Saturday’s Den: A running diary of Opening Day

4:11- Jacob deGrom takes the mound as Opening Day on July 24 gets underway; this strangest of seasons started with two games last night- there are 14 games tonight.

deGrom has had some back issues is supposedly under a 75-pitch limit for this game. He is the ace of my fantasy team’s staff; need him to be good.

4:15- Speaking of which, Marlins’ C Jorge Alfaro is on the IL, presumably with COVID-related issues. He is the only catcher on my fantasy roster. It is stunning how few everyday catchers are good hitters. Have to monitor this to see if I need another catcher.

4:25- Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman is starting at 1B for the 10th straight Opening Day; during that time, Atlanta has started nine left fielders, eight 3rd basemen, seven catchers.

Braves’ top two catchers have COVID-related issues, are back home in Atlanta.

4:35- There are over 6,000 cardboard cutouts at CitiField for this game.

4:45- Having mostly NL pitchers on my fantasy team was relaxing when the opposing pitcher came up, but now with the universal DH, not so much. I like everyone having the DH; we’ll see how teams handle it, whether they will use it as an “off day” for regulars, or have a regular DH.

5:20- deGrom goes five scoreless innings, but because he pitches for the bleeping Mets, it is scoreless after five and deGrom can’t get the win.

Since 2015, deGrom has had 15 starts where he threw 5+ innings and didn’t allow a run, but he won only 8 of those 15 games.

6:30- Mets’ DH Cespedes hit a homer in his first game in two years, New York wins 1-0. Up in heaven somewhere, my dad is happy.

6:50- Thursday’s New York-Washington game got the highest TV ratings of any network broadcast over the last nine years.

7:15- I wanted to watch the Reds because I picked up their new OF Shogo Akiyama, but he is sitting against Detroit’s lefty starter. Oy.

7:30- Good news from Korea- KBO games are going to have fans starting on Sunday, so that is a return to normalcy that is good to hear about.

7:45- Only five regular season fantasy league games before the playoffs start- very short season will be weird. First week is 10 days long; have to study up and see where I need to add players. I have two minor league prospects who aren’t going to play this year— unsure how teams are dealing with those guys in their alternate facilities.

8:10- Flipping between games, spring training for my right thumb; already during Milwaukee, Colorado, Cincinnati broadcasts, have seen the same commercial, a Republican ad with Mike Pence doing all the talking. I seriously want to puke, bit that would screw up my keyboard.

8:15- Akiyama gets in the game after Detroit takes Matthew Boyd out; he singles up the middle, knocks in a run and gets his first MLB hit. Not sure he is good enough to be in my starting lineup but he won five batting titles in Japan- he must be able to hit.

8:30- Last year, Bryce Harper hit .357 with runners in scoring position, .204 with the bases empty.

Whit Merrifield just singled, my team’s first hit of the night.

8:35- I’m saying that pitchers are ahead of the hitters so far. Umpires also seem to be calling more strikes. Paul Nauert had the Mets’ game today; he definitely expanded the zone some, for both sides.

Speaking of umpires, with 10-12 umps opting out this year because of COVID, there are new crew chiefs and somehow, Angel Hernandez is one, despite being a terrible umpire. Yikes. 

8:40- My opponent in fantasy ball this week has Kyle Hendricks, and he is throwing a shutout against the Brewers in the 6th inning. No bueno.

Milwaukee has Eric Sogard batting leadoff; why????? Must be his career .318 OB% that is so appealing to them. No, it is his 2-6 mark against Hendricks; even I know he shouldn’t bad leadoff, and I went to a state school.

I’m an A’s fan, I love Sogard, even have one of his t-shirts, but if he plays 3B and bats leadoff for you on Opening Night, you’re not a playoff team.

These over-educated fools who run the Brewers are at it again. I used to have Josh Hader on my team, hoping they would come to their senses and make him a starter again, but no.

10:30- Turned the laptop off for a while and had dinner; Hendricks shut out the Brewers, who have new uniforms that make them look like the Michigan Wolverines.

10:42- Michael Brantley goes yard for Houston, good news for the Armadillos.

Lets catch up on stuff that happened while I was eating:

— Reds 7, Tigers 1— Listening to the Cincinnati broadcast, they have high expectations for this season. Moustakas had three hits, knocked in four runs for the Reds, who haven’t had a winning season since 2013, Dusty Baker’s last year as their manager.

As for Detroit, they’re in a total rebuild.

— Blue Jays 6, Rays 4— Cavan Biggio hit a 3-run homer for Toronto, which found out Friday they’re playing home games this season in Buffalo.

Joe West had the plate in this game; he’s been a major league ump since 1976, when he was 23 years old. Not sure how he became a major league ump that quickly, seeing how he also played college football (East Carolina, Elon) but he did.

— Marlins 5, Phillies 2— Sandy Alcantara allowed three hits in 6.2 IP as Miami gets off to a good start. First four hitters on Philly’s lineup went 1-14.

Miami’s TV crew had team president Michael Hill on during the game and he spews the same old BS he always does; what a farm system we have, we’re building to become perennial contenders, blah, blah, blah. This is another nitwit who went to college in the Ivy League (Harvard), but thought trading Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto was a good idea.

Bryce Harper wore cleats with fluorescent green laces in them, which clashed a little with the Phillies’ uniforms, but they’ve eliminated rules about shoes, so that’s what you get.

— Indians 2, Royals 0— Only nine hits total in this game, as pitchers seemed to be ahead of the hitters, for the most part all over baseball. Shane Bieber struck out 14 Royals, allowing five runners in six IP.

— Cubs 3, Brewers 0— Milwaukee had three hits, all by 9th-place hitter Orlando Arcia; meanwhile, they had Sogard batting leadoff, which is baseball malpractice. Hendricks went the whole way, allowing three baserunners, striking out nine.

Colorado also had three hits in their game, all by the same guy, leadoff hitter Dahl. Hendricks is the first Cub with an Opening Day shutout since 1974; A’s won the World Series that year, so that’s a good omen.

— Red Sox 13, Orioles 2—Baltimore is another total rebuild; unless they have lot of good young pitchers on the way up, not sure how they’re going to get better anytime soon.

JD Martinez scored twice, knocked in three runs for Boston.

Rangers 1, Rockies 0— First game at Globe Life Field is a pitchers’ duel; Lance Lynn allowed two hits in six innings. Texas didn’t even have a hit until the 6th inning; Rougned Odor knocked in their only run. German Marquez was the tough luck loser.

— Twins 10, White Sox 5— Game was 5-5 after two innings, but Chicago never scored again. Max Kepler homered twice for Minnesota; four of their top five hitters scored twice each.

Minnesota’s bullpen allowed only four baserunners in five shutout innings.

— Cardinals 5, Pirates 4— Tough beat if you played the under; game was 3-0 Cardinals after six innings, but neither bullpen flourished, as St Louis barely held on after entering 9th inning with a 5-2 lead.

I like the cardboard cutouts at games; enjoyed watching baseball for several hours. Its a hell of a lot better than watching the news or re-watching 30-year old ballgames. Hopefully everyone will stay healthy and we can have some entertainment this summer. 

Friday’s Den: Happy Opening Day, everyone…..

13) We start today with a hard-hitting news story; a guy in Las Vegas walked into an adult toy store, and walked out with a 3-foot-tall dildo that weighs 50 pounds. Didn’t pay, just grabbed it and walked out of the store. Hmmm……

The guy put the dildo in his car and took off; this is grand larceny— the dildo is apparently worth around $1,200. Who knew?

Feel free to insert your own jokes here. I’m moving on…….

12) Couple of hours before the 2020 season started, major leagues announced that the playoffs would be expanded from 10 to 16 teams, for this year only.

Top two teams in all six divisions will make it, plus the next two best records in each league. There will be no first round byes, but in the first round, the #1 seed will have all the series games in their home ballpark.

11) Bronx 4, Washington 1 (5)— Rain-shortened season opener; neither team went to their bullpen. Giancarlo Stanton hit a 459-foot homer, Gerrit Cole won his New York debut.

Nationals’ star Juan Soto tested positive for the coronavirus, is out indefinitely.

10) Dodgers 8, Giants 1— Clayton Kershaw was a late scratch with a bad back; he is on the IL. Dustin May threw 4.1 innings as a late replacement.

Over last 13 years, San Francisco has started 13 different left fielders on Opening Day.

9) Here is how rosters work this year; for the first two weeks, each team will have 30 players, for the next two weeks, 28 players. Then it pares down to 26, which it would have been all season, had this been a normal season.

8) Ray Fosse mentioned on the A’s game the other night how Carl Yastrzemski played the entire 1970 All-Star game at first base. Thats the whole 12 innings.

Starters don’t do stuff like that anymore; now Yaztrzemski’s grandson Mike plays CF for the Giants- he hit .272 with 21 homers last year. Somehow, the Orioles gave up on them even though they were a terrible team, and the Giants pounced. He hit .272 with 21 homers LY.

7) Over/under in Las Vegas on Astros’ hitters being hit by pitches this year: 41.5.

6) Minnesota Twins have lost 16 consecutive playoff games, which is a record; last time they won a playoff game was in 2004.

5) Watching Padres-Angels exhibition game the other night, and there is a guy sitting by himself in the right field bleachers, going over notes. Only person in the stands.

Turns out it was Tony LaRussa, who works for the Angels now as a consultant.

4) Seattle’s new NHL team will be called the Kraken; they begin play in 2021-22.The kraken is a legendary cephalopod-like sea monster in Scandinavian folklore. A very large sea monster. The logo and colors looked pretty cool, at first glance.

3) Actors and their roles; there are 26 actors who have appeared in 6+ episodes of the Showtime series Billions, who also appeared in at least one episode of Law and Order. There are 16 other actors from Billions who appeared in either Law and Order: SVU, or Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

It is good to know people, make an impression; that’s how you you get hired for more jobs.

2) USC Trojans are 0-7 ATS in their last seven bowl games, even though they won three of those seven games. Last time USC covered a bowl game was in 2009, beating Boston College 24-13 (-7) in the Emerald Bowl.

1) NBA teams are scrimmaging for the next few days; real games start on Thursday. Was fun watching teams scrimmage, though they looked more like real games, seeing how they wore their real uniforms and all. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) One of the recurring themes in the next couple weeks will be how the 60-game season is a spring, not a marathon. People will say over and over how last year’s champs, the Washington Nationals, were a feeble 19-31 after fifty games.

If a team goes 37-23 this year, that’s the numerical equivalent of going 100-62.

12) Over last four years, %age of games that went to extra innings:
2016: 7.62%
2017: 7.45%
2018: 8.89%
2019: 8.56%

4-year average works out to 8.19%, or basically one game per day.

11) David Cone was a really good pitcher; he went 194-126 in his 17-year career playing for five teams. Now he is a very good TV analyst; smart, funny, says what he thinks.

Unusual thing about Cone is that he wore seven different numbers in his major league career; that’s unusual for a star player. He also wore #17 for two teams (Mets/Royals), #36 for two teams (Bronx/Boston).

10) Giants’ manager Gabe Kapler made the last out of Dallas Braden’s perfect game for the A’s back in 2010.

9) Stat guy Mark Simon posted this piece of knowledge:

Since the start of 2016, 213 pitchers have pitched at least 250 innings; Tommy Milone’s 5.67 ERA ranks 208th of those 213 pitchers.

Milone is the Orioles’ Opening Day starter; no bueno.

8) Padres’ TV guy Don Orsillo, who is great at his job, was laughing last night about how the Padres haven’t played a regular season game in Anaheim since 2015, which is nonsensical, seeing how they pass Anaheim Stadium every time they drive from San Diego to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers.

I’d be in favor of total geographic realignment in baseball; think it would promote rivalries and increase attendance, once fans are allowed to go to games again.

7) They played the first-ever game in Globe Life Field in Arlington Tuesday; Daniel Murphy hit the stadium’s first-ever home run. They have an artificial surface instead of grass there.

6) Texas Rangers’ 2B Rougned Odor had a weird season last year:
— His OPS with the bases empty: .621, which is terrible
— His OPS with men in scoring position: 1.042, which is very excellent.

Thats how you knock in 93 runs, despite hitting .205.

5) 22-year old Mike Soroka is the Braves’ Opening Day starter; he’ll be the youngest guy to pitch on Opening Day since Jose Fernandez in 2014.

4) Bad beat in the KBO Tuesday morning: LG Twins were beating the KT Wiz 8-1 in the middle of the 7th- they take starting pitcher Wilson out, and immediately give up eight runs in the 7th inning, using five relievers, the first three of whom didn’t record an out.

Wiz walked the game off 10-9, big win for them.

3) One of the quirky things about baseball this season will be players spread out in the stands behind each dugout, social distancing instead of being in the dugout. They’ve put tents up to keep sun/rain off the players.

2) Dodgers signed Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365M contract; Betts would’ve been a free agent after this season.

1) Governor of Pennsylvania put the kibosh on the Toronto Blue Jays playing home games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh this season. Season starts today, and still no idea where the Blue Jays will call home. Buffalo is apparently the last resort. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

13) Good to hear live baseball on TV again; in a normal season, I watch ball most every night for six hours a night for six months- the familiar voices who call the games are like old friends coming back to visit. It has been good to hear those voices again the last few days.

12) San Diego Padres are back to wearing brown caps/jerseys, which is a good move.

11) Angels-Padres staged an “extra inning” after the Angels won their exhibition game 1-0 Monday night; they pretended the game was tied and played an extra inning, which started with a runner on 2nd and no one out.

Angels didn’t bunt, try to steal or use a pinch-runner, but they scored two runs in the top of the 10th. San Diego then had to play for a big inning to tie/win the game; they scored a run, had bases loaded with two outs, then they just ended the half-inning there for no reason. Kind of like in basketball scrimmages when coaches create situations to learn stuff from.

10) Chris Paddock will be the Opening Day starter for San Diego, the 8th different starting pitcher for the Padres the last eight years. Not much continuity there.

Baltimore Orioles will start Tommy Milone, their 5th different Opening Day starter the last five years.

9) Baseball quirks: Saturday night, with Zack Britton pitching to the Mets’ #9 hitter, a slow-footed catcher, Bronx used a 5-man infield. Tomas Nido hit an opposite field single just in front of the right fielder. Not sure what the reason for that is, but they tried it.

Monday night in Oakland, Giants played four outfielders against A’s 1B Matt Olson, who struck out. Rumor has it the Giants will try lot of different things this season.

8) Trainers/equipment guys will be the unsung heroes of this baseball season; all the extra work they have to do to keep things sanitized/healthy for players/coaches. They did a ton of work anyway before this, but this pandemic has to have to have multiplied their workload.

7) Can’t remember where I read this over the weekend, but the old Polo Grounds in New York City, where the Giants played before moving to San Francisco, was a weird ballpark.

The deepest part of centerfield was 484 feet away; the right field foul pole was only 258 feet from home plate. No bueno.

When they built lot of new ballparks in late 60’s/early 70’s, they got mocked for having mostly the same dimensions (cookie-cutter parks, they were called), but would rather have that than 258-foot home runs.

6) If they play college football this fall, the Egg Bowl should be pretty interesting; Ole Miss hired Lane Kiffin as its new coach, Mississippi State hired Mike Leach. Their recruiting battles should also be fun. And their press conferences.

5) High school football in California was moved back to next spring; next spring could be very busy, but that would be a good thing, since that means they got a vaccine and life can start getting back to normal. But there’s going to be a lot of stuff going on next spring.

4) Recommend NBC’s new streaming service, peacockTV, which started last week. Lot of old TV shows and movies. What I saw was free; not sure what additional content you get at a premium level, but I was watching the old TV show The Rockford Files the other night- good stuff.

3) RIP to longtime Congressman John Lewis 80, who died over the weekend; Lewis fought a long battle as a civil rights leader- he served in Congress for 33 years. RIP, sir.

ESPN’s Tim Kurklian lost his 96-year old mom over the weekend; couple years ago, he did a video with his mom, who was in a wheelchair, talking about how much his parents love baseball.

I’ve read lot of stuff about how all of Kurkjian’s ESPN co-workers think the world of him; had to be a very sad thing to finally to say goodbye to his mom. RIP ma’am.

2) Dodgers radio guy, former ESPN voice Charley Steiner turned 71 last week; his doctors have advised him that he is high-risk for COVID-19, so he’ll be calling games from his living room this season. Steiner and Rick Monday are an excellent radio team.

1) Listening to announcers from National League teams talk about the DH is funny; they talk about it like it is some mysterious new thing they know nothing about. DH has been around since 1973, it shouldn’t be that foreign to anyone in the major leagues.

TV highlights of the day: Live baseball games on TV; real games start Thursday. 

Two lists for 2sday: Story lines to follow with baseball starting this week

Major leagues start Thursday; it’ll be a unique season. Here are some of the story lines I’ll be following:

13) Games without fans; they’re piping in crowd noise, but it does look strange seeing an empty stadium with a game going on.

Some teams are putting cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands; Dodgers covered the seats right behind home plate with a tarp. In the Bronx, those seats are just empty.

12) The extra inning rule will be interesting; each half-inning from 10th inning on starts with a runner on 2nd base, no one out. Teams are going to approach this differently; it’ll be fun to track who does what, and who does it better than other teams.

Good tidbit here: the runner on 2nd in extra innings will be listed as having reached on an error; if the run scores, it will be an unearned run.

11) There are 10 new managers; four have never managed in the majors before:
Cubs, Mets, Pirates, Padres all have rookie managers.

10) Joe Girardi taking over the Phillies from Gabe Kapler is a huge upgrade; if Zack Wheeler pitches well, the Phillies will be a contender.

9) Angels added 3B Anthony Rendon, manager Joe Maddon, but neither one of those guys pitches; former Mets manager Mickey Calloway is the new pitching coach in Anaheim, and he has his work cut out for him. Sounds like Shohei Ohtani will pitch every Sunday.

One thing about Ohtani’s starts; do they let him bat? If they do, they once he leaves the game, they’ll have to pinch-hit for the pitcher. Angels won’t have a DH in games Ohtani’s pitches, unless the DH hits for Ohtani, also.

8) Is Yoenis Cespedes healthy? Mets figure to score a lot of runs, especially if Cesepdes can go 100%; he ht a slow roller Saturday, but looked like me running to first base, so it is unclear if his legs are 100% or not. Mets need him to at least be able to run the bases.

7) You listen to MLB Network, and the Reds/White Sox will be like the 2001 Mariners, who won 116 games. Everyone is picking the Reds to win the NL Central; we’ll see how that goes.

6) Will teams that get off to a slow start dump contracts and start planning for 2021, or will they stay in it for the long haul? I’m thinking of the Indians and Francisco Lindor, in particular.

5) Texas Rangers have a new ballpark this season; early reports was that right field was less of a hitters’ field than the old ballpark. Left-center has shorter dimensions; will be curious to see how it plays, starting on Friday.

4) What the hell are the Blue Jays going to do? Canada won’t let them bounce in and out of their country, so where will they play their home games?

Buffalo is a last resort, and Pittsburgh is a possibility for 23 of their 30 home games. The other seven- Nashville? Tampa? Buffalo? Canada’s team could, for one year, become America’s team.

3) Definitely going to have to chart bullpen usage for every team; starting pitchers aren’t ready to go full-tilt yet. Pitching depth will be huge; some teams may go four innings with two guys each, then go to their closer. This will be handled in many different ways.

2) Astros lost Gerrit Cole, get Lance McCullers back from arm surgery; is their rotation deep enough to defend their AL West title?

1) 34-year old Josh Donaldson is on his 4th team in three years; he’s making a fortune from the Twins. Can he lead them to the playoffs?

TV highlights of the day: Live baseball games on TV; real games start Thursday. 

Weekly KBO report

KBO knowledge.…….
KBO standings, thru Sunday:
42-19-2 NC Dinos (6-3-2 last 2 weeks)
38-26 Doosan Bears (7-4)
38-28 Kiwoom Heroes (5-7)
34-29-1 LG Twins (5-5-1)
33-29 Kia Tigers (6-6)
Top five teams make playoffs
34-31 Samsung Lions (5-6)
31-32-1 KT Wiz (6-4-1) 
30-32 Lotte Giants (6-5)
21-44 SK Wyverns (5-7)
17-48 Hanwha Eagles (4-8)

OPS leaders:
1.172 Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
1.045 JH Lee, Heroes
1.024 JM Fernandez, Bears
.997 JS Kang, Dinos
.979 Roberto Ramos, Twins
.968 Preston Tucker, Tigers

Batting average:
.387— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
.378— M Fernandez, Bears
.362— JH Lee, Heroes
.359— JS Kang, Dinos
.351— AS Son, .351
.349— JI Oh, Bears

Home runs:
22— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
17— Aaron Altherr, Dinos
BH Park, Heroes
16— Roberto Ramos, Twins
15— SB Na, Dinos
HS Kim, Heroes

RBI:
60— Mel Rojas Jr, Wiz
59— Aaron Altherr, Dinos
57— JH Kim, Bears
56— HSKim, Heroes
55— Preston Tucker, Tigers
52— JH Lee, Heroes

Stolen bases:
16– KC Seo, Heroes
12— WJ Sim, Wiz
11— Altherr, Dinos
YK Lee, Eagles
10— HS Kim, Heroes
JW Oh, Twins
CH An, Giants
JD Bae, Wiz

ERA:
1.35 CM Koo, Dinos 80 IP
1.62 Jokisch, Heroes 83.1 IP
2.03 Straily, Giants 88.2 IP
2.05 Rucinski, Dinos 83.1 IP
2.49 Brooks, Tigers 83 IP
3.12 TI Won, Lions 66.1 IP

WHIP (baserunners allowed/innings pitched):
0.79 CM Koo, Dinos 80 IP
0.92 Jokisch, Heroes 83.1 IP
0.96 Straily, Giants 88.2 IP
1.08 Rucinski, Dinos 83.1 IP
1.12 Brooks, Tigers 83 IP
Alcantara, Bears 83.1 IP

Strikeouts:
92— CM Koo, Dinos 
89— Straily, Giants
75— Alcantara, Bears
73— Rucinski, Dinos
72— Despaigne, Wiz
71— JH Park, Wyverns

Bullpen records:
10-5 LG Twins
12-7 Doosan Bears
15-11 Kiwoom Heroes
9-7 Kia Tigers
12-10 NC Dinos
11-10 Lotte Giants
7-10 Samsung Lions
7-12 KT Wiz
4-12 Hanwha Eagles
6-13 SK Wyverns

Saves:
16— SW Jo, Heroes 16-16
14– JH Won, Dinos 14-16
10— DJ Ham, Bears 10-11
KC Moon, Tigers 10-12
WJ Kim, Giants 10-13
7— KM Woo, Dinos 7-8

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a very warm weekend…….

13) In case you’re wondering, when the NBA has exhibition games this week, the games will be 40 minutes, not the usual 48:00, so if you’re betting games, the totals will be lower than usual. I wouldn’t advise wagering on preseason games, but just in case……..

12) Toronto Blue Jays weren’t allowed to travel in and out of Canada this summer, so for now, they’ll be stationed in Buffalo this summer, in their AAA team’s stadium. MLB Network was touting that ballpark as a hitter’s park; not lot of foul ground there at all.

This is Canada’s way of saying they don’t want anything to do with the way our country has handled this virus- can’t say that I blame them. The entire NHL will be in Toronto/Edmonton this summer, but they’ll be in a bubble; no traveling in and out of the country.

11) Last time a major league game was played in Buffalo? 1915, not counting the baseball scenes in The Natural, which were filmed at old War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo.

There were reports Sunday night that the Blue Jays were still looking for a major league park to call home this summer; they open the season at Tampa Bay Friday.

10) Extra innings in major leagues this season will all start with a runner on 2nd, no one out; major league average is teams score a little more than 60% of the time in that situation.

If the visiting team scores one run in the top of an extra inning, will be interesting to see how the home teams treats their half-inning; bunt for a tie, or play for the bigger inning?

9) Big shoes to fill: Houston Astros went 50-15 in Gerrit Cole’s last 65 starts, but he works in the Bronx now, so how do they replace him? Ain’t going to be easy.

8) They were talking during the Mets’ game Saturday how the masks that look like scarves are actually cooler than the medical masks that most of us wear. Cooler in terms of temperature, not in terms of being cool/uncool.

7) A Korean pitcher named HH Han wears uniform number 1; don’t think I’ve ever seen an American pitcher wear number 1. Only a few wear any single digit number.

6) 10 or so major league umpires opted out of participating this season; unfortunately, Angel Hernandez will be working this season. He isn’t good at his job.

5) Baseball’s TV blackout policy is weird; they black out replays all winter, and during this whole pandemic, when maybe they would’ve gained new fans by showing a ton of games when we were starved for entertainment, but they don’t black out replays of old All-Star Games.

Baseball needs new fans; it is a great game, but younger people need more exposure to it. Let people see your product; maybe they’ll buy in.

4) Cleveland Browns have had 12 first round drafts picks from 2011-17; Myles Garrett is the first of those 12 draft picks to sign a second contract with the Browns.

3) Western Kentucky landed transfer Luke Frampton from Davidson; he made 14-29 3’s last year, playing in only five games for the Wildcats- he shot 38.1% on the arc as a freshman, making 93 shots behind the arc.

2) White Sox gave C Yasmani Grandal a ton of money last winter, hoping he can help stabilize their pitching; Grandal has played in the playoffs the last five years, but four of those were with the Dodgers, who seemingly win their division every year.

One word of caution; Grandal’s career batting average in the postseason? .115 (9 for 78)

1) One quirky change in baseball this year; teams aren’t throwing the ball around the infield after an out is made with the bases empty. If they did throw the ball around the infield, the ball would have to come out of the game, and pitchers prefer baseballs that have been used some, especially if they’re getting hitters out with it. 

TV highlights of the day: Three baseball games on TV; real games start Thursday. 

Sunday’s Den: Trends for NFL teams…….

13) Last four years, Arizona is 4-9 ATS as a home favorite.
Cardinals covered their last five visits to Seattle.
Last five years, Arizona is 3-1-1 in their season win total bets.

12) Last three years, Atlanta is 2-8 ATS as a road favorite.
Falcons covered their last five games with Carolina.
Atlanta stayed under their win total three of last five years.

11) Last three years, Baltimore is 8-15-1 ATS as a home favorite.
Ravens covered once in their last 11 games with Indianapolis.
Last four years, Baltimore went 2-0-2 in their season win totals.

10) Last four years, Buffalo is 5-9 ATS as a home underdog.
Bills covered once in their last six games with the Raiders.
Buffalo stayed under its win total three of last five years.

9) Last four years, Carolina is 9-16 ATS in divisional games.
Panthers covered five of last six games with Tampa Bay.
Carolina stayed under its season win total three of last four years.

8) Last four years, Chicago is 11-3-1 ATS as a home underdog.
Bears covered once in their last six games with the Giants.
Chicago stayed under its win total four of last five years.

7) Last three years, Cincinnati is 14-8 ATS as a road underdog.
Bengals covered twice in their last seven games vs Pittsburgh.
Cincy stayed under its win total each of the last four years.

6) Last four years, Cleveland is 7-14 ATS as a home underdog.
Browns covered twice in their last 11 games with Cincinnati.
Cleveland stayed under its win total four of last five years.

5) Last three years, Dallas is 15-3 ATS in divisional games.
Cowboys covered five of their last six games with Washington.
Cowboys stayed under their season win total three of last five years.

4) Last four years, Denver is 7-15-2 ATS in divisional games.
Broncos are 1-7-1 ATS in last nine games vs Kansas City.
Last four years, Denver is 0-3-1 against its season win total.

3) In two years under Patricia, Detroit is 9-22-1 SU; they were 36-28 the previous four years, under Jim Caldwell.
Lions covered their last six games with Green Bay.
Detroit stayed under its win total three of last five years.

2) Last four years, Green Bay is 12-15-1 ATS as an underdog.
Packers covered five of their last seven games with Philly.
Green Bay stayed under its win total four of last five years.

1) Last three years, Houston is 7-12 ATS in divisional games.
Texans covered nine of their last 132 games with Tennessee.
Houston went over its season win total four of last five years.

TV highlights of the day: Spring training (summer camp?) baseball games on TV, actual live sporting events. Was good to see. 

Saturday’s Den: Random thoughts on a summer day

13) Alex Rodriguez banked $441M during his great playing career, signing with Texas as a free agent in in 2001, then signing another huge deal with Bronx six years later, so he knows all about how the finances of baseball work.

But now that he wants to own the Mets, A-Rod comes out in favor of a salary cap. Ha!!!!

Major league reliever Jerry Blevins had this to say about A-Rod:

“What a hypocrite @arod. Take your steroids and make your millions THEN tell the players they need to change. What a joke. Good luck trying to get content from the very players you’re trying to sell out to get your ownership group selected.”

12) July 19, 1990, thirty years ago this week, the Twins turned two triple plays in the same game, only time it has ever been done. Minnesota lost the game 1-0 in Fenway; both DP’s were started by Gary Gaetti.

11) The 18-year old daughter Long Beach State basketball coach Don Monson tested positive for the Coronavirus this week; she is an athlete, heading to Gonzaga to row for the crew team. Monson said said his daughter felt better later in the week, but was still under the weather.

Please wear a mask when you go out; the virus doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, young or old.

10) Ted Barrett has been a major league umpire for 26 years; he is also an ordained minister and was an amateur boxer as a kid. Interesting combination of activities.

9) Philadelphia 76ers are going to play Shake Milton at point guard, and Ben Simmons at power forward; word out of Orlando is that things have gone well in practice so far. Simmons is a great passer; too bad he can’t shoot that well, but now he’ll be closer to the basket.

8) My Mt Rushmore of Oakland A’s managers:
Dick Williams, Bob Melvin, Tony LaRussa, Art Howe

7) Yasiel Puig signed a free agent deal with Atlanta, then tested positive for Coronavirus, so he’s a free agent again.

6) Gambling is hard: Golfer Ryan Palmer missed the cut last week, shooting 14-over par in two days.

This week, on the same golf course, Palmer is 9-under after two days, and tied for the lead in the tournament, on the same freakin’ course. Go figure.

5) Pitcher HJKang of the Kia Tigers in the KBO was 16-8, 2.29 in the KBO last year, one of the best pitchers in the league. So far this year, he is 5-5, 6.31 in 13 starts and since he is 32 now, there are whispers that he is on the downhill side of his career.

4) Gaylord Perry threw threw 303 complete games in his Hall of Fame career, going 314-265 over 22 years.

There are currently only five active pitchers with 20+ complete games. Baseball sure has changed a lot over the last couple decades.

3) Terry Francona was manager of the Red Sox in 2004, when they won their first World Series in 86 years. Francona was fired won the World Series again in ’07, but got fired in 2011.

Joe Maddon was manager of the Cubs in 2016, when they won their first World Series in 108 years; he got told to take a hike by Chicago only three years later.

The common thread here? Theo Epstein was the GM of both these teams; guess he doesn’t value the job the manager does very much. Only a cynical person would say that Epstein wants the front office to get the credit for all that winning.

2) April 27, 2012; Bryce Harper, Mike Trout got called up to the major leagues for the first time, on the same day.

1) Long time ago, when Jim Valvano was coaching NC State, the Wolfpack had a 5-6 guard named Spud Webb, who turned out to be a damn fine player- he played 12 years in the NBA, but at 5-foot-6, he had his doubters in college.

Webb played JC ball at Midland College; he was recruited to NC State by Tom Abatemarco, Valvano’s top recruiter. When the two coaches went to the airport to meet their new player, Valvano sees a really short kid pick his bag off the luggage rack and walk towards them. Valvano says to his assistant, “If that’s him Tommy, you’re fired.”

Webb was a very good player, so Tommy didn’t get fired. 

Friday TV highlights: Moneyball was on, and I found the Rockford Files on peacocktv.com, a new streaming service that is owned by NBC, and is free (for now). Rockford Files was a good show- James Garner.

Friday’s Den: NFL trends on a summer day

13) Last four years, Chargers are 8-15 ATS as home favorites.
Chargers covered once in their last seven games with KC.
Chargers went under their season win total three of last five years.

12) Under McVay, Rams are 18-10 ATS on the road.
Rams covered six of last eight home games with Seattle.
Rams went over their season win total two of last three years.

11) Miami is 5-1-1 ATS in last seven seven games as a home favorite; problem is, they weren’t favored once last year.
Dolphins covered six of last eight home games with New England.
Miami went over their season win total three of last four years.

10)  Under Zimmer, Vikings are 34-14 ATS at home.
Minnesota covered its last five games vs both Dallas, Detroit.
Vikings went over their season win total three of last five years.

9) Last four years, Saints are 12-5-1 ATS as a road underdog.
New Orleans covered its last five games with the Bears.
Saints went over their season win total the last three years.

8) Last three years, Giants are 6-17-1 ATS at home.
Giants covered three times in their last 13 home games vs Philly.
Giants stayed under their season win total the last three years.

7) Jets covered three of their last 12 AFC East games.
Jets covered three of their last four visits to Buffalo.
Last four years, Jets are 0-3-1 in their season win total bets.

6) Eagles are 4-9-1 ATS in last 14 games as a home favorite. 

Philly covered once in its last six games with Dallas.
Last five years, Eagles are 1-3-1 in their season win total bets.

5) Last two years, underdogs are 11-3-2 ATS in Steeler road games.
Steelers covered 10 of their last 12 games with Buffalo.
Steelers stayed under their season win total the last two years.

4) Last two years, 49ers are 3-8-1 ATS in NFC West games.
49ers covered six of last seven games with New Orleans.
49ers went over their season win total two of last three years.

3) Seattle is 8-3-1 ATS in last dozen games as a road favorite.
Seahawks covered their last six games with the Eagles.
Seattle went over their season win total the last two years.

2) Last six years, Tennessee is 14-23 ATS as a road underdog.
Titans covered five of their last six games with Jacksonville.
Titans went over their season win total the last four years.

1) Washington covered 10 of its last 15 games as a road underdog
Redskins covered once in their last six games with Philly.
Last five years, Redskins are 2-2-1 in their season win total bets.

TV highlights of the day: A Star is Born, some intrasquad baseball on MLB Network. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Some movie recommendations for late-night TV

It is possible that I watch too much TV, but during the pandemic, not much else to do, except read books, listen to music. Here are 13 movies, mostly older movies, that you will enjoy if you come across them on one of the movie channels.

13) The Gambler— Remake of a 1974 James Caan movie, Mark Wahlberg plays a college professor who borrows money from both his mother and a loan shark; a compulsive gambler, paying all his debts comes down to one spin of the roulette wheel.

John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Brie Larson are a fine supporting cast.

12) Dave— The U.S. President goes into a coma while cheating on his wife; to avoid a scandal, the President’s henchmen hire a temp agency owner with an uncanny resemblance to the President to play the role of the President.

Kevin Kline is the star; Sigoruney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley and Charles Grodin are an excellent supporting cast.

11) Jackie Brown— A middle-aged stewardess smuggles money from Mexico to Los Angeles for an arms dealer; she gets caught with $10,000 and cocaine in her purse. She convinces her bail bondsman to take part in a con game to steal $500,000 from the arms dealer.

Pam Grier is the star; Robert Forster is the bondsman, Samuel L Jackson the arms dealer. Smaller roles for Robert DeNiro and Michael Keaton.

10) Less Than Zero— A college freshman returns to Los Angeles for the holidays at his ex-girlfriend’s request, but discovers that his former best friend has an out-of-control drug habit. Not always a pleasant movie, but it is well done.

Jami Gertz plays the young lady; she has recently represented the Atlanta Hawks a couple times at the NBA’s Draft Lottery— her husband in real life is Antony Ressler, who owns the Hawks.

9) Let It Ride— Richard Dreyfuss plays a degenerate gambler who is a habitual loser but has one very good day at the racetrack. Teri Garr plays his beleaguered wife, David Johansen plays one of his gambling friends, Jennifer Tilly plays a rich guy’s girlfriend who is at the track with him.

If you enjoy going to the track, guaranteed this movie will make you laugh.

8) Fabulous Baker Boys— The lives of two struggling piano players, who are brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer. Once the singer joins their act, they become a much more popular group, but then things get complicated by romance.

Jeff/Beau Bridges are brothers in this movie and in real life; Michelle Pfeiffer is the singer, and this is peak Michelle Pfeiffer. Good movie.

8a) Bonus List: Mt Rushmore of John Grisham movies:
— A Time To Kill
— Runaway Jury
— The Client
— The Rainmaker

6) Lucky You— A hotshot poker player tries to win a tournament in Las Vegas, but is fighting a losing battle with his personal problems; complicating things is Huck’s father, a champion poker player, arriving in Las Vegas- Huck despises the old man for having left his mother.

Robert Duvall is the father, Eric Bana is the hotshot, Drew Barrymore his girlfriend. Lot of real-life pro poker players are in this movie.

5) He Got Game— Denzel Washington is a father who pushes his son to become a great ballplayer, but during a domestic dispute, he inadvertently kills his wife, and goes to jail. The only way he can get a shorter sentence is to convince his son to play ball for the governor’s alma mater, but the son hates his old man.

Ray Allen is the ballplayer, Ned Beatty the warden, John Turturro one of the coaches who is recruiting the kid. Jim Brown plays a probation officer assigned to watch Denzel while he is trying to recruit his own son. Rick Fox is the kid’s guide on one of his recruiting visits.

4) White Palace— Still getting over the death of his wife, a young advertising executive meets an older waitress, a woman with a fixation on Marilyn Monroe. The couple gradually fall in love, though age and social differences make things problematic.

James Spader is the guy, Susan Sarandon the waitress, Jason Alexander is one of his friends. There is a great, short appearance by Steven Hill, who played the original DA on Law and Order.

3) Lost In Translation— Bill Murray is a movie star on the back nine of his career who heads to Tokyo to do a whiskey commercial for $2M. While there, he crosses paths with a young lady who is in Tokyo with her photographer husband, but the husband largely ignores her.

The actor and the young lady form an unlikely friendship; the ending kind of leaves us hanging.

2) Oceans 11, Oceans 13— A group of 11 thieves work together to rob Las Vegas casinos; Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Ellen Barkin, Andy Garcia, a tremendous cast in these two movies.

Al Pacino owns the casino they try to rob in Oceans Thirteen. 

1) The Replacements— During a pro football strike, the owners hire substitute players; Keanu Reaves is the QB, Gene Hackman the coach, Jack Warden the owner. A motley cast of characters make up the rest of the Washington Sentinels.

Apparently Sentinels is not one of the names under consideration to replace Redskins as the nickname of the Washington team in real life. 

Wednesday’s Den: Some mid-week football knowledge

13) Five NFL teams have new coaches this season, four in the NFC: Browns, Giants, Panthers have new coaches who have never been NFL head coaches before, though Carolina’s Matt Rhule was a very good college head coach.

12) NFL head coaches, in terms of seniority with their current team:
— Bill Belichick, 21st year with Patriots
— Sean Payton, 14th year with Saints
— Mike Tomlin, 14th year with Steelers
— John Harbaugh, 13th year with Ravens
— Pete Carroll, 11th year with Seahawks

Belichick, obviously has won six Super Bowls; the other four guys won one each.

11) Should be encouraging to head coaches that last year, Andy Reid won his first Super Bowl title in his 21st year as a head coach, 15 years after his first Super Bowl appearance.

10) Mike Zimmer (Vikings), Bill O’Brien (Texans) are both entering their 7th year with their ballclub, the most of any current head coach who hasn’t yet made a Super Bowl.

9) There are currently 62 coordinators in the NFL; Kyle Shanahan is his own OC with the 49ers, Tennessee doesn’t list a defensive coordinator. Of those 62 coordinators, 17 used to be a head coach, five offensive coordinators, 12 on defense.

8) 21 of the 62 coordinators are new in their job this season; Rams, Vikings, Texans all have two new coordinators, despite having the same head coach.

7) Last three years, under is 16-8 in New England road games.

6) Last three years, under is 15-3 in Raiders’ divisional games.

5) Falcons are 10-4 ATS in last 14 games vs teams coming off a bye.

4) Seahawks are 23-11 ATS in last 34 games vs teams coming off a bye.

3) Pittsburgh is 12-6 ATS in last 18 games vs teams coming off a bye.

2) Chiefs covered six of their last seven September games.

1) Mike Zimmer’s Vikings are 34-14 ATS in their home games.

TV highlights of the day: 2016 All-Star Game, 1971 All-Star Game, a season 1 episode of Ray Donovan and The Fabulous Baker Boys, an underrated movie.  

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Bad news for Daniel Snyder: There is a guy named Martin McCauley, a realtor in Alexandria, VA, who apparently has trademarked every single possible new Redskins nickname.

McCauley, an actuary for the Department of Energy in Washington, has been squatting on trademarks- it is something he’s passionate about doing. McCauley has spent $20,000+ trying to lock up different names Washington could ultimately end up going with, from things like Bravehearts to Pandas.

In other words, Snyder is going to have to pay this guy off, which I’m sure thrills him.

12) Red Tails is one of the main names being discussed as a replacement; turns out there was a 2012 movie named Red Tails, with Cuba Gooding Jr, Gerald McRaney.

Red Tails were a crew of African-American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, but they were finally called into duty, fighting against the Nazis.

11) June 13 was the 48th anniversary of the day Robert Irsay traded the Rams to Carroll Rosenbloom, in exchange for the then-Baltimore Colts.

Irsay acquired the Rams from the estate of the deceased Daniel Reeves, bidding $19M, $2M more than Hugh Culverhouse, who later owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Good trade for the Rams, but after Rosenbloom died in a tragic swimming incident, we were stuck with his wife Georgia as owner- she moved the Rams from the LA Coliseum to Anaheim, then from Anaheim to her hometown of St Louis. No bueno.

Luckily, Stan Kroenke owns the ballclub now, and they’re back where they belong, in LA.

10) No way of knowing if there will be NFL training camps or not, and if so for how long, but one of the many storylines that will play out is that the Rams have to sign a new kicker, after Dallas poached Greg Zeurlein in free agency.

Rams have three kickers coming into camp, but if there aren’t any preseason games, that puts lot of pressure on whoever the new kicker is in Week 1, which will, ironically, be against the Cowboys.

9) Alex Rodriguez/Jennifer Lopez are trying to buy the New York Mets; included in the ARod group are ballplayers Brian Urlacher, Travis Kelce, DeMarco Murray, Joe Thomas and Bradley Beal.

One of the competing groups is run by a guy named Steve Cohen; if you’ve seen the excellent Showtime series Billions, Bobby Axelrod is loosely based on Cohen.

8) Russell Westbrook tested positive for the coronavirus, has to quarantine for 14 days, then test negative twice before he can rejoin his teammates with the Rockets. NBA season resumes on July 30 in Orlando.

7) I’m looking forward to watching KBO games when they let fans into the ballpark; not sure if that will be this year or not. They had rough weather in Korea Sunday/Monday; eight of then ten games those two days were rained out.

6) They imploded the Palace of Auburn Hills this weekend, the suburban arena north of Detroit where the Pistons called home for 29 years.

5) Last week Lakers’ guard Rajon Rondo complained about the $275 a night hotel room he was staying in for free while playing ball at DisneyWorld in Orlando; this weekend, Rondo broke his thumb and is out for 6-8 weeks.

4) Legalized sports betting is new to Colorado; in May, a total of a little over $23M was wagered on sports in Colorado, with table tennis getting the most action.

Thats right, people bet $6,175,578.01 in one month, on freakin’ ping pong.

Oy. 

3) Baltimore Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker has been pretty consistent the last four years:
2016: 141 points
2017: 141 points
2018: 141 points
2019: 141 points

2) Apparently there is a new version of The Match Game on TV somewhere, and I saw where former big league outfielder Nick Swisher was on a recent show, along with Cheryl Hines, who plays Larry David’s wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

1) RIP Kelly Preston 57, who passed away this weekend after a bout with cancer.

Ms Preston was married to John Travolta; she had 71 TV/movie credits, the most memorable for me being Kevon Costner’s girlfriend in For Love of the Game. RIP, ma’am.

TV highlight of the day: Pretty good movie night for a Monday; A Star is Born, The Natural, Margin Call, Rounders, both Airplane movies. 

Monday’s Den; Wrapping up a quiet weekend…….

13) Sign of the times; Sounds like junior college football teams will join the Ivy League and play their football seasons in the spring of 2021. Next spring could be a very busy time in sports.

12) Rough weather day in Korea Sunday; all five KBO games got rained out, so they’ll play the games on Monday, which is usually an off day in the KBO.

11) KBO pitcher named HK Yu is what they call a crafty lefty; doesn’t throw hard, uses his wits and location to get guys out. They showed one pitch he threw this season, a 49 mph curveball that the batter took. 

Almost looked like the old Folly Floater that Steve Hamilton threw back in the 70’s

10) Race for playoff spots in the KBO:
1) NC Dinos 39-17
2) Kiwoom Heroes 35-24
3) Doosan Bears 34-24
4) Kia Tigers 30-25
5) LG Twins 30-27
6) Samsung Lions 30-29
7) KT Wiz 29-29
8) Lotte Giants 27-29
Top five spots make the playoffs.

9) Random NFL stats:
— Chargers are 0-10 ATS against teams coming off a bye week.
— Jaguars are 0-5 ATS against teams coming off a bye week.

8) Pac-12 commish Larry Scott, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill both tested positive for the coronavirus. We wish them, and the thousands of other people who tested positive, a speedy recovery. The virus doesn’t doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor; wear a mask.

7) Last time Knicks won a playoff game: May 16, 2013
Last time the Lakers won a playoff game: May 18, 2012

6) Colin Morikawa banked $1,116,000 when he won the golf tournament in Ohio Sunday; a gambler in Illinois pocketed $1.1M thanks to Morikawa’s heroics.

Kudos to Peter Malnati, who was 4-under after two rounds, but shot an 84 Saturday; no bueno. Malnati improved to a 68 on Sunday, not making himself much more money (he only moved up one spot) but that shows strength in his game, that he didn’t pack it in for the week.

5) Golfer Marc Warren was the 1,258th-ranked golfer in the world before he won the European Tour event in Austria this week; he won despite playing without a caddy.

4) NBA trivia; Allen Iverson scored 37 points in three games for the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2009-10 season. He also played 54 games for the Pistons and three years for Denver, after leaving Philadelphia.

3) Was watching an old episode of Hard Knocks; Cleveland Browns had a receiver named Corey Coleman who had over 1,000 pairs of sneakers in his house. The guy had this area with all the shoes neatly arranged; that’s six figures worth of sneakers. Wow.

2) Houston Chronicle ran an obituary section in Sunday’s paper; it was 43 pages.

43 freakin’ pages of obituaries in one city; please wear a mask when you go out.

1) Over 135,000 Americans have died from the Coronavirus, and things seem to getting worse, especially in Florida, Texas, Arizona.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, all COVID-related restrictions were lifted.

It helps to have an honest, competent government in charge of things.

TV highlight of the day: Golf, car racing; not a great day. Lousy movie day. 

Sunday’s Den: Playing careers of current American League managers:

Playing careers of current American League managers:
Brandon Hyde, Orioles:
— Played three years in the White Sox organization, getting as high as AAA. 
— Hit .252 with 15 home runs, in 200 minor league games.
— Played college baseball at Long Beach State.
— Was a coach for Cubs/Marlins before getting the Baltimore job.

Ron Roenicke, Red Sox:
— His older brother Gary also played in the big leagues.
— Ron Roenicke hit .238 in an 8-year career; he played for six different teams.
— Was an OF; got in two playoff games with ’84 Padres, but didn’t bat.
— Played all three outfield positions.

Rick Renteria, White Sox:
— Played in 184 games for three teams in a 5-year MLB career.
— Was a utility infielder whose birthday is on Christmas.
— Saw him play in Albany for the AA Nashua Pirates in 1984.

Terry Francona, Indians:
— His father Tito also played in the major leagues.
— Hit .274 in a 10-year career; his OPS was only .652.
— Played for five teams in 10 years; was a 1st round pick of the Expos.
— Went 4-13 in the ’81 playoffs for Montreal; threw one scoreless inning as a pitcher for Milwaukee in ’89.

Ron Gardenhire, Tigers:
— Hit .232 in five years (285 games) for the Mets.
— Was a 6th round pick of the Mets; played mostly SS in the majors.
— Was traded to Minnesota after the ’86 season, but never made it to the majors with the Twins, until he became their manager.

Dusty Baker, Astros
— Hit .287 with 242 homers in a 19-year big league career.
— Played mostly for the Dodgers but also saw lot of time with Atlanta.
— Hit .282 in 40 postseason games with the Dodgers.
— Made two All-Star Games, in ’81, ’82.

Mike Matheny, Royals:
— Hit .239 in a 13-year career as a major league catcher.
— Played for four teams, mostly Cardinals/Brewers.
— Hit .253 in 27 postseason games for St Louis.

Joe Maddon, Angels:
— Maddon hit .267 with 5 home runs in 514 at bats in four years as a catcher in A ball in the Angels organization.
— Played football and baseball at Lafayette College.
— Was a coach with the Angels from 1994-2006.
— Had a 279–339 record in six seasons as a minor league manager, but he’s close to being a Hall of Fame manager with his big league resume.

Rocco Baldelli, Twins:
— Hit .278 in seven injury-plagued seasons for Tampa Bay.
— Finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 2003; it was downhill from there.
— Never played more than 92 games in his last five years in the majors.

Aaron Boone, Bronx:
— His father, grandfather and brother all played in the major leagues.
— Hit .263 in a 12-year career, playing for six different teams.
— Made 2003 All-Star Game while playing for the Reds.
— Was only 9-53 in ’03 playoffs, but hit walk-off homer in Game 7 of ALCS.

Bob Melvin, A’s:
— Hit .233 in a 10-year career as a major league catcher, playing for seven teams.
— Was a 1st round pick of Detroit in ‘81; played only 41 games for the Tigers.
— Went 3-7 in his only three playoff games, for the ’87 Giants.
— Played most of his career for the Orioles, Giants.

Scott Servais, Mariners:
— Hit .245 in an 11-year career as a major league catcher.
— Went 2-3 in his only playoff game, for the ’98 Cubs.
— Played for four different teams, mostly the Cubs/Astros.

Kevin Cash, Rays:
— Played 246 games in eight years, for five big league teams.
— Hit .183 with 12 career homers, mostly for Boston/Toronto.
—- Went 1-3 in four career playoff games for the ’08 Red Sox; pitched one inning in the majors, allowing one run for the ’10 Astros.
— Never managed in the minors; was a coach for Terry Francona in Cleveland. 

Chris Woodward, Rangers:
— Hit .229 in 12 years (659 games) as a major leaguer.
— Lasted 12 years in majors after being a 54th-round draft pick.
— Versatile player, he played every position but pitcher/catcher. Shortstop was his primary position.
— Hit .276 with 13 homers in only 90 games for ’02 Blue Jays.

Charlie Montoyo, Blue Jays:
— Went 2-5 in four games for the ’93 Expos, his only big league experience.
— Montoyo played in 1,028 minor league games and retired in 1996; he hit .266 with 400 RBI in the minors.
— Managed in Tampa Bay’s minor league system for 18 years.

TV highlight of the day: Solid movie night- Rounders, Moneyball, Bull Durham; TV was way better later at night than during the day.