Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday, with some venting included

13) Major League Baseball has a great product, but they’re TERRIBLE at promoting it.

I watch baseball every night, at least 5-6 hours a night, more than that on weekends, but until Saturday, I had no idea that the 2,000,000th run in major league history was going to be scored this weekend. How is this possible? How could this not be promoted, talked about????

The commissioner should be fired for this; the 2,000,000th run would’ve been something they could’ve promoted all season, had contests as to who would score the 2,000,000th run. Instead, crickets.

What are they thinking about?!?!?!?!

12) I’m 61 years old; when I was 15, the millionth run in major league history was scored, and believe me, MLB made a big deal out of it.
— There was a cash prize given to whatever guy scored the 1,000,000th run.
— Couple guys hit home runs that last day and sprinted around the bases, thinking they might be THAT guy (this was way before the Interweb).
— A candy company was giving away stuff connected to the 1,000,000th run; it was fun.

Bob Watson of the Astros scored the 1,000,000th run that year; pretty sure he scored it on a Sunday afternoon, maybe in San Francisco?

Anyway, the point is that baseball is a great sport, but the people who run baseball act like they don’t like baseball— this is a problem. They’re the problem; the game is just fine.

11) By the way, Bob Watson was a .295 career hitter who drove in 989 runs in his career, yet the thing I remember him for is scoring that 1,000,00th run. 

It was a big deal back then; it should’ve been a big deal this month.

10) Padres 11, Astros 8 (12)
— Tatis his a foul pop that should’ve been the last out in the 9th inning, but it wasn’t caught; he then tied the game with a 3-run homer.
— Wil Myers hit a 3-run homer in the 12th for the win.
— This was San Diego’s 4th straight extra inning game; the record is five, set by the 1908 Tigers.

9) Astros played the Dodgers/Padres at home this week.
— Last two games, they’re 3-32 with runners in scoring position.
— This week, in four games, Houston’s bullpen allowed 25 runs in 16.2 IP.

8) There are some really bad teams this season:
— Arizona has lost 13 games in a row.
— Baltimore has lost 12 games in a row.
— Colorado is 3-22 on the road, shut out nine times in those 22 losses.

Maybe these teams should dump the over-educated imbeciles in their front offices, and hire some old-school baseball people who know how to construct a roster. Or maybe if Colorado paid Arenado, or Arizona paid Goldschmidt, those teams wouldn’t be so bad.

7) Bucks 120, Heat 103:
— Milwaukee sweeps series 4-0, winning last three games by 34-29-17 points.

6) 76ers 132, Wizards 103:
— Sixers lead series 3-0, winning last two games by 25-29 points.

5) Jazz 121, Grizzlies 111:
— Utah grabs home court advantage back, leads series 2-1.
— Jazz made 19-43 on the arc; Conley made 7-10.

4) Trailblazers 115, Nuggets 95:
— Series is tied 2-2; NBA office has to be relieved there is one good series.
— Worst plus-minus for the Portland starters was +16; they cruised in this game.
— Portland held Denver to 47 first half points, a big improvement.

3) If you’re on Twitter, follow former NBA player Rex Chapman; he gets some great stuff sent to him, and he retweets it, most all of it good natured, fun stuff.

Saturday he posted a video of a woman juggling, but the camera was over her head; it was a very unique way of watching someone juggle. Pretty cool actually.

2) Last time the NHL went thru a playoff season without at least one series going to seven games? Way back in 1977.

1) RIP to Gavin MacLeod, 90, who passed away this weekend. He had two great television roles:
— He was Murray Slaughter, a writer at WJM TV on Mary Tyler Moore Show. His job basically was to bust anchorman Ted Baxter’s chops.
— Then he graduated to his big role, Captain Stubing on The Love Boat.

168 episodes of Mary Tyler Moore, 250 episodes of Love Boat; the man was in our living rooms an awful lot, from 1970-1987. A terrific actor. RIP, sir. 

Tuesday’s Den: Schedule notes for AFC teams

Ravens:
— Three of their first four games are on the road.
— They play in Denver October 3; their next road game isn’t til November 11.
— Weeks 10-14, they play four road games in five weeks.

Bills:
— Four primetime games; three of them are on the road.
— Play in New Orleans Thanksgiving night.
— Two games with New England are late, in weeks 13/16.

Bengals:
— Only primetime game is Week 4 vs Jacksonville.
— Weeks 6-8; three straight road games.
— Four of their first six games are against NFC North teams.

Browns:
— Go to Baltimore in Week 12, have Week 13 bye, host Ravens in Week 14
— Have three primetime games, including January 3 in Pittsburgh.
— Christmas Day at Lambeau Field should be nice and toasty.

Broncos:
— Four of their first seven games are in Eastern time zone.
— Only primetime game: Week 7 in Cleveland.
— Play Chargers/Chiefs in Weeks 12-13, then again in Weeks 17-18.

Texans:
— 13 games at 1:00 Sunday; not a lot of faith from the NFL.
— Only primetime game: Week 3 vs Carolina.
— From October 11-November 27, have only one home game.

Colts:
— Weeks 3-5: three straight road games.
— Three of their four primetime games are on the road.
— Week 14 bye; latest possible bye.

Jaguars:
— Only primetime game: Week 4 at Cincinnati.
— Weeks 16-17 at Jets/Patriots, cold weather games.
— Week 6, they play the Dolphins over in England.

Chiefs:
— From October 25-December 15, have only one road game.
— Three of their last four games are on the road.
— Week 16 Thursday game at Chargers is long trip on short week.

Raiders:
— First Allegiant Stadium game with fans; Week 1 Monday nighter vs Ravens.
— Play the Cowboys in Dallas Thanksgiving Day.
— Weeks 14-15, have consecutive trips east, to Kansas City/Cleveland.

Chargers:
— First SoFi Stadium game with fans: Week 2 vs Dallas.
— Have three primetime games, all at home.
— Play Chiefs in Week 3, then not again until Week 15.

Dolphins:
— Play New England in Week 1, then not again until Week 18
— In Week 6, play Jaguars over in England.
— Have only two 4:00 games, none after Week 3.

Patriots:
— Host Tom Brady/Buccaneers in Week 4 Sunday night game.
— Patriots’ other two primetime games are on road.
— Four of their eight road games are in domes.

Jets:
— Visit Sam Darnold/Panthers in season opener.
— In Week 5, play Falcons over in England.
— Only night game: Week 9 Thursday game at Indianapolis.

Steelers:
— Play the normal five primetime games, three of them at home.
— Play rival Ravens in Weeks 13/18.
— Host Las Vegas in Week 2, after Raiders played on Monday nite in Week 1.

Titans:
— Week 16 Thursday game vs 49ers is tough spot for the visitors.
— Play 13 games at 1:00 Sunday; not lot of faith from the NFL.
— Week 2 at Seattle is their only 4:00 game all season. 

Friday’s Den: Schedule notes for NFC teams

Cardinals:
— Three primetime games, all at home.
— Three of first four games are on the road.
— Their last game outdoors is Week 13,

Falcons:
— Play Jets in England in Week 6, have the early Week 6 bye
— Only prime-time game is Week 11 vs New England.
— January 2nd in Buffalo could be dicey for a dome team.

Panthers:
— Sam Darnold faces his old team (Jets) in Week 1.
— Week 3 at Houston is their only primetime game.
— Play division rival Buccaneers in weeks 16/18.

Bears:
— Their odd-numbered games are all on road, even-numbered games all at home
— Three of their four primetime games are on road.
— Play division rival Vikings in weeks 15/18.

Cowboys:
— Play three straight weeks on road, in weeks 13-15.
— Three of their last five games are NFC East road games.
— Have four primetime games, plus they play the Raiders on Thanksgiving.

Lions:
— Only primetime game is week 2 at Green Bay
— Lions visit Rams and old friend Matthew Stafford in week 7.
— Road games at Green Bay/Chicago are in September; they visit Denver in Week 14.

Packers:
— Play primetime games in weeks 2-3, have five night games overall.
— Host Detroit in Week 2, don’t visit the Lions until Week 18.
— Have only six 1:00 games; lot of national TV dates.

Rams:
— First two games are against teams with new QB’s this season.
— Jared Goff and Lions visit in Week 7
— Host Arizona in Week 4, then have Thursday game in Seattle four days later.

Vikings:
— Three of last five games are at night, including games in Chicago/Green Bay.
— Don’t play Bears until Week 15, then play ‘em again in Week 18.
— Host old friend Kevin Stefanski when Browns visit in Week 4.

Saints:
— In Weeks 12-16, play night games four weeks out of five.
— Have five primetime games, only four 4:00 games. Nine 1:00 games.
— Week 6 bye is an early one. 

Giants:
— Have three primetime games, all on the road.
— Visit Washington in Week 2, don’t see them again until Week 18.
— Have consecutive December road games in Miami, Los Angeles.

Eagles:
— Five of their last six games are divisional games.
— Play consecutive weeks (12/13) in the Meadowlands, vs Giants/Jets
— Have only two primetime games.

49ers:
— Open @ Detroit/@ Philly; will they just stay east for the week?
— Host Falcons in Week 15, have Week 16 Thursday game in Nashville.
— Got good draw with their 17th game against the Bengals.

Seahawks:
— Play three of first four games on the road.
— Weeks 5-7 are all night games.
— Five of their eight road games are in domes.

Buccaneers:
— Tom Brady takes the Bucs into Foxboro in Week 4.
— Only six 1:00 games; three of them are Weeks 16-18.
— Play division rival Carolina in Weeks 16/18.

Washington:
— Weeks 14-17: Dallas/Philly/Dallas/Philly.
— Play Giants in Week 2, then not again until the season finale.
— Ron Rivera visits his old team (Carolina) in Week 11

Thursday’s Den: Quick thoughts on the 2021 NFL schedule

I’ll have more on the NFL schedule over the next few days, but here are some early thoughts on the 2021 schedule:

— NFL teams will play 17 games this season for the first time; exhibition games have been reduced to three. AFC teams get the extra home game this season.

— Regular season ends January 9th, with games in Buffalo and Cleveland. Have fun!!!

— Jets traded QB Sam Darnold to Carolina this winter; the wise guys who create the schedule created an interesting Week 1 matchup, Jets @ Carolina. Go figure, a coincidence I’m sure.

— Christmas is on a Saturday, Halloween is a Sunday this year; there are two Christmas games. Browns-Packers, Colts-Cardinals. Which casino will I be watching those games in?

— This has nothing to do with football, but Halloween weekend in Las Vegas is tremendous, take my word on that.

— Cowboys-Buccaneers is the Week 1 Thursday game, where the defending champ traditionally opens the next season at home. Home team is 15-3 SU in this game the last 18 years, 11-3-4 against the spread.

— Don’t think the NFL foresees Aaron Rodgers being traded to Denver; Broncos have one game on in prime-time, Green Bay has five.

— NFL doesn’t think much of the Patriots; only three primetime games, one of which is Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro in Week 4.

— Thanksgiving Day slate:
Bears @ Detroit, Raiders @ Dallas, Bills @ New Orleans

— Non-schedule news; Green Bay signed backup QB Blake Bortles, re-uniting him with OC Nathaniel Hackett- they worked together in Jacksonville from 2015-18.

— Division rivals Carolina/Tampa Bay have their two meetings in weeks 16/18.

— I’m totally befuddled that Rams-Lions isn’t a primetime game. Detroit got one game on in primetime, at Green Bay in Week 2. Very surprised by this, seeing how the teams swapped quarterbacks this winter. ESPN obviously didn’t want the game.

Every team got at least one primetime game; eight teams got just one.

— Four teams have the earliest byes, Week 6— Falcons, Saints, Jets, 49ers.

— Four teams have the latest byes, Week 14— Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles.

— Nine teams got the maximum five primetime games.

— Cardinals/Chargers have three prime-time games, all at home, which is odd. Giants got three primetime games, all on the road— they can’t be real happy about that.

I’ll have some notes for each team’s schedule over the next week or so; season doesn’t start until September 9, so there is plenty of time. 

Monday’s Den: Thinking about no-hitters, and other stuff

There have been five no-hitters this season, which is a lot for May 10:

1) April 9: Joe Musgrove 3-0 @ Texas
— He threw 112 pitches, didn’t walk anyone, struck out 10.
— He got 15 whiffs on 53 swings
— Since then, he is 0-4, 5.63 in five starts.

2) April 14: Carlos Rodon 8-0 vs Cleveland
— He threw 114 pitches, didn’t walk anyone, struck out 7.
— He got 19 whiffs on 53 swings
— Since then, 3-0, 1.59 in three starts.

3) April 25: Madison Bumgarner 7-0 @ Atlanta
— This was a 7-inning game; he didn’t allow a hit, which makes it a “no-hitter”
— He threw 98 pitches, didn’t walk anyone, struck out 7.
— He got 10 whiffs on 53 swings
— Since then, he is 1-0, 1.64 in two starts.

To prove that I am fair-minded, I’m defending Bumgarner’s 7-inning no-hitter, even though his resurgence came 10 days after I cut him off my fantasy team. 🙁

4) May 5: John Means 6-0 @ Seattle. 

— He threw 113 pitches, didn’t walk anyone, struck out 12.
— He got 26 whiffs on 64 swings
— This was his most recent start.
— This was also his first career complete game. 

5) May 7: Wade Miley 3-0 @ Cleveland
— He threw 114 pitches, didn’t walk anyone, struck out 8.
— He got 9 whiffs on 49 swings
— This was his most recent start.

6) Four of the five no-hitters were thrown by lefties.

7) In two of the five no-hitters, Cleveland’s Zach Plesac was the losing pitcher. 

Elsewhere, away from the no-hitter related world……..
8) Cincinnati Reds are 15-16, even though they’re 8-2 in games where the winning run scored from the 7th inning on. 

9) Arizona Diamondbacks just had an 0-6 road trip, where they went 7-62 with runners in scoring position. Hitting in the clutch is important in baseball.

10) Since the DH came into the American League in 1973, the record for most home runs hit by a pitcher is 24, held by Carlos Zambrano, who was 132-91 as a big league pitcher, mostly for the Cubs. He had a .238 career batting average.

11) White Sox have won their last ten games at division rival Kansas City; maybe they should put fountains behind the outfield fence in their home stadium, the way they have them in Kansas City.

12) Was watching an old highlight clip of Willie Mays on the Giants game Sunday, forgot that they had artificial turf at Candlestick Park in the early 70’s, probably because the 49ers also played there. Not sure why they needed AstroTurf in good weather, but they had it. 

One year at Comiskey Park in Chicago, the infield was AstroTurf and the outfield was natural grass, which wasn’t that bad an idea, but it didn’t last long.

13) Umpire stats are returning to the baseball page this Wednesday; we note trends for each umpire when he is behind the plate, for all games except series openers, because we don’t know who the umpires are for each series until they play a game.