published Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

5-at-10: With Braves, basketball, bravery and absolutely no third-string quarterbacks

OK, we're off and running into June. We're staring at the U.S. Open, and hold on to your hats, but we're something like eight weeks from the start of high school football in Tennessee.

Crazy, right?

Before we get to today's 5-at-10, we're going to offer a quick PSA — signing a third-string quarterback should not be on "The Lead" part of the ESPN ticker. We, in fact, are not even going to mention the former SEC star whose name sounds a lot like Jim Jebow; we think he is an awesome guy who stands for what believes and believes in where he stands and hope he finds the success he deserves. Still, any team adding a third-team QB is hardly headline news.

From the "Talks too much" studios, remember, if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

Braves stay West

OK, we'll admit it: When Atlanta is on the West Coast, we miss the summer TV security blanket of the Braves being on. Last night we were forced to click between Dodgeball and some crime show like Criminal Hearts or CSEye or something that is more high-tech than Law&Order but not as good as Law&Order.

  • photo
    San Diego Padres' Will Venable, right, high fives with Jason Marquis after scoring against the Atlanta Braves in the Padres' two run rally in the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Diego.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

So, while waiting for the Braves, we did a little thinking about this club, and what a young Patchs O'Houlihan said about dodgeball — it's a game about pain, exclusion and degradation — is true in part about baseball. Through 66 games, the Braves are 14 games over .500 and should offer no apologies for their strengths or excuses for their weaknesses. They should not offer no quarter for their NL East foes, either.

Atlanta is out front because of a pitching staff that has dominated without dominating names. In fact, in recent memory has a big-league pitching coach grown more into a legit managerial candidate more impressively than Roger McDowell, who a couple of years ago looked lost?

Still, Atlanta is just 3-17 in games when they fail to hit a homer. This team offensively is predicated on power, and that's been successful so far.

Despite Monday's 7-6 loss to the San Diego Padres — Ron Burgandy was not in attendance... Whammy — it's tough to be too critical on a team that has the largest lead in baseball.

Yes, they strike out too much. We know this. They also win. And pitch. Plus, we don't want to jinx anyone but Jason Heyward is above the Mendoza line after a torrid week and lil' Danny Struggla is at .195, which is as close as he's been to .200 since May 13. (Hey, we made a promise to try to be more positive, and that's the best we got. Speaking of positive, we're positive we are happy we got the chance to see Yasiel Puig during his time in Chattanooga. Dude has 16 hits in first eight games, the last rookie to do that was Jay Bruce, who also played in Chattanooga before getting the call. Maybe it's something in the water. Take that Cee Lo... better yet, Forget You. Where were we.... Oh yeah.)

———

NBA Finals Game 3

Here are some numbers to know:

• Since the early 1980s when the NBA adopted the seven-game formats that are similar to today's slate, the home team has won Game 3 only 56 percent of the time.

• The Spurs are even in the series at 1-1, and have to feel like they accomplished the main mission with a split on South Beach. But — there's always a but, right? — the Spurs have outscored the Heat in just one of the eight quarters.

• Miami is 1-1 and LeBron James has yet to top 20 points in a Final game so far. That seems significant.

• You can't over state tonight. In the Finals era with the 2-3-2 format, when the series is tied 1-1, the team that wins Game 3 wins the series 92 percent of the time.

As for tonight, here are three things we believe:

First, we believe we are planning on spending some time on the Twitter (@jgreesontfp) if you want to swing by. Hey, we may even have some of the TFP staff folks participate;

Two, we believe the Spurs' home crowd is going to be into this game and loud, which makes a fun event even moreso;

Third, sometimes it's just this simple: Whichever Big Three plays best will win. Yep, insightful, we know, but when we post the totals of Duncan, Parker and Ginobli against James, Wade and Bosh tomorrow, here saying it's going to be easy to tell which team won.

———

US Open

The iconic Merion Golf Course in Pennsylvania is almost under water. The rains have come so fast and so strong that animals are lining up two-by-two at the gate. (You are expecting a Tiger joke, right, well no sir. But Angel Cabrera is in his element. Wait for it.... Cabrera's nickname is El Pato.... "The Duck".... Thank you, thank you, and remember to tip the wait staff.)

The overflow of water has made the course softer than a downy chick (copyright John Denver) and made scoring chances as likely as prom night (copyright high school seniors everywhere).

So what do we need? This calls for a really futile and stupid gesture on somebody's part and we're just the guys to do it.

This calls for a US Open contest. Who's with us?

Let's try something new.

Let's do a points system: Pick the first-round leader and the overall winner. If you have Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods and he's 10th after 18 holes and goes on to win, that's 11 total points. So if you had Paul Casey and Tiger Woods, and Casey was 6th with Woods winning, that would be 7 points.

And since pace of play is a paramount problem in golf, we'll reward fast play.

Whatcha' got?

———

This and that

— Chad Johnson was sentenced to 30 days for violation of his probation. He actually got the working end of a judge's wrath because he smacked his attorney on the tuckus during the proceedings. Wow, who could have possibly guessed that Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Johnson could have made a mockery of something? He's normally so serious and professional. (Todd, did the sarcasm come through there? On a side note, can we start calling Chad OchoClinko?)

— What does it take to keep a head coaching job in the NBA nowadays? Memphis has parted ways with Lionel Hollins after getting to the Western Conference finals; the Clippers fired Vinny Del Negro after a franchise-record-setting season; George Karl is out in Denver after being named coach of the year for crying out loud.

— Adam "Pacman" Jones was arrested last week for slapping a women outside a bar. Jones said he was protecting himself. (Remember the good ole days when we complained about defensive backs like Deion being unwilling to hit people?) Pacman is as naturally a gifted cover corner as there is around. Dude can play. Dude can't behave. He alleges that he was protecting himself from two females who wanted to have their picture made with him, and then threw a beer bottle at Pacman. Maybe she wanted to be Ms. Pacman. Waga, waga, waga, waga, waga.

— Nick Saban heads to Athens, Tenn., tonight to speak and stir the drink that is SEC rivalry passion. CUH-razy stuff.

— Kobe Bryant's mom tried to auction off some his stuff. He got a court order to stop it. Kobe's mom apologized. Somewhere Macaulay Culkin is shaking his head and saying, "Dude, get over it."

— The Stump on Sports high school all-star sports series continues with hoops tonight at Notre Dame.

———

Today's question

Feel free to discuss any of the above, and if you want to kick around the former Florida star not named Jim Jebow (although how boss would it be if he changed his name to Jim JeBow), have at it. We're game. We'll type, let's talk, no big whoop.

(Another side note about the quarterback that won't be named: Of the last 25 Heisman winners, there's only one quarterback among that group who has won a playoff game. Want to guess who it is? Yep, ol' Jimmy JeBow's alter ego.)

Also, remember the Finals Twitter run and the US Open contest.

If you still need a talking point, well try this:

Maybe it's the commercial blitz. Maybe it's the buzz. Maybe it's the need to see a good, fun summer movie in the theater again.

Either way, we are legitimately stoked for a) The Lone Ranger and b) Man of Steel.

So today's question, if you choose to answer it, which summer movie are you excited about? Have you already seen one you can recommend or give us the no-go on? (Heard that Will Smith movie was a B-O-M-B that lasted about two days in most theaters. E-Gads. Where's Carlton and Uncle Phil when you need them?)

Discuss.

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.
chas9 said...

I wish Jim Jebow the best, but I'm skeptical of the claims being made for why he'll be better at The Patriots. As for playing tight end, I read that he has bad hands. How can a QB have bad hands?

Vegas lists Oregon by 25 over The Vols and Bama by 30 over Kentucky. Sounds about right to me. But that used to be too many points to lay. Have victory margins by the game's elite gotten bigger?

2014 baseball free agents include OF Shin-Soo Choo. I hope the Braves sign him just so we can enjoy listening to the play-by-play guy try not to get tongue-twisted.

June 11, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Here is a stat to ponder. Evan Gattis has pinchhit 8 times. He has 6 hits and of those 4 are homeruns. He has 11 rbi's in those 8 pinchhits.

With respect to Tebow, gives the Patriots somebody to run the scout team for when they play a run option team that week. Also look for him in a few limited special packages.

June 11, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We're unsure about the Pats' plan to use Jimmy JeBow. We are 100 percent sure it will make little difference this fall.

Down the road? Maybe. Now. No way.

In the old days it was too many points to lay, but the sharp pickers found an angle in laying lots of points in the mid-1990s. Follow this logic:

Size mattered (Head out of the gutter Todd) when it came to margin of victory when the polls were needed to get into the title game;

Plus, the growing divide in the depth of talent in the power programs provided a hidden value in laying three-TD-or-more point spreads. Take Spurrier's old Florida teams. They had so much talent that his third-team was better than your first- or second-teams, so when he called off the dogs, his sleeping dogs were still scoring.

And that's a great wish, but in the tradition of foreign names that come to the ATL, the Braves announcers likely will start calling him Sam Jones. (Somehow one of the Careys turned Alejandro Pena into Al Penny. Go figure.)

MT —

If Evan Gattis played in NYC, he would have already been on the cover of SI, been the subject of a 5-minute ESPN segment with Tommy "Tears" Rinaldi and be leading the AL catchers in all-star votes.

Viva el Oso Blanco!

June 11, 2013 at 10:14 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Uhh...nobody is going to say it? Ok, Tiger, Tiger.

Sarcasm. Check. No Gutter. Check.

Nautical Tip of the Day: Its not the size of the ship but the motion of the ocean, but its hard to sail around the world with a dingy.

Gutter. Uncheck.

June 11, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
TNBuck said...

Uggla stuck out again.

Gimme Schwartzel after Round 1 and Dustin Johnson for the win.

June 11, 2013 at 10:34 a.m.
Todd962 said...

And its not as if Kobe's mom was selling a pair of bronzed basketball shoes from Baby Kobe's first game, it was two of his championship rings that he gave to them as a gift, if I read correctly. Not exactly something you can replace.

June 11, 2013 at 10:36 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Did anyone else see the Julius Erving DOCumentary on NBA TV last night? Excellent. It made the point that to win championships, a team HAS TO surround a great player with SEVERAL good players; something the Sixers did not do consistently while Erving was there. You guys can debate Jordan vs. James all you want, but give me THE DOCTOR. #TheGreatest.

Billy-In-Brainerd

June 11, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
chas9 said...

Billy, Billy, Billy. Doctor J is the greatest in the same way Dr. B is a doctor.

But he was a smooth operator.

June 11, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Ten-Ring,

Leave the jokes to the professionals like me. ;)

Your late-night channel surfing reminds me of current bit in my circulation regarding my take on that stupid fundraiser concept where someone pretends to have a co-worker arrested and made to sit in "fake" jail while wearing a black and white stripped outfit and the other co-workers have to collect bail money which is actually company X's donation to the Red Cross or the North Texas Food Bank etc.

I then go on to say "That concept is bull(edit). Like a lot of you in the audience, I know what being in REAL jail is like!....I watch MSNBC at 1:30 in the morning."

Those that get it, laugh. It goes downhill from there. ;)

No Tebow talk from me. Though I find it humorous that BJ is in a better position on the QB depth chart then Tebow is. I'm almost tempted to make the drive to NOLA and see if I can get some negative voodoo tossed Rogers way (just a thought).

Nice Cee-Lo nod. Did I mention Dave Chappelle is stopping by the Scenic City? Here's hoping his performance at the Tivoli is A LOT better then the one he did here in Dallas a while back at the House of Blues. (Hint: you thought paying too much to see "Identity Theft" in movie theaters was bad).

The Will Smith flick. It made 2.7 million opening weekend according to Entertainment Weekly. OUCH-standing. While I have no problem with Will doing father/son films with his oldest (In the Pursuit of Happiness for the win), the truth is no one wants to see his son (unless he's doing a kids film and earning his chops through the ranks) take the lead in a high-end summer film. Everyone saw it as a "vanity project" with a concept that is nothing new.

I am looking forward to Man of Steel this weekend although I can imagine every theater in the DFW area will be beyond sold out as was with the Avengers.

June 11, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

OK- I'm going to go off the board here, just because that will be fun.

1st round leader- Scott Stallings Winner- Matt Kuchar

First round leader is almost never someone that is well known, and Stallings played well last week and is primed to play well this week, I think. An early morning start time on Day One also helps. I don't know who is going to win, but I keep thinking that this may just be Kuchar's year to get a major, so I'll go with him.

Odds are Stallings is in 108th place after Thursday, ending any shot I have of pulling this off.

As for movies this summer- I'm excited about Man of Steel. But given how much I like the recent Dark Knight series, that shouldn't be surprising. This is basically the same thing, only different....

June 11, 2013 at 12:37 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Put me down for Choi/ Snedeker

mcpell jr & I are going to hit star trek or ironman 3 this weekend and definitely going to the lone ranger.

I know the NBA finals are in a 2-3-2 format, but it still feels like a week in between games. Do the NBAers have a vacation clause in between games?

June 11, 2013 at 1:06 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Seemingly at the rate these NBA Finals are going, the Spurs and the Heat will be opening their 2013-14 training camps before the finals are over.

June 11, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[...signing a third-string quarterback should not be on "The Lead" part of the ESPN ticker.]

Leave it to ESPN to make something more than it really is. Yesterday at lunch, I looked up at the TV next to my table, and the the topic du jour on Sportscenter was "Breakdown of LeBron's block on Splitter." Really, guys? The block was incredible, no doubt, but the highlight deserved maybe two looks, and then it's time to move on.

[the team that wins Game 3 wins the series 92 percent of the time.]

Good stat, though LBJ and Co. were part of that other 8% two years ago winning Game 3 on the road at Dallas then dropping the next three to lose the title. I don't see the Heat losing three straight this time around though. I'm sticking with my pick of the Heat in 7.

June 11, 2013 at 1:47 p.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Great 5@10. Haven't been interested in the NBA this year but would like to see the Spurs pull the upset so Tim Duncan can win another title and then possibly retire.

Will definitely go see The Lone Ranger.

1st Round Leader: Dustin Johnson. Winner: Matt Kuchar.

June 11, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Comp —

Could not connect to that FaceSpace page.

Todd —

We tempted you and that's on us.

As for Kobe. Dude gave those rings to the folks. Gifts be gifts, you know?

TNBuck —

You're in.

B-i-B —

By the time the 76ers won their title with the Doctor, Julius was more second banana than lead dog. That was Mo Malone's title run, even if it took a little longer than Fo-Fo-and-Fo.

JMC —

Was curious if you're excited for the new Superman flick, as you are our resident comic book expert. We have high hopes.

Stuck —

Concur all the way around.

McPell —

It's not the 2-3-2 format; it's ABC scheduling the thing to be on Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday rotation to better fit their programming.

The NBA, where naps happen.

MT —

Which happens first: Uggla getting to 100 Ks on the season or the Finals wrap? Uggla has 80 Ks right now. Discuss.

June 11, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

Hold on to your hat, but we agree 100-percent on your hoops take. Is that the first time this postseason we've been on the same wavelength? Look out, the cosmic tumblers are clicking, which means LeBron goes for 40-15-10 tonight or he shoots 1-of-15.

This may be a fun evening on The Twitter.

747 —

That would be the dream scenario for Duncan, who has been one of the great ones of our generation.

You're in.

June 11, 2013 at 2:12 p.m.
mrspud said...

Kuchie Kuchie...uh, I mean Kuchar Kuchar

June 11, 2013 at 2:23 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Gee, Nick, while you're up here can you drop by and give a short talk to our coaches and players. Hell, I'll even let you date my sister--Butch Davis.

10 Ring, holding back on picks until I check the Asian PGA. Sounds like there may be a lot of drops at Marion. This the only time I want to watch Tiger's entire 288 holes.

Tebow? Instead of clutching on to the league as a valet, he ought get his bum up to Canada and get some PT. Such might hone the young man's skills a bit. Then again, he may believe staying in the League is the best thing for his charity.

June 11, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Enough about this Jim Jebow fella...I want to know where Tom Treebow star quarterback of The University of the Peninsular State Just Below Georgia signed on to play pro-ball.

If you are not a fan of "Squidbillies" just disregard this post.

June 11, 2013 at 2:35 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jaymeister-

Been excited since shortly before the holiday season when they started airing the first trailers in theaters.

Ironically, I was no older then 5 @ 10 jr. when my parents took me to the original Superman movie. Memory is a little fuzzy on the details but I do remember them taking me and at least 25% of the actual movie. I remember how "long" it felt waiting until he finally dawned the costume and started acting like I would see him do on "Superfriends" (my only exposure to Superman before seeing the movie).

June 11, 2013 at 2:40 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

GD, I watch "Squidbillies" on and off so I definitely got the reference. ;)

June 11, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

U.S. Open contest? 5, you know I'm teed up for that.

Heyward is showing signs of working his way out of the slump. The Braves radio crew said one of the Braves hitting coaches likes the way Struggla is swinging the bat. Yeah, but too many of those swings don't make contact with the ball, which is kind of the general principle of hitting.

Meanwhile, B.J. Upton's average is what your cholesterol should be. And Justin Upton's average is headed that way.

Getting Beachy back will help because the starting rotation needs to go long in order to save the depleted bullpen. The Braves can win the East - by default, really - but I don't think they are a true World Series contender, given how their lineup is constructed.

June 11, 2013 at 2:54 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Uggla gets to 100 Ks first...I am convinced the NBA finals will never end.....

June 11, 2013 at 2:59 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - I'll take Snedekar after the first round and Stricker for the win (stupid Sergio). FYI the younger and more athletic Sportsfan progeny finished 14th this past weekend after entering the event seeded 18th. Not bad for a national event.

June 11, 2013 at 9:32 p.m.
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