published Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

5-at-10: NCAA faces issues, Uggla getting eye surgery, happy left-handers day

Finish the drill gang. Finish the drill.

From the "Talks too much" studios, we're not a G, just a regular sailor — we're not straight out of Compton, we're straight out the trailer.

  • photo
    In this file photo, Mark A. Emmert speaks during a news conference after being announced as the president elect of the NCAA in Indianapolis in April 2010.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Another level of hypocrisy for the NCAA

The NCAA has issues. Big ones.

Among the swirling thoughts in NCAA president Mark Emmert's melon before he closes his eyes at night are:

• The looming college playoff that could lead the power conferences to break away;

• The continual unrest among coaches and ADs about the minutia in the rule book while disasters such as the Miami investigation drag on and on;

• The ever-sinking public opinion that puts Emmert and Co. somewhere between IRS auditors and newspaper reporters on the popularity scale;

• Lingering lawsuits that range from the core-changing claims of Ed O'Bannon to the still nasty fall out from Penn State;

• College football's biggest star is staring down the barrel of an investigation that could greatly alter the college football season.

• Millie and Jimmy are getting married and no one knows what to get them for a wedding present.

Basically, Emmert and the NCAA are dealing with a lot of stuff.

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    Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel throws during football practice in College Station, Texas.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Now in regard to Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football/Hangover/Merchandise/Paycheck — or as ace columnist Mark Wiedmer mentioned in his column on Johnny Numbskull here, the Money Badger (he signs what he wants) — Emmert and Co. are facing the real possibility of a monster double standard that could be viewed as racism that would be eye-popping and eye-gouging, even for the NCAA.

Names like AJ Green and Terrelle Pryor have been mentioned for similar incidents, and their suspensions ranged from four games to life. Here's another one: Dez Bryant, who suspended for the final 10 games of his college career for lying to the NCAA about having lunch with Deion Sanders. Yes, having lunch with Prime Time was worth a pre-emptive 10 games for Bryant.

And signing a reported 4,400 autographs for an alleged large sum of coin what will be the deal for ? Well, we'll see how they handle this. The closer we get to the season, the closer we get to the belief that Johnny Paycheck will not get on the field this season.

Thoughts?

As Weeds hinted in today's column, if Johnny Paycheck skates, there will be a not-so-silent "race" angle to this double standard.

Still, for all the negative thoughts Emmert fights through with a swig of Jack Daniels or Metamucil or Smooth Move or whatever his nighttime tonic is, the "how could we possibly be more hypocritical" hardly seems possible.

Maybe there are degrees of hypocrisy, like shades or hues. Or maybe there is a true, cut-to-the-bone hypocrisy that permeates all other characteristics.

Maybe.

————

PEDs

We have spent a ton of the summer discussing Alex Rodriguez and the PED outrage from the Biogenesis investigation.

Oh the horror. Oh the humanity.

Oh the "bury the head in the sand" mentality of the other major sports.

Case in point: Let's say there was an aging former super star that returned early from a major surgery on a knee or a shoulder or even an Achilles' and was ready to play way before anyone expected.

Let's say that guy is a football player coming back from, say, a knee ligament tear — and dude goes off for a near record total of yards?

Or let's say that guy is a former All-NBA shooting guard, who at 34 years old has played 17 years and more than 44,000 minutes in more than 1,200 NBA games, is so far ahead of Achilles' surgery that he could be back for the opener?

In those cases, we talk about work ethic and commitment. If either of those cats were MLBers, the first thought would be steroids.

We balk at baseball's commitment to end PEDs, but at least they are trying. If you think the NBA and the NFL do not have players taking PEDs, well, we'd like to sell you some stock in the 5-at-10, which we may try to take public any time, and the opportunity to be on the ground floor is certainly special.

Why the double standard? Is it because of the long-standing place baseball has in our culture? Is it because baseball is actually trying, compared to those other leagues?

Or maybe more amazingly, is it because Jose Canseco blew the whistle and blew the lid off the steroid culture?

Is it possible that Jose Canseco is not unlike Col. Nathan R. Jessup?

Can't you see a buzzed-cut Canseco looking Bud Selig dead in the eye and spinning:

"You weep for baseball and curse PEDs. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that all this mess and betrayal, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you saves lives. You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall."

———

That explains it

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    Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, right, is tagged out by Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, left, as he attempts to steal second base in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Dan Uggla has become a popular topic around these parts.

Dude has underwhelmed since joining the Atlanta Braves a few years ago.

He has plummeted to near the bottom of everyday hitters in baseball in regard to average in his almost three years with the Braves. He has 1,511 at bats in a Braves uniform and has 327 hits. That's a less-than-decent .216 average with 470 strike outs in 427 games with Atlanta.

He was put on the DL Tuesday — no Spy, he was not put there for catching the "Stinky" but that's a fine guess.

Nope, Uggla is on the 15-day DL to have vision corrective surgery.

Gang, we don't know much, but we do know that not being able to see the ball will prevent you from hitting the ball which will lead to averaging more than a strikeout a game.

OK. Good-bye Danny Struggla. Get well Danny Uggla. Come back and we'll have a new slate.

And seriously, if Danny Uggla returns — like the old Danny Uggla that was a .260-plus hitter with plus-right-handed-power — these Braves made a big-time playoff addition without giving up anything.

———

This and that

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    UTC coach Russ Huesman watches a scrimmage at Finley Stadium.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— UTC football coach Russ Huesman will join David Paschall and the TFP sports editor on Press Row today around 1 p.m. You can listen along on 105.1 FM here locally or online at espnchattanooga.com. Got any questions for the Mocs head coach? We're going to try to get him to predict how many games the Mocs will win. He won't fall for it, but we're still going to try.

— The mayor of San Diego has been barred from Hooters after he has been accused by close to a dozen women of sexual harassment. Yep, mayor Bob Filner is addressed in a sign outside a San Diego Hooters that says he will not be served in the establishment because, "we believe women should be treated with respect." Gang, you want to know if you're the Michael Jordan of sexual harassment? Getting barred from the Hooters is a pretty good start. Did they elect Ron Burgandy as mayor out there? You stay classy San Diego.

— Alabama suspended linebacker Trey DePriest. That is all.

———

Today's question

Today is national left-handers day. Where's the cake?

And looking at some of the all-time greats, considering roughly 10 percent of the population is left-handed, there are some all-time great athletes who are lefties.

LeBron James writes left-handed, but plays mainly right-handed so he's out.

But across the sports landscape, there are some all-time elite left-handers.

Pele is left-handed — and ambi-footed. Bill Russell is left handed — and finished his NBA career with more rings than total fingers. Wayne Gretzky is left-handed.

Here's a two-part lefty question? What's your all-time lefty Rushmore across all sports? Second, what's your all-time baseball lefty Rushmore? The all-time Rushmore may be easier, considering baseball's left-handed hitters include Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Barry Bonds to name but six. And that's not counting pitchers such as Koufax or Spahn or Carlton or Mathewson.

And a shout-out to the Pops 5-at-10, our favorite left-hander.

Discuss.

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...

I blame astigmatism for my not being able to hit, too.

The Braves' domination makes me wonder. What's the largest number of games over the second place team a division winner has ever won by? And Atlanta's the only team over .600 now. It's very possible no team finishes over .600 this year. How often has that happened?

August 14, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.
MocTastic said...

In football there is almost a gladiator mentality. People want to see mayhem, near violence, and hitting hard. The players are clad in padding and helmets, becoming the modern gladiators. It is almost like professional wrestling (do you see anybody worried about PEDs in professional wrestling?) but on the up and up and not fixed. Baseball however you see the players, you see their faces. Baseball way more than any other sport has been about the numbers, the magic numbers of records that have been carried down over the ages, such as 60 or 61, 714, 56. I don't even have to tell you what those numbers mean, a baseball fan knows. PEDs however threw those numbers out the window and made them old news, or at least some of them. Baseball fans do not like this, 61 home runs meant something...the new numbers are bogus.

Now with respect to southpaws, Babe Ruth. The best baseball player of all time, period. He not only set hitting records, in some years he hit more home runs than whole other teams did, but he was putting together a HOF pitching career prior to becoming an everyday player. Babe is on your Rushmore, then you can debate others.

August 14, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

In the divisional era, the '86 Mets finished 21.5 games ahead of the Phillies. Overall, the 1919 White Sox won the AL by 52 games over the Philadelphia A's.

MT —

Great point about the magic of baseball numbers.

And we're 100 percent on the George Herman bandwagon. He's on each. And his power numbers were so dominant, in 1927 he hit 60 homers — which was more than the team total for every other AL club.

He was do dominant to his era, there's no comparison. Of course, if a player had his kind of success today, we'd assume he was on PEDs.

August 14, 2013 at 10:33 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Ten-Ring,

Regarding Manziel: Race could easily be implied to this. But because this is the NCAA we're talking about here, their ONLY concern about the handling of this comes down to one color which is neither black or white: green.

If Manziel gets suspended, the overlying fear as far as the NCAA is concerned is it would effect both viewership and sponsorship for the new annual megagame that is Texas A&M vs. Alabama. Because Manziel is the Heisman Trophy winner with the golden arm with an 11-2 team that is seen as the only one who can stop the practically unbeatable Tide, how they (NCAA) chose to address the matter rests highly on how it will effect the bottom line.

Personally, if Manziel was simply a really good QB but not a Heisman winner and College Station was a 7-4 team, I would easily imagine Manziel having the book thrown at him whether evidence was found or not regardless of his skin color.

If the NCAA suspends Manziel (including the Alabama game): The game will not generate as much interest to the fair weather fan which may generate a significant but not critical drop in viewship and ad venue.

If the NCAA does a slap on the wrist: Then it truly is all about the Benjamins but in the limelight, they will have to deal with mother of all PR nightmares as the likes of every Al Sharpton wannabe vies for airtime accusing the NCAA of being the new KKK.

PS - I'm a South Paw too. :P (And if I had a dollar for the number of freak outs people get when they see me sign something....The Visa would be paid in full).

And if the mayor of SD is perturbed about being banned from Hooter's. There is Always Twin Peaks and Bone Daddy's (Wait, I don't think those are in the 'Noog). Sidenote: Not a fan of breasturants at all (Shocker!)

August 14, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
jomo11 said...

The NCAA is NOT a court of law, they don't have to "prove" Johnny Paycheck received money. The NCAA can suspend him if they are even suspicious he did wrong......also NCAA does not care about CBS ratings for Bama-AM, they already have their money from CBS

There is a God ! Uggla on the DL. they could take the Braves 2nd baseman from Rookie League or Class A and he could do better than .189

and as a Cincinnati Reds fan from the 70's : Joe Nuxhall always signed off from radio broadcast " This is the old lefthander rounding 3rd and heading for home"

August 14, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
chas9 said...

Lefty Grove (300-141) won nine ERA titles and has the best ever winning percentage among 300 game winners. His win total would've been higher had he not played so long in the minors, where he won 111 games.

Kentucky's Hefty Lefty Jared Lorenzen is on the Rushmore of most cool nicknames.

And JMC's analysis of the Manziel thing sounds right.

August 14, 2013 at 11:10 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

O_O() Sorry, Jay.

August 14, 2013 at 11:12 a.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

Fair point that if Johnny Manziel was not Johnny Football he likely would have already been suspended — by the team at least.

Of course if he was just Johnny rather than Johnny Football, who would pay for his autograph. That's a quid PRO quo on several levels, huh?

That said, is the slow nature and overall apprehension of the NCAA — and Texas A&M's apparent disinterest in cooperating — not a rather telling point to the NCAA's dwindling level of control and authority?

Jomo —

You are correct, the NCAA is not bound by the league statures of proof. But that is one of the big sticking points from the power conferences, and if they come off half-loaded and fully-cocked — and do the unthinkable and turn Johnny Paycheck into Johnny Martyr — well they know they need the power leagues long term more than the power leagues need the NCAA.

And yes, Uggla's trip to the DL is the ultimate addition by subtraction to the Braves lineup.

August 14, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.
Buschleague said...

5--Not looking good for Johnny Football, this year or next. His antics parallel several pros but not sure his game does. He was a comet, a meteor but college ball gives us someone like that every year. Cam, RG 111, Tao, they all are one and done and we just move to the next one. The game with Bama won't decide anything win or lose.

August 14, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

AJ Green got, what, four games for selling a jersey? Georgia Tech had to cough up its ACC Championship because a player got $300 worth of clothes from a former teammate? And Dez Bryant got hammered for lunch with Prime Time? If this were the pros, Manziel would be put on the DL or injured reserve for a while. (Insert own but I thought the SEC was the pros joke here).

Now the NCAA can take the cake from the feds when it comes to investigations. The feds, mind you, have no scruples in investigating people. I offer for evidence one James "Whitey" Bulger. The NCAA has even less - re: the Miami-Nevin Shapiro investigation. They botched that one up so bad they couldn't nail the Cheaticanes.

It might be best for A&M if Johnny Partysallthetime comes up with an "ankle" injury and has to miss a couple of games, though with weeks where the ankle feels better than other weeks, you know, like the Alabama game (cough cough).

August 14, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

When talk turns to the selective enforcement procedures of the NCAA, I always think of Jerry Tarkanian saying: "The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, it's going to give Cleveland State two more years' probation." Say what you will about Tark the Shark, but that is a classic quip.

Concerning the mayor of San Diego and Hooters...Delmar from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" wants to know if the ban is just for that one location or all of them.

August 14, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

GDawg-

Regarding the last sentence, I was thinking the same thing.

August 14, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.
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