5-at-10: Ballin' Braves, Talladega and Free Swinging Golf

5-at-10: Ballin' Braves, Talladega and Free Swinging Golf

May 7th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

CA-Razy weekend from top to bottom. The TFP announced two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning will be our speaker at the Best of Preps banquet. (And we announced this on the FaceSpace or one of those hip social media things - side note: we're not all that old... We're a Man! We're 41!... but we can remember a fun time when social media included reporters hanging out after work. Alas). We had Mr. Belding pop up on "Mad Men." Goober died. The Braves were the most disruptive thing to hit Colorado since Harry and Lloyd pulled into town. Shaquille O'Neal is a doctor. Seriously. We were dealing with a lot of stuff. (Candelsticks make a nice present, maybe we could find out where they are registered, and get them a place-setting. OK, let's get two.)

So in honor of Goober's more famous cousin Gomer and of Dr. Shaq O'Neal, here's a Shazam-edition of the 5-at-10 dotted with surprising twists. (And the fact that Dr. Shaq is now Dr. Shaq - he earned a doctorate in education this weekend - make the next NBA on TNT must-see TV. Don't you know he's going to make Chuck Barkley call him Dr. Shaq. Not turrible.)

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

Atlanta Braves left fielder Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, center, and Jason Heyward right, celebrate a 7-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies during a baseball game Sunday, May 6, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Atlanta Braves left fielder Martin Prado, Michael...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Braves keep on banging

Things that make you say Shazam: The Braves faced Jamie Moyer on Saturday night. When Moyer made his first appearance against Atlanta in 1987, Jason Heyward, who homered against Moyer on Saturday night had not been born and the 5-at-10 was wrapping up our sophomore year in high school. The Braves' lineup against Moyer included such Hall-of-Mediocre names as Dion James, Ken Oberkfell and Andres Thomas. Here was the order against Moyer: James, Oberkfell, Gerald Perry, Dale Murphy, Ken Griffey (yes, it was senior, but at this point he didn't need to be senior because he was the only Ken Griffey in the big leagues), Graig Nettles, Ozzie Virgil, Thomas and Rick Mahler.

As for these Braves, well they smoked Colorado in a three-game series that was part slow-pitch softball slugfest and part pre-match theatrics of a WWE event.

The Braves homered at least twice in each game this weekend and are now leading baseball in runs scored with 162. That's right at 5.6 runs a game, and that's not too shabby. Freddie Freeman, who homered in Sunday's 7-2 win, is slap killing it. He was 6-for-14 with two homers and seven RBIs in Colorado and his hitting .298 on the year and leads the team in homers (6), RBIs (26), runs (21) and OPS (.864). More than a month into the season, Freeman is on pace to hit 34 homers and knock in 145 runs. (That said, the guy swings more than our 4-year-old. He has all of five walks in 28 games and 114 official at-bats. When you're hitting like he is, who can blame him for swinging at everything.)

As for the WWE bit, apparently Moyer accused Chipper Jones of stealing signs Saturday night, something Jones was less-than-thrilled about. Of course in today's athletic world, Moyer and Jones going toe-to-toe would be the equivalent of throwing down on the Sega Genesis. Where would this showdown between two 40-plus-year-old players happen, at the 4 p.m. early-bird special at the Shoney's in East Ridge? Maybe those guys weren't really yelling at each other - maybe they just have a tough time hearing.


Michael Waltrip (55) leads during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday, May 6, 2012, in Talladega, Ala. (AP Photo/Autostock, Nigel Kinrade)

Michael Waltrip (55) leads during the NASCAR Sprint...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Racing everywhere

Shazam: Is there anything more predictable in racing than the big wreck in the final 10 laps at Talladega? Just asking, since there was another nine-car pile-up with four laps left Sunday.

Wow the Kentucky Derby was exciting. And shout-outs to McPell, Mr. 962 and Jefe for tying for first with two points in the second-annual First-In, Last-In Derby challenge. McPell got two points for correctly picking flea-bag Daddy Long Legs as the Last-In. (Although McPell's pick for First-In - Take Charge Indy - was just a few steps ahead of last and finished 19th.)

Todd962 and Jefe each had I'll Have Another winning - and on Cinco de Mayo, I'll Have Another was the super-smart play. Jefe's Last-In (SaberCat) finished worse than Mr. 962's (Optimizer) and closer to the back than McPell's did to the front. So, we have a little bit of a dynasty brewing since Jefe has now gone back-to-back after winning the Draft Challenge, too. Thanks for playing, and in the end we're all winners. Any thoughts on our next contest?

Well, we're all winners unless you picked Dale Jr. to win this weekend like we did. Junior finished ninth at 'Dega, a place he has five career wins, and he's third in the overall points. Junior's streak without a win is now at 139 races.

Brad Keselowski worked a little late-race strategery and managed to hold the lead on the final lap for his second win of the season, which means he is sitting pretty in regard to the Chase. Remember the wildcard allows the driver with the most wins not in the top 10 into the Chase, and with two titles already - and looking like more could be on the way - Keselowski has to feel good about his chances.

Good times, indeed.


Tiger Woods, right, and Phil Mickelson, left, during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament in Pebble Beach, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Tiger Woods, right, and Phil Mickelson, left, during...

Free swinging, golf style

Shazam: Did anyone see Phil Mickelson's jab at Tiger Woods last week? He opened his press conference last week asking the reporters if they "saw his video" in reference to Woods' decision to skip his media appearance and take questions from fans on Twitter. Seemed a little petty for Mickelson to be honest, but here's the ultimate statement about how far Tiger's golf has fallen: At any point before the wreck and the personal life troubles became common knowledge, no player would have dared to crack on Tiger. And if they had, Woods would have put a Biblical whipping on them. (Remember when Stephen Ames said he thought Woods was beatable before they met in a match-play event, and Tiger beat him 9 & 8, which is the golf equivalent of Georgia Tech beating Cumberland 222-0. After the match, Tiger was asked if had heard Ames' comments, and he looked at the camera and said, "9 & 8.") Now, Woods gets a finger in the eye from one of his chief rivals and how does he respond - Tiger missed the cut.

Three things are apparent about the game of golf.

First, you have to be able to hit it a ton to contend now. Yeah, you may still putt for dough, but if you can not get it out there, you are out of there. Rickie Fowler won his first PGA event - Senator, love the suit - and he was hitting 310-yard 3-woods. Rory McIlroy, who was there until the end, went driver gap wedge into the 478-yard 16th. Cuh-Razy.

Second, and this plays off the first thing, too. Luke List will be on the PGA Tour no later than 2013. List, who hits it a ton and then some, made bogey on the 72nd and finished one shot off the pace at the Nationwide event this weekend. List is now second on the Nationwide money list, and the top 25 finishers on that list will get Tour cards next year.

Third, Mickelson will be inducted into the golf hall of fame tonight. Yes, it seems strange to induct someone who still is on the short list of contender at every event he enters, but golf's rules allow for players to be eligible once they hit 40. And Mickleson's numbers make him a first-ballot guy. (Side note: Mickleson is no way the most talented guy being inducted tonight. His 40 career PGA wins and four majors are chicken feed compared to the career Dan Jenkins put together.)


This and that (we know we have already written something like 8,000 words, but a lot happened this weekend)

- Wow, Albert Pujols hit his first homer of the season Sunday - two days after getting booed by the Angels fans.

- Floyd Mayweather was tested by Miguel Cotto but won on a unanimous decision. Whether we ever see Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight is still uncertain and appears doubtful. Sigh.

- Let's say there's a certain hockey team that may or may not be headed to Arizona tonight needing a win to stay alive. That's all we're saying.

- Will we look back on the 2011 Dallas Mavs as the worst major sport championship team of all time? Maybe. And hey, the New York Knicks won a playoff game for the first time since before 9/11. We'll have more NBA throughout the week.

- Baltimore DH Chris Davis became the first AL position player to get a pitching win since Rocky Colavito in 1968. Of course he did it against the Boston Red Sox. Here's saying that Bernie from "Weekend at Bernie's" could outmanage Bobby Valentine.

- Colt Hamels plunked rookie hot shot Bryce Harper this weekend because he wanted to. Got to respect Colt's honest of course, but he may want to be on his toes the next time he steps into the box against the Nationals.


Today's question

We have two questions today, but feel free to discuss any all matters - aas long as they are suitable for a family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column. First is the long-form; second is the short-answer:

In our mind the ultimate lose-lose in sports is getting on the mat and wrestling against a female. (Zip it Spy.) We're talking about actual high school wrestling, and facing off against a female opponent, something that is rare but not entirely unheard of.

It's the ultimate lose-lose because if you win, you beat a girl. And if you lose, sweet high notes of high school heckling, that would get ugly.

Well, in Saturday's Nationwide race at Talladega, Danica Patrick got her fire-retardant pants in a bunch after a run-in with Sam Hornish Jr. She ultimately pushed Hornish's car into the wall after the race. Hey, those things happen from time to time, and frequently lead to hot tempers, throwing helmets and punches (and while fighting is rarely accaptable in sports, if someone purposely drove us into a wall at 150-plus mph, well, there'd be a few things thrown beyond helmets and cuss words).

What if Hornish had got out of the car and got in Danica's face? What if someone had done that to her? What if God were one of us? What if the chief export of Colombia actually was coffee? What if... well you get the idea.

It will be interesting to see how NASCAR polices this.

Second question: Now that Shaq is a doctor, which living athlete would shock you most to become a doctor. We don't ever see Dr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Dr. Allen Iverson on the horizon anytime soon.