published Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

5-at-10: Baseball, Bray, betting and birthdays

Gang, nice discussion Tuesday. Well-played. Remember Friday's mailbag and to keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

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

Baseball hodgepodge

The Braves are set to host St. Louis in the one-game wildcard showdown. Mr. Medlen report to the training room, Mr. Medlen report to the training room. The Cards are in after the Dodgers lost late last night. Stupid Dodgers.

Miguel Cabrera continued his silent assault on the first triple crown since unleaded gas become the norm. Cabrera went 2-for-3 Tuesday to raise his average to .331 and to extend his lead in the batting race to seven points over Mike Trout. He is one homer and 11 RBIs ahead of Josh Hamilton. How quiet has this been? Heck, there are a lot of baseball folks who think Trout deserves the AL MVP, even though Cabrera is likely to win the triple crown.

Adam Greenberg had the most enjoyable strike out in recent memory. Greenberg, the former Chicago Cubs player who had one big-league at-bat and was plunked in the melon and never made a return to the majors, got a second chance Tuesday. He fanned on three pitches against R.A. Dickey, but his 1,000-watt smile was unforgettable.

Speaking of R.A. Dickey, the former University of Tennessee hoss and NL Cy Young frontrunner, revealed he pitched almost all of the 2012 torn abdominal muscle that will require surgery in the coming days. Dickey had a 2.73 ERA, a 20-6 record for a bad Mets team, a mind-blowing 1.05 WHiP for a knuckleballer and is one tough son of a gun.

Going into the final day of the regular season, the Yankees have a one-game lead on the Orioles and the A's and Rangers are tied in the West. Oakland and Texas face each other tonight in a huge game — the winner gets into the AL divisional series; the loser has to play in the wildcard showdown. The Yankees have been the latest team on the receiving end of Booby Valentine's blessed gifts as a manager.

————

Bray debate

Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has a column in today's TFP sports section. You can read it here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/oct/03/letter-to-tennessees-bray-time-to-be-the-vols/.

We have believed since July that Tyler Bray has first-round NFL talent. We love the draft. You know this. On his first 2013 NFL draft big board, guru Mel Kiper Jr. had Bray listed as the second draft-eligible quarterback.

Bray's physical gifts are elite. Plus arm strength, plus release, better than average accuracy and pocket presence.

But the production has not matched the product. Bray has not delivered against the best — and we all know that quarterbacks get too much credit or blame depending on the outcome, but that's the nature of the beast and the blessing and curse of being a quarterback. Is that fair, probably not? Is it reality? Absolutely.

Winners write history in all walks of life, and it's the same for quarterbacks. Trent Dilfer is the remembered face of the journeyman QB because he won a Super Bowl. Despite his undeniable gifts and eye-popping stats, what's the first thing you think of when you hear Dan Marino's name —other than Isotoner gloves, of course?

So Tyler Bray now has passed the halfway point of his college career and his highlights are as jaw-dropping as the absence of a meaningful win from his resume is eye-popping.

What the future holds is unknown, which is a bit telling for a guy with first-round talent at the most important position in sports.

————

Silver lining

In the grand scheme of things, almost all of us can agree that the replacement refs were on par with New Coke and cole slaw on the scale of bad ideas.

Well, don't shovel that stuff to Gino DiFelice of Ontario. Mr. DiFelice won more than $725,000 on a $5 wager when he picked all 15 NFL games correctly, and the final win of that monster parlay was made possible by the atrocious Monday Night Football call that gave the Seahawks the win over the Packers.

The kicker here is DiFelice normally turns in two parlay sheets — which is brilliantly done by the Canadian lottery (and if you want to bring the Hope scholarships back into solid financial footing, find a way to get football parlays on the list of Tennessee lottery options). One sheet DiFelice does himself; one he lets his kids help. His sheet went 4-11; the kids-aided one went 15-0 and was worth almost three-quarters of a million bucks.

DiFelice said the final 90 seconds of that game was torture, and the video review seemed to last days.

————

This and that

— Orlando Magic forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis took to The Twittter to discuss the departure of stud center Dwight Howard. When asked about what the Magic will miss most from Howard, Davis tweeted Howard was a, "A great farter. He can fart. He can fart loud -- the loudest farts. Silent farts." Sounds like Howard was a five-tool tooter, and it's stunning how he never led them to a title with that kind of ability.

— Make it stop. Mike McQueary is suing Penn State in a whistle-blower lawsuit that is reportedly seeking millions of dollars in damages. Mike, Mike, Mike. You're the one that saw what you saw in the shower, and you're the one that has to answer the whispering questions inside your soul about whether you did or did not do enough. Your demons are yours, guy.

— Did anyone watch the 30-for-30 "Broke" last night? We watched some of it and was underwhelmed. It dealt with a tough subject for athletes to talk about — their personal shortcomings — but far too much of the millions squandered were blamed on outside parties. Other than Andre Rison, and his B-O-S-S sunglasses, there was not enough of the behind the scenes story of financial irresponsibility. (And granted, a part of our underwhelm-ment is because we have such high expectations for all of the 30-for-30 series. So it goes.)

————

Today's question

A childhood spent reading the backs of baseball cards leaves you with a strange wealth of knowledge. Among them, is the fact we know that Dave Winfield, Dennis Eckersley and Brian Downing were born on this day. So it goes.

Then it dawned on us, that Winfield may be the most underrated total athlete of our lifetime. Dude was drafted by in three sports — by the Padres in baseball, the Vikings in football and the Hawks in hoops — out of the University of Minnesota.

In fact, in the modern era, our Rushmore of best all-around athletes would be Bo, Deion, Winfield and Jordan. That's pretty stout company.

What's your Rushmore of all-around athletes since 1970?

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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chas9 said...

Stupid Dodgers indeed.

OK, great. The Vols have Kenny Chesney. Big freaking' deal.

Kentucky has Jay-Z, so roc la family. And Drake is so tight with the Cats he got a 2012 championship ring.

Which is why when the Harrison twins announce their intentions tomorrow, they'll probably be putting blue and white caps on their heads. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

Speaking of lawsuits, what do you know about the one filed by the ex-Lady Vols media director?

October 3, 2012 at 10:12 a.m.

Jay, who in pre-season viewed the UT v. Florida and UGA games as possible toss-ups?

Most sane people were pretty confident with a 3-2 record coming out of September with the negavols having only NCSU as a toss-up.

October 3, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

UK's hoops connections with the modern hip-hop community is quite fetching.

The Harrison twins? You mean George and Rex?

BTG —

Agree that standing toe-to-toe with Georgia is a moral win for the Vols.

That said, before the season, Florida's questions on offense left that game as a toss-up in August — especially considering the game was in Knoxville.

In retrospect, Florida is better than we thought, and 3-2 is not terrible. Eight wins is still within grasp.

— 5-at-10

October 3, 2012 at 10:28 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Oh happy day. The Bobby V era (or error) ends today. Like the dog in the Far Side cartoon hiding behind the dryer door with a "cat fud" sign pointing toward the open dryer and the cat sticking his head in ...

"Please. Oh, please."

October 3, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
Todd962 said...

I like "five-tool tooter" and what I believe to have heard as a "five-tool Richard head" in reference to Dez Bryant on the radio yesterday. FTRH is definitely going into my brain vault for later use.

What I took away from the 30-for-30 last night is that if I ever hit it big enough to have investment cash, I am going to open a night club in a large metropolis with dancers and the only beverages to be served are Dom and Louis. If you build it, they will come....and spend lavishly.

The DiFelice story of luck reminds me of how my "Battle Royale Bracket" always does better than my regular pick sheet in March Madness. You just choose teams based off if their mascots were engaged in a fight to the death. Poor Stanford never makes it far...

We like your Rushmore but may replace Jordan with Charlie Ward. Dude won the Heisman and a few other major offensive college football awards and then went on to a NBA career. And what is your restrictions to the modern era? Cause Bob Hayes won a couple Olympic medals to go with his professional football career. Pretty cool resume. Gold medals are sweet.

October 3, 2012 at 11:20 a.m.
chas9 said...

The Vols will likely win seven, which is what sensible folk thought all along. The eight to ten crowd were Dr. B and a few other dreamers. And DD comes back next year, to the dismay of those who expect the team to contend for the national championship every year.

October 3, 2012 at 11:22 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Jordan on Rushmore??? He was a less than mediocre baseball player...Bo, Neon, and Winfield yes, MJ NO WAY, replace him with Herschel Walker

October 3, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Eight wins was the expectation preseason for many Vol fans. NCSU and UF were toss-ups preseason.

Losing just twice the rest of the way will be tough (three ranked teams in the next three games). Then again, nine isn't out of the question (beat Mississippi State, and then either stun Alabama at home or win at South Carolina).

Winning 7 or 8 is the most likely result at this point. The Tennessee-Mississippi State game next week is a true toss-up game. How do Vol fans feel coming out of September? Not any more sure of how the season is going to go than before the NCSU game if you ask me....

October 3, 2012 at 11:40 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Speaking for every non-Red Sox fan we know, the end of the Booby Valentine era is a sad day. Not only did he marginalize the Red Sox — and one of the three most irritating fan bases in pro sports — when he gets fired, he's going to return to ESPN and then he's everyone's problem again.

Think about the kids.

962 —

We down with that. A FTRH (a five-tool Richard Head), works wonders for us and can make the acronym lexicon.

We can see Charlie Ward. We give huge bonus points for being elite in multiple sports. Bullet Bob is pre-modern era.

9er —

We predicted eight wins in August, and we'll stand by that guess.

OG —

Jordan > Herschel. Sorry. Jordan was the best ever in his sport. Herschel was the best ever in his conference. The list was all-around athlete, not pure athlete.

We'd be willing to listen to Ward or even an Eric Heiden — gold medal in speed skating and cycling — though.

Stuck —

Hard to see nine without some major injuries for the opponents and/or they play lights-out against USC. Sorry, Bama is not happening.

— 5-at-10

October 3, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
droolyvolfan said...

Modern Rushmore athletes...mark me down for-- Bo, Neon Deion, Dave and Brian Jordan.

October 3, 2012 at 12:04 p.m.
dawg747 said...

10 Cup: Great show today. Was listening to a SEC talk show on the radio the other night and one of the guys on there said he would take Bray in the Pros as long as he did not have to play the last 2 to 3 minutes of a tight game. Shout out to Todd962: Funny you should mention Charlie Ward and Bob Hayes back to back. In high school Charlie Wards dad was one of my coaches and he went to school with Bob Hayes at FAMU and they were best friends. As for the Mount Rushmore. I would have Winfield, Bo and Charlie Ward Jr. plus Stan Rome out of Valdosta. Dude was a great football and basketball player that went to Clemson to play basketball and was drafted in basketball and football after college. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted him in the 11th round in 1979 and the Clevland Cavaliers drafted him in the 4th round of the 1978 draft. 10 Cup WE KNOW YOU LIKE THE DRAFT!!

October 3, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - Like Todd962 I too watched the ESPN 30-for-30 last night, and my observation is that it's a sad tale, but it appears that Andre "Bad Moon" Rison had a lot of fun with no apparent regrets. I'd invest in 962's club, but my question (not necessarily for the mailbag) is...would you rather be the player or in the posse?

October 3, 2012 at 12:45 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, Bray consistently resides in my dog house, and you know this, since the golf ball incident. Putting his brushes with the law aside, the young man still found a way to distinguish himself by proclaiming to the press and Vol Nation he did not watch the second half of the Florida game.

Bray reminds of another head case with an even better arm, Jeff George.

drooly, sign me up for some Sanders.

October 3, 2012 at 12:48 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Drooly —

Brian Jordan is a great call for a guy that was a good baseball player and a pro bowl-caliber safety.

747 —

Stan Rome is the dad of current UGA TE Jay Rome, no?

Thanks for the kind words as always.

Sportsfan —

Yes, we believe Bad Moon has some stories from his Glory Days that not even Springsteen could work into a song. T.I. might could rap about it, but only on the "Explicit Content" version of the CD.

Player. Always be the player. And yes, if you can survive the first six months, 962's club would print money.

FE to the C —

Bray could be Jeff George. He could be way worse than that (JaMarcus Russell) or way better than that (Joe Flacco).

And for our money, no one had more of a complete set of physical quarterback tools than George. Arguably in the top five in each of the big physical categories: Arm strength (cannon); accuracy (could throw it through a Cheerio); release (every bit as quick, if not quicker than Marino).

— 5-at-10

October 3, 2012 at 1:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

My take heading into last week was that Georgia was the #2 team in the country behind Alabama, and that there was not a tougher place to play left on the schedule than Athens. Having a chance for the Vols to win that game late makes me think that there is no game left on their schedule they CAN'T win. Not that they will win every game, but they could. Also, as I read things nationally, lots of people who are not Vols fans have listed Tennessee as one of the games Alabama is most likely to lose other than LSU on their schedule, due to going to Neyland to play. Is it likely? No way. But I guess the question is, who are they more likely to lose to? At Missouri, at Tennessee, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, or Auburn? I'd say that Missouri and Tennessee are probably the two most likely losses of that bunch, because as good as Texas A&M and Mississippi State could be, I'm don't think they can walk into Tuscaloosa and win. Regardless, before the year, I said anywhere from five wins to ten wins for the Vols. Now, I'm saying anywhere from five to nine.

October 3, 2012 at 1:49 p.m.
chas9 said...

Stuck everlasting--Love ya man, but The Red Elephants will trample the juicy orange fruit by 21. And it's not a very interesting question because Bammer won't lose to any of those teams.

October 3, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Everyone's welcome at Todd's Boom Boom Room. It's where the beer flows like wine and the women instinctively flock to you like the salmon of Capistrano. I desperately wanted the credits of the 30-for-30 last night to be a watermarked scrolling image of Warren Sapps shoe inventory. It would have been a nice touch to the absurdity of their spending.

Jay, will you make those bad men stop being mean to Weeds? One man suggested he wore his bottom as a hat. Tough crowd.

October 3, 2012 at 4:12 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

We appreciate your passion and love of possibilities and numbers. But there's no formula that can make us think Tennessee's going to beat Alabama.

9er —

Concur.

962 —

Still contend that the Broke episode was lacking at its core without discussing Iverson. And Sapp's shoe obsession is a nice call. (Back story: Sapp hit hard times with legal claims against his former estate, and one of the more prominent things on the plus side of his ledger was like five-figures with Air Jordans.

And yes, the Weed Eaters are out in full force. We saw the bottom top hat suggestion. We also saw a fellow do an insulting Wheel of Fortune routine in which Vanna had turn six insulting letters (not that there's anything wrong with that).

— 5-at-10

October 3, 2012 at 4:56 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, Jeff George did make Raider slacker James Jett look good.

October 3, 2012 at 6:10 p.m.
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