By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
1. Well hello there, and welcome into another edition of The Numbers Game. I would like to start off today’s presentation by coming forward with a truth about my high school statistics in the light of what has occurred with ESPN’s Skip Bayless. Despite the fact that I thought I was LeBron James and could take over the game (in the first three quarters only), my coach thought differently and put me on the bench, where I, too, only averaged 1.4 points per game my senior year. Funny how similar our stories are, Skip. Of course I am totally kidding; I never played high school basketball, and if you haven’t heard about the awkward moment on ESPN’s beating of a show ‘First Take’ between Jalen Rose and Bayless where Rose calls out Skip for lying about his high school stats on Twitter, log onto Deadspin and check it out. It is sure to make you laugh, and if you know anything about the self-obsessed, egotistical talking head that is Skip Bayless, you will find the 30-second video a piece of gold.
2. Having baseball back on a nightly basis has made filling my nightly schedule a little bit easier. I am going to continue to boost MLB.TV all season long, but if you are a baseball fanatic and want to have access to almost every game daily, the financial investment is well worth it. When I can begin my day with Tampa Bay versus Detroit and end it with Kansas City versus Oakland, I know I have had a pretty productive day.
3. Three things I like to believe I know about the MLB season after one week: The Red Sox will finish behind the Blue Jays in a race for third place in the AL East. Joe Nathan won’t be the Rangers closer by the All-Star break. And the World Series will be played in Detroit in October. Let’s address each very shortly, shall we? Without shutdown closer Andrew Bailey, who is recovering from thumb surgery and won’t be back until close to the break, the Boston bullpen is an utter joke. Bobby Valentine’s decision to put Daniel Bard in the rotation will come back to bite him in the butt, considering if Bard does have a quality start, no one will be in the back end of the bullpen to shut the door on the game. Lastly, after a 1-5 start to the 2012 season, take a look at their nine-game home stand beginning Friday: four against Tampa Bay, two against Texas, and three against the Yankees. My prediction for Boston’s record on April 23rd: 5-10.
4. The Rangers have two loses on the season and both belong to closer Joe Nathan. That is a recipe for disaster in Arlington. Some analysts were concerned with Nathan’s velocity and ball movement during spring training, and so far in the regular season his ball has been flat and very, very hittable. I believe by the mid-season classic that you will see Nathan in the eighth inning and Alexi Ogando in the ninth.
5. I have seen every Tigers game so far this season and can’t find too many reasons why the World Series won’t go through Detroit this October. Wednesday’s loss to Tampa Bay was a bad one, especially with Verlander giving up four earned runs in the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead, but those games happened during the year, and nine times out of ten he shuts the door and locks it up. Above all, what Texas proved in making it to back-to-back Fall Classics is that while pitching is extremely critical to any postseason run, you need a lineup that can straight ball from number one to number nine. Without a doubt the Tigers have a lineup that can swing it regardless of who is up, with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder leading the way in the three and four holes. Even though I picked Tampa Bay to represent the American League, the Tigers should be the favorites all season long, without a doubt.
6. Who enjoyed the first pitch of the new season at the Ballpark in Arlington on Fox Sports Southwest? How about the first TWO pitches of Yu Darvish’s first start? Oh wait; no one saw it because we were too busy seeing the ridiculous ‘Three Stooges’ commercials! I know that you can blame the umpires for starting the game before the TV stations were back live on the field, but if you are FSN you have to be able to bail out on the ad and get back to the field, because the two most anticipated pitches of the regular season went unnoticed, and that looks terrible for the station and the Rangers.
7. I expect to one day settle down and marry a very attractive, intelligent, independent woman. I expect to one day have a family and try to be as good of a sports dad as mine was for me. And if all of this does happen, I know that I won’t have a mistress or cheat on my wife, simply because I just think the whole concept is morally wrong. Shocker, I know. But if I decided that one day I was going to cheat on my wife and try and get away with it, I will make sure and read up on exactly how Bobby Petrino handled his mistress and their love life, and do the complete opposite. Obviously mixing work and his affair was a huge mistake for himself and his family, and now he has to live with the fact that he let down a whole state that basically treated him like the King of Arkansas. Just a sad story all around for Petrino and college football.
8. After watching this week’s episode of American Idol, I have a conspiracy theory that the show’s producers are officially through with Hollie, and that they want the judges to relay the message to the rest of America that she needs to go. Now. You can call me a homer all you want to, but you can’t tell me her performance was worse than Joshua Lanet’s rendition of Bruno Mars or Elise Testone’s version of Lady GaGa. Hollie sang that Pink record with passion and emotion, and to have her best compliment be the fact that she looked good on stage was ridiculous. Just for the record, she did look incredible.
9. Calvin Johnson advanced past Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to the final four in the EA Sports Madden 13 cover vote. As a diehard Lions fan, I have voted for his opponent, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, multiple times and ask you all to do the same thing. I do believe in curses, especially the ‘Madden’ Curse. While seeing Megatron on the cover would be pretty surreal, I don’t want to take any chances and bring on any unnecessary curses for a team that can win a Super Bowl this year. Yeah, I just said Detroit and Super Bowl in the same sentence without laughing. Times have changed, my friends.
10. I refuse to say one more word about Lamar Odom. I prom-prom.
11. Just one more thing: does this mean that I won’t be able to hear the ‘Mix Up with Khloe Kardashian’ every weekday afternoon? Life is so unfair!
12. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to this week’s Sports Bruu Podcast, you missed my editor and colleague Steve Kirk go on record as saying that the Dallas Mavericks will not make the postseason in 2012. As of this morning, Dallas currently sits in sixth place at 32-26, while Houston and Denver are also 32-26, and Utah and Phoenix are 31-28 and 30-28, respectively. If I had to give you the three teams that will make up the final three spots in the Western Conference, I’ll say Utah, Houston, and Dallas. The Mavs biggest advantage is their German power forward, and if he can get on a roll in the last eight games of the season and the team can build some momentum, Dallas has a chance to hang in there with Oklahoma City or San Antonio in the first round.
13. I feel like a shout out needs to be given to the season ticket holders of the Charlotte Bobcats. At 7-49, the Bobcats are without question the worst franchise in basketball, where they are 4-22 on their home court and are being outscored by 13.1 points per game for the season. I hope that handful of Charlotte fans can socially accept a uni-brow, because Anthony Davis is surely on his way to don that blue and orange this summer.
14. Song of the Week: Vava Voom – Bassnectar Featuring Lupe Fiasco. If you like an array of sounds and drops that come together in a sort of controlled chaos, then ‘Vava Voom’ might get some heavy rotation on you iPod. Lupe is one of the few artists whose lyrics require you to sit down and study them, which is one of the reasons why most hip-hop critics and radio stations don’t play his songs. The intelligence and poetry behind his bars are undoubtedly stronger than most rappers today, and even over a dance/club anthem, Lupe managed to drop another one of his memorable punchlines: “They love my verses, they memorize ‘em/ I don’t even write ‘em down, I improvise ‘em/ My ideas be IED’s”. (Just so everyone is on the same page, IED’s are “Improvised Explosive Devices”, or roadside bombs.)
15. I don’t think I went into much detail about it when they were released, but Nike’s new uniforms for the NFL this season are pretty neat. While most teams don’t have any major changes, the fabric and some of the finer details are more accented and more technologically sound, similar to what people have seen in the college game this past couple of years. However, what Nike did with the Seahawks uniforms is absolutely incredible. The twelve feathers on the pants to represent the 12th man is a small but fitting touch, but the new color scheme and the slick design have definitely made me excited to watch some Seattle games this fall. Yes, give me a crazy jersey design and I am almost always on your team for the upcoming season.
16. Movie I want to see but will most likely never get a chance to watch: ‘Think Like A Man’
17. By the way, I acknowledge how wrong I was about the Masters this past week. If you had told me Rory and Tiger would be tied at the end of Sunday’s final round, I would have gladly accepted my pat on the back and moved on with my day. I never thought that they would both finish 5-over at Augusta and that a man named Bubba would win the whole thing. How much you want to bet a couple hundred PGA-wannabees went out to their nearest golf outlet and requested a pink driver, just like Mr. Bubba Watson?
18. Congrats to Tony Romo and Candice Crawford on the birth of their baby boy, Hawkins Crawford Romo. Good thing Miles Austin wasn’t in attendance at the hospital, because he might have lost the baby in the lights and let him drop on the ground. Too soon?
19. Well that about concludes this week’s edition of The Numbers Game. I am going to go try and throw a perfect game on MLB 2K12 so that I can hopefully meet Kate Upton. That’s part of the prize from those commercials, right? Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.