May 3 is a strange day. Washington was incorporated as a city 210 years ago today. (And look how that turned out.) West Virginia became the first state to legislate a broad sales tax on this day in 1921. (Stupid West Virginia.) The Derby was televised nationally for the first time 60 years ago today. (Although it was the fast three minutes in sports then, you know things moved at a slower pace back in the old days.) Bobby Allison's crash on this day 25 years ago in Talladega pushed NASCAR toward restrictor plates at its Superspeedways.
From the "Talk too much Studios" here we go...
Sweet buckets of baseball breath-taking bats and balls. Wow, the Atlanta Braves rallied for a stunning 15-13 win over Philadelphia on Chipper Jones walk-off two-run homer in the 11th.
It was stunning. Seriously. Consider the following:
Phillies starter Roy Halladay and his two Cy Youngs had a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. He lasted only four more outs and trailed 8-6 with one out in the sixth.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz drove in seven runs. Seven. You're supposed to win when your No. 7 hitter drives in seven runs. It may even be in the baseball rule book.
Jones said after the game that is was his 500th professional homer, counting his time in the minors. Cool moment.
The Braves had lost eight straight games to the Phillies and those type of streaks and numbers have a way of taking on a life of their own. That is until you kill them by coming back from 6-0 and 12-8 to win in extra innings.
And while some of the old reliables in the bullpen falter - Eric O'Flaherty was rocked and Craig Kimbrel blew a save - the ancient reliable continues to impress. Yes, Livan Hernandez pitched another scoreless inning - his third consecutive appearance without allowing a run. And while the interweb shows he's 37, we're not buying it.
Great win. The only thing that could have made it more expected was if it was on May 3, right?
It's as you would expect on the First In/Last In Derby challenge. Here's a recap:
The rules are simple: Give us the winner and the horse that you think will finish dead last. Each is worth two points. (If no one picks the winner, we'll award one point to the highest-finishing picked horse.) The tie-breaker will be after the fact and it will be a paragraph essay contest on whether there is a drink out there that's worse than a Mint Julep, which sounds as tough as kittens but can be as painful as an IRS audit. Seriously, a Mint Julep is a mint leaf, bourbon, sugar and water, and maybe we have never had a proper one, but we know we've never had a good one. And we like bourbon. (Bourbony, bourbon, bourbon. Here it goes down, down in my belly.)
Yesterday we covered 10 horses that won't win the derby and added Underdeveloped Human Carrier (shout-out to Mr. 962) as another fleabag with no shot.
Here's the field of horses that actually may win:
1) Daddy Long Legs - 30-1
2) Optimizer - 50-1
3) Take Charge Indy - 15-1
4) Union Rags - 9-2
5) Dullahan - 8-1
6) Bodemeister - 4-1
7) Rousing Sermon - 50-1
8) Creative Cause - 12-1
9) Trinniberg - 50-1
10) Daddy Nose Best - 15-1 (this is of course our personal favorite)
11) Alpha - 15-1
12) Prospective - 30-1
13) Went the Day Well - 10-1 (Not sure about this name, but like it way better than his younger brother "Wet the Bed Well")
14) Hansen - 10-1 (If it's from the brothers in "Slapshot," it's a great name; if it's for the hair band brothers, it's a terrible name)
15) Gemologist - 6-1
16) El Padrino - 20-1 (If the rain comes as expected, here's an upset pick to watch)
17) Done Talking - 50-1 (You know how we feel about this bag o' bones; hate it)
18) Sabercat - 30-1 (Bad name)
19) I'll have another - 12-1 (This is more than name, this is a life choice; second on the chart behind Daddy Nose Best)
20) Liaison - 50-1
21) AE. My Adonis - 50-1 (If this Underevelopment Human Carrier does not enter the track with a spin-off version of the Run DMC classic "My Adidas" then someone has some 'splain' to do)
Send us your picks, and you could win some Braves tickets. Bring it.
Where did the week go?
Wow, somehow this week flew right by, right. Whole ton of stuff going on that we really have undercovered. Try some of this on for size (and there will be more on some of these topics in Friday's mail bag, which has an opening left if you want in.)
- Talladega is this weekend, and here's saying that Junior will win. Hey, we've been as big of critic of Junior's as almost anyone, but we got a strange feeling.
- The Eric LeGrand story that someone tossed out there Wednesday is awesome. Period. In fact, in times of superstars punching fire extinguishers and billionaire owners feuding with millionaire players as ticket prices soar, it's stories like this one that remind us all why we came to love sports in the first place. (You can catch-up on it in ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's view here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/may/03/good-bad-sadly-ugly-parts-of-nfl/).
- The NBA playoffs are going full speed. (Wow, how good did San Antonio look last night?) Nice win for Memphis, and Grizzlies Fan No. 1 - our very own Downtown Patrick Brown - says Memphis is going to handle the series. We trust him.
- We have heard rumblings that the NHL is having a postseason-type tournament, but we're not convinced. We've even heard that a semi-area team that may or may not sound like the Fedators may or may not still be in said tournament. We are going to do everything in our power not to jinx said Feds, who may or may not have won 2-0 with our boy Rinne doing work in the net and a defense in front of him that realized the seriousness of the moment. So we have nothing to say about that.
- Jared Weaver tossed a no-hitter last night. There are few things as unpredictable and attention grabbing as no-hitters. In that aspect they are the car wrecks of sports - never know when they may happen and can't help watching. (Side note: Weaver is right there with Tim Lincecum behind Justin Verlander as the guys that have the type of stuff that a no-hitter is possible at any given time. That would a be cool group to be a part of.)
This and that (May 3 edition)
- Earl Woods died on this day six years. After our discussion about the state of Tiger Woods earlier this week, it's hard not to wonder how things would be different if Earl Woods - apparently the only person on the planet, including Tiger Woods, that seemed to be honest and direct with Tiger Woods - was still alive.
- Eric Church turns 35 today, and for those of you who don't know Church, well, he's one of the few throwback country music stars of today. (His "Put a Drink in My Hand" is the best new country song in arguably a decade. Seriously. Willie or Waylon would have recorded it. And now that he really needs the coin, Willie would be honored to do a reggae version of it. We have a few rules in life, and one of them is that male country music singers and baseball players should show up for work with a hat on.)
- Bing Crosby and James Brown each were born on May 3. Each of those dudes could flat go. Period. And while styles and tastes change through time, each of those cats' genre - Crosby and crooning; Brown and his version of Rock and Soul and Blues - has never truly recovered from losing the two uber-stars of that field.
Today's question is in honor of May 3, when Joe DiMaggio made his big league debut 76 years ago.
We contend DiMaggio may be the most overrated baseball player of all-time. This is not to say DiMaggio was not a star and probably deserved to be in the Hall; but for the love Willie Mays cleats, DiMaggio was voted on the all-Century team. Puh-lease. (Another star of NYC, Joe Namath, is the most overrated pro athlete of all time in our view.)
For the regulars around these parts, we have the All-Tim Duncan Team, a collection of players who are viewed as very good players but still do not get the credit they deserve (like Duncan, who is an all-timer in NBA history even though no one will admit it). This is the reverse of that - star players who were wickedly overrated.
Who is on your Rushmore of Overrated Stars? We'll go Namath, DiMaggio, Scottie Pippen, Evander Holyfield.