published Monday, July 9th, 2012

5-at-10: Braves breaking, Murray broken and Cruise's Rushmore

Hope everyone had as much fun this weekend as we did. Trying to squeeze as much into the final non-football days as we can, because when the ball that bounces funny starts bouncing, the 5-at-10 gets crazy busy. So it goes, and we've always preferred being busy to being bored.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, right, throws to first after forcing out Philadelphia Phillies' Carlos Ruiz at second on a double play in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 8, 2012, in Philadelphia. Phillies' Hunter Pence was out at first. Atlanta won 4-3. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Braves break

We'll break down the first half on Tuesday, but let's rest today on the fact that your Atlanta Braves hit the All-Star break feeling good after sweeping the Phillies.

(Side note: The Phillies are cooked. Heck, they might even start moving pieces like Shane Victorino and/or Cole Hamels. And who saw that coming in April?)

The Braves won three straight in Philly in large part because Brian McCann remembered he was Brian McCann. He homered in each of the three games against the Phillies.

Your Braves are seven games over .500 and four back of Washington Nationals after 85 games. This, despite losing your most effective starting pitcher (Brandon Beachy) to an arm injury, losing your most effective set-up guy (Jonny Venters) to stinky-ness and having your Nos. 4 and 5 hitters (McCann and Dan Uggla) proving the ultimate bizarro alterntive to the Abbott and Costello classic of "Who's not on first?"

So this bunch has overcome some hurdles to be in the thick of things midway through. They'll have to overcome some more, too.

Rookie shortstop sensation Andrelton Simmons broke his right pinkie Sunday, an injury that could cost him some time. Simmons has been special since replacing Tyler Whoshisnicky and an extended absence could be prove costly.


  • photo
    Andy Murray of Britain reacts during the men's singles final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Sunday, July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Federer breaks records, hearts

Roger Federer's continued assault on the tennis record books has left him with 17 major titles and seven Wimbledon crowns after Sunday's four-set triumph over Andy Murray.

As out ace columnist Mark Wiedmer wrote here, it was tough not to want to see Murray win. For those not in the tennis know — and we're right there with you — Murray was trying to become the first Wimbledon winner from Great Britian since the 1930s, and the stakes and pressure and background buzz were overwhelming.

Seriously, this was the rarest of scenes; it was a home-court disadvantage in a lot of ways because of the suffocating intensity on Murray. Hey, we love sports for a lot of reasons, but we love, Love, LOVE major sporting events because of the pressure and how athletes either handle it or become unhinged.

That's the stakes and the storyline, and we trust and treasure it. For Murray, though, it was surreal. It was greater because this meant so much to so many. He was playing for his first major title and that surely would have changed his life. But he was carrying the weight of a national fan base and he succumbed to it — that and the landslide of shots that made Federer look like, well, Federer.

It was so all-encompassing, that as Weeds wrote, even Federer fans would have been OK on a lot of levels if Murray had won.


Olympic hoops

The United State Olympic basketball team was picked this weekend and there were few surprises.

The Americans are stacked even with Dwyane Wade pulling out because of an injury.

It would take an upset of major proportions — we're talking 1980 US over Russia-level shocker — for a team with a proposed starting line-up of Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin or Kevin Love to not walk to the gold medal.

We have to admit it, we're getting excited for the Olympics, and we're pledging to devote more space here to them in coming days.

That said, the start of these Olympics games had a mild hiccup this weekend when the torch was extinguished during its march to the stadium in London.

No, it was not rain that got the historic flame on the ceremonial torch that is passed through towns and cities on its way to light the cauldron for the start of each Olympics. No, the torch was put out when they took it white-water rafting? Who planned this route, Kramer and George?

This and that

— Tony Stewart rolled to the checkered flag at Daytona this weekend. We know what you're thinking — "They raced at Daytona this weekend and we missed it?" Yep, they raced on Saturday night and again asked the question, "If we crank a 750 horse-power engine and no one is watching, does it make a sound?" We checked in on the race for a moment Saturday night and could not help but notice there were plenty of good sections available at Daytona International Speedway.

— Other than Webb Simpson, there were a bunch of unknown guys with their names on their bags Sunday at the Greenbrier playing golf. And if it had not been for the familiar voices of Jim Nantz and Co., it might as well have been the Chattanooga Metro. Ted Potter Jr. won in a playoff. (No, not that Ted Potter Jr., the other one.) We will say this, though: Watching guys have their lives changed forever can make moments like Sunday mighty enjoyable. Think of it this way: If that had been Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler or anyone this side of Tiger Woods, would the theater been more enjoyable than Potter and Troy Kelly trying to stake their claim on Tour? No way.

— Congrats to Cody Godfrey on winning the aforementioned Chattanooga Metro.

— Moment of silence for Norman Sas, who died this weekend. Sas invented the electric football game with the vibrating board, the pieces that ambled toward the goal line and the passing game that was so tough, Joe Montana and Peyton Manning would have struggled. Still, it was the bee's knees of its time and was the first playable football-electronics marriage. So in some ways, Sas paved the way for the 10-figure industry that is Madden13 and NCAA Football whatever. Rest in low-humming peace Norman.


Today's question(s)

The split between Katie Holmes and L. Tom Cruise has been cover-stuff for the tabloids and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

While the details and the issues made for Hollywood-gossip gold, it also overshadowed last week's release of the top-paid actors of the last year.

Cruise was far-and-away out front on that list, pulling in the tidy sum of $75 million. In a year. That's a lot of cabbage.

Ever wonder why we frequently hear that athletes are overpaid but never hear about actors being overpaid? Sure a bundle of Cruise's deposits were off revenue generated by his films — and "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" did almost $2.1 billion at the box office — but still.

Side question: What's the Rushmore of Cruise movies and where does he rank among his peers? Looking back dude has a pretty strong resume, religious beliefs notwithstanding.

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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deboman said...

Okay 5-er…just how what is the projected timeframe someone could be on the shelf for Stinky-ness, and I’m sure it could be a career ender if not alter-er for sure.

For Cruise I would have to say Top Gun, Vanilla Sky, A Few Good Men, Minority Report …Could actually do a second tier since he's had few films that suffered from stinkyness (Though I have not seen Rock of Ages but the early rumbles I’ve heard haven’t been the best). Even his early bit parts in Taps and The Outsiders were right on.

July 9, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Risky Business has to got to be - got to be - No. 1.

I'll go with All the Right Moves right behind it and then the first Mission Impossible.

I will dismiss The Firm for his rather morose performance and replace that instead with ... Taps. Along with Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn, not to mention Giancarlo Esposito (last seen as the half-faced Gustavo Fring on Breaking Bad. But I digress.)

I have not seen Tropic Thunder nor Born on the 4th of July, so I will not render a judgment.

Nice of the Yankees to take it easy on the Pawtucket Sox this weekend by letting them win one game. That was mud fence and butt ugly.

July 9, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
Livn4life said...

5-at-SPIN: Glad to see the Braves can stand the heat, well a little. May they courageously trudge on beyond the ASB. Federer is breaking more records than the long playing album collector who one day realized 8-traks rule...until cassettes... No one should be Teed off that Potter Jr. had such a great performance in the Grenbrier, not even Harry Potter or golf's version, Harry Putter. SAS--may he indeed rest in peace as I had many sleepless nights over that vibrating game and my brother lobbying that my qb's pass DID NOT hit the receiver. That cost me the game but we loved that contraptious means of occupying young minds. Finally, well Holmes, I'm putting it on Cruise for the question and since you never hear it, here it comes. ACTORS ARE WAY OVERPAID!

July 9, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Debo —

Stinky-ness is not a career ender. Sucky-ness is a career ender, but Sucky-ness is really Type 2 of sticky-ness.

We have not seen Rock of Ages, either, and we were actually pretty excited for it — and like you have not heard good reviews.

Glad the tickets found there way to you.

Spy —

Agree that Nos. 1 and 2 for Cruise are his roles as Joel Goodsen and Stefan Djordjevic.

As supporting roles, Cruise was excellent in Tropic Thunder and Taps.

As for leading roles, the final two spots are tight between Mission Impossible, Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire and a slew of others.


Thanks, and we concur that actors are over-financed.

— 5-at-10

July 9, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
chas9 said...

Leftover from the Friday bag: Anybody who ranks Sampras over Federer doesn't need to be calling anybody else dumb. On the other hand, it's not really smart to rank Brett over Brooks at third.

And thanks for sharing the soundtrack of your life. Your selections prove that you're a cool dude, but you're no Chris Dortch Or the other Chris Dortch.

Tom Cruise made some top gun movies, but he's dead to me.

July 9, 2012 at 11:41 a.m.
Todd962 said...

It was an awe-inspiring moment this weekend as I was traveling south to visit a friend when I saw a sign that read "Welcome to God's Country, Smyrna, GA. Former Home of Famed Sports Editor Jay Greeson." Then I went to the Sweetwater Brewing Co and everything got blurry after that.

Allowing the Olympic torch to be extinguished is up there with breaking $30,000 crystal footballs. You dont even want to be next to the guy that did it, let alone the poor soul responsible. I always think of the episode of King of the Hill that Hank is given the chance to run with the torch through Arlen and drops it allowing it to be put out. Luckily Dale had lit a cigarette off the flame and the integrity of the original flame was able to be restored without much fuss. Heres to hoping a river rat was smoking a j on the bank that he may have been able to light using the torch. Heres to hoping...

Would you trade $75 million a year for your sanity. Uhhhh....debatable. But that guy has made some good'uns. Jerry Maguire, The Last Samuri, Rain Man. (I used to practice speed counting toothpicks as a young child. Never had much luck. And we can all agree K-Mart Sucks) Days of Thunder was pretty awesome for what it was. Love the line about going out and hitting the pace car to acheive perfection. But his role in Tropic Thunder at least showed that he may have a sense of humor about him still. Even if he keeps his wives chained in the basement awaiting their departure to galactic tranquility.(Or whatever it is Scientologists believe....)

July 9, 2012 at 11:58 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

I hated Jerry Maguire. Sorry. I just did. It was either full of bad acting, overacting or stereotypes. If it wasn't for Jay Mohr, it would have been utterly unwatchable.

Nicholson and Kevin Bacon in A Few Good Men continued to show just how good an actor Cruise isn't.

The F-14 Tomcat (of which there are none left in the U.S. arsenal. None. They were retired and the remaining planes were put into the shredder, to prevent the Iranians from somehow getting spare parts for the F-14s we sold to them in the 70s. Seriously.) and Val Kilmer made that movie. And how about Anthony Edwards, going from Revenge of the Nerds to Top Gun to a TV show with the Clooney.

July 9, 2012 at 12:14 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Thanks for the kind words... we think.

Mr. 962 —

Spending time in the Jonquil City... ah good times. We were more a Doc's kind of guy than the Sweetwater whatcha' call it.

Great list — and yes, Harry Hogg telling Cole Trickle to go hit the pace car was great. So was Harry answering the question "What are y'all doing?" with "We're eating ice cream." Days of Thunder is to sports movies what Road House is to action movies — so bad it's enjoyable.

And apparently all of the former Mrs. Cruises reached their apex of usefulness at the age of 33.

Any Arlen, Texas story has to be good... especially if it's from Tom Landry Middle School.

Spy —

We're not saying dude is Bobby Duvall. Oh course he gets acted circles around by folks who have skills (the clinic Bacon and Nicholson put on Cruise and Moore is like Bird and Magic playing the 5-at-10 and Spy in a little 2-on-2).

But dude has done a slew of movies that were enjoyable. (We can see the Jerry Maguire disdain.)

— 5-at-10

July 9, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

If you can hit the boards and hit the step back 3 against Bird and Magic, I'll do my best drive and kick out. Then again, I was known as the Black Hole of Hinesville for my penchant for not passing.

ahhh ... summer evenings at Doc's ... the view from the porch ... the catfish ... the trivia winnings ... the drama that was the wait staff .... good times!

July 9, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, Potter was impressive--before--the playoff sitting on the upper deck sipping ice tea with his wife all but hanging all over him with riveted eyes and focused determination watching Kelly come in. Potter was CCC all the way. Go TP, No TW.

Speaking of TW and Phil, their appearance fees are reported at $1.5 and $1 million respectively. Greater cabbage than the winner's purse, and I'm guessing at that number as the Tour does not want us fans to know readily such dreary mundane information, which is taboo on CBS and NBC.

The Greenbriar should have halved this figure contingent on the cut. Hold everything, there's no appearance fees on the PGA tour.

As for Tom Cruise, he stands on a band box to swing his awesome 140lb hay-maker at the biggest baddest 5'10" guy in the bar fight scene. "Top Gun" is the best effort by Cruise and patriotic to boot, but when they're playing volley ball, it's a belly laugh.

July 9, 2012 at 1:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

We can still shoot it, but every rebound's going to Earvin and Legend — they are each at least 5 inches taller than us.

FE to the C —

Great point about Cruise ever being in a fight scene. Dude is like Spud Webb short. (Side note: The two previous ex-Mrs. Cruises said one of the best things about getting divorced was they could wear heels again.)

Appearance fees have to be taboo on the TV — if guys are being paid to show, then there's no stopping it, and the next you know there will be contracts and golf can't afford that. Although the tournaments can't afford not to have Tiger and Phil and the rest of the show ponies.

And as entertaining as Sunday afternoon was for us, there's not a lot of folks clicking over to watch Colonel Potter grab his first PGA win.

— 5-at-10

July 9, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, I'm most chapped at the way the Tour eliminates any mention of the purse and first prize and top ten at every tournament. It's like these guys are amateurs playing for "The Bobby Jones Sportsmanship" award every week. Can't let any talk of money sully up that atmosphere.

The money leader on the PGA Tour wins "The Arnold Palmer Award," which has been fashioned into a table lamp at Tour Headquarters.

What's a FED-EX Tour point worth money wise? These Pros play for money. That's the definition of a Pro, and how much money a Pro makes in a year is one of the chief benchmarks of success.

July 9, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.
deboman said...

As someone that nary watches a lick of golf, I had no idea they paid guys to just show up at an event, which it sounds like Tiger and Phil did. Did they play the first two rounds with ski masks on??? All I can say is Wow. Wouldn’t want to be the guy in the Monday morning tourney wrap-up meeting that suggested that payout, talk about squirming in your seat. And if that is the alleged/undisclosed payout for four rounds of golf, TW and Phil must be laughing at the conditions that Cruise had to endure to make his $75 mil. Must have had an agent to rival Cruise’s Les Grossman from Tropic Thunder.

July 9, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

No doubt. The only mention of coin for these guys is "Whoa, that missed cost him some money," after dude misses a 3-footer on the final hole to fall from third to a tie for fifth with eight others.

Not only do these guys play for money, they may as well be using play money considering how much more the Tour pays now than back in the day. Do you know Brian Gay has won more money playing golf than Tom Watson for crying out loud? Heck, the normal rate of 10-percent-plus-tips for a caddie means Stevie Williams probably had more on-course winnings than Watson for toting Tiger's sticks.

Debo —

We're not sure that Tiger or Phil got appearance money from the good folks at the Greenbrier, but there are always rumors about this tournament or that cutting checks to make sure the stars show.

And we know Tiger gets seven figures from some international events — when Tiger is playing of the coast of Slkasdjfsdfj-istan (yes, we made that up) you know he's being compensated on the front end.

Who's better Les Grossman or Les Nessman? Discuss.

July 9, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
chas9 said...

Les Nessman. Living on the air in Cincinnati. Thanks for the blast from the past. Did a show ever have a better cast of memorable characters? Maybe M.A.S.H., but that'd be it. Maybe the Simpsons. Maybe Andy Griffith. Seinfield's close. Friends didn't have any interesting characters.

Questions for Friday: Now that they've found Higgs Boson, what position will he play? Is he too lightweight? Does Uggla deserve to be an All Star?

July 9, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I wonder if those folks who pony up the "appearance fee," in hopes of ticket sales and TV ratings get a rebate or have an insurance policy when the fee seekers aren't around for the weekend.

If you think you're too good to play in a field with the likes of guys who aren't household names in their own neighborhoods, then tee it up and beat them and put the seven-figure winner's check in your pocket.

July 9, 2012 at 3:29 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Please let there be something else to watch on TV tonight, other than three hours of Chris Berman going "back, back, back..."

Let me add that to what I think hell is like, besides the cole slaw and tequila only buffet.

July 9, 2012 at 3:57 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Nessman for sure - my last office had a Les Nessman door.

Spy 3 hours of Berman is the 8th level never mentioned by Dante. Cole slaw and tequila are only the 1st level

July 9, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.
deboman said...

I do believe that Les Nessman, unbeknownst to himself, was the inventor of the cubicle. Being young sports while WKRP was on the air, we just commonly referred to it as the Loni Anderson show. Made it easily recognizable to all the fellas.

I don't think Berman has it in himself to provide anything to a broadcast anymore except retread catch phrases. Really Chris, the Bills are rumbling, bumbling stumbling to circling the wagons again...yawn.

July 9, 2012 at 4:11 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

While WKRP is memorable for Les, Dr. Johnny Fever and Herb Tarlek's white belt and shoes, even after Labor Day (gasp!), Bailey was sneaky hot.

July 9, 2012 at 4:59 p.m.
chas9 said...

Totally agree about Bailey, but how can a sentence with hot and WKRP in it not mention Loni? Which rhymes with yoni.

July 9, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

My apologies, 9, I thought I had mentioned Jennifer (as played by Loni). My old age and a hurry to get out the door to a rather meaningless meeting got the better of me.

July 9, 2012 at 6:48 p.m.
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