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

13) Being an A’s fan isn’t as fun as it used to be; Oakland had a great walk-off win Saturday night- they’re 7-2 in their last nine games, but then Sunday they traded Doolittle/Madson to Washington, for two Class A prospects and Blake Treinen, who if he was any good, this trade wouldn’t have happened.

I mentioned the other day how the A’s had roughly $24.5M on the books for 2018-20, total; well, dealing Doolittle/Madsen eliminates about half of that amount.

It is now an annual event, like the swallows returning to Capistrano; the A’s don’t contend, then they sell some of their decent players for minor leaguers in July, then are lousy the rest of the year, they make excuses about being a small market team. Oy.

On July 31, 2014, the then-contending A’s traded Yoenis Cespedes for free agent-to-be Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes- since that genius move, Oakland is 201-270, but no one in the front office gets fired. Coaches on field get fired; they don’t create the roster. Go figure.

12) A’s social media was working overtime after the trade was announced, liking every positive tweet that ran after the walk-off win Saturday night, trying to create positive vibes.

Positive vibes come from having a contending team, or at least trying to have one.

11) NL Wild Card race is going to get crazy; Rockies are 6-15 in their last 21 games; Arizona is 3-11 in its last 14 games, as the Dodgers pull away in the NL West. The Wild Card pack is going to catch up quickly unless the Rockies/D’Backs wake up.

10) Christopher Kamka on Twitter pointed out that Jose Quintana is 9th guy to pitch for both Cubs/White Sox in same season; last one was Matt Karchner, in 1998.

9) I’m adamant that when a player assists on a 3-point basket, he should get 1.5 assists; just like if a pass leads to free throws, he should get half an assist for each foul shot made.

8) Phillies-Brewers wore late 70’s/early 80’s throwbacks this weekend; Phillies wore light blue road unis, which lot of teams wore back then.

They closed the roof at Miller Park in the 2nd inning, which according to Brewers’ TV guys, changes how fly balls carry in the park. Ryan Braun struggled on a fly ball right after the roof closed. Once the roof is closed during a game, it cannot be re-opened during the game.

7) 7-foot and 8-foot high outfield fences are awesome in baseball, because guys can rob home runs. Marcell Ozuna made a great catch Sunday, robbing Kike Hernandez of a homer in the sixth inning. Check out MLB Network for highlights; you worry when a fielder climbs a chain-link fence- you don’t want his cleats to stick in there, but this was a tremendous play.

6) Chris Paul’s AAU team won the Peach Jam tournament in Augusta this weekend, which is a very good tournament. Decent amount of NBA players sponsor AAU teams.

5) Jordan Spieth’s brother Steven is on the Dallas Mavericks’ squad in the Las Vegas summer league. Steven went to college at Brown; he had 5 points against the Celtics Saturday night.

4) Odd Stats of the Day: The Cubs have won their last 13 games played on July 15.

Mets won their last 18 games when one of their pitchers homers in that game.

3) Seattle Mariners’ catcher Mike Zunino grew up in Florida; was he destined to play for Seattle? He played for Mariner High School is Cape Coral, FL.

2) Jed Lowrie makes $6.5M; he is now the Oakland A’s highest-paid player, which means he will be gone too, soon. Sonny Gray makes $3,575,000 a year; he better not get traded unless they get back really, really strong prospects in return. Good starting pitchers are invaluable.

1) Another Bastille Day passes with no mention of Sebastian Cabot, who played Mr French on the 60’s sitcom Family Affair. Who was more French than Mr French?

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

13) Two-way G-League contracts that marginal NBA players will sign (two per team) can be worth as much as $270,000 per player. Beats going over to Europe to play. So technically, NBA teams will have 17-man rosters this year- the two-way players can spend as many as 45 days in the NBA, before their deal would have to be upgraded to a regular NBA contract.

12) In NBA Summer League, when guys are fighting like hell to get a contract, they run over and pick up teammates after they get fouled. They root for their teammates while they’re on the bench, they do all the little suck-up things that scrubs in high school do when they’re fighting an uphill battle to make the team. It is amusing.

I’ll check back in in November/December and see how much of this is going on once the regular season starts.

11) Dennis Smith Jr looks like a steal for the Mavericks with the #9 pick in the draft; he had an excellent July in two summer leagues, but he tried to dunk in traffic during Thursday’s game, and missed. He really has great athletic ability- maybe the Knicks should’ve taken him with the 8th pick in the draft.

Anyway, ESPN’s Mark Jones lost his mind on the air about the dunk attempt, gushing over and over about a missed dunk. Luckily the mute button was within arm’s reach.

10) The one thing you don’t want to hear a scout say about a prospect: “Sometimes I question his motor.” Translated: “He doesn’t try hard all the time.”

9) White Sox trading Jose Quintana to the Cubs Thursday was the first Windy City trade in 11 years, when the Sox dealt lefty reliever Neal Cotts for David Aardsma and Carlos Vazquez. Over the last 50 years, the two Chicago teams have made 18 trades with each other.

8) I had never heard of Steve Whitmore until this week; turns out he has been the voice of Kermit the Frog since the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson in 1990. Whitmore was fired as Kermit’s voice this week; Disney, which owns the Muppet Studio, offered no explanation.

Kind of sad that a guy who worked for The Muppets since 1978 is now out of work.

7) Former Georgetown coach John Thompson III has surfaced as a studio analyst on NBA TV, during the summer league, at least.

6) Western Kentucky hired Mark Hsu as an assistant basketball coach; he comes from New Mexico State/Cal-Bakersfield— this hire was widely approved on Twitter. Hsu will help the Hilltoppers, who lost two assistants earlier this month.

5) Knicks traded a 2nd-round pick and cash to Sacramento so they could hire Scott Perry as their new GM. Perry went 19-61 as coach at Eastern Kentucky from 1997-2000, and never was a head coach again after that. Now he is the GM of an NBA team.

4) ESPN analyst Rip Hamilton said that he used to change sneakers every two games, when he was an NBA star. When you’re a star and the sneakers are free, you can do that.

3) For whatever reason, Bark at the Park Night has become a popular night at some major league ballparks. No idea why anyone would want to bring their dog to a ballgame, but they do.

2) Mets 14, Rockies 2— Friday night, Colorado had a runner thrown out at home on a sac fly to fairly deep left field when the score was 9-2. Great throw, horrendous baserunning.

1) Warren LeGarie is Executive Director of the Las Vegas NBA Summer League; he is also an agent, for both coaches and players— he started as a player agent for guys playing in Europe. Among his current clients are Rick Carlisle, George Karl, Terry Stotts and Dave Joerger.

The success of the summer league is mostly his doing— it has become a fun event to attend, and it is also good on TV. Filled up the baseball All-Star break for me, I know that. Thanks!!!

In a perfect world, where I made all the decisions………

13) If you’re making a certain amount of money ($20M a year??) in the NBA, then you’re not allowed to take “recovery” or “maintenance” days off. Steph Curry makes $40M a year; James Harden makes almost as much as that. You’re tired? Too bad. Show up and play— people pay a boatload of money to watch you play.

If you’re hurt, thats another thing, but some guys are just taking off one night of back-to-backs when it isn’t that hard to play on consecutive nights- they did it when they were kids.

12) No radios in NFL players’ helmets; you have six days to prepare for these games. Give the QB a wristband with plays on it and let the players play. Coaches have all week to coach.

11) Get rid of the Electoral College; the Presidential candidate who gets the most votes wins. I’ve heard arguments by both sides. This one is simple: candidate with the most votes wins. For me, this goes back 15-20 years, it isn’t about last year.

10) National League and American League would have the same rules where the DH is concerned; I don’t even care if there is/isn’t a DH anymore, just have the same rules in both leagues.

I’d be willing to eliminate the DH, in exchange for 26 or 27-man rosters for each team, with  expansion to only 30 players after September 1st.

9) Every relief pitcher would have to face 2+ batters in a game, not one, unless the one batter is the last out of an inning. This would quicken the game, eliminating the L-R-L pitching changes that slow the game down to a halt.

8) I’d lower the drinking age to 18; if you’re old enough to go to war, then you’re old enough to have a beer.

7) No more visits to the pitchers’ mound by coaches/managers. None. Ever. Again, let the players figure it out on their own.

6) Could we put an NHL team in Quebec City, and one is Saskatoon? I hear they like hockey there. Having teams in Raleigh, Brooklyn and Arizona just doesn’t seem smart.

5) The NFL would eliminate Thursday Night Football, except for the Week 1 game and the Thanksgiving games.

4) Would shorten NFL preseason to two games; would also allow teams to do more in the offseason, as far as actually practicing football. An 18-game regular season with the Super Bowl on Presidents’ Day weekend would be good.

3) In ’n Out Burger would have one, preferably two places in the Albany, NY area. Please????

2) NCAA basketball tournament would go back to 64 teams.

1) People would be more respectful of each other’s opinions, and of each other. Everyone hates everybody these days— take a deep breath and tolerate other people. it isn’t that hard to do.

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

13) Justin Bour hit 22 homers in the first round of Home Run Derby Monday night; he didn’t advance, but the reaction his two teammates (Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna) had after he finished his round was one of the things that makes sports great.

Stanton/Ozuna are both more famous than Bour, but their joy at his success was very cool- when you have teammates that enjoy other teammates’ successes, that makes things fun. It was refreshing to see.

12) You could wager in Las Vegas on whether the first pitch of the All-Star Game would be a ball or a strike. Turns out Jose Altuve swung/missed at the first pitch.

11) Joey Votto is a great player, but he is 0-10 in All-Star Games, tied with Terry Moore for most AB’s in All-Star Games without getting a hit.

10) Arizona Diamondbacks are usually short on pitching. On December 8, 2009, they made this trade:

Arizona got: Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy
Detroit got: Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, Daniel Sclereth
New York (A) got: Curtis Granderson

Not a great trade by the Diamondbacks. Scherzer is 126-59 since leaving Arizona.

9) PJ Carlesimo said De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum were the two most impressive rookies in the Las Vegas summer league.

8) New England Patriots have had the same coordinators since 2012. Every other team in the NFL has had at least one coordinator change in the last two years.

7) Atlanta Falcons have a new domed stadium opening this fall: at least the food will be affordable. $2 hot dogs, $3 nachos, $5 for a Bud Light. Tickets to the games are probably expensive as hell, but the food is definitely reasonably priced.

6) Random fact: Oakland A’s assistant general manager Dan Feinstein, in charge of pro scouting and player personnel, was a Medieval European History major at Cal-Davis. Not sure if they had baseball in medieval Europe, but at least the guy went to a state college.

5) They had 7,024 people at the AAA All-Star Game in Tacoma Wednesday night. Minor league baseball is solid, affordable entertainment.

4) Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough signed a player named Mike James, who at one time played ball at Eastern Arizona College, a school McDonough said he had never heard of (me either). James went on to play at Lamar, and then in Europe for a while.

Eastern Arizona is in Thatcher, AZ; its teams are known as the Gila Monsters.

3) Las Vegas sports books saved around $100,000 because a lot of people who bet on the Cubs to win the World Series last year decided to keep their winning tickets as souvenirs, rather than cash them in. The 180-day deadline to cash winning tickets passed in May.

2) Every NFL team got $244M from the league’s national revenue sharing program last year; that is $7.8B in total revenues and thats before a ticket is sold in the stadiums. Must be nice.

1) Kid Rock might run for the US Senate from Michigan; Dwayne (Rock) Johnson might run for President. This is life in 2017.

Looking at AL teams at the All-Star break…….

60-29 Astros— Houston is 33-11 on road; they’ve got a .884 OPS on road, .823 at home. Astros are only 15-11 vs lefties- they’d like to avoid Dodgers (Kershaw-Hill-Wood) if they get to World Series. Altuve makes $4,687,500 this year; starting next year, he’s going to get really rich.

50-39 Red Sox— Will play 11 more home games (25-14) than road games (25-25) the rest of the way. David Price is 4-2, 3.91 in nine starts this year; he’s been sparring with local media. Seeing as he is on the books for $31M a year for the next five years, thats a problem.

47-40 Indians— 21-24 at home, 26-16 on road; unusual. They’re 22-9 when Kluber/Carrasco start, 25-31 with anyone else. Need more production from 1B Carlos Santana, who is hitting .238- he has generally been a better second half player (.835 OPS/.781) in his career.

45-41 New York— Severino is 0-2, 5.75 in his last five starts; Pineda is 1-1, 8.39 in his last five. NY is 7-18 in its last 25 games. This is their lowest payroll in 10 years; Sabathia/Holliday/ARod come off the books this winter— when do they resume trying to sign big $$$ free agents?

47-43 Rays— They’re 27-19 at home, hold 2nd Wild Card right now. Rookie P Faria has 2.11 ERA in his first six MLB starts. Need to find a solid 5th starter for last nine weeks of season. Tampa has four guys under contract for 2018; they’ll be avoiding arbitration a lot this winter.

45-43 Twins— 25-15 on road, 20-28 at home; they’re 18-11 when Santana/Berrios start, 27-32 with anyone else. Rumored to be trying to trade for another starter; Santiago is 0-5, 9.31 in his last five starts. Sano has 21 HR, 62 RBI, .368 OB%, he has become a star.

44-43 Royals— Rebounded from 7-16 April; they’re 22-13 since June 1. Need more from the leadoff spot; their #1 hitters have .207 BA, .236 OB%, which is feeble. KC is 13-4 in Vargas starts- he is 7-0, 2.96 in his last 8 starts. Their $143M payroll is $50M higher than in 2014.

45-47 Angels— Trout comes back Friday; they’re still in contention, Halos are locked into $62M a year for Trout/Pujols for 3 more years. Rookie P Bridwell is 3-1, 3.72 in five starts; he’s been a life saver. #5 hitters are batting only .218 for Angels; they need a bat to protect Trout/Pujols.

43-45 Rangers— Texas has seven players making $10M+ this year; Hamels is 2-0, 1.26 in his last two starts- they need a big 2nd half from him. Could use more from Odor (.220 BA); Texas is 13-16 in games where GW run scores after 6th inning.

43-47 Mariners— Felix Hernandez (4-3, 4.44) is a junker now; they’re 4-5 in his starts, and owe him $27M a year thru 2019. Team ERA is 3.98 at home, 5.30 on road. Mike Zunino had one HR, 4 RBI on May 31; he hit 10 HR’s, had 31 RBI in June, has only one RBI in July.

42-46 Orioles— Despite their struggles, Orioles are 16-6 in games where winning run scores after 6th inning- they’re 25-16 at home, 17-30 on road- their pitchers have 5.78 ERA on road. O’s are 26-20 vs division foes, but are 16-26 vs everyone else.

41-47 Blue Jays— Underachieving team with payroll of $163,381,937; will they deal guys before July 31? Had strong 18-10 May, but are 15-20 since June 1. Estrada/Liriano/Happ earn $41M combined this year; Toronto is 21-22 in their starts, 10-12 at home.

39-48 Tigers— Aging roster with payroll of $199,750,600; they have six guys making $16M+ this year- they’re not getting their money’s worth. They’re hitting .275 at home (.815 OPS), only .234 on road (.691 OPS). Owner Mike Ilitch passed away earlier this year; not sure what they’ll do.

38-49 White Sox— Team to watch for rest of this month; will they dump salary? Cabrera/Frazier make combined $27M, closer Robertson makes $12.5M. Sox are 19-18 at home, 19-31 on road; they have 13 home games to make up in 2nd half. Chicago has some good prospects at AAA.

39-50 A’s— Can’t keep starting pitchers healthy, defense has deteriorated badly with infield coach Ron Washington off to Atlanta. Brought up couple of promising young players, but 1B Alonso is a free agent. Three of their eight highest-paid players are relievers. Go figure.

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

13) Giancarlo Stanton is my favorite active baseball player; he’s been on my fantasy team since he was an 18-year old in the Florida State League. But very little makes me happier than seeing him lose in Home Run Derby— the thought of him hurting his wrist or pulling an intercostal or oblique during this stupid exhibition makes me queasy. I don’t like to be queasy.

12) Was nice of FXM to show Moneyball opposite the Home Run Derby, so I could watch that fine film one more time. Too bad the A’s always lose at the end of the movie.

11) This from Bobby Marks on Twitter: “Tim Hardaway Jr. was traded for Jerian Grant who was traded for Derrick Rose who was renounced so NYK could sign Hardaway Jr. for $71M.”

How did people this incompetent get wealthy enough to own/run an NBA franchise?

10) Hector Cruz brought his cellphone to the plate in the top of the 6th inning of the All-Star Game and had Yadier Molina take a pic of him and ump Joe West at the plate. Cruz then hit with the phone in his back pocket. He flew out to center— good thing he didn’t have to slide.

9) New Jersey governor Chris Christie is done as governor in December (term limits); he tried out as a talk radio host on WFAN Monday. Reviews were mixed.

Christie is incredibly unpopular in New Jersey, but he is a good talker and he knows his sports. Controversy sells these days; someone will give him a talk radio gig.

8) San Jose State basketball coach Dave Wojcik unexpectedly resigned Tuesday; Spartans were 14-16 LY, an improvement over Wojcik’s first three seasons in San Jose. Personal issues were the reason given; hopefully his health is OK.

Coach Wojcik’s son Jake is a senior-to-be at Bellarmine Prep in California. He is committed to Siena for his college, but it is unknown if this move effects Jake’s commitment to the Saints.

7) One of my favorite new phrases: when someone is “getting salty” about something. When I watch HBO’s Hard Knocks from last summer, I get salty because the Rams just didn’t care about offense as much as an NFL team should. Offense is important.

6) Mike Trout will be back in the Angels’ lineup Friday night, good news for the 45-47 Halos, who are only three games out of the AL Wild Card spots.

5) Notre Dame hasn’t finished a football season with a positive turnover ratio since 2012; the last three years, they’ve been -4/-6/-3 in turnovers. Hard to win that way.

4) Jon Lester allowed 10 runs in two-thirds on an inning Sunday; he threw 53 pitches and did not finish the first inning. Francisco Cervelli became the 4th player in the last 100 years to hit a first inning grand slam while batting #2 in the lineup (think about it).

3) You don’t think sports are big business? The D-League is now the G-League. Why?

Because Gatorade now sponsors the league, therefore the G.

2) NBA Summer League is not only a tryout for players trying to make the bigtime, it is for referees, too. Guys from all over the world are in Las Vegas this week, including three officials from China. Before and after games, players/refs go thru film sessions and/or workouts, trying to get better at their craft, whether it be playing or being a ref.

1) Its funny; RC Buford is the GM of the San Antonio Spurs, one of the most successful teams in NBA history, but they showed him on ESPN just now and I had no idea who he was. Know the name, obviously, but not the face. This is a guy who does a great job and keeps out of the spotlight. We need more people like that.

Tuesday’s Den: Looking at NL teams at the All-Star break……….

61-29 Dodgers— Are 39-11 at home, 13-0 in Kershaw’s last 13 starts. Wood is 10-0, 1.67 with a WHIP of 0.89. #5 hitters are batting .204 against them, #6 hitters .206.

53-36 Arizona— Stumbled into All-Star break on 3-7 skid; they’re 33-15 at home, with a home OPS of .840- their road OPS is .689. Goldschmidt has 20 HR’s, 67 RBI, an OB% of .428.

52-36 Washington— Bullpen has been awful, but they’ve got a 9.5-game lead in a bad division- they figure to add to their bullpen before July 31. Hitting .293 at home, .261 on road. Murphy is hitting .342, Zimmerman .330, Harper .325.

52-39 Colorado— Four rookies in the starting rotation is a red flag heading into second half of season. Rockies are 5-13 in their last 18 games. SS Story has an OPS of only .699, after his .908 in his rookie year LY.

50-41 Milwaukee— Have stunning 5.5-game lead in NL Central; their best pitcher Anderson is out for another month (oblique). Brewers have been in playoffs twice in last 35 years (’08, ’11). Thames has 23 HR’s after spending last three years playing in Korea.

43-45 Chicago— Weird that only five NL teams are over .500. Defending World Champs have struggled all year; Lester’s ERA is 4.25, Arrieta’s 4.35. LF’s are hitting combined .217; leadoff hitters have a combined OB% of .323.

43-45 St Louis— 18-7 vs NL East, 25-38 elsewhere. #3 hitters are batting a combined .221 with an OPS of .712. Wainwright has slipped; his ERA is 5.20, WHIP 1.49. SS Diaz hit .300 LY; he is in AAA now, after hitting only .260 this year.

42-45 Atlanta— Surprisingly good record for this group; they’re 20-16 since June 1. Signing Matt Adams got them thru Freeman’s injury; now Freeman plays 3B so Adams can stay in lineup. Have 13 HR, 51 RBI out of catching combo; solid production.

42-47 Pittsburgh— Get Marte back from 80-game suspension next week. Leadoff hitters have only a .305 OB%. McCutchen has surged since they moved him to #6 in order, now he is back in 3-hole- he is hitting .294 with 50 RBI for season.

41-46 Miami— Sadly, a fire sale is coming after All-Star break; their payroll is unwieldy for team that is about to be sold. Have formidable lineup; they hit .283 on road, .251 at home. Injury to lefty starter Chen has hurt the pitching rotation.

39-47 New York— How does their trainer still have a job? Mets are racked by injuries every year. Have OPS of .699 at home, .826 on road. #2 hitters are batting .219, #9 hitters .218, which isn’t good for an NL team. Harvey has a 5.25 ERA, Syndergaard has thrown only 27.1 innings.

39-49 Cincinnati— Have 63 homers on road, 62 at home, despite small home park. Pitchers have 4.67 ERA at home, 5.45 on road. Billy Hamilton may be fast, but a .293 OB% at leadoff ain’t good enough.

38-50 San Diego— Have three Rule 5 (minor league) players on roster this year; hard to win that way. Padre 3B’s are hitting .196, catchers .210; need more production. Young starter Lamet has 55 strikeouts in 41 IP, looks like a future star.

34-56 San Francisco— When your team gets old, the bottom falls out quickly. Pitchers have 5.49 ERA on road; top 4 spots in opposing batting order all bat .300+ with .370+ OB% vs Giants. Posey is hitting .324 with .406 OB%; will they move him to 1B to preserve rest of his career?

29-58 Phillies— 23 of 58 losses are by one run; they’ve started to bring prospects up. Could be good fairly soon, but need another starting pitcher or two. Nola-Hellickson-Pivetta look like a good start for a solid rotation. Their AAA team is winning a ton of games; there is talent there.

Monday’s List of 13: Random stuff at the All-Star break…..

13) There are still rows of tickets available for the All-Star Game Tuesday in Miami. Tickets are $280 apiece, which seems a little high. What do you think?

12) Colorado’s Kyle Freeland didn’t allow a hit until there was one out in the 9th inning (Melky Cabrera); the Rockies waxed Chicago, 9-0. Freeland is a Colorado kid; he threw 126 pitches.

Ubaldo Jimenez is the only Colorado Rockie to toss a no-hitter- he did it in Atlanta. Hideo Nomo threw the only no-hitter so far at Coors Field, in 1996.

11) Auburn Tigers opened at 50-1 to win the college football national title this fall; they’ve dropped to 22-1, amidst optimism that Baylor transfer QB Jarrett Stidham is the real deal.

10) 76er fans have to be worried about Markelle Fultz and his ability to stay healthy; he missed six of Washington’s last eight games last winter (sore knee) and know he got hurt in the Sixers’ second summer league game.

An 82-game NBA season is grueling; Fultz is still a kid. We’ll see.

9) Lot of talking heads like to use cumulative “run differential” as an important stat; Astros beat Toronto 19-1 Sunday— what does that show? Houston has a solid lineup that pounds on lousy relief pitching. So what? Astros are 18-13 in games decided by 1-2 runs. Dodgers are 22-16.

Houston is 42-16 in games decided by more than 2 runs, Dodgers are 38-13

8) Cubs were 42-13 last year in games decided by 5+ runs. This year? 10-14.

7) Knicks and former Cavs’ GM David Griffin couldn’t come to an agreement on what Griffin’s role would be in New York, so they’re going their separate ways. Thats bad for Knicks fans.

6) Seattle’s Danny Valencia was called out on strikes Sunday, then spit on the plate before he went back to the dugout. Wonder how that went over with the home plate ump?

5) Former NFL lineman Richard Seymour was playing at the World Series of Poker last week; he had a Super Bowl ring on top of his chip stack. Good conversation starter.

4) On June 20, Colorado was a half-game ahead of the Dodgers. 20 days later, they’re 9.5 games behind LA, but they still lead the race for the 2nd Wild Card by 7.5 games.

3) Dodgers are now 45-9 in Clayton Kershaw’s last 54 starts.

2) SEC has its college football media days this week, which is pretty fun TV some of the time. Les Miles is sadly gone from this group, but good to hear which cliches coaches break out in the middle of summer, with real games still 8 or 9 weeks away.

1– If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not), they’d look like this…

AL- Boston-Cleveland-Houston. Wild Cards: New York/Tampa Bay
NL- Washington-Milwaukee-Los Angeles. Wild Cards: Arizona/Colorado

Sunday’s List of 13: Random stuff for a summer day……

13) Gregg Popovich is 1,316-612 as an NBA head coach with five championships, but his first year as a head coach at any level was in 1979-80 at Pomona-Pitzer, a D-III school in California.

That team went 2-22. Long way from there to today.

12) Clippers-Lakers summer league game Friday night in UNLV’s arena had a huge crowd- looked liked the whole lower bowl was full, which would make it a crowd of around 8,000 people.

Lakers-Celtics game Saturday night was a complete sellout at Thomas & Mack Center. Adam Silver has to like that, but I bet NBA people are surprised at how popular summer league has become.

$30 a pop for the whole day is a good deal. Can watch four games in an air conditioned arena.

11) It isn’t good when your favorite college basketball team has two assistant coaches resign in July; thats whats happening at Western Kentucky. One of the assistant coaches is the godfather of their best recruit, Mitchell Robinson.

10) Twins manager Paul Molitor played his last big league game in 1998; Bartolo Colon pitched for the other team that day. Here, in 2017, Molitor will be managing Colon.

9) Biggest division lead at the All-Star break since 1910; 2001 Seattle Mariners led Oakland by 19 games. 1986 Mets led Montreal by 13.5 games.

This year’s Astros have a 16-game lead in the AL West.

8) Most career home runs without a grand slam:
190— Andrew McCutchen, Glenn Davis
176— Ron Kittle

7) Andy from New York points out that the Cubs are the only MLB team who have zero stolen bases from the leadoff position in the batting order.

6) Jim “Bones” Mackay, who caddied for Phil Mickelson for 25 years, is going to be an on-course golf commentator for NBC/Golf Channel. His first assignment is the British Open.

5) NBA doings:
— Indiana Pacers gave Brian Bogdanovic $21M for two years.
— Cavaliers gave Jeff Green $2.3M for one season.
— Celtics traded Avery Bradley to Detroit for Marcus Morris.
— Warriors gave Zaza Pachulia $3.5M for one year.
— Minnesota gives Jamal Crawford $8.9M for two years.

4) Tim Hardaway Jr is going to sign a $71M contract with the Knicks; Atlanta declined to match the offer sheet. Tim Hardaway Sr, made $46M in his whole career, and he was a much better player than his son. Go figure.

3) James Harden got a 4-year contract extension from the Rockets, supposedly worth $228M, which is $57M a year, and that is eye-popping.

2) Canadian team beat the Americans 99-87 in semi-finals of the U19 championship in Egypt. Canada will face Italy in the finals.

1) NBA Summer League story: I was at UNLV a few years ago, watching the summer league— you can bet on these games, but you have to be careful.

I’m sitting there and this really big guy, likely a bodybuilder, sits in front of me, drink in hand. He is explaining fairly loudly to the guy next to him how he is betting on the Timberwolves, who had won their game the day before by 20+ points. The bodybuilder was confident in a Minnesota win.

One small problem.

Some teams don’t play the same set of guys every game. Timberwolves had 18 guys on their roster; nine had played the day before in the big win, the other nine were playing this game.

Minnesota’s second group wasn’t very good- they got trounced. The big guy lost his money, wasn’t happy about it.

Saturday’s List of 13: Random Lists of 3……..

When this site started in 2001, I did a few of these lists, then got away from it. Anyway, here are random lists of 3 that I put together…….

— Favorite baseball movies: a) Moneyball, b) For Love of the Game c) Major League

— Favorite pro sports teams: NFL- Rams, MLB- A’s, NHL- Bruins

— Favorite football movies: 1) Any Given Sunday 2) Friday Night Lights 3) Brian’s Song (the original)

— Favorite restaurants in Las Vegas: a) Battista’s (on Flamingo) b) Fellini’s (in Stratosphere) c) Planet Dailies (in Planet Hollywood)

— Favorite non-sports movies: 1) Begin Again 2) Rounders 3) The Bodyguard

— Underrated things/places:
a) Watching hockey in person. Way better than on TV.
b) People watching on the Las Vegas Strip: free entertainment
c) Philadelphia— The whole city. Ton of history. Lot to do; people are lot nicer than the national media makes us think.

— Favorite actresses: 1) Gina Gershon 2) Sela Ward 3) Diane Lane

— Favorite actors: 1) Al Pacino 2) Kevin Costner 3) Jack Warden

— Favorite basketball movies: 1) Blue Chips 2) Fast Break 3) One on One

— Favorite network TV series: a) CSI b) Magnum PI c) Odd Couple

— Favorite mini-series on cable recently: 1) Billions (Showtime), 2) Suits (USA Network) 3) Roadies (Showtime)

— Favorite musicians: 1) Bob Seger 2) Billy Joel 3) Christina Perri

— Favorite sports: a) college basketball b) major league baseball 3) NFL

— Three dinner guests I would choose: 3) Bill Murray 2) Bob Uecker 1) My dad

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

13) Braves 5, Nationals 2— Start of game was delayed over three hours, but it never rained. Seriously. Game started after 10pm, local time. It was supposed to rain, but it never did. Whoops.

Fans who had tickets last night get two freebies to another game; fans who stayed for the game got all kinds of food free during the game.

12) NBA happenings:
— Rudy Gay got $17M for two years from the Spurs.
— Kelly Olynyk got $50M, four years from Miami.
— Miami retained James Johnson: four years, $60M.
— Sacramento gave 40-year old Vince Carter $8M for one season.
— Clippers gave EuroLeague star Milos Teodosic $12.3M for two years.

11) Milwaukee Brewers are 48-40, only NL Central team over .500; they lead the division by 4.5 games. Very surprising.

10) Raiders’ QB David Carr’s new contract with the club is worth a lot more because the Silver and Black are moving to Las Vegas. Had the Raiders stayed in Oakland, because of California tax laws, Carr would’ve gotten paid $8.7M less, after taxes.

9) Apparently the going rate for an NBA general manager is $4M a year; Cavaliers offered Chauncey Billups $1.5M a year, then upped the offer to $2M, which is why Billups declined.

8) Dodgers’ Alex Wood is 10-0, with a 1.67 ERA. Who saw that coming?

7) Marlins’ President of Baseball Operation Michael Hill has been given a 5-year, $10M contract extension; this confuses me, because the Marlins aren’t good, and their payroll is a mess that will have to be dealt with before the team is sold.

And what if the new owners want a new guy in charge? They have to pay Hill $10M to go away?

6) Iona-Manhattan are playing a basketball game at Nassau Coliseum this coming season; I’m curious which school gave up a home game, unless it is a 2-year deal, and they both will. One of the better rivalries in the mid-major MAAC.

5) In 1969, Baltimore’s Dave McNally was 13-0 at the All-Star break, the most wins by a pitcher  without a loss before the All-Star break.

4) 34-year old DeAngelo Williams is an NFL free agent; he tried his hand at pro wrestling last weekend, taking part in Impact Wrestling’s pay-per-view Sunday, after practicing for only three days. Wrestling fans said Williams did really well in the ring, but he still wants to play football.

3) I was at a funeral home last night that had valet parking; never saw that before. Parking lot wasn’t very big, not sure why they needed it.

2) Cubs are defending world champs, but they’ve only got one guy in the All-Star Game, and that guy wasn’t on their team last year- could be first time that has ever happened.

1) Dodgers 5, Arizona 4— LA tore the hearts out of the Diamondbacks’ chests by scoring four runs in the ninth inning- they swept this series, now lead the NL West by 5.5 games.

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

13) Lets see the analytics guys try to quantify this, because you can’t:

In Tuesday’s Milwaukee Brewer game, 3B Travis Shaw threw a ball to first base that wound up going into foul territory, and the runner advanced. Scorer ruled: E5, which ended a 52-game errorless streak for Shaw.

After the game, Brewers’ 1B Eric Thames called the official scorer and told him the error should be his; it was a good throw and he missed it. The error was changed to E3 and Shaw’s errorless streak extended to 53.

Not everyone would do that, but a selfless guy on an overachieving team did it, and there is no way you can quantify that and factor it into his WAR. Too bad, because it matters.

12) Cincinnati Reds’ OF Scott Schebler is a pretty good big leaguer; he is a .259 hitter in 180 major league games. Coming out of high school in Iowa, he had zero baseball scholarship offers, but he did have a couple to play football. Things have turned out pretty well for him.

11) 70 hot dogs (and buns) in 10 minutes. Oy.

I almost get nauseous just thinking about what it must feel like to eat 70 hot dogs in ten minutes. How long before you eat again? Do you just find a restroom and puke your guts out?

10) Orlando Magic waived big guy Stephen Zimmerman, who will be 21 in September and could be heading into his junior year at UNLV, had he gotten/taken intelligent advice. He wasn’t even a first round pick— he was the 41st player taken in the 2016 draft.

Instead, Zimmerman scored 23 points in 108 minutes of garbage time spread out over 19 NBA games, a classic case of a kid turning pro before he is ready. Now he’ll have to climb back to the NBA the hard way— it can still be done, but it ain’t gonna be easy.

He scored 13.4 pts/game in 21 D-League games last year. Now he is either headed back there or over to Europe, when he could still be in college and improving his game and getting a college education, in case this NBA thing never works out for him.

Zimmerman scored 10.5 pts/game for a sub-par UNLV squad in 2015-16; their coach got fired during the season, thats how cruddy the team played. But Zimmerman and his family were convinced he was an NBA star-in-waiting, so he bolted to the draft despite having a game that needed more maturity to be NBA-ready. He shot 62% from the line, both at UNLV and in the D-League last year- -shooting is one part of his game he needs to sharpen up.

9) Pretty cool to see Stan Van Gundy watching games at the Orlando Summer League while sitting next to his dad Bill, a coaching lifer who was a small college coach for years.

Flash back to November 1980, I’m a student manager at Albany- we’re in a tip-off tournament at Brockport State near Rochester, NY. Host Brockport plays Upsala in the first round; Brockport’s coach has a neck brace on from a car accident- Bill Van Gundy. Upsala is the #1 preseason team in the country, according to Sports Illustrated.

We sneak by RIT in the first game, Upsala beats Brockport, then we beat Upsala in the title game, beating the #1 team in the country. Basketball without a shot clock; our team ran its offense until Upsala got sick of defending it. It wasn’t pretty, but it damn sure worked.

Who knew that the guy with neck brace would wind up with two famous sons?

8) They had 15,664 fans in Albuquerque Tuesday night for baseball/fireworks, but the game lasted only 2:03, so the fans had to wait a while for the fireworks- the sun hadn’t set yet when the ballgame ended.

7) I’ve never understood why people like fireworks; seriously. They have a free fireworks show in downtown Albany every July 4, and it draws 50,000 people. I know its free, but I just don’t see what the big deal is. Thats what makes the world interesting; different people like different stuff.

6) RIP Gene Conley 86, who played on a World Series champ with the Milwaukee Braves and three NBA championship teams with the Celtics. Not many humans pitched to Willie Mays and also guarded Wilt Chamberlain. RIP, sir.

5) NBA doings:
— You may have heard; Boston gave Gordon Hayward $128M for four years.
— Golden State signed Omar Casspi for one year, $2.1M
— Sacramento signed Zach Randolph for two years, $24M
— Sacramento signed George Hill for three years, $57M.
— Mike Scott gets one year, $1.17M from Washington
— Clippers acquired Danilo Gallinari and gave him three years, $65M.
— Nick Young somehow gets $5.2M for one year from the Warriors.
— Andre Roberson gets $30M for three years from Oklahoma City.

4) Celtics have to trade at least one of these three players: Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, to clear cap room for Hayward. Crowder might be the most marketable of the three, because his contract is very team-friendly.

3) Handicapping baseball is difficult; Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey allowed 14 runs in 4.2 IP in his first two starts this year- with start #3 at Coors Field, it didn’t look good for Bailey breaking his cold spell, but he did. Colorado won 8-1; Bailey put only eight men on base on six innings.

Go figure.

2) Former Louisville guard Russ Smith scored 61 pts/game in his first five games in a Chinese pro league- he had 81 in one game. Smith also owns the G-League scoring record: 65 points.

He has played in 27 NBA games for the Pelicans/Grizzlies, scoring 2.0 pts/game.

1) Marlins 9, Cardinals 6— Giancarlo Stanton homered in innings 1-2, his 22nd multi-homer game. Stanton is incredibly streaky, but when he gets hot, he is great fun to watch.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Happy 5th of July!!!!

13) Gordon Hayward signed with the Celtics, then wrote an article thanking Utah.

I get tired of players bolting teams, then writing an article thanking the previous city for everything. If you loved it so much, why don’t you stay? He gets four years, $128M from the Celtics, but he would’ve gotten that in Utah, too- he might’ve gotten more than that.

Maybe its because I’m an A’s fan and I’ve spent the last 42 years seeing our best players either leave via free agency or get traded (at a loss) before that happens. Losing isn’t fun.

But at least guys who bolt the A’s are leaving for huge raises. This isn’t about money. Jazz traded for Ricky Rubio to try and entice Hayward to stay in Utah. Now what? Their franchise is screwed.

12) Celtics’ title odds jump from 15-1 to 12-1 with Hayward aboard; Utah’s drop from 150-1 to 250-1. If you want to bet on the Jazz to win the NBA title, just go give the money to a homeless guy— at least that money will help someone.

11) Celtics beat the 76ers 89-88 in the first game of the Utah Summer League Monday night; Jayson Tatum finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals in 34 minutes, while Markelle Fultz put up 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 blocks for the Sixers.

Who wins these games don’t matter much; both players played well, which matters a lot.

10) Boston Globe newspaper publishes the entire Declaration of Independence every 4th of July.

9) Joey Chestnut won the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest by downing 72 hot dogs in 10:00 in Brooklyn Tuesday. I am told the average American eats 70 hot dogs a year.

8) Daniel Murphy has 34 RBI in 31 games against the Mets, who let him walk two years ago.

7) First-place Milwaukee Brewers are only 33-1 to win the World Series. Not a lot of faith there.

6) Midwestern trivia: Barbed wire was invented in DeKalb, Illinois.

5) Tigers’ star Miguel Cabrera left Tuesday’s game with left hip tightness, bad news for Detroit and Cabrera’s fantasy owners (I am not one).

4) Freddie Freeman was activated Tuesday and is now the Braves’ third baseman, so they can keep Matt Adams in the lineup at first base. He lined a single to center in his first at-bat back.

3) Why are phone solicitors calling me on July 4th, trying to sell me solar energy panels? It is a damn national holiday; go have some potato salad and leave me the bleep alone.

2) I understand the Marlins aren’t very good this year, but their entire pre-game show Tuesday was about the All-Star Game or Home Run Derby, which are a week from now. Enough.

The constant badgering to vote for Justin Bour in the Final 5 voting intrudes on the game.

1) Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few still hasn’t watched his team’s national title game with North Carolina from three months ago; John Calipari hasn’t watched the Memphis-Kansas national title game his Tigers lost at the very end. Apparently, successful people prefer to look ahead.

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

13) Why a lot of this analytics stuff drives me crazy; if you read this site at all, you know I love numbers, but there are also intangibles and a human element to sports that make it impossible to quantify a ballplayer with one number, even if you’re an Ivy League graduate.

I’ll give you an example of something that actually happened last year.

Player A gets paid to wear a certain style of baseball shoe, but he doesn’t always wear them. Player B goes out of his way to tell the shoe representative about this, which aggravates both the shoe guy and Player A. Player A and Player B get into an actual fight; Player B goes on the DL, which hurts the team. Lets see someone factor that into a player’s WAR.

So quantify the value of Player A and Player B; go ahead, put a number on it. Player B is a cruddy teammate, Player A is a weasel who takes money for something he doesn’t do. No matter what kind of a brilliant education you got, whether it be a junior college, state college, a fancy college or freakin’ high school, you cannot accurately define a ballplayer’s value to a team with one number.

Teammates live/travel together most every day from late February til the end of September; too many intangibles involved.

12) Speaking of cruddy teammates, Miguel Montero got traded to the Blue Jays Monday, after he ripped Jake Arrieta publicly for not holding runners close enough to first base, allowing seven stolen bases in one game (that Montero was catching).

11) Kevin Durant took $53M from Golden State for two years when his max was $34.5M a year; wonder what the Players’ Association will say about that?

10) National League has only six starting pitchers, six relievers on the All-Star team. AL has nine starters, three relievers. Six starting pitchers seems like not enough.

9) I’m watching BYU’s Eric Mika play in the Orlando Summer League for the Miami Heat and I’m thinking if he had stayed at BYU then the Cougars probably would’ve been an NCAA tourney team next March. Without him? Not so much.

8) Cuban-born Angel Hernandez has sued major league baseball because he has been passed over several times for a chance to work the World Series despite high marks on evaluations. His suit also charges that even though Hernandez was made a temporary crew chief, it has never been made permanent.

I’m not a fan of Angel Hernandez as an umpire; I’m an A’s fan and I know Oakland skipper Bob Melvin can’t stand him, and Melvin is a pretty even-keel guy.

When instant replay first started a few years ago, Adam Rosales hit a 9th inning home run in Cleveland that would’ve tied the game; it was erroneously called a double. Watching the replay, Stevie Wonder would’ve changed the call on the field to a home run, but Angel Hernandez, on his temporary crew chief assignment, refused to change the call.

Hope he loses his lawsuit, just like the A’s lost in Cleveland that day,

7) Nationals 3, Mets 2— Washington has blown eight leads of 2+ runs in 8th inning or later; if they had a decent bullpen, they’d already be booking hotels for the playoffs. Nationals will still make the playoffs, probably, but they need to reinforce their bullpen this month.

6) Speaking of Washington, how is this for scheduling? Nationals played the 8:00 game Sunday night in St Louis; they played at 6:00 game at home Monday night, then have an 11am game at home Tuesday morning. I can understand why players would be ornery about that.

5) Houston Astros signed 26 international free agents Monday, including 12 players from Venezuela, 10 from the Dominican Republic. These players will not appear in actual games until next year; they’ll report to the Astros’ complex in the Dominican Republic this summer.

4) NBA doings:
— Darren Collison gets $20M for two years from the Pacers.
— Memphis signed Ben McLemore for two years, $11M.

3) Mookie Betts will start in CF for the AL All-Star team in place of the injured Mike Trout.

2) RIP to my cousin Joan, who passed away Sunday night after a lengthy illness. She was the nicest lady, and will be missed.

1) Happy Birthday America. Our country turns 241 years old today; its been a weird year in this country. Hopefully year #242 will be a much better one.

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

13) Colorado Rockies lost eight games in a row recently and the bandwagon was quickly emptying. Baseball season is very long, though; here is what I mean…….

2012 Giants went 2-7 from June 29-July 8; they won the World Series
2013 Cardinals went 0-7 from July 26-31; they lost the World Series.
2014 Giants went 2-9 from June 23-July 4; they won the World Series.
2015 Mets went 0-7 from June 17-24; they lost the World Series.
2016 Cubs went 1-9 from June 30-July 9; they won the World Series.

Every team hits a rough patch during the season, even the really good ones.

12) Major league teams are 76-228 this season when they score two runs in a game; Cardinals are 7-2 at home when they score two runs.

11) Miami Marlins said Brewers’ PH Jonathan Villar had too much pine tar on his bat, so when Marcell Ozuna batted for the Marlins, Milwaukee returned the favor and had two of his bats taken out of play for the same reason. Ozuna then used one of Giancarlo Stanton’s bats and hit a homer to give the Marlins a 7-3 lead. Weird gamesmanship.

10) Odd Fact of the Day: In the last 40 years, only twice has a team broken a losing streak of 8+ games on its manager’s birthday. Both times, in 2008 and 2017, the manager was Bud Black.

9) Brewers’ pitcher Zach Davies got 30 called strikes from plate umpire Joe West Saturday, which is really unusual; only third time this season a pitcher got 30 called strikes in one game. Dallas Keuchel, Alex Cobb were the other two pitchers.

8) Odd to see the Michigan Wolverines’ football team ranked #127 out of 130 I-A team in terms of experience this season- they only have one starter back on defense.

7) Random All-Star Game fact: Rosters have been reduced from 34 to 32 players this year and every team has be represented.

6) Alex Rodriguez hit six home runs on his birthday, more than any major leaguer hit on their birthday.

5) Chris Paul talked free agent PJ Tucker into choosing Houston over Toronto; he took $32M for four years from the Rockets, turned down $33M for three years from Toronto.

You do the math. Tucker must like hanging around with Chris Paul..

4) Padres called up reliever Kevin Quackenbush from AAA Sunday, the 5th time they’ve called him up this season. Unfortunately, he’s also been sent out five times.

3) Mets-Nationals have an 11am game on the 4th of July (Tuesday). Lot of stuff going on in the nation’s capital, so they play the game earlier in the day.

2) NBA happenings:
— Andre Iguodala gets three years, $48M to stay with the Warriors
— Kyle Korner gets three years, $22M to keep shooting jumpers in Cleveland.
— Jodie Meeks gets $7M for two years from Washington
— Taj Gibson gets two years, $28M from Minnesota
— Serge Ibaka gets three years, $65M to stay in Toronto; Kyle Lowry gets three years, $100M to stay with the Raptors.
— Denver Nuggets sign Paul Millsap; three years, $90M. Good day for the Millsaps.

1) If you watch Ray Donovan on Showtime, the new season starts August 6, and Susan Sarandon is joining the cast, which is excellent news.