Saturday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here

13) This is what politicians/public servants are SUPPOSED TO DO:

In Texas this week, Beto O’Rourke organized volunteers to make more than 784,000 wellness calls to senior citizens around the state, to make sure they’re OK.

Common decency shouldn’t be a partisan issue; O’Rourke is a private citizen now, but he still has influence and he used it to try to help people this week. Good for him.

12) Long time ago, 40 or so years ago, I was student manager of the basketball team at UAlbany, when the Great Danes were a Division III team. A great learning experience, made lot of friends because of it; I was thinking of this story tonight and it made me smile:

Albany had a JV team; this is February 1980. The JV team had several injuries, one of whom was Jody MacDonald, who is now a sports talk host in Philadelphia; our team was down to six guys, so for two interesting nights, I suited up as the JV’s 7th player.

Because part of my job as student manager was dealing with the officials before games, I knew most of them; this was my junior year. I’m in the layup line, knowing I wasn’t going to play but trying to look like an actual player during warmups. I hear a voice behind me.

“Remember, no dunking in warmups” one of the refs says to me, then smiles and walks away. Just what we need, a smart-ass official. 🙂

Never got into either game I suited up for, but I did play in one scrimmage on our Sweden trip the following summer. I shot too much and was quickly yanked; go figure.

11) Seems strange to me that NBA teams haven’t seen the second half of their schedules yet, but in the COVID era, the league wanted flexibility in how they’re scheduling.

10) Bill Walton was telling a story Thursday night about how Michael Jordan’s first college choice was UCLA, but Larry Brown, then UCLA’s coach, wasn’t interested. I’ve never heard that one before; the whole course of college basketball would’ve changed.

Ironic that Larry Brown is a North Carolina alum.

9) I listen to podcasts a lot; can learn a lot from diverse sources, which is a good thing.

Rams’ GM Les Snead does a podcast with his wife, Kara Henderson; I’m listening to them as I type this, talking to poker pro Annie Duke about decision-making, and how decisions are made, and all the things that go into making good decisions.

Snead’s job has a lot of decision making; you wouldn’t think an NFL GM would take knowledge from a poker pro, but smart people listen to other smart people.

8) Boise State 81, Utah State 77:
— Broncos sweep Utah State, improve to 18-4, 14-3 in conference
— Mountain West is looking like a 2-bid league, with San Diego State looking solid.

7) Dayton 76, Saint Louis 53— Flyers sweep Saint Louis; they were up 20 at the half in this game. Not sure what to make of the Billikens; they had a 34-day COVID pause in January, are now only 4-3 in the A-14. They’re looking more and more like an NIT team.

6) UAB 76, Old Dominion 69:
— Brickfest: teams combined to shoot 7-32 on the arc.
— Andy Kennedy’s Blazers are 17-4, 10-3 in Conference USA, in Kennedy’s first season.
— UAB was +11 (20-9) in turnovers.

5) Iona 91, Monmouth 86:
— Rick Pitino’s Gaels are 7-5, 5-3 in the MAAC.
— Monmouth coach King Rice got tossed for carping to refs; in an empty gym, the yelling just sounds louder than it probably is.

Pitino has said that he believes in the Gonzaga/Saint Mary’s model of recruiting for mid-majors; 40-50% (6 or 7 players) being from foreign countries. Interesting strategy.

4) Baseball stuff:
— Mets gave P Taijuan Walker $20M for two years.
— Pirates gave 1B/3B Todd Frazier a minor league deal.

3) Lakers’ star Anthony Davis (calf/achilles) is out for at least four weeks.

2) Get well soon to Indianas’ manager Terry Francona, who had offseason surgery to address a staph infection in his big toe- he is still wearing a walking boot.

Everyone you listen to says that Francona is a good dude; he’s also been a successful manager, ending the Curse of the Bambino with the 2004 Red Sox. Baseball is better if he is involved.

Random trivia you probably already knew: Francona was manager of the Birmingham Barons in the AA Southern League, the year Michael Jordan played for the Barons.

1) A 111-year old woman in South Carolina got the COVID vaccine this week, the oldest person to do so.

Maria Aulenbacher attributes living such a long life to a few things: staying active and reading every day (she particularly favors historical books and non-fiction), a glass of red wine with lunch, and a beer with dinner. Good for her. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.