2 for Tuesday: Notes on Korean baseball, and some random thoughts…….

13) I was supposed to have cataract surgery today, but it was delayed until New York State re-opens elective surgeries; I could do a couple days in this space venting about how/why this is all happening, but in respect to the 80,000+  who have already died, I’ll save it for another day.

Reading is one of my joys, but for the last seven months, reading has been difficult; it is way better now than it was before my retina got fixed, but it is still not close to 100%. I look forward to the day when I can read easily, and then watch games on TV. Live games.

12) Four of the Raiders’ eight home games this season are in primetime; am guessing those Las Vegas tourism TV commercials will bring the league a bundle of cash.

11) MLB submitted a plan to the Players’ Association Monday, as to when/how the 2020 season should start; will be interesting to see what the proposal was, and how the players respond.

10) Sunday night will be the last two episodes of The Last Dance, the documentary about the ’98 Chicago Bulls. Saturday, ACC Network is airing 11 hours of Michael Jordan’s games from North Carolina, so if you want to see what college basketball was like before 3-pointers and the shot clock, that’ll be a good chance to see it.

I’ve enjoyed The Last Dance; very well done show. Winning six titles in eight years isn’t easy; it is an interesting part of NBA history, how Phil Jackson orchestrated all that, and how Michael Jordan interacted with his teammates

9) My favorite part of the eight episodes was when Will Perdue was explaining how he and a few other teammates were playing blackjack for $1 a hand in the front of the plane, while Jordan, Ron Harper and other teammates played cards for BIG money in the back.

Jordan comes to the front and wants to join the $1 blackjack game; John Paxson asks him why he would want to play in such a nickel/dime game. Jordan says, “So I can have YOUR money in MY picket.” Thats how competitive he was/is. 

8) Curt Bloom was/is the radio announcer for the AA Birmingham Barons, the baseball team Jordan played for; Bloom pointed out on Twitter this weekend that the first batter Jordan faced in the pros was a guy named John Courtright, who is now a player agent (Patrick Corbin is one of his clients). Courtright, interestingly, is a Duke alum.

7) If you’re a basketball fan of a certain age, you also remember George Gervin, a great scorer for the San Antonio Spurs; he averaged 25.1 ppg over a 14-year career that began in the ABA, with the Virginia Squires, who had another pretty good player, Julius Erving.

Whoever the radio announcer for the Squires was, he had his hands full; you had Gervin, Erving and also George Irvine, so a fast break was a potential tongue twister.

6) Anyway, Gervin’s first game was January 26, 1973, a 127-121 home loss against the Utah Stars; Gervin scored 20 points in 19:00 off the bench.

Eight Stars scored in double figures, but none of them scored more than 17 points. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before.

Whoever the stat guy was, he was generous; Virginia scored 44 field goals, had 39 assists. When I was scoring game, gave out a lot of assists, but never that many.

5) This is how much basketball has changed; the ABA is responsible for the 3-pointer being brought into the NBA, but in this game, 127-121, there were only eight 3-pointers taken, one by Utah, seven by the Squires.

Few years ago, Klay Thompson scored 37 pointers in a quarter; he was 11-15 behind the arc that night, scoring 52 points.

4) Watching old baseball games for weeks, it turns out that James Shields was on the wrong side of a couple of unique baseball days; he gave up Bartolo Colon’s first major league home run, and he was the losing pitcher when Dallas Braden threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay in 2010.

Shields was a very good pitcher, a big part of the Rays’ run to the 2008 World Series.

3) For the last 15 seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played a total of 17 games in primetime, not a lot; with Tom Brady signing on this season, the Bucs are on in primetime five times.

2) If they do this right, the Korean baseball league (KBO) is going to make a killing selling apparel online, with their games on ESPN six days a week.

1) As far as the NFL schedule being adaptable to starting late, consider this:
— Every Week 2 opponent has the same bye week later on in the season.
— There are no divisional games in Weeks 3-4.
— All of which points to Week 1 potentially being tacked on to the end of season, if need be. 

Tuesday’s Den: Notes from the first week of the KBO

— Home teams are 12-15
— Over is 15-11-1
— Unlike this country, where good pitchers like Josh Hader routinely pitch in the 7th/8th inning, Korean bullpens appear to be pretty lame.

Doosan Bears:
— Started out 3-2, scoring 27 runs in the wins, 2-3 runs in losses.
— Four of their five games went over.

Hanwha Eagles:
— Lost four of first six games, scoring 3 or fewer runs five times.
— Their bullpen lost all three games in their series against the Kiwoom Heroes.
— Five of their six games stayed under the total.

Kia Tigers:
— Lost four of first six games, scoring 8-12 runs in the wins.
— Four of their six games went over.

Kiwoom Heroes:
— Won five of first six games; they blew a 4-2 lead late in their only loss.
— Four of their six games stayed under total.
— Bullpen won three of four decisions so far.

KT Wiz:
— Lost four of first five games; bullpen already has three losses.
— Wiz scored 12-12 runs in splitting last two games.
— Over is 4-0-1 in Wiz games this season.
— In 70’s/80’s, there used a be a store in NYC called The Wiz that sold stereo equipment; their motto was “Nobody beats the Wiz.” So far this season, most everyone beats the Wiz.

LG Twins:
— Twins lost three of first five games, scoring 8-10 runs in the wins.
— Four of their first five games went over.

Lotte Giants:
— Giants scored 36 runs in winning their first five games.
— Over is 3-1-1 in their first five games.

NC Dinos:
— Won four of first five games, blowing 6-0 lead in their loss Sunday.
— Dinos scored 29 runs in their last three games, which all went over.

Samsung Lions:
— Lost four of first six games, scoring total of 8 runs in the losses.
— Three of their last four games went over.

SK Wyverns:
— Lost four of first five games, scoring average of 3.4 runs/game.
— Three of their five games stayed under the total. 

Monday’s List of 13: Random thoughts on a very quiet day

13) May 10, 1970, 50 years ago yesterday, Bobby Orr scored an overtime goal to give the Boston Bruins a 4-0 sweep over the St Louis Blues, and their first Stanley Cup in 29 years. They made a statue out of the picture of Orr extended in the air, parallel to the ground after he got tripped while scoring the goal.

12) Three years earlier, NHL had expanded from six to 12 teams all at once; the six new teams were all in the same division, and St Louis won that division the first three years, but went 0-12 in their Stanley Cup finals games.

Over the next 46 years, St Louis never got back to the Stanley Cup finals, but they won their first Cup last season, beating the Bruins in seven games. Looks like they may get to be defending Cup champions for two years, since it seems unlikely this NHL season will continue.

11) An entire umpiring crew in the KBO (Korean baseball league) got demoted to the minors last week, after only four days of the season- they must’ve been pretty terrible.

10) KBO started in 1982, but they didn’t have standardized baseballs until 2016.

9) If you had to guess “Which major leaguer holds the record for most RBI’s in his first major league game?” you wouldn’t have guessed Starlin Castro, but on May 7, 2010, Castro went 2-5 with a homer and six RBI in the Cubs’ 14-7 win in Cincinnati.

Castro batted 8th, homered off the aptly-named Homer Bailey in his first MLB at-bat.

8) Baseball’s 2020 amateur draft will be June 10, but it will be reduced to only five rounds. Teams can sign undrafted players from June 13-August 1.

7) Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s brother, is transferring out of Alabama; he played in five games for the Crimson Tide as a freshman last year, completing 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards and a TD. He was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school.

6) Former Ravens/Broncos’ QB Joe Flacco had neck surgery in April; will be interesting to see if/when he resurfaces as an NFL quarterback.

5) Giants have Jason Garrett as their new offensive coordinator; they also brought in Cooper Rush to be a backup QB- he was Dak Prescott’s backup the last three years. Rush’s familiarity with Garrett’s offense will help Daniel Jones adjust to a new system.

4) I will never understand why baseball managers/coaches wear uniforms; it makes no sense

3) I didn’t remember that Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars nine times; wonder what he got paid for doing that?

2) Why some teams never win:
Stephen Curry was the 7th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft; Minnesota had the 5th and 6th picks- they took two guards, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, passing on Curry.

Rubio has had a solid NBA career, while Flynn lasted only three years in the NBA.

1) It looks like I’ll start posting trends/stats for Korean baseball games, beginning with Thursday night/Friday morning games. ESPN shows some of the games, so I’m assuming there will be some interest in them. 

Sunday’s Den: Trends, notes for AFC teams

Baltimore Ravens:
— Ravens have three consecutive prime-time games, in Weeks 12-14.
— Baltimore won its last four Week 1 games, by combined score of 139-20.
— Ravens won 13 of last 15 home openers (10-5 ATS)
— Baltimore is 8-4 ATS in last dozen road openers.

Buffalo Bills:
— Buffalo is 5-35 vs New England since Belichick has been coach.
— Bills won six of last nine home openers (8-5 ATS in last 13, 5-2 ATS in last seven as a home favorite).
— Under is 5-2 in Buffalo’s last seven home openers.
— Buffalo lost 10 of last 15 road openers (4-2 ATS in last six).

Cincinnati Bengals:
— Four of rookie QB Joe Burrow’s first six games are on the road.
— Bengals covered five of their last six road openers, with Dalton at QB.
— Over is 9-2 in Cincy’s last 11 road openers.
— Two prime-time games for Bengals: Week 2 in Cleveland, Week 15 at home against the Steelers. 

Cleveland Browns:
— Browns have consecutive December games in the Meadowlands, vs Giants/Jets.
— Expectations are lower; only two primetime games this year, only one 4:00 game.
— Last six years, Cleveland is 4-1-1 ATS in its home opener; from 1999-2013, they were 2-13 ATS.
— Since 2003, Browns, are 6-9-2 ATS in road openers.

Denver Broncos
— Broncos have a Week 3 home game, then a Thursday night game in New Jersey, against the Jets; tough scheduling spot.
— Denver is 20-10-1 ATS in its last 31 home openers.
— Over is 8-4-1 in their last 13 home openers.
— Broncos lost their last three road openers, by 10-13-8 points (0-3 ATS).

Houston Texans:
— Only one primetime game (Week 1 at KC), one 4:00 game (Week 2).
— They play Thanksgiving Day in Detroit four days after hosting New England.
— Houston covered twice in last seven home openers.
— Texans lost four of last five road openers (6-4-1 ATS in last 11).

Indianapolis Colts
— Only one primetime game, three 4:00 games; surprising.
— Only five of their 16 games are outdoors- they play three road games in domes.
— Colts lost five of their last six home openers (1-5 ATS as a favorite)
— Indy lost eight of its last ten road openers, five of last six season openers.

Jacksonville Jaguars
— Week 3 vs Miami is their only primetime game.
— Old friend Nick Foles brings his Chicago Bears to Jacksonville in Week 16.
— Jaguars lost seven of last eight home openers, last four of which went over total.
— J’ville won two of last three road openers (3-0 ATS) , after losing previous nine.

Kansas City Chiefs
— KC has three primetime games in the season’s first six weeks.
— Chiefs started out 1-0 the last five years, scoring 36 ppg in openers.
— Over is 4-0-1 in Chiefs’ last five home openers.
— KC covered six of its last seven road openers.

Las Vegas Raiders
— Raiders open Allegiant Stadium with a Week 2 Monday night home game against the Saints.
— Six days later in Week 3, they’re in Foxboro for a 1:00 game; difficult scheduling spot.
— Raiders covered four of their last five road openers.
— Do you have home field advantage, playing in a city you’ve never played in before, in a stadium with no fans? Could be a big question for the Raiders.

LA Chargers
— Two primetime games, both on road, in New Orleans, Las Vegas.
— Chargers play their first game in SoFi Stadium in Week 2, against the Chiefs.
— Nov 22 in Denver, Nov 29 in Buffalo figure to be cold weather games.
— Chargers covered six of their last eight road openers. 

Miami Dolphins
— Miami plays New England in weeks 1-15, Buffalo in weeks 2-17, but they play the Jets in Weeks 10-12, with a bye in between.
— Dolphins won seven of their last ten home openers.
— Over is 14-3 in their last 17 home openers.
— Miami covered six of its last eight road openers.

New England Patriots
— Play consecutive games in LA in Weeks 13-14, against Chargers first, then a Thursday game with the Rams.
— Five primetime games, three 4:00 games; lot of TV time.
— Patriots won 16 of last 18 home openers (9-7-2 ATS).
— New England won seven of last nine road openers.

New Jersey Jets
— Two primetime games, both at home, vs Denver, New England.
— Host Patriots on Monday night in Week 9, then visit Miami six days later.
— Jets are 17-6 ATS in their last 23 road openers.
— Five of their last seven home openers stayed under.

Pittsburgh Steelers
— Opening on the road for the six year in row (1-3-1 ATS last five)
— Consecutive primetime games in December, at Buffalo/Cincy….brrrrrr!!!!
— Lost last two home openers, 42-37/28-26.
— 10 of their last 13 road openers stayed under the total.

Tennessee Titans
— Three primetime games; December 27 in Green Bay should be fun.
— Don’t play a road game in October; five of their last seven games are on road.
— Lost five of their last six home openers.
— Won six of last seven road openers, covered nine of last 12. 

Saturday’s Den: Looking at Nolan Ryan’s no-hitters, and other random stuff…….

We start with a recap of Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters, thrown to seven different catchers:
1) 5-15-73: Angels 3, Royals 0 in KC:
— Ryan got knocked out of his previous start in the first inning on May 11; on the 12th, he came in and got a six-out save. He pitched this no-hitter on two days’ rest.
— Lou Piniella was the Royals’ RF in this game. 
— Bobby Valentine batted 3rd, Frank Robinson 4th for the Angels.
— Angels’ catcher: Jeff Torborg, who caught three no-hitters, including Sandy Koufax’ perfect game in 1965.

2) 7-15-73: Angels 6, Tigers 0 in Detroit:
— Ryan gave up six runs in six IP in his previous start.
— Game was 1-0 into 8th inning; Angels scored four in the 8th.
— Jim Perry was the opposing pitcher; he won 217 big league games.
— Angels catcher: Art Kusyner, who hit .149 in 41 games for the Halos that year.

3) 9-28-74: Angels 4, Twins 0:
— His last start of the year; he had thrown 45 innings in his previous five (4-1) starts.
— 8 walks, 15 strikeouts; 23 of 35 batters didn’t hit a fair ball.
— Rod Carew, Tony Oliva played for the Twins that day; damn good hitters.
— Angels’ catcher: Tom Egan, who wound up batting .103.

4) 6-1-75: Angels 1, Orioles 0:
— Ryan had given up 11 runs in 13 IP in his previous two starts.
— Dave Chalk knocked in Mickey Rivers in 3rd inning, with the game’s only run.
— Jerry Remy led off for the Angels; he is now the Red Sox’ TV analyst.
— Angels’ catcher: Ellie Rodriguez, who played nine years in the majors.

5) 9-28-81: Astros 5, Dodgers 0:
— Was 1-2, 5.68 in his previous three starts.
— Ryan missed two months in the middle of this season (June 10-August 14)
— Dodgers wound up winning the World Series a few weeks later.
— Astros’ catcher: Alan Ashby, who played 17 years in the big leagues.

6) 6-11-90: Rangers 5, A’s 0 in Oakland:
— Was 0-3, 10.13 in his previous five starts, including a 5-4 home loss to Oakland five days before this game.
— A’s were 38-18 at the time, lost the World Series that year.
— Julio Franco hit two homers, knocked in four runs for Texas.
— Rangers’ catcher: John Russell, who hit .225 in a 10-year big league career.

7) 5-1-91: Rangers 3, Blue Jays 0:
— Two walks, 16 strikeouts, not bad for a 44-year old.
— Blue Jays wound up 91-71 that year, losing ALCS.
— Jeff Huson played SS for Texas that day; nowadays, he is the Colorado Rockies’ TV analyst.
— Rangers’ catcher: Mike Stanley, who hit 187 homers in a 15-year career.

Elsewhere…….
8) In David Cutcliffe’s 12 seasons as Duke’s football coach, the Blue Devils have won 72 games. In the 24 years before Cutcliffe came to Durham, the Blue Devils won 73 games.

9) Lost my mind a little earlier this week when some NFL writer posted his positional ratings for every team, and he had Jared Goff ranked 21st amongst NFL quarterbacks. No bleepin’ way.

Under Sean McVay, Goff is 35-16 as a starter; he’s won an NFC title game on the road, putting up 34 points in a hostile Superdome. No way in hell is Daniel Jones or Baker Mayfield better than he is; Matthew Stafford has played 11 years in the NFL, is 0-3 in playoff games. Goff is 2-2 in playoff games, in only four years.

10) There was a great story this week about the late Don Shula, and about how single-minded coaches can be.

Shula obviously coached the Miami Dolphins, and for part of that time, the TV show Miami Vice was a very popular program on NBC. Don Johnson was one of the stars.

After a Miami win one day, a Dolphin staffer brings Johnson in to meet Shula; Johnson is a big sports fan, but Shula has no idea who Johnson is. When the staffer mentions Miami Vice, Shula thinks he is an actual policeman. Focus helps coaches be great; Shula had great focus.

11) These days, by the way, Don Johnson is often seen at Cal-Santa Barbara basketball games. He was in Nash Bridges (his dad was played by James Gammon, the manager in Major League) and he was also very good as a golf pro in Tin Cup.

Our last two nuggets are from the great baseball writer Joe Posnanski:
12) Since 1905, there have been 16,657 players make their way to the major leagues; of that number, 1,621 (9.7%) played on a team that won a World Series.

13) 403 played on 2+ World Series champions; 30 played on 5+ title teams. 

2 Things for Friday: My quick thoughts on the 2020 NFL schedule……

13) None of us know if there will be an NFL season this year, and if there are games will fans be present, this is all unchartered territory, but for a few days, I’m going to bury myself in research about the 2020 season and hopefully life will feel somewhat normal again, at least for a little while.

Defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs open up at home against the Texans on Thursday in Week 1; Steelers-Giants, Titans-Broncos are the Monday night twin bill in Week 1.

12) From Weeks 5-11, Tampa Bay will play five of seven games in prime-time; Bucs figure to be an underdog in New Orleans in Week 1, the first time Tom Brady has been a regular season underdog since November 30, 2014, when the Patriots (+3) lost 26-21 in Green Bay.

11) Jerry Jones was born in Los Angeles, is largely responsible for the NFL letting the Rams move back to LA, so it figures that his Cowboys open SoFi Stadium against the Rams in Week 1.

10) As far as the Rams’ schedule goes:
— Bad news: Three eastern time zone games in the first five weeks.
— Good news: No cold weather games, except maybe Seattle in Week 16.
— Horrendous news: A week 7 Monday night home game against Chicago, followed by a game in Miami Sunday at 1pm. This is a very brutal scheduling spot.

9) New England and their new QB (whoever he is) visit Seattle, Kansas City in the first four weeks of the season; Patriots have consecutive games in SoFi Stadium, Week 13 against the Chargers, then a Week 14 Thursday night game with the Rams.

8) 49ers play consecutive games in the Meadowlands, in Weeks 2-3 against the Jets, Giants. Am guessing the 49ers would spend the week practicing in Youngstown, OH, where the DiBartolo family lives. Too long a trip to bounce back and forth twice in a week.

7) Raiders open brand-new Allegiant Stadium with a Week 2 Monday night home game against the Saints; they open the season in Carolina. Las Vegas also has a very tough scheduling spot, going to Foxboro the Sunday after that Monday night game with New Orleans.

6) NFL doesn’t expect much out of Philip Rivers and the Colts; they get only three 4:25 starts and one prime-time game, a Week 10 Thursday night game at Tennessee.

5) Same thing for the Washington Redskins, in Ron Rivera’s first season there; three 4:00 games, no primetime games, not one. Not a lot of faith there, not even a Dallas game.

Washington has a brutal 3-game road trip in Weeks 12-14: at Dallas, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

4) Steelers are going to freeze their butts off the last six weeks of the season; three home games, with road games in Buffalo, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

3) Arizona has three straight road games in Weeks 4-6; at Carolina, at the Jets, and a Monday night game in Dallas, before a Sunday home game with Seattle on a short week.

2) In Weeks 4-6, Philadelphia Eagles play consecutive games against the 49ers, Steelers, Ravens’ I’m assuming Pittsburgh will be a better team with Ben Roethlisberger back under center. If so, that is a very challenging three weeks.

1) Tyrod Taylor and the Chargers visit Taylor’s old team in Buffalo in Week 12; their first game in SoFi Stadium is against the Chiefs in Week 2.

I’ll spend the next few days examining all this stuff and will be back with trends and into to ponder, during this time when there is very little sports stuff to ponder, other than Korean baseball. 

Friday’s Den: Everything I know about Korean baseball

— There are 10 teams in the KBO; top five make the playoffs. #1 seed gets a pass to their World Series. Six of last eight #1 seeds won the KBO championship.

— When the #4-seed plays the #5-seed, it is a best-of-3 series, but the #4-seed gets spotted a game, so the #5-seed has to win both games to advance. #4 seed only needs to win once.

— Teams are owned by big corporations, not rich people.

— League started in 1982; KIA Tigers have won the most titles (11), but had lousy years the last two seasons, so they fired their manager and brought in former major leaguer Matt Williams, who has the biggest salary for any manager in KBO history.

— Three of the ten teams have never won the KBO title.

— Game are declared a tie after 12 innings; for playoff games, 15 innings.

— There are some former major leaguers in the KBO; Dan Straily, Aaron Altherr, Tyler Saladino are recognizable names.

— If a KBO player tests positive for COVID-19, the league shuts down for three weeks.

— Base coaches and some umpires are wearing medical masks; the players aren’t.

— Every team plays the other nine teams 16 teams each; balanced schedule.

— Teams play six days a week, usually having Mondays off, but less so this year, since they’re trying to get all 144 games in, despite their late start.

— Doosan Bears and the LG Twins share Jamsil Stadium, much like the Clippers/Lakers share Staples Center.

— There are fewer power pitchers in the KBO; less strikeouts, more balls in play.

— NC Dinos catcher Yang Eui-ji hit .354 last year, with a 1.012 OPS

— Teams’ uniforms have lot of advertisements on them.

— Games will be televised six nights a week by ESPN, but night games in Korea mean a 5:30am start here in beautiful upstate New York— I’m not a morning person.

— Good to have live baseball though, even if it is without fans. I’ll start posting daily write-ups on games after teams have played 8-10 games. 

Thursday’s Den: Paul’s list of the best TV characters……

My friend Paul presents his all-time best TV characters:

1) Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H— Alan Alda played this character so well, a wise-cracking surgeon who got himself thru working in an Army hospital in the Korean War by making people laugh, but by the end of the series, you could see the weariness of war on his face.

Rest of this list is presented in alphabetical order:
— Jeb Bartlett, The West Wing— Martin Sheen played the President for 155 episodes, when life was more normal. He won a Golden Globe for Best Actor- Television Series Drama in 2001, and also won two SAG awards.

— Archie Bunker, All in the Family— Carroll O’Connor played this”lovable bigot” from 1971-83; Archie had a gruff, overbearing demeanor, largely defined by his bigotry towards a diverse group of individuals. Tension with his son-in-law (Rob Reiner) still resonates today, if you follow Reiner on Twitter.

— Bugs Bunny— Created in the late 30’s, Bugs became famous for his flippant, personality and his catch phrase “Eh…What’s up, doc?” He was also the official mascot of Warner Brothers Entertainment.

— Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory— Jim Parsons has won four Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a TCA Award, and two Critics’ Choice TV awards for his portrayal of a theoretical physicist at Cal Tech, He has a genius-level IQ, but lacks social skills.

— Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers— Played by the great British comic actor John Cleese, Basil is the proprietor of the hotel Fawlty Towers- he is cynical, snobbish and is desperate to belong to a higher social class. In a 2001 poll, Basil ranked #4 in all-time British TV characters.

— Dr J0el Fleischman, Northern Exposure— Rob Morrow planed central character at the beginning of the series, a young, somewhat uptight doctor from Queens who is contractually bound to practice in a remote Alaskan town for four years to repay a student loanfrom the government.

— Arthur Fonzarelli, Happy Days— Henry Winkler played Fonzie, a stereotypical greaser who wore a leather jacket, rode his motorcycle and was a lot cooler than any of his friends in 1950’s Milwaukee. In 1999, TV Guide named Fonzie the #4 TV character of all-time.

— Frank Furillo, Hill Street Blues— The show chronicled the lives of the staff of a single police station located on Hill Street in an unnamed large city; Daniel J Travanti played Lt Furillo- this show won eight Emmys in its first season, and 98 Emmy nominations overall.

— Bob Hartley, The Bob Newhart Show— Newhart played a Chicago psychologist whose interactions with his wife, friends, patients, and colleagues lead to humorous situations and a lot of laughs. Great supporting cast: Jerry the dentist, Howard the pilot and his wife Emily, played by Suzanne Pleshette.

— Oscar Madison, Odd Couple— Jack Klugman played a divorced New York City sportswriter who shares his apartment with his friend Felix Unger, when Felix’s wife tosses him out of their home. The two men have almost nothing in common, which is what made the show so funny.

— Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show— Mary Tyler Moore plays the associate producer, and later producer at TV station WJM in Minneapolis, at a time when not many women got jobs like that. Great supporting cast: Ted Knight, Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Betty White and Valerie Harper.

— Homer Simpson, The Simpsons— Homer Jay Simpson is the bumbling husband of Marge and father of Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson; he is voiced by Dan Castellaneta. In 2010, he was voted by Entertainment Weekly as the #2 second-greatest cartoon character, behind Bugs Bunny.

— Andy Sipowitz, NYPD Blue— Dennis Franz played a detective working on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; he was the only cast member to appear in every episode of the show’s 12 seasons. One writer described Sipowicz as havng “an underrated, edgy mixture of grit and sensitivity”

— Jon Snow, Game of Thrones— Kit Harington plays Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, the honorable lord of Winterfell, an ancient fortress in the North of the fictional continent of Westeros. Knowing his prospects are limited by his status as a bastard, Jon joins the Night’s Watch, who guard the far northern borders from the wildlings who live beyond The Wall. 

— Tony Soprano, The Sopranos— James Gandolfini played a character that was loosely based on a real-life New Jersey mobster. Throughout the HBO series, Tony struggles to balance the conflicting needs of his actual family with those of the Mafia family he controls.

— Spock, Star Trek— Leonard Nimoy played science office and first officer aboard the USS Enterprise as it explores the galaxy and defend the United Federation of Planets. Spock later served as a Federation ambassador; he is part human, part Vulcan, who was raised in a test tube for two months.

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

13) RIP Don Shula, 90, who passed away Monday. One of the all-time great coaches.

— Was a head coach in the NFL for 33 years.
— Was 71-23-4 as coach of the Baltimore Colts, winning the NFL title in ’68 but losing that Super Bowl to the AFC champion Jets.
— Was 257-133-2 as coach of the Miami Dolphins, winning two Super Bowls.
— His ’72 Dolphins are the last unbeaten team in NFL history.

12) This kind of sums up how great a coach Shula was:
— He went 5-4 as a head coach against George Halas; Halas started coaching in 1920.
— He went 2-0 as a head coach against Bill Belichick, who is still coaching.

11) So who would be on. Mt Rushmore of NFL head coaches?
I’m assuming Vince Lombardi and Belichick would be there.

That leaves Shula, Chuck Noll, Joe Gibbs, Bill Walsh, Tom Landry to battle it out for the last two spots. Not a decision I would want to make. (I’d choose Shula and Noll)

10) Shula has two sons who are coaches:
— David Shula was head coach of the Bengals from 1992-96; it didn’t go well. After working in the family’s steakhouse business for 20 years, he is now the WR coach at Dartmouth
— Mike Shula is the QB coach for the Denver Broncos; he was the head coach at Alabama before Nick Saban, and has coached for four different teams since then.
— Grandson Chris Shula worked the last three years as a linebacker coach for the Rams.

Elsewhere in the world……..
9) NFL will release its schedule Thursday night; no international games this season, and no one is 100% sure that this schedule will go on as planned. Things could be pushed back, games could be played in empty stadiums.

But at least on Thursday night, I can occupy myself researching games that may or may not be played. Hopefully they’ll choose the option that is the safest for the most people.

8) Was watching Game 1 of the 1969 World Series Monday night, Mets-Orioles in Baltimore, an Orioles’ win that ended the Mets’ 361-game winning streak in games replayed on SNY during the pandemic. Game was in black/white, Curt Gowdy on the call.

— Orioles’ pitching coach was George Bamberger, who later managed the Mets (1982-83)
— Bamberger was replaced as Mets manager by Davey Johnson, who played 2B for the Orioles in that World Series, and made the final out in Game 5.

7) Bill O’Donnell was one of the Orioles’ radio announcers; he was on this NBC broadcast for a while; during one of Frank Robinson’s at-bats, O’Donnell talked about how Robinson was a manager in the Puerto Rico winter league, and how Robinson wanted to manage in the majors, not the minor leagues. 

Six years later, Robinson was named player/manager of the Cleveland Indians.

6) Most career buzzer-beating game-winning shots in NBA history:
9— Michael Jordan
8— Magic Johnson, Joe Johnson

5) Watching The Last Dance on ESPN, it is sad that the Bulls had such a great run but their GM seemed pretty eager to break the nucleus up. Jerry Krause is deceased, so he isn’t around to defend himself, but good grief, give the players credit for winning, even if you’re lying.

NBA is a players’ league and has been for a long time now. Look at Golden State this year; their great players got hurt, and they went in the ashcan. Would’ve been nice if Krause could’ve sat back, enjoyed the Bulls’ success without trying to overshadow the players.

4) Had forgotten that the Atlanta Hawks used to play home games in the Georgia Dome; in 1998, Bulls-Hawks drew 62,000 fans. For a regular season game. Wow. Thats kind of appeal Jordan had back then.

3) I’ve been reading lot of stuff about the old ABA; Indiana Pacers-Kentucky Colonels once had a playoff series in 1970 where they played three games in less than 48 hours. Imagine players today having playoff games on three consecutive days? They’d stage a walkout.

2) John Calipari’s son Brad is a backup guard at Detroit Mercy; the Titans are playing a game in Rupp Arena on November 13, the guarantee check the school gets is their reward for giving the kid a scholarship and playing time for two seasons.

Brad Calipari played about 17:30 a game LY, shooting 38% from the arc for a bad 8-23 Detroit team whose best player, Antoine Davis, slumped to 32.4% on the arc after shooting 38% as a freshman. Davis is the son of head coach Mike Davis.

1) Some good news; Brooke Baldwin and Chris Cuomo are back in CNN’s studios, after winning their struggles with COVID-19. Glad to see that. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: The Professor’s favorite non-fiction books…….

These are 13 of my favorite non-fiction books, for content, but also as important is the writing/storytelling

1) “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson- Book about the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and its chief architect; there’s also a serial killer stalking young women in the Windy City (cannot recommend Larson enough, all of his books are great stories and so well written and researched)

2) “Troublesome Young Men” by Lynne Olson- About the MPs (members of the British Parliament) who understood the threat that Nazi Germany posed beginning in the mid 1930s and they fought to make England prepared for a coming conflict

3) “The Best and the Brightest” by David Halberstam- A character study of the men in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations most responsible for dragging the US into a shooting war in Vietnam

4) “The Great Bridge” by David McCullough- About the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, centers around the chief architect and builder, local story for me and the Armadillo, as the guy is a graduate of RPI (McCullough is one of the greatest writers in the 20th century, and also lent his voice to tons of public television narration over the years)

5) “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt- Memoir of growing up in Ireland during the Great Depression; at times you’ll laugh and cry on the same page. 

6) “Passionate Sage” by Joseph Ellis- A short biography of John Adams, one of the greatest characters in American history and the most underrated “Founding Father”, the book centers on his post-presidency years

7) “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Paul Elie- Joint intellectual biography of writers and prominent Catholics Thomas Merton, Walker Percy, Dorothy Day and Flannery O’Connor

8) “The Long Gray Line” by Rick Atkinson- A look at the lives of the men who graduated West Point in 1966, takes them through their Vietnam War experiences and beyond

9) “A Drinking Life” by Pete Hamill- Memoir of the great New York City tabloid journalist. 

10) “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” by David Simon- Simon followed around Baltimore homicide detectives in the 1980s; this book became the basis of several television shows, including The Wire. 

11) “Selected Speeches and Writings” by Abraham Lincoln- The best American-born writer, and a pretty decent political leader. 

12) “A Testament of Hope” by Martin Luther King Jr- Collected speeches and writings of the great civil rights leader. 

13) “Ask Not” by Thurston Clarke- An in-depth look at the Inaugural Address of John F Kennedy

Monday’s Den: Random thoughts on a spring day

13) Dallas Cowboys gave Andy Dalton $7M to be Dak Prescott’s backup this year. Dalton had been expected to go to Jacksonville, where Jay Gruden is the new OC, but Dalton returns to the Dallas-Fort Worth area-  he went to college at TCU.

12) NBA TV showed the 1983 Detroit-Denver game, the highest scoring game in NBA history:
— Detroit 186, Denver 184, in triple OT

— Isiah Thomas scored 47 points, John Long 41, Kelly Tripucka 35
— Kiki Vandeweghe scored 51, Alex English 47, Dan Issel 28

— How the sport has changed; each team took two 3-pointers, THE WHOLE GAME!!!

Game was 74-all at halftime. TR Dunn played 36:00 for Denver, took 3 shots. Nuggets had only seven assists on 68 field goals. Lot of 1-on-1 play, not a lot of passing.

11) Lot of kids declare for the NBA Draft but don’t hire an agent, so they can get evaluated at the NBA Combine, but this year, there is no Combine, so do the kids go back to school, or take a chance that someone will draft them? Pretty important decision.

10) DePaul will play home/home with crosstown rival Loyola, starting this winter; Cincinnati-Louisville also started a series. This is going to be a growing trend; non-conference opponents located close to each other will play each other more, to reduce travel expenses, increase attendance at the games.

9) Nolan Ryan threw 2.1 innings for the Mets in the ’69 World Series, at age 22.

Ryan pitched another another 24 seasons in the major leagues, but never got back to the World Series. His team made the playoffs four times after that; Ryan wound up with a 2-2, 3.07 mark in nine post-season games (7 starts).

8) Before the NFL Draft ended, Carolina Panthers came to an agreement to sign free agent QB Tommy Stevens as a free agent; one small problem, New Orleans Saints found out about the agreement, traded back into the draft and chose Stevens in the 7th round.

Stevens wouldn’t even have started Mississippi State’s bowl game, but the freshman QB who beat him out got his eye busted up by a teammate in a fight during practice, so Stevens got the nod. Not sure a 7th round QB was worth getting fined by the league, but no one asked me.

7) Now you can get a driver’s license in Georgia without taking a road test; what genius came up with that idea? What could possibly go wrong?

6) Over the last two years, NFL receivers with the most receptions of 15+ yards:
88— Julio Jones
73— Mike Evans
69— Michael Thomas
69— Robert Woods

5) College basketball players have five years to play, should they miss a year because of injury of illness or personal issues. But Ivy League players don’t have that option.

This season, these college basketball teams will have Ivy League grad transfers:

Alabama, Duke, Michigan, Ohio State, Seton Hall

4) Read online, and this made me feel better, that lot of people now struggle to remember what day of the week it is. Thought I was the only one, but when you have activities and habits, a week has a template of how it unfolds. During football season, if I’m writing my NFL articles, that means it is Tuesday or Wednesday; if I’m logging stats into my notebook, it is Monday, and so on and so forth.

With nothing going on, every day becomes the same, and it really doesn’t matter what day it is. Hopefully that will change soon.

3) These are boring times, for sure; have to be creative with what I do to amuse myself, but I draw the line at watching cornhole tournaments on ESPN. No thank you.

2) Pro golfer Mark Calcavecchia posted on Twitter this week that he played golf this week for the first time in 52 days. Wonder when was the last time he went that long without golfing, except for being injured?

1) RIP Matt Keough, 64, who passed away this weekend; the former big league pitcher was in the majors for nine years- he went 16-13, 2.92 for the 1980 A’s, finishing 20 of his 32 starts, but he was never the same after being overused that season. RIP, sir. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Random stuff on a very quiet weekend

13) One of the advantages of my advanced age is these days, when old broadcasts of ballgames are on TV, I enjoy watching most of them. Brings back some good/bad memories.

One thing about those older broadcasts; graphics weren’t on the screen all the time. Now I’m spoiled by having time/score/pitch count on the screen at all times.

12) Thursday night, NBC Sports Network showed three old bowl games; watched all three, and it was fun, though not as fun as live baseball.

Dick Enberg had one game; was a pleasure to hear his voice. What a great announcer he was; Tom Hammond and Don Criqui had the other two games- also very good. 

I’d forgotten what a good football analyst Bob Trumpy was; he spoke his mind honestly. You don’t hear as much of that these days.

11) Last of the three games was Miami-Oklahoma for the national championship, when Jimmy Johnson won his first national title. You think Jerry Jones watched that game? They would be the next two head coaches of Jones’ Cowboys, as well as old friends.

Oklahoma ran the Wishbone offense; very little passing, and when they did pass, they didn’t do it well. But they did run the ball really well. This was the last game of the season; it was the first time the Sooners trailed in the fourth quarter all year.

10) When they start baseball back up, in no way, shape or form do I want automated umpires, or the stupid extra innings option to eliminate games going longer.

Doubleheaders with 7-inning games would be fine; having tie games would be OK.

One question; if they go with 10 teams playing in three different states, is this the beginning of the universal designated hitter?

9) 1993 San Francisco Giants won 103 games but didn’t make the playoffs; they finished a game behind the Braves in the NL West (yes, Atlanta was in the freakin’ West).

MLB added the Wild Card in each league in 1995.

8) I’d like it if the NFL added the XFL extra point options, and also their kickoff rules, maybe especially the kickoff rules. It seemed to lessen violent collisions, but there was also action on most every kickoff.

After a touchdown, XFL teams could go for one point from the 2-yard line, two points, from the 5-yard line, three points from the 10. After five weeks, no one seemed to know what the best option was- it was legitimately interesting to see what teams did.

7) Would the NBA resume at Disney World, where they play AAU games in the summer? They could play eight games at a time under one roof. Las Vegas would also like to be considered to be an option for the NBA- they have a lot of arenas starving for action.

6) NASCAR is starting up on May 12 at Darlington; there will be an actual live sport on TV, even if it is a sport I don’t follow and know very little about. Believe me, I’ll probably be watching it; I do like the pit stops. Wish I could get my car worked on that quickly.

5) Bengals released Andy Dalton this week; Cincinnati may not be the best organization in the NFL, but Dalton was 70-61-2 as a starter for the Bengals. Pretty, pretty good.

4) Tua Tagovailoa figures to be the NFL’s only left-handed QB this coming season, and the NFL’s first lefty signal-caller since Kellen Moore, who started two games for Dallas in 2015- he is now the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator.

3) Jameis Winston had LASIX surgery recently, says it has greatly improved his blurry vision. Does that mean he won’t throw 30 INT’s the next time he is an NFL starter?

2) One thing about baseball umpires in the 80’s/90’s; their strike zones could be anything, at any time. Nowadays, because of the micro-managing MLB has done to make things a lot more consistent, strike zones are pretty much the same.

Was watching an A’s game from 1991; the home plate ump was all over the place, and the A’s won the game, so I’m not complaining.

1) Excellent movie/TV trivia from KL Wheat: In the 50’s/60’s, there was a prominent actor named Bob Cummings. He was in over 100 movies/TV shows, and he was also a pilot.

Not only was Cummings a US Army Air Force pilot during World War II, his godfather was Orville Wright. Cummings was stationed for a while at Oxnard, CA; he received flight instructor certificate #1–the first flight instructor to ever receive a license.

2 for Saturday: Christy talks about her home state, and Chris the Bartender’s favorite sports movies…….

Christy tells us about the best things about her home, Louisiana:

PEOPLE:  I haven’t lived anywhere else so I can’t offer an unbiased opinion. I can tell you that for the most part, the people here are hard working, resourceful innovators who, as long as you don’t cross them, will bend over backwards to help you. Without questions……without expectations.

I think there is a great misconception that we are simple minded as opposed to a people desiring a simple life. The culture here is thick with history, superstition, slang, racism … there are many divisive opinionated ideas on every subject and the how and why of things … but most times hospitality overcomes out of respect for one another. Some of us have blended with our culture and see past the hostility. 

LAND:  The land here is green throughout the year. Wildlife thrives, the rivers and creeks usually full of fish but you do have to watch out for predators… alligators, snakes, etc. The weather is volatile at times. But I love the smell of the pine after storms and the feel of grass underfoot. Gardening is year round. I love that … playing in the dirt. Eating from the vines. Between the wildlife and gardens, the food source here is diverse. We eat very well.

FOOD:  I remember sipping coffee from demis tasse (very small) cups at my grandma’s kitchen table when I was about 4. Always gumbo and a percolator on the stove. Fig cake wasn’t far off if the figs from the backyard tree were in season. She wouldn’t speak English, though she understood every word … even spoke French to her chickens she fed from the back screen door.

My other grandmother also had us sipping coffee from her kitchen table while she cooked… Lots of vegetable soups and casseroles. Both had backyard gardens. I didn’t learn to cook from recipes but from sight, smell, and taste. You use what you have. Tis true in life as it is with everything else … Pots on the stove nonstop.

The reputation of spicey foods in Louisiana is not always the case. We are able to grow so much but most of our food can be seasoned on the table. You learn to cook what you like and with what you have. We use what we need, use and make it ” a little more” … just because life is good …” laniappe.”  A little somethin’ extra … ordinary.

Saturday’s List of 13: Chris the Bartender’s favorite sports movies

Everyone has their own favorite sports movies. Here’s mine

1. Rocky
As I said before, I could watch this movie all the time 

2. The Natural
Great baseball movie, great cast and great acting 

Wilfred Brimley’ s best role 

3. Caddyshack 
Again three words Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka (Look it up)

Armadillo: That would be Ted Knight’s real name. 

4. Major League 
“Nice catch, Hayes. Don’t ever F@&$ing do it again” Lou Brown manager Cleveland Indians 

5. The Replacements 
Just a fun movie to watch

6. Field of Dreams
Even with all the historical baseball inaccuracies, what man doesn’t want to have a catch with his father once again 

7. League of Their Own
Tom Hanks was brilliant in this movie 

Made me go to Cooperstown the next day

8. Legend of Bagger Vance 
Great golf movie with a great cast 

9. Tin Cup
Don Johnson was phenomenal in this 

Another really good golf movie and cast

10. Brian’s Song
Tearjerker (Most men won’t admit that)

Good football movie 

Just not the remake

11. Hoosiers
Probably the only basketball movie I’ve ever watched 

Gene Hackman’s best role since playing Lex Luther in Superman 

Just give the ball to Jimmy 

12. Miracle 
The story of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team 

Kurt Russell was very good a portraying Herb Brooks

Too bad Herb Brooks died just before the movie’s release 

13. The Wrestler
Not many movies have been made depicting the life and times of a washed up wrestler

Both Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei were nominated for an Academy Award for their roles