5-at-10: Tiger, All-stars and more black clouds for Penn State

5-at-10: Tiger, All-stars and more black clouds for Penn State

July 2nd, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Hot enough for you? Sweet buckets of sweat-soaked everything, it's James Brown hot-tub hot. Feel free to discuss the heat in your comments - it's strange how everyone has a hot story, and most of ours center around softball tournaments in Macon, Ga.; we contend there is hot, there is wick hot and then there is Macon, Ga., hot.

Form the "Talks too much" studio, here we go...

Tiger Woods watches his drive from the third tee during the final round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, July 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Tiger Woods watches his drive from the...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Tiger wins his tournament

We're sure there will be a bunker full of stories about Tiger Woods being the favorite for the British Open later this month.

And hey, we get it, dude won in tough conditions Sunday at Congressional for his third PGA win of the season. (And if Nick Faldo or Harry Varner or some other foreign legend decides to be the host of this year's British Open, Tiger will for sure win it. His three wins this season are Jack's tournament, Arnie's tournament and Tiger's tournament. If there's a legend in the hosting role, Tiger's coming to play apparently.)

Woods was strong, staying the course as Bo Van Pelt wilted on the final holes Sunday. And standing tall while others fall is a strength in all sports, especially in golf, where the pressure becomes as daunting as a 500-yard par 3 on Sundays.

Tiger's game looks sharp and his putting was better this weekend. What does that portend for the British in a couple of weeks? Who knows.

What we do know is that Tiger passed Jack Nicklaus and is second all-time with 74 career PGA wins. He almost certainly will catch Sam Snead's record of 82 career PGA wins. His pursuit of Jack's career 18 majors often takes top billing in Tiger's pursuit, and rightfully so, but passing Jack in career wins is nothing to sneeze at, either.

That said, does it not feel different watching Tiger play well - we stand by our statement that Tiger will never be the old Tiger because no one will ever the be the all-powerful, invincible, bullet-proof, golf assassin that was the old Tiger.

Not good or bad, per se, but different. Maybe it's a sense of sadness or anger or the unknown of "What if..." What would Tiger be chasing if the scandal hadn't happened? What would his numbers be and where could they possibly end up?

And those "What if..." questions are almost filled with the reservations of opportunities missed and/or potential unfulfilled.


Atlanta Braves' David Ross (8) strikes out in the eighth inning of their baseball game with the Washington Nationals, Sunday, July 1, 2012, at Turner Field in Atlanta. The Nationals won 8-4. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

Atlanta Braves' David Ross (8) strikes out in...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Lost chances in the A-T-L

If you had said the Nationals would come into Atlanta and the Braves would rough up Stephen Strasburg, we'd have liked our chances.

That the Braves beat the Nationals' ace and still lost the series is tough to take. Especially the way they battled back Friday night and how they left a small village on base Sunday.

We'll take more stock of the Braves later this when they hit the halfway point of the season. Plus the news of today is the All-Star teams that were announced Sunday.

Two quick things about these All-Star teams:

One, who are these guys? Wow, you fall out of a fantasy league for a few years and the names and faces turn over like nobody's BID-ness. Where's the guys we know... Is Piazza still in the league? What about Ozzie Smith? You loud kids get off our lawn...

Second, no matter if you know the names or not, is there ever a more engaging bellyaching session than who didn't deserve to make the all-star team and who was unfairly left off? We're interested in your view on that.

Here are the three eye-poppers from the all-star announcements for the 5-at-10:

How great a story is Adam Dunn making the All-Star team? Last year, dude didn't hit .160 but now has 24 homers and leads the league in walks.

The Red Sox have a $173 million payroll and one all-star in David Ortiz. Ouch-standing.

How did the Cubs get two selections?


It keeps getting worse at Penn State

We applaud the heroes that came forward and testified against Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach who was convicted on 45 of 48 charges of sexual assault against 10 boys. That there bravery was rewarded with justice renews our faith in our legal system.

But if you thought bringing the demon to face the light of his evilness was the conclusion for the Penn State family and would be the first step toward healing, well, buckle up.

CNN reported late last week that emails recovered during Penn State's internal investigation appear to cast another black cloud - a deep and criminal and unspeakable black cloud - on the PSU officials who slow-walked the early allegations against Sandusky.

In 2001, after then-grad assistant Mike McQueary told coach Joe Paterno, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley about Sandusky abussing a boy in the showers of the Penn State locker room, the officials hatched a plan to turn Sandusky over to the authorities. According to CNN, the plan was detailed in an email dated Feb. 26, 2001.

On Feb. 27, Curley sent the following email to Schultz and PSU president Graham Spanier, according to CNN:

"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell them about the information we received and tell them we are aware of the first situation," Curley's email read.

Read that again. Unless Curley acted as a rogue agent and falsely implicated Paterno - a man Curley played for and all-but hand selected Curley to be PSU's AD - it's hard to deny Paterno's role in what is now appears to be one of the tragic cover-ups ever. (Plus, if any thing has become clear during the muddled mess that was the last decade in State College, Pa., it's that Joe Paterno was as powerful as anyone in any line of work there. Forget the flow chart, that's for saps and suckers that wear suits and ties. Joe Pa was his own city-state, and like the Vatican - uh, poor simile there, huh - Joe Pa answered to relatively no one.)

Granted Paterno, who died in January, will never have a chance to answer these charges or event he fundamental question of why. Why would Paterno, the man who won more games than any major college football coach ever, step in and apparently try to keep the truth quiet and protect his program rather than the kids from the monster they knew Sandusky to be.

In truth, it's because the man who became a legend for his rolled-up pants, white socks and coke-bottle glasses, was a man. He knew then that the Sandusky scandal would wreck his program, especially in 2001, when Paterno was coming a 5-7 season and wrestling with the internal debate that at 74, he had lost touch with the game.

Plus, the original allegations from 1998 would certainly have come out, making the entire crew look as dispicable and dirty as they appear today. His "Success with Honor" slogan seemed short on success then. It seems bankrupt of honor now.

The jury finding Sandusky guilty should have been the step toward healing. Apparently, it was just the first shoe to drop in a sordid and twisted tale that could very well destroy all of Paterno's legacy.


This and that

- NASCAR invaded Kentucky this weekend and Brad Keselowski stretched his fuel, his legs and his bank account with a win Saturday night. Hey, we get the desire to have Saturday night racing, especially at Southern venues where it can be 12,000 degrees in July. That said, other than Bristol, it's hard to remember the last Saturday night race we watched, and we are a NASCAR fan.

- We've officially left the grid. "Ted" is the biggest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time. Yep, beyond the Hangover, Wedding Crashers, Caddyshack, fill in the blank, there is "Ted" the foul-mouthed stuffed bear who pulled in more than $54 million bucks this weekend. Did anyone see it? We have not seen it - with two kids under the age of 5, if we watch a movie with stuffed animals, it's going to be more Tigger and Pooh than gold-diggers and poop jokes. We stand by our assessment that "Ted" will be either very funny or an eye sore depending on your point of view.

- Don Larsen is auctioning off the uniform he wore when he pitched his perfect game in the 1956 World Series. He's starting the bidding at $1 million and may get more. He said he was doing it to help his grandkids be financially secure, and we say God bless, Don. We also would hope someone high up with the Yankees would walk into the office of someone named Steinbrenner and say," Uh, sir, why don't we pay $3 million and keep Larsen on display around the office? Yes, $3 million is a nice chunk of change, but our franchise is valued at more than a billion - yes, billion with a 'B' - so we can afford it."

- Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split up last week. (Some where, Spy is mumbling about Scientology and thinking of Holmes and saying, "So you saying there's a chance.") Did you see the stat that of Cruise's marriages, each ended in divorce when Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman and Holmers were 33? It doesn't take a sabermetrics stats geek to see that trend.

- Our North Georgia prep ace Lindsey Young had the scoop on Ridgeland Vonn Bell's decision this weekend to cut his list of potential college homes to seven. UT, Ohio State, Georgia and Alabama appear to be the front runners, but who knows.


Today's question

Jose Canseco turns 48 today. Lindsey Lohan (26) and Larry David (65) also are celebrating birthdays. We're not sure, but the zodiac sign for July 2 could be an imbalanced scale or a crazy outhouse rat.

Anyhoo, Canseco is such a Shakespearean character in today's sports scene. Dude went 40-40 in 1988 and has 462 career homers - more than Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Andre Dawson, Bill Williams and Duke Snider.

But no matter the numbers or the rank, Canseco is the whistle-blower for the steroids generation, Period. That's his legacy on baseball.

With the possible exception of Tommy John, no other player will leave a bigger non-baseball legacy on baseball than Canseco. And, like it or not Canseco's hornet's nest and the fallout - the dip in offensive numbers and the headaches for potential Hall of Famers who have been linked to steroids such as Bonds, Clemens and Sosa - apparently have lead to less steroid use in baseball

So what say you: On his 48th birthday, is Jose Canseco, former AL MVP and whistle-blower, a hero or a goat?