Shooting from the Lip
My Two Cents for today ...
Test of the day
The Chicago Tribune revealed some of the scores from the NFL Combine’s Wonderlic test -- a 50-question, 12-minute exam that helps employers assess aptitude for learning and problem-solving of prospective employees. A perfect score is 50; the average football player usually scores around 20.
Maryland cornerback Kevin Barnes scored an impressive 41, while Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford was not far behind with 38. Quarterback Mark Sanchez (USC) had 28, with Kansas State’s Josh Freeman right behind at 27. Meantime, Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin did not do so well. He scored 12.
The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei wrote, "The test result is particularly interesting in the case of Harvin, who will have more learning to do than the others based on the offense he played in at Florida and the fact he could be used in multiple roles.''
The best average scores were turned in by offensive tackles (26), followed by centers and quarterbacks (25), guards (23), safeties and linebackers (19), cornerbacks (18), receivers and fullbacks (17) and halfbacks (16). By the way, only one player in the history of the NFL ever scored a perfect 50 -- Pat McInally, a punter from Harvard who went to play for the Bengals from 1976 to 1985.
Broadcaster of the day
Three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Brooke Bennett has been hired by Bright House Sports Network to cover swimming. Bennett, a high school star for Durant, won one gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, then two more at the Sydney Games in 2000. Bennett, 28, is expected to start working for BHSN this month, and it’s possible her duties could expand beyond swimming to other prep sports.
Additions of the day
Former major-league pitcher and former Yankees analyst Jim Kaat and former major-leaguer Billy Ripken have joined the MLB Network. Kaat will provide color commentary on a select number of games (the New York Times is reporting about 10 games) and Ripken will join the cast of MLB Tonight.
Bad idea of the day
Despite a lukewarm (at best) reception in the United States, the World Baseball Classic is expected to return in 2013. According to Sports Business Daily, MLB commissioner Bud Selig told major-league general managers to embrace the tournament, saying, "This is a time to put the best interests of the game ahead of your own selfish, provincial interests.''
This is a nightmare waiting to happen. All it will take is one big-name pitcher blowing out his arm in a meaningless tournament and wrecking his team’s pennant chances. But by then, it will be too late. Why, exactly, is anyone still listening to Selig? About anything?
Lineup set for Thursday
Channel 10 has set its lineup for Thursday's NCAA Tournament games. Locally, we will get the Purdue-UConn game at 7 p.m. followed by the Villanova-Duke game about 10 p.m. But CBS will switch to other games for updates and endings as the circumstances dictate. Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas will call the Purdue-UConn game. Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery, my vote for CBS's best broadcasting pair, will handle the Villanova-Duke game.
Stats of the day
Baseball stats guru Bill James has a new book out called The Bill James Gold Mine. Here are a few of the interesting tidbits about the Rays:
* Matt Garza's ERA in games that he won was 0.64 -- best in the majors. But the Rays had a losing record in games Garza started, while they had a winning record with starters Andy Sonnanstine, Scott Kazmir and James Shields.
* Slugger Carlos Pena had nine bases-loaded walks last season, 50 percent more than any batter has had in a season over the past 20 with the exception of D'Angelo Jimenez, who had seven in 2004.
* Pitcher Scott Kazmir threw one-half as many sliders last year (9.6 percent of his pitches) as he did in 2007 (18.8 percent) and one-third as many as he threw in 2006 (28.6 percent).
* Third baseman Evan Longoria hit 43 fly balls to leftfield last season, and more than half (22) were home runs. No other major-leaguer had that kind of ratio.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Is Alex Rodriguez capable of going more than a week without his name being involved in a story that doesn't involve steroids, strippers or call girls? Geez.
2. Here's hoping that Tiger Woods watched the Transitions Championship over the weekend and thought, "Man, I need to play that course next year.''
3. The Rays have plenty of choices for centerfield while B.J. Upton continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery. But if I had cool glasses and my name were Joe Maddon, I'd put Ben Zobrist in center on opening day.