Ramble on the Roof

Torrin Thatcher

First off, yes that was me wearing the Ryan Braun jersey Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of a new baseball season. I actually drove down to Time Warner Field Saturday night to see the Timber Rattlers in their season opener, and I made a stop at Scheels to buy a new hat, but I thought sticking with the Beloit Snappers cap was good enough – turtle power. I can’t wait for baseball to start.
Does anyone have tickets for the Red Sox at Fenway for April 18-19? I’ll be in Beantown for the Boston Marathon and am hoping to catch a game. I looked online, and most Web sites I’ve checked show no availability for those dates. I don’t want to use a ticket scalper, because as Johnny Drama says, “… [S]calping raises ticket prices so the average fan can’t get tickets,” and I’m all about listening to Drama’s words.
Sunday night, Kobe Bryant passed Elgin Baylor to sneak into 20th place on the NBA’s career point list with 23,164 points. For those who are unaware, a man named Kareem is No. 1 at 38,387 points. It will be difficult for Kobe to reach that number, but he can definitely make some noise in the top five.
He is just over 4,000 points away from passing Moses Malone at fifth but is 8,000 away from next-in-line Wilt Chamberlain. Two active players are ahead of Kobe at the moment; Shaq and Allen Iverson. He trails Iverson by less than 700 and Shaq by around 400 – Shaq is seventh on the list. Shaq, though, could be as high as fifth with a better career free-throw percentage. We’ll see how far Kobe gets – he’s only 30 years old, and has been playing extremely well for some time now.
LeBron James has over 12,000 points at the age of 24. With his current career pace of 27.5 points per game and his habit of staying healthy, he could potentially reach where Kobe is now before he hits 30. I have a sneaking suspicion that LeBron is going to make a run at that.
Did anyone see the confrontation between Jim Calhoun and a journalist after UConn’s win versus South Florida? The journalist basically asked Calhoun, who is the highest-paid state employee, about the huge budget deficit the country faces and whether he deserves the money he’s making. The Calhoun response was great. He told the reporter to “shut up,” asked him if he was “that stupid,” told him that he actually makes more than the $1.5 million the journalist mentioned and informed him he wanted to step outside and talk about it. I read up on this journalist, and apparently he is abrasive. I recommend listening to the audio or reading the transcript of their “discussion.”
Maybe the best news report of this past week was that of Andre Smith. He is, or was, an offensive tackle for the Alabama Crimson Tide who was quite dominant this past year and marched himself into being a top-five pick in this year’s draft.
Well, how things change. First, he decided to get himself suspended from the last game of the year, so he wasn’t on the field when his team got whipped by Utah. That made news when it broke, and brought up some question about his handling of responsibility.
This past weekend was the NFL scouting combine, and Andre absolutely bombed. He showed up overweight and – the best part – he left Saturday morning before any of the workouts. He hopped on a plane and snuck away without telling any of his group leaders. He probably just lost a few million dollars. He’ll be lucky to go top-15, and the money and signing bonuses only decrease as the draft continues. That’s not a smart move when the other solid offensive tackles jockeying for draft position work hard and impress the scouts.
Other than that, sports fans, I must let all of those who are unaware know that Jim Powell will no longer be alongside Bob Uecker in the radio broadcast booth. Powell left for a job in Atlanta, and his replacement is Cory Provus, who most recently worked for “Da Cubs” on WGN. Why we would want anyone from the Cubs’ broadcast team is beyond me.