5 at 10: Rick Hart, Braves rookies and the SEC media days

5 at 10: Rick Hart, Braves rookies and the SEC media days

July 19th, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports

Let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studio," here we go...

Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman, right, celebrates with Dan Uggla after hitting a home run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Atlanta Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Youth served in Colorado

Want to know a great dilemma for a fan base and an organization? When you get to seriously ask this question: Which Braves rookie, first baseman Freddie Freeman or closer Craig Kimbrel, is the leader for the NL rookie of the year award?

It's even more difficult to decide this morning after Atlanta's 7-4 win over Colorado on Monday.

Freeman's red-hot red-hottness continued from the clean-up spot in the Braves order. He had three hits - including his 14th homer - and had three RBIs Monday. His numbers have been getting better and better. He's bona-fide.

Kimbrel continues to overpower everyone. He recorded his 29th save Monday by striking out the side. It was Kimbrel's 16th consecutive scoreless appearance, and for those of us who have watched the Braves for a while (We're a man! We're 40!), having a lock-down answer at the back end of the bullpen is still pleasantly surprising every now and then. (Sidenote: While Trevor Hoffman and Dennis Eckersley and some other great closers have been able to dominate without that high-90s heater, consider the 5-at-10 a big, Big, BIG fan of the hard-throwing closer. As manager Lou Brown said in "Major League" - "Forget about the curveball Ricky; Give him the heater.")

Rick Hart is finishing his fifth year as University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic director.

Photo by Jenna Walker/Times Free Press.

Got to have Hart

Our UTC ace John "Ned Ryerson" Frierson had a strong look at UTC AD Rick Hart, who has been in our fair city for five years. Read the Q-and-A with Hart HERE.

Considering the improvements UTC athletics have made during the last five years,Hart's accomplishments have been impressive, no doubt. In fact, as we've mentioned previously on the radio, Hart deserves to be a candidate for a big-time AD job sooner rather than later.

From hiring Russ Huesman to rebuild the football program to handling the program's multiple APR problems to continuing to overcome an ever-tightening budget, Hart's successes are more than noteworthy - they are impressive.

Well done indeed.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban looks on as quarterback AJ McCarron (10) delivers a pass down field during the fourth quarter of spring college football action at the A-Day game at the University of Alabama on Saturday, April 16. (AP Photo /The Tuscaloosa News, Jason Harless,)

SEC media days

Our SEC football ace David Paschall has a high-quality preview of this week's SEC media days HERE.

His questions are spot on, but there are two that have the 5-at-10's utmost interest: How will Gene Chizik react and how will Mark Richt be received?

As Paschall noted, this will be Chizik's first appearance since the New York Times detailed his heated and puzzling exchange with an NCAA official at the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., last month that forced the NCAA rep to state clearly that the NCAA is not done investigating Auburn. Chizik is normally very controlled in his public message - some would say even over-controlled - and has developed an A-plus talent of blah-blah-titis, the strange syndrome that affects politicians and football coaches in which they can speak for 20 minutes and say next to nothing. That made his tussle with the NCAA in front of a room full of SEC coaches that much more strange.

As for Richt, it will be interesting how many "hot seat" questions he gets this week. We've said it before and we'll say it again, not since JFK tippy-toed (some will say sleep-walked, but that's conversation for another day... maybe the 5-at-10 "History" version) through the Bay of Pigs, has one guy faced an eight-day stretch that will shape his future like Richt will in the first two weeks of this season. Wins against Boise State in Atlanta and against South Carolina would jumpstart this young Georgia team and energize the Bulldogs fanbase; losses in the first two and Bulldog Nation will be circling and Richt's future in Athens will be questioned almost weekly.

Atlanta Braves' Dan Uggla runs to first before being thrown out during a baseball game against the Florida Marlins in Miami, Tuesday, June 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

This and that

- Uggla update: Don't look now, but since his season started over on July 5 (2011 Part Deux), Dan Uggla has hit safely in every game. That's the good news: Uggla has a 10-game hitting streak (and the Braves are 7-3 in that stretch). The bad news: Uggla's 10-game streak has lifted his average all of 11 points to .189. Wow, he was really in a hole. What, oh yeah, we're trying to be more positive. Hmmmm. OK, how's this: Way to go Dan, all it will take is another 10-game hitting streak to get to the Mendoza line. That's right, .200 here we come. Was that better?

- UT got two commitments this weekend, doubling the Vols' total to four. We'll cover this more in Friday's mailbag, but it was starting to get a little worrisome for Johnny Vols Fan in regard to recruiting. Here is our UT ace Patrick Brown's story on the newest UT commits http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jul/19/drae-bowles-justin-king-commit-join-tennessee-vols/.

- Paging Lars Tate, paging Lars Tate ... Sweet Tea and pass the program so we can see who is running the ball, according to unconfirmed reports by some media outlets the University of Georgia has suspended running back Carlton Thomas for at least the season opener after he violated team rules. If you're scoring at home that's the top three returning rushers from 2010 are no longer on the roster in Athens. Washaun Ealey (811 yards rushing in 2010) transfered to Jacksonville State. Caleb King (430) had academic issues and declared for the NFL supplemental draft. Now Thomas (272) will miss at least the season opener against Boise State. Want to know who the top returning rusher is for the Georgia Bulldogs? Yep, Aaron Murray. The Bulldog Nation needs to make sure freshman Isaiah Crowell lives in a bubble and gets to the regular season healthy. The cupboard is looking thin.

- The NFL is hoping all the remaining issues can be addressed together and is asking for a "global" settlement on the two big cases - the Brady vs. NFL suit and the decision about broadcast insurance. The deal seems likely this week, and we'll discuss this more when the deal is official, but this sure seems like all that was really needed to get this done was proper motivation.

- Other Braves notes: Jason Heyward was scratched from the lineup last night because of a bruised leg and Chipper Jones is headed to Gwinnett for a rehab assignment after surgery 10 days ago. As for the rest of Make any and all judgements that you feel fit. (Sidenote: Here's the 5-at-10's thought bubble right now "Staying positive; staying positive.")

This March 11, 2011, file photo shows Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan answering a question during a news conference, in Arlington, Texas. Ryan is in a Houston hospital undergoing tests on his heart. The Rangers said in a statement Monday, July 18, 2011, the 64-year-old Ryan is "resting comfortably and reports he is feeling better." He is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Rich

Today's question

Nolan Ryan is expected to be released from a Georgetown, Texas, hospital sometime later this week. He checked in after feeling chest discomfort on Sunday, and all the results of the tests have been encouraging for Ryan, who had a double-bypass operation in 2000.

As a Hall-of-Fame player and now as an executive, Ryan, 64, has always been one of baseball's most popular people.

When the news broke this weekend that Ryan was going to the hospital with chest pains, the initial worries made the 5-at-10 think that when his number does get called, Ryan is going to have a huge, Texas-sized funeral. One of those monster, Dale Earnhardt-type productions.

Not to be too morbid on a fine sunny Tuesday, but what current sports person (players, coach, owner, whatever) will have the biggest funeral?

Discuss.