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

Baseball stuff is posted on baseball page…….We have basketball info every day

Monday’s 6-pack
— Celtics 110, Pacers 106— Boston sweeps series, 4-0.
— Warriors 113, Clippers 105— Klay Thompson had 27 points at the half.
— Trailblazers 111, Thunder 98— Russell Westbrook was 5-21 from the floor.
— Sharks 2, Golden Knights 1 (2 OT)— Game 7 is Tuesday in San Jose. 
— Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 2— Game 7 is Tuesday in Boston.
— Nets’ GM Sean Marks was suspended one game without pay, fined $25,000 for entering the refs’ locker room after Brooklyn’s 112-108 loss Saturday. 

Quote of the Day
“You can be rich without the dollar signs.”
Porter Moser, basketball coach at Loyola, Chicago

Monday’s quiz
Which two current starting QB’s were the top two picks in the 2015 NFL Draft? 

Sunday’s quiz
San Diego Chargers drafted Eli Manning in 2004, then traded him to the Giants for Philip Rivers. Giants traded an ’05 #1 pick and an ‘04 3rd-round pick to the Chargers in that deal. 

Saturday’s quiz
Four of the top five picks in the 1989 NFL Draft are Hall of Famers (Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders); Tony Mandarich was the #2 pick that year, an offensive lineman from Michigan State. Green Bay drafted Mandarich. 

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

13) Philadelphia Eagles’ center Travis Kelce played LY with a broken foot, something he called a “torn elbow” (he wore a big brace), and a Grade 2 MCL tear.

Toronto pitcher Aaron Sanchez left Sunday’s game in Oakland with a broken right fingernail on the middle finger of his pitching hand.

12) Jim Kaat and Bert Blyleven discussed pitching all weekend on Twins’ TV; Kaat said Sunday he thinks the strike zone is much tighter now than when he pitched. 

Blyleven mentioned that back when he pitched, umpires weren’t graded on each pitch by MLB and that has changed how the game is called. 

11) Twins hit 11 home runs in their doubleheader sweep of the Orioles Saturday. Hard to believe Baltimore was in the playoffs only three years ago; their team is awful.

Baltimore’s AAA farm team is 7-10, their AA team is 3-13 and got shut out in both ends of a twin bill Saturday, so not sure where the Orioles’ help is going to come from.

10) Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay recently spent $718,750 for the piano John Lennon used to write songs for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

9) They run a commercial on Colorado Rockies games for University of Colorado health services; it shows an older fellow who struggles to get out of his easy chair, then starts to work out- they show pics in his house of him running when he was much younger. 

They show the man’s name; he survived heart failure, and as he recovers, his treadmill workouts get more rigorous, and the commercial ends with him finishing a 2-mile run in a local race. 

The commercial is so well-done and very inspirational; the guy should get a sneaker contract from Nike or adidas, and they should run that commercial during the Super Bowl. 

8) Christian Yelich is first player with 12+ homers in his team’s first 22 games since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. 

7) Baseball injuries:
— Rays’ OF Austin Meadows (thumb) had an MRI.
— Blue Jays put P Matt Shoemaker (knee) on IL; he tore his ACL and is out for the season. 

6) Merrill Kelly threw 109 pitches for Arizona Friday, but he didn’t finish the 4th inning. He got 18 called strikes, had 21 pitches fouled off, gave up six hits on 12 balls in play. 

Funny thing, two of the three runs he gave up came on a harmless looking pop-up to short CF that the wind played games with and no one caught it. 

5) Detroit Pistons have lost 13 consecutive playoff games, tied for longest-ever streak in NBA. 

4) Seattle Mariners have already had five games with 4+ homers this year; all of last season, they had five games with 4+ home runs.

3) Former major league OF Matt Holliday is retired now and lives in Stillwater, OK; he recently had a house built in Stillwater. The guy who built the house is Philly catcher JT Realmuto’s uncle. Small world. 

2) Good grief, the Utah Jazz uniforms are terrible. Like the old purple uniforms with the musical note on them that Pete Maravich wore for the Jazz back in the day.

1) A comedian was elected president of Ukraine; I was going to make a joke about this, but then remembered who the president is here. Having a comedian as president wouldn’t be so bad. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……..

13) Twins-Orioles broadcast Saturday was great; Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven were the analysts and it was educational. Play-by-play guy described the action on the field then got out of the way and let the two experts talk. Good stuff. 

Kaat was saying how much harder batters work now before the game, and he referenced Aaron Judge going on the IL Saturday with an oblique strain. It is possible to overtrain. 

12) Auburn’s Chuma Okeke tore his ACL during the NCAA tournament, but he is entering the NBA Draft anyway, not really sure why. You’d think he’d stay in school, use the school’s facilities to strenghten/rehab his knee, then go into the ’20 draft. We’ll see how this works out for him. 

11) Advice from Bucky Brooks, former NFL player and scout:

“If you’re a HS football player who isn’t playing baseball in the Spring, you SHOULD run track for your school. Speed is such an important part of being a top-notch football player. Learning how to run and compete on the track carries over onto the field.. Dare to be great..”

10) Interesting trivia on this year’s NFL schedule:
— NFL’s Senior VP of broadcasting Howard Katz is one of the people who makes the NFL schedule every year.
— Philadelphia Eagles are only NFL team that plays three straight weeks on road this year.
— Katz and Eagles’ coach Doug Pedersen are next-door neighbors.

Part of the reason the Eagles are on road for three straight weeks in October is that the Phillies are expected to be World Series contenders, and the NFL didn’t want any conflicts between Eagle/Phillies games, seeing how they share parking areas. 

9) Miami Marlins fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo after 20 games; it ain’t his fault Miami has a bad team. Marlins fired hitting coach Frank Menechino after last season; what they need to do is find an owner who is willing to spend money on ballplayers. 

Two years ago, Miami’s outfield was Yelich-Ozuna-Stanton, then the team was sold and the new geniuses who are in charge traded the three of them for three piles of crap. No bueno. 

8) Keldon Johnson scored 13.5 ppg this year as a freshman at Kentucky; he is projected by one draft guru to be picked 17th in June’s NBA Draft. 

Johnson was seen in Hollywood this week driving a $300,000 McLaren 720S Spider; until watching a Showtime special a few weeks ago, I had no idea that there were cars that cost so much money. Wish the young man well in his NBA career, but someone might want to teach him money management skills before it is too late.

Last year’s NBA rookie salary scale paid the #17 pick a total of $6,358,500 for his first three years in the league. Taxes eat half of that, agent takes another 3%, so he’s down to $2,988,495 before he starts.  

Donte DiVincenzo was the #17 pick LY; he played 15.2 mpg, scored 4.9 ppg, so he’s no lock for a second contract in the league when the time comes. The second contract is the key; thats where guys establish themselves in the NBA. Then they can buy the $300,000 car. 

7) Baseball injuries:
— New York put Aaron Judge (oblique) on IL.
— Red Sox put P Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) on IL.
— Pirates put 2B Erik Gonzalez (clavicle), CF Starling Marte (abdomen) on IL.
— Phillies put SS Jean Segura (hamstring), P Victor Arano (elbow) on IL. 

6) Former Georgia/Miami football coach Mark Richt will be an analyst on the new ACC Network starting this fall. 

5) There is a high school football stadium in Jacksonville, TX called the Tomato Bowl. 

4) On April 12, CG Technology took these two futures bets:
— Jaguars for $4,000 at 45-1, to win $180,000
— Titans for $2,000 at 85-1, to win $170,000

Long time to let the books hold your money; will odds change that much between now and before the preseason games start this summer? 

3) Giants have apparently talked about trading for Arizona QB Josh Rosen, but don’t want to give up either one of their first round picks (6th, 17th picks) in this draft. 

Rosen was the 2nd player taken in last year’s draft, so if you won’t give up a first round pick for him now, then you really don’t want him.

2) From Henry Schulman: Since 1912, the longest a team has gone to start a season without scoring a first-inning run is 28 games. Giants are at 22 games and counting thru Saturday. 

1) 76ers 112 (-3.5), Nets 108— Philly hit two foul shots with 0:06 left to cover the spread; if you had Brooklyn +3.5, this was a bad beat. Embiid had 31 points, 16 rebounds for Philly. 

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

13) Oakland Raiders sent their scouts home for the weekend; they’re not expected to be back before the draft next weekend. Supposedly, Raiders’ hierarchy (Gruden) doesn’t trust all his people, but doesn’t know exactly who he doesn’t trust. 🙂 

Apparently this isn’t all that unusual; Gil Brandt told a story this week from 1987, where they told one scout about this LB they want to draft (they didn’t really want to). Two days later, a writer in Dallas posts this article about how the Cowboys are going to take the LB, which outed the scout as a leaker. He then became an ex-scout.  

12) Other former front office guys have been saying on Twitter this week that the last 8-10 years, teams have been limiting access to a team’s draft board to only the top 3-4 football people. 

11) Blue Jays are calling up top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr; he is expected to make his big league debut on Tuesday against the Giants. 

10) College basketball is getting to the point where any returning player who scored double figures for a low-to-mid major is getting poached by bigger schools. Norfolk State’s leading scorer entered the transfer portal the week; it makes handicapping during the season that much harder. Will the new player fit in? How much does his departure hurt his former team? 

Can’t be much fun for guys who coach in low/mid-majors.

9) Was reading something this week about how they’re using major league baseballs at the AAA level for the first time this year, and home runs have spiked early in the season. Homers in the International League are up 39%; in the Pacific Coast League, 32%. 

Same thing hasn’t happened in AA or A ball, so it makes you wonder……

8) San Antonio Spurs’ Derrick White played three years of D-II ball at Colorado–Colorado Springs, transferred and played his senior year for the Colorado Buffaloes; he had zero D-I scholarship offers out of high school. None. 

This year, he played 25.8 mpg for the Spurs, scored 9.9 ppg. He scored 36 points in the Spurs’ Game 3 win over Denver Thursday. Good for him. 

7) Baseball transactions:
— Red Sox put IF Eduardo Núñez (back) on IL.
— Padres put OF Manuel Margot on the paternity list, called up Jose Pirela. 
— Mets put Jacob deGrom (elbow) on the IL.  

6) NCAA relaxed some transfer rules for freshmen: Incoming freshmen who enroll in summer school and receive financial aid can transfer and play immediately without a waiver if their coach leaves prior to the first day of fall classes.

This involves situations where a coach gets fired late in the spring or in summer, like couple years ago when Ohio State fired Thad Matta. It does not include football players who are early enrollees. 

5) Not sure what the wisdom of the four outfielder shift is; seems like having four infielders would be a better idea. Lot of the guys you use the four OF shift with, if they hit it in the air to the outfield, it is going over the fence anyway.

4) Former UNLV coach Marvin Menzies signed on to be an assistant coach for Dan Majerle at Grand Canyon University in the WAC. 

3) Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom will have an MRI on his elbow Monday, which is bad news for the Mets and worse news for my fantasy team. 

I mentioned a few days ago how deGrom had trouble putting hitters away in his last two starts, and this is probably a big reason why. 

2) Draft trivia correction: Kyler Murray’s father Kevin was taken in the 11th round in the 1982 baseball draft, the 288th player taken, one spot after Bill Ripken (Cal’s brother). 

1) Nick Saban will have hip replacement surgery on Monday; can’t imagine he’d be much fun to have as a patient in the hospital. Good luck to all the nurses……..

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

13) St John’s struggled with hiring a basketball coach; apparently there was an internal divide about who the school should go after. St John’s is located in Jamaica, Queens, which is part of New York City. You’d think it would be a prime job. 

The basketball coach at Loyola-Chicago interviewed for the St John’s job, was offered an 8-year contract that doubled his salary, and turned it down. Not many people turn down $2M a year. 

Loyola is in the Missouri Valley Conference, the 15th-rated league in America. Ramblers have been in the MVC for six years, going 27-9 the last two years, after going 27-45 in their first four years, when Wichita State was in the Valley and it was a tougher league (#10 league in 2017). 

12) Porter Moser is the Loyola coach who turned St John’s down; he’s been a head coach for 15 years at three schools. Here is his breakdown:

2001-03, Ark-Little Rock: 48-34 overall, 25-19 in Sun Belt games. No trips to NCAA’s.
2004-07, Illinois State: 51-67 overall, 22-50 in MVC games, when both Creighton/Wichita were in the league. No trips to NCAA’s.
2012-present, Loyola: 141-125 overall, 6-28 in Horizon games, then 54-54 in MVC. One trip to NCAA’s. 

11) 15 years as a head coach, one time in the NCAA tournament, but it was one great time, An 11-seed in 2018, Loyola made it to the Final Four, with three of their four wins in NCAA’s that year by either one or two points. 

Big East was the #5 league this season, after being #2 or #3 the previous four years. 

10) Then there is Iona coach Tim Cluess, who is 199-108 in nine years as coach at Iona, which is in New Rochelle. According to Mapquest, Iona/St John’s are 19.1 miles apart. Under Cluess, Iona is 124-46 in MAAC games; they’ve made the NCAA tournament the last four years and six of last eight years. 

Cluess also coached D-II ball at CW Post (now LIU Post) for four years, going 98-23. 

Cluess played at St John’s from 1979-81; three of his brothers also played at St John’s; he knows the NYC/New Jersey area. Not sure why St John’s didn’t hire him, but Cluess took his name out of the running Thursday. 

Update: St John’s hired former UAB/Missouri/Arkansas coach Mike Anderson. His teams will play hard and play fast. He’s never had a losing season (two 16-16 seasons) and won 20+ games in 11 of 17 seasons as a head coach. 

Elsewhere in the world……..
9) Chargers are going to wear their powder blue jerseys as their home uniform for the 2019 season, which is a smart decision. I’m wondering how many fans come up from San Diego to Carson for Charger home games now; they move into the Inglewood dome in 2020.

8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers might not be too happy with their 2019 schedule; they go seven weeks without playing a home game, and during those 49 days, they’ll travel a total of 20,378 miles to play in Los Angeles, New Orleans, London, Nashville and Seattle. 

They play the Giants at home in Week 3, and then not again until Week 10.

7) USC has already added three grad transfers for next season, all kids who can shoot the 3; they shot 37-40-45% from the arc last year, at Akron-Columbia-San Jose State. Trojans have couple of highly-touted freshman big men coming in- they should be a lot better next season. 

6) First seven games at the new ballpark in Las Vegas was 9,744, which amounts to seven sellouts. AAA Aviators are the Oakland A’s farm club. 

Old ballpark was downtown, next to the Cashman Center; terrific park to watch a game. New park is in Summerlin, right near the Red Rock Hotel, roughly 14 miles from downtown. 

5) LSU told athletic director Joe Alleva take a hike; not sure what this means for basketball coach Will Wade, who was suspended by Alleva but was reinstated last week. 

4) Baseball injuries:
— A’s put P Marco Estrada (back) on the IL.
— Phillies put OF Odubel Herrera (hamstring) in the IL. 

3) In 2015, there were 104 complete games pitched in the major leagues, only 42 last year. 

2) Joey Votto popped out to the first baseman Wednesday night, for the first time in his 6,828 major league plate appearances. He still has never popped out to the catcher or the pitcher. 

1) New Jersey Jets do not leave the eastern time zone at all during the 2019 season; they even have three home games in preseason, seeing how the Jets-Giants game is a Giants “home” game.

By way of contrast, LA Rams play four games in eastern time zone, a preseason game in Hawai’i and a regular season game in London. Lot of travel for them. 

Week 1 NFL spreads

Packers @ Bears (-3.5, 46)
Falcons @ Vikings (-4.5, 47.5)
Redskins @ Eagles (-8, 46.5)
Bills @ Jets (-3.5, 38.5)
Ravens (-3.5, 37) @ Dolphins
49ers @ Buccaneers (-2.5, 49)
Chiefs (-5.5, 52.5) @ Jaguars
Titans @ Browns (-5, 45)
Rams (-2.5, 51) @ Panthers
Lions @ Cardinals (even, 49)
Bengals @ Seahawks (-7.5, 43.5)
Colts @ Chargers (-3.5, 48)
Giants @ Cowboys (-7.5, 46.5)
Steelers @ Patriots (-6, 51.5)
Texans @ Saints (-7.5, 53.5)
Broncos @ Raiders (-2.5, 43)

Thursday’s List of 13: Quick comments on the 2019 NFL schedule

13) 100th season of the NFL starts with league’s oldest rivals (Packers/Bears) opening the season with a Thursday night game in Chicago September 5. 

12) Monday night doubleheader in Week 1: Texans @ Saints, Broncos @ Raiders. 

11) Cleveland Browns have four primetime games:
— Week 2, at Jets (Monday night)
— Week 3, Rams (Sunday night)
— Week 5, at 49ers (Monday night)
— Week 11, Steelers (Thursday night)

10) Reunion games:
— Bears @ Raiders, Week 5 (Khalil Mack against his old team)
— Redskins @ Vikings, Week 8 (Kirk Cousins against his old team)

9) Teams that open with two straight home games:

Teams that open with two straight road games:

8) Teams that finish with two straight home games:

Teams that finish with two straight road games:

7) Thanksgiving Day games:
Bears-Lions, Bills-Cowboys, Saints-Falcons

6) Pittsburgh plays five of its last seven games on road; they play Cleveland twice in three weeks, in Weeks 11, 13. 

5) Teams with three straight weeks on road:
— Eagles, Week 6-8. This appears to be the only one in the whole league. Am guessing Philly brass won’t be happy with this. 

4) Miami plays one road game in the first six weeks; they have four home games and a bye, with only road game in in Week 3 at Dallas. 

3) Divisional games in Week 1:
Packers-Bears, Bills-Jets, Giants-Cowboys, Broncos-Raiders, Redskins-Eagles

2) Earliest byes: Jets, 49ers in Week 4.
Latest byes: Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings in Week 12.

1) No Thursday night game in Week 16-17. 

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

13) 4:50am late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, my phone starts beeping; figured some other terrible thing must’ve happened in the world, but instead they announced that Russell Wilson signed a 4-year, $140M extension with the Seahawks. 

At 4:50am, 1:50am in Seattle. 

I’m guessing they could’ve waited a couple of more hours to announce it, but no……

12) Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes was asked directly if he would have left for UCLA if the Bruins had covered his $8M buyout: “I think I would have been the coach at UCLA.”

Why would he say that now, if he was happy in Knoxville? Once he turned down the UCLA job, why would he talk about it again? 

11) Baseball injuries:
— Tampa Bay Rays’ ace Blake Snell (toe) goes on the IL- Apparently a granite pole fell on his foot in his bathroom at home. Seriously.
— Brewers put P Freddy Peralta (shoulder) on the IL. 

10) When Golden State led the Clippers by 31 points Monday night, some courageous (or drunk) person in Las Vegas wagered $50 on the Clippers to win the game SU, at 100-1 odds. He/she collected $5,000 when the Clippers won, which buys a lot of alcohol. 

9) As of Tuesday at 2pm, there were 683 college basketball players in the transfer portal; with 353 D-I college basketball teams, that works out to 1.93 players per team, and it is a big part of what is hurting the quality of play in college basketball. 

There is so little continuity from year to year; look at Nevada, which just hired Steve Alford to replace Eric Musselman. Right now, Nevada has zero players who will be eligible to play when the season starts in November. Not one. None. Bupkis. 

8) In 2013, Aaron Rodgers signed a deal that pays him $23M a year, and ate up 17.9% of the Packers’ salary cap. In 2019, Seattle just signed Russell Wilson to a $35M a year contract that will eat up 18.7% of the Seahawks’ salary cap. 

7) Phillies 14, Mets 3— Phillies scored eight runs in this game before they made an out; Mets made four errors in first inning. This was only 2nd time ever the Mets allowed 10+ runs in the first inning, other time coming in July 1988. 

Steven Matz is first MLB pitcher since Paul Wilson in 2005 to allow eight runs without getting anyone out, although the shortstop did make two errors behind him. 

If you like to plan ahead, baseball’s 2026 All-Star Game will be held in Philadelphia, to help commemorate our country’s 250th birthday. 

6) New York 8, Boston 0— Chris Sale is now 0-4, 8.50 this season; Boston is paying him $15M this year, then $164M more from 2020-25.

Red Sox found a scapegoat for their 6-11 start when they DFA’d catcher Blake Swihart Tuesday afternoon, and brought Sandy Leon back to the majors.  

5) Cardinals’ 1B Paul Goldschmidt hit his 7th home run Monday night; he hit 7th home run last year on May 30. St Louis has a very potent lineup. 

4) Columbus Blue Jackets have been in NHL for 19 years, had never won a playoff series, until they beat Tampa Bay 7-3 last night and swept the Lightning. Tampa Bay had 30 more points than the Blue Jackets this season, had the NHL’s best record. 

This is a big reason why the NHL playoffs are better than the NBA’s version; #8-seeds can and often do win playoff series. Hardly ever happens in the NBA. 

3) Temple/USC will start a home/home basketball series this fall, with the Owls visiting the Galen Center this year, with the Trojans coming to Philly in the fall of 2020. 

USC poached grad transfer Daniel Otumi away from the Akron Zips; Otumi averaged 14.2 ppg LY and shot 37% behind the arc. 

2) Most baseball strategy is fairly cut/dry, but one gray area that gets people’s blood boiling is when a game is tied going to bottom of 8th or 9th inning; does the visiting team use its closer with the game tied to keep the game alive, and then use a lesser pitcher to close the game if they get the lead later on, or do they hold the closer back for when they (hopefully) get the lead?

It is an interesting question; pitchers are so pampered these days, managers more and more see the big picture instead of just today’s game. 

We’re a long way from 1980, when the A’s had three different starting pitchers throw 14-inning complete games, because the Oakland relievers back then weren’t very good. 

1) NFL Draft is a week from tomorrow; I’m tired of mock drafts, which are nothing but fake news that we learn nothing from. The draft is a fascinating process, but having media people guess multiple times at what is going to happen is simply a waste of time.

NO ONE KNOWS what is going to happen; thats why it is so interesting. 

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

13) You never know about team chemistry, what goes on behind closed doors. 

Last week, Marquette G Markus Howard announced he was coming back for his senior year, which was surprising, considering the kid had skipped his senior year of HS to begin college when he was 17 years old. But you figured it was very good news for Marquette. 

Yesterday, brothers Sam/Joey Hauser announced they’re in the transfer portal, and will be leaving Marquette, which was really almost shocking news. As Darren MacGavin said in The Natural, “Something is amiss”

You don’t have to be Columbo to come to the conclusion that the Hauser brothers didn’t enjoy playing basketball with Markus Howard. 

12) Fred Hoiberg is the new coach at Nebraska; in 2011, he quickly upgraded Iowa State’s program by bringing in transfers. Nebraska is the early favorite to land the Hauser brothers. 

11) In his last two starts, hitters swung at 103 of Jacob deGrom’s pitches:
— 24 misses (23.3%)
— 52 foul balls (50.5%)
— 27 balls in play, with 13 of those hits (.481). Not good. 

Last year and in his first two starts this year, hitters swung at 1,725 of deGrom’s pitches:
— 504 misses (29.2%),
— 645 foul balls (37.4%)
— 533 balls in play, with 188 of those hits (.353) Very good. 

Something to track moving forward; he’s having trouble putting hitters away. 

10) The gambler who won $1.19M betting on Eldrick Woods at The Masters? The guy is from Wisconsin; apparently it was the first-ever sports bet. 

First sports bet he ever makes and its for $85,000? Wow. 

9) Non-sports question: Why would someone pay $500,000 so their kid could get into a college? I don’t care if it is USC, Harvard, DeVry University or Ouachita Baptist; whats the point? 

If the kid isn’t smart enough to get in the school in the first place, how will they do enough work to get a diploma? Or does the $500K cover that, too? Too many weasels in the world today. 

8) Rockies 5, Padres 2— Colorado scored a run in 2nd inning for first time this season; they still haven’t scored in the first inning. 

Under is 21-5-3 in Colorado’s last 29 road games.

7) Baseball injuries:
— Rockies put C Chris Iannetta (lat strain) on the IL.
— Phillies put P David Robertson (elbow) on the IL.
— Angels put P Tyler Skaggs (ankle) on the IL.
— Braves put P Jonny Venters (calf) on the IL.

6) Clippers 135, Warriors 131- Golden State blew a 31-point lead, may have lost DeMarcus Cousins with a torn quad muscle. Series is even, 1-1. 

Sidebar to Clippers-Warriors series is that Doc Rivers’ daughter is engaged to Portland G Seth Curry, who is Steph Curry’s brother.  

5) Brewers 10, Cardinals 7— In five games vs St Louis this season, Christian Yelich has seven homers, 15 RBI. 

4) AA Arkansas Travelers didn’t get a hit Sunday, but they beat Tulsa 1-0 in 10 innings. 

Starting this year in extra innings in minor league games, innings start with a runner on 2nd base, an incredibly stupid innovation; the run Arkansas scored came in on a bases loaded walk. 

I’d rather see tie games than have innings start with a runner on second base. 

3) Sacramento Kings fired coach Dave Joerger last week; turns out Joerger wanted the Kings to draft Luka Doncic instead of Marvin Bagley Jr. Maybe Joerger should be the Kings’ GM. 

2) RIP to coach John MacLeod, who passed away over the weekend at age 81. 

When I was in college, I wrote several letters to coaches around the country, asking how they used statistics (what is called analytics today) in their coaching. Thats how I put myself thru college, as a student manager of the basketball team— we did some interesting stuff with stats.

MacLeod was one of the few people who took the time to answer me, and I always appreciated that. RIP, sir. 

1) They ran the Boston Marathon Monday; running 26 miles (and 365 yards) seems excessive to me. Hell, if I drive my car 26 miles I’m looking for a Wendy’s or a McDonald’s. But more power to the people who are way tougher than me. Hope you all had fun. 

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

13) I’m listening to Hubie Brown analyze the Spurs-Nuggets game Saturday, and he talks about when he coached games in Denver in the old ABA, when he coached the Kentucky Colonels, who were a really good team. He was talking about the high altitude in Denver. 

Then it dawned on me; the ABA folded in 1976, WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. 

Hubie is so awesome, so sharp, a pleasure to listen to. Absolutely no nonsense; he was coaching pro ball when I had a full head of curly hair, and thats a damn long time ago. 

12) The 1974-75 Kentucky Colonels were really good; they went 58-26, won the second-to-last ABA title, with a roster that included Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel, Louie Dampier, Will Jones, really good players. 

Had the Colonels’ owner not sold out to the ABA’s other owners and folded the Colonels (he was later allowed to buy the Celtics as a reward for screwing the Kentucky fans), Hubie Brown would have had a hell of a ballclub to go into the NBA with. 

Instead, the Nets, Pacers, Nuggets, Spurs joined the NBA for the 1976-77 season. 

11) One thing that disappointed me about Showtime’s 4-part Action series about sports betting is that they never showed the Westgate Theater on an NFL Sunday, which is my favorite place to be on any football Sunday. Just a perfect setup. Food to the left, betting in back, people are respectful of each other. I’ve had some excellent conversations in there with total strangers while watching football. 

On a college football Saturday, the Westgate SuperBook is great fun. The SuperBook is a cool place to hang out and the SouthPoint is awesome for baseball/basketball nights, but for an NFL Sunday, a 1,500-seat theater with food/betting is pretty much ideal. 

10) Last episode of the Action series last night focused on the Super Bowl, which was a very sad few hours at Armadillo World HQ (I’ve been a Ram fan since 1966). This isn’t an episode I’ll watch more than once. Too soon. 

9) FOX should have a much better #1 baseball analyst than John Smoltz, who doesn’t seem to like baseball that much. Listen to him for a few innings and it is obvious he’d much rather be out on the golf course. He should work for the Golf Channel.

8) Congrats to the person who wagered $85,000 on Eldrick Woods this week at 14-1 odds; his payday is $1.19M, about half of what Woods won at Augusta. 

7) Baseball injuries:
— Seattle put P Wade LeBlanc (oblique) on the IL
— Braves put P Aroyds Vizcaino (shoulder) on IL
— Boston OF Andrew Benitendi left Sunday’s game after fouling a ball off his foot. 

6) First two days of NBA playoffs, favorites were 4-4 vs spread; under was 8-0. 

5) Coaching carousel:
— Cincinnati hired Northern Kentucky’s John Brannen as its new coach. 
— Utah Valley hired Lakers’ assistant Mark Madsen as its new coach.
— Wofford promoted associate coach Jay McAuley as head coach. 

4) James Harden won the NBA scoring title this season by 8.09 points/game, the biggest margin of victory since Wilt Chamberlain won it by 16+ points in 1962-63. 

3) It is April 15; Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are still free agents. Weird. 

2) Former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant is playing at Missouri now; when Mizzou had its spring game this weekend, 7 or 8 of his Clemson teammates went to Columbia to watch Bryant play- thats something NFL scouts will take note of down the road. A quarterback being liked/respected by teammates is a big deal to NFL scouts.

1) NFL schedule comes out Wednesday; seems like last season just ended.  

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

14) Get well soon to Mets’ broadcaster Ron Darling, who is taking a medical leave from his TV gig. Darling is one of the best broadcasters on TV; he will be missed. Get well soon, sir.

13) Someone at the Westgate SuperBook placed a $3,000 bet on the Clippers to beat Golden State in their first round series at 100-1 odds. Yikes. 

12) Nets 111, 76ers 102— Far be it from me to question the Sixers’ focus, but Amir Johnson had a cellphone on the bench during the game; at one point, he and Joel Embiid were looking at something on it, while sitting on the bench. Didn’t look like a video of the Brooklyn offense. Or defense.

Apparently Johnson’s daughter was ill and he was checking in on her during the game. 

Then there is this: “Use of a cell phone on the bench is a violation of the NBA Operations Manual. Violation will result in a substantial fine and/or suspension.”

11) Giants 5, Rockies 2— These two teams are only ones in major leagues this season that haven’t scored a run yet in the first inning. Colorado hasn’t scored in first two innings yet this year.

10) Rockies-Giants game lasted so long Friday night (18-inning game ended at 3:50am here in NY) that the seagulls that usually hover over the Giants’ ballpark late in games took off about an hour before the game ended. 

9) Still don’t understand why some teams bat their pitcher 8th. Tony LaRussa did it, and Joe Maddon has done it, but neither one of them ever did it in a playoff game, and until that happens, then it is just a gimmick. 

8) Sacramento Kings hired Luke Walton as their next head coach. 

7) Baseball injuries:
— Texas 2B Rougned Odor (knee) heads to the IL. 

6) Orioles 9, Red Sox 5— Chris Davis had three hits in five plate appearances in this game. Coming into Saturday, Davis had three hits in his previous 83 PA’s.

5) Tampa Bay’s Tommy Pham has now reached base in 47 consecutive games; the record is 84, held by Ted Williams. 

4) Duke played 26 basketball games on ESPN this season. 26 out of 38, and their four games in NCAA’s were all on CBS/Turner. 

3) There are 60 international players from 29 countries on NBA playoff rosters; every playoff team has at least two international players, with Utah (6) having the most.

2) Going to be cruddy weather in Georgia Sunday; The Masters moved up tee times in the final round to 7:30am, with CBS coming on the air at 9am. Mets-Braves is the Sunday night ESPN game; doesn’t sound too promising for that game to be played. 

1) AAA Rochester Red Wings scored 18 runs Saturday….and lost, 20-18 in 10 innings.

There is a sign on the scoreboard at Rochester’s stadium, sponsored by Having a sign on a scoreboard can’t be cheap. Must be good money in baldness. 

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

13) Marquette guard Markus Howard will play his senior year at Marquette instead of testing the waters in the NBA, which is surprising. 

Howard is from Arizona, but transferred to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas after his sophomore season in HS, then skipped his senior year altogether to go to Marquette, at age 17. When you do that, you’re pretty much accelerating the clock for when you can play in the NBA. 

For a player like this to stay four years in college is very unusual. 

12) Then there is Kevin Porter Jr, who declared for the draft after scoring 9.5 ppg in 21 games (4 starts) as a freshman at USC. He played 22.1 mpg, missed 11 of the Trojans’ 33 games, shot 41.2% on the arc, 52.2% on foul line. This is a player who is listed as a top 15 talent in the draft, but what about this past season indicates that? He started four games for a 16-17 USC team. 

11) Louisville poached St. Joseph’s G Lamarr Kimble as a grad transfer, a big pickup.

10) Lakers fired Luke Walton Friday; can’t be lot of fun hanging around there these days. Walton is expected to land in Sacramento as the Kings’ new coach. 

Tyronn Lue is expected to get the Lakers’ job; no shock considering he coached Lebron James in Cleveland. 

9) Toronto Raptors’ forward OG Anunoby had an emergency appendectomy, is expected to miss at least two weeks. 

8) Random stat: Raptors have played in 15 NBA playoff series; they lost the first game of those series 13 times, going 3-12 vs spread overall.

7) July 31, 2018, the Pirates traded Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and a minor leaguer to Tampa Bay, for Chris Archer.

Archer is a good pitcher, but Glasnow allowed one run in 17 IP in his first three starts, and now Meadows has knocked in 15 runs in Tampa Bay’s first 13 games. 

Rays have played seven games on this road trip; they’ve scored in top of the first inning in every game. 

6) Interesting fact from Anthony Castrovince: 154 position players retired with only one career plate appearance in the major leagues; 16 of them got a hit. Only five of them are still alive. 

5) Baseball season is 16 days old; Bronx Bombers already have 12 players on the IL.

4) Cardinals’ OF Harrison Bader was hit by a pitch with bases loaded twice Wednesday, first time that happened since 2005 (Reed Johnson, Toronto). 

3) NFL Draft is two weeks away; some notes:
— Most picks: Giants, Patriots, 12 each
— Fewest picks; Seattle (4).
— Multiple 1st round picks: Oakland 3, Packers/Giants (2).
— No 1st round pick: Dallas-Browns-Saints-Bears. 

2) Kid who scored 15.8 ppg LY for Bucknell will go to Kentucky next year as a grad transfer. Stuff like this is why there were fewer first round upsets in NCAA’s this year. The better players in the low major conference have big eyes, hoping to play a season getting on national TV a lot. 

1) Not that the NBA playoffs are boring, but since 1988, there have been 136 playoff series where the underdog was +$500 or higher; of those 136 series, the favorite won 129 of them.

Does anyone think there is a team that can beat the Warriors best-of-7, unless Golden State gets at least two starters hurt? Nah, me either. 

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

13) Baseball season is only 15 days old, and San Diego Padres have already had three starting pitchers (Paddack, Margevicius, Avila) make their major league debuts. None of the three ever pitched at the AAA level, which is very unusual- the three combined to make only eight starts at the AA level, which is revolutionary thinking.

12) Teams/players have exit interviews after each season; if HBO wants to do a good reality show along the lines of Hard Knocks, these interviews would be fun to watch. 

No matter what team it is, there are always unhappy players at the end of a season; some of these teams don’t have many happy players. Must be some interesting conversation going on, moreso in basketball/baseball, teams with smaller rosters. 

11) I mean, Sacramento Kings just finished a 39-43 season, their best season in 13 years, yet they fired their coach. How do you think that exit interview went? 

Lot of politics in NBA coaching circles; the coach tried to win games, people in the front office wanted him to play the younger players more, which would’ve resulted in fewer wins, but maybe more longterm success if the younger players developed faster. 

Maybe there’s a reason Sacramento hasn’t had a winning season in over a decade.

10) Southern Miss recently hired a new athletic director, and Thursday basketball coach Doc Sadler quit, probably to become an assistant to Fred Hoiberg at Nebraska. 

Sadler was at USM for five years, re-buillding a program that was ravaged by NCAA sanctions. Golden Eagles went 20-13 this year, their best season under Sadler- they started three seniors, so the new coach will have some recruiting to do. 

Whats slightly odd is that Sadler was Nebraska’s head coach from 2006-12, when the Huskers moved from the Big X to the Big 14. He was making $360,000 at Southern Miss, will take a pay cut to become an assistant, but probably not a big one. 

Just catches your attention when a pretty good head coach quits to become an assistant. 

9) If I ran major league baseball, I’d end all blackout policies, would let people use all the highlights from major/minor league games. In short, I’d give the game maximum exposure so that the casual fan/non-fans can see how excellent it is and they’ll develop an interest. 

Baseball does the opposite, and I’m guessing there is a financial reason why, but over the long haul, getting younger people invested in the game seems like a smarter business plan.

8) Not really sure why, but ESPN doesn’t have Baseball Tonight anymore, but they have an hour-long NBA show during the day year-round. Baseball needs more exposure.  

7) Coaching contract:
— Nevada signed Steve Alford to replace Eric Musselman as coach. 

6) Every returning Nevada player has entered the transfer portal, except for two guys who transferred there last year, and aren’t eligible until 2nd semester next season. Alford is going to have to do quick work re-recruiting the returnees, or he’ll have to recruit a whole new team. 

Similar thing at LSU, where five players have declared for the NBA Draft; if they fire Will Wade, and it seems likely they will, the new coach is going to be handed a depleted roster. 

5) In the bottom of the 5th inning Wednesday night, Mets had seven consecutive batters reach base against Minnesota, without ever hitting a fair ball- six walks and a hit batter, against three different pitchers. All in all, Mets scored six runs in the inning, with two singles.

4) Cubs’ pitcher Jon Lester started his big league career 0-66 at the plate, but since then he’s hit .130 (27-207) to raise his career batting average to .099.

3) Patrick Reed shot a 73 at The Masters Thursday; each of the last eight rounds at The Masters by that year’s defending champ have been over par.

2) Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 6— Last season, Nathan Eovaldi allowed 14 homers in 111 IP. He’s allowed six homers this season in 15 IP. Boston scored twice in 9th for the comeback win; both teams are now 4-9 this season. 

1) On February 12, 2016, Milwaukee traded Khris Davis to the A’s, for Jacob Nottingham and Bubba Derby.

Since that trade, Davis has homered 142 times for Oakland. Nottingham is 4-20 in nine major league games, Derby has a 4.16 ERA in 103 minor league games. Pretty good trade for the A’s. 

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

13) Tampa Bay 9, White Sox 1- Rays are off to a 10-3 start; they scored in top of the first inning in all six games on this road trip. Wondering if they prepare differently than other teams, which allows them to score early in games?

12) A gambler wagered $85,000 at a William Hill sportsbook on Eldrick Woods to win The Masters; if Woods wins, the gambler banks $1.19M. 

11) Thinking about the Virginia-Texas Tech game Monday night, and how the total opened at 120 and was quickly bet down to 117. Books cleaned up on that, after the 85-77 final. 

10) Next fall St John’s will have their 6th hoop coach in 18 years; located in Queens, you’d think the Red Storm would be good at basketball, but over the last 17 years. St John’s is 106-190 in Big East games. Of their last five coaches, Steve Lavin was by far the best. 

Why wouldn’t the people who run the school take a deep breath, count to 10, think of all the money they’re about to make and hire Rick Pitino? 

9) Baseball wagering advice; next time Freddy Peralta pitches for the Brewers, check the lineup to see who Milwaukee’s catcher is. 

When Manny Pina catches Peralta, as he has 75% of the time, batters hit .165 vs Peralta. 

When someone else catches Peralta, teams hit around .300 against him. 

This isn’t difficult; I mean, I was lucky to graduate from a state college, but even I know that Peralta is a way better pitcher when Pina is his catcher. 

8) Twins’ OF Max Kepler was born in Germany; both his parents were ballet dancers. 

Twins were scheduled to fly home after their game at Citi Field last night, but they might not have made it; they were expecting 15 inches of snow in the Twin Cities, so the plane may have had to land in Milwaukee instead. 

7) Coaching carousel:
— BYU hired former Utah Valley coach Mark Pope as its new coach.
— Belmont hired Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander, a Belmont alum. 

6) I get this phone call Tuesday afternoon, from some company supposedly trying to get me a job,  a job I haven’t asked for, nor one that I want. 

Politely tell the woman that I’m not interested, but she rattles on and I listen. She asks if I’m an American citizen, I say yes. Then she asks what year I graduated high school. When I tell her, she abruptly ends the call and hangs up. Alrighty then. 

Thanks for nothing, lady.

5) Orlando Magic made the NBA playoffs this year for first time in seven years under coach Steve Clifford, who is in his first year with the Magic. 

Coaches often lead a nomadic existence; way back in 1994-95, Clifford spent a season as an assistant coach at Siena College, which is four miles from Armadillo World HQ here in beautiful Colonie, NY. 

Siena is a small school; they have a good mid-major basketball program, but its a hell of a long way from the NBA. Credit to coach Clifford for making it to and succeeding in the bigtime. 

4) Celtics’ Marcus Smart has suffered a torn oblique on his left side and could be sidelined for the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs. 

3) Kansas City’s Billy Hamilton scored from second on a long fly ball to centerfield Tuesday night. Hamilton ain’t much of a hitter, but he is a good fielder and is very, very fast. 

2) Magic Johnson must’ve been pretty disgusted if he quit without telling Jeannie Buss or Rob Pelinka first; common wisdom seems to be that Johnson didn’t work that hard at the job- he has business interests he deals with, too. Being a team president is a pretty serious job.

He actually said, “Now I can tweet whenever I like” kind of a stunning thing to say. 

1) Just because a guy was a great ballplayer doesn’t mean he will be great at other stuff.

Being an executive. Three different skill sets.

Great players can be arrogant about thinking they know more about everything than a guy who didn’t play, or didn’t play as well. That simply isn’t true, and it gets proven every year. 

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

13) Magic Johnson abruptly stepped down Tuesday night as president of the Lakers. 

NBA continues to get stranger by the day. Doesn’t seem like there are a lot of happy people there. League is profitable, lot of folks getting rich. You’d think they’d be happier. 

12) UCLA ended its 100-day coaching search by hiring Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin, who will get $24M for six years. Cronin made the NCAA’s the last nine years with the Bearcats, but made Sweet 16 only one time, and has never been in an Elite 8. 

Cronin was at Cincinnati for 13 years; his record in NCAA games there? 6-9. They got turned down by Rick Barnes and Jamie Dixon, neither of whom will get confused with John Wooden. I’m guessing the fanbase won’t be thrilled. 

11) On the other hand, where does Cincinnati turn now? They just upgraded their facilities, and have a pretty impressive history of winning. AAC is an improving league; this is a good job for somebody. Question is whats the better open job, Cincinnati or St John’s? 

10) Avery Johnson, Chris Mullin, Mike Dunleavy all coached in the NBA, all got told to take a hike this spring by colleges that employed them. Recruiting is a grind, and no one wins without really good players. Guys who worked in the NBA aren’t always thrilled by the seemingly endless treadmill that recruiting can be. 

9) When they announced the 2019 inductees for the Naismith Hall of Fame this weekend, part of me was surprised that Zion Williamson wasn’t inducted; if you listen to ESPN, he’s the greatest college ballplayer since Bill Walton. ESPN”s #1 goal is promoting the NBA, and thats where Williamson will be for the next 12-15 years.  

8) One thing you never want to see, Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore posting a map of your hometown on Twitter, with the accompanying radar of an approaching storm. Not good.

7) Pirates’ P Chris Archer got suspended for five games after starting Sunday’s fracas with the Reds, but he didn’t get thrown out of that game after he threw behind Derek Dietrich. 

6) Baseball injuries:
— Cleveland put P Mike Clevinger (back) on the IL.
— Cubs put P Jon Lester (hamstring) on the IL.
— Colorado put P Tyler Anderson (knee) on the IL.
— Dodgers put Hyun-Jin Ryu (leg) on the IL.
— Luis Severino went back to New York for another MRI on his shoulder.

5) Cincinnati Reds/St Louis Cardinals are playing two games in Monterrey, Mexico this weekend, bit of an unusual schedule. 

4) Virginia won its six NCAA tournament games by a total of 45 points, 2nd-lowest total for a champion in the shot clock era. 1997 Arizona Wildcats won their six games by total of 32 points. ’97 UConn Huskies won their six games by total of 47. 

3) From 2015-17, 18 baseball teams won 10+ more games than they did the year before; those 18 teams, in the third year, regressed by an average of 4.89 wins per year. 

There are five such teams this year: Braves, Brewers, A’s, Phillies, Rays. 

2) TV ratings for Monday night’s Virginia-Texas Tech game were 23% higher than last year’s national title game. 

1) Since 1989, the Big 14 has won only one national title in basketball, when Michigan State won the championship in 2000 in Indianapolis.