th season, a U.S. Attorney goes after a hedge fund king in a battle between two powerful New York figures. Making things sticky is that the attorney’s wife (Maggie Siff) works as a psychologist for the hedge fund guy.

Lot of interesting cameos thru the years; John Malkovich, Kevin Pollak, Eric Bogosian, pro wrestler Becky Lynch, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Durant, Mark Cuban. Great show.

3) Law and Order— 20 years, 456 episodes that follow a crime (usually a murder), usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points, the police investigation and the prosecution in court.

One of the few shows that survived the stars of the show moving on and being replaced by other characters. This show was a launching pad for many acting careers; there are 26 actors who have appeared in Billions who also appeared in at least one episode of Law and Order.

2) Odd Couple— Two divorced friends who are complete opposites share an apartment; one is really neat and stuffy photographer, the other a sloppy, easy-going sportswriter.

1) Magnum PI— The adventures of a Hawaii-based private investigator (Tom Selleck), as he solves cases with the help of his buddies, TC (Roger Mosley) a helicopter pilot, club manager Rick (Larry Manetti) and Higgins (John Hillerman) who runs the estate Magnum lives on.

The parade of beautiful women as guest stars on the show was an 80’s who’s who of  Hollywood: Sharon Stone, Jill St John, Mimi Rogers, Leslie Uggams, Erin Gray, Dana Delany, to name a few.

Frank Sinatra did an episode near the end of the series; Ernest Borgnine, Carol Burnett, Cesar Romero, Ten Danson, Dennis Weaver— a long list of famous guest stars. 

Friday’s List of 13: Records that will probably never be broken……

1) Cy Young won 511 games; he also lost 315. From 1901-03, he won 93 games; none of those things are ever happening again.

2) Vin Scully broadcast Dodger baseball games from 1950-2016; undoubtedly the best baseball announcer ever.

3) Cal Ripken Jr played in 2,632 consecutive games; that ain’t happening again. Might be a while before someone plays in 632 consecutive games.

4) Phil Jackson won 11 NBA titles as a head coach; Red Auerbach won nine, but in an era when players didn’t change teams as much.

Jackson coached Michael Jordan’s Bulls to three straight titles from 1996-98, took a year off, then won three more in a row with the Kobe/Shaq Lakers, from 2000-02.

5) UCLA won seven consecutive national basketball titles. Seven. Then they lost in the national semifinals in double OT the 8th year, and won the title again the next year.

Great college players don’t stay in college for too long these days; sustained success is much more difficult now.

6) From 1959-66, Boston College won eight consecutive NBA titles; they lost the Eastern finals in ’67 to Wilt Chamberlain’s 76ers, the only year Bill Russell didn’t play in the NBA Finals. Russell played 13 years in the NBA, won 11 titles.

7) Wilt Chamberlain had 32 games where he scored 60+ points; this is a guy who shot 51.1% from the foul line for his career- he missed 5,805 free throws in his career, or else he might have had a few more 60+ point games.

8) In 1916, Georgia Tech won a college football game 222-0, over Cumberland College; there are a few D-I teams these days trying to find Cumberland’s phone number so they can schedule a game with them.

9) Nolan Ryan threw seven no-hitters, including one at age 44. Max Scherzer is a really good pitcher these days with 170 wins, but has only 10 career complete games.

10) 109 yards is the longest touchdown in NFL history; can’t be a longer one:
— Antonio Cromartie ran a missed field goal back 109 yards for a TD in 2007.
— Cordarelle Patterson ran a kickoff back 109 yards for a TD in 2013.

11) Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases back in 1982, when he was 23 years old. Takes a lot out of a guy’s legs to run that much, plus you have to be a really good hitter to get on base that much.

Henderson had a .398 on-base %age that year, .401 for his Hall of Fame career. He led the league in stolen bases 11 times.

12) Buffalo Bills won the AFC title four years in a row, very impressive, but then they lost the Super Bowl all four years.

13) Wayne Gretzky dominated hockey so much that in most NHL fantasy leagues, Gretzky was off-limits; whoever drafted him would automatically win. Gretzky scored 2,857 points in his amazing career; next highest in NHL history is Jaromir Jagr, with 1,921. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud

13) NBA TV showed an old documentary the other night on the 1983 NBA Draft, the one with Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton, but they also had some stuff about Rick Carlisle, who surprisingly made the Celtics as a rookie.

They also did a piece on the last player taken in that draft, a guy who played D-III ball at Clark University in Massachusetts— he wound up playing pro ball in Ireland for a while, became a stockbroker in Manhattan, then tragically passed away on 9/11.

If you come across the documentary on NBA TV, it is worth your time.

12) When you live in the house you grew up in, the upstairs (at least in my case) is kind of a big storage locker of my life. Was foraging up there the other day, and found the 1975 Baseball Handbook, a paperback book I would buy every year- it had all the rosters, and write-ups on the 10 or so best players on each team.

I have about 25 years of those books, but this one is special, because on July 19, 1975, my dad took me to Shea Stadium to see a Mets-Braves game, and four Braves signed the book.

11) When you’re 15 years old, a huge baseball fan and your first name is Biff, then the Braves have a backup catcher named Biff Pocoroba, you become a fan, a big fan. I’d clip out all of his good boxscores (he made the 1978 All-Star Game) and keep them in a scrapbook.

My dad surprised me with these tickets; they were right by third base, third row off the field, tremendous seats. Never found out how he got such good seats.

As it turns out, that was the first game Biff Pocoroba started in a week, so I met Vic Correll, the starting catcher instead, as he walked down past us to the left field bullpen. Also met Buzz Capra, Elias Sosa and best of all, an injured outfielder named Dusty Baker.

10) Dusty Baker had a broken wrist, so he took a lot of time signing for fans; when he signed my book, he read the paragraph the guy wrote about him, which I had not read. Turns out the guy ripped him for always being hurt; Dusty laughed it off: “this guy don’t like me!!!”

Anyway, it was a fun day; Biff Pocoroba flied out to the fence in right field against Tom Seaver (ball would have gone out in Atlanta), and to this day, I root for Dusty Baker. Good guy.

9) There was a 1986 Mets-Astros playoff game on TV the other night; Houston was in the National League back then. Astros had those great rainbow-colored jerseys, but the thing that stuck out about this game, played 34 years ago— Joe West was one of the umpires.

Joe West is 67 years old; he was a major league ump when he was 23. Quite a career. 

8) Mets were going to retire Jerry Koosman’s #36 on June 13; Koosman went 48-28 for the Mets from 1968-70, but was only 140-137 overall for New York— he was their #2 starting pitcher for the ’69 Miracle Mets, behind Tom Seaver.

Here’s the thing; how do the Mets retire Koosman’s number before Dwight Gooden’s?

Gooden went 157-85 as a Met, from 1984-94; the ’86 Mets won the World Series. You can say Gooden had a lot of problems off the field, but Koosman did six months in the big house for tax evasion back in 2009, so he’s no angel off the field, either.

7) Last season, Toronto Blue Jays’ rookie Bo Bichette became the first player EVER to hit a double in nine consecutive games, and he did it in his first 13 major league games, which is a pretty impressive feat. 

6) Positive sign for baseball season starting up in a month or so; the factory where they make Louisville Slugger baseball bats re-opened this week.

 5) How is it that Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson has never gotten one vote for NFL MVP? Guy won a Super Bowl, lost another one on the last play- you’d think he’d at least get a vote from a writer in Seattle. Seahawks’ LB Bobby Wagner even got a vote, but not Wilson. 

4) Mid-American Conference made some changes to its basketball tournament format; no more divisions during the season, and only the top eight teams make the MAC tournament.

3) One of the weird consequences of the pandemic seems to be a comeback for drive-in movie theaters, especially in areas with nice weather. There are still one or two of those around here; good way for people to get out without being near other humans.

2) Andre Dawson was a great ballplayer, hit 438 homers in a 21-year career, mostly for the Expos/Cubs. An 8-time All-Star, Dawson was the 1987 MVP, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010— so whats he doing now?

Turns out that Dawson owns a funeral parlor in Richmond Heights, FL; 23 people work for him. Its a business where you never run out of customers, but a bit unusual for a guy who made close to $30M in his playing days to be running a freakin’ funeral parlor. 

1) RIP to the great comedian Jerry Stiller, 92, who passed away over the weekend; he had a great career, first as part of the Stiller & Meara comedy team wth his wife, the late Anne Meara, then later on as part of the cast of Seinfeld. He was married to Ms Meara for 60 years.

RIP, sir; I’m guessing St Peter and the folks up above are about to hear a lot about Jay Buhner. 

2 for Wednesday: NFC trends and Joe’s favorite actors……

Arizona Cardinals:
— Two primetime games are both on road, at Dallas and Seattle.
— Three straight road games, weeks 3-5: Panthers-Jets-Cowboys.
— Arizona is 0-3-1 SU in last four home openers (1-3 ATS).
— Cardinals lost last four road openers, by average score of 31-15.

Atlanta Falcons:
— Two primetime games are both on road, at Green Bay, Seattle.
— Falcons have only four outdoor games this season.
— Atlanta won last three home openers, by 11-7-4 points.
— Falcons are 3-10 ATS in last thirteen road openers.

Carolina Panthers:
— Panthers will see old friend Ron Rivera when they visit the Redskins in Week 16.
— Only primetime game is a Week 8 home game with Atlanta.
— Carolina won five of its last six home openers (4-2 ATS).
— Under is 6-2 in Panthers’ last eight season openers.

Chicago Bears:
— Bears don’t play Green Bay until Week 12, then again in Week 17.
— Four primetime games for Chicago, two at home, two on road.
— Bears lost five of last six home openers (under 4-1-1).
— 16 of Chicago’s last 19 road openers stayed under total.

Dallas Cowboys:
— This will be first time since 2014 their home opener isn’t against the Giants.
— Dallas opens brad-new SoFi Stadium when they visit the Rams in Week 1.
— Cowboys won seven of last nine home openers (3-0-1 ATS last four)
— Dallas covered 10 of its last 13 road openers (5-5 SU last ten).

Detroit Lions:
— Detroit is one of two NFL teams (Redskins) with no primetime games.
— Lions have only one 4:00 game; they are on national TV Thanksgiving Day.
— Detroit won six of its last nine home openers (over 7-3 in last 10).
— Detroit covered three of last four road openers.

Green Bay Packers:
— Have five prime-time games, including Weeks 3-4, at Saints, vs Falcons.
— Won seven in row, 12 of last 13 home openers (10-3 ATS).
— Four of their last five home openers stayed under total.
— Over is 11-3 in Green Bay’s last 14 road openers. 

Los Angeles Rams:
— Three east coast trips in first five games of the season.
— Week 7 Monday night home game, then 1:00 Sunday game in Miami in Week 8.
— Rams won/covered their last five home openers.
— Under McVay, LA is 3-0 in road openers, scoring 34.7 ppg.

Minnesota Vikings:
— Vikings get only two primetime games, both on road (Seattle, Chicago)
— Minnesota has only four outdoor games this season, only one after Week 8 (Tampa)
— Vikings won/covered their last five home openers (under 6-0 last six)
— Minnesota is 4-11-1 SU in last 16 road openers (5-9-2 ATS).

New Jersey Giants:
— This is first time in six years their road opener isn’t in Dallas.
— Giants started out 0-1 seven of last eight years.
— Big Blue’s last six home openers stayed under total.
— Giants are 2-7-1 ATS in last ten road openers.

New Orleans Saints:
— Three primetime games in first five weeks of season.
— Saints lost four of last five home openers (0-5 ATS)
— Average total in their last four home openers: 62.8.
— New Orleans lost seven of last nine road openers.

Philadelphia Eagles
— Eagles have consecutive primetime games vs Giants, Cowboys before their bye.
— Philly has one 1:00 game after Thanksgiving; they play at 4:25 four weeks in row.
— Eagles won last four home openers, but are 3-8 ATS in last 11.
— Under is 3-1-1 in their last five road openers.

San Francisco 49ers
— 49ers have consecutive games in New Jersey, in Weeks 2-3.
— Niners have five primetime games, four of them at home.
— Five of their last six home openers stayed under the total.
— 49ers lost five of last seven road openers; they’re 9-5 ATS in last 14.

Seattle Seahawks
— Four primetime games, three of them at home.
— Host Giants/Jets in consecutive games, Weeks 13-14.
— Under is 16-2-1 in Seattle’s last 19 home openers.
— Seahawks won their last 11 home openers (8-3 ATS).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— In their history, Bucs have won six playoff games; Brady has six Super Bowl rings.
— From Weeks 5-11, Tampa Bay is in primetime five of seven games.
— Bucs lost five of their last seven home openers.
— Tampa Bay won four of its last five road openers.

Washington Redskins
— No primetime games, only three 4:25 games.
— Weeks 12-14, they play three in row on road: Dallas, Steelers, 49ers.
— Washington lost five in row, seven of last eight home openers.
— Redskins covered their last four road openers.

2 for Tuesday: Notes on Korean baseball, and some random thoughts…….

13) I was supposed to have cataract surgery today, but it was delayed until New York State re-opens elective surgeries; I could do a couple days in this space venting about how/why this is all happening, but in respect to the 80,000+  who have already died, I’ll save it for another day.

Reading is one of my joys, but for the last seven months, reading has been difficult; it is way better now than it was before my retina got fixed, but it is still not close to 100%. I look forward to the day when I can read easily, and then watch games on TV. Live games.

12) Four of the Raiders’ eight home games this season are in primetime; am guessing those Las Vegas tourism TV commercials will bring the league a bundle of cash.

11) MLB submitted a plan to the Players’ Association Monday, as to when/how the 2020 season should start; will be interesting to see what the proposal was, and how the players respond.

10) Sunday night will be the last two episodes of The Last Dance, the documentary about the ’98 Chicago Bulls. Saturday, ACC Network is airing 11 hours of Michael Jordan’s games from North Carolina, so if you want to see what college basketball was like before 3-pointers and the shot clock, that’ll be a good chance to see it.

I’ve enjoyed The Last Dance; very well done show. Winning six titles in eight years isn’t easy; it is an interesting part of NBA history, how Phil Jackson orchestrated all that, and how Michael Jordan interacted with his teammates

9) My favorite part of the eight episodes was when Will Perdue was explaining how he and a few other teammates were playing blackjack for $1 a hand in the front of the plane, while Jordan, Ron Harper and other teammates played cards for BIG money in the back.

Jordan comes to the front and wants to join the $1 blackjack game; John Paxson asks him why he would want to play in such a nickel/dime game. Jordan says, “So I can have YOUR money in MY picket.” Thats how competitive he was/is. 

8) Curt Bloom was/is the radio announcer for the AA Birmingham Barons, the baseball team Jordan played for; Bloom pointed out on Twitter this weekend that the first batter Jordan faced in the pros was a guy named John Courtright, who is now a player agent (Patrick Corbin is one of his clients). Courtright, interestingly, is a Duke alum.

7) If you’re a basketball fan of a certain age, you also remember George Gervin, a great scorer for the San Antonio Spurs; he averaged 25.1 ppg over a 14-year career that began in the ABA, with the Virginia Squires, who had another pretty good player, Julius Erving.

Whoever the radio announcer for the Squires was, he had his hands full; you had Gervin, Erving and also George Irvine, so a fast break was a potential tongue twister.

6) Anyway, Gervin’s first game was January 26, 1973, a 127-121 home loss against the Utah Stars; Gervin scored 20 points in 19:00 off the bench.

Eight Stars scored in double figures, but none of them scored more than 17 points. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before.

Whoever the stat guy was, he was generous; Virginia scored 44 field goals, had 39 assists. When I was scoring game, gave out a lot of assists, but never that many.

5) This is how much basketball has changed; the ABA is responsible for the 3-pointer being brought into the NBA, but in this game, 127-121, there were only eight 3-pointers taken, one by Utah, seven by the Squires.

Few years ago, Klay Thompson scored 37 pointers in a quarter; he was 11-15 behind the arc that night, scoring 52 points.

4) Watching old baseball games for weeks, it turns out that James Shields was on the wrong side of a couple of unique baseball days; he gave up Bartolo Colon’s first major league home run, and he was the losing pitcher when Dallas Braden threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay in 2010.

Shields was a very good pitcher, a big part of the Rays’ run to the 2008 World Series.

3) For the last 15 seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played a total of 17 games in primetime, not a lot; with Tom Brady signing on this season, the Bucs are on in primetime five times.

2) If they do this right, the Korean baseball league (KBO) is going to make a killing selling apparel online, with their games on ESPN six days a week.

1) As far as the NFL schedule being adaptable to starting late, consider this:
— Every Week 2 opponent has the same bye week later on in the season.
— There are no divisional games in Weeks 3-4.
— All of which points to Week 1 potentially being tacked on to the end of season, if need be. 

Monday’s List of 13: Random thoughts on a very quiet day

13) May 10, 1970, 50 years ago yesterday, Bobby Orr scored an overtime goal to give the Boston Bruins a 4-0 sweep over the St Louis Blues, and their first Stanley Cup in 29 years. They made a statue out of the picture of Orr extended in the air, parallel to the ground after he got tripped while scoring the goal.

12) Three years earlier, NHL had expanded from six to 12 teams all at once; the six new teams were all in the same division, and St Louis won that division the first three years, but went 0-12 in their Stanley Cup finals games.

Over the next 46 years, St Louis never got back to the Stanley Cup finals, but they won their first Cup last season, beating the Bruins in seven games. Looks like they may get to be defending Cup champions for two years, since it seems unlikely this NHL season will continue.

11) An entire umpiring crew in the KBO (Korean baseball league) got demoted to the minors last week, after only four days of the season- they must’ve been pretty terrible.

10) KBO started in 1982, but they didn’t have standardized baseballs until 2016.

9) If you had to guess “Which major leaguer holds the record for most RBI’s in his first major league game?” you wouldn’t have guessed Starlin Castro, but on May 7, 2010, Castro went 2-5 with a homer and six RBI in the Cubs’ 14-7 win in Cincinnati.

Castro batted 8th, homered off the aptly-named Homer Bailey in his first MLB at-bat.

8) Baseball’s 2020 amateur draft will be June 10, but it will be reduced to only five rounds. Teams can sign undrafted players from June 13-August 1.

7) Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s brother, is transferring out of Alabama; he played in five games for the Crimson Tide as a freshman last year, completing 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards and a TD. He was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school.

6) Former Ravens/Broncos’ QB Joe Flacco had neck surgery in April; will be interesting to see if/when he resurfaces as an NFL quarterback.

5) Giants have Jason Garrett as their new offensive coordinator; they also brought in Cooper Rush to be a backup QB- he was Dak Prescott’s backup the last three years. Rush’s familiarity with Garrett’s offense will help Daniel Jones adjust to a new system.

4) I will never understand why baseball managers/coaches wear uniforms; it makes no sense

3) I didn’t remember that Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars nine times; wonder what he got paid for doing that?

2) Why some teams never win:
Stephen Curry was the 7th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft; Minnesota had the 5th and 6th picks- they took two guards, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, passing on Curry.

Rubio has had a solid NBA career, while Flynn lasted only three years in the NBA.

1) It looks like I’ll start posting trends/stats for Korean baseball games, beginning with Thursday night/Friday morning games. ESPN shows some of the games, so I’m assuming there will be some interest in them. 

Sunday’s Den: Trends, notes for AFC teams

Baltimore Ravens:
— Ravens have three consecutive prime-time games, in Weeks 12-14.
— Baltimore won its last four Week 1 games, by combined score of 139-20.
— Ravens won 13 of last 15 home openers (10-5 ATS)
— Baltimore is 8-4 ATS in last dozen road openers.

Buffalo Bills:
— Buffalo is 5-35 vs New England since Belichick has been coach.
— Bills won six of last nine home openers (8-5 ATS in last 13, 5-2 ATS in last seven as a home favorite).
— Under is 5-2 in Buffalo’s last seven home openers.
— Buffalo lost 10 of last 15 road openers (4-2 ATS in last six).

Cincinnati Bengals:
— Four of rookie QB Joe Burrow’s first six games are on the road.
— Bengals covered five of their last six road openers, with Dalton at QB.
— Over is 9-2 in Cincy’s last 11 road openers.
— Two prime-time games for Bengals: Week 2 in Cleveland, Week 15 at home against the Steelers. 

Cleveland Browns:
— Browns have consecutive December games in the Meadowlands, vs Giants/Jets.
— Expectations are lower; only two primetime games this year, only one 4:00 game.
— Last six years, Cleveland is 4-1-1 ATS in its home opener; from 1999-2013, they were 2-13 ATS.
— Since 2003, Browns, are 6-9-2 ATS in road openers.

Denver Broncos
— Broncos have a Week 3 home game, then a Thursday night game in New Jersey, against the Jets; tough scheduling spot.
— Denver is 20-10-1 ATS in its last 31 home openers.
— Over is 8-4-1 in their last 13 home openers.
— Broncos lost their last three road openers, by 10-13-8 points (0-3 ATS).

Houston Texans:
— Only one primetime game (Week 1 at KC), one 4:00 game (Week 2).
— They play Thanksgiving Day in Detroit four days after hosting New England.
— Houston covered twice in last seven home openers.
— Texans lost four of last five road openers (6-4-1 ATS in last 11).

Indianapolis Colts
— Only one primetime game, three 4:00 games; surprising.
— Only five of their 16 games are outdoors- they play three road games in domes.
— Colts lost five of their last six home openers (1-5 ATS as a favorite)
— Indy lost eight of its last ten road openers, five of last six season openers.

Jacksonville Jaguars
— Week 3 vs Miami is their only primetime game.
— Old friend Nick Foles brings his Chicago Bears to Jacksonville in Week 16.
— Jaguars lost seven of last eight home openers, last four of which went over total.
— J’ville won two of last three road openers (3-0 ATS) , after losing previous nine.

Kansas City Chiefs
— KC has three primetime games in the season’s first six weeks.
— Chiefs started out 1-0 the last five years, scoring 36 ppg in openers.
— Over is 4-0-1 in Chiefs’ last five home openers.
— KC covered six of its last seven road openers.

Las Vegas Raiders
— Raiders open Allegiant Stadium with a Week 2 Monday night home game against the Saints.
— Six days later in Week 3, they’re in Foxboro for a 1:00 game; difficult scheduling spot.
— Raiders covered four of their last five road openers.
— Do you have home field advantage, playing in a city you’ve never played in before, in a stadium with no fans? Could be a big question for the Raiders.

LA Chargers
— Two primetime games, both on road, in New Orleans, Las Vegas.
— Chargers play their first game in SoFi Stadium in Week 2, against the Chiefs.
— Nov 22 in Denver, Nov 29 in Buffalo figure to be cold weather games.
— Chargers covered six of their last eight road openers. 

Miami Dolphins
— Miami plays New England in weeks 1-15, Buffalo in weeks 2-17, but they play the Jets in Weeks 10-12, with a bye in between.
— Dolphins won seven of their last ten home openers.
— Over is 14-3 in their last 17 home openers.
— Miami covered six of its last eight road openers.

New England Patriots
— Play consecutive games in LA in Weeks 13-14, against Chargers first, then a Thursday game with the Rams.
— Five primetime games, three 4:00 games; lot of TV time.
— Patriots won 16 of last 18 home openers (9-7-2 ATS).
— New England won seven of last nine road openers.

New Jersey Jets
— Two primetime games, both at home, vs Denver, New England.
— Host Patriots on Monday night in Week 9, then visit Miami six days later.
— Jets are 17-6 ATS in their last 23 road openers.
— Five of their last seven home openers stayed under.

Pittsburgh Steelers
— Opening on the road for the six year in row (1-3-1 ATS last five)
— Consecutive primetime games in December, at Buffalo/Cincy….brrrrrr!!!!
— Lost last two home openers, 42-37/28-26.
— 10 of their last 13 road openers stayed under the total.

Tennessee Titans
— Three primetime games; December 27 in Green Bay should be fun.
— Don’t play a road game in October; five of their last seven games are on road.
— Lost five of their last six home openers.
— Won six of last seven road openers, covered nine of last 12. 

Saturday’s Den: Looking at Nolan Ryan’s no-hitters, and other random stuff…….

We start with a recap of Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters, thrown to seven different catchers:
1) 5-15-73: Angels 3, Royals 0 in KC:
— Ryan got knocked out of his previous start in the first inning on May 11; on the 12th, he came in and got a six-out save. He pitched this no-hitter on two days’ rest.
— Lou Piniella was the Royals’ RF in this game. 
— Bobby Valentine batted 3rd, Frank Robinson 4th for the Angels.
— Angels’ catcher: Jeff Torborg, who caught three no-hitters, including Sandy Koufax’ perfect game in 1965.

2) 7-15-73: Angels 6, Tigers 0 in Detroit:
— Ryan gave up six runs in six IP in his previous start.
— Game was 1-0 into 8th inning; Angels scored four in the 8th.
— Jim Perry was the opposing pitcher; he won 217 big league games.
— Angels catcher: Art Kusyner, who hit .149 in 41 games for the Halos that year.

3) 9-28-74: Angels 4, Twins 0:
— His last start of the year; he had thrown 45 innings in his previous five (4-1) starts.
— 8 walks, 15 strikeouts; 23 of 35 batters didn’t hit a fair ball.
— Rod Carew, Tony Oliva played for the Twins that day; damn good hitters.
— Angels’ catcher: Tom Egan, who wound up batting .103.

4) 6-1-75: Angels 1, Orioles 0:
— Ryan had given up 11 runs in 13 IP in his previous two starts.
— Dave Chalk knocked in Mickey Rivers in 3rd inning, with the game’s only run.
— Jerry Remy led off for the Angels; he is now the Red Sox’ TV analyst.
— Angels’ catcher: Ellie Rodriguez, who played nine years in the majors.

5) 9-28-81: Astros 5, Dodgers 0:
— Was 1-2, 5.68 in his previous three starts.
— Ryan missed two months in the middle of this season (June 10-August 14)
— Dodgers wound up winning the World Series a few weeks later.
— Astros’ catcher: Alan Ashby, who played 17 years in the big leagues.

6) 6-11-90: Rangers 5, A’s 0 in Oakland:
— Was 0-3, 10.13 in his previous five starts, including a 5-4 home loss to Oakland five days before this game.
— A’s were 38-18 at the time, lost the World Series that year.
— Julio Franco hit two homers, knocked in four runs for Texas.
— Rangers’ catcher: John Russell, who hit .225 in a 10-year big league career.

7) 5-1-91: Rangers 3, Blue Jays 0:
— Two walks, 16 strikeouts, not bad for a 44-year old.
— Blue Jays wound up 91-71 that year, losing ALCS.
— Jeff Huson played SS for Texas that day; nowadays, he is the Colorado Rockies’ TV analyst.
— Rangers’ catcher: Mike Stanley, who hit 187 homers in a 15-year career.

8) In David Cutcliffe’s 12 seasons as Duke’s football coach, the Blue Devils have won 72 games. In the 24 years before Cutcliffe came to Durham, the Blue Devils won 73 games.

9) Lost my mind a little earlier this week when some NFL writer posted his positional ratings for every team, and he had Jared Goff ranked 21st amongst NFL quarterbacks. No bleepin’ way.

Under Sean McVay, Goff is 35-16 as a starter; he’s won an NFC title game on the road, putting up 34 points in a hostile Superdome. No way in hell is Daniel Jones or Baker Mayfield better than he is; Matthew Stafford has played 11 years in the NFL, is 0-3 in playoff games. Goff is 2-2 in playoff games, in only four years.

10) There was a great story this week about the late Don Shula, and about how single-minded coaches can be.

Shula obviously coached the Miami Dolphins, and for part of that time, the TV show Miami Vice was a very popular program on NBC. Don Johnson was one of the stars.

After a Miami win one day, a Dolphin staffer brings Johnson in to meet Shula; Johnson is a big sports fan, but Shula has no idea who Johnson is. When the staffer mentions Miami Vice, Shula thinks he is an actual policeman. Focus helps coaches be great; Shula had great focus.

11) These days, by the way, Don Johnson is often seen at Cal-Santa Barbara basketball games. He was in Nash Bridges (his dad was played by James Gammon, the manager in Major League) and he was also very good as a golf pro in Tin Cup.

Our last two nuggets are from the great baseball writer Joe Posnanski:
12) Since 1905, there have been 16,657 players make their way to the major leagues; of that number, 1,621 (9.7%) played on a team that won a World Series.

13) 403 played on 2+ World Series champions; 30 played on 5+ title teams. 

2 Things for Friday: My quick thoughts on the 2020 NFL schedule……

13) None of us know if there will be an NFL season this year, and if there are games will fans be present, this is all unchartered territory, but for a few days, I’m going to bury myself in research about the 2020 season and hopefully life will feel somewhat normal again, at least for a little while.

Defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs open up at home against the Texans on Thursday in Week 1; Steelers-Giants, Titans-Broncos are the Monday night twin bill in Week 1.

12) From Weeks 5-11, Tampa Bay will play five of seven games in prime-time; Bucs figure to be an underdog in New Orleans in Week 1, the first time Tom Brady has been a regular season underdog since November 30, 2014, when the Patriots (+3) lost 26-21 in Green Bay.

11) Jerry Jones was born in Los Angeles, is largely responsible for the NFL letting the Rams move back to LA, so it figures that his Cowboys open SoFi Stadium against the Rams in Week 1.

10) As far as the Rams’ schedule goes:
— Bad news: Three eastern time zone games in the first five weeks.
— Good news: No cold weather games, except maybe Seattle in Week 16.
— Horrendous news: A week 7 Monday night home game against Chicago, followed by a game in Miami Sunday at 1pm. This is a very brutal scheduling spot.

9) New England and their new QB (whoever he is) visit Seattle, Kansas City in the first four weeks of the season; Patriots have consecutive games in SoFi Stadium, Week 13 against the Chargers, then a Week 14 Thursday night game with the Rams.

8) 49ers play consecutive games in the Meadowlands, in Weeks 2-3 against the Jets, Giants. Am guessing the 49ers would spend the week practicing in Youngstown, OH, where the DiBartolo family lives. Too long a trip to bounce back and forth twice in a week.

7) Raiders open brand-new Allegiant Stadium with a Week 2 Monday night home game against the Saints; they open the season in Carolina. Las Vegas also has a very tough scheduling spot, going to Foxboro the Sunday after that Monday night game with New Orleans.

6) NFL doesn’t expect much out of Philip Rivers and the Colts; they get only three 4:25 starts and one prime-time game, a Week 10 Thursday night game at Tennessee.

5) Same thing for the Washington Redskins, in Ron Rivera’s first season there; three 4:00 games, no primetime games, not one. Not a lot of faith there, not even a Dallas game.

Washington has a brutal 3-game road trip in Weeks 12-14: at Dallas, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

4) Steelers are going to freeze their butts off the last six weeks of the season; three home games, with road games in Buffalo, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

3) Arizona has three straight road games in Weeks 4-6; at Carolina, at the Jets, and a Monday night game in Dallas, before a Sunday home game with Seattle on a short week.

2) In Weeks 4-6, Philadelphia Eagles play consecutive games against the 49ers, Steelers, Ravens’ I’m assuming Pittsburgh will be a better team with Ben Roethlisberger back under center. If so, that is a very challenging three weeks.

1) Tyrod Taylor and the Chargers visit Taylor’s old team in Buffalo in Week 12; their first game in SoFi Stadium is against the Chiefs in Week 2.

I’ll spend the next few days examining all this stuff and will be back with trends and into to ponder, during this time when there is very little sports stuff to ponder, other than Korean baseball. 

Friday’s Den: Everything I know about Korean baseball

— There are 10 teams in the KBO; top five make the playoffs. #1 seed gets a pass to their World Series. Six of last eight #1 seeds won the KBO championship.

— When the #4-seed plays the #5-seed, it is a best-of-3 series, but the #4-seed gets spotted a game, so the #5-seed has to win both games to advance. #4 seed only needs to win once.

— Teams are owned by big corporations, not rich people.

— League started in 1982; KIA Tigers have won the most titles (11), but had lousy years the last two seasons, so they fired their manager and brought in former major leaguer Matt Williams, who has the biggest salary for any manager in KBO history.

— Three of the ten teams have never won the KBO title.

— Game are declared a tie after 12 innings; for playoff games, 15 innings.

— There are some former major leaguers in the KBO; Dan Straily, Aaron Altherr, Tyler Saladino are recognizable names.

— If a KBO player tests positive for COVID-19, the league shuts down for three weeks.

— Base coaches and some umpires are wearing medical masks; the players aren’t.

— Every team plays the other nine teams 16 teams each; balanced schedule.

— Teams play six days a week, usually having Mondays off, but less so this year, since they’re trying to get all 144 games in, despite their late start.

— Doosan Bears and the LG Twins share Jamsil Stadium, much like the Clippers/Lakers share Staples Center.

— There are fewer power pitchers in the KBO; less strikeouts, more balls in play.

— NC Dinos catcher Yang Eui-ji hit .354 last year, with a 1.012 OPS

— Teams’ uniforms have lot of advertisements on them.

— Games will be televised six nights a week by ESPN, but night games in Korea mean a 5:30am start here in beautiful upstate New York— I’m not a morning person.

— Good to have live baseball though, even if it is without fans. I’ll start posting daily write-ups on games after teams have played 8-10 games. 

Thursday’s Den: Paul’s list of the best TV characters……

My friend Paul presents his all-time best TV characters:

1) Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H— Alan Alda played this character so well, a wise-cracking surgeon who got himself thru working in an Army hospital in the Korean War by making people laugh, but by the end of the series, you could see the weariness of war on his face.

Rest of this list is presented in alphabetical order:
— Jeb Bartlett, The West Wing— Martin Sheen played the President for 155 episodes, when life was more normal. He won a Golden Globe for Best Actor- Television Series Drama in 2001, and also won two SAG awards.

— Archie Bunker, All in the Family— Carroll O’Connor played this”lovable bigot” from 1971-83; Archie had a gruff, overbearing demeanor, largely defined by his bigotry towards a diverse group of individuals. Tension with his son-in-law (Rob Reiner) still resonates today, if you follow Reiner on Twitter.

— Bugs Bunny— Created in the late 30’s, Bugs became famous for his flippant, personality and his catch phrase “Eh…What’s up, doc?” He was also the official mascot of Warner Brothers Entertainment.

— Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory— Jim Parsons has won four Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a TCA Award, and two Critics’ Choice TV awards for his portrayal of a theoretical physicist at Cal Tech, He has a genius-level IQ, but lacks social skills.

— Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers— Played by the great British comic actor John Cleese, Basil is the proprietor of the hotel Fawlty Towers- he is cynical, snobbish and is desperate to belong to a higher social class. In a 2001 poll, Basil ranked #4 in all-time British TV characters.

— Dr J0el Fleischman, Northern Exposure— Rob Morrow planed central character at the beginning of the series, a young, somewhat uptight doctor from Queens who is contractually bound to practice in a remote Alaskan town for four years to repay a student loan from the government.

— Arthur Fonzarelli, Happy Days— Henry Winkler played Fonzie, a stereotypical greaser who wore a leather jacket, rode his motorcycle and was a lot cooler than any of his friends in 1950’s Milwaukee. In 1999, TV Guide named Fonzie the #4 TV character of all-time.

— Frank Furillo, Hill Street Blues— The show chronicled the lives of the staff of a single police station located on Hill Street in an unnamed large city; Daniel J Travanti played Lt Furillo- this show won eight Emmys in its first season, and 98 Emmy nominations overall.

— Bob Hartley, The Bob Newhart Show— Newhart played a Chicago psychologist whose interactions with his wife, friends, patients, and colleagues lead to humorous situations and a lot of laughs. Great supporting cast: Jerry the dentist, Howard the pilot and his wife Emily, played by Suzanne Pleshette.

— Oscar Madison, Odd Couple— Jack Klugman played a divorced New York City sportswriter who shares his apartment with his friend Felix Unger, when Felix’s wife tosses him out of their home. The two men have almost nothing in common, which is what made the show so funny.

— Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show— Mary Tyler Moore plays the associate producer, and later producer at TV station WJM in Minneapolis, at a time when not many women got jobs like that. Great supporting cast: Ted Knight, Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Betty White and Valerie Harper.

— Homer Simpson, The Simpsons— Homer Jay Simpson is the bumbling husband of Marge and father of Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson; he is voiced by Dan Castellaneta. In 2010, he was voted by Entertainment Weekly as the #2 second-greatest cartoon character, behind Bugs Bunny.

— Andy Sipowitz, NYPD Blue— Dennis Franz played a detective working on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; he was the only cast member to appear in every episode of the show’s 12 seasons. One writer described Sipowicz as havng “an underrated, edgy mixture of grit and sensitivity”

— Jon Snow, Game of Thrones— Kit Harington plays Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, the honorable lord of Winterfell, an ancient fortress in the North of the fictional continent of Westeros. Knowing his prospects are limited by his status as a bastard, Jon joins the Night’s Watch, who guard the far northern borders from the wildlings who live beyond The Wall. 

— Tony Soprano, The Sopranos— James Gandolfini played a character that was loosely based on a real-life New Jersey mobster. Throughout the HBO series, Tony struggles to balance the conflicting needs of his actual family with those of the Mafia family he controls.

— Spock, Star Trek— Leonard Nimoy played science office and first officer aboard the USS Enterprise as it explores the galaxy and defend the United Federation of Planets. Spock later served as a Federation ambassador; he is part human, part Vulcan, who was raised in a test tube for two months.