5-at-10: Braves pack a punch, ‘Yellowstone’ uncertainty continues, ESPN leaving cable?

Atlanta Braves Matt Olson (28) celebrates with Austin Riley after he scored on a home run by Riley in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

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Braves monster lineup

Where is the weak point?

That has to be the thought of opposing pitchers and coaches as any foe tries to game plan against this Atlanta Braves offense.

The numbers do not paint the complete picture, but it's a fine starting point.

Atlanta is seventh in the MLB in batting average at .260. I thought it would have been higher.

Atlanta is third in homers with 52. Again, thought it would have been more.

Atlanta is fifth in runs with 170, third in on-base percentage at .343 and second in slugging at .468.

Tampa Bay leads almost every offensive category, and, as you'd expect, the Rays have the best record in baseball at 25-6.

Atlanta is 21-10, which is the best record in the NL.

And last night, the troubles for opposing pitchers could get even worse. Marcel Ozuna homered twice. Yes, that Marcel Ozuna, who authored a historically bad first month of the season when he went 5-for-59 with 18 Ks.

If Ozuna's bat even improves to just bad, well, buckets this Braves' lineup is downright bullish.

And know this: The Braves are the class of the National League with the following folks on the IL at some point this year: your opening day starting pitcher, your center-fielder, your primary DH/back-up catcher, your shortstop, your closer and now another starting pitcher.

Take a bow Alex Anthopoulos. You have assembled a monster collection of talent, whether Dansby or Freddie are part of it or not.

Yellowstone unturned

So, there are a lot of things working against those of us who have become connected to the Dutton clan and the "Yellowstone" universe.

First, there is the riff between Kevin Costner and the production company that has created our fictional Montana-land version of the Ewings from "Dallas."

Costner reportedly will be done as patriarch John Dutton when the fifth season concludes.

That certainly begs the question of how does John Dutton die, because he has to die, right?

Who whacks John? It's not like there are not a slew of candidates.

The other hurdle those of us who are waiting for the end of the current "Yellowstone" season and the first season of "1923" is the writers' strike in Hollywood.

So we know more than we did, but we still don't know much, if that makes sense.

Not sure about you, but I enjoyed this run of "1923" more than this season of "Yellowstone," which has been rather far-fetched.


Final straw

So, ESPN is dealing with a lot of stuff right now.

Parent company Disney is in the middle of massive layoffs. That's never a good thing for any organization in this industry.

But big picture, a recent interview with Bloomberg, ESPN boss Jimmy Pitaro made it clear that ESPN is pointed in the direction of offering direct-to-viewer options sooner rather than later.

"We're going to get to a point where we take our entire network, our flagship programming, and make it available direct to consumer," Pitaro told Bloomberg. "That's a 'when,' not an 'if' .... We're only going to do it when it makes sense for our business and for our bottom line."

And that will be the death knell for traditional cable as we know it, in my opinion.

In fact, I think when the networks eliminate the cable distribution model, companies like Comcast or EPB will give cable away to customers for subscribing to their interweb services.

Here's more on the Pitaro interview and the possible fallout with a move like that for ESPN.

This and that

— Holy Schnikes. I saw a story on The Athletic that Secretariat — GOAT of horses, which begs the question who is the GOAT of goats, I suppose — had 663 kids. Secretariat giving Wilt a run for the money in another GOAT discussion. Take that Frank Thomas.

— Man, things are trending so poorly at Bud Light, they are now giving the beer away. Seriously.

— So Herschel Walker is in hot water for potential fraud? Wow. Dude has had a rough 18 months, no?

— Another state has suspended betting availability on Alabama baseball. New Jersey followed Ohio's lead after "suspicious" wagers were made on the Alabama-LSU series last weekend.

— So ESPN hockey commentator P.K. Subban is in hot water on social media for saying the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to have to pack a "Lizzo-sized lunch" moving forward in reference to the plus-sized Grammy Award-winning singer.

— The 76ers win at Boston without MVP Joel Embiid, and then Embiid returns for Game 2 and the Celtics blow the Sixers out? Makes perfect sense, right?

Today's questions

It's an anything goes Thursday, so fire away. And if you want to offer a mailbag query, that works as well.

It also is Star Wars Day, as in May the Fourth (be with you) and such.

My question for the group: Is "Star Wars" the most important/impactful movie of all time? Discuss.

Also on this day, the first Grammy Awards were held in 1959. Spy, how was the food?

In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings played their first game — a 45-9 win over Great Western Base Ball Club — on this day. Spy, what was the crowd like?

Moe Howard — the leader of the Stooges — died on this day in 1975.

Rushmore of Moe, and have a little fun today.