Before we get to the mailbag — and you guys had some great questions — I have some housecleaning tidbits.
First, the rules be the rules. Here's Paschall completing the sequence of the most memorable SEC games he covered in the 2010s. Hide your eyes Jules and 'Dro.
Second, rules still be the rules. Here's Hargis on the Best of Preps winners and on a McCallie star running back headed to Mizzou.
Third, the conversation about whether it was or wasn't a noose or a loop at the end of a rope on the garage door was ended unequivocally when NASCAR released a photo of it Thursday afternoon.
Also, we know the Rushmores will have to be added in a bit. Sorry. We're a slacker. And finally, stay safe out there friends. And be kind.
This may be too late, but I saw this on Twitter and thought it might be a good mailbag question: Name a baseball player who could have been a Hall of Famer had he not had health/injury issues?
Thanks Jay and I love your radio show and I voted for you in the Best of the Best competition. Congratulations.
Thanks for the kind words, Joey.
OK, this is such a great question. Is it great enough to have a Rushmore? Absolutely. Heck, I think it's great enough to have a starting nine with a reliever. Deal? Deal.
Some ground rules. In regard to health issues, I added addiction and the mental health issues that frequently cause them.
Starting pitcher — Doc Gooden. One of the first names that popped in my head. We looked this up the other day when we were discussing potential great numbers in jeopardy in a 60-game season. But did you know that the two best season ERAs that happened after World War I ended are Bob Gibson's 1.12 in 1968 and Dwight Gooden's 1.53 in 1985? With all apologies to Mark Pryor and even Kerry Wood, Doc in the mid-1980s was a Nolan Ryan heater with Orel Hershiser hook. Seriously. If I was going to have a full five-man rotation, it would be Gooden, Pryor, Wood, Jose Fernandez and JR Richard.
First base — Don Mattingly. I think Donnie Ballgame should be in the Hall because I believe a decade of dominance is a heck of a lot more impressive than the compiler numbers of so many guys who were hitting .258 with 12 homers for the last four years to get to 2,800 hits or 450 homers. (Looking at your Harold Baines.) Mattingly played in parts of 14 seasons — he had only 11 with 100 or more games — and finished with more than 1000 runs, 1000 RBIs and 2,100 hits as well as nine Gold Gloves.
Second base — Dustin Pedroia.
Shortstop — Dickie Thon. Not the only one who suffered this fate but the injury and the inability to recover from getting in the face with a pitch (Yes, Spy, you know of whom I type), Then was off to an amazing start with the Astros. From 1979 to the first week of the 1984 season, Thon played multiple positions hit .393, .282, .274, .276, .286 and .353 in five games of '84. In his last full 'regular' season in 1983, Thon was an all-star, hit .286 with 20 homers, 79 RBIs and 34 steals and finished seventh in the MVP voting. In the fifth game of the '84 season, Thon was hit in the face with a Mike Tore fastball. He was never the same.
Third base — David Wright. A borderline Hall of Famer despite the injuries, but he was headed toward being in the Schmidt, Brett, Chipper neighborhood and that's a really nice neighborhood.
Outfield — Bo Jackson in left, Eric Davis in center and Tony Conigliaro in right. Yes, leaving some off this list was tough — yes, looking at your Daryl Strawberry and you Josh Hamilton and even you Dave Parker — but without the injuries/distractions, Jackson, Davis and Conigiliaro were headed to the Hall.
Catcher — Buster Posey. Or Joe Mauer. This on is taught. Thoughts? Or even Thurman Munson.
Closer — Roy Hobbs. (Sorry, running short of time.) But seriously, he whiffed the Whammer. Kid was going to be the best there ever was in the game.
From a slew of you
What baseball changes would you have made?
I have talked about this a bit on the radio this week, and while we all want baseball back and we all need to cross our fingers that everything goes perfectly so baseball can come back, my biggest beef about baseball coming back is not on why did it tale the bickering millionaires and billionaires so long.
It's that baseball did not roll the dice and explore more tweaks and rule changes in an already completely junked-up 60-game season.
First, the automated strike zone should absolutely be used. Why in the world not. It allows for hard and fast comparisons and the experimentation needed for something like this. Heck the US Open tennis event will not have line judges on any of the courts besides the Center Court and the next biggest court.
Without having seen the schedule, baseball dang better be on a Waffle House schedule by comparison. Games from noon to midnight and they better be on TV, from the regional networks to the bevy of ESPN platforms that are showing a slew of sports debate shows debating everything but sports these days to the MLB Network. Plus with more people home during the day than any time in the last 50 years, why not?
As for the universal DH, I like many of you am not a super DH fan. I prefer the strategery of the double switching NL and some of my favorite baseball memories have included pitchers going deep like the iconic homer Rick Camp hit on July 4 in Atlanta in a crazy game with the Mets.
But the need for offense, the need from players union to have more 'full-time' jobs make the universal DH inevitable.
That said, with a chance to tweak and experiment like never before, why try something like this: Teams do not DH for the starting pitcher, he bats and then once you pitch-hit for your starter, that guy becomes the DH. That helps move the game along in the later innings — especially with the looming "face three hitters" rule for relievers — and would also allow for true generational talents like Ohtani and others who have the Ruthian duality of hitting and pitching at elite levels to be true dual threats.
There are several more too. Limited number of shifts. Ideas like bigger bases for safety. A magic at-bat.
This was a chance to make some changes and roll the dice, but like every chance that has been presented baseball recently, they booted it.
Is Winn Dixie grocery gonna change their name?
The question is asked tongue-in-check of course, but the more you think about it, yeah, it's likely not long for the modern world.
The Dixie Chicks changed their name. (They are just the Chicks now, which begs the question if that may be sexist to some I suppose.)
Heck, Chattanooga was once known as the Dynamo of Dixie. Yes, that's been replaced by Gig City as Chattanooga has transformed from a blue-collar manufacturing to whatever we are today and had nothing to do with race or sensitivity, but if we were still using that moniker, I can only imagine how many kittens Mayor Berke would have hand-wringing about it.
It will not end there, friends, and Winn Dixie is right there. Dixie Cups was trending on Twitter Thursday. Dixie League Youth Baseball is self-evaluating.
There are more. Dixie Sugar for example. The names of bands and companies and brands are easy because they are either publicly or privately controlled, and are there for the common goal to make money.If you are Winn Dixie or Dixie Cups, and you are going to instantly alienate a large percentage of your customer base because your name may be viewed insensitive, of course you change. Of course, Food City and Solo are better operations, but that has nothing to do with naming nomenclature.
Those are easy decisions for those businesses and groups.
In some regards, it's the same with Splash Mountain, the Disney water ride that has a lot of imagery from Song of the South that is being redone.
But that in part leads to one of the main lines I am uneasy about at the core of our current cancel culture. Books, music, art and things that make us think and feel and remember and hurt about our history, the good and the bad.
This is not about the Confederate Flag; that's a symbol. Does it have a spot in a museum? Yes. Does it have a spot at Daytona? Nope.
But movies like Gone with the Wind. Or songs like Dixieland Delight or Christmas in Dixie? Are they going to be cancelled? I hope not.
The conversation of the old-school "Dixie" that starts with "Way down South in the land of cotton" is a difficult one too. I can see it offending, truly. But there are songs that offend me too — (Bleep) the Police comes to mind and a slew of songs that have language that would make a long showman blush.Will they be cancelled too because they offend? I hope not, even as the offended party.
And Whitley's question made — whether asked rhetorically, sarcastically or humbly — me really think about the day-to-day things that will be the focus of a possible controversy or cancellation. Not everyone one of them will be granted. Not everyone of them should be granted, because the expanding circles of faux outrage is a) detrimental to the proper goals of social change, and b) downright dangerous in terms of history, perspective and tradition.
As I was reviewing those things in the history of my life and the things from my past and present, man, have we seen the last Laser Show at Stone Mountain and what will become of Stone Mountain, the large piece of quartz that has images of Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into the side?
For those of you who know what I'm saying, you know EXACTLY what I'm saying.
For those who are unaware, here's the skinny: The Laser Show happened and sundown each night the park was open. There were a slew of country songs played as the lasers bounced off the mountain and around the darkened sky about 30 miles northwest of the ATL. The big finish was outlining the three confederate soldiers on horseback and having the computer imagines ride off to the left as the music played. I know in the 1980s, Dixie was played as part of the big finish. Been a long time since I saw the laser show, but here's betting that Dixie had previously been cancelled.
Now what? Because the laser show had been shut down for Corona but will it ever comeback in this time?
I really have no idea.
On Tuesday I posted this query: Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill is arguably the best returning back in the SEC this year. However, Hill says he won't play another down of football if the state of Mississippi doesn't change its flag, which includes the Confederate emblem. I support him. True or false: It's way past time.
Yes, 100 percent true.
The flags through the history of every state should be in a museum, but the flag is and state-sponsored or funded things must use a different prism even than businesses or even history and the arts.
It's long past time to break with the stars and bars.
My question will be in this uncertain footing of the cancel culture is not about Hill's request as much as where the line is in terms of the boundaries of the increasing power of the college football player.
How big a star does a player need to be to be making these demands, because the three most notable guys — Hill, Chuba Hubbard at Oklahoma State and Marvin Wilson at FSU — who have dropped demands on their schools are bona fide all-conference if not All-American level players.
And second, when does a player make demands for payment or better working conditions or something that is not part of this racial discussion.Because once power is realized, that power is rarely returned, right?
Gang, I will hold the hate mail this week.
Again, stay safe and enjoy the weekend.
5-at-10: Thoughts of baseball makes me smile, racial heaviness from Talladega to Jackson, Rushmore of musical rain