Saturday’s Den: A running diary of Opening Day

4:11- Jacob deGrom takes the mound as Opening Day on July 24 gets underway; this strangest of seasons started with two games last night- there are 14 games tonight.

deGrom has had some back issues is supposedly under a 75-pitch limit for this game. He is the ace of my fantasy team’s staff; need him to be good.

4:15- Speaking of which, Marlins’ C Jorge Alfaro is on the IL, presumably with COVID-related issues. He is the only catcher on my fantasy roster. It is stunning how few everyday catchers are good hitters. Have to monitor this to see if I need another catcher.

4:25- Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman is starting at 1B for the 10th straight Opening Day; during that time, Atlanta has started nine left fielders, eight 3rd basemen, seven catchers.

Braves’ top two catchers have COVID-related issues, are back home in Atlanta.

4:35- There are over 6,000 cardboard cutouts at CitiField for this game.

4:45- Having mostly NL pitchers on my fantasy team was relaxing when the opposing pitcher came up, but now with the universal DH, not so much. I like everyone having the DH; we’ll see how teams handle it, whether they will use it as an “off day” for regulars, or have a regular DH.

5:20- deGrom goes five scoreless innings, but because he pitches for the bleeping Mets, it is scoreless after five and deGrom can’t get the win.

Since 2015, deGrom has had 15 starts where he threw 5+ innings and didn’t allow a run, but he won only 8 of those 15 games.

6:30- Mets’ DH Cespedes hit a homer in his first game in two years, New York wins 1-0. Up in heaven somewhere, my dad is happy.

6:50- Thursday’s New York-Washington game got the highest TV ratings of any network broadcast over the last nine years.

7:15- I wanted to watch the Reds because I picked up their new OF Shogo Akiyama, but he is sitting against Detroit’s lefty starter. Oy.

7:30- Good news from Korea- KBO games are going to have fans starting on Sunday, so that is a return to normalcy that is good to hear about.

7:45- Only five regular season fantasy league games before the playoffs start- very short season will be weird. First week is 10 days long; have to study up and see where I need to add players. I have two minor league prospects who aren’t going to play this year— unsure how teams are dealing with those guys in their alternate facilities.

8:10- Flipping between games, spring training for my right thumb; already during Milwaukee, Colorado, Cincinnati broadcasts, have seen the same commercial, a Republican ad with Mike Pence doing all the talking. I seriously want to puke, bit that would screw up my keyboard.

8:15- Akiyama gets in the game after Detroit takes Matthew Boyd out; he singles up the middle, knocks in a run and gets his first MLB hit. Not sure he is good enough to be in my starting lineup but he won five batting titles in Japan- he must be able to hit.

8:30- Last year, Bryce Harper hit .357 with runners in scoring position, .204 with the bases empty.

Whit Merrifield just singled, my team’s first hit of the night.

8:35- I’m saying that pitchers are ahead of the hitters so far. Umpires also seem to be calling more strikes. Paul Nauert had the Mets’ game today; he definitely expanded the zone some, for both sides.

Speaking of umpires, with 10-12 umps opting out this year because of COVID, there are new crew chiefs and somehow, Angel Hernandez is one, despite being a terrible umpire. Yikes. 

8:40- My opponent in fantasy ball this week has Kyle Hendricks, and he is throwing a shutout against the Brewers in the 6th inning. No bueno.

Milwaukee has Eric Sogard batting leadoff; why????? Must be his career .318 OB% that is so appealing to them. No, it is his 2-6 mark against Hendricks; even I know he shouldn’t bad leadoff, and I went to a state school.

I’m an A’s fan, I love Sogard, even have one of his t-shirts, but if he plays 3B and bats leadoff for you on Opening Night, you’re not a playoff team.

These over-educated fools who run the Brewers are at it again. I used to have Josh Hader on my team, hoping they would come to their senses and make him a starter again, but no.

10:30- Turned the laptop off for a while and had dinner; Hendricks shut out the Brewers, who have new uniforms that make them look like the Michigan Wolverines.

10:42- Michael Brantley goes yard for Houston, good news for the Armadillos.

Lets catch up on stuff that happened while I was eating:

— Reds 7, Tigers 1— Listening to the Cincinnati broadcast, they have high expectations for this season. Moustakas had three hits, knocked in four runs for the Reds, who haven’t had a winning season since 2013, Dusty Baker’s last year as their manager.

As for Detroit, they’re in a total rebuild.

— Blue Jays 6, Rays 4— Cavan Biggio hit a 3-run homer for Toronto, which found out Friday they’re playing home games this season in Buffalo.

Joe West had the plate in this game; he’s been a major league ump since 1976, when he was 23 years old. Not sure how he became a major league ump that quickly, seeing how he also played college football (East Carolina, Elon) but he did.

— Marlins 5, Phillies 2— Sandy Alcantara allowed three hits in 6.2 IP as Miami gets off to a good start. First four hitters on Philly’s lineup went 1-14.

Miami’s TV crew had team president Michael Hill on during the game and he spews the same old BS he always does; what a farm system we have, we’re building to become perennial contenders, blah, blah, blah. This is another nitwit who went to college in the Ivy League (Harvard), but thought trading Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto was a good idea.

Bryce Harper wore cleats with fluorescent green laces in them, which clashed a little with the Phillies’ uniforms, but they’ve eliminated rules about shoes, so that’s what you get.

— Indians 2, Royals 0— Only nine hits total in this game, as pitchers seemed to be ahead of the hitters, for the most part all over baseball. Shane Bieber struck out 14 Royals, allowing five runners in six IP.

— Cubs 3, Brewers 0— Milwaukee had three hits, all by 9th-place hitter Orlando Arcia; meanwhile, they had Sogard batting leadoff, which is baseball malpractice. Hendricks went the whole way, allowing three baserunners, striking out nine.

Colorado also had three hits in their game, all by the same guy, leadoff hitter Dahl. Hendricks is the first Cub with an Opening Day shutout since 1974; A’s won the World Series that year, so that’s a good omen.

— Red Sox 13, Orioles 2—Baltimore is another total rebuild; unless they have lot of good young pitchers on the way up, not sure how they’re going to get better anytime soon.

JD Martinez scored twice, knocked in three runs for Boston.

Rangers 1, Rockies 0— First game at Globe Life Field is a pitchers’ duel; Lance Lynn allowed two hits in six innings. Texas didn’t even have a hit until the 6th inning; Rougned Odor knocked in their only run. German Marquez was the tough luck loser.

— Twins 10, White Sox 5— Game was 5-5 after two innings, but Chicago never scored again. Max Kepler homered twice for Minnesota; four of their top five hitters scored twice each.

Minnesota’s bullpen allowed only four baserunners in five shutout innings.

— Cardinals 5, Pirates 4— Tough beat if you played the under; game was 3-0 Cardinals after six innings, but neither bullpen flourished, as St Louis barely held on after entering 9th inning with a 5-2 lead.

I like the cardboard cutouts at games; enjoyed watching baseball for several hours. Its a hell of a lot better than watching the news or re-watching 30-year old ballgames. Hopefully everyone will stay healthy and we can have some entertainment this summer. 

Friday’s Den: Happy Opening Day, everyone…..

13) We start today with a hard-hitting news story; a guy in Las Vegas walked into an adult toy store, and walked out with a 3-foot-tall dildo that weighs 50 pounds. Didn’t pay, just grabbed it and walked out of the store. Hmmm……

The guy put the dildo in his car and took off; this is grand larceny— the dildo is apparently worth around $1,200. Who knew?

Feel free to insert your own jokes here. I’m moving on…….

12) Couple of hours before the 2020 season started, major leagues announced that the playoffs would be expanded from 10 to 16 teams, for this year only.

Top two teams in all six divisions will make it, plus the next two best records in each league. There will be no first round byes, but in the first round, the #1 seed will have all the series games in their home ballpark.

11) Bronx 4, Washington 1 (5)— Rain-shortened season opener; neither team went to their bullpen. Giancarlo Stanton hit a 459-foot homer, Gerrit Cole won his New York debut.

Nationals’ star Juan Soto tested positive for the coronavirus, is out indefinitely.

10) Dodgers 8, Giants 1— Clayton Kershaw was a late scratch with a bad back; he is on the IL. Dustin May threw 4.1 innings as a late replacement.

Over last 13 years, San Francisco has started 13 different left fielders on Opening Day.

9) Here is how rosters work this year; for the first two weeks, each team will have 30 players, for the next two weeks, 28 players. Then it pares down to 26, which it would have been all season, had this been a normal season.

8) Ray Fosse mentioned on the A’s game the other night how Carl Yastrzemski played the entire 1970 All-Star game at first base. Thats the whole 12 innings.

Starters don’t do stuff like that anymore; now Yaztrzemski’s grandson Mike plays CF for the Giants- he hit .272 with 21 homers last year. Somehow, the Orioles gave up on them even though they were a terrible team, and the Giants pounced. He hit .272 with 21 homers LY.

7) Over/under in Las Vegas on Astros’ hitters being hit by pitches this year: 41.5.

6) Minnesota Twins have lost 16 consecutive playoff games, which is a record; last time they won a playoff game was in 2004.

5) Watching Padres-Angels exhibition game the other night, and there is a guy sitting by himself in the right field bleachers, going over notes. Only person in the stands.

Turns out it was Tony LaRussa, who works for the Angels now as a consultant.

4) Seattle’s new NHL team will be called the Kraken; they begin play in 2021-22.The kraken is a legendary cephalopod-like sea monster in Scandinavian folklore. A very large sea monster. The logo and colors looked pretty cool, at first glance.

3) Actors and their roles; there are 26 actors who have appeared in 6+ episodes of the Showtime series Billions, who also appeared in at least one episode of Law and Order. There are 16 other actors from Billions who appeared in either Law and Order: SVU, or Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

It is good to know people, make an impression; that’s how you you get hired for more jobs.

2) USC Trojans are 0-7 ATS in their last seven bowl games, even though they won three of those seven games. Last time USC covered a bowl game was in 2009, beating Boston College 24-13 (-7) in the Emerald Bowl.

1) NBA teams are scrimmaging for the next few days; real games start on Thursday. Was fun watching teams scrimmage, though they looked more like real games, seeing how they wore their real uniforms and all. 

Two lists for 2sday: Story lines to follow with baseball starting this week

Major leagues start Thursday; it’ll be a unique season. Here are some of the story lines I’ll be following:

13) Games without fans; they’re piping in crowd noise, but it does look strange seeing an empty stadium with a game going on.

Some teams are putting cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands; Dodgers covered the seats right behind home plate with a tarp. In the Bronx, those seats are just empty.

12) The extra inning rule will be interesting; each half-inning from 10th inning on starts with a runner on 2nd base, no one out. Teams are going to approach this differently; it’ll be fun to track who does what, and who does it better than other teams.

Good tidbit here: the runner on 2nd in extra innings will be listed as having reached on an error; if the run scores, it will be an unearned run.

11) There are 10 new managers; four have never managed in the majors before:
Cubs, Mets, Pirates, Padres all have rookie managers.

10) Joe Girardi taking over the Phillies from Gabe Kapler is a huge upgrade; if Zack Wheeler pitches well, the Phillies will be a contender.

9) Angels added 3B Anthony Rendon, manager Joe Maddon, but neither one of those guys pitches; former Mets manager Mickey Calloway is the new pitching coach in Anaheim, and he has his work cut out for him. Sounds like Shohei Ohtani will pitch every Sunday.

One thing about Ohtani’s starts; do they let him bat? If they do, they once he leaves the game, they’ll have to pinch-hit for the pitcher. Angels won’t have a DH in games Ohtani’s pitches, unless the DH hits for Ohtani, also.

8) Is Yoenis Cespedes healthy? Mets figure to score a lot of runs, especially if Cesepdes can go 100%; he ht a slow roller Saturday, but looked like me running to first base, so it is unclear if his legs are 100% or not. Mets need him to at least be able to run the bases.

7) You listen to MLB Network, and the Reds/White Sox will be like the 2001 Mariners, who won 116 games. Everyone is picking the Reds to win the NL Central; we’ll see how that goes.

6) Will teams that get off to a slow start dump contracts and start planning for 2021, or will they stay in it for the long haul? I’m thinking of the Indians and Francisco Lindor, in particular.

5) Texas Rangers have a new ballpark this season; early reports was that right field was less of a hitters’ field than the old ballpark. Left-center has shorter dimensions; will be curious to see how it plays, starting on Friday.

4) What the hell are the Blue Jays going to do? Canada won’t let them bounce in and out of their country, so where will they play their home games?

Buffalo is a last resort, and Pittsburgh is a possibility for 23 of their 30 home games. The other seven- Nashville? Tampa? Buffalo? Canada’s team could, for one year, become America’s team.

3) Definitely going to have to chart bullpen usage for every team; starting pitchers aren’t ready to go full-tilt yet. Pitching depth will be huge; some teams may go four innings with two guys each, then go to their closer. This will be handled in many different ways.

2) Astros lost Gerrit Cole, get Lance McCullers back from arm surgery; is their rotation deep enough to defend their AL West title?

1) 34-year old Josh Donaldson is on his 4th team in three years; he’s making a fortune from the Twins. Can he lead them to the playoffs?

TV highlights of the day: Live baseball games on TV; real games start Thursday. 

Sunday’s Den: Trends for NFL teams…….

13) Last four years, Arizona is 4-9 ATS as a home favorite.
Cardinals covered their last five visits to Seattle.
Last five years, Arizona is 3-1-1 in their season win total bets.

12) Last three years, Atlanta is 2-8 ATS as a road favorite.
Falcons covered their last five games with Carolina.
Atlanta stayed under their win total three of last five years.

11) Last three years, Baltimore is 8-15-1 ATS as a home favorite.
Ravens covered once in their last 11 games with Indianapolis.
Last four years, Baltimore went 2-0-2 in their season win totals.

10) Last four years, Buffalo is 5-9 ATS as a home underdog.
Bills covered once in their last six games with the Raiders.
Buffalo stayed under its win total three of last five years.

9) Last four years, Carolina is 9-16 ATS in divisional games.
Panthers covered five of last six games with Tampa Bay.
Carolina stayed under its season win total three of last four years.

8) Last four years, Chicago is 11-3-1 ATS as a home underdog.
Bears covered once in their last six games with the Giants.
Chicago stayed under its win total four of last five years.

7) Last three years, Cincinnati is 14-8 ATS as a road underdog.
Bengals covered twice in their last seven games vs Pittsburgh.
Cincy stayed under its win total each of the last four years.

6) Last four years, Cleveland is 7-14 ATS as a home underdog.
Browns covered twice in their last 11 games with Cincinnati.
Cleveland stayed under its win total four of last five years.

5) Last three years, Dallas is 15-3 ATS in divisional games.
Cowboys covered five of their last six games with Washington.
Cowboys stayed under their season win total three of last five years.

4) Last four years, Denver is 7-15-2 ATS in divisional games.
Broncos are 1-7-1 ATS in last nine games vs Kansas City.
Last four years, Denver is 0-3-1 against its season win total.

3) In two years under Patricia, Detroit is 9-22-1 SU; they were 36-28 the previous four years, under Jim Caldwell.
Lions covered their last six games with Green Bay.
Detroit stayed under its win total three of last five years.

2) Last four years, Green Bay is 12-15-1 ATS as an underdog.
Packers covered five of their last seven games with Philly.
Green Bay stayed under its win total four of last five years.

1) Last three years, Houston is 7-12 ATS in divisional games.
Texans covered nine of their last 132 games with Tennessee.
Houston went over its season win total four of last five years.

TV highlights of the day: Spring training (summer camp?) baseball games on TV, actual live sporting events. Was good to see. 

Friday’s Den: NFL trends on a summer day

13) Last four years, Chargers are 8-15 ATS as home favorites.
Chargers covered once in their last seven games with KC.
Chargers went under their season win total three of last five years.

12) Under McVay, Rams are 18-10 ATS on the road.
Rams covered six of last eight home games with Seattle.
Rams went over their season win total two of last three years.

11) Miami is 5-1-1 ATS in last seven seven games as a home favorite; problem is, they weren’t favored once last year.
Dolphins covered six of last eight home games with New England.
Miami went over their season win total three of last four years.

10)  Under Zimmer, Vikings are 34-14 ATS at home.
Minnesota covered its last five games vs both Dallas, Detroit.
Vikings went over their season win total three of last five years.

9) Last four years, Saints are 12-5-1 ATS as a road underdog.
New Orleans covered its last five games with the Bears.
Saints went over their season win total the last three years.

8) Last three years, Giants are 6-17-1 ATS at home.
Giants covered three times in their last 13 home games vs Philly.
Giants stayed under their season win total the last three years.

7) Jets covered three of their last 12 AFC East games.
Jets covered three of their last four visits to Buffalo.
Last four years, Jets are 0-3-1 in their season win total bets.

6) Eagles are 4-9-1 ATS in last 14 games as a home favorite. 

Philly covered once in its last six games with Dallas.
Last five years, Eagles are 1-3-1 in their season win total bets.

5) Last two years, underdogs are 11-3-2 ATS in Steeler road games.
Steelers covered 10 of their last 12 games with Buffalo.
Steelers stayed under their season win total the last two years.

4) Last two years, 49ers are 3-8-1 ATS in NFC West games.
49ers covered six of last seven games with New Orleans.
49ers went over their season win total two of last three years.

3) Seattle is 8-3-1 ATS in last dozen games as a road favorite.
Seahawks covered their last six games with the Eagles.
Seattle went over their season win total the last two years.

2) Last six years, Tennessee is 14-23 ATS as a road underdog.
Titans covered five of their last six games with Jacksonville.
Titans went over their season win total the last four years.

1) Washington covered 10 of its last 15 games as a road underdog
Redskins covered once in their last six games with Philly.
Last five years, Redskins are 2-2-1 in their season win total bets.

TV highlights of the day: A Star is Born, some intrasquad baseball on MLB Network. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Some movie recommendations for late-night TV

It is possible that I watch too much TV, but during the pandemic, not much else to do, except read books, listen to music. Here are 13 movies, mostly older movies, that you will enjoy if you come across them on one of the movie channels.

13) The Gambler— Remake of a 1974 James Caan movie, Mark Wahlberg plays a college professor who borrows money from both his mother and a loan shark; a compulsive gambler, paying all his debts comes down to one spin of the roulette wheel.

John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Brie Larson are a fine supporting cast.

12) Dave— The U.S. President goes into a coma while cheating on his wife; to avoid a scandal, the President’s henchmen hire a temp agency owner with an uncanny resemblance to the President to play the role of the President.

Kevin Kline is the star; Sigoruney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley and Charles Grodin are an excellent supporting cast.

11) Jackie Brown— A middle-aged stewardess smuggles money from Mexico to Los Angeles for an arms dealer; she gets caught with $10,000 and cocaine in her purse. She convinces her bail bondsman to take part in a con game to steal $500,000 from the arms dealer.

Pam Grier is the star; Robert Forster is the bondsman, Samuel L Jackson the arms dealer. Smaller roles for Robert DeNiro and Michael Keaton.

10) Less Than Zero— A college freshman returns to Los Angeles for the holidays at his ex-girlfriend’s request, but discovers that his former best friend has an out-of-control drug habit. Not always a pleasant movie, but it is well done.

Jami Gertz plays the young lady; she has recently represented the Atlanta Hawks a couple times at the NBA’s Draft Lottery— her husband in real life is Antony Ressler, who owns the Hawks.

9) Let It Ride— Richard Dreyfuss plays a degenerate gambler who is a habitual loser but has one very good day at the racetrack. Teri Garr plays his beleaguered wife, David Johansen plays one of his gambling friends, Jennifer Tilly plays a rich guy’s girlfriend who is at the track with him.

If you enjoy going to the track, guaranteed this movie will make you laugh.

8) Fabulous Baker Boys— The lives of two struggling piano players, who are brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer. Once the singer joins their act, they become a much more popular group, but then things get complicated by romance.

Jeff/Beau Bridges are brothers in this movie and in real life; Michelle Pfeiffer is the singer, and this is peak Michelle Pfeiffer. Good movie.

8a) Bonus List: Mt Rushmore of John Grisham movies:
— A Time To Kill
— Runaway Jury
— The Client
— The Rainmaker

6) Lucky You— A hotshot poker player tries to win a tournament in Las Vegas, but is fighting a losing battle with his personal problems; complicating things is Huck’s father, a champion poker player, arriving in Las Vegas- Huck despises the old man for having left his mother.

Robert Duvall is the father, Eric Bana is the hotshot, Drew Barrymore his girlfriend. Lot of real-life pro poker players are in this movie.

5) He Got Game— Denzel Washington is a father who pushes his son to become a great ballplayer, but during a domestic dispute, he inadvertently kills his wife, and goes to jail. The only way he can get a shorter sentence is to convince his son to play ball for the governor’s alma mater, but the son hates his old man.

Ray Allen is the ballplayer, Ned Beatty the warden, John Turturro one of the coaches who is recruiting the kid. Jim Brown plays a probation officer assigned to watch Denzel while he is trying to recruit his own son. Rick Fox is the kid’s guide on one of his recruiting visits.

4) White Palace— Still getting over the death of his wife, a young advertising executive meets an older waitress, a woman with a fixation on Marilyn Monroe. The couple gradually fall in love, though age and social differences make things problematic.

James Spader is the guy, Susan Sarandon the waitress, Jason Alexander is one of his friends. There is a great, short appearance by Steven Hill, who played the original DA on Law and Order.

3) Lost In Translation— Bill Murray is a movie star on the back nine of his career who heads to Tokyo to do a whiskey commercial for $2M. While there, he crosses paths with a young lady who is in Tokyo with her photographer husband, but the husband largely ignores her.

The actor and the young lady form an unlikely friendship; the ending kind of leaves us hanging.

2) Oceans 11, Oceans 13— A group of 11 thieves work together to rob Las Vegas casinos; Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Ellen Barkin, Andy Garcia, a tremendous cast in these two movies.

Al Pacino owns the casino they try to rob in Oceans Thirteen. 

1) The Replacements— During a pro football strike, the owners hire substitute players; Keanu Reaves is the QB, Gene Hackman the coach, Jack Warden the owner. A motley cast of characters make up the rest of the Washington Sentinels.

Apparently Sentinels is not one of the names under consideration to replace Redskins as the nickname of the Washington team in real life. 

Sunday’s Den: Playing careers of current American League managers:

Playing careers of current American League managers:
Brandon Hyde, Orioles:
— Played three years in the White Sox organization, getting as high as AAA. 
— Hit .252 with 15 home runs, in 200 minor league games.
— Played college baseball at Long Beach State.
— Was a coach for Cubs/Marlins before getting the Baltimore job.

Ron Roenicke, Red Sox:
— His older brother Gary also played in the big leagues.
— Ron Roenicke hit .238 in an 8-year career; he played for six different teams.
— Was an OF; got in two playoff games with ’84 Padres, but didn’t bat.
— Played all three outfield positions.

Rick Renteria, White Sox:
— Played in 184 games for three teams in a 5-year MLB career.
— Was a utility infielder whose birthday is on Christmas.
— Saw him play in Albany for the AA Nashua Pirates in 1984.

Terry Francona, Indians:
— His father Tito also played in the major leagues.
— Hit .274 in a 10-year career; his OPS was only .652.
— Played for five teams in 10 years; was a 1st round pick of the Expos.
— Went 4-13 in the ’81 playoffs for Montreal; threw one scoreless inning as a pitcher for Milwaukee in ’89.

Ron Gardenhire, Tigers:
— Hit .232 in five years (285 games) for the Mets.
— Was a 6th round pick of the Mets; played mostly SS in the majors.
— Was traded to Minnesota after the ’86 season, but never made it to the majors with the Twins, until he became their manager.

Dusty Baker, Astros
— Hit .287 with 242 homers in a 19-year big league career.
— Played mostly for the Dodgers but also saw lot of time with Atlanta.
— Hit .282 in 40 postseason games with the Dodgers.
— Made two All-Star Games, in ’81, ’82.

Mike Matheny, Royals:
— Hit .239 in a 13-year career as a major league catcher.
— Played for four teams, mostly Cardinals/Brewers.
— Hit .253 in 27 postseason games for St Louis.

Joe Maddon, Angels:
— Maddon hit .267 with 5 home runs in 514 at bats in four years as a catcher in A ball in the Angels organization.
— Played football and baseball at Lafayette College.
— Was a coach with the Angels from 1994-2006.
— Had a 279–339 record in six seasons as a minor league manager, but he’s close to being a Hall of Fame manager with his big league resume.

Rocco Baldelli, Twins:
— Hit .278 in seven injury-plagued seasons for Tampa Bay.
— Finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 2003; it was downhill from there.
— Never played more than 92 games in his last five years in the majors.

Aaron Boone, Bronx:
— His father, grandfather and brother all played in the major leagues.
— Hit .263 in a 12-year career, playing for six different teams.
— Made 2003 All-Star Game while playing for the Reds.
— Was only 9-53 in ’03 playoffs, but hit walk-off homer in Game 7 of ALCS.

Bob Melvin, A’s:
— Hit .233 in a 10-year career as a major league catcher, playing for seven teams.
— Was a 1st round pick of Detroit in ‘81; played only 41 games for the Tigers.
— Went 3-7 in his only three playoff games, for the ’87 Giants.
— Played most of his career for the Orioles, Giants.

Scott Servais, Mariners:
— Hit .245 in an 11-year career as a major league catcher.
— Went 2-3 in his only playoff game, for the ’98 Cubs.
— Played for four different teams, mostly the Cubs/Astros.

Kevin Cash, Rays:
— Played 246 games in eight years, for five big league teams.
— Hit .183 with 12 career homers, mostly for Boston/Toronto.
—- Went 1-3 in four career playoff games for the ’08 Red Sox; pitched one inning in the majors, allowing one run for the ’10 Astros.
— Never managed in the minors; was a coach for Terry Francona in Cleveland. 

Chris Woodward, Rangers:
— Hit .229 in 12 years (659 games) as a major leaguer.
— Lasted 12 years in majors after being a 54th-round draft pick.
— Versatile player, he played every position but pitcher/catcher. Shortstop was his primary position.
— Hit .276 with 13 homers in only 90 games for ’02 Blue Jays.

Charlie Montoyo, Blue Jays:
— Went 2-5 in four games for the ’93 Expos, his only big league experience.
— Montoyo played in 1,028 minor league games and retired in 1996; he hit .266 with 400 RBI in the minors.
— Managed in Tampa Bay’s minor league system for 18 years.

TV highlight of the day: Solid movie night- Rounders, Moneyball, Bull Durham; TV was way better later at night than during the day. 

Saturday’s Den: Playing careers of current NL managers……

Playing careers of current National League managers:
Torey Lovullo, Arizona:
— Once a highly-touted prospect, Lovullo played eight years in the majors for seven different teams. He played 116 games for the Angels, the most of any team.
— Hit .224 in 837 plate appearances.
— Played every position but catcher and CF, but mostly played 2B.

Brian Snitker, Braves:
— Never played in majors, managed 23 years in the minors.
— Hit .254 in 780 minor league at-bats, in four years in the Braves organization.
— Was a catcher who also played some 1B.

David Ross, Cubs:
— Rookie manager hit .229 in a 15-year major league career as a catcher.
— Played for seven major league teams, won a World Series with the Cubs in his last season.
— Played in 254 games for the Reds, the most of any team.

David Bell, Reds:
— His father and grandfather also played in the major leagues.
— Played 12 years in majors for six different teams, hitting .257.
— Hit .282 in 117 post-season at-bats.
— Played mostly for the Phillies and Mariners; he played all over the IF, mostly at 3B.

Bud Black, Rockies:
— Pitched in majors for 15 years, going 121-116 in 398 games (296 starts).
— Pitched mostly for the Royals (56-57 in 128 starts)
— Won 10+ games eight times, went 17-12 in 1984.

Dave Roberts, Dodgers:
— Played 10 years in the majors for five different teams, hitting .266.
— His one year in Boston was memorable, helping the Red Sox break the Curse of the Bambino in 2004.
— Played mostly with the Dodgers/Padres; he was an OF.
— Five guys named Dave Roberts have played in the major leagues.

Don Mattingly, Marlins:
— Played whole 14-year career in the Bronx, batting .307 with an .830 career OPS.
— 6-time All-Star won the MVP in 1985.
— Led AL in doubles every year from 1994-96, hitting 44-48-53 doubles.

Craig Counsell, Brewers:
— Hit .255 in a 16-year career with five different teams.
— Was MVP of the 2001 NLCS while playing for Arizona.
— Played all over the infield, mostly in middle infield.

Luis Rojas, Mets:
— 38-year old rookie manager has been a coach in Mets’ organization since 2007.
— Went 549-469 in eight years as a minor league skipper.
— He is Felipe Alou’s son, Moises Alou’s half-brother.

Joe Girardi, Phillies:
— Played for four teams in a 15-year catching career, making the 2000 All-Star Game
— Hit .267 for his career, half of which was spent with the Cubs.
— Hit .184 in 114 postseason at-bats, but did win three rings in the Bronx.

Derek Shelton, Pirates:
— Hit .341 in 46 minor league games as a catcher in the Bronx organization.
— Was a hitting coach for Cleveland/Tampa Bay for 12 years, was then a quality control coach for Toronto, then a bench coach for the Twins.
— Managed in the minors from 2000-02, winning 62% of his games.

Mike Shildt, Cardinals:
— Was a high school coach, then an assistant coach at NC-Charlotte for five years.
— Was a general major league scout for three years before the Cardinals hired him as a minor league coach.
— Went 603-531 in ten years as a minor league manager.

Jayce Tingler, Padres:
— Rookie manager played four years in the minors, getting as high as Double-A.
— Has served in a variety of positions, from minor league manager to field coordinator to assistant GM to player development coordinator, mostly with the Texas Rangers.
—- Hit .271 in 1,477 AB’s as a minor league OF, with only three homers.

Gabe Kapler, Giants:
— Hit .268 in a 12-year major league career with six different teams.
— Went 3-27 in 15 career playoff games.
— Made one of the best catches I’ve ever seen at Dodger Stadium in 2008, robbing Russell Martin of a homer and costing me my fantasy league championship. 🙁

Dave Martinez, Nationals:
— Played for nine different teams in a 16-year major league career as an OF.
— Hit .276 for his career, with 91 career homers.
— Played mostly for Montreal/White Sox; never played more than four years with any team.

TV highlight of the day: Solid movie night- The Hangover, Lost in Translation, The Natural. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings about the baseball schedule

13) Major league teams will play division rivals 10 games each, but not necessarily 5 home, 5 away; their other 20 games will be against the like division in the other league.

AL East-NL East, Central-Central, West-West

12) Opening night is July 23:
Bronx-Washington, Giants-Dodgers

Everyone else plays the next day. Teams will have six days off over the 66-day season.

11) Colorado Rockies will help the Rangers open brand new Globe Life Field, which is a domed stadium.

10) ESPN’s Sunday night baseball schedule:
July 26: Braves-Mets, Giants-Dodgers
August 2: Red Sox-Bronx
August 9: Cubs-Cardinals
August 16: Red Sox-Bronx
August 23: Phillies-Braves
August 30: Braves-Phillies
September 6: Cardinals-Cubs

Not a lot of imagination here.

9) Additional Sunday Night Baseball thoughts:
— I’ve heard the Astros have a good team; Houston is the 4th-biggest city in the country
— Washington Nationals won the World Series last year.
— Mike Trout is the best player in baseball.

None of those teams are on a Sunday night ESPN game; Angels-Astros have to Sunday games that would’ve made for a good TV matchup.

8) Cubs play a total of 20 games against St Louis/Milwaukee; 14 of those games will be played at Wrigley Field.

7) Listening to pundits on MLB Network. I’m convinced that the Cincinnati Reds are now the 2001 Mariners, who went 116-46. Reds, White Sox are fashionable choices to contend for a playoff spot they haven’t had in a while.

Cincinnati plays six of its first nine games against lowly Detroit; lot of pressure to win those.

6) Teams who play the “easiest” schedule (based on 2019 records):
— Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, White Sox

Teams who play the “hardest” schedule (based on 2019 records):
— Marlins, Angels, Orioles, Mariners

5) San Diego Padres only leave California once in September, for three days.

4) Bronx OF Aaron Hicks figures to be the first major leaguer not to miss any game action after having Tommy John Surgery.

3) Teams that fly the most miles: Texas 14,706, Houston 13,954
Teams that fly the fewest miles: Brewers 3,962, Cubs 4,071, Tigers 4,615

2) Mets first 11 games, four series are against the Braves/Red Sox.

1) Season ends on September 27; all the games that day start at 3:00 ET. Cubs-White Sox, Angels-Dodgers match up on the last weekend of the season.

TV highlight of the day: MLB Network ran a Milwaukee-St Louis game from 2014, when the great Bob Uecker was in the booth for the last six innings. Good stuff. 

Monday’s List of 13: Some of the greatest comebacks in baseball’s playoff history……

13) Bronx 8, Braves 6 (10)- Game 4, 1996 WS
— Braves led series 2-1, led 6-0 after five innings, behind Denny Neagle.
— Atlanta bullpen gave up five runs in five innings.
— Kenny Rogers started for New York, gave up five runs in 2+ IP.
— Jim Leyritz tied the game with a 3-run homer in 8th inning.

12) Mets 7, Astros 6 (16)- Game 6 1986 NLCS
— Mets won last two games of series, in 12-16 innings.
— Astros led 3-0 in 1st, led 3-0 until 9th, when Mets tied game. Both teams scored in 14th, Mets scored three runs in 16th, Astros scored only twice.
— Bob Knepper had shutout into 9th inning, ran out of gas.
— Mets used three relievers, who threw 3-5-3 innings. The game has changed since then.

11) Cardinals 10, Dodgers 9- Game 1 2014 NLDS
— Dodgers led 6-1 after five, 6-2 after six, behind Kershaw.
— Cardinals scored 8 runs in top 0f 7th; Kershaw faced 7 hitters in 7th, giving up 5 hits.
— First three guys in St Louis lineup went 5-13, with six runs scored, 8 RBI.
— 11 relievers were used in the game; only three of them got 3+ outs.

10) Cubs 6, Giants 5- Game 4 2016 NLDS
— Cubs scored four runs in 9th to move onto the NLCS, after losing day before in 13 innings.
— Matt Moore allowed only two hits, struck out 10 in 8 IP; Giants used five relievers in fateful 9th inning.
— Contreras had a 2-run, pinch-hit single in 9th inning.
— Giants had only two baserunners over final 4.2 innings.

9) Astros 7, Braves 6 (18)- Game 4, 2005 NLDS
— Atlanta led 6-1 after 7 innings, 6-5 after 8 innings.
— Astros’ bullpen allowed only one run in 13.2 IP.
— Roger Clemens pitched the last three innings, allowing one hit.
— Chris Burke hit a walkoff homer in the 18th for Houston.

8) Royals 9, Astros 6- Game 3, 2015 ALDS
— Houston led 6-2 after seven innings behind McCullers.
— Carlos Correa was 4-4 with two homers, four RBI, also made an error in 8th inning.
— Astros bullpen got eight outs, gave up seven runs.
— Hosmer hit a 2-run homer in 9th inning for insurance runs.

7) Angels 7, Red Sox 6- Game 3, 2009 ALDS
— Halos trailed 5-2 after seven, scored 3 in 9th to sweep series, after first two hitters in 9th inning made outs
— Papelbon faced 8 batters; allowed four hits, two walks.
— Vladimir Guerrero’s 2-run single was the big hit in the 9th.
— Angels’ bullpen allowed only one run in four IP.

6) Mets 6, Red Sox 5 (10)- Game 6, 1986 WS
— Boston scored two runs in top of 10th; this is the Bill Buckner game.
— Roger Clemens allowed only one earned run in seven IP.
— Boggs/Barrett went 6-9 at top of Boston order, in a losing cause.
— Mets double-switched Darryl Strawberry out of this game in 9th inning; unusual.

5) Dodgers 6, Phillies 5- Game 3, 1977 NLCS
— Phillies took 5-3 lead with two runs in 8th, couldn’t hold lead.
— Rick Rhoden threw 4.1 scoreless innings in relief; neither starter finished 4th inning.
— Top three hitters in Philly order (McBride-Bowa-Schmidt) went 0-12.
— Dodgers scored 3 runs in 9th, after first two batters made out; Vic Davalillo started the rally with a pinch-hit bunt single.

4) Cardinals 5, Astros 4- Game 5, 2005 NLCS
— Pujols hit a 2-out, 3-run HR off Brad Lidge in 9th inning.
— Lance Berkman hit 3-run tater in 7th to give Astros a 4-2 lead.
— Andy Pettitte gave up two runs in 6.1 IP for Houston.
— Astros won series two days later, winning 5-1 behind Roy Oswalt.

3) Blue Jays 7, A’s 6 (11)- Game 4, 1992 ALCS
— A’s led 6-1 after seven innings; bullpen was dreadful.
— Roberto Alomar went 4-5, tied game with 2-run homer in 9th.
— Jack Morris was knocked out in 4th inning; their bullpen allowed one run.
— Pat Borders knocked in winning run with sac fly in 11th.

2) Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14- Game 4, 1993 WS
— Game was 7-6 in third inning; Blue Jays were down 14-9 in 8th, scored six runs to take a 3-1 series lead.
— Devon White went 3-5, had a two-run triple in 8th inning.
— Lenny Dykstra scored four runs, knocked in four in a losing cause.
— Toronto scored 41 runs in their four wins in this World Series.

1) Red Sox 8, Rays 7- Game 5, 2008 ALCS
— Tampa Bay led 7-0 in 7th inning, trying to win their first pennant.
— Scott Kazmir threw six shutout innings for the Rays.
— Tampa bullpen faced 18 hitters; eight of them scored.
— David Ortiz hit a 3-run homer, JD Drew a 2-run homer for Boston.
— Rays wound up winning this series in seven games.

TV highlight of the day: Golf on TV was fun; also a solid movie day:
Rounders, Good Will Hunting, Up In the Air, Love & Basketball

Saturday’s Den: Things I’ve missed/am missing

Things I’ve missed doing the last four months:
13) I miss turning the TV on every night and watching baseball, especially the A’s. The baseball season is a six-month drama that plays out one night at a time. I miss that drama. Hopefully on July 23, things will go well, and we can watch games the rest of the summer.

12) I miss stressing out about my fantasy baseball team; last I heard, Giancarlo Stanton is healthy, so the sooner they start this abbreviated season, the better.

March seems like 2-3 years ago; it slipped my mind that I had made a Machado-Bryant trade a day or two before everything shut down in the spring.

11) I miss going to the malls around here and getting slices of pizza while I watch people walk by.

10) I miss going to the bookstore and looking for interesting books/magazines.

9) I had missed going out to lunch every day and talking with people and laughing and learning stuff. but I’ve started dong that again the last couple weeks- that makes the days more fun.

8) I missed March Madness, my favorite event of the year.

7) I miss writing in my notebooks every night, filling them with numbers that will talk back to me when I look at them later on. I have a lot of notebooks/index cards. And pens.

6) I actually miss walking into the bank and paying my credit card bill, though now I’ve joined the 21st century and have an online banking account. Much easier.

5) I miss seeing hockey teams celebrate after scoring an overtime goal; I miss seeing teams line up and shake hands after a hard-fought playoff series.

4) I miss writing about what happens every day, instead of inventing lists like this, although  this experience has been highly educational. Seriously, it has been.

3) I miss listening to Charles Barkley and Shaq discuss the NBA playoffs, though watching old playoff games reminds me that shorter playoff series would be a lot more fun.

2) I DO NOT MISS going to the gas station and paying $2.79 a gallon for gas; can’t remember the last time I put gas in my car— the price of gas has dropped 50 cents a gallon here.

1) I miss visiting Las Vegas, and knowing that I can play video poker and watch ballgames and shoot the breeze with whoever is around.

I look forward to life getting more normal, so I can do these things again. The more we wear masks in public, the sooner we can do these things. 

Friday’s List of 13: Randomly interesting sports facts……

A guy named Peter Burns posted a thread on his Twitter feed; What’s your favorite random sports stat? I went thru the thread, and picked out my favorite ones…….

13) Wayne Gretzky has the most points in NHL history, by far; if you take away all his goals, he would still have the most points in NHL history.

12) Stan Musial had 3,630 hits in his great career:
— 1,815 hits at home.
— 1,815 hits on the road.

11) July 2, 1963, Giants beat the Braves 1-0 in 16 innings at Candlestick Park; both pitchers threw complete games.

Juan Marichal threw 227 pitches, Warren Spahn 201. Willie Mays ended things with a home run in the 16th, in front of 15,921 fans. Game took 4:10 to play.

10) Tony Gwynn had 541 career at-bats against 18 pitchers who made the Hall of Fame; he hit .331 in those at-bats.

9) Ohio State has won eight national titles in football, six of them outright, two others were shared.

Buckeyes have been the #1 preseason team seven times; in none of those seven years did they win a national championship.

8) From 2008-2018, Charles Howell III made $20,422,568 on the PGA Tour without winning a tournament or finishing in the top 20 on the money list.

7) On his 29th birthday, Phil Niekro had 17 career wins; he wound up with 318 wins, using the knuckleball to pitch until he was 48 years old.

6) April 23, 1999, Fernando Tatis hit two grand slams in a game at Dodger Stadium……in the same inning, off the same pitcher (Chan Ho Park).

5) On July 3, 1966, Tony Cloninger hit two grand slams in a game, which is impressive, even mores because…….Tony Cloninger was a pitcher.

4) Between 1990-2000, Florida/Florida State played 13 football games against each other; they were both in the top 5 for all 13 meetings.

3) Nolan Ryan struck out seven father/son combinations.

2) In 1927, there were unassisted triple plays on consecutive days in the major leagues; there wasn’t another unassisted triple play in the big leagues until 1968.

1) Money earned via salary in 2020:
— Bobby Bonilla, $1.19M (he retired in 2001)
— Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes, $850,000

TV highlight of the day:  Moneyball was on, always a highlight. Bad News Bears was on too, a great movie.