We woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across our head.
The Beatles... underrated or overrated? We are fans, but are they the best ever? We tend to think so, so maybe they are properly rated.
Where were we? Oh yeah. We thought the radio debut of Press Row with TFP ace David Paschall and the sports editor on 105.1 FM went swimmingly. We'll give it another go today from 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM here in town and on espnchattanooga.com.
And with that it started raining again. Man, this is getting a bit tired. And soggy. Stay dry - and thirsty - friends.
From the "Talks too much" studios, take a sad song and make it better.
LeBron James' infamous Decision turned 3 on Monday.
They're so cute at that age, except when they're not. (Side note: We are a parent of young tots, and we appreciate you folks listening to our tot stories even if they are not as shut-your-mouth cute as the parents may think. So thanks for that. Where were we?)
So with three years of retrospect, what do we make of the Decision?
It still was not a good PR move, but it's hard to argue the results on the court, considering James and the Heat have made the Finals each of those three years, winning two titles.
The Cavs have fallen to the dregs of the league and have been rebuilding for three years and a day.
In truth, the greatest testament to James' value is likely this simple sentence: With James, the Cavs had the best record in basketball; without James, they have picked first in the draft two of the last three years.
The Decision was bad - and the overblown pep rally with the counting of titles made it worse - but like with most things, time tends to bring tolerance. And perspective.
After three years - and Dwight Howard volunteering to take the hot seat in the "You're noting without a ring" circle - the Decision seems more the definition of a bad choice than the defining moment of James' career that it could have been.
So it goes.
There are two days of fan voting left for the final spots for next week's All-Star game. Yasiel Puig and Freddie Freeman are among the five candidates in the running for the NL spot.
On Monday, the almost all of the four-man rosters for the home run derby were announced. NL captain David Wright picked Bryce Harper, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. AL captain Robinson Cano picked Chris Davis and Prince Fielder and has one more open spot.
Yay. Or not. More blah than hurrah, really.
Growing up, baseball's All-Star game was the best. Part of that was forever changed with interleague play - the All-Star game and the World Series were the only times AL and NL players faced each other. That toothpaste is forever out of the tube.
Still, there has to be some things to make next week's events more entertaining. It was once called the midsummer classic for crying out loud. It's more midsummer tragic now, especially the home run derby with Berman making our ears bleed.
We talked briefly about this on Press Row on Monday with Paschall, but here's a list of five things we'd do tomorrow to make the entire experience more enjoyable:
1) Chris Berman is no longer involved. This would be a big step, and yes, it could be applied to a lot of different ESPN ventures, but still.
2) Pitch limits. The home run derby should not last longer than a Mel Gibson war epic. These are some of the best hitters in the world, and they pick the fellows that are throwing BP. Heck, the 5-at-10's 5-year-old Bulls only got 4-5 pitches per AB, MLB sluggers can make do with the same.
3) We heard this idea on talk radio, and loved it. Have prize sections in the outfield and if a player hits one of them, everyone gets a free hot dog. Maybe let fans enter online and give everyone a free Subway sammich. There are a ton of opportunities here.
4) Have a skills competition. Who is the fastest player in baseball? Which pitcher throws hardest? Who has the best curveball? Which outfielder has the strongest arm? Find a way to have a combine out there among the game's best.
5) Change the reward structure of the All-Star game results. Forget the home-field advantage for the World Series stuff - it's stupid and way too great a stake for a pinch hitter from San Diego to be deciding against a reliever from Houston. Pool money from the MLB, the hosting club, the hosting city and the MLB players association, and pay every member of the winning team $250,000. Losing team gets bagel. Want motivated players, get six-figures involved.
Whatcha you got?
Is this Georgia bunch a top-10 team? We think so. Are they top 5? We'll know before September is done.
Georgia starts 2013 with a trip to Clemson and then plays South Carolina and LSU in Athens among its first four games. Each is ranked in the top 15. Each enters the season with lofty aspirations and all-star worthy talent.
And Georgia is right there with those clubs in each category. Each team has at least one player on the recently released Maxwell watch list, a collection of 76 players tagged by the Maxwell Award folks as the best in the country. And Clemson, LSU and Georgia each have a quarterback on the list. (We're not sure how LSU's Zach Mettenberger was included and South Carolina's Connor Shaw was excluded, but so it goes.)
Let's examine those first three games for the Bulldogs:
Clemson: Arguably the toughest, considering it's on the road and the Tigers have one of the nation's best QB-WR combos in Tajh Boyd and the man you better as Joe the Policeman in the 'What's Going Down' episode of "That's My Mama", Mr. Sammie Watkins. Georgia's rebuilt secondary will be tested early and frequently.
South Carolina: The most important by far since it's an SEC East game, and really counts like a game and a half in the divisional race. The Gamecocks, who also face a tough test in their opener against North Carolina, are experienced at quarterback with Shaw and Dylan Thompson, have playmakers on the perimeter and have the best player in college football in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
LSU: If Georgia's secondary is going to be under the microscope in the first two weeks against the duo of Boyd-Watkins and the trio of Spurrier-Shaw-Thompson, the front seven will be tested by an LSU group that has a bevy of impressive running backs and a highly motivated Mettenberger, who, well, you know his story. Georgia-boy, signed with the Bulldogs, got into trouble, lost the starting job to Aaron Murray a few years back and transfered.
If Georgia sweeps those big three, the sky is the limit and a rematch with Alabama in the SEC title game seems likely. If they drop one (preferably not USC for GD and the rest of the red-and-black blooded readers), the primary goals are still on the horizon. Multiple losses, though, mean difficult questions and unknown answers.
For example, is there a leader on this team that can pull a Shawn Williams and circle the wagons? Is Murray vocal enough to do that? We know he is respected, but does he have the presence?
Whether it's 3-2 or 50-49, if Georgia survives its first three weeks, the red-and-black bandwagon will be rolling.
- Raul Ibanez is 41 and has 22 homers and 50 RBIs for the Seattle Mariners. Bartolo Colon is 40 and has 12 wins and a sub-3.00 ERA. Hmmmmmmm.
- Looking forward to the ESPN documentary on Pat Summitt tonight. That is all.
- Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the entire organization was 'duped' by Aaron Hernandez. Really, doctor? If the Pats feel duped, imagine how the dead guy feels. Wait...
- Randy Travis is in failing health. Will Travis' legacy be the dominant pre-Garth country act or the fallout from his late-career meltdown that included being arrested naked. (There are a lot of things that can be misconstrued or taken out of context, but the phrase "being arrested naked," is not one of them. In fact, as bad as getting arrested naked would seem, it has to be way worse getting walked into a holding cell and saying hello to your fellow cell mates sans pants. Buckets. Tell us about it Todd.) Let's move along.
Feel free to speak on any of the above. And hey, remember the mailbag for this Friday.
If you need a talking point, well, we have several.
When we say Randy Travis, do you think "Digging Up Bones" or skeletons in the closet?
Where do you rank the Beatles?
Did you see Rasheed Wallace is now an assistant coach? If there was one former player who you thought, wow, there's no way he'd be a good coach, the temperamental and tantrum-tastic Wallace would be on the short list, right? Maybe Vince Young's looking around for a possible assistant's job somewhere now.
Discuss and remember Press Row on 105.1 from 1-3 today.