We're still looking for a couple of mailbag questions for Friday. Let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...
Braves working late
The Atlanta Braves are putting the finishing touches on their final West Coast swing. This is good news on two fronts: first, it's tough to make it to the end of those 10 p.m. starts that finish around 1 a.m.; second, it's impossible more times than not to get those results in the TFP. So it goes.
That said, by now you're probably aware that the Braves settled into what has become an almost predictable result: Great pitching, two big hits (homers by Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman), zero from Dan Uggla (0-for-4) and heading to the hotel with a tight 3-1 win.
That's right, your Atlanta Braves got all of five hits and won. They have exactly one healthy everyday player (McCann) hitting better than .270 and three (McCann, Freeman and Chipper Jones) hitting better than .250 and they're 10 games over .500.
As we discussed with the SportTalk guys on Monday, Atlanta's pitching has been excellent, plain and simple. In fact, Quake made a great point that this team is really likable because of the way they play the game - great pitching, great defense, unpredictable offense.
As for Uggla, who's average dipped to .177, well, the Mrs. 5-at-10 wants us to work on being a little nicer in our presentation. OK, how's this, "Hey how about that Dan Uggla? In four at-bats Monday, he did not strike out once. Not once. Way to go, Dan."
Pay now - or pay more later
The Dodgers owners filed for bankruptcy protection Monday. Apparently, and financially we are not even in the range of that toddler that does the E-trade commercials - "Learn the rules shank-o-potumus" - this is to stop Major League Baseball from stepping in and taking over the club from the McCourts, who own the team but are going through a messy divorce that has thrown a loop into everything.
As our reporting ace David Paschall has reported several times, this will not affect the payroll - MLB has pledged to step in and make payroll for the Dodgers. MLB has done this in the past, and in truth they are forced to when this type of scenario happens. Baseball did it last year for the Rangers, before they were sold. If teams hit financial struggles during the season, payroll must be met or current players could file for free agency. And while the thought of the Braves adding Matt Kemp before the weekend seems enjoyable on a lot of fronts, to borrow one of the many quotable lines from Bender in "Breakfast Club," "If he gets up, we'll all get up... It'll be anarchy."
Among the people who the Dodgers will owe big bucks to on Friday when payroll checks are due is former outfielders Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones and Marquis Grissom.
And it's still not the worst deferred payments story around.
According to the New York Post, the New York Mets will cut a $1.2 million check Friday to Bobby Bonilla. Yes, that Bobby Bonilla, who has not played baseball any where since October 2001 and was last with the Mets in 2000. It gets worse - the Mets are on the hook to that payment to Bobby Bonilla for the next 25 years. Read that again.
When the Mets released Bonilla in 2000, they agreed to defer the payments of the $5.9 million Bonilla was owed until July 1, 2011. That agreement was with the nice little kicker of adding 8 percent compound interest, which will make the value of the buyout roughly $30 million by the time it's complete in 2035.
Let's just move along.
The most influential dunk ever?
Sad news about Lorenzo Charles dying in a bus crash Monday.
For those don't recall, Lorenzo Charles was the N.C. State player that dunked home the game winner in the 1983 NCAA title game that lifted the Wolfpack over Houston in one of the great NCAA finals of all time.
It truth Charles' most memorable play in some way set off a chain of events that generated billions of dollars for college sports and cancer research. Bear with us.
If Charles is not there to catch and stuff Dereck Whittenburg's errant 30-footer, Houston wins the title.
If Houston wins the the title, the NCAA tournament is denied its first true Cinderella champion. Yes, Magic and Bird met in the finals in 1979 and helped college hoops take the next step. But Louisville beat UCLA in 1980, Indiana won in '81 and Michael Jordan's jumper lifted a star-studded North Carolina team to the title in 1982. North Carolina State was a No. 6 seed and only made the tournament in 1983 because the Wolfpack won the ACC conference tournament.
March Madness truly has exploded because of the brackets and the love of the underdog. Charles' dunk was the exclamation point on college hoops' first modern-era Cinderella champion.
Even more importantly, Charles' dunk set off one of the more memorable highlights in college sports - then-NC State coach Jim Valvano running around the floor famously, "Looking for someone to hug," as he described it. It was the introduction on the national stage for Valvano, who during his battle with cancer set up the V Foundation, which using Valvano's notoriety and a world-class speech at the 1993 ESPYs has raised more than $100 million to support the fight against cancer.
It may be the most meaningful dunk in basketball history.
This and That
- From the Cliff Clavin, "Four people who have never been in my kitchen" division, this year's Wimbledon women's final will feature two players that we've probably never heard of. Somebody wake us when it's over.
- If you don't think the 5-at-10 watched the replay of the BCS title game on ESPNU last night, well you're wrong. Michael Dyer's run on the final drive - the one where he is tackled but rolls over the Oregon player and never touches the ground - is one of those crazy plays that even though you know how it turns out, you try to analyze it and think "Wow, that was some kind of tough call."
- South Carolina edged Florida 2-1 in Game 1 of the College World Series on Monday. USC won in extra innings on throwing errors for the second straight game. With the bats change in college baseball, defense has never been at a high premium. Game 2 is tonight.
- Former University of Florida and current Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder sure sounded like a guy who may not be a future representative for the NCAA. When asked about college players selling memorabilia - a sure-fire NCAA no-no that among others cost former Georgia receiver A.J. Green some time last year and has jumpstarted a first-class mess for THE Ohio State University - here's what Crowder had to say: "I'll say hypothetically I don't have any more of my Florida jerseys," Crowder said on the debut of his two-hour sports talk show on WQAM. "There were some Jacksonville businessmen that really hypothetically liked my play." Wow. Let's just move along.
We believe Lorenzo Charles' dunk was the most influential of all time. What do think was the best dunk ever? Be it the best or in the biggest moment or even your most memorable. We'll have our top five favorite dunks around 2 p.m.