Crews work to remove toilet paper from the two poisoned oak trees before spraying the leaves with a coating at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Ala., on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr. has been charged for poisoning the landmark live oak trees on the Auburn University campus. (AP Photo/ The Birmingham News, Michelle Campbell)
Welcome to our Friday mailbag, and this one is a little longer than normal. The 5-at-10 wanted your ideas for punishment for Harvey Updyke, AKA Al from Dadeville. For those of you that live under a rock or have been searching the Interwebs for the latest cycling results from the Tour de Alps or whatever pedal-fest is going on, Al from Dadeville is a lifelong Alabama fan that has become the world's most notorious tree killer after allegedly poisoning the 130-year-old oaks at Toomer's Corner in Auburn. Only in the SEC right?
Here we go...
Here is the e-mail that started it:
As a Tide fan who graduated from AU, I was sad to hear about the actions of that JackWagon in Dadeville as they have endangered one of the truly great college traditions, but I was also amused by the excessive sobbing and crying displayed by a few “weed scientists” (seriously, they were interviewing weed scientists?, seriously, they actually scheduled a Toomer’s Corner tree hug?). Does that make me a bad person? From my point of view, the real tragedy, which has been missed by everyone (including the 5-at-10) is that with all of the resources being diverted to save and eventually replace the trees, it will take another decade to raise the funds necessary to sign the next Cam Newton.
Now to the real purpose of my email...given that Mr. Updyke’s alleged actions have struck a nerve all across the SEC, I suggest that you ask your readers to suggest punishment (non-violent, of course). You can select a “winner” on Friday and submit it to the judge for consideration. If nothing else, it will make for good reading and may allow a few of your readers to vent frustrations.
I’ve become a fan of the 5-at-10; Keep up the good work.
Here are some the better responses:
From multiple people in some varying form
In lieu of any and all court costs, Al from Dadevile should be required to pay the rest of the money Auburn owes Cecil and Cam Newton and establish a fund for future player acquisitions.
From KAC (This one was on the fringe of the "non-violent" clause)
Scout team quarterback/tackling dummy for Nick Fairley.
From AU fan (This one was on the fringe of being too adult and too common-sense based for the 5-at-10)
Nothing outside of what the courts hand this guy. There's nothing that anyone can do to this lowlife that really could bring the trees back. And there's nothing that can be done to this imbecile that would be any more harsh or ridiculous than he's already done to himself. He named his daughter "Crimson Tyde" and his son "Bear Bryant" after all.
Al from Dadeville should be summoned for life to every future Toomer's Corner celebration of an Auburn football win. He could also be forced to wear a tee shirt which says, "I poisoned them trees!"
Dadeville Al should have to plant one tree - on every street corner in the state of Alabama.
He should perform 5000 hours of community service in Auburn with at least 500 of those hours cleaning the Jordan-Hare stadium bathrooms.
Make him pay for the toilet paper and the tissue for all the crying that's coming from Auburn. Traditions are great, but suck it up Auburn. C'mon.
Make treekiller watch "punt, bama, punt" on an endless loop, ala "A Clockwork Orange," and mix in a little loss to Directional Louisiana from Saban's first year.
Al should be forced to review all of Nick Fairly's practice quizzes in preparation for the Wonderlic. Time served!
He should receive a letter from the University of Alabama signed by every member of the University Board, the professors, coaches and players indicating he is no longer invited to call himself a fan and rebuking him for his moronic actions. Honestly, Alabama is really missing an opportunity here to better distance themselves from this fool. 2. He should be placed on probation for the maximum term allowable by law and fulfill the special conditions of his probation by never watching any University of Alabama athletic events other than the practices of their male flag corps. In fact, if there was some way to remove his ability to receive any forms of communication regarding college athletics in general he should have to submit to those restrictions. He should also forfeit any and all memorabilia, clothes or other items that have any representation of the University of Alabama including but not limited to rolls of toilet paper; Tide detergent; or anything the color crimson. He should be forced to learn the Auburn Creed; dress in Orange and Blue; swear undying allegiance to Auburn University; and sincerely and enthusiastically lead every Auburn pep rally during the term of his probation. He should have to dress as Aubie for an entire week in the month of July and then again for the entirety of at least one early season football game. He should be forced to wear a sandwich board that reads as follows: Front: "Bear" Bryant thinks I am a backwards @#%, toothless hick and is disgusted by my stupidity. Back: "Kick Me"
From the 5-at-10
Gang, thanks so much for all the response — it was awesome. My vote goes to ElJefe's second option, especially if they forced Al from Dadeville to watch as they burned all of his Alabama gear. Wow, that would send him over the edge — wait, well it would send him further over the edge toward whatever edge is left for someone that far out there. Let's just move on.
From Steeler Fan
Oh, one more thing. Let Cash Cam [Newton] go 15-1 in his rookie season [like Ben Roethlisberger did] and I’ll entertain more discussion on that topic. I am aware that you think SEC football is better than the NFL — a view not shared by everyone, sir.
SteelerFan is referring to a discussion about former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton in the the 5-at-10's mailbag last week. It may or may not have gotten a little bit out of hand. The 5-at-10 may or may not be sorry about that. Read it here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/feb/18/5-10-Auburn-NFL-racing/
Quick recap: The 5-at-10 thinks Cam Newton is going to show out at the NFL Combine, and the comparisons for Newton should be more toward "a more athletic Roethlisberger" than "a better throwing Vince Young." And we never said the SEC was better than the NFL as a whole, just that the SEC West may have been better than the NFC West last year. And that was sarcasm, you JackWagon (kidding, kidding).
SteelerFan took offense to this thought. And that's OK.
Newton's most recent comments about wanting to be a football player, and entertainer and a global icon notwithstanding, he's light years ahead of Young. Now whether he can have the success Big Ben did— especially as quickly as Big Ben did — depends greatly on which team picks Newton. To be fair, Big Ben is not a two-time Super Bowl champ if the Kansas Chiefs had taken him in the first round a half dozen years ago. Even SteelerFan will have to admit that.
Did you see the espn.com write-up on Cory Gearrin, the kid from Rhea County who's in spring training with the Braves? Interesting stuff. What are your thoughts?
The 5-at-10 did see the following on espn.com:
Cory Gearrin — a 24-year-old reliever who has never pitched in the majors — threw batting practice, with his unusual delivery: The right-hander throws sidearm, like [Peter] Moylan, but early in his delivery, he seems to take a step toward the first-base side of the rubber with his land foot. This is what feels comfortable, he explained, and he's had his best years in 2009-10; pitching in Triple-A last year, Gearrin posted a 3.36 ERA, striking out 66 and walking 32 in 80.1 innings.
Gearrin has developed a changeup that is a version of his two-seam grip, with the ball sliding off the last fingers of his hand, rather than driven by his index and middle fingers. But finding a decent off-speed pitch — critical for right-handed sidearmers, as they look for ways to combat left-handed hitters — hasn't always been seamless. Gearrin recalled trying a new changeup grip while throwing a bullpen session in the Cape Cod League — and firing a pitch directly into the woods, on the side, as if he had hit an errant tee shot at a right angle. His coach at that time told him to forget about the changeup and stick with his fastball-slider combo.
Couple of thoughts here:
That report is from ESPN's Buster Olney, who is the best national baseball writer out there. It's just that simple. Second, that image of Gearrin winging a baseball into the woods in the Cape Cod League has the feel of a Nuke LaLoosh moment. What's next, Brian McCann coming to the mound and saying, "I want you to throw the next one at the Bull. Trust me."
Seriously, Gearrin is a great story of sticking to your dreams. The kid did not get a lot of notice coming out of high school and went to junior college. He transfered to Mercer and started perfecting that side-winder delivery. If he can be Peter Moylan-lite, then he can have a long MLB career.
I think I may have written you before about this, but it's going to be a crazy [NCAA] tournament. What are your thoughts?
It is going to be a crazy tournament. In fact, it's going to be a crazy two-week stretch from now until Selection Sunday.
There are so many teams that are moving on and off the bubble, and that traffic makes the flow even tougher to gauge even on an hourly basis.
For example, Georgia last night at Florida. Game started at 7 p.m., and the Bulldogs looked great building a first-half lead. At 8 p.m., Georgia looked like a lock. An hour later, the Gators rallied to win, and the Bulldogs were back where they started. An hour later, Marquette pulls off a road-upset of No. 15 UConn, and the Bulldogs look worse. An hour after that USC moves into bubble territory after beating No. 10-ranked Arizona.
Crazy, crazy stuff — and this is just to get into the tournament.
What did you think of the Daytona 500? I loved that Trevor Bayne won. What was the biggest surprise for you?
Well, Bayne's win is among the most shocking in the history of the event. Depending on how his career arc unfolds, this could be the biggest shocker ever at Daytona; right now the biggest surprise winner is either Derrick Cope or Ward Burton. If Bayne goes on and wins a dozen times, this is the springboard. If not, then this is the biggest one-hit wonder since Golden Earring's awesome hit "Twilight Zone" or even The Heights' "How Do You Talk To An Angel" which was the theme song for a Fox show that was a spinoff of 90210 or Melrose Place or... (so this is the product of a wasted youth — an abundance of useless knowledge. Oh well.)
As for the biggest surprise from Daytona, there were a couple:
— It was surprising that the big crash happened so early;
— It was surprising how well Dale Junior was running before being clipped in a wreck;
— And most of all, it was hugely surprising to see that the Ol' Ball Coach was kicking back Coors Beer, shirtless on the top of an RV. You can find the picture here http://www.sportsbybrooks.com/photo-shirtless-coors-drinking-spurrier-at-daytona-29519. You da man, Steve. And that he's kicking back Coors heavy, the original banquet beer, the beer that sent The Bandit and the Snowman to Texarkana in the classic (yes, that's right, CLASSIC) "Smokey and the Bandit" is too perfect. (Although, if he had it to do over, here's betting Spurrier would have put a shirt on. At least a tank top, he is a University of Florida alum after all.)
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 ...