Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) 10-12 years ago, I read a book about college football called Meat Market, written by Bruce Feldman. It was mostly all about the recruiting period from December to Signing Day a few weeks later, and it dealt with the Ole Miss football program, then coached by Ed Orgeron.

After reading that book 10-12 years ago, if you had told me that Orgeron would making $8M a year coaching LSU in 2021, I’d have laughed at you, laughed loudly. I came away with two main questions after reading the book:

— Why would this guy give any outsider access to his program?
— Why would anyone, anyone hire this guy to be a head coach???? 

12) But, 10-12 years later, Orgeron has won a national title at LSU and now makes $8M a year. Go figure. He is a GREAT recruiter, and the Brady/Burrow OC/QB combination hit the jackpot for him in 2019- they’re both in the NFL now.

This week, LSU fired its offensive line coach; this fall, they’ll have two new coordinators, a new passing game coordinator, and now a new OL coach, after last year’s 5-5 disappointment.

We will see if LSU’s success is sustainable; will they land Arch Manning, the prize recruit in Louisiana? I’ve heard the kid has some relatives who were good quarterbacks, but they all played at either Ole Miss or Tennessee.

11) Dodgers 14, Cardinals 3— St Louis starter Carlos Martinez faced 12 batters; 10 of them scored. This was the most runs the Dodgers scored in the first inning of any game since May 21, 1952, when they whacked the Reds 19-1, in front of 11,580 fans at Ebbets Field.

Some notes from that game:
— Brooklyn’s pitcher Chris Van Cuyk went 4-5 in the game.
— Gil Hodges, manager of the ’69 Mets, batted 7th for the Dodgers.
— Rube Walker was the Dodgers’ catcher, and the ’69 Mets’ pitching coach.
— Guy named Dick Williams subbed in for Duke Snider late in the game; he is better known as the manager who won two World Series for the A’s in the 70’s.

10) Speaking of Dick Williams, my Mt Rushmore of Oakland A’s managers:
— Dick Williams— Only 3 years, but 3 division titles, 2 World Series titles.
— Bob Melvin— The current skipper is totally underrated, a great manager.
— Tony LaRussa— Won three straight AL titles from 1988-90.
— Art Howe— The movie Moneyball did him a huge disservice; he was an excellent skipper.

9) My Mt Rushmore of Rams head coaches:
— Dick Vermeil— Won Super Bowl XXXIV, the greatest football game ever.
— Sean McVay— Four winning seasons, three playoff spots, hopefully lot more to come.
— John Robinson— Restored team from dumpster fire status in the 80’s, had misfortune of coaching at same time that the 49ers had their great teams.
— Chuck Knox— His Rams were perennial playoff teams in the 70’s.

8) Mike Krzyzewski is going to retire as Duke’s basketball coach after this coming season; he’s been Duke’s coach since 1980, has won five national titles at Duke. Assistant coach Jon Scheyer has been named the next coach— good luck there.

7) I won’t mention the guy’s name, because it is today’s trivia question on this site, but the poor bastard who replaced John Wooden at UCLA went 52-9 in two seasons, but it wasn’t close to being good enough— he left after two seasons, and started up a brand new program halfway across the country. Guy was a hell of a coach, though, but Wooden, just like Krzyzewski will be, was an impossible act to follow.

Some casino should run a prop bet: who replaces Jon Scheyer as Duke’s coach in 2024?

6) There will be scapegoats; Danny Ainge is out as the head of basketball operations with the Celtics- Brad Stevens replaces him. Stevens will help choose his successor as head coach.

Random fact: Celtics have won one NBA title since 1986.

5) Mavericks 105, Clippers 100:
— Road team has won all five series games.
— Luke Doncic had 42 points, 14 assists.
— Dallas was minus-10 in the 5:00 Doncic sat out.

4) Knicks, Wizards, Grizzlies all got eliminated Wednesday night.

3) Two baseball games went over the total in the first inning Wednesday; Cards-Dodgers, and Mets-Arizona.

2) Now there is a story that Colorado Rockies might be hesitant to deal free agent-t0 be Trevor Story, figuring they won’t get that much for him anyway, since the team will only have him for half a season or so.

Not sure the Rockies’ front office has any idea what they’re doing- they already fired the GM earlier this season. Bud Black is a very good manager, but players win games, managers put the players in position to win the games, but if the players aren’t good enough, forget about it.

Losing Story this winter without getting anything in return would be baseball malpractice.

1) How baseball has changed; Game 1 of the 1974 World Series, A’s @ Dodgers. A’s lead 2-1 in the 5th inning, but starter Ken Holtzman struggles, and the A’s replace him with Rollie Fingers, their closer. They put their closer in the game in the fifth inning!!!!

Fingers threw 4.1 innings, gave up one run, before Catfish Hunter got the last out in a 3-2 win. The freakin’ closer got 13 outs in one game, so when you hear people say how modern closers are the best ever, consider that one for a second. Rollie Fingers was bleeping awesome.

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.