Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks for playing nice this week. Today is our last full day out here in the Apple State.
We are in George, Washington — no kidding, that's the name of the town — and we are headed to the world-famous Gorge Amphitheater for a Brandi Carlisle concert.
Seriously. Carlisle is the Mrs. 5-at-10's all-time favorite performer, and hey, go big or go home, right?
Let's handle our business.
Rushmore of the biggest days in the history of golf — Tiger winning the Masters in 1997; Jack, Arnie and Hogan at the U.S. Open in 1960 as three of the sports all-time greats converged and finished in the top 10; the PGA Tour breaking away to start its own thing — those crazy rebels — and Jack's Sunday at Augusta in 1986. (Tried to mix golf and history, and maybe I should have included the reopening of the doors to Black and European players, but here's my choice.)
Rushmore of prince — Prince (as in Purple Rain and all — what a bona fide dude), Diana Prince, "The Prince and the Pauper" and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." (Will Smith has to make any of these Rushmores or he may slap me. Side note: That would be a really bad day for Mr. Smith.)
Rushmore of best household appliances — (Clarification here: First, appliances for me have to be plugged in. Second, they need to be linked to either food preparation or some sort of chore. Thoughts? And while this was asked because of the invention of the iron, that's so far off the list, we could do 10 Rushmores before we get there.) Refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher and microwave oven.
Rushmore of Mark Wahlberg films — "Boogie Nights," "Ted," "The Departed" and "The Fighter."
To the bag.
The Iron Sheik was one of the greatest heels of all time. I smell Rushmore maybe?
Absolutely, and absolutely.
But for the Sheik to get his proper spot, this has to be a true heel Rushmore, as in bad guys who could cheat and win on Saturday night as Gordon Sole was calling the action from the studios of TBS but were going to lose at the Omni in the main events to our heroes.
Because in a lot of ways, Rick Flair was the greatest heel of all time as well as being the greatest wrestler of all time, too, you know. So maybe we need to have two, because the superstar heels are a different breed than the Sheik or Abdullah the Butcher (another one that would not fly today).
And that's not even getting into tag-team heels — Arn and Ole Anderson would be there as a duo and as part of the Four Horseman — or managers. Man, was there any other kind of manager other than a heel manager?
The star heels on my Rushmore would be Flair, Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper and of course Vince McMahon, who was a megastar and a mega, well, heel for these purposes.
Of the non-superstars, heels good enough for us to remember them, but not good enough to every carry a ticket, we'll go with the Sheik, the Butcher, Classy Freddie Blassie and Jake the Snake Roberts narrowly over Tully Blanchard, the King Harley Race and Vader. (Sorry, Vader.)
I'm afraid the day is coming when the Saudis will buy every horse entered in the Kentucky Derby five days before the race to guarantee a victory for the birthright Sheiks (aka Godolphin - Emirates for World Domination)! Hell, why not make an offer of $50 billion for each Super Bowl team?! Why buy the entire NFL when you can just wait and buy the two best teams?!
Wow, two questions and two references to sheiks. Who knew?
The lesson that has been made all too clear to all of us is that money talks. Period.
But it's not a new lesson, it's just one we choose to forget for extended periods of time because we want to believe in things other than the human need of more, more, more.
It's why we want our players to take hometown discounts (whatever the heck that is) while the owners make 10 times more and jack prices whether they resign Freddie Freeman or not.
That said, I think every team sport league in existence needs to put the Saudis at the top of every agenda for top-level conversation for the foreseeable future.
The NFL, the NBA and the MLB need to heed Jay Monahan's career suicide and figure out how to write by-laws that forbid governmental funds to be used to purchase ownership of any team, franchise or stake in the league.
Make this happen commissioners. ASAP.
So the dean of SEC coaches, the living legend among us, is traveling to Washington, D.C. to ask the federal government for help. Do I have that right?
All the people so lionized, some famous and others who are hacks, who've profited so handsomely from a system of their own creation, now want help from Congress?? Not to mention that so many of these same people vilify the federal government as intrusive and too powerful. Until they want help from it.
The arrogance, hypocrisy and shame is astounding. But it's just housekeeping until Labor Day weekend when we all turn on our 72 inch TVs and watch endless games because we can.
I wonder "where at" the esteemed Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama stands on all of this?
Such a great question and so true in so many directions.
That said, Lord Saban — who was part of the crew headed to lobby Congress on the NIL discussion — is a pretty hard-core Democrat, believe it or not.
Also, is that the first time since his six-game winning streak against Bama that anyone has called Tuberville esteemed? Could be.
The multitude of variation of state-by-state rules creates a naturally uneven balance, and that's the chief thing most coaches want addressed. But Congress is the last place I'd go looking for solutions, but guys like Saban and Smart and Swinney carry enough clout in their states that their endorsements matter.
John's question overlapped the new NCAA chief saying coaches, teams and leagues going to Congress is a slap to the NCAA's face.
Uh, John, blame that one on Mark Emmert, not the coaches, schools or leagues looking for consistency or leadership. (Again, searching for either of those things in D.C. is like trying to find a sports writer who skipped the free meal.)
I was surprised by the warning track at Clemson. I realize all ballparks are constructed differently with depth of the outfield fences, foul territory, etc., but I never realized there are/could be variations to the actual playing field like the slope in place of the warning track at Clemson.
It seemed like a real disadvantage to outfielders, especially visitors who've not had to contend with the uphill grade heading into the wall for a catch. It seemed to possibly cause Christian Scott to lose his footing and drop the extra inning shot that allowed Clemson to tie the game Saturday night.
Are there more examples of this that I'm missing? If you're allowed to change the landscape of the field, what would be some of the best modifications?
I did not see the UT-Clemson game, but I know what you're talking about. And that rise and the kookiness of the hill in centerfield for the Houston Astros are two of the most extreme ones I know.
Variations have been around a while, hence the umps going over the "ground" rules before the game.
We played at Pebblebrook High school when I was a sophomore, and their baseball and softball fields were connected, meaning the home plates were and opposite ends and they shared a fence around an oddly shaped field.
Down the right-field line for baseball it was like 260. To the left-center power alley it was like 450, and there were two fences there because it was the softball dugout. If the ball went into that dugout on the fly or rolled in there, it was a ground-rule triple.
Earl Wise, our first baseman, carried one 440 into the dugout and hit the longest, loudest triple I've ever seen.
Wall size (like in Fenway) is a good advantage for teams with familiarity, but I'm open for any and all things.
Plus, some of those old-school (read slow) Boston teams used to let the grass grow really high to help their infielders and slow down other team's grounders.
Make the warning track in foul territory a mote with water. Have adjustable fences and let each team have two "Move 'em" plays where they can bring the fences in 50 feet in all directions. I'm open for any and all of them.
Hey Jay, nice picks.
Thanks for noticing.
Have a great weekend, friends.