I was talking to my friend Earl the other night. He loves reminding me that last year he picked Auburn to reach the Final Four. He reminds me because Auburn did make the Final Four which might not sound like such a big deal, but it kind of is because very few people were picking Auburn to make it.
My favorite Earl prediction so far was him discovering a player in high school a few years ago. He guaranteed that this kid would be an NBA star. He’s from Milwaukee, played high school basketball at Whitnall and then signed to play college ball at University Wisconsin Madison, but then he changed his mind and went to Kentucky, pissed off Wisconsin basketball fans. His name is Tyler Herro. He had a great freshman year at Kentucky and then made himself eligible for the 2019 NBA draft. The Miami Heat picked him in the first round. I forget what number pick, but being drafted by Miami means you know how to play defense or want to learn how because that’s head coach Eric Spoelstra’s reason for being – defense. Tyler also creates his own space for jump shots and moves well without the ball. He’s playing a lot of minutes this year and the Heat are 5-2.
During our phone conversation, Earl said, “there’s so many stats in basketball!” Earl’s good in math, but doesn’t bother with new stats which gave me two ideas. The first one is about Daryl Morey, GM of the Houston Rockets, and one of the first promoters of advance stats or metrics or whatever those things are called in basketball. He gives all credit to Bill James which gets me wondering if anyone has ever been elected into both the basketball and baseball hall of fame?, probably not, but Bill James might be the first!
The second idea I had was…..well….let’s say there’s this guy, call him Tussle Mcgee. He can complete a Sunday crossword in 20 minutes. He wears an orange sand knit cap, wears it in winter and summer. Most people have him pegged as a drummer in a rock and roll band, but he never listens to music and as far as playing music, he can’t distinguish between a triangle and a tambourine. He’s hooked on mountain dew and a candy bar that’s been out of circulation for many years. It’s called Summit or it was called Summit. He has boxes of these bars stuffed into his basement refrigerator. No one knows where he gets them from. He lives in the same house he grew up in. He lives alone because his parents were killed in a bear attack. Strange to see a grizzly so far south, but there it was, hungry as can be, gobbled up Tussle’s ma and pa. Tussle inherited all kinds of money from his parent’s life insurance policies and so he bought season tickets to the local baseball team, a major league team, the name doesn’t matter, but that he can’t add 8 plus 5 does matter. He stinks at math and so he doesn’t pay attention to a player’s stats, not even batting average and the other back of baseball card stats. Tussle was asked who is the best player in the league. His story ends there.
And Victor’s story begins here. Victor Headlong is the neighbor of Tussle Mcgee and he couldn’t be more different. He’s never been to a baseball game, doesn’t give a damn about the game, never gives it a thought. He plays the keyboards, guitar, and drums and boy can he sing. He also works for NASA. He too was asked who was the best baseball player in the league. He told them to buzz off, that he could care less about baseball. But then this someone reassured Victor that he would never have to watch a game, just plug some numbers into a formula that Victor would create himself, so Victor did it and he quickly came up with the best player in the league.
It was the same one as Tussle Mcgee’s.