published Friday, October 7th, 2011

5 at 10: Friday mailbag

From the "Drunken Moose Studios," here we go...

  • photo
    Tennessee's Jonathan Wade (4) intecepts a pass from Georgia's Mohammed Massaquoi (1) during their game Saturday, Oct. 8, 2005, in Knoxville, Tenn. Georgia won, 27-14.(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

From VolsFan

Alright Mr. sports know-it-all, who do you like this week, Tennessee or Georgia? And we all know you're a Georgia homer.



Thanks for question and the chance to respond to one of our more common complaints/questions/arguments. The TFP Sports Department is not a homer for anyone and does not root for teams — we root for the best stories to tell. That's it, really, whether people want to believe it or not or whether it fits into their rationalization of what ever perceived bias they believe exists. The sports department and in turn the sports page does not a favorite team. We have 'beats' — teams that are of higher local interest than others — and the Tennessee Vols football team is atop the local interest meter. That doesn't mean we root for them or against them, it simply means we cover them and we write more about the Vols than any other football team.

Side note: The TFP Sports Editor's favorite complaints/questions/arguments from UT fans wanting more coverage plays out in the following scenario: Let's say we have an interesting story from UGA, the state school in our Southern neighbors where we circulate more than 30 percent of our papers, and we put that on the front page of the sports section. Let's say that day was a busy day and the Vols somehow found their way inside. It is a flat-out certainty, a solid-gold, you'll get your pizza in 30 minutes or it's free guarantee, that at least one person will call our desk with the following exchange:

Ring, ring, ring:

5-at-10: "Times Free Press Sports."

Caller: "Yeah, do you know what state Chattanooga is in?"

5-at-10: "Yes sir. It's in Tennessee."

Caller: "Exactly. Now, why is Georgia on the front page of the sports section? We're in Tennessee."

5-at-10: "Well, one of the things... (CLICK). Hello? Hello?"

Every time.

Thanks for letting us vent. As for the game. Here are my our for each team (LINK). And we'll have a column later today on which coach has more to prove Saturday. But our pick is among the contest entries listed below (there still are a few to add, and everyone is welcome to add their picks).

Here's a quick prediction category-association game about the Vols-Bulldogs (and feel free to play along in the comments):

Saturday's MVP: Tyler Bray

Saturday's Least Valuable Player: Cornelius Washington, Georgia's sack leader who will miss the game after getting a DUI

Saturday's surprise hero: Let's go with Jacques Smith, who may have a sack or three

Saturday's special player: Devrin Young breaks a big punt return and jump starts his "cult" hero status in full speed.

We'll offer up a couple of Mocs tickets for next week's homecoming game and a sleeve of Titleist golf balls with the Masters logo on them. There may be some more stuff in the prize vault in case of a tie.

UT-UGA Picks

McPell — UT by 6

Oso — UGA by 6

BlueOval — UT by 3

Spy — UT by 4

Jefe — UT by 7 in OT

MemphisExile — UGA by 13

Dawg747 — UGA by 10

TigerDawg — UGA by 3

Bookworm — UT by 20

CelticVol — UT by 11

JordanRules — UGA by 27

Weena — UGA by 9

OTWatcher — UT by 4 (and the Yankees stink)

ThatIDoKnow — UT by 1

scole023 — UT by 3

Lovable — UG by 4

VolsFan — UT by 10

PDavis — UGA by 14

TFP ace David Paschall — UT by 7

TFP ace Patrick Brown — TBA

TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer — TBA

Mrs. 5-at-10 — UGA by 14

5-at-10 — UT by xx

SportTalk's Quake —

SportTalk's Cowboy Joe —

SportTalk's Dr. B (he's a doctor after all)

  • photo
    Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou reaches into the stands unsuccessfully for a foul ball against the Florida Marlins in the eighth inning during Game 6 of the National League championship series Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The ball was caught by spectator, Steve Bartman. Cubs were unable to get a fan interference call. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

From CelticVol

Hey 5@10,

Did you happen to watch the ESPN show last week on Steve Bartman? That guy is still hated in Chicago. It’s like that he has just totally vanished. Nobody has a clue about his whereabouts. I feel bad for him. I have to say that I would have probably done the same thing if I had been in his shoes on that fateful night. That play was just another cruel twist for the cursed Cubs. My question for you this week involves the subject of curses and sports. Everybody says that the Cubs are the most cursed franchise in sports. A lot of people are now saying that the curse is back on the Red Sox after their late season collapse. So Jay, do you believe in these curses and how do teams manage to get themselves in a curse?


That show on Bartman was gripping (it was too long, but it was still pretty awesome nonetheless). The story-telling and the witness accounts and the recreation of the night that Steve Bartman's life changed forever was well-played indeed.

(Not-so-quick recap: Bartman was a long-time Cubs fan who was sitting down the left-field line during Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS between the Cubs and the Marlins. Bartman reached out and deflected a foul ball that looked as if it was going to be caught by Moises Alou. Given the extra out — and another extra out by a Cubs error — the Marlins rallied to beat the Cubs in Game 6 and again in Game 7. Bartman has never granted an interview about, issuing only a heart-felt apology and has even turned down six-figure offers to be in commercials or speak out. In fact, the ball that Bartman deflected was bought by Harry Caray's restaurant for $100,000 and blown up in a public ceremony that was designed to remove the Cubs curse.)

As for Bartman, wow, what a game-changer. We probably all would have reached up at the ball. That's what fans do. But dude has been the poster boy for the next generation of Cubs fans' anguish. And he has handled it way better than most — including the 5-at-10 — all things considered.

As for your question, we do not believe in curses mainly because none of our teams are cursed (if that makes any sense), but we understand people that embrace them. There are a lot of things that happen in sports that are hard to explain. Things that happen for reasons that are difficult to comprehend. So if a "curse" is the catch-all umbrella that houses those anomalies, then so be it.

That said, sports are a crazy blend of passion and knowledge and mysticism. Are we superstitious? Yes, of course we are, we're sports fans. If you believe you're putting well because you marked your ball with a Canadian coin or believe you're winning because you're wearing women's underwear, then you are, and we're smart enough to understand that.

As for removing curses, there are only three acceptable ways:

You can sacrifice a live chicken;

You concoct a mixture of Copenhagen, glove leather, eye black and a bird feather found in the outfield and bury it in the opposing dugout of your home field;

You can win.

Have you ever noticed that winning teams don't spend a whole lot of time on curses? Hhmmmm. Maybe there's a connection there. Or maybe not. Yeah, it's Bartman's fault.

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    LSU's Morris Claiborne (17) returns a punt for a touchdown against West Virginia during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

From A 5@10Reader

Got to tell you that I really enjoy your stories. Your funny — sometimes.

Other than that here's my question: If you had one wish for this college football season, what would it be?


Great question, and one that we ponder frequently. And yes, we try to be funny — sometimes it works, sometimes you guys just don't get it. So it goes.

Now we're assuming that you're speaking specifically about now, in the moment college football, rather than what we'd do if we were the College Football Czar, the all-knowing Wizard of Onside Kicks.

Let's breakout a quick 5-in-10 (five items explained in 10 words or less) by the 5-at-10 for our college football wish list:

— LSU vs. Alabama happens once a month: The Nov. 5 showdown is Christmas morning for fans everywhere.

— Tickets to LSU-Alabama: Bad seats start at $300 on the InterWebs.

— More day games: One marquee 8 p.m. game, everything else starts in daylight.

— Less expansion talk: This stuff can't wait two more months?

— Fitting end: JoePa gets to Big Ten title game and retires.

There's probably a lot we're forgetting, but there you go.

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    New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, left, and Derek Jeter leave the field after the top of the ninth inning of the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of baseball's American League division series Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

From Sports Fan,

You got your wish, and there were three game fives in the LDS. Playoffs baseball is awesome and deciding games are better. What do you think happens in the playoffs?

Enjoy your column (but you do talk too much).


Thanks for the kind words, and if we had a dollar for every time some thought or told us we talked too much, well, we'd have a pocket full of dollars. Not Bill Gates type of cash mind you, but enough to have lunch at Wally's and still go out that night and buy Dorothy Mantooth a nice seafood dinner and never call her again. Alas.

Our first wish for the baseball playoffs is the same as every year: The 5-at-10 wants as many decisive games (Game 5s or Game 7s) as possible. It completely changes the game and approach and the pressure and atmosphere and the experience. Decisive playoff games are boss. Period. Last night's Game 5 between the Yankees and Tigers was high-valu baseball entertainment.

As for this postseason, our next wish was for the Yankees and the Phillies to meet in a seven-game World Series. (Yes, EC, renowned Phillies hater, and renowned Yankees haters Spy and Jefe just spit up in their mouths a little bit, but still.) Those are the two best teams and would have made for the most exciting World Series. Yes, the Yankees are cooked, so it goes.

As for tonight's NLDS Game 5s, here's hoping the Brewers and the Cards pull it out. That way, those teams can meet in the NLCS that will be dubbed, "Thanks for the fun postseason trip, see you in a decade or so because our slugging first baseman is headed to Chicago or L.A. or Anaheim in free agency battle to the finish."

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    Miami Dolphins safety Tyrone Culver, left, and Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll, right, combine to tackle Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

From AJ

The Atlanta Business Chronicle had a story this week about the Falcons being the No. 15 most popular team in the NFL. ((Click here for story)).

I think that’s about right. Titans were No. 21 which I thought was a bit high (ahead of the Raiders?).

Any surprises on the list?

  1. Dallas Cowboys

  2. Pittsburgh Steelers

  3. Green Bay Packers

  4. New England Patriots

  5. Chicago Bears

  6. Indianapolis Colts

  7. New York Giants

  8. Washington Redskins

  9. New York Jets

  10. Minnesota Vikings

  11. New Orleans Saints

  12. Philadelphia Eagles

  13. Miami Dolphins

  14. Baltimore Ravens

  15. Atlanta Falcons

  16. San Francisco 49ers

  17. Arizona Cardinals

  18. Denver Broncos

  19. Detroit Lions

  20. Carolina Panthers

  21. Tennessee Titans

  22. Cleveland Browns

  23. Houston Texans

  24. San Diego Chargers

  25. Oakland Raiders

  26. St. Louis Rams

  27. Seattle Seahawks

  28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  29. Buffalo Bills

  30. Kansas City Chiefs

  31. Cincinnati Bengals

  32. Jacksonville Jaguars


Great question. That list looks about right. A few surprises are the Vikings are that high and the Browns are that low (below the Titans and Lions?).

The biggest surprise, though, has to be the Oakland Raiders at No. 25. That's stunning. We thought for sure Da' Raiders would be a certain Top 10 and would challenge the top five.

The only way for us to get answers here would be to call out friend, Pretend Al Davis.

5-at-10: Pretend Al, are you there?

Pretend Al Davis: What do you want, punk? Do you know I have sweat suits older than you?

5-at-10: Uh, OK. Uh, Pretend Al, we called to ask...

Pretend Al: Get on with it punk, we don't have all day. I've got things to make calls to do and stuff to handle. I need to call Lombardi and see what he's planning for the Packers. That Bart Starr is some kind of player. I need to call Art Modell, too. Heard he was thinking about trading Jim Brown.

5-at-10: Wow, Al, you've lost it huh?

Pretend Al: What are you talking about? You called me remember.

5-at-10: Good point. Anyhoo, did you know that your Oakland Raiders are the 25th most popular team in the NFL?

Pretend Al: Shut your mouth. Who put out a crud list like that, Women's Wear Daily? That's what you read isn;t it, nancy boy?

5-at-10: Al, there's no reason to be insulting.

Pretend Al: Stick it wise guy. You call over here and wake me up from a nap — a pretty dog gone good nap, by the way — and start some mumbo jumbo like the Raiders are the 25th most popular NFL team. Poppycock. You suck. Who's below us, the New Jersey Generals?

5-at-10: Sorry Al, didn't mean to upset you. At least you're ranked higher than the Bucs, Bengals and Rams among others.

Pretend Al: The Rams? The Rams are worse than us? Well, that's something, I guess, but that's surprising. Roman Gabriel is a tough guy and a good player. Oh well. I do this, wise acorn, we may be 25th most popular, but our fans are the most loyal out there. I mean, we drafted JaMarcus Russell and they're still supporting us. You know what I mean, snot-nose?

5-at-10: You got a point there, Al.

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 ...

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.
btn128 said...

As a die hard Cubs fan, I wanted to comment on the Bartman stuff.

Most Cubs fans do not blame Bartman for what he did. The ball was in the stands and he did not do anything wrong. In the moment, there is not 1 person who would not have done the same thing.

Who is to blame?

Moises Alou threw a temper tantrum making the situation turn ugly. If he goes back to his position, none of this ever happens.

Alex Gonzales who had one of the highest fielding percentages in the majors for SS, bobbles an easy double play ball that would have got the Cubs out of the inning with the lead.

And Dusty Baker is to blame for not once leaving the dugout until after the Marlins had taken the lead. Instead of coming out, slowing down the game, and calming the players down, he sat in the dugout eating toothpicks.

Bartman is not to blame, Moises Alou, Alex Gonzales, and Dusty Baker are to blame. And ESPN is to blame for keeping this alive as you can not watch a Cubs game on ESPN without countless replays of that foul ball.

With that said, that was one of the most painful days of my life. But I do not blame Bartman for any of it.

October 7, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Cinco....dont hide it...we all know you love them Dawgs...AND THERE AINT NUTTIN WORNG WITH THAT! Love the hang up conversation and yes, I'll stop calling now and disguising my voice each week just to get on your nerves. And we always love those surprise visits from Al...keep me comin.

October 7, 2011 at 11:24 a.m.
Blueoval said...

Good bag 5/10, your vent makes me laugh and I'm glad you were able to get some of that out. Hope you feel somewhat better now. It's funny but I guess that some just don't realize this is a Chattanooga paper and that Chattanooga lies on the border of GA and AL. Most on here know I am a TN fan but I realize the paper will report on other SEC teams....... Not trying to bring on the bashers to the 5/10 post today but Jay what's your take on one of my other teams...Signal Mtn. Hate to see them in the paper like that and hope it all gets straightened out. With that said if the kid is not eligible to play then Signal pays the price. OUCH!

October 7, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
jgreeson said...

BTN128 —

Thanks for swinging by, and for the kind words.

Agree with you 100 percent that Bartman is not to blame for the meltdown in 2003. Not only did Alou's tantrum hurt Bartman, but the fact that Bartman stared straight ahead, almost unfazed, as everything around him was coming unglued made him look uncaring.

That said, dude has had the patience of Job in the days since.

Oso —

We thought that was you. And yes, we know Chattanooga is in Tennessee. Thanks.

Al told me to tell you 'Hi. Now shut it." He's a grumpy old coot.

Oval —

Thanks for the kind words. Going to reserve my judgement on Signal until all of the facts are collected. We will say this: For anyone to think Stephen Hargis (who is a top-flight journalist and all-around good dude) has any type of axe to grind with SMHS is poppycock. It's beyond ridiculous.

We wrote that the TSSAA sent investigators over there about the kid's eligibility, and that's all we know as fact right now. When we know more, you'll know more.

— 5-at-10

October 7, 2011 at 12:14 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

As someone who does mark his ball on the green with a Canadian coin....

Ah, schadenfreude. A dish served best quickly and coldly. And the thought of A-Fraud going down for the final out ... well, it's schadenfreudian symbolism.

October 7, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
eljefe said...

I know I did not ask any of these questions in time for the mailbag but alas, I have some stuff to do. In no particular order, 5 questions in 10 words or less: How are the Dolphins possibly ranked that high? Potential World Series matchups better without Phillies? Anything better than back-to-back thrashings of the Gators? You mentioned the Yankees. They move to Tennessee? Since when does pretend Al talk about anyone besides Ditka?

October 7, 2011 at 3:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Here's saying that A-Fraud was not clipping out any of the morning papers in NYC for his scrap book today.

Jefe —

Missed your wisdom in the Mailbag. Alas.

Dolphins' ranking: Old people are loyal, and everywhere.

Phillies: Quicker they are dismissed, the better

Gators whipping (squared): Nope. Unless Auburn could make it three the following week.

Yankees in Tennessee: Yep, it started with Gen. Sherman and has continued since.

Pretend Al and Ditka: Al went on and on about Ditka, but his foul language made it unusable.

October 7, 2011 at 5:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Updated picks for the UGA-UT game

McPell — UT by 6

Oso — UGA by 6

BlueOval — UT by 3

Spy — UT by 4

Jefe — UT by 7 in OT

MemphisExile — UGA by 13

Dawg747 — UGA by 10

TigerDawg — UGA by 3

Bookworm — UT by 20

CelticVol — UT by 11

JordanRules — UGA by 27

Weena — UGA by 9

OTWatcher — UT by 4 (and the Yankees stink)

ThatIDoKnow — UT by 1

Big Guy — UT by 26

Sic 'em — UGA by 9

GeorgiaGirl — UGA by 15

Circus Act — UT by 1

Signal Cheats — UT by 6

scole023 — UT by 3

Lovable — UG by 4

VolsFan — UT by 10

PDavis — UGA by 14

TFP ace David Paschall — UT by 7

TFP ace Patrick Brown — UT by 4

TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer — TBA

Mrs. 5-at-10 — UGA by 14

5-at-10 — UT by UT by 6

SportTalk's Quake — UT by 7

SportTalk's Cowboy Joe — UGA by 4

SportTalk's Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) — UT by 15

October 7, 2011 at 5:17 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Rest in Peacee Al too Pretend Al Davis

In honor of the Raiders Owners passing...I will be starting each and every Oakland Raiders player that is currently on my Fantasy Roster...something tells me the Raiders will play inspired football on Sunday and the Cream-O-Cornacopia's will reap the benifts....we will miss you Al Davis...and your all black sweat suits....

October 8, 2011 at 9:01 p.m.
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