Before we get going, remember we're still looking for some Friday mailbag questions.
Here we go...
Big ninth lifts Atlanta
The 5-at-10 loved
Atlanta Braves left fielder Eric Hinske, right, is greeted at the dugout entrance by Martin Prado after hitting a hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Florida Marlins in Atlanta, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Eric Hinske's stat line last night. He got two at-bats as a pinch-hitter when the Braves batted around in an eight-run ninth inning that capped a 10-1 win over the Dodgers.
Hinske homered in his first trip and singled in his second. All told, he played half of an inning and went 2-for-2 with three RBIs.
Maybe that big final inning will jump start a hot streak. Last year it was Brooks Conrad's late-game, off-the-bench heroics that rolled into a torrid May. We'll see.
Two other things of note:
— Starting pitcher Brandon Beachy was dealing. He went six scoreless innings and struck out seven.
— There was a Dan Uggla sighting. His three-run homer may have appeared cosmetic in stretching the lead from 5-1 to 8-1, but anything to get the team's primary right-handed power bat going would be a good thing.
Some NFL draft questions
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.
One of the great things about the draft is trying to slot which teams are focusing on which players and making your evaluations from there.
We have kicked around some of the post-first-round steals and some of the possible late-round steals that for whatever reason have fallen down the draft boards.
Today, let's kick around the players that could be first-round steals. Think about the 2007 draft, which had a loaded first round.
Adrian Peterson started to fall, and even though the Vikings didn't have a big need at running back, they landed a possible Hall of Famer with the seventh pick. In the next couple of hours, the 49ers landed Patrick Willis with the 11th pick, the Jets got Darrelle Revis at No. 14 and the Chiefs got Dwayne Bowe at No. 23. All of these have turned into good-to-great players. If that draft class was reshuffled, each would be top-10 picks.
Plus, that draft also is comparable to this year's first round because of the name that looms at the top of each. In 2007, JaMarcus Russell was the No. 1 overall pick. (And somewhere our man Al Davis just passed out; in fact, the words "JaMarcus Russell" would arguably have the same effect on Al that someone saying "Britney Spears" to K. Federline, right? They'd each make that wincing face followed by that, "Really? We have to go there?" look.)
Cam Newton — the name being tossed about at the top of this draft for his out-of-this-world gifts and potential — has also drawn some less-than-stellar reviews in other areas.
But if Newton does go first overall, that means there are some potential first-round steals — just like there was in 2007.
The phrase "first-round steals" may sound strange, we know, but if a team can get a player like Da'Quan Bowers, who was listed as the No. 1 overall talent three months ago, with the 12th pick, then that would be a steal.
There are three-to-five legit, almost sure-fire stars in this draft. Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, A.J. Green, Marcel Dareus and Julio Jones seem to be the safest early picks. Each has the size, at least one plus-plus skill and very few knocks.
Here are five guys that may slide that if your team can land in middle of the first round, well, job well done:
— Da'Quan Bowers, defensive end, Clemson
— Julio Jones, receiver, Alabama
— Nick Fairley, defensive tackle, Auburn
— Tyron Smith, tackle, USC
— Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Some NBA playoff answers
Did you see the stat that before last night, the Mavs were 2-18 in playoff games in which referee Joey Crawford worked? That's a crazy stat.
In fact, let's put that data in our new Yogi Berra-Machine of Analysis (For those of you wondering the (Yogi Berra-Machine of Analysis, or the YBMA, is a tricked-out shoe box here at the 5-at-10 compound that when you place a stat in it, the box spits out a Yogi-type nugget of wisdom).
About the Mavs going 2-18 before Tuesday with Joey C. working, the YBMA said: "Sometimes the appearance of impropriety just doesn't look right." There you go.
Here are a couple of other YMBA observations from last night's games:
On the Knicks getting 42 from Carmelo and still losing to playoff-savvy Boston by three: "Experience is a good thing that is all-too-often wasted on the old." (Side note: Seriously, the Celtics had to pull out all the stops to claim two narrow wins at home over a Knicks team that after Carmelo Anthony, A'mare Stoudemire (who missed the second half Tuesday) and Chauncey Billups (who did not play Tuesday) looks more like a junior-college all-star team? The Celts better make a run now, because Father Time is making his way toward Boston.)
On Atlanta scoring all of 82 points on Tuesday: "Hey, it's the Hawks."
On Lamar Odum becoming the first Laker to ever win the league's top sixth-man award: "Of course he's comfortable playing a lesser role, and letting quasi-talented folks steal the spotlight, he married a Kardashian."
Knight in less-than-shining light
Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight signals to his team in the game against Iowa State during the second round of the Big 12 tournament Friday, March 11, 2005, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. Knight's Red Raiders won 64-56 to advance to the semifinal round. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Bobby Knight's careless claim about former UK basketball players not attending classes was pushed under the rug by the almighty Worldwide Leader.
Knight said at a banquet in Indiana: "Kentucky the year before last started five players in the NCAA tournament games that had not been to class that semester. That's that one-and-done philosophy."
His apology sounded so politically sidestepping it may have been written on Capital Hill: "My overall point is that 'one and dones' are not healthy for college basketball. I should not have made it personal to Kentucky and its players, and I apologize."
It did not matter that his facts were wrong (Darius Miller, who was one of the starters in the game Knight was referring to, returned to UK) or that his assumptions were unfounded (UK AD Mitch Barnhardt said the five players that left to be first-round picks were in good academic standing after spring semester).
It also doesn't matter that he was using the wrong draft class as an example — because in truth, if you want to call-out the one-and-done guys, look around at the people that leave early and go undrafted. The kids that leave early and get guaranteed seven-figure-plus NBA deals should go. Knight may not like it and Johnny College Hoops Fan may not like it for what it has done to the college game, but if a kid can get set for life, he has to go. It's just that simple.
Plus, it feels like Knight, who not two years ago insinuated that UK coach John Calipari was all that was wrong with the game, has it out for the Wildcats. That could make it awkward if Knight's in position to offer his analysis on UK, huh? Seems like ESPN just wants this go away as soon as possible.
Think back a couple of years ago when a former UT football coach whose name sounded a lot like Stain Miffin got all crazy in front of a banquet hall. It lead ESPN for three days, and they may have led an "Outside the Lines: Special Report" with the footage.
As always, please remember that the E in ESPN stands for "entertainment."
University of Pennsylvania research specialist Jamie Gewirtz, left, waits for a robot to throw him a ball at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Monday April 18, 2011. (AP Photo/The Inquirer, Ron Tarver)
This and that
— If four stud starting pitchers wasn't enough for the Phillies, now they're goin all scientific on everyone. PhillieBot, a one-armed, three-wheeled robot, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch today PhillieBot's creators started with a Segway added a robotic arm powered by a pneumatic cynlinder, that can deliver a burst of compressed air to power the pitch. The robot is also equipped with a brain that can change pitch trajectory and speed. Here's betting that the PhillieBot is also more fun in the clubhouse that sour-faced Roy Halladay.
— The 10th anniversary of 9/11 will be on a Sunday this year, and the NFL has the New York Giants playing at Washington and the New York Jets playing at home against Dallas. The schedule was release Tuesday night, provided the NFL's labor issues are worked out before the season. Jets coach Rex Ryan said: That stadium is going to be full of emotion, not only the people from the area but in the entire country. The fact that it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11, that's where the focus should be, not me playing against my brother (who coaches for the Cowboys). It should be an emotional day — whether there's football or not.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...