published Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

5-at-10: Garth Brooks edition

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    In this June 16, 2011, file photo inductee Garth Brooks arrives at the 42nd Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Sometimes perspective can be a tough teacher. Take Garth Brooks for example. When Garth landed on country music he changed the game. He took it to new places and caused an entire generation to open their eyes to country music. He also was part of the first wave of the metamorphosis of country music, and he drew a ton of criticism from "old-school" country music fans for it.

But in retrospect, while he may have been among the first Brooks was no where near as offensive as some of these pop singer posers who are lining up outside of Nashville. (And yes, one of our firm rules is a male country music singer should take a baseball player's approach to his job — when it's time to work, he needs to be wearing a hat — ball cap or cowboy. This is non-negotiable.)

So today, because we love a good theme show and the story of last night was the OKC Thunder, we present the Garth Brooks edition of the 5-at-10

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

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    San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) go after a loose ball during the second half of Game 5 in the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Monday, June 4, 2012, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

Thunder rolls

These NBA playoffs have been the type of back-and-forth excitement normally reserved for the final five minutes of the McGlothlin Group, a spastic parrot or a Forrest Gump pin-pong exhibition. Crazy.

The fever hit new heights Monday night when the too-young, too-small market and too-inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder went into the belly of the beast and slayed the San Antonio Spurs. Not only did OKC steal a win and head home for Game 6 with the chance to clinch its first trip to the finals — remember the Thunder have never lost a home playoff game — they did it in a battle-tested way that says more about their chances to win the whole thing than the 108-103 win itself.

After an inspired fourth-quarter charge gave the Thunder a 101-88 lead and silenced the San Antonio crowd, the Spurs made a run. Hey, it's the NBA and everyone makes a run.

"We never thought we're supposed to wait our turn," OKC star Kevin Durant said. And he's not waiting on much — Durant scored 22 of his 27 points after the half and made nine of his 13 second-hald shots.

While Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook are the Batman and Robin of the NBA's next big thing, reserve guard James Harden may be the best thing in a beard since Zach Galifianakis in the Hangover. In the final three minutes, Harden connected on a four-point play and drilled a 3-pointer that gave the Thunder a five-point lead with 28.8 left. In the 35 minutes Harden played Monday night, the Thunder outscored the Spurs by 24 points.

And with Harden rolling, the Thunder appear to have the hottest "big three" of an NBA's final four dominated by talented trios. Plus, if the Thunder handle the Spurs on Wednesday night, OKC had a better record than either of the East finalists, so the Thunder would have home-court advantage in the NBA Finals. Giddy-up.

————

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    Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward hits a two-RBI single during the fifth inning of a baseball game with the Washington Nationals, Sunday, June 3, 2012, in Washington. The Braves won 3-2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Friends in low places

Your Atlanta Braves are 29-25. So, at 54 games, we're a third of the way into the baseball season. Crazy, huh?

Here's what we know about a team that is filled with questions and is in fourth place in the NL East despite being four games over .500:

— Closer Craig Kimbrel is the best in the BID-ness. Period;

— As good as this team was in late April, they are fortunate to be only two games back of the the first-place duo of Washington and Miami;

— Chipper Jones is a professional hitter;

— This bunch is pretty clutch. They lead the league in two-out RBIs and are seventh in runs scored despite being 13th in batting average.

As for the rest, well, it's hard to know.

Sure Brandon Beachy has looked like an all-star, but this time last year Jair Jurrjens looked like a Cy Young front-runner, and now Jurrjens couldn't get wrinkles out with an ancient Chinese secret.

The lineup has been ravaged by a river of nagging injuries, including some to the two hitters — Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman — in the heart of the order.

And we all know that Jason Heyward maybe the biggest enigma wrapped in a riddle in baseball since Steve Sax couldn't throw to first base. Physically, Heyward looks like a cross between Claudell Washington and Ken Griffey Jr., but he's hitting like U.L. Washington and Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings.

That said, does anyone else feel like the baseball season is FLY-ing by us?

—————

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    In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse after a bail conditions hearing in Bellefonte, Pa. Alleged victims of Sandusky will not be allowed to avoid disclosure of their names by testifying under pseudonyms, and tweets or other electronic communications by reporters will not be permitted during the trial, the judge ruled Monday, June 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Shameless

Jury selection in the Jerry Sandusky trial begins today, and while we do not plan on covering this topic daily, we wanted to spend a little time here today.

Everyone knows the back stories and the horror and the pain the the child molestation accusations against Sandusky have brought. And here's hoping justice is served — and if he's guilty that he receives the same pain, anguish and emotional terror he inflicted.

That said, we have a funny feeling that there will be a few more shoes to drop in this real-life "Law&Order" considering this is a U.S. courtroom not an NCAA conference room. So many times in so many lesser scandals, the details the NCAA releases appear fuzzy or soften or down right hidden.

That will not happen here, and would anyone be surprised if there were more details of cover-ups from the previous regimes — including former Penn State legendary coach Joe Paterno?

————

This and that

— Face to Face: Kurt Busch was suspended by NASCAR for being Kurt Busch. Busch will miss this week's race for making threatening comments to a sports reporter. Know this, though. If Busch opened his pompous yapper in our direction, NASCAR would be the least of his concerns. Dude is 5-11 and talks like he's Kembo Slice in his prime. Puh-lease. Dude needs

— Much too Young (to feel this old): Go Casey Martin. Martin, the 40-year-old Oregon golf coach, qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday. Martin, who if you remember was the former Stanford star who sued the NCAA to use a golf cart since he suffers from a birth defect in his lower right leg that makes it difficult to walk, will use a cart next week at the Olympic Club, just like he did 14 years ago when he finished tied for 23rd in his only major championship appearance.

— More than a Memory: After losing Richard Dawson over the weekend, there were two more deaths to favorites of the show — Kathryn Joosten and Pedro Borbon. Joosten was Mrs. Landingham on "The West Wing" and Borbon was the central figure in the classic "Airplane" quote "Pinch-hitting for Pedro Borbon, Manny Mota...Mota."

— Victim of the Game: The New Jersey Devils have no answer to the L.A. Kings, who won again last night and have a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. Good night.

————

Today's question

As we mentioned in the beginning Garth Brooks forever changed country music.

Who would be the all-first-team of the Garth Brooks all-stars. That's right pick five athletes regardless of sports that forever changed their sports — good or bad.

We'll start: Jackie Robinson (for obvious and historical reasons), Lawrence Taylor (for bringing speed to the pass rush, a factor that influences every NFL play now), Jose Canseco (for being on the cutting edge of the steroid revolution that will define baseball stars and stats from about 1990 to today), Muhammad Ali (for bringing the brash to boxing and being the first TV star in sports), Tiger Woods (for bring golf to the masses and showing the benefits of training to the golf world).

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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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Jayhoo--Yesterday I said you were wise. That was yesterday, and yesterday's gone.

Your non-negotiable rule is the dumbest thing anybody has said, ever. I submit that the bigger the hat, the more likely the singer is to be of little or no account.

Did Johnny wear a hat? Did Willie? George Jones? Conway? Waylon and Merle and Tom T. may have occasionally worn one, but when they did, it fit better than Garth's oversized monstrosity. It might has well have been made of foam, like a cheesehead or a we're #1 pointy finger hand.

Garth's hat's about as believable as Jerry Glanville's belt buckle.

June 5, 2012 at 10:18 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Wow JG...intersting concept behind today's 5 at 10...before chas9 has a stroke...regardless of his critique one only need look at the offical sales totals as compiled by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)which is the bible in terms of sales info.

  1. The Beatles - 177 million
  2. Elvis Presley - 135 million
  3. Garth Brooks - 128 million

Like him or not, he obviously has fans, and if the research is done, he continually pays homage to Jones, Haggard, Strait, etc.

June 5, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
sportsfan said...

In anticipation of the Summer Olympics, here's my Olympic Top Five Game Changers (if ever so briefly...) - Al Oerter (4 time Olympic Champ - read that again...at the top of his game over the span of 4 Olympics), Mark Spitz (7 Gold Medals), Sugar Ray Leonard (Olympic Gold winning 5 bouts by 5-0 decisions), 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team (Beat the Russians during the height of the Cold War), and Vasely Alexiev (80 World Records in weightlifting and Olympic gold medals in '72 and '76).

June 5, 2012 at 10:51 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Chas, you have to understand that you are dealing with the same man that refuses to wear sandals or any open toed shoes in general. Some of his "no leniency life rules" dont always make sense. His firm hat rule leads to country music stars with foam hats that end up getting robbed by sweet old ladies on motorized carts.

And I would like to make a change on my top 5 most punchable faces in sports. Zambrano is out, K. Busch-league is in. That guy has some serious mental issues. Did you ever have that friend or acquaintance that liked to run their mouth for no apparent reason and just climbed up somebody's arse at a moment's notice? We had a few "little" friend's that were stricken with Napoleonic syndrome, as we called it, and it was our experience that the best remedy was a good ole fashion tail kicking to help them unwind a bit. Jay I think you need to go to the next race and help Busch-league unwind with a good ole fashion ghetto beatdown. Then maybe he would think twice before he climbs all over some reporter trying to do his job.

June 5, 2012 at 11:04 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, I'm in no way a Garth Brooks fan, although my brother has a snap of himself sitting next to Brooks on a sofa the night Brooks was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. #1 and Mom met in Coach Stoops' office yesterday. Coach reached in a drawer and brought out an inlaid box with all his National Championship rings and watches. #1 and Mom were taken aback.

The upshot is #1 was flagged by the Soonernation site as one of the top 11 players in camp.

June 5, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Before we start, congrats on the Uniblocker being named to the USA hoops team. Well-done indeed.

Fair points all around and we should have given some more back ground.

When Johnny and the Oposum and the gang you mentioned were going strong, country music did not have an identity crisis. Now, in the slew of stars under 35 — and most are stars in name only — who among them would you buy their record? Here's our list of that group: Aldean, Zac Brown, Eric Church, Brad Paisley. All of them wear a hat. (There may be a few more, but we bet they wear a hat.)

We should have been more clear that this is the current crop of country stars.

As always, thanks for keeping us in the fairway.

OG —

Thanks, and the numbers Garth Brooks did are staggering. A year or so ago, there are only four country acts that had more than $50 million in record sales — Garth, Kenny Rogers, Alan Jackson and King George Strait. And Garth was something like $50 million ahead of the field. (Granted Kenny Chesney and a few others have likely moved into those neighborhoods, and there's no telling where Taylor Swift ends up when she is done.)

Sportsfan —

Great list. And we'll spin ours forward for the mailbag. We'll cover the five game-changers all-time and five potential game-changers for these summer games.

Mr. 962 —

No doubt Kurt needs a good ole-fashioned whippin'. As always our theory that is applicable to Busch and those Busch-leaguers (nice use there, 962) like him — "Don't start none, won't be none."

And you're correct, we do not own sandals or flip-flops. We're not mad at anyone who does, that's just how we choose to be.

You got to have a code — heck even 9er will agree with that.

— 5-at-10

June 5, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Just heard on ESPN Radio that there is a meeting going on between a mediator and workers at the track for the Belmont Stakes. If a deal can't be worked out, a strike will occur, and the Belmont Stakes may not actually happen this Saturday.

Wouldn't that be unbelievable?

June 5, 2012 at 11:51 a.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Check your e-mail. That's great news about No. 1.

And we're not huge Garth fans either, but at one time we blamed him for pop-ifying country music, and for that we were wrong.

StuckinKent —

If they move the Belmont, then we'll have been wrong about when the race will be yet again.

Alas. And yes, we have a contest to finalize around here.

— 5-at-10

June 5, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Chas9:

Some great ones in hats: Don Williams, DAC, Waylon (more often than not), Jerry Reed (some of the time), Ernest Tubb, Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn (early days).

June 5, 2012 at 11:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

OG, 962, FEC and Jay--A lively and much appreciated discussion. With his context added, I'll cancel my call to the guys in white coats for Jay. Of course, we all know none of the under-35 hat acts is worthy of the great tradition. As for Garth's sales, there's a sucker born every minute. And to FEC's list I'll add that Roy Acuff wore a hat some, and the greatest of all wore one, Hank Williams (the senior).

June 5, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.
Livn4life said...

You are spot on about the THUNDER. I really thought when the Spurs, spurred them those first two games they were toast. But they have stepped up a lot, especially on defense. There is not a lot to say about the Sundusky Scene except let's get it over with and all out in the open as much as possible. I am tired of all the shower jokes and musings about something which, even though I know a good joke when I tell one, is NOT FUNNY. I don't care much for Barf Brooks much but he has sold a lot of songs. And in our day and age, it's what you sell that counts, then it's what you can keep from paying taxes on that is next. I have to admit, country music lost a lot of its luster for me when it tried the crossover to country/rock etc. Finally, I think Forrest Gump was a big gamechanger for Olympic ping-pong. In fact I don't recall hearing the US ever bringing hoe the gold in that sport. But there's gotta be a ping-pong Goldie out there somewhere. Hey, that might just be an idea for a country song. Think Garthy might be interested?

June 5, 2012 at 12:52 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I was hoping you weren't going to go all Chris Gaines Project on us today, 5.

Five game-changing athletes... hmmm .... 1. Bobby Orr. The best defenseman ever who also was the best offensive player of his generation.

  1. Wilt Chamberlain. A prolific scorer. And dude had a whole bunch of points too (Bazinga!). No, seriously, he put the NBA above the rim, where it's been ever since.

  2. Jerry Rice. Maybe the best football player of all time who showed the wide receiver position can be for tough guys, and not just prima donnas.

  3. OJ Simpson. Dude had power and speed. Before, there had been power and there had been speed. But nobody mixed it together in one player like the Juice. Somewhere, and I don't remember where, is the picture of one BISpy4 and Orenthal James Simpson together. I must find it.

  4. John McEnroe. Has anyone ever shook up a staid sport like tennis more than L'Enfant Terrible?

June 5, 2012 at 1:11 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

And I've seen highlights of the kid the Twins drafted No. 2 overall, Byron Buxton. Dude is very impressive. Big time arm and unreal speed. Much more impressive than Vince Faison, who I got to see play in person in high school. Buxton is Francoeur-like in his potential, who also I got to see in person and was a one-man wrecking crew in the state championship.

June 5, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
Blueoval said...

Jay- for the five athletes regardless of sports that forever changed their sports — good or bad.

I would say Dr J for his play "above the rim" he was pre Jordan in the way he took it to the hoop......

Bobby Jones if not for golf in general then for amature golf. An incredible player who not only retired early but battled health issues as well. It would be neat to see Jones and Woods play head to head at St. Andrews (equal equipment of course).

June 5, 2012 at 1:37 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Strong list.

9er —

Record sales doesn't mean quality, that's for sure.

Livn(Large) —

We were genuinely impressed with the Thunder last night. It was one of those moments — up 101-88 four minutes left and the Spurs go on an 11-0 run to cut it to 101-99 — where you expected the Thunder to fold.

Harden was tough as nails, and that's a legit beard. LEE-git. Thing probably smells like a foot, but it's T-U-F-F.

And if there's a country song out there with ping pong, it would like be Beer Pong, and current yahoos Billy Currington and/or Rascal Flatts would be fighting over it.

Spy —

Who is the Chris Gaines clown of whom you speak? (Although we were considering the Allan Parsons Project...)

Good list, and Wilt and McEnroe are excellent calls. We'd take Jim Brown over O.J., but we get the point. We almost went Bobby Orr, but in truth we knew you'd bring him into the chat.

As for Buxton, the baseball dude for Yahoo.com has a great column on the kid, who everyone in Bakely calls Buck. Dude looks special.

Oval —

Bobby Jones is an excellent choice as is Dr. J.

That's an interesting cross-generational match-up between Jones and Woods.

— 5-at-10

June 5, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.
choptalker said...

To second BlueOval, Bobby Jones has to be on there. Not only as a player, but as the guy who started the Masters.

Babe Ruth also has to be on the list for bringing home runs to baseball. He out homered several opposing teams in his big years.

Wilt, Jerry and Tiger probably also on my list.

Also, don't forget that Garth went out to be a Padre in 1999. http://www.planetgarth.com/news/article.php?cid=00261

June 5, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Jones and Woods playing head to head with equal equipment opens an interesting conversation. What would the players of yester-year been able to do with the equipment of today? Bobby, Sam, Arnie, or Jack probably would have loved to swing one of the new R11S drivers opposed to the clunker clubs they were using. My dad used to have a complete set of bamboo shaft clubs we would play around with and the only thing they were good for was for him to beat us with after he found them laying in the yard with the lawnmower. (In hindsight, he probably should have just killed us.)

June 5, 2012 at 2:39 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay,

One more to add to the Olympic list (and probably the most important) - Jesse Owens (4 gold medals and poked Hitler in the eye). My apologies for the earlier omission.

June 5, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Talker —

Wow. We just now got Spy's reference from before. The Chris Gaines project was Garth's faux name. Laugh it up Spy.

Bobby Jones, Babe Ruth, Wilt, Rice and Tiger is a strong list, but no list is complete without Jackie Robinson. Period.

962 —

We'd already though about making Oval's idea Wednesday's question.

That could be awesome. Jones v. Tiger with matching clubs. Gibson v. Bonds. So save them for tomorrow.

And at least you know what was coming. The go-pick-your-switch routine was the toughest for us. Talk about tough choices — pick one too flimsy and you had to go re-pick and were going to get it worse; pick you too sturdy and you knew it was going to really sting.

Plus, if you got spanked with bamboo clubs, when your brother got it you could always yell, "Fore."

— 5-at-10

June 5, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Fan —

We had Owens on our list for sure. In fact, he will be there no doubt.

Dude was a stud. Although the recently reveled stories about how he couldn't compete in the NCAA championships because he took improper benefits are fascinating.

P.S. Owens attended THE Ohio State University, and no Jim Tressel was not there then.

— 5-at-10

June 5, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.
Todd962 said...

And is no one going to mention Jordan on the GBAS Team? You could argue that Magic and Bird saved and changed the game as well. However, this guy took sports marketing to ridiculous heights. I am not sure athletes in general, but particularly NBA guys, would be making the money they are today with out him. Shoe deals, Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, he was the front man for bringing the cash to the table for a lot of these companies. The guy also played basketball with Bugs Bunny. Thats got gamechanger written all over it.

June 5, 2012 at 3:10 p.m.
chas9 said...

Before my time, but I hear tell that The Cooz' Houdini moves (think Pistol Pete) speeded up the game that was dominated by set shots.

June 5, 2012 at 3:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

Jordan has a spot. As much as we loathe to admit it because it means we'll hear from JordanRules within in the next three hours, dude was the first global front man among athletes.

Heck, the biggest deals before Jordan were what — DiMaggio doing Mr. Coffee? Earl Campbell doing Skoal Bandits? Namath doing panty hose?

Sure Bird and Magic had Converse deals, and the NASCAR guys were doing personal-service contracts for sponsors, but Jordan changed every game — not just basketball.

And to merge a conversation from Monday, if Jack paved the way for Tiger the player, Jordan paved the way for Tiger the global icon.

Here's our final starting five of the GBAS —

Jackie Robinson (dude broke the color barrier for crying out loud)

Jordan (took sports global, was the driving force behind Nike which is the Apple of the sports world, and who's to know how much his must-see-TV stuff did for the explosion that has become ESPN; remember when ESPN started in the early 1980s, it was strong man competitions, Australian rules football and dog shows)

Babe Ruth (dude was the godfather of the long ball)

Bobby Orr (for the reasons Spy delivered)

Bobby Jones (we've been convinced)

— 5-at-10

June 5, 2012 at 3:18 p.m.
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