published Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

5 at 10: All-star break, NFL and THE Open Championship

Happy All-Star break to each of you. Know that this is officially the slowest week in sports. Let's see if we can't jumpstart it some.

From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...



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    American League's Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees celebrates after winning the MLB Home Run Derby Monday, July 11, 2011, in Phoenix. His mother Claribel Mercedes is in the background. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

All-star breaking

The MLB all-star break used to be a big deal. Before interleague play, the all-star game was the one time to see the AL star sluggers vs. the NL ace pitchers and vice versa. It was cool, and it meant something.

Now, with interleague play allowing AL and NL teams to face off regularly and the foolish rule change that the winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series means the game has become mundane and means too much. Are there ways to fix it? Sure, but they make too much sense and would never be agreed upon.

How would the 5-at-10 fix the All-Star game? Glad you asked.

Problem: First, home-field advantage in the World Series is much too great a stake. It's like if you and your buddies wanted to make the back nine interesting and decided to bet the pink slips of your car. There has to be something between nothing at stake and too much on the line, right?

Answer: A lot of players have a clause in their contracts that includes some sort of bonus for making the all-star team. Put that on the line. The players on the winning team get to keep their bonuses; the losing team will donate it to charity. And for the players that don't receive a bonus, the clubs can come up with $10,000 for each of them, too. (C'mon, you don't think the Braves would have been happy to agree to pay $10 grand in March in return for Craig Kimbrel being lights out.)

Problem: Whether it's interleague play or just the wear and tear of the everyday baseball grind, it certainly seems the players do not view being an all-star with as much honor as they once did. This year 16 all-stars either declined their invites or are missing tonight's game because of injury. To be fair the starting pitchers that threw Sunday were asked not to come because they were not going to be able to pitch — and that's a good change.

Answer: This will always be difficult to hurdle — especially in regard to injury. This will change a great deal when we change the way all-stars are picked. Fan voting used to be cool, but online voting has skewed the process. Let the fan vote determine the top 5 players at each position that a panel of players, managers, GMs and other baseball types will get to decide the starters.

Problem: The game is boring.

Answer: Well, it's going to be tough to completely solve this one because baseball is slow at its core. That said, use this chance introduce possible rule changes — yes, we're talking about instant replay — and new technologies — let's try new camera angles and why can't we get a mic on Brian McCann? — to make the experience more enjoyable for the fans.



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    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in action during the second quarter of an NFL AFC wild card football playoff game between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis on Jan. 8. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

NFL targets July 21

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations between the NFL and the players have told various news outlets that there is a lot of confidence that the new labor deal will be approved by the start of the league meetings July 21 in Atlanta.

Here's hoping the reports are true — the thought of NFL-free Sundays is less than thrilling — and the NFL and the players can get this thing finished. It appears that the final major sticking point involves rookie pay scales and contract lengths. If that's the final straw, the 5-at-10 has to wonder who's doing the majority of the decision-making for the players: the players or the agents? It seems that the current players would be concerned with the rookie pay scale, but that it would not be as big as some of the other obstacles such as revenue sharing, guaranteed contracts and after-NFL benefits.

But the rookie scale offers big paydays for agents and new players.

Another side benefit of this 11th hour deal is the league will be a flurry of activity off the field once the deal gets ratified. Think about that guy that has about three beers too many at your fantasy football draft and tries to trade for everybody and draft Tom Brady in the 13th round.

Here's the schedule of events according to ESPN if the deal is agreed upon on July 21:

Here is how the outlined plan for a July 1 deal could be adjusted for a potential July 21 deal with what would be the corresponding dates, according to sources familiar with the document, which many teams in the league have not yet seen:

• July 21 -- Educate the clubs on the new league rules and allow voluntary training for teams and agents.

• July 25 -- Sign undrafted rookies, as well as give free agents a chance to re-sign with their teams.

• July 28 -- League year starts and free agency begins.

• Aug. 2 -- Rosters must be set at 90 players.

• Aug. 3 -- Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

• Aug. 7 -- A four-day match period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets.

• Aug 12 -- Deadline for rookies to sign contracts (not yet agreed upon).

• Aug. 16 -- Signing period for restricted free agents ends, as does the signing period for franchise and transition tenders.

• Aug. 29 -- Deadline for players to report to earned credit for an accrued season toward free agency.





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    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits a drive on the 15th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

THE Open Championship

The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.

The 5-at-10 also loves major championship golf, and that means we're excited about THE Open Championship. So what happens when we're excited — that's right a contest.

"THE Open Championship contest that is so snobby we use all caps on THE THE just like THE Ohio State University" will be like the U.S. Open contest last month. Pick five golfers and the final place of each golfer will get that many points (for example: First place = 1 point; 12th place = 12 points, etc.) and the lowest score wins. Any golfer that misses the cut will be 100 points. One change this time, we'll throw out the highest-point player in each entry.

So submit five players and the top four count. The winner will get something involving some form of tickets or some other sports trinket.

So who you got, and as always we'll try to get some of the other media types in town to play along.



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    Jim Tressel, right, watches Wednesday, May 25, 2005 as Anthony Schlegel, John Conroy and Robbie Smith talk to the members of the media about recent legal and disciplinary problems involving other members of the team, during a discussion in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

This and that

— Our ace TFP columnist Mark Wiedmer does a great job of pointing out the sham that is THE self-imposed violations for THE Ohio State University. Now, to make matters worse, THE Ohio State University is changing its tune on the way former coach Jim Tressel left the program. Originally, OSU president Gordon Gee said Tressel was not given an ultimatum when he resigned amid controversy. In its response to the NCAA according to the Columbus Dispatch, THE OSU stated it sought Tressel's resignation and "As a result, the institution has imposed significant corrective and punitive actions upon itself and sought and received the resignation of Tressel." You stay classy, Gordon Gee.

— Shannon Stone, the fan that fell to his death at a Texas Rangers game last week, was buried Monday. Another disaster was averted at Monday's home run derby when a fan who was close to falling from the stands was caught by his buddies.

— Speaking of the home run derby, the 5-at-10 saw exactly one swing — eventual winner Robinson Cano hitting one over the pool in right-center field (that sounds weird, right?). It was cool, Cool, COOL that Cano's dad was throwing him BP. It was not cool that Chris Berman was back, back, back, back doing the announcing. Do think ESPN will pay for the bleeding from my ears?

— UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman was named to the preseason Payton Award watch list. Two quick thoughts here: One, the 5-at-10 has big expectations for these Mocs; two, can football season start, like Saturday?



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    Alabama running back Mark Ingram (22) fights his way for extra yards against Kentucky safety Marcus McClinton, right, in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Today's question

Today, NCAA Football12 by EA Sports will be released. There was a point — pre-Mrs. 5-at-10 and definitely pre-5-at-10 tots — that this would cause a 24-to-36-hour virus (cough, cough) to invade the 5-at-10 compound.

Today's question, in honor or the release of EA Sports' NCAA 12, is what is your favorite video sports game of all-time? Why?

Discuss.

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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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Livn4life said...

One guarantee on the NFL debacle: if they don't start play on time I will watch absolutely NO NFL football this season. It is ridiculous and the bantering on and on is not helpful. So it'll be NCAA replays for me. As for the(n)ohiostateuniversity, should anyone be at all surprised at the continued stupidity flowing from the top down up there? It is really sad and embarrassing. By the way, until this all came down, I held a lot of respect for Jim Tressell but then none of us is perfect(I was protecting my players!). Okay, enough, I have work of some kind to do today and it does not involve deciding who gets the most of the 9 billion dollars we will not receive this year.

July 12, 2011 at 10:24 a.m.
chas9 said...

THE 5@10--One of the pre-season football rags predicts both THE UT and UK will go 6-6 and 2-6 SEC this season. If the prediction holds, who will have the warmer seat, THE Derek or THE Joker? Montana, Cincinnati, MTSU and Buffalo? Does THE Buffalo even have a team? I assume it's not the THE Bills.

July 12, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I wish BJ Coleman all the luck, if he wins the Payton award he will be the 1st UTC player to do so...ill keep my eyes crossed for good luck!

When it concerns last night's HR Derby, I watched more of the US Womens World Cup Win vs. Brazil Replay than I did the HR Derby... But I watched way more WWE RAW last night than I probably should have... The NFL...i dont even wanna hear about it anymore..Im so sick of hearing John Clayton and Sal Palantonio analyze why or when the Season when or wont begin...I would much rather be talking about a certain Reevis Island and how he is holding out for more money...or where TO is going to be playing...more importantly why is Pacman Jones wearing a neck brace ??? anybody??? my top 5 guys are as follows Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Charles Schwartzel and Luke Donald

July 12, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

wait let me change that... Ill take McIlroy, Westwood Schwartzel, Kaymer and Oosthuizen ...Donald will be sippin cold ones out of a replica Claret Jug in the club house not playing for the real one

July 12, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

I still have the old PSP I swapped for a Masters visor one day. Still play it too. Joe Hamilton is a bad dude and man can Florida fly on defense. I think today's players do care a little more than their predecessors, especially in the AL clubhouse, about the All-Star Game. Back in the 60s, the story was Mickey Mantle left the game after he was pulled, flew home and almost got home in time before the game, a lengthy extra inning affair, ended. Which raises another question? What do you do if you are deadlocked after nine innings? This practice of using a pitcher of the Halladay or Jurrjens mold for one inning at a time may be welcomed by that guy's manager. But there is the danger, as we saw in Milwaukee, of running out of arms. Five for Royal St. George's: Rory. Like this is even an question. And recently saw a picture of his girlfriend, too. I thought Colin Farrell was the only Irishman who did that well. Steve Stricker. He's the top-ranked American. That's right. Try that one in a bar bet. Luke Donald. On a day when scores were low Sunday in Scotland last week, he waltzed to a win. Jason Day. Been downright good in the first two majors of the year. And for the wild card. Seems like an American out of nowhere wins the British every few years (Todd Hamilton, Ben Curtis and what's become of Justin Leonard since his victory?). Which leads me to ... Jerry Kelly. Kinda leaning to Brandt Snedeker as well but I'll stick with Kelly. Of course, for headline writers, the pick has got to be Graeme Storm. I'm Storm. Graeme Storm. (cue the music!)

July 12, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
jgreeson said...

LivinLarge --

Agree on the stupidity of the NFL squabble. In fact they could probably make a parable out of this. We'll call it the League that mamed the golden goods.

9er --

You will see my answer in Friday's mail bag.

EC --

You are in for the THE Open. The NFL stuff makes me tired -- and John Clayton looks like a cross between Chicken Little and Kazoo from the Flintstones, but in a good way.

Spy --

Awesome. We'll post our video game(s) shortly.

5@10

July 12, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

How has Techno Bowl not been mentioned yet?! that was the first football game i absolutely wore out! But my all time fav....hummmm..thats a tough one. I'm a shoot em up kind of guy and have to say that THE Oso loved Call of Duty...like the first ones that took place during WWII...like the big red one.

Glad to be back home from the beach, although the brain is still currently layin on the beach with a drank in my hand...OH...and what the hey?!?! Caleb King you are NOT NFL ready....sry!

July 12, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

Welcome back.

Here is our top 5:

5) RBI baseball (which narrowly edged BaseballStars) on the original Nintendo

4) All EA Sports College football games

3) Tecmo Bowl (kid you not, we made some cash back in college as a Tecmo Bowl hustler. Seriously)

2) The current generation of Madden games (the front office stuff and the playability is outstanding)

1) Mike Tyson's Punchout — the one that started it all. We spent a large chunk of the summer of 1988 playing this game. It is the single reason for the video game addiction that grabbed hold of the 5-at-10.

Here's saying that Caleb King will be a monster in the UFL for the next few years.

— 5-at-10

July 12, 2011 at 2:31 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Glad to be back Cinco and didnt get by there today but should tomorrow. Have to agree on both King and Techno Bowl. Also would like to give a shout out to Tiger Woods Golf...and year....fun stuff right there!

July 12, 2011 at 3:29 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Nickel and dime, you got me thinking last week, even in your gaffe about the movie "Heathers." (No quoting the bereaving dad's statement here). But wasn't the first Heather to go toes up in "Heathers" also the target of Ronald Miller's affection in "Can't Buy Me Love"? (and no quoting the exchange at the video arcade here between Ronald and the best friend he left behind when he got all cool and stuff). Feel free to answer for the Mailbag. Tecmo Bowl certainly was king. I also got way too much time in for Intellivision baseball (couldn't defend the bunt ... just like the Red Sox in real life last year!) and football (the screen pass was tough to stop. Always a guaranteed 3 or 4 yard gain. Kept the chains moving.)

July 12, 2011 at 4:17 p.m.
CVOL said...

I say the greatest sports video game of all time has to be NBA2K11. Tecmo Super Bowl was a great one to play back in the day.

July 12, 2011 at 6:44 p.m.
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