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Armadillo's Den:
Sunday's List of 13:
Wrapping up a sports Saturday .......
Week 6 CFL information now posted on NBA page
DDLohaus' Saratoga picks are on NFL page

Baseball info every day; lots of knowledge on pitchers, teams, umps

Sunday's six-pack
College programs with most football players drafted the last six years.......
6) Georgia (33) -- 22 of them were picked in 4th round or later.
5) Oklahoma (34)-- 23 of them were taken in 4th round or later.
4) Florida (35)-- 18 of them were taken in rounds 1-3, nine in 1st round.
T2) LSU (39)-- 18 of the 39 were taken in rounds 2-3.
T2) Florida State (39)-- 21 of them were taken in round 4 or later.
1) Alabama (44)-- 16 of them were taken in first round.

Quote of the Day
"I always mean what I say, but I don't always say what I'm thinking."
Dean Smith

Daily quiz
Which NFL team has training camp at St Vincent College in Latrobe, which is also Arnold Palmer's hometown?

Saturday's quiz
Phil Garner managed the Houston Astros in their only World Series.

Friday's quiz
Clint Hurdle managed the Colorado Rockies in their only World Series.

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: rapping 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 "....to 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 ESPN.com 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: ".......to 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 CBSSports.com, 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 Buckys5thquarter.com 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) SI.com 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."

Oy.

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 rules...no 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....

Picks:
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 CBSSports.com 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 10.....in 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, SI.com'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 impressive......by 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 looks........lol.

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 least......lol

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? Rosterresource.com 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 line.....in 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) Covers.com 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 13: Doing some thinking out loud..........
13) Losing isn't fun; Cincinnati Reds' manager Bryan Price went on a 5:34 tirade against a sportswriter, complete with 77 F-bombs and 11 other expletives. My first thought on this was: the season is two weeks old and the guy sounds like he's going to have a nervous breakdown. He might not be cut out for the job.

12) Seriously, 77 F-bombs in 5:34 is tremendous and he got off to a slow start. Worst thing about the whole thing is that his basic point is wrong; its the job of the reporter to give out news on the team. If a manager can't deal with this being the age of instant news via social media, then he shouldn't have the job he has. If he doesn't start winning soon, he won't have it anyway.

11) Sad day for a couple of tough guys: Doug Buffone, 71 and Bob St Clair, 84 two very tough men, passed away Monday. Buffone was a LB for the Bears with Dick Butkus, St Clair was a Hall of Famer for the 49ers. RIP fellas.

10) Anaheim Ducks are first team in NHL history to lead a playoff series 3-0 when they trailed all three games in the third period. Ottawa is down 3-0 in its series with Montreal, losing last two games in OT- they led all three games after the first period.

9) Woman was standing behind the plate in Pittsburgh last night; a foul ball hit the net, the net gave way a little and the ball hit the lady square in the side of the head. She was taken away on a stretcher after a 15-minute delay- can you say "personal injury lawsuit"?

8) Steve Spurrier turned 70 years old this week, is still going strong, playing golf and coaching the Gamecocks. He's had a tremendous career.

7) Adrian Peterson will make $765,000 a game this season, $15M in 2016, $17M in 2017; will another team take a chance on such an expensive player in his 30's? Peterson hasn't played since Week 1 of last season.

6) Kyle Wiltjer is coming back to Gonzaga next year, Jakob Poeltl is coming back to Utah, great news for both those teams.

5) Couple transfers to note: PG Ricky Tarrant goes from Alabama to Memphis and Evan Payne goes from LMU to Long Beach State.

4) Rumors say the Marlins will hire Wally Backman as manager if they can Mike Redmond; Backman is a fiery type who has done well in the minors, but Redmond is highly respected. Two weeks is a little quick to be firing people.

3) 15 of 30 current major league managers caught in the big leagues.

2) Ranger-Penguin series is first time since 2009 Stanley Cup finals that the Penguins haven't had home ice advantage in a series- thats ten series ago.

1) NFL schedule comes out tonight at 8:00; as Bud Grant used to say, "Its not who you play, its when you play them." Steelers-Patriots is early favorite to be the Thursday night season opener.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) NFL has a way of grabbing headlines year-round; when word came out late on Sunday that the Eagles signed Tim Tebow, it was almost like the Interweb was going to implode. Lot of fuss about a guy who isn't every good, so much so thats its been almost 600 days since he was on an NFL roster.

12) I'm not going to criticize Chip Kelly for what he's doing, mainly because I have no bleeping idea what he's trying to do, but I'm glad he traded Nick Foles to my Rams. Maybe Tebow is a nothing-to-lose attempt to find a diamond in the rough, but Tebow brings a media circus with him and who wants that?

11) Eagles have to be the team on HBO's Hard Knocks, right?

10) The poor bastard who does the NFL schedule may have had to make a few more edits when the Tebow news hit; that can't be an easy job and its already late coming out this year.

9) First eight NBA playoff games, Clippers were only team to shoot higher than than 50% from floor. Five teams shot under 40%. Houston's 29 transition points were most by any team.

8) Three of the four years the Spurs won the NBA title, they lost their first playoff game, but they also haven't repeated.

7) Mariners 11, Rangers 10-- Not often a team scores seven runs in an inning and loses; Texas pulled it off here. Nelson Cruz already has eight homers.

6) Mets 7, Marlins 6-- New York is 10-3 with best record in NL but they lost catcher D'Arnaud and lefty reliever Blevins with broken bones Sunday.

5) Rumors out of Miami have the Marlins looking for another manager already in wake of their terrible 3-10 start- what they need is a new owner. Jeffrey Loria was in New York for the weekend series and didn't look too happy.

4) Milwaukee Brewers are 2-10, with a minus-35 run differential and leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez is on the DL- they play the struggling Reds this week with both teams starving for wins.

3) Golfer Jim Furyk made $1.062M when he won at Hilton Head Sunday, his first Tour win since 2010-- he has now made over $3.8M in his career, just in this one tournament in South Carolina.

2) Good God I hope the Atlanta Hawks win the NBA title; here is the shot distribution for their five starters Sunday: 11-12-12-12-12.

They're a team!!!! No ball hogging, fallaway 25-footers. Just good basketball.

1) In his NBA career, Lebron James is 22-7 in playoff series.
In his NBA career, Carmelo Anthony is 22-41 in playoff games.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) FOX Sports hired Pete Rose as a studio analyst for baseball telecasts, a rare burst of sanity in an increasingly insane world. Rose still makes over $1M a year signing autographs, mostly in Las Vegas-- someday baseball will wise up and induct him into Cooperstown, where he belongs.

12) Wizards 93, Raptors 86 OT-- Teams conbined to go 12-50 from arc in this brickfest, only road win of the four games Saturday. Toronto's subs outscored Washington's 48-27, but Raptor starters were combined -30 in an OT game.

11) Warriors 106, Pelicans 99-- Golden State was up 18 at half, won despite getting only three baskets (3-12, 12 points) from bench. Tyreke Evans got hurt for New Orleans, played only 12 minutes.

10) Bulls 103, Bucks 91-- In NBA playoffs, coaches have lot more time to prepare, making it more like college ball; Thibodeau vs Kidd is a big mismatch as far as tactics go. More importantly, Chicago has better players.

9) Rockets 118, Mavericks 108-- I'm guessing Mark Cuban won't like the 32-14 edge Houston had on foul line, but they also had 29 fast break points and hit 10-25 3-pointers. Funny that Stoudemire/Prigioni are in this series; at least some of this year's Knicks made the playoffs.

8) When Marlins pitcher Mat Latos was five years old, he went to the Marlins' first-ever home game, in Joe Robbie Stadium.

7) Purdue center AJ Hammond is coming back to school next year, a big boost for the Boilermakers, who might be a top 25 team now.

6) Royals/A's aren't getting along well this weekend, after Alcides Escobar was injured Friday night on a play at second base, when Brett Lawrie slid hard into the bag. KC was upset because Lawrie actually tried hard on the play, instead of giving up the way lot of guys do.

Benches emptied both nights, nothing happened, because it is baseball after all, but Yordano Ventura drilled Lawrie last night and was ejected- he was mad because Josh Reddick hit a homer off him that might still be going, the batter before Lawrie got plunked.

5) Hanley Ramirez hit a ball in batting practice Friday that took a chunk out of the Green Monster; he chipped a piece of the wall off.

4) They put 99,391 people into the big Horseshoe for the spring football game at Ohio State yesterday. Cardale Jones threw a ball 74 yards, which is really far to throw a football. Imagine 99,000 people going to a glorified scrimmage?

3) Stephen Collier is Ohio State's 4th-string QB; QBs ALWAYS wear the different colored jersey in practice, so no one hits him, right? Collier was the only OSU QB who wasn't wearing one, so it was OK to drill the guy!!!. If I'm Collier, who must be pretty good to even be on Ohio State's roster, I'm taking a look at transferring to a school where they might care if I got hurt.

2) Buffalo Sabres lost out on prize draft prospect Connor McDavid (he played for the Erie Otters in juniors, just a great nickname), but they'll likely land Jack Eichel from Boston U-- he actually wants to play in Buffalo, so good for them.

1) A's pitcher Jesse Hahn and Mets' pitcher Matt Harvey went to high school together in Connecticut; must've had a pretty good baseball team. .

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) Since 2010, only two big leaguers batted cleanup in their MLB debut; Jose Abreu and Kris Bryant. Must be a Chicago thing. Bryant had a rough debut but there aren't too many guys like James Shields pitching in AAA.

12) CB Bucknor is generally regarded as the worst ump in the major leagues; he had the plate in the Arizona-SF game Thursday- both sets of announcers let him have it during the game.

When the Arizona play-by-play guy read the umpires' names before the game, analyst Bob Brenly let out a very loud groan, nothing else. Tremendous.

11) That said, I'll take Bucknor over Angel Hernandez any day of the week, where the A's are concerned. Oakland got hosed bigtime on a force play at second base last night and replay failed to overturn it.

Hernandez didn't umpire last night, so pretty good chance he was in New York sticking it to the A's while reviewing replays. He and Bob Melvin do not get along at all. I don't trust the freaking guy. Which leads me to......

10) ....MLB needs to be more transparent as to who is reviewing replays.

9) Get well soon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; he had quadruple bypass surgery on Thursday, is expected to make a full recovery. I firmly believe he is the greatest basketball player ever-- he hardly ever lost in high school or college. When he was a freshman at UCLA, freshman team beat the varsity by 20 and the varsity had won the national championship the year before.

8) NBA must be doing pretty well: salary cap projections for the net three years, with caveat that the labor agreement runs out after the 2017 season, so this may be posturing on the owners' part:
2016: $67.1M....2017: $89M......2018: $108M

7) Three NBA teams are getting new arenas built right now: Golden State, Sacramento and Milwaukee. How are two northern California teams getting new arenas but the A's can't get a new ballpark built? This is one problem I cannot blame on Angel Hernandez.

6) They're having problems with the new artificial turf at Rogers Centre in Toronto, where the Blue Jays play; it is too thick, too heavy. In batting practice some balls that were hit in the gaps stopped before they rolled to the fence.

5) Saints WR Marques Colston owns part of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena League; their game in New Orleans next week was pushed back to Sunday because the NBA's Pelicans have a home playoff game on Saturday.

4) Rick Pitino lost one of his assistant coaches to Cal, so he brought back 69-year old Ralph Willard, whose son Kevin is the coach at Seton Hall.

3) Kansas State must've had a fun season this past year; five players have already either transferred or been thrown off the team, just since the season ended. They've got six new kids coming in, but even with that, they're going to have a thin roster.

2) Good rule of thumb these days might be: act as if you're being videotaped, because chances are, you just might be. This goes double for anyone in the public eye. Maybe it should go triple, or tenfold.

1) How long now before a reality TV show will be set in the pay booth of a tow truck company?

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Cubs finally brought Kris Bryant up to big leagues; he stayed in minors for 12 days, meaning the Cubs keep him under club control for an extra year, which is a terrible rule. Its also against the rules for Cubs to do that, but they did it.

12) Odd thing is that Bryant never played a home game this year in AAA; his team was on road in Memphis/New Orleans. Wonder where all his stuff is? He has gone from spring training to AAA and now to the big leagues.

11) NHL has done an excellent job miking its players, showing locker room scenes after games, doing NFL Films-type stuff. Well done. Playoff hockey is first-class entertainment.

10) If you care about such things, there are 3,073 names on the Stanley Cup.

9) One last hockey note: the St Louis Blues made the Stanley Cup finals their first three years in existence (1968-70), went 0-12 in those three series but have not been back in the finals since.

League expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967; all six new teams were in the Western Conference, meaning one of the new teams would be in the finals every year. St Louis was the best of those teams, but their fans have had a very long wait to win a Stanley Cup.

8) There is a Senator from Oklahoma named James Lankford; I know nothing about the guy, but I'm hearing him on TV as I type this-- he has a tremendous voice. He could make a fortune doing voiceovers on commercials.

7) Adrian Peterson was re-instated by the NFL; next question is, will he stay on the Vikings, or get traded somewhere else (Dallas???)?

6) There are four NBA teams who finished in the top 10 this year, in efficency on both offense and defense: Spurs-Hawks-Warriors-Trailblazers.

5) High school athletes sign with the college head coach more than they do with the college itself; Dominic Green signed with Arizona State last fall, but he has re-opened his recruitment, with Herb Sendek getting fired. Green shoots it well, is considered a top 150 recruit.

4) UNLV is having a very good week; Stephen Zimmerman signed with the Rebels this week- he is a local 7-footer who played for Dave Rice's brother in high school at Bishop Gorman. Nigel Williams-Goss may also go to UNLV after transferring from Washington- he would be a tremendous get for the Rebels, and he has two years left in college.

I'm told that when local boosters were clamoring for Rice's head right after the season ended, Zimmerman's mom sent UNLV's AD an e-mail that said her son wouldn't play for the Rebels if Rice got fired. Take that, boosters.........

3) There will soon be a college basketball tournament in the Cayman Islands, much like the event in Atlantis every November. More basketball is good!!!!

2) Do you think these NFL prospects get tired of all these interviews they do with teams? They're only going to play for one team, but half the league has been picking their brains. Has to be tiring for a young person.

1) If NFL Network ever wants to do a great reality show, they should show us an inside peek at how the schedule is made up every year. This year's schedule hasn't been finished yet and it looks like it will be released later than usual.

Thursday's List of 13; Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Chicago 4, Nashville 3 OT-- Not often a winning goalie in an NHL playoff game is a non-starter; Predators led 3-0, blew the game, now Chicago has home ice in this series. Nashville has only won two playoff series in franchise history this is no way to win #3.

12) How great is overtime in playoff hockey? Nothing else like it in sports.

11) USA Network has NHL playoff games for first time in 30 years, when Al Albert and former coach Gary Green did the games. Why doesn't ESPN have any NHL games?

10) NFL Draft is in two weeks in Chicago; 26 players will be there, but neither of the top two picks, QBs Winston/Mariota will be there. You would hope their agents will at least make them available for TV interviews that night.

9) There is a guy who travelled to see all 82 Knick games this year, at his own expense, and now he wants to write a book about it. If nothing else, he should get a free pass into a mental ward for doing this.

8) Brooklyn Nets have to pay $11M in luxury tax, most of any NBA team. At least they got into the playoffs-- ironic that Lionel Hollins got into the NBA playoffs when his old team the Grizzlies knocked Indiana out last night.

7) Lance Stephenson made 18-105 (17.1%) from arc this season, the worst %age ever for an NBA player who took 100+ 3's in a season.

6) We live in an impatient society; Boston Bruins fired their GM Wednesday, four years after they won the Stanley Cup, one year after they had the best record in the NHL's regular season. No one has patience anymore- they missed out on the playoffs by a game and now heads have rolled. Doesn't seem fair.

5) Atlants Hawks went 60-22 this season, despite no player scoring 30+ points in any game this season. Elias says that has never happened before for any team that won 50+ games-- the Hawks won 60 games!!!!

4) All three of VCU's incoming recruits begged out of their letters of intent after Shaka Smart bolted for Texas. New coach Will Wade has his work cut out for him mantaining the Rams' talent level in the near future.

3) Bad week for the Arkansas Razorbacks, with Portis/Qualls both going pro; Mike Anderson hasn't had to deal with early departures very often. Anderson's system is dependent on depth and talent; these departures greatly reduce both.

2) Flames 2, Canucks 1-- Calgary scored with 0:29.6 left to upset Vancouver 2-1 and grab home ice advantage in their first round series.

1) Houston Rockets got the #2 seed in the West; James Harden got a triple double last night in their 117-91 win over the Jazz Wednesday.

Wednesday's List of 13: Some mid-week thoughts........
13) On Steph Curry making 77 3-pointers in a row at a Warriors' practice; long time ago, I rebounded for a guy who made 106 foul shots in a row. As student manager of the basketball team in college, rebounding for shooters was part of the job, actually one of the better parts, unless it was a bad shooter, then it was too damn much running for this rebounder, even at age 20.

Anyway, this got boring real fast; all I did was hold my right hand under the basket and flip the ball back to him, 106 times in a row. He was a player who never played a significant minute during games, I wanted to go home (this was right before end of practice), but it was cool to see how someone could shoot the ball so well. Practice makes perfect.

12) Milt Pappas went 209-164 during a 17-year pitching career that ended in 1973; he was on the Cubs' TV broadcast last night, before he sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch.

Pappas sparked a quick, interesting discussion about whether pitchers get hurt a lot these days because they do too much weightlifting. he seemed adamant that they do, but half-inning ended before they could get too much more into the subject. Too bad, it was a different perspective that deserves to be heard.

11) Kid from Arizona named Markus Howard is going to finish his high school years at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, to enhance his basketball career. Who do these kids live with when they move to another state for high school? Giving up your senior year in high school at home is a big sacrifice, I would think.

10) Can you imagine the internal discussions in San Diego that apparently are going on about trading Philip Rivers for a draft pick? Peoples' jobs are on the line with a move like this; Rivers doesn't want to move his family to LA if the Chargers move there, which is partially sparking this debate.

9) Wisconsin-Green Bay hired Linc Darner as its new basketball coach; he comes to Green Bay from Northern Florida, where he won the national title in D-II this season. This is the opposite of Bobby Hurley winning the weather lottery, going from Buffalo to Arizona State; Lakeland, FL to Green Bay is one of the worst weather trades you can make. Good luck recruiting, coach.

8) Russell Wilson's agent must get an angina attack every time he sees his client wearing a baseball uniform. Wilson played 93 games over two summers in Class A ball for Colorado farm teams; he hit .229, so he's not a major league prospect, seeing as this was 4-5 years ago. Why he would risk injury before he gets his big payday is a mystery to me.

7) Christian Yelich of the Marlins made a great catch in leftfield Monday night in Atlanta, which the Braves stupidly challenged, even though it was obvious on the replay that Yelich caught the ball. Doesn't every team have an eye in the sky to advise on replay reviews? Atlanta might not have one, for sure and if they do, they need a new one.

6) It is amazing to me how many people are talking SEC football.....in April. On the SEC Network, there is this radio show and the guy talks about football 364 days a year. They discuss Ole Miss special teams or Florida's lack of depth on the offensive line all spring/summer and they know a lot of stuff. It is intense.

5) Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL have training camp in Florida; is it still snowing in Regina? It can't still be snowing there, can it?

4) Dick LeBeau was forced out as defensive coordinator of the Steelers; their defense is going to be a lot younger this season. Five defenders who played 200+ plays LY have already departed Steel City and three of the five retired. As for LeBeau, he has moved on to coach the defense with the Tennessee Titans- he has been in the NFL as a player or coach for the last 56 years.

3) Actor Kevin James is a huge Met fan; he even wore a Mets road jersey to the Hollywood premiere of Mall Cop 2. If there is a God in heaven, there will be no Mall Cop 3; America can have only so much fun.

2) I watch the A's every night on DirecTV; I'm trying to figure out how Seattle and Arizona fired Bob Melvin as manager. He is really good, very calm and his teams reflect that. Platooning drives me nuts a little but it is what the A's do and it has been mostly very good for them. They're lucky to have Melvin.

1) NHL playoffs start tonight, the best playoffs of any sport. 7-game series are better in hockey than the NBA, with so many more variables in a single game because of the bouncing puck. Takes 16 wins to win the Cup; its a grind.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Wonder what New Orleans Pelicans thought about the NBA rescinding Russell Westbrook's 16th technical foul, which allowed him to play Monday night against Portland? Pelicans/Thunder are tied for the last playoff spot.

12) Kris Byant has seven RBI in his first five AAA games; when will the Cubs bring him up? Pretty obvious he is major league-ready.

11) Since the start of 2014 season, lefthanded hitters are 17-144 (.149) against Mets' lefty reliever Jerry Blevins, with six walks and 44 strikeouts.

10) In addition to Urban Meyer making $6.5M a year, he also gets the use of a private jet for 50 hours a year, up from 35 in his last contract.

9) Pepsi replaces Coke as the official soft drink of the NBA; ton of money in this stuff. When I stayed at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas last November, they were in midst of switching from Coke to Pepsi and ran out of regular Coke while I was there. No bueno. In my humble opinion, Coke is way better.

8) Speaking of the NBA, I'm probably not renewing my NBA League Pass for next year; the product just isn't good enough to justify the expense. Too many guys taking nights off; good teams rest guys for playoffs, bad teams do not try hard enough to win.

If someone who likes basketball as much as I do doesn't want the League Pass, thats bad news for the NBA- they need to stretch out their schedule to create less back/backs, so players will try to play 82 games again.

7) Ron Baker/Fred Van Vleet are both coming back to Wichita State next year, which means the Shockers will be a preseason top 10 team. Decisions like this make or break programs; it gives Gregg Marshall another year of national TV exposure and more time to recruit their replacements.

6) Stuff like this reminds me of when Rob Evans was coach at Arizona State; he went 18-14 in 2005 with Ike Diogu his best player- they seemed like a team on the rise, but then Diogu left a year early for the NBA, the Sun Devils fell off the cliff and Evans got fired. Had Diogu stayed and ASU made the NCAAs, Evans gets a contract extension and the course of their program is way different.

5) Virginia took a hit with Justin Anderson going to the NBA; Cavaliers will still be good, but they're out of the preseason top 10 now. Tony Bennett has no chance of being fired; they're still a strong program, but they're not going to be a threat to get to the Final Four now.

4) Transfer list for college basketball is now over 450 kids; lot of turnover all over the country. There are 351 D-I teams. Kids don't like to sit on the bench anymore; if they ain't playing, they ain't staying.

3) Tigers' pitcher David Price says that every time he is consistently throwing 95-96 mph, which he doesn't always do, he gets "randomly" tested for drugs before his next start. He doesn't think it is a coincidence.

2) Forget to mention this yesterday; the catch George Springer made Sunday in Arlington was amazing-- it saved the game in extra innings. He robbed the Rangers of a game-winning grand slam and the Astros won three innings later.

1) If you haven't filed your taxes yet, today would be a good day to do it.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend...........
13) Masters must be TV gold; CBS runs commercials for it in January, NBA or NASCAR won't go head-to-head with it on Sunday. They use same graphics package they used in 1986, announcers aren't allowed to say certain words on the air (they banned Gary McCord for being.....himself during broadcasts).

There is a certain weirdness about it, but money talks, often very loudly.

12) Drexel graduate transfer Damion Lee has whittled his list of destinations down to five schools; Arizona-Gonzaga-Louisville-Marquette-Maryland. he is from Baltimore and will help a lot no matter where he goes.

11) Chris Mullin signed up buddy Barry Rohrssen as an assistant coach for St John's, giving him an impressive couple recruiters as his first two assistant coaches. Question now becomes: are there enough good players in NYC for St John's to be a perennial NCAA tourney team? There is debate on this, but it looks like Mullin is intent on building a recruiting fence around the Big Apple.

10) Carolina Hurricanes (down 18%), Florida Panthers (down 22%), had NHL's biggest attendance drops this season, as compared to average of previous three seasons. Still think the NHL needs less Sun Belt teams, more in Canada.

9) Indians lost catcher Yan Gomes for 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL.

8) There is a strong rumor on the Interweb that Pistons' Greg Monroe is going to sign with the Knicks as a free agent this summer.

7) With LA/Boston missing playoffs this spring, Blackhawks are only team in NHL playoffs that has won a Stanley Cup in the last five years.

6) This goes back a ways, but apparently the LA Kings got so mad at their coach one night in February, they locked him out of their locker room after a game in Tampa. This is a team that won two of last three Stanley Cups- they also won their next seven games after the incident.

5) Funny thing about the Kings; they won the Stanley Cup last year, missed the playoffs this year, but they had five more points this regular season than they did last year. But winning in the playoffs is all that matters.

4) Milwaukee beat the Nets 96-73, putting Jason Kidd's team in the playoffs, after they had the worst record in the league last year. Now they're 40-40, not exactly the '71 Lakers, but thats still a big improvement.

3) Russell Westbrook scored 54 points in Oklahoma City's loss in Indiana yesterday, but he also got his 16th technical foul, which means that unless the league rescinds the technical, he can't play against Portland tonight. Thunder is in a struggle for the last playoff spot- they obviously need him to play.

2) Miguel Cabrera went 11-14 in Detroit's series in Cleveland this weekend, as the Tigers start this season 6-0, even with Justin Verlander on the DL.

1) NBA playoff picture, as the season enters the last few days of the regular season: Pacers/Nets are tied for last playoff spot in East; in West, Thunder and Pelicans are tied for the 8th spot.

Sunday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind..........
13) Alex Rodriguez tried to play first base yesterday; he looked like a nervous 11-year old every time a ball came near him.

What do ballplayers do in spring training? Aren't they supposed to practice playing baseball? What the hell was ARod doing down in Florida? I was not a good baseball player, not even in Little League, but my footwork at first base was a hell of a lot better than ARod's Saturday. Who coaches this team?

12) You think Chase Headley was happy to get a throwing error on a ball that Ryan Howard would've caught? Howard is about as mobile as a statue right now, but ARod makes him look like freakin' JT Snow.

My point is that it is not real hard to get footwork down at first base. ARod is still a pretty good athlete; he should be at least average at first base.

11) Speaking of ARod, he is owed another $6M as soon as he gets to 660 home runs, which will tie him with Willie Mays on the all-time HR list. His employers are going to try and weasel out of paying him the $6M-- good luck there. Just because they can't profit from the event doesn't void his contract.

10) While we're talking about weasels, Angels are risking imploding their own clubhouse by turning their back on Josh Hamilton, whose personal problems were well-known before the Angels traded for him. But now that he seemingly can't play anymore, they're trying to duck out of paying him the remaining $$ on his contract. Ha!!! Just pay him, get him counseling and pretend you care, thats their easiest way out of this mess.

9) Five Canadian teams made NHL playoffs for first time since 2004.

8) LA Clippers will have their pick of playoff dates, since Kings/Lakers will be playing golf soon. Clippers always complain about being treated like second class citizens in their own arena, so this is a good chance to make some hay on their local rivals.

7) Knicks won in Orlando Saturday but not before the two teams combined for the lowest-scoring quarter in recent NBA history. Knicks 8, Magic 7 in the second quarter made James Naismith turn over in his grave.

6) Milwaukee Bucks are 39-40, currently the #6 seed in the east. Houston is the #6 seed in the west; they're 53-26. Not sure how to fix this imbalance with east/west other than re-seeding all 16 teams before the playoffs, or not letting sub-.500 teams in the playoffs. Doubt either option will ever happen.

5) Mets' closer Jennry Mejia gets 80 games for steroids; of course he has no idea how they got into his system. David Wright threw Mejia under the bus, for some reason, which should make the Mets' clubhouse a fun place when Mejia returns in July.

4) Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner is going to be offensive coordinator of the high school team his son plays on this fall. Brett Favre is a high school OC in Mississippi; curious how much of an advantage they have, if they have one.

3) Congrats to Mark Buehrle on his 200th win Friday night; pretty quiet 200 wins, but he stays healthy and has been very consistent.

2) San Diego State-U San Diego are going to play an outdoor hoop game at Petco Park in December; court will be between third base and home plate.

1) Buffalo Bulls replaced Bobby Hurley with assistant Nate Oats, who came to Buffalo in a package deal with Justin Moss, their best player. Osts won a lot of games coaching high school ball in Michigan. Also means that Hurley has to find a new right-hand man in Tempe for his new job.

Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud...........
13) Tampa Bay's new manager is Kevin Cash. Bottom 8th in Miami last night, Marlins have go-ahead run on second, two out, Giancarlo Stanton up in an 8-8 game. Mike Morse is on deck. A drunken monkey knows you walk Stanton and pitch to Morse, but no, they didn't and Stanton gets the go-ahead single.

There is no defense for such hideous strategy; Rays had rallied from down 8-1 to tie game- they wound up losing 10-9 in the ninth. Cash is a rookie manager, for sure, but he'll never become a veteran manager unless he wakes up.

12) Adrian Gonzalez had knocked in a run in six straight plate appearances; since 1950, the holder of the record in this category is Jermaine Dye, with seven in 1999.

11) Cincinnati Reds are 4-0, with all four wins in their final at-bat.

10) Oakland A's have played five games; five different guys batted 2nd.

9) In their first four games, Bronx Bombers have been outscored 12-1 in the first five innings.

8) Calgary Flames are in NHL playoffs for first time in six years; Winnipeg has a team in playoffs for first time since 1996. People there are VERY happy.

7) Texas football coach Charlie Strong forgot his quarterback's first name during a deposition of a lawsuit between the Longhorns and Oklahoma State. Lot of coaches would forget their wife's name before their QB's.

6) Part of the reason Bobby Hurley bolted Buffalo for Arizona State was that Buffalo AD wouldn't negotiate with Hurley's agent. That and the maximum possible weather upgrade, moving from western New York to Tempe.

5) If I'm Danny Hurley, I get my brother on the phone, schedule a road game in the Arizona desert this year, with a return trip to URI next year. Even if ASU doesn't give the Rams a return game, URI should be better than the Sun Devils this coming season.

4) As I'm typing this, I can hear a guy outside walking down the street, cursing out whoever he is talking to on his cellphone. Keep it classy, Colonie.....

3) Friday's Cubs-Rockies game was the 12th game in major league history where both pitchers batted 8th; I'm just not a fan of this, but managers keep doing it. DJ LaMahieu went 3-4 in 9-hole for Colorado, but scored only once.

2) Best wishes to Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, who will undergo open heart surgery soon to repair a valve in his heart. Hoiberg is so calm, he seems like the last guy who would have heart problems. Get well soon, sir.

1) What a week for Jim Nantz; Final Four last weekend, Masters this week. Wonder which event he prefers doing?

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here..........
13) Trevor Bauer didn't allow a hit in six innings at Houston Thursday, in his six innings (111 PT) he allowed only six fair balls to be hit, striking out 11. In its first three games, Astros are batting .097 as a team.

12) Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha broke his ankle in an incident with the NYPD at a nightclub early Wednesday morning. He played 19 mpg in the Hawks' last six games before the injury.

11) Bobby Hurley was officially named coach at Arizona State, as his career path moves in the direction of eventually replacing Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

10) Seven Kentucky players declared for the NBA Draft, gutting their team for next year; eight of the top 20 high school seniors are still undeclared, so you know John Calipari will be after lot of those guys.

One mock draft I saw had one Harrison brother getting picked #53, the other not getting taken at all. Why leave early if that is when you're getting picked?

9) There are 351 Division I college basketball teams; there are already 261 transfers posted for this year. Kids make bad decisions, or things don't go as well as they would like. No one wants to sit anymore, not even for a while.

8) There is a Presidential election in 2016; I personally don't care who wins, as long as their last name isn't Clinton or Bush.

7) There was a story this week about how in 2008, Celtics played Atlanta in a playoff series; Boston's scouting report was 100 pages long. Thats an awful lot of information-- how much do you think gets absorbed?

6) Adrian Gonzalez is the ballplayer ever to hit five home runs in his first three games of a season; I was surprised no one had ever done that before.

5) NFL announced their preseason schedule Thursday; Vikings-Steelers is the Hall of Fame game August 9. Johnny Manziel remains an interesting person, as Buffalo-Cleveland is somehow a national TV game on August 23.

4) As far as NFL mock drafts go, only one per writer, please; there is too much speculation in media today anyway. The real draft is three weeks away.

3) Not to throw dirt on any baseball team this early in the season, but if your starting rightfielder is Jeff Francoeur, chances are your team stinks.

2) Nigel Williams-Goss transferred out of Washington's basketball program; he is a very good player, will be an excellent get no matter where he lands. Two schools that already have had contact with him: UNLV and Arkansas.

1) Don't think I could ever go to the Masters; would be traumatic to be without my cellphone for that long.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) 75-year old Jack Nicklaus stole the show at the Masters' par-3 tournament with a hole-in-one, his first ever at Augusta.

12) When Hank Aaron hit his 715th homer on April 8, 1974, an obscure relief pitcher named Tom House caught the ball in the Atlanta bullpen. 41 years later, House is now an expert on throwing mechanics, working mostly with QBs in the NFL. House had been a pitching coach in Texas under Bobby Valentine, in the days when George W. Bush owned the ballclub.

11) Of the nine batters in Oakland's lineup Wednesday, Craig Gentry was the only one who played for the A's last season. Mark Canha, Tyler Ladendorf both hit triples in a 5-run third inning-- it was the first MLB hit for both guys.

10) UNLV loses freshman star Rashad Vaughn to the NBA Draft, raising the question of whether it is worth it to recruit high-caliber players like Vaughn, if they're just gong to bolt after one season. Spend lot of resources recruiting them, coaching them, but never reap the benefits of having a veteran player.

9) Reverse side of that is at Georgetown, where star D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is said to have changed his mind and will play for the Hoyas next season. He's a very good player; his return makes Georgetown a top 25 team.

8) Louisville poached Cleveland State's best player; Trey Lewis, who scored 16.3 ppg for Vikings last season. This is what happens when bigtime coaches find their rosters a little short; they just raid a mid-major and take their best player. Not a lot of ethics when millions of dollars are at stake.

7) Chris Mullin got his first signee when Tarik Owens left Tennessee for the Red Storm; 6-10 sophomore didn't play all that much for the Vols this season but improved near the end of the year- St John's needs bodies- they're losing a lot from this year's team.

6) CBS newsman Bob Schieffer is retiring later this year; he has hosted Face the Nation on Sunday mornings since 1991.

5) Minnesota Twins are first AL team since 1977 (Seattle) to get shut out in first two games of a season; they haven't even had a guy on third base yet.

4) Apparently ESPN bought a stake in DraftKings, so expect a deluge of fantasy sports commercials. Tryng to figure out how that is legal but gambling on games isn't-- seems like the same thing.

3) Big Dawg reports that 115 guys were on the DL before this baseball season even started; thats 3.83 guys per team. Again, one guy was on the DL after he got hurt while sneezing.

2) I love my IPhone6, but I despise Auto Correct; please let me correct my own mistakes. Auto Correct causes more problems than it fixes.

1) NHL's best teams in shootouts: Chicago 9-3, St Louis and Colorado, both at 9-4. Worst teams in shootouts: Philly is 3-11, Detroit 4-10.

Wednesday's List of 13: Some mid-week thoughts.........
13) Pretty cool moment in Montreal Friday night, when Russell Matin's dad played O, Canada on the saxophone before the Jays-Reds exhibition game at Olympic Stadium. Martin grew up in Montreal; this is his first year with the Blue Jays.

12) Pretty un-cool stuff in South Carolina, where someone filmed a police officer gunning down a citizen running away from him after a routine traffic stop. Apparently the guy was running because he owes child support and didn't want to be arrested for that. The officer has been charged with murder.

I'm not posting a link to it here but it is all over TV today; it looks like a bad movie, but it is very real and very sad.

11) 34.2% of shots in college basketball this season were behind the arc, the highest percentage since 1987.

10) Rick Porcello (76-63, 4.30 in 180 starts for a good team) got $82.5M from the Red Sox, on a 4-year contract. Shouldn't they have just paid Jon Lester?

9) Related subject: average ticket to a game in Fenway Park this season will be $52.34, highest in major league baseball.

8) In the last 29 years, covering 116 major golf tournaments, only eight were won by someone not in the top 100 of the World Golf Rankings.

7) Baseball's All-Star Game is in a National Lague park the next four years, which is highly unusual; they alternated leagues for decades.

6) 15 of 25 players on the San Diego Padres weren't Padres last season.

5) Atlanta Braves are 61-33 in their last 94 games against the Marlins.

4) Chattanooga coach Will Wade is the new coach at VCU, where he used to be an assistant to Shaka Smart. Its funny how Chattanooga has to hire a new coach, only because Texas fired its coach and hired Smart from VCU.

3) Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt grew up in Augusta and worked on the scoreboard at The Masters as a kid.

2) If you're Bo Ryan and you just lost a close national title game, it looks bad to bitch about the refs on national TV, even if you're right.

1) Just to make you (and me) feel worse about our bracket, ESPN's national contest was won by a little creep from Illinois who is in the sixth grade.

Tuesday's List of 13: Wrapping up Opening Day........
13) Rockies 10, Brewers 0-- Rough day for Milwaukee, which lost Ryan Braun to a ribcage injury and got crushed in home opener-- it was 10-0 in 4th inning. Colorado's pitcher Kendrick even had two hits. Guess it was an omen for the Badgers too-- bad day in Cheeseland.

12) Mets 3, Nationals 1-- Scherzer was throwing no-hitter in sixth inning when Nats botched a short pop-up in centerfield, then Duda knocked in couple runs with Mets' first hit of game. Mets' third run scored after another Desmond error. Bartolo Colon was tough for the Metropolitans.

11) Braves 2, Marlins 1-- Only the Marlins could have a rain delay in a home game in a domed stadium; how about closing the damn roof when you know it is going to rain???? By the way, it rains most every day in Miami at 5:00 or so.

10) Reds 5, Pirates 2-- Cueto was brilliant for seven innings, Reds bullpen let Pirates tie it, then Todd Frazier hit 3-run homer to send fans home happy. It is tough to recognize Andrew McCutchen without his dredlocks.

9) Dodgers 6, Padres 3-- This is where I complain about fact that two of my fantasy baseball starters are hurt already. Baseball is a sport where a guy went on the DL this spring after he got hurt while sneezing. Lineman on the Patriots played a Super Bowl with a torn ACL.

8) Blue Jays 6, Bronx 1-- Didi Gregorius got thrown out stealing 3rd in bottom of 8th inning, with two outs and Jays leading 5-1, with Teixeira up. On bright side, you can get a 28-ounce steak in their fancy restaurant in their stadium for $62, so there's that. Toronto has no excuses this year; they're a good team.

7) Tigers 4, Twins 0-- 12 years ago, Dave Bliss was basketball coach at Baylor; one of his players killed a teammate, and Bliss told his players to portray their dead teammate as a drug dealer to conceal the fact that Bliss was breaking rules in how he funded the player's scholarship.

Bliss is 71 now and somehow, Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, OK has hired him to be their basketball coach. I swear, if they hired me it would have been better that hiring this creep. Scumbag is too kind a word for him.

6) Orioles 6, Rays 2-- Not sure how much $$$$ Buck Showalter makes, but I'm sure it ain't enough; the job he has done in Baltimore is really excellent. Not a lot to like about the way the Rays are looking; plus they have pitching injuries..

5) Royals 10, White Sox 1-- I've never heard of a pitcher having a cramp in his pitching thumb, but that is what drove Ventura out of the game. We get excited about Opening Day, but overreact to Opening Day results; its a long season.

4) Mariners 4, Angels 1-- Just glad the A's didn't open against King Felix this year; we've done that way too many times. Its cool that it looks like Hernandez will pitch his whole career in Seattle, even if they are our divisional rivals.

3) Astros 2, Indians 0-- JD Martinez bats 5th for Detroit, a really good team; he got released (RELEASED?!?!?!?!) by the Astros last March. How does the GM of the Astros explain that one to his owner? Doesn't he have any assistants who will tell him when he's about to do something stupid?

2) Red Sox 8, Phillies 0-- Weird situation here, as most people expect Hamels to be on the Red Sox by the end of July, and here he is, pitching against them. Pedroia and Ramirez both hit couple taters. Not lot of optimism in Philly.

1) A's 8, Rangers 0-- Sonny Gray was tremendous, A's broke 10-game skid on Opening Day. Its only one game of 162, but Ike Davis at 1B is a huge upgrade defensively over the suspects who played there last year. Jesse Hahn starts for Oakland tonight; he went to high school with Matt Harvey of the Mets.

Monday's List of 13: Happy Opening Day, everyone!!!
13) Atlanta Braves raised a white flag the day before Opening Day, shedding roughly $55M in net salary, but dealing closer Craig Kimbrel to San Diego. You know your career is in the ashcan when a team trades their closer so they can also get rid of you (BJ Upton).

12) Meanwhile, the Padres are an intriguing team as the season starts; no one can say they're not trying to challenge the Dodgers/Giants in NL West.

11) Alabama hires Avery Johnson as its hoop coach; he was NBA Coach of the Year in 2006, but has never coached in college. Johnson's son plays for Texas A&M, an SEC rival of Alabama. People think he'll be a great recruiter.

Guys on ESPN Sunday went out of their way to praise Johnson as a person, so thats cool. The SEC has some outstanding basketball coaches.

10) One last thought on Shaka Smart-to-Texas: Smart made $1.8M at VCU LY; they offered him a raise to $2.8M, but he bolted to Texas for $3M a year. There is a thought process among some coaches (think Buzz Williams-- Marquette to Virginia Tech) that it is wise to align with a school that plays bigtime football, that the real money/security is there. It'll be interesting to follow, but it is unfair to say that Texas blew VCU out of the water financially.

9) Cavaliers are 31-7 in their last 38 games, so no one talks about them- they haven't lost at home since January 7.

8) NBA handicapping trend: Celtics are 10-1 vs spread on the road, when they played at home the previous night.

7) Would love to know how Brad Stevens likes coaching in the NBA, as compared to college. Getting Butler to the national title game two years in a row is one of the great achievements in recent college history. Boston is #8 in the East right now; Stevens can have his choice of college jobs, if he wants that.

6) As if this season hasn't been dismal enough for the Knicks, you watch the Cavaliers on TV and see JR Smith being a huge part of their success. Yikes.

5) How is Bo Ryan not in the basketball Hall of Fame? Four national titles at the D-3 level, two Final Fours in D-1-- he's not a Hall of Famer? Bull.

4) Texas Rangers employed professional ball shaggers in spring training; they pay guys to suit up, go out in the field and shag balls during batting practice, so players don't have to do that. Not that modern ballplayers are pampered or anything. No infield practice during the season, now no shagging. Oy.

3) Reds' 3B Todd Frazier is from Toms River, NJ; his walk-up music is very Jersey: "Best is Yet to Come" by Frank Sinatra.

2) I feel bad for Kentucky's players; they had a great year, winning 38 games in a row, but all anyone will remember is the one loss.

1) Cardinals 3, Cubs 0-- Was great to watch game that counts; Chicago could have used a third baseman who can hit. Too bad they don't have anyone like that in their farm sys-- oh wait, forget I said anything.

Sunday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this baseball season
13) Cubs have a new manager, lot of good prospects, a stadium that will be undegoing renovation all season and very high expectations. When will they call 3B prospect Kris Bryant up from AAA? America is watching......

12) Red Sox have a lot of hitting, not so much pitching; will they pull the trigger on a big trade for s starting pitcher? Injury to Christian Vazquez makes it harder to part with catching prospect Swihart.

11) Mets also have high expectations, a manager under pressure to win and a nitwit owner. They're loaded with starting pitching, thin on defense in middle infield. Will they trade Daniel Murphy? Now that New York media has deemed Matt Harvey a combination of Gibson/Koufax, will he stay healthy?

10) Rays-- Gutted by defections of GM Friedman, manager Maddon; could be headed to Montreal to become the Expos. Starting rotation starts season with three of top five guys hurt. Things are not looking up.

9) Giants won World Series in three of last five seasons; kind of odd how they became a power shortly after Barry Bonds retired-- they had a dreadful spring, didn't play well, but its an odd-numbered year, they're not supposed to win.

8) Padres upgraded their roster with Shields-Kemp-Upton; big year for Bud Black, who has to contend now, or else.......

7) Orioles lost Cruz/Markakis, really didn't replace them; they hope Machado and Wieters return fron injury and are more productive. Showalter gives them an edge, but at the end of the day, players win/lose.

6) Oakland A's have three players left who were on squad before 2013 and none of the three (Sogard-Chavez-Scribner) are world beaters- their lineup has been totally turned over, but their piching is still strong. .

5) Diamondbacks-- So much of the Arizona brass are former A's, will be fun to see how they do. Don't think they'll be timid making moves. They must like Archie Bradley if they traded Cahill to make room for him.

4) Alex Rodriguez will get lot of attention as he returns from his exile; can he still hit at a high level? Can he play third? First? They're stuck with him for another three years and $60M, so he better be productive.

3) Cubs aren't the only Chicago team that spent lot of $$$ this winter; White Sox have upgraded the roster, Detroit looks to be a little down, can they win the division? Four of five teams can make a strong case for AL Central title.

2) If Philly gets off to a slow start, will they jump ship and trade Hamels and Utley? They're in decline; Howard's contract is untradeable, they don't have lot of young prospects on way up. Could be a long summer on Broad Street.

1) Hopefully, all this talk about speeding up the game is lip service to pacify lazy media members who whine about length of games; the game is fine, our attention-deficit society is the problem. I'm looking forward to the start of the season; get info every day on my MLB page on this site.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) If they do wind up putting another baseball team in Montreal, it'll be either the Rays or A's, two teams that can't get anyone in their current city to build them a stadium. Would be very sad if the A's ceased to exist so there could be a rebirth of the Montreal Expos, in a city that only likes hockey.

12) Woman in the express lane (14 items or less) in front of me at the grocery store Friday spent $111.23 on roughly 21 items; the complete lack of manners some people have today defies belief. I sound like someone's father, but.......

11) Brooklyn Nets are 13-9 since trading Kevin Garnett; Minnesota is 4-17 since they made the trade.

10) Shaka Smart had a $500,000 buyout at VCU; to satisfy part of that, Texas has to play the Rams home/home, or send them a check for $250,000.

9) Angels sounded disappointed that Josh Hamilton didn't get suspended for his drug relapse, as in "You mean we still have to pay him?"

8) NBA record for having played for the most teams is 12, held by four guys: Joe Smith, Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg and Chucky Brown. Three of those four guys played college ball in the ACC, the fourth in the Big 10-- its hard to become an established star in the NBA.

7) Fireworks nights are big draws at baseball parks across the country, so the A's are having six of them this season.

6) Stanford Cardinal won two of last four NITs, which isn't all that good; most coaches would rather make the NCAA tournament and lose than win the NIT.

5) adidas put up a billboard near Wrigley Field Friday that says "Worth the Wait", referring to third base prospect Kris Bryant.

4) Every time I watch the Milwaukee Bucks play, they play great; they're under .500 but will make the playoffs-- maybe I should watch more often

3) Knicks were down 30-8 at Washington Friday before the pizza got cold; its incredible how depressing a team they have.

2) NBA's problem is the Lakers make the Knicks look promising; plus they're in the West, so they're getting pummeled by better teams and its going to take them a lot longer to become relevant again.

1) Exhibition baseball games have been great to watch this month, but after a month of them, they get a little mind-numbing, simply because the results do not count. Will be great to watch some games that matter, with no players wearing #98 or #85.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Shaka Smart takes the Texa$ job and the ca$h that comes with it; read some stuff that said Texas AD Patterson is very hard to work for. Big 14 is real tough league; West Virginia already presses a lot in that league. Rick Barnes was in the NCAA tournament 16 of 17 years; tough act to follow

12) Tennessee paid a search firm $51,000 for them to be told Rick Barnes is a good coach; I would've told them for $51. What a waste of money.

BARNES' WIFE WENT TO TENNESSEE!!!! All they had to do was call him up, and they save $51,000. Complete waste of money. Barnes will be Vols' fourth coach in last six years, by the way. Hard to figure out why.

11) Bowling Green fired its coach Chris Jans, after a video surfaced of Jans in a bar, hitting on a woman while drunk. Jans went 21-12 in his first year with the Falcons, who will have their third coach in three years next fall.

10) John Wooden's last game was 40 years ago in San Diego, when his UCLA team won the NCAA tourney; tickets for the Final Four that year cost $12.

9) Missouri Valley-Mountain West will have a series of games next fall, which will help each league's non-conference schedules and provide some quality TV programming. UNLV-Wichita, Illinois State-San Diego State are two of the better games on the schedule.

8) Sacramento Kings signed 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract; good move. Young man is a better athlete than you'd think; he'll do fine.

7) Chris Paul had a huge game Wednesday, in Clippers' win at Portland; he had 41 points, 17 assists; his only turnover was in the first 0:15 of the game.

6) Coco Crisp (elbow) is out 6-8 weeks for the A's, who play 23 of their first 26 games against AL West rivals. Lot of new players on the A's this season.

5) Chicago Blackhawks (21,756), Montreal Canadiens (21,286) lead the NHL in average attendance; Florida (11,190), Carolina (12,483) are last in the league.

4) Justin Verlander begins the baseball season on the DL, first time he has been on the DL. Tigers are hopeful he can make his first start on April 12 against the Indians; they're not real deep in pitching.

3) Houston Texans have 35 ladies on their cheerleading squad; when they had tryouts recently, over 1,000 women tried out. Lot of cheerleaders in Texas.

2) Washington Redskins once went 11 years (1968-79) without a first round draft pick; their first pick in the '72 draft was in the 8th round!!!!

1) Billy Donovan's salary at Florida is $4.07M a year, but there are murmurs that he will listen closely when NBA teams come calling later this spring; if he leaves Gainesville, it'll create a big domino effect in the coaching carousel, and Shaka Smart might wish he turned down this Texas offer.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Gregg Marshall stays at Wichita State, which came up with a $3.3M salary to keep their coach out of Alabama. Basketball is serious business.

12) Where does the Crimson Tide turn now? Steve Prohm? Richard Pitino? If you take a new job, no matter what the money is like, you better be sure you can win there or else you're fired three years later. Or sooner.

11) Speaking of which, the Cubs fired Rich Renteria last fall after one season as manager, when Joe Maddon became available. Would love to see a TV network scoop Renteria up so we can get his insights on what managing the Cubs is like and what getting the boot after only one season is like.

10) Curious to me how Dave Martinez is the only coach who went from Tampa to Chicago with Joe Maddon; most of the rest are still with the Rays.

9) NFL Draft is four weeks from tonight and the top two QBs aren't going to be there. The more I think about Jameis Winston, the more I think I'd pass on taking him. Too many questions; I'm thinking Jimbo Fisher insulated him a lot from public scrutiny, and his NFL coach ain't going to be doing that. Life in the fishbowl can be unpleasant if you struggle on the field.

8) Supposedly, 12 Florida State kids might get drafted this year, which means Coach Fisher has a rebuilding job ahead of him, including starting a new QB. Winston lost one game in two seasons as a starter; he'll be hard to replace.

7) I'm not a morning person, but one of the best things about mornings are sausage biscuits with egg at McDonald's. Sadly, they stop serving them at 10:30, which is way too early for this late riser, but there is hope- McDonald's is going to start testing serving 24-hour breakfast in San Diego this spring.

If this goes well and they start serving breakfast 24 hours a day, the way Jack in the Box does out west, it will be tremendous. Sausage biscuits are terrific!!!!

6) People bet on exhibition baseball games; Pirates played the Orioles on the road last night-- Baltimore used a DH, while Pittsburgh didn't, since their pitchers have to bat next week. Game ended in a 3-3 tie, but if you bet the Orioles, you had an edge.

5) There have been 300+ college basketball transfers; there are 351 D-I teams, so you do the math on how many kids make the wrong decision, or become unhappy with their playing time. Georgia Sate's Ron Hunter says he recruits some kids he knows he can't get, on hope that if they decide to transfer, they'll consider Georgia State then..

4) Speaking of Hunter, how do some of these teams hire new coaches without giving him an interview? He's won at IUPUI and Georgia State, not exactly Kentucky/UCLA.

3) Over/under total for Mets and Bronx Bombers are both 81.5; when was last time the Bronx total wasn't higher than the Mets' expectations?

2) Chris Mullin is likeable; he was a great player, enjoyed his work on TV, hope he wins at St John's, but wasn't it a little weird how prominent Lou Carnesecca was at Mullin's press conference? Carnesecca is 90, has been out of coaching 23 years-- all that went thru my mind watching the press conference was that Carnesecca is still pulling strings behind the scenes, which if true, is an odd way to run a business.

1) Quote of the Day, part II: "20th pick in this (NFL) Draft is the same as the 50th pick, to me." unnamed NFL scout to themmqb.com. All of which means the 2nd round could be almost as much fun as the first round.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy April Fools' Day!!!!
13) Cubs sent star prospect Kris Bryant to AAA, so they can keep him under team control for another year down the road; thats their choice, but don't tell me you're trying to win if you send one of your best guys to the minors, even if only for two or three weeks. How many pennant races come down to the last week or the last day of the season?

12) Mark McLemore played 19 years in the big leagues, hitting .259 with a .349 on-base percentage in 7,239 plate appearances, so he knows a lot and is now a TV analyst for the Rangers, but he claimed the Cubs sending Bryant down was "so he could work on some things", which is total BS. McLemore has kind of a condescending tone that a lot of former athletes have-- he should lose it if he wants to be good on television.

11) Does every NBA team visit the White House? The 76ers were there this week; think that practice will continue after the 2016 election?

10) Miami 60, Temple 57-- Teams combined to go 8-40 from arc in brickfest that Temple led by five at half. Miami played without PG Rodriguez for third game in a row, which will help their young players next season.

9) Stanford 67, Old Dominion 60-- Cardinal led 25-4, blew the lead, then pulled away late; ODU sub Ross was 7-7, rest of team was 14-54, with star Freeman a 6-24 disaster. Stanford-Miami is your NIT final Thursday night.

8) 7,183 fans at Madison Square Garden for that twinbill; it is funny that the media refers to MSG as the "mecca of basketball", when they had 5,583 fans in Flagstaff, Arizona for the NJIT-Northern Arizona game, and Dayton annually puts 10,000+ fans in their arena for the NCAA play-in games.

7) 35 of the 99 golfers at The Masters this week didn't go to college; of the 64 who did, six went to Georgia. No other school has more than three.

6) I'm not criticizing DePaul for re-hiring Dave Leitao, but it is ludicrous that the Blue Demons paid a search firm to find a new coach, then came back with the name of a guy who coached that same team ten years ago.

What exactly do athletic directors do? Go on the Interweb, look up names of some good teams and find out who the assistant coaches are-- its not hard!!!!

5) Turner Sports needs to promote play-by-play guy Kevin Calabro to a more prominent role; he is very, very good. Calabro was the Sonics' announcer when they played in Seattle- he does work on the Pac-12 Network and does stuff on ESPN Radio but he is so much better than most of the play-by-play guys that work hoops now.

4) Baltimore Ravens signed QB Matt Schaub to back up Joe Flacco, which is a sure sign of the QB shortage the NFL has right now.

3) San Diego hired alum Lamont Smith to replace the fired Bill Grier as its coach; Smith was a recruiter at New Mexico, won't be as good a tactician as Grier is, but he'll get better players. Toreros' brass must be tired of getting whacked by San Diego State every December, then being a middling team in a pretty good WCC. We'll see.

2) Seahawks are really going to let Russell Wilson play out his rookie contract, with chance he could eventually walk as a free agent? Why would you purposely tick off your starting QB? Wilson walked out on NC State once, he'll do it again. You don't want to go hunting for a new QB in this day and age.

1) Remember, its April Fools Day!!!! Don't believe everything you hear today, except in this space, of course.....

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) If you're Texas or Alabama and you need a basketball coach, don't you at least have to give Mike Brey a call and see if he'd like to make $3M a year?

12) Fordham hired a good coach from Eastern Kentucky, but got abused anyway because the guy......is from Eastern Kentucky. Jeff Neubauer was a top assistant for John Beilein, so he's a damn good coach, but the question will be whether he can recruit at the A-14 level. Players win games.

Some people on Twitter were actually questioning whether Fordham was a better job than Eastern Kentucky; EKU made the NCAAs last season.

11) Chris Mullin said yes to St John's, so the big question becomes who will he hire as assistant coach/recruiters? Mullin has never coached, so he'll need an experienced tactician and a couple sharp recruiters.

10) Georgia State's RJ Hunter will skip his senior year, enter the NBA Draft, leaving his dad/coach behind after a memorable season.

9) Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was medically cleared to resume coaching duties, after sitting out most of this season with a non-life-threatening heart ailment, so thats good news for Cronin and the Bearcats.

8) Not sure why the Indianapolis Colts are letting coach Chuck Pagano enter the 2015 season as a lame duck coach, but it looks like they are.

7) Arena Football games are being shown on CBS Sports Network; great shots during replay reviews, with referee miked and you can see what he's looking at as he reviews the call.

6) NFL suspended Cleveland GM Ray Farmer for four games for texting the Browns' bench during games. This is a classic case of having too damn many rules, much like the deflated balls thing. Let teams do what they want and you'll have less drama. Who cares if the GM drives the coach nuts during games?

5) MLB Network is tremendous in March; 3-4 games on TV every day, either live or taped. Lets you get a feel for all the teams.

4) I'm not a big fan of teams batting the pitcher 8th; don't understand why it is done, other than Tony Larussa used to do it so people assume it is smart. How would you like to explain to a 9th-place hitter why he bats behind the pitcher?

3) Knicks fired their D-League coach with four games left in season, which seems unfair, seeing as the Knicks' D-League team plays in Madison Square Garden, disguised as the Knicks.

2) Eldrick Woods is now ranked #104 in the world and sinking; it is the first time since 1996 he is outside the top 100.

1) You learn about baseball teams when you watch other team's broadcast; the home side rarely gives the down side of their club- they're usually pretty eager to talk honestly about the other team.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Michigan State 76, Louisville 70 OT-- Izzo is now 21-4 in turnaround games, as Spartans bench had 26-5 scoring edge in game they trailed by 8 at half. This is 4th time in last five years a team seeded 7th or lower made the Final Four.

12) Duke 66, Gonzaga 52-- Zags' Wiltjer had an easy layup to tie game with 4:51 left, but missed badly and Gonzaga was outscored 13-1 from that point on. Three 1-seeds make the Final Four, most since all four made it in '08. Last five years, only one 1-seed each year had made the Final Four.

11) DePaul hired Dave Leitao as its coach, 10 years after he bolted DePaul to be head coach at Virginia. Leitao got the Blue Demons to NCAAs in 2004, when they played in what was a pretty good Conference USA. Twitter mainly bashed the hiring, but the guy knows the school, has had success there, and he'll probably stay there.

10) St John's has offered Chris Mullin its coaching job; no answer yet. Mullin has no coaching experience, but is an alumnus and a famous name who has been an NBA GM-- Interweb reports say he is expected to accept the job.

9) Former Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen is a good pal of Mullin's and would be an ace recruiter for the Red Storm, but he's still a little busy, being an assistant coach for Kentucky. Mullin will need to hire two solid recruiters.

8) Cal-Irvine's Russell Turner turned George Mason down; he has some experience in the NBA, so likely could land a bigger job than George Mason down the road. Plus, he has 7-foot-6 Ndiaye coming back; the Anteaters will be good again next season.

7) Utah State waited a long time before announcing they hired from within, naming assistant coach Tim Duryea to replace longtime coach Stew Morrill.

6) One more Izzo note: he is now 13-9 in NCAA tourney games when they wear green jerseys, which means they're the lower-seeded team. 13-9 as a lower seed.

5) Would people really buy a Buick just because it has WiFi? Seriously?

4) Little unusual that college hockey takes this week off, waiting until April 9-11 to have the Frozen Four. Extra week gets them lot more attention, since basketball will obviously be front-and-center all this week.

3) Jimmy Walker wins the PGA Tour event in San Antonio, making him first repeat winner this season, and first 54-hole leader in 11 weeks to win that tournament.

2) In last 12 NCAA tournaments, eight regional final games went to overtime; thats 8 out of 48 games, a pretty high number.

1) At no point this season did I think Michigan State was a Final Four team; they lost at home to Texas Southern Dec 20, they're 3-5 in overtime games this year, lost at home to Minnesota and Illinois, but they're mentally tough and they're still playing.

Sunday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Kentucky 68, Notre Dame 66-- Tremendous game; young Wildcats had poise down stretch, when they looked to be in deep trouble. Jerian Grant never came out of any of the Irish's four tournament games- he was only 4-14 in this game.

12) Wisconsin 85, Arizona 78-- Badgers were 10-12 on arc in second half, as Sean Miller lost in regional final for fourth time in last eight years. 2-seeds are now 11-4 in last fifteen regional final meetings with a 1-seed.

11) Last 12+ years, underdogs are now 33-17 vs spread in regional finals.

10) Apparently Texas wanted Rick Barnes to fire all his assistant coaches, and he wouldn't, so now Barnes is gone after 17 years in Austin. Some of these colleges haven't a clue; they're going to have a hard time finding someone who will be as successful as Barnes was.

9) The Barnes move screws Alabama, since they're an even worse basketball job than the Texas job-- there are a lot of great high school/JC players in Texas.

8) Just for the record, Barnes' wife went to Tennessee; he'll be signed up by the Vols before very long. He'll also be their fourth coach in the last six seasons.

7) It'll be an interesting week to be the agent for Gregg Marshall and Shaka Smart, but if those guys stay where they are, thats when the real fun will start.

6) Kentucky fans better enjoy this because someday soon, John Calipari is going to go back and try the NBA again, then the Wildcats are up a creek , because he created a monster whose fanbase will never be satisfied with anything other than a national title. If you don't think replacing Calipari is difficult, ask Josh Pastner in Memphis.

5) Arizona gave Yosmany Tomas a lot of cash, but now it turns out he isn't a good third baseman and may be more of a DH-type, which would be OK if Arizona was in the American League, but they aren't. He may have to start the year in AAA.

4) Shouldn't everyone who coaches in professional baseball learn Spanish?

3) Watching replay of a Royals-Diamondbacks exhibition game and they're doing a dugout interview with Mark Grace, who is an assistant hitting coach after he had been the analyst on Arizona's TV broadcasts. Grace was a classic on TV and is missed, but it sounds like he is happy and healthy and thats the main thing.

2) It snowed here in beautfiul upstate New York Saturday, nine days before Opening Day of baseball season, two days after I came back from Las Vegas. No bueno.

1) Why in God's name is Russell Wilson playing baseball? His agent must have a coronary every time the phone rings. He could lose hundreds of millions if he has some kind of an arm injury.

Saturday's List of 13: Some baseballl prop bets for 2015.....
What follows are from a sheet of prop bets I picked up in Las Vegas this week......the object is to pick whether the player will go over/under the listed number
13) Most home runs, any player: 43.5, under -$120

12) Most hits, any player: 208

11) Most RBI, any player: 125.5

10) Most wins, any pitcher: 21

9) Total wins for Clayton Kershaw, 18

8) Total home runs by Bryce Harper, 24.5

7) Most complete games by any pitcher, 6

6) Total hits by Mike Trout, 173.5

5) Total wins, Gerrit Cole, 11.5

4) Total home runs, Edwin Encarnacion, 34.5

3) Total home runs, Andrew McCutchen, 23.5

2) Total wins, Felix Hernandez, 14.5

1) Total home runs, Yasiel Puig, 20.5

We'll post some more of these as the season approaches......

Friday's List of 13: Things I think about on a 5-hour flight........
13) Notre Dame 81, Wichita State 70-- Fighting Irish pass the ball, they shoot the ball, are great fun to watch. They'll give Kentucky a ballgame because of it, but it'll take a near-perfect performance to post an upset.

12) Wisconsin 79, North Carolina 72-- Tar Heels shot 8-13 from arc and still lost; Badgers got nine minutes off bench from PG Traevon Jackson; Gasser played 40:00, Kaminsky played 39:00. Badger bench played total of only 31 minutes.

11) Arizona 68, Xavier 60-- Game was tied at half, but Musketeers were 3-17 on arc, which isn't good enough to post an upset. Underdogs were 2-2 vs spread last night, are now 25-11 in this round the last 4.5 years. Its a sad commentary on our world today that Sean Miller will take some heat if Arizona loses to Wisconsin Saturday, since he is 0-3 in regional final games.

10) Kentucky 78, West Virginia 39-- Al McGuire once said, "The best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores", which I'm guessing is what Bob Huggins is thinking about freshman Daxter Miles' trash talk about Kentucky before this game, which might've been the worst game I saw all season.

9) West Virginia isn't good enough to beat Kentucky no matter what, but no one pays to watch referees blow the whistle; I can't remember a game where there were two fouls in the first 0:15- Devin Williams had two fouls in the first 1:14 and left with the score 0-0-- it was 18-2 within a flash after that.

8) Post-game press conferences are high comedy, when players are always referred to as "the student-athletes". Xavier's press conference took place around 1am ET on a Friday morning, about seven hours before classes begin on Xavier's campus in Ohio. Xavier's players are in Los Angeles. Just call them what they are, players. Some are good students, some are not.

7) If Texas is thinking about firing Rick Barnes, who exactly are they going to bring in who is better? He's been in 13 of last 14 NCAA tournaments, but hasn't been higher than a 7-seed since 2011- he is 35-37 in Big X the last four years, but I'll ask another question-- if you fire a guy with Barnes' overall record, is this really a good job? Not all changes result in improvements.

6) Correction: New Nevada coach Eric Musselman didn't work for Trent Johnson at LSU, he worked for Johnny Jones, who succeeded Johnson in Baton Rouge.

5) Bad night for Wichita State last night, and now it could get worse, as Alabama is going to throw $3M a year at Gregg Marshall and if he says no, there's a chance Texas could do the same thing. And for you cocky Kentucky fans out in Las Vegas? The day is coming when Calipari is going to go back to the NBA-- what you going to do then??

4) Victor Martinez homered Thursday, good news for my fantasy baseball team; he isn't and probably won't be catcher-eligible, but I still need his bat at DH.

3) Why would a business refuse service to anyone based on their sexual orientation? Indiana passed a weird and dangerous law this week-- everyone's money is worth the same amount, why should it be legal for a business to exclude gay people-- how would you know who is and who isn't? I'll say this; it sets a dangerous precedent.

2) Hardest part of vacation was dragging my butt out of bed a couple days at 10am to go down to the sportsbook and watch exhibition baseball games. My sleep clock gets all kinds of messed up on my trips to the desert.

1) You know it was a great vacation when it feels like you've been gone for a month when you get back and its only been ten days.

Thursday's List of 13; Random stuff as I head on home
13) Over last four years, underdogs are 23-9 vs spread in this round of NCAAs, so you figure if someone is going to get Kentucky, it could be here. Having a lot of prep time to devise a unique strategy could be a reason why.

12) Over that same period, #1-seeds are 3-10 against the spread in this round.

11) Nevada hires Eric Musselman over Tony Barbee as its basketball coach, maybe because Musselman worked at LSU this year for Trent Johnson, who is one of the best coaches Nevada has had. Wolf Pack is going to move up in Mountain West.

10) Joakim Noah had 14 assists against Toronto last week, the first NBA center since 1990 with 14+ assists in a game.

9) Halftime score Wednesday in New York: Clippers 63, Knicks 33. Oy.

8) Iowa Hawkeyes are letting QB Jake Rudock transfer and play without sitting a year, quite an indictment, seeing as Rudock has been the Hawkeyes' starter the last two seasons and he is rumored to be heading to Big 14 rival Michigan.

7) Dalton State won the NAIA basketball championship, in only the second season since they revived their program after a 35-year hiatus. Thats hard to do.

6) Old Dominion 72, Murray State 69-- Wild game, with two 3-pointers made in last 0:03.5; Racers lost two games since Thanksgiving, both on banked-in 3-pointers.

5) Nothing against Belmont, but watching Murray State play twice this week, I'm feeling cheated they didn't play in NCAAs; think they could've made the Sweet 16, but thats the tightrope mid-majors walk in their conference tournaments.

4) A's sent reliever Ryan Cook to AAA, which is surpising; he's helped the ballclub a lot the last few years, but he's had a rough spring. I'm guessing there is going to be a pretty active shuttle between Oakland and their new AAA team in Nashville.

3) There is an Arena Football team here in Las Vegas this year, the third time the AFL has tried to find a home in the desert. Singer Vince Neil is the team's owner, joining Gene Simmons as an Arenaball owner.

2) Nothing is as uplifting as walking thru a casino just before midnight, and seeing a family of six trudging along, with the mom pushing the youngest in a stroller, while the other three urchins (none older than 10) follow the dad like little ducklings.

Start 'em early, people!!!!

1) I'm headimg home today after a terrific vacation at South Point, which is a very good place to stay. I highly recommend it........

Wednesday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) One of highlights of trip was watching Golden State hold the Wizards to one basket in third quarter Monday night, as some know-it-all nitwit behind me cursed out the Wizards out because he bet on them. Then the jackass called his wife and told her he had to work late, as he went off to a strip club with his buddy. What a gem.

12) Over last eight years, underdogs are 23-9 vs spread in regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament. Having time to prepare helps the underdog.

11) New York Rangers are now 17-4-3 since goalie Henrik Lundqvist got hurt; they'll have an interesting decision to make when the playoffs roll around.

10) Miami 63, Richmond 61-- Hurricanes were down 18 at one point.

9) Cubs want to send 3B phenom Kris Bryant down to AAA for a few weeks so they keep him under club control for one extra year; problem is, the kid has nine HRs this spring and if the Cubs are really serious about contending this serason, they need to put their best club on the field from Day One- that team would appear to include Bryant.

8) After this season, college basketball players won't be able to transfer and become immediately eligible, if they've already graduated college- that rule was becoming a problem for mid-majors, with kids skipping out for better leagues.

7) Pitt's women's team got a technical foul before the game for not putting its lineup in on time for a tournament game in Tennessee. How many assistant coaches you think they have? Talk about incompetence.

6) Saw a guy score from second base without a throw on a wild pitch in the Angel-Ranger game Tuesday; we're entering dog days of spring training for position players; spring training is as long as it is to get the pitchers ready to go.

5) How does the coach of an undefeated team not win Coach of ther Year? Don't tell me Kentucky has great players; who do you think recruited them and yes, recruiting is a big part of coaching, maybe the biggest part.

4) Brett Favre is the only QB in NFL history to start all 16 games after he turned 39 years old. Peyton Manning turned 39 this week.

3) Dodgers signed Cuban 2B Olivera to a six-year, $62M contract, even though he is rumored to have a bad elbow that will prevent him from playing 3B.

2) I highly recommend Steak 'n Shake in the South Point casino; its tremendous!!!.

1) Golden State is having a great season, but their first round playoff opponent could easily be Oklahoma City; if Durant comes back for that series, how confident are you that the Warriors will advance to the second round?

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) You meet all kinds of interesting people hanging around a sportsbook or a casino bar; this week has been no exception. I've met a homeless guy who spends his afternoons drinking free beer by the sportsbook, an elderly Wisconsin fan, a gambler from Illinois who was the best story teller I've ever met-- I've learned a lot in the last eight days-- hopefully it'll make this website more fun for you to read.

12) College basketball coaching carousel is starting to spin: rumors have Arizona State getting rid of Herb Sendek today; SE Missouri and Bradley fired their coaches, and an interesting hire was Steve McClain at Ill-Chicago. He was pretty good while at Wyoming and has been an assistant at Indiana ever since.

11) BJ Johnson transfers from Syracuse to LaSalle; he had 19 points in a February game with Notre Dame, but scored only 4.2 ppg this season. Couple kids transferred out of South Florida; Anthony Collins only has one year left wherever he goes.

10) Murray State 83, Tulsa 62-- Racers looked like a top 20 team in crushing Tulsa on its home court- they made 14-25 from arc, led by 18 at halftime and won easily even though star Cameron Payne fouled out with 8:00 left.

9) Mike Brey's mother, who passed away Saturday, swam in the 1956 Olympics and once held the world record in the butterfly.

8) Louisiana Tech 84, Texas A&M 72-- Another mid-major spanks an SEC team on its home court; Tech coach Michaeel White is son of Duke's AD, brother of Buffalo's AD- he has a brother-in-law working with him in Ruston.

7) Bucks-Nets have played three times this season; two of three games went to triple overtime. Jason Kidd jumping from Brooklyn to Milwaukee has already made the games emotionally charged, but two triple OT games in same year makes it moreso.

6) Celtics are currently #8 seed in the East; they're eight games under .500. Suns and Pelicans are both over .500 but out of the playoff picture right now. Seems wrong.

5) Relaxed Monday afternoon, watched the A's play in the South Point sportsbook; weird seeing Brandon Moss play against the A's. He helped them so much last three seasons. $1.25 hot dogs by the sportsbook are tremendous, by the way.

4) New York City talk show nitwits were making a big stink out of the Mets starting Bartolo Colon in the season opener. Anyone with half a brain realizes the Mets are going to limit Matt Harvey's innings by stretching out his starts where they can, so they don't have to shut him down in September, the way Washington did with Stephen Strasburg a few years ago. but everyone is a critic, so......

3) Alabama is poised to offer Wichita State's Gregg Marshall $3M a year to coach the Crimson Tide; going to be very interesting; a) if he takes the job or not b) where they turn if he declines their offer. Nick Saban casts a very large shadow.

2) ESPN's 30 for 30 show on former NBA player Chris Herren and his fight against substance abuse is just tremendous television. Very very sad in spots; the story is heading to a happy conclusion, but obviously it is a daily struggle he fights. If you haven't seen it is really is worth watching-- an amazing true story.

1) Had the pleasure to meet website readers Mike/Martha/Walt this weekend; Mike is a sharp gambler who scored big at the baccarat table before leaving town. Walt is a big Notre Dame fan, but I won't hold that against him. Really nice people; it was a pleasure to hang out and shoot the breeze with them.

Monday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Michigan State 60, Virginia 54-- Spartans split last four home games, went just 4-3 in last seven games before this weekend. 2-seeds are now 4-4 in this round the last two years. Quiet end to a great year for Virginia, which went 2-3 in its last five games after starting the season 28-1.

12) Duke 68, San Diego State 49-- Why do Grant Hill and Shane Battier start their TV careers at the top of the ladder? At least Corey Maggette is doing Big West games on cable, working his way up. Alaa Abdelnaby is the best of the TV Dukies, but he is on CBS Sports Network and we don't hear him much.

11) Wichita State 78, Kansas 65-- I'm thinking this is bad news for mid-majors, with the little cousin KO'ing the big $$$ in-state team in the public spotlight, after they had refused to schedule Wichita for 22 years. Next question becomes; was this Wichita's Super Bowl? They play Notre Dame next.

10) Oklahoma 72, Dayton 66-- If DePaul called Archie Miller, he'd have to listen, right? He's won five NCAA games in the last 13 months but only makes $335,000 a year. Thats a lot of $$$ for you and I, but for a coach with his accomplishments, he is vastly underpaid by market standards.

9) Gonzaga 87, Iowa 68-- Zags put on impressive display after losing in this round in previous five tournaments- they made 10-16 from arc, had an eFG% of 71.6%, which is outrageously good. Iowa won its first tournament game in 14 years Friday, but looked like a mid-major in this game.

8) Wisconsin 72, Oregon 65-- Had pleasure of watching this game with nice people from Madison; an elderly lady told me that someone she knew was dying of cancer, and got the nicest note from Russell Wilson, who played football for the Badgers. She was genuinely touched by Wilson's letter; its good to hear nice things about people.

7) Louisville 66, Northern Iowa 53-- Disappointing performance by the Panthers, who had been bet up to -2.5 in this game. Louisville/North Carolina both struggled to beat inferior teams in the first round, but then looked way better over the weekend.

6) West Virginia 69, Maryland 59-- Mountaineers forced 23 turnovers, now move on to face unbeaten Kentucky. Odd trivia: Bob Huggins had a heart attack a few years ago at the Pittsburgh airport; the paramedic who saved his life was John Calipari's cousin.

5) Coaching carousel rumors: Tony Barbee to Nevada, Ben Howland to Miss State; we neglected to mention last week that George Mason fired Paul Hewitt,, who once led Georgia Tech to a Final Four. He'd be an interesting candidate for DePaul.

4) This is time when teams in the NIT/CBI/CIT are a little less unhappy to be there, since 52 of the 68 NCAA teams are done playing and they're not. All of them would still rather have been in the NCAAs, but it doesn't sting as much now.

3) Captain Obvious reports that college sports is big business; Florida State is going to make $79.5M in upgrades to its football stadium. Thats million, with an M.

2) Murray State is at Tulsa tonight in the NIT; interesting chance for the Racers to play an AAC team on national TV, albeit on the road.

1) CBS signed up Anthony Grant as a studio analyst for Sunday, I'm assuming before the poor guy got fired by Alabama last Sunday, 45 minutes before the brackets were released; maybe yesterday will turn into an audition for a job next winter.

Sunday's List of 13: Random thoughts for a Sunday morning
13) Our thoughts and prayers go out to Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, who lost his mom to a heart attack Saturday morning, but coached his team last night anyway.

12) UCLA 92, UAB 75-- Blazers made 12-26 from arc and still lost by 17; let me say this now. Just because UCLA is in the Sweet 16 doesn't mean they belonged in the tournament, just like a team losing doesn't mean they didn't belong.

11) Kentucky 64, Cincinnati 51-- Bearcats played their asses off but didn't come close to winning, but they did cover the spread. If a team upsets Kentucky, they'll be a team that makes a lot of 3's and can match the Wildcats on the backboards.

10) Arizona 73, Ohio State 58-- Wildcats are now 9-1 in last ten second round games (8-1-1 vs spread). D'Angelo Russell went 3-19 from floor in what was likely his last college game. Not sure if Arizona shoots well enough to beat Kentucky.

9) Xavier 75, Georgia State 67-- Weird game with only 35 missed shots; Xavier made 68% of its shots, Panthers 57%. Obviously, Xavier and UCLA caught huge breaks when the #3 seeds in their regions got beat. Thats how unlikely champions emerge.

8) Utah 75, Georgetown 64-- If John Thompson III's dad hadn't been an iconic coach at the school, JTIII would need another job-- their program is very ordinary now. Not sure if it matters, but Utes didn't look good the last two weeks, but they won twice this weekend, they're still alive and headed to the Sweet 16.

7) North Carolina 87, Arkansas 78-- This is a good time to point out how much fun it is to be in Las Vegas this weekend. Am hoping to make a spring training trip a year from now and tack it onto March Madness, see my A's practice in Arizona. Could be too much fun for one month, but its worth a try.

6) Notre Dame 67, Butler 64 OT-- This was a tremendous game, lot of drama; not sure why these teams don't play each other every year. CBS hits the jackpot making this the last game of the day. Then we find out hours later that Mike Brey coached this game knowing his mother had died earlier in the day. Courageous thing to do.

5) NC State 71, Villanova 68-- Since 1987, #1 seeds are 116-0 in the first round, and 101-15 in the second round, with Villanova being the 15th loss. Of the other 14 teams that lost this early in the tournament, three made the Final Four the next season, with Arizona in 2000 the last team to do so.

4) Out of those 15 second round losses by a number one seed, Kansas has three of them, Stanford two.

3) Only two of those 14 teams fell off the cliff and missed the NCAAs the next year; Cincinnati in 2001, Pittsburgh in 2012.

2) DePaul and Mississippi State need new basketball coaches, which is bad news for a couple mid-majors who are about to lose their coach. NCAA tournament is a lot of fun, but if you're a coach whose team doesn't make it, your job is in jeopardy.

1) Quote of the Day, part 2: "I'm very much in favor of high school kids going pro. I had six young men commit to me out of high school that didn't go to college, that went to the pros. I'm very much for that because they didn't want college. They wanted to go to the NBA. And if they go to the [NBA Development League], that's fine with them." Rick Pitino

Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a full Friday of hoop
Kansas 75, New Mexico State 56-- Jayhawks made 9-16 on arc, starting a day where higher-seeded team won 15 of 16 games-- the only lower seed to win was Dayton in last game of the day and they were playing only 80 miles from home.

Northern Iowa 71, Wyoming 54-- Panthers are slight favorite over Louisville Sunday, which is an eye-opener. UNI is 20-1 in its last 21 games, losing at Wichita State on its senior day- they made 9-18 from arc in this game.

West Virginia 68, Buffalo 62-- Tough game to ref, very physical; question now for Buffalo is can they keep Bobby Hurley from a big money school? They fired the last coach because he never got them to this point; they'll probably lose Hurley because he did get them to this point.

Michigan State 70, Georgia 63-- Tom Izzo is now 7-0 against SEC in the NCAAs; in this day and age, where coaches bolt a lot, Spartans have had only two coaches over the last 39 years. Side note: just because UCLA made the Sweet 16 doesn't mean they belonged in the tournament.

Wichita State 81, Indiana 76-- Shockers get their first shot at Kansas since 1993, as Jayhawks refuse to schedule them in regular season. Of the 32 teams who advanced to the second round, nine of them don't play I-A football- their school's resources go to the basketball team.

Louisville 57, Cal-Irvine 55-- Anteaters scared the hell out of Louisville, then couldn't get a last shot off in the last ten seconds, as Cardinals had a foul to give but refs did not call it and Irvine never got a shot off after a scramble for the ball. 7-foot-6 Ndiaye is a game-changer for the Anteaters- he has two years of college left.

Maryland 65, Valparaiso 62-- Valpo made 12-27 from arc, but for the first time ever, 4-seeds have gone two years in row without getting upset by a 13-seed. Mark Turgeon bolted Texas A&M for Maryland because they were an ACC school; wonder if he would've taken the job if he knew they were going to jump to the Big 14?

Virginia 79, Belmont 67-- Cavaliers are flying little under radar as Anderson gets back in shape after a broken finger and an appendectomy- thats a bad month. Curious where Murray State would've been seeded had they won the OVC. Belmont is better than a 15-seed, thats for sure.

Oregon 79, Oklahoma State 70-- Teams dressed up as neon hi-lighters for this game, one team in bright orange uniforms, the other in bright yellow. Travis Ford is now 1-6 in NCAA tournament; not good. Joseph Young of the Ducks is the envy of scorers all over the country-- he's taken the most shots of any college player in America.

Duke 85, Robert Morris 56-- People in sportsbook bet first half lines a lot; I don't get that, guess its mostly just to have action. I bet behind closed doors, Mike Krzyzewski doesn't enjoy coaching as much now, with kids bolting his program after one season a lot-- you can't develop any continuity with new players every year.

Oklahoma 69, Albany 60-- Lon Kruger is first coach to win an NCAA tourney game with five different schools; he also coached in the NBA. Why did a guy like this move around so much? As for Albany, they're now 5-1 vs spread in NCAAs; their only win was in a play-in game over Mt St Mary's.

Iowa 83, Davidson 52-- Wildcats had really good season in their first year in A-14, but last week they looked terrible in pair of games (they looked worse in game they won), then got crushed here. Its a huge jump from Southern Conference to A-14; curious to see moving forward how their recruiting goes.

Wisconsin 86, Coastal Carolina 72-- Some people near me weren't too happy when coach Ryan emptied his bench at the end and Coastal Carolina's starters went on a late run against the scrubs to cover the 19-point spread. Coastal's nickname (Chanticleers) is a fictional rooster; not sure what difference is between a real rooster and a fake one.

San Diego State 76, St John's 64-- Dwayne Polee played at St John's as a freshman, then transferred to the Aztecs; he made 5-7 from arc in this game, but two of first three he made banked in and he didn't call 'em. Thank the Lord Aztecs won; America didn't need another dreadful Duke-St John's game- we always get one in January.

Gonzaga 86, North Dakota State 76-- Bison made 10-21 from arc to keep this one interesting and also cover spread; Summit League teams are 4-1 vs spread so far in this postseason. Lot of pressure on Zags against Iowa Sunday; Hawkeyes will be tough to beat and Zags have never been to Final Four- their season would be a disappointment if they don't get to the Sweet 16.

Dayton 66, Providence 53-- Archie Miller's salary at Dayton; $355,000. somebody get this guy an agent!!!! With success he has had, he'll be getting a significant raise and soon, one way or the other. Flyers got great deal from NCAA; a home game in play-in game, then a weekend 80 miles from home in Columbus.

Friday's List of 13: Wrapping up a full Thursday of hoop
Notre Dame 69, Northeastern 65-- First three games of the tournament were all 3-14 games; Irish were only 3-seed of the three that won their game and Northeastern had ball with chance to tie at end, but never got a shot off, turning ball over with 0:03 left.

UAB 60, Iowa State 59-- Blazers led 31-28 at half; they were 12.5-point underdogs. Halftime line was Iowa State -10, meaning if they won by 8, you won your secoond half bet, so you could basically re-bet the game at halftime, this getting Iowa State -7, but you would've lost if you did. Start of a very bad day for the Big X. .

Georgia State 57, Baylor 56-- Not good when one of your Final Four teams is the 7th team to lose in the whole tournament. Complete collapse by the Bears, who led at 2:40 mark 56-44 but never scored again (nine possessions).

Arizona 93, Texas Southern 72-- Joe from Philly texted me to let me know that after the afternoon card, out of 11 million+ entries in ESPN's bracket pool, 4,155 were still perfect. After eight freakin' games. I was not one of those 4,155.

At the end of the night, 273 brackets remained unscathed. Out of 11 million-plus.

Butler 56, Texas 48-- Bulldogs were +10 in turnovers, -13 on boards, blew most of a big lead at the end of the first half, but came through when it mattered most. Teams in Texas were 0-5 Thursday. Butler has an in-state game with Notre Dame next.

UCLA 60, SMU 59-- If Larry Brown is such a great coach, why didn't his point guard get the ball in the backcourt when UCLA was pressing in the last 0:30? The kid had almost single-handedly brought them back from a 10-point deficit. Bryce Alford has to be a shameless gunner for UCLA to win. I'm not going to mention the terrible call on the last 3-pointer, because SMU should've had the game in the bag before that- they led by seven with 1:24 left.

Xavier 76, Ole Miss 57-- Teams who win play-in games shouldn't have to play day games less than 48 hours later; it is bad enough they have to play an extra game. Ole Miss had nothing in this game. Now Xavier plays a 14-seed for the right to go to the Sweet 16.

Ohio State 75, VCU 72 OT-- This offseason I'm re-doing how I analyze college ball; one of the things I'm doing is identifying what type of coach each of the 247 teams I follow is. Is he a tactician? Recruiter/ Motivator? Shaka Smart is a recruiter and he gets kids to play hard for him. As a tactician in close games, he is putrid.

Two years in a row now he a lost a first round game in OT; he lost his last three OT games this season. The big $$$ schools who chase him better be careful.

Villanova 93, Lafayette 52-- Of the last 11 national champs, they were 20-2 vs spread on the first weekend of the tournament that year. This is a good thing for Villanova.

North Carolina 67, Harvard 65-- Roy Williams wouldn't play Paige at the point in this game while he had a big lead and it damn near cost him the game. How do the Tar Heels blow a 16-point lead to a team that can't shoot 3's? Wesley Saunders scored 26 points; he averaged 16 in the freakin' Ivy League!!!!

Cincinnati 66, Purdue 65 OT-- Boilermakers led by 7 with 0:48 left and lost, on a day when teams gagged away big leads left and right. Why can't teams play with a lead anymore? At one point, Cincinnati scored six points in seven seconds.

Utah 57, Stephen F Austin 50-- Utes' first tournament win in ten years. Not a great game to watch; teams played similar styles, so team with better athletes won without a whole lot of problems. SF Austin is not the pro wrestler or the Bionic Man but the guy considered the founding father of Texas way back when.

NC State 66, LSU 65--- Another tremendous gag job on a day where five games were decided by a single point each. LSU led 65-60 with 3:59 left, never scored again, which covered six empty possessions. No excuse for them losing this game.

Arkansas 56, Wofford 53-- Wofford is the gritty underdog who hangs tough but can't get a win; they're 0-4 under Mike Young in this tournament, with this being the closest they've come to a win. Pretty good game, but teams were combined 19-32 on foul line.

Kentucky 79, Hampton 56-- Pirates played hard down stretch and covered the huge 34-point spread easily. Was in food line behind couple of Kentucky fans who were crowing about the demise of the Big X yesterday. Wait until calipari has had enough of Lexington and bolts for a different job; those guys won't be as cocky then.

Georgetown 84, Eastern Washington 74-- Big Sky teams just don't have the athletes to compete with the big boys, even a team with as putrid an NCAA portfolio as the Hoyas have had recently. Eastern has some good shooters, not much else. Big Sky is now 1-15 in its last 16 first round games and the win was over Nevada.

Thursday's List of 13; Welcome to the best weekend of the year
13) Robert Morris 81, North Florida 77--Colonials were +14 in turnovers (19-5) in game they once trailed by 14. Another fun game to watch. Robert Morris now plays Duke, so hopefully they enjoyed this win.

12) Dayton 56, Boise State 55-- Just felt bad for Boise State; they have to play the first true road game in this tournament in 28 years, then they lose by a point, in tense struggle where Broncos led 29-20 at the half. Tough loss to swallow.

11) Its funny how the play-in doubleheaders have kind of a JV/Varsity feel to them, with the lesser teams playing first, then the bigger name teams playing. Just like high school ball, sometimes the first game is the more entertaining game of the twinbill.

10) Warriors 114, Hawks 95-- Golden State was 14-30 from arc even without injured Klay Thompson, in battle between league's two best teams this season.

9) South Dakota State 86, Colorado State 76-- Apparently Rams weren't too fired up about being in the NIT. Jackrabbits were 12-28 from the arc.

8) Weird stuff in Syracuse, where the AD gets fired and Jim Boeheim becomes a lame duck for the next three seasons, before he goes into forced retirement. I'm assuming that Mike Hopkins will hang around to clean up the mess that results from all this-- he had been named coach-in-waiting a few years ago.

7) Holy Cross hired former Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, who never got the Wildcats to the NCAAs-- he'll have a better chance with the Crusaders. Wonder if he will still run the Princeton offense?

6) Rough night for the WCC, going 0-3 last night, with two home losses; Vandy beat St Mary's, Sacramento State beat Portland and Pepperdine got whacked in Seattle.

5) Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the day LMU crushed Michigan 149-115 in the second round of the NCAAs, one of the most awesome displays of basketball I've ever seen. 25 years later, Steve Fisher is going great guns at San Diego State; he was the Michigan coach that day 25 years ago.

4) BYU had to play in a Tuesday play-in game because they do not play on Sundays and the Wednesday play-in teams get put into a Friday-Sunday bracket, should they win. BYU presents a lot of logistical problems for the Selection Committee.

3) Indianapolis Colts put this rule change in front of the NFL this week;

If a team goes for two points after a TD and makes it, they can try a 50-yard kick that gives them a 9th point if it is good.

Not sure if Jim Irsay thought up that one while in rehab, but it sure is different.

2) Still think Lafayette should've been in a play-in game before Manhattan, but if you get put there, you have to win. VCU made the Final Four from a play-in game.

1) My Final Four picks: Kentucky-Baylor-Villanova-Gonzaga.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random stuff from the desert......
13) Ole Miss 94, BYU 90-- Its not the rules of college basketball that need to be fixed; its that more coaches need to have the onions to let their players play. This was one of the best games to watch in NCAA tournament history. BYU was 15-29 from the arc and lost. Ole Miss scored 62 points in the second half.

12) Hampton 74, Manhattan 64-- Pirates took 34 foul shots, only seven 3's and made lot of mid-range jump shots. They controlled this game the whole way and looked like a much better team than their record indicated they were.

11) Murray State 81, UTEP 66-- Step #1 on the Murray State vengeance tour were the Miners, but I think Murray goes to Tulsa next, which will be a tougher game.

10) Alabama 79, Illinois 58-- Credit to the Bama kids for leading 46-22 at halftime after their coach was fired 48 hours earlier. Not much to say for Illinois' effort here.

9) If you're coming to Las Vegas, I highly recommend South Point hotel, which is a few miles from the main strip, but it has a lot of great stuff-- movies, bowling alley, Steak 'n Shake, bingo tournaments (or so I'm told). Sportsbook is open 24 hours a day and they have a great ice cream place near the side door.

8) Klay Thompson is out 7-10 days (ankle) which dampens tonight's game against the Hawks in a battle of NBA titans. Thompson has a brother who is an outfielder with the White Sox; not sure if he'll be in AAA or the majors this season.

7) People bet on exhibition baseball games!!! Why?

6) When you're watching lot of games in the sportsbook, you obviously can't hear most of them, so you notice how much contact these officials are allowing to take place. You see a collision and play goes on when you assume play would stop because of the collision, but officials let lot of stuff go. If you let defenders foul, it is obvious that scores will be lower.

5) Wyoming-Northern Iowa total is 109. I cannot remember a lower total for a college basketball game, at least not since the shot clock came in 30 years ago.

4) There is an advantage to being in these play-in games, as far as recruiting goes. How else would North Florida get two hours on national TV in primetime? Some of these teams agree to play on ESPN at 6am or 8am in November during the tip-off marathon- they will do anything to get on television. Good chance to market their program.

3) Of 68 teams in the NCAA tournament, VCU/Georgetown travelled the longest for this week's games; Dayton obviously traveled the least distance, sonce they're playing at home tonight and then not too far away (Louisville) if they win.

2) Stephen Curry had 13 turnovers in his first college game at Davidson!!!!

1) I'm a big proponent that high schools should teach a basic life skills course to every kid as a mandatory class to take. How to write checks, how to cook, how to manage your time, marriage laws, basic nutrition-- important everyday stuff.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Kevin Pillar is an outfielder for Blue Jays; he is out for 7-10 days after pulling an oblique muscle.........while sneezing. I kid you not.

12) Colorado is still playing basketball, they're in the CBI but their best player Askia Booker decided to call it a season and won't play. Not sure if Spencer Dinwiddie's injury last year had any impact on this decision- that cost Dinwiddie a lot of money when the draft came around, but how do you walk out on your teammates?

11) Oliver Purnell is out after five years coaching DePaul; why can't anyone win with the Blue Demons? They've had the same AD for over a decade; maybe that is the problem. Team in Chicago shouldn't have problems recrutiing good players.

10) Enjoyed watching Cal-Irvine players/coaches celebrating late Saturday night when they won their first Big West title. Lot of times coaches act so cool and unemotional when they win. Too bad; its a great moment in their life-- show some emotion!!!

9) Surprising fact: Duke hasn't won any of the last four ACC tournaments.

8) Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina has lost 25-30 pounds and looks a lot different.

7) Kids should watch Notre Dame play offense and Hawai'i play defense. Rainbows really get after it on defense; its good to see.

6) Eastern Washington guard Tyler Harvey leads the country is scoring; his dad is a D-I ref, working WCC and Big Sky games. Harvey and his friends play Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA tournament this week.

5) David Wright's last home run was July 11. Hard to believe. Michael Cuddyer is on the Mets because he is Wright's friend. Wright chose Cuddyer over Giancarlo Stanton for Home Run Derby couple years ago-- brilliant decision.

4) Catchers must hate spring training; too many pitchers to warm up.

3) RIP Eugene Patton, 82, better known as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine on one of the great TV shows of all-time, the Gong Show. Mr Patton was an NBC stagehand who became slightly famous for his cameo spots dancing as the show went into commercial breaks. If you've never seen the Gong Show, find it on the Internet; great stuff.

2) Watched Good Will Hunting again the other night; still sad to realize that as much joy as Robin Williams brought to other people's lives, he couldn't be happy himself.

1) 45 minutes before brackets are announced Sunday, Alabama announced it fired coach Anthony Grant; 15 minutes later, Charlotte announces it fired Alan Major. Now burying bad news under bigger headlines has become an art form. If Pete Rose ever gets put in the Hall of Fame, there will be a lot of headline burying going on that day.

Monday's List of 13: Early thoughts, notes on the field of 68.....
13) If you look at the last 11 national champs, those teams were a combined 20-2 vs spread on the first weekend of the tournament. Teams that struggle the first weekend have seldom gathered momentum, improved and won it all.

12) Looks like Wyoming winning the Mountain West KO'd Colorado State from the field of 68; would like to be a fly on the wall next winter, when the Rams go visit Utah State, since Utah State's AD is the head of the Selection Committee.

11) Then there is Boise State, which has a play-in game in Dayton, against Dayton. How in the name of Don Donoher is this allowed? Looks like Dayton would've been the team that got KO'd had UConn beat SMU Saturday. Now they get a home game. Very bad draw for Boise State.

10) San Diego State's Dwayne Polee started his college career by playing 33 games for St John's four years ago; now the Aztecs face the Johnnies Friday in Charlotte. Steve Lavin suspended his big man Obekpa for two weeks, so he is out for this game.

9) Georgia State won a tense, ugly Sun Belt final 38-36 over Georgia Southern; after the game, coach Ron Hunter was celebrating with his son Ron Jr, when the coach tore his achilles tendon. Panthers play Thursday, so coach Hunter will be coaching with lot of painkillers in him this week.

8) Albany plays Oklahoma; Great Danes won their fifth America East title Saturday; they won a play-in game but are 0-4 in first round games, losing by 12-27-12-12 points vs marquee teams, covering three of the four games.

Sooners got beat in first round last two years, getting upset by North Dakota State LY; their last tournament win was six years ago.

7) Big East teams were 2-4 overall in tournament LY, the first post-realignment year; last two years, Big East teams are 5-7 SU in first round.

6) Eastern Washington won at Indiana this year; they're #14 in country, making 39.6% of its 3-pointers. Eagles play a Georgetown team that hasn't defended the 3 well this season. Problem is, Big Sky teams are 1-14 in last 15 first round games, and only win was Montana's win over Nevada (not a power 5 team) in '06.

5) Belmont soph Taylor Barnette started his college career at Virginia, where he played 26 games two years ago. He'll see his old friends Friday in Charlotte.

4) I was SHOCKED when I saw Manhattan in a 16-seed play-in game; am told the Jaspers were not happy at all to be in Kentucky's bracket, with the game in Louisville. Last 12 years, MAAC tourney champ has been a 16-seed once ('07), a 15-seed twice ('12 and '13)-- mostly a 13 or 14 seed.

On the other hand, if Manhattan wins the play-in game, Calipari will not ba a happy guy to face the Jaspers as a 16-seed- they lost to Louisville by 7 last year in NCAAs.

3) Duke lost in first round two of last three years and sleptwalked past Albany by 12 two years ago, but last seven times Duke was a 1-seed, Blue Devils are 5-2 vs spread in its first round game those years.

2) North Florida will be fun to watch in the play-in game; seven of its players have scored 20+ points in at least one game this season. Don't forget, Atlantic Sun schools have posted upsets in last two tournaments (Florida Gulf Coast/Belmont).

1) Surprising fact: Last ACC team in Final Four? Duke in 2010, though Louisville and Syracuse were there more recently, just before joining the ACC.

Sunday's List of 14: Wrapping up a college hoop Saturday
14) Big East
-- Villanova 69, Xavier 52-- Wildcats win first Big East tournament title in 20 years- their best guy back then was Kerry Kittles. Is Villanova a #1 seed? .

13) AAC
-- UConn 47, Tulsa 42-- Huskies can steal a bid from someone today.
-- SMU 69, Temple 56-- Last time Larry Brown was in NCAAs, he won it (1988).

12) ACC
-- Notre Dame 90, North Carolina 82 -- Tar Heels got tired playing for 4th day in row; Fighting Irish pass well, shoot well, are fun to watch.

11) A-14
-- VCU 93, Davidson 73-- When Rams make 12-24 on arc, they're not going to lose much-- they don't do it often, making 34.1% this year.
-- Dayton 56, Rhode Island 52-- Have feeling Archie Miller will have a new address fairly soon. Interesting game vs VCU today.

10) Big X
-- Iowa State 70, Kansas 66 -- Cyclones fell behind by 17, which they seem to do most every game, then they stormed back and won second Big X tourney in a row.

9) Big 14
-- Michigan State 62, Maryland 58-- Spartans were down 16 early, came back and beat Terps for first time in three tries this season.
-- Wisconsin 71, Purdue 51-- Boilermakers led by 5 at half, but Badgers turned it up in second half and pulled away. Should Purdue feel good about tonight?

8) Big Sky
-- Eastern Washington 69, Montana 65-- Eagles get to NCAAs for second time ever, rallying back from 11 down in last 5:00. ESPN needs to do a latenight package with the Big Sky Conference-- games are fun to watch. Tyler Harvey leads the whole country in scoring, just over 23 ppg. Does that seem low for a national leader?

7) Big West
-- Cal-Irvine 67, Hawai'i 58-- Anteaters are going to NCAAs for first time with a 7-6 center who will cause problems on defense. They've got good athletes, can shoot it some and their coach was an NBA assistant. Big West hasn't won non-play-in game since Pacific won a game ten years ago; could this be the year?

6) C-USA
-- UAB 73, Middle Tennessee 60-- MTSU was playing for 4th day in row in UAB's city, so Blazers caught lot of breaks this week. Ironic they make NCAAs just months after the school president pulled the plug on their football program, which has divided the UAB community.

Also ironic that Murry Bartow got fired at East Tennessee State this week; his dad Gene founded UAB's basketball program in 1978.

5) MAC
-- Buffalo 89, Central Michigan 84--Bobby Hurley gets to first NCAAs as a coach in his second season. He is good longshot bet to be guy who eventually replaces Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, when that time comes.

4) Mountain West
-- Wyoming 45, San Diego State 43-- Cowboys steal a bid by winning here; Aztecs just cannot score enough to do much damage next week. Wyoming is in tourney for first time since 2002; Larry Shyatt gets the most out of a limited roster.

3) Pac-12
-- Arizona 80, Oregon 52--If I'm the AD at Duquesne, I'm finding out why the hell TJ McConnell transferred to Arizona. If I'm the president at Duquesne and McConnell left because former coach Ron Everhart got fired, then I fire the AD.

By the way, Sean Miller has really done a great job of filling Lute Olson's shoes in Tucson. In three meetings this year, Arizona outscored Oregon by 80 points.

2) SEC
-- Arkansas 60, Tennessee 49 -- Razorbacks were talking trash to the Kentucky kids in between games Saturday, so this game could be a lot of fun.
-- Kentucky 91, Auburn 67-- Bruce Pearl will have his day and he'll have it within two years; it would help if Calipari left to coach in the NBA again.

1) Sun Belt
-- Georgia State 83, UL-Lafayette 79-- Panthers led by 17 at half, hung on to get to the finals. Ron Hunter has done nice job as his team moved up in class.
-- Georgia Southern 44, UL-Monroe 43-- Georgia State lost in finals LY, but ULL had an NBA player (Elfrid Payton); doubt Eagles have an NBA player.

Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college hoop Friday
13) AAC
-- Temple 80, Memphis 75-- Owls' first conference tourney win in four years.
-- SMU 74, East Carolina 68-- Pirates made 15-35 on arc, made things interesting.

12) ACC
-- Notre Dame 74, Duke 64 -- Irish led by 18 and 15 points at half last two nights. .
-- North Carolina 70, Virginia 67-- Tar Heels will play for 4th day in row tonight. .

11) A-14
-- VCU 70, Richmond 67-- Rams avenged pair of losses to crosstown rivals.
-- Davidson 67, LaSalle 66-- Brutal loss for Explorers, who led by 18 in first half.

10) Big X
-- Iowa State 67, Oklahoma 65-- Sooners missed easiest of layups at buzzer.
-- Kansas 62, Baylor 52-- You heard it here first; Bears go to Final Four if they don't get put in same region as Kentucky.

9) Big 14
-- Maryland 75, Indiana 69-- Hoosiers will have long couple of days to see if they get in Field of 68 or not.
-- Purdue 64, Penn State 59-- Some ESPN announcers were uncomfortable promoting the Christian Laettner show because of the word "hate" in title- makes sense.

8) Big Sky
-- Eastern Washington 91, Sacramento State 83-- Kid came off bench for Eagles and made 7-8 from arc; team was 15-25 overall on 3-pointers.
-- Montana 61, Northern Arizona 59-- Griz has home court advantage tonight.

7) Big West
-- Hawai'i 65, Cal-Davis 58-- Rainbow Warriors play hard, very aggressive, smallish team- this is 5th time in nine years #1 seed lost in this tournament.
-- Cal-Irvine 72, UCSB 63 OT-- 7-foot-6 Ndiaye had 18 points, four blocks for UCI. Anteaters were 20-34 from arc in two wins over Hawai'i this season.

6) C-USA
-- UAB 72, Louisiana Tech 62 OT-- #1 seed had to play true road game here, which is not fair, then Blazers had 21-3 edge on foul line. Tech can't be real happy.
-- Middle Tennessee 53, UTEP 50-- Blue Raiders will be playing for fourth day in row in final today.

5) MAC
-- Buffalo 68, Akron 59--Both Hurley brothers won their game Friday and they each got a technical foul, about five minutes apart in real time.
-- Central Michigan 75, Toledo 66-- Chippewas are coached by Keno Davis, whose dad Tom was successful coach at Boston College and Iowa.

4) Mountain West
-- San Diego State 54, Colorado State 43-- Aztecs are 2-3 in last five conference finals; they beat Wyoming twice this season
-- Wyoming 71, Boise State 66 OT-- Every bubble team in America will be rooting for San Diego State. Wyoming would steal a bid with a win here.

3) Pac-12
-- Oregon 67, Utah 64-- Joseph Young validated his Player of Year award by winning this game with a 3-pointer with 0:03 left.
-- Arizona 70, UCLA 64-- Bruins are like Indiana; nervous weekend for them.

2) SEC
-- Arkansas 80, Tennessee 72 -- Razorbacks led by 20 at half, held on for win.
-- Auburn 73, LSU 70 OT-- Bruce Pearl was 4-14 in SEC, is 3-0 this week.

1) Sun Belt
-- UL-Lafayette 53, Texas State 43-- Ragin' Cajuns were down 3 at the half.
-- UL-Monroe 77 South Alabama 59-- Warhawks made 9-18 behind the arc.

Friday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college hoop Thursday
13) AAC
-- East Carolina 81, Central Florida 80 OT-- Jeff Lebo got on TV a lot when he played at North Carolina; his Pirates get a rare national TV shot today.

Was told Thursday that if UConn doesn't get in a Power 5 football conference, they will drop football and concentrate on basketball as a revenue sport.

12) ACC
-- Notre Dame 70, Miami 63-- Irish blew 18-point halftime lead, still won.
-- North Carolina 70, Louisville 60-- Cardinals first conference tourney loss since '11.

11) A-14
-- VCU 63, Fordham 57-- VCU isn't a very good team without injured star Weber; they play crosstown rival Richmond today. Spiders beat them twice already. .

10) Big X
-- Iowa State 69, Texas 67-- Cyclones scored last 12 points of game, led for only one second-- the last second. This game could cost Texas an NCAA bid.
-- Kansas 64, TCU 59-- Horned Frogs are fighting a tremendous uphill battle in this league; refs made sure they lost this game late. Kansas is banged up.
-- Baylor 80, West Virginia 70-- Bears are my sleeper team to make Final Four.

9) Big 14
-- Penn State 67, Iowa 58-- Hawkeyes had won six games in a row.
-- Michigan 73, Illinois 55-- Wolverines had lost seven of last nine games.

8) Big Sky
-- Top four seeds all advanced, but host Montana needed OT to win.

-- Idaho hit 10-18 on arc, still didn't cover as a 7-point underdog (lost 81-73).

7) Big West
-- Long Beach State started four seniors but got smoked by Hawai'i; Long Beach seemed OK with their college careers ending. Hawai'i totally outhustled them.

6) C-USA
-- UAB 53, Western Kentucky 52-- League's accountants breathe a sigh of relief, since tournament is in Birmingham. Will be lot of empty seats if Blazers lose.
-- Middle Tennessee 59, Old Dominion 52-- Favored Monarchs were 8-19 on foul line.

5) MAC
-- Akron 53, Kent 51-- Zips avenged last week's 79-77 loss to Kent; not sure why this league doesn't get more exposure on ESPN.

4) Mountain West
-- San Diego State 67, UNLV 64-- Pretty sure this was 10th game this year that the Rebels lost after leading at halftime; thats a lot of games to lose that way.
-- Wyoming 67, Utah State 65-- End of line for Utah State's fine coach Stew Morrill.

3) Pac-12
-- All four top seeds advanced; Oregon and Utah had dominant second halves.
-- I heard Ben Howland doing the A-14 tournament tonight; how has he not gotten another head coaching job? He had UCLA in Final Four three times.

2) SEC
-- South Carolina 60, Ole Miss 58-- Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter. Never foul a jump shooter.

These teams both did it in the last 0:05 of a brickfest where both teams shot under 31% for the game. Ole Miss has made themselves a bubble team.

1) Sun Belt-- When ESPN first started, this league was the first one to let them show a lot of games. Now they never get games on TV; nice gratitude there. Both underdogs won quarterfinal games on Thursday. The league kingpins play the winners today.

Thursday's List of 13: Today is best colllege hoop day of the year
13) 51 college basketball games today, all tournament games; lot on the line. This is the best full day of the college basketball season. Friday night's card will be the best half-day of the season, with ton of tournament semi-final games.

12) UNLV 67, Nevada 46-- Wolf Pack fired coach David Carter before the fans at this game got thru the buffet at their hotels.

11) Florida State 76, Clemson 73-- Tigers have been in the ACC since it started up in 1953 but have never won this tournament.

10) People are clamoring for Murray State to be in the NCAAs because they went thru their league unbeaten before losing by a point in the tournament final, but fact of the matter is their league isn't very good.

Racers got pounded back in November by Xavier and Valparaiso and lost to Portland, Houston, two mediocre teams. They have no great out of conference wins, which meant they would have to win the OVC tourney to get it and they didn't. Just the way it is; it is unfair that lot of "money teams" won't schedule Murray State because they know there's a good chance they'll lose, but they have to find tougher games somehow, and then they have to play better in those games.

9) Colorado Rockies had a split squad Tuesday; half the squad faced the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, the other half Felix Hernandez. Bad scheduling there.

8) In a perfect world, a banked-in 3-point basket wound count as two points, not three. There are zero people on this planet who try to bank 3-pointers.

7) Kentucky and Florida State are the two tallest college basketball teams.

6) Friend of mine was headed to Las Vegas for the Kentucky Derby, but because it is the same night as the Mayweather fight, Harrah's wanted $500 for Saturday night, so my friend pushed his trip back a week. Smart man.

5) ACC tournament will be played in Brooklyn in 2017 and 2018, even though no ACC teams are in the New York City area. None.

4) Central Florida leads the country in a weird stat; teams are shooting 61.5% from the foul line against the Knights this season, the lowest percentage against any team.

3) I still can't figure out why any baseball player would bat right-handed. If you bat lefty you're a few steps closer to first base. What advantage is there to batting righty?

2) Jets traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is a big upgrade over Geno Smith, even though he didn't get a football scholarship in college (he played at Harvard).

1) Will Ferrell is playing in some baseball exhibition games today, an inning for each team in four or five different games all over Arizona. He will play every position over the course of the day, raising money for charity. He is 47 years old; am curious what this is going to look like. I'm sure his helicopter pilot will bave good stories.

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud....
13) Rams traded Sam Bradford for Nick Foles Tuesday, in an unusual swap of QBs that has people in Philadelphia scratching their heads- there are draft picks involved too but the Rams finally have stability at QB while the Eagles have their fans mumbling.

12) Bradford has banked $65M in five years and has an 18-30-1 record as a starter; his last game action was Week 7 in 2013- he's pretty good, but he always gets hurt. He wouldn't take a pay cut this winter, so for now, Bradford is an Eagle.

Philly offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was OC for the Rams when they drafted Bradford in 2010; that was a couple operations ago.

11) In last week, the Eagles traded their best RB, their starting QB and let their best WR walk in free agency. If this turns into a fiasco, Chip Kelly will get fired but will have his pick of college jobs to choose from-- the Eagles will be left holding the bag.

10) So you're Bob Stoops; you make $4M a year coaching football at Oklahoma. You wake up one morning to find out that some racist jackasses made a video that has gone viral, and now one of your recruits has already de-committed. This is a potential disaster and no one remotely connected to your program did anything wrong; thats coaching in this day and age.

The two jerks who made the racist video are thrown out of school, your team makes a damage control-type video of its own and if this goes away without too many more recruits jumping ship, you've earned your salary today.

9) Saints traded Jimmy Graham to Seattle, trying to lessen their salary cap woes; this makes the Seahawks a better passing team, but they're going to have to re-build their offensive line, since center Max Unger is now a Saint.

8) Lions replaced Ndamukong Suh with Haloti Ngata; Jim Caldwell used to coach for the Ravens, so thats the connection.

7) Jake Locker retired from football at age 26; he was drafted by the Angels a long time ago, so the possibility of an attempt at baseball remains. Disaster for Tennessee, which also had the Vince Young debacle-- finding a QB is hard to do.

6) A woman in Indiana had her car stolen, with her dead husband's ashes still in the car; this is almost as bad as stealing a car and having a little kid in a car seat staring at you. Captain Obvious checks in: not all criminals are geniuses.

5) Robert Morris 66, St Francis 63-- Terriers were 9-22 on the foul line, Colonials hit 8-16 on the arc. Shooters are always in demand.

4) Utah has passed a law that allows firing squads, in case the lethal injection stuff isn't available. How many people do you have to execute to run out of it? Seems to me a firing squad would be better punishment than having a needle stuck in your arm.

3) Dodgers pay Carl Crawford $21M a year and he isn't on a roster in my 16-team, 25-player fantasy league. If we ever draw up an All-Star team of players who stole $$, Crawford is going to be a starter, though he won't bad leadoff, since he doesn't like to.

2) Seton Hall is 0-6 as a Big East favorite this year; they lost five of the six games SU and won the sixth by a point over last-place Creighton. I'm told Kevin Willard is a good guy, but Robert Morris winning last night could make Andy Toole a hot name in the coaching carousel and make Willard's seat a little warmer.

Manhattan's coach Steve Masiello is also going to go to a bigger conference soon.

1) Thursday/Friday are the two best college basketball days of the year; the days are full of games; meaningful, exciting games, fromn noon til 2am. Now that I'm retired, no need to call in sick anymore either-- ha!!!!

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) At this time last year, South Florida thought they were going to hire basketball coach Steve Masiello away from Manhattan but it turned out Masiello never actually graduated from college, so USF backed off, and hired Orlando Antigua instead.

Manhattan suspended Masiello until he got his degree, which he did last summer; now he has won another MAAC tournament, will get more national press for the next ten days and will undoubtedly get more offers from schools with deep pockets.

Will he stay or will he go? He'll get offered a lot of money to go.

12) Meanwhile, South Florida could've overlooked the whole college degree thing last year (Eddie Jordan coaches at Rutgers without one, Scott Walker is running for freakin' President of the United States without one). My question is this: if the gurus at USF had to do it all over again, would they have looked the other way and hired Masiello?

11) Golfer named Sam Saunders lost in a 5-way playoff at the PGA event in Puerto Rico Sunday, which doesn't seem like big news, except Saunders is Arnold Palmer's grandson. Tough footsteps to follow in, but the young man is improving.

10) Have you seen the TV commercial with a little kid throwing out the first pitch at a Royals' game, but he doesn't know the catcher is his dad, who just came from from his Army gig in the Middle East? I've seen that commercial 20 times, and it gets me every time. Someday I'll wrack my brain and make a list of my all-time favorite commercials, and that one will definitely be on it.

9) Sophomore Evan Payne scored 18 ppg for Loyola Marymount this season but is transferring to another school, I'm guessing in a bigger conference, which leads you to believe it'll be Oregon-USC-San Diego State or UNLV. Mike Dunlap is a really good coach at LMU, he was an NBA head coach, but for some reason the kid is leaving.

8) LA Clippers have now had 175 consecutive sellouts at Staples Center; thats more than four years now and the new owner has added respect to the franchise.

7) Random prediction: Alex Rodriguez winds up playing shortstop this year; no way he is not still a plus hitter for a shortstop and he has to have as much range as the guy who had been playing there the last few years.

6) This is the 11th year of our 16-team, keeper fantasy baseball league. 25 guys on a team, you can own minor leaguers, it is fun. Someone picked ARod up Monday and ironically, the guy he cut to make room for him was Josh Hamilton. Our league is not for a lot of money but some fantasy leagues are-- iamgine being in a big money league and having someone as fragile as Hamilton on your team? No bueno.

5) Houston Texans signed up QB Ryan Mallett for two years; there is a serious shortage of quality QBs in the NFL- they were looking at Brian Hoyer, too.

4) Eldrick Woods doesn't own the rights to his own name. Seriously. He's opening a restaurant in Florida, but can't call it "Tiger Woods" because Nike owns the rights to anything bearing that name. They're calling it "Tiger's in Jupiter" or something that isounds like that. Maybe they should just call it "Eldrick's"

3) ESPN should be ashamed of itself, having professional jackasses Skip Bayless and Stephen A Smith on its payroll; they're bad imitations of WWE announcers, stirring the pot while they laugh all the way to the bank. Smith inferred Monday that Chip Kelly is a racist, which now some people will believe, because people believe a lot of what they hear on TV, no matter how stupid it is.

2) You may not agree with how Kelly is running the Eagles, but for the love of God, the guy isn't a racist, he is just molding his team his way. If he loses, he'll get fired.

People who rant and rave about racism fail to realize that in this world, the only color that truly matters is: green. Do you have money in your pocket or don't you? Sadly, the way Smith and Bayless put money in their deep pockets is by provoking the worst kind of emotions in the people who watch their hideous program.

1) NFL free agency starts today, which means that'll overshadow the Summit League championship game on SportsCenter, and everything else.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) What exactly is Chip Kelly doing in Philadelphia? Last year he dumped his best WR DeSean Jackson; this year he traded LeSean McCoy to Buffalo and now they've let WR Jeremy Maclin leave via free agency, but they re-signed Marc Sanchez. Oy.

12) There were rumors all over the Internet late last night that 49ers have put Colin Kaepernick on the trading block. If true, that merits a WOW.

11) William & Mary 92, Hofstra 91 2OT--- Tribe was down nine with 5:00 left, by 5 with 0:50 left but won game on a 3-pointer with half a second left. Tremendous game, lot of action. People who rip on college ball should watch the mid-majors more.

10) William & Mary has never been in the NCAA tournament, which changes if they beat Northeastern tonight. St Francis hasn't been there either; they have a game at home against Robert Morris tomorrow. Would be cool if they both made it.

9) North Florida 63, SC Upstate 57-- Before you scoff at the Ospreys, keep in mind this league gave up Mercer LY (they beat Duke) and Florida Gulf Coast the year before (beat Georgetown and San Diego State). The unbridled joy of the students when they won is the best part of Championship Week; Murray State is the worst part.

8) Albany 60, New Hampshire 58-- Great Danes will be on 11:30 Saturday morning of Championship Week for the third straight year; they won last two years as #4/#5 seeds, underdogs- they're top seed this year. Some great minds have strolled through the halls of Albany's campus, and I went there too!!!!

Don't laugh; sales of tuna subs in the campus center went way down after I graduated.

7) Coastal Carolina 81, Winthrop 70-- Chanticleers lost to UCLA by 11, Ole Miss by 3; they beat Auburn. Cliff Ellis has taken Clemson/Auburn to NCAAs- they lost to Virginia by 11 in last year's tournament, but were #3 seed in Big South this year.

6) Nine Altanta pitchers combined to throw a 10-inning no-hitter against Houston Sunday; adding to the oddity was that the game ended in a 2-2 tie, even though Astros didn't get a hit. If I'm paying $30 to see a damn spring training game, I want to see one team win and one team lose. Tickets to Met exhibition games run from $22 to $33 for the better seats.

5) Looking ahead to Championship Week, North Carolina-Louisville would be a very tough quarterfinal 2:30 Thursday afternoon. Speaking of Louisville, was it me, or does Rick Pitino look very pale, almost sickly? He doesn't look healthy.

4) VCU-Richmond are crosstown rivals, but they're likely to meet Friday afternoon in Brooklyn in a 2:30 quarterfinal game in the A-14. Spiders won first two meetings.

3) Red Sox-Mets met in spring training this weekend for first time in four years. It has become a problem for teams who train in eastern Florida, playing too many games against the same teams. Clubs don't like to travel cross-state for games.

2) My friend John posted on Twitter this weekend than an average college game had 82.7 possessions per team in 1975, when there was no shot clock. Now there are 64.9; I think part of the reduction is that teams fouled a lot more at the end of games back then, when everything was 1-and-1 free throws after the seventh foul.

Coaching is strangling both college basketball and the NFL; reducing timeouts in college hoop would let players decide the outcome more at the end of games and give the game a better flow, which in some cases it badly needs.

1) By the way, it is March 9 and the NFL is still on the front page, with free agency starting tomorrow. They're a public relations dynamo.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a basketball Saturday........
13) Belmont 88, Murray State 87-- Probably the best basketball game we'll see all month; worst part of Championship Week is that Murray didn't lose a game between Thanksgiving weekend and yesterday but they're probably not going to the NCAA tournament. From everything you read, their schedule was too weak.

12) Just for the record, Belmont coach Rick Byrd is an amazing 22-3 in his last 25 conference tournament games and I don't care what league that happens in, that is still damn good. Belmont isn't real athletic, but they're smart and can shoot.

11) Dartmouth 59, Yale 58-- Yale hasn't been to the NCAAs since 1962; they had a 5-point lead with 0:24 left, a 58-57 lead with 0:02 left- if they won this game they were in, but now they play a play-in game with Harvard Saturday at the Palestra. That had to be a brutal busride from Hanover to New Haven late last night.

10) Furman 69, Chattanooga 67-- 10-seed upsets a 2-seed in Southern Conference.

9) Michigan State 74, Indiana 72-- Hoosiers had ball down 2 with 0:02 left, when a Spartan player fouled on purpose, thinking his team was up 3. They weren't, but Yogi Ferrell missed the second foul shot and Michigan State won anyway. You'd think the last thing a kid would forget is the score, but it happens.

8) Big South final this afternoon is Coastal Carolina-Winthrop, the 3-seed against the 5-seed, with winner reporting to Dayton for a play-in game on St Patrick's Day.

7) Louisville 59, Virginia 57-- Winning shot was hit by Mangok Mathiang, who in 14 minutes of play....took one shot. That one.

6) A North Carolina student manager drilled a half court shot on his third try (first two were close) to win $18,000 from State Farm on ESPN's Saturday morning show. We know that all student managers can shoot the ball (yes!!!) because of all the idle time they spend in gyms........shooting basketballs.

It was the third time in five weeks a kid made a halfcourt shot on ESPN.

5) LSU 81, Arkansas 78-- Winning shot came from Keith Hornsby, whose dad Bruce is a pretty famous singer-- young man shoots 39% behind the arc.

4) Vanderbilt 86, Ole Miss 77-- When you win eight of your last ten games, you can curse out one of your own players publicly and it goes away....quickly.

3) Temple 75, UConn 63-- Defending national champs are headed to the NIT unless they make an unlikely run thru AAC tournament-- they've done stuff like that before.

2) BYU 78, Santa Clara 76-- Last game of night was one of day's better ones. BYU was going to be off the bubble if they lost. Marty Haws made sure they did not lose.

1) Illinois State 65, Wichita State 62-- Bubble teams all over America are rooting for Northern Iowa against the Redbirds today; if Illinois State wins, one of those bubble slots goes "pop". Northern Iowa and Wichita are already in from the MVC.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Best name for a college basketball conference tournament; Arch Madness, the Missouri Vallery tournament, always held in St Louis, by the Gateway Arch.

12) This is the 25th Arch Madness: in the first 24, the top seed won the tournament eight times, lost in finals eight times, lost in semi-final eight times.

11) Syracuse loses three scholarships a year for the next four years; Jim Boeheim is suspended for nine ACC games next season, that is, if he is still coaching next season. Could be the end of an era in central New York. Not lot of 70-year old coaches around whose team is on probation.

10) Former USC hoop coach Kevin O'Neill has potential as an analyst; he works on FOX Sports1, is just miserable enough to come across as funny and he doesn't seem to care what he says, which is always a good thing.

9) General rule for hiring analysts, which ESPN doesn't grasp; for the most part, guys who were coaches are better analysts than guys who just played. They've thought the game more, they've communicated the game more.

8) End of an era in Indianapolis, as Reggie Wayne won't be a Colt anymore. Guy has been a hell of a player for a long time; would he go to Denver?

7) Best soda in the world: Dr Brown's black cherry soda. Tremendous.

6) Detroit Tigers a young player named Jordan Lennerton who played in both Little League World Series and College World Series. Not many of those guys around.

5) MLB Network is tremendous in March; 2-3 exhibition games on every day, you get a look at most every team, though my A's have not been on yet.

4) Mets' broadcast Friday had an interesting discussion about how some pitchers don't like fielders shifting behind them; should teams shift if it upsets the pitcher? Lot of guys probably hate it if it costs them a hit, but don't mind if it gets them an out.

3) Absolute highlight of the day: Rory McIlroy hitting a ball in the water, then firing his 3-iron in the water behind it; who hasn't wanted to do that? Lot easier for him, since he gets his clubs for free. Wonder who swam in the pond and fished the club out?

2) They held a CFL tryout camp in Dallas this week. Of course it snowed.

1) It is amazing how much snow is still in the streets of Boston and it is March 7; we are 30 days from Opening Day. Clocks go ahead an hour tonight. .

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.........
13) It was really great to see Craig Sager back on TV last night, doing sideline stuff on TNT after he fought with leukemia for over a year. Looks a lot thinner than he used to, but it was fun to see the respect coaches/players have for him as he returned.

12) Hunter Pence broke his arm, is out 6-8 weeks; he has only missed 24 games the last seven years, so Giants will really miss him in April.

11) Just when Virginia thought they were getting Justin Anderson back for Saturday's game at Louisville, the kid had an appendectomy and now no one knows when he'll be back. Luckily the appendix had not burst yet, which should shorten his recovery time. Cavaliers are hopeful to have him back for the NCAAs.

10) 74 golfers at Doral this week, one dropped out after nine holes, so in 73.5 rounds of golf Thursday, 84 balls got hit into the water at Donald Trump's course. Then again JB Holmes shot a 10-under 62, breaking the course record by two shots.

9) NJIT is the only Division I basketball independent in the country; they're 18-11 and have accepted a bid to the CIT tournament. Too bad no one will let them in a league, as if America East and the MAAC are such basketball powerhouses that letting another team in to give them an even number of schools would be a bad thing. Truth probably is, leagues don't want to divide their take from March Madness any more.

8) Louisville won AAC tournament last year, they won the two Big East tournaments before that, but Cardinals are stumbling as they head into the ACC tournament next week. You cannot throw your point guard off the team in February and not feel it, no matter who the coach is and Rick Pitino is as good a coach as anyone.

7) Watched the Dodgers yesterday and heard one of my boyhood idols broadcast it. Rick Monday, who played for the A's for a few years before they traded him to the Cubs, has a great voice and should've been given a national TV shot, he's that good.

A's acquired Ken Holtzman from Chicago when they traded Monday and that made the A's champs, because they needed another solid starter to go with Catfish Hunter and Vida Blue. Monday was a real good player (241 HRs, solid defense) but CFs were and still are easier to find than quality starting pitchers.

Just one more reason why Charles O Finley should be inducted in Cooperstown.

6) Russell Westbrook had consecutive triple/doubles where he scored 40+ points in both games, joining Michael Jordan, Pete Maravich as only players ever to do that.

5) New Jersey Giants TE Larry Donnell was on that airplane that slid off the runway at LaGuardia Airport yesterday. Luckily, everyone survived.

4) Boston Bruins traded for Brett Connolly Monday, then lost him for a month when he broke his hand during Wednesday's practice. Not much luck there.

3) Yale-Harvard tonight in Cambridge; the biggest Ivy League hoop game in years. ESPN is doing SportsCenter from Harvard. No postseason tournament in that league, so regular season champ goes to the NCAAs- those teams are tied for first with only two games left. Yale coach James Jones is an Albany alum, we wish him well.

2) Paul Molitor is the Twins' new manager; he had a 39-game hitting streak in 1987, which was stopped by John Farrell, now manager of the Red Sox.

1) Oregon State doesn't have any seniors on its basketball team, so they did a cool thing on Senior Night- they started their five walk-ons against arch-rival Oregon, even though a loss could cost them an NIT berth. Kids got taken out when Ducks led 3-0, and Oregon wound up winning by those three points, but Wayne Tinkle made a point in his first year at OSU-- effort will be rewarded.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Hard to believe its been 25 years since Hank Gathers died. Young man was a star for Loyola Marymount; he had a heart attack on the court during the WCC tournament and passed away shortly thereafter. Very sad, seems like yesterday.

12) Irony of Reggie Jackson being called Mr October: first time one of teams he played for made the World Series, in 1972, Jackson didn't play in the series because he tore his hamstring sliding into home plate in Game 5 of the playoff series with Detroit. A's replaced him with George Hendrick/Angel Mangual in that series.

11) Exhibition baseball is therapeutic, but I watch highlights Tuesday and I see Josh Donaldson playing for Toronto, Yoenis Cespedes for Detroit and for those several minutes, it is not fun to be an A's fan. No one good ever stays.

10) This goes all the way back to New Years Eve, 1974; I was 15 and went bowling. Came home and turned the sports ticker channel on, the cool channel with a light blue screen that spouted out sports stuff whenever the stock market was closed.

That night, the channel delivered me bad news: Catfish Hunter had signed with the baseball team in the Bronx. My favorite player had left the A's for money, something that has repeated itself over and over and over for the last 40 years. It sucks.

9) Side note that I mentioned here once before: that bowling alley, Sunset Lanes, will soon be turned into a warehouse for the many Asian grocery stores and restaurants in this area. America needs more bowling alleys, not less. Not all change is positive.

8) While I'm complaining about things, selling Personal Seat Licenses to stadiums should be illegal. You build a stadium with taxpayer dollars, you charge fans a fee just to have the right to buy tickets for the games there; how is this not extortion?

7) There were 14,400 pitching changes in the major leagues last year, thats 5.94 per game, or roughly 2,500 more than in 1998. How long does a pitching change take, if it is done during a half-inning? 5-7 minutes? There are two main reasons baseball games are longer now than they were 20 years ago:
-- More commercials in between innings.
-- More pitching changes, a lot more.

6) Baseball fans don't care that games are a little longer; the media does and the media influences a lot of what the average fan thinks, so the things they bitch about become the things a lot of average fans bitch about. Its too bad.

5) Saw this somewhere today, maybe an ESPN magazine I was reading: the average number of balls in play during a 2014 baseball game: 52. There are obviously 54 outs in a 9-inning game if home team bats in 9th inning; subtract strikeouts, add in hits and errors and you get 52. I had never thought about it, but it is an interesting number.

4) Peyton Manning took a $4M pay cut for next year, will play for $15M, which is not pocket change, but it is less than his brother Eli makes.

3) Peyton Manning threw 21 TDs with only four INTs at home LY; he threw 18 TDs, 11 INTs on the road.

2) Virginia is expected to get Justin Anderson back for its next game at Louisville Saturday and more importantly, the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Anderson is their best player; would be curious to see the Cavaliers play Kentucky.

1) Underrated move: Buffalo Bills traded for Matt Cassel Wednesday. Cassel once led the Patriots to an 11-5 record when Tom Brady got hurt in the season opener. He never started a game at USC, backing up Carson Palmer/Matt Leinart.

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Great night of basketball on TV, but when midnight struck, all the favorites got out with a win; Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova. Its late in the year; everyone is tired-- players, coaches, refs. Conference tournaments will re-energize people.

12) Kentucky is good for other SEC teams; how many basketball sellouts do they get in Athens, Georgia? Wildcats most always win, but they put some big money in their rivals' pockets. Mark Fox signed a contract extension Tuesday; he is making progress, but its a big hill he is climbing.

11) It just dawned on me that I feel sorry for the poor bastard who takes Calipari's place at Kentucky; talk about impossible shoes to fill. he does a tremendous job, but has created a monster that is almost impossible to satisfy.

10) Iowa 77, Indiana 63-- Spoiled fanbase in Indy isn't thrilled with Tom Crean; on July 1, his buyout goes down from $12M to $7.5M. If Brad Stevens ever decides the NBA isn't for him, the coffers will open to lure Stevens to Bloomington.

9) Maryland 70, Rutgers 60-- Thirteen losses in a row for Rutgers, whose move to the Big 14 hasn't gone well. Lot of good ballplayers in New Jersey; how about recruiting some of them? Maryland on the other hand; they're a pleasant surprise.

8) Middle Tennessee is 15-14, 8-8 in C-USA, but they could be a lot better. Here are the Blue Raiders' last three losses:
-- Lost 71-68 at Rice, in double overtime.
-- Lost 57-56 at North Texas; led by 19 at the half.
-- Lost 100-95 at UAB, in triple overtime.

7) Chip Kelly already has nine ex-Oregon players on the Eagles, after he traded his star running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso. Kelly dumped DeSean Jackson last year, now McCoy is gone. Will he try to trade up to take former Oregon QB Mariota in the draft? If he does, hope he trades Nick Foles to St Louis.

6) Knicks and Celtics lost Tuesday.....by a combined 69 points. Oy.

Seriously, if you charge $3,600 a seat for courtside seats, how the hell do you lose at home to Sacramento by 38 points?

5) George Karl coaches Sacramento now; he is the Kings' third coach this year. Bet he had a little chuckle when Denver fired Brian Shaw yesterday, because the Nuggets were a pretty good team when Karl coached them, but ownership got impatient with early playoff exits and cleaned house. Not all change is positive.

4) NFL went to a 16-game regular season in 1976; since then, Chicago has had the most different starting QBs, 38. Buccaneers have had 36 and #37 will be in September. ESPN had the Browns with 37, but from '76-'95, those Browns are really the Ravens' franchise, so thats not accurate.

3) Ray Rice banks $1.59M from the Ravens in a settlement; must be nice. Doubt he gets signed by another NFL team and no way would he ever have a TV career; lot of negative publicity for anyone who signs him. Invest that money wisely, sir.

2) Smart move by New York City baseball teams, delaying spring debuts of ARod and Matt Harvey until they can play in games televised by TV stations owned by the team. Harvey pitches for the Mets Friday, SNY's first broadcast of the spring. Alex Rodriguez will be in the lineup today on the YES Network. Smart move.

1) College basketball season has become so long; it starts around Veterans' Day and is still going. Most you can have is 13 scholarship players; most teams have less. You get couple injuries, a suspension and you're down to 7 or 8 players. Teams like UNLV, Southern Miss, Michigan, Marquette, even Duke have dangerously thin rosters. Indiana added a football player on January. Thats why teams are wearing down now, just before the fun starts with conference tournaments and the NCAAs.

Tuesday's List of 13: Looking at college tournament histories......
A look at histories of some of the conference tournament histories that start this week
13) MAAC-- Siena won both the regular season and conference tournament in 2008-10, but since then, the top seed hasn't won the tournament. #1 seed lost in the semis three of last four years, in the final last year.

12) OVC-- Murray State went 16-0 in the OVC this year; they've been top seed in this tournament four times in last ten years and won it three of the four times. In last four years, four different teams won this tournament.

11) CAA-- Eight of last 11 tournament winners aren't in this league anymore; #1 seed has won it once in last four years. This year, four teams tied for top spot so Sunday's semi doubleheader should be exceptional, if top seeds all win Saturday. In last four years, four different teams have won this tournament.

10) WCC-- Gonzaga and everyone else, though Bulldogs lost their last game at home to BYU. Zags won this tournament eight of last 11 years; St Mary's won twice and San Diego once. Gonzaga is looking like a #2 seed in NCAAs; every other team is trying to play their way in, with BYU having the best shot. Cougars lost in finals last year, split six games in WCC tourney since joining the league.

9) MVC-- Wichita State/Northern Iowa are far and away the two best teams this year; top seed won this tournament last two years, after winning only twice in decade before that. Shockers/Panthers' only two losses this year came against each other. Four of last six WCC finals were decided by 4 or less points.

8) Summit-- Even though tourney is played at a neutral site, top seed has won six of last seven tournaments. South Dakota State/North Dakota State tied for top spot this year. Bison won a game in NCAA tournament last March.

7) Horizon-- Top seed won this tournament six of last ten years, but 7-9 Milwaukee won LY. Wright State lost in final last two years, but they're 3-13 this year. Valpo is top seed this year at 13-3; Green Bay 12-4, Cleveland State/Oakland 11-5. League isn't as good as it was when Butler was here.

6) Big X-- One of few leagues where teams play everyone else twice, so every game in this tournament will be a third meeting this season. Top seed won this tournament five of last eight years, Kansas wins the regular season every year, but they've "only" won the conference tournament three of the last six years.

5) Big East-- St John's plays tournament on its home floor; they're #8 in country in experience, 6th-to-last in bench minutes. Winning three days in row could be an issue. Last 11 years, lower-seeded team is 6-5 SU in tournament final. Of last seven Big East champions, only one is still in the league.

4) Big 14-- Either Michigan State or Ohio State won this tournament the last five years (OSU three, MSU two); Top-seeded Wisconsin last won this event in 2008; #1 seed won this tournament five of last eight years. Maryland went 12-4 in its first year in the league; will be weird seeing them play in this tournament, instead of the ACC.

3) Pac-12-- Arizona is obviously best program here, but they haven't won this event in last 12 years; lower-seeded team won finals in this tournament last six years, with last four tournaments won by all different teams. Last time top seed won this event was UCLA is 2008. Having tourney in Las Vegas has upgraded it.

2) SEC-- If Kentucky doesn't win this it'll be national news, but top seed won the SEC tourney only twice in last seven years. Kentucky played in four of last five finals, but lost last two as different team won this event the last four years. Five of last six finals were decided by seven or less points.

1) Mountain West-- New Mexico won this turnament last three years, but the wheels have fallen off for Lobos this season, in a down year for the league. San Diego State is the only lock for NCAAs, but Bosie State is hot and could get in with strong showing here. UNLV is host team but they haven't won this event since 2008.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) Everyone has bad days, even Lebron James, who went 3-11 from the foul line in an OT loss in Houston. Cavaliers are 37-24, right now the #4 seed in the east- that would pit them against #1 seed Atlanta in the second round.

12) NBA office once vetoed a Kevin Garnett/DeAndre Jordan trade, maybe the best move the Clippers never made. Jordan had 26 rebounds Sunday in Chicago.

11) Speaking of Garnett, he bought 1,000 tickets for tonight's game with the Clippers and gave them away-- thats a pretty expensive gift. .

10) Watched the Jerry Tarkanian memorial on the Internet yesterday; UNLV did a really nice job, with one segment video appearances by John Calipari, Dick Vitale, Tom Thibodeau, Bob Huggins and Mike Krzyzewski.

ESPN's Kenny Mayne was the emcee; he is a former backup QB for the Rebels.

9) Hard to believe the NFL hasn't had a team in LA or Anaheim since 1994, but it looks like they'll have at least one therre fairly soon. I've been a Ram fan since the mid-60's; they weren't supported that well in the Coliseum, which is why they moved to Anaheim. Part of the reason they moved out of the Big A is that then-owner Georgia Frontiere was from St Louis-- really wasn't a great move for the franchise.

8) Tired of people bashing current Rams owner Stan Kroenke as being difficult to deal with; its not that hard to meet him. I live in upstate NY and I've met the guy. Saw him at the NBA Summer League in Vegas few years ago, talked to him about the Rams for 10 minutes. Good guy, was very polite and answered some questions. He's a business guy; he'll do what is best for his wallet, which is how rich people get rich. Would any of us do any differently?

7) When James Hahn won the LA Open last week, he was 297th in World Golf Ranking; this week, Padraig Harrington was 297th and now he is contending at Doral, only four shots out of the lead, thats how competitve golf has become, guys barely in the top 300 are winning or contending to win.

6) If you shoot a basketball and it wedges between the backboard and the rim, that should not be ruled a held ball, the defense should get the ball. No way should the offense benefit from a shot like that- those are bad shots.

5) Want to feel old? Ron Howard (Richie Cummingham on Happy Days, Opie on the Andy Griffith Show) turned 61 Sunday.

4) Saturday night, UTEP blew a 15-point halftime lead and lost at lowly Southern Miss 63-60; thats what happens when your head coach is suspended for a game. Tim Floyd was ejected at Louisiana Tech in the Miners' previous game and got suspended for that, so in effect, he got thrown out of two games for the same act.

3) Did you know the voting age is Japan is 20? Me either.

2) Oregon 73, Stanford 70-- 11 ties, 17 lead changes as the Ducks stay hot; tough loss for Stanford, which now probably needs to win the Pac-12 tournament or else they'll be on ESPN losing an NIT home game in a couple weeks.

1) Let me get this straight; the 76ers have two young prospects they drafted who have never played for the team, then they traded for JaVale McGee and just cut him, possibly because he doesn't always try hard. My question is this: Is the 76er brass trying hard to win? How are they any different from McGee?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) ESPN has gone overboard with "Joe Lunardi Week" this week, having the expert on Bracketology on live during every game to offer his astute observations on the Field of 68. Lunardi does a fine job, seems like a decent guy but his word isn't gospel and ESPN acts like it is. Interesting food for thought but thats all it is.

12) BYU 73, Gonzaga 70-- This probably means the Zags are out of a #1 seed and out of the West Region; also means headaches for the committee, since BYU can't play on Sunday so they have to be placed into a Thursday/Saturday bracket. BYU's RPI went up 20 sports after this win at Gonzaga.

11) Boise State 56, San Diego State 46-- Broncos are hot team in a down Mountain West this year. San Diego State cannot score and that'll be enough to send them packing early in the NCAAs.

10) Referee Brian O'Connell worked the Manhattan-Iona game in New Rochelle Friday night; less than 15 hours after that game emded, O'Connell was in Madison Square Garden, doing the Georgetown-St John's game. Refs make a ton of money but they also work very hard, as many as five or six games a week.

9) Boston College 79, NC State 63-- "you can buy Wolfpack/NiT ticket packages starting today in Raleigh"; this was a bad loss.

8) Clemson 70, Georgia Tech 63 OT-- Tigers raced out to a 20-2 lead, so if you laid 3.5 points in this one, what looked like an easy win became a nailbiter. Starting to look like Yellow Jackets will be coach-searching soon.

7) Fresno State 59, New Mexico 55-- Former Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, now a sub-par TV analyst, when this game was 26-8, Fresno: "I think the pace of play favors Frerno." Really? Ya think?

6) Sacramento State 73, Portland State 60-- Hornets are now game ahead in Big Sky standings, which means they would host the Big Sky tournament in a makeshift "gym" that has never been used for basketball before. Could be interesting.

5) Murray State 73, Tenn-Martin 67-- Racers finish OVC play 16-0; now comes the hard part; winning the OVC tournament, or else.......

4) St John's 81, Georgetown 70-- Steve Lavin's unpredictable team is taking its erratic act to the NCAA tournament. Good luck getting their bracket right.

3) Kentucky 84, Arkansas 67-- Razorbacks love to press, but they couldn't score enough in this game to set up their press enough- this one was over early.

2) UAB 100, Middle Tennessee 95, 3OT-- Blazers blew 12-point halftime lead befoe they won Saturday's game of the day.

1) I don't get too involved with which team gets which seed in the NCAA tournament; to me, the big thing is who gets in, thats what matters. The NCAA committee does a good job, for the most part, but is tough to do that job and keep everyone happy.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) At midnight Friday night, TCU's hoop team was still on an Amtrak train going from Fort Worth to Norman for this afternoon's game with Oklahoma. They took the train because weather problems made flying hazardous, but train travel was also slow. If the game goes on at the scheduled time, TCU will be on very short rest. .

12) Arkansas' flight to Kentucky also got off to a late start. Razorbacks won couple of OT games against Kentucky LY--in one of the games, both teams took 40+ FTs. In my mind, the biggest question here is can Arkansas score enough to put their press on enough to force 15+ turnovers?

11) Florida State has a freshman named Xavier Rathan-Mayes who went on an epic scoring spree at Miami the other night. He had fve points with 5:00 left and FSU was down 18, but he scored 30 points in the last 4:52 as Florida State rallied late but lost 81-77 to the Hurricanes in Miami. I checked it twice; he scored 30 points in less than five minutes of gametime.

Even after his scoring spree, Rathan-Mayes is shooting only 27.4% from the arc.

10) UTEP coach Tim Floyd is suspended for today's game at Southern Miss after he got tossed at Louisiana Tech Thursday. Ironic because Floyd's father used to coach at Southern Miss. Miners struggled lately; frustrations are mounting.

9) Florida Gators re-instated second-leading scorer Dorian Finney-Smith for their game with Tennessee tonight. Florida's season is a disaster; not even sure they'll go to one of the consolation tournaments.

8) If professional teams charge higher ticket prices for teams with big stars, like Lebron James or Mike Trout or Kevin Durant, do fans get a discount when those stars do not play? Cavaliers played in Indiana Friay without James or Kyrie Irving-- just doesn't seem fair that a game like that would have a premium price on it.

7) Nine of the 14 SEC football coaches make $4M+ a year. Think about that.

6) Some jackass stole a NASCAR car/trailer out of a hotel parking lot in Atlanta; how exactly does the thief think they'll profit from that? Nitwit.

5) When a team has trouble getting the ball over halfcourt and calls timeout, the 10-second count should NOT re-set. Why should the defensive team be penalized when it forces its opponent to call a timeout?

4) It has been three years since a running back was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Curious to see if that changes at this year's Draft, which appears to be very thin at quarterback.

3) Cleveland Browns signed QB Josh McCown, who played for the 2-14 Bucs LY and from what you read, was pretty much the team's offensive coordinator as well as the starting QB after OC Jeff Tedford had heart problems and had to quit.

2) Cornell 57, Harvard 49-- Crimson and Yale are now tied for first in the Ivy, which doesn't have a conference tournament. Teams play next weekend in Cambridge.

1) Best wishes to Josh Hamilton, who faces the battle of his life daily, fighting an addiction to drugs that now risks his baseball career. He had a support system with the Rangers that he doesn't have now with Anaheim and he is facing a suspension for at least part of this coming season. Its a scary thing. .

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Some quick thoughts on Bill Walton, basketball announcer.......
-- He is one of the greatest college basketball players ever, winning two national titles and losing in the national semi-finals the third year he played.
-- He had a bad stuttering problem as a young man, so his getting paid to talk now is an act of courage, something to be admired.
-- He is positive, upbeat and different; Lord knows ESPN needs someone as an analyst who isn't bland- they've gone that way with most of their recent hires.
-- He does not talk about the game all the time-- I guarantee you that you will learn something you did not know during a Walton broadcast; I cannot guarantee that it will have anything to do with basketball.
-- He prepares and works at it; Who else would tell you it was Vanna White's birthday or that the guy who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest lives in Oregon?
-- He tends to be more reserved when he works UCLA home games, and he feeds off the game he is working-- he is way better on close, fast-paced games.
-- If you don't like him, hit the mute button, but we need more positive energy in this world, and Walton is a 6-foot-11 fountain of positive energy.

12) Idaho 92, Montana 87 OT-- Griz gagged away a road game, fell out of a tie for first in Big Sky, which means they're unlikely to host the Big Sky tournament- they could knock Eastern Washington out of first place Saturday. .

11) Green Bay's Kiefer Sykes went over the 2,000-point mark last night; his team has won 46 games (14 losses) the last two years. Not sure he has enough help for them to win the Horizon tourney next month, but he is one hell of a player.

10) Minnesota 96, Michigan State 90 OT-- Gophers won for the first time in last 15 tries in East Lansing, as Spartans gagged away a late lead with horrendous defense. Not sure why a team like Michigan State plays so much better on the road, but they do.

9) Vanderbilt 73, Tennessee 65-- Commodores shot 84% in second half, then one of its players taunted an opponent after the game, prompting Vandy coach Stallings to flip out on his player in a public/profane way, so in the end, everyone lost in this one.

8) If you bet the road team in all of Tennessee's SEC games, you'd be 14-1 against the spread, which just doesn't happen very much.

7) Utah 83, Arizona State 41-- Game was 41-9 at the half. 41 to freakin' 9. It is safe to assume the Utes weren't looking ahead to the Arizona game.

6) Albany Great Danes will be the top seed in the America East tourney; my alma mater won this tourney the last two years, as the #4/#5 seed. Now the pressure is on them to win as the top seed. Easier said than done.

5) My cousin Kevin went to St Francis NY, one of five original D-I teams that has never been in the NCAA tournament, but they've got a 4-game lead in the NEC and are a favorite to win the tournament. Terriers started out 0-5 in November, but they're rolling now at 21-9, winning their last nine games.

4) Look out for UCSB in the Big West tournament; they got star big man Williams back from a shoulder injury, have a sharp coach (also named Williams) and are gaining positive momentum as they head towards the tournament in Anaheim.

3) Murray State is 25-4, 15-0 in the OVC but it looks like they still have to win the OVC tournament to make the NCAAs; lot of pressure on the top seeds in these middle of the road or lower leagues- their season is a failure if they don't win the tournament.

2) Its funny that Terry Collins can't get fired by the Mets, despite no winning seasons in four tries; he got fired at his other two jobs (Angels/Astros) despite having winning seasons in five of those six years. Life is funny sometimes.

1) Mets hitting coach Kevin Long once played CF on a summer league team with Curt Schilling, who says Long was the fastest guy on the team. It is unclear why Bronx cut the well-regarded Long loose after last year, but he didn't have to move, seeing as the two taxpayer-funded baseball stadiums in NYC are eight miles apart.

Thursday's List of 13: Looking thru some college hoop stuff......
13) Big West-- Cal-Davis has a two-game lead over Irvine. Long Beach lost its last four games, is in middle of the pack. Riverside is a much-improved team.

12) Mountain West-- Down year in this league; San Diego State is far and away the best team, but they struggle to score. Not sure Boise or Colorado State will get into the NCAAs if they don't win the conference tournament.

11) MAC-- Central Michigan is 11-4, three other teams are 10-5. This conference tournament is always chaotic in Cleveland; this year will be no different.

10) MVC-- Wichita and Northern Iowa, Northern Iowa and Wichita. Anyone else winning conference tourney would be huge upset. Teams play Saturday in Wichita.

9) AAC-- SMU and Tulsa are tied at top, but Cincinnati's defense is a good as aoyone. UConn is damn good #6 seed, but league drops way off after that.

8) Atlantic 14-- Four teams are 11-4; two others are 9-6. VCU, Davidson look good for NCAAs; everyone else needs to win conference tourney.

Needs to be pointed out here how many conferences have wide-open races; other than Kentucky, Wisconsin and maybe Gonzaga, every team in the country has glaring flaws-- aren't many deep teams.

7) WCC-- Gonzaga is to this league what UNLV was to the Big West 25 years ago, in Tark the Shark's heydey. Bulldogs have a 4-game lead, but has this league prepared the Zags for the rigors of March Madness?

6) Pac-12-- Arizona is best team, but if Stanley Johnson has a rough night, who picks up the slack? Could be a two-bid league, with Wildcats and Utah.

5) SEC-- Three teams behind Kentucky all lost their last game, two of them at home. Florida has had a dismal season. Luckily spring football practice starts soon.

4) Big 14-- Purdue has been a pleasant surprise, so has Maryland, but Purdue also lost to Gardner-Webb and North Florida. Four teams are locks; Indiana/Illinois are bubblicious-- Purdue and Iowa are close to being in.

3) ACC-- Five teams are locks, but North Carolina is playing lousy and Duke damn near got beat at Virginia Tech last night. Virginia needs to get healthy, Louisville has no point guard and Notre Dame is soft on defense.

2) Big East-- Not sure what to make of this league. Villanova has a 3-game lead, but this is a league where everyone else has at least eight losses. Butler is a pleasant surprise. DePaul has improved, but they're still in sixth place.

1) Big X-- League is just too hard; Home teams are 50-26, 4th-best home win %age in country. Texas is in 8th place but is #21 nationally in KenPom rankings.

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Lebron James has a 10-year old son, Lebron Jr. There is no need for ESPN to show this kid playing youth basketball-- let the kid be a kid.

Wayne Gretzky's son wound up playing pro baseball; neither one of Michael Jordan's sons wound up finishing their college hoop career. Its hard as hell having a dad who you can't possibly be as good as-- no need to put a 10-year old on national TV.

12) Now that the Red Sox have this Moncada kid, they have a lot more depth in their position players than they do on the mound; are they stockpiling players, hoping to pry Cole Hamels from Philly?

11) If my job depended on drafting the right QB this spring, I'd have two really big questions about Jameis Winston:
a) Does he really want to play football, or does he want to try baseball too?
b) His weight would be a concern to me; thats a red flag about his dedication.

10) In the entire 2014 season, Marcus Mariota took five snaps under center. Five. The rest were shotgun snaps. Oregon never huddles, so a 1st-round draft pick QB has to learn the basics of running an NFL huddle-- thats a big adjustment, on top of all the other things he has to learn, in addition to adjusting to the speed of the game.

9) September 4, Friday night of Labor Day weekend: Washington at Boise State, the return of former Boise coach Chris Petersen, who now runs the Huskies' program. No one who has left Boise State has equalled the success they had on the blue turf.

8) UCLA quietly hired former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, right after the recruiting period ended. This way, he gets to coach a season before he has to recruit and possibly answer questions about the Penn State debacle that he lived through. Good football coach, he will help Jim Mora Jr's team.

7) It bears repeating that Snoop Dawg and Jim Mora Sr will both be in the Rose Bowl next fall, cheering on their sons with the Bruins. ESPN has to get an interview with these two football dads, two of the most opposite people in the history of man.

6) If you care about such things, ACC home favorites of 5+ points are 14-26 against the spread this season, which shows that the league has no dominant team. Conference tournament in couple of weeks is going to be something.

5) Wyoming gets star forward Larry Nance Jr (mono) back tonight; doubt he is 100%, but they need anything they can get from him. Cowboys are on the bubble but stand a pretty good chance in a wide open Mountain West tourney. League is down this year. New Mexico won last three tourneys; they won't this year.

4) Guy named Scott Walker might win the Republican nomination for President, but he isn't a college graduate.

Fair question: Should the President of the US be a college graduate?

Last non-graduate candidate to win a major party nomination was Barry Goldwater in 1964; last president who wasn't a college graduate was Harry Truman, and he was a pretty damned good President.

One other question: Walker went to Marquette for a couple of years. Why did he leave? How does a college dropout become such a successful politician?

3) Alabama has a young man on its golf team: Davis Love IV. Think their golf booster club has some deep pockets? If I remember right, Davis Love III went to North Carolina and introduced Michael Jordan to golf.

2) By the way, I had never heard this before, but in order for a PGA golfer to get into the Hall of Fame, he either has to have won 15 PGA tournaments or two majors.

1) Watched a replay of the Florida-Missouri game. Sometimes, you see a team that will just be really happy when the season ends. That team is Florida; they're just awful, losing to a Missouri club that had lost 13 games in a row. Florida's point guard goes 1-8 on the foul line-- what college point guard goes 1-8 on the line?

They've given up on the season and appear anxious for it to be over.

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.....

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Louisville threw senior PG Chris Jones off the team for good Sunday, a day after he played 36:00 off the bench in their win over Miami; Jones missed the loss at Syracuse because he was suspended. Lot of drama in Louisville this winter.

12) Sunday was Julius Erving's 65th birthday; I remember getting into arguments with a friend of mine in high school; who was better, Erving or Rick Barry? I was on Barry's side; still think he was a highly underrated player.

11) There are lot of reasons why the San Antonio Spurs are really good, but team chemistry plays into it too; Saturday night Patty Mills was honored by St Mary's, and Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter were all there with him. Pretty cool to see them watching a college game, considering none of those three played college ball.

10) It is amazing to me to watch a NASCAR race and see how close 20-30 cars are driving together, all over 195 mph. Do those guys drive out on the street in real life? Do they get mad at some bad driver who changes lanes all the time?

9) Knicks were a 17-point home underdog to Cleveland Sunday; its really hard to be so bad that you're a 17-point home dog, but Cleveland had the spread covered before the first quarter was over. This Knick team is an epic disaster; the coach and GM make a combined $17M a year and they're this bad. Wow.

8) Possible big trouble for Oklahoma City, as Kevin Durant had "minor surgery" done on his foot. Minor surgery is generally "surgery somebody else has"; if Durent has to shut it down for rest of the season, its curtains for the Thunder this year.

7) Anyone have any theories on why so many NBA players are getting hurt? Are the sneakers not sturdy enough to protect guys' feet? Do players overtrain, stressing maximum performance over durability? Are players just getting softer?

6) Want to win a bar bet?. Sam Snead is the oldest golfer to win a PGA Tour event, at 52 years of age. Sunday was Vijay Singh's 52nd birthday; he was tied for the lead for a while in the final round of the LA Open, but he faded late.

5) Bad beat of the day: Central Florida (+7.5) loses to Memphis by 10 in OT; Knights had fought back from a 16-point first half deficit.

4) According to Mapquest, it is 1,474 miles from Storrs, CT to New Orleans, but somehow, UConn and Tulane are league rivals, even though neither one has a football program that is worth screwing over your basketball team for. Go figure.

3) If you bet the road team in every Tennessee conference game this season, you'd have 13 wins and one loss. Vols' next game is at Vanderbilt.

2) Golfer James Hahn is a nice guy; walking up the fairway in a driving rainstorm in Los Angeles Sunday, Hahn turned to the CBS cameraman behind him and offered to share his umbrella with the guy. Not everyone would do that.

1) JK Simmons won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor last night, but I missed it because, for some odd reason, that was the first award they gave out- I was watching the Michigan State game on another channel. Simmons has been on Law and Order for 15 years, has been in many commercials/movies and is a terrific actor.

Thankfully the Internet exists and I saw his speech a couple hours later. Seems like a fairly normal guy for a celebrity-- good for him.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Gonzaga 70, St Mary's 60-- Gaels gave Gonzaga their best shot- they were up 17 in the first half, but they couldn't close the deal- they'll be in the NIT. This was a real good game; St Mary's played as well as they could, still lost by 10.

12) Jameis Winston had a good day at the NFL Combine; now the Buccaneer brass has to decide if he is good enough to risk their jobs on.

11) Never thought I'd see the day when 70,205 people would pay to see a regular season NHL game outdoors in California, but they did in Santa Clara. Kings won their seventh game in a row, 2-1 over San Jose.

If you care about such things, the road team is 11-4 in outdoor NHL games.

10) I'm not fond of the phrase, "He's just a winner" because that implies that there are people who are born losers and I will never believe that.

9) First weekend in May should be interesting in Las Vegas; Kentucky Derby Day and the Meriwether-Pacquaio fight that night, with hockey/basketball playoff games, baseball and the NFL Draft going on, too. MGM Grand sold out in 15 minutes after the fight was officially announced as a go.

8) VMI 113, Western Carolina 111, 2 OTs-- Each team had a kid score 40+ points.

7) We used to teach high school kids when they were rebounding, to "Catch it, tuck it, swing it", pivoting with the ball to create space, and if you drilled a kid with an elbow to the head, so be it-- he'd move his head next time.

But America has become soft because of concussion lawsuits; elbows to the head are treated like felonies now and it changes how the game is taught. Rebounders can be hacked and they can't create space for themselves anymore.

6) Arizona 57, UCLA 47-- Wildcats didn't score in first 6:00 of either half; you just don't see that very much, especially with a double digit home favorite. UCLA is headed to the NIT with St Mary's.

5) Bill Vinovich reffed the Arizona game; if that name sounds familiar, he was also the referee at the Super Bowl.

4) If I had a vote for college basketball player of the year, I wouldn't vote for Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin; lot of TV types are pushing him for the award. I remember his game against Georgetown back in November; 1-8 from the floor, in a 68-65 win for the Badgers. Kaminsky is a very good player in a sport that has virtually no skilled big men, so he has a huge advantage there, but he is not the Player of the Year. He was 5-12 from the floor against Duke, not exactly Player oif the Year numbers.

3) Kentucky lost the national title game last year, but none of their five NCAA tourney wins were by more than seven points. When they won the title in 2012, none of their six NCAA tourney wins were by less than eight points.

2) Bad Beat of the Day: Drexel, +9.5-- Lost by 10 in overtime. Oy.

1) Joe Lunardi will be all over ESPN for the next three weeks, as Bracketology becomes the nation's sports focus. First four out, last four in, every win/loss causing a shift in people's fortunes. Lunardi is good at what he does, but ESPN treats his word as gospel, which it is not. Just remember that on Selection Sunday.

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) I almost never watch the Academy Award show on TV, but this year is different; one of my favorite actors is up for Best Supporting Actor and he is expected to win.

JK Simmons is the psychiatrist on Law and Order, the guy on the Farmers Insurance commercials, the surgeon who couldn't save Winona Ryder in Autumn in New York, the manager of the Tigers in For the Love of Game, Kevin Costner's baseball movie. he is a great character actor and it will be cool to see it if he wins.

12) As I am typing this article, the Internet Explorer on my laptop won't work and it is causing great frustration. Anyone know how to fix this? At this point, I'm off to Best Buy to get a new one the next time it isn't snowing, which could be in May.

11) Turns out James Shields got offered $80M for five years by the Giants, but he turned it down and wound up signing with San Diego for five years, $75M.

10) Georgia RB Todd Gurley wouldn't let NFL doctors look at his post-operative knee, on advice from Dr James Andrews, who operated on it. This is very unusual for a kid not to let the NFL doctors look at him, but it is his decision.

9) With three games left in the regular season, the CAA has a 4-way tie for first; same thing happened it Conference USA last year. A team finished last year one game out of first place, but they were in fifth place and had a very tough first round game in the conference tournament.

8) 47.3% of challenges were overturned by replay last baseball season; thats a lot higher than I thought it would be- the system was better than expected.

7) They're going to build a 4-story driving range near the MGM Grand later this year; that will be tremendous, hitting golf balls on the Strip-- it will open next spring.

6) Actor Ben Stiller is a huge hoop fan and has Knicks tickets; his son was a ballboy for the NBA All-Star Game last week.

5) Albany-Hartford game on ESPNU Friday night had seven Australian kids playing in it. Not a lot of east coast schools recruit Australia; too far from home. They also said on the telecast that the biggest WalMart in America is in Albany, which is cool since I live here, I'm just not sure which one it is. There are a lot of WalMarts here.

4) When did Toronto become a basketball city? NBA All-Star Game is there next winter. Menawhile their beloved Maple Leafs are 4-22-2 in their last 28 games. Oy.

3) Jameis Winston has a bum shoulder; whoops. Bad time for a kid to find that out; maybe being a relief pitcher all spring after playing football wasn't such a great idea after all. Could cost him millions of dollars.

2) Ever since it came out that Dan Monson was getting a decent percentage of the guarantee money Long Beach State got for losing all those road games in December, his kids haven't played as well; not sure if there is a connection, but the 49ers' body language is terrible, they just play indifferently at times. It is one thing to play a tough schedule to get better, it is quite another to play tough games so the coach can line his pocket with the gate receipts.

1) Major league baseball games are nine minutes a game longer now than they were 20 years ago; why is this a problem? Most of those nine minutes result from increased commercial time in between innings, but those can't be eliminated. I don't see what the big deal is-- seems like a media-driven complaint.

Friday's List of 13: Thinking out loud with the weekend here......
13) First of all, best wishes to Giants' manager Bruce Bochy, who had a procedure to put two stents in to help his heart work better. Get well soon.

12) Clippers 119, Spurs 115-- DeAndre Jordan was 10-28 on the foul line in this game; he also grabbed 18 rebounds- he should try shooting free throws underhanded.

11) Ton of trades in the NBA at the trade deadline; Miami stepped out and got Goran Dragic from Phoenix. Pat Riley doesn't sit back and wait for stuff to happen.

10) There are rumors around that some college administrators want freshmen to be ineligible in football/basketball; this is as stupid as smart people can be.

You make basketball kids ineligible as freshmen and you're pushing them to go to Europe and get paid to play. Can't think of one way that that this is a good idea.

9) When a coach calls an early timeout, that should count as the first TV timeout; in one game last night, team called a timeout with 16:53 left in the half, then a minute later, there was a TV timeout. This makes no sense; the game loses its flow with so many stoppages. College basketball needs to reduce its timeouts.

8) You want scoring to go up in college basketball? Call fewer charges; rewarding an defender for flopping in front of a player driving to the basket cheapens the game.

7) Louisville re-instated point guard Chris Jones; whatever he did to get himself suspended for the Syracuse game is now over; they weren't very good without him. Wonder if they had beaten Syracuse would he have been re-instated?

6) Speaking of Syracuse, their PG last year was Tyler Ennis, who bolted to pro ball after one season in college. Ennis got traded to Milwaukee yesterday, as the reality of basketball as a business emerged. You wonder how many of these kids regret going to the pros earlier than they should.

5) MacKenzie Skapski is backup goalie for the Rangers while Henrik Lundqvist is hurt; Skapski grew up as a Canucks' fan-- he was born in Vancouver, the day after the Rangers beat the Canucks in the 1994 Stanley Cup finals.

4) Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga is in the movie Million Dollar Arm; he plays the part of Popo. Watched part of the movie; it wasn't very good.

3) Louisiana Tech has a point guard named Speedy Smith; not only is he good, but Tech was the only D-I school to offer him a scholarship. Another school said he could come and try and be a walk-on. A D-II school in Florida offered him, also, but he is a damn good player and Tech might be an NCAA tourney Cinderella.

2) Racing cars in NASCAR don't have speedometers; guess it wouldn't help for a driver to know he is going 200 mph or so.

1) NBA players want fewer back/back games but they also wanted an 8-day All-Star break. Hard to have both of these things. I'm guessing they'd be happy with a 64-game regular season, but they wouldn't approve of a 22% salary reduction. Go figure.

Thursday's List of 13: Random stuff on a winter night........
13) Duke 92, North Carolina 90 OT-- Duke jumped out to a 13-point lead in first half, but then Tar Heels started dominating game inside and led by 10 with 3:20 to go. UNC couldn't finish Duke off, though and lost for 4th time in last five games. Mike Krzyzewski is now 41-38 against the Tar Heels.

12) Quote of the Day, part 2: "I don't feel comfortable with the situation. I don't trust them anymore." Goran Dragic, soon to be an ex-Phoenix Sun

NBA trading deadline is today; should be a decent amount of action.

11) Xavier 59, Cincinnati 57-- Intense inner-city rivalry goes Musketeers' way, with Xavier going 10-17 from the arc, offsetting a -9 (15-6) turnover ratio. Bearcats do not have enough offense to win when other team goes 9-17 from the arc, though they did rally back from a 36-24 halftime deficit and led with a minute to go.

10) Syracuse 69, Louisville 59-- It is February 19; any team that suspends its point guard at this point of the season, especially for non-academic reasons, has problems that might not be fixable. Louisville has now lost three of its last four games, and its point guard is currently suspended.

9) Arizona State 68, UCLA 66-- ASU retired James Harden's number 13 and might've also retired UCLA's chances of going to the NCAAs; Bruins have two Pac-12 road wins, at USC and Stanford- they also lost at Alabama.

8) Arizona State has a player named Bo Barnes; his dad Jake is in the Rodeo Hall of Fame. Rodeo performers are tough humans, for sure.

7) Boise State 53, UNLV 48-- Rebels are down to seven scholarship players and just aren't very good right now; this was Boise's first win at UNLV, not counting neutral court wins in the Mountain West tournament.

6) They dimmed the lights of the Las Vegas Strip for three minutes at 10:30 last night, to honor Jerry Tarkanian; this is something that doesn't happen often; it had been done for passing of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin and George Burns.

5) The inmates are running the asylum in Manhattan, where Carmelo Anthony is done for the year, but not until he played 30 minutes in the All-Star Game Sunday. It should be noted that Anthony sat out regular season home games before the All-Star break, basically giving the finger to Knick ticket holders. He makes around $275,000 a game, would've been nice if he acted that mattered to him.

4) Davidson 65, George Washington 63-- Wildcats are 9-4 in their first season in the A-14, a huge step up from the Southern Conference. Big-time schools missed out by not hiring Bob McKillop as its coach, most notably St John's; he is excellent.

3) Northwestern 72, Minnesota 66-- Rough night for the Pitino family.

2) Iowa State 70, Oklahoma State 65-- Cyclones ended a 4-game road losing streak, as they outscored the Cowboys 9-0 over the last 2:27 to sweep OSU this season.

1) Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks leads the NHL in scoring; no American-born player has ever won the NHL scoring title. Ever.

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) The #1 thing I learned Tuesday: Alex Rodriguez has excellent handwriting, as in, superior cursive writing skills that any parent would love to see their kid come home from school with. Seriously, there were people on Twitter talking about that instead of what he wrote, which I guess was part of the intent.

12) Louisville senior guard Chris Jones is suspended for tonight's game at Syracuse for off-court stuff. Jones plays 31 minutes a game and the suspension is said to be for more than one game, so this is a fairly big deal.

11) Why would a quarterback go to the NFL Combine and not throw footballs, unless he was hurt? What does it prove, other than hint that you're not as competitive person as a team would want its QB to be? It can't possibly help, can it?

10) Notre Dame 88, Wake Forest 75-- Wake's Devin Thomas had 26 in ths game, 24 against Duke, 31 against Louisville.....he also had no points in 28:00 vs Delaware State, 7 vs Nicholls State, 8 vs Bucknell. A very strange resume.

9) Atlantic 14 had five teams in NCAA tournament last March; four lost their first round game, but three of the five games went to OT, including St Joe's blowing a late lead and losing to eventual national champ UConn. Tournament is going to be that wide open again this year, especially if/when Kentucky goes down.

8) ESPN is using the score crawl on the bottom of the screen to promote tomorrow's televised games in addition to giving today's scores; cheesy at best.

7) The movie 50 Shades of Gray made over $90M last weekend; whether or not it is a good movie does not matter. It was profitable, so there will be a sequel.

6) Seton Hall suspended guard Sterling Gibbs two games for slugging a Villanova player while he was on the floor in Monday night's game- seems fair. Pirates' ship is sinking, in what started out as a promising season.

5) Oklahoma 71, Texas 69-- Longhorns are 3-5 in their last eight games, after starting season 14-4; they're forcing 4th-fewest turnovers of any team in America.

4) 16 of 40 guys on the A's 40-man roster were in other organizations last year; in less than a year, they turned over 40% of their roster, dumping six All-Stars.

3) Kentucky 66, Tennessee 48-- Karl-Anthony Towns took one shot in his 16 foul-plagued minutes and the Wildcats still won by 18, despite looking bored for a lot of this game. Looking more and more like the Wildcats will be unbeaten heading into the NCAA tournament. Would help them to get tested more than they have been.

2) Serious question: If Aaron Hernandez is acquitted at his trial, does the NFL have to re-instate him? Can you banish a guy who wasn't convicted of a crime? And if he is acquitted/re-instated, what team would have the onions to sign him?

1) Serious question #2: If you owned the Denver Broncos, are you asking Peyton Manning to take a pay cut to play next season?

Tuesday's List of 13: Some thoughts on basketball......
13) There are eight TV timeouts in college basketball games; each side gets five more timeouts. Do we need 18 timeouts (plus halftime) in every game? Any game? If each time got only two timeouts per game, the action would flow better, kids would play better and scoring would go up.

12) College hoop has a 0:10 rule for getting the ball over halfcourt, the NBA's rule is :08. I'm saying :07 should be the new rule. make teams jog the ball up court, be more aggressive on offense. This would help more than shortening the shot clock.

11) NBA playoff series are too long; you don't need best-of-7 series to determine the better team. Best-of-3 would be better, with Finals best-of-5. So what if higher seeds lost now and then? Little drama makes the event more interesting-- NCAA tourney is great entertainment and it is single elimination.

10) DirecTV needs to add the Pac-12 Network, they just do. Don't need multiple soccer channels, or three C-Spans, or foreign language channels. I need to see games on TV late at night. I'm willing to pay for it, even though I already pay enough, but at the end of the day, I'd like to tailor my own channel setup. Its not asking much.

9) NBA needs to set up a 64-player 1-on-1 tournament for the summer, to benefit whatever charities the players want to support. It would be great fun; they had one for two years in the 70's, but star players backed out. This would be a great event.

8) When ESPN started in the early 80's, one of the first college basketball leagues that let them televise games was the Sun Belt Conference; now they're ignored by ESPN. would be nice if the Sun Belt got a weekly game, even if it was on Sunday afternoon or late Saturday night or even Monday night. They earned it a long time ago.

7) College basketball needs to change the way the games are officiated. I'm deferring to Jeff Van Gundy on this: refs have to allow continuation on drives to the basket, the way the NBA does. This automatically raises scoring, without the game itself changing very much. I'm not big on college hoop becoming more like the NBA, but this is one way to make the game more attractive without changing very much.

What I'm saying is this: Tulane led Cincinnati 19-13 at the half Saturday. We do not need 19-13 halftime scores in basketball.

6) When UConn won the national championship last April, they become the first team since 1987 to win the national title when it was an underdog in its second round game; they were also only the fourth national champ since '87 that was favored in their first round game by less than 10 points.

5) Six of the last eight national champs were #1 seeds; UConn won the other two, as a #7 seed last year, as a #3 seed in 2011.

4) Favorites are 11-4 vs spread in the last fifteen national title games.

3) You may never have seen a Summit League game, but in the last ten years, Summit League games have led the country in best 3-point shooting percentage five times. This league is underrated; good offensive teams-- North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Oral Roberts and Denver runs the Princeton offense.

2) I'd be in favor of the NBA scaling back to a 64-game schedule to reduce the back-to-backs and number of times the best players sit out anyway. More practice time and less games would lead to higher quality of games; problem is, would the players agree to scale their salaries back by the 21.6% that the schedule would be reduced by?

1) Conference realignment has made a mockery of geography; the following series are now conference rivalries, its really hard to believe........

-- UConn-Southern Methodist, which is in Dallas.
-- Rutgers-Nebraska-- Rutgers is the state university of New Jersey.
-- UTEP-Marshall-- Long road trip from El Paso to West Virginia.
-- West Virginia-Texas Tech-- 1,505 miles from Morgantown to Lubbock.

Monday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a frigid night.......
13) Its so cold out the icicles hanging off my house put parkas on; wind chill as I type this is a chilly minus-26. Spring training starts in three days, so it'll be fun to watch exhibition baseball games, as long as the satellite dish doesn't freeze. Oy.

12) Wall Street Journal posted that an average NBA regular season game has 7.4 dunks in it; the average All-Star game has 34.2 dunks, which is why I don't watch it. I like to watch guys compete; thats not what an All-Star Game is. Would rather watch a bad college game than the All-Star Game; those guys are competing, at least.

11) Indiana 90, Minnesota 71-- Hoosiers made 18-32 from the arc; impressive.

10) Northwestern 66, Iowa 61-- Horrific loss for the Hawkeyes, losing to a team that had lost its previous ten games; TV people kept showing Doug Collins in the stands, agonizing with his son's team as they struggled. Good TV.

9) Miami-Boston College game was postponed by weather, will be played at 3:00 this afternoon, televised on ESPNU. Hurricanes have been struggling lately.

8) Hofstra 81, Drexel 57-- Dragons won five of last seven games, with both losses by big scores to Hofstra, which has struggled recently otherwise.

7) Quote of the Day, part 2, from Kevin Durant:
“You guys (reporters) really don't know shit. To be honest, man, I'm only here talking to y'all because I have to,. So I really don't care. Y'all not my friends. You're going to write what you want to write. You're going to love us one day and hate us the next. That's a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with y'all.”.

6) Toronto's Kyle Lowry had a dunk in the All-Star Game; he was the only All-Star who hadn't dunked a ball this season.

5) UNLV is a disappointing 5-7 in the Mountain West and now Rashad Vaughn is done with a knee injury; their seven losses are by a total of 26 points. Tough year for the Rebels, but if Vaughn is healthy next year, they'll be back in NCAAs.

4) Penn State hoop coach Patrick Chambers flipped out this weekend over a lack of respect he feels his team gets from refs, because they're not a winning team like his rivals are. Its one of the many obstacles that comes with turning a perennial loser into a winner; once they start winning, Penn State will get more respect. Just the way it is.

3) NFL ref Gene Steratore also works bigtime college hoop games; he had the game at Michigan State Satuirday, one at Wisconsin yesterday. Lot of money in officiating, once you get to that lofty level. He has worked 41 hoop games this year, in addition to his NFL duties.

2) Then there is referee David Hall, who shows up on my TV almost every night. Hall has worked 78 games in 94 days. Not a bad second job.

1) You should follow former Dallas Cowboy executive Gil Brandt on Twitter; he is sharp and gives good tidbits, such as the first NBA All-Star Game was back in 1952 in Boston, and the preliminary was a high school game. That sounds better than all the hoopla you see now, more style than substance.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college basketball Saturday
13) Big West-- Cal-Davis leads by two games after Riverside upset Irvine. Long Beach was 0-2 this week; they look disinterested a lot at start of games. UCSB had 2-0 week, but they'll need star Williams (shoulder) in lineup to make noise in tournament.

12) Mountain West-- Down year here; San Diego State is 10-3 and leads league. New Mexico blew game at Nevada, bad sign for team that will be looking for their 4th MW tourney title in a row. UNLV lost star freshman Vaughn; they're screwed. Colorado State is now on bubble. This could be a one-bid league.

11) Mid-American-- Bowling Green is 9-3 with new coach Jans, after being 13-21 the last two years; Ball State (2-10) is only team that doesn't have 4+ MAC wins. Going to be lot of fun to watch MAC tourney. Kent needs Jimmy Hall to bunce back from having mono- they beat Toledo without him Friday.

10) Missouri Valley-- There's still Wichita and everyone else, but gap has narrowed this year. Northern Iowa is 12-1 in league, but Panthers haven't won an Arch Madness game since 2010. Anything other than a Wichita-UNI tourney final would be a shock. Wichita won tough game at Illinois State yesterday by 6.

9) AAC-- SMU-Tulsa-Temple in three way battle for top spot. Cincinnati lost home game to Tulane yesterday; game was 19-13 at half. UConn/Memphis are NIT teams. Kid at SMU hit a half-court shot on Game Day yesterday, won $18,000, second time in three weeks a kid nailed a halfcourt shot on national TV.

8) Atlantic 14-- Four teams are tied at top (9-3); VCU got injured star Graham back yesterday, won at fading GW. Nine of 14 teams in league are 6-6 or better, as bottom four teams have been pummeled (combined 9-38). There is so much parity this year in college ball; not many really good teams, ton of fragile teams.

7) WCC-- Gonzaga is like UNLV was in the Big West 25 years ago, dominating their league but uplifting other WCC programs like Pepperdine, Portland who have gotten better but not good enough to beat the Zags. St Mary's manages to stay #2, Alydar to Gonzaga's Affirmed.

6) Pac-12-- Arizona is much the best, but they're tied at top with Utah, which didn't play well in losses in Tucson/Westwood. UCLA is tough at home, soft on road. Cal is on the rise, winning five games in row after a dismal start. Washington fell off the cliff after throwing big man Robert Upshaw off the team.

5) SEC-- Kentucky is unbeaten but has been challenged. Arkansas/Ole Miss/LSU are next three best teams, everyone else is erratic as hell or just plain bad. Man, Florida is 12-13, 5-7 in SEC, terrible year for Gators-- five of their last seven games were decided by 1 or 2 points.

4) Big 14-- Wisconsin lost PG Jackson in loss at Rutgers, but is 7-0 since; they've got depth. Again, not lot of great teams here-- home teams are 58-27 SU, making it the #1 conference in America for home teams. Maryland is surprising 9-4 in its first year in conference; they won last two games by total of five points.

Denzel Valentine's shot with 0:02 left won game for Michigan State Saturday on Feb 14, otherwise known as.....Valentine's Day.

3) ACC-- NC State might be the best 15-11 team in the history of the world; they've beaten Duke/Louisville, lost to Wofford/Wake Forest. Erratic, typical of this season's quality of play. Virginia lost its best player Anderson; doubtful he'll be back for first weekend of NCAAs. Miami has slipped since its win at Syracuse.

2) Big East-- Villanova-Butler game last night was excellent ball; Bulldogs are back to where they were when they dominated Horizon League. Seton Hall has some internal problems, when a starting guard transfers in February, then the coach praises him up and down on his way out the door. Everyone else is typically erratic.

1) Big 12-- Kansas is going to win this league for 11th year in row, but Jayhawks did not win conference tourney two of last three years (they've won tourney in six of last nine years). Why is West Virginia in this league? Their shortest road trip is Iowa State; that has to take its toll over the course of a season.

Saturday's List of 13: Baseball's over/under win totals......

2015 baseball over/under win totals
American League
National League
Orioles-- 84.5 Diamondbacks-- 72.5
Red Sox-- 86 Braves-- 73.5
White Sox-- 82 Cubs-- 81.5
Indians-- 81 Reds-- 79
Tigers-- 86.5 Rockies-- 70.5
Astros-- 73.5 Dodgers-- 91
Royals-- 83 Marlins-- 81.5
Angels-- 87.5 Brewers-- 80
Twins-- 68.5 Mets-- 81
Bronx-- 80 Phillies-- 67
A's-- 82.5 Pirates-- 85.5
Mariners-- 85 Cardinals-- 87.5
Rays-- 77.5 Padres-- 84
Rangers-- 76.5 Giants-- 85
Blue Jays-- 83.5 Nationals-- 93

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) So Carmelo Anthony is going to play in the All-Star Game Sunday night, then he'll blow off the rest of the season and get his knee scoped; Anthony didn't play for the Knicks Monday or Wednesday, but a stupid exhibition game? He's all in.

Knicks are paying Anthony $22,458,000 this season, but don't seem to mind that he is more interested in the freakin' All-Star Game than regular season games. If he is hurt, then the knee should already have been taken care of, to ensure that he is ready for next season. If they're subtly tanking games, they should be embarrassed, because there is no one at the top of this draft who is that much of a difference maker.

Knicks are an awful team, 10-30 when Anthony plays, 0-13 when he does not. How did he get on the All-Star team to begin with? He has sat out 24.5% of their games.

12) College hoop will probably wind up with a 30-second shot clock, as opposed to the current 35-second clock. Don't think it'll make a big difference; I do think forcing teams to get the ball over halfcourt in 7 seconds instead of ten would prevent teams from walking the ball up and pick up the pace of action. NBA's rule right now is :08.

11) Rashad Vaughn, UNLV's best player, is probably done for the year after hurting his knee Tuesday night; he hurt the same knee in high school last year. Big blow for a Rebel team that had been playing a lot better the last five games.

10) Missouri hoop coach Kim Anderson was flying on a recruiting trip Wednesday night when one of the engines on his plane gave out and the plane had to make an emergency landing near St Louis. Thankfully, pilots landed the plane safely. Coaches fly a lot on small planes to make in-season recruiting trips.

9) Golfer Billy Horschel won $10M last year when he won the Fed Ex Cup; turns out he gave his caddy $1M of it, which is unusually generous.

8) John Daly is less than two years from going on the Senior Tour, where he should win a lot, seeing as he can still compete with the younger guys. Daly should help the Senior Tour; people still like to watch him play.

7) Golfer Padraig Harrington is a licensed accountant; wonder if he does other golfers' taxes? Harrington won the PGA in 2008 but hasn't won in America since.

6) PGA rookie Max Homa once won the pro-am part of a tourney on the Web.com Tour; his partner was actress Janet Jones Gretzky, wife of the Great One; she is not only really pretty, she loves to gamble. Its good to be the Great One.

5) As far as this Little League cheating stuff goes, I'll say this: kids from broken homes wind up with parents living in different places; they have a dad in one town, a mom in another, aunts/uncles/grandparents and sometimes there is a creative use of a relative's address, so the kid can go to school or play ball where he/she prefers.

4) I can think of two high school basketball scenarios around here where addresses were used creatively so that a kid could play ball where he wanted to. One was the dad living in a suburb, the mom in the city, but that one got quashed. The suburban school district actually had detectives watching where the kid went after school.

The other one was a dad using his business, renting an apartment, then using that apartment as his son's "address" so he could play basketball for a different school in a bordering town for a better coach. So the kid drove to School B every day, usually passing the athletic director from School A on his way. Nothing was done.

3) Not sure what Jesse Jackson is trying to prove by objecting to all this; the team from Chicago cheated, they got caught, but so what?

They still had the thrill of winning, that can't be taken away. The kids on other teams in the tournament got cheated and naming another team "champion" isn't going to make them any happier. The actual crime isn't cheating, it is getting caught.

2) Kid named Scott Meredith from Hargraves Military Academy made 18 of 24 from behind the arc Wednesday night; he scored 55 points-- he got fouled on one of the 3-point shots. His team won 131-80; not sure what the other team was doing.

1) Vermont made 16-21 from the arc as a team against Mass-Lowell the other night; even after that display, Catamounts are making only 35% from the arc this season.

Thursday's List of 13: RIP Coach Tark; a sad day in Vegas.....
13) RIP coach Jerry Tarkanian, one of the all-time great college hoop coaches, one of my heroes-- he died Wednesday at age 84. Tark is a rare example of a coach who put his school on the map-- no one knew much about UNLV before 1973. Now you can buy Rebel gear all over the country-- his Rebels made UNLV a national brand.

12) ESPN used to have a Big Monday tripleheader: Big East-Big 10-Big West and the Rebels were the headliner in the Big West the way Gonzaga is now in the WCC or Murray State is in the OVC. Even here in New York, my friends stayed up to watch that midnight game if the Rebels were playing, especially if it was against UCSB or New Mexico State, their two closest Big West pursuers. It was tremendous. .

11) Tark's UNLV teams played hard, played fast, were great fun to watch; picture the current VCU teams, only with better players, especially in the late 80's/1990, when UNLV jogged to its only national title, clubbing Duke in the national final.

10) But Tark learned its hard to fight City Hall; the NCAA pushed him out and he wound up in the NBA with the Spurs for a half a year; his first preseason game was here in Albany against the Knicks. It was a failed experiment and he left, winding up at his alma mater Fresno State for seven years.

9) Tark had a small role in Nick Nolte's basketball movie Blue Chips; he and a few other coaches were competing with Nolte's character on the recruiting trail. As they watched Penny Hardaway's character play, Tark shook his head and delivered one of the movie's funniest lines: "We couldn't get him in academically". Uh-huh.

8) Politics kept him out of the Hall of Fame until 2013, but he got in before he passed on, which is good. NCAA wound up writing him a check for $2.5M for the unlawful way they treated him and his team.

Jerry Tarkanian was one of a kind; RIP, coach.

7) Bill Raftery will be working his first Final Four on CBS next month, but he's worked the last 23 Final Fours on the radio. Somehow Grant Hill will also be on the telecast, as every Duke alum gets a shot at being a TV analyst or a head coach. Hill is brand new to TV work; he's not bad so far.

6) First NFL preseason game is August 9: Steelers-Vikings in Canton.

5) Tallest NHL team, on average? The Winnipeg Jets, whose average height is a little bit over 6-2, without skates. Just thought you'd like to know.

4) Seton Hall's hoop team took an unexpected hit when starting guard Jaren Sina left the program Wednesday; rumor has it the players don't get along very well.

3) DeAndre Jordan didn't make the West Conference All-Stars, a day after he put up 22 points and 27 rebounds in a game. Clipper coach Doc Rivers, who is a way better politician than a coach, spouted the predictable outrage, but Jordan will be better off in the second half with some rest instead of cavorting in the Big Apple all weekend.

2) If you look at last year's NFL results and then next year's opponents for each team, Steelers are playing the easiest group of opponents, the Falcons are playing the strongest group, but the NFL is fluid and so what we see now might not be what we see next fall. In fact, it probably won't turn out that way at all.

1) The father of Orlando Magic rookie guard Elfrid Payton is still second in career sacks in the history of the Canadian Football League.

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Kentucky 71, LSU 69-- Outstanding game; LSU didn't have enough firepower, even after after a 21-2 run that erased a 13-point Kentucky lead. I get the feeling that Calipari wouldn't have minded taking a loss to relieve some pressure on his very young team. Winning the national title is all that matters.

12) Game was LSU's first sellout in six years, first in an SEC game since 2006; they have a program on the rise- their recrutiing class next year is outstanding. LSU guard Keith Hornsby, a 37% shooter from the arc, is the son of singer Bruce Hornsby.

11) Wisconsin 65, Nebraska 55-- Second game in a row, Cornhuskers had 13 points at halftime; they've taken a step back after LY's progress.

10) NBC suspended news anchor Brian Williams for six months, with no pay; what does a guy like that do to earn money now? He probably has some socked away since a guy in his position makes major bucks, but still, what does he do?

9) Meanwhile, Jon Stewart announced he will be leaving The Daily Show sometime in the next year, after 16 years there. He will be sorely missed; funny man.

8) John Daly's ex-wife is suing his current fiance for "alienation of affection", which is the Mississippi legal euphemism for "home wrecker".

7) Ralph Friedgen stepped down as Rutgers' offensive coordinator, meaning the Scarlet Knights will amazingly have their sixth offensive coordinator in six years next fall. Hard to have any continuity that way, but they manage to stay over .500.

6) Baseball America lists Notre Dame sharpshooter Pat Connaughton as the Orioles' #11 minor league prospect; he is supposedly a very good pitching prospect.

5) There will be four Atlanta Hawks in the NBA All-Star Game Sunday, which reminds me of last summer, when the A's had six guys in the All-Star Game, only to implode in the second half. Sometimes time off is useful keeping you mentally fresh; All-Star Game will provide a lot of attention those Hawks aren't used to getting and they're hoping their season goes deep into June, when the Finals are held.

4) There were rumors that Demarcus Cousins' agent was protesting the Kings hiring George Karl as head coach, so much so that Cousins made a statement saying he didn't mind if Karl was named coach. Sounds like a great organization.

3) Detroit Tigers got (fairly) good news; Victor Martinez had his knee scoped, will only miss 4-6 weeks, as opposed to months. Good news for the Armadillos too, my team in a 16-team keeper fantasy league that is going into its 11th year.

2) Guy on ESPN.com listed his top 200 fantasy league players, and I was happy to see that five of the top 32 are on my team, though none of them pitch. When you root for the A's, like I do, you can't get attached to players, because they come and go like there's a freakin' revolving door at the Oakland Coliseum.

Having a fantasy team allows you to root for a team where players leave only if I say so, which is more fun. I've said this before, the world would be a better place if I was allowed to make more decisions-- ha!!!!

1) Can you imagine what the media circus is going to be like next week when Alex Rodriguez reports to spring training in Florida???? It'll be a good day for anyone else to announce bad news, since it'll get buried in the paper by the ARod stuff.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Padres signed James Shields to a 4-year deal worth $72-76M; Shields has the most innings pitched (1,785.2) of any pitcher since 2007 (223+ IP a year).

12) Spurs 95, Pacers 93-- Gregg Popovich gets his 1,000th win as an NBA coach; San Antonio was down 14 points after the third quarter. How would you like to be the reporter who asked the sometimes-surly Popovich what 1,000 wins means to him?

Popovich is the ninth NBA coach with 1,000 wins; he has the second-best winning percentage of those nine. Only Phil Jackson's is better.

11) RIP, Mr Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, who made the NFL a lot more fun for a lot of us. Miking players, coaches and putting highlights to music were strokes of genius that helped the NFL become as popular as it is.

10) Oklahoma 94, Iowa State 83-- Game was 46-all at half, an entertaining game to see; Cyclones are struggling away from home. Oklahoma has now won five in a row.

9) Oregon gave football coach Mark Helfrich a new contract for five years, $17.5M; he is 24-4 in two years, with a Rose Bowl win this season.

8) Helfrich's new QB in 2015 will be Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams, which will be interesting; Ducks open the '15 season against Eastern Washington.

7) Lousy day in sports talk radio; someone in New York sent Knicks' owner James Dolan a nasty e-mail telling him low lousy he is, Dolan sent the guy an angrier e-mail in reply and somehow it all became public. Not only were the NYC shows talking about it, the national media was too. Dolan's a billionaire; just hit the delete key.

6) Virginia Tech 65, Georgia Tech 63-- Hokies came from behind to win at the end, a game played with great enthusiasm but not tremendous skill. I'm watching this game and I'm like, "This is ACC basketball???" Football has damaged ACC hoop; too many teams, too many smallish crowds at the bottom of this league.

Serious question; where does Syracuse basketball go when Jim Boeheim retires? With probation looming and Boeheim over 70, it could happen sooner than later, but they're in the ACC because of football and the money it generates. The basketball fanbase is spoiled; the next coach has very big shoes to fill. It won't be easy.

5) Sacramento Kings stupidly fired coach Mike Malone when they were 11-13; now they're 18-32 and changing coaches again, with George Karl apparently headed to northern California. Owner must have a lot of money to spend.

4) Dan Haren has a $10M contract to pitch this season, and said he only wanted to play for a west coast team, but the Dodgers traded him to Miami anyway. Haren did not say much, but did you really think he'd pass up $10M to make 25-30 starts and travel first-class all summer while living half the time in South Beach? He'll be with the Marlins this season, no surprise to anyone. Miami might be pretty good.

3) Clippers 115, Mavericks 98-- DeAndre Jordan had 22 points, 27 rebounds with Blake Griffin sidelined. big win for LA, ending a losing skid before the All-Star break. It is very, very difficult to get 27 rebounds in any basketball game.

2) I'm not a big NASCAR fan but I like watching it now and then because its fun to watch pit crews do their work and the announcers are so enthusiastic and its amazing that cars drive so close to each other while going so fast without crashing all the time.

Plus, the start of NASCAR means one big thing to me: winter is almost over. The last couple weeks around have totally sucked weather-wise; 30 inches of snow, few more nights with temps below zero. Spring training and NASCAR need to start and soon..

1) It feels strange to follow a baseball off-season where the White Sox, Padres spent a lot more money than the Bronx Bombers. What the hell is going on out there????

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday......
13) RIP coach Dean Smith, who passed away at age 83 Saturday night; if you posted a Mt Rushmore of college basketballl coaches, John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith would definitely be on it- the fourth coach would be an interesting debate.

Rupp, Knight, Pitino, Donovan, Izzo, Calipari, Self? My choice would be Pitino.

12) Smith's 4-corner offense is one of the main reasons the shot clock was put into college basketball-- he was an innovator who put lot of coaches into the profession. George Karl, Larry Brown, Roy Williams, Buzz Peterson, Matt Doherty, Jeff Lebo, King Rice, Billy Cunningham, Doug Moe, Scott Cherry, John Kuester, all Tar Heels.

11) Lookalikes: pro golfer Paul Goydos and Lou Piniella.

10) Senior Tour golfer Rod Spittle (great name, by the way) finished three shots out of first place yesterday; he had a 10 on the par-5 6th hole. Cost him lot of money.

9) Blake Griffin has a staph infection in his elbow, is out for at least a couple weeks. Clippers had a rough week on the road; it ain't getting better with Griffin out.

8) Pelicans' star Anthony Davis sprained his shoulder on a nasty fall Saturday night, is doubtful for their game tonight with Utah.

7) Former Ravens' RB Jamal Lewis declared for bankruptcy; the Super Bowl ring he got from Raven owner Steve Bisciotti just sold for $50,820 at an auction.

6) Marv Albert's son Kenny is a very good announcer; he does his homework, asks his analysts good questions and makes broadcasts better, but you would never really notice him. Thats a good thing, by the way. Good play-by-play guys are like a point guard; they set their teammates up and make them better. Albert does that.

5) Utah State got good news this weekend; QB Chuckie Keeton who is a very good player but has been hurt a lot, got a fifth year of eligibility from the NCAA so he'll be back next fall. Aggies went through four QBs last fall, still went 10-4.

4) Tony Romo's Pizza Hut commercial? Wasn't sure it was him until about fourth time I saw it. Not sure his face is well-known enough for him to be on it without a Cowboys' logo or his jersey on or something.

3) Oregon State 64, Washington 50-- Wayne Tinkle might be national Coach of the Year-- his Beavers are 16-7 after not being good for a long time. This is Tinkle's first year in Corvallis; he has some good recruits coming in next year.

2) Rhode Island 79, Richmond 74-- Danny Hurley's Rams are 16-5 and will be a fun team to follow during Championship Week.

1) Boise State 61, San Diego State 46-- Boise snapped 7-game losing streak against the Aztecs-- they're doing well despite losing Anthony Drmic, their best player for the season last month.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Pretty ironic that Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich is applauded for how his teams play and winning four titles while doing things the right way and all that, but this new trend of "recovery days", where star players often sit out one game of back/back nights, is something Popovich popularized with the Spurs.

How would you like to shell out major money to see a game, only to have the star of each team sit out because the teams played the night before? Happens all the time now-- maybe they should give discounts if the stars don't play. Ha!!!!

12) There will be 12 running backs just from the SEC alone at the NFL Combine.

11) Buffalo Bills signed Richie Incognito, who was banished from Miami after he was fingered in that bullying debacle; now he'll play the Dolphins twice a year. He did not play in the NFL this past season. When he was with the Rams, Incognito owned a car that had 31 TVs in it and I'm not kidding. 31 TVs.

10) Chris Paul got docked $25K for criticizing a rookie official, who is also a female; wonder if he would've gotten fined for criticizing a male rookie ref?

9) Virginia lost its best scorer Justin Anderson (broken hand) Saturday; he's getting operated on and is expected back in 4-6 weeks. Selection Sunday is five weeks from today. Tough luck for Tony Bennett's team.

8) Knicks TV analyst, former NBA star Walt Frazier said on air Saturday night he owns "around 125 suits". He must have a very large closet.

7) Noon tipoffs of college basketball games are for TV purposes only; its not normal to have a pregame meal at 8am, meaning you have to go to bed at midnight or so the night before. How many college students go to bed at midnight on Friday night? This leads to lot of lethargic first halves in those noon games.

6) Oak Hill Academy is a prep school in Virginia that is a basketball factory; its five starters this year will be playing next year for: Iowa-Ohio State-Purdue-Florida State and Missouri. Pretty good high school/prep school team.

5) PGA caddies are mad because the bibs they wear at tournaments have advertising on them that nets the PGA Tour a small fortune, but the caddies still have lousy health benefits. Shockingly, lawyers are now involved.

4) Every time I watch the movie Draft Day, I'm amused that Hodges from CSI plays the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs; unusual casting.

3) Saw a stat line I've never seen before; in Wednesday's 83-82 loss at Ohio U, the Akron Zips were 0-6 from the foul line for the game, and 18-36 from the 3-point arc. It makes no sense, but thats what happened.

2) Best wishes to Providence hoop coach Ed Cooley, who had trouble breathing at the Friars' game at Xavier; he spent the night in a Cincinnati hospital. He left the bench early in the second half and was taken to the hospital during the game.

1) Saturday, the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, Devils all lost, first time all five teams lost on the same day since 1986.

Saturday's List of 13: Looking at some college hoop info.....
13) Best 3-point shooting teams in country:
1) Cal-Davis 45.2% 2) Idaho 42.0% 3) Sacramento State 41.3%

Worst 3-point shooting teams in country:
351) Alcorn State 23.6% 350) Nevada 24.6% 349) Savannah State 25.7%

12) Best teams in country from foul line:
1) Ole Miss 79.9% 2) Illinois 79.7% 3) Quinnipiac 78.1%

Worst teams in country from foul line:
351) Nicholls St. 58.3% 350) Savannah St. 59.1% 349) South Carolina St. 59.2%

11) Teams with best eFG% on offense (3-pointers count as 1.5 FGs made)
1) Notre Dame 60.0% 2) Gonzaga 59.1% 3) Cal-Davis 58.9%

Teams with worst eFG% in country:
351) Grambling State 38.6% 350) Morgan State 39.1% 349) Alcorn State 39.8%

10) Teams that force turnovers on highest %age of possessions:
1) West Virginia 30.7% 2) Eastern Kentucky 27.5% 3) SF Austin 26.3%

Teams that turn the ball over the most on offense:
351) Central Arkansas 26.6%, 350) Grambling State 26.5% 349) Savannah State 26.1%

9) Teams that play fastest tempo games in country:
1) VMI 2) Coppin State 3) Neb-Omaha 4) Northwestern State

Teams that play slowest tempo games in country:
351) American 350) Virginia 349) Denver 348) Wyoming

8) Georgia Tech is 0-4 in ACC home games, but none of the four losses were by more than three points......underdogs are 8-1 vs spread in Syracuse's ACC games.

Next five notes refer to conference ratings.......
7) Fastest tempo games in the country, on average, happen in:
1) Southland 2) Southern 3) Northeast 4) Sun Belt

Slowest tempo games, on average, happen in:
32) Missouri Valley 31) WAC 30) Mountain West 29) Patriot

6) Best 3-point shooting conferences:
1) Big Sky 39.6% 2) Patriot 37.8% 3) Summit 37.2% 4) Big West 35.9%

Worst 3-point shooting conferences:
32) SWAC 30.6% 31) MEAC 31.3% 30) Sun Belt 32.4% 29) Atlantic 14 32.8%

5) Best foul shooting conferences:
1) Summit 72.8% 2) Atlantic Sun 72.3% 3) Big Sky 72.0% 4) Big South 71.9%

Worst foul shooting conferences:
32) MEAC 65.1% 31) AAC 66.0% 30) SWAC 66.5% 29) C-USA 66.7%

4) Conferences with highest percentage of close games:
1) Big East 33.3% 2) Patriot 32.7% 3) ACC 29.2% 4) WAC 28.6%

Conferences with lowest percentage of close games:
32) CAA 16.4% 31) Southland 17.2% 30) Horizon 18.2% 29) AAC 18.5%

3) Conferences with highest %age of wins by home team:
1) Big 14 (49-20) 2) Horizon (30-14) 3) Big X (32-15) 4) WAC (19-9)

Conferences with lowest %age of wins by home team:
32) Ivy (7-12) 31) American East (20-24) 30) SWAC (23-22) 29) MEAC (29-26)

2) Not sure why, but it has been 24 years since the winner at the Farmers Open golf tournament in LaJolla was won by a first-time PGA Tour winner.

1) Pelicans 116, Thunder 113-- Anthony Davis hit his first trey of season at buzzer to win it; he had 41 points. Westbrook had 48 for the Thunder; he had tied the game with three foul shots with 0:01.3 left. Davis is 3-24 for his career on the arc.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Eldrick Woods was +2 on 3rd green (12th hole of his day) when his caddy picked up his ball marker and they went home; he has a bad back and withdrew, which forced Golf Channel announcers to actually watch other golfers play. I asked this last week, but how long does this go on before it stops being a story?

12) Woods now has three missed cuts and three WDs in his last eight tournaments, as reports circulate that he still owes his ex-wife $50M from their divorce settlement.

11) There is a golfer on the ladies tour named Brooke Pancake; tremendous name. If she did a radio talk show with former Giants' CB Elvis Patterson, they could call it "Pancake and Toast".

10) Starter at the Farmers' tournament this weekend in LaJolla is the dad of pro golfer Pat Perez, who has only one pro win, the '09 Bob Hope Classic. Perez played golf at Arizona State, where the coach (since 2011) is Phil Mickelson's brother Tim.

9) For the second time in the last four offseasons, Victor Martinez has screwed up his knee during a workout; why doesn't the guy just lay on his couch until he goes to spring training? One thing a fantasy baseball owner doesn't want to see in February is one his players' name in the paper. Almost always bad news.

This time at least, the injury isn't as bad as three years ago- he should be good to go sometime in April. He missed all of 2012 after two operations on the same knee.

8) UAB 80, Louisiana Tech 60-- Will be quite a story if Blazers get into NCAAs, in same academic year when school dropped its football program, which has caused lot of ill will within the UAB community. No matter what, Jarrod Haase has done a great job of reviving the program Gene Bartow started in 1978.

7) Of the 351 Division I basketball coaches, only two have a PhD degree; LaSalle's John Giannini and Brett Reed of Lehigh.

6) Cavaliers 105, Clippers 94-- Cleveland was up 32 after three quarters, sat their starters for rest of game; they've now won 12 games in a row and no one talks about them anymore. Maybe Doc Rivers shouldn't have given his guys Tuesday night off in Manhattan-- letting pro athletes loose in NYC is an invitation for too much fun.

5) Kansas State suspended two players, including leading scorer Marcus Foster; Bruce Weber has been doing a nice job with these Wildcats, but the margin of error for so many D-I teams is very thin, losing a guy like Foster could be a back-breaker.

4) ESPN named Rece Davis the new host of college football GameDay, a great move seeing as Davis is their best college football voice. Chris Fowler will still be on the Saturday night games; he was better on the pregame show than he is calling games.

3) Saw part of the football schedule next fall for Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas; its first six opponents come from five different states, with two from California. This is a high school program; their first game in August is going to be on ESPN.

2) Jim Harbaugh got himself a QB in Houston transfer John O'Korn, who was lot better as a freshman than a sophomore, when he lost his starting job halfway thru this past season. O'Korn will sit this year, play for Michigan in 2016-17.

1) Kam Chancellor played the Super Bowl with a torn MCL; Earl Thomas has a torn labrum, Richard Sherman's elbow might need Tommy John surgery. Football is a tough sport to play and thats a vast understatement.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.....
13) Syracuse pulled the plug on its postseason Wednesday, so we know two things:
a) They don't think they're good enough to make the NCAAs this year anyway
b) They're going on probation and are trying to use this year's tapping out to chop a year or two off the end of the sentence.

12) This changes the ACC tournament, which becomes a 14-team event, so we lose a game on Tuesday March 10; the ACC's #10 seed gets a bye they wouldn't have gotten had Syracuse been playing in the tournament.

11) Jim Boeheim is 70 years old and his program is going on probation; could the end be near? He'll be approaching his mid-70's by time Syracuse comes off probation. I wonder what former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine thinks about all this?

10) Atlanta Falcons are in hot water for piping in artificial crowd noise when the other team had the ball, to screw up their signals in a domed stadium, where the noise has nowhere to go. It is my duty to inform you that Thomas Dimitroff, GM of the Falcons, worked for the Patriots before he came to work for the Falcons. Dimitroff was in Foxboro during the height of the Spygate years.

9) Why is it illegal for NFL teams to text the sidelines during games? Is this the case of having too many rules? Cleveland is in trouble for this one.

8) Phil Jackson was a supporting player for the Knicks, he was a Hall of Fame coach and so far, he is an awful team president. Those three jobs are all different; being really good at one of them doesn't mean you'll be any good at the others.

7) Handicapping is difficult; Indiana covered by a point Tuesday at Wisconsin, in a game where they made 13 of 24 from the arc, numbers that would normally signal an upset win, but they lost by 14. That tells me that Wisconsin would cover this game way more often than not, but it didn't happen Tuesday. Its a tough game to beat.

6) Memo to drivers in the Albany area: Putting your turn signal on doesn't give you the right to cut off drivers in other lanes. Its icy out there. Please be careful.

5) Kent State's Jimmy Hall has mono, is out for a while; he is averaging 15 ppg.

4) Oregon's star hooper Joseph Young is taking one class this semester, as he wraps up his education in Eugene-- sign language. Must be a quiet class.

3) Nets trainer Tim Walsh saved a man's life at practice earlier this week; scout had a heart attack and Walsh knew what to do and did it and the guy is going to be OK. It must be a good feeling going to sleep knowing you saved someone's life.

2) I did my taxes Wednesday; why on God's green earth do they ask you if you want to give $3 to the Presidential election funds? Seriously, I can think of 1,000 things I'd do with my money before I'd give it to a politician.

1) Cordell Broadus signed with UCLA, so the Snoop Dogg/Les Miles pairing will not happen, but Jim Mora Jr coaches the Bruins, so there is still hope for an ESPN Gameday interview with Snoop and Jim Mora Sr.-- that would be great TV.

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Today is National Signing Day in college football; at 2:30, Cordell Broadus will announce his college choice-- he is Snoop Dogg's son. If the young man chooses to go to school at LSU (Odell Beckham Jr has to be helping LSU recruit WRs, right?), this would team Snoop Dogg and our man Les Miles as the unlikeliest of allies. Whoever is in charge of these things, please make this happen!!!!

12) ESPNU has 11 hours of coverage today, making this one of the few days of the entire year that I might be awake at 8am. Maybe.

11) The great Bill Raftery will team with Jim Nantz, Grant Hill in calling this year's Final Four. This is great news, because Raftery is awesome, but what a kick in the teeth to Clark Kellogg, the deposed #1 analyst who obviously isn't thought highly of by whomever is in charge. Haven't heard Hill enough yet to form an opinion. Seems like every single Duke alum is either a TV announcer or a head coach.

10) NBA All-Star break is longer this year; there are full schedules on Feb 11 and Feb 20, one game on the 12th and two on the 19th, so for 24 of the 30 teams, it is at least an eight-day break, almost twice as long as normal.

9) Unusual to see the Clippers' Jamal Crawford at the Celtic-Knick game; apparently the Clips stayed an extra night in NYC after losing to the Nets Monday- they play in Cleveland Thursday. Dangerous to let NBA players loose for an off-night in NYC, but Doc Rivers seems to do some things to make the season more enjoyable for his team. Not sure it helps them win more, but it probably makes them happier.

8) Crawford has curiously played for 17 head coaches in his 15-year career.

7) Syracuse 72, Virginia Tech 70-- ESPNU announcer, former Providence coach Tim Welsh was once a Syracuse assistant; when TV guys have neetings with coaches, do opposing coaches get paranoid about alliances between TV guys and the other team, like when the Redskins are on Monday Night Football and Jon Gruden's brother is coaching Washington? I know I would be.

Welsh spent a lot of the second half bitching about the refs, as Syracuse battled back from a double digit deficit, but he has taken up Jay Bilas' cause of scrutinizing the refs to the point of annoyance this season, not just in this game.

Virginia Tech gagged this game away, not getting a shot on their last two possessions in a game they led by 13 with 5:32 left.

6) Boise State 68, Utah State 63-- Broncos' first-ever win in Logan.

5) Browns' WR Josh Gordon caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards in 2013, but has had substance abuse issues and is now suspended for all of 2015, which is very sad. Young man should be having the time of his life, one of the best at his profession but he can't even play now. He shouldn't have to work a day in his life other than being a football player, but that seems unlikely now.

4) Why is Russell Wilson going to Texas Rangers' spring training? Whats the point? He is finally about to break the bank with the Seahawks and he feels the need to go play baseball? What if he blows his knee out? Then what? And why would Texas want him there? He is not that big a baseball prospect; he hit .229 in 93 minor league games in the Colorado system, in A ball.

3) The Caribbean Series is on TV, but it is on ESPN Desportes, which I don't have seeing as I....."no habla Espanol". These games should be on for everyone, even if we just see the games with graphics and no announcers- lot of people would watch. It is the dead of winter; baseball would be great to see, but what can you do?

2) Speaking of baseball on TV, SEC Network is going to have a lot of college baseball starting in a couple weeks, which is good news. Always weird to hear aluminum bats making contact with the ball on TV, but this is a good development.

1) Josh Hamilton is out 6-8 weeks after shoulder surgery; his signing hasn't gone well for the Angels- he's knocked in only 123 runs in 240 games with the Halos, after he knocked in 506 runs in 647 games with Texas.

Tuesday's List of 13: Random stuff on a frigid night.....
13) We had a foot of snow here in upstate New York the last 36 hours and as I type this is six below zero outside. Awesome. I'm not a big fan of winter.

12) Was Monday the easiest day ever to be a radio talk show host? Sit there, take calls about how dumb the Seahawks were, agree with everything that is said, play some commercials, collect your money and go home. Almost as easy as handing the ball to your best running back when you have the ball on the 1-ya-- oh, forget it.

Maybe critique some of the Super Bowl commercials too, but I'm not a commercial watcher, though I like the Harry Chapin song they played during one commercial.

11) Tigers' DH Victor Martinez was intentionally walked 28 times last year, most ever for a switch hitter. I'm hoping they bat Cespedes behind Victor this year.

10) Someone named Scott Walker is running for President. Apparently he is the governor of Wisconsin-- his Wikipedia page says he went to Marquette but makes no mention of him graduating from there. When was the last time a US President wasn't a college graduate? He had a 2.59 GPA when he left school.

9) Halftime score from Saturday: Temple 28, Tulane 8. Green Wave isn't a bad team either, but long road trips and day games in different time zones lead to bad games. If you score eight points in a half, it is time to roll the balls out and lets the kids run up and down rather than lose scoring less than 50 points.

8) Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins' son is a contributor as a freshman at Michigan; he wears his dad's number 24, but I guess they decided the kid would be better off not playing for his father. He would help Stanford, too.

7) Mets signed Lucas Duda to a $4.2M contract for this year, avoiding arbitration. If you were unsure whether this is a great country, that should clinch it for you.

6) Doc Rivers was complaining a little Monday about his team's current 8-game road trip, which was caused by the Grammys being at Staples Center Sunday night. Kings and Lakers are on long road trips too, but Kings' trip is only four games, the Lakers' only five. People that oiwn Staples own part of the Lakers/Kings, but they don't own any part of the Clippers.

5) Clippers led Brooklyn 96-87 with 1:40 left last night, but lost 102-100; games like this could haunt LA when the playoffs roll around, if they wind up playing a Game 7 on the road somewhere.

4) Nets have good uniforms, but also the simplest: just black-and-white, no third color but they're really nice. Apparently starting in March they're going to be wearing throwback uniforms to honor the old ABA Nets, red, white and blue.

3) Every time I see Chris Paul play, I am reminded of this story:

Paul was tight with his grandfather, who was a big Wake Forest fan, so he was happy when his grandson committed to play for the Deacons, but the grandfather passed away late in Paul's senior season in high school, way too early at age 61.

In Chris Paul's last high school home game, he scored 61 points, then when he was taken out of the game, he collapsed in uncontrollable grief as he walked to the bench. To this day, it is one of the most emotional scenes I've ever seen, anywhere.

2) Jermaine Kearse made one of the greatest catches in NFL history at a huge time in a Super Bowl, but now he is just a footnote in history. Hell, David Tyree wrote a book after his catch in a Super Bowl. Losing team doesn't write many books.

1) Five kids went to the Cal-Davis game Saturday dressed as bananas; they sat in the front row, got on TV a lot and rooted like hell for the Aggies, who rallied late to beat Cal Poly in overtime. Not many NBA fans dress up as bananas; thats one of the big differences between college and pro ball. College fans are more enthuisiastic.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a super Sunday......
Some of this info is coming off people I follow on Twitter, so thanks to them....

13) Darrell Bevell is Seattle's offensive coordinator; he played QB for Wisconsin in college, playing for Barry Alvarez, one of the most run-oriented coaches in the last 30 years. Bevell will now be forever known as the guy who lost a Super Bowl when he threw the ball from the 1-yard line when Seattle has Marshawn Lynch and a running QB, and a timeout in their pocket. Not only was it ill-advised, it didn't work.

By the way, when I say ill-advised, I mean stupid. Not only that, it didn't work. If it is stupid and it works, the guy is still a hero, but if it doesn't.....

12) Bevell is no idiot; he has been in the NFL since 2000, but you have to wonder if this will prevent him from getting a head coaching job. How do you sell to your fans "We just hired the guy who threw the ball on the 1 when he had Marshawn"?

11) Russell Wilson's interception was the first one thrown from the one-yard line by any QB in the NFL this season. Thats out of 111 dropbacks from the one.

10) It was only the third time all season the Seahawks dropped back to pass from the one-yard line. Thanks to KC Joyner for those last two nuggets.

9) Gene Steratore didn't ref the Super Bowl, but he did ref Wisconsin-Iowa and Michigan-Michigan State basketball games this weekend. Funny how NFL refs throw flags like madmen all season, but in the Super Bowl where TV ratings are a priority, they keep them stuffed in their pockets. Go figure.

8) Seattle WR Chris Matthews is the 4th receiver whose first NFL catch came in a Super Bowl; he spent part of this season working in a Foot Locker. Maybe the Jets should've signed Matthews from Foot Locker and not traded for Percy Harvin, saving a high draft pick in the process.

7) There is a disturbing program called Friday Night Tykes on the Esquire Network about youth football in Texas. I spent eight bizarre springs coaching Little League and it is not something I miss-- people get crazy where their kids are concerned.

6) Patriots have not scored a first quarter point in all six Brady/Belichick Super Bowls, but they won four of the six, with all six decided by 4 or less points.

5) In fairness to coach Bevell, Marshawn Lynch had five previous runs from the one-yard line this season and had scored only one touchdown, so there is that. Still think it was a dumb play call, but there was logic behind it, obviously.

4) Five of the seven WRs who caught a pass in this game were undrafted free agents. Maybe personnel guys are as important or more important than the coaches?

3) Seattle's Bruce Irvin got tossed for being an instigator in a scuffle after the Pats took a knee after the INT; he is the first player ever ejected from a Super Bowl.

2) Pete Carroll showed class by taking reposibility for the fateful play call, but it will be interesting to see going forward, which coaches leave and stay in Seattle. Dan Quinn will be going to Atlanta as head coach Tuesday; would be take Bevell with him? Would the Seahawks block Bevell from leaving?

1) At the end of the day, the NFL wins by having a memorable game cap a season where far too many off-field stories overshadowed the game on the field.

Sunday's List of 13: Finally it is Super Bowl Sunday.....
13) Lets get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first. If you read this space at all, you know that I'm a Ram fan and Kurt Warner was obviously one of my all-time favorite players, so I'm disappointed the voters bypassed him this year for the Hall of Fame, as well as Orlando Pace, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, all ex-Rams.

12) Just to re-hash facts, which apparently aren't very important because it is hard to compare a QB to an offensive lineman, there have been 48 Super Bowls, which is 96 QBs: #1, #2, #3 on the Super Bowl passing yardage list is same person, the same guy who led the tying or go-ahead TD drives in the last 3:00 of all three games.

Kurt Warner.

11) Steve Young got in in his first year of eligibiity; he had an 8-6 playoff record in the NFL, had a 3-16 record when he played for the woeful Bucs. He inherited a great team from Joe Montana and went 8-6 in playoff games. Kurt Warner played for two cruddy franchises and went 9-4 in playoff games. Yet Young got in on his first shot.

Enough about that, because I could go on for a while. Elsewhere......
10) Kid at Virginia won $18K by making a halfcourt shot during ESPN's GameDay.

9) VCU lost the heart of its defense, Briante Weber, who tore his MCL/ACL and is done for the season. Sad thing; tough way for a college career to end.

8) Why are there so many razor commercials on TV? Anyone?

7) Apparently Bill Walton called former President Richard Nixon "the prince of darkness": during the Colorado-UCLA game Saturday night. DirecTV doesn't carry the Pac-12 network, so I didn't hear this myself. Walton is tremendous on TV, but if he is going to go on political rants, will be interesting to see how long he lasts.

6) Cal Poly basketball coach Joe Callero is one of 16 children. Oklahoma City big guy Steven Adams is the youngest of 17 kids. Do familises this like live in a hotel? How do you remember all the kids' names?

5) Junior Seau will be the 12th USC Trojan to get inducted into Canton.

4) There was a furor on Twitter late Saturday night when it came out that an MVP vote was cast for Seahawk LB Bobby Wagner, who missed five games this year and is not close to being the MVP of anything.

Not Aaron Rodgers or JJ Watt, but Bobby Wagner. Oy.

It got even weirder when someone found out who voted for Wagner. Twitter got very quiet-- it was Tony Dungy. Not too many folks seemed anxious to rip him for it, but they did seem mystified by it.

3) If you live near a Sonic fast food place, they have half-price foot long hot dogs on Monday, to commemorate Groundhog Day, or KL Wheat's birthday.

2) Now Dan Rooney wants a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh. We're getting eight inches of snow here in upstate New York the next couple days. If the NFL keeps screwing around with cold weather Super Bowls, eventually they'll have a weather debacle on their hands- they narrowly missed one last year.

1) This is a weird time of year; its middle of the night and I'm watching live tennis, golf from the other side of the world. At least it is warm somewhere. Pitchers, catchers report in less than three weeks; spring is getting closer!!!

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Green Bay Packers quietly fired its special teams coach, 12 days after they gave up a TD on a fake field goal and failed to recover an onside kick in Seattle.

12) Raptors 127, Nets 122 OT-- Brooklyn went 0-7 at home in January; this was an unusual regular season NBA game. Jarrett Jack played the whole game except for a 47-second rest. Nets seemed genuinely crushed when they lost.

11) NBA teams are 24-15-1 vs spread on last game of a 4+-game road trip.

10) Seahawks covered ten of last eleven times they were an underdog.

9) Buffalo 80, Kent State 55-- Bobby Hurley is the coach at Buffao because the AD at Buffalo is the son of the former Duke AD- they're brother/father of Michael White, the up-and-coming coach at Louisiana Tech.

8) When I was in college 35 years ago, Buffalo was a D-III program that played in a horribly small gym; on February 22, 1980, while everyone else in America watched the US Olympic hockey team beat the Russians in the Miracle on Ice, I was in the Buffalo gym, watching our college team lose a conference tournament game in four overtimes to the Bulls. In all four OTs, the team that won the tap played for the last shot, thats show basketball was before the shot clock.

7) So Bobby Hurley coaches Buffalo, he could very well be Coach K's replacement when that day comes, his brother coaches Rhode Island, Albany and Binghamton are also D-I when they had been D-III programs, and college seems like a long time ago, mostly because it was. Binghamton rarely even opened up both sides of its gym when we played there back then. Now they're D-I; go figure.

6) In their five Super Bowls together, the Brady/Belichick Patriots have scored zero points in the first quarter. Zero. None. Bupkus.

5) Golfer Jason Dufner lost a lot of weight, cut his cuirly hair short and I didn't come close to recognizing him on TV Friday. Hope he isn't sick.

4) Hawks 105, Trailblazers 99-- Atlanta has now won 18 games in a row and 32 of its last 34, but no one talks about them. Why is that?

3) Since 1991, this is the fifth Super Bowl where both #1 seeds faced each other; the NFC team won the first four.

2) Derrick Rose has a 13-year, $185M deal with adidas, which is why he cares as much about playing for Team USA as he does for the Bulls.

1) 15 years ago Friday the Rams beat Tennessee for their only Super Bowl title; 15 years later and Tennessee's coach that day is now the Rams' coach. Tonight,, they will announce who gets in the Hall of Fame this summer and I am hopeful that both Kurt Warner and Orlando Pace get in.

WRs Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt will have to wait since there is a logjam of WRs who haven't gotten in yet. Warner and Pace? They deserve it.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.........
13) Duke basically cut junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon Thursday, for unspecified reasons, but he is in good academic standing and he doesn't have a police rap sheet, so only thing left is that he wasn't being a good soldier about being a sub after he had started 50 games for the Blue Devils the last two seasons.

This from espn.com: "Last season the coaching staff talked to Sulaimon about his body language when things didn't go his way. He had specifically been called out for pouting and not celebrating his teammates while he was on the bench."

12) Suliamon is the first player ever banished by Duke in the Coach K era; lets face it, in this era, if you're a junior at Duke or Kentucky and not in the NBA, then you're a disappointment. Coaches fail to develop a kid, so they just purge him. Seems fair.

11) Jusr for the record, Suliamon was 4-5 from the arc, had 13 points in a win at Pitt 11 days ago, then he played 16 minutes at St John's, 12 at Notre Dame, fewest he has played this season. He has one year of college left, and is from Houston. Curious to see where he winds up.

10) One last Duke thing: If Jahlil Okafor is so great, why was he on the bench for most of the last 2:00 at Notre Dame? He is a defensive liability, thats why. Wonder if anyone would take the Sabonis kid first if he comes out for the draft in June? His dad was a great player over in Russia. Its a fair question.

9) Eventually, I think the NFL will go to an 18-game regular season with the Super Bowl being played the Sunday of Presidents' Day weekend.

8) Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham stays with the Cardinals, rather than jumping to the same job with the NFL's Raiders. Unusual decision.

7) So I'm watching Law and Order in the middle of the night this week and who shows up as a defense lawyer but Shirley Jones, who was the mom in The Partridge Family when I was a kid. She was a MILF before MILFs were a thing; Ms Jones is 80 and still married to Marty Ingalls, who was a funny guy but a terrible actor- he popularized the practice of famous actors doing voiceovers on commercials. .

6) How long will Eldrick Woods monopolize golf telecasts? How many times does he have miss the fairway or miss the cut before he is no longer a huge story? He was in 4th-to-last place at one point Thursday, yet they showed all of his shots-- why?

5) Ever hear of Branden Grace, Shane Lowry or Marc Leishman? Those are the three golfers directly ahead of Woods in the World Golf Rankings.

4) Must be a lot of money in collecting garbage, since Waste Management is the sponsor of this week's PGA Tour event in Phoenix.

3) Russell Wilson's grandfather was once president at Norfolk State University.

2) Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams is considering playing his last year of college ball at Oregon. Adams threw for 4,994 yards this past season for the I-AA Eagles, who lost to Washington 59-52, with Adams passing for 475 yards.

1) College hoop referee Brian O'Connell worked his 58th game of year last night in Cincinnati; he did 92 games last year- this will be 10th year in a row he's worked 70+ D-I games. Not a bad second job, huh?

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) NBA has a problem; their best players take too many games off. A new phrase is "recovery days" as in, they don't want their best guys playing back-to-back nights. When fans pay major money to see stars play, they're not going to be happy when the stars don't play. "Sprained wrist" is a poor excuse for Lebron James to sit out.

12) Watching Alabama play Tuesday night, they did a feature on the strength coach at Alabama, and how coach Anthony Grant approved of his players' "commitment to the weight room". How about a commitment to improving your skills with the ball?

Crimson Tide is turning ball over 22.4% of the time while playing the slowest tempo in the SEC. Four of their last five games were decided by two points. Little less time on the bench press, little more time in the gym. I'm just sayin'......

11) Wednesday will be a big day on ESPNU; National Signing Day for college football, with 11 hours (11 hours!!!) of coverage on ESPNU. National titles 3-5 years from now will in part be determined on Wednesday. Recruiting is an interesting subject.

10) Pete Carril's Princeton teams practiced different types of layups for eight minutes of every practice; you watch high Division I ball and guys struggle to finish plays around the rim. Its called skill development; you don't need a strength coach or a $1M weight room, but it helps you win a lot of games.

9) NBA teams who are playing at home for the second night in a row are only 3-10 against the spread this season.

8) CBS hired Frank Nobilo as its newest golf analyst, replacing Peter Oosterhuis, who retired. Nobilo has been working for the Golf Channel, is a good hire.

7) NFL head coaches in their second Super Bowl are 14-8.

6) North Carolina-Wake Forest will play non-conference football games in 2019 and 2021; both teams are in ACC, but in different divisions- they weren't scheduled to play each other in those years. Makes sense financially, if not artistically.

5) 49ers hired an offensive coordinator from within? How is Kaepernick supposed to be a better passer without better coaching?

4) Braves signed 25-year old Cuban OF Dian Toscano to a 4-year deal, on same day the White Sox designated Cuban OF Dayan Viciedo for assignment. Viciedo started a lot for the Pale Hose last season; curious to see where he winds up.

3) DePaul Blue Demons went 0-3 at a Christmas tournament in Hawai'i and looked dead; now they're 5-3 in the Big East and are showing life. Or maybe the Big East just isn't very good, thats possible too. .

2) Patriots have only one offensive player (Nate Solder) who was a first round draft pick; they've built their success via defense and shrewd trades.

1) Underrated storyline of this Super Bowl: when New England hired Belichick, they fired a coach who was 28-23 in Foxboro and who made the playoffs twice in three years and had an 8-8 season the third year. A coach named Pete Carroll.

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Just heard an ESPN commercial with Chris Berman narrating and it dawned on me: I never, ever watch ESPN's pregame show, because I can't stand Berman. His act has grown very tired for me. I'd much rather watch the NFL Network pregame stuff.

12) NBA 3-point shooting contest could be tremendous February 14 in Brooklyn; Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, JJ Redick. Excellent competition.

11) If you put Pete Rose's being eligibile for the Hall of Fame up to a public vote, how much of the vote does Rose get? 60%? 70%? More? No way would he lose.

10) James Shields/Chris Young appear to be the best two starting pitchers who are still free agents. Spring training starts in three weeks; no one wants Shields?

9) Bill Vinovich is the Super Bowl ref; Patriots won four of last five times Vinovich reffed one of their games, Seattle is 7-1 last eight times he worked with them.

8) Another sign I watch too much TV: I have a tremendous urge to play cards with Kenny Rogers, thanks to that Geico commercial.

7) Bob Huggins coached Kansas State for one season, eight years ago; counting that year, K-State is 89-55 in conference games since then. In the five years before Huggins came to the Little Apple, K-State was 28-52. Frank Martin stayed in Manhattan after Huggins went to West Virginia. K-State is not an easy place to win at

6) Bill Haas won the Humana Challenge, jumped from 41st to 23rd in World Golf Ranking. Steve Wheatcroft had a top 10, jumped from #501 to #289.

5) Interesting article in LA Times this week about how some mid-major college hoop teams supplement their coach's income by giving him a percentage of the money they take in for playing non-conference guarantee games.

Long Beach State plays the hardest non-conference schedule in America; their coach Don Monson makes $800,000 a year, $280,000 of which comes from the $380,000 Long Beach took in from playing (losing) five guarantee games this fall.

Its a creative way of keeping a coach you like from bolting for more $$$ elsewhere.

4) Why do TV networks put reporters outside during horrible weather? A woman named Snow was outside in a pile of snow reporting Tuesday morning- it just doesn't seem smart. If the wind is 60 mph, I don't need to see some poor soul outside with a microphone trying like hell not to get blown off his/her feet.

3) Speaking of weather, while I froze my butt off shoveling snow Tuesday, it was 61 degrees in Billings, Montana. Go figure.

2) They opened the first White Castle (little square burgers) in Las Vegas, across the Strip from the Mirage. People were lined up down the sidewalk. I've only had them once, a long time ago; need some intel if they're worth having.

1) Marcus Mariota's brother predictably committed to play football at Oregon, but the young man is a defensive end, not a QB.

Tuesday's List of 13: Some of the many Super Bowl props.......
These are some of the many wagering options from a 43-page document that lists all of the Super Bowl prop bets for Sunday's game......

13) Will there be a score in the first 6:30 of the game?

12) Will there be a score in the last 2:00 of the first half?
Yes: -$250.......No -$210

11) Over/under totals for game on various thing.......
Sacks by both teams: 4.....field goals: 3.5.........punts: 8.5

10) Over/under on longest field goal made in game: 44.5
Over/under for longest touchdown play of game is also 44.5.

9) Over/under on total amount of yardage of made FG's: 111.5
Over/under on total amount of yardage of TDs scored: 78.5.

8) Will the largest lead of game be over or under 13.5 points?
Over: minus-$160............Under: plus-$140

7) Will there be a TD scored by special teams or either defense?
Yes: plus-$155.........No: minus-$175

6) Over/under totals for passing yardage by each QB:
Brady: 262.5 yards..............................Wilson: 225.5 yards

5) Over/under totals for longest completion by each QB:
Brady: 34.5 yards..............................Wilson: 37.5 yards

4) Over/under for points scored by each team: Patriots 24, Seattle 23.5

3) If you want to bet which starting QB will have more completions, Brady is favored by 6.5 completions.

If you want to bet which QB will pass for more yards, Brady is favored by 40.5.

2) Seattle is a 47.5-yard favorite in total rushing yards for each team.

1) Over/under of the jersey number of the player who scored the first TD:
over 29.5: minus-$130........under 29.5: plus-$110

Good luck Sunday; hope its a great day for you.....

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13)
Didn't watch Pro Bowl or the NHL All-Star Game; if you pick teams by having guys choose up sides, then its a farce and I'm not watching. There was good basketball on all day/night Sunday, plus the golf, so that was enough entertainment.

12) Remember the beginning of the TV show MASH, when helicopters are coming over the mountain as they run the credits? That was filmed at the golf course where they played the Humana Challenge this weekend, in La Quinta.

11) Notre Dame 81, NC State 78 OT-- This was an excellent game, with Wolfpack up 18 in first half, but Notre Dame has lot of guys hwo can score and they fought back and won this high-level game.

10) Snoop Dawg's son Cordell Broadus is a 4-star football recruit from Las Vegas; ESPN has a reality show about father/son running on Wednesday/Sundays. First two episodes weren't bad. Young Broadus is 6-3, listed as the #27 receiver in this recruiting class by some recruiting service online. Curious to see where he winds up.

Not sure if I mentioned this last week, but the high school coach in this show is now the head coach at UNLV. Tony Sanchez, who has the backing of the two guys who run UFC- their kids go to Bishop Gorman HS, which has amazing facilities for a high school. I'm told their weight room is better than most Division I weight rooms.

9) College football's Signing Day is February 4; Michigan has only eight signees, with Jim Harbaugh getting his first two this week, including a four-star quarterback from New Mexico who shunned Texas to play for the Wolverines.

8) You figure that with the scholarship limit at 85 and most freshmen red-shirting, that makes 17 the average recruiting class, right? Michigan needs to change a few kids' minds in order to avoid this recruiting class being a hinderance to future success.

7) Cal-Davis leads the country, making 43.9% of its 3-pointers; Central Michigan, Iona and Idaho are right behind them.

Nevada is last, making 23.2% of its 3-pointers.

6) Ole Miss leads the country, making 80% of its foul shots; Illinois, BYU, Albany (my alma mater) are the next three teams in line.

Savannah State is last, making 56.8% from the charity stripe.

5) Charleston is 1-7 in CAA with a new coach hired in September after the old coach was forced out for being verbally abusive. Cougars lost their last three games, all by exactly two points. Strange this is, Rick Barry's youngest son (he has a LOT of sons) is Charleston's best player and only a sophomore. Maybe Rick Barry should coach.

4) Marcus Mariota apparently hurt his shoulder in the national title game when an Ohio State lineman landed on him late in the game; now he says he might not throw at the NFL Combine, because the shoulder isn't 100%.

Lot of rumors that the Eagles will trade up for Mariota so he can play for Chip Kelly again, so does throwing at the Combine really matter?

3) Virginia 50, Virginia Tech 47- Cavaliers survived a comatose effort against an inferior opponent; their next three games: Duke-North Carolina-Louisville. They'll need to be a lot better in those games than they were Sunday.

2) Miami Heat's Hassan Whitehead blocked 12 shots Sunday, making him the first NBA player to block 10+ shots in 25 or less minutes since Manute Bol in 1989.

1) Maryland 68, Northwestern 67-- Wrong team won this game; Wildcats played better, even though they're obviously not the better team. Northwestern has now lost six games in a row, the last five all by 5 or less points or in OT- they're close.

Freshman Bryant McIntosh missed a huge foul shot in this game, but he is a keeper; if Chris Collins recruits a few more kids like him, Wildcats will get to the NCAAs for the first time ever in the very near future.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Eric Compton is tied for the lead at Humana Challenge golf tournament, which may not sound like much, except for one thing:

Eric Compton is working on his third heart; he's had two heart transplants.

12) I can watch WCC basketball games on my laptop for free, but the games get blacked out on my DirecTV, even though I have the college basketball package; this makes zero sense to me. At least I can see them, unlike the St Peter's games......

11) Just to clarify from Friday night, Klay Thompsin had an alley-oop dunk, a driving layup thru three defenders and two foul shots in his perfect third quarter. All the rest of his 37 points in that quarter came on jump shots, one of the greatest shooting exhibitions ever seen.

10) Oklahoma State played the noon game at Kansas State; their coach Trvais Ford got a technical foul 0:53 into the game and things went downhill from there in a 63-53 loss to the Wildcats in the Little Apple.

9) West Virginia 86, Texas Tech 85-- Would not want to ref a West Virginia game; they press like hell, they're not the best shooters, so there's always a ton of loose balls, ton of fouls to be called and coach Huggins tries like hell to intimidate the refs. Plus, the West Virginia mascot carries a musket.

This game had a wild ending, with seven points scored in the last ten seconds. Trent Johnson is doing a terrific job rebuilding TCU's program, but he wasn't at all happy with the refs when this game was done.

8) Kenpom.com lists their all-conference team for each league; their SEC first team is five Kentucky players and I'm not even sure if they all start.

7) Looks like Pistons guard Brandon Jennings tore his achilles tendon Saturday night, tough blow for a Detroit team that has won 12 of its last 16 games.

6) I wonder if Big East is happy they put all their basketball games on FOX Sports 1? Not having a presence on ESPN has to hurt their exposure some, right?

5) UTEP lost in overtime at Western Kentucky Thursday night; they went 0-17 from the arc, but sent the game to OT when a 3-point shooter was fouled and made two of three foul shots. Miners lost at Marshall last night; rough week for them.

4) Dan D'Antoni is the new coach at Marshall by the way, Mike's brother.

3) ESPN must make money on the X Games and Winter X Games or they wouldn't have them, but where are the people who are bad at those events? Some of that stuff looks pretty damn dangerous.

2) Do the Seahawks have any advantage in the Super Bowl because they play the Cardinals in this stadium every year?

1) In my opinion, it would be unfair to the Seahawks to suspend any Patriot for next week's Super Bowl; it would make it a no-lose situation for New England and a tainted win for Seattle. I'm thinking we won't see Bill Belichick in 2015.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) RIP Ernie Banks, Mr Cub. One of the first things I learned about baseball was that Ernie Banks played for the Cubs and he was really good, winning MVP in 1958-59 even though he played for bad teams. Banks was a cheerful guy known for saying "Lets play two!!!" no matter how dismal the weather or the Cubs' outlook.

Heaven is a more cheerful place today, with one more Cub fan. They're probably playing a doubleheader up there too. Mr Cub will play in both games.

12) Mike Krzyzewski will win his 1,000th game Sunday; he is definitely a great coach, but the next time someone calls him the best college basketball coach ever, say these two words to them:

John. Wooden.

Wooden won 10 national titles at UCLA, seven in a row, in an era where you had to win your league just to make the NCAA tournament. Its not close.

11) In today's impatient culture, Coach K might've gotten a little more grief early on than he did in the 80's, when his first eight Duke teams combined to go 111-106, after he had a losing record at West Point. Think how Herb Sendek got run out of NC State despite going to the NCAA tournament most years- the world has gone crazy.

10) Speaking of which, Manhattan College is in the Bronx, not Manhattan; LIU is in Brooklyn, not on Long Island. The Big East has teams in Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin-- to paraphrase Vince Lombardi, what the hell's going on out there?!?!?!

9) South Florida wanted to hire Manhattan coach Steve Masiello last spring, but his resume wasn't 100% accurate, so they passed on him and hired Orlando Antigua from Louisville's staff. Its going to be fascinating 3-4 years from now to see how this all works out, because Masiello will move on somewhere else, to see if USF should've said the hell with it and hired him anyway.

8) One last Manhattan note: The Jaspers' Director of Basketball Ops is the son of former Maryland great Len Elmore, who played center for Maryland in '74, maybe the best team ever that didn't make the NCAA tournament, losing in OT in the ACC finals to NC State, back when each league got only one team in the NCAAs.

7) Someone explain to me how Marcus Paige isn't one of the 25 finalists for the Wooden Award? Where would the Tar Heels be without his fine play?

6) SMU lost Keith Frazier (grades) for the year; Creighton loses its best shooter for the year, Isaiah Zierden (knee). Big blows for both ballclubs.

5) Golfer Ryan Palmer shot a 61 Friday and bogeyed two holes. Not bad.

4) Coastal Carolina's football field will be teal next year; good think they're never on TV, that would be hard to take for three hours. Boise State has a blue field, Eastern Washington has a red one; not sure this is a good idea.

3) Hawks 103, Thunder 93-- Atlanta has won 15 games in a row, 29 of last 31.

2) Mentioned this up above but it bears repeating: Klay Thompson put on one of the greatest shooting exhibitions in basketball history Friday night against the Kings, as in, ever. He scored 37 points in third quarter alone, without missing a shot, and I don't think he made a layup or a free throw in the period. An awesome display.

1) If you see Illinois play basketball in next couple weeks, root for Ryan Schmidt; the senior walk-on has been the Illini's student manager for the last three years, but has been given a uniform after injuries ravaged the Fighting Illini roster. Apparently the kid was a pretty good high school player but chose being a manager at Illinois over playing D-III ball. I put myself thru college as a student manager; those kids work hard, with no expectation of any accolades or glory. It would be very cool if he got some.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) There is an extremely fine line between winning and losing in the NFL; if you don't believe that, here are the scores of the five Super Bowls Belichick/Brady have been in with the Patriots....they could easily be 5-0, or 0-5.......

-- Patriots 20, Rams 17-- Not my favorite subject.
-- Patriots 32, Panthers 29-- John Fox got to Super Bowl with Jake Delhomme
-- Patriots 24, Eagles 21-- Andy Reid's only Super Bowl appearance
-- Giants 17, Patriots 14-- Only a cynic would point out this was after Spygate.
-- Giants 21, Patriots 17- Belichick is 11 games under .500 without Brady at QB.

12) Apparently there is an ugly legal battle going on in New Orleans, where 87-year old Saints owner Tom Benson wants to leave the Saints/Pelicans to his wife, while his grandchildren want the $2B package. Go figure.

Grandchildren are claiming the wife is a golddigger; this sounds somewhat similar to the Carroll Rosenbloom debacle in the late 70's, when he was going to sign the Rams over to his son, but mysteriously "drowned" before he could, so his former showgirl wife Georgia inherited the valuable franchise. Don't go swimming, Mr Benson!!!

11) A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl goes for $4.5M; 15 years ago, the same commercial cost $2.3M.

10) Bronx Bomber radio announcer John Sterling lost everything he owned in an apartment building fire in New Jersey Wednesday; miraculously, no one died in the fire. I am told Sterling is a good guy; friend of mine's son used to work for him.

9) Philly 76er coach Brett Brown played point guard at Boston U for Rick Pitino, back in Pitino's first head coaching job. Bet he has some interesting stories.

8) NFL stiffed Gene Steratore out of reffing a Super Bowl again; why? Because he refs college basketball all winter? To me, he is the best referee in the league, but he has yet to work his first Super Bowl.

7) Central Michigan HEAD COACH Dan Enos quit to become offensive coordinator at Arkansas; he coached the Chippewas for five years. Could be he jumped before he got pushed, but thats a kick in the teeth for the MAC school.

6) Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff, is probably done for the year. I'd make a lame joke about Bryant not being able to pitch this summer, but I'm above that.

5) Almost threw up my lunch when I saw that ESPN pays Stephen A Smith $3M+ a year to spout his verbal garbage five days a week; that means Skip Bayless makes that much, too. What a waste of money; professional jackasses.

4) Interesting story on the Interweb today about how Steve Wojciechowski turned down the Dayton job before he filled the Marquette opening. Not sure Marquette is that great a job; pro town, they won a national title in the last 40 years, so the fanbase feels entitled. Big East is an interesting study; Wojo's team does play hard.

3) 49ers hired Eric Mangini as defensive coordinator, Tony Sparano as TE coach, as they surround rookie head coach Tomsula with former head coaches.

2) Chicago Bears brought Adam Gase in to be offensive coordinator for John Fox; working with Jay Cutler won't be as fun as his last job in Denver was.

1) Apparently football coach Gary Anderson bolted Wisconsin for Oregon State after he couldn't get all his recruits admitted into Wisconsin the way he did when he was coach at Utah State, and how he will in Corvallis. Hard to win without a lot of good players and not all of them are Rhodes Scholars, simple as that.

Thursday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) I don't want to talk a lot about Inflate-Gate, since I've been whining about the Rams losing to the Patriots in a Super Bowl for the last 13 years, but I will say this: Sean Payton got suspended for a year and cheating during games is worse than paying guys incentives (bounties) for doing their jobs well. I'm just saying.....

12) Why does the guy in the OxyClean commercials have to yell?

11) Jerry Jones donated $10.65M to the Arkansas Razorbacks' athletic department; he graduated from Arkansas fifty years ago. Wonder what it feels like to have $10M to donate to anything? JerryWorld is going to host the next Wrestlemania, by the way, as Jerry recoups some of that $10M.

10) I could never be Speaker of the House; how does that guy stay awake during the State of the Union address? Only possible way I could stay awake would be to check scores on my phone while the weasel politicians applauded endlessly, but that would look bad on TV, wouldn't it?

9) Pepperdine has an assistant basketball coach named John Impleman, who is the great-grandson of John Wooden. How do you slip that onto your resume?

8) Georgia football coach Mark Richt got a 25% raise to $4,000,000; his defensive coordinator will make $1.3M next year, Brian Schottenheimer will make $950,000 to be offensive coordinator. That ties Richt with Steve Spurrier for the 5th-highest salary in the 14-team SEC. College football is very big business.

7) Florida Gators were last SEC team that didn't have an indoor practice facility for football; now they will. What do teams in the south need an indoor facility for?

I was in the Tennessee weight room once in 2003; if I yelled at the top of my lungs, the person at the other end of the room probably wouldn't have heard me, thats how big it was. Lot of barbells.

6) There is a par 3 at the Qatar Open this week; if you get a hole-in-one, they give you a gift voucher.....for $155,000!!!! Pretty sweet gift voucher.

5) In parts of the Middle East, the weekend isn't Saturday-Sunday, its Friday-Saturday, so crowds for the last round of the Abu Dhabi tournament last week were a little smaller than second and third rounds. In Qatar this weekend, its a Wednesday-Saturday event, so they won't have that problem.

4) Forbes Magazine reports that 11 NBA teams are now worth $1B+, with the LA Lakers being worth the most.

3) TV ratings for Atlanta Hawks games are up 61% this season, proof that if you build it, they willl come, as long as you win the games you play in it. Think the TV networks are looking forward to an Atlanta-Golden State NBA Finals? It would be great basketball, but not a ratings grabber for the casual fan.

2) Pretty good reality show on ESPN, not sure how long its going to be on, but it is about Snoop Dawg and his son, who is a D-I prospect as a wide receiver. Think it is running on Wednesday/Sunday each week; the first episode was interesting, if you're into football. I know very little about Mr Snoop's (Calvin Broadus is his real name) music career, but he is definitely into football.

1) I just remembered that I'm spending the first weekend of the NCAA tournament in Las Vegas, in a hotel where there is a Steak 'n Shake and 24-hour bowling. Yes!!!!

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Instead of inferring that John Fox didn't have an intense desire to win, maybe John Elway just should've said, "I want to hire my friend as our coach." Gary Kubiak's son already worked for Denver in the scouting department last season; makes sense that his dad would follow right behind. Elway just had to get rid of Fox first.

12) In other football-related nepotism updates, Michigan hired Jay Harbaugh as its tight ends\/special teams coach; the 25-year old joins Kirk Ferentz' son at Iowa as the second head coach's son to be a full-time assistant in the Big 14.

Oh and Urban Meyer hired his daughter's boyfriend to be a grad assistant next season at Ohio State. Its not always what you know, its who you know!!!

11) Jets finally hired Chan Gailey as offensive coordinator; next question is: which QBs will he get to work with next season? If he can fix Geno Smith, the next question becomes: why the hell has he been out of work for two years?

10) Former Bills' coach Doug Marrone surfaced as offensive line coach in Jacksonville; Bills play in Jacksonville next year- that figures to be an interesting game.

9) Fan in Seattle turned down $20,000 for the ball that was caught for the winning TD in the Seahawks' OT win Sunday. Apparently the guy is jobless, has two kids and is headed to jail on February 2 on an undisclosed charge. Go figure.

8) Auburn QB Nick Marshall will try to make the NFL as a cornerback, which is where he started his college career, before transferring to Auburn and doing well as a QB. In this day and age, you'd think he'd try to be a QB.

7) Last two football things: Ravens hired Marc Trestman to replace Kubiak as their offensive coordinator; he will be Baltimore's fourth OC in four years.

6) Esquire Network has a TV show called Friday Night Tykes, about youth football in Texas. Interesting stuff; I'll let you judge for yourself.

Elsewhere in this wonderful world of ours.........
5) Houston Astros signed Colby Rasmus to play CF, the day after they traded Dexter Fowler to the Cubs. Houston GM Jeff Luhnow was in the Cardinal front office when St Louis drafted Rasmus. He's been a disappointment in the majors so far.

4) ESPN's Dino Gaudio thinks Kentucky is going to the NCAA tournament with no losses. Gaudio used to be coach at Wake Forest; he's gotten a lot better on TV, is one of their better analysts now.

3) My biggest problem with Kentucky is that they often seem bored against teams they don't respect-- they let Vanderbilt hang around last night, they let Ole Miss and the Aggies go to OT with them. You do that in March and an opponent gets hot behind the arc, all of a sudden your season is over. Happens all the time; its a big part of why March Madness is called March Madness. .

Think about it: UConn won a national title ten months ago-- they were down in overtime in their first round game against St Joe's. First round.

2) Gaudio told an interesting story last night; when Kevin Durant was at the NBA Combine, he bench pressed 185 pounds.......four whole times. Sometimes all the extra stuff they do at those events just does not matter. Playing well matters.

1) I've been retired from my day job for a month, am starting to compile a bucket list: added Hilton Coliseum to it last night. Would love to see an Iowa State home game; only down side is going to Iowa in January/February is playing weather roulette. May have to look into a November game next fall.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Radio talk shows are funny; the Packers blew a lead Sunday, so now every move they made during the game becomes the one that cost them the game. They should've done this, they should've done that. Every "Joe from Queens" knows better than the guy who makes $5M a year to coach the team. Amazing.

12) Tom Selleck turns 70 years old next week. I read this Sunday night and it jarred me; I instantly felt older. He did an episode of Magnum PI called "Forty", all about hitting middle age. Hard to believe that was thirty years ago.

11) Milwaukee traded pitcher Yovani Gallardo to Texas, fueling speculation they are going to sign free agent James Shields.

10) Kansas 85, Oklahoma 78-- Jayhawks led by 19 at half, Oklahoma went ahead late in game, but couldn't finish the job. Really good game. Oklahoma is one of those teams that could lose in the first round of the NCAAs but they could win a title, too.

9) 49ers are paying new coach Jim Tomsula $3.5M a year, less than four coaches in the Big 14, where Jim Harbaugh ($5M a year) now works. Niners are a top 5 team in revenue, but Tomsula is the 3rd-lowest paid head coach- this makes sense how?

8) Some of these nitwit owners might've read Moneyball; Billy Beane isn't a big believer in managers being paid huge money, he sees them more as middle managers. In the NFL though thats just not true at all. 49ers will learn that the hard way.

7) Clippers are 28-14; Knicks are 6-36. Mike Woodson is an assistant coach in LA now, after being run out of NY last year. Think he is happier now?

6) Max Scherzer's $210M contract will be paid out over 14 years, even though it is only a seven-year contract. Washington is a prohibitive favorite in the NL East.

5) Forgot to mention this, but over the weekend, South Dakota lost by 14 at South Dakota State as an 8-point underdog, but only before they took a 20-0 lead!!! How many times does a team fall behind 20-0, then rally to win by double figures?

4) I screwed up a stat yesterday about #1 seeds making the Super Bowl. Here is the right stuff: this is the third time in the last six years that both #1 seeds made it to the Super Bowl. Before the Saints-Colts Super Bowl, it had been 16 years since both #1's got to the Super Bowl.

3) Bleachers in Wrigley Field will be closed in April; ones in right field might not be open until Memorial Day, as they refurbish the ballpark. Going to be strange to see games in April with no fans in the outfield.

2) Lou Amundson started for the Knicks Monday; he is on his 10th NBA team in nine seasons. Amundson and Drew Gooden are the two active players who have both been on ten different teams. The record is 12 teams; Amundson has a shot.

1) Four different players have played for 12 NBA teams: Tony Massenberg, Chuckie Brown, Joe Smith and Jim Jackson. Smith and Jackson were high draft picks.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Seahawks 28, Packers 22 OT-- Green Bay had the ball and a 19-7 lead with 5:04 left. From that point on, Seattle ran 17 plays for 206 yards, scoring three TDs as they pulled a rabbit out of a hat and won the NFC title with this unlikely win. Seahawks' first TD scored on a freakin' fake FG after they had converted a 3rd-and-19.

Its going to be a longer, colder than usual winter in Wisconsin.

12) Green Bay kicked 18 and 19-yard FGs in the first quarter, meaning they had two drives that stalled inside the 3-yard line; lot of people are criticizing McCarthy for kicking those FGs instead of going for TDs, but he had a 19-7 lead and the ball in the last 5:00-- things that went on in the first quarter aren't why they lost this game.

11) Seahawks are first team since the '82 Jets to win a postseason game in which they turned the ball over five times. Teams had lost 45 consecutive playoff games in which they turned the ball over five times.

10) Patriots 45, Colts 7-- These teams play again next season; please TV gurus, keep it off national TV, so I don't have to watch this carnage again. New England won its last six games against Indy, scoring 42.3 ppg in last four. This was an awful game.

9) As I type this late at night (did you know its summer in Australia and quite warm there today?), Super Bowl line has both teams favored by a point in various sports books, while other have game pick 'em.

This will be third time in last five years Super Bowl spread was less than three points, when there hadn't been any such games in the decade before that.

8) NFC won four of last five Super Bowls, if that matters to you.

7) Pete Carroll went 28-23 as coach of the Patriots from 1997-99, making playoffs two of three years, going 8-8 the third year, but he got fired, so New England could hire......Bill Belichick. I know its the Super Bowl and you don't need extra motivation, but how sweet would it be for Carroll to keep the Pats title-less since 2004?

6) How is there no NBA team in Seattle? You look at the crowd support they get for the Seahawks, the Mariners draw well enough for a mediocre team. What does the NBA have against the city of Seattle?

Hey, there's other stuff going on........
5) Last night I mentioned Martin Kaymer jogging to an easy win in Abu Dhabi; he had a 10-stroke lead with 13 holes to play. He lost.

After going 47 holes without a bogey, Kaymer went +6 in one 8-hole stretch. .

4) Last week, Gary Kubiak issued a statement about how happy he was in Baltimore, helping John Harbaugh and the Ravens; then the Broncos lost and John Fox got fired. Now, Kubiak is the new coach of the Broncos. Go figure.

Baltimore at Denver would be a fun primetime game next season.

3) Washington Nationals signed Max Scherzer to a 7-year contract, meaning they will probably be trading Jordan Zimmerman/Ian Desmond soon.

2) DePaul 71, St John's 67-- Blue Demons are 4-2 in Big East, after going 10-98 the previous six conference seasons. Not sure if DePaul is that much better or of the Big East is that much worse, but good for Oliver Purnell.

1) Major League Baseball is bizarre; they named Mets' owner Fred Wilpon head of baseball's finance committee; this is same guy who was in bed with Bernie Madoff and has been running the Mets like they were the Toledo Mud Hens ever since. Oy.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Duke 63, Louisville 52-- Blue Devils played zone, which almost never happens, but it might be going to happen lot more the rest of this season. Louisville was 4-25 on the arc, 14-36 inside it; they could use a shooter or two.

12) Kansas State 63, Baylor 61-- Bears have weird team- their best scorer, Taurean Price, doesn't start. K-State is temporarily atop the Big X at 4-1.

11) VCU 70, Duquesne 64-- Rams have won ten in row, are by far best team in A-14.

10) Notre Dame 75, Miami 70-- Nasty scheduling spot for Hurricanes, tough road game after they blasted Duke in Cameron- they're better than the Irish.

9) Having 14 of 15 teams in a basketball conference makes no sense; too many teams. The best leagues have home/home series, where rivalries can form. You play a team once a year in basketball, hard for that to grow into a serious rivalry.

8) Wyoming 70, Fresno State 65 3OT-- Game of the Day. Cowboys are 16-3 and might be best team in a down Mountain West.

7) I can't tolerate Dick Vitale's announcing anymore; he works from the same script most every game. He got wealthy and turned into an elitist, though the work he does for the V Foundation is outstanding. ESPN has done a poor job of cultivating its younger announcers- having Jay Bilas as its new #1 analyst is a bad idea.

6) St Mary's 82, BYU 77-- Randy Bennett has the Gaels challenging Gonzaga atop the WCC standings again. He's bringing in three more Australians next year, will have a total of six on next year's squad.

5) Golfer Martin Kaymer is jogging to an easy win in Abu Dhabi as I type this, but Charl Schwartzel has the prettiest caddy- his wife, who was forced into duty when Schwartzel's regular caddy couldn't get a visa in time for this week's tournament.

4) There is a basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA and there is a college Hall of Fame in Kansas City, which somehow hasn't inducted Jerry Tarkanian. Norm Stewart and Gene Keady are in it, but no Tark-- not a lot of credibility there. Tarkanian is in the Springfioeld Hall of Fame, as he should be.

3) ESPN amalyst Jay Williams referred to Duke as "we" on the air Saturday night; of the Dukies on TV and there are many, Williams is by far the worst of the lot. How they decided to put him on their Saturday morning show is beyond me.

2) Clemson 66, Syracuse 53-- Orangemen used two subs a total of seven minutes. If I ever do a list of the most overrated people in America, Jim Boeheim is sure to be on the list. Before Carmelo Anthony spent his seven months in Syracuse and won a national title, Boeheim was best known for his underwhelming NCAA appearances.

Now supposedly he is responsible for teaching Mike Krzyzewski the 2-3 zone, as if the Duke coach didn't know how it worked before he met Boeheim. Its the simplest thing in the damn world; the tricky part is recruiting the great athletes to play in it.

This game was 39-18 at halftime; how does an ACC team have this thin a bench? He lost two kids for the year to injuries, but still.....

1) Arizona 69, Utah 51-- Utes are supposed to give Arizona a run for their money in the Pac-12 this season; this game was the opposite of that.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Curious that 49ers hired a head coach from wthin, then fired all other assistant coaches but one, longtime Niner player Tom Rathman. Biggest hire they have is a new offensive coordinator who will be charged with improving Kaepernick's passing.

12) Detroit Tigers already have just under $117M tied up in only six players:
Cabrera-Verlander-Sanchez-Martinez-Price-Kinsler. Pauroll is going to be very high; am guessing a few minimum salary guys make it.

11) UTEP wanted to play Kentucky next year in Maryland, to commemorate 50th anniversary of the famous 1966 title game the Miners won, but negotiuations broke down, probably because the Wildcats don't like playing games away from home, not even at neutral sites. Or maybe they don't like being reminded they lost that game. .

10) Larry Brown won the 1988 NCAA title with Kansas, bolted to the NBA right after, or right before the NCAA put the Jayhawks on probation. Brown was out of college coaching for 25 years, but now, before his SMU team even got to the NCAAs, the Mustangs appear headed to probation too.

SMU took a chance on a coach in his 70's with a checkered past and it looks like it is going to blow up in their face. Brown will just skip town and hide behind his North Carolina pedigree, but fact of the matter is, they should've known this was coming.

9) Every high school/college basketball player should watch D-League showcase on NBAtv this weekend; see how many really good college players are toiling in virtual obscurity now, getting paid but not that much. If some of these kids stayed in school another year, they could've refined their skills and had a better chance at making an NBA roster. Nothing wrong with having an education to fall back on, either.

8) Greedy bastard update: Haven't done one of these in a while, but gas is down to $2.49 a gallon at the station I go to; price actually dropped 20 cents in one day last week. For the first time in at least ten years, the Mobil station I go to had a cheaper price than the Sunoco station across the street. Sunoco station always keeps their price 2-5 cents lower than the Mobil station, but they got caught napping last week.

Gas was $3.69 a gallon almost all summer, so $2.49 is a pretty big drop. Good.

7) Giants gave Nori Aoki $4.7M for one year, good move by them; he has almost no power, but plays a good outfield and will be happier back in the National League. .

6) Peyton Manning's wife owns 5% of the Memphis Grizzlies. Seriously. In other Grizzlies news, turns out they have a "mental endurance coach". I need one of those.

5) Why is the Duke-Louisville game on at noon? Thought that would be the 9pm game to cap off a basketball Saturday.

4) ESPN is broadcasting about 45 college basketball games with their announcers not actually at the game, but in an ESPN studio in Connecticut, like they did with soccer games overseas. Cost cutting measures they say; they don't make enough money?

3) "If I were you, I wouldn't come here." Thats what Jim Boeheim told a young Mark Jackson on his recruiting visit almost 30 years ago. Syracuse had Pearl Washington, so point guard was spoken for and kids strayed in school longer back then, so Jackson went to St John's, where things worked out pretty darn well for him.

2) Rory McIlroy has ten holes-in-one, but got his first in a pro tournament Friday on the 15th hole at Abu Dhabi. Must be fun being that good at something.

1) Pretty cool time of year for me, since I stay up very late writing all this; golf from Abu Dhabi, tennis from Australia, Lot of live events to amuse me while I write.

Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Good high school basketball event in Springfield, MA this weekend; 14 games with teams from all over the country. Games Monday will all be on ESPNU. Who is paying the freight for all these teams to fly to Massachusetts? It ain't cheap.

12) Washington Redskins hired Bill Callahan as offensive line coach; he had the title of offensive coordinator in Dallas, but thats all it was obviously, a title. Callahan is a good get for Jay Gruden and the Redskins.

11) Two of Rex Ryan's new assistants in Buffalo have famous names; Tony Sparano Jr and Bobby April III, sons of longtime NFL coaches. Don't forget, Rex Ryan is the son of a longtime NFL coach too.

10) 2016 All-Star Game is in San Diego, giving NL the mid-summer classic two years in a row, which is unusual. Going to San Diego is always good, but the HR Derby in Petco Park won't be great-- too big. HR Derby in Cincinnati this July will be very good. Smaller parks make for better home run derbies.

9) A's general manager Billy Beane has made nine trades with nine different teams since Thanksgiving weekend; when Oakland takes the field April 6, only two of their nine hitters will be guys who were on the A's last season.

8) Gonzaga's basketball game at Pepperdine was delayed for 33 minutes after the Zags' team bus got stuck in freeway traffic and got to the gym only 25 minutes before the scheduled gametime. Gonzaga was 14-33 from the foul line in this game; I'm sure they are just glad to get out with a win and get ready for LMU Saturday.

7) How long will Gonzaga big guy Domantas Sabonis stay in Spokane? He is highly skilled, the son of a great player. Young Sabonis will be a high draft pick whenever he decides to go pro. American big kids generally leave school too early-- is there anyone who remembers the Bradley kid, Patrick O'Bryant? He got the Braves to the Sweet 16, went pro and then his career withered and died. That happens too much.

6) Gonzaga was 14 for 33 on foul line last night; Duquesne was 13-34 in a 78-69 loss at Saint Louis Wednesday; how does a team full of kids on basketball scholarships do so poorly on the foul line? I am 55 years old sitting here in sweats watching CSI reruns and I could drive to a gym in ten minutes and make half my foul shots. Oy.

5) North Carolina's last three games were decided by a total of four points; Tar Heels are a good team but a weird one, they're thin in the backcourt in an era when guards are dominating the game. Marcus Paige might be the MVP of college hoop this year.

4) I love my IPhone6, but the whole autocorrect thing bothers me; I'd rather fix my own mistakes than have the phone invent words for me. .

3) May 23 the White Sox will retire Paul Konerko's number 14.

2) Ohio State QB Cardale Jones will stay at Ohio State, which makes sense; he has made three starts in college, no way is he ready for the NFL. Matt Cassel is the one guy who got drafted into the NFL without ever starting a college game-- he backed up Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC, but he is an unusual case.

1) I saw Austin Rivers play AAU ball in Florida the summer before his 10th grade year; he played for team sponsored by Amare Stoudamire (Team STAT). Doc Rivers sat in first row at half court at Poinciana HS that day and gave advice quietly when he could-- now he'll get paid to give his son advice, as the Clippers traded for his son.

They will be the first father/son coach/player combo in NBA history.

Thursday's List of 13: Random stuff on a winter day.......
13) Duke is struggling on defense, but fact of matter is that NC State/Miami went a combined 20-36 from the arc- most teams can't do that in an empty gym. Duke is also always young now, much like Kentucky; hard to develop good chemistry that way.

12) Las Vegas sportsbooks are concerned that if both NFL favorites win Sunday, they'll get buried by gamblers who pair the favorites in teaser bets. No one is giving the Packers a chance in hell of winning- they're 1-4 on artificial turf this season.

11) Grand Salami bet is an over/under on the total number of goals scored in NHL each night; so far this season, over is 54-36-1 on the Grand Salami.

10) NFL coaching news:
Jack Del Rio goes to Oakland, 49ers hire Jim Tomsula from within. Not sure what means for Doug Marrone or Adam Gase, who were both expected to get hired by teams looking for the next great coach.

Buffalo has to pay Marrone $4M no matter what, so no sympathy for him.

9) Should be noted here that Del Rio was once a catcher on USC's baseball team, when one of the pitchers was a tall first baseman named Mark McGwire.

8) Syracuse beat Wake Forest in OT Tuesday, but their bench played a total of 26:00; four of their starters played 42+ minutes. They're going to wear down over the next two months and they're not going to last long in March.

7) Hawks 105, Celtics 91-- Atlanta has won ten games in a row, is 31-8.

6) I talked yesterday about A's trading for SS Yunel Escobar; forget what I said, he's been traded to Washington for Tyler Clippard, which could signal that the Nats are about to trade Ian Desmond, maybe to the Mets.

No matter what, we can always say the A's went unbeaten while they had Escobar.

5) Golfer Chris Kirk shot 62 in Kapalua Monday, got drug tested Wednesday. I'm guessing he passed, since no news is generally good news.

4) Why is the Venezuela Winter League not on TV? People freezing in the north and northeast would definitely be up for some January baseball.

3) Marcus Mariota declared for the NFL, to the surprise to almost no one. The big question is how good Mariota will be in pro football. Radio host Sean Salisbury says college kids who do nothing but takes snaps out of the shotgun are less likely to be good pros. Salisbury played in the NFL, so he should know.

2) You watch UNLV's hoop team and you wonder how they would be had Khem Birch stayed in school; he is averaging 13.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg and 2.23 blocks, playing in the D-League. Sure he is getting paid now, but how much? Maybe staying in school and getting drafted in the top half of the first round would've been more lucrative in the long run. Kids don't often think of the long run.

1) First e-mail came about 45 minutes after Ohio State beat Oregon Monday night; collectibles, all sorts of Buckeye memorabilia for sale, including a helmet signed by Urban Meyer for a mere $130. College sports is indeed very big business.

Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Duke lost consecutive regular season games for first time in six years, and they go to Louisville Saturday. Young teams are going to struggle at some point. Kentucky played consecutive OT games with mid-level SEC teams. Its just inevitable when you go up against older players.

12) Mikhail Prokhorov is selling the Brooklyn Nets, as the Donald Sterling fiasco has had unintended consequences-- owners see how much they can get for their teams, so they jump ship for a big profit. First the Hawks, now the Nets.

11) According to baseballguys.com's Ray Flowers, 694 pitchers threw at least one pitch last year; 139 of them (20.8%) have had Tommy John surgery.

10) NFL coaching stuff: Jets hired Todd Bowles as head coach, Jason Garrett got a five-year extension in Dallas and John Fox is unemployed despite going 48-19 and winning four division titles in a row. I mention it every day because it is disappointing that the world is so bizarre that a guy who is 48-19 would get fired.

9) Dating Tip of the Day: Generally its a terrible idea to take dating advice from me, but this much I know: "You should always try and avoid dating trained/paid killers." Don't believe me? Ask NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who claims his ex-girlfriend was a trained killer, much like Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Oy.

8) Last three ACC tournament champs: Florida State-Miami-Virginia. No Duke or North Carolina, though one of those two lost all three finals. Surprising fact.

7) In the Pac-12, the lower-seeded team won the last six Pac-12 tourney finals, so that will be an interesting fact to remember come March.

6) Suns 107, Cavaliers 100-- Cleveland is now 19-20. No bueno. How long do they wait before they pull the plug on the coach and bring Mike Brown back (again)?

5) Pirates are giving Korean SS Jing-Ho Kung $16M for four years. Last year, A's signed a Japanese shortstop for decent money and I still haven't seen him play. Lot of artificial turf in Japan; need a better throwing arm and better bat on grass fields.

4) Speaking of which, A's tried to trade for Yunel Escobar in July when Jed Lowrie was hurt and team was sinking; Escobar vetoed the deal. Now A's traded for him and his agent said Escobar is good with the trade-- not sure why he vetoed the trade last summer but was good with it now. Maybe because Joe Maddon went to Chicago.

3) There is a new TV program on WGN about a family that owns a funeral parlor and also dabbles in professional wrestling. Seriously. Wrestling with Death- no way could I make stuff like this up. Real life is much stranger than fiction.

2) Big East has teams in Indianapolis, Omaha, Chicago and Milwaukee, as kids all over America struggle with Geography. I wonder why? UConn and Tulsa are in the same league, as are West Virginia and six schools in OklahomaTexas. Yikes.

1) Odds and ends for Hump Day
-- Odd Fact of the Day: Rex Ryan roots for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
-- I'm afraid the vultures could be circling over UNLV hoop coach Dave Rice soon.
-- Why did Ohio State run the score up in the last minute against Oregon?
-- Islanders shut the Rangers out in Madison Square Garden for first time since 1975.
-- Georgia's best shot blocker is out tonight after getting hit by a car. Colorado State's center Avila is suspended for tonight's game.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Ohio State 42, Oregon 20-- Not Mark Helfrich's finest moment; eschewed an easy FG when down 14-7, punted when down 35-20 with 7:00 left and never went for two after a TD, which Oregon does in most games. Buckeyes ran ball for 296 yards, threw for 242 more, winning by three TDs despite a -3 turnover ratio.

12) Cardale Jones has started three college games, won 'em all as an underdog; scout on Twitter said Monday night that he would be the 4th QB drafted if he comes out of school, which apparently he will not. Ohio State has two other QBs returning-- which one(s) are going to transfer? At least one of them will.

11) 85,589 fans witnessed this event in JerryWorld; not sure how long before this turns into an 8-team playoff, but I'm guessing it won't be long.

10) Urban Meyer is obviously a great coach, but he lasted six years at Florida, after two years each at Bowling Green/Utah; this was his third year at Ohio State. It is not outrageous to suggest that by time Jim Harbaugh gets Michigan rolling, Meyer will have moved on from Columbus. Expectations for Ohio State will now be through the roof, which generally is bad for coaches' blood pressure.

9) Whats the over/under on time Meyer spends enjoying this championship? Is he in the office Tuesday morning at 8am making recruiting calls? Signing Day is in three weeks; after all. Football recruiting pauses only during the games.

8) One more Helfrich note: at $2M a year, Helfrich is now the lowest-paid coach in the Pac-12. You'd think he's due for a raise, no?

7) DeMarco Murray carried the football 436 times this year, which reminds us of Jamal Anderson, who got run into the ground by the late 90's Falcons. Better take care of the young man or he won't last much longer.

6) John Fox goes 49-22 with the Broncos (3-4 in playoffs) and gets fired? Oy. Hot rumor as I type this is Fox going to Chicago to coach the Bears.

5) Rex Ryan goes 50-52 with the Jets and gets $5M+ from Buffalo? Buffalo sent its DC Jim Schwartz packing; his philosophy and Ryan's didn't mesh, so it makes sense. Curious to see if the Jets hire Doug Marrone, if he brings Schwartz to the Swamp.

4) At one point Monday afternoon, ESPN2 was airing mascots riding an electronic bull; seriously, they did. 46 seconds was the best time while I was watching. ESPN over-covered the college football playoff a bit much; now they can finally dive into a little more college basketball. Less than nine weeks until Selection Sunday.

3) Golfers Jason Day, Chris Kirk both shot 11-under 62's in last round at Kapalua, yet neither one won the tournament; Patrick Reed beat Jimmy Walker in a playoff to win the first event of 2015. Walker led most of way, was awful on back nine Monday.

2) Odd fact that I learned Monday night: Bob Newhart once went to law school at Loyola, IL; he didn't finish, which was a good thing for TV comedy, right?

1) One last college football thing: the kid on Oregon who scored a TD but dropped the ball about two inches after he crossed the goal line? Go hand the ball to the referee and quit being a selifsh jackass. His cool guy BS is inexcusable, especially since a kid on Utah did same thing against the Ducks in November. He should know better.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Packers 26, Cowboys 21-- Playoff games were all good this weekend, with three dogs covering; NFL really needs to change the "maintain catch while falling down" rule that has sucked since the Lions got screwed out of a Calvin Johnson TD catch on Opening Day a few years ago.

12) No matter what the rule (and according to the current rule, the refs got it right) a gray area will always exist as to whether a ball was caught. Common sense should be involved in the decision though. The current rule takes some of that out.

Put it this way: I'm watching that play Sunday, the Dez Bryant play and the current rule doesn't exist. I'm saying Bryant caught the ball and most would agree. I just wish they would change the rule. I'm guessing Calvin Johnson would second that.

11) Colts 24, Broncos 13-- You got the idea this was the end for Peyton Manning as a player, and it wasn't pretty. There were rumors during the game that John Fox needed to win this game to keep his job, despite winning AFC West four years in a row. Gary Kubiak took his name out of the running Sunday night, but you get the feeling that the Bronco team we see in September will be a lot different than today's team.

10) Manning has had a great career, winning a Super Bowl, but his career playoff record is 11-13, 5-9 in the first playoff game of a year-- no other QB in Super Bowl era lost his first playoff game in a season more than four times. .

9) Colt-Bronco game was first playoff game in NFL history where the starting QBs were both sons of former NFL players.

8) Buffalo Bills are expected to name Rex Ryan coach while keeping Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator and naming Greg Roman offensive coordinator; in interest of good theater, Jets have to name Doug Marrone head coach so Bills-Jets becomes one of the league's better rivalries.

7) Cavaliers lost 103-84 in Sacramento, are now 1-8 without Lebron James; they are 18-11 when Lebron plays.

6) Oregon State 58, Arizona 56-- Beavers' coach Wayne Tinkle is the youngest of 11 children; he may already be the Pac-12's Coach of the Year. Oregon State is a good defensive team; holding Arizona to 56 points in very impressive.

5) Stanford 78, USC 76-- Cardinal scored one point in last 5:26, hung on to split an LA trip where they were 25-56 behind the arc- they blew a 14-point lead at UCLA Thursday and damn near blew an 18-point lead in this game. USC had ball for the last shot, but their point guard just dribbled into traffic and lost the ball. .

4) Only one golfer has made the TOUR Championship (top 30) in each of the last seven years; name is probably a surprise: Hunter Mahan.

3) Apparently one of the reasons Kyle Shanahan quit the Browns was the front office was texting suggestions down from the press box during games. Not only is that meddling micro-managing, its against NFL rules.

2) Sometimes it helps to check boxscores or watch games just to get a feel for what happened; final scores can be misleading. Elon beat Wm & Mary 85-78 the other day, after they went on a 28-15 run over the last 5:44 of the game. Elon was 12-25 from the arc; scoring 28 points in 5:44 is an impressive feat, but hard to duplicate.

1) Congrats to Utah State coach Stew Morrill, who is retiring after 29 years as a D-I head coach. Timing of the announcement is a little odd but Morrill had won 21+ games 12 years in a row before the Aggies moved up to the Mountain West last year.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) So who was it that pushed 77-year old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau out the door? Coach Tomlin? Owner Art Rooney? When a guy in his position says "I am not retiring" that means he got fired. Tough thing, firing a legend.

12) Kentucky 70, Texas A&M 64, 2OT-- Aggies were only 16-30 in foul line as Wildcats dodged another bullet in SEC play. They're very good, but don't tell me this Kentucky team is an all-time great team just yet.

11) Miami OH 82, Eastern Michigan 81 OT-- Ben Roethlisberger's alma mater was down 25 in first half, rallied to win.

10) North Carolina 72, Louisville 71-- UNC gets 8th-least % of points of anyone in country from beyond arc, where they shoot 31%; this was second Tar Heel game in row that was decided by exactly one point.

9) Seton Hall 68, Creighton 67 OT-- Sterling Gibbs hit a hard 3-pointer with 0:02.1 left to keep Bluejays (0-4) winless in Big East.

8) If you care about such things, home underdogs are now 1-9-1 vs spread in WCC conference games this season.

7) Super Bowl is in Phoenix this year, same week as Phoenix Open golf tournament, where Eldrick Woods will play for only the fourth time. Coincidence?.Nah, some of his sponsors probably want to watch him play, so he plays.

6) Roger Goodell and his wife sat outside in the cold in Foxboro last night; he runs the damn league but he doesn't sit in a luxury box? Mrs Goodell couldn't have been happy with this-- who wants to get sick when you don't have to?

5) At this point, Knicks might lose to the Washington Generals; they lost by 28 at home to Charlotte and they won the fourth quarter by 17-- you do the math.

4) New Orleans traded Austin Rivers to the Celtics in Jeff Green trade; rumor has it that Boston is going to ship him to the Clippers soon, where he will play for his dad.

3) ESPN's Jay Bilas/Dan Dakich are Robert M Knight henchmen, so they spend way too much airtime bitching about officials. Analyze the game, you're not paid to be the supervisor of officials. ESPN's college hoop analysts are a surprisingly weak lot. .

2) If they reduced the amount of timeouts each team got in TV games from five to three, it would be fine with me. In a college hoop game, there are eight scripted TV timeouts that have to happen; teams don't need five other timeouts, its too much. Let the kids play, the game would have better flow, better action. .

1) A's traded for Ben Zobrist/Yunel Escobar Saturday; counting DH, they've changed seven of nine position players from LY's team. One evaluator summed up the new A's in this way: "Younger, cheaper and deeper" Sounds like the A's.

Saturday's List of 13: Things haven't always been this way.........
13) There are advantages/disadvantages to everything; one of the good things about being my age is that I got to see Pete Maravich play basketball.

This was before ESPN, before 3-pointers; he was flashy and prolific but most of all, he was great fun to watch. He scored 68 against the Knicks one night in New Orleans before the NBA had 3-pointers-- if you put some of his highlights in a movie, you'd get laughed at for being unrealistic. An amazing talent.

12) There are still four phone booths in the lobby of a building I used to work in; no more phones, but the booths are still there. There used to be phone booths on a lot of street corners and in stores-- for a quarter you could talk for three minutes.

Now 90% of people have a cellphone in their pocket; someone took a bath investing in pay phones the last few years before cellphones became popular. I remember seeing Bobby Cremins talking on a cellphone in Orlando at an AAU tournament-- the other coaches all had cellphones, but Cremins was there putting his change in. I bet even coach Cremins has a cellphone now.

11) Basketball without shot clocks and 3-point shot was often strangled to death by control freak coaches; I mean a Duke Carolina game in the late 70's was 7-0 at the half. If teams played zone while behind the team that was leading could just hold the ball or pass it back and forth up top forever.Today, no one would watch it. Not everything has improved with time, but basketball definitely has.

10) There used to be weekday afternoon World Series games; the first weeknight Series game was in 1971. Now all the games are at night and sometimes don't end until close to midnight. One of the reasons less kids like the sport now.

9) Tell someone in their 20's that the Oakland Raiders used to be an NFL power, a team everyone looked up to and you get strange looks, but they were the coolest team for a long time, throwing the ball vertically down the field with their silver and black uniforms and DBs with tons of stick 'em on their arms. Not anymore though.....

8) There was a time when NHL players who wore helmets were mocked for not being as manly as other players; now everyone does it, but not always. Actually, as late as 1974, there was a pro goalie playing without a mask-- imagine that?

7) Until Larry Bird/Magic Johnson's rivaly revitalized the NBA, Finals games were shown on tape delay at 11:30 on weeknights. Seriously. Imagine if anyone did that now? Of course, ESPN was just starting out back then, too.

6) Instant replay is a fairly recent phenomena, but with 47% of challenged calls getting overturned in baseball LY, you wonder how many games would've ended in a different way replay existed 30-40 years ago?

5) One season in the 70's, Chicago White Sox had an artificial turf infield and a grass outfield; weird. Half the teams in major leagues had an artificial turf field at one time or another-- now Toronto and Tampa Bay are only ones that do.

4) Obviously, the Internet changed the whole world; when I was young, I saw the A's boxscores at 4:00 the next day, at least for their home games. Now I follow along in real time every night, both the A's and my fantasy team. Its part of the reason society is so impatient now; very seldom do we have to wait for anything.

3) NFL teams took longer to develop QBs because college teams rarely threw the ball a lot; many of them ran the option, couldn't throw the ball. Now so mamy teams run pro-style or run/shoot-type offenses, QBs come to the pros at least physically ready to play. The mental part of the game remains a puzzle for young guys.

2) College basketball players used to stay in school for three or even four years; that made the college game a lot stronger than it is now, where a kid makes two or three hoops in a row and starts looking for an agent. I actually think the college game would be better if kids could just skip college and go right to the pros.

1) Social media is a recent entrant into the "distractions" category that lot of teams and celebrities face. 40 years ago, if a college QB jumped up on a cafeteria table and started singing, I doubt we would've known about it. Now we know about it before dinner.

Friday's List of 13; Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) John Smoltz is first Hall of Fame pitcher who had Tommy John surgery, which reminds me that Dr Frank Jobe and Dr James Andrews should be in the Hall of Fame as contributors; not many people helped baseball more than those two surgeons.

12) Former NBA great Rick Barry will be 71 in two months; he was really a great player. The youngest of his five sons is named Canyon and is a sophomore guard at Charleston-- he had 21 against Hofstra last night. Just like his dad, young Barry takes his free throws underhanded-- he is 17-23 (73.9%) so far this season.

Rick Barry was a career 89.3% shooter from the foul line, scoring 25,279 points while averaging 24.8 ppg as a pro. In my mind, he was a very underrated player.

11) DePaul Blue Demons are 3-0 in the Big East, which doesn't sound like that much, until you realize that over last six seasons, they were 10-98. 10 and freakin' 98.

10) I walk into my living room Wednesday night; the Utah-Colorado game is on TV and Bill Walton is talking about dinosaur fossils; its always great fun listening to him doing Pac-12 games with Dave Pasch. Last night night they had Stanford-UCLA, a double OT game so we got ten extra minutes of Walton, never a bad thing.

9) So the Cavaliers traded Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City; Waiters asked to wear #13 for the Thunder (James Harden's old number) but for whatever reason, Thunder turned his request down, so he'll wear #23. Thats just a little strange- you'd think they want to make a new player feel comfortable, but not in today's micro-managed world.

8) Michigan State is 1-5 this year in games decided by 10 or less points; they were down 11 at the half in Iowa City last night, stormed back to win by 14, after Izzo got a technical just before halftime.

Spartans are 6-1 against Fran McCaffery, who once wouldn't let his Siena team shake hands with Manhattan after a game because the Jaspers "played too physically." Izzo teams occasionally practice in shoulder pads. Big 14 plays big boy basketball.

7) Five of eight QBs starting in the NFL playoffs this weekend have already won a Super Bowl and Cam Newton won a college champoionship.

6) Look beyond the records: Georgia Tech is 0-2 in the ACC, but lost in double OT at Notre Dame, lost by a point to Syracuse. Tech is an improved team.

Syracuse is 2-0 in the ACC, with road wins by 2 at Virginia Tech, at Georgia Tech by a point. Orangemen are shaky and thin, not as strong as usual- they're pretty good, but not a top 25 team or a lock for the NCAA tournament.

5) ESPN has an incredible amount of coverage of college football during the day this week; coaches are scrambling for precious TV air time, since this is also recruiting season, with Signing Day less than four weeks away.

Brian Kelly, James Franklin, Art Briles all made appearances during the short time I was watching Thursday afternoon. Jim Harbaugh will be on during the national title game on ESPNU's simulcast Monday night. It is recruiting season, people.

4) Lot of stuff on ESPN2 on weekdays suggests that they might as well be airing WWE matches; the trash talking that goes on is childish and embarrassing. Probably sound old complaining about this, but you don't learn anything listening to the crap program that Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless pollute every day-- they just spout trash at each other, then laugh all the way to the bank. It is worthless garbage.

3) I have lot of channels on DirecTV; one of the better ones is #693, Prime Ticket from Los Angeles, which shows lot of Big West/WCC games late at night. Articles in this space tend to be a little better if I'm being entertained while I'm writing.

In old UNLV/Tark days, lot of Big West games were on TV, but they've disappeared off of TV recently, except for Prime Ticket, so we're thankful to them for that.

2) Thursday would've been Elvis Presley's 80th birthday; happy birthday to the King!!! Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas still has one of his old cars in their lobby; I was looking at it in November. An old Lincoln Mark IV; must be worth a fortune now.

1) Six weeks before spring training starts and James Shields/Max Scherzer are still free agents; these two pitchers are game-changers for whomever signs them. I am told pitching is the most important part of baseball; these two guys are going to get some serious money, but from which teams?

Additional warm weather note: the PGA Tour starts today!!!

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud............
13) In last seven years, #1 seed in the NFC is 4-3 SU in this round; #1 seed in AFC is 3-3 in this round. So much for the bye being a big advantage.

12) College basketball ref Kip Kissinger did the Iowa State-South Carolina game in Brooklyn Saturday, the UNLV-Kansas game Sunday in Lawrence, and New Mexico-San Diego State game Tuesday night. Lot of frequent flyer miles there.

11) Speaking of the Aztecs, they've now won their last 131 games when they led with 5:00 to play. Thats a tremendous streak and very sound coaching.

10) If I had a Hall of Fame vote this year, I would've voted for Tim Raines and Mike Piazza, in addition to the four guys who made it.

9) Four of the five kids on the Atlantic 14's pre-season All-League team are sophs, which says a lot for that league's future. Davidson-VCU game Wednesday was a terrific game between two teams with very different philosophies.

8) Herm Edwards/Bill Polian do good work during the day on ESPN; can learn a lot about the inner workings of how the NFL works. Job interviews, what front office people look for in players, good information.

7) Denver Nuggets are doing away with game-day shootarounds, hoping that if players have more uninterrupted sleep, they'll play better. They hired a sleep expert whose opinion it was that mid-day shootarounds were a hinderence more than a help.

6) Over the last six years, ACC football teams are 22-30 in bowls, not exactly what the league's honchos had in mind when they added Miami and Florida State.

5) Knicks-Bucks are playing a game in London a week from today; we've sent the Jaguars and Knicks to England in the same year. I'm sure the British are grateful.

4) Former Boston College/NC State football coach Tom O'Brien retired; he is the missing link in Russell Wilson's life story, the NC State coach who cut Wilson loose before his senior year, so he was free to transfer to Wisconsin. How did this happen ands why doesn't anyone talk about it?

I mean, a 3-year starting QB transfers before his senior year, doesn't have to sit out a year and the program he left doesn't seem to care?. Wilson played a lot of minor league baseball in summers when he was in college- he was a second baseman in the Colorado organization. You hear so much now about what a great teammate Wilson is, then why did NC State just let him leave town?

3) Should DH's be elected to the Hall of Fame? I mean, David Ortiz might not even own a glove. 68% of the games Edgar Martinez played in were as a DH.

2) Its freakin' freezing today in upstate New York, so the idea that the first spring training baseball game is March 3, Orioles-Tigers in Lakeland, only 54 cold days away, well thats a good thought. My tentative plan is to hit spring training in Arizona next March and see my A's get ready for the 2016 season. Haven't done that before.

1) If I interviewed Jameis Winston at the NFL Combine, my first question would be this: Are you 100% committed to football? Have you given up on baseball? Being an NFL QB is a 24/7 job; its hard enough when you're totally committed. His answers would be very interesting.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a winter day......
13) Stunning Statistic of the Day: Joe Flacco has seven road playoff wins, two more than any other QB in NFL history!!! Weird thing is how few home playoff games Baltimore has had, but they thrive on the road, for sure.

12) Since 2001, New England is 12-3 in home playoff games: 1-2 against Baltimore, 11-1 against everyone else.

11) Pistons 105, Spurs 104-- Detroit was down 18, rallies to win, is now 6-0 since they fired Josh Smith- they were 5-23 with Smith. Go figure.

10) Jim Burr was one of the refs at the Providence-Butler game last night; I don't want to say he's been around a long time, but when I was a college freshman, way back in 1978, I did the scorebook for high school sectional games at UAlbany, last of which was a Mt Vernon-Catholic High game, with Scooter McCray playing for Mt Vernon.

Rodney McCray had a broken wrist that night and didn't play. Tony Fiorentino was an assistant cxoach for Mt Vernon; he does Miami Heat games on TV now. Jim Burr was the ref that night. In 1978. 37 years later, he is still doing Big East games. if ever someone needs to write a book about his experiences, it would be Mr Burr.

9) Lot of schools were recruiting Scooter McCray, the older of the brothers; Wade Houston (Allan Houston's dad) was an assisstant coach at Louisville-- he used my student ID to check out racquetball stuff to play racquetball with Mt Vernon coaches. In return, I asked for an autographed picture of Darrell Griffith. He agreed.

Not only did I never get the picture, I got a bill for the rackets when the coaches left them in the trainer's room instead of returning them where they came from. The bill got taken care of, Louisville got Scooter, won a national title and then Wade Houston got the coaching job at Tennessee, where he went 65-90 in five years. Hmmm...

8) Not sure we talked about this last spring, when the Bills moved up four slots in the draft to take WR Sammy Watkins, they gave up two #1's and a 4th-round pick to get only four picks higher. Watkins had a strong rookie year, but an extra #1 and a 4?

Cleveland had to be happier than hell to make that trade; apparently, Doug Marrone was very unhappy-- it was said it is part of why he bolted the club last week.

7) Texas Tech signed a new defensiove coordinator, the guy who was Houston's interim coach for their bowl win; he'll be making $550,000 a year. He's not even head coach and he's making $550,000 a year in Lubbock. Its good to be him.

6) Illinois lost its best basketball player Rayvonte Rice with a broken hand and is out indefinitely, very bad news for the Illini., who play Maryland tonight.

5) Old Dominion is in the Top 25 for the first time ever; former Virginia coach Jeff Jones is the head man for the Monarchs, who are now in Conference USA.

4) If James Naimsith was watching the first half of this New Mexico-San Diego State game I'm watching, he might deny inventing the sport.

College basketball has gotten worse because every time a kid makes two baskets in a row, it seems like he declares for the NBA Draft. It has helped the D-League, though.

3) ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that Carmelo Anthony won't be shut down for the season until after the NBA All-Star Game, which is in New York next month. My question is this:

Why the bleep should Anthony make the All-Star team?!?!?!?!

Knicks are 5-32; they shouldn't have any All-Stars, especially one who is supposedly "injured". If he plays in the All-Star Game but doesn't play for the Knicks, what does make people who buy Knick season tickets? Answer: suckers.

One more quick Knick note: They got a 2019 2nd-round pick in the JR Smith trade; if that player is a one-and-done college kid, that means right now, he is in the 9th grade, whoever he is. Has an NBA team ever traded for a 9th grader before?

2) Over the last three years, if you wagered on every Big 14 bowl team that was an underdog, you'd be 13-7-2. They were 10-10 the three years before that.

1) I'd love to have a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame; no one watches more baseball than I do, I write about it every day during the season-- I think I'm a qualified voter, so if you know anyone with some clout, hook me up!!!!

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) First of all, best wishes to Carolina Panthers' coach Ron Rivera and his family after part of his house caught fire late Sunday night; all six people in the house got out safely. Weird month for the Panthers, with Cam Newton rolling his car over a few weeks ago and now this. Both situations could've wound up much worse.

12) Heard an interesting story today from someone who was there: 20 years ago, Western Kentucky's football team was coached by Jack Harbaugh; you have probably heard of his sons. WKU was debating shutting down the football program, the way UAB's program just got shut down, but a celebrity stepped in to help the team out.

Doc Severinsen is one of the greatest trumpet players ever; back then, he was best known as the bandleader on the Tonight Show. He called an attorney working to keep the football team and volunteered to help their cause, which he did.

At one point, the attorney asked Severinsen why he was helping the team out, and he got an interesting answer: "I'm not interested in football, but if your team goes, the marching band goes with it." The man went out of his way to make sure those young musicians had a band to play in, which was a very cool thing to do.

11) Doc Severinsen is now 87, still alive and playing music; his website says he has two appearances in Virginia in mid-February. Western Kentucky won a bowl game this year, a game the the bandleader helped them win by his actions 20 years ago.

10) Hawks 107, Clippers 98-- Atlanta is 26-8 and atop the East; Mike Budenholzer is their coach, a former Spurs' aide who is winning the same way San Antonio does, with teamwork. But for whatever reason, their owner is selling the team; go figure.

Hawks are 19-2 in their last 21 games, with seven straight road wins.

9) Notre Dame 71, North Carolina 70-- Irish play fast, are fun to watch; they made 10-23 from arc in this game. Always good to have kids who can shoot. Curious that North Carolina doesn't have better shooters.

8) New Mexico point guard Cullen Neal, son of coach Craig Neal, will redshirt this year since his badly sprained ankle still hasn't totally recovered. Big blow for this year's Lobos, but three years from now when Neal is a 5th-year senior, they're going to be very glad this happened.

7) Cowboy-Lion game Sunday was highest rated TV show of any kind since the Oscars last March, and second-highest rated Wild Card game of all-time. .

6) Any team that hires Josh McDaniels as its head coach deserves to be mocked; the guy drafted Tim Tebow in the first round. His main claim to fame is that he knows Tom Brady. How many people has Brady made rich by his great play?

Charlie Weis should be sending Brady monthly checks for all the money he has been paid since he left the Patriots and was exposed as a fraud, and he's not the only one.

5) Mike Krzyzewski is going to win his 1,000th game this month; odd that he has not won ACC Coach of the Year since 2000. Right now, win #1,000 would be on the 17th against Louisville, but they play Miami right before then, so it could be delayed.

4) American League starting pitchers had a 3.92 ERA last year, first time they were under 4.00 since 1981, Lot of water under the bridge since then.

3) St John's gets Rysheed Jordan back for their game with Villanova tonight; party line was that Jordan's grandmother died over the weekend, which is why he missed the Butler game, but why didn't they just say that over the weekend?

2) Question of the Day: Do colleges recruit cheerleaders?

Think about it; they're on TV alot, and you can't tell me Oregon's cheerleaders don't help their recruiting at least a little. USC's, too. How are these teams of agile, cheerful women formed? If you any insight into this issue, please let me know.

1) This won't comfort Lion fans any, but in the CFL last summer, pass interference was a reviewable call, subject to being challenged. Could it happen in the NFL?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) When I was six years old, I chose the Rams as my favorite NFL team, mostly because I liked their helmets. Thank God I didn't pick the Lions.

That year was 1966, the first year of the Super Bowl era; in the 49 seasons since then, Detroit is 1-11 in playoff games, with the only win coming in 1991.

Sunday was probably the most bitter of those 11 losses, with Detroit getting hosed on a pass interference penalty with less than 9:00 left and the Lions nursing a 20-17 lead. Now Detroit blew 14-0 and 20-7 leads, but still, anyone who watched that game left it with the feeling that refs played far too big a role in the outcome.

12) How is Dez Beyant not penalized for going on the field (without his helmet) to protest the PI flag, which miraculously was then picked up? Its an automatic penalty.

Lets review the pass interference:
-- An official downfield threw a flag against the Cowboys.
-- Referee Pete Morelli announced it as a penalty.
-- FOX refereeing expert Mike Pereira said it was a penalty.
-- Even freakin' Troy Aikman (former Cowboy) said it was a penalty.
-- Who overruled the official who threw the flag?
-- Why wasn't Bryant flagged for bitching at the refs without his helmet on?

But the flag was picked up, the Lions predictably got beat and now FOX and the NFL get a marquee matchup next Sunday, Dallas-Green Bay at Lambeau, Ice Bowl II.

11) If you care about such things, Dallas is now 7-25 against the spread as a home favorite under Jason Garrett. Its not important but it is interesting.

10) FOX analyst Pereira mentioned more than once that he disagrees with the NFL not using set crews for playoff games- they cobble together "all-star" crews, so you have teams of officials who have never worked together before. Not an ideal situation.

9) Colts 26, Bengals 10-- Marvin Lewis is 100-96-2 as coach of the Bengals, but he has not won a playoff game and some Bengal fans are calling for his job. Be careful what you wish for; in the 12 years before Lewis coached the Bengals, their record was a hideous 55-137. Change isn't always an improvement.

8) Andy Dalton is first NFL QB of the Super Bowl era to lose his first four playoff games; pretty good QB named YA Tittle also did it in the 50's. Going to be a long winter for Dalton, Lewis and the Bengals but I root for the Rams, who haven't had a winning season since 2003. I'd be pretty happy to make playoffs four years in a row.

7) Indianapolis was only NFL team not to score a TD on first drive of a game this season, but they went 71 yards on nine plays for a TD on their first drive Sunday.

6) Want to win a bar bet? Jim Mora Sr holds the dubious NFL record with 125 regular season wins, most of any head coach who never won a playoff game.

To be totally fair, it needs to be noted that Mora Sr was 48-13-1 coaching in the USFL, which was a good league; he won two of that league's three championships.

5) Pistons 114, Kings 95-- Detroit is now 5-0 since they cut Josh Smith, who had $26M left on his contract. That is called addition by subtraction.

4) College hoop referee David Hall has already worked 43 games this season, which is only 52 days old. Dude works a game damn near every night.

3) Former Florida QB Jeff Driskel transferred to Louisiana Tech, where he'll play for Skip Holtz. Lot of former Gator QBs around college football.

2) Six of the last nine Super Bowl champs played on Wild Card weekend, so if you think the teams that got byes are sure things next weekend, think again. Only twice in last fourteen years has a #1 seed won the Super Bowl.

1) One last football note: QB's get too much credit, too much blame. Tony Romo is a very good QB obviously, but he's played in 123 regular season games (78-45 record) and Sunday was only his second playoff win (2-3). Mark Sanchez (4-2) has four.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Panthers 27, Cardinals 16-- You're not winning a road playoff game with your #3 QB. What were the odds there would be a safety in both games Saturday?

12) Ravens 30, Steelers 17-- John Harbaugh has made playoffs six times and won his first game every time; Baltimore visits Foxboro next weekend.

11) Florida 28, East Carolina 20-- People scoff at the SEC, the league that went 7-5 in bowl games this year. 7-5 in bowls is a bad year for the SEC, but most other leagues would be more than happy with it.

10) Over last six years, Big 14 teams have played in 49 bowls and were favored only seven times (3-3-1 vs spread). They were the dog in 42 of 49 games; interesting.

9) Bengals lost their last seven visits to Indy; their last win there was in '97, when Kelly Holcomb subbed for Colts' QB Jim Harbaugh. Cincinnati is 10-5-1 this year and was an underdog in nine of their 16 games.

8) Kentucky/Vanderbilt are only two SEC teams that didn't go bowling this year; in the next few years, people will appreciate the job James Franklin did at Vandy.

7) Is there a carryover between how a team does in its bowl game and how they play the following season(s), or is it just a random occurence?

6) TCU's basketball team has interesting bloodlines, with Mark Price's son, Chris Washburn's son and Trey Zeigler, who originally went to Central Mixchigan when his dad was named coach there, then went to Pitt when his father got fired, then bolted there for TCU-- he's a good player, Frogs are much improved.

5) ESPN has few new basketball analysts this year; of the ones I've heard so far, Jim Calhoun will be very good, Craig Robinson is good, while Stan Heath, Shane Battier don't seem to add very much. Its still early though; they'll get better with time.

If I were advising a new analyst, I'd advise them to express strong opinions, when you have one. Don't rattle on just for the sake of being controversial; be yourself, but talk about the basketball things you care about.

4) ESPN'/Elias report that Arizona Cardinals scored only 73 points over their final six regular season games (12.2 ppg), fewest by a playoff team since 1935 Giants. They were also the first playoff team ever where no one ran the ball 100+ times.

3) The retired athletic director at North Carolina has an annual pension of $266,000; this is the guy who oversaw an athletic department whose athletes were often frauds in the classroom. When do people in athletic department start losing jobs for that?

2) Bad Beats of the Day: Virginia and Jacksonville State were both 7.5-point dogs who went to overtime and then didn't cover the spread; you have a 7.5-point dog in OT, you should almost never lose. Overcoming bad beats is a challenge to gamblers.

1) If NFL Network wants a great reality show, how about talking someone into letting their job interview be filmed? No way Rex Ryan says no to that.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Houston 35, Pitt 34-- Cougars fired their coach; Pitt's coach bolted for another job, so of course this bowl had one of the best endings. Pitt led 35-14 with 4:00 left but lost in regulation. Houston recovered two onside kicks on a rainy day. Cougars gained 292 yards, just in the fourth quarter.

12) You see how happy those Houston kids were when they won, and you know why some people prefer the bowl system to a playoff. With the playoff, only one team gets to go home happy at the end. Those Houston kids are happy today.

11) Michigan State 42, Baylor 41-- Spartans were down 41-21 early in 4th quarter, rallied to beat Baylor team that passed for 605 yards. Next time you hear Art Briles' name mentioned for an NFL job, he better have learned better game management skills than he showed in this game. When you're holding the ball to kill the clock, don't snap the ball with :11 left on the play clock. Spartans got winning TD with 0:17 left.

10) Four teams have won bowls this year after trailing by 14+ points; Baylor's win at TCU was the only regular season game this year where a team trailed by 20+ in fourth quarter and won. Michigan State and Houston did it this week.

9) Butler named Chris Holtmann permanent head coach, taking the interim tag off that he had since this fall, when the previous coach took medical leave. Bulldogs have played better this season; not sure if they're an NCAA tourney team though.

8) UCLA 40, Kansas State 35-- Bruins led 31-6 at half, then hung on for win; Mora was annoyed that his QB got hit while kneeling down to kill clock at end of the game. He pretty much blew off Bill Snyder in the coaches' post-game handshake.

7) RIP Donna Douglas, who died this week at age 81. Ms Douglas played Elly May on the Beverly Hillbillies. Her death leaves Max Baer (Jethro) as the only surviving member of the cast. Guys I went to college with watched this show every day.

6) Oklahoma State 30, Washington 22-- Pac-12 is now 5-2 in bowl games this year. #7 on Washington not only played defense, he was covering kicks, alll while playing with a broken left thumb. Rams need to draft that young man.

5) Must cost a small fortune to transport/house these bands that play at college football games-- there are over 200 kids in those bands.

4) Warriors 126, Raptors 105-- Not sure if I've mentioned this, but Golden State has a really big fan base-- they have, by far, the most fans at summer league games in Las Vegas. If you didn't know and just assumed the teams with the most fans were the best teams, you'd identify the Warriors as a league power.

3) There is a reality program called Friday Night Tykes on the Esquire Channel-- it is about youth football and it is pretty interesting, if not occasionally disturbing. The show's second season starts later this month.

2) New Orleans Saints fired three assistant coaches, using them as scapegoats for the team's lousy season,. One of the coaches is Henry Ellard, who was one of my favorite players when he was a fine WR for the Rams. How does Rob Ryan keep his job while they fire the wide receivers' coach?

1) Now comes news that Knicks may shut Carmelo Anthony down for the season; do season ticket holders get a rebate when the supposed "star" stops playing? Knicks are already 5-30, with two 10-game losing streaks in the first 35 games.

Friday's List of 13: Our second List of 13 this year.......
13) Oregon 59, Florida State 20-- Extreme ugliness in third quarter for Seminoles, who turned ball over four times in that quarter alone. Game was 18-13 at half, seemed like a normal FSU game, but then they imploded in the second half. Ugly end to an impressive winning streak.

12) Ohio State 42, Alabama 35-- If I'm Braxton Miller, I'm packing my bags, calling coaches tomorrow, finding a new place to play next year. QB job for the Buckeyes is taken. LSU seems like a good place for Miller to land.

11) If I'm in one of those celebrity death pools (you get a point for every year under 100 when one of your celebrities passes away), I'm taking Urban Meyer; looks like he could have a stroke at any second, totally humorless, high-stress job.

10) Speaking of Meyer, one of his daughters goes to Georgia Tech and is engaged to a Yellow Jacket football player. Young man will be a graduate assistant at Ohio State next season. Its good to be engaged to the boss' daughter.

9) If ESPN ranked their college football play-by-play guys, Chris Fowler wouldn't be in the top five, yet there he is, calling the national title game. Why? Fowler seems to enjoy tennis more than football. ESPN better not let Rece Davis walk; he is their best college football guy, in my opinion.

8) SEC ends this bowl season 5-5; they're 26-18 in bowls the last six years. I'll have more bowl knowledge like this after I finish my research project this weekend.

7) Fairfield Stags are only 4-8 this season, but four of their last eight games went to overtime, so at least they're an interesting 4-8.

6) Evansville 52, Northern Iowa 49-- Panthers were up 10 at the half, but lost for fourth time in their last five visits here. Purple Aces are a contender in the MVC.

5) UConn is in same basketball league as East Carolina, Tulane and South Florida; this just seems odd. To me, the Huskies would've been a better fit for the Big 14 than Rutgers is, but then again, no one asked me.

4) TCU's basketball team is 13-0, yet the Horned Frogs are unranked, maybe due to their schedule being the easiest in the country so far. That'll all change quickly, with Big X play starting this weekend. TCU opens league play with West Virginia.

3) Biggest thing holding back an 8-team college football playoff might be the idea that crowds wouldn't be very good for the first round games. Fans can't afford to make three road trips in a month.

2) Think David Blatt will still be coaching the Cavaliers when Lebron James comes back from his injuries? They won't win a lot without him.

1) I'm in a grocery store Thursday night and I say to the cashier, "Hey I haven't seen you all year!!!" She didn't seem the least bit amused by this.

Thursday's List of 13: Happy New Year, everyone.......
13) At one point this season, Ole Miss/Mississippi State were both in the top four in the country; Wednesday, they both lost bowl games by combined score of 91-36-- SEC teams are 4-3 in bowl games. Dogs are 7-1 vs spread in ACC bowl games.

12) 7-8-1 Carolina is a 6-point favorite over 11-5 Arizona in the NFC playoffs Saturday; I know Cardinals are down to their #3 QB, but the Panthers went 1-8-1 in one ten-game stretch this season. Interesting pointspread.

11) New Orleans Pelicans are 9-0 vs spread if they played the night before.

10) Why does St John's wear blue basketball uniforms? They're the Red Storm.

9) Addition by subtraction? Detroit cut Josh Smith despite owing him $26M; now they've won last three games, by 10-23-23 points, after being 5-23. Coincidence?

8) Reds got Marlon Byrd from the Phils,. as he moves from one hitters' park to another. Good news for Byrd's fantasy owners.

7) Jamal Crawford has played 15 years in the NBA; during that time, he's played for 17 different head coaches.

6) Bills had their first winning season in ten years but wthin four days, their QB and head coach both quit. Not the best way to head into the offseason.

5) Not only did Doug Marrone quit the Bills, they still have to pay him $4M next season; hope Marrone buys his agent a Cadillac or a Humvee; the guy earned it.

4) Jim Burr reffed the St John's-Seton Hall game Wednesday; the guy is ageless. I once did the scorebook for a high school sectional game that Burr worked- that would not be a big deal, except it was in 1978, when I was a freshman in college, thats how long Mr Burr has been a bigtime basketball official.

3) Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy teaches an actual college course in the honors' program in Temple's business school; not a lot of D-I coaches do that.

2) Washington Redskins parted ways with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who becomes the scapegoat for the mess the Redskins have become. They traded a ton of picks for RGIII and he's been a flop, so fire the defensive coach!!!

1) Happy New Year, everyone. Hope 2015 is a great year for all of us.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts as 2014 winds down
13) Ndamukomg Suh won the appeal of his suspension, can play in the Lions' game in Dallas this week; he's going to get fined $70,000, but if he had been suspended for a playoff game, it likely would've cost him a lot more than that when he hits the free agent market in March.

12) Notre Dame 31, LSU 28-- We need more accountability from replay officials, as in, who are they and are they actually watching replays? LSU tried a fake FG near the end of the first half, the runner was called down short of the goal line. Replays showed the guy scored (my father loves Notre Dame and admitted it should be a TD) but the replay official gagged and let the call stand. Incompetent or corrupt? You decide.

11) Think about the impact these rookies had in the NFL this season: Blue, Landry, Beckham, Hill; all four of those guys played for LSU LAST YEAR. Hard to replenish that much talent every year and remain a top 10 program.

LSU also lost defensive coordinator Chavis to Texas A&M after the game; a big loss, but they'll find a good replacement. SEC teams pay coordinators serious money.

10) In their last six games, Seattle Seahawks outscored their opponents by combined score of 85-13; they're going to be tough to beat at home.

9) ESPN2 shows three Big 14 games Tuesday and chooses to put Dan Dakich as an analyst on the Michigan game; his kid is a benchwarmer for the Wolverines. This is good journalism? I'd be better with it if they acknowledged the fact, but they never mention the kid on telecasts. When Fran Fraschilla did Oklahoma games when his son was on the end of the Sooner bench, they often acknowledged it.

8) Turns out Jim Harbaugh will make the same $5M a year at Michigan that he was making with the 49ers; the other $3M, I'm guessing goes to his staff, which is the new thing in college football, getting better coordinators by overpaying them.

Thats a big part of why Bret Bielema left Wisconsin and why Kyle Whittingham is having issues with his AD at Utah, salaries for their coordinators.

7) Georgia 37, Louisville 14-- Freshman Chubb ran for 266 yards, most ever by a freshman running back in a bowl, breaking Ron Dayne's old record by 20 yards. SEC is 4-1 in bowls this month, 22-8 in their last thirty overall.

6) Whenever I read about NFL job interviews, I'm reminded that Al Davis used to use job interviews as a way to pick people's brains for information. Lot of people that he interviewed he had no intention of hiring, he just wanted to learn from them.

5) Loyola Marymount is a combined 8-28 on 3-pointers in its last four games, ironic when you consider that LMU is the school that gave us Kimble-Fryer-Gathers and one of the highest scoring teams in NCAA history.

4) ESPN's college basketball analysts, a suprisingly weak lot, spend way too much time bashing officials. ESPN has a lot of terrific play-by-play guys, but they've let some of their better analysts walk. Many of those who remain don't talk about the game enough, they crab about length of replay reviews, officials' calls. No bueno.

3) Remember it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

2) There's a new Indian restaurant opening in Las Vegas with a cool name, the Urban Turban. I've never even had Indian food, just think it is an excellent name

1) Serious question: You're an NFL GM, make $1M a year. Keeping your job depends on you picking the right head coach. Would you hire Rex Ryan? I'm not leading you in either direction, its a fair question.

Saturday's List of 13: My suggestions for Rob Manfred..........
13)
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:

East
Red Sox
Mets
Bronx
Phillies
Blue Jays
Great Lakes
Reds
Indians
Tigers
Twins
Pirates
Southeast
Braves
Orioles
Marlins
Rays
Nationals
Midwest
Cubs
White Sox
Royals
Brewers
Cardinals
Mountain
Diamondbacks
Rockies
Astros
Mariners
Rangers
Pacific
Angels
Dodgers
A's
Padres
Giants

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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