5 at 10: Uggla rolls, Vols stumble and a major contest

5 at 10: Uggla rolls, Vols stumble and a major contest

August 10th, 2011 in Sports - Columns

From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...

Braves win in 11; Uggla keeps rolling

Atlanta Braves' Dan Uggla follows through on a solo home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Washington. The Nationals won 5-3. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Dan Uggla's infield single Tuesday stretched his hitting streak to 30 games - the second longest in Atlanta Braves history. Well played indeed. That said, Uggla is still banging his head against the .220 ceiling. So it goes.

As for the game, the Braves won 4-3 in 11 innings and continued to lean on a rock-solid bullpen - the accounting firm of O'Flaherty, Venters, Sherrill and Kimbrel did not allow a hit in four scoreless innings.

Two things off the top of our head about these Braves (68-49): One, somebody needs to throw a complete game. C'mon guys somebody needs to give the bullpen a day where they can play jacks and giggle and rest those arms. Second, the 5-at-10 thinks it's pretty cool that Jose "George" Constanza is making such a big impact with this club. Who knew this club would take to speed and manufacturing runs.

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Vols scrimmage = cause for concern?

A couple of the longtime friends of the show that are devoted Big Orange followers believe UT is bound for an 8-4 season and are expecting big, Big, BIG things from sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray.

Each of those things are possible - and the latter will have a lot to do with the former. That said, the Vols held their first preseason scrimmage Tuesday night and the reviews were less than stellar. Our UT ace Patrick "Downtown" Brown has it completely covered here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/aug/10/bray-struggles/ and here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/aug/10/freshman-linebackers-johnson-maggitt-shining/?sports.

Here were a couple of quotes that jumped out at us:

From Derek Dooley: "Tempo was poor, lot of delay-of-game penalties, never really got in sync, but he makes some throws. That's what he did. But the consistency is nonexistent. It's enough to drive you crazy."

Translation for Johnny Vols Fan: This is a scary deal, because everyone knows Bray has crazy physical skills - dude can make almost every throw. But the non-physical part of it - especially the consistency - is the biggest question mark for Bray. Remember, the last time he was in uniform his emotional swings went from doing the "Loco" dance to doing a throat slash to crying on the sideline. All in one game. So yes, consistency should be high on his to-do list.

From Dooley again: "He's never shown an ability to play consistently well. He didn't do it last season. Y'all act like he had these five games: He was all over the place last year, and so that's all I've been harping on."

Translation: Bray has been hearing - and maybe even listening to - all the preseason talk. Time to get the sophomore's ego in check.

On the bright side, at least there's no QB controversy. Bray was an inconsistent 13-for-29 for 165 yards and two scores according to the stats UT provided; back-up Matt Simms was 3-of-12 and was picked.

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New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle (26) defends Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) during the second quarter of an NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Titans won the game 29-10. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Chris Johnson holds holdout

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is the fastest player in the NFL. Well, he used to be the fastest player in the NFL. Now, he's arguably the fastest man not in the NFL. Let's explain.

Johnson let it be known that nothing short of bigger paychecks will stand in the way of continuing his now 15-day holdout.

Tuesday was the deadline for players to report to their team if they were to get credit this season for completing a year toward free agency. Johnson only had two years left before becoming a free agent but even that wasn't enough to get him to sort out whatever hang-ups are keeping him from joining his team. He's effectively pushed becoming a free agent to 2013 in order to let the Titans front office know that he wants a long-term deal now, and he wants it to reflect that he's the only player in NFL history to go over 2,500 yards from scrimmage in a single season -- Ever.

Johnson stands to make $800,000 this year in base salary - which if we're comparing, would make him something like the 15th highest paid coach or coordinator in the SEC this coming year and something like the third-highest-paid Auburn Tiger.

If we could speak directly to Mr. Johnson for a moment. Mr. Johnson, it seems you signed a contract you thought was fair for a player that plays good but not great. That you're playing better than you expected doesn't make the amount of money you agreed upon unfair. Owners expect their players to play great, that's why they make them millionaires. That's why they made you a millionaire. Go back to camp and work on making a monster payday when you actually become a free agent instead of acting like one in year three of a five-year contract.

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This and That

- The Patriots' newest receiver Chad Ochocinco recently tweeted that he's decided to pick a random season-ticket holder to live with until he can find a place to live in Boston. Ochocinco says the person must have the internet and an Xbox. Judging from the constant distractions Chad causes everyone around him I see marriage counseling followed immediately by divorce court in one lucky Patriot fan's future. There's an entire building of Reality-TV producers making their way to the greater-New England area as we speak.

- Talks of conference realignment in college football reemerged from it's nearly 13-month hiatus by taking to twitter with a vengeance. The internet world produced over 20,000 tweets suggesting Texas A&M will be headed to the SEC sooner rather than later. None of the tweets happened to be sent from the computers of SEC Commissioner Mike Slive or Texas A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin.

- The NCAA met in an effort to change its rules. Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer took his swings at the pitched possibilities of increasing the "cost of attendance" money afforded athletes here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/aug/10/emmerts-retreat-cant-fix-ncaas-tough-issues/. We've said it before, and we'll say it again, until someone with "esquire" on his business card says this is Title IX groovy, we're not overly interested.

- It looks like everyone involved wants to put the caddie incident behind them. First, can we agree to a name for this - and we're staunchly against Caddie-gate; why must every scandal be blah-blah-gate? Let's go with Caddie-tastrophy. Now Adam Scott has said the comments made by Stevie Williams, the former caddie of Tiger Woods, in no way overshadowed Scott's impressive victory last week at the Bridgestone Invitational. Sure, Adam. And we guess thousands of golf fans checked PGA's group listings Monday to see if Scott and Woods were going to be paired together to start the PGA Championship because they're simply fans of Adam Scott's short game. And the only story in golf for the last 48 hours has been about Williams, but it's not like we're heading into a major championship... oh wait, strike that.

- That said, remember the PGA contest. We'll call it the "Major contest for the least major major." You know the drill: Five golfers, final finish equals the number of points (Finish first = 1 point; finish 13th = 13 points; miss the cut = 100 points), throw out the highest score and the lowest score wins. Who's in? We'll give away tickets to some sort of sporting event in or around the area in the coming days.

Today's question

Question

EC made an excellent point Tuesday about changing baseball rules to state that players who do not run hard on ground balls will count as two outs.

Today's question is if you were the commissioner of any sports league, what's the first rule you change? It can be something as straight-forward as college football changing defensive pass interference to a spot foul or something as crazy as EC's Albert Belle-honored ground-ball run-out rule.

Whaddaya got?