published Friday, July 19th, 2013

5-at-10: Friday mail on SEC media days, Tiger, A-Rod, Willis vs. Stallone and women sports reporters

Great questions this week, and thanks for the kind words.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's get the ragtop down so our hair can blow.

Paraphrased from a slew of you

"What's the biggest take from SEC media days?"

Gang —

OK, we have spent a lot of time rehashing the Media Days here and debating the Media Daze on Press Row on ESPN 105.1 FM.

Here's what we take away from the three-day, Shoney's breakfast-bar style quote buffet that was the SEC Media Days — Not much. It's the preseason. Still, let's do a top-five of the things that caught our eye. Deal? Deal.

1) Alabama is riding the biggest talent wave since Miami in the early 2000s. The Crimson Tide had 16 players make either the All-SEC first-, second- or third-team in preseason polling, and 14 of those were position players. That means roughly two-thirds or Alabama's starters are deemed all-star worthy in the most talented conference in the country. Wow.

2) Johnny Manziel needs to lay low for the next six months.

3) These Vols love Butch Jones, who has found great success communicating with his new players and potential future players. That's an encouraging sign for Johnny Vols Fans everywhere.

4) Jadeveon Clowney expects to have a MONSTER year. And who are we to disagree, Mr. Clowney, sir.

5) College football in general and SEC football in particular has officially become the second most popular sport in the country. And it's so far ahead of baseball it's hard to fathom. If there were any lingering doubts, consider this: There were 1,200 credentialed media members there (and yes, some were media in name only), but do you remember more about the SEC media days or the MLB All-Star game? Thought so.

————

From Bird

I agree with you about the British Open. It's awesome.

Sorry I missed your contest — not sure if I would have been in the mix — but my question is about this week and golf.

Can Tiger finish it this week? I like watching him play and want him to chase down Jack but I'm not sure he gets there.

Do you think he can get to 18 majors?

Thanks and I enjoy you on the radio.

Bird —

Thanks for the kind words and for reading and listening along. The contest is going to be interesting because of how some of the big names have spit the bit. (Hey Rory, wake up.)

We think Tiger is going to be in the mix this weekend. And if/when he is, it makes any tournament more enjoyable and every major championship becomes appointment TV. He's that guy — the generational lightning rod who individual sports crave and team sports love — that gives every viewer a rooting interest, for or against.

We think Tiger will win majors again — and he could be right there this week, his game looks controlled, his swing looks solid. We just no longer think he'll catch Jack, though.

What once appeared to be predestined has now become a long shot, the current five-year major-less gap seems to have left too big a hole as time and talent begin to converge.

————

From LaughingBoy

You should have a top list of movies/scenes that left generations flabbergasted, like Phoebe Cates in Fast Times.

LB —

Great question.

Here are five, with a nod to a wide variety of reasons. And we will refrain from the days of trying to pirate the 'adult' stations through the squiggly lines on old-school cable. (Yeah, like you guys don't know what we're talking about.)

1) Phoebe Cates coming out of the pool in Fast Times was real-life and in living color. They were real and they were spectacular.

2) The end of Crying Game. "Hey, she's got boy parts."

3) The Alien coming out of the belly.

4) About the final 2/3s of The Exorcist.

5) Kathy Bates blocking Jimmy Caan's ankles in Misery. (For the younger generation it has the similarly, painful icky vibe as Ed Norton curbing that guy in American History X.)

Heck, we even have a second five.

6) The horse head scene in Godfather.

7) The final Russian roulette game in Deer Hunter

8) The shower scene in Pyscho

9) Too many in Star Wars to name, and we can even make an argument that the 'big reveal' in Empire Strikes Back — "Luke, I am your father" — from Vader was a) the jumpstart of the 'daddy issues' for a certain generation and b) a true testament to the media world before the interweb. In a million years how long does that Vader being Luke's daddy stay secret if that move was released in 2010 rather than 1980?

10) Toy Story — the grandfather of the current CGI full-length genre that has changed the game.

————

From JT

I was talking with a buddy of mine and he and I were kind of perplexed by this, so we thought we'd get your view.

How will Alex Rodriguez be remembered?

Enjoy the radio show and love the 5-at-10.

  • photo
    New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez is interviewed in this Sept. 24, 2012, file photo before batting practice prior to a game against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. Rodriguez will make more this year than all the Houston Astros combined _ a lot more. A-Rod's $29 million salary tops the major leagues for the 13th straight season, according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

JT —

Excellent question, and we believe this is something that keeps A-Rod awake at night. He is so consumed with image and what people think about him, that we think that is the biggest reason he got hooked on the PEDs. His need for everyone to believe he was the best was even greater than his desire to be the best. (Which is unlike guys like Bonds or Clemens, who we believe cheated because they wanted to dominate and be embraced by history. Well, allegedly. {Cough, Cough.}) And of course, like any player linked to steroids in this generation, that will forever taint his resume for years down the road.

As for his lasting image as a player, history will not be kind.

A-Rod is the king of the three-run homer in an 8-1 game — whether his team is winning or losing. His postseason record is garbage, too.

In truth, if you take the PEDs out of the dicussion, A-Rod is what LeBron's career would look like if James and the Heatles had not won the last two titles. A-Rod's meandering career that has bounced from potential "All-timer" in Seattle to huge payday in Texas to huge headache in NYC could have been James' exact career arc, if the Heatles had failed, considering Miami likely would have blown up the Big Three by now and there's no telling how harshly LeBron would have been crucified or where he would have landed.

Our lasting thought about A-Rod is he wasted a chance to be one of the five greatest players ever. And that's sad.

————

From Limited,

Hey, I listened to the radio show this week -- you guys are pretty good and I heard you reference this blog so I started reading this week.

I like it. I don't know how often I'll comment because I doubt I'll subscribe to your site but I still have a question for you.

You mentioned earlier this week that Die Hard turned 25. That's hard to believe.

Do you think Bruce Willis or Sly Stallone has had a better career? Each had a big time series -- Die Hard and Rocky -- so those kind of cancel each other out. Thoughts?

Keep up the good work.

Limited —

Thanks for the kind words and for listening and reading. The radio thing has been fun, and while we know we can get loads better at it, we hope it sounds pretty good.

This is a great question, and to do it justice we broke it down in few categories, tale of the tape style.

Hot Hollywood Wife: Willis — Demi Moore; Stallone — Bridgette Nielsen

Edge: Willis, but it's closer than you think when you look at old-school Nielsen.

TV time: Willis was a stud on Moonlighting, which was pretty excellent; Stallone, not much

Edge: Willis

Main movie series: Willis — Die Hard; Stallone — Rocky

Edge: Stallone, each original is amazing and a game changer, but Stallone gets the edge because he wrote the original and Rocky II is good and Rocky II is underrated. Rocky V never happened, however.

Real name: Walter Bruce Willis; Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone

Edge: Do you even have to ask? Gardenzio is on the short list with Jadeveon and Barkevious as one of our new favorite names. Well-played indeed.

Birthplace: Willis — West Germany; Stallone — New York City.

Edge: Stallone. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Going outside the comfort zone: Willis was great in Pulp Fiction and The Sixth Sense; Stallone likely deserved some award nominations for Cop Land.

Edge: Willis, because he also was the lead in Disney's The Kid, and underrated movie that has some real 'It's just dusty in here' moments. Shut up Spy.

What were you thinking career move: Willis in the most recent Die Hard and the bombs that were Death Becomes Her and Bonfire of the Vanities; Stallone did Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Oscar.

Edge: Feels like a push here, especially since Rocky V never happened.

In the end, Willis prevails, because looking at his resume you forget some of the excellent movies he was excellent in as a supporting actor. Nobody's Fool is great. The Last Boy Scout was enjoyable, as was the Whole Nine Yards.

Great question, and yes, we spend too much time on some of these.

————

From Billy-In-Brainerd:

Jay-G,

I am guessing you missed the first hour of Tuesday’s all-star game, because you and the Mrs. were watching ESPNs Nine for IX “Let Them Wear Towels." I would like to read your comments and her comments on the show, since both of you are journalists.

Currently at the Times-Free Press, there are many women in management, editor, and reporter positions…except Sports. The thought here is budget constraints may prohibit more staff in Sports. I think it would great to have a female reporter cover the Lady Mocs, the Lady Vols, and girls’ high school sports, not that she should be slotted to cover just women’s sports. Please share your thoughts on this also.

B-i-B —

Excellent question.

We did not watch "Let them wear towels," but we have heard good things and we know the entire 30-for-30 series has been by and large some of the best work ever done at ESPN.

There are a lot of talented women in the newsroom at the TFP. That's a good thing because they are talented, regardless of how many X chromosomes they have.

We actually have two women on our sports staff — Jamie Poole and Joanna Paschall are page designers, though, so you rarely see their by-lines.

And your assessment about budget is somewhat correct, we have not added staff in a while — we also have not had much turnover, which is CUH-razy considering the ogre that runs the TFP sports department. Still, we have one of the larger sports staffs for a paper our size anywhere and we believe it's the largest in Tennessee. A big reason for that is because of the resources we throw at high school sports. We have five full-time prep sports reporters, and a few other folks who cover high school sports on occasion, including the 5-at-10. That's a bunch.

As for more women sports reporters, we'd love to have more diversity on our staff to have as many different points of view as possible. We can't be all things to all people, but we know different perspectives can produce a variety of ideas and input that can make good great and great really special.

We also know that in more than 13 years of being a sports editor and looking at 100s of resumes, we have actually interviewed exactly one female sports reporter for a job opening. There are not that many in the job pool when compared to their male counterparts, and because lots of newspapers covet diversity, women sports reporters often start higher up the food chain. (Case in point: The one female we interviewed was at the MDJ in the early 2000s, she said no, started at a paper roughly the size of Chattanooga — we started our career at a 4,000-circulation daily and moved four times before landing here — and she is now an on-air personality for a sports TV show.)

That said, having a woman doing women's sports just because she's a woman seems a little pigeon-holed to us. If she is on staff, she should be viewed in the pecking order accordingly, regardless of her gender. That may mean it's on the Lady Mocs beat or it may mean she covers UT football. You don't have to be the best golfer to be the golf writer (hey, look at Uch) you know?

Again, thanks for the question, and for reading the 5-at-10.

And gang, feel free to discuss any of the above topics and listen to Press Row on 105.1 FM Mondays-Fridays from 1-3 p.m.

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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JonathanMCook said...

I love this sentence:

"There were 1,200 credentialed media members there (and yes, some were media in name only)"

And next week will be Southern Conference Media Days hosted at the Dew Drop Inn and Truck Stop on I-40 outside Greenville. The media will consist of the John Fierson of the Chattanooga Times-Free Press and several beat reporters from the local middle school newspapers.

Burn? Yes. But not as intended. More like intended parody for the kind of "response" expected when Huesman & Co. take to the road for their media days versus the SEC lovefest this week.

Though the fact Phil Steele actually "acknowledges" the existance of the Mocs means some big leaguers are taking notice.

Personally, I've never been a fan of media days. Simply because it's not going to effect my viewing habits. If the Vols stink, I'm still going to watch them until it hurts too much. If the Mocs stink, I'm still going to watch them until it hurts too much.

And for the record, while I respect all the pre-season "awards and nods" on the blue and gold side of the ball, all I care about is seeing the team in action actually winning the games. Everything else is details. Same with Butch Jones & Co.

July 19, 2013 at 10:57 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

We think alike, I had the horse head, Exorcist, and Alien right up there too. I have read the Exorcist sent moviegoers running from theaters, not just walking out. At the time I'm sure Psycho was quite shocking, too, then the Texas Chainsaw Massacre ushered in the 70s and 80s slasher films.

Alabama's defense will be more consistent than last year with more depth. I don't want to see any player get hurt but I can see Johnny Football not lasting four quarters against them.

July 19, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.
Todd962 said...

So I had this whole thing typed out letting you know what an idiot you were for picking Willis over Stallone, with questions of if you had ever heard of a little series called Rambo, if somehow you had missed The Expendables and its sensory overload goodness, or how he had a career full of movies that fall into the "Roadhouse Effect." (You cant look away from the mediocrity and want the two hours of your life back that is lost in the end, but secretly know you would watch it again immediately if it came back on. ex. Demolition Man, Cliffhanger, Daylight, Judge Dredd)

But then I went and looked at Bruce's filmography and realized he has had a career full of just as many tractor beam movies. I think I have watched The Fifth Element about 25 times and that's about 24.5 too many. He's got all the ones you mentioned plus Armageddon, Twelve Monkeys, and The Jackal. Its also dawned on me that Willis was in The Expendables as well although not as large of a role.

AMC has made a living after 11pm and on weekend afternoons off of these two actors alone. While I think its a toss up I think I would have to agree with you on selecting Willis with my tipping factor being his small roles in good movies and his odd cameo appearances like in Ocean's Twelve and on Friends. This debate shook me a bit and I also put entirely too much time looking into this...

July 19, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.
Todd962 said...

And for a different twist on your movie scene / generation scenario. What about the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan and the generation that served through that war?

Jaws scenes and visitors of the beach. That's a multi-generational haunter.

July 19, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

Thanks, and yes, Johnny Frierson will be there next week.

And you're right, the media daze is talked about because we are starved for football. But Shakespear had media days in mind when he penned, "Much ado about nothing."

LB —

Great question from you thanks. Todd added a couple of good ones and Paschall reminded us of a couple of Silence of the Lambs scenes, including the 'tuck' scene.

Todd —

Two great additions to the scene-stealers.

Of your two, while Jaws haunted a generation, SPR and even Platoon were so real it was tear-jerking. Plus, Jaws is close on scene-haunting, but it's a no-brainer on the image/music power combo.

Side story. Some buddies and the 5-at-10 saw Platoon in theater. We're walking out and two middle-aged guys with crew cuts are sitting in the back of the theater sobbing. We'll never forget it.

And Bruce no doubt has some stinkers, but while we omitted Rambo — and great call on Cliffhanger — we also did not discuss Over the Top, arguably the worst 'sports' movie of all time.

July 19, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

The one scene that has stuck with me for many years, was Bo Derek in 10, on the beach, with her hair cornrowed. (Yes I am still 17 at heart.) If Dudley Moore hadn't been in that movie, who would have starred in "Arthur"?

Nice analysis on a-rod.

July 19, 2013 at 12:23 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Ten-Ring

Well-played referencing "Da Bard".

July 19, 2013 at 1:03 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Great answer to B-i-B's question.

As for Johnny Bieber Football, is it too much to ask for him to behave himself off the field? If he didn't realize there would be extra scrutiny from being a star QB AND the latest Heisman winner, then he's a complete idiot. This latest round of stupidity (having to leave early from the Manning camp) makes him appear to be nothing more than a spoiled and irresponsible young punk. I enjoyed watching him play last year, but I'm leaning toward cheering against him at this point. It's up to him to start acting like a man and quit actin' a fool off the field.

July 19, 2013 at 1:32 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Johnny Manziel is a rock star, right? So he is going to party like one. He does not have to look far to see how it might end if he does not reel it in. Ryan Leaf and Vince Young come to mind.

Billy-In-Brainerd

July 19, 2013 at 2:27 p.m.
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