published Friday, June 28th, 2013

5-at-10: Mailbag on sports villains, Erik Spoelstra, the draft and pro sports power programs

You have questions. We have answers.

In turn, though, we a have question, too.

• Does renowned sappy storyteller Tom Rinaldi have an old-school photo of Roy Firestone — the longtime talkshow host who was known for getting emotion out of guests — in his dressing room? And if Tom Rinaldi is calling home to say he's stopping by the story, does the dramatic music start and everyone pause?

From Fred

The 5-at-10 Thursday was funny and the thought of a Rae Carruth Criminal of the Year Award was sad, laughable and true at the same time.

It also made me wonder what your Mount Rushmore of sports villains would be?

Thanks for the 5-at-10 and when are you and Paschall going to be back on the radio -- soon I hope?

Fred,

We wrote the mailbag from the bottom up — hey, bottom's up... that sounds like a tip for the weekend — because we wanted to think about this question for a minute this morning.

Of course, now, we're running late and long, so let's deliver the goods.

A real Rushmore of sports villains would be

Rae Carruth, who ordered the murder of his baby's momma

• Former Hawks guard Eddie Jonson, who is serving life in prison for a slew of stuff including sexual assault of a minor

• OJ Simpson, for a slew of stuff he did and "didn't" do

• Former Cubs and Indians and Giants slugger Mel Hall, who is doing 45 years for three counts of aggravated sexual aassault of a child

(Looking up sports stars that did time, it makes you wonder why in the name of Lassie did we get so worked up about Mike Vick considering the names and acts above, and that's not even talking about the Lenny Dykstras or Ray Lewises or the Lawrence Phillipses either.)

We also wanted to do a light-hearted "sports villains" list. Try these names:

• The Iron Chiek

• Dale Earnhardt Sr.

• Tiger Woods

• LeBron James

These are all guys who made their game/venue more fun because you had a vested interest in them. And yes, the all-time villain teams are the Yankees and the Cowboys. And yes, we like both of them.

————

From Mrs. T

Why do you ignore tennis here and in the Times Free Press? Chattanooga is a tennis town and the paper does a poor job of covering this great sport.

Just my 2 cents, and I hope you look to change your ways.

Mrs. T,

Thanks for the letter and for the chance to respond.

As for the 5-at-10, well, tennis is not exactly a needle mover among the regulars. Tennis is a grand old game — if boxing is the sweet science, it's fair to call tennis the sweet social science — that is full of history. That's great, but it also applies to cricket. And when discussing cricket, you get, well, crickets.

And to be truthful, we do not know as much about tennis as we do a couple of dozen other sports.

That said, this Wimbledon is like a British Open at St. Andrew's but with Tiger, Phil, Ernie, Rory and the rest of golf's big names missing the cut, you know? Great venue and there will be the drama of lesser-known players contending for their first shot on the big stage. Still, we were hoping to see the next chapter in the Nadal-Federer novel and that's baked.

As for the paper, well, let's take the easy way and blame that blockhead of a sports editor. What a cheese whiz, huh?

Seriously, it's feedback of all sorts that allows us to gauge what we are doing well and what we can do better. And now that Todd's a subscriber and all, we need to mind our P's and Q's. (Side question: How P and Q get singled out as the wild childs that need to be "minded" anyway? We're they out late, trying to pick up some vowels? Maybe the drank a little too much ink one weekend when the parents were away, who knows? Still, can't we move on and starting minding our D's and E's at some point?)

————

From War Eagle

Thanks for the review/preview of Auburn this week. I know we stunk last year but it's impossible not to be excited, you know.

That said, what is a reasonable expectation for Year 1?

I'm for sure on the Gus Bus, but I'd like to know what's a real number of wins to look for.

Thanks, and thanks for the 5-at-10, it's the reason I signed up for the online subscription.

War Eagle —

We think the over/under win total of six is very fair.

It's going to be a tough sledding at quarterback. It's going to be tough sledding in the SEC West, where Auburn will be either an underdog or just a slight favorite in every division game. It's going to be tough sledding against the programs such as Georgia and Alabama which have it clicking on all cylinders.

Basically, it will be tough sledding.

Of course you're excited. We're all excited, regardless of what last year held and what reason tells us. No one has lost yet, and we're all holding the blank chalkboard of optimism right now.

The reason we believe is that for the first time since Tuberville was still alive and recruiting, the Tigers are SEC-worthy across the offensive and defensive lines. That matters.

We see Auburn winning 7 games and surprising someone along the way.

———

From Billy in Brainerd

I have a question for today's participants or next Friday's mail bag: How good of a coach is Erik Spoelstra?

B-i-B,

As we are typing this, the Marshall Mize Ford commercial is on the TV in the background.

Reeeeeeeeegardless, this is an excellent point to debate.

Was Phil Jackson a great coach by winning a truckload of titles with Jordan and then with Shaq and Kobe? Is Spoelstra a good coach because he met expectations with the most talented team and the best player on the planet?

We say yes in both regards because of the periphery of distractions and dealings that come with managing a locker room of Hall of Famers with egos of Hall of Famers. We think Spoelstra's a very-good-to-great head of the bench guy. As an in-game coach, well, the jury's still out and may be hung for a while.

Spoelstra's greatest accomplishment with the Heat was keeping the ship steady — which is harder than it sounds when you're dealing with that collection of personalities.

Now if he'd just run more sets with LeBron on the block, we'd know if he was actually watching the games.

————

From Scottie

Heard you had a crush on the draft. So who won the night Thursday at the NBA draft?

PS — Did you not make a Twitter appearance? Thanks and love the 5@10.

Scottie,

Thanks for the kind words, and for reading along.

No, we were Twitter AWOL last night. And yes, we are sweet on the draft.

Here are our winners and losers from the night that featured some surprising picks — Cody Zeller over Nerlens Noel and Alex Lin... as an NBA exec, Michael Jordan is still the best player ever — and the Hawks are still the Hawks.

WINNERS

— Trey Burke. The former Michigan speedster is hiccup-quick with the ball in his hands and is a good pick-and-roll pilot with the potential to be great. So, he gets picked by the Utah Jazz, who need a point guard and have reconnected with Jerry Sloan, who is only the Picasso of the Pick-n-Roll. Winner, winner, rookie of the year dinner.

— Lucas Nogueria's afro. Did you see that thing? Wow. We may go to a Hawks game to see it in person. It's real and it's spectacular. When he put the team hat on his hear, it looked like a billed yamaka.

— New Jersey Nets fans. The Nets traded every first-round pick from now to Rapture, 2/3s of its bench, including the Ex-Mr. Kardashian, and Tony Soprano's corpse to the Boston Celtics for the artists formerly known as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Hey, we love that the Nets' billionaire Russian owner is wiling to take on salary and pay luxury taxes to put a starting five of All-Stars on the floor for a shot to win the whole ball of wax. Will it work? It's doubtful, but we'd love to have a front office that's willing to swing for the fences. Side note: If Derrick Rose is healthy, and the Pacers, Knicks and Heat stay in tact and now that the Nets have assembled a Fab Five sponsored by Alexian Village and Tony Siragusa and Depends, well the Eastern Conference Playoffs next year will be a street fight.

LOSERS

— College basketball. Watching the amount of hoops we did this, if we asked you which of these guys — Peyton Siva, Deshaun Thomas, Ryan Kelly or Archie Goodwin — would be first-round picks, what would you have said? The players know delivering in college does not shape your pro future. Paddles... Clear.

— Celtics fans. If you were a season-ticket holder would you shell five figures for 41 nights of Rondo's rebuilt ACL, Gerald Wallace and Jeff Green.

— Dennis Schroeder. The German point guard the Hawks picked No. 17. We have no idea what kind of player Schoeder is, but he was picked by the Hawks, who drafted Shane Larkin with the No. 18 pick and sent Larkin to Dallas. Since the Hawks were the team in question here, Larking will be a 10-year starter and make five all-star games. Schroeder's now destined to the D-League.

————

From BIspy4

As for the Atlanta Hawks (never heard of em), well, since Sonja Heinie's out ... maybe they ought to take Danny Noonan.

Maybe we ought to judge the irrelevancy of certain pro teams. The Hawks are, at best, the No. 4 option in their own town behind two pro teams and a college team that isn't even in their town. Taking the Redskins in Washington and the Cardinals in St. Louis as the top dogs, what would be the top 5 or 10 (get it?) pro teams in their own towns and what would be the bottom 5 or 10?

Spy —

Great question. As for top dog talent, let's set some ground rules. You have to have at least two pro sports teams. For example, it's easy to say the Memphis Grizz or OKC own those towns, but what's the competition. Also, we avoided NHL teams because we simply could not accurately guess-timate their place in the pecking order. For example, we see the Canadiens dominating Montreal and a team like the New York Islanders being lost in the shuffle. We did allow an NHL team count as the second pro franchise, however.

OK, since Spy hooked us with the 5 or 10, we'll go 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10. And yes that's a record for most 5s and 10s in one sentence. You're welcome.

Top 5

1) Dallas Cowboys

2) Los Angeles Lakers

3) Washington Redskins

4) New Orleans Saints

5) St. Louis Cardinals

(and it would have been easy to add a couple more NFL teams on this list like the Titans, the Broncos and the Chiefs)

Bottom 5

1) Miami Marlins

2) Atlanta Hawks

3) K.C. Royals

4) Chicago White Sox

5) Milwaukee Bucks

And looking at the cities with multiple pro teams, you know is getting an across the board shaft right now? Yep, those kind folks in Phoenix.

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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Todd962 said...

If I recall minding your P's and Q's has something to do with pints and quarts, as in dont drink four pints of liquor or eight quarts of beer and go make a doofus out of yourself. Minding your P's and Q's, eh? I could have just made all that up of course.

June 28, 2013 at 10:11 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

I see a good amount of local tennis news in the paper, and national/international tournament news.

Phil Jackson has always seemed, to me, the type that only wanted to coach at an ideal situation. Look how he moved on when it became obvious his teams were about to go downhill.

June 28, 2013 at 10:12 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Todd —

Pints and quarts, huh?

What about pennies and quarters?

Either way, it's Friday, we ain't got nothin' so we're going to say bye... or however Smokey phrased it.

Save some pennies and quarters so you can enjoy tour pints and quarts. (That said, stay away from Mickey's Malt Liquor, which leads to headaches, hangovers and tattoos. Trust us.)

Laughter —

Certainly can see that about Philly Jack. And he definitely has picked and choosed his way to a bureau full of rings. But on the reverse side, no one says "Auerbach only won that much because of Russell and Cousy and those guys."

— 5-at-10

June 28, 2013 at 10:53 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent OK- two points.

1) How could you leave off Jerry Sandusky on your Sports Rushmore of Sports Villians? Seriously. Not counting him as sports? Then why was he plastered on ESPN for four months?

2) My wife was just telling me the story of P's and Q's a few weeks ago. She had read it somewhere. Not sure if it's true or not. And I probably have the countries wrong. But some country (let's call it Ireland) used only P's. Another country (let's call it Wales) used both P's and Q's. They had basically the same language other than that. The leaders and diplomats were going to meet each other and speak to each other. The Irish (if this is right) leaders were taught some of the other language, and as they were leaving were reminded to "mind their P's and Q's." That means, be sure you pay attention to what you say because it will be very confusing and possibly insulting if you don't. Not sure of the accuracy of my story or of the countries named, but she was reading a book on Irish history when she told me the story, so I'm pretty sure Ireland was involved somehow.

June 28, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

Point 1 — Because we're an idiot. The list will be changed.

Point 2 — Interesting. We love back stories to cliches and sayings and such. One of our favorites is "Can of Corn" which came about because in the old days of super-high shelves at supermarkets the grocer would come help the shopper get stuff off the top shelves with a stick. He'd knock the can of corn off and catch it softly in his apron. Can of corn.

June 28, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.
chas9 said...

I love Oladipo, but Noel should have gone before Len or Zeller. Who won the suit contest?

The common taters are high on Schroeder. Let's hope he's dot another Darko.

June 28, 2013 at 12:32 p.m.
Stewwie said...

LB/Jay, Phil never left anywhere on his own terms. He was basically fired all 3 times (Bulls once and the Lakers twice). Sounds crazy but it's true. If you want an example of a coach who left a downhill situation to go to a more ideal one, look no further than what Doc Rivers just orchestrated.

So the Nets' new starting 5 will be Williams, Johnson, Pierce, KG, and Lopez. Looks good at first, but then you look at that group and wonder if this team will even make it together with only one ball to go around. I can see it now...Johnson will pout and give half-effort, Pierce will whine about not getting enough shots, KG will cuss everybody out, then Williams will have an on-court spat or two with Coach Kidd. Then Kidd will be fired because the team won't play up to its potential.

June 28, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Somewhere, M.L. Carr is looking for Danny Ainge's phone number, thinking, "I coached a Celtics team this bad before. I can do it again!"

June 28, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Jay, if you are looking to add more tennis coverage to the sports section, you are aware that Ashley Harkleroad is from North Georgia. It's a little unclear as to exactly where in Georgia as when she was playing in Wimbledon she was listed as being from Lookout Mountain. When she took it off for Playboy Magazine, she was listed as being from Rossville. So it goes.

Either way, I don't think it would be a struggle to find a sportswriter willing to make a short drive to do an interview with the tennis player turned bunny. He and the photographer can carpool.

June 28, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Grateful,

I believe Miss Harkleroad married some Russian dude and moved out West and has since gotten remarried (?). And the TFP did cover her quite well (no jokes here - Ashley seems like a sweet girl) during her active playing days.

June 28, 2013 at 3:28 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Spy, Ashley married a Russian? I can't claim to be a great student of Russian history and culture, but I did see Rocky IV. I have concerns. Unwarranted and ridiculous, but concerns nevertheless.

Side note: I heard from a guy that knows a guy that said A-Rod's cousin and Ivan Drago are tight.

June 28, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
mrspud said...

" I can't claim to be a great student of Russian history and culture, but I did see Rocky IV."

GD.... Well played...... I spit out some spud light while reading it.

June 28, 2013 at 7:46 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

And GD... that sir was extraordinarily well played indeed sir.

Did you sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night too.

Spud Lights for everyone...

— 5-at-10

June 28, 2013 at 8:58 p.m.
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