Spring is definitely in the air. The games begin for Major League Baseball teams across the Sunshine State, while the University of Michigan's football program started spring practices at IMG Academy this week.
And since spring brings eternal optimism, this week's Numbers Game offers some promising digits to devour.
So let's get it going:
Distance, in miles, between Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., and IMG Academy's football stadium in Bradenton. The Wolverines are conducting four spring football practices at the private sports academy this week. Monday was the first one, and Friday's practice is the finale. That last practice, which starts at 5 p.m., is open to the public.
The Michigan football program's budget surplus, in millions of dollars, for the 2015 fiscal year. That fiscal year covered the time of July 2014-June 2015, according to the Detroit Free Press earlier this month.
That means it's not what the Jim Harbaugh-led Wolverines football team produced in his first season in charge last fall.
But the considerable revenue stream still shows how viable the trip to Bradenton for spring practices could be, from a financial standpoint, during the school's spring break.
Fans who ushered in Pittsburgh Pirates spring training at McKechnie Field on Monday with the annual Black and Gold intrasquad game. Team Gold peeled off a 4-3 victory in the 5 1/2 inning contest, which sees proceeds from the $8 general admission sales benefit the Manatee Public School Foundation, Wakeland Elementary and GD Rogers Garden Elementary.
The Pirates return to McKechnie on Wednesday for the
Grapefruit League home opener against the Detroit Tigers, which will see the Michigan football team as guests in the park.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh is slated to coach first base for the Tigers.
Scholarship offers Tennessee's football program offered to IMG Academy players last Friday. The so-called pre-emptive strike came just a couple of days before Michigan arrived in Southeastern Conference country for spring practices. The maneuver was aimed at 13 juniors who are listed on ESPN's top 300 junior prospects list, six sophomores and one freshman.
Wrestlers who qualified for either the Class 3A, 2A or 1A state tournaments, which are slated for Friday and Saturday at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. Bradenton Christian's Alan Morano became the program's first state qualifier after claiming the program's first region championship on Saturday. Manatee leads the way with five state qualifiers, while Southeast (four), Braden River (one), Lakewood Ranch (one) and Palmetto (one) are also sending wrestlers to Kissimmee this weekend.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.