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Big days ahead
Baseball's trading deadline came and went Tuesday.
The Braves made a small move, adding lefty reliever Brad Hand.
The Angels, who are in Smyrna to complete a three-game series with the Braves, moved a lot of names and have a lineup ready to push for the now-extremely-competitive AL West.
Among my primary takeaways on a wild Tuesday highlighted by Justin Verlander going back to Houston, is the very clear realization that both the Braves and the Angels are contenders. And both have much bigger days than Tuesday on the horizon in terms of determining whether that 'contender' status is contending for the playoff or contending to win the whole stinkin' thing.
The Braves' biggest day could happen as soon as Friday, as it's whispered that Max Fried could return to the mound against the Cubs.
The Braves getting Fried back is big; the Braves getting Fried back to being Fried is paramount. Fried and Spencer Strider offer a 1-2 rotation summit that matches up with just about any other contender.
For the Angels, if/when Mike Trout returns, well, adding the third-best player in baseball to your crew in August is a bona fide boost.
As for the other trade deadline takeaways, let's give a quick top five in 10 words or less. That's right, the forever famous, 5-in-10 from the 5-at-10.
— Mets meltdown madness; only Bobby Bo's contract remains.
— It's weird when the Yankees are quietly in last place.
— Go-big-or-go-home, Texas won the deadline.
— The Reds were strangely inactive for division leaders.
— Anyone doubting a Braves-Dodgers NLCS? Anyone? Bueller?
Many moons ago, I dabbled in sports radio. It was fun because of the people I got to work with and the people I got to meet.
One of my cohorts back in that previous life was Wells Guthrie, a fine chap at ESPN here in town.
He always said you knew it was the summer doldrums if you heard sports radio pivot to one of three topics:
— Pete Rose, Hall of Fame or no?
— Automated strike zone, and any other instant replay debates;
— LeBron or MJ and just about any other GOAT banter.
And Wells was generally correct, but a never heard spin-off of the last of those three appeared on my social media timeline from the most classic and formulaic (and possibly successful) sports radio show of my lifetime.
The Paul Finebaum Show asked simply who is the best SEC East QB.
Two key semantics here. First, since its SEC East, it has to be since 1992 when the league split into divisions. Second, the word best becomes a critical adjective that demands clarification.
Is it best in terms of numbers, because Tim Couch and Aaron Murray would like a word?
Is it best in terms of raw physical gifts, because Matt Stafford would be in that conversation?
Is it best in terms of system fit, because Danny Wuerffel says hello?
Is it best in terms of total career, because that means Peyton Manning has to be the clear front-runner?
Is it best in terms of the best thing that can be said about a QB — he delivered championships — because then the list has to start with Tim Tebow and better include Stetson Bennett?
So, as the summer fodder — copyright, Wells — turns to football focus and before I ring back in with my answer, who you got — and why — on the best QB to ever play in the SEC East?
Best in the state
So the MaxPreps web folks annually tabulate a state-by-state ranking of high school sports programs.
It's a formula that awards points for success for each team and escalates in value with a state title obviously being the most rewarded.
The best program in Tennessee according to those numbers was Baylor School, which won state titles in football, wrestling and softball and added four state runner-up finishes in other sports.
Rounding out the top five are Brentwood, Page (Franklin), Alcoa and Signal Mountain.
This and that
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall with a UT football update. Welcome to town August. We're glad to see you.
— True or false on a Wednesday, we do not value the MLB no-hitter like we once did. Houston Framber Valdez crafted a no-no last night.
— So the PGA Tour is calling in its biggest gun. Tiger Woods is now on the board as the PGA tries to navigate through the PR minefield that is the LIV merger.
— Carli Lloyd's credentials are unquestioned. Her criticism of the USWNT should not be questioned either. Here's more.
Which way Wednesday starts this way — well it actually started above with which SEC East QB is the best — so it continues this way:
So a mint condition Mickey Mantle rookie card is on the auction block for $2.2 million. Spy, how's the bidding going for that?
If money was not an object — well, not a huge object — which piece of sports memorabilia would you break your bank to acquire?
I would want the Kick Six football or Cam Newton's game jersey from the 2011 BCS title game. Which word would you use to describe the Braves' trade-deadline actions?
As for today, Aug. 2, let's review.
On this day in 1776, the historic accounts have this as the day the Declaration of Independence was signed by the most folks.
Wow, "American Graffiti" premiered on this day 50 years ago. Think of the star power there — Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss — for a single movie back in the day.
German leader Paul von Hindenberg died on this day in 1937. Dude really let himself go at the end; he was a blimp.
Carroll O'Connor would have been 99 today. He, of course, was Archie Bunker.
If we had a Rushmore of all-time TV sitcom characters, who makes it along with Archie?