5-at-10: Cliche crashing on pitching inside, patience with Dooley and production vs. potential

5-at-10: Cliche crashing on pitching inside, patience with Dooley and production vs. potential

May 8th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Cue the myth-busters music. Da-Da-Dum. We're hunting some old dinosaurs today. Da-Da-Dum. We're on a mission, and quite frankly, this will be the day we snub out some of the great truths that coaches, parents, teachers and time-crunched sports writers have used for far too long. Da-Da-Dum. We're going after cliches, and we're taking them down. Da-Da-Da-Da------Dum,

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

Washington Nationals' batter Bryce Harper is hit by the pitch thrown by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels during the first inning of their baseball game at Nationals Park, Sunday, May 6, 2012, in Washington. Harper later scored by stealing home from third base. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)

Washington Nationals' batter Bryce Harper is hit by...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Honesty is the best policy

We'll start our cliche crusade with a fundamental truth that was debunked in full this weekend. Let's examine the course of events.

Cole Hamels plunked Bryce Harper on Sunday. And we all kind of suspected it was on purpose.

Jordan Zimmermann plunked Cole Hamels later in the game. And we all knew it was completely on purpose.

Well, Hamels shot the media straight after the game, saying he hit Harper because he wanted to and received a five-game suspension. Zimmermann, who was every bit as intent on hitting Hamels as Hamels was in hitting Harper, said nothing and received no suspension. This has way less to do with the act - Hamels hitting Harper for being a rookie or for some pomp and circumstance tradition was more bush league baseball than old-school baseball - and way more with the aftermath.

Honesty is the best policy, huh? Apparently not in politics or dealing with commissioners.

(Side note: Harper came out of this smelling like a rose. In fact, Hamels said he plunked the 19-year-old prodigy for "old-school baseball" reasons. Well, Harper handled it like old-school baseball - jogging to first and eventually scoring by stealing home.)


Patience is a virtue

Poppycock. At least it's poppycock in the world of sports, which has become the apex of the instant-gratification, what-have-you-done-this-minute mentality that has consumed our culture.

UT Vols Coach Derek Dooley

UT Vols Coach Derek Dooley

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

Ask any UT football fan how much patience they have with Derek Dooley's program right now. After back-to-back winning seasons, Dooley's seat is noticeably warmer this offseason (how else would you explain the Vols head coach planning on attending every Big Orange Caravan stop this month). Plus, in the SEC - the biggest Darwinistic jungle in sports where truly only the strongest can survive - there is no time for rebuilding. It's win now or whine about patience. And while the motto of Faber College - the Ivy League-level institution that housed Otter, Bluto, D-Day, Boone and the rest of the Delta Tau Chis of "Animal House" - that "Knowledge is Good" is hard to argue with, Dooley and the Vols need several of the players that were on thin academic ice to finish the spring semester in style.

As for more patience, ask Robert Griffin III, who needed as many practice snaps as Spy got to earn the starting job with the Washington Redskins. (Of course as bad as the Redskins were at quarterback last year, if they had not moved heaven and Earth to land RGIII, here's saying the 5-at-10 would have made a run at the job.) Now that the former Heisman winner has 'earned' the job, he better deliver. That's true of all rookie QBs of course, but especially true for RGIII in Washington, which moved three first-round picks to move up to pick him.

Patience, smatience.


The grass is always greener

There's something to be said for huge contracts and making big dollars. In fact there are hundreds of millions of reasons to like the sound of hundreds of millions of dollars.

But looking back on big-dollar deals, we can't help but wonder how many of them would possibly reconsider leaving a great environment for greener pastures and much greener bank accounts. Let's explore a few of them in recent memory:

Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols hits a two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, May 6, 2012. This was Pujols' first home run of the season. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols hits a two-run...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Albert Pujols: After arguably the best decade start to a career in baseball history, left St. Louis as a cult hero for more money in Anaheim. If he had stayed he could have possibly passed Stan Musial as the most-beloved player in Cards history. Now he's an Angel and he's struggled to the point where he was booed last weekend. (We think Albert would go back to St. Louis if he could. As quickly as he could, too.)

Jayson Werth: A dismal 2011 was followed by a broken wrist that ended this season even before it started. Werth still would take the Nationals' offer since they wickedly overpaid him, but wow, he looks like a big-time bust in D.C.

Tom Glavine (Old-school category): We'd bet a week's salary, if Glavine could go back and re-up with the Braves rather than signing with the Mets, he would have. In fact, make it two week's salary. (Just don't tell the Mrs. 5-at-10; we can keep this between us, right?)


- Good things come to those who wait: Really, ask a Cubs fan about that. And while starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Ryan Dempster have been strong, the Cubs are just 12-17 after beating the Braves 5-1 last night. How bad have the bats been for the Cubs, who last won a World Series 104 years ago? Dempster, who will get the ball tonight against Atlanta, has made four starts this season and leads the majors with a 0.95 ERA. That means he's allowing less than one earned run per nine innings pitched. He's 0-1 on the year. Ouch-standing.

- You mess with the Bull(s), you get the horns: The top-seeded Chicago Bulls are on the brink of being bounced in the playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers. (And to make matters worse, the Sixers are coached by Doug Collins, the NBA coaching equivalent of assistant principle Richard Vernon, the cult classic character in "Breakfast Club" who told Bender the magical, "you mess with the bull, you get the horns." Doug Collins is the NBA coach parallel to Richard Nixon. No matter how much good was done - Collins overachieving with these 76ers; Nixon getting into China - the two huge elephants in the room - Collins couldn't win with MJ on his roster; Nixon and Watergate - overshadow everything else. OK, to be fair to these Bulls, no team in any sport could overcome losing two of its best three players to injury in the same playoff series, and even if they do advance, a Derrick Rose-less Chicago team has nothing for the Heat.

- Hard work pays off: Puh-lease. How many of us dreamed of being big leaguers? Of seeing our goofy mugs on a Topps baseball card? Well, a minute percentage of those that dream it get to live it. Unless of course you're a supermodel. Kate Upton will be part of a group of non-baseball celebs that will be part of this summer's special run of Topps cards. (Erin Andrews, Kirk Herbstriet, Arnold Palmer, Ewa Mataya, Michael Buffer, Meadowlark Lemon and Colin Montgomerie also are among the group. Wait, ... COLIN MONTGOMERIE? What?) Whatever, and since we've never meet any of these people, we can't comment on the cliche of beauty only being skin deep. (Although for Montie, well, that's no worries about the beauty part.)


Today's question

This was a point raised by something StuckinKent said yesterday.

Here's the back end of StuckinKent's post Monday: "And good night- how about Heyward's foul ball/homerun on Saturday night? He hit that thing about 700 feet it looked like. Crushed it. That's why he's one of the rising stars in the game. And Freddie Freeman looks like he might be on his way to being one of the top 1B in the game. Those two are still so young. Keep them together for the long haul and the Braves are going to be a very tough out."

But what if the Braves could only sign one of the 23-year-old studs to a 10-year, nine-figure contract? Who is it and why? And maybe this could answer this potential inquisitive cliche: What's more valuable, potential or production?