13) Bad news on the rumor mill for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves; star Jimmy Butler apparently has no intention of signing an extension with Minnesota- he is not very happy with “…..the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates.” Uh-oh.
12) Tuesday night, Rays beat Miami 9-6 in 16 innings. Tampa Bay TV guy Dewayne Staats called it the strangest baseball game he’d ever seen. Here are some highlights:
— As they often do, Tampa Bay started a relief pitcher; he threw three innings, then eight other relievers plus their backup catcher pitched in the game.
— Leading 9-3 in the 16th, Rays put backup catcher Jesus Sucre in to pitch; he faced four batters, got one of them out, before Alvarado came in and got his third save when things almost dicey.
— Rays’ reliever Vidal Nuno had two hits and also got the win, but he pulled a hamstring in the 16th inning and went on the DL, which is why Sucre was put in to pitch. The two hits were his first since 2015.
— Wilson Ramos caught all 16 innings for Tampa Bay; he didn’t play in Wednesday’s game.
— Tampa Bay had 20 hits but hit into four double plays.
— Total of 510 pitches were thrown; game took 5:31 to play in front of an announced crowd of 6,259.
11) No idea how this was established, but the Phoenix Suns are 8-1 favorites to win the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts Friday at UNLV. Charlotte/Sacramento are both 10-1. Denver and Minnesota are the longshots, at 50-1.
10) Guy named Richard Henry Lee was the original draftee of the Declaration of Independence, but when his wife got sick, he stopped writing it and Thomas Jefferson took over.
Jefferson and John Adams both passed away on July 4, 1826, fifty years to the day after the Declaration was signed.
9) Houston Astros are little thin behind plate right now; Brian McCann is done for a while after he had knee surgery. Backup Max Stassi got hit on the wrist by a pitch, was out Wednesday but is expected back Thursday.
Astros brought Tim Federowicz up from AAA to catch; in a pinch, Evan Gattis could also catch- he’s appeared behind the plate in two games this season.
8) Some genius climbed onto the Statue of Liberty Wednesday; seven other protestors were arrested on Liberty Island. Not only could the person get killed/maimed, now they’re going to spend some time in jail. Go have some hot dogs and a few drinks. Whats the point?
7) Georgia Bulldogs’ QB Jake Fromm broke his left (non-throwing) hand in a lake accident, but is expected to be fine for the start of the Dawgs’ season.
6) Michigan QB Shea Patterson, who played the last couple years at Ole Miss, signed a 2019 contract to play baseball in the Texas Rangers organization after he exhausts his football eligibility at Michigan.
If Patterson plays real well for Michigan this fall, he’d have a shot at an NFL roster, which makes the baseball thing a curious decision, seeing how Texas drafted him in the 39th round.
5) Bronx Bombers put 2B Gleyber Torres (hip) on the DL.
4) Pretty big rule change in college football this fall: Players will be able to fair catch a kickoff inside the 25-yard line and have it result in a touchback, with the ball placed on the 25-yard line.
Last year, 47.2% of kickoffs weren’t returnable, meaning they were touchbacks, kicks out of bounds or onside kicks. Rules makers are trying to greatly reduce the number of kickoffs without totally taking it out of the game.
3) Last two years, Ivy League experimented with kicking off at the 40-yard line instead of the 35: in 2016, 44.1% of kickoffs were touchbacks, and in 2017, 36.1%. In 2015, before the rule was put in, only 12.4% of Ivy kickoffs were touchbacks.
2) Oakland A’s are the only team in major leagues that has not had a single international free agent signed and developed by that team appear in a major league game this season. They only had one (Renato Nunez) last year.
1) Joey Chestnut ate 74 hot dogs (and rolls) to win the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island in Brooklyn. 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes; I had three the other night and that was more than enough for a while, but I also had macaroni salad with it.
Hot dog contest was more fun when Kobiyashi was involved; he gave Joey Chestnut a run for his money. Competition makes all sports better, even competitive eating.