published Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

5 at 10: Rick Hart, Braves rookies and the SEC media days

Let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studio," here we go...



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    Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman, right, celebrates with Dan Uggla after hitting a home run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Atlanta Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Youth served in Colorado

Want to know a great dilemma for a fan base and an organization? When you get to seriously ask this question: Which Braves rookie, first baseman Freddie Freeman or closer Craig Kimbrel, is the leader for the NL rookie of the year award?

It's even more difficult to decide this morning after Atlanta's 7-4 win over Colorado on Monday.

Freeman's red-hot red-hottness continued from the clean-up spot in the Braves order. He had three hits — including his 14th homer — and had three RBIs Monday. His numbers have been getting better and better. He's bona-fide.

Kimbrel continues to overpower everyone. He recorded his 29th save Monday by striking out the side. It was Kimbrel's 16th consecutive scoreless appearance, and for those of us who have watched the Braves for a while (We're a man! We're 40!), having a lock-down answer at the back end of the bullpen is still pleasantly surprising every now and then. (Sidenote: While Trevor Hoffman and Dennis Eckersley and some other great closers have been able to dominate without that high-90s heater, consider the 5-at-10 a big, Big, BIG fan of the hard-throwing closer. As manager Lou Brown said in "Major League" — "Forget about the curveball Ricky; Give him the heater.")



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    Rick Hart is finishing his fifth year as University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic director.
    Photo by Jenna Walker /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Got to have Hart

Our UTC ace John "Ned Ryerson" Frierson had a strong look at UTC AD Rick Hart, who has been in our fair city for five years. Read the Q-and-A with Hart HERE.

Considering the improvements UTC athletics have made during the last five years,Hart's accomplishments have been impressive, no doubt. In fact, as we've mentioned previously on the radio, Hart deserves to be a candidate for a big-time AD job sooner rather than later.

From hiring Russ Huesman to rebuild the football program to handling the program's multiple APR problems to continuing to overcome an ever-tightening budget, Hart's successes are more than noteworthy — they are impressive.

Well done indeed.



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    Alabama Coach Nick Saban looks on as quarterback AJ McCarron (10) delivers a pass down field during the fourth quarter of spring college football action at the A-Day game at the University of Alabama on Saturday, April 16. (AP Photo /The Tuscaloosa News, Jason Harless,)

SEC media days

Our SEC football ace David Paschall has a high-quality preview of this week's SEC media days HERE.

His questions are spot on, but there are two that have the 5-at-10's utmost interest: How will Gene Chizik react and how will Mark Richt be received?

As Paschall noted, this will be Chizik's first appearance since the New York Times detailed his heated and puzzling exchange with an NCAA official at the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., last month that forced the NCAA rep to state clearly that the NCAA is not done investigating Auburn. Chizik is normally very controlled in his public message — some would say even over-controlled — and has developed an A-plus talent of blah-blah-titis, the strange syndrome that affects politicians and football coaches in which they can speak for 20 minutes and say next to nothing. That made his tussle with the NCAA in front of a room full of SEC coaches that much more strange.

As for Richt, it will be interesting how many "hot seat" questions he gets this week. We've said it before and we'll say it again, not since JFK tippy-toed (some will say sleep-walked, but that's conversation for another day... maybe the 5-at-10 "History" version) through the Bay of Pigs, has one guy faced an eight-day stretch that will shape his future like Richt will in the first two weeks of this season. Wins against Boise State in Atlanta and against South Carolina would jumpstart this young Georgia team and energize the Bulldogs fanbase; losses in the first two and Bulldog Nation will be circling and Richt's future in Athens will be questioned almost weekly.



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    Atlanta Braves' Dan Uggla runs to first before being thrown out during a baseball game against the Florida Marlins in Miami, Tuesday, June 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

This and that

— Uggla update: Don't look now, but since his season started over on July 5 (2011 Part Deux), Dan Uggla has hit safely in every game. That's the good news: Uggla has a 10-game hitting streak (and the Braves are 7-3 in that stretch). The bad news: Uggla's 10-game streak has lifted his average all of 11 points to .189. Wow, he was really in a hole. What, oh yeah, we're trying to be more positive. Hmmmm. OK, how's this: Way to go Dan, all it will take is another 10-game hitting streak to get to the Mendoza line. That's right, .200 here we come. Was that better?

— UT got two commitments this weekend, doubling the Vols' total to four. We'll cover this more in Friday's mailbag, but it was starting to get a little worrisome for Johnny Vols Fan in regard to recruiting. Here is our UT ace Patrick Brown's story on the newest UT commits http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jul/19/drae-bowles-justin-king-commit-join-tennessee-vols/.

— Paging Lars Tate, paging Lars Tate ... Sweet Tea and pass the program so we can see who is running the ball, according to unconfirmed reports by some media outlets the University of Georgia has suspended running back Carlton Thomas for at least the season opener after he violated team rules. If you're scoring at home that's the top three returning rushers from 2010 are no longer on the roster in Athens. Washaun Ealey (811 yards rushing in 2010) transfered to Jacksonville State. Caleb King (430) had academic issues and declared for the NFL supplemental draft. Now Thomas (272) will miss at least the season opener against Boise State. Want to know who the top returning rusher is for the Georgia Bulldogs? Yep, Aaron Murray. The Bulldog Nation needs to make sure freshman Isaiah Crowell lives in a bubble and gets to the regular season healthy. The cupboard is looking thin.

— The NFL is hoping all the remaining issues can be addressed together and is asking for a "global" settlement on the two big cases — the Brady vs. NFL suit and the decision about broadcast insurance. The deal seems likely this week, and we'll discuss this more when the deal is official, but this sure seems like all that was really needed to get this done was proper motivation.

— Other Braves notes: Jason Heyward was scratched from the lineup last night because of a bruised leg and Chipper Jones is headed to Gwinnett for a rehab assignment after surgery 10 days ago. As for the rest of Make any and all judgements that you feel fit. (Sidenote: Here's the 5-at-10's thought bubble right now "Staying positive; staying positive.")



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    This March 11, 2011, file photo shows Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan answering a question during a news conference, in Arlington, Texas. Ryan is in a Houston hospital undergoing tests on his heart. The Rangers said in a statement Monday, July 18, 2011, the 64-year-old Ryan is "resting comfortably and reports he is feeling better." He is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Rich

Today's question

Nolan Ryan is expected to be released from a Georgetown, Texas, hospital sometime later this week. He checked in after feeling chest discomfort on Sunday, and all the results of the tests have been encouraging for Ryan, who had a double-bypass operation in 2000.

As a Hall-of-Fame player and now as an executive, Ryan, 64, has always been one of baseball's most popular people.

When the news broke this weekend that Ryan was going to the hospital with chest pains, the initial worries made the 5-at-10 think that when his number does get called, Ryan is going to have a huge, Texas-sized funeral. One of those monster, Dale Earnhardt-type productions.

Not to be too morbid on a fine sunny Tuesday, but what current sports person (players, coach, owner, whatever) will have the biggest funeral?

Discuss.

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

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patrickd said...

What current sports person (players, coach, owner, whatever) will have the biggest funeral?

Michael Jordan is going to have one that transcends the city he worked in. I'd say he's gonna have a massive day on a national level. As for the "biggest", I'd rank my top 3 like this:

1) Muhammad Ali

2) Yogi Berra

3) Michael Jordan

July 19, 2011 at 10:06 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

MJ, Ali, and Hope Solo

As far as College Football goes...I'm out..I'm done...I hereby proclaim that I am skipping this college year all together. No trash talking will be permitted to escape my lips to any rival teams regardless of what the Dawgs do. And I'm sorry, but to me, if you cant even bring a complete team to the field to begin with, shouldnt you be in the hot seat already?!?!

July 19, 2011 at 10:43 a.m.
jgreeson said...

P-Davi —

Strong list. Ali would global; MJ would be the fall of sports current biggest icon (are you happy JordanRules?). Here's our out of left field one: Joe Paterno. Dude has been in State College for like a billion years. Think of the lives he directly and indirectly influenced.

Ali and MJ would be mourned millions or even billions of fans and followers. Joe Pa would be mourned by hundreds of thousands of friends, players and co-workers plus the fans.

Oso —

We're 24 hours from the start of the preseason media days and you've already written off the season? Excellent — that, ladies and gentleman and scole023 is the definition of college football in the South.

— 5-at-10

July 19, 2011 at 11:16 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

EXACTLY! Let me clarify slightly: I'm still gonna watch my "team" (Can't really call it a "team" if you dont have a complete roster can you?!), I'm still gonna root for the practice squad as it takes on Boise St. But I am also looking at things in an honest perspective. IF and WHEN our one and only RB goes down, who we got? NADA! We have ONE back on roster. ONE. Our offensive line looks like the front line of the US Marines First Platoon Beach Assault on Normandy on D-Day. SO, we have no offensive line to block for our one and only RB...Yup...that screams success to me! So, because my team is going to once again sport a losing season (yes, thats my official prediction for the upcoming year 6-7 again if were lucky), I officially have to exclude myself from all team to team bantering and trash talking, which is what makes football in the south so great! I prepare and expect the worse that way I'm not totally devistated when we suck.

And all this and i didnt even touch the one phrase that all Dawg fans have gotten sick of hearing over the past three years "Team Violation" or "Team Disciplinary Actions". Every year there 3 or 4...every year. Somethings gotta give.

July 19, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

hands down, it's Ali. I mean, who didn't get a little verklempt when the Greatest of All Time stepped out to light the Olympic torch in Atlanta lo these 15 years ago? (Has it been that long? Really?) I've had this debate with others before about who's the most famous athlete ever and every time I get a Jordan I answer back with Ali because of his exposure and humanitarian efforts in Africa especially and across the world.

After that, I say Nicklaus or Palmer.

I throw Bird in there too. Jordan? I don't know. Aside from Charles Oakley and maybe Barkley, how many friends does the guy really have?

A Woods funeral has the chance to be the Cheers episode with Mrs. Lebec ... I mean the real Mrs. Lebec ... uh oh ... come to life. So to apeak.

5er, your final shot at me yesterday made me cry. Only because I was laughing that hard. I showed the exchange to the young lady who works for me and even she laughed out loud. And today's ensemble includes ... a free golf shirt. No wait, I bought this one. Yes!

July 19, 2011 at 1:08 p.m.
patrickd said...

I've mailed in the season for the Crimson Tide as well. We've got no defensive depth and our Linebackers are pitiful. For a defensive minded coach, like Rick Saban is supposed to be, he sure can't prepare a defense to play in the SEC. He's in over his head in my opinion.

July 19, 2011 at 1:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BIspy —

Glad to hear your fashion sense has not been deterred. Nicklaus and especially Palmer are good calls. We think Magic maybe a little bit more than Bird.

You have a point about MJ, but dude has become so iconic after his playing days that it seems it would be more event than memorial if that makes sense.

PDavi —

We seem to detect a little sarcasm in your response. You let Oso be, and he can wallow in his preseason misery if he wants to.

And if you're being serious, well, OK then. (But try to remember that Alabama's coach is Nick Saban. That's Nick with an 'N.')

— 5-at-10

July 19, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I don't wallow....I flounder....there's a difference....And it's easy for a Vols fan to be optimistic. I mean you guys are on the climb up. How low could you possibly go after the Land Kiffin debacle?! The only direction for you guys is up! But us Dawg fans have been up, with the Stafford and Knowshon era and the days of Greene and Shockey...the early 2000's were good to us Dawgs. But as the roller coaster of college football comes around, i feel that low time is upon us, just as it was with UT during the Kiffin Era. And yes, i do understand the "rebuilding clause" (the clause that allows ones self to be exempt from ridicule for how bad his team is suckin it up that year from his Buds. This clause can be used once every four years and not to exceed twice in an six year span) but i used that clause the year Knowshon and Stafford left so i cant fall back on that. So the only thing left to do in order to keep my dignity is to proclaim the early out....which i did.

July 19, 2011 at 3:23 p.m.
chas9 said...

There'll be funeral mobs for Saban, Spurrier and Kiffin. Bama fans at Saban's last rites, and Vols fans will mob the other two just to drive stakes through their hearts to be sure they STAY dead.

July 19, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

VERY NICE CHAS!

July 19, 2011 at 4:44 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

We have this picture of you at your desk, with your face painted red and black and squeezing the neck of your Mark Richt voodoo doll just a little too tight. SEC football, gotta love it.

9er —

Way to bring out the big guns as we bring the day to a close. As Glen said to H.I. McDunnough said,

Glen — "Well, crud, man. l guess that's why they call it a way-homer."

H.I. — Why's that?

Glen — Cos you only get it on the way home.

H.I. — l'm already home, Glen.

Rotten kid — You wet yourself! You wet yourself! Look daddy, Mr. McDunnough wet himself.

Well-played all around.

— 5-at-10

July 19, 2011 at 5 p.m.
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