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

13) We talked the other day about Sabres-Rangers playing at Citi Field on New Years’ Day; Buffalo will be the “home” team for that game, meaning they give up a home game in Buffalo for this game to be played in NYC. It is the Rangers’ third outdoor game in NYC- they were the “visitor” in all three.

Why? Because if the Rangers play a home game outside of Madison Square Garden, it costs them a tax exemption that could be worth as much as $40M—that’s million, with an M. Oy.

12) More bad news for the New York Mets; closer Jeurys Familia has an arterial clot in his shoulder and might need surgery.

11) This is one I’ve never heard before; Yale has a really good guard named Makai Mason, who helped the Bulldogs make the NCAA’s in 2016, where they upset Baylor in a first-round game. Mason broke his foot last year and missed the whole season.

Mason is going to graduate from Yale at this time next year; he is going to play for the Bulldogs this coming winter, then he is going to be a graduate transfer at (ironically) Baylor in 2018-19.

I’ve never heard of a player announcing where he will transfer to a full year before he actually transfers. Ivy League players can’t take a redshirt season like most D-I players can, but still it is odd that he got the suspense out of the way and now everyone knows he will be in Waco in the fall of 2018.

10) If you’re looking for a good TV series to follow, I’d recommend Billions on Showtime; it is about a rich hedge-fund trader and a US Prosecutor who despise each other- the prosecutor’s wife works for the hedge fund guy, which complicates the whole story tremendously. It is really well done with lot of twists and turns. I’m a little disappointed that Season 3 won’t be on until 2018.

They’ve had 24 episodes over two seasons; you can stream them on Showtimeanytime.com

9) Pittsburgh Penguins have played ten playoff series against Washington and won nine of them.

8) Washington’s Alex Ovechkin is a great player, but he’s played 12 years in the NHL and has never been past the second round of the playoffs.

7) The guy who went to the A’s game in Oakland Wednesday dressed as an elf did that because he was the last place finisher in his office’s March Madness pool and that was his penalty for finishing last.

6) A senior media relations guy for the Milwaukee Brewers had a cool job Thursday; he was the ball boy down the leftfield line at Miller Park. He took a decent amount of grief on Brewers’ TV but seemed to be enjoying himself.

5) Arizona Cardinals signed Blaine Gabbert as a backup QB, unwittingly igniting a controversy, since Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed. Supposedly, three teams have inquired about Kaepernick, but ain’t no one signed him and off-season workouts have already begun.

Fact of the matter is this: Whomever convinced Kaepernick to take his political stand last fall screwed him over and greatly hindered his NFL career, costing him millions. Hope it was worth it.

4) Rookies pitchers started the Colorado Rockies’ last four games; kid from North Colonie (I live in South Colonie) pitched for Colorado last night. He is winning 10-1 as I type this, so good for him.

3) Steve Stone was just saying on the White Sox game that the ideal difference in speed between a fastball and change-up is 11 miles an hour. Interesting thing to monitor while watching a game.

2) Teams ask players weird stuff at these draft combines; an NBA team asked Kansas’ Frank Mason III this week “……how he would prefer to die?” What does that have to do with basketball?

Apparently, Kawhi Leonard was so nervous at his Combine interview with the Phoenix Suns that he sweated thru his suit. Because of that, the Suns took him off their draft board. Brilliant!!!!

1) Spurs 114, Rockets 75—Leonard didn’t play in this game, so of course the Spurs won by 39. Bookmakers in Las Vegas had to enjoy this outcome. This, from David Payne Purdum on Twitter: “(A bettor in Nevada) placed 3 six-figure money-line bets on Rockets to beat Spurs tonight, totaling $386,000, to win $120,000.”

Yikes.

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

13) Serious question; what does this guy James Comey do now? I mean, he gets fired as FBI Director, does he collect unemployment? Write a book? Drink himself silly? Consult with his lawyer to make sure he isn’t in trouble? Hang out at home and watch NBA playoff games? Coach his kid’s Little League team?

I’m guessing he could write a very interesting book; doubt he has done anything horrible enough that would make coaching Little League a suitable punishment.

Seriously, I was a Little League coach for four years. Never again.

12) To get a lot of RBI, it helps to have a lot of men on base when you bat. Here are the guys who’ve come to bat with the most men on base this season:

Daniel Murphy 115, Rizzo/Cano 113, Maikel Franco 109.

11) Here are the players who’ve driven in the highest %age of runners who were on base when they hit (minimum 100 PA): Charlie Blackmon 25.3%, Nomar Mazara 25.0%, Chris Owings 24.6%.

10) A fairly tall guy went to the A’s game in Oakland Wednesday afternoon dressed as an elf; no idea why, but he got himself a decent amount of TV time and he seemed to be enjoying himself on a sunny day in the Bay Area.

9) A’s 2, Angels 1—Andrew Triggs has five wins and a 2.21 ERA, 9th-best in the AL. Muy bueno!!! .

Yonder Alonso is batting .444 with runners in scoring position; rest of the A’s are hitting .175 with RISP.

8) Tampa Bay Rays are 17-19, but if games ended after the 5th inning, they’d be 23-8-5. Rays are 4-11 in games when winning run scores after the 6th inning- they’re 2-6 in one-run games.

7) Our fantasy league has 25-man rosters; you add a 26th guy if someone goes on the DL, then after the season, you cut a guy to get back to 25.

Last winter, it was an easy choice for me to get back to 25. Colorado signed Ian Desmond, had David Dahl and Manny Parra to play LF or 1B, so I sent Mark Reynolds packing, since it was unsure if he was even going to be on the 25-man roster. No bueno.

Dahl is hurt, Desmond was also hurt but is back now, while Reynolds is batting .333 and appears headed to the freakin’ All-Star Game. Wow. I can’t even call myself an idiot for this one; nobody saw it coming.

6) Cubs’ OF Kyle Schwarber played college baseball at Indiana; only two other colleges offered him a baseball scholarship: Miami OH and Cincinnati. Scouting really is an inexact science.

5) San Antonio Spurs drafted Manu Ginobili when James Harden was 10 years old.

4) Still wish they’d let kids jump right from high school to the NBA; if they don’t get drafted, then they can go to college, but for at least two years. Seems like a better idea.

3) Adam Wilk, who was an emergency starting pitcher for the Mets Sunday when Matt Harvey was suspended, was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins, so he is still in the major leagues and is having a very good week.

2) Our thoughts/prayers to Chris Berman, who lost his wife in a car accident this week. From reading Twitter, it is obvious that Berman is very well-liked by co-workers, past and present. Cathy Berman was a school teacher; she is survived by her husband and two children. RIP, ma’am.

1) Over the last three years at PLAYERS Championship, Freddie Jacobson has the best score on par 5’s: -24. Chappell, McIlroy and Garcia are all next at -23.

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

13) Reds’ rookie pitcher Amir Garrett is 3-2, 4.25 in his first six major league starts, but was sent back to AAA by the Reds this week, to “manage his innings” according to the Reds. Teams don’t like younger pitchers to throw 20%+ more innings than they did the year before, they say it leads to injuries.

Here is what it really is: Cincinnati wants to manage Garrett’s service time, so they can keep him an extra year before he becomes arbitration-eligible. They’re pretty sure now that Garrett is a keeper, so they’re going to keep him in AAA for a few weeks, again to control his big league service time.

But here’s the thing; the Reds are in first place- you’d think that would matter to them, and they’d try to drum up some enthusiasm in the community, instead of sending a promising young pitcher down to save a few bucks down the road.

12) At one point last year, the Chicago Cubs were 40-16; as I type this, they’re 17-16 this year, so it isn’t inconceivable that the NL Central could be wide open this season.

11) Miami Marlins are having a hard time with Joe West’s umpiring crew this week; Don Mattingly got tossed the last two nights- last nite, he was told to take a hike in the bottom of the 1st inning, after Adam Wainwright had thrown 11 pitches. Christian Yelich got called out on an awful pitch and he got tossed, too. Marlins have injury issues; which makes Yelich getting tossed early even more damaging.

10) Orioles will be without closer Zach Britton (forearm) until the All-Star break, very bad news for them.

9) I wasn’t aware that starting pitchers work out after they come out of games; Kendall Graveman did his workout Monday night after his seven innings, then took a shower and put uniform gear back on to watch the 11th inning in the dugout as the A’s beat the Angels 3-2.

8) Astros 8, Braves 3—Houston scored five runs before they made an out in this game. Bartolo Colon is struggling badly this season- his ERA is 7.22. Tuesday was 15th anniversary of a game in 2002 when AJ Hinch homered off of Colon—Hinch is the Astros’ manager now.

7) Orioles 5, Nationals 4 (12)– This was 10th time since joining Washington that Max Scherzer carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, the most in the major leagues during that time.

Whatever Buck Showalter makes managing the Orioles, it ain’t enough. He is the best manager in baseball. Look at his pitching staff and explain to me how they’re 22-10.

6) Brewers 11, Red Sox 7—Eric Thames hit his 13th homer here; someone who is playing in Korea this year is going to get a major league look next year, based in part on Thames’ success in Milwaukee this season. Whatever he worked on in his three years in Korea, it sure as hell has worked for him.

5) Senators 4, Rangers 2—Couple of Canadian teams are still alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Ottawa advances to play the Pittsburgh-Washington survivor.

4) Spurs 110, Rockets 107 OT—Hard-fought game between two really good teams; Kawhi Leonard got hurt, which is huge going forward. Houston was only 16-48 on the arc.

3) Rangers-Sabres will freeze their butts off outdoors in Queens next winter on New Years’ Day, as the NHL Winter Classic comes to New York City. These events have been popular; I personally can’t think of a worse way to spend a winter afternoon than being outdoors.

2) Jonathan Simmons once paid $150 to try out for a D-League team; now he’s a key contributor for the Spurs. Is this a great country or what?

1) Former President Jimmy Carter came out this week and said he voted for Bernie Sanders for President; yikes. These are certainly strange times we’re living in.

 

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

13) New York-Chicago played an epic 18-inning game on Sunday Night Baseball; games like this are what baseball unique- lot of odd decisions have to be made and it tests the mental toughness of the players. Excellent theater.

Of course, in today’s softening society, some people want there to be tie games in baseball. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how wrong it is.

12) One thing that is really irritating; hearing someone who is getting paid to watch baseball complain that a game went extra innings. You have a cushy job; too bad there is a small bit of inconvenience involved. If you quit your job, I’m guessing a ton of people would wait outside in a snowstorm to take your place.

11) 583 pitches in the game; umpire Joe West is 64 years old. Hope he has today off. He basically umpired a doubleheader behind the plate Sunday night.

10) Interesting stuff on the Interweb about Kansas State football and succession plans for 77-year old coach Bill Snyder, who battled throat cancer this past winter.

Snyder is an icon in Manhattan, KS—it is hard to describe how pathetic Kansas State was before he became coach. Barry Switzer’s Oklahoma teams used to beat K-State 64-3 without breaking a sweat, but Snyder made the Wildcats winners and he carries a lot of influence- he wants his son Sean to take his place as head coach.

Others have resisted this succession plan, but some of those others have moved on to other jobs. It appears as if Snyder will get his way and his son will succeed him, but the real question will be, can Sean Snyder succeed as his dad’s successor?

9) In France, they hold elections on weekends and get a higher voter turnout than we do in this country.

8) Mets are so spineless they pushed back Matt Harvey’s next start until Friday in Milwaukee- they don’t want him starting at home right away. Hell, part of his punishment should be having to pitch in front of the home fans, who will give him the grief he deserves if he doesn’t do well.

If Harvey pitched well, the home fans would love him, no doubt.

7) Cincinnati Reds in first place after five weeks of baseball? Surprising.

6) Patrick Ewing is going to be an interesting study as the new basketball coach at Georgetown- the Hoyas picked up a grad transfer this weekend from South Dakota (43.8% inside arc, 31.6% outside arc), a team that won the Summit League regular season title- Monday they offered a 9th grader (Class of 2020) from Washington DC a scholarship.

5) Red Sox scored a total of 15 runs in Chris Sale’s first six starts; they scored 17 in his 7th start, Sunday in Minnesota.

4) If Kyle Lowry stays with the Toronto Raptors, they can offer him  a contract worth $205M for five years; if he goes elsewhere, he can get $152M for four years. I’m not sure of the tax implications of playing in Canada, but it sounds like he would be forfeiting a lot of cash if he chooses to leave Toronto.

3) Average attendance at all minor league baseball games in April: 3,986, best-ever for April. Owning a minor league team is a solid investment.

2) Former New Mexico/Ole Miss guard Cullen Neal will be a grad transfer at St Mary’s next year; Neal was headed to St Mary’s out of high school, but then Steve Alford got the UCLA head coaching job and his dad Craig Neal inherited the Lobos’ job, so Cullen stayed in Albuquerque and played two years, but the fans were tough on him when the team struggled, so Cullen transferred to Ole Miss. Craig got fired this past spring.

1) This from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, on the Matt Harvey story:

“Several hours after Harvey texted a Mets coach (or texted the coach back, depending on who tells the story) to let him know that he was ill and wouldn’t be coming to Citi Field for Saturday night’s game against the Marlins, the Mets’ pitcher was visited at his Manhattan apartment by a couple men — Mets security people — sent by the team to see what was happening with him.

Harvey, it seems, sensed the Mets were checking up on him with their surprise visit around 10 p.m. (to see if his headache story checked out). Meanwhile, people close to the Mets suggest that, after many messages went unreturned, the security men were merely checking on him (to see if he was OK, or needed help).”

Harvey is a free agent after the 2018 season. Everyone involved needs him to pitch well; Harvey so he can break the bank next winter, the Mets so they can get rid of him before than and still get someone of value in return.

 

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

13) Rough times for the Mets; Matz/Syndergaard are injured pitchers, Cespedes is on the DL and now struggling pitcher Matt Harvey was suspended for three days, for what sounds like an accumulation of actions, dating back to last year.

Harvey was sent home Sunday after he didn’t show up Saturday; Mets started Adam Wilk, a non-roster pitcher who has a 5.69 ERA in AAA- he got pounded by Miami. Tough times for Terry Collins, in the final year of his contract as manager.

12) Watching Wilk pitch to Giancarlo Stanton, you wonder if Stanton would want to hire Wilk as his pitcher for Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in July, in Miami.

11) ESPN had the Bronx Bombers on last nite, has them on again at home next week against Houston, their 3rd Sunday nite game in five weeks. Five of their first seven Sunday night telecasts will be from NYC or Boston. Awesome.

10) Wizards 121, Celtics 102- Washington had a 26-0 run in third quarter; why do they play so much better at home than on the road?

9) Seattle Mariners have already used 20 pitchers this season; that’s hard to believe. They lost two pitchers to injury in a 3-pitch stretch in extra innings Friday night.

8) Bad teams are also often unlucky teams; Brandon McCarthy tweaked his back or something lifting weights, so his start was changed from Saturday to Sunday and Clayton Kershaw was moved up to pitch Saturday against the Padres.

Just San Diego’s luck; they get rained out at home Sunday for only the third time in Petco Park history, meaning that they would’ve missed facing Kershaw had McCarthy not gotten hurt.

7) A’s 8, Tigers 6—Before Saturday, Oakland was only MLB team that hadn’t won a game where the GW run scored after the 6th inning- then they had walk-off wins both Saturday/Sunday, making my house a happier place.

Yonder Alonso has been a big leaguer for 8 years; his career high in homers is 9, in 2012 with San Diego. Alonso hit his 9th homer this year on Sunday- May 7. He’s been a very good player in his 1+ seasons in Oakland.

6) John Daly won on the Senior Tour Sunday, his first tournament win in 13 years. Someone should make a movie on his life—I’m guessing it would be entertaining. I’m also guessing his travelling party had a lot of fun last night.

5) I find this surprising: Leonardo DiCaprio’s character died in nine of his first 36 movies.

4) Edmonton led Anaheim 5-0 after the first period Sunday, coasted to an easy 7-1 Game 6 win. Not a stellar effort by the Ducks; very few NHL games are ever 5-0 in the first period.

3) Bryce Harper, Mike Trout both have minor leg injuries; Harper didn’t play all weekend. Trout missed three of the Angels’ last four games.

2) Rockets 125, Spurs 104—Not lot of fun games to watch in these playoffs. At least this series is 2-2, like Celtics-Wizards. Just no close games.

1) San Francisco Giants were outscored 31-5 in three games against the (first place) Reds this weekend, then their team bus broke down on the way to the airport Sunday. At 11-21, been a rough spring for Bruce Bochy’s ballclub.

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

13) Busy day today; finally had enough with the keyboard on my MacBook Pro, took it back to the Apple Store and it is in the shop for a week or so—we’ll make do with our backup laptop until then.

It is nice to be able to type the letter “t” without wanting to throw something.

12) Should go buy Apple stock; when are their stores not crowded? They make a ton of money and their products aren’t even that durable.

11) One of the guys who owns Always Dreaming, the horse who won the Kentucky Derby, also owns the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

10) Adrian Gonzalez has played in 1,833 major league games over 14 years; this is the first time he has gone on the disabled list.

9) Michael Ynoa threw six scoreless innings of relief for the Orioles Friday, the first pitcher to throw 100+ pitches in relief and not allow a run since Randy Johnson in 2001- the Big Unit struck 17 batters that day.

8) Way of the world now: 67 players will attend the NBA Draft Combine; only 18 of them are college seniors.

7) Matt Albers got a save for Washington Friday in his 461st major league game, the 103rd one he has finished- that was the 2nd most games finished without ever saving a game. Now he has one.

6) Quick Albers story: April 2011, I’m in Las Vegas and Albers is on the Red Sox. He comes into a game in Kansas City in relief of Daniel Bard, who Bobby Valentine was trying to make into a starter—I had added Bard on my fantasy team.

This was one of Bard’s best starts for Boston (he didn’t have many); I’m supposed to be across the street at Battista’s meeting friends for dinner, but I wait to see if Albers can get out of this inning- I needed Bard to become a decent starter.

Nope. Billy Butler hit a ball off Albers that might still be going; by the time it landed over the fountains, I was already halfway across the street, headed to dinner. Totally unsure how Albers is still in the big leagues, but there he is and on a good team.

5) Texas Rangers TV analyst Tom Grieve was saying this weekend that the quality of the wood in bats has to be much worse now than when he played in the 70’s. Couple of bats in the Texas-Seattle game Friday splintered into pieces, making Grieve laugh.

4) 30 Cuban players played in the major leagues last year; so far in five weeks this year, 20 Cubans have already appeared in the big leagues.

3) Miami Marlins’ pitching staff is in shambles; they’re starting a reliever Sunday- their spot starter Saturday, Odrisamer Despaigne, allowed six runs in the first inning and Miami never even had a reliever warming up.

2) I’m curious as to how many people have played the President of the United States in a movie; has to be a pretty high number.

1) A 5-star recruit named Kevin Knox chose Kentucky Saturday over a bunch of schools, including Florida State, his father’s alma mater. You can make the argument that John Calipari is the best recruiter………ever.

DD Lohaus analyzes the Kentucky Derby……

I know I say this every year but man, the Derby came up fast this year….
Sorry to see the weather forecast isn’t ‘rosy’ for tomorrow with an 80% chance of showers. Cooler weather wont dry things out any faster and todays deluge is sure to make a tough race even tougher to handicap.

My feeling is that the track is going to be less than ‘fast’ and I am making my wagers assuming it will be an ‘off’ track.

I don’t believe there are any world-beaters in here; a relatively solid group but no particular standout. Not a bad bunch, just an equally matched one….

Selections

Hence: Last race was really good and his time stacks up with everyone in here. My fear is that he peaked in the Sunland and has no more upside. Wet track not a problem

Always Dreaming: Winner of three in a row. Hasn’t necessarily faced the strongest of competitors but has top-notch connections and could be this good.

Classic Empire: Last year’s Juvenile winner is back on track and should be ready to fire his best. Not the best odds to rick in this spot.

Irish War Cry: Wood Memorial was good and bred to like the off track. Two of three Beyer’s over 100. A lot to like.

Practical Joke: Chad Brown seems to always get them ready. Slowly stretching out. Beyer’s a little light but have to respect the connections.

Patch: Sentimental choice but steadily improving. May not be mature enough for this group but is an interesting proposition.

The Bets
$15WPS Hence – Edge in a tough call
$5WPS Always Dreaming – May get loose on the lead; sharp jockey

$2EXBX Hence/Always Dreaming/Classic Empire
$1TRIBX  Hence/Always Dreaming/Classic Empire/Irish War Cry
$2WPS Patch – Sentimental Pick

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

13) FOX Sports hired former NFL QB Jay Cutler to replace John Lynch on its NFL telecasts with Kevin Burkhart. 34-year old Cutler hasn’t definitively said that he is retired; isn’t he better than any of the QB’s Lynch has with the 49ers?

I’m very curious to hear Cutler on the air. Would be funny if he turned out to be a better analyst than Tony Romo. Cutler’s first game at FOX will be a Bears’ preseason game, so we’ll find out very quickly if he will be willing to criticize people he knows well.

12) Kendrys Morales homered off of Chris Archer last nite; he is now 15-25 in his career against Archer- that is what players call “ownage”.

11) Cavaliers 115, Raptors 94— Cleveland/Golden State are a combined 13-0 in playoffs. Not the most interesting event to follow, at least not yet.

10) Orioles’ starter Wade Miley was taken out after four batters last nite— he was hit by line drives in consecutive AB’s, by Jose Abreu/Avasail Garcia. Abreu hit him on the left forearm, Garcia’s liner hit Miley in the butt.

9) Dodgers’ pitcher Rich Hill was supposed to throw four innings on a rehab start this week, but lasted only six batters, bad news for the Dodgers. Hill has chronic blister problems on his left hand.

Logan Forsythe (hamstring) was also shut down on his rehab assignment.

8) Brandon McCarthy tweaked his shoulder in the weight room, had his start pushed back to Sunday; Clayton Kershaw moves up a day.

Mets’ TV analyst Keith Hernandez says players work out too hard now before and in between games; hard to argue with him.

7) This is where I remind you that Joe Thornton played four NHL playoff games, with a torn ACL and MCL. Hockey players don’t get tweaked.

6) Broadcaster Kenny Albert worked 12 NHL playoff games in 12 days in five different cities last month; busy guy, tremendous announcer.

5) Big trend in NBA betting now is when teams come home down 2-0 in a series, the team down 2-0 has covered the first half in Game 3 seven times in a row.

4) Nothing quite as aggravating as watching a pitcher on your fantasy team pitch when Kerwin Danley is behind the plate; he is a horrible umpire and always has been. He played college ball at San Diego State with Tony Gwynn.

3) Marlins led the Mets 7-3 in middle of 7th inning last nite, they brought Brad Ziegler in to start the 7th inning. Ziegler threw 19 pitches, faced six batters, gave up six hits in a truly awful effort.

2) Marwin Gonzalez homered in four straight games this week, making him the first player ever to do that while playing four different positions- 1B, 3B, LF, RF.

1— Further evidence that the NBA doesn’t need 7-game series; teams that take a 3-0 series lead are 123-0 in that series. Hockey is much better suited for 7-game series than basketball. At least four times, an NHL team has won a series after trailing 3-0.

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

13) May 24 is the deadline for kids to withdraw from the NBA Draft; Purdue is holding its breath that Caleb Swanigan will come back to West Lafayette next season- that would make the Boilers a top-10 preseason team.

Apparently, Swanigan hasn’t yet been assured that he’ll be a first round pick.

12) Tony Parker has a ruptured left quadriceps tendon and will miss the remainder of the playoffs, which makes life much harder for the Spurs in their series with Houston.

11) Washington Wizards have outscored Boston 119-70 in first quarter of their games in this playoff series, but Celtics still won two of the three games- home side won all three.

10) Mark William Calaway, better known as the Undertaker on WWE broadcasts, had hip replacement surgery right after Wrestlemania- he is 52 years old.

9) There is a horse with only one eye running in the Kentucky Derby Saturday- Patch.

8) In 2009, the San Diego Padres picked Donovan Tate with the #1 overall pick; he never got above Class A ball, hit .226 in his career and now, at age 26, will walk on as a QB at the U of Arizona- he was at one time also a top football recruit.

He can walk on because the Padres are paying for his education.

7) Big 14 Conference is having its conference tournament in Madison Square Garden next winter, a week earlier than normal; because of that, they’ll play some conference games in December, which they’ve never done before.

6) Mt St Mary’s won the NEC basketball tourney twice in last four years; they won’t win it next year- five of their returning players have already transferred, as higher-level programs increase their poaching of low major and mid-major teams.

5) Atlanta Hawks have 11 draft picks over the next three years, so they figure to improve; they’re not firing their GM after all, just giving him a different title, probably a small demotion/reduction of duties.

4) Leonard Hamilton (Florida St) and Richard Pitino (Minnesota) got contract extensions this week, after their successful seasons.

3) Wizards 116, Celtics 89— Home side is now 3-0 in this series; there was an incident in the first half between Kelly Oubre and Kelly Olynyk— no one was KO’d in the scuffle.

Lot of Boston/Washington-area hostility in the sports world this week.

2) An NBA agent was fired for running up a $42,000 Uber tab on a player’s credit card, charges which were not authorized by the player, who isn’t a client of that agent.

1— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t), they would look like this:

AL: Bronx/Cleveland or CWS/Houston. Wild Cards: Orioles; then either BoSox or Central #2
NL: Washington/Cubs/Colorado. Wild Cards: Arizona/Dodgers

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

13) Why bad teams are always bad: Isaiah Thomas was the 60th (and last) pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, a brilliant move by the Sacramento Kings, who aren’t known for brilliance.

Here are the four players picked right ahead of Thomas in the draft:
56. Chukwudiebere Maduabum
57. Tanguy Ngombo
58. Ater Majok
59. Ádám Hanga

Brilliant draft pick by the Kings, but………

12) Three years later, Sacramento traded Thomas, who had just scored 20.3 pts/game during the 2013-14 season, to Phoenix, for Alex Oriakhi and a trade exception. Mr Oraikhi has yet to play in the NBA. Thomas just scored 53 points in a playoff game. Oy.

11) Brilliant move by Phoenix, but seven months later, the Suns did a 3-way deal with the Celtics and Detroit. Here is what each team got:

Boston: Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko, Gigi Datome
Detroit: Tayshaun Prince (he was 34 at the time)

Phoenix: Marcus Thornton, a 1st round draft pick

Boston GM Danny Ainge should’ve gone to confession after this theft.

10) Atlanta Hawks have been in the NBA playoffs 10 years in a row, but they fired their GM this week, supposedly because he wanted to rebuild the roster, while the owner and coach want to keep on their current course and hope they do better in the playoffs.

9) The offensive and defensive coordinators at Alabama make $1.3M and $1.2M a year; thats $2.5M a year for two ASSISTANT coaches- the strength coach makes $560,000 a year.

8) Being a major league manager can’t be as much fun these days; teams carry so many pitchers, they only have 3-4 bench players per game and one of those is a backup catcher who rarely is used. When Jose Reyes was doubled off second early in the Mets’ game Wednesday nite, in a  blatant show of nonchalance/apathy, when he should have been yanked from the game, he couldn’t be, because it would make New York’s bench shorthanded the rest of the nite.

Reyes WALKED BACK TO SECOND BASE after a fly ball to right; the throw came in, and the Braves’ SS tagged him out from behind. Reyes might as well as turned and given Terry Collins the finger, thats how terrible a play it was. But he stayed in the game.

Reyes later knocked in five runs in the Mets’ 16-5 win; good for him, but he makes $22M a year- the least he could freaking do is pay attention.

7) How is Bill Belichick not the highest paid coach in the NFL? Pete Carroll/Sean Payton are, at $8M a year.

6) Only 7 of the world’s top 30 golfers are in North Carolina for the Wells Fargo event this week; the tournament is being played at a different course than usual, one more like Augusta National.

5) More tension in Boston last nite; Orioles’ starting pitcher Kevin Gausman was tossed in the second inning for hitting Xander Bogaerts- there had been a conference call before the game with the teams and MLB brass, to lay the law down on ending the BS of the last week, but Gausman hit Bogaerts with a curveball, so no way was it intentional.

In the 5th inning, Adam Jones got tossed for arguing balls/strikes. It is fair to say the Orioles aren’t enjoying their stay in Boston this week.

4) College basketball transfers:
— Carlton Bragg goes from Kansas to Arizona State
— Peter Kiss goes from Quinnipiac to Rutgers
— Jazz Johnson goes from Portland to Nevada.

Of the 12 players on Nevada’s roster today, nine of them are transfers.

3) Denver Broncos signed RB Jamaal Charles to a one-year deal, which will make their two games against their division rival Chiefs a little more interesting.

2) Another rough day for star pitchers: Cole Hamels and Cory Kluber are now on the shelf, Hamels for 2-3 months.

1— Colorado Rockies’ TV guys were talking about the movie Top Gun last nite; lot of it was filmed in the San Diego area and the Rockies are playing the Padres in Petco this week. Hard to believe the movie came out in 1986.

Top Gun cost $15M to make; in 31 years since, the movie has made over $350M worldwide.

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

13) Revisionist historians were out at the NFL Draft last weekend; Bill Walsh didn’t “find” Joe Montana in the 1979 draft, he didn’t even want the 49ers to take him. Seriously.

49ers had a scout named Tony Razzano who (along with former Denver coach John Ralston) wanted the Niners to draft Montana. Walsh wanted Steve Dils, whom he had coached at Stanford. The scouts won out and since then people have jostled for position to take credit for it.

49ers took Montana in the third round; Dils wound up getting selected by Minnesota in the 4th round, lasted 10 years in the NFL, starting only 27 games (10-17).

12) A football fan in San Francisco paid $30,000 to sit in the 49ers’ draft room last weekend.

11) A 3-star basketball recruit from Georgia was all set to sign with Eastern Kentucky, until Duke jumped in and offered the kid a scholarship, which the kid took.

Huh? Duke doesn’t pursue 3-star recruits, so what gives?

Well, current Blue Devil Frank Jackson hasn’t withdrawn from the NBA Draft yet, and Trevon Duval hasn’t decided where his six months of college will happen— if neither of those two guards plays at Duke next year, then Jordan Goldwire will find himself as Duke’s point guard.

If Jackson/Duval both attend Duke next year, then Goldwire will work hard in practice and never see the light of day in game situations that matter.

10) So far this baseball season, Cubs’ starting pitchers have a 9.69 ERA in the first inning, which is very bad.

9) Boston’s Chris Sale threw behind Manny Machado in the first inning last nite; both benches were warned. Machado later homered in the 7th inning off of Sale.

Orioles turned a triple play in the bottom of the 8th inning of a 5-2 Boston win.

8) Miami’s Edinson Volquez allowed three runs in 4.1 IP last nite; he walked 8, struck out 9 in a Little League-like appearance. Of the 23 batters he faced, 17 walked/struck out. He is only the second pitcher in last 100 years to walk 7+ hitters, strike out 9+ and not finish the 5th inning- he left with a blister problem.

7) Phillies’ pitcher Vince Velasquez has good potential; he struck out 16 Padres in an April game LY, but in order to help the Phillies, he has to get deeper into games.

Philly handed Velasquez a 7-0 lead in 2nd inning Monday, but he still lasted only five innings, throwing 98 pitches. That means the bullpen needed to get 12 outs in a game where they had a huge lead and should’ve been able to relax some.

Over the course of a long six-month season, bullpens need some down time.

6) When he was 11-12 years old. Tampa Bay Rays’ P Alex Cobb was a spring training batboy for the Dodgers in Vero Beach. Sounds like a fun job for a kid.

5) Looks like Valparaiso will be replacing Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference; there was some thought that the league would add three teams (Omaha, Murray State were mentioned) to get to 12 teams.

4) Indians’ ace Corey Kluber left last night’s game with back discomfort, bad news for Cleveland.

3) ESPN fired Ed Werder even though his contract runs thru April 2019; how does this make any sense? The guy is really good at his job, you have to pay him for two more years anyway, and you still fire him? It makes you wonder what really is in play here.

2) Nick Saban got a contract extension this week. From ESPN.com:

“Saban will receive a $4 million signing bonus and make $6.725 million in salary this year. He gets another $400,000 bonus for completing the season, bringing his total compensation for the year to $11.125 million. He has completion bonuses in each year of the contract, culminating in a $3.6 million payout after the 2021 season before going back down to $400,000 per year in subsequent seasons.”

Saban is the 2nd-highest paid college coach in the country, behind Jim Harbaugh.

1— The wife of talk show host Jimmy Kimmel gave birth to a little boy couple weeks ago; young man was born with some heart problems, but is doing better now. Kimmel started his show Monday nite with a monologue describing what happened and thanking all the people who helped. He had a list and read it, with lot of nurses/doctors’ names on it.

Kimmel is a wealthy guy, but what if it was my kid or yours? Could I afford that kind of health care? Could you? The baby has already had one heart operation; he’ll need two more before the problem is totally behind him.

One of Kimmel’s points in his monologue was this: No parent should have to decide whether he/she has enough money to save their child’s life. Good health care is for all Americans, not just the wealthy ones. Makes a lot of sense.

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

13) Buffalo Bills fired their GM the day after the draft; they also fired ALL their scouts, so three years after the new owner bought the team, they’re still starting from scratch.

Weird to realize that the Bills (and our country?) would be better off if the Pagulas hadn’t bought the Bills— their competition for buying the team was a real estate guy named Trump. You may have heard of him.

12) I mean, Saturday the Bills drafted QB Nathan Peterman from Pitt; ESPN guys were quick to point out that Peterman doesn’t have the greatest arm strength, which could be a problem playing in the cold weather of western New York. Oy.

11) 104 undergraduates declared for the draft; 28 of them were not drafted.

10) You don’t think high school football in Florida is better than in other places? Miami Central HS once had a running back named Davonta Freeman, now a star with the Falcons. When he graduated, he was replaced by Dalvin Cook, 2nd round draft pick of the Vikings. Not bad.

9) No one would come right out and say it, but this was a weak draft for offensive linemen. When the Rams, who are desperate for blockers, don’t take any linemen, that tells you what you need to know. Only 33 offensive linemen were drafted, 23 of them on Day 3 of the draft.

First offensive lineman taken was a 25-year old who had been kicked out of five schools and also was booted from his father’s house— no baggage there.

8) More top prospects will skip mid-level bowl games next fall, to protect themselves from injury. Didn’t hurt Fournette or McCaffrey at all this weekend, so it’ll continue next year.

7) You don’t think Nick Saban earns every penny of his ridiculous salary? Ten years ago, in the 2007 Draft, before Saban, Alabama had zero players drafted. None. Bupkus.

6) Joe Ross has a 7.47 RA in his first three starts for Washington this season, not good; Nationals scored 52 runs in those three games, though.

5) Colorado Rockies are 8-0 in one-run games this season; they were 12-20 all of last year.

4) Texas is losing faith in its bullpen; they let Yu Darvish throw 125 pitches Saturday, in an April game against the Angels- he only finished six innings.

3) Scouting is an inexact science; this is an old scouting report on a current NBA player:

“Far below NBA standard in regard to explosiveness and athleticism……extremely small……needs to add some muscle to his upper body, but appears as though he’ll always be skinny……not a natural point guard that an NBA team can rely on to run a team.”

Wonder if that scout still has his job; the player he analyzed here was Stephen Curry.

2) Pirates’ pitching coach Ray Searage is getting tons of praise around baseball, with TV guys openly saying struggling pitchers want to pitch for the Pirates so they can work with Searage, who has turned Ivan Nova into one of the best hurlers in baseball.

1— This weekend, a guy proposed to his girlfriend on the scoreboard at Fenway Park during a Red Sox game; things didn’t go well- the couple was seen arguing after.

The always-sensitive Red Sox fans started chanting: “She said no!!! She said no!!!”

Monday’s Den: NFL over/under win totals for 2017…….

South Point Casino’s NFL over/under win totals for 2017:

New England 11, over -$120

Pittsburgh 10.5, over -$120, Seattle 10.5, over/under -$110

Atlanta 10, under -$120, Green Bay 10, under -$120

Dallas 9.5, over -$120, Oakland 9.5, over -$120, Tennessee 9.5, under -$120, Baltimore 9.5, under -$125

Carolina 9, over -$120, Kansas City 9, over -$120, NJ Giants 9, over -$115 Indianapolis 9, under -$115

Cincinnati 8.5, over -$120, Denver 8.5, over -$120, Houston 8.5, over -$120

Minnesota 8.5, over/under -$110, Philadelphia 8.5, over/under -$110, New Orleans 8.5, under -$120

Detroit 8, over/under -$110, Tampa Bay 8, over/under -$110

Washington 7.5, over -$120, Arizona 7.5, over/under -$110, Chargers 7.5, over/under -$110, Miami 7.5, over/under -$110

Buffalo 6, over/under -$110

Jacksonville 5.5, over -$120, LA Rams 5.5, over -$120, NJ Jets 5.5, over -$120

Chicago 5, over/under -$110

San Francisco 4.5, over/under -$110

Cleveland 4, over/under -$110

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

13) Ominous note for the Atlanta Falcons: Last team to lose the Super Bowl and get back to the Super Bowl the next year? Buffalo Bills, in 1993.

12) There is only one Game 7 in the first round of the NBA playoffs; there were none in the first round of the NHL playoffs, which seems unusual.

11) What time do garbagemen begin their work day? They switched my garbage collection day from Monday to Tuesday; truck came thru my neighborhood at 5:55am last week- thats a lot of noise for 5:55am.

10) It is snowing in Colorado this weekend; if the Rockies had been scheduled at home this weekend, they wouldn’t be playing.

9) Washington Redskins had the most passing yards to tight ends LY, which explains why the Rams drafted TE Gerald Everett from South Alabama— Sean McVay obviously isn’t too impressed with the Rams’ TE’s from last year.

Rams drafted two guys from Eastern Washington, which went 12-2 LY and lost in national semifinals at the I-AA level.

8) Raiders drafted T David Sharpe from Florida in the 4th round. Florida’s QB LY was Luke Del Rio, son of Raiders’ coach Jack Del Rio.

7) Those 100 or so people ESPN fired this week; what do they do now? You figure some of them will hook up with other TV networks, but probably not that many— how many openings can there be? There have to be a lot of people wondering what direction their life will take next.

6) Minnesota Vikings had only two games started by rookies LY, fewest in the NFL.

5) 49ers drafted QB CJ Beathard from Iowa, grandson of former Redskins’ GM Bobby Beathard. From ESPN.com:

“Beathard lacks an elite physical skill, but he is an unselfish leader and tireless worker — all of which may allow him to overcome his physical deficiencies. He possesses a strong combination of competitiveness, toughness and football IQ to potentially develop into a serviceable backup.” Kevin Weidl

4) From everything said on TV, Philadelphia did a great job hosting the NFL Draft; they had a ton of people there Thursday/Friday night.

3) Nike, adidas, UnderArmour all passed on endorsement deals with UCLA PG Lonzo Ball; this becomes more interesting if the kid is the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. Been a while since a father’s big mouth cost his son this much money.

2) Denver drafted Jim Kelly’s nephew (Ole Miss QB Chad) with the last pick in the draft. I’ll make a prediction that Mr Kelly winds up (maybe in 2018) as the Broncos’ starting QB.

1— If every American did his/her job as well as Mel Kiper Jr does his job, this would be a better country. The man is totally prepared.

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

13) Apparently our politicians make a boatload of money; I’ve heard of three groups involved with buying the Miami Marlins— one includes Jeb Bush, one includes Ivanka Trump’s brother-in-law and another one involving Mitt Romney’s son.

Must be nice to be rich.

12) Florida State’s Dalvin Cook finally got drafted by the Vikings with the #41 pick; apparently there are concerns about some of his friends, who he hangs out with.

With lot of players, the concerns aren’t about during the season, it is about the off-season, when their free time combined with having a lot of money can turn into problems. Hopefully things will work out for the best for Cook— he’s an excellent player.

From watching the Showtime show on Florida State football last fall, Cook also seemed like a good kid.

11) With the #48 pick, the Bengals took Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon, who dropped in the draft because he broke his girlfriend’s jaw (on camera) three years ago. It was reported Friday nite that only four teams considered drafting Mixon.

10) Chicago Bears beat the 49ers 26-6 last December, which is why they had the #3 pick, not the #2 pick in the draft. That win cost them two draft picks, the picks they sent to SF to switch spots Thursday night.

9) Bronx 14, Baltimore 11 (10)— Orioles led 11-4 in the middle of the 7th inning. These teams are now tied for first place in the AL East.

8) It is April 29 and the White Sox are in first place in the AL Central. Surprising.

7) Mets are 9-13; Syndergaard is hurt, Cespedes is hurt. Been a rough month.

6) There are 2.5 games separating first and last place in the NL Central.

5) Jason Terry is a substitute guard for the Bucks; he’s played 17 years in the NBA. Last summer, he interviewed for the vacant UAB head coaching job. I’m guessing he would’ve had to take a pay cut if UAB hired him.

4) If I ever write a book, one of the chapters will be “Baseball players get hurt a lot.”

3) I have a team in a 16-team fantasy baseball league; 25 guys on a team, can have minor leaguers on the roster.

As I type this this, there are 42 players in our fantasy league on the DL, only 3.5 weeks into the season, and thats not counting the guys who got cut because they might be out for the year or most of the year.

2) Was watching the Toronto-Milwaukee NBA game Thursday night; was cool to see players from the Milwaukee Brewers watching the game together in a suite in the arena. Players live together for 7-8 months; bonding events like this one must make the season more fun.

1— This is old news, but bears reporting: St Peter’s went 10-0 vs spread in their MAAC road games this past winter. Very hard to do that; they didn’t cover either of their games in the MAAC tournament, but they finished the season 23-13 with the #34 experience team in the country.