Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Who's the tall dude?

Congratulations to my friends Mike Bragg and Katie Elwood, who have always been a great couple and are now a great married couple. They also have amazing families whom I've been glad to get to know over the last few years. Saturday's ceremony and reception were wonderful, and I had to let my readers know that I met NBA player Steve Novak on the dance floor (no, I didn't dance with him, we just happened to be standing on the dance floor).

Since a few of my closest high school friends went to Marquette, I've followed the Golden Eagles ever since college, and therefore remember well the season that Novak, Dwyane Wade, Travis Diener et al advanced to the Final Four. Novak, who is listed at 6'10" but is probably more like 6'8", attended the wedding because he's married to one of Katie's high school friends. He may be the tallest person I've ever met face-to-face (or should I say face-to-chest), and though I only chatted with him for a minute, he seemed like a very nice guy.

As he is currently a Clipper (after playing two seasons with the Rockets), I told him to enjoy playing with presumptive first overall draft pick Blake Griffin, but he informed me that he's a free agent and may land elsewhere for the upcoming season. Novak is a sharp-shooting guard who has a .419 career three-point shooting percentage (for perspective, that would be the sixth-best percentage all-time if he had enough to qualify). I hope he finds a home he's happy with, and I appreciated him being kind to a dorky fan kissing up to him at a wedding reception.

Somewhere, Nolan Ryan is smiling

It's fitting that on the same day I read Sports Illustrated's story about Harvey Haddix's masterful 1959 performance in which he pitched 12 perfect innings before losing 1-0 in the 13th inning, I also saw this story about Texas's 25-inning victory over Boston College in
the NCAA regionals, a game that saw Texas pitcher Austin Wood throw 12.1 innings of no-hit ball and 13 innings total, including 169 pitches. The game took seven hours, three minutes to complete, and the 25 innings set a new NCAA record.

I say Nolan Ryan is smiling because he is against the concept of pitch counts and once threw 259 pitches in a game in 1974. How much has the nature of starting pitching changed in recent years? According to Wikipedia, there were 195 instances of 125+ pitch counts in 1996, whereas there were just 14 in 2007.

Samardzija watch

Jeff had his best outing of the year on Saturday, pitching seven innings, allowing two runs and hitting a home run himself. He's now 2-1 with a 4.04 ERA.

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