published Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

5 at 10: Braves a month in, NBA playoffs and questions for Tiger

From the "Talk too much studios" here we go.

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    Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) is shown during a Major League Baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday, April 30, 2012 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Braves a month in

Atlanta lost to Pittsburgh 9-3 Monday night to split its four-game series with the Pirates (what's the bigger question confronting Southerners, "Why the Republicans can't find an electable candidate for President?" or "Why do the Braves always struggle with cruddy opponents?" and maybe only Mitt Romney knows).

With that the Braves put April in the books and let's review.

Atlanta is 14-9 after the first month, a half-game behind surprising Washington. The Braves host scuffling Philadelphia at the Ted tonight. (Before we review, let's comment on the importance of burying the Phillies as much as possible as they are struggling to click. With that much starting pitching, there will be a 14-wins-in-17-games stretch for the Phillies at some point. It's important for Atlanta to get some distance, and that starts tonight with Brandon Beachy vs. Cole Hamels.)

Offensively the Braves were OK in April. Freddie Freeman hit .273 as did Jason Heyward, and those could be termed a mild disappointment and a mild surprise respectively. Apparently the April curse that landed on Dan Uggla last year has found Brian McCann, and other than Michael Bourn the bats have been mediocre. But they have been opportunistic — and give a little credit to Fredi Gonzalez for putting people in motion and trying to create some things.

The pitching has been sound, and will only get better with Tim Hudson's return. And the bullpen is light's out.

As we were discussing with the guys at SportTalk on Monday, it's hard not to be excited about this Braves bunch, and that's huge heading into the dog days of summer.

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    Miami Heat LeBron James celebrates with teammate Chris Bosh after a play during the third quarter of game 2 of an NBA Eastern Conference playoff game at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Monday, April 30, 2012. (AP Photo/el Nuevo Herald, David Santiago)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NBA Playoffs

So after losing at Miami, Knicks star forward Amar'e Stoudemire had his feeling hurt. He responded to those hurt feelings by punching the glass case protecting a fire extinguisher. We're trying really hard to refrain from any "glass case of emotion" jokes.

Punching a glass case? Really? What happened some girl wouldn't talk to him in study hall?

On a 1-5 scale of stupid with 1 being reading the 5-at-10 and 5 being eating yellow snow (that's not good Spy), this is a 14.

What could the fire extinguisher have possibly said to draw that kind of reaction from Amar'e? And besides, Amar'e has to know that fire extinguishers normally just blow smoke anyway. (Thank you, thank you. And remember to tip your wait staff.)

This just further seals the fate of the Knicks, which has lost 12 consecutive playoff games. The last time the Knicks won a playoff game — April 29, 2001 — the World Trade Center was still vertical.

Around the NBA playoffs:

Atlanta leads Boston 1-0. Next: Tonight at Atlanta (FSS)

Chicago leads Philly 1-0. Next: Tonight at Chicago (TNT)

Orlando and Indiana tied at 1. Next: Wednesday at Orlando

Miami leads New York 2-0. Next: Thursday at New York

Western Conference

LA Lakers lead Denver 1-0. Next: Tonight at L.A. (TNT)

San Antonio leads Utah 1-0. Next: Wednesday at San Antonio

LA Clippers lead Memphis 1-0. Next: Wednesday at Memphis.

Oklahoma City leads Dallas 2-0. Next: Thursday at Dallas

————

What's your favorite color?

Tiger Woods declined to meet with the media this week, instead choosing to answer selected questions from fans on his Twitter and/or Facespace or whatever social media avenue he deemed worthy.

In truth, Woods should have embraced that idea long before this week. It would have been a great way to re-connect with a slew of fans that were estranged/outraged/perplexed after the off-the-course debacle that came to light around Thanksgiving 2009.

But for Woods to take questions just from the fans and skip out on his obligations to the guys and gals that work tirelessly to cover golf — and the media organizations that spend big coin sending them there — is at best weak and vindictive and more likely cowardly and petty.

For the better part of his decade of golf dominance from 1997-2008, a time frame in which he ascended to the pantheon of sports icons, there was talk that media types were intimidated and/or fearful of being cut out of the loop by Woods. He was that powerful in the sport, and that's never good.

After the wreck on Thanksgiving eve and the sordid details and stories and scandal that followed, Woods was buried from a lot of directions. Some could say it was over the top, but we don't think so considering Woods made a $1 billion and a large part of that was from sponsors who were selling his image and brand, which turned out to be as empty as Woods' major championship trophy case since then.

Now he turns to the fans — a group that has never been super high on his list. (And if they are why does he shout cuss words on the course and throw clubs at Augusta National?) Or is he trying to punish the media, fulfilling the fears from his reign of terror and tremendous golf? Plus, he gets to pick the 14 or so questions he's going to answer, so he can skip the temper issue, the club throwing stuff and anything else he doesn't want to address.

Hey, we think dude should start winning again before he should be the day-in, day-out topic on The Golf Channel, but everyone has to admit that Woods moves the needle on a mass-interest scale. Tiger's agent said this avenue of questions was about trying to reconnect to the fans, and that's all well and good. But if that's true, why not do both? And why make a big deal about the one for the fans? As Woods' biggest financial backer has always said, "Just Do It," rather than "Just Doing It so you can tell us about/Poke the media in the eye by Just Doing It."

It will be interesting to see how the golf media and the PGA Tour handle Woods' decision to skip his news conferences. Is it a matter of Tiger being Tiger, and what would they do if Phil had done this? Or what about Steve Stricker?

————

This and that

— OK, we discussed Warren Sapp last month. You remember Sapp, the former All-Pro defensive tackle who made more than $40 million playing football who declared bankruptcy protection and listed his more than 240 pairs of Air Jordans as one of his main assets? Well thankfully Sapp has found a new job to help him out of his financial crisis. Sapp is following in the illustrious legal robes of Judge Judy, Judge Wapner and more than likely Judge Elihu Smails and will wear a robe and disperse made-for-TV justice to a collection of heathens who want to have their 15 minutes of fame and settle which former boyfriend/girfriend owes the other money for what. The paths here are endless, although did you know that Judge Judy hauled in more than $45 million last year. Let's at least hope Sapp does not go over-the-top Smails-style and sentence boys younger than you to the gas chamber. He didn't want to do; he felt he owed it to them.

— We had our way-too-early ranking of the top 20 prospective draft possibilities for next year, and we left off a couple of names that should be there. As some of our Alabama readers rightfully noted, DJ Fluker and CJ Mosely will likely have first-round grades in the draft and all-world grades in the initial world. The biggest omission, though, was LSU safety Eric Reid, who is big, fast and likes to hit, and rumor has the NFL is fond of players like that.

— Did you see the Thunder-Mavs game last night? Give the OKC faithful their due; that's a group that shows up in large numbers. (And how they get them all to wear the same shirt is awesome. Kidding, kidding.)

— OK, it's official. We're on the Yu Darvish bandwagon. Dude is slap sick. He's 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA for the Rangers in five starts as a rookie. He fanned nine Blue Jays in seven innings Monday a 4-1 victory. Reportedly, the 6-foot-5 righty likes to warm-up throwing left-handed, too, (he says it keeps him balanced) and he can throw 85-88 mph left-handed. That's faster with his off-hand than Jamie Moyer. That's as fast with his off-hand as future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. Crazy. We're on-board the bandwagon. Heck, we'll even call it the Yu-Go.

————

Today's question

Would you trade places with Tiger Woods?

Seriously.

Beyond the nine-figure bank account and every creature comfort you can image, here's saying dude is wicked isolated and 90-percent of people in his circle are paid to be there.

He can't really go anywhere in public, and even if he's very-good-to-excellent at his day job, it's still not good enough for yahoos like the 5-at-10.

Would you trade places with Tiger Woods? We sure wouldn't.

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...

B.J. got a prominent mention in Tom Fornelli's Eye on College Football column at cbssports.com, noting he was drafted higher than much-ballyhooed (undrafted) Kellan Moore:

"One of the biggest shocks involved Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. There were six Boise State players selected in the draft -- only Alabama, Oklahoma and Georgia had more -- including two in the first round, and there were eleven quarterbacks drafted, but none of them were the quarterback that won 50 games during his four years of college ball.

Yet there was a quarterback named B.J. Coleman from Chattanooga who was taken in the seventh round. The difference between Coleman and Moore, aside from Moore's experience on big stages anyway? Coleman is 6-foot-3. Moore is only six-feet."

Fornelli also comments on a couple of Tennessee players.

In another story of local interest at the cbssports site, Tony Barnhart opines that The Vols are on the rise. Covers mostly the same points Patrick made yesterday, but Barnhart isn't coy about what "the wolf" is.

And once you finish looking at the cbs site, get right back here to the superior 5@10 talks-too-much.

May 1, 2012 at 10:21 a.m.
Livn4life said...

I'm hopeful for the Braves in May. We shall see. Tiger being Tiger is really sad. But he is really no different than when he was in the limelight. People just whine more now that he is not clobbering people. Honestly, I think it would be sad to be him. If he cares as little as he lets on, he must be so self-absorbed it is pathetic. All I can say in his favor is he does do some good charity work and for a time accomplished amazing feats in golfdom. His fans will do the TJBT(tigerjustbeingtiger)dance and go on believing that the next major will be where he shines again. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. How he is viewed overall in the world, changed forever a few years back. NBA playoffs are always exciting and who knows who will be at the heap top when it's all said and done. A word of advice to Mr. Stoudemare, "It's obvious dude, your fist can never put out the fire that is the Miami Heat right now. So chill and leave the fire extinguishers alone too."

May 1, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
Todd962 said...

What am I taking crazy pills? I feel like I am playing cards with my sister's kids. Why someone would find entertainment in watching the Honorable Judge Sapp dole out justice is beyond me. Are you really going to offer advice over financial squables when you lost millions of your own money? Your ability to make good decisions has been made public with listing your kicks as one of your main assets. Could he make the defendants pay out the judgements in shoes? This show will be a total loss to me unless they make him wear old parliament wigs. Are there going to wigs?

And I think I would trade lives with Tiger. I always said if I won a big jackpot I would build a Jurasic Park fence around my property to keep people out anyway , so I dont think the isolation would be so bad. And I like comma's in my net worth, I have one, I'd like some more, thats where swapping comes in.

May 1, 2012 at 11:28 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

The Vols have to be on the rise. They have everyone back and the schedule is much easier.

The record has to be better. That said, how much better they are as a football team will be interesting to see.

And that goof who thinks the only difference between BJ and Kellen Moore — other than Moore dominating the WAC and MWC — is height has never watched either of them throw. In sidearm terms, Moore has a squirt gun and BJ has a glock.

Livin(Large) —

Well-played indeed. We concur about Woods being alone in the Woods compound. Granted it's a very nice compound, and as Mr. 962 pointed out, adding a couple of commas in your net worth is a net gain. Even for the New Jersey Nets. (And side note: how bad a nickname is "Nets?" Wouldn't that be similar to the Dallas Goalposts in football or the Atlanta Bases.)

Mr. 962 —

Strong stuff on the Honorable Judge Sapp. Strong. And you know who is hacked he didn't think of this first? The Honorable Judge Chuck Barkley. He's sitting there thinking, "This is turrrible... I should've been the judge. Here comes the Chuck; here comes the Chuck. Man I even have a great theme song. Turrrible. Where's my MoonPie?"

— 5-at-10

May 1, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
chas9 said...

You're probably right that he hasn't seen BJ throw. Which model Glock do you think he's most like?

Here's proof that the women's basketball tide has turned. For years the Lady Vols program was the cradle of coaches. Kentucky and many others sought to upgrade their programs by hiring away Pat's assistants.

In a reversal of fortunes, Coach Holly Warlick (who's wearing big shoes these days) has hired away from the now very successful Kentucky associate head coach Kyra Elzy, who is responsible for the super recruits KY has reeled in lately. Elzy played on two national championship teams at TN, so it's hard to blame her for heading home.

May 1, 2012 at 12:17 p.m.
wcole777 said...

Great question! My answer, as someone who would love to be part of the generation to see, ostensibly the greatest golfer of all time shatter everyones records and like the great Frank Sinatra, do it his way, is no.

It's so easy to sit on the side and criticize his every move but I can't think of anyone in sports, as golf is based solely on the individual, who is more scrutinized on a week by week basis and not have a few reservations about calling his decisions selfish.

A man, no matter how above reality he may seem, is still a man.

After the kind of performance dude had at Augusta I can't think of one other player who shot the same score and we heard nothing about them. If Stricker missed the cut, or Phil, or Bubba for that matter, it would have have been no news after Friday. Tiger misses a cut and it's news for weeks.

The guy lives under serious media pressure, scutiny at all times and after one of the greatest falls I've seen in sports when his personal life came out for the first time ever, and not on a good note, the man seems to be putting his game and maybe even his world back together. I'm cutting him some slack but would not trade places.

I'm happy to be an observer and hope he starts playing more and gets back to a lot more talks with both his fans and the press.

May 1, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

It's hard to find someone with more pressure on her than Holly Warlick right now. Those are Bozo(x)Bigfoot(x)Shaq sized shoes.

We'll say BJ is a G17. Not sure if he's a Gen4 or not, but he has quality firepower but no over the top. You know? And they make a lot of Glocks in Smyrna, Ga. — home of Fatboy's Restaurant, Julia Roberts and the 5-at-10.

wc —

Great post, and there's no doubt Tiger operates under the brightest lights and most high-powered microscope in all of sports. And this side of the POTUS, Woods is in a global spotlight.

But that criticism is a two-way street, too. You rightly point out that when Tiger misses the cut, the fellows at CBS are talking about it during Sunday's broadcast and beyond. Stricker or Dufner or Harris English or any of those other guys who would not be news for missing the cut. While that seems a double standard in one respect, it's also a by-product of Tiger's fame, which is a by-product of his nine-figure endorsement contract. He can't really have it both ways, you know?

And some of the backlash may have been because there were a lot of us who wanted to watch him win 24, 25, 26 majors and do something untouchable. Maybe we feel cheated by all of his antics. Or even lied to, which of course is on us for putting far too many sports stars on pedestals that lofty.

So it goes. Fore.

— 5-at-10

May 1, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.
chas9 said...

I was thinking G17 also. I didn't know Glocks were made in Smyrna. Isn't that next to Marietta, where the city council required all citizens to own a firearm? It's starting to make more sense. And I'd guess the Johns Rocker and Smoltz live nearby. And what if Mrs. Tiger had had a Glock instead of a golf club that evening?

May 1, 2012 at 1:06 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Chas,

Thanks for the heads-up to that article. Looks like there's some clarity now into what the wolf is.

May Day Jay,

I saw several mocks for next year's draft that had Bray rated pretty high like you have him. That said, do you think that Bray is a better NFL prospect than B.J.? What can Bray do that B.J. can't do?

May 1, 2012 at 1:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Marietta is a suburb of Smyrna (or the other way around... who can remember). It was actually Kennesaw that passed a law that everyone had to own a firearm, but all of them are right there in Cobb County, arguably the most conservative county in the country. Yep, Newt's former district.

If Mrs. Tiger had a 9mm rather than a 9-iron, well, here's saying Tiger would have a hole in one at least.

Sit and Stew —

We meant to ask Downtown for his direct interpretation of the wolf. We'll get him to swing by and 'splain' it.

Bray has a big-time arm, A Ryan Mallett type arm. He's 6-6 and he's going to have more than two seasons of going against the best defenses in the country, so the speed of the game is not going to be that big of a jump. In fact, we're expecting things to slow down for Bray considerably this year.

By contrast, BJ played faster than his teammates and his opponents — almost to a level of ineffectiveness at times. He was that far ahead of everything around him for the most part, and that does not help prepare you for the super-warp speed level.

— 5-at-10

May 1, 2012 at 2:01 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Tenn Ring, Earl needs to parachute down here and kick Eldrick in the ass. As a publicist of no real note, I believe facing the media--no matter how painful--if he has the guts--would sooner rather than later go far to put the whole affair to bed.

If Woods wants to continue carrying this load stone to the course all he need do is keep on doing what's he's doing.

May 1, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

You're spot on. How many times are we going to see people try to lie or cover something up or spin something or duck it.

It only makes it worse... or worse yet, it only makes it a bigger story with more shelf life.

Pick a sport scandal of any note, Petrino, Paterno, Tiger, Tressel, what have you, and take a 10,000-foot look at it. Now ask yourself what would have happened if any of those four dudes had come clean as soon as the stuff started to hit the fan as opposed to trying to manipulate the situation?

Compare Andy Pettitte to Roger Clemens in the steroid thing. One admitted it, moved on and it's in the rearview. The other is trying to block testimony to Congress about his wife's buttocks.

Tiger is the poster child of the our "Maturation stops when sports greatness is realized" theory in which the age when a person comes to understand they are an elite athlete/actor/what have you is the level at which their maturation stops. Tiger started to know he was elite at the age of 10, so more times than not he acts like a 10 year-old. So it goes.

— 5-at-10

May 1, 2012 at 2:37 p.m.
wcole777 said...

I would say the contract put him in front of the entire world as the face of golf and being a prodigy at 3 years old put him in front of the contract. I'm going to agree with you we tend to look to figures like Tiger, especially when he looked untouchable on the course and might as well have walked on water as far as the public was concerned, as the role model that could not be shaken. It's a shame what happened but I can't back away from the fact that being on national television at 3 years old and knowing nothing but his craft his entire life, and highly recognized for it, can do much stranger things to folks than what we've seen with Tiger. I would assert Michael Jackson at this time. Everything is relative.

May 1, 2012 at 2:39 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

So is Judge Sapp gonna have a lip full of dip as he dispenses wisdom and justice from the bench (and I'm working on a Sapp getting benched joke, but it's not really formulating. The President ate the dog that ate my homework, however, is. It also works with the dog that ate my homework was tied to Gov. Romney's car. Or Clark Griswold's. Pond and a pool. Have I mixed too many references together?)

You know the answer to today's poll question, Sir 5. I could look at that stack of coins all day long. But if you can't look at yourself in the mirror honestly, is it worth it?

No. It isn't.

May 1, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.
chas9 said...

Say Hey May Day Jay--The AP is reporting that Reynaldo will play for Kevin O'Neill next year. Now what about that?

And the championship Cats visit the White House Friday. Reckon the POTUS will try to get his hook shot off against The Uniblocker?

May 1, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
deboman said...

The Nets…a nickname almost as boring as their newly released logo. I think Jay-Z is the one that came up with the logo, thought he billed as being a marketing genius. But hey, nothing says excitement more than a black and white basketball with a capital B in it. Woohoo.

So what is the over/under in how long Sapp lasts on the bench…Are we looking at Magic Johnson talk show time, XFL lifetime, or, dare I say it, longer???

Just when you thought that the Preds were down, they take it to another level. Trotz has suspended Radulov and one of the flying Kostitsyn brothers, Andrei, for violating team rules. Apparently the two were treating Saturday night like they were in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl and stayed out past curfew. Doesn’t help that they were shellacked in game 2 the next day. Not good news for a team that is trying to right the ship after two sub-par performances over the weekend. Preds better be careful or this series will be over before they know it.

May 1, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Triple7s —

Fair point, and the Michael Jackson comparison has some merit. It would be tough to be able to handle daily adult situations when you have had a lifetime of people waffling between kissing your tail and telling you how great your are.

Spy —

You know that you can never mix too many pop culture references here. Let's give this open a go.

Cletus, my good friend, you tell 'em sectionals of 33, when milk was a poor choice and men were men and the sheep were scared. Doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor. That boy is good... good and terrible. You're my boy Blue. C'mon we're streaking down to the quadraphonic blaupunkt, what you need is a curveball, huh? In the show everyone can hit the fastball. C'mon Ricky give 'em the heater. Long the Lama, big hitter. Let's all say hello to our new best friend and big toe, Fred "The Dorf" Dorfman. For real Clark, and remember, wait till Otis sees us, he loves us.

And if Sapp's not using Copenhagen, then he may get overturned on appeal.

9er —

As his alterego rapper SwiperBoy, he had a song that said something along the lines of "I won't leave you like Kiffin." Ooooppps.

The POTUS has a better chance of getting a pro-choice bill through the Senate than getting a baby hook over the Uniblocker.

Deboman —

We take full responsibility for dooming the Preds. That's on us. No excuses; we crashed the bandwagon.

Here's an idea for the marketing genius that is Jay-Z... Have Beyonce hold up the logo. As he has proven, everything looks better with Beyonce next to it.

Over/under on Sapp is either three shows (it got off to a less than sterling start since they reportedly had to pay audience members to sit through it) or something like 15 years. And there's no real in between.

— 5-at-10

May 1, 2012 at 3:50 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

How bout a cold one, 5? Don't cost nothin'. They love us! Otis!

You can't stop me! But I can. Have a seat.

Nice job on the reference blasts there, 5. You deserve a Fresca after that BP session. And I am gonna copyright the president ate the dog that ate my homework.

May 1, 2012 at 3:56 p.m.
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