published Monday, July 29th, 2013

5-at-10: Buckle up buttercup, football's here

TFP Prep ace Stephen Hargis has already covered at least a hundred miles by the time you read this checking in on the first full day of high school football practice in Tennessee.

It's here. It's all happening.

From the "Talks too much" studios, do you guys know if this hotel is pager friendly?

Empty Halls

The 5-at-10 hates steriods. We have wasted too much time, energy and ink discuss and re-discussing, hashing and rehashing the topic.

But, after there were no living players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, the fact that now even suspicion or innuendo can prevent a player from being the Hall of Fame is simply too much.

We get the moral message to the Barry Bondses and the McGwires and Sosas. We even get the reasoning to not vote on the first ballot for Roger Clemens, who never failed a steroids test that we know of despite being in the center of the storyline for the better part of 18 months.

But Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza? C'mon.

OK, the high and mighty position of the Hall of Fame voters has forces us to contemplate a different view.

Let 'em all in. It was the steroid era and they were the best of the steroid era. Players from other controversial eras — the all-white era, the 'gambling' era, the spit-ball or dead-ball era, the uppers era — have been ushered into the Hall with little fanfare.

Why is this one different? Because the voters are hurt that they were not part of the inside story?

Was it cheating? Yes, in the latter stages of the steroid era it was since baseball did not completely ban PEDs until the early 2000s. But baseball as a sport has embraced cheating from its origins. Spit balls are cheating. Stealing signs are cheating. Corking bats and emory boards and various other facets of baseball are based in deception.

  • photo
    Jose Canseco sits in the dugout after batting as the designated hitter for the San Diego Surf Dawgs baseball team in a game against the Chico Outlaws in Chico, Calif., on Monday, July 3, 2006. Canseco struck out in his first two at-bats. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

Sure, PEDs are worse.

But how can a group of voters look at each player and — not knowing for sure unless the player failed a test or admitted to using — and use different scales and criteria in regard to steroids.

Do we know Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire used? Yep, because they admitted it. We have our suspicions about the rest, but in truth they are just suspicions.

Sure, Sosa and Bonds and Clemens posted huge numbers very late in the career raising the spectrum of PED use. Know who else was throwing in the mid-90s in his 40s? Yep, Nolan Ryan, the pitcher to whom Clemens was most frequently compared.

And now to fold a guy with 3,000 hits or the best offensive catcher ever under that umbrella just because of when they played is wrong.

Will they do that next year when Glavine and Maddux are on the ballot? If you're going to judge universally do it. But to pick and choose when and on whom to apply a checkered morality is flawed and wrong.

Just like the steroid era.

Football is here

As we speed into the week when college football teams start reporting, here are five things we believe fo' sure.

• The season can't get here quick enough for Johnny Hangover, who was kicked out of a frat party at the University of Texas. Dude was seen around Austin in a Tebow jersey just chillin' and mind his BID-ness. We believe everyone will be more entertained when Johnny Hangover's BID-ness returns to being more scrambling madness than social media.

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

• The UTC Mocs are loaded, especially defensively. UTC coach Russ Huesman stopped by Friday's Press Row, our weekday radio show with David Paschall from 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM, and while he refused to predict how his team would fare this year, we were glad to make a guess. In fact, with a break or two, we believe an undefeated UTC team will face an undefeated Alabama team in November in Tuscaloosa. You like apples? How 'bout them apples?

• Georgia's going to finish top five nationally in scoring, which is saying something in the SEC.

• Alabama and Oregon will play for the national title.

• We're more than ready for the best regular season in sports.

Giddy up.

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward (22) is congratulated by teammate Justin Upton after Heyward's solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the third inning of a baseball game at Turner Field, Sunday, July 28, 2013, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Braves' response

After losing Tim Hudson for the season, the Braves were left in flux, a team leading its division but now with more question marks than solutions.

The the Braves dismantle the Cardinals, sweeping the best team in the NL and outscoring them 11-3 in three games in Atlanta. Well-played indeed.

We concur with TFP columnist Mark Wiedmer that Jake Peavy does not appear to be the answer, as Weeds wrote here.

Still, does this team need to make a move before Wednesday's trade deadline?

Another bullpen arm could help and another reliable starter makes sense, but this team is in such a position of strength, that making a good deal is the play.

Thoughts? Who would you like to see the Braves add or do they stand pat?

This and that

— Mega run of injuries in the first week of NFL training camps. Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta and Eagles receiver Jeremy Macklin were the two biggest. Preseason games are in like 10 days. It's here, it's all happening.

— Big win for Ryan Newman at the Brickyard. Dude is in the last year of his ride at Stewart-Haas and now carries another checkered into his negotiations. Well-played. Jimmie Johnson finished second, and his unibrow took third.

— Side note: Consider us a fan of the name Flossie. Sure it's a tropical storm and we don't want anyone hurt, but we're on board with Flossie.

— Ricky Williams, the former Heisman Trophy winner who took a hiatus from the NFL to find himself — and some killer weed — says he can now be a role model as a coach. And Jeff Spicoli is in line to replace Mr. Hand as the U.S. History teacher at Ridgemont High. That said, if Luther Campbell can be a football coach, why not Ricky.

— Derek Jeter is a stud. That is all.

  • 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.

Today's question

Feel free to riff on any of the above. We'll be talking about a lot of this on Press Row later today, too.

If you want a talking point or three, here you go:

• Hunter Mahan was leading the Canadian Open golf tournament after 36 holes. He withdrew to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. It was a touching moment that likely cost him at least $500,000 or so. Would you have done it? And yes, Mahan's scenario is a little different considering he's made $25 million playing golf, but still.

• Yasiel Puig hit a walk-off homer Sunday in the 11th inning of the Dodgers' 1-0 win. he slid into with the winning run as teamates waited to mob him.

• If you had a 2014 Hall of Fame ballot with the names Bonds, McGwire, Clemens, Piazza, Biggio, Bagwell, Maddux, Glavine, et al., on it, who would you vote for?

Thoughts?

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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JonathanMCook said...

Minna-san,

Plenty on the plate I see. (I'll go sports and work down)

UTC: Typical Huesman. We may or we may not. I agree with you. If there was ever a time for the Mocs to finally go undefeated before Tusculoosa, this would be the year.

Johnny Hangover: Seriously? No SERIOUSLY? I've lived in this state for six years and I KNOW better that when it comes to the TWO big schools, you can't devote alligance to one and then go "party" at the opposite camp.

Also, made my first trip into Waco yesterday and got to drive by BU where yes, you can see construction of the new stadium going up right next to northbound I-35. More on that later.

Daily Show in Chattanooga? That explains the disturbance in the Force I felt this morning. Office pool to see how badly John Oliver will mispronounce Chattanooga.

July 29, 2013 at 10:36 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Back to Waco, I was heading to Temple which was 30 miles south of Waco in the timbucktoo part of the state for a movie audition (It would be a paid gig + hotel accommodations if I get cast for a major role. Otherwise, I wouldn't have made the drive). One of the parts I auditioned for in the movie was the town sheriff (more Andy Taylor then Rosco P. Coltraine if you need a mental picture). I also was auditioning for the lead which I knocked out of the park with my comedic timing (I don't say that lightly unless I mean it). On my way back to Dallas I-35 NB got seriously bottlenecked because it was Sunday travel time, only two lanes used + construction for the additional lanes. I was less then five miles outside West when I saw this dirt path leading to the backroad on the side. One truck made the trek and it was level enough an incline I went for it myself. Less than a minute later...

Afternoon Mr. Texas State Trooper.

During the "exchange" he asked me where I work at and I told him and that I was also an actor. He said oh really? What are you doing out here? Told him I was in Temple auditioning for a movie. He asked me what part? I told him a police officer and smiled real big (one of the audition scenes is where the town sheriff had pulled over the "lead" and his wife after hitting some orange road cones-it's a comedy). He said oh really? How did that work out? Pretty good sir I told him. He then went back to his car and later asked for my autograph and told me to have a nice day.

I already called the West courthouse this morning but I have to wait another week to see if I get fined, dismissed, or what. I know Judge Williams would have thrown it out, told the officer don't bother me with this BS and would probably would have admitted to doing it himself. But we'll see.

BTW, the truck that went down that path before me was the first to get pulled over. The trooper just simply walked in the middle of the road and notioned me to pull off to the side. ^^()

July 29, 2013 at 10:41 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Hoog weekend for the Braves over the Cards. Just hooge. And how bout Struggla coming through Sunday, huh? (0-4 with 3 Ks. But I digress....). 5, you've got Sallll!!!! I'll take Struggglllaaa!!!

Do you think Ruben Amaro Jr. is doing his best Randolph Duke on the floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange imitation this morning? Sell! Sell!

I think the important start for Beachy isn't his first start but his second start. You gotta figure even for a kid as composed as he is he's going to be a little amped up tonight. Can't really say juiced. Just bad connotations there.

You know, I don't know if my dad was there for my birth. He almost didn't get off work to attend his oldest son's college graduation (had to pay somebody so he could take a couple hours off to go do it). If he was there or wasn't there, I don't remember. I mean, after there had been six already, it wasn't like he was going to see anything new.

More danger - preseason camp or dugout telephones around Big Papi?

July 29, 2013 at 10:53 a.m.
chas9 said...

Yes, I like apples. All apples except for the hard, flavor-free so-called delicious variety, whose name violates the truth in advertising principle. And I like the way the Mocs are developing.

Every Mahan I've known is a good guy. (Note, Scott "Quake" is not a Mahan.)

You're right on in defining the Cooperstown dilemma. And they gotta take Glavine and Maddox. Got to.

Johnny Hangover's misbehaving is the big story as pointy ball season approaches, but don't miss the impending train wreck that is UNC's Hairston. Even after being caught in a 2013 Yukon sponsored by the estimable Haydn "Fats" Thomas, with assorted knuckleheaded debris associated, he was nailed for reckless speeding over the weekend and is in the Sky Blue doghouse. Jay, don't you have a rule about hanging out with characters who have nicknames like "Fats"?

July 29, 2013 at 11 a.m.
chas9 said...

USA's U19 women's team decimated France in the finals to win the world championship. The team was 9-0 and among the top five scorers were Tennessee's Bashaara Graves and Kentucky incoming freshman Linnae Harper, both averaging 8.4 PPG.

July 29, 2013 at 11:31 a.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

Good stuff sir, and if the acting as a police officer bit works, well, we're game.

As for the Daily Show in Chattanooga, well, it's likely not going to end well.

Spy —

Fair point about Beachy tonight. This is big; the next one likely is bigger.

Danger winner is the clubhouse phone that wised-off to Papi. In the reverse of that, how composed was Miggy Cabrera after getting tossed for next to nothing?

9er —

We don't play cards with guys nicknamed after a city, that's our rule.

Fats? We're alright with that. Heck, there used be a time when we knocked back a few more Co-Colas that we likely would have answered to that.

— 5-at-10

July 29, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

So Johnny Football can't wait to get out of College Station and apparently could not wait to get out of the Manning Camp. Now he enjoys his days hanging out in Longhorn country wearing the jersey of a Gator icon. JMC wrote of auditioning for a part in Texas, could it be that Manziel is setting himself up to play the son of Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh in a future film?

July 29, 2013 at 2:57 p.m.
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