We've got a slew of things in the air this week. Giddy up.
From the "Talks too much" studios, we need a Diablo sandwich and a Dr Pepper. To Go.
Johnny Football ---> Johnny Hangover ---> Johnny Merchandise. Nope he's just Johnny Drama.
Sorry for the Entourage rip, but Johnny Manziel, everyone's favorite partying All-American, is again in the news.
And again, it's the type of head-scratching headlines that makes everyone shake their heads and Texas A&M fans bang their heads against the wall.
OK, we've spent some time kicking around the swirl of media coverage and the litany of mistakes and missteps Manziel has made since a magical redshirt freshman season in College Station. Johnny Football became the star of the social media craze, a fun-loving kid that was unpredictable on and off the field and had huge success in almost every setting he appeared.
And then the hits kept coming. You know the details — photos online with cash; mistaken Tweets; et al. — that at first seemed like fallings of fame in the social media age. They continued. And continued. Reaching a crest when Manziel was asked to leave the Manning Passing Academy with no fewer than four different physical ailments from dehydration to fatigue to stomach issues to blame.
Now, ESPN is reporting that the NCAA is investigating whether Manziel profited off of signed merchandize. (Side note: We all pretty sure he did right? C'mon. It's a matter whether the NCAA can prove whether Manziel did it.)
So here's the four ways this plays out:
1) Johnny Football is innocent. We're not banking on this one, but it's possible.
2) Johnny Football either gets a pass because the NCAA can't connect the dots and prove that he made money from the deal. Completely likely considering the NCAA's recent track record of less-than-stellar results.
3) He gets a four-game suspension by coming clean and telling the truth, a la A.J. Green, who missed the first four games of his final year at Georgia for selling his jersey. This would be the easiest and most direct solution, but it also would put Johnny Football on the shelf for the Texas A&M-Alabama game, which right now is the single biggest regular-season game in a generation. Plus, here's saying we're not betting on Johnny Hangover to completely flip the script and start embracing truth and responsibility.
4) He tries to hide the outcome and slide from the results. It will be a story that chases him like a Tide linebacker all season. But if he scrambles and the NCAA sacks him — whether it's in the next few days or several months from now — ask Terrelle Pryor how understanding the NCAA can be in matters like that.
This is not about whether Manziel should be able to make money off his name and his gear. We think there needs to be a way for him and the rest of the players to share the nine-figure revenue stream when it comes to merchandise. But this is not about the rightness or wrongness of that rule — at least not right now. The rule is the rule. The question is whether Johnny Football broke it. Strike that. The question likely is whether Johnny Football can again elude his chasers and leave us all shaking our heads yet again.
Heading into the season's final major — and let's be honest, the PGA is a major in name only — Tiger Woods is riding the confidence of delivering a roundhouse kick to the entire field at Bridgestone for a seven-shot win. Woods followed his near-patented formula that has produced his generation's most successful athletic resume. (Side note: With all the ups and downs and off-the-course stuff, and wondering about his place in history, it's easy to forget that Tiger is likely the most successful athlete of his generation. You could make a case for Federer too, but man, Tiger's resume is awfully strong, especially since this win gives him 79 for his career — just three behind Sam Snead's all-time mark.)
He built a monster lead this weekend and refused to crack. Grinding through a tough set-up Sunday without much of a blink.
Now, will that translate to this weekend's PGA Championship.
Amazingly, we believe it will. And here's why.
1) Tiger seemed different Sunday afternoon after winning. Whether it was the genius PR advice of having his son there after he won or the fact that he answered questions in the direct, yet somewhat upbeat tone of the pre-personal trouble of Tiger circa-2008, it's hard to know. Still, he looked more poised and purposeful this weekend than we've seen him in recent years. And...
2) Dude putted like he did when he was a weekend assassin. If that guy returns — the Tiger that made everything inside 6 feet to the point that when a putt didn't go in, we were surprised — then we like his chances every weekend. Starting with this one.
Baseball's missed beat
The game of baseball has seldom been this entertaining.
The Braves are the ultimate, sum-better-than-the-parts club that is cruising to a division title. They've won 10 in a row, and can all but clinch the division before Labor Day.
There are great races in the Central Division of each league. Small market teams like the A's, Royals, Rays and Pirates are still in the mix in August. Monster fan bases of power franchises like the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals still have reasons to check the box scores.
There's been great performances from stud ducks like Miggy Cabrera and Clayton Kershaw and relative newcomer stars like Yasiel Puig and Yu Darvish and Mike Trout. We get to say a classy and much-deserved good-bye to Mariano Rivera, who has 35 saves in 37 chances in his final season.
It's been a great year.
Well, except for all the A-Rod stuff and the fact that Biogenesis has completely been the story of this season.
A-Rod's punishment is expected to be announced today, with reports that he could be suspended until the end of 2014. He talked with reporters over the weekend and with every word, he becomes more and more slimy.
This and that
— Raven-Symone, the girl that played adorable/infuriating Olivia on the Cosby Show back in the day announced she is gay. We're curious what Cliff Huxtable has to say about the matter.
— Vinnie Catricala struck out on one pitch in a Texas League game over the weekend. Yep, one pitch. After arguing a called strike on the first pitch of his at-bat, Catricala tried to show up the umpire and stalled before getting in the box. The umpire, Ron Teague, invoked rule 6.02c, which states if the batter does not get into the box when instructed by the umpire, the umpire can call a strike. Teague did. Twice. And rang up Catricala on a single official pitch. Gang, we talked about unbreakable records last week. Well, meet pitcher Nick Tropeano, who has struck out a professional hitter on one pitch.
— Buckle up offensive tackles in the SEC. There's video out there of Jadeveon Clowney flipping a blocking sled. Yes, flipping it. Egads. Sleep easy Bryn Renner, you're 24 days from having Clowney coming on your blind side.
— NASCAR had a race. They went fast and turned left. Dale Jr. did not win. And hey, Danny Uggla just struck out. (That last one is copyrighted to Spy.)
Feel free to address any of the above.
Also, feel free to bandy about any college football queries you may have.
If you need a talking point, well, let's start with these two:
• Here's a question we'll kick around on Press Row — the radio show we co-host with David Paschall from 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM in town — who is the face of the PEDs generation?
For the longest it was either Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong. A-Rod certainly is in the discussion now.
• Has there been a better tag-on in a trade in recent memory than the Braves adding Chris Johnson to the deal with the Diamondbacks that sent Martin Prado and Randall Delgado west for Justin Upton? Johnson is leading the NL in hitting and seems to launch line drives by the dozen.
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 ...