From Whitley

Lord the lefty hacks in y'all's spot (Thursday) are terrible. No more vacays for y'all.


Whitley -

First, I realize this is a statement and not a question. I also reluctantly shared it because it's somewhat self-promoting.

So thanks for the kind words, and sorry, Paschall and I each have multiple vacation days looming over the next few weeks. Well, hopefully, considering the various closings happening all over the country right now.

But Whitley's fondness for Press Row (and the counter angst to whatever ESPN national program filled Thursday's 3-to-6 spot) allows us to get into the conversation of ESPN proper, and ESPN radio specifically.

I believe the LeBatard Show is the best show on all of radio — sports or non-sports. Truly I do. It's smart. It's funny. It's insightful on sports and zany on non-sports, and seamless moves between every category like Jeopardy! James working a favorable board.

The rest of the ESPN line-up, though, is a work in progress.

Golic or Wingo has been running since April 2018 and it still is devoid of chemistry, in my opinion. In fact, according to this report from the New York Post's Andrew Marchand, the contracts for both Mike Golic and Trey Wingo expire at the end of 2020 and each is in limbo.  

Wingo appears to be on the way out since, a) Johnson's arrival has been widely reported to include a morning radio show and b) if Wingo was going to move back to TV full-time, it would have been on some variety of NFL Live, and the cast for that was announced last week  

ESPN has hired Keyshawn Johnson as an NFL Live analyst and all the reports have him as part of a new morning national radio show. His initial choice as a side kick was Max Kellerman, but Max preferred to stay and focus on his daily thumping from Stephen A. Smith on First Take.

Which leads us to the format of "First Take, Your Take," the radio show on ESPN from 1-3 daily. Its host is Jason Fitz, who is extremely likable and has a great radio presence and persona, in my opinion. The format is junk, though, because if I wanted to watch First Take I would, never mind rehash it's talking points over and over with the views from Bob in Boulder and Sticky Pete in St. Pete.

In Marchand's column, it appears that Mike Greenberg is in talks about returning to radio in an afternoon role. And this is not even mentioning the 3-to-6 opening nationally that the Will Cain Show used to fill. Cain's last day with the Worldwide Leader was last Friday as he heads to host Fox and Friends weekends on Fox News.

Cain's conservative voice was an island of that viewpoint at the very left-leaning ESPN that will be sorely missed and almost impossible to fill, since most of the folks with viewpoints similar to Cain's have spent years bashing ESPN.

Rushmore of TV sports personalities who seem somewhat unlikable — Yes, this one is complete conjecture and a little unfair since it's not like we're hanging out with them regular, and who knows Brandel Chamblee, may be a wonderful fellow, but hey, let's do this. Chamblee, Olbermann, Skip Bayless and a lifetime achievement award for Chris Berman.

Rushmore of TV/movie postmen — Cliff Clavin, Newman, The Postman who always rings twice and the mailman who kept bringing those letters from Henry Hill's school and almost ended up in the oven at the Cab Stand early in Goodfellas.

Rushmore of 'Should of been' all-timers in sports — OK, this one got a little tougher than expected. Here's the dividing line, did an injury stop or derail a career that was headed to a prominent spot on any sports Rushmore and potential GOAT discussion. So, while Tiger's injury and off-the-course stuff deserves mention, by almost any measure, he's no worse than No. 2 on anyone's list of best golfers of all-time. So in that regard, Couples makes a better golf pick than Tiger, if that makes sense. Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Tyson, Gale Sayers and Sandy Koufax.

From Chas

Which prompts a question for Friday's bag. Do conservatives find it mystifying that so many high achievers are liberal? (You absolutely can flip that question over.)

And, for the mailbag: Aren't most of the great political cartoonists liberals? (I'd love to see some strong conservative toons, but most of what I see is lame. Isn't it hard for conservatives to spoof those in power? P.J. O'Rourke is funny, but he's no Trump conservative.)

Chas -

I had never really thought about high achievers being more liberal or conservative. I guess my question in a lot of directions about that would be the parameters.

First, are we considering high-achievers people atop their industry or famous people atop their industry, because if it's both, I think you would have a vast majority of 'high achievers' lean toward conservative politics because they vote with their wallets as much as their social views.

Now if we're talking about high achievers in public jobs, then I would guess that it leans decidedly more liberal, whether you're talking about coaches or actors or whomever.

But again, that begs the following two questions: First, are they more liberal leaning because of that popularity and being liberal is an easier stance in the public eye these days? Second, are they liberal now that they are famous but what were they in the march to the top of their profession.

Not sure that's answer or not, but it does make me appreciate the approach of someone like Ricky Gervais, who opened up about his scathing monologue at the Golden Gloves with this refreshing bit of truth: "I'll often take a complete opposite stance to what I actually believe if it makes the joke better. I'll pretend to be right-wing, left-wing or no-wing! It depends on the joke."

As for newspaper cartoonists, not sure why that is, but I am sure that the number of them is dwindling. And you are so right that Chattanooga has been blessed to have two rock stars in that job for as long as I've been here.

That's all we got for today folks — we have a few other letters that we will roll — because we need to get to breakfast for the masses here at the swan song at the lake.

Thanks for reading and we'll leave you with an old-school top-five list — a 5-in-10 from the 5-at-10:


Top five things about the Fourth

Flag and freedom —'Merica... it's just that simple.

Fireworks — Who doesn't like to watch things blow up?

Grill — Yes, mammal meat over an open fire.

Lake — Did I mention there's an alligator down here now?

CoColas — Cold and always flowing.Enjoy the weekend friends. I'm certain you've earned it.

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Jay Greeson