Gang, remember Friday's mailbag and enjoy the warming weather.
From the familiar confines of the "Talks too much" studios, remember the words of the Dalai Lama, "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." Long the Lama, big hitter.
Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer did a nice job blending the national news of the day with the local sports news of the introduction of UTC assistant basketball coach Wes Long.
The tornados that swept through Moore, Ok., were brutal and unforgiving and our prayers go to the victims and the families that have been touched or totaled by the storms. And as Weeds pointed out, the preciousness of life is magnified when disasters happened with children involved.
Side note: Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp may be the coolest guy/best dude in sports, especially among the superstars. Kemp pledged $1,000 for every homer he hits between now and the All-Star break to the victims in Oklahoma. Here's hoping the Dodgers and MLB at least match that offer. Kemp you may remember was the guy that gave his jersey, his hat and his shoes to a terminally ill fan earlier this year, a gesture that was caught on video and can make it a little bit dusty in whatever room you may be sitting. It was a generous and kind gift made even more outstanding by the fact that a) Kemp did it as a spur of the moment thing — and the video was shot by one of the friends of the sick kid; and b) it came after Kemp went 0-for-4 in a disappointing loss to the rival Giants.
Be it man-made or natural, the act of withered soul or a weather cell, it seems there are more and more real life events that remind us far too often of the frailty of this life.
Be safe friends. And be kind.
Nope, this is not a diet tip. Although after the beach run and the snacks and the Co-Colas, the 5-at-10 could stand to drop 5-or-10. We swallowed a lot of aggression; along with a lot of pizza.
Nope, this is the final 5-footer for the use of the anchored belly-putter in professional golf. Golf's governing bodies announced that by Jan. 1, 2016, the use of an anchored putter will be illegal. The wording of the new rule adopted this morning by the R&A and the USGA is "in making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either 'directly' or by use of an 'anchor point.'" The PGA has not said whether it will follow suit, but it's hard to believe they won't.
Here is an informative graphic on what will be accepted and what will be illegal from CBS sports.
OK, whatever. We never had a big problem with the anchored putting stroke.
That said, the governing bodies of golf getting together to talk about the belly-putter and ignoring the rest of the regulations and decisions that must be made about the exploding improvements in equipment and technology seems ostrich-esque at its core. The fact that guys are reaching 580-yard par-5s with driver and 5-iron is a much bigger issues to the future of the game — and the golf courses across the world — than whether a handful of pros place the handle of their putter in their chest.
Our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown followed the Big Orange caravan to Kingsport on Monday. Here's his report. And while the news that UT football coach Butch Jones is stoked about his strength and conditioning staff is well and good, the statements from Dave Hart that he's firmly and strongly behind a nine-game SEC schedule sets the stage for next week's SEC meetings.
Hart has a nice measure in his message. He is direct without being directional; he speaks with poise while avoiding poisonous phrases. He is in a word, polished.
He also has put his cards on the table in what will be a big storyline next week in Destin. In fact, the three biggest storylines from the SEC meetings likely will be a) How much coin does each of the 14 SEC schools get — we'll put the over/under at $28 million; b) the SEC network and how it's a game changer; and c) the conference schedule in the years to come.
The SEC schedule will create waves that will have ripples that touch all ends of college football. A nine-game season will effectively end the "kickoff classic" games on neutral sites for a lot of the power programs. It also will likely end the home-and-home series that have allowed the SEC to face some of the big-name programs around the country in recent seasons.
And the reasons are as clear as the dollars in your pocket. If an SEC team is only allowed three non-conference game, those three games will almost assuredly be home games. There is too much money at stake for each SEC program and every town that hosts an SEC program. (For perspective, people coming to the eight Auburn football games in 2010 created more than $170 million, so that's more than $21 million a Saturday. Yes, that was a national title year, so those numbers are likely skewed higher, but still.)
The other under current here that makes us think the nine-game schedule will happen eventually is the SEC Network, which will show anywhere from 40-50 SEC football games in addition to a slew of other league events and shows. When Tennessee goes to Oregon this September, the TV rights go to the home team. When any other team visits an SEC team, those rights belong to the SEC and their media partners. See where this is heading?
Welcome to the future of college sports, gang. The SEC is king, and the old model will be forever gone. The king id dead; long live the king.
This and that
— How about that Dan Uggla, who hit a three-run homer with two out in the first two in the first to pace Atlanta's 5-1 win over Minnesota on Monday? Dan Uggla, who ever doubted him? (Also of note: Former Rhea County High School star Cory Gearrin got the save in the Braves' win last night.)
— The Grizz play the Spurs in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals tonight. The Spurs thumped Memphis in Game 1, when Zach Randolph played like Zach Galifianakis. His Wolfpack was less than impressed. It's not a true must-win for the Grizz — you could argue it's more of a must-win for the Spurs — but a tighter game and increased production from Randolph are paramount.
— Chad Johnson was picked up on probation violation. How strange is it that his life was more structured when he was known as Chad Ochocinco, proving yet again that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.
— The TFP sports editor attended the news conference with UTC basketball coaches Will Wade and Wes Long. Have to say, we were pretty impressed with their poise and demeanor. It's one thing to believe in yourself — and just about everyone who puts themselves and their work out for public consumption has to have a certain amount of self-belief. It's another thing to truly believe in the system and process, and listening to Wade and Long, each of those cats believe in themselves, their skills and UTC's basketball future. Mocs fans have reason to believe.
— Shout out to the folks at USA Today for sharing this, which could be the worst own goal of all time.
Among the interesting tidbits coming down the wire — Calvin Johnson setting NFL receiving records with broken fingers; Tiger and Sergio preparing to pull hair in a silly slap fight that feels as important as a Kardashian debate on global warming; Mike Vick finally learning to carry a football properly... what? Mike Vick has been a football player most of his life and he's just now learning to wrap and lift? — we had a hard time coming up with a question today.
Feel free to freestyle as the mood suits, but if you need a talking point, here are two:
a) as we frequently ask when a major sports rule gets addressed, if you where the commissioner of any sport, what rule would you address first?
b) Which of the following statements seems to be the biggest stretch of the truth: Keanu Reeves made his directing debut at Cannes or Vince Young graduated from Texas?
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 ...