Three's a Charm in This Week's Stat Column


AP Photo/Peter Morgan

Victor Cruz made three high steps for his team, and one giant leap for the number 3.

Another week in sports has come to an end and once again, a single number has taken center stage. The star of the show in the spotlight this week? That would be the number 3. And it's not because Julia Roberts accomplished exactly 3 things in her latest movie (ate, prayed, and loved for those keeping track). No, the number 3 gets the standing ovation for it's unexpected versatility this week - just take a look at all of the notable appearances it has made.

3 - Number of first round picks that went unsigned after Monday's MLB signing deadline, the most since 1996. One draftee that was shown the money was No. 1 overall selection Bryce Harper (OF, College of Southern Nevada). The Nationals handed him a 5-year deal worth $9.9 million in guaranteed money - the largest initial contract ever given to a MLB position player. Of course, that's still less than a fifth of the guaranteed money received by the NFL's first overall pick, Sam Bradford ($50 million).

3 - Number of touchdowns scored by Giants' free-agent rookie wide receiver Victor Cruz from the University of Massachusetts on Monday night. Cruz led the Giants over the Jets 31-16 in the first battle of the New Meadowlands Stadium. With his coming out party on national TV, Cruz became the first player to catch 3 TDs in a preseason game since Terrell Owens did it with the 49ers back in 1998. VH1, are you paying attention? You may have another reality star on your hands.

3 - Number of Vikings that were sent to Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Tuesday to convince Brett Favre to return for one more year. Say what you will about the effectiveness of Favre at this point in his career, but Jared Allen, Ryan Longwell, and Steve Hutchinson are clearly at the top of the their game when it comes to negotiation - Favre was back in Minnesota by sunset.

3 - Number of pitching prospects the Braves traded to the Cubs for first baseman Derrek Lee on Wednesday. Atlanta also received cash considerations in the deal to likely cover some of the nearly $3.3 million that Lee is still owed this season. The good news for Lee is that he won't have to travel far to join his new team - the Braves face the Cubs at Wrigley Field this weekend.

3 - Number of career walk-off hits by Braves rookie phenom Jason Heyward after his two-out, run-scoring single in the bottom of the 9th to top the Nationals on Wednesday. Heyward is the first rookie with 3 walk-off hits since the Giants' Eugenio Velez in 2008. Heyward's also the first to do so while simultaneously reppin' the A-Town with Big Boi.

3 - Number of charges against Roger Clemens (obstruction of Congress, making false statements, and perjury) in the six-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury on Thursday. The indictment alleges that Clemens obstructed a congressional inquiry with 15 different statements made under oath, including denials that he had ever used steroids or human growth hormone. As always, the seven-time Cy Young award winner remained vehement in his own defense, taking to Twitter to declare "I never took HGH or Steroids. And I did not lie to Congress."

3 - Number of receptions by Terrell Owens in the Bengals 22-9 victory over his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in a preseason game on Friday night. Three is also the number of receptions by the Eagles defense, which came up with 3 interceptions in its losing effort. Of course, 3 is also the jersey number of Eagles third-string QB Mike Kafka. And really, what's more Kafkaesque than T.O. and OchoCinco playing together peacefully and finding success without turmoil?