published Monday, July 15th, 2013

5-at-10: Johnny Hangover, Braves break dancing, British Open contest

We're T-minus a day until the college football epicenter shifts to SEC media days in Hoover, Ala. TFP SEC ace David Paschall and TFP UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown will be there for the duration. TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer will be there Wednesday when Butch Jones grabs the mic. (Side question: How incredible would it be if Butch rapped his answers? Let Tiny Richardson back him up with a little beat box and just go. He could even work in some shout-outs to the sponsors — "My Adidas... doubles my net worth and roamed across stadium turf; I stepped to the plate on the recruiting trail, overhaul a roster that feels kinda stale...)

Indirectly it also means football is here. We have spent the last three weeks breaking down a football team of area interest — and we still have Bama and UT on thw docket — but this week, with the meeting in full swing we'll do the SEC as a whole, starting with it's biggest star/controversy.

From the "Talks too much" studios,

Manziel stops short

OK, we all knew that this week at SEC media days was going to be wild for Johnny Football Manziel, the kid with the cool nickname, gallery of boss bar-hopping photos, a Heisman Trophy and all the good and bad trappings that go with being a rock star in the rock-star supernova that is SEC football.

Johnny Football was a counselor at the Manning Quarterback Academy and left early because he was ill, according to reports from the camp. There are rumors and rumblings that he was asked to leave the Manning event because he was hung over. There were reports Manziel was out knocking back Co-Colas with AJ McCarron earlier in the week only to get 'ill' during the weekend. Wow. Simply beyond words. Hope the kid is OK.

Johnny Football is the biggest star to attend the media event since Tim Tebow was there, when Tebow was famously asked if he was a virgin. Here's saying that may be the only question not asked about Johnny Football's personal life.

We put it out there on "Press Row" — our radio show with David Paschall 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM here in town and on espnchattanooga.com on the interwebs — that Texas A&M was going to be the league's biggest disappointment and Manziel was due a big step backward.

As far as timing goes, this hiccup coming the weekend before roughly 1,000 media members are about to greet you at a hotel in Hoover, Ala. is world-class bad. Or world-class great depending on your point of view.

Here are three things we feel 100-percent certain about this week at SEC media days:

1) Saban will mention the process.

2) Spurrier will gig someone.

3) The neighborhood clubs around Hoover have found out what Johnny Football's drink of choice is and are well-stocked.

———

British Open

Wow, that was a fun Sunday of golf watching with the family. Philly Mick won the Scottish Open in a style completely Philly Mick — he made bogey on 18 to fall into a playoff and then worked a miraculous wedge to less than a foot for birdie and the win on the first playoff hole. Teenager Jordan Spieth won on the PGA Tour. Yes, a teenager — who cashed a check for $828K... that's some high-quality beer money gang.

And it jump started us into the second best week of golf. We're a sucker for the Masters, always have been, always will be.

The British Open though is second, edging the U.S. Open because of the complete differences — in the game, the scenery, the accents, all of it.

Plus, it makes for great early morning TV viewing. Simply splendid, in fact.

So we're having a contest — it's what we do.

Here are the working rules:

Pick five golfers, top four count and the lowest score wins. And since the British Open is different and we embrace that difference, let's add this wrinkle — at least three countries have to be represented in your five golfers. Deal? Deal.

Winner will get a prize pack of some ilk.

————

Braves hit break

  • photo
    Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani works against the Atlanta Braves during their game Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Your Atlanta Braves hit the All-Star Break 54-41, six games clear of the Washington Nationals in the NL East standings.

Injuries are a problem. Strikeouts are a problem. It's a picture that is prettier than the color of paints.

Let's chew on some numbers, good and bad:

Danny Struggla: Good — about one in every 3.5 base hits leaves the yard; Bad — Struggla is hitting .200, which is one base hit in every five at-bats, and he is striking out about 38 percent of the time.

B.J. Upton: Bad — Hitting .177. To get to his career .250 average at season's end, Upton will need to hit roughly .330 in the second half; Good — well, currently, the fact that Upton is headed to the DL is about the best we got.

As for the Braves in general, it's hard not to feel good about this bunch because of the following reasons:

• As Buster Olney reported on ESPN, the Braves have the easiest schedule among contenders in the second half of the season;

• There's no way this team could have been hit harder by the injury bug than they were in the first half and they are still six games in front;

• It's hard to image roughly 38 percent of your everyday lineup — Upton, Uggla, Heyward — struggling more, yet they still are in the top five in baseball in run differential.

Good times.

———

This and that

  • 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.

— OK, we were fine with Freddie Freeman winning the fan vote over Yasiel Puig for the final all-star spot. Freeman deserved to be there. But when Freeman backed out because of a bad thumb, NL manager Bruce Bochte picked Brian McCann as his replacement. A decision that is at-best rivalry-inspired (Giants snubbing Dodgers = good times) and at-best dense and ignorant.

— Carly Rae Jepsen, a pop singer, threw out the worst first pitch in baseball history. Here's a spot for the video. Side note: We all believe Danny Uggla would have swung at this pitch, right?

— Brian Vickers won the NASCAR race at New Hampshire. Hey, good for Brian, but they are all running for second behind Jimmie Johnson, who finished sixth. Heck here's NASCAR's top five in terms of interest/excellence: Johnson, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson's unibrow, and everyone else. Too bad Dale Jr. quit racing, huh? What? He's still driving? Who knew?

— U.S. champion sprinter Tyson Gay tested positive for banned substances. In other news, the sky is blue. We're speeding to the point that in certain sports, it's safe to assume everyone is on steroids, and those that aren't, well, we've never heard of them anyway.

— What's a PED for competitive eaters? High-octane Ex-Lax, maybe? Discuss.

— The steroid talk of Biogenesis and A-Rod and Ryan Braun and the like dominated the last week or so right? Well, here's a question for the gang: Why didn't any of the alleged 20 names on this list fail a recent drug test? We're debating this Biogenesis list because it was leaked from the steroid boutique, not because MLB or the union detected failed tests. We've said this from the start: until baseball — the owners, the league, the players, all of them — starts caring about stopping steroids, why should we?

————

Today's question(s)

Feel free to riff on any of the above and any of the stuff that happened over the weekend.

As for us, the story of Manziel leaving the Manning Camp has lots of loopholes.

Side question No. 1: What do you think Johnny Football's drink of choice is? Is he a beer guy? Mixed drinks? He may not always drink beer, but when he does it is Dos Equis? Zima maybe? Side question No. 2: If the story is true that Manziel was asked to leave the Manning Camp for Quarterbacks because he was hung over, has there been a dumber career move in recent sports? Side question No. 3: If the story is true that Manziel was asked to leave the Manning Camp for Quarterbacks because he was hung over, the word 'hangover' will official be replaced by 'Manziel' around these parts? Final side question: While not as cool as Johnny Football, Johnny Hangover is a nickname that could work too, right?

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.
MocTastic said...

Johnny Football has been all over the country partying, courtside at many NBA games (and we know how much those seats cost), and showing up everywhere. Question, where has the money required to do all that come from?

July 15, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

Fair question, and while we believe Johnny Football is on the fast track to debacle-ness, we understand that Johnny Football Sr. is actually Dr. Johnny Football Sr. (Which of course is not to be confused with Dr. Johnny Fever.)

July 15, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
Todd962 said...

From friend of the show and hangover expert Todd962:

Let me just lend this little bit of light on an experience I have shared frequently with Ole Johnny Football. I have worked at the same place for several years and they are all aware that I like to partake in libations from time to time in my personal life. As a result, I have developed a certain reputation, as has been pointed out on this very outlet, as well as Johnny Football has had pointed out throughout the media world. I never call into work on Mondays, hungover or legitimately ill, due to the fact that my absence will immediately be labeled as "laying out drunk", as they say. Its stupid and can be frustrating when you return to work from valid ailments, but it comes with the territory of frequenting waterholes on the reg. Johnny Football may or may not have been sick enough to cause his early departure, but when you live the life he has chosen in the public eye, this tag is going to follow him as long as he continues to do so.

July 15, 2013 at 10:55 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

OK, here are my 5: Lefty, S Cink [USA]; D Clarke [N Ireland]; L Oosthuizen [S Africa]; and...drumroll please...Y(ing?) Yang [Korea]. Maybe S Fox can make the cut...

Billy-In-Brainerd

July 15, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

If we're gonna rap at SEC media days (Dear Lord, please, please, please let the dark lord of Tuscaloosa bust a rhyme ... please), then of course, Johnny Football's would be "U be Illin'." And since he's going into his redshirt sophomore season, is he even of legal drinkin' age anywhere north of Cancun and Tijuana?

The first big hit he takes this season, is the announcer going to say, wow, he looks like he's staggering down Bourbon Street. Again. Oops.

Love the idea for the British Open contest, 5. Love it.

I still see trouble ahead for the Braves. Right now, there is exactly one dependable starter (Teheran has flashes of good and then flashes of yesterday lately). Hudson's ERA is an SAT score that would get him into Alabama. I don't know who you are, but what have you done with Kris Medlen, other than occupy him like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers Meets Turner Field. And there are still at lot of Us in the lineup whose names really start with K. Plus, Fredi loves to burn out a bullpen, and this bullpen already doesn't have Venters and O'Flaherty.

If the Phillies can get Cole Hamels turned around, they can make a charge. The Nats already have enough starting pitching with Strasburg, Gonzalez and Zimmermann. I think it's going to be tighter down the stretch than the Braves wish.

July 15, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Todd —

So true. So, so true. If you are going to craft — and enjoy crafting — a certain image, that image can be a two-edged opportunity.

And as Hyman Roth said, "This is the business we have chosen."

B-i-B —

You're in.

Spy —

And how long will it be for the announcers to hit this Manziel gem.

Play-by-Play guy: "Heavy rush... Johnny Football side steps it... he takes off down field... Whoa big hit at midfield... Hope Johnny's OK, he looks a little wobbly out there..."

Commentator: "If you think he looks wobbly now, wait until later tonight... ZINGER."

We see your points on the Braves' flaws — especially the U's of K — but we think they're fine in the regular season.

Medlen will be fine if he ever bends his bill and remember Beachy's coming back shortly.

July 15, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

These kids today, with their haircuts and yeah, yeah, yeah music...Johnny Football was hungover? Why back in my college days I could get drunk as a five-eyed owl on Friday night and be back in form by Saturday afternoon. I was a good-for-nothing hell raiser, but I gave a 110% effort every misspent night of my six years in college. Now, get off my lawn you little punks!

I haven't a clue what drinks Manziel prefers, but if he enjoys Johnny Walker I can see an endorsement deal in the future. Manziel and Walker: two Johnnys, one winning combination. Scramble in, stagger out.

July 15, 2013 at 2:51 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

So ... does this mean Anna Benson is single?

And should we remaining single men be ... scared?

July 15, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Anna Benson has a head full of snakes. This we know. In her defense, I found it amusing when the New York press signaled her out as a distraction and cause of consternation within the New York Mets organization. With or without the presence of a retired exotic dancer with big boobs and bats in the belfry, the Mets were going to find a way to blow it.

July 15, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

If you date the former-Ms. Benson, well, let's just say to be sure to wrap that rascal a few times. Deal? Deal.

GD —

Great point about Johnny Football. If you are going to be the most interesting Aggie Heisman winner in the world, you can't let one little hangover slow you down. C'mon, dude, you're Johnny Hangover. Somewhere in the Twitter-verse Marshall Henderson is giving Johnny Football some serious heckling.

And sir, the phrase 'With or without the presence of a retired exotic dancer with big boobs and bats in the belfry,' is borderline Shakespearean. Well-played, sir, well-played indeed.

July 15, 2013 at 4:38 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Thank you for the kind words Jay. You've inspired me. Now I'm thinking a documentary film entitled "Big Boobs and Bats in the Belfry" is a worthy project. Given my sordid history with love and lust disguised as love, I know a few ladies that would be perfect for the film. In the spirit of Buck Owens, all they gotta do is "Act Naturally."

I will let y'all know when the big red carpet premiere happens. It will likely take place in my basement or that theatre down on Rossville Boulevard. Nothing but class on this end.

July 15, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, they really need to include a link to your Twitter feed with each 5 at 10.

July 15, 2013 at 9:31 p.m.
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