Week 14 picks: Trivia

Jim Vallet and Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

My niece stayed with us for a few weeks a couple of years ago, and at the end of her time with us she told me, “Uncle Jim, I really learned a lot from you. None of it is worth anything, but I learned a lot.”

As you might surmise, I love trivia. Merriam-Webster defines trivia as, “Unimportant facts that are not well known.” So, the fact that I love something that is, “not important…” in the midst of all that is happening in the world says a lot about me, not all of it good. Still, trivia fascinates me, and I think I’ll share some.

The1926 World Series ended when Babe “Flash” Ruth was thrown out attempting to steal second with the Yankees then 4th batter, Bob Measel, at the plate and the Yanks trailing by one run. I’m not sure what “The Sultan of Speed” was thinking when he thought it was a good idea to take off from first, but only seven years after the Black Sox scandal, I’ll bet (maybe a poor choice of words) it raised more than a few eyebrows.


The first MLB team to wear numbers were the Cleveland Indians (can I still say that?) in 1916. The Ind…ahh, the Cleveland team wore their numbers on their left sleeves, and everyone hated them, causing them to be  unceremoniously dumped three weeks after their introduction. In 1929, then MLB Kenesaw Mountain Landis decreed that players should wear the number on their backs of the position they batted in the batting order. So, Babe Ruth started wearing number 3 and Lou Gehrig, having taken over the cleanup spot by then, took number 4. I don’t know if players changed numbers every time the manager changed the batting order, or what happened with bench players and pitchers.

Until 1954, professional baseball players left their gloves on the field when they went in to bat. WYTV reported that opposing players would sometimes stuff the abandoned gloves with dirt, dead mice, or rocks. Sometimes opposing players would even steal an opposing player’s glove. My grandmother told me that she saw Babe Ruth, while playing in Detroit, leave his glove in right field and go across the street to a bar and get two hot dogs and a beer (there were no right field bleachers then) when he thought it was unlikely he would bat.

Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender and Richard Nixon was the first U.S. President to visit all 50 states.

The Eiffel Tower only has three three floors, and the first Barbie doll was released in 1959.

Benjamin Franklin was the 10th of 17 children, proving the importance of fantasy sports to population control.

Humans shed about 200 million skin cells per hour, and the human circulatory system is 60,000 miles long.

There are parts of Africa in all four hemispheres, and Alaska is both the most easternmost and westernmost US state.  

There was a guy named John Chapman, not Johnny Appleseed, who planted thousands of apple trees. But Chapman planted his seeds to grow apples to be used in alcoholic cider, not pies.

Chicago got the nickname “The Windy City” not because of weather but because a journalist believed the residents were, “Full of hot air”.

Dogs sniff danger with their right nostril, and pleasant smells with their left.

Frankenstein is a vegetarian. Really, it’s in the book!

According to a Johns Hopkins research team, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Bees can fly to almost 30,000 feet, higher than Mount Everest.

While playing the part of Achilles, the Greek hero who could only be hurt through his heel, Brad Pitt injured his Achilles tendon-which set production back two months.

It is true-Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity basketball team when he was in 10th grade. This is not exactly an epic failure, it’s even normal for most high school basketball players. But, MJ was not just a normal basketball player.

In the good news for me category, 12 publishers rejected J.K. Rowling’s original Harry Potter.

Before Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney created another character-Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. When Disney was forced out of the “rabbit” character, he created another animal character. A mouse.

The Grand Ole Opry once fired Elvis Presley and told him to go back to driving a truck.

The original United Nations mandate that created the state of Israel also created a Palestinian state, which the Jews accepted and the Arabs, including the Palestinians, rejected. Today, that piece of information is not trivia.

And really, that is the thing about trivia. What is important information, and what is trivia? Because I don’t understand calculus or rocket science doesn’t mean it isn’t important. There are actually more subjects that I don’t know much about than subjects in which I am knowledgeable. 

Sadly for bettors, so too in the NFL. The Bengals and QB Jake Browning looked absolutely horrible in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers just a week before their game with the Jacksonville Jaguars. And the Jaguars had won 7 of 8. Surely, the Jags would pound the Bungles, I’ll give 8 ½ points.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs against Jordan Love and the Packers? An easy Chief win, right? I’ll give 6 ½ points, even if the Chiefs are on the road.

How can you give a good team like the Eagles 2 ½ points at home? The line went to 3? Count me in!

I would have never bet that the only interception the Bengals threw Monday night would be thrown not by QB Jake Browning, but on an ill-advised and poorly executed wide receiver double pass. I thought that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman talking about how good Browning was in high school was trivia, until he played in an NFL game like they described his high school play.

The best fight in the Eagles was not from anyone in uniform, but their head of security. Too bad “Big Dom” wasn’t playing defense for the Eagles.

And it isn’t trivia that Patrick Mahomes still doesn’t have anyone dependable besides Travis Kelce to throw to, or that the Packers are a lot better now than they were a few weeks ago.

Sometimes trivia is trivial, and sometimes it isn’t.

Here are my picks for this week against the point spread. Lines are from on Tuesday, December 5.

Stinker of the Week PIttsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. The line on this one is Pittsburgh -6. A more important question is, can anyone score six points total? The Patriots offense is now historically bad, losing 3 straight games where the defense allowed 10 or less points. The best play to me has to be under the point total, but these offenses may start giving the other team points, they are so bad. No bet from me.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) at Cleveland Browns: Another stinker, and, wouldn’t you know it, we get it on TV. I’ll bet that the Jaguars can get their backup QB to beat the Browns’ 4th string QB, whose last team was the couch.

Detroit Lions (-3) at Chicago Bears: Justin Fields is playing for his career, but can you blame the Bears for playing for their future?

Houston Texans (-5 ½) at NY Jets: If reports are true, the Jets want to play Zach Wilson at QB, but Wilson is “reluctant”. WTF!!?? If I were the Jets I would say, “No play, no pay!”.

LV Raiders (+3) vs Minnesota Vikings: The wrong team is favored here.

SF 49ers (-10 ½) vs Seattle Seahawks: I’m leery of this one, but I’m going with the best team in the NFL right now that is on an incredible roll.

NY Giants (+6 ½) vs Green Bay Packers: This one is a real test of my “bet the NFL schedule” theory. The Packers are looking really good. The Giant are coming off a bye and are at home. I really don’t like giving 6 ½ in this game.

Last week: 4-2-1

Season: 39-42-5

Robert’s picks

Raiders (+3) over Vikings: Both of these teams come in off a bye, with two consecutive losses prior to that. But this has been a different Raiders team since Josh McDaniels got fired, and I think the Raiders are going to be a tough out down the stretch.

Chargers (-2 ½) over Broncos: The Broncos winning streak came to an end last week, and Justin Herbert hasn’t had a big game in a couple of weeks. I think the letdown of the end of a streak for the Broncos coincides with Herbert hitting some big plays.

Chiefs (-1) over Bills: I don’t think a bye week is enough to get the Bills beyond whatever bad juju is going on there, but I’ll take Andy Reid and the Chiefs off a loss in a game they just need to win to cover.

Last week

College: 3-0

NFL: 2-1


College: 30-28

NFL: 23-15-1

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