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

Write-ups on KBO games are on KBO page.


Thursday’s 6-pack
Bovada’s odds to win the NBA title:
2-1— Lakers
11-4— Milwaukee
3-1— Clippers
12-1— Boston
14-1— Toronto
15-1—Houston

Quote of the Day:
“Everyone should go to college and get a degree, and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cab driver. Then they would be really be educated.”
Al McGuire

Thursday’s quiz
Rams have played in four Super Bowls, with four different head coaches; who are they?

Wednesday’s quiz
NFL’s Titans were the Houston Oilers, before moving to Tennessee.

Tuesday’s quiz
Burgess Meredith played Mick, Rocky Balboa’s boxing trainer in those great movies; he played the Penguin on the old Batman TV series in the 60’s. 

Thursday’s Den: 13 baseball careers that deserve another look

13) Vada Pinson:
— Had 2,757 hits in 18 years, mostly for Cincinnati
— From 1959-67, he played in 154+ games every year.
— Led NL in hits twice, doubles twice, triples twice, runs scored once.
— Arguably the best player not in the Hall of Fame.

12) Octavio Dotel— July 1999, Dotel is a rookie for the Mets; he is pitching on a Saturday afternoon against the Cubs. I’m in my dad’s hospital room; he had cancer surgery four days earlier, and now, the nurse is struggling with one of the tubes in his right arm.

My dad lets out a yell, the nurse jumps and asks if she hurt him. He waves his left arm and says “Its not you. The Cubs have the bases loaded.”

Got up, went up and got a Coke out of a vending machine and stopped worrying about him.

— Played for 13 different teams, in a 15-year career.
— Was with Astros for five years; didn’t play more than two years for anyone else.
— Started 30 games his first two years, started only four more games in his career. He wound up with 109 saves.
— Made the playoffs five times, for five different teams.

11) Al Oliver
— One of the most underrated hitters ever: hit .303 in an 18-year career.
— Made All-Star Game seven times.
— Played 10 years for the Pirates, then bounced around to six other teams.
— Led NL in RBI’s in 1982, when he was 35.

10) Tommy John: He actually had two different careers:
— 1963-74 , before the surgery: 124-106
— 1975— Sat out entire season
— 1976-89, after the surgery: 164-125
— From 1977-82- Made playoffs five times in six years, his only playoff appearances.

9) Nolan Ryan
— Threw seven no-hitters, with last one coming at age 44. 
— Spent 27 years in majors; pitched in ’69 World Series at age 22, but never got back.
— Led AL in strikeouts four years in row from 1987-90, at ages 37-40.
— How the hell did someone this good lose 292 games (324-292)?

8) Jamie Quirk
— Played 18 years in majors, batted 250+ times in only one season.
— Played for eight teams, playing 11 years in Kansas City.
— Made playoffs four times, winning a ring with ’85 Royals.
— .645 career OPS; he must’ve been a good receiver.

7) Mike Morgan
— Morgan started a game against the Orioles three days after his high school graduation, at age 18. He lost 3-0 on a Sunday afternoon.
— Wound up lasting 22 years in the majors, for 12 different teams.
— In 1991-92, he went a combined 30-16 for Dodgers/Cubs, his best stretch.
— Made playoffs twice, with ’98 Cubs, ’01 Diamondbacks.

6) Matt Stairs
— Played 19 years in the majors for 12 different teams.
— Hit 265 home runs, had career OPS of .832.
— Played five years for the A’s, only team he played with for more than 3 years.
— Won a World Series ring with the 2008 Phillies. 

5) Jose Vizcaino
— Played 18 years in majors for eight different teams.
— 434 games at 2B, 226 at 3B, 947 at short, 355 as a pinch-hitter.
— Never made an All-Star Game, but earned $26M in his career.
— Made playoffs six times, three times with Houston. 

4) Gary Sheffield
— Played 22 years in big leagues, for eight teams.
— Hit 509 homers, had a career OPS of .905.
— Hit .312, had .998 OPS in four years with Dodgers.
— Made nine All-Star Games, played in playoffs six years.

3) Gaylord Perry
— Played for eight teams in his 22-year career.
— Went 314-265 in his career, with 303 complete games.
— Went 21-6 for the ’78 Padres, when he was 39 years old.
— Wrote a book in 1974; Me and the Spitter. He admitted he cheated.

2) Bartolo Colon
— Was the last active major leaguer who had played for the Montreal Expos.
— Once threw 38 consecutive strikes in a game at Anaheim.
— Played for 21 years with 11 different teams; he spent six years in Cleveland.
— Went 247-188 our his career, made four All-Star Games

1) Rickey Henderson
— All-time greatest base stealer, with 1,406 stolen bases.
— Played 25 years in majors for nine teams; he played 14 years in his hometown of Oakland, in four different stints.
— Led off 81 games with home runs, 27 more than anyone else.
— Had a career on-base %age of .401; in 1990, he had a .439 OB%. 

2 Lists for Wednesday: Mid-week musings……

13) Very bad beat in the KBO over the weekend; 3-3 game in extra innings, total is 8.5. KBO games end in a tie after 12 innings, but the Lotte Giants scored five times in the 11th to win 8-3, and put the game over the total.

If you had Doosan Bears and the under, it was a rough Sunday morning.

12) If the billionaires/millionaires can’t come to an agreement this month, and there is no 2020 baseball season, it won’t be the end of the world, but it will put a severe dent in their business, one that right now is a very profitable one.

NBA games are going to start July 31; there will be golf soon and hockey will start and they’re racing cars every week. If baseball is the only sport that sits this year out, it doesn’t bode well for the labor negotiations, with the current agreement ending after the 2021 season.

11) One personal thing about all this: if there is no major league baseball this season, I’ll probably be changing my sleeping habits totally, and waking up at 5:30am to watch Korean baseball. Going to speed at 10:00 at night would be weird, but it would be an improvement over what I’m doing right now. Right now, TV in primetime is very depressing.

10) SK Wyverns of the KBO have a great logo; a winged dragon, but they only have a white “W” on their red hats, not a bad look, but their dragon logo on a hat would be awesome.

9) People in Seattle looted a Cheesecake Factory restaurant Saturday night; a young lady was walking down the rainy sidewalk, carefully holding a cheesecake, with the cherry on top- she should’ve boxed it.

8) Friday night, an SUV was trying to get off a crowded street; the SUV backs up, and runs a guy over— the SUV is on top of him, and then pulls away, and the freakin’ guy gets right up after being run over by a freakin’ SUV. He had to be hurt, or so drunk/stoned he couldn’t feel it.

7) TV reporters are crazy; they’re out there on the streets, very close to cars on fire, people fighting with police, and they have no protective gear on. Takes lot of onions to do that.

Guy on CNN got arrested while he was on camera; the governor of Minnesota found out, and quickly put an end to that situation. They couldn’t pay me enough to do that stuff.

6) Jason Terry, who played 19 years in the NBA after playing four years of college at Arizona, is going back to Tucson to join Sean Miller’s staff with the Wildcats. Terry scored 13.4 ppg in his NBA career.

5) CNN turned 40 years old this week; I’m old enough to remember when there weren’t TV stations dedicated to sports, news and the weather.

When they started The Weather Channel, I mocked it— “Who would watch a TV channel about the weather? Just look out the window.” Obviously, I was way wrong about that.

4) On June 1, 1955, Brooklyn Dodger OF Duke Snider hit three homers and a double in a game against the Milwaukee Braves; he got the four extra base hits off of four different pitchers.

3) There is word now that Cam Newton might not sign with a team until a starter gets hurt somewhere in the league, and needs to be replaced; he doesn’t want to be a backup. Well, he doesn’t want to get paid like a backup, thats probably more accurate.

2) RIP to the great Baltimore Bullet Wes Unseld, 74, who passed away this week; Unseld was a muscular, tough center who threw great two-hand, over-the-head outlet passes- he averaged 14 rebounds a game over his 13-year career.

Also, RIP to coach Pat Dye, 80, who passed away this week; Dye went 153-62-5 as a head coach, winning four SEC titles in 12 years at Auburn.

1) USC cut ties with a football booster, Marla Brown, who said multiple times on her now-deleted Twitter account that people protesting police brutality and George Floyd’s murder in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. should be shot. On her Twitter biography, Brown is identified as a LAPD union attorney.

USC said it informed her that it had revoked her season ticket and Trojan Athletic Fund membership privileges; going forward, it would be hard to recruit if they didn’t.

Wednesday’s Den: All-time lineup for NL West teams

All-time rosters, (for players since 1960):
NL West teams
Arizona Diamondbacks
C-  Miguel Montero
1B-  Paul Goldschmidt
2B-  Orlando Hudson
SS-  Stephen Drew
3B- Matt Williams
OF- Luis Gonzalez
OF- Justin Upton
OF- Steve Finley
DH-  AJ Pollock
SP-  Brandon Webb
SP-  Randy Johnson
SP- Patrick Corbin
SP- Robbie Ray
RP- Jose Valverde

Colorado Rockies
C- Chris Iannetta
1B- Todd Helton
2B- DJ LeMahieu 
SS-  Trevor Story
3B- Nolan Arenado
OF- Larry Walker
OF- Matt Holliday 
OF- Carlos Gonzalez
DH- Charlie Blackmon
SP- Aaron Cook
SP- Jorge de la Rosa
SP- Jeff Francis
SP- Jason Jennings
RP- Brian Fuentes

Los Angeles Dodgers
(My friend Luke helped me with this one)
C-  Mike Piazza
1B- Steve Garvey
2B- Davey Lopes
SS-  Maury Wills
3B-  Justin Turner
OF- Reggie Smith
OF- Pedro Guerrero 
OF- Cody Bellinger
DH- Tommy Davis
SP- Sandy Koufax
SP- Don Drysdale
SP- Clayton Kershaw
SP- Don Sutton
RP- Kenley Jansen

San Diego Padres
C-  Benito Santiago
1B- Adrian Gonzalez
2B- Mark Loretta
SS-  Garry Templeton
3B- Ken Caminiti
OF- Tony Gwynn
OF- Dave Winfield
OF-  Carmelo Martinez
DH- Nate Colbert
SP- Randy Jones
SP- Jake Peavy
SP- Eric Show
SP-  Andy Benes
RP- Trevor Hoffman

San Francisco Giants
C-  Buster Posey 
1B- Willie McCovey
2B- Jeff Kent
SS- Brandon Crawford
3B- Matt Williams 
OF- Willie Mays
OF- Barry Bonds  
OF- Bobby Bonds 
DH- Will Clark
SP-  Juan Marichal
SP- Madison Bumgarner
SP- Gaylord Perry
SP- Matt Cain
RP- Rod Beck 

Tuesday’s Den: Words of advice from a great poker player…….

It dawned on me today that I have a lot of books in my house, and I’ve read just about all of them, but most of them I read a long time ago; these days, I’m re-reading bits and pieces of them, and that has worked pretty well.

Today I’m reading “Ace on the River” a book written by the great poker player Barry Greenstein in 2005. If you like to gamble in general, or specifically play poker, there is a lot of wisdom in this book, some of which I’m going to share with you today.

Here are some of the characteristics that Barry Greenstein says “….separate winning poker players from losing players”

— Have a good sense of humor— Winning players have learned to tolerate bad beats that happen. A gallows’ sense of humor may help them endure the bad times.

— The best players must be able to talk their way into good situations and should be gracious to losing players. There are times when they have to be able to speak up for their own best interest. Being able to talk is a plus, and so is knowing when to be quiet.

— Winning players have to formulate strategies and change them when they’re not working. Intelligence is the ability to adapt to one’s environment; an intelligent player knows how to use information to his maximum advantage.

— Most winning poker players are quiet during each hand and maintain the proverbial poker face. Even after losing a hand, they don’t show their disappointment.

— Winning poker players have memorized basic strategy; they remember what worked int he past, and what didn’t. They have a mental catalogue of every opponent’s playing style and idiosyncrasies.

— Winning players aren’t afraid to pull the trigger; they aren’t afraid to make the right play, even if it is risky. They also realize that there is a fine line between being bold and being reckless.

— Even if a good player’s results have been bad, he will continue to make decisions that he believes are the right ones.

— If a game is far more lucrative than usual, a good player will not quit, especially if he is winning. He looks at this as an opportunity to make enough money so he won’t have to work as long on occasions when the game isn’t as juicy.

— Many winning poker players are very scrappy; some were refugees from other countries. They know life isn’t always fair, and they’re used to fighting to survive. They expect obstacles and believe they can overcome them. In the Darwinian sense, winning players are survivors of the poker battle.

— Winning players don’t take anyone’s advice without thinking about it first. Plenty of bad advice is readily available; they don’t submit to peer pressure that will lead them down the bumpy path the majority has followed.

— Winning players are usually big tippers; they don’t place a high value on money because it comes so easily at times that it doesn’t hurt to give some of it away. They are respectful of people who work hard for their money.

— Winning players pay great attention to detail; they remember each pot, how many players were in it, who raised, who had the key cards, who hesitated at key moments.

— Psychologically tough— The best don’t give in, no matter how severe the psychological beating. Psychologically tough players have the mindset that they can win in any situation and can overcome anything. You cannot judge a player until you see how he handles adversity.

Again, the book is “Ace on the River”, written by Barry Greenstein. If you can find it online or in a bookstore, you’ll learn a lot from it. 

2 Lists for Monday: KBO leaders, after four weeks

13) KBO standings, thru four weeks:
18-5 NC Dinos
16-7 LG Twins
14-9 Doosan Bears
12-12 Kiwoom Heroes, Kia Tigers
Top five teams make playoffs
11-12 Lotte Giants
10-13 KT Wiz
10-14 Samsung Lions
7-16 SK Wyverns
7-17 Hanwha Eagles

12) OPS leaders:
1.263 Roberto Ramos, Twins
1.206 JM Fernandez, Bears
1.149 Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
1.075 DW Park, Heroes

11) Home runs:
10— Roberto Ramos, Twins
7— SB Na, Dinos
6— Preston Tucker, Tigers
Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
DW Park, Heroes
DM Han, Wyverns

10) RBI:
25— Preston Tucker, Tigers
23— JM Fernandez, Bears
ES Chae, Twins
21— Roberto Ramos, Twins
DW Park, DW Park, Heroes
20— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz

9) Stolen bases:
6— WJ Sim, Wiz
CH An, Giants
5— KC Seo, Heroes
CW Lee, Twins
CP Kim, Wyverns
4— Aaron Altherr, Dinos
YK Lee, Eagles

8) ERA:
0.51 CM Koo, Dinos 35 IP
0.90 Jokisch, Heroes 30 IP
1.69 Despaigne, Wiz 32 IP
2.51 Rucinski, Dinos 32.1 IP
2.61 Flexen, Bears 31 IP

7) WHIP (baserunners allowed/innings pitched):
0.60 CM Koo, Dinos 35 IP
0.87 Jokisch, Heroes 30 IP
0.94 Despaigne, Wiz 32 IP
1.04 TH Kim, Wyverns 24 IP
1.10 Gagnon, Tigers 27.1 IP

6) Strikeouts:
38— CM Koo, Dinos 35 IP
37— Gagnon, Tigers 27.1 IP
Straily, Giants 33.1 IP
31— SW Jang 24.2 IP
30— Rucinski, Dinos 32.1 IP

5) Home runs allowed:
7— YG Kim, Dinos
5— JH Baek, Dinos
YC Lee, Bears
SH Lee, Heroes
WC Cha, Twins
MW Kim, Eagles

4) Bullpen records:
5-0 LG Twins
7-2 Lotte Giants
6-3 NC Dinos
4-3 Doosan Bears
2-2 Kia Tigers
5-6 Kiwoom Heroes
2-6 Hanwha Eagles
1-3 Samsung Lions
1-7 SK Wyverns
0-8 KT Wiz

3) Saves:
8— JH Won, Dinos 8-10
5— SW Jo, Heroes 5-5
4— WR Jung, Eagles 4-4
SG Lee, Twins 4-4
DJ Ham, Bears 4-5
3— KC Moon, Tigers 3-3
WJ Kim, Giants

2) Each KBO team can have three foreign players; maximum of two pitchers, one position player, so there are only ten foreign position players in the league. It hurts when your one foreign hitter doesn’t do well; Taylor Motter hit .114 for Kiboom, was told to take a hike.

Four of the other nine foreign position players have an OPs over 1.000

1) Home teams are 60-51

Over is 55-54-2 (14-6 on Sundays (day games), 41-48-2 otherwise)

Monday’s Den: Random thoughts on a warm night

13) Usually, Saturday nights in May are filled with baseball, bantering with Chris the Bartender and other friends, eating food that tastes good but is probably bad for me. These days? Not so much.

Most interesting thing on TV tonight is the civil war that has broken out between protestors and police, all over the country. It is frightening and horrible to watch. I pray for all of us.

Not sure what else to say about this; our country has no leadership at the federal level, it is almost like the imbecile in the White House wants this to happen.

12) How come over 100,000 people in this country have died from the Coronavirus, while in New Zealand, the virus has been virtually snuffed out? Maybe they have a mart person in charge of their country. There’s an interesting idea, a smart person as president. We should try it.

Have to move on to happier thoughts……..
11) ESPN actually shows cornhole tournaments now; this is stuff people do at tailgate parties before football games, and they’re showing it on national TV.

Only thing MLB Network showed all weekend was old Derek Jeter games, so didn’t watch that at all. We already have the YES Network in New York; MLB Network shows almost as many Bronx games as YES does.

10) Was watching a 1990 Portland-Phoenix NBA game, Dick Stockton/Hubie Brown on the call; this was 30 years ago, and Hubie Brown is still on the job, calling games. A great analyst..

Suns had my all-time favorite NBA uniforms; very sharp. This was when Kevin Johnson was their point guard; he went on to become mayor of Sacramento.

9) The new onside kick rule didn’t pass, and this might be why:

Over the last ten years, the kicking team recovered 10.6% of onside kicks; over the last 15 years, according to football expert Warren Sharp, teams converted 3rd/4th and 15 yards to-go situations 15.6% of the time. Apparently, some NFL owners were concerned that going for the 4th-and-15 would become too popular and greatly change the game.

8) Sad to read about a bar in Manhattan closing for good; Foley’s on W. 33rd St was a hangout for baseball people in Manhattan- they had a collection of over 3,500 signed baseballs there, as well as jerseys and tons of memorabilia.

Open for 16 years, it sounds like the owner may open a place somewhere else down the road. Seemed like a very cool place, though.

7) Max Scherzer’s favorite baseball movies:

6) Moneyball
5) The Sandlot
4) Rookie of the Year
3) The Rookie
1a) Bull Durham
1a) Major League

6) Over the last nine years, Milwaukee Brewers have had eight different starting first basemen. Eric Thames is the only guy who was the primary first baseman for two years.

5) Quarterbacks who threw Larry Fitzgerald the most TD’s:
39— Kurt Warner
28— Carson Palmer
12— Josh McCown
7— John Skelton
6— Josh Rosen
5— Kevin Kolb, Matt Leinart

4) I’ve been binging The Sopranos this week, trying to find shows I haven’t seen that are fun to watch; the scenes with Paulie Soprano and the therapist are great TV, the rest of the show is a little too violent for me. Don’t need to see people get pummeled/shot every ten minutes.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is more my speed; laughter is better than violence.

3)  In the last couple weeks, two guys who both worked in the Oakland Coliseum press box for the last 40+ years both passed away:

Roy Steele was the A’s/Raiders’PA announcer; Chester Farrow ran the scoreboard at the Coliseum. Both guys were beloved by the folks there; they passed away about a week apart. We hope they rest in peace.

2) Which actor has died the most in TV/movies?

According to my research, John Hurt died 43 times in TV/movies; Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price are next on the list.

1) Some good news, I think/hope; Las Vegas casinos are scheduled to open Thursday, June 4. Korean baseball games start at 2:30am local time in Vegas, which could make it tough on the good people who work in sportsbooks, but it would be fun as hell to sit there and watch them while I had a slice of pizza. 

Sunday’s Den: All-time lineups for NL Central teams

All-time lineups, (for players since 1960):
NL Central teams
Chicago Cubs
C- Randy Hundley
1B- Ernie Banks
2B- Ryne Sandberg
SS- Don Kessinger
3B- Ron Santo
OF- Billy Williams
OF- Andre Dawson
OF- Sammy Sosa
DH- Mark Grace
SP- Ferguson Jenkins
SP- Greg Maddux
SP- Jon Lester
SP- Rick Reuschel
RP- Lee Smith

Cincinnati Reds
C- Johnny Bench
1B- Tony Perez
2B- Joe Morgan
SS- Dave Concepcion  
3B- Pete Rose
OF- George Foster
OF- Vada Pinson
OF- Eric Davis
DH- Joey Votto
SP- Johnny Cueto
SP- Mario Soto
SP- Tom Browning
SP- Jose Rijo
RP- Clay Carroll

Milwaukee Brewers
C-  Jonathan Lucroy
1B- Cecil Cooper
2B- Jim Gantner
SS-  Robin Yount
3B- Paul Molitor
OF- Ryan Braun
OF- Greg Vaughn
OF- Christian Yelich
DH- Prince Fielder
SP- Teddy Higuera
SP- Ben Sheets
SP- Yovani Gallardo
SP- Jay Haas
RP- Josh Hader

Pittsburgh Pirates
C- Manny Sanguillen 
1B- Willie Stargell
2B- Bill Mazeroski
SS- Dick Groat
3B- Bill Madlock
OF- Roberto Clemente
OF- Barry Bonds
OF- Andrew McCutchen
DH- Al Oliver
SP- John Candelaria
SP- Doug Drabek
SP- Steve Blass
SP- Rick Rhoden
RP- Kent Tekulve

St Louis Cardinals
(my friend Pete helped me with this one)
C-  Yadier Molina
1B- Albert Pujols
2B- Tommy Herr
SS-  Ozzie Smith
3B-  Ken Boyer
OF- Lou Brock
OF-  Jim Edmonds
OF-  Willie McGee
DH- Ted Simmons
SP-  Bob Gibson
SP- Steve Carlton
SP- Chris Carpenter
SP- Adam Wainwright
RP-  Bruce Sutter

Saturday’s Den: Random thoughts on a stormy night

13) If MLB winds up expanding to 32 teams, to make up the money they’re losing this year, what two cities would they pick to expand to? Montreal? Portland? Nashville?

12) Let’s see that when the inevitable expansion draft happens, and teams can protect, say 15 guys on their roster, there are going to be some very interesting decisions involved with who gets let go and who gets protected.

Usually when there are two new expansion teams, one tries harder to win right away, and the other has better long term success. This will be an interesting process to follow.

11) Someone posted a thing the week about how long it takes college basketball coaches to win their first national title; for most, longer than you might think.

27th year— Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim
24th— Gary Williams, Lute Olson
22nd— Norm Sloan, Jerry Tarkanian, Jay Wright
21st— Dean Smith
20th— John Calipari
18th— John Wooden

10) If you look at the 12 NFL teams who scored the most points over the course of a regular season, none of them won the Super Bowl that season.

9) Mets’ pitcher Jacob deGrom was a shortstop in college at Stetson; he didn’t pitch much in college. deGrom his one home run in college, against Florida Gulf Coast, off a pretty good major league pitcher— Chris Sale.

8) Japanese pro baseball leagues will start up on June 19, also without fans.

7) Most walk-off home runs, all-time:
13— Jim Thome
12— Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Babe Ruth
11— Tony Perez, David Ortiz, Ryan Zimmerman

6) Al Leiter started two games on the mound for the Mets in the 2000 World Series; he threw 126 pitches in Game 1, 142 pitches in Game 5. At age 34.

Leiter went 162-132 in a 19-year career for four teams; he pitched in the playoffs in five of those seasons.

5) Last 36 years, every NBA Finals has had at least one guy in it who was, at one time, a teammate of Shaquille O’Neal. Last one that didn’t? 1984.

4) San Diego Padres have been a major league team for 51 years; they’ve never had the same starting second baseman four years in a row.

3) Jalen Kitna, son of former NFL QB Jon Kitna, signed on to play college football at Florida this week. Jon Kitna played 14 years as a QB, for Bengals, Seattle, Lions, Dallas.

2) In his great NFL career, Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has caught TD passes from 16 different quarterbacks.

1) Longest games ended by a walk-off homer:
25th inning— Harold Baines 1984, White Sox over Milwaukee

22nd— Pedro Munoz 1993, Twins over Cleveland

21st— Dick Allen 1973, White Sox over Cleveland

19th— Brandon Moss 2013, A’s over Angels
Joe Rudi 1972, A’s over White Sox
Albert Pujols 2014, Angels over Boston
Mike Cameron 2000, Mariners over Boston
Andy Etchebarren 1967, Orioles over Washington
Willie Kirkland 1963, Indians over Washington

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

13) As if 2020 hasn’t sucked enough already, one of boyhood idols passed away this week, and way too young.

Biff Pocoroba made his major league debut on April 25, 1975; I was 15 and a huge baseball fan, and my first name is also Biff. Not surprisingly, I became a big fan- as I type this, there is a post card signed by him on the bookshelf in my living room.

Pocoroba lasted 10 years in the major leagues; he was a good defensive catcher, was especially good catching Phil Niekro’s knuckleball. He made the 1978 All-Star Game, coming in for Bob Boone in the 9th inning, when Niekro was brought in to pitch.

Biff once hit a bases loaded double off Tom Seaver on Monday Night Baseball, when that was a big deal; he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Montreal Expos. He was one of Brave owner Ted Turner’s favorite players; when it was time for him to be released, they waited until Turner was out of the country to do it.

Biff Pocoroba was 66 when he passed away Sunday. RIP, sir.

12) Here are the salary proposals MLB gave to the players, for playing a reduced 82-game season:

— $1M player would now make $434,000
— $5M player would make $1.6M
— $10M player would make $2.9M
— $15M player would make $4M
— $20M player would make $5.2M

There are bonuses involved if the playoffs/World Series are completed, but there is no guarantee that the players aren’t risking getting the coronavirus and thereby jeopardizing their lives by playing.

Serious question: If you were a player, would you agree to this?

11) Something to consider: Mark Attanasio, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, said that MLB typically generates $9.4B per year in revenue, half of which goes to player salaries. A half season would yield about $5B, and without fans, would be closer to $2.85B for the entire 2020 season.

10) Every July 1 from now until 2035, the Mets pay Bobby Bonilla $1.19M, the deferred payment he gets from an agreement he made in 2000.

If the players were to accept the deal the owners recently offered them, Bonilla would make more money this year than 22 of the 25 current players on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bonilla hasn’t played ball in 19 years- retired after the 2001 season.

9) Happy birthday to the great Jerry West, who turned 82 Thursday. Great ballplayer, and along with Red Auerbach, the best executive in NBA history.

8) On October 16, 2006, the Chicago Bears beat the Cardinals 24-23 at Sun Devil Stadium on a Monday night, after trailing 20-0 at halftime. The win improved the defending Super Bowl champs record to 6-0, but it is one of the flukiest wins ever.

— Total yardage: 286-168, Arizona
— Bears turned ball over six times, Arizona twice
— First downs: Cardinals 17, Bears 9
— Chicago didn’t score an offensive TD; Arizona had two.
— In the last 16:00 of the game, Bears scored three TD’s:
a) a 3-yard fumble return with 0:03 left in the third quarter
b) a 40-yard fumble return with 5:00 left to play
c) an 83-yard punt return with 2:58 left.

Not too often an NFL team has nine first downs, six turnovers, and they win.

7) USC lost both their backup QB’s the last week or so; Jack Sears transferred to Boise State last week, and now JT Daniels has bolted to Georgia.

Kedon Slovis is entrenched as the Trojans’ #1 QB, which means the other two QB’s, to twist the immortal words of Garry Templeton, said “If I ain’t starting, then I’ll be departing.”

6) American cities with most total hotel rooms; think the NBA can find enough nice hotel rooms to house all of its teams?
— Las Vegas: 152,275
— Orlando: 144,125

5) Former big league pitcher Dan Straily has made five starts for the Lotte Giants in the KBO; he is 1-2, 2.86 in his first five starts, but the Giants scored a total of two runs in his last three starts. Kind of hard to win games when you don’t score any runs.

4) Watching the KBO games, I realized the other night that a couple of teams don’t wear fitted caps, they wear the adjustable caps — I haven’t bought a hat with an adjustable back in 20 years. My head is usually too big to wear them.

Pitcher on the SK Wyverns was making his fourth start of the year this week; his hat looks like it got run over by a bus, has to be the same one he wore last year.

3) I’ve finally decided that the Samsung Lions have my favorite KBO uniforms; kind of the same shade of blue as the Detroit Lions, without the silver trim.

2) Good news from Las Vegas; on June 4, MGM Grand, Bellagio, Signature and New York, New York will be opening. All other M Life properties will be taking reservations after July 1st.

1) This headline actually ran on the Baltimore Sun’s website for a few hours Thursday, before it was finally deleted/changed:

“Robert Kraft sees a happy ending for the NFL”

Make your own jokes people, and drive home carefully!!! 

2 Lists for today- Thursday’s Den: All-time rosters for NL East teams

All-time rosters, (for players since 1960):
NL East teams
Atlanta Braves
C- Javy Lopez
1B- Freddie Freeman
2B- Glenn Hubbard
SS- Rafael Furcal
3B- Chipper Jones
OF- Hank Aaron
OF- Dale Murphy
OF- Andruw Jones
DH- Eddie Mathews
SP- Greg Maddux
SP- Tom Glavine
SP- Phil Niekro
SP- John Smoltz
RP- Craig Kimbrel

Miami Marlins
C- JP Realmuto
1B- Derrek Lee
2B- Luis Castillo
SS-  Hanley Ramirez
3B- Mike Lowell
OF- Giancarlo Stanton
OF- Marcell Ozuna
OF- Christian Yelich
DH- Gary Sheffield
SP- Ricky Nolasco
SP- Josh Beckett
SP- Dontrelle Willis
SP- Brad Penny
RP- Robb Nen

New York Mets
(3 friends who are Met fans did this one)
C- Mike Piazza
1B- Keith Hernandez
2B- Edgardo Alfonzo
SS- Jose Reyes
3B- David Wright
OF- Darryl Strawberry
OF- Cleon Jones
OF- Carlos Beltran
DH- Rusty Staub
SP- Tom Seaver
SP- Dwight Gooden
SP- Jacob deGrom
SP- Jerry Koosman
RP- Jesse Orosco

Philadelphia Phillies
C- Daren Daulton
1B- Ryan Howard
2B- Chase Utley
SS- Larry Bowa
3B- Mike Schmidt
OF- Bobby Abreu
OF- Greg Luzinski
OF- Garry Maddox
DH- Richie Allen
SP- Steve Carlton
SP- Cole Hamels
SP- Chris Short
SP- Curt Schilling
RP- Tug McGraw

Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
C- Gary Carter
1B- Andres Galaragga
2B- Jose Video
SS- Trea Turner
3B- Tim Wallach
OF- Andre Dawson
OF- Tim Raines
OF- Bryce Harper
DH- Vladimir Guerrero
SP- Max Scherzer
SP- Dennis Martinez
SP- Stephen Strasburg
SP- Steve Rogers
RP- Jeff Reardon

Thursday’s List of 13: Some of the more prominent college basketball transfers this spring

Some of the more prominent college basketball transfers this spring:
13) Matt Haarms— 7-2 C. Purdue to BYU

12) Terrell Gomez— 5-8 G. Cal-Northridge to San Diego State

11) James Akinjo— 6-0 G. Georgetown to Arizona

10) Alterique Gilbert— 6-0 G, UConn to Wichita State

9) Jalen Harris— 6-2 G. Arkansas to Georgetown

8) Cartier Diarra— 6-4 G. Kansas State to Virginia Tech

7) Jonah Antonio— 6-5 G. UNLV to Wake Forest

6) Caleb Grill— 6-3 G. Iowa State to UNLV

5) Kobe King— 6-3 G. Wisconsin to Nebraska

4) Alex O’Connell— 6-5 G. Duke to Creighton

3) Joshua Pierre-Louis— 6-3 G. Temple to Cal-Santa Barbara

2) DJ Carton— 6-2 G. Ohio State to Marquette

1) Jacob Toppin— 6-8 F. Rhode Island to Kentucky

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

13) Perils of the rich and famous; Mets’ pitcher Noah Syndergaard is being sued in a Manhattan federal court after missing rent on his $27,000/month Tribeca apartment.

Syndergaard signed an eight-month lease on a three-bedroom, 2,700-square-foot duplex; he never moved in and hasn’t made any rent payments. The agreement was signed a month before New York City shut down because of the coronavirus.

Four days after Syndergaard’s lease was scheduled to begin, his season officially ended because he had Tommy John surgery; he is a free agent after the 2021 season.

12) Syndergaard made $6M last year, the 10th-highest paid Met; back in 1985, Mike Schmidt made $2,130,000 and he was the highest-paid player in the majors that season.

11) Washington Senators’ star Juan Soto made his major league debut on May 20, 2018, but on June 18, he played in a game that had been suspended on May 15, and he homered. Soto hit his first major league homer in that June 20 resumption of the May 15 game, so technically he hit hit first major league homer in a May 15 game, three days before his major league debut.

10) Longest streaks as a regular season favorite by a QB:
74 games— Tom Brady, 2015-present
62 games— Steve Young, 1993-97
48 games— Kurt Warner, 1999-2003
42 games— Terry Bradshaw, 1972-77

9) AFC West betting opportunities:
Denver:
5-9 wins: -$180
10-14 wins: +$250
0-4 wins: +$350
15-16 wins: 150-1

Kansas City:
10-14 wins:-$190
5-9 wins: +$155
0-4 wins or 15-16 wins: both 18-1

Las Vegas Raiders:
5-9 wins: -$180
10-14 wins: +$250
0-4 wins: +$350
15-16 wins: 175-1

LA Chargers:
5-9 wins: -$170
10-14 wins: +$225
0-4 wins: +$375
15-16 wins: 175-1

8) Biggest point spread in NFL history? In 1976, the Steelers (-27) shut out the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-0 in Three Rivers Stadium. Tampa Bay went 0-14 that season.

7) There are seven college football teams this season with the same head coach, but with two coordinators:

Arizona Sate, Louisiana Tech, Syracuse, Texas, Toledo, Utah State, Vanderbilt

6) Caylin Newton, Cam Newton’s younger brother, will transfer from Howard to Auburn, where his brother won the Heisman Trophy and a national title in 2010.

Caylin Newton led Howard to the biggest pointspread upset in college history when Howard (+47) upset UNLV 43-40 in 2017; he has two years of eligibility left.

5) Jose Bautista hit 344 home runs in a 15-year major league career, playing for eight different teams. Bautista wore nine different numbers in his career, even though he wore #19 for four different teams.

4) Korean baseball looks weird with no fans at the games; the biggest stadium in the KBO seats 26,800 fans, the smallest one 13,000.

3) The NBA will be resuming with all 16 playoff teams in the same city; this would be a good time to seed all 16 playoff teams #1-16, regardless of conference. Would be a worthwhile experiment at a time where it doesn’t hurt to try it.

2) Baltimore Orioles trailed by 4+ runs in 73 games last year, winning only three of those games. Angels (4-64), Detroit (2-65) were next on the list.

Houston Astros trailed by 4+ runs in only 23 games LY, and won two of them.

1) NHL announced the start of its plan to resume this season, with 24 teams taking part, at two hub locations. From what I saw, NHL games won’t resume until July, but at least they’ve come up with a format.

Top four seeds in each conference will play a round-robin for seeding; teams 5 will plays teams 12 in each conference, 6 plays 11, 7 plays 10, 8 plays 9. Apparently, regular season overtime rules will hold in the early rounds, which means playoff shootouts, for the first time. 

The seven NHL teams whose season is now officially over will take part in the draft lottery June 26. 

Tuesday’s Den: My first book report since 8th grade……

When I was a kid, we had to do book reports for school; read a book, then write a report on it, to prove we read it, I guess. This is my first book report since 8th grade.

My birthday is right around Christmas; when I was 12, my dad gave me a book, The Open Man, written by the Knicks’ Dave DeBusschere, a diary of the Knicks’ 1969-70 championship season, when they won their first NBA title.

This was the first real book I ever read; it grabbed my attention and I basically ignored the rest of the week until I finished the book. The nucleus of the Knicks was still mostly intact, so this was good stuff, and I devoured every word. A lot of my enthusiasm for basketball got its start from reading this book. 

Now it is 2020, our current life is at a standstill, so this weekend I re-read The Open Man; brought back lot of memories, but boy, a million things have changed since 1970. Maybe more than a million.

— The current Madison Square Garden opened in 1968; DeBusschere scored the first basket there, but he was playing for Detroit then. Knicks traded for him during the ’68-’69 season; he was the missing link, a solid defender, a glue guy who made the Knicks a championship contender, the hottest ticket in town.

— DeBusschere was player/coach of the Pistons when he was 24; he also pitched for the White Sox, when being a two-sport athlete was possible. He is pretty honest in this book; he makes fun of his wife’s cooking a lot, pokes fun at Bill Bradley (his roommate on the road), and explains how draining it is to be a starter in the NBA.

— Back then, players roomed two-to a-room on the road; now? Not so much.

— In 1963, the White Sox had to decide whether to protect DeBusschere in a waiver draft, or another pitcher named Denny McLain- they let McLain walk.

McLain won 31 games in 1967, 24 more in ’68 for the Detroit Tigers, and DeBusschere quit baseball, which helps explain why the White Sox have sucked for a long time. Of course, McLain later wound up in prison because of off-field issues, so there’s that.

— Keep in mind, the NBA then wasn’t like it is now; light years different
a) Back then, the minimum salary was $13,500; now, it is $898,310
b) Teams didn’t have their own airplanes, and they often played three nights in a row, in three different cities.
c) These days, Steph Curry makes $500,000 a game; lot of stars don’t play the second night of a back/back, even of they’re not hurt. There was no load management in 1970.

— This season, the Lakers have seven assistant coaches, two video coordinators; in 1970, the Knicks had a head coach (Red Holzman), a scout (Dick McGuire) who wasn’t with the team much- their trainer (Danny Whelan) did a lot of game management-type stuff. They practiced in a cold, cruddy old gym called Lost Battalion, which DeBusschere complains about constantly in the book. Teams have their own practice facilities now; they’re really nice.

— The book is a running diary of the season; the starters played a lot during preseason games; that doesn’t happen anymore.

— One preseason game in Bangor, Maine was sponsored by Celtics’ player Don Nelson, who put up the money to hold the game, and pocketed whatever profits there were. Nelson went on to be a very good head coach in the NBA, with the Bucks/Warriors.

— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a rookie that season; he got the Bucks to the Eastern Conference finals in his first season, which was the second season in Bucks’ history. Interesting to read how DeBusschere describes him as the season goes on.

In a November 1st regular season game, Kareen played the whole 48:00; don’t think anything like that would happen these days, or else……..

— There was no 3-point line back then; getting shots close to the basket was the premium, so big guys had much bigger rebound totals than they do now. Missed 3-pointers give out longer rebounds, so these days big guys get fewer rebounds.

— The ABA was going on at this time, so lot of prominent players didn’t cross paths with the Knicks that year. When his playing days were over, DeBusschere became commissioner of the ABA, before it folded and four of its teams joined the NBA.

— In 1970, if you got fouled while shooting, and the other team was over the limit, you got three free throws to make two, a terrible rule.

— Oscar Robertson played for the Cincinnati Royals that year, coached by Hall of Famer Bob Cousy; weird thing is, after the Bucks lost to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference final, they traded for Oscar, before the Knicks-Lakers series even started.

— DeBusschere wasn’t that glowing when talking about Baltimore Bullets’ star Earl Monroe, who was a great scorer; he criticized his passing/defense, which must’ve been awkward a couple years later, when the Knicks acquired Monroe. Earl the Pearl helped the Knicks win their 2nd (and last) title, in 1973.

— Bullets, by the way, became the Washington Bullets, and eventually Washington Wizards years later.

— There were no NBA teams in Portland, Cleveland, Dallas, Sacramento; there were almost no international players; DeBusschere complains that the Knicks went 4-9 on national TV that year, even when they won the title. Nowadays, every freakin’ game in available nation-wide.

— Playing for a winning team in New York back then had its advantages; celebrities like Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford sat behind the Knicks bench, much like Spike Lee sits across from he bench now.

DeBusschere tells the story of playing the Phoenix Suns in Utah, before the Jazz existed; after the game, he and Bill Bradley go to Redford’s home in the snowy hills, making the last couple miles of the trip on snowmobiles.

Cocktail parties with rich and famous people were the norm, and still are, especially when you’re winning.

— His persoanl matchups with stars like Elgin Baylor, Gus Johnson, Connie Hawkins were fun to read about. Teams played against each other more, so the players knew each other’s tendencies much better. Lot of physical play.

— Reading this book was fun, brought back lot of memories, and now that the NBA may be starting up in Orlando next month, motivated me to get my NBA notebook ready. Pretty soon there will be live basketball on TV again, and that is a good thing. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a very quiet Sunday

13) Memorial Day without baseball is unfathomable; won’t even be Korean baseball, since Mondays are off days in the KBO, and Memorial Day isn’t exactly a holiday in Korea.

Sounds like baseball, the NBA and NHL will start up training camps soon, then there will be viewing choices on TV, and better stuff to write about in this space.

Until Billions came on at 9:00 Sunday night, my viewing choices were:
— A 2005 Spurs-Suns playoff game
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, made in 1969
Bulworth, an off-beat Warren Beatty movie from 1998
— The 23rd showing of a Mets-Red Sox World Series game, from 1986

12) Apparently baseball is making progress on a plan for this season:
— 82-game season
— 30-man rosters, with taxi squad of roughly 20 guys
— 14 teams make playoffs
— Universal DH

11) Jets signed Joe Flacco as their backup QB; Flacco had neck surgery in April, should be ready for the start of the season.

Jets lost their last 11 games started by a backup QB; their last win with a backup was December 11, 2016 in San Francisco, when Bryce Petty led the Jets to a win.

10) Of all the major leaguers who played last season, which one has been traded the most? Getting cut/waived doesn’t count, just trades.

8— Jesse Chavez
7— Cameron Maybin, Edwin Jackson

9) Few years ago, I get up early on a Saturday morning in Las Vegas and ran off to a Boys Club in Southern Highlands to watch the junior college showcase, played on one court, in a way less glamorous setting then the elite high school kids played in.

This was the Last Chance Saloon for kids trying to get a college scholarship; those kids played their butts off, trying to impress the college coaches there. Fun games to watch, but a little sad, because you knew most of these kids weren’t going to get an offer.

Which college basketball conferences recruit the most junior college players? Last year, it was the Sun Belt and Southland Conferences.

Best things about that day at the Boys’ Club:
— They didn’t charge me to get in.
— It was 105 that day, and I had to park in a strip mall parking lot down the street, but after the games, when I had lunch in a Mexican restaurant there, won $75 playing video poker.

8) Rhode Island/Seton Hall are starting a home/home basketball series this season, which could be interesting.

7) Michael Jordan’s teams, head-to-head vs other stars’ teams:
11-7 vs Magic Johnson
3-2 vs Tim Duncan
12-9 vs Shaquille O’Neal
4-4 vs Kareen Abdul-Jabbar
3-5 vs Kobe Ryant
11-23 vs Larry Bird

6) When Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961, he wasn’t intentionally walked once the whole season; New York had an excellent lineup, hard to pitch around guys.

Weird thing is the next season, playing against against the Angels, Maris was walked intentionally four times in one game.

5) One of the underrated facts about football coaches is that a lot of them are nomadic, they switch jobs from year-to-year, moving all over the country.

Here is where former Panthers/Bears coach John Fox worked at the start of his career:
1978— San Diego State— grad assistant
1979— US International— DB’s coach
1980— Boise State— DB’s coach
1981— Long Beach State— DB’s coach
1982— Utah— DB’s coach
1983— Kansas— DB’s coach
1984— Iowa State— DB’s coach
1985— LA Express (USFL)— DB’s coach
1986-88— Pittsburgh Steelers, DB’s coach. His big break, and he ran with it.

4) In 1980, each member of the World Series champs got $35,000; last year each Washington National got a check for $382,358.18.

3) Get well soon to Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing, who tested positive for the corona virus. Washington DC is one of the current hotspots for the virus.

2) RIP to coach Eddie Sutton; he won 802 games as a college basketball coach; he passed away this weekend, at age 84. Here is Sutton’s record at the various stops in his career:

Southern Idaho CC: 84-14
Creighton: 82-50
Arkansas: 260-75
Kentucky: 88-39
Oklahoma State: 368-151
San Francisco 6-13 (was an interim coach there)

1) Jerry Sloan played for the Chicago Bulls for 10 years, after playing his rookie season with the Baltimore Bullets; he was a tough, defensive-minded guard who scored 14 ppg in his career. He made the All-Star team twice, the All-Defensive team six times.

Sloan coached the Bulls for three seasons, then went on to Utah, where he led the Jazz for 23 years, and is the reason he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2009.

Coach Sloan passed away last week at age 78; he was old school, a tough guy. RIP, sir.