Monday, September 25, 2017

College Football Roundup

Guy from Ceil's hometown got married this weekend. He's an interesting fellow to follow on social media. Works for his father's company. Serves as the company pilot, flying his father and other employees to meetings across the country. He's been known to fly to Myrtle Beach for dinner. Whenever he gets a new toy or takes a trip he posts it on social media. Has a red Camaro, a big pickup, one of those three-wheeled half motorcycle half convertible Spyder things, a new house with a gate and a recently sodded lawn. Added a home gym because his fiancé likes to work out. Has tripped to Disney, got engaged in Italy, got engagement photos taken on Jekyll Island's Driftwood Beach, had his bachelor party in Vegas. Following him is like watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Saturday the guy got married. At 2 am Sunday morning the guy posted a picture taken from the back of the crowd, of the wedding party standing in front waiting on the bride to walk down the aisle. His comment: "Was a sold out show. Time of my life. Love you all." No picture or mention of his beloved bride.

Four of my nieces and nephews attended the wedding. They had to miss the Clemson Boston College game. One nephew hadn't missed a home game in years and years.

Coming off their emotional road win at Louisville, Clemson did well to pull away in the fourth quarter from BC. The Eagles always play hard, and had the score tied going into the fourth quarter. No shame in the 34-7 win. Some fans think their team should win every game 50-0, but that's just not possible.
Good experience for QB Kelly Bryant to face a strong pass rush, and have to overcome adversity. His two interceptions were both tipped. This week isn't any easier: Virginia Tech on the road. Clemson suffered a blow last week when their kicker went down with an injury. Saturday the backup missed an extra point. This could become the Tigers' Achilles heel.
A nice Saturday to bum out and watch football. Tech kicked off at 12:20, Clemson at 3:40, and Georgia at 7:30. C was worn out from the tight Clemson game, so we didn't go over to the Hall's to watch Georgia. After missing last week's game, Anna attended the Mississippi State game. We had leftover taco meat so I made myself quesadillas for lunch and supper.
Tech couldn't have had a worse start. Pitt took the kickoff and quickly drove the field to score. Tech got the ball and fumbled it away. Later Pitt scored on an uncontested 80 yard punt return. All the Tech players ran to the ball, instead of spreading out to cover the field. But the defense held after all four Tech turnovers. The offense ran off huge gains. Take away those early TD's and Tech wins 35-3. Won't be so easy Saturday against North Carolina.

On the 80 yard Pitt return big 6'1" 239 pound Pressley Harvin III looked like a punter trying to tackle the punt returner. No Billy Lothridge or Adam Vinateri is Harvin.
Georgia looked good again. Everything bounced their way, even when State tried to score as the clock ran out. Freshman sensation Jake Fromm went 8-8 in the first half and finished 9-12, with two drops and a throwaway. SEC expert Paul Feinbaum dubbed Georgia a team that could beat Bama. Let's hope they get the chance. Hopefully the Dawgs can continue their strong play in Knoxville, probably the national game on CBS. The Vols barely beat UMass, but they'll be hungry come Saturday.

Many wonder what will happen when Jacob Eason recovers from his sprained knee. My hope is that Kirby will be Saban-like in his decision. Where Richt might've given the job back to Eason, I think Kirby will stick with Fromm. Last year Eason barely beat Missouri. Saturday Auburn trounced them 50-something to nothing.
Nice to see kicker Ricardo Blankenship nail the 49 yard field goal with ease. Most of his kickoffs sailed deep into the end zone. He's always had the leg - perhaps this year (or this week) the coaches have decided to kick it deep. Something else fans don't know - sometimes coaches want their kicker to kick it short, for the chance to make the return man fumble.

Not a huge surprise the NC State beat FSU. The Noles almost came back. The Pack will be ready for Clemson to visit on November 4.

Florida got lucky again. Kentucky thought they had it won. Then the Cats twice failed to cover deep, and the Gators had two easy scores. Florida went to third-string QB Del Rio. Hopefully the lack of a consistent QB will finally do in Florida, and their luck will run out. Plenty of time for them to get the offense going before Jacksonville.

With the Winter Olympics being held in a few months, I wonder if American athletes will use the opportunity to protest. Could make for a dreary Olympiad.

Guy on the radio said Carmelo Anthony was a hall of famer. Do you agree?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

NFL: Keep Your Head in the Game

I am thankful for my job. Sometimes I forget that, and do things that maybe I shouldn't. But nothing like some of the things I'm seeing on NFL fields today.

Trump continues to speak his mind, something the Constitution gives him the right to do. Not that it's the best thing to do. He's making more and more people mad. This results in more protests. Which people have the right to do. But watching highlights of today's games, perhaps the players should spend less time protesting and more time concentrating on the game.
Several instances of a lack of hustle by handsomely-paid players, by a Bengal and Bear Marcus Cooper in particular. Cooper made a great play, running a blocked kickoff back. But as he neared the goal line he slowed to celebrate - and a Steeler prevented the touchdown by knocking the ball out of his hands. A shameful lack of effort.  
Lots of people picking Tampa as a playoff team. But if Winston keeps throwing interceptions, the Falcons won't have much to worry about.

Carolina's Cam Newton also threw several interceptions in the Panthers loss to division rival New Orleans. Then Newton showed up at the postgame press conference in a mad hatter outfit and sunglasses. perhaps not the best time to put on a show - he should've done that on the field. These days more and more media members are jumping off the Cam tram.

To comment on Trump's tweet downing NFL players, thoughtful Seahawks DB Richard Sherman re-tweeted a Trump tweet from months ago. Perhaps one of the best protests I saw all day.
Then Sherman went out and got called for three penalties - on one play. Later he was called for hitting Titans QB Marcus Mariota out of bounds (below). The Seahawks lost.
Rookie QB Deshone Kizer threw three interceptions in Cleveland's loss to the Colts, dropping the Browns to 0-3. Some questioned how much of the playbook he had mastered. In the postgame press conference Kizer (below)was asked about the protests, and his response had to be bleeped out.  
The Broncos' Von Miller drove Bills QB Tyrod Taylor into the ground, then was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for extending his hand to help up Taylor - before pulling it away at the last second. Tyrod laughed at the linebacker's joke, but the official didn't think it funny. Perhaps a little extreme.
In Washington DC the up-and-coming Oakland Raiders wanted to stay in the locker room during the anthem but couldn't, so many players sat on the bench with locked arms. QB Derek Carr's first pass was intercepted, and the Redskins promptly drove downfield to take the lead - on a botched defensive play by Oakland. In the second quarter a Kirk Cousins to Vernon Davis pass extended Washington's lead to 14-0, and the Skins went on to win the game.

One of the league's highest-paid wide receivers is Odell Beckham. Today the LSU product showed his worth, catching two touchdown passes from Eli Manning. After his first TD, Beckham voiced his displeasure test by shamefully acting like a dog taking a whizz "cuz I'm a dog" reasoned Beckham (he should've used the goalpost like a tree).
His second touchdown celebration evoked Olympian John Carlos' protest in Mexico City.
But the Eagles had the last laugh: their rookie kicker Jake Elliott nailed a 61-yard game-winning field goal to beat Beckham and New York.
Contrastingly, a Chiefs rookie raced for a long touchdown. Instead of celebrating he turned and pointed to his teammates, for without their key blocks he wouldn't have scored. Similarly, the Falcons Taylor Gabriel also skipped his TD celebration to credit teammates.
The good: players and owners and coaches joined together in unity against the president's unjustified comments. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin had perhaps the most impassioned postgame speech, reminding us winning teams are made up of players of different races, backgrounds, and religions coming together to overcome adversity, like Trump's slurs and the anthem protests. Tomlin said his team would not be divided. In Chicago his Steelers were one of three teams who stayed in the locker room during the anthem - with the exception of one player: a decorated Army Ranger veteran.  
As usual, NBC's Football Night in America's crack crew covered the issues of the day with clarity and precision. Tony Dungy may be the conscious of the NFL, and he did not disappoint. But unlike many of the players, Dungy did not go overboard with his disapproval, nor did he lower himself to Trump's level. As usual, Dungy's strong words were a model for us all: players and fans, liberals and conservatives: "My father always asked me how I would make the situation better." 

Old "over-the-hill" Tom Brady threw five TD passes. His fifth came with the clock ticking down, overcoming several poor plays to drive down for the winning TD pass. The Texans tried to come back, but rookie Deshaun Watson's final Hail Mary pass was intercepted in the end zone - one of two picks thrown by the former Clemson standout.
The Falcons, including owner Arthur Blank, locked arms for the anthem. Matt Ryan threw his first interception since week 13 of last year. His second pick wasn't his fault, but it was almost a game-changer: instead of putting the game out of reach, the pick gave the Lions a chance to move down the field for a last-second game-winning touchdown. But in an incredible ending, Matt Stafford's touchdown pass with eight seconds remaining was overturned by replay - taking victory away from Detroit and handing it back to Atlanta.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tough Row to Hoe

Georgia has it tough the rest of the way, with only one or two relatively “easy” games remaining. Some complain about the schedule, but the SEC is tough. Mississippi State just beat LSU. Hopefully the Dawgs can catch MSU thinking too highly of themselves. Tennessee on the road. That little number 4 is good. Vandy on the road. No slouch. Missouri. The only breather the rest of the way, though they’ve played UGA tough. At Florida. Gators may be weak on offense but they play UGA tough. South Carolina. No slouch. Muschamp will have the Cocks ready. At Auburn. Tigers just played Clemson tough. Kentucky just beat South Carolina. At Tech. Jackets will be gunning for the Dogs. SEC Championship game vs Bama. 
 
Eating out: I hate it when I go out to somewhere I don’t like. It’s like a wasted trip. C gets bored with the same old dishes and restaurants. She’s always buying exotic meats and cheeses and types of lettuce. Ground beef is either low fat or with turkey or with sausage. Last night’s dish was a chicken and bean soup with rice pilaf. A little on the spicy side.
 
Last Saturday night I made popcorn for the first time in a long time.
 
Sunday night I went to bed well before the end of the Falcon game. For supper C cooked grits and scrambled eggs. I made mine into eggs quesadillas on the panini press.
 
Lunch meeting Tuesday was wraps from Atlanta Bread Company. Renee knows what we like and just orders. Mine was chicken salad, very good. Worked till 6:30 and could’ve gone longer. Drove straight home. M was home for a change, but later he went to a friend’s house. It was almost nine when I finished washing the dishes. Watched the same episode of The Orville that I saw on Sunday night. Also some of the Braves.
 
Wednesday the daily customer order came at 5:30 (three hours late), so it was lucky I was still at work to enter it. Hadn’t planned on working super late but the order kept me working until 6:45.
 
Met C at Moxie Burger. Split a chicken sandwich and order of fries. Didn’t get home until 8:30. Watched some Braves and Last Man Standing.
 
Worked til almost 7:30 Thursday night, waiting to meet with a coworker. C grilled chicken and baked potato slices. Watched The Orville, Only took that new sci fi show three episodes to get political – address the controversial issues of the day. In this case gender altering surgery. Were they commenting on transsexuals, or how Muslims treat women? I think I know that answer. Not exactly good old fashioned entertainment.
 
Word of the day: ameliorate: make something bad or unsatisfactory) better. Heard it in the Carole King book that I’m reading. King was a songwriting machine, content on staying in the background until James Taylor pushed her into performing and recording. King sure went through husbands, admitting to looking before leaping and not always making the best choices. So far in the book she’s had four husbands and three divorces. Got married at eighteen. Collaborated with her first husband over the years to write some of the most famous songs in music history. Her worst husband (#3) died of an overdose before she could divorce him. Then she hung out with a much younger guy for six years, then the director of Field of Dreams for a few more years. Lucky in life, unlucky in love, I guess.
 
Will spent August working in a family practice in Augusta. In September he’s been in the emergency room. In October he’s working the surgical unit in Cartersville.
 
We have a Wii, and the simple golf game is fun. You gotta factor distance, wind, topography, and other factors. Then I was given the Tiger Woods golf Masters Edition, where you can play Augusta National. But all the little tricks are so hard to perform and remember, considering how I don’t play that much.
 
I know most RedBox movies have closed captions. Not sure to activate I didn’t think. Not so sure about Netflix. Our Apple TV went out so I can’t play with Netflix or Hulu to see. Then every remote seems different as well. I don’t mind closed cations, and sometimes they’re helpful and fun.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Bobby Cox Statue Night

Left work early to attend my final Braves game of the year.
Met LJ, then Kevin and Bobby to trade bobbles.
I nabbed a Martin Prado and the UGA Miller twins.
Brick of the week: my old Cubs Fantasy Camp buddy. RIP Geno.
Oliver with the Braves.
Before the game the Freeze's wife was hugging on some other guy.
I love going to the game and looking at people, sneakers, and fan apparel.
Saw a Kruk jersey and a Phillies t-shirt that just had the third, fourth, and fifth letters of the team name in the familiar script: ILL.
Below: a bunch of Bobby boxes all stacked up. Kevin was buying Bobbys for five bucks when an aggressive cop made him stop. Saw another guy ask three ladies for theirs. After they handed them over I asked one of them how much he paid. "Nothing, we gave them to him." Later Bobby said that guy was always asking for free tickets.
Tonight's prize: the Bobby Cox statue.
Perhaps next year they'll give out the Neikro and Spahn statues.
A stack of Bobbys.
Got one going in, and Kevin and Miss Martha both gave me one.
Sold all three before getting back to my car, to Mobile, Queens, & Hull GA.
 Watched the first few innings from the 400 level.
Obligatory bullpen shots. First the Phils.
The Braves: I caught three high fives.
Pano. Cute kids in front of us.
The tweens behind us squealed at every Dansby mention.
Good view of the TV's for the seats behind the plate.
Later we moved to the 300 level on the third base side.
Stayed long enough to see the always entertaining Home Depot Tool Race.
I wonder if the pink visitor's bullpen was a psychological ploy.
The Freeze wasn't taking any chances tonight, cruising to an easy win. Looking forward to Sunday's match race:
The Freeze vs. former Brave Paul Byrd.
Fun evening. Also saw Johnny and old Hugh, Johnny's grandson, coworker Ginger, the Coach, Bobby's mom, Crazy Darryl, Norman, Michael, James, and others. Missed on the Chief and my old usher friend.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Week 3 Total QB Rating

As expected, Vandy’s Kyle Shurmur slid out of the top spot, leaving the two Oklahoma boys on the top of the week three ESPN Total QB Rating. Mason Rudolph lit up the scoreboard against the poor Pitt Panthers. Perhaps beating Pitt is the reason why Trace McSorley is the highest rated QB in Penn State history, much higher than the mighty Christian Hackenberg. 
 
Saturday night Clemson’s Kelly Bryant out-quarterbacked last year’s Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, making Bryant the highest rated QB in the ACC. Late in the fourth quarter Jackson was able to pad his stats against the Tigers third-string defense.
 
UCLA’s Josh Rosen had a big day, but saw his Heisman hopes Heartbreak Hoteled in his loss to Memphis.
 
Bama sophomore QB Jalen Hurts has posted his highest rating ever. If he is playing well, the Crimson Tide will have no problem rolling to another SEC Championship. Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald is also playing great football, beating LSU in Baton Rouge. A Georgia native who ran the option in high school, Nicky Fitz probably passed on a Tech scholarship offer to throw the ball in the SEC. Just think what he could’ve done at Georgia Tech.
 
1. 94.4 Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
2. 92.7 Mason Rudolph, OK State
4. 91.0 Kyle Shurmur, Vandy
5. 90.1 Jalen Hurts, Alabama (above)
 
10. 84.3 Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
14. 83.5 Nick Fitzgerald, Miss State
15. 82.7 Kelly Bryant, Clemson
16. 82.0 Ryan Finley, NC State
17. 79.0 Taquon Marshall, Georgia Tech
18. 79.0 Lamar Jackson, Louisville
19. 78.2 Trace McSorley Penn State
 
21. 76.8 Sam Darnold, USC
22. 76.6 John Wolford, Wake Forest
24. 75.9 Josh Jackson Virginia Tech
27. 74.9 Chazz Surratt, UNC
28. 74.4 Josh Rosen, UCLA lost to Memphis
30. 72.9 Jesse Ertx, Kennesaw State
32. 72.6 Jake Browning, Washington (Heisman?)
43. 66.1 JT Barrett, Ohio State (Heisman?)
48. 63.4 Quiten Dormady, Tennessee
 
50. 62.2 Danny Etling, LSU
54. 59.5 Jake Bentley, South Carolina
55. 59.4 Malik Rosier, Miami
56. 58.4 Shea Patterson Ole Miss
57. 58.0 Kurt Benkert, Virginia
61. 56.8 Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame
66. 55.3 Sam Ehlinger, Texas
68. 54.5 Austin Allen, Arkansas
 
70. 53.1 Eric Dungey, Syracuse
74. 51.5 Jarrett Sudham, Auburn
75. 51.3 Daniel Jones, Duke
76. 50.8 Jake Fromm, Georgia true freshman
78. 50.0 Feleipe Franks, Florida
88. 46.4 Anthony Brown, Boston College
91. 45.8 Drew Lock, Missouri
99. 41.3 Deondre Francois, FSU injured
 
100. 41.0 Shane Buechele, Texas injured
101. 40.6 Conner Manning Georgia State took a dive at Penn State
105. 39.0 Wilton Speight, Michigan
106. 37.7 Anu Solomon, Baylor
107. 37.6 Kellen Mond, Texas A&M backup
114. 28.6 Max Browne Pitt (USC transfer) lost 2 straight
130. 05.9 Shai Werts, Georgia Southern

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pin the Tail on the Moose

Everyone wants the Braves to get Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Why? He’s having a good year this year. But what evidence suggests he can keep this up? Have these people looked at his entire career? Moose already has a bum knee. He’s played eight seasons. Would the Braves be paying for a player in his prime, or for past production? Think about when the Angels got Pujols. When the Yankees signed Brian McCann. When the Braves got Dan Uggla and BJ Upton. Len Barker. Bartolo Colon.
 
Who does Moose compare to? Trout? Stanton? Kris Bryant? Manny Machado? As Motumbo says: no, no, no, no. Let’s just compare the Royals star to plain Jane players Nick Markakis and Jason Heyward. Markakis joined the Braves right after having shoulder surgery. Some say he hasn’t been the same since. Heyward signed a huge contract with the Cubs, then became the weakest link in their lineup. No one is going to sell the farm to obtain Markakis or Heyward. Should they for Moose?
 
Who has been the most productive since 2011, when Moose came into the league? I’ll spot you home runs.
 
Home Runs: MM 117, JH 96, NM 76
Batting Average:
On Base Percentage:
Slugging Percentage:
On Base + Slugging:
Extra Base Hits:
Runs Batted In:
Games Played:
 
Moose hit the most homers, and that’s about it. But there’s more to baseball than hitting home runs. Ask Matt Adams. In the field Moose has averaged 12.5 errors per season. That’s one every other week. And can Moose make the transition to the National League?
 
My baseball expert friend Rob says “Moustakas would fill a big need, but I am wary of throwing big dollars at a player who has had two full above average offensive seasons.” Riley may be ready by 2019, so a platoon of Camargo and Ruiz would be better than what we have seen since Chipper left.
 
MM.G.avg.obp.SLG.ops.HR.BI.XB.errors
11 089 263 309 367 676 05 30 24 11
12 149 242 396 412 708 20 73 55 15
13 136 233 287 364 651 12 42 38 16
14 140 212 271 361 632 15 54 37 19
15 147 284 348 470 818 22 82 57 12
16 027 240 301 500 801 07 13 13 02
17 137 271 313 523 836 36 82 59 12
00 825 251 305 425 730 117 376 283
 
NM.G.avg.obp.SLG.ops.HR.BI.XBH
11 160 284 351 406 757 15 73  47
12 104 298 363 471 834 13 54  44
13 160 271 329 356 685 10 59  34
14 155 276 342 386 728 14 50  42
15 156 296 370 376 746 03 53  42
16 158 269 346 397 743 13 89  51
17 148 276 356 389 745 08 69  45
0 1041 288 358 423 781 76 447 305
 
Markakis played in 216 more games. Batted 37 points higher, on base .053 more often. OPS was 51 points higher.

JH..G...BA.obp.SLG.ops.HR.BI.XBH
11 128 227 319 389 708 14 42  34
12 158 269 335 479 814 27 82  63
13 104 254 349 427 776 14 38  37
14 149 271 351 384 735 11 58  40
15 154 293 359 439 798 13 60  50
16 142 230 306 325 631 07 49  35
17 117 263 326 388 714 10 54  27
00 952 262 344 412 756 96 383 286
 
Heyward played in 127 more games. Batted 11 points higher, on base .039 more often. OPS was 23 points higher
 
More from Rob: Gohara looks really good. So does Newcomb if he can keep his walks down. I don't know if Folty will ever be consistent across a full season. Simms looks like he will be a bullpen arm next year. I HOPE they don't exercise Dickey's option.
 
Albies has been more than expected. Swanson looks much more settled after his recall from the minors. I would like to see them bat Albies and Swanson 1-2 and move Inciarte down.  With him being a high Average/low OBP hitter, I think he would function better in more of a run producing role. They will probably trade Markakis to open a spot for Acuna.
 
I don't think Snitker will be back next year.  Probably Ron Washington takes his place.
 
QUIZ ANSWER: with the exception of slugging (MM 425 NM 421 JH 412), Moose trails Markakis and Heyward in every category. Still want to sell the farm for Moose?

Will Moose be the next Chipper and Freddie – or Uggla and BJ Upton? What say you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Los Bravos

Sunday the Braves rolled out their Los Bravos uniforms.
As usual, Julio Teheran was pitching.

Ozzie Albies
 
 
 
Johan Camargo (above).
Also found this picture of Jerry Seinfeld (below)