Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. From the "Shapiro Stinks Studios," here we go...
Braves still rollin'
Your Atlanta Braves have not allowed a run in 26 innings. They've won five in a row and seven of eight. Jair Jurrjens looked like the pitcher that was the Cy Young front-runner in the first half of the season in Monday's 3-0 win over the cute Cubbies (they're so lovable).
Dan Uggla hit homer No. 30, which is noteworthy for three reasons: First, when he was hitting about .170, who thought this was possible? Second, Uggla is the sixth Braves player to hit 30 or more homers in his first season with the club. He joins Wally Berger (1930), Davey Johnson (1973), Jeff Burroughs (1977), Andres Galarraga (1998) and J.D. Drew (2004). That stat was courtesy of the Elias Sports folks, who do a bang-up job. Third, Uggla now has five seasons with 30 or more homers. No other second baseman in baseball history has more than three.
It's pretty much rolling in Braves country right now. The wildcard lead is at 8 1/2 and they let Craig Kimbrel have last night off to rest his golden right arm.
That said, and not to be 5-at-10 pessimist, anybody got any idea what happened to Jason Heyward? Seriously? Any ideas? Bueller... Bueller?
Did we ever think that losing George Constanza to an ankle injury and replacing him with Jason Heyward would be a cringe-worthy type of deal? Didn't think so.
The TFP sports department is now done with all of our preseason preview magazines. The Prep Blitz ran last Friday, and we want to thank everyone who complimented it. The College Blitz will print later today and will be in Sunday's TFP. It was a lot of work, but now it's done.
Which means we can start talking college football. We're genuinely excited, and we'll have a regular spot among the 5-at-10 for the next three-plus months for crazy predictions, analysis, updates and pretty much whatever from the world of college football.
Here are three predictions for the first weekend of the season.
- As Miami's athletic department looks into the eligibility of 15 current players that Nevin Shapiro claimed to have given money and benefits in the Yahoo! Sports story last week, the status/future of those players is clearly unknown. If those 'Canes in question - a group that includes several starters including stars Jacory Harris, Marcus Fortson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Sean Spence - do not play in a week 1 trip to Maryland, Miami better fear the Turtle.
- Keep an eye on LSU this week as the fallout continues from last week's bar brawl or a Pier 6er as some would like to call it. Receiver Jarvis Landry and quarterback Jordan Jefferson were among those involved. Remember, the No. 4-ranked Tigers have the toughest opening weekend test against No. 3-ranked Oregon, which also has had to deal with some legal issues this summer. Is that game sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds?
- Isaiah Crowell goes nuts, Nuts, NUTS on Boise State. Fast surface. Big stage. Overflow partisan neutral-field crowd. Hey, we're not Boise State haters. They play the teams they can and beat those teams at a stunning rate. In fact, we're not ready to predict the final outcome of this game. We're just saying the Crowell will be the Week 1 breakout star.
Terrelle Pryor goes in third round
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.
Monday, our old friend Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders used a third-round pick in the supplemental draft on Terrelle Pryor. Of course they did.
Here's the good news for Raiders fans: At 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, Pryor reportedly ran a sub-4.4 40 last weekend. That's hauling, and if he moves to receiver, physically that combo is Randy Moss speed with T.O.'s size. Nice. Plus, after a recent run at Ohio State, contract negotiations should be easy because Pryor is already flush with cash (Kidding, kidding).
Here's the bad news for Raiders fans: Oakland now does not have a second-, third-, or fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft. Ouch. Plus, there are reports that the Raiders are going to use Pryor at quarterback, and at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds with questionable accuracy and decision making, the first comparison that comes to our mind is JaMarcus Russell. Double Ouch.
As a special bonus, let's go to the phone for a quick chat with one of our original friends of the show, Pretend Al Davis.
5-at-10: Pretend Al, thanks for taking the time to join...
Pretend Al: Stick it. What do you want kid?
5-at-10: Why did you take Terrelle Pryor that high?
Pretend Al: If we didn't take him in the third, I know the Bears were looking at him. That Ditka knows what he's doing. DITKA.
5-at-10: Uh, Al, Mike Ditka is with ESPN now.
Pretend Al: Exactly.
5-at-10: OK, let's move along. What did you like about Terrelle the most?
Pretend Al: The kid can fly. Have you seen 235 pounds moving at sub-4.4 speeds?
5-at-10: Yes sir, we've been to a Golden Corral on a Sunday.
Pretend Al: OK, then you know what I'm talking about. Plus, he's got be able to keep the locker room laughing. He's got to be funny - Richard Pryor was a genius.
5-at-10: Uhhh, Pretend Al, Terrelle and Richard are not related.
Pretend Al: What? Really? Are you sure? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Where was I? Somebody get Hue Jackson on the phone. Hey, 5-pants, did you know we hired Hue Jackson as our coach. That's right, we've got Wolverine on the sideline. WOLVERINES!
5-at-10: Pretend Al, thanks again for joining us...
Pretend Al: Stick it.
This and that
- Lots of huge deals in the NFL now that the labor issues have been settled. Larry Fitzgerald got paid. So did Lawrence Timmons and Joe Thomas. Still amazingly quiet on the Chris Johnson front. It's easy to see why this is at such an impasse too. Johnson is an uber-talented speed back and wants a huge contract because he knows one not-even-major injury will change his game and his effectiveness forever. The Titans don't want to give him a huge contract because they know Johnson is an uber-talented speed back who is one not-even-major injury away from having his his effectiveness and his skills changed forever.
- Hey, how about that Kenny Britt? He's headed to meet with NFL commish Roger Goodell about his river of run-ins with the police, including a series of traffic violations. Britt likely will have some suspension time to serve, and here's hoping he's not driving to meet Goodell - who knows what could happen next.
- Hey, we're all for saving gas (granted we do drive a rather large U.S.-made SUV, but to each his own). But this feature story on the Vanderbilt Fonzies is less than intimidating. Check it out here.
When Uggla hit homer No. 30 last night, he hit it out of Wrigley Field. As is tradition with Cubs fans, when an opposing team hits a homer, they throw the ball back onto the field - even the person who caught the ball on Waveland Ave. threw it back last night.
We think that's cool.
What is the best baseball tradition-custom-superstition that you can think of? And yes, not talking to the pitcher during a no-hitter counts (and is pretty cool, too).