Gang, we're going to do everything in our power to get through today without mentioning any college football programs that rhyme with Thin Plate. We're spent. Plus, remember Friday's mailbag — we are heading to NYC this weekend and we need to knock that out ahead of time.
From the "Talks too much" Studios, here we go...
Baseball moving and matters
We discussed briefly Tuesday the beauty of baseball's trade deadline and how it signifies whether teams are are in or if they are going to play out the rest of the season looking to the future.
Consider the Dodgers in. They dealt a prospect and Nathan Eovaldi to Miami for Hanley Ramirez. If they get the motivated Ramirez of two years ago when he was one of the best in the game, it will be a steal. If they get the unmotivated Ramirez of today — he's hitting .246 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs — then they have signed on to pay for the final two years of his deal at more than $30 million total.
Consider the Pirates in. And welcome to the dance that is a pennant race Pittsburgh fans. Not only to the Pirates appear to be a lock to end their almost 20-year run of losing records, the Pirates are in the chase. And they traded for lefty Wandy Rodriguez. (And no, when thinking of names for our son, Wandy did not make the short list.) And if you're a Houston Astros fan right now, how do you react to the fact that the Pirates are sending you prospects for your best players?
Consider the Braves almost in. The team is trying desperately to acquire a much-needed starter, and reports have them super-close to a deal with the Cubs for Ryan Dempster. (Although Dempster appears to be blocking the deal, and if he is and that gets out in earnest, the Braves need to cut bait. Nothing worse than acquiring a player that a) is in the final year of his deal and you know is not going to stay and b) his teammates know going in he came here kicking and screaming.
Consider the Yankees in (and out). After trading for Ichiro earlier this week, the Yankees on Tuesday took one on the chin. Actually, they took one on the hand. Alex Rodriguez suffered a fractured hand after getting hit by a pitch last night. Here's saying they go and find someone else soon. (And are probably ticked off that the Dodgers already traded for Ramirez.)
We're officially excited
The Olympics are cool.
Sure, there's about as much chance of us watching a normal track and field meet on TV as their is of us missing the 3:30 SEC game. But Olympic track and field is cool. Olympic anything is cool. Well, almost anything — that rhythmic gymnastics is the TV equivalent of a root canal, Olympics or no.
So let's get ready. It surely appears the U.S. hoops team is. Sweet buckets, they dropped a monster showing on Spain, which is actually one of the non-U.S. favorites.
We are watching this Dream Team with an eye on the past and an eye on the future. We still believe they have the pieces to run with the 1992 version and comparing and contrasting those teams is fun.
We also watch this bunch looking toward the future. Have you watched this team yet? When you do, we promise you'll notice something different about LeBron James. He has embraced the alpha dog role, even when he's facilitating shots for his teammates.
And if LBJ develops an attack instinct and a crunch-time killer persona even close to Jordan's, LeBron will be the best that ever played. (Yes, JordanRules, we said, and we look forward to your email.)
There has been one overriding college football story this week. You know what it is.
That said, teams and players are preparing to start next week. We're close gang, we're very, very close.
In an effort to bridge the gap, our SEC ace David Paschall has been checking in on each team around the league. Today he had this about Florida http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/25/defense-must-key-gators-rise-chattanooga-florida/.
The Gators have supreme talent on their defense. But name one Florida offensive player that scares you. Yeah, we can't either.
Plus, how long before Will Muschamp starts to hear whispers about the dreaded "hot seat," especially considering how above average the SEC East is right now?
Yes, we're almost there gang. And we're stoked.
This and that
— We planning on being on SportTalk on 102.3 FM with Quake, Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) and Cowboy Joe today around 4:30. Swing by, it doesn't cost anything.
— In a perfect world none of sports stars would do drugs. But as we know sports are filled with people and people make mistakes. But on the scale of cosmically stupid athletes, how dumb is the NASCAR driver taking stimulates during a race weekend? Meet AJ Allmendinger, who has been indefinitely suspended after the second test of his blood sample taken at Kentucky Speedway a few weeks ago tested positive. Really, going 200 mph in a metal coffin is not enough to get the juices flowing?
— NFL training camps open this week, and as UTC football ace John Frierson tells us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/25/four-local-nfl-rookies-set-for-camp/, we have four area rookies trying to land jobs in (cue Ron Jaworski) THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. Good luck gang.
— As the NFL nears, we'll have more on the Titans and Falcons in tomorrow's 5-at-10, but we could not agree more with our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's view today that it's time for the Titans to end their relationship with Kenny Britt.
Sherman Hemsley died Wednesday. He was 74.
Hemsley was one of the great TV personalities that become synonymous with the character he played. Hemsley was George Jefferson and George Jefferson was Hemsley. Period. (And here is a clip of the famous George Jefferson dance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQQfv9kg48k.)
We have a point and then a question: First, there's no way in today's politically correct culture that "The Jeffersons" or "All in the Family" could be made today. And that's sad. Those shows were funny, and often were so by exposing the ignorance of some of the shortcomings of our society. Now, different groups would take offense to Archie Bunker using a slew of slurs and miss the point that the joke was on Archie.
So it goes, and not unlike little leagues that don't keep score (where everyone is a winner so no one is a winner), when everyone is sensitive, no one is sensitive. Case in point: The FCC will make sure there are no Archie Bunkers on TV, but there are a slew of murders and crime galore. Maybe they view it in a similar light: If you're universally offensive, maybe you're not offensive at all.
As for the question: Who is on your Rushmore of TV stars that became their characters and vice versa. If you need a litmus test, every time we saw Hemsley — no matter the role — the first thought was always, "Hey, that's George Jefferson." In honor of the two big-time contenders we've lost this summer — Hemsley and Andy Griffith — we'll have an all-time list and a current list.
We'll start with Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman; side note: the current Dallas has exceeded our expectations, which is a very good thing), Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins — shout out to the hometown guy). (Side note: With the number of animated shows and reality TV junk, the current list is harder than you may think.)
All-time: Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), Sam Malone (Ted Danson), Fraser Crane (Kelsey Grammer), The Fonz (Henry Winkler).
(Side note: We felt like we needed to leave off people that played themselves. And we'll probably come back with a kids division, too.)
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 ...