published Thursday, July 24th, 2014

5-at-10: College football talking season continues, NASCAR's struggles, Happy Birthday Barry Bonds and Kramer

Mailbag, people. Mailbag.

From the "Talks too much" studios, can we get an amen?

  • photo
    UTC head coach Russ Huesman watches his team kick an extra point.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Mocs are the hunted

UTC coach Russ Huesman joined us on Press Row on Wednesday, about three hours after his team was picked as the Southern Conference favorite.

We asked Coach Huesman if he'd rather be the hunter or the hunted, since he now has officially filled each role entering his sixth season as the Mocs boss.

He said neither. And both. And that he'd like to sneak up on people if he could but believes his bunch will be ready for everyone's best shot.

UTC has a litany of talent — Huesman did quip in jest that the Mocs must not be very good on defensive since All-American Davis Tull was the only UTC all-SoCon first-team pick — and should be the favorite in a league that no longer includes perennial heavyweights Georgia Southern and App State.

We believe UTC will win the SoCon, and has a chance to win 10 games but we have been overly optimistic before when it comes to UTC. So it goes.

This much is certain: Anything less than a playoff trip is a huge disappointment. Agreed?

————

Sumer recruiting results

The random and ridiculous stuff coming from the college football wires around the country as we creep closer to the start of practice is silly. And at times interesting.

Sure the meaningless back-and-forth such as Bob Stoops taking shots at the SEC and Jimbo Fisher saying the A2013 CC was the most dominant conference in the history of college football is ludicrous.

Still, we enjoyed this recruiting tidbit from ESPN.com, which surveyed 300 of the top recruits in the 2015 class.

Best food on your visit? Tennessee followed by Alabama and Texas.

Best facilities? Alabama was a clear choice getting 24 percent of the vote followed by Tennessee, Ohio State and Texas.

Best game-day atmosphere? No clear choice, but Auburn, Clemson and Florida were the top three.

Best uniforms? No surprise here as Oregon got more than 70 percent of the vote. The Ducks were so dominant that the only other schools to get multiple votes were UCLA, FSU and Penn State.

————

NASCAR

  • photo
    Chase Elliott (9) drives his car during the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Saturday, July 19, 2014.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASCAR heads to Indy this weekend. It should be one of the sport's highlighted events.

But it's hard to highlight anything in NASCAR these days that is not turing sour.

According to Forbes.com and its valuations of NASCAR's top nine teams, only Hendrick Motorsports ($348 million) has maintained its relative value since 2010 ($350 million).

According to the same article and evaluation, the average NASCAR team's profits have dropped 31.1% since 2010. The average team value of $139.7 million is down 16.4% since the '10 season.

Wow.

This comes at a time when several major sponsors — including the National Guard which is a big booster of Dale Jr. — have had open conversations about scaling back.

This comes at a time when not only are tickets available at some of the sport's most popular venues — yes, you can still get Bristol nigh race tickets — you can get entire sections at some of the less popular races.

This comes at a time when TV ratings are dwindling — and rightly or wrongly, TV ratings are arguably the most important metric for measuring sports value right now.

This is not good news, even if it is coming at time when the races seem more fun and the promise of a more competitive postseason could add a ton of buzz.

Think of it this way: Hendricks Motorsports is less valuable today than it was four years ago, and Hendricks is the New York Yankees/Dallas Cowboys of NASCAR.

————

This and that

— NFL camps are opening. That's fun. Apparently the NFL fanatics never take an offseason, though, as a Browns fan recently peed on Art Model's grave and filmed it. You stay classy Cleveland.

— Danny Struggla went 1-for-4 with an RBI in his Triple-A debut at Frenso. This is noteworthy because a) David Paschall predicted a 1-for-4 night for Struggla on Wednesday's Press Row (maybe he is Rain Man after all — 246 toothpicks) and b) the Twitter feed @FresnoGrizzlies then decided to chide Braves fans with the following social media salvo: "Too bad angry @Braves fans, this time around Dan Uggla knocks a RBI single to put the #GsUp 5-0. #UggLife." Well OK. Here's a piece of advice @FresnoGrizzlies, if you are going to get into a social media back-and-forth, do you really want to put your chips on Danny Struggla? You realize that his single Wednesday — against Triple-A pitching mind you — was his first base hit since June 27 and his second base hit since May 23? Ouch-standing. #Ugg-ly

— P.S. The Braves beat the Marlins 6-1 on Wednesday as Erwin Santana looked sharp.

————

Today's question

We have a mailbag spot open so fire away.

Today is a great day for birthdays. Barry Bonds (50), Lynda Carter (63), Jennifer Lopez (45), Michael "Kramer" Richards (65), Gallagher (68) and Ted Striker/Robert Hays (67) from Airplane each celebrate a birthday on July 24.

This begs three major questions:

• Who in a million years would have thought Kosmo Kramer was older than Wonder Woman? Not us. Quick Rushmore of 1970s TV bombshells that a lot of us a certain age had monster crushes on: Daisy Duke, Farrah on Charlie's Angels, Loni Anderson on WKRP and Wonder Woman. Hello Cleveland.

•Second, Barry Bonds... does he belong in the Hall of Fame? We say yes.

• Finally, in honor of Kramer, who is on the Rushmore of sidekick characters on TV comedies. Barney Fife is far left in our book, along with Edith Bunker to start. A lot of the ensemble comedies such as Seinfeld and M*ASH and Cheers do not have a clear wingman, you know? Who else is on there?

Go — and remember the mailbag.

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

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MocTastic said...

Old school sidekick, how about Ed Norton from The Honeymooners?

I do not put Bonds in the HOF. He cheated and broke MLB rules. His stats and records are acknowledged in the HOF, but you don't have to enshrine him as a member. While they did not test for PEDs during that period, they were illegal. Wonder if his head has shrunk back to closer its normal size these days....

How did we forget Tommy Bartlett yesterday in the pantheon of Mocs coaches? Tommy Bartlett was SoCon Coach of the Year in 1980, 81, 82, 83, 85, 88, and 89. Plus quoting an article from somebody named Steven Hargis: Tommy Bartlett was the coach of 1979-90 UTC tennis teams that won 13 Southern Conference championships and three consecutive NCAA Division II women's titles (1983-85), and he finished with 606 wins as a tennis coach.

July 24, 2014 at 10:15 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

MASH HAD NO SIDEKICK CHARACTER????...What MASH were you watching? Trapper John (holdover character from the movie) was top shelf, also Radar could be considered...The first Bob Newhart Show had the hilarious Howard Borden (Bill Daily) and even the second incarnation, Newhart had the fantastic Tom Poston (FYI, who was married to Suzanne Pleshette)

I agree with MocTastic, Bonds is a CHEATER and does not deserve consideration...The younger generation (those under 40) think it is ok to cheat if you say I'm sorry...WRONG...no Bonds, Clemens, etc.

Nice to see that David Tyree is back with the Giants in the front office, however he is in the same boat as Tony Dungy in that now he is being attacked for his faith...sad indeed...It was my honor to interview David when he came to Chattanooga just a few weeks following "the catch" and his story is amazing...and just to remind those Eli 2 Peyton 1...

July 24, 2014 at 10:19 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[This much is certain: Anything less than a playoff trip is a huge disappointment. Agreed?]

Absolutely. And I felt the same way last year too. I guess David Blackburn wasn't as disappointed though since he gave Russ a nice multiyear extension anyway.

Not sure that the Mocs will be better overall this year than last year. Any improvement on offense will be offset by a dropoff on the D. But that shouldn't affect our playoff hopes though. This conference is easier than ever to win. So even if we lose the 2 money games and the other out of conference games, we should still be good enough to get the autobid.

The game against Jax St. will be a good indicator of where our program is at. The Mocs would have been no better than 5th in the OVC last year, and Jax St. is projected to be the OVC's best team this year. Right now, I think it's silly seeing some of the preseason polls that have us near the top 10. I don't think we're anywhere close to that.

July 24, 2014 at 10:40 a.m.
MocTastic said...

IMO all the characters were sidekicks on MASH. Granted Hawkeye gradually took the show over, but in the beginning and for some years there was not one central character, but a cast of them.

July 24, 2014 at 10:43 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

Bartlett has a case to be sure.

We view the Hall of Fame as the best of the era — and Bonds was the best player of his era.

And while the definition of cheating is breaking the rules — and the back end of Bonds career (post-2002 when they adopted and enforced PED rules) is sketchy — here are two things to consider:

1) He never tested positive for PEDs and never admitted it. If baseball has proof (other than the obvious huge, Huge, HUGE increase in size, especially in the general head area) let's see.

2) Here's an ethics question on the matter: If 80 percent of a group is breaking a rule, is that still considered a valid rule of that job? Discuss.

OG —

Dude, Trapper John was fine — got his own spin-off even — and Radar was OK. Frank Burns was every bit as valuable as either one of those guys. And Henry Blake was close.

The first Newhart was in the same boat in regard to his friends and Suzanne P. and then his office folks and even his patients.

Stewwie —

Concur on the breakdown. Expect the Mocs to be competitive in the opener, and you're spot-on about the litmus test that is JSU.

And yes, the SoCon today is a cakewalk compared to what it was.

July 24, 2014 at 11 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Bonds did admit to using something, he just didn't admit that he knew they were steroids:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1937594

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/lawyer-bonds-didnt-know-he-used-steroids/2011/03/22/AB5TcUIB_story.html

http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/What-Bonds-told-BALCO-grand-jury-2667365.php

The REAL question of the steroid era is where was the MLB Players Union? Unions traditionally exist for two main reasons, to help their workers financially and to protect their safety. In MLB the players union in pursuit of the first totally forgot the latter. Had the owners tried to talk the players into taking a substance(s) that would very likely cause long term adverse health conditions the union would have balked in a big way, but with the players doing it on their own the union set quietly by.

Never forget too, in many of these cases were these players not only taking steroids, but they were committing felonies doing so, getting drugs that require prescriptions illegally is a felony in most states and as soon as you ship them via US Postal Service or across state lines it becomes federal charges. These guys need to be held out to send a message, that your cheating will not be forgotten.

PEDs were banned in 1991, they just didn't start testing for them until later in 2003.

There were two Mash spinoffs, don't forget AfterMASH.

July 24, 2014 at 11:14 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

Great point about the union and the juxtaposition of what if the owners were asking the players to take these substances.

The media also has a hand in it. Good gracious Bob Costa almost made an O-face during the 1998 home run chase. You could look at those guys — Sosa and Bonds went from lead-off hitters to outside linebackers — and know something was up.

And everyone but you has forgotten AfterMASH. In fact, we're not sure you can prove it ever happened. (And from about season 8 on, we'll call that AfterMASH part I when Alan Alda decided he needed to be the moral compass of a country. Gross.)

July 24, 2014 at 12:51 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Also, another aspect of Barry:

http://insidesportsgeek.wordpress.com/2007/08/07/barry-bonds-hr-record-tainted-by-elbow-armor/

Costas didnt' figure it out until 1998? Geesh. I remember watching an Oakland As vs Huntsville Stars exhibition game here in Huntsville in the 1989 to 1991 timeframe. When Oakland came out of the dugout we all were stunned, in person and up close it was obvious something was going on. This wasn't just a baseball team, but a team trained by East Germany during the height of the cold war. These guys would make some NFL linebackers look small. Of course, years later Jose Canseco would confirm that he, Mgwire and others on that team were heavily into the juice. Those announcers who didn't see that in the early 90s were the three monkeys...see no evil, hear no evil, and most importantly, speak no evil.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMS5tmay0zc

July 24, 2014 at 1:23 p.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

While the physics of that opinion are interesting, it feels more like picking nits. And if those allegations are true about the benefits in technique and power, then why are there not more of these things in use.

As for the safety factor, well, that's picking nits to the Nth degree.

Is Hank Aaron's 755 tainted by wearing a batting helmet compared to Ruth's total?

July 24, 2014 at 1:34 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Still researching the theory of co-colas tasting better with toes in the sand. Running low on samples. With 2 days of research remaining do I restock fully or switch to the nectar of agave?

July 24, 2014 at 4:58 p.m.
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