A lifetime home run
Wow, where do we start today.
No, not with the MLB All-Star game. Hey, look another strikeout.
No not with Vandy, although they had their moment in the sun at SEC media days as Paschall tells us here.
No, not even with this quote from Chas' favorite public figure Donald J. Trump, who offered this dire prediction for the golf establishment, which pulled some tournaments from his golf courses over the years: "All of those golfers that remain 'loyal' to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big 'thank you' from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year. If you don't take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were."
See, lots happening.
We will start with a tale of a friend of mine. His name is Keith, and I have known him for about as long as I've been in Chattanooga. I watched him play baseball in high school, and when he started down the path that so many of us spend so much time walking — the path of coaching youth sports — he reached out for some advice.
I was happy to oblige. When I started coaching youth sports, I always looked for input and improved ways to help kids learn the game.
Fast forward a few years, and after Keith and his son and their team won a state tournament a couple of seasons ago, he shared a gracious thank you that I have kept ever since.
Last week, when I got the call that Keith and his Rivermont 9-year-old All-Stars had won the Dizzy Dean World Series in Mississippi, I was forever proud. And well aware that he's a far superior youth coach.
I'm also aware of the lifetime memory he has passed along to those kids.
I've always believed that there are three life titles that you have to earn to get and once you get them you better respect the value of the title.
Friend. Dad. Coach.
And for that collection of 9-year-olds will always view Keith and his assistants in that special way after this special summer.
Because, those of us who have been around sports for any extended period of time know the path always ends.
Sure, those kids right now, dream of playing for the Braves or even the Lookouts. I know as a 9-year-old I thought I was going to pitch in Dodgers blue.
Most likely, there will be a few executives at local companies, a salesman or two, and any number of success stories down the road in life not centered on the ball field for those players.
But for one magical summer, those kids were what every player, coach or fan who has ever touched a ball, ran a practice or bought a ticket dreams to be.
Speaking of champs
So Nick Saban. Yeah, he's pretty good at this coaching thing, huh?
Side note: Nick Saban has become the college sports version of E.F. Hutton. When he speaks people listen. In truth, I believe he's the only dude with the gravitas to save college football right now. Plus, if he becomes the CEO of college football, that means Alabama would be back on the road to the rest of us.
Side note on the side note: Filling Saban's Little Debbie-loving shoes will be the toughest job since Wooden left. And considering the stakes and the competition, it likely will be tougher.
Anywell, Saban took to the podium at SEC media days and Paschall and Harris were there to chronicle it.
Part of his spiel — that spiel is a fine word, too — was about competitive balance. And yes, we all have some concerns about NIL making the playing field tilted toward the biggest checkbooks.
Apparently Saban is too. Because until the conversation turned to legalized ways for the players to cash in, Nick Saban would have treated the phrase "competitive balance" the way your Southern Baptist grandmother would have viewed some stranger taking the Lord's name in vain.
Saban referenced salary caps, which is a sure sign that he knows the wallet wars with UT, A&M and maybe even UT changes everything.
Sure Alabama has great resources, but with a fan base that has not needed to contribute an extra eight figures a recruiting cycle until now, are they ready to hop into that arena?
And while Saban has a point about a ceiling on payments, where was his concern for competitive balance in recruiting? Should we limit each team to only one five-star per cycle? All the other pro leagues have drafts right?
So game on, and Saban knows it.
He's the best I've ever seen, so we know he'll adapt swimmingly.
But the changes are here, and the changes will keep coming.
Best show ever?
I'm not going to say "Better Call Saul" is the best show ever. I am willing to say that BCS and "Breaking Bad" have passed "All in the Family" and "The Jefferson," "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley" and "Cheers" and "Fraser" as the best show-spinoff combo in TV history.
And yes, those are comedies — maybe "Dallas" and "Knots Landing" would be the best drama nomination before BCS and BB — but it would not matter.
The two most recent BCS have reminded us of its brilliance. It's harshness. It's instant finality. And the greatness of the way this show is written, filmed and acted.
This is a master's class in complete TV making, akin to "The Wire" in that regard, which I always thought was better filmed than its rivals in the GOAT category.
I will miss Lalo. I am afraid of the Chicken Man. (Side note: Who knew he was gay? Anyone? That was the takeaway from the wine conversation, right?)
I appreciate the payoff of the Howard scheme, and considering the end of Monday's episode and Kim's confession that she was having too much fun with the revenge antics to even tell Saul about Lalo, the payoff was worth the time we invested. Why did I ever doubt Vince Gould?
I also appreciate the entire organization staying true to itself. We have a couple more episodes to enjoy the beauty of this, but the end of Monday's episode reminded us of the facts.
This is not a love story. This is life. Life is hard. It's painful. It's messy and flawed and at times unfair.
But in the end, more times than not, we get what we deserve.
And while Jimmy/Saul and Kim may deserve each other, neither deserves a happy ever after.
This and that
— One more BCS: Visor tip to Vader, who has preached from the beginning about how Kim Wexler was the all-powerful Oz behind the "Better Call Saul" curtain. Kudos. And let's be very clear, if Kim Wexler is not an Emmy winner whenever the next awards season passes, then they need to do away with the whole kit and kaboodle.
— Today's A2 column from some round-faced fella on the commissioners looking at ways topped their paychecks. Uh, commissioners, yeah about that, bosses normally approve raises and since you work for us — you know the taxpayers — shouldn't we have a say in this? Thanks, and the answer is no.
— God bless Ric Flair. That is all. Wooooooooooooo.
— Henrik Stenson proved the LIV rumors to be true and the Ryder Cup folks stripped him of the European captain's role. So there you go.
— Neil Armstrong and the boys in Apollo 11 landed on the moon on this day in 1969. Darren Rovell offered this tweet for our lack of value on the important stuff. Armstrong made $30,054 in 1969, the most of any of the Apollo crew. According to Rovell, "Factoring for inflation, 62 NBA players will make more this season PER GAME than Armstrong made in 1969." #Murica.
Which way Wednesday starts this way:
Which would provide more competitive balance for college football: Salary cap or drafting high school players?
Which astronaut is your personal favorite?
Which superstar athlete of your lifetime was the most overrated? (Mine may be Derek Jeter. An eight-part series on a dude who was made by his zip code as much as anything is a bit much.)
Which would happen first: Vandy winning the SEC in football or UTC making the Final Four in men's hoops? Ask and answer some Which ways.
As for today, July 20, other than the moon landing, let's review.
On this day in 1976, Hank Aaron hit his 755th and final home run.
Gisele Bündchen is 42 today.
Ray Allen is 47 today.
Does Allen's form crack the Rushmore of best shooting strokes? Go, and remember the mailbag.