Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts, who got back on the practice field after being suspended until his arrest for cocaine possession was sorted out. Werts was arrested July 31 for what police thought was cocaine on the hood of his car. Werts said it was bird poop. The charges, unlike the residue on Werts' Dodge — how come all these college football incidents involving a car seem to involve a Dodge — did not stick. Man, not sure even Matlock could pull off the "That's not coke; that's crap" defense with a straight face. Here's more.
Ronald Acuna Jr. Yes, football has not started yet, so when that happens this list will change somewhat. But right now, my three favorite things to watch in sports are, in reverse order, Tiger Woods contending on Sunday, LeBron James in a playoff game with the ball in his hands and Ronald Acuna at the plate. Yep, the 21-year-old phenom is that much fun right now. What a dude. He's a certain bet to be the only 30-30 member before the age of 22 not named Mike Trout. He's also — with 28 steals and 33 homers — has a chance at 40 homers and 40 steals, something only four dudes have ever done. (Canseco, A-Rod, Bonds and Alfonso Soriano.) Check these numbers: the last week Acuna is hitting .419 with six homers, 10 RBIs and 12 runs. In August, he's at .367 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and 15 runs.
Simone Biles. Wow, making gymnast history at 22 is like, I don't know, a quarterback winning his record-setting sixth Super Bowl in his 40s. Wait. Bad comparison. Still, Biles getting a perfect score being old enough to drink in a competition in which athletes hit their prime about the time they can drive is pretty awesome.
Pittsburgh Steelers. You think Mike Tomlin didn't pour a nice cocktail — what do you is Mike Tomlin's beverage of choice? — light a stogie and smile at all this Antonio Brown news? Of course he did. And he watched every second of Brown's feet and helmet and everything in between.
5-at-10 preseason picks. Giddy-up. Counting last Friday afternoon's addition — Vikes-Steelers over 37, Raiders minus-4 and 49ers minus-4 — we are sitting swell at 5-1. Yeah, maybe this betting preseason football is way better than we thought. Cue Nuke LaLoosh. "I love winning. I bleeping love winning. It's like, better, than losing." (Yes, the 5-at-10 is a little light on NFL preseason stuff today, but man, how many times can we discuss Zeke's contract or AB being AB?)
Braves bullpen. Think how good this team would be if they had just a mediocre bullpen, right? Still, Steve, putting the Braves bullpen here is almost as redundant as a NASCAR jab, am I right?
Team USA hoops. Would the last guy interested please turn the light off. Marvin Bagley bagged his candidacy this weekend, leaving Team USA 16 players to choose its 12-man roster. How slim are the pickings? Mason Plumlee — yes, that Mason Plumlee and his 7.8 points per game last season — is one of those 16.
Democratic presidential frontrunners. Whether it was Joe Biden mixing up his stories — either he's going to be a mid-70s presidential candidate with a foggy memory and that's not ideal or he just told a couple of whoppers last week — or the stories that Warren and Harris spun a couple of fish stories or simply want to revise the facts from Ferguson. Didn't hear much about those Tweet doozies, did you?
Non Power-Five football programs/athletic departments. When Nick Saban talks, college football normally listens. And Nick Saban wants the big boys to play at least 10 Power Five games a year. Here's more. Those trips to Alabama and Georgia and Knoxville and wherever else are the lifeblood for those Group of Five schools, which routinely get seven figures to go take a beating. (And if they pull off the upset, they can live of it for years. Ask App State.) So if that becomes the baseline, off of Alabama's 2019 schedule, Alabama would either drop New Mexico State, Southern Miss or Western Carolina, and you have to believe all of those programs need that fat game check every year.
Some rough birds with the Cardinals. Former Arkansas defensive lineman Darius Philon was cut after being arrested for some serious stuff that happened at a strip club in May. Over the weekend, the COO of the baseball Cardinals got a DUI. Neither es bueno.
Lack of trust
The U.S. Pan Am Games medal-winners who protested are originally among the weekend losers. But I had more to say on it than a paragraph.
Regular readers around these parts should be well aware that I completely understand the rights o refusal for an athlete to go the White House or Colin Kaepernick's right to kneel whenever he so desires.
I don't necessarily agree with those decisions, but my agreeing does not change or infringe on the rights of others to do so.
But this is inherently different, and beyond the obvious that these people are representing their country, which is paying for their training, travel and everything in between.
There, according to US Olympic and Paralympic Committee VP Mark Jones, was a commitment and agreement between every athlete not to do exactly what these people did.
So while some may think making these gestures and protests makes you one thing, I disagree.
These protests ultimate do not make you a protestor or a patriot, regardless of politics.
These protests made these athletes liars.
Here are Jones' quotes in a statement: "Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature. In these cases, the athletes didn't adhere to the commitment they made to the organizing committee and the USOPC.
"We respect their rights to express their viewpoints, but we are disappointed that they chose not to honor their commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result."
Kick them off the teams, Period.
What is the baseline of every successful team, be it sports, business, family, whatever?
And those athletes either punched a hole in that trust or kneeled — and pooped — on it.
This and that
— Here's TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer rightly suggesting that the Braves face their most important week of the season this week.
— The injury bug landed in Tuscaloosa, as TFP college football wizard David Paschall told us over the weekend. Yes, Alabama has a slew of depth and five-star guys doing a Rudy routine, but still, a starting inside linebacker and a dynamic true freshman running back out indefinitely can be felt. Even inside the Saban machine.
— Speaking of Paschall and injured star freshmen running backs, here's an update on Zamir White, the guy that non-Johnny Bulldogs Fans will become well aware of this year, if he can get his knee right. And judging from the photo of Mr. White if your nasty, dude spent a fair amount of his rehab time in the weight room. Dude looked the part, no?
— From the UT football files, here's Gene of Many Hats Henley, the TFP UT ace, on five Vols new faces that will/need to contribute pretty quickly for Jeremy Pruitt's bunch.
— Kudos to our guy Rich Mozingo and his Lookouts staff for another attendance increase. We went to Used Car Night on Saturday — a couple of those cars were an improvement to the 2004 Black Tahoe SUV/POS with 200+K on it that we drive — and the place was hopping. Here are the details from Paschall. (Yes, Paschall wrote something like 72 stories this weekend. I took a nap. And drank a few Co-Colas. Maybe not in that order.)
— Lots of golf news this weekend. Patrick Reed won for the first time since Augusta 17 months ago. Jason Day and Stevie Williams split. And the Tour is looking at slow play.
— The Baltimore Orioles pulled off one of the biggest upsets in baseball in a generation with Sunday's 7-6, walk-off win over Houston, which had Justin Verlander on the mound, had beaten the Orioles 23-3 on Saturday and was close to a minus-500 (bet $500 to win a $100) favorite.
Well, weekend winners and losers. Please share.
It's Aug. 12, so let's explore.
Sir-Mix-A-Lot is 56 today, and yes, he's the author of "I like big butts and I cannot lie" which may be right behind "A rose by any other name" and some of the "Unforgettable" lyrics from Nat King Cole on the all-time romance rankings.
Big day for inventions: The sewing machine was patented on this day in 1851, the first Model T was built on this day in 1908 and IBM's first PC was introduced on this day in 1981.
On this day 50 years ago the Boston Celtics sold for $6 million. Think about that.
Wow, did you know it was 25 years ago today that MLB players went on strike?
On this day 35 years ago, the Braves and Padres got into an epic brawl that featured two fights and 19 ejections.
Pete Sampras is 48 today.
Today also is National Vinyl Record Day.
Rushmore of best album covers. Go.