published Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

5-at-10: The Conz staying, baseball beginning, Bruce Pearl interview coming and an April Fool's Rushmore

Gang, hope this finds you well and well, finds you. We will be welcoming new Auburn coach and universal fan favorite Bruce Pearl on Press Row today around 4:30 p.m. If you are outside the power blasts of 105.1 FM, you can listen to it right here on Check it out.

As the Vols turn

Despite petitions and hot seats and talks of other jobs and former coaches, it appears now that the The Conz and the Vols will be together and should get some form of extension done rather quickly.

Unless you live under a rock here in the Volunteer State, you have at least been aware of the love-to-hate/hate-to-love relationship between Johnny Vols Fans, UT administration and The Conz, who appeared on the fast track out of the 865 until a torrid stretch down the stretch propelled the Vols within a 3-pointer from the Elite Eight. Good times.

So the Vols surged, the fans purged and Marquette seemed poised to urge The Conz out of the dysfunctional family dynamic.

Reportedly, Martin has decided to stay in Knoxville and has let it be know he has withdrawn from the Marquette job. Whether that was because Marquette was looking in another direction like Duke assistant Steve Wojoskdhfakjdghasdkjhaskdjhgasdjhki or because Martin wants to stay, who knows. And who cares.

Martin deserves an extension, and while we thought his Vols underachieved for most of the season, we have said all along that the regular season is becoming more and more meaningless, so those struggles were relatively meaningless.

That said, it will be interesting the reaction within the Vols fan base that a coach that just led the Vols to a Sweet 16 and has won 60 percent of his games elected to stay. This was the same group that was devastated when Lane Kiffin left after going 7-6 in one year. So relax Johnny Vols Fans, this time the coach stayed.

Whether the fan base is happy about that will remain to be seen


Baseball opening day

Wow, and with that the first full pitch of the baseball season has started. We are going to track the ups and downs of the Atlanta Braves on a regular basis — hey we were born in the South in the 1970s, so that means three things: 1) We say sir and ma'am; 2) We are never late for church, work or golf (in that order); 3) We have to be able to speak intelligently about the Braves. (The college football craze could be added in there, but that all-consuming passion happened a little later in the time frame.)

So by now you know the Braves lost 2-0 in their season opener. It was a performance that resonates with their long-standing struggles against good pitching. Offensively this team has consistently been about draw walks and hitting homers. That's fine over the long haul when more than half your games are against mediocre arms.

But against good pitchers, like Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo, the Braves struggle to generate offense. It's one of the reasons the Braves have struggled in the postseason for so many years. If we're looking for a positive, however, it's that Danny Struggla's 0-for-4 effort Monday did not include a strikeout. We've set the over/Uggla at .210 this year, do you think gets over that average or not? (We'll take under and feel pretty good about it.)

As for the rest of baseball's opening day, well there was a lot to see. Let's recap:

• Retired Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero threw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday before the Angels-Mariners. More on him in a moment. Catching the pitch was universally renowned tough-guy Don Baylor, who was hit by more pitches during his day than anyone. So what happened? In a freak accident, Baylor broke his right leg squatting to catch the off-target throw. Sad stuff. As for Guerrero, a look back at dude's numbers, and he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer, right? After playing nine games in 1996, Guerrero played 15 big league seasons and never hit worse than .290. His career average finished at .318 with 449 homers and 181 steals, and he was a homer away from going 40-40 in 2002. Add in the fact that he routinely wads regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders of his generation, and it's a surprisingly one-sided discussion.

• Impressive start for the Nationals. After the run of elbow injuries suffered in Atlanta, Washington appears to be the team to beat in the NL East. After a rocky start by ace Stephen Strasburg, the Nats rallied. Multiple times. Down 3-0 early and 5-4 late, the Nats scored four in the top of the 10th for a 9-7 win. Sure it was the Mets, but the Mets have the look of being that stinky team that causes trouble for someone almost daily.

• If you had to guess the one team to lose 1-0 in extra innings on opening day, it would be the Cubs right? If you had to guess the first team to use the new-fangled instant replay system and still not get the benefit of the review, it would be the Cubs, right? If you had to... Forget it. You get the idea. Go Cubs, get hot. And keep the Old Style cold.

• Ryan Braun got a standing ovation from the Brewers fans in his first at-bat after being suspended for the final 65 games last year for PED use. He also lied through his teeth multiple times about the PEDs, yet still was embraced with the glowing fire reserved for conquering heroes. Whatever. But it's now past time for the baseball powers that be to admit that almost everyone — players, coaches, executives, owners, fans, media, et al. — turned a blind eye to steroids and seems to continue to do so. It''s time to move on.

• Shame on the Texas Rangers fans. Sorry, JMC, but the pregame drunkards who turned the statute of Shannon Stone into a trash can should be embarrassed. Period. Smith, if you recall, was the fan that fell over the rail and died trying to catch a home run ball for his son at a Rangers game, and his statue was littered with beer cans and trash.


Heat creepin'

Pacers lose. Heat win.

The simple facts tell us that the Heat now have the edge in the race for homecourt in the Eastern Conference.

Does it matter? Hard to know, but as top-heavy as the East is, it seems almost assured that these two teams will meet in the conference finals.

We'll say this: It's hard to remember


This and that

— Gee McGee was among the three players who have transferred from the UTC hoops program. Our all-around TFP ace David Uchiyama had that scoop Monday afternoon. This is not a surprise. This is the process (copyrighted Nick Saban) and simple mathematics.

— Speaking of Saban, Alabama is back to work and let it be know that the Tide linebackers will be slap nasty. Saban also added that college players deserve a say in their future. Of course they do Nick. Do they deserve a say in your practice scehdule, too? Be prepared for a flood of good cop (coaches)/bad cop (administrators) dynamics on the horizon.

— Hey, UConn is pretty good at women's hoops. Hey, UConn is pretty good at hoops in general.


Today's question

On this April Fool's Day, we honor those great physical comedians that have forever made us laugh.

What's your Rushmore of great physical comedians?

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 ...

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.
jomo11 said...

Wow, Conz stays or Marquette turned him down, we may never know the real story. What ashame that a nice unexpected Sweet 16 run has turned into a dumpster fire. A fan base where AT LEAST 30,000 doesnt want him back and a coach who obvisouly doesnt want to be there. And now you have an AD who pretty much has to give him a raise or the National Media will crucify UTK for NOT giving a huge raise and extension to coach that won 24 games and went to Sweet 16 . . . . .what a mess !

Jay, what does UTK do here ? If you are Dave Hart what do you do about UTK basketball ?

Hate to see Gee McGhee go and wish him the best, but that happens when you bring in a new coach. Last year there were over 300 players on the D-1 transfer list, just a sign of the times. Still very excited about the 4 signees and 2 players that redshirted as well as 2 additional signees in Will Wade's continued effort to upgrade the talent level

April 1, 2014 at 10:11 a.m.
BWill8 said...

I've tried to let my disappointment for how the Vols' season ended settle a bit before I unleash my thoughts about Conz "I'm real. I'm a real boy!" Martin. Why did it take until the tourney to get some emotion from this guy? Yes, the players love him and that's awesome; they always had his back, etc. But big boy college bball is a biz-nass and the Conz has a lot of fans (and itchy trigger ADs) to please. Hart is in a tough position. I'm guessing he'd like to stick it to Conz and ask "how'd that Milwaukee vacay turn out for ya? Run into Wojo? Is he taller than he looks on TV?" But now he's got to give the guy some show of support (e.g. a raise, an extension) for nothing else than recruiting. Because Conz has those Mickie D All Americans lined up, right? Right?

The UConn women continued their Sherman-like march to title #9 last night (which will break the title count tie with UT). Maybe Geno could coach the UT Men?

April Fools I wish would happen: remember that scene from "Scanners" when the dude's head explodes (classic sci-fi cinema, folks)? Saban during Spring practice? I can dream, right?

My Rushmore: The Three Stooges

April 1, 2014 at 10:26 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

u_u And I thought losing to the Phillies 11-14 yesterday was bad. I didn't even hear about this until just now. Yeah, that is embarassing. I commend though Rangers Ballpark for at least trying to make an effort to clean that up even though the PR damage was already done. No fault of their own but come on North Texas! Would you do that on someone's tombstone? (which in my opinion is no different)

April 1, 2014 at 10:58 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Jomo, you ever take a high C into the final and ace the test? That's what Conz did. For better, or worse, UT still has to pay the man B+ money no matter how he got there.

10 Ring, how's your book of all time Vol performances doing? Is there another SEC school in your mill, or does your tight schedule precluded such outings?

Physical Comedian, Sam Kinison! He assaulted his audience. "Back to School" a great example but too "blue" for our family oriented comments board.

April 1, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.
chas9 said...

Just call him Wojo. No extension needed.

Today's Rushmore has to start with the old silent stars: Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, and add Red Skelton. Dick Van Dyke and Lucy are right there.

Jeff Borzello calls Kentucky's close wins over Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan three of the best games of the entire season. There have been other exciting games, including The Vols-Wolverines tilt. And a bumper crop of overtime games.

As Jay said yesterday, loads of fun. For my money the weekend of the sweet sixteen and elite eight games is the best. Too many games on the first weekend, and some teams who aren't terrific. The second weekend has just the right number of games. You can watch them all.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, can seat 85,000. I don't want to see a final four badly enough to take a seat among the upper 50,000.

If the NBA thing doesn't work out, who'd make a better NFL receiver, Willie Cauley-Stein or Patric Young?

Calipari gets $5.2 million per year, Donovan $3.7 million. Which one's a better bargain? Florida senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin has not committed a turnover in his past 94 minutes.

UK will miss Orlando Antigua. Who's out there looking for a job? Steve Masiello? Buzz Peterson? Buzz Lightyear?

April 1, 2014 at 11:40 a.m.
MocTastic said...

add Lucille Ball and Jerry Lewis to your list.

April 1, 2014 at 11:55 a.m.
titanic said...

How about:

Buster Keaton, Chevy Chase, Peter Sellers, and Leslie Nielsen

April 1, 2014 at 12:53 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Buster Keaton is in a league of his own. I've seen film clips where basically he was doing parfor-like stunts DECADES before anyone knew what parfor was.

April 1, 2014 at 1:02 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Does Jackie Chan fit into this?

April 1, 2014 at 1:03 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[We'll say this: It's hard to remember]

Jay, what was the rest of your sentence/paragraph?

The Pacers are limping to the finish. They beat the Heat last week, but they've still lost 10 of 16. And now Hibbert is saying that "there are some selfish dudes in here". If they don't get their act together soon, they could potentially get knocked out in the 2nd round by the Bulls if that's how the matchups fall.

The Spurs are on a hot streak. Right now, it appears that it will be them against the Heat in a Finals rematch from last year. Looking forward to an exciting playoffs (looking mostly at the Western Conference of course).

When the Mocs' season started, it was clear to me that Gee had trouble finding his way in this offense. Wade seemed to be more in his face than the others in the huddle too. But as the season went on, Gee kept his head up and did all he could. He's an aggressive/attacking player which would seem to make him a good fit for what Wade wanted. However, Gee's game is probably better suited for a much less structured offense than what Wade runs.

Gee underwhelmed this year, but I think it had less to do with him than with the system. But I'm not blaming Wade or the system either. Sometimes parting ways is best for both parties involved. Wade will replace Gee in the lineup with a better fit. Gee will move on to another team and thrive. That said, he will be missed as a Moc.

April 1, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Wade wants outside players who can consistently hit the 3. Gee shot 23.6% from the three point line. Gee's game is as said, driving to the rim. I think it is his outside shooting prowress is the thing resulting in him leaving.

April 1, 2014 at 1:40 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Sorry for the delayed response. Been a wild one — and the transition of sports makes for crazy times. Indeed.

So, in regard to The Conz: It is what it is. There are things that can't be undone and there are extensions to be offered.

Still, dude will be rewarded and there will be a lot of Vols Fans less than thrilled about it. So it goes.

MT —

Heard something similar at least for the most part. There also was some disconnect between folks in that debate. So it goes again.

Jackie Chan is an inspired call.

Stewwie —

Sorry about that. It's hard to remember a time when we were this excited about the NBA playoffs. Heat-Pacers... going to be a fight.

Bad fit for Gee and Wade. It happens.


Yes Buster Keaton is great. Maybe we should have old-school and new-school.

Titanic —

Chevy is on ours for sure. We'd reserve a spot for Three Stooges in unison too.

We're surprised that Tim Conway has not received a little more love here today.

9er —

Patric Young.


Yes, Antigua will be missed. And if those other Buzzes do not fly, we could go Ruth Buzzi, right?

FE to the C —

Book sales seem to be doing fine. Thanks for asking. We are working on our next book, but it's not of the same form. We'll see.

And your Cuonzo explanation may be the best we've seen so far. We concur with Jomo that the petition was bush league, but the regular season was blah-tastic. So it goes.

Great stuff gang, and remember the mailbag.

April 1, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
chas9 said...

MT--Are you French? Liking Jerry Lewis and all.

April 1, 2014 at 2:48 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I didn't get around to reading Monday's edition of the 5@10 column until late last night. Jay asked: who won the weekend? Well, he hasn't won anything yet, but that Kentucky fan who got a tattoo reading UK 2014 National Champions must be feeling better about his odds today. The 'Cats pick up two more wins, and that guy goes from being some overly optimistic die-hard with some unfortunate ink to being a bluegrass true believer and part-time sage. Hey 9er, it's none of my business, but do you spend much time hanging out in tattoo parlors?

Having Bruce Pearl as a guest on your radio show seems like a risky proposition to me. Any chance you will be able to coax him out of his shell and get him to talk a little?

For the Rushmore of physical comedians I will go with: Curly Howard, Tim Conway, Rowan Atkinson, and Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer.

April 1, 2014 at 2:48 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Nope, not French!

April 2, 2014 at 9:11 a.m.
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