Wednesday’s 6-pack, Quiz, Quote of the Day

We have great baseball info every day!!!! Week 10 CFL info coming later this week on CFL page.

Wednesday’s 6-pack
Odds to win the Wyndham golf tournament this week:
12-1— Webb Simpson
14-1— Henrik Stenson
16-1— Hideki Matsuyama
18-1— Rafael Cabrera-Bello
25-1— Berger, Lowry, Niemann, Snedeker
30-1— Garcia, Henley, Horschel, Moore

Quote of the Day
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
William Congreve, 1697

Wednesday’s quiz
Who is the only current major leaguer whose first name and last name are both state capitals? 

Tuesday’s quiz
Matt Nagy (Bears), Jay Gruden (Redskins) are NFL head coaches who used to play QB in the Arena League. 

Monday’s quiz
Oregon Ducks play their home games in Autzen Stadium. 

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

13) What does it take to get fired at Ohio State? 

The Ohio State assistant football coach who didn’t get fired after his ex-wife accused him of domestic violence in 2015, had been arrested two years earlier on a DUI charge- the judge in the DUI case was a member of the Ohio State President’s Club, and the coach got slapped on the wrist. 

Go figure. 

The assistant coach has finally been fired, by the way. 

12) Obviously, there isn’t enough good news in the world, so it is my pleasure to tell you that on August 27, Weird Al Yankovic will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

The ceremony is free and open to the public; if you’re in the LA area, what else have you got to do on a Monday morning (11:30am)? 

11) In his career, Clayton Kershaw has thrown 318.1 innings against the Giants; his ERA in those innings is a paltry 1.58. 

10) If you play fantasy football, this might help you at your draft. Judging from stuff you read about the Cowboys, they’re emphasizing fade routes to the corner of the end zone this summer, which means more passes to WR’s than tight ends, now that Jason Witten has retired.

9) Speaking of which, must be serious money in fantasy football, seeing how ESPN ran a 27-hour fantasy football marathon this week, mostly on ESPN2, signing up around 1.5 million teams to play this season.

8) This from agent Tom O’Connell; his client (Phillies’ P) Zach Eflin is “being demoted” to AAA, even though he really isn’t, its a procedural thing. He won’t miss a turn in the majors, but he loses $20,000 in salary and nine days of major league service time because of it.

“While this transaction on the surface seems purely administrative, it caught us by surprise and is tremendously disappointing. Major-league starters have a strict routine that they adhere to that allows them to be successful; this roster move affects that. While the club may feel that they are doing what’s best for the organization, they also lose sight of the human element and how it will affect the player.”

Phillies did same thing with Nick Pivetta last year; I hope they’re reimbursing the guys after the season. Otherwise, they’re creating ill will over what amounts to pocket change (for them).

7) Ronald Acuna hit leadoff homers in both games of the Braves’ doubleheader Monday; he is only 4th player ever to do that, joining Brady Anderson in 1999, Rickey Henderson in 1993. 

Before that, only time it was done was way back in 1913. 

6) In baseball, 47% of replay challenges result in reversals. 

If someone had told me before instant replay started in baseball that 47% of calls would be overturned, I wouldn’t have believed them. Despite the delays, instant replay obviously has value, because getting calls right is good for the game. 

5) Baseball doings:
— New York (A) put CC Sabathia (knee) on the DL
— White Sox 2B Yoan Moncada (root canal) missed Tuesday night’s game
— Indians’ P Trevor Bauer is on DL; he broke a bone in his leg when he was hit with a line drive in his last start.

4) For the first time in his career, golfer Sergio Garcia missed the cut in all four majors in one year. Not going when you’re trying to get named to the Ryder Cup team. 

3) Random stat: Major league hitters miss on 22.9% of their swings. 

2) Former big leaguer Tom Paciorek subs as the analyst on White Sox games; he seems like a very nice guy, also kind of funny. Fun to listen to. He subs for Steve Stone, who is also very good, very smart, but not a funny guy. 

1) Good advice from motivational writer Jon Gordon:

“No matter what anyone says, just show up and do the work.
If they praise you, show up and do the work.
If they criticize you, show up and do the work.
If no one even notices you, just show up and do the work.
Just keep showing up, doing the work, and leading the way…….”

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) The offensive/defensive coordinators in Cleveland either aren’t getting along very well, or they staged this exchange for HBO’s Hard Knocks:

Todd Haley, upset with the defense getting too close to QB Baker Mayfield: “Good teams don’t touch the fucking quarterback!”

Gregg Williams: “Block ‘em then!”

12) More on the Browns, this from USA Today:

“Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said rookie receiver Antonio Callaway played so many snaps Thursday as a punishment for his recent marijuana citation. 

Rather than discipline a player by benching him, as coaches often do, Jackson told reporters Sunday that he decided to go in the opposite direction, playing Callaway even when he asked for a breather.

‘I was trying to make him play the whole game if we could. I did not want him to come out.'”

11) This tweet from former NFL RB Danny Woodhead:

“If I’m an undrafted rookie for the browns I’m gonna make sure i get in trouble before the next game! Playing all game just gives you an opportunity to make the team! This isn’t a punishment this is a gift!”

Alrighty then. 

10) From Baseball Reference: David Bote’s walk-off grand slam for the Cubs Sunday night was the first “down 3-0” walk-off grand slam since Samuel Byrd (Reds) off Cy Blanton (Pirates) on May 23, 1936. 

9) Cardinals are 16-9 under interim manager Mike Shildt; they’re back in the Wild Card race and there’s an increasing chance that Shildt will become the full-time manager for 2019. 

8) Brooks Koepka is the first golfer to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year since 2000; his ranking is up to #2 in the world.

7) Chris Sale has an 0.69 ERA in his last 10 starts, striking out 109 in 65 innings; since June 8, hitters are batting .147 against him.

6) Not only are the Oakland A’s 36-12 in their last 48 games, their AAA team in Nashville has won its last 13 games, and is now 64-55 in the PCL. Sounds turned a triple play in their win on Sunday. 

5) Chicago Bears finally signed LB Roquan Smith, their first round draft pick. Four years, $18M. Now the kid can get to work.  

4) You can actually wager on who the starting QB’s will be at colleges whose teams have a QB controversy this summer, teams like Alabama, Florida State. 

Wonder if anyone has a prop bet over where Jalen Hurts will transfer to if he isn’t the starter at Alabama after the Crimson Tide went 26-2 in his starts the last two years? 

3) Why won’t the Mets bring 1B Peter Alonso? When your team sucks, its a good thing to give your fans some hope for the future by letting them watch young players play and hopefully develop into stars. Alonso hit .314 in AA, is hitting .260 in AAA, has 105 RBI between AA and AAA this year. I’m guessing Met fans have seen enough of Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes. 

2) Giants’ rookie RB Saquon Barkley strained his hamstring in Monday’s practice. Not sure what exactly a “mild strain” means, but I know it ain’t good. 

1) Jeez….Indians’ OF Leonys Martin has been battling a life-threatening bacterial infection that attacked his internal organs. He is currently in stable condition, and is improving.

We pray that he feels better real soon.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend…….

13) All NFL teams should carry three QB’s; the #3 QB should be a 48th roster spot that is mandated to protect the quality of games, should a starter get hurt early in the game. 

Couple years ago in Houston, the Texans’ QB got hurt very early; they didn’t have a #3 QB active, so they had to play a very conservative game, so the backup didn’t get hurt. It ruined the game, just made it an awful football game to watch. 

NFL teams are all rich as hell; spend a few bucks and activate three QB’s every week. 

12) Josh McCown is the veteran QB the Jets hope will mentor rookie Sam Darnold; McCown’s daughter is six months younger than Darnold. 

11) There are only five players who have hit 100+ homers for three different teams: Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Darrell Evans and Adrian Beltre. 

Fred McGriff hit 100+ homers for Atlanta and Toronto, “only” 99 for Tampa Bay. 

10) When Kenta Maeda made his 20th start of the season for the Dodgers Friday night, it earned him a $1M bonus. He earns another $1.5M if/when he gets to 25 starts, but even though the Dodgers are in a tight pennant race, he’s going to the bullpen after his recent struggles. 

Hyun-jin Ryu will take Maeda’s turn in the rotation Wednesday. 

9) David Wright played in a minor league rehab game Sunday; the 35-year old Wright hasn’t played in major league game since May 27, 2016. He went 0-3. 

8) Former major league pitcher Esteban Loaiza pled guilty Friday to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Authorities found about 20 kilograms of cocaine in a house he was renting. Loaiza is facing a minimum of 10 years in prison with a maximum of life. He’ll be sentenced on November 2.

46-year old Loaiza pitched in the majors for 14 years, went 126-114; he earned a total of $43,734,000 as a major league player. Now he is looking at a minimum of 10 years in jail. 

7) Makes me laugh when you see ballplayers wearing their sunglasses on their hats on a sunny day. Not going to help you much there, buddy. 

6) Sounds like Chad Kelly has moved ahead of Paxton Lynch on the Broncos’ depth chart at QB. Kelly is an Ole Miss alum who is also Jim Kelly’s nephew- he is Case Keenum’s backup, for now. 

5) Saw something Friday I haven’t seen much; Nationals’ OF Juan Soto got picked off first twice in the same game, once by the pitcher, once by the catcher. When you lose 3-2, getting picked off twice isn’t ideal. 

4) I’m guessing there are more kick returns in NFL exhibition games than in regular season games; say you’re a guy trying to make the roster as a special teamer. Taking a knee in the end zone ain’t getting you on a roster, so you run the ball out of the end zone and try to make a big play so you get noticed. 

In the regular season, a returner takes the ball out of the end zone and screws up his team’s field position, you’re going to get cut. You take a knee, your club gets the ball on the 25 and you keep your job. Once you have a job, you become conservative to keep it. 

3) San Francisco Giants retired Barry Bonds’ #25 Saturday night; I’m neutral on Bonds, but any event with Willie Mays and Willie McCovey present is automatically a cool event. 

2) Is the PGA Tour in trouble? Every week, no matter what happens, we get “Tiger Woods shot a 73, finished at 4-under par. Oh by the way, Player X shot 62 on Sunday and won by six strokes”, as if every other golfer is an afterthought. 

If Eldrick Woods never wins another golf tournament, what happens to the PGA Tour? The guy will be 43 in December; he is on the downside of his career, no matter what. Golf had its heyday when Woods was unstoppable, but that was a long time ago. 

Maybe all the writers covering golf are fearful their gravy train could be de-railed when Woods is finished playing, so they’re hoping like hell he can regain his winning touch. 

1) Maryland put its head coach, two athletic trainers and a strength coach on administrative leave as the school reviews circumstances surrounding the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair June 13. 

It isn’t the most important thing, but hard to believe the coach is going to keep his job after this debacle. Not sure why stuff like this still happens, but it does.

Sunday’s Den: Notes, trends on AFC teams

Baltimore— Missed playoffs last three years, four of five years since Ray Lewis retired. Ravens are 6-2-1 vs spread on natural grass last two years. Since ’08, Ravens are 9-6-1 as road favorites in divisional games, 6-12 in non-divisional tilts. 

Buffalo— Bills made playoffs LY for first time in 18 years, but now QB Tyrod Taylor plays for the Browns, and Buffalo’s three QB’s have a combined five NFL starts. When does rookie QB Josh Allen get the nod? Last three years, Bills are 6-2-1 as non-divisional home favorites. 

Cincinnati— Marvin Lewis is 125-112-3 with Bengals, but 0-7 in playoff games. Over last decade, Bengals are 24-13-3 vs spread when playing an NFC opponent- surprisingly, they won seven of their last nine games with Baltimore. Under is 21-11 in their road games last four years. 

For the record, Lewis may be 0-7 in playoff games, but the Bengals’ three head coaches before him were a combined 52-124 over 11 seasons. 

Cleveland— Browns are 1-31 the last two years; since coming back to NFL in 1999, they’re 1-18 in season openers. Cleveland was a ridiculously-bad -28 in turnovers LY; having Taylor at QB will improve that a great deal. Last eight years, Browns are 21-39-3 vs spread at home. 

Denver— Keenum will be Broncos’ 7th different #1 QB the last 12 years; they’re 5-2 as home underdogs last three years, vs 5-11 vs spread on the road. Denver was 1-7 on road LY, with only win at Indianapolis in December; previous six years, they were 31-17 on foreign soil

Houston— Texans scored 34-33-38 points in last three games rookie QB Watson played, but after his injury, Houston scored 16 or fewer points in 8 of their last 9 games. Last nine years, Texans are 6-11 as home underdogs; under O’Brien, they’re 9-3-1 when favored by 3 or fewer points. 

Indianapolis— Andrew Luck returns at QB after missing LY; they change coaches after missing playoffs last 3 years (8-8/8-8/4-12). Last two years, Colts are 2-7-1 vs spread in games coming off a win, 13-8 in games coming off a loss. Frank Reich has never been a head coach before; he was the Eagles’ OC the last two years. 

Jacksonville— Jaguars were +10 in turnovers LY as they made playoffs for first time in 10 years; can they force 33 takeaways again? Over is 15-8 in Jaguar home games the last three years. Last five years, Jax is 3-17 vs spread when playing an NFC team; they open with Giants this year. 

Kansas City— Last three years, Chiefs were +14/+16/+15 in turnovers, but Alex Smith is gone, Patrick Mahomes (1 career start) is the starter now and KC’s turnover ratio figures to regress some this year. Chiefs were -3 in turnovers in 2014, the only time in Andy Reid’s five years in KC the Chiefs failed to make the playoffs. 

LA Chargers— Bolts started out 0-4 LY, with three losses by 2 or 3 points; their kickers were terrible in September, and it cost them a playoff spot. Chargers made playoffs once in last eight years; they’re 9-13 as home favorites the last four years. 

Chargers play in Cleveland in Week 6, then play in London against the Titans in Week 7, before their bye week. In Week 9, they play in Seattle and the next week they visit Oakland- tough five-week stretch. 

Miami— Dolphins haven’t been in playoffs since 2008; their last playoff win was in 2000. Jay Cutler was Miami’s QB LY; now he’s on a reality show with his actress wife and Ryan Tannehill is back at QB. Miami is 5-2-1 as home dogs under coach Gase; they’re 5-15 vs spread in their last 20 games on artificial turf. 

New England— Last time Patriots went out in their first playoff game was 2010; they’re 14-6-3 as home favorites the last three years, but NE is replacing DC Matt Patricia this year- he is the Lions’ new coach. Over last decade, Patriots are 24-10 vs spread when they’re coming off a loss. Last five years, NE is 3-9 vs spread as a road favorite in divisional games. 

NJ Jets— Jets haven’t made playoffs since 2010; they were outscored 94-32 in losing their last four games LY. Will Sam Darnold start? Will they keep three QB’s? Two of their first three games this year are in primetime. Last four years, Jets are -29 in turnovers; they’re 15-8-1 vs spread at home the last three years. 

Oakland— Jon Gruden already got rid of his punter and his kicker; special teams coach Bisaccia will have his hands full. Oakland hasn’t won a playoff game (0-1) since Gruden beat them in Super Bowl with Bucs 16 years ago. Last five years, Raiders are 13-6-1 vs spread as a non-divisional road underdog. 

Pittsburgh— Steelers have had only three head coaches since 1969; they made playoffs last four years, but haven’t won Super Bowl since 2008. Last three years, under is 18-4-1 in Pitt’s away games. Since 2010, Steelers are 27-15-1 vs spread when coming off a loss. 

Tennessee— Titans made playoffs for first time in nine years, then fired the coach; they’re 7-3-2 vs spread as home favorites the last two years, but 5-10-1 vs spread on road. Over last decade, Tennessee is 8-21-1 vs spread in AFC South road games. 

Developing young QB Marcus Mariota will be QB coach Pat O’Hara, whose resume is fascinating— he played at USC, played and coached in the Arena League, was the #3 QB for the Miami Sharks in the movie Any Given Sunday, backing up Dennis Quaid and Jamie Foxx.

Saturday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here……

13) Westgate Super Contest is a $1,500 buy-in football handicapping contest; you pick five NFL games a week, and first prize is around $1M- they pay off 30 places, I think, maybe more. Thing is, if you don’t live in Las Vegas, you need a person who will put your picks in for you every week at the Westgate. 

There are actually people who charge $240 or so to do this for you; talk about easy freakin’ money. 17 times, you take the person’s five picks, drive to the Westgate SuperBook, and put the picks in. Not a difficult job. Do it for, say 8 people, and thats an easy $1,920 you’re banking. 

12) Miami Marlins traded 1B Justin Bour to the Phillies for McKenzie Mlls, who was 2-3, 3.51 in 20 games (16 starts) in the AA Eastern League. 

Bour is making $3.4M this year, is arbitration-eligible this winter, so the Marlins cheaped out on this deal- will they ever be good? Bour has 19 homers; does this mean Carlos Santana will play some outfield for the Phillies? 

11) On 4th-and-2 from the Giants’ 13-yard line Thursday, Cleveland went for it, midway thru second quarter. You would never do that in the regular season, but it made sense here, since you want to see players in game situations, and you know you can make a 30-yard FG.  

10) From Doug Kern: This season, the Colorado Rockies have had two pitchers give up 10+ hits in a game but also strike out 10+ in same game; both of them lost.  German Marquez did it Wednesday, and Jon Gray did it May 13. 

Last team to have two different pitchers lose such a game in the same season: the 1939 St Louis Browns

9) Kansas State’s football coach, 78-year-old Bill Snyder, agreed to a 5-year contract extension thru the 2022 season. The contract increases Snyder’s pay to $3.45M for this year, which will then increase by $300,000 in both 2019 and 2020.

Snyder has been in a political struggle to determine his successor; his son has been the special teams coach at K-State for a long time. Snyder would obviously like his son to succeed him. 

8) San Diego Padres saved more than $750,000 by allowing pitchers Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles to leave on waiver claims Sunday; they also save $200,000 for every start Ross makes between 20 and 29 (he has 22 now).

7) After finishing 12th at the British Open in Scotland last month, the European Tour paid Tommy Fleetwood $154,500. One small problem; it was the wrong Tommy Fleetwood.

The guy who got the money put in his account mistakenly is a golf pro in Florida. 

6) Tampa Bay Rays’ 2B Joey Wendle seems like a decent player; he was 7-17 in his last four games, is hitting .292, so of course on Thursday, he takes a seat? Why?

Does Tampa Bay have so many great players that Wendle has to sit? He is hitting .300 vs lefties, .291 vs righties, so it wasn’t that. Why do teams get run like Little League now, where everyone has to play? Play the best players!!!

5) There was recently a 3-day fantasy football convention in Fort Worth, TX. Wonder how much people paid to get into that, and whether they learned anything worthwhile.

4) How did Daniel Murphy never wind up as a DH? To me he is a lot like Wade Boggs was, a prolific hitter who would be great to pencil in the lineup every day, but you see Murphy reach for a ground ball now and he looks like a guy on his last legs athletically. 

When he has a bat in his hands, he is still very dangerous. 

3) More baseball stuff:
— Angels put Mike Trout (wrist) on the DL.
— Washington took Jeremy Hellickson out in 6th inning Friday, after he walked bases full with a 2-0 lead; he was also pitching a no-hitter at the time.
— Tampa Bay lifted Blake Snell after five perfect innings and only 47 pitches in their 7-0 win in Toronto. 

2) I wonder every month why ESPN the Magazine still gets delivered to my house; I don’t pay for it, it is (mostly) terrible; I just shake my head when it arrives each month.

This month is (kind of) an exception; there is a very good article about Nick Saban, and 14 stories about him that explain what makes him tick. Enjoyed the article. 

1) Mookie Betts hit for the cycle Thursday but Boston lost; of the last 44 players to hit for the cycle, that player’s team went 40-4 in those games. 

Friday’s List of 13: NFL games with interesting subplots:

Week 1: Falcons @ Eagles: Philly beat Atlanta 15-10 in playoffs LY, went on to win their first Super Bowl title, with their backup QB playing- now Carson Wentz is back under center. Falcons lost Super Bowl two years ago. Matt Ryan is from Philly. 

Week 2: Dolphins @ Jets: If I owned the Dolphins, would damn sure want to know how the hell we’re 1-6 in our last seven games against the Jets? Miami lost last three visits to the Swamp, by 38-20/34-13/20-6 scores. Will Sam Darnold be the Jets’ QB by then? 

Giants @ Cowboys: Big Blue visited Dallas in Week 1 four of the last five years; they have to wait until Week 2 this year. This matchup must get consistently high TV ratings, but an NFC East squad won the Super Bowl last year, and it wasn’t either one of these teams. 

Week 3: Titans @ Jaguars: Jacksonville made playoffs LY for first time in 10 years, but they got swept by the Titans, 37-16/15-10. Jaguars were +10 in turnovers last year, but were -5 vs Tennessee- they scored only two offensive TD’s in 26 drives against the Titans. 

Patriots @ Lions: Matt Patricia is the Lions’ new coach; he’s come a long way from his days as a college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), located in Troy, NY, just over the river from Armadillo World HQ. This matchup vs Brady/Belichick is the NBC Sunday night game. 

Week 4: Chiefs @ Broncos: Kansas City is starting Patrick Mahomes at QB; he is basically a rookie- his only start was a 27-24 win here LY. Four of the Chiefs’ first six games this year are on road, at Chargers, Steelers, Broncos, Patriots. Tough start for a young QB. 

Week 6: 49ers @ Packers: Same thing for the 49ers; four of their first six games are on the road, at Vikings, Chiefs, Chargers, Packers.  Was 49ers’ strong finish LY a sign of future promise, or were they merely passing tired horses? By time this game is over, we may know. 

Week 7: Chargers @ Browns: Cleveland is 1-31 the last two years; they beat Chargers 20-17 here in Week 16 of 2016 for the only win, then lost to them 19-10 (+14) in Carson LY. Chargers are on their way to London after this game, for a 6:30am PST game with the Titans in Week 8. 

Week 8: Saints @ Vikings: I’m guessing New Orleans has this game circled on their calendar, after their defensive meltdown at the end of last year’s 29-24 playoff loss on this field. 

Week 9: Raiders @ 49ers: “I could fly to LA for a haircut faster than I could drive to Santa Clara” Mark Davis is moving his team to Las Vegas because he didn’t want to share this stadium with the 49ers. Well, he has to drive to Santa Clara for this Thursday night game. 

Week 12: Six NFC teams are playing on Thanksgiving: Bears-Lions, Redskins-Cowboys and Falcons-Saints. Smart to have divisional games on Thursdays, with less prep time. 

Jaguars @ Bills: Last year’s unlikely playoff game: Jaguars 10, Bills 3. Buffalo made playoffs for first time in 19 years, then sent their QB packing. Interesting decision; was it smart? Visiting Buffalo on Thanksgiving weekend means cold weather will probably be a factor. 

Week 13: 49ers @ Seahawks: Richard Sherman’s return to Seattle is a Sunday night game. 

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

13) Made an appearance at Saratoga racetrack Wednesday with my cousins; I know very little about horse racing, but its a fun place to visit. Living 25 miles from the track, have been there dozens of times over the years, but horse racing is a very difficult game to beat. 

My favorite horse? Mr Ed, the talking horse from an old TV show (look it up on YouTube). 

12) Free advice on going to Saratoga; eat before you go, because the vendors at Saratoga are the biggest thieves in America. Seriously. 

How much would you pay for a (decent) hot dog and a 20-ounce bottle of Coke? 

How much would you pay for a salty pretzel and a bottle of water? 

Try $13 for the hot dog/soda, and $12 for the pretzel/water. 

$6 for a 20-ounce bottle of Coke?!?!?!?! $5 for a 20-ounce bottle of water???

To paraphrase John McEnroe, “You cannot be serious!!!!”

11) Big-time rule change in college basketball: All players who get invited to the NBA Combine but go undrafted will have the option to return to their former school.

This is a tremendous rule change, it gives kids the option of going back to school or going to the G-League. It’ll help college basketball and it has no real downside that I can see. 

10) One rule change that didn’t happen was low-level staff members (like operations directors and video coordinators) being able to do on-court skill instruction.

Not sure why that isn’t allowed, but it still isn’t. 

9) 13 football players at North Carolina will be suspended for selling team-issued Jordan sneakers given to them by the school. 10 of the 14 players will be suspended for four games.

Chazz Surratt was supposed to be the Tar Heels’ QB this season; he is done for four games, which is a major problem for North Carolina. 

8) From CBSSports.com, also regarding sneakers:

“According to the NYPD and Homeland Security Investigations, five individuals in New York who smuggled several thousand pairs of fake Nike Air Jordan shoes into New York and New Jersey have been caught red-handed. The estimated total amount of the stock had the sneakers been authentic, per ABC News, is roughly $73 million.”

Each defendant in the case faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

7) This is my annual complaint that Little League games shouldn’t be on national TV; too much pressure on 11-13 year olds. Imagine being a kid who messes up in a game and his team loses and he has to live in that town the rest of his life? Or be shown on SportsCenter?

6) So there are cars wth push-button ignitions; I had no idea about this until a couple of years ago when I was in Las Vegas. Rented a car, which was parked in the parking garage— it is 110 degrees in the garage, and I can’t figure out how to start the damn car. Would’ve been funny, if I wasn’t the fool who couldn’t start the car. Luckily I figured it out before I sweated thru my clothes. 

Not sure what the advantage of a keyless ignition is, but they’re advertising them on TV, so they must be a big deal. 

5) Second time in three years on Hard Knocks for DC Browns’ Gregg Williams, who was with the Rams two years ago. Hope this season turns out better for him than that one did.

4) Indians 5, Twins 2— Francisco Lindor hit his 2nd career walk-off HR in this game; his 67 extra-base hits lead the majors this season.

3) Mets 8, Reds 0— Jacob deGrom’s first win since June 18 in Denver. 

2) Kentucky is playing four exhibition games in the Bahamas this week and SEC Network or some ESPN channel is showing all of them. 

1) The family of billionaire Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos should owe the state of Michigan $2.4M in taxes on her family yacht that is cruising the Great Lakes this summer- but the yacht is registered as a foreign vessel from the Cayman Islands, so they dodge the taxes everyone else pays.

Who knows, maybe that $2.4M could help fix the water pipes in Flint, MI? Go figure. 

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

13) Its good if you learn something new every day; was reading an article today about a card game called booray, a cross between spades and hearts that has its roots in Louisiana and is very popular amongst NBA players on airplanes and in hotels. 

Professional athletes are competitive by nature, whether they’re playing ball or cards or doing whatever it is that they do. They also have a lot of money. 

12) Go to actionnetwork.com for an interesting article about how in 2009, a booray game between two players on the Washington Wizards got out of hand and I’m understating that. Go read the article; poor Flip Saunders, who was coaching the Wizards at the time. 

11) I’m watching Hard Knocks on HBO the other night, from last year’s show featuring the Tampa Bay Bucs, and the narrator says this line:

“Quite simply, he’s the most important player on the team.” 

He was talking about QB Jameis Winston, and if you’re a Bucs’ fan, it has to make you queasy, because Winston is suspended for the first three games this season, for off-field issues. 

Buccaneers opened at +7.5 in their season opener at New Orleans; game has been bet up to 9.5, with Ryan Fitzpatrick the likely Tampa Bay starter at QB. 

10) The great Tony Gwynn got his 2,000th hit on August 6, 1993 and he got his 3,000th hit on an August 6, 1999. Gwynn’s mother’s birthday was August 6th. 

9) 76ers’ rookie Zhaire Smith broke his foot this week; what is it with Sixers rookies and foot injuries? 

8) Sounds like when Robinson Cano returns to the Seattle Mariners next week, it’ll be as a first baseman. He is playing first base in his AAA; there are thoughts he could play 3B, too, but since he can’t play in the postseason, Dee Gordon will likely stay at second for Seattle. 

7) Last week, the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces needed nearly 26 hours to travel to Washington from Las Vegas after flight delays and cancellations Friday. By the time the team reached its hotel, it was 3:45 p.m. — about four hours before the scheduled tip.

Aces players decided not to play because of concerns about their health and safety after 26 hours of travel; the WNBA ruled Tuesday that the Aces have to forfeit that game.

6) Sounds like Lakers-Warriors will be on Christmas Day; who ever would’ve guessed? 

5) Bronx Bombers are still on the hook for $47M over the next three years to Jacoby Ellsbury, the oft-injured outfielder who had hip surgery in NYC this week. 

4) Get well soon to Red Sox TV announcer Jerry Remy, who has battled cancer multiple times in the last decade and now has to do it again. We wish him well. 

3) RIP to hockey great Stan Mikita, 78 who passed away this week. Mikita played for 22 years with the Chicago Blackhawks, is their all-time leading scorer. 

One of my first memories as a young Bruins fan was rooting against the Blackhawks, who had Mikita and Bobby Hull as their best players. RIP, sir. 

2) An Irish guy living in Vancouver went streaking during the 9th inning of the Toronto-Mariners game in Seattle Saturday night, all for an $80 bet. Now the guy may get deported back to Ireland, because of his subsequent arrest. Brilliant!!!

1) Which reminds me that when the Blue Jays visit Seattle every year, a ton of Toronto fans invade Safeco Field; the Blue Jays are Canada’s team, after all, and Seattle is close to Canada.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Talking baseball TV announcers……

Meant to do this during the All-Star break, but got sidetracked, so today we bring you my comments/thoughts on major league baseball announcers. 

I watch baseball on TV for at least 5-6 hours a day every day for six months, so I’m qualified to comment on stuff like this. This is for TV only; don’t hear much radio these days. 

I’m not going to do straight rankings, but here are my comments on baseball TV guys.  

1) Best duo: Mets, when Gary Cohen/Ron Darling are on. They talk about the game, they’re smart and they’re fairly honest where the home team is concerned. If you sit and listen to a Mets’ game, you’ll be smarter about baseball when the game is over. 

When Keith Hernandez is on with Cohen, it isn’t nearly as good; Hernandez is so self-centered it hampers the broadcast, especially with the Mets out of the pennant race. He’ll talk about his cat or his house in Sag Harbor or complain about the traffic. Not good. 

When Hernandez/Darling are both on with Cohen, it is still an excellent broadcast. 

2) Brewers’ duo of Brian Anderson/Bill Schroeder are really good, but Anderson takes a lot of time off; he is usually gone for a month during the NBA playoffs, but his replacement Matt Lepay is also good, mainly because Schroeder is an excellent analyst and a friendly guy. 

3) Colorado has Drew Goodman/Jeff Huson most of the time, and they are very good; Goodman is a New York guy who is a lot like Gary Cohen- little bit more of a homer (they talk about Nolan Arenado like he is a combo of Brooks Robinson/Mike Schmidt). 

When Huson is off, Ryan Spilborghs is in the booth; he is a bit of a character, a funny ex-player who takes great care to give you the players’ perspective of how baseball works.

4) When Red Sox had Don Orsillo/Jerry Remy on TV, they had broadcasting gold, but Orsillo got the boot for whatever reason, and now humorless Dave O’Brien is the play/play guy, which renders Remy useless, since he is at his best when he is laughing. 

Dennis Eckersley is good in his occasional appearances; last week, O’Brien asked him about his old teammates and Eck responded: “….I had a teammate once who stole my wife!!!” 

TV doesn’t get any better than that……lol

5) Orsillo has moved on to San Diego, where he works with Mark Grant, who is a funny guy. They are good to listen to, but the Padres stink every year and sometimes you can tell that Orsillo’s heart is still in Boston. Mark Sweeney is the sub analyst who will be very, very good on the national stage someday. 

6) Joe Davis is the Dodgers’ TV announcer, replacing the legendary Vin Scully, the greatest baseball announcer of all-time; tough job, huge shoes to fill, but Davis is really good, and he is low-key which works well in Los Angeles. 

Davis is only 30 years old; he does football/basketball for FOX and is really good.

7) Bob Carpenter is a really good play/play guy for the Washington Nationals; the analyst is FP Santangelo, who is the equivalent of giving an 8-year the microphone and letting him work a game. He is upbeat and seems like a good guy, but they could do better. Every time a team gets its first hit of the game, “….there goes the no-hitter.” Even in the first inning. 

8) Cincinnati Reds’ announcers (usually Thom Brennaman/Chris Walsh) are brutally honest; they’ll thrash the home team, if they think it is deserved. It often is. 

9) Duane Kuiper is probably the best play/play guy who is a former player; he really is super on Giants’ games. His analyst is Mike Krukow, who is a homer, and not in a good way. Jon Miller/Dave Flemming do the Giants’ radio— thats a lot of broadcasting talent for one team. 

10) Miami Marlins used to have a great TV team; Rich Waltz/Tommy Hutton- they were really good, but the Marlins let both of them go. Who knows why, but it hurts their broadcasts. 

11) Victor Rojas/Mark Gubicza are very good on Angels’ games; Rojas is the son of Cookie Rojas, the old second baseman. Gubicza is always upbeat and gives credit to both teams. 

12) As for the Bronx Bombers, I think David Cone could be a great analyst; he is funny and smart, but the whole condescending nature of the Bronx franchise makes me want to puke. 

I’ll say this for them; friend of mine’s son was a runner in their TV/radio booth a few years ago and all of those people were nice to him, including John Sterling/Suzyn Waldman, the radio announcers, so they get points for that. 

Michael Kay was a sportswriter who became a solid play-by-play guy. When Paul O’Neill is an analyst, you can hear him turning pages of the other team’s media guide as he talks—he seems to do zero prep work on the other team.   

13) As for national announcers, Matt Vasgersian/Alex Rodriguez are very good on the Sunday night games; Jessica Mendoza is neither good nor bad— she is in on a pass, and she seems smart enough to know it.

I have a friend who worked as a professional announcer and tried to make a living at it; he worked really hard, but never made it. To see someone get passed ahead to the highest-profile job on TV simply because she is a woman is ridiculous, but that is the world we live in today. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend……

13) Dodgers-Astros played in the World Series LY; Los Angeles is the 2nd-biggest city in the country, Houston is 4th-biggest. Lot of stars on both teams; you figure thats an easy choice for the Sunday night baseball game on ESPN. 

Nope. New York @ Boston. Go figure. 

12) Houston has a young nucleus of great players, yet MLB refuses to promote them. Hell, one of the Astros is married to Kate Upton— show her once an inning. 

Nope. NY-Boston. No bueno.  

11) Mike Schmidt works on Phillies’ TV on weekends; he was saying Sunday how Rob Manfred was talking about ideas to limit shifting defenses- he was talking to Manfred in Cooperstown last weekend, at the Hall of Fame ceremonies. 

One idea was not allowing infielders to have both their feet on the outfield grass; another was making teams have two infielders on each side of second base. 

My question is this: if infielders can’t be on the outfield grass, will teams have groundskeepers cut the infield differently, so there is more infield dirt and fielders can still play deeper? 

10) Pro tip for watching baseball on DirecTV; if the weather knocks the game you’re watching off because of “weather interference” with your dish, try the Mix Channel (#720). Lot of times, all those games stay on channel #720, even when the game channels are off. 

The one exception is Dodger games, which for some reason are never shown on the Mix Channel, no matter how the weather is.

9) Raiders surprisingly cut K Giorgio Tavecchio, will have a right-footed kicker for first time in a long time. Rookie Eddy Pineiro, veteran Mike Nugent will compete for the job— hard to believe Jon Gruden starts the season with a rookie kicker.

8) 31-year old Oliver Drake pitched in relief for the Twins Saturday night; he has also pitched for the Brewers, Indians, Angels and Blue Jays this season after beginning the year in the Orioles’ organization. He is the first player EVER to pitch for five big league teams in the same season. 

7) In 2012, when the Oakland A’s made an unlikely run to the AL West title, a utility guy named Brandon Hicks hit two walk-off homers- he played in only 22 games that year. 

At 1:40am Saturday morning, a 24-year old OF named Ramon Laureano hit a walk-off single to right-center, giving Oakland a 1-0 win over Detroit in 13 innings. It was Laureano’s first major league game, and his first big league hit. Unlikely moment. 

Laureano was a 16th round pick out of NE Oklahoma A&M- he hit .227 in the hitter-friendly AA Texas League last year, but hit .290 in AAA ball this year, before getting the call to Oakland.

6) If the A’s make the playoffs and they make Moneyball 2, Stephen Piscotty will likely be a featured character; he is from the Bay Area, his mom passed away earlier this season, and he is playing his butt off— he made a diving catch in this game that saved at least one run.

5) A’s are 58-25 when they hit a home run, 9-21 when they do not.

4) For me, the coolest part of the Hall of Fame inductions in Canton is that inductees get to pick who introduces them. More and more, family members are being chosen. 

3) Hall of Famer/former Eagle Brian Dawkins is only NFL player ever to recover a fumble, pick off a pass, get a sack and catch a touchdown pass, all in the same game.

2) Rumors were about this weekend that Angels’ skipper Mike Scioscia will step down after this season. Scioscia has managed the Angels since 2000. 

1))This time last year, Washington Nationals led the NL East by 20 games; this year, they’re in third place, six games behind Philly- the Phils lead Atlanta by 1.5 games.

Also, say what you want about former commissioner Bud Selig; the Wild Card has made baseball pennant races way more interesting. NL Wild Card race will be fun to follow. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Trends on NFC teams

Arizona Cardinals scored 123 fewer points LY than they did in 2016; this year, they’ve got a new coach, two new QB’s. Last three years, Redbirds are 1-7-1 vs spread in NFC West home games. 

Last four years, Atlanta Falcons are 9-2 vs spread as an underdog of 3 or fewer points. Last five years, they’re 6-15 as a non-divisional home favorite. 

Last two years, Carolina is 6-12-1 vs spread when favored; since 2012, Panthers are 20-8 as a road underdog. Norv Turner is the new OC this season, which will be interesting. 

Chicago Bears are 8-1-2 vs spread in last 11 games as a home underdog; they improved from -20 to even in turnovers LY, but won only two more games, improving from 3-13 to 5-11. 

Since 2014, Dallas Cowboys are 12-4-1 vs spread as road favorites; over last decade, they’re 22-39 as home favorites. 

Under Jim Caldwell, favorites were 22-7-3 vs spread in Detroit Lion home games. Since 2008, Lions are 4-11 are home underdogs. They were +11 in turnovers LY and still missed the playoffs. 

Green Bay missed playoffs LY for first time in eight years; since 2014, they’re 17-8-2 as home favorites. Over is 21-11 in Packer games the last two years. 

Since 2015, Rams are 3-7 vs spread as a favorite of 3 or fewer points; their last playoff win was in 2004. Since 2010, LA is 6-11 as a divisional home favorite. 

Kirk Cousins will be Minnesota’s 5th different Week 1 starting QB the last five years, and 11th in last 15 years; despite that, they went 32-16 last three years. Under Zimmer, Vikings are 14-5 as favorites of 3 or fewer points. 

New Orleans has made playoffs seven times since 2000; they won their first playoff game six of those seven years. Saints are 16-8 vs spread in las 24 games as an underdog. Since 2011, over is 35-21 in their home games. 

Giants have played in one playoff game the last six years; over last nine years, underdogs are 34-19 vs spread in their divisional games. 

Last five years, over is 27-13 in Eagles’ road games. Under Pederson, Philly is 10-4-1 vs spread at home. Since 2012, Eagles are 6-11-1 vs spread in divisional home games. 

49ers started last season 1-10, then won their last five games; expectations are lot higher this season. Since 2014, they’re 13-19 vs spread at home. 

Seahawks made playoffs 11 of last 14 years. Since 2015, under is 15-9 in Seattle road games. Since ’11, Seahawks are 23-12-1 vs spread coming off a loss. 

Since 2014, Buccaneers are 3-10 vs spread as home favorites, 2-8 as favorites of 3 or fewer points. Tampa Bay hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007; their last playoff win was the Super Bowl 16 years ago. 

Since 2015, Redskins are 14-7 vs spread in game following a loss; since ’08, they’re 18-28-2 vs spread in non-divisional home games, but 17-9 as a divisional road underdog. 

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

13) Milwaukee Brewers are 26-9 in the second game of a series, 13-5 on road, 13-4 at home; 15-6 if they won the series opener, 11-3 if they lost (7-0 at home). 

12) Bronx Bombers are 12-3 in second game of a series if they lost the opener. 

11) Seattle Mariners are 10-5 in second game of a series if they lost the series opener, 8-13 if they won the opener. 

10) Tampa Bay Rays are 14-5 in second game of a series if they won the opener, 4-12 if they lost the opener. 

9) Toronto Blue Jays are 4-11 in second game of a series if they lost the opener. 

8) There are three NFL teams this season where their backup QB’s have never started an NFL game: Carolina, Dallas and the Giants. Starters better stay healthy!!!!

7) Took me about 35 seconds Thursday night to remember when I hear Cris Collinsworth’s voice, to hit the mute button. He just irritates me, and I’m not 100% sure why.

6) Umpiring crew at Wrigley Field this weekend for Padres-Cubs series: Fieldin Culbreth, CB Bucknor, Angel Hernandez and a rookie replacement. This would be the opposite of an All-Star crew, no offense to the rookie umpire.

5) If you look at the backup QB’s, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick has 119 career starts, most of any backup, and he’ll start in Weeks 1-3, with James Winston suspended. Matt Cassel has 81 career starts, 2nd-most of all NFL backups. 

Nike declined to extend Winston’s endorsement deal this season.

4) There are six NFL teams with a new starting QB this season.

You look at Buffalo’s three QB’s, and they have started a combined five NFL games.

3) You see all these legal experts and writers on MSNBC, FOX News and CNN; how much are they paid for each appearance? Some of them are on almost every day.

2) Mariners’ 2B Dee Gordon turned his ankle Thursday night when he stepped on 2nd base as he tried to turn a double play. 

I think fairly soon the major leagues will go to flat bases, to lessen the number of injuries from guys stepping on bases that may be slick, from rain during the game.

1) Weird Stat of the Day: Rangers’ 2B Rougned Odor is the 4th player in MLB history to walk five times and hit a home run in the same game. The other three? 

Hank Aaron, Mark McGwire, Edgar Martinez. 

Odor is the only one of the four where none of the walks were intentional.

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here……

13) Oregon State visits Columbus in Ohio State’s football opener; smart people in Las Vegas dropped the spread on the game from 39 to 35.5, on the thought that Urban Meyer might get a one-game slap on the wrist for lying about whatever he knew/didn’t know about the domestic violence situation one of his former assistants was involved in. 

Laying 35 instead of 38.5 will still take some onions, if Meyer isn’t coaching. 

12) Pretty sad that people are already speculating that Iowa State coach Matt Campbell will be the guy who replaces Meyer if the OSU administration fires him. 

So an Ohio State assistant coach was accused of domestic violence, the head coach apparently lied about knowing the situation existed, and as punishment, Iowa State loses its coach? Seems fair to me. 

11) New Jersey joined Nevada this week as the only states with legalized digital sports wagering. It is still amazing to me how New Jersey was right on top of getting sports betting off the ground, but neighboring NY/Pennsylvania are still dragging their feet. 

10) Philip Evans started Wednesday’s game at 2B for the Mets; he broke his leg when a runner slid into him trying to break up a double play. 

Jose Reyes took his place and homered from both sides of the plate, making him the first Met ever to homer from both sides of the plate in a game that he didn’t start. 

9) Every now and then, I do my list of favorite movie scenes and one I’ve neglected to put on there is when Roy Hobbs hits the game-winning homer at the end of The Natural. Amazing music, with Hobbs rounding the bases and the lights from the fireworks reflecting off the glasses of manager Wilford Brimley. 

Music is so cool that 35 years later, the Texas Rangers still play it every time one of their players hits a home run in one of their home games.

8) No idea what to make of it, but supposedly Patrick Mahomes is struggling badly early in Chiefs’ camp— he played one game last year, so he is still a rookie, and all rookies are suspect until they aren’t suspect anymore. 

In case you’re wondering (I was), Chad Henne and Matt McGloin are the Chiefs’ backups. Not exactly Earl Morrall or Steve Young as a backup. 

You have to remember, the last three years, Kansas City was +14/+16/+15 in turnovers; hard to replicate that with a rookie QB who is likely to make some mistakes. Play-it-safe QB Alex Smith works for the Redskins now. 

7) Caesars Entertainment stock fell 14.8% Wednesday (it was down 24% at one point) as the gaming company revealed a cautious forecast for the upcoming quarter. Not good. 

6) In case you need to borrow some money, Apple now has $243.7B in cash on hand, thats billion, with a B. They had $267.2B on hand in March; meanwhile, I’m going thru the couch cushions trying to get enough money to go to McDonald’s. Must be nice. 

5) Hue Jackson is coach of the Cleveland Browns, the team HBO is focused on this summer as it films Hard Knocks. Coach Jackson’s mother and brother both died in the last two weeks— can’t imagine what that is like, trying to coach your team when you know another bad year will cost you your job- then two of your closest relatives die within two weeks of each other, all while cameras follow you all over training camp. 

Jackson’s mom had been ill for a long time, but his brother passed away unexpectedly. 

4) Because of rainouts, Braves are playing 42 days the next 42 days, with two doubleheaders and two days off in there. 

3) Guy I know is a big Chicago Bears fan; he and his wife are headed to Canton today to see Brian Uhrlacher get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night. Hope they have a great time. 

Big weekend in that area, with the PGA Tour up the road in Akron. 

2) Few years ago, no pro sports leagues would touch Las Vegas; then the Golden Knights took off on The Strip, the Raiders are a hot ticket with 2020 and a new domed stadium on the horizon and now the NBA is making noise about putting a team in America’s favorite city. Interesting. 

1) I went grocery shopping today; no one asked me for a photo ID. Must’ve been an oversight on their part. 

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

13) So I’ve got all my football research material and have been going thru it, getting ready for this season, then comes news that Urban Meyer is on paid administrative lead at Ohio State, so all the information about the Buckeyes goes out the window. 

Ohio State’s former WR coach had domestic violence charges against him in 2015; the issue here is whether or not Meyer knew about the incident(s) and did nothing about it. 

12) It is obvious from reports that Meyer’s wife knew about the incidents, and if Meyer is found to have lied about not knowing, then Ohio State might be looking for a new coach soon. Might be looking for a new athletic director, too. 

August 1 isn’t a great time to put your football coach on administrative leave. Especially when the coach has a 73-8 record at that school. 

11) Before Meyer took the Ohio State job, he was on ESPN for a year; I genuinely felt bad for the guy, because he seemed incapable of laughter or lightheartedness. I’m serious when I say this, the guy seemed to have zero sense of humor. It was a little eerie. 

Elsewhere…….
10) Johnny Manziel gets the starting nod for the Montreal Alouettes Friday night in Montreal when they play Manziel’s old team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats,. Hamilton traded Manziel to the Alouettes on July 22. 

9) Nationals 25, Mets 4— This was an embarrassment; heads need to roll, either the manager or some players- this team has quit, plain and simple. Inexcusable. 

8) Washington must have some serious dissension; they traded reliever Brandon Kintzler because they thought he was leaking info about the team to the press, then they flat out DFA’d Shawn Kelley when he gave up a homer, then threw his glove to the ground like a 10-year old brat. I laughed when I saw it because I’ve never seen a big leaguer do that before. 

The home run came in the 9th inning, with the Nationals leading 25-2; go figure.

7) I guess my next question is this; how much do players care about their individual stats? If you read into the Kelley incident at all, seems like he wasn’t interested in mopping up in a 25-1 game, then vented his frustration on national TV when he gave up three runs. 

6) Cameron Maybin has been in the major leagues for 12 years; he’s on his 8th team. Seattle has acquired seven new players in trades, since the season started. 

5) Giancarlo Stanton’s %age of runners knocked in:
2018: 12.99% (30.9% from 3B)
2017: 18.03% (34.2%)
2016: 13.62% (35.4%)
2015: 19.32% (36.8%)
2014: 16.47% (34.4%)
2013: 13.38% (35.5%)
2012: 15.17% (32.7%)

In other words, despite being healthy, Stanton is having the worst season of his career. 

4) Cody Bellinger has played 637⅓ innings at 1B, and 255 innings in CF for the Dodgers this season- this is unusual.

Last major league player with 500+ innings in both 1B, CF in same season was Lee Mazzilli with the Mets in 1980.

3) Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the United States. Thought you’d like to know. 

2) George Springer left Wednesday’s game with shoulder soreness, which means Altuve, Correa and now Springer are all out of the Houston lineup.

1) Texas Rangers were in Phoenix Tuesday when they traded reliever Jake Diekman to the Diamondbacks. Diekman took his bags, went outside the locker room and was driven down to the Arizona locker room in the D’backs’ bullpen cart, driven by Baxter, the team’s mascot.