published Thursday, April 17th, 2014

5-at-10: Fun Braves, NBA -- where losing is cool, running backs drop

Gang, remember the mailbag.

From the "Talks too much" studios, it's the best Jerry. The best.

Braves

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    Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran reacts after Philadelphia Phillies' Cody Asche flied out to end the eighth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Philadelphia. Atlanta won 1-0.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Julio Teheran was aces Wednesday night, going the distance in a 1-0 gem that was awesome in its awesomeness. Maybe it's because we missed them in the offseason, but this Braves team is fun to watch right now. Good times. Evan Gattis homered and went 4-for-4.

The good — We asked this on The Twitter last night: Is Roger McDowell the best pitching coach in the bigs right now? Maybe so, considering the Braves lost their Nos. 1 and 3 starters in spring training and one of their right-handed set-up guys to season-ending arm injuries, and the team ranks second in baseball in ERA (2.52) and quality starts (11 in 14 games) and fourth in WHIP and sixth in batting average against (.219). Good? That's great.

The bad — Wow. Say hey, J-Hey so we know you're still alive. Jason Heyward went bagel-for-5 with four Ks and is hitting .145. Ouch-standing, When you are 40 points below BJ Upton, well, that's not good.

The Uggla — Our update of favorite player/nemesis Dan Uggla (he still keeps his actual name off the two-homer night Monday that included a game-winning grand slam that is even better when watching this video on Deadspin) centers more of two very good defensive plays he made in the ninth inning of Julio Teheran's 1-0 masterpiece. Our man Dan went 1-for-4 (just like David Paschall predicted on Wednesday's Press Row on ESPN 105.1 FM) and is at .264. Uggla is 5-for-his-last-12 with two homers and seven RBIs. Is there a 5-at-10 reverse jinx, where if we start poking fun you flip the switch? Happened with Cuonzo. Happened with Uggla. Hmmmmmm. His recent hot streak has lifted his average to its highest point since opening day 2013 when he went 1-for-3 and was hitting .333.

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NBA playoffs

So the NBA regular season ends. Wow that only took like 12 years.

Here are the playoff match-ups, and we'll break them all down and our regular-season awards in Friday's 5-at-10.

East Division

1) Pacers vs. 8. Hawks

2) Heat vs. 7. Bobcats

3) Raptors vs. 6. Nets

4) Bulls vs. 5. Wizards

West Division

1) Spurs vs. 8. Mavericks

2) Thunder vs. 7. Grizzlies

3) Clippers vs. 6. Warriors

4) Rockets vs. 5. Trail Blazers

The match-ups have been jostled and jangled by teams losing games on purpose. Yes, you read that correctly.

And it makes good sense. It's bad for the sport — losing on purpose is fundamentally opposite of the mission of sports in general — and it happens now for good teams in playoff positioning and bad teams for draft position.

Still, it's hard to argue with the thought process of the Nets, who tanked down the stretch to avoid the Bulls in round one and get in the bracket with the Heat, whom the Nets swept in the regular season.

When it becomes wise strategy to lose on purpose, the league needs to examine this, if for no other reason than it feels so fundamentally wrong.

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NFL's new view

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    In this Aug. 8, 2013, file photo, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson talks with teammates on the sideline in the third quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Nashville.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Chris Johnson signed with the Jets. He got half of the $8 million he was set to make with the Titans. He signed a two-year deal that could be worth up to $9 million with incentives.

He was the most accomplished running back on the free agent market, and the truth of the matter is the value of running backs has plummeted. Consider this: Two kickers — Robbie Gould and Dan Bailey — signed contracts bigger than any running back got in the recent cycle. Wow. Kickers with more value than running backs? Welcome to disposal NFL 2014.

This makes you wonder three things: What's the value in the draft? What's the future of the position if kids see running quarterbacks and wide receivers getting the big checks? How long before this switches back?

Discuss, and we'll be back with more on this.

————

This and that

— Want to follow a great story in college football? Meet Shon Coleman, the projected starter at left tackle for Auburn. Coleman was a five-star recruit back back in the 2010 class and developed leukemia. He has fought through the disease that caused him to lose 50-plus pounds and is now in line to replace Greg Robinson.

— Speaking of fun baseball, how about JMC's Rangers, who now have four walk-off wins this season. And they beat King Felix last night. Good times.

— The next ESPN 30-for-30 film is tonight on the Detroit Pistons and the Bad Boys. Hope they have the follow-up to that, and how Riley's Knicks and the Jordan Rules and the football in shorts brand of the NBA has set basketball back a generation.

— Cubs got shut out in both games of a doubleheader against the Yankees. It's the first time that's happened since 1988. Ah the Cubs. Making history two losses at a time.

— The NCAA has now reduced its drug rules, allowing for more lenient punishment for pot offenses. This comes on the heels of 24/7 snacks. Somehwere Spicoli smiles.

———

Today's question

OK, there is a slew of stuff above to kick around, so feel free. And we have loved the input from the wide array of voices here in recent days. Well-played all-around.

So for today's question, well, let's go here:

The New York Mets single-A affliate is having a Seinfeld night and giving away bobbleheads. Cool idea.

So, in honor of that, we're looking for a Rushmore of non-core Seinfeld charcters. Take our Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer. Who you got on the Rushmore?

Go time.

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.
jomo11 said...

Back to the UTK basketball coach search : Some problems with the so called "top targets" 1) Gregg Marshall- he is known to be a complete A@#hole 2) Mike White, La Tech- zero NCAA tourney sucess, dont know why all the fuss, just becaues his Dad is the Duke AD. 3) Richard Pitino, last time UTK hired a son-of-a-famous coach they got DOOLEY 4) Donnie Tyndall looks and talks like a TV preacher with bad hair 5 ) Tad Boyle already makes more than Conz made, really no reason for him to make a lateral or some might consider a downward move from Colorado 6 ) Ben Howland, wonder why so many schools have passed on him, read SI article a year ago and you can see all the baggage he brings 7 ) Mick Cronin plenty of whispers about character and did you watch the Xavier-Cincy ugly brawl last year ? 8 ) Archie Miller, got to be careful hiring those guys who are "flavor of the month" type guys

April 17, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.
MocTastic said...

The talent pool is shallow if you are going to go with a coach with a "proven track record", has a "big name", and who is willing to switch to UTK. Probably back looking at proven mid major coaches, not "big name" coaches that all UTK fans want. Honestly, if you are Gregg Marshall why would you want to leave Wichita St for UTK? He makes more money now than Martin did, he is the big dog on campus, which he never would be in Knoxville, and he would be leaving a program where he has shown he can compete with anybody to a program that may have to be blown up and rebuilt in the next year or two. Those 36.000 signatures on that petition will bring pause to many a coach who considers the job.

Now, the 2 million or so that goes with the job would obviously be enough to woo a mid major coach who is probably in the $200,000 to $500,000 salary range to take the job. Dave Hart has apparently eliminated all assitant coaches from consideration. I find that to be a mistake. I am not saying that they should hire an assistant or not, but I would not limit my applicant pool, take a look at all of them. Afterall, a Calapari, a Donovan, a Pitino, all had to get a first job.

April 17, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Look for Hart to bring in someone who was at Florida State when he was there. [But I do not know who that would be.]

Billy-In-Brainerd

April 17, 2014 at 11:16 a.m.
Stewwie said...

I think Marshall and Smart will stay put for reasons you guys already mentioned. A guy with the wins and experience like Ben Howland seem like what Hart is looking for, but the baggage may be too much for him to make the offer. The rest of the candidates look like a crapshoot, but in the end, I predict that it will be Donnie Tyndall who will take the reins in Knoxville.

As Moc fans, let's hope Smart doesn't go anywhere. Wouldn't Wade be first in line for that job if Smart left? And let's keep an eye out for any "recruiting" visits from Wade in Knoxville. (Just in case Hart becomes interested.)

April 17, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.
chas9 said...

What's your Rushmore of characters whose names rhyme with female body parts?

The Cuonzo relationship had gotten to the point that it probably was a win-win, as several correspondents have suggested, but getting to that point was ugly and leaves the UT job damaged goods. Tennessee will be unlikely to hire a better coach than the one who left. Talk all you want to about a big arena and truckloads of cash.

MT and jomo make good points. Most likely to me looks like hiring R. Pitino, and hope he beats the odds against great coaches' sons.

Bring back Wade Houston?

April 17, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Only bring back Wade Houston if he has another son who can shoot.

April 17, 2014 at 12:19 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

"Speaking of fun baseball, how about JMC's Rangers, who now have four walk-off wins this season. And they beat King Felix last night. Good times."

Sadly, I missed that game. Fox Sports Southwest carries the games locally but for what ever baloney reason, last night they decided to carry the game on their high-end channel 903 to-broke-to-afford-that-s#$*&^ HD station. So I missed it. ): I did catch all the others so I know we're on a good streak.

April 17, 2014 at 12:47 p.m.
MocTastic said...

A little factoid I came across today, the ESPN NBA computer projection model is named after former UTC Moc basketballer Russ Schoene. Thought yall might find that interesting.

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9797404/explaining-schoene-projection-system

April 17, 2014 at 12:49 p.m.
chas9 said...

MT--Thanks for your post. Unlike most of us blowhards, you've given us information based on something useful. Any guesses WHY Pelton named his system after our boy Russ, of all the possibilities?

April 17, 2014 at 12:57 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Hey 9er —

We resemble that blowhard remark.

Good stuff gang.

Well-played all-around.

April 17, 2014 at 1 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Pelton is friends with Russ from covering the Seattle basketball scene he told me earlier today. Other than that, don't know why.

April 17, 2014 at 1:03 p.m.
BWill8 said...

Fellas--

I'm not even saying I want Marshall at UT. But have any of you ever spent time in Wichita? I have, for work, and let me tell you, there's a reason that part of the country has gained "fly-over" status. Spend a full four seasons in South Central Kansas and get back to me.

April 17, 2014 at 2:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Nevermind the fact that we heard that Gregg Marshall's wife was a former cheerleader at UT...

Wait — that may have been Gruden.

Either way, the truth is, trucks of cash make it hard to say no. Our quick internet research has Marshall making 1.6 million.

And while we can see the benefits of coaching at a basketball-only school, the pressure is greater there on the men's hoops coach than being at an SEC school not named UK in most cases.

So it goes, and remember when he was at Bama, Dave Hart landed Anthony Grant, who was the IT name on the hoops trail that offseason, and convinced him to go to a football school.

April 17, 2014 at 2:23 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Now that Missouri is open, that may be a better job than UTK. . . . And guys with all due respect, Knoxville is not that great of a place to live either, downtown dirty, more agri-culture than culture, not that big a step up from Wichita. Population 635,000 in Witchita metro vs. 825,000 Knoxville meto. . . .neither place is that great in terms of being considered a great place to live by national standards. . . .. And Jay, Anthony Grant was one of those "Flavor of the Month" type coaches that havent worked out, be careful of the Archie Miller-type guy

April 17, 2014 at 3:41 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Living here in 'bama I can tell you that Grant is officially on the hot seat going into next season, win or he is gone.

April 17, 2014 at 4:50 p.m.
chas9 said...

Agree with jomo. K-town ain't all that.

April 17, 2014 at 5:31 p.m.
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