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.
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.
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.
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.
— 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?
We're going short and sweet.
Finish this sentence in 10 words or less:
This year's Atlanta Braves will be _.
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 ...