By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
1. After hours and hours of analyzing game film and crunching a bunch of statistics, I present to you this week’s edition of The Numbers Game. This week’s edition has been described by several local media members as one of my finest columns in years. In fact, if I continue to shine like this into the future, David Stern might jump on my weekly podcast and ask if I stopped beating my wife yet. If you don’t understand the reference, keep reading and I’ll explain it all. It’s time for sports and entertainment talk. Let’s go.
2. Let me start off by congratulating San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain on throwing the 22nd perfect game in MLB history last night. In fact, he joins White Sox hurler Philip Humber as the second pitcher to throw a perfecto this season. A perfect game is incredibly special and is what every young pitcher grows up dreaming about, but I never expected to see this many perfect games so early in my sports life. In terms of throwing a no hitter, I don’t want to take anything away from the accomplishment, but I can’t be the only one who thinks that the more that are thrown the less of a big deal it is. It seems like in today’s game we are shown at least one no-no a month, and while watching someone attempt to throw one is absolutely mesmerizing, the thrill is beginning to diminish in my eyes.
3. According to TV ratings from June 9th, 2.3 million viewers watched a rerun of SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon. That same evening, 2.2 million viewers watched Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between New Jersey and Los Angeles. Either that is a statement about the state of professional hockey in this country or 2.3 million kids didn’t have anything else to do on a Saturday night. It’s a toss up really.
4. Now let me explain my domestic violence reference from the introduction number before I start getting bombarded with questioning phone calls. Jim Rome, the loud-mouthed and outwardly opinionated sports talk show host was interviewing NBA Commissioner David Stern on his radio show Wednesday afternoon. Rome asked the ridiculous question, “Is the NBA Lottery fixed?” to which Stern replied with a strong no and the statement, “Shame on you.” Stern, believing the question was loaded to begin with, then tried to retaliate with the loaded question, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” If you ever need a way to shut down the flow of an interview, now you have a pretty good option. After that the interview only got more personal with Stern calling out Rome for his “cheap thrills” throughout his career, and he ended the call by telling Rome that he had more important people to talk to, like Stephen A. Smith. I think Rome should never have asked the question in the first place and Stern shouldn’t have acted like such a child. While it makes for really exciting audio which will surely be played on The Sports Bruu Podcast on Monday, it just makes both look petty.
5. I will save my unfortunate story of how my Tuesday night went trying to watch the NBA Finals until the second TSB Podcast episode with Father Michael Hoffman drops Friday morning, but let’s talk Game One. I think the Thunder had a moment after Game Two of the Western Finals versus the Spurs that they finally realized they are good enough to win a championship now. Kevin Durant looks like a man on a mission. Russell Westbrook has become the quickest guard off the dribble on the floor at all times. And most of all, head coach Scott Brooks has found a comfort level with his matchups and play calls to where he now has the mental advantage against Miami’s head man Eric Spoelstra. Remember how Rick Carlisle coached circles around Spoelstra last June in the Finals? Remember how important that was to the Mavs pulling off that incredible feat? While I think this year’s Thunder is more talented than last year’s Mavs, there’s no underselling how important the head coach advantage is in a seven-game series.
6. If you made it through Hatfields & McCoys on the History Channel a couple weeks back, I actually commend you on the feat. It took me a week or so to grind through the almost six hour mini-series, but I finally finished the show two nights ago. The biggest thing I took away from the show was that I am glad that’s not how life is in today’s world. In that time period, if you weren’t trying to kill somebody, somebody was trying to kill you. And while I enjoyed the historical aspects of the film and did find many parts of it fascinating, I couldn’t believe how abruptly the thing just ended. It’s like the writers realized they only had five more minutes to tell you how everyone ended up after the feud, so the viewer was thrown a million different pieces of information that was slightly overwhelming. If you have the show lined up to watch on your DVR, understand that once you watch part one you have no other chose but to just finish parts two and three. It’s all or nothing with a show that gives new meaning to the phrase ‘family feud’. I give it two out of four bases.
7. Song of the Week: Worldwide Choppers – Tech N9ne. This six-minute track features seven other artists and some of the worlds greatest “choppers” in the world. As many of you probably do not know, a “chopper” is a hip-hop artist who can rap quickly and speak over 3-4 words a second for extended periods of time. This style is called chopping because it is similar is to bullets leaving the barrel of a gun. It is very fast and heavy sounding. While this track is incredibly fun to drive around to and try and match these guys word for word, there is no denying the pure talent that all of these guys have in what they can do with words and a microphone. This is a great song to workout to or play before a big game, as you can’t help but get lost in the heavy bass and the incredible rhythm. You just kind of get in the zone with this one.
8. Mitch Moreland is beating Albert Pujols in All Star voting by almost 150K. If I had told you that statement back in March before the season started, I probably would have been slapped silly. And if there was ever a barometer to just how little fans truly care about what an athlete does off the field, just look at Josh Hamilton’s voting numbers. He leads the entire league with almost 4 million voted, by far the largest total so far. The man sure does have a loyal following.
9. I keep waiting for the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles to start to fade away, but those guys just keep sticking around to make things interesting. Along with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cleveland Indians, we could have ourselves one wacky October this year. And it might just be me, but as soon as the number of games remaining in the season drops to just double digits, I get a little more anxious. Blown leads late in games become more excruciating. Blowouts at home hurt a little more. You start scoreboard watching in June. I don’t like this time of the baseball year.
10. Listen, I understand that some parts of American history have been hidden by some for hundreds of years. But someone please tell me why no one has ever brought up the fact that Abe Lincoln was a vampire slayer? If it were up to me that would be what the entire 9th grade U.S. History class is about. I guarantee you no kid would sleep in that class if the subject was our 16th President killing vampires as his midnight job.
11. There might not be a cooler trophy presentation in all of sports than when the Stanley Cup is given to the champions after the win. From the ceremonial passing of the Cup from one player to the next, to the happiest team picture in franchise history at center ice, everything about those thirty minutes following the Finals conclusion is TV watching worthy. Unlike the other three major sports that has athletes valuing the championship ring more than the championship trophy, Lord’s Stanley Cup is the only dream hockey player’s have from the time they first put on skates as a young kid. It is really incredible to see grown men in that much happiness and pure joy. Just shows you how sports can bring out the kid in all of us.
12. After I invested some time into the French Open the past couple of weeks, it’s time to invest another four days in the best second tier sport in the world: golf. It’s U.S. Open time people, and you better believe that I am rooting for Tiger Woods to win this thing. I love watching the four majors on TV and especially the U.S. Open, but Sundays are just better when Tiger is in the running. There is something about having the red polo and black slacks in contention late in the final round that brings out the golf fan in everybody. This sport needs Tiger to be all the way back, and if he can battle through the early rounds at Olympic Club and stay within shouting distance of the lead, I like Mr. Woods to fully announce his return to the top of golf this weekend.
13. By the way, thanks to the USGA for putting Tiger, Phil Mickelson, and Bubba Watson in the same group to start play this weekend. I will gladly wake up at 9:33 a.m. to see that trio play together. In addition, you have the top three ranked players in the world in Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, and Lee Westwood all together in another group that tees off at 3:29 p.m. This is going to be a great four days in San Francisco.
14. In case you have not listened to this week’s Sports Bruu Podcast, I have a couple of programming notes for you all. I would love all of you to check out the very first McKinney Sports Desk Podcast, a show completely dedicated to McKinney athletics. Every week I will have interviews with coaches and players from around the city, as well as preview games and recap the previous week’s action. It is a lot of fun but definitely a work in progress. Everyone give it a listen and subscribe to the show on iTunes by searching for ‘Sports Bruu’. Both The Sports Bruu Podcast and MSD can be downloaded from the same feed to make it easier for you all to find. In addition, Father Michael Hoffman has agreed to do a weekly show with myself that will be available every Friday morning. He is a tremendous guy and a very sports savvy person to talk to, so you can expect a lot of fun discussions in the future with Father Michael and myself. I think I plugged myself enough for one day, what do you think?
15. If you are going to the Ranger game tonight versus Arizona, check me out in section 25. I’ll be the one with the annoying red plastic cowboy hat and my ‘Yu Is My Homeboy’ t-shirt on. You can’t miss me.
16. Folks, it’s been an honor to talk to you all this week. I know that we are less a month away from my trip to Hawaii, and I know that means no Numbers Game that week. I can already sense your pain now. But don’t worry; I am going to be suffering in Maui the entire time. I won’t have any fun at all. I believe this is where I type a hashtag and write ‘humble brag’. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.