Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani prepares to swing a pitch against the New York Yankees during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Best season ever?

OK, imagine for a second that there was a lead-off hitter in the American League who ranked first in homers, slugging percentage and WAR and was in the top 10 in a slew of other categories like steals (4th with 20), RBIs (6th with 90), total bases (2nd with 278) and runs (8th with 86)

That's a good year, right?

Heck, that's an MVP contender off those stats alone, right?

Now know that said player is 8-1 as a pitcher with a 3.00 ERA and 127 Ks in 105 innings. If he had enough innings, said pitcher would be second in the league in ERA, fourth in WHiP, first in Win-loss percentage, and fourth in Ks per 9 innings pitched.

Heck, that's a Cy Young-type of season, especially for a team that has hovered around .500 for most of the season and has played without the game's best player (Mike Trout) and their biggest free agent acquisition (Anthony Rendon) for most of the season.

Of course, we are discussing Shohei Ohtani, who hit his 42nd homer of the season as the Angels toppled the Yankees last night. He was scheduled to pitch today, but will miss a turn after being hit with a pitch on his pitching hand.

We are witnesses to history, friends. How about this hardware hall? Shohei is almost guaranteed to win the AL MVP. He likely won't win the Cy Young, but he'll be a finalist. And considering he hit .190 in 44 games and only pitched in two games in an injury-plagued 2020 season, he's a dunk for Comeback Player of the Year, too.

Which begs this final question: Is this the best single season in MLB history?  


QB picked

So UT will turn to Joe Milton to run Josh Heupel's offense.

Here are some more details from TFP college football savant David Paschall. You know the rules.

Also in that story is a box with the Vols' projected starters.

And man, it's tough to recognize what the strength of that bunch is. Granted, there are some familiar names on the O-Line, and the secondary is seasoned.

And based on his track record, Heupel deserves the benefit of the doubt in terms of generating points and moving the football.

But I'll ask again: What will be the strength of this team? And yes, this is coming from someone who thinks the Vols will go North of the 5.5 win total Vegas set.


Crazy days

These are odd times. Odd and even scary.

And this time we're talking about high school football.

First, there was the dust-up with Nashville-area private school Lipscomb Academy and coach Trent Dilfer, who apologized for his sideline interaction with one of his players.

You can see the exchange and read more about it here. And all things considered, Dilfer's apology is pretty spot on.

And, a former Super Bowl quarterback offering a mea culpa after a 62-7 prep win was a distant second on the strange scale of high school football stories over the weekend.

How about the details of Bishop Sycamore High, an Ohio program that took a tail-whipping from football factory IMG Academy out of Florida?

First, the game was on ESPN, and the ESPN announcers made no bones that they felt they were duped by Bishop Sycamore, which alleged it had several D-I prospects.

(Side note: Hey, ESPN, it's called research. Feel free to make a couple of calls and ask a few questions, you know?)

Second, we learned that the same Bishop Sycamore program played a game Friday night before facing IMG on Sunday for the ESPN broadcast.

Then we learn that Bishop Sycamore is an online-only charter school that has played football for all of two seasons.

Strange indeed.


This and that

— And, speaking of the surreal story of Bishop Sycamore, here was a social media home run for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, who put this on Twitter: "our team name is honestly more believable than 'bishop sycamore.'"  

— Braves played. Braves lost. Friends, the Dodgers are really good.

— Speaking of the Braves, Jayson Stark of The Athletic has an excellent interview with Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos with this very critical quote that is telling and a key part of the reason Atlanta turned its season around. On being buyers at the trade deadline — including several lineup additions like Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall — AA said "It was important ... to send a message to the clubhouse that we weren't pulling the plug." Both fact and truth.

— Drew Brees and Maria Taylor have officially joined NBC's Sunday evening show "Football Night in America." So there's that.

— Could be a ton of NFL action today as all the teams will trim their rosters to 53 players. Some teams will definitely cut players the Falcons could use, so we'll be paying attention.

— It's not the first NIL deal for Quinn Ewers, the freshman QB who reclassified to enroll at THE Ohio State early to cash in on the NIL opportunities, but the super 5-star prospect was given what's being called "the baddest truck in Ohio" by a Columbus-area Ford dealer.

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday.

True or false, there are few TV options as gripping as The Weather Channel during serious storms.

True or false, Shohei Ohtani is having the best MLB season ever.

True or false, UT covers the five-TD line Thursday night.

True or false, Harrison Bailey is in the transfer portal before Columbus Day.

True or false, Drew Brees will be very good as a football analyst.

You know the drill, answer some T or F and ask some T or F.

As for today, Aug. 31, let's review.

Richard Gere is 72. Tom Seaver died on this day last year. Princess Di died on this day 24 years ago.

On this day in 2009, the Walt Disney Company officially acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion.

Rushmore of Marvel movie characters since then. Go, and be safe in the storms, gang.