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Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) OK, so you’re a big league manager, managing against the Angels. Tie game, 9th inning, Halos have a guy on second, two out and Albert Pujols is up. What do you do?
YOU WALK HIM!!!!!
Not Donnie Baseball. Mattingly let his pitcher pitch to Pujols, who got the game-winning hit, as the Angel TV announcers tried to suppress their glee on the air. Terrific. Even better when they struck out the next batter (Mark Trumbo) on four pitches.
12) Town of Middleborough, MA has passed a law fining people $20 if they curse in public. What kind of a $&%#@ law is that????
11) LA Kings are ninth different team to win the Stanley Cup in the last nine years. Did I mention the NHL has a salary cap?
10) Not to suggest the Cleveland Indians are overachieving, but they’re 10-2 in one-run games, 22-26 in all other games. On second thought, its not so much overachieving as getting most out of what they have. Good for them.
9) On other hand, Toronto is 3-11 in one-run games, 28-20 in all other games. Not sure why they signed Vladimir Guerrero to a minor league deal if they weren’t going to bring him up, but they didn’t promote him, so Guerrero was granted his release. Would think someone (Bronx? Tampa Bay? Oakland? Oakland? Oakland?) could use a DH.
8) Five of Green Bay Packers’ eight road games this season are in domes, including four in row. Their road opener is a Monday night game in Seattle. Its very possible that their first road game played in sunlight will be as late as November 25 in Swamp Stadium, against the Giants.
7) Andre Ethier signed a 5-year, $85M contract with the Dodgers this week. Can’t wait until the sequel to Moneyball comes out, when they show Billy Beane trading Ethier for Milton Bradley, or Aaron Harang for Jose Guillen. But I’m not bitter or anything.
6) Golden Nugget released pointspreads on 111 college football games this week; 56 of the spreads stayed the same, 18 moved at least a point, which indicates significant action on one side.
5) Five of the 18 games that moved at least a point moved in the direction of Ohio State, which is now coached by Urban Meyer. Buckeyes went from +3 to pick ‘em against Michigan. Takes lot of money to do that.
4) Last four Stanley Cup champs opened their season playing in Europe. Coincidence?
3) Red Sox are now selling tote bags made from last year’s tarpaulin for $59.95; curious to see how many sell. Seems like that might be more of an item for a giveaway day, or as an add-on if you buy season tickets.
2) Our best wishes to NBA ref Greg Willard, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 53. Never heard much about Willard, which is the best compliment an official can get.
1) I once dated a woman, and she was quizzing me about state capitals, so I turned the tables on her, and asked her what the capital of Michigan was; she replied “Illinois”. She was serious.
Later on, she was gushing about having lived briefly in Japan, so I asked her what her favorite Japanese city was; she answered, “Taiwan”. You get the idea here, but my point is, at the risk of beating a couple of dead horses, even she would have known to walk Pujols with two out and first base open. Its Day 1 stuff, elementary.
Luckily I wasn’t in Middleborough when Pujols got the hit, or I might have been a fined a few hundred bucks.
Active is determined by having a cash wager placed in your account at least once every week or two and funded requires a deposit into your account every 3-4 months to be eligible for prizes and withdrawals generated from same.
12) Its no big surprise that six of the top eight spenders in college football recruiting reside in the SEC, the most cutthroat of all college football conferences.
Recruiting is the lifeline of any program, so when you see that Tennessee spent $2.53M on recruiting over the last two years, it looks ridiculous, then you realize their stadium seats around 105,000 people and if they don’t win (and they haven’t been lately) they’re not going to fill that stadium, and the revenue lost is a hell of a lot more than $2.53M.
So money spent on recruiting is money well-spent, as long as you get really good players.
11) Tennessee has to spend more because their state isn’t stocked with a ton of football talent; schools in the football hotbeds of Texas/Florida/ Ohio/California don’t have to travel as much to recruit, so their expenses are going to be lower.
10) According to espn.com, Arizona’s football program made a $25M profit LY. Arizona!!!! They’re not even that good.
9) Winds are supposed to be 30-40 mph at Olympic Thursday, for the first round of the US Open; in other words, like a typical Giants game used to be at Candlestick Park.
8) Ratings for Game 1 of the NBA Finals were 10% higher Wednesday than they were for Game 1 LY; not sure why, it’s the same Miami team, and Dallas had Dirk Nowitzki, a big star. Why are the this year’s Thunder more popular than Dallas was? Good for them, just don’t understand why.
7) Of the 44 pitchers who’ve gone 9+ innings in a major league game this year, only 13 allowed a run in that game.
6) Clay Buchholz was 4-2, 8.21 in his first nine starts; Red Sox scored 67 runs (7.4 rpg) in those nine games. Since then, he is 3-0, 1.45 with Boston giving him 19 runs (4.75 rpg) in those four games.
5) 44 pitchers have gone 9+ innings in the majors this year; those 44 are 41-0, 0.41 in that start. In their next start, they’re 17-13, 3.31, with over 20-16 in those games.
4) In the next start after that, they’re just 7-16, 5.89; over is 23-8-2 in those games, which is a strong figure.
3) Third start out from their complete game, pitchers are 10-10, 5.00, with over 15-11.
All in all, that’s 34-39 in the three starts after tossing a complete games, with a 4.57 RA.
2) It sounds odd, but RA Dickey might be the best pitcher in baseball; he's set a Mets record with 32.1 consecutive scoreless IP. Thats a franchise that had Seaver-Gooden-Ryan-Santana-Fernandez-Matlack-Cone-Koosman. If you own a Mets' pitching record, thats a serious record.
1) Guy named Randy Ohel won $145,247 and a bracelet at the World Series of Poker this week; what made it unusual is that once Ohel and his opponent got down to head-to-head play, they went at it for another six hours before Ohel emerged the winner. Imagine playing two-handed poker for six hours??? ESPN’s people should have fun editing that down to an hour program.
Friday's Lucky Eleven: Random stuff with the weekend here......
11) Quite a weekend coming up; US Open golf, Game 3 of the NBA Finals Sunday night, College World Series, more interleague play and even some CFL preseason games (just seeing if you're paying attention). Have fun!!!
10) ESPN's headline of their US Open story: Tiger steals show at Open. He is three shots behind an obscure pro named Michael Thompson, but guess that isn't a good enough story for ESPN. Makes you want to root against the guy (Woods), even though he's not the one writing the headlines.
9) Who is Michael Thompson? Not Mychal Thompson, the old Laker and dad of current Warrior Klay Thompson, but Michael Thompson, who went to Alabama and has made 28 cuts in 46 pro tourneys. He is ranked 105th on the money list this season. He has three career top 10's.
8) Speaking of which, golf people never talk about the money list on TV anymore, its this stupid FedEx points thing that is like NASCAR and isn't understood very well. I understand who makes how much money, its fairly simple. "Keep it simple, stupid" is usually good advice in life.
7) You watch Russell Westbrook finish a layup in transition with his left hand over Lebron James, and you realize how hard you have to work to become a great player. I sound old-fashioned when I say this, but its true; kids should play less games in the summer, work on improving their skills more. Its the quickest way to get a lot better.
Be ambidextrous around the basket; have a great handle with either hand; make your lower body stronger, to increase range on your shot and to make it easier to absorb contact during games. Be a great free throw shooter. All these things can be done on your own. Enough preaching......
6) So the Charlotte Bobcats' job comes down to Jerry Sloan, Quin Snyder and Brian Shaw; Sloan apparently has taken himself out of the running; do you really think Michael Jordan would hire a Duke guy over a former NBA player (Shaw) who got hosed by the Lakers during the lockout last year?
If he hires Snyder over Sloan, Jordan should be impeached as the decision-maker for the Bobcats. Shaw has been part of the Lakers' run of greatness, so he merits an opportunity, at least.
5) Mets have lot of nerve appealing RA Dickey's one-hitter; Johan Santana got his no-hitter as the direct result of a horrible call by Adrian Johnson on a clear double by Carlos Beltran (ball hit the chalk right in front of Johnson, who somehow didn't notice that). Things even out, even if the scoring call in Tampa was wrong. Was it? BJ Upton is pretty fast, after all.
4) If you're involved with a fantasy team, you should check out columns on espn.com written by Matthew Berry; he's got a lot of good info.
3) This is what coaches in the NBA think of officiating in their league; with 10:40 or so to go Thursday, Kevin Durant got his 5th foul, At home. Did he go sit down for a few minutes? Hell no. Coaches know their star ain't getting his 6th foul unless he commits a felony. NBA officiating ain't good.
2) Thoroughly enjoyed what I saw of the LA Kings' celebration on the NHL Network Thursday; is it me, or do hockey players seem to cherish winning more than guys in other sports? Maybe because of the Stanley Cup's being so popular, their celebrations are more public. Not sure on that one.
1) Since 2004, Miami Heat are now 15-3 when Dan Crawford referees one of their games; in the game they needed most this season, Game 2, he was on the game, assigned by the league. As they said in A Few Good Men, "....those are the facts, they are not in dispute...."
12) Baseball’s trading deadline used to be June 15, instead of July 31, like it is now. June 15, 1976 was a sad day; the A’s sold Vida Blue to Bronx, and Rollie Fingers/Joe Rudi to Boston; not good.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn vetoed the deals “in the best interests of baseball” but those three players missed about a week or so anyway, and when the dust cleared and they were back in Oakland, the A’s were about ten games behind Kansas City in AL West (only four divisions back then).
A’s made a charge in September, but wound up missing the playoffs by a couple games, the amount of ground they lost while the three traded players sat in limbo, not playing.
The point of all that is the trading deadline on June 15 was way too early; even July 31 is a little early. August 31 seems a little better.
11) If former used car salesman Alan R. Selig had any onions, he would’ve voided the Adrian Gonzalez-to-Boston trade, since the GM of the Padres was obviously padding the roster of his former employer (Red Sox), while getting almost nothing in return. Maybe in the 70’s the commish had more clout than he does now.
10) Johan Santana has made two starts since his 134-pitch no-hitter; he’s gone five innings both times (86-96 PT) allowing a total of 13 hits/5 walks and 11 runs. Now both were games with a DH, but still, they’ve got to be at least a little worried about him.
9) Then there are RA Dickey’s last five starts: two runs allowed in 39.2 IP; with 89 misses on 279 opponent swings (31.9%). Dickey might be the best pitcher in baseball right now. You average 17.8 swing/misses a game for five games, that’s damn good pitching.
8) When media reports on college coaches getting fired, they need to focus on conference records, not overall record; Virginia Tech was 15-16 LY, which isn’t horrible, but they were 4-12 in the ACC, which is horrible.
Problem for the Hokies is they lost a transfer and two key recruits after Seth Greenberg got fired; they’re down to eight scholarship players for this coming year, with a rookie coach who is more of a recruiter than a tactician. Going to be a long winter in Blacksburg.
7) A's released Manny Ramirez without ever bringing him up to the major leagues. If you can't be a DH for the A's, its time to retire.
6) West Coast Conference (Gonzaga/St Mary’s league) will be up to ten teams in 2013-14, when Pacific moves in, so they’re going back to a more traditional 10-team, four-day conference tournament. No more double-byes for the conference leaders.
They haven’t decided if they’re staying at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas or going somewhere else (San Jose? I doubt schools are going to want to have it at Gonzaga or BYU). My advice? When in doubt, always go to Vegas.
5) College basketball coaches can now call/text recruits as much as they want, which is a quandary; how much is too much? You want the recruit to know you’re very interested, but you also don’t want to annoy the kid or his family. You hear stories about kids get worn out by the process; getting hundreds of texts a day ain’t going to help any.
4) The 2010 Pirates went 2-13 in interleague play, the worst-ever record in interleague for one season, but Colorado Rockies are 1-9 this year, and all nine losses were at home. They’ll have to go 2-3 the rest of this road trip just to tie the Pirates’ mark, 2-3 to beat it. Good luck there.
3) Nebraska fired its basketball coach Doc Sadler after LY, its first in the Big Dozen, some say unfairly, since the Cornhuskers are a football school first, second and third, but Sadler has landed on his feet, getting Director of Basketball Operations job at Kansas.
He just went from the bottom of the Big Dozen to a Final Four contender, albeit with a significant slice in pay, but when the Jayhawks win, it’ll open another job opportunity for Sadler, who is a good coach, having won at UTEP before going to Nebraska.
2) I never knew this, maybe because I never watched the show, but when he was a freshman at NYU, Adam Sandler had a recurring role as Smitty in The Cosby Show. 1984 or so.
1) I never knew that umpires got commemorative baseballs when a pitcher threw a no-hitter in a game they worked. Why?