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OK, we got a bunch this week gang. A bunch. So, I'm gonna move quickly. Great job by you guys and gals.

Aces in fact.

Let's tend to our BID-ness.

Here's today's A2 covering how stressed our city is and the daunting tasks our new elected officials, especially Mayor Kelly, face.

Here's Paschall with more on UT's offensive line. (Side question for the group: UT is going to stink on ice next year, right? That's a four- or five-win team tops, no?)

As for the Rushmores, let's review:

Rushmore of best pitchers of the last 50 years. And yes, this was tougher than expected. Maddux, no questions. Big Unit and Steve Carlton are there. Then comes the final spot.I love Nolan Ryan, but he had too many losses. I love John Smoltz, but his numbers do not hold. Rocket Clemens' numbers are undeniable, but so too is shadiness and scum-bagginess. Gibson and Koufax were more 60s, and as an astute baseball follower emailed me when this Rushmore was put on the interwebs, Jacob deGrom is headed for this conversation too. But weeding through all the great players to find the fourth face on the Rushmore left me with three final contenders: Kershaw, Pedro and Seaver, and I went with Tom Terrific, but by the narrowest of margins.

Rushmore of Jackie: With all apologies to Jackie Earle Haley, who was Kelly Leak and hit .841 for the Chico's Bail Bonds Bears, you have to start with Jackie Robinson. I think Jackie O and Jackie Gleason both make it, and Fat Vader made me spit my CoCola with his comment about some of our more 'experienced' regulars watching the radio back in the day. We'll rap with Jackie Childs, the great attorney on Seinfeld. Gold, Jerry. Gold.

Rushmore of Pony. Pony keg, Pony Up, Pony Express (both the forerunner to mail service and the great nickname for SMU back when they were the best college team money could buy), Pony Boy Curtis from the Outsiders. Stay gold Pony Boy. Side question of middle school literature: Outsiders > Where the Red Fern Grows, right?

Ed O'Neill's Rushmore: Modern Family and Married with Children are dunks. Little Giants is criminally underrated. And after that, the pickings are quite slim. I loathed Blue Chips, so maybe his turn in Wayne's World the original.

To the good stuff — your questions    



From Pat

One thing we debated over the weekend was each of the back nine at Augusta's most famous shots. Mize's chip takes the prize for 11. Couples' ball staying out of the water on 12. We go with the double eagle on 15 for Sarazen. Either Jack's tee ball in 86 or Tiger's chip on 16. Jack's putt on 17. I go Sandy Lyle out of the fairway bunker to make birdie on 18 to win in 88 (we were sitting green side for that).

I guess Rory's drive on 10 the year he led with nine to go would be its. But 14? Couldn't come up with anything.

Pat

I love this question, so, So, SO much, and this one has dominated my thoughts for a good chunk of the week.

First, this points to the lack of appreciation for the front nine through the annals of history. (And yes, annals is there with penal and Uranus.)

The lack of TV coverage of the front nine for so many years left the opening nine with a limited connection, which is a shame. Sure Louis Oosthuizen's double eagle on No. 2 comes immediately to mind, but really, not much else.

(Side note: Speaking of Oosthuizen's double eagle, I was standing there when it found the jar. What a rush. Side note on the side note: Have I ever told you about my double-eagle. It was an unseasonably warm May day at Black Creek. What? You've heard it. OK, moving on.)

But the back nine is filled with magic and mystery and myth. It's where the all-timers did all-time things and helped create our lasting golf images, be them hanging on the wall in oil or etched in our memory for eternity.

First, and with all apologies to Jack's great tee shot into 16, Tiger's chip at the magical par 3 is right there with Sarazen's shot heard round the world among the all-timers — here or anywhere.

Here's my list Pat:

10 — Bubba's physics-defying hooked wedged from the trees in the playoff in 2012;

11 — Completely concur on Larry Mize's chip;

12 — I'll also concur on Couples' luck on the most-recognizable par 3 on the planet, but Jordan's double-dunk has to be in the conversation too;

13 — Is this Mickelson from the pine straw? I vote yes;

14 — Believe it or not, I'd go Mickelson again, who holed out here for an eagle 2 on his way to an eagle-eagle-birdie run on 13-15 on Saturday on his way to his third Masters win;

15 — Sarazen of course. Sorry, no video;

16 — Tiger, and this is not open for discussion;

17 — Agree that Jack's putt is here, and like so many other great sports memories that we have forever, the announcer's call helps, because this is the most famous of Verne's "Yes SIR!"

18 — I'm OK with Sandy Lyle and that bunker shot was amazing, but I'd also nominate Phil's 20-footer for birdie to win on the 72nd hole in 2004 since it was his first major and got one of the largest monkeys in sports history off his back.

Great question.

 

From JTC

Jay, with broadcast sports TV numbers trending down I was curious. What brings the numbers back if anything? Do those numbers include content streaming? Is this attributed to our attention span deficit?

JTC

I think fans will help. The energy and environment is undeniably better with crowds.

I think getting back into a routine will help too.

Yes, the numbers does include streaming and DVRing.

But sports and their broadcast partners have some serious issues before them.

As you mentioned, our attention span is historically short. Our viewing options are historically multiple — and only growing. And our time is impossibly crunched these days, racing to this and that.

And that last one makes the plummeting numbers during the Corona even more inexplicable. Because I thought we'd be gobbling up sports on TV, especially after the way America watched Tiger King and the MJ doc.

But the spiraling numbers are a huge issue amid a laundry list of huge issues for sports, other than the NFL, from interest to labor to politics. (More on that in a moment.)

Gambling will help — the NFL just partnered with sports betting giants Fan Duel, DraftKings and Caeser's — but I don't know if we'll ever get all the way back, which begs the question about what the packages will be worth to the networks or streaming services?

There are a lot of dudes with multiple commas in their annual salaries who have to be very, Very, VERY concerned about these trends.

 

From PD

You see Carlos Rodon's no-hitter last night? A back foot slider that hit a guy on the back foot in the ninth inning away from a perfecto.

Yadi Molina now has caught 2,000 games, all with one team, the most by a catcher for one team. Never been a big Molina fan but that is impressive.

Going back to Rodon are you surprised there are not more no-hitters, given that strikeouts are no longer a blemish for most hitters? I still think taking a called third strike with a runner on third is a cardinal sin, unless you've been fooled like you're at a David Copperfield show.

PD

I did not see Rodon's no-no. (Side note: Have I ever told you about my no-hitter against Paulding County my junior year? Yeah, you heard that one too. Alas.)

Your question is interesting in its layers.

Yes, Ks are through the roof and accepted, so that adds to the likelihood of no-hitters. So does the 97-plus heat it feels like every other pitcher in the bigs possess these days.

But the super strict pointy counts and limited stamina of so many of today's starters make complete games even a surprise these days.

Heck, if Nolan Ryan was on a pitch count back in the day he may have pitched till he was old enough to kick Robin Ventura's son's butt.



From Scott

1.  61 Feet: (Tony Armas) is a blast from the past (though I would counter with Dave Kingman or Rob Deer).  I remember Armas on RBI baseball (.264, 43 HR).  Sheesh. Here's something that hasn't been discussed – I'm wondering the effect the extra foot has on breaking pitches?  I'm thinking through the adjustments a pitcher would have to make to adjust a slider or curveball.  Could be quite difficult.
 
2.  Aaron Donald: He's terrifying, but I'd rather face him than Ndamukong Suh.  In basketball, I want no part of Rasheed Wallace or Ron Artest.  Baseball?  John Rocker.  And Nolan Ryan proved himself.  Hockey – I'm not fighting any hockey player.
 
3.  Transfer Rule: I hate it.  The Kevin Easley situation at UTC is Exhibit A why.  He had a great freshman season, then got poached by TCU.  The gap between "mid-major" and the bigger programs will only get bigger.  Am I wrong here?

Scott

First, RBI Baseball on the old-school Nintendo was a great game. Maybe the second-most under appreciated sports video game ever. Baseball Stars was wicked underrated.

As for Deer and Kingman, those dudes were ahead of their time, and not in a good way. That said, I picked Armas for the wording connection with Tony Gwynn. And yes, Armas was a dude on RBI. So was Frank Viola. And John Tudor. And man could those Cardinals really run.

Jack Clark was another dude ahead of his in the Deer, Kingman class.

As for the effects of the breaking stuff — which would be harder to hit with an extra foot of bend — is an interesting angle. So too is the effects on the arms of the pitchers being asked to be lab rats.

Second, of course, no one should fight a hockey player, other than maybe Gretzky. When you are comfortable fighting other professional athletes on ice skates, you're a bad dude.

Artest was nasty. Stephen Jackson always had the rep of a dude that had little trouble handling himself. No one would want any of mid-1990s Shaq either. What would you do with that monster? Of the active NBA players, I'd fight LeBron twice before making Jimmy Butler mad.

Finally, I can understand you personally hating the transfer rule because it does not consider the fan's point of view, but should it?

I don't know if there's an answer to the 'grass is greener' scenario you referenced, but that goes both ways. A school like UTC can't complain about losing a rising star if they are taking rising stars from a smaller school or taking a disgruntled transfer from a power five program, can they?

In terms of player movement, a one-time freebie and then a hard no everywhere else is the best option in a complicated and mucked up situation, in my mind.  

As for the gap, well, I'm not sure how much bigger the gap between Duke and UTC can be to be honest. And big picture, the UTCs of the world should worry about that gap as much as they should worry about the Dukes and the UKs and the rest splitting off and potentially dealing a systemic death blow to a large chunk of mid-major college sports as we know it.

 

From Jules

So as promised, something for the mailbag.

We went to opening day in Atlanta last week. And I know most everyone that reads your column has been to The Battery and is completely aware of how fun and cool it is. And yes, there were several home runs and fans were back and it was just exciting, but after the game there were so many out there just celebrating and dancing and enjoying all the things about baseball and Spring and Atlanta. And so many races Jay, just hanging out together.

Shame on the bosses at MLB. Do they ever even go to Atlanta? Clearly we've all heard the commissioner is a member at Augusta, which is in Georgia by the way. He must just see the airport. How can they sleep at night taking all that revenue from such a great community and bringing politics into an arena it most certainly does not belong? And then Sunday night's call made it clear that the theft will continue.

Shame on them. 

Jules

Thanks for the story, and that's awesome you and the family got down to opening day. I'm giddy about returning to a Lookouts game this summer.

(Side note: If I've been a little blurry the last couple of days — or more blurry than normal — I got shot No. 2 Wednesday and have been fighting the crud a bit. So there's that.)

I agree. Shame on them. For putting the jerk in knee jerk. My stance on this one has been pretty clear, so I'm pretty sure we don't need to rehash.

But I did see this NPR poll about boycotts.

When it comes to corporations speaking out on politics, 53% of Democrats support that while only 32% of self-identified independents and 17% of Republicans support this trend.

As for sports teams and leagues using their power to affect and influence politics, 66% of Dems are for that, while 35% of independents and only 13% of Republicans are for it.

Because here's the thing, for the longest time, a lot of conservatives like me shrugged their shoulders and said "Whatever, what time does the next game start?" and went about our business.

That understandably empowered the protesting and boycotting culture and now any and everything that comes close to making one sliver of our society mad, here they come on Twitter and the corporations have long reacted like lap dogs because the squeaky wheel gets the grease and the mass majority of conservatives didn't really care any way.

But when the conservatives start caring and business realize they are wading into this mass morose and a country so polarized that far too many look at the opposition before they even research the issue and make up their mind because of sides rather than facts.

Yes, that's wrong and unfortunate of course, but that's where we are, and the MLB is going to feel this one. And if the NCAA wants to start pulling championship events, well, they better be careful, because the NCAA needs the SEC more than the other way around friends.

Which leads us to the most perilous job in a country this hostile and divided, especially on racial issues.

Good morning college football coaches everywhere, and can you image what would happen if Georgia's players came to Kirby and in support of racial injustice wanted to kneel for the anthem, not unlike what happened at ETSU?

Kirby makes his living on having great relationships with current and future players and their families and a vast majority of them are Black.

Kirby's salary is paid by the millions donated to the school, and here's betting if you surveyed the UGA alumni association, kneeling for the anthem would be just ahead of "sending your kid to Tech" and "Steve Spurrier for governor" in the approval ratings.

How about that balancing act?



From Mark

Talk of the Falcons drafting Ryan's replacement for a few years down the road made we wonder who since Aaron Rodgers has successfully fulfilled this wait a few seasons before taking over role? I'm sure I'm overlooking some but doesn't seem like this happens much anymore. They either take over soon like Mahomes or end up traded like maybe Jimmy G. Rodgers waited 3 seasons.

Mark

I can't think of one. How long did Steve Young sit in San Francisco, but that was a lifetime ago?

The bricks do not line properly in this win-now world. And here's praying the Falcons do not pick a QB at 4. Please oh please.

First, if you're picking that high to where you are deciding on whether to take a franchise QB, well, clearly last year went poorly, which means the coaching staff is either gone or on the hottest of seats.

Second, Steve Spurrier's old line about if you have two QBs, you really have no QBs still rings true, because look at what happened to Philly last year when the QB controversy consumed the entire franchise and got Doug Peterson got.

Third, the QBs these days are so advanced — from 7-on-7s in middle school, to multiple years starting at every level — how much would Justin Fields or Mac Jones really learn holding Matt Ryan's clipboard? The only thing the future great ones need is experience and that can't be gained through osmosis or wearing a ball cap.

And the level of patience is only part of the problem.

Because in the modern age of hard salary caps, the rookie deal of a young QB is the absolute go-zone for a good core to make a championship chance.

And spending the first season or two of that ever-collapsing window with the future waiting in the wings is futile.

And foolish.


From J-Mac

Jay, maybe a question for the bag if you are low. I read a list in USA Today about the 15 films that didn't deserve the best Film Oscar and what should have been chosen. I agree with several, including Citizen Kane over "How Green was My Valley". High Noon should have beat out "The Greatest Show on Earth". "The Exorcist" over "The Sting". "Apocalypse Now" over Kramer vs Kramer...and "Field of Dreams" over "Driving Miss Daisy". I guess one of the biggest would be "Saving Private Ryan" over "Shakespeare In Love".

What is your take on the worst awarded movies?....I know you have included one or two every now and then but I didn't realize how many films have been slighted....especially the ones that have stood up over time. 

J-Mac

Love this question, and the first one that comes to mind is Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas in 1990.

While that one may be personal, the rest of these are truly head-scratching.

Yes, Saving Private Ryan losing to Shakespeare in Love is the worst of the outrageous ones in my mind.

Titanic over L.A. Confidential is pretty high on my list, too, but that should surprise no one. Heck, I think there should have been some animated Best Picture winners too.

The ones you mentioned are good, and a lot of times the critics fall for an artsy film because it's artsy. Whatever.

But if I can riff for a second, the bias against comedies and comedians has lingered for as long as I can remember.

Because I really believe Eddie Murphy's efforts in Coming to America as one of the best acting performances of my lifetime, considering all the roles he played and different characters he nailed.

Yes, it was a comedy. Yes, it was nonsensical. But Eddie was genius in that movie.

Have a great weekend friends.

some text
Jay Greeson
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