Remember Friday's mailbag, and we apologize for the web malfunctions from Tuesday. It's like that, and that's the way it is.
Play nice this afternoon, we're on the road to the A-T-L to attend the retirement festivities of the 5-at-10 Sr., who is retiring from Cleveland Electric, the company he has worked for for the last 46 years. Yep 46. Hard to fathom, huh? It was an epic run and we're proud of the old man. Good stuff.
From the "Talks too much" studios, leave the gun and take canoli.
Next level stupid
OK, how dumb/foolish/ignorant/(fill in the blank) does a statement have to be to allow Tiger Woods to be the sentimental victim? Well, Sergio Garcia found out Tuesday.
Mired in a cat-fight feud, the Woods-Garcia dynamic took another turn when Garcia was asked whether he would have Woods over to his house during the U.S. Open. Garcia's response was sure he would, and he would serve "fried chicken."
Garcia quickly apologized for the statement, but c'mon. Not only is it an obviously racist remark and not funny, but it's not even original, considering Fuzzy Zoeller already bombed with a very similar wise crack more than 15 years ago. Garcia was set to address the media at 9:15 this morning.
OK, we're a fan of real, heated rivalries, especially in individual sports like golf, tennis or NASCAR. It makes the performances and the stakes more interesting and impressive. This is hardly a rivalry, however. This is a guy that could be the best ever and a guy that could be the biggest underachiever ever. This is Luxembourg bad-mouthing the U.S. of A. This is a third-grader asking out the high school prom queen. This is Bobcat Goldthwait challenging the acting chops of Anthony Hopkins.
So, there was at least some gumption and a huge underdog piece to Sergio's direct and fair shots about Woods' off-the-course reputation. Hey, Garcia may not win, but he was standing up to the bully persona that defines Woods as much as his record-setting success.
Now, even those are gone because Sergio went all racial insults and stupidity. Alas.
Side question: Let's say at the U.S. Open, Woods and Garcia cross paths and they drop the (Titleist) gloves, who you got? Woods is obviously in better condition physically, but he already lost one altercation to a club-wielding foreigner (Elin). We say Woods is a 3-to-1 favorite if he and Sergio duked it out, but we'd put our entertainment vouchers on Garcia. Call it a hunch.
Busy night in the NBA.
Part I: Downtown Patrick Brown's Memphis Grizzlies were far more competitive in an overtime loss in Game 2 against San Antonio. But this is not the Tour de France. There is no aggregate total, and heading back to Memphis the paramount number is 2. As in the Spurs' 2-0 lead.
We expect to hear from Downtown later, and we're curious about his view of the series so far. Our view? Glad you asked. While the 2-0 edge is the most important number, the most troubling for the Grizz is 18 — as in the number of assists Tony Parker had Tuesday night.
Uh, Mike Conley, if you are ready to take the next step in the point guard hierarchy, then you need to step forward and stop being pants-ed.
Part II: After what feels like a 12-week hiatus, the Eastern Conference playoffs are back in action tonight when the Miami Heatles host the Indiana Pacers. We like the cut of this series, and have high hopes.
We also are excited to see how LeBron James handles the next wave of "Ding the King" against a physical Pacers bunch that held the MVP in check better than any other team in the league.
Part III: The Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery and will pick first in next month's NBA draft. It's the third time the Cavs have won the lottery in the last 10 years.
The Charlotte Bobcats, who are looking to change their name back to the Hornets, had the second-worst record but will still pick fourth. Sorry, Bobcats. Maybe Bobcat Goldthwait can lend a hand. (Side note: How has Bobcat Goldthwait not linked on with MJ and Charlotte? What else does he have going on, pitching Police Academy 16? That's a no-brainer right? And what were the odds that there would be not one but two fair and direct Bobcat Goldthwait references today? 100-to-1? Higher? Somewhere Pauly Shore is shaking his head and saying, "Where's the love, BUD-deeee?")
Super Bowl and a throwback signing
The 50th Super Bowl (Super Bowl L) will be in San Francisco in 2016. The 51st Super Bowl (Super Bowl LI) will be in Houston the following year.
The more telling fact about these votes was that there was no firm date announced. For multiple years, the Super Bowl has been the first Sunday in February. The 50th and 51st Super Bowls have merely reserved the first three weeks in February in '16 and '17.
Translation... The NFL schedule will expand before then, and likely there will be more playoff teams before then. At least that's our view of it.
Side NFL note:Charles Woodson re-signed with the Raiders, inking a one-year deal. Good for both of them, considering the Raiders drafted Woodson with the No. 4 pick in the 1998 draft. Side, side note: The 1998 draft was OUT-standing.
Hey, we love the draft. You know this. And if you re-drafted the 1998 draft, here's one version of how the top 10 would have played out (Team — player they drafted — player they would take knowing what we know now):
1) Indy Colts — Peyton Manning — Manning, who went 1st overall
2) San Diego — Ryan Leaf — Randy Moss, who went 21st overall
3) Arizona Cardinals — Andre Wadsworth — Charles Woodson, who went 4th overall
4) Oakland — Woodson — Takeo Spikes, who went 13th
5) Chicago Bears — Curtis Enis — Fred Taylor, who went 9th
6) St. Louis Rams — Grant Winstrom — Greg Ellis, who went 8th
7) New Orleans — Kyle Turley — Alan Faneca, who went 26th
8) Dallas — Ellis — Keith Brooking, who went 12th
9) Jacksonville — Taylor — Hines Ward, who went 92nd
10) Baltimore Ravens — Duane Starks — Matt Hasselbeck, who went 187th
This and that
— Your Braves rallied for a 5-4 win in 10 innings with Evan Gattis hitting a pinch-hit homer in the ninth to tie it and Freddie Freeman delivering a game-winning bloop single. Of note: Jason Heyward had two hits and has raised his average more than 30 points since returning from surgery five games ago. Also, Dan Uggla struck out two more times and is on-pace for 205 Ks.
— Mike Trout hit for the cycle last night, becoming the youngest AL player to do it. Hitting for the cycle — a single, double, triple and homer in the same game — is a novelty, but that does not change the fact that Trout is the game's best young player. Period. How long before Trout is in Yankees pinstripes?
— Great start to the Spring Fling, despite a soggy beginning to the day. Check back to timesfreepress.com throughout the day for updates from prep aces Stephen Hargis, Mean Gene Henley and Kelley Smiddie.
What's the worst franchise in pro sports? Top to bottom, all things considered — commitment to winning, decision making, on-field/court success, et al. — which is the worst?
Here's our Rushmore:
The Cleveland Browns 2.0, who have been dismal since returning to the league (Side point: The NFL is such a cash cow that even the Browns are the dregs of the league, they are still worth $1 billion — yes that's a billion, with a 'B').
The L.A. Clippers, who have endured a tortured history for decades and are so broken internally under Donald Sterling that they fired coach Vinny Del Negro, who only set a franchise-record with 56 wins during the regular season.
The Charlotte Bobcats (Goldthwait). You know why. When the highlight of your status is the chance to change your name back to Hornets, well, there you go.
The Houston Astros. Take away Biggio and Bagwell and this is a bunch that has been completely forgettable for a long time. Well other than the quirky ball park and those brutal Orange-Yellow spectrum unis from back in the day.
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 ...