13) Quick piece of advice: don’t bet on spring training games this year.
They have some unusual rules this year; one of the weird ones is if a pitcher throws 20+ pitches in an inning, his manager can simply end the inning, just by saying so.
Up 5-2 in top of 6th Sunday, Angels had bases loaded, but the SF pitcher had reached 20 pitches that inning, so Gabe Kapler just told the umpire the half-inning was over. MLB is trying to prevent pitchers from overworking themselves this spring.
Some games are 5 innings, some 7, others 9, at least until March 13, when they’re expected to go back to all nine-inning games.
12) If you were born on February 29, when do you celebrate your birthday? The 28th? March 1? Must be odd having a birthday once every four years.
11) There is a basketball player at South Alabama named Kayo Goncalves: here are his shooting stats for this year, his senior season:
— 2-point shots: 7-19, 36.8%
— foul shots: 9-14, 64.3%
— 3-point shots: 65-168, 36.7%
He mustn’t dribble very much, just catch/shoot. Jaguars are 16-10 overall this season, 23-14 in Sun Belt play the last two seasons. Sun Belt basketball is fun to watch.
10) Knicks 109, Pistons 90— Knicks are 18-17, first time since 2013 that they’ve been over .500 after 35 games. Tom Thibodeau is a very good coach.
9) QB Allen Bowman is transferring from Texas Tech to Michigan; Jim Harbaugh had a young QB play for him last year and it didn’t go well, so he grabs another transfer. Bowman threw for 2,600+ yards the last two seasons.
8) It was great to watch actual baseball games Sunday, even meaningless exhibition games. Regular season starts April 1st, four weeks from Thursday.
7) Marcus Semien got $18M to play for Toronto this season, but he is also moving from SS to second base, and he’ll play most of his home games on artificial turf.
Blue Jays will stay in Florida for their first two homestands, and they’ll play it by ear from there, as far as COVID protocols go. Blue Jays played their home games in Buffalo last year, but you don’t want to play outdoors in Buffalo in April.
6) Butler 73, Villanova 61— Villanova shot 2-27 from the arc; they’re shooting 36.1% for the season behind the arc. This is the kind of game teams will have to avoid in the tournament; you lay an egg there and your season ends quickly.
5) Iowa 73, Ohio State 57— In reality, NCAA Tournament will have three #1-seeds (Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan) and five #2-seeds, just that one of the five will be named as a #1-seed, but who will it be? Buckeyes had a shot, but they’ve lost three in a row now, so that won’t happen.
4) Victor Oladipo rejected a 2-year, $45.2M contract extension from the Houston Rockets; you know your life is going well when $45.2M isn’t a good deal. He wants a contract that is longer than two years, and if he stays healthy, he’ll probably get it.
3) Charlotte 127, Sacramento 126:
— Sacramento led by 8 with 0:55 left.
— Kings missed five foul shots in the last 1:09.
— Charlotte’s best player, Gordon Hayward, didn’t play.
— Sacramento has lost 10 of its last 11 games.
2) RIP to Irv Cross, 81, who passed away Sunday. Cross was a DB in the NFL for nine years (Eagles, Rams) but was better known as a popular person on the NFL Today pregame show for many years, with Brent Musburger, Phyllis George and Jimmy the Greek. RIP, sir.
1) Sunday was the 38th anniversary of the last episode of M*A*S*H, one of the all-time great TV shows. Spent many an hour watching M*A*S*H re-runs on weekday afternoons; the episodes with MacLean Stevenson were my favorites.