Hope you enjoyed the weekend. We did.
From the "Talks too much" studios
We birthed the high school football preview section last Friday. She was a big one.
Hixson High student with Down syndrome playing footballWith his helmet on, one might never know the difference, but Hixson High School freshman lineman Austin Clark was born with Down syndrome. Playing several different sports throughout his life, Austin has quickly become one of the most magnetic, well-liked players on Hixson's team.
It was the same day that TFP prep ace Stephen Hargis shared with our readers the story of Austin Clark, the 14-year-old Hixson High student with Down's Syndrome who is playing football.
After a busy weekend filled with competitive jamborees and teams looking for the final answers to the lingering questions of the preseason, the story line of the weekend was Clark running for a touchdown against Grace Academy, which showed unbelievable sportsmanship and deserves a tip of the helmet for making the moment possible.
That said, it's game week for the high school football teams in the are. Hargis will join the TFP sports editor on a preivew video somewhere on this website later today and on Press Row, our afternoon radio show form 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM. We feel certain young Mr. Clark will be discussed.
Also of interest will be the following questions that have come to our head about the upcoming season after the events of the weekend:
• Best team in the area? We say Baylor and Hargis thinks East Hamilton, we'll discuss the merits of each.
• Biggest surprise from the weekend? We say Rhea County.
Discuss, and swing back by. But know this, watching Austin Clark smile after scoring a practice-game touchdown is the type of thing that makes sports special. It's what we watch for — those moments that change lives and lift people to better places. Thanks to Jason Fitzgerald's Hixson Wildcats and Bob Ateca's Grace Eagles for allowing us to share in it.
And then there's this
We asked this on Friday's radio show: Is there a worst teammate in history than Alex Rodriguez, who we all know has been suspended for more than 200 games for his role in the Biogenesis stuff but is playing right now as he appeals? We asked about A-Rod the teammate late last week because 60 Minutes reported that A-Rod's people leaked the other names of those involved with Biogenesis, including one of his Yankees teammates who is serving his 50-game suspension.
Then we said it would be interesting to see what would happen if A-Rod was hit with a pitch during the Yankees weekend series, and if he started to walk toward the mound but none of his teammates came out of the dugout.
The scene was set Sunday night when A-Rod was plunked with a 3-0 fastball by Ryan Dempster. Yankees manager Joe Giradi charged the field, arguing Dempster did it intentionally (of course he did — the first pitch was behind A-Rod and the next two were inside) and eventually getting tossed. (Side point: We can make an argument that he didn't want to stay around for the four-plus hour game that is a surefire bet when the Yankees and Red Sox play; great rivalry with great passion? Yes. Painfully slow and a walking personification of why baseball is losing kids to lacrosse and soccer? Yes.)
"Whether you like me or hate me, what's wrong is wrong," A-Rod told reporters after the game of being hit. "That was unprofessional and silly."
Fair point. A-Rod responded like a man for the first in a decade, homering off Dempster four innings later and jumpstarting the Yankee's victorious rally.
He even made a joke that was actually funny afterward. When asked if Dempster should be punished for throwing at him, A-Rod quipped: "I'm the wrong guy to be asking about suspensions."
In fact, the folks at Elias Sports shared that the Yankees are much better with the traveling circus that is the A-Rod sideshow in the lineup. In his 13 games since rejoining the line-up, the Yankees are hitting .303; the were hitting a woeful .240 before he returned this season. New York is scoring roughly a run and a half more per game (5.2-3.8) with A-Rod back. (Side note: This also includes a torrid stretch by Alfonso Soriano, too. So there's that.)
Is your team ready?
The Mocs had another scrimmage this weekend, looking good in spots Friday at Finley. As UTC beat ace Johnny Frierson shares here, the expectations are obvious.
The Vols are still answering quarterback questions, but as Downtown Patrick Brown shares here, at least one Vols offensive lineman is calling practice "recess." Good times.
Auburn named Nick Marshall, the smaller, faster option in the two-man race with true freshman Jeremy Johnson, as the Tigers starting quarterback. Marshall, a former UGA recruit who got into trouble and transfered to junior college where he totaled more than 4,000 yards of offense and accounted for almost 40 TDs in 11 games.
Alabama cornerback Geno Smith was arrested this weekend, as SEC ace David Paschall shares here. We have said frequently that his talented roster allows Nick Saban to be perfection's guardian, meaning that the Tide have the opportunity to discipline or bench just about anyone this side of AJ McCarron because Saban can simply replace them with another four- or five-star prospect.
Of all the items above,
This and that
— Craig Kimbrel has allowed one run since May 9 — ONE. That's one run in 37 innings, and it came on July 4. Today is Aug. 19. Dude is money. In those 39 innings, he's allowed all of 19 hits. In his current 19-inning scoreless streak, he has allowed a totalt of 13 guys to reach base by hit or walk and has struck out 31. Dude is so money.
— Someone paid $27.5 million for a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder, which looks somewhat like the ride Ferris Bueller lifts from Cameron's dad's garage. As Ferris said, if you have the means we recommend picking one up. They are pretty choice. That said, can you imaging spending $27 million on anything? Car, house, anything? Side note: That's roughly a year's salary for A-Rod. Stupid A-Rod.
— Atta boy B.J. Coleman. The former McCallie and UTC star was 8-for-13 with the Packers' lone TD pass in a 19-7 preseason win over St. Louis on Saturday. Nice job. Here's what Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters after B.J. played the entire fourth quarter and led a 13-play, 75-yard TD drive that was capped by his touchdown pass: “He had a couple of plays that he’s going to wish he had back, but I thought he saw pressure from their defense and did a couple of things at the line of scrimmage. (He) needs to settle down a little bit more, but B.J. improved.”
— NASCAR dropped the flag. Dale Jr. did not win.
— The NCAA is under fire, and the NCAA's worst enemy is the NCAA. Amid the hand-wringing and foot-dragging that is the Johnny Autograph situation (seriously, we can't any answers by this point?) and the bungled investigation at Miami, now the NCAA has hit a new low. Steven Rhodes has spent the last five years serving our country as a Marine. Where he was stationed had regular intramural tackle football football games with officials and everything. Because of that fact, the NCAA says that Rhodes' eligibility clock started when he started with the Marine Corps and he is ineligible as a walk-on with MTSU. You folks would miss the ocean because of the waves. Bunch of goofs.
Knock yourself silly on any of the above, including whether A-Rod is the worst teammate in sports or any and all discussion on the stinkitude of the NCAA.
If you need a talking point, here's one:
Hey, we're less than two weeks from college football. Maybe you've heard of it. Here's the unofficial over/under win totals set by the 5-at-10 for some of the area teams of interest. Would you say these following teams win more (over) or fewer (under) than the following (regular season totals only):
Alabama — 11
Tennessee — 6
Georgia — 10.5
UTC — 9
Auburn — 6.5
Discuss and feel free to fire back any others we left out. (9er, we'll set UK at 4.5 You're welcome.)
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 ...