published Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

5-at-10: Steroids, Hopeless Hernandez, Georgia's quarterbacking excellence and the best game you ever attended.

Gang, remember the mailbag on Friday and to listen to Press Row with Paschall and the Sports Editor today at 1-3 on ESPN 105.1 or at espnchattanooga.com.

From the "Talks too much" studios, remember we are the world, we are the children; we're the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving.

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    New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez reacts after a double play to turn the tide against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, in Atlanta. New York won 3-2.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

PEDs

OK, the looming suspensions of approximately 20 players — including former MVPs Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez — for their involvement with Biogenesis, the alleged steroids boutique in South Florida, leaves us with several questions/observations about the entire steroid era.

Do we even care any more? The public's collective indifference, be it perceived or real, has to be based in the exhaustion of the never-ending stories and lies and denials. We have moved through the emotional stages of shock to anger to disbelief to disgust to disinterested.

Do the players and leagues and teams and executives want to stop this? We're to a point that this issue needs to be discussed every time a PED story breaks. People inside the clubhouse have to know, right? Be it the backne or the mood swings or simply seeing them do it, spending 162 games together behind closed doors and on the road, players know. Coaches know. If they want to stop it, then why are more clean players not outraged by cheaters taking money out of their pocket or jobs away from other guys doing it the right way.

Why does baseball and cycling seem to be the only sports fighting these troubles? At least cyclists have now started to police their own sport, no longer turning a blind eye to Lance and the rest of dopers, cheaters and liars. (Of course that means there are like three actual Tour de France champions in the last 20 years, so there's that.). But baseball still wrestles restlessly with whispers and cold stares and lies. And what about football and basketball — you can't believe for a second that there is not PEDs in those sports, but those leagues either do not care or have handled every incident so indiscreetly that it is hard to fathom.

So where are we as a sports culture? Do we even care about this any more? Do we assume every baseball player from 1998-2006 used some sort of performance enhancer? What is the next step for the leagues, do they become tougher or more detached?

Is this a fight they can win? And is it a fight they are even interested in pursuing?

(Side note: ESPN has more than a few guys that are blowhards — hey the local affliate even added your's truly on the radio from 1-3 — with Skip Bayless and Berman and some other names coming to mind. That said, they have no one as dialed in on his beat and breaking more news than T.J. Quinn on steroids in baseball. Quinn, Buster Olney, Mel Kiper Jr. — we love the draft, you know this — and Brian Windhorst on all things LeBron are the Rushmore of ESPN's top combination of expert/insider.)

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Hernandez dark cloud

Authorities have released documents that are really damning for former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

An alleged accomplice is saying he was told Hernandez said he killed Odin Lloyd. Authorities are saying that when they first arrived at Hernandez's house and said they were investigating a killing, Hernandez slammed the door and locked it. Stunning that the "Ostrich, head-in-the-sand-and-this-will-go-away" tact didn't work.

With each passing day the clouds become darker for Hernandez, and we're now to the point where wouldn't you be stunned if he didn't do it.

We'll see, but this much is certain, though: We are 100 percent certain that the Mrs. 5-at-10 would kibosh any ideas about Hernandez and his boyz baby-sitting for the 5-at-10 tots any time soon.

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Georgia strengths

We have kicked around the Georgia Bulldogs a little this week.

Today, let's look at the 2013 Bulldogs' strengths. And there are several.

We could start with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall — the sophomore tailback tandem lovingly called Gur-shall — and say that either of those cats is the unquestioned starter for every SEC team not named Alabama. (Yes, another "not named Alabama disclaimor. Stay classy Tuscaloosa.)

We could look at an athletic — albeit inexperienced — defensive corps led by GD's new BFF Tray Mathews, Jordan Jenkins and Josh Harvey-Clemons, when JHC returns from suspension, of course.

Those sterling attributes aside, we're going to spend our time on Aaron Murray, the returning Bulldogs quarterback. When we talked with Mike Bobo on the radio in April, Bobo praised Murray as the ultimate "gym rat" and raved about his preparation. We can see that, appreciate that and respect that. Murray is better than his parts and his game translates exceptionally well on Saturdays.

But let's tip our helmet in another direction in this matter.

Mark Richt and his staff have had some high points and some low ones during their highly successful run in Athens. And a key cog in that success has been Richt and Co.'s ability to scout, recruit and develop a river of very good-to-great college quarterbacks. Look at the run of QB1s in Athens and their progression during their time there, and you have to be somewhat awed by the fact that rarely have the Bulldogs been without a least a solid QB.

Now think about recent seasons in Auburn or Knoxville or a slew of other SEC towns, and yes, there were occasions of QB solutions, but there were times of great QB questions too. Georgia's QB quandary is almost always solved before it is ever asked.

That's not an accident, and Richt and his staff deserve high praise for always being ready at the most important position in sports.

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This and that

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    Atlanta Braves' Justin Upton, right, is met by Freddie Freeman, left, after scoring on a solo home run in the eighth inning during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Miami.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— EA Sports College Football 2014 is trotting out some of the best players in college football history as part of this year's version of the video game classic. Bo Jackson was touring the ESPN campus Tuesday as part of the promotion. Man, Bo and Herschel better be unstoppable in this version because they were all but unstoppable in their day.

— During our morning research we noticed that David Hasselhoff was trending on the Yahoo!. You know who David Hasselhoff is? He's the William Shatner of his generation.

— Matt Stafford got a $50-plus million extension from the Lions. This is an interesting decision and serves as a commentary on the current NFL personnel culture and the almost incalculable value of a franchise quarterback. Stafford is tough and has a big arm and appears to have the confidence of his team and their fan base. Those are extremely valuable commodities. Stafford's also 1-23 as an NFL starter against teams that finished with a winning record. That hardly seems like a three-year, $50-million-type of leader, huh? Interesting indeed.

— The Braves topped the floundering Marlins on Tuesday. That was to be expected. However, the Brothers Upton — two-thirds of the Braves trio now known as the U's of K — went 5-for-8 with three RBIs. It was such an offensive outburst that eight of the nine Braves that went to the plate got a hit. (And yes, the lone hitless Atlanta player was Danny Uggla, the finally piece of the U's of K.)

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Today's question

As always feel free to discuss any of the above topics. And gang, we're short a mailbag letter or two.

We talked on Press Row with David Paschall on Tuesday on ESPN 105.1 about the change in sports culture that more fans would rather watch their favorite team on TV. We understand that report, and can see that logic for a lot of reasons, ranging from cost to start times to family-friendly atmosphere to several others.

Still, there's something special about going to a big game, you know?

Today's talking point: What's the best sporting event you have ever attended? Don't over think it. What was the first answer that jumped into your head?

We'll start with 30-20, the first time Alabama visited Auburn in 1989.

Go.

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 ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
jgreeson said...

Comments are now on.

Thanks to Billy in Brainerd for the quick head's up.

July 10, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.
jgreeson said...

And we had a great submission on the best event from Kevin D. This is a tape-measure shot out of the gate. Enjoy.

October 30, 2001 Game 3 World Series at Yankee Stadium. President Bush threw out the first pitch and fired a strike. I can still feel Yankee Stadium shaking from the roars of the crowd. With September 11th hanging over the nation his defiant solo walk to the mound and subsequent pitch made the game seem secondary.

July 10, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent

Two quick points:

1) The NFL has had problems with PEDs and they have suspended guys like Shawn Merriman. The problem is that when they suspended Merriman it didn't come on until the second segment of SportCenter. If Ryan Braun looks at a steroid, it's the lead story on SportCenter. That's ESPN's game, and it's also the fans fault for not demanding more. This makes me as mad as the players using steroids in baseball, because of the INCREDIBLE double standard that has been set forth depending on sport.

2) First game that popped into my head was the Tennessee-Arkansas game 1998. The Stoerner fumble game. I'd be lying if I said the SEC Championship Games in 1997, 1998, and 2007 weren't somewhere on the list. The 1997 SEC Championship Game was unbelievable. I don't remember a ton about the game except that the Vols won in a great one, but the atmosphere that day was through the roof and something I had never experienced. The 1998 and 2007 didn't compare atmosphere-wise for me (maybe my expectations were too high), but still great, and the actual games those two years I remember much better. Alabama-Tennessee in 1996 has to be up there too (Vols came back from 10-0 down to win 20-13 on a long run by Jay Graham in final two minutes- second straight win over Bama after the long losing streak to them, and the first in Knoxville in a while). Mocs-Michigan basketball back in 1993 (or was it 1994- I'm getting old and can't remember anymore). I sat right on the court at a Mocs game against Niagra a few years back and that was a lot of fun, too. And then there's the Braves-Reds game I went to in 1991, the first year the Braves were in the playoff race. It was mid-September, and the second game of the doubleheader. The game went to extra innings and the Reds won, but it was an atmosphere I'll never forget. That's eight games that make my list of games I won't ever forget. The 1998 Tennessee-Arkansas is the most memorable though.

July 10, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.
Buschleague said...

5-Only 'purists' care about the whole roid thing. The same guys who don't believe in mulligans and insist on putting everything out, always walk never take a cart..never play for mor than 2bucks..Players union fought testing for years. NFL violation for PED's gets you 4 games off and fines and no one seems to mind, in fact Shawn Merriman won MVP the same year he got suspended. As for the cyclists Lance cheated but to me he's still a cancer fightin' Jessie that was the baddest man on a bike for 7straight. Best live event-my sons middle school basketball championship game. I know it was like 22-23 but I never sat down! Second-Michelsons bunny hop on #18 in '04..there was a serious roar!

July 10, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

I had 2 pop in my head this morning, must be the extra strong coffee giving me ADD. 1st was the Auburn Alabama "Tornado" game in 84. The second was seeing Hank Aaron hit a dinger in the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in 73 or 74.

However Stucky reminded me that I was in Neyland for the 98 Arkansas game. I had forgotten that.

July 10, 2013 at 11:45 a.m.
MocTastic said...

First game that popped into my head was game five of the 1975 World Series in Cincinnati. The game itself wasn't that particularly great, just being my first World Series game I had been to, flying up to Cincy just for the game and flying home, first time ever on an airplane. The atmosphere at any World Series game is electric. Go if you ever get the chance, stay home for SuperBowls and watch them on tv. Been there, done that, won't go again.

July 10, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Kevin D —

Great choice and great call.

Stuck —

Fair point about the different approaches in covering the different sports.

And we were in the Georgia Dome for the 1997 SEC title game. We did not remember it as fondly.

Busch —

We there for Mickelson. We were not there at your son's middle school game. Loudest golf event we ever heard... Woods' commercial chip at 16 at Augusta when he beat DiMarco.

McPell —

We were at AFC when Hank hit 715 off Al Downing. We were 3. We were sound asleep. Good times.

MT —

World Series games have a great vibe.

Headed to the radio... listen in if have the chance.

July 10, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Memorable game was my first hockey game. Atlanta knights (old minor league team) in early 90's. Didn't follow much in the game except a 20 minute melee on the ice. Had so much fun I almost stopped by the box office to give them an additional $10 on my way out. Hockey is much better in person than on tv.

July 10, 2013 at 2:57 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

With the steroids in baseball issue I wonder how different the on-the-field product would look if steroids were eradicated from the game. The steroid culture has been in place for so long now, would we see a lot of former round-trippers turn into pop-up machines. Like those guys that hit a bunch of homers in college with the aluminum bats and can't do much with the real lumber at the next level. Speaking for myself only, I don't really care anymore. There was a time when I could tell you Phil Niekro's ERA and Biff Pocoroba's batting average without looking them up. Now, it has been a few years since I watched an entire MLB game.

Mark Richt has had a good run of quarterbacks at Georgia and coached some very good QBs at FSU. There is also the fact that he was college teammates with Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, and Vinny Testaverde. Richt then signed a free agent deal with the Broncos only hours before Elway was traded to Denver. The next year, Richt signed a deal with the Dolphins that had some young buck named Marino. It is safe to say that Mark Richt has been around a few good quarterbacks in his time.

Best sporting event ever attended: 1981 Sugar Bowl. I was sixteen and my dad landed four tickets so he rounded up me and my brother and my crazy uncle and we were Big Easy bound. Georgia 17--Notre Dame 10. Glory, glory...

July 10, 2013 at 3:04 p.m.
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