published Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

5-at-10: Braves being Braves, college hoops, NFL free agency

Hey, remember the Friday mailbag. Side note: The 5-at-10 has been picked for jury duty today, so my stops will be at random times, so you guys play nice. And we'll tell Matlock you said hello, Chas9.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's all hope we can have as much fun showing back up at our old job as Chipper Jones did last night. Let's just say we think Chip knocked back a couple of Co-Colas.

Atlanta wins opener

We discussed which baseball analysts are money on Monday. Timmy K., is good, and Buster Olney is excellent. We enjoy the times we stop by Dave O'Brien's blog at ajc.com. We also like the fun John Kruk has with the game. (Careful Johnny, being silly is good; being goofy is not.) Somewhere lost in all that shuffle was the news that this is Tim McCarver's last year. Deion Sanders had no comment.

But of all the baseball analysts, maybe the one that has his finger on the pulse of these Atlanta Braves is Popeye. Yep, the former Naval officer turned part-time interweb correspondent who accurately states about your Atlanta Braves, "They is what they is."

Sometimes, what a team is is what a team is. Good, bad or indifferent, the easiest explanation is normally the right one more times than not.

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman makes the turn at third base on his way home to score against the Seattle Mariners in the fourth inning in this file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

These Braves are going to drop some eye-popping science, like the three homers they belted and the three two-out RBIs Freddie Freeman had and the 460-foot homer Justin Upton hit, which was his MLB-best 13th home run that measured longer than 450 feet since 2009. (Those Elias Sports folks keep stats on everything.)

"We're not trying to hold back," Dan Uggla told reporters after the 7-5 win over Philadelphia in which Uggla homered in his first at-bat of the season. "If it costs some strikeouts in situations, then that's what it's going to take, because we have the power to go blow for blow with anybody."

These Braves also are going to make you shake your head, like Tim Hudson not being able to get through the fifth, the eight strikeouts balanced between six of the eight everyday players and the struggles with runners in scoring position.

It's one game, but it was one revealing game. Yes, we are familiar with Bull Durham axiom No. 22 — it's a long season and you have to trust — but this was the season in one game. May they all turn out this much fun and this success. And someone make sure Chipper has a ride home.

————

College hoops

The more we look back on the two weekends of the NCAA tournament, the more we believe that Spy was right and the basketball has been exceedingly mediocre.

Yes, there has been some drama and the intrigue of the moment makes those moments intriguing. Still, what's the best game of the tournament so far? Kansas-Michigan was great. We'll give you that.

What's second? Davidson-Marquette in a game that Davidson gave away (we do not like the word choke and we almost-never use it). There have not been daily "Wow, this is great" games this year. And that's sad and telling.

We've enjoyed the tournament — we have Louisville winning the thing and will win the office pool in five of the eight possible conclusions. We have not been impressed by the tournament.

The storyline of this year's dance has been Florida Gulf Coast, and that story began the next chapter Monday when former FGCU coach Andy Enfield accepted the USC job at roughly 10-times his former salary. Enfield made $157K at FGCU; his USC deal is more than $1 million. Two things here: No one is complaining about this, right? No one is wondering if Enfield is ready — dude had one hot streak over 10 days and up until that point was known for marrying a Victoria's Secret model? Nope, we expected this. We should treat kids deciding to enter whichever draft with the same openness.

As for Enfield, well, we believe he can have success but we also believe his coaching chops were wrapped into a torrid 10-day run that was magical. We believe he must be an ace recruiter, because as Vandy coach James Franklin once told Nashville sports radio guy Clay Travis, he judges a coach's potential success as a recruiter by how attractive that coach's significant other is. It's sound logic, too, even if Franklin was forced to apologize in this politically correct world of Charmin softness. And by Franklin's measure, Enfield is the next Calipari on the recruiting scene.

Also in the hiring news, Texas Tech hired Tubby Smith, which begs the question has any athletic program upgraded more in its football and basketball programs more in the last six months than the Red Raiders, who nabbed Kliff Kingsbury and Tubby? Well-played Kirby Hocutt, well-played indeed.

————

NFL moves

We all know the most position in all of sports, right? You bet, it's the dugout coach for the T-ball Bulls who is in charge of getting kids to the plate with the proper helmet and in the proper order and keeping an eye on snacks.

The second most important position is quarterback.

And the NFL dregs are the NFL dregs because they have poor quarterback play. Those teams are looking to address that.

Some teams are hoping a change in address will address these shortcomings. The Raiders dumped Carson Palmer and traded for Seattle back-up Matt Flynn. Kansas City dumped Matt Cassel and traded for San Francisco back-up Alex Smith. Arizona is looking at Palmer. Cleveland has reportedly dealt back-up Colt McCoy to San Fran. (We're dealing with a lot of stuff, and candlesticks always make a nice gift, maybe find out where they're registered and maybe a place setting or a nice silverware pattern... OK, let's get two.)

Here's what we believe: None of those cats is the answer. Here's the second part of that: Making those moves rather than spending a top-10 pick on Geno Smith or Matt Barkley seems to be the prudent play at this point.

We love the draft, by the way.

————

This and that

— We're going to keep an eye on the Lady Vols-Louisville tonight as the Fightin' Holly Warlicks try to get back to the Final Four. And sweet buckets of revenge gravy, a UT-UConn title game would be awesome in its awesomeness.

  • photo
    Louisville guard Kevin Ware looks to pass against Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon (14) during their Midwest Regional final Sunday in the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Glad to hear Kevin Ware, the Louisville guard that snapped his leg on Sunday, is doing well. Also, loved the photos of the Cardinals giving Ware the regional trophy for his hospital room. The Cards feel like a team of destiny, no?

— If we gave you the following players for MVP, who you want this year: Bryce Harper, Josh Hamilton, Matt Kemp, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Dan Uggla (hey he's on pace for 162 homers... get on the bandwagon now while there's plenty of room) or Buster Posey, who you got?

————

Today's question

We're going short and sweet.

Finish this sentence in 10 words or less:

This year's Atlanta Braves will be _.

Discuss.

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 ...

9
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chas9 said...

This year's Braves will be: frustrating.

Yes, the baseball wizards have too many statistics. I heard yesterday that Bryce Harper is the fourth youngest player to homer on opening day. Too much information. It's a good thing our universe is infinite, otherwise it couldn't hold that giant Elias spreadsheet that has all the numbers on it.

Good to see Koufax throw the fastball again. Then he was outdone by the homer-slugging pitcher Clayton Kershaw who threw a complete game on opening day without breaking a sweat.

Yes, Texas Tech made two strong hires, but the school in the wasteland has an odd/ugly history with its basketball coaches lately. Hope Tubby overcomes the inertia.

April 2, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

88-74.

Starting staff is OK but not the Big 3-4 of lore. The power may be impressive, and it is, and I hope they turn Simmons, Heyward and the law firm of Upton and Upton loose on the bases.

But the fundamentals of hitting behind the runner and moving guys over has been a staple of recent World Series winners. That and a rock solid bullpen.

And that Yankees lineup trotted out yesterday was one of the worst I've ever seen. I am not complaining at all

April 2, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.
chas9 said...

Jay--I'm not as big on Matlock as most of my gray-bearded contemporaries. I am big on his amazing alter ego, Bobby Lee Cook, whom I saw in action. If you wanna get out of jury duty, follow Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant advice.

The Lady Cats won 30 games, best ever. But the Lady Huskies hammered them by 30, and Gawga lost, so it's now up to Holly's hustling' heroes to uphold the SEC's honor.

What I really think, though, is that neither our SEC men or women are at the national elite level just now. Going into the UConn game the talk was that KY had upped its game since the Huskies beat them in last year's elite eight. Guess not, since last year's margin was "only" 15.

On the men's side, Ryan Harrow is going to Gawga State, which is a good fit, and Archie Goodwin is going to the NBA, also a good fit (though he'll have to get smarter). Willie Cauley-Stein stays in Lexington. All three decisions are good for UK's prospects for the 2013-14 team, which will be loaded with wing talent.

April 2, 2013 at 1:31 p.m.
chas9 said...

This year's Atlanta Braves will be: traded for the Tennessee River and a minor stream to be named later.

April 2, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Lawrence Welk: Ah 1, Ah 2

Palmer packed off to the Cards.

Lawrence Welk: Ah Wonderful, Ah Wonderful

10 Ring, a fellow Raider enthusiast was at a business conference in Point Clear, Al recently, which coincided with Kenny Stabler's Help the Children Golf Tournament. Each entity had their banquets in adjoining ball rooms. My buddy who is a true font of Raider everything heard Stabler speaking. As the Stabler event was winding down, my pal moves in and jaws it up with the Snake. Then he walks over to the bar and starts drinking with Rod Martin, Phil Villapiano and former hero I can't remember. My pal didn't Tuck, didn't Immaculate Reception, he asked about the infamous noncall of Rob Lytle's fumble in the '78 playoffs. My pal was regailed with stories about the Tooz.

He was in there for a couple of hours. He also picked up Vallipiano signed football and personal oil painting for $100 bucks at the silent auction.

My pal also won the company long drive constest. My response, just go ahead and shoot yourself.

This is the kind of stuff that keeps us Raider fans faithful in the face of all that blows in Oak Town.

April 2, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er --

Agree. Down year for the SEC. And the Braves for access to the Tenn. River? We're good with that.

Spy --

Don't cry for me Billy Valentine.

We're more optimistic about the Braves than you but that surprises NO ONE.

FE to the C --

That's the high times of being a real fan. Makes us think of that partCity Slickers... "That was a Good Day."

And we're still in the voy dire part of the jury process... If we get asked a question, we looking up and saying, "you're dang right we ordered the code red and we'd do it again, too."

April 2, 2013 at 2 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I'd rather see the Lookouts move up to major league status than have the Bravos traded for the Tennessee River (Just me though).

I wish everyone well in their rooting for the Bravos. I can't answer your question due to that whole I-30/Arlington thing.

That being said, YUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!

Oh who am I kidding, I'm at work ;_;

April 2, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, you writing voy dire (or voir dire, but who's counting) just makes me hope Mr. Gambini is on the other side of the aisle and Chamberlain Haller is the judge in the courtroom, with Jim Trotter III going "eye-dent-ical!"

April 2, 2013 at 3:04 p.m.
chas9 said...

Here's hoping the courtroom action is as fun as that in My Cousin Vinny and that you get to voir dire an investigator as easy on the eyes as Marisa Tomei. And smart, too.

April 2, 2013 at 4 p.m.
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