Gang, remember Friday's mailbag. We have a few open spots.
And we turned our head and Tuesday was a super-sneaky busy day in sports news. We're even going to take a break from our LeBron talk for a day - you're welcome JMC and OG. We'll preview the series tomorrow and may even get a special pretend guest to break down the two teams.
From the "Talks too much" studios, today's theme show will paraphrase Urkel's catch phrase - did we do that?
Atlanta beat the Pirates 5-4 in 10 innings with a walk-off gapper from Andrelton Simmons. (Side note: Simmons first name is sneaky hard to pronounce. Ask Joe Simpson.)
It was a classically dichotic win for your Braves. (Side note, II: Did you hear we got Chipper Jones as the BoP speaker. Get your tickets here. Sorry for the shameless plug, but with an announcement this late, we need to keep the word out there.)
Anyhoo, about the Braves' win Tuesday, it was emotional and satisfying. It also was head-scratching and cause for concern.
As our man Spy has frequently expressed, there has to be doubt about this Braves' offense - a group that struck 12 more times Tuesday and failed to execute a sacrifice bunt in the decisive 10th inning. But, there were silver linings, too. The Braves scored four runs with two outs - a two-run double by Freddie Freeman, who may be the best Braves hitter since Chipper (who is coming to Best of Preps, by the way); a two-run homer by B.J. Upton. Dan Uggla made an appearance, getting two hits and two walks and scoring twice (he also had a strikeout for the 12th consecutive game). Jason Heyward had two hits. Yes, that Jason Heyward.
Heck even the injury-riddled bullpen was solid.
Still, this Braves bunch wins, even if it's in unconventional and, at times, confounding ways.
Is the Braves' glass half full or half empty? Well, considering they are 14 games over .500, it may have more liquid in there than that, so let's flip the age-old, half-full, half-empty question of perception. Is the Braves glass that's 3/4 filled with Sprite...
A) a tasty beverage as Jules would say... Look at the big brain on Brad;
B) There's a hole in the cup and it is slightly leaking Sprite to the point that the bugs are coming;
C) It's just a Sprite; an above average beverage that could get into the playoffs of fast-food beverages but has little chance against the Cokes (Cardinals) or Unsweet Teas (Giants) of the world.
Of course they did. Some slick-haired guy with a slick sounding name who is the head of some designer drug outfit has decided to cooperate with MLB and name names of the guys who bought products from his PED clinic.
Among those mentioned were Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun by ESPN's OTL report. (Side note: ESPN's T.J. Quinn is the Woodward or Bernstein of baseball steroids investigation. Seriously.)
A-Rod, who famously mentioned his "cousin" a few years ago when divulging he unknowingly took PEDs was directly named by the steroids dealer, who reportedly said he injected A-Rod.
Baseball reportedly is seeking a 100-game suspension for those that are being rumored.
It would shut the case on A-Rod's rep as a world-class goofball. It also would raise serious questions about the future of Bud Selig's tenure atop baseball, since Braun plays for the Brewers - the team the Selig family owns - and he had a failed PED test overturned in February of last year on appeal. It was something that raised eyebrows then, and will be the talk of conspiracies and string-pulling now that Braun is a central name in the Biogenesis stuff.
From the category of "They didn't do anything about it," in typical fashion the NCAA has missed the forest because of all the pretty trees.
The NCAA's overhaul of its rule book - a process that has been started and stopped more times than the lil' 5-at-10 in a game of 'Red Light, Green Light' (underrated game by the way) - got bogged dow in the number of texts and minute details that make little since and hardly needed addressing.
They focused on the meaningless while the rest of the system is mired in confusion and chaos.
The most recent trend is high school recruits signing letters of intent and changing their minds before they ever set foot on campus. This happened this week with five-star defensive line prospect Eddie Vanderdoes, who signed with Notre Dame last February but has announced he's going to enroll at UCLA. FSU signee Matthew Thomas, a five-star linebacker, is reportedly wanting to go somewhere else, too.
Several schools have reportedly reached out to Notre Dame to not release Vanderdoes from his signed letter of intent, which means he can go to UCLA but can not play this coming year - he can get a scholarship and practice, just not play in the games.
While we could go all side-tracked on the things the NCAA needs to do (and we likely will around lunch), we will say this: While 18-year-olds changing their minds about pretty much anything is normally as newsworthy as kids riding bikes, this has major repercussions in what has become the billion-dollar business that is college football recruiting and the coverage of it.
Think of it this way: The hysteria and passion that the "recruit-niks" have around signing day will fade drastically if signing day is ceremonial and non-binding, and you then have to wait it out through the spring and summer. It would become too painful.
- Did they do that? The Atlanta Hawks apparently are being charged with tampering by reaching out to Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. First, we're happy to see the Hawks front office is still breathing and taking calls. Second, it would be soooooo Atlanta Hawksish to have the cap room and the interest to actually become relevant, but to be unable to do it because of a potential tampering violation. Somewhere Tree Rollins weeps.
- Did you know they were that good? Wow, Oklahoma's softball team may be one of the best ever. And for all the hubbub we made about Brittney Griner being the best women's hoopster, how about that Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma's pitcher/designated player? Ricketts' senior season may be one of the best college seasons ever, regardless of sport. She went 35-1 as a pitcher with five no-hitter and an ERA near 1.00. She hit almost .400, with 15 homers and drove in 60 runs - including all four of the Sooners' runs in the clinching 4-0 win Tuesday night over Tennessee.
- He did it again? After getting a hit in his first MLB at-bat and ending the game by making a rocket throw from the outfield, Yasiel Puig was even better in game two of his big-league career with the Dodgers. The former Lookouts outfielder hit two homers and a double to drive in five runs in L.A.'s 9-7 win over San Diego. He got 10 total bases on nine pitches. You can't hide talent.
- Did he switch positions? Everyone's favorite all-time worst NFL draft pick JaMarcus Russell apparently has a try out with the Chicago Bears on Friday. Not sure if he is going as a defensive lineman or a QB, but either way, we think the odds are long Ol' Purple Drank will find his way back in the league.
We're not a big Gordon Gee fan.
Gee is a well-educated guy - he has been the president/chancellor of Brown and Vandy before taking over at THE Ohio State - and made some dumb jokes that ultimately cost him his job. He's not the first - and certainly not the last to fall into that club.
In fact, we had some lively debate about the boundaries/circumstances/double intentions of Free Speech earlier in the week, and while Gee's insults about Catholics, were not mentioned, the right to be stupid and careless is also protected by the first amendment. (The right to keep a high-profile and high-paying job after saying dumb and hurtful things, however, is not protected, so this is more tangental than targeted in regard to the Bill of Rights.)
Still, Gee's name is the latest to fall into the "loose lips = pink slips" club. Does he crack the Al Campanis Rushmore - guys who lost the most by making stupid and offensive comments?
Campanis, the namesake is there for saying black players didn't have the "necessities to be a field manager or general manager," which cost him his job as the Dodgers' GM and his lifelong career in baseball.
So is Mel Gibson. Howard Cosell, maybe? Who else you got, and does Gordon Gee belong in the discussion.
Discuss and remember the mailbag.