published Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

5-at-10: Decision turns 3, All-Star suggestions, Georgia football and are the Beatles overrated

We woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across our head.

The Beatles... underrated or overrated? We are fans, but are they the best ever? We tend to think so, so maybe they are properly rated.

Where were we? Oh yeah. We thought the radio debut of Press Row with TFP ace David Paschall and the sports editor on 105.1 FM went swimmingly. We'll give it another go today from 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM here in town and on espnchattanooga.com.

And with that it started raining again. Man, this is getting a bit tired. And soggy. Stay dry — and thirsty — friends.

From the "Talks too much" studios, take a sad song and make it better.

Happy Birthday for The Decision

LeBron James' infamous Decision turned 3 on Monday.

They're so cute at that age, except when they're not. (Side note: We are a parent of young tots, and we appreciate you folks listening to our tot stories even if they are not as shut-your-mouth cute as the parents may think. So thanks for that. Where were we?)

So with three years of retrospect, what do we make of the Decision?

It still was not a good PR move, but it's hard to argue the results on the court, considering James and the Heat have made the Finals each of those three years, winning two titles.

The Cavs have fallen to the dregs of the league and have been rebuilding for three years and a day.

In truth, the greatest testament to James' value is likely this simple sentence: With James, the Cavs had the best record in basketball; without James, they have picked first in the draft two of the last three years.

The Decision was bad — and the overblown pep rally with the counting of titles made it worse — but like with most things, time tends to bring tolerance. And perspective.

After three years — and Dwight Howard volunteering to take the hot seat in the "You're noting without a ring" circle — the Decision seems more the definition of a bad choice than the defining moment of James' career that it could have been.

So it goes.

————

All-Star ramblings

  • photo
    Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

There are two days of fan voting left for the final spots for next week's All-Star game. Yasiel Puig and Freddie Freeman are among the five candidates in the running for the NL spot.

On Monday, the almost all of the four-man rosters for the home run derby were announced. NL captain David Wright picked Bryce Harper, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. AL captain Robinson Cano picked Chris Davis and Prince Fielder and has one more open spot.

Yay. Or not. More blah than hurrah, really.

Growing up, baseball's All-Star game was the best. Part of that was forever changed with interleague play — the All-Star game and the World Series were the only times AL and NL players faced each other. That toothpaste is forever out of the tube.

Still, there has to be some things to make next week's events more entertaining. It was once called the midsummer classic for crying out loud. It's more midsummer tragic now, especially the home run derby with Berman making our ears bleed.

We talked briefly about this on Press Row on Monday with Paschall, but here's a list of five things we'd do tomorrow to make the entire experience more enjoyable:

1) Chris Berman is no longer involved. This would be a big step, and yes, it could be applied to a lot of different ESPN ventures, but still.

2) Pitch limits. The home run derby should not last longer than a Mel Gibson war epic. These are some of the best hitters in the world, and they pick the fellows that are throwing BP. Heck, the 5-at-10's 5-year-old Bulls only got 4-5 pitches per AB, MLB sluggers can make do with the same.

3) We heard this idea on talk radio, and loved it. Have prize sections in the outfield and if a player hits one of them, everyone gets a free hot dog. Maybe let fans enter online and give everyone a free Subway sammich. There are a ton of opportunities here.

4) Have a skills competition. Who is the fastest player in baseball? Which pitcher throws hardest? Who has the best curveball? Which outfielder has the strongest arm? Find a way to have a combine out there among the game's best.

5) Change the reward structure of the All-Star game results. Forget the home-field advantage for the World Series stuff — it's stupid and way too great a stake for a pinch hitter from San Diego to be deciding against a reliever from Houston. Pool money from the MLB, the hosting club, the hosting city and the MLB players association, and pay every member of the winning team $250,000. Losing team gets bagel. Want motivated players, get six-figures involved.

Whatcha you got?

———

Georgia's questions

Is this Georgia bunch a top-10 team? We think so. Are they top 5? We'll know before September is done.

Georgia starts 2013 with a trip to Clemson and then plays South Carolina and LSU in Athens among its first four games. Each is ranked in the top 15. Each enters the season with lofty aspirations and all-star worthy talent.

And Georgia is right there with those clubs in each category. Each team has at least one player on the recently released Maxwell watch list, a collection of 76 players tagged by the Maxwell Award folks as the best in the country. And Clemson, LSU and Georgia each have a quarterback on the list. (We're not sure how LSU's Zach Mettenberger was included and South Carolina's Connor Shaw was excluded, but so it goes.)

Let's examine those first three games for the Bulldogs:

Clemson: Arguably the toughest, considering it's on the road and the Tigers have one of the nation's best QB-WR combos in Tajh Boyd and the man you better as Joe the Policeman in the 'What's Going Down' episode of "That's My Mama", Mr. Sammie Watkins. Georgia's rebuilt secondary will be tested early and frequently.

South Carolina: The most important by far since it's an SEC East game, and really counts like a game and a half in the divisional race. The Gamecocks, who also face a tough test in their opener against North Carolina, are experienced at quarterback with Shaw and Dylan Thompson, have playmakers on the perimeter and have the best player in college football in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

LSU: If Georgia's secondary is going to be under the microscope in the first two weeks against the duo of Boyd-Watkins and the trio of Spurrier-Shaw-Thompson, the front seven will be tested by an LSU group that has a bevy of impressive running backs and a highly motivated Mettenberger, who, well, you know his story. Georgia-boy, signed with the Bulldogs, got into trouble, lost the starting job to Aaron Murray a few years back and transfered.

If Georgia sweeps those big three, the sky is the limit and a rematch with Alabama in the SEC title game seems likely. If they drop one (preferably not USC for GD and the rest of the red-and-black blooded readers), the primary goals are still on the horizon. Multiple losses, though, mean difficult questions and unknown answers.

For example, is there a leader on this team that can pull a Shawn Williams and circle the wagons? Is Murray vocal enough to do that? We know he is respected, but does he have the presence?

Whether it's 3-2 or 50-49, if Georgia survives its first three weeks, the red-and-black bandwagon will be rolling.

————

  • photo
    Tennessee women's basketball coach emeritus Pat Summitt said she enjoyed a documentary about her career, "Pat XO," at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

This and that

— Raul Ibanez is 41 and has 22 homers and 50 RBIs for the Seattle Mariners. Bartolo Colon is 40 and has 12 wins and a sub-3.00 ERA. Hmmmmmmm.

— Looking forward to the ESPN documentary on Pat Summitt tonight. That is all.

— Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the entire organization was 'duped' by Aaron Hernandez. Really, doctor? If the Pats feel duped, imagine how the dead guy feels. Wait...

— Randy Travis is in failing health. Will Travis' legacy be the dominant pre-Garth country act or the fallout from his late-career meltdown that included being arrested naked. (There are a lot of things that can be misconstrued or taken out of context, but the phrase "being arrested naked," is not one of them. In fact, as bad as getting arrested naked would seem, it has to be way worse getting walked into a holding cell and saying hello to your fellow cell mates sans pants. Buckets. Tell us about it Todd.) Let's move along.

————

Today's question(s)

Feel free to speak on any of the above. And hey, remember the mailbag for this Friday.

If you need a talking point, well, we have several.

When we say Randy Travis, do you think "Digging Up Bones" or skeletons in the closet?

Where do you rank the Beatles?

Did you see Rasheed Wallace is now an assistant coach? If there was one former player who you thought, wow, there's no way he'd be a good coach, the temperamental and tantrum-tastic Wallace would be on the short list, right? Maybe Vince Young's looking around for a possible assistant's job somewhere now.

Discuss and remember Press Row on 105.1 from 1-3 today.

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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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.
Todd962 said...

Jay, the situation you described is exactly how I met my first husband. He was as caring a man as any prison cell roommate could have been. (Scene ends with Todd shamefully sobbing and rocking in the fetal position)

So how excited am I not to be Moc's DB D.J. Key or Faysal Shafaat? Getting arrested is a bad idea for anyone. D.J., getting arrested for vandalism after kicking in your door, extra emphasis on the kicking, after sitting out spring practice from surgery on his foot? Double dumb. Faysal, getting arrested for public intox and indecent exposure? Well, who hasnt been there... Oh to be a fly on Huesman's wall.

July 9, 2013 at 11:12 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Stones > Beatles.

Drunk and occasionally stupid are parts of college life. Athletes are held to higher standards but they each could have been involved in worse.

Will we get Decision II when Lebron goes to the Lakers?

July 9, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
MocTastic said...

The Beatles defined a generational change. Their impact went way beyond music, they were the "poster children" for the transistion from the culture of the 50s into the peace and love generation of the 60s.

July 9, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Todd —

Or flash to the scene in Fletch 2....

Inmate: Take your pants off.

Fletch: I don't even know your name.

Inmate: Bend over.

Fletch: Ben? Nice to meet you, Victor Hugo.

LB —

No doubt that drunk and stupid are part of college. Heck they can be part of life after college occasionally too.

That said, the fact this is newsworthy also is a testament to the improvements the Mocs have made on the field, too. More success = more attention, good and bad.

As for the Stones, well, they are definitely in the team picture.

MT —

Well-said.

— 5-at-10

July 9, 2013 at 12:10 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

It is newsworthy to be sure but compared to other places, if some drunkenness every now and then is the biggest headache I'll take it.

Drunk and stupid in college, that was a general statement, nothing in particular or personal here implied of course.

July 9, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The Beatles are never, ever overrated. Ever. And each went on to varying degrees of solo success, some more than others and some (George Harrison) very underratedly so.

And thanks for the "Day in the Life" shoutout, with a nugget from a day in the life. Lennon's scream in the middle of the song might be the greatest rock scream of all time.

Funny how the ESPN crawl has "Yasiel Puig trails Freddie Freeman" in the Final Vote thing. Why not "Freddie Freeman leads Yasiel Puig"? Nice subliminal message there, ESPN.

July 9, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Jay, concerning Murray's huddle presence, I don't think Aaron is the vocal leadership type. I'm not knocking him, but some guys exude authority and some do not. Aaron does not. However, Aaron is a good QB that is highly respected by his teammates and that provides opportunities for leadership by example. And if vocal leadership is needed on the offensive side of the ball this season, Malcolm Mitchell always has something to say...About anything and everything.

I feel like some kind of pro bono agent with as much praise as I heap upon this young man, but Tray Matthews could be the leader of the defensive unit as a freshman. His athletic upside is thru the roof and he has what the kids call swagger. At least they used to call it swagger, they have probably moved on to something else now.

I am typically skeptical of conventional wisdom, but there is no way the Beatles are overrated. They were a great band and the most influential music act of the twentieth century. They were so good that people were quick to forgive those times when Ringo sang and George went on a bit with those sitar solos.

I must now commit to happy thoughts as I seriously need to cleanse the palette of disturbing mental images of Todd's jailhouse lovin'.

July 9, 2013 at 3:25 p.m.
jgreeson said...

LB —

You bet. Russ and Co. have not had the type of headaches or problems a lot of folks have as you make the leap from stinky to contending to good. That's a great credit to Russ and his folks.

Spy —

There's no way ESPN would play to the lowest common denominator. NO WAY.

Spike TV on the other hand... wait for it.

GD —

Great UGA insight, and we concur about Murray. In fact, if we had one pick from the rest of the league for the Auburn Tigers for 2013, we'd likely take Murray.

Concur also on Mathews' unlimited ceiling, the Beatles place in history and Todd's cell encounters.

Holy Schnikees.

July 9, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, did you see what crazy Anna Benson did recently? Answers the question where is Kris Benson these days. I wonder if his apartment in Smyrna is at the Amli off Old Atlanta Road. Used to know a girl who lived over there ....

July 9, 2013 at 3:46 p.m.
sportsfan said...

5 - for the mailbag on Friday. Why do Brits count love, 15, 30, 40, game when 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 makes more sense? Also, what's your top 5 local sports events to attend in person? I'll be on vacation the rest of the week, but looking forward to your answers. PS - did the TFP turn off the pay site? If that's too many questions, just answer the second one. Thanks.

July 9, 2013 at 10:06 p.m.
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