KBO knowledge, thru eight weeks…….

KBO knowledge.…….
KBO standings, thru eight weeks:
32-14 NC Dinos (4-2 last week)
30-18 Kiwoom Heroes (5-1)
28-19 Doosan Bears (3-3) 
27-20 LG Twins (2-4)
24-21 Kia Tigers (1-3)
Top five teams make playoffs
24-24 Samsung Lions (4-2)
22-23 Lotte Giants (2-2)
21-26 KT Wiz (3-3)
14-33 SK Wyverns (2-4)
12-36 Hanwha Eagles (2-4)

OPS leaders:
1.134 Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
1.090 JS Kang, Dinos
1.062  Roberto Ramos, Twins
1.061 JH Lee, Heroes
1.001 JM Fernandez, Bears
.998 Tucker, Tigers

Batting average:
.378— JM Fernandez, Bears
.374— JS Kang, Dinos
.371— JH Lee, Heroes
.370— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
.345— AS Son, Giants

Home runs:
17— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
13— SB Na, Dinos
Roberto Ramos, Twins
12— Aaron Altherr, Dinos
11— JH Kim, Bears
Preston Tucker, Tigers
BH Park, Heroes

RBI:
45— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
JH Kim, Bears
42— Aaron Altherr, Dinos
41— SB Na, Dinos
40— Preston Tucker, Tigers
35— JH Kang, Dinos
JM Fernandez, Bears

Stolen bases:
11– KC Seo, Heroes
9— JW Oh, Twins
8— WJ Sim, Wiz
CH An, Giants
Altherr, Dinos
7— HS Kim, Heroes

ERA:
1.37 CM Koo, Dinos 59 IP
1.42 Jokisch, Heroes 63.1 IP
2.38 Rucinski, Dinos 64.1 IP
2.43 Straily, Giants 63 IP
2.51 Brooks, Tigers 61 IP
2.96 TI Won 54.2 IP

WHIP (baserunners allowed/innings pitched):
0.76 CM Koo, Dinos 59 IP
0.85 Jokisch, Heroes 63.1 IP
1.03 Straily, Giants 63 IP
1.12 Rucinski, Dinos 64.1 IP
1.13 Brooks, Tigers 61 IP
SWMoon, Wyverns 53 IP

Strikeouts:
62— Straily, Giants
CM Koo, Dinos 
61— Rucinski, Dinos
56— Brooks, Tigers
52— Alcantara, Bears
SW Moon, Wyverns
Gagnon, Tigers 

Bullpen records:
12-7 Kiwoom Heroes
7-3 LG Twins
9-6 Doosan Bears
10-8 NC Dinos
9-7 Lotte Giants
5-4 Kia Tigers
4-6 Samsung Lions
3-9 Hanwha Eagles
4-9 KT Wiz
3-12 SK Wyverns

Saves:
12– JH Won, Dinos 12-14
11— SW Jo, Heroes 11-11
10– KC Moon, Tigers 10-11
7— KM Woo, Dinos 7-7
DJ Ham, Bears 7-8
WJ Kim, Giants 7-9

Home teams are 115-96; over is 95-107-8

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a quiet weekend……..

13) In a not-so-stunning development, New England Patriots will lose a 3rd-round draft pick in the 2021 draft and pay a $1.1M fine with their crew not allowed to record games during the 2020 season. 

Members of New England’s TV team were discovered recording from the Cincinnati Bengals’ press box during the Bengals’ home game against Cleveland last year.

12) In a personnel move whose timing was probably designed to drown out the NFL’s punishment, New England signed QB Cam Newton to a one-year contract worth a maximum of $7.5M.

11) College football trends from Marc Lawrence:

— Hawai’i is 5-0 ATS coming off an overtime win.
— Oregon is 1-8 ATS coming over an overtime win.
— Northwestern is 8-0 ATS as an underdog coming off an OT win.

10) Washington State’s basketball team signed top international prospect Andrej Jakimovski, a 19-year-old from North Macedonia. Jakimovski is a 6-7 wing who played last year in the second division of Italian professional basketball, but played on an amateur contract.

9) Former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman has 29 film credits on IMDB, that’s how many movies get filmed in America’s favorite city.

8) I live just outside Albany, NY; if you’re looking for a fun thing to do this summer, the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown just opened up again— it is about 80 miles from Albany, a nice scenic drive on a summer day. Good pizza place, Sal’s is across from the Hall of Fame.

7) Over/under on home runs for any player this season in a 60-game season: 20

6) 24 new head coaches in college football this season; going to be difficult for them to put their new systems in, if there is a season.

5) I don’t get the appeal of fireworks; people are starting to shoot them off around here, which is fine, I just understand why people like them— never have.

4) Last time a pro golfer hit every fairway for an entire tournament was Brian Claar in 1992; it has happened only four times since 1980, and none of those four guys won that tournament.

3) Dustin Johnson won the PGA tournament in Hartford; he has now won at least one event the last 13 years in a row.

2) Ominous note for college sports; 10 junior colleges in Maricopa County, AZ suspended sports for the coming sports year because of the Coronavirus.

1) Job advice of the week: If you’re going to be trying out for an NFL team next month, it is a bad idea to get arrested for DUI this month.

Cardinals’ undrafted rookie WR Jeremiah Braswell was arrested Saturday after allegedly driving his car into Lake Erie while under the influence. No bueno.
TV highlight of the day: FS1 had the 1978 All-Star Game on Sunday:
— Biff Pocoroba caught the 9th inning of the game, his one All-Star appearance.
— Bob Uecker interviewed former President Gerald Ford during the game. 

Sunday’s Den: AL Central all-time rosters, since 1960

All-time rosters, (for players since 1960):
AL Central teams
Chicago White Sox
C- Carlton Fisk
1B- Paul Konerko
2B- Nelson Fox
SS- Ozzie Guillen
3B- Robin Ventura
OF-  Carlos Lee
OF- Tim Raines
OF- Harold Baines
DH- Frank Thomas
SP- Mark Buehrle
SP- Alex Fernandez
SP- Wilbur Wood
SP-  Joel Horlen
RP- Bobby Thigpen

Cleveland Indians
C-  Victor Martinez
1B-  Jim Thome
2B-  Carlos Baerga
SS- Omar Vizquel
3B- Buddy Bell
OF-  Michael Brantley
OF-  Grady Sizemore
OF- Kenny Lofton
DH- Carlos Santana
SP- CC Sabathia
SP- Sam McDowell
SP- Charles Nagy
SP- Cliff Lee
RP- Cody Allen

Detroit Tigers
C- Bill Freehan
1B- Norm Cash
2B- Lou Whitaker
SS- Alan Trammell
3B- Aurelio Rodriguez
OF- Al Kaline
OF- Willie Horton
OF- Magglio Ordonez
DH- Miguel Cabrera
SP-  Justin Verlander 
SP- Denny McLain  
SP- Mickey Lolich
SP-  Jack Morris
RP- Todd Jones

Kansas City Royals
C- Salvador Perez
1B- Eric Hosmer
2B- Frank White
SS- Fred Patek
3B- George Brett  
OF- Hal McRae
OF-  Carlos Beltran
OF-  Alex Gordon
DH- Whit Merrifield
SP- Bret Saberhagen
SP- Dennis Leonard 
SP- Paul Splittorff
SP- Mark Gubicza
RP- Dan Quisenberry 

Minnesota Twins
C-  Joe Mauer
1B- Kent Hrbek
2B- Rod Carew
SS- Zoilo Versalles
3B- Harmon Killebrew
OF- Tony Oliva
OF- Kirby Puckett
OF- Torii Hunter
DH- Justin Morneau
SP- Jim Kaat  
SP- Bert Blyleven
SP- Frank Viola
SP- Brad Radke  
RP- Joe Nathan

Saturday’s Den: Random thoughts on a summer day…….

13) NBA released its schedule for Orlando Friday night; games start July 30:
July 30: Jazz-Pelicans, Clippers-Lakers
July 31: Magic-Nets, Grizzlies-Blazers, Suns-Wizards
Celtics-Bucks, Kings-Spurs, Rockets-Mavericks

12) Games will start during the afternoon; latest tip-off time seems to be 9pm.

11) Playoffs start August 17; NBA Finals are expected to begin September 30.

10) In 2001, the Seattle Mariners went 116-46, but lost the ALCS in five games to New York. How did a team that won so many games not win the AL title?

Mariners had Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez, John Olerud; damn good lineup.

33-yea old pitcher Paul Abbott went 17-4; his career record was 43-37. Lot of things went Seattle’s way that year, but the playoffs are more of a crapshoot. Anything can happen in a short series, which is part of what makes this year’s 66-game regular season very intriguing.

’97 Mariners went went 90-72, won the AL West, but lost the ALDS to Baltimore; that Seattle team had Ken Griffey Jr, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Cruz.

Pitchers Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer went a combined 37-9.

Seattle hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001. 

9) Speaking of Seattle, how do they have a WNBA team, but not have an NBA franchise?

SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma 12 years ago, a terrible decision by the league, but Seattle wouldn’t build a new arena, so they lost their team. Seattle is getting an NHL expansion team, because they finally built the new area. Go figure.

8) Best wishes to SK Wyverns’ manager Youm Kyoung-youb, who passed out in the dugout during the first game of a doubleheader Thursday- he came to in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Wyverns split the twinbill, are 13-31 this season.

No matter what country you’re in, losing is stressful.

7) For the first time in five years, Dodger baseball won’t be blacked out in Las Vegas anymore, very good news for sports books in the desert.

I was there a couple nights the last few years when the Dodger game was the last game of the night, but wasn’t on TV in Las Vegas because of stupid blackout rules, which cost the sports books some action, and cost MLB some much-needed attention.

6) NFL cancelled the Cowboys-Steelers Hall of Fame exhibition game, and postponed the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies until next summer.

5) There are people who want Washington DC to become the 51st state; I have absolutely no opinion on this, but it would help companies who make/sell American flags- they’d have to make new masks. with 51 stars on them.

4) Collin Morikawa missed the cut in Hartford Friday; his streak of 22 straight made cuts to start his PGA career stops three shy of Eldrick Woods’ record of 25 straight to start a pro career.

3) This week in 1996, Golden State Warriors drafted Todd Fuller two spots ahead of a high school kid named Kobe Bryant.

Fuller averaged 3.7 ppg in his five-year career. No bueno.

2) When former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith passed away five years ago, he left each one of his former players $200 apiece in his will— thats around 180 players in all.

1) Here is an interesting fact:
Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 cases have risen by 84% in states where wearing a mask in public isn’t mandatory.

In states where masks in public are mandatory, COVID-19 cases are down 25%.

My conclusion? Please wear a mask in public.
TV highlight of the day: E! Channel ran a marathon of the TV show Las Vegas with James Caan. I had never seen it before, so enjoyed that the last couple days. 

Friday’s Den: All-time rosters for AL East teams (since 1960)

All-time rosters, (for players since 1960):

AL East teams
Baltimore Orioles
C- Rick Dempsey
1B- Boog Powell
2B- Brian Roberts
SS- Cal Ripken Jr
3B- Brooks Robinson
OF- Frank Robinson
OF- Brady Anderson
OF- Nick Markakis
DH- Manny Machado
SP-  Jim Palmer
SP- Dave McNlly
SP-  Mike Cuellar
RP- Gregg Olson

Boston Red  Sox
C- Carlton Fisk
1B- Mo Vaughn
2B- Dustin Pedroia
SS- Nomar Garciaparra
3B-  Wade Boggs
OF- Carl Yaztrzemski
OF-  Manny Ramirez
OF-  Jim Rice
DH- David Ortiz
SP-  Roger Clemens 
SP-  Pedro Martinez
SP-  Jon Lester
RP- Jonathan Papelbon

New York (AL)
(My friend Chris the Bartender did most of this one)
C-  Thurman Munson
1B-  Don Mattingly
2B- Robinson Cano
SS-  Derek Jeter
3B-  Alex Rodriguez
OF- Mickey Mantle
OF- Dave Winfield
OF- Reggie Jackson
DH- Jorge Posada
SP- Ron Guidry
SP-  Andy Pettitte
SP- Whitey Ford
SP-  Mike Mussina
RP- Mariano Rivera

Tampa Bay Rays
C-  Dioner Navarro
1B-  Fred McGriff
2B-  Ben Zobrist
SS-  Julio Lugo
3B-  Evan Longoria
OF-  Carl Crawford
OF-  BJ Upton
OF-  Kevin Kiermaier
DH- Aubrey Huff
SP-  James Shields
SP-  David Price
SP-  Scott Kazmir
SP-  Chris Archer
RP-  Roberto Hernandez

Toronto Blue Jays
C-   Ernie Whitt
1B-  Carlos Delgado
2B- Roberto Alomar
SS- Tony Fernandez
3B-  Josh Donaldson
OF-  Vernon Wells
OF-  Lloyd Moseby
OF-  Jose Bautista 
DH- John Olerud
SP-  Roy Halladay
SP-  Dave Stieb
SP- Jimmy Key
SP- Juan Guzman
RP-  Tom Henke

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) A 60-game baseball season isn’t ideal, but my whole attitude changed for the better this week, when I heard that things will be starting up in four weeks.

3am last night, I’m going thru fantasy baseball projections, getting my roster ready for this season, instead of playing word games on my phone.

Our league will have only a five-week regular season, then four weeks of playoffs, but at least it will be something to focus on every day, something that is fun. We haven’t had much fun so far this year.

12) Couple of Friday nights ago, there was NOTHING good on TV, I mean, zero. So I turned the TV off, put music on and played Wordscapes for nine consecutive hours. Seriously, I did.

Good news— I won the Wordscapes tournament that weekend
Bad news— It isn’t good to play a damn word game for nine consecutive hours, especially on a Friday night. 

11) MLB Network showed something great last night; they replayed the MLB Tonight show from the last night of the regular season from 2011, when Evan Longoria hit a walk-off homer to put Tampa Bay into the playoffs.

This was a whole night of baseball, dramatic baseball; how did they not show this at least once a week since mid-March?

10) Extra innings this season will start with a runner on 2nd base; the batter who made the last out in the previous inning will be the runner on 2nd base.

9) When the Seattle Mariners drafted Ken Griffey Jr s an 18-year old, he had to ask his father where Seattle was, he seriously didn’t know.

8) June 23, 1971, Phillies’ pitcher Rick Wise had probably the best night ever for a pitcher; he no-hit the Cardinals, and also hit two home runs in the game, a 4-0 Phillies’ win.

7) Detroit Tigers’ 1B Norm Cash hit 377 home runs in a 17-year career; that is most home runs ever hit by a player who never hit a walk-off homer.

6) Circa Resort/Casino is being built in downtown Las Vegas; it is scheduled to open later this year.

“Once, Las Vegas held a certain mystique as this fabulous place where only grown-ups could play. Call us old-fashioned, but we think adults need some of that mystique back in their lives.”

That is from Circa’s Twitter page; I’m curious to see how that all goes.

5) From the KBO: Doosan Bears won 30 of their last 38 games against the LG Twins, who are a pretty good team.

4) KBO had a rough day Wednesday; with the major leagues coming back, the KBO’s window of American exposure will probably come to an end. I’ll still post KBO info here every day, because I’m a believer that if you start something, you finish it, but hopefully this year will be the last time I write about the KBO.

Then four of their five games Thursday got rained out, as monsoon season begins in Korea.

3) From Justin Ray:
Over the last 15 years, 82 golfers led a tournament, then shot 66 or better in the last round; of those 82 leaders, 71 of them won that tournament.

Two of the 11 leaders who shot 66 or better but didn’t win were Tyrell Hatton, Abraham Ancer, last week in Hilton Head. Ancer is the only 54-hole leader in the last 15 years that shot 65 or better but didn’t win the tournament.

2) Daniel Berger has broken par 32 rounds in a row, the current longest streak on Tour; he is 20 rounds behind the all-time record of 52, set by Eldrick Woods in 2000-01.

1) One of the great newspaper headlines of all-time was in the New York Post on April 15, 1983:

“Headless Body in Topless Bar”

TV highlights of the day: MLB Network had their best night of 2020 Wednesday, showing a replay of the last night of the 2011 season, which was very dramatic. 

2 Lists for Wednesday; What I know about the start of baseball season

Here’s what I know about the start of the 2020 baseball season…….this is all kind of fluid, but I’ll keep adding stuff as I find out.
13) Spring training will resume July 1; first games will be July 23 or 24.

12) Teams will play 60 regular season games in 66 days; ten teams will make the playoffs.

11) If the whole season is played, players will earn about 37% of their full-season salary.

10) Players will not get playoff shares this season; last year, all the Washington Nationals got

9) Transactions freeze ends this Friday at noon.

8) Trade deadline will be August 31.

7) Players will have to be added to the major league roster by September 15, in order to be eligible for the playoffs.

6) Each team will have a 60-player pool to choose their players from; they can bring bring three extra players on the road with them, but if they do bring three extra guys, one of them has to be a catcher.

5) Relief pitchers will have to fave a minimum of three batters, unless they finish a half-inning, then they can be replaced in between innings.

4) Rosters will wind up being 26 guys; they will start the season with 30-man rosters, then down to 28 guys after two weeks, then will settle at 26 guys after four weeks.

3) Teams will play the other four teams in their division ten times each, the five teams in the other league’s like division (AL/NL East, AL/NL Central, AL/NL West) 3-6 times each.

They’re trying to reduce travel as much as possible, which doesn’t help Seattle or the Florida teams much.

2) Not sure where the Blue Jays will play, but their AAA team is in Buffalo, so that looks like an option. Florida seems like a bad idea, with COVID-19 spiking there.

1) MLB may maintain a camp of sorts in Nashville, where unsigned players can work out, in case they’re needed. I’m wondering how many injuries there will be in August.

TV highlights of the day:
— An old Broncos-Bengals game, with Don Criqui on the call. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: Some of my favorite TV/movie quotes

13) “There’s no such thing as a sure thing, thats why they call it gambling.”
Oscar Madison, The Odd Couple

12) “I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow and I’m being chased by Guido, the killer pimp.”
Miles, Risky Business

11) “You’re a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It’s the top spot, kid. It’s the guy who takes the fall. It’s the guy everybody’s looking at first – the leader of a team – who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. ‘Cause you make them believe. That’s a quarterback.”
Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday

10) “He’s a great player, but I don’t think we can get him in academically.”
Jerry Tarkanian, Blue Chips 

9) “You just got lesson number one: don’t think; it can only hurt the ballclub.”
Kevin Costner, Bull Durham

8) “…..you find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second……”
Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday

7) “Listen, Lupus, you didn’t come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya? Now get your ass out there and do the best you can.”
Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears

6) “God likes me!!! He really, really likes me!!! What a day!!! What a fabulous day!!!”
Richard Dreyfuss in Let It Ride

5) “Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth…….”
Billy Bob Thornton, Friday Night Lights

4) “……here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”
Mike McDermott, Rounders

3) “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”
Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own

2) “Who’s the U-boat commander?”
Auto repair guy, in Risky Business, when the Tom Cruise’s father’s Porsche winds up in Lake Michigan, and then in a repair shop to be cleaned up

1) “Do whats in your heart, son. You’ll be fine.”
Robin Williams, from Good Will Hunting

Tuesday’s stuff: KBO weekly report, and Gary’s all-time favorite Mets/Jets

KBO knowledge.…….
KBO standings, thru seven weeks:
28-12 NC Dinos (2-3 last week)
25-16 LG Twins (3-3)
25-16 Doosan Bears (4-2)
25-17 Kiwoom Heroes (5-1)
23-18 Kia Tigers (4-1)
Top five teams make playoffs
20-21 Lotte Giants (2-4)
20-22 Samsung Lions (3-3)
18-23 KT Wiz (5-1)
12-29 SK Wyverns (0-6)
10-32 Hanwha Eagles (1-5)

OPS leaders:
1.209 JS Kang, Dinos
1.166  Roberto Ramos, Twins
1.127 Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
1.091 JH Lee, Heroes
1.073 Tucker, Tigers

Batting average:
.412— JS Kang, Dinos
.382— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
.381— JH Lee, Heroes
.374— JM Fernandez, Bears
.362— Roberto Ramos, Twins

Home runs:
13— Roberto Ramos, Twins
Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
12— SB Na, Dinos
11— Preston Tucker, Tigers
10— BH Kang, Wiz
9— Aaron Altherr, Dinos

RBI:
40— Preston Tucker, Tigers
38— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
37— Aaron Altherr, Dinos
35— SB Na, Dinos
JH Kim, Bears
JH Kang, Dinos
33— JM Fernandez, Bears

Stolen bases:
9– KC Seo, Heroes
8— JW Oh, Twins
WJ Sim, Wiz
7— CH An, Giants
Altherr, Dinos
6— KW Jeong, Twins
HS Kim, Heroes
JH Jung, Eagles

ERA:
0.82 CM Koo, Dinos 55 IP
1.63 Jokisch, Heroes 55.1 IP
2.10 Straily, Giants 55.2 IP
2.50 Rucinski, Dinos 50.1 IP
2.91 KY Im, Tigers 43.1 IP
3.00 Brooks, Tigers 48 IP

WHIP (baserunners allowed/innings pitched):
0.65 CM Koo, Dinos 55 IP
0.94 Jokisch, Heroes 55.1 IP
1.01 Straily, Giants 55.2 IP
1.14 Gagnon, Tigers 45.2 IP
1.15 KY Im, Tigers 50.1 IP
Rucinski, Dinos 44.1 IP

Strikeouts:
62— Straily, Giants
61— CM Koo, Dinos 
49— Gagnon, Tigers 
Rucinski, Dinos
48— JH Park, Wyverns
47— Alcantara, Bears
45— SW Moon, Wyverns

Bullpen records:
7-2 LG Twins
11-7 Kiwoom Heroes
9-6 NC Dinos
5-3 Kia Tigers
7-5 Doosan Bears
8-6 Lotte Giants
2-6 Samsung Lions
3-8 Hanwha Eagles
3-8 KT Wiz
3-12 SK Wyverns

Saves:
10– KC Moon, Tigers 10-10
JH Won, Dinos 10-12
7— SW Jo, Heroes 7-7
KM Woo, Dinos 7-7
DJ Ham, Bears 7-8
5— WJ Kim, Giants 7-9

Home teams are 113-93; over is 94-104-7


Monday’s Lists of 13:
Gary is bartender Chris’ father-in-law; Gary’s favorite teams are the New York Mets and the New York Jets.

“I don’t know how we get along but since he’s teams have been so bad he’s starting to see the light and has been rooting for the Buffalo Bills and sometimes the team from the Bronx “


Mets: 
1. Tom Seaver

2. John Franco

3. Tug McGraw 

4. Jerry Grote

5. Tommie Agee

6. Cleon Jones 

7. Dwight Gooden

8. Darryl Strawberry

9. Mike Piazza

10. Jacob Degrom

11. Noah Syndergaard

12. Ken Singleton

13. Rickey Henderson

Jets:
1.  Joe Namath

2. Curtis Martin

3. Freeman McNeil 

4. Wayne Chrebet

5. Mo Lewis

6. Nick Mangold

7. D’brickashaw Ferguson 

8. Mark Gastineau 

9. Joe Klecko

10. Wesley Walker

11. Dustin Keller

12 . Emerson Boozer

13. Al Toon.

TV highlight of the day: The documentary on MLB Network about Ken Griffey Jr was well done. I had never seen it before. 

Monday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……

13) On June 21, 1989, I had a job interview for a court assistant position, which would’ve meant a substantial raise for me; the interview didn’t go too well, in part because the job sounded like it wasn’t much fun— you had to take vacation when the judge took vacation, stuff like that. The last time I worked the first two days of the NCAA Tournament was 1983; I valued having some flexibility with my days off. 

How do I remember the exact date? Well, the A’s traded for Rickey Henderson that day, which cemented them as World Series contenders. They traded Luis Polonia, Eric Plunk and Greg Cadaret to New York, so when I walked in my parents’ house, I was smiling.

My mother perks up, “The job interview went well?!?!?”

“No, it wasn’t good, but the A’s got Rickey Henderson.”

She wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about it as I was.

12) Former Cubs’ SS Addison Russell is expected to sign with the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO; each KBO team can have three foreign players, but only one can be a position player.

11) Basketball great Bill Russell led the American team to a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games, but had he chosen to, he could’ve participated in track and field instead.

At that time, Russell was the 7th-ranked high jumper in the world, #2 in this country, but there was a rule you could only participate in one sport, and Russell chose basketball.

10) In his first seven years in the NBA, Wilt Chamberlain led the league in scoring all seven years, but the Boston Celtics won the championship every season. In his 8th season, he didn’t win the scoring title, but his team won the championship. Go figure.

9) 255 father/son combinations have played in the major leagues.

8) 62-year old Bernhard Langer shot 2-under par Sunday, became the first PGA golfer in 30 years to be over the age of 60 and shoot under par in every round.

Langer won the Hilton Head tournament 35 years ago, 12 years before Collin Morikawa was born.

7) Former Southern Miss/Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall was introduced over the weekend as the new head coach at Chipola College, a junior college in Florida. 


Tyndall was given a 10-year show-cause order by the NCAA for breaking the rules regarding academic fraud while at Southern Miss; he can’t be a D-I coach again until 2026.

6) Apparently the state of California has an unprecedented backlog in both divorce cases and family law cases.

5) Golfer Michelle Wie had a baby daughter this weekend; she is married to Jonnie West, who played basketball at West Virginia— he is Jerry West’s son. Pretty good genes.

4) College football stat from Ralph Michaels:

In BYU’s last 16 season openers, 15 of them stayed under the total; only one of the 16 that went over got over the total on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game.

3) Some high schools are hosting graduation ceremonies at drive-in theaters, so families can drive there and everyone can watch a virtual ceremony on the big screen. Clever idea.

2) Dak Prescott is expected to sign a $31.4M franchise tag for this season; he would then have until July 15 to sign a long-term deal with Dallas, which be the best-case scenario for Dallas.

1) People can’t agree on much these days, but everyone has to agree with this; 2020 has been a lousy year to be a statue.

TV highlights of the day: Solid weekend for movies:
— A Few Good Men
— A Star is Born
— Bull Durham
— Bulworth
— Hangover II

Golf tournament was also entertaining. 

Sunday’s Den: Best 3 managers for each NL team (since 1969)

Arizona Diamondbacks:
— Bob Brenly— 303-262 in four years, won the ’01 World Series.
— Buck Showalter— 250-236 in three years, going 100-62 in 1999, Arizona’s 2nd year as a major league team.
— Torey Lovullo— 260-226 the last three years, all winning seasons, despite their letting their best player (Paul Goldschmidt) walk away.

Atlanta Braves:
— Bobby Cox— Hall of Fame skipper won five NL pennants, ’95 World Series.
— Fredi Gonzalez— 434-413 in six years, went 1-4 in two playoff appearances.
— Brian Snitker— 318-292 in four years, made playoffs last two seasons.

Chicago Cubs:
— Joe Maddon— Won Cubs’ first World Series in over 100 years, got dumped three years later.
— Leo Durocher— 535-526 in seven years; his best Cub team got beaten out by the Miracle Mets in 1969.
— Don Zimmer— 265-258 in four years, getting ’89 Cubs to the playoffs.

Cincinnati Reds:
— Sparky Anderson— 863-586 in nine years, splitting four World Series.
— Lou Piniella— 255-231 in three years, winning 1990 World Series.
— Dusty Baker— 509-463 in six years; Reds haven’t been over .500 since he left.

Colorado Rockies:
— Clint Hurdle— Had only one winning season, but he won NL title in 2007.
— Bud Black— 249-238 the last three years.
— Don Baylor— Rockies’ first manager; had two winning seasons out of six.

Los Angeles Dodgers:
— Tommy Lasorda— Won four NL titles, two World Series.
— Walter Alston— Won four World Series, including ’55 Series for Brooklyn/
— Dave Roberts— 393-256 in four seasons, only 25-22 in playoffs.

Miami Marlins:
— Jack McKeon— Managed 3.5 seasons in Miami, won ’03 World Series.
— Jim Leyland— Managed two seasons in Miami, won ’97 World Series.
— Fredi Gonzalez— 276-279 in four seasons; had two winning years.

Milwaukee Brewers:
— Tom Trebelhorn— Had only one losing season in five full years in Milwaukee.
— Craig Counsell— Averaged 90.3 wins/year the last three seasons.
— Harvey Kuenn— 160-118 in 1.5 years, won ’82 AL pennant as an interim skipper.

New York Mets:
— Davey Johnson— 595-417 in 6+ years, won ’86 World Series.
— Gil Hodges— Managed ’69 Miracle Mets, passed away at age 47.
— Bobby Valentine— 536-467 in seven years, won 2000 NL pennant.

Philadelphia Phillies:
— Charlie Manuel— 780-636 in nine years, won two NL pennants, ’08 World Series.
— Danny Ozark— 594-510 in seven seasons, made playoffs three times.
— Larry Bowa— 337-308 in four seasons, three of them over .500.

Pittsburgh Pirates:
— Jim Leyland— Led Pirates for 11 years, winning 96.3 games/year from ’90-’92.
— Danny Murtaugh— 15 years, four different stints; won ’60, ’71 World Series.
— Chuck Tanner— 711-685 in nine years, won ’79 World Series.

St Louis Cardinals:
— Whitey Herzog— 822-728 in 11 years, won three pennants, ’82 World Series.
— Tony LaRussa— 1408 wins in 16 years, won World Series in ’06, ’11.
— Red Schoendienst— 1041-955 in 14 years, won ’67 World Series.

San Diego Padres:
— Bruce Bochy— Won 951 games in 12 years, won NL pennant in ‘98.
— Dick Williams— 337-311 in four years, won NL pennant in ’84.
— Bud Black— Had only two winning seasons in nine years; not lot of other choices.

San Francisco Giants:
— Bruce Bochy— Won three World Series; will be in Cooperstown in July, 2025
— Dusty Baker— 840-715 in ten years, won NL pennant in ’02.
— Roger Craig— 586-566 in eight years, won ’89 NL pennant.

Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals:
— Felipe Alou— Managed Expos for 10 years; his best team was in ’94, Eason that got ended by the work stoppage.
— Dave Martinez— 175-149 the last two years, won World Series last year.
— Dusty Baker— 192-132 in two years; why doesn’t anyone stay in Washington? 

Saturday’s List of 13: Some memorable sports blunders……

13) December 26, 1919— Red Sox trade Babe Ruth to New York, for $100,000. Ruth hit 49 homers in 162 in six years for the Red Sox- he was 89-46, 2.19 in 143 starts on the mound, but in the Bronx, he pitched only five games (5-0, 5.52) but hit 659 home runs. 

Red Sox didn’t win a World Series for 86 years after this trade.

12) April 30, 1956— St Louis Hawks of the NBA draft a big man named Bill Russell with the 2nd pick of the draft, then trade him to the Boston Celtics, for Ed Macauley, who neatr the end of the trail, and Cliff Hagan, who went on to score 17.7 ppg in his NBA career. Not bad. 

Here’s the thing: Bill Russell is one of the five greatest players in basketball history; he was in the NBA for 13 years, and won 11 titles- he lost in the Finals once. Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968; had they held on to Bill Russell, it is safe to say that they’d still be in St Louis.

11) There have been many QB-related blunders in the NFL Draft, but this one stands out:

April 27, 2017, the Chicago Bears gave the 49ers two 3rd-round picks and a 4th-round pick to move up ONE SPOT in the ’17 Draft. Chicago then drafted QB Mitch Trubisky, who is 23-18 as a starter in his three NFL seasons, not a terrible record, but…….

Other players taken in the first round of the 2017 Draft:
2nd— QB Mitch Trubisky, Chicago
3rd— DE Solomon Thomas, San Francisco
8th— RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina
10th— QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City
12th— QB Deshaun Watson, Houston

Whoops.

10) Some more QB-related screw-ups in the NFL Draft:
1994— Redskins took Heath Shuler with the 3rd pick of the draft; he went 4-9 as a starter in three years with Washington, was out of the NFL four years later.
1998— Chargers took Ryan Leaf with the 2nd pick; he went 4-14 as a starter for San Diego, was out of the NFL by 2001.
1999— Bengals took Akili Smith with the 3rd pick; he went 3-14 as a starter over four years, never played for another NFL team.
2007— Raiders took JaMarcus Russell with the 1st pick of the entire draft; in three years, he went 7-18 as a starter, and never played for another NFL team.

9) December 10, 1971— Mets traded 24-year old Nolan Ryan and three other guys to the Angels, for 29-year old SS Jim Fregosi, who had already played 11 years for the Angels, making it to the All-Star Game six times.

Ryan went to pitch for 27 years in the majors, winning 324 games; his last year as a pitcher was Fregosi’s 10th (and best) year as a major league manager. Fregosi hit .233 in two years with the Mets- he played five more years after leaving New York.

8) Drew Brees was a free agent after the 2005 season; his shoulder had been a problem, but it had been worked on, and he was looking to sign on with the Miami Dolphins. Miami doctors advised the Dolphins not to take a risk on his shoulder, so they signed Daunte Culpepper instead of Brees. Yikes.

Culpepper started four games for Miami, went 1-3, was in Oakland the next season. Coach of the Dolphins back then? A guy named Nick Saban, but he bolted for LSU after that season.

Brees is 133-83 as a starter for the Saints, and he is still rolling, all thew ay to the Hall of Fame.

7) Holy Cross’ decision not to join the Big East Conference in 1979, citing a commitment to academics. What a disaster; from 1975-79, the Crusaders went a combined 102-42, making the NCAA’s once, NIT three times- they were good enough to play in the Big East. Not sure how having 12 basketball players in your school screws up the academics of an entire college.

Instead of joining the Big East, which would’ve been lucrative for their lucrative for their athletic department, and made life a lot easier for their fundraisers, Holy Cross joined the Patriot League, where they had a strong run from 2000-07 for Ralph Willard, but for the most part, they’ve been buried in obscurity.

Boston College got the Big East’s invite when Holy Cross turned theirs down.

6) Some NFL Hall of Famers got overlooked in the NFL Draft:
— Tom Brady was a 6th round pick
— Kurt Warner wasn’t picked at all.
— John Unitas was a 9th-round pick in 1955, then the Steelers cut him.

5) August 30, 1990— Red Sox traded 22-year old minor leaguer Jeff Bagwell to Houston, for reliever Larry Andersen; Bagwell went on to hit 449 home runs in a 15-year career with the Astros. He got inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.

37-year old Andersen pitched only 15 games for the Red Sox; he allowed two runs in three IP in the playoffs that fall, and left for San Diego as a free agent that winter. Not often a team gives up a Hall of Famer, for a guy who pitches 25 innings for you.

4) Golfer Jean Van de Velde led the 1999 British Open by three strokes with one hole to play; all he had to do to win his first major was double-bogey the 18th hole, but he triple-bogeyed that hole, then lost in a playoff, a stunning collapse that was difficult to watch.

3) Some NBA trades that wound up one-sded:
January 15, 1965— San Francisco Warriors traded Wilt Chamberlain for Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann (not the actor) and Lee Shaffer.

June 22, 1987— Seattle SuperSonics drafted Scottie Pippen, then traded him to Chicago with another 1st round pick, for 1st and 2nd-round picks, and Olden Polynice.

June 24, 1998— Milwaukee Bucks drafted Dirk Nowitzki, then traded him to Dallas for Robert Traylor, who scored 4.8 ppg in his 7-year NBA career. Oy.

2) Stanford’s band once cost them a ballgame— On November 20, 1982, Cardinal scored with 0:04 left to take the lead against arch-rival Cal; a win that would’ve clinched a bowl bid for Stanford, but Stanford band members (as well as some Cardinal players) ran out onto the field before the Cal ballcarrier was tackled, and the Cal player made his way into the end zone in the craziest ending in college football history.

That was John Elway’s last college football game; he never played in a bowl game until he played in the Super Bowl.

1) Giants moving to San Francisco, while the Dodgers moved to LA— Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley was moving his team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958; he figured that having a second team in California would be a wise business move (for him, at least), so he convinced Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move his club to San Francisco. Stoneham had been looking to move the Giants to Minneapolis.

When the Giants’ owners were brought to Candlestick Point, where their new ballpark was going to be built, they were there during the day, but at nighttime, when games were played, that location next to the bay, often had strong winds often swirled down into the stadium, creating unusual playing conditions.

At the time of its construction in the late 1950s, the stadium site was one of the few pieces of land available in the city that was suitable for a sports stadium and had space for the 10,000 parking spaces promised to the Giants. Compared to Dodger Stadium, Candlestick was a dump, but 50 years later, the Giants built a new ballpark and finally got it right. 

TV highlight of the day: ESPNU showed an old college baseball game, San Diego beating San Francisco 2-0 in the WCC title game, with a freshman reliever getting his first college start, and throwing a shutout. Cubs’ 3B Kris Bryant played for San Diego in this game. 

Friday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Was watching couple of NFL Films features last night, one on Kurt Warner, one on his Rams teammate, Marshall Faulk.

Back in 1999, I would go out to a local bar on NFL Sundays to watch the Rams on the satellite dish; Rams had been bad for several years, but at the start of that season, they were obviously way better, and it was excellent. I remember laughing and saying to a friend of mine “They score every time they have the ball” It was the most fun year to be a fan, and I wound up in St Louis that January to watch them win the NFC Championship. A very excellent day.

12) Ever hear of Al Luginbill? He was Marshall Faulk’s college coach at San Diego State, and Kurt Warner’s coach with the Amsterdam Admirals in the World League, so this is a guy who had a hell of a lot to do with the Rams winning Super Bowl XXXIV.

Faulk is from New Orleans, but the big time southern schools wanted him to play DB, not be a running back, because is only 5-foot-9. Thats how he wound up at San Diego State- they gave him a chance to be a running back, and the rest is history.

His running backs coach with the Aztecs? A guy named Sean Payton.

11) Do you realize we’ve probably seen pitchers hit for the last time ever?

Only way a pitcher will bat now is if the backup catcher is a DH and the starter gets hurt, or if a game goes deep into extra innings. The universal DH is here, and that is a good thing.

10) Former big league pitcher Dan Haren tweeted this:

“Adding to my HOF credentials I’m the last pitcher in history to have a 4 hit game.”

9) Davey Johnson was a very good major league manager, but boy did he have an odd career:

1984-90— Mets 595-417, won ’86 World Series, made playoffs twice
1993-95— Reds 204-172, lost NLCS in ’95, then left
1996-97— Orioles Went 88-74, 98-64, made playoffs, then left.
1999-2000— Dodgers Went 77-85, 86-76, didn’t make playoffs.
2011-13— Nationals Went 98-64, 86-76 in his two full seasons there.

Why didn’t he last anywhere but in New York?

8) Speaking of the Nationals, they’ve had winning seasons the last eight years, but they’ve done it with four different managers, which is bizarre.

7) Former major league pitcher Dan Straily pitches for the Lotte Giants in the KBO now, and he is pitching very well, but he is 0-0, 1.34 in his last five starts. In his nine starts, Lotte has scored two or fewer runs six times. Despite that, they’re 5-4 in his starts.

6) When a KBO game starts and is then rained out before it is an official game, they just pick it up again from that spot the next day. Not a bad idea.

5) I’ve enjoyed watching old college football games on ESPNU and whatever other channels are showing games; you get reminded of stuff from 20-30 years that I had forgotten about.

In the 80’s/90’s, lot of college football teams had very primitive passing games. Georgia beat Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl one year; halfway thru the 4th quarter, the Dawgs were 0-10 passing for the game, yet they won.

4) FS1 and ESPN2 are starting to show Australian Rules Football games now, which is fun; back in the earlier days of ESPN, they show lot of the AFL. We had no idea what the rules were/are, but there was a lot of action, and the guys who play that game are very tough.

Beats the hell out of watching freakin’ cornhole.

3) Philadelphia Eagles lost guard Brandon Brooks with a torn achilles; he won’t play at all this season, is expected back for 2021. Big loss for the Eagles.

2) RIP to former big league pitcher Mike McCormack 81, who passed away this week.
— He won the ’67 Cy Young Award, going 22-10 for the Giants.
— He hit the 500th major league home run that was hit by a pitcher.
— He also gave up Henry Aaron’s 500th home run.

1) I cannot emphasize this enough:
— Wearing a mask in public keeps you safer, and other people safer.
— Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement; I do not belong to either political party, and yet I wear a mask, because I want to stay alive, and I want my friends to stay alive, too.
— Wearing a mask is a sign of respect for other people.
— Science is undeniable; let’s stay safe until there is a vaccine, then we can put the masks away, although I do think I look better with a mask on.  🙂

Thursday’s List of 13: Our list of the top 13 college hoop coaches (since 1980)

These are coaches who coached in the ESPN era, from 1980 on, except for one guy; we made an exception for him.

13) Jim Boeheim— Has been at Syracuse as a player or coach since the early 60’s; he’s won 1,065 games, won the NCAA Tournament in 2003; in seven years as an ACC member, Syracuse is 70-58 in conference games, 28-28 the last three years. Would’ve like to have seen Boeheim’s reaction when he heard that Syracuse was getting out of the Big East, to help the football program. It sure hasn’t helped the basketball program.

Here’s how spoiled Syracuse fans are; I was in the Carrier Dome one night, Syracuse was #2 in country- it was the night after the Super Bowl. Syracuse gets beat at home by Pittsburgh, and the fans boo them off the court; they were #2 in the country!!! Tough crowd.

12) Roy Williams— 15 years at Kansas, 17 years at North Carolina, two pretty good gigs. Coach Roy has made nine Final Fours, won three national titles. This past season would’ve been only the third time in 32 years he missed the NCAA tournament.

Problem with doing a list like this is weighing which is harder to do; keep a program rolling when you inherit it, or turning things around where there was nothing. Williams has coached at two of the nation’s elite programs, and done a great job both places.

11) Lute Olson— Replaced Jerry Tarkanian at Long Beach State, went 24-2, then bolted for Iowa, where he went 165-93, making the Final Four in 1980. From there he went to Arizona and built a national power, going 587-190, making four Final Fours, winning the ’97 national title.

He was Steve Kerr and Sean Elliott’s college coach; I read Andre Iguodala’s book last fall, and he didn’t have many good things to say about Olson, which is too bad, seeing how Olson helped make Iguodala into a player who has earned $170M in his NBA career.

10) Jim Calhoun— He was head coach at Northeastern for 14 years (248-137) before going to UConn, where he won 629 games, three NCAA titles, making it to four Final Fours. He is still coaching; he runs St Joseph’s, a D-III team in the Nutmeg State.

Big East was a hell of a league before it broke apart; Calhoun won the regular season title ten times in Storrs, put lot of guys in the NBA. His last three years at Northeastern, he went 75-19.

9) Rick Pitino— You know a guy’s career is very complicated when he’s coached Kentucky and Louisville, the Knicks and the Celtics. He also coached in the movie Blue Chips, beating Nick Nolte’s Western U Dolphins early in the movie.

Five D-I coaching stops, he’s won 770 games, and now Iona will be the sixth team this fall. He got Providence to the ’87 Final Four, went 219-50 at Kentucky, 416-143 at Louisville, winning two national titles, in 1996, 2012.

8) Tom Izzo— Since 1976, Michigan State has had two basketball coaches; Jud Heathcoate and Izzo. In 25 years in East Lansing, Izzo is 628-241, making eight Final Fours, winning the 2000 national title, which oddly enough, is the last time a Big 14 team won a national title.

Izzo has won 10 regular season titles in the Big 14; he doesn’t get the 5-star recruits like Duke or Kentucky, but he’s had great players and he’s developed guys into great players, like Draymond Green and Mateen Cleaves. Izzo is 11-2 in his last 13 first round games in the NCAA tourney.

7) Bobby Knight— Lot of people would have him higher on this list, but he was a miserable person, a bully to the media/refs, a guy who took a lot of the joy out of the game, and that’s coming from guys who worked for him. Once the shot clock came in in the mid-80’s, he couldn’t control the game as well, and his teams regressed some.

Still, Knight had a perfect team in 1976; he won three national titles, and countless coaches around America tried to imitate him, for better or worse. He went 102-50 in six years at West Point, before heading to Indiana, where he made five Final Fours.

I talk about Blue Chips a lot on this site; the basketball scenes were filmed at a high school in Indiana. Nick Nolte spent some time around Knight’s program to get a feel for how college coaches act. The scenes where Nolte’s character flip out in the locker room aren’t fiction, they were things that Knight actually did.

He won a lot of games, so people tolerated a lot of other stuff.

6) John Calipari— You get UMass to a Final Four, you’re in the top on this list. Calipari won the 2012 national title at Kentucky, damn near won the ’08 title at Memphis, blowing a lead late and losing the national title game to Kansas, in overtime. Calipari takes some of the best freshmen in the country, wins a lot of games, watches them bolt to the NBA, then gets more freshmen.

Calipari coached the New Jersey Nets for 2+ seasons, going 43-39 the second year, but after a 3-17 start in the fall of ’99, he was told to take a hike. The guy is a great college coach:
— 193-71 at UMass
— 252-69 at Memphis
— 330-77 at Kentucky

5) Denny Crum— He was a quiet guy so his great record has slipped thru the historical cracks a little; Denny Crum was a UCLA assistant who then coached Louisville for 30 years, making six Final Fours, winning two national titles. His record with the Cardinals: 675-295.

When Crum first coached Louisville, they were in the Missouri Valley Conference; they moved up to the Metro, and later to Conference USA. Not easy coaching in the same state as Kentucky; the teams didn’t play from 1959-83, but because Crum elevated Louisville’s status so much, he forced Kentucky to play them, and it became a great pre-conference rivalry game.

4) Jerry Tarkanian— In the four years before Tark got to UNLV, the Runnin’ Rebels were 60-46, and they weren’t the Runnin’ Rebels yet.

Jerry Tarkanian’s coaching record:
— Riverside City College 143-22
— Pasadena City College 67-4
— Long Beach State 116-17
— UNLV 509-105
— Fresno State 153-80

UNLV won the 1990 national title; their 11pm/midnight games on ESPN were must-see TV, even for those of us who live in the East. I’d go to work the next day and that would be the first thing we talked about. They were great fun to watch.

Funny thing is, much like Gonzaga today, UNLV raised the profile of its competitors, since they got on national TV a decent amount. New Mexico State, Cal-Santa Barbara had terrific teams because they could recruit excellent players to compete against the Rebels, a lot like St Mary’s and BYU do with the Zags now.

3) Dean Smith— He coached the Tar Heels for 36 years, starting when I was one year old, and retiring when I was 37. He made ten Final Fours, won two national titles. He was synonymous with Tar Heel basketball, using the Four Corners offense before there was a shot clock when he had a great point guard like Phil Ford.

Smith emphasized team play so much that he was once described as “…..the only person who can hold Michael Jordan under 20 ppg”

There was a 1979 game at Duke where UNC used the 4 corners despite trailing and the game was 7-0 Duke at halftime, which is probably part of the reason the shot clock became a thing six years later. That and ESPN’s rise to popularity; no one wanted to watch a team hold the ball for 11 straight minutes.

2) Mike Krzyzewski— Played for Bobby Knight at Army, went 73-59 coaching the Cadets, then got the Duke job two years after they made the Final Four, because the previous coach was mad that Duke wouldn’t pave the coaches’ parking lot. Seriously.

Coach K is 1,084-291 at Duke after going 38-47 his first three years; Now Duke/Kentucky fight over the best high school seniors every spring, with Duke using Krzyzewski’s stature with the US Olympic team as a huge recruiting advantage.

12 Final Fours, four national titles; I feel bad for the poor soul (Bobby Hurley??) who takes over for Krzyzewski. Going to be a lot like Gene Bartow taking over at UCLA for……..

1) John Wooden— This is a list of guys from 1980 on, but John Wooden is the best college basketball coach of all time, so he had to be recognized as such, even if booster Sam Gilbert padded the wallets of various Bruin stars over the years (Bill Walton said as much publicly).

When Wooden coached, you had to win your conference just to get into the NCAA’s; Wooden won seven consecutive national titles, ten in all. He didn’t win his first national title until his 15th year in Westwood, but once he won one, he didn’t stop for a while- he won his 10 titles in his last 12 years as a coach. 

TV highlight of the day: Hoosiers was on, a 2003 A’s playoff game was on (the A’s won in 12 innings), and there was hopeful news that there may actually be a baseball season this summer. We can only hope. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……

13) Father’s Day is Sunday; I talk about my dad a lot on here- he passed away five years ago. He grew up in New York City, a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan, so when I was growing up, I knew a lot more about the Dodgers than the average teenager in upstate New York should’ve known.

Fast forward to 1990 or so, can’t remember exactly when, but Mohawk Mall is about eight miles from Armadillo World HQ; they had a free autograph signing to try and get customers into their stores. Ralph Branca, the old Dodger pitcher who is famous for giving up Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning homer in 1951, would be there to sign autographs.

12) Now I had heard the story of that day 50 times, so I thought this would be fun, and I was right; told my dad to be ready at a certain time, that I would pick him up and we were going somewhere, but I didn’t tell him where.

The Thomson home run was my dad’s version of the Kirk Gibson homer for me; not our favorite moment. There is M*A*S*H episode about the Thomson home run game, and my dad refused to watch it, but when I told him where we were headed, he brightened up.

11) Luckily, and this was a weird event in that it was a weeknight, not a weekend afternoon, not many people were there, so I introduce my dad to Ralph Branca, tell him what a big Dodger fan he was, and the two of them hit it off like long, lost buddies. It was excellent; they had time to talk, Branca confirmed a lot of the stories my dad told me that I would pretend not to believe.

One of the best things I ever did; remembering it today made me smile.

10) There was a catcher named Ernie Lombardi; my dad always said the third baseman would play on the outfield grass when he came up, that’s how hard he hit the ball. I would roll my eyes every time he said that, but Ralph Branca confirmed that it was true.

Because this is a full-service website, Ernie Lombardi made seven All-Star teams; he had a .306 career batting average, a .358 career OB%. He played 17 years in the majors.

9) Last bit of Ralph Branca trivia; former Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine is married to Ralph Branca’s daughter.

Elsewhere in this world of ours…….
8) Wall Street tycoons Joshua Harris and David Blitzer bought around 5% of the Pittsburgh Steelers; they’re also the majority owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

7) At the golf tournament in Texas last week, the players had a hard time on holes 3-5; thru the first three rounds, the whole field was a combined 188-over par on holes 3-5, 340-under par on the other 15 holes. Not sure why the more difficult holes would be out of the range of the TV cameras, which generally show the last 6-8 holes.

6) What on earth is Mike Gundy thinking? Oklahoma State’s football coach was pictured over the weekend in an OAN t-shirt, the “news” outlet that says Black Lives Matter is “a farce.”

Oklahoma State plays football in the Big X Conference, a very good league. Gundy needs to win a lot of games to keep his job, so he can keep making a ton of money. He needs to recruit a lot of good players to win those games, and the majority of those players are African-American.

From here on in, how does he go into the home of a black athlete with a straight face?

This I know; if he wore a t-shirt of an organization that mocked bald, white guys, then he tried to recruit my kid, his butt wouldn’t get inside my door, not a chance.

5) On June 14, 1974, Nolan Ryan pitched against the Red Sox; Angels won 4-3 in 15 innings, with Ryan throwing 13 innings, walking 10 guys, striking out 19. He threw 235 pitches in 13 innings, striking out Cecil Cooper six times— Cooper was batting .297 before the game.

Nolan Ryan was a freak, for sure.

4) Weird stat of the day: In his career as a head coach, Penn State coach James Franklin has won 21 games when he was favored but didn’t cover the spread; in the game AFTER those 21 games, Franklin’s teams are an amazing 19-1-1 against the spread. 

Think about that stat, it is pretty amazing.

3) That stat was from Ralph Michaels, and so is this one:

Since 2010, NFL underdogs of 6+ points who pulled an upset the previous week, also as an underdog of 6+points, are only 9-32-1 ATS. No bueno.

2) New Jersey Institute of Technology does the geographically smart thing and bolts the Atlantic Sun Conference to join America East. NJIT will visit Albany now and then, which isn’t as much fun as schools in Florida/Georgia, but they’ll save money on travel.

Robert Morris bolts the NEC for the Horizon League, a decent step up in class.

1) PGA Tour moves to Hilton Head, SC this week; this tournament is usually in April, right after The Masters. How much different will the course play now, two months later than normal? Has to be lot warmer now; will the greens be that much faster? We shall see.

TV highlight of the day: There is a show on NBA TV called Work at Home; Matt Winer hosts it, and he has an NBA coach talking to him from home. The coach introduces various segments with his staff running drills for players that they can do at home, with or without a basketball.