published Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

5-at-10: Junior, Tiger, best sports movies, Pearl and Uggla's fast start

Gang, remember our mailbag. We have a few open spots and always enjoy the back and forth that Fridays allow.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's give an old-school Hee-Haw salute to BWill8, our newest regular. SAAA-LOOOT. And remember Dayton pronounced backward is Not-Yad.

Sports icon news of the day, part I

Welcome to Chattanooga, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

This year's Daytona 500 champ and the son of the best NASCAR driver of all-time will be the guest speaker at our annual Best of Preps banquet. All-around TFP ace Stephen Hargis had a big role landing Junior. Kudos. It also is worth mentioning that our president Jason Taylor is always looking for ways to continue the growth of this event and all the TFP presentations.

Mission accomplished. Earnhardt Jr. continues the run of world-class sports stars to join us at the Best of Preps that started with Michael Phelps in 2009 and follows on the biggest crowd we've ever had with Chipper Jones last year. Something tells us the crowd will be bigger this year because Junior is that popular.

We're excited about having the Q&A with Dale Jr. as well.

And we'll come up with a contest sometime this spring where we'll give away a couple of tickets. Maybe the NFL draft contest in May.

Good times.

———

Sports icon news of the day, part II

Tiger Woods has pulled out of the Masters. To that we say, good.

Nope, forget good, we'll say great.

It's great that he'll get healthy. It's great that we'll not have to worry about Tiger WD-ing 12 shots back on Sunday morning after the first eight holes. It's great that the second biggest story line behind the winner will not be Tiger's ailing back.

Tiger, it's GRREEAAATTT. (Sorry for Frosted Flakes copyright infringement.)

This is good news for Tiger and for Tiger fans, because a short term absence is the only chance to return to the mix on a regular basis and even be in the mention at future majors. At 38 a lost season of majors would be critically painful — especially since the four majors are at three course where he's won — but without getting this fixed, he'll never be Tiger again. Heck Freddie Couples was supposed to be the best player of the early 1990s and he only won one major because of unpredictable back pain.

And the Masters is the Masters. Sure, a Tiger-less field will cost the TV ratings as much as 10 percent in the ratings, but the biggest star at the Masters is Augusta National, regardless who is in the field.

That said, the PGA better start figuring out different ways to promote Patrick Reed and hope that Rory McIlroy finds his swing.

The Masters will be fine, but the Zurich Classic and the Wells Fargo Invitational without Tiger — and potentially without a walking-wounded Phil Mickelson — means trouble. Don't get us wrong, we love golf — like Brian Fontana loves the ladies — and even enjoy watching golf on TV, buy Steven Bowditch shooting 74 to survive the Texas Open is not all that enthralling.

Golf gets a practice run at its Tiger-less future. How will it respond?

———

Movie bracket

On Press Row we have had a sports movie madness bracket over the last three weeks. Good times.

  • photo
    Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire are shown in a scene from the 1976 film "Rocky."
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We asked for Rushmores of baseball movies, basketball movies, football movies and all other categories to get a Sweet 16. You can vote here or at the ESPN 105.1 FM Facebook page.

We know the four No. 1 seeds are Hooisers, Brian's Song, Bull Durham and Rocky.

We also know we likely should have a boxing bracket rather than a basketball bracket, considering Teen Wolf was the No. 4 seed in the hoops draw. Granted, Scottie Howard's rally to a title and Coach Finstock's memorable life lessons ("There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.") make Teen Wolf better than people remember, but it surely sticks out in the field.

So it goes. Enjoy. We're voting on the first round only right now. We'll update the results Thursday and move forward. Deal? Deal.

Vote on the Sweet 16 match-ups in Press Row's "BEST SPORTS MOVIE BRACKET"!

ROSS REGIONAL

(1) Hoosiers vs. (4) Major League I

(3) Friday Night Lights vs. (2) Caddyshack

BILLY D REGIONAL

(1) Brian's Song vs. (4) Teen Wolf

(3) Miracle vs. (2) The Natural

STALLONE REGIONAL

(1) Rocky I vs. (4) Rudy

(3) Field of Dreams vs. (2) Hoop Dreams

COSTNER REGIONAL

(1) Bull Durham vs. (4) Raging Bull

(3) He Got Game vs. (2) The Longest Yard

And remember, if you're running the picket fence at 'em, don't get caught watching the paint dry.

———

This and that (Icon edition)

  • photo
    Auburn's new men's basketball coach, Bruce Pearl, waves to fans upon his arrival Tuesday at Auburn University Regional Airport in Auburn, Ala.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Pat Summitt's son Tyler got his first head coaching job. Tyler will aim to revive the once-storied history at La. Tech. If Tyler turns the Lady Techsters back into winners, he has to be part of Tennessee's future, right? Right?

— Tainted icon Alex Rodriguez is currently suspended from baseball. His nephew, however, is a high school senior and hit eight homers on eight consecutive swings last weekend at a tournament. Wow. (And yes, feel free to fill in your PED joke here.)

— Former UT and current Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl joined Paschall and the blockhead TFP sports editor on Press Row Tuesday. Here's the Q&A.

— Danny Struggla Update: Danny went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the Braves' 5-2 win Tuesday night. Good times. Struggla is now hitting .250 (2-for-8) and still has not struck out this season. While we giggle and joke about early season projections — at this pace Freddie Freeman will hit 162 home runs — know this fact about Uggla going back-to-back games without a strikeout: It happened just three times when he had at-bats in 136 games 2013. If he does not strike out today, it will be the first time Uggla went three consecutive games without a K since going five straight games (11 at-bats) without a whiff in early September 2012. So there's that. Side note: Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood looked really, Really, REALLY sharp.

— Sweet buckets of cash. Here's a storyabout a 50,000-square foot mansion in L.A. that sold for nine figures at auction. Yep, the buyer dropped $102 million cash for the joint, which includes 12 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms and sits on 5 acres. Wow.

————

Today's question

Knock yourself silly on open mic night.

If you need talking points:

— Will Tiger's absence affect your Masters viewing?

— What will be the biggest upset in the first round of the Press Row sports movie madness bracket?

Go and remember the mailbag.

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...

Tyler Summitt to La Tech and Jimmy Dykes will land his jet in Arkansas and try to learn the XX game.

UofL had won 68 straight games when they led at halftime, until they ran into a buzzsaw Friday.

Wiggins. Parker. Randle. The first two are on the AP All-American team, but it's unclear which much-ballyhooed freshman is the best. Guess their NBA careers will show some separation.

Speaking of All-Americans, the McDonald's high school games are tonight. Unless you're a serious colliege basketball fan you may not care. But Dook and UK each have four signees who'll perform this evening. No other SEC team signed any of the elite bunch.

And the Rivals Top 150 Class of 2014 says Kentucky has future Cats ranked #8, #11, #30 and #33, and Florida has #20, #26 and #38. The rest of the SEC hardly scratches. Tennessee has #111 and #113. Can UT's new darling Conz coach 'em up?

Even if your sports focus has moved on to golf, baseball and spring football, you might like the video of the McDonald's dunk contest Monday. Future UK seven-footer Karl Towns threw down a blindfolded windmill dunk.

Freeman hit two homers, and that's good, but A-Rod's nephew hit eight on eight consecutive swings.

GD--I had my tattoo removed back in early March when I had lost confidence in the Big Blue.

MT--Did you mean Jerry LEE Lewis? I like him.

I understand the brackets are set, but I liked White Men Can't Jump.

April 2, 2014 at 10:17 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Really enjoyed your Bruce Pearl segment on Press Row ! . . . .Tiger does take a little of the hype out of the Masters, but not much. It is still THE MASTER'S . . .Field of Dreams should have been a 1 seed, Maybe Mark Weidmer can write a story on how Field of Dreams is the Kentucky of your bracket . . .And if Kentucky loses Saturday who will Weed's give the brunt of his disappointment to in a column ? Dave Hart ? NCAA ? Tiger ? A-Rod ? . . .

April 2, 2014 at 10:36 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Regarding Tiger's absence: At this time in his career, he's already in the been-there, done that catagory regarding his legacy. He's forever linked with Palmer and Nicklaus for best of the best. Yeah, the ratings may take a small spike but CBS or whoever provides coverage is still going to be in the black.

Not that it matters, but is Steven Fox completely off the grid? I just really hate to imagine him as the Wang Chung of professional golf. ):

Jay wrote:

"It also is worth mentioning that our president Jason Taylor is always looking for ways to continue the growth of this event and all the TFP presentations."

What about comic/animation expo that rivals Dallas and San Diego Comic Con? I figured "he" can use all those "millions and millions" of dollars generated from the TFP payscreen to bring in the kind of celebraties that ConNooga and Anime Blast do not have the scratch for. Examples would be Stan Lee, Mike and Bryan (from Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legand of Korra fame), Jason David Frank (aka the Green and White Rangers), William Shatner (SALLLLLLLLL!!!!!), Chris Evans (Captain America), Rooster Teeth, and so on.

"We think that's a great idea!" said nobody at the Times Free Press staffing office.

April 2, 2014 at 10:47 a.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

That final quote made us laugh out loud.

Fox is on the triple-A circuit of gold — the Web.com Tour. Bigger one hit wonder: Wang Chung or Men Without Hats? Discuss.

Jomo —

Thanks for listening in on Pearl. Dude seemed pretty at ease, no?

Nice list of potential fall guys for Weeds if the Blue gets bounced. Don't forget Kiffin or Liar, Liar Lance on Fire Armstrong.

9er —

Florida is going to be almost as stacked next year. They'll return three contributors, have two big-time transfers sitting out and the top-50 guys you mentioned.

UK will reload, too.

Big question for UT is whether Stokes returns. Next question for the league is how quick Bruce can work and AU miracle. Is he Gus Bus fast? Does it take two years? We'll see.

We think Randle had the best season, Wiggins has the most athletic skills and because of age, Parker could have the most potential. Still this season felt a little underwhelming, especially for Wiggins and Parker.

April 2, 2014 at 11:16 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Steven Fox is playing on the some of the minor league tours.

Watching Mr Uggla his outs in the first two games were hit hard in most cases. He could very easily have a couple more hits. Now, BJ it is time to step up or move over.

April 2, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Jay-G:

A day late now, but you should have told Weeds that he could not go the Final 4. April fool...

Billy-In-Brainerd

April 2, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

Hated I missed Pearl on the show yesterday but work got in the way again. Stupid work! Pearl wont quite hit the speed of the Gus Bus, but 3 years should do it. He's got a long way to climb with Auburn Basketball.

The Masters will be fine without Tiger. Sunday late afternoon with a cold adult beverages is my Masters watching.

April 2, 2014 at 11:24 a.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--Remembering that you're a fan of Chattanooga's midday local TV, thought I'd mention that Don Welch announced last week that he's retiring. It's time. Not much chance he could last as long as Luther. Still haven't gotten used to sports without Daryl. The other Daryl, that is.

April 2, 2014 at 11:36 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

For your sports movie sweet 16

Hoosiers over ML...close buzzer beater by Joey Chitwood Caddyshack in a walk over Friday Night Lights RIP Harold Ramis

Brian's Song (THE ORIGINAL) mercy rules Teen Wolf and anyone who suggested that Michael J Fox piece of garbage should surrender their man card!!!!!!!!

Altough he (Redford) swings a bat like a girl The Natural easily beats Miracle

Rocky in a split decision over Rudy

Field of Dreams run rules Hoop Dreams

Raging Bull TKO's Bull Durham

and in the biggest slaughter of them all THE ORGINAL LONGEST YARD puts in practice teamers to finish off He Got No Game

SO LET IT BE WRITTEN

April 2, 2014 at 12:07 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Chase - Already know about Don's retirement. I don't recall saying I was fan of any midday news program. Also, knew about Daryll but this is all inevitable. Right now Paul Beryes and Cindy Sexton are close to being some of the last on-air personalities who have been on the air since I was in single digits. ):

Jay - You're welcome. :P But it could work.

April 2, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, tried for once to call into Press Row, but did so too late as I felt some wrongs needed righting.

First, I did not hear John Frankenheimer's "Grand Prix" starring James Garner and an international cast of stars. This movie is filmed so well it still gives thrills on DVD or HD without the need for George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic.

Neither did I hear mentioned "Chariots of Fire," winner of a slew of awards including The Oscar for Best Picture in 1981.

Given the choices already vetted...

"Hoosiers" (top of the art form)

"Caddy Shack" (few funnier).

"Brian's Song" (smiles and sobs. Is it still shown in school as a teaching tool?)

"The Natural" (If getting lost in fantasy for three hours is your thing).

"Rudy" (an every man classic: take off the ND for me).

"Field of Dreams" (Dreams says it all, great story).

"Bull Durham" (Hilarious, yet embeds the audience in the sport).

"The Longest Yard" (Only the original Paul Crew will do).

April 2, 2014 at 1:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Here's our official ballot:

Hoosiers

Caddyshack

Brian's Song (in a game that is closer than most expected)

The Natural

———

Rocky

Field of Dreams

Bull Durham

Longest Yard

And the top half of the bracket is brutal.

April 2, 2014 at 2:02 p.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--David Glenn and Calvin Snead have done a few laps around the track, too.

April 2, 2014 at 2:05 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Man, that first game in the Costner regional is a tough draw. Bull Durham v. Raging Bull. My two favorite sports movies pitted head-to-head in a first round single elimination game...I take issue with the selection committee.

9er, as sports collectibles go, you have the opportunity to purchase what I must admit is one of the coolest pieces of college football memorabilia ever. Maker's Mark is issuing a Mark Stoops bottle. The bottle is black with Kentucky blue and has Coach Stoops' picture on the front label. Not to be outdone by their in-state rival, Louisville has reached a deal with Red Lobster to issue lobster bibs with Bobby Petrino's mug on the front. And don't forget to try Todd Grantham's Swiss cheese sampler from the appetizer menu.

April 2, 2014 at 2:19 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Jay, I love the radio show when I'm able to get off of work in time to catch at least a couple of the segments. Can you give us a list or Rushmore of the craziest things that you've heard so far on the show? Anything from idiotic comments from callers, to bad predictions, to wild/funny stories.

The one that takes the cake though is what I heard one caller say a couple of weeks ago:

"I'd let Jerry Sandusky watch my kids before I let Todd Grantham coach my football team."

What is the world coming to? Incredible.

April 2, 2014 at 3:19 p.m.
Tmbrwlfofga said...

Excellent choice on the movie brackets. Hard to beat Hoosiers though. That movie inspires and entertains as well. Even though I have seen it fifty times, each time I watch I still swell with anticipation as Ollie attempts his free throws.....

April 2, 2014 at 7:48 p.m.
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