Gang, remember the mailbag.
From the "Talks too much" studios, we are grinding on our college and high school preview sections. Man, we still got work to do.
The Atlanta Braves stand at the cusp, a team that has been roughly as good as expected for much of the first three quarters of this season, with occasional stretches of brilliance and brutality.
Now they stare down the barrel of this bunch's postseason possibilities.
Atlanta is four games back of Washington as they get ready for nine games against L.A., Oakland and Pittsburgh. Not an easy stretch.
Over those same nine games, the Nationals face the Mets, the Pirates and the Diamondbacks. Far more of a stroll.
In truth, we are nine days from the Madaris Best of Preps Kickoff Classic — next Thursday at Finley between Cleveland and McCallie, and we will be giving away some tickets here and on Press Row next week — so we may not care if the Braves are in the race or not come nine days from now.
But we'll likely know one way or the other come next Thursday.
The recap of Monday's 6-2 loss to L.A.
The good: Not much. Julio Teheran pitched better than the numbers showed — he allowed five earned in 7.1 innings — and he got little help from his defense and less help from his offense. But Braves starters should be used to that, right?
The bad: You know what's coming. The Braves got five hits. Yes, five. Against a Dodgers team that called up a minor league pitcher to start this game.
The Upton: Hey, each Upton had a single — although Stinky's was a bunt for a hit that was a very close call at first. Someone needs to make sure the Upton family is notified that each got a hit in a the same game. Juice boxes and Rice Krispies treats for everyone.
Tiger Woods lobbied for a spot on the Ryder Cup team.
What a dilemma for US Captain Tom Watson.
Here's your choices:
You either pick Tiger Woods, who has broken par in only 40 percent of his pro rounds this year, as one of your three captain picks because he's flipping' Tiger Woods after all and open your self up to the real second-guessing of picking a guy who has been an absolute nonfactor on the golf world for at least a year.
Or, you pick a Brendon Todd or some other interchangeable American golfer over Tiger Woods — yes, Tiger Flippin' Woods, winner of 14 majors and still a guy that casts a pretty impressive shadow on tee boxes worldwide.
Man, tough one.
Watson has said he will speak directly and openly with Tiger, and if Tiger is healthy, Watson seems mighty likely to pick Woods.
We can see both sides.
(Quick side Rushmore of most famous people with gaps between their front teeth? We'll go Watson, Letterman and Tyson ---- with Michael Strahan far left. Thoughts?)
First, Dr. Brown (no not the one from Back to the Future, our Dr. Brown), tells us that Vols head coach and Brick-by-Brick slayer Butch Jones is ever so close to naming a starting quarterback. If that is indeed the case — and since the modern age of big-boy college football is part Gladiator and part Bourne Identity, well, we have to take them at their word.
And those words point toward Justin Worley being QB1 for these Vols. The fall out of that on the field will be judged in time. Like Maximus says, what we do in this life, echoes in eternity, and that is never more clear than on fall Saturdays in towns with unfamiliar names to the masses that become the third or fourth largest cities in their states.
In fact, by the chosen words and delivered messages it sounds that Nate Peterman (not to be confused with Abe From an, the sausage king of Chicago) has moved to No. 2 on the depth chart. In fact, it was hard not to wonder if Josh Dobbs had a little bit of the Beetlejuice vibe after Saturday's scrimmage since Jones did not mention his name much.
As for the other looming item, the continued high praise of man-child freshman Derek Barnett as Dr. Brown relayed in Monday's TFP. We must temper expectations because after all Barnett is a teenager in the man-meet-man world that is the SEC line of scrimmage, but all reports seem overwhelmingly positive.
And dude is obviously clear in thought, but we may need to add an addendum. Barnett, who will wear No. 9, told Brown and Co. that "Single-digit numbers look good on D-linemen."
We agree in theory but allow us to add, "Single-digit number look good on defensive linemen who play." Defensive linemen wearing single digits on the sideline look like misplaced fullbacks.
Mercifully for Barnett — and the Vols faithful well aware that finding quality defensive linemen this preseason — he is making his way toward fulfilling both ends of that statement.
This and that
— College football item of interest: Trenton Thompson, one of the nation's best defensive line recruits and the top player in the state of Georgia, will announce his decision tonight. His leader is Georgia with Alabama and Auburn trailing and with DeVry a distance fourth ahead of the Atlanta Bartending College. OK, we made those last two up, but we'd be stunned, Stunned, STUNNED if Thompson was not a UGA commit come dinner time.
— Huge learning moment for sports information people everywhere. No #askso-and-so plans from this day forward. The social media realm is a cold, mean place. Death by 140 characters, and Jameis Winston and the FSU folks felt it in earnest last weekend when the #askJameis turned mean and harsh and opened the FSU quarterback to a slew of pointed questions about his checkered off-the-field history. Among the more tame #askJameis questions were: "You were 14-0 on the field and 2-0 in the court room, what's your overall record?" And, "Of all the coaches you played for, why did you steal those crab legs?" Ouch-standing.
— Super interesting stuff here from Ken Rodgers, who is the lead producer of HBO's Hard Knocks, the football series following the Atlanta Falcons this year. Rodgers joined us on Press Row last week.
— The TSSAA again juggles the future playoff format. If the NCAA had a secret love child from a one-night stand in a third-world pleasure palace it would be the TSSAA, right? Coaches and administrators may like this plan better than the current one, but that's akin to saying you'd rather have the flu than cancer. We can't agree on every team in a classification getting into the playoffs just because. Maybe we're the ones that are different.
We were saddened by the news of Robin Williams death. He was 63.
Dude was next level funny. A serious savant who was as comfortable operating from a script as he was coming off the cuff.
We were contemplating a Rushmore of comedians of this generation but that likely would have sold his total skill set short.
We could have done a Rushmore of comedy/drama dual threats but Williams and Bill Murray are so far ahead of the curve it's baffling.
So let's go full blown tribute to Williams. What's the Rushmore of Williams roles, and yes, we believe Mork to be in that mix and his turn in Good Will Hunting is far left.
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 ...