We have some spots open in Friday's mailbag, so act now. Remember the first million are free.
From the "Talks too much" studios, we're two weeks from the draft. We love the draft. You know this.
Atlanta beat Miami 3-1. The Braves are off today and lead the NL East by 2.5 games.
The good: How good has Aaron Harang been? Well, he gave up one run in six innings and his ERA went up to 0.85. Also, Evan Gattis' two-run, pinch-hit double in the eighth proved to be the game-winner. Gattis is 7-for-13 with two doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs as a pinch-hitter. Wow. That's crazy good.
The bad: You know what it is. The Braves offense has been tepid at best, and with Freddie Freeman in a slump — he's 1-for-his-last-17 and was bagel-for-12 against Miami — this team struggles to get base runners consistently, never mind scoring runs.
The Uggla: Dan Uggla went 1-for-3, legging out an infield single that continued the game-winning rally in the eighth. He's hitting .227 this season, well clear of the .210 Struggla line we set before the season.
LaMarcus Aldridge is legit.
LeBron is LeBron.
Side note: Do you think the 5-at-10 needs an extra Le syllable? like we could be La5-at-10 for the rest of the week? Thoughts?
Where were we, oh yeah — let's cover three points from last night's action.
1) Aldridge torched the Rockets, giving the Blazers a 2-0 series lead — winning both in Houston mind you — by going for 43. Are we to a point that two of the four best players in the NBA are from the University of Texas?
2) The Spurs stumbled against the Mavs last night. We still believe in the Spurs, but that was decidedly one-sided and somewhat puzzling as San Antonio has surrendered home-court to Dallas. This could be one to keep an eye on.
3) LeBron was aces last night. He scored 32 on just 17 shots and had eight assists and six boards in a tight 101-97 win over the feisty Bobcats, who are a player or two away from being fun to watch. (Side note: Kemba Walker is nice, MKG is improving and Al Jefferson is a man. Charlotte's roster — not unlike Washington's — has some nice young pieces.) LeBron closed the game out with a couple of free throws. Good times.
Chicago Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano reacts after sustaining an injury in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
Cubs being Cubs
We mentioned Wrigley as a bucket-list destination. The Cubs, however, keep kicking the bucket.
Among the many famous Chicago athletes invited to celebrate the 100th birthday of iconic Wrigley Field were former Bears football players and even Ryan Dempster and his Boston Red Sox World Series ring.
No where to be seen was Sammy Sosa, who was the face of the franchise for a decade, holds the record for the most home runs in franchise history with 545 and joined Mark McGwire in the PED-induced homer barrage that helped lift baseball beyond the strike of 1994.
No Sammy Sosa. Really? Feel how you want about steroids, but to pretend it did not happen — especially for a Cubs organization that has a historical legacy of being terrible — is stupid and wrong. Especially since baseball and the teams benefited from the PED-induced homer explosion that resulted.
For baseball now to wash their collective hands of this and treat the PED stars like Sosa and Bonds and the rest like they are the ex we have cut out of the photos, well that's juvenile. And wrong. Sammy should have been there. Heck, a few years ago the Reds got special permission to invite Pete Rose back for a celebration. We can hug the guy that put the competitive fabric of the entire sport on the line but the guys that used PEDs are lepers? Really?
Baseball turned a blind eye to steroids back then and benefited from it. It was wrong and the higher ups in the sport let it happen.
Now baseball is hoping if they turn a blind eye to the steroid era it will go away. And that's just as wrong.
This and that
— Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda got tossed for having pine tar on his neck. Pine tar on the neck? What happened, Jeter didn't let Pineda sample the Sex Panther? It's made with bits of real panther you know. And 60 percent of the time it works every time.
— The NFL schedule was released. Yes, we are in a place that the NFL listing its dance card is a prime-time event. Goodell may be a lot of things, but he is leading the pop culture roller coaster du jour. Hmmmmm, that sounds good — we believe we'll have that.
We meant to bring this up earlier in the week but forgot.
In an interview this week, new Texas football coach Charlie Strong said his team was not going to be in the national title game this year.
Hmmmmmmm. We appreciate the honesty Charlie, and we agree with you. But if we're a burnt orange fan, we're slap puzzled why our coach does not believe our team can't play for the title.
We're like four months removed from Auburn being 13 seconds from the BCS title a year after going 3-9.
It's a danged if you do, danged if you don't proposition for sure, but what are your thoughts on Strong's statement?
Discuss — 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 ...