5-at-10: Saban being (baby) Saban, Home run chase, Social protest coming to Chattanooga?, Rushmore of people and their hats

5-at-10: Saban being (baby) Saban, Home run chase, Social protest coming to Chattanooga?, Rushmore of people and their hats

August 17th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban holds a football as he waits for the 2017 team picture before fan day in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama remains the decisive favorite to win a fourth consecutive SEC title despite losing four first-round NFL draft picks. (Vasha Hunt/Alabama Media Group via AP, File)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Baby Saban

Just to make sure everyone knew who carried the biggest Coke bottle in the room, Nick Saban chastised a couple media members in Wednesday postgame presser.

Like most pulpit bullies do, Saban picked tangental items and harped on them, devaluing the professional who asked them and the entire process.

Here's video of Saban's overreaction to two questions, courtesy of Al.com. Hard to know why Saban picked Wednesday to erupt. Maybe he's a lifelong Elvis fan and he's morning the anniversary of The King's death. Maybe some stole his after-lunch Little Debbie. Who knows, right?

But unlike most Saban tension-filled, hand-raising emotional exchanges — outbursts that can range from tantrums to firestorms — this one seemed more silly than anything. Especially since each of the questions — and questioners — he tried to dismantle actually led to answers that proved the questions valid. (Now, the one thing that all of Saban's theatrics always have in common is they are loved by Alabama fans, who only blame the media for wasting the Great One's time and trying the Great One's patience with mortal queries from the mortal world. And goodness forbid if the media prints something they don't like. It's either agenda-driven or fake. Well, that's kind of the norm these days. Sadly.)   

The first diatribe hinged on "video" of a freshman wide receiver. Saban was clearly not happy about the presence of some video — shooting a hard look to his right at what we could only guess was an Alabama media staffer — and railed on that. He then said that the freshman was doing great running routes "against air" which is the only parts of practice outsiders should be viewing.

Then he actually acknowledged that this freshman wide out and several of his classmates are having a good preseason camp. The second one was even more innocent, asking about linebacker Christian Miller and his chance to be the next big name in a long line of excellent Alabama pass rushers.

"I mean," Saban told the room according to the video provided, "sometimes I wonder why do we play? Why do we even have practice because you guys have all these conclusions drawn about who's what, how good they are, what they can do. I mean, so why would you ask me? That's puzzling to me. Why would you ask me? I read stuff all the time like ... hmm, that's nice to know. Where did that come from and then you ask me?"

Maybe he was trying to get some laughs. Maybe he was addressing earlier issues with each of those reporters. Maybe he was tired and hot. Who knows? But this is Saban, and this is his consistent routine of doing this about once every few weeks or when he believes his team or fan base are getting cocky.

But this had the feel of cleaning the porch if for no other reason than you haven't cleaned the porch for a while.

Either way, it's a tired act, that is easy and becoming more and more predictable. It also has the "Coach who cried Wolf" spin, that it devalues any past or future diatribes. Most importantly, though, blaming the media is the easy way out, and it really should be beneath Saban, the coach who in every other measure is the best I've ever seen in his sport.

Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton hits a single during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

...

Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Renewed power

Giancarlo Stanton's streak of consecutive games with a home run ended Wednesday at six. (Side question: Which of these names do not belong? The MLB record for most consecutive games with a homer is eight, and it's shared by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long. Hmmmmmm.)

Anyhoo, Stanton now has 44 homers — he has 36 total hits since the All-Star break, 18 of which have cleared the fence — and is no pace to get to 61.

Ah, 61 homers. It used to carry a weight few regular-season marks ever did.

That got us thinking, and the hosts on Mike & Mike asked Tim Kurkjian this Thursday morning, and we're wondering what you guys think:

If Stanton and say Bryce Harper got into a home run chase toward 70, would we care half as much as we did for the Sosa-McGwire soap opera in the late 1990s?

Thoughts?

Here we are?

The social issues around us are all consuming.

Right now, the heated debate is threatening to topple all the Confederate statues and busts and historic markers. We wrote about it today on A2 even though we were hoping to find something different to cover. (And as Paschall and I discussed on Press Row on Wednesday, this has transcended all circles of life. Religion. Politics. Schools. Sports. It's everywhere. As for the folks that say, "get back to sports" obviously are not paying attention to the simple fact that a lot of discussion is being generated by sports stars in a lot of ways. Their success and our love for sports have given those stars or all wattage a lofty platform from which to speak.)

And it's now in our lap.

There is a rally planned tonight at Coolidge Park. It was originally planned to support the woman who was tragically killed in Charlottesville. It now has, allegedly, caught the attention of something called Full Communism, which reportedly has asked members to a) bring their duns and b) leave the kids and cell phones at home.

Oh my.

There also will be a group there in support of the Mojo Burrito employee who was fired for attending the rally that featured White Supremacists and Nazis in Virginia. (Side note: If you are against that dude getting fired, then you have to feel the NFL should give Colin Kaepernick a job. These issues are very similar: Each no longer has a job because each took part in a protest that their bosses find offensive. Each — Mojo dude and Kaep — are free to attend, but not free from the consequences.)  

Whether this is real or not, it's a pretty scary Reddit post. It could be a hoax. But the Chattanooga Police Department are well aware of it and released this statement:

"The Chattanooga Police Department is aware and will be present at the organized rally in Coolidge Park on Thursday. As our community members go about their day enjoying our waterfront, spending time with their families, expressing their views or simply appreciating all that our great city offers, the Chattanooga Police Department will continue in its mission to keep our community safe. The Chattanooga Police Department will have additional patrols in the area of the park and will dedicate more manpower if needed." 

Wow.

This and that

— Public service announcement: No Press Row today. Braves-Rockies at 3:10 on ESPN 105.1 the Zone.

— Kevin Durant got into a debate with some rapper I've never heard of about whether the Cavs should trade LeBron James. And you know? The rapper is right. Cleveland should look at every possible angle to deal James before dealing Kyrie Irving. Right?

— Here's the CBSsports.com All-American team. Enjoy, and yes there are a lot of familiar names on this team. 

— Here's the latest release from Ric Flair's fiancee on the wrestling Hall of Famer's condition. He's still in an Atlanta-area hospital. 

— Really enjoyed this golf story from TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer on Sweetens Cove. Well done. 

Today's question

Hey, lighten up Francis.

You. Yeah, you with the keyboard. Mailbag? 

Strange day in history. Joe Pultizer donated $1 million to Columbia University on this day in 1903 and the Pultizer Prize was born.

On this day in 1998, Bill Clinton admitted to having an "improper physical relationship" with Monica Lewinsky. On this day in 2008, Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight golds in one Olympics.

Also, Richie Ashburn on this day in 1957 hit two foul balls that hit fan Alice Roth. The first broke Alice's nose. The second hit her while she was on the stretcher. Tought day at the ball park.

Robert DeNiro is 74 today. Donnie Wahlberg is 48. Sean Penn is 57. Davy Crockett would have been 231.

Let's go there: Rushmore of people famous for their hats. 

Go.

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