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

13) The 2017 Golden State Warriors are competing against the 2017 Cavaliers, not the 1970 Knicks or the ’85 Lakers or Jordan’s Bulls or Russell’s Celtics. They’re trying to win this year’s championship, and thats it, no matter what bored people rant about on social media.

They’re trying to win THIS YEAR’s CHAMPIONSHIP, thats it. Fans always think when their team wins it is the greatest thing ever, because for them, it was. For me, Super Bowl XXXIV is the greatest football game ever played. Most people would disagree with that, but thats the beauty of sports/discussion, we all have our opinions.

12) The hotel in Oakland that the Warriors practice in is hosting the National Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, starting Monday. Insert your own joke here.

11) On the Marlins game Saturday, they were discussing whether or not it is a good idea for every team to be represented at the All-Star Game.

I rooted for the 1979 A’s, a truly dreadful (54-108) team that was just a bad team, other than a very young Rickey Henderson, Dwayne Murphy and a couple decent pitchers.

One of the few highlights that season was when Jeff Newman was introduced before the All-Star Game in Seattle, as the A’s only representative. It was like, “Yeah, we suck but we have nice uniforms.”

So I’m in favor of each team being represented.

10) Saturday, 17 people (11 adults, six kids) were pelted with goose droppings at Disneyland in Anaheim. Actual geese did the damage from up above. Thats the definition of a crappy day.

9) Texas Tech signed a 19-year old Italian guard as a recruit to join the Red Raiders this fall. Davide Moretti scored 14.8 pts/game for the Italian team in the U18 World Championships.

Recruiting is so damn competitive now, teams look for players wherever you can find them. I’m guessing it is a very long journey from Italy to Lubbock, TX.

8) 2020 Olympics will have 3-on-3 basketball, but sounds like it will be without NBA players.

7) Damien Jefferson is transferring from New Mexico’s basketball program, the sixth Lobo to transfer since last season ended.

6) Random update: Tim Tebow is hitting .223 in the Class A South Atlantic League.

5) Georgia Tech’s punter is giving up his last year of college football in order to study at a seminary— he is going to become a priest.

4) How small market teams try to do things (for better or worse, mostly worse):

November 5, 2009, the A’s got Matt Holliday from Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith and Huston Street. Smith was a lefty pitcher, Street is obviously still a (oft-injured) closer and CarGo is a fine player for the Rockies.

Holliday played 93 games for Oakland, then on July 24, he was traded to St Louis, for Clayton Mortenson (P), Shane Peterson (OF) and Brett Wallace (DH-type). Not good.

Holliday was a free agent after 2010, which is why the deals were made in the first place. He re-signed with the Cardinals.

You can hire all the Ivy League geniuses you want in the front office, but that Ivy League degree looks a lot less glossy when you screw things up this badly. I’d go over the Cespedes and Josh Donaldson trades, but I don’t want to puke on my laptop.

Oakland’s record since the Cespedes trade on July 31, 2014: 186-255. I’ll stop now.

3) In the interest of fairness, A’s did same thing with Ben Zobrist, who was with Oakland for less than one season, before they dealt him to the Royals on July 28, for two minor league pitchers, one of which was Sean Manaea, who has great promise.

So if you replenish your young pitching, it can be worth it; if you don’t, its a freaking disaster.

2) Major league baseball amateur draft is Monday; think it is 40 rounds now over a couple days. Baseball is different than other sports in that these kids get drafted, then disappear into the minor leagues before some of them resurface in the majors a couple years from now

1) It never gets old when a kid makes his major league debut, and they show his family in the stands; the mom is usually crying, the dad is trying to act cool and everyone else in the group is going crazy rooting for the kid. It is the culmination of many years of effort; what a feeling that must be.

Minnesota Twins have the #1 pick; they’re in first place now. Last team to draft first while they were in first place? The 2001 Twins, when they drafted Joe Mauer.

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

13) RIP Adam West, 89, TV’s Batman from the late 60’s, one of my favorite TV shows when I was a little kid, maybe my first favorite TV show. Late in his life, West did voiceovers for animated TV shows; Showtime did a special couple years ago on his family’s (successful) efforts to get their dad a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Lot of famous actors were guest villains on Batman; the show was great fun. RIP, sir.

12) I’m in a 16-team dynasty fantasy baseball league, which means you keep your players from year-to-year. Our league is 12 years old; I’ve had Giancarlo Stanton on my team since he was an 18-year old in the Class A Florida State League.

So I turn the Marlins’ game on Saturday and Ichiro Suzuki is already on first base, Yelich is batting— I figure they gave Stanton the day off, but no, he got drilled on the wrist and has already left the game.  This is not good.

Jose Abreu got drilled on the knee Friday night and left the game— he’s on my squad too. No bueno when your two best hitters are both hurt, though Abreu did come back and played Saturday night.

11) Which reminds me of a story: I’m coaching a Little League All-Star tournament in Spring Valley, NY, about two hours south of where I live. This is 1995; my team needs to beat the same team twice in one night to win the title- they only had to beat us once to win.

So the first inning of the first game, one of our batters gets hit; then my pitcher gets hit in the head while batting in the same inning. Kid is lying on the ground; as we’re trying to make sure he is OK, have to tell the 2nd game pitcher to warm up to pitch this game.

Out of the blue, one of our fans (we’re in the third base dugout) yells out: “Stop throwing at our players!!!” Now this is a game in a foreign environment; the nightcap, if there is one, will be an actual night game under the lights— I don’t need this. Umpires did a good job of keeping most everyone calm.

Story has a happy ending; we win the first game, the kid who got hit in the head showed lot of guts by pitching (and winning) the second game. We advanced to Maryland for the next round of the tournament, a great example of the players carrying their coach!!!

10) Clark Griffith and Rockies’ manager Bud Black are only two men in baseball history who won 100+ games as a pitcher, and then 600+ games as a manager. Griffith wound up owning the Washington Senators; he was 237-146 in a career than spanned from 1891-1914.

9) Cardinals shook up their coaching staff Friday and also DFA’d SS Jhonny Peralta. Apparently the assistant hitting coach was put on a leave of absence; hard to believe their slump is that guy’s fault.

8) South Florida’s leading scorer Geno Thorpe (15.1 pts/game) will play at Syracuse next season as a graduate transfer. Hope he has some warm clothes.

7) Rays’ OF Kevin Keirmaier broke his hip on an awkward slide at 1B this week, is on the DL.

6) Detroit Lions’ LT Taylor Decker tore his labrum, could be out 4-6 months.

5) Houston Astros have some hard decisions to make; if Dallas Keuchel’s neck injury is serious, then they have to trade for one, probably two starting pitchers. Even if Keuchel comes back, the Houston pitching is shallow- they have a ton of good position players.

4) Milwaukee Brewers lost their last six extra-inning games.

3) Quote of the Day, part 2, from and Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, which refer to the rescheduling of a rained out Nationals-Orioles game to this past Thursday:

“It rained all day that day (May 11), and the forecast said it would rain until 9:30 or 10. I sat in Buck’s (Showalter) office at 6:30, and we talked about it for 20 minutes. He was 100 percent on-board. He didn’t say anything about not canceling the game.

Their GM [Dan Duquette] was nowhere to be found for three, four hours. We wanted to play the next day. They refused to play then, so the next [open] day was [Thursday]. They drove 32 miles to get there. We flew 3,000 [expletive] miles, and we beat their [behinds]. So quit your whining. Quit whining.”

2) College football teams with best turnover ratio last year:
Washington/Western Michigan, both +18. Ohio State +!5

Teams wth worst turnover ratio last year:
Purdue/Southern Miss, both -17, East Carolina/Bowling Green, both -16.

1) Three college football teams with most returning experience on the offensive line this year:
San Jose State, Tennessee, Auburn

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

13) If you don’t think Lebron James is one of the three most valuable players in the NBA, think again. He sat out the last 1:49 of the first quarter in Game 3— Golden State went on a 10-0 run, turning a 7-point deficit into a 3-point lead. Warriors won the game by 5.

If a team can’t survive its star sitting out two freakin’ minutes, he is a very valuable player.

12) Utah Valley State’s basketball team is coached by Mark Pope, who played for Kentucky for two years- he was on a national title team as a senior. His Wolverines open this season Nov 11 in Rupp Arena against Kentucky, then the next day, they play Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Utah Valley will start the season 0-2, with two very healthy paychecks and probably a lot of publicity for masochistic scheduling. They should also take a lot of pictures for the cover of their media guide- playing Duke/Kentucky should help their recruiting, long-term.

11) Cam Johnson finally got his release to transfer from Pittsburgh and will play basketball for ACC rival North Carolina as a graduate transfer this coming season.

10) Ohio State’s search for a basketball coach is on-going; there were rumors they offered the job to Creighton’s Greg McDermott, but turned the job down. Butler’s Chris Holtmann is the latest name in the rumor mill.

9) Western Kentucky had the #9 recruiting class in America this year, which is very surprising; they play in Conference USA- their games with Middle Tennessee should be fun this winter.

8) Eric Sogard hit .239 in 1,210 AB’s over six years with the A’s; thats  a pretty big sample size. Now he is on the Milwaukee Brewers, batting leadoff and he is hitting .404. WTF?

Sogard played college ball at Arizona State; his coach was Pat Murphy, who is now the bench coach for the Brewers (Milwaukee manager Counsell played for Murphy at Notre Dame). Is it that simple, that playing for someone who has confidence in you can improve your performance this much?

7) Dallas Keuchel (neck) goes back on the DL, with no timetable for a return, which is ominous. Astros’ pitching is not at all deep.

6) St Louis Cardinals are 6-14 this season in games where the winning run scored from the 7th inning on.

5) Since 2013, alums of these schools have won the most money on the PGA Tour:
5) Oklahoma State $46M
4) Georgia Tech $47.2M
3) Arizona State $50.1M
2) UNLV $50.6M
1) Georgia $85.4M

4) Ohio State named Chris Holtmann basketball coach; he went 70-31 in three years at Butler, 34-20 in Big East play. Other than $$$, I’m not sure Ohio State is a better job than Butler, so I’ll be curious to see who the Bulldogs replace Holtmann with.

3) 3-on-3 basketball will be a sport in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo; how they going to decide who plays in that?

2) Thursday night, Robinson Cano called the batboy out during his at-bat and changed batting gloves; never saw that before. Then he got a hit. You can’t change bats during an at-bat unless the bat gets broken.

1) MSNBC is showing a movie on June 17th, which is unusual; All the President’s Men. I’m sure it is just a coincidence- it is the 45th anniversary of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel after all, but still, not like they’re trying to plant a seed in anyone’s mind or anything…….

DDLohaus analyzes the Belmont Stakes

Final leg of the Triple Crown is upon us and things have surely changed since the first Saturday in May.

Previous Crown winners are absent and the morning line favorite finished 10th in the derby.

As a bettor there is a lot to like about the race… no real standout and lots of value.

The way I am approaching this race is simple,  pick the one you like best and load up!

The other way is to hit the all button…

Irish War Cry disappointed in derby,  wad right there at the top of the lane and didn’t fire; no excuse.

Lookin At Lee was closing ground in each previous race but was never really a threat.  Deep closers historically struggle in the Belmont so more of the same for this one.

Epicharis was worth a looking look but some late developing medical issues would not entice me to bet even if he does run.

Tapwrit is my selection.  While not a serious challenger in the Derby he ran respectable.  He should like the added distance and he comes in with some rest.

The bet:

$50WP Tapwrit
Total bets: $100.00

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

13) One of these summers, the NBA should run a 64-player 1-on-1 contest, with proceeds going to charities of the players’ choice. Imagine the TV ratings this would generate?

NBA had it for two years in the early 70’s; they showed clips of the games at halftime of real games months later. Imagine the hype these days if Durant played Westbrook, or if Lebron played Steph Curry? This would be very big.

12) My friend Bob sent me stuff from YouTube to watch this week, clips of a HORSE game with Pete Maravich and Bob McAdoo in mid-70’s and a 1-on-1 game with JoJo White and Jeff Mullins from 1972. Winner of the ’72 1-on-1 contest got $15,000— that is tip money for guys today, but I do think this would be a very popular event.

Keith Jackson and Bill Russell were announcers for the 1-on-1 tournament; Don Criqui was doing the HORSE game. Good stuff from back when I was a kid.

11) Speaking of which, I found Green Acres re-runs on TV on late night TV this week. This was a goofy, silly comedy based in rural Hooterville— no gag was too stupid to use.

I tormented my parents by watching Green Acres re-runs as a kid; my father would just shake his head and laugh at me, then leave the room. Was fun to watch it for a couple of hours the other night; laughter is good.

10) With Bob Stoops retiring at Oklahoma, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is now the longest-tenured college football coach— Iowa hired him the day after Oklahoma hired Stoops.

9) The women’s softball coach at Oklahoma makes $495,000 a year. This surprised me.

8) There is a company in Switzerland that has a 4-hole miniature golf layout for workers to use when they need a break from their job. They say it helps stimulate creative thinking.

7) According to Catherine Willows on CSI, Keno has the worst odds of any casino game in Las Vegas. In CSI, her character’s father owned casinos, so I’m assuming that little tidbit is true.

6) FAU football coach Lane Kiffin offered a 6th grade QB a scholarship this week; kid’s dad is QB guru Steve Clarkson, who works with lot of high school kids trying to improve so they can get college scholarships.

What is the over/under on the the number of jobs Kiffin will have between now and when that 6th grader graduates high school?

5) Calgary 23, BC Lions 18— The CFL preseason is underway north of the border.

4) When Calvin Johnson retired from the Lions in March 2016, he repaid the club at least $1M of his signing bonus, which may help explain his negative comments about the team a few weeks ago. At that level, at the end of the day, it is all a very big business.

3) Quote of the Day, part 2:
“They will have to come over me to get him. As the saying goes, over my dead body.”
U of Arizona President Dr Robert Robbins, on the suggestion that Ohio State hire Arizona’s basketball coach, Sean Miller

2) Quote of the Day, part 3
“Learn baseball language. It’s pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time.”
Red Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy, criticizing Masahiro Tanaka’s use of an interpreter when the pitching coach comes to mound

Red Sox were fairly quick in distancing themselves from Remy’s remarks.

1) How has Giants’ pitcher Hunter Strickland not had his hearing with MLB yet, over the Bryce Harper fracas? Damn fight was May 29; today is June 9. What takes so long???

Thursday’s List of 13: Some early college football knowledge…….

I went grocery shopping the other day; first thing I bought was a college football magazine. Here are some of the things I learned from that magazine……

13) There were 21 head coaching changes this offseason, including Texas-Oregon-Baylor.

12) Michigan State went from +14 in turnovers in 2015 to -5 last year, and the Spartans slipped to 3-9; the bounce of the ball can be fickle.

11) Michigan has a +9.1 yard advantage in field position, best in the country; they forced 3/outs on 34% of opponents’ drives last year.

10) Kansas has lost 41 straight road games; their last win on foreign soil was at Texas-El Paso in 2009. At least they’re not paying Charlie Weis anymore.

9) LSU scored an average of 37.9 pts/game in its eight wins, 9.3 in its four losses. Still think that firing Les Miles was a bad move for them.

8) Louisville averaged 7.2 yards per play last year, but has only four starters back on offense. Luckily for them, one of the four is QB Lamar Jackson. Oklahoma (7.5) was the only team in the country to average more yards per play.

7) Arkansas allowed 7.9 yards per play in SEC games, the worst of any team in the country in their conference games.

6) Difference between college football and college basketball; Athlon has 27 guys on its 1st team All-American football team (offense/defense/specialists)— three sophomores, 12 juniors, 12 seniors.

In basketball, the top two teams of consensus All-Americans: two freshmen, two sophomore, four juniors, only two seniors.

5) Average yards per play in college football last year was 5.8. Last time Wake Forest averaged more than 5.2 yards per play was 2009.

4) Tulsa ran the ball for 10+ yards on 103 plays LY, compared to 60 the year before, a big part of why scored 5.3 pts/game more than in 2015 ad increased their win total from six to 10.

3) West Virginia has only three starters back on defense; 59% of their tackles last year were by seniors. Mountaineers going to have to score a lot more points to compete this season.

2) By way of comparison, freshmen/sophomores made 52% of Oregon’s tackles, part of why they forced only 12 turnovers, but they should improve this season with those players returning and hopefully improving under a new coaching staff.

1) Washington Huskies covered their games last year by an average of 8.9 points per game, best in the country. Arizona failed to cover its games by an average of 10 points per game.

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

13) Chicago Cubs use an odd defense against sacrifice bunts, with Anthony Rizzo playing in between the mound and 1st base, and the 2B holding the runner on first.

For fantasy baseball purposes, this has made Rizzo technically a second baseman and he is now eligible as a 2B in many leagues. It is an advantage if you have Rizzo on your fantasy team, lets you have an extra 1B in your lineup.

12) Denver Broncos have a brutal 3-week stretch in mid-season; in Week 7 they go to Carson, CA to play the Chargers, then have a Monday night game in Kansas City in Week 8, before a Week 9 game in Philly six days later. NFL teams historically have done poorly in their third consecutive road game- this one is on short rest.

11) Baseball is difficult: two weeks ago, Jose Abreu was AL Player of the Week. Last week, he was 2-23. Even the best hitters go thru slumps.

10) From Chris Fallica on Twitter: Six of the last nine Belmont Stakes favorites ran completely out of the money. American Pharaoh is the only favorite in the last 11 years to win.

9) Clippers/Rockets will play two preseason games in Hawai’i in October; doesn’t sound like training camp will be too grueling for those two teams.

8) Nashville’s Frederick Gaudreau is the first NHL player since 1944 whose first three career goals came in the Stanley Cup Finals.

7) Speaking of the Stanley Cup Finals, other than Nashville/Pittsburgh, the finals are getting their best TV ratings in this country in Buffalo.

6) Arkansas sophomore pitcher Kacey Murphy threw 74 pitches in an NCAA tournament game on Sunday; he started Monday’s game.

5) College baseball has an interesting dynamic; with the national tournament going on at the same time as the major league draft next week— the older players keep one eye on who their next team will be, and one eye on trying to win with their college team.

4) A guy on American Pickers on the History Channel had a collection of license plates on his wall; every style of license plate ever issued in Pennsylvania. Pretty cool. Some of the stuff people collect is fascinating.

3) Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson wants to transfer from Pitt to North Carolina, but the Panthers want to block him from going to another ACC team.

This could get dicey; when he was at Vanderbilt, Kevin Stallings blocked Sheldon Jeter from transferring to Pitt— Jones went to a JC for a year before winding up at Pitt, and then two years later, Stallings showed up as the Panthers’ head coach- awkward.

2) Interesting debate: Who is the best quarterback in Packers’ history? Bart Starr? Brett Favre? Aaron Rodgers? You can make a case for all three.

1) Forbes Magazine now says the Golden State Warriors are worth $2.6B, 3rd-most in NBA behind the Lakers/Knicks. In 2011, the Warriors’ worth was below the NBA average- they’ve got a new arena in San Francisco on the way, and all this winning sure helps, too.

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

13) We live in a very, very impatient society. Thad Matta went 337-123 in 13 years as basketball coach at Ohio State, but went 38-29 the last two years (18-18 in Big 14 games). Monday, he was told to take a hike by the Buckeyes- he’ll get paid for the last three years of his contract.

Matta’s recruiting had slipped, in part because of health concerns related to a botched back surgery, and his current team isn’t expected to be a contender next winter. Ohio State AD Gene Smith will conduct a national search; he’ll get turned down a lot and finally he will find a coach who, chances are, isn’t as good a coach as Matta.

Ohio State has a dreamer’s Wish List of potential replacements: Brad Stevens, Billy Donovan, Chris Mack, Chris Holtmann. When you fire a guy with a record like Matta’s, it makes hiring his replacement a lot harder, especially when you’re known as a football school.

If I was an Ohio State advisor, I’d tell them to give Eric Musselman a call; it would be a coup for the Buckeyes, because Musselmann is very good, and he has Ohio ties in his background. Nevada only pays him $300K.

12) Speaking of Big 14 basketball, their teams are 14-4 vs SEC teams the last two years, including 2-1 vs Kentucky.

11) 76ers announced that Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons won’t be playing summer league ball next month, meaning that even if Simmons is healthy for Opening Night this fall, it’ll be 18 months since he’s played in a real basketball game. He’s cashed a lot of checks but hasn’t played in the NBA yet. I’m very, very curious to see how he does.

10) 18-year old kid named Casey Mittelstadt, who is a top prospect for the NHL Draft, couldn’t do any pull-ups and did one rep on the bench press at the NHL Combine.

He should take solace in knowing that Kevin Durant had roughly the same experience when he went to the NBA Combine ten years ago. His career has turned out pretty well.

9) College baseball coaches are bunt-crazy; Central Connecticut lost 6-5 to Dallas Baptist in the NCAA tournament Sunday- they had four sacrifice bunts in the game, which means that four of their 27 outs were made on purpose. No bueno.

8) Minor leaguers in the Kansas City Royals’ system are not allowed to wear sunglasses on their hat, unless they wear them on the back of their head- they’re not allowed to cover up the logo on the front of the cap, in respect for the organization. I’m not making this up; they were talking about it on Sunday. Royals’ color commentator Rex Hudler didn’t even know that rule existed.

7) Saw a movie Oliver Stone made a movie about George W Bush; Richard Dreyfuss played VP Dick Cheney— he looked so much like Cheney I almost didn’t recognize him. Dreyfuss starred in two of my favorite movies: Let It Ride and Moon over Parador— it was weird seeing him in a serious role.

6) Jason Dufner shot 65-65-77-68 in winning The Memorial in Ohio; he is the first golfer since Nick Faldo at the ’89 Masters to win a tournament after shooting 77 or worse in the third round.

5) I had no idea the E in Chuck E. Cheese stands for “Entertainment”, as if eating pizza with a person in a mouse costume wasn’t enough.

4) Yadier Molina will be 35 in July; he’s started 48 of the Cardinals’ first 54 games behind the plate, the most of any big league catcher. St Louis is 26-29, only four games out of first place in the NL Central, 6.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot- they can’t afford to rest him.

3) A guy in Tennessee found a stash of unopened baseball cards from the 50’s/60’s in his aunt’s attic; the cards are expected to reap a six-figure bonanza when he sells them. My earliest baseball cards are from 1965- may have to go look thru them.

2) Seahawks signed QB Austin Davis to back up Russell Wilson, meaning Colin Kaepernick is likely to start the summer unemployed. Davis was with the Rams for a couple years; I actually liked him, thought he had potential.

1) Still amazes me that Steph Curry went to Davidson and Klay Thompson went to Washington State, even though both their dads played in the NBA. Dell Curry played at Virginia Tech; they couldn’t have offered Steph a scholarship? Or his brother Seth, who went to Liberty before Duke poached him? Makes you wonder…….

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

13) Rockies-Padres game Sunday afternoon; FOX/San Diego had hot dog eating champ Joey Chestnut in the booth for a half-inning with Don Orsillo/Mark Grant, which was an invitation for high comedy. They asked the hot dog champ about wolfing down buns soaked in water, they asked about his cholesterol and his general health. It was actually interesting.

12) Speaking of the Padres, they’ve scored at least one run in the first inning in 7 of their last 14 road games, but haven’t scored a first inning run in their last 18 home games.

11) You watch these college baseball national tournament games, and you see pitchers throw too many pitches and you wonder how closely big league teams monitor all this when it comes to who they do or do not draft on June 12. Some teams prefer drafting high school pitchers because it simply takes that out of the equation— it also generally takes high school kids longer to get to the big leagues than college kids, because obviously, they’re younger.

10) University of Houston hosted a regional this weekend; their pitchers’ mound is jet black, very distinctive in appearance. Almost looks like blacktop on a playground.

9) By the way, in college baseball they throw the four pitches for an intentional walk. Far as I know, in high school ball where I live here in upstate NY, they haven’t had to throw the four pitches on an intentional walk for a long time.

8) Cincinnati Reds homered in their last 15 games, their longest such streak since May, 2010.

7) Nevada sportsbooks made a $10.5M profit booking baseball games in April, their 2nd-best baseball month ever— none of it was mine!!!

6) Miami Marlins have never had a player hit for the cycle; San Diego Padres have never had a pitcher throw a no-hitter, but back in the day, Padres had a pitcher named Clay Kirby who had a no-hitter thru eight innings, but he had given up a run and with San Diego trailing 1-0, they hit for Kirby in the bottom of the 8th inning. The reliever gave up a hit in the ninth inning.

5) Speaking of the Marlins, Edinson Volquez’ no-hitter Saturday was the first complete game for Miami in 480 games, dating back to June 3, 2014.

4) Justin Verlander left Sunday’s start in the third inning with a tight groin muscle. Detroit won the game on a Justin Upton walk-off homer.

3) Mets lost the series finale in their last nine home series.

2) Warriors 132, Cavaliers 113— Golden State is 14-0 in playoffs; the NBA has a problem on its hands, because these games are unwatchable. Washington Generals give the Globetrotters better competition. Cleveland was +11 in turnovers in this game and still lost by 19.

1) QB Malik Zaire transfers from Notre Dame to Florida; as a grad transfer, he is eligible to play immediately, but having missed spring practice, doubtful he would start right away.

Sunday’s List of 13: Random thoughts on a spring Sunday……

13) Edinson Volquez was in a nasty-looking collision while covering first base in the first inning Saturday- it was the first batter of the game. Who knew he would go on to no-hit Arizona, in a very gutty performance- he walked only two batters in a 3-0 Miami win. Impressive.

Volquez threw 98 pitches, the first no-hitter with less than 100 pitches since Philip Humber’s perfect game five years ago.

12) Scalpers in Nashville were charging very high prices for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, the first NHL finals game in Predators’ history; as of 2pm Saturday, cheapest seat in the sold-out house was being scalped for $1,200.

11) Phil Mickelson is skipping the US Open to attend his daughter’s high school graduation. His daughter is giving the commencement address at her graduation— she is going to college at Brown University in the fall, which is a long way from her San Diego home.

10) Wish they’d put the World Series of Poker back on ESPN; the events have started out in Las Vegas already— watching poker was lot better than most of the drivel ESPN has on now during late night and daytime hours.

9) There is actually a movie called I Spit on Your Grave, which must’ve done well at the box office, since they’ve made two sequels. Think I’ll pass on all three of them.

8) Aaron Rodgers’ last 18 games against the Vikings: (12-6 W-L record); he’s thrown 40 TD’s with only six INT’s.

7) Good news for people who watch baseball on the dish; Hawk Harrelson is retiring— he will work White Sox games on Sunday next year, but otherwise, Jason Benetti will be the voice of the White Sox, which is great news, because Benetti is really good and Harrelson isn’t— he is the old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

I liked The Hawk when he worked Red Sox games on WSBK in the late 70’s/early 80’s, but now he crabs about the umpires and yearns for the good ol’ days way too much.

6) Last year in the NFL, Bucs’ WR Mike Evans was targeted 39 times on passes of 20+ yards, most in the league. Next-highest were TY Hilton (33) and Terrell Pryor (32).

5) If you pinch-run in a game, it doesn’t count as a game played, unless you stay in the game. So if Cal Ripken had just pinch-run in a game during his great streak, it would’ve ended the streak. If you pinch-hit, the streak is extended, but not if you pinch-run.

4) Albert Pujols made his 600th home run a big one– he hit a grand slam in the 4th inning Saturday night, giving the Angels a 7-1 lead.

Pujols is just the 9th big leaguer to hit 600 home runs.

A 30-ish fan in LF bleachers caught Pujols’ grand slam; they put him on TV for half an inning, but the guy seemed like he was hyperventilating he was so excited- he didn’t have a lot to say. Wonder if he was thinking about what he was going to ask Pujols for, in exchange for the 600th home run baseball.

Two innings later, Angels unveiled the Pujols 600th home run bobblehead they’re giving away on July 1st. I’d ask for one of those, for a start.

3) Garrett Cole is the Pirates’ best pitcher; they’re 6-6 in his starts this year, but a closer look shows that if you bet the Pirates in a “first 5 innings” bet in his starts, you’d be 1-9-2- they’ve led only one of his 12 starts after five innings. Was very surprised to see that.

2) Red Sox entered Saturday hitting .213 as a team when they have two strikes on them; that is the best two-strike batting average of any major league team. Important for pitchers to get ahead in the count.

1) Friday afternoon, former big leaguer Luis Gonzalez helped pull a woman from a car that was in an accident and was next to another car that was in flames. Good for him.

Gonzalez got the game-winning hit in the clinching game of the 2001 World Series for the Diamondbacks.

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

13) Davidson College is in the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time in 115 years; they upset North Carolina on Friday. Apparently their best pitcher is a 5-10 kid named Durin O’Linger who is a very good pitcher but not a pro prospect— great student, going to go to pharmacy school next. Terrific story.

Mr O’Linger threw 140 pitches in a game on May 24, then threw 51 more two days later. On the 27th, he threw 45 more pitches, then threw 92 against the Tar Heels yesterday.

All of this ignited a small firestorm on Twitter ignited by ESPN’s Keith Law, who went after the Davidson coach for abusing the kid’s arm. Couple of his ex-teammates objected strongly to that. It is an interesting debate; the kid will never play pro baseball, and he wants to make history for his school, with his friends. It is the kid’s choice, yes?

12) Westgate Casino in Las Vegas has a $1,500 NFL SuperContest every year; you pick five NFL games a week, and there are prizes— first place has been as much as $900,000 in the past.

This year, they’re adding a new angle; a separate $5,000 “Gold” SuperContest where there is only one winner— curious to see how many people sign up for that event.

11) From ESPN: Clayton Kershaw has been the betting favorite in his last 150 starts; next longest active streak is Carlos Carrasco of Cleveland (29).

10) 14 college freshmen were drafted by NBA teams last June; 20 are expected to be selected this year.

9) Lebron James is in his 8th NBA Final; his team has been underdog in six of those eight.

8) Cleveland Cavaliers are still paying former head coach Mike Brown, who is the interim head coach of the Warriors right now.

7) Mets’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud says he uses a different bat every day, often times one that belongs to a teammate. Mets’ TV guy Keith Hernandez said he never heard of that before.

Best wishes to Hernandez by the way; he had knee replacement surgery Friday.

6) Cubs had bases loaded, one out in 6th inning Friday and they pinch-hit for Kyle Schwarber. Baseball is a tough game. Schwarber is hitting .139 vs lefties this season.

5) Marlins’ 1B Justin Bour stole his first career base Thursday, in his 310th career game.

4) Las Vegas Golden Knights have been posted at 200-1 to win the Stanley Cup next season; they don’t have any players yet- they’re an expansion team. Who would bet on them?

3) Quincy McKnight averaged 18.9 pts/game at Sacred Heart last year but will transfer to Seton Hall, as big $$$ schools continue to poach good players from low D-I programs. McKnight will sit next year, then have two years left to play.

2) If you don’t think medicine and science are bleeping amazing, consider this; Hall of Famer Rod Carew was on TV during the Twins-Angels game Thursday night. He had both a heart transplant and a kidney transplant earlier this year, now says he feels good. Great to hear!!!

1) Kansas State WR Corey Sutton got a release from his scholarship, can go anywhere he likes now; K-State had originally blocked his transfer, but it was becoming a PR debacle so the school relented and he is gone.

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

13) Nike’s Phil Knight turns 80 years old this year; to commemorate this, there is a 16-team college hoop event (actually two 8-team tournaments) in Portland Thanksgiving weekend, with lot of heavy hitters in the field. Here are the first-round games:

North Carolina-Portland, Arkansas-Oklahoma,
Georgetown-Michigan State, UConn-Oregon

Duke-Portland State, Butler-Texas
Florida-Stanford, Gonzaga-Ohio State

This is a one-time event, being staged to celebrate Phil Knight’s 80th birthday.

12) There will also be a solid mid-major tournament in the Bahamas Nov 17-19, with Bradley, Coastal Carolina, Duquesne, Iona, No Kentucky, Tex-San Antonio, Vermont, Weber State.

Lot of solid mid-major teams here; this’ll be a good tournament.

11) There have been two major league games this season where both starting pitchers gave up 10+ hits; surprising that Sale/Quintana Tuesday nite was one of them (other one was a Nova-Colon matchup).

10) Bryce Harper’s suspension was reduced to three games, Hunter Strickland got six games but the big loser in the Nats-Giants fracas Monday was Washington’s Michael Morse, who went on the 7-day DL with a concussion sustained in the scuffle.

9) Mike Trout’s thumb injury is same one the Clippers’ Chris Paul had; Trout talked with Paul before his surgery this week.

Trout had surgery on his left thumb Wednesday, but was at the ballpark that night and came out in the dugout for each of Albert Pujols’ at-bats, in case Pujols hit his 600th home run.

8) Weird play in the Brewers-Mets game Thursday; Milwaukee had bases loaded with one out and Eric Sogard up. Sogard hits a foul pop by the Brewers’ dugout; the bat boy grabs his chair, but runs into the Mets’ 3B and the ball drops.

The home plate umpire calls the batter out, then the umps huddled and the call was reversed, which sent Terry Collins off the edge- he was ejected, but then Sogard hit into a double play, so the Mets benefitted from the changed call.

7) Last time the National League won the season series against the American League was 2003, and they ain’t gonna win it this year, either.

6) Golden State 113, Cleveland 91—  Warriors had four turnovers, Cleveland had 20. LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills bet $200,000 on Golden State to win the series- he gets $262,500 back if the Warriors win the championship. He made the wager at Planet Hollywood in Vegas.

I’m sure the NFL was thrilled to see the picture of his $200K ticket on Twitter.

5) Someone on Twitter captured Mr Met giving a fan the finger as he ran down the stadium tunnel after the Mets’ 7-1 home loss to Milwaukee Wednesday nite. Was that kind of a night.

Problem is, Mr Met can’t flash his middle finger, since he has only four fingers on each hand- there is no middle finger. If you’re an aficionado of loopholes, this is a good one for Mr Met’s attorneys, if the feisty mascot sues to get its job back.

No truth to the rumor that Kathy Griffin has applied to be the new Mr Met.

4) ESPN’s Mark Adams posted a list of each Division I basketball budget last year on Facebook; somehow he left Siena’s out, but all the other ones are there.

Kentucky’s basketball budget last year was $18,910,412; next highest in the SEC was Texas A&M, at $9,301,170. Gonzaga got to the Final Four with a budget of $7,261,657.

3) Cincinnati Reds have scored in the first inning in each of their last six games; they went 2-4 in those games.

There were 1,060 home runs hit in May, 2nd-most in any month ever, behind May 2000. Of the 1,060 homers last month, 630 of them were solo blasts; the other 430 came with men on, including 16 grand slams.

2) Los Angeles Angels have scored two runs in seven home games this year; with their pitching, you’d figure that would be bad news, but they won five of the seven games. Go figure.

1) Oakland A’s have already used 11 batters in the #2 spot this year. In 53 games. Those 11 players have combined to hit .175 while batting in the 2-spot. Oy.

Thursday’s Den: How MLB teams do in series openers……

Series records for major league teams (thru May 31):

National League
Ariz: 1-4-2…..7-2….8-6-2
All:    4-5-1…2-3-2…6-8-3
Chi:    4-4….5-2-1….9-6-1
Cin:   4-3-1…3-4-2…7-7-3
Col:   7-0-1…5-2-1…12-2-2
LA:    1-4-2…5-1-3….6-5-5
Mia:   2-5-2…2-5-1…4-10-3
Mil:    4-2-1…3-5-1…7-7-2
NY:     4-3……4-5……8-8
Phil:    1-7……3-5……4-12
Pitt:    2-5-2….5-3…..7-8-2
StL:    3-3-1…3-5-1…6-8-1
SD:      3-6….2-4-2…5-10-2
SF:     2-6-1…4-2-1…6-8-2
Wsh:    4-4…..8-9……12-13

American League
Balt:    2-4-2….7-1…..9-5-2
Bos:     .3-4….6-2-2…9-6-2
Chi:     4-4-1…3-3-1…7-7-2
Clev:    5-3-1….2-6…..7-9-1
Det:     2-4-3….4-2-1…6-6-4
Hst:       6-1……7-2…..13-3
KC:       3-5…..2-4-2….5-9-2
LAA:    1-6-2…3-2-2….4-8-4
Min:       6-1……3-6……9-7
NY:      3-4-1…..7-1….10-5-1
A’s:        1-7…..5-1-2….6-8-2
Sea:      3-7……5-2…….8-9
TB:        4-4…..4-3-2….8-7-2
Tex:      2-6-1…..5-3.….7-9-1
Tor:       2-5-2…..4-4…..6-9-2

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

13) Best part of the Strickland/Harper shenanigans Monday night was Buster Posey totally declining to get involved. Usually, the catcher tries to keep the angry batter away from the pitcher, but Posey made no such attempt.

Harper hit two very long home runs off Strickland in the ’14 playoffs (thats 2.5 years ago!!!) in their only two previous meetings. Guess something Harper did/said ticked Strickland off.

12) I like watching baseball when they have the strike zone on the right side of the screen, so we can see if the umps miss any pitches. To me, it makes the broadcast a little better.

11) Is Nick Markakis the best active player who has never been an All-Star? He has 1,945 hits, is a solid defender, has a .358 career OB%. You’d think he would’ve made one All-Star team.

10) Jeb Bush is out as part of the group trying to buy the Miami Marlins; apparently he had “only $20M” of his own money involved in the project, not enough to make him a controlling partner, which is what he wanted.

9) 10 of the 64 teams in the NCAA college baseball tournament are located in Texas.

8) Nike stock fell 19% last year, is up only 4% this year; with the NBA Finals starting this week, Nike didn’t need Cavs-Warriors being overshadowed by Eldrick Woods’ DUI arrest. Nike does not sell golf equipment anymore, but they still sell golf clothes, which Woods endorses.

7) Houston Astros are almost definitely going to be in the playoffs; I’m curious how they’ll deal with Josh Reddick playing against lefties (Price? Sale? Lester?) in playoffs/World Series.

Reddick is a career .270 hitter vs righties, .220 vs lefties (.282 OB%). A’s once pinch-hit for him in the 4th inning of a big game because the opponent put a lefty in. So far this year he is 7-25 (.280) vs lefties; maybe the change of scenery has helped him. We’ll see.

6) Kansas Jayhawks will have six transfers amongst their 13 scholarship players next winter; only three of them will be eligible next season. Makes team chemistry a little dicey.

5) David Blatt went 83-40 as coach of the Cavaliers in the regular season, went 14-6 in playoff games and got fired. Now he coaches overseas; I think he had just enough ego to have been a really good college coach, but we’ll probably never know.

Fact of the matter is, if Lebron James wakes up one day in August and wants Tyronn Lue fired, the man is as good as gone. Probably won’t happen, but it could.

4) Not a big fan of playing the infield in; just doesn’t seem necessary, unless the runner on third is really fast. Playing fielders in opens up too many cheap hits that wouldn’t happen with a more traditional defense.

3) Joe Niekro pitched in the major leagues for 22 seasons, had 973 career at-bats with a .156 BA and hit one home run— off his brother, Hall of Fame Phil Niekro.

2) A Saudi prince lost $359M in six hours playing poker at a casino in Egypt; he also sold off five of his nine wives as a way to reduce his debt.

I knew cats had nine lives; had no idea Saudi princes had nine wives.

1) I don’t care what anyone says, Bob Uecker should’ve won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as Indians’ announcer Harry Doyle in Major League.

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

13) I’m not real interested in how long baseball games last; I enjoy watching the game, but some people are bent out of shape because games are longer now. One easy way to shorten games; eliminate coaches’ visits to the mound. There’s your 5-7 minutes a game right there.

12) Last week, Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly put Giancarlo Stanton in the #2 spot in the order, which was surprising, but since then, Stanton is 11-26 with two walks, so he has gotten better pitches to hit in that spot. The two walks were last night; one was intentional.

11) Underrated: Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls coaching the Redskins; now he owns NASCAR teams and is a giant in that sport. Not many people have been so prominent in two different sports.

10) Mets’ OF Michael Conforto has impressive bloodlines; his mother won two gold medals in the Olympics in synchronized swimming. His dad played football at Penn State.

9) Was reading on where the Falcons’ new domed stadium will have 1,264 beer taps in it. The GeorgiaDome had 30 beer taps.

8) Miami Hurricanes missed out on the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time in 45 years; losing a series to Dartmouth isn’t good for your tournament resume.

7) Only four of the Braves’ first 49 games (2-2) have come against lefty starting pitchers.

6) In college basketball, Belmont has finished #1 in whole country in 2-point FG% four of the last five years; thats hard to believe, but they run lot of backdoor plays and get lot of layups. Still, with 351 teams in the country. to be #1 four out of five years is really impressive.

5) Astros (10 games), Nationals (8.5 games) have huge divisional leads; 2nd place in the NL East is 21-27, so thats a terrible division. 2nd place in AL West is 26-27. Those two teams will basically coast from here into the playoffs.

4) Second Wild Card in NL is 10 games over .500, so going to be hard to make the playoffs there. In AL, second Wild Card is only two games over .500, so a straggler now can get hot and become a contender.

This stuff will influence who is a seller when the trade deadline rolls around. Lesser teams in the National League are more likely to sell off veteran players than American League teams.

3) Astros 16, Twins 8— Minnesota led this game 8-2 after seven innings behind Ervin Santana, who has a 1.75 ERA. Twins’ bullpen then allowed 11 runs in the 8th inning, three more in the 9th- they faced 22 hitters- 16 of them reached base, 14 scored. Yikes.

Houston has a team like the Red Sox teams when they had Butch Hobson batting 9th when he knocked in 100 runs. You cannot outslug the Astros; very impressive lineup.

Elias Sports says that before Monday, Astros were 0-659 in franchise history when trailing by 6+ runs in the 8th inning. Now they’re 1-659.

2) Nationals 3, Giants 0— In the top of the 8th, reliever Hunter Strickland drilled Bryce Harper in the hip and a hockey fight broke out— a real donnybrook, a Pier 6 brawl. Harper got a couple shots in before both benches converged on the mound.

Seemed like there was some history there- they seemed to actually dislike each other— turns out Harper homered twice off Strickland in the 2014 playoffs; one ball went in the upper deck at Nationals Park, the other one landed in McCovey Cove. Only times they’ve faced each other, until Monday.

1) Mike Trout has a torn ligament in his left thumb, will miss a couple weeks unless surgery is needed, then it’ll be a lot more than that.