Gang, hope the weekend treated you as you deserved.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let the game begin.
Football in the air
NFL camps have opened — and yes, Johnny Football has already been scolded by management in Cleveland.
Prep football practice starts today in Tennessee — check back to timesfreepress.com for live updates from Stephen Hargis' prep tour and we're going to try to get him on the phone sometime today in mid-tour.
College practice starts this week.
It's here. It's happening.
Here's our schedule:
Tomorrow, talking points for UT. Wednesday, we'll cover UTC. Thursday we'll go around the SEC.
But any question you want covered, send it along, whether we handle it in our pre-practice previews or in the mailbag.
We'll do high school stuff closer to the start of the season, and there's a ton of time for the NFL, right.
Still, with August on the horizon, it's here.
Baseball Hall pass
A simply great class of Hall of Famers were inducted in Cooperstown on Sunday. Cool event, and a cool moment, that turned into a Georgia reunion in a lot of ways.
Former Braves manager Bobby Cox — along with contemporaries Joe Torre, who played for the Braves, and Tony LaRussa — along with former Braves greats Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux — and Frank Thomas, who was born in Columbus, Ga. — were added to the roles of the Hall of Fame. Our TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer nails the moment from the Braves perspective here.
It was an enjoyable day of speeches and stories and the back-to-the-future mind can't help but wonder if we'll ever see a rotation as good as the Braves had in the 1990s with three sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famers and an assortment of B-to-B-plus guys like Avery, Millwood and more pitching in the Nos. 4 and 5 spots.
It also painfully reminds the game of the names and numbers left on the curb, especially since no manager got more benefits from known steroid using players than LaRussa, who had the Bash Brother A's and was with the Cardinals during Mark McGwire's homer chase in 1998.
And in part to cut the number of tries some of those associated and mired in the Steroid Era of baseball, the hall changed the rules so now players only get 10 years on the ballot. Here's Buster Olney's view on it.
We're OK with that rule change. in fact, we believe it could be even fewer chances. We think you could cut it to two or three years on the ballot and there'd be very little lost. For some reason, there is a small pack of Hall of Fame voters who will not vote for someone on the first ballot. (A fact that will be supremely tested in five years when Derek Jeter's name is on the ballot, by the way.)
We disagree with the theory that no one deserves to be a unanimous selection (And saying that Babe Ruth was not so no one should be is so stale; yes, we believe Babe to be deserving of 100 percent of the vote, but because one voting group made a mistake, does that mean we need to repeat it every year? No, it's not like Nixon got re-elected... wait a second. Bad example.) That said, we can see the honor of giving a select few a first-ballot inclusion as an honor. But after two-to-three years on the ballot — and no more than five — the only thing that has changed in a player's candidacy is his competition in the voting pool.
Jim Rice of Jim Kaat or even James T. Kirk are no more deserving of being in the Hall simply because some years have passed and the other names on the ballot are watered down after years of voting.
Jeff Gordon won the Brickyard on Sunday. It was his fifth win at the historic track that also hosts the Indy 500.
He also won this race 20 years, and he's a week or so from turning 43. He is third in points and has 14 top-10 finishes this year, tied with Dale Jr. for the most.
It's also time to say it: He's on the Rushmore of NASCAR drivers. It's Petty, Dale Sr., Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.
That is all, and it seems that the divide will only grow when the totality of Gordon's career is measured against history. Especially when you consider that Gordon's career overlapped Dale Sr. going guns blazing and Jimmie Johnson dominating.
This and that
Atlanta Braves' B.J. Upton (2) and Tommy La Stella (7) are congratulated at home plate by teammate Ryan Doumit (4) after scoring on a Chris Johnson double to right field against the San Diego Padres during their game, Sunday, July 27, 2014, in Atlanta.
— The Braves rolled Sunday, collecting almost a month's worth of two-out RBIs in an 8-3 win over San Diego. Atlanta knocked in six runs with two outs and went 6-for-9 with runners in scoring position — two categories that have stagnated the offense for most of the season. The Braves are 1.5 games back of Washington and tied with San Francisco atop the NL wildcard standings.
— While the baseball Hall of Fame is an exclusive club, apparently saying you're the best cornerback in he NFL is not so selective. Dee Milliner, the former Alabama star and current Jets defensive back now says he's the best corner in the game. Well, swell. What's that? Jomo thinks he's the best corner in the game too? Awesome.
— Ouch-standing for Mr. Jimmy Furyk, who had a three-shot lead entering Sunday's final round of the Canadian Open. Furyk shot 69 but Tim Clark passed him with a 65 to win. The stinger leaves Furyk 0-for-7 when holding the 54-hole lead since his last win in 2010.
— From the way-downtown-bang files: Check this goal some dude scored against Man United from his side of the field. Wow, this guy would AWE-some in kickball.
Who won the weekend?
Lots of choices, the Hall of Fame guys or Jeff Gordon or a few others. The Chattanooga FC deserves a mention, too.
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 ...