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

13) Didn’t have any Trick or Treaters Saturday night, so I’m stuck with two bags of candy (Three Musketeers, KitKats) that I’ll have to eat— can’t be wasting good candy.

I was reminded Saturday night that the last time Halloween was on a Saturday, I was in Las Vegas, at the SouthPoint Casino, a terrific place. 

That Saturday night, I go downstairs to watch some college football in the sportsbook, but I see them rolling out a red carpet by the front door, complete with TV cameras and everything. I ask the security guard what’s up and he smiles: “Tonight is the Fetish and Fantasy Ball”. Alrighty then. 

There are moments when you’re reminded that Las Vegas is different than most anywhere else, and that night was one of those times. They take Halloween very seriously in Las Vegas, and some of the costumes were, how can I say this…….revealing.

Later that night, I’m riding upstairs in an elevator and a couple (in costume) gets on the elevator; he is a prison warden, she is his prisoner, complete with neck and ankle shackles and a prisoner’s uniform ripped in strategic places. The elevator stops at my floor; I wish them well: as I leave the elevator “I know this won’t be a problem, but have a fun night.” They laugh and the elevator door closes.

Halloween is on a Sunday next year? Hmmmm……

12) Every so often watching NFL games, I’m reminded of something I saw on HBO’s Hard Knocks a few years ago, when they had the Houston Texans on. 

This was the last episode of the summer, always the best episode of the series; they’ve chosen the Opening Day roster, and now the team has gathered in the lecture center where they have their meetings. Coach Bill O’Brien addresses the team and I’ll never forget his first words:

“Welcome to the most competitive business in the world.”

It is true, there is such a fine line between being really good and regressing into mediocrity, a couple breaks here and there can make all the difference.

11) I’m thinking about current events and all the legal hassles that are likely to ensue over the next few weeks, then I think of the great author John Grisham, sitting in his home, taking notes and getting 2-3 new books ready to roll, based on stuff that is happening now. I love reading his books; he is such a great story teller.

10) Was looking thru the 2020 Baseball Prospect Handbook that Baseball America puts out every winter, and they had Randy Arozarena ranked as the Cardinals’ #10 prospect- this was before he got traded to Tampa Bay.

To say that this guy came out of nowhere to be one of October’s stars this year isn’t an exaggeration; they had him as the #10 prospect out of only one roster, when he turned out to be one of the 2-3 best players in the whole playoffs.

9) Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash is the only guy who has:
— Played in the Little League World Series
— Played in the College World Series
— Managed in the World Series
 
8) Weirdest part of the White Sox re-hiring 76-year old Tony LaRussa as manager is that I had forgotten that Hawk Harrelson was once the White Sox’ GM. Oy.

Harrelson was a slugger who quit baseball to try his hand on the pro golf tour- that didn’t last long, but he was popular in Boston because he helped the Red Sox win the pennant in 1967- he hit a combined 65 homers in 1968-69, but didn’t last much longer after that— he was out of baseball at age 29. 

But Harrelson can talk, and he got a gig on Red Sox’ TV and then he moved on to the White Sox when he somehow convinced Jerry Reinsdorf to put him on TV in Chicago, where he remained for 30+ years.

In between there, Reinsdorf actually hired him to be the White Sox’ GM, where he fired both LaRussa, a future Hall of Fame manager and 29-year old Dave Dombrowski, who went on to be an excellent executive. Lets just say the GM thing didn’t go too well and back to TV he went.

Just reminds you that just because Reinsdorf owned the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan played there doesn’t mean he was this brilliant executive. His ownership of the White Sox has been checkered at best.

7) Pittsburgh Pirates turned down an $11M option on P Chris Archer, so he is now a free agent- on July 31, 2018, they traded Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows to get Archer from the Rays, then they cut him loose two years later. No bueno.

6) Since Week 2 of last season, Los Angeles Chargers are 2-14 in games decided by 8 or fewer points. They have a rookie QB now, but the kid has been playing well anyway, and they had Philip Rivers last year, so you tell me where the problem lies.

5) Texas Longhorns might be the most interesting team in college football this season; three of their last five games went to OT and one of the other two games ended 33-31.

4) In their last two games, Baltimore Ravens have 242 penalty yards; might be time to bring a retired referee into practice to help the guys straighten out a little. Ravens have also been outscored 49-20 in second half of their last two games.

3) Troy Aikman was saying last Thursday how the Carolina Panthers practice in pads most Wednesdays, and how they hit in practice more than any other NFL team. Will be curious how that effects them as the season goes on. Do they tackle better because of that? Will they get worn down?

2) TV guys were telling a story the other night about LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, who played QB at LSU in the late 70’s. Ensminger was telling stories about how when he got to LSU, they had ten quarterbacks on the roster— no scholarship limits back then. Took a little longer to climb the QB ladder back then,

These days, no one has experienced backups, because if they ain’t starting, then they’ll be departing, to a school where that they can start. Both of LSU’s backup QB’s this year are freshmen. LSU’s star last year, Joe Burrow, was a transfer from Ohio State.

1) RIP to the great basketball coach Billy Tubbs, who passed away this week at age 85; Tubbs was ahead of his time- his teams played fast break basketball back when coaches often strangled the game, before the shot clock/3-point shot. His teams were great fun to watch.

Tubbs’ coaching record:
1971-73: Southwestern: 31-24
1976-80: Lamar: 75-46
1980-94: Oklahoma: 333-132
1994-2002: TCU 156-95
2003-06: Lamar 121-89

Tubbs gave his players the freedom to shoot; he WANTED them to shoot quickly, and that helped his recruiting, since not many coaches did that then. He was definitely ahead of his time. Always enjoyed watching his teams play, RIP, coach. 

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.