5-at-10: Braves' improvement, Boxing sideshow, U.S. Open underway, Rushmore of World War II movies on a big June 15

5-at-10: Braves' improvement, Boxing sideshow, U.S. Open underway, Rushmore of World War II movies on a big June 15

June 15th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson (7) yells after scoring the game-winning run on a Rio Ruiz base hit during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Friday, June 9, 2017, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 3-2. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Braves positives

OK, this Braves team has holes. We know this. They are 29-36, which is not great, but not as bad as it could be.

Heck, this time last year they were 18-47. Yes, the starting pitching has been erratic, and we have talked often about the need for a bell cow atop the rotation and how much that would help everyone.

Still, 29-36 is a strong two-week run from .500, and then who knows, right? (Especially with Bartolo Colon not taking an automatic loss every fifth day.)

Now know they are doing it with far and away their best player — Freddie Freeman — on the shelf with a broken wrist. That's pretty impressive, and in a lot of ways, it's being led by a top-half of the line-up that has become pretty salty. Check the numbers:

Ender Inciarte (.304). Brandon Phillips (.306), Nick Markakis (.290), Matt Kemp (.327) and Freeman's replacement at first, Matt Adams (.290), have been consistently awesome and awesomely consistent.

Add in Tyler Flowers, who is hitting better than .300, that's an offense that puts a lot of people on base. 

Plus, don't look now but one Dansby Swanson has lifted his average to .220, which is not great shakes but considering he was hitting .150 (15-for-100) on May 5, that's putting work over the last five weeks. In fact, at that season low point, manager Brian Snitker gave Swanson the day off on May 6.

Since, the Braves shortstop is 40-for-127 (.315), with nine doubles, four homers and 23 RBIs.

Are they World Series contenders? Nope, but they are better and have the look of something that could be. (If they can find an ace, that is.)

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2014, file photo, Floyd Mayweather Jr. poses on the scale during a weigh in for a fight against Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas. Mayweather Jr. said Wednesday, June 14, 2017, he will come out of retirement to face UFC star Conor McGregor in a boxing match on Aug. 26. Mayweather, who retired in September 2015 after winning all 49 of his pro fights, will face a mixed martial arts fighter who has never been in a scheduled 12-round fight at the MGM Grand arena. The fight will take place in a boxing ring and be governed by boxing rules. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Fight on

It's official. Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather is going to happen. Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

In some ways we all he'd to know this was going to happen. There's simply too much money on the line.

But the fact that the most talked about — by the fighters, too, who have a long history of dropping smack talk on everyone — fight of this generation and potentially the next generation is a bout that one guy has absolutely no chance.

There's simply no way McGregor can match Mayweather as a boxer. None.

It's more of a testament on the sport of boxing than anything considering that this will be the biggest boxing match of the year by miles and it's more circus than sweet science.

In fact, it gets you wondering if there's something the other struggling sports — we're looking at you NASCAR — could do to generate this money interest and intrigue. Of course that's a slippery slope, because come Aug. 27, what does boxing have? Two dudes with much fatter pockets and everyone looking for the next spectacle.  

The flag on the ninth hole blows in the wind during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

US Open contest

The Open has opened. The Open will close Sunday evening. Maybe Monday. 

You know what, a good 18 hole playoff on Monday would be A-OK by us. The early, Early, EARLY leader was one Talor Gooch, who was at 1 under at 8:15 and the only player at that time in red numbers.

Can we just say that Talor Gooch would be a great name for a bully in a family-oriented sit-com. Or maybe one of the Goonies. 

Anyhoo, here's the contest entries we have. We'll double check the email and if you submitted an entry and do not see your name, please let us know. Good luck. (Side note: We are running a bit late this morning, there are seveal more in our email and text that we will add after lunch.) And enjoy the golf. Erin Hills looks amazing, and be prepared for the best in the world to complain about the rough.

5-at-10: Day, DJ, Koepka, Matsuyama, Justin Thomas

Mrs. 5-at-10: D. Johnson, Day, Rory, Speith, Fowler (Yes, the Mrs. is out there on that limb with five of the top nine players in the world)

Todd C. — Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Fowler, Rahm

Spy — Rose, Rory, Charl, Lucas Glover, Rahm

Mark W. — Fowler Speith, D. Johnson, McIlroy, Rose.

War Eagle '17 — Dufner, DJ, Sergio, Rory, Day

Jason T. (wearing his green tank top not really, but next year we will get a traditional green tank top to be given to the winner of the Masters event) —Stenson, Rahm, Fowler, DJ, Sergio

Ted P. — DJ, Rory, Rickie, Jordan, Koooooochhhh

Mike R. —Cabrera Bello, Reed, Day, DJ, Rahm

Brent R. — Kuchar, DJ, Dufner, Rory, Spieth

Jason G. — DJ, Rahm, Sergio, Adam Scott, Sergio

scole023 — Day, Rory, Spieth, Oosthuizen, J. Thomas

Dan C. — Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth

Steve M. — Fowler, Sergio, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose

Hangtime 14 — Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rickey Fowler, Kevin Kisner, Jon Rahm

JonMac — D Johnson...Fowler....Scott...Stenson....Dufner

Uch — DJ, Day, McIlroy, Pieters, Casey

This and that

* Speaking of the Open, Phil Mickelson officially withdrew from the event to attend his daughter's high school graduation. 

* Speaking of baseball, since the Dodgers started playing slugger Cody Belinger, who has 17 homers this season, L.A. is a MLB-best 32-14 and is now leading the NL West at 41-25.

* This is not a story you see every day. Nor would anyone want to. Arguably the top college pitcher Luke Heimlich went undrafted this week. The Oregon State lefty had a 0.76 ERA over 118.1 innings this season, but news came out last week, that Heimlich has to register as a Level 1 sex offender after he molested a 6-year-old female family member when he was 15. 

* And that appears to be a wrap. According to this story the Baseball Hall of Fame denied Pete Rose's recent request to be reinstated on the ballot. So it goes.

Today's question

Nice eclectic bunch of birthdays today.

Ice Cube is 48. Man, want to talk about a dude who has crafted an unbelievable career, Cube went from writing and rapping lyrics like "F*&$ the Police" to starring in feature films as the black Clark Griswold. 

Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie Howser) is 44. Courtney Cox is 53. Helen Hunt is 54. And yes, she still looks like Mark Richt could be her twin brother. Waylon Jennings would have been 80 today. Jim Belushi is 63, and Jim Varney would have been 68. (He was Earnest, aka the "Hey Vern" guy.)

Pretty big day in history, too.

King John signed the Magna Carta on this day in 1215. George Washington was named the commander-in-chief of the American Army in 1775. Charles Goodyear patents the vulcanization process of rubber. This of course leads to tires, and his company, Firestone. Or Goodyear. One or the other. Researcher George Soper learns on this day in 1907 that Typhoid Mary is the source of the New York outbreak.

In 1916, the Boy Scouts are formed.

In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover assumed the top spot of the FBI.

In 1928, Ty Cobb steals home for the 50th and final time. He was 41.  

In 1938, one of the sneakiest most unbreakable records happens as Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer completes his second consecutive no-hitter.

On this day two years ago, one Donald J. Trump announced he was running for president.

It was 25 years ago today that Dan Quayle famously told an elementary kid during a spelling bee to spell potato, "P-O-T-A-T-O-E."

On this day 50 years ago, "The Dirty Dozen" is released in the U.S. In honor of that awesome feature film, what's on the Rushmore of WWII movies.

Go and remember the mailbag.

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