Let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson reacts as he rounds the bases after hitting a go-ahead two-run home run in the seventh inning of an interleague baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Monday, June 20, 2011 in Atlanta. Hudson went 8 innings and allowed no runs on two hits and earned the win as the Braves defeated Tornto 2-0. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Hey, that was fun
Tim Hudson turned in an old-school, high school superstar type of performance in the Braves' 2-0 win over Toronto on Monday. He pitched eight-plus scoreless innings and hit a two-run homer. The only thing that could have made it feel more like a little league game (where the pitchers are generally the best hitters, too) than a Major League game would have been manager Fredi Gonzalez bringing Hudson a different glove and telling him to go to shortstop when the pitching change was made.
Good times all around for a club that has survived an injury patch and has stayed in the thick of the race. Approaching the midway point — the Braves are 41-33, some seven games from the halfway mark of 81 — Atlanta is 4.5 back of the Phillies and holds a half-game lead in the wildcard standings.
And all of this with missing two-thirds of your outfield for roughly three weeks and the self-implosion that is Dan Uggla. Uggla is so bad — he's been sub-.200 since May 17; spending most of the last four weeks hovering around .180 — here's saying that the next time Hudson pitches, Uggla should be in the No. 9 hole and Hudson can hit 8th. And if Hudson doesn't pitch again until the Braves head to Seattle early next week, DH for Uggla and let Hudson hit.
It's that bad, gang.
In this file photo, Utah Jazz's Bryon Russell defends against Chicago Bulls' Scottie Pippen. The Bulls traded Olyden Polynice for Pippen in 1987. (AP Photo/Jack Smith)
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.
But we're having a tough time getting excited about Thursday's NBA draft. Sure Kyrie Irving could be a good pro. Yes, Derrick Williams is a fine player. You bet, Oso's main man Kemba Walker will be a contributor for someone and has a nice ceiling.
But of this group is there one player out there you really want your team to go get? Yeah, we don't see it either.
Since that's the case, here are the five worst/most one-sided trades around the NBA draft:
5) Hawks land building block: Draft day for the Atlanta Hawks is like tax day for the rest of us — we know it's coming every year and it's rarely enjoyable. In the weeks after the 1982 draft, the Hawks made one of their best moves ever, dealing John Drew, Freeman Williams and cash to Utah for Dominique Wilkins. Relax, the Hawks still managed to mangle their pick that year — taking Keith Edmonson (yes, that Keith Edmonson) when future all-stars Fat Lever, Sleepy Floyd and Ricky Pierce were still on the board.
4) Warriors get fleeced: The Celtics traded the No. 1 and No. 13 picks in the 1980 draft for the No. 3 pick and a four-year veteran center named Robert Parrish. After the picks are made and the smoke clears, Boston got Parrish and Kevin McHale for Joe Barry Carroll and Rickey Brown. Edge: Boston.
3) Jordan gets a sidekick: On draft day in 1987, the Bulls sent Olden Polynice to Seattle for some guy named Scottie Pippen. Yes, in a name contest "Olyden Polynice" dominates "Scottie Pippen." In regard to hoops, well, Pippen turned out to be a touch better.
2) A title for a Tractor: On draft day in 1998, Dallas dealt Robert "Tractor" Traylor to Milwaukee for German teenager Dirk Nowitzki. Yeah, that turned out pretty good for the Mavs.
1) Hornets get strong-armed: Kobe Bryant made it clear he was not going to play in Charlotte. About a week after the 1996 draft, the Lakers sent Vlade Divac to the Hornets for Bryant. Ouch.
Tough day for Mocs, Vols
UTC suspended running back Keon Williams for the 2011 season after his arrest and guilty plea on charges of drug and drug-paraphanalia possession. Receiver Brian Sutherland left the program for personal reasons, and defensive end Chris Donald has left the team after surgeries on his injured wrists failed to produce significant improvement.
Each player was at least going to contribute this fall, and Sutherland and Donald likely could have been all-conference type of guys.
As for the Vols, former Alcoa star defensive tackle Rae Sykes is no longer with the UT program. He can be termed an academic casualty. While Sykes was unlikely to contend for a starting spot, he was one of the few seniors on the Vols roster and played a position in which the Vols can't afford to lose anyone.
Is it us, or does it always seem that college football news in June is bad?
Area stars getting noticed
It may not be on par with the class from a couple of years ago, but the Chattanooga-area has a nice collection of rising seniors that are strong college football prospects.
Cleveland quarterback Chad Voytik is a four-star player and the nation's No. 6-ranked pro style QB in the quarterback according to Rivals.com. Calhoun kicker Adam Griffith, an Alabama commitment, is the No. 1 ranked kicker in the country. Baylor offensive lineman Barrett Gouger, a Vandy commitment, is a three-star tackle.
Voytik's four-star status continues the strong run of high-profile names in the area. Last year, three area players signed with SEC schools, and the class of 2009 had the state of Tennessee's top-ranked player (Ooltewah's Jacques Smith) and Georgia's top-ranked player (Calhoun's Da'Rick Rogers).
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this. That said, let's pretend the NFL owners and players were going to have a deal in place by the end of the week. (Fat chance, we know.) OK, let's now pretend that part of that deal was every player was put into a pool and re-drafted. (Yes, this is an even fatter chance — like those 800-pound-guys-on-reality-shows-that-can't-get-out-of-the-bed fat chance — but go with it.)
Question: You have the No. 1 pick, and considering age and position and talent, who do you take to build your franchise around for the next decade-plus? Discuss.
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 ...