13) First of all, congrats to the Minnesota Twins for making the playoffs this season; they lost 103 games last year. No team had ever made the playoffs when they had lost 97+ games in the previous season. Excellent accomplishment.
12) NBA changed how their draft lottery will work, to discourage tanking; right now the top three teams have these percentages of getting the #1 pick:
1) 25%, 2) 19.9%, 3) 15.6%
Under the new system, the top three teams will each have a 14% shot at the #1 pick.
11) JD Martinez made $11,750,000 this season; he is hitting .418 in September, with 16 HR’s and 36 RBI and is a free agent after this season. He is going to make a freakin’ fortune this winter.
10) There were rumors on the Interweb Thursday that Clemson coach/Alabama alum Dabo Swinney might replace Nick Saban when Saban retires from the Crimson Tide.
I’ve said this here before; replacing Saban in Tuscaloosa will be like replacing John Wooden at UCLA or even replacing Bear Bryant at Alabama 35 years ago. A rabid, spoiled fanbase. Very, very difficult job.
9) Oakland A’s extended manager Bob Melvin’s contract thru 2019, which is excellent news; A’s were 46-35 at home this year, have a decent nucleus of young position players. Not sure their starting pitching will be good enough to contend next year. One can hope, though.
8) Seattle Mariners have used 40 pitchers this season; 17 of them started at least one game.
7) Arizona Wildcats lose 6-5 swingman Rawle Atkins for 8-12 weeks with a broken foot; he was supposed to be one of the Pac-12’s best players this winter.
6) Tigers’ utility guy Austin Romine will play all nine positions for Detroit Sunday, which is pretty cool. Bert Campaneris of the A’s was the first player to do that, in 1965.
5) Sam Saunders shot a 59 at the web.com championship Thursday; Saunders is Arnold Palmer’s grandson.
4) Chris Fallica of ESPN points out that there are only six college football games this week that have a spread less than 7 points. 27 games have a double digit spread.
3) Packers 35, Bears 14— Long time ago, I met John Fox; good guy. Too bad he’s going to get fired before New Year’s Day; the Bears turned ball over four times, are -7 in turnovers in two bad road losses. They’ve got a rookie QB sitting on the bench who might as well be playing, much like the Rams with Jared Goff last season. Chicago will hire an offensive-minded coach (Jim Bob Cooter??) to mentor Trubisky next year.
2) Clippers are having training camp in Hawai’i, the Nets at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Nothing against the Naval Academy, but advantage, Clippers.
1) NBA preseason games start Saturday night, which is good news. Will be better news when the games count for real, in a couple weeks.