published Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

5 at 10: Vols, SEC expansion and the Braves going down to the wire

Gang, two things: First we're moving quickly this morning because the TFP has insurance meetings today. We're almost as excited as Navin R. Johnson was when the new phone books arrived. Almost. Second, remember about Friday's mailbag. You know the drill.

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

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe walks off the field after giving up two runs to the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

And then there was 1

The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals are deadlocked in the NL wildcard race. You know this. Most of you are worried about this — and should be.

The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays are deadlocked in the AL wildcard race. You may not know this, but at least two 5-at-10 regulars — BIspy and Eljefe — are exceedingly worried about this.

Each of those four teams have a game left today: Philadelphia at Atlanta; St. Louis at Houston; Boston at Baltimore; New York at Tampa.

Before we get to the five things you need to know about today's drama-dripping baseball, let's talk quickly about Derek Lowe. If every Johnny Braves Fan everywhere — best guess there's what 15 million across the country — sends in a buck, one dollarino, 8 bits, $1 to buy out the the $15 million final year on Lowe's contract, it would be better for everyone involved. Sweet Kerosene on a camp fire, every time Lowe pitches it makes opponents' batting averages rise and the 5-at-10's eyes burn. There are some older folks we know — and the true, passionate Braves fans come in all ages, but especially register in the that plus-60 age group — that won't even speak Lowe's name. Which is just great, the staff's top-paid pitcher, the guy that is supposed to be your ace ranks somewhere between Lord Voldemort and Beetlejuice. Let's just move along.

Here's five things that you need to know about today's baseball showdowns

1) If the baseball postseason expands, then today would be a meaningless, "finish the drill" kind of day with pitchers wearing No. 73 making starts and hitters like Moonlight Graham getting some playing time. Do not expand baseball. Sure, that would be a more relaxing thing for Johnny Braves Fan and Paulie Red Sox Guy, but days like this reward the everyday baseball fan for sticking with a team all season.

2) Pitching matchups:

Philadelphia: Blanton (1-2, 5.03 ERA)

Atlanta: Hudson (16-10, 3.23 ERA)

St. Louis: Carpenter (10-9, 3.59 ERA)

Houston: Myers (7-13, 4.31 ERA)

Boston: Lester (15-9, 3.49 ERA)

Baltimore: Simon (4-9, 4.85 ERA)

New York: TBD

Tampa Bay: David Price (12-13, 3.35 ERA)

Each matchup appears to favor the team in the playoff chase. Of course, that means nothing, and as a wise 5-at-10 follower likes to say, "That's why they play the games."

3) We imagine the juxtaposition of needing help from the Yankees is more than a little painful for Red Sox Nation.

4) If the Braves and Cards finished tied, Thursday's one-game playoff would be in St. Louis. That's not good news. Derek Lowe likely would not be involved. That is good news. If the AL wildcard race finishes tied, Thursday's playoff game would be in Tampa Bay.

5) Boston led the AL race by 9 games on Sept. 2; the Braves led by 8.5 games on Sept. 6. The leads have vanished because of big runs and bad runs. Check it out:Boston is 7-19 in September, and Tampa is 16-8 in its last 24; Atlanta is 5-12 in its last 17, and the Cards are 22-9 in their last 31 games.

  • photo
    Photo by Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel Former University of Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin talks to reporters on his way out of the University of Tennessee Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010. After only 14 months on the job and with five years remaining on his contract, Kiffin broke the news Tuesday night that he was leaving UT to take the head coaching position at the University of Southern California.

Vols move back into

The scaabs from the Lane Kiffin 13-month reign in Knoxville keep getting pulled open. Here is TFP column ace Mark Wiedmer's (view here), and Weeds makes some valid points.

Here's what we think:

— Kiffin is petulant child who looks disinterestedly at the rules. In the end, this whole Willie Mack Garza thing will hurt Kiffin way more than UT, if for no other reason than Kiffin carted him west to SoCal. Not good, especially when relatively new USC AD Pat Haden did not hire Kiffin and has zero intention of putting up with any monkey business.

— Is there any semi-famous to famous people with three names that comes across as trustworthy? Willie Mack Garza, nope. Billy Bob Thornton's out there. David Lee Roth is a whack job. Charles Nelson Reilly is a kook. Billy Ray Cyrus, uh, no thanks. John Wayne Gacy, John Wilkes Booth, Anna Nicole Smith, Mary Kate Olson. Hmmm, no, no, no, and no. Lisa Marie Presley, uh, she married Michael Jackson. Nope. The best we got are Martin Luther King, Neil Patrick Harris and Olivia Newton John. Mental note, no three-name tots.

— Derek Dooley's response was perfect. He did not duck the question, which would have made this story last an extra week and he said clearly and emphatically that the current staff did not make the mistake that involves a player that never came to Knoxville. Well played indeed.

— Who's with the 5-at-10 in believing that Lache Seastrunk/Willie Lyles will leave a lasting mark on the new-look NCAA rule book. And that Seastrunk will be this generation's Marcus Dupree (and if you don't know who Marcus Dupree is, well, (click here) for a story about Dupree went to Oklahoma as the best football recruit maybe of all time, and now he's trying his hand at professional wrestling).

  • photo
    Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive talks with reporters during Southeastern Conference Football Media Days in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday. (AP)

SEC expansion

Missouri looks to be making moves toward joining the SEC, at least that seems to be the feel.

It won't stop guys. It won't. Especially now that word comes out that SEC commissioner Mike Slive expects the BCS to lift the two-team limits per conference.

Now it's starting to make more sense. (Or cents, see what we did there? That's called a homophone, Weena, not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Plus, UK basketball coach John Calipari told ESPN: "If they're going to add, I'd like us to go and get Virginia Tech, Maryland and Missouri to go along with Texas A&M. We're not going to do anything at the expense of academics. You're also going to see basketball step up in the next five years in the SEC."

Those names would make sense (and cents) in regard to the TV market mass consumption.

Does it matter how it affects the fans, of course not. At the bottom of TFP SEC ace David Paschall's excellent intro to Texas A&M is a chart detailing the drive times for the SEC schools to College Station, Texas. Granted the teams will fly, but fans normally drive. If fans that drive to games are tailgaters are fans that fly to games winggaters?

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    In this file photo, Head Coach Russ Huesman watches from the sidelines at the UTC Moccasins 2011 Blue & Gold Spring Game. Huesman is in favor of adding a fifth year of eligibility for football players.
    Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

This and that

— Apparently the NBA owners have eased their demands a bit. That silence was the shrug of millions of shoulders. A loss of games will be tough for the NBA.

— Matt Kemp's triple crown hopes are all but dashed. A red-hot Jose Reyes has opened up a 12-point lead (.336 to .324) in the batting race. So it goes.

— UTC football coach Russ Huesman was in relative good spirits at Tuesday's media event after the painful loss at App State this weekend. Huesman is a good dude and a very good coach.

Today's question

Today's question is the same as yesterday's.

Who wins the wildcard races? And remember there are UTC football tickets at stake here.


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.
ordinaryguy said...

Can we now add the Braves and Red Sox to the list of greatest choke artists of all time

Greg Norman Miami Heat Buffalo Bills US Womens Soccer Team Linda Lovelace

September 28, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

You left out Anthony Michael Hall. And Carmen Hotpants Electra (what? that's NOT her middle name? You serious? I'll be...)

September 28, 2011 at 11:51 a.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

A Linda Lovelace shoutout first thing in the morning. You go (ordinary)guy.

And if the Braves and/or Sox fail to make the playoffs, then you can add them to the choke list. If they get in, it's more a flair for the dramatic.

Spy —

That is in fact Carmen Electra' middle name. It's Cherokee for "attractive," and is derived from the Cherokee word "Hotseat," which is Houston Nutt's middle name.

— 5-at-10

September 28, 2011 at 12:06 p.m.
Blueoval said...


Any knowledge on how recruiting dollars are accounted for? Is it more on an expense report type of thing or is it as simple as the recruiting dollars are in an account and the coaches all have a check card? I guess what I'm getting at is if anyone at UT had knowledge of what Willie Mack did. I'm sure the NCAA is asking the same thing. I wish somehow this one could bite Kiffen in the butt.

September 28, 2011 at 12:36 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Derek Lowe's record is 9 and 17. 9 and 17. How did he ever win 9? It's a miracle.

September 28, 2011 at 1:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Blueoval —

Good question. Wonder if he expensed it or just took it out of pocket. The fact that he left a paper trail is left than stellar, though. We have a funny feeling that Willie Mack's interview with the NCAA in late August will have several folks wondering what was discussed — especially on Mr. Kiffin.

Spy —

Larry? Lolligagers. Lolligagers.

— 5-at-10

September 28, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
chas9 said...

Bumblin' Bill Buckner! If the Braves lose out, they get the 2011 choke award. Unless Boston gets it.

Speaking of choking, Johnny Volsfan will surely choke on Gary Parrish's story at today that details the jam Pearl left his assistant coaches in. Go to:

September 28, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
chas9 said...

Don't know how he'd feel about the insurance seminar, but there is one thing Navin got more excited about than the phone book. "First I get my name in the phone book and now I'm on your ass. You know, I'll bet more people see that than the phone book." Of course, insurance policies would be more readable if they printed them on her ass. Just sayin'.

September 28, 2011 at 2:41 p.m.
chas9 said...

In case you missed it, Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter described Florida's 48-10 thrashing of the Wildcats this way: "Lightning hit the outhouse. And we were in it."

Question for Friday: Which SEC coach had the most memorable-quirky way with words? Give an example or two in support of your choice. I said SEC coach. Forget Yogi and Casey.

September 28, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Braves are standing on the gallows. Great story by Parrish, who does a great job.

And WOW, you turned the Jerk quote out and are pushing the edges of a family-oriented, web-based, sports blog.

"He hates these cans."

And great call last week about Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Martin's list accomplishments.

— 5-at-10

September 28, 2011 at 2:58 p.m.
chas9 said...

Another good coach's quote, this from Clemson's Dabo Swinney: "I just got through visiting with a recruit, and now I am going to church." Does irony drip? Does the pope crap in the woods?

September 28, 2011 at 3:06 p.m.
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