By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
1. If you are reading this it means that you weren’t washed away in the torrential downpour the area has experienced the past 24 hours. And since that is the case, I say welcome into the latest installment of The Numbers Game Presented by Town Square Buzz. Yeah, I’ve always wanted a sponsor for one of these things. This week I tackle your hard-hitting sports topics, such as breaking down the Belmont Stakes, analyzing the College Softball World Series, and presenting my initial examination of the 2013 NFL Draft. Strap yourselves in, folks, because it’s time for sports talk.
2. Let’s knock out those incredible teaser numbers I just listed above real fast. I’ll Have Another, the horse that has won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, goes for the 12th Triple Crown on Saturday. The colt was announced on Wednesday as a 4-5 Vegas favorite to win the race, making it the overwhelming leader of the entire group. When asked how many races the colt could eventually win, I’ll Have Another adjusted his LeBron glasses with no lenses in them and said “Not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” He kept counting for like five more minutes but y’all get the point.
3. How about the College Softball World Series game last night huh? For those who were busy watching that Thunder-Spurs game, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 5-4 in the deciding game three of their best-of-three series to win the CSWS. Alabama finished the season 60-8 and became the first non-Pac-12 school to win the championship since 2005. How much you want to bet that this game received better ratings than the Stanley Cup Finals Game 4 did on NBC Sports Network? Looks like I have some investigating to do this morning.
4. And finally let’s begin our yearlong examination of the 2013 NFL Draft by breaking down the punters and kickers. This is probably a household name to some of you, LSU punter Brad Wing. This redshirt sophomore is 6-3, 184 and has an outstanding leg. His long last year was 73 yards and he even had a 44-yard rush last year for the Tigers. Look for Wing to go off the board in the 3rd or 4th round. And that concludes this week’s examination of the 2013 NFL Draft. I’m like Mel Kiper Jr. with a chinstrap beard and thinner hair.
5. What Oklahoma City proved on Wednesday night by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 107-99 in Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals is that no one can predict a darn thing in professional sports. In fact, if Boston defeats Miami tonight in the Eastern Conference Finals, that only further proves that every talking head out there or so-called sports podcast hosts in McKinney, Texas really have no idea what they are talking about. How do I feel about the Celtics on the verge of beating the Heat despite being on record for not giving Boston any chance? I feel great about it and am happy to announce my stupidity on that prediction. But aren’t both of these conference finals the very definition of why people love watching and talking sports? Just when you think you have everything figured out, something can happen and it changes the entire outlook on the court or field.
6. Nonetheless, congrats to OKC for essentially “sweeping” the Spurs to win the series 4-2. I understand Mavs fans have some regional hate for the Thunder for whatever reason, but you cannot give me one solid reason to legitimately hate those guys besides the fact that they knocked Dallas out this season. I’ve said this for two years: If I had to build my roster around one guy in this league, hands down my choice would be Kevin Durant. Not only is he the three-time scoring champion in the NBA at the ripe age of 23 but the man is not afraid to take shots late in ballgames and actually knock them down. Comparing some numbers to LeBron in their respective conference championship series, but Durant finished 51-56 from the free throw line in the six games and shot 53% of the field, scoring about 30 PPG. While James scores a bucket more a night than KD, LBJ is 35-for-54 through five games from the charity stripe and is shooting right at 50% from the field. In addition, it doesn’t take a basketball expert to realize which player brings out the best in his teammates on a nightly basis, and it’s the man wearing blue and orange.
7. Listen, I understand that NBC is trying to boost their brand new NBC Sports Network (formally Versus), but not airing the Stanley Cup Finals on the main network was a ridiculous idea. While I didn’t have trouble finding the channel on my guide, there is something about watching a championship on one of the big four networks that adds something special to the event. It may just be me, but the BCS Championship felt more special on FOX or ABC than it did on ESPN this past season. I understand that Kings-Devils doesn’t move too many people’s sports needles, but it’s still the Stanley Cup and it needs to be on NBC.
8. Song of the Week: Stan – Eminem FT. Dido. One of the first rap songs I ever fell in love with was ‘Stan’, the honest and gut-wrenching tale of an obsessed fan whose love for Em goes beyond the boundaries of normalcy into pure lunacy. Along with Dido’s sample from her song ‘Thank You’, Eminem created a pure masterpiece that is regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all-time. If you take ‘Stan’ and add in his other classis ‘Lose Yourself’ and paly them both back to back, I ask you to then turn on some of today’s music in general and see if anything can compare.
9. I don’t have a lot of expectations going into the movie, but I am so pumped to go see That’s My Boy when it comes out next Friday. Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg star in this comedy that looks to either be a Nelson Cruz home run or a Mitch Moreland three-pitch strikeout. From some of the reviews that I am seeing, I would take a Michael Young double in the gap for That’s My Boy.
10. On a more personal note, last week I finally received my acceptance letter into the University of North Texas! I’ve pretty much settled the apartment situation out as well so it appears that my official living spot for the next couple years will be Denton, Texas. That statement probably made many of you jealous, but just know that every time I will get stuck on I-35 during rush hour traffic, you can just picture my face and the happiness written all over it.
11. There is not a more frustrating sport to be a daily fan of than professional baseball, especially in June and July. With injuries popping up all over the place and bats going hot and cold on a nightly basis, being fully invested in a baseball team is an emotional rollercoaster that gives you more lows than highs. Take the Rangers last week for example: after being blown out two straight games by Seattle, they go to Anaheim and play three really solid games despite losing the series 2-1. Then they go out and give up 12 runs to the worst offense in the AL on Monday, have a great team effort and a win on Tuesday, then get shut out by Bartolo Colon last night 2-0. The best thing that I have found that helps relax the nerves during these rough patches is to realize that there is 105 games left this season. Understanding that number should help the old sports stomach out just a bit.
12. I don’t receive the NFL Network, (looking at you Time Warner Cable) but I have been keeping up with the Top 100 Players in the NFL show they have had the past couple weeks. While players in the NFL and not the fans created this list, some of the ridiculous backlash by the fans at the placement of some of these guys is really funny to me. Three years ago I would have gotten upset at putting my favorite player “too low” on the list in my mind, but now I have matured a bit and realized that it is ok to argue these rankings with buddies in the most casual of ways. The moment someone takes it too seriously or argues that Tim Tebow should be higher than No. 95 I walk away. I do think it’s funny that Cam Newton came in one spot ahead of Matthew Stafford at No. 40. I understand that Stafford has Megatron to throw the ball too and that Newton had the greatest rookie season ever, but doesn’t a playoff trip in essentially his first “full” season get Stafford ahead of Cam? Ah, I’m biased. Moving on. It should be Tebow’s spot anyways.
13. I’ve been meaning to bring this up for several weeks now, but there is nothing cooler in sports than seeing the entire crowd wear the same color T-shirts. What is even greater is when they create patterns or logos with the crowd. Without a doubt it is one of the most memorizing things about sports and one of the main reasons why I love crowds that get involved and understand their role in a game. And from what is shown through the broadcasts in the OKC games, that atmosphere in Chesapeake Energy Arena is absolutely incredible. I know I plan on making the drive up Highway 75 next year to see a game in that arena.
14. How much you want to bet 90 percent of Los Angeles Kings “fans” who attended Game 4 last night didn’t realize until a week ago that L.A. had a hockey team? Also, how long do you think it took Heat fans to get over Game 5’s depressing loss on Tuesday? Answer: it took me longer to type out this sentence.
15. Everyone does realize that football season essentially starts in like a month and a half? Pretty soon I’m going to have to whip out the old game film and begin analyzing some tape to prepare for this season. In all seriousness and in a perfect world, I would love to sit in on an NFL coaches meeting while they analyze game film and just observe how they prepare for an opponent. I think that has got to be the most tedious and mind numbing process ever, but somehow I think I would absolutely love it. I think the more and more I get invested into this sports writing gig and begin analyzing more football, the more I want to study the game and continue to build knowledge so that I have a solid ground in which to speak on. And yes, I plan on doing this sports thing for a very, very long time. I’ll apologize for that now.
16. We live in a country in which Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is considered the best movie of the year at an awards show. Let that fact sink in for a little bit and see how you feel after. I guarantee it’s something similar to what Derek Holland was going through on Tuesday night.
17. Quick programming note: Next Wednesday night will be the first edition of the Outlaw Outlook, a series of stories regarding my tales as a men’s slow pitch softball player on the McKinney Outlaws. It will be a behind the scenes look on my team’s journey to win the City of Coppell Men’s Softball League. ESPN might pick up a game or two if we can get Erin Andrews to do the dugout reporting. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.