Morning. Lots of great questions this week, so we are going to try to be quick.
First, to our business.
Rushmore of Cousins — Cousin Eddie, "My Cousin Vinny," which, when they get hitched eventually would make Mona Lisa Vito also Ralph Macchio's cousin, Cousin Int and DeMarcus Cousins over Kirk and Kissing because well kissing cousins is kinda gross. Although, on the list of surprising celebs who are cousins, Jenny McCarthy and Melissa McCarthy being first cousins was a bit of a surprise for me.
Rushmore of Jordan — Michael Jordan, Air Jordans, Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Spieth. Sorry to Jordan Peele.
Rushmore of store-bought, pre-packaged ice cream treats — Drumstick, Chipwich, old-school ice cream sandwich, Klondike bar.
Rushmore of worst national anthem performances — Roseanne, Carl Lewis, Christina Aguilera before the 2011 Super Bowl, and while there are several of them, Michale Bolton messing up the words — even after checking his palm where he had written the lyrics before a Yankees-Red Sox game a few years ago was dreadful.
Then there are the rules. Here's Paschall writing on Will Levis, the returning UK QB who is among a large group photo of experienced and talented QBs in the SEC.
I also saw this on my social media feed as Clay Travis — yes, that one — interviewed Brooks Koepka and Pat Perez during the Pro-Am of the LIV event this week at Trump's place. Thoughts? And how starved must the LIV be for relatively positive media coverage since in the two-plus minute clip, two of the bigger names on the LIV and Greg Norman also makes a cameo.
To the bag.
Will Ronald Acuna ever be good at baseball again? He finally got the ole' "day off" (Wednesday) (he was benched). His batting average is down to .259. His slugging % is down to .398. He has 2 homers in his last 33 games. Ground ball % is at 47.8%, easily a career high. Hard hit % is at 48.6%, easily a career low. Line drive % is at 21.4%, the lowest in his career. He's hitting 1 homer for every 31.4 at bats this year. It is astonishing how far he has fallen.
He's been pretty rotten. Last 30 days, he's at .214 (18-for-84) with 21 Ks and one homer. Been worse in the last two weeks, going 5-for-33 with 10 Ks in the last 15 days.
He has flat-lined, but the lack of success is not as troubling as the appearance of a lack of motivation. Which brings us to the genesis of his struggles.
And that's the biggest factor in properly answering your question.
Because if Acuña is still not a 100%, then OK. That's fixable.
If Acuña is suffering through a baseball deal — it's a cynical game filled with ups and downs, especially for a player that runs on the extreme ends of hot and cold like Acuña — then that's OK too. It happens.
But the other factors are the ones the Braves leadership needs to be asking themselves about in terms of the 24-year-old superstar.
Is he truly miffed that he's on a team-friendly deal and Juan Soto is discussing a $500 million extension? If so, that will be a big issue sooner rather than later.
Is he truly got his feelings hurt that Michael Harris is looking the part of future star outfielder and lead-off hitter that we thought Acuña would be for the next decade? Again, that's person problem not a performance problem.
To be fair, I think Ozzie Albies' extended absence has hurt Acuña in terms of his joy and his confidence. Not saying either of those are good things. Just offering them up.
And I also think the entire league now knows if you pitch him up and in he becomes skittish and uncomfortable, and that has made him skittish and uncomfortable.
Which has made a five-tool transcendental talent look pedestrian for the last month-plus.
You just said a day or two ago about not breaking the bank and wrecking your cap for a receiver, or something similar. Then comes the Metcalf news. I agree with you, there are so many good receivers out there, why give up that much for one receiver? I think the Bucs could have gotten Julio for less, but someone wanted him.
I just don't get it. Especially with the Metcalf example.
Because a) you wanted to get out of salary cap jail caused by Russell Wilson's extension, so you dealt him, and b) while Metcalf is a freak, do you need a WR with a $70-plus million extension to catch poorly thrown passes from Drew Lock?
And here's the crazy think that slips everyone's mind, look at the dudes that are available every year in the draft in the back half of round one (hello Jordan Jefferson) or in rounds two (Michael Thomas) and three (Metcalf, Cooper Kupp, and a slew of others) so why overpay?
My wife and I spent the last two days at UTC student/parent orientation. This will be our third son to attend and hopefully graduate from UTC. I've just turned 55 years old and this is a very important life change for our family. What are the three biggest life changes in your life (other than loss of a parent)? In your career? It's true that time speeds up the older we get.
Thank you and Go Gators! Go Mocs!
Congrats and enjoy the time. And report back on how long it takes for you and the Mrs. to look around and think, "Man, we've got nothing to do."
I read your caveat, but as an only child who lost both parents within 18 months of each other, I can't not include that as a huge life change. It's weird because there will forever be the lack of a phone call in those big moment times in life. The country songs nail the "call when you can" corollary, because there will be a day when you can't and you will forever miss it.
Coming to Chattanooga in May 2002 is on the list for me. I never thought I'd leave Smyrna. I thought I would be here 18-plus months and go to a bigger operation. And poof, here we are, two decades later.
And while there are a slew of others I could offer — kids being born, wedding (not in that order mind you), and others — the one looming on the horizon is my oldest is about a month from a learner's permit, which means driving, which means, buckle up.
Yes, we are getting old.
First, for all the hate mail you get, I find you to be open minded and balanced. This is a rare commodity in these days of entrenched party lines. (Side note - The last time I wrote to you, I was recovering from a stroke - at 44 years old. The doctors wanted me to practice reading aloud so your 5 at10 column was a great read with all the alliterations and humor. It helped me recover and gave me confidence about doing a basic skill in which I have excelled at since pre-k.)
So again, for all the garbage people throw at you, remember there are plenty of us who would be a card carrying member of your fan club.
Ok, now for the purpose of my email. Our soon to be former DA demonstrated a complete lack of leadership and the concern for the law by flaunting the nepotism laws. I am glad to see he will soon be out of office. (Seriously, how can you be the county enforcer of laws when your own office shows no regard for the law?) So my question is this, if both Wamps win, which seems likely, is there a nepotism issue? In my mind there is at least the perception of it. I realize Weston Wamp is a friend, so not trying to put you in a spot. Wanted the take of an observer with knowledge of how this would work.
First, thank for such a kind and important email. It truly made my week my man. And great to hear about your recovery.
I think Coty Wamp is going to be fine in her new gig as county DA. And I like Neal Pinkston; he's always been good to me.
But your assessment of his views and handling of the nepotism issues in his office made him almost unelectable in this cycle. Seriously, I think Jackie Chiles, attorney at law, from "Seinfeld" would have gotten 58% of the vote.
And I think there is next to zero chance that Weston loses next month to a Democratic challenger in our very red county.
So we almost assuredly will have siblings in two of the most powerful leadership posts in Hamilton County government.
While it's my understanding that this is not against the nepotism policy because a) they are elected and b) do not report to each other, it's naive to think they won't be working together.
Especially in regard to budgeting because the county mayor's office handles the county budget. So there's that.
Knowing both of them, I completely expect them each to handle it with the utmost professionalism to be honest.
In fact, know how some coaches of youth teams are hardest on their own kids? I could see Weston working somewhat in that direction down the road to make sure to, as Barney Fife would say, "nip it in the bud" in terms of the perceptions of preferential treatment.Great question, and great to hear you're doing much better, LY.
From Doug D
Jay- have you watched any of "The Captain" about Derek Jeter? It is very good IMHO. ESPN seems to never disappoint with features and 30 for 30. Jeter was really clutch ! and equally if not more impressive was the long line of starlets and super models that he dated.
First, let's try to keep in mind that just because a word gets by the moderator does not make it appropriate for a family-oriented, interweb-based chat. You know what word to which I am refering.
Second, I am caught up on "The Captain" and while there are some entertaining moments, and last night had some great footage of the importance of baseball in that post-9/11 time in NYC, do we really need eight parts of this thing?
It's too slow for me to be honest.
It's good — and you're right — the 30-for-30s are consistently the best thing ESPN does. (Although I love "Daily Wager" and its format and regulars.)
But I think if last night had been the end of the road and we condensed that thing into four hours rather than eight I think it would have been better.
Thanks gang, and enjoy the weekend.