published Thursday, July 11th, 2013

5-at-10: Puig zaniness, Howard's needs, rapid fire questions and John Rocker: Steroid Philosophizer

Gang, remember the mailbag on Friday and to listen to Press Row today at 1-3 on ESPN 105.1 or at espnchattanooga.com. Paschall is on the road today, so we'll welcome the TFP's UTC football ace Johnny Frierson, who will kick around some Mocs talk and more.

You call, we answer, no big whoop.

From the "Talks too much" studios, remember a flute without holes is not a flute. A doughnut without a hole is a Danish."

  • photo
    Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

All-Star vote

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman takes a lead into the final day of the fan voting for the final spot on the NL All-Star roster. In second is Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, maybe you've heard of him.

The Puig craze has overwhelmed baseball. In fact, there was a SportsCenter story about the Puig-Mania backlash among the Dodgers organization.

Whatever. Man, sometimes the BID-ness we're in makes our head hurt. We're super quick to be King makers and then super quick to find fault with the Kings we've crafted.

Take the word underrated, which is wickedly overrated and overblown more times than not. We find something or someone that is exceeding expectations and we justifiably praise it. But that praise becomes lavish or divisive or what have you. Then we go on and on about how underrated someone is to the point that eventually they are actually overrated for no other reason than they once were an overachieving contributor who now has star expectations.

Sigh.

We believe Puig is the real deal. We also believe that while his teammates understandably may have tired of the Puig mania — and the antics of an immature 22-year-old Cuban who likely knows no better — the numbers do not lie.

And we're not even talking about the near-.400 average and his obvious five tools. Try these numbers: With Puig on the roster since June 3, the Dodgers have won 22 games — the most in the big leagues. The Dodgers have won 15 of their last 18 and are at .500 for the first time since April.

We'd call those team achievements underrated, but then we'd have to hit ourself in the head with a tack hammer.

————

Just stop talking

Dwight Howard picked Houston, leaving the spotlight of the L.A. Lakers for the Rockets and a better situation. We get it and even praised the decision and wondered why he was getting heat for making the proper choice.

Now, 48 hours later, we're wondering how Howard will ever be an alpha dog with the steady diet of quotes and comments that are at best puzzling .

The latest is Howard saying he wanted Kobe Bryant to pass the torch to him in L.A., and Howard never felt the Lakers embraced that.

Huh? Kobe Bryant is a top-five scorer all time, a five-time champ and one of the game's top-five competitors ever, and Howard wanted to know when the Lakers were going to plan to undercut him and turn the franchise over to a guy who is a great rebounder and won the slam sunk contest?

Hey, Dwight, be your future. May, make your future. Make it.

Does anyone think this guy will ever be the lead dog on an NBA champion?

————

Rocker on steroids

Well, John Rocker, the former Braves reliever and renowned bigot and admitted steroid user, said Wednesday that steroids made baseball "a better game."

Rocker went on to say that fans were paying high prices to be entertained and asked rhetorically about what has been more entertaining in recent baseball history than the 1998 chase for 61 homers for steroid poster boys Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.

We've heard Rocker's interview over and over, and as difficult as it is to admit, Rocker's point about entertainment has merit. This may be the craziest statement of the entire steroid mess — John Rocker has insightful comments and a valid point all things considered.

Sure, a big part of the enjoyment of the '98 home run chase was the illusion — or the ignorance in some ways — of it being done the right way. And maybe we didn't know back then everything that Sosa and McGwire were doing, but we all followed Barry Bonds' exploits in the early-2000s even though we all suspected him of violating the PED rules.

And like him or loathe him, and whether you think his records need to be hailed or scrubbed from the books, Barry Bonds put together arguably the greatest offensive stretch in baseball history from 2000-2004. Alas.

We need to sit down; our head hurts.

————

This and that

— LeBron James is trying his hand at rapping. That is all.

— Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley will attend the Manning quarterback camp. Wow, if Johnny Vols Fans could have one wish on this early-July day, it has to be that some of the Manning magic rubs off on Worley. (Side note: Magic or no, we'd be stunned if Worley is UT's QB1 this fall. He may start there because he has the most experience, but it's hard seeing Worley — or at least the working knowledge we have of Worley's skills — being the solution.)

— Ole Miss basketball lightning rod Marshall Henderson has been suspended indefinitely for "violation of team rules." Yes, we believe that phrase 99 times out of a 100 means "failed drug test" in college sports. Like him or loathe him, college hoops is more fun with Henderson involved. Hopefully he can clean himself up.

— Kudos to Boston slugger David Ortiz, who is now the all-time hits leader among designated hitters.

————

Today's question(s)

We're going to go rapid fire today. Answer any or all of these. Giddy-up.

Derek Jeter returns to the Yankees today. Is he the best shortstop ever?

Is David Ortiz a Hall of Famer?

Which of the following is more stunning: Dennis Rodman, international diplomat or John Rocker, insightful steroids commentator?

If Justin Worley is the Vols' answer at QB, what's UT's record this year?

Discuss, and sweet buckets flood waters, will it ever stop raining?

8
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MocTastic said...

Lets ask John Rocker again about steroids in 20 or so years when players who juiced start having having abnormally high incidents of tumors, cancer, and heart issues. It amazed me the player's union fought testing, they should have demanded it. First and foremost for the health of the players. Had the baseball teams asked players to juice the union would have screamed bloody murder saying that an employer asked their workers to take drugs that can shorten their lives. Secondly, they, the union, should have demanded drug testing for the "innocent" players who were clean. They were not on a level playing field with the juicers. Makes one wonder if most of the players were juicing as Canseco and others have said.

July 11, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.
MocTastic said...

With respect to David Ortiz in the HOF. He has spent a sizeable part of his career as a DH. There are many, including me, who view DHs as less than a full player. I basically discount all stats accumulated as a DH. Baseball is made up of hitting, running, AND fielding. DH's only play a part of the game and for one of them to make the HOF they should have stupid ridiculous numbers to make up for the fact they couldn't, or didn't, play the whole game of baseball.

July 11, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Puig is the real deal and barring injury might turn out to be a Hall of Famer. He plays in LA so the media attention, good or bad, will be constant. His teammates need to simply get over it. Winning should be enough for them, the attention, the ladies, whatever extras they're after will be there if they produce, too. If Puig is batting .400 nothing says they can't bat and field successfully.

Howard is the NBA's version of a diva NFL receiver, and despite his talent, things like this have made the fans turn on him.

Jeter, probably so, but I'm already tired of ESPN talking about him again.

Some of the players probably think the steroid risks were worth it, for the salaries they were making. .250 hitters normally wouldn't be drawing fans to the parks but chicks dig the longball, same as everyone else does.

No truth the rumor the Mocs football players will work out by rowing.

July 11, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, I took yesterday off, went to the beach, ate some Willie's Wee Nee Wagon (pork chop sammich and a Big Willie burger) and wondered why Andrew Bynum signing anywhere is big news (re: he's not that good), how good Yasiel Puig is (re: he is that good) and why I'm not playing more golf.

So from day off I have a black eye, a swollen lip and a skinned up knee. And yet ... I had fun.

Let me see if I have this straight ... John Rocker made a cogent, salient point about steroid use in baseball? One more sign that the Mayans weren't wrong, just poor mathematicians.

July 11, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

For yesterday's 5 at 10 ... the best sporting events I attended (as a fan):

1986 Masters. Went Friday and Saturday. First trip to Augusta National.

1995, Game 4 NLCS: Braves finish sweep of Reds.

2000 I-AA National Championship game. Son of the Run. AP and PJ and the gang make it two straight and six overall. Alas, no more national championships in the offing for the mighty Eagles. In the words of the maître d' from Chez Quis, "I weep for the future."

July 11, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Is that the game Adrian Peterson ran over everyone on the defense in one play?

July 11, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Sounds like Yasiel Puig is getting a crash course in America's weird relationship with fame. We simultaneously worship it and hate it. I'm sure Puig has heard it all: aim high, go big, kick ass. Dig in 'til you reach that mountain top. Now he has had a couple of days on-high and people are ready to push him down the other side of the mountain. Yes, it is enough to make one's head hurt.

As for Dwight Howard, I don't follow the NBA closely, but from what I know of Howard...There is no way he will ever be a lead dog. Jordan would have been perplexed at the very concept of having the torch passed to him. MJ knew the torch was his and he took it. The truly great ones have an almost manic obsession with greatness. Jordan had it. Ali had it. Anyone whining about the fact that the other guy did not step aside to let him have it will never get it.

As for John Rocker offering keen insight and wisdom...Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I'll leave it at that.

July 11, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Laughing Boy,

No, that play was the 99 championship game against Youngstown State (hey, Jim Tressell, howsabout taking a 59-24 tailcuttin with you on your way to Columbus?). This run was a 57-yarder in the slop to give GSU the lead for good - one play after Montana had taken the lead.

July 11, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.
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