5 at 10: Mail bag

5 at 10: Mail bag

May 11th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

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

Hey 5@10,

Rickie Fowler

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

What a great win this past weekend for Rickie Fowler. Right now, the PGA Tour is so unpredictable. It seems like there's never a clear cut favorite. I guess I'm just so used to Tiger winning tournaments before they even start. Who do you think will take the baton from Tiger as the next great golfer? Also, who do you think is the current greatest player to never win a major?

CelticVol

Golf is in a good spot and a scary spot.

There's a ton of young talent and there is the looming legends of Tiger and Phil that could contend almost anywhere. And even when Tiger and Phil are not on the first page of the leaderboard, they still are the most popular guys on the tour.

That said, that's a scary place to be too. Without big-time star power, individual sports can become forgettable. NASCAR is struggling with that a little bit right now. And like leadership, you need you star-power athletes to at least be among your best (we could call this the Dale Jr. corollary, but your question is about golf, so FORE.)

The next great golf stars, huh? Here's the five we'd buy stock in and take our chances every week:

1) Rory McIlroy - Unreal swing and a real drive to be great

2) Rickie Fowler - Has a chance to be a real rock star on tour

3) Dustin Johnson - When he's healthy

4) Jason Day - Dude is so good

5) Harris English - Maybe we're a little bit biased, but kid has the total package

As for the greatest player to never win a major, that's tough. As for current players we'd say Lee Westwood followed by Adam Scott and Luke Donald. As for all-time, well, the most accomplished was Harry Cooper, who won 31 times on the PGA Tour and never won a major. It's hard to pick from the group that includes Kenny Perry, Colin Montgomerie, Westwood and even Sergio Garcia.

---

From BiSpy

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) and Boston Celtics center Ryan Hollins (50) battle for a loose ball during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA first-round playoff series basketball game Tuesday, May 8, 2012, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 87-86. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The Hawks, as an organization, died many years ago when, with Mo and Nique already in the house, signed Reggie Theus. No knock on Theus, a fine player in his own right. But with three guys known for their proclivity to shoot first and ask questions later, much less pass the basketball, just how did they think that would work out? Wasn't Joe Johnson a Celtics draft pick at one point? (Then again, so was Joe Forte, I believe, and I thought he was going to be a good one. Oops.)

Spy,

Their underachieving history is eye-popping, and if the first death blow was adding Reggie Theus, who was great in that NBC Saturday morning show "Hang Time," they pulled the plug dealing Dominique to the Clippers for Danny Manning. (And yes, Joe Johnson and Joe Forte were Celtics draft picks.)

The Hawks are desperately fractured and barring some kind of miracle, there's no way out of the tragic sports cycle of being pretty good.

Pretty good gets you into the playoffs year after year.

Pretty good gets you into the second round every third year and no farther.

Pretty good gets you a river of first-round picks in the late teens and early 20s, and unless there is some crazy happening in the draft, seldom is anything more than an accessory available that far into the first round. Plus with the cap-strapped situation created by giving Joe Johnson a nine-figure deal and the NBA trend of everybody going to a place where they have enough pieces to win the whole thing, there's not a solution in sight.

Side note about the Hawks: Any time the Hawks play in Philips Arena, it almost feels like a neutral site. The Hawks fans - all 17 of them are there - and since the A-T-L is filled with so many transplants, any opposing team of merit has as many supporters in the stands. It's weird.

---

From Todd962

Nashville Predators

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

What, no hockey talk? You jinx the Preds right out of the playoffs and you arent even going to take a bow for your efforts?

And a question, has anything helped hockey get into the mainstream of sports more than HD Television? I remember watching hockey years ago and having trouble following what the duece was going on cause you couldnt tell where the puck was. You just waited for the fight or for the goal buzzer to go off. With the HD tv's of today you can see the puck flying in the net twice as good as Rinne.

Mr. 962

We answered this briefly in the comments earlier this week and we stand by that.

HD has helped every sport, but hockey has probably received the most fundamental TV boost for the reason you stated. In pre-HD days (known simply as the dark ages at the 5-at-10 compound) it was impossible to follow the puck. And the idea of the blue line following the puck was at best distracting and at worst some blurry-vision form of eye torture. Golf in HD deserves some major props, too.

We also feel that it's important to know that no sport improves more in person than hockey. It's outstanding in person. NASCAR is a fairly close second, by the way.

In addition to the positives of HD, we wanted to open the discussion to the advances of TV sports viewing in general.

Think about watching a baseball game now without the permanent score box. And if you don't think you're addicted to the yellow first-down line, try watching an old replay. TV advancements have been crazy good.

----

From PDavi

I've heard a rumor you like the draft. True or false?

And if it's true, I have a question I've been meaning to toss your way.

What's the worse draft pick in each of the major sports? As you say, discuss (or talk too much).

Thanks, and I'll hang up and listen.

PDavi,

Yes, the rumors are true, we love the draft. But we have a funny feeling you knew this.

And this is an interesting question and one that yields a fair amount of debate. In an effort to hedge that debate, let's clarify some parameters. Some one who goes No. 1 overall and gets injured can't be the worst pick. For a pick to be truly "the worst" it has to have a pungent blend of overreaching, misjudging talent, ignoring huge talent elsewhere on the board and disastrous results.

Let's give this a try, and make it a little more difficult with a top five in the big three (sorry folks, we may have tripled our hockey talk lately, but we're just not able to discuss hockey draft success and failures):

Worst NFL Draft picks

1) Raiders take JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall - This pick was so bad it had a lot to do with the NFL labor struggles last offseason. Seriously. That said, we could have a complete top-five of Raiders' miscues, since they used the No. 2 overall pick on reserve offensive lineman/part-time starter at guard Robert Gallery (who's now in New England), Darius Heyward Bey in the top 10 and used a first-rounder on a kicker.

2) The entire QB class of 1999 (with the exception of Donovan McNabb) - Tim Couch went No. 1 overall, Akili Smith went No. 3 and Cade McNown went No. 12. Wow, what's the career highlight for any of those guys?

3) Ryan Leaf No. 2 in 1998 - You're aware of his story

4) Charlie Rogers No. 2 in 2003 - Freakish athlete that was a freakish disappointment. Made doubly worse since Texas stud and possible Hall of Famer Andre Johnson was taken a few spots later.

5) There really are too many to mention, but this one deserves notice. The Denver Broncos used a third-round pick on Maurice Clarett in 2005. Clarett had been out of football for two years and likely could have been had for a seventh-round pick. Instead, Denver used a third-rounder on a player that never played a down. Side note: Brandon Jacobs and Marion Barber each went within the next 10 picks.

NBA

1) Portland took Sam Bowie over MJ in 1984. This may be the most famous draft miscue of all time. Plus, the Trailblazers are mirror images of the Raiders.

2) Detroit took Darko Milicic No. 2 overall in 2003. In the draft that included the three Heatles in the top five, the Pistons pulled Darko off the board and watched as the next three picks were Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

3) Golden State took Joe Barry Carroll first in 1980. To make matter worse, the Warriors traded Robert Parrish and the No. 3 pick to Boston to move up to take Joe Barely Cares. (As Spy knows that No. 3 pick became Kevin McHale. Ouch-standing.)

4) Portland took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007 - 2007 was a bad year to be No. 1 overall. (Side note: The No. 2 picks Oden and Calvin Johnson have been excellent.)

5) Portland took LaRue Martin No. 1 overall in 1972. There was some med school student available that year. Some kid named Erving, that everyone called Dr. J.

(And that's without Kwame Brown, Shawn Bradley and a slew of others. There have been a lot of bad NBA draft picks.)

Baseball

1) The White Sox and the Angels took Danny Goodwin No. 1 overall in 1971 and 1975 respectively. Yep, you'd think someone who was drafted No. 1 overall twice would be someone we'd recognize, right?

2) The Pirates took Bryan Bullington No. 1 overall in 2002.

3) The Mets took Shawn Abnber No. 1 overall in 1984 (they debated between Abner and some kid named Mark McGwire)

4) The Mets took Steve Chilcott No. 1 overall in 1966 (ahead of some youngster named Reggie Jackson)

5) The Yankees took Brien Taylor No. 1 overall in 1991

----

Dear 5 @ 10-?I noticed that as things began to deteriorate during the Predators playoff run, you started to pull back in an effort to not jinx the team. And in seeing this, it got me to thinking about superstitions in sports. Now back in the day, I know that I had certain rituals prior to competing that absolutely HAD to be done a certain way, in a certain order, at a certain time, no questions asked. However, I have since resigned myself to the fact that what I wear, where I sit, what I drink, etc. will not somehow influence the outcome of a sporting event or carry my team to victory. Oh what a dark day that was. This may have been discussed previously, but does the 5er have any particular rituals or superstitions that help him get through personal or team events? Do you have any favorites from the sporting world? ?DeBoman

Great question.

Back when we were playing a lot of sports, we had a lot of superstitions. We'd get dressed the same way. Find a routine that worked if we were hitting shots or throwing strikes. In fact, we truly respect Crash Davis' view that, "A player on a streak has to respect the streak because they don't come around that often."

As a fan - and as an SEC football fan - we're almost required to have superstitions. We wore the same shirt/visor combo in every win of Auburn's national championship season. (We retired it after 2010, so maybe last year's struggles were as much about the 5-at-10's wardrobe as bad quarterback play.) You're correct of course that where we sit, what we wear, what we drink, what have you has ZERO impact on the game, but we're fans, short for fanatics. So it goes.

As for the sports superstitions, here's a quick list in no particular order. (If you think we left one off share, and feel free to share your fan superstitions, too.)

-Playoff bears in hockey are cool.

- MJ wore his UNC shorts under his Bulls shorts. It worked for him alright.

- We've always been somewhat puzzled by the SI cover jinx.

- Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game on his way to baseball's Hall of Fame

- And we have to say our favorite would be that no one talks to the pitcher or even mentions a no-hitter when it's in progress. Got to respect the streak.