Remember Friday's mailbag, and buckle up.
OK, we been communicating like this every Monday through Friday for more almost two years. There are a few things you know about us: We love our family, we love the draft (you know this) and list shows and we're predisposed to put everything into top 4s and call them Mount Rushmores of (fill in the blank).
So it goes.
Here's another one: We love theme 5-at-10s. Maybe it's the challenge of linking it all together in the 90 minutes we have in the morning as our son drinks chocolate milk and watches Disney Junior. Who knows?
Today, we offer some much needed tribute to fun baseball, a big college football game that used to be great and Kevin Costner.
From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...
Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman, center, is doused with champagne by Tommy Hanson, right, and others in the clubhouse after the Braves defeated the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Freeman's two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
Braves and Chipper
Wow, what a Braves' win Tuesday night. It had everything. Atlanta won 4-3 on Freddie Freeman's walk-off homer to secure a spot in the NL playoffs. It was fun — and the Braves players openly shared their joy with everyone watching as Freeman rounded the bases — and Atlanta won its 22nd consecutive game started by Kris Medlen, who we like to call the Flat-Bill Platypus since he simply defines logic.
We also realized that it extends the season for Chipper Jones, the future Hall of Famer that announced at the beginning of the season that this was his final run in the sun.
Watching the Braves and flipping back and forth to "Open Range" last night, we realized Chipper is modern day baseball's Kevin Costner, who has posted a strong career despite some short comings and hiccups. Let's review:
Less than great beginnings: Chipper was THE hot prospect in 1994 before blowing out his knee in a spring training game against the Yankees. Costner's big break was playing Alex, the dude that committed suicide in "The Big Chill" but all of Costner's scenes ended up on cutting-room floor.
Fast and impressive starts once they got going: Chipper deserved the Rookie of the Year in 1995 as the Braves won the World Series and had a stout run from 1998 to 2002 in which he hit .310 or higher with 25-plus homers and more than 100 RBIs in each year. He won the 1999 MVP. After getting frost bitten by The Big Chill, Costner went on a rampage from 1985 to 1990. Dude was in Fandango (underrated), Silverado (way underrated) in 1985, The Untouchables and No Way Out in '87, Bull Durham in '88, Field of Dream in '89 and Dances with Wolves in 1990. He won some trophies for the Dance with Wolves, and if you're like the 5-at-10, you still call buffalos "Tatonka." Costner's run was sneaky, Hall of Fame-type strong. And like Jones's career numbers, much stronger than we may have realized.
Each had a career albatross: Jones couldn't stay healthy in the latter stages of his career; Costner took himself too seriously and thought he should try being the next Bobby Deniro, which didn't work. (We almost said, "Costner made Waterworld," but in truth, if the worst thing you did is make a movie that is so bad it's hilarious, well, Keanu Reeves, the dude that played Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's and entire cast of Roadhouse object.)
When you view each career as a whole, it's surprising. Chipper has 2,700-plus hits, a .304 career average and 468 career homers. Costner had the glory run from 1985-90 and has a slew of surprisingly rewatchable movies on his resume like JFK, Tin Cup, Thirteen Days, Open Range, For Love of the Game and Wyatt Earp. (Side note: Wyatt Earp was a a quality movie that had two minor flaws; one it was 30 minutes too long; two it was 30 days too late. Costner's Earp came out a month or so after "Tombstone" and fell flat in the shadow cast by Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer's Doc Holiday.)
Plus, each has a pretty cool career claim: Jones is one of the three greatest switch-hitters ever; With Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game and Tin Cup, Costner is the best sports movie star of all time.
UT-UGA, T-minus 3 days
We could draw the parallels between Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh and Tyler Bray here, but we won't.
We could say the Vols have a chance to help coach Derek Dooley and even "ease his pain," but we won't.
There are a slew of Costner movie moments and quotes that could be aligned with Saturday's UT visit to Georgia, but we're going to go off the board a little bit.
Let's go to the great scene in the train station of "The Untouchables" when Eliot Ness (Costner) and his sharpshooter (Andy Garcia) are trying to get Al Capone's book keeper. One of Capone's goons is using the book keeper as a shield and threatening to shoot him. Laying on the floor holding a baby carriage with one hand and his gun with the other, Garcia has his sights set on the goon.
Ness asks simply, "You got him?"
Garcia: "Yep. I got him"
Ness: "Take him."
It all happened in two seconds, and it's going to take one of those moments for the Vols to win Saturday. A moment where someone — Dooley, Bray, A.J. Johnson, someone — looks into the eyes of another Vol and says, "You got him?"
Now that moment may never arise and Georgia may cruise from the start. That moment may happen too late, and the outcome may already have been decided.
But for UT to make Saturday interesting there will be a moment — a fourth-down call, a big third-and-9 moment for Bray and the offense, a 3-and-2 moment at the Tennessee 45 for the defense — and that moment will be memorable, good or bad, subtle or overt.
There will be a moment Saturday, and we all would like to know if UT has the ability to take it.
We know these Braves are in the playoffs. That's a good thing.
We know these Braves are great in the bullpen and above average in every other phase. That's a good thing.
We know these Braves, for the first time in two decades, would have to be called inexperienced when it comes to the postseason. That's not a good thing.
That said, here are the three Costner films and how they relate to the Braves' return to the postseason:
Silverado: As we mentioned before, an underrated Western with a stellar cast of solid actors. Costner, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover and Kevin Kline are the good guys. This is the Braves in a nut shell. No overwhelming aces (although Flat-Bill Platypus is closing in on that status) but a lot of solid scenes and enjoyable performances.
A Perfect World: A flawed premise — Other than Ed and H.I. McDunnough it's tough to make a kidnapper a sympathetic character — but a movie that included Clint Eastwood, an in-his-prime Costner and a much younger Elijah Wood. Look at this Braves team — there's Chipper and the older crew; there's the middle folks like McCann and Uggla and those guys; and then there's the youngsters like Freeman, Heyward and Kimbrel. This is there time to shine and it will be enjoyable to see how they handle the moment. (Side note: Freeman and Heyward need to be together in Atlanta for the next decade. Yes, we know these Braves are not the free-spending Braves of Ted Turner, but this needs to happen. A lineup with Heyward and Freeman in the middle of it will be good for the long haul.)
JFK: OK, we know what you're thinking, "How in the world can JFK and these Braves be linked?" Here's a couple of ways: First, these Braves have been remarkably watchable this summer, just like JFK, which, as the Mrs. 5-at-10 will attest, somehow draws us in more than any movie this side of Hooisers and The Natural. Second, we can somehow see a late July/early August visit from Bobby Cox to Fredi G, not unlike the bench scene with Donald Sutherland telling Costner's Jim Garrison about all the conspiracies. Finally — and sadly — we all have a sneaky suspicion on how this going to end, don't we?
But we'll wait for that, and right now enjoy the fact that we know we get at least one extra day of summer with these Braves. It's like finding Field of Dreams on the cable dial and not having anything to do — or any one around — for the next hour. (Side note: If it does not get dusty in your house when Costner has a catch with his old man at the end of Field of Dreams, well, we don't know what to tell you other than you need to get your soul right.)
This and that
— Notre Dame stopped its rivalry with Michigan. Tough break, but for all of the folks starving for a playoff, you had to know this was a by-product of that. Sure, the Irish are dropping Michigan in large part because they joined the ACC, but Notre Dame joining the ACC was also about the future college football playoffs and the expansion of those playoffs.
— OK, think back two decades ago and the height of then-Snoop Dogg (now known as Snoop Lion) and Dr. Dre and Death Row Records and the L.A. rap scene. Snoop Lion is the pitch man for a soccer video game. Ice-T is an actor. Ice Cube is an industry exec and sitcom star that is more license to Bill (Cosby) than license to 'ill. Hey, we're going to end the 5-at-10 early today, because we need to go write the rap version of Hank Jr.'s "All My Rowdy Friends Have Settle Down."
— Wednesday night is now karoake night at the 5-at-10 compound and our 5-year-old son just said, "Tonight, I'm going to sing all my greatest hits." He gets his over-flowing confidence from his mother.
Tuesday we bemoaned the lack of regular NFL referees.
Today, we learn that there is a global shortage of bacon on the horizon.
As Crash told pitching coach Larry Hockett, "We're dealing with a lot of stuff here."
What's the subtle daily thing you would be hit the hardest by a global shortage of? A side turn to today's question, no repeat answers.
We'll start with a shortage on coffee beans. (There was a time in our life that a shortage of Copenhagen would have caused us to go on a hoarding spree like Elaine on Seinfield, but we've kicked that can.)
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 ...