Monday’s Den: Happy birthday, Dad…….

13) I’ve become a fan of listening to podcasts on my phone; if there aren’t any good movies on TV late at night, after the games are over, then I’ll put music on or listen to a podcast.

I’m a little concerned that podcasts have replaced writing in a lot of places, because our society is lazy, and running your mouth is easier than typing out your thoughts, but still, I’ve enjoyed learning stuff from listening to people who are smarter than I am. 

Word of caution: There A LOT OF PODCASTS out there, so pick/choose things that interest you. My main interests are sports and movies; here are a few podcasts I listen to:

— The Moment, with Brian Koppelman (one of writers of Billions)
— Eye on College Basketball, a CBS production which is self-explanatory.
— The Mind of Miles, with former Nebraska hoop coach Tim Miles, who will have himself a nice career on TV if he chooses that option. He is upbeat and can really talk.
— Truth and Basketball, with George Karl and another guy- they get some good guests. Listened to an episode with Julius Erving the other night.
— 6 Ways to Sunday— Rams’ GM Les Snead and his wife, Kara Henderson talk about interesting aspects of being an NFL GM that we might not usually think about.

Sports, politics, movies, music; its all out there. Its like eavesdropping on conversations, so if you choose smart, interesting people, you’ll get smarter while you’re being entertained.

12) Book recommendation: If you love pro basketball and you remember the ABA, then you have to read Loose Balls, which is basically an oral history of the ABA. The author interviewed a ton of people, then cut/pasted their answers and created this book, long before cut/paste was an actual thing. 

Lot of great stories; some of it is obviously dated, seeing how the ABA ended 45 years ago, but the ABA is also highly underrated in basketball history. This book is worth reading.

11) Kid on Florida Atlantic’s baseball team hit two grand slams in one inning the other day, and they were his first two college at-bats. Not a bad way to start your career.

10) I’m in a 14-team fantasy baseball league; it is a dynasty league, so we have a 2-round draft every February, but otherwise keep our teams from year-to-year. This league has been going on since 2005; we’ve finished our draft already and now wait for spring training games to start this coming weekend. Every team gets four drop/adds per month.

I used to offer trades during the spring, but trading can be frustrating; only a couple guys will make deals that are fair exchanges. Few years ago, thought I had a trade wrapped up, but then the guy says, “One more thing……throw in deGrom and we’ve got a deal” Ummm, no bueno.

9) Colorado Rockies are taking grief over dealing Nolan Arenado, and the prospect of Trevor Story also getting traded sometime this year, before he hits free agency. Last time Colorado signed a major league free agent?

December 21, 2018, they signed Daniel Murphy. Are they trying to win?

8) More bad news for the Rockies Sunday; 35-year old 1B/OF Ian Desmond is opting out for the second year in a row, to spend more time with his family. Desmond must’ve taken good care of his money; he has passed on $13.5M by sitting out last year/this year. He is a free agent after this season; why would a hitter willingly leave Denver?

7) One of the pitfalls of wagering on college basketball is that lot of teams have very little depth, and a turned ankle or foul trouble to one guy can cripple a team.

— Notre Dame-Syracuse game Saturday, both teams played 7 guys (Syracuse played an 8th kid, but only for 3:00)
— South Alabama is on a roll, winning 8 in a row; they played six guys Saturday. Six!!!

Lot of work keeping up with who is healthy/who isn’t. It is way worse this year because of teams pausing for COVID and games getting re-scheduled. Hopefully next season will be more normal.

6) When you hear a basketball announcer on TV say “Eurostep” that’s his polite way of saying, “the guy just walked but the ref didn’t call it.”

5) Atlantic 14 tournament has been jockeyed around some:
— Tournament was moved up to March 3-6 in Richmond, all except the final.
— A-14 final will be March 14 in Dayton, which is close to Indiana, where the whole NCAA Tournament will be played. Trying to minimize any possible COVID issues.

4) St Bonaventure 69, Davidson 58:
— Bonnies are 11-3, 9-3 in conference.
— Get a map, and find Olean, NY; it is in middle of nowhere, on Southern Tier of NY.
— How does Bonnies’ coach Mark Schmidt not have a better job? He is a great coach.

Bonnies have 12 players, 2 freshmen, one sophomore, and NINE JUNIORS. They could be a really good team the next couple of years.

3) When I wrote tomorrow NBA’s page just before I started this page, was watching the Minnesota-Knicks game on TV. Knicks won a close game; just heard that after the game, the Timberwolves fired coach Ryan Saunders.

2) As if the last year hasn’t been weird enough, Saturday an NHL game was delayed for eight hours because the sun was out and the ice at the outdoor rink was melting. This was at the same time as the PGA event in Los Angeles being delayed because it was too windy out. Oy.

1) Today would’ve been my dad’s 95th birthday; he passed away six years ago, and I miss him every day. He was a quiet, patient person; somehow the patience didn’t get passed down to his son. 🙂

Back in the day, I wasn’t allowed to watch The Three Stooges on TV: my mother apparently thought I would start drilling people in the head with a wrench if I did, but when she went out, I would put The Three Stooges on (WSBK in Boston) and my dad would come in the room, shake his head at me, but five minutes later, he’d be laughing harder than I was. Every time.

My dad grew up in New York City, was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan; he loved golf, the Mets/Knicks/Giants, going to the racetrack at Saratoga and being around his family, and we loved being around him. Happy birthday dad; wish you were here. 

Since 1995, #3 or lower seeds in Super Bowls.

1997— #4 AFC Denver (+11.5) W31-24
1999— #4 AFC Tennessee (+7) L16-23
2000— #4 AFC Baltimore (-3) W34-7
2003— #3 NFC Carolina (+7) L29-32
2005— #6 AFC Pittsburgh (-4) W21-10
2006— #3 AFC Indianapolis (-6.5) W29-17
2007— #5 NFC NJ Giants (+12) W17-14
2008— #4 NFC Arizona (+7) L23-27
2010— #6 NFC Green Bay (-2.5) W31-25
2011— #4 NFC NJ Giants (+3) W21-17
2012— #4 AFC Baltimore (+4.5) W34-31

Since 1995, #3 or worse seeds in Super Bowl: 8-3 SU, 10-0-1 ATS

Wednesday’s Den: My nine favorite Super Bowls, and other Super Bowl trivia

13) Steelers 31, Rams 19:
— Even though they lost, it was first time Rams made it to a Super Bowl.
— Rams led 19-17 after third quarter; they were 10.5-point underdogs.
— This was Pittsburgh’s fourth Super Bowl title in six years.

12) Giants 17, Patriots 14:
— The thought of a New England team going 17-0 was nauseating.
— Subway sandwich chain was recently sued by two people who claim the “tuna” in Subway’s tuna subs is something other than tuna.
— I used to eat lot of Subway subs, until they hired Bill Belichick to do commercials, then I switched to Jersey Mike’s. Much better subs.

11) Chiefs 23, Vikings 7:
— NFL Films’ highlight film of this game made KC coach Hank Stram a household name.
— “Keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys” NFL Films struck gold miking the coach.
— This was the last game before AFL/NFL merged; Chiefs were a 12-point dog.
10) Raiders 32, Vikings 14:
— Minnesota made the Rams’ life miserable in 70’s playoff games, so this was a good result.
— This was my senior year in HS; I played in a CYO basketball league where the games were played in a Jewish Community Center. Go figure.
— We had a game scheduled at same time as the Super Bowl; our refs didn’t show up until after the football game. I sat in a lounge and ate chips/drank soda watching the football game. Needless to say, I was fairly useless during the basketball game.

9) From 1984-96 seasons, the NFC won 13 consecutive Super Bowls.

8) In his nine Super Bowls, Tom Brady’s team has never scored a first quarter TD, or led after the first quarter (0-4-5). He’s won six of the nine games SU.

7) Strange Stat of the Day:
Last 14 Super Bowls, the team with the lesser win %age went 10-4 SU, 13-1 ATS

6) Only twice has the team that lost a Super Bowl won the big game the next season:
— Dallas lost Super Bowl V to the Colts, beat Miami the next year.
— New England lost Super Bowl LII to Philadelphia, won the Super Bowl the next year.

5) Saints 31, Colts 17:
— Saints were in the NFL 21 years before they played a playoff game.
— Someone made a commercial of Saints fans’ reactions at home parties when Tracy Porter ran back a pick-6 74 yards to clinch the game for New Orleans. It is a great commercial.

4) Chiefs 31, 49ers 20:
— Whenever the 49ers lose, I’m probably pretty happy.
— I’ve never heard anyone say they dislike Andy Reid, and I know someone who hates Ray Romano. Reid won his first world title in his 21st year as a head coach.
— 49ers led this game 20-10 after third quarter.

3) Eagles 41, Patriots 33:
— Nick Foles is 28-27 as a regular season starter, 4-2 in playoff games.
— He’s played for five teams in nine years, but will always be a Philly legend.
— Foles caught a TD pass on a trick play to give Philly a 22-12 halftime lead.

2) Steelers 27, Cardinals 23:
— Arizona lost, but getting Cardinals here put Kurt Warner in the Hall of Fame.
— Warner threw a 64-yard TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald with 2:37 left to put Arizona ahead.
— Big Ben won it with a 6-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes with 0:35 left.

1) Rams 23, Titans 16:
— 73-yard TD pass from Warner to Bruce with 1:54 left put Rams ahead.
— Mike Jones tackles a Titans’ WR on 1-yard line as time ran out.
— Warner capped off a storybook season, throwing for 414 yards.