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

13) Dusty Baker went 192-132 in two years as Washington’s manager, but went 4-6 in playoffs and that cost him his $2M a year job Friday. Nationals have had six managers (not counting interims) since 2006; next year will be #7.

Other Nationals’ news: Daniel Murphy had micro-fracture structure on his knee this week.

12) Had to stay away from Twitter late Thursday, as Dodger fans came out of the woodwork to celebrate their first NL title since 1988. I’ve got nothing against the Dodgers, but any mention of the 1988 World Series makes my stomach churn— I prefer the ’74 World Series.

11) Raiders 31, Chiefs 30— Great ballgame, bizarre ending, with an overturned TD, offensive pass interference and two defensive holding penalties, all in the last 0:18 of the game. Fun game to watch; Oakland’s win makes the AFC West race a lot more interesting.

10) Raiders now have 10 TD’s of 20+ yards this season; 10 of their 17 offensive TD’s came came on plays of 20+ yards. Buffalo Bills’ longest TD play this season? 12 yards.

9) James Harden has averaged over 10 free throws attempted per game the last three years; he is a career 85.4% free throw shooter. It is amazing to me how many times opponents let him drive to his strong hand— he is a lefty— figure it out!!!

Speaking of the Rockets, Chris Paul is already out 2-4 weeks with a bum knee. That didn’t take long. TNT studio guys were saying Thursday that Paul isn’t a good fit with the Rockets’ style anyway.

8) Big 14 basketball media day was in New York City this week, which is weird; they’re having the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden in March, as they try and expand their footprint with Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland now in the league.

But the Big 14 is a midwestern league; would think having media day in Chicago would be a more normal thing to do.

7) Memphis 42, Houston 38— Horrible loss for Cougars, who led 31-14 with 1:31 left in third quarter and 38-28 with 5:51 left in game. Memphis was down 17-0 at halftime- you do the math, Tigers scored 42 points in the second half.

6) Oldest guys in the NBA? Vince Carter, Manu Ginobili, who are both 40 years old.

5) Purdue’s basketball team played in the World University games this summer, which allowed them to have 30 practices and play 11 games, a huge advantage over other teams who take these overseas trips- those teams are allowed only 10 practices.

4) Detroit Tigers hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire as their new manager; he was 1,068-1,039 in 13 years with the Twins, going 6-21 in playoff games.

3) Why are foul tips not reviewable via instant replay? Anytime an obvious mistake is made by the umpires, the people in New York City should beep the crew chief on the field and correct things. The missed call on the foul tip in Game 4 of Dodger-Cub series was embarrassing.

2) Clippers clocked the Lakers Thursday night; Lonzo Ball had 3 points, 4 assists in his NBA debut. It is only one game, but if Lonzo is a marked man because his father can’t shut up, then that is too bad, but he’ll get through it. He will be a very good NBA player, in time.

1) Cam Newton skipped a couple of media sessions this week, which probably results in a fine; he can’t win this battle long-term, because he is a QB and the media needs access to him— it is part of why he makes so much money.

I’m not saying Newton is wrong; maybe he just has to adopt the Marshawn Lynch strategy of showing up and saying nothing. If he thinks he is being baited by certain writers, he has to rise above it and find ways to get around all that, for his sake and his employer’s sake.

Friday’s List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend

13) How tired are the Falcons of hearing about last year’s Super Bowl? Now they get to visit Foxboro the week after blowing a 17-0 halftime lead to Miami. Matt Ryan went to Boston College, so a homecoming of sorts for him.

12) Michigan beat Penn State 49-10 last year; Wolverines are 5-1, but it is a shaky 5-1 and they are playing a backup QB- they needed OT to beat Indiana last week.

11) Brett Hundley gets his first NFL start at home against New Orleans; no pressure, replacing Aaron Rodgers 🙂 Saints are actually a road favorite in this game.

10) Arizona Wildcats ran ball for 882 yards in their last two games; now they’re a road favorite at Cal— Golden Bears upset Washington State last week. Interesting game.

9) First round of rematches this weekend, three of them. Can the Jets sweep Miami? Eagles sweep Washington? Denver sweep the Chargers?

8) USC-Notre Dame is a stellar primetime game Saturday night. Trojans lost their last two visits to South Bend.

7) Cardinals-Rams in England is a big game in NFC West; Adrian Peterson added a running element to the Arizona offense last week. Both teams are a LONG way from home.

6) Think the boosters in Knoxville are happy that Tennessee is a 35-point underdog this week in Tuscaloosa? Hopefully Butch Jones has his resume updated, because he is going to need a job in a few weeks. His bank account will be healthy, though.

5) Giants got their first win last week, now Seattle visits Swamp Stadium coming off its bye. Giants’ young WR’s will have hard time getting open against a stingy Seahawk defense.

4) Texas is 3-3, losing to USC/Oklahoma by total of 8 points; now Oklahoma State comes calling, another tough game. State scored 48 ppg in winning its first three road games this year.

3) Jacksonville is +11 in turnovers in its wins, -1 in its losses; they have a very winnable game in Indy against a Colt team that might be without Andrew Luck for the whole season now. Jacoby Brissett hasn’t played badly, but Indy has been outscored 85-22 in the 4th quarter this year.

2) Louisville beat Florida State 63-20 LY, but Cardinals lost their last two games, allowing 84 points. Seminoles are struggling (2-3) with a true freshman QB who is skinny as hell- their only two wins are over Wake Forest/Duke.

1) Trap game for the Titans, a road game after a Monday night win. Winless Browns are going back to DeShone Kizer at QB; maybe they should’ve drafted Deshaun Watson. Ya think?

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

13) Philadelphia Eagle fans are not happy with NFL referee Pete Morelli; the last four times Morelli worked an Eagle game, his crew called a total of 40 penalties for 396 yards on the Iggles, only 8 penalties for 74 yards on their opponents. Its enough to make a guy paranoid.

A petition was circulated; last I heard, over 60,000 people had signed it, requesting that Morelli not work any more Eagle games. Alrighty then.

12) Andrew Luck had a setback with his injured shoulder, and now there is talk he won’t play at all this season, which is bad news for everyone in Indianapolis except Jacoby Brissett.

11) 2018 NFL Draft will be at Jerry World in Dallas, the first time the draft will be in an actual NFL stadium.

10) General Electric shelled out a lot of money to put their patch on the Boston Celtics’ uniforms this season; less than six minutes into the Celtics’ season, newly-acquired star Gordon Hayward breaks his ankle, is lost for the season. So much for seeing those patches in June.

9) Celtics were the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference last year, but they’ve got 11 new players on their team this season. Am I the only person who finds this unusual?

8) Jacksonville told its kicker Jason Myers to take a hike, signed former Chargers’ kicker Josh Lambo, who in a perfect world, would kick for the Packers (Lambeau Field…..get it??)

7) BYU’s football team is 1-6, with only win 20-6 against I-AA Portland State; they’re off to their worst start since 1969. Cougars need to join a league- -maybe when the new dome gets built in Las Vegas, UNLV/BYU can join the Big X as a western tandem.

6) When I was a kid, I loved game shows, totally enjoyed them. One of the games was Jokers’ Wild, hosted by Jack Barry, where contestants played with a simulated slot machine to try and win their money/prizes. It wasn’t the best show, but it had an odd appeal.

Now it is coming back on WTBS and it is being hosted by Snoop Dawg. I have no opinion on this, other than I’ve got to watch it at least once. In the commercials I saw, Snoop Dawg appears to be wearing a velour smoking jacket. If gameshows make a comeback, that would be good.

5) Yu Darvish walked with the bases loaded Monday night; he is the first pitcher in 40 years to walk with the bases loaded in a playoff game. Larry Christensen of the Phillies was the last pitcher to draw a bases loaded walk in a playoff game, in 1977.

4) Nick Young scored 23 points for the Warriors Tuesday night, but Golden State was also -10 in the 29:00 he was on the floor in their 122-121 loss to Houston. Warriors were +9 in the 19:00 he was on the bench, -10 when he was on the floor. Thats more important than his point total.

3) There are rumors that the Big 14 is considering moving to 20 conference games next season, with the eventual goal of juicing up their teams’ power ratings so mid-majors get blocked out of at-large bids for the NCAA tournament. That would be sad, if that is the reason.

2) Baseball playoffs:
New York 5, Houston 0— Astros have scored 9 runs in five series games.

1) When you watch NBA/college games this season, consider this:

Several years ago, I was sitting at an AAU tournament talking to a college basketball coach who is very good at his job. I was asking him lot of questions, trying to pick his brain as far as what he looked for at these tournaments with mostly glorified pickup games being played.

“I look at what their college skill is” the coach said. “Some guys shoot it well, others pass it well, some rebound well. I’ll tell you this, getting loose balls is a skill, too”

So when there is a loose ball in an NBA game and the same couple guys are getting most of them, know that their toughness/quickness is what helped get them to the NBA in the first place. Its not an accident.

Friday’s List of 13: NFL knowledge with the season here…….

13) Dallas Cowboys haven’t played in a Super Bowl since the 1995 season; Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger both won a Super Bowl in their second season- Dallas is hoping Dak Prescott gets a championship in his second season.

12) Roethlisberger has played all 16 games in only three of his 13 NFL seasons; he missed one game in four other seasons.

11) Teams who have rebuilt/are rebuilding their offensive lines:
— Vikings have four new starters on the offensive line.
— Broncos, Ravens, Chargers, Lions, Rams all have three new starters.

10) Indianapolis Colts have eight new starters on defense; their QB and center are both out to start this season.

9) Lot of people are touting the Buccaneers to be a playoff team this year; after watching Hard Knocks this summer, I wasn’t overly impressed by anything about them, other than coach Dirk Koetter is a very calm person. Even when he curses someone out, it is done quietly.

Koetter got the head coaching job because of how he’s helped Jameis Winston develop as a QB; would’ve liked to have seen some of that behind-the-scenes teaching on Hard Knocks.

8) Carolina Panthers lost six games by 3 or less points last year; teams like that often make a quantum leap forward if they get some breaks the next season, but Carolina was also 15-1 the year before, so maybe last year was the correction.

In any event. Cam Newton’s shoulder is the Panthers’ most important variable.

7) Do you think Bill Belichick will retire when Tom Brady does?

6) Oakland Raiders have five new starters on defense; Derek Carr has been terrific at QB as a Raider, but he is 1-5 against the Chiefs.

5) Minnesota QB Sam Bradford’s passes traveled an average of 6.24 yards in the air LY, the shortest average pass of any starting QB, which helps explain why he completed 70% of them.

Bradford’s best WR is Michael Floyd, who is suspended for the first four games this year.

4) Baltimore Ravens were 8-8 LY, losing three games they led with 2:30 to play; since June 1, Ravens have lost four starters for the season with injuries. Joe Flacco didn’t take a snap in the preseason games and they have three new starters on the OL. I’m a skeptic.

3) Arizona Cardinals have only five outdoor games this season; three of their road games are in domes. Cardinals also have six new starters on defense this season.

2) New Orleans Saints have been 7-9 the last three seasons; they’ve got six new starters on defense this year. Will they run the ball more this season to protect that defense, and aging QB Drew Brees?  They’ve added Adrian Peterson, so it is a popular theory.

1) Last two years, Chargers are 7-17 in games decided by 8 or less points; they’ve got 10 starters back on defense and a rookie coach who hired two former head coaches as coordinators, which seems like a smart move.

How current managers do on replay challenges

Major League managers on replay challenges:

Joe Girardi, NYY 76-104, 73.1%
Ned Yost, KC 76-113, 67.3%
Pete Mackanin, Phil 52-79, 65.8%
Bruce Bochy, SF 81-126, 64.3%
Dave Roberts, LA 37-60, 61.7%

Paul Molitor, Minn 50-83, 60.2%
Mike Scioscia, LAA 70-117, 59.8%
Terry Collins, NYM 61-105, 58.1%
Buck Showalter, Balt 60-105, 57.1%
Clint Hurdle, Pitt 81-146, 55.5%

Joe Maddon, Cubs 85-157, 54.1%
Terry Francona, Clev 64-119, 53.8%
Mike Matheny, StL 70-132, 53.0%
Rich Renteria, CWS 37-70, 52.9%
Bob Melvin, A’s 54-105, 51.4%

Craig Counsell, Milw 45-88, 51.1%
Brian Price, Cinc 58-115, 50.4%
Tory Lovullo, Ariz 18-36, 50.0%
Don Mattingly, Mia 71-143, 49.7%
Andy Green, SD 37-76, 48.7%

Brian Snitker, All 32-67, 47.8%
AJ Hinch Hst, 51-107, 47.7%
Kevin Cash, TB 66-139, 47.5%
John Farrell, Bos 64-135, 47.4%
Brad Ausmus, Det 53-113, 46.9%

Jeff Banister, Tex 61-137, 44.5%
Bud Black, Colo 32-72, 44.4%
Scott Servais, Sea 33-81, 40.7%
Dusty Baker, Wash 26-65, 40.0%
John Gibbons, Tor 49-141, 34.8%

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

13) New Jersey Jets have had five head coaches since Bill Parcells left after the 1999 season; here are their records— their first season with the Jets, then the rest of the tenures after.

2000— Al Groh: 1st year: 9-7. Left after that season
2001-05— Herm Edwards: 1st year: 10-6. Rest of tenure: 29-35
2006-08— Eric Mangini: 1st year: 10-6. Rest of tenure: 13-19
2009-14— Rex Ryan: 1st year: 9-7. Rest of tenure: 37-43
2015-present— Todd Bowles: 1st year: 10-6. Since then: 5-11

Total: 1st year of tenure: 48-32. Other seasons: 84-108

I have no explanation for this, but these are the facts- they are not in dispute.

12) Jets’ QB Christian Hackenberg got hit so hard by a Detroit lineman the other night, I actually feared for his health when I saw a replay of the hit. That one had to hurt……a lot.

11) Showtime did an excellent reality series last year following Florida State football; they did one on Notre Dame the year before (I didn’t see that one). This year, they’re following the Navy Midshipmen, which should be interesting, seeing how ballplayers at military academies have to really be good time managers, given their workloads.

10) Part of the reason the Rams paid a King’s ransom for Jared Goff last spring was that they projected ahead to the Class of ’17 QB’s and they didn’t like what they saw. Something to think about if some of this year’s rookie QB’s get on the field early this season.

9) On April 17, the Orioles traded pitcher Parker Bridwell to the Angels for a player to be named later or cash. Bridwell is now 7-1, 2.88 in 11 starts for the contending Angels, with a WHIP of 1.17. If not for Aaron Judge, Bridwell might’ve been Rookie of the Year in the AL.

8) Scott Tolzien is the Indianapolis Colts’ likely starter in Week 1; he has suited up for 51 NFL games in his seven NFL seasons, played in only 9 games, starting three (0-2-1 W-L record). He’s thrown 128 NFL passes, with two TD’s, seven INT’s.

But he also went 21-5 as the starting QB at Wisconsin, so best not to underestimate him.

7) Cardale Jones is the 3rd-string QB for the Chargers; he was 7-15 for 61 yards against the Saints Sunday in a dismal 13-7 loss. Chargers’ only TD was scored by their defense.

Jones left Ohio State early- he started only 11 games for the Buckeyes. If I had to advise a young quarterback, I would advise him to play as much college football as humanly possible, for more than one reason:

— Experience makes you a better player; the more you practice, the better your skills become.
— Experience makes you more confident in your abilities; the more situations you see, the better you will handle the more advanced competition in the NFL.
— You’re older and more physically mature; NFL players are very large grown men.

6) Broncos-Raiders is a bitter rivalry and always has been, but this year’s games should get a boost in intensity. Bill Musgrave is Denver’s new QB coach this season, after the Raiders let him walk after two years of being Oakland’s offensive coordinator.

I’m sure there are no hard feelings.

5) Geniuses at ESPN showed Sonny Gray’s pitching line on the crawl on the bottom of the screen Sunday night; when it showed he had no strikeouts, they were kind enough to add (0 K’s, career low), as if we couldn’t figure out ourselves that zero would be his career low. Oy.

4) Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin believes live tackling in practice is a necessity to properly prepare for the season; SI.com‘s Peter King wrote this weekend that of all the training camps he visited this summer, Pittsburgh/Seattle were by far the most physical.

Most teams are so paranoid about players getting hurt that live tackling is non-existent in most practices.

3) Anquan Boldin retires after 14 years in the NFL and 1,076 receptions; he started out as a QB at Florida State. When he played for the Cardinals, he broke his cheekbone while catching a TD pass and tried to talk his way into staying in the game. Tough guy. Great player.

2) I’m thinking that there will be chaos in some NFL front offices in 10 days or so, when 1,184 free agents hit the streets. Lousy teams will be working the phones, trying to improve their rosters wherever they can by picking up guys the better teams cut. Will be some guys starting for teams in Week 1 who haven’t been on that team for very long.

1) Lot of people are touting Tennessee Titans as a Cinderella team in the AFC, but one thing they better do if they’re going to make the playoffs— beat the Colts. Indianapolis is 15-1 in its last 16 games against Tennessee. That obviously needs to change if the Titans are really contenders.

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

13) Quote of the Day, part 2: Ian Kinsler, on the umpires’ wearing white wristbands Saturday to protest Kinsler’s not being suspended for his comments about Angel Hernandez:

“I really don’t think too deeply into it. I hope they wear the white wristbands for the rest of their careers. I don’t care. I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, that’s their problem.’’

Alrighty then.

12) Umpires didn’t wear the wristbands Sunday; they’re getting an audience with commish Rob Manfred soon, to discuss their issues. Doubt they’ll get much satisfaction.

11) 75 players have 20+ homers this year; just three years ago, only 57 guys hit 20+ homers for the whole season— there are still six weeks of games left this year.

10) New York Mets saved roughly $13.6M in salary by trading veterans to contenders in the last few weeks. Thats what small market teams do. New York City is not a small market.

9) The Greek basketball federation attacked the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA in a statement, describing an “organized and well-staged plan” to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo from playing in the Eurobasket tournament for Greece at the end of the month.

If I was paying a young man $20M a year, damn sure I wouldn’t want him playing in some exhibition tournament in the summer. Too freakin’ bad.

8) Someone in the Indiana University compliance department screwed up, and it cost a freshman DB a year of his football eligibility. The school screwed up by not telling the kid what was required of him to become eligible— I’m guessing someone lost their job over that.

7) NFL exhibition broadcasts that aren’t on national TV can be tough to listen to; they’re infomercials for the local team. Never is heard a discouraging word— exhibition games are sloppy by nature, obviously, but you’d never know it by listening to some of these TV guys.

6) From the sound of the 49ers’ TV guys, CJ Beathard is going to beat Matt Barkley out for the backup QB job in San Francisco. Will Kyle Shanahan keep three QB’s?

5) I didn’t realize mailmen delivered on Sunday; around 5pm, a truck pulled up to the house next door. Can’t remember seeing that before, except maybe around Christmas.

4) Tyler Clippard is the first pitcher since Ted Abernathy in 1970 to save a game for three different teams in the same season.

3) Mets get minor league pitcher Jacob Rhame as Player to be Named Later in the Granderson trade; he was Dodgers #28 ranked prospect and should be up with the Mets next month; he is headed to the AAA Las Vegas 51’s for now.

2) RIP Jerry Lewis, 91, an actor/comedian who raised roughly $1.6B thru his Labor Day telethon to fight Muscular Dystrophy. Thats billion, with a B. He helped a lot of people. RIP, sir.

1) If the playoffs started today (they do not), they’d look like this:
AL: Boston-Cleveland-Houston. Wild Cards: New York/Angels or Twins
NL: Washington-Chicago-Los Angeles. Wild Cards: Arizona-Colorado

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

13) Lot of major league umpires wore white wristbands Saturday to protest Ian Kinsler not being suspended after he verbally thrashed umpire Angel Hernandez earlier this week.

Earlier this month, umpire Joe West was suspended for three days, simply for saying that Adrian Beltre complained more than any other player.

The statement from MLB is clear; players matter more than umpires.

12) Mets’ game Friday night ended around midnight; Curtis Granderson was traded right after the game, and was in Detroit Saturday afternoon, batting 5th for the Dodgers in a game that started at 4:00. Joc Pederson was sent to AAA to make room for Granderson.

11) Is great to hear 82-year old Dick Enberg calling the Dodgers-Tigers games this weekend. One of the all-time great broadcasters, Mr Enberg called Padre games up until last season. To me, he is best-known for doing college basketball on NBC in the late 70’s/80’s.

10) Umpire Adam Hamari is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; he had the plate in Detroit Saturday, and had lot of family at the game. Do friends/relatives of umpires cheer loudly for good calls? Do they take grief if a call goes against the home team?

9) Giancarlo Stanton is the 4th big leaguer to hit 23 homers in a 35-game span; the other three were Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa.

8) Brooklyn Nets will play regular season games against the Thunder and Heat in Mexico City in December.

7) Detroit’s Justin Upton hit a homer Friday night; when he was between 2nd and 3rd base, he suddenly backtracked and went back to touch first base again, just to make sure he got it. Never saw that before If you miss first base, you dion’t even get credit for a hit, much less a homer, run scored and an RBI.

6) Tight end Nick O’Leary caught three passes for 50 yards for Buffalo Thursday night; the Florida State alum is the grandson of golfing great Jack Nicklaus.

5) Not only did Joc Pederson get sent to AAA, but San Diego sent RF Hunter Renfroe down to AAA El Paso— he was in an 8-for-64 skid at the time of his demotion.

4) 53-year old Davis Love III is three shots out of the lead after three rounds of the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina. Love’s son is also in the Wyndham field; the last time a golfer won a PGA Tour event when his son was in the field? Craig Stadler, at the 2003 BC Open.

3) Seattle Seahawks lost starting LT George Fant for the year with an ACL injury; Fant was a basketball player at Western Kentucky but had improved enough to become an NFL starter.

2) Donald Trump sent out a tweet Saturday where he spelled “heal” “heel”; he did it twice in the tweet so it wasn’t a typo. I’m just asking: whose job is it to tell him that he spelled the word wrong? Don’t think that is a job I’d want. His 11-year old kid should know the difference between heel and heal.

1) Former Boston Bruins’ coach/TSN hockey announcer Don Cherry sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field Saturday, dressed in a suit jacket, with, um……cherries on it. Cherry was a really good coach who is a complete character as a TV analyst.

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

13) Rashard Davis returned punts for the Eagles Thursday night; the free agent from James Madison was signed earlier this week.

Last Saturday, while the chaos in Charlottesville was going on, Davis was working as a waiter in a restaurant in Charlottesville near the park where the mayhem with the statue of Robert E Lee occurred. He was hiding from his boss in the restaurant as he took calls from his agent updating him on the Eagles’ deal.

One day you’re a waiter, the next day you’re playing ball on national TV. Pretty cool.

12) Something to think about when college football kicks off next weekend; only one of the last 19 national champs lost a non-conference game, Ohio State in 2014 (to Virginia Tech).

11) There were 345 replay reviews in the NFL last year, the fewest since 2009, and 70 less than in 2015.

10) 130 free agents changed teams in the NFL this offseason, also the fewest since 2009.

9) Bill Belichick’s coaching record: 263-125
Tom Brady won-loss record: 208-61
Belichick’s record without Brady: 55-64

8) Baltimore Ravens play in London in Week 3, but they don’t have the usual bye the next week- they host their rival, the Steelers. Ravens don’t have their bye until Week 10.

7) Penn State gave coach James Franklin a 6-year contract extension, worth $34.3M. Franklin is 25-15 at PSU, 14-11 in league games, 1-2 in bowl games; Nittany Lions were 11-3 last year.

6) Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers struggled in Thursday night’s loss to Tampa Bay, now they’re bringing in Dan Carpenter to compete with Myers. Maybe it is contagious; Jacksonville lost to the Buccaneers Thursday, who just fired their kicker last weekend.

5) Le’Veon Bell’s agent had an agreement with the Steelers on a contract back in mid-July, but Bell nixed the deal at the last minute. Not sure if that was a great move by him.

4) Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez is being sued by his old agents for $230,250; he fired them a couple of years ago, but they say he didn’t pay them enough. Rodriguez agreed to pay them 10% of the money he made from CBS Sports Network, 4% of his money from Arizona.

Rodriguez is a good dude; I have no idea about this lawsuit, but when he left CBS to coach at Arizona, the crew at CBS left his chair empty for their first show without him, thats how much they thought of him.

3) During the Blue Jays-Cubs game Friday, the Cubs’ roving reporter interviewed hockey star Patrick Sharp, who was sitting in the stands. Sharp grew up rooting for the Jays, but he tried to be political saying which team he was rooting for.

2) Not the best week to be a statue, eh? Except for the home run sculpture in Miami, which Dade County says can’t be taken out of Marlins Park.

1) Some good news for Marlins’ fans; David Samson is out as team president. This is a guy who was president of a baseball team who went on Survivor during baseball season— he was the first person voted out on Survivor.

At one point, he was Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria’s stepson. Now the Marlins are rid of Loria and Samson, and they’re much better off.

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

13) Joey Votto recently reached base 2+ times in 20 consecutive games, one short of Ted Williams’ all-time record of 21; an underrated record. Votto’s on-base %age this year is .448— muy bueno.

12) Then why doesn’t Votto bat leadoff, with a .448 OB%? Isn’t that what leadoff hitters are supposed to do, get on base? Cincinnati bats fleet-footed Billy Hamilton 1st, but his on-base % is a woeful .298.

As my late father liked to say, “You can’t steal first base.”

11) Reds 13, Cubs 10— Jon Lester gave up nine runs in 1.2 IP, then left with a lat injury. Reds blew a 9-0 lead but rallied late for the win.

10) Our thoughts/prayers go out to the people in Barcelona, after the terrorist activity Thursday; basketball teams from Arizona-Clemson-Oregon State-Tulane are all in Spain right now.

Everyone on all four teams is safe and sound. They’ll be glad to get home.

Oregon State’s team was having dinner in the hotel when the terrorist activity happened, right in front of that hotel.

9) Atlanta Falcons’ new domed stadium has Chick-fil-A in it, but Chick-fil-A never opens on Sunday for religious reasons and the Falcons have only one non-Sunday home game this season.

8) Angels had Thursday off, in between series with Nationals/Orioles, so Mike Trout was in Philly last night to see his beloved Eagles play Buffalo.

7) Colorado has yo-yo’d OF Raimel Tapia up and down from AAA a lot this year; he is obviously major-league ready, but the Rockies don’t have a full-time slot for him right now.

Since going back to Albuquerque the last time August 12, Tapia is 12-21 (.571) for the Isotopes. He will be a starter in the major leagues next year, whether in Denver or somewhere else.

6) On July 23, 2013, Nicky Delmonico was traded from Baltimore to the Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez, in a deadline deal; in February 2015 he was released by Brewers.

Now he is hitting .396 in his first 54 plate appearances with the White Sox— he homered twice in LA Wednesday. He is only 25; sometimes it takes a while to become an overnight sensation.

5) Mets had catcher Travis d’Arnaud playing 3B Wednesday night, for the first time in his career; Asdrubal Cabrera and D’Arnaud swapped between 2B and 3B 23 times.

4) Oakland Raiders are 1-5 vs spread in their last six pre-bye games; they covered their last five post-bye games.

3) Last eight years, Minnesota Vikings are 8-0 vs spread in the game just before their bye; they’re 1-7 vs spread in the first game after their bye.

2) Colorado’s star 3B Nolan Arenado got hit on the hand by a batted ball yesterday and left the game; looked like the ball hit him in the same spot where he was hit by a pitch in Miami last weekend. Rockies need Arenado in the lineup and more importantly, in the field.

1) If you’re a fantasy football owner, what do you do with Ezekiel Elliott? Dallas has an early bye, so for fantasy purposes, Elliott’s 6-game suspension is really seven games, since he isn’t eligible to play until Week 8 against Washington. Most fantasy regular seasons are 13 games, right?

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

13) I hope Ryan Fitzpatrick writes a book someday; he went to college at Harvard, which means he didn’t get an athletic scholarship, but he still made the NFL and entering his 13th year as an NFL quarterback. Tampa Bay is his 7th team.

Fitzpatrick played for four teams in four years, but what is weird is that he started 9+ games in all four of those years— there is no way anyone else has ever done this before, not at QB.
2012 Buffalo, 16 starts
2013 Tennessee, 9 starts
2014 Houston, 12 starts
2015 NJ Jets, 16 starts

What a unique career; if he makes the Buccaneers this summer and it looks like he will, it is unlikely he’ll play much, with Jameis Winston entrenched as the Bucs’ starting QB.

12) In 42 games batting in the #4 or #5 slot this year, Giancarlo Stanton hit .262 with 11 HR, 30 RBI, and an OB% of .335.

In 71 games since moving to the #2 slot in the order, Stanton is batting .302, with 33 HR’s, 64 RBI and a .404 on-base %age.

11) They told a funny story on the Padres’ game yesterday; there used to be an umpire named Frank Pulli, who was considered to be one of the better umpires. Pulli was doing an exhibition game behind the plate and after he calls a borderline strike on David Bell, he says to Bell:

“You better swing the bat today; it’s my grandson’s birthday”, inferring he had a party to go to and this was going to be a fast game.

10) Good grief; heard the other night that they change the bases in major league games every three innings, and then sell the bases online. Game used bases!!!! Greed knows no bounds.

9) Interesting comment from an NFL coach/executive, I can’t remember who it was, someone with the Colts or Lions, but they came out and said that NFL teams get more out of joint practices during the week than they do from the exhibition game that is played on the weekend, which is a good piece of knowledge.

8) Houston Astros swing at more first pitches than any team in baseball; they’ve hit 47 homers not eh first pitch of an AB, most in the majors this season.

7) Didi Gregorius batting cleanup, Todd Frazier batting 8th; interesting lineups Joe Girardi puts on the field. Manager of the Year in the AL will be tough to decide, if the Angels make the playoffs. Girardi and Mike Scioscia are both doing really good jobs this season.

6) Mets have saved a total of roughly $9M from their salary dumps this summer (Duda, Walker, Bruce, Reed). Too bad they’re not in a big city with a new, publicly-funded stadium, then they could actually try and w— oh wait, New York City is a big city. The Wilpons are slimy; thank the Lord they don’t own the A’s.

5) Strange ballgame in Oakland Tuesday night; A’s led Kansas City 4-3 after seven innings but their bullpen imploded in the 8th and KC led 8-4- there was no joy at Armadillo World HQ, that is for sure. Then Oakland scored six runs in the bottom of the 8th; Matt Joyce hit a bases loaded double after the Royals walked Rajai Davis intentionally so they could pitch to Joyce with the bases loaded (lefty-lefty BS).

Weird game with a happy ending, unless you had the Royals or the under.

4) Last season was first time since 2003 that both Super Bowl teams missed the playoffs the following season.

3) Since 2005, the defending Super Bowl champ is 4-7 in playoff games the next season, with Seattle in 2014 getting two of the four wins.

2) Last year was first time in eight years that the Super Bowl loser missed the playoffs the following season. Last time the Super Bowl loser made it back to the Super Bowl the next season? The 1993 Bills, losing their 4th consecutive Super Bowl.

1) 1994 Patriots are the last team to repeat as Super Bowl champs.

Wednesday’s List of 13: some of my favorite words……..

13 of my favorite words………(in alphabetical order, with dictionary definitions)

13) abscond— “leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection of or arrest for an unlawful action such as theft.”

Absconding just sounds deceitful, like you’re slinking away in the shadows…….

12) boondoggle— “work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.”

Some will argue that this list is a boondoggle; I would disagree.

11) bupkus— “having little or no value.”

Jerry Stiller said this word on TV a lot; good word to say if you’re disgusted and don’t want to swear. “All this work and I’ve got BUPKUS to show for it!!!”

10) canoodle— “kiss and cuddle amorously.”

Not to be confused with caboodle “the whole number or quantity of people or things in question.”

9) fracas— “a noisy disturbance or quarrel.”

Good hockey word, as in: “There was a fracas behind the Edmonton net.”

8) hijinx— “examples of mischief that are often disruptive or rowdy.”

The Three Stooges often engaged in hijinx. Mo hitting Curly on the head with a wrench was hijinx. Practical jokes also fall into this category.

7) inconceivable— “not capable of being imagined or grasped mentally; unbelievable.”

When you’re totally exasperated that something could happen, this is your word to use. “It is INCONCEIVABLE that the A’s traded Cespedes and didn’t get young players in return!!!”

6) kerfuffle— “a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views.”

This is less physical than a fracas, but still a disagreement. I once had a kerfuffle with a parent of a kid I coached in Little League. He was way bigger than me, so I tried my best to diffuse the situation. Best part of that day is that was when I decided to quit coaching Little League.

5) kibosh— “put an end to; dispose of decisively.”

Most times I’ve heard this, someone from New York City said it; lot of fathers would like to put the kibosh on their daughters’ dating activity.

4) quagmire— “a soft boggy area of land that gives way underfoot.”

In fall of 1977, there was a drought in Los Angeles; that was all I heard about all football season, So the Rams get a home playoff game against Minnesota; turn the game on and there is an inch of standing water/mud on the field at the LA Coliseum.

I had just turned 18; I say to no one in particular “For three months all I’ve heard about is this goddamn drought and now the field is a bleeping quagmire.” My parents were not amused at my choice of adjectives (I didn’t say bleeping). The Rams were a big favorite, but lost 14-7. Oy.

3) shenanigans— “secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.”

Unfortunately, most of our politicians know this word all too well.

2) squeamish— “easily made to feel sick, faint, or disgusted, especially by unpleasant images, such as the sight of blood.”

I could never have been a surgeon, for this very reason. That and I wasn’t smart enough to get into a medical school— I was lucky to graduate from a state college

1) wheelhouse— “the part of a batter’s strike zone most likely to produce a home run.” or “a part of a boat or ship serving as a shelter for the person at the wheel.”

I prefer to think of this word as asking someone a really easy question or putting them in a situation that they can handle easily, as in, putting your drunk friend in a chugging contest.

Thursday’s List of 13: A night of basketball in Las Vegas…….

13) I was at the AAU game in Las Vegas last night, pitting the SC Supreme against the Big Ballers in a pool play game. The place was ridiculously crowded, so crowded that the game was almost cancelled due to concerns about crowding from the fire marshal.

First of all, this is a very organized, well-run event; seven games going on at all times under one roof in the Cashman Center, with bleachers and a good concession stand, but a lot more people than usual showed up to watch last night.

They put out boxscores for these games, which is great. Lot of work goes into doing a good job of running a tournament like this.

12) Most people I listened to before the game thought SC Supreme, featuring top recruit Zion Williamson, would dispose of LaVar Ball’s team easily, but the Ballers played their hearts out and didn’t get blown out, losing 104-92 in a raggedy game.

11) “Unreal. Never seen anything like it,” Kansas coach Bill Self, who was at the game, told ESPN.

10) Supposedly, Lebron James came to the Cashman Center for the game, but didn’t come in when he was told about the crowd concerns. Four or five other NBA players were at the game.

9) OK, so you know I love boxscores; here are some stats from this game:

— SC Supreme was 0-2 on the arc in this game; Ballers were 15-46. Wow
— LaMelo Ball scored 36 points; was 7-15 inside the arc, 3-12 outside the arc, 13-16 on the line. He is a good passer, but is more of a shoot-first guy than his older brother Lonzo, who was also at this game.
— Zion Williamson, one of the best high school players in the country, scored 31 points in 31:00, but was only 7-20 on the foul line- his teammates were 25-34.
— SC Supreme shot 57.1% from the floor, were 32-54 on the foul line.
— Ballers’ five subs who played took a total of two shots in 34:00 played.

8) LaVar Ball has become semi-famous for his promotional skills; he seems to crave attention, but during the game, he was quiet, sitting with this ankles crossed watching the game. He did get a technical foul in the second half.

As for the Ballers’ defense, I’ll say this: they rebounded and went after loose balls with great abandon— they trapped the ball a lot but other than that, SC Supreme got a lot of layups.

7) Underrated weird event of the evening: Guy who was coaching the SC Supreme team was roaming the sidelines while holding his young son (looked about 2 years old) with his left arm the entire first half. Kid looked like he was asleep with his head on his dad’s left shoulder.

6) I saw four games Wednesday; best of the four was Compton Magic beating Iowa Barnstormers 73-62; Compton shot 69% from the floor in the second half, pulling away late after blowing a double-digit lead earlier in the game.

5) So these end-of-summer national AAU events are fun to watch; talented kids from all over the country playing each other and trying to earn college scholarships. Good stuff.

Elsewhere in the world……..
4) Michael Vick wants to become a football coach, is an intern for the KC Chiefs this summer. Plaxico Burress is a coaching intern with the Arizona Cardinals.

3) If you’ve seen the TV show Billions on Showtime, the guy who plays pizzeria owner Bruno was a decorated police officer in real life, a “gold-star” officer, so that is pretty cool.

2) The A’s have to demote closer Santiago Casilla; he is awful. Oakland led 2-0 in 9th inning last night, Casilla faced three batters, all of whom scored. I’m grateful I wasn’t around a TV to see it.

1) Trailblazers saved $60M in salary/luxury tax by trading Allen Crabbe to the Nets.

Wednesday’s Den: Random Lists of 3:

13) If I were 17 again, three colleges I’d consider attending:
Cal-Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, Cal-Irvine…….I would’ve flunked out of UNLV as quickly as it could possibly have happened. Hell, I had a hard time getting thru UAlbany.

12) Favorite TV analysts, any sport: a) Jeff Van Gundy, NBA b) Ron Darling, MLB c) Troy Aikman NFL

11) Underrated events a sports fan should attend:
a) NBA Summer League— For $30, can watch pro basketball all day, and when you’re done, you are in Las Vegas.
b) Any pro golf tournament— Interesting how quiet thousands of people can be. A guy finishes his 18 holes, and is back on the driving range fairy quickly- they practice A LOT.
c) Minor league baseball— For $10 or $12, can watch future major leaguers in action.

10) Favorite kinds of soda: a) Dr Brown’s cream soda b) Cherry Coke c) Sierra Mist

9) If I had a son who was a bigtime basketball recruit, I’d want him to play for one of these three coaches: a) Bob Huggins b) Roy Williams c) James Jones (Yale)

8) Three stadiums/arenas I’d like to visit someday:
a) Tiger Stadium, LSU football b) Oakland Coliseum (baseball) c) Hinkle Fieldhouse (college hoop)

7) Three stadiums/arenas I loved watching a game in:
a) Thomas & Mack Arena (UNLV) b) Edward Jones Dome (St Louis Rams) c) Minute Maid Park (Astros baseball)

6) Three other random observations about sports:
a) Going to a NASCAR race would be too loud for me.
b) I’d like to see some Japanese pro baseball on TV during the All-Star break. Don’t need any announcers, just good graphics. MLB Network should do this.
c) I think I’d be a good radio talkshow host, and I bet most of you think you could be, too. I’m envious seeing some of these people make $5-6M a year to talk about sports.

5) Annoying people: a) Both Donald Trumps b) LaVar Ball c) Jeffrey Loria (Marlins owner)

4) My team has the ball on its own 20-yard line, 2:00 to go, we’re down 3. QB’s I would want running my team: a) John Elway b) Kurt Warner c) Ben Roethlisberger

3) Bases loaded, two outs, game tied, bottom of 9th; I’d want these hitters up:
a) Jose Altuve b) Paul Goldschmidt c) Josh Donaldson

2) Things that bother me, whether they should or shouldn’t:
a) When Lebron James has the ball late in the game, and he gets criticized for passing the ball to an open teammate- thats what he is supposed to do.
b) LSU firing Les Miles as football coach, because he didn’t win as much as Nick Saban has won at Alabama. Miles won more at LSU than Saban did.
c) Astros not being on national TV enough; they’re great fun to watch. If MLB wants big ratings for the playoffs, they need to promote Houston/Washington more.

1) Three other fun things I’ve gotten a chance to do………
a) Got to sit in on a UNLV basketball practice couple years ago. I was a student manager in college, was very interesting to see how a D-1 practice is run.
b) Watch first weekend of NCAA tournament in a Las Vegas sports book. Good stuff.
c) Once shot free throws for beer during a timeout at an Albany Patroons CBA game; for every FT I made in 0:24, I got a case of beer. Made 4 out of 7, but I don’t like beer. Tried to trade it for four cases of Coca-Cola; wasn’t happening. 🙁

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

13) Tampa Bay Rays traded for struggling reliever Sergio Romo this weekend; why? Rays are 51-49 this season, right in the playoff mix, but they’re 14-23 in games where the winning run scores after the 6th inning.

If games were five innings long and not nine, Tampa Bay would be 54-29-17, so they’ve taken a hit in late inning situations this season. Maybe Romo can help. At least it is a sign from the front office to the players that they’re trying to win.

12) Aaron Boone was gushing on Sunday Night Baseball about how fun/exciting this week is, because of trade deadline activity- the trade deadline is Monday.

I’ve been an A’s fan since 1965; since 1975, the A’s have spent a lot of time dealing their better/more expensive players to wealthy teams at the trade deadline. Trade deadline week isn’t fun for me or anyone else who roots for the A’s or small market teams who aren’t miraculously contending that year.

11) Colts’ QB Andrew Luck had shoulder surgery in the offseason; he starts training camp on the PUP List (Physically Unable to Perform), but has been throwing footballs and can come off that list at any time.

10) Read an article over the weekend about Red Sox pitcher David Price cursing out Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley on the Red Sox team charter, because Eckersley is often honest on the air and actually criticizes players now and then. That is his job.

Eckersley doesn’t do many road games, so he seldom travels with the team. It is sad that neither the manager or GM or Price have apologized to Eckersley, who took criticism like a man when he wore the uniform, and he was a damn good pitcher.

I watch a ridiculous amount of baseball every day for six months a year; most announce teams are glorified cheerleaders for the home team. Cincinnati would be an exception, Minnesota and St Louis to an extent, but just about all of the others are see-no-evil, hear-no-evil types.

9) I’ll say this about Michael Kay or whoever else is working on the YES Network doing Bronx Bomber games; Joe Girardi takes a lot of grief for his decisions. Saturday night, Girardi pinch-ran Jacoby Ellsbury at first and let Ronald Torreyes bat, with the tying run on first. The two guys in the booth raised an eyebrow that Ellsbury didn’t pinch-hit instead- you don’t hear that on local TV very often.

Torreyes got a hit that tied the game; Girardi is a really good manager who is not exempt from taking a good deal of grief. Was just surprised to hear it.

8) Texas Longhorns refurbished their football locker room this summer; it cost $1.1M to refurbish 126 lockers- that works out to $8,700 each. Could’ve bought each kid a crummy used car for that amount.

7) A 65-year old woman stole a taxi cab in Philadelphia, then picked up a fare before police apprehended her. The woman had picked up a 23-year old woman and her infant daughter. No word on whether got a tip from the young woman before she was arrested,

6) Jimmer Fredette has apparently signed up for two more years of playing ball in China; the BYU alum scored 37 a game over in China last season. In foreign countries, the American stars are expected to score a lot of points. Jimmer can score a lot of points.

5) Good state from theMMQB.com: In NFL history, 24 players have been targeted more than 180 times in a season, and not one of them won a Super Bowl during that season. First of these 24 players was Sterling Sharpe, in 1993.

Moral of the story; winning teams have more balance on offense.

4) Clayton Kershaw is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with his bad back.

3) Former Washington/USC coach Steve Sarkisian replaces Kyle Shanahan as OC of the Falcons. Unusual for a Super Bowl team to bring in a coordinator from outside the organization the next season. What a rollercoaster Sarkisian’s life has been the last few years, on and off the field.

2) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not), they would look like this:
NL: Washington-Brewers-Dodgers. Wild Cards: Arizona-Colorado
AL: Boston-Cleveland-Houston. Wild Cards: New York-Kansas City

1) Happy birthday, Biff Pocoroba; the former Atlanta Braves’ catcher (1978 All-Star) was one of my boyhood heroes. He caught Phil Niekro’s knuckleball, once hit a game-winning, bases-loaded double off of Tom Seaver on national TV; he turns 63 today. Happy birthday, sir.