13) Since the AFL/NFL merger 50+ years ago, only one NFL quarterback who has started 50+ games hasn’t thrown at least one pick-6. The answer is surprising; I’ll post it down below.
12) May 17, 1979; Phillies beat the Cubs 23-22 in ten innings, with the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. One of the craziest ballgames ever:
— Neither starting pitcher finished the first inning.
— Cubs’ #3-4 hitters went a combined 7-13, with seven runs scored, 13 RBI and Chicago still lost.
— Cubs’ #3 hitter was Bill Buckner, who was a very good big league hitter.
— For some reason, Larry Bowa hit 2nd, Pete Rose 3rd for the Phillies. Bowa was a good fielder but a less-than-average hitter. Bake McBride batted leadoff for Philly.
—Tug McGraw gave up 7 runs (4 earned) in 0.2 innings; you may have heard of his son, Tim McGraw, the great singer. Tug McGraw saved 180 games in his 19-year MLB career.
— Rawly Eastwick got the win in relief, throwing two perfect innings in a 23-22 game.
— Six different players knocked in 4+ runs.
— Bob Boone (Aaron Boone’s father) was the Phillies’ catcher.
— The game took 4:03 to play; 14,952 fans watched it.
11) Jazz 114, Lakers 89:
— Jazz have played 32 games; they’re had a 20+ point lead in 20 of them.
— In its last 23 games, Utah is 20-2-1 against the spread.
10) NBA will host two 4-team play-in tournaments May 18-21, to determine the last four playoff teams this season, two in each conference:
— #7-seed hosts the #8-seed; winner is in.
— #10-seed visits the #9-seed; loser is out.
— Loser of the 7-8 game hosts the 9-10 winner; winner of that game gets in playoffs.
9) Arkansas 81, Alabama 66:
— Free throws: Arkansas 27-43, Alabama 3-8. Seems fair.
— One kid on Arkansas was 16-19 on the line; Alabama’s whole team was 3-8.
— Arkansas has won five in row, 8 of last 9 games.
— Alabama is 4-3 in its last seven games, after a 14-3 start.
8) Rutgers 74, Indiana 63— The pundits on the Big 14 Network preach endlessly about how great their league is; I’m a skeptic. FS1’s Doug Gottlieb was saying how fewer kids from the Big 14 jump early to the NBA, so they have an advantage early in the season, their teams have more continuity, an advantage that erodes as the season goes on.
7) ESPN missed the boat when they let Gottlieb walk; he is a way better analyst than Jay Bilas, who somehow is ESPN’s #1 analyst. Bilas played for Duke, which seems to mean a lot at ESPN.
Gottlieb speaks his mind, has some humor and doesn’t bitch about the refs every 90 seconds, the way Bilas does. Always learn stuff listening to Gottlieb.
6) NC State 68, Virginia 61:
— Virginia lost three in row, after a 15-3 start.
— Wolfpack won three in row, after an 8-9 start.
— NC State played seven guys the whole game. Not many teams have depth these days.
5) Wednesday night’s biggest upsets:
— Western Carolina (+14) 81, NC-Greensboro 80
— NC State (+12) 68, Virginia 61
— Marquette (+8.5) 83, North Carolina 70
— St Joe’s (+8) 97, Dayton 84
— Butler (+7.5) 61, Seton Hall 52
— Fresno State (+7) 67, UNLV 64
4) SNY in New York City does it right; they replay a classic Mets’ game every weekday at 3pm. Watching ballgames is the fun thing to do, listening to Cohen-Darling-Hernandez is a fine way to spend a winter afternoon, at least until exhibition games start this weekend.
3) Blue Jays’ 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr has lost 42 pounds since last season; he turns 22 next month, has hit .269 in his first 183 big league games, over two seasons. Curious to see if being so much lighter will make him a better hitter.
2) I’m amazed that people bet on the NFL Draft; you can wager on how many QB’s will get taken in the first round, what pick in the first round will the last QB be taken, basically anything you can think of.
Over the last 50 years, Mitch Trubisky is the only NFL quarterback with 50+ starts who hasn’t thrown at least one pick-6.
1) Conference tournaments start tonight; the Horizon League has four first-round games.