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

13) Madison Bumgarner is on the DL with rib/shoulder injuries he got in a dirt-bike accident on an off-day in Denver. Rough news for the Giants.

12) Giants were already 0-4 in Bumgarner’s starts (0-3, 3.00) this season- they scored a total of five runs in the four games.

11) Eric Thames hit 21 homers in 684 plate appearances for Toronto/Seattle in 2011-12, then his career tailed off- he wound up playing three years in Korea. Now he is back in the majors with the Brewers, and he is batting .415 with 8 homers in 62 PA’s, making him an early candidate for Comeback Player of the Century.

10) Cincinnati Reds have to be thrilled with rookie pitcher Amir Garrett, who at one time was a basketball player at St John’s. In his first three big league starts, Garrett is 2-1, 1.83, with 21 strikeouts and only 14 hits allowed in 19.2 IP.

9) Thursday nite, the Pacers led Cleveland 74-49 at halftime; a daring gambler at Ellis Island Casino in Las Vegas wagered $55 at 25-1 odds on the Cavaliers to win this game. He cashed in for $1,375. Not a bad hour’s work.

8) Russell Westbrook was 4-18 in the 4th quarter of Game 2 in Houston; he was 13-25 in first three quarters. Thunder are hard to watch- they have no real second scoring option.

7) Bulls PG Rajon Rondo has a broken thumb, is out indefinitely for the Bulls, who lead Boston 2-0 in their first round series.

6) When you see a baseball game where there are no walks and 26 strikeouts, you assume that:

  1. Randy Johnson and Dwight Golden were pitching
  2. There was a pitchers’ umpire behind the plate.Since the starting pitchers were Patrick Corbin/Clayton Richard, we can safely assume that umpire Gerry Davis is a pitchers’ umpire.

5) NBA referee Danny Crawford has worked 293 playoff games in his career, 33 Finals games.

4) NFL centralized instant replay this season, under assumption that Dean Blandino would lead the effort in New York City to make the replay process more streamlined.

Then Blandino bolted the NFL for a TV job with a yet-to be-named network, leaving the NFL without a logical replacement for him. Mike Pereira would be ideal, but he already has a good job.

3) I wanted to watch a TV show on the IFC channel this week, then I realized I had never seen a show on this channel and had no idea what channel it was on DirecTV (it is 333). You learn something new every day.

2a) Mike D’Antoni was 279-161 as coach of the Phoenix Suns; since he left, the Suns are 332-390 in regular season games.

2b) Oakland A’s were 256-176 while they had Yoenis Cespedes on their roster; since they traded him on July 31, 2014, they are 165-229.

Sometimes you’re better off keeping things the way they are. Not all change is positive.

1— Hope it doesn’t rain in LA in early September; Rams play Colts/Redskins at home on Sept 10th/17th, day after USC plays Stanford/Texas on the 9th/16th. Field will take a beating.

If it were to rain during that time, you’ll get a quagmire like the 1977 playoff game in the Coliseum when the Rams lost 14-7 to a very inferior Minnesota team. It was so muddy it was hard to tell which players were on which team.

Why did I remind myself of that?

Friday’s List of 13: Quick thoughts on the ’17 NFL schedule

13) 2017 NFL season opens on September 7, when the Chiefs visit New England. Giants are in Dallas for the Week 1 Sunday night game.

Monday night doubleheader in Week 1 is Saints @ Vikings, followed by the Chargers playing in Denver.

12) Falcons christen their new stadium with a Week 2 Sunday night game vs Green Bay; they visit Foxboro on October 22, the first of three consecutive road tilts (NE-NYJ-Carolina).

How did the Braves/Falcons get new stadiums in the same year? Economy in Georgia must be doing really well.

11) Three of Giants’ first six games are primetime games; three of their four primetime games are on the road. Big Blue has three west coast trips in the last eight games; SF in Week 10, Oakland in Week 13, Arizona in Week 16.

Three of their last four games are at home. Giants also play against four of the six rookie head coaches this season.

10) Eagles have three straight road games in December; Seattle-LA Rams-Giants; then they play the Raiders at home on Christmas nite and finish with the Cowboys on New Years’ Eve.

9) Same deal for New England, which has five road games in six weeks in Weeks 10-15, with three straight road dates, at Buffalo-Miami-Pittsburgh- they close with two home games.

8) Russell Wilson played his last year of college ball at Wisconsin; Seahawks play their opener in Green Bay, the FOX 4:25 game in Week 1. Solid QB matchup.

7) There are six divisional games in Week 1 this season, including Eagles-Redskins and Ravens-Bengals.

6) Vikings are in Green Bay for a Week 16 (Dec 23) Saturday night game that is also Minnesota’s 4th road game in a five-week stretch. Why does the NFL schedule nite games for late December in Green Bay? Do they care if fans freeze to death?

5) Rams’ coach Sean McVay faces his old team in Week 2, when the Redskins visit the LA Coliseum.

Rams go to Dallas in Week 4, with the Cowboys coming off a Week 3 Monday nighter in Arizona.

4) Rams/Chargers have three home games at the same time; where will the LA media go? Chargers are playing in a soccer stadium in Carson for the next two years- place seats 30,000.

3) Thanksgiving Day slate: Vikings @ Lions, Chargers @ Dallas, Giants @ Redskins.

2) NFL must think the Steelers are going to be really good (they almost always are); Pittsburgh is on in primetime four weeks in a row, in Weeks 11-14: Tennessee-Green Bay-@ Cincinnati-Baltimore. NFL’s TV mavens will be rooting for Big Ben to stay healthy all season.

1— Buffalo doesn’t play the Patriots until December, when they meet twice; Pats-Colts-Miami visit Buffalo in December. Bills finish with road games in Foxboro/Miami.

Indy opens in LA; I’m guessing they would’ve been happier opening in Buffalo and playing in LA in December.

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

13) Random odd fact: in the next FIVE NBA drafts, the 76ers have the Knicks’ 2nd-round pick. The Knicks are bad, so their 2nd round pick is fairly close to the first round.

12) Shareef O’Neal, Shaq’s son, will be playing ball at Arizona starting in the fall of 2018; he is a 6-9 forward who is ranked 31st in the Class of 2018 by one analyst.

11) Bryce Harper homered twice in first two innings last nite, is 15-for-33 with seven HR’s and 17 RBIs off Julio Teheran, who is no chump.

10) Umpire CB Bucknor had a rough night behind the plate Tuesday working the Nats-Braves game; plus the Fox Trax thing that shows whether a pitch is a ball or a strike wasn’t working well on TV, so it made Bucknor look even worse. Washington players were upset afterwards and they won the game.

9) Cardinals 2, Pirates 1— Third day in a row St Louis beat the Bucs by a 2-1 score.

8) Maple Leafs are in the playoffs, Blue Jays are off to a 2-11 start; there were tickets for the Red Sox-Jays game in Toronto last night selling online for as little as $2.

7) Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale was fined $30,000 by the NBA for his comments about the refs in Game 2— the Memphis players are paying the tab for him.

6) Ichiro Suzuki, in what was probably his last at-bat in Seattle, homered in the 9th inning of the Marlins’ 10-5 loss. Suzuki was a great player for the Mariners and is a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer.

4) LIU hired former UMass coach Derek Kellogg to lead its basketball program; took them over a month to hire a new coach.

3) Mets’ 1B Lucas Duda hyperextended his elbow taking a throw last nite and left the game- was reminiscent of the play long time ago where Cliff Floyd’s elbow got totally messed up reaching into the baseline to field a throw.

2) Quote of the Day, part 2, from Florida Atlantic’s new football coach Lane Kiffin, on how he will deal with his assistant coaches:

“No, that’s not really how I do it. Greg (McElroy) knows about those. Those things come up, and everybody has different ways of dealing with them. It’s just not really how I do it. I’m not really big on humiliating assistant coaches in front of everybody. I write down notes. In the staff meeting, I explain what we want to get done.”

1— NFL releases the 2017 schedule tonight, so we’ll be talking about that Friday. Remember, it isn’t as much about who you play as much as when you play them.

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

13) College basketball has an under-reported problem; high level teams are openly recruiting players from other teams to transfer. This is total BS, scummy behavior.

They were talking on Twitter Monday that Utah State’s Koby McEwen was being recruited by a team, and Utah State coach Tim Duryea had to be “stern” with the school. McEwen will be back in Logan next winter- he was Mountain West Freshman of the Year this year.

12) There were four OT games in the NHL playoffs Monday nite, first time that happened since 1985. Of all the pro sports, NHL has the most exciting playoffs.

11) Free throw breakdown from Game 2 in the Memphis-San Antonio series:
Memphis (whole team) 13-15
Kawhi Leonard 19-19
Rest of the Spurs 12-13 (31-32 total)

This is why Memphis Coach Fizdale was snippy in his post-game press conference; his team got hosed and it is his job to protect his team from that happening again.

10) New Mexico State hired former Bowling Green coach Chris Jans as its new basketball coach. Jans comes from the Wichita State coaching tree- he went 21-12 in his one season coaching the Falcons two years ago (their only 20+-win season since 2002), but was fired after an incident in a bar where he was hitting on a woman while drunk and the incident was captured on someone’s phone.

9) Do the Angels need to trade Mike Trout? They’re not a good team; Trout would bring back a lot of talent, but would it be enough talent to make them good again? And if they were still bad despite trading their best player, would that put a dent in home attendance?

Baseball America ranked the Angels’ farm system as worst in the major leagues, so not lot of help coming up from the minors anytime soon.

8) Good news for those of us in beautiful upstate New York; the first weekend of the NCAA tournament is coming to Albany in 2020- think it will be the third time Albany has hosted March Madness.

7) Ad behind the plate at Safeco Field; “Leafless in Seattle” for a leaf blower to put your leaves on other people’s lawns. Solid play on words/movie titles.

6) It gets annoying when national baseball writers start speculation on trades in April; could we let teams fall out of contention before we make them sellers? Milwaukee is 8-7, not a bad start, but you read lot of Ryan Braun-to-Dodgers stuff.

5) Pirates lost CF Starling Marte for 80 games for a PED offense; Andrew McCutchen was back in centerfield Tuesday night. Adam Frazier takes over in right.

4) Pirates lost 2-1 in St Louis the last two nights; their pitchers threw only 177 pitches in 16 innings, an average of 11.1 per inning, not a lot. Whats wrong with the Cardinals?

3) Toronto 106, Milwaukee 100— Raptors scored the last six points of the game, evened series 1-1.

2) Imagine being a major leaguer who is off to a bad start; when you come to bat, they put your batting average on those huge scoreboards— if you’re hitting under .200, it puts lot of pressure on you to do better. Even great athletes have crises of confidence.

1— Get well soon, Bruce Bochy; the Giants’ skipper had a minor heart procedure this week, isn’t managing the ball club in Kansas City.

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

13) They ran the Boston Marathon Monday; I’m thinking it isn’t healthy to run 26 miles.

A marathon is an event that was established “…….in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, who reported the victory.”

Unfortunately for Pheidippides, as soon as he reported the victory, he collapsed and dropped dead. Like I said, running 26 miles at once might not be good for you.

12) That said, it does take serious onions to run that far; it is demanding, both physically, mentally. Monday, a retired Marine who lost the lower part of his left leg by stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011. ran on his prosthetic leg while carrying a large American flag for the entire 26.2-mile race, finishing in 5:46:13.

That is one tough human.

11) I’m probably not the best person to discuss running; if I drive 26 miles, I’m looking for the drive-thru window at Wendy’s or McDonald’s.

10) Rough start to the year for my A’s; their two best pitchers (Gray/Graveman) are both hurt already, now SS Semien has a broken wrist and is done for couple months. Not like he is Ozzie Smith or anything, but unless they bring highly touted prospect Franklin Barreto up from AAA, best they can do is move Lowrie back to SS and bring a 2B up from Nashville. Oy.

9) Toronto 4, Washington 3 OT— All three series games have gone OT, second time in Washington’s franchise history that has happened. Caps are 1-5 in those six games.

8) Cole Hamels has started three games for Texas this month; Rangers led all three games after the fifth inning. Texas bullpen, however, has allowed 14 runs in 9.2 innings in those games and Texas lost all three.

7) A 17-year old basketball prospect named Kevin Knox was offered $1.4M to play basketball for a Chinese pro team next year, but declined the offer. He’ll announce his college choice next week; most of top programs are involved.

6) Angel Hernandez is a bad umpire; he just is. You watch him work the plate and there is always a lot of crabbing by players during his games there.

5) Carlos Martínez pitched for the Cardinals in the Bronx Saturday; he lost 3-2. Martinez faced 30 batters; 19 of them either walked (8) or struck out (11).

Martinez threw 118 pitches, 25 were called strikes, 19 were swinging strikes, 16 were fouled off, 47 were balls and 11 were put in play. Of the 11 balls put in play, four were hits. Very odd line for him.

4) Brewers 6, Cubs 3— World Champs have lost four in row, are 6-7 overall, 2-5 at home.

3) Cavaliers 117, Pacers 111— Indiana was down 18 after three quarters, but covered thru the backdoor. Kevin Love was +!7; Cavaliers were -11 with him off the floor.

As I type this, Spurs are up 56-30 over Memphis. Not a lot of competition there.

2) NFL schedule gets released Thursday night, the draft is next week. It is freakin’ April, but the NFL has an amazing ability to stay in the news.

1— Utah Jazz have a problem, with Rudy Gobert out for Game 2 with the Clippers, but this year, Jazz are +102 with Derrick Favors on the floor, if they didn’t play the night before. When they played the night before, Favors was -45. No back/backs in the playoffs, good for Utah.

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

13) Bulls 106, Celtics 102— Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points in 38:00, the day after he found out his 22-year old sister died in a car accident. Boston took 38 3’s, 48 2’s; seems like a lot- they only took 19 foul shots.

12) ESPN had the Cubs on in primetime Opening Night in St Louis, which is fine- they’re World Champs and deserve it; ESPN’s next three Sunday night games were in Queens, Bronx and next week again, Queens. What the bleep are they thinking?

Teams like Toronto, Kansas City and Houston are rarely on national TV, then networks wonder why playoff ratings are low when those teams make it. Promote the whole sport, not just teams in New York, plus the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox.

11) Mets’ first 32 games this season are all against NL East opponents.

10) Miami 4, Mets 2— JT Riddle’s first major league hit was a walk-off homer. The way the Marlins ran the bases in this game, home runs were a good idea.

Justin Boer got thrown out at the plate after maybe the worst slide in baseball history; Giancarlo Stanton got hit with an Ozuna line drive that would’ve put men on 1st and 3rd with one out had the ball not hit him. Ozuna got thrown out at the plate before Riddle’s winning home run.

9) Orioles pit closer Zach Britton on the 10-day DL; their pitching is really thin, but they’re still 8-3 and atop the AL East, but make no mistake about it, Baltimore needs to get healthy soon.

8) Rumors have it that the Chiefs will open Week 1 of the NFL season in Foxboro in a Thursday night game. Falcons were a more logical option, but Atlanta has a new stadium opening and they want to play there in Week 1, so apparently they’re no longer an option for the Thursday game.

7) It rained in Oakland Sunday, and the A’s couldn’t wait to cancel their game with the Astros; the Warriors were playing across the parking lot, the A’s are playing lousy anyway (shortstop Marcus Semien is on the DL, which hurts there defense) and there would’ve been a lousy crowd in the rain.

Giants played their home game across the bay, but the field was a mess- they sell out their games, so it would cost them seven figures to lose a home game to the weather.

6) Toronto-Cleveland-Texas are your last place teams in the American League.

5) Reds and Colorado are in first place in the National League; even after only two weeks, that is odd.

4) Baltimore’s Trey Mancini hit two more homers Sunday, has now hit seven in his first 12 major league games, which is really good.

Blue Jays lost again, are now 2-10, which is really bad.

3) Montreal 3, NY Rangers 1— New York seems to play better on the road. Canadiens lead this series, 2-1.

2) Penguins/Blues both won their games, grabbing 3-0 leads in their first round series.

1— Solid scheduling by the AD at U of Albany- they’re playing at Memphis next year, in a year when the Tigers will be in a total rebuild. Great Danes could actually win that game.

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

13) Saturday was Jackie Robinson Day across major league baseball; Mr Robinson put up with a lot of BS when he broke into the major leagues and deserves recognition, but what about Larry Doby, who did the same thing, only in the American League with Cleveland? No one ever mentions the guy.

12) Underrated baseball record: Most consecutive times reaching base— 17, held by Earl Averill (1962) and another guy who did it in 1883.

11) 26 players on the Cincinnati Reds’ 40-man roster are pitchers; because of that, the Reds are targeting versatile players who give their manager more flexibility within games and also in making players, giving starters days off.

10) You listen to Reds’ games on TV, no hometown homers there; oh they want the Reds to win, but if they play badly, their own announcers will rip them. Much different than most places.

9) Dodgers 8, Arizona 4— Since start of the 2014 season, Diamondbacks are now 17-42 against Los Angeles.

8) Blue Jays 2, Orioles 1— Kendrys Morales won it with a walk-off tater, a much-needed win for a Toronto team off to a dismal 2-9 start.

7) Astros 10, A’s 6— Houston scored 10 runs, despite not getting a hit in the first six innings. It is hard to describe how badly the A’s played in the last three innings- they led 5-0 after five.

6) On February 12, 2016, the A’s to Khris Davis from Milwaukee for minor leaguers Bowdien Derby and Jacob Nottingham.

Derby is a pitcher who was 6-13, 5.59 in the Class A Florida State league last year. He is a relief pitcher in AA this season.

Nottingham is a catcher who hit .234 in the AA Southern League LY and is back there this year.

In a year-plus with Oakland, Khris Davis has hit 47 homers in 161 games.

5) Former Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar signed on with Arizona as an assistant coach, taking the place of Joe Pasternack, the new coach at UCSB.

4) Nashville 5, Chicago 0— Blackhawks didn’t score a goal in two home playoff games this week.

3) Speaking of Nashville, they had 11,097 fans for a AAA baseball game Saturday. Not bad.

2) Our thoughts and prayers are with Celtics’ star Isaiah Thomas, who lost his 22-year old sister in a car accident in the state of Washington Saturday morning. Terrible tragedy.

1— I am a basketball guy, but the NHL playoffs are so much better than the NBA’s version; there is nothing sign sports quite as dramatic as overtime in a playoff game.

San Jose has a player named Logan Couture who to hit in the face with a puck, but is still playing, even though it hurts him to breathe!!!!! Think about that for a second.

While NBA players ask for days off for a mental break from a long season, Couture is playing with a mouth held together by plastic and wire- he probably needs 7 or 8 teeth replaced/taken out completely after the season.

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

13) Somehow, someway, Phil Jackson gets two more years to run the Knicks, despite an 80-166 record that screams out that Jackson has no clue how to run an NBA franchise. At $12M a year, the least Jackson could’ve done was get rid of of Carmelo Anthony, who is getting older and did not try much on defense, even when he was young.

12) We talked briefly yesterday about “exit meetings” with players after a season; apparently Kristaps Porzingis, one of the Knicks’ few bright spots, skipped his exit meeting with the club because of “his displeasure with the “dysfunction” and “drama” that has enveloped the franchise”, according to

11) Was surprised to see that major league umpire Joe West is only 64 years old; he’s been a big league umpire since 1976, which means he made it to the majors at age 23.

10) Calgary Flames have to win at least one game in Anaheim to win their opening round playoff series; problem is, the Flames have now lost 28 games in a row in Anaheim- their last win in the Pond was in a 2006 playoff game. No bueno.

9) John Daly played in Darius Rucker’s charity golf tournament this week, which raises money for kids in South Carolina; at one point. he used a full beer can as a tee, then chugged the beer after he hit the ball off the top of the can, all while playing barefoot. Alrighty then.

8) Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is open to the idea of geographic realignment, but Bud Selig was also in favor of that— it just never appealed to anyone else.

Geographic realignment would reduce travel costs and create more games with local rivalries, but then, no more American/National Leagues. I’d be OK either way— what do you do with the DH? (hopefully, get rid of it)

7) If you like obscure trivia, Ender Inciarte got the first hit in the new SunTrust Stadium in Atlanta.

6) Mets are just third team in history (’83 Brewers, ’03 Rockies) to win consecutive games when they gave up a grand slam in both games- Mikael Franco hit one against them Wednesday, Marcell Ozuna Thursday.

5) Mets beat the Miami Marlins in 16 innings Thursday night, which drained both bullpens. Marlins’ reliever Nick Wittgren threw three scoreless innings, but because he has options left and needed a couple days off anyway, he was sent back to AAA, not the best reward for pitching well, but he’ll be back in the majors soon.

4) Colorado pitcher Jon Gray has a stress fracture in his foot, will miss at least a month.

3) When Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew received a heart transplant in December, he got the heart of the late Konrad Reuland, who played tight end for the Baltimore Ravens before he passed away at age 29 after having a brain aneurysm.

2) Seattle Mariners sell toasted grasshoppers at their concession stands- they sold 901 orders of the insects over the first three home games. The grasshoppers are toasted in a chili lime salt and come in a four-ounce cup for $4.

The team called in an emergency order so that they last throughout this weekend; they’re also imposing a per-game order limit for the rest of the season.

There is no way in hell I would eat grasshoppers…….ever.

1— A very courageous 10-year old boy threw out the first pitch at the Dodgers’ game last night; the young man is the first person to receive a double hand transplant. Zion Harvey also lost both his legs below the knees as a result of a virus he had at age 2.

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

13) Next Friday in this space we’ll be analyzing the 2017 NFL schedule, since apparently it is being released Thursday night on the NFL Network. The old coach Bud Grant used to say “It is not who you play, it is when you play them.” Next week the ’17 season begins to take shape.

12) I have an idea for an NFL Films reality show, kind of a Hard Knocks after the season.

Apparently teams do exit interviews after the season with players, to talk about what they need to work on in the offseason, or if they’ll be back next year— this is done to keep the lines of communication open. It would make great TV- there have to be some interesting discussions.

11) Last April, Trevor Story took baseball by storm, hitting .261 with 10 homers, 20 RBI just in April. This year? Not so much; Story is hitting .143 with one homer, two RBI- he hit his first HR last night, off Madison Bumgarner, so maybe he is turning things around.

10) Most Dodger games aren’t on TV in the Las Vegas sportsbooks, which is dumb, because of some blackout rule. It makes zero sense; Vegas is three hours from LA, baseball could use the exposure from Dodger fans in Las Vegas wanting to watch their team play. This should be fixed.

9) Arizona has a rookie manager this year in Torey Lovullo, his dad was a producer on the old Hee Haw TV show, the country music show with Roy Clark/Buck Owens.

8) Remember the old medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton? Her dad played basketball at West Virginia, with Jerry West. Mary Lou didn’t get her dad’s height.

7) Memphis Grizzlies’ PG Mike Conley has played in 756 NBA games, 24,854 minutes and he has never gotten a technical foul— not even one!!!

6) Sharp money on the Boston Bruins came in Tuesday, forcing the B’s Stanley Cup odds to drop from 28-1 to 16-1. Bruins are favored over Ottawa in this first round series, despite not having home ice advantage in the series.

5) When Hurricane Matthew ripped thru South Carolina last year, Harbourtown Country Club on Hilton Head lost over 500 trees.

4) Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville might run for governor of Alabama next year. No idea if he would be a good candidate, but they do take football seriously in Alabama.

3) Orlando Magic fired their GM, apparently want to hire Grant Hill to take his place, but Hill is already a part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks and might not be interested.

2) Portland’s Moe Harkless has a clause in his contract that gives him a $500K bonus if he shot 35% from the arc this season.

Going into the season finale Wednesday, Harkless was at 35.1% on the arc; if he goes 0-1, he drops below 35%. So what did he do? He played 22 minutes but didn’t take a 3-pointer. Thats plus-$500K for Mr Harkless, Not exactly the competitive spirit of Ted Williams, but half a million bucks guaranteed is a sweet deal.

1— Got home very late from my trip; we got delayed taking off in Las Vegas. My thanks to the people at SouthPoint Casino, an underrated place for your next Vegas vacation.

Thursday’s List of 13: Some of my favorite movie quotes……

13) “Who’s the u-boat commander?” From Risky Business, when the kid’s father’s Porsche winds up in Lake Michigan, and then in a repair shop to be cleaned up.

12) “I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring.”
Susan Sarandon, from Bull Durham

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

10) “In ‘Confessions of a Winning Poker Player,’ Jack King said, ‘Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.’ It seems true to me, ‘cause walking in here, I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can’t stop thinking of how I lost it.”
Matt Damon in Rounders

9) “I guess it comes down to a simple choice; get busy living, or get busy dying.”
Tim Robbins from Shawshank Redemption

8) “……Who cares? I’ll tell you. Me. I’m not your best friend. I’m your only friend. I don’t make anything? I’m making you money. And lest we forget, that’s the only reason any of you became stockholders in the first place. You want to make money! You don’t care if they manufacture wire and cable, fried chicken, or grow tangerines!

You want to make money! I’m the only friend you’ve got. I’m making you money. Take the money. Invest it somewhere else. Maybe, maybe you’ll get lucky and it’ll be used productively. And if it is, you’ll create new jobs and provide a service for the economy and, God forbid, even make a few bucks for yourselves.

And if anybody asks, tell ’em ya gave at the plant. And by the way, it pleases me that I am called “Larry the Liquidator.” You know why, fellow stockholders? Because at my funeral, you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a few bucks in your pocket. Now that’s a funeral worth having!”
Danny DeVito, in Other People’s Money

7) “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

6) “You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.” Jack Nicholson, from A Few Good Men

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. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that gentleman – you’re perfect!”
Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night Lights

4) “And you know Steve you get the feeling that Billy Chapel isn’t pitching against left handers, he isn’t pitching against pinch hitters, he isn’t pitching against the Yankees. He’s pitching against time. He’s pitching against the future, against age, and even when you think about his career, against ending. And tonight I think he might be able to use that aching old arm one more time to push the sun back up in the sky and give us one more day of summer.”
The great Vin Scully, from For Love of the Game

Richard Dreyfuss in Let It Ride

2) “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, from Any Given Sunday

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

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

13) Angels 6, Rangers 5 (10)— Halos did it again; they trailed this game 5-0 in 7th inning, but won and are now 6-2 and atop the AL West. Angels scored seven runs in bottom of the ninth to stun the Mariners 10-9 on Sunday.

There have been 61 games already this season where a team trailed by 3+ runs in the ninth inning; Angels are 2-0, everyone else is 0-59.

12) Three years ago, December of 2013, my buddy Mike and I watched a Christmas tournament here in Las Vegas, at Bishop Gorman HS— Gorman’s third-string center was a sophomore named Zach Collins, who went on to play at Gonzaga this season, scoring 10 ppg in 17.2 mpg.

Now the young man is off to the NBA, following in the footsteps of his HS teammate Stephen Zimmerman, who played one year at UNLV and now plays for Orlando’s D-League team.

Wish the kid well, but I am skeptical this is the best thing for his development as a player- he only played 17.2 minutes/game this year, now all of a sudden he is a pro?

11) Sacramento’s Georgios Papagiannis got a technical foul last night; it was the Kings’ first technical foul since they traded DeMarcus Cousins February 20- they had been the only NBA team without a technical during that time.

10) Why did Tony Romo suit up for the Dallas Mavericks last night?

9) When Fred Couples won The Masters 25 years ago, he drove the ball 20 yards shorter than he did this past weekend, at age 57. Golf equipment has made golf courses a lot shorter.

8) Monday night, Washington Nationals were first big league team in four years to have an error from all four infield positions in the same game.

7) Buster Posey goes on the 7-day concussion DL; you wonder if he will wind up moving out from behind the plate to avoid more of this in the future, though this one came when he was batting, not catching?

6) If Erik Spoelstra wins NBA Coach of the Year and Miami misses the playoffs (they were 11-30 at one point), would that be the first time it ever happened?

5) Quinnipiac transfer Mikey Dixon signs on with St John’s; from what I read on the Interweb Tuesday, this is a good get for Chris Mullin’s team.

4) New Mexico hired its new basketball coach; Paul Weir, who comes from rival New Mexico State, which should make the two Lobo-Aggie games next season more interesting.

Weir has strong recruiting connections in Canada; Aggies will have their third coach in three seasons next year- -Marvin Menzies left Las Cruces LY to be the coach at UNLV.

3) Longest NFL playoff droughts: Buffalo 17 years, Cleveland 14 years, Rams 12 years.

2) I’m convinced that defensive shifts in baseball are overdone, especially early in innings vs players with excellent bat control. Why is it done so much? Maybe to justify the analytics people having their jobs- there have to be some pitchers who cringe about shifts. Behind closed doors, I’m guessing there almost has to be debate about the validity of shifting so much.

1— Matt Harvey left his start last night in the sixth inning with a tight hamstring; Mets led 10-2, so not sure if it was just a precaution, but the Mets need Harvey healthy this season.

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

13) Steve Fisher retired as San Diego State’s coach Monday night, ending a 26-year career where he compiled a 495-288 record, winning the 1989 national title with Michigan, when he replaced Bill Frieder just before the NCAA tournament, after Frieder bolted for Arizona State.

Fisher later built San Diego State’s program up from practically nothing to one of the best programs in the west- he will be missed.

12) Cubs raised their World Series championship banner last night; they’ve moved the bullpens to under the outfield bleachers, and put in 500 new, premium-priced seats down each foul line, where the bullpens used to be. Cubs beat the Dodgers 3-2 to win their home opener.

11) What have you done for me lately?

NHL’s Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, their only Cups in 52 years of existence, but they fired coach Daryl Sutter Monday, after six full seasons with the Kings- he won two of the last five Stanley Cups, but got canned- doubt he’ll be out of work long.

10) Reminder; if you’re in Las Vegas and come to the SouthPoint Casino, bring a fleece or a light jacket- excellent place to watch sports, but a little cool in here.

9) You meet people from all over the country here; was talking to a guy from Louisiana Sunday night— he told me one of the main reasons Ben Simmons chose to play basketball at LSU was that lot of the bigger-name schools wouldn’t OK a camera crew following Simmons around all the time so Showtime could do their infomercial/documentary on him.

Hard to figure out why LSU’s season went so far into the dumper that season.

8) Then there was the conversation between two friends sitting behind me last night, while I was watching the Padres-Rockies game. These two guys were talking politics and apparently they hadn’t seen each other since last November’s election. It was a spirited discussion between two friends, but it got heated now and then- they didn’t agree on too much.

7) Padres 5, Rockies 3— Wil Myers hit for the cycle, just the second Padre (Matt Kemp) ever to do that.

6) Mets 4, Phillies 3— Teams carry so many pitchers these days, their benches are short; Mets were tied 2-2 in the 7th inning last night- they had go-ahead run on second with two out and a righty on the mound for the Phils.

Terry Collins had Michael Conforto in the on-deck circle, but if he uses Conforto there, Philly puts a lefty in, and Collins counters with Wilmer Flores. So he used Flores against the righty, preserving Conforto for later in the game (he never got in) if he needed him. Smart.

5) Heat 124, Cavaliers 121— Miami stays alive in the playoff race, barely beating a Cleveland team playing without Lebron James/Kyrie Irving. Heat still needs the Pacers to lose a game to make the playoffs— Indiana beat the 76ers in Philly last night.

4) Giants 4, Diamondbacks 1— Buster Posey got beaned in his first at-bat yesterday, was removed from the game as a precaution. Giants later scored three runs on a ground ball to the pitcher, something you rarely see, even in a Little League game.

3) NFL announced the Saints-Dolphins game from London will be one of those hideous 9:30am ET kickoffs. Imagine working in a sports book here in Las Vegas, with a 6:30am kickoff? Oy.

2) Active managers who will be in the Hall of Fame someday: Bruce Bochy, Joe Maddon and Terry Francona. Cubs’ GM Theo Epstein will also get in.

1— Lawson brothers bolted Memphis’ basketball team last week; four of their teammates have since followed them out of town, gutting the Tigers’ roster- they’re basically an expansion team right now, a total rebuild.

Lawsons surfaced Monday at Kansas; we’ll see how that goes.

I know this; recruiting is a cut-throat business and it never seems to end.

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

13) Cliche of the Day: “There is no clock in baseball”.

Angels 10, Mariners 9— Halos scored seven runs in the bottom of the 9th inning, as Seattle ended the first week of the season 1-6. This has to be a tough loss to swallow.

12) Imagine if you have Hisashi Iwakuma on your fantasy team and needed that win to win your week in your league. Iwakuma allowed five baserunners in six IP, throwing 89 pitches in his season debut; he deserved better.

11) Thunder 106, Nuggets 105— Russell Westbrook tore Denver’s hearts out with a 35-footer at the buzzer, eliminating the Nuggets from the playoff picture. NBA is a 6-month regular season; this was a very tough way for it to end.

10) Hawks 126, Cavaliers 125 OT— Atlanta was down 26 after the third quarter; this was a brutal loss for Cleveland, which played Lebron James 47:00, Kyrie Irving 45:00- now they play the Heat in Miami tonight. Can’t blame Cleveland if they rest their better guys tonight.

9) Astros 5, Royals 4 (12)— Kansas City batters had zero walks, 17 strikeouts. Don’t see that every day, especially with no Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson on the mound.

8) Most pitches thrown by any starting pitcher this past week: 114, by Madison Bumgarner, Chris Archer in their starts Saturday night.

7) First round NHL playoff matchups:
Montreal-NY Rangers

Minnesota-St Louis
Edmonton-San Jose

6) SF Giants’ left fielders started the season 0-20 with 10 strikeouts, which is why Melvin Upton Jr (the former BJ Upton) was brought in for a trial run.

5) Akron junior PG Noah Robotham is bolting the Zips; kid is from Las Vegas, but will he follow his old coach Keith Dambrot to Duquesne? He would help UNLV if he chose to come home.

4) Sergio Garcia’s fiancee is Angela Akins, a reporter for the Golf Channel- her father is Marty Akins, who was a wishbone QB for the Texas Longhorns in the 70’s. Ms Akins played college golf at TCU.

3) Clayton Kershaw pitched 1,772.1 major league innings before he allowed back/back home runs, which he did on Saturday night.

2) Twins-Arizona are in first place; its only one week out of 26, but it is interesting.

TV ratings for the World Series have to go down this year, because the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years LY— a rating decline is inevitable. Imagine if this carried on into May? An Arizona-Minnesota World Series would be both fun and a ratings disaster.

1— I’m sitting in the SouthPoint sports book watching the Cleveland-Atlanta game; guy near me has the Hawks, but apparently he also just lost his cellphone, ATM card and something else. Then he whips out a pint bottle of Jameson to wash down his lunch. You get a little bit away from the Strip and there are some very interesting humans in sports books.

Sunday’s List of 13: Random thoughts from the desert…….

13) Brent Musburger posted a picture on Twitter Saturday of him buying a hot dog at the cart right by the SouthPoint sportsbook.

I’ve had lunch from that cart every day this week, so couple hours later, I went over for lunch and showed my new friend the vendor her picture on Twitter.

Her English isn’t great, so I’m not sure if she even knows what Twitter is, but she had no idea that Brent Musburger is really famous. She seemed happy about it, but not as happy as when I tossed some cash in her tip jar.

12) First two games at Coors Field ended 2-1/4-2; what the hell has happened to Coors Field? More often that not over the years, seemed like the first team to 10 runs won games in Denver.

Colorado finally hired a former pitcher as its manager— has Bud Black made that big a difference already? Rockies are off to a surprising 5-1 start, tied with Arizona atop the NL West.

11) Phillies 17, Nationals 3— Somewhere here in Las Vegas, someone bet Washington and the under in this game. Philly scored 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning. Oy.

Not sure why the Nationals sent #5 starter Joe Ross to the minors for the first ten days of the season, which made him ineligible to pitch this game, which normally would’ve been his start.

10) Injury news: Washington lost SS Trea Turner (hamstring) and Bronx lost catcher Gary Sanchez (biceps).

9) White Sox minor league pitcher Michael Kopech, acquired in the Chris Sale trade, struck out 10 hitters in 4.2 IP (allowed two runs) in his first minor league start of the season. Kopech is a very hard thrower; he is in the AA Southern League. Will be interesting to follow his progress.

8) White Sox 6, Twins 2— Minnesota had gotten off to a 4-0 start, its first 4-0 start since 1987, but Miguel Gonzalez won his first start of the season and handed the Twins their first loss.

7) A’s 6, Texas 1— As an A’s fan, the Josh Donaldson trade haunts me, but Oakland did acquire Kendall Graveman in that trade and he is turning into a pretty solid pitcher. He didn’t allow a hit in this game until the 7th inning. A’s have to tread water until Sonny Gray gets healthy. Rajai Davis made a great catch in centerfield in the 8th inning of this game.

6) Arizona 11, Cleveland 2— Diamondbacks seem to wear a different uniform every night; their black ones are my favorite, but they only wear them at home on Saturdays. All six Arizona games this week have gone over the total. Diamondbacks are a fun team to watch.

5) Sportsbook at SouthPoint has the voice of one game on a time; luckily for me, they’ve had the San Diego games on a lot this week, with Don Orsillo/Mark Grant on the call. Orsillo is one of my favorites, good natured, calls the game well, fun to listen to.

4) Alan Zinter is the hitting coach for the Padres. Despite being the 1st round draft pick of the Mets in 1989, it took him 14 years to get to the major leagues, where he lasted only 67 games over two seasons, with Houston/Arizona.

Does that make him a better coach? Obviously he struggled himself as a player, so he understands what guys go thru in a slump. Orsillo/Grant speak glowingly of him.

3) Miami Heat started the NBA season 11-30; now they’re 39-41 and tied for the #8 spot in the Eastern Conference. If they make the playoffs, does Erik Spoelstra get Coach of the Year?

2) Saw some clips of Dwayne Wade’s son playing ball; young man is a lefty. Wonder what went into that decision; is being lefty an advantage in basketball? Does it even matter at all?

1— Tampa Bay 3, Toronto 2 (11)— Game ended on the seldom-seen walk-off walk. Toronto is off to a less-than-stellar 1-4 start.

Saturday’s List of 13: Just another day in the desert……..

13) Had the good fortune to meet Brent Musburger Friday here at the SouthPoint Casino, where he has a daily radio show. He was kind enough to give me a few minutes as we talked football and his new radio gig. Very nice man.

One thing; Mr Musburger is 78 years old; he does his two-hour radio show standing up. I’m pretty sure I’ve never stood up for two consecutive hours. Ever.

12) There seems to be a bowling tournament here every day; lot of bowlers around. One guy had one of his bowling balls fall out of his bag in the parking lot Monday and was chasing it down a hill. Most bowlers are not great athletes. Strong thumbs, though.

11) There is also a cheerleading competition here this weekend, which means dozens and dozens of teenage girls are here. And their moms, which is much better.

That said, if I had a teenage daughter, the last place on this planet she would spend the weekend was here in America’s Favorite City, much less in a casino.

Nothing quite as uplifting as seeing a young couple drag their four kids into the sports book last night for dinner. “What does par-lay mean, daddy?” Oy.

10) Marlins 7, Mets 2— Must’ve been cold in the Big Apple last night; Giancarlo Stanton was dressed like Bob Hayes in the Ice Bowl at Lambeau Field in 1967, when Cowboys-Packers played in sub-zero temps for the NFL title. He did not look like he was having fun.

9) A young person posted on Twitter this week that Tony Romo is the Cowboys’ best-ever QB; have to excuse him, he probably never saw Roger Staubach play. And by the way, Troy Aikman won more Super Bowls (three) than Romo won playoff games (two).

8) Russell Westbrook joins Oscar Robertson as the only two NBA players to average a triple-double for a season; great for him, good for us, since now TV nitwits can stop talking about it. How many of these people know/care that the Utah Jazz clinched a division last night?

7) Wichita State jumps from the Missouri Valley to the AAC, making Gregg Marshall’s job a lot tougher. Unsure who replaces Wichita in the Valley— Valparaiso? Omaha? Oral Roberts?

6) Phil Mickelson has played 92 rounds at The Masters; he is -72 on the 13th hole, which is kind of hard to believe, had I not seen the graphic myself.

5) Good to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar doing TV talk shows these days; this is 30 years overdue. Because he hasn’t been much of a public figure, people forget how dominant a player he was, from the time he was in high school, all the way to the Hall of Fame.

When Kareem was at UCLA, freshmen couldn’t play varsity; his freshman team beat the Bruins’ varsity by 20. UCLA’s varsity was the defending national champs.

4) Football coaches are nomads; here is where Brady Hoke spent the last few years:
2003-08— Ball State head coach
2009-10— San Diego State head coach
2011-14— Michigan head coach
2015— Out of football
2016— Defensive coordinator, Oregon
2017— Defensive line coach, Tennessee

3) Dodger games aren’t always on TV here in Las Vegas; some bogus rule about TV blackouts. It is three hours from here to LA. Weird rule.

2) Hawks 114, Cavaliers 100— Atlanta rested all five of its starters- those guys must be exhausted- they played Thursday, but their last game before that was Sunday. Anyway here is Cavs’ coach Tyronn Lue on this game:

“I didn’t think we respected them tonight. I thought we thought we’d just mess around with the game until it was time to knuckle down. By that time, they already had confidence. That’s who we’ve been. That’s who we are. I hate it.”

1— Memphis (-12.5) 101, Knicks 88— You have to see how this game ended; guy on Memphis is dribbling out the clock near halfcourt with score 98-88. Just before the shot clock expires, he hoists a 40-footer from the sideline and it swishes at the buzzer!!!

If you bet the Knicks, this was a dagger but if you bet on the Knicks, well……….