Gang, remember our mailbag. We have a few open spots and always enjoy the back and forth that Fridays allow.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's give an old-school Hee-Haw salute to BWill8, our newest regular. SAAA-LOOOT. And remember Dayton pronounced backward is Not-Yad.
Sports icon news of the day, part I
Welcome to Chattanooga, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
This year's Daytona 500 champ and the son of the best NASCAR driver of all-time will be the guest speaker at our annual Best of Preps banquet. All-around TFP ace Stephen Hargis had a big role landing Junior. Kudos. It also is worth mentioning that our president Jason Taylor is always looking for ways to continue the growth of this event and all the TFP presentations.
Mission accomplished. Earnhardt Jr. continues the run of world-class sports stars to join us at the Best of Preps that started with Michael Phelps in 2009 and follows on the biggest crowd we've ever had with Chipper Jones last year. Something tells us the crowd will be bigger this year because Junior is that popular.
We're excited about having the Q&A with Dale Jr. as well.
And we'll come up with a contest sometime this spring where we'll give away a couple of tickets. Maybe the NFL draft contest in May.
Sports icon news of the day, part II
Tiger Woods has pulled out of the Masters. To that we say, good.
Nope, forget good, we'll say great.
It's great that he'll get healthy. It's great that we'll not have to worry about Tiger WD-ing 12 shots back on Sunday morning after the first eight holes. It's great that the second biggest story line behind the winner will not be Tiger's ailing back.
Tiger, it's GRREEAAATTT. (Sorry for Frosted Flakes copyright infringement.)
This is good news for Tiger and for Tiger fans, because a short term absence is the only chance to return to the mix on a regular basis and even be in the mention at future majors. At 38 a lost season of majors would be critically painful — especially since the four majors are at three course where he's won — but without getting this fixed, he'll never be Tiger again. Heck Freddie Couples was supposed to be the best player of the early 1990s and he only won one major because of unpredictable back pain.
And the Masters is the Masters. Sure, a Tiger-less field will cost the TV ratings as much as 10 percent in the ratings, but the biggest star at the Masters is Augusta National, regardless who is in the field.
That said, the PGA better start figuring out different ways to promote Patrick Reed and hope that Rory McIlroy finds his swing.
The Masters will be fine, but the Zurich Classic and the Wells Fargo Invitational without Tiger — and potentially without a walking-wounded Phil Mickelson — means trouble. Don't get us wrong, we love golf — like Brian Fontana loves the ladies — and even enjoy watching golf on TV, buy Steven Bowditch shooting 74 to survive the Texas Open is not all that enthralling.
Golf gets a practice run at its Tiger-less future. How will it respond?
On Press Row we have had a sports movie madness bracket over the last three weeks. Good times.
We asked for Rushmores of baseball movies, basketball movies, football movies and all other categories to get a Sweet 16. You can vote here or at the ESPN 105.1 FM Facebook page.
We know the four No. 1 seeds are Hooisers, Brian's Song, Bull Durham and Rocky.
We also know we likely should have a boxing bracket rather than a basketball bracket, considering Teen Wolf was the No. 4 seed in the hoops draw. Granted, Scottie Howard's rally to a title and Coach Finstock's memorable life lessons ("There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.") make Teen Wolf better than people remember, but it surely sticks out in the field.
So it goes. Enjoy. We're voting on the first round only right now. We'll update the results Thursday and move forward. Deal? Deal.
Vote on the Sweet 16 match-ups in Press Row's "BEST SPORTS MOVIE BRACKET"!
(1) Hoosiers vs. (4) Major League I
(3) Friday Night Lights vs. (2) Caddyshack
BILLY D REGIONAL
(1) Brian's Song vs. (4) Teen Wolf
(3) Miracle vs. (2) The Natural
(1) Rocky I vs. (4) Rudy
(3) Field of Dreams vs. (2) Hoop Dreams
(1) Bull Durham vs. (4) Raging Bull
(3) He Got Game vs. (2) The Longest Yard
And remember, if you're running the picket fence at 'em, don't get caught watching the paint dry.
This and that (Icon edition)
— Pat Summitt's son Tyler got his first head coaching job. Tyler will aim to revive the once-storied history at La. Tech. If Tyler turns the Lady Techsters back into winners, he has to be part of Tennessee's future, right? Right?
— Tainted icon Alex Rodriguez is currently suspended from baseball. His nephew, however, is a high school senior and hit eight homers on eight consecutive swings last weekend at a tournament. Wow. (And yes, feel free to fill in your PED joke here.)
— Former UT and current Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl joined Paschall and the blockhead TFP sports editor on Press Row Tuesday. Here's the Q&A.
— Danny Struggla Update: Danny went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the Braves' 5-2 win Tuesday night. Good times. Struggla is now hitting .250 (2-for-8) and still has not struck out this season. While we giggle and joke about early season projections — at this pace Freddie Freeman will hit 162 home runs — know this fact about Uggla going back-to-back games without a strikeout: It happened just three times when he had at-bats in 136 games 2013. If he does not strike out today, it will be the first time Uggla went three consecutive games without a K since going five straight games (11 at-bats) without a whiff in early September 2012. So there's that. Side note: Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood looked really, Really, REALLY sharp.
— Sweet buckets of cash. Here's a storyabout a 50,000-square foot mansion in L.A. that sold for nine figures at auction. Yep, the buyer dropped $102 million cash for the joint, which includes 12 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms and sits on 5 acres. Wow.
Knock yourself silly on open mic night.
If you need talking points:
— Will Tiger's absence affect your Masters viewing?
— What will be the biggest upset in the first round of the Press Row sports movie madness bracket?
Go and remember the mailbag.
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 ...