5-at-10: Vols win baseball natty, JJ Redick does not give a bleep what we think, hero golf needs

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Rocky Top on top

Where to begin?

The University of Tennessee won the College World Series on Monday night with a hard-fought 6-5 victory over a gutty Texas A&M club that was without its best player and its No. 2 starting pitcher.

Those are facts.

But do not let the simplicity of that take away from these hard-felt beliefs:

— UT looked the part of the best team in the country for the vast majority of the season.

— UT’s unlimited power at the plate never made a game feel unwinnable or even the ultimate goal unreachable.

— UT’s crew of mullet-wearing pitchers made them borderline lovable, even as they became the first favorite and No. 1 overall seed to win the CWS since 1999.

— UT won 60 games — yes, 60-13 — to become the first college baseball team to reach that plateau since 1989 when Wichita State did it.

— Tony Vitello will never buy another CoCola in the greater Knox County area ever again.

Big picture, and we mentioned this last week, other than Kirby Smart, is there a coach in the SEC more beloved and revered by his fans than Tony V right now? I say that knowing that Bruce Pearl is worshiped in Lee County, Alabama, but he has not done what Vitello just accomplished.

It also makes you take a step back and compare the resumes and wonder if this UT team is the best college baseball team ever.

Discuss.

NBA hubbub

Lots to get to in the association. And it makes me wonder if the NBA is not the prime example of a sports operation that is more intriguing when the games are NOT being played as compared to the in-season discussions.

To that end, consider this: The Lakers named a new coach; the Cavs named a new coach; the Raptors signed Scottie Barnes to a contract that will pay him a quarter of a billion dollars; and the NBA draft (and the Hawks inevitable botching of the No. 1 overall pick) are roughly 58 hours from now.

As Crash told Larry Hockett, we’re dealing with a lot of stuff.

(Candlesticks always make a nice gift. Maybe find out where she’s registered and get her place setting. OK, let’s get two.)

OK, first, if Scotti Barnes is your franchise linchpin, can you win the whole thing? I say no. Second, who all makes up the short list of athletes that you feel obligated to use their first and last names? This could be the all-time Scottie Skiles list, but it’s not just a Scottie list because a) Scottie Pippen is not on it, nor is Scottie Scheffler and b) I’m not sure I even know the last name of Scottie from “Star Trek.” What other Scotties am I missing, and who else makes the double-name team photo?

Where were we? Oh yes, NBA high jinks.

So JJ Redick was introduced as the new Lakers coach and dude came out firing in his meeting with the yahoos like me, who he said he did not give a bleep about.

OK, double-J, that’s cool. You have the right to believe your vast coaching experience at the rec-level will have you prepped for the NBA and what’s to come. You also have every right to not give a bleep, but …

Weren’t you just cashing checks to be a guy to give opinions about the NBA, and now that you and your buddy LeBron have congealed this Lakers locker room, the media’s comments and critiques are not worth anything? Hmmmmmm.

Hypocrite much JJ, or is it just when it’s convenient?

The hero golf needs

Yes, Scottie Scheffler is having a monster season.

A season for the ages in the modern world. How good? Well other than Tiger Woods, who has won six tournaments in a season six times, only three other dudes have accomplished that on the modern PGA Tour since the mid-1970s and that is Vijay Singh — nine wins in 2004 — and Nick Price in 1994 and Tom Watson in 1980.

Granted, for all the Tiger comps Scheffler is getting, his six wins with one major still has a lot left to Woods’ 2000 run of nine wins and three majors. (And let’s not even get into the year that Byron Nelson won 18 tournaments — including 11 in a row — or 1930 when Bobby Jones won the then-Grand Slam.)

So yes, Scottie is amazing, and it’s him against the field almost every week. (And then at then majors it’s Scottie vs. the field and Rory vs. himself. Discuss.)

Still, this is a rootable story right here. This is all us with a much better golf game, and now Nick Beinz has his shot at glory.

Beinz, you see, shot a 7-under 65 in the Monday qualifier for the PGA Rocket Mortgage event this weekend.

He looked to be in the clear to earn an invite for his PGA debut, so he kicked back a couple of cold ones.

So two more 65s came in the final couple of groups, and it was clear that Beinz was headed for a playoff with five guys for four spots in the Rocket Mortgage.

He told the crew that three beers was the perfect amount, and then proceeded to survive eight playoff holes before making a birdie and punching his ticket into Thursday’s first round in Detroit.

War Nick Beinz.

This and that

— More UT baseball. Here’s great coverage from Paschall and Hargis on the Vols’ natty. Side note: Support local journalism, people. Experts and knowhow like this are imperative in the discussion and the information exchange, especially locally.

— With the first Trump-Biden debate looming — I would have to believe it is the first with two former POTUS on the stage unless Grover Cleveland and Benji Harrison went at it on the great-great-grandfather of CNN; who won that one Spy? — forget the job rates or gas prices. This is quite telling for the economy currently. If Hooters is struggling peddling its wings, something is amiss.

— Florida beat Edmonton 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

— I loathe the ESPYs. I think most of us do. And while this year’s version will assuredly be a never-ending stream of agony, this Orioles fan who made a one-handed snag of a foul ball with a drink, a phone and a baby stroller by his side needs to be a finalist for play of the year.

— Braves played. Braves lost. So it goes.

— Here is last weekend’s Bets and Ballgames podcast with my buddy Brian Edwards. We breakdown a lot of things and go over a sneaky strong Texas A&M crew and its projections for the 2024 football season.

— Florida has incoming hoopster who is 7-foot-9.

— Georgia got a 5-star football recruit. In other news, water is wet and cats stink.

Today’s questions

True or false, it’s Tuesday. Morning, Ernie.

True or false, Tony V is a better manager than Brian Snitker.

True or false, you would trade a men’s hoops title AND a CWS title for your college football team to win it all.

True or false, you will watch the presidential debate.

True or false, JJ Redick will be a good NBA coach.

True or false, you will root for Nick Beinz this weekend.

You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs, ask some T or Fs.

As for today, June 25, let’s review.

On this day in 1876, Custer could not pass the mustard, and Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse made his last stand a deadly one.

Willis Reed would have been 82 today.

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett each died on this day in 2009.

Wow, on this day 40 years ago Prince released “Purple Rain.” And all-time great album from an all-time great performer, friends.

Rushmore of albums with a color in the title. Go. (Albums, not singles, although in the example like “Purple Rain” it counts.)

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