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The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
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March 29, 2023 6:12 pm

The Crooked Poster

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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March 29, 2023 6:12 pm

On a Wednesday Drive, Josh tells people to stop saying Drake Maye would go No. 1 overall in this year's NFL Draft, starts to lay the groundwork for what he expects to see in the Final Four, this weekend, talks about potty training his dog and WD reviews "cheesy bites", in Weekly Positivity, Duke and Carolina writer for The Athletic, Brendan Marks, joins the show to discuss the psychological angle of everything that went wrong with UNC, this year, and Ryan McGee, of ESPN, joins the show to talk about Springsteen, his new book that is a "love letter to Minor League Baseball", and people saying Anthony Richardson should go No. 1 overall over Bryce Young.


He's amused Cam Newton. He's been insulted by Charles Barkley.

He's interviewed Matthew McConaughey. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. It's time for The Drive with Josh Graham. Welcome to a Wednesday Drive WSJS NewsTalk Sports for the Triad, where when an opinion is expressed enough times, sometimes you can just accept it without giving it much thought.

That's what groupthink is. And since there are a lot of Tar Heel fans around here, and the Carolina Panthers just traded up for the number one pick, I've heard this take a lot lately that is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. If Drake May were eligible in this year's draft, he'd without a doubt be the number one pick.

This is a PSA to the entire Triad. Stop saying this. Because number one, he isn't eligible for this year's draft. So what's the point?

And number two, even if he were eligible, he wouldn't go number one. But this happens because there's always something intoxicating about the unknown. Even though next year's draft is a long way out, and Caleb Williams and Drake May have a lot of games to play, we have people telling us how much better they are than CJ Stroud and Bryce Young, as those two are advancing further in the college football season, having better college seasons, their teams are, than those two quarterbacks are. It is the classic example of the Family Guy complex, the Mystery Box, where there's the episode where Peter Griffin can either win the free boat or get something else out of the Mystery Box.

Oh, the allure of the Mystery Box, passing up something that is really good in the present. And we've done this so many times over the last few years, but I hear very few people calling it out. I remember the 2019 draft. Oh, if Justin Herbert were in this year's draft out of Oregon, he'd go number one. No, he wouldn't. Kyler Murray would have still been the number one pick. Listen to Cliff Kingsbury, who had just become the Cardinals coach at the time, talk about what he would do if he had the number one pick in a hypothetical sense. He would have taken Kyler over Justin Herbert, 2020 draft. If Trevor Lawrence were eligible, he would have been the number one pick.

No, he wouldn't have. Joe Burrow just had the best college season ever, you could argue, and by the way, beat Trevor Lawrence head to head in the national championship game. Joe Burrow would have been the number one pick in that draft, I think, but that didn't stop people from saying it over and over and over again. So here we are. Drake May, if he were eligible, he'd go before Stroud, he'd go before Young, he'd be the number one pick for the Carolina Panthers. In fact, Matt Brown was saying something similar after North Carolina's pro day this week. Here he was.

Drake, he would be a number one draft choice today. In my opinion, all of them are just amazed. And they sat there and watched yesterday. We had all 32 teams represented. We had 45 people there for five guys. And Noah wasn't working out because of his injury.

So that's pretty amazing that you would have that many people from an NFL pro day show up for five guys, four of them working out. Let's think about this from a football perspective. He'd be dealing with the same sample size concerns that Anthony Richardson's dealing with right now, right?

Sure, they're totally different quarterbacks. Anthony Richardson has the ultimate physical gifts that not even Drake May possesses. Drake May has incredible passing numbers. I think 38 touchdown passes to seven interceptions. Really good running the ball too. Totally different appeals with both those quarterbacks.

But the knock would be similar. We've only seen these guys play for one season. And like Anthony Richardson, Drake May had some stinkers too. Let's not forget, North Carolina had a three-game losing streak at the end of the year.

When you're supposed to be peaking, when you're supposed to be at your best, Drake May in three games had one touchdown pass and four picks. And they weren't playing Alabama. They weren't playing the Carolina Panthers. They were playing Georgia Tech's third string quarterback in a loss and an interim coach. They were facing NC State's third string quarterback, Ben Finley. And they played Clemson, which replaced their quarterback in the middle of the ACC championship game. One touchdown pass, four interceptions. And while we're talking about the opponents, you know and I know the quality of competition piece, that would be a knock too. Now we've defended the ACC in many regards, but not even I would try to compare an ACC coastal division schedule against Alabama, what Bryce Young's faced the last couple of years, and what CJ Stroud faces in that division in the Big Ten.

I just wouldn't do it. Oh, but Josh, look at the way that he impressed in his last game against Oregon. He had three touchdown passes in the game.

That might be true. But do you know who else impressed in their last game? CJ Stroud. And who's better, Georgia or Oregon?

I'm gonna take the Bulldogs. CJ Stroud had a bigger stage and I'd argue was more impressive than Drake May was in the San Diego Bowl that everybody was opting out of the Holiday Bowl. The quality of competition would be a knock. Sample size would be a knock. So enough people have said it where it's just accepted as fact now to the point where Mack Brown is passively saying that.

But I don't think it's true. If Drake May were eligible for this year's draft, I think the knocks would be there enough that CJ Stroud or Bryce Young likely would be taken over him. I think CJ Stroud would because of the build. You could argue Drake's build, just like you could argue CJ Stroud's build is more sustainable for an NFL career.

But I don't think Drake May would be going number one. On Twitter, at WSJS Radio, that is where we're streaming video in addition to YouTube and on Twitch. Will Dalton is the executive producer of this show today. You're wearing a Star Wars hoodie that people can see on our stream. I've got my Winston-Salem Dash hat on today. It sounds like it's the perfect combination of clothes to wear for a Ryan McGee visit.

I don't think you could order it up any better than that. Huge Star Wars nerd McGee. He'll be here at 5.30. He has a book coming out that we helped inspire about minor league baseball that comes out next week.

Brendan Marks will be here later on in the hour. He had a long-form story today about what went wrong in the Star Heel basketball season, so we look forward to catching up with Brendan. And speaking of college basketball, now that we've reached the middle of the week, I'd say we've heard enough about the Elite Eight games, the Sweet 16 games that were played over the weekend.

It's time to turn the page to what we have in front of us in Houston. We will be carrying the Final Four and the National Championship game on WSJS. But looking at the matchups, with respect to Florida Atlantic and San Diego State, UConn Miami is a pseudo National Championship game.

That's what it is. The winner of that game is probably going to be cutting down nets on Monday with respect to these incredible runs that Coach Dutcher and Coach May at FAU and San Diego State have gone on. The Canes and the Huskies come from elite basketball conferences and not the ones that never get to the Final Four or win National Championships like the SEC and the Big Ten. I'm talking about the ones that actually win National Championships. The Big East and the ACC, their schools have accounted for seven of the last nine National Champions in college basketball.

Seven of the last nine. And both these teams, they were consistently great during the season, Miami and UConn. Looking at their tournament pass, though, Miami, they did not catch the breaks that the mid-majors did. The mid-majors, let's be honest about it, they got some bracket luck. The same way North Carolina got bracket luck from catching St. Peters and the Elite Eight a year ago, both San Diego State and FAU, they got a little bit lucky. FAU got to play Memphis, or excuse me, play Fairleigh Dickinson in round two rather than playing top-seeded Purdue.

That's a little bit of luck. They didn't have to play Marquette on the bottom side of that bracket. They didn't have to play Duke. Instead, they played Tennessee, which struggled to score, which was a good matchup for FAU.

They caught some breaks. San Diego State, yes, they had to play Alabama, but they didn't have to play the two seed. They didn't have to play the three seed on the bottom side of the bracket, and they also didn't have to play Virginia in round two. Instead, they played Furman. San Diego State, pretty easy path.

Do you know who didn't have an easy path? Miami. They had the 5-12, but after that, they had the four seed in Indiana, the number one seed in Houston, and the number two seed in Texas in order to get to Houston. So Miami battle tested coming out of the ACC. Meanwhile, nobody in the entire field's been as dominant as UConn's been. They've won their games by the following margins. 28-point win against Gonzaga, 23-point win against Arkansas, 15-point win against St. Mary's, and a 24-point win in the opening round against Rick Pitino and Iona. That's why they probably should be the favorite two cut down nets, two beat Miami. That's the game to watch.

It doesn't feel right to say, it feels like there have been other times in history where we've said this, 40 years ago probably being the best example. You had that, I think it was Louisville and Houston that had that great semifinal 40 years ago that was high flying in New Mexico, and everybody viewed that as being the national championship game, and then NC State upset Houston. That's what this would be if either Miami or UConn lost to Florida Atlantic or San Diego State. We compared it to the 2011 Final Four that was in Houston too, where you had two mid-majors on the same side, and then UConn I think beat Kentucky in the Final Four, and that UConn team then won by double digits against Butler in the final, beating Brad Stevens and company.

That's what this seems like to me. Again, all credit to FAU and San Diego State for getting here. To go all Coach K here, they're champions already. But in terms of the national championship, it's going to be someone from the ACC or the Big East cutting down nets. We'll see who it is.

It's going to be the winner of Saturday night's game between UConn and Miami, I guess. If you're a North Carolina basketball fan, and you're still wanting answers at what happened this season in Chapel Hill, a good starting point might be the athletic story today, the Carolina Blues, how North Carolina's made for championship season turned disastrous. Brendan Marks, our friend who covers Carolina and covers Duke for the athletic, pinned that story or typed that story.

It's 2023, Josh, come on now. And Brendan joins us now to tell us about his findings. Usually, Brendan, I'd be worried about asking you to share some of the stuff that people have to pay for to read at the athletic. But your story is so thorough and there are so many details in it that Tar Heel fans should want to dig out or just college basketball fans in general.

I have no concern with that today. So what's the most illuminating comment you heard from either a college basketball insider you spoke with for the story or even a North Carolina Tar Heel parent? Yeah, you know, I think the biggest thing that maybe I didn't fully grasp or have a comprehensive understanding of and sort of looking at what went wrong this season and trying to lay out the roadmap, so to speak, was the psychological part of everything. You know, like, you know, in 2016 and 17, UNC is in the national title game both times. The next two years, they're a top two seed, but don't get out of the sweet 16, get blown out by 15 plus points both times. You know, then comes the obviously the 2019-20 year that was, you know, the worst in Roy Williams's career.

And then the year after that, they are up and down and get blown out and wear the tires. So that is the championship, that is not a championship pedigree. And that is what the current UNC core understood as Carolina basketball. And so I don't know if I fully realized how different the noise that they were hearing this summer, all of the praise, the positivity, the number one ranking, the SI shoot, all of those things. I don't know if I realized just how different that had been from their previous experiences, but I do think that in retrospect, it explains why when things shifted from positive back to negative, it was so shocking for this team and so difficult for them to handle. When I heard Vince Carter and Antoine Jameson talking about the summer runs and the pickup sessions, all I could think was, well, that's not on Hubert Davis.

That's on the player specifically. But when you are the head coach of the program, you get a lot of the credit when you do well, like he got a year ago, and a lot of the blame when it goes poorly. The number one team in the AP preseason poll not making the tournament for the first time since the tournament expanded in 1985. So when you look at what went wrong, what do you think Hubert deserves the most blame for? Like, what was his biggest misstep, you think?

Yeah, there are a couple of things. I think obviously the situation in terms of developing depth and developing the bench is one that didn't go the way that he suggested it would last summer. He said, I realize that we were tired in the championship game, especially in the second half, and I want to develop a bench.

I don't want to play five, which I believe is his exact quote. And instead he played the bench even less. Now, I'm not saying that that means that we should just be giving guys minutes for the sake of it, but I find it really hard to believe that of all the four star recruits sitting on that bench, not one of them could have been a more productive and helpful player. So I have some trouble with that.

And related to that, I think the accountability piece is tied in. So, you know, if you are one of those players tied to the bench and you see Pete Nance go through a stretch in February where he makes two out of 23 threes in seven games, he has as many turnovers as assist. He's shooting under 30 percent from the field. He's dealing with back pain and he's still getting 28 minutes a night and starting every game. That's sort of tough to swallow. You know, Caleb love his shot selection.

I think, you know, people the message is already out there about that. But, you know, other than the regular season finale against Duke, when Hubert Davis sat him for about five minutes in the first half after he took a step back three early in the shot clock, I don't have anything in my notes from the whole season of a time where he was really held accountable for that shot selection. So I think those are the two biggest things that if you look at Hubert Davis, there's criticism, you know, how well he designed his schemes to maximize personnel would be a third. But like you said, you know, this some of this is not on him.

But when you're the head coach, obviously you do get more blame when things aren't going the right way. The North Carolina and Duke beat Ryder with the athletic Brendan Marks and also ACC tournament fantasy draft runner up. Brendan Marks joins us here on WSJS. Let's link the two together real quickly, though, because we heard a lot from Antoine and Vince as well talking about NIL and James Michael McAdoo made jokes about it. And Hubert spent a lot of time talking about agents and press conferences during the year. How much differently has North Carolina and Duke handled NIL and could that have been part of the reason why we continued to hear the word agents come out of Hubert's mouth while I don't ever remember John Shire even broaching the subject or having to during the season?

Yeah, I mean, we'll certainly they handle it very differently. You know, I wrote a story earlier this summer, or this season, excuse me about Rachel Baker, who is Duke's general manager. And, you know, she specifically works with the men's basketball program there on all NIL matters. So if a guy has an opportunity and is sort of weighing what to do with it, they go to her if there's, you know, something that they need to deliver in order to satisfy the requirements that have been set forth in a contract, you know, she can help them manage that. North Carolina does not have anybody who is nearly as involved as that. And, you know, I think the school has the resources to do that.

Obviously, it's just it currently doesn't have one. They're far from the only blue blood that doesn't. But yeah, you know, I think your point about Hubert bringing this up tells you in itself how agitated he was by the situation, which was every time I'm in the locker room, I'm not just talking to the 15 guys.

I'm talking to their parents, I'm talking to their agents, I'm talking to their handlers, I'm talking to everybody. And, you know, again, I think that's something that historically North Carolina has not had to deal with. Duke, you know, given the NBA success and the NBA pipeline that they've had, have had to deal with that a little bit more and have more familiarity. And so now you're seeing there's an adjustment period for North Carolina in terms of understanding how to manage all of those side elements. And also for Hubert Davis, just being a first time head coach. He's learning what Dean Smith and Roy Williams always said, which was, you know, coaching the actual team is maybe 10 percent of the job.

All of this other stuff is equally as challenging to manage. Pushing things forward, what kind of guard is North Carolina looking to pair with R.J. Davis now that we know Caleb Love isn't part of the fold? Well, I think they've already got a couple. You know, Demarco Dunn and Seth Trimble, I think are really, you know, interesting pieces, especially Dunn as a junior. You know, I think he came along as a defender, came along as a shooter last year. I'd like to see him get more of an opportunity next year. I think Trimble's defense is there. I actually think Trimble, you know, given some of his reluctance to shoot, might be a nice fit next to R.J. Davis. But I do think that R.J. is going to play some point guard. But listen, clearly, you know, North Carolina has already brought in one transfer.

They have a couple more either currently on visit or scheduling visits. They're prioritizing shooting. That's what they're prioritizing. You know, this was the worst shooting team in the ACC this year. It was the second worst three-point shooting team in program history. They need guys who can make shots. And so be it at the guard spot, but also certainly on the wing where they basically have one scholarship player right now. That is the number one skill that North Carolina is searching for right now in terms of on the court. And so I think you're going to continue to see guys like Timberlake linked to them because that was such a deficiency and it really hindered everything Hubert Davis wanted to do offensively.

The Carolina Blues, how UNC's made for championship season turned disastrous. Brendan Marks, great work on that and great work on this show as well. Appreciate the visit, man. And we'll catch up sometime soon. Thanks for having me, Josh.

Appreciate it. It's the middle of the week to help you get through it. We're going to send good vibes across the Triad in a segment we call Weekly Positivity.

Raise morale across the Piedmont or I guess I should say good vibes. But before we do that, let's talk about Bronny James for a second and the McDonald's All-American game. That's all anybody wants to talk about from this game. Bronny, five of eight from three. It's the only points he scored in the game.

I think he only had 15 in it. It's a fascinating story, obviously. People have been talking about it for years. Where's Bronny going to end up? Is he going to make it to the NBA? Is the team going to take him in the first round just because his dad is LeBron and having those guys team up?

And that is fascinating. I just hope that he follows through on playing college basketball. As somebody who cares about the sport quite a bit, that's what I care about most. It would crush me if last second he decides, I'm going to join G-League, Ignite or G-League, Path or GoToPlay and whatever one of these podunk leagues are. I hope he doesn't take an alternative path. It'd be good to follow what he does night in and night out.

It's not quite the supreme phenom effect that we saw with Zion a few years ago, but all of his games will be dissected through that lens and it'll be interesting. The schools, according to the LA Times, that he has narrowed it down to is his now hometown USC Trojans since he lives in Southern California. The Oregon Ducks are in contention.

Gee, I wonder why that might be. What's the connection between the James family and Oregon? Couldn't have anything to do with Nike, right?

Just spitballing here. If Coach K were still at Duke, I'd imagine he might consider going to Durham, but since he's not and it's Jon Shire, they're not the third finalist. It's Ohio State, which is the team that LeBron James roots for. Ohio roots. And he is an Ohio State football fan. Those are the final three. I honestly don't care which of the three he picks just as long as he plays in college basketball.

Localizing the McDonald's All-American game, though. Couple Duke guys were in the game. Not really much to tell you about. Sean Stewart, a combo guard, had six points. And Mackenzie Mbako had a couple of points and played 15 minutes, mostly grabbing rebounds.

Didn't really have the strongest of effort. A lot of Kentucky guys last night. Seems that Kentucky has a strong, strong team that's being put together for next year. It's about time, Cal. It'll be interesting to see if Bronny joins, who was the high scorer by a wide margin last night.

Isaiah Collier, one of the top players in the country, already committed to USC. Here's what we're going to do with weekly positivity. We have one more pair of Eric Church tickets to give away.

And we figured it would be a good idea if the first person who calls in to tell us something good, it might be sports related, it might not, gets the tickets to see him before tickets are available for The Charlotte Show in September. 3-3-6-7-7-7-1-600. It's time for weekly positivity. We're the middle children of history, boys.

No purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our Great War is a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives. Oh, yeah.

W.D., it's hard to quote Fight Club in a positive way. Let's go to the phones first. 3-3-6-7-7-7-1-600. Our winner of Eric Church tickets is Chip in Winston. Chip, I'd say that's good, wouldn't you? I think that's good.

Tell me something else that's good. March is good. March Madness, an opening day of baseball tomorrow.

Wow. Who's your team? The Cubs. I might be wrong on this. I thought baseball started a week from now. Am I wrong on that?

What? Tomorrow is opening day. That blows me away. Opening day is tomorrow. Wow.

It is. Very good. I thought opening day was in a week, but my Orioles, you're right.

Play the Red Sox. Tomorrow, that is good. Thanks for sharing with us, Chip, and enjoy the show, okay? There goes Chip in Winston-Salem.

Let's keep the good times going. Beth in Greensboro, I don't have any more tickets to offer. I'm sorry about that. But tell me something good. Hi, Josh. Hi, Beth. So, hi. How are you? I'm doing good. Thanks for asking.

Congrats on the new puppy. Oh, yeah. Willow, that's good. Yeah.

And also, it's a beautiful day out. And what also is good is that Chip won the tickets because I'm not an Eric Church fan. So, that's good. It is good.

I'm a huge John Mayer fan. So, anyway. So, what is good is I like the Michael Jordan poster behind you, but I think it's a little crooked.

But it doesn't matter because it's good. W.D. Hold on a second. Hold on a second. No. It's just right, Beth.

W.D. and I were arguing about this just before the show, thinking that it was crooked. And then we adjusted it. It was. And now they're saying it's crooked again.

You've really, you've struck a nerve here, Beth. I didn't know that you guys corrected it. Well, this was today we did that. We did this today right before the show started. W.D.

was looking at her backdrop that you could see on YouTube and Twitch and on Twitter. And it's Michael Jordan. Stay in school when he's got hair. It's young Michael. No brain, no gain. We like the poster, but we need to know.

Go on Twitter, go on YouTube, go on Twitch. Let us know if this thing is still crooked and needing adjusting. Not if you adjusted it. I think it's good. Thank you, Beth. I appreciate the call. It makes me feel good. Oh, thank you. That's Beth and Greensboro. That's excellent.

If you have something good to share with us. Three three six seven seven seven one six hundred. We're very self-conscious about our studio. We are. One day the jersey's up, the next day it's not. One day the Michael Jordan poster is crooked. The next day it isn't. I'm very OCD.

You're very OCD about these things, too. So we're kind of on the same wavelength on that. She brought up the puppy. So I will say that Willow is getting good at crate training.

Wow. And potty training. Like she's got peeing outside down. She's figured that out. Pooing outside?

Then a little bit more of a rocky start. There's like this carpet that she likes that I think she's confusing with being one of those squares that you have that you're supposed to go potty on. But I think she's slowly starting to figure it out. Well, when she's outside, it's just one big square for her. Right. So we're working that piece out.

That's an ongoing process, but she's so darn cute and I love her so much. Tell me something good with you, W.D. So I tried something today for the first time from Cookout. What's that? The cheesy bites. I didn't know this was a thing until I had to buy you Cookout lunch and I saw it. You did?

In the text. Hey, give me the cheesy bites. I didn't know that was a thing.

A sass. See, I had my menu pulled up for Cookout on my laptop as I was sending you the message. And honestly, they were really good. They weren't too cheesy. They had a little bit of a toastiness to them. And I like that.

A little bit of a brown toastiness to them with a little bit of melted cheese inside. Thank you, Zach, for being a doofus and picking Katie instead of Gabby. I got Cookout today because of it. Stop yelling. I'm sorry. And that's been. It was good. Weekly.

Positivity. My mind's blown right now. I genuinely looked at a date. I looked at a calendar that said baseball season going to start on April the seventh.

That's what I saw. So I had that in my calendar as April the seventh. But thanks to Chip. Baseball season starts tomorrow. One of our favorites is Ryan McGee from ESPN. We'll get into the football. One of his favorite topics, the NFL draft in just a little bit. But he has a book that we've been telling you about conceptually for years in terms of the actual physical like manifestation of the concept for close to a year now.

Welcome to the circle to the circus of baseball talking about a perfect summer that Ryan McGee experienced with the Asheville tourists back in the 1990s McGee. It comes out next Tuesday, something we've been talking about for years. You can preorder it now. But next Tuesday, the book comes out. Tell us and the audience who may be unfamiliar about the genesis of this book and where our show fits into it. So bless my wife's heart, who's upstairs.

My office is in the base of the house. She has been hearing the stories of the summer of 1994 since we were married, which was a really long time ago. And you, I started sharing those stories with you on this show. I mean, several years ago. I think I started sharing these stories with you when you were doing the show before this show in a completely different location.

Eastern North Carolina. That's correct. Right. And so we, you know, I started to do the story of James the mountain man that retrieved the foul balls and was bitten by a snake. I told you the story. I think I told you about Grady Gardner who left every week to go line dancing with his girlfriend.

And he looked just like, he looked just like Samuel Elliott from Roadhouse. And I told you about the time that Tarp almost killed me. And I told you about the time the Dairy Queen machine almost killed me and the time I had to put on the Teddy tourist bear costume. And actually my baseball card, I have a baseball card there.

I'm talking to you on zoom, which I'll show it to you. So that's, I have a baseball card and it's me because the guy, the local actor who was supposed to, who played Teddy didn't show up for photo day. So I told you all of those stories over the years and we, you know, I was like, we started kind of collecting them up. And now this book is basically a collection of those stories. We see in Michael Jordan play for the Birmingham Barons in Greenville, you know, captain dynamite and his exploding coffin to death.

You know, that's how the story opens with this guy who used to travel around the country and for 500 bucks, cash would literally pack himself into a homemade coffin and packed with old school while E Coyote looking TNT dynamite and blow himself up before and after games. And so all of this is in the book and the book is just a love letter to minor league baseball. And you know, where you live, where you are, I mean, this is, it's an epicenter of minor league baseball. You know, it's the once the sailing dash.

And for me, it was the warthogs and the spirit. And, you know, it was the old Greensboro bats. They were at the old ballpark and now obviously the grasshoppers and even down at high point, people talk about the high Toms back in the day, you know, and of course now, you know, they've got the, the, the amazing, the rockers, the amazing independent team down there. So it's, and you're just down the road from Asheville and just down the road from Hickory and just down the road from the triad and, or from the triangle. And it's just, I mean, when I was growing up, it was Martinsville and Burlington and all these places have teams. So it's this witness, it's a, it's a love letter to minor league baseball.

Yes. And it's not an exaggeration to say that our show helped inspired it. It's not an exaggeration. It's not hyperbole by any stretch to say that, that you're me telling these stories on the show. You were kind of the test audience. Like if I, if I told a story and you guys laughed, then I thought, okay, it's not just me who thinks this is funny. And I would go tell my wife, Hey, Josh thought was funny.

So maybe I should write it in a book. What's great is somebody just two weeks ago came up to me saying, I was listening to your radio show and I heard the funniest story about the time that Tanya Tucker showed up at the, uh, I don't know if it was Grove stadium or at the dash ballpark. And, and, and I guarantee you like that has been Tanya Tucker performing at a Royal ambassador's day, RA day, which is the Baptist boy Scouts. Um, I don't know if it still exists, but it did then, but Tanya Tucker at the time, like 19 years old, her singing the national Anthem at the wake forest football game has become like, it's become like Woodstock, like the yellow blue jeans, the yellow pants. No Woodstock.

There were a hundred thousand people at Woodstock and 40 million people claim they were there. Shout out to Tanya Tucker and shout out to Winston Salem. I got my dash hat on right now. You've got your Asheville tourist hat on talking about this book.

Welcome to the circus of baseball that comes out next Tuesday. It's author Ryan McGee is with us. Would you describe the crowd at Grove stadium that day watching Tanya Tucker to be similar to the crowd you saw in what is described to be Steensborough Saturday night, you were in Greensboro watching Bruce in town. I was, I was, uh, it was my 10th time seeing Springsteen and of those 10 times, I believe four, three, the three or four were in Greensboro.

I have a list somewhere, but the, um, but yeah, it was a great show. I tell you one great thing about aging Bruce Springsteen. He's 73 now. And Bruce has always been notorious for coming on late. Like at the show scheduled at eight, he usually comes on at nine 30 and it drives me crazy. Um, and first time I took my wife, who's a performer first time I took my wife to see Bruce, it made her so mad. Cause he came on like an hour and 20 minutes late, but that was always the book. And when I was driving up from Charlotte on Saturday, I was like, should I swing through Lexington and get some barbecue and then go up to the concert? I'm like, yeah, I should do that. Cause he's gonna, he'll come on at least an hour late. Then I'm like, no, no, no.

I'm just going to go on up there. And I'm so glad because he shows scheduled at seven 30 and I think he came on at like seven 38. So old Bruce like doesn't, you know, and the show was awesome, but the show wasn't four and a half hours long. Like it used to be. So Bruce, um, still a lot of energy, uh, climbing stuff and open showed his, you know, his, um, his pecs, but, uh, but he's still on the, I was back in Charlotte by midnight, which I would not have guessed.

Wow. Ryan McGee with us here on WSJS. Now let's get to the football. Can you hear the NFL draft guy talking about Anthony Richardson being a better draft choice at quarterback than CJ Stroud and Bryce young potentially for the Carolina Panthers at number one, as a guy who is a Saturday guy, as you like to put it, what goes through your mind? Well, first of all, I know Anthony Richardson, you know, I've been fortunate, you know, Marty, we do Marty McGee and SCC nation on the road. Um, you know, every summer at SCC media days, we do our, our preseason coaches specials. And the last couple of years we've started including players in that.

And we had, we had Anthony sat down with us. I love him. I love that dude. He's the best. And his ceiling is limitless. The problem is, is that the sample size of him actually on the field at the highest level of competition is really tiny.

I mean, he made like 12 starts and some of those, you know, ended short because of injury. So physically he's the best. I mean, numbers wise, he's the best. He told, he said, I'm going to put on a show at the combine and that's exactly what he did.

He said, I'm going to put on a show, you know, Florida praise exactly what he did. The dude, the dude's amazing. But the sample size of him actually on the field to watch on film is tiny. And I've heard the talk about like cam Newton, um, you know, guys who only had one year as a starter and had a relatively small sample size, but you think about cam, he had one of, if not the greatest season that we've ever seen, he didn't lose the Vanderbilt.

Yeah. So Joe burrow had a, had a relatively small sample size at LSU. He was really only the starter for what the season and a half, but he had, in my opinion, the greatest season, any quarterbacks ever had in history college football, the year he won the Heisman. So Anthony doesn't have that. So the potential is through the roof, but, but if you are the Panthers and you are trying to in this new NFL, where you draft a quarterback, you expected him to play pretty soon, you know, back, back, back in the day, you draft a quarterback and you gave it a few years before you got him going.

Not anymore. This is the football we just watched, you know, the quarterbacks were young, the all four quarterbacks in the championship games were young. The oldest guy was, you know, in Kansas city, this is a really young group of dudes.

And so, um, I, I, the potential for, for ARs through the roof, uh, the problem is it's just unproven. And with Bryce young, I know what I'm getting. All that dude does is win. If he isn't hurt a year ago, I think Alabama might win another championship. You know, he wasn't even practicing during the week. They weren't telling us that, but, but, but Bryce young and, and CJ Stroud, yes, I know. I wrote a story last year about the wide receivers of Ohio state. There were the best wide receiver corner country, and I could have thrown touchdown passes at those guys, but they all said to me to a man, Marvin Harrison Jr.

Looked at me and he said, the reason I'm as good as I am is because when I get to where I'm supposed to be, the football's waiting on me. And that's because of the quarterback. So the point is the sample size for Anthony is really, really small, um, but, but I think he has the potential to be great, but it's potential.

The other guys I know are great. And fortunately in both cases with Bryce and with CJ, we've seen them elevate guys around them when they don't have their full compliment. Like when Jackson Smith and Jigba and Garrett Wilson, or it would have been Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave opted out of the Rose bowl and he was awesome. And Jigba broke out of that game and Jackson Smith and Jigba was hurt pretty much this entire year. And Marvin Harrison Jr. goes out of that Georgia game and CJ still has no problem moving the ball. Bryce had the great receivers before, not the greatest compliment this past season. So how do you separate those two of Stroud and Young?

Um, I think that, I don't think there's a lot of separation between the two of them. I think that if there are any questions about CJ, he answered those again, you know, um, on some, to me, it is what it is. And again, I went up there, I love Ryan Day and Ryan Day at Ohio State, there's no BS with him.

And he's, he will look you right in the eye and tell you the truth. And when he tells me we didn't miss a beat, even when we lost the guys that you're talking about to the NFL or to injury or whatever, he goes, our room actually got better. And that's because of the quarterback and Bryce Young, I'm telling you, people do not understand how hurt he was last year and he still should have beaten Tennessee.

And he still had a chance to win, you know, the SEC and if he's not hurt, man, I'm telling you, I think there's, there's a chance that Alabama was in certainly in the playoff, but, but maybe even the national championship games, I don't think there's a lot there to separate the two of them. It'll come down to size. I mean, CJ is a bigger guy, I get all that, but, but, but first of all, Bryce isn't, isn't a munchkin. Um, you know, and he also, again, going back to the quarterbacks that we all just saw, you know, in all of the NFC, all four of those quarterbacks, you know, there's not a lot of giants in there, you know, Joe burrows, no giant, you know, the quarterback who just got another ring.

He's no giant. Um, so yeah, I think the days of that being as big a factor, just watch a film. The NFL guys drive me crazy. Just watch it. Just watch the damn film, man. I, you know, what do you watch the games? That's always my question.

I, you know, I tried to tell them that Lamar Jackson is pretty good. Yeah. But this and that, and so on. Just watch the film. I don't get it. Yeah. I guys try to talk me out of Joe burrow.

I'm like, just watch the film. I don't understand, but, but you know, it's beneath them to watch games on Saturday, I guess. So, uh, so good for us. The who do on Twitter at ESPN McGee, uh, welcome to the circus of baseball. Ryan McGee's book next Tuesday. Pick it up. Let's close with baseball on the way out.

I actually need your help on WD's behalf here. We have a segment every week where he watches movies that it's just inexplicable that he hasn't seen and we've made a lot of headway. Like we gave him a poster that has a hundred movies on it and he said he had seen nine of the best movies of all time. We're now up to 30 we've been doing this for a long time, but we figured with baseball starting next week, major league baseball eight days from now, we'd throw a baseball movie at him and we figured out that he had not seen these two movies, the natural or money ball, which of the two should he watch next week?

Ryan McGee. Um, two very different movies. Um, you know, money ball is, is, it's funny I'm doing this with my daughter too. My daughter is a movie nut, but I've got her one of those posters.

There's all these movies that have won Academy awards and we're, you scratch them off as you watch each one. We got almost the whole thing covered, but, but, but watching, she's not necessarily a big sports family. She loves movies and watching Bull Durham or watching a money ball and watching the natural two completely different movies. And you should know Bull Durham was the first movie we made him watch, but the, um, but, but the natural, a lot of people will talk about the romanticism of it, but the reality is that's a gritty movie. There's a lot that goes down in that movie. Um, and then there's money ball and money ball is very much of an analytics.

It's fascinating. Probably how old is, how old is he? 27.

He turned 27 last weekend. Money ball. Money ball might be more along your, in your alley because you will at least recognize some of the names and you'll appreciate the cons. You'll appreciate this idea of who the A's were then, um, you know, how it kind of ends, but, but if you just, if you just, if you look, do you like old movies?

Like do you like, they're, they're okay. Money ball is actually the one that I recommended. I'm like, I feel like that's maybe the one I should watch. Yeah. You should watch it.

No. Your reaction when I asked, do you like old movies? He, he liked the Godfather. We made him watch that. He watched Iron Eagle, Iron Eagle threw at him, Iron Eagle threw at him, uh, Caddyshack. He really enjoyed that. That was good.

Yeah. But, but, but when I say old movies, I'm talking about like, like, do you love like Casablanca and Wizard of Oz and I do like Wizard of Oz, Wizard of Oz, because the natural came out in the, in the what, like 1984, but it still has that. It has a very much of an old movie feel to it, but yeah, well, you know what? Watch Moneyball. Cause you know who Brad Pitt is. Um, I'll say this, uh, Art Howe is not a jerk and, um, and, and, and, uh, Art Howe is the manager of the A's. I would just say, just know that kind of going in, it's a great performance and you have to do this with certain characters, but Art Howe go balls is not a jerk.

So just want you to, and also Tim Hudson exists, I'll throw that out there as well. And it's good. But it is fascinating because what you're watching is the transformation for good or for better, for worse of baseball into, you know, war, whatever the hell that is. All these new stats that guys my age don't understand, but, but are what dictates who sounds who now. Speaking of Brad Pitt, the movie he's watching tonight for tomorrow's show is Fight Club.

He had not seen Fight Club, so McGee, the book, welcome to the circuits of baseball. We can't wait to read it and, uh, I'm glad we were able to contribute on it. Thanks for the time. No, no, y'all, y'all helped me, uh, collect the story. So yeah, everybody read it and tell them what you think and, um, uh, it's not war and peace. I'll just tell you that it's not war and peace. Ryan McGee joining us pre-order the book now, welcome to the circus of baseball.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-01 20:58:50 / 2023-04-01 21:18:13 / 19

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