The Midweek Stock Report — or The MSR, with a capitalized ‘T’ to announce its presence with authority — is designed to highlight trends in and around University of Tennessee athletics, pop culture and anything else we feel like discussing.
"You wanna fight, Tony Greene? I'll punch you right in the Jack Johnson. Come at me, bro."
For those new to The MSR, our weekly roundup is broken down into three categories: Stock Rising for things on the upswing, Stock Falling for things on the downswing and Stock Holding for things that are just as awesome, just as awful or just as mediocre as they were seven days ago.
Those are the basic ground rules, but The MSR reserves the right to tweak this feature as we see fit. If you don’t like that, start your own website.
BASEVOLS: Honesty is always the best policy, and The MSR knows no other way to live. With that in mind, we’ll admit we’re happy to see the Tennessee baseball team off to a 7-0 start back in a national poll for the first time since 2008. We think baseball is the world’s greatest game, but there’s only enough interest around these parts to cover it when Tennessee is winning. And we like covering baseball. So this is fun. Third-year Vols coach Dave Serrano was known as one of the nation’s best when he arrived in Knoxville — where he served as pitching coach during the Vols’ 1995 College World Series run — and that’s starting to show. He and his staff have recruited very well since they arrived, and everyone is starting to see the fruits of their labor. That’s a talented team. We don’t think it’s quite a championship-caliber team, but it’s at least a good, solid team. It’s worth covering.
NOT SO SOFTBALL: As good as the Tennessee baseball team has been this season, The MSR agreed with Serrano when he mentioned how much better Tennessee is at softball. The powerhouse of co-head coaches Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly is undefeated and ranked second nationally. And Tennessee is the only Division I program still undefeated in baseball and softball, according to the program’s sports information department.
ROCK-AND-TROLL STARS: A good troll job will get you on the map, but an epic troll job will get you legendary status in The MSR’s book. And Georgia’s basketball team has done one of college sports’ best ever troll jobs this season. The Bulldogs ran over the SEC’s collective RPI in the pre-conference schedule, and then they stopped, threw the car in reverse and backed over the dead bodies by being really good in league play. That’s caused a straight-up RPI massacre and public-relations disaster for a league that couldn’t afford either. Well done, Dawgs. We’re impressed.
THE REAL RED, WHITE AND BLUE ISN’T NORWAY’S RED, WHITE AND BLUE: In case you missed it, The MSR’s psychological warfare against nefarious Norway worked. The US and A topped Norway in the 2014 Winter Olympics medal count by a 28-26 margin. Eat fail, Norway. Eat it and choke on it. And then put it in your fjord on float on it.
JUNIOR: Admittedly, The MSR isn’t a big NASCAR fan. We have nothing against the sport, but there’s only so much time in the week, and we don’t have much free time, and we choose to follow other sports during most of that time. But congrats to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for winning his first Daytona 500 in a decade. That’s awesome. And it’s awesome for NASCAR, which needs Junior as much as golf needs Tiger Woods and as much as tennis in this country desperately needs an American man to win a Grand Slam. Our dad is our hero, and our dad loved The Intimidator, so we’ve always had a soft spot for his son — who, to be fair, has spent the past several years on our “Top Ten athletes we’d like to have a beer with” list. He just seems like a down-to-earth dude. In completely unrelated news, when does NASCAR start forcing Junior to have children?
"This is where you can stick your RPI, SEC."
MIKE TROUT’S WALLET: As much as The MSR believes only in the National League — men hit for themselves, and don’t you ever forget that — we love watching Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim of Whatever They’re Called Now superstar Mike Trout play baseball. And we commend the Angels or Whatever They’re Called Now for paying him the highest pre-arbitration salary in baseball history. His $1 million this season tops the $900,000 Philadelphia payed Ryan Howard and the Cardinals paid Albert Pujols when he was a pup. This is much, much better than barely-above-league-minimum the Angels comically paid Trout last season. Trout still makes only a fraction of what he’s worth, but he’ll make that and then some down the road if he stays healthy, and now he’ll be able to negotiate in better faith with the Angels moving forward. And if rumors of an upcoming six-year deal are accurate, then Trout could be a Chicago Cub in seven years. And then everyone but the Cardinals will win. So, really, everyone who deserves to win would win.
VOLS HOOPS: It wasn’t over when Antwan Space bombed Pearl Harbor a second time, and it’s not over now, but the Tennessee men’s basketball team is now officially in dangerous waters. It today were Selection Sunday, the Vols might make the NCAA Tournament. But they might not. It would be very, very close. And that shouldn’t be happening with this team in this conference. We don’t believe Vols coach Cuonzo Martin has done enough to be fired yet, but our point from the beginning of the season remains firm: If Tennessee misses the NCAA Tournament this season, it must make the field next season, of that would make Martin 0-for-4. And that would be enough, in our opinion, for him to be fired. We’re not to that point yet, but many seem to be well past that point. And that’s a shame. Martin is the kind of man you want to see succeed. He really is. But if you don’t succeed at this level, there are consequences.
SEC HOOPS: Let’s not pretend Tennessee is the only disappointing thing about SEC hoops this season — and The MSR isn’t mentioning that to distract anyone from the fact that the Vols have been disappointing. We’re just sad to see SEC hoops in its current state. We grew up in The South, and we loved SEC hoops as much or more than we loved SEC football. We know that makes us weird. But whatever. Surely we’re not the only people who genuinely love SEC hoops and are borderline disgusted by its current state. There is too much money and there are too many great athletes down here for this to ever be excusable. There’s a natural ebb and flow to things, and we understand that, but this is now officially a famine. And it must end.
CROOTIN’: Hopefully The MSR isn’t known for being overly critical, but we noticed Vols football coach Butch Jones and his staff haven’t picked up a single commitment in the past week. Resting on their laurels, perhaps? Or simply waiting for the next round of bad news to offset with a shiny new toy? You be the judge.
AMERICAN HOCKEY, EFF NO: As happy as The MSR was for the US and A to top nefarious Norway in the final Sochi medal count, we’re officially putting US and A hockey on notice after the men and women lost to Canada in the medal round, and the men didn’t even medal. Uncle Sam and The MSR are displeased. That was unacceptable. Let the record show that we still topped our Great White Hat in the final medal count, though.
BOEHEIMS GONE WILD: It’s with a heavy heart that The MSR mentions this, but longtime Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim cost his team a chance to win at Duke on Saturday night by overreacting in a tough situation. As the founder and CEO of The #Refolution, we wholeheartedly agree with those who think college basketball officiating is a skidmark on the underpants of a beautiful sport. And we agree that Syracuse got hosed on that charge call at the end of the game. But Boeheim’s subsequent overreaction and the technical foul and ejection that came with it cost his team any decent chance it had to win the game. Boeheim’s a legend, but he should have known better. And he admitted it afterward. We think coaches getting technical fouls is occasionally a sound strategic move, but that wasn’t the time and place for it. And Boeheim admitted that once he calmed down. But let’s not forget the main point here: College basketball officiating is atrocious. #Refolution, today, #Refolution tomorrow, #Refolution forever. Viva la #Refolution.
FC PORTO-JOHN: Few teams in sports are expected to thoroughly destroy everyone in their league as much as Portugal soccer juggernaut FC Porto. It just isn’t supposed to lose. Ever. And last week, Porto lost a league game at home for the first time since 2008. And then madness ensued. The fan serenaded the team with chants of “You’re a disgrace” as it left the field, and the players needed police protection to get home after leaving the stadium. The team’s manager — who has been there only since the beginning of this season — started his press conference by saying he was about to go talk to the president and offer his resignation on the spot. And then he did just that. And all of this is happening with Porto in third place in the league table, with 13 wins, four losses and three ties and a full one-third of the season still left to be played. We take back 84 percent of the things we’ve ever said or written about SEC fans.
"I didn't get any commits this week!!! And it's all your fault, Corey Vereen!!! Get off my field!!!"
PEEING INTO THE WIND: A recent survey by top-notch ESPN reporter and Friend of The MSR Brett McMurphy revealed that just 25 of the nation’s 128 NCAA Division I FBS football coaches would vote in favor of a proposal to slow down the sport’s growing number of no-huddle offenses. In other words, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema have intimidated only 23 of their 126 colleagues into submission regarding their silly proposal. The game changes, guys. Change with it. Surely a proposal with such flimsy support will not pass. And it shouldn’t, at least not until firm medical evidence supports it. And it doesn’t at this point. When do other coaches get to protest that Saban’s tailbacks are too big to run so fast, and that they’re a hazard to everyone else’s health? We don’t blame Saban and Bielema for doing everything in their power to help their program win games — that’s a big part of coaching, no? — but this proposal mustn’t be passed.
PEEING INTO THE SINK: A Pizza hut in hilariously named Kermit, W.V., was permanently closed this month after surveillance tapes caught a manager peeing into the sink. In completely unrelated news, citizens of East Tennessee should be happy to know the restaurant The MSR worked at in high school doesn’t exist anymore.
SEC BASEBALL: In case you didn’t know, allow The MSR to remind you: The SEC is more dominant in baseball than it is in football. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. Consider this: Tennessee is undefeated and ranked No. 28 nationally in this week’s Collegiate Baseball. But that’s just good enough for No. 9 in the SEC. Whoa.
NAUGHTY CARDINALS: It brought no great joy to The MSR — OK, that’s a lie, it totally did bring us boatloads of great joy — to follow the media coverage of St. Louis Cardinals reliever Carlos Martinez and his Twitter account in the past week. But by far the best part of the story was Martinez claiming that hackers filled his Twitter account with pornography. The “I got hacked” defense is our favorite B.S. defense. Sixty percent of the time, it’s funny every time. What a great way to begin baseball season. Go Cubs. Go America.
CONVENTIONAL NAMES SPELLED STUPIDLY: The freedom of expression is one of The MSR’s favorite American ideals — in fact, we honor it on a weekly basis — but this trend of spelling normal names in stupid ways must stop. We’re all in favor of mixing it up from time to time, but when we see reports of “Ericka” being spelled “Airwrecka,” we think the Rubicon has been crossed. And we’re all in favor of a board that monitors birth certificates and occasionally says, “No.” We don’t have much free time these days, but we will make time if no one else steps up to correct this situation. Some of these names are borderline child abuse.
MANCHESTER U-FRIGHTENED: As much as The MSR hates kicking anyone when they’re down, here are our thoughts on Manchester United’s season: Hahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Haha.
ANTWAN SPACE: Still a combination of Jordan, Magic, Kobe, Bird and Jimmy Chitwood in the closing seconds against Tennessee.
"I don't always make it rain. But when I do, it's always against Tennessee in the final seconds."
ANTWAN SPACE: Still Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly against every team not named Tennessee. “MAKE IT RAIN!”
ANTWAN SPACE: Still has an awesome name, though.
BRAK: Still the best character in Space Ghost, Coast to Coast history. Don’t touch him.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Let’s keep it local this week and go with Head Trip In Every Key from Knoxville’s own Superdrag. An underappreciated album from an underappreciated band.
YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE WEEK: This week’s gem — which you can see here — is one of the first things that popped up when we searched for “Stuff Being Blown Up.” Sure enough, this video is called, “Stuff Being Blown Up Compilation.” And, if you listen carefully, you can hear CCR in the background for part of it. Awesomesauce. Get some.
COLLEGE ATHLETE NAME OF THE WEEK: Let’s go to the West Coast this week, and to a lower level of college sports, and let’s honor Pacific (Oregon) University senior guard Budweiser Hawkins III. Need we say anything more. This Las Vegas native has arguably one of the greatest names in this era of college sports.
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: Escalators. The MSR supports anything that promotes laziness and anything that cannot break. Escalators fall under both categories. They allow us to be stagnant, and they cannot break. They can only become stairs.
FACT OF THE WEEK: If you counted 24 hours a day, it would take you more than 31,000 years to reach one trillion. (For the record, we think Busta Rhymes could get there in one year.)
CONFESSION OF THE WEEK: For at least one month every year, Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” is our cell phone ring tone. And we aren’t shamed of this. In fact, we’re quite proud.
RON SWANSON QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Every time she laughs, an angel dies. Even telemarketers avoid her. Her birth was payback for the sins of man. But you know the worst thing about her? She works at the library.”
Contact Wes Rucker at email@example.com, www.twitter.com/wesrucker247 or www.facebook.com/wesrucker247