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?
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.
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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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?
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 ...