Armadillo's Den:
Sunday's List of 13:
Wrapping up a sports Saturday...........
Week 12 NFL info now posted on NFL page
NBA info now posted on CB page; also, info on every NHL game
College basketball is underway; info every day

Sunday's six-pack
Westgate Super Contest
(1,727 entrants-- prize pool is $2.5M)
six most popular picks in Week 12
season record: 34-31-2
6) Giants -3 (385)-- Washington won its last four home games.
5) Patriots -3 (407)-- Lot of opinions on this game, both ways.
4) Browns -2.5 (409)-- Not a lot of faith in Matt Schaub as Ravens' QB.
3) Broncos +3 (415)-- I'm guessing this game will get huge TV ratings.
2) Steelers +3.5 (531)-- Roethlisberger's first-ever game in Seattle.
1) Buccaneers +3.5 (567)-- Not lot of faith in 40-year Colt QB Hasselbeck.

Quote of the Day
"Les Miles is our football coach and will continue to be our football coach."
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, after the game Saturday night

Daily quiz
What sport did singer Garth Brooks play in college at Oklahoma State?

Saturday's quiz
Dallas Cowboys'
owner Jerry Jones played college football with Barry Switzer at Arkansas.

Friday's quiz
When the Big East Conference first started 35 years ago, FOX basketball analyst Bill Raftery was head coach at Seton Hall.

Super Bowl records- most passing yards in a Super Bowl:
keep in mind there have now been 49 Super Bowls (98 QBs).
3) 365 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs NE-- Super Bowl XXXVI
2) 377 yards, Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs Pitt-- Super Bowl XLI

1) 414 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs Tenn-- Super Bowl XXXIV

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Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Ohio State 42, Michigan 13-- Buckeyes ran ball down Michigan's throats for 369 yards; no one complained about the play-calling.

Interesting that Ohio State put its co-offensive coordinators up in booth today, instead of one upstairs and one on the field-- maybe Ezekiel Elliott was right last week-- there were changes made and they had positive results.

12) Stanford 38, Notre Dame 36-- Cardinal lost 38-36 at home to Oregon two weeks ago, returns favor here vs Notre Dame, knocking them out of playoff talk. Looks like there might not be much drama next week-- Big 14 winner will be the fourth team, to go to playoff with Clemson-Alabama-Oklahoma.

Unless Alabama loses to Florida, then Ohio State could weasel its way back into the picture, which would cause chaos.

11) Alabama 29, Auburn 13-- I laugh when people talk some about some other series being the biggest rivalry in college sports. Someone poisoned a freakin' tree in Auburn because of this rivalry-- who poisons a tree because of football?!?!?!? I didn't even know it was possible to poison a tree-- you have to be a sick bastard to do that.

10) Southern Mississippi 58, Louisiana Tech 24-- Golden Eagles were 4-32 the last three years; now they're in the C-USA championship game- solid work done by coach Tood Monken. Hopefully he won't bolt for greener pa$ture$.

9) Oklahoma 58, Oklahoma State 23-- Big X games are like Arenaball, in that any defensive stop is like breaking serve in tennis-- doesn't happen much. This game was 44-20 at the half as OSU's season crumbles with two bad losses after a 10-0 start.

8) Indiana 54, Purdue 36-- Hoosiers are 6-6, going bowling for first time since 2007; they've lost games when scoring 52-41 points ths year and gave Michigan/Ohio State fits this year in tough losses. Their bowl game will be fun to watch.

7) Memphis 63, SMU 0-- Tiger QB Paxton Lynch had seven TD passes-- at the half. Memphis won a game today but lost its coach-- Justin Fuente is off to Virginia Tech to replace Frank Beamer. Its too bad a team like Memphis having a breakthrough 9-3 season can't totally enjoy it because the coach leaves, but it is a business.

6) Cincinnati 19, East Carolina 16-- Credit to Bearcats' players/coaches; they were down 51-3 at the half last week, in a game they were favored to win, but they sucked it up and came back this week and won a tough road game. Good for them.

5) Louisville 38, Kentucky 24-- Wildcats led this game 21-0, were up 24-7 at half; the good news for Kentucky fans-- basketball team hasn't lost yet.Football team lost six of last seven games after a 4-1 start for second year in row.

4) USC 40, UCLA 21-- Jim Mora is now 3-1 vs USC; weird thing is that in those four games, Trojans had a different head coach in all four. Freshman QB Rosen is very good for UCLA but he got rattled by blitzing today and starting throwing off his back foot,

3) Michigan State 55, Penn State 16-- Hopefully Texans coach Bill O'Brien will write a book when he retires and explain why he left Penn State, because the current coach James Franklin isn't as good a coach as he is-- O'Brien's departure hurt Penn State a lot. Michigan State-Iowa is your Big 14 championship game next week.

2) Florida State 27, Florida 2-- Florida State has to be a little relieved that LSU got wise and didn't fire Les Miles, because Jimbo Fisher was probably their first target, and LSU has more re$ource$ than Florida State. As for Florida, they can cause chaos next week if they beat Alabama in the SEC championship game, but they've won a lot of games this year for a team with a terrible offense.

1) LSU 19, Texas A&M 7-- Players carried Les Miles off the field after the game, fans chanted his name and the school apparently recanted on firing him and will keep him. Miles is 111-32, won a national title and you're firing him? Why? The next coach could easily fare a lot worse- someone saw the light and kept a successful coach.

Side note: Auburn fired Gene Chizik two years after he won a national title when he had Cam Newton at QB. Maybe boosters in the SEC are just insane rich people.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Rockets 116, 76ers 114-- Philly may never win a game, but they are getting close; problem is, they're trying to beat Houston when their two leading scorers are guys who used to play for the Rockets' D-League team- they need more good players.

12) The GM of the 76ers should be fired and banned from ever having that job again; he is a nitwit. Steph Curry was the 7th pick in the '09 draft, Manu Ginobili was picked at the end of the second round. Its not easy to build a winning team, but it sure as hell isn't this hard.

11) TCU 28, Baylor 21 OT-- Game started 45:00 late, was played in a quagmire; on offense, Baylor chose to play fast and not change balls after every play, making a soph 3rd-string QB starting for first time throw a wet ball whole game. Interesting choice.

10) Dick Vitale can only work one game a day since he had his vocal chords operated on a few years ago; he did the USC-Xavier game yesterday. He actually said on the air, he thought he would be working Notre Dame games this weekend, but the Irish lost in the first round so they got relegated to ESPN3. Vitale is a shill for Notre Dame since his daughters went there and married guys who went there.

9) Northeastern 78, Miami 77-- Hurricanes won Puerto Rico tourney, then lose as 17-point favorites in their first game back on the mainland.

8) Luke Murray is an assistant coach at Xavier, after working at Rhode Island the last two years. Who is Luke Murray? You've probably heard of his more-famous father, Bill Murray, who was at Disney Friday to watch the Musketeers rout USC.

7) Stanford 69, Arkansas 66-- Cardinal trailed 65-48 with 6:20 left, ended it on 21-1 run and watched Arkansas coach Mike Anderson get a technical with 0:02.5 left in one of the great collapses in recent memory. Losing games like that leaves a scar.

6) DeMarcus Cousins' brother Jaleel had 12 points for South Florida in their 84-63 loss to Kentucky yesterday. If the kid was a great player, he would've been playing for Kentucky, not against them. USF coach Orlando Anitgua recruited DeMarcus to Kentucky when he was a Wildcat assistant, which is how he became USF's coach.

5) Washington 45, Washington State 10-- Wazzu has two good QBs, but they're freshman/sophomore; which one is going to transfer?

4) Memphis 81, Ohio State 76 OT-- These teams expended great energy but what a sloppy game!!!! Buckeyes have very young guards and it shows- they're 2-3 as they try to get their players as much as experience before conference play starts. Memphis is going to bounce back and make the NCAAs this winter.

3) If you have a son, make sure he throws lefty; JA Happ signed with the Blue Jays this week, three years, $36M, thats million with an M. Happ is 62-61, 4.13 in his 171 major league starts and he gets $12M a year. What a country.

2) Syracuse 74, Texas A&M 67-- Orangemen played six guys (7th guy played 4:00) and upset the Aggies in finals of the Atlantis tourney. Syracuse made 11-25 from arc; am curious if these kids will shoot as well inside the cavernous Carrier Dome.

1) Gonzaga 73, UConn 70-- Zags made 10-24 from arc, Huskies 1-12 in a game they trailed by 21 in second half, but UConn rallied and either pushed/covered the spread, depending on what number you got. Very tough push for Gonzaga backers.

Friday's List of 13: Leftovers from Thanksgiving Day......
13) Lions 45, Eagles 14-- It'll be surprising to me if Chip Kelly is still coaching the Eagles next year. He's totally failed as a personnel guy and worst of all,, the players appear to have quit on him. He can still make a fortune going back to college......

12) Panthers 33, Cowboys 14-- Luckily there was several good college basketball games on during the day yesterday; the two NFL games were awful. Carolina is 11-0 and is an underrated team; no one talks about them unless they're complaining about Cam Newton's TD celebrations.

It bears repeating: Panthers have won 15 regular season games in a row.

In 11 games this year, on the opponents' first drive of the game, Carolina's defense outscored the other team's offense 7-3-- they're very well-prepared and they haven't lost yet. Mainstream media doesn't seem to be taking them seriously.

11) Bears 17, Packers 13-- Green Bay has lost four of its last five games, is behind Minnesota again in NFC North. NFL-wide, divisional home favorites are 13-23-2 vs spread this season. Chicago is 5-3 in its last eight games after an 0-3 start-- this was only the Bears' second win in last eight visits to Lambeau Field.

10) Saw a picture yesterday of a turkey that was cooked while totally wrapped in bacon; not sure how that would taste. I like turkey and I also like bacon, so I guess it would be pretty good. Not necessarily healthy, but good.

9) USC 72, Wichita State 69-- Shockers' best player didn't play, but Trojans are 5-0 for the first time in 15 years- they play Xavier tonight.

8) WCC is generally thought of as the second-best basketball league on the west coast, but so far this season, WCC teams are 1-10 against the spread when playing teams from the Big West Conference- Big West is usually #4 on that list .

7) Apparently this is American Idol's last year on FOX; I thought they should've done one season where all the competitors were 50+ years old, thought it would've been an interesting concept. This is why I don't work for a TV network.

6) Must be a cool feeling to be such a good shooter that when you get the ball outside the 3-point arc, your teammates signal for three points, even before you shoot.

5) I had no idea cranberries are the state fruit of Wisconsin.

4) They're having a pretty good basketball tournament in the Bahamas at Atlantis resort; half the games are on AXS TV, which I had never heard of before this week. It is channel 340 on DirecTV.

Thursday morning AXS had an interview show on where Dan Rather interviewed musician Gregg Allman-- guy has been married six freakin' times, including once to Cher. I read once that second marriages are a triumph of hope over experience.

3) South Florida 44, Central Florida 3-- UCF finishes their season 0-12; some poor soul actually went to this game with a sign that said "Beat Somebody". Oy.

2) Texas Tech 48, Texas 45-- Longhorns are 4-7; if Chip Kelly sent out a feeler for their coaching job tomorrow, when would the introductory press conference be?

1) RIP Coach Guy Lewis, who passed away this week at age 93. Coach Lewis took the Houston Cougars to five Final Fours and had some of the most entertaining teams of the pre-shot clock/3-point era. He coached Hayes-Drexler-Olajuwon, some of the best players ever. Houston hasn't won an NCAA game since he stopped coaching.

Thursday's List of 13: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.......
13) I watch the Miami Marlins play a lot; Giancarlo Stanton is on my fantasy team; was stunned when I read Tuesday that the Marlins fired Tommy Hutton as their TV analyst, after 19 years with the team. Why?

Hutton is smart, funny, fair, a friendly voice on a summer night, working for a team that is incredibly dysfunctional. Hope he finds another job on TV.

12) Al Avila is Executive VP/GM of the Detroit Tigers; his son is Alex Avila, who just signed a free agent deal with the White Sox, after seven years with Detroit. Says on Tigers' website that Al Avila is still married to Yamile Avila, who is Alex' mom.

I know lot of couples, where if the dad cut the son, he'd be spending Thanksgiving weekend sleeping on the couch. I'm just sayin'.....

11) Alaskan Shootout is great; a live college basketball doubleheader at 11:30/2am. Pete Gillen as the analyst is a bonus. Before ESPN made its own tournaments this was one of the best; Cincinnati beat Duke in the final one year, I want to say in 2003.

10) Odd fact of the day: Patriots are only NFL team that have no offensive players who were first round draft picks.

9) Since 1992, either Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers started every Packer-Bear game; during that time, Chicago started 15 different QBs. Green Bay is retiring Favre's #4 jersey tonight at Lambeau Field.

8) NCAA finally cleared Kansas freshman Check Diallo to start playing; he will make his Jayhawks' debut Tuesday against Loyola, Md. Kansas won the tourney out in Maui last night; Diallo will only make them better.

7) Bill Walton quoted Eleanor Roosevelt during the St John's-Chaminade game on Maui yesterday: "Do something every day that scares you." Walton is a gem, but having him work four games in two days is a lot. He is best in smaller doses.

6) Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham broke his ankle, is second Baylor QB to be out for the year; 3rd-stringer Johnson played well in relief at Oklahoma State Saturday, now plays against TCU Friday, making his first college start. I'm guessing the 4th-string QB is a walk-on, so Johnson better stay healthy.

5) NFL QB comings/goings: Ravens signed Jimmy Clausen, released by Chicago on Monday, Broncos signed Christian Ponder, whose wife is on ESPN. Meanwhile, the Texans gave Ryan Mallett $1.47M just to go away and no one has signed him. In this day and age, being an unemployed NFL QB is an incredible indictment.

4) There are five sets of brothers who are Division I basketball coaches:
-- Bobby and Danny Hurley (Arizona State/URI)
-- Bryce and Scott Drew (Valparaiso/Baylor)
-- James and Joe Jones (Yale/Boston U)
-- Sean and Archie Miller (Arizona/Dayton)
-- Ron and Don Verlin (Pacific/Idaho)

3) Fan Duel sponsored a college basketball tournament in Brooklyn this week that Marquette won; too bad New York State ruled earlier this month that Fan Duel can't do business in New York anymore. Guess they'll need a new sponsor next year.

2) At some point, the nitwits who run the Cleveland Browns will realize that Austin Davis is their best QB. Davis started eight games for the Rams LY, threw 12 TDs with nine INTs, went 3-5 as the starter. He would do well if they gave him a chance.

1) If you owned the Dodgers, and had a $300M payroll, would you hire a manager who has never managed before? Just strikes me as strange.

Wednesday's List of 13: Top 8, bottom 5 teams in NFL.......
32) Browns-- Johnny Manziel is either the dumbest person on this planet, or angling for a trade to the Cowboys. I'm thinking he'd like to go back to Texas.

31) 49ers-- Colin Kaepernick is 27-20 as an NFL starter; he led the Niners to a Super Bowl three years ago, but they're getting rid of him. Seems like once they got their new publicly funded stadium, management stopped caring.

30) Chargers-- In last eight games, San Diego started one drive in enemy territory; their opponents started 15. Hard to win that way. They have a QB heading nto his mid-30's and don't know where they'll be playing home games next year.

29) Saints-- Allowing 31.5 ppg; already fired their defensive coordinator. Struggling team with an aging star QB, lot like the Chargers.

28) Rams-- 25% of the NFL is 4-6; Rams probably aren't the worst of the eight, but their offense is so totally fouled up, despite having two legit weapons in Gurley and Austin. This isn't all Foles' fault; guy had 27 TDs, two INTs two years ago- if you protect him at all and give him a decent tight end, he will be a productive player.

As if this month couldn't get worse, WR Stedman Bailey was shot twice ithis week, in the head and hip; he is currently under a 4-game suspenion, so he was in Florida. Get well soon and stay the hell out of south Florida.

8) Seahawks-- Was tempted to put surging Chiefs into this slot, but have feeling that Seattle will play better with the finish line in sight.

7) Broncos-- I picked against Denver last week, but Osweiler did just enough to win in Chicago, in his first NFL start; he managed the game well and Chicago was awful in the red zone on offense. Broncos-Patriots this week; should be interesting.

6) Vikings-- Mike Zimmer didn't get an NFL head coaching job until he was 58; Bruce Arians didn't get one until he was 60. NFL teams aren't hiring the right people.

5) Packers-- Aaron Rodgers is really, really good; amazing that he didn't get a college scholarship out of high school. His coach at Cal, Jeff Tedford was a head coach in the CFL this year but wants to get back in the college game. Someone should hire him.

4) Bengals-- Curious to see the reaction Bengals get from the home crowd this week, in a should-win game against the Rams. They booed Andy Dalton at the All-Star Game this summer, at the celebrity softball game. It is a cynical fanbase.

3) Cardinals-- I enjoy coach Arians' aggressive approach; they throw the ball down the field and they blitz, even when they're ahead. They play to win the game.

2) Panthers-- In the 49 years of the Super Bowl era, 15 teams have been 10-0; nine of those teams made the Super Bowl- they went 6-3 in those games. Carolina does not have great receivers; Newton is making them look better than they are.

1) Patriots-- 15 of 32 NFL teams are 5-5 or 4-6; not sure if New England is that good or if the league just stinks. 86 days until pitchers and catchers report. 112 days until the NCAA tournament starts. Don't forget, 2016 is a leap year.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Let me get this straight; LSU is going to fire football coach Les Miles because the team has regressed some the last couple years. Miles is 110-32 at LSU, won 2007 national title, played for the title again in 2011. His biggest flaw is being at LSU while Nick Saban has been at Alabama. How do you fire a guy who is 110-32?

Meanwhile, the jackass GM for the 76ers still has a job; not only can't they win one game, the GM has assembled a god-awful team that is openly referred to an "a CBA team" by other talent evaluators. 110-32 gets fired, 0-15 stays. Go figure.

12) Jay Cutler has had five offensive coordinators in seven years with the Bears.

11) There have been fifteen 10-0 teams in the Super Bowl era; nine of them got to the Super Bowl, with six of the nine winning the Super Bowl.

10) No NFL head coach has ever won three replay challenges in a game; you get the third challenge if you win your first two.

9) Wake Forest 82, Indiana 78-- 12-point dog Deacons were down nine but rallied to win despite having couple of rotation guys suspended. Bad loss for Indiana. This was a great game to watch, fast-paced. Danny Manning has some good young players.

8) Bill Walton had the Wake-Indiana game on ESPN2; when he does a game, I learn stuff, but it seldom has anything to do with basketball. Today's tidbit: Hawai'i is one of four states that does not allow roadside billboards (Vermont-Maine-Alaska).

7) Six of the ten starters in the LSU-Marquette game are freshmen.

6) Why are stores open on Thanksgiving? Workers should have Thanksgiving Day off. Maybe they like it because they probably get paid more, but it seems to be a bit much. Open at 6am on Black Friday if you must, but close the place on holidays.

5) Clippers lost seven of their last nine games after a fast 4-0 start; Josh Smith got into a very loud argument with one of the coaches after a loss the other night. Coaching in the NBA can't be much fun, main benefit being the big money and no recruiting.

4) There is such a thing as the World Championship of Crossword Puzzles and it is held in Stamford, CT. The same guy won it the last five years; would think there was more parity in the world of puzzles, but apparently not.

3) The last time an SEC running back led the country in rushing? 1949.

2) Summit League includes teams like South Dakota State, Oral Roberts; this league gets little national publicity, but they're 18-6 against the spread this month.

1) I'm positive Chris Mullin will build a winning program at St John's, but he has what amounts to an expansion team this year- Red Storm got crushed out at Maui by Vanderbilt Monday-- it was 92-55, could've been way worse. St John's got a bad break when Indiana lost to Wake-- next the Johnnies face an angry Hoosier squad.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Broncos 17, Bears 15-- Brock Osweiler is first QB in NFL history to get his first win on his birthday; he managed game well enough, and Denver defense stopped the game-tying 2-point play with 0:24 left. Why doesn't the media call Peyton Manning out for not being with his teammates? Andrew Luck was in Atlanta with the Colts.

12) Colts 24, Falcons 21-- George Allen always said "More games are lost than won." Falcons gave this game to Indy- they were up 21-14 with 10:20 to play, had ball deep in their own territory but Ryan just threw a horrible, terrible pick-6 that tied the game. Falcons are 1-4 since starting season 5-0 and they haven't played a division road game yet-- they play those three road games in consecutive weeks next month.

11) Panthers 44, Redskins 16-- Carolina scored five TDs in this game; three of them were on drives of 31-24-11 yards, as Washington turned ball over five times- they never got inside the Panthers' red zone. A key to winning is getting easier scores, just like in any other sport. Carolina is 10-0 but is an underrated team.

10) Lions 18, Raiders 13-- Detroit scored a safety with 7:31 left and never gave the ball back to Oakland, running 13 plays for 66 yards after the free kick and taking a knee inside Raiders' five-yard line as game ended. Lions are first team in NFL history to score exactly 18 points in consecutive games.

9) Cowboys 24, Dolphins 14-- Dallas held Fish to 210 yards, scored a defensive TD, ran ball for 166 yards, snapping 7-game skid in process as Romo returned. Dallas was 7-14 on 3rd down and won despite losing field position by 11 yards. Dolphins' next coach is going to have to decide whether to hitch his career on Tannehill's ability to be an NFL QB-- didn't work out too well for the last coach.

8) Ravens 16, Rams 13-- You know when you watch a great game, someone says "It is a shame either side had to lose"? This game was quite the opposite as in, "Too bad either team had to win", just an awful offensive game. Rams gagged this game away in epic fashion and Baltimore lost Flacco for year with a torn ACL. Rams must go back to Nick Foles at QB-- they also need to find an offensive line one of these decades.

7) College basketball doings for a Sunday:
Duke 86, Georgetown 84-- Duke is 19-3 in last 22 games in NYC.
Purdue 85, Florida 70-- Boilermakers have pair of solid Twin Towers.
Oregon 73, Valparaiso 67-- Crusaders are angling for at-large consideration.
Miami 85, Butler 75-- Finals of Puerto Rico tournament
East Tennessee State 69, Georgia Tech 68-- Biggest upset of the day.
St Mary's 78, Stanford 61-- First win in five tries for WCC against the Pac-12.

6) Texans 24, Jets 17-- Houston won four of last five games after a 1-4 start; they're tied for first place in AFC South despite starting three different QBs in ten games. As for the Jets, they're +12 in turnovers in their five wins, -10 in five losses. As for Ryan Fitzpatrick, he has now started 47 games the last four years, while playing for a new team every year-- what a unique career he has had.

5) Buccaneers 45, Eagles 17-- I have a buddy who has Eagles season tickets; he has to be wondering why Jeff Lurie gave Chip Kelly the keys to the franchise? At 4-6, the Eagles are 2-3 at home, lost three of last four games overall and gave up 521 yards to a Buccaneer offense that had scored two TDs on 20 drives in its previous two games. Sad thing is, Kelly could still get paid a ton to go back to college right now. Why?

4) Chiefs 33, Chargers 3-- KC has won four games in row, San Diego is in free fall; you lose 33-3 at home and you wind up unemployed. Funny how the three teams on the move (Raiders-Rams-Chargers) have now all lost at least three in row, as they're not being helped by not knowing where they'll be living at this time next year.

3) Seahawks 29, 49ers 13-- First time this year Seattle won when allowing other side to score TD on offense; they're 0-5 when allowing more than 13 points. Not sure how the 49ers justify running Colin Kaepernick out of town; guy won a lot for them.

2) Packers 30, Vikings 13-- NFC North race is tied with six weeks to go; going back to the Teddy Bridgewater thing from two weeks ago, he ran with the ball again in this game and a Green Bay player narrowly missed taking his head off with a dive, but no one said a word. You can't just slide and expect guys flying around at great speed to just stop themselves and not hit the guy. You don't want to get hit? Don't run.

1) Cardinals 34, Bengals 31-- Arizona led 28-14 with 12:00 left, but Bengals tied it with 1:03 left, before Redbirds kicked winning FG with 0:02 left. Cincinnati lost for second week in row after an 8-0 start. Think about it: Bruce Arians didn't get a head coaching job in the NFL until he was 60 and he is one of the league's best.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14-- When was last time Buckeyes had five first downs in an entire game? Spartans held Ohio State to 132 yards on 45 plays; they've beaten Michigan/Ohio State without leading at any time before the last play. After the game, rats started jumping off the Ohio State ship (see quote above).

12) Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 35-- Bears hadn't won in Stillwater since 1939, but they were the dominant team in this game; It is interesting how a guy like RGIII was such a great player at Baylor but when he goes to the pros, he is useless; is Art Briles that great a coach that he puts his players in a position to win better than the coaches in the NFL? When the #3 QB comes in and looks like Dan Fouts......

11) Ole Miss 38, LSU 17-- Wheels have fallen off for the Tigers, who lost last three games and looked totally disorganized at times in this game- they've got 40 guys in the NFL, most of any school-- as a result are very, very young in some spots, their main weakness is at QB. How that kid still plays is beyond me; he isn't good.

10) Oregon 48, USC 28-- Vernon Adams threw six TDs, had five incompletions; that is usually a good sign you're going to win- they averaged over 16 ypa, while Trojans had 12 penalties for 124 yards.

9) North Carolina 30, Virginia Tech 27 OT-- When Tar Heels lost their opener to South Carolina, who would've thought UNC wouldn't lose again while Spurrier would not finish season? This was an emotional day in Blacksburg, Frank Beamer's last game at Virginia Tech after 29 years.

8) Northern Iowa 71, North Carolina 67-- Tar Heels' basketball team has a tradition of playing a road game near home of their older players- this game was for Marcus Paige, but he is hurt and hasn't played yet, which cost them here. Good win for MVC and for anyone who beats Northern Iowa this season, as far as power ratings go.

7) Some other basketball doings Saturday:
Davidson 82, Charleston 81
-- Rick Barry's son Canyon had 31 for Charleston, is averaging 28 ppg.......Little Rock 49, San Diego State 43-- Ugly offense for Aztecs.

6) Northwestern 13, Wisconsin 7-- Not often a team is -5 in turnovers, goes 2-13 on third down and only loses 13-7. This game was so bad that Badger fans were throwing snowballs at the Wisconsin cheerleaders in the second half.

5) UConn 20, Houston 17-- Cougars raised their coach's salary 250% this week and then promptly lost for first time. Still amazes me that UConn and Houston are in the same league-- thats an NFL-length road trip for a game.

4) As for the SEC, why on God's green earth do they play I-AA teams? Alabama should be embarrassed to play a I-AA team, it is ripping off fans who pay to go to the games and it makes zero sense. Then South Carolina loses to The Citadel- no bueno.

Florida 20, Florida Atlantic 14 OT
Georgia 23, Georgia Southern 17 OT-- Whichever league is best is cyclical, lot of it depends on which teams don't lose guys early to the NFL, but I don't want to hear boo about how great the SEC is this year, because it isn't.

Their games are still lot of fun to watch on TV, but the quality of the QBs in the SEC stinks except for Prescott, Kelly and the kid at Arkansas. Going OT with teams from the Sun Belt and C-USA is embarrassing, though not nearly as bad as losing to I-AA Citadel, like South Carolina did.

3) Kansas State 38, Iowa State 35-- Cyclones had the ball and 35-28 lead with 1:31 left and K-State was down to one timeout. Any idiot knows you take a knee three times, punt the ball with less than 0:20 left and go home happy, but no, they run the ball and fumble. K-State ties the game, kicks off and Iowa State fumbles again. Oy.

I'm not a big "fire the coach" guy, but Paul Rhoads deserves to get the ziggy after this horrendous exhibition of coaching malpractice.

2) South Florida 65, Cincinnati 27-- Imagine betting on Cincinnati, laying 2.5 points and watching them trail 51-3 at the half? Tommy Tuberville expressed interest in the vacant Miami job; I'm guessing this will get his name scratched off that list.

1) Mississippi State 51, Arkansas 50-- Razorbacks scored 50+ points in three of last five games, didn't win any of them in regulation- they won twice in OT.

Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) If you enjoy pro football and want to learn more about it, read this piece about how Carson Palmer prepared for a game against the Browns last month.

Interesting stuff about how NFL teams prepare for a game.

12) If you didn't use the link or it didn't work, article tells how Carson Palmer had to learn 171 plays (plus formations/blocking schemes) in five days in preparation for the Cardinals' game in Cleveland. Interesting look behind the scenes.

11) Miami 90, Utah 66-- Miami-Butler is good title game in Puerto Rico Sunday.

10) Movie stuff: They're coming out with a new movie about Texas Longhorns called My All American- actor who plays coach Darrell Royal looked familiar to me, so I had to look him up. Guy's name is Aaron Eckhart-- turns out he played the assistant coach for the Sharks in Any Given Sunday, the movie where Al Pacino was coach, Cameron Diaz was the team's owner and Barry Switzer the TV announcer.

9) Hofstra 82, Florida State 77-- Hofstra dressed nine guys; three of them fouled out, a 4th guy had four fouls, but they made 10-22 from arc and held off Seminoles team that was 0-10 from arc in first half. Joe Mihalich is a very good coach.

8) Cavaliers' center Timofey Mozgov (deltoid injury) is out for next 10-14 days. he is a good player the Knicks stupidly traded in the Carmelo Anthony deal.

7) Knicks 93, Thunder 90-- That said, Phil Jackson has done good job re-building the Knicks. Not many people thought he would do it- still a ways to go, but they're fun to watch and should make the playoffs at least.

6) Tex-Arlington 73, Ohio State 68-- Thought this was a woman's score first time I saw it, but it was not; Buckeyes were 13-27 on foul line, got outrebounded by nine on a bad night for the Big 14 (Michigan lost to Xavier, Northwestern needed OT to beat Columbia of the Ivy League) and Duquesne beat Penn State by 26.

5) Cameron Maybin had a nice year for the Braves LY, his reward was getting dealt back to his original team the Tigers Friday, and Atlanta didn't get much for him. One of the fascinating things about baseball is how different people see the same things but draw different conclusions from them.

When Detroit got rid of Maybin ten years ago, he was part of the package that brought Miguel Cabrera to Motown, pretty good deal for the Tigers.

4) Rumors have Giants competing with the Dodgers for Zack Greinke's services in the free agent market; either that, or they're just trying to drive the price up, though the Dodgers seem to have an unlimited budget- they were paying $88M LY to guys who weren't even on their team.

3) A's signed 35-year old Rich Hill to a $6M contract for next year; Hill made zero big league starts from 2010-14, then started four games for Boston in September and went 2-1, 1.55, which paid off with a $6M deal from my favorite team. Oy.

2) Air Force 37, Boise State 30-- First time since 1993 Boise State lost home games on consecutive weekends.

1) Raptors beat Lakers last night, but Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas broke his hand and will miss some time......Golden State beat the Bulls; not sure if they're ever going to lose a game.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) I'm looking for teams that score touchdowns.........

Baltimore-Denver game in Week 1 didn't have an offensive TD by either side. NFL teams are 2-15 this season when not scoring an offensive TD, so take away that game in Denver and teams are 1-14 this season when they don't score an offensive TD, with Denver in Week 5 (@ Oakland) only winner. Scoring touchdowns is important.

12) Packers-Vikings is for first place in the NFC North; Green Bay lost last three games after a 6-0 start. Minnesota covered its last eight games, is 7-2.

11) Here are the 11 D-I basketball coaches who used to be head coaches in NBA:

Mike Dunlap, LMU.....Leonard Hamilton, Florida State.......Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
John Calipari, Kentucky.....Rick Pitino, Louisville......Avery Johnson, Alabama
Reggie Theus, Cal-Northridge.....Eddie Jordan, Rutgers.....Larry Brown, SMU
Eric Musselman, Nevada........Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

10) Oklahoma State-Baylor could be ugly if freshman QB Stitham sits out with a bad back; I'm doubting Baylor has a quality third-string QB. Oklahoma State hasn't lost yet; they play Oklahoma next week.

9) Lot of subplots in Chicago, with former Broncos Fox/Cutler hosting Denver team giving 4th-year backup QB Osweiler his first careet start. Bears have been hot, could be headed toward contention in the Wild Card race.

8) Good college basketball tournament in Puerto Rico; finals Sunday will have the Butler-Temple winner against the Utah-Miami winner. Either way, good game.

7) Can't believe I'm typing this, but there are Interweb rumors that LSU might fire my man Les Miles. LSU is road dog at Ole Miss after losing to Alabama/Arkansas; would be a good game for the Mad Hatter to win.

6) Carson Palmer once forced a trade away from the Bengals, a divorce that helped both sides; now Palmer faces Cincinnati in what could be a Super Bowl preview.

5) North Carolina is visiting Northern Iowa Saturday, an odd bit of scheduling; UNC scored 87 ppg in winning its first three games, even without star G Paige.

4) Ohio State-Michigan State should be a good game; not sure why Buckeyes have to play Michigan State/Michigan back-back, not great scheduling.

3) Looks like Mark Sanchez gets the nod at QB for the Eagles, who at 4-5 are a big disappointment and have same record as the visiting Bucs, where people are happy with rookie QB Winston. Natives will be restless with Chip Kelly if he loses here.

2) USC-Oregon should be a fun game; road side won last three series games with an average total of 90.3. Ducks gained 730 yards in last meeting. Trojans won last four games overall. LY, Vernon Adams was QB for a I-AA team; this will be interesting.

1) If Atlanta and Jets win Sunday and they're both going up against backup QBs, the 4-6 Jacksonville Jaguars would be tied for first place in the AFC South. .

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Mavericks 112, 76ers 85-- Philly is 0-12 after turning ball over 31 times; how does the NBA allow this mess to happen? How does the 76ers' owner not fire the GM who created this debacle? The league should buy out the owner and find someone who actually will try to win-- the current regime is not.

12) Providence 60, Illinois 59-- Thanks to the Big East/Big 14 for creating a terrific series of games to start the season. Illini had three shots in last 0:10 to win this, one of which was a putback dunk that somehow rattled out of the hoop. Tough loss for an Illinois squad that has also lost to North Florida already this year.

11) There are 11 Division I basketball coaches who have also been head coaches in the NBA; can you name them? (answer tomorrow)

10) Notre Dame-Boston College play football at Fenway Park Saturday night; the first sporting event Vin Scully ever broadcast was a Fordham-Boston U football game at Fenway many, many years ago. Always interesting to see how they lay out the football field in a place where football isn't usually played.

9) How is Gregg Popovich not in the Basketball Hall of Fame?

8) University of North Dakota teams used to be called the Fighting Sioux, until our ridiculously politically correct government made them lose the nickname. As a protest of sorts, the school went several years without a nickname, but finally settled on the Fighting Hawks as their new nickname this week.

7) Akron 88, Arkansas 80-- Razorbacks had an awful day, losing in-state recruit to Malik Monk to Kentucky, which could put coach Anderson on the hot seat. Losing at home to a MAC school won't help either.

6) One of the refs at Nebraska-Villanova hoop game Tuesday was Gene Steratore, who is better known as an NFL referee on Sundays. Steratore hasn't reffed a Super Bowl game yet; this would be a good year for that.

5) Underrated coaching hire of the college football season was North Carolina hiring former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik as their defensive coordinator. Chizik won the national title as Auburn's coach in 2010 (with Cam Newton) but was fired a couple years later by the overly impatient Auburn administration (boosters). Tar Heels are one of the most improved teams in America this season.

4) When the NFL put out these new "color rush" uniforms, they had no idea that people who are color blind would have trouble watching them on TV- they are having difficulty telling which player is on which team-- not good.

3) Houston Texans signed QB Brandon Weeden, who was cut by Dallas with Tony Romo coming back this week. Looks like Brian Hoyer won't be able to go for the Texans this week, so they needed a backup for TJ Yates, the third QB to start for the Texans this season. Been a rough couple of months for sports in Houston.

2) Houston Rockets played in Western Conference finals LY, losing 4-1 to Golden St., but after a 4-7 start this season, they fired coach Kevin McHale Wednesday, in an act of blatant panic. Someone tweeted yesterday not to feel bad for McHale, since the goofy Rockets owe McHale $12M, but why fire a guy this early in the season?

1) Tip of the cap to Phil Jackson for drafting Kristaps Porzingis, who is taking New York City by storm in his rookie season. Kid won't be 20 until August.

Wednesday's List of 13: Thoughts from the basketball marathon
13) If any of this doesn't make sense, its because I skipped sleep last night to watch a lot of college basketball. Think I slept for an hour of the Dayton game, which was a terrible game-- Alabama is awful. Here are some of my thoughts from the first five days of the college basketball season.

12) Kentucky 74, Duke 63-- Watching basketball without sound can be revealing; I watched about half of this game while having dinner at a bar. You see contact around the basket and you wait for the action to stop and it doesn't-- Duke was KILLING the Kentucky guys around the basket but very few fouls were called, then Coach K is bitching at a ref during a TV timeout. Duke took 23 FTs, Kentucky 18.

11) The new rules have been a huge success so far; they've promoted a much more free-wheeling style of play-- lot less flopping in the lane, which was needed. Tired of seeing inferior players flopping to draw fouls on guys they can't guard otherwise.

10) Maryland 75, Georgetown 71-- Hoyas led by 7 in second half but Terps came on down stretch, in renewal of local rivalry that hadn't been played in years. I give credit to JTIII for playing this game; his dad can't agree with it. When he coached the Hoyas, they almost never played a quality opponent in their pre-conference schedule.

9) Hawai'i 76, Nevada 75-- This was the best game I've seen this week; too bad it was a 4am tipoff here at Armadillo World HQ. Rainbows led by 12 at half, but Nevada PG Marqueze Coleman scored 32 points in the second half and teams traded hoops in last few minutes, the lead changing with every basket. Nevada is going to be a force in the Mountain West in years to come, with Eric Musselman on the bench.

8) ESPN under-utilizes analyst Adrian Branch, the former Maryland star who is easy to listen to and says some good stuff- he did the game in Hawai'i. He told a story about how his parents live near Washington DC-- they TIVO'd the game instead of staying up until 6am to hear their son broadcast it live. He was laughing about it.

7) Oklahoma 84, Memphis 78-- Sooners made 11-26 from arc; this is solid road win for them, against an athletic, improved Memphis team. Dedric Lawson had 22 points, 15 rebounds for Memphis-- his brother is also on the team and his dad is an assistant coach. As well as young Lawson played, they should give his mom a job, too.

6) Tulsa 77, Wichita State 67-- Good upset for everyone in the AAC. Frank Haith has been coach at Miami/Missouri; not sure why he went from Mizzou to Tulsa, but his teams usually do pretty well.

5) East Tennessee State 103, Green Bay 90-- Many years ago, before the basketball marathon started, we used to joke that teams would play at 3am if TV wanted them to, because teams love to be on TV. We thought this was very funny.

Fast forward to 2015 and this game was a 6am tipoff; Buccaneers had lot of energy, are lot more athletic than Green Bay and they seem to argue with each other a lot on the court, but I'll say this-- they had a 2-on-0 break one time and guy with the ball passed it to his teammate, so he could dunk it. Thats usually a sign of good team chemistry.

4) Michigan State 79, Kansas 73-- Tom Izzo did at least three interviews during this game, one at halftime, two while the clock was running. Think he'd do that during Big 14 league play? Its all about recruiting. This turned out to be a really good game, with two of the all-time great coaches. Seemed more like March than November.

Kansas has a kid named Check Diallo who is a very bright kid from another country but he hasn't been cleared by the NCAA yet-- it makes no sense. The kid is obviously bright; he knows several languages-- let him play already.

3) Long Beach State 66, BYU 65-- Announcers kept praising Long Beach for playing a hard non-league schedule; they do it because they get guarantee money to play (lose) games at Arizona-Duke-Oregon with lot of that money going to keep coach Monson from leaving Long Beach for greener pa$ture$.

If they let Monson walk and hired a younger coach who made maybe 1/3 as much $$$, they wouldn't have to schedule automatic losses and their players might have more confidence. I'm wondering how it would affect their recruiting-- its not like Monson is John Wooden or Dean Smith-- would they still recruit well with a lesser schedule in November and December?

If I'm paying Monson $600K to coach in the Big West, I'd expect more league titles than he has been producing, I guess thats my main point.

2) I'm 55 so I remember the way basketball used to be; its funny now that players have to call all live-ball timeouts, coaches have to get the players' attention for them to call timeouts. Kids are used to the coach bailing them out with timeouts; now they'll have to do it themselves.

1) If I learned one main thing this week, it is this: you damn well better have good guard(s) who can get to the basket with their dribble. Defenders aren't allowed to impede much anymore and that makes a good ballhandler worth his weight in gold.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Today's is ESPN's marathon of college basketball, a great day if you're like me and love basketball. Seeing the students at the morning games is especially fun. Being home all day and watching hoop and eating fast food ain't bad either.

12) Peyton Manning is out this week with plantar fasciatis, a painful foot injury. Broncos are going to Chicago to play John Fox's Bears this week, the same Fox that John Elway fired last winter, with Brock Osweiler making his first NFL start-- a rookie will be his backup, Tracy Siemian from Northwestern.

11) Saints fired DC Rob Ryan; as soon as they brought former Raider coach Dennis Allen in as an assistant, you knew Ryan was in trouble........Rams are switching QBs from Nick Foles to Case Keenum. Foles was 0-12 on throws longer than 10 yards downfield Sunday. Still think St Louis needs better tight ends/receivers, but thats me.

10) I mentioned Saturday night how New Mexico's football team won last two weeks, as underdogs of 20 and 30 points; someone posted on Twitter Sunday that since 1980, Lobos are only team to win consecutive games, when underdog by 17+ points in both of them, so thats quite an accomplishment.

9) Cowboys are 2-7 and Greg Hardy (rightfully or not) gets shredded in media every single day. Vikings are 7-2 and no one mentions Adrian Peterson's troubles anymore (rightfully or not). Funny how that works.

8) NFL does itself a disservice by not allowing each team to dress an emergency #3 QB for every game. Here is why:

Couple years ago, Houston's starting QB got hurt on the first series of the game, and was out- that meant for the rest of the game, they had one QB, with a WR or punter serving as the #3 QB, if it came to that, so they couldn't throw any long passes, since they couldn't subject the #2 QB to any hits, raising his risk of injury. The game sucked because the other defense put nine men in the box and wouldn't let them run the ball.

This is a business where each team is worth around $1B, thats billion, with a B. How much could it possibly cost to have one more guy on the roster every week, just to protect the quality of the league's product?

7) SEC Network has a new basketball analyst; young man named Chris Spatola; he played basketball at West Point, then spent five years in US Army, as all West Point grads do. He worked for CBS Sports Network and now he works for ESPN, but there is one thing here that bothers me just a little.

He is married to Mike Krzyzewski's daughter, so not only does ESPN have Jay Bilas and Jay Williams on their airwaves, they have Coach K's son-in-law. Terrific.

6) NFL double-digit underdogs are now 41-22 vs spread in primetime games since 2003, including 21-9 on Monday Night Football.

5) New Mexico State has 14 players on its hoop team; only five of them were born in this country. Four kids from Canada, the rest come from all over the globe. Wish they were in a better league- Aggies play Sun Belt football but are stuck in the WAC for hoop and thats a terrible league now.

4) Jim Nantz played college golf at Houston, so he is/was very good at golf; he said on TV Sunday he only golfs five times a year; how is this possible? I know the guy is busy, but he is also rich as hell and spends a decent amount of his year covering the freakin' PGA Tour-- how does he only golf five times a year?!?!?!?!?!

3) Before last week's NFL games, teams that were down 10+ points after three quarters were 12-347 in their last 359 games- not lot of late comeback wins.

2) Seattle Seahawks are 4-5 and didn't allow an offensive TD in any of the wins; that means they're 0-5 when their opponent scores an offensive TD, which is weird.

1) If you're a Bengals fan and you booed your 8-0 team at any point Monday night, then shame on you, thats all I can say about that.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Chiefs 29, Broncos 13-- KC won its third straight game, picking off five passes; Andy Reid is now 15-2 in post-bye games. Peyton Manning was benched in second half for Brock Osweiler, as Denver lost its second straight game after a 7-0 start.

12) Lions 18, Packers 16-- Detroit won in Wisconsin for first time since 1991, when Mike Tomczak was the Packer QB, Wayne Fontes was the Lions' coach, Brett Favre was an Atlanta Falcon. Last few minutes of this game weren't pretty; Lions missed a PAT, stopped the tying 2-point play from Green Bay, but then the Packers fell on the onside kick, giving them yet another chance. Packers have now lost three in a row.

11) Buccaneers 10, Cowboys 6-- Jameis Winston fumbled as he was flipped while trying to hurdle into the end zone, but a holding penalty on Dallas gave Bucs another chance and Winston ran in for the winning score with 0:54 left, handing Dallas its 7th loss in a row. Curious to see if Tony Romo plays for Dallas next week.

10) Panthers 27, Titans 10-- Carolina is now 9-0; their next three opponents all have losing records. Titans have lost ten home games in a row. Cam Newton didn't make any friends with a long celebration after scoring TD with 2:42 left to make score 27-10. At some point, you need to act like a professional; celebrate on the sidelines.

9) Bears 37, Rams 13-- Rookie RB Lankford had 182 total yards, two TDs for Bears, who won impressively despite having a short week after playing Monday night in San Diego. St Louis is 1-5 outside its own division; their passing game is a mess and their defense appears a bit overrated.

8) Redskins 47, Saints 14-- Redskins gained 526 TY, Cousins threw for four TDs in his first game since his dad was diagnosed with cancer-- he gave his dad the game ball after this convincing win. Washington had ball ten times, scored four TDs, four FGs.

7) Valparaiso 83, Iona 58-- Iona is expected to win the MAAC; this score says an experienced Valpo team is really good. Not often Iona scores less than 60 points.

6) Dolphins 20, Eagles 19-- On their first two drives, Philly scored two TDs, gaining 122 yards on 14 plays; combined with a safety, they led 16-3 and were driving again but missed a 32-yard FG on their third drive, had a punt blocked on the next drive and went into the ashcan after that. With the offense Eagles run, don't they need a QB who is a running threat?

5) Steelers 30, Browns 9-- Roethlisberger threw for 286 yards in first half of a game he didn't start; Landry Jones got hurt, which was very bad news for Cleveland, which got decent stats from Manziel but only one TD. Browns only had 15 yards rushing, and Manziel had 17; maybe Kevin Costner can draft for them next spring.

4) Jaguars 22, Ravens 20-- This is how fine a line there is between winning/losing in the NFL; Ravens are 2-8, with both wins by a FG. All ten of their games were decided by 8 or less points-- all one-possession games.

Baltimore was going to win this game but a facemask penalty on the Ravens on the last play moved the ball 15 yards closer and allowed Jags to make a 53-yard walk-off FG.

3) Vikings 30, Raiders 14-- Minnesota ran for 263 yards in this game, as they take over first place in the NFC North. If the playoffs started Monday morning........

NFC: Giants-Vikings-Panthers-Cardinals Wild Card: Packers-Falcons
AFC: Patriots-Bengals-Colts-Broncos. Wild Card: Steelers-Bills

2) Patriots 27, Giants 26-- Giants' DB dropped a sure INT on first play of last drive, as New England drove 44 yards on 12 plays in 1:46. Giants were up 20-10 with 5:00 left in third quarter. Somehow, they're in first place, despite being 5-5- the #4-5 first round game in the NFC playoffs could find Packers visiting the NFC East champ.

1) Cardinals 39, Seahawks 32-- Seven NFL teams were -2 or worse in turnovers this week; Arizona is only one of the seven who won. Packers/Falcons are two Wild Card teams in NFC right now- they have two game lead on other NFC also rans. Seattle has led in fourth quarter in all five of its losses this year.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Washington State 31, UCLA 27-- Mike Leach won games in Lubbock and he is winning games in Pullman and neither place is an easy place to build a winner. Coogs scored a TD with 0:03 left to stun the Bruins and make Wazzu 7-3. This game ended at 2:33am here in the east, quite an exciting end to the day.

12) Houston 35, Memphis 34-- Tigers led 34-14 with 14:00 left and Houston's QB was hurt, but they rallied to win behind the backup QB and is now 10-0, 6-0 in the AAC. Coach Herman used to be an assistant at Ohio State; with so many openings around the country, will Houston be able to keep him for a second year?

11) Michigan 48, Indiana 41 OT-- Has Indiana ever run for 307 yards against the Wolverines before? Michigan tied this game on last play of regulation; Hoosiers are a 4-6 team that deserves much better- they lost to Ohio State 34-27.

10) Oregon 38, Stanford 36-- Cardinal scored with 0:10 left. but tying 2-point play failed and Ducks made sure no Pac-12 team has a shot at the national championship playoff this year. Oregon only threw 12 passes, but hit 10 of them for 204 yards.

9) Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 31-- Cyclones led 24-7 with 3:00 left in first half, 31-21 after third quarter, but couldn't finish the job. Cowboys were 11-17 on third down and they're still unbeaten- their game with Oklahoma will be huge.

8) Radford 82, Georgetown 80 2OT-- Radford was 22-12 LY, but none of wins were over a team in the top 125. This is a rough start for the Hoyas, who are 46-26 in their conference games the last four years, but losing to a Big South team is no bueno.

North Florida 93, Illinois 81-- America Sun keeps producing Cinderella teams; in this game played Friday, the Ospreys made 17-33 3-pointers, turned ball over only six times and led by 13 at the half, so this was no fluke.

7) New Mexico 31, Boise State 24-- Remember Bob Davie, who used to be the coach at Notre Dame, then became a good TV announcer? This is his 4th year as the coach at New Mexico; his Lobos won as 20-point underdogs last week, won as 30-point dogs this week and that does not happen very much.

You might say a team is no good if they're underdog by that many points, which is a fair point, but it takes time to build a football program up-- lot of recruiting to get to the 85 kids you want. Sounds like Davie is doing things the right way.

6) Warriors 107, Nets 99-- 1-9 Brooklyn took the 11-0 Warriors to OT, but champs survived and stayed unbeaten. Maybe people can shut up for a while about Golden State winning 73 games this year- they damn near lost to a 1-8 team.

5) Rhode Island was expected to be an NCAA tourney team this year, but they lost their best player EC Matthews for the season this weekend with a knee injury- that is a huge blow for Dan Hurley's up-and-coming team.

4) Colorado State 84, Northern Iowa 78-- Solid win for Mountain West and Larry Eustachy, the kind of road win that is remembered on Selection Sunday.

3) Oklahoma 44, Baylor 34-- I'm mystified that Texas Tech never came up with a scholarship for QB Baker Mayfield, who transferred to Oklahoma because of it. Has to be an interesting backstory there.

2) Arkansas 31, LSU 14-- Second year in row LSU got squashed by the Hogs a week after losing to Alabama; how can a program with so many NFL players coming out of it constantly fail to produce a decent college quarterback? Their OC was a head coach in the NFL, but their QB play, except for Mettenberger, has generally been sub-par.

1) North Carolina 59, Miami 21-- Tar Heels haven't lost since Labor Day weekend.

Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a frentic Friday......
13) Red Sox traded four prospects to San Diego for closer Craig Kimbrel; last year, Padres traded Cameron Maybin/Matt Wisler and others for Kimbrel; not 100% sure they know what they're doing, having changed managers in October, but one of the prospects is a real good defensive SS and they definitely want one of those. .

12) Washington 77, Texas 71-- Bill Walton broadcasting from China had to have at least a few people at ESPN holding their breath about what politicial stands he would take during the game, but the game was fun-- play-by-play guy Roxy Bernstein kept Walton from getting himself or anyone else fired.

11) Pac-12 is going to play a basketball game in China every year; lot of money to be made in China and the Pac-12 is affiliated with Nike because of Phil Knight/Oregon connection. Next year, Stanford of the Pac-12 is playing Harvard in China.

10) I don't think NFL QBs should be protected by the rules once they cross the line of scrimmage; once you gain yardage, you're just another guy carrying the ball. If you don't want to get hit hard, don't run with the ball.

9) Premature judgements: St John's, Wisconsin will struggle.

8) USC 27, Colorado 24-- Buffs' QB got hurt, or this could've gone a different way; Colorado led 17-6 at one point. Trojans play better with interim head coaches.

7) When Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders passed away, Mark Cuban lent his private plane to a group of coaches who were in LA at the time and wanted to go to the funeral. Lending a private plane is a pretty big tab, even for a rich guy.

6) DeAndre Jordan has played eight years in the NBA; he's made more than 45.2% of his foul shots in one season. His career FG% is 66.5%, by the way. I just want him to try and shoot underhanded for one season, then I'll shut up about it.

5) "Never attempt the shot you just faked." Basketball advice from Bill Walton.

4) Former Arkansas coach John Pelphrey is a TV announcer now, left behind when Billy Donovan bolted Florida for Oklahoma City and the NBA- Pelphrey was one of his assistants in Gainesville the last few years. Have to listen to do a guy do more than one game before making judgements, but Pelphrey was pretty good last night.

3) There are murmurs in the media that Blue Jays prefer Zach Greinke over David Price, as far as free agent pitchers go. My question is this: why would Greinke leave the pitcher-friendly NL to pitch against DHs again?

2) Baylor 97, SF Austin 55-- This was supposed to be an interesting game; SFA was 61-8 the last couple years, one of the better mid-majors in the country. Excellent start to the season for the Big 12's Bears, who crushed the Lumberjacks here.

Montana also upset Boise State in Missoula, an interesting result out west.

1) Best wishes to Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel, who is retiring after this season. Back in the spring, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, but he says he is OK with that now and just wants to enjoy life. We'll probably never know how much the current scenario has to do with his decision, but we wish him well no matter what.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend......
13) College basketball starts today: Gonzaga-Pitt play in Japan, Washington plays Texas in China, for some reason. Some surprisingly good games for season openers, so I'll be glued to those all day/night today.

12) Oklahoma-Baylor is a really good football game Saturday; Baylor freshman QB Stitham threw for 419 yards in his first college start, now the competition gets a lot better with the Sooners coming to Waco. Bears beat Oklahoma three of last four years, ending a very long series losing streak.

11) Patriots lost their last three games with the Giants; two of those were in Super Bowls. Interesting 4:25 game Sunday from Swamp Stadium.

10) Washington State is 4-0 as road underdog this year; they're 6-2 in last eight games since losing their opener to a I-AA team. Can Coogs beat UCLA in Pasadena?

9) 8-0 Carolina played in primetime last two weeks, now they visit a Tennessee squad they should beat-- trap game alert for the Panthers.

8) Duke-Pittsburgh played 51-48/58-55 games the last two years; both teams are on two-game skids after 6-1 starts-- which team ends their skid?

7) Underrated college hoop games on Friday: UAB-Auburn, Colorado-Iowa State, Pepperdine-Fresno State, Belmont-Marquette.

6) Vikings-Raiders matches up two teams on the rise; Oakland scored 34+ points in its last three games. Bridgewater is expected back at QB for Minnesota.

5) When LSU lost to Alabama last year, they laid an egg the next week too, getting shut out at Arkansas. Tigers host Arkansas this week; big game for their season.

4) Andy Reid is 14-2 in post-bye games; Chiefs won their last two pre-bye games. Denver scored two TDs in last 0:36 to win first matchup this season- they lost for first time last week. Rematch with Chiefs is Sunday in Denver.

3) When Alabama beat Mississippi State LY, Bulldogs were #1 in country, but still an 8-point underdog; Crimson Tide waxed LSU last week, but now has potential trap game with Dak Prescott and the surging Bulldogs in Starkville.

2) Cardinals have been better than Seattle so far this year, but until they take the NFC West title away from Seahawks, SEattle is the champ. This is Arizona's window to take over the NFC. We'll see if they can take a big step here.

1) My alma mater is on national TV tonight; Albany at Kentucky. When I was in college, many, many years ago, our arch-rival was Potsdam State, located 25 miles north of the middle of nowhere. ESPN was just being developed. Hopefully the Great Danes will be wearing purple uniforms, not the awful black ones they used to wear.

Anyway, college hoop is my favorite time of year; enjoy the games!!!!

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Today is November 12; from now until late February, I don't want to see any news about guys on the A's or on my fantasy league team-- at this time of year, news is 95% likely to be bad news. This time, it is Jose Reyes, SS on my fantasy team who was arrested for domestic violence in Hawai'i on Halloween.

Not only is he hideously overpaid and not enthusiastic about playing for the Rockies, now he is likely to be suspended, since this is the first DV case for the new commish, so he has to come down hard on Reyes, or the media will go nuts. Awesome.

12) Guy in Las Vegas bet $20K on a 4-team parlay last week, which is scary in itself; he hit the first three games, fourth was over on the Giants-Bucs game. Looked like he was going to lose until Tampa Bay botched the lateral play as time expired, and the Giants scored a TD to win 32-18, with the game miraculously going over, giving the bettor an $80K windfall for his 4-team parlay. Good day to be him.

Couple years ago, I'm watching NFL games in the theater at Westgate and I'm talking to a guy in a Cardinals' jersey; all of a sudden it dawns on me this guy is betting $6K a game-- I forget that Las Vegas is the big leagues and I'm a guppy in that pond.

11) Underrated story of last few weeks: how Landry Jones has been so much better than Michael Vick as Pittsburgh's backup QB, winning in relief in games against the Cardinals/Raiders. Vick is washed up; he admitted he didn't prepare enough for games LY when he was with the Jets. How is he still collecting a check?

10) 24-year guy from Pennsylvania won Main Event at the World Series of Poker and cashed in for $7.68M; seven of last eight Main Event winners were 24 years old or younger, the 8th guy was 27 when he won. Poker has become a young man's game.

9) Chargers really needed their bye week; in Week 8 at Baltimore, four different guys played left tackle- thats the position that protects Philip Rivers' blind side, so it is a really important position to be solid at. Hopefully they'll get healthier this week.

8) Saw one of my favorite movies the other night; Airplane 2, which I hadn't seen in long time, but damn its funny. Pat Sajak is in it as an anchorman from Buffalo- its been so long since I saw the movie, I didn't even know who he was the last time I saw it.

William Shatner-Lloyd Bridges-Chuck Connors-guy who played General Burkhalter on Hogan's Heroes-Peter Graves-Chad Everett. Lot of the humor is goofy, and 1982 is a long time ago, but I laughed thru just about the whole movie. Good stuff.

7) Minnesota Twins gave up on OF prospect Aaron Hicks, dealing him to Bronx for catcher John Paul Murphy; there are rumors that Brett Gardner is going to get flipped for a pitcher, maybe James Paxton from Seattle.

6) Sacramento Kings are in chaos, as usual; DeMarcus Cousins cursed out George Karl after a recent game (again); GM Vlade Divac didn't back Karl, so it looks like the Kings will be changing coaches once again. I swear to God, if they put me in charge of this damn franchise, I could do better than these nitwits and I'm not qualified to do it, but neither are the fools that own this team.

5) Kevin Durant (hamstring) is out for the next 7-10 days. Last year, Thunder was 27-28 when Durant was out-- Scott Brooks did well to keep the squad together. Now Billy Donovan will find out the cruddy part of NBA coaching; winning without stars in the NBA is really tough.

4) Speaking of Brooks and Tom Thibodeau, how are these ex-coaches not on TV? It would be educational to hear what they think about NBA-related issues. NBA games on local TV are not exactly overloaded with analysts who teach you stuff.

3) Yoenis Cespedes likes cars. A lot. He just paid $367K for a Lamborghini.

2) Utah State lost one of its best players yesterday; soph forward David Collette quit the team and will transfer. Going to be interesting to see where he goes, because that team will be (rightfully) accused of poaching another school's player, which is now an unfortunate trend in college basketball.

1) St John's might have a really bad basketball season; freshman PG Marcus LoVett has been declared ineligible for this year-- he can practice but not play in games. Red Storm lost an exhibition game by 32 to a D-II team and now this; they lost all five starters from LY, are in a total rebuild-- losing your PG is damaging.

Wednesday's List of 13: How NFL teams do 1st drives of a half
I track how each team does on the first drive of each half, both offense/defense; here are some notes as the NFL season is roughly at the halfway mark..........

13) 8-0 Bengals have scored 34 points (most in NFL) on their first drive of each game, averaging 53 yards per drive.

12) Patriots have scored on their first drive of the second half in every game this year, five FGs, three TDs. In eight games, they've outscored opponents 67-38 on the first drive of each half, tied with Green Bay (59-30) for best mark in the league.

11) Arizona (45-19), Oakland (48-20) have also done well on first drives; on Cardinals' foes' first drive of the game, they've run 41 plays for only 150 yards. Surprising that the Raiders are doing so well; Jack Del Rio could easily be Coach of the Year.

In their last three games, Raiders scored a TD on their first drive in five of six halves.

10) 49ers' offense has been terrible early in games; its offense has been outscored 7-6 by the other team's defense on their first drive of a game.

9) Houston is so dysfunctional they cut a QB who started four games and no one has picked him up, even though quality passers are scarce. Texans have run 39 plays for 140 yards on their first drive of a game, scoirng zero points. No bueno.

8) Dick LeBeau works for the Titans now; they make good halftime adjustments. On opponents' first drive of the second half, Titan opponents have run 34 plays for 77 yards, scoring no points. Once the rookie QB gets some experience, this could be a team that makes a big jump next season.

7) Rams had to sign Wes Welker; their offense is so totally dependent on Gurley and Austin, they're 20-90 on third down the last seven games, have gained only 76 yards on 28 plays on their first drive of a game. Too much pressure on the defense; if they can move the chains more now, it helps their field position and makes the team more balanced. Playing on a shorter field makes the game a lot easier.

6) Buffalo has outscored opponents 23-3 on first drives of a game; their opponents gained only 92 yards on 34 plays on their first drives. Oddly, they've been bad on first drive of third quarter; their opponents gained 7.1 yards/play, scored four TDs and FG. Seems like they prepare for opponents better than they adjust at halftime.

5) Eagles scored a TD on their first drive of the second half in four of last five games, and n fifth drive, they gained 49 yards before losing a fumble. They wore down Dallas' defense Sunday night, gaining 287 yards on 35 plays over their last five drives.

4) Miami changed coaches after four games, because the defensive players weren't happy with their defensive scheme; in their first four games, Dolphins allowed three TDs and a FG (285 yards on 30 plays) on the first drive of a game.

Since the change, Miami allowed 158 yards on 27 plays, allowing one TD, one FG, so thats an improvement, maybe just because the players feel more invested now.

3) Denver has been surprisingly bad on the first drive of a game, kicking two FGs on eight drives, gaining 197 yards on 45 plays (4.4 ypp).

2) Teams are 6-0 the week after playing Carolina, both SU and against the spread; four of those six teams were favored.

1) Not sure why this is true but it is, but teams are 0-8 against the spread the week after playing the Cardinals, winning only two games SU.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Bears 22, Chargers 19-- San Diego is 2-7, with four losses by 5 or less points; TE Zach Miller made a great one-handed catch for winning TD, his first NFL TD in four years. Last five Chicago games were decided by three or less points.

12) There are two Division I college basketball teams here in Albany, UAlbany and Siena; both are on national TV Friday night, Albany on SEC Network against the Kentucky Wildcats, Siena on ESPNU at Duke. Neither local team is favored :-)

11) In case someone ever asks you, it costs $22 to go to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. You never know, people like to know stuff like that.

10) I personally don't give a rat's ass about the Heisman Trophy; it bugs me when TV announcers babble about it constantly. I'm watching LSU-Alabama and the TV guys are talking about how the game affects the Heisman voting. Who cares?

9) NFL teams are 13-5 vs spread this season coming off a bye; over the previous five seasons, teams coming off a bye were 78-78-4 against the spread.

8) ESPN Stats reports that Detroit's Andre Drummond is first player with 135 points and 135 rebounds through seven games since Wilt Chamberlain in 1970-71. If you get mentioned in the same breath as Wilt Chamberlain, you're doing good work.

7) I'm thinking Tampa Bay/Tennessee are both pleased with their rookie QBs.

6) Las Vegas sportsbooks had to clean up on the Falcon-49er game Sunday; game opened at -3, but when Blaine Gabbert was announced as the 49er starting QB, game got bet all the way up to nine. Takes ton of cash to move a line six points.

5) I sound like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino "Get off my lawn!!!", but I'm not a fan of high school kids announcing their college choice and having it televised.

Full of self nonsense. I mean, a kid with a torn ACL did it last week; he won't play any basketball this season, but had his college choice on national TV and he's likely to only play one year in college, if his knee is healed by then. Whats the point?

4) Steelers' WR Antonio Brown caught 17 passes for 284 yards against the Raiders Sunday; reminded me of watching his dad play Arena Football here in Albany-- boy he was good. Eddie Brown once scored nine TDs in an AFL game-- he led the Firebirds to the 1999 Arena Bowl title. NINE TOUCHDOWNS!!!!! Guess it runs in the family.

3) Over the last seven games, the Rams are 18-90 on third down, which is terrible; Monday they signed Wes Welker to help solve that problem. Please Lord, don't let him be washed-up. If he can still play, Nick Foles will be a happy QB.

Bad Rams' news: WR Stedman Bailey got the gate for four games (substance issues); he isn't much of a WR, but is a really good gunner on the punt team, so that hurts.

2) So the Cowboys have a domed stadium but the roof was open Sunday night and once the game starts with the roof opened they're not allowed to close it, so when it started to rain, the field got wet, or the big scoreboard got wet. Just seems weird that if it starts to rain (there was no rain in the forecast) they can't close the roof.

1) After watching a lot of TV recently, I've decided that the reason I'm divorced is that I never bought the ex-wife a Mercedes-Benz for Christmas. People really do that?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) Bengals 31, Browns 10-- CBS execs have to be very nervous at thought of Super Bowl 50 with Cincinnati-Carolina, which easily could happen. That would be a fun game for hardcore fans to see, but not the ratings bonanza that the networks crave.

12) Steelers 38, Raiders 35-- Pittsburgh gained 597 yards, forced four turnovers (+2) but lost Roethlisberger to another injury (foot) for at least a couple weeks, so Landry Jones is once again in the forefront. Oakland's two road losses are by 3-2 points.

11) Jets 28, Jaguars 23-- Gang Green was +4 in turnovers, had 14-yard edge in field position; only one of their four TD drives was longer than 51 yards. In their five wins, Jets are +12 in turnovers; in three losses, they're -5. Jax scored three points in two red zone drives; Jets scored 21 points on their three.

10) Vikings 21, Rams 18 OT-- Not only did Rams lose this game, I had to listen to Thom bleepin' Brennaman for 3.5 hours; what a pompous know-it-all, but he didn't know enough to tell us how big a factor the wind was in this game until the second quarter- he never mentioned that 33 of the 39 points in the game were scored by teams going left-to-right, or that Vikings' backup QB Shaun Hill was the Rams' starting QB for most of last season. But hey, his dad is famous so he has a good gig.

9) Bills 33, Dolphins 17-- Buffalo ran ball for 266 yards, averaged 10.3 ypa and they did that despite allowing three sacks on 15 dropbacks. Bills-Jets Thursday night, so we will get the whole Rex-Jets things harped on endlessly. Mute button time.

8) Titans 34, Saints 28 OT-- Tennessee had scored 36 points total in last four games, so of course Rob Ryan's defense gives up 34 to a team with a rookie QB that fired its head coach six days ago. Rex Ryan should be on TV being funny and Rob Ryan should be coaching high school ball somewhere in the Oklahoma panhandle.

7) Patriots 27, Redskins 10-- This has nothing to do with football, but NBA players are wearing lower-cut sneakers these days. Do basketball players still get their ankles taped before practices/games?

When I was a kid, anyone who didn't get their ankles wrapped with at least an ace bandage before any practice/game got in big trouble. When I was coaching HS ball 15-20 years ago, not so much. Are sneakers made better now?

6) Panthers 37, Packers 29-- Carolina has won 12 straight regular season games, with wins over Colts/Packers last two weeks, plus a win at Seattle, but much like with the Bengals, because Charlotte isn't a big market, the Panthers are undervalued. Newton is now 38-31 as an NFL starter-- did you know Atlanta had a DB named Cam Newton in 2005-06? You learn interesting little tidbits reading this space, don't you? :-)

5) 49ers 17, Falcons 16-- Picked against Atlanta last week; think they're a tired team that desperately needs the bye week they're starting now. 49ers are 3-2 at home while allowing 15.2 ppg-- they're 0-4 on the road, allowing 36.8 ppg. Falcons lost three of last four games after a 5-0 start- win was 10-7 over the Zach Mettenberg-led Titans.

4) Giants 32, Buccaneers 18-- Final score is misleading; NJ scored a TD on last play of game, as Bucs butchered the playground/lateral play. I've been touting Bucs' Mike Evans as one of the best WRs in league, but despite catching eight balls for 152 yards, he had several drops in key spots in this game that hurt the Tampa Bay cause.

3) Colts 27, Broncos 24-- This has been a season with way more than usual coaching screwups. Colts led 17-0 in last 0:20 of first half and they punt the ball down the field, instead of out of bounds, so of course Denver runs it back for a TD. Had Indy lost this game, and Denver did tie it up twice, I wouldn't have blamed Jim Irsay if he fired the whole coaching staff after the game- the offensive coordinator is already gone.

2) Eagles 33, Cowboys 27 OT-- Dallas banked tying FG off an upright with 0:02 left, but offense never got back on field. Happy birthday Sam Bradford; he threw walk-off TD to Jordan Matthews, as Dallas lost its sixth game in row. Wildly entertaining day with three overtime games; too bad the wrong team won in Minnesota.

1) Odd Fact of the Day: Jets' QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has now beaten the Jaguars with five different teams, the first NFL QB to beat a team for five dfferent franchises.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday.....
13) Alabama 30, LSU 16-- Crimson Tide outrushed LSU 250-54, just beat them up physically on both lines. LSU's QB isn't good enough to move the chains by throwing the ball. As many pros as LSU produces, almost none of them throw the ball.

12) Nebraska 39, Michigan State 38-- Cornhuskers have five losses by five or less points; they were due to win a weird game, which they did here. Spartans led by 12 points with 2:00 to go- the winning TD scored on a play where the WR went out of bounds but came back in- refs ruled he was forced out, a shaky decision.

11) Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 OT-- Hogs converted a 4th-and 25 in OT, thanks to a schoolyard-like lateral; find it on SportsCenter, it is too weird to desbribe here. Hogs' win puts Alabama in the drivers' seat to win the SEC West. This game had 1,195 TY, no turnovers, six accepted penalties. Entertaining.

10) Oklahoma State 49, TCU 29-- Wow was I wrong about TCU; they got squashed in this game, which was over long before WR Doctson, Frogs' best player, left with a wrist injury. Four of ten previously unbeaten teams lost on Saturday.

9) Florida 9, Vanderbilt 7-- Games like this are why Top 25 poll is non-sensical; the Gators should drop in polls for beating Vandy without scoring a TD, but they won't. Florida has one loss, have held four of last five opponents to 10 or less points.

8) Clemson 23, Florida State 13-- Seminoles will drop in polls because of this game, which is comical; they played the #1 team toe-to-to-toe for 50:00, but lost, because in every game, someone loses. But Florida State is better than Florida.

7) Navy 45, Memphis 20-- First loss for Tigers, who don't play good enough defense to stop the Middies' option attack- they ran ball for 374 yards. Navy is now 24-9 vs the spread in its last 33 games as a road underdog.

6) South Alabama 52, Idaho 45-- Vandals scored 93 points in their last two games but managed to lose both; their QB is the son of Cowboys' OC Scott Linehan.

5) Tennessee 27, South Carolina 24-- Vols blew 17-0 lead, were saved when TE for Gamecocks was stripped of ball around Tennessee 20 in last minute. after a terrific catch/run that had South Carolina set up to tie or win the game.

4) UConn 7, Tulane 3-- I've been doing this stuff for long time; have never (that I can remember at least) logged stats for a game where neither team had 10+ first downs. In this day and age, how do you lose a game when you give up seven points?

3) Iowa 35, Indiana 27-- Hawkeyes haven't lost yet; who they losing to in the Rose Bowl? USC? Utah? UCLA? Iowa lost its last three bowl games by average of 32-19.

2) USC 38, Arizona 30-- RichRod went for it on 4th-and-2 at midfield when he led 23-20 in the third quarter; game swung on that failed play. There are guys making big, big money to be head coaches who aren't well-versed in game management. This wasn't a horrible mistake, but it was an unnecessary risk for a struggling team on the road.

Memo to ESPN's Rod Gilmore, who is a lawyer in real life: Jeff Fisher makes $7M a year coaching the Rams and has never coached college football. He is in his late 50's and probably wants no part of recruiting 17-year olds. Mentioning his name as a possible new coach for USC, just because he went to school there, is irresponsible.

1) Trouble at Missouri-- This has nothing to do with sports, other than the black football players at Missouri have gone on strike, until the school president quits or is fired. There have been racially-fueled incidents on campus recently and there is a lot of unrest regarding how those incidents were handled.

Maybe someday coach Gary Pinkel will write a book; his starting QB is off the team, amidst rumors he is involved with drugs, now 75% of the team is on strike. Have fun recruiting this winter, even if this issue does get resolved fairly soon.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) BYU 17, San Jose State 16-- Spartans scored a TD with 0:45 left, went for two points and the win, but missed. If I'm coaching San Jose, I play for OT, just for the extra TV exposure- there is nothing else on TV at midnight on the west coast.

12) This is how tenuous winning in the NFL is:
Tom Brady's career won-loss record: 188-55.
Bill Belichick's head coaching record: 240-118.

Belichick's record without Brady: 52-63

The smartest coaches are the guys with the best players.

11) I'd love to know how much Billy Donovan, Fred Hoiberg and Brad Stevens like coaching in the NBA, as opposed to college ball. Doubt we'll ever find out.

10) Indiana Pacers wore Hickory High uniforms last night, straight from the movie Hoosiers. Paul George played the role of Jimmy Chitwood, scoring 36 points, but he wears number 13, which benchwarmer Ollie wore in the famous movie.

9) Augustana 76, Iowa 74-- Augustana is a D-II school, but a very good one; Iowa plays in the Big 14. Not a positive sign for the Hawkeyes.

8) Dodgers turned down Chase Utley's $11M option for next year; would be funny (to me, at least) if the Mets signed him up to fill their upcoming gap at 2B.

7) I can't stand the NBA rule where teams can use a timeout to advance the ball from the backcourt to the frontcourt-- it creates artificial excitement, but it also takes away chances for teams that are behind to trap in the backcourt after made baskets.

6) If you care about such things, Rice Owls have played 31 freshmen this season, more than anyone else in America.

5) Denver is a 5.5-point favorite at Indianapolis Sunday; if you bet this game back when schedule came out and early lines were posted, Colts were a 3-point favorite.

4) Giants have allowed 315.4 passing yards/game, most in the NFL so far.

3) So far this season, NBA teams are 21-11 vs spread if they played the night before; NHL teams are 32-36 if they played the night before.

2) Temple 60, SMU 40-- Really bad beat if you took SMU and the points; game was 45-40 with 2:00 left, the Owls scored on a 36-yard pass, went for two and got it, then scored on a pick-6 with 0:55 for the cover. Much closer game than final score shows.

1) I hope kids realize how much work Stephen Curry has put in to become as good a shooter as he is now. Thousands and thousands of jumpshots. Lot of time.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) Weirdness in Deroit, where the 1-7 Lions fired general manager Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand, who somehow lasted 20 years with the Lions even though the team never won a playoff game during that time. How can one organization be so completely inept? The next GM/coach will have a very easy act to follow.

12) Indianapolis Colts fired OC Pep Hamilton, which is odd because the Colts scored 24.7 ppg in their last three games, plus Hamilton came from Stanford, where QB Andrew Luck went to college. Going to be a lot of changes in Indy this winter.

Can't remember a football season with so many coaches/execs losing their jobs during the season; people who foot the bill have very little patience these days.

11) Harry Giles is widely thought of as the best high school basketball player in the country this year and he hasn't chosen a college yet. Now comes word he's torn the ACL in his right knee-- he previously tore multiple ligaments in his left knee.

Now comes the question everyone is thinking but no one will say out loud: Do we really want this kid, who will spend the next year re-habbing his knee, then if he does well, will almost surely bolt to the NBA? If his knee doesn't bounce back, you're stuck with a kid you may not really want. Dicey situation.

Oddly enough, the kid is announcing his college choice today at noon.

10) Another question that needs to be asked: how much basketball is too much? A young kid needs down time, he needs to get stronger, more mature-- playing all year is simply too much for some kids. Less games, more practice is a better idea.

9) Sometimes, following unintended consequences of an event can be fun; example #1, instant replay in baseball is going to cause a resurgence in sliding practice, because when a guy slides into a base, if he comes off the base for a split-second and a fielder keeps the glove on him, he will be out. Players have to slide better; no one thought that would become more important because of instant replay.

Example #2: Chattanooga loses its basketball coach because Texas fired theirs; it was said one of the few jobs Shaka Smart would leave VCU for was a big-money school like Texas, so when the Longhorns surprisingly fired Rick Barnes after 17 years, Smart took the job, leaving behind a solid program at VCU.

Enter Will Wade, the Chattanooga head coach who had been one of Smart's assistants at VCU; he had turned down other jobs, but people knew the one job he would never turn down would be VCU. So Smart left for Texas surprisingly, Wade left for VCU and the Moccasins were looking for a new coach, all because the Texas AD (who has since been fired himself) fired Barnes, who has been a very good coach.

8) SEC basketball scheduling has changed; teams will all play each other once, plus each team has three teams they will play twice each, every season. Kentucky's three teams are Vandy-Tennessee-Florida; lucky them- they get to lose an extra game every year, although playing Kentucky at home every year guarantees one extra sellout every other year. Well, at least until coach Calipari leaves Lexington.

7) NFL teams are 23-47 (47.3%) on 2-point plays this year; they were at 48.1% the last five years combined. Would like seeing one team go for two every time they scored a TD, just to see what happened, as long as it wasn't the Rams who did it.

6) ESPN ran a documentary on the Bill McCartney/Colorado football teams from the late 80's; they played in the Orange Bowl two years in a row. Weird to see those clips and think now, the Orange Bowl doesn't exist- thats where the Miami Marlins' new baseball stadium currently sits. Very good documentary, by the way.

5) NBA League Pass is fun to have, especially before college hoop gets into full swing; the team I want to watch as much as possible this year, just for entertaining value, is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Enjoy watching Ricky Rubio; they've gotten better.

4) Denver Broncos traded for TE Vernon Davis; not many NFL players get traded during the season. Curious to see how much of an impact he will make; he hadn't done much for the 49ers the last three years.

3) College basketball rule change: coaches cannot call live-ball timeouts anymore. If a player gets trapped and the coach is standing next to the ref, he can't bail his player out. Will help pressing teams- with the new 30-second clock, more teams might press.

2) People can be jerks: Bengals' QB Andy Dalton played in the celebrity softball game this summer in Cincinnati at the baseball All-Star Game-- he got booed when he came to bat, despite having a 40-27-1 career record with the Bengals, not exactly one of the NFL's more storied franchises.

Why did the hometown fans boo? Dalton is 0-4 in the playoffs, so the one thing I'm rooting for this winter is for the Bengals to win a playoff game, just so the jerks will go away and Dalton can be accepted for the good player that he is.

1) Baylor 31, Kansas State 24-- Game wasn't really that close; freshman QB Stitham threw for 419 yards in his first college start. Baylor doesn't have a QB problem, but they will next spring, when Seth Russell is healthy again.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) The glow of victory doesn't last too long in baseball: Alex Gordon turned down $13.75M for next year, is now a free agent, while Royals paid Alex Rios $1.5M to go away and paid Jeremy Guthrie $3.2M to disappear. Thanks for that title, though.

12) Pitching coach Mike Maddux leaves Texas to be Dusty Baker's pitching coach in Washington, which means I'm now spared from hearing the A's TV guys make fun of Maddux for always putting his hand on the pitcher's shoulder when he visits the mound. Much better to be a pitching coach in the league with no DH.

11) Underrated stat: Carolina Panthers won their last 11 regular season games.

10) Many years ago, maybe the mid- 90's, I rode up an elevator in Madison Square Garden with the refs who were working the Knicks' game that night. I am 6-3 and all three guys were bigger than me-- we forget how tall NBA officials are. I'm wondering if there are college refs who couldn't go to the NBA because they're not tall enough.

9) It is funny to me how close fans are to the action at NBA games; lot of those fans by the benches can actually talk to the coaches who walk in front of them during the action. It is probably surprising there has never been an incident between players/fans in that scenario. Don't think the big fight in Detroit way back when was by the bench.

8) Pistons rookie Spencer Dinwiddie was eating a candy bar on the bench Tuesday night. During the game. While in uniform. Someone needs to tell him these games are on TV and very little happens that the cameras don't capture. Oy.

7) North Carolina's star guard Marcus Paige broke a finger on his non-shooting (right) hand, will miss 3-4 weeks. College hoops starts a week from Friday.

6) There have been 30 missed PATs in NFL thru eight weeks; in the last four years combined, there were 26 PATs missed, so moving the kick back has worked.

5) Washington Huskies play Texas over in China next week; they play three games in the Bahamas later this month, but do not play a true road game until January 9, when they visit Pullman to play Washington State.

4) Edmonton Oilers lost star rookie Connor McDavid for a long time with a broken collarbone. Kid had 12 points in his first 13 NHL games.

3) Jared Cunningham plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers; he has a sneaker collection with 1,600+ pairs; where the bleep do you put 3,200+ sneakers?

2) Remember Michael Graham, the Georgetown Hoya who was the enforcer on the Patrick Ewing-era teams? Apparently he won $1M in the DC Lottery-- he is on a TV commercial for the lottery that plays during Wizards games.

1) St Thomas Aquinas 90, St John's 58-- This was one of those exhibition games, but Aquinas is a D-II school; St John's plays in the freakin' Big East. Could be a very long winter for rookie head coach Chris Mullin, who is building from scratch.

Wednesday's List of 13: In a perfect world........
13) There should be a 10-year moratorium on publicly-funded stadiums/arenas; these rich owners don't need to be extorting communities for new stadiums to suck all the money they can out of the places where they own teams. Just use what you have for a while and let communities use that money for more practical things.

12) Get rid of Thursday Night football (except for two Thanksgiving Day games) and have a Monday night doubleheader every week. Football wasn't meant to be played on three days' rest. Let the college kids play on Thursdays- they most always have a bye the Saturday before their Thursday games.

11) Football teams have all week to practice; game day should be the players' day. Get rid of the radios in the players' helmets. When the QBs call the plays, the game is more fun; coaches strangle the games with overly conservative tactics.

10) Reduce the number of bowl games; bowls should be a reward for a good season. With 128 I-A teams and 40+ bowls, cruddy teams are going to bowls. Why?

9) College football teams should have scrimmages with other teams in the spring that would be on TV and people would pay reduced amounts to watch-- would raise a lot of money for the athletic programs. Believe me, people would watch.

8) No Christmas shopping commercials on TV until Thanksgiving Day or Nov 25, whichever comes first. KMart has had a ton of them on already- enough.

7) Get rid of the electoral college for Presidential elections; good grief, just add up all the votes nation-wide, whoever gets the most wins. How difficult is that?

6) Lower the drinking age to 18; if a young person is old enough to go fight in a war, he is old enough to have a beer.

5) Let basketball players go directly from high school to the NBA; having kids play one year of college ball actually hurts the college game. Once a kid goes to college, he is there for two years, much like college baseball players are committed for three years.

4) NBA should sponsor a 1-on-1 tournament in the summer, for charity; 64 guys. Teams can't complain; there is so much international ball played in summer now, this would be better and it is for charity. The sneaker companies will be happy because it gives their guys more exposure The public would love it.

3) Baseball should get rid of the DH; give teams 27-man rosters instead. Players who cannot field shouldn't be making millions, the way some DHs do.

2) Instead of having the All-Star Game determine home field in the World Series, the league that wins interleague play should get home field for the Fall Classic. It is stupid to have an exhibition game actually mean something.

1) Then baseball could make the All-Star Game more competitive and have it US against the World; that would heat the game up quite a bit. Maybe too much.

Tuesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Why the Royals won the World Series: they scored 40 runs in the postseason from the 8th inning on-- no other team scored more than five.

12) Tough year for college football coaches: Frank Beamer retires at Virginia Tech-- he built the Hokies up from practically nothing...........Norm Chow was canned out at Hawai'i, where it is very hard to win. Lot of head coaching jobs (10?) are open; many of them are in places where it is difficult to win consistently.

11) FOX's Mike Pereira was saying Sunday that LY, 38.4% of replays overturned the calls on the field. This year, that number is 45%; obvious errors are only thing that should be overturned. Re-officiating the plays is not what replay is for.

10) In their last six games, Bears allowed three special teams TDs, two more on offense; their last four games were all decided by 3 or less points.

9) Woman dressed up as a cat rings my doorbell at 2:15 Saturday afternoon, when I answer, she says "Trick or Treat" then whips out an ID badge and tries to get me to change some setting on my utilities bill that would allow her employer to make more money. She got a Reese's peanut butter cup and a door closed in her face. Oy.

8) Knicks drafted Jimmer Fredette in the D-League draft; not sure why; he is 26, can really shoot the ball, is a terrific person, but couldn't guard a lamp post. Not sure what their motivation is: to build up the D-League team, or would they bring him up to the Knicks as a situational shooter?

7) Refs from Miami-Duke game Saturday got suspended; Miami had 23 penalties for 194 yards-- I actually triple-checked that number, since I had never seen penalty numbers that high before. Ironic thing is that Miami was totally undisciplined with so many penalties, but they won the game because the refs refused to call a 24th penalty for an obvious illegal block on the eight-lateral kick return that won the game.

6) Panthers 29, Colts 26 OT-- Colts rallied from down 23-6 to force OT on a rainy, dismal night in Charlotte, after Carolina missed PAT that would've made it 24-6.

Around 11:00, activists protesting Bank of America’s financing of a liquefied natural gas facility in Maryland suspended themselves from the upper deck of the stadium in Charlotte and were taken away by the authorities. Hope it was worth it. Stadium is sponsored by Bank of America, which is why the activists were so active.

5) Lebron James went over 25,000 career points last night in Philly; hard to believe this is his 13th year in the NBA. Lets give the guy credit; as famous as he is and you never hear a bad word about him off the floor. Good for him.

4) When was last time an NFL team's highest paid player was a center? They said on TV Sunday that the Oakland Raiders' highest paid guy is center Rodney Hudson. Someone should call Derek Carr's agent and clue him in on this, though he is probably still on his rookie contract. Raiders outscored last two opponents 51-12 in first half.

3) Hazards of college coaching: a football coach obviously entrusts his team to the QB, the most important player on the team. Kids transfer if they don't play, so not a lot of great backups out there.

Missouri is having a dismal season because QB Maty Mauk turned out to be a bad guy off the field-- I was told in Las Vegas that the rumor is the kid is involved with drugs, which is why Mizzou suspended him (twice).

2) I got a phone call Monday from Ben Carson's political campaign; he is running for 2016. A year from today. No more phone calls, please

1) That said, it is Election Day today; get out and vote!!!! But not for President, that is next year. Lot of local elections this year-- long time ago, politicians used to come around and campaign and give you stuff with candidate's name on them-- pens, pencils, combs, stuff like that. Why did this stop? Free stuff is very persuasive.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday.....
13) Saints 52, Giants 49 OT-- Drew Brees threw for seven TDs; he had 300 passing halftime, 511 for the game. Weird stat: Giants scored 42 points but were only 1 for 8 on third down- they scored 21 straight points in 4th quarter to take lead, but Saints scored 10 points in last 0:36. Game swung on facemask penalty on Giants punter Wing that set up game-winning FG.

12) Chiefs 45, Lions 10-- Why did I get up at 9:29am to watch a Jim Caldwell team get pummeled? Chiefs were 8-13 on third down, ran for 206 yards. Not sure why the Lions fired three coaches before the London trip, when they have a bye week now?

11) Vikings 23, Bears 20-- Minnesota had lost seven in a row in Chicago, but they scored 10 points in last 1:49 for win, with rookie WR Diggs catching 40-yard TD that tied game in dramatic fashion. Last four Chicago tilts were decided by 3 or less points.

10) Bucs 23, Falcons 20 OT-- FOX analyst Charles Davis defended Lovie Smith's choice to go for it on his own 39 on 4th-and-1 with 2:00 left and a 20-13 lead- when the Bucs failed, Falcons had short field and tied game. Whole thing became moot when Tampa won in OT, but Smith made a foolish decision and got away with it.

9) Rams 27, 49ers 6-- Rookie RB Gurley is the real deal; rest of the Rams' offense is a work in progress- their defense is stellar, which is why Rams are 4-3. St Louis offense had two TDs of 60+ yards in this game, first time they've done that since 1961. Refs in this game think people paid to watch them throw flags-- too many cheap penalties.

8) Cardinals 34, Browns 20-- Arizona scored last 27 points of this game; they head into their bye at 6-2; they were -3 in turnovers in both losses. Cleveland has now lost five of its last six games-- seven of their eight games have gone went over total. NFC teams are now 18-13 against the AFC so far this season.

7) Royals 7, Mets 2 (12)-- I have no problem with Mets leaving Harvey in for ninth inning; he was mowing the Royals down. You can make the right decision and have it turn out the wrong way. Thats what makes coaching/managing such a challenging and interesting profession. Everyone's a freakin' genius the next day.

6) Bengals 16, Steelers 10-- Big Ben had Steelers in red zone at end of game but 7-0 Bengals held on for the win, in game where teams were combined 7-26 on 3rd down- each team had ten penalties. Last six Pittsburgh games stayed under total. While I am here, the Steelers' throwback uniforms are simply awful, like old prison garb.

5) Ravens 29, Chargers 26-- San Diego's defense/special teams aren't doing much to help the offense; 53 of Chargers' last 66 drives started 80+ yards from goal line; in last six games, San Diego started one drive in opponent territory- the foes started 12 drives in Charger territory. Hard to win that way.

4) Texans 20, Titans 6-- Captain Obvious checked in to inform us that the NFL has a shortage of quality QBs; rookies are starting right out of college now, which makes it a sink or swim situation, rather than a developmental one. Titans have 36 points in four post-bye games, after losing 35-33 to Colts in their pre-bye game- they're 2-20 in last 22 games overall, since upsetting Chiefs on Opening Day, 2014. .

3) Raiders 34, Jets 20-- Fitzpatrick hurt his left thumb early in game; Deion Sanders had the onions to criticize him for coming out, since it wasn't his throwing hand. Guy has torn ligaments in the thumb-- Deion is stealing $$$ on TV. Jets are screwed now; Geno Smith also got banged up but he sucks anyway, so they need to find a QB out on the street who can help them, if Fitzpatrick needs surgery. Good luck there.

2) Seahawks 13, Cowboys 12-- Dallas is 0-5 without Romo but dammit, they're still on national TV each and every week. Both teams were futile in red zone; five FGs on five red zone drives. Observation: Russell Wilson got tossed out of bounds by #90 on Dallas, a clean hit but a hard one- no Seahawks ran over to help him. Hmmm.....

1) Broncos 29, Packers 10-- Green Bay was in wrong place at wrong time, on a night where Denver honored their beloved owner. Broncos are now 7-0 with Manning going back to Indianapolis next week. Packers are OK, as long as Matthews' injury isn't too bad- they go to Carolina next week. .

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Miami 30, Duke 27-- Hurricanes scored on a bizarre, 8-lateral kick return for the win as time expired, after Duke scored to take the lead with 0:06 left. Miami had one runner who appeared to be down before he lateraled and at least one illegal block, but since this wasn't basketball, Duke didn't get bailed out by the refs.

Officiating guru Mike Pereira of FOX: "they used replay to decide to pick up the flag for the block at the 25. Replay is not allowed to reveiw a call for that." OK then.

This is third Saturday in a row that a nationally televised game ended on a bizarre play on special teams. College football is wildly entertaining.

12) Michigan 29, Minnesota 26-- Coaching malpractice by the Gophers' staff, plain and simple. Minnesota has ball on 1-yard line after a TD was overruled by replay with 0:19 left. Gophers had one timeout left.

Refs wound the clock after the ball was re-set; Minnesota took so much time to run its play (incomplete pass) there were only 0:02 after the play- then they got stuffed on a QB sneak as the game ended. No way they shouldn't have gotten at least three plays-- those Minnesota kids played their asses off, they needed better coaching at the end.

11) Notre Dame 24, Temple 20-- This was also a really good game; channel 205 on DirecTV has eight screens on it-- it had four college football games, plus the World Series and some other stuff too. This guy who coaches Temple is going to get offers to move up the coaching ladder pretty soon- the Owls are legitimately good.

10) Oklahoma State 70, Texas Tech 53-- Tech has home losses this year where they scored 52-53 points; here's some advice: RECRUIT DEFENSIVE PLAYERS!!!!

9) Virginia Tech 26, Boston College 10-- Maybe BC, Texas Tech could just trade some kids; BC has a putrid offense but a good defense. Recruit a bleepin' QB. Just go to Texas or Florida and sign a couple kids who can pass. Everyone else does.

8) Iowa State 24, Texas 0-- Longhorns have played three true road games, have been outscored 112-10 in those games. Why exactly did they fire Mack Brown?

7) Purdue 55, Nebraska 45-- Cornhuskers turned ball over five times, ran for only 77 yards, threw for 407 with a backup QB. Losing to Purdue in football isn't good for a coach's job security; luckily for coach Riley, its only his first year in Lincoln.

6) San Diego State 41, Colorado State 17-- Aztecs are sitting atop Mountain West, which seems to be down this year, but San Diego State ran for 276 yards here.

5) Golden State 134, New Orleans 120-- Steph Curry had 53 points, nine assists for the Warriors. Pelicans have severe injury issues, but 53-9 is a really big night, and has not happened a lot in NBA history.

4) USC 27, Cal 21-- Solid road win for Trojans and interim coach Helton, who is now 2-0 since taking over. Golden Bears lost their last three games.

3) Florida 27, Georgia 3-- If Miami wanted to hire alum Mark Richt as its new head coach, how many people in Georgia would object? This is another team without a QB; how does this happen at the SEC level?

2) Ole Miss 27, Auburn 19-- Will Muschamp makes $1.7M a year and he isn't head coach at Auburn; whoever foots that bill can't be real happy today. Rebels threw the ball for 402 yards against the $1.7M coordinator's defense. Auburn is 4-4.

1) Stanford 30, Washington State 28 -- Coogs missed 43-yard FG on last play, but it was their red zone failures in first half that cost them here. Kid was 5-5 on FGs for night before missing the last kick. Tough end to a rainy night in Pullman. Solid win for Cardinal, who haven't lost since the opener at Northwestern.

Saturday's Den: DDLohaus picks the Breeders' Cup......
Friday didn't start out very good; our selections in the first Breeders Cup race finished in the bottom three....but we bounced back with a nice exacta. Scratched out of our final bet.

Overall 1-2-1 for a small loss of $38.00 for the day. Pletcher had a big first day and he may be finally able to silent the critics about not being able to win at Breeders' Cup;

Today should be a lot of fun with some great racing. Going to enjoy watching these horses do what they were born to do.... let's get some cash. Have fun!

Juvenile Fillies

Rachel's Valentina: Looked real sharp in wins; classy gal keeps it going
Tap to It: Might move forward in this; dangerous
Songbird: fast, Beyer's say she the best; might be the best; low odds

The Bet:
$10WP Rachel's Valentina
$10W Tap to It

Turf Sprint

Jimmy Bouncer: Looks like peaking now; distance suits; great value.
Ready for Rye: getting good now; won at the Spa
Pure Sensation: unbeaten and may be this good.

The Bets:
$5WPS Jimmy Bouncer
$2Exacta Box Jimmy Bouncer/Ready for Rye/Pure Sensation

Filly & Mare Sprint

Stonetastic: fresh and like the trainer; big chance
Taris: Loves Keeneland but can she leave something in the tank for the stretch. Cavorting: Bad post but undefeated at the distance

The Bets:
$3ExactaBox Stonetastic/Taris/Cavorting

Filly & Mare Turf

Miss France: invader makes sense here; tough to bet against
Dacita: liked her at Saratoga; getting better?
Hard Not to Like: Wins at Saratoga; name says it all

The Bets:
$10WP Miss France


Run Happy: sharp, underrated jockey; needs good break; nice value
Masochistic: tough if back to previous form; a live one
Wild Dude: Needs fast pace and if he gets it look out!

The Bets
$10WP Run Happy
$2Exacta Box Run Happy/Masochistic/Wild Dude


Impassable: looks ready to add fourth in a row; the one to beat
Make Believe: sharp overseas; make sense
Tourist: crafty trainer; mike get there in time

The Bets:
$10WP Impassable


Conquest Big E: win over the track; live longshot
Ralis: throw out last and fits with these; a shot
Rated R Superstar: Versitile sort who may adapt and surprise

The Bets:
$5WPS Conquest Big E
$2Exacta Box Conquest Big E/Ralis/Rated R Superstar


Golden Horn: hard to go past this guy; will need things to fall apart to lose
The Pizza Man: Hard knocker with a great name; gotta take a shot
Big Blue Kitten: If the race sets up can beat the top choice

The Bets:
$5WPS The Pizza Man
$10Exacta Golden Horn/The Pizza Man, Big Blue Kitten

The Classic

American Pharoah: If gets an easy lead and stays clear, goes out on top; if tested early could be vulnerable
Keen Ice: If its fast enough up front can win again; if too slow is going to be really up against it
Gleneagles: relative unknown might be good enough if top two don't fire > >

The Bets:
$10Exacta Box American Pharoah/Keen Ice
$5WPS Gleneagles

Total Bets: $244.00
Good Luck and See You in May

Friday's Den: DDLohaus picks the Breeders' Cup........
Great weekend; World Series (Let's Go Mets!), Halloween, and most importantly the Breeders Cup. The end of a season of racing promises great excitement and a really great opportunity to hit some nice price horses.

Keeneland is a great place and all indications are that the weather should cooperate.> Day one has four (4) races and we consider this the appetizer before the main course on Saturday. Good Luck!

Juvenile Turf:

Sky Marshall: Tough trip in last affords some value; Woodbine quality continues to improve
Camelot Kitten: Should be coming late; hot trainer and a trip over the course; a lot to like
Azar: Improving colt and nice price on a formidable trainer/jockey combo; wouldn't surprise

The Bets:
$5WPS Sky Marshal
$2Exacta Box Sky Marshal/Camelot Kitten/Azar

Dirt Mile
Liam's Map: Just too good to go past; strictly one to beat
Lea: Hard Knocker and is loving Keeneland; Mott spots them well; upset chance
Mr. Z: Classic spot for a Lukas upset; may get brave on the front end.

The Bets:
$10 Exacta Liam's Map/Lea, Mr. Z
$5Exacta Lea, Mr. Z/Liam's Map

Juvenile Fillies Turf
Ruby Notion: This one may go to the front and not look back
Priced to Perfection: Comes right back; sharp in debut and C. Brown is the best; he must think this one is legit
Catch a Glimpse: Looked really good winning last; like Casse

The Bets:
$10WP Ruby Notion
$5WP Priced to Perfection
$2Exacta Box Ruby Notion/Priced to Perfection/Catch a Glimpse

Untapable: John V. opts for this one; veteran might handle these
Got Lucky: may be getting good right now; will be coming late.
Curalina: another Pletcher runner that is sharp; pretty gutsy performance in last; tough to pass.

The Bets:
$10WP Untapable
$2Exacta Box Untapable//Got Lucky/Curalina

Total Bets: $131.00

See You Tomorrow....

Friday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) NBA is trying to have teams play less back/back nights; LY, teams averaged 19.3 back/backs. This year, it is 17.8 and no team has more than 20.

12) I'd love to know what a President feels like the day after his term in office ends; imagine spending eight years in the most consuming job ever, where you can't drive a car and your assets are frozen and then one day it ends.. What do you do?

11) Central Michigan's basketball team is pretty good; how do I know? They had a hard time scheduling games-- when they called teams to fill out five slots in this year's schedule, BYU was the only team that would play the Chippewas, so they're going to play four non-D-I games, which huts their strength of schedule-- too bad.

10) ESPN's Magazine had a story on LSU's Leonard Fournette, how he gets a police escort back to his dorm after home games, from a state trooper who played for LSU 20+ years ago and whose day job is security for Governor Bobby Jindal. Without the police escort, the kid whould get beseiged by autograph seekers and it might take him hours to get away fron the stadium.

9) Dallas Mavericks lost to the Clippers last night and don't play again until Sunday night against the Lakers; they're staying in LA all weekend.

8) Baseball happenings: San Diego Padres named Arizona 3B coach Andy Green their new manager; Washington named former Padres' manager Bud Black their new skipper, Arizona named former Angel pitching coach Mike Butcher their new PC. .

7) San Diego State's basketball team has a new $15M practice facility, where kids can go 24/7 to work on their games. I was a basketball manager in college, but at a D-III school; can't imagine getting a call to go rebound for someone who wants to shoot at midnight, but it happens at the D-I level.

6) How is Tom Thibodeau not doing NBA games on TV? Guy is a basketball lifer, he was 417-283 coaching the Bulls-- we could learn a lot from him about basketball, plus I'm very curious if he has a TV personality. His in-game interviews were epic for being boring, but his taped tribute to the late Jerry Tarkanian this year was excellent.

5) Walgreen's drug stores bought out Rite-Aid this week for $9.4B; we have lot of drug stores around here. Must have lot of sick people.

4) Last March/April in college hoop, ACC teams were 19-7 in all postseason games, Pac-12 teams were 15-6, MVC teams 14-3. Loyola/Evansville both won a consolation tournament, pumping up the Valley's record.

3) Jets cut punter Steve Weatherford after one game; he nets $51K for punting four times and holding for five kicks. Good work if you can get it.

2) Analytics people in sports like to evaluate players using one number; I'm sure how they get to this number is well thought out but in my humble opinion, it is impossible to accurately evaluate a human being's performance with one number-- there are just so many intangibles that can't be measured accurately.

It is what makes sports so interesting; Raiders/Giants cut James Jones but with Green Bay (and Aaron Rodgers) he might make the Pro Bowl. Measure that.

1) Best wishes to Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill, who retired this week for health reasons (he has epilepsy). Coach Kill revived the Gophers' program, setting up his successor to be a contender in the Big 14.

Thursday's List of 13: NBA knowledge to start season with.......
While most of you were sleeping the other night, I was reading basketball previews; here is some of what I learned........
13) Steve Kerr did a great job, winning an NBA title in his first year as a head coach; will his success make it tougher for other first-year head coaches, like Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City? Team owners are rich people; rich people can be impatient.

12) Toronto Raptors paid DeMarre Carroll $60M for four years because they need to be better on defense and Carroll is an excellent defender.

11) Only four guys in NBA last year averaged 17+ ppg, 6.1+ assists/game and 5.2+ rebounds/game: Lebron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Bledsoe.

10) Lance Stephenson was 18-105 behind the arc LY, thats 17.1%, the worst %age for any player ever who took 100+ 3's in a season. Clippers added him, Josh Smith, who Stan VanGundy paid $26M, just for him to leave Detroit. Interesting.

9) Portland only has six guys back from LY; they reduced payroll from $72.9M to $50.3M, reducing it by 31%. Damion Lillard scored 1,720 points LY; the other five returnees scored a combined 1,580. Could be a long winter in Oregon.

8) Orlando took 1,565 foul shots LY (19.1/game) LY, 4th-lowest by any team in NBA history, in the 82-game era. Hard to win that way.

7) Brad Stevens may have come to the NBA from college, but he is highly respected among his peers; there are NBA coaches who copy his after-timeout plays.There are so many timeouts in NBA games, those plays make a big difference in a close game.

6) Russell Westbrook scored 593 points in transition LY, 79 more than anyone else. Going to be interesting to see how the Thunder play under coach Donovan, especially Westbrook, who has tried to take games over by himself in the past.

5) Washington Wizards want to play faster this year; they were 18th in possessions LY; John Wall says they want to be in the top 5 this season.

4) Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Damian Lillard are only three players who led NBA in minutes played as a rookie; LY, Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins missed leading the league last 12 minutes.

3) In Jason Kidd's first year in Milwaukee, Bucks improved from 30th in defensive rating to 4th; Milwaukee has lot of good young players, is an interesting team.

2) Kemba Walker took 280 3-pointers LY, but made only 30.4%, which isn't good. he needs to either take less of them or make more of them. 30.4% ain't cutting it.

1) Denver rookie PG Emmanuel Mudiay skipped college and played pro ball in China LY, but he only played in 12 games there because of injuries. He is really good but he is also really inexperienced; his career is an interesting case study on kids who may not want to go to college before they hit the NBA.

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Royals 5, Mets 4 (14)-- Tremendous start to World Series; team that won Game 1 in last 20 years won 17 of those 20 series. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Royals P Edinson Volquez, who lost his dad Tuesday afternoon.

12) People Can Be Scumbags Dept: A kid in Queens turns 12 November 3rd; for his 12th birthday, the little tyke wanted a bat signed by Daniel Murphy, which cost $175.

This was before Murphy turned into Ty Cobb against the Cubs in the NLCS, so when his parents got an e-mail from cancelling the sale, they went to the papers with their story and the NY Daily News ran with it.

Exposed for being scumbags, Topps and the MLB Alumni Association relented and sold the kid his bat for $175. Thats the power of the press!!!!

11) Idle thought: the kid lives in Queens. Wouldn't it have been easier to buy a bat, hang around Citi Field and get Murphy to sign the bat? Not like he is Lebron James, it can't be that hard to meet the guy and get an autograph.

10) Speaking of baseball memorabilia, Geddy Lee, the lead singer for Rush, has a big collection-- he has both baseballs from Johnny VanderMeer's back/back no-hitters.

9) Ravens, Cowboys both have zero takeaways in their last four games. It is very tough to win NFL games without creating takeaways.

8) Jets have 15 takeaways in six games; they had 14 all of last season.

7) In NFL history, there have been 14 plays of 99 yards; the two I remember most are a Jaworski-to-Mike Quick pass (against Atlanta, I think) and a Tony Dorsett run in Minnesota on Monday Night Football when the Metrodome first opened.

Record that probably never gets broken: in the late 60's, Jets had a punter named Steve O'Neal who had a 98-yard punt in Denver. Hard to break that record.

6) Speaking of the Jets, I hope Ryan Fitzpatrick writes a book someday; guy has been on six NFL teams, four in last four years and he is still starting!!! Not only that he has five kids and made the NFL after playing college ball at Harvard, so he didn't get a sports scholarship but is a starter in the NFL. His story needs to be told.

5) Baltimore actually gave the Rams a 7th-round draft pick for WR Chris Givens, who runs very fast but wasn't very productive in St Louis. Seriously, why would you trade for a WR the Rams didn't want-- they're desperate for productive WRs.

4) Mets TV announcer Ron Darling: "Today's guns are not right", speaking about the radar guns that supposedly show how fast pitchers throw. Darling is really smart, but his most interesting quotes come off-camera, which is too bad.

3) Two years ago, Temple was a 29.5-point underdog to Notre Dame in the season opener; Saturday, Owls are 7-0, College Game Day is coming to town and the game is on at ABC nationally at 8:00. Temple is a 10-point home dog in this game.

2) Basketball great John Stockton will be an assistant coach at Montana State, for the women's team this season. His daughter Lindsay is a senior on the team; one of the Bobcats' assistants quit recently, so Stockton took her place for this year.

1) Texans cut Ryan Mallett; apparently coach O'Brien and GM Smith both agreed to cut Mallett, but Smith wouldn't let it happen until after Sunday's game, since Texans still needed a backup QB in Miami. TJ Yates will be the new backup; very curious to see if anyone else gives Mallett a chance.

Tuesday's List of 13: Wrapping up Week 7 in NFL......
13) Jaguars 34, Bills 31-- Jax led 27-3 with 3:00 left in half, but blew lead, throwing awful pick-6 with 5:21 left to fall behind 31-27. Bortles then drove them 84 yards in 3:07 for the win, hitting Allen Hurns for the winning TD. Hurns now has a TD in his last five games-- Jacksonville is slowly getting better- they scored defensive TDs 0:07 apart in the second quarter. Buffalo screwed up trading Matt Cassel to Dallas.

12) Rams 24, Browns 6-- Cleveland had scored 26.2 ppg in its previous five games, but St Louis forced/recovered four fumbles and rode rookie RB Gurley to a win that evens their record at 3-3. Rams scored defensive TD on Browns' third play of game.

11) Chiefs 23, Steelers 13-- KC snapped five-game skid against QB making his first NFL start. Chiefs still had only two TDs on five red zone drives. Home favorites are 25-20-1 vs spread in non-divisional games this season.

10) Dolphins 44, Texans 26-- Houston backup QB Mallett "missed the plane" to game; this is same guy who didn't show up for practice the day after Hoyer was named starting QB. Tough spot; QBs are hard to come by; if they cut him, he'll get scooped up in five minutes, but he seems like a jerk who should be cut.

This game was 41-nil at half; in Week 4 at Atlanta, Texans trailed 28-0 at half. O'Brien almost has to get fired, just a matter of when. Would be second year in a row the coach on Hard Knocks gets the boot. Not good for HBO or NFL Films.

As if things couldn't get worse for Houston, Arian Foster has a torn achilles.

9) Patriots 30, Jets 23-- Nine rushes, 16 yards; that was it for the Patriots' run game; they trailed 20-16 with 12:50 left, but on their last two drives, Brady drove them on TD drives of 80-68 yards for the win. NE has now won eight of last nine series games; five of last seven were decided by 3 or less points; Jets lost last five visits here by 9-3-3-2-7 points. Jets are much-improved, but Brady is still Brady.

8) Vikings 28, Lions 19-- There were rumors all Saturday night that Adrian Peterson was sick and wouldn't play; he ran ball 19 times for 98 yards and caught three passes. If playoffs started today, Minnesota would be #6 seed in NFC. Detroit is 1-6 as they head to London for a game with Kansas City.

7) Falcons 10, Titans 7-- Tennessee lost its ninth home game in a row; three of their home losses this year are by 3 or less points. Atlanta is an unimpressive 6-1; they've trailed in 4th quarter in four of six wins and this game wasn't much better, but they are still 6-1, albeit still behind Carolina in NFC South.

6) Redskins 31, Buccaneers 30-- Greatest comeback in Washington history; trailing 24-0 in first half, Cousins led Redskins back- they scored winning TD with 0:24 left, driving 80 yards on 11 plays. Bucs' WR Evans caught eight balls for 164 yards. Skins are 3-4 and only a game out of first place in NFC East.

5) Saints 27, Colts 21-- Indy is 3-4 but still atop a horrible AFC South; their teams are 6-1 vs spread outside the division. Colt owner Irsay had harsh words with GM Grigson after this loss-- Saints led 20-nil at half. New Orleans won three of last ffour games, scoring 58 points in last two games.

4) Raiders 37, Chargers 29-- Oakland led 37-6 early in the third quarter in a stadium where it was hard to tell who the home team was. NFL needs to clear up this stadium thing; who is going to LA, who isn't. Raiders started six drives in Charger territory; all 12 San Diego drives started 80+ yards from goal line.

3) Giants 27, Cowboys 20-- Dallas was -4 in turnovers, gave up a kick return TD and still almost won; they ran ball for 233 yards, but lost to Giants for first time in last six meetings. Divisional home favorites are now 5-16-1 vs spread this season.

Not a lot of fun having only two 4:25 games; NFL is leaning on Cowboys to produce TV ratings, but they stink without Romo and he is still a month away from playing.

2) Panthers 27, Eagles 16-- Carolina is unbeaten, Eagles are 3-4 and Rams need Sam Bradford to start two more games so they can bank a 4th-round draft pick for dealing the oft-injured QB last spring. If Dick Butkus were playing today, he'd be Thomas Lewis of the Panthers; hard hitter, very, very good player.

1) Cardinals 26, Ravens 18-- If the 2016 NFL Draft were this morning, it would be weird, since it isn't 2016 yet, but Baltimore would have the first pick- all six of their losses are by 8 or less points. Carson Palmer is now 75-75 as an NFL starting QB. .

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
We're moving the weekly NFL wrap to Tuesday this week........

13) RIP Flip Saunders, who lost his battle with lymphoma at age 60. I used to go to Florida for my summer vacation to watch AAU basketball. One summer Saunders' son was playing for a team (Minnesota Magic??) and I was watching their game down in Orlando at Disney World. Saunders was there, but not coaching. There were six games going on at once in the building; the place was a beehive of activity.

At halftime, I drifted towards the concession stand (surprise!!!) and walked down the hall where the Minnesota team was resting. Flip Saunders had a grease board and was diagramming stuff for the kids, teaching them about the x's and o's of basketball. No yelling, just instruction and quiet encouragement.

What an education those kids must've gotten. RIP, sir.

12) Great stat on the Browns-Rams game on CBS yesterday: St Thomas Aquinas HS in Florida has 15 alumni playing in the NFL; next most are three schools with six. Michael Irvin, Chris Evert also went to St Thomas Aquinas.

11) Giants ran a kick and an INT back for TD in the same game Sunday for the first time since 1951 (in regular season); last time they did that the guy who ran the pick-6 back was Tom Landry, who went on to be a pretty good coach.

10) New Orleans Saints have 25 new players on their team this year, most in NFL.

9) Do NASCAR drivers have a concussion protocol? Do older drivers suffer from hearing loss? It has to be really, really loud in those cars.

8) NFL wants its officials to pick out someone to penalize whenever there is a brief scuffle, which is impossible to do (correctly). Why not just throw the flag, call fouls on both sides and move on? NFL is the most over-officiated sport ever.

7) Someone named Smylie Kaufman won the Las Vegas PGA stop this week; last week it was Emiliano Grillo; the two guys are a combined 46 years old. Lot of really good young golfers world-wide.

6) Miami fired Al Golden Sunday; now both sides can move on. Golden is a good coach who wasn't a great fit in Miami; the alumni blamed him for everything this side of global warming. Very curious to see who gets this job next; the alumni are mouthy and demanding, they don't have a great home field advantage and they're in a league. When they were a power, Miami was an independent and scheduled differently. .

5) Northeast of Miami, UCF coach George O'Leary "retired" during an 0-8 season; the kicker here is that OC Brent Kay was promised the job after O'Leary and because he is not getting it, the school has to pay Kay $700K to go away- must be nice.

4) Philip Rivers' wife is having the couple's 8th child any day now; I have a friend who has seven kids. How do you keep track of all of their names?

3) Odd news of the weekend: Ruben Amaro Jr was recently canned as Phillies' GM; he is now the first base coach for the Red Sox. Very unusual career move.

2) New England's first drive of the second half this year: Six drives, 59 plays, 444 yards, 7.53 yards/play. Three TDs, three field goals. Good adjustments.

1) What would the NFL be like if the players wore no equipment?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Georgia Tech 22, Florida State 16-- Yellow Jackets had lost five games in a row, allowing 30+ points in all five, before this- they blocked a 56-yard FG on last play of regulation, ran it back for a walk-off TD, as big upset happened for second week in a row on a shocking special teams play.

12) USC 42, Utah 24-- Utes were #3 in country but Wilson threw four picks and the Trojans jogged. All week people were mentioning Whittingham as a possibility to be USC's new coach. thats going to be a very interesting job search.

11) Clemson 58, Miami 0-- Sometimes divorce is beneficial to both sides; Miami has to fire Al Golden today, so he can move on, their alumni can shut up and they can start to look for a new coach. Hurricanes have never played in the ACC title game- not sure who the perfect coach is here. Not even sure if Miami is that good a job anymore.

10) Pitt 23, Syracuse 20-- Panthers' last three visits to Carrier Dome were decided by a total of five points. Pitt is 6-1; their last four wins are all by 7 or less points.

9) Northwestern 30, Nebraska 28-- Cornhuskers failed on tying 2-point play with 4:24 left; their five losses are by all by five or less points. Wildcats had lost previous two games by combined 78-10-- this is a great win for them.

8) Baylor 45, Iowa State 27-- Baylor QB Russell broke a bone in his neck; this was first time this season they scored less than 56 points. Bears have next week off, but they still have games left with both Oklahoma schools and TCU.

7) Arkansas 54, Auburn 46 OT-- 167 plays in this game; one turnover, five penalties. Auburn is now 1-3 in SEC, with an OT win over a I-AA team. Anyone who laid seven points with Arkansas in this game had the good Lord shining down on them.

6) Duke 45, Virginia Tech 43 OT-- Blue Devils are 6-1 and bowl eligible; Hokies are 3-5 and a sinking ship. Always wondered how much the shootings in Blacksburg a few years ago hindered Tech's recruiting- they're 25-24 in their last 49 games.

5) Alabama 19, Tennessee 14-- Whoever the poor bastard is who winds up replacing Nick Saban at Alabama is going to get in the head with an anvil like Wily E Coyote in the cartoons- he won't know what hit him. Vols are going to wind up playing in some obscure bowl like Shreveport or Nashville; their four losses are by total of 17 points.

4) Louisville 17, Boston College 14-- Eagles are worst offensive team I've seen in long time; they had four first downs, gaining 79 yards on 52 plays. Only reason they covered this game was blocked punt for a TD.

3) Penn State 31, Maryland 30-- Terps outgained Penn State 470-363; Bill O'Brien bolted Happy Valley for the NFL. You wonder how happy the natives are with James Franklin. You wonder how happy the Texans are with O'Brien. Sometimes divorce is a bad thing for both sides.

2) Washington State 45, Arizona 42-- Mike Leach is 13-5 as a road underdog, 4-0 this year; Falk had 335 passing yards in this game-- at halftime. Coogs won five of last six games, since losing their opener to a I-AA team.

1) Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Stillwater, OK after the fatal car accident Saturday morning; that community has had more than its share of tragedy. You go out on a Saturday morning to watch a parade and wind up dead; life is short, we need to have fun while we can.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Royals 4, Blue Jays 3-- Will be an interesting World Series, starting Tuesday.

12) When Alex Rios stole second in 5th inning, it was first stolen base David Price allowed all season; he hits free agency with an 0-7 record as a playoff starter.

11) Memphis 66, Tulsa 42-- Tigers have an offensive juggernaut; this was six days after they beat Ole Miss- impressive.

10) Only two NFL games at 4:25 Sunday; there are three 1:00 games in domes. Why didn't the league put one of those games at 4:25? NFL loves to put Dallas on national TV as much as possible, but they stink without Romo.

9) Speaking of which, there is a 50% chance of rain in New Jersey for late Sunday; the Cowboys have been practicing with a wet footballl to get ready.

8) 1970 Bengals are only 1-5 team to make the NFL playoffs.

7) Disturbing trend in college basketball is bigtime teams poaching really good players from mid-majors, especially kids who graduated in four years but still have a year of eligibility left. Cleveland State has lost three of these kids the last two years, with kids going to Louisville, Michigan State and Wichita State.

As a result, Cleveland State coach Gary Waters won't be giving players money to attend summer school anymore; all that did was cripple his program, since kids would graduate on time, then bolt to greener pastures for their last season.

6) Couple years ago, I was at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas; kid comes in the game and tosses up two airballs in a row. I comment to the guy next to me that the player had been a really good shooter in college, but looked awful in this game.

1,500 people in the gym and I say that to the kid's brother. Seriously. Funny thing, h wound up having a great week and making an NBA roster, but I see this week he is once again struggling to make a roster.

5) Kentucky got its best recruit eligible Friday; Shal Labissiere, which is a hard name to type, is now eligible, which makes Kentucky a very formidable team.

4) Former NBA stars Chris Mullin/Mark Price are both in their first year as a D-I head coach, Mullin at St John's, Price in Charlotte. Both teams are rebuilding and neither coach has much experience- they'll be interesting to follow.

3) FOX puts ALCS on FS1; do they even care about baseball? Hotel rooms don't get that channel, you have to go out of your way to find it. Hard to promote a sport when you're putting the main events on secondary channels.

2) Seattle Mariners named former big league catcher Scott Servais as their new manager; so many managers are former catchers. Servais has no experience and minorities were howling Friday afternoon, because they didn't get interviews. Too bad; the new GM knew who he wanted and he signed him up.

1) Columbus Blue Jackets are 0-8, the worst start by an NHL team in 72 years.

Friday's List of 13: For amusement only........
13) July 23, 2015-- the Mets rolled out a lineup with John Mayberry Jr batting 4th and Eric Campbell 5th. Not good. Mets were 52-50 on July 30, after blowing a 7-1 lead in a rainy home loss to San Diego. Things have gotten better since.

12) October 22, 1972-- Oakland A's won their first of three straight World Series, nipping the Reds 3-2. Pete Rose flied out to left to end the series, where six of seven games were decided by one run.

Same day, the Rams beat Cincinnati 15-14-- David Ray, who wasn't that great a kicker, won it with a 54-yard FG. Back then, straight-on kickers weren't that good- a 54-yard FG was a big deal, especially to win the game. Pretty good day for a 12-year old me.

By the way, Game 7 of the World Series back then was a 1:00 start. Not anymore.

11) Temple and Memphis are having magical football seasons, both unbeaten, but the sad reality of modern coaching is that there is a pretty good chance neither team will have its coach by the time their bowl games roll around, since the big $$$ teams generally like their new coaches in place as early as possible, to fight the upcoming recruiting battles. Signing Day for reruits is in very early February.

Hard to imagine coaches Fuente, Ruhle not moving up the coaching ladder.

10) Yoenis Cespedes plays golf almost every day? Wow. Long time ago, playing golf was taboo for baseball players. Even now, playing during the playoffs is a little odd.

9) Was thinking about it today; wouldn't basketball be a better game without any kind of timeouts, except TV timeouts? Let the players play. TV timeouts have to be, to pay for everything, but other ones could be done away with.

8) Dodgers finally put Don Mattingly and his 8-11 playoff record out of their misery Thursday, firing the skipper, who is rumored headed to Miami, where nitwit owner Jeffrey Loria can drive him nuts. You can't win with a $300M payroll, why would he be able to win managing one of baseball's most dysfunctional franchises?

7) Three basketball teams from the CAA have lost their leading returning scorer to higher-level Division I programs, as poaching continues to be a problem for mid-major basketball teams. Lousville poached Drexel's leading scorer; its a free country, but that just doesn't seem fair.

6) If I'm Johnny Cueto, a decent-but not-great free agent pitcher, I'm running back to the NL, where they don't have a DH and to a bigger ballpark than Cincinnati.

5) NFL teams who get the highest %age of their first downs on third down:
Browns 36.8%......Bears/Redskins, both 32.2%........Saints 32.1%

Teams that get the lowest %age of first downs on third down:
Cowboys 16.4%........Chiefs 16.9%........Cardinals 17.6%.

4) Florida Gators have a kicking problem; their starter has a hamstring pull, their backup is out for the year, so they held an open tryout Wednesday, for any student enrolled with 12+ credit hours this semester. Two women were among 216 students who were interested and signed up.

3) Cal Ripken is interested in the Nationals' managing opening, but apparently the team isn't interested in him, after just having had Matt Williams as manager, a former player with no managing experience. Curious to see who they hire.

2) Clippers 115, Portland 109-- NBA exhibition games don't mean much, but LA was down 35 points in this game before rallying to win. That doesn't happen a lot.

1) Doubtful that I'm getting my lazy butt out of bed at 9:30 Sunday morning to watch the Bills-Jaguars game from London on my laptop. Game is streaming on Yahoo!; I'm paying DirecTV to be able to see every game, but guess this one doesn't count.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Watching some NBA exhibition games this week; very strange to see Billy Donovan wearing a suit jacket coaching the Thunder; he never wore a jacket during games at Florida, but in the NBA, he has to- they have a dress code thanks to Larry Brown, who once wore overalls while coaching an ABA game in Denver.

12) Been doing lot of college basketball prep since coming back from Vegas; little tired of reading how much of an upgrade Shaka Smart is over Rick Barnes at Texas. In four years since his one run to the Final Four, Smart is 2-4 in NCAA tourney games, with a loss to Stephen F Austin in there.

Smart did very well in A-14 tourney (11-2 last four years) but the Big X is lot better league than the A-14. Barnes was underappreciated, in my opinion.

11) Big 14 hasn't won a national title in basketball since Michigan State in '00; over last 11 years, the conference is 0-5 in national title games.

10) Some things are just plain meaningless: last time I looked. Charlotte was unbeaten, Cleveland has yet to win an NBA exhibition game. It does not matter.

One thing that does matter: Cavaliers signed Tristan Thompson for five years, $82M

9) Read an article last week how the 76ers are having a tough time getting oft-injured Joel Embiid to eat properly or rehab his many injuries. He just won't do what they tell/suggest to him. Pretty sad that a kid has already banked a ton of money, but he's never really done anything, not even in college.

Moral of story: Draft players who have been productive. Plain and simple.

8) Switching to football, the ACC has two divisions; NC State/Wake Forest are in one division, Duke/North Carolina in the other, all this despite the four schools all being in basically the same area. Glad basketball doesn't have the divisional setup. With Notre Dame a basketball-only member, thats probably why they don't.

7) Underdogs were 6-0 vs spread in Mountain West games last week, with four of the six underdogs playing at home. League has slipped a lot this season; they should be better in basketball this winter, with six transfers expected to make an impact.

6) Baltimore Ravens are losing close games; none of their losses are by more than six points. Ravens haven't forced a turnover in their last three games.

5) Auburn beat Kentucky 30-27 LW; they punted on 4th-and-1 with 2:19 left, but as they punted, Kentucky was so confused they only had eight guys on the field when the ball was snapped. Fair to say that coach Stoops was not a happy man.

4) Unbeaten Memphis visits Tulsa in a trap game Friday; Tigers had one of their program's biggest wins ever last week vs Ole Miss, but their defense is still shaky so they better not look past any game, especially a conference road game.

3) Veteran coach John Tortorella is back in NHL with Columbus, which changed coaches after an 0-7 start- few years ago, Tortorella was miked by HBO leading up to a Rangers outdoor game on New Years Day. Lets just say.....he doesn't hold back with his opinions. Made me laugh a few times.

2) When Cliff Pennington pitched for Toronto Tuesday night, it was the first time ever a position player pitched in a playoff game.

1) Joe Buck just sounds happier when he calls a baseball game, as opposed to the NFL. He's pretty good on football, but he sounds like he is working, On baseball, he sounds like he is having fun.

Wednesday's List of 13: Bottom 5, top 8 in the NFL........
32) Jaguars-- Outscored 93-47 in second half this season.

31) Titans-- Have one first half TD in their last four games.

30) Buccaneers-- Teams struggle when they play a rookie QB.

29) Chiefs-- Lost last five games, Charles is out for year; just 20-72 on 3rd down.

28) Ravens-- No takeaways in last three games, all five losses by 6 or less points.

8) Jets-- Ran ball for 207-221 yards last two games; play for first place Sunday. .

7) Falcons-- 5-1, but trailed in 4th quarter in five of the six games.

6) Cardinals-- Palmer can be rattled by pash rush; they were -3 in turnovers on both losses this season.

5) Broncos-- Offense has nine TDs, defense three; one win by more than 7 points.

4) Panthers-- Scored 10+ points in nine of ten halves this season.

3) Packers-- First two games after bye are at unbeatens; Denver/Carolina.

2) Bengals-- 27 for last 56 on 3rd down; scored 24+ points in every game.

1) Patriots-- Scored 21 TDs on 53 drives; a juggernaut to this point.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) In the movie Draft Day, the QB everyone expects to be drafted first becomes a suspect because none of his teammates went to his 21st birthday party. During the Michigan State game Saturday, ABC's Chris Spielman suggested QB Connor Cook will have to explain to NFL teams why he wasn't voted a team captain by teammates.

It is unusual for a senior QB not to be a team captain.

12) Temple Owls are in the college football top 25 for first time since 1979.

11) Stanford's punter is an intern for Condoleeza Rice, who is a faculty member in Palo Alto. Ms Rice is also on the college football selection committee.

10) Sam Rosen called the Panther-Seahawk game on FOX Sunday in Seattle, then was back at his normal job Monday night, calling a Rangers game in Manhattan. Rosen is a pro's pro as an announcer, but hockey is his best sport.

9) Marcus Mariota sprained his MCL Sunday, Michael Vick has a slight tear in his hamstring. Vick's injury probably doesn't matter much, since Landry Jones is better than he is anyway, but if Vick can't play and Big Ben isn't ready, Steelers will have to sign another backup QB for Sunday in Kansas City.

8) 24-hour breakfast at McDonald's; tremendous!!!!

7) Idaho and Troy State are both in the Sun Belt Conference for football; what part of the sun belt is Idaho in? According to Mapquest, Moscow, ID is 2,541 miles away from Troy, AL. what nitwit put these schools in the same league?

6) Guy in Florida was arrested for impersonating a police officer; the genius was snagged after he pulled over a real police officer. Chaos ensued.

5) This is what the Colts' fake punt was supposed to look like; University of Maine pulled off this play to beat James Madison, 25-24.

It is a testament to how well-coached pro football is that when a team screws up as royally as the Colts did with the fake punt, that it becomes a national story.

4) Remember Louisville's basketball star Pervis Ellison? His son is a freshman at St John's and will play for new coach Chris Mullin this winter.

3) 76ers coach Brett Brown actually played college basketball for Rick Pitino at Boston U in the early 80's- that was Pitino's first head coaching job.

2) Blue Jays 11, Royals 8-- Cueto faced 17 batters; eight of them scored. Home side is now 5-0 in this round of the playoffs.

1) Eagles 27, Giants 7-- Giants went 80 yards on eight plays to open game, but for rest of the night, they gained 167 yards on 56 plays. Ugly game with seven turnovers. Primetime underdogs are now 12-6-1 vs spread this year.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday.......
13) Broncos 26, Browns 23 OT-- Denver is 6-0; their defense scored another TD, the offense also scored one TD, is now just 12-52 on 3rd down last four games. Browns played third game in row decided on last play- they lost two of them.

12) Bengals 34, Bills 21-- Cincy had huge 26-yard advantage in field position; every Buffalo drive started 80+ yards from goal line. Unbeaten Bengals have a bye week coming up, before they go to Pittsburgh in Week 8.

11) Vikings 16, Chiefs 10-- Minnesota is 3-0 at home, 0-2 on road; Chiefs lost last five games. KC had only three points on two red zone drives- they had only 51 yards in first half. Rookie WR Diggs caught seven balls for 129 yards for Minnesota.

10) Texans 31, Jaguars 20-- Houston was +3 in turnovers; they had two takeaways in first five games combined. Divisional home favorites are now 3-14 vs spread this season. Jaguars head to London next week to play the Bills.

9) Lions 37, Bears 34 OT-- Detroit gets first win in weird game where Chicago had a 15-yard edge in field position but was -2 in turnovers. Bears' last two TD drives were both less than 25 yards. Detroit kicked a FG at 2:46 mark to cut Chicago lead to 31-27, a poor decision, but both teams scored after that, to send game to OT.

8) Jets 34, Redskins 20-- Washington is very banged up, missing two starters on OL, the guy who broke Geno Smith's jaw should get a bonus from Jets, as Fitzpatrick has been very solid in this 4-1 start by Gang Green. Jets averaged 9.7 ypa here; only TDs by Washington came on a 37-yard drive and a blocked punt.

7) Mets 4, Cubs 1-- Chicago is in deep trouble after ace Arrieta lost; series moves to Wrigley Field Tuesday night. Murphy homered again for the Mets.

6) Steelers 25, Cardinals 13-- 3rd-string QB Jones came off bench to spark Steelers; he is better than Vick, who pulled hamstring. Arizona has two losses; in both games, they were -3 in turnovers. Redbirds had 469-310 edge in TY, but their 111 penalty yards all seemed to come at key times.

5) Dolphins 38, Titans 10-- Miami's defense was supposedly unhappy with old DC who got fired; they had six sacks, four takeaways vs rookie QB Mariota, as Tennessee finishes three-game homestand 0-3. AFC South teams are 4-9 vs spread in non-division games this season.

4) Panthers 27, Seahawks 23-- Carolina had two TDs in last 3:55, scoring winning TD with 0;32 left; Seahawks have now had a 4th quarter lead in their last five losses. Unbeaten Panthers are now 13-5 vs spread in last 18 games as a road underdog.

3) Packers 27, Chargers 20-- Rivers threw for 503 yards but San Diego is now 0-3 on road, though they're 14-7-1 vs spread in last 22 games as road dog. Green Bay is now 6-0 heading into its bye week; this was first game they didn't cover this year.

2) 49ers 25, Ravens 20-- Niners are giving up 13.3 ppg at home, 40 ppg on road; they averaged 10.9 ypa vs Baltimore defense that has seen better days. Ravens are 1-5 and in a freefall; they were -2 in turnovers, had only 13 points in three red zone drives.

1) Patriots 34, Colts 27-- Game swung on ill-conceived fake punt by Indy in third quarter; two of their three wins this year cae with 40-year old backup QB Hasselbeck playing. Unsure why they let coach Pagano coach this season as a lame duck; if they don't want him, should've fired him last winter and moved on.

Sunday's list of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday
13) Michigan State 27, Michigan 23-- Worst loss in a college football game since the Stanford band play 33 years ago. Wolvernes' special teams dominated the game until the punter dropped a snap with 0:10 left then coughed the ball up when hit and State ran the ball in as the gun sounded for the incredible, Pisarcik-like outcome.

Jalen Watts-Jackson scored the winning TD; sadly, his teammates piled on him in the end zone and he suffered a dislocated hip in the celebration. We wish him well.

By the way, this was an excellent, intense game; Sean McDonough's call of the bizarre final play was really good- he is an underrated play-by-play guy.

12) Memphis 37, Ole Miss 24-- Good news and bad news for the 6-0 Tigers; they beat a regional rival from the SEC, which should really help their recruiting, they're 6-0 and headed to a great bowl, but there is no way on God's green earth that coach Fuente will be in Memphis next year. The big money schools are watching and they're going to throw a lot of cash at him in December.

11) If you wagered on games Saturday just by reading the week's headlines, here is now you did:
-- South Carolina (-1)-- Their coach quit Monday; they still beat Vandy 19-10.
-- USC (+4.5)-- Fired its coach Sunday; they lost 41-31; AD Pat Haden collapsed before the game, but flew back to LA. He's about as good an AD as he was an NFL quarterback, as in, not very good.
-- Florida (+6.5)-- QB was suspended for a year; they lost 35-28 at LSU.

10) Clemson 34, Boston College 17-- BC scored total of 41 points in its last five games; when I watch the Recruiting Day stuff in February, BC better have signed at least two QBs and 15 offensive players in all; their offense is pathetic.

9) Utah 34, Arizona State 18-- Are Utes the best team in the Pac-12? Yes.

8) North Carolina 50, Wake Forest 14-- Apparently a Wake assistant mocked UNC on social media in the offseason for its academic scandal; the Tar Heels remembered yesterday as they hammered the Demon Deacons.

7) LSU 35, Florida 28-- Les Miles is one of our favorites; his kicker scored winning TD on a fake FG with 10:40 left. Who else does stuff like that? LSU is 6-0 and seems to be getting better; this was the Gators' first loss.

6) Royals 6, Blue Jays 3-- Toronto is down 2-0 in another series; David Price had retired 18 hitters in a row, but imploded in the 7th and became first pitcher ever to lose his first seven postseason starts.

5) Georgia 9, Missouri 6-- Dawgs snap two-game skid; loss here would've made the natives VERY restless. Tigers' season has been uudone by its QB getting suspended for off-field activities. Not often a team gives up nine points and still losses.

4) Mets 4, Cubs 2-- Chicago had won nine games in row against the Mets, but that doesn't matter. Daniel Murphy is making hmself very rich this month.

3) Rutgers 55, Indiana 52-- Hoosiers led 52-27 in third quarter; losses like this can implode programs and get coaches fired. This was 5th Rutgers game in last 2.5 years where the losing team scored 38+ points.

2) Baylor 62, West Virginia 38-- If you took West Virginia +21, and watched them score 38 points but not cover the spread, well why are you betting against Baylor?

1) Florida Sate 41, Louisville 21-- Jimbo Fisher is hell of a coach; he lost a QB who went 27-1 as a starter as well as four starters on OL and he still has the Seminoles unbeaten. Golson passed for 372 yards and three TDs; FSU trailed 7-6 at the half. .

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.....
13) Fact of the matter is this: many athletes struggle with their life after they stop playing ball for a living, it can often lead to depression. During their playing days, athletes are often coddled, catered to and idolized. Once they retire, a lot of that stops and especially if the athlete didn't put a lot of money away, it can be depressing, and that is too bad, but it happens.

12) Someone who probably won't run out of money is Zack Greinke, who is opting out of the last three years ($71M) of his contract to test free agency, where he will undoubtedly make even more money. It is good to be his agent.

11) BYU's "true freshman" QB is actually 22 years old, not really a true freshman.

10) It is a pleasure to listen to Mike Breen call an NBA game, even an exhibition game; he is smart, upbeat and can be very funny. Good to hear his voice again.

9) Don Mattingly has a 446-363 regular season record as manager of the Dodgers, but he is only 8-11 in playoffs, not exactly what you expect from a team with a $300M payroll. His contract runs thru 2016, but will the Dodgers keep him?

8) Jacob deGrom threw 105 pitches against Mattingly's Dodgers Thursday night; 57 of them came with a runner in scoring position, as he scuffled thru his six innings but did his job, as the Mets advance to the NLCS, which starts tonight.

7) Graduates from West Point next spring will have metal in their class rings that came from the World Trade Center, as a reminder of what their education is about.

6) Last 2+ weeks, NFL road teams are 21-9-1 against the spread.

5) Underrated injury; Patriots lost LT Nate Solder for the season; the left tackle protects the QB's blind side (if he throws righty) so that is a big deal.

4) If you care about such things, over last four weeks, Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles is #5 amongst NFL QBs in fantasy points. Wouldn't have guessed that.

3) Odd fact of the day: Johnny Cueto has started 231 games in his fine career, but Game 5 against Houston was the first time he started with veteran ump Gerry Davis behind the plate, whch you wouldn't think would be possible, but it is true.

2) Sasha Vujacic is back in NBA with the Knicks; wonder if there is any significance to his wearing number 18, which Phil Jackson wore with the Knicks?

1) Why is the NBA package on DirecTV $60 more expensive than the NHL's?

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Royals-Blue Jays, Cubs-Mets are baseball's Final Four. Makes me really happy that all four teams have a guy who played for the A's in the last 13 months.

12) Iowa is unbeaten this year, has covered its last seven tries as a road favorite, but Northwestern will be a tough out in Evanston. Interesting noon game on ESPN2.

11) Unbeaten Broncos and their dominant defense visit Lake Erie and the red-hot QB Josh McCown. Who would've thought McCown is playing better than Manning?

10) Nebraska is having gut-wrenching season, losing four games, all five or less points, in last minute. Cornhuskers play Minnesota Saturday; they lost to Gophers as double digit favorites last two years; they're 4-1-1 in last six games as road underdog.

9) I'm optimistic about the 3-2 Bills, then I read the mindless, selfish quotes by WR Sammy Watkins about not getting thrown to enough and I want to puke. Does anyone care about winning? Buffalo is improved, a contender; why would anyone complain?

8) Bill Snyder is 11-4 in last 15 games as home underdog; K-State has QB who did not start a HS game- they've scored 79 points in first two league games, losing 36-34, 52-45 to unbeaten teams. Bob Stoops played for Snyder in college at Iowa, and he has lost to K-State two of last three years. Snyder is a coaching genius.

7) If the Texans lose at Jacksonville, they should show Bill O'Brien the freakin' door; he butchered the whole QB situation, with two former Patriot backups battling to be the starter for a contending team, when neither is good enough. If Cleveland didn't want Brian Hoyer, why did the Texans want him?

6) Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines haven't allowed a point since Sept 19 vs UNLV; this guy has exceeded all expectations and is a TD favorite over Michigan State, which has beaten Michigan six of last seven times they met. This will be very interesting.

5) Bruce Arians got canned by the Steelers four years ago; now he returns to Steel City as one of the best coaches in the NFL with a really good team. Lot of subplots here, the main one being that Big Ben wanted Arians to stay as OC with Steelers.

4) Notre Dame catches a huge break this week, playing USC six days after Trojans fired their coach. USC seems to have a different coach every year; will be curious to see how their kids play after their coach got fired for being a drunk- thats insensitive but it is true. I'm guessing it has happened before, but the reason was hidden.

3) Unbeaten Carolina is a TD underdog at 2-3 Seattle; these teams have played lot of tight, low-scoring games, most always in Charlotte. I'm expecting Seattle to go on a run now- maybe they can let Jimmy Graham go out for a pass now and then.

2) Ole Miss and Memphis is actually a regional rivalry of sorts and Memphis is 5-0, despite having a sub-par defense. Rebels got spanked by Florida, resume SEC play next week; this is Memphis' Super Bowl. I'm looking forward to this game.

1) Giants-Eagles Monday night in Philly; important game, interesting game. Romo's injury has made these teams the two best in the NFC East.

Thursday's List of 13: Some college basketball knowledge.....
Before we start, this kind of sums up my feelings on the incredibly sad Lamar Odom situation that is unfolding in Las Vegas this week........

Came home from vacation today; always love being in Las Vegas, but it is good to be home, too. Problem is I have trouble sleeping on planes now, so I make lists or read a lot. Here is some college basketball iknowledge I came up with today.......

13) Kentucky lost seven players from LY's team to the NBA; not a lot of college teams who have two subs drafted, but they reloaded with more talented freshmen and will be very good again, though probably not 38-1 good.

12) Maryand went 14-4 in its first year in Big 14, after being 30-38 in ACC play its last four years there. Terps have more expectations this year; will they handle them?

11) North Carolina returns nine of its top 10 scorers, which is good on one hand, but also means they didn't have many NBA-ready players- they'll have a big edge as far as experience goes this winter. They still need to shoot the ball better.

10) Kansas has won Big X regular season 11 years in a row, but they're only 8-8 on road in confernece play the last two years. Jayhawks return their top three scorers this year for the first time in six years.

9) Arizona has 67 wins the last two years, but they haven't been in the Final Four since 2001; the natives are getting restless. Wildcats lost five kids to the NBA the last two years; they're rebuilding a little bit this season.

8) Iowa State has four senior starters, six of its top eight scorers back but they also have a new coach, which usually means a period of adjustment. High expectations for ISU, but coach Prohm had high expectations at Murray State too and he won a lot of games there, enough to get this job.

7) Villanova won 62 games the last two years, but hasn't been to Sweet 16 since '09; they're 32-4 in the new (weaker) Big East, but how can they play better in March?

6) Gonzaga/Texas will both be at a tournament in the Bahamas Nov 25-27, about a week after they play separate games in Asia. Texas is playing Washington in China on Nov 13; Gonzaga is playing Pitt in Japan. Not lot of time for classwork there.

5) Wichita State has 30-35-30 wins the last three years; they've been helped by Big East scooping up Creighton, the Shockers' main MVC rival. Wichita has four senior starters, so they'll be awful good again this year. Coach Gregg Marshall makes $3M a year (top 10 in country); they take basketball seriously in Wichita.

4) Cal Golden Bears had such a good recruiting year, it is thought that they have the best starting five in the Pac-12. Cal took a trip to Australia this summer; those trips (allowed once every four years) are great for bonding and team chemistry.

3) Tom Izzo has taken Michigan Sate to seven Final Fours in 20 years.

2) How the real world works sometimes: a kid named Tyler Dorsey committed to go to Arizona couple years ago, but was cut from a USA Basketball U18 team that Arizona coach Sean Miller was an assistant coach for. Young Dorsey re-opened his recruitment and now plays for Oregon, in the same league as Arizona.

1) Oregon was 26-10 LY, 13-5 in Pac-12 but home attendance averaged only 6,209 a game, their lowest figure in 23 years, despite a brand-new arena and a good team. The Ducks have had off-court issues that hurt their public perception; they've cut ticket prices 34% this year in hope of luring some of those fans back.

Wednesday's List of 13: Top 8 and bottom 5 in the NFL.....
32) Lions-- They were 11-5 LY, are 0-5 now; the last-second loss in Seattle was the straw that broke these Lions' backs. They've won one playoff game since 1957; they need to go out and hire a proven winner as coach (Gruden? Payton? Pagano?)

31) Saints-- Drew Brees is nearing the end of a great career; good time to re-boot the franchise and let team, coach go in different directions. Miami is said to be interested if Sean Payton becomes a free agent; every team with an opening should be.

30) Dolphins-- Now that the players don't have Joe Philbin to blame for everything, lets see how they do. Still think they should change QBs; interim coach Campbell talked a lot after his hiring, we'll see how he does.

29) Texans-- Mallett seems like the more talented player, Hoyer the better leader; neither seems like a QB you can build a winning team around, but hey, they know the offense and they used to play for the Patriots so whatever.....

28) Chiefs-- Now that Jamaal Charles is out for the year, Alex Smith's inability to stretch the field will become a more glaring weakness.

8) Jets-- Solid defense, Ivory is running ball well, Fitzpatrick isn't screwing anything up; intereting game this weekend with the Redskins.

7) Broncos-- Excellent defense, but if the QB's name wasn't Manning, he'd be called a declining game manager- they've already won twice without scoring a TD on offense.

6) Panthers-- Red flag is their +8 turnover ratio; if the takeways dry up, will they be able to score? Trip to Seattle this weekend should be enlightening.

5) Falcons-- Trailed four of five games in 4th quarter, so could just as easily be 1-4 as 5-0. Its a big reason why the NFL is so popular; small margin for error.

4) Cardinals-- Bruce Arians got fired as OC of the Steelers before he went to Indy; he wouldn't be human if this week's game at Heinz Field didn't mean just a little bit more to him than the average game does.

3) Packers-- Was no fun rooting against Aaron Rodgers last week; he is so good; he is making a WR like James Jones a star. Jones got cut by the Raiders/Giants before the season started- they couldn't use him? Well, they don't have Rodgers.

2) Bengals-- Underrated because national media is slow to recognize how potent an offense they have; coming back from 17 down to beat Seattle was impressive.

1) Patriots-- Had a cab driver in Las Vegas Thursday who was an obnoxious jerk and a Patriot fan to boot; rattled on for the whole ride about he doesn't care if the Patriots cheat, as long as they win. Then he laughed a loud, hideous laugh; I didn't tell him who I rooted for and even gave him a (small) tip. More than the jerk deserved.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
If you're a USC football fan, Monday was a bad day, on both coasts........

13) Steve Spurrier is one of the best college football coaches ever; he coached in the pros with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL and the Redskins in the NFL, he won a national title at Florida and he won at South Carolina more than anyone else has, but Father Time never loses- the Gamecocks are 2-4, they have struggled to develop a QB and because Spurrier is 70, recruiting has suffered. Its no fun getting old.

12) We hope Steve Sarkisian gets the help he needs and gets his life in order; thats a lot more important than his career right now. USC fired Sarkisian Monday; they go to Notre Dame Saturday-- interim coach Clay Helton will be the 4th different USC head coach to oppose the Irish in their last four meetings.

11) Royals 9, Astros 6-- KC scored six runs in top of 8th inning to force Game 5 and send Astro fans home unhappy. Houston's bullpen is the team's weak link.

10) Blue Jays 8, Rangers 4-- Toronto has been favored in all four games of series, but Texas won last 11 Cole Hamels starts and he is starting Game 5 Wednesday.

9) Cubs 8, Cardinals 6-- Last time Jake Arrieta lost was to the Phillies in July, when Hamels threw his no-hitter, obviously before he got traded. Four of the eight starting position players for the Cubs are rookies.

8) Mets 13, Dodgers 7-- For a team with a $300M payroll, the Dodgers have awful pitching depth. Kershaw goes on three days' rest in Game 4 tonight.

7) Steelers 24, Chargers 20-- Michael Vick did what he had to do in 4th quarter, after doing very little in first three quarters. Steelers' first TD was scored by defense. Bad loss for San Diego, which goes to Lambeau Field Sunday.

6) I'm not a fan of dugout interviews during playoff games; whats the point? No one ever says anything interesting, anyway.

5) Only 22 states give state employees off for Columbus Day.

4) ESPNU televised a Kentucky basketball practice over weekend, which means they'll probably be showing a Duke practice soon, too.

3) Fox Sports1 is so desperate for ratings, they did a feature Sunday night on fantasy football Sunday featuring porn star Lisa Ann; I have no idea how much she does or does not know (her brother is apparently heavily involved in fantasy sports) but if she wasn't a porn star, I doubt they'd be doing a feature about her on national television.

2) Brandon Weeden has now lost his last 11 NFL starts; time for Dallas to give Matt Cassel a chance. Also time for the Cowboys to be flexed off of national TV until Tony Romo is back playing.

1) Baltimore Ravens' third down defense in their only win: 2 for 13
Baltimore Ravens' third down defense in their four losses: 37 of 67.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
13) Colts 27, Texans 20-- Lot of people bet Houston because Hasselbeck was sick much of week before game, but he played and did enough to get Indy to 3-2. Colts had an 11-yard edge in field position.

12) Buccaneers 38, Jaguars 31-- Field position wins; not only did Tampa have a TD on defense, they scored on TD drives of 17-41-40 yards. Jags had TD drives of 78-78-61-86 yards. Teams that lose field position by 14+ yards seldom win the game.

11) Bills 14, Titans 13-- Buffalo did almost nothing on offense in first half (51 yards) but had two 80-yard TD drives and pulled this game out. Bills are 3-2, with losses to Brady/Manning. Total yardage in this defensive struggle was 276-209, Titans.

10) Browns 33, Ravens 30 OT-- Baltimore's defense is terrible; on Browns' last six drives, they ran 44 plays for 334 yards (7.6/play). Ravens led 21-9 but lost; they are 1-4 and in last place. They might've won but on his long run that got ball to Browns' 10-yard line in last 2:00, Forsett sprained an ankle and never returned to the game- he had been gaining all of Baltimore's tough yards.

9) Falcons 25, Redskins 19 OT-- I'm wondering if a 5-0 team has ever trailed four of the five wins in the 4th quarter; Atlanta went ahead with 0:24 left, Redskins tied the game with a 52-yard FG at the gun, but Falcons scored a defensive TD for the win.

8) Bears 18, Chiefs 17-- Horrific home loss for Chiefs, who led 17-3 at half; on their last five drives, KC ran 17 plays for 53 yards. Chicago scored two TDs in last 3:05 for the unlikely win. Chiefs are 1-4 with two last-minute home losses.

7) Eagles 39, Saints 17-- Why is Rob Ryan still a defensive coordinator in the NFL? When do his teams ever win? This game was 10-7 at half; Philly ran 37 plays for 269 yards, with three TDs, three FGs on six second half series.

6) Packers 24, Rams 10-- St Louis defended Aaron Rodgers OK, but in second half alone, St Louis missed three (long) FGs and threw two red zone picks- you have to play really well to beat the Packers, not turn ball over four times. Gurley is giving the Rams a running threat; the O-line has to pass block better.

5) Bengals 27, Seahawks 24 OT-- Guys behind me in sportsbook were Bengal fans; they spent most of game bashing Andy Dalton, but they changed their tune at the end, as Cincy won again and is now 5-0. You know things are going well when the GW field goal banks in off the left upright. For losing teams, it clanks out.

4) Cardinals 42, Lions 17-- Complete tank job by Detroit; I fully expect Fred Willard to show up in the Lions'' coaches' meeting Monday with a cake like he does on that DirecTV commercial: "Its going to be fun firing all of you." Stafford got benched in second half; he's going to be a Lion a lot longer than coach Caldwell.

3) Patriots 30, Cowboys 6-- CBS does the Nantz/Simms broadcast team a disservice, having them do two games every week. Simms is a sub-par analyst anyway; working two games every week makes him worse. He said ".....if the Patriots can hold on here" when they led 27-6 with 7:00 left. This was a bad game, by the way.

2) Broncos 16, Raiders 10-- Second time in first five weeks Denver won while scoring one TD, with defense scoring that TD. Trent Dilfer gets mocked for being worst QB to win a Super Bowl; the 2015 Peyton Manning ain't any better-- Broncos converted 8 of 34 third down plays in last three games.

1) Giants 30, 49ers 27-- Manning passed for 441 yards, Giants scored seven of nine times they had ball (four TDs, three FGs) but they needed last-minute TD to escape a very bad home loss. Beckham may or may not have pulled his hammy during his me-first TD dance. God forbid an NFL WR act like a normal human after he scores.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Dodgers 5, Mets 2-- I defer to former big leaguers on the Utley slide; they seem to have a mixed opinion. It was late and it was hard, but it was technically legal. Game 3 in Queens is going to be........very interesting.

12) Texas 24, Oklahoma 17-- Players' elation after winning this game shows how it will be difficult to bounce Charlie Strong anytime soon. Former Texas coach Mack Brown summed up the fans' reaction this way: "They'll be thrilled, until Tuesday."

11) Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 21-- Poor Mike Riley, who has four bitter defeats in his first six games as Nebraska's coach; he lost this one with :04 left.

10) Tennessee 38, Georgia 31-- Second year in row Dawgs lose their star RB to a knee injury; Nick Chubb got hurt in first quarter, didn't return and Georgia blew a 24-3 lead on road to a QB who can't pass.

9) Wake Forest 3, Boston College 0-- BC has already lost games 3-0/14-0/9-7 this year; they had ball on 1-yard line with 0:11 left and ran the ball instead of passing two times. No bueno. Imagine if these teams played in the Big X?

8) TCU 52, Kansas State 45-- K-State is playing a QB who didn't start a game in high school, yet they led 35-17 at half. Bill Snyder is a coaching genius, but he just does not have enough team speed to be in top half of this league.

7) Florida State 29, Miami 24-- Hurricane boosters despise Al Golden, who won at Temple so he must be a pretty good coach. Name being tossed around is Greg Schiano, a former Miami assistant who never really shone as a head coach with Rutgers/Bucs.

6) Michigan 38, Northwestern 0-- Jim Harbaugh is a really good coach; Wolverines shut out last three opponents; two of the three will play in bowls. Michigan State is up next, one of next week's best games.

5) Michigan State 31, Rutgers 24--Spartans struggled with Purdue/Rutgers last two weeks, but they still have not lost and they play Michigan next week.

4) Alabama 27, Arkansas 14-- If you bet on Bret Bielema against Nick Saban, what the bleep were you thinking? Razorbacks tried a fake punt in their own territory down 10-7, with predictable horrendous results.

3) Washington State 45, Oregon 38 OT-- Mike Leach is betting gold on the road. In this game, his soph QB threw 74 passes (50-74/505). Oregon is sliding quickly.

2) Cubs 6, Cardinals 3-- Joe Maddon batted the pitcher 8th and he won; I swear he does stuff sometimes just to be different, but he has an excellent track record.

1) At 12:30am local time, I was sitting in the Westgate sportsbook with about ten other humans, two of whom have gorgeous girlfriends-- I was watching the end of the San Diego State-Hawai'i game, they had bet the over in the Hornets-Clippers game from China. What a day, lot of fun. This may be the best place on earth.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) A great things about sportsbooks is you can sit down next to a stranger, start up a conversation about one of the games and because sports fans have a common frame of reference, you can wind up making a new friend. Its part of the fun of coming here.

12) Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4 (14)-- Hanser Alberto got the game-winning hit; the only reason he was playing is because Adrian Beltre has a bad back. Go figure.

11) Royals 5, Astros 4-- Guy I met in the sportsbook tonight tried to bet over 9.5 in this game using in-game wagering, but the teller was slow-- by the time the guy got to the front of the line, an inning had passed and total was down to 8.5. He bet over 8.5, the game ended 5-4 and he won his bet because the teller was slow.

10) Cardinals 4, Cubs 0-- Umpires are calling more strikes this week than they did during the regular season. Under is 5-2-1 in first eight games this week.

9) Mets 3, Dodgers 1-- My dad's favorite player in recent Mets history was Daniel Murphy; he would've been very proud of him last night. Was weird watching the Mets play in a room filled with people rooting for the other team. If I owned the Dodgers and had a freakin' $300M payroll, I'd have a better manager than Don Mattingly.

8) Can't wait to see which umpires get assigned to first Pirate-Cubs series next year, because there will be fireworks when those teams meet again.

7) Early returns on the NHL's new 3-on-3 OT format are hugely positive. Overtime in the Philly-Tampa game Thursday made you breathless just watching.

6) You know you're in a great place when this announcement comes over the PA as you sink your teeth into an excellent, large hamburger:

"Halftime wagering on the Saskatchewan-Hamilton game is now open"

I mean, where else would you rather be?

5) Maryland is looking for the most graceful (and cheapest) way to get rid of football coach Randy Edsall, whose program got undermined by the move to the Big 14. It is awkward to get of a college coach mid-season, but it might help this winter's recruiting to have Edsall out of the way as soon as possible.

4) Was comforting to hear LA Clipper TV announcers admit on-air that the team's trip to China will set it back behind other teams in their preseason preparation.

3) Miami Dolphins' kicker is Andrew Franks, who played D-III football at RPI in Troy, NY, which is just over the river from Armadillo World HQ. Franks must be a smart human; RPI is an engineering school-- you have to be really smart to go there (unless you play hockey)-- they won the 1985 national hockey title.

2) The average NFL team is worth $1.97B; their average profit LY was $74M.

1) Terry Collins managed 1,688 major league games before his first playoff game, which was last night. The man paid his dues.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) NLDS series start today; road teams are 4-0 so far in playoffs, under is 3-0-1. Shadows shouldn't be a problem in LA; at 5:10 Thursday, shadows were already in the outfield, so the hitters should be able to see just fine.

12) There are only three 4:00 games Sunday; NFL was banking on NE-Dallas game to entertain America for three hours, but with Romo out, can Cowboys compete?

11) Georgia got squashed at home last week by Alabama; Tennessee lost last two games, both at home. Loser of this game is going to take some serious heat.

10) Seattle hasn't allowed a TD since Kam Chancellor came back; Cincinnati's offense is underrated because national media doesn't care about the Bengals. Interesting matchup; this would've been a good 4:25 Sunday game

9) Northwestern has been tormented by Michigan in last three meetings; a 10-9 loss and two OT losses. Wildcats are 5-0; can they score on Michigan's stout defense?

8) Buffalo is 2-2, but losses were to Brady/Eli Manning, both multiple Super Bowl winners; this is a game Bills have to have if they are payoff contenders.

7) Clemson had an emotional win last week; now skidding Georgia Tech comes to town and this is a dangerous game for the Tigers.

6) If Texas loses to Oklahoma Saturday and the Eagles get upset by New Orleans Sunday, the Chip Kelly-to-Texas rumors are going to gain momentum. Philly is at its best when Bradford throws long; maybe they should do it more often.

5) Rams seem to play with more spunk against divisional rivals; Todd Gurley gave the offense a huge boost last week in Arizona; can he do it again this week at Lambeau Field, where Aaron Rodgers is usually close to being perfect?

4) Navy is 10-1 vs spread in its last 11 visits to Notre Dame; Irish are licking their wounds after the Clemson loss. Navy is 24-9 as an underdog since 2005.

3) 4-0 Falcons are turning into a juggernaut; OC Kyle Shanahan once got fired by the Redskins, along with his dad. Think this game is personal to him?

2) Who thought Cal-Utah would be a huge Pac-12 game? Well, it is.

1) Why is Tampa Bay favored over anyone? Only reason I'm not taking Jaguars this week is that it is their third week in row on road, usually a very bad spot for visiting NFL teams.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Cubs 4, Pirates 0-- Jake Arrieta is on a Hershiser-like roll; Orioles look like fools for trading him two years ago. Road teams are now 6-2 in Wild Card games.

12) We talked several times this summer about the weirdness of teams batting their pitcher 8th; there is no apparent reason for doing it, but it seemed like some teams did it just because other teams were doing it, so it must be a good thing.

Actions speak louder than words; when the Cubs got into the playoffs, Joe Maddon has his pitcher bat.........9th. Arrieta hit 9th for only the fourth time all year; that says the whole batting 8th thing is a gimmick that got into everyone else's head.

11) Wichita State alum/Knicks' sub Cleanthony Early played in an exhibition game last night even though he got his wisdom teeth taken out earlier in the day. When I was 20, I got my wisdom teeth out and they made me stay in the hospital overnight. Good to see a young guy trying hard to make the team.

10) Baylor Bears are a 44-point road favorite in a conference game this week. Kansas has lot of work to do just to become mediocre in league play. Oy.

9) Since 2009, Patriots have faced 14 quarterbacks starting because of injury to the starter; they're 11-3 in those games. Brandon Weeden is the Cowboys' backup QB.

8) Falcons' WR Roddy White has been on field for 235 snaps this year, most of any Atlanta WR, but caught only six passes (13 targets). He is not happy, despite the Falcons' 4-0 start. This is called selfishness.

7) Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer is 27; he has a long career ahead of him, but he was very, very good on TV Tuesday and would appear to have a bright future in TV when he gets done pitching. He also didn't want to get off the air, talking his way into another half-inning on the air when the inning he was on went by quickly.

6) LSU-South Carolina game this weekend was moved to Baton Rouge because of the flooding in the Palmetto State. We hope everyone in South Carolina is alright.

5) Ryan Tannehill got into a war of words with members of Miami's scout team, not what you want out of your starting QB, who is supposed to be a team leader, someone other players will follow. Most things that make a great QB cannot be seen by the average fan; it is not just physical skill. You have to be a really good teammate.

4) Matt Hasselbeck has been sick this week, so the Colts hustled former 3rd-stringer Josh Johnson back to Indy after they had cut him earlier in the week. Looks as if Andrew Luck will start tonight in Houston; unsure who the backup will be.

3) Vancouver-Calgary got into a fight 0:02 into their game last night; I mean, the four gloves almost hit the ice before the puck did to start the game. Some people in the NHL think the league needs fighting to remain popular; I'm thinking the two guys need to be thrown out of the game. Kings-Sharks had a fight less than 2:00 into their game too. It makes zero sense; hockey is a great game-- let the skilled players play.

2) Have you seen the GEICO commercial with the sea monster on the golf course? In the original version of that commercial, the scoreboard was the same shape as the scoreboard at Augusta National, where The Masters is played.

Apparently someone complained, because the newer version of the commercial has a rectangular scoreboard. People at Augusta National can be a little touchy.

1) If I own the New York Giants, I bring Odell Beckham Jr in and tell him we do not want him punching opposing players, because you can break your hand punching a football helmet. The last thing the Giants need is Beckham with a broken hand.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings........
13) Lets start with some good news; Saturday, after Bowling Green won at Buffalo, Falcons football coach Dino Babers and an assistant trainer helped save a 25-year-old woman from a burning car after an accident on I-90 in Ohio. Good for them!!!!

12) Astros 3, Bronx 0-- It is inexcusable for a home crowd to boo its own team during a playoff game, but thats what the smug, entitled Bronx fans did Tuesday night when they got beat by a better team. Joe Girardi played Gardner in CF ahead of Ellsbury and it did not turn out well. Houston moves on to play the Royals.

11) I'm a big fan of the one-game Wild Card round; it rewards division winners. If you don't want a one-game Wild Card playoff, then get rid of divisions and have two 15-team leagues, with top six in each league making playoffs.

10) Odd Stat of the Day: Evan Gattis is first big leaguer in 60 years to hit 11 triples without stealing a base that season.

9) As for ESPN having Jessica Mendoza work the Wild Card game, I'll say this: her presence in the booth has made John Kruk clean up his act, which had gotten very sloppy. To me, Ms Mendoza is neither good nor bad; she is average, but these days, anyone who is different is celebrated like they cured cancer or something.

Kruk's performance has improved greatly since Curt Schilling's mouth got him tossed off the air for half a season (at least), and Ms Mendoza replaced him. Kruk can be funny and is smart about baseball, but had gotten very lazy working with Schilling and it became annoying, another ex-ballplayer stealing money on TV. Not anymore.

8) Quote of the Day, part 2: "You don't sound like a New Yorker, or act like one." Waiter in a restaurant here to me today. I took it as a compliment.

7) Cincinnati Bengals, in four games, averaged 7.9/8.2/10.9./13.4 yards per pass attempt. Lofty numbers. Seattle Seahawks visit Sunday; they haven't allowed an offensive TD in two games since Kam Chancellor ended his holdout. Interesting.

6) Dodgers had a difficult decision either way, but chose Kershaw over Grienke to start Game 1 against the Mets Thursday night.

5) Matt Harvey is a publicity lightning rod; he missed a workout this week, because "I got stuck in traffic", which easily can happen in New York City, but the other 24 guys all made it. Not sure what to make of it, but it sure doesn't help.

4) 25 years ago the OJ Simpson verdict came down and I lost $3 to my dad, who was 100% positive OJ was getting off, as was my lawyer friend Joe. We put the $6 on the living room floor and he happily scooped it up when the verdict was announced.

Los Angeles ADA Marsha Clark was the losing prosecutor; her hairdresser was a woman named Kris Kardashian, who is a little more famous now than she used to be, to the detriment of American society.

3) Colorado Rockies are keeping manager Walt Weiss around next year; until the Rockies find someone who can develop pitchers that thrive in high altitude, they could have the greatest coaching staff ever assembled- it just won't matter. Pitching wins.

2) Former Lions' coach Jim Schwartz turned down Dolphins' defensive coordinator job, so it looks like current DC Kevin Coyle will be out of a job soon, as soon as they find someone who would actually like to have an NFL coaching job.

1) NHL regular season starts tonight; we'll have writeups on every game every day starting October 15, after the teams get a few games under their belt, and trends start to develop. We'll also have stuff on every NBA game, starting October 27.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Greetings from America's favorite city; flight to Las Vegas took a little longer Monday. We were on the plane for 90 minutes before the flight took off- repairs had to be made, and the rain was pouring down when we landed, but now I'm here, things are going well. They are making lot of improvements to Westgate Hotel; good place to stay if you're coming here. Sportsbook is being remodeled now.

12) Seahawks 13, Lions 10-- Kam Chancellor single-handedly saved day by stripping Calvin Johnson of the ball just before he scored the winning TD for Detroit. If I own the Seahawks, Chancellor gets his $1M in fines back after that play-- saved the game and prevented Seattle from falling to 1-3.

Matthew Stafford lost his last 18 road games against teams who finished that season over .500- Lions are already 0-3 on road this season.

11) NFL home favorites of 6+ points are 6-9-1 vs spread this season.

10) Dolphins fired coach Joe Philbin and hired TE coach Dan Campbell as interim coach-- he played for Bill Parcells and Sean Payton and talked big in his introductory press conference. Coach Philbin is a quiet man who worked hard-- he tried to let his coaching do his talking for him, but he didn't win enough games to stick around.

9) 12 of 32 NFL kickers are in their first year with their current team.

8) Get well soon, CC Sabathia; he checked into a rehab facility this week, as he begins to battle alcoholism. We forget that athletes are people too, with everyday problems of their own. Granted most of their problems are better than our problems, but they're also out in the public eye, which ain't always easy......

7) In Max Scherzer's no-hitter Saturday, there were no walks and 35 strikeouts in the game; I'm pretty sure I've never seen that in a major league boxscore before. Sure it was a meaningless game and the nightcap of a doubleheader, but wow....

6) Washington booted Matt Williams and his coaches; they should've done it after they got swept in that series in Citi Field in early August, maybe the team could've righted itself. Former Padre manager Bud Black is mentioned as a replacement.

Cincinnati is bringing Bryan (Bleepin') Price back as manager next year; no idea why.

5) San Diego won't retain Black's replacement, interim skipper Pat Murphy, as its new fulltime manager; Padres' GM AJ Preller may have gone to an Ivy League school, but he's been a nitwit in his first year as GM in San Diego.

4) Ichiro Suzuki pitched an inning for the Marlins Sunday; there had always been rumors that he wanted to pitch an inning before he retired. Ichiro is popular with his teammates and they enjoyed seeing him toe the slab- he was the 27th position player to pitch in the major leagues this season.

3) Funny how Dan Haren threatened to retire in spring training, because he wanted to pitch for a west coast team, but the Dodgers had traded him to Miami. $10M speaks very loudly; Haren pitched, he got traded to the Cubs and now he is in the playoffs, in what he says is his last big league season.

Like I said, being displaced for six months for $10M was a problem for Haren, but a problem 99% of us would love to have.

2) I'm not trying to be mean; this is a serious question-- if you owned an NFL team worth almost a billion dollars, would you hire Jim Caldwell to be the coach?

1) Albany-area college hoop teams have interesting season openers; Siena starts with couple of probable losses, at Duke, at Wisconsin. UAlbany opens at Kentucky; key to those three games is making sure the checks they get clear at the bank, because those games are scheduled to balance the budget, not the win-loss column.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
13) Jets 27, Dolphins 14-- Miami needs a QB change; they were 0-12 on third down, thats simply not good enough. Backup Matt Moore is 11-12 as an NFL starter but his last start was in 2011- it is time to find out if he can do better than Tannehill.

12) Colts 16, Jaguars 13 OT-- Jags kicker Myers missed three GW field goals and Jax lost a game they outgained Indy by 105 yards- not often they'll get to play Colts with Andrew Luck on sidelines. Jacksonville is improved; they should've won this game.

11) Falcons 48, Texans 21-- Worst game of the week; total domination by Atlanta, which is now 4-0. Total mismanageent of QB situation by Bill O'Brien, who yanked Mallett, three weeks after he yanked Brian Hoyer. Colts-Texans this Thursday could be extremely ugly, if Luck doesn't play.

10) Panthers 37, Buccaneers 23-- Jameis Winston is a disaster; he threw four more INTs, one run back for TD. Carolina had two defensive TDs, and its offensive TDs came on drives of 45-33 yards. They think the only way he'll get better is to let him play, so this ain't going away anytime soon.

9) Giants 24, Bills 10-- Modern football is like this: training camp is a waste of time for starters, since they're not allowed to do anything, because teams are terrified that they'll get hurt. So September becomes a de facto training camp; thought the quality of play this week was much better than previous weeks. Guys are in game shape.

8) Bears 22, Raiders 20-- Don't want to hear any Bears fan criticize Jay Cutler for a long time; he came back (early) from his injury and rallied Chicago to win here over an improved Raiders team. Anyone who criticoez Cutler will get a reminder than Jimmy Clausen is the alternative- that should quiet things down.

7) Redskins 23, Eagles 20-- I'm guessing Chip Kelly's agent got a phone call or a text from Austin TX today, asking if the coach would like to go back to college. Bradford threw ball well in second half, but defense couldn't hold its lead at the end. As for the Redskins, they have to be thrilled with Kirk Cousins' progress.

6) Bengals 36, Chiefs 21-- Kansas City scored seven times on nine drives, Bengals scored six times; but Chiefs kicked seven FGs, no TDs, while Cincy had five TDs and one FG. so Kansas City is 1-3, three games behind Denver in AFC West.

5) Chargers 30, Browns 27-- San Diego missed GW field goal at gun, but Cleveland was offsides and Bolts nailed second chance to send everyone home happy. There is such a fine line between winning and losing; giving away a game like that is painful.

4) Packers 17, 49ers 3-- Green Bay was flat, flying to west coast after Monday night game, but they did what they had to do. As for the 49ers, I can hear Roger Goodell now: "With the first pick in the 2016 NFL Dradt, the 49ers select......."

3) Broncos 23, Vikings 20-- Denver was only 2-9 on third down; they're unbeaten, but Peyton Manning is a game manager now, rather than a bus driver. As for all his TV commercials, I will tell you that Papa John's pizza is the best pizza I've ever had.

2) Rams 24, Cardinals 22-- Tony Dungy said what I was thinking yesterday; Rams play better against division rivals. Problem is, those are only six of their 16 games each year. Rookie RB Gurley looked like a stud in his breakout game here- that will open up the passing game some. It would be better if their tight ends could catch the ball.

1) Saints 26, Cowboys 20 OT-- Drew Brees put on an exhibition of QB excellence in 2:00 drill, and then in OT, as Saints won first game of year, despite kicker bricking a 30-yard FG at the gun. This was the shortest OT in regular season history, missing the all-time record by two seconds. Weeden lost his 10th start in row, but he led a tying TD drive and looked good doing it, but they play New England next.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday....
13) Clemson 24, Notre Dame 22-- Almost an epic gag by the Tigers, who stopped the tying 2-point play in last ten seconds to hold in the rain, after they led 21-3. Kid who plays QB for Notre Dame is better than the guy he was backing up.

12) TCU 50, Texas 7-- Someone remind me why the Longhorns fired Mack Brown; this game was 37-mil at the half. Next time the Eagles lose, ol' Chip Kelly might be getting a phone call from down in Austin. Maybe before then.

11) Iowa 10, Wisconsin 6-- Badgers outgained Iowa by 99 yards but turned ball over four times and got lousy QB play, fumbling on 2-yard line.

10) Ohio State 34, Indiana 27-- Hoosiers played their hearts out and damn near got this game into overtime. Elliott averaged over ten yards per carry, gained 512 yards and survived three turnovers (-3).

9) Illinois 14, Nebraska 13-- Cornhuskers lost three games: on a Hail Mary on last play, in OT at Miami and this game, giving up winning TD with 0:10 left. Oy.

8) Vanderbilt 17, Middle Tennessee 13-- Blue Raiders lost to Illinois/Vandy last two weeks by total of six points; they'll make some noise in C-USA.

7) Arkansas 24, Tennessee 22-- In fairmess, have to report here that Bret Bielema snapped his 13-game losing streak in games decided by 7 or less points. Butch Jones is having a rough season so far and his team plays Georgia next.

6) Alabama 38, Georgia 10-- Speaking of which, going to be rough week for Mark Richt, who takes a lot of grief for a guy with a record of 136-49.

5) Oklahoma State 36, Kansas State 34-- Cowboys kicked 37-yard FG with 0:32 left to pull out game they trailed 28-13 in second quarter.

4) Penn State 20, Army 14-- Cadets averaged 32 yards per pass attempt; they tried one pass and gained 32 yards. For the whole game. Cadets outgained Penn State for the game, 293-264. Not the best day for James Franklin.

3) Kentucky 34, Eastern Kentucky 27 OT-- Wildcats paid EKU $450K to come to Lexington and lose, only they almost won. Kentucky had only 55 yards rushing.

1) Arizona State 38, UCLA 23-- So you want to handicap, bet on college football? If you saw ASU play last week, you wouldn't have bet on them against a team from the Lingerie Football League. Yesterday they went to Pasadena and spanked UCLA; they ran for 192 yards, converted 10-23 third down plays. They looked like different kids wearing the same uniforms.

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) I'm not smart enough to know what the solutions are, but I know damn well that something needs to be done about guns in this country.

I had never heard of Umpqua Community College; now it is yet just another example of some sorry bastard who lost his mind and tragically ended multiple lives with an act of criminal stupidity. If there were less guns around, maybe this doesn't happen.

They showed a map on CNN of where the shootings have happened in this country; they are all over: Chicago-Baltimore-Blacksburg-Oregon-St Louis-Charleston. This is not a regional problem it is a national problem and it needs to be fixed.

12) Angels 2, Rangers 1-- Halos kept pace with Houston, prevented Rangers from clinching the division title. Strong effort by Jared Weaver.

11) Nice article about how Redskins' RB Alfred Morris spends 10-15 minutes before every home game talking with group of ushers/stadium workers, just talking like friends do- they even communicate in the offseason. Good to read stuff like that.

10) Most minutes played in the NBA, last five years (counts playoffs)
Lebron James-- 18,135
Kevin Durant-- 15,595
James Harden-- 15,187
Blake Griffin-- 14,907
Monta Ellis-- 14,743

9) Toronto Blue Jays were 50-51 on July 29; Texas Rangers were 8-16 in early May; both are in the playoffs. Baseball teams seem to be streakier now; the season is now in two pieces, though- Opening Day til July 31, then when teams supplement rosters and others sell off players, the haves/have-nots go their separate ways. Quickly.

8) This is very, very unusual in major college basketball; every St Joe's practice is open to the public. That doesn't happen in most high school programs.

7) July 2, 2013, Jake Arrieta was traded from the Orioles to the Cubs with Pedro Strop and money for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman. Arrieta is 11-0, 0.41 since August 1 and may have just had the best second half by any pitcher, ever. Nice trade.

6) Jordan Spieth's caddy made $1,120,000 this season, which would've put him at #91 this year on the players' money earned list.

5) I don't like NFL games on Thursday; don't think football was meant to be played on three days' rest, but the one good thing the NFL does is that the Thursday games are most always divisional games, easier for coaches to prepare for on a short week.

4) Miami Hurricanes have been in ACC since 2004, but have never played in ACC football championship game. Alumni are less than thrilled with the program.

3) John Elway might be the best QB I've ever seem but he never played in a college bowl game; he was going to his senior year, but the infamous Stanford Band play on the last play of the 1982 season cost Stanford a bowl bid that year, and that was the last college game Elway played in.

2) Pirates 6, Reds 4 (12)-- Cubs at Pirates in Wild Card game; Pittsburgh hosts a Wild Card game for the third year in a row.

1) Every baseball game Sunday starts at 3pm ET, in an attempt to maximize drama, if there is any. Looks like Angels/Astros could still have work to do then.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Astros lead Angels/Twins by game each for the last playoff spot; Houston is in Arizona this weekend, Angels are in Texas, Twins are hosting Kansas City.

12) Jets-Dolphins play at 9:30am ET Sunday; I figure Fresno St-San Diego St game will end around 2am Saturday night; when is a guy supposed to sleep?

11) Cruddy weather is expected up and down the Atlantic seaboard this weekend; not sure if Alabama-Georgia and Notre Dame-Clemson will be affected. Crimson Tide is an underdog for the first time since 2009, 73 games ago.

10) Raiders snapped an 11-game road losing streak last week; now they're going for two in row on road against Chicago and Jimmy Clausen (1-11 as an NFL starter).

9) Total in Baylor-Texas Tech game is 90.5, highest total ever; average total in last five series games is 95.8. Don't these teams recruit defensive players?

8) Rams KO'd the Arizona starting QB in both meetings this year; I'm expecting lot of chippiness Sunday. St Louis needs a win, but Arizona is a well-balanced team, and a 1-4 start is a real possibility for the Rams, with the Packers on deck next week.

7) Oregon has treated Colorado like a pinata since Buffaloes joined the Pac-12, but the Ducks got pounded at home by Utah last week and have a QB controversy. This is not going to be an easy game in Boulder-- the Buffs are improvng.

6) Andrew Luck has a bum shoulder and may not play Sunday; Tim Hasselbeck is his backup-- he is 80-72 as an NFL starter, but his last start was in 2012.

5) Ole Miss visits Florida, a week after the Gators stole a game from Tennessee; Jim Kelly's nephew is the Rebels' QB- they'll be aggressive on offense. Florida gets their backup QB back from suspension; curious to see if they play him at all.

4) Giants are getting a TD in Buffalo, as they actually play a game in New York State for first time since 2007. Giants led by double digits in fourth quarter in both losses; tis could be a really good game.

3) Arkansas-Tennessee is battle of embattled coaches; Bielema has lost 13 games in row that were decided by seven or less points. Butch Jones' game maagement has been likened to Charlie Brown's ability to kick a football when Lucy is holding for him.

2) West Virginia's improved defense gets a stern test at Oklahoma, which has beaten Mountaineers three years in row. Sooners play rival Texas next week; they better not be looking past this opponent, because West Virginia is better than they have been.

1) Tampa Bay has lost ten home games in a row; trap game for 3-0 Carolina, which won six of its last eight games against the Bucs.

Thursday's List of 16: Looking at each NFC team......
Cardinals-- Rams knocked out Arizona's starting QB in both meetings LY; Arizona is off to great start, scoring three defensive TDs in last two games, while also returning a kick for TD. Redbirds have 14 TDs on 29 drives, eight of which were 75+ yards long.

Falcons-- Off to 3-0 start despite giving up 20+ points in all three games; they trailed all three games in 4th quarter, were down by double digits twice. Julio Jones caught 34 passes already, the most of any player ever after three games- Ryan targeted him 20 times last week (20!!!!) and he caught 12 of them.

Panthers-- Another 3-0 team; they've outrushed opponents by 56.3 ypg; Newton is solid QB- they've turned ball over only twice (+4), converted 17-44 on 3rd down and they really don't have great WR (Ginn has 10 catches for 188 yards, but 22 targets).

Bears- NFL teams don't often sell off players during season, but Chicago has already dealt two defensive guys and Cutler is hurt, leaving Clausen (1-11 as NFL starter) as the #1 QB for time being. Not often a team punts every time they have ball, like Bears did last week in Seattle.

Cowboys-- Weeden is now 5-17 as NFL starter; Dallas gained 295 yards in first half last week, only 52 in second half- they converted only 5-18 on third down last couple games. Falcons ran ball for 158 yards LW; Dallas allowed only 56 rushing yards total in first two games.

Lions-- Detroit won NFL titles in 1952-53-57; they've won one playoff game in 57 years since then, and that was in 1991. For some reason they hired Jim Caldwell as coach and now they're 0-3, scoring total of 28 points in last two games. Not good.

Packers-- I laugh that Aaron Rodgers was 24th player taken in 2005 draft; Redskins took Jason Campbell with next pick, said they would've taken him even if Rodgers was available, which explains why some teams never win. Rodgers sat and watched Favre for few years; there is something to be said for that way of developing a QB.

Vikings-- Ran ball for 362 yards in last two games, good sign; they won field position by 25-16 yards last two games, rare to see that two games in row, but they were lousy in only road game, so curious to see how they play in Denver this week. Vikings have been outscored 34-0 in last 2:00 of each half.

Giants-- Won field position by 11-9-20 yards in first three games, but blew big leads and lost first two; they're 14-10 as road underdogs since 2011, getting TD+ this week in Buffalo, which seems too high for me, but they've allowed 24 ppg despite having superior field position in all three games.

Saints-- Ownership of team is in flux because Mr Benson is in late 80s and his estate is being contested; not sure how that impacts Payton's job status if this season keeps unraveling. Brees could be back for Sunday night game with Dallas; they need a win.

Eagles-- Ran ball for 70 yards in first two games, 123 in win last week, but they didn't score in second half either, and threw for only 108 yards. Eagles are 12-5 under Kelly in games with spread of 3 or less; they're 7-12 as road favorites since 2010. Average total in last five Eagle-Redskin games is 53.8.

Rams-- Good defense, good special teams, horrendous offense because they seem to be unable to develop a possession receiver who can move chains. Converted 4 of 22 third downs in last two games; they've been in red zone once. They seem to want to use their tight ends, but they don't catch the ball very well.

49ers-- Outscored 90-25 in last two games, now Aaron Rodgers comes back to Bay Area this week, while Jim Harbaugh has Michigan in top 25. Kaepernick has a 26-16 record as NFL QB, but now that team has regressed, can he pass well enough to win?

Seahawks-- Chancellor came back and Seattle shut Bears out but that might be more because Clausen played QB for Chicago. Seahawks are 22-9 as home favorites since 2009, since '07, they're 18-6 vs spread in home division games, 24-15 outside divison. Graham caught TD pass LW, maybe thats a good sign their offense is evolving.

Buccaneers-- Not easy breaking in rookie QB with two rookies on OL; they're 9-40 on third down, have only three TDs on eight red zone drives. Since '08, Buccaneers are 14-32-2 vs spread at home. Under is 21-14 in their last 35 games, 14-10-1 in last 25 home games.

Redskins-- Ran ball for 343 yards in first two games, only 88 in loss to Giants; they are just 6-12 vs spread in last 18 home games, 5-10 in last 15 games where spread was 3 or less points. They averaged over 8 ypa in both games vs Eagles LY, interested to see if they throw it well against them Sunday.

Wednesday's List of 16: Looking at each AFC team......
Each NFL team has played three games; the byes start this week, so it is a good time to take a quick look at each team and see where they stand. Tomorrow, the NFC....

Ravens-- They're 0-3 for first time since moving to Baltimore 19 years ago; all five of their TD drives are 79+ yards. Defense gave up an 80-yard TD pass on first play after their go-ahead TD with 6:49 left Sunday. They miss injured pass rusher Suggs.

Bills-- Hired a defensive coach, named a starting QB who has been in NFL for four years without ever starting a game, so of course they've scored 100 points in first three games. Tyrod Taylor might make teams re-think how they develop quarterbacks.

Bengals-- Not only does Marvin Lewis win, he lost both his coordinators in last two years; he is this generation's Chuck Knox, who did very well with the 70's Rams, but never had much playoff success. Chiefs' visit this week is an interesting game.

Browns-- Had to can their OL coach after his off-field issues, they've were outscored by 100+ yards in both home games, they've got a QB dilemma, but their games have been fun to watch-- all three went over the total.

Broncos-- They have 10 takeaways (+6) in three games, only five plays of 20+ yards. Broncos are 17-7 in last 24 games as a home favorite; eventually, they'll have to run the ball for more than the 57 ypg they've averaging right now.

Texans-- Have yet to average more than 5.7 ypa in game this year; after watching all the Hard Knocks episodes, I'm still stunned they switched QBs after one game. Texans scored two TDs in all three games; they miss departed WR Andre Johnson.

Colts-- For franchise that transitioned from Manning-to-Luck at QB seamlessly, they are screwing up this coaching situation. Mariota's 345 passing yards last week is a red flag- they play other two division rivals next, before the Patriots come to town.

Jaguars-- Three TDs, four FGs on eight red zone drives; seemed like they were doing better until the Patriots scored on every drive last week. Jags have been outscored by 48-17 margin in second half this season. Opponents are 24-46 on third down.

Chiefs-- Hard to win going 5 for 30 on third down, which Chiefs have in first three games, especially with two of three games vs Hall of Fame QBs. Smith doesn't turn ball over much, so Chiefs will win more than they lose, but they won't win enough to get home field in playoffs.

Dolphins-- Have feeling next Miami coach will be a big name; owner has spent a fortune re-doing the stadium, he is going to want a coach who makes a splash, a fancy way of saying "sells tickets". Last 8+ years, Miami is 22-39-1 vs spread at home.

Patriots-- Scored 14 TDs on 30 drives to start season, with only two turnovers, with 13 TDs on 18 drives into red zone. Were up 11+ points at half of all three games, but it isn't always good to have your bye when you're rolling-- ask last year's Bengals.

Jets-- Turnover ratio dictated all three games; +8 in two wins, -3 in the loss. Guy who punched Geno Smith did team a favor; Fitzpatrick is way better- they've had 18+ first downs in all three games. Interesting game in London this week, vs struggling Miami.

Raiders-- Scored 64 points in last two games, averaging 7.5/9.8 ypa; no QB can thrive without good WRs and in Crabtree/Cooper, Oakland has upgraded its WRs, and Carr has looked like a real NFL QB because of it. Are they a playoff contender?

Steelers-- Their season will ride on how many wins they can squeeze out of Michael Vick, who appeared washed up with Jets LY. Roethlisberger is out for at least month; their bye isn't until Thanksgiving. Le'Veon Bell is going to get a lot of carries.

Chargers-- Lot of injuries on OL right now; they were down 21-3 in their one win, vs Detroit. All 11 of their drives in Minnesota last week started 80+ yards from end zone; they need defense/special teams to create short field for the struggling offense.

Titans-- They have to be thrilled with Mariota's production so far, but frustrated they couldn't put Colts away in home opener. Gave up defensive score last week, PR for score week before-- they have 11 offensive TDs in three games, a huge improvement.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Packers 38, Chiefs 28-- When the schedule comes out in May, you do not want to be playing the Packers in Green Bay- Aaron Rodgers just plays better there.

12) When Chiefs-Packers met in Super Bowl I, 17 future Hall of Famers played in that game. It wasn't even called the Super Bowl at the time.

11) Orioles snapped their scoreless streak at 29; longest scoring drought this year was a 35-inning skid by the Dodgers. All-time major league record is 48, set by the Cubs around a hundred years ago.

10) Despite that, scoring in baseball has gone way up the last couple months; 2009 was last time teams scored as much as they have the last two months.

9) NFL penalties are way up this year; reduction in offseason practice time is part of the problem. Teams are sloppier now because they practice less.

8) Red Sox posted a video tribute to departing TV play-by-play guy Don Orsillo on the scoreboard at Fenway Sunday, but the weasels at NESN wouldn't show it on TV. A sign of how stupid a firing this is: Padres have already hooked Orsillo up as its new TV voice, good move by them.

7) MAC football teams are 18-9 vs spread out of conference this year, 10-2 when playing against a Big 14 team, their regional big brothers.

6) How did Bruce Arians almost not get an NFL head coaching gig? Guy is one of the best coaches in the league, but he was 60 before he got the Cardinals' job. The Steelers fired him as offensive coordinator in 2011- why?

5) Steelers are 10-8 in last 18 games Ben Roethlisberger missed; 8-1 in non-division games, 2-7 against divisional rivals.

4) Surprised to hear the Tigers are bringing manager Brad Ausmus back next year; they've had a dismal season, have a new GM, although he was promoted from within the organization. Tigers' veteran players must've spoken up for Ausmus.

3) Serious question: Do baseball umpires have homes? They're on the road at least seven months every year, eight if they work the playoffs.

2) Underrated pickup of trading deadline was Texas getting Cole Hamels from the Phillies; they've won his last eight starts. Rangers weren't that strong a contender when they made the trade, but they've got a two-game lead with six days left.

1) Cardinals won 3-0 in Pittsburgh, despite walking ten batters. Pirates are the first team to get shut out while walking 10+ times since the Royals on April 26, 2007

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
14) Bengals 28, Ravens 24-- Ravens are 0-3 for first time since franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996. Cincy led 14-0 at half, then lead changed hands four times in last 6:49, with Bengals scoring winning TD with 2:10 to play.

13) Steelers 12, Rams 6-- Roethlisberger hurt his knee, they don't know how bad it is yet, but looks like at least a month; Vick will step in against Baltimore Thursday nite. Rams' offense is putrid; not Foles' fault, QB has to have somebody who can actually catch his passes. St Louis has been in the red zone once in its last two games.

12) Vikings 31, Chargers 14-- Peterson had 126 rushing yards, Minnesota scored a defensive TD, also had 16-yard advantage in field position- they're 2-0 at home now. Home favorites in non-divisional games are 12-6-1 vs spread so far this season.

11) Texans 19, Buccaneers 9-- Tampa was just 1-12 on third down; their only TD drive was 26 yards. Bucs missed a PAT and three FGs; the one FG they did make was 58 yards long. It is way, way too early, but early returns show Tampa Bay made a mistake taking Winston over Mariota with the first pick in last spring's draft.

10) Eagles 24, Jets 17-- New York forced 10 turnovers in its first two games, had +8 ratio; they forced only one in this game, had -3 ratio, so they lost. Eagles ran a punt back for TD but still passed for only 108 yards, were 4-15 on third down. Jets threw ball 58 times, ran it 16, usually a formula for losing.

9) Panthers 27, Saints 22-- Carolina is 3-0, tied atop NFC with Atlanta, as Saints' season is rapidly slipping away. McCown was 31-38/310 in relief of Brees; Saints led 10-0, then went ahead 16-10 on punt return for TD, but couldn't hold it. Divisional home favorites are 3-8 vs spread so far this season. This spread jumped 6-7 points when Brees was declared out

8) Patriots 51, Jaguars 17-- New England covered for just second time in last ten tries as double digit favorite. Very rare an NFL team scores every time they have the ball, but it happened here-- Patriots scored six TDs, three FGs on nine drives that didn't end a half. They also had a 12-yard edge in field position, always a good thing.

7) Raiders 27, Browns 20-- Oakland snaps an 11-game road losing skid, a 16-game skid in eastern time zone. Latavius Murray ran for 139 yards and will be a popular pickup on fantasy league waiver wires. Cleveland is now 0-2 with McCown as the starter; he and his brother started on same day for first time since 2007.

6) Colts 35, Titans 33-- Indy won despite allowing 27 straight points after grabbing early 14-0 lead with defensive TD. Mariota was 27-44/367 passing and led drive for score with 0:47 left, but tying 2-point play failed and Colts held on for first win, as they travelled on short week but survived.

5) Falcons 39, Cowboys 28-- Dallas led 28-14 with 0:40 left in half, but Atlanta was dominant from that point on, scoring last 25 points of game, with Freeman running for 141 yards and three TDs and Atlanta is surprising 3-0-- they trailed all three games in fourth quarter. Julio Jones was targeted 20 times, caught 12 of them for 164 yards.

4) Cardinals 47, 49ers 7-- Arizona scored twice on defense in first 5:57, coasted from that point on; at one point Kaepernick had five completions, four INTs. Arizona is an underrated team; I would rate them and Patriots as two best teams so far. 49ers were just outscored 90-25 in first two road games; they have serious issues.

3) Seahawks 26, Bears 0-- Jimmy Clausen is now 1-10 as an NFL starter, with lone win in December 2010 against Arizona and the immortal John Skelton. Seattle needed KR return TD and trick play on punt return to set up two of first three scores. This waa 6-0 at half, before Lockett's kick return to open second half. Wonder how many times a team has been shut out without turning ball over once?

2) Bills 41, Dolphins 14-- Joe Philbin trusted his career as an NFL head coach to a QB who wasn't a QB until he was a junior in college. If you remember HBO's Hard Knocks two years ago, Ryan Tannehill didn't even know who the other teams in the AFC East were- he was a WR his first two years at Texas A&M. How do you entrust a $1B franchise to someone who doesn't like pro football?

1) Broncos 24, Lions 12-- Every key play, it seemed a Denver WR won a one-on-one battle and made a big catch. Denver hit a 45-yard TD pass with 0:05 left in half, just terrible defense by the Lions. Manning threw for 324 yards and Denver is now 3-0.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Florida 28, Tennessee 27-- Butch Jones makes $3M a year to be the coach at Tennessee; he should be an expert on the sport, but he has no clue about game management. None. Zero. Bupkus.

Up 20-14 in 4th quarter, when his team scores a touchdown, HE HAS TO GO FOR 2 POINTS, because the 27-14 lead is no better than a 26-14 lead, but it is a lot worse than a 28-14 lead. This is not difficult stuff.

Then with his team on the move for a winning FG, no one bothered to notice the clock was still running, which made the Vols try (and miss) a 55-yard FG for the win, instead of having a couple more plays to get closer. But boy, he's a good recruiter.

Check out the Twitter timeline of this Tennessee fan. Scroll down a little.

12) Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 21 OT-- Bret Bielema has now lost his last 13 games that were decided by 7 or less points and that goes back to his Wisconsin days. But hey, he hung 81 points on Indiana a few years ago. Very overrated coach.

11) Utah 62, Oregon 20-- Vernon Adams left I-AA Eastern Washington after three years to try and bolster his NFL chances by playing in Pac-12. So far, thats not going real well; he got hurt in one game, benched in this one. Apparently no one told Vernon that NFL teams scout all over the country, even in I-AA.

10) TCU 55, Texas Tech 52-- TU's Josh Doctson caught 18 passes for 267 yards in this game, as Horned Frogs won on lucky tipped ball in back of end zone on fourth down in Lubbock. By way of contrast to Mr Doctson, in their last two games, Georgia Tech has completed 14 passes in 46 attempts. In two games.

9) Oklahoma State 30, Texas 27-- Longhorns lost because their punter dropped a snap in a tie game, then punted the ball minus-6 yards to set up OSU's winning FG.

8) Astros 9, Rangers 7-- Jose Altuve homered twice as Houston stayed a half-game ahead of the Angels for the last Wild Card slot. Angels closer Street hurt his leg and was helped off field last night; would guess he is done for regular season.

7) Illinois 27, Middle Tennessee State 25-- Illini made a 51-yard FG with 2:09 left to avoid losing to a C-USA directional school- they blew a 24-12 4th quarter lead.

6) UCLA 56, Arizona 30-- Next February, I'll watch the college football Signing Day specials on TV and I better hear that Arizona signed defensive players. A lot of them.

5) USC 42, Arizona State 14-- Trojans scored three TDs in last 3:37 of first half, as Sun Devils imploded in front of their home fans on a 95-degree night in Tempe. Home teams in the Pac-12 went 0-5 this week; only Washington came close to winning.

4) LSU 34, Syracuse 24-- Leonard Fournette ran 26 times for 244 yards and had an 87-yard TD called back by a shady illegal formation call. Penalty yardage in this game was LSU 120, Syracuse 34. Refs did their best to keep the home team in it. Walk-on QB for Syracuse played better as the game went on, not bad for a 5th-stringer.

3) Mississippi State 17, Auburn 9-- I've said this before; Gene Chizik got fired by Auburn two years after he won a national title. I'm just sayin'.....while I'm here, why don't SEC programs recruit better quarterbacks?

2) Duke 34, Georgia Tech 20-- How can a Division I-A football team complete 14 of 46 passes over a two-game stretch? Teams in the Lingerie Football League are better than that. Seriously, thats terrible.

1) Mets 10, Reds 2-- Mets clinch NL East title; somewhere up in heaven, my dad is smiling today.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Rangers 6, Astros 2-- Texas has beaten the Astros eight games in a row and looks like they will be AL West champs. Houston is trying to hold off the Angels/Twins for the last Wild Card spot, but they go on the road next week and the road hasn't been kind to them. It is difficult to make the baseball playoffs. Long season.

12) As far as the Wild Card games go, the home team is 2-4 in the single slimination games. Looks like Pittsburgh will host one of them for third year in a row.

11) did a thing on catchers framing pitches to get called strikes on pitches out of the strike zone-- their study had Francisco Cervelli and Tyler Flowers as only catchers this season who get strikes called on over 10% of pitches that were actually out of the strike zone.

10) They were saying on the Cub game yesterday how over the last 4-5 years, the strike zone has actually increased 9-10%. Umps call more strikes nowadays.

9) Golden State Warriors hired Steve Nash as a part-time player development coach, or consultant, more accurately. Apparently the Warriors decided to overhaul how they do things before they won the title last spring- they dumped most of their training staff too, an unusual move.

8) Batters are hitting .149 against Zach Greinke this year, with runners in scoring position. He is going to be really, really rich before next season starts.

7) Saw a coaching catch phrase the other day that was pretty good; the five P's:

Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

6) Memphis 53, Cincinnati 46-- Hard to get excited about a 4-0 Memphis team that allowed 1,331 yards in its last two games. They're fun to watch, but they stink on defense. Backup QB for Cincinnati went 31-53 for 557 yards in this game and he didn't play in most of the first quarter.

5) Boise State 56, Virginia 14-- Cavaliers will be looking for a new coach soon; you can't get beat 56-14 on national TV at home and expect to last. Mike London is 24-41 as Virginia coach and I have no idea how he's lasted this long in Charlottesville.

To make matters worse, Cavaliers were down 17-0 last night, they score a TD on a long pass and the WR gets a taunting penalty. It just looks bad when that happens.

4) Joey Votto has reached base in 41 straight games, which is really good but is less than halfway to one of baseball's most underrated records that Ted Williams holds, reaching base safely in 84 straight games. To me this is better than the hitting streak record because a team could choose to end a hit streak by walking the guy.

3) As I learn more about EBay and buying bobbleheads, it is funny that some are showing up on EBay before the seller actually has them. Cubs are giving away a Kris Bryant bobblehead soon; I've already seen three for sale online. Seeing the variance in pricing for some of these items has been interesting.

2) June 8, 1999. I remember going out to the Lexington Grill, a bar on Wolf Road, to find the A's game on a satellite dish, since you couldn't watch all the games at home yet. Young pitcher named Tim Hudson was making his A's debut and he was going to help bring Oakland out of a 6-year losing skid.

1) And thats exactly what he did, going 92-39 in six years for Oakland, before going elsewhere, as all successful A's eventually do. Lexington Grill is a jewelry store now, and Hudson is pitching in Oakland today for the last time, against Barry Zito, who was also once a terrific pitcher for the A's. Enjoy your retirement, fellas. .

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) 2-0 Jets are already +8 in turnovers, which obviously isn't sustainable; they've outgained opponents by only 13 yards so far. What happens when they aren't forcing turnovers? 0-2 Eagles are in desperate straits here; as a Ram fan, it is my duty to tell you that Sam Bradford's NFL W-L record is 18-32-1.

12) Florida won its last ten games with Tennessee, but they've suspended a QB for flunking a drug test, never a good sign. Not their starting QB, but the kid who was the starter in the season opener.

11) Brandon Weeden is only 5-16 as an NFL starter, but the former minor leaguer is older than Aaron Rodgers. Dallas brought in another bonafide backup in Matt Cassel, so they're not 100% sold on Weeden. Falcons are 2-0, but trailed both games late.

10) Pirates-Cubs open a big series in Wrigley today; home field in Wild Card game the likely objective. Doubt either side will catch St Louis for NL Central crown.

9) Baltimore is 0-2, Cincinnati 2-0, so huge game for Ravens in their home opener to get back in AFC North race. Bengals have 303 rushing yards in two games.

8) USC lost its last two visits to Arizona State 62-41/43-22. Trojans lost at home to Stanford last week; a loss here and the natives will get restless.

7) Buffalo-Miami finds bully Richie Incognito coming back to south Florida after Dolphins dumped him two years ago. Interesting game, with AFC East looking like an improved division. Will the division runner-up make the playoffs?

6) Auburn is switching QBs after getting waxed at LSU last week, which followed an OT win over a I-AA team. College football people are fickle as hell; Auburn fired Gene Chizik couple years after he won a national title- a loss to Miss State wouldn't help Gus Malzahn's standing on the Plains.

5) Hopefully the Steelers won't have more fans than the Rams for a St Louis home game in the Jones Dome. I'm thinking Todd Gurley makes his Rams' debut this week; he could be the playmaker their offense is sorely lacking.

4) Astros close out their home season with series against Texas. Minnesota visits the Tigers, as the AL West/Wild Card races come down the home stretch.

3) Colts travel to Tennessee on a short week after a dismal performance Monday nite; home debut for Titans' rookie QB Marcus Mariota. Indy has injury issues at cornerback; can Mariota and the Tennessee offense take advantage of it?

2) TCU eviscerated Texas Tech 82-27 last year; now Horned Frogs visit Lubbock to face a Tech squad that upset Arkansas last week. Dicey spot for TCU.

1) Pretty good Monday night game, Chiefs at Green Bay. At one time, Andy Reid was an assistant for the Packers. Chiefs had an extra three days to prep for this.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Seattle safety Kam Chancellor ended his holdout and reported to the Seahawks; not only did he miss two game checks, he has been fined roughly $1.1M, since he is under contract. It is unclear if the Seahawks will enforce those fines.

12) Seahawks allowed 11 pass plays of 20+ yards in its first two games, 2nd-most in NFL, so Chancellor caved in even though he had some leverage in negotiations.

11) Angels 6, Astros 5-- Mike Scioscia walked Altuve intentionally to pitch to George Springer, who tripled down RF line to give Houston a 4-3 lead in 7th inning, but Halos rallied to win and are now only 1.5 games behind Houston in Wild Card race.

10) Josh McCown will start at QB for Cleveland this week after missing last week's game with a concussion. Tough decision after Johnny Manziel led Browns to a win in the home opener against Tennessee.

9) UCLA loses LB Myles Jack (knee) for season, as their defense loses another key player. Jack had also played some running back for the Bruins.

8) Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden gets his second start for Dallas this week, but he has worked with the first team a decent amount in practice, since Tony Romo hadn't been practicing on Wednesdays.

7) Carlos Gomez has missed Houston's last 11 games with a rib cage strain; the person in the Mets' front office who quashed the Gomez-to-Mets trade deserves a raise, since Cespedes is a much better player who sparked the Mets' playoff run.

6) It is funny watching TV reruns from 80's shows and seeing phone booths, which have pretty much disappeared from the public landscape. Kids now probably don't even know what they are, but before cellphones, phone booths were a big deal.

5) Orioles 4, Nationals 3-- Manny Machado glares at the pitcher every time he gets hit by a pitch; he is a really good player but he needs to grow up. There was tension last night when Papelbon drilled Machado in the at-bat after he had homered.

4) Next fall, the last Presidential debate will be in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas; I'm guessing the security there will be a little tighter than when I go to the NBA Summer League there in July. Interesting choice of venue though.

3) Congrats to the Pittsburgh Pirates on making the playoffs for the third year in a row; it isn't easy to make the playoffs. Clint Hurdle has once again proven to be an excellent manager-- he got the Rockies to the World Series, too.

2) Florida suspended two players for the Tennessee game this week, one of whom is their backup QB who started their season opener. Gstors haven't lost to Tennessee since 2004, but the line on this week's game is pretty much even right now.

1) One thing that evens the playing field in baseball is how difficult it seems to be to put together a solid bullpen which bridges the innings between your starting pitcher and the closer. Teams with mediocre starting pitchers, who only get 15 or so outs, then need nine outs to get to the closer with a lead and those are hard outs to get.

Middle relievers seem to have sporadic success; they're not the players you can buy and be guaranteed to have an advantage over your opponents. Its an interesting study to see how teams go about doing this-- it sure ain't easy.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings........
13) Dallas traded for Buffalo backup QB Matt Cassel, who has a 34-38 record as an NFL QB, despite never starting a game in college, at USC, where he backed up both Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. He lost his only playoff start, for the '10 Chiefs.

12) Since 2006, seven Dallas QBs other than Tony Romo have started 21 Cowboy games and went 9-12 in those games.

11) Green Bay Packers sold out their last 310 home games; thats roughly 37 years.

10) Alabama ran 101 plays in its loss to Ole Miss Saturday; thats a lot. By way of comparison, Seattle-Green Bay game Sunday night had a total of 121 plays, Atlanta-Giant game had 115 plays, Saints-Buccaneers 128. More action in college football.

9) UNLV cashed a $1M check for going to Michigan and playing the Wolverines last week; Mountain West teams have now lost 21 non-league games in a row to I-A teams but they do make a lot of money playing big-name schools on the road.

8) Saints lost their last six home games, which is a disaster; very hard to make any hay in the NFL just by winning road games.

7) Random story: I saw teachers in Seattle were on strike last week, which reminded me of when I was a junior in high school 40 years ago. Teachers at three high schools in our area went on strike at the same time, one of which was mine, so we had a different substitute teacher in class every day for 2-3 weeks.

Some kids who didn't like school bolted classes and held "protest marches" to the district offices to support the teachers. It was a couple miles from our high school to the district offices; if anyone thought I was walking four miles to support anyone they had another thing coming. All we had to do was go to class, do nothing, since we had all different teachers every day and we couldn't get in trouble. Not a tough decision.

Funny thing was that a lot of the teachers on strike were just going to one of the other districts and subbing, so they could earn money. The strike ended after a couple weeks with no one winning-- we were behind on our classes and that was the year I had the toughest classes. Hopefully the same thing won't happen in Seattle.

6) On July 2, 2013, the Orioles traded Jake Arrieta/Pedro Strop to the Cubs and got Steve Clevenger/Scott Feldman in return. Whoops.

Arrieta was 20-25 in his 63 starts over 3.5 years with Baltimore; he is 34-13 in his 2+ years with the Cubs. Brutal move by the Orioles.

5) Jets had 13 takeaways all of last year; they have ten in their first two games this year, the first team since the '92 Steelers (Bill Cowher's first year) to do that.

4) I'm not a fan of college football's targeting rule; too harsh. If you're calling plays, it would be smart to throw long passes on the first series- you get a targeting call on an opposing DB, he is eliminated from the game, which could be a big deal.

3) Mike Trout hit his 40th homer last night, joining Troy Glaus as the only Angels to hit 40+ homers in a season.

2) Week 2 was the first time ever that the Raiders, Jaguars, Browns, Buccaneers and Redskins all won on the same day; that covers 17+ years of games, since Jacksonville came into the league in 1995, but the Browns were out of it from 1996-98.

1) September baseball is great fun if your favorite team is contending; if not, then this is just glorified spring training, with the next "real games" 7-8 months away. .

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Jets 20, Colts 7-- Jets are 2-0, Indy 0-2, scoring only 21 points in its first two games, eight less than anyone else in the NFL.

12) Only three of 49 Super Bowl champs started that season 0-2.

11) NFL football is hideously over-officiated; 13 of 32 teams this week had 10+ accepted penalties. Too many rules, too many flags, too many stoppages in games.

By way of contrast, the Auburn-LSU game had a combined total of nine penalties, Clemson-Louisville had eight, Stanford-USC 13. College games have a better flow.

10) Ryan Fitzpatrick is the first NFL QB ever to play against the same team (Colts) four years in a row, while playing for four different teams. Mike Martz was the first NFL coach to give Fitzpatrick a chance and that was in 2005. Not many QBs in the NFL go to college without a football scholarship; Fitzpatrick went to Harvard.

9) Speaking of Harvard, the Milwaukee Brewers hired another 30-year old genius to be their GM. I don't remember ever seeing Harvard in the College World Series, but they must have an awesome baseball program, since major league teams are so eager to hire their alums to run their operations.

No way 30-year olds are experienced enough for this big job, but hey, they have those complicated formulas that explain everything; just ask San Diego Padre fans.

8) Watched a movie called Game Change Monday afternoon, because people with no job watch a lot of movies. This was the movie about Sarah Palin running for VP with John McCain in 2012-- it is alternating hilarious and frightening.

How could someone as oblivious as Palin come so close to being Vice-President?

7) Chase Utley played in his 1,575th big league game last night, starting at third base for the first time ever. For a playoff team, the Dodgers have a lot of questions they'll need to answer before their first postseason game.

6) NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin won the race in Chicago this week, which wouldn't be such a big deal, except he is driving with a torn right ACL. I cannot even imagine tearing my ACL, then getting in my car and driving 500 miles, much less at the high stress level at which those guys compete.

5) Run differential is a stupid stat that gets overused; Texas has a -7 differential, the A's are -11, virtually the same. But the Rangers are 16.5 games ahead of Oakland, due to their 43-32 record in games decided by 1-2 runs. A's are 27-49 in those games.

4) ESPN's Lee Corso turned 80 last month; he is still a pleasure to listen to on TV.

3) Astros 6, Angels 3-- Huge win for Houston, which now has a 3-game lead for the second Wild Card spot.

2) Thru two weeks, NFL home underdogs are 7-5 vs spread
-- NFL home favorites of 6+ points are 2-5-1 vs spread.
-- NFL home favorites of less than 6 points are 14-9 vs spread.

1) Further proof the world is going crazy: a guy named Joe Juranitch has dressed up as the Viking at Minnesota home games for the last 21 years; he led the team out on the field while driving a motorcycle, wearing a horned helmet and fur clothes.

Mr Juranitch is no longer employed by the Vikings, because he wanted the team to give him a 10-year contract paying him $20,000 a game. To be a bleeping mascot.

This guy was making $1,500 a game (10 home games a year) but wasn't happy. Oy.

Monday's List of 14: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
14) Cowboys 20, Eagles 10-- Dallas wins but loses QB Romo for couple months with broken collarbone. As for the Eagles, Demarco Murray has carried the ball 21 times in his first two games with Eagles and gained a total of 11 yards.

13) Panthers 24, Texans 17-- I'm thinking coaches hate having their team on HBO's Hard Knocks in the summer; Falcons were on last year and Mike Smith got fired. Now Houston is 0-2 and Bill O'Brien looks like a nitwit for the way he's handled his QBs.

12) Buccaneers 26, Saints 19-- New Orleans has now lost its last six home games and Drew Brees says he has a sore shoulder. Uh-oh. Jameis Winston ges his first NFL win and no one talks about him. Lot of people talked about him last week.

11) Steelers 43, 49ers 18-- Roethlisberger averaged 13.7 ypa as Pitt romped in its home opener. Tough scheduling spot for 49ers, with eastern trip after a late Monday night game last week. Steelers scored six TDs on their nine drives in this game.

10) Vikings 26, Lions 16-- Detroit is now 0-2; they scored 13 of their 16 points in last 2:00 of each half. Lions were one of only three teams this week to be -2 or worse in turnovers; all three lost. Peterson had 192 total yards for Minnesota.

9) Patriots 40, Bills 32-- Good thing Buffalo hired a defensive coach last winter; no telling how many yards Brady would've thrown for otherwise. Officials in this game probably soaked their elbows afterwards; 25 accepted penalties for 259 yards. I will say this once again: no one pays to watch officials do their job.

8) Cardinals 48, Bears 23-- Arizona ran opening kick back for TD and things got worse from there for Chicago, which lost Cutler to a hamstring injury, then realized his backup is Jimmy Clausen. Cardinals also scored a defensive TD and had two TD drives of less than 50 yards, whiich is the recipe for winning in the NFL.

7) Browns 28, Titans 14-- Manziel wins his first NFL game, Mariota loses his first and we can put his bust in Canton on hold for a while. Manziel hit Benjamin for TDs of 50 and 60 yards, but they did get outgained by 109 yards (+3 in turnovers).

6) Bengals 24, Chargers 19-- Two of three Cincy TDs were on drives of less than 40 yards. League-wide, favorites are 6-8 vs spread so far this week, over is 7-8. Teams that scored a TD on defense/special teams are 4-1, with Chiefs only loser and they gave one up, too. Creating easy points is a huge key in the NFL.

5) Redskins 24, Rams 10-- Washington was the better-prepared team for this game and was dominant for the whole game, except for a little bit of the third quarter, when the Rans put on a brief rally. St Louis badly needs a playmaker on offense.

Pet Peeve of the Day: Rams score a TD to cut lead to 17-9, they have all momentum on their side, but WR Britt, who caught a whopping two passes all day, got flagged for taunting after the TD, costing Rams 15 yards of field position. Shut the bleep up!!!

4) Falcons 24, Giants 20-- Giants had ball in red zone up 20-10, Manning fumbled when hit, then Atlanta had TD drives of 91-70 yards to pull this game out and move to 2-0. Early prediction: Nick Saban to the Colts, Chuck Pagano to the Giants in 2016.

3) Raiders 37, Ravens 33-- Derek Carr is pretty good, now that he has quality WRs in Crabtree/Cooper. Total yardage in this fun game was 493-448; Ravens miss injured defensive star Suggs. All seven TDs in this game came on drives of 80+ yards. Raiders had 16 accepted penalties for 106 yards and still scored 37 points.

2) Jaguars 23, Dolphins 20-- Miami ran ball only 16 times for 42 yards, in what was only game this week with no turnovers by either side. Bortles has turned out to be a pretty good young QB, but they had only one TD in three red zone drives.

!) Packers 27, Seahawks 17-- Its still funny to me that Aaron Rodgers didn't get a scholarship to play football out of high school. Two NFL games this week were tied at half; of the other 13, only the Giants lost after leading at halftime. Last week, teams that led at the half were 11-4.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday.......
13) Ole Miss 43, Alabama 37--- Hard to believe this is first time Ole Miss has ever beaten Alabama twice in a row, but it is, all of which makes Chuck Pagano's job in Indianapolis harder, since Nick Saban is rumored to be going there next season, unless the Colts win the Super Bowl.

12) LSU 45, Auburn 21-- Last time Alabama/Auburn/USC all lost on same day was November 1, 1997. LSU ran ball for 411 yards in this game (267 in first half) and even though it was 92 degrees at kickoff, Les Miles was wearing a jacket.

I have no idea why, though John Madden had a superstition about wearing the same outfit to every game, so that may be it. I think Rex Ryan does that too.

11) Stanford 41, USC 31-- Underdog is now 10-3 vs spread in this series.

10) California 45, Texas 44-- Golden Bears led 45-24 in 4th quarter, but Texas got TD with 1:11 left but missed tying PAT. QB Heard threw for 364 yards, ran for 163 more, so at least the Longhorns have a QB, even if they still need an AD.

9) Miami 36, Nebraska 33 OT-- Hurricanes led 33-10 with 10:00 left, then watched it all almost slip away. Spoiled fanbase is Miami is already calling for Al Golden's head; if they ever lost this game, that would've been the end of it.

8) South Alabama 34, San Diego State 27-- Mountain West is a dumpster fire; they have now lost 21 straight non-league games vs I-A opponents. South Alabama has been I-A for about ten minutes; you can't be losing to them.

7) Angels swept a doubleheader in Minnesota; they're 1.5 games behind Houston for last Wild Card spot with 13 games left. Houston has been terrible on road; they've got six road games left.

6) Wake Forest 17, Army 14-- Deacons nailed 47-yard FG at gun for the win, after a great job by the holder, who dropped the snap originally but got the ball down in place for the kicker to do his job. Any win for the young Deacons is a good one.

5) By my count, there were 52 lined college games this weekend; in those 52 games, a team scored 30+ points but lost 13 times, exactly 25%. Do coaches still recruit kids who play defense?

4) Iowa 27, Pitt 24-- Marshall Koehn drilled a 57-yarder at the gun, after Pitt coach tried to ice him with a timeout before his first attempt, which missed but didn't count. Memo to coaches: you don't have to ice kids before kicks with no pressure. All that happened was the kid got a free practice swing that helped him with the second kick.

3) Kansas State 39, Louisiana Tech 33 OT-- Tech outgained K-State by 96 yards, but lost in OT. Terry Bradshaw played ball at La Tech; the starting QB before him in Ruston was Phil Robertson, the father on Duck Dynasty.

2) Furman 16, Central Florida 15-- Don't play I-AA teams. Ever.

1) Memphis 44, Bowling Green 41-- There is a chance Memphis-Ole Miss could meet next month, with both teams unbeaten,. which would make the game the toughest ticket in the history of the Liberty Bowl, since the teams are regional rivals, moreso in basketball maybe than football.

Bowling Green has scored 119 points in three games and is 1-2.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Broncos 31, Chiefs 24-- One of three worst regular season losses I can remember, just a complete debacle by the Chiefs, who turned ball over five times, giving Denver a TD in last 2:00 of each half. Its a 16-game season; hard to just give one away.

By the way, Giants-Eagles in '78 and 49ers-Bengals in '87 were other two losses that stood out to me as complete disasters. All three teams that lost were at home.

12) Florida State 14,, Boston College 0-- Good lord, recruit a QB who can throw the ball. BC was 5-15 passing for 56 yards and backup QB Flutie (Doug's nephew) did some of that. You ain't beating Florida State just by running the ball.

11) I'm still not sold on batting the pitcher 8th; don't think it helps much, if at all. I'll be very, very curious if anyone does it in a playoff game; Tony Larussa never did.

10) With over 1,700 entrants in the Westgate Football Handicapping Contest in Las Vegas, first place will be $906,625. They pick five games a week against the spread.

9) Yoenis Cespedes is having a glorious end to his 4-year, $36M contract; word is he wants his next contract to be six years. Very curious to see where he lands, because that six-year deal is likely to be worth more than $120M. Thats million with an M. .

8) Hanley Ramirez is getting paid $122,222 a day by the Red Sox; all he does now is take BP and practice playing first base, which is apparently where he will play next year. Putting Ramirez in the outfield was the kind of move that gets people fired.

7) One of my new hobbies is going thru EBay and pricing bobbleheads; if I played in the NBA for 10+ years and my bobblehead was only worth $5.95 or so, that would make me sad. A few guys are in that boat, some were good players.

Not sure why, but nascot bobbleheads seem to be worth more than lot of players'.

6) Johnny Cueto allowed two runs in seven IP last night in Detroit; Royals have to be encouraged by that performance, his best in almost a month.

5) If you're watching an NFL game and ref is Walt Anderson, know that his crew is the most experienced in the NFL, with a combined 102 years of NFL experience.

4) I wonder how many times an NFL team has won back-to-back games when they allowed a defensive TD in both games. Denver's win at Arrowhead was first time since 2010 that Peyton Manning threw a pick-6 in consecutive games.

3) Milwaukee Brewers drew 37,158 fans to Miller Park on a rainy Friday last night, because their stadium is domed. Minnesota's game got rained out, because for some freakin' reason, the Twins built a new stadium without a retractable dome on it.

Minnesota is a contending team that isn't helped by having to play a twinbill today; Games 6-7 of the World Series this year, in the AL park, will be November 3-4. I'm wondering what the temps will be in Minneapolis those two nights.

2) If you like good writing, go to He is a writer from Kansas City who mostly writes about sports, but occasionally does some other stuff-- he had a good article last week about having a 14-year old daughter. When I read his stuff, I wish I had studied more (or at in school. He really is an excellent writer.

1) Atlanta Brave TV announcers were talking about baseball getting realigned in the near future, the way we suggested a few years ago. They implied that one of the biggest roadblocks to this would be adoption of the DH thru the whole major leagues, which is not a popular idea with the National League teams.

Geographic realignment would reduce travel costs greatly; no way the players' union would ever agree to the elimination of the DH, since DH's are generally lot higher paid than the average player.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Miami Dolphins are trying to start season with back-back wins as road favorites; over last decade, NFL teams in this position are 30-26 vs spread.

12) Not a great college football card this week; Ole Miss-Alabama is probably the best game. Rebels beat Bama last year, first time in last 11 meetings.

11) Giants desperately need a win to take the stink away from last week's game in Dallas. Falcons come to the Swamp on a short week after hanging on vs Philly.

10) Astros' dream season is turning into a nightmare, but now they're home where they play much better. Houston hopes Angels-Twins knock each other off this week, so they can pull ahead in Wild Card race.

9) Rex Ryan has spent his entire head coaching career in AFC East, where Brady's Patriots have been his nemesis; he gets another shot at them Sunday, in what should be a very raucous Rich Stadium.

8) Can Notre Dame defend Georgia Tech's option offense? Hard to prepare for the option in one week. Plus the Irish have a freshman QB making his first start.

7) Huge test for an improved Rams squad that hasn't been 2-0 since 2001. They're the better team here, but they beat the Seahawks last week and this is a trap game against a Washington team that only allowed one offensive TD to Miami last week.

6) Best under-the-radar college game: Memphis at Bowling Green. Lot of offense.

5) Who starts at QB for Cleveland? Marcus Mariota had a great debut on the road, now he is on road again. Browns' 3rd-string QB Austin Davis is better than Manziel.

4) Cal Golden Bears are road favorites for first time since 2012: athletic department at Texas is a mess- they fired the AD this week, changed football play callers the week before. Some of the big money boosters must be wondering whats up.

3) Seattle's pass defense fell apart in last minute at St Louis last week, now they're visiting Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau after beating Green Bay twice LY, including a bitter OT playoff loss. If Packers win, Kam Chancellor's agent is a happy man.

2) Underdogs covered nine of last 12 Stanford-USC games. Cardinal has struggled on road recently; this is a pivotal early season Pac-12 game.

1) Cowboys-Eagles. Demarco Murray against his old team. Road teams have owned this series in recent years. Philly is on short week after a loss; this game means more to them at this point, but Dallas has the better quarterback.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Rutgers suspended football coach Kyle Flood for three games, fined him $50K for e-mailing a professor over a player's grade-- academic support members are people who are supposed to do stuff like that. Have fun recruiting after this mess.

12) I like ground-level NFL highlights, because it shows you how fast and violent a game it really is. You lose that with the normal TV view from above the field.

11) Rangers 14, Astros 3-- Texas routed Houston ace Dallas Keuchel in first inning and increased its AL West lead to 1.5 games. Astros caught a break when Minnesota lost in extra innings to Detroit- they still hold the second Wild Card spot.

10) Not sure if I mentioned this before, but Milwaukee Brewers brought up a career minor leaguer named Nevin Ashley this month, after he spent ten years in the minor leagues. Ashley turned 31 last month; he's played in 870 minor league games, hitting .263 in 2,905 minor league ABs. Two cool things about Mr Ashley:

a) He doubled in his first major league at-bat, after all those years of waiting.
b) His wife's name is Ashley.......which makes her Ashley Ashley.

9) Houston Texans switched QBs already, whcih makes their organization look just plain stupid. No way do you dump the starting QB after one lousy game.

8) Demarco Murray got $9M more in guaranteed money from the Eagles than what Dallas was offering him. At end of the day, money talks louder than any person can.

Side note on Cowboys: they spent $52M on their offense LY, $32M on defense.

7) Padres pitcher Josh Johnson is going to have his third Tommy John operation; I'm thinking no one has ever come back from three arm operations. Johnson is 31, we wish him well- he musn't mind the grueling rehab process he'll have to undergo. Again.

6) Patriots at Buffalo Sunday, in an interesting early season game. Big day in western New York; Syracuse grad Vanessa Williams will sing the national anthem, as Rex Ryan tries to beat his nemesis, Bill Belichick. Ryan has spent his entire head coaching career trying to find a way to stop Tom Brady. He's still trying.

5) Downtown Los Angeles got 2.39 inches of rain Tuesday, the most they've gotten in one day since March 20, 2011. Dodgers got their game in, too.

4) Read an interesting article today about how San Diego Padres made 30 personnel moves in 24 hours last December 18-19, increasing their payroll by $38M. As I type this, the Padres are 69-78; thats $38M down the freakin' drain. But hey, the guy who made the moves went to an Ivy League school, so he doesn't get fired. Oy.

3) Former Colts/Bills GM, Hall of Famer Bill Polian says a developmental, six-team spring football league would work, but only if the NFL paid for it and benefitted from it. All six teams in his league would be located in the southeast. Polian worked in the USFL 30 years ago, which failed because they tried to move to the fall.

A couple of notes on the Republican debate last night........
2) Very tough to be the moderator; you've got 11 people with very big egos up on the stage fighting for their political life- they all need as much airtime as they can get. Someone actually tracked how much each candidate spoke last night- Donald Trump spoke 27 times, the most. Carly Fiorina interrupted the most, six times.

1) My opinion is that debates are not the best way to choose who is going to lead our country. Being glib and/or telegenic shouldn't be requirements for the job. Of the 17 males running for President, all middle-aged men, none are bald. How? Why?

If you take any cross-section of 17 middle-aged men, the odds of coming up with zero bald guys are astronomic. Could be just me, but I sense a conspiracy here. :-)

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings.......
13) James Harden signed a 13-year, $200M deal with adidas to wear their sneakers, but adidas was not happy when TMZ showed Harden out in public recently wearing a pair of Air Jordans. Apparently that is not allowed in his contract.

12) By the way, if another Watergate-type political scandal ever erupts, likely it won't be a newspaper that breaks it the way the Washington Post broke Watergate, it'll be freakin' TMZ, unless they're too busy stalking the Kardashians.

Don't laugh: James Harden is dating gold-digging Khloe Kardashian, who used to be married to Lamar Odom. Thats how the Harden/Air Jordan thing was uncovered.

11) Rangers 6, Astros 5-- Texas is now in first place; they're 10-4 against Houston so far this season, but 17-30 against the rest of the AL West.

10) If I owned the Dodgers, I call manager Don Mattingly or the GM and tell them to get of reliever Jim Johnson, who was good 3-4 years ago but is awful now. Over last two years, in over 110 innings, Johnson has a 5.22 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP, numbers that should get him sent to AAA.

9) Texas Longhorns fired AD Steve Patterson, who no one seems to like, but the guy gets $1.4M (a year's salary) as a parting gift. I've said this before, but damn, I wish someone disliked me enough to give me $1.4M, just to go away.

8) Umpire Ted Barrett was an amateur boxer before he turned to umpiring.

7) Pro wrestler John Cena does more for charity than any athlete; he has answered over 500 Make-a-Wish requests, is a great ambassador for his profession. Here is another one of the great things he has done, this past Monday night.

6) Are the rats jumping off the ship in Seattle? Now Marshawn Lynch's mom wants offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell fired. Gotta love social media.

5) Dee Gordon had four hits last night for the Marlins, the 22nd time this season he has had 3+ hits in a game. He's become one of baseball's best leadoff hitters.

4) Security at Charlotte Arena wouldn't let Jeremy Lin into the arena last week; guess they're not big NBA fans and didn't recognize Lin as one of the newest Hornets.

3) Rockies 6, Dodgers 5 (16)-- Colorado used 13 pitchers on mound, a 14th in right field after Carlos Gonzalez got hurt fouling ball off his leg. Rockies used 30 players at all in this game, which ended around 3:30am in the east.

2) Cubs-Pirates split a doubleheader Tuesday, looks like they'll be playing in the NL Wild Card game October 6. Jon Lester pitched a complete game in the nightrcap so the Cubs could salvage the split. Pirates have 4-game lead for home field edge.

1) NFL running back Jeremy Hill starts Matt Ryan over Andy Dalton on his fantasy football team, which is fine, except for one minor detail.

Jeremy Hill plays for the Bengals. Whoops.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Falcons 26, Eagles 24-- Atlanta led 20-3 at half, then Philly's offense got hot, scoring three consecutive TDs, on drives totaling 183 yards on 21 plays. Bradford is going to be a good fit with Chip Kelly if he stays healthy; the first-place Cowboys visit the City of Brotherly Love Sunday. That could be fun.

12) 49ers 20, Vikings 3-- Not many NFL teams run ball for 230 yards in a game, but the 49ers pushed Minnesota all over Levi's Stadium. Green Bay is already in first place all by itself in the NFC North. Seattle is in last place by itself in NFC West.

11) Here is a comparison of two current NFL QBs; I'll identify them below. See if you can guess which quarterback is which........

-- Quarterback A: 40-23-1 regular season W-L record; 0-4 playoff record
-- Quarterback B: 75-48 regular season W-L reord; 2-4 playoff record

I'll identify these two down below.........

10) NFL officials definitely let DBs play more aggressively this week; last year they were throwing flags if a DB sneezed. I like letting the guys play a lot more.

9) Iowa QB CJ Beathard is grandson of former Redskins' GM Bobby Beathard.

8) It is amazing to me that the NFL Network has pregame shows on starting at 7am Sunday mornings. Who the hell watches TV at 7am on Sundays (in the east)?

7) There is actually a TV show on the Travel Channel called Booze Traveler, about a guy who goes all over the world drinking unique kinds of alcoholic drinks.

6) Jon Gruden during the Philly-Atlanta game Monday night:

"Pay no attention to preseason games; they mean nothing." He sounded like the guy in the Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!!"

5) ESPN's pylon camera is tremendous; it provides an interesting shot of the action coming towards the end zone, near the ground level.

4) Eli Manning signed an $84M contract extension last week; I'm thinking he should be an expert on NFL rules, so he can, you his team win games. What he did or didn't do Sunday night was the equivalent of football malpractice.

Imagine if Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III ever screwed up like that?

3) Interesting that Dallas kicker Bailey sets up on the right hashmark when he tries the now-longer 33-yard PAT. Just about all kickers line up in middle of the field.

2) This is how the world works sometimes.........
-- Nebraska fired football coach Bo Pelini last fall.
-- Oregon State coach Mike Riley surprisingly left Corvallis for Nebraska.
-- Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson surprisingly left Madison for Oregon State.
-- Anderson needed a QB to run the offense he was switching to at OSU, so he took a kid from the San Diego area who had previously committed to San Jose State.
-- San Jose lost what would have been a great recruit for them because Nebraska fired Bo Pelini last fall, and then the dominos that followed. Life sucks sometimes.

1) Jason Garrett was out of replay challenges with 10:50 left in first half Sunday, but his second challenge was the equivalent of a turnover, so it was worth doing. It is an interesting study how coaches use their challenges.

-- Quarterback A is Cincinnati's Andy Dalton; Quarterback B is Tony Romo.

Monday's list of 13: Wrapping up NFL Opening Day.........
We overreact to Week 1 results; the offseason is so long, we look forward to the Week 1 games from the time the schedule comes out in the spring, but once we see the final scores today, then either panic or euphoria sets in and neither is warranted.

13) Titans 42, Buccaneers 14-- By time Jameis Winston got his first completion, his Bucs were down 21-nil; Winston's first NFL pass was a pick-6. Last NFL QB whose first pass was a pick-6? Brett Favre, while playing for the Atlanta Falcons. Mariota had a glorious debut for the Titans; maybe his coaches are just better, setting him up to succeed. Bucs have two rookies on offensive line, too. Tough to win that way.

12) Broncos 19, Ravens 13-- Each team's defense scored a TD, neither offense did, as Peyton Manning looked 39 years old, averaging 3.4 ypa. Total yardage in this game was 219-173. For the whole game. Denver has short week, long road trip this week, with a Thursday game at Arrowhead against the Chiefs.

11) Rams 34 Seahawks 31 OT-- .Each team ran a punt back for a TD; Seattle had a defensive TD and scored 18 straight points in 4th quarter., but Foles led tying drive in last 2:00, then Seahawks started OT with a flubbed pooch kick that looked like a bad onside kick and Rams got ball near midfield, kicked a FG.

Game ended when Lynch was stuffed on 4th-and-1 in Ram terrritory. Of seven teams Sunday who were -2 or worse in turnovers, only Rams/Cowboys won.

10) Packers 31, Bears 23-- Green Bay won 10 of last 11 series games, winning last six in row, five by 7+ points. Rodgers averaged 8.2 ypa without Nelson, as James Jones stepped in after being re-signed and caught two TDs. Chicago converted 11 of 17 on 3rd down, which is really good, but scored only 10 points on three red zone drives.

9) Chiefs 27, Texans 20-- In Hard Knocks, Houston chose Brian Hoyer as QB over Ryan Mallett, in a not-too-decisive way, then Mallett "overslept" practice the next day, so now Bill O'Brien has a full-fledged QB controversy after Mallett came off the bench to direct a couple of garbage time scoring drives. This game was 27-9 at half; Travis Kelce looked like Kellen Winslow Sr in the first quarter, catching two TDs.

8) Jets 31, Browns 10-- Cleveland is now 1-16 in season openers, as QB McCown was knocked goofy and fumbled while trying to score a TD. Manziel came on in relief, but he hadn't practiced much lately and it showed-- he was 13-24/182 with an INT and a TD pass. Excellent start to the Todd Bowles era in the Swamp.

7) Bills 27, Colts 14-- I'm going to beat this to death a little, because it is important, I think. Tyrod Taylor was an average (at best) college QB, but he sat on an NFL bench for four years, learned his profession, got better at it and now that he finally got his chance to start a game, he excelled, averaging 10.3 ypa and running for 41 yards. It is becoming evident (see Winston, Jameis) that the best way to develop a QB is to let him sit and learn but no one has any patience anymore. Too bad.

As for Marcus Mariota's debut, which was stellar, we shall see. Still think they would be better off playing Mettenberger this year and letting Mariota observe for a while, but that sounds stupid now after the way Mariota played in Tampa today.

6) Dolphins 17, Redskins 10-- Miami shut Washington out in second half, scored winning TD on a punt return in 4th quarter. NFL-wide, defense/special teams scored nine TDs this week (so far); teams with non-offensive TDs are 5-4, but two of the losers (Seattle/Baltimore) also gave up a non-offensive TD, so it is really 3-2.

5) Panthers 20, Jaguars 9--Heading into the Monday night games, favorites are 8-5-1 this week; over is 9-5. In this game, teams were in red zone a combined six times, with two TDs, two FGs and two empty trips.

4) Cardinals 31, Saints 19-- Arizona is 14-3 at home under Bruce Arians, who didn't become an NFL head coach until he was 60, which means he came very close to never becoming one. Yardage in this game was 427-408, but Saints were lame in red zone, as they seemed to miss departed TE Jimmy Graham.

3) Chargers 33, Lions 28-- Around 5:00 Sunday, I sent this text to a buddy: "Lions are killing San Diego"; from that point on, Chargers scored 30 consecutive points and hung on after an onside kick in last minute for the win. Rivers was 35-42/388 passing as Bolts racked up 28 first downs, converting 6-11 on third down. Detroit is now 4-10 as road dogs since 2012, 5-11 in last 16 non-divisional road games. No bueno.

2) Bengals 33, Raiders 13-- Cincinnati is only team in NFL history to make playoffs four years in a row but not win any playoff games in those four years. That said, they ended an 0-10 drought in O.Co Coliseum here with emphasis, KO'ing Derek Carr with a hand injury. Good start for Marvin Lewis' team.

1) Cowboys 27, Giants 26-- Romo led last-minute comeback fueled by awful clock management by Giants and their $84M quarterback. Dallas is now 8-25 vs spread as home favorites since '10, 3-10 in divisional games; they covered once in last seven tries as a favorite in home opener- they lose Dez Bryant (foot) for 4-6 weeks as they head into Pihilly this week, but this was a big win for Dallas.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Oklahoma 31, Tennessee 24 OT-- Sooners' offense did bupkus in first 45:00, but this game had a great finish, with spunky QB Mayfield leading a great comeback and then putting his team over the top in overtime. We need more games like this in September, excellent non-conference matchups. This game was fun.

12) Auburn 27, Jacksonville State 20 OT-- 30 years ago, the Rams won the NFC West with most famous alum of Jacksonville State's football program (Dieter Brock) as its QB-- he had thrown for 34,830 yards in the CFL before that.

The Gamecocks were winning yesterday in the last minute, but let it slip away, much to the relief of every other team in the SEC. Loss here would've been tough to explain away when the playoffs roll around and conferences start comparing themselves.

11) Toledo 16, Arkansas 12-- Not a great day for the SEC, as Bret Bielema has now lost his last 12 games that were decided by 7 or less points, dating back to his days at Wisconsin. Bielema's last eight wins are all by 17+ points.

10) Notre Dame 34, Virginia 27-- Irish lost QB Zaire for the year, but his backup saved the day in this game, throwing a GW 39-yard TD pass with 0:12 left against a Virginia club that UCLA outgained 503-336 in a 34-16 win last week. Not often a team scores 34 points while going 0-10 on 3rd down, but ND did in this game.

9) Bowling Green 48, Maryland 27-- MAC's Falcons ran 105 plays for 692 yards and scored 42 points in the second half, so before Big 14 people start pointing fingers, they might want to check out that boxscore. Or this one.........

8) Washington State 37, Rutgers 34-- Scarlet Knights ran a kick and a punt back for a TD but still lost, as Wazzu's soph QB Falk threw for 478 yards, including a GW TD with 0:12 left. WR Marks caught 14 balls for 146 yards and took some severe hits, but kept catching the ball-- he'll be a pro.

7) David Ortiz hit HRs #499 and 500 last night in St Pete; he and Albert Pujols are only two players to hit 499/500 in same game.

6) Troy Tulowitzki has a broken bone in his shoulder, is out indefinitely.

5) Kentucky 26, South Carolina 22-- Gamecocks scored with 8:09 left to pull within 24-22, went for two points to tie game, but Kentucky scored two on defense instead and game swung on that play. Carolina QB Mitch hurt his shoulder-- lot of QB injuries in the first two weeks of the season.

4) Michigan State 31, Oregon 28-- I'm not a big fan of a kid playing for a team for three years, then jumping ship to play for a better team as a senior, just because he can. Vernon Adams played for I-AA Eastern Washington, they won lot of games, but then he bolted to Oregon because they needed a QB this year. This happens more in hoops than football, but it leaves a sour taste.

Maybe Adams is a great kid, I don't know, maybe he'll be a great NFL QB, but I think he missed out on an experience of finishng what he started at EWU, and who is to say that his staying there would've hindered his chances of playing in the NFL?

3) Both punters in the Oregon State-Michigan game are from Australia.

2) Minnesota 23, Colorado State 20 OT-- State fumbled on first play of OT after tying game on last play of regulation. Good win for the improving Gophers.

1) Temple 34, Cincinnati 26-- Owls open season with wins at Penn State/Cincinnati, with both wins by more than a TD. Think they'll get any top 25 votes? They should.

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) I see Antonio Brown play so well for the Steelers and I have fond memories of watching his dad play for the Albany Firebirds in the Arena League 15-18 years ago.

Touchdown Eddie Brown once scored nine TDs in an AFL game; he was the offensive specialist for the Firebirds, who won the 1999 Arena Bowl, but left Albany when the league abandoned smaller markets for NFL markets, in an ill-advised attempt to become a farm league for the NFL (Iowa Barnstormers moved to Long Island, too).

12) The genius who ran the Arena League then is somehow now Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame-- David Baker, his son played tackle at USC, was on the Falcons until this past offseason. Iowa and Albany supported their AFL teams, but it wasn't enough. Too bad.

11) Dodgers are so solid with Kershaw/Greinke at front of their pitching rotation, but they have used 14 other pitchers in slots 3-5, as they desperately try to fill those two slots with the playoffs approaching. No other team has used more starting pitchers this season.

10) Atlanta's Shelby Miller is an above average big league pitcher; he is also winless in his last 21 starts-- he has been the unluckiest pitcher we've seen in many years.

9) New England Patriots haven't allowed a 4th quarter TD in their last nine games.

8) Eli Manning signs a 4-year, $84M contract extension; too bad he doesn't play on defense. Manning's durability makes him so valuable, but their OL better improve this season or Eli will be falling on his wallet a lot again this fall.

7) Odd stat: Nelson Cruz is only the second player since 1954 (Adam Dunn is the other) with 40+ homers in a season, with no sacrifice flies.

6) Phillies finally fired GM Ruben Amaro Jr, who ran the franchise into the ground by sticking with the aging core of the '08 championship team way too long.

5) Jonas Gray, an obscure running back who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated after his first game last fall, then overslept a practice and got buried by the Patriots, is now a Miami Dolphin. Hopefully the young man will have a good career.

4) If you bet on Serena Williams Friday, you had to risk $3,000 to win $100; in horse racing, people who make bets like that are called "bridge jumpers", for obvious reasons. There is no such thing as a sure thing, thats why they call it gambling.

3) One of the last lines in HBO's Hard Knocks this summer was Bill O'Brien telling his players that the NFL "is the most competitive business in the world."

There is such a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL, teams that can gain any type of advantage are going to win a lot more than they lose.

Bill O'Brien was the Patriots QB coach before he was the coach at Penn State; his Texans are playing New England in Week 14; I'd love to know if they'll change their security for signalling in plays or for their walk-thru practice. I'm just sayin'......

2) Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal went off on Donald Trump Thursday, making fun of his hair and calling him a narcissist more than once. Only way some of these guys in the Presidential race can get attention is to go after Trump but Jindal was very funny. It'll be interesting to see how long Trump stays the Republican frontrunner.

1) Lets face it, this country is so disgusted with politics that a really rich guy who hosts a reality TV show might become President. He is rude, offensive, polarizing, but he is rich and famous and in this country, that is revered by a lot of people. Trump is not a bad guy, but he is mostly all about Trump and a lot of women despise him.

Our country needs someone as President that we respect, even if we don't always agree with that person. We do not need another polarizing figure. What the presidential race needs to weed out a lot of these charlatans is one guy to step forward and join the race.

Joe Biden. We'll see if it happens.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.....
13) Everyone on TV is picking the Colts to win the AFC but they're only -3 in their opener at Buffalo. Why so low? Buffalo hasn't made the playoffs since 1999; their QB has never started an NFL game. I'm so confused......

12) Oregon is an underdog for the first time in their last 46 games; they whacked Michigan State 46-27 LY in Eugene. Can they win in East Lansing with a QB who played the last three years at the I-AA level?

11) How will the two rookie QBs do in the Florida heat late Sunday afternoon down in Tampa? Defensive coordinators will challenge them with a variety of blitzes.

10) Blue Jays-Bronx got rained out last night; they'll play a twinbill Saturday, as part of a 4-game series that will go long way towards determining the AL East winner.

9) Will Sam Bradford stay in one piece? He's missed 31 games out of 80 in his first five NFL seasons. If Bradford gets hurt, the Eagles QB is Mark Sanchez.

8) Did LSU getting rained out last week hurt their prep for Mississippi State this week? Their offense/defense played one series each last week against McNeese State, while MSU played a fairly tough game at Southern Miss.

7) How much will Jordy Nelson's injury hurt the Packers? Green Bay has treated the Bears like a pinata recently; will it continue Sunday in Chicago?

6) Iowa-Iowa State is an underrated rivalry; last four series games were all decided by six or less points. Hawkeyes are 3-5 in last five visits to Ames.

5) Cleveland Browns are 1-15 in season openers; they visit a Jets squad with new QB, new coach and a less-than-stellar record at home.

4) Rutgers won 41-38 at Washington State LY; Wazzu lost at home to a I-AA team last week, really needs a win here, before heading into a tough Pac-12.

3) Who will fill Demarco Murray's shoes in Dallas? Cowboys averaged 5.9 yards per carry when they ran ball on first down LY. He will be missed.

2) Memphis is a two-TD favorite at Kansas; this is sixth time Tigers have been a road favorite since 2013. From 2006-12, they were never once favored on the road. Coach Justin Fuente has done a terrific job, could be moving up the coaching ladder soon.

1) Can Denver's rebuilt OL protect immobile, 39-year old Peyton Manning?

Enjoy the first full football weekend of the year; it should be fun.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) In Monday's Dodger-Angel game, 14 relief pitchers combined to get 23 outs, as a sleep-inducing parade of relief pitchers came in from each bullpen. Hopefully next year, they will put an end to September roster expansion-- it is not good.

This game took 3:52 to play and the pace of play was fine, when they weren't changing pitchers. Each pitching change during an inning adds maybe 4-5 minutes?

12) Dodgers have used four different leadoff hitters the last four games; the last two led off the game with home runs, Justin Ruggiano and Scott Schebler, not exactly the kind of names you'd expect to be leading off for a team with a $300M payroll.

11) Texas Longhorns lost 38-3 at Notre Dame and have already changed play callers, not that they're panicking or anything. The new playcaller last chose plays for UCLA way back in 2007. Why exactly did they fire Mack Brown?

10) Cole Hamels is the first pitcher to be traded by a team during the same season in which he threw a no-hitter for that team.

9) Our daily note on Mets' OF Michael Conforto: his mom won two gold medals in the Olympics in synchronized swimming. His dad played football at Penn State.

8) Miami's J.T. Realmuto is first catcher with an inside-the-park HR and a regular HR in same game since Gary Carter in 1980

7) Not only has Atlanta used 36 pitchers this season, 18 of 36 weren't in big league spring training with the Braves.

6) Oakland gave manager Bob Melvin a well-deserved contract extension thru 2018, as this nightmare of a season winds down. A's made the playoffs the last three years, but the front office dismantled the lineup last year and this season has mostly been a dumpster fire combining horrible fielding with cruddy relief pitching.

5) Beverly Hills HS has a gym with a pool underneath the basketball floor; this is simply tremendous!!!! Wonder if it makes the gym more humid.

4) Don't tell me baseball isn't a mental game; Red Sox are 14-7 since they announced Dave Dombrowski s the team's new head honcho.

3) Race car driver Denny Hamlin tore his ACL playing basketball, but won't miss any races, because if you drive a race car for a living, you're tough.

I mean seriously, if you screwed up your knee, it would be agony just to sit in a car for 500 miles without getting out now and then to stretch out and he can't take pain killers, because he's driving a damn car 180 miles an hour. Good grief.

2) Sam Bradford will wait until after the season to negotiate a new contract, which is an interesting strategy for a guy who missed 31 of 80 games in his NFL career, with an 18-30-1 record in the 49 games he did play.

Of course, when you've already banked $65M in the first five years of your career, it is easier to take that gamble. If he stays healthy, he's a good player. Big if.

1) Joey Votto bugged out in the 8th inning last night, getting ejected after a marginal pitch was called a strike. Odd thing is, he didn't strike out on the pitch; it merely made the count 1-2, but it sent Votto over the edge and he got tossed. Votto is famous for having a good eye at the plate; he draws a lot of walks.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings.........
13) Mets 8, Nationals 7-- Washington led 7-1, with man on first and two out in top of 7th; then their bullpen imploded and their season ended, for all intents/purposes. In one of the worst losses I've ever seen a team stumble thru, here is how the rest of the top of the 7th inning went for the Mets:

walk-single-walk-walk-double-walk-walk-walk-line out to right. 6 runs, 3 hits.

Wonder who Washington will hire as manager after they fire Matt Williams?

12) Mets are off the hook (for now) on the Matt Harvey/innings fiasco, since they've basically clinched the division, so they can get by without Harvey for a while.

11) Tennessee got hammered 34-10 at Oklahoma LY, but that was before Joshua Dobbs became the Vols' QB-- they were so much better after he took over under center. Looking forward to watching the rematch Saturday from Knoxville.

10) In Ohio State's next nine games, they will be favored by 21+ points in all nine; their next three games are Hawai'i-Northern Illinois-Western Michigan. Biggest enemy Urban Meyer might have until Halloween is boredom.

9) Interesting that ESPN openly talks about pointspreads/gambling now. When TV ratings go in the dumper, rules go out the window. Some college administrators aren't happy about this, but the college bean counters can't be too upset.

8) Looks like Kam Chancellor is out for this week; Seattle's defense will be without one of its leaders. Maybe wishful thinking on my part because they're playing the Rams, but leaders win road games for teams. We'll see what happens Sunday.

7) Last episode of HBO's Hard Knocks is always a very good one, with last cuts an emotional time for all involved; interesting that the last three players cut by Houston all signed with other teams, so either the Texans have a very deep roster or they cut the wrong guys. Coach Bill O'Brien was by far the star of this summer's shows.

6) Did you see the two high school football players take a cheap shot at the official last week in Texas? Do these kids realize football games are taped? No idea what the official said to the kids, but they'll be lucky to get out without criminal charges.

5) ACC's payoff for letting Notre Dame play basketball in their league (and getting a piece of the ACC $$$ bonanza from the NCAAs/TV) is that the Irish have to play six football games a year against ACC teams. They're at Virginia this week, go to Clemson later on. Showtime has a Hard Knocks-type program on Notre Dame football this fall, but doubt you'll see many controversial things there.

4) Want to win a bar bet? Rookie outfielder Michael Conforto was 1,000th player in Mets history. Oregon State rookie looks like a keeper, too.

3) Pay the man already!!!! Yoenis Cespedes has 34 RBI in 35 games with the Mets.

2) NBA changed its playoff format; division winners are no longer guaranteed a top four seed, which is a good thing.

1) RIP Joaquin Andujar, who passed away this week at age 62 from side effects of diabetes. Andujar was 127-118 in his 13-year career, winning 41 games for St Louis is the 1984-85 seasons. He made four All-Star teams in 13 years.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Pirates played on ESPN Sunday night in St Louis, then had a 1:00 game Monday in Cincinnati; what genius thought this was a good idea? Pittsburgh lost seven of its last eight games; still looks like they'll play the Cubs in the Wild Card game.

12) Ohio State 42, Virginia Tech 24-- Buckeyes are loaded, with two backup QBs who would start at most colleges. If Cardale Jones had entered NFL Draft last April, he might be starting this Sunday in a pro game, instead of for the Buckeyes, and he has only started four college games, none in Columbus.

11) If I owned a major league baseball team, all of my coaches would be bilingual; communication is too important to have players who can't communicate with coaches.

10) SEC championship football game will stay in Atlanta thru 2027; Falcons open a new stadium in 2018- the game will move there when that replaces the Georgia Dome.

9) 15 of the Astros' last 24 games are on the road. Should be an interesting last four weeks for a team that doesn't play well away from home.

8) Baseball record that I've never heard of before yesterday: Earl Webb once hit 67 doubles in 1931 and no one has ever hit more. Closest anyone has come recently was when Todd Helton hit 59 doubles for the Rockies.

7) Minor league baseball is profitable: Quad City River Bandits, a Class A farm club of the Astros, averaged 3,907 fans per game this year. Minor league teams are profit makers because they don't pay player salaries.

When you get 3,907 people a game in Davenport, Iowa and have an outfield fence covered with advertising signs, you make a decent buck.

6) Cleveland Browns suspended their offensive line coach after he got suspended for a DUI (not his first). Browns are 1-15 in season openers, visit the Jets Sunday.

5) Reggie Wayne only lasted 12 days with the Patriots, but don't feel bad for him; he banked $450K for those 12 miserable days in New England.

4) ESPN the Magazine interviewed 98 college football players; 58% of them think the college football playoff should be eight teams, not four.

3) Three of the eleven guys on Virginia Tech's kick coverage team are brothers.

2) Was watching the underrated movie Leap of Faith (Steve Martin, Debra Winger) and saw that the price of gas back then (movie was made in 1992) was $1.24 a gallon. If you stumble across this movie on cable, it is worth a watch; Liam Neeson before he hit it big, Meat Loaf as a musician. This was one of Steve Martin's best roles.

1) Today is the day the Kam Chancellor/Seahawks stalemate takes a turn; either one side caves in, or one of Seattle's team leaders is out for Sunday's game with NFC West rival St Louis. Nate Burleson was saying on TV yesterday how Chancellor's impact on the Seahawks cannot be understated, so his absence would be a problem.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Enough already with Draft Kings and Fan Duel commercials; doesn't anyone in this country drink anymore? What happened to beer commercials?

Seriously, I'm getting bludgeoned with fantasy football commercials- they're advertising more than the fast food places. As I'm typing this, another one just came on TV.

12) Eagles signed former Miami QB Stephen Morris, who Jacksonville let go; they cut Tim Tebow and needed an emergency QB.

11) McNeese State's game at LSU got cancelled after only 5:00 because of lightning; the Cowboys cleaned up-- they still got the $500K check and they didn't get a loss on their record. LSU could've used a dress rehearsal since they're going to Starkville this week to play SEC rival Mississippi State. .

10) There are 13 NFL teams with no fullbacks on their roster.

9) Interesting story on about the Ravens; Marc Trestman is their fourth OC the last four years, but instead of making the whole offense learn another new system, Trestman kept Gary Kubiak's system from last year and learned that one himself, figuring it would be easier for one person to learn a new system than 25 or 30.

8) I'm surprised there was only one college football game Sunday; guess they were deferring to NASCAR and baseball last night. If you had Purdue +7, two pick-6's by Marshall handed you a very bad early season beat.

7) Former Notre Dame QB Everett Golson was 19-25 for 302 yards, four TDs in his first game for Florida State Saturday.

6) Texas Tech 59, Sam Houston 45-- When a I-AA team runs for 351 yards and the majority of your schedule is Big X teams, Tech's defense could be in for a long year.

5) ESPN's guys at the Alabama game Saturday said the Crimson Tide defense was on the field for 170 more plays last year than in 2013 and it caused them to wear down late last season. Might be interesting to track this season.

4) Speaking of Alabama, rumors of Nick Saban going to the Colts next year won't go away, which could be why Chuck Pagano is being left to twist in the wind. But what happens if Indy wins the Super Bowl?

3) Ole Miss 76, UT-Martin 3-- Hope the parties in The Grove were good, because the game 38,677 fans paid to see was horrendous. ESPNU actually replayed this debacle Sunday morning. Why? Who would want to watch it again?

2) Atlanta Braves' 12-game losing streak is their worst since 1977; when owner Ted Turned stepped in and managed the team for a game, before the commissioner put a stop to that, since Turner didn't know much about baseball. Five years later Atlanta was in the playoffs, with Joe Torre as their manager.

1) Sign of the times: Alabama's kicker is from Poland, Wisconsin's from Brazil.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) BYU 33, Nebraska 28-- Horrific loss for the Cornhuskers, who gave up a TD on a last-second Hail Mary by BYU's back-up QB. Nebraska had the ball on BYU 21 with 1:30 left, leading 28-27 and BYU was out of timeouts-- they still lost. Rough start to the Mike Riley era in Lincoln.

12) Costly wins for BYU and Syracuse, who both lost their starting QB for the year with leg injuries. BYU's freshman backup QB was on a Mormon mission in Chile the last two years, so he is a year or two older than the typical freshman.

11) Temple 27, Penn State 10-- Owls ended a 31-game losing streak to Penn State by beating Nittany Lions for first time since 1941. Temple had ten sacks in the game, as questions swirl about James Franklin's ability to run an offense (as opposed to former coach Bill O'Brien, who now coaches the Houston Texans).

10) Tennessee 59, Bowling Green 30-- Falcons went for it on 4th and 3 on their own 18 in the 2nd quarter, when they were down 21-10. They made it, but that said a lot about how they view their defense, which got shredded for 399 rushing yards.

9) Texas A&M 38, Arizona State 17-- I am told this is the only regular season game between the SEC and Pac-12 this season, which is too bad.

8) Olivia Harlan is a very pretty young lady who is a sideline reporter on the SEC Network; she is the daughter of TNT announcer Kevin Harlan, granddaughter of Bob Harlan, former CEO of Green Bay Packers. She appears to be very good at her job and hopefully she will be more understated than her father is on NBA games.

7) Former Florida QB Jeff Driskell went 12-15 for 274 yards and four TDs in his debut for Louiaiana Tech last night. Young man had a hard time at Florida, good to see him have success with the pass-happy Bulldogs.

6) Rough start for Pac-12: Colorado lost at Hawai'i, Washington State lost to a I-AA team, Stanford lost at Northwestern, Arizona State got smoked by A&M, Washington lost at Boise State. It is only one week but not the best start.

5) Terrible helmets: Virginia and Arizona State, just awful. Northern Illinois had bad ones too, but those were 1965 throwback uniforms. You had to strain to see the logo on the side of the Virginia helmets. No idea what ASU is trying to do with a number on one side of the helmet and their new pitchfork logo on the other.

4) Eagles cut Tim Tebow, meaning they only have two QBs on their depth chart right now; when one of the two is oft-injured Sam Bradford, they might want to add a QB (Philip Sims?) to their practice squad.

3) Florida Gators have only six seniors on scholarship on their football team, which is really, really unusual.

2) Atlanta Braves TV guys were really praising Martin Prado this past week, which is a little unusual for an opposing player- they said his clubhouse presence is missed in Atlanta, where the wheels have totally fallen off the last few weeks.

1) Then there is Boston, where the Red Sox are taking grief for firing popular TV play-by-play guy Don Orsillo (for no apparent reason). It got so bad the people who did it actually asked Orsillo to say the parting was a mutual decision (which is very obviously is not). Orsillo declined; good for him.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Matt Harvey has thrown 166.1 innings this year; his agent Scott Boras came out and said he should be shut down at 180 innings, per doctor's recommendations, but it looks like the Mets will ignore Boras and pitch Harvey thru the playoffs, sparing Met fans from breaking the Interweb with hysterical tweets/e-mails.

Harvey didn't pitch last year after arm surgery and there is a general school of thought that the pitcher's innings should be restricted in the first year after an operation.

12) While we're on this subject, why not just name Boras commissioner, so he can run the whole sport the way he seems to want to? Because he would have to take the biggest pay cut in the history of man if he ever became commissioner.

11) For the sake of argument, lets say that Harvey makes three more starts in regular season, then four more in playoffs and goes six innings in every start- that would put him at 208.1 innings, which is an awful lot for a guy coming off of surgery.

Two more quick points:
a) Harvey will be a free agent after the 2018 season; if he is still doing well and is healthy then, he figures to break the bank and Boras is in line for 3% of that windfall.

b) If the Mets ever shut Harvey down this season, there would be a revolt at the $1B, publicly funded CitiField, where the Mets have sucked for the past several years. They're finally good, they need to try and win the World Series this year.

10) The 1928 Boston Braves once played nine consecutive doubleheaders; they were 4-14 in those eighteeen games. Now thats an overtaxed pitching staff.

9) Donald Trump keeps referring to Jeb Bush as "low energy....." A counselor named Susan Scott explains the difference between high and low energy people:

"High-energy people are fast talkers, fast thinkers, fast decision-makers, fast movers. These are the folks who don’t sit still for long, are always making new plans and coming up with new ideas."

By contrast, those in the low-energy camp are "more deliberate in their planning, slower to make decisions, thoughtful and pensive, more relaxed, less prone to quick flashes of temper."

So being low energy isn't a bad thing, but the label apparently annoys Bush. Quotes up above are courtesy of, by the way.

8) Milwaukee Brewers had Fan Appreciation weekend scheduled for the last weekend of the season, against the Cubs. Teams suck up to the fans then, trying to get them to buy tickets for next year, usually by giving away cheap souvenirs.

Problem is, so many Cub fans are making the 90-mile drive to Milwaukee for that weekend that the Brewers moved Fan Appreciation Weekend, so that Cub fans don't reap the benefits of being appreciated by the Brewers.

7) Dustin Johnson drove a par-4, 289 hole. With a 2-iron. Here is proof.

6) 56 rookies combined to hit 155 home runs in August, a big league record.

5) SMU needs to recruit good defensive players; major college teams can have 85 scholarship kids, that is 17 a year, since most players redshirt, but unless you recruit kids who play defense, your team will lose a lot of 49-34 games. The new coach at SMU is an offensive guru, so that will be his priority, but still.......

4) I think we underestimate how difficult it is for guys from other countries to come here and blend in on teams when they're so far from home, whether they be from Asia or Central America or wherever. Can't imagine working with someone who doesn't know the language here, has to be terribly difficult for them.

3) My A's have had a terrible season, but when they traded Ben Zobrist to Kansas City, they got a pitcher named Sean Manaea who is 6-0, 1.90 in his last seven starts in the hitter-happy Texas League (AA), so maybe in a year or two, he'll be up in the big leagues and helping and something positive will have come from this debacle.

2) Eagles traded QB Matt Barkley to Arizona, so looks like Tim Tebow made the squad as a 3rd-string QB. My friend Scott who is a QB expert and Cardinal fan loves Barkley, so the Redbirds may have their QB of the future. I kind of liked Philip Sims, who Arizona will probably now cut; he reminds me a little of Cam Newton.

1) Ed McMahon was an American icon, becoming famous as the sidekick on the Tonight Show for many years; he also did a lot of commercials and hosted a talent show on TV-- he was very, very recognizable, very popular, but in his later years, he was really sick, couldn't work and wound up not being able to make payments on his mansion in Beverly Hills, which wound up in foreclosure. A sad situation.

A rich guy from the east read about his plight, bought the mansion and leased it back to McMahon at an affordable rate until he passed away, a classy act of charity that didn't have to happen, since the two men didn't even know each other.

Who was this rich guy fron the east? You may have heard of him.......

Donald Trump.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with long weekend here......
13) Bryce Harper's line tonight: 0-4-0-1....that is four at-bats, four walks, one with the bases loaded. He saw 20 pitches and swung at none of them, second-most of any batter in the last decade. Impressive patience. Terrible pitching.

12) Clayton Kershaw induced 35 misses on 75 San Francisco swings Wednesday night, five more misses than any other pitcher has induced in the last decade.

11) ESPN suspended Curt Schilling for the rest of the season, because he doesn't have the common sense to put a lid on his political views when his bosses tell him to. He's lost most of his money investing in a video game venture that failed; you'd think he'd figure out he needs a good job-- sometime you have to bite your damn tongue, or not hit the send button anytime you feel like it.

10) That said, how is Schilling suspended but Cris Carter is still on the air? He told NFL rookies to pay off friends to take the fall if a crime was committed and he still has a job? Seems like a double standard may be at work here.

9) Utah 24, Michigan 17-- Wolverines threw three INTs, one returned for a TD, as Jim Harbaugh lost his Michigan debut. Total yardage was 355-337, Michigan. You get the idea a 43 pass/29 rush ratio isn't what Harbaugh had in mind.

8) South Carolina 17, North Carolina 13-- Gamecocks faked a punt in first 6:00 of game. Both teams ran for 200+ yards; Gamecocks have a QB problem-- four different guys played QB, two from the Wildcat formation. Tar Heels threw two INTs in red zone- they had a 440-394 edge in yardage. Both defenses have improved.

7) In the biggest mall here in Albany, the Apple Store a smaller space and that was surprising. Their old location was always crowded; think the mall charges an outrageous rent, which might be why they downsized some.

6) FIU 15, Central Florida 14-- Bad loss for UCF, which beat the Panthers 38-0 last time these two teams met. FIU is coached by former Illinois coach Ron Turner, who is Norv Turner's brother. UCF led 14-3 at the half, then never scored again.

5) TCU 23, Minnesota 17-- Good road win for Horned Frogs, who didn't look like the #2 team in the country but they won, despite missing two of its better defensive guys. TCU needs Minnesota to play well in Big 14 to make this win look better.

4) Western Kentucky 14, Vanderbilt 12-- Good luck in the SEC if you can't beat the Hilltoppers at home. Vandy was -3 in turnovers, which is how you lose even when you outgain the other side 385-246. First win for a C-USA team over an SEC team since the 2010 Liberty Bowl, when UCF upset Georgia.

3) Arizona 42, UTSA 32-- Wildcats scored two defensive TDs but lost its star LB to a knee injury and then gave up 525 yards to the Roadrunners, who ran 95 plays.

2) Harvard's basketball team lost its best player for the year with a knee injury; Ivy League teams cannot redshirt players, so the kid withdrew from school and will be back in 2016-17, so it is redshirting without officially calling it that. Losing your senior PG in September is never, ever a good thing.

1) Very, very late score update: Out in Hawai'i, in a game that ended at 4:58am, the officials bungle setting the ball properly, Colorado doesn't get a play from the 6-yard line in the last five seconds and Hawai'i beats the Buffaloes 28-20. Not sure who is grading those officials, but they should get an F for that last sequence.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) College football starts tonight; check out our college football page for info on every game. Some trends and other knowledge and selectons, though we don't have any picks for tonight's games. NFL teams play exhibition games, college teams don't, so hard to know what to expect tongiht. It'll be fun to find out, though.

12) Thank God I don't root for the Redskins; what a mess their offseason has been. How they are not on Hard Knocks is beyond me- it would be high comedy. Now the GM's wife accused a female reporter of trading sex for inside info and there are lot of people on social media who don't think she is making it up. Oy.

11) In his first at-bat in his last eight games, Andrew McCutchen is 6-6 with two walks, not a bad way to start each game.

10) San Diego Padres fired manager Bud Black with a 32-33 record; they are 32-35 with the new manager, Pat Murphy. Same players, basically same results.

9) Miguel Sano is fueling Minnesota's playoff drive; he has 15 HRs in 179 ABs, has a .405 OB%, a .296 batting average. Very good young hitter.

8) It is funny to me that a lot of major league pitchers do not like people to throw the ceremonial first pitch from the dirt part of the mound. Ron Darling has talked about this on Mets broadcasts; he feels the mound "is my office" he doesn't want amateurs throwing on it. I've heard other ex-big leaguers say the same thing.

St John's basketball coach Chris Mullin threw the first pitch last night and he threw a pretty good pitch. From the rubber.

7) School has started in the Albany area, first time that I remember school starting before Labor Day, though I'm not 100% sure on that. Have fun in school, kids!!!!

6) Colorado Rockies had their southern California scout on TV last night; he guessed that he puts 30-35,000 miles on his car every year, just driving to amateur baseball games and games in SoCal are closer together than in many places. Scouting is a hard job, an unglamorous job, but it is the lifeline of the sport.

5) Milwaukee Brewers rookie Zach Davies made his MLB debut last night; he is 6-0, 155 pounds and looks like a 12-year old on the field. Davies was a 26th-round draft pick, not high at all, but he turned down a scholarship to Arizona State to play pro ball and last night it paid off. Most kids in his spot take the scholarship.

4) This is September baseball: with major league call-ups, Angels' AAA team started an infield Tuesday where three of the four players were playing that position for the first time as a pro. Don't see that very much.

3) Steelers play New England a week from tonight in a game that counts, but neither side knows which QB will play for the Patriots. Has to be as unsettling for Pittsburgh as for the hosts-- well maybe not, but this will be very odd if Garoppolo starts.

2) I don't want you betting on NFL exhibition games, but if you must, here is some knowledge that might help some. This week's games are useless, they're cash grabs for the owners, ripping the fans off. Results mean nothing.

1) Lets say the Colts go 12-4 this year but lose their first playoff game; coach Chuck Pagano is a free agent and has a terrific record. If the Colts don't hurry to re-sign him, he would be out of work for less than an hour. To me, Indianapolis is taking an unnecessary risk in letting Pagano coach as a lame duck.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day happenings..........
13) Over his last 19 starts, Atlanta's Shelby Miller is 0-11 with an ERA of 3.13; if the guy didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all. There have been six no-hitters thrown in the major leagues since his last win.

12) Good news: McDonald's will (finally) start offering breakfast 24 hours a day, starting October 6. Jack-in-the-Box has been doing that out west for years. Sausage biscuits 24 hours a day-- this is tremendous!!!!

11) September 1st and I already bought my first college basketball magazine for this winter. Lot of research work coming in the weeks ahead.

10) CBS parted ways with golf analyst David Feherty, whose appeal never made sense to me. I never found him funny, but he is expected to land at NBC, seeing as he already has a talk show on Golf Channel, which is owned by NBC.

9) Joey Votto's on-base %age since the All-Star break: .581. Wow.

8) Five of Pitt Panthers' six incoming basketball players are transfer students; there is talk the fanbase in Pittsburgh is getting restless with coach Jamie Dixon.

Side notes; When I was at AAU games in Las Vegas in July, Dixon's dad was there with him, watching recruits. Pretty cool. Jamie Dixon was actually a child actor.

7) Paul Goldschmidt lined into a triple play Tuesday, the first time an Arizona player has ever done that. Diamondbacks still swept a twinbill in Denver.

6) Orioles are in freefall, losing 12 of last 13 games. You look at their roster and wonder how the hell they stayed in contention as long as they did.

5) Woman named Jessica Pegula won her first round match at US Open Monday; her parents own the Sabres/Bills in Buffalo- they can afford a good tennis coach.

4) 49ers are missing 11 of their 22 starters from last season. And their coach.

3) Halloween is still 60 days away, but there has been a store open near my house for a week or so that is selling nothing but Halloween costumes/stuff.

2) Oakland A's have already used 27 pitchers this year, their most since 1955, their first year in Kansas City. All five pitchers who worked for Oakland last night weren't in the major leagues the day before. It has been a long season.

1) Cardinals 8, Nationals 5-- Washington is a dead team walking; they blew a 5-3 lead in 8th inning. Manager Matt Williams took a severe beating on social media for how he handled his bullpen in this game.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Definition of a bad day: Someone on Twitter was saying that a buddy of his was going to win the semi-final game in his fantasy baseball league last week-- the only way he could lose was if Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter Sunday night. Oy.

12) Buffalo Bills named Tyrod Taylor their starting QB; in his four years as Ravens' (mainly) #3 QB, Taylor never started a game, completing 19-35 passes for 199 yards in 14 games. He can run, gaining 136 yards on 27 carries. We shall see; he has been around the NFL for 4+ years now; that has to help some.

11) Then there is Tampa Bay thrusting Jameis Winston into the starting spot right off the bat; last year, Winston threw 18 INTs-- Florida State turned the ball over more than every team in America, except New Mexico State. Think about that; Florida State has more talent than almost every team they play, yet they were -6 in turnovers, and now Winston is playing in the NFL behind an OL starting two rookies.

I hope they're patient with Mr Winston; its going to take some time.

9) In his first ten games with the Giants, Marlon Byrd has 17 RBI.

8) Outfielders acquired at the deadline last night-- in order to be eligible for the playoffs, guys had to be with a team before September 1:
-- Braves traded Jonny Gomes to the Royals.
-- Boston traded Alejandro de Aza to the Giants.
-- Mariners traded Justin Ruggiano to the Dodgers
-- Mariners also traded Austin Jackson, but to the Cubs.

7) Before the sixth inning last night, Dodgers had gone 47 innings without a HR.

6) It is funny to me that catchers aren't supposed to bitch at umps while they're at bat, since they want those same pitches called strikes when they're behind the plate. Am guessing some interesting discussions happen when the catchers get back behind the plate after being called out on strikes.

5) As I type this I'm flipping between the A's game and an episode of Law and Order; the judge in this episode is Billie Jean King, the tennis star, whose half-brother was a guy named Randy Moffitt, a pretty good relief pitcher in the 70's (96 saves), mostly for the Giants.

4) Mike Trout is a big fan of meteorology; there are rumors he may do some work for the Weather Channel at some point.

3) Dennis Eckersley came right out and said it before the Red Sox game last night: he doesn't think Hanley Ramirez can become a first baseman. We'll see.

2) Lakers signed a 32-year old Brazilian point guard named Marcelinho Huertas, who is regarded as one of Euroleague's best playmakers.

1) Since 1999, Washington Redskins have had eight coaches, 16 starting QBs.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) NFL teams can have 90 players in training camp, thats 2,880 players; they have to be down to 75 players tomorrow, then to 53 (plus 10 more on practice squad) by the weekend. So 2,016 players will have jobs when the season starts and 864 guys who are in camp now will be looking for work. Tough time for marginal players.

12) Cubs 2, Dodgers 0-- Jake Arrieta tossed the 6th no-hitter this season in a game that was a 5:05 local time first pitch in LA, so shadows were a factor. Dodgers are 5-4 with Chase Utley in the lineup; they got no-hit in two of the four losses.

11) Odd fact:'s Mike Petriello points out the 1917 Chicago White Sox won the World Series, but were no-hit twice that year, on consecutive days (May 5-6). The Dodgers just got no-hit twice in nine days.

10) Rosters expand to 40 players tomorrow; lot of people are pushing for a change to this- they want teams to be able to name only 25 players active for each game once the rosters expand. September baseball as it stands now is a lot different than baseballl the first five months of the season.

9) Dodgers are paying $87.5M to guys who aren't on the Dodgers anymore.

8) Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro is apparently leaving the Tribe to become the new president of the Toronto Blue Jays, whose current president is retiring after the season. He won't have to make many changes, not the way the Jays have been crushing the ball and winning games.

7) Case in point: Not only does Edwin Encarnacion have four homers in his last two games, he is riding a 25-game hitting streak. No easy outs in that lineup.

6) There is a petition going around for the Red Sox to re-consider and not fire their TV announcer Don Orsillo, who is very popular after 15 years with the Sox. Last time I checked, over 48,000 people had signed the petition and that was couple days ago.

5) Six of the Oakland Raiders' eight road games this season are 1pm ET starts, so lot of trips east; over the last three seasons, Oakland is 1-14 in 1PM ET games.

4) Staying in Oakland for one more unpleasant stat: since the A's traded Cespedes to Boston last July 31, they are 79-108; they were 66-41 last year when this monumental blunder happened. But hey, Billy Beane's assistants went to Ivy League schools and had an algorithm that said Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld could replace Cespedes in the aggregate. My ass they could, even a junior college dropout could tell you that.

3) I live a mile from a road with strip of restaurants; think there are over 30 of them in a 1.5-mile stretch, so there is a lot of competition for business. Stopped into a Hooters for chicken wings around 6:00 Sunday, hoping to watch baseballl and the Texans-Saints game. But no live games on, nada, even though there was an NFL fantasy draft going on in one corner of the restaurant.

How do you own a sports bar and not have the baseball package, or at least have one employee who knows when there is an NFL game on TV? I had to ask the bartender to put it on (which she quickly did); I mean, she says she knows nothing about the NFL, but she did say she makes a lot more money during football season.

2) If the baseball playoffs started today.......
NL-- Mets-Cardinals-Dodgers. Wild Card: Cubs @ Pirates
AL-- Blue Jays-Royals-Astros. Wild Card: Rangers @ Bronx

1) Fantasy football tip: Cardinals have a TE named Ifeanyi Momah (#80); he looked like Kellen Winslow Sr in last night's game in Oakland. Just an exhibition game, but he looked at home catching the ball and running people over, even if most of the people he ran over will be bartenders or UPS guys two weeks from now.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) How deep is LSU's football team? I'm watching the Ravens game and they have a defensive lineman who might make the team in a surprise-- the guy started one game in his whole career at LSU, yet he is going to make an NFL roster, if not Baltimore, then he will be make another team. Lot of depth on those SEC rosters.

12) Montana 38, North Dakota State 35-- Tremendous game; State coaches screwed up clock management when they had the ball up 35-31 with around 2:00 left but still this was fun to watch and high quality of football. North Dakota State won the I-AA national title the last four years- they're not used to losing.

11) Montana native Brent Musburger did play-by-play; when I am 76 I hope the hell I have his enthusiasm; Jesse Palmer is really good as an analyst, so game had a bigtime feel to it. A sellout crowd of 26,000+ in Missoula was mostly dressed in maroon.

10) 33-yard extra points are getting the thumbs-up on NFL broadcasts; some of them have been missed, which will result in more teams going for two points. It just is not automatic anymore, so some strategy may come into play with it now.

9) NFL should do instant replay like everyone else; have a control center where replay decisions are made. Would make replay decisions faster and probably better.

8) Buffalo Bills sent four captains out for the coin toss Saturday; all four QBs, and then they all played well in a 43-19 rout of the Steelers. EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor, Matt Cassel are all battling for the starting job-- if they don't keep all three, they might get a draft pick for the odd man out.

7) If Tyrod Taylor becomes a good NFL QB, it might spark a debate over whether QBs are better off sitting and watching for 2-3 years before becoming starting players. At no point during his career at Virginia Tech was Taylor considered a prospect, but he is doing well for Buffalo and might become the starter.

Throwing rookie QBs right into the fray sees like a dumb way to do business, but the money they get paid has turned impatient front offices in that direction. Maybe you need to develop the person who is playing the most important position on the field.

6) There is a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead on EBay; seriously, the guy who killed Abraham Lincoln has his own bobblehead. Why?

5) Juan Encarnacion hit three homers for the Blue Jays, so Toronto being a hockey city, fans threw hats on the field to commemorate his "hat trick". He drove in nine runs for Toronto, which leads the AL East by 1.5 games.

Toronto's lineup is so loaded that they have received only seven intentional walks the entire season. Paul Goldschmidt has been walked intentionally 24 times this year.

4) Red Sox interim managet Torey Lovullo must have had an interesting childhood; his dad was a producer on the old country music/humor show Hee Haw.

3) Tennis great John McEnroe threw out the first ball before the Mets game; tennis US Open starts Monday. Luckily McEnroe's pitch was pretty good, or else lot of New Yorkers would've yelled "You cannot be serious!!!" at him, like he used to yell at all the linesmen who made calls against him in his playing days

2) Michael Vick's first play for the Steelers was a 62-yard completion. Interesting.

1) This was our last quiet Saturday until April; college football starts Thursday and that'll be great fun. Make sure you log in here for analysis of college/pro football every week and then the NHL when that starts in early October, as well as all the baseball every day from now until the end of the World Series.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Red Sox 6, Mets 4 (10)-- Weird game; catcher Blake Swihart hit an inside-park HR in 10th inning for go-ahead run, but ball appeared to hit over the CF fence and probably would've been called a homer had Swihart been thrown out at the plate. Boston pitchers walked 12 guys but still won; that doesn't happen much.

12) Swihart is 28th catcher to hit an inside-the-park homer (only Dan Wilson and Gary Carter have hit two) and Swihart is the only catcher to hit one in extra innings. 

There have been 16 other extra-innings inside-the-park homers since 1973 with Angel Pagan's walk-off against the Rockies being the most recent in 2013.

11) Big week for the Ross family in Washington this week; Tyson Ross won for the Padres Wednesday, then younger brother Joe won for the Nationals the next night.

10) Seattle Mariners fired GM Jack Zduriencik this week; manager Lloyd McClendon won't be too far behind him. Mariners' payroll this year is $123,225,843- this team should not be under .500.

9) Pirates won Francisco Liriano's last 11 starts; he also had a start in there that was rained out in the second inning. Blue Jays won RA Dickey's last seven starts.

8) Looks like Jeremy Maclin is going to help solve the Chiefs' WR issues; no WR caught a TD pass for the Chiefs LY, which is hard to believe but is true.

7) Speaking of the Chiefs, their OC Doug Pederson is the answer to a trivia question. He was the winning QB in the game when Don Shula became the NFL's all-time winningest coach, relieving Scott Mitchell in a 1993 game Miami won 19-14.

6) Watched an interesting special about former Batman star Adam West getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week; Batman was a big TV hit from 1966-69 that has been made into several movies in recent years. West's career slumped after that but thanks to doing voiceovers on animated shows, he made a big comeback and it was good to see him get honored like that. When I was a kid, I loved watching Batman

5) Big day in Saratoga today; American Pharoah is running in the Travers; going to be a huge crowd and a lot of fun. Was at a birthday party at Saratoga National golf course last night (what a great place!!!); this is Saratoga's best weekend of the summer.

4) NFL coaches go for it on 4th down a lot in preseason because it creates situations you can't re-create in practice; once the regular games start, 95% of coaches will go back into their conservative shells and kick the ball all the time.

Teams don't hit much in practice anymore, so short yardage situations are important for coaches in the exhibition games.

3) If any NFL preseason games are worth watching, it is this week's games; starters get more time than in any other preseason week. Next week's games will be awful, as teams focus on finalizing their roster and preparing for their Week 1 openers, all of which will be analyzed on the NFL page of this very excellent website soon.

2) Jon Lester's last six starts were all at Wrigley Field; tonight at Dodger Stadium he makes his first road start since July 18.

1) Interesting college football game on ESPN at 3:30 today; North Dakota State at Montana, I think Brent Musburger (a Montana native) is on the call. State has an NFL prospect at QB, Montana has a coach who has pioneered a lot of the spread offense we see in bigtime college ball today. This game is well worth watching.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Texas Rangers' TV analyst (former GM) Tom Grieve was pleading with fans not to reach for broken bats that fly into the stands, since they could get hurt. Grieve will be happy to learn the Phillies will be the first team to extend netting behind home plate to beyond the dugouts down each line. Someone was going to get hurt badly otherwise.

12) Grieve was saying that it was foolish to reach for a broken bat "since it is worthless and can hurt you". Well, those broken bats that don't fly into the stands find their way into the team's gift shop, where they get sold for at least $100 each. Not worthless.

11) Also in Philadelphia, a young boy had a double hand transplant; was cool seeing his face as he used his new hands (with casts on) for the first time. Imagine being the surgeon who gives a little kid the use of hands? Must be an excellent feeling.

10) Curt Schilling has apparently been suspended by ESPN for a controversial tweet earlier this week. So much for freedom of speech, it doesn't exist too much anymore. Who gives a rat's ass what Schilling says about anything? He has the right to express any beliefs he has, even if they're offensive. Thats what America is all about, at least that is what it is supposed to be about..

9) White Sox are 60-66, a disappointing team, but they're 26-15 in games where the winning run scores from the 7th inning on. Not sure if that pins the blame on starting pitchers, or on the starting lineup not hitting well early in games. It kind of gets manager Robin Ventura off the hook a little bit, since he fares well in close games.

8) White Sox wore 1976 throwback uniforms last night, the white jerseys with dark blue lettering and collars. Yes, collars. I actually thought they were kind of sharp.

7) Lot of rumors that Cavaliers may hold Kyrie Irving (broken kneecap) out until after Christmas; he hurt his knee in the first game of the NBA Finals. Would be a big loss for Cleveland. Irving seems to get hurt a lot.

6) HBO's Hard Knocks should be very interesting next week; three days after Brian Hoyer was named Houston's starting QB, backup Ryan Mallett missed practice, and the team said "he overselpt", to which I call BS. NFL quarterbacks do not oversleep, because teams have employees who would wake them up. He is mad because he isn't the starter and now the team has a problem on its hands.

5) Not sure why I thought of this today but I did; in 1987, I went to a Cardinal-Met doubleheader at Shea Stadium; our seats were good, second level just to first base side of home plate.

Early in the first game, Mets SS Kevin Elster hits a foul ball and the guy three seats to my left catches the ball. No big deal, but next time Elster comes up, same pitcher on mound, Elster hits another foul ball, right to the same guy sitting three seats to my left.. What are the odds of that?

4) Reliever Steve Cishek pitched in 32 games for Miami this year, putting 51 men on base in 32 IP, 19 of whom scored, so the Marlins traded him to first-place St Louis, where he has pitched in 13 games, putting 13 men on base in 11.1 IP, only one of whom scored. Why do guys play better for one team than another? Is it explainable?

3) Long time ago, there used to be a gameshow called Password, where one partner would give word clues to his partner, trying to get him/her to say the "password". When I heard about the Derrick Rose he says/she says rape debacle yesterday, the first thing that came into my head was something like this........

"Allen, players, you at home....the password is........'extortion'"

2) In order for players to be playoff eligible, they have to be on their team's 40-man roster before the calendar turns to September, so we figure to see some deals made between now and Monday night. Fernando Rodney was dealt to the Cubs last night, in one of the first trades like that-- there figure to be more.

1) Now there are rumors that the Redskins' offensive line doesn't like Robert Griffin III and that he didn't have a concussion two weeks ago, they were just using it as an excuse so he didn't have to talk to the press. How can they ever play him now? This is a complete disaster; what other team would be stupid enough to trade for him?

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Tremendous tragedy in Virginia yesterday, where two news reporters were shot to death on live TV by a disgruntled former employee. Our thoughts and prayers go out to he families of the victims. You just never know in this world.

12) For some reason, the New York Daily News put out a front page cover of the shooter murdering one of his victims with the headline "EXECUTED ON LIVE TV". There was outrage on social media about the callousness of the headline/picture; not sure if it was pulled for the later editions or not.

11) Related but unimportant note: USA Network has a program called Mr Robot, which has a somewhat bizarre story line, part of which included a shooting incident much like the one in Virginia yesterday. As a result, the network didn't air that episode last night and will air it next Wednesday instead.

10) Nationals' OF Reed Johnson was on an injury rehab assignment, until he pulled an oblique muscle while sneezing last night and no, I'm not making that up.

9) Yoenis Cespedes for the Mets: .311 with 21 RBI in 23 games. Next question will be: Who will give him a longterm contract this winter? He's been on four teams in the last 13 months. No one seems too anxious to sign him long-term.

8) Texas walked Jose Bautista the first four times he was up last night; he scored twice and Toronto won easily 12-4. Blue Jays look like a slow pitch softball team on their good days and they've had a few of those in the last week.

7) Then there are my A's, having a dismal season; I looked it up and they have Billy Butler signed for two more years at $11.67M per year. I seriously want to puke. He is a fat guy with no power who can't run and doesn't play in the field. Awesome.

6) Speaking of puking, HBO's Hard Knocks showed Houston LB Brian Cushing barfing four times in about 45 seconds during a practice last week. One of the ballboys came over, sprayed some water on it and things went on as normal.

5) Colorado's DJ LaMahieu became the first Rockie ever to bat in all nine spots in the batting order in one season last night. He is hitting .311 with a .369 OB% and is an underrated player, even though he plays half his games in hitter-happy Denver.

4) If you play fantasy football, keep in mind the San Diego Chargers dropped back to pass on 68% of plays inside their opponents' 10-yard line LY, most in the NFL.

3) Justin Verlander came within three outs of his 3rd career no-hitter; only five pitchers have thrown more than two no-hitters. Chris Iannetta hit a double in the 9th inning, but Verlander still blanked the Angels 5-0.

2) Lebron James sold his house in Miami recently for $13.4M, so he has some extra change to throw around this week. What could be in a house to make it worth $13.4M?

1) Bobby Hurley got out of Buffalo just in time; school tossed the Bulls' best player (Justin Moss) after this second brush with a robbery charge. Kid was MAC Player of the Year last year; doubtful an NBA team would sign him right away, not even sure if he is eligible to sign with an NBA team. Incredibly dumb career move.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hump Day Happenings.........
13) My high school Chemistry teacher used to use a word: "nonsensical". He used it when he was annoyed or amazed by the stupidity of people, usually one of us back then. These days, he probably uses the word a lot.

Boston Red Sox fired their TV play-by-play guy this week. Don Orsillo has been the TV voice of the Red Sox for 15 years (his first game was Hideo Nomo's no-hitter). He is smart, funny and once had to endure 26 different partners in one season when his usual partner had some personal problems. He works playoff games for TBS, that is how good an announcer he is. Firing him is 100% nonsensical.

12) Red Sox TV ratings are down because the team on the field sucks and people are mainly frontrunners. Orsillo will land on his feet because he is very good at what he does, but office politics are hideous and this is a prime example of that.

11) Jeb Bush's wife is Mexican-American; Mr Bush can speak Spanish, which he did at an event near the Texas/Mexico border earlier this week. Of course, Donald Trump is making fun of him for it. If somehow Trump becomes President, the main question will be whether we get in a war with another country before a Civil War starts here.

10) Sign of the times: apparently Jeb Bush lost 40 pounds recently, in an attempt to look more telegenic for the campaign. It is sad that something like that matters.

9) Pro wrestler Jon Cena is first athlete to grant 500 requests for the Make-a-Wish program; he played football at Springfield College and is very, very generous with his time for charity. Not sure why Jon Stewart hit him with a chair last week, but Cena got his revenge at Summer Slam, so its all good. :-)

8) Mets #1-7 hitters all hit home runs Monday night, the first time that has ever been done in a major league game- they're 5.5 games up on Washington in NL East.

7) Basketball guru Howard Garkinkel has a coaching clinic here in the Albany area on September 19 at Shenendehowa HS. Sean Miller, Jay Wright, Tom Thibodeau, Jim Calhoun are among the speakers. Lot of knowledge in that group.

6) Doing college football prep this month, I laughed looking at a Washington State-Cal boxscore from LY. Cal won 60-59, but Wazzu passed for 734 yards and ran for 78 more, and they still lost!!!! Yikes. Teams meet again in Berkeley October 3.

5) OL Evan Mathis turned down $5.5M from the Eagles and instead signs with Denver for $2.5M (plus another possible $1.5M in incentives). Peyton Manning is an immobile QB who needs a solid OL; he took a $4M pay cut after last season and that money is what Mathis is getting paid with.

4) Steelers signed Michael Vick as their backup QB; not sure what to say about this, other than Big Ben better not get hurt. Vick was stealing money with the Jets the last couple of years, even admitting his prep work wasn't what it should be. Oy.

3) One more Red Sox note: Apparently Hanley Ramirez will be a 1B next season, which shouldn't be too difficult for a former SS, but you watch him play and he just doesn't look like a guy who cares much about defense. He is on the books thru 2018 to the tune of $22.75M a year; they better find somewhere to hide him in the field.

2) Richard Pitino signs a contract extension at Minnesota thru the 2021 season; I'm wondering what the odds are that Pitino will still be there six years from now? If he wins at Minnesota, will he jump for greener (warmer) pastures and if he loses, well all the coaches who lose get fired. It is part of the job.

1) Watching HBO's Hard Knocks (a very well done show), I'm curious why coach Bill O'Brien left Penn State for the insecurity of the NFL. Bigtime college programs are pretty secure jobs, especially at Penn State, where they're rebuilding from the scandal that ended Joe Paterno's career. O'Brien seems like a good guy; was just wondering.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) I swear, Draft Kings might be advertising more on TV this month than the beer companies. Imagine if gambling on sports becomes legal; advertisers will run amuck.

12) Stock market lost 588 points Monday; they were down 1,069 at one point, but rallied before slipping again in the afternoon. Wild day for the money people.

11) Cubs and White Sox both played at home Monday; wonder how many people went to both games? Would be a fun thing to know.

10) Cubs now have 12 walkoff wins; White Sox-Pirates-Angels have 9, Cardinals 8.

9) Justin Bour of the Marlins was on TV Monday wearing a t-shirt that said "I want abs, but I want a doughnut more." My kind of guy.

8) Last three years in the NFL, a team that had been 2-14 the year before wound up with a winning season: Texans LY, Chiefs in '13, Colts in '12. Titans/Bucs both went thru last year 2-14-- can you envision either having a winning season this year?

7) Bucs 25, Bengals 11-- Jameis Winston looked alright, but he is not a mobile QB and he sprained his ankle when hit early in second quarter Monday. He jogged off the field at the end of the game. His first eight passes went to eight different receivers, which is a good thing, but Tampa Bay is also starting two rookies on the offensive line.

6) Odd fact: Last time an Alabama QB won an NFL game that counted was 1988.

5) A's 11, Mariners 5-- Solid comeback by the A's, who trailed 5-0, but disappointing day to be an A's fan-- they fired third base coach Mike Gallego, who had been part of the team for almost 20 years, as a player and coach. You do not fire family during the season, it is bad form. Gallego deserves much, much better than this.

4) Mentioned this in passing couple days ago but it bears repeating: when Milwaukee traded Carlos Gomez to Astros, he was leading major leagues, knocking in 21.3% of runners who were on base when he was at bat. With Houston, he's knocked in 3 of 44 runners; he came up with first/second and no outs last night, and they had him bunt.

You trade for a guy, bat him 4th or 5th, then three weeks later you have him bunting guys over with the game on the line. That not good.

3) Weird baseball night last night: Detroit led 5-0, Phillies led 7-2, Seattle led 5-0 but all three lost and none of the games were close at the end. Lot of bad relief pitching.

2) Phillies put veteran OF Jeff Francoeur on waivers, someone claimed him, then the Phillies pulled him back, meaning he won't be traded before the end of the season. Not sure why they wouldn't dump him for a prospect, but thats their business.

1) I finished reading the book about last year's Washington Nationals; learned a lot, but thought he book was too short, which I guess is a compliment of sorts. Apparently it started out as a 6-part magazine article, but grew into a book. Name of the book is "The Grind" if you like baseball, you'll find it interesting.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Guy named Daniel Rodriguez is returning punts for the Rams this summer; he won't make the team, but he has already earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star in the war in the Middle East and has written a book called Rise, about his experiences. When you have been in a war, returning punts probably isn't that big of a deal.

12) Davis Love III won the Greater Greensboro Open in 1992, then again in 2006; this weekend, at age 51, he won it again, the third-oldest guy to win a PGA event. Love is a North Carolina alum; he introduced Michael Jordan to golf way back when.

11) NHL didn't punt nets up between the rink and the stands until someone got hit by a puck and died; hopefully baseball will wise up and put nets up at least as far as the dugouts go. Balls, broken bats fly i the stands; someone is going to get killed.

10) Unintended consequence of instant replay in baseball; sliding has become much more important than it used to be. Used to be if the runner beat the ball, he was safe, simple as that; now if he comes off the base for a split-second, he will be called out, if the fielder keeps the glove on him throughout the slide.

9) Braves TV announcers were talking all weekend about how the Cubs tailored the dirt in front of home plate to suit that day's pitcher. Jason Hammel is pitching? Dirt is going to be soft, so ground balls stay in the infield. Dan Haren is pitching? Dirt will be hard; he gets mostly fly ball outs. It is called home field advantage.

8) As I type this, over 11,500 firefighters are fighting 15 wildfires all over the state of California. Firemen are tough guys; they do dangerous, unglamorous work.

7) Golfer Jason Gore's season was going to be over, but his 2nd place finish jumped him from 166th to 98th in the FedEx Cup standings, so he makes the playoffs.

6) Angels got pummeled by Toronto all weekend; you know a game is lost when the home announcers are talking about how they shot spitballs in grade school, when the game is still in only the fifth inning. Victor Rojas used the tubing of a Bic pen, rather than a straw. More durable, I guess.

5) Ohio State is the first-ever unanimous #1 team in the AP preseason football poll, and they have been doing this since 1950. Lot of pressure on the Buckeyes this season.

4) Florida State is going to be down this year in football; they almost have to be; they lost their QB, four of five starters on OL, had six other guys drafted by the NFL.

3) Chris Mullin is working hard on his recruiting; St John's landed 6-8 Kassoum Yakme who is considered an excellent defender. They're not sure if he'll be eligible this coming season or next year, but they are convinced he will help, once he is eligible.

2) Damaging weekend for the Orioles, losing four in a row at home to the Twins, who are now 7-0 against Baltimore this season. Orioles are only two games behind Texas in the Wild Card standings; those seven losses to the Twins really hurt.

1) If the baseball playoffs started Monday morning, teams would be:
NL-- Mets-Cardinals-Dodgers. Wild Card: Cubs @ Pirates
AL-- Blue Jays-Royals-Astros. Wild Card: Rangers @ Bronx.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) My #1 pet peeve with the NFL; teams don't have to suit up three QBs, so if they suit up two and one gets hurt early in a game, that ruins the quality of the game, since they cannot risk the #2 QB getting hurt. Happened tot he Texans couple of years ago and all they did the rest of the game was run the ball.

NFL teams are worth around $1B each; how about springing for a #3 QB?

12) This is going to happen in an NFL game this season, and I hope to God I'm in a casino when it does; Team A (-2.5) is down four points with 0:10 left- they score a TD with 0:03 left, go up two points, but instead of kicking the easy PAT to cover, they'll take a knee to guard against the PAT being blocked and run back for two points and a tie game. Hasn't happened in college ball, that I know of, but it will in the NFL.

11) Patriots 26, Saints 24-- New Orleans was up 21-0 in first half; they went for two three times, as both coaches managed the game like drunken sailors but since it was an exhibition game, no one cares. Just another reason not to bet exhibition games.

10) Pittsburgh Pirates are 52-19 in non-divisional games; if they keep up this pace, it would be the best winning %age in non-divisional games since 1969.

9) At the start of this season, ten of 30 MLB GMs either went to MIT, Amherst or an Ivy League school. Dave Dombrowski is really highly regarded-- he went to college at Western Michigan, a freakin' state school. How does he do his job every day?????

8) One aspect of new PAT rule; if there is a holding penalty on a PAT, it becomes a 43-yard attempt, which is anything but a gimme.

7) Johnny Cueto gave up seven runs in Fenway Park Friday night; you could almost see him mentally checking Boston off his list of potential free agent destinations.

6) White Sox 6, Mariners 3 (10)-- Seattle is unbelievably bad, considering its payroll this year is $123,225,843. Hawk Harrelson was thrashing their bullpen last night; the way he was talking, that came from the Mariners' TV/radio announcers.

5) In the 80's, Cubs had a backup catcher named Steve Swisher who hit nine homers at Wrigley Field; his son Nick has been a good major leaguer for over a decade-- he homered from both sides of the plate in the same game yesterday in Wrigley, but his Braves lost 9-7 to the Cubs, Atlanta's 21st loss in their last 23 road games.

4) Major leaguers who have come to the plate this season with the most runners on:
1) Carlos Santana, Clev-- 358
2) Todd Frazier, Cin-- 355
T3) Kendrys Morales, KC-- 346
T3) Eric Hosmer, KC-- 346

3) Major leaguers with 200+ PA who have driven in the highest %age of baserunners so far this season:
T1) Carlos Gomez (with Milwaukee), 21.3%
Gomez has knocked in 3 of 39 runners (7.7%) with the Astros.
T1) Chris Colabello, Tor, 21.3%
3) David Peralta, Ariz, 21.0%
4) Andrew McCutchen, Pitt, 20.7%
5) Caleb Joseph, Balt, 20.4%

2) How happy is CBS that Eldrick Woods is in contention in Greensboro today?

1) Wrigley Field is considered a national historical landmark; as a result, they're very limited to changes they can make to the structure itself. Ownership is doing its best to modernize Wrigley for players and fans alike, but it has been a slow process- they want to move the bullpens under the outfield bleachers and off the field, but they are being held up by the "historical landmark" stuff.

1a) Minnesota Vikings' play-by-play guy was brutal on kicker Blair Walsh last night; Walsh just signed a new contract and a bad night last night- the TV guy kept talking about it like his son wanted a tryout to take the guy's place. A little odd.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Las Vegas sportsbooks took $1.8B in action on college/pro football LY, with a profit of roughly $114M, thats million, with an M. You've got to believe politicians see those numbers and will find a way to make sports gambling legal soon.

12) Cubs play lot of home games at night now, but they're still not allowed to play Friday night home games, unless they're in the postseason.

11) Braves are now 2-20 in their last 22 road games- if they knew how dismal the Nationals would be this year, think they still would've traded Craig Kimbrel?

10) Major league ballplayers make $95 a day in meal money when they're on road.

9) Madison Bumgarner hit his 5th homer last night; if he played for the A's, he might DH when he doesn't pitch. Oakland DH Billy Butler has nine HRs in 410 ABs. Bumgarner has five HRs in 59 ABs. Oy.

8) Bumgarner is first MLB pitcher with 5+ homers in a season since 2006, when Carlos Zambrano hit six for the Cubs.

7) Trouble for the Seattle Mariners; not only are they 56-66, Felix Hernandez has now given up 50 hits in his last 28.2 IP. Rumors are flying that he is hurt.

6) Astros 3, Dodgers 0-- Mike Fiers threw a 134-pitch no-hitter, fifth this year in the majors; he threw 60 pitches in the first three innings. Dodgers have now lost nine of their last eleven road games. 134 pitches is most thrown by any pitcher in a game this season-- Cole Hamels threw 129 in his no-hitter July 25.

5) Speaking of no-hitters, Chris Heston threw one for the Giants in June-- he got sent down to AAA yesterday. Fame can be fleeting.

4) I'm reading a book right now about Washington Nationals and all different aspects of their team-- lot of interesting stuff, ranging from the equipment guys to scouts, to players' wives and of course the players. I'm about halfway done with it, will report back when I finish it-- not used to reading books with no pictures.

3) Washington Huskies' basketball team signed a top 25 recruit from the Class of 2016, beating Arizona/Louisville in the process. Markelle Fultz played JV ball in 10th grade, but LY was Player of the Year in the Washington DC area, so thats a big coup for the Huskies and coach Lorenzo Romar, who has had a couple down years in a row.

2) Freshman QB Ricky Town originally committed to Alabama, then switched to USC, left high school a semester early to enroll at USC, but then transferred out last month and is now headed to Arkansas-- hopefully he'll stay there for a while and have fun.

About ten years a go a QB named Mitch Mustain played one year at Arkansas, then transferred to USC, so now the Razorbacks poach a QB from the Trojans.

1) Mets are skipping Matt Harvey's start in Denver Sunday; coming off of surgery, he needs to have his innings limited, especially since it looks like the Mets are headed to the postseason, where he could make 4-5 more starts, but it also looks like the pitcher is being coddled by being allowed to skip a start n Denver, the best hitters' park in the majors (Friday's game was 14-9).

Why not skip him against the Red Sox, an AL team, in his next start?

Friday's List of 13: Some knowledge with weekend here.....
13) If the Denver Broncos started their season today, three (LT-LG-C) of their five starting offensive linemen would be playing in their first NFL game. That not good, especially with an immobile quarterback.

12) ESPN had cameras in the pylons on the goal line for last night's NFL game; gives you some unusual looks at the game. Wonder how much it'll effect replay decisions?

11) Cross Kelvin Benjamin off your fantasy football lists; he tore his ACL, is out for the year. Will the Panthers sign Reggie Wayne to replace him? They say no, but Carolina has a lot of $$$$ invested in Cam Newton-- he needs some help.

10) Why are the Colts letting Chuck Pagano coach this season as a lame duck? It really makes very little sense; if they like him, sign him long term. If they don't like him, they should've fired him last winter and moved on.

9) Morning Joe is a mostly political show at 6am on MSNBC; they opened their show one day this week with clips from several football movies:

Friday Night Lights, The Program, Rudy, Varsity Blues, Any Given Sunday, etc.....I had no idea what they were doing, until they then showed Presidential candidate Marco Rubio playing catch on the campaign trail and drilling some little kid in the face with a pass. Quality stuff. Rubio seems like a good guy; not sure he has a chance.

8) If the border with Mexico is such a problem, how come no one talks about the border with Canada? Wouldn't the same problems exist there?

7) Greedy bastard update: Went to Saratoga racetrack Thursday to visit with some friends; they charge $5 for a 20-ounce Coke, $5.25 for a mediocre Sabrett hot dog. Now you can also rent a chair for only $5, if you can't get a picnic table- thats a good price. If you go to the track, its a fun day, just bring your own food or eat before you go.

6) Texas Rangers' manager Jeff Banister had bone cancer in his ankle when he was in high school and almost had his leg amputated. He needed seven operations on his left leg and ankle as a teenager, then broke three vertebrae in his neck in junior college and was paralyzed for ten days. Obviously, Banister is a tough human.

Despite that, he made the major leagues and singled in his only MLB at-bat, against a pretty good pitcher (Dan Petry) on July 23, 1991. His manager in AAA that year was current Mets' manager Terry Collins.

5) Phillies saved $2M by unloading Chase Utley on Dodgers; when we talk about baseball, $2M doesn't sound like much money, but you have to sell a lot of souvenirs and hot dogs to make $2M. It is about time the Phillies cleaned house, anyway.

4) Utley's acquisition puts the Dodger payroll right around $307M, over $80M of which is dead money (guys no longer with the Dodgers). LA DFA'd Alberto Callaspo to make room for Utley on the 40-man roster- they have ten days to trade him or he can become a free agent or go play for their AAA team.

3) Speaking of the Dodgers, they hardly ever shift when Clayton Kershaw pitches; some pitchers get really ticked off with defensive shifts, and apparently the Dodgers defer to Kershaw's wishes and play pretty much straight up. When a guy gets paid around $1M per start, you have to let him dictate his environment.

2) I enjoy listening to Marlins' broadcasts, but their orgranization is dysfunctional so now the announcers often wind up talking about nonsense a lot of the time, just to be entertaining-- it is too depressing to talk about their team. My new favorite guys to listen to are the Angels' announcers, Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza-- they're both good natured, they talk about the game while also having a good time.

1) Diamondback fans get free tacos when Arizona scores 5+ runs at home; the cost of baseball inflation in high altitude-- Colorado fans don't get free tacos unless Rockies score 7+ runs. Apparently high altitude is worth 40% in the taco world.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Baseball is fascinating because at the end of close games, key decisions can be the difference between winning and losing. Astros TV announcers were shocked when the Rays pitched to Carlos Correa with first base open and two out last night, with winning run on second base-- Jed Lowrie was up next.

Correa won the game with a single to right, the Rays slipped another game behind in the Wild Card race and Tampa Bay manager Cash probably didn't sleep much last night.

12) Despite a 59-61 record, Rays are still only four games behind the Angels in the (sluggish) race for the second Wild Card spot. Lot of mediocrity in the AL.

11) Detroit pitcher Daniel Norris homered in his first MLB at-bat (off Jon Lester, no less) after he smashed a video board during batting practice. Detroit celebrated Miguel Cabrera's return to the lineup by scoring 25 runs in two wins at Wrigley Field.

10) Pedro Florimon got the game-winning triple for the Pirates in the 15th inning late Tuesday night; his reward? He got sent down to AAA Wednesday morning. Now this was probably a decision that had been made before Florimon's heroics, but still it seems terribly unfair. He figures to be back with the club when the rosters expand.

9) Ben Zobrist hit .266 in 67 games for the A's; he missed a bundle of games with a knee injury-- the guy is 34 and played on artificial turf in Tampa Bay for nine years, so a bad knee is not a huge surprise.

Since his trade to the Royals, Zorist is hitting .344 with 12 RBI, 11 runs scored in 17 games, which underlines a problem I have with the Moneyball Ivy League geniuses.

8) Zobrist is 34; has a wife and two kids. He is a free agent after this season, so not only did he know he will be living somewhere new next season he also knew that unless the A's contended this year, he was getting traded this July. Unsettling for a family man, so no way were the A's going to get maximum production from him.

Baseball players aren't robots or Strat-o-Matic cards; they're people with problems just like us, only their problems are mostly better problems, like which city will they have to live in when they make $5.7M a year (Zobrist's salary).

7) Same thing happened with Matt Holliday in '09; he hit .286 in 93 games for the A's, then when he was inevitably traded to St Louis, he hit .353 the rest of the year for the Cardinals. Ballplayers are people too; someone let the numbers guys know!!!!.

6) Mets are 1-8 in Noah Syndergaard's road starts; they scored four or less runs in all nine of those games.

5) Terrible baserunning in Cincinnati last night; Reds are down 3-2 in 5th innng, they have bases loaded and one out. Batter hits a pop-up between the mound and first base line, the infield fly is invoked, so the batter is out no matter what, as long as the ball is fair, which it was. When the Royals didn't catch the ball, chaos ensued.

Jason Bourgeois has been in the big leagues for parts of seven years, for a total of 276 games; he was the runner on third base. When the ball wasn't caught, he takes off for home plate, oblivious to the whole infield fly thing. He got tagged out easily.

Cincinnati TV announcers will criticize the home team when warranted, but this was such an awful mistake, they didn't know where to start, other than to say they had never seen that happen before. Baseball IQ is way down across the major leagues.

4) Once the Raiders have a home exhibition game, the outfield in the O.Co Coliseum gets extremely fast, almost like the old artificial turf. Anything in the gaps gets to the fence, from now until the end of the season. Cost the Dodgers a run yesterday.

3) Carlos Beltran has been in the big leagues since 1998; his first RBI came in a game against Cleveland, on a night when Dwight Gooden started for the Indians.

2) The greedy weasels at Steiner Sports collectibles are selling pictures of Wilmer Flores crying for $70 and up; is there no end to people's greed? Who would buy the picture of a guy crying, after he thought he was traded (he wasn't)?

1) Which reminds me of a story. Giants used to have training camp in Albany; friend of mine's son takes his stripper friend to practice, so players will come over to the fence and he can get some autographs. He wanted Eli Manning's autograph on a mini-helmet he had.

Eli comes to the fence and takes a black Sharpie out to sign the mini-helmet; the kid tries to hand him a silver Sharpie, so the signature shows up better on the Navy blue Giants' helmet, but Eli refuses to sign with the silver Sharpie. Apparently that is how he knows the difference between helmets he signs for free and ones he got paid to sign, by the pen that is used. You'd think he has better things to worry about.

Wednesday's List of 13: A heaping helping on Hump Day....
13) Red Sox fired GM Ben Cherington (no one quits these jobs) and hired former Tiger team president Dave Dombrowski to run baseball operations. Big change; just two years ago, Boston won the World Series. Now the GM is out and the manager is batting lymphoma. New GMs usually like to hire their own manager.

12) Odd fact: Cherington is married to ESPN's Wendi Nix, while Dombrowski is married to former ESPN anchor Karie Ross, undoubtedly the most attractive woman anchor ever employed by ESPN-- she came to ESPN right from being a cheerleader during the Barry Switzer era at Oklahoma.

11) Adderall is a drug that will get you suspended by baseball, but 100+ players have what is called a "therapeutic use exception" which I guess is like a prescription. Last night, Mets' analyst Keith Hernandez, who knows his way around drugs, called the exception "doctor shopping", referring to Chris Davis of the Orioles getting a doctor to sign off on his use after he was suspended for using Adderall last season.

10) Pirates 9, Arizona 8 (15)-- Francisco Cervelli not only caught all 15 innings in last night's game, he scored from first with winning run on Pedro Florimon's game-winning triple as the Pirates won another close game-- Pittsburgh relief pitchers have now won their last 17 decisions, a remarkable stretch of success.

9) Donald Trump on jury duty? Where is Court TV when we need it?

8) I'm a little late with this, but I finally saw the interesting special on Showtime about knuckleball pitchers, focusing mainly on RA Dickey and Tim Wakefield. Old-time knuckleball pitchers Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough are also in the film a little. If you like baseball, it is worth seeing.

7) Orel Hershiser was once the Rangers' pitching coach; it was he who suggested that RA Dickey become a full-time knuckleballer. Good move.

6) Tigers 10, Cubs 8-- First loss in 13 games for Chicago with Chris Coghlan batting third in the order.

5) Jordan Spieth threw out the first ball in Arlington last night; he is lefty and he appeared to be wearing cleats when he threw a strike from the mound. It was a big night for first pitches Tuesday; Zach Johnson threw a strike at Wrigley, but when the game was delayed by rain, he didn't stick around to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame (after midnight). He must've had an early tee time today.

Out in Anaheim Deandre Jordan of the Clippers threw a strike on his first pitch; imagine seeing a guy as big as Jordan staring at you from 60 feet away?

4) I like to go to Denny's for breakfast late at night, after I've updated this fine piece of Interweb real estate; anyway, I'm in there late Monday night and four young people come in and sit in the next booth. One guy has two plastic bags that look like they're filled with saline solution, like you'd find in a hospital.

But it isn't saline solution, it is water and there are little fish in each bag; not exactly sure where these geniuses got the fish, but instead of stopping at a store and buying a little container for the fish, they're carrying them around with them, displaying them on the table next to their food. Given that they were not exactly sober (the people, not the fish), I'm concerned the fish may not have survived the evening.

3) The beauty of baseball is that it is a daily grind, 162 games played over 182 days-- you have to be good most every day, not just one day a week. Weaknesses are fairly obvious when you have to play every day; it is why after six months, you have the best teams playing in the playoffs. You get there, you have earned it.

2) So Jared from Subway is pleading guilty to child porn charges; where exactly does this guy go for another job? I have a feeling he'll be making the rounds of hideous reality TV shows over the next few years.

1) Baseball movie trivia: Royce Clayton played 2,108 big league games in his 17-year career; he is also a part of baseball movie trivia.

Clayton was the actor who played Miguel Tejada in Moneyball, and was also the first batter former schoolteacher Jim Morris faced when he made the Devil Rays in 1999 as a rookie in his 30's. Morris' story was made into a rmovie called The Rookie, with Dennis Quaid playing Morris.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) The Indians are in Boston this week and Terry Francona manages the Indians; he was manager of the Red Sox when they won two World Series and John Farrell was his pitching coach- they are very good friends.

Farrell manages the Red Sox now, except he has lymphoma and has taken a leave from the club. His first chemo treatment is today; Francona is going with him.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a great friend.

12) Did you ever hear of a law called escheatment?

I have a small savings account that I ignored for the last three years, just let the money sit there. Got a registered letter Monday; if I don't send a signed note back to the bank in 30 days, they're going to seize the money and give it to the state. Say what?

There is a law that if an account lays dormant for 3+ years, state can take the money. This also goes for people who die without having a will. Who made this law?

11) Don't give away your childhood: Kid named Ricky Town was a bigtime QB recruit; committed to Alabama first, then enrolled at USC a semester early, but now he has left USC and will go somewhere else, since he has seen the handwriting on the wall that the Trojans have better guys than him. It is a cruel world out there.

These top 25 schools stockpile talent; there is no waiver wire in college football. Back in 1980, Herschel Walker started the season as Georgia's #5 tailback- that didn't last long, but kids getting disgruntled and transferring is an unfortunate annual tradition.

Meanwhile, young Mr Town didn't have a senior year in high school to enjoy and that is a little sad. We all become adults fast enough; kids should enjoy being a kid. Rumors have Town headed to Florida, but he doesn't seem like a person you can depend on, and you really, really need to have a dependable quarterback..

10) Rhode Island/Cincinnati have both offered scholarships to a point guard who starts 10th grade this month. Recruiting is a fascinating, bizarre business.

9) Oakland Raiders have an assistant strength coach named Darryl Eto, who spent the last five years working for the NBA's Houston Rockets. Interesting career move.

8) Atlanta Falcons did zero live tackling before their first exhibition game against the Titans last week. None. As time goes on, teams hit less and less in practice-- paranoia about guys getting hurt is the reason why. Just can't afford injuries.

7) Danny White, Warren Moon and Mark Brunell were all very good NFL QB's; hell, Moon is in the Hall of Fame and helped Edmonton win six CFL titles before he came to the NFL, but these three QBs hold the record with ten playoff starts each, without any of them ever starting in a Super Bowl.

6) Atlanta Braves are 1-10 in Shelby Miller's last 11 starts, scoring a total of 15 runs in the 11 games. Miller couldn't even get a win Sunday when he had a no-hitter in the 8th inning. Atlanta did win that game in extra innings, though.

5) Greg Oden is still only 27 years old; he played half a year at Ohio State, jumped to the NBA, but has played in only 105 NBA games, 82 for Portland ('08-'10), then 23 more for Miami two years ago. Now he has signed to play for a pro team in China; will be very interesting to see how he does if he ever plays a full season.

4) Royals are running away with AL West and A's look stupid for having versatile Ben Zobrist for only a half-year before dealing him, but one of the guys they got from the Royals is pitcher Sean Manaea, who is 3-1, 2.84 in six starts in the AA Texas League, a hitter-happy league. Manaea has 38 strikeouts in 31 IP-- promising.

3) One thing that must be upgraded next year is Oakland's defense; one of the basic tenets of baseball is "strong defense up the middle". This hasn't changed,, no matter what the Ivy League geniuses tell you their algorithms say.

Marcus Semien has 31 errors this season; he is a horrible defensive shortstop and that is despite gradual improvement during the season. You cannot have a remedial program for players at the major league level- this has been a disaster.

2) Cardinals 2, Giants 1-- Game took 2:48 with veteran ump Bob Davidson behind the plate; it figured to be a fast game, since Davidson's last two games behind the dish lasted 14 and 16 innings. Davidson isn't a young man; that had to be tiring. Wish he had worked a game when we knew he was going to be behind the plate beforehand.

1) Jaguars-Bills are playing in London this year; one of sidebars of that game will be that one of the Jaguar assistant coaches is Doug Marrone, who spent the last two years as the Buffalo head coach, going 15-17. Think that game means extra to him?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Stat of the Day: Mets finish the season 0-13 against the Cubs/Pirates. It looks like the Mets will win the NL East, while Cubs/Pirates will have to play a play-in game in October just to get into the regular playoffs.

12) Pittsburgh relief pitchers have now won 16 straight decisions; they're 17-4 in last 21 games where winning run scored after the sixth inning, after being 3-12 in first 15 such games this season.

11) Saturday night in Denver, Justin Upton got mad and threw his helmet in the San Diego dugout; he missed what he was aiming at and the helmet hit Yonder Alonso in the head, knocking him out of the game. Alonso didn't play Sunday, but a lefty was on hill for Colorado, so he might not have played anyway. Upton played Sunday.

10) "If you're not first, you're last." Wen a pro golfer says that, you know he's really rich already. Jordan Spieth said that earlier this week; well, he made $1.1M when he finished second last night. Last place was $17,300. Uh huh.

9) Rams are staying in California for the early part of this week, practicing against the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard- they lost in Oakland Friday, play Jeff Fisher's old team the Titans on national TV Sunday night.

8) Do people really wake up at 9am on Sunday mornings to watch NFL pregame shows? Really? Can't remember the last time I saw 9am on a Sunday.

7) Sharpest woman in sports TV is Jody Jackson, who works in Phoenix, doing Diamondback pre/post-game shows. She knows her stuff, seems like a nice person who is respected by coaches-- she asks good questions.

6) If Ollie shot free throws underhanded in Hoosiers, why can't Dwight Howard?

5) Chargers signed Philip Rivers to a 4-year extension worth $65M or so, with little more than half of it guaranteed; that solves one of two big questions for San Diego, the other being where will they call home after this season? .

4) They showed Back to the Future after the Dodger game Saturday night in Chavez Ravine; Lea Thompson threw out the first ball before the game.

3) If Cardinal coach Bruce Arians can turn Logan Thomas into an NFL QB, they should send him over to the Middle East next to fix that mess. Thomas looks like he should be a bigtime QB, but he has never played like one, not even in college.

2) Jimmy Garoppolo threw 30 passes for New England Thursday night; wonder what the record is for most passes thrown by a QB in an exhibition game?

1) How committed are the Nationals to Matt Williams as manager? They look like a dead team, a team that sags as soon as something bad happens. They're not out of the NL East race yet, but they've lost six in a row and need a bolt of energy. Fast.

Sunday's List of 13: Things I think, things I don't think......
13) I don't think Eldrick Woods enjoys playing competitive golf anymore.

12) I think the NFL season should be: two preseason games, 18 in regular season, with the Super Bowl Sunday night of Presidents Day weekend. Then the Daytona 500 could be Saturday night and it is the best sports weekend of the year.

11) I think 95% of sports bars don't have a clue; place near my house Saturday afternoon had no golf, no NFL Network on. they have boxing, Little League and a freakin' talk show on. Stupid. Graney's on New Scotland Ave is still the best sports bar in this area and thats not counting the very attractive bartenders they have.

10) I don't think Little League games should be on national TV. Ever.

9) I think at some point, John Elway is going to realize that John Fox is a better coach than Gary Kubiak. Fox got to a Super Bowl with Jake freakin' Delhomme at QB. Now I know Elway and Kubiak are buddies from their playing days, but still......

8) I don't think anyone named Clinton or Bush should run for President next year. It is clear people are dissatisfied with our government; thats how a crackpot like Donald Trump leads a lot of polls. Anyone different is better than the status quo.

7) I think the designated hitter has its place: spring training and All-Star Games.

6) I still can't believe Kansas hired Charlie Weis as its football coach and is still paying him; not only that, Notre Dame is also still paying this fraud of a coach.

5) I think HBO's Hard Knocks would be the best show on TV if it carried thru an entire regular season; the stuff we don't see when the emotions run highest, during the regular season. Coaches' meetings might be the best part of it all.

4) I don't think Seattle's Lloyd McClendon should be a major league manager.

3) Now that I'm retired, I am amazed how terrible weekday daytime television is; awful talk shows, idiots getting paid huge money to provoke controversy. If not for all the CSI/NCIS/Law and Order reruns, it would be even worse. Game shows need to make a comeback-- daytime TV was better when I was a kid. Game shows are fun.

Side note: as I am typing this, White Sox are losing to the Cubs again: they just gave away a run on a throwing error. Hawk Harrelson's analysis: "You've got to be bleepin' me". Good stuff. He actually said "bleepin'"

2) I don't think we're as creative a culture as we used to be; reality TV is 95% crap, and that might be a low figure. The most entertaining stuff on TV is CNN and the real life shenanigans that happen in Washington DC. Now THAT is quality reality TV.

1) I think of the 32 current NFL head coaches, only ones who are getting in the Hall of Fame are Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Get well soon, John Farrell. Manager of the Red Sox has Stage One lymphoma, will be away from the team for the rest of the season. Our prayers are with you.

12) 7,444 games, thats how many games the San Diego Padres played before one of their players hit for the cycle. Matt Kemp did it Friday night in Denver, leaving Miami as the only major league team that has never had a player hit for the cycle.

11) Green Bay Packers have only three players who played for another NFL team; every other NFL team has at least 16 of those guys.

10) Was looking forward to watching a replay of the Rams-Raiders game last night, but then I get the Raiders announcers, one of whom is Matt Millen, who is my least favorite football announcer. Wound up muting it and just watching.

9) Blue Jays have sold roughly 500,000 tickets since acquiring Troy Tulowitzki.

8) Golf is hard: Adam Scott got an 8 on a par-3 Friday.

7) White Sox aren't very good this year (54-59) but they're 10-3 in extra innings.

6) Carlos Gomez has been bad since joining the Astros, hasn't hit a lick; he strikes out last night and tries to snap the bat over his leg, finally doing it on his third try.

Astros' play-by-play guy asks the analyst if he ever tried to snap a bat over his leg and got this reply: "Once, when I was seven." Guess they don't like Gomez too much.

5) Eldrick Woods is playing the Greater Greensboro Open next week; he has never played in this event before. He even played in the BC Open once, before he was a big shot. When things start going downhill, it is very tough to turn things around.

4) Cincinnati Reds' last 17 games were all started by rookie pitchers; they've had 62 games started by rookie pitchers this year. Apparently, they're rebuilding.

3) Last night's starter was John Lamb, whose grandfather was the PA announcer at Dodger Stadium from 1962-82. He was also PA announcer at the LA Coliseum.

2) In Michael Jordan's first three months as a Nike employee in the early 80's, Nike sold $70M worth of Air Jordan I sneakers. $70M worth of sneakers!!!!

1) Chase Utley was 4-5 last night, is now 11 for his last 22; Phillies have to trade him- they could get a decent prospect back for him.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Washington Nationals are 55-53 and fading fast, 4.5 games behind the Mets and hopelessly out of the Wild Card race. They have three more games with the Giants this weekend; in the immortal words of Micheal Ray Richardson: "The ship be sinkin'".

12) Mets were three games out of first place two weeks ago, when they made the Cespedes trade- they've made up 7.5 games in fourteen days.

11) I was reading Thursday where Elvis Presley was fond of peanut butter and banana sandwiches; I'm trying to envision what they taste like. I like bananas and I love peanut butter but the thought of the two of them together is not making me hungry.

10) Former big league pitcher Tony Cloninger turned 75 this week; he set a record that may never be broken, a pitcher hitting two grand slams in the same game, back in 1966. Hard enough for a regular player to do it; it has only been done 13 times, last time by Josh Willingham in 2009.

9) My A's have a had a cruddy season and it got worse Thursday; Sonny Gray got scratched from his start, then the A's lost a double via a replay review on a play that never should've been reviewed. Thats the way it is for losing teams; they get hosed. This replay review was on the second pitch of the game, bad way to start the day.

8) Twins announcers swear that the ball is carrying better this season at Target Field; Don Mattingly was saying how the ball is carrying better in his home park this year. Maybe the baseballs are just juiced this year; anyone think of that?

7) Blue Jays are first team since the '77 Royals to have two winning streaks of 11+ games in the same season. When you have a great lineup, the pitchers do better, since they know they don't have to be perfect to win.

6) QB Vernon Adams is finally eligible to play football at Oregon; he passed his last Math test Thursday, after he transferred from I-AA Eastern Washington. Funny thing is, Oregon's first game is against EWU and the Eagles were not going to welcome Adams back to their team had he failed that Math class this week.

Eastern Washington lost 59-52 at Washington LY; Adams passed for 475 yards. They lost their I-AA playoff game 59-46. He is seen as a pro prospect.

5) Labor Day is late this year, so the NFL regular season ends on January 3rd; with Christmas on a Friday and Week 16 on the 27th, there will be six bowl games on that Saturday, the 26th. Not a lot of time for anyone to return their Christmas gifts.

4) Golfer Sang-Moon Bae has to leave the golf tour this fall to serve in the Korean military for two years.

3) I saw Jason Dufner on TV yesterday, only I had no idea it was him; he has lost a lot of weight and he cut his hair short. Didn't recognize him at all.

2) Jets went down meekly, 23-3 in Detroit last night; they're stuck right now with rookie Bryce Petty having to play a lot- they can't risk losing Ryan Fitzpatrick to an injury and they don't have a #3 QB who is ready to play right now. Supposedly they are going to sign Tyler Thigpen soon; he already knows the offense.

Personnel advice: the Browns #4 QB is Thad Lewis, who once played for the Rams. Jets should trade for him as soon as humanly poissible; he isn't bad.

1) I don't care one way or the other about the Redskins, but if I was a Redskins fan, I'd sure as hell prefer Kirk Cousins over RGIII at QB. He moves the team better.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Major leagues went to 30 teams in 1998; since then, Tuesday was first night ever with a 15-game schedule where the home team won all fifteen games.

12) Can't be fun pitching for the Red Sox; fat guy playing third, and when they play in NL parks, another fat guy playing first. Marlins scored ten runs in sixth inning with a mind-numbing succession of ground balls that went thru the Boston infield like fans go thru a turnstile on their way into an arena.

Don't change pitchers, put better athletes in the field!!!!

This is why I don't think DHs should get in the Hall of Fame; they're incapable of playing the field. Have the feeling David Ortiz will get in someday, though.

11) Marlins/Padres are only big league teams who have never had a player hit for the cycle. Padres have been around 1969 and had Dave Winfield/Tony Gwynn; you would think at some point, one of those guys would've gotten a cycle.

10) Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan is hedging on his retirement after this coming season; either he really doesn't want to retire, or he knows the guy he wants to replace him isn't going to get the job, so he'll retire at a time where they almost have to give the guy the job, like right before the season.

9) Hisashi Iwakuma pitched fourth no-hitter this season, blanking Baltimore 3-0; it was the first AL no-hitter since Felix Hernandez' perfect game in 2012.

8) Diamondbacks haven't been over .500 since they were 8-7 back in April; they lost to the Phillies Wednesday in their latest attempt to get over .500. Arizona is an improved team, but they're chasing the Dodgers/Giants and getting over .500 has been an issue for them.

7) NBA schedule came out yesterday; mercifully, Knciks aren't playing on Christmas Day this year. Five games spread out all day; Cavs-Warriors might be best game.

6) No team has more than 20 sets of back/back games: Pistons-Warriors-Rockets and the Clippers all have 20. They reduced the back/backs, like Commissioner Silver said they would do.

5) I don't think Little League games should be on national TV. Kids are too young; some little tyke makes an error to cost his town a national title and he has to live there for at least the next 6-7 years; he might wind up like Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers, in a strait jacket in a psych ward listening to his son's hoop games on the radio.

4) Bobby Hurley got out of Buffalo just in time; Justin Moss, Bulls' best returning player, is in trouble with the school (not the law) with regards to a burglary and might not play this season. Without Moss, the Bulls are screwed- he is very good..

3) 2016 is a leap year, which means February will have 29 days, not 28. Was looking up which famous people were born February 29-- Anthony Robbins was the most famous person I could find-- he is 55, but has had only 14 actual birthdays.

2) Big 14 football teams have been underdogs in 43 of their last 50 bowl games; they are 3-3-1 vs spread in the seven games they were favored to win. In both '12 and '14, all Big 14 teams were underdogs in their bowl games. An overrated league.

1) I do not advise wagering on NFL exhibition games; coaches really don't care who wins, they're more interested in looking at certain players in game situations.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random stuff on Hump Day.......
13) Get well soon to Flip Saunders of the Timberwolves, who is undergoing chemo for non-Hodgkins' Lymphoma, which he says is very treatable. We hope so.

I remember seeing his son play in an AAU tournament in Florida a few years ago; Saunders wasn't coaching, but at halftime, with the kids resting in a hallway away from the court, he was diagramming plays on a board for the kids and teaching them.

12) Rough year for John Farrell; not only do the Red Sox suck, on his off day in south Florida this week, he had hernia surgery. Ouch. Apparently he was at the game last night, as Boston's bullpen melted down again. Just a bad year. Get well soon.

11) Then there are the Jets; QB Geno Smith is out 6-10 weeks after a teammate, now an ex-teammate (they cut the guy) punched him because Smith wouldn't pay back a $600 debt. Things escalated, words became punches and now Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets' starting QB, which is an upgrade, in my opinion.

Two things crossed my mind after hearing this........
-- How long before the Patriots pick up the guy who punched Smith?
-- Baylor rookie Bryce Petty is not ready to play in the NFL, which is why it looks like Tyler Thigpen will be brought in to back up Fitzpatrick.

10) Washington Nationals are 35-24 when Denard Span bats leadoff this year, 23-30 when he does not and it doesn't look like he'll be back this season. Reading between the lines during a Washington TV broadcast, they're a sinking ship-- Bryce Harper is sitting out games with a sore knee in August? A definite red flag. .

9) Golf is an Olympic sport next August and it is screwing with the PGA Tour's schedule for 2016. British Open and PGA will sandwich the Canadian Open next July, and the tournament in Akron that is being played this week will be the same week as the French Open next year, meaning none of the European players will be there.

8) BYU is an independent in football, for some goofy reason; their schedule opens with these four games:

at Nebraska, Boise State at home, at UCLA, at Michigan. Yikes. They probably do not lose a game after those four, but still, thats a rough September.

7) This is state of Purdue's football team: They're a 7-point underdog at Marshall in their season opener. Big 14 teams shouldn't be a TD underdog to the Thundering Herd.

6) Weird college football game Labor Day weekend: New Hampshire goes to San Jose to lose (and collect a check) from San Jose State, hardly a national power. It can not be easy to get to San Jose from the Granite State, which reminds me, why the hell did Chip Kelly stay at New Hampshire as an assistant coach for fifteen years????

5) Mets are now 45-7 when thy score 4+ runs, 16-45 when they do not.

4) Weird moment on Diamondback TV Monday, during a bad game Arizona was winning by a lot; the play-by-play guy wishes former D'back manager Al Pedrique a happy 55th birthday- Pedrique was the interim manager in 2004, after Arizona had fired Bob Brenly, who is now the analyst on Arizona TV broadcasts.

Brenly seemed genuinely surprised Pedrique was mentioned, then seemed annoyed by it all, telling a couple stories about that season, but because he is a good-natured guy, he wound up laughing it off, saying he got paid to stay home and barbecue for half of that season. Still, it was at least a little awkward in that booth for a few minutes.

3) Milwaukee shoved GM Doug Melvin out the door Tuesday, which is what will happen when your team is awful and everyone else gets fired-- you're next.

2) One last note about Geno Smith: he is on a 4-year contract that pays $5,019,063; he is supposedly the leader of the team. Stiffing a teammate out of $600 stinks. If I was the owner of the Jets, I'd cut both guys-- who wants a QB who aggravates a teammate so much he slugs him? Quarterbacks are supposed to be leaders, not instigators.

1) Why didn't I think of this? Philly Eagles fans are asking the Pope to bless Sam Bradford's knees before the NFL season starts. Good luck with that one.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) OK, I get it; Josh Donaldson might be AL MVP this season, after he was dealt from the A's to Toronto last winter. But I'm tired of hearing people ranting on and on about how stupid the A's were for trading him- its not true.

Oakland has financial restrictions because their cheap owner (5th-wealthiest owner in MLB) says they do, so while Donaldson is a bargain at $4.3M this year, he begins to break the bank next year, when his three arbitration years start. He'll be making a salary in 8-figure range beginning next year, unless his agent is a moron (doubt it).

To get any significant return on a trade, you have to trade the guy before he becomes a financial burden, so the A's dealt him last winter-- in return, they got:
-- Brett Lawrie 2B/3B-- He is no Donaldson but a decent everday big leaguer.
-- Kendall Graveman P-- Is 6-7, 3.90 in 18 MLB starts this year, isn't bad.
-- Sean Nolin, P-- Lefty starter who is currently hurt in AAA.
-- Franklin Barreto, SS-- Shortstop prospect who replaces Addison Russell in A's infield of future. He is doing pretty well in A ball but is currently hurt.

Did they break even on the trade? Probably not, but a team like the A's has to have solid starting pitching or they have zero chance and they got two starters in this deal, so while Donaldson is a big star, the reality is, the A's could no longer afford him.

12) We mentioned a place called the NoMad Hotel in NYC last week; place has a bar with a 2-story library and a restaurant-- turns out it is a little expensive, as in $385 if you stayed there last night, a Monday night. For one night. Yikes.

11) If you watch old episodes of CSI, you can see signs on the Las Vegas Strip of places that no longer exist, like the old Sahara hotel/casino, which is now SLS, where I stayed on my vacation last month. There is a Neon Graveyard in downtown Vegas, where they keep the old huge neon signs that light the strip. Its a cool place.

10) No one pays to see umpires do their job. No one. Going into Sunday's start against the Mets, Tampa's Chris Archer had walked nine batters in his previous seven starts, but he walked four Mets in the 2nd inning Sunday, because Woodring had a strike zone the size of a small napkin. Again, no one pays to watch the umpire work.

9) Surprising stat: Last year was first time in five years New England ranked higher than 25th in NFL in yards allowed. Less surprising stat: since 2007, Patriots are 14-5-1 vs spread when they're getting points.

8) There is a movie called Man from UNCLE coming out soon, the remake of an old TV show that ran from 1964-68, I think on NBC. Would've been nice if they found a spot for Robert Vaughn/David McCallum in the movie, the stars of the old TV show.

McCallum is still on TV; he is Dr Mallard on NCIS. Vaughn has been on Law and Order now and then the last few years.

7) Louisville plays Auburn in the Georgia Dome September 5; curious to see the reception Louisville coach Bobby Petrino gets, since he quit as coach of the Falcons before his first year ('07) was over-- he had a 3-10 record. Could be an icy reception.

6) Only 18 of 32 NFL head coaches played Division I-A college football.

5) Red Sox' Opening Day payroll this year was $184,345,996, third-highest in the major leagues. Captain Obvious called in: they're not getting their money's worth.

4) LSU sold out its football season tickets for 12th year in a row; if you're scoring at home, that is 74,350 season tickets a year for a dozen years.

3) As good a pitcher as Noah Syndergaard is, Mets are 1-7 in his road starts.

2) Modern baseball; When a ballplayer breaks a bat, it goes into the dugout where an authenticator puts a sticker on the bat, then it goes to the team store and is sold to a dumb person who buys broken bats. Seriously; whatever happened to giving broken bats to little kids?

Guy on SNY just said the bat Jose Reyes broke in the first inning Monday would sell for $500-600 in that team store. What jackass would pay $500 for a broken bat?

1) I read today that the Westgate SuperBook expects Ohio State to be a double digit favorite in every regular season game they play this season. Thats an indictment of the slowish Big 14 and of the Buckeyes' non-league schedule (Virginia Tech, Hawai'i and two MAC schools).

Monday's List of 13: NFL knowledge to start the week with.....
13) Since 2002, 65 teams have finished the season with a +10 or better turnover ratio; of those 65 teams, only six had a better record the next season than they did the year they had the good turnover ratio.

12) On average, teams win 2.55 games a year less the year after having such a good turnover ratio.

11) Only two teams since '02 have had a turnover ratio of 10+ or better and still had a losing season; the '03 49ers (+12) and '13 Buccaneers (+10)-- both teams finished 2-14 the following season. You have to be terrible to be +10 in turnovers and under .500.

10) 45 of the 65 teams had a turnover ratio that was 10+ turnovers worse the next season; you can make a case hat a great tunover ratio could make a team look a lot better than it actually was.

9) Denver Broncos have only two home games before November 1 this season.

8) There were 73 defensive TDs in the NFL LY, 19 kick/punt return TDs.

7) Arizona/Washington both got 44 first downs via penalty LY, most in NFL; Raiders got 19, Rams 20, least in the league.

Patriots allowed 45 first downs via penalty, most in NFL; Dolphins allowed 16, least in the league.

6) Last Buffalo Bills head coach to leave town with a winning record? Wade Phillips, who went 29-21 from 1998-2000.

5) Cincinnati Bengals went 116-192 from 1984-2002; since Marvin Lewis has been the Bengals' coach, they're 100-96-2, but fans are restless because Cincy hasn't won any playoff games the last few years. Be careful what you wish for.......if Lewis were to leave, things could easily get much worse.

4) Buffalo hosts the Bengals October 18 and the Texans December 6; in between, they have only one home game, plus two primetime road games and a London trip. NFL showing lot of faith in Rex Ryan, giving them two primetime games in November.

3) Last Detroit Lions' head coach (not an interim coach) who had a winning record? Joe Schmidt, way back in 1967-72-- he went 43-35-7-- lot of ties back then.

2) Houston Texans' assistant coach Pat O'Hara was a backup QB in college at USC, then spent the next 20 years in the Arena League, as both a player and a coach. This will be his first year in the NFL; would be an interesting feature by NFL Films to get his impressions during the season, as to how similar/different the experience is.

1) Chargers-Raiders at 5:30 on Christmas Eve; good thing I'm already divorced; games scheduled like that helped facilitate the process.

Sunday's List of 13: Random stuff on a summer day........
13) Why teams lose: top of 5th, White Sox trail 3-2 in Kansas City; Jose Abreu is up with men on first/second two out- the slow-running catcher is on second. They pick him off second, WITH JOSE ABREU UP!!! Awful, terrible baserunning.

Royals score four in bottom of 5th, then Abreu leads off the sixth inning with a solo home run, because that happens to losing teams after a runner gets picked off.

12) Very bad news for the Marlins: Jose Fernandez is back in Miami getting his shoulder checked. More bad news: Marcell Ozuna got pulled from his AAA game last night in New Orleans; impatient people like me thought he was getting called back to Miami, but turns out he was taken out because he sprained his wrist. Oy.

11) When the 49ers released troubled Aldon Smith, at least they saved $2.9M in cap room, small consolation. They've had a terrible offseason, for sure.

10) Since July 1, they've had over 32 inches of rain in Tampa Bay area, 8+ inches just in August- they don't have proper drainage to handle all that water. Not good.

9) Phillies have a catcher named Cameron Rupp; wonder if he is a college hoop fan, seeing as Duke plays home games in Cameron Indoor Stadium and Kentucky plays its home games in Rupp Arena. I'm just askin'....

8) Rams signed Nick Foles to a 2-year contract extension, so while I have no idea where the Rams will call home next year, I know who their QB will be and that is lot more important to me.

7) Want to win a bar bet? A guy named Tom Van Arsdale, who played in 929 NBA games over 12 seasons, scoring 14,232 points (15.3 ppg) has played in most NBA games without ever playing in a playoff game. His brother Dick also played in the NBA-- the twins were selected on consecutive picks in the 1965 Draft.

6) Pirates are 14-3 in last 17 home games; their bullpen got nine of those 14 wins.

5) Astros lost 13 of their last 15 road games; since acquiring Carlos Gomez, he is 9 for 35 and Jose Altuve is 9-37- they need to be better than that. Altuve has played in 17 games since his last walk and he is about four feet tall (5-5 or so really).

4) Rashad Muhammad, a Las Vegas kid whose brother played for UCLA and is now in the NBA, has transferred from San Jose State to Miami. Funny, I saw San Jose play a few times LY-- had no idea they had a player good enough to play in the ACC.

3) St Louis Cardinals look like a good bet to win the NL Central; that leaves six teams fighting for the four remaining playoff spots. Mets/Nationals and Dodgers/Giants are batting for division titles; the two losers will battle Pirates/Cubs for the two Wild Card slots-- two good teams are staying home in October.

2) Very nice ceremony in Arizona last night; they retired Randy Johnson's #51 and gave him a drum set just like the one the band Rush uses. Johnson spoke nicely, as he mentioned by name trainers, equipment guys and lot of teammates. Good to see.

1) Happy 80th birthday Lee Corso, one of the great characters in sports TV. I hope I am as sharp as he is when I turn 80; hell, I wish I was that sharp now.

Saturday's List of 13: Some Week 1 NFL knowledge.....
13) Cincinnati Bengals are favored at Oakland in Week 1, but they're 0-10 at the O.Co Coliseum and have covered once in their last six tries as a road favorite. They did win once in four tries against the Raiders when the Silver and Black played in LA.

12) Denver is 23-3 SU in its last 26 home openers, 10-4-1 vs spread in last 15.

11) Arizona Cardinals won eight of their last nine home openers.

10) Underdogs are 17-7 vs spread in Carolina road games the last three years.

10a) Dick Enberg just made an amazing Roller Derby reference in the 8th inning of the Phils-Padres game, mentioning that if a jammer put his/her hands on his/her hips, it automatically stopped the action. Who remembers that? Enberg is a gem!!!!

9) Home team won last seven Miami-Washington games.

8) Green Bay is 13-7 vs spread in last 20 tries as a divisional road favorite.

7) Seattle lost its first road game of the season in seven of last eight years.

6) Over last five regular seasons, over is 28-12 in New England home games.

5) Buffalo Bills covered ten of last 13 tries as a home underdog.

4) Since 2007, Jets are 18-27 vs spread as home favorites. Cleveland has been 1-0 once in the last sixteen years. Once.

3) Since 2012, Detroit Lions are 4-9 vs spread as a road underdog; they're 5-10 in last fifteen non-divisional road games.

2) Since 2011, Tampa Bay is 6-12 vs spread when favored; they're 5-11-2 in last 18 games when the spread was 3 or less points.

1) Since 2010, Dallas is 8-24 vs spread as a home favorite; they averaged 10.7 and 9.5 yards per pass attempt in their two games against the Giants last season.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Roughly 20 people running for President, but no bald men? How is that possible? There is a conspiracy in this country against baldness and it stinks. Hillary Cinton is running around with the Kardashians but will probably be the Democratic nomineee, yet a bald man can't even make it into a debate? Sad day to be an American.

12) No matter what you think of Donald Trump, I agree with him 1,000% on one thing; this country has become too damn politically correct. God forbid someone be offended by something, everyone has to walk on eggshells. We all have the freedom of speech, it is invaluable and the second we lose that, it'll be a very bad day.

Enough about politics, lets move on to the important stuff.........
11) DeSean Jackson screwed up his shoulder hitting a blocking sled; he'll be out for most of the preseason-- not good for the Redskins.

10) Dallas plays at Washington in a Monday night game December 7; if you're a Dallas coach, when you go to production meetings with the ESPN guys, how you can even talk to Jon Gruden? His brother coaches the Redskins!!!

9) Some very good matchups at Battle of Atlantis basketball tournament in November; Washington-Gonzaga and Texas A&M-Texas are couple of local rivalries that will get renewed a long way from home. UConn-Syracuse is a possible second day game.

8) Houston Astros are 13 games ahead of Oakland in the AL West, but if you look at the teams' records, you see that if every game ended after the 5th inning, Houston has a 46-44-20 record, Oakland 49-46-15.

That means the Astros gained 13.5 games on the A's in innings 6-9 and in extra innings, which underlines how brutal Oakland is in clutch situations, and how good Houston has been. Bullpen quality is a tenuous thing, but now the Astros have added Gomez and Correa and are the most talented they've been since the Bagwell/Biggio era.

7) St Louis Cardinals drafted pitcher Michael Wacha with the compensation pick they got for Albert Pujols signing with the Angels.

6) Cubs have a big decision coming up; where do they put Kyle Schwarber in the field? He probably hits too well to be a full-time catcher; those guys take a physical beating , which would diminish his offense. Left field looks like a good landing spot.

5) Brutal week for the Twins, who have lost five games in a row by a combined score of 30-13. they started the week holding one of the Wild Card spots, but didn't look at all playoff-worthy in their four-game beatdown in Toronto.

4) It is odd seeing the Tigers as non-contenders; they sold off guys at the deadline, they canned the GM, their owner is 85-- you wonder what is down the road for them.

3) Golfers get paid big bucks to switch equipment, but Keegan Bradley went back to his old driver Thursday and shot a 69, hitting 11 of 14 fairways. He hadn't used the old driver in more than two years.

2) Patriot fans have to stop whining about Roger Goodell; face it guys, they've been cheating for years and the league finally had enough. Be quiet, move on and hope the backup QB is good enough to go 2-2 or 3-1 in the first four games.

1) Thank you Jon Stewart, for helping show that people can laugh and think at the same time; his 16-year run on Comedy Central came to an end last night. Check out this clip with Stephen Colbert. Good stuff.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Beating a dead horse about instant replay: You look at the replay; is the call an obvious mistake? If yes, change the call. If not, the call stands. Its very simple.

12) I think about NFL pregame shows that I almost never watch and especially the one on ESPN-- former Cowboys exec Gil Brandt is still out there, very active. Wouldn't he be better TV guy than Keyshawn Johnson, who rarely says anything worthwhile?

Coaches/executives are usually better than ex-players; TV networks mostly ignore this.

11) NFL Network is very good during the day, showing camp from different teams every day. You at least get a feel for whats going on; not sure you get a lot of useful info for handicapping or fantasy, but it gets your mind working at least.

10) Indianapolis Colts have Frank Gore/Andre Johnson now; they're going to have one hell of an offense if those guys stay healthy. They were good last year.

9) Someone on TV was touting Sam Bradford as a "potentially great QB". I've rooted for Sam the last five years, during which time he went 18-30-1 as a starter and missed 31 of the 80 games he was supposed to play. His WRs in Philly aren't better than the ones he had in St Louis, though his tight ends are better now.

Bradford tried hard and seems like a good guy but if he turns into a great player after stealing $65M from the Rams the last five years, I'm going to projectile vomit.

8) Bills-Patriots on Monday Night Football in Week 11; someone in the NFL office has a lot of faith in Rex Ryan to keep Buffalo relevant until then.

7) Couple of New York Mets have good bloodlines; Michael Conforto's dad played linebacker at Penn State; Matt Harvey's dad played baseball/football at UConn. John Mayberry's dad was a big leaguer.

6) Kris Bryant damn near got a concussion sliding headfirst into second base the other night, so he is going to give up sliding headfirst. Instant replay has unintentionally put a new premium on correct sliding techniques- it needs to be practiced more.

5) Chris Kamka of Comcast/Chicago had a great nugget yesterday; Avasail Garcia of the White Sox is the first big leaguer since 1979 (Rodney Scott) to have both a walk-off walk and a walk-off hit by pitch in the same season.

4) Seattle's Nelson Cruz is hotter than hell; he is on a 15-game hitting streak and he hit a home run in ten of those fifteen games. Lot of teams missed the boat on him.

3) Indians utility guy Mike Aviles would be a semi-valuable trade chip because he can play all over, but his 4-year old daughter is very ill, so Cleveland promised not to trade him during the season, so the family wouldn't be further inconvenienced. That is a very classy move by the Indians. Some things are more important than winning.

2) College football starts four weeks from tonight; summer goes by too fast.

1) If you drew up an all-time Lakers' starting five and you don't have Jerry West on it, then you need to do it over until you get it right. You can put Earvin Johnson at any position but center, so put Kobe/West in backcourt, Magic at the 3, Wilt and Kareem up front, with Elgin Baylor and Shaq coming off the bench. There, that is settled.

Wednesday's List of 13: Pet peeves and other stuff........
13) Pet Peeve #1: I have Marcell Ozuna on my fantasy team and I'm hurting for good outfielders, since I also have Giancarlo Stnaton, who is hurt. Marlins sent Ozuna down to the minors July 5 and he is hitting .325 or so in AAA. Time to bring him back.

But no; Ozuna's agent is Scott Boras, who claims Miami is waiting until August 8 to bring him back, which will cost him a year on his arbitration clock, or something like that. As usual, the Marlins could care less about winning. They have that nice new stadium but they get their butts kicked year after year, so no one goes anyway.

12) Honesty in broadcasting: You don't get this much on local TV; when the Mets pulled ahead in the 8th inning last night, Marlins TV analyst Tommy Hutton blurted out "75% of the fans here are rooting for the Mets!!!" He didn't sound happy.

11) Pet Peeve #2: Utah Jazz got better last year, going 38-44, winning 13 more games than the year before, but yesterday, word came out that Dante Exum, who started half the Jazz' games LY and played 22 minutes a game, tore his ACL while playing in an international tournament for Australia. Awesome.

NBA teams pay their players millions of dollars, but are held hostage by these stupid summer tournamets-- the Pacers lost Paul George LY after he got hurt in a similar game at UNLV, which crippled Indiana's season. Do Utah fans get a rebate now? Exum isn't the player George was, but it hurts and now the Jazz will suffer for it.

10) If James Harden signs that $200M, 13-year deal with adidas, who would he be more loyal to, adidas or the Rockets? Houston paid him $14,728,844 LY; adidas will be playing him $15,384,615 a year. Playing in the summer gives the sneaker company lot more exposure and thats what they're looking for.

9) Pet Peeve #3-- This one made me smile, because it helped the A's. Smart people doing stupid things. A's led Baltimore 2-0, bottom of 6th, they've got a guy on 2nd and Eric Sogard is up, with Marcus Semien on deck. Buck Showalter is one of the best managers in baseball, the Orioles are so lucky to have im, but he walks Sogard to pitch to Semien. Let me repeat that-- he walked Eric Sogard on purpose. Thanks!!!!

Now Semien is no ARod, but he is a much better hitter than Sogard and he drilled a three-run homer that basically ended last night's Oakland win. Numbers are nice, but common sense is nicer. You never walk Eric Sogard on purpose, unless a pitcher is the next hitter. This was the case of a smart person making a dumb move.

Elsewhere in the world yesterday.........
8) Dave Dombrowski is out as GM of the Tigers, despite Detroit winning its division the last four years. His phone probably blew up about five minutes after word got out-- he will not be out of work very long, unless he wants to be.

This is very bad news for manager Brad Ausmus; GM's usually like to bring their own guys in to manage, especially when the uincumbent has been struggling.

7) Dan Haren is making $10M this year; he tried to dissuade a trade to Miami last winter because he wanted to stay on the west coast, but now he is on the Cubs and in a pennant race. He makes his first Cub start against the Prates tonight.

6) "He looks like a lamp post with ears." Arizona Cardinal analyst Ron Wolfley describing a rookie on the Cardinals, who apparently is very thin.

5) If you care about such things, a guy on NFL Network yesterday was touting Detroit RB Ameer Abdullah as a fantasy sleeper.

4) RB Arien Foster hurt his leg, is out indefinitely, tough blow for Houston.

3) Padres-Brewers played in Milwaukee this week; Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell played for Padres manager Pat Murphy in college at Notre Dame.

2) Check out this video of Northwestern State basketball player Jalan West playing HORSE with the school president, in the president's driveway.

1) Has to be a long summer for announcers of bad teams; they can't rip the home team, even if they deserve it and they have to come up with positive stuff to keep the viewers tuned in. Its not always easy.

Oakland broadcasts this month have featured a guy who catches foul balls in stands behind home plate, then gives them to little kids sitting near him, as well as a muskrat who was watching the game while sitting atop the rightfield fence. Seriously.

Miami announcers read texts/e-mails almost the whole game on Tuesdays; until they get Ozuna and Stanton back, it might be more entertaining than the actual games.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) I'm wondering how much Mercedes-Benz pays the Dodgers to have its logo above the big message board in right field at Dodger Stadium?

12) Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR race at Pocono last weekend because two other guys ran out of gas on the last few laps. All the money and technology that goes into racing at that level and two guys run out of gas- it doesn't seem possible.

11) James Harden was offered a 13-year, $200M contract to switch from Nike to adidas sneakers, which seems more absurd than the running out of gas story. Now you know why some guys don't listen to their coaches; they get paid more by the sneaker companies than by the team they play for.

10) From September 17-22, 1957, Ted Williams reached base 17 straight times: he hit four HRs during that stretch. Williams also holds the record by reaching base safely in 84 straight games. Both records are more impressive than the hitting streak record.

9) After 14 years as CEO in Boston, Larry Lucchino has "resigned" from his post with the Red Sox. Red Sox won three World Series during his tenure, but three of their last four years have been terrible so changes are in order. Its how the world works now.

8) Golfer Troy Merritt won his first PGA Tour event this weekend; he was also an all-state basketball in Iowa when he was in high school.

7) I mentioned last week about the hotel in New York City with a library/bar in it; turns out the NoMad Hotel is a little expensive; a room this coming Monday night is a mere $385. $385 for a Monday night. Oy.

6) A's are terrible this year but not when Sonny Gray pitches; they've won his last seven starts on the road, which is very impressive for a bad team.

5) White Sox called OF Trayce Thompson up this week, normally not a big deal but the young man is the brother of Golden State basketball star Klay Thompson; his dad is Mychal Thompson, who played for the Lakers.

4) Baltimore Rvaens are 8-2 in their last ten games with Jacksonville, but only after they lost their first eight games with the Jags. Tom Coughlin had it going with e Jacksonville in the late 90's- he is definitely a Hall of Fame coach.

3) First college football games this year are September 3; Labor Day is very late this year, so none of the games fall in Augusut, liek they usually do.

2) Hard-to-believe baseball stat: this entire baseball season, over 100 games, Toronto Blue Jays have received only four intentional walks. No easy outs in the lineup.

1) Baseball season has evolved into two seasons, really; the race to July 31-- are you relevant or not? Then the buying/selling happens and the sellers start thinking about next season, the buyers try like hell to make the playoffs.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) Yoenis Cespedes was The Man in Oakland for 2.5 years, but since he has been traded three times in 369 days, he is living in a foreign country, making a fortune, but it has to be at least a little unsettling, right? He'll likely change teams again this winter when he becomes a free agent- he'd be a good fit with the Marlins.

12) Stuff I learn watching the Marlins on TV; relief pitcher Mark Rzepczynski's last name would be worth 40 points on a Scrabble board.

11) Justin Upton struck out four times on 12 pitches Sunday, joining Brett Lawrie of the A's as the only major leaguers to do that this season; before this year, the last time a player struck out four times on 12 pitches was Mike Pagliarulo in 1988.

10) White Sox have an odd rotation; Jeff Samardzija and four lefties. I'm wondering if it helps him or hurts him? Lefty platoon hitters must come to the ballpark raring to go when they haven't played the couple of days before facing Samardzija.

9) Benches cleared in both Toronto/Cincinnati yesterday; Pirates-Reds are longtime divisional rivals- that seemed to be a little more contentious than the jabbering that went on in Toronto, where the Royals/Jays shouted and pointed fingers a lot.

If the Kansas City pitchers had to bat, they might not be so brave drilling guys then mouthing off when the hitters complain.

8) Cubs have four guys with 10+ stolen bases, first time they've had that since 1997.

7) If Vice President Biden runs for President, who does President Obama support, him or Hillary Clinton?

6) Sunday's Bad Beat of the Day: under 6.5 in Miami. Marlins led 2-0 in ninth. so of course Amarista ties the game with a 2-run homer. Amarista has 18 career HRs in 1,442 career plate appearances. Then Hechavarria hits a 3-run walk-off HR to win the game 5-2 and put the game over the total-- he has. 11 career homers in 1,658 PAs.

5) Arizona Diamondbacks were only club not to make a trade deadline deal.

4) This has not been my favorite baseball season, since the A's are having a dreadful year; it got a little worse Sunday when I read that A's owner Lew Wolff is the 5th-wealthiest owner in MLB. The way they run the team, you'd think Wolff lived in a cardboard box under the freeway, but no, he is really, really rich. Awesome.

3) Someone kidnapped the honchos at ESPN; Pirates are on ESPN four times this week, including next Sunday night against the Dodgers. Four times!!!!

2) Cincinnati Reds started a rookie pitcher the last five games, the first time that has happened in at least 57 years, when they started tracking this stuff.

1) Mets 5, Nationals 2-- Washington got swept in Flushing, is now tied for first with Mets in NL East. Up in heaven somewhere, my dad is happily shaking his fist.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Red Sox 7, Rays 5-- Travis Shaw hit his first two big league homers, scored five runs and made himself the early favorite to be the #1 pick in our fantasy league next March. Rosters in our league froze for the season Friday.

12) Guy in RF bleachers who came up with Shaw's first HR actually gave it up with no guarantee of getting anything for it-- he is either really rich, really nice or just plain stupid. You can hold a guy up in that case; he has to have his first HR ball.

11) If that was me, think I would come up with a payment plan for Mr Shaw; I'd give it up relatively cheap off the top, but then I would get incentives along the way the rest of his career, $xxx every time he made an All-Star team, $xxx every time he was on a World Series champ, $15K or so if he made the Hall of Fame, I'd in effect become a financial partner in his career.

If he hit those milestones, Shaw would be really, really rich anyway. If he doesn't have a very good career, then I don't get very much for the ball, but he still has it.

10) Last time a Red Sox player scored five runs in a game was Dustin Pedroia way back on August 12, 2008.

9) Odd record with an asterisk: record for most consecutive strikeouts by a position player is Rick Ankiel, who K'd ten times in a row, but the asterisk is that Ankiel was a converted pitcher. Washington's Michael Taylor struck out seven times in a row this week, before finally making contact last night.

8) Sounds like the Angels aren't having much fun this year; team cut ties with Josh Hamilton after his drug relapse, with CJ Wilson offering the only public support, now there are rumors that teammates are unhappy with Wilson's not trying to pitch thru elbow pain, even though he said he has been doing that the last couple of months.

Halos lost eight of last nine games after a 17-3 run. Stay tuned.

7) Ten different guys have started in leftfield for the Angels this season.

6) I told someone back in May that Ben Zobrist "will hit .350 or .400 when he leaves the A's". He hit two homers for the Royals yesterday- he had six HRs in 268 PAs for Oakland this season, missing 35 or 40 games with a bad knee.

5) Why would any A's fan buy jerseys/replica t-shirts with players' names on the back? Guys who are good rarely stay too long.

Last year I was walking on the Strip in Las Vegas and a young guy had a Matt Holliday A's t-shirt on; Holliday played 93 games for the A's in '09 before they moved him to St Louis for three stiffs- the players they gave up for him (Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street) were way better. Somehow that got left out of Moneyball, the movie.

4) There is a place called the NoMad Hotel in NYC that has a two-story library that has a bar in it and a restaurant with very fancy food. Looks very expensive

3) Texas Rangers sold 8,500 extra tickets once they announced that Cole Hamels was making his Rangers' debut Saturday night. Good walk-up crowd but then the Texas bullpen blew the game late 9-7 to the Giants. Hamels left with a 7-5 lead.

2) Illinois lost starting point guard Tracy Abrams for the year already; he blew his knee out for the second time. Have to feel bad for the kid.

1) 37 years ago last night Pete Rose's 44-game hit streak was ended by the Braves; I remember that night because I was in NYC, went to the comedy club Catch a Rising Star with my cousin. Richard Belzer was the emcee, the guy on Homicide. Pat Benatar sang that night too. Pretty cool night.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Pirates 5, Reds 4-- Starling Marte had the best defensive 9th inning I've ever seen an outfielder have. He threw out the tying run at the plate after a single to left, then ended the game with a tremendous diving catch as the Pirates won again. High drama!!!

12) Mets 2, Nationals 1 (12)-- Two nights ago, Wilmer Flores was crying at his SS position, thinking he had been traded to Milwaukee, but that trade never happened and 48 hours later, Flores was BMOC, hittg a walk-off homer in the 12th inning as the Mets beat the first-place Natonals. Had to be happy for the guy.

11) Mets added Yoenis Cespedes for the last two months of the season; he solidifies LF for them and will add a potent bat to a important lineup.

10) Cespedes is now on his fourth team in 367 days, in part because no one seems to want to sign him long-term and they don't get a draft pick if he stays and then leaves as a free agent. If no one wants him, please, please send him back to Oakland.

9) Friday was a "blue moon", that unusual occasion when we have two full moons in the same month. Happens every 30 months or so; next one is in 2018.

8) Russell Wilson signs with the Seahawks for four years, $87.6M, roughly $60M of it guaranteed. Good job by the Seahawks getting that distraction out of the way.

7) Padres' pitcher Ian Kennedy was scratchd from his start Friday night so he could go home for the birth of his fourth child, but weather in Miami was stormy, so the flight was cancelled and Kennedy made his scheduled start after all.

6) How is Harold Reynolds on TV? He seems likeable enough, but he says some stuff that makes you scratch your head.

3:15 Friday, San Diego pitchers are playing frisbee in the outfield in Miami, four hours before gametime. Reynolds comments, "Why is it so dark there?" Um, maybe because the roof of the stadium is closed?!?!?!? He talks before he thinks way too much.

5) Five teams who were under .500 on July 30 have made the playoffs, last one being the '06 Dodgers. AL Wild Card is soft right now; it could happen this year.

4) Toronto went all-in to win the division in part because 13 of their last 56 games are against the first place Bronx Bombers.

3) Golden State Warriors saved $8M by trading Gerald Wallace to Philly for Rider alum Jason Thompson.

2) As odd as Harold Reynolds often appears to be on TV, former Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd is very good, letting us know how GMs think and how things often shake out as far as trades go. MLB Network was way ahead of ESPN as far as trade deadline coverage, not even close.

1) There have been more 90-degree days in Seattle this year than in Chicago.

Go figure.

Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Giants traded for Mike Leake late Thursday night, as contenders begin to jockey for position in the pennant race. Trade deadline is 4pm today; could be quiet, could be a flurry of activity. Non-contenders are trying hard to dump salary.

12) Toronto traded for David Price; he will be a free agent this winter and isn't likely to re-sign with Toronto, so Dodgers will be in play for him this winter.

11) Milwaukee was intent on trading Carlos Gomez; he is now an Astro, after the Mets chickened out of a deal Wednesday night. Watching Brewers a lot on TV because Gomez is on my fantasy team, could tell Milwaukee wanted to find a way to keep Gerardo Parra and this trade allows that to happen.

10) Astros 3, Angels 0-- Catcher Jason Castro was 6-54 with men in scoring position this year, until his walk-off HR gave Houston a series sweep and the lead in AL West. Scott Kazmir hasn't allowed a run in his first two Houston starts.

9) Houston is 36-17 at home, 9-3 oerall since All-Star break. Now their roster is way better than it was in first half of the season.

8) Angels got the draft pick they used on Mike Trout when Mark Teixeira bolted the Halos in free agency. Sometimes it is good when players leave your team.

7) White Sox are playing better because they're hitting better early in games; they have scored 18 first-inning runs in their last six games.

6) Dodgers ate $43M in salaries in that 13-player trade, to acquire Wood/Latos to fortify their starting rotation. Dodgers have a lot of money to spend.

5) Weird stat: Ichiro Suzuki has come to plate 251 times this season but has only one double. One. He has three triples and a homer, but only one double????

4) Pro golfer Dottie Pepper posted a Sports Illustrated cover from 1968 on Twitter Thursday, with five prospects from 1968, Johnny Bench being the famous guy in the picture, but a prospect from Detroit in the picture is close to Pepper's heart-- her father Don, who was 0-3 at the plate in four games with the Tigers in 1966.

3) 13 of 14 SEC teams got at least one vote in the first USA Today top 25 football vote, Vanderbilt being the one team that did not.

2) Texas 7, Bronx 6-- Someday they're going to make a movie on Josh Hamilton's life and it is going to be a hell of a movie, both on field and off field. He won this game in ninth inning with a single and also hit a 3-run homer earlier in the game.

1) Royals are 15-3 this season in games that were tied after the 5th inning; Rangers are 8-2, and the Twins are 3-12. That says more about bullpens than anything else.

1a) I joked earlier this week about Ben Carson running for President-- I had no idea who the guy is, so I looked him up. Mr Carson is a 63-year old retired neurosurgeon who is the first surgeon to separate twins who were conjoined at the head. Smart guy.

He has written six books; they made a TV movie about him in 2009, with Cuba Gooding Jr playing Mr Carson. Very interesting guy and now I know who he is.

Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a stormy day......
13) Social media reared its ugly head Wednesday night, as Mets-Brewers negotiated a trade and word leaked out that Carlos Gomez had been traded for Wilmer Flores and injured pitcher Zach Wheeler. One problem; it never happened, with the Mets shying away because of concerns with Gomez' balky hip.

12) So the Mets ere losing at home to San Diego while Twitter was going nuts about this; TV announcers were ripping the Mets for leaving Flores in the game. Players who are traded are routinely removed from the game after the trade has been finished. Cameras caught what appeared to be tears in Flores' eyes as he stood at shortstop after getting an ovation from Mets' fans in his last at-bat.

But he never got traded and apparently will not be traded. An odd situation.

11) There is such an obsession with getting stories first that getting them right often takes a back seat and that is what happened here.

10) Dodgers 10, A's 7-- Another pathetic exhibition by Oakland's bullpen- they faced 17 batters, with nine reaching base

9) LA traded for starting pitchers Mat Latos and Alex Wood, as a multi-team trade took place between Miami-Atlanta-LA. Marlins as usual, dumped around $18M in salary while adding three mid-level prospects.

8) Cole Hamels is a Texas Ranger; Phillies got six players for two as Texas stocks up its rotation for the next couple of years.

7) Tigers are shopping David Price/Yoenis Cespedes as they've apparently realized they're terrible this year. Pitching is always easier to move than OFs.

6) Major league teams need starting pitchers who consistently finish the 6th inning, which takes the strain off its bullpen. No bullpen will thrive if it has to consistently get more than nine outs to close out a win.

5) Jon Lester had three sacrifice bunts Wednesday, joining Gio Gonzalez as the only players to do that in one game in the major leagues this season.

4) Why would someone pay $50,000 to go to Africa to kill animals?

3) It is so hot this week; hard to imagine how miserable it must be to put football pads on and practice. Then you realize when the season ends, it will be so cold in much of the country, it is the exact opposite. Hot weather is better than cold weather.

2) Finally saw the movie Glory Road, about Texas Western's basketball team in 1966; coolest part was early in the movie, when Don Haskins' character is making a call at a pay phone and the gas station attendant asks him a question-- it was the real Don Haskins making a cameo appearance in the movie. Excellent twist there.

1) There is nothing wrong with midweek day baseball in the summer. Nothing.

Wednesday's List of 13: Looking back of my Las Vegas trip
13) Las Vegas is an assembly line of fun; it never stops; it just pauses for a while and different people get on and off. My trip this time was among the best I've had, for a variety of reasons. There is an awful lot to do there, for sure-- you need more than 24 hours a day there, or at least a vacation after the vacation to catch up on sleep. .

12) Best sportsbook in Las Vegas is at the Westgate Hotel on Paradise; good chairs, most every game on TV (Dodgers are blacked out in Las Vegas, for whatever reason), tons of wagering options and a very good deli in the back. They're re-doing it now and will supposedly have skyboxes when work is finished (in time for footballl season?)

11) Don't be this guy: There was a guy there who must've bet a ton of games; every time a baserunner on one of his teams was going to have a close play on the bases, he yelled and I mean yelled, "HIT THE DIRT!!!!" It was funny for about five minutes.

10) In 'n Out remains America's finest fast food; what a gold mine those places are. Best milkshake I've ever had.

9) For first time I can remember, gas is 18-20 cents a gallon more expensive in Las Vegas than here in beautiful downtown Colonie. $3.20 or so a gallon there.

8) Adidas put on a great AAU tournament downtown at the spacious Cashman Center, where seven games were played at a time under one roof. Great fun; got to see kids from west of Mississippi play each other- there were a few teams from the east, but not a lot. Saw a team from Mississippi play a team from Oakland-- good stuff.

7) Met some college coaches, all of whom were polite/cordial, even though some of them were probably wondering who the hell I was. Bobby Hurley is a good guy, but he looks weird in Arizona State colors. Same for Ben Howland and Mississippi State.

6) I've told this story here before but it bears repeating: last summer, I'm watchng a game at Bishop Gorman HS, two very good teams playing. One coach takes his cell phone out of his pocket during the game, looks at it, then turns to the two people sitting right in front of me and says.........

"If you text me one more time, I'll never put him in!!!"

Welcome to modern coaching; it can be an insane world out there.

5) Listened to Jim Boeheim and St Joe's coach Phil Martelli discuss Boeheim's son and daughter playing AAU ball- they're teenagers from what I can tell. Their conversation drifted into 100% basketball X's and O's, as well as recruiting stuff, ehich was oddly reassuring. Two veteran coaches talking about what they love-- basketball.

4) Stayed at the SLS hotel (the old Sahara) this time; it has been redone and is kind of fancy, but I'm not a fancy guy. I wear sneakers and golf shirts, but SLS does have a 24-hour coffee shop, a 24-hour gift shop and a good sports bar by the sportsbook, though not really enough room to sit and watch the ballgames.

More of a young crowd, so the place is lively; they have concerts by their pool on the weekends which are very popular. I'd recommend SLS to younger visitors.

3) My room was amazingly small, but well organized; great walk-in shower, way big enough, but very little closet/drawer space. All in all, I liked the room and I spend a lot of time in the room, since I'm write this fine article there every night.

2) Had to ban myself from video poker; machines at SLS aren't nearly as loose as at South Point or even Planet Hollywood. Off-strip places are better to gamble at.

1) Talked for two hours to a 90-year old former bookie/radio talk show host named Danny who had a ton of interesting stories and he hit a 3-team parlay while we were sitting there. He told me he booked games in LA for 20 years, he was married to a former centerfold for ten years ("Boy, could she spend money!!!") and was also a pilot in the service back in the day.

Now this is Vegas, so I have no idea if any of it was true, but it was fun to listen to.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Was going to sum up my Las Vegas vacation today, but Colorado traded its SS Troy Tulowitzki late last night, so we'll write about Vegas tomorrow. Rockies sent Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto for Jose Reyes and three prospects.

12) First question: Will both shortstops stay put? Rockies have a SS in AAA named Story who is a big prospect, so hard to believe a non-contender would pay Reyes big money ($20M+ a year)-- he could be moving again soon.

11) Toronto is currently 50-50, seven games out of first place in AL East, three games out of the second Wild Card in a mediocre AL. Is Tulowtzki an upgrade over Reyes? Even if he is, it ain't by much and asking an injury-prone guy to play half his games on art9ificial turf is dicey at best. Toronto still needs to add pitching.

10) Toronto is LaTroy Hawkins' 11th major league team, putting him two games behind record-holder Octavio Dotel, who pitched for 13 teams.

9) Blue Jays haven't been in the playoffs since '93; they're all in for this year.

8) Cubs 9, Rockies 8-- Carlos Gonzalez homered in top of 9th to give Colorado an 8-7 lead, but Kris Bryant sent everyone home happy with a walk-off tater in bottom of the ninth. Soon after, Colorado traded its best/most popular player. Rough night.

7) Alex Rodriguez homered on his 40th birthday, mkaing him the 4th player ever to homer as a teenager and then again when he was 40+ years old-- other three are Rusty Staub, Gary Sheffield and Ty Cobb.

6) White Sox 10, Red Sox 8-- Chicago hit back/back triples to start the game, first team since the 2011 Tigers to do that.

5) Randy Johnson gave up one home run to a pitcher in his career; when he was on the Giants, Yovani Gallardo hit one off him while pitching for the Brewers.

4) You don't think Clint Hurdle earns his salary? Pirates have had 15 sellouts already this season. Hurdle has done a fantastic job in the Steel City.

3) Someone named Ben Carson is running for President; I've vote for Ben Stiller, Ben Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer before this guy-- I have zero idea who he is.

2) Indians are 19-31 at home; 4-15 vs lefty starters, 15-16 vs righty starters. Indians are 9-8 on road vs lefties 17-15 vs righties. Go figure.

1) Weird week with trades starting to happen every few hours- this is also the week rosters in our keeper fantasy league freeze for the season, so lot of stuff to keep up with. Always wondered how late these GMs of big league teams call each other?

The Colorado-Toronto trade was announced late; did it set off a flurry of latenight phone calls with GMs all over baseball? What if a GM went to bed early and woke up to find the landscape had changed drastically? Lot of money at stake in the big leagues.

Monday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Johnny Cueto to the Royals for three lefty pitchers; then the Reds go out and give up 17 runs to the Rockies. When the front office runs a white flag up the flagpole, players follow suit. A's got swept in San Francisco after trading Scott Kazmir.

12) Thats not to say that over the long haul, these are bad moves, just that 2015 is over for selling teams and players/coaches are showing up just because they have to.

11) It is always very cool to see Hall of Famers introduced before the ceremonies in Cooperstown. Hank Aaron remains the most underrated player ever.

10) Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher threw out the first pitch at the Rays' game in St Pete Sunday; Bucs' QB/FSU alum Jameis Winston caught the pitch.

9) We criticize the NFL for anti-celebration rules, then you see Arena League players mimicking WWE celebrations after TDs and you realize why the NFL rules exist.

8) Really, really like the Pirates' throwback uniforms, which they wear at home every Sunday- they're the uniforms from the 1971 World Series champs.

7) Pirates' RF Gregory Polanco made a great throw to nail Bryce Harper out at 2B on a ball he hit off the RF wall yesterday. Great play fielding the carom, then a better throw nailing Harper at second base.

6) I trust Hillary Clinton about as far as I can throw my car. (not far)

5) Why would major league teams bother to send scouts to see Cole Hamels pitch? What don't they already know about the guy? Just watch the games on satellite.

4) Training camp starts this week; how is it possible that Tom Brady's status has not been clarified? Don't the Patriots have to know how to prepare?

3) Tim Tebow has been working with former big league pitcher Tom House on his throwing nechanics; House was a reliever for the Braves who caught Hank Aaron's 715th home run in the Atlanta bullpen. He used to be the Rangers' pitching coach.

2) Why did the Royals trade for Johnny Cueto? KC starting pitchers have tossed the fewest innings of any team in baseball this season- they need an ace to take some of the stress off their excellent bullpen.

1) My daytime movie watching ends August 12, when NFL Network start re-running all the NFL preseason games- they'll have all 65 games over four weeks.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) In his last two starts before Saturday, Cole Hamels allowed 20 hits, 14 runs in 6.1 IP; he threw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field Saturday, the first time the Cubs have been no-hit in 7,920 games dating back to 1965, when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against Chicago.

12) Cincinnati now has longest streak since they were last shut out, 7,026 games, which goes back to 1971.

11) Hamels threw 129 pitches, induced 27 misses on 59 swings-- ya think the teams trying to trade for Hamels are nervous about him throwing 129 pitches?

10) Milwaukee's leadoff hitter got on base leading off the game last night, then was thrown out stealing second- that makes me nuts, giving the pitcher an out before he actually gets a hitter out. The #2-3-4 hitters were coming up; make the pitcher work.

9) 49 years ago this week, July 25, 1956, Roberto Clemente hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam that gave the Pirates a 9-8 win at Forbes Field. Imagine that!!! In his great career, Clemnete hit ten inside-the-park homers.

8) Alex Rodriguez hit three homers Saturday (THREE HOMERS!!!) as Bronx rallied to win 8-5 in Minnesota; A-Rod is hitting .277 with 23 HRs, 58 RBI and a .375 OB% as his team is in first place in the AL East. A-Rod will be 40 this coming week.

7) For whatever reason, the media refuses to give A-Rod his due; if this had been Derek Jeter instead of A-Rod, the following things might well have already happened:
-- Immediate induction in Cooperstown, waiving the 5-year post-retirement wait
-- He would've gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
-- He would've been named to the All-Star team (imagine no A-Rod this year?)
-- He would've been nominated for sainthood by the Vatican.

6) Mets' pitcher Matt Harvey has 2+ RBI in his last three starts, the first MLB pitcher to do that since Andy Messersmith in 1976.

5) Russell Wilson turned down $21M a year from the Seahawks? This is a guy who left NC State before his senior year, after starting for three years-- he is stubborn and it will not surprise me if he winds up leaving Seattle.

4) Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt is very good at working the count; he has had 32 PAs where he was down 0-2 in the count and the count wound up 3-2. He has had 13 walks where the count on him was 0-2 or 1-2. He makes the pitcher work.

3) Phillies are now 13-37 on the road, but if you look at their record in road games in just the first five innings, it is even worse-- Hamels' no-hitter was just sixth time in 50 road games they led after five innings. They've been tied 14 times (6-30-14).

2) Latrell Sprewell once turned down a 3-year, $27M contract from Minnesota at the end of his career in 2005- now he is broke. Who does something like that? There was a story this week about Antoine Walker making $108M in his playing career but being broke two years after he retired.

Athletes/musicians should take money management classes in college; actually, we all should, but those guys have a lot more money to deal with than I ever did.

1) Big day in Cooperstown today: Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Dick Enberg are getting inducted. I've been to Cooperstown a lot, living 80 miles away-- it is a small town, hard to get to, very historic. I think if I came across the country to see it, I'd be a little disappointed, but the museum itself is very cool.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.....
13) Immediate dividends department: Scott Kazmir blanked the Royals for seven innings last night, Astros won 4-0. If he is healthy, he's a big help.

12) If I lived in Las Vegas, I'd watch baseball at the Westgate sportsbook most every night, but I wouldn't buy bottles of soda there. A 20-ounce Pepsi? $3.78--- makes the greedy bastards at the oil companies look downright generous.

11) July 31 is too early for the baseball trading deadline, because the second Wild Card keeps everyone but the worst teams in contention thru most of August. Hard to sell off players if you have a shot at the playoffs. End of Auguust would be better or even Labor Day at midnight.

10) Coming into Friday's games, Dodger leadoff hitters had a .212 on-base %age, worst of any team's leadoff hitters in baseball.

9) When a guy like Kazmir gets traded, what happens to his stuff? He went right from Oakland to Kansas City to join the Astros, so he had no time to move anything. Do teams take care of this for the players? Where does he live when he gets to Houston, though Kazmir is from Houston, but what if he wasn't?

8) Miami Marlins have had eight managers the last six seasons; San Diego has had three since 1995 and they're not even good that often.

7) Mets front office finally did something, getting Juan Uribe/Kelly Johnson from the Braves, which means that David Wright is probably done for the season.

This is a team that batted Wilmer Flores 3rd on Thursday, 4th on Friday.

6) Geniuses that run the Mets have catcher Travis D'Arnaud doing rehab work in Class A ball in Florida, where it has been raining recently so D'Arnaud is having trouble getting his work in. Too bad the Mets don't have a farm club in the desert, where it rarely rains-- oh wait, their AAA team is in Las Vegas. Nitwits.....

5) December 4, 2007-- Marlins traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for: Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, Brook Badenhop, Mike Rabelo, Frankie de la Cruz and Dallas Trahern. Not the Marlins' finest moment.

4) Fact of matter is Ray Rice is no longer a good enough running back to justify the public relations kerfuffle that would result if an NFL team signs him after he was caught on video slugging his then-fiance in a casino. The couple is now married.

3) Why does Pat Boone do a TV commercial for bank safety? When I think of banks, Pat Boone is not a name that quickly comes to mind.

2) They had 34,783 fans at Opening Day at the horse races in Saratoga Friday.

1) Happy birthday to former Braves' catcher Biff Pocoroba, a 1978 All-Star and one of my boyhodd heroes.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here..........
13) I invented a new basketball statistic yesterday, while watching a one-sided game at Bishop Gorman HS. NegAssists, the amount of points scored off liveball turnovers, as opposed to deadball ones. Let me explain.......

12) A deadball turnover is a ball thrown out of bounds or anything where the clock is stopped and the ball has to be inbounded. A live ball tuenover often results in a fast break opportunity for the opposition and tends to be much more damaging- these are the results we want to track with NegAssists.

11) You can call it NegAssists when tracking how often your own players' mistakes result in opponents' points, but we need a word for points our team scores off liveball turnovers. It is late here, let me think-- until we come up with something better, we'll call them FastForce points-- FF points.

10) Anyway, they ran out of roster books for the media by the time I got to Bishop Gorman yesterday (how the hell is anyone awake in Las Vegas at 8am???) so I cannot write about individual players, since I don't know who they are. I'll be back downtown at Cashman Center today at the adidas event, where I have a book with players' names.

9) I'm not inferring anything here, but a team sponsored by Allen Iverson with nice purple uniforms warmed up for its game with each player throwing lob passes to himself off the floor and then trying to dunk. This with 20 or 30 college coaches sitting there watching their every move, out of sheer boredom. No bueno.

You'd think the geniuses who coach this team would resort to layup lines or a drill to showcase their players' immense athletic skill. Phil Martelli was sitting next to me and he is recruiting the big man off that team-- strong kid.

8) I see Tom Izzo, Steve Alford and Roy Williams watching a game, thats pretty much a game I'm interested in watching-- has to be one or two high level kids there.

7) Any big kid at this level of basketball should be expert at finishing around the basket with both hands; it is inexcusable not to be, since you can practice that by yourself, for hours on end if need be. Yet you watch these games and see a lot of missed layups by big kids.

6) Hint to prospects: dribbling behind your back in traffic is a bad idea, behind-the-back passes in transition do not impress too many coaches. Simple, effective plays that result in points scored impress coaches and result in scholarships offered.

5) When a coach yells out "swing the ball!!!" he wants the ball passed around the perimeter to the other side of the court. When a kid hears this command but jacks a 3-pointer instead, college coaches notice and wonder if that kid is coachable.

4) A's traded Scott Kazmir to Houston; not unexpected, since he will be a free agent in the fall. Kazmir is hurt but fighting thru it because of the free agency-- A's had to make sure they got something for him. It'll hurt more when they trade Ben Zobrist.

3) Zach Greinke's wife is having the couple's first child, so Greinke will probably miss tonight's game against the weak-hitting Mets, but he could be back later this weekend. Kershaw had a perfect game thru six against the Mets last night.

2) Ohio State's Braxton Miller will switch from QB to WR this fall, easing the crush of talent the Buckeyes had at QB. Kid could've transferred and played QB at ton of other schools, but they must've convinced him he can play WR in the NFL.

1) It is funny to see a prominent coach sit near a court to watch a game and casually look around to see who else s there, to see who his competition for players is.

Thursday's List of 13: Notes from the Adidas Uprising tournament
13) A tip of the hat to the people who organize the Adidas Uprising tournament at the Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas, a building next to the ballpark where the Mets' AAA team plays. This tournament is really well organized, well-run-- I had a great time watching games there Wednesday. Good hot dogs too.

If you're in Las Vegas and you like college basketball, Cashman Center is good place to see lot of good games/players all under one roof.

12) Seven games under one roof, so which game do I watch? You see Roy Williams and Lon Kruger watching the same game, well there's a good place to start. Just about all the bigtime coaches are here this week; its the last week of summer recruiting.

11) Obviously, there is tremendous competition for players; the team with the better players wins most of the time- tactics only take you so far. So coaches wear the polo shirt from their school, sit on the baseline and watch these games-- there are nine games on each court every day.

Coaches don't watch every game; they watch the kids they're interested in and fill in with other games in between, trying to find their next star. It is an inexact science.

10) Some coaches are wearing different polo shirts this summer; Bobby Hurley wears an Arizona State shirt, Ben Howland/Mississippi State, Rick Barnes/Tennessee, Shaka Smart/Texas, Eric Musselman/Nevada. New faces in new places next winter.

9) Most frustrating thing about watching this stuff: Kids do not understand, for the most part, what impresses a coach. Making shots is great, but are they good shots? Is a point guard making his teammates better? Is a big guy contesting shots and finishing close to the basket?

There was a 6-11 kid today who was jacking 3-pointers; he is one of the few unsigned Class of 2015 kids left, but no one wants him because he has low basketball IQ. Now he will get something eventually because he is 6-11, but he isn't as good as he should be and he won't play for as good a program as he should.

8) A coach I was talking to today suggested college games would be faster if they did not let teams bring chairs onto the floor during time-outs. NBA teams don't do it.

7) In 'n Out Burger is America's finest fast food. We need these in New York. I'm not kidding, best milkshake I've ever had. Someone make this happen, please?!?!

6) One of best things about these tournaments is seeing high school kids from different corners of the country facing each other. Watched a good game tonight with a team from Mississippi playing a team from Oakland. High level of play, coaches from Iowa State, Miss State, Texas A&M watching. Bigtime players.

5) Kid named Jereny Sheppard had a really good game tonight; showed great range on his shot-- sometimes a kid has a great game and it isn't indicative of his true game, but he looked like a keeper for sure, He plays for Team Loaded in Virginia and played in a game where a lot of high-level coaches were watching attentively.

4) A teammate of his, Isaiah Todd was listed as a 14-year old 8th grader in the book; coaches I asked all seemed to think it was a mistake in the book. You almost never see a kid that yioung competing at this level. Pretty good player too.

3) Rick Pitino is coaching the Puerto Rican team in the Pan Am games; veteran coach Ralph Willard is here with the Louisville assistants, keeping track of prospects.

2) This whole enterprise is an enormous moneymaker; costs around $650 a team to play in this event and there are tons of teams in several age groups. On top of that, it costs $375 for a college program to get the information packet, plus $75 each for each additional assistant coach-- and they have to play that at each tournament they go to- there are three in town this week.

One mid-major head coach I was talking to Wednesday said he shelled out $1,000, just for admission/information packets for his staff. Do the math there-- there are 351 D-I basketball programs- they all need to recruit at events like this.

1) Thursday's plan is to head to Bishop Gorman to the Fab 48 tournament and see those teams play-- there were lot of good teams there last year, with teams from as far away as Germany and the Canary Islands. Basketball is truly a global game now.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day from the desert....
13) My suggestion to improve Las Vegas: Apparently cocktail waitresses never retire; there are a couple at the Westgate Sportsbook who appear to be 60-65 years old. At the risk of sounding rude, 65-year old cocktail waitresses need to wear costumes that, um.......are a little more modest than the normal cocktail waitress' uniform.

12) Pitcher Nathan Karns hit a homer in Tampa Bay's 1-0 win in Philly; he is the first MLB pitcher to homer in a 1-0 game since Milt Pappas in 1962.

11) Karns is also first AL pitcher to homer since Zach Britton on July 3, 2011.

10) Detroit is in trouble; Marc Krauss batted fifth last night-- he came into the game batting a paltry .132. He batted right behind Victor Martinez- oy.

9) Yordano Ventura was the Royals' Opening Day starter, but he is 4-7, 5.19 and has been shipped to AAA.

8) Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher answered a lot of non-football questions during ACC Media Day-- he'll be relieved when practices start.

7) Mets are 35-5 when they score 4+ runs, 14-40 when they do not; problem is, they scored less than four runs in 54 of 94 games.

6) Indiana Pacers will wear Hickory High uniforms at times next season to honor the 30th anniversary of the movie Hoosiers.

5) Bryce Harper's on-base percentage this season is .463-- damn, but he is only 7-31 against the Mets this season.

4) Shaquille O'Neal named an all-time Laker team and left Jerry West off? Ugh.

3) Houston Astros scored two runs on a stolen base last night; throw to second hit a sliding Jake Marisnick on the left arm, rolled into left field as he and the runner on 3rd both sprinted home. Red Sox are falling apart dangerously fast.

2) Pirates were down 3-0 in ninth inning last night; they had a runner thrown out at the plate with no one out-- had he stayed at third, tying run would've been at the plate with no one out. As it was, tying run never came to the plate.

1) Rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber was The Man in Cincinnati Tuesday night; he tied the game with a 9th inning homer, then won it with another homer in the 13th inning

Tuesday's list of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) If he doesn't have one, Donald Trump needs to hire an advisor whom he respects who will tell him to shut up and stop putting his foot in his mouth. Last thing he should want is to turn a Presidential election into a year-long WWE interview, with a circus overshadowing the important issues facing our country.

12) Supposedly Trump wanted to buy the New England Patriots in 1988, but he didn't think the other NFL owners would vote him in as an owner and the $104M the team owed at that time didn't set well with Trump's financial guys.

11) There were rumors on Interweb Monday that Yoenis Cespedes could get traded at the trade deadline for the second year in a row; he is a free agent after this season.

10) ESPN guys Monday night were talking about how umpires calling more and more low pitches strikes has had a lot to do with decreased scoring in baseball.

9) LSU's athetic department gave $10M+ to the school's general fund this month- they usually give $7.2M but had a little more to give this year.

8) Amateur golfer Paul Dunne, who plays for UAB right now, is expected to turn pro later this year, after being tied for the lead at the British Open after three rounds, before he blew up a little in Monday's final round.

7) I like the idea of a 4-hole playoff they have at the British Open; that way, one poor shot is less likely to beat you than in sudden death.

6) Oft-injured hooper Joel Embiid apparently broke a bone again in his injured foot; it seems like the guy is never going to get healthy enough to be an NBA contributor.

5) Red Sox' first four games after All-Star break: L0-1, L0-3, L1-11, L3-7

4) Houston Rockets traded a first round pick, three stiffs and young prospect Nick Johnson to the Denver Nuggets for PG Ty Lawson, who needs himself a chauffeur as much as he needs a lawyer. Rockets are a "Moneyball" team, so they care less about off-court issues than most teams do.

3) Green Bay Packers made $226M just in revenue sharing during the NFL this season. $226M buys a lot of cheese.

2) Former Florida State QB DeAndre Johnson is trying to get into NE Oklahoma State College after he was tossed from Florida State for whacking his girlfriend under a security camera-- subs don't get away with breaking the law too much.

1) I'll be attending AAU basketball games later this week; some teams are being sponsored by present/past NBA stars like Earl Watson, TJ Ford, Rashard Lewis, Mo Williams, Deron Williams and Allen Iverson. Good for them.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.....
13) With the baseball trading deadline 11 days away, it is interesting to note that on July 31, 2010, Cleveland traded Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals and got Corey Kluber from San Diego as part of a 3-team trade. Trade was a big win for the Indians.

12) Austin Dillon finished 8th in the NASCAR race in New Hampshire this week, the same guy whose car flipped and smashed into the safety net at Daytona two weeks ago. Still amazed Dillon walked away from that crash.

11) When it rains in Phoenix during a Diamondbacks' game, the roof leaks right over the pitchers' mound-- it was annoying the pitchers during the extra innings in Friday night's game. Groundskeepers had to come out in between innings and fix the mound.

10) Padres got rained out in San Diego Sunday for first time since 2006; they played into the 5th inning, but they were slow getting tarp on the field and it was unplayable after the rains stopped.

9) San Diego is now trying Will Middlebrooks at 3B, because he doesn't hit well enough to stay at 3B; he made two errors that got washed out Sunday, which always seems to happen when Andrew Cashner is pitching.

8) Mets 3, Cardinals 1, 18 innings-- Why do the front office guys with the Mets make so much money? What do they do? They sure don't make trades. This is a pitching staff that should be in the playoffs, but their position players are so lame it is not going to happen unless the roster is fortified.

7) If someone says " be honest with you" to me, I always wonder when it was when they weren't honest with me.

6) Detroit is 0-6 in Justin Verlander's starts; he is 0-3, 6.62- the Tigers are 45-46 and with Miguel Cabrera out for another 3+ weeks, doesn't look good for Detroit.

5) Westgate sportsbook is my favorite sportsbook in Las Vegas; good deli in the back, all the games on, lot of wagering options, lot of gamblers to talk with. Good place.

4) Zach Greinke hasn't allowed a run in his last 43.2 IP; quite a run he is on.

3) Three golfers are tied for first place at the British Open after the third round- one of the guys is an amateur. Unusual Monday finish for a major today.

2) A's battered former teammate Tommy Milone Sunday, though most of the damage was done by guys who weren't on the A's when was Milone was the last few years. Newly acquired Jake Smolinski hit two homers Sunday; he'll help vs lefties.

1) Miami Marlins got swept in Philly, which isn't good; Jeff Francoeur hit a walk-off HR Sunday, after he hit a pinch-hit 3-run HR in Friday's game. Could Francoeur net a prospect back for the Phillies in a trade deadline deal?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Greetings from Las Vegas, where I am on vacation; some of these articles may be posted at odd times as opposed to the way things are normally done. It is fun here.

12) 67,000 people paid $4 apiece to crowd into Lambeau Field to honor Brett Favre as he was inducted into the Packers' Hall of Fame. Looked like a cool event.

11) Favre won 186 regular season games; Peyton Manning has 179 wins, so he'll probably pass Favre into the #1 spot on the list this season.

10) Sign of the times; George Mason's basketball gym will now be called EagleBank Arena; they're getting $6.6M for ten years for naming rights.

9) Where does this money go? Well, new basketball coach Dave Paulsen is making $700K a year for the next five years- the AD at Mason makes $300K. Paulsen was a D-III coach less than ten years ago-- timing is everything in life.

8) Why is golf going to be an Olympic sport? I don't want to hear the word "amateur" at all during the Olympics, if Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are playing.

7) 22% of the Indians runs this year reached base via a walk. Thats a lot.

6) Rick Porcello is 5-10 with a 5.79 ERA; he is getting paid $20M+ a year. Which of the Ivy League geniuses in Boston is taking credit for this debacle?

5) I never knew it was legal to kick the ball over the net in volleyball.

4) Clayton Kershaw induced 30 misses on 61 Washington swings; he made National hitters look like Little Leaguers. He almost didn't make the All-Star team. Oy.

3) Phillies' pitchers are walking 4.1 batters per game, only major league team over four walks a game.

2) Seth Curry is scoring 25 ppg in the NBA Summer League for the Pelicans.

1) One of the highlights of any Saturday night here in Las Vegas is watching all the young people stagger back thru the lobby after a night of partying; the young girls who aren't used to dressng up a lot are all limping in their high heels, like their achilles tendons are about to rip. How do women walk in heels that high?

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff on a summer Saturday.....
13) Golf started in Scotland Saturday morning before Friday night's baseball was over in this country, with the game in Arizona going extra innings. Golf didn't last long though, since the wind was blowing balls off the green before they could be marked by players. Looks like the third round will be played Sunday, the final round on Monday.

In other words, Saturday will be a bad day to be a travel agent, as plans change.

12) Matt Duffy batted third for the Giants last night and is hitting .297; in his three years at Long Beach State, using an aluminum bat, Duffy never hit higher than .266.

11) Phillies are 30-62; their payroll is 9th-highest in the major leagues.

10) SEC football writers picked Auburn to win the SEC playoff game, but Alabama to win the SEC West, in which case Auburn wouldn't even be in the title game.

9) USC in 2004 was last time the AP preseason #1 team won the national title that year. BYU in 1984 is last time unranked team won the national title.

8) Over last 19 tournaments that Jordan Spieth/Eldrick Woods were both in, Spieth had an advantage by a total of 110 strokes, an average of 5.8 strokes per tournament.

7) Michigan Wolverines have a new apparel deal with Nike: $169M for 15 years. No pressure to win or anything for Jim Harbaugh.

6) Los Angeles Kings will travel 43,750 miles this coming hockey season and that is before the playoffs start.

5) Why would anyone live in Scotland? The weather sucks in July, for Pete's sake.

4) Knicks gave Derrick Williams $10M for two years, an expensive speculation that he regain his college form. Apparently George Karl liked Williams int he 30 games he coached him late last season, but apparently Karl also berated Williams LY after he had zero rebounds while playing 20 minutes in a game. Williams is 6-8; he has to rebound.

3) Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs is an Aerospace Engineering major. Yikes.

2) They were saying on SEC Network Thursday that the two easiest positions for a college freshman to come in and play right away were RB and defensive line. Lot less schemework in this positions, just do what you have to do without thinking much.

1) Former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford is off to a 2-1 start as coach of the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League.

Friday's List of 13: 13 of my favorite sports movies.........
-- Any Given Sunday-- Al Pacino's "Game of Inches" speech is tremendous; who knew Lawrence Taylor could act? Johnny Unitas as an opposing coach: good touch.

-- Major League-- Bob Uecker was awesome as the Indians' radio announcer, as Tribe made an unlikely run to the playoffs, with Charlie Sheen as one of their pitchers.

-- Let It Ride-- Richard Dreyfuss is a degenerate gambler having a very good day at the racetrack. If only KL Wheat or DD Lohaus could have a day like that at Saratoga this year!!!!

-- Fast Break-- Gabe Kaplan is a NYC deli manager who quits his job to become a college basketball coach in the West. Bernard King is one of his players.

-- Youngblood-- Hockey movie with Rob Lowe, but character actor Ed Lauter steals the movie as the team's coach with quotes like: "....I didn't come halfway to the bleeping Arctic Circle to lose to these goons!!!" Patrick Swayze has supporting role, before he became a big star.

-- Bad News Bears (original)-- Walter Matthau is classic as a Little League coach with a drinking problem and Tatum O'Neal as his star pitcher. Best quote: "You didn't come into this world to sit on the bench. Now get your ass out there and play."

-- Brian's Song (original)-- True story of friendship that developed between couple of Bears' running backs in the late 60's. Gale Sayers was the star player, Brian Piccolo his wise cracking backup who eventually dies of cancer. I haven't seen the remake yet.

-- Hoop Dreams-- Documentary about couple of Chicago-area high school basketball players. Real life is more harsh than fiction; neither kid became a star in college.

-- Invinceable-- True story of 30-year old bartender Vince Papale, who was a special teams ace for three years in the late 70's for Dick Vermeil's Eagle teams. Soundtrack for this movie is excellent, lot of good music from that era.

-- For the Love of the Game-- Kevin Costner is a Tigers' pitcher who pitches a no-hitter in the last game of his career. JK Simmons, who won an Oscar this year as a maniacal music teacher in Whiplash, is more restrained here as the Detroit manager.

-- Caddyshack-- Madcap golf comedy of early 80's: Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Bill Murray. Some of my friends in college knew the movie word-for-word and played drinking games when re-runs aired.

-- Blue Chips-- Nick Nolte is a college basketball coach; Shaquille O'Neal is one of his prize recruits as Nolte hedges on whether or not to break NCAA rules. Bob Cousy is the athletic director who steals the show in this scene.

That scene was done in one take; Cousy was a great basketball player, isn't an actor.

-- Moneyball-- Adaptation of Michael Lewis' book about Billy Beane and the A's, who won 20 games in a row despite a small payroll, setting an AL record, but losing in the playoffs. As an A's fan, wish they would've given Art Howe, Miguel Tejada more credit for that great run, as well as the starting pitcher trifecta of Hudson-Mulder-Zito.

Thursday's List of 13: Random stuff on a summer day........
13) I never watch the ESPYs, seriously. waste of time. Much rather watch the NBA Summer League or the AAA All-Star Game. But I will say this about Bruce Jenner

This is a free country, that is very important to remember. If a person wants to have a sex-change operation, knock yourself out, you're free to do that.

What baffles me is why anyone would give this person an award. If you're that starved for ratings that you exploit stuff like this for attention, well thats just sad.

12) MLB has onions banning Pete Rose when they're in bed with Draft Kings, a fantasy sports company. Watch the Draft Kings commercials with the guy in the Tom Brady jersey; thats the face of any gambler whose wager lies in the balance at the end.

Nothing wrong with it, but fantasy sports is a form of gambling, simple as that.

11) As for Rose, he is not getting in the Hall of Fame, not in his lifetime. I'd vote for him getting in, but too many prominent baseball people want him kept out.

10) Coastal Carolina's basketball team is making a historic trip to Cuba to play some exhibition games. Pretty sure it is the first visit this century by an American team.

9) White Sox skipper Robin Ventura went public with his wish that ace Chris Sale not pitch in All-Star Game and Ned Yost granted his wish, which hurts Yost's team, since now Sale will pitch against the Royals Sunday, when he wouldn't have otherwise.

8) Cubs scored 12 runs in Jon Lester's last nine starts. No bueno.

7) Andy Dalton got booed at the celebrity softball game in Cincinnati this week; I know he has an 0-4 record in playoff games, but his regular season record is 40-23-1 and that is not boo-able. People are jerks sometimes.

6) You could actually wager on whether the first pitch of the All-Star Game would be a ball or a strike. Seriously, you could.

5) I'm wondering if Buster Posey catching guys in All-Star Game helps him at all next time he faces those pitchers in a real game?

4) FAO Schwarz toy store in Manhattan closed this week, a NYC institution that was owned by Toys 'r Us. I was in there once; it was a bigtime tourist attraction, but it became too expensive to rent the space and so it is gone now.

3) Why hasn't Marcus Mariota signed with the Titans yet? What is he thinking?

2) How many major league pitchers do you think were the center of their high school football team? Clayton Kershaw was; the QB was Lions' QB Matthew Stafford.

1) My five all-time favorite basketball players to watch; not necessarily the best guys, just the most fun for me to watch:

Vlade Divac-George Gervin-Pete Maravich-Steve Nash-David Thompson.

Wednesday's List of 13: Some of my favorite non-sports movies.....
These are thirteen of my favorite non-sports movies. I'm not going to number the list, because this isn't a ranking, just some movies I really enjoyed.........

-- A Few Good Men-- Courtroom scene with Colonel Jessup on witness stand is classic. Kevin Pollak/Kevin Bacon strong supporting cast. Not sure why they tried so hard to make Demi Moore look unattractive, but it didn't work.

-- Random Hearts-- If Harrison Ford announced he was running for President this week, and his health/taxes turned out OK, who is voting against him? In this movie he plays a cop whose wife dies in a plane crash, only to find out the wife was having an affair with a congresswoman's husband. Romance ensues.

-- Good Will Hunting-- My favorite Robin Williams movie; it makes me sad to think how much joy he gave people, but wasn't happy himself. I still think of his last words to Matt Damon in this movie: "Do whats in your heart, son. You'll be fine."

-- Runaway Jury-- My favorite of the John Grisham book/movies. Gene Hackman is the bad guy in this movie; the guy who played the sheriff in My Cousin Vinny (Bruce McGill) is the judge. John Cusack is the star; Dustin Hoffman is also very good.

-- Heat-- Al Pacino and Robert Deniro together; tremendous!!! The scene where they meet in the diner is a film classic.

-- My Cousin Vinny-- Joe Pesci is tremendous, the guy who played Herman Munster on TV (Fred Gwynne) is the judge and Marisa Tomei is Pesci's girlfriend who winds up breaking the case for her boyfriend.

-- Roxanne-- Steve Martin's finest work; coming from me, thats a huge compliment, since he is my favorite comedian/movie star. This scene is all him; check it out.

-- Meatballs-- Bill Murray as a camp counselor who befriends a lonely camper; lot of good lines in this movie. Morty the head of the camp wound up on Cagney and Lacey as their boss and later as a judge on Law and Order.

-- Last Vegas-- Michael Douglas is getting married for first time at age 69; he goes to Vegas for his bachelor party with three friends (Morgan Freeman, Deniro and Kevin Kline), but it is Mary Steenburgen who steals the movie.

-- Searching for Bobby Fischer-- Joe Mantegna is a sportswriter whose son turns out to be a chess prodigy; underrated movie about parents who push their kids too hard.

-- The Bodyguard-- Kevin Costner is Whitney Houston's bodyguard as she heads to the Oscars. Ralph Waite (father on the Waltons and NCIS) is Costner's father in this movie, as he tries to protect his famous client.

-- The Verdict-- Paul Newman is a struggling lawyer who struggles to win a case while a woman planted by the opposition tries to distract him. Jack Warden is Newman's pal in this movie, one of the greatest supporting actors of all-time.

-- Dave-- Kevin Kline owns a temp agency but he looks like the President, who has a stroke while having an affair with his mistress, so he is hired to stand in for the Prez, while his underlings run the country. First Lady Sigourney Weaver figures it all out.

Tuesday's List of 13: College football knowledge to ponder......
13) From 2009-12, Alabama was 49-5, with a +53 turnover ratio; last two years, they were 23-4, with a turnover ratio of 0.

12) Since 2008, Michigan State is 16-3-1 vs spread as a road favorite.

11) Arizona State is 16-9 as a favorite under Todd Graham; their turnover ratio the last two years is +29. Sun Devils are 20-7 SU during that time.

10) Penn State played 76 underclassmen LY, second most in country.

9) TCU's only loss last year was 61-58 to Baylor; Horned Frogs have ten starters back on offense- they're 3-8 vs spread in last 11 games as road favorite.

8) Florida State loses a QB who was 27-1 as a starter, and offensive linemen who started a total of 174 games, a huge loss-- their only senior starter on offense would be if Notre Dame transfer Golson becomes the starter at QB.

7) Speaking of the Seminoles, when Chief Osceola comes out on the field before home games, he is riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade.

6) Oregon uses Donald Duck as its school mascot; they have a handshake agreement with the late Walt Disney himself that allows it.

5) Over last three season, Army Cadets are 0-9 vs spread as road underdogs.

4) Temple Owls have 19 starters back this season; since 2007, they're 30-19 vs spread when they're getting points.

3) Over last nine years, Boise State is 104-15 SU; over last three years, they're 7-1 vs spread in game followng a loss.

2) Northern Illinois covered 12 of last 15 games as a road favorite, but they've lost last three bowl games, allowing 34.7 ppg.

1) This will be first time since 2010 that Arkansas State had same head coach two years in a row; coaches at Ole Miss-Auburn-Boise State all came from Jonesboro.

Monday's List of 13: Random stuff at All-Star break......
13) Pirates head into All-Star break 35-13 in their last 48 games, winning in walk-offs the last two nights against St Louis. Why did Colorado fire Clint Hurdle?

12) Cardinals haven't scored a first inning run in their last 23 road games.

11) Mets 5, Arizona 3-- New York is 34-5 when they score 4+ runs. Nieuwenhuis hit three homers Sunday; he came into the game with 13 HRs in 613 career PAs.

10) Dodgers have used 11 different starting pitchers this year; considering they have Kershaw/Greinke, that is nine guys for the other three slots.

9) Amir Garrett is a Cincinnati farmhand who was in the Futures Game yesterday; he used to be a bigtime basketball recruit at St John's, who later transferred to Cal-Northridge to play for Reggie Theus, but he never played for the Matadors.

8) Marlins' TV showed an interesting side-by-side yesterday of Johnny Cueto's windup and how similar it is to Luis Tiant, who was an excellent pitcher in the 70's for the Red Sox. Good piece of hustle that shows why Marlins' TV games are more fun to watch than most teams.

7) Kansas City Royals announcers are becoming ridiculous homers; they talked about the KC fans voting for all the Royals in the All-Star balloting and one of them actually said, "Well, thats too bad", basically thumbing his nose at the process.

They'd be the first people to gripe if the fans lose the right to vote for All-Stars.

6) Tough loss for the Braves; closer Jason Grilli tore his achilles tendon covering first base in Saturday night's loss in Colorado. Grilli is 38, his career could be over.

5) Tremendous finish to a semi-final game of the AAU Peach Jam Classic on ESPNU Sunday; kid from St Louis knocked down a contested, leaning 3-pointer at buzzer to give his team the win. If it was an NCAA tournament game, that shot would be on TV for the next thirty years. St Louis team lost in the finals, though.

4) St Louis beat a team Chris Paul sponsors with that 3-pointer; Paul was actually there, sitting right behind his team's bench, talking to the coach during breaks.

3) Tired of hearing high school players being referred to by their numerical ranking by so-called experts. It is an exercise in futility to rank every HS senior in America.

Case in point: In 2001 I as an assistant coach for a team that won the NY State public high school state championship, a pretty big deal. We had many good players, but our best guy was Jason McKreith, who went on to play for Rice-- he was really, really good, but none of these so-called experts had Jason ranked in the top 300 nationally, which was malpractice. Jason was a top 100 player.

These geniuses do their ranking by which colleges are recruiting the kids. #65 on one list was a 7-footer from a team in our area. He was being recruited by Syracuse, so they put him high on the list, an act of incompetence. Rankings sound good, but in reality how do you differentiate between #75 and #76? Or #65 and #365? It is guesswork.

2) Golfer Tom Gillis turns 47 on Thursday; in 171 previous PGA events, he had nine top 10's, but no wins. After years of struggle, he won $3M+ from 2010-12, but then had a bum shoulder and missed last year.

In his career, he won a Nike Tour event in 2009 and an international tourney in Jamaica in 1994-- he's played pro golf in 27 different countries, but Sunday, he was the leader in the clubhouse at the Quad Cities Open. What must he have been thinking?

This was it, the career/life-changing moment he had worked for since the early 90's, but instead he lost a playoff to Jordan Spieth, who was born in 1993, Gillis' first year as a golf pro. Gillis hit his second shot on the second playoff hole into the water; what must he have been thinking walking up that fairway? I can't even imagine.

1) If baseball playoffs started today.......
NL-- Washington-St Louis-Los Angeles. Wild Card: Cubs @ Pirates
AL-- Bronx-Kansas City-LA Angels. Wild Card: Astros @ Twins

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......

13) Pirates 6, Cardinals 5 (14)-- Epic regular season game; Mark Reynolds hit two HRs, narrowly missed a third in extra innings. McCutchen hit a walk-off two-run shot when Bucs trailed in 14th, after Hurdle/Cervelli were tossed in second inning.

12) AJ Burnett homered in this game for the first time in ten years; next week, he is going to the All-Star Game for the first time. Good month for him.

11) Friday at Wrigley, Carlos Rodon walked six batters in six IP but didn't allow a run. How many times does a pitcher walk six guys in six IP and not allow a run?

10) Mets 4, Arizona 2-- Matt Harvey got 31 called strikes from pitcher-friendly ump John Hirschbeck; D'backs swung at 40 pitches, got only five hits.

9) Casey McGehee is the 8th Miami Marlin to play third base this season. Miami lost 2B Gordon to a dislocated thumb yesterday.

8) With Gordon hurt, DJ LeMahieu gets the start at 2B for the NL Tuesday night.

7) Angels lost in Seattle, keeping Houston atop AL West for 84th consecutive day. Astros are 9-22 in last 31 road games and sliding quickly.

6) Cubs' P Kyle Hendricks' last three starts: 1-0, 2-0, 0-1. Not much support there.

5) White Sox have been outscored 65-27 in first inning this season, but they're playing better right now, winning nine of last eleven games.

4) 94-year old William Wachter is the oldest person ever to cash at the World Series of Poker Main Event. Good for him just for sitting there that long.

3) Sacramento Kings' coach George Karl still has a Subaru commercial running on Denver TV stations, during Rockies games.

2) NBC is broadcasting the last round of the Scottish Open today; it is a precursor to the British Open next week and a bigger event than the Quad Cities tournament in this country, but with Spieth/Zach Johnson playing, Quad Cities is still a good event.

1) Looks like 76ers totally whiffed on last year's first round pick; Joel Embiid needs another foot operation and will miss next season. Kid seems like the next version of Greg Oden, someone who hardly played in college and never playing in NBA. Too bad.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) 12,422 basketball fans paid $28 each to get into UNLV's two basketball arenas Friday to watch summer league games; thats a testament to the NBA's popularity.

12) NBA TV will have summer league games on for next nine days, usually starting at 4pm eastern time. Highly competitive games, some guys playing for their careers.

11) Deron Williams/Nets parted ways, then Williams signed with Dallas, which needed a starting point guard. Mavs traded for Zaza Pachulia, to play where DeAndre Jordan would've played had he signed with Dallas.

10) San Antonio Spurs signed a 7-4 center from Serbia, who is 26, went undrafted back in 2010. From what I read, he has developed nicely and will be a typical Spur.

9) NFL shortened Greg Hardy's suspension from ten games to four, meaning his first game will be against New England in Week 5.

8) Saskatchewan Roughriders lost 35-32 in OT last night; they've scored 72 points in last two games but lost both in OT. Riders are 0-3 despite having led all three of their games in the fourth quarter.

Damn, its July 11 and its Week 3 in the CFL already?

7) As far as Jason Pierre-Paul goes, apparently it is his broken thumb that is more of a problem than his amputated index finger. He has to be healthy when he signs his tender or else the Giants can put him on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and then they would control when they start paying him.

Sounds like a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo but as always, it is about the money.

6) HR Derby will be timed this year, meaning there is more pressure on pitchers, so amateur pitchers like dads (Robinson Cano/Bryce Harper) or 71-year old Connie Mack coaches (Josh Hamilton) might not be used as often as in the past, which is too bad.

5) Catcher Derek Norris led off the last four games for San Diego, the first time a catcher has ever led off for the Padres.

While I'm on the Padres, they are now 39-49, 7-16 since firing their manager. Maybe Cornell alum/GM AJ Preller should get a lefty for his bullpen; I'm told it helps.

4) Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times in last six years, so they have salary cap problems; they traded Patrick Sharp to Dallas this week, which has to be a sad day for all Blackhawk fans.

3) Twins 8, Tigers 6-- Detroit led 6-0 in 8th inning, 6-1 in ninth; this was a horrible loss for a team struggling to stay in playoff contention.

Minnesota TV announcer Dick Bremer, who is excellent, called this game ".......the most improbable comeback I've seen IN YEARS!!!!"

While I'm here, Brian Dozier is an All-Star, whether he goes to Cincinnati or not.

2) Pete Rose is obviously controversial; he once injured Ray Fosse when he barreled into the catcher while scoring the winning run in the 1970 All-Star Game. The guy who hit the ball that scored Rose was Jim Hickman, who was on the Cubs then but also is the first-ever Met to homer three times in one game and also the first Met to hit for the cycle. Just thought you'd like to know.

1) Irony Department: Rose wound up serving 152 days in prison for tax issues in 1990-91; he did his time in a prison in Marion, IL-- Ray Fosse's hometown.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) RIP Kenny Stabler, the great Oakland QB who died this week at age 69.

Stabler came into the NFL when QB's sat and learned before they started; he became the Oakland starter in 1973, his 4th NFL season, but once he started, all he did was win-- he was 69-26-1 with the Raiders, winning Super Bowl XXI. He also played for the Saints/Oilers, but will be forever remembered as John Madden's quarterback.

12) Baxter Holmes of wrote an article about why NBA players get hurt so much; it is interesting reading. Four reasons why basketball players get hurt a lot:

-- Worse sleeping habits-- According to a sleep expert, the "blue light" that is emitted from televisions, computer screens, tablets and smartphones suppresses the body's attempt to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep.

-- Weaker bones-- Washington Post reports that Americans on average drank 37 percent less milk in 2014 than in 1970. Milk helps stengthen bones. Instead of milk, people are drinking more sugary drinks and that ain't good for your bones.

-- More wear and tear at a young age-- This one is simple; really good players now play too many games. AAU, summer league then the regular season. In AAU, a team might play three games in one day and it takes its toll over time.

-- Weaker muscles-- Less traditional weight training now and more "functional training" which focuses on the body's core and flexibility. Less weight training equals weaker muscles, which can cause more injuries.

11) Utah Jazz hosted a 3-night summer league this week that averaged over 10,000 fans a night for a doubleheader of games. Thats a lot of people for summer league.

10) Luke Ridnour got traded four times in a week, then Toronto released him Thursday; it is enough to make a guy change careers.

9) Jeremy Lin signs with Charlotte for two years, $4M; Hornets will be his fifth NBA team in his six years in the league.

8) My final take on the DeAndre Jordan fiasco: He is entitled to play anywhere he wants to, but he should've called Mark Cuban and explained things- it is how adults do business and the NBA is big business.

As for Dallas, they're probably better off without him.

7) How are Johnny Cueto/Clayton Kershaw not All-Stars? Anyone? Game is in Cincinnati; Cueto should be on the NL team.

6) As for the Home Run Derby, it is stupid that Yoenis Cespedes isn't there to defend the title he won the last two years. HR Derby shouldn't just be guys who make the All-Star team, they should be for the best home run hitters.

5) Huston Street hurt his leg, which cripples the Angels' bullpen, so the All-Star break may be coming just in time for Mike Scioscia.

4) If you wagered on the Atlanta-Colorado game last night, you should've checked the weather first. Colorado starter Kendrick threw a scoreless first inning with eight pitches thrown, then the rains came after Alex Wood threw two pitches in the bottom of the first, resulting in a two-hour rain delay.

Neither pitcher continued after the delay but since both pitchers threw a pitch, you were stuck with your bet, a game struggling Colorado won 5-3.

3) I got some e-mails yesterday telling me that David Ortiz playing 1B for Boston was more about Mike Napoli's struggles than Hanley Ramirez' defense. Brock Holt is a supersub, but can only sub at one position a day and 2B Pedroia is hurt.

2) Royals lose Alex Gordon for eight weeks with a muscle tear; Mets lose young pitcher Stephen Matz with a lat problem- thats at least a three-week deal.

1) I'm looking forward to seeing AAU basketball later this month in Las Vegas; the Fab 48 tournament and an adidas tournament. We'll have writeups on the games and kids we see as basketball recruiting season hits its summer peak.

Thursday's List of 13: Wrapping up a wild, weird Wednesday......
13) Lesson of the Day: Don't screw around with fireworks; you can get hurt!!!!

Two NFL players lost a total of three fingers this week because of accidents while playing with fireworks, which are dangerous if you're not an expert. Jason Pierre-Paul may have blown a $60M contract by losing his index finger in an accident. Oy.

12) Then there is DeAndre Jordan, who used the NBA's weird rules to renege on the Dallas Mavericks to stay with the Clippers. For some reason, he signed a four-year contract instead of the maximum five with LA, but nothing about this story is normal.

11) I'm a little confused by all this, but the bottom line appears to be: Mavericks are not happy, Jordan/Clippers both look bad, the NBA looks foolish and I had no idea Chandler Parsons of the Mavericks has a supermodel girlfriend. Good for him.

It is doubtful Dallas would've let Tyson Chandler walk if they hadn't signed Jordan. They're in a difficult place now; good big guys are hard to find.

10) Jordan appears to be an attention addict, much like an insecure teenager who needs to be told how much he is needed. Maybe he'll practice his foul shots now.

9) Mavericks-Clippers has to be an Opening Night game, right? Christmas?

8) Mets went 414 plate appearances without a home run until Eric Campbell hit one in top of the 9th Wednesday. Continues to be amazing that a team with so much good pitching hasn't traded for any kind of a hitter.

Saw a 7-5 force play at third base in this game; have never seen one before. Hitter on Giants hit a dunker to LF but runner on second got confused and went back to the base. When the ball fell in, LF Campbell threw him out at third, costing the batter a hit.

7) Mets' TV announcer Ron Darling told a story on air yesterday about when he was a high school player who pitched in tournaments during the summer.

One day a scout came up to Darling and asked him if he was going to go to college. He said that he was and scout replied "Good, because you'll never pitch in pro baseball."

Darling still sounded annoyed yesterday, saying he used that quote as motivation every day from then until the end of his very good major league career.

6) Total of ten runs were scored in three Met-Giant games this week.

5) Pitcher Tommy Milone had another strong outing for the Twins; he is a good but not a great pitcher, but you can win with him. His career record is 36-24.

One of the worst part of the whole "Moneyball" approach is that it diminishes the person and whatever intangibles are involved. Milone was 6-3, 3.55 in 16 starts for Oakland LY, but they basically discarded him when they traded for Jason Hammel on July 4th. they sent Milone to AAA instead of keeping him in the bullpen-- it was wasting a useful player so they could keep the awful Jim Johnson in the bullpen. He was traded to Minnesota at the trading deadline. Ugh.

Anyway, good for Milone; he is back in the majors and doing well.

4) Cole Hamels has a no-trade list with 20 teams on it; makes it tough to trade him.

3) How bad is Hanley Ramirez in outfield? Ramirez has DH'd twice this week, with David Ortiz playing first base. Ortiz hadn't played 1B in an AL game since 2006.

2) Former NBA coach Mike D'Antoni sold his house in Manhattan Beach for $9.5M this month. Looks like a real nice house. For $9.5M, it better be.

1) What must the New Jersey Giants think when they send their trainer to Miami to see Jason Pierre-Paul and he won't see the trainer? Someone leaked his medical info to ESPN, which opens up a whole different can of worms, but the young man lost his index finger, which is a lot worse than when Ronnie Lott lost his pinky during his Hall of Fame playing career.

Sports are big business; can he still be a useful player without an index finger? .

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day!!!!......
13) Pittsburgh Pirates have turned it around, are 49-34, second best record in major leagues, but they're in same division with St Louis, which has the best record. Right now, NL Central would get three teams in the playoffs (Cubs).

Pirates started the season by going 3-12 in their first 15 games when winning scored from 7th inning on. They're now 8-1 in last nine such games.

12) There was a rain delay at PNC Park last night, with the tarp damn near getting blown into the Allegheny River by strong winds. Some of the Pirates came out of the dugout and helped the ground crew secure the tarp.

11) Padres are in Steel City this week; San Diego's new manager is Pat Murphy, whose daughter is married to Pittsburgh 1B Pedro Alvarez, who had a walk-off single in the Monday night Pirate win. Padres were 32-33 when they fired Bub Black; they are 39-46 now. Changing managers during the season is seldom a good move.

10) 11 guys on the Atlanta Braves made their MLB debut this year, yet the team stays in contention in a weak NL East. Good job by skipper Fredi Gonazalez.

9) They were talking about doubleheaders on the Cub game Tuesday; in his career, which lasted 19 years, Ernie Banks played in over 300 doubleheaders, which are rare in today's money-grabbing, double admission culture.

8) On DirecTV's baseball package, for some reason the games from Chicago don't go to commecial in between innings, so you get to hear the ballpark music and see whats going on, its a little like actually being at the ballpark. Pretty cool.

7) Miguel Montero caught Jon Lester Monday night because David Ross, who is Lester's personal catcher, is on the 7-day DL with a concussion.

6) The catch/throw Hunter Pence made last night is Exhibit A why the new statistic WAR isn't what analytics people think it is, an easy way to sum up a player's value with one single number. You can't and never will be able to quantify "heart".

This was Pence's first game off the DL; he makes a spectacular catch, bounces up and throws a fairly fast runner out at the plate. Go ahead, give me a number for the lift that gave a team that had been on a 7-game losing streak-- you can't!!!!

5) San Antonio Spurs basically cut Cory Joseph after signing LaMarcus Aldridge, but Toronto was quick to give Joseph $30M for four years.

4) According to the Interweb, David West has earned $87,668,418 in his career as an NBA player; he must've saved most of it, since he signed with the Spurs this week for the veteran minimum of $1.4M, turning down $12.2M from the Indiana Pacers. West has a wife named Lesley; would've enjoyed hearing him explain THAT to her.

3) The late Manute Bol has a 15-year old son who is 6-foot-10 and making rounds of summer camps out west. Young man's name is Bol Bol and he looks a lot like his dad did way back when. If I see him play in Las Vegas later this month, I'll let you know.

2) Milwaukee Bucks are making noise about moving to Las Vegas; I've been told by more than one person in Vegas that the civic leaders want nothing to do with the NBA after the chaos and general lawlessness that took place when Las Vegas hosted the NBA All-Star Game back in 2007. Las Vegas wants an NHL team, and they want UNLV to get back to the NCAA tournament. Thats it.

1) Florida State had a backup QB who hit his girlfriend and it was captured on camera; Seminoles have already dumped the kid, who will wind up playing at a JC somewhere and then re-surfacing at West Texas State, Delaware or some other obscure outpost, unless he wins a national title in JC, then he'll be at Auburn or another SEC school.

This kid learned nothing from the Jameis Winston era in Tallahassee:
-- You can't get in trouble until you've won at least one league title. This kid hadn't even been named the starter yet-- no one is going out on a limb to defend him. Ever.

Tuesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on 7th day of 7th month....
13) I posted yesterday's article in this space with ten laps to go in the NASCAR race late Sunday night, around 2:30am, then turned my laptop off and watched the end of the race, which ended in a horrific accident, the scariest thing I've ever seen.

It is totally amazing no one died in that accident; those cars are built really well. If I had a kid and he wanted to race cars, though, think I'd have to discourage him.

12) Rory McIlroy tore ligaments in his ankle playing soccer over the weekend; that is an expensive injury, with British Open and PGA still ahead on the schedule. Maybe Nike can do a string of commercials dealing with his rehab- his ankle was in a walking boot-- doubt he makes it back before the PGA.

11) People in Montreal are excited over rumors the Red Sox will play two exhibition games there before next season- they're guaranteeing two sellouts if that happens, with all the BoSox fans in northern New England, which borders Quebec.

10) Michigan switched from adidas to Nike, third major football program (Notre Dame, Tennessee) to do that in last year or so. Expensive losses for adidas.

9) Darren O'Day is an All-Star but ARod isn't. Bleeping joke. ARod isn't one of last five guys because he would win the vote- they don't want him.

As for O'Day, he has started zero games and has two saves. Guys who aren't closers and aren't starters aren't one of the best six pitchers on their own team-- how can they be All-Stars? Joe Torre started this with Mike Stanton a few years ago; its yet another reason the All-Star Game has gotten ridiculous. Set-up guys shouldn't be All-Stars.

8) Braves' GM John Hart is doing a fine job in Atlanta; Braves are 41-42 when they weren't supposed to be very good, plus he dumped the hideous contract BJ Upton got on the Padres. But how can this be? Hart will be 67 years old in two weeks; he went to Seminole JC and Central Florida (a state university!!!)- how can he be fielding a team that overachieves if he isn't an Ivy League wunderkind? Interesting......

7) Meanwhile, the Cornell alum/genius who runs the Padres (and traded for BJ Upton, ha!!!) has his team at 39-46- they were 32-33 before he fired Bud Black, so that move has worked real well. But he went to Cornell so he must be smarter than most.

6) Popcorn remains an underrated snack. Very good.

5) JD Martinez has 11 homers in his last 13 games-- damn. Detroit's last sixteen games have gone over the total, partially because their pitching isn't as good as usual.

4) Poor Vin Scully; guy is 87 years old, works Dodger games by himself and had to sit thru a 4:13 mess last night in LA, when Dodgers beat a horrible Philly team 10-7. Phils' bullpen is so awful they left journeyman starter Sean O'Sullivan in for 124 pitches, and he never finished the sixth inning.

3) Long baseball games aren't necessarily a new trend; the longest 9-inning game in LA Dodger history was the one-game Giant-Dodger playoff game after the '62 season, which took 4:18 to play.

By contrast, the Buehrle-Sale matchup in Chicago last night was over in 1:54.

2) RIP Burt from Burt's Bees, (Burt Shavitz) who passed away this week at age 80. He started Burt's Bees at a roadside stand a long time ago and wound up selling it a few years ago for $900M.

1) Danny Lee won the Greenbrier golf tourney last weekend; one of his partners in the pro-am was Virginia Tech basketball coach Buzz Williams. Last year, Williams, who is a bad golfer (or so he says) was partners with Cameron Tringale, who finished 4th in the real tournament. Next year, have to find out who ol' Buzz is partners with.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Thanks to NASCAR for starting their Daytona race after 11:30 pm so I had live entertainment while typing this. I know nothing about cars but for some reason, I like watching/listening to the races. Am guessing it would be too loud in person.

12) David Ortiz played first base Sunday, the first time he played the field in an AL game since 2006 at Tampa Bay. Mike Napoli has been really struggling.

11) 24-year old Danny Lee won his first PGA tournament Sunday, winning a 4-man playoff at Greenbrier. He was so happy in the interview after, kind of cool to see. He has played 27 tournaments this year, most of anyone.

10) Robert Streb lost in the playoff; not even sure how he got in, after playing the last nine holes with no putter- he broke his on the ninth green and used a pitching wedge to putt on the last nine holes, somehow still making five birdies.

9) Which is the worst birthday: December 26, January 2 or July 5?

8) I'm not sure who added all this up, but the guy who won the hot dog contest on Saturday consumed this much in ten minutes during his win:

-- 17,360 calories, 1,116 grams of fat and 48,360 kilograms of sodium. Oy.

7) Unintended consequence: the Home Run Derby is better theater than the All-Star Game itself, especially in years like this one, in a small ballpark.

6) I remember watching the 2013 Home Run Derby in Las Vegas in the sportsbook at Planet Hollywood; I'm sitting at the bar playing video poker (bad idea, the machines just outside the coffee shop are lot more generous) and I just remember how annoying Chris Berman was.

"Back, back, back....." 50 or 60 times gets old.....Cespedes was in the running so I kept watching, but asked the bartender if they could mute the TVs and put music on, thats how annoying Berman gets with his self-promoting act.

5) Golfer Jason Bohn played his college golf at Alabama, until he won $1M making a hole-in-one at a charity event in 1992- then he became a pro. He also once shot a 58 on the Canadian Tour and has won two PGA Tour events, the BC Open in 2005 and the New Orleans tournament in 2010.

4) Hitters don't get out of the way of inside pitches anymore; they react as if it is illegal to throw the ball inside. Watch some film from the 60's/70's; batters would turn their bodies away from inside pitches, to avoid getting hit. Now guys expose their hands to being hit (and bones broken) by 95 mph fastballs. Not good.

George Springer broke a bone in his hand this weekend; Carlos Gomez got hit on the wrist yesterday and left the game. Players have to protect their hands.

3) Stupid baseball scheduling: Giants played in Washington this weekend, and play at home against the Mets tonight, which is fine, but they can't be the Sunday night game if they have a game 3,000 miles away the next night. It is terrible scheduling.

Giants are actually flying home Monday morning and playing same night, which almost never happens in pro sports. ESPN should've picked another game.

2) If baseball playoffs started today, they would look like this:
AL: Houston-Kansas City-Bronx. Wild cards: Balt or Minn @ Angels
NL: Washington-St Louis-Dodgers. Wild cards: Cubs @ Pirates

1) Every kid who wants to be a high school, college or pro basketball player should be watching these NBA Summer League games on NBA TV. It is so difficult to make it to the NBA or even the Division I college ranks; you have to practice and refine your skills to maximize your game. Shooting, passing, lower-body strength; that is how you become a better player, one that coaches will sign up to help them win games.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) LaMarcus Aldridge gets $80M for four years from the Spurs; he goes home to Texas and does Golden State a favor, making them an underdog as defending champ.

12) Why does ESPN televise a hot dog eating contest? It is gross to watch, people scarfing down 60 hot dogs in 10 minutes (thats one hot dog and roll every ten seconds for ten minutes). Oy. I love hot dogs, but I couldn't take 60 buns out of their plastic bag in ten minutes, much less stuff them down my throat. Weird stuff to watch.

11) Miguel Cabrera (calf) is out for six weeks, first time in his 13-year career he is on the DL. Damaging blow for Detroit, which has little organizational depth at 1B.

10) Stephen Strasburg (oblique) left yesterday's start in 4th inning. He can't seem to stay healthy; Nationals are going to need him in the second half of this season.

9) White Sox 3, Orioles 2-- Avasail Garcia saved the game, robbing Orioles of a tying home run for the last out of the game. Really a tremendous catch to end the game.

8) Interesting situation in Arizona, where Diamondbacks will carry Rule 5 catcher Oscar Hernandez for the rest of the season, but he'll play very little- they have to give him back if they send him to the minors. Young catchers are hard to find, but now they have to keep three catchers on the roster while they're on the fringe of contention.

7) Miami Marlins announcers were raving about the renovations at Wrigley Field on Friday's telecast; they love the two new electronic scoreboards in the outfield.

6) My view on NBA free agency is this: if you're not an All-Star, then you should play on a one-year contract every year. Hungry players are better players.

Sacramento gave Kosta Koufos $33M for four years. In seven NBA seasons, he has started 139 games and averaged 5.4 ppg-- he started three games LY and will be getting $8M + a season. What a bleepin' country.

5) Lakers, who have done nothing so far in free agency, are rumored to be getting Roy Hibbert from Indiana. Since owner Jerry Buss passed away, Lakers haven't been the model franchise they were when he owned the team.

4) On June 27, Portland assistant coach Kim Hughes, for some bizarre reason, said this to an Indiana TV station:

"People don't realize we just went young. We didn't publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge. It hasn't been declared yet, but I'm sure he won't come back. We will go young and we depend on Meyers [Leonard] to play a lot of minutes."

Kim Hughes is now a former assistant coach; Portland fired him for saying that.

3) Frank Kaminsky had 19 points, 12 rebounds in his first summer league game; he will be an interesting study this season. 7-footers who can shoot have great value.

2) Cincinnati pitcher Josh Smith hit four batters last night, knocking Carlos Gomez out of the game; last time a Cincinnati pitcher hit four guys? 1907.

1) Between now and the non-waiver trading deadline on July 31, baseball front offices will send their players/coaches one of three messages........

-- We're making trades, adding players. We've got your back.
-- We're trading players, dumping salary. This season is over.
-- We're incompetent bastards and are doing nothing. You're on your own.

Saturday's List of 13: Happy 239th birthday, America.........
13) DeAndre Jordan signs with Dallas for four years, $80M, plus whatever a decent shooting coach gets paid. Get ready for a winter filled with Mark Cuban complaining about the intentional foul rules.

12) Definition of Irony: Donald Trump has a line of fancy clothes some stores sell. The suitcoats have a label inside them that says "Made in Mexico"

11) I learned a new phrase this week: "throwing shade".

According to my friends at the urban dictionary, "throwing shade" means: " talk trash about a friend or aquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect."

See all the neat stuff you learn coming here every day?

10) Random college football fact: Missouri is 26-9 vs spread in its last 35 road games; since 2007, they're 13-3 as road favorites.

9) Is Josh Reddick trying to get traded? He went on record Thursday in a radio interview ripping the A's front office for sitting him against lefty pitchers. Thats what happened with Josh Donaldson, before he got traded last winter, though he criticized the front office for other stuff. Problem is, Reddick is 11-69 (.159) against lefties- he ain't as good as Donaldson.

8) Over/under in Met-Dodger game Friday night was 5.5; thats an NHL over/under, unusually low for a baseball total. Of course, the game ended 2-1.

7) Great note from Christopher Kamka, a Comcast guy from Chicago:

Journeyman pitcher Clayton Richard starts for the Cubs today, his first start in two years, but he has made 129 career big league starts, going 46-47.

Anyway in 2002, Richard was Mr High School Football in Indiana, and was backup QB to Chad Henne at Michigan for a year, before quitting to concentrate on baseball.

Runner-up for Mr HS Football in Indiana in 2002? White Sox P Jeff Samardzija, who also pitches today and wound up being a really good WR at Notre Dame.

6) Howie Kendrick stole second for the Dodgers in the sixth inning last night, ending a 23+-game streak without a stolen base, LA's longest drought of the modern era.

5) PT Barnum would be so proud; there is a Fantasy Football Combine at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas July 17-19. Only costs $995 a person. Oy.

(PT Barnum was credited with a famous saying: "There is a sucker born every minute", though many historians dispute that he actually said it. You get the point.)

4) There is no state income tax in Texas; there is a 13.3% state income tax in California, which becomes something of a factor in these free agent negotiations.

3) Last 14 Detroit Tiger games went over the total, but Miguel Cabrera strained a calf muscle last night and is probably headed to the DL. Wager accordingly.

2) NBA Summer League from Orlando tips off at 9am on NBA TV. We're almost to the point where there is good stuff on TV 24 hours a day. Need time to sleep.

1) Happy Birthday America; we're very lucky to live here. We're fortunate to have freedoms a lot of other places do not have. Thanks to those people who protect our freedoms. Enjoy your 4th of July!!!!

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) There is a 7-footer in Greece named Georgis Papagiannis who might play college basketball in this country; if he does, his four college choices are St John's, Kentucky, NC State and out west, the Oregon Ducks.

Turns out that Nike outfits the Greek National team which helps the Ducks, seeing as outgoing Nike honcho Phil Knight is a huge supporter of Oregon.

12) Tennessee switched from adidas to Nike this year; in the first day the new Nike Vols gear was up on their website, they sold $150K worth, all of it orange. Oy.

11) Oakland A's are 6-20 in 1-run games, a .231 winning %age; that is the 2nd-worst winning %age is one-run games of all time. 1935 Boston Braves were 7-31 in one-run games, but they finished 38-115 that season. Oakland is currently 37-45.

10) I'm not a picky eater, but IHOP is advertising banana pudding on its television commercials; I'd be wary of any type of pudding at IHOP.

9) Speaking of food, saw a couple notes on Twitter today that says Marco's Pizza (located in 35 states) is the best pizza people have had. I've never heard of it; anyone have any experience with Marco's? This is worth investigating.

8) Hazards of fantasy baseball: I'm in a 16-team keeper league, so I'm watching the Braves' new pitcher, Manny Banuelos. He strikes out Bryce Harper the first two times up so I go in and pick him up off the scrap heap- thats enough evidence for me.

35 minutes later, the trainer, manager and pitching coach are on the mound looking at my newest player. No bueno. Luckily for me, it was cramps/dehydration and not an arm injury. Still, the Atlanta announcers pointed out it wasn't that hot last night, so the heat/humidity could be an ongoing problem, if Banuelos has conditioning issues.

7) Jerry DiPoto resigned as Angels' GM this week, loser of a power struggle with manager Mike Scioscia. More and more, we're hearing of these internal conflicts within front offices. Lot of politics; everyone wants credit when a team wins and fingers get pointed when teams do not meet expectations.

6) Was fun finding Hamilton-Winnipeg CFL game on ESPN2 last night; after only five games this season, three CFL teams have already lost their starting QB to injury.

5) Chargers' TE Antonio Gates gets four games for PED use. Any news at this time of year for NFL teams is generally bad news.

4) Former UConn Husky hooper/NBA player Scott Burrell is new hoop coach at D-II Southern Connecticut; when I was in college, we used to play the Owls every year-- they weren't very good. If I remember right, gymnastics was the big sport there, but former Giant OC Kevin Gilbride used to be the football coach there

3) It would be un-American to outlaw defensive shifts in baseball. Seriously. Why take some of the intelligence out of the game? Hitters need to adjust.

2) Random college football note: Since 2010, Georgia Bulldogs are 0-6-1 against the spread as an underdog.

1) July 2, 1963-- Giants 1, Braves 0 in 16 innings. Warren Spahn/Juan Marichal both went whole way. Really, they did.

Spahn faced 56 batters, Marichal 59. Willie Mays won it with a homer in the 16th. Spahn was 41 years old at the time, an amazing performance.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Rough week for the Tampa Bay Rays; three games in a row (and 4th time in last seven games), they haven't had a batter reach base safely in the first five innings.

12) No NL West team had a winning record in June; Dodgers were 15-15.

11) Mark Buehrle is 207-156 in a fabulous 16-year career; he started 28 games when he was a rookie and has started 30+ every year since. Durable, reliable, pretty soon he is going to be a borderline Hall of Famer. In that entire 15.5 years, he has had only three starts (out of 476) when he struck out 10+ batters. Teams should take notice.

10) Adrian Gonzalez has played 156+ games the last nine years; he plays in the NL, which doesn't have the DH (he played most of one season in Boston, was DH twice). Much like Buehrle, he is reliable and dependable, a great player.

9) Nick Saban is 183-59-1 as a college coach, but only 8-8 in bowls, losing last two- I'm saying the Crimson Tide will win their bowl game this year. Early prediction.

8) Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham is 84-43 in ten years, 7-1 in bowl games, he is very successful, but the Utes will have their 8th different offensive coordinator in 11 years this season. That just seems weird, especially for a good team.

7) Floyd Mayweather had a better month of May then we did; he made $220M.

6) Bengals' WR Mohamed Sanu recently made a 60-yard FG during a workout at his alma mater, Rutgers. Some teams don't have kickers who can make a 40-yarder.

5) They were talking on the Padres' game about what a great hitter Edgar Martinez was; he used to take batting practice with a weighted donut on his bat.

4) San Diego wore its brown caps and throwback unis from the 80's yesterday; to me, their best uniforms were the ones Dave Winfield wore in the 70's, but as long as their color scheme went back to brown/gold, that would be a vast improvement.

3) Hope umpire Tom Hallion is feeling better; he took a direct hit to the mask on a foul tip and had to leave the Colorado-Oakland game after two batters Wednesday.

2) I don't care what anyone says; it is stupid to bat Jon Lester 8th. Lester has never gotten a hit, is arguably the worst hitter in MLB history. Lester has drawn one walk in his entire career-- against Guillermo Mota. He should always bat ninth.

1) Major League Baseball wants more scoring, faster games; hard to have both.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Canada Day, everyone.......
13) Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to the last two Super Bowls, winning one; yet eight backup QBs have a bigger base salary than Wilson does this season.

Or in other words, Charlie Whitehurst makes more $$$ than Wilson. Oy.

12) So does Bobby Bonilla......still. Every July 1, the Mets send Bonilla a deferred compensation check for $1,193,248.20, and will every year thru 2035. Bonilla last played a major league game in 2001.

11) According to, the Mets could've paid Bonilla $5.9M in 2000 and been done with him. But no; they decided paying him $1,193,248.20 a year for 25 years was a better deal than paying him $5.9M once.

The owner of the Mets is now the head of MLB's finance committee. Yikes.

10) 17 of Joc Pederson's 20 home runs this year came with the bases empty.

9) Texas Rangers sent Joey Gallo to AAA this week, the day after he had three RBI , four strikeouts and a triple in the same game. He is only the second player EVER to do that in the same game; the first was in 1939 and it was an obscure pitcher.

8) Anthony Davis got $145M for five years from the Pelicans; Kawhi Leonard got $90M for five years from the Spurs as NBA free agency started. Al-Farouq Aminu got $30M from Portland for four years.

7) Was annoyed when I read a report than DeAndre Jordan doesn't want to be the #3 option on a team anymore, so he might leave the Clippers. If you want people to run plays for you, thats fine, but how about making half your bleeping foul shots????

Jordan made 39.7% of his foul shots this year-- 39.7%

6) Jordan made $11,440,124 this past season but he worked so little on his shooting that he made 39.7% of his foul shots, and he wants to be the focal point of an offense. That takes some serious balls.

Put it this way: I am 55 years old and as I type this at 4:06am on July 1, I could drive to a playground right now, takes a couple warmups and make half my foul shots, even if it was in the damn dark. How about working on your game?!?!?!?

5) Chris Webber told a great story on TV during a game this past winter.

In his first six years in the NBA, Webber made 54.1% of his foul shots, that is 799 out of 1,477. Not good. He told a story of hiring a shooting coach after his sixth year, his first with Sacramento, and the shooting coach went everywhere Webber went that summer. Everywhere.

The gym, the weight room, parties, clubs, vacations. Webber practiced shooting all that summer and fall-- the next year, he was 311-414 from the line, 75.1%.

4) Shooting is the one aspect of basketball you can improve with hard work, practice and concentration. Doc Rivers says he will enlist actor Jamie Foxx when he tries to recruit Jordan to stay with the Clippers. Maybe he should bring Webber's shooting coach along with him, too.

3) 76-year old Phil Knight is stepping down as head of Nike; tough act to follow. He is one of the greatest American success stories. Nike made $3.2B last year.

2) Random football stat: Ohio State won 10 of its last 11 games with Michigan.

1) Two of the last three Super Bowls were won by QBs (Flacco/Wilson) who were transfers during their college careers. Troy Aikman was a transfer, so was Vince Ferragamo. Aaron Rodgers had to play JC ball because no one offered hm a scholarship out of high school.

Phil Simms went to Morehead State, Tony Romo Eastern Illinois, Terry Bradshaw Louisiana Tech, Kurt Warner Northern Iowa, Doug Williams Grambling.

One of the cool things about sports is that great players come from all over

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Bo Ryan is stepping down as basketball coach at Wisconsin after this coming season, a move obviously timed to improve the odds of his long-time assistant Greg Gard inheriting the job. The 67-year old Ryan says his retirement isn't health-related.

12) All of which leaves Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez (a football guy) with a very hard job; replace a guy who was Wisconsin basketball for the last 14 years. Ryan won four Big Ten (or Big 12 or Big 14) titles at Wisconsin, which had not won any in the 55 years before Ryan got to Madison. He will be almost impossible to replace.

11) Here is a list of six guys drew up who are possible replacements for Ryan; well, their list is five and Greg Gard is #6, because Ryan wants him to get the job. I do not think he has a chance in hell of landing it. Big 14 basketball is not an entry level head coaching position, it just isn't.

-- Tony Bennett, Virginia-- His dad was Wisconsin's coach before Ryan. He is 60-11 at Virginia the last two years.
-- Shaka Smart, Texas-- Was born in Madison, but this ain't happening.
-- Saul Phillips, Ohio U-- Followed Tim Miles at North Dakota State and won big there, but would be a hard sell after going 10-20 in his first year at Ohio.
-- Linc Darner, Wisc-Green Bay-- Just got hired at Green Bay; he went 90-12 in his last three years at D-II Florida Southern.
-- Pat Miller, Wisc-Whitewater-- Is 315-87 at the lower levels of college hoop, where Ryan won four national titles himself.
-- Greg Gard, Wisconsin assistant coach.

Two greedy bastard updates for today.........
10) Out in Oakland, they're selling a commemorative basketball celebrating Golden State's NBA championship; they're only charging $89.95 for it. Oy.

9) At the Mobil station closest to my house, gas went up from $2.89 a gallon to $3.09 in one day couple of weeks ago, then Saturday, it suddenly went back down to $2.91 a gallon, for two glorious days. Monday? With 4th of July weekend coming up, gas went back up to $3.09 a gallon. How do they get away with this?

8) Back in Oakland for a minute, they announced a crowd of 12,125 for the Rockies' game with A's last night-- no way were there 10,000 people there. Not close. Too bad, Kendall Graveman pitched really well and the A's won 7-1.

7) Nice moment before the game; Julianna Zobrist sang the national anthem; she is Ben Zobrist's wife, and a professional singer. I think her knees are healthy too, which is more than her husband can say. He is playing hurt this season.

6) Phillies finally did something, hiring Andy MacPhail to take over from 77-year old Pat Gillick as team president, but not until after this season. MacPhail is going to observe the rest of the season, then hopefully hire a very large moving van to get rid of all the washed up/substandard players the Phillies have. They should've cleaned house 3-4 years ago, but never did; now it'll be an immense rebuilding project.

5) Something is wrong with the Dodgers; they lost in Arizona last night, blowing a 4-0 lead- they've scored a total of 11 runs in Zach Greinke's last eight starts that were not in Denver. LA is 43-35, a half-game ahead of the Giants in the NL West. For a club with the biggest payroll ever, you expected a little more.

4) St Louis is 13-3 in its last sixteen games, they're very good, very solid, but it is just weird that they haven't scored a first inning run in their last 22 games.

3) San Francisco Giants are 8-4 in first game of a road series, but only 5-8 in first game of a home series- they lost their last five home series openers.

2) Random college football stat: USC is 4-13 against spread in its last 17 road games.

1) Lebron James is probably going to re-sign with Cleveland, but could you imagine if he ever signed with the Knicks; the entire Interweb would implode. Twitter would definitely crash for a while, SportsCenter would do six-hour specials on it, Spike Lee would do a movie before training camp started- thank the Lord it ain't gonna happen.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) Let the circus begin: Lebron James opted out of his contract and will become a free agent, with the expectation that he will re-sign with Cleveland. The Interweb will break, for sure, if James changes teams this summer.

12) NBA teams begin negotiations with free agents Wednesday; signings become official starting on July 9. Summer league is also in July, in Orlando, Las Vegas. If I am GM or coach of the Cavaliers, the next ten days will be very nervous, for sure.

11) Jets' owner Woody Johnson is really, really rich; he was picked by Jeb Bush to serve as the national finance chairman for Bush's campaign for President. Maybe Bush could return the favor and tell the Jets who to play at QB.

10) Angels 3, Mariners 2 (10)-- Angels had bases loaded, no one out and Pujols up, but they get Pujols to ground into a double play. On 1-2 pitch to next batter, one pitch away from escaping an impossible jam, Wilhelmson throws a walk-off wild pitch, as Seattle's season from hell continues. Lousy way to lose a game.

9) Dummy of the Week: Kingsport TN rookie ball manager Luis Rivera forgot to list his relief pitchers on the lineup card Friday, so he had to use position players in relief when he changed pitchers and in rookie ball, lot of guys are on pitch counts. Kingsport is a Mets' farm club- they lost 15-9-- where did they find this guy?

Just so you know, players not listed on the lineup card cannot play in the game. It is not difficult to fill a lineup card out- what else does he have to do?

8) Detroit catcher James McCann has three career home runs; two walk-offs and an inside-the-park home run. Don't see that too much.

7) Random fact: In 2007 NBA Draft, Joel Anthony went undrafted but since then he has earned $19,511,738 in the NBA with two NBA championship rings.

Ben Wallace, Bruce Bowen and Udonis Haslem went undrafted, too.

6) Hanley Ramirez was sent back to Boston for an MRI on his wrist, bad news for a Boston team that is 34-43 and seven games out......of 4th place in AL East.

5) First four teams in AL East are all separated by one game. The next month is going to be fascinating, to see what teams add what players to improve their roster.

4) 76ers had to give the New Orleans Pelicans $3M because they didn't tell them that Jrue Holiday had a leg injury before they made a trade in July, 2013.

3) Mets have an excess of starting pitchers and a shortage of good position players; rumor this week was Jon Neise getting dealt to the Cubs.

New York's newest rookie pitcher, Steven Matz had quite a debut Sunday, beating the Reds and going 3-3 at the plate with four RBI. He is first pitcher in baseball history with four RBI in his major league debut.

2) University of Buffalo has a new football coach, guy named Lance Leipold, who has a career record of 109-6-- yes, 109 and freakin' six. He won six national titles in Division III at Wisconsin-Whitewater but is now making the big jump to D-I football.

1) Umpire Larry Vanover worked the plate in Baltimore Sunday, but had the second game of the doubleheader off- thats how the rules work. But what does an umpire like Vanover do during the second game? Press box? Stands? Hotel?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a summer Saturday.....
13) Rangers 4, Blue Jays 0-- Yovani Gallardo blanked the Jays for 8.1 innings in the Rogers Centre, which is super impressive this season-- Toronto only got five men on base against him and they score a lot of runs at home.

12) People are very nice in Toronto; rookie Matt Boyd left his first major league start down 4-0 in the 7th inning, but got a nice ovation from the home crowd. Think he gets a nice ovation in NYC if he leaves with the home side down 4-nil? Me either.

11) Angels 4, Mariners 2-- Robinson Cano was sitting in dugout in between innings when an errant warmup throw drilled him in the forehead and forced him out of this game. Freak accident but another lousy night in a dismal Seattle season.

10) Kenny Albert came up with a great stat on FOX Saturday; the last 11 no-hitters were all thrown by National League pitchers. Last AL pitcher to toss a no-hitter was Felix Hernandez in 2012.

9) Speaking of no-hitters, a lefty named Ken Holtzman threw two of them for the Cubs, one in '69, one in '71. The first one, August 19, 1969 came against an Atlanta team that had Hank Aaron-Rico Carty-Orlando Cepeda batting 3-4-5. Damn- you toss a no-hitter against those three guys, thats a full day's work.

But the oddity of that no-hitter is this; Holtzman didn't strike anyone out, not even the opposing pitcher (Phil Niekro).

8) Holtzman has a special place in my heart because the Cubs traded him to Oakland after the '71 season (for Rick Monday) and he helped the A's win three World Series in a row, in 72-73-74. He was a very underrated big-game pitcher.

7) Staying in Oakland for a minute, you can buy a ticket package of all 13 A's home games in July, for..........take a guess. How much you think 13 games would go for? I'll post the answer a little further down the line in today's article.

6) Andrew Cashner has given up 19 unearned runs this season, partially because he isn't pitching as well, partially because the Padres are terrible on defense. Jon Niese has allowed the second-most unearned runs this season, with 11.

5) Jose Altuve is trailing in the All-Star voting, which is fine with me; he is on my fantasy team and I'd just as soon he had the four days off to rest his legs.

4) Not sure why, but Jeff Samardzija has allowed a run or more in first inning in nine of his last eleven starts, which is really bad. A's got Marcus Semien and Josh Phegley for Samardzija and right now, they might have gotten the better end of the deal.

You can buy a ticket package to all 13 Oakland home games in July for $89; that is less than $7 a game. Lot of places, one beer costs $7, or more.

3) Karl-Anthony Towns went #1 in the NBA Draft; six guys on Kentucky played more minutes than he did last winter. Has that ever happened before?

2) Oakland Raiders lost the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, but they got there; since that day, the Raiders are 56-136, which is hard to believe.

1) NBA free agency starts Wednesday; NBA is one league where the off-season is often more interesting than the actual season.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) Max Scherzer won again, 5-2 over Philly; runs he allowed ended an amazing streak where Washington starters didn't allow a run for 47 innings.

12) Cleveland is now 3-13 in Kluber starts; he won the Cy Young last year. Been a tough year for the Indians, but this is very surprising.

11) Horrendous news for the Miami Marlins and my fantasy baseball team: last night in Miami, Giancarlo Stanton hurt his left hand swinging a bat and will have an MRI this morning. No bueno.

10) Kid named Matt Boyd makes his MLB debut for Toronto this afternoon; 24-year old from Oregon State is a distant relative of the great pitcher Bob Feller.

9) Graphic contrast between NBA and NHL drafts; at NHL draft, the whole front office of a team comes on stage to make first round selections. All you see at the NBA Draft are the kids selected and their families. Team executives aren't there.

NHL moves its draft all over the league; NBA stays in NYC. Advantage, NHL.

8) Eight of the top 13 picks in the NBA Draft played one year of college, which is a rule that needs to change. It makes college a joke; you know kids aren't going to class second semester, since they know they're gone anyway.

Kids should be able to go straight from high school to the pros, like in baseball.

7) David West is expected to sign with the Knicks as a free agent; good luck there.

6) Analysis of Kelly Oubre on NBA TV Wednesday night: "The only way he gets drafted this high is if someone is afraid they'll look foolish if he becomes great." Now there is a ringing endorsement for a player. Just pick players who play well in games, not ones who excel in workouts or have great potential. It is a simple thing.

5) If my $1M+ a year job running a basketball team depended on the team I assembled winning games, I would never, ever, ever select a player whose effort was an issue. Ever. Effort has to be a non-negotiable thing; great players bring great effort every day

4) It drives me nuts when I hear an analyst say "that kid's a winner" as if it is pre-ordained that he will always win. For every winner there has to be a loser but I refuse to believe there are people in this world who are pre-ordained losers.

3) One quick NFL note: Patriots beat Jets twice last year, 27-25/17-16; in the two games, they were outgained by 80 and 76 yards. Go figure.

2) had Christian Wood listed as the #26 pick in the draft; there are 30 teams, two rounds- thats obviously 60 picks, yet Wood wasn't selected. What geniuses are giving this kid such bad information? Wood could've gone back to UNLV, become a better player, gotten stronger, now he is off to the obscurity of the D-League, where he may or may not ever get a shot at the NBA.

1) The picture of Wood in the Las Vegas paper, slumped in a chair, head in hands, is both sad and aggravating. The kid heard what he wanted to hear, but he got bad advice, life-altering bad advice. He had a reputation for not working hard enough and his thin frame betrayed a lack of effort in the weight room. He better start working harder now, or else his great opportunity is going to go to waste. .

Friday's List of 13: Thoughts after watching the NBA Draft....
13) Generally enjoy Jalen Rose's work on the NBA Draft; he came up with a strong number last night: only 3,988 players have ever played in an NBA game. You have to be a great basketball player just to make it to the league.

12) A Kentucky alum was taken first in three of the last six NBA Drafts. .

11) Fran Fraschilla called Orlando draft pick Mario Hezenja "...the best pure shooter in the draft." Shooters are always marketable.

10) There have been 19 international lottery picks since Yao Ming was taken in 2002; none of those 19 players made an All-Star team.

9) Poor Luke Ridnour; veteran guard was on four different teams in a 24-hour span earlier this week, getting traded from Charlotte-Memphis-Oklahoma City-Orlando.

8) Phoenix Suns went 39-43 LY, missed playoffs by six games; they lost 18 games by 5 or fewer points. Suns currently have five Kentucky alums on their roster.

7) Apparently, some agents asked the 76ers not to draft their clients, since they're afraid the Sixers are so screwed up they'll never win.

6) Boston Celtics have six first round draft picks in the next three drafts.

5) Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton, who has potential as a pitcher (Orioles own his rights in baseball) was drafted by the Nets but traded to Portland. He wants to play in the NBA but it is always nice to have options

4) Why some teams never, ever win: Minnesota drafted Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio before the Warriors drafted Stephen Curry. Oy.

3) San Antonio drafted a Serbian 7-footer named Nikola Milutinov, who used to be a swimmer. Spurs made out OK with Tim Duncan, a 7-footer who also used to swim. Milutinov is expected to stay in Europe for two years, then go to San Antonio.

2) Best part of Jay Williams being on ESPN last night was when he started talking, that gave me time to check the baseball scores on the other channel. Williams continues to be terrible on TV but continues to get more prominent gigs.

1) 18 months ago, my buddy Mike and I sat in Bishop Gorman's gym in Las Vegas and watched Stanley Johnson play for Mater Dei HS. Near the end of the game, I looked at Mike and said "....Stanley Johnson is a high school kid now. 18 months from now, he is going to be really, really rich."

Stanley got picked by Detroit last night with the 8th pick. He is now really, really rich.

Thursday's List of 13: Only six months left until Christmas......
13) First of all, with great sadness I report the passing of Mr Harvey Pollack at age 93. He was the godfather of basketball statistics, a guy who is responsible for the start of the analystics movement, way before anyone ever heard of the word analytics.

He was the first person to use plus/minus as a basketball stat; he worked for the 76ers for decades and was an original employee of the NBA. I put myself thru college as a student manager of the basketball team and a stat guy-- Harvey Pollack was my hero.

12) I'm watching NBA TV's Mock Draft the night before the real draft and chances are it'll be better than ESPN's coverage of the draft tonight. Just can't take Jay Bilas-- ESPN screwed up badly letting him become their voice of college basketball.

11) Stu Jackson just called Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell the most creative passer we've seen since Jason Kidd, which is quite a compliment.

10) Kevin Love, Monta Ellis, Aaron Afflalo all opted out of their cntracts and will become free agents.

9) If you're a college basketball player who won't make an NBA team, do you play overseas or go to the D-League? You'll make more money overseas, but you're more accessible to the NBA for 10-day contracts in the D-League. Interesting decision a lot of kids have to make. Getting your foot in the NBA door is a big deal.

8) First day of the NBA Summer League next month at UNLV: Minnesota-Lakers are playing the first day, with top two picks in tonight's draft facing each other.

7) Astros lost in 13 innings in Anaheim yesterday; they used George Springer as a pinch-runner in a 1-1 game in ninth inning- he got picked off before a pitch was thrown to the next hitter. Nothing like being ready to play.

6) Baseball teams have these complex algorithms that predict success/failure; hard for me to criticize it, since they're way over my head academically, but the Red Sox gave Rick Porcello a $100M contract, even though he gave up 622 hits in in 558 IP over the last three years. Porcello is 4-8, 5.61 in 14 starts this year.

In other words, whatever algorithm Boston used to pay Porcello, they should put it up on their computer screen, then hit the delete key. Use some common sense!!!

5) Marco Estrada had a no-hitter in 8th inning for second start in a row yesterday; he threw 129 pitches before being taken out, most any big league pitcher has thrown so far this season. Blue Jays won the game 1-0 in 12 innings.

4) You watch Starlin Castro play for the Cubs and you wonder what his future is; he has ability but he doesn't run balls out, his mind wanders in the field, he's not what you want in a middle infielder, where defense is so important. If Cubs try to trade him with Addison Russell also a shortstop, you wonder who will take Castro?

3) American League has an 85-68 lead over the National League in interleague play, which should be the measure used to determine home field for the World Series.

2) Mets are falling apart; they're under .500 now, they've lost seven games in a row, all while Justin Turner is hitting .323 and batting third for the Dodgers, a team with the biggest payroll in baseball history. The Mets let Turner walk as a free agent after the 2013 season-- think they could use him now?

Show me a statistic that measures heart, that measures how a guy adds to a team with his positive attitude and hustle; you can't; the eye-test is still essential!!!!

1) UCLA's football coaches don't want charges pressed against Sean Combs, because they want the whole strength coach scuffle/debacle to go away, since they think it'll hurt them in recruiting, but the coaches do think the elder Combs is a jerk.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.......
13) Mikael Franco turned into Ty Cobb this week, going 6-8 with five runs scored and ten RBI in two games in the Bronx. Franco is hitting .319 and is one of the few bright spots in a dismal Philly season.

12) NHL overtimes will be 3-on-3 instead of 4-on-4 next season, as the league tries to reduce the number of games decided in a shootout- there were 170 of them last year.

My hockey friends out there-- let me know what you think of this!!!

11) NHL salary cap will be $71.4M next year; it was $69M this year.

10) Former NBA player Shareef Adbur-Rahim, who now works on CBS Sports Network, said he would take Jahlil Okafor over D'Angelo Russell in the NBA Draft, because Okafor is the more unique talent- he says teams are more likely to find a guy like Russell in future drafts than a bigger player like Okafor. .

9) Minor league baseball is big business; they had 5,858 fans in Peoria last night, for a Midwest League game. School is out; minor leagues are cheap entertainment. In a lot of small towns, minor league baseball is very profitable.

8) Here is one of my all-time favorite movie clips; Steve Martin in Roxanne, at his comic greatest.........

7) You know those Life Alert commercials, where the old lady falls and presses a button so the paramedics can come and help her? Serious question; how do they get in the woman's house if she can't get up?

6) Virginia beat Vanderbilt 3-0, forced a decisive Game 3 tonight- winner-take-all for the College World Series championship.

5) A's manager Bob Melvin was happy the Warriors won the NBA title; he grew up a Golden State fan-- his godfather is Dick D'Oliva, who used to be Warriors' trainer.

4) Sal Alosi is the UCLA strength coach Sean Combs got in a scuffle with earlier this week; he used to work for the Jets, where he made headlines by tripping a Dolphins player who was running downfield to cover a punt. Strange but true.

3) Australian scientists have determined that most kangaroos are left-handed. Just thought you'd like to know.

2) Watching ESPN's Fab Five video the other night, it dawned on me that Jim Nantz has been calling the Final Four for almost 25 years. Time flies, man.

1) Former Purdue QB Denny Etling transferred to LSU, where he can play for two years starting in 2016. Purdue didn't have a lot of talent; he'll have a lot more fun in Baton Rouge, where they have a lot of speedy kids at the skill positions.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
Some unusual doings, for a summer Monday........
13) I know almost nothing about Sean Combs, other than he is a pretty good actor, having been in CSI: Miami and Draft Day. Apparently he is a bigshot in music and his son plays DB for UCLA- I'm a middle-aged white guy, I know little about rap music.

Well, Mr Combs was watching a conditioning workout in Westwood yesterday and the strength coach was getting all over Justin Combs, really riding him. Here is what the Orange County Register said happened:

"Sean "Diddy" was arrested early Monday afternoon on charges of "assault with a deadly weapon, which was a kettlebell" at UCLA's Acosta Athletic Training Complex, according to a UCLA release . No one was seriously injured in the incident, and UCPD is investigating."


12) So a rich, famous parent assaulted the team's strength coach. No bueno.

11) Jim Mora Jr is the coach at UCLA. He is also a middle-aged white guy. Here re is what he had to say:

"I'm thankful that our staff showed the level of professionalism that they did in handling this situation. This is an unfortunate incident for all parties involved. While UCPD continues to review this matter, we will let the legal process run its course and refrain from further comment at this time."

He must be happy as hell with this debacle.

10) Jim Mora Sr was a very good pro coach; he was the anti-Iverson: "Playoffs??!?! Playoffs?!?!?!", a former Marine who was a non-nonsense guy and a winning coach who had a 48-13-1 record in the USFL and then 125-106 in the NFL, though he went winless (0-6) in NFL playoff games (he won two of the three USFL titles).

Can you imagine the conversations he has with his son? UCLA also has Snoop Dawg's son, they're going head-to-head with USC for recruits. Its a different world out there, one where a music mogul parent assaults a team's strength coach at practice. Yikes.

9) It is becoming obvious that NBA teams have an incredible amount of office politics-- if the team's star and the coach cannot work together, it is a disaster and that seems to be the case in Sacramento, where apparently, new Kings coach George Karl wants the team to trade its biggest star, DeMarcus Cousins.

An internal power struggle is taking place; even if the Kings wanted to trade him now, it is hard to get value when everyone knows you HAVE TO trade him. Anytime we are talking about the Sacramento Kings in June, you know it cannot be good.

8) Former Ohio State/Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor is now a WR; he moved on to the Bengals, then was claimed off waivers by Cleveland this week- he will be coached by his old Oakland QB coach (John DeFilippo) with the Browns, but he is a WR now, even though he annoyed the Bengals by releasing video of himself passing last week.

7) Greedy bastard update: Gas went up 20 cents a gallon in one day last week, at the Mobil station at Fuller/Central in beautiful downtown Colonie, where I live. Station across the street is 24 cents a gallon cheaper; the Mobil station a mile away, at corner of Wolf/Sand Creek, is still 20 cents a gallon cheaper. Why is that?

Hell, at the Fuller/Central Mobil, they charge $2 for a 20-ounce Coke. No one else has them for more than $1.89. Do they even want people to buy stuff there? What geniuses run this place? I go by there every day but very rarely go in.

6) Jordan Spieth is 21 and has already earned $17,136,557 playing golf, thats before endorsements, of which he has many. He can afford to buy gas near my house.

5) Chicago White Sox have been outscored 58-19 in the first inning.

4) Clayton Kershaw is making $32,571,000 this season, roughly $1M per start. not so good that in Kershaw's first 13 starts, the Dodgers are 7-6.

3) Phillies 11, Bronx 8-- Phils have played 36 road games; this was the 4th time in those 36 road games that Philly led after the fifth inning. 4 out of 36.

2) Pete Rose is one of the most polarizing figures ever in American sports, maybe in all of American history. With the All-Star Game in Cincinnati in three weeks and a new baseball commissioner, momentum was building to re-instate Rose and give him his day and let him get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Until Monday.

1) Someone leaked info Monday that Rose bet on baseball in 1986, his last year as player and manager of the Reds. Why is this news now? Was one person on this planet surprised by the news? Rose is a compulsive gambler, he still makes $1M+ a year signing autographs in Las Vegas-- he has served his time and deserves to be left alone.

Let him have his day in Cooperstown, even if you only do it for Cooperstown's sake- they could use the boost that a huge crowd would bring and if Rose gets inducted, it'll be the biggest day Otsego County has ever seen. You can bet on it.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Difference between first and second place at the US Open was $720,000; thats how much Dustin Johnson's 3-putt on 18th green cost him Sunday night in Tacoma. Dramatic ending to an interesting week of golf.

12) Johnson didn't seem all that upset after the dramatic finish; he made $877,144 for the week, he's engaged to Paulina Gretzky, his life is pretty damn good, he just didn't get the championship trophy. He'll win a major eventually.

11) Louis Oosthuizen shot 29 on the back side Sunday, damn near snuck into a playoff today; he shot 77 Thursday, has to be kicking himself for that.

10) Tom Brady got paid $170K for a speech at Salem State last month; he donated all that money to charity. Not sure why they paid him $170K, but they did.

9) It is June 22 and Albert Pujols already has ten homers this month; teams had been walking Mike Trout intentionally in key spots to pitch to Pujols, which at the time we said was stupid and I'm sticking with that. Pujols can still crush the ball.

8) I'm grocery shopping this weekend and noticed Steph Curry on a Wheaties box; didn't know they still did that. Wheaties are horrible, but it is cool that guys like Curry gets recognized for their excellence.

7) If you're a blood donor in Sweden, they text you when the blood you donated gets used by another person. Must make people feel good.

6) Opening Day baseball rosters this year, there were 83 players from the Dominican Republic, 65 from Venezuela, 18 from Cuba.

5) Florida State hired former SE Missouri State hoop coach Dickey Nutt as its video coordinator/dirctor of ops. Nutt is way over-qualified for the post and he cannot go off-campus to recruit, but he'll be a big help to old friend Leonard Hamilton's program.

4) Rough weekend in Washington for the Pirates, who came into the nation's capital on an 8-game win streak- they got outscored 19-3 in a three-game sweep, and got no-hit by Max Scherzer Saturday.

3) Mets didn't fare any better in Atlanta; they're 3-16 in last 19 road games, 56-103 at Turner Field. At 36-35, they're a pretty big disappointment. Matt Harvey is very good, but they're still just 3-6 in his last nine starts.

2) Orioles 13, Blue Jays 9-- Game was 7-6 in second inning. Then there are the White Sox, who scored 11 runs in their last seven games. Not good.

1) Vanderbilt-Virginia start best-of-3 College World Series tonight in Omaha.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Max Scherzer came within one out of a perfect game Saturday but did no-hit the Pirates, six days after he one-hit the Brewers in Miller Park. Here are Scherzer's last two starts, compared to Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters in 1938:

Vander Meer: 18 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 11 walks, 11 strikeouts
Scherzer: 18 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 walk, 26 strikeouts

12) Both Scherzer starts were day games; Vander Meer's second no-hitter came in the first night game ever, in Brooklyn's Ebbets Field.

11) Quote of the Day: "I mean there is (a letdown), just because you're so close, one strike away from a perfect game. But to get a no-hitter in front of these fans, there's nothing better." Max Scherzer

10) Golfer Jason Day fought off vertigo all day long, but wound up birdieing three of his final four holes to shoot 68 and share the lead at 4-under after three rounds of the US Open. Chambers Bay is a challenging course to walk and to do it with vertigo and still shoot under par is pretty amazing. Sunday night should be some good theater.

9) Meanwhile the greens at Chambers Bay are taking a beating from the players who aren't tied for the lead. Ernie Els says four of the greens are actually dead; others have compared the greens to cauliflower, broccoli, the surface of the moon, or a dust surface. No matter what though, everyone is playing the same golf course.

8) Strange trade in baseball last night; Arizona acquired an infielder named Phil Gosselin from Braves; in exchange, they unloaded injured pitcher Bronson Arroyo (and $10M he is still owed) but to get Atlanta to take that $10M obligation, Arizona also sent the Braves pitcher Touki Touissant, who was Arizona's first round draft pick LY and is doing pretty well this season in the Midwest League (2-2, 3.69 in seven starts).

Initital reaction to this trade greatly favored Atlanta's side. We'll see.

7) As far as Royals fans getting all their players elected to the All-Star Game, I'll say this: be careful what you ask for. The All-Star break is four days long and it helps rest guys because the regular season can be a difficult grind.

Last year the A's had an awesome first half, had six guys in the All-Star Game, but the lack of a break took its toll in the second half of the season-- the A's faded terribly and barely made the playoffs. Some of those guys just plain wore out. Same thing could happen to Kansas City- four days off can re-energize guys.

6) Nori Aoki played for the Royals last year but is on the Giants now; Royals' fans must be voting for him a lot too, since he has more All-Star votes than Marlins' OF Giancarlo Stanton. Aoki is pretty good but if you vote for him over Stanton, then you need to lose your voting rights.

5) Seattle Mariners made hitting coach Howard Johnson the scapegoat for their dismal season, re-assigning HoJo while making franchise legend Edgar Martinez the new batting coach. Martinez has his name on a restaurant in Safeco Field, is considered the best DH ever. We'll see if the change energizes the Mariners' offense.

4) I had never seen the ESPN special on the Fab Five; I'm watching it as I type this-- the sub guard Michigan had on that team was Rob Pelinka, who became a prominent player agent after his college days were done.

Not only is he an agent, he is Kobe Bryant's agent and used to be Kevin Durant's; he also shares a birthday with me, though he is a few years younger and a lot wealthier.

3) How bad are this year's Phillies? Their starting pitcher Sunday is Adam Morgan, a lefty who posted a 0-6, 4.74 record in AAA this season. How does someone who has a 0-6, 4.74 record get promoted to the bigs? The 2015 Phillies are a freakin' trainwreck.

2) Mets lost again in Atlanta, are now 3-15 in their last 18 road games and 56-102 in their history at Turner Field- their defense sucks, changes need to be made. Question is does the front office have the onions to do it? This should be a playoff team.

1) Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there; many of you probably know I lost my dad last month and I miss him greatly- what I wouldn't give to watch golf and the baseball with him today. Tell your dad you love him today.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind...........
13) Alex Rodriguez got his 3,000th hit last night with a home run, only third player ever to do that; he is hitting .278 with a .384 OB%, Bronx is 37-30, in the middle of a playoff race, but no one sees to want to give ol' A-Rod credit. Go figure.

12) So much of A-Rod's career has been about money; ironic that the guy who caught the home run ball last night, A-Rod's 3000th hit, is Zack Hample, a 37-year-old from NYC who has caught more than 8,000 baseballs in batting practice-- and even wrote a book about it. He says he is keeping the ball, which is estimated to be worth $50K+.

11) The CEO and COO of the Bronx Bombers even went out to try and talk the guy out of keeping the ball. My godson said if he had the ball, he would ask ARod for one game's salary for the ball, roughly $136,400. Wonder if that would've worked.

Guy on Twitter said he would start the bidding at a million bucks.

10) Scary moment at the US Open, when Jason Day collapsed on the 9th fairway, his last hole of the day. Day has been batting vertigo and had an attack at the end of his round. He managed to finish the last hole, but no word if he will be able to play the third round today. He is -2 and in contention.

9) It is good to be a pro golfer; their courtesy cars this week are Lexus SUVs.

8) Six golfers in the US Open this week won an NCAA singles championship; seven others are former US Amateur champs.

7) Someone ht a 7-iron 226 yards yesterday, at which point Jack Nicklaus probably threw something at his TV. Modern equipment is really, really good.

6) FOX is doing its first US Open; one addition that is a big help-- when a putt is rolling towards the hole or a ball is in the air, they keep the player's name who hit the shot on the screen. How has no one ever thought of that before?

5) Non-ARod oddity in the Bronx last night; both teams had a runner picked off first base in the first inning. Not sure I've ever seen that before.

4) Texas 2, White Sox 1-- Chicago's Chris Sale is third pitcher in baseball history with five consecutive starts of 12+ strikeouts; he allowed 17 hits in his last 37.1 IP, with six walks and 65 strikeouts. This was a brutal loss for the White Sox last night.

3) Braves 2, Mets 1-- Similar doings in Atlanta, where Jacob deGrom was vicitimized by left side of his infield, which continues to be suspect. Mets have a chance to make the playoffs, but not unless their defense tightens up- they're now 3-14 in their last 17 road games, which is not the mark of a playoff team.

2) Angels 12, A's 7-- You're up 7-2 in 7th inning with Sonny Gray pitching; what are odds you don't win? Top of 7th inning of this fiasco was so ugly, I had to turn it off and watched this movie Whiplash, about a music teacher who emotionally tormented his students to try and get their maximum performance out of them.

JK Simmons (the guy in the Farmers' Insurance commercials) won an Oscar for his portrayal of the teacher who was such a bastard one of his students physically attacked him and another one took his own life. Disturbing movie.

1) If you caught A-Rod's 3,000th hit, what would you charge him for it?

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) When Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon beat feet out of St Pete last fall, it was widely assumed that the Rays would fall apart; well it is June 19, and here are how the three teams involved are doing this season.......

Dodgers (Andrew Friedman's team): 38-29 with a budget of $271,608,629
Cubs (Joe Maddon's team): 35-29, with a budget of $120,337,385
Rays (their old team): 38-30, with a budget of $75,794,234

My friend John identified pitching coach Jim Hickey as the real star in Tampa.

12) Trouble in Boston; Pablo Sandoval got benched last night, after they found out he was on his cellphone during Wednesday's game, surfing Internet and approving pics from attractive ladies on Instagram while he was in the men's room. Tremendous.

11) Eldrick Woods shot 80 Thursday; it looks like he would rather not be on a golf course right now, but he is and it is hard to watch. There was an over/under on what his highest score would be on any hole Thursday-- over 6.5 hit very early in his round.

10) Golfers are pretty spoiled; they go ballistic if a cellphone takes a picture during their swing, but there are railroad tracks running alongside this course, with very large trains going by as golfers hit their tee shots. Wonder how Bubba Watson likes that?

9) Then there is Sergio Garcia, who complained about the surface of the greens, then said he was only saying what everyone else is thinking. Oy.

8) As if the Phillies' season isn't horrendous enough, Cole Hamels is out with a sore hamstring and will miss his start tonight. Over their last 24 games. Philly starting pitchers are 0-14 with ten no-decisions. Last win by a starter? May 23.

7) Last July 31, Baltimore added reliever Andrew Miller for the stretch drive, but it came at a price- they traded young pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to Boston. Rodriguez is now in the Red Sox rotation, and is their most promising young pitcher. Orioles could sure use him, especially with Miller bolting to the Bronx as a free agent last winter.

6) Turns out Babe Ruth's first professional home run came in Toronto, at a ballpark named Hanlan's Point Stadium.

5) Former Arkansas hooper Michael Qualls tore his ACL in a pre-draft workout; sad thing for a kid trying to make it in pro basketball. NBA should have a rule where he could go back to college (he has one year of eligibility left plus a redshirt year), rehab his knee next winter, play for the Razorbacks in 2016-17, then turn pro.

Now Qualls has to hope some NBA team likes him enough to sign him and stash him while he rehabs the knee. It is not a sure thing.

4) Apparently Tim Duncan got bilked out of $25M; athletes should take courses in college on how to handle their own money. Very hard to trust anyone where money is involved; Billy Joel once got scammed by his own brother-in-law.

3) Texas Longhorns are playing Washington in China November 14; it is easy to see billions of Chinese wearing burnt orange t-shirts at $25 a pop, and we know that $$$ talks in this world. Texas' problem in this; they also play in the Bahamas seven days later, in one of those 3-day tournaments.

When exactly do the Texas players go to class? China one week, Bahamas the next-- hard to visualize kids having study hall on the long flight from Asia. Apparently the AD at Texas signed up for the game in China without consulting with Rick Barnes, who was the basketball coach at the time. Now he isn't.

2) Speaking of Texas, former QB Chris Simms had this to say this week:

"They didn't pay me, but there may have been cash going around to some other players. I'm not going to deny that. I may have gotten a few $100 handshakes every now and then to sign some autographs for alumni. I don't care how rich your upbringing was. Yes, I grew up with a silver spoon, but if you give me a few extra $100 as a college kid, that's great."

Young Simms is a real gem; rich kid pockets the money, then years later to further his radio career, he opens his yap and spills the beans on the Longhorns' boosters. You take the money, just shut your mouth, its not that hard.

1) Mets' OF Juan Lagares has an elbow injury that may need Tommy John surgery; he will try and play through it, but may not be able to. Not good when your CF can't throw, but Lagares is a great fielder who is valuable even without throwing.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) One of the great myths of the NBA is that the league needs the Knicks to be good in order to be successful; want proof? This year's Cleveland-Golden State final got the NBA Finals' best TV ratings since 1998, Michael Jordan's last year in Chicago.

For better or worse, the NBA's appeal is built on popularity of individual stars, and in Lebron James/Steph Curry, the Finals had two of the league's most popular players.

12) How have the Phillies not fired someone yet?

11) Anyone who votes for Omar Infante for the All-Star team is either related to him or a complete jackass; he is batting .227 with three walks in over 100 ABs; for the love of god, Eric Sogard is better than Infante, yet Infante leads the balloting, because all the Royals are, thanks to their overzealous fans.

Jason Kipnis (.333, .408 OB%), Dustin Pedroia (.307, .369) would be good choices at second base for the AL, if you care about best players playing in the All-Star Game.

When MLB takes All-Star voting away from the fans (the way they did in the 50's when Cincinnati fans did a similar thing), Royals' fans better not complain.

10) Which brings me to a pet peeve; the All-Star Game counting for anything other than a showcase of the game's best players. Having the outcome matter is so stupid, it is something you would laugh at if it was suggested by a friend in a bar.

9) Baseball oddity from Tuesday; Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos hit two homers in the Nats' 16-4 win at Tampa Bay, but both homers came against position players who were mopping up on the mound at the end of a bad game.

It was first time two position players pitched for the same team in a nine-inning game since July 20, 1990, when Montreal used Junior Noboa, Dave Martinez at Houston-- Martinez is now Joe Maddon's bench coach with the Cubs.

8) It is funny listening to women in mainstream politicial media; they want Hillary Clinton (or any female) to become President so badly that they're basically coaching Hillary on how she should run her campaign. Luckily, she isn't listening.

7) Early betting lines on college football have Florida Gators as home dogs in SEC games against both Tennessee and Ole Miss, suggesting that new Florida coach Jim McElwain has quite a rebuilding job ahead of him in Gainesville.

6) There are three par 4's at the US Open this week that are 534+ yards. Par 4's.

5) Only nine times has a golfer's first PGA Tour win been the US Open; last one to do it? Graeme McDowell, five years ago.

4) Reason #4,235 why run differential is a stupid stat: Houston has a +37, Oakland has a +38 run differential. Astros are 10.5 games ahead of the A's, mainly because the dreadful Oakland bullpen is responsible for the A's 8-27 record in 1 or 2-run games.

3) Why did the Clippers-Hornets announce a trade before the Finals were over? Why did the Clippers want Lance Stephenson?

2) NBA teams used prime draft picks on Greg Oden and Joel Embiid, both of whom hardly played in college due to injury, but were high draft picks based mainly on potential, instead of any evidence that they could actually play well. This is why the smarter teams like San Antonio keep winning; they pick players who play well.

Oden was a complete bust and Embiid appears headed the same way; when you draft at the top of a draft, you can't completely whiff on a pick or you'll wind up at the top of the draft every year, like the 76ers pretty much do.

1) Georgia-UCLA announced a home/home football series for 2025-26; I'll be a very happy guy if I am sitting in front of my TV watching those games, 11 years from now. I'll be happy if I'm anywhere watching anything 11 years from now........

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week stuff.........
13) Congrats to the Golden State Warriors on winning their first NBA title in 40 years; unsure how Steve Kerr tops this as a coach-- winning as a rookie. Not bad.

12) Cavaliers deserve a pat on the back too; they maxed out, considering injuries and having three Knick rejects in their rotation. They need to upgrade that rotation.

11) San Diego Padres hired Pat Murphy as their interim manager; unusual, as Murphy is best known as a college (Notre Dame/Arizona State) coach- he had coached Padres' AAA team the last three years, after ASU fired him for numerous NCAA violations.

10) Murphy coached big leaguers Eric Sogard/Mike Leake at ASU; he once had Leake throw 148 pitches in one game, then started him at first base the next day. By way of reference, 125 pitches is the most any big leaguer has tossed this year (Cueto/Sale).

9) Pittsburgh tossed five shutouts in its last six games. Four Pirate starting pitchers have an ERA under 3.00, the latest in a season thats been true since 1983.

8) Why do teams change managers in season? How does it help? Miami promoted a guy who had never even managed before- they're 13-15 since that move. Marlins were crippled by injuries to their starting pitchers, not anything the manager did.

7) Matt Kemp is owed $107M over the next four years, part of which is being paid by the Dodgers, but Kemp has only three HRs this year and is already getting booed by the home fans, who seem perplexed by his indifferent defense in the outfield. Bud Black did not make that trade, Ivy League genius/GM AJ Preller did; but when Kemp is a flop, Black gets the boot, which somehow doesn't seem fair.

6) Brock Holt hit for the cycle yesterday, the first Red Sox player to do that since John Valentin in 1996. He is the first player to cycle against the Braves since Keith Hernandez in the famous 19-inning game on July 4, 1985, the "Rick Camp game".

5) I'd write more about this Cardinals/Astros corporate espionage thing, but I don't know a lot about it yet. All I know is this: if the FBI is involved, someone has some serious 'splainin' to do.

It just seems weird; Jeff Luhnow leaves St Louis for Houston, then the Cardinals hack into his computer? Why didn't they just do it before he left St Louis, when he was working with their computers? It'll all make an interesting movie someday.

4) Texas Tech has a new defensive coordinator this year; David Gibbs. He is Tech's 8th different defensive coordinator in the last nine years. Maybe they should recruit some better defenders, instead of ten receivers every year.

3) Pretty cool when Blackhawks carried the Stanley Cup around Wrigley Field last night; best trophy in sports, the Stanley Cup. I'm guessing it'll find its way to the south side of town for the White Sox game tonight.

2) WWE was in Cleveland Monday night; Johnny Manziel was in the front row. He didn't do anything that I saw, other than laugh when the wrestlers poked fun at him in their act, but the Browns would probably be just as happy if he disappeared except for practices until training camp starts.

1) A big truck came down the street Tuesday and tore the WiFi wire off the pole in front of Armadillo World HQ; Time Warner hasn't seen fit to fix it yet, so we're doing some late-night improvising with today's stuff. A little adversity is good for you, but this damn well better be fixed by tomorrow.

Tuesday's list of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Last winter, the Padres jacked their payroll up from $90,636,600 LY to this year's $108,387,033; that increase brought expectations, which a 32-33 record didn't satisfy, so Monday, after 8.5 years in charge, manager Bud Black got fired.

12) Angels won the 2002 World Series; three of Mike Scioscia's coaches from that year started this season as big league managers-- two have already been fired-- Ron Roenicke in Milwaukee and now Black (Joe Maddon is the third). Whether it is fair or not, the manager takes the hit for an underachieving team. Just the way it is.

11) Padres GM AJ Preller is another Ivy League alum (Cornell) who has become the head of a big league organization; he was a frat brother of Texas GM Jon Daniels while at Cornell. Here is part of Preller's quote about the firing........

"At the end of the day this was the direction we wanted to go. I've evaluated him (Black) overall for eight months when I was looking at everything. I've seen inconsistencies, ups and downs. This team is not bottoming out or playing poorly. Just too much inconsistency. We have not played to the level we are capable of."

In other words, Preller is saying "I did MY JOB. They're underachieving!!!"

Elsewhere in this crazy world of ours.......
10) White Sox scored zero or one run in 14 of their first 62 games.

9) Anthoy Rizzo has already been hit by 15 pitches this year; he crowds the plate.

8) Ichiro Suzuki is 34-115 with seven walks (one HBP) against John Lackey; the 123 plate appearances are the most of any active hitter against any active pitcher.

7) Mets promoted Danny Muno to the majors five times this year and sent him back down five times; we talked few weeks ago how Muno's dad played football with Joe Montana in college-- my friend Joe from Yorktown Heights let me know that Muno's grandfather once served as Montana's agent-- now that must've been a good gig.

6) Glad to see Chris Davis bunt for a hit against the shift last night; might've been the hardest bunt ever-- it landed on the chalk, five feet past third base. Joey Votto also bunted for a hit against the shift last night--- good for them.

5) Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas can really hit, but his agent did him a disservice by hooking him up with an NL team-- he has no position to play. He should be with an American League team, where he could DH every day.

4) Last two nights, I've heard TV announcers bash the A's over the Donaldson trade; Keith Hernandez did it last night, someone else on Sunday, can't remember who, since I watch too much TV. Here are the details of that trade........

Firstly, Donaldson is a bus driver, a great player who can "drive the bus" to wins; he helped the A's make the playoffs three years in a row, but he was getting expensive and expensive doesn't fly in Oakland, no matter how good you are. On November 28, A's traded Donaldson to Toronto for these four humans..........

-- Brett Lawrie is no Donaldson, but he's done OK at third base this year. hitting .272.
-- Kendall Graveman is 3-3, 4.22 in nine starts for Oakland, but has a 2.20 ERA in his last five starts and looks like a keeper.
-- Sean Nolin has a 1.77 ERA n his first five AAA starts this year; he had one dreadful start in the big leagues back in 2013.
-- Franklin Barreto is a 19-year old shortstop hitting .263 in A ball.

3) Graveman/Nolin are projected as big league starting pitchers; ask someone who is a Red Sox fan if starting pitching is important. Pitching is more important than having a great third baseman- you cannot win without high quality pitching.

So my point is this: TV nitwits can jump on the pile and bash the A's, but they are strapped by payroll concerns-- the only way they can stay competitive is to stockpile young pitchers, its the only chance they have. This year is a disaster but maybe next year won't be- they need to get some more prospects when they sell off older players like Zobrist, Clippard and Kazmir in the next six weeks. It is their reality.

2) Home plate umpire Marty Foster got drilled in the jaw by a foul ball last night and had to leave the Toronto-Mets game in the third inning; really a vicious blow that KO'd him after he finished that half inning. Umpires take a beating behind the plate; so do catchers. Hopefully Mr Foster will be back on the field soon.

1) Freddie Freeman was 30 for his first 68 with runners in scoring position; wow!!!.

Monday's List of 13: Happy Armadillo Day, everyone........
13) Can you believe its been 14 years since we've been doing this together? Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing. Keeps me off the streets, ya know???

12) Was reading some stuff on US Open today; its in Washington, at a course called Chalmers Bay which I saw described as "...most unique course in US Open history."

11) Max Scherzer tossed a one-hitter with 16 strikeouts in Milwaukee Sunday, one of best-pitched games all season. Brewers swung at 66 pitches, missed 27 times, the most misses any pitcher has generated in a game this season.

10) Warriors 104, Cavaliers 91-- Cleveland big guy Timofey Mozgov had 28 points, 10 rebounds in Game 4; he played nine minutes in Game 5 and didn't score. I'm not in a position to criticize an NBA coach, but Mosgov's sitting just seems odd.

9) Fact is, how many NBA teams could lose their #2, #3 players, yet still compete for the NBA title? Cavaliers are doing their best without Irving/Love; its possible that no matter which lineup they use, they just aren't talented enough to win this series.

8) ESPN's Mike Breen reported that Lebron James hasn't fouled out of a game this season. Jeff Van Gundy's reaction? "Shocking." Van Gundy is awesome.

7) Just saw the new season of Suits starts next week on USA Network and Charles Barkley is in an episode; this could be excellent. Suits is a lawyer-based program and is very good-- its going to be on Wednesdays at 9 starting next week.

6) Jon Lester is 0-for-63 as a hitter; I don't care what anyone says, whether it be Joe Maddon, Tony Larussa, Abner Doubleday or Lou Brown from Major League, it is a bad idea to bat someone who is 0-for-63 8th instead of 9th. Makes zero sense.

5) San Francisco Giants scored two runs all weekend in a sweep by Arizona; they've now lost eight home games in a row. Very streaky team.

4) Pirates swept the Phillies this weekend; two of three games were 0-0 after nine innings. Red Sox scored 19 runs in three games against Toronto, got swept anyway. There are 46 days until the trading deadline; you get the feeling things will get busy.

3) Vanderbilt has very sharp black baseball uniforms with gold pinstripes; they almost look too nice to sweat in. At first, I thought they looked like pajamas-- funny how a school that is traditionally bad in football is a power in baseball.

2) Next four nights, all interleague games; lot of these matchups haven't happened since 2012, some as far back as 2009. Should be an interesting week.

1) Hard to believe it has been 14 years since we started this little adventure; its been fun. Hope you're enjoying it, too. So much has changed since then; lot of it good, some not so good-- thats the way life is. I sincerely hope you keep reading.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Boston Red Sox' last 3.5 seasons.........
-- 2012-- 69-93, 26 games out of first place
-- 2013-- 97-65, won World Series
-- 2014-- 71-91, 25 games out of first place
-- 2015-- 27-35, seven games out of first place.

They have very little quality pitching; how will they get better?

12) Toronto has won ten games in a row, is charging towards the top of the AL East; my question is this: How the hell was this collection of hitters ever 23-30?

11) How come no one has the onions to say the Bronx Bombers are better off this year with ARod, than they were last year, with a washed-up Derek Jeter?

10) ARod will get to 3,000 hits soon; he got over 2,000 RBI yesterday; his teammates seem to like him and he is still a productive player, but Ken Rosenthal hinted on FOX yesterday that no one wants him in the All-Star Game next month. Why?

9) Hey, if Ollie from Hoosiers can shoot his free throws underhanded, how come Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan haven't tried it yet? Rick Barry was one of the greatest foul shooters ever-- he shot underhanded.

8) There is an actor named Kevin Dunn who played a front office guy with the Twins in the underrated 1994 movie Little Big League. 20 years later, he played an assistant for the Cleveland Browns in Draft Day. Mr Dunn plays Ben Caffrey in the TV series Veep-- he's appeared in over 100 movies/TV shows.

7) Streaky San Francisco Giants lost their last seven home games.

6) Big Ten Network runs a very fine reality show during football/basketball season that gives you a (slightly) behind the scenes look at the people who play and coach these teams. I've been watching several of them in a row as I write this. Lot of good stories.

5) Wisconsin had another terrific football team last year; coach Anderson was seen in a few shots, telling the kids how much he enjoyed coaching them, yet he quit after they lost 59-0 to Ohio State in the Big 14 title game and is now at Oregon State. I am guessing we won't see the meetings that led to Anderson quitting his job.

4) Ted Ginn Sr is a high school coach in Cleveland, I think; his son still plays in the NFL. They showed him on this show and he has a fairly large pendant around his neck that says "SR" as in Ted Ginn Jr's father. Kind of cool.

3) Junior college football is really good; I remember seeing a Santa Monica-West LA JC game in 1990, on a cruddy field with about 200 fans watching on a beautiful day in LA. Five years later, watching Isaac Bruce play for the Rams, I realized that he played in that game in 1990-- thats how good JC football is in some places.

2) A school named East Mississippi won three of the last four JC national titles; the nearest Wal-Mart is 35 miles from campus but Jim Kelly's nephew played there last year and now he plays for Ole Miss. Would enjoy seeing those games on TV.

1) A's lost 1-0 in Anaheim last night; rooting for the 2015 A's is like rooting for the criminals in Law and Order; it is promising for a while but at the end, most nights it is just very disappointing.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 10-- Toronto trailed this game 8-1; they scored nine runs in top of 7th, before they made an out. Devastating loss for Boston, which has a serious lack of pitching; this season is rapidly slipping away from them.

Blue Jays have now won nine games in a row.

12) Astros 10, Mariners 0-- Houston had lost seven in a row, but they scored eight runs in first inning off of Felix Hernandez, who didn't finish the inning. Houston lost 2B Altuve to a hamstring injury, which could prove costly if serious.

11) Bullpens at Wrigley Field will be moved to under the outfield bleachers next year, making foul territory down each foul line less cluttered. Attendance Friday was 40,016; now that the rightfield bleachers are finished, Wrigley's capacity has gone up.

10) There are only four players in the major leagues who currently have a consecutive games streak of 100+ games. Cal Ripken's streak will never be broken.

9) Mets are 22-11 vs NL East opponents, 11-18 vs everyone else; that adds up to first place in a very sluggish NL East.

8) Giancarlo Stanton struck out four times vs Colorado lefty Steve Rusin last week, but first time he faced him Thursday, he hit a 2-iron laser shot over the left field fence for a home run. Stanton has been crushing the ball since he left Denver.

7) Jerry Remy was saying on NESN last night how Boston playing 32 exhibition games is "way, way, way, way too many." He likes the current 162-game season. I'm really surprised the players' union hasn't complained about how long spring training is.

6) A golfer named Andery Pavlov hit six balls in the water on the first hole Friday and got a 17 on that hole. Supposedly, the guy is really a pro. I'm terrible at golf and I've never done that. Hope Mr Pavlov has another career to fall back on.

5) Patriots signed QB Matt Flynn to back up Jimmy Garoppolo for the first four weeks of the season, until Tom Brady gets back. Flynn will probably wind up getting lot of playing time in the exhibition games.

4) I'm a big fan of Arena Football; was a season ticket holder when they had a team here in Albany (1999 Arena Bowl champs!!!). CBS Sports Network shows games late at night now-- the coach of Las Vegas, Aaron Garcia, looks like a lot like the wrestler turned actor Dwayne Johnson-- The Rock.

3) Las Vegas' QB played college football at Columbia, which seems a little odd, but not as odd as TV guys saying Vegas didn't have a backup QB dressed for their game up in Spokane Friday night. How does a football team play with one quarterback?

2) My A's are a depressing 4-17 in one-run games; their defense has improved the last couple of weeks, the bullpen has not. Bad relief pitching has torched this season.

1) If your brother worked in the US State Department, it would be against the law to give his wife a pair of shoes as a gift-- thats how strict some laws are, as far as giving gifts to federal officials. Somehow, I'm guessing politicians have minions whose only job is to find ways around these laws. Just a guess.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) I'm concerned the concept of free speech is slipping away in our country. There are people risking their lives to protect our freedoms. Tolerance of all our opinions is important, even if some of those opinions are offensive to us.

12) Tie game Monday night, top 7th, two out. Bryce Harper tries to bunt a 1-2 pitch for a hit, but fouls it off and strikes out. No bueno, especially playing in the Bronx, where popups to rightfield are home runs. Nationals manager Matt Williams just shook his head in the dugout.

11) RIP Vincent Musetto, 74, former editor for the NY Post, the brilliant writer of attention-grabbing headlines, the best of which was........

"Headless man in Topless Bar" from April, 1983.

Really, he put that on a headline. RIP, sir.

10) Could we move Giancarlo Stanton up in the order? Batting Stanton 4th, Marcell Ozuna 5th could cost them both an at-bat every game- they're the two best hitters in the Miami lineup. You generally bat your best hitter third, no?

9) If the Braves knew the Nationals/Mets would both underachieve, think they still would've traded Craig Kimbrel to the Padres? Atlanta would be in first place if they still had Kimbrel- their bullpen has been hideous.

8) A's 7, Rangers 0-- Was 1-0 game until bottom of 8th inning; Billy Burns made two tremendous catches in CF-- here are links to those catches, one of which robbed Delino DeShields of a one-out triple.
-- 6th-inning catch
-- both catches

7) Braves committed catchers' interference yesterday with bases loaded, first time that happened since July 9, 2011.

Odd fact: Before Thursday, three of last five catchers' interference with bases loaded came with Hideki Matsui at the plate. Go figure.

6) Also in that game, Padres' Cory Spangenburg bunted a ball that actually bounced over the pitchers' head- ground in Atlanta must be very hard.

5) Seattle Mariners scored more than three runs once in their last 15 games. Oy.

4) Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs now works as a Executive Vice President and Global Chief Communications officer for McDonald's. Gibbs was once the soccer goalie at NC State. Why does McDonald's need a corporate hotshot with such a long title?

3) Boston College/North Carolina both play two I-AA teams this year but don't play each other, despite being ACC rivals; BC-UNC would be a good September TV game, but they'd rather rip the public off playing I-AA teams. Why not play each other?

2) Ohio State is the defending national champ, but they have a revenge motive in their season opener, when they visit Virginia Tech. Hokies beat OSU last year.

1) Odd situation will play out this weekend; Padres drafted a SS named Trea Turner last year, but traded him to Washington last winter. Problem is, there is a rule that prohibits trading players who were drafted for a year after the draft, so the trade remained a poorly-kept secret while Turner plays for the Padres' AA team.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Turner signing, so this weekend he'll get dealt officially to the Nationals' AA team in Harrisburg. Turner is hitting .323 in the Texas League and is considered a big prospect.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today..........
NL-- Mets-Cardinals-Dodgers. Wild Card: Giants-Cubs.
AL-- Bronx-Royals-Astros. Wild Card: Twins-Rays

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) There is so much turnover in baseball teams from year-to-year now, the first half of the season is a mishmash of sloppy play, with some teams then selling off players, and then a few teams getting hot in the second half and making the playoffs. Teams come from nowhere one year, then go back under the woodwork the next year.

12) Dodgers are now the big money team; they have a seemingly bottomless budget. I have no idea what Bronx is doing- they've got a lot of old, expensive players-- Joe Girardi has done a great job keeping them atop a weak AL East, but they took a big blow yesterday when closer Andrew Miller went on the DL

11) Houston has lost eight games in a row now, as they try to patch holes with young guys promoted from the minor leagues. Toronto has won eight in a row, as their big bats begin to heat up. The big question becomes, "Which teams will spend money to supplement their roster with players from other teams?"

10) Phillies are 22-39, an aging/bad team but if the games were only five innings long, they would be even worse. Their five-inning record: 10-39-12; only ten times in 61 games have they led after the fifth inning.

9) Lebron James is a good guy; he sent one of the kids who tied for the spelling bee title an autographed pair of sneakers and a pair of Beats headphones, which hopefully doesn't drill spelling words into his ears.

8) Oakland A's had 24 wins in their final at-bat last year; they got their first one this year last night- they're 1-10 in games decided in a team's final AB.

7) Why did the Miami Marlins fire their manager? How did that help anything? Now the remaining coaches are at odds with the new coaches, the players are rolling their eyes with another season of dysfunction- their team stinks. Baseball is basically an individual sport-- a guy's stats dictates his salary to some degree, so players play for themselves at all times but it still makes the Marlins much less fun to watch.

6) Run differential is a stupid stat; Oakland has scored three more runs than it has alloowed and they're a putrid 24-37, because they suck in close games!!! Thats the stat that matters; the A's pound on bad righty pitchers- they cannot beat a lefty (3-11).

5) Orioles 1B Chris Davis bunted for an easy hit against a Boston shift in bottom of 2nd last night; Red Sox had no one left of shortstop. If you don't like being shifted against, you have to do stuff like that to get teams to change defenses.

4) San Diego Chargers will retire LaDanian Tomlinson's #21 at halftime of game in November, a Sunday night game. That guarantees a sellout that night.

3) A high school kid named Skylar Mays is moving from Louisiana to Las Vegas for his senior year of HS, to play ball at Findlay Prep. Mr Mays is a recruiting target of UNLV, so this is convenient for them. Has to be tough for a kid to leave home for his last year of school though. Mays is a 6-3 point guard.

2) Danny Ainge's son is going on a 2-year Mormon mission; when he comes back he will be on basketball scholarship at Utah State. The elder Ainge played at BYU.

1) Football teams are using virtual reality technology to help accelerate their QB's development; they can put this helmet on and see what opposing defenses would look like on a field-- coaches are raving about technology while also wishing no one would write about it, so not everyone will have the same tools to work with.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.......
13) Cavaliers 96, Warriors 91-- If you want a one-word summary of how this series has gone thus far, with Cleveland controlling things, pick from this list of words:

defense-toughness-determination-grit-spunk-will-intensity-loose balls-pride.

If you take a measure of any of those words, Cleveland has the edge so far and it also has the best player, obviously.

12) I've only had HBO a couple of years, never had it before; I'm enjoying catching up with the various Hard Knocks shows they've had on over the years. Always fun for me to see how coaches interact with owners/players as well as each other, get a feel for people's personalities. Makes watching games on Sundays even more fun.

11) Pedro Martinez was telling an interesting story on MLB Network Tuesday about when he first broke into pro ball, he lived in a family's house, in the basement and the people spoke very little Spanish. All he did away from the field was play video games. We underestimate how difficult it is for guys to come to this cointry and play ball when there could be a tremendous language barrier involved.

I think teams are a little better now at providing help for these players, but it still cannot be easy. No way would I want to live somewhere if I didn't know the language.

10) Detroit's Rajai Davis made a tremendous leaping catch over the fence in LC field to end the top of the second inning Tuesday. Eight-foot fences make for exciting catches now and then. Davis was at least a foot above the fence when he caught it.

9) Tampa Bay pitching ace Chris Archer didn't start pitching until he was 15.

8) Justin Verlander had a good rehab start this week, will make his 2015 MLB debut Saturday against the Indians.

7) This is how much the NFL has changed; in Super Bowl VIII, in 1974, Miami won 24-7 with Bob Greise, a Hall of Fame QB, completing 6-7 passes for 73 yards.

In the whole game.

Teams do that on one drive now. Football is way more fun to watch now than it used to be-- a lot of that is because they've rigged the rules to favor the offenses.

6) Cleveland took a pitcher named Brady Aiken with the 17th pick Monday, which is only newsworthy because Aiken was the #1 pick LY, but went unsigned when it was discovered he had an arm problem. He had Tommy John surgery and is recovering from that now-- Indians get good value if he recovers fully.

5) A's need to draft older players who get to the major leagues faster, since they will not be with the A's that long anyway once they get to the majors, so no use spending so much time developing them. This is how the A's first ten picks were distributed:

-- Five pitchers (three RHP, two lefties).
-- a catcher, lefty hitter
-- two middle infielders, both from the SEC
-- two centerfielders-- meaning they took four fast position players.

The lone high school kid they took so far is a pitcher from Georgia.

4) 62-year old Rick Pitino signed a contract extention with Louisville thru the 2026 college basketball season; now there's an optimist. I just hope I'm still alive then.

3) White Sox hurler Chris Sale is first MLB pitcher since 2001 to strike out 12+ guys three starts in a row. Pedro Martinez had been the last pitcher to do that.

2) Red Sox drafted the son of Cardinal manager Mike Matheny Tuesday; he plays centerfield for Missouri State, a top ten team in the country.

1) In the first MLB Draft, in 1965, seven catchers got taken ahead of the catcher the Reds took. Someone you may have heard of: Johnny Bench.

Tuesday's List of 13: Wrapping up a suprisingly busy Monday....
13) Colin Cowherd makes a small fortune working for ESPN; good for him. But he is a guy who runs his mouth about things of which he knows little. Here is a tweet he put up Sunday night:

"Matt Dellavedova, this may seem a tad harsh, could be the worst player ever in a Finals to get major minutes."

Straight BS, hopefully not posted intentionally to draw attention to himself. If you've spent any time around sports, you know that guys like Dellavedova are the kind of guys who make teams win. There are only so many Lebron James out there, and even they need support to win games. Every winning team has guys like Dellavedova.

Dellavedova played four years at St Mary's, during which time the Gaels went 108-28; he is gritty, competitive and knows how to win. If some nitwit like Cowhered thinks he is a bad player, that shows how little Cowherd knows about basketball.

12) This is first time the first two games in NBA Finals both went to OT; kids who want to be good high school players should watch how hard these players compete on every possession- they're playing with great energy- thats good to see.

11) Fred Hoiberg is probably the most popular person, sports or otherwise, in Ames, Iowa history, so he is a tough act to follow as Iowa State's basketball coach, but Cyclones made a good move and hired Steve Prohm from Murray State. Prohm won big while he developed a couple of NBA-level guards, Isaiah Canaan and Cam Payne.

Iowa State is going to be very good this fall, but Prohm had better recruit like hell this summer, because they lose almost everyone after this coming season. Big X is a really tough league; it'll be tough to keep Iowa State in the upper half of it.

10) For the record, Prohm is an Alabama graduate and had success at Murray State in the south (Kentucky); why the hell didn't the Crimson Tide hire him?

9) You see Sports Center and these other highlights shows and the anchors all trying to be different to make themselves recognizable, so they can get better jobs. Want a way to get noticed on TV these days? Guaranteed to work.......

No shtick, no yelling, know all the names, have a clue. Not many like that out there.....

8) As of Monday morning, $315,829 in winning tickets on American Pharoah were still unclaimed. People are keeping the tickets as keepsakes of the Triple Crown.

7) White Sox lefty Chris Sale induced 25 swings/misses during his 119-pitch 8-inning stint Monday night, third straight start he's gotten 25+ misses. MLB high this season is 26 misses, done by Sale, James Shields and Rubby de la Rosa of Arizona.

6) Welington Castillo is first catcher since Mike Piazza in 1998 to play for three different major league teams in the same season before the end of June. That'll be the last time we mention Castillo and Piazza in the same sentence.

5) Nick O'Leary is a rookie tight end from Florida State who will be trying to make the Buffalo Bills this summer; he is also Jack Nicklaus' grandson, so if Rex Ryan golfs, he might get some good tee times if O'Leary makes the squad.

4) Was reading an aticle about Todd Gurley, a RB the Rams drafted in the first round; Rams' GM Les Snead hinted that Gurley's stock was higher because none of Georgia's linemen are projected as NFL players- four of those five guys are back this year. With a new QB starting for the Dawgs, their line had better be better, or else.......

3) Quick prediction: Russell Wilson will replace Tony Romo as the Dallas QB next season. Wilson left NC State because he wouldn't give up minor league baseball-- not many kids are headstrong enough to ignore a coach's request to spend the summer with with football teammates. Wilson will get big money from Jerry Jones.

2) 11 of Giancarlo Stanton's last 20 hits have been home runs.

1) NFL exhibition games are usually pretty ordinary, but Patriots' preseason games this summer will be fascinating, to see how playing time is distributed between Tom Brady, who can't play until Week 5, and Jimmy Garoppolo, who desperately needs game experience, but also can't get hurt because New England has nobody good behind him if he were to get hurt. The #'s 3-4 QBs might wind up playing a lot this summer.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend..........
13) We've talked in this space before about golfer Erik Compton, who has had two heart transplants, yet still plays on the PGA Tour.

Jim Nantz told an amazing story Sunday, about Compton having dinner in Ohio this weekend; the waitress told him how her nephew had died tragically and how his family donated his heart to the organ donation program.

Compton asked the woman his name and wouldn't you know it is his heart that is inside Compton today, the third heart of his life. A terrific story.

12) Few years ago, Kendrys Morales broke his ankle celebrating a walk-off homer in Anaheim, which greatly curtailed his career. Teams haven't learned; Blue Jays tried to pummel Chris Colabello after his game-winning hit Sunday. Baseball players get hurt like every 45 seconds; matter of time before another one goes down celebrating.

11) Houston Astros are fading a little in AL West; they called up prize SS prospect Carlos Correa from AAA Sunday night- he wasn't in AAA very long, hitting .276 in 98 AAA at-bats, after hitting .385 in the hitter-friendly AA Texas League.

10) Too may announcers quote what a batter hits when he puts the first pitch in play; how about telling us how many times he swings and misses/fouls off that first pitch? That would tell a moire accurate story of how he does swinging at the first pitch.

9) Johnny Cueto is a free agent this winter; he has a 2.11 ERA and 0.95 WHIP this season, but is also fighting thru a sore elbow. Will the Reds trade him? Its one of the big stories in baseball between now and July 31.

8) It is only June 8, but the Mets' AAA farm team in Las Vegas has already had a win streak of 14 games and an 11-game losing streak. Don't see that every day.

7) Colorado Rockies' pitcher Kyle Kendrick once turned down a scholarship to play QB at Washington State; he must've been pretty good.

6) Royals' reliever Wade Davis has gone 106 innings without allowing a homer.

5) I'd love to see Ichiro Suzuki in the Home Run Derby; those who've seen him in BP say he would do really well. Especially this yer, in a smaller ballpark.

4) Surprise of this season might be Minnesota pitcher Mike Pelfrey in the top five in the American League in ERA. He's come back out of nowhere.

3) Milwaukee Brewers scored total of nine runs in Mike Fiers' last six starts; in the six games, the average total for both teams was 3.8. Brewers lost four of the six.

2) Miami's Dee Gordon had his tenth 3-hit game of the season Sunday.

1) Colorado reliever LaTroy Hawkins is doing a rehab stint in Albuquerque; he threw some against Salt Lake City this weekend. Hawkins pitched for Salt Lake City in 1997, 18 freakin' years ago. Chances are that has never happened before.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) I was a freshman in college the last time a horse won the Triple Crown; I had a full head of hair and was much thinner. Congrats to the owners of the winning horse but the next question becomes this: Will he ever race again?

12) Breeding fees are ridiculously high; this horse's value can't go up from what it is now. It'll be sad for racing if we never see the horse on the track again.

11) New Jersey Giants are actually playing a game in New York this season; they play in Buffalo in Week 4. Last time the Giants played a game in New York was 2007-- last time before that was 1999, both in Buffalo.

10) Underrated TV show; Highly Questionable weekend afternoons on ESPN; two ESPN talking heads with one of the guys' father in the middle and he is a pistol. It is very quirky and always makes me laugh.

9) Nomination for worst TV show of all-time: Marriage Boot Camp on the WE channel; I'd unplug my flatscreen TV and put it in the street before I'd ever watch this garbage again. Attention junkies from those stupid reality shows try to extend their 15 minutes of fame-- mind-numbing drivel.

8) Home Run Derby should be fun this year in Cincinnati, a small ballpark.

7) Watched Padres-Reds yesterday; the local Cincinnati announcers are without a doubt the most critical of any local announcers. Have to respect that.

6) The son of Cardinal manager Mike Matheny plays centerfield for Missouri State's baseball team, which is ranked #8 in the country.

5) So North Carolina gets nailed for massive academic fraud and Roy Williams gets a contract extension? How exactly does that work?

4) College baseball is different; Team A has runners at 2nd/3rd in third or fourth inning, its cleanup hitter is up. Team B walks him intentionally-- that would never happen in the majors, though they might subtly pitch around him.

Next time the kid comes up, he homers on the first pitch.

3) Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban donated $5M to Indiana U's athletic department so they can build a video/broadcasting/tech center. Nice recruiting inducement.

2) Detroit Pistons hired big-time agent Arn Tellem as a front office executive, which will prove to be very interesting. Stan Van Gundy maintains control of the basketball operations.

1) Middle Tennessee football coach Rick Stockstill deferred his own $100K raise so the school could afford to pay for cost-of-living scholarships, which will help keep its football program relevant. He'll get his raise in 2018.

Saturday's Den: DD Lohaus handicaps the Belmont Stakes
Exciting Times, Exciting Times.....

American Pharoah comes to Belmont Park with a chance to make history. Join the elite of the racing world and restore faith that this most difficult task (winning the Triple Crown) can still be accomplished by those who are elite... ...

I for one hope it happens and we can quiet those who believe the format needs to be changed. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE HARD TO ACCOMPLISH! That is why it hasn't happened since 1978 and why only 11 (out of 4144 entrants) have done it previously. Look at the names....the greatest of the great....not the pretty good or those for whom we have changed the changes please..

OK, enough of the preaching....on to the race...

I picked the winner in the Preakness but couldn't connect with the longshot play that was designed to make it interesting. American Pharoah was the best horse that day and I believe he is the best horse in the Belmont. American Pharoah did look improved in last and I believe he may be even better in the Belmont...remember he did have an injury earlier in the year and did miss some training time. He is strictly the one to beat.

The other horses in the field just don't offer any inspiration for me...listen they are all solid horses but I just don't believe they have enough to beat American Pharoah. Maybe I am being a bit biased because I want a Triple Crown winner and I don't think the group is as strong as everyone says they are...or American Pharoah is just that much better than them all.

It has happened before...with the OTHER TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS...that is what they are; simply better than the rest....

1. American Pharoah
2. Frosted
3. Materiality

** Longshot Play: Keen Ice: played in the Derby. Give one more try**

The Bets:
$25Ex American Pharoah/Frosted, Materiality, Keen Ice
$5WPS Keen Ice

Total Bets: $90.00

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here........
13) Golden State is the first NBA Finals team that had no players with previous Finals experience since Utah in 1997.

12) Its weird to me how close some fans are to the head coaches on NBA sidelines; its a matter of time before there's an incident, right? Some coaches have onversations with Jack Nicholson when they play the Lakers in Staples Center.

11) Some major league teams, Texas being one, give computer printouts to the starting pitcher of what pitches the home plate umpire called strikes in his recent games behind the plate. Wonder how much that helps and if there are pitchers who don't want info like that. Some athletes don't like too much information.

10) Dennis Dodd of wrote that people in Chapel Hill are relievedthat the NCAA's findings weren't a little more harsh than they are, as far as North Carolina's problems with the NCAA. Still not good, but Dodd writes that things could've been a lot worse for the Tar Heels.

9) Cubs 2, Nationals 1-- Washington had two on, two out in 9th inning, when the guy on first got picked off first to tend the game. A walk-off pickoff.

8) A's are 9-3 in last 12 games; they caught Detroit at the perfect time. Tigers have ton of injuries and played terrible baseball this week. Cespedes left the game early on Thursday; if they don't get healthy soon it could be a long summer.

7) Josh Hamilton (hamstring) is on the DL already; Arte Moreno had to eat a lot of money when he got rid of the troubled outfielder, but he's going to wind up being right about cutting bait with Hamilton and admitting an expensive mistake.

6) Rangers' TV had a couple cool video clips last night; they had film of the ill-fated Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in 1977, when they blew up a ton of disco records in centerfield in between games of a doubleheader, but in process they set the grass in centerfield on fire and incited a riot that caused the White Sox to forfeit the nightcap when they were still in the pennant race. An unfortunate night.

They also had a clip from the Washington Senators' last home game in 1971; that team moved to Arlington the next year and became the Texas Rangers.

5) Exactly how many people are running for President? If many more people get in the race, they can bracket it like the NCAA tournament and have elimination debates all next year. A lot of these people I've never heard of.

4) Mets are 23-3 when they score 4+ runs, 7-22 when they do not.

3) White Sox have been outscored 46-14 in the first inning this year. 46 to 14.

2) I like seeing starting pitchers hanging out together in the dugout during games; its almost like a team within a team, they support that night's pitcher, then the next night that guy is rooting for his teammate who is on the mound that night.

1) Today is National Doughnut Day; have one for me!!!!

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) A record 22,374 entrants tried their hand in the Colossus poker tournament out in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker. It only cost $565 to enter; Cord Garcia won and collected $638,880 for his troubles.

12) Dodgers' OF Joc Pederson has homered in five straight games, tying the Dodger franchise record. LA manager Don Mattingly once homered in eight straight.

11) I'd be curious in one of the day/night doubleheaders they have; how many people went to both games? That would be an excellent day.

10) In the first game of the twinbill at Fenway yesterday, a little kid held up this fairly large sign that said, "This is better than school." Better than working, too.

9) Ryan Braun had a shot in his right thumb, is out until Sunday; he was 2 for his last 15 so the Brewers decided a cryotherapy shot might help him.

8) Odd Fact of the Day: Ichiro Suzuki has been to Cooperstown six times; it ain't easy to get to Cooperstown. I live 90 miles from there and I've only been there a few more times than Ichiro.

7) Henry Ford's only son's name was Edsel; the Edsel was one of the worst selling cars ever in the late 50's and the name became synonymous with failure in business.

6) Home team won Noah Syndergaard's first five starts; Mets were outscored 17-4 in his three road starts, losing 6-1/4-1/7-2.

5) Brandon Moss hit his 100th career homer Monday night; the ball went in the Indian bullpen, so his teammates decided to hold the ball hostage; each of the 11 Indians in the bullpen posted a demand on a "ransom note" and unless they all get paid, Moss wasn't going to get the ball. Most of the demands were for Apple watches or IPads or IPhones; Moss later said he got the ball without having to pay up. .

4) In seven of Clay Buchholz' last nine starts, Boston scored exactly one run.

3) Billy Donovan signed up former Pelican coach Monty Williams as his top assistant, giving Donovan an experienced aide that he'll need in his first NBA season.

2) Giancarlo Stanton has the most homers at Marlins Park, 63; the player with the second most homers at Marlins Park is Marcell Ozuna, who has...........12.

1) They had an auction for charity during the Marlins' game last night; a painting of Stanton went for $25,000. The man who did the painting is a custodian for a living whose wife gave him a paint set for Christmas one year and since he has become a skilled artist. The man was in tears when they told him his painting fetched $25K for charity-- it was pretty cool to see.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.......
13) Weirdness in San Diego this week. Statistical weirdness.........

Monday night, Andrew Cashner allowed 11 hits while striking out 12 Mets in 4.2 IP; in the last 115 years, no one had struck out 10+ while allowing 10+ hits while pitching less than five innings. No one in 115 years.

Last night in the same ballpark, Noah Syndergaard of the Mets allowed 10 hits while striking out four innings. So something that hadn't been done in 115 years was done on consecutive nights, in the same ballpark. Weird.

12) Texas Rangers prospect Joey Gallo had a memorable debut, going 3-4 with three runs scored and three RBI as Texas blasted the White Sox 15-2.

11) Milwaukee-St Louis played pair of 1-0 games last two nights; Tyler Cravy had a solid debut for the Brewers after pitching in the minors for six years. He gave up only four hits, two walks in seven IP but lost 1-0 to the Redbirds.

10) I've had Giancarlo Stanton on my keeper fantasy team since he was an 18-year old in the Florida State League, but every year recently, the Marlins suck, then they fire someone or trade all the other good players and Stanton looks like a lost soul for long stretches of time. He is in one of those funks now.

Stanton makes $20M+ a year and is expected to carry the franchise, but the Marlins have imploded again and the only hits Stanton get go out of the ballpark; he's turning into this generation's Rob Deer. Thats not a good thing.

I mean, the Marlins fire the manager/bench coach, the new bench coach, who is really running the team since the GM is the "manager", isn't getting along with the coaches left over from the previous regime. Must be a great group to be around these days.

9) Marlins have the best TV announcers, Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton; Hutton played in big leagues, was less than happy when Starlin Castro homered Monday and took his time getting around the bases. Hutton mentioned it again last night, so I'm guessing the Marlins in the dugout weren't too happy about it either. You wonder if the Cubs will be able to find a taker for Castro in trade talks, as is rumored.

8) Oakland A's are 10-11 when Ben Zobrist plays, 11-22 when he does not. Zobrist is healthy now, but he is 34 and will be a free agent this winter, so chances are he is going to get traded before July 31, which will make this season even more depressing, especially since the A's are 7-3 in their last ten games and are improving.

7) Judge Judy makes $45M a year? Really? And I thought Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless were overpaid (they are). Yikes.

6) Mets are carrying 13 pitchers on their roster now, which leaves four position player subs per game, one of whom is the backup catcher who probably won't get into the game. Back when pitchers went deeper in games, i remember the A's going with nine pitchers until they needed a fifth starter around Memorial Day, then they would bring up Glenn Abbott or Dave Hamilton as their 10th pitcher.

5) San Diego Padres really need to go back to their old brown/gold color scheme; still see a lot of fans at Petco Park wearing those colors. Previous owners wanted to make their team to look more mainstream, but unique colors sell more stuff.

4) New York's Hospital for Special Surgery is sponsoring the David Wright jersey giveaway June 13 at Citi Field, which is fitting, since Wright is probably out for the year with spinal stenosis. Still waiting for the Mets to make their move trade-wise to cement themselves as playoff contenders.

3) Jets cut QB Matt Simms, who was then signed by Buffalo, which then cut QB Jeff Tuel to make room for Simms. Jacksonville then signed Tuel and cut QB Jake Waters to make room for Tuel. Funny thing is that Simms was by far the worst college QB of the three, but he is Phil Simms' son, which seems to carry some weight. Certainly nothing he has ever done on the playing field would dictate this much interest in him.

2) Speaking of the Bills,'s Peter King had this to say about Rex Ryan this week: "........Who wouldn’t love to see Rex Ryan playing important football games in January?" I neither like or dislike Rex, but I sure as hell don't give a rat's ass whether he ever coaches in the playoffs again. Why would a non-Bills fan root for him?

This identifies a problem with some members of mainstream media; they prefer guys who make their jobs easier, guys who run their mouth for no apparent reason. Ryan is unquestionably one of those guys and the media loves him for it.

1) Cam Newton gets a five-year, $103M extension from Carolina; with $$$ comes the weight of expectations. Panthers will be an interesting team to follow this fall.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) If Major League Baseball ever shortens its season from 162 to 154 games, it'll be for one reason and one reason only; to keep the World Series out of November. Giving up a week of regular season games would be very expensive; its a bad idea.

12) Rice beat crosstown rival Houston in 20 innings Monday, eliminating Cougars from the NCAA tournament. One of Houston's pitchers threw 137 pitches in the game, two years after the kid had Tommy John surgery. Most pitches thrown in any major league this season is 125 (Johnny Cueto). Major leaguers get paid millions and they get protected better than college kids-- go figure.

11) College baseball teams bunt too much; UCLA had its cleanup hitter sacrifice in a game Sunday night. College baseball is played a lot differently than pro ball.

10) The son of former NFL QB Steve Bono and Reggie Miller's nephew both play for UCLA, which got eliminated by Maryland last night. Terrapins now play Virginia in a battle of old ACC rivals this weekend.

9) Maryland wears white caps with a dark brim; no major league team wears white caps, not even sure if they're allowed to. Cincinnati had white caps with pinstripes in the 90's, but didn't wear them for long.

8) Barry Zito has thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings in AAA; we'll be seeing him in the big leagues again later this summer, hopefully not for the A's.

7) A 92-year old woman ran a marathon in San Diego Sunday. 92 freakin' years old.

6) Former NFL head coach Mike Sherman, who coached Texas A&M for a while in addition to coaching the Packers, will be a high school coach at Nauset Regional HS in Massachusetts this fall. He must have saved a lot of money.

5) Game 1 winner is 48-20 in NBA Finals series; Lebron James' teams are 0-3 when they play Game 1 on the road.

4) Average major league attendance this year: 29,302, up 153 people a game from LY. Highest the average has ever been thru May was 2008 (30,063).

3) Kansas City's home attendance is up 55.9% this year, Seattle's 33.8%. Tampa Bay's attendance is down 22.4%, Atlanta's is down 17.5%.

2) St Louis Blues have never won the Stanley Cup but by my count, they've had six different head coaches who won a Cup for a different team:
-- Scotty Bowman, won nine Cups for three other teams
-- Joel Quenneville, who twice with Chicago
-- Al Arbour, won four Cups with the Islanders
-- Mike Keenan, won the Cup with the Rangers in 1994.
-- Jacques Demers, who won the Cup with Montreal in '93.
-- Ken Hitchcock won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.

1) Someone please explain to me why 71-year old John Kerry is riding a bicycle in France? He gets in an accident, breaks his thighbone (it is really hard to break your thighbone) and can't complete the assignment our tax dollars are paying him to do. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi in NFL Films, "What the hell is going on out there???"

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Brewers 7, Arizona 6 (17)-- Martin Maldonado caught all 17 innings, then hit the game-winning home run in the 17th inning. Win ends a 7-game skid for the Brewers, who trailed 5-0 early in the game.

12) In this game, Paul Goldschmidt became the first player EVER to get 3+ hits and also get walked intentionally three times in the same game.

11) Rangers 4, Red Sox 3-- Josh Hamilton gets a pinch-hit, walk-off double as the Red Sox lose for the sixth time in their last seven games.

10) Biggest question of NBA Finals, before the games actually start, could be whether New Orleans hiring Alvin Gentry as coach will be a distraction for the Warriors, where Gentry is an assistant coach. Two rookie head coaches in the Finals; not your normal season.

9) I had forgotten about this but they were talking about it on the A's game Sunday: in a game this season, Klay Thompson scored 37 points in a quarter in a game against the Kings in January. 13-13 from floor with four 3-pointers-- in one quarter!!!!

8) Houston Astros are taking the hill out of fair territory in centerfield after the season; it was modeled after old Crosley Field in Cincinnati, but they got rid of it, too.

7) Milwaukee's AA team the Biloxi Shuckers in the Southern League, still haven't played a home game this season, since their new stadium was still being built. Home opener is this Saturday; Shuckers are 26-25 without playing a home game, so they must have some talent down there

6) Justin Verlander threw a rehab start in AAA Sunday: 79 pitches in only 2.2 innings. Six hits, two walks, three runs, three strikeouts. Shaky command.

5) Bryce Harper had a rough weekend with the Reds in Cincinnati, then he said he might not do the Home Run Derby in Cincinnati next month-- he cited his dad's rotator cuff surgery as a reason, but sounds like he is paving the way to duck out of coming to Ohio for the week. We'll see what his sponsors say about that.

4) Dustin Johnson had an 8 on a par-4 Sunday, then birdied the next hole; golf can be really aggravating-- if a great golfer like Johnson gets an 8, what chance do normal guys like us have? US Open is coming up in two weeks, by the way.

3) Tampa Bay-Rangers played Game 7 Friday because Madison Square Garden was booked for a Billy Joel concert Thursday, which gave each team an extra day of rest. Garth Brooks cancelled a series of concerts that were scheduled for this coming week in Tampa because the Lightning made the Stanley Cup Finals.

2) Red Sox went 10-19 in May; they have to do something big soon, right? First place in AL East is only 26-25, so it looks doubtful more than one team from this division will make the playoffs. Boston needs more pitching and soon.

1) Who scored the most runs in May? Try the Texas Rangers, who are hot now.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Minnesota Twins are a surprising 24-10 in their last 34 games, are 11-2 this season in games following a loss. Their 2B Brian Dozier is only guy this year to bat both leadoff and cleanup.

12) Jimmy Rollins batted 8th in St Louis this weekend, first time he started a game batting 8th since May 27, 2004.

11) When the Cavaliers play Golden State next week in the NBA Finals, they will be trying to give Cleveland its first title in a major sport since the Browns in 1964.

10) Was watching the fine movie Major League this morning; manager Lou Brown wasn't much for sabermetrics-- he brings Charlie Sheen in to pitch to the first baseman in the last inning, even though the guy was 2-2 with two HRs against Sheen's character. It worked and all, but it wouldn't fly in today's numbers-conscious world.

9) Golden State assistant coach Alvin Gentry will be the new head coach down in New Orleans, replacing Monty Williams, who got fired despite a winning record.

8) A's/Mets have same problem; finding a shortstop who can field. Marcus Semien and Wilmer Flores can both hit some, but Flores has a cement glove and Semien can't throw like a big league shortstop should. Neither option is good.

7) Arizona OF Ender Inciarte is an unusual player; he starts most every game, but he's started 19 games in left, nine games in center, 11 games in right. Unusual.

6) There have been 161 Game 7's in NHL playoffs; the team that won the supposedly pivotal Game 5 is only 81-80 in the decisive Game 7. Game 5 winners in Game 6 have a 201-161 record, so when a series is 2-2, the Gae 5 winner has won 282 of 362 series, which would indeed make it a pivotal contest.

5) Not only were the Giants/A's both home this weekend, but neither team had a day game Saturday; too bad, some folks probably would've like to catch both games- two major league games in one day would definitely be a full day.

4) Was interesting Friday night to see rookie pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez talking with David Ortiz in the Red Sox dugout; rookies learn better from other players, especially a hitter who knows how hitters think. Rodriguez looks like manna from heaven for a Boston staff that is hurting for quality starting pitching.

3) How about this clip of Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle doing a piano solo at a Bruce Hornsby concert this week? Pretty the way, Hornsby's son plays for LSU and is a damn good shooter-- he made 39.3% from the arc last season.

2) Speaking of LSU, Manny Miles, son of the football coach, will be a preferred walk-on QB at North Carolina this fall-- we should have some interesting quotes about that over the next four years. Les Miles was hoping his son might go to Michigan, but the Jim Harbaugh hiring apparently put the kibosh on that.

1) I had no idea that ESPN's Wendi Nix is married to Ben Cherington, GM of the Red Sox. Ms Nix should tell her husband that defense is fairly important in baseball and maybe it is a bad idea to defensive slugs at 3B, LF and RF. Just a thought.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Bad news for the Washington Nationals, as Stephen Strasburg left Friday's game after five batters with a sore shoulder. He was having a dismal season as rumors swirled that he was having arm problems.

12) Dodgers have now been shut out in their last four road games.

11) Marlins are having a cruddy season, but they're 5-1 against Matt Harvey since he came to the major leagues.

10) If the Cubs wind up missing the playoffs by a game, that two weeks they kept Kris Bryant in AAA in April is going to look like a disaster- he is really good. Hopefully no one on this planet believes they sent him to AAA for more seasoning- thats just a blatant lie.

9) Josh Hamilton homered twice off a knuckleball pitcher Friday nite, his first multiple-HR game since July 2013.

8) Astros' pitcher Scott Feldman had knee surgery, will be replaced in the Houston rotation by Brett Oberholtzer. Houston still has a 5-game lead in the AL West, but the Mariners are starting to play better.

7) Cincinnati Reds' AA farm club in the Southern League are the Pensacola Blue Yahoos, thats an interesting name for a team.

6) Reds scored in first inning in 12 of 22 home games, but only four of 25 away games; not sure why that would be.

5) Phillies are 11-10 when Hamels or Harang pitch, 8-21 in the other games.

4) Ray Rice isn't being blackballed; its just that his last year in the NFL wasn't productive enough to merit the firestorm that signing him would cause. As I once said to a kid I was coaching, who was a marginal player and a bigtime annoyance "You ain't good enough to act like this".

3) Best wishes to Old Dominion hoop coach Jeff Jones, who had surgery for prostate cancer this week; we obviously hope he has a speedy recovery.

2) Chicago Bulls still owe Tom Thibodeau $9M over the next two years; I wish someone hated me enough to pay me $9M to go away.

1) Orlando Magic hired Scott Skiles as head coach; he has a career record of 443-433 in 13 seasons with three different teams.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Lot of politics in pro basketball coaching; Tom Thibodeau got fired by the Bulls despite a 278-167 record, a record achieved with Derrick Rose playing in less than half the regular season games.

12) Fred Hoiberg is rumored to be Chicago's top choice, whoch could start a domino effect in college ball, depending on who Iowa State would then hire to replace the extremely popular Hoiberg.

11) Denver Broncos lost LT Ryan Clady for the season with a torn ACL; he protected Peyton Manning's blind side, so this is a huge loss. Broncos signed free agent Ryan Harris, who started 15 games in KC last year and played for the Broncos from 2007-10.

Denver will start camp without three starting offensive linemen from LY.

10) In other words, if you were thinking of betting on Denver to win the Super Bowl, you better wait for the odds to go up before you do.

9) Major League Baseball needs to identify who is making the instant replay decisions in New York, just for transparency sake. I mean, you get hosed on a call, its always more fun to know who you're mad at.

8) They show that Spelling Bee on TV every year; how is it allowed to end in a tie? Make them play Scrabble or something, or have them spell Samardzija or Nieuwenheis to break the tie. Ties are un-American.

7) Why are bad guys on TV/movies such terrible shots? Why don't they go to a shooting range and practice? You see cops practicing their shooting, why don't bad guys practice? Stuff like this bothers me.

6) Steve Stone does an excellent job on White Sox games; he is better with Hawk Harrelson on vacation, since he is allowed to talk more. He told a story about Earl Weaver yesterday, about how Weaver took Stone out of a game after a batter his a long foul ball off of Stone. They had this exchange:

Stone: "Why are you taking me out? That ball was foul!!!"
Weaver: "Yeah, but the next one won't be."

5) Do NHL players have days when they do not skate at all? Do they need to skate every day or does a day off their feet refresh them?

4) So this guy Marco Rubio is running for President; he goes to Las Vegas and tweets that his first stop is at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, where he visited with Rick Harrison, owner of the pawn shop that is the subject of a popular reality show on the History Channel.

Does this mean Chumley is in line for a cabinet post if Rubio gets elected?

3) Kevin Burkhardt was a roaming reporter on SNY for Mets games the last few years, but he's gotten his big break and now does a fine job hosting MLB Whiparound on Fox Sports 1. Pretty good program for baseball fans.

2) Here is a video of 75-year old Jerry West talking to kids at a recent clinic; its not hard to count how many shots he misses, because he doesn't.

1) RIP Ron Bergman, who passed away this week at age 80. Mr Bergman wrote one of the first books I ever bought, Mustache Gang, about the Oakland A's after they won the 1972 World Series. RIP, sir.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Dodgers exchanged Juan Uribe for Alberto Callaspo in order to add some pitching help- they need back of rotation help, but Uribe was a very popular teammate-- his absence will hurt clubhouse chemistry. Callaspo made the last out for the Dodgers against Atlanta Wednesday night.

12) Red Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy doesn't think pitching coaches/managers should be allowed to go to the mound during an inning and I agree with him. if they care so much about pace of play, there's an easy way to quicken things up. Could probably chop off five minutes a game just by outlawing that.

11) Sounds like the Vikings are serious: if Adrian Peterson is going to play football this fall, it'll be for the Vikings or no one at all.

10) Mariners 3, Rays 0-- Pitchers with most shutouts the last 10 years: Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay 12, Felix Hernandez 11.

9) Top three starting pitchers in AL in strikeouts/nine IP are all on the Indians.

8) Angels are going to put backup OF Collin Cowgill (hand) on DL Thursday; good thing they traded for Kirk Nieuwenheis earlier this week.

7) Saw the movie Beaches on TV the other day, still the only movie I've ever seen in a theater where you could hear dozens of people openly sobbing at the end. Saddest movie ever; it came out back in my ill-fated married years. Went with the future ex-wife; you go out after a movie and the person you're with is sobbing as you walk in a place--you get some dirty

6) Braves scored one first inning run in their last 17 games. No bueno.

5) NHL has dramatic Game 7's on Friday/Saturday, while the NBA has eight days in between their semis and Finals. Advantage, hockey.

4) Golden State-Cleveland will get big ratings because the NBA markets stars heavily and Curry-Lebron plays into that, but it also rebuffs a ridiculous notion that the NBA needs New York to have a good team in order to succeed.

Knicks are a terrible organization that has won two titles, in 1970 and 1973, and has largely lived off that since. The owner is a nitwit; even the Clippers are run better now, and the league is doing just fine despite that.

3) Two rookie head coaches in the Finals; David Blatt turned down a chance to be an assistant in Golden State in order to go to a Cleveland team that had not yet signed Lebron James-- should be a good series.

2) Had to be hard for ESPN's Mark Jackson to work Warrior-Rocket series; he coached Golden State the last couple years but was fired last year despite a winning record. Lot of politics in pro sports front offices.

1) Dodger catcher Yasmani Grandal is in the minors, rehabbing an injury, but he got thrown out of his second rehab game, questioning balls/strikes. Defeats the purpose of being there if you get thrown out of the game.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.......
13) Cavaliers 118, Hawks 88-- Atlanta had a terrific season, but 4-0 sweep in this series leaves a sour taste.

12) Cleveland was 97-215 in the four years Lebron James played for the Heat; now they're in the NBA Finals again. Who is the MVP?

11) My all-time NBA team: Magic-Jordan-Lebron-Russell-Kareem.

10) Rangers 7, Lightning 3-- 27 goals were scored in three games in Tampa in this series- Game 7 in Friday night in Manhattan.

9) Adrian Gonzalez got his 1,000th RBI last night; why did the Padres ever get rid of him? Boston traded him so they could shed the hideous contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. San Diego has no such excuses.

8) Broadcaster Kenny Albert has had two separate 11-day stretches since April 1 when he called a baseball or hockey game every day. The man works hard.

7) Pablo Sandoval was 3-42 vs lefty pitchers, so the switch-hitter batted lefty against Glen Perkins in 8th inning last night and got an infield hit.

6) Josh Donaldson had four hits, two HRs, one of which was a walk-off, scored five runs, knocked in four as Toronto beat the White Sox 10-9. He is the first player in at least 100 years to do all that in the same game.

5) Meanwhile the A's lost 1-0 to a lefty pitcher in Oakland; they make movies about GMs, but great players are the ones who win games. A's are 1-10 when a lefty starter goes against them, after they traded Cespedes/Donaldson.

4) Hanley Ramirez has one RBI in May; today is May 27th. Oy.

3) Miami Marlins are incredibly dysfunctional; now come reports that the new bench coach and third base coach Brett Butler are at odds, after Butler lost his 3rd base coaching job and was demoted to outfield coach.

2) Kenny Payne is Kentucky's #1 basketball recruiter; he makes $700K a year, more than 22 of the 68 head coaches in this year's NCAA tournament.

1) When Michael Jordan retired from the Bulls, he had played 35,887 regular season minutes; right now, Lebron James has played 35,769.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Ducks 5, Blackhawks 4 OT-- Three of five series games have gone OT; Chicago scored two goals in last 1:47 to tie game, then Ducks won game with goal 0:45 into overtime. Anaheim leads series 3-2.

12) Weirdness in Milwaukee yesterday; Khris Davis homered, then appeared to miss home plate as he rounded bases. Giants appealed play, the umps called Davis out, the Brewers challenged via replay and the call was overturned, so the run counted, but Davis got lucky-- very close call.

Later in the game, Davis homered again and made very sure he stepped on the plate. I had never seen that happen before, except in a Babe Ruth game.

11) Good news if you watch college football on ESPN; Matt Millen is jumping from ESPN to the Big Ten Network. Muy bueno!!!! Millen was one of the worst executives in NFL history; he doesn't deserve an analyst job.

10) Aaron Boone-Mark Mulder-Dave O'Brien are a solid broadcast team for ESPN on Monday night games. O'Brien does radio for the Red Sox and is good at basketball, too. Boone/Mulder discuss baseball and teach you things.

9) When the Mets got swept in Pittsburgh this weekend, it was the first time in MLB history a team swept a three-game series, with starting pitcher winning all three games while each striking out 10+ hitters.

8) Seattle-Tampa Bay game Monday was first game in MLB history where both managers had played in the Little League World Series.

7) The great musician Bob Dylan turned 74 Monday. Happy birthday, sir.

6) Mets have a reserve infielder named Danny Muno; his dad was a punter at Notre Dame when Joe Montana was playing there.

5) Oakland A's won 24 games LY in their last at-bat, tied for most in majors; this year, they have zero such wins, which is alarming, to me at

4) Dan Uggla (13), Chase Utley (11) have the most home runs of any visiting player in brief history of Citi Field.

3) Interesting situation in Anaheim late last night; tie game, bottom of 9th, the Angels have runners on 1st/3rd, two out, Trout is up, Pujols is on deck. This is not second guessing, because as I sat here in my palacial estate, I said it at the time it happened: THERE IS NO WAY YOU WALK ANYONE TO PITCH TO ALBERT PUJOLS, never, ever, ever.

Plus Craig Kimbrel is pitching; he's really good. But the Padres walk Trout and Pujols wins the game with a single, then flashes a dirty look into the Padre dugout. Its why managers get paid a lot and why guys that lose get fired.

2) Cubs are 12-10 in one-run games; thats half their games so far this year.

1) Early favorite to be Super Bowl 50 matchup: Seahawks-Colts, at 15-1.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday........
13) Because pro sports have sold their souls to TV networks, the NBA Finals could be moved up two days if both semifinal series end up in sweeps. Right now, the Finals are scheduled to begin June 4, a week from Thursday, but they are saying it could be moved up two days to June 2, so people don't forget about the NBA during what would be a nine-day layoff.

12) They had 15,692 at The Trop in St Pete Sunday for A's-Rays and Tampa Bay is a surprise first place team. They had 10,010 in Louisville Saturday for a AAA game. No one can blame the Rays if they skip town and soon.

11) Sometimes, I just wish a guy who lost a PGA tournament would smile at the camera and say, "So what I didn't win? Second place is $600K and thats a damn good week." They're apparently coached never to say that.

10) Odrisamer Despaigne hasn't pitched well for the Padres this year, but how about a little support for the guy? San Diego was shut out in his last three starts, outscored 23-0 in the three games.

9) I'll give Cleveland coach David Blatt credit for this: not many coaches would be playing Matthew Dellevedova as much as Cleveland does. Kid won a lot of games at St Mary's, played four years- he is gritty and tough and knows how to win (get the ball to Lebron when it counts most).

8) I find myself rooting for the Diamondbacks a lot; so much of their front office/coaching staff has ties to the A's and pitching coach Mike Harkey's son is a tight end for the Rams. They've improved under Chip Hale and sounds like they're a good bargain as far as ticket prices go. May have to make a road trip out there one of these years.

7) Was encouraged to see clips of the Diamondbacks practicing sliding before game Sunday, mostly leadoff man Inciarte, who was working on his headfirst slides with the help of a sliding pad. Teams don't take infield practice before games anymore, not really sure why. Practice makes perfect.

6) Underrated baseball record: Shawn Green had 19 total bases in a game; if you hit four homers in a game, thats only 16 bases. Hard record to break.

5) Texas Rangers get Josh Hamilton in lineup today, as a surprisingly good series starts in Cleveland, Texas has won five in a row, Indians six straight.

4) Why did the golf tournament have lift-clean-place yesterday, even in the rough? Never saw that before. Makes it kind of easy for pros, if they don't get penalized even when they miss the fairway with drives.

3) Mets are going to a six-man pitching rotation, as GM Sandy Alderson sits by and watches the 2015 season unravel; they're 7-15 on the road, which wouldn't be so bad except that they still have 59 more road games to play.

2) We should all take a minute today to thank the people who risk their lives to keep our country safe, thats what Memorial Day is all about. Its not about politics or stuff like that; soldiers do good work and deserve to be thanked.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not) playoffs would be:
NL-- Nationals-Cardinals-Dodgers. Wild Card: SF-Chicago
AL-- Rays-Royals-Astros Wild Card: Detroit-Minnesota

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Imagine if the Warriors win the NBA title and Steve Kerr quits as coach to go back to ESPN to replace Jeff Van Gundy if he goes to New Orleans? Would that be a unique situation or what?

12) Tampa Bay Rays lost their GM, their manager, were given up for dead, but on May 24, they're in first place in AL East. Would be nice if their fans support them or they could wind up as the Montreal Expos one of these days.

11) I've heard all the arguments, still don't get the value of a pitcher batting 8thin the lineup; think the only reason some teams do it is because Tony Larussa used to do it, so if its good enough for him, it must be smart. Thing is, Larussa never did it in the playoffs, which is the truest test of what he thought of it.

10) Baseball players whine about playing 162 games, but they don't complain about how long spring training is; this I don't understand.

9) Baseball season is seven weeks old today; I watch a lot of games every day and I'm thinking my favorite analyst right now is Bob Brenly out in Arizona. He talks about the game, he is friendly and you learn stuff listening to him.

8) Mets are 7-14 on the road and David Wright has spinal stenosis; this isn't good for the New Yorkers, who need to use their pitching/catching depth to shore up their lineup and infield defense.

7) Giants split a twinbill in Denver last night; their win streak ended at 8; last time they had a 9-game win streak was in 2004, even though they've won three of the last five World Series.

6) Reds lost seven games in row; manager Brian Bleepin' Price was tossed before the game Saturday for bitching at the guy umpiring second base-- this was at home plate, while exchanging lineup cards.

Johnny Cueto was scratched from Sunday's start with a stiff elbow, so things aren't going too well for Cincinnati right now.

5) One of my favorite movie scenes: Steve Martin runs amuck in Roxanne:

4) Warriors 115, Rockets 80-- I gave up Houston for dead after they fell behind the Clippers 3-1 in last series; this will be a much tougher hill to climb.

3) NBA teams are 0-116 in 7-game series when they trailed 3-0.

2) If you're making a list of all-time great shooters, where is Curry on it?

1) Hank Aaron had 301 more RBI than anyone else who ever played.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Orioles 8, Marlins 5-- Showalter vs Jennings is one of worst managerial mismatches in major league history.

12) Miami also has four starting pitchers on the DL; they've lost eight games in a row and the nitwit owner will probably try to sell all the players before August 1. But hey, they've got a neat sculpture behind the centerfield fence.

11) As far as reducing the baseball schedule from 162 to 154 games a year, how will owners explain the loss of a week's worth of TV ad revenue? Will players take a pay reduction to match the 8-game reduction? Didn't think so.

10) ESPN's Pedro Gomez has a son who pitches at U of Arizona.

9) Dodgers 2, Padres 1- San Diego has scored a total of five runs in Andrew Cashner's last six starts.

8) Not only does he get no offensive support, but Cashner (12) and Jonathan Niese (8) lead MLB in unearned runs allowed this season, so his defense has been poor behind him too- one of these years he's going to have a great year.

7) Cubs are now 14-6 when Dexter Fowler gets on base 2+ times, 9-12 when he does not.

6) Judge Judy makes $47M a year? Seriously?

5) Who is Jennifer Garner's agent? She is on a lot of commercials lately.

4) If Kobe Bryant plays after next season, sounds like it won't be for the Lakers, who have to start to re-build from the ground up.

3) Read somewhere that Houston Texans are favored to be featured on HBO's Hard Knocks this summer; would rather see the Redskins, since Daniel Snyder is such a beloved figure- would enjoy seeing him in action.

2) For selfish reasons, I hope Jeff Van Gundy doesn't take the Pelicans' job, since I enjoy his work on TV so much.

1) Arizona 5, Cubs 4 (13)-- D'backs got walk-off hit at 2:07am as they won for fifth game in row. Goldschmidt tied game with 10th inning homer.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) If you live in the Albany area and you like high school basketball, there is an excellent tournament this weekend; the Gym Rat Challenge, held at various locations in the Albany area-- it used to be held mostly at Siena College, but the NCAA put the kibosh on D-I schools hosting events like this, which is just another example of their over-bloated rule book.

This is a really well-run event; lot of good players. Here is a link to the event's website-- like I said, its very well-run.

12) There was sentiment to move 2-point conversions in the NFL to the 1-yard line, but they'll stay at the 2-yard line this year. if more teams are going to try for two with PAT's now 32-yard tries, they'll need a running style QB and the Eagles might look smart for having Tim Tebow around.

11) At one point this year, the A's were 8-8; now they're 14-29, so this has been a disasterous month for them, marked by a hideous bullpen and putrid infield defense, especially on the left side, so they made a move this week, bringing back Ron Washington as an infield instructor.

Washington is a great infield coach (Eric Chavez gave him one of his Gold Gloves) so his presence can't hurt. If only he could hit lefties......

10) Oakland is 1-9 vs lefty starters; they traded Cespedes/Donaldson, yet their payroll is the same as it was last year. Not good.

9) People in Texas are nuts about high school football. Former NFL QB Jon Kitna recently got hired to coach a team in Texas, earning $95K a year- some of his assistants are making as much as $70K, even though the entry-level salary for teachers in that district is $44K. Not everyone is happy about this.

8) Tim Lincecum has more strikeouts than Carl Hubbell? Wow. Hubbell had 1,677 strikeouts in 3,590.1 IP. Lincecum has 1,680 in 1,615 IP.

7) Too many college basketball players transfer; things aren't great right off the bat, so they bolt for greener pastures. Frank Kaminsky started two games in his first two years at Wisconsin, but he stayed the course and was a great player his last two years in college. More kids should follow his example.

6) Damn, the centerfield fence at Comerica Field in Detroit is 420 feet from home plate, even farther than in Miami (418) although CF fence in Miami is higher. It takes quite a poke to hit the ball out in CF in those two parks, which is stupid for the Marlins, considering they have Giancarlo Stanton.

5) Mike Babcock took less money fron the Maple Leafs than Buffalo offered him, which doesn't happen a lot. I mean, his family will still be able to put food on the table, but usually the highest bidder wins these things.

4) If you ever wondered what Archie Manning was like as a player, he was a right-handed version of Steve Young, even wore #8. Archie was nothing like his sons are, immobile pocket passers- he could run and throw and he played for terrible Saint teams so he got pummeled more often than not.

3) If you care about such things, Minnesota Twins have scored in first inning in eight of their last ten road games, so they're doing good video review on opposing pitchers. You can wager on that you know, whether a team will score in the first inning or not. Our baseball page has all that info every day.

2) Cubs ended their 3-man catching logjam by dealing Wellington Castillo to Seattle, bad news for Mike Zunino's fantasy owners.

1) The end of last night's Houston-Golden State game is why coaches like to strangle end-game situations with timeouts- they don't trust players to make the right play. I was stunned James Harden didn't get to the baskt on the last play-- Golden State dodged a huge bullet by not blowing that game.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Bryce Harper has to chill; he obviously now has a bad reputation with umpires, getting tossed for arguing ball/strikes for second time in last week. He is only 22 but very intense- his team needs him in the game.

12) Speaking of the Nationals, Bronx Bombers came on the field to take batting practice before the game Tuesday and the PA system in Washington started playing Send in the Clowns, the Judy Collins classic. Coincidence?

11) Jeff Teague plays for the Hawks, Kyrie Irving for Cleveland; long time ago, their dads were teammmates at Boston University.

10) Let me get this straight; Scott Books got fired by the GM who let James Harden walk? Interesting......

9) Sacramento Kings are in the NBA draft lottery most years; of the last 17 times they were in the lottery, they've never moved up but have fallen at least one slot eight times.

8) Charlie Weis is still getting paid $4.5M this year, despite not having a job; this fraud is still in top 10 nationally of highest paid college football coaches. How Kansas ever got suckered into hiring him is beyond me.

7) Top 10 college basketball recruit Caleb Swanigan flipped from his initial choice Michigan State to Purdue, whch will make the Boilermakers' games in East Lansing the next couple of years more interesting affairs.

6) Toronto Maple Leafs land coach Mike Babcock from Detroit, giving him an 8-year, $50M contract. Babcock has won the Stanley Cup, something the Leafs haven't done since the mid-60's.

5) QB Everett Golson transfers from Notre Dame to Florida State for his last year of college football, but he won't have the benefit of spring practice and Jimbo Fisher's playbook is complex by college standards, so Golson is no lock to start for the Seminoles in September.

4) Why are the Indianapolis Colts not giving coach Chuck Pagano a contract extension? With Andrew Luck at QB in a weak division, Indy figures to be good again this year, which will only boost Pagano's leverage in negotiations.

3) Actor/wrestler Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson once played defensive line with Warren Sapp at Miami, where their position coach was Ed Orgeron, who is now in the same job at LSU. Lot of strong personalities in those meetings.

2) Seriously, the Knicks couldn't find a way to utilize JR Smith?

1) If laughter is indeed the best medicine, David Letterman helped heal a hell of a lot of people over the last 35 years. Thanks for everything, sir.

Wednesday's List of 13: RIP Dad, thanks for everything..........
Its hard to write this; my best friend died last night.

Bernie Fischer was a great dad, a better friend, the best person I ever met. He passed away last night at age 89. I will miss him greatly.

He was born in Queens but lived in Albany since the mid-50's, when he met my mother. My dad grew up a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan-- his favorite player was an OF named Pete Reiser who always got hurt running into walls.

My dad loved the Mets, Knicks, Giants, Rangers; he loved to golf, probably because its sense of honor appealed to an honest man. He was someone who didn't have great professional success because he wasn't a weasel like a lot of people who "get ahead".

You hear stories about moms who threaten her kids with "Just wait until your father gets home!!!" Hell, we couldn't wait until he got home-- things always got a lot better once he walked in the house. He was a joy to be around, just a nice person who like to smile and have fun.

I wasn't allowed to watch the Three Stooges as a kid, but if my mother went out I would put it on; my dad would walk in, shake his head; within five minutes, he was laughing harder than I was. He'd say how stupid it was, then walk out of the room laughing his head off.

Dad was a very good shortstop as a kid; I sucked at baseball, but he always tried to help me and the one year he coached me was the year I was actually pretty good, even made the All-Star team. My proudest moment was getting a double in the All-Star Game and seeing him cheering wildly behind home plate.

I was the student manager of our basketball team in college; he went to the games with his friend Joe and would stop by practices to bring me home. My friends on the team always went up to talk to him and greet him during drink breaks-- the coaches too. I'll be forever indebted to them for that.

He was a patient man who never busted my balls when I showed up for my driver's test without the piece of paper you needed to take the test, or when my orthodontist yelled at me because my braces broke, or when I got divorced.

He was a great husband; he loved going to Florida for a couple months every winter after he retired. He became a pretty good golfer, even though he didn't hit the ball real far. He always hit it straight and he could putt fairly well.

The last few years, Dad liked going to Cliff's restaurant on Saratoga Lake with his friend Fran; it was a bad omen when Cliff's closed for good in January. He went there every Thursday for many years.

He was a religious man who was an example of how to live a good life; he was not a guy who wore his religion on his sleeve, but he was nice to everyone and if you didn't like him, it said more about you than about him.

As sad as today is, he is with his parents, his brother and my mother today; he is telling St Peter how the Mets need a shortstop. Seriously, he probably is.

Like I said before, my dad is the best person I've ever met; even though he is gone now, its hard to believe he'll ever be very far away.

RIP Dad, thanks for everything. I love you.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Tonight and tomorrow night are the last two nights for David Letterman's TV show; he has Bob Dylan on tongiht, making a rare TV appearance. Eddie Vedder was terrific at the end of last night's show.

12) When baseball teams own the TV stations their games are shown on, you get better stuff; Mets have in-game interviews with pitchers or subs in third inning of their home games.

Then there are the Marlins, who put their team president on the air after they made the GM the field manager Monday. He didn't have a lot to say.

11) Christopher Kamka from Chicago comes up with some great nuggets; this one is interesting.........

Last 33 times Chris Sale started for White Sox, Tyler Flowers was his catcher, thats 3,452 pitches thrown to the same catcher.

In Jeff Samardzija's last 41 starts, he's thrown to seven different catchers.

10) Miami Dolphins signed QB Ryan Tannehill up thru the 2020 season; now he has to play like he's worth it-- he hasn't to this point. Taneyhill was WR for half of his career at Texas A&M- this will be interesting to follow.

9) Corey Kluber struck out 12 White Sox; he has 30 strikeouts in his last two starts, but Chicago beat the Tribe 3-2 and Cleveland is now 1-7 this year when Kluber starts, after he won the Cy Young Award last year.

8) Mets scored four runs in Matt Harvey's last three starts; he left his last two starts with 1-0 leads, but the NY bullpen blew both leads- at some point, they will have to make a trade to bolster their lineup-- then we'll find out if Sandy Alderson deserved to have a book written about him.

7) Colorado catcher Nick Hundley got thrown out last night by the first base umpire when he argued a check-swing call against him; biggest problem there is that the first base ump last night works the plate tonight, so Hundley will be 18 inches in front of him for three hours tonight- that should be fun.

6) I hope this is just a weird coincidence; the Marlins fired Mike Redmond with a 16-22 record. Twelve years ago, the Marlins fired Jeff Torborg and re-hired Jack McKeon, who led the Marlins to a world title. The Marlins record when they made the Torborg/McKeon switch? 16-22.

5) Why are fedoras such a popular giveaway item at ball games this year?

4) Good baseball teams have starting pitchers who can be depended upon to go 6+ innings, takes the strain off the bullpen. Teams whose pitchers last less than six innings put a strain on the bullpen, which more often than not turns into a disaster. Building a good bullpen is a hit-and-miss proposition.

3) Seven baseball games Monday; six one-run games, three in extra innings, only three of 14 teams scored more than three runs.

2) Do the Phoenix Suns have the best trainers in the NBA? In five years with the Suns: Grant Hill played in 362/410 games (88.3%). During the rest of his NBA career, he played in 664/1148 games (57.8%).

1) NFL owners' meetings are this week; chances are the league will change how extra points are done, making them longer while giving the defense the chance to score two points, the way they can in college.

Imagine how bettors will feel when this happens; Team A is favored by 2.5 points; they trail by four with 0:12 left- they score a TD with 0:04 left to go up by two points. Instead of kicking the PAT (which could be blocked and run back for tying points), Team A takes a knee and wins but does not cover. I'd love to be in Las Vegas the first time that happens.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Dick Vitale's gala in Florida this weekend raised $2.38M to fight pediatric cancer; he has done so much good work to raise $$$ to fight cancer, he gives a lot of himself and deserves a ton of credit.

12) Giancarlo Stanton hit a homer way over the CF fence in Miami Saturday; the CF fence is 418 feet away- the ball had to go 500 feet. Funny thing is that a guy sitting way out in the CF bleachers caught the ball bare-handed and it did not seem to hurt the guy. Was just funny to see.

11) All of Stanton's power couldn't save Mike Redmond's job; they're naming a new manager at 11am this morning. If Stanton ever leaves the Marlins, he will be surprised that not every team is as dysfunctional as the Marlins.

The next manager is going to get lucky; Jose Fernandez is on his way back and when he gets there with Henderson Alvarez also healthy now, Miami is going to have a hell of a lot better team than Redmond managed.

10) In his last eleven games, Bryce Harper is 22 for his last 39; he has nine HRs, 22 RBI during that time.

9) Oakland A's have an awful bullpen; its kind of like back in 1980, when Billy Martin led the A's to an 83-79 record after they had been 54-108 in '79. Martin only cared about getting re-hired in the Bronx, so he strip-mined the A's and refused to use the awful bullpen-- using up their starters as much as he could. The team progressed, Martin went back to the Bronx and then the pitching in Oakland went in the toilet, because the five starters all got burned out.

From 1982-86, the A's were an average of 13 games under .500; he set the franchise back five years-- this year, the A's will suck but they won't ruin the arms of the pitchers at least.

8) Don't believe me? Here are the stats for the 1980 A's starting pitchers:
-- Rick Langford, 33 starts, 28 complete games
-- Mike Norris, 33 starts, 24 complete games
-- Matt Keough, 32 starts, 20 complete games
-- Steve McCatty, 31 starts, 11 complete games
-- Brian Kingman, 30 starts, 10 complete games

7) Odd trivia: Matt Keough's ex-wife Jeana was one of original characters on Real Housewives of Orange County-- she was also one of the models in one of the first real popular music videos on MTV, ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man.

6) 150 plate appearances this year; Yoenis Cespedes has walked five times.

5) People are starting to talk up Adrian Beltre as a future Hall of Famer and rightfully so, but you put his numbers next to Aramis Ramirez' numbers and they're surprisingly similar. Beltre is a much better fielder, but still.....

4) In his acting career, Jim Caviezel has played Jesus, golfer Bobby Jones and the high school football coach who won 151 games in a row. But one of his first roles was as an extra, a college basketball player in Blue Chips, one of my favorite movies. He should write a book someday.

3) Speculation around the Marlins had Wally Backman as a possible manager in Miami, but late Sunday night that was said to be kaput. Eduardo Perez is young, but used to be the Marlins' hitting coach. Miami is still playing former manager Ozzie Guillen-- maybe he is the man.

2) Kevin Durant went to prep school at Montrose Christian, one of those out-of-the-way prep schools that have great hoop teams and not much else. Now word comes out that the school is in financial trouble and may fold- they're out of the bigtime basketball business. Feel bad for the Montrose kids who are going to be seniors next year; now they have to find new schools for this fall.

1) Shelby Miller came within an out of a no-hitter; 26 minutes later, Redmond got fired. Rory McIlroy won by seven shots in Charlotte, Montreal wants a major league baseball team again (Rays??). Just another quiet Sunday.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) A 9th grader named Shareef O'Neal averaged 3.7 ppg in high school LY, but has a scholarship offer from USC in his pocket. Why? Because young O'Neal has a very famous daddy-- Shaquille O'Neal.

12) They're going to build a bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario; the bridge is going to be named after hockey great Gordie Howe. The bridge is expected to be finished in 2020.

11) Stanford's marching band has been banned from travelling for a year, after a series of hazing/harassment incidents. Stanford might be the only school whose band is more of a behavioral problem than its players.

10) John Calipari brings a guy into Kentucky to prep his players on how the NBA teams interview players at the NBA Combine- that helps them get picked higher in the draft, which in turn helps his recrutiing down the road.

9) Milwaukee Brewers 2B Scooter Gennett recently got married in an odd place, in the caves under the actual Miller Brewery in Milwaukee.

8) SEC/Big X have a basketball challenge next January 30; best game of the day, by far, is Kansas-Kentucky. West Virginia-Florida, Oklahoma-LSU ain't bad matchups either.

7) When was last time a team's home run leader batted ninth? Wilmer Flores batted 9th for the Mets Saturday and hit a grand slam as they pounded on the Brewers 14-1. Flores is a sub-standard fielder, but he can hit a little.

6) Purdue's football attendance dropped 13,684 fans per home game last year; numbers like that can get a coach fired.

5) Hard to believe it has been 39 years since the original Rocky was in movie theaters; the theater I saw it in has been gone for years, but Sylvester Stallone still looks fairly young. How is that possible?

4) Dodgers gave Cuban infielder Hector Olivera $62.5M for six years; why and what are they going to do with all these big contracts? Olivera is 30 years old and is said to have a bad elbow- its almost like they're paying guys not to play for other teams that they could help more than the Dodgers.

3) Ever hear of Pete Thomas? He has the rare distinction of starting a game at QB for three Division I colleges; Colorado State, NC State and UL-Monroe. Thomas is trying out for the Chargers as a free agent; if nothing else, he will be able to write a hell of a book someday

2) While I was typing this, I watched the movie about the high school football team that won 150 games in a row; much better than I thought it would be.

1) When the Rockets won Game 6 at Staples Center Thursday night, it was the first time the Rockets had ever won a Game 6 on the road, as in....ever.

Saturday's Den: DDLohaus handicaps the Preakness
We had a nice score for the Kentucky Derby as the race top three finishers proved to be much the best. Our long shot play didn't run poorly.

I was a bit surprised at the performance of Carpe Diem and he may get another look for the Belmont as his trainer has chosen to skip the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

As I type this the weather for tomorrow at Pimlico is hot with a chance of thunderstorms; in other words, a bit unknown.

The top three finishers come right back for the Preakness and really do appear to be the best three in the race. Wet weather wont impact Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah and I don't think he ran his best in last. Granted it was good enough to win, but I am not convinced the runners he beat are all that good. American Pharaoh will be a bit tighter and should come right back here and win the race.

Dortmund and Firing Line are very solid contenders and showed they are legit and will make the Derby winner earn the victory. As far as wagering goes, let's face it, there is no value in this race.

I will find myself rooting for American Pharoah so we have a shot at a triple crown in three weeks BUT I will make a wager that will try and get a return and play against the masses. A friend of mine, Hot Dog Paul once said " the big money is going against the crowd".. I am playing with a little house money so I'll take a bit of a flyer....

The Picks:
1. American Pharoah
2. Firing Line
3. Dortmund
** Longshot Player: Bodhisattva: local horse that ran a nice one in last; may get brave**

The Bets:
$20Ex American Pharoah, Firing Line, Dortmund/Bodhisattva
$15Ex Bodhisattva/American Pharoah, Dortmund, Firing Line
$5WPS Bodhisattva

Total Bets: $120.00

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) Things got weird after midnight last night; the Clippers gagged away a 19-point lead, were outscored 40-15 in the 4th quarter by Houston, with James Harden sitting on the bench for the whole quarter. Go figure. Clippers haven't played in a conference final, ever- this is their best shot.

12) Harden was -21 for the game; every other Houston starter was at least +11; Rockets didn't foul DeAndre Jordan much-- he was 4-6, but the Clippers fouled Dwight Howard a lot-- he was 6-16 from the line. It wound up not helping.

11) Rockies 5, Dodgers 4-- Carlos Gonzalez is hitting .192, but his 3-run homer in ninth inning at 2:30 am gave Colorado a win, ending an awful 11-game losing streak on a rainy night in southern California.

10) Red Sox 2, Mariners 1-- For some reason, Seattle is playing infielders in the outfield; Rickie Weeks misplayed a single into a double and that turned into the winning run for Boston at Safeco Field. If I'm a Mariner fan, I'm happy with the roster, but they could use an upgrade at manager, for sure.

9) Cavaliers 94, Bulls 73-- Matthew Dellavedova played four years of college basketball, scored 1,933 points for a team that went 108-28 during that time, so when he was called upon in a big game last night, he was more than ready to hammer the nails in Chicago's coffin. Kids who play four years in college have a stigma attached to them by the NBA-- in many cases, it is just stupid.

8) Tom Thibodeau just averaged 51 wins a year with a Chicago team that was ravaged by injuries; if he gets fired by the Bulls, he is re-hired within an hour by a team that cares about winning, about actually being coached.

7) Lakers are the only team sending their head coach to the lottery drawing; three teams are sending players.

6) I'll be in Las Vegas the second half of July; Chris Paul has a charity ping pong tournament at The Venetian July 18-- that could be worth going to.

5) Mets have allowed 11 unearned runs this year, eight when Jonathan Niese is on the mound; five of Wilmer Flores' eight errors came when Niese was on the hill. Mets are an interesting study; a big market team owned by people who were friends/business partners with Bernie Madoff- they claim to be hurting for money, but Fred Wilpon is the head of MLB's Finance Committee. Hmmm

4) Bronx Bombers just played 17 consecutive games against division rivals; from now until July 1, they have only three divisional games.

3) Red Sox are advertising family 4-packs for $75 for home games; you get four hot dogs, four drinks, four snacks and four tickets for $75, a good deal that is less in other big league parks. Weird hearing Boston announcers shilling for people to buy seats though- they used to have a long sellout streak.

2) They did a reality TV show last year about the LA Kiss of Arena Football, the team Gene Simmons owns part of; hope they're not doing a show this year-- saw yesterday the Kiss is 0-7 and just traded for a new quarterback.

1) In 18 day games, Miguel Cabrera is hitting .471 with eight homers; in 17 night games, he is hitting .158 with zero homers.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Cory Kluber won the AL Cy Young Award last year, but Cleveland lost his first seven starts this year; Wednesday, Kluber took advantage of a 6pm start to strike out 18 Cardinals in a 2-0 Indian win. St Louis batters swung at 44 of Kluber's pitches, missed 24 times, with only seven balls in play.

12) In same game, Cleveland batters swung at 43 of John Lackey's pitches and only missed one of them. Go figure.

11) As if things weren't bad enough for the Colorado Rockies, yesterday was even a worse day; Rockies lost their 11th game in a row, 2-1 in 11 innings to the Angels in Anaheim, after skipper Walt Weiss had an appendectomy earlier in the day. Mike Trout played a great defensive game in CF last night, robbing Tulowitzki of extra bases, then throwing out the go-ahead run an inning later.

10) Professional nitwit Stephen A Smith had the onions to go on national TV Wednesday and infer (basically he said it) that NBA teams use analytics as an excuse to fire/not hire African-American coaches. What a fool, but ESPN pays him over $3M a year, so who is the fool?

This is the same jackass who once said the Chargers should've tried an OT field goal on third down "....because if they missed on third down, they could try again on fourth down." But he cries racism on slow news days. Oy.

9) The reason for Smith's rant was New Orleans firing Monty Williams after the Pelicans went 45-37 and made the playoffs for the first time in five years. what Smith didn't say that Williams isn't the only successful coach to get fired in the last 2-3 seasons........

Monty Williams, Scott Brooks, George Karl, Vinny Del Negro, Lionel Hollins; all fired by their employers after winning seasons in the last two years. Hell, Del Negro, Hollins and Karl all got fired after winning 56+ games.

8) Albany Great Danes start basketball season November 13 with a game at Kentucky; my alma mater has been in NCAAs the last three years, which is more than Big Blue Nation can say. Kentucky lost to Robert Morris in the 2013 NIT. Still expect the Wildcats to be a slight favorite :-)

7) Speaking of Robert Morris, NEC Freshman of the Year Marcquise Reed has left the Colonials and will play for Clemson next season, as a lower-rung ACC team poaches a low-major squad.

6) Former Washington Huskies big man Robert Upshaw stood out at the NBA Combine with a 9-foot-5 standing reach and a 7-5.5 wing span; problem is, he also has a substace abuse problem, which is why he got booted off the team at Washington last winter. Will be interesting to see who drafts him.

5) Golden State Warriors had their 128th consecutive sellout last night. I go to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas most years- the Warriors are always the team with the most fans. If you didn't know, you'd just assume they were the best team with a large bandwagon following and this was before they actually were the best team.

4) Not only did Aaron Rodgers win on Celebrity Jeopardy the other night, he beat an astronaut. Astronauts are real smart, aren't they? Hell, Rodgers went to a junior college out of high school-- good for him!!!

3) Minor league 1B/Astros farmhand Jon Singleton had 10 RBI in a AAA game last night in Albuquerque. Two homers, two singles in thin air.

2) If I owned an NBA team that had Lebron James on it, that means I had a real shot to win the NBA title and I wouldn't have a rookie coach in charge. Hell, I would make Lebron coach and hire veteran assistants to do scouting before I would let a neophyte coach my team. But thats just me.

1) Jimmy Garropolo looks like he will start at QB for the first four games this fall in Foxboro, but who will his backup be? says that as of right now, the Patriots' #3 QB is Garrett Gilbert, who is so dismal he got cut by the Rams last year. If you're a QB who got cut by the Rams LY, could be time to look for a new line of work.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.......
13) First of all, our thoughts/prayers go out to anyone affected by the train derailment in Philadelphia last night; life is short, we have to enjoy it as much as we can for as long as we can.

12) Giancarlo Stanton hit a baseball out of Dodger Stadium last night, over the roof behind the left field pavilion- it was the slumping Marlins' only run in an ugly 11-1 loss, but it came in the first inning and it was a titanic blast.

11) I have Stanton and Marcell Ozuna on my fantasy team, so I watch most every Marlin game, but also because Rich Waltz/Tommy Hutton are so much fun to listen to, even in bad games, maybe moreso in bad games. Waltz does a lot of Mountain West basketball in the winter; he is very good. Hutton seems like a terrific guy- they're a good team.

10) Mitch Kupchak's son Maxwell will play college basketball at UCSB starting in the fall; he will redshirt the first year, then have four years left to play for Bob Williams and the Gauchos.

When the Lakers' GM sends his son to play for your team, that is quite the endorsement that should help Santa Barbara on the recruiting trail.

9) American Idol is getting cancelled after 14 years; thought they should have had one year where they only had singers who were 40+ years old, just to mix it up a little. Think it would've been a big hit.

8) A's have used four CFs this year; two of them, Craig Gentry and Coco Crisp, are a combined 3-60 this season. Gentry is back in AAA; Crisp is 0-25 since he came off the DL. Outfielders have to hit to be useful players.

7) Boston pitcher Stephen Wright threw 110 pitches in 5.2 IP last nite, saving the Red Sox bullpen a lot of wear and tear in a game they trailed 7-0 early. It is not often a relief pitcher throws 100+ pitches in a game.

6) Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn threw six shutout innings, beat the Indians on his birthday, but he needed 118 pitches to finish the six innings. He threw six shutout innings but had eight baserunners and nine strikeouts- threw 51 balls and 67 strikes-- lot of deep counts.

5) Serious question: Would you vote for a DH for the Hall of Fame?

4) Umpire Kerwin Danley got drilled point blank in the mask with a foul ball and left the Washington-Arizona game early last night. Danley played college ball with Tony Gwynn at San Diego State.

3) Speaking of the Nationals, something is amiss with Stephen Strasburg; he gave up eight runs in 3.1 IP last night and has an ERA of 6.06 this year.

2) Still think Tom Brady's suspension has as much to do with SpyGate as the deflated footballs; the cumulative effect of constantly skirting league rules.

1) Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field last night; I wonder if professional singers get nervous when they sing, or if they're so good at it that it is just second nature to them.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Tom Brady gets four games off, Patriots lose two draft picks, one in first round, they get fined $1M, but this isn't going away quickly-- wouldn't be too surprised if this case wound up in the US Supreme Court.

12) I guess Robert Kraft won't be getting an apology from the league.

11) These are the Patriots' first four games:
-- Week 1: Steelers
-- Week 2: at Buffalo
-- Week 3: Jacksonville
-- Week 4: bye
-- Week 5: at Dallas

10) Only a conspiracy theorist would point out that the Patriots' fifth game, the one Brady is now expected to return for, is in Indianaapolis, against the Colts, on a Sunday night on NBC, against the same team that was involved in the DeflateGate game in January. Surely a coincidence.

9) Joe Sheehan of Sports Illustrated pointed out something; Brady doesn't get paid for four weeks, Patriots get fined $1M, but Brady makes a lot more than that in four weeks of play, so the Patriots actually make money on the deal.

Elsewhere in the world.........
8) Hooters Casino in Las Vegas sold for $53.8M last week; it had the smallest sportsbook I've been in- new owners are expected to change the name, but the Hooters restaurant inside the casino is expected to stay.

7) Houston Astros promoted their big shortstop prospect Carlos Correa to AAA, which makes you think he might get to Houston before starting SS Jed Lowrie's thumb heals sometime in July.

6) Disappointed to hear Monday that CBS cancelled the TV show CSI after 15 years on the air- its one of my two favorite TV shows of all-time.

5) Baltimore Orioles scored in first inning in eight of 11 games in Camden Yards this season, only four of 19 games away from home.

4) Every day this week is the same backwards as it is forward; for example.....
5/10/15 is 51015 backwards.....5/11/15 is 51115 and so on.......

3) Rumor has Florida State as the favorite to land Everett Golson as its new QB, as they try and replace Jameis Winston.

2) If you're wodering why the Rockets were fouling DeAndre Jordan all the time in Game 4, this is why: Clippers are +76 with Jordan on the floor, -8 when he is off the floor in their four games with Houston so far. Rockets were hoping 18 missed foul shots would get Doc Rivers to sit Jordan, but it did not.

1) NCAA has too darn many rules; Jim Harbaugh donated a signed helmet, jersey to a family who lost a child to suicide- the items were auctioned off to help fund a scholarship in the young person's name-- but that is a secondary violation of NCAA rules, a minor violation but it against the rules and that is pretty damn sad. Shrink the rulebook, people.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) I don't know how much Tyronn Lue makes as an assistant coach, but he earned every penny Sunday, pulling coach David Blatt away when the head coach tried to call a timeout he didn't have with the score tied and 0:08 left.

Blatt then channeled his inner Gene Hackman (from Hoosiers) and wanted the last play to start with Lebron James inbounding the ball. Um, no; James got the ball instead, drained the winning shot and everyone was happy.

12) When JR Smith is (correctly) criticizing his head coach after a game, you have to wonder what the hell is going on? Just let Lebron coach the team.

11) By the way, if I'm the Bulls, I'm wondering why none of the three refs saw Blatt (who was standing on the freakin' court) and gave him what would have been an illegal timeout? Seems like the refs may have bailed Cleveland out of what would've been a very embarrassing situation.

10) Last two games: Clippers 252, Rockets 194-- Coaching in the NBA must suck (except for the $$$); Kevin McHale had to be steaming at the gutless performance of his team Sunday, yet his postgame press conference sounded like a Little League coach consoling a bunch of 10-year olds after a game.

I'm reminded of what Rick Pitino said when the Thunder hired Billy Donovan a couple weeks ago, something to the effect that he'll have to learn to bite his tongue, that would be very important. Apparently if you publicly criticize the highly paid players, they'll go in the tank and get you fired. Awesome.

9) While I'm here, DeAndre Jordan was 10-28 from the foul the first half alone, as Houston fouled him over and over. Anyone who says the NBA game is better than college ball is delusional- they just have better players, the best in the world. In the NBA, the inmates run the asylum.

8) Think about the three buzzer beaters this weekend; two were banked in, totally lucky shots, the third was on a play after the players told the coach to stuff the play he had called-- and they were right to do so!!!!

7) NHL officials had to be sick when Anaheim eliminated the Flames in five games last night; its serious money if a series goes six or seven games. Better TV ratings, more sellout crowds- short series don't help the bottom line.

6) Baseball oddity last night; normally when a pitcher comes into a game, he has to face a batter, but when Luke Hochevar was announced as a reliever in the ninth inning, there was a downpour ten seconds later and the game had a rain delay of over an hour.

When the game resumed, Hochevar didn't have to pitch, since it had been over an hour since he warmed up and there is a rule for that (to help prevent injury) , so this was the rare case of a pitcher getting in a game but doing nothing.

5) A disgruntled former U of Illinois football player went on a Twitter rant Sunday, saying the Illini's head football trainer was fired after it was discovered he wasn't licensed to work in the state of Illinois. Whoops. Read here.

The player involved quit the team last year and obviously has an ax to grind, but apparently a lot of what he said is true.

4) Johnny Cueto got 30 called strikes from ump John Hirschbeck Saturday; very unusual for a pitcher to get that many in one game. For some reason, the Reds left Cueto in a 10-1 game in 9th inning- they finally took him out after he had thrown 123 pitches and the game got to 10-4.

3) At some point, I'm going to do a thing on the great debate that rages these days between numbers guys and non-numbers guys (we need a name for them!!!) in sports. How decisions are made is changing and not everyone has the same blueprint for how to do it. People copy teams who win.

Analytics, you know-- for instance, the A's two assistant GMs went to Harvard and Brown- the guy who left this year to go to the Dodgers went to MIT and only became interested in baseball after he saw the movie Moneyball, so he had no background in baseball until ten years ago. Just great.

Wonder which Ivy League genius is taking credit for Cespedes/Lester trade? A's were 66-41 when they made the trade, are 34-56 since. Ouch.

2) Robert Morris did a great job last year; they had the NEC Freshman of the Year, but the kid had people in his ear, so he left Robert Morris and will let the anxious world know his next college stop this week. This sucks when teams at low major schools lose out on recruiting coups because bigger schools poach their players. We'll find out who these poachers are fairly soon.

1) Washington Capitals' fans have to be sick; they were up 3-1 on Rangers, now it is 3-3, Game 7 is in NYC. Since Alex Ovechkin has been a Cap, they're 4-12 in games when they can end a series- last five times they were up 3-2, they lost Game 6.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Really nice scene in San Francisco Thursday, with Marlins 1B Michael Morse getting his World Series ring from last year. All the Giants came to home plate and applauded as he got the ring before the game-- very cool.

12) Jon Lester actually takes up two roster spots for the Cubs; his own and one for David Ross, his personal catcher. Cubs carry three catchers, which is really unusual-- its little frustrating having Miguel Montero on my fantasy team- he doesn't play against lefties or when Lester pitches.

11) Golden State scored less than 40 points in the first half once during the regular season; they had 39 in first half of last two games with Memphis.

10) Dodgers' payroll for this year is listed at $271,608,629, highest in history of baseball; that said, their starting outfield Saturday was going to be this trio of obscure players: Scott Van Slyke-Chris Heisey-Keke Hernandez, Hitting fourth was going to be Justin Turner. $271M doesn't go that far these days.

9) Dodgers got rained out in Denver, Rockies third rainout this week- they had a 4th game shortened to five innings. It snowed in Denver last night, so they probably won't play today either. Weather in Colorado is highly erratic.

8) Broncos' 3rd-round pick Jeff Heuerman, a tight end from Ohio State, tore his ACL and is done for the year, the second NFL draft pick this week to blow his knee out and end his rookie season before it ever started.

7) Red Sox are 1-7 in May, having led for only seven of 72 innings; they're 8-2 when they score first, 5-15 when they do not. Their payroll is $184,345,996-- Captain Obvious called in to say they're underperforming.

6) It is neat when NBA players sponsor AAU teams; remember seeing Austin Rivers play in Florida when he was in 9th grade, playing for Team Stat, a team sponsored by Amare Stoudamire. Magic's Elfrid Payton was watching a team he sponsors this weekend- thats putting their salaries to good use.

5) There was an 18-year old kid driving in the NASCAR race last night; how is that possible, that an 18-year old drives well enough to compete with the world's greatest? I didn't even get my drivers' license until I was 19.

4) Back when the Milwaukee Brewers played outdoors at County Stadium, when they hit a homer, mascot Bernie Brewer slid down a ramp into a huge beer mug-- now that they play in Miller Park, they lost the beer mug and he just slides onto a flat landing and waves. Miller is a beer company; how can they not have the mug inside a ballpark sponsored by a beer company?

3) Cleveland Cavaliers cancelled practiced Saturday and had a team yoga session instead- seriously, they did. Its something Phil Jackson used to do when he was coaching- gets the players off their feet for a day.

2) Former sportswriter Bill Scheft is now a writer for David Letterman; he is chronicling the last days of the Letterman show in a Tumbler diary that can be found here. If you've enjoyed Letterman's career, you will enjoy this. His last show on CBS is May 20th, a week from Wednesday.

1) Mike Conley drew a charge in Saturday night's game; he is playing with a broken face, which cannot be said often enough. He is a tough human.

Saturday's List of 13: Some Week 1 NFL trends to peruse....
Something a little different today; notes on Week 1 NFL games, in case you'd like to invest in these games now, which you can in some places......

Steelers @ Patriots (NL, 53.5)-- Brady's '15 status will be announced next week; Pitt lost last four road openers by average score of 28-11. Patriots are 5-0-1 vs spread in last six home openers where spread was less than nine points, 0-6 if the spread was 9+ points.

Packers (-4.5, 50.5) @ Bears-- Pack won last five visits to Windy City, four by 7+ points, but they've lost last three road openers. Bears won five of last six home openers.

Chiefs @ Texans (-1.5, 42.5)-- Houston won last five home openers, covering four of them. Under is 7-3 in last 10 road openers for KC, home openers for Texans.

Browns @ Jets (-2.5, 41)-- Cleveland is 1-15 SU in season openers. Jets won last four home openers, with three of four by 5 or less points.

Colts (-2.5, 48) @ Bills-- Buffalo is 5-2 in last seven home openers, with losses by 2-5 points. Rex Ryan won his last four home openers with the Jets. Colts lost four of last five road openers; under is 7-3 in their last ten road openers.

Dolphins (-2.5, 44.5) @ Redskins-- Home side won last seven Dolphin-Redskin tilts. Under is 16-5 in Miami's last 21 road openers. Washington is 10-3 in its last 13 home openers; Miami lost nine of last 11 road openers.

Panthers (-4, 43) @ Jaguars-- Carolina lost five of last six openers- they won LY with Derek Anderson at QB. Jaguars lost their last three home openers by combined score of 99-26. Under is 14-6-1 in Jacksonville home openers.

Seahawks (-3.5. 43.5) @ Rams-- Rams lost 17 of last 20 games with Seattle, but won three of last five played here. Average total in last ten series games, 32.4. Seattle lost seven of last eight road openers.

Saints @ Cardinals (-2.5, 47)-- New Orleans covered one of its last eight road openers. Arizona won five in row, eight of last nine home openers. Home team won last five Saint-Cardinal games.

Lions @ Chargers (-2, 45.5)-- Detroit is 3-11 (4-10 vs spread) in last 14 road openers. San Diego won four of last five home openers. Lions lost last four visits to San Diego, with three of four losses by six or less points.

Titans @ Buccaneers (-3, 42)-- Mariota vs Winston? Home side won nine of ten series games. Under is 15-3 in Titans' last 18 road openers, 8-3-1 in Buccaneers' last 12 home openers. Titans covered six of last eight road openers.

Bengals (-3.5, 42) @ Raiders-- Cincy has never won (0-10) in Oakland; they were 1-3 vs Raiders in LA (win in '88). Oakland lost last five times they opened season at home (last Week 1 home win, '02). Five of last six Cincy road openers went over.

Ravens @ Broncos (-4, 53)-- Average total in last three series games, 66.7. Baltimore is 5-2 vs spread last seven times they were an underdog in their road openers. Denver is 23-3 in last 26 home openers, 10-4-1 vs spread in last fifteen.

Giants @ Cowboys (-5.5, 50)-- Big Blue lost last four season oepners; over is 10-1 in their last 11 road openers. Cowboys are 1-5 vs spread in last six tries as a home fave in Week 1. Average total in last five Giant-Cowboy games, 55.2.

Eagles (-1, 53) @ Falcons-- Atlanta won/covered last seven home openers; they scored average of 34.2 ppg in last five home openers. Over is 5-1-1 in Eagles' last seven road openers. Average total in last three Eagle-Falcon games, 52.7.

Vikings @ 49ers (-4, 41.5)-- Home side won 10 of last 11 series games. In their last 14 road openers as an underdog, Vikings are 8-4-2 vs spread. 49ers won last four openers, scoring 28+ points in all four games.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) My last comment on DeflateGate; there are too many rules in this world and this is a perfect example of that. Let teams have as much as air as they want in the damn ball-- only footballs that need to be monitored are ones used for the kicking game, both punts and kicks. Otherwise, there should be no rule.

12) Staying in Boston, the Red Sox fired their pitching coach, as GM covers his own butt for the lousy pitching staff he put together. Instead of paying Rick Porcello $20M a year, how about paying Jon Lester while they had him?

11) Alex Rodriguez hit his 661st homer Thursday, passing Willie Mays for 4th on the all-time list. Think he's gotten that $6M check yet?

10) Random stat (from Chris Komka of Comcast Chicago): of all the guys in MLB history who hit 500+ homers, these three had the most plate appearances before hitting their first homer:
1) Mel Ott, 129......2) Reggie Jackson 112....3) Alex Rodriguez 108

9) Pirates are 13-15; in 10 of those 28 games, their hitters haven't drawn any walks. No other team has more than four games like that.

8) Florida hired Michael White from Louisiana Tech as its new hoop coach; his profile resembles Billy Donovan's from 20 years ago, except his dad is AD at Duke and his brother is AD at Buffalo. White was 83-24 the last three years at Tech but never made the NCAA tournament. He has very big shoes to fill.

7) Gregg Popovich makes $11M a year?!?!?! Damn, for that much he should not complain about doing interviews after the first or third quarters. TV helps write those big paychecks, after all.

6) Everett Golson is going to transfer from Notre Dame and is eligible to play this fall; this is a kid who led Notre Dame to the national title game vs Alabama as a freshman in 2012, but had fallen out of favor since. It is a fickle world.

5) Top three college baseball teams in latest rankings:
1) LSU...... 2) Texas A&M.....3) Louisville

4) John Wall has five non-displaced fractures in his left hand/wrist; x-rays taken after Monday's game revealed no fractures, but they're there. His status for Game 3 is still unclear, but his hand is still really swollen. I'm guessing the term "pain tolerance" will make an appearance fairly soon.

3) Teams whose pitchers walk more batters than they strike out in a game are 7-45 so far this season. It is important to throw strikes.

2) This fall will be the Cleveland Browns' 17th season since returning to the NFL; in the first 16 years, they were 1-0 once, in 2004, when they won 20-3 over the Ravens, who used to play in Cleveland. They lost their other fifteen season openers- their opener this year is against the Jets in Swamp Stadium

1) If the NFL suspends Tom Brady for the season opener, will NBC ask for a different Thursday night game to open its season with? Steelers-Patriots does not have the same marquee value if Jimmy Garoppolo is the Pats' QB.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Some Las Vegas sportsbooks took the Week 1 Steelers-Patriots game off the board after the DeflateGate report was released; others lowered the spread from 6.5 to 3.5. This just in; Tom Brady is worth more than three points.

Roger Goodell makes a fortune as commissioner, but he's going to earn that cash with this decision. He'll get crushed by the media if he doesn't suspend Brady for at least a game, even if it is on NBC.

12) LA Clippers are the only team of the eight still playing in the NBA playoffs that doesn't have a Florida Gator alum on their squad.

11) Dylan Ennis (9.9 ppg last year) transfers from Villanova to Oregon, where he will be eligible to play immediately.

10) Bryce Harper hit three homers yesterday; Joc Peterson has six homers in his last seven games, Mike Trout does awesome stuff every night. Would be nice if some of these guys got to play on Sunday Night Baseball, instead of ESPN showing the Bronx Bombers every week.

9) Ernie Johnson won a Sports Emmy the other night, but he gave it to the late Stuart Scott's children, because Johnson is a classy guy and someone for all of us to look up to.

8) Houston Astros were on a 10-game roll coming into this week, until Texas swept them three games in a row- Astros scored five runs in the three games. They still have a five-game lead in the putrid AL West.

7) I'm curious how sabermetricians view the Red Sox pinch-running for David Ortiz when he was at second base with the tying run in the bottom of the 8th inning? With leftfield being so short in Fenway, I'm thinking it lessens the amount of times a faster runner could score from when second when Ortiz could not. Anything off the Monster you and I (and Ortiz) could score on- I'm just curious, thats all...........

....especially because Ortiz' spot came up in the order in the last inning and he wasn't in the game to tie or win the game. You know the math guys have figures on all this, just wish I knew what those numbers said.

6) Don't think I've mentioned this yet: ESPN re-designed their website and I don't like it-- the new layout isn't easier to navigate, not at all.

5) Unintended impact of instant replay: in the Met game, they were going to pinch-hit for the pitcher with a guy on second after the previous batter hit a double. The pinch-hitter was announced into the game, but in meantime, the play got changed from a double to a home run, meaning the bases were empty, so they let the pitcher hit, but Baltimore objected, saying the pinch-hitter was announced, so the pitcher had to leave the game. They lost that argument and the game. One of the cool things about baseball is these obscure rules pop up and they've never had to be dealt with before.

4) A's are a very disappointing 12-17; they've allowed 15 runs in the 12 wins, have been outscored 120-56 in their 17 losses- they're 1-11 in games following a win-- that not good.

3) The Knicks hired Isiah Thomas to run the WNBA's NY Liberty, which is amusing on numerous levels. Incompetence, sexual harassment; not totally sure which one is worse, but he has both of those covered, so good hire!!!!

2) Oklahoma City had 7.98 inches of rain in a 24-hour period this week, setting the city's record for most rain in a 24-hour period. Bad week for car washes. Hope everyone stays safe; tornadoes are scary stuff.

1) When you look up "leading by example" in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Mike Conley. How can one of his teammates not dive for a loose ball or go all-out for a rebound? The guy is playing with a broken face.......

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.....
13) Mike Conley is a tough dude; he scored 22 points in 27:00 despite playing with a broken face as Memphis upset the Warriors 97-90. Conley missed three games after suffering multiple facial fractures in the Portland series.

12) There was some back/forth between Steph Curry and Virginia Tech this week, about whether the Hokies had offered Dell Curry's son a scholarship in his senior year of high school. It got to the point where Seth Greenberg, who works for ESPN now but was Tech's coach back then, issued a statement on the subject.

Tech offered Steph Curry a 4-year scholarship, but after he spent his first year as a walk-on, since they had a scholarship logjam that year. Dell Curry, one of Tech's best-ever players, understood, but apparently Mrs Curry put the kibosh on the deal and her son went to Davidson.

11) Bartolo Colon has beaten the Orioles while pitching for seven different teams, the first major league pitcher ever to do that.

10) Getting a batter to swing/miss is a basic element of pitching; the pitchers this season who have produced the highest pecentage of misses on batters' swings against them are:
1) James Shields, San Diego 32.8%
2) Danny Salazar, Cleveland 32.5%
3) Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh 31.8%
4) Tyson Ross, San Diego 30.9%

9) There will be 42 college football bowl games this coming fall; two teams will play two games, with the playoff system, so that means 82 teams out of 127 are going to go bowling this season. Three short words: too many bowls.

8) Read this week that of all the NFL teams, Cincinnati Bengal coaches have the most input of any coaches on their team's draft decisions.

7) Giants' #1 draft pick Ereck Flowers will negotiate his own rookie contract, with help from his father.

6) Why don't media outlets analyze drafts from 3-4 years ago, when you can actually tell everything that happened, rather than this year's draft, when no one really knows who did the best/worst?

5) Arizona tight end John Carlson retired this week at age 30, odd timing; you would think the Cardinals would've wanted to know that before the draft, not three days after the draft.

4) Road team is 7-5 in NHL overtime playoff games this spring.

3) 1960 Philadelphia Phillies are last team to lose three straight games, all by a 1-0 score.

2) Left field bleachers at Wrigley Field are opening Monday; the ones in right field may not open until after the All-Star break, as Wrigley Field is undergoing renovations that will take a long time to finish.

1) Quite a night in Anaheim for rookie catcher Carlos Perez, who hit a walk-off homer in his first major league game, as the Angels beat Seattle 5-4.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) At the pro sports level, players win games, its that simple. Milwaukee made a decision to fire manager Ron Roenicke a few days before they actually did it, then leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez came off the DL and now Milwaukee has won three games in a row, but Roenicke's fate had already been sealed. You can't fire the trainer during the season. Lucroy is still hurt; will Milwaukee still be in the race by the time he gets healthy?

12) Cal Ripken Sr (0-6 in '88), Phil Garner (0-6 in '02) hold record for the earliest firings in a season; You spend 6-7 weeks in spring training then can a manager a month into the season- its change for the sake of change, because you can't fire the players either, at least not too many of them.

11) Rangers 2, Astros 1-- Last night was first time this season Houston lost a game when they had a lead in that game.

10) Grady Jarrett played college football for Clemson, was drafted by Atlanta; his mom's house burned down during the draft Friday night. Seriously, it did. When Atlanta announced Jarrett's pick, former Falcon Jesse Tuggle was at the podium.......reading Jarrett's name- Tuggle is the young man's father.

9) First time I saw Jameis Winston play was Labor Day 2013, his first college game against Pitt. At one point in the first half, Winston was 11-11 passing and looked nothing like a freshman QB. I turned to my father, laughed and said, "He's the greater quarterback I've ever seen." No freshman was supposed to play that well- his NFL career is going to be fascinating to follow.

8) Winston's last college game was his first loss, 59-20 to Oregon in Pasadena; his first NFL game will be against the Titans in September. the opposing QB will be the same guy in both games; Marcus Mariota.

7) Buccaneers put a clause in Winston's contract where he is not allowed to play professional baseball for the length of his contract-- he can probably thank Russell Wilson for that one.

6) Tampa Bay joined the NFL in 1976; since then, they had 36 starting QBs in their mostly sordid 39-year history, the first of which was a guy you've heard of-- Steve Spurrier, who also was the team's punter.

5) Pirates had a brutal weekend in St Louis; three games, three extra-inning losses; there is a fine line for lot of these baseball teams. Middle relievers are often the key to keeping teams in games, but their performances are so erratic, it is why teams rise and fall so much from year to year.

4) I read about Randy Gregory's needs for a sponsor/support system for when he is away from the Cowboys and it sounds just like Josh Hamilton, and that sounds like trouble for Dallas. You can only have so many guys who are a distraction-- the Cowboys are approaching their limit.

3) Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas closed for good Monday, another old-time Las Vegas landmark that is no longer open. Every time I visit Vegas, there are new things to see and old things that can't be seen anymore.

Saw 1995 movie Leaving Las Vegas the other night; the hotels they showed as the hot spots aren't hot spots anymore-- some of them don't even exist now.

2) Sonny Gray had a weird game Sunday; he faced 31 batters- seven of them walked, 10 more struck out. It was like a Little League game-- 119 pitches is a lot for this time of year. Oakland's bullpen is so putrid that Bob Melvin is pushing his starters to go a little farther into games, to lessen the strain on the pen.

1) Cleveland's Cory Kluber was 18-9, 2.44 last year and won the Cy Young Award; this year he is 0-4, 4.62 in six starts, all Cleveland losses.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a busy weekend..........
13) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has apparently gotten a lot of notes from youth basketball coaches asking him not to outlaw "Hack-a-Shaq" (fouling bad foul shooters intentionally) because they want to show kids that not making your foul shots can negatively affect your playing time.

12) Astros have won ten games in a row, lead AL West by seven games; how long before they get a game on ESPN?

11) Speaking of Houston, they opened at -$205 against Texas Monday, the first time they've been that big a favorite in any game since 2008.

10) Florida State had 29 football players drafted the last three years, coming up two short of the record (Texas had 31 drafted from 1982-84).

9) Mets lost 1-0 the last two days, first time since 1990 they lost to the same team 1-0 on consecutive days- last time it happened at home was 1973. Mets are 3-7 since their 11-game winning streak ended- they're also playing without their third baseman and catcher, who are on the DL.

8) Heard this a while ago, then again this weekend; it is bad form for catchers to yap at umpires about called strikes when they're batting, since they want those pitches called strikes when they're behind the plate.

7) Gonzaga lands Nigel-Williams Goss, a Pac-12 level PG who transferred out of Washington and will have two years left to play. Great get.

6) Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze, who uses NASCAR terms to describe the paces of his offense, drove the pace car at Talledega Sunday.

5) Texas Rangers have to be concerned with P Yovani Gallardo, who induced zero misses on 38 swings Sunday against Oakland; it is very rare for a pitcher to pitch 6.2 innings and not get a single swing/miss. The 30 starting pitchers Sunday averaged 7.8 swing/misses.

4) Lot of people grade the NFL Draft the day after it happens, which creates a lot of page visits I guess, but draft grades don't mean squat for 3-4 years, when you evaluate everything that actually happened.

3) Great clutch shot by Chris Paul Saturday nite to win Game 7, but my lasting impression of Paul will always be this: he was very close to his granddad, who was murdered at age 61 the day after Paul declared to go to college at Wake Forest partially because his granddad loved the Deacons- the cap he put on at his news conference was his granddad's Wake Forest cap.

A few days later, Chris Paul scored 61 points to honor his granddad, then he collapsed on the sideline in inconsolable grief when he was taken out of the game. It is one of the saddest and heart-wrenching things I've ever seen.

2) Classy of San Antonio fans to greet the Spurs at the airport when they came home after losing a great Game 7 Saturday night.

1) Many thanks to the fine people at VA Hospital in Albany; my dad just spent four weeks there-- the kindness and professionalism of the workers will never be forgotten. My dad is in a rehabilitation place now, trying to get back on his feet-- any prayers you could offer him would be appreciated.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up an outstanding day.......
13) Baseball umpire Bill Miller is a tough dude; he was doing the plate Friday night-- in the ninth inning he gets drilled on the left kneecap by a pitch the Angels' catcher totally missed-- he was on the ground for a while, but he didn't come off the field and he umpired third base Saturday. Like I said, tough guy.

12) TNT announcer Reggie Miller blew off announcing Game 7 of the Clipper-Spur series so he could go to the fight in Las Vegas-- why should TNT keep him on their payroll? He's not that good an analyst anyway.

11) So the Spurs have the ball with one second left, down a hoop, their whole season on the line. They line up, they start to run the play-- the guy running the scoreboard hits the horn for no apparent reason, setting off San Antonio's bench into a justifiable frenzy. It helps to be playing at home.

10) Serious question: Do people/companies who own airplanes have to pay airports to land/take off?

9) Cal Golden Bears had a huge recruiting season; they landed Jaylen Brown this weekend, one of the best recruits in the Class of 2015. Cal will be a top 10 team when the season starts in November.

8) Saints drafted Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson, the highest the Saints have drafted a QB since Archie Manning in 1971.

7) The woman who plays Kevin Kline's wife (Joanna Gleason) in the movie Last Vegas is the daughter of the old gameshow host Monty Hall.

6) Next week's Players Championship will have all of world's top 50 golfers for the first time since 2005- it used to always be played before The Masters.

5) Starling Gibbs transfers from Seton Hall to UConn, a good get for Kevin Ollie and the Huskies. Gibbs averaged 16 ppg for the Pirates LY- they must've had a dismal season, as many transfers as they've had the last few months.

4) St John's landed recruit Malik Ellison, son of Pervis Ellison. Have feeling Chris Mullin is going to have a power on his hands pretty soon.

3) Over the last 6+ years, under is 124-79 when James Hoye umps the plate.

2) SEC wound up 54 players drafted this weekend, 9th year in row they had the most players drafted. ACC had 47 guys taken, Pac-12 had 39.

1) It boggles my mind that Floyd Mayweather made $180 million last night.

Saturday's List of 13: DD Lohaus handicaps the Derby........
Boy, if today was any indication of the weather and the type of racing to come than Saturday's Kentucky Derby Day should be a great one.

I must admit that I did get into the races a bit later than usual this year but I believe what I have seen is enough to have a pretty good idea of who I believe are top contenders.

What is generally regarded as a solid group of three year olds really should offer some decent value once you settle on your horse BUT I simply couldn't get past my top two. And ironically they are trained by the same guy (which is really getting to be more frequent in recent years).

American Pharoah looks like a very special horse. I really wanted to find a reason to bet against him but his most recent workout over the Churchill track really clinched it for me. He is strictly the one to beat. Now at what figures to be very short odds, a large field and some a lot of traffic early, I am likely not to place a win bet on him but he will be the key in my exotics.

Dortmund is a very interesting case and may be a bit more 'battle tested' than his most respected stable mate. He has a win over the track and he certainly figures to be the main challenger.

I really, really liked Carpe Diem's victory in the Bluegrass and he appears to take his game with him wherever he goes. I am always a bit biased by a win at Saratoga and his Breeders Cup effort was solid. Don't like the post AT ALL...he will have to use some horse to keep his position and that will cost him late in the race. May afford some value.

Firing Line ran a monster last time and if you like Dortmund you have to like this guy (ran second twice; just missed both times). Stevens is solid and maybe this guy is this good.

It wouldn't be gambling if I didn't give a bomber to make things interesting.... The horse I think is worth a deuce across the board is Keen Ice.

I know, the guy has only won once and it was a maiden race to boot (but it was over the Churchill strip)...but if the fractions are lightning fast this guy could be running late and pick up some of the pieces. He has a steady tab of workouts and gets a major upgrade in Desormeaux....why not...

The Selections:
1. American Pharoah - could be a monster
2. Dortmund - hard-knocker who can mix it up
3. Carpe Diem - liked Bluegrass but hate post...will need all he has turning for home

The Bets
$20Ex American Pharoah/Dortmund, Carpe Diem, Firing Line, Keen Ice
$5 Ex Dortmund, Carpe Diem, Firing Line, Keen Ice/American Pharoah
$1ExBX Dortmund/Carpe Diem/Firing Line/Keen Ice
$2WPS Keen Ice

Total Bets: $118.00

Friday's List of 13: Happy May Day, everyone...........
13) After months and months of speculation, Round 1 of the draft was marked by the expected happening-- not many surprises at all Thursday night. Makes you wonder why so many media outlets pay so many people to speculate on whats going to happen, when nothing out of the ordinary happens.

Then again, Round 2 is tonight and the rest of the draft is Saturday; could be some wheeling and dealing then, or is this draft a little talent-shy, so people aren't willing to take a chance on a big trade?

12) ESPN has a new star in Louis Riddick, who is excellent on TV; he only got on because Ray Lewis begged out after the problems in Baltimore, but they are idiots if Riddick doesn't become a big part of their pregame show.

11) There are more than 3,000 hats stored backstage at the draft; all 32 teams in every size. Merchandising is big business.

10) Odd but true: since he came into the NFL, Matt Ryan has made more money than Tom Brady- go figure.

9) Only two trades last night; San Diego traded up to get RB Melvin Gordon, which will boost their offense- they gave up a lot to move up two slots.

8) Speaking of the Chargers, Mrs Philip Rivers is pregnant with the couple's 8th child-- San Diego was wise to hang onto the veteran QB.

7) Washington Huskies were only team to have three kids drafted last night, which I'm sure makes coach Petersen happy-- good ammunition for when he goes out recruiting for the next year.

6) One of those three players was CB Marcus Peters, who Petersen tossed off the team LY after an series of arguments with assistant coaches. Kansas City scouts talked with Petersen's staff and with former coach Steve Sarkisian, and they must've found Sarkisian more convincing- they drafted the kid.

5) Saints are going to run the ball more; why else would they draft 6-7, 313-pound Andrus Peat in the first round?

4) Marc Trestman will be Baltimore's fourth OC in four years; his QB coach is Marty Mornhinweg, who somehow keeps getting NFL jobs, despite showing nothing that would distinguish him as an assistant or head coach.

3) Hard to believe, but when the Giants drafted Ereck Flowers, he was the first Miami Hurricane drafted in first round since Kenny Phillips in 2008, also by the Giants. Before that, Miami had gone 14 years in a row with a first round pick.

2) Interesting hearing NFL Network guys saying that Leonard Williams was "the best player in the draft." More than one guy said that. Jets got themselves a good deal.

1) Elsewhere, Billy Donovan left Florida for the NBA-- big story next week will be who gets the Florida job and how many dominos does that create, job-wise?

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) I didn't know they changed the format of the Match Play golf tournament this year, making it like AAU basketball, with sixteen 4-team pools, the winners moving on to the Sweet 16 of the tournament. So all players are going to play 54 holes before the Sweet 16 is determined- maybe this is why Phil Mickelson begged out of playing, maybe he doesn't approve of the changes.

12) If Billy Donovan does indeed go to the NBA, then the Florida opening will be interesting to follow-- think Shaka Smart will be kicking himself for going to Texas? I'm guess Florida is a better job than Texas-- Rick Barnes did pretty darn well in Austin and got fired for it.

11) NFL will have lot of kids in Chicago for their draft this weekend, but no quarterbacks; Jameis Winston not being there bothers me; the grandmother excuse is lame. If he cared so much about being close to her, why didn't he go to college in Alabama? Lot of red flags where Winston is concerned.

10) The more you read, it seems like the consensus among NFL people is that there are roughly 16 players this year with solid first round grades, so first round won't be so good at the bottom, but the middle rounds will be strong.

9) US Open golf tournament will be broadcast on FOX for first time in June; Joe Buck/Greg Norman will be the main announcers.

8) Baylor-Utah scheduled a football series for 2023-24; kids who will play in those games are currently in anywhere from 4th to 8th grade.

7) There is a Shake Shack in Istanbul, Turkey, in case you were wondering. Good milkshakes, but ridiculously expensive, at least the ones at the racetrack in Saratoga are-- then again, everything in Saratoga is too expensive.

6) UAB will get kicked out of Conference USA if they don't revive the football program; rumors have Liberty University wanting to step up and take UAB's place in C-USA, as they try and raise the profile of their athletic department.

UAB's basketball team is on the rise; not sure what league where they would go to if they were forced to leave C-USA?

5) Animal trainer Jack Hanna made his 103rd and last appearance with David Letterman last night; guy always had unique animals with him on TV. Going to be odd not to have Letterman on latenight TV anymore

4) It is slightly weird that there the AL/NL have separate rules as far as the DH is concerned, but in Japan, where they also have two major leagues, they also have only one league with the DH, one without. Whats up with that?

3) I don't ask for much, but I beg the folks at Taco Bell to lose the commercial where the brother/sister scream while opening Christmas gifts. Good grief it is annoying to have noise, just for the sake of noise-- please make it stop.

2) For one day, I'd love to shoot a basketball as well as Kyle Korver.

1) Ben Martin beat Matt Kuchar at the Match Play tournament thanks to a hole-in-one on the 17th hole; it was Martin's first ace on Tour-- this is his first match play event since the US Amateur in 2009.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week stuff.......
13) Another baseball game was cancelled at Camden Yards Tuesday due to the rioting/curfew in Baltimore. Wednesday's game is at 2pm and will be the first big league game ever played with no fans.

Baltimore's weekend series against Tampa Bay has been moved to the Trop; the Orioles will be the "home team" for those games.

12) Rockets 103, Mavericks 94-- Houston advances to second round for first time since 2009. Enjoyed listening to Chris Webber on this game, talking about how improved foul shooting is the product of one thing-- good practice.

11) Spurs 111, Clippers 107-- Speaking of which, DeAndre Jordan was 7-16 on the foul line and this led directly to San Antonio grabbing a 3-2 series lead. Asked a few people who coached last night if they would foul on purpose if they were in Spurs' shoes- when million$ of dollar$ are at $take, the an$wer i$ ye$. You find an opponents' weakness, you exploit it.

10) Match Play tournament starts today; since 1999, the average seed of the winner has been 19.6; Brooks Koepka is #19, Kevin Na #20.

9) Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 8-- Boston allowed 34 runs in its last three games, as the price tag for Hamels/Kazmir, even Bud Norris keeps going up. Boston's five starting pitchers have an ERA of over 6.00, worst in major leagues.

8) Speaking of which, Masahiro Tanaka is on the DL, as trends point to him needing Tommy John surgery. Forearm strains are often a precursor to issues with the UCL, which is what just sidelined Brandon McCarthy for the season.

7) Senator from Vermont named Bernie Sanders is running for President; never heard of the guy, but at first glance, he looks like Verne Lundquist.

6) John Daly turned 49 years old this week, which means that a year from now, the Senior Tour is going to get a big boost, if Daly chooses to play there.

5) Bo Jackson is 51 years old, has an artificial hip; he won a long drive contest at a charity golf tournament this week, hitting a golf ball 331 yards. You never hear about him anymore, which means he has a good life. Good for him.

4) Nationals 13, Braves 12-- Atlanta led 10-2 after the 4th inning; Washington has been playing terrible baseball. Teams combined to allow nine unearned runs in this game. The NL East is wide open for the Mets to win, especially is the Nationals keep playing this sloppily.

3) When the NBA holds its draft in June, shouldn't the D-league draft be immediately after it, starting at midnight and shown on the NBA Network? It would be obvious to everyone then what kids got bad advice and maybe more kids would stay in school instead of coming out when they should not.

2) My point is this-- there are 30 NBA teams, it is a two-round draft, so that is sixty selections. 48 college players, 43 international kids applied for this year's draft- thats not counting the college seniors. It just does not add up-- lot of kids could still be in college, getting better-- college teams practice more.

1) Since Kevin Durant helped get Scott Brooks fired, I hope he at least got Brooks' cellphone bill reduced, the way he does on that TV commercial.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Looks like college basketball will have a 30-second clock next fall; I just don't think its going to make a huge difference, if thats the only rule change. It creates a few more possessions per game, but not really that many more.

12) Part of the reason Texas Rangers took a shot with Josh Hamilton going to Arlington is their attendance is down 11,160 fans a game since 2012. If it is true that the Rangers will only pay Hamilton $5M a year, that means the Angels are paying Hamilton $20.4M this year and $54.8M over the next two years to play against them!!! That must go over great in the Anaheim clubhouse.

11) Golfer Mikko Ilonen should buy Phil Mickelson a nice Christmas present this year; Lefty dropped out of the Match Play tournament this week, which means Ilonen gets in-- even if he loses in the first round, Ilonen bags a check for $50,000 or so.

10) According to college football expert Phil Steele, Washington Huskies will play the hardest schedule this fall; U-Dub's opponents had a 101-56 record last fall- they play at Boise State Labor Day weekend.

9) Next time Alex Rodriguez hits a homer, he ties Willie Mays with 660 in his career and banks a checks for $6M, but his employers are trying to cheap out and not play the $6M, since they can't cash in on ARod's milestone (buy your own commemorative bat for $299.95!!!!) due to his steroid history.

8) Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas closes down for good this Monday, the end of an era, but it is sold out this weekend, with the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight a big ticket in town. Lot of the older casinos in Vegas are slowly going away.

7) There is a beer sold at my local grocery store called Arrogant Bastard Ale; I'm not much of a drinker, but thats a tremendous name.

6) The 2011 San Diego Padres had eight relief pitchers for most of the year; five of those eight guys are now relievers for the surprisingly good Astros.

5) Why teams lose: when the Seahawks took Russell Wilson with the 75th pick in the 2012 Draft, Jacksonvile took a freakin' punter five picks earlier. Why does a team draft a punter in the third round?

4) There have been a total of 73 runs scored in Bud Norris' four starts, with Orioles 2-2, outscored 37-36. In Chris Archer's last four starts, there were a total of only fifteen runs scored- Archer allowed one run in his last 26.2 IP.

3) Boston has pitching problems; Buchholz/Porcello have at least finished the sixth inning in six of their eight starts, but the other three starters finished six innings only two times in nine starts- that creates too much of a strain on their bullpen. Boston has to trade for a quality starter and soon.

2) Both the shortstops on my fantasy team got hurt last night; Jose Reyes has been hurt, but finally went on the DL- he has a broken rib but had been trying to play thru it, not batting lefty because it hurt too much.

Jed Lowrie hurt his thumb sliding into home (why can't anyone slide??); he is flying back to Houston today for an MRI, which sounds ominous. Waiver wire in our 16-team keeper league is amazingly weak at shortstop. Oy.

1) Trevor Bauer pitches against the Royals tonight; last night, he had boxing gloves on (real ones) in the dugout during the game, a reference to the issues Kansas City has been having with other teams this month.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Kevin Love separated his shoulder Sunday, is expected to miss 2+ weeks, which is pretty much the entire next playoff series. JR Smith will be suspended for Game 1 of next series. Expensive win for Cleveland.

12) Mike Conley has multiple facial fractures, is out for the Grizzlies' game in Portland tonight; he flew back to Memphis over the weekend.

11) If I designed a golf course, there would be a lot of water on it, maybe small streams running parallel to the fairways. Sand traps look nice but are a waste of time. Water is intimidating, makes the course a lot harder.

10) Dodgers' Alex Guerrero has 13 RBI in 23 plate appearances; why doesn't he play more? Its not like they have Mike Schmidt at third base.

9) Dodgers put Yasiel Puig on the DL and replaced him with Andre Ethier, who makes $18M a year. Must be nice to have such well-paid subs.

8) Max Scherzer hurt his thumb batting yesterday, says he now favors using the DH. Adam Wainwright hurt his ankle/achilles batting Saturday, is probably out for the year. I'm against the DH; why can't pitchers be better at hitting?

7) Tampa Bay's Chris Archer allowed one earned run in his last four starts (26.2 IP). Rays get Matt Moore back from injury, they might be better than all of us thought this spring.

6) Bronx 6, Queens 4-- ESPN's Sunday night game was a defensive horror for the first few innings. Mets have to shore up their middle infield defense if they're going to be a serious postseason contender.

5) Curt Schilling brought up a great point last night; it takes 32-35 good major league players to make the playoffs. I remember in 2012, the A's got help from guys like Brandon Hicks (two walk-off HRs), George Kottaras, Seth Smith- they were in first place for one day that year. Fortunately, it was the last day.

Teams only have 25 guys on their active roster, but over the six-month season, all teams will have injuries and need replacements. The teams that compete for championships have solid depth, even in AAA.

4) Former Boston College basketball coach Al Skinner has resurfaced as the coach at Kennesaw State; within 2-3 years, he's going to scare the hell out of some big-name team in the first round of the NCAAs. He can recruit.

3) Indiana got very good news when Yogi Ferrell said he is coming back for his senior year; stuff like that gives a program positive momentum.

2) has posted spreads for NFL games for Weeks 1-16; Oakland is not favored to win any of its games.

1) I love pro football, but good lord I'm sick of all this draft buildup; just wake me up when the draft starts Thursday night. There is too much media and they do way too much speculating. Just tell me what really happens.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) There are rumors about that the Bulls will fire coach Tom Thibodeau when the season ends, despite his 255-139 regular season record; Scott Brooks got canned despite a terrific record, Lionel Hollins, Vinny Del Negro and George Karl all got sacked two years ago-- they all had won 56+ regular season games.

To paraphrase Vince Lombardi on that NFL Films clip, "What the hell's going on out there?!?!" Seems like there is too much politics in NBA coaching.

12) New York media has already declared Matt Harvey to be the next Koufax, but Al Leiter had a good tidbit during Saturday's game; when CC Sabathia was Harbey's age, he had already started 178 big league games and won a Cy Young. award-- he got a much earlier start and may be finished earlier, too.

11) The dimensions in Yankee Stadium are a joke; its a softball park in right field and its going to prevent them from having good pitchers, because who in their right mind wants to pitch half their games there? It is every bit as bad as pitching in Coors Field.

10) Minnesota Twins scored a total of four runs in losing Phil Hughes' first four starts; Toronto scored 13-12-12 runs in Mark Buehrle's first three starts.

9) I'm not a big fan of strict platooning in baseball; one team pinch-hit for a lefty hitter in the 4th inning of a game last summer, because the other side put a lefty pitcher in. If a guy isn't good enough to play the first five innings of a game, then he shouldn't be starting in the first place.

8) Through Friday's games, the major league batting average was .245; if the first pitch of an at-bat was put into play, that went up to .318.

7) Ben Zobrist is out 4-6 weeks after getting his knee scoped; A's got taken by Tampa Bay on this trade; Zobrist is damaged goods, a 33-year old who played several years on artficial turf. Go figure.

Oakland's season is already headed for the ashcan; their bullpen sucks, they can't hit lefties-- they're 30-45 since trading Yoenis Cespedes last July 31.

6) Speaking of the Rays, they're 0-10 on replay challenges this season.

5) Mets' rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki hit his first career homer in the Bronx yesterday; my question is this-- if you caught that ball in the bleachers, how much you charging him for it? You have him over a barrel, its his first career home run ball-- HE HAS TO HAVE IT!!!

Let me know what your ideas are....I have my own idea.

4) Steve Stricker missed the cut in New Orleans this week, meaning longest current streak of consecutive cuts made on Tour is Matt Kuchar, at 22.

3) Wow I was watching the Houston-Dallas game on TV Friday night; I'd get tired of the Dallas PA guy pretty darn quick if I went to games there. Tone it down a little, big fella. No need to make everyone deaf.

2) There are betting lines out on some NFL games already; draft is next week, so how you betting games so long before the season starts, before you even know who all the starting quarterbacks are?

1) Peyton Manning donated $3M to Tennessee's football program; thats three million, with an M. How much money does this guy have?

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Why would the Rangers trade for Josh Hamilton? They shed themselves of his issues and huge contract, now they're going back down that road, while at same time letting a division rival off the hook from a bad situation.

Am very curious to see how much the Angels are going to eat of the $83M that Hamilton is still owed on that contract.

12) How come I didn't know The Rock and Billy Bob Thornton were in a movie together? Faster, a 2010 movie that was on cable the other night. Not bad.

11) Could we put in a rule that if an NBA playoff series was 3-0, it was then declared over? Teams down 3-0 are now 0-110 in NBA playoff series, all-time.

Hear me out; think how much better a Game 3 would be if the home team was down 2-0; not only would they be trying to stay alive in Game 3, they'd be buying themselves at least two extra games with a win-- if they stayed alive in Game 3, then it is 2-1 in a best-of-7 series. Would make things more interesting.

Its kind of like ping pong, where you play to 21 but if its 11-0, then its over.

10) Royals-White Sox had a near fracas in Thursday's game, during which Sox TV announcer Hawk Harrelson went off on the air, saying Yordano Ventura "....was going to get his fanny beat". Harrelson is in his 70's; he was a hothead in his playing days and hasn't cooled down too much in the broadcast booth.

9) Why did the Red Sox give Rick Porcello $20M a year? He is 77-65, 4.34 in 183 career starts for a very good Detroit team- thats worth $20M a year?

8) Glad to see Providence guard Kris Dunn is coming back to school next season; kids who come back will become better players and improve their draft stock in the long run. Friars will need Dunn to score more next year.

7) The Governor of Colorado is named John Hickenlooper. Unusual name.

6) Gambling can be fun; it can be frustrating; if you bet the under in last night's Houston-Oakland game, the gambling gods owe you one. Game was 0-0 after nine innings, but the bullpens imploded and Houston wound up winning 5-4, going over the total by two runs, after being scoreless thru nine innings.

5) One of the new owners of the Atlanta Hawks is Grant Hill.

4) Friend of mine was in San Antonio couple weeks ago; he is on elevator in his hotel and who gets on but Rockets' coach Kevin McHale. Glad to report McHale is a good guy, just like he seems to be on TV.

3) If you're not old enough to remember the old ABA, they played very fast-paced basketball; just picture last night's Houston-Dallas game, except with a red, white and blue basketball. 130-128 happened all the time back then.

2) There were more than 100 people lined up outside a sneaker store in Las Vegas Friday, waiting to buy the new Flight 23 sneakers. I mean they're not going to run out of sneakers, why wait on line for them? Lot of money in the sneaker industry, which is why athlete endorsers make so much $$$$

1) Tampa Bay Lightning were down 2-0 with 6:00 to play in Detroit in Game 4 of their series; a loss would've left them in dire straits, but Lightning scored twice in 1:14, then won in OT and their radio announcer Dave Mishkin was very happy, as in really, really happy.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Warriors 123, Pelicans 119 OT-- Golden State was down 20 after the third quarter; Curry was 7-18 on the arc, Thompson 6-12, everyone else 1-11.

12) Bulls 113, Bucks 106 2OT-- In a double OT game, Chicago was +18 if Pau Gasol was on the court, -11 if he wasn't and he was only off for 14:00.

11) Reason #7,142 that NBA playoff series are too long; teams down 3-0 are a combined 0-110 in playoff series. Thats oh and 110.

10) Rajon Rondo will go down as one of the NBA's all-time strangest people; there was a story on the Interweb this year about when he was with Boston, during a film session, he took a water bottle, fired it at the 50-inch flatscreen TV that was playing the video of the game and shattered it. For no reason other than than the coach was critiquing his play. Oy.

9) Over/under on Lebron James' points Thursday was 26.5; he had 31. One of the great joys of being in Las Vegas is all the odd things you can bet on- there is no shortage of prop bets for any big event.

8) More college basketball transfers: Manu Lecomte from Miami to Baylor; Drexel's leading scorer Damion Lee was poached by Louisville.

7) Speaking of Louisville, they're taking a trip to Puerto Rico in August, where they will play six exhibition games. Trips like this are invaluable.

6) Maryland-Georgetown have finally agreed to play a game in November, which will be very big in that area of the world- they've only met three times since 1980, when Georgetown became a national power.

5) Mississippi State is expected to land Malik Newman today, the first prime recruit of the Ben Howland era; Newman's dad played for State. Problem is if he is any good, he's likely a 1-and-done, but he puts the Bulldogs on the map.

4) NFL schedule oddity: this will be the second year in a row no AFC team will play on Thanksgiving Day.

3) Mets are the 28th team since 2000 to win 11 games in a row; only two of previous 27 wound up that season with a losing record: the '04 Rays went 70-91 despite a 12-game win streak. The '13 Blue Jays won 11 games in a row, but wound up 74-88 anyway.

2) Major league teams whose pitchers walk more than they strike out are 4-25 this season, wth two of the four wins coming Wednesday night.

1) Baseball season is 18 days old; Phillies have played 16 games (5-11) but they still haven't led a game (0-13-3) after the fifth inning.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Scott Brooks went 338-207 as head coach in Oklahoma City, but he didn't win a championship, so he got fired yesterday-- it is impossible not to blame this on Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook, because all they had to do was say one sentence and it all would've stopped.

"We want Scott Brooks to be our coach." They say that and Brooks stays. It was never said; in fact, Durant "supports the decision 100%". Great guy.

12) Not all change is positive; GM Sam Presti, the genius who traded James Harden to rival Houston for three draft picks, one of whom became Steven Adams, now has to hire a coach who is better than Brooks, one that will keep Durant happy so he doesn't bolt in free agency.

In the NBA, the inmates often run the asylum.

11) Six of the 49ers' eight road games this year are east of the Mississippi.

Four of the Ravens' first seven games are in Denver or further west.

10) Scott Brooks got fired; in the NFL, Marvin Lewis got a contract extension; he is one of two NFL coaches (Jim Mora Sr is the other) who lost his first six playoff games. Lewis is a good coach who deserves an extension; the Bengals were hideous before he coached them, but the contrast is striking.

9) Chicago Cubs are 8-6, but a note of caution; in six of the eight wins, they scored the winning run in the 7th inning or later.

8) Milwaukee Brewers are a 2-13 mess; they've lost eight games in a row, their leadoff hitter has a hamstring pull, their catcher has a broken toe. Oy.

7) The Statue of Liberty's nose is 4.5 feet long.

6) In the first two games of its series with New Orleans, Golden State is +47 with Draymond Green on the court, -30 when he is off the court and that is in only 12:00.

5) So you bet the under in Bronx-Detroit game last night; no bueno. Game went over the total in a wild first inning. David Price threw 51 pitches in the snowy first inning that saw Bronx score six runs off him- it was 6-4 after one inning.

4) College hoop transfers: Jaren Sina from Seton Hall to George Washington, and Marcus Marshall from Missouri State to Nevada.

3) Atlanta Hawks were sold for $850M; weird time to sell the team, as Hawks having their best chance to win a title since they've been in Atlanta.

2) Reds manager Bryan Bleepin' Price kept ace Johnny Cueto in the game for 125 pitches last night, as Cincinnati won its third game in a row, 2-1 over the Brewers. Cueto is a free agent this winter; if the Reds aren't going to re-sign him, makes sense to use him up as much as they can before trading him off.

1) Siena plays Georgetown to start the season in November; they'll play VCU or Duke the next night. Good for their strength of schedule, but its probably also an 0-2 start. At least they'll have a good cover for their game programs.

Wednesday's List of 13: Initial thoughts on the '15 NFL schedule
13) Week 1 Thursday night game: Steelers @ Patriots. New England doesn't have lot of strong opponents on its '15 schedule; with this game on NBC, the opponent had to be a good team, and Pittsburgh fits that bill.

12) Eagles have five primetime games, plus Thanksgiving Day in Detroit, so the league is saying they like what Chip Kelly is doing. Weeks 6-7-9, Philly is on in primetime all three weeks, with a bye in Week 8.

11) Four of the Giants' first six games are night games, with three of the four divisional games.

10) Week 1: Ravens @ Broncos-- Gary Kubiak against team he worked for last year. Week 11: Broncos @ Bears-- John Fox against team he worked for LY.

9) Week 6: Cardinals @ Steelers-- Ben Roethlisberger wasn't happy when the Steelers let Bruce Arians go as OC; Arians returns here as a very successful head coach of the Cardinals-- he spent eight years in Pittsburgh.

8) Rex Ryan faces his old team in Week 10 when the Bills visit Swamp Stadium; they meet again January 3 in Orchard Park. Starting in Week 10, Buffalo plays five of six games on the road, including three in row in Weeks 10-12.

7) Week 1: Packers @ Bears-- Last three years, the team Green Bay opened the season with eliminated the Packers in the playoffs that year.

6) Andre Johnson catches passes for the Colts now; the longtime Texan WR will see his former team in Weeks 5 and 15, with Week 5 in Houston.

5) Week 1: Titans @ Bucs-- If Winston/Mariota are the first two picks in the draft next week, they could face each other in the first game of their careers.

4) Week 2: Seahawks @ Packers-- If Seattle kicks off to start the game, they have to onside kick, right?

3) Thanksgiving tripleheader:
-- Eagles-Lions, Panthers-Cowboys, Bears-Packers. Green Bay will retire #4 that night, as Brett Favre returns to the frozen tundra.

2) Jerry Jones better order some warm parkas for his team; their last three road games are in Washington (Dec 7 night game), Green Bay six days later, then in Buffalo on Dec 27. Something to ponder when you draft your fantasy team.

1) Oh yeah, DeMarco Murray is an Eagle now; Philly-Dallas games are Week 2, a 4:25 (presumably national) game, then a Week 9 Sunday night game.

Tuesday's List of 12; Ranking the months of the year.......
Keep in mind I live in the northeast, so weather is a factor in these rankings.......
12) January-- 31 days of potentially horrible weather. NFL playoffs help, college hoop helps, golf on TV helps, but if you live in upstate NY, January generally sucks.

11) February-- Same as January, except three days shorter and spring training starts, though the exhibition games belong to March. Since I'm retired now, Monday holidays in January/February don't help this rating anymore- every day is a holiday.

10) May-- NBA/NHL playoffs, baseball and better weather, not much else.

9) June-- US Open, NBA Finals, summer starts and if you're a kid or a teacher, school ends for the summer, but I'm not a kid or a teacher.

8) April-- Opening Day of baseball is special, college hoop Final Four, playoffs start in NBA/NHL, the Masters and winter is officially over. Plus I usually go to Las Vegas in April, though this year my trip is in March.

7) October-- World Series, football, some downtime in between baseball and basketball seasons. If you've never done Halloween in Las Vegas, its quite an experience.

6) March-- NCAA tournament is my favorite event of the year, but other than that and spring training baseball, March is a slightly better version of February.

5) August is a great month to live in upstate New York, lot of fun stuff going on and it is only the end of summer if you're a kid/teacher. Plus football season is approaching so there's lot of studying to be done, preferably outdoors by a pool.

4) July-- Horse racing in Saratoga, me in Las Vegas for couple weeks-- NBA Summer League, lot of AAU games, baseball's All-Star Game, the British Open, even start of NFL training camps. July is a very good month.

3) September-- Football starts, baseball pennant races, a very interesting month.

2) November-- Ton of activity; college hoop starts, college football winds down, NFL, NHL, NBA; when I was working, you also had two days off in there. Election Night is an underrated night of good live TV, if its an even-numbered year.

1) December-- Bowl games, college hoop, end of the NFL regular season, Christmas, New Year's Eve, hey its my birthday too!!! So what if it snows sometimes.....

Saturday's List of 13: My suggestions for Rob Manfred..........
Geographic realignment. Bud Selig wanted to do this, but got rebuffed on it. Too bad. Here is the way I would re-align the divisions:

Red Sox
Blue Jays
Great Lakes
White Sox

12) The schedule.........
72 games-- Play four division rivals 18 times each......
60 games-- Six games against other 10 teams in conference
30 games-- Six games against five teams in division in the other conference, which alternates every year.

11) Leave pace of play alone, it is not a problem, except for the media. One of baseball’s strengths is that it doesn’t have a clock, it makes it unique. If you have to do something to speed up games, eliminate visits to the mound within a half-inning.

10) With that in mind, coaches do not come on the field during games; no stalling on the mound; you want to change pitches, just sub him like it was a basketball game. Call time, signal the new guy in.

9) Players are only people who should wear uniforms; why do baseball coaches wear uniforms anyway?

8) No activity is washed out; if game gets rained out in second inning, you pick it up from the point of interruption. Anything that happens counts.

7) All-Star Game goes to a USA vs World format; this would increase the competitiveness of the game, believe me. Home field in World Series is decided by who wins season series between Eastern and Western Conference.

6) Move trade deadline back to August 31; with second Wild Card, not many teams are out of contention by July 31. Trading creates interest.

5) Would it be too much to ask for all the warm weather/dome teams to play at home the first week each season? It won't be something that eliminates rainouts, but it should help reduce them.

4) Get rid of the designated hitter. Placate the players’ union with an increase of 60 jobs; go to 27-man rosters, but only increase rosters to 33 after September 1.

3) There is a place for the DH; spring training and All-Star games. DH would be optional for spring games, but since outcomes don’t matter, teams could use it to get guys more at-bats. As for the All-Star Game, no one wants to see a pitcher bat in one of those.

2) Its OK to imitate a good idea. Have managers throw the red flag for replay reviews, instead of going out on the field. Its just simpler. Overall, I like the replay system, but having managers go out there to stall to see if they want to challenge a play doesn’t seem right. Just use the flag system.

1) This is very important and probably the least likely thing to happen: $80M salary floor, $160M salary cap. Imagine how great the sport would be with more competitive balance, like in NFL or NBA or the NFL. Teams should be able to retain their own home-grown stars.

Small market teams can compete in small windows, but not over the long term. This way, everyone would have a chance, every year. Except the stupid teams.

One of the most fascinating part of modern sports for me is the tug of war between modern analytics and old-school philosophy, which is more sound?

I love numbers, but you can go overboard with them. There is a human element to sports and team building that cannot be ignored. Old school horse sense has its place, but there has to be balance. The best franchises have that balance and that’s why they give themselves the best chance to succeed.

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