Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gwinnett Stripers

Friday the Gwinnett Braves changed their name to the Gwinnett Stripers.
I wholeheartedly approve of the change for several reasons.
The Braves are about the only team in baseball with their minor league teams with the same name as the parent club. While it saves a little money on uniforms, it certainly lacks creativity and imagination. 
The Stripers introduced four new uniforms. Home and road unis are pinstriped.  I like the green alternate jersey, as well as the throwback uniform - which hearkens back to the days of Hank Aaron.
As you can see above there are four caps. Not sure if they will be mixed and matched. Doesn't look like any one cap matches up with a particular uniform. My favorite may be the main logo below.
I like dark caps, but down the road I expect to see a green cap,
as well as special ticket caps in other colors.
While there may not be anything extraordinary about the new name or the new unis, I'm not going to complain. Many did. What were they expecting? The changes will take some getting used to. The team hopes to increase attendance and spur interest. Both are needed to keep the team in town. Few teams are green, so that's a plus. 
One of the uniform models at Friday's press conference was Hall of Famer Phil Neikro (far right, below). Phil donned the throwback jersey.
Minor leaguers usually wear their socks pulled high, so the green striped hose are a welcome sight. Perhaps the parent club can take the hint.
Here's the best close up of the throwback jersey,
which features a fish in the place of Aaron's feather. Capital idea.
Gwinnett isn't the only team with a new name.
My hometown recently introduced a new college summer team: the Macon Bacon. Surely the mascot will be a pig. While I dislike the main cap with the typically busy logo, I wouldn't mind getting my hands on this cool alternate cap below (size 7-3/4 or XL). 
Luther Williams Field is the second-oldest minor league ballpark in the country.  The wonderful old yard is currently undergoing upgrades and renovations to get ready for the 2018 season,
including additional seating areas down the baselines.
Hopefully the original character of the park will remain intact. 
Luther Williams was used in the filming of several movies,
including Bingo Long, 42, and Trouble With the Curve.
Part of the character of the park are the trains that seem to be in constant motion beyond the right field fence.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Falcons: Color Rush

The Falcons and Saints wore their color rush uniforms Thursday night. 
As usual, Julio Jones was a beast.
Photos courtesy of the AJC and Falcons.com.
The all red Falcon unis were no worse than their regular costumes, which rank near the bottom of the league. The stripes on the pants are nice, better than the thin piping on the regular pants.
 Great mustard gold trim on the Saints unis.
Most of the Falcons wore red shoes.
Kicker Bryant and punter Bosher were exceptions, along with the tight end.
 Matty Ice was with the program, wearing a red undershirt.
Devonte had another concussion.
Peachtree Bart was in the house, joining fellow Falcon Legends
Mike Kenn, Jeff Van Note, Jesse Tuggle, William Andrews,
and others welcoming new legend Warrick Dunn to the fold.
Saints QB Drew Brees was the first NFL Man of the Year to wear his permanent jersey patch. Sunday other former award recipients
(like Eli Manning) will also wear their patches. 
Love the Saints color rush unis. The jerseys are just like the original 1967 Saints jerseys. Nice pants stripes, much better than the wide solid black stripe they currently wear. 
Below: expansion RB Saints Jim Taylor and QB Gary Couzzo.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Bowl Matchups

The 2017/2018 college bowl matchups, including the Saragin Power Rankings – not that they mean anything when it comes to bowl games. One team may be thrilled to be there. Others feel entitled to a nicer bowl. Some have lost their head coach. This can be a bad thing, but possibly a good thing.

12.09 #64 Army vs #62 Navy

12.16 Celebration Bowl: #168 Grambling v #145 NC A&T
12.16 New Orleans Bowl: #72 Troy vs #97 North Texas
12.16 Cure Bowl: #127 Western Kentucky vs #154 Georgia State
12.16 Las Vegas Bowl: #36 Boise State vs #33 Oregon
12.16 New Mexico Bowl: #89 Marshall v #77 Colorado State
12.16 Camellia Bowl: #105 Middle Tennessee vs #86 Arkansas State

12.19 Boca Raton Bowl: #106 Akron vs #57 Florida Atlantic
12.20 Frisco Bowl: #71 SMU vs #101 Louisiana Tech
12.21 Gasparilla Bowl: #78 Temple vs #111 Florida International

12.22 Bahamas Bowl: #119 UAB vs #67 Ohio
12.22 Potato Bowl: #87 Central Michigan vs #85 Wyoming  
12.23 Armed Forces Bowl: #64 Army vs #55 San Diego State
12.23 Dollar General Bowl: #50 Toledo vs #76 Appalachian State

12.24 Hawaii Bowl: #56 Fresno State vs #58 Houston
12.26 Heart of Dallas Bowl: #37 Utah vs #43 West Virginia
12.26 Quick Lane Bowl: #38 Duke vs #68 Northern Illinois
12.26 Cactus Bowl: #51 UCLA vs #34 Kansas State

12.27 Independence Bowl: #30 FSU vs #103 Southern Mississippi
12.27 Pinstripe Bowl: #22 Iowa vs #32 Boston College
12.27 Foster Farms Bowl: #49 Arizona vs #35 Purdue
12.27 Texas Bowl: #28 Texas vs #46 Missouri

12.28 Military Bowl: #62 Navy vs #69 Virginia
12.28 Camping World Bowl: #17 Virginia Tech vs #14 Oklahoma State
12.28 Alamo Bowl: #11 Stanford vs #12 TCU
12.28 Holiday Bowl: #27 Washington State vs #25 Michigan State

12.29 Belk Bowl: #29 Wake Forest vs #45 Texas A&M
12.29 Sun Bowl: #24 NC State vs #40 Arizona State
12.29 Music City Bowl: #65 Kentucky vs #19 Northwestern
12.29 Arizona Bowl: #84 Utah State vs #128 New Mexico State
12.29 Cotton Bowl: #13 USC vs #4 Ohio State

12.30 TaxSlayer Bowl: #23 Louisville vs #20 Mississippi State
12.30 Liberty Bowl: #26 Iowa State vs #31 Memphis  
12.30 Fiesta Bowl: #6 Penn State vs #9 Washington
12.30 Orange Bowl: #7 Wisconsin vs #15 Miami

1.01 Outback Bowl: #21 Michigan vs #42 South Carolina
1.01 Peach Bowl: #8 Auburn vs #16 Central Florida
1.01 Citrus Bowl: #10 Notre Dame vs #18 LSU
1.01 Rose Bowl #5 Oklahoma vs #3 Georgia
1.01 Sugar Bowl #2 Clemson vs #1 Alabama

1.08 Championship: Georgia vs Clemson 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

My Heisman Pick

Who is going to win the Heisman? Despite his misdeeds, I think Baker Mayfield will win. If not for this season, then as a career achievement. He’s led the nation in QB rating for two straight years. Last year he led the nation in ESPN’s Total QB Rating, and this year is a close second. Lamar Jackson ranks third this year, and the other three playoff QB’s are also in the top eight: (5) UGA’s Fromm, (6) Bama’s Hurts, and (8) Clemson’s Bryant.

Mayfield is the seventh player in history to finish in the top five three times, along with Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, Doak Walker, Herschel Walker, and Tim Tebow. To me those seven are among the top 25 players in college history, if not the top ten.  


Jackson won last year after averaging 393 yards per game. This year he has even better numbers: 411 total yards per game and 42 total touchdowns. Mayfield threw for 41.

Stanford’s Bryce Love averaged 164 yards rushing per game. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was second in the nation with 179 all-purpose yards per game, but fell off the pace in November after a strong start.

Kirby Smart was named SEC coach of the year. A preseason ranking in Athlon Sports ranked him as the 65th best, ten spots behind South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, 25 behind former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, 35 behind former Tennessee coach Butch Jones, and 38 behind former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. In fact, at least nine of Georgia’s wins were over teams with a head coach ranked higher than Smart. Dumb.   

UGA QB Jake Fromm was named the SEC freshman of the year.

I need to work on my bowl picks. It will probably be next week before I get them to you.

It’s Drew Kelly’s fault that Wofford beat Tech. Usually he roots for Tech but last night he was rooting for Wofford. I would rather Tech beat Wofford than Duke or UGA. Win the games you are supposed to win. These basketball players think they’re big shots because they’re playing at an ACC school and they can’t even make a basket or beat Wofford. I am not impressed.

Basketball players who can’t make a basket in the game. Reminds me of the beginning of the movie Bull Durham. Veteran catcher Kevin Cosner is brought in to groom wild rookie Tim Robbins. Cosner goes to the bar to meet Robbins, who picks a fight with Cosner. They go outside. Instead of throwing a punch, Cosner pulls out a baseball and tells Robbins to hit in the chest with a pitch from short range. Robbins rares back and lets fly – but doesn’t come anywhere near Cosner. Breaks a window instead.

I worked until 8 pm Tuesday night. Still more to do. Got home and fixed quesadillas on the panini press. Watched a Seinfeld special on Netflix.

Wednesday: eight people are out of the office, including three senior team members. Emergency number one started as soon as I walked in. M drove my car to Augusta, so I’ve driving his 1996 Buick Park Avenue. Rides smooth. Worked past 6:45 before driving M’s big car home. C wanted to go out to eat so we split a chicken sandwich at Moxie Burger. Watched a Sandra Bulloch / Hugh Grant movie.

Thursday: slept late this morning, then I had to stop by Kroger. Running late. Then after having been stopped at a red light yielding to all the cars with the green light, traffic on Holcomb Bridge finally starting moving again when our side turned green. Then a $50,000.00 Jeep comes flying around the turn lane, making a right on red without stopping first. He accelerated, then got mad when I didn’t hit my brakes to let him in. He started honking and flashing his lights.

M is coming home from Augusta today. Good thing he’s not coming tomorrow in the snow. You know how I love the snow.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Games in Athens

I’ve only attended six UGA home football games. Offer me tickets and I’ll take them (though I might’ve turned down a few GT/GA tickets when I was out of town for Thanksgiving.

UGA vs California in high school
UGA vs GT 1979.
UGA vs Auburn in 1982
UGA vs Ole Miss in the 80’s
UGA vs Coastal Carolina w/ Anna and Matthew 2008
UGA vs North Texas with Darryl 2010

UGA vs Kentucky? Ceil and Anna 2013

UGA vs GT basketball at Stegeman
UGA vs Tennessee basketball approx. 2005
UGA vs Tennessee baseball 2015
UGA vs Arkansas baseball 2016
UGA vs Tennessee softball 2016
UGA vs Florida gymdogs 2015

UGA@GT football in 1978 and 1980
UGA@GT basketball
UGA@GT baseball in Macon

College football games at Tech, UGA, Clemson, Auburn, Birmingham, the Georgia Dome, Chapel Hill, Knoxville, New Orleans, and North Alabama.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Tuesday

After more than thirty years, I still have a ruler that pre-dates my first real job. By the time I started in 1987 Sepco had become Sealco. I also have my grandfather's old metal 12" grocery store ruler - from the year I was born.

We have so much stuff and we’d have to fix so much stuff to sell the house that I’m not sure we would ever be able to move.

Super busy at work. It always happens in December. People take vacation and go to meetings and there’s not enough people to get things done. Now we hear my customer is working the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Yesterday we were picking the dishes for Saturday night’s dinner at the fancy restaurant. Picked two appetizers: meatballs and a lobster dip. We picked four side dishes: asparagus, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and sweet potatoes. Not my four faves, but they'll eat.

Worked till 6:45. Ceil cooked black beans and rice, and tossed a salad. I did the dishes. Changed from my work clothes into a t-shirt and shorts. Went barefoot. Watched the Hallmark Channel, which was better than The Voice. Saw some of the Bengals/Steelers. Today M drives to Augusta to visit W&MC.

Barney hasn’t been feeling well. Has a cyst that’s growing that’ll need to be removed. Doc says he’ll likely have cataracts soon.  

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Playoff: All Set

What do you think about the playoff? Bama seems deserving. Nick Saban spent Saturday making media appearances, in an effort to lobby for a place in the playoff. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been in Charlotte for ESPN College GameDay. Ohio State lost big to Iowa, as well as to Oklahoma. For the Buckeyes fans calling foul, would they like to face Bama in a play-in game? I think not.

Bama did struggle against Auburn, and Clemson’s defense could cause Jalen Hurts some frustration. But Clemson’s offense has yet to face a defense as strong as Bama’s. Early in the season the Tigers barely beat Auburn at home. Clemson QB Kelly Bryant could be in for a long night in New Orleans. The game could come down to a field goal, and Bama’s kicker is better than Clemson’s.  

UGA made several mistakes, committed several penalties, had several calls go the other way, and still dominated. They did well to tackle Kerryon Johnson hard, driving his hurt shoulder into the ground. Then they were able to better contain QB Stidham, who is a less explosive version of Sooners QB Baker Mayfield. Had the touchdown pass not been called back for the supposed pick play the Dawgs would’ve scored another four points. The three Auburn turnovers helped. When Sony Michel missed the second half with his knee injury the Dawgs did not miss a beat.    

I am usually a fan of Gary Danielson, but he got on my nerves Saturday. He was proved wrong on the pick play, though it was smart of him to point out the alleged possibility. Nessler brings an Atlanta angle to the broadcast. Danielson pointed out that Fromm tried to guide a pass to the wide open tight end, and the throw came up short. Probably one of the few bad passes Fromm has thrown all year.

Clemson seems to be peaking at the right time, though they were facing a weak Miami team. Bama will be much tougher for Tiger QB Kelly Bryant, who can get easily flustered. Could be a relatively low scoring game. Sunday afternoon while I was gone Ceil watched a replay of the Clemson/Miami game. We had missed the first three quarters Saturday night, so she watched the whole thing. Later I watched a rerun of the fourth quarter of the GA/Auburn game.

More points will be scored in the GA/OK Rose Bowl. If the Dawg defense can just slow down Mayfield, and the Georgia running game run off some clock, the Sooners can be upset. Fortunately Oklahoma grad MC will be on a mission trip, and won’t have to watch the game with UGA grad Will.

Tech should’ve gone to greater lengths to schedule a twelfth game. Now they aren’t going to a bowl game. Georgia State played a home game this past Saturday, and Kennesaw played at Jacksonville State in Anniston. UCF was wise not to reschedule Tech, so they could keep their undefeated season intact. Tech should’ve offered to play a road game somewhere, anywhere. Georgia Southern. Troy State. The Citadel. App State. Louisiana Tech. Many small schools had playoff games.

Tech didn’t deserve to go to a bowl. Usually that doesn’t stop a team from going. Bowls may not be money making propositions because you have to pay for the entire athletic department to travel, plus the band. And you have to split the money with the conference. But by missing a bowl Tech misses out on an extra three weeks of practice, which help the freshmen and sophomores develop. The coaches do get to recruit more, which somewhat offsets the lack of publicity a team gets from the bowl game.

I wasn’t surprised that the Falcons lost. Their only big win was against the Cowboys, who were missing several starters. All their other wins have been close games against mostly average teams: Chicago, Detroit, Tampa. Look for an even worse Falcon loss on Thursday night, especially if they have to wear those horrendous all red color rush uniforms.
A weekend on the go for me. We worked late Friday night so we wouldn’t have to come in on Saturday. Worked past 6:45 then stopped by three thrift stores on the way home. Bought a Braves cap and pair of red shoes. Ate a piece of Mellow Mushroom pizza for supper. Ceil had a school meeting so I beat her home.

Saturday morning I watched ESPN College GameDay while doing the dishes and starting the laundry. Fixed black bean quesadillas. Watched some of Oklahoma/TCU, put up the Christmas tree, raked the yard, and blew the driveway. Raking the yard might not have been the best remedy for my pulled abdominal muscle, as I am still in pain. Guess I need to continue with the Advil. Finished just before the UGA/Auburn game started. As I had suspected, UGA played better, and Kerryon Johnson’s injury slowed Auburn.

I had been apprehensive about the dinner party we were to attend, but it was great. The Chiles live just a mile away, and three other couples we knew also attended. Rob had the game on, so we were able to watch UGA pull away. Burgers, onion buns, huge boneless chicken breasts, potato casserole, grilled asparagus, bacon-wrapped asparagus, sweet corn salsa, carrot cake, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and ice cream. We had a fun time with lots of laughter.

Got home around 10:30 pm. Clemson was comfortably ahead. I watched some of the postgame and went to bed at midnight.

Sunday school and worship at JFBC. Got out the Christmas decorations, then drove north to Cumming for the hot stove meeting. Nine attended, mostly regulars but a few new faces. One guy about my age travels for work, and has been to all the MLB parts as well as 141 minor league parks.

He once attended three MLB games in 24 hours – in three different cities in three different states. He hadn’t set out to do it, it kind of just happened. A Sunday night game in Atlanta was delayed, and didn’t start until 9:40. He flew to Chicago early the next morning. After his meeting he was given Cubs tickets. After the afternoon game he realized the Brewers had 7:30 game, so he drove up to Milwaukee for that. Another time he attended a night game in Baltimore, then a day/night doubleheader in Shea Stadium: Yanks/Angels and Mets/Pirates. A support beam had collapsed in Yankee Stadium, so the Yanks moved the game to Shea – making for the first time both an AL and NL game were played in the same stadium in the same day. On the way home I stopped off for gas and Taco Bell.
Watched the Carol Burnett special last night. Lots of high profile guests, including Steve Martin, Jay Leno, Martin Short, Bernadette Peters, Steve Lawrence, Lyle Wagoner, Harry Connick Jr., and others. Clips of some of the legendary guests, including Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr, Jimmy Stewart, Alan Alda, Steve Martin, etc. Carol’s first show aired Sept 11, 1967 – the day Harry Connick Jr was born.
This morning on the way to work I mailed an eBay package and stopped by McDonalds for a biscuit. One coworker off today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. Three of the six team members will be out on Wednesday. Lunch meeting tomorrow.