Thursday, July 09, 2020

#ChopOff?

The Braves say they're not considering a name change, but are having internal discussions regarding phasing out the tomahawk chop. Makes some people happy, makes other fans sad – or mad. Is this the right thing to do?
 
Back in the early 90's when the Braves were early in their historic run of championships, fans wanting to catch the eye of Deion Sanders copied FSU's tomahawk chop, and the thing caught on with Braves country. It was amazing to see sold-out crowds all going the chop. Owner Ted Turner chopped. Jane Fonda dressed in Indian garb and chopped. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter chopped. I chopped.

Years passed. The team struggled. But fans still chopped. The organist would initiate the chop. Turner Field had a huge neon tomahawk in centerfield, and an even larger Chickfila cow in left field that would do the chop. Fans gathered in the Chop House to drink.
 
When the Braves moved north to SunTrust Park, I thought the club might use the change to phase out the chop. Nope. A brand new three story Chop House was built. The hashtag #ChopOn became the catch phrase, printed on bumper stickers and t-shirts. The Braves started a new tradition: at every home game a celebrity led the crowd in the chop, like rapper Ludacris below.

But during the 2019 NLDS a St. Louis newspaper interviewed a Cardinal reliever who happened to be part American Indian. The pitcher expressed his displeasure with the chop, and the story went national. After years of ignoring the elephant in the room, the Braves immediately capitulated, saying the plan to distribute foam tomahawks would be put on hold, and the chop wouldn't be played when the pitcher was in the game.
 
This angered Braves Country. No "we'll take it under consideration." Instead surrender for the Cardinal series, and discussions for the future. The media came out of the woodwork, both local and nationwide, calling for the end of the chop.
 
 
Over the winter, without fanfare, the team quit using #ChopOn and floated out #ForTheA." The Kansas City Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl, and their use of the chop came under the same national scrutiny.
 
Then the virus struck, protests of deaths in Minnesota and Georgia led to riots, statues and other monuments were defaced and toppled, and time became right for the Redskins and Indians to change their names. Would the Black Hawks, Eskimos, Chiefs, and Braves be next?

And here we are. The website TomahawkTake.com called for the Braves to end the tomahawk chop. Kinda ironic, don't you think?
 
Yes, it is time to retire the chop. The Braves organist should stop playing it. The jumbotron should no longer encourage fans to chop. But like prayer in schools, fans can always start the chop themselves. While there will always a percentage of the fan base who will have to have their tomahawk pried from their cold dead hands, you'd think whatever young woke urban millennials won't join the chop as a matter of principle. We shall see.
Then there's the next elephant in the room: the iconic tomahawk on the jersey. You'd think they'd be the next to go. But no announcement as of yet, of course. The team has begun workouts wearing their new Nike jerseys replete with tomahawk – and a spring training cap with a tomahawk on the side. Not a very good start so far.
The team could easily remove the tomahawks from the uniforms, and roll out a line of tomahawk-free jerseys and t-shirts to sell. But fans won't be happy. As always, they'll complain on social media, threatening to never return. But of course they will, should the virus permit.
As so many these days do, fans are quick to forget their history. The Braves quit wearing the tomahawk in the early sixties, and took the field in tomahawk-free unis for over twenty years. The world won't end if the Braves drop the tomahawk. It's the right thing to do.
Maybe the change will change the team's luck. Maybe they'll start making deeper runs into the playoffs. It all starts with doing the right thing.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

A Brave New Name

The latest rumors are that the Braves don't plan on changing their name, though we may have heard the stadium organ playing the Tomahawk Chop for the last time. But with the Redskins set to announce a new team name in the next two weeks, and the Indians exploring a possible name change, there have been several suggestions for new names for both teams. I've only heard few suggestions of what the Braves should change their name to. Until now.
 
Should the Braves change their name, they might as well come up with something completely different. With apologies to Paul Lukas and Uni Watch, what fan would really be happy having their favorite team rename themselves the BRAVE or BRAVEST? Not crazy about DREAM or PHOENIX, two names associated with the city. Dream is already taken and the Atlanta Phoenix just doesn't sound right. Better to look back for a historical name, either from Atlanta's rich baseball history, or one of the old names the franchise went by before changing to the Braves.
 
Like the Braves, before settling on the name Atlanta, the city was known by several different names before settling on the name Atlanta: Marthasville and Terminus to name two. As an important railway hub, perhaps the Braves could come up with a railroad name. Atlanta also used to be known as Gate City, and the first organized base ball team was known as the Gate City Nine. A fine name. Could we cheer for the Atlanta Nine?
 
In 1892 the local team was called the Atlanta Firecrackers. I like it. Unfortunately, the Firecrackers name would quickly be shortened. Same thing happened back in the day. The minor league Atlanta Crackers were so successful they were known as the Yankees of the South. Unfortunately Crackers comes with a series of negative connotations, many of them racial.

Interestingly, not all racial references of the name Crackers are negative. From Wikipedia: “During the period of Reconstruction following the American Civil War, there was also a political party of the same name (Crackers). Organized in Augusta, Georgia, this party's platform was one of "opposition to Catholics and segregation of blacks."
 
The Braves boast they are the longest continuously operated franchise in baseball history. Back then it was quite common for a team to change their name, similar to the way minor league teams rebrand themselves these days. Before becoming the Braves in 1912, the team went by several different names:

1871 Red Stockings: too Boston or Cincy
1876 Red Caps: nice, but too Trump-like
1883 Beaneaters: too Boston
1907 Doves
1911 Rustlers: a fun choice, but negative connotations? 
1912 Braves
1936 Bees 
1942 Braves
 
In 1907 George and John Dovey acquired the club, and the team became known as the Doves. When purchased by William Hepburn Russell in 1911, reporters dubbed the club the Rustlers. Neither name helped the team win games. The team adopted an official name for the first time in 1912. Another new owner was a member of New York City's political machine (Tammany Hall) which used an Indian chief as their symbol.
 
In 1936 new owner Bob Quinn tried to change the club's fortunes, renaming the team the Boston Bees. When ownership changed hands five years later, construction magnate Lou Perini changed the name back to the Braves.
 
 
The Bees would be a fun team name, with many creative possibilities for a new logo, colors, and mascot. 
 
But an earlier name would be the perfect choice for a team in this day and age. With the country mired in division and unrest, with ongoing protests and riots, what better name for a team in 2020 than the Doves - the symbol of peace. A natural for a place that used to be called "the city too busy to hate."
 
And with a city filled with fowl named sports teams - Falcons, Hawks, the NBA G League College Park Skyhawks, the Kennesaw State Owls, the Shorter University hawks, and North Georgia Nighthawks, Gainesville State Fighting Geese, and the Oglethorpe University Stormy Petrels to name a few - the Atlanta Doves would fit right in.  
  
Whatever happens - new name, no chop, or even no changes - there will be a huge negative response on social media. People love to complain, like when a team signs (or doesn't sign) a free agent, or changes their uniforms - no matter how good or bad a job the team does. They'll get over it.
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Bryson

Do you follow Bryson Dechambeau? Saw him at the Masters as an amateur. Hadn’t realized he was bulking up and bombing 425 yard drives. Saw what he eats, which is a lot plus like ten protein shakes a day. Glad his game has come together so well. When he first joined the tour I wondered how it would all work out. He and Tiger are sponsored by the same company, and some of their ads together are funny. Bryson is explaining things on a whiteboard and Tiger just rolls his eyes. But actually Tiger used to be pretty analytical as well. 
 
Guess its good Dechambeau wears that derby cap, kinda like Payne Stewart, since no one else does. But really I am not crazy about that style cap. I do like Bryson’s Puma golf shoes.

One day this weekend I turned on that tourney and every golfer I saw was wearing light grey pants and a white shirt. Never seen so many golfers wearing the same thing like that. Also white shoes. If I was a golfer I think I’d be changing up the shoes more, like Tiger and Bubba and Rickie do. Looks like Phil finally has his own logo – a silhouette of when he won the Masters, I think.  
 
Ryan Moore, who was on one recent President’s Cup team (or maybe it was Ryder Cup), used to play without any sponsor logos on his clothes. When I went to the Masters with Will, Ryan Moore was wearing dark pants, a white shirt with a tie, and a dark sweater. Looked like a real old school golfer. I’d never heard of him before, but after that he was one of my favorites. Now he helped start a brand of golf shoes called True Linkswear.

Seems like the weekend lasted forever. Get to see any fireworks?

After work Thursday I took pictures of Anna’s car and posted it for sale. This took forever. Started to get responses almost immediately. A stressful evening.
 
Got up early Friday morning. Had conversations with one interested party while preparing to meet someone else to show the car at 10 am. The car wasn’t in good shape so I had to sell it cheap. Not sure if I could’ve gotten the same amount had I drove it two more months.
 
Afterward I talked to M and A, then drove to Duluth to test drive a little two seater. It was okay but I’m not sure yet. Probably not that particular vehicle. Also stopped by the banks, two thrift stores, got gas, and picked up a pizza to go. Had been out in the sun for most of the day and hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, so I was bushed. Ceil returned from her lake trip.
 
Puttered around the house on Saturday. That night we went to my other friend Reid house for a backyard cookout with six other couples. Stayed outside the whole time. Burgers, dogs, chips, turkey burgers, salads, baked beans, blueberry pie, ice cream, etc. Kept talking and finally all the neighborhood fireworks stopped. Eventually looked at our watches – it was 11:30! I stayed up past 1 am posting to my blog.
 
Sunday school on the computer. Later I trimmed the hedges out in the heat. Drove to Trader Joes and the bank. Ceil and Matthew cooked all afternoon, and later we drove down to W&MC’s for Will’s birthday meal – quite a Mexican spread. Grilled chicken, steak, Matthew’s homemade corn tortillas, flour tortillas, Mexican rice, homemade refried beans, raw onions, grilled onions, blue chips, yellow corn chips, cilantro, queso, Ceil’s mild salsa, Matthew’s hot salsa, Anna’s margaritas. No one was hungry for the strawberry and pound cake dessert. Was late getting back from there as well.
 
Forgot to tell you about W&MC’s flight back from Detroit on Sunday. In Atlanta they’ve repaved the concourses where the planes are parked for unboarding. They brought in Will’s plane and all the passengers got up and grabbed their things from the overhead bins. Then the pilot realized the ramp wouldn’t stretch to the plane. Everyone had to put their luggage back and sit back down. Took much longer than usual.
 
Monday I talked to George. Matthew is wanting to work in a restaurant kitchen. George isn’t hiring but it would be good for Matthew to talk to him.
 
Ate leftovers for lunch. C fixed a salad for supper. Ceil met with her small group through the computer most of these evening. I didn’t do much. Was watching Jeopardy and later Shaq was on with Jimmy Fallon.
 
Taking off tomorrow and Thursday to try and work around the house with Ceil. Will try to check my emails when possible.
 
Destin: wish I could get Ceil to go but her school is starting back. Joan’s brother Uncle Lennie has been sick. Lennie’s wife Corrine is trying to hold everything together. Corrine’s brother Bobby lives on Pawley’s Island in assisted living. Bobby is a real sports nut. He can talk sports all day. Years ago I think he might’ve seen Babe Ruth play. But now Bobby has tested positive for Covid. It’s gotten inside his assisted living facility.  
 
My other friend Reid was down in Seagrove FL a few weeks ago. That’s on 30A near Seaside. Our friends the Cho’s will be in Rosemary Beach next week. Preston rides his bike 100 miles a week, and might take his bike on his trip. Their son goes to NYU, but since classes will be on line he is staying here at home and taking classes from his house.  
 
You need to stop at Bates House of Turkey, which is south of Montgomery.
# 46 wow looks like Puma has made my RS-X sneakers into a golf shoe: the RS-G.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Greatest High School Athletes

StadiumTalk.com published a list of the top high school athletes OF ALL TIME and actually did a decent job. Of course I went through all 50 just to see where Herschel ranked. He came in a decent number seven. 
 
Stadium Talk did a good job of not packing the list with recent graduates. Also a wide variety of sports.
 
1940s one
1950s five
1960s five
1970s nine
1980s four
1990s ten
2000s twelve
2010s four
 
50. Ken Griffey Jr 1986 MLB HOF
49. Jerry Lucas 1958 Ohio State NYK
48. Robert Griffin III 2007 Baylor NFL
47. Willie Wilson 1974 KC Royals football
46. David Clyde 1973 Texas Rangers
45. Tom Glavine 1984 #1 pick in hockey & MLB
44. Kobe Bryant 1995 Lakers MVP
43. Tim Tebow 2005 Florida NFL MiLB
42. Ronald Curry 1997 UNC QB Raiders WR
41. Josh Booty 1996 LSU QB Marlins P
40. Sidney Crosby 2005 Penguins
39. Bobby Fischer 1958 chess
38. Marcus Dupree 1982 7355 yards 87 TD 8.3 YPC
37. Greg Paulus 2008 Duke Syracuse
36. Elena Delle Donne 2008 Delaware WNBA MVP
35. Allen Iverson 1991 Georgetown NBA POY bball football
34. Moses Malone 1974 ABA NBA
33. Alex Rodriquez 1993 MLB
32. Danny Goodwin 1971 Angels Twins
31. Trevor Lawrence 2017 Clemson TE 
30. Bruce Hardy 1973 Dolphins TE 
29. Simon Biles 2015 gymnastics
28. Rick Mount 1965 Purdue ABA
27. Lisa Leslie 1992 USC WNBA
26. CC Sabathia 1998 Yankees basketball football
25. Ed Too Tall Jones 1969 Cowboys boxing basketball
24. Jadeveon Clowney 2009 SC NFL DE
23. Wilfred Benitez 1976 boxing
22. Drew Hinson 2000 MLB NFL QB
21. JR Richard 1968 Astros basketball
20. Michael Phelps 2000 swimming
19. Magic Johnson 1977 Lakers HOF
18. Joe Mauer 2001 HS POY QB & catcher, also basketball
17. Ken Hall 1952 CFL NFL bball 11232 yd rushing in HS (above)
16. Emmitt Smith 1999 NFL HOF 8804 yd 106 TD
15. Bryce Harper 2009 MLB skipped HS junior & senior year
14. Wilt Chamberlain 1954 NBA HOF volleyball shot put track
13. Marion Jones 2005 track WNBA
12. Randy Moss 1993 NFL track basketball
11. Derrick Henry 2012 NFL track bball 12124 yd rush 153 TD
10. Jim Ryun 1964 miler
9. Danny Aigne 1977 Celtics Blue Jays also football
8. Tiger Woods 1994 three time US amateur champ
7. Herschel Walker 1979 86 TD track shot put valedictorian   
6. Kyler Murray 2014 Heisman Oakland A’s
5. LeBron James 2002 NBA
4. Cheryl Miller 1981 USC
3. Jackie Robinson 1940 tennis football basketball baseball track
2. Lew Alcindor 1964
1. Jim Brown 1952 earned 13 letters baseball lacrosse baseball track football
 
No Pete Maravich? Not sure Kyler Murray belongs so high. Only one of Tiger's US Ams came while he was in high school.  
 

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Will's Birthday

W&MC and Anna evidently enjoyed some birthday cocktails
before Matthew, Ceil, and I arrived with dinner.
Ceil and Matthew did all the meal prep before we left home.
When we arrived at Stafford Street everyone helped with the final prep. 
Matthew brought his cleaver to cut the meat.
After the meal we were packing things up to take home
and I cut my finger on the cleaver.
Steak, chicken, corn tortillas made by Matthew, flour tortillas, two cheeses, queso, raw onions, grilled onions, mild salsa, hot salsa, rice, fresh corn, and homemade refried beans, blue chips, corn chips.
My joke about the butter coming from Montana
fell as flat as a Butte.
Today was my mother's 90th birthday. We hope to see her soon.
Today was also the birthday of Andrea Irwin Nickel, Rich Morris, Scott Morris, and slingshot expert Lilly Niebur. 
The Hawks fielded a team that included Pete Maravich, Walt Bellamy (#8), Lou Hudson, and Julius Erving (#54).
For three preseason games. That must've been why Lang wore #54.
Andruw Jones won ten Gold Gloves and hit 434 home runs,
but received scant Hall of Fame consideration.
Should've retired a couple of seasons earlier.
 Okie took care of Anna while W&MC traveled to Ann Arbor.
 Seen on a t-shirt.
Never really a fan of the Redskins uniforms. Especially the yellow facemasks. I liked the 60's unis better, and the 70's unis were okay. Their name could be changed in the next few weeks, but new uniforms will probably take a year or two to finalize. An early favorite is the RedHawks. Friday i saw a decent looking Kirk Cousins #8 Redskins jersey at a thrift store and considered buying it as a collectors item, but passed.  
Kicks # 44: my blue / grey / black Salomon XACOMP7s. Waterproof hiking shoes. Both Will and Anna have some, from their stints working at Camp Highland. Always thought I might get me a pair if the right deal came along, and I found this pair in my favorite colors. They look better in real life than in this photo. Sturdy. Great for north Georgia. Keepers.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Top Ten Ugliest Uniforms?

That kid at Radio.com keeps pumping out the uniform lists. I've ignored several, but he gets it wrong on his list of ten worst uniforms in NFL history. He includes throwbacks, many of which are historic and unique – while ignoring actual ugly uniforms. The author would probably want to tear down Auchwitz because the building was old and ugly.

10. 2018 Titans all navy blue. Several things wrong with these uglies. Hardly any good. Should be higher on the list. But note how the grey facemasks don't stand out. This is a good thing.
9. 1934 Eagles blue/yellow worn in 2007. Bad call. These beauties are creative and different. Plus the grey facemasks don't distract or take away from the helmet. These uni shouldn't be on this list.
8. 2019 Jets black alternates. Yes these are bad. After over 50 years wearing green and white, did the Jets really need to add black as a color? Why?
7. 1960 Broncos mustard yellow worn in 2009. Shouldn't be on the list. These are classics that need to be remembered.
6. 1933 Steelers bumblebee worn 2012-2016. I love them. Some kiddie team needs to wear these. Of course they'd mess them up, adding some neon color or something, or pink socks for cancer awareness. Hey, where's all that pink on this list?
5. 1940 Giants red jerseys worn 2004-2007. Another classic. Remember Y.A. Tittle? He wore these. See how you can barely see the grey facemask? We'll be talking about that in a few days.
4. 1925 Bears striped jerseys worn in 1994. Gotta love 'em.
3. 2014 Tampa alarm clock numbers. Yes these are bad. At least the facemask blended in with the helmet (more able that in a few days).
\
2. 2002 Bills all blue unis. Yes keep them on this ugly list. At least the socks weren't all blue.
1. 2009 Seahawks neon green jerseys with navy pants. Hey these were better than the neon jersey pants socks shoes combo worn more recently.
https://www.radio.com/sports/nfl/gallery/ranking-the-10-worst-uniforms-in-nfl-history

Sometimes a team wears a uniform so long that you forget it is ugly. Perhaps the Broncos current uni is an example of this. Especially the all navy version.
Other ugly uniforms. 
Texans all navy too plain
Lions 2019 unis.
Saints all black
Jaguars most of their unis should be on this list.
Dolphins 2019
Patriots 2020 all navy
Rams 2020 all navy
Chargers 2020 all navy
Falcons 2019
Falcons 2020

Friday, July 03, 2020

The New Face of Baseball

The Braves started practicing today at Truist Park. Gotta get used to Ronald Acuna's new look. At least he is all about fun, as opposed to politics.

It's been a busy week. Got several blog projects in the works but not sure I can finish any of them today. Upcoming: 

1. An essay on grey facemasks, after joining a Twitter discussion on the topic.

2. My take on a kid's ugly uniform list.

3. Hopefully not sharing some of the things I've been hearing out in the big old ugly world, like maybe 

4. Looks like the Washington Redskins are being bullied into finally changing their name by FedEx and Nike, something perhaps they should have done some time ago. Will the Atlanta Braves and their tomahawk chop be next? Thought it interesting some players were wearing caps today with a tomahawk on the side. There's also a move afoot to change the Cleveland Indians name.

Tuesday: bought a new pair of sneakers on the way home from work. Then Anna and I went to look at a car, but it had already been sold. Ceil went back to her Table on Delk women's ministry. M drove my car to the Starlight Drive-In down on Moreland to see a horror movie. Anna drove Ceil's car to meet friends at their Brookhaven apartment. She worked at Madewell Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday Ceil traveled to extreme north Georgia, north of Blairsville for a girl's weekend at Nottely Lake.  I ate leftover burgers. Very good. Worked past 6 pm. Washed Anna's Subaru and cleaned out the inside. Took out the trash. Watched the Tom Hanks / Julia Roberts movie Larry Crowne for at least the third time. Still good.
Thursday: tracked Will on his way to Ann Arbor. At 9:50 am he passed Loudon KY. Cartersville Chattanooga Knoxville Loudon Lexington Cincinnati Dayton Toledo Ann Arbor. W&MC are traveling to Ann Arbor to help MC's brother move. Thomas will be working for Google. He'll be one of the bad guys I guess.

Posted Anna's Subaru for sale Thursday night, after taking pictures. Stuff like this just wears on me. Took most of the evening. Got immediate responses, despite needing a new transmission and catalytic converter and axle. Also burning oil and serious engine issues.
Woke up Friday morning and started negotiating. Made some final preparations and met a guy just after ten. He made an offer and I checked with another interested party. Sold it to a guy who's going to fix it and ship it halfway around the world to The Republic of Georgia.

Talked to A and M, then drove to Duluth to test drive a little Honda CR-Z two-seater hybrid. I enjoyed driving it. Not too low to the ground, as I had feared. But I wasn't in traffic. Hard to see out the back, which will probably be the reason I don't get one. It wasn't perfect of course, and never as nice or cheap as you'd like it to be. Note I didn't say I was going to buy one.
Stopped by two thrift stores and the bank, got gas, and picked up a pie to go from 1000 Degrees Pizza. All in the 95 degree heat. Was 3 pm before I got home. I was worn out.

RON CEY  [BR Bio] When Eric Karros set the Los Angeles Dodgers career home run record, it was Cey's record he broke. Karros had 270 as an L.A. Dodger, his 229th passed Cey's 228. This still the most by an L.A. Dodger. Cey was the Chicago Cub's team RBI leader on the only Cubs team that went to the postseason between 1946 and 1988. Had 97 RBI for CHC in 1984. He joined the same college fraternity that Lou Gehrig had joined. Gehrig and Cey were members of Phi Delta Theta, Gehrig at Columbia, Cey at Washington State.
Kicks # 43: my orange Nike KD7 35000 Degrees basketball shoes. Love these guys. No, I don't wear them that much, but I sure enjoy owning them. The only pair of shoes I keep in their original box, which is part of the reason why it's taken me so long to show them off here. I might've previously shared the story of how I was given these shoes. Right now I'll just say for daily readers like Don Head, it was from a guy I know with some serious sneaker connections, like KD himself (that's NBA star Kevin Durant). Just happened to see these same KD7s at a thrift store today, in different colors (which included grey and pink). I passed, since I already had a pair in a color I like. Wore these orange ones to a Clemson football game, and usually to at least one Braves game every year since I got them. Until this year, I guess. Note the matching KD socks, which came with shoes. The socks get worn more than the shoes.