5 at 10: Friday mailbag on sports movies and superstar injuries (with special guest star Ulysses Everett McGill)

5 at 10: Friday mailbag on sports movies and superstar injuries (with special guest star Ulysses Everett McGill)

May 4th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Ulysses Everett McGill is in the house, helping Jay out with the Friday mailbag.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

From the "Talk too much Studios" here we go...

Hey 5@10,

It's kind of a slow sports week with the NFL draft ending up and the NBA playoffs just beginning. I guess I have sort of a weird question for you this week. Growing up did the younger 5@10 ever have a no-name sports hero? Maybe someone you thought was cool that no one else would know about. For me my no-name sports hero was Jerome Walton of the Chicago Cubs. Walton played centerfield and went on to win the 1989 National League Rookie of the Year Award but faded into obscurity thereafter. I began following Walton in the summer of 1989 when the Cubs were in the heat of a playoff race. He had the weirdest open batting stance you had ever seen. I can remember as an 8 year old going to my first baseball practice that summer imitating Walton's open stance. Walton also wore the flip down sunglasses that I still think are awesome. Who was your no-name sports hero?


In this 1986 file photo, the San Diego Padres' Steve Garvey isn't happy as he walks from the dugout after being ejected from the game for the first time in his career. Garvey was thrown out by umpire Charlie Williams after he disputed a call at homeplate which was the third out of a triple play by the Atlanta Braves. Garvey was not involved in the play.

In this 1986 file photo, the San Diego...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

What a great question. And of course we did. So did Ulysses Everett McGill and he wanted to have a vote on which was better his list or mine ("Well Mr. Numeral-preposition-numeral, I figured it should be the one with the capacity for abstract thought. But if that ain't the consensus view, then hell, let's put it to a vote.... Delmar: OK, I'm with you fellas.)

We grew up loving the Dodgers, and it started with Steve Garvey. Tried to duplicate his statuesque batting style and the whole bit.

In fact, those late 70s early 80s Dodgers teams were filled with favorites. And we'd play whiffle ball and use the lineups of our favorites teams and had to bat like the players - lefty or right, closed or open stances, hunched or up-right.

The 1981 World Champions Dodgers were...

Davy Lopes (RH, kind of hunched)

Kenny Landreaux (LH, long swing)

Dusty Baker (RH, basic)

Garvey (RH, statue)

Ron Cey (RH, short stroke with abbreviated follow through)

Reggie Smith (switch-hitter) and/or Pedro Guerrero (RH, long aggressive swing)

Mike Scioscia (LH, basic) and/or Steve Yaeger (RH)

Bill Russell (RH, hunched and choked up on the bat)

After Garvey, our favorite player became the best Dodger. It became Pedro Guerrero (one Christmas, a young 5-at-10 informed the wise 5-at-10 Pop that we could get a game-worn Pedro Guerreo jersey for a mere $250; the wise 5-at-10 Pop responded that he wouldn't pay $250 to watch Pedro Guerrero eat an entire bale of hay). Then it was Gibson and Hershiser and then it was Piazza.

A few others popped to my head, too.

There were a ton of guys that we liked because their baseball cards looked tough;

Liked Bake McBride because we thought his name was cool. Same with Roland Office (especially when he'd make a catch in center field at the old Fulton County Stadium and the megatron would flash "That's Roland's Office");

Loved Steve Bartkowski and William Andrews;

Loved Chris Mullin at St. John's and into the NBA because he could flat shoot it;

(Side note: You're 100 percent correct - flip-down sunglasses were wicked cool. So is eye black - but it should be applied like a fine bourbon... two fingers worth and neat.)

Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire) and Seabiscuit in training from the movie "Seabiscuit."

Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire) and Seabiscuit in training...

Hey, 5@10.

First time writer. I like your column but have to say sometimes you write a whole lot. Where do you have the time?

Put me down for Dullahan to win and Trinneberg to finish last.

Is there a minor sport with less impact that has more watchable movies than horse racing? I mean there are more good horse racing movies than football movies.

Thanks and thanks for the contest.

Rolling Derby

Everett McGill here, and before we turn the can over to Mr. Chatterbox, who like me has been blessed with the gift of gab, know this: Never trust a female Delmar, remember that one simple precept and your time with me will not have been ill spent.

Thanks, Everett and Derby feel free to swing by anytime. As for the contest, here's the list of entries as of this morning (and as always if you don't see your name or see a mistake, just let us know):

StuckinKent - El Padrino/Liaison

McPell - Take the Charge Indy/Daddy Long Legs

BlueOval - Creative Cause/Trinniberg

Todd962 - I'll have another/Optimizer

WC777 - Creative Cause/Rousing Sermon

AddictedtoChalupa - Dullahan/Done talking

Dawg747 - Dullahan/El Padrino

OTWatcher - Bodemeister/Liaison

ThatIdoKnow - Dullahan/Liaison

5-at-10 - Union Rags/AE. My Adonis

Mrs. 5-at-10 - Gemologist/Done Talking

War Eagle - Hansen/Optimizer

Fred - Bodemeister/Trinniberg

Jefe - I'll have another/Sabercat

scole023 - Daddy Nose Best/Prospective

Rolling Derby - Dullahan to win/Trinneberg

TFP golf ace David Uchiyama (who stinks in these 5@10 games): Alpha/Done Talking

In regard to movies, there are a few horse racing classics, and as good as "Seabiscuit" was Laura Hildebrand's book was five-times better. (Side note: She also wrote "Unbroken" which is out-of-this-world. Wow. This will be a separate 5-at-10 item in the near future.) And yes, football struggles to be conveyed on film.

As far as you question, we think boxing is better than horse racing as far as the also-ran sports that produce top-notch movies. Each has a similar quality that it's an individual activity - so there are fewer characters. There also is a definite story arc to one summitt, so that makes the writing easier and the plot easy to follow.

OK, here is our Rushmore sports that produce the best movie (and we'd love to hear which ones we missed on):

1) Baseball (Best: The Natural; baseball is car and away No. 1 because the field is so deep)

2) Boxing (Best: Rocky; looking around there are more good boxing movies than most realize, including the Boxer, Raging Bull, all of the Rockys other than No. 5 and Cinderella Man)

3) Football (Best: Rudy. The sports has been blessed with some Hollywood-script type real life stories such as Rudy, We Are Marshall, Remember the Titans and Friday Night Lights.)

4) Basketball (Best: Hoosiers. And if you have Hoosiers, do you really need anything else, much less the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh and Semi-Pro?)

In this Jan. 9, 2012, file photo, Alabama, right, prepares to snap the ball against LSU during the first half of the BCS National Championship college football game in New Orleans.

In this Jan. 9, 2012, file photo, Alabama,...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

With spring practice in the review mirror, what are we going to do this summer. And what issues around the SEC are still up in the air?


Hope all is well, and as Everett likes to say, "The old tactician has got a plan. For the transportation that is. I don't know how I'm gonna keep my coiffure in order."

As for the summer, well, here's our to-do list:

1) Re-introduce ourselves to the familia, after all we are the paterfamilias;

2) Spend sometime outside

3) Get to NYC for a Yankees-Red Sox game

4) Try to spend some days near various forms of bodies of water

5) As for sports: Watch old replays of college football games (even the spring games), play whiffle ball with the 5-at-10 tots, use my Southern birthright of complaining about the Braves, try to get my handicap back into single digits and sometime in the next couple of weeks star breaking down the SEC in earnest.

Speaking of which, here's five quick predictions for the SEC, which is starting to look an awful like Alabama, LSU and a collection of folks - a band maybe - that is filled with constant sorrow.

1) Alabama is going to be as tough as ever. Sure the Tide lost four first-round picks and had five players picked in the top 35, but there is so much talent in T-Town right now it's scary.

2) LSU's defense will be even better. As good as the Tigers were last year with first-round picks Morris Claiborne and Michael Brockers, there are at least three first-rounders - Tyrann Mathieu, Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo - in the 2013 draft on John Chavis' defense. If Zach Mettenberger is ready, the Tigers will be too.

3) Georgia is the team to beat in the East, and the Bulldogs better make the most of this shot. There is a lot of experienced talent in Athens, and there will be a lot of holes to fill after 2012. But this could be a magical season. The only question we see is how will they handle adversity?

4) How hot will the seats get in Gainesville and Knoxville? That's two fan bases that don't handle struggles well, and Florida is coming off a bad year and the Vols were even worse.

5) How can Arkansas - a team that was on a definite upswing - handle the debacle that was Bobby Petrino's Harley Harlot Hiccup?

This Jan. 24, 2010 file photo shows New Orleans Saints' Anthony Hargrove firing up his teammates before the NFC Championship NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, in New Orleans. Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, is suspended for eight games this season, for participating in a pay-for-pain bounty system. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's ruling was announced Wednesday, May 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

This Jan. 24, 2010 file photo shows New...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

The bounty stuff has kind of puzzled me from the start. Almost every former player on ESPN has said it's not that big of a deal.

Did you see what the commissioner did to the Saints players? That sure seems over the top to me.


While there are a lot of folks who believe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is the devil himself. (Everett: Well, there are all sorts of lesser imps and demons, but the great satan hisself is red and scalely with a bifurcated tail and carries a hayfork. Robert: Naw, sir. He's white. White as you folk. With empty eyes and a big hollow voice and he travels with a mean ole hound.)

And the punishment the NFL has doled out in the Saints bounty scandal - year suspension for Sean Payton, indefinite suspension for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, various suspensions for front-office folks, a year suspension for Jonathan Vilma, half a season for Anthony Hargrove, four games for Will Smith and three for Scott Fukita - seems over the top. Here's saying it needed to be.

Whether this is part of the subculture of every locker room, the NFL was facing huge problems with this scandal going public on several levels.

First, there were the legal ramifications of potential lawsuits from former players about being purposefully hurt. Every player in the league knows their career could last only the next play, but for teams and coaches to be paying extra in an attempt to potentially end those careers is a whole other kettle of fish.

Second, there was issue of getting control of the league. Goodell and the NFL told the Saints to nip this in the bud. (Know what we'd do Andy? Nip it, nip it in the bud.) The Saints gave them lip service and went on doing it any way. Here's saying the level of penalties - plus the Saints losing second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 drafts - has everyones attention.

Third, the league had a P.R. nightmare on its hands. Think of the two biggest issues on Goodell's plate since the labor unrest was settled. There's bounty-gate and there's the repercussions of player safety. And while he's trumpeting the league's efforts to fight concussion trauma and make the game safer, here comes public knowledge - and legal proof - about an NFL team, coaches and players polling money to knock opponents out of games.

Goodell was forced to drop the hammer - whether he has empty eyes and a hound or not is immaterial.

Injured Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose stands at center court while presenting the game ball before the start of game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs in Chicago, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Injured Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose stands...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Can you believe how many freak injuries have happened to superstars in the last week? Has this ever happened before. What is the cause of this, can it be fixed and why do you still talk too much?

PS - Sent my Derby picks in. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.


We'll yield the first graph to the honorable representative from the great state of Mississippi U. Everett McGill, and thank him for his time and service today. "Personal rancor reflecting that remark I don't intend to dignify with comment. But I would like to address your attitude of hopeless negativism. Consider the lillies of the field, or heck look at Delmar as your paradigm of hope."

AS for the injuries, wow, it has been a crazy run. Reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose tears an ACL. Reigning NFL defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs blows out his Achilles'. Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera tears an ACL shagging flies during BP. Crazy stuff. We surely can't remember a run like this.

And for the Bulls and Yankees, the ACLs could be serious blows to teams that had championship dreams.

It's impossible to know if there's any trend or way to prevent these. Maybe it's bad luck. Maybe bad things do come in threes. Maybe it's because today's athletes are in too good of shape.

But of the three above injuries, here's hoping Rivera has a quick recovery and returns to the game next year. He's 42 - he'll turn 43 in November - and he's one of the few players in baseball history that is almost universally acclaimed as the best ever at his position. It would be a shame if the last image we have of his Hall of Fame career is lying on the warning track, twisting in pain.

No, here's hoping Rivera returns next year, and throws the game's singularly most dominating pitch. Think about it this way, even as great as all the other historic pitches - Nolan Ryan's, Randy Johnson's and Justin Verlander' fastball, Steve Carlton's slider, Phil Niekro's knuckler, Fernado's and Carl Hubbell's screwball, Jack Morris's splitter, Greg Maddux's change-up - were, those guys mixed it up and threw other pitches. Not Rivera, who faces the best in the world and just keeps pumping cutters. Here's hoping we see a few more soon.