5-at-10: Friday mailbag on UTC hires, NBA fines and the best living country music artist

5-at-10: Friday mailbag on UTC hires, NBA fines and the best living country music artist

May 10th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Gang, another stellar week. We're moving quickly this morning because the 5-at-10 clan is heading South for a week. So, next week will be an abbreviated 5-at-10 with top-5 lists and such. If you have a specific top-5 list you'd like to see, send it along.

From the "Talks too much" studios, Jim Foster, come on down.

From Wildcat,

Something doesn't smell right with the Foster hire. Why would he want to come to Chattanooga? And could this be the next in the Oval, Sloan, etc., line of guys coming to UTC to cruise into the sunset?

Thanks for the 5@10, and I miss hearing you and Paschall on the radio.

Wildcat -

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for reading. Still don't cost nothin' - as of right now.

We believe Foster is a Reggie Jackson-shot-out-of-Tiger-Stadium-in-the-All-Star-game home run. We think it is aces across the board, and he instantly becomes the most accomplished coach in the entire SoCon. In any sport.

There are down sides and puzzles wrapped in riddles cloaked in enigmas in every hire. As for the cruise into the sunset, well, that could be possible, but even if that is the case, you get five years of a Hall of Famer at a discount price. If you completely aced this hire - a Bill Mazeroski, Game-7, walk-off hire - and nabbed the women's hoops equivalent of Brad Stephens, that coach is here three-to-five years tops, right?

UTC athletic director David Blackburn addresses the Chattanooga Quarterback Club at its noon luncheon meeting Monday at the Stadium Club at Finley Stadium.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Plus, David Blackburn did the unthinkable - on paper he got an upgrade from Wes Moore. We were talking on the 5-at-10 this week if the Lady Mocs had peaked. That talk has vanished.

Granted, like any coaching hire, the ultimate verdict will be decided on the floor and in the stands and in the standings. We believe Foster is a great hire on all merits, especially when you can make the argument that hiring a women's coach was the more difficult challenge for Blackburn. Think about it this way, the Lady Mocs are the class of the league, and finding some one to continue that success - and those expectations - is a tough order. The men's job offers an open canvas and the chance to create the type of expectations the women's program already owns.

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From TrueBlue (and several others)

Who do you think will be the Mocs men's coach?

Why has it taken this long?

What can be a realistic expectation for next year?

We love the 5@10/you talk too much....

TrueBlue, et al. -

This was a combined question from several of you, and instead of bogging down the mailbag, we combined them all.

We believe it's going to be Will Wade. We have believed he was the front-runner from almost the start. The only thing that curbs that belief is the fact that David Blackburn just hired Jim Foster, so maybe while we're on vacation next week, the Mocs may hire Tubby Smith. Or P.J. Carlesimo. Who knows?

We believe Wade is the guy, and of the reported three finalists, we believe he is the best pick. He has a great upside.

Maybe the elongated time frame has been to get everyone's ducks in a row. We get that. Maybe it was background checks or pay checks or a game of checkers.

As for realistic expectations, well, that's hard to say on a couple of fronts. First, what are realistic expectations for a a very proud, and tradition-rich program that has become mediocre at best in a bad league. Second, unless Will Wade or whomever is the next UTC coach has a point guard or two up his sleeve, there will be large challenges next year. We believe Z Mason and Gee McGee have all-conference-type skills. We also believe that there are some tender psyches in that locker room that are scarred from the ups and downs and the losing of the last two years.

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From Todd962,

Jay, do you foresee any fines or suspensions stemming from the behavior of some of the Heat or Bull players last night? I dont know how the NBA works as a business with the players and refs being coworkers, but if I told a fellow employee here to go "self-stimulate" themselves in front of our customers(i.e. the fans), I have a feeling it may get brought up at our next round table. Thoughts?

Todd -

What a well-phrased question, and yes, go self-stimulate is as good a euphemism as there is today. Well-played indeed.

Leagues face a tricky line in matters like these.

On one hand, the old guard of NBA players - think Magic and Chuck and others - dog today's NBA guys for hugging before the game and hanging out and such. The basketball stars of today have known the other stars from AAU and such forever, and those cozy relationships with opponents can look funny at times.

Then, you have an entire exchange with heated emotions and passion and fire, that likely merits some fines, but you do not want to curb the competitive fire of the players. That emotion sparks interest from the customers, too. Even the casual customers.

There likely will be fines, and all of the views and decisions on actions like this changed that day in Detroit when Ron Artest and Co. went into the stands.

No one walks this tight rope more frequently - and more times than not, more inconsistently - than NASCAR. The France family wants the passion, the helmet-throwing and the old-school 'raslin' type of mentality, but at the same time has to please the sponsors and the image-crafters.

Side question: Have you ever noticed that the easiest words to lip-read are the big mothers of cuss words? Why is that? If Joakim Noah had returned LeBron's well wishes the other night and said, "Good Luck, yourself." Would we still have been able to see that as clearly? And Good Luck yourself too.

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From Billy-In-Brainerd:

Jay-G,

I am not a big fan of MLB inter-league play. It must be a nightmare for schedule-makers, trying to come up with fair, balanced schedules for each team. Can you give us a break-down of a team's schedule...games versus division opponents...same league opponents...other league opponents...home and away. For other league opponents, what determines who plays who? TV...prior year's records [high finishers play high finishers, low finishers play low finishers]...an AL division plays a NL Division, similar to the NFL?

I think MLB has 2 too many teams, but that is a discussion for another time...

B-i-B,

We agree that baseball has at least two too many teams.

We also agree that the schedule can create mismatches or advantages, but that's true no matter what formula you follow since in baseball, teams play their division opponents more frequently. So, teams playing in the AL West that get the Astros and the Mariners and even the Angels right now, have it easier than those in the AL East, which has five good-to-great teams.

As for the breakdown, here's what we found:

Each team plays 20 interleague games, and divisions from each league are matched against each other (AL East vs. NL West, AL Central vs. NL East, AL West vs. NL Central) for 16 of those games, playing four teams in a three-game series and one in two, two-game sets. The other four interleague games are from assigned "natural" rivals that can be as obvious as Mets-Yankees or as oblivious as Braves-Jays.

Each team will play 19 games against each division rival and either six or seven games against the rest of the teams in their league to fill out the 162-game schedule.

As for home and away, overall that's an even split 81-81 for every team in the bigs, but that can be unbalanced too since there are odd numbered games against division foes. For example, one year the Braves may see the Nationals 10 times in Atlanta and nine times in Washington.

So it goes.

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From Red

Now that George Jones has been called to sing upstairs, who do you think is the greatest country music singer alive today is?

I like the 5@10... and will miss it when it no longer don't cost nothin'.

Red -

Thanks for the kind words and hopefully you'll still swing by when it don't don't cost nothin' around here.

We'll rank the greatest living country music artists accordingly:

1) George Strait

2) Willie Nelson

3) Merle Haggard

4) Loretta Lynn

5) Garth Brooks

If we were going to do singers - pure voice singers - a quick list could look like this:

1) Dolly

2) Vince Gill

3) Martina McBride

4) Keith Urban

5) Kenny Rogers

Thoughts?

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From Jefe

Let's play a what if.

What if you could own any franchise and you got the first pick - hey you like the draft, right? - of all the players in that league. Which franchise are you taking and who is your pick and why?

Thanks, and I'll hang up and listen (while you talk too much).

War Eagle.

Jefe -

Wow, what a great question.

LeBron James

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

In fact, we spent more time on the franchise than player. The player discussions in our mind are either LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers or Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Those are the four guys around whom we build.

The better ponder is which sport and which team.

The Yankees, Cowboys and Redskins are generally viewed as the most valuable sports franchises. So if money was the factor, there you go. But if you own a sports franchise, you're already pretty well off. Heck, the Cleveland Browns cost a billion bucks, and they stink.

Baseball would be the toughest to own - both because the No. 1 overall pick has such limited impact and there are so many variables to winning that it makes that part of it more difficult.

Football would be the easiest to make money, since the NFL is an ATM and the TV contracts cover your costs from start to finish.

We'd want a place with passion and style and a fan base that was spirited and hungry for success.

If given your scenario, Jefe, we'd take the New York Knicks, draft LeBron and run that town. LeBron would be an even bigger star than he is today, if that's possible.

Of course, we'd still live in Chattanooga.