OK, we're off and running into June. We're staring at the U.S. Open, and hold on to your hats, but we're something like eight weeks from the start of high school football in Tennessee.
Before we get to today's 5-at-10, we're going to offer a quick PSA — signing a third-string quarterback should not be on "The Lead" part of the ESPN ticker. We, in fact, are not even going to mention the former SEC star whose name sounds a lot like Jim Jebow; we think he is an awesome guy who stands for what believes and believes in where he stands and hope he finds the success he deserves. Still, any team adding a third-team QB is hardly headline news.
From the "Talks too much" studios, remember, if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
Braves stay West
OK, we'll admit it: When Atlanta is on the West Coast, we miss the summer TV security blanket of the Braves being on. Last night we were forced to click between Dodgeball and some crime show like Criminal Hearts or CSEye or something that is more high-tech than Law&Order but not as good as Law&Order.
So, while waiting for the Braves, we did a little thinking about this club, and what a young Patchs O'Houlihan said about dodgeball — it's a game about pain, exclusion and degradation — is true in part about baseball. Through 66 games, the Braves are 14 games over .500 and should offer no apologies for their strengths or excuses for their weaknesses. They should not offer no quarter for their NL East foes, either.
Atlanta is out front because of a pitching staff that has dominated without dominating names. In fact, in recent memory has a big-league pitching coach grown more into a legit managerial candidate more impressively than Roger McDowell, who a couple of years ago looked lost?
Still, Atlanta is just 3-17 in games when they fail to hit a homer. This team offensively is predicated on power, and that's been successful so far.
Despite Monday's 7-6 loss to the San Diego Padres — Ron Burgandy was not in attendance... Whammy — it's tough to be too critical on a team that has the largest lead in baseball.
Yes, they strike out too much. We know this. They also win. And pitch. Plus, we don't want to jinx anyone but Jason Heyward is above the Mendoza line after a torrid week and lil' Danny Struggla is at .195, which is as close as he's been to .200 since May 13. (Hey, we made a promise to try to be more positive, and that's the best we got. Speaking of positive, we're positive we are happy we got the chance to see Yasiel Puig during his time in Chattanooga. Dude has 16 hits in first eight games, the last rookie to do that was Jay Bruce, who also played in Chattanooga before getting the call. Maybe it's something in the water. Take that Cee Lo... better yet, Forget You. Where were we.... Oh yeah.)
NBA Finals Game 3
Here are some numbers to know:
• Since the early 1980s when the NBA adopted the seven-game formats that are similar to today's slate, the home team has won Game 3 only 56 percent of the time.
• The Spurs are even in the series at 1-1, and have to feel like they accomplished the main mission with a split on South Beach. But — there's always a but, right? — the Spurs have outscored the Heat in just one of the eight quarters.
• Miami is 1-1 and LeBron James has yet to top 20 points in a Final game so far. That seems significant.
• You can't over state tonight. In the Finals era with the 2-3-2 format, when the series is tied 1-1, the team that wins Game 3 wins the series 92 percent of the time.
As for tonight, here are three things we believe:
First, we believe we are planning on spending some time on the Twitter (@jgreesontfp) if you want to swing by. Hey, we may even have some of the TFP staff folks participate;
Two, we believe the Spurs' home crowd is going to be into this game and loud, which makes a fun event even moreso;
Third, sometimes it's just this simple: Whichever Big Three plays best will win. Yep, insightful, we know, but when we post the totals of Duncan, Parker and Ginobli against James, Wade and Bosh tomorrow, here saying it's going to be easy to tell which team won.
The iconic Merion Golf Course in Pennsylvania is almost under water. The rains have come so fast and so strong that animals are lining up two-by-two at the gate. (You are expecting a Tiger joke, right, well no sir. But Angel Cabrera is in his element. Wait for it.... Cabrera's nickname is El Pato.... "The Duck".... Thank you, thank you, and remember to tip the wait staff.)
The overflow of water has made the course softer than a downy chick (copyright John Denver) and made scoring chances as likely as prom night (copyright high school seniors everywhere).
So what do we need? This calls for a really futile and stupid gesture on somebody's part and we're just the guys to do it.
This calls for a US Open contest. Who's with us?
Let's try something new.
Let's do a points system: Pick the first-round leader and the overall winner. If you have Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods and he's 10th after 18 holes and goes on to win, that's 11 total points. So if you had Paul Casey and Tiger Woods, and Casey was 6th with Woods winning, that would be 7 points.
And since pace of play is a paramount problem in golf, we'll reward fast play.
This and that
— Chad Johnson was sentenced to 30 days for violation of his probation. He actually got the working end of a judge's wrath because he smacked his attorney on the tuckus during the proceedings. Wow, who could have possibly guessed that Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Johnson could have made a mockery of something? He's normally so serious and professional. (Todd, did the sarcasm come through there? On a side note, can we start calling Chad OchoClinko?)
— What does it take to keep a head coaching job in the NBA nowadays? Memphis has parted ways with Lionel Hollins after getting to the Western Conference finals; the Clippers fired Vinny Del Negro after a franchise-record-setting season; George Karl is out in Denver after being named coach of the year for crying out loud.
— Adam "Pacman" Jones was arrested last week for slapping a women outside a bar. Jones said he was protecting himself. (Remember the good ole days when we complained about defensive backs like Deion being unwilling to hit people?) Pacman is as naturally a gifted cover corner as there is around. Dude can play. Dude can't behave. He alleges that he was protecting himself from two females who wanted to have their picture made with him, and then threw a beer bottle at Pacman. Maybe she wanted to be Ms. Pacman. Waga, waga, waga, waga, waga.
— Nick Saban heads to Athens, Tenn., tonight to speak and stir the drink that is SEC rivalry passion. CUH-razy stuff.
— Kobe Bryant's mom tried to auction off some his stuff. He got a court order to stop it. Kobe's mom apologized. Somewhere Macaulay Culkin is shaking his head and saying, "Dude, get over it."
— The Stump on Sports high school all-star sports series continues with hoops tonight at Notre Dame.
Feel free to discuss any of the above, and if you want to kick around the former Florida star not named Jim Jebow (although how boss would it be if he changed his name to Jim JeBow), have at it. We're game. We'll type, let's talk, no big whoop.
(Another side note about the quarterback that won't be named: Of the last 25 Heisman winners, there's only one quarterback among that group who has won a playoff game. Want to guess who it is? Yep, ol' Jimmy JeBow's alter ego.)
Also, remember the Finals Twitter run and the US Open contest.
If you still need a talking point, well try this:
Maybe it's the commercial blitz. Maybe it's the buzz. Maybe it's the need to see a good, fun summer movie in the theater again.
Either way, we are legitimately stoked for a) The Lone Ranger and b) Man of Steel.
So today's question, if you choose to answer it, which summer movie are you excited about? Have you already seen one you can recommend or give us the no-go on? (Heard that Will Smith movie was a B-O-M-B that lasted about two days in most theaters. E-Gads. Where's Carlton and Uncle Phil when you need them?)
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 ...