13) We start today with a movie review…….
The Way Back stars Ben Affleck as a guy (Jack Cunningham) who was a high school basketball star who walked away from the game rather than play in college; he got married, had a kid, but then his 8-year old son died of cancer, and he developed a drinking problem that ruined his marriage.
The movie starts with people from his old high school asking Jack Cunningham to come back to his old school to coach the basketball team; the previous coach had fallen ill. Reluctant at first, he takes the job and after a slow start, the team begins to turn it around.
This is a good movie because there is some laughter and some darkness; Jack Cunningham not only drinks a lot, he curses even more, much to the chagrin of the team’s chaplain. Basketball scenes in this movie are very well done.
This movie is making the rounds on HBO this month; it is worth your time.
12) Watching this movie, I was reminded that I once rebounded for a guy who made 126 foul shots in a row- seriously, he did.
I was student manager of our basketball team in college; rebounding for guys was part of my job, actually one of the best parts, but not when a guy makes 126 in a row and won’t stop until he misses one. I was hungry and wanted to go have dinner; tried throwing him a couple bad passes to get him off his mark, but that didn’t work.
Very impressive display of shooting by a guy who never played a significant minute for us; all he could do was shoot. We had a really good team, which made my job a lot more fun.
11) This week the Braves played in Fenway Park:
— Tuesday, Marcell Ozuna hit three homers.
— Wednesday, Adam Duvall hit three homers.
I was really surprised by this, but this was the first time EVER that teammates hit 3+ homers in consecutive games.
10) Defending World Series champion Washington Nationals are 12-23 this year, are headed nowhere; last year, they were 19-31 after 50 games, but they had a whole summer to bounce back, plus they had Rendon and a healthy Strasburg.
You can start to sense that reality has set in for a few of these terrible teams (Nationals, Red Sox, Pirates, Angels); they don’t have enough pitching to compete in such a compressed season. Will be interesting to see how many changes teams make this winter.
9) Arizona Diamondbacks were the last team to play an extra inning game under the new rules; they lost to the Dodgers in extra frames Wednesday night.
Last two years, with the new rule being used in the minor leagues, 73% of extra inning games ended after the first extra inning, whether it be the 8th or 10th inning. The two years before that, only 45% of extra inning games had ended in the first extra frame.
8) As of Wednesday night, seven major league teams still didn’t have a sacrifice bunt this season. One of the basic tenets of the analytics movements is not to make an out on purpose, and with pitchers not batting anymore, that is becoming the norm.
7) Mets have been outscored 51-28 in the first two innings of games this season.
6) Unusual stat; since 2014, New Orleans Saints are 58-38 SU in regular season games, but only 15-25-1 ATS as a home favorite. I would’ve thought they fared better at home.
5) Bronx Bombers are 20-16 this year; 2-8 vs Tampa Bay, 3-3 against the Mets, 15-5 against everyone else. Lot of their games with the Mets were really interesting; all six were decided by 3 or fewer runs.
4) South Alabama 29, Southern Miss 21:
— Jaguars were 12.5-point underdogs; it was their first road win in three years.
— USA quarterback Desmond Trotter is Ozzie Newsome’s grandson.
— Frank Gore Jr is a freshman RB for USM; his dad is still playing in the NFL.
3) Raptors 104, Celtics 103 (Boston leads 2-1)
— OG Anunoby drained a 3 at the buzzer to keep the series interesting.
— Raptors were down 10 at the half; huge win for them.
— Toronto was +12 with Siakam in the game; minus-11 in the 10:00 he sat out.
— Jayson Tatum was only 5-18 from the floor.
2) Clippers 120, Nuggets 97 (LA leads 1-0)
— Nuggets haven’t recovered from the Utah series yet.
— Leonard scored 29 points in 32:00 for the Clippers.
— Clippers shot 57% from the floor, unusually good for an NBA game.
1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
AL East- Tampa Bay, NY/Tor
AL Central- Chicago, Clev/Minn
AL West- Oakland, Houston
AL Wild Cards- Minn/Clev, Tor/NY
NL East- Atlanta, Philadelphia
NL Central- Chicago, Mil/StL
NL West- Los Angeles, San Diego
NL Wild Cards- Miami, Mil/StL