Atlanta Braves celebrate a walk off RBI single by Adam Duvall during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

Braves beauty

I am not sure we give enough credit to one of the great fictional characters of the modern realm.

Ladies and gentlemen, I truly believe we should put more respect on Cousin Eddie's name.

Like all true works of art, Cousin Eddie is based in reality, crafted around truth and given a pinch of over-the-topness that makes real life satirical.

Cousin Eddie's "That's a beaut, Clark" was all I could think of while watching the Braves last night.

Well said, Ed.

These Braves are 17-3 in June, have cut the Mets' lead to 4.5 games and did so last night with a three-run bottom of the ninth that led to a 4-3 win over a San Francisco bunch that is right there with the best in baseball.

To that end, the Braves have taken two of three from the Giants, and grabbed wins when San Fran has handed the ball to two of the best starters in the NL.

Sure, rolling to 14 straight to start the month is great, but that streak was against a collection of dregs and after thoughts — "Save the neck for me Clark" — that will be dealers at the deadline and looking at prospects come Labor Day.But the Giants? And then Freddie Freeman and the Dodgers coming to town?

And the Braves are handling it like, ell, like World Series champs.  

Feeling the draft

So Jay Bilas, who truly is one of three best on-air personalities at the mothership, believes this is one of the deepest drafts in NBA history.I love the draft. You know this. In fact, we will be filling up the Twitter machine tonight with draft discussion. Who's with me?

(Side ranking, if you take off the SportsCenter hosts, and Randy Scott and Matt Barrie are excellent in an old-school Eisen, Patrick, Kilborn kinda way, who is your top five ESPN personalities? For me Bilas is clearly up there. I love Matt Berry's work on NFL fantasy football. I think Michael Collins on golf is enlightening and entertaining, and that's high praise. Barry Melrose is the quote and makes hockey interesting at times to even those of us who are not interested in hockey. And of course the tandem of Pepper and Cotton on ESPN the Ocho. Thoughts?)

Bilas' argument is a fair one, especially at the end of a generation that has been littered with NBA drafts that were about hunting potential rather than finding players and pieces.

The Big Ten will have a slew of names called tonight, and several of them will be long-time starters in this league, and some of them will be available at pick 15 or pick 20.

The SEC will have several names called too, and the same applies.

And this is not just role players making rosters that will be available into round 2, Bilas contends. These are long-term options that will be multi-year pros.

To that end, former TFP writer and current reporter David Cobb deals on some of the familiar names that could go uncalled tonight.

In fact, I believe one of the reasons so many highly recognized college players returned to college — guys like Oscar Tdhiebwe and Armando Bacot to name two — is the star power atop this draft class and the depth throughout it.

Case in point: This CBS mock draft has Arkansas power forward Jaylin Williams — who was as big a difference maker as anyone not named Paolo or Bacot in the NCAA tournament — falling to 27 and landing in Miami. There are several years in recent memory that Williams, or Kennedy Chandler (former UT point who is slotted at 36 in the mock), or Johnny Juzang (UCLA, projected 47th) or a slew of other names would have been inside the top 20 overall.

Depth can be difficult. Or as Eddie might say, "I got laid off when they closed that asbestos factory, and wouldn't you know it, the army cuts my disability pension because they said that the plate in my head wasn't big enough."  

More golf

So Jay Monahan met with the media types Wednesday. He called the LIV an 'irrational threat' to golf.

Huh? Rational or not. Relative or not. It's real, Jay, and you best believe that.

And I think maybe for the first time, Monahan and the PGA Tour bigwigs have to see the severity of this threat.

I did not see it at first, either, especially after Phil Mickelson's comments about the LIV and the momentum his quotes cost the Saudi-backed tour.

They didn't have a TV deal. They were going to have events that would be Mickelson and some former Euro Ryper Cup fixtures and a crew of guys looking to hustle the low ball Saturday morning at Brown Acres.

I didn't expect this many stars to head that way, because yes, the Europeans on the LIV are aging, and I believe that Mickelson knew what was coming and was in a position that he needed a big payday.

But DJ. And Bryson. And now Brooks. And some of the young guys like Hudson Swafford and Talor Gooch. Those are guys that are on the current shortlist at every major or could be in the next wave of the game's stars.

Monahan's use of 'irrational' seemed flippant and even disconnected, but his quotes about the LIV and the PGA Tour competing with the bottomless pockets of the Saudis are telling.

And scary for PGA Tour fans.

"As I also said to the players [on Tuesday], let me be clear: I am not naive," Monahan said during a news conference Wednesday. "If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, can't compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf.

"We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It's an irrational threat, one not concerned with the return on investment or true growth of the game."

In a sport where money talks, well, let's revert to Cousin Eddie's wisdom.

"Why don't you just ask him for the money, Eddie? He sure as (heck) can't take a hint.

"Well, I didn't want to ask you, Clark, you know, but could you maybe spare a little extra cash?

Clark replies, "Sure, Eddie, how much do you need?" as pulls some folding bills out of his wallet.  

"About $52,000," as Clark stuffs the money back into his billfold.

 This and that (With more visor tips to Cousin Eddie)

— Speaking of the Braves, how about that Dansby Swanson, huh? After a dreadful start — he was 16-for-74 (.216) with 30 Ks in those 74 ABs in April — Swansby has been right there with Trae Turner of the Dodgers as the best shortstop in the NL. During the Braves torrid June, Swanson is 29-for-82 (.354) with 32 runs created. "I am going steady and I French kiss. So, everybody does that. Yeah but daddy says I'm the best at it."

— This is great. An adult at a Royals game catches a ball, and while he had the look of being one of 'those' dudes, he eventually did the right thing and tossed the ball to a kid in the same section. Well, later in the game, the kid catches a ball, and then tosses it to the dude. Let's call it quid pro throw. Deal? Deal. "That's the gift that keeps on giving all year, Clark." (Side question: What's the age maximum for bring a mitt to a big league game? I think it's right there in jersey territory around 12 and certainly not higher than 14. Thoughts?)

— So THE Ohio State has copyrighted the 'THE.' "Reeeeaaaal tomato ketchup Eddie? Nothing but the best."

Today's questions

Fire away Thursday with anything on your mind. Or anything above, be it the ESPN folks, the greatness of Cousin Eddie — we all have a version of Cousin Eddie in our families, right, and if you don't think you have a Cousin Eddie in your family, there's a real chance you are the Cousin Eddie of your family, right? — or anything else. Today is also the 50th anniversary of Title IX, and I'd be remiss not to acknowledge the landmark day in women's sports history this is.

And how much I miss Pat Summitt, who was everything Coach K pretended to be if you want to know my opinion on my dealings with the two of them through the years.

Nothing but crazy respect and admiration for Coach Summitt. You are missed.

As for today, June 23, let's review.

Wow, Frances McDormand is 65 today. You know we discuss which actor has the best catalog of movies as if you could only watch movies that include one actor for the rest of your life, who is it?

Well, considering her amazing collection of work — and a truly great range of acting skills — is Frances McDormand the female nominee of that category?

What's McDormand's Rushmore? Go and remember the mailbag.