Ryan Kamp recently caught up with Randy and Jason Sklar between stand-up sets in Bloomington, Indiana to talk about (what else?) sports. The former hosts of ESPN’s Cheap Seats and current hosts of the hilarious Sklarbro Country podcast, were more than happy to bring their stychomithic repartee to a discussion of the best of what’s to come in sports in 2012.
MyHOFS: You guys being big sports fans, what are you looking forward to in 2012?
Jason Sklar: Sports-wise?
Randy Sklar: I’m definitely looking forward to the Cardinals, to see...
JS: Life after Pujols.
RS: Life after Pujols. Beltran, what he can do. Can Wainwright come back? I mean it’s an exciting time. It’s the first season without La Russa - - it’s going to be a cool year. But that being said, I think that, if they never win again, what we saw in 2011 was the greatest thing any sports - we will talk about that World Series ‘til we die.
MyHOFS: No question. Coming at it from both sides as a Mets fan, I’ve got the negative side of a “magical” run, and with the Giants just winning the Super Bowl, you get the other side of that incredible experience. But since you brought them both up, do you think Wainwright and Beltran have a little awkwardness to get over?
RS: Oh yeah.
JS: Wainwright’s curveball that Beltran watched basically destroyed the man’s career.
RS: Changed him.
JS: Though he did have a good year last year, let’s be honest.
MyHOFS: I think the curveball was so bad it physically hurt his knee.
JS: [laughing] It did, it did. Pulled a hamstring, too.
RS: But I’ll say this about Beltran, when he was on the...uh...
RS:When he was on the Astros, there was that season where the Astros made it to the Series...
JS: The Series and the series before that.
RS: ...I mean every time he got up it was like a rope to the wall.
MyHOFS: I think he had eight home runs that playoff, or something ridiculous like that.
RS: It was incredible. It was incredible. So, I mean, I think he’s got it in him. I think he’s a great player, and St. Louis will be a great place for him to play. It’s not a hard turf to play on. I just think - - I mean, I was amazed at Lance Berkman, if he can have a year like last year, it’s going to be great.
JS: I’m excited for the NCAA tournament. I think there’s so much parity this year.
RS: Well, there’s so much parity when you step outside of Syracuse and Kentucky.
JS: True, but both those teams have been beaten. Like you think about Indiana beat Kentucky, and Syracuse got beat. And Syracuse’s weaknesses have been exposed. Anyone can win. I don’t think that number 1 seeds - - like last year, I think everyone who was number 1, we all just assumed they were going all the way in everyone’s bracket. I think it’s wide open.
RS: It’s gonna be a great year. That’s something to look forward to. Michigan football next year, because we’re Michigan fans. That’s exciting. The Blues are good.
MyHOFS: The Blues came out of almost nowhere, too.
RS: Almost nowhere.
JS: The Blues and the Rangers. The Rangers, I mean who picked them to be great?
RS: It’s exciting, I mean, look, no one’s gonna beat Detroit. But you never know, the Blues could beat ‘em. It’s payback for the Yzerman thing that happened when we were kids.
JS: I wanna see what Tiger does this year. Everyone’s kinda like, ‘He collapsed at Pebble Beach.’ Yeah, but he was there. He was just like on the brink. So you know he’s just putting his game back together. It’s a matter of...
RS: But he may mentally be out of it.
JS: He may be mentally out of it. But if he ever puts it all back together again...
MyHOFS: He’s still only 4 short of Nicklaus [for the all time Major wins record].
JS: Yeah. And he’s only 35 or 36, maybe 37 years-old. Golfers play until they’re 50.
RS: And he’s in better shape than most guys. For him, he can play until he’s 50 because he’ll have the body of a 40 year-old when he’s 50.
MyHOFS: Alright, bold prediction time: Who wins the Tournament? Who takes the Stanley Cup and NBA title? And we can throw in the World Series if you’re feeling extra bold.
RS: To be honest with you, I could see Kansas winning it all. But, by the same token, I could see Kentucky just blowing through everybody.
JS: I could see a team like - - as much as it hurts me to say it - - Ohio State could win it all. I think a team like, honestly, Indiana, if they go on a run and if they get hot in the right ways, I think they could win it all. And then of course I could see Duke winning it all. They have just two guys - - Rivers and Curry, they trade off every night who sort of takes over.
RS: They’re dagger guys. They shut you down. As far as the NBA Finals, I think LeBron’s gonna win. I think the Miami Heat are gonna win this year.
JS: The passion choice? I mean, we live in LA, we’re Clippers guys...
RS: Oh my God, I would love if the Clippers won.
JS: What Chris Paul has brought to that team...it’s a bummer they didn’t get J.R. Smith.
RS: Yeah, it’s a bummer.
JS: They were close on that, they didn’t get it. I mean, my dream, would be Clippers-Knicks.
RS: And whoever wins that, I would be ecstatic for. Because, we lived in New York, we were Knicks fans when we were in New York because we were there for the LJ years...
JS: [overlapping] ...the Ewing years.
RS: The end of the Ewing era, but like Allan Houston...
JS: But it was like Ewing, Mourning, there were all those amazing Miami-New York series in the mid-90s and then at the end when they didn’t think they would get there and Camby who was like a default Center.
MyHOFS: And somewhere in between Jeff Van Gundy got punched in the face...
[All three of us, talking at once]
JS: There was a lot going on, it was great.
RS: Jeff Van Gundy is the greatest sports announcer out there, period. He’s like my favorite guy. I just love him. But, that would be a dream match-up, Clippers-Knicks, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. I think you’ll get some boring-ass team like the frickin’...
JS: It’ll be Miami and...
RS: ...it’ll be the San Antonio Spurs and Miami, and it’ll be easy to root for Miami, because I love Tim Duncan, but I just hate the Spurs. It’s the most boring basketball ever. was happy for Dirk that he won, I was happy for Dallas - - I don’t think they’re gonna be back there. I don’t think the Lakers have it this year, I think once they trade Pau Gasol they’re gonna go down a long way. But, I do think Miami is the cream of the crop.
MyHOFS: They definitely seem to be the team to beat.
RS: Yeah, you know, people forget, they were right there. The were in the Finals!
JS: And they were learning how to play together.
RS: And they ran into a buzzsaw. The way Dirk Nowitzki was like, ‘This is my year,’ and I’m gonna take it. The way he stepped up and was the MVP of every single series, and then J.J. Barea? You can’t account for that! You can’t scout that! He had a career, you know...where is he now? Is he like in Houston?
MyHOFS: Uh, he just showed up when the Knicks were playing last week. I think he’s on the Raptors or the T-Wolves, maybe.
JS: The T-Wolves are a team that I love. We’ve met Kevin Love, we know Kevin Love, and I just love him as a guy. And of course Ricky Rubio, you’re like, “Oh my god! This is awesome to watch.” So I get excited...wait, do they have Derrick Williams from Arizona from last year?
MyHOFS: They might. I’m not sure. [Turns out, they do].
JS: Yeah, I think they do.
RS: Derrick Williams in the slam dunk contest. But I want Minnesota to be good, just because of LeBron saying they should be contracted. And I feel like Minnesota is doing what the Milwaukee Bucks did last year. And it’s a bummer that they’re out in the West, but the West is kinda down, so I don’t know, man.
MyHOFS: It’s nice to see the East back again.
RS: The East is back. The East is definitely back. And you know we’re not even talking about Jeremy Lin.
MyHOFS: Do you think he and Melo can coexist?
RS: I do. Yes, I do. Because if I’m Carmelo Anthony...
JS: Lin won’t score 20 points a game. His goal should be 10-15 assists every night. He should double-double it.
RS: Double-double every night.
JS: He should be like Steve Nash. 15 points, 12 assists. Dude, how sick would that be? Get your points when Melo’s on the bench.
RS: But also, for Lin, he’ll get his points because of Melo. What he’s gonna do is drive the lane and get by his guy...
RS and JS in unison: ...and everything collapses, and he’ll go to Melo.
RS: And the thing about Melo is, Melo’s they kind of guy who goes 9-for-17 from the field. And the majority of those shots are really tough. He’s gotta create his own shot, he’s got a hand in the face, and he goes. With Jeremy Lin the defense collapses because you have to respect it or else he’s gonna go to the rack, defense is there, you get it to Melo, he’s fuckin’ WIDE OPEN. He’s gonna hit every single shot, it’s gonna be much easier. So he might go...
RS: 9-for-12! So he’s still making his 9 buckets, but he’s doing it with a higher percentage because his shots are more open.
MyHOFS: I think it’s a great point. Melo’s a lot more like Iverson than I think anybody talks about.
RS: Right, except he's bigger and he can body up on people.
MyHOFS: Right, but the same kind of playing style, so it’s interesting to think about Iverson with a point guard.
RS: It is and Iverson was better when - - did Korver play with Iverson at all?
JS: Yeah, he did.
MyHOFS: For a season or two, right? [Turns out it was 3]
JS: A little bit, yeah.
RS: And he was way better when he had Korver, because when defenses collapsed on him, he could get it out, and then Korver was so effective you had to respect him. So it just opened everything up for him.
MyHOFS: Alright, last question - - a little pet topic of mine - - which is the next NFL team to move to a new city?
RS: Ugh, it kills me to say this, but I think the Rams are gonna go to London or something. That would destroy me, because I like the Rams, and the crazy thing is, I would love to see the Rams - - I know this is going to sound crazy - - but I’d love to see the Rams get Randy Moss. I think he could go to the Rams. They need more receivers.
JS: But then do they draft Justin Blackmon?
RS: I think you draft Justin Blackmon, you get Randy Moss. You know, Sam Bradford, the reason he’s sucked is look at his receivers!
JS: He had no targets.
RS: They’re the fucking worst! They’re the worst receivers in the league. Like, hands down. They’re not even arena-level. [Aside, to my wife Kelly] Do you agree? Are you a sportsfan or no?
Kelly: I am. I was just holding my breath - - I’m a Buffalo fan, so if you had said the Bills [were going to move], I would have died a little.
RS: No, no, no I love Buffalo! I thought they had a great run this year. I think Fitzpatrick is amazing, I can’t believe he didn’t do that on the Rams when he was our quarterback.
Kelly: They came out of nowhere.
RS: They did! They were exciting for a little bit.
MyHOFS: Finally, it’s the year for Harvard. Because those guys just don’t win enough. Harvard graduates just not getting enough rep.
JS: I know, it’s nice to see someone from Harvard do something for the world.