Morning gang, happy Friday. That's right, it's Friday and that means time for the mailbag. Before we get to the emails, quick shoutouts to the wc-triple7s, kburgess and the slew of new folks that have stopped by the show this week. The 5-at-10 is a self-described family-oriented-Intertube-web-based-sports column, and the bigger the family the better. Plus, we're adding all those cool folks with the crazy email addresses that apparently can get us a big-time family discount on everything from Air Jordan(1-24) shoes to sunglasses and bikinis. (Don't do it, BIspy4.)
Anyhoo, hats off to the newcomers and welcome to the family gang — come back early and often. Plus, a shoutout to the regulars — you know who you are — that make writing this fun and checking back more fun. Hats off to you, too.
On to the mailbag, which if you're a regular follower of the 5-at-10, you know that SteelerFan normally starts us off. Today, though, the honor goes to scole023, who won our first annual Overrated/Underrated Bracket (that had to be decided in overtime because we nailed the overrated and stunk at the underrated part) Challenge. Sorry, Osograndeee.
Kentucky's Josh Harrellson (55) and Terrence Jones (3) defend on a shot by North Carolina's Leslie McDonald (2) during the first half of the final of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament East regional, Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Here we go.
Happy April's Fools Day. Where does this come from? Does the 5-at-10 get this day off for religious reasons? Help us out here. And what are some of the best April Fools?
Thanks, and I'll hit send and listen.
P.S. What did I win (Derrick Williams is the man)?
Congrats again on winning the Overrated/Underrated Bracket (that had to be decided in overtime because we nailed the overrated and stunk at the underrated part) Challenge, we'll have a small gift package put together that includes a year subscription to the 5-at-10 and a Final Four T-shirt. Congrats.
As for the April's Fools Day lore, well, there are a lot of different theories, but it's commonly linked to the 16th Century when France adopted the Gregorian calendar and shifted New Year's Day from the end of March to Jan. 1. Some stubborn folks wanted to keep the New Year's Day in late March, and they celebrated anyway, so they were called April's Fools.
Some others believe, though, that the early forms of the BCS of 16th Century France saw the chance to draw all the college football bowl games together right around New Year's Day, and then-BCS chief Avrili Phol expertly used a clever PR campaign to get people to embrace the change. French university presidents were happy with this because they could pitch that the student-athletes would miss less class time with the bowl games moved up closer to the season. Under that theory, the day was originally called Avrili Phol's Day in honor of the then-BCS chief, but the language translation through the years has left us with April's Fools Day. Alas.
And no Wise-N-Hammer, the 5-at-10 staff does not get AFD off for religious observances, although we normally take a big chunk of National Potato Week off as a matter of principle.
As for the best April's Fools, there was the SI story about Sidd Finch, the fictional Mets' pitcher that threw 140 mph and only pitched wearing one boot. There was also the prank that Taco Bell pulled, buying a full-page ad in the New York Times in the 1990s claiming they had bought the Liberty Bell and were going to change the name to the "Liberty Taco Bell." (Somewhere a Tea Party member's head just popped off at the thought of that.) Also, Burger King introduced the "Left-handed Whopper" on April's Fools Day, and our TFP Facebook page has a pretty good one going right now (Join in the fun here https://www.facebook.com/timesfreepress).
That said, the thought of foolishness and Gregorian chants leads us in only one direction. That's right, a 5-at-10 Quick Top 5 — the best foolish fan heckles/chants:
— The original "Let's Go Hoyas, Clap, Clap, clap-clap-clap." Made famous at Georgetown, this one makes the list for sheer imitation value — everyone has some form of this one, including Austin Peay, who cleverly rallies the troops with "Let's Go Peay, Clap, Clap, clap-clap-clap."
— A dozen or so years ago, a friend of the show was in Durham for college football game between a Duke team that was something like 0-8 and visiting Wake Forest, which was roughly 1-7. With Duke well ahead late in the fourth quarter, the Duke student section starts chanting, "Over-RATE-ed, Clap, Clap, clap-clap-clap." Well played.
Wednesday of this week, the 5-at-10 was shooting hoops with 5-at-10 Jr., our 3-year-old son, on a Fisher Price goal. The 5-at-10 tried a behind-the-back shot — we may have been showing off. Maybe. Anyhoo, the 5-at-10 missed everything and 5-at-10 Jr. busted out the "AIR-ball, AIR-ball." Chip off the ol' block, huh?
At a first-round tournament site a few moons ago, the Duke faithful were waiting for the Blue Devils to play. In the game preceding Duke's, the Duke fans embraced the underdog — one Robert Morris University with chants of "Let's Go Bob, Clap, Clap, clap-clap-clap."
ROCK-CHALK-JAYHAWK. It fits the Gregorian lead-in, and when Cole Allen Fieldhouse is rocking with that slow chant, well, it's worth at least 6 points. Plus, we're a sucker for tradition.
This Dec. 27, 2005, file photo shows Auburn wide receiver Stanley McClover speaking with the media after college football practice for the Capital One Bowl, in Orlando, Fla. Four former Auburn players have told HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" that they received thousands of dollars while being recruited by or playing for the Tigers. McClover, Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey and Raven Gray made the allegations in an episode of the show airing Wednesday night, March 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Brian Myrick, File)
Hey 5 at 10:
Can you explain the mechanics of a good $100 handshake? Do you mash up a bunch of 20s into a paper wad, or do you fold a crisp $100 bill into a tiny square that can be hidden between the fingers and discreetly passed from giver to taker? Also, is there any way to pass money during a fist bump? Also, is it good to use Purell after a hard day of $100 handshakes? Also, do any college programs have boosters so brazen they prefer the PacMan Jones “make-it-rain” style of cash rewards?
Let's break this down, John Madden-style. Here we go.
"That's a GREAT question. What you have here is a big ol' ham-hock hand filled with cash — kinda like a big sausage, you know. OK, now you got this big ol' hand and this big ol' wad of cash and then BOOM, you make your move. That's some big-time $100 handshakin' right there. Watch it again. Right there... BOOM! I'm tellin' you, that's unbelievable Hundo Handshakin' from start to finish."
As for the techniques, the 5-at-10 believes it's a lot like tackling. There are some basics — in tackling, the fundamental approach is with your chin up and head on the outside — but in the end, the production is more important than the path.
In the case of the Hundo Handshake, you start with nothing smaller than $50s (otherwise you run the risk of becoming too bulky, and you never want to blatantly violate NCAA rules AND insult the recruit/star player — that's just bad form). Second, discretion is always the best play.
From there, the Hundo Handshake — again like tackling — is all about the outcome. If you stop a ball carrier by grabbing a hand full of ponytail hanging out of the back of his helmet or trip him up by his shoe laces or even knock him down by accident, you know what they call that? You betcha, it's a tackle.
Same with the Hundo Handshake. As far as personal preferences go, the 5-at-10 always suggests going with $100s. As Bond, John Bond might say, "I'll have mine folded, not wadded." Purell is a strong plus, but that's almost always the case. As for the PacMan "make-it-rain" moves, well, they teach that at the NFL rookie symposium — right after "Gold Grills: Do they count as an investment?" and "Twitter: Friend or Foe."
There is a variation of the fist-bump Hundo Handshake, but that's called a "Cash Knuckles," and that's only for graduate level students and/or expert boosters.
And if you're wondering how the 5-at-10 knows this much about Hundo Handshakes, well, we did go to Auburn, after all.
Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones hits a three-run home run against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
From assorted emails
(we had some great questions, this week gang — tip of cap to you all. So we combined a slew of baseball questions, including Bigbearzzz's "best Braves' closers" into one email)
— Why do Southern baseball fans get so jazzed about the first week of the MLB season? The last time I looked there were 162 games, rendering one game in isolation almost meaningless.
— Do you really think these Braves are going to have eight guys hit 15 or more home runs? Please.
— Who is going to win the World Series — come on man, where's the predictions other than the NL East?
— Best Braves closer, who you got?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but there's no real explanation to the over-emphasis put on the first week and Opening Day, especially for Braves fans. Maybe it's the long offseason, or maybe it's the need to have baseball and warm weather, who knows? The 5-at-10 is just as guilty as everyone else, though. (Raise your hand if you've used some form of the, "At this pace, Jason Heyward's going to hit 162 homers this year." Yeah, we did, too.)
This Braves' lineup is stacked, no doubt. The only thing that stops this group from hitting 200-plus homers (and at least flirting with every regular getting to 15) is injuries.
World Series pick: Dodgers-Yankees. Like we said, we're traditionalists.
AL division winners: Yankees, Twins, Angels (Red Sox with the wildcard)
NL division winners: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers (Phillies with the wildcard)
As for the top Braves closer, well, this is the one this week we spent too much time on, there's no doubt.
In someways, kburgess made a great point about Braves closers have not exactly warmed the hearts of Southerners for the last two decades. In fact, with the games (and possible titles) the bullpen has blown since 1991, picking a best Braves closer is somewhat akin to picking your favorite skin rash.
Anyhoo, here's a quick best-and-worst list:
Best moment: 1995, Mark Wohlers' saving Game 6 of the World Series
Worst moment: 1996, Wohlers' hanging slider that Jim Leyritz drilled for a three-run shot in Game 4 of the World Series. It turned a 6-3 lead into a 6-6 game that would become a 8-6 Yankees win which tied the Series at 2 instead of the Braves leading 3-1. Let's move along before EC passes out.
Best moment from the bad years: Gene Garber striking out Pete Rose to end Rose's 44-game hitting streak in 1978.
Best pitch: John Smoltz's slider. And it's really not that close.
Worst pitch: A tie between all of them thrown by Joe Boever, Bob Wickman and Rick Camp.
Best current trivia tidbit: Jeff Reardon got the win in Game 7 of the NLCS — Sid's Slide game, when Sid Bream beat the throw from Barry Bonds to beat the Pirates in 1992.
Best all-time trivia tidbit: Two current Hall of Famers rank in the top 20 in saves for the Braves? They are Warren Spahn and Phil Niekro, who are tied for 19th with 29 career saves.
Final answer: John Smoltz, followed closely by Wohlers (who would have been an all-timer if not for the Leyritz bomb, which forever haunted him, in our opinion).
Cuonzo Martin speaks during a news conference after being introduced as the new University of Tennessee men's basketball coach on Monday. Staff Photo by Patrick Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Good Morning Mr. 5@10,
I’m glad to have Coach Cuonzo on board at UT. I’m behind him 100%. This hire reminds me of when Mrs. C-Vol cooks a new recipe. It looks good and sounds good, but you really don’t know what you’re getting. Did you see where Dwight Howard said a couple weeks ago that crying during the regular season is not acceptable but crying in the playoffs was ok? All this talk of crying got me to thinking…Does the 5@10 ever cry after seeing his team lose?
C-Vol, welcome back, and make sure to tell Mrs. C-Vol that we think she is a wonderful cook. Have heard nothing but good things from out UT aces — Patrick Brown and Mark Wiedmer — about Cuonzo Martin, but we'll see.
Anyhoo, Dwight Howard sets a pretty good frame to work with in regard to crying. The 5-at-10 has a few sports-crying rules that we try to embrace. These are not laws mind you, and everyone is entitled to embrace the sports experience to whichever extreme they see fit.
Sports crying is acceptable (these are wins and loses, mind you):
— By a high school senior after a season-ending loss in any state playoff game;
— By any long-suffering fans (read championship drought of more than 50 years, meaning there are real concerns about ever seeing your team win a title) that finally win a championship. Red Sox fans got a pass in 2004 (but if you were crying three years later, suck it up); Cubs fans would get a pass if they could ever win it again;
— For any superstar player, who has been in their league for at least a decade and is tagged with "Can't win the big one," label, finally wins the big one. Elway's Super Bowl title comes to mind.
— After winning or losing the Masters. Period. That's a life-changer;
— By any long-suffering fans (and even long-in-the-tooth superstars) that lose in the final moments of the championship-deciding game. There has to be a combination of immediate-reaction, a fear of not-knowing if your team will ever get back and pent-up frustration (plus career-emptiness for the player). Red Sox fans (and Yaz) when Bucky Dent went yard in the late 1970s is a prime example, even though that was a one-game playoff and counted as a regular-season game. Butler missing the 3-pointer last year, is another. If Jimmy Chitwood had missed that would — wait a sec, there was no way Jimmy was going to miss. Let's just move on;
— When a player is inducted into the Hall of Fame. Let it rip gents;
— When a loss translates into significant, life-altering financial setbacks. This is not a good thing.
This is a working list, so it's in transition. And know if any of these things happen, crying may be acceptable, but it's not encouraged. The 5-at-10 has not shed a sports tear since our high school hoops career ended — unless you count stupid "Rudy," when he gets accepted into Notre Dame and he's sitting on the bench and he breaks down and you can see... excuse us... Be back in a second.
Virginia Commonwealth fans cheer their team as they leave for the Final Four NCAA basketball tournament in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, March 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Great googly moogly, this NCAA tournament is crazy! My guess is the only person with any hope of winning “the brackets” is some woman who grew up in Connecticut; is a super- Fan of Ashley Judd; attended VCU undergrad and Butler grad school. She was roped into the “office pool” because she wanted the “guys” to think she was cool but was embarrassed when they all collectively mocked her bracket. Now she's going to cash in big time. Who do you like this weekend?
ElJefe, would you say I have a plethora of pinatas? Sorry, bad "Three Amigos" reference.
Your theory holds as much ground as any. Did you see that two people out of the 5.9 million that entered the ESPN bracket thing had the complete Final Four. One guy was leading the entire field; the other entry was not even in the top 6,300. Excuse me? How in the name of Jay Bilas' House Cat can you get this Final Four completely correct and still not crack the top 6,000? Madness indeed.
Anyhoo, let's wrap this puppy up in a never-been-done before 5-at-10 2-in-10 (Two NCAA semifinal picks in 10 words or less).
Butler vs. VCU: Butler's been before; VCU's never been better. Rams too tough.
Kentucky vs. UConn: Kemba and the Jets crash land; Wild Big Blue yonder.
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 ...