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Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Monday, July 27, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Good-bye and here's the pitch

Baseball is spinning, like a tight Steve Carlton slider, and the future is going to be as difficult to grab as a Niekro knuckle.

OK, side note for us baseball geeks. If I started here, with this pitch and pitcher, can you crack this list of guys with the best single specific pitch:

Fastball: Nolan Ryan (I was tempted to put a couple of other guys who run it up there north of triple digits like Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens, but when you think heater, you think The Express)

Knuckler: Phil Niekro

Slider: Carlton, and if I went left and right, I'd go Tom Seaver slightly over John Smoltz for the other side

Screwball: Fernando Valenzuela (although you more 'experienced' fans may offer Carl Hubbell; Heck Spy was there when Old Hoss Radbourn out-dueled Pud Galvin in a classic)

Cutter: Mariano Rivera

Splitter: Bruce Sutter

Curve: Sandy Koufax narrowly over Bruce Blyleven (although Mike Witt's 12-to-6 hook was slap nasty too)

Knuckle-curve: Roy Halladay

Change-up: Lots of guys with great ones, but the name that first came into my mind was Trevor Hoffman and then Mario Soto, the former Reds ace, but Glavine and Maddux had great ones too

Sinker: Greg Maddux

Eephus: Rip Sewell

Spitter: Gaylord Perry, although here's betting Satchel Paige could doctor a baseball with the best of them not named Whitey Ford or Eddie Harris You put snot on the ball. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdjgdb-OxY8

Where were we? Oh yeah, baseball.

The Marlins mess — 14 players and coaches testing positive — is a potential season ender. Seriously.

And to think that the team decided to play with as many as four guys with the virus Sunday and risk the entire season with a potential outbreak is simply outrageous.

But one thing is clear, at least for your Atlanta Braves, the importance of every outing and almost ever at-bat is quite clear.

After getting torched last week at the end of Summer Camp, Mike Foltynewicz was blasted again last night by the Tampa Bay Rays. His stuff was below average and his fastball was more ball than fast.

And like that he was designated for assignment. Gone, poof, like Andy Dufrense after the warden killed Tommy. (Side note: Did you know that Brad Pitt was cast for that role but had to back out to shoot Legends of the Fall? So there's that.)  

It's easy to forget that Foltynewicz was an all-star in 2018 but bye. So make no mistake, the Braves are in this one for the here and now. Whether that here and now ends by Friday because of the stupid Marlins is anyone's guess.

(Granted: This does not apply to the dreadful start Ronald Acuña Jr. is off to, but dang, dude's bat has amazingly tardy on any non-Folty fastball right now. And that Rays dude who was tickling triple digits simply blew Acuña and Marcell Ozuna away.)

 

Prep football

This is beyond the 5-at-10 rules at this point; this is actually important.

Here's TFP sports editor and high school sports guru Stephen Hargis putting the dollar amounts and perspective on the dire effects of losing even a few of the signature rivalry games for high school football programs.If the Governor's state of emergency is not lifted or if high school football is given an exemption, Hargis notes some of the marquee games that will be lost, like Marion-SPitt, Red Bank-Soddy, Signal-East Hamilton and a slew of others.

Chad Brown, the Red Bank coach, called it catastrophic, and it's hard to argue — for the football programs and all the other sports and extracurricular activities that get support directly and indirectly from high school football.

And, yes we all agree that safety — of players first and foremost, but coaches, fans and everyone involved — is paramount, but not discussing the other effects and impacts is not practical either.

And while we're here, if we polled high school football players, how many would pull the Bad News Bears: Breaking Training and join Bob Watson and Enos Cabell in the "Let them play! Let them play!" chant?  

 

Poor choice

Everything is political these days. That's a fact.

And it's sad too.

It's in medicine — by the truckload when you discuss corona — and has been for quite a while considering the levels of fight and fiscal convergence on health insurance in this country.

It's in sports — by the truckload when you discuss kneeling — and has been for quite a while considering the levels of racial conversations we've had and advancements made from athletics in our society.

Pick a category, and it's there.

Today, I'm going straight politics for a moment, because this is about life and lessons and living with grace.Most of you regulars know where I stand, and to pretend that we do not reveal hints or even directly discuss points of view and politics whether the topics are March Madness or the marches of protestors is silly.

It happens because it's life, and our view points are our own. And the overall ability to listen and disagree or agree with civility around these parts is a great compliment to you guys.

But if you are new to this space, I'm Jay Greeson. I voted for Trump and have been a conservative all my life.

And with that caveat, I'm downright embarrassed that Donald Trump skipped the visitation at the Capitol of John Lewis, a truly great and life-changing American who died earlier this month.

I don't care if he did or didn't attend the inauguration. I don't care about the beefs or the battles or the barbs.

Heck, I don't even care that Trump was in the politically charged Catch-22 that his haters would grand if he went and squawk if he didn't. That's the atmosphere in which we live, and the climate that got him elected.

But in the end — especially in the end of life — there's what's right and there's what decent.

And the President of these United States simply must be at the ceremonies when our country says good bye to an American as great as John Lewis. Period.

 

This and that

— How slow has Ronald Acuña's start been? Well, try 3-for-19 with 11 Ks, and watch him tonight and he's wicked late on anything with any kind of zip on it.

— First, as you may have noticed, no kitchen segment this morning. Sorry. Spending the weekend in the North Carolina Mountains meant a lot of work for the griddle — room grilled cheeses and Pop Tarts — and no preparations. Side note: We did use some spaghetti squash in place of pasta for lunch and the kids did not know until we told them. Man, every piece of produce we have received from the CSA with Signal Mountain Farms has been aces. Good times.

— Want a scary side story to all of these governmental subsidies being handed out during the days of COVID-19? Meet David Hines, a South Florida moving business owner who received $4 million in PPP relief funds and promptly used our tax dollars for a Lamborghini. Seriously. I know there are a lot of folks feeling the weight of the roll back on unemployment benefits, but the government simply can not afford to keep up this print and pass economy plan. Buckets, our national debt is the absolutely biggest issue that absolutely no elected person in Washington wants to discuss, acknowledge or fix. I know the Trump-backing folks on the right are Republicans, and some of them may even call me a RINO — Republican in name only — and that's fine. But they dang better not call themselves fiscal conservatives because those of us on that island have been longing for sound-decision making since the days when we thought OJ was great and Bill Cosby was America's dad.

— Seriously, now Ellen is trouble. The longtime TV talk show is being investigated by its distributor Warner Bros. and a third party for workplace issues including allegations of racism and intimidation.

— Here's today's A2 column on the swinging pendulum of protests that were front and center during the opening weekend of MLB. And with it comes a sneak peak at another round of hate mail. (Chas, thanks for the comment last week about the entertainment value, and know this — mentioning any topic on race or writing more than a reference to Donald Trump, good or bad, is going to generate hatred these days.) "You still don't get it. From the lap of white entitlement, you are unaware of the plight of Blacks. In lieu of a class in race relations, I would like to "assign" a tv program for you to watch. It is UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA and comes on CNN. Give this unsolicited advice a chance.As a journalist, you need not sound like a close-minded red neck." And silly me, but I always thought redneck was one word. Who knew?
 
— Breaking news: McCallie kids are like Will Hunting, and are wicked smart. Here's a story from our new TFP education reporter Monique Brand on the McCallie graduating class, which included 87 percent getting some form of college scholarship and five graduates getting into Yale. So there's that. How you like them apples?

— Personal side note here: The 5-at-10's 'do is at a college-level thick and bushy. Sweet buckets of bouffant, I feel like a Sweathog for Pete's sake. "Hey, Mr. Kot-TAIR?" Wow, that's a show that simply could not be made these days, you know?

— Wow, the new Patriots Way? Four players — including Pro Bowl inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter — have opted out of playing this year because of Corona.

 

Today's questions

True or false Tuesday. We'll go true there.

True or false, MLB will get more than halfway through its 60-game schedule.
True or false, you are worried about Ronald Acuña's slow bat. True or false, Welcome Back Kotter is underrated.

True or false, the Lamborghini-buying South Florida dude should get multiple years in prison.True or false, you agree with every single pitch-pitcher mentioned above. (If not, tell me where I'm wrong. The Mrs 5-at-10 does it all the time.)

As for today, July 28, let's review.  

Bill Bradley is 77 today. Rushmore of former professional athletes who became politicians.

Go

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