13) Former NBA coach Hubie Brown is 83 years old, still very sharp; he’s back on ESPN this year covering games. You can learn a lot listening to him.
Flashback to October, 1984: Knicks-Bulls have preseason game in Glens Falls on a Monday night (snowed like hell at Packers-Broncos game that night). I’m working midnight-to-8 at the time, so during the day, my friend Paul and I drive 45 miles north and walk into the Glens Falls Civic Center just before the Knicks start their walk-thru practice.
No one kicks us out, so while Hubie Brown is running practice, the two of us are sitting at the end of the bench; when I stretch my legs, my feet are actually on the court. Pretty good Monday afternoon for us; that night, we watched a Chicago rookie named Michael Jordan play.
After the practice, I talked to both coach Brown and Bernard King, the Knicks’ star- they couldn’t have been nicer to me. That night, Jordan wore the original red/black Air Jordans that were later banned by the league, for a reason that I’ve long ago forgotten.
12) Then there is Hawk Harrelson, who at age 75, still works half the White Sox games- he does the road games. He is tough to listen to, rooting like hell for the Sox while preaching old-style philosophies and dismissing a lot of modern ideas.
On his Twitter page, it says: “hater of sabermetrics”. How can you hate something that helps you understand stuff better? Maybe you can disagree with how much it is used or the dismissal of traditional scouting techniques, but there is a middle road there that needs to be travelled.
To hate sabermetrics is to dismiss knowledge that can help us learn things. Knowledge is good. Hating knowledge is ignorant.
11) Oklahoma City Thunder are in Spain this week; they lost to Real Madrid the other day, then beat Barcelona by 3 yesterday. European basketball is very good, a higher quality than Division I college ball in this country- the players are lot older. Thunder didn’t go all out to win; Westbrook sat in 4th quarter of both games, but was surprising to see two games with such close scores.
10) Minnesota Vikings are on a 17-2 spread run, 4-0 this year; they’re +10 in turnovers this year, even with a QB playing who wasn’t on the team ten days before their season started.
9) New York Giants have only one takeaway in four games, have a -8 turnover ratio; how they deal with Odell Beckham going forward will be interesting to watch.
When Tom Coughlin backed away from disciplining Beckham during the Carolina game LY, it was a red flag; Coughlin had a reputation as a discipline guy. New coach Ben McAdoo seems less likely to pick that battle to fight.
8) Jesse Palmer told a story on TV Saturday night about when he played at Florida, a bunch of Gator players met Arnold Palmer at a social gathering before Florida’s bowl game in Orlando.
According to Jesse Palmer, Arnold Palmer said to the players, “You guys are are probably going to win, but no way will you cover (the point spread)”. Jesse Palmer actually asked Brent Musberger if he should tell the story on the air; since their game was a blowout, he did.
By the way, Florida won by 15, covering as a 13.5-point favorite.
7) Toronto catcher Russell Martin has played for four major league teams and has been in the playoffs nine times in his 11 major league seasons.
6) Tuesday night was Marcus Stroman’s 60th major league start; it was only the second time in those 60 starts that he retired the first nine hitters in order.
5) Blue Jays are 26-33 this season in games where the game-winning run scored after the sixth inning; those 59 games are six more than any other team has played. Twins/White Sox played in next-highest amount (53).
4) Monmouth Hawks upgraded their basketball schedule this year, after they missed out on an at-large bid to the NCAAs last year. Games against North Carolina, Memphis, South Carolina and Syracuse won’t help their W-L record, but should toughen them up for MAAC games and increase their strength of schedule. MAAC also-rans don’t often get at-large bids.
3) Mall of America in Minneapolis, our country’s biggest mall, will be closed Thanksgiving Day, so employees can have the day off. Good for them.
2) Blue Jays 5, Orioles 2 (11)— Buck Showalter got thrashed on social media for not using his closer Britton in this game; My thing is this— Showalter performed a near-miracle getting the Orioles into the playoffs. Their starting pitching just isn’t that good, but he got them to the Wild Card game. He is a tremendous manager
For me to criticize the way he runs his team would take a lot of onions— no thanks.
1– Giants 3, Mets 0– One of the great things about postseason baseball is that obscure players become heroes with one swing of the bat. Conor Gillespie is a career .256 hitter with 31 HRs in 1,334 plate appearances in seven years; his 3-run homer in the ninth inning moves the Giants on to Chicago for the NLDS against the Cubs, which begins Friday.