Speeding into the holiday weekend, we have a spot or two open in the mailbag. Whatcha got?
From the "Talks too much" studios,
In the post-World Cup soccer breakdown, we think the USMNT has a chance to be big stars in our national's public eye. Now there's bellyaching and turmoil and Landon Donovan taking verbal jabs at Jurgen, Jurgen, Jurgen. Bitter much, Landon.
That said, this renewed Patriotic view comes at perfect time. Tomorrow is July 4th, the day we celebrate our independence. Tomorrow we'll have the mailbag, so we'll get to this today.
Thanks to everyone who has served our nation. We owe you and those that sacrificed with you our freedom.
Thanks to everyone who reads the paper and these F-O-I-B ramblings. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are backbones of this nation.
Thanks to everyone who offers different views and is willing to exchange different opinions. The lost art of polite discourse and listening and debating make all of us more informed and enlightened.
We have much to be thankful for in this great land.
What's your Rushmore of 'Murica — be it sports, hot dogs, whatever?
Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson (23) and teammate B.J. Upton celebrate after a baseball game against the New York Mets in Atlanta on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Johnson drove in three runs to help Atlanta to a 3-1 victory.
Your Atlanta Braves have a season-best seven-game winning streak. Very good times. Let's review.
The Good: Julio Teheran is a legit ace. Dude has been money all year, save two road starts. We said on Press Row in the lastw eek or so that Teheran was having an All-Star year even if he likely was not going to make the All-Star team. We were 100 percent wrong. If Teheran doesn't make the NL All-Stars, then someone needs to have their head examined. Dude, is 8-5 (meaningless stat for a pitcher) with a 2.29 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHiP. He has made 18 starts, 16 of which were designated as quality starts (six or more innings, three earned runs or fewer), and allowed more than a third of the total earned runs he's allowed all year in those two outliers (one of which was at the homerdome known as Coors Field). Dude is an ace.
The bad: Other than one big swing by Chris Johnson, Teheran could have again suffered a tough-luck beating. Johnson's three-run, two-out double in the first was all the offense the Braves mustered in a 3-1 win.
The Uggla: Dan Uggla did not play and remains at .163 for the season. Since April 22 — Happy Earth Day — Uggla has five singles in 57 at-bats and 21 Ks. Wow. You want a different ugly, how about this team's fundamentals. Needing a sacrifice, the Braves called Jordan Schafer pinch-hit for Teheran in the seventh and failed to advance the runner. Man, this team struggles to manufacture runs.
The sports world is this slow right now: Other than any NBA free agency news, the top story on the ESPN.com ticker this morning was a ruling that a Saints player was a tight end.
Read that again, and as long as you patronize our sponsors, feel free to unplug from the sports world for a while.
And then after reading this, we got interested. Follow along.
Third-party arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled that for franchise-tag purposes New Orleans tight end Jimm Graham was a tight end. Unable to agree on an extension, the Saints put the franchise tag on Graham, who then would receive a one-year deal worth the averge salay of the three highest-paid players at his position.
The average top three at tight end is about $5 million less than the average of the top three wide outs.
So naturally Graham, who lined up out wide or in the slot in almost 2/3s of his plays last year wants to be viewed a wide out. Burbank viewed otherwise, and looking into Mr. Burbank's credentials, well, he's smarter than most. Dude graduated first in his class at Harvard law and clerked for several recognizable names this side of Judge Wapner.
He has written three books — including the un-Clancy-like Rule 11 in Transition: The Report of the Third Circuit Task Force on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 (not exactly a page-turner with intrigue and cock-eyed optimism) — and has taught law at Penn, Harvard and Michigan and in Italy and Germany.
Interesting, no? (Yes, it's still a really slow time in sports.)
This and that
— Much congrats to Ryan Martin, the former Chattanooga kid known as Blue Chip, who moved to 7-0 in his pro boxing career with a win Wednesday night. Well done sir.
— The NCAA v. O'Bannon case is in the final stages before the judge starts deliberating as each side is making post-trial filings. Here's an update, and know this: The attorneys for O'Bannon et al. made an entire part of their 25-page report to the judge about how much Mark Emmert and Jim Delany among others stated their case when they testified for the NCAA.
As always feel free to offer a view on any of the above. And we're doing the mailbag this evening, so send them in as soon as possible.
We have been big into birthdays and days of particular interest lately, especially this week considering Thomas Jefferson fittingly died on the Fourth of July. (EDITTED Thanks to Stewwie. War Stewwie.)
Today — July 3 — offers us at least two interersting Rushmores.
Today, Tom Cruise turns 52. He's pretty famous. You know this. What's our Rushmore of Tom?
Today, Yeardley Smith is 50 today. She's famous, but not the household name that Cruise is. Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson. What is the Rushmore of cartoon characters? And yes, that's a tough one.
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 ...