Sunday, December 09, 2018

POTUS

I was thinking about the Presidents the other day and decided to make my own list, so in doing I could better internalize who served when. As I reach upper-middle age, the year each died is of greater interest.
 
1. 1789-1797 George Washington, Virginia 67
2. 1797-1801 John Adams 90
3. 1801-1809 Thomas Jefferson, Virginia 83
4. 1809-1817 James Madison 85
5. 1817-1825 James Monroe 73
6. 1825-1829 John Quincy Adams 80
7. 1829-1837 Andrew Jackson, Tennessee 78
8. 1837-1841 Martin Van Buren 79
9. 1841-1841 William Henry Harrison 68
10. 1841-1845 John Tyler 71
11. 1845-1849 James K Polk 53
12. 1849-1850 Zachary Taylor 65
13. 1850-1853 Millard Fillmore 74
14. 1853-1857 Franklin Pierce 64
15. 1857-1861 James Buchanan 77
16. 1861-1865 Abraham Lincoln, Illinois 56
17. 1865-1869 Andrew Johnson 66
18. 1869-1877 Ulysses S Grant 63
19. 1877-1881 Rutherford B Hayes, Ohio 70
20. 1881-1881 James A Garfield, Ohio 49
21. 1881-1885 Chester A Arthur 57
22. 1837-1989 Grover Cleveland, New York 71
23. 1889-1893 Benjamin Harrison, Indiana 67
24. 1837-1897 Grover Cleveland, New York 71
25. 1897-1901 William McKinley, Ohio 58
26. 1901-1909 Theodore Roosevelt 60
27. 1857-1930 William Howard Taft 72
28. 1913-1921 Woodrow Wilson, New Jersey 67
29. 1921-1923 Warren G Harding, Ohio 57
30. 1923-1929 Calvin Coolidge 60
31. 1929-1933 Herbert Hoover 90
32. 1933-1945 Franklin D Roosevelt, New York 63
33. 1945-1953 Harry S Truman, Kansas 88
34. 1953-1961 Dwight D Eisenhauer 78
35. 1961-1963 John F. Kennedy, Massachusetts 46
36. 1963-1969 Lyndon B Johnson, Texas 64
37. 1969-1974 Richard M Nixon, California 81
38. 1974-1977 Gerald R Ford, Michigan 93
39. 1977-1981 Jimmy Carter, Georgia 94
40. 1981-1989 Ronald Reagan, California 93
41. 1989-1993 George H W Bush, Maine 94
42. 1993-2001 Bill Clinton, Arkansas 72
43. 2001-2009 George W Bush, Texas 72
44. 2009-2017 Barack Obama, Illinois 57
45. 2017-2018 Donald Trump, New York 72

Saturday, December 08, 2018

My Heisman Vote

I don't have a Heisman vote, but if I did, here are my seven finalists. This year there's not a player who reached out and captured my attention. In my mind it's a two horse race between two top QB's, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. Close to a dead heat.

Saturday night at 8 pm Atlanta United hosts Portland for the league championship on national TV. I'll be watching the Heisman broadcast.

Early in the season so many players were heralded as Heisman hopefuls, then one by one fell by the wayside. Many had super lousy QB ratings, like Penn State's Trace McSorley and Arizona's Khalil Tate. Washington senior Jake Browning disappeared from view. Stanford running back Bryce Love came back for his senior season, but was plagued by injuries.

7. Christian Wilkins, Clemson senior defensive lineman / running back. Wilkins epitomizes what college football should be about, playing with joy, graduating early and enrolling in graduate school, filling in as a goal line running back, constantly encouraging teammates, and dominating on the defensive front.
6. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State sophomore quarterback. Great stats, but lost to Purdue.

5. Quinnen Williams, Alabama sophomore defensive lineman. The best defensive player in the country.
4. Will Grier, West Virginia senior quarterback. Belongs in the Heisman picture. 
3. Jake Fromm, Georgia sophomore quarterback. Third highest QB rating, against one of the toughest schedules in the country. Played well in loss at LSU but had several passes dropped, and two interceptions on miraculous plays by LSU.
2. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma junior quarterback. His team was more dependent on him than Tua. Had to play deeper into games to get the win. Did not come off as polished a player as Tua. Accounted for 396 yards in October 6 loss to Texas. Compiled the highest QB rating in the past 15 years. After the bowl game Murray embarks on his pro baseball career.


Tua is a fine individual who won't mar the Heisman name with controversy down the road. Don't miss his acceptance speech. You heard it here first: Tua has a legit chance to win multiple Heismans.

One of the other postseason awards given out earlier this week, UCF's Mac Loudermilk won Holder of the Year.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Haven Moses Fred Biletnikoff

Back in the day I always thought Broncos receiver Haven Moses wore his uniform a lot like his AFC Western Conference contemporary Fred Biletnikoff, which is quite odd because Moses is black and Biletnikoff white. Same old style too small helmet with a double bar face mask. Same number 25. Sleeves cut short for better flexibility. Pants too short, exposing the knee (like today’s players). Socks pulled high but not too high. Back then only one or two other players dressed like that (besides me).
 
Last night I saw a tweet from the Pro Football Journal, whom I follow for all the old pictures they post. It was a picture of Haven Moses. I replied with side by side pictures of Moses and Biletnikoff. Pro Football Journal liked retweeted my tweet. The tweet received by far the most readership ever for me, currently with 1657 impressions, 231 engagements, 175 media engagements, 18 likes, 23 detail expands (mostly me), seven link clicks, seven all-important profile clicks, and one retweet. But zero additional followers, darn it. Still 38,000 behind Lang.    

Man back in the day I inherited my grandfather’s record collection. He might’ve had some of those old albums. I remember an Anita Bryant LP. I still have some of them (I think). My parents also have a stack of old records.
 
Thursday: with so many people out I still had a busy day. Just after 5 pm an emergency hit, plus I had to completely dig through my files to look for something. Never found it. Didn’t leave work until 6:45. Made most of the light going home.
 
We decided to go to Pappasito’s one last time. Melt in your mouth chicken fajitas. Shared the small order and still brought half of it home. Gassed up the CRV on the way back. Was after 9:30 when we got home. Watched the end of the College Football Awards and Kirk Herbstreit’s Herbie Awards.
 
Friday – another busy day.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Days of the Week

 
Worked until almost 6:30 Thursday. Ceil fixed pot roast for dinner, plus a tossed salad. I always eat the beef, carrots, and onions and pick around the potatoes. Watched “The Kids Are Alright.” Like many shows, after five episodes they run out of ideas and start talking about sex. Then the Hallmark Channel and Cowboys/Saints. As usual M came in from work with a bag of groceries.
 
Four coworkers have decorated their cubicles for Christmas. Every day John brings in more. The lobby has poinsettias and purchasing decorated as well. I joked that I was coming in to decorate this weekend, and Sunday night at 8 pm WSB was televising the lighting of my desk, with choirs and a B level singer joining in.
  
By Monday morning I usually have forgotten what I did on Friday. Not this time. People usually clear out pretty quick on Friday afternoon at five. As usual I try to get too much done and wound up staying later than I’d planned. Two of the other later stayers hadn’t stayed late, so it was just Rachel and me on our side of the office. Young Hunter poked his head around the corner and said “Good! I’m not the only one here.”
 
Rachel left, then Hunter came over and said he needed a ride to Firestone. No problem. We left at 5:30 and his car was ready. He’s had a busy end of the day and hadn’t had time to ask anyone else. He was lucky I was still there.

Ceil and I went to Moxie Burger and to see “Crazy Rich Asians” at The Picture Show. Matthew tagged along. We all had chicken sandwiches at Moxie. The movie was hilarious, with a little bit of a moral as well. The managers at Whole Foods want M to be the receiving manager.  
 
Back home I was playing on my laptop. Ceil went to bed. It was late and Jimmy Fallon was singing a medley of Christmas songs with Dolly Parton. At 11:50 pm after a commercial NBC News broke in to announce the death of President Bush, so M and I stayed up to watch the retrospective on his life.   

Saturday morning small group, then a few errands. Didn’t stop for fast food. Back home I watched the ESPN College GameDay Saturday Selections. Lee Corso picked Bama. Lunch was leftover stew. Worked around the house and watched Oklahoma/Texas. Ceil ran errands.
 
At four we went over to watch GA/AL with our friends. They had a shrimp dish to eat but I was so into the game I didn’t even eat salad. Georgia was playing well so I didn’t want to jinx them by moving. Kept my leg crossed the entire game. Later they brought me a piece of coconut cream pie, but that’s all I ate. Made it home for the ACC kickoff. Not much of a game. I was playing on my laptop.   
 
The 2-1/2 hour JFBC membership class started at 8:30. It wasn’t too painful. The membership class was packed – 21 or 22 prospective members, including Will’s former teammate Willie Bartlett and his bride.  
 
I had on my mind an article making the rounds on social media: “My Church is Gaslighting Me.” Going over the foundations and basics of the faith in the membership class was a good contrast to the the article. Churches aren’t perfect. People in churches aren’t perfect. Lots of comments and discussion. The pharisees discussed one angle, the victims another. I’m sure the lady’s experience was real, and I’m sure I’m oversimplifying a complex issue, and probably off base, but at some point you have to be responsible for your own actions and decisions. I can’t blame Bob Marsh or Andy Stanley or Bryant Wright or Donald Trump for all my shortcomings – or God. Guess I’m gonna have to deep dive the article – something’s not adding up. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evangelical-christians-trump_us_5bfc326de4b03b230fa57ae9
 
I hope no one thinks I think Trump is a fine, upstanding individual. Some of the things he says and tweets makes me want to shake my head. I keep hearing about all these Christians who think Trump is a great man, but I don’t know many, if any. Of course, he isn’t the first President whose life was full of indiscretion. 
 
Ceil attended a bridal shower in Suwanee for my niece. I headed over to SunTrust Park for a Braves open house. Long line for BBQ, homemade pizza, and hot dogs, but luckily I got there early. Not much else going on. I did do a lot of walking around. Afterwards I stopped by RaceTrac for a drink and two other stores. Got me some Batman socks.
 
Saw the end of the Falcons game. Guess I hadn’t missed much. Cleaned up and raked leaves and blew off the drive, walk, and deck. Worked until after dark, then crashed. Sunday I put in 7 miles, over 14000 steps. Watched Garth Brooks at Notre Dame stadium. There are great singers, and great songwriters, and great performers. Garth was in complete control, and the house that Rockne built was rocking. Even Matthew was impressed.
 
Heard that Elton John had to cancel concerts last week in Orlando and Tampa due to sickness, but he performed this past weekend in Atlanta. Andy Stanley broke his usually firm stay home on Saturday night before he’s preaching to attend with his daughter.
 
GT AD Todd Stansbury interviewed Whisenhunt. Wouldn’t be the worst choice. He’s a good fit for Tech, but has never coached college ball. Would rather have someone young and dynamic.
 
Monday: worked past 6 pm. Ceil fixed stir fry pot stickers, pot lickers, whatever you call those filled things. Watched The Neighborhood, The Voice. M came home and we were watching something when I went to bed shortly after ten.  
 
Tuesday: All the managers and outside salespeople are headed to Savannah for their annual sales meeting. Another coworker is working from our plant in Lavonia, so it’s just me and two others for the rest of the week, plus all the regular grunts. I’ll probably leave at five and run a few errands on the way home, and vote.
 
Doctor said I don’t have another hernia. Might need a second opinion. Traffic wasn’t bad going to the doctor near Northside Hospital. Terrible going back.
 
Left work shortly after five. Dropped off a load of giveaways at Goodwill. Bought a Don Nelson fish tie for Matthew. Voted.

Ceil was out running errands so we didn’t eat until after eight. Chicken and rice and tossed salad. Watched The Voice and The Kids Are All Right. Later some of the Ken Burns Baseball documentary.
 
Wednesday: man traffic from Norcross to Cumming is murder. Probably should’ve used my GPS. Took over an hour to make it metro Cumming. Chickfila was packed and so was Taco Bell. Should’ve gone to Wendys but I’d already passed it. Long line at Taco Bell drive thru so I went inside. No line but four groups of people were standing around waiting on their food. Took well over five minutes to get my order.
 
Made it to Hot Stove right at 7 pm. Not much going on so we talked about all the transactions so far this off season. I talked more than usual, helping Johnny describe the tour of the Georgia State Stadium, and talking about Sunday’s SunTrust Park open house. I had just researched Joe Mauer and Brian McCann’s stats, so I was involved in those discussions. Only ten of us braved the cold and traffic.
 
We broke up around 8:45. Was 31 degrees when I left Cumming. Stopped for gas on the way home. C and M were watching Hallmark Channel.
 
Thursday: 25 degrees when I left home this morning. Stopped by Chickfila for a chicken egg cheese bagel.   
 
Getting down to the nitty gritty on buying a car. Not fun.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Mauer & McCann: HOF?

Joe Mauer hung up his spikes after the 2018 season, and the kind folks in Minnesota are trumpeting his candidacy for the baseball hall of fame. With Brian McCann having signed on for one more tour of duty with the Braves, it seemed like a good time to compare the two to some of the hall of fame catchers. 
 
A Sports Illustrated article says only five catchers put up more value through the age of 30. Mauer’s was 42.7, McCann’s 26.1. Mauer won a MVP, was a six time All Star, five time Silver Slugger, three time Gold Glover, with a career .323 batting average. McCann had seven All-Star appearances and six Silver Sluggers, but no Gold Gloves.
 
years.games.PA.runs..hits…2B.3B.HR.RBI
05-13 1143 4938 670 1381 274 19 099 617
06-14 1186 4688 501 1135 235 03 194 713
 
avg.OBP.SLG.OPS.TB..SB.CS.BB...K..IBB
323  406  466  872 1990 42 16 605 550 103
272  343  469  811 1958 22 07 428 681 057

In addition to the legendary Yogi and Bench, I added Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Yadier Molina, and Ivan Rodriquez. And since the media likes to put New York Yankees into the HOF, for fun I added Jorge Posada. Unfortunately, his numbers are decent. But with a good year Brian McCann could pass Posada in several categories, in two fewer seasons.
 
YR..GP.....PA…..R……H….2B.3B.HR..RBI...BB...SO
17 2158 08674 1091 2048 381 24 389 1376 891 1278 JB
24 2499 09853 1276 2356 421 47 376 1330 849 1386 CF
19 2120 08359 1175 2150 321 49 358 1430 704 0414 YB
21 2543 10270 1354 2844 572 51 311 1332 513 1474 IR
17 1829 07150 0900 1664 379 10 275 1065 936 1453 JP
14 1670 06534 0714 1521 285 05 270 0973 609 1001 BM
15 1870 07203 0656 1850 355 07 146 0859 484 0724 YM
15 1858 07960 1018 2123 428 30 143 0923 939 1034 JM
 
What stands out is Berra’s paltry 414 strikeouts in 19 seasons.
 
avg.SLG.obp.ops..TB.GG
273 374 474 848 2888 00 Posada
285 348 482 830 3643 00 Berra
306 388 439 827 3040 03 Mauer
267 342 476 817 3644 10 Bench
296 331 464 798 4451 13 Rodriquez
269 341 457 797 3999 01 Fisk
263 338 454 791 2626 00 McCann
282 334 406 740 2657 09 Molina

Should McCann’s longer, steady career be regarded favorably by the usually picky HOF voters? What about Mauer’s much shorter reign of excellence?

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

More Football


Oklahoma beat Texas in an exciting game. Sooner QB Kyler Murray's TQBR was second only to Fromm, but there were several times during the game he did not play like a Heisman trophy winner. The Longhorns played tough, and will be a deserving Sugar Bowl opponent for UGA.

For much of the Big Ten championship game Northwestern hung tough, and Ohio State only pulled away at the end. The Buckeyes were left out of the playoff, but Urban Meyer secured his first Rose Bowl invitation, but he's stepping down as head coach after the game.
 
In the rainy ACC Championship Game, Clemson scored on the first play from scrimmage. I told Ceil the game was over. Dabo was able to empty the bench again. Pitt didn't completely roll over. The Tigers will have an even harder time in Arlington against the Fighting Irish.
 
Total QB rating for this past weekend's games. Thirty QB's played enough plays to qualify for the rankings. Another 13 QB's also saw action, and are listed with a rank of 00 (if greater than 30, I gave the overall rank).
 
Tua played the worst game of his career. Perhaps the UGA defense had something to do with it. Trevor Lawrence didn't have his best game. I was impressed with Ehlinger.
 
0. 100.0 Chase Bryce, Clemson backup
0. 99.0 Jalen Hurts, Alabama backup
1. 95.7 Jake Fromm, Georgia
2. 95.6 Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
4. 94.1 Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
6. 83.2 Sam Ehlinger, Texas
9. 75.4 Darriel Mack, UCF backup
 
16. 61.9 Jake Bentley, South Carolina
18. 49.8 Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
25. 33.5 Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
29. 18.5 Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
40. 00.7 Justin Fields, Georgia backup

With Tua's poor performance, Kyler Murray increased his lead in the season-long rankings. The top four:
 
1. 96.0 Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
2. 94.2 Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
3. 88.0 Jake Fromm, Georgia
4. 86.9 Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
 
After Oklahoma completes its bowl season Murray will be finished with football. He will report to spring training in Arizona as a member of the Oakland Athletics.
 
Tuesday morning on 680 Steak listed out  all these things to talk about. They even put up a poll, and everyone was voting to talk about Atlanta United and National Cookie Day. No one voted to talk about the Falcons. So guess what they went on and on about? The Falcons. Then Steak said there wouldn't be a parade if Atlanta United won the championship. Said it would cost too much. Finn and Sandra disagreed.
 
GT wins seven games and accepts an invitation to a bowl game in Detroit. They beat Virginia Tech, Miami, and UVA and had a better record than Wake Forest.
 
Quick Lane Bowl Pros & Cons
 
Pro: indoors.
Pro: it's a bowl GT has never played in.
Pro: no worse than Shreveport, Charlotte, or Birmingham
Con: far away from home.  
Con: worse than Dallas, NYC, Orlando, and Annapolis
Con: GT travels worse than most ACC schools (fewer fans)
 
13-0 Clemson – Cotton Bowl Dec 29
9-3 Syracuse – Camping World Bowl Orlando Dec 28
9-3 NC State – Gator Bowl Dec 31
7-6 Pittsburgh – Sun Bowl El Paso Dec 31
7-5 Georgia Tech – Quick Lane Bowl Dec 26
7-5 Boston College – First Responder Bowl, Dallas Dec 26
7-5 Virginia – Belk Bowl Charlotte Dec 29
7-5 Duke – Independence Bowl Dec 27
7-5 Miami - Pinstripe Bowl NYC Dec 27
6-6 Virginia Tech – Military Bowl Annapolis Dec 31
6-6 Wake Forest – Birmingham Bowl Dec 22

The Falcons played with the roof open, and thousands of fans had the sun in their eyes. Announcer Jim Nantz couldn't see due to glare. With the sun streaming in and no wind, the temperature was almost unbearable (I am told). The Falcons will have to re-think playing 1 pm games with the roof open, even in December.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Why Georgia Lost

So many say the Dawgs lost because of the fake punt call. Who shouldn't second guess are the fans who all season kept saying Justin Fields needed to play more. They got their wish this Saturday and he blew the game. The only way a fake punt would work would be to get Fields lined up and snap the ball quick. The play was a pass, and Bama didn't have the receiver covered. But Fields took too long to get the ball snapped, which allowed Bama to recognize the fake and cover the receiver. This lost the game for Georgia.
 
As he has done all season with his primary option covered, Fields panicked and tried to scramble. Bama had him bottled up. All season long 680's Steak Shapiro kept saying Fields was "more talented than Fromm." This morning Steak asked how they could "put Fields in to throw, when he's not a good passer?" Steak, you can't have it both ways.
 
680's Finneran was disagreeing with most of Steak's nonsense. The former Falcon correctly pointed out what no one else had: Georgia's defensive plan was to force the lefthanded Tua to the right, but the defense didn't change once the righthanded Hurts entered the game. Forcing Hurts to the right was perfect for the Bama backup, as he completing the key third down pass after scrambling right, and twice had big runs to the right, including the game-winning touchdown. Jalen's 99.0 TQBR was only topped by Clemson backup Chase Bryce's perfect 100.0.  

For the rest of the weekend the nation reveled in the Jalen Hurts redemption story. After twice leading Bama to the national championship game as a freshman and sophomore, this season Hurts lost his starting job to a younger player.
But instead of threatening to transfer, Hurts worked even harder, and in a mop up role finished the regular season ranked eighth in the nation in TQBR. After the game Saban choked up talking about Hurts. During the ACC game ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit praised Hurts, contrasting him against deposed Clemson starter Kelly Bryant.

Georgia played a great game, intercepting two of Tua's passes and knocking him from the game.
The Dawgs stuffed the Bama running game.
Fromm had another great game.
Swift caught a career high six passes. Both teams had drops, perhaps due to the unfamiliar backgrounds inside Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Fields played more than usual, almost always entering the game on first down, oftentimes at the beginning of drives. The coaches wanted to put as little pressure on him as possible. It didn't work. Almost every play Fields ran was unsuccessful, leaving Fromm to come in on second and long to pick up the pieces. This contributed to the loss. This weekend 43 quarterbacks saw action. Fields' woeful 0.7 TQBR ranked 40th (among qualifiers, Fromm topped the list).
 
When Hurts came in Bama started to move the ball. The Dawg D was starting to tire, which was a factor in the fake punt call. Had Georgia punted, Bama would've had to march at least 80 yards to score. Something could've gone wrong for Bama. We'll never know. It's easy to second guess, but us fans didn't know all the factors at the time the decision was made. 
Some say Rodrigo's missed field goal was a factor (what, momentum?) but had he made it the score would've been 31-21, and Bama wound up scoring 35. It was Rodrigo's second straight missed field goal, going back to the 48 yarder off the goalpost in last week's Tech game. Perhaps those misses will swing Blankenship's decision to stay at Georgia for his senior year.

I stayed off social media during the game, but many Dawg fans said the officiating tilted Bama's way. I won't comment on that.
From the pressbox in the ACC game Herbstreit called UGA the third best team in the country, lobbying the playoff committee along with Kirby and Saban in the SEC postgame interviews. Perhaps the playoff committee took Saban's "I don't want to play them again" plea to heart. On Sunday ESPN compared the three contenders. While all three have good offenses, UGA's defense and strength of schedule is much better. In the end the committee made the safe call, not wanting to pick a two-loss SEC team over two one-loss conference champions. Many disagreed with the pick. MSN: Why College Football Playoff selection committee got it wrong http://a.msn.com/02/en-us/BBQnQpI?ocid=se (but in an earlier post the same writer had lobbied for Oklahoma to make the playoff).