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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brilliant draft pick by the Kings, but………

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

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

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

Phoenix: Marcus Thornton, a 1st round draft pick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New England 11, over -$120

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buffalo 6, over/under -$110

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

Chicago 5, over/under -$110

San Francisco 4.5, over/under -$110

Cleveland 4, over/under -$110

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Must be nice to be rich.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running Diary of the 2017 NFL Draft……..

7:41: Trying to decide which channel to watch the draft on; NFL Network or ESPN, assuming ESPN has enough employees left to do live programming.

Seeing how I boycotted Chris Berman for the last 20 years or so, since he and Steve Young took delight in mocking the Rams when they sucked in the 90’s, I’ll give post-Berman ESPN the first shot. Plus, Deion Sanders is on NFL Network; can’t stand him.

7:46: NFL is lucky as hell; when they foolishly put a Super Bowl in New Jersey a few years ag0, they missed a big snowstorm by a day. Tonight, on April 27, it is 74 degrees in Philly. Unusual; they just as easily could’ve gotten cruddy weather- Phillies got rained out at home two nites ago.

7:53: NFL started moving the draft a few years ago, when Radio City Music Hall was unavailable for draft weekend- they’ve struck gold. Now 14 cities want to host the draft- you know it’ll be in LA when the Rams’ new stadium is finished. I’m guessing Dallas will get it soon, too.

8:07: Roger Goodell makes $32M a year or so to be NFL’s Commish; he can take getting booed. Philly fans oblige by booing the hell out of him. Weird thing is, he isn’t a lawyer. Thought you had to be a lawyer to be a commish.

Goodell family trivia: When Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, the man who replaced him as a US Senator from New York was Charles Goodell, Roger’s father.

8:10: Mel Kiper Jr, draft expert, touts Myles Garrett as a smart #1 pick for Cleveland, who is on the clock. Jon Gruden touts LSU safety Jamal Adams as the #1 pick. Gruden insists that Garrett isn’t the best player in this draft and he shows video evidence why, citing inconsistent effort.

Earlier this week, former Cowboys’ exec Gil Brandt tweeted that only 14.5 of Garrett’s 31 sacks in college came against SEC competition.

8:14: Browns take Garrett, the 5th SEC player taken #1 in the last 11 drafts. Cleveland also has the #12 pick in this round, so we’ll hear from them again in a few hours.

8:17: 49ers/Bears flip-flop the #2/#3 picks; looks like John Lynch will be trying to stockpile some draft picks in his first draft running the 49ers.

8:22: Bears take QB Mitchell Trubisky, meaning he gets to freeze his butt off for the next 10 Decembers in Chicago. Mike Glennon (3 years, $45M in Chicago) must be happier than hell; he signed with the Bears as a free agent, now it looks like he’ll be moving along again in a year or two.

The film of Trubisky that Gruden shows isn’t flattering; Trey Wingo points out that the only North Carolina QB to ever start an NFL game is TJ Yates. Trubisky started only 13 games at UNC, but then again, he isn’t going to start for a while.

8:29: 49ers take DE Solomon Thomas from Stanford; Lynch was a great DB, so it makes sense that his first draft pick is a defensive end. The young man once lived in Australia for five years; his first favorite sport was swimming.

49ers gave up 2,600 yards rushing last year; unlike Trubisky, Moore will play right away.

8:35: Jacksonville picks in the top 5 for the 6th year n a row; they take Leonard Fournette from LSU, who missed five games last year, including one by choice. He didn’t seem to be great with catching balls out of the backfield.

College coaches use the draft to be seen on TV: Stanford’s David Shaw is working on NFL Network, Ed Orgeron, Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Brian Kelly are all in Philly with their players. Recruiting season in college football is 365/12/7/24- tonite is no exception.

Fournette’s agent, by the way, is Jay Z.

8:43: Tennessee, with one of the picks acquired in the Jared Goff trade, selects WR Corey Davis of Western Michigan, the only D-I team to offer him a scholarship out of high school.

49ers, by the way, got two extra draft picks from the Bears for dropping from #2 to #3.

8:51: Jets draft LSU safety Jamal Adams; Todd Bowles was a DB when he played, so this makes perfect sense. Gruden loves Adams- this is a good pick. Jets allowed 30 TDs LY, had only eight INT’s. Louis Riddick praises Adams’ constant effort.

I would love to know how many kids get drafted by the Jets/Giants but aren’t aware that the teams play in New Jersey, not New York. There have to be at least one or two.

Adams’ father is George Adams, who played RB for the Giants 30 years ago, so we know he knows the Jets play in the Garden State.

Since 1987, Adams family is 8th father/son combo who were both drafted in the first round. Two of those eight are Mannings.

9:00: Chargers are on the clock; it still saddens me that they left San Diego, screwing their loyal fans for no decent reason, other than abject greed. They’re not the only ones who have done it, but they seem to be the team who left a pretty good situation to be a tenant in Los Angeles.

Chargers took WR Mike Williams instead of his college teammate, Deshaun Watson. Philip Rivers had to like this pick. Williams comes from a hometown of 170 people.

9:04: Carolina takes Christian McCaffrey from Stanford; his dad played for the Broncos, his granddad was once the fastest man in the world.

Fallout of this: Fournette/McCaffrey both skipped their bowl game to avoid injury, and they both benefitted with a solid draft position— will that makes this an increasing trend this fall?

Four of the first eight players taken went to LSU or Stanford.

9:12: Bengals take WR John Ross from Washington, whose pee-wee coach as a kid was Snoop Dawg (seriously). Ross is really, really fast, but he is going to play a decent amount of games in cold weather and he has had injury issues (shoulder. knee). Has he ever played in cold weather?

9:15: Chiefs trade up to the #10 spot in the draft; Buffalo trades down, but they get an extra #1 pick next year, to drop down 17 spots— KC has to be taking a QB, right?

9:18: ESPN fires Andy Katz, Ed Werder, Jayson Stark, but we’re supposed to watch the 6:00 SportsCenter because Ice Cube plays dominos with Jemele Hill? Oy.

9:20: Chiefs take Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes, whose dad pitched in the big leagues; he is the first QB taken in the first round by the Chiefs since Todd Blackledge, in 1983.

Gruden is tight with Andy Reid (Packer assistants together in early 90’s); he compares Mahomes to Brett Favre— seriously, he did.

As ESPN goes to commercial, Deshaun Watson doesn’t look very happy. Hey, Thurman Thomas once sat in a diner for half a day waiting to be drafted- his career turned out pretty well.

9:28: Saints take a DB from Ohio State that Jon Gruden doesn’t like that much. I like it when there is criticism; not every player is the greatest player ever.

Random rant: I bought a MacBook Pro last August; the keyboard sucks, with G and T keys often sticking. For $1,300, thought I’d get a decent keyboard. Otherwise, the laptop is fine.

9:35: Houston Texans traded up to draft Deshaun Watson, who won a lot of football games in college, but did throw 30 INT’s over the last two years, most in the whole country in I-A.

Texans have started 8 QB’s in three years under Bill O’Brien (QB guru). What makes this guy such a guru if he couldn’t make any of those eight QB’s serviceable players?

9:43: Arizona is on the clock; Carson Palmer turns 38 in December, so of course, they take a linebacker from Temple, where Bruce Arians was once the head coach. Local Philly fans eat up the local kid makes good angle.

Good news for Drew Stanton, Arizona’s current backup QB.

9:52: Hometown Eagles are on the clock: Gruden says they have to draft a CB. The crowd of roughly 70,000 is VERY EXCITED.

Eagles select Derek Barnett, a DE from Tennessee. He had more sacks in college than Reggie White— this is the pick Philly got from the Vikings for Sam Bradford. Eagle fans do not seem real happy, but unlike Myles Garrett, 29 of his 33 career sacks were in SEC games.

10:00: Colts take S Malik Hooker, who wanted to play basketball at Pitt, but Jamie Dixon never offered him, so he went to play football at Ohio State.

Louis Riddick says he needs to tackle better, Gruden says he has been hurt too much and hasn’t played enough football to be taken this high- he only played two years of HS football.

10:07: I don’t care if people boo Goodell, he seems like a good man. When the Ravens take a CB from Alabama, a 14-year old Make-a-Wish kid announces the pick, and Goodell introduces the young man. Then again, having the kid there means Goodell doesn’t get booed.

Mel Kiper’s five best available players are all SEC players, three from Alabama.

Random fact: Joe Flacco’s cap hit this year is $24.55M, highest in the NFL.

10:16: Redskins take Jonathan Allen, DE from Alabama, a pick applauded by the ESPN panel. Gruden is shocked he was available at #17, but apparently he has injury issues (shoulder).

10:20: “Who knows what they’re going to do?” Gruden on the Titans, who are up next.

Tennessee takes Adoree Jackson, a CB from USC who also played some WR for the Trojans and is a return threat. Jackson apparently also runs track; curious to see if that continues.

This will all be a lot more fun tomorrow, when the Rams have picks. Should’ve hung a #16 Rams jersey in the room tonight as a reminder of why we don’t have a pick in the first round.

10:27: Last year was Tampa Bay’s first winning season since 2010, but they didn’t make the playoffs. They took OJ Howard, a TE from Alabama, who should help open up their offense. He is Alabama’s 20th #1 draft pick since 2010, nine more than any other school.

Bucs are on Hard Knocks this summer; their CB Brett Grimes is married to a woman who is a real character— she is very outspoken on social media and doesn’t hold back. If HBO gets a mike on her, Hard Knocks will be highly entertaining TV.

10:31: First offensive lineman comes off the board at #20, Garrett Bolles to Denver; this kid was kicked out of five schools. Five. He brought his little baby up on stage with him.

Apparently the kid’s lacrosse coach wound up getting thru to him and straightening him out. Hopefully Mr Bolles will send that man a nice gift- he is also a 25-year old rookie, by the way. Denver really needed a good offensive lineman.

This is the latest the draft has ever gone before an offensive lineman was selected.

10:40: Detroit Lions take Jarrad Davis, a LB from Florida, who gets high marks for having good character. Was fun to hear that. Gruden thinks he will start as a rookie.

10:42: Dolphins take a kid from Missouri who has someone dressed as a Star Wars character sitting behind him in his house.

Wonder if Missouri alums are happy with their move to the SEC? I’m guessing the school’s accountants are happy; the SEC is a freakin’ gold mine, but on the field/court, Mizzou has mostly sucked in the SEC.

10:46: How in God’s name is Dalvin Cook still available? The Florida State RB is a FOOTBALL PLAYER.

Giants take a tight end from Ole Miss, further proof that Eli Manning runs the franchise.

10:54: Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders take a CB from Ohio State who, according to Raiders’ tradition, was accused of sexual assault recently. Wouldn’t be the Raiders if they took a solid citizen, though the young man hasn’t been charged with any crime and he strongly denies the accusation. Hopefully the kid was a victim of a potential scammer.

11:03: Cleveland is back on the clock: they take Jabril Peppers, a safety from Michigan who had a diluted drug sample at the Combine. This is the 5th time in 11 years, the Browns have had two first round picks.

One of the guys who runs the Cleveland Browns’ front office now was the Jonah Hill character in Moneyball, an Ivy League nitwit who played WR at Harvard in college, but made his reputation in baseball front offices.

Appears as if the Browns upgraded their defense tonight; Gregg Williams is the Browns’ new defensive coordinator- as a Rams’ fan, I think highly of Williams after he was our DC the last few years.

11:10: Atlanta Falcons trade with Seattle to move up to the #26 slot; Falcons have two new coordinators this year, unusual for a team that did so well last year- they take Takkarist McKinley, a LB from UCLA who was a sprinter in high school and who was raised by his grandmother after his mother deserted him at age 6.

11:18: Buffalo takes another LSU CB: Ed Orgeron might be there to support his guys, but in reality these are guys recruited and coached mostly by Les Miles, who put so many guys into the NFL it wound up costing him his job.

11:20: Dallas Cowboys get a worse greeting than Goodell when their turn is announced; no one is less popular in Philly than the Cowboys, who take Taco Charlton, a pass rusher that played at Michigan.

Long time ago, I knew a guy from Philly who wore a green windbreaker; on the back was a drawing of an animated Eagle urinating on the Cowboy logo. Oy.

11:32: Browns have traded up for a third pick in the first round; during the commercial break I put the A’s game on and saw something I never saw before— Kendall Graveman recorded an unassisted double play and he’s a pitcher— great play by him on a comebacker.

Cleveland drafts a TE from Miami; he will be a 20-year old rookie who looks more like a WR than a tight end. He has a lot of people celebrating with him when he gets drafted.

11:35: After a tribute to the late Dan Rooney, the Steelers pick JJ Watt’s brother, a LB from Wisconsin. Steelers play in Houston Christmas night.

11:40: 49ers/Saints have the last two picks tonite— San Francisco takes Reuben Foster, their third defensive player taken tonite.

New Orleans ends the first round by taking a tackle from Wisconsin, someone to protect Drew Brees as his career winds down. Ryan Ramczyk once quit football to become a welder; lucky for him he got talked out of that blunder.

There is a kid named Forrest Lamp in the draft, an offensive lineman from Western Kentucky. When he gets drafted, I will call him a bright kid, because his freakin’ name is Lamp!!!!

If Gruden or Mel Kiper criticize the team that selects Lamp, will they be throwing shade?

Thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed it.

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

13) Sometimes there are no good options, something I’m sure OKC Thunder coach Billy Donovan is thinking about now that his team was eliminated from the NBA Playoffs by the Houston Rockets in five very interesting games.

Fact #1: In the five games, Oklahoma City was +15 with Russell Westbrook on the floor, -58 when he was off the floor. Donovan tried very hard to find spots to rest Westbrook, but when he did, the team suffered.

Know-it-alls like myself suggested that Westbrook never come out of the game, but in the series, (Fact #2) Westbrook shot 14-49 in the 4th quarter- thats 28.6%, which is dismal.

He needed rest, he needed better teammates, and in the end, without those, they just were not gonna beat Houston, no matter what strategy Donovan used.

12) I’m not always crazy about TNT’s Reggie Miller as an analyst, but thought he did an excellent job on the Game 5 Houston-OKC telecast— he stated a definitive opinion about playing/sitting Westbrook, said why he thought that way and then let the game unfold. Well done.

11) Trea Turner hit for the cycle in Denver Tuesday nite, had seven RBI; he is the first player since Troy Tulowitzki in 2009 to hit for the cycle and also knock in 7+ runs in that game.

10) I’m sure the organizers at the Zurich Classic are thrilled that Jordan Spieth is playing in their event in New Orleans this week; I’m not sure they’re thrilled that word got out that the reason that Spieth is playing is because he lost a bet with partner Ryan Palmer’s caddy.

9) Miami Marlins are playing the Phillies this week, but the NFL bought up all the hotel rooms to Philly this week for their Draft, so the Marlins are staying in Wilmington, Delaware, which according to MapQuest, is 32.6 miles away.

8) Michigan Wolverines are having spring football practice in Italy; I’m not sure why, but that has to be pretty expensive.

7) Odd college basketball stat: over the last three years, Hofstra is 5-22 vs spread in CAA home games, which is awful; during same time, they’re 17-9-1 vs spread on CAA road, 9-1-1 as road underdogs the last two seasons.

6) Kansas City Chiefs haven’t drafted a QB in the first round since Todd Blackledge in 1983.

5) Big week for UNLV’s basketball program; they’ve bagged three excellent recruits, including a 5-star center, Brandon McCoy. Rebels will be back near the top of the Mountain West next winter, helped by Steve Fisher retiring as coach at San Diego State.

4) A’s get good news; Kendall Graveman will be activated and pitch for Oakland Thursday in Anaheim against the Angels.

3) Sounds like a group of 5+ investors, which includes Jeb Bush/Derek Jeter, are going to buy the Miami Marlins for $1.3B from hideous Jeffrey Loria, who won’t be missed.

Sounds like Jeb Bush won by losing; I’d rather own the Marlins than be President.

2) NBA fined Houston Rockets’ owner Les Alexander $100,000 after he left his court side seat during live game action to yell at referee Bill Kennedy during Game 5 Tuesday nite.

When you look at how close fans are to the action in NBA games, it really is surprising that stuff like this doesn’t happen more often.

1— ESPN fired around 100 people this week, many of them people we’ve seen on TV for several years- tough day in the TV industry.

My question is this: How did they decide who they kept, and who they told to take a hike?

For the foreseeable future, every time I watch ESPN, I’ll be wondering why they kept the person on my TV screen instead of someone they fired. Human nature, I guess.

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

13) “There are no coincidences.” Friend of mine used to say that a lot.

So when Saints @ Vikings shows up as a Week 1 Monday Night Football game, and then five days later, former Viking Adrian Peterson signs a two-year, $7M contract with the Saints, you have to think the league knew about it in advance and had them delay the announcement until after the schedule was released.

12) Tuesday was a rainy night in the northeast; games in Boston, NYC, Philly were all rained out, which screws up fantasy league owners who had two-start (Tues/Sun) pitchers this week, but now will only make one start.

11) Detroit 19, Seattle 9— I wish it rained in Detroit, seeing as how Felix Hernandez is on my fantasy team; he got shelled in two lousy innings of work. Mariners are now 2-10 on the road. Detroit had 19 hits, just in the first five innings.

10) St Bonaventure is 35-19 in conference play the last three basketball seasons; look at a map and find Olean, NY- it is in the middle of freakin’ nowhere, on the Southern Tier of New York. There aren’t any big-time basketball high schools anywhere near Olean.

How has no big money college not hired Bonnies’ coach Mark Schmidt to run their program? This guy is a very good coach who should be working on a bigger stage.

9) Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Dodgers are 5-17 in their last 22 games in San Francisco, losing last six of last seven games there.

Dodgers called up top outfield prospect Cody Bellinger, who is expected to play almost every day while Joc Pederson (groin strain) is on the DL.

8) PGA Tour event in New Orleans this week is a team event; two-man teams, first time there has been one on the PGA Tour since 1981.

7) Los Angeles Angels traded for Atlanta minor league pitcher David Hernandez, who was immediately added to the Halos’ big league roster. Hernandez was at a Faith Hill/Tim McGraw concert when he was notified of the trade.

6) Astros star Jose Altuve left Tuesday’s game in Cleveland in the 8th inning with what looked like a sore jaw after he collided with RF Teoscar Hernandez, who looked like he had a much more severe injury to his left leg.

5) Kansas has three hoop transfers who will be sitting out next year, then will be eligible to play in 2018-19; the Lawson brothers from Memphis and PG Charlie Moore from Cal. That reduces their eligible scholarship players for next year to 10 at the most- their bench could be thin.

4) When TNT replays NBA playoff games in the middle of the night, they replay the whole game, even the halftime shows. ESPN cuts a decent amount of their NBA game replays: “Due to time constraints we move ahead to further action”. Not sure why they do that.

3) ESPN was supposed to show Tigers-Indians this coming Monday night, but after the Red Sox threw at Manny Machado Sunday, they dropped that game and added Orioles-Red Sox to their Monday night programming.

2) 182 underclassmen (137 college, 45 foreign) have declared for the NBA Draft, in which only 60 players are drafted. Lot of the kids do not have agents and can go back to school, but there will also be several players heading to the D-League or Europe, having gotten poor advice.

You can make good money playing in Europe, but it ain’t the NBA.

1— I’ve whined a decent amount this year about NBA players needing “maintenance days” to  rest up, either mentally/physically, from the grind of a long season.

Then there is the NHL; it came out after they lost to Edmonton in the playoffs that San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton played four games, with a torn ACL and MCL.

Let me repeat that: he played four hockey games WITH AN ALMOST TOTALLY SHREDDED KNEE!!! No maintenance days in pro hockey. Just really tough guys.

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

13) Get well soon, Steve Kerr; the Warriors’ coach has had severe pain/discomfort since he had surgery on his spine a couple years ago. Fluid leaked from his spine and has created problems so unique that doctors aren’t even sure what the real problem is now.

Kerr seems like a genuinely decent and normal guy; we wish him the best in getting healthy.

12) Oklahoma City lost at home to Houston Sunday; they were +14 in 39:00 Russell Westbrook was on the court, -18 in 9:00 he was on the bench.

Billy Donovan has forgotten more basketball than I will ever know, but if I’m him, I might just leave Westbrook out there the whole 48:00 and see what happens. There are enough TV timeouts to get him a decent amount of rest.

11) Thursday night the Mariners lost a tough game in Oakland; at one point, a ground ball single went thru the legs of CF Leonys Martin, who actually went to one knee to stop the ball, but still whiffed on it. Ball took an odd hop, but not a REAL bad hop.

Sunday, the Mariners designated Martin for assignment, which means they are done with him. I’m guessing that error Thursday night was a part of that decision.

10) Pro wrestler Jon Cena’s grandfather Tony Lupien played in 614 big league games as a first baseman for the Red Sox, Phillies, White Sox. Sunday would’ve been Mr Lupien’s 100th birthday.

By the way, Jon Cena does more stuff for kids in the Make-a-Wish program than any other celebrity. He is incredibly generous with his time and makes a lot of kids smile. Good for him.

9) You think about how much the Rams paid Tennessee last year for their first pick in the draft that turned into Jared Goff and a big part of that was a belief that there is no great QB prospect in this draft, so if LA was going to draft a young QB, it had to be done last year.

Mel Kiper doesn’t give any QB’s first round grades this year; that is telling.

8) Phillies were 1-1 in 8th inning Sunday, then they hit three consecutive homers against the Atlanta bullpen- that doesn’t happen much.

7) Runs batted in by outfielders this season:
Miami 46, Washington 37

Kansas City 11, San Diego/Toronto, 12 each.

6) Houston Astros are 6-2 on the road which obviously is very good but a red flag; Astros haven’t led any of those games (0-5-3) after five innings- their deep lineup beats up on middle relievers.

5) Best records in games decided by 1-2 runs: Orioles 10-1, Rockies 10-2, Astros 6-2, Nationals 9-3……..Worst records? Toronto 2-10, Dodgers 3-6, Minnesota 2-6.

4) Former Cowboys’ executive Gil Brandt points out on Twitter that Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett had 31 career sacks at Texas A&M, but only 14 of them came in SEC games— Aggies’ non-league opponents were mostly Sun Belt/C-USA teams (UTSA, Rice, ULM).

3) From Wikipedia: The Wonderlic Personnel Test is a popular group intelligence test used to assess the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving in a range of occupations. It consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 12 minutes.

How much do Wonderlic scores matter when NFL teams are drafting players this week?

I have to ask around, seeing as this is NFL draft week; I think I remember being told a few years ago that some teams care about the results, some do not.

I’ll get back to you on this.

2) Red Sox threw behind Manny Machado’s head Sunday, causing a ruckus, after his slide into second base Saturday sent Dustin Pedroia to the pines. Hopefully this will all go away, but Machado does have a way of annoying opponents— he got into it with Josh Donaldson in Oakland a few years ago.

1— New York Giants used to have training camp here in Albany; friend of mine’s adult son wanted Eli Manning’s autograph, so he went to camp with a friend of his, who happened to be an exotic dancer. The young lady called for Eli, he came over to them, and my friend’s son asked Eli to sign the Giants’ mini-helmet he had.

He hands Eli the helmet and a silver Sharpie, but Eli wouldn’t sign with the silver pen; he had a black Sharpie he used, and he was insistent that he use it.

“I won’t be able to read your signature” the young man complained.

“You’ll be able to read it just fine” Eli replied, signed the helmet and that was that.

Thats how they tell the difference between the stuff Eli signs for Steiner Sports and those he just signs for free, by the color pen he signs with.

I’ll say this: if you pay extra for “game-used” items, you’re a damn fool, because demand exceeds supply, which means the “game-used” stuff you’re getting probably isn’t.

Monday’s List of 13: How Super Bowl teams did in Week 1 the next season…..

How last 14 defending Super Bowl champs did in Week 1 the next season; ten of the last 11 opened at home:
2003: Buccaneers (+3) W17-0 @ Philadelphia
2004: Patriots (-3) W27-24 vs Indianapolis
2005: Patriots (-7.5) W30-20 vs Oakland
2006: Steelers (-1) W28-17 vs Miami
2007: Colts (-5.5) W41-10 vs New Orleans
2008: Giants (-4.5) W16-7 vs Washington
2009: Steelers (-6.5) W13-10 vs Tennessee
2010: Saints (-5) W14-9 vs Minnesota
2011: Packers (-5) W42-34 vs New Orleans
2012: Giants (-5) L17-24 vs Dallas
2013: Ravens (+7.5) L27-49 @ Denver
2014: Seahawks (-5.5) W36-16 vs Green Bay
2015: Patriots (-7) W28-21 vs Pittsburgh
2016: Broncos (+3) W21-20 vs Carolina (8-3-3 vs spread)
2017: Patriots (-8) ????? vs Kansas City

How last 14 Super Bowl losers did in Week 1 the next season:
2003: Raiders (+3) L20-25 @ Tennessee
2004: Panthers (-3) L14-24 vs Green Bay
2005: Eagles (-1) L10-14 @ Atlanta
2006: Seahawks (-6) W9-6 @ Detroit
2007: Bears (+7) L3-19 @ San Diego
2008: Patriots (-16) W17-10 vs Kansas City
2009: Cardinals (-5) L16-20 vs San Francisco
2010: Colts (-1.5) L24-34 @ Houston
2011: Steelers (+1) L7-35 @ Baltimore
2012: Patriots (-5) W34-13 @ Tennessee
2013: 49ers (-5) W34-28 vs Green Bay
2014: Broncos (-7.5) W31-24 vs Indianapolis
2015: Seahawks (-3.5) L31-34 OT @ Rams
2016: Panthers (-3) L20-21 @ Denver (2-12 vs spread)
2017: Falcons (-6.5) ????? @ Chicago

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

13) When Giants open their 2017 season in Dallas against the Cowboys, it’ll be the 4th time in last five years these rivals opened the season against each other.

12) Chicago White Sox were shut out in Jose Quintana’s last two starts; in 18 of his last 26 losses, the Pale Hose either got shut out or scored one run.

11) Blake Griffin is out for the season with an injury to his big toe; those can be tough, since you push off with that part of your foot. Jack Lambert was a damn tough linebacker for the Steelers; his career ended because of an injury to his big toe.

10) Chicago Blackhawks were first #1 conference seed swept in an NHL first-round series since 1993, when the St Louis Blues swept Chicago.

9) Something to remember in September: Over the last 20 years, New Jersey Jets are 15-5 against the spread in their first road game of the season. Jets open this year in Buffalo.

8) Was nice of the Mets’ TV guys to crush the Washington Nationals’ 3B coach when Daniel Murphy got thrown out at the plate Saturday on a throw from right field.

If that happens to the Mets, those guys wouldn’t say boo; maybe they’ll call it questionable to send the guy but no way do they bash the 3B coach.

7) Toronto Blue Jays have already used seven starting pitchers in the first three weeks of the season; they used seven starting pitchers all of last season.

6) Buffalo Bills play Miami twice a year, since they’re division rivals, but their two meetings this year are in Weeks 15-17, very late in the season. Unusual.

5) Kevin Chappell has a one-shot lead after 54 holes of the Valero Open; he is the sixth golfer this year to lead by one stroke after 54 holes- none of the other five won that tournament.

Chappell has never won on Tour, but he has finished 2nd six times, which also adds up to a lot of cash.

4) Thru Thursday’s major league games, 70 calls had been overturned already this season by instant replay— 44% of plays reviewed were overturned. Replay is a useful tool.

3) Former Tennessee Vols RB Jalen Hurd is transferring to Baylor, where he can play in 2018 and is expected to be a wide receiver then.

2) Cleveland Browns/Jacksonville Jaguars are only two NFL teams who won’t be on this season in prime-time- they both get a Sunday morning game from England.

1— I neither know nor care who the NBA’s MVP will be; it is the most overrated topic in sports today. That said, I know damn well WHO THE BEST PLAYER in the NBA is.

He wears number 23 for the Cavaliers. Used to play for Miami. Great, great player. The best player right now.

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

13) Madison Bumgarner is on the DL with rib/shoulder injuries he got in a dirt-bike accident on an off-day in Denver. Rough news for the Giants.

12) Giants were already 0-4 in Bumgarner’s starts (0-3, 3.00) this season- they scored a total of five runs in the four games.

11) Eric Thames hit 21 homers in 684 plate appearances for Toronto/Seattle in 2011-12, then his career tailed off- he wound up playing three years in Korea. Now he is back in the majors with the Brewers, and he is batting .415 with 8 homers in 62 PA’s, making him an early candidate for Comeback Player of the Century.

10) Cincinnati Reds have to be thrilled with rookie pitcher Amir Garrett, who at one time was a basketball player at St John’s. In his first three big league starts, Garrett is 2-1, 1.83, with 21 strikeouts and only 14 hits allowed in 19.2 IP.

9) Thursday nite, the Pacers led Cleveland 74-49 at halftime; a daring gambler at Ellis Island Casino in Las Vegas wagered $55 at 25-1 odds on the Cavaliers to win this game. He cashed in for $1,375. Not a bad hour’s work.

8) Russell Westbrook was 4-18 in the 4th quarter of Game 2 in Houston; he was 13-25 in first three quarters. Thunder are hard to watch- they have no real second scoring option.

7) Bulls PG Rajon Rondo has a broken thumb, is out indefinitely for the Bulls, who lead Boston 2-0 in their first round series.

6) When you see a baseball game where there are no walks and 26 strikeouts, you assume that:

  1. Randy Johnson and Dwight Golden were pitching
  2. There was a pitchers’ umpire behind the plate.Since the starting pitchers were Patrick Corbin/Clayton Richard, we can safely assume that umpire Gerry Davis is a pitchers’ umpire.

5) NBA referee Danny Crawford has worked 293 playoff games in his career, 33 Finals games.

4) NFL centralized instant replay this season, under assumption that Dean Blandino would lead the effort in New York City to make the replay process more streamlined.

Then Blandino bolted the NFL for a TV job with a yet-to be-named network, leaving the NFL without a logical replacement for him. Mike Pereira would be ideal, but he already has a good job.

3) I wanted to watch a TV show on the IFC channel this week, then I realized I had never seen a show on this channel and had no idea what channel it was on DirecTV (it is 333). You learn something new every day.

2a) Mike D’Antoni was 279-161 as coach of the Phoenix Suns; since he left, the Suns are 332-390 in regular season games.

2b) Oakland A’s were 256-176 while they had Yoenis Cespedes on their roster; since they traded him on July 31, 2014, they are 165-229.

Sometimes you’re better off keeping things the way they are. Not all change is positive.

1— Hope it doesn’t rain in LA in early September; Rams play Colts/Redskins at home on Sept 10th/17th, day after USC plays Stanford/Texas on the 9th/16th. Field will take a beating.

If it were to rain during that time, you’ll get a quagmire like the 1977 playoff game in the Coliseum when the Rams lost 14-7 to a very inferior Minnesota team. It was so muddy it was hard to tell which players were on which team.

Why did I remind myself of that?