published Friday, May 25th, 2012

5-at-10: Friday mailbag

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

From CelticVol

Hey 5@10,

A month ago our church started up a softball team and I was asked to join. The ages of our team range from 18 to 55 with the majority of the team being older than 35. We’re 3 games in and we have lost our first baseman to a torn calf muscle. Our centerfielder has had to be helped off the field with a shoulder injury. Our second baseman left a game with a hamstring injury. Our catcher totally missed a throw from third that hit nothing but solid leg bone and now can barely walk. I’m hobbling around due to a pulled left quad on my first at bat on the first play of our second game.

Our record is 0-3. We have gotten beat by 1, 16, and 10. At what point do you tell yourself, ‘Enough is enough’ and pack up the glove and call it a career?

C-Vol,

Short-answer: Never give in. You make someone else say "Uh, why don't we take a break." If you don't have enough to field a team so be it, but take every step to finish the season. Bagel for the year is better than 0-3 and surrendering.

But since this is the 5-at-10, and we're broadcasting live from the "Talks too much" studios, the short answer is not our style.

(Quick side note: When we played a bunch of softball, we played on a cracker-jack church team one year that had a "No Pray, No Play" rule.)

A few years ago the TFP sports department put together a softball team that played doubleheaders on Wednesday nights. It's tough for sports reporters to play night games because that's when most of the work gets done.

Anyhoo, we had a similar demographic to you C-Vol, and we split the first doubleheader. Well, the entire team strained/pulled quads during opening night. Everyone was walking/running stiff legged like Frankenstein. (To make matters worse we played a team of guys who all were 65-plus the next night, and they thought we were making fun of them. Not good times.)

After the pulled muscles faded and the gang realized the levels to which we could compete, it was a lot of fun.

In fact, we miss it now — when we say we played a lot of softball, we mean A LOT of softball — both on the competitive level and the casual level.

And barring any serious injury, here's saying the experience will be like summer camp for the entire team — right now it seems like a struggle but come September when you and the boys are kickin' back Co-Colas, the only memories will be your home run or some dude throwing out a guy at the plate.

————

From Jonathan M. Cook, via Dallas

Hey Jay,

I know you're stoked over the "100 days until kickoff time in Tennessee". However, because I live in a city with a battle-hardened baseball team, I'm in no major rush. But I have to keep the 5 and 10 honest if I think they're starting to get too much into the Orange Crush and forget "Oh wait, there's that other team."

So what's 5 and 10's take on Dean Haynes or more importantly, Georgia transfer Derrick Lott? It's a well-known fact they will have to earn game time but how much of a serious impact will they be this year? As much as I would love for the Mocs play in my back yard which I call the Signal Mountain of Dallas, I will just be happy see them take Appy State and finally tear them up.

And while I'm at it — shameless plug — everyone, get your posteriors in gear and actually give these boys some love. I want to see butts in the seats in my streaming video. We get both Appy and Georgia Southern at home this year. No More Excuses!!

Mr. Cook,

Completely fair question, and while we did make mention to the Vols start date — it's 14 weeks from today, gang — let's discuss some Mocs football.

As for your question, we think each will pay huge, Huge, HUGE dividends.

From early indications, it seems Haynes, the former Northwest Whitfield star who is coming to UTC from N.C. State, will get a shot at safety. We know the kid is supremely talented on each side — we can remember watching him have success in the ACC with the ball in his hands a couple of years ago — and will contribute. Dude is a player.

As for Lott, there's a lot to like. He gives the Mocs multiple 300-pound options at defensive tackle, a luxury normally afforded SEC programs rather than SoCon programs. Even though he did not see a lot of action on the field, Georgia coach Mark Richt by most accounts was disappointed that Lott was leaving, so that at least speaks well of his personality and contributions to the program beyond the field.

Plus, unlike Haynes or even B.J. Coleman, Lott's not a local kid looking to transfer and picked the program closest to home. That actually speaks well of coach Russ Huesman and what the Mocs have been able to do. When you are getting former four-star recruits from SEC programs that the coaches are trying to keep, well, those seem to be the ones that can make the biggest differences.

We'll say this about the two transfers: We believe they will be far closer to Coleman levels of contributions than say the contributions of Chris Donald, the former UT defensive end who was forced to give up football because of injuries.

Thanks for keeping us honest, and say hello to J.R., Bobby and the rest of the Ewing crew out in Dallas. (There is no way we can overstate our excitement for the upcoming "Dallas" 2.0 TV show.)

————

From SteelerFan

Been a while since I submitted a question and this one is off the path a little bit.

Knowing all of the love for college football — and high school football for that matter — how can you justify the decision for the three biggest newspapers in Alabama to go three days a week?

SteelerFan,

Thursday was a sad day indeed since the Newhouse chain decided that the Mobile Press Register, the Birmingham News and the Huntsville Times — and the New Orleans Times Picayune — would publish on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

As for your question, it's hard to see the logic. It seems like the first step to being an entirely online operation, especially for the papers in Alabama.

We can make an argument that there are few states that have a more universal topic than Alabama does with the Iron Bowl (the Alabama/Auburn football rivalry). Everyone in the state has a view on that subject. Period. And now, on Saturdays in the fall, there is now Gameday stuff. No high school football coverage. Cuh-razy.

We have to believe they had a room full of numbers crunchers look at every other option before this one. This is not a redesign or taking away stock reports or blending sections a few days a week. This is so permanent and foreboding that we're not offering anything other than our condolences to the great professionals that work there and the folks that love those papers.

That said, it's staggering to think there won't be a Saturday Birmingham News this fall.

Staggering. And sad.

————

From Jefe

I see you tried to sneak a contest by me. You know I am the Kelly Leak, the Jimmy Chitwood, the Roy Hobbs of 5@10 contests, right?

OK, that's technically a question but not the one I had planned.

Here we go — are the Celtics shot or is there one more bullet in the chamber?

Thanks and you all know I'm going to win, right? (That's actually three questions for the mailbag. Sorry.)

Jefe —

  • photo
    IndyCar driver Rubens Barrichello, of Brazil, responds to a question during media day for IndyCar's Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday, May 24, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

First for the contest, here are the rules: We need an Indy 500 driver, a Coca-Cola 600 driver and a horse in the Belmont. We'll add together each finish and low total wins (perfect score would be 3 — 1 point for first place in each race). Since we have to have the submissions by Sunday morning, if you submit a horse that pulls out next week, you can replace them.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And we're thinking about some primo tickets as the prize — maybe even some NASCAR passes for Atlanta this Labor Day.

Here's who is entered (and we're going to try to run down some of the other media members here in town — yes, this mean you, Quake, Dr. B — he's a doctor after all — Cowboys Joe, Goforth, Keith Cawley and the rest of you, including the TFPers that want to play):

BlueOval — Will Power/Matt Kenseth/I'll Have Another

StuckinKent —Helio Castroneves/Jimmie Johnson/I'll Have Another

McPell — Tony Kanaan/Matt Kenseth/Bodemeister

Todd962 — Scott Dixon/Tony Stewart/I'll Have Another

Jefe — Franchetti/Brad Keselowski/I'll Have Another)

(We have a slew of others to include in the e-mail but we're running late right now. And if you have not entered, why have you not entered? As Sen. John Blutarsky once noted, "It don't cost nothing.")

As for the Cs, well, we think they have one more shot, but it has to be now. In fact, the only reason they are still standing is because the Bulls lost Rose and Noah in the series against Philly. So the time is now for the Cs and the Big Three. And, while Miami would certainly be the favorites, we like the matchup with the Heatles, especially if Bosh misses most of the series.

————

From PDavi

  • photo
    Orlando Magic's Shaquille O'Neal dunks the ball and comes down on Denver Nuggets' Dikembe Mutombo during action at the Orlando Arena Tuesday Feb. 13, 1996. Orlando defeated Denver, 121-93.(AP Photo/Steve Simoneau)

Have to say that we agree that GM Dr. Shaq O'Neal would be fun to watch. Who doesn't love a 7-foot-plus guy who happily answers to Kazaam?

It seems more than a little bit surprising, though, and that thought got us wondering. Oh wise 5 at 10, who do you think are the least likely former star athletes who would fill the following positions:

Star baseball player that becomes a manager:

Star basketball player that becomes a coach:

Star football player that becomes a head coach:

Star athlete in any sport who becomes a GM:

Thanks and you still talk too much.

Wow, this is a great question, and one that we'd like to open to the group.

There are two groups of professional athletes that struggle in the transition to coach/GM. Super-duper stars rarely can make the transition (Larry Bird appears to be the exception) because they were able to perform their sport at such an elite level that it's difficult to understand why everyone can't perform at a level approaching great. We'll call this the MJ group.

The other group is the freakish athletes/nutbars who become as infamous as they are famous. We'll call this the Rodman group.

In almost every case, neither make good front office types and we thought we'd give both for each of PDavi's questions. Here goes, and feel free to add any of your thoughts:

Star baseball player that becomes a manager:

MJ group: Manny Ramirez

Rodman group: Manny Ramirez

Star basketball player that becomes a coach:

MJ group: Kobe Bryant

Rodman group: Joakim Noah

Star football player that becomes a head coach:

MJ group: Tom Brady

Rodman group: James Harrison

Star athlete in any sport who becomes a GM:

MJ group: Roger Clemens

Rodman group: Metta World Peace

Gang, feel free to share on any and all of these, plus don't forget your Trifecta entries. And as we told Mr. 962 yesterday, as we approach this Memorial Day, let's pretend the World's Most Interesting Man was also on "Hill Street Blues" — "Stay thirsty my friends and let's be careful out there."

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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jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

OK- here's my question for you.

Where does Peyton Manning fit into this discussion? Is he an MJ Group or a Larry the Legend Group? I think there's no doubt he tries coaching somewhere at some point (many of my family members insisted last year that he was going to retire, Dooley was going to be fired, and he was going to take Dooley's place for this season- I thought they might need to lay off whatever it was that was making them delusional). How do you think he fares? He could be highly successful- then again, MJ, Magic Johnson, and Ted Williams don't have the best winning percentages.

May 25, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

We waffled back and forth on Manning.

Pros about being a great coach:

Dude is a tireless worker, is always prepared and watches more film than Siskel and Ebert combined

Cons

Dude is working on a separate level. He's a football savant, and sometimes for folks like that, they can understand it perfectly but can't communicate it properly.

Plus, we've always thought Manning will be the next Madden-type personality in the announcers' booth.

We could accept Manning in either the Bird or MJ group, but remember Bird's success has been as a GM. If Manning decided to coach and had success, he'd be far and away the most accomplished player to succeed as a head coach. Right now the two most accomplished players who appear to be good coaches are who? Don Mattingly and Jim Harbaugh?

— 5-at-10

May 25, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

You are ignoring Bird's career as a head coach:

1997-98- Lost in conference finals, 58-24 regular season, 10-6 playoffs. 1998-99- Lost in conference finals, 33-17 regular season, 9-4 playoffs. 1999-00- Lost in NBA Finals, 56-26 regular season, 13-10 playoffs.

147-67 (.687 winning percentage) in regular season, 32-20 (.615 winning percentage) in the playoffs.

Three years, three times in the conference finals, one NBA Finals appearance. One NBA Coach of the Year Award.

I don't see how you can say that Bird was not successful as a head coach.

He's been successful as an executive as well.

But your point is spot on. In fact, the wikipedia article said that Bird was the only player to ever win the MVP Award and the Coach of the Year Award. So, no other basketball player, and he's won the Executive of the Year Award on top of that. So, no one reaches his caliber.

May 25, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

We stand corrected. Maybe his success as a GM faded our memory of his success as a coach.

He is on a different plane.

The only other coach we can think of from the big three sports that has an MVP and a coach of the year award is Joe Torre.

— 5-at-10

May 25, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Put me down for the following: Castroneves- Indy 500 Harvick- Coca-Cola 600 I'll Have Another- Belmont

May 25, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Trifecta entry update (deadline is Sunday at 9 a.m.)

Dawg747 — Castroneves/Harvick/I'll Have Another

BlueOval — Will Power/Matt Kenseth/I'll Have Another

StuckinKent —Helio Castroneves/Jimmie Johnson/I'll Have Another

McPell — Tony Kanaan/Matt Kenseth/Bodemeister

Todd962 — Scott Dixon/Tony Stewart/I'll Have Another

Jefe — Franchetti/Brad Keselowski/I'll Have Another

5-at-10 — Andretti/Stewart/I'll Have Another

Mrs. 5-at-10 — Power/Earnhardt Jr./I'll Have Another

OTWatcher — Kanaan/Johnson/Bodemeister

ThatIDoKnow — Ryan Hunter-Reay/Hamlin/Union Rags

Fred — Castroneves/Edwards/Dullahan

33wannabe — Rahal/Biffle/I'll Have Another

(More to come...)

May 25, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay, I gave up semi-competitive softball years ago because I hurt too much after each game, which makes me appreciate what Chipper Jones is doing now as a 40 year old professional ball player. The physical toll he has endured with the ability to still play at the professional level is HOF worthy...

May 25, 2012 at 12:50 p.m.
deboman said...

Ahh softball. Nothing quite like the pain of back spasms induced by swinging for the fences. I have to say that I have seen more people hobble off a softball field than I have seen carried off the ice during beer league hockey games. Either way, I have agree with sportsfan and give kudos to any athlete who’s career remains productive while pushing the golden years of their 40’s.

I’ll throw my hat in the ring for the contest. I’ll go for H Castroneves @ Indy, D Hamlin @ Charlotte, and Union Rags @ Belmont.

May 25, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Other great players who had some success as head coaches - Lenny Wilkens and KC Jones (yeah, yeah, yeah, how hard is it to coach a team that has Bird, McHale and The Chief. I got it.)

Even Ted Williams, who knew and could talk hitting better than anyone, wasn't a success as a manager. Gretzky was no great shakes as a coach. Mario Lemieux, on the other hand, has been a tremendous owner of the Penguins (probably could still skate a few shifts, especially on the power play. I watched Mario Lemieux, before his first retirement, get two goals and three assists and hit the crossbar on another shot in his hometown of Montreal. And the place went bonkers.)

Hey, Jerry Sloan may come out of retirement to coach again and if memory serves me correctly, he was a pretty fair player in his day. So was Tommy Heinsohn.

May 25, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

You know, 5, I just recounted the story I once heard to someone in my office about the day some slick-talking fool once got ACC credentials with a winning smile and a cable bill and that's it.

May 25, 2012 at 3:50 p.m.
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