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Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) hits a single during the seventh inning in Game 1 of a baseball National League Division Series against the Miami Marlins Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Before we get rolling, we had a request from Kyle J.

"Jay, I love your 5@10 but I enjoy your questions like Which Way Wednesday, T or F and the others more than the Rushmores. Have you ever thought about doing more of those questions. Thanks for the 5@10 - I read it every morning."

Hey, we discussed the idea of fewer Rushmores a few months back. The poll was overwhelming to keep the Rushmore, but as always, the floor is open for discussion.

But in terms of questions, I can incorporate more Multiple Choice questions on Mondays, and will continue to encourage more of a two-way exchange on T or F Tuesday.

Today, we'll try something new and have a Which Way Wednesday in each block. Deal? Deal.

 

Braves gonna be brave

So, Marlins, want to wake that sleeping dog again?

Ronald Acuña Jr., who has fried more fish than Morton's, homered in his lead-off at-bat in Game 1 against Miami Tuesday.

Because Miami gonna Miami, they plunked Acuña in his next at-bat. It's the fifth time Miami has hit the young Braves superstar, including the purposeful pegged Acuña last year when he was riding a streak of five straight games leading off with a homer.

Lots to unpack from that one scene in Atlanta's 9-5 Game 1, so let's start peeling the layer.

First, Acuña answered the HBP in the best possible way. Yes, his frustrations and anger were clear. And understandable. But dude got on first, slide that oven mitt over his sliding hand, and burned up the base paths and scored from first on what looked to be a rather routine single to left that the Marlins left fielder lolly-gagged toward.

He was fired up, and it fired up the Braves bats, too.

(Which way Wednesday, part I: Which movie quote about a baseball bat is best? "Hats for bats, keep bats warm Gracias" from Pedro Cerrano in Major League; "When the bat meets that ball you can feel that ball just give and you know it is going to go a long way. Dang, if you don't feel like your going to live forever," Buck Weaver in Eight Men Out; "Pick me out a winner, Bobby," Roy Hobbs in The Natural.)

That was the best team answer and most impactful payback Acuña could generate.

Second, Acuña's skill set is off the charts. Off. The. Charts.

He has defensive skills that are Andruw Jonesian. He has Garry Sheffield bat speed, even if his swing is long enough that it will be susceptible to 0-for-18 stretches but resilient enough to drop 10-for-20s with five lead-off homers. His arm is not Dave Parker's but whose is. He runs the bases like a mix between Willie Wilson and Tim Raines, with the grace and precision of the former and the purpose and power of the latter. (Side question: Was there any doubt Acuña was scoring as soon as he put his foot on second base yesterday afternoon? Not in my mind.)  

If Acuña stays healthy, he's a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and there are not a lot of dudes you can say that about 300 games into their careers. But this one is clear.

Finally, this is the latest line of the unwritten BS in the game. And it's time for an overhaul. Period.

And it's in baseball's best interest to do it sooner rather than later, because when Donny Ballgame and Brian McCann and the old guard are hitting players who watch a homer or celebrate after a great play or what have you, it hurts the game in a  slew of ways.

What happens if that 97-mph heater hit Acuña in the ribs or on the wrist and broke a bone and cost the sport its most exciting young player for the remainder of the postseason?

That's one. Here's two, in a practical matter: How in the world is it 'proper' or old-school for the Marlins to peg a guy, then both sides get warned and there is no retaliation, never mind no chance for Max Fried or Chris Martin to pitch inside because if one gets away just a touch, they get bounced?

And finally, be a man. If you can't get Acuña out, walk him rather than peg him. And, it's put perfectly in this social media exchange:  

From Acuña: "They have to hit me, because they don't get me out" with several emojis.

Among the replies, came from hard-throwing Reds pitcher and emotional crock pot Trevor Bauer: "This is the direction the game is going, and needs to go to survive. Don't like getting shown up? Get better or get out. This league ain't waiting around for you."

Amen Trevor, and keep being you Ronald, because you are the most entertaining and must-watch young players since Ken Griffey Jr.

 

Uh oh

Another positive Corona test for the Patriots — this one All Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore — on Wednesday.

Two more positive tests in Titans Landia. One with the Raiders, and that one may have come from some dude going to some wild and crazy event.

This should not be a shock. We are trying to find ways to operate and live and work with a highly infectious virus circulating among us. (Paschall asked this to Wells earlier this week, but it fits here on Which Way Wednesday: Which disease movie is the best, Outbreak or Contagion?)

But the tentacles of this thing have to be reviewed and the safe space of Sunday sports fandom with NFL swirling and our fantasy teams humming and our bets winning and losing faces a very real threat.

The Titans closed their facility again, this after PPD-ing last weekend's game with the Steelers. All told Tennessee is north of 20 in terms of cases, and considering the incubation period and how many folks are asymptomatic, man it's hard to see them playing this week too, no?

And potentially worse, is the Gilmore situation considering the Pats already knew of Cam Newton's infection and still played — without Newton — against the Chiefs on Monday night. Gilmore played in that game because he tested negative earlier that day.

Did he have it then but still tested negative? Hard to know, but you have to believe this:

If Gilmore had it, and considering that playing defense in the NFL is 100 percent the opposite of socially distanced, then there will be a tribe of Chiefs who will have it sooner rather than latter, no?

Here's hoping that the NFL office is seriously looking at all options, including saying, "Hey we're about to shut down for 10 days, bunker up and make sure everyone follows the protocols. If you do not follow the protocols, then you're out for the year. We will push everything back one week, and wipe out the bye week before the Super Bowl."

Again, no one wants that, but I do know that the most normal I feel as a life-long sports fan is Sunday afternoon, and it's not even close.

 

Dumb daddy

What's a word we can use that's stronger than jack wagon?

Seriously, because we're in dire need.

In truth, I was prepared to offer more MLB — the Yankees and Rays are tied at 1 in their ALDS, the Dodgers grabbed a 1-0 lead and the Astros lead 2-0 in the most 2020 baseball result you could imagine — or even the Lakers' all-important Game 4 win last night.

(Side note: If you were someone who say, was hunting some entertainment, because maybe your college football selections — and maybe you called them your Fab 4 picks or something catchy and clever like that — were around .500 and you needed a jolt to get your entertainment broker off the payroll and rolled the dice on the Heat plus-7 last night. Well, if you are in that category — not that I am or know anyone who is or was potentially — that Tyler Herro 3-pointer at the buzzer was ANYTHING but meaningless considering it cut the final margin to 102-96. Which way Wednesday, which should be Tyler Herro's anthem, Mariah's "Hero" or "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler; or My Hero by Foo Fighters; or do you have another?)  

But, speaking of Corona, well, this is downright well it is a lot of things. And causes me to need a stronger term permitted around these parts for jack wagon.  

Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy of Idaho attended his son's high school football game last Friday. The game was called at halftime because Ammon refused to wear a mask and refused to leave the stadium.

It was a road game — the school where Bundy's son attends does not have a mask requirement — and the school did not let him attend the game, so he watched without a mask from the parking lot. When he refused to leave after being asked over and over, the officials at the game called the game at halftime.

His son's team was up 35-0 and it was called off.

There was concern his son's team was going to have to forfeit, but the teams have agreed that the one-sided of it made the decision clear to go the other way.

But as for Bundy, well what a butt wagon (can we use that with clear eyes and full hearts?), and to make matters worse, this was his quote about future road games: "I have a strong belief in my right to choose to wear a mask or not. And If they think somehow there's a safety issue, then they need to section off a part of the bleachers to accommodate for those of us who believe differently than others."

Selfish does not even start to cover this, and as a parent, I can't imagine making a decision this so self-absorbed that it puts your child in such a difficult spot, because announcing your intention, if the opposing school now threatens to forfeit the game before the start, well what do you do?

I get the call for freedom and personal choices but it's not an individual right to attend any event, be it a high school football game or whatever, without following the rules of said venue.

Again, what a butt wagon.  

 

This and that

— Dwayne Haskins has been benched in Washington. Makes sense. Kyle Allen becomes the Washington Football Team's seventh starting QB in the last two season. And even more noteworthy, Alex Smith is a heartbeat from completing one of the most unlikely comebacks in NFL history.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the UT back that is surprisingly leading the NFL in rushing. Here's Paschall on Alabama finding another play-making wide out, because they already only had like 12.  

— The morning show on ESPN with Keyshawn and J-Will and that Zubin fella had a slew of guests this morning, including Miami-based rapper Rick Ross, who got into a screaming fight with Keyshawn about the Heat and the Lakers. It started with Ross speaking of flying to Columbia for new veneers — seriously — and was eventually punctuated with Ross dropping a GD on live radio. Seriously.Ross, when asked about the NBA's social justice efforts said, "We have to use our platform and make sure our soldiers keep moving forward." Say what? It will not be nominated for a Marconi any time soon.

— To a question Ron raised on Tuesday, when he wondered if he's the only one who does not care about fantasy sports. No Ron you are not alone; Paschall also is not big on fantasy football chatter. But, I do believe this: Chief among the reasons that the NFL is down only slightly while all the other sports are struggling mightily in terms of TV ratings — this year from last, NBA down 60 percent, NASCAR down a quarter, every MLB wildcard game in the previous round was lower than every previous year wildcard game in every other year there were wildcard games, golf down huge — is fantasy football. For years, there were more people playing fantasy football each year than people who played a single round of golf. Now, there is no comparison, since the recent numbers show that 60 million people play fantasy football according to ESPN and there were, according to the National Golf Foundation, report there were about 25 million people who played a round of golf in 2019.

— Rest east Eddie Van Halen. You were beloved by a generation that included an arrogant young Jay Greeson driving around in a convertible Mustang with a personalized tag plate — yes, seriously — cranking the Diver Down cassette. Went through several of them in fact.

— This is interesting. In the season premiere that started its 46th year, SNL paid the audience to attend. Each member of the studio audience got $150, and while a bunch of us would not watch the last decade or so of SNL without being paid, the reason was NYC Corona protocols in terms of reopening businesses. So there's that.

— There is a VP debate tonight. This one is more important than most in my opinion, considering the age and health conditions of the two guys atop the ticket. I'd have to list Harris as a moderate favorite on the front end, but you know us liberal media members. Will you watch?  

 

Today's questions

We will continue Which Way Wednesday this way

Which under 25 star would you want to build your team around, Ronald Acuña, Fernando Tatis, or Juan Soto in the field or Mike Soroka, Shane 'Justin' Bieber, or Jack Flaherty on the mound?

Which Van Halen song is the best? And while we were here, which single LP, be it vinyl or cassette (or 8-track for Spy) did you buy the most often because you simply wore it out playing it too much?

There are a lot of which ways to occupy your time. Enjoy Kyle.

As for today, Oct. 7, let's review.

Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0 in the most-unbreakable record in all of sports (and the game featured a slew that fit that bill.)

Simon Cowell is 61 today.

Rushmore of people connected to reality TV, because Cowell made half a billion dollars off American Idol and other projects.

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