published Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

5-at-10: Sports headlines in 1980s music song titles

Hey, remember the Friday mailbag. We're still on the jury duty watch all week but we'll keep a better eye on the happenings around the camp fire today.

From the "Talks too much" studios, looking at the categories of today, let's have an 1980s music dance party (you know we love a theme show):

Love Shaq baby

  • 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)

The Lakers retired Shaquille O'Neal's jersey Tuesday night. Can you dig it?

Shaq was many things. His larger-than-life personality transcended the NBA. His larger-than-life physicality transcended the game. His larger-than-life elephant in the room — dude was the strongest dunking and worst shooting Hall of Famer of all time and shot better from the field (58 percent for his career) than the foul line (52.7 percent) — at times transcended his greatness.

All told, Shaq won four titles — three with the Lakers and Kobe Bryant before the clashing egos forced the Lakers to send O'Neal to Miami in 2004 — led the league in scoring twice and was the league MVP in 1999-2000.

The Lakers retired his No. 34 — he's the ninth Lakers player to have their number retired and Kobe, who not surprisingly posted a triple-double last night after Shaq's ceremony will be the 10th whenever he hangs it up — and deservedly so.

But where would you rank Shaq all-time? He's not in the elite echelon of centers, in the rarified air of Kareem, Wilt and Russell.

Is he in the next category with Hakeem and Mikan and Moses Malone? We're not so sure. Shaq was a physical monster, a 7-foot-1, 300-pound-plus athlete who controlled the paint. But the fact that he could not make a free throw made him a liability in the fourth quarter, and if you can't be on the floor in the final minutes of an NBA game, when every contest is ultimately decided, can you be in the conversation of the best all-time?

And why was that tin roof rusted?


Yu, Yu got what we need

Yu Darvish took a perfect game into the ninth. It was foiled with a 22-bounce single to center that went through Darvish's 5-hole (between his legs).

In his first start of the season, Darvish got 26 consecutive hitters out and struck out 14. And amazingly, his performance was more dominating than that.

Before the ground-ball-with-eyes single, Darvish had allowed one ball to leave the infield. That friends is the definition of overpowering.

With Darvish, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg and some of the other starting pitchers in the game today, there's a threat to be a no-hitter almost any day of the week.

In fact, we'll say the game is stacked with as many dominating starting pitchers as any time since the late 1970s when Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Ron Guidry and J.R. Richard were at the height of their powers.

And you say he's just a friend.


We're not going to take it

Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice is in hot water. Boiling hot in fact. (Get it? Rice.... boiling water... where's Uncle Ben? Wow, tough room.)

Where were we? Oh yes, Mr. Rice.

ESPN showed video of Rice flinging basketballs and insults and what have you around at his team during practices before the season. The Rutgers athletic department officials knew of this and suspended Rice for three games in November. Now, after the evidence has gone public, Rutgers officials are reviewing the incident to determine if Rice should be fired.

Should he be fired?

Well on the merits of the tape, yes, he probably should. And he likely will.

But let's take a step back.

This is not to defend Rice's actions. They were stupid and fireable and offensive. Plus, they are clearly out-of-bounds to what is acceptable today.

But how is this different from the tired act Bobby Knight got away with for decades? Knight was a staggering bully on all fronts but got away with it. Different time, and maybe that's enough of a reason why Knight was viewed differently, but if Rice's actions deserve termination — and we believe they do — then do we need to re-examine Knight's legacy? Maybe the times change and allowances were given then, but were those lifetime passes?

Secondly, if this was not fireable back then, why is it fireable today? Because it got out? If that's the case, then the AD needs to be handed a pink slip next.

If the Rutgers AD thought they could keep this quiet, well, then he's got no BID-ness leading anything more complex than T-ball practice. (Side note: Leading T-Ball practice is harder than it looks.)

Twisted sister indeed.


This and that

— Another one bites the dust. Scratch one name of the UTC wish list. Lots of folks asked about or seemed intrigued about the possibility of Craig Neal replacing John Shulman on the Mocs bench. Neal was named as the head coach at New Mexico, getting promoted after former UNM coach Steve Alford took the UCLA job.

— Don't you forget about me. Hey, that sounds like Phillip Fulmer's intro music. So, Coach Fulmer, the former Vols coach whose resume gets better and better with each passing UT football season, has accepted a job with ETSU to help restart football. Great move by ETSU, considering the free pub they receive from the hire and the experience Fulmer brings. And here's saying the early motto for the Bucs will be either "work like heck" or "watch the film."

— Patience. The Chattanooga Lookouts start this week and the roster — especially super prospect Yasiel Puig — looks impressive as our all-around ace David Paschall tells us here. We know this, if you get athletic comparisons to Bo Jackson, then you get the 5-at-10 seal of approval. (Side note: Love G-n-R's "Patience" then and now. Makes us think of spring break our senior year in high school. Good times.)

— Maneater. Mark Cuban says he'd give Baylor All-American Brittney Griner a chance with the Dallas Mavericks. OK. She'd last about 12 seconds and get dunked on 12 ways from Tuesday. She may be the greatest player in women's history but in the NBA? PUH-lease, and even someone who wears their sunglasses at night can see that. (Yes, that was a double-play with a Hall-n-Oats start and a Corey Hart finish. Things can only get better... Howard Jones. Are you Too Shy to appreciate this? Are you not Tempted to play along? Are these jokes Missing You? Don't, Don't You Want Me to keep this up? Are we Dancing With Myself here? Seriously, it's The Reflex. And it feels like Home Sweet Home. Think we'll stop now and pour a Brass Monkey... That funky monkey.)


Today's question

We'll go quick answer today:

Favorite 1980s song? (Don't over think it. When we said 1980s song, what was the first one that came to your head? Share.)

Current big league pitcher with the best stuff? We'll start with Verlander, but Yu is right there. Discuss.

Is Shaq a top-five all-time center?

Discuss, and don't forget the mailbag.

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 ...

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.
titanic said...

Verlander for me too. I have a suspicion that it will be changed to Strasburg by the end of the year. Hate that being a Johnny Bravo. Griner is tall, that is all. I don't think she belongs with Candace Parker and a few others. Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners.

April 3, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

"Leading T-Ball practice is harder than it looks."

Leading a T-Ball practice is worse than trying to teach ants to roller skate. I speak from experience and the stories would take too long to type but anyone who has ever done it knows them already.

April 3, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.
chas9 said...

In the how great is Shaq category, give him extra points for his media savvy. Don't know much about the pro game, but I loved the big guy at LS&U. And I think he, Dale Brown, and the Bayou Bengals were shafted when the thug Carlos Groves tackled him and rode his back in the most blatant intentional foul ever, followed by more LS&U players than UT players being ejected, and having to play UK the next day minus Shaq. Went to a basketball game and a Roadhouse movie broke out.

JMC must get some props for prophetically screaming "Yuuuuuuuuu!" yesterday, but face it. He couldn't get the job done.

From the video clips, Rutgers' fortified Rice looks like he's too temperamental to coach our scholar-athletes. My gut feeling is he needs to go. But I get nervous about judging anybody based on short video clips (which can be selectively edited). What if you were a coach who, like Coach Cal this year, has a squad who don't respond to your pleading with them to be tougher? I'm not sure you toughen up kids with words. Maybe he was trying to get them fired up enough to get as physical as you have to be to win at the sport.

Though the women's game is more physical than it used to be, it's nowhere near as physical as the men's game, which is one of several reasons why Long, Tall Sally Griner in the NBA is a sick joke. A little gust of Wind Beneath Her Wings and she'd float away. (But she'll be great in the WNBA.)

UK's 2013-14 team will be Jammin' in this evening's McDonald's game, after which we Wildcats will sing Don't Worry, Be Happy.

April 3, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

First things first JG...ESPN is taking the "high road" in this, and suddenly sports reporters around the world are jumping on the bandwagon...Some of Rice's behavior was deplorable, and on the surface would justify the firing...that being said for any and I mean ANY reporter to take the holier than thou attitude is as repulsive as some of Rice's actions...I have been at many many many college practices, and you will hear locker room language and for any reporter to act as if they haven't would justify THEIR termination...SO LET IT BE WRITTEN

Shaq could not hold a water bottle for the big three...he is however at the second tier with Malone, etc...Props to him on the number being retired...

Best stuff...Verlander and the rest way one close

Best song of the 80's and I am the musical begins and ends with The first thought was U2 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

April 3, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...


I almost missed the game last night because I thought yesterday was the 1:40 afternoon game (which is actually today). If not for my friend's Facebook updates, I would have missed it. Luckily, from a glass half full perspective, I was able to tune in at the top of the fifth.

Had Yu pulled it off last night, he would have been the first Ranger since Kenny Rogers (the baseball player; not the country singer at the [insert Ten-Ring Golden Corral burn here]) did so in 1994. He would also have been only the sixth pitcher in franchise history to do a no-hitter. So yeah, OUCH-standing to say the least.

The only other cool highlight was seeing Elvis hit that triple and Kinsler's HR which "barely" made the foul-fair line.

Aside from that, I get paid on Friday. Still decided on what day will be my first Ranger's game of the new season. Ya'll can have your Turner Field. :P

April 3, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

In other baseball news-

I am soo Dallanoogan, the 5 at 10 knows this. While I have yet to attend a Frisco Roughriders (The Chattanooga Lookouts of Dallas) game, if we had a Warp Zone pipe from Big D to the 'Noog, I'd use it to check out this Yasiel Puig that's on the roster. Having seen one superstar in a Lookouts jersey (Adam Dunn), I would like to have gone two for two.

Either that or a Lookouts/Roughriders exhibition game (both AA so it is a legal match-up) for the win.

You remember those Looney Tune cartoons where Sylvester would always get his butt kicked by that jerry kangeroo thinking it was a large mouse and his nephew Clyde would but a bag over his head in shame? Same thing with me and Mark's comments. The chances of a woman, even as big as Brittney Griner, competing in the NBA or even allowing a "mixed" team is about as likely as IKEA opening a store in Chattanooga. Not gonna happen.

1980s song to pop in my head - pretty much the Rocky IV soundtrack

April 3, 2013 at 11:25 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Rice has been canned.

And don't go throwing Hakeem and Shaq into the same group. Hakeem was way better than Shaq. Go back and watch the 1995 Finals if you have any doubt about it. (For the record, my favorite NBA player of all-time is Hakeem Olajuwon, who was great in the late 80s/90s when I first started following the NBA. Houston became my favorite NBA team, which they are to this day. So, I freely admit that I may be a little biased when it comes to my exaltation of Olajuwon. He was so good. Scary thought- imagine Hakeem playing in the league today. Utter domination. No center today could even have a prayer of guarding him. Sorry Dwight.)

April 3, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.
chas9 said...

Gunner Kiel could QB for The Vols, reports say.

April 3, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, nothing sports related here except my concurrance on Shaq's top 5 status along with a new found interest in Vanderbilt and Clemson.

Best '80s Pop Song

Paula Abdul "When Opposites Attract." Love that vidio.

Honorable Mention: Madonna "Border Line."

April 3, 2013 at 12:20 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Good stuff today gang.

Yes, teaching ants to roller skate is well described.

FE to the C —

Interesting two additions.... never would have pegged you as a Madonna fan.

9er —

If UT needs a Gunner, come to the streets of Chattanooga... we got a bunch of them.

Stuck —

We're with you. Hakeem was great. Beyond great.

In fact we may be the only one outside of Texas that was upset when Jimmy V and Co. beat Akeem and the Cougars.


We're keeping an eye on the Rangers. Good stuff. Fun bunch.

OG —

No doubt there is locker room stuff that would get folks in trouble if it got out. But it's not unlike most of the work places every where. There is a blurred, dotted line that is difficult navigate between what is acceptable and what is offensive. Rice was over it of course, and it was not that close because once you get physical all bets are off.

Nice song choice.

JP —

We've started our T-ball march. And yes it is.

Titantic —

We're with you on Verlander. His stuff is so nasty because it's built of a high-90s heater. Strasburg is in the same mold if he can stay healthy.

April 3, 2013 at 12:38 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Nice ode to 80s music with today's entry. As for my favorite, the first song that popped into my head was "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds.

[But the fact that he could not make a free throw made him a liability in the fourth quarter, and if you can't be on the floor in the final minutes of an NBA game, when every contest is ultimately decided, can you be in the conversation of the best all-time?]

Wilt only averaged about 50% from the charity stripe but there is no question that the Big Dipper is one of the best of all time. Shaq is a definite top-5 center. I would even say he's top 3. He was so dominant in his prime; guarding him one-on-one was next to impossible and a double or triple team would leave someone else open. LeBron plays a different position but he has the same effect for his team.

April 3, 2013 at 1:20 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Well, the other night driving home, the radio played "When Doves Cry" (and if you can't sing along to all the words without being prompted, well then I don't know what to tell ya) and Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf."

Now that there is 80s. I'm OK. You're OK. Well, it sure ain't Ozzie and Harriett.

Sometimes, I think Mark Cuban is hanging out with Charlie Sheen. And it's affecting his mental capacity. Ms. Griner may be 6-8. But so is LeBron. Guys who are 6-8 in the NBA can take someone off the dribble, hit 3s, set screens and oh yeah dunk like a donut into a mug of coffee.

April 3, 2013 at 1:40 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Watch clips of Shaq in his LSU days (and those were good teams Dale Brown bought, I mean recruited) and look how lean he is.

I may have told this story to 5 a time or two over some co-colers but I have a Shaq anecdote told to me by a friend. Shaq was living on the same Army base where I grew up. He was acting up one day so the PE teacher, a great dude but not the world's biggest fella, had to paddle him (yes, corporal punishment was allowed back then, even for the Sarge's boy).

The next day, some big dude with three stripes up and two more down on his sleeve comes strolling across the PE field. He addresses the PE teacher, who now begins to fear for his life as Sgt. Harrison (Shaq's stepdaddy) approaches.

"You Mr. Baker?


"You paddle my boy Shaquille yesterday?"


As Mr. Baker tells it, he was completely and legitimately shaking in his shoes looking up at Sarge, who was about 6-4, 6-5 himself. Mr. Baker is about 5-8, 5-9.

Sarge then extends his hand, taking the PE teacher's hand and shaking it.

"Anytime you need to whip him, just go right ahead."

Mr. Baker: "Whew."

April 3, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Found this on a tweet on the Boston Globe site (a retweet from one of their guys) - Dave Stieb lost back-to-back no-hit bids with two outs in the ninth in 88 and lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth in 89. Yowch.

April 3, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

Physically, he was the bees' knees. The difference about Wilt, though, was the opponent didn't exploit it as much. Sure that's not Shaq's fault, but is there a way to have a guy on an all-time NBA team when during a majority of his career, his team would take him out for crunch time of a late game?

The LeBron comparison is fair, too, though. Especially considering the refs are/were harder on James and Shaq because of their freakish physical strength. If LBJ ever gets into Jordan territory, there will be NO stopping him.

Spy —

Love that Shaq story.

Dave Stieb... great call. Great right-hander who threw a hard slider. Dude won 140 games in the 1980s and had a big-time mullett, doin' it Toronto-style.

April 3, 2013 at 3:04 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I wonder if that Rutgers basketball coach that received his walking papers today would be interested in a little freelance work. I'm thinking he could travel to Oregon and yell at Nike executives, maybe even chuck a few basketballs at their heads. Quit screwing around with great traditional uniforms! "Go boil your bottoms you sons of a silly person!"

Favorite '80s song: "It's The End Of The World As We Know It(And I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M.

April 3, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show Oso —

It wouldn’t let me post it at work….GURR!

“Everybody Relax, Don’t do it, Shaq use to rock it like Amadeus back in the day. He would sit Comfortably Numb under the rim, until he shot free throws then he was just Living on a Prayer. As far as the pitcher who’s Hanging Tough (don’t judge me) I’ll have to agree with the Big V, he’s the One. Anywho, just thought I would stop by and Shout out to yuns and to remind you all, Love Stinks.“

April 3, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
titanic said...

Kudos to Stuck for mentioning "The Dream". I lived in Houston for many years and was an avid Rockets fan. I got to witness them beat Jordan and the Bulls one night. One little tidbit of info, back in the day (late 80's) the local cable channel that carried the Rockets had a sideline reporter named Hannah Storm, now of ESPN fame.

April 3, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Shaq is definitely not top tier, 2nd tier, yes. Wonder if he holds the record for most FT attempted, especially since everyone played Hack-a-Shaq in the last 2 minutes of the ball game.

"Roxanne" either by the Police or Eddie Murphy.

April 3, 2013 at 3:39 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

The first 80s song that popped into my head was London Calling by the Clash but it might have been late 70s...after thinking it over, my top 80s song would be In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins. Or South Central Rain by REM. I could discuss this all afternoon, believe me.

The Rutgers incident turned my stomach regardless of how it's being covered but some of the broadcasters seem to think the worst thing is the slur that was tossed out, not the physical abuse and the general verbal abuse with the four letter words. I'm wondering without that slur how upset some of them would have been.

April 3, 2013 at 4:44 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - I got promoted. Don't have the time I formerly had. Check 5 at 10 nightly now. 80's tunes for me include U2 Bad at LiveAid in 85. Watched it on 15" B&W tv in my apartment while in school at UTK and was blown away. Love the 5 at 10.

April 3, 2013 at 8:18 p.m.
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