5-at-10: Monster mailbag with LIV questions and Judge Smails' thoughts, Best A-T-L athlete, actors for president

Business time.

Rushmore of Rose: Pete Rose, "Every Rose Has Its Thorns," "Rose-Colored Glasses" and Rose Bowl, with an honorable mention to the great Crash Davis line, "Rose goes in the front big guy."

Rushmore of baseball ejections: Wellman at his peak, as filmed here by Channel 12's Rick Nyman, Earl Weaver with his hat backward and throwing bases, Billy Martin, Bobby Valentine's ejection and return in the mustache. I feel like Bobby Cox has a career achievement spot in the conversation but he was more of a compiler than an artist like the rest. As for players, Brett's pine tar ejection is up there, the player that fell asleep in the outfield is up there, John Franco getting ejected on John Franco Day when the Cubs and Mets got into is up there, and we'll complete the player one with Joe Neikro getting tossed after flipping the emory board out of his back pocket.

Rushmore of athletes more famous than successful. Kaepernick, Kournikova, Tonya Harding, Tommy John.

Rushmore of days that should be a national holiday. D-Day, National election days (and they should be better coordinated around the country), Everyone's individual birthday for them (so I'd get Oct. 3 off, etc.), Christmas Eve.

Today's A2 column on the Boondoggle conversation we started around these parts earlier this week.

Two random thoughts before we get to the mailbag. First, here's Paschall on the thoughts that UT's baseball team is the best team in any college sport this year. They are great. But Oklahoma softball would like a seat in this discussion too.

Second, the Grammys are adding a category for the best social change song. Super. I guess. Want to know an award show change I would appreciate? We talked about Oscar snubs through the years. The Academy needs 'most entertaining movie of the year' because "Top Gun: Maverick" will not get a lot of award consideration, but by goodness it was a super fun time at the theater and that should count for something.

To the bag.

From Andy

What do you really make of the LIV and it's not really a threat to the PGA is it?

Andy -

I have thought a fair amount about this, and will have some of my own comments in a bit. First, let's go to guest 5-at-10 correspondent Judge Elihue Smails.

Judge, thanks for your time.

Judge Smails: You're welcome.

I guess my first question is did you have any tips for Phil Mickelson as he prepared to lead the LIV charge.

Judge Smails: I reminded him that gambling is illegal at LIV, and try not to slice.

OK. Great. What about for the LIV as a whole?

Judge: Well, I reminded them of my favorite Psalm. it's easy to grin when your ship comes in and you think you have the stock market beat, but the man worthwhile is the man who can smile when his shorts are too tight in the seat. Go ahead Pokey, which is my pet name for Patrick Reed.

Uh, Judge, I'm pretty sure that is not a Psalm.

Judge: Proverb, then.

Hmmmm. Did you have any discussions with Greg Norman before Thursday's first round?

Judge: Yes, yes I did. And while he had some worries, I reminded him that I have sent boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't want to do it. Felt I owed it to them.

That's a bit crass don't you think? What about the players who are caught in the middle here?

Judge: They'll get nothing and like it. How bout a Fresca?

Uh, no thanks Judge, but thanks for your time.

As for whether the LIV is a long-term threat or not, who knows, and without a bona fide broadcast partner that seems unlikely long-term. But the PGA Tour better realize it's for sure a short-term threat. Consider the following from a Friday morning.

The LIV highlights were shown first on ESPN, followed by the RBC Canadian Open highlights.

Is that because of the debut? Maybe, but which field has bigger names with Phil and DJ in London and Rory and Scottie Scheffler in Canada?

And gang, my gone-to-soon buddy Dr. B used a classic term to those of us who listened. "Money-whip." He liked to use it in describing the coach-hiring process. Well, the Saudis are money-whipping everything in every direction.

The winner of this LIV London event will have the distinction of cashing the biggest prize check in the sport's history at $4 million.

That's right at what Miguel Angel Jimenez earned in his PGA career and way more than the $2.747 million Hall of Famer Johnny Miller earned on the course.

And the money-whipping is not just at the top. Each of the 48 players in the LIV London event will make at least $120,000 and there is no cut. To make $120K in the RBC Canadian Open you will have to finish in the top-20.

Yes, we all giggle that Mickelson and DJ and even first-round LIV leader Chart Schwartzel are names we know and the rest feel like the third flight of the KIwanis Four Ball at Moc Bend. But matched up against a random June tournament, it's not like the PGA Tour is crushing you with star power either.

Wyndham Clark is your first-round leader at the RBC, and while Wyndham Clark is an almost perfect golfer name and is on the short list with Stetson Bennett on names of accomplished athletes that also easily have a name of the guy in your chemistry class junior year at McCallie, could you pick Wyndham Clark out of a line-up?

Or, in terms of star power, if I told you after 18 holes Scott Vincent was tied for third at one tournament and Doug Gihm was tied for third at the other, would you know which was on the LIV and which was on the PGA Tour?

And that money must be making the rank-and-file players wonder what's the best thing to do to make generational money for their family.

We frequently mention the Baylor School quartet that is in professional golf right now.

Harris English is 79th in career on-course earnings at $22.2 million. He also is a guy chasing potential Hall of Fame status, Ryder Cup spots and majors. He may not be tempted.

Luke List has made more than $11.5 million on the course, which is 192nd all-time. His recent success over the last couple of years has cemented his spot on Tour.

Keith Mitchell has made a whisper less than $9 million on the course ($8,987,644 to be precise), which ranks 248th all-time. And then there's Stephan Jaeger and his $1.865 million.

Both of those guys have name recognition compared to the bottom half of the LIV field, and that has value.

Simple math tells you that if there are 14 LIV events planned and if you entered them all - with no cuts remember - and pocketed the $120K from each, well, that's $1.68 million in prize money, and that's not counting whatever signing bonus/appearance money the LIV could pony up.

Yes, it comes with sacrifice. The PGA suspended all 17 card-carrying members who entered the LIV London event. (Whether that stands in court, well, that's for the people who went to college as long as I did but got multiple diplomas for that time and money.)

Yes it comes with the conversation and questions about playing for a Saudi crown prince believed to be a murderer. (Side note: Countries and cultures trying to 'sports wash' their histories of atrocities is not limited to this instance or these golfers. Heck, the NBA is desperate to work with UAE and China, which lured the Olympics in a much more global 'sports wash' attempt. And don't even look at the World Cup, which is headed to Qatar this fall, which brings up two side questions: First, if you think the Saudis are scary, well, the Qatar folks would like a word. Second, how are we pronouncing that Qatar country these days? Is it 'Cutter' or 'Guitar' maybe? Because as the war in Ukraine has proved with our total whiff on the spelling and pronunciation of Kyiv, well, anything is possible, right?)

But now that the LIV is here - and with reinforcements of Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed coming to the next LIV event in Portland - if the PGA Tour is not taking this thing seriously and not looking for ways to answer back in terms of money and purses, well, that's a colossal mistake.

From JTC

Is Max Fried a true No. 1 pitcher NOW Jay?


He's sure looked the part, especially last night.

Still it was the Pirates, who have a line that has far too many batting averages that resemble my Gameday BAC my first junior year at Auburn - .213, .077, .192, .143, .227, .229, you get the idea.

Still Fried has been excellent. He's 6-2 after last night's six-inning, one-earned, eight-K, no-walk dazzler. He was won six consecutive decisions and has pitched into the sixth inning in all 12 of his starts. That's the pedigree and numbers of being a No. 1.

But to be a true staff ace, the demeanor and look - you know he has that look - are also important.If he's not there, he's close. And how he fares in future postseasons will either galvanize that rep or dent it.

He's 2-3 in his career in nine playoff starts. In 17 postseason games and in 55.2 playoff innings, he has allowed 26 earned runs. That's a 4.20 ERA in the playoffs.

Because you don't see the Pirates in the playoffs.

From Wes

Jay, enjoy the 5-at-10. Thanks for all you do.

You were speaking about actors and their politics and this week and I agree with a lot of what you said. And someone brought up Reagan and his political career.

If you had to pick one actor to be president, who would you choose?

Wes -

Great question and thanks for the kind words.It would be a heck of a lot easier to pick all the Hollywood folks who I would shudder at the idea of them holding meaningful office.And in truth, that conversation this week on Matt McConaughey and his views on gun control was a fair one. And while, as I noted, a lot of his points were worth consideration and discussion, in this day and age being famous all-too-often is confused with being accomplished. And intelligent.

Side note: Hey Robert De Niro, let's sit the next few plays out huh? And here's another rub with De Niro and Penn and so many of the nine-figure net worth club that then wants our tax dollars spent on all these social services. The pain of inflation does not get Raging Bull or Spicoli the same way it hits the rest of us.

And while we're here, I meant to share this earlier this week, but someone posted on social media this week that all they wanted was Beth Dutton on 'The View' for a few episodes. Yeah, Joy and Whoopi would have no chance.

Where were we? Ah actors.

McConaughey seems to be among the most reasonable. I think a lot of folks would say Tom Hanks, but Rick Gassko from "Bachelor Party" in the Oval Office seems misconstrued. (Side note: We occasionally discuss movies or TV shows that could not get made in these more aware/sensitive/woke/whatever adjective you prefer times. But many forget that Hanks' big break was on the TV show "Bosom Buddies" where he and Peter Scolari pretend to be women to live in an all-woman building in NYC. Considering the transgender conversations in today's culture, yeah that one would have not chance to get made.)

Of course other than playing the Gipper and maybe being Mr. Jane Wyman, before politics, Reagan's biggest claim to fame was being a monkey's sidekick in "Bedtime for Bonzo." And considering Reagan's success, if we are going to follow that pattern, let's get whomever played the Man in the Yellow Hat next to Curious George.

From Brian

So, we were having this debate at lunch this week and someone wanted your opinion.

Who do you think is the best athlete in Atlanta sports history?

Thanks and you got a bunch of regular 5-at-10 readers here in Cleveland Jay.

Brian -

Thanks, and tell your crew thanks for their time.

Wow. Best athlete in Atlanta sports history.

On the high school front, I would lean toward Jeff Franceour, who was two-time all-state as a safety and WR for a two-time state champion at Parkview. He accepted a football scholarship to Clemson. He was easily the best high school baseball hitter I have ever seen, and remember I gave up a 42,000-foot homer to a teenage Ken Griffey Jr. In the state finals best of three against nationally ranked Lassiter, Franceour went 6-for-7 in a two-game sweep with five homers, a double and something like 15 RBIs. In his last AB of the series and his team up double digits, Lassiter's coach intentionally walked Franceour with the bases loaded.

Cue the "Goodfellas" scene: "One day some neighborhood kids carried my mother's groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect."

And he was a scratch golfer and reportedly was a monster basketball player who gave it up because, well, there you go.

With an honorable mention to Quincy Carter and far too many folks to name.

As a pro, my first thought was Deion Sanders, who in his prime was simply the fastest team-sport athlete I've ever seen. And the legends about him in Tallahassee - going to an NCAA track meet and dusting everyone in baseball pants in between games of an FSU doubleheader - are the stuff of legend.

But I'd be remiss not to mention two other dudes who played professionally in the A-T-L. Brian Jordan did a lot of the same things Bo Jackson did in his two-sport professional career. Granted he did not do them with as much flare and if Bo had stayed healthy, well, Bo would have done way much more. But still Jordan was pretty dang impressive. And one of the worst baseball announcers I've ever listened to.

The other is Dominique Wilkins, who at the height of his powers, was right there with David Thompson and very few others as the best jumpers I've ever watched dunk a basketball.

In terms of GOAT conversations, it's easy to forget that Bobby Jones was born in the A-T-L, and easier still that Bobby Jones was Tiger before Tiger and more dominant than Tiger.

Great question.

Enjoy the weekend friends.

photo Jay Greeson