published Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

5-at-10: Cliche crashing on pitching inside, patience with Dooley and production vs. potential

Cue the myth-busters music. Da-Da-Dum. We're hunting some old dinosaurs today. Da-Da-Dum. We're on a mission, and quite frankly, this will be the day we snub out some of the great truths that coaches, parents, teachers and time-crunched sports writers have used for far too long. Da-Da-Dum. We're going after cliches, and we're taking them down. Da-Da-Da-Da------Dum,

From the "Talk too much Studios" here we go...

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    Washington Nationals' batter Bryce Harper is hit by the pitch thrown by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels during the first inning of their baseball game at Nationals Park, Sunday, May 6, 2012, in Washington. Harper later scored by stealing home from third base. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Honesty is the best policy

We'll start our cliche crusade with a fundamental truth that was debunked in full this weekend. Let's examine the course of events.

Cole Hamels plunked Bryce Harper on Sunday. And we all kind of suspected it was on purpose.

Jordan Zimmermann plunked Cole Hamels later in the game. And we all knew it was completely on purpose.

Well, Hamels shot the media straight after the game, saying he hit Harper because he wanted to and received a five-game suspension. Zimmermann, who was every bit as intent on hitting Hamels as Hamels was in hitting Harper, said nothing and received no suspension. This has way less to do with the act — Hamels hitting Harper for being a rookie or for some pomp and circumstance tradition was more bush league baseball than old-school baseball — and way more with the aftermath.

Honesty is the best policy, huh? Apparently not in politics or dealing with commissioners.

(Side note: Harper came out of this smelling like a rose. In fact, Hamels said he plunked the 19-year-old prodigy for "old-school baseball" reasons. Well, Harper handled it like old-school baseball — jogging to first and eventually scoring by stealing home.)

————

Patience is a virtue

Poppycock. At least it's poppycock in the world of sports, which has become the apex of the instant-gratification, what-have-you-done-this-minute mentality that has consumed our culture.

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    UT Vols Coach Derek Dooley
    Photo by Jake Daniels.
    enlarge photo

Ask any UT football fan how much patience they have with Derek Dooley's program right now. After back-to-back winning seasons, Dooley's seat is noticeably warmer this offseason (how else would you explain the Vols head coach planning on attending every Big Orange Caravan stop this month). Plus, in the SEC — the biggest Darwinistic jungle in sports where truly only the strongest can survive — there is no time for rebuilding. It's win now or whine about patience. And while the motto of Faber College — the Ivy League-level institution that housed Otter, Bluto, D-Day, Boone and the rest of the Delta Tau Chis of "Animal House" — that "Knowledge is Good" is hard to argue with, Dooley and the Vols need several of the players that were on thin academic ice to finish the spring semester in style.

As for more patience, ask Robert Griffin III, who needed as many practice snaps as Spy got to earn the starting job with the Washington Redskins. (Of course as bad as the Redskins were at quarterback last year, if they had not moved heaven and Earth to land RGIII, here's saying the 5-at-10 would have made a run at the job.) Now that the former Heisman winner has 'earned' the job, he better deliver. That's true of all rookie QBs of course, but especially true for RGIII in Washington, which moved three first-round picks to move up to pick him.

Patience, smatience.

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The grass is always greener

There's something to be said for huge contracts and making big dollars. In fact there are hundreds of millions of reasons to like the sound of hundreds of millions of dollars.

But looking back on big-dollar deals, we can't help but wonder how many of them would possibly reconsider leaving a great environment for greener pastures and much greener bank accounts. Let's explore a few of them in recent memory:

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    Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols hits a two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, May 6, 2012. This was Pujols' first home run of the season. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Albert Pujols: After arguably the best decade start to a career in baseball history, left St. Louis as a cult hero for more money in Anaheim. If he had stayed he could have possibly passed Stan Musial as the most-beloved player in Cards history. Now he's an Angel and he's struggled to the point where he was booed last weekend. (We think Albert would go back to St. Louis if he could. As quickly as he could, too.)

Jayson Werth: A dismal 2011 was followed by a broken wrist that ended this season even before it started. Werth still would take the Nationals' offer since they wickedly overpaid him, but wow, he looks like a big-time bust in D.C.

Tom Glavine (Old-school category): We'd bet a week's salary, if Glavine could go back and re-up with the Braves rather than signing with the Mets, he would have. In fact, make it two week's salary. (Just don't tell the Mrs. 5-at-10; we can keep this between us, right?)

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Good things come to those who wait: Really, ask a Cubs fan about that. And while starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Ryan Dempster have been strong, the Cubs are just 12-17 after beating the Braves 5-1 last night. How bad have the bats been for the Cubs, who last won a World Series 104 years ago? Dempster, who will get the ball tonight against Atlanta, has made four starts this season and leads the majors with a 0.95 ERA. That means he's allowing less than one earned run per nine innings pitched. He's 0-1 on the year. Ouch-standing.

You mess with the Bull(s), you get the horns: The top-seeded Chicago Bulls are on the brink of being bounced in the playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers. (And to make matters worse, the Sixers are coached by Doug Collins, the NBA coaching equivalent of assistant principle Richard Vernon, the cult classic character in "Breakfast Club" who told Bender the magical, "you mess with the bull, you get the horns." Doug Collins is the NBA coach parallel to Richard Nixon. No matter how much good was done — Collins overachieving with these 76ers; Nixon getting into China — the two huge elephants in the room — Collins couldn't win with MJ on his roster; Nixon and Watergate — overshadow everything else. OK, to be fair to these Bulls, no team in any sport could overcome losing two of its best three players to injury in the same playoff series, and even if they do advance, a Derrick Rose-less Chicago team has nothing for the Heat.

Hard work pays off: Puh-lease. How many of us dreamed of being big leaguers? Of seeing our goofy mugs on a Topps baseball card? Well, a minute percentage of those that dream it get to live it. Unless of course you're a supermodel. Kate Upton will be part of a group of non-baseball celebs that will be part of this summer's special run of Topps cards. (Erin Andrews, Kirk Herbstriet, Arnold Palmer, Ewa Mataya, Michael Buffer, Meadowlark Lemon and Colin Montgomerie also are among the group. Wait, ... COLIN MONTGOMERIE? What?) Whatever, and since we've never meet any of these people, we can't comment on the cliche of beauty only being skin deep. (Although for Montie, well, that's no worries about the beauty part.)

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Today's question

This was a point raised by something StuckinKent said yesterday.

Here's the back end of StuckinKent's post Monday: "And good night- how about Heyward's foul ball/homerun on Saturday night? He hit that thing about 700 feet it looked like. Crushed it. That's why he's one of the rising stars in the game. And Freddie Freeman looks like he might be on his way to being one of the top 1B in the game. Those two are still so young. Keep them together for the long haul and the Braves are going to be a very tough out."

But what if the Braves could only sign one of the 23-year-old studs to a 10-year, nine-figure contract? Who is it and why? And maybe this could answer this potential inquisitive cliche: What's more valuable, potential or production?

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Yes, Freddie looks good. Best Freddie since Flintstone and Freeloader.

Whadda ya mean betting the baby's milk money?

Didja see that in women's SEC basketball, UK's coach is now the highest paid?

May 8, 2012 at 10:07 a.m.
Todd962 said...

What, no hockey talk? You jinx the Preds right out of the playoffs and you arent even going to take a bow for your efforts?

And a question, has anything helped hockey get into the mainstream of sports more than HD Television? I remember watching hockey years ago and having trouble following what the duece was going on cause you couldnt tell where the puck was. You just waited for the fight or for the goal buzzer to go off. With the HD tv's of today you can see the puck flying in the net twice as good as Rinne.

May 8, 2012 at 11:12 a.m.
wcole777 said...

One quick mention on instant gratification after a lot of patience: The sale of Babe Ruth's house! It's a steal at $1.65 million. Too bad it can't play any ball.

Great question on potential or production. I say you go with production, one in the hand. If health or any other noticeable signs of problems down the road haven't shown themselves in the player you choose, it would seem to me you've invested in both.

May 8, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
deboman said...

Every dog has his day- and yesterday it was the Coyotes as they sent the Preds to the first tee box. While it is a bit surprising that Nashville was only able to win one contest, after taking a look over the series as a whole, they were lucky they weren’t swept. When it came to goal scoring the Preds couldn’t hit water from a boat, totaling only 9 goals in 5 games (and only 1 in the last 2). The Yotes’ goalie, Mike Smith put up some great numbers, but the fact that two of Nashville’s top snipers decided it was better to party until 5AM in the morning before the second game of the series didn’t help. The team played in a fog the rest of the series while Phoenix just steamrolled right through the second round. Other than a 2-0 win in game 3, the Preds were never in this series and the wheels came right off the bandwagon.

Most non-triumphant.

HD is a definite boost to hockey on TV, probably more so than any other sport. Much better than the George Lucas-esque effects that Fox tried to incorporate in the early 90s. Ain’t technology great.

May 8, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Concur. Freddie is money — at the plate and in the field, where he will win a Gold Glove.

That said, if Freddie did hit the road, his replacement needs to be Brian McCann. The Braves need to find a way to save some miles on that kid. He's 28 going on 43.

Mr. 962 —

Completely fair point and we avoided it today more out of remorse for our role in their downfall than anything. That said, Deboman brings up a fair point about the two party boys hurting the Preds' roll.

HD has helped every sports, but hockey is probably received the most fundamental TV boost for the reason you stated. In pre-HD days (known simply as the dark ages at the 5-at-10 compound) it was impossible to follow the puck. (Hey, maybe Rinne forgot his HD glasses?)

WC —

Dude dropping some wisdom on the production/potential angle.

As for Babe Ruth's house, that's a fat pad. (Thank you, thank you. We'll be here all week.)

Deboman —

Dude sorry we sunk your battleship. Nice run that ended with a bad taste.

Question for you: Is this the disappointment that fuels a legit title run or an opportunity lost? Is this a early Jordan playoffs loss to the Pistons that promised bigger things or a mid-to-late Ewing's Knicks loss in the Finals when you knew it would be a while before they got back?

Yes, Smith was salty and we watched more Preds hockey in the last week than we have in the last year.

That Fox blue streak was up there with Cop Rock, Jersey Shore, any all Kardashians and Who's Your Daddy as the worst TV ideas ever. Well those and halftime interviews.

— 5-at-10

May 8, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent

Freeman. I've seen him do it on the professional level, and he's a first baseman. A team is at such a disadvantage if their 1B is just average, because there are so many good ones in the league. If you took Freeman off the team and put some other chump at 1B, then the Braves would be much worse off than if they had to find another OF to throw out there in Heyward's place. That being said, I really don't want to get rid of either of them. Those two are something else. Throw in the young pitching, and wow. This has potential to be a very good team in the future if injuries don't develop and pitchers do develop like we expect.

May 8, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.

Yours and Patrick's proof readers must be on vacation....

May 8, 2012 at 1 p.m.

Today is Flounder's birthday. Happy Birthday Steven Furst.

May 8, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BTG —

Thanks for the heads up. We guess.

As for Flounder, well, he messed up... he trusted us. And yes, legacies are usually asked to pledge, unless the legacy in question was a complete bask case — like Fred.

— 5-at-10

May 8, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I was puzzled by the Kate Upton/Topps section today. Being unfamiliar with her, I hopped on google, which led me to Youtube, which led me to my next point. This is exactly what ten year olds need stuck in a pack of cards between Bryce Harper and their Jeter card. This could revolutionize the card industry. That is until mothers discover what else is being tucked into those decks.

"Richard, who's your favorite Little Rascal? Alfalfa...or is it Spanky? Ha ha ha...sinner."

May 8, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.
deboman said...

This was an opportunity lost for the Preds. They were strong all season and added a few pieces at the end of the season to try and push them over the top: two trade deadline acquisitions (Hal Gill and Andre Kostitsyn) and the return of a player that left the team out to dry a few years back (Radulov). There is something to be said about team chemistry, Gill helped supplement a stingy defense and the other two added scoring touch. However, Radulov and Kostitsyn didn’t share the same commitment to the team as the rest of the squad and that ended the run, period. Poile has some decisions to make, primarily, getting Suter to stay, cornerstone defenseman for sure. Think he has to jettison the two partyboys and go with the young talent that showed they could be productive this year. They have a solid core and should be good for the next few years. I see them in a similar situation as the Eagles of the early 2000’s. Trotz is a solid coach and they have enough talent to be in the mix every year and it would not be surprising to see them battling for the Cup at all.

May 8, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Let's see ... the Sox stink. I quit watching the NBA more than a decade ago and will not go back. I don't like any of the teams still left in the NHL playoffs. And Fredi will still find a way to blow out the bullpen by Labor Day. Oh, and I've got something to do at 9 a.m. Saturday, so going down to Jax for the TPC that day is out of the question.

At least there's a $200 bottle of Scotch and some ginger ale in my office.

And I think Heyward's ability to play the outfield and his speed give him a slight edge over Freeman in the who-gets-the-long-term-deal form of musical chairs. But man is that splitting hairs between those two.

May 8, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. 962 —

Hey, there's always been a different set of rules for the beautiful people, and may be you;re onto to something. Hey, SI has been a sports institution for ever, and the far and way biggest edition this year had Upton on the cover.

Heck, we can just 12-year-olds everywhere telling their moms, "Really mom, we swear we get these new supermodel cards for the mini-articles on the back."

So it goes. (Gee Richard, we wonder if she goes out with one of the Yankees.)

Deboman —

Thought as much and respected the Preds for pushing their chips in at the deadline and making a run. Especially with the window on Rinne not getting any bigger.

Concur they have to run the party boys, and there's something to be said for having a shot every year.

The Mrs. 5-at-10 made us promise to take her to a Preds game next year, so there's that.

— 5-at-10

May 8, 2012 at 2:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Go easy on the high-dollar scotch at work. (And — by the way, and yes that was on purpose — if you're adding anything to a $200 bottle of liquor, you got some 'splain' to do.)

You know we're not Sox fans, but baseball in the summer is more fun when the Sox and the Yanks are both good. And we fear the Sox shan't return to anything beyond the level of above average with Bobby V in the dugout.

Excellent. Now we have a vote for Heyward. Game on.

— 5-at-10

May 8, 2012 at 2:16 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Methinks the Kate Upton Topps cards won't be getting stuck in any bicycle spokes anytime soon.

What stats will be on the back of her card, I wonder?

May 8, 2012 at 8:46 p.m.
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