Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

— There isn’t enough good news in the world, but in the past week, 8-year old TJ Olsen was the recipient of a heart transplant, and is said to be doing very well. Great news for that family.

TJ’s father posted a 12-second video on social media:
“Hi everybody. Thank you for thinking of me. Thank you for praying with me. We love you guys, bye.”

Obviously, for the kid to get a new heart, someone else had to pass away, and that is very sad. Does the family that donated the heart stay in contact with this kid’s family? They certainly have a great bond to build a new friendship around.

— With legalized gambling more prevalent these days, NBA and college hoop teams need to juice up their security around the court, to protect the players/refs.

In the Wizards-76ers series, some jackass ran on the floor and touched the backboard before he was tackled by security. What if he had been a gambler who was losing and went on tilt, and was ticked off at one of the players? Potentially horrific situation.

— Major league baseball teams with highest payrolls:
1) Dodgers $250,022,632
2) Bronx $202,186,977
3) NY Mets $196,470,288

— Major league teams with lowest payrolls:
30) Cleveland Indians $52,607,580
29) Pittsburgh Pirates $54,944,471
28) Baltimore Orioles $57,688,298

— So far this season, Colorado Rockies’ catchers are 8-86 (.093) on the road.

— Tampa Bay Rays have scored 122 runs from the 7th inning on, most in MLB so far.

— Alex Rodriguez thinks Alex Cora is the best manager in baseball:

“I think Alex Cora is the best manager in the game. He’s a world champion and he understands the game, 360. Obviously it’s paying dividends. I knew he would improve the team but I didn’t know it would be this paradigm shift…….”

This is Cora’s third year as a big league skipper, interrupted by last year’s suspension for his part in the Houston sign-stealing debacle- he was a coach there. Interesting opinion by ARod.

— Kansas City Royals brought up prospect Jackson Kowar to make his MLB debut Monday nite, but it didn’t go well; the Florida alum faced seven batters, got only two of them out, throwing 39 pitches and not finishing the first inning. 

Big jump from AAA to the majors; his next start is in Oakland this weekend, so hopefully he won’t bounce back right away.

— Seattle Mariners brought their big prospect up to the majors last month, but Jarred Kelenic went 8-83 in 23 games, and now he is back in AAA, where the manager will have to be a master psychologist to give the kid his confidence back.

Kelenic had three hits in his second MLB game, but is 0 for his last 39.

— Over the last decade, the LA Angels haven’t drafted one pitcher who has thrown 100+ innings in a season for them; this is epic failure. They’ve got Trout, they had Pujols, still have Rendon, Ohtani and Walsh, but pitching is an important part of baseball.

— Cincinnati Reds are 9-6 in one-run games this year, which doesn’t sound like much, until you consider that from 2014-20, they were 138-224 (.381) in one-run games, so that a big improvement for them.

— Mikey Dixon is a 6-2 guard who will be playing his final season of college basketball this coming winter; the kid has gotten around.
2016-17— played in 31 games for Quinnipiac, shot 37% on the arc
2018-19— played in only 14 games for St John’s; big jump up from the NEC.
2019-20— played in 18 games for Grand Canyon, shooting 43% on the arc.
2020-21— played in 20 games for Grand Canyon, shooting only 27.5% on the arc.

2021-22— He’ll be playing at Idaho; everyone who played last year got another free year of eligibility, which he is taking advantage of.

Kid should write a book; not many people have gone to college in Connecticut, New York City, Arizona and Idaho.

— Alabama football coach Nick Saban will turn 70 this fall; he signed a contract extension this week thru 2028— does anyone think he’ll still be coaching when he is 77?

Contracts like this are meant to silence the whispers of rival recruiters, who might infer to their recruits that Saban is going to retire soon.

— Middle of the night the other night, I’m watching Hoosiers for the 100th time, so of course I got to thinking about various conversations I’ve had about this movie.

Buddy of mine and I have had a debate for years; who was the better coach, Norman Dale in Hoosiers (Gene Hackman) or Ken Reeves in The White Shadow (Ken Howard)?

To me, this is simple; Ken Reeves was the much better coach:
— In Norman Dale’s first game at Hickory High, he finished the game with four players on the court, and he had a healthy guy sitting on the bench.
— If Jimmy Chitwood hadn’t decided to play, Coach Dale would’ve been fired quickly , and it would’ve wound up being kind of a depressing movie.
— Even after Jimmy Chitwood started playing, Coach Dale always wanted to use him as a decoy to set up other players to score. Even his drunk assistant coach (Dennis Hopper) knew enough to draw up the picket fence play for Jimmy to score.

— Coach Reeves played in the NBA, which had to be a big advantage for a high school coach.
— Hoosiers trivia; the first choice to play Coach Dale was Jack Nicholson, then Robert Duvall.
— Maris Valainis, the actor who played Jimmy, was the only actor of the Hickory kids who didn’t play high school basketball; he later became a golf pro.

— Knicks’ coach Tom Thibodeau won NBA Coach of the Year, even though Suns’ coach Monty Williams got more first place votes.

— Thibodeau has a fascinating background; he worked as an assistant coach for Bill Mussselman and Jerry Tarkanian (when he coached the Spurs). Two very unique personalities.
— He spent four years as an assistant coach at Harvard, then jumped to Timberwolves when they were an expansion team- that had to be culture shock.
— He’s also worked for Doc Rivers, Jeff Van Gundy; this a guy who needs to write a book about his career. He must have a boatload of great stories to tell.

Nets 125, Bucks 86 (Nets lead series 2-0)— Not a good advertisement for the league. There were only 16 free throws taken in the whole game. Hopefully the Bucks will play a little better when the series moves back to Milwaukee. 

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.