5-at-10: Wide array of sports topics that mostly do not include the draft

5-at-10: Wide array of sports topics that mostly do not include the draft

April 30th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

OK, we're committed to admitting that there is more to sports than the draft. Allegedly.

We're here. We're dear-ly devoted to the draft. Get used to it.

From the "Talks too much studios"

Sexuality shoulder shrug

Jason Collins

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Everyone is making a huge deal about Jason Collins' decision to come out.

We say, "OK, can he play?"

That's arguably the best thing about sports. It's the closest thing to a meritocracy we have left in our world. If you can play, you can play. It shouldn't matter that you are blue or polka-dotted or tattooed or homosexual or short or whatever.

It has not always been that way of course - and for that reason the folks such as Doc Rivers claiming Collins is like Jackie Robinson are so off base that it does a disservice to Robinson's memory, especially in this time of politically correctness and socially tolerance, by comparison - and those changes are a very good thing.

The knowledge that there have always been gay players in professional sports has always been right in front of us. The numbers - a recent Gallup poll that asked 200,000 people found that 3.5 percent of that group said they were gay; a number that is lower than the popularly referenced 10 percent of the population - tell us there are millions of gay Americans, so to think that none of them play a professional team sport is silly.

Jason Collins just came out of the locker first. Good for him. Good for tolerance. Good for the discourse.

Still, the bigger question in sports should always be, "Can he play?"

And that's how it should be.

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Braves bounce back

Atlanta Braves' Andrelton Simmons, 19, hits a sacrifice fly to bring in Gerald Laird for the go ahead run against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Atlanta.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

After a brutal three-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers in wet and cold Detroit, your Atlanta Braves claimed a much-needed, come-from-behind 3-2 win over Washington and the Nats' ace Stephen Strasburg.

It was a big win made bigger by the opponent and the setting. (Side note: Anyone else getting a strong Mark Pryor vibe from Mr. Strasburg? We sure are.)

Consider these Braves, who are among the most __ teams in recent memory. Pick a word there and it works. They have been great and terrible. They have been dominant and lost. They have slugged and whiffed; pitched like champs and like chumps. It's going to be the dichotomy ride of the summer.

OK, let's pick two guys here and discuss.

First, Mr. Dan Struggla, he of the 33 strikeouts in 79 at-bats so far. Mark Reynolds struck out a record 223 times in 2009. At his current pace, Struggla will fan 214 times. The reverse of that for Struggla is 14-for-46 (.304) on balls he puts in play. Is that sad or optimistic.

Second, let's consider Mr. Jason Heyward, who went on the DL after having an appendectomy. Before he went on the DL, Heyward was hitting a woeful .121. When he comes back, he'll get a chance to right the ship, but his replacement - Jordan Schafer - has been excellent. Schafer has hit .346 with an on-base percentage of .485 and has been the true leadoff hitter this team covets. He also has five steals in six chances.

But these are the Braves, so we can't expect anything to be easy can we. Well other than handing the ball to Craig Kimbrel and feeling really good about it.

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NBA update

We have mostly ignored the NBA playoffs because we have been fully consumed by the NFL draft. (We love the draft. You know this.)

That said, we're starting to get re-acquainted with these NBA playoffs.

Here's the five tidbits we feel like sharing:

• The OKC Thunder are operating on borrowed time. No Russell Westbrook makes the Thunder just a mild afternoon distraction.

• The Heatles are the team to beat. After sweeping the Bucks - yes, no great shakes, mind you - LeBron and Co. are resting and waiting. It's hard to see anyone beating the Heatles four times in seven games since they have lost four times total since Jan. 15.

• The Lakers were such a distraction and such an eye sore, we're kind of happy they have been dismissed.

• The Spurs are the perceived favorite in the West since the Thunder has been reduced to a mild storm. That said, we believe the winner of the Grizz-Clippers series will win the West. Call it a hunch.

• The Hawks smell like feet. That is all.

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This and that

In this fie photo, Tim Tebow holds his first news conference with the New York Jets on March 26, 2012, in Florham Park, N.J.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

- Tim Tebow was released by the Jets on Monday. Much like the Jason Collins news, we ask, "Can he play?" Side question: No one wants to be released, but what do you think the strongest feeling for Tebow was Monday? Sure there was probably some uneasiness about losing your job, but no longer having to deal with the Jets and Rex Ryan had to bring some relief, too, right?

- Good luck to the UTC Mocs women's golf team at the NCAA regional at Auburn.

- We talked some about the falls of Tyler Bray and Da'Rick Rogers in the draft. As our SEC football ace David Paschall tells us here, Georgia's Cornelius Washington's fall to the sixth round was the biggest surprise to Mel Kiper Jr. We're not sure it blew Mel's hair back, but we're pretty sure not much could blow Mel's hair back, if that makes sense. (Side note: Washington's nickname is Corn Wash, and we really like that. That's like the 2.0 version of A-Rod or K-Rod or K-Fed or what have you.)

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Today's question

Feel free to riff on anything that tickles your fancy.

If you need a starting point, would you want your team to sign Tebow? What about Jason Collins?

Is it possible Dan Uggla's bats are afraid of the curveball? And if he's that much like Pedro Cerano, should we look into getting him a live chicken?

And do not forget the mailbag for Friday.