Sunday, July 31, 2011

For fun, Kara flips on the first leg of the Camp Highland ropes course.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Predictions: Tech

My Tech football predictions: Without a proven QB, Tech will rotate Syms and Washington in the first three non-conference games, hoping a leader will emerge. Syms fumbles too much, Washington is a worse passer than Nesbitt. Paul Johnson will be hesitant to play the freshman Lee, the best passer of the bunch. But PJ’s hand will be forced when the Jackets struggle against ACC opponents, and Lee’s lack of seasoning will be exposed against Miami, Clemson, and VT. Without a decent QB, Tech’s offense can’t control time of possession, or score. or win.

Western Carolina (home): Win, but no blowout.

Middle Tennessee State (away): Win, but no blowout.

Kansas (home): After losing in Lawrence last year to an awful Jayhawk team, Tech is certain to get revenge this time around. But it won’t be easy…another close win.

UNC (home): The Heels fired Butch Davis just before practice began, and the team in under a NCAA investigation. But at 3-0, Tech’s players will have the big head. UNC always plays Tech tough. With weak QB play, Tech loses this game.

NC State (away): After losing to UNC the discouraged Jackets go on the road and lose again, dropping to 3-2 for the season.

Maryland (home): Tech comes home to face a tough Terrapin road team. Maryland wins, and on The Flats frustration mounts. 3-3.

Virginia (away): Tech usually struggles at UVA. Another loss drops GT to 3-4.

Miami (away): Even with a new coach, Miami has plenty of returning key players. Tech loses their fifth straight. 3-5.

Clemson (home): In a low-scoring defensive struggle, Tech finally notches a win.

Virginia Tech (home, Thursday night): With a win under their belt, Tech players and fans recall last year’s loss…incorrectly thinking GT would’ve won last year had Nesbitt not been hurt. This year it’s not close: the Jackets are once more embarrassed on national TV. 4-6.

Duke (away): The wounded Jackets travel to Durham in danger of losing to the lowly Devils. Back in his home state QB Lee stars, and the Jackets win. 5-6.

Georgia (home): At 5-6 Tech needs a win to earn a bowl bid. Fresh off the Duke win the fans recall last year’s narrow loss in Athens, boasting that Tech can win at home. They won’t, and the bowl streak ends. 5-7.

At best Tech could be undefeated going into the Miami game, lose to the Canes, VT, and Georgia, and finish 9-3. But I’m thinking it will be a long year.

Used Cars

Joel just bought an old Jeep and drove Kara up to visit Will. When it overheated there was no one to fix it in Ellijay on a Sunday. At WalMart they didn’t work on radiators, but they gave me the number of a guy named Bear. He couldn’t work on it, so we went to AutoZone to ask them. They said to call a guy named Bear.

We had seven in the Civic going back to camp, and six going back to Atlanta. When we got to the Normans we saw David, who had to fly back from Nevada because their car broke down on their California road trip. Josiah is headed back to get his car after another camping trip. He had just bought it. Makes me look forward to buying Will a used car in the next few weeks.

Its rumored that UGA will wear silver helmets against Boise State, like they wore under Wally Butts. Hopefully Cowherd will be wrong about Boise being under-rated…UGA needs the win. I’ll be at an all-day concert, and will miss almost all of it. Not sure that GT will have a good year at all. No QB, and I doubt they’ll let the freshman play. With their easy schedule they COULD be 7-0 going into the Miami game, but they’ll be lucky to win half their games.

Computers: Anna got an iPad, which everyone seems to love these days. They’re quite mobile. Email, internet, book-reader, TV remote, musical instrument, etc. Not that I know how to use one. Our home internet has been down most of the week. AT&T says a storm knocked out lots of modems. A new one was supposed to arrive yesterday, but didn’t.

I wouldn’t ever listen to music…I like the sports talk or books on tape. Clark Howard always says to watch out for debit cards, so I just have a plain ATM card.

At Margaret’s baby shower at the Hurts, David kept the Braves game on the TV…even when we were all sitting in the TV area watching Margaret open her presents! And while this was going on, David, Bob Marsh, and I were talking about the Braves. Can’t believe Mary didn’t say anything.

No Passion City Church this week, so Sunday won’t be so hectic.

Braves / Pirates: July 28

Thursday Ceil was headed to Decatur, so I met her on Peachtree Industrial to pick up Matthew shortly after three. Made it downtown in time to get near the front of the dollar ticket line. John Parkes was first in line. As we settled into the leftfield stands to watch BP I instinctively looked to my right for Johnny Pierce, who worked in Macon for a Baptist magazine. He immediately called to me, from my left. He’d been at SPdL earlier in the day visiting with his friend Charles Qualls.

After seeing the cover of last week’s Sports Illustrated, I immediately turned to the “Loving Baseball” article. It was good, though it didn’t blow me away. I did love the photo of the Red Sox taking the field in throwback uniforms. For some reason the photo looked familiar, and last night I figured out why. There’s a Budweiser ad in the Braves’ “Gameday” handout with several nondescript Braves taking the field, quite similar to the Red Sox photo. Similar, but not exact.

For the Pirates series, Jordan Shafer was on the Gameday cover…the week he went on the DL. During BP he was quite active in centerfield. He almost made a great catch to rob a HR from someone, but the ball rolled out of his glove onto the top of the fence, and back onto the warning track. Neither the Braves nor the Pirates hit many BP HRs.

Just before BP ended the grounds crew drove their small tractor around the outfield warning track, around to the Pirates dugout. On its trailer they loaded the fence where fans can watch BP behind the cage. As it rolled away I noticed the hand-lettered sign: a target with the words “Welcome back Matt”. When it passed Diaz, he smiled and waved.

The anthem was sung acapella by a young Cumming girl from the Rally Foundation. Both teams lined up in rows outside the dugouts, perhaps spurred on by Brian McCann. After a shaky start she gained momentum, and ended strongly. Both teams gave her an extended ovation, as did the crowd. Later I texted Mary Hurt. She had almost come to the game just to see the anthem. It always rains when Mary comes to games, but with few clouds overhead I felt safe sending the text. But sure enough, it immediately started raining. Forty-seven minute delay.

Later Mark Bowman tweeted that McCann was arguing with an umpire, but I missed it. Jerry Meals, who became famous early Wednesday morning for missing the game-deciding call, was Thursday’s second-base umpire. He and Uggla carried on a long conversation during the first two innings. In the top of the seventh Ross fired to Gonzo, attempting to pick the runner off second. Close play. Meals signaled safe (he probably was) but the crowd lustily booed.

Uggla’s infield hit drove extended his hitting streak to 19 games. During the “stolen base” contest Uggla tossed the base closer to the contestant, helping him win. Perhaps things like that will help Uggla earn favor in the fan’s eyes…his unsmiling demeanor doesn’t come across as warm. Not much emotion, but I’m glad he’s relaxing more at the plate.

After the top of the sixth ended, Matthew and I left our seats behind the RF foul pole and walked around behind the Pirates bullpen. We left at 10 pm, just after the stretch. The earlier rain made for a cool walk back to the car. Ran by Taco Bell and Racetrac (49 cent / 32 ounce soft drinks), making it home at 11 pm, just after the game ended.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

19 Innings!

Wild 19 inning game Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Two great plays from McCann, on the botched squeeze and throwing out the speedy runner. Went to bed before the Braves batted in the 10th. Things are not going well, injury wise. Wonder if the Chipper/Schafer/McCann ailments will effect potential trades. Lugo had a decent game. Interesting that Uggla broke Lugo’s MLB record for longest hit streak by a player hitting under .200.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Borders closing will impact customer traffic at the Avenue.

Anna has been scrapbooking lately, more than Ceil. Last night she got a dress to wear to MC’s pageant. You wouldn’t believe how good she looks.

Internet was down most of the week, so I got more work done around the house (plus some reading). I need to download expedition and graduation pictures for the LS yearbook.

M is excited about the Sept 3 concert at Jim R Miller Park. Switchfoot is returning. Means I will miss the UGA/Boise game.

Probation!? I've Had it With Tech!

I’ve followed Georgia Tech sports my whole life. But this probation might be the last straw. Name one good reason why I should remain a Tech fan! With all these negatives listed below, even being a Tech grad just isn’t enough any more.

The arrogance is what I dislike the most…from the fan base, coaches, AD, and players. What exactly is there to be arrogant about? The details that follow add up to an average athletics program (at best). I see nothing exceptional to brag about.

I like DRad. He gets it. I don’t blame him for telling Paul Johnson about the NCAA inquiry. He’s making Georgia Tech the best it can be.

Paul Johnson does have an above average offensive mind. I like the way he takes chances, particularly when he goes for it on fourth down. But his arrogance places himself above the fan base that can support him (or not). He appears to not care if fans buy tickets. Doesn’t this pay his salary? If he’s so in love with his running game, why does he let quarterbacks pass ten times a game (when they’re so inaccurate?). Reverses and other oddball plays drop the percentage of options run to 50%. For goodness sakes, RUN the ball!

Recruiting: Receivers drop passes. Players repeatedly fall flat in big games. This is a product of poor coaching and arrogant “me first” players. But since Tech is so desperate for good players, they continuously take chances on those with attitude problems. Johnson comes off as harsh when he drops recruits for looking around. He may have a point, but it just makes Tech even less attractive to other recruits.

How can any reasonably-minded football fan think Tech can compete at the same level as Virginia Tech, much less UGA? The athletes GT recruits are obviously a step below UGA’s. You can look at them and tell! Short and squat (GT) compared to long-legged (UGA)

In the ACC, Tech’s athletes are third-tier at best…

1. VT, FSU

2. Clemson, UNC, Miami

3. Wake, NC State, GT, BC, MD, Virginia

4. Duke

Wins and losses are determined by determination, attitude, and superior coaching. Tech should almost always beat WF, MD, BC, NC State, and UVA. Instead they hardly break even against them.

Game day experience: The constant rap music says it all. GT has to completely cater to the inner-city athlete to get him to come to Tech.

With its downtown Atlanta campus and ACC affiliation, Tech should have no problem attracting elite black athletes, despite its engineering curriculum. Two turnoffs: Paul Johnson’s “once committed, don’t look around” arrogance, and Johnson’s high school offence. Athletes want to play in a pro-style offense, since they all think they’re headed to the NFL.

Alumni don’t cheer, except for the Budweiser song. They’re only there to be seen, not heard.

Schedule: In 2011 Tech boasts three weak non conference opponents. UGA and Clemson both play two strong non conference games. GT has so little clout they have to TRAVEL to places like Middle Tennessee State and Kansas. To the delight of the fan base, Tech has two Thursday night home games. One of them isn’t even regionally televised, much less nationally. Neither Clemson nor UGA play on Thursday night this year. How can so many other teams juggle schedules to play in prime-time Labor Day matchups, but not Tech?

Record: Tech boasts one of the longest current streaks of playing in bowl games. In this age of five and six win teams filling spots in the innumerable meaningless bowl games, is that really an accomplishment? Tech’s their record in these bowls is nothing to brag about. A halfway knowledgeable fan knows when he’s being bamboozled. DRad knows recruits today care little about what happened in the past. Years of 6-7-8 win seasons in the ACC is nothing to be arrogant about.

Uniforms: The Russell Athletics contract is further proof that Tech wallows in the dark ages. Though it’s nice that GT stands by their long-time small-time vendor, does Russell have to make changes EVERY year? (Including 2011!) What happened to Tech’s great tradition? Even the names on the jersey backs are old and ugly. Why does Russell dictate the uniform? Why not Tech? Not that they could do a better job (though I certainly could!). Before Russell lost the contact, Auburn’s uniforms never changed.

Nike keeps Georgia’s unis relatively traditional. The Dawgs get to show off Nike Combat unis that the players love, on national TV. Tech is lucky to make the ESPN web-cast.

Merchandizing: Why are GT T-shirts busy and ugly, but UGA’s simple and good looking? Of course, it’s hard to find a GT shirt anywhere. Tech fans don’t buy gear. If they own one cap, why buy another? Even if the cap they have is 20 years old. UGA, Clemson, SC, Bama, Auburn fans buy new caps every year.

Marketing: Billboards. UGA doesn’t need any. GT has ugly black billboards with an ancient typeface. Before you say “They’re traditional”…why isn’t the on-field typeface the same? Not that ANY Tech typefaces match. Whatever additional fans these fly be night marketing campaigns bring in are offset by the ridicule of Georgia fans. Is it really worth it?

I’ll keep up with Tech this year, because that’s what I do. It will just never be cool to be a Tech fan. Years ago Tech was the crown jewel of Southern college football. Now they’re more of an embarrassment.

Cast of Thousands

Had to make a list of everyone who works on my customer’s account. This does not include the schedulers and machine operators in our two plants, nor the 16 fabricators that make parts.

Chris, Sr Inside Account Rep, Main Sales Contact, Stock Parts

EZGo Fabrication Pod

David, Finished Parts & Raw Material Inventory

Darryl, Service Part Orders, Strut Kits, Credits

Thomas, VMI Daily Need Report

VMI Augusta

Shawn, VMI Manager

Roy, VMI Teamleader

Andrew, Receiving/Issuing

Bryan, Dexter, and Tory, Repack/KANBAN


Ron, Quality/Continuous Improvement Mgr

Jeff and Ayanna: Supplier Quality Engineers


Dave, VP/GM Norcross complex

Dale, Outside Sales Mgr

Steve, Foundation Account Mgr

Bill, Inside Sales Mgr, Foundation Accounts

Damon, Fabrication Sales Manager

Matt, Fabrication Pricing Specialist

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More on the Beach

Typical beach week. I thought taking Josiah would occupy Matthew…the project was a 75% success. Josiah was great, and couldn’t have been sweeter. He got Matthew out of the room and into the ocean more than ever. At night they enjoyed hanging out at the hot tub, and at dusk they took walks on the beach. But on a few days Matthew still would grouchily retreat to the room, instead of hitting the ocean for an afternoon session…leaving Josiah with little to do. A couple of times it was just me and Josiah in the waves.

Everyone had someone to hang out with except for Grant. Billy stayed several days. Preston was there all week, hanging mostly with Ben. Chase was more talkative than he’s ever been, despite having his girlfriend there. Zane says he might move to Maryland after graduation, to be with his girlfriend Amanda. She was there most of the week as well.

No one reads much at the beach (except Anna’s cousin) so in the past I wouldn’t either, to better fit in. I decided to change that this year, and finished my Keith Green paperback and Joel Rosenberg hardback, and read most of the hilarious Assassination Vacation paperback. Saturday I checked out the next Rosenberg in the series, and a Sarah Vowell audiobook.

Had a great time at Camp Highland Sunday. Will “helped” Matthew climb that rock wall…it was great he didn’t give up. Stepping off the edge on those long, high zip lines is tough…I don’t know how Matthew did that. And it was good to catch up with Joel and Kara. Anna posted pictures from Sunday, and a few from the beach. Kara immediately made one her profile picture (as did I).

My college roommate Tom went to the Sunday night Braves game in Cincy. Linebrek gave up a walkoff in the bottom of the ninth…first pitch of the inning. Uggla had a 15 game hit streak going into last night’s game, and I know he reached base. He’s hit over .300 for the last month. Chipper’s back, and homered. I may go on Thursday.

Michael isn’t listed on the fall roster or email list, nor is his number reserved for next spring. Adam and Braeden aren’t listed, but they’re still on the email list. Tanner is on the fall team.

Switchfoot will be back at Celebrate Freedom, along with the Newsboys.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacation Recap

FRIDAY JULY 15: Chinese buffet lunch with Ogre and his boss. Left Norcross at 4:30 and missed most of the afternoon traffic. Chickfila in Anderson SC (I ate my leftover burger). The kids watched the Disney movie “Tangled” on the way. Made it to Jefferson around 9:30 pm.

SATURDAY JULY 16: Drove to Pageland to have van checked out (it needs new spark plugs). Lunch at Wendys in Hartsville SC (chicken sandwich). Unpacked. The waves were biggest Saturday afternoon…red flags on the lifeguard towers. Lost my cap in the ocean, but I’d brought plenty of backups. Picked up PaPa Johns pizza for supper. Anna and the girls had ice cream at the Sugar Shack. Ceil and I watched “The Source Code” movie.

Each night I took Matthew and Josiah down to the hot tub and lazy river, where they enjoyed hanging out. I relaxed in a lounge chair and read my book.

SUNDAY JULY 17: Every morning Ceil’s dad cooked eggs, grits, bacon, and toast for breakfast. Sandwiches for lunch: cold-cuts, homemade chicken salad, homemade pimento cheese, fresh cut tomatoes. Every day I rode the waves for at least an hour with Matthew and Josiah, most days both before and after lunch. I’d hang out at the beach with the Miller crowd (At least sixty relatives, friends, and neighbors came and went throughout the week).

Monday night we had KFC for dinner, then we walked a block to “downtown” North Myrtle Beach for ice cream at the Sugar Shack.

MONDAY JULY 18: Hardly any waves. For supper I took Matthew and Josiah to Zaxbys (fried chicken salad), after we drove downtown and past the Pelicans game. The rest of the crowd drove an hour north to eat Shrimp Burgers in Holden Beach NC.

TUESDAY JULY 19: Ceil took Matthew and Josiah to the noon showing of the latest Harry Potter movie, then lunch at Chickfila. For dinner we had pork tenderloin in the room with the Millers, along with Lennie and Corrine. Also salad, and vegetables baked in olive oil, and homemade peach ice cream for dessert.

WEDNESDAY JULY 20: Dinner at Stephens Seafood Restaurant (burger, baked potato, and slaw). Then we drove down Highway 17 to the new MB Boardwalk, then cruised back north on Ocean Blvd as Ceil’s parents remembered all the old places they stayed and ate. Anna went with the girls to see Harry Potter, and Chickfila.

THURSDAY JULY 21: Around 6 pm I took Matthew and Josiah to play putt putt, then to Zaxbys. I just had a soft drink. Then 19 grownups ate at Bonefish: me, Ceil, the Millers, Rusty, Kelly, Dic, Deb, Chase, Kylie, Phil, Teresa, Teresa’s parents, Chuck, Jackie, Whitney, Thomas, Darlene. Service bad (due to 8:30 reservation) but food good (grilled chicken salad).

FRIDAY JULY 22: After taking Josiah and Matthew for one last long swim in the ocean, we packed up and pulled out of the condo at 3 pm. Ten minutes later it started raining. Dinner at Chickfila in Augusta (chicken salad sandwich). The kids watched “The Dark Knight” on the way home. Traffic jams in Columbia SC and the 285/PIB interchange. Arrived back at work to pick up my car at 9:30, and had Josiah home by 10 pm.

SATURDAY JULY 23: Took old dishwasher that had been sitting in the garage to Cobb County’s appliance recycling day. Stopped by the library in downtown Marietta, and found some books Anna wanted. Napped and watched the Braves and the movie “The Adjustment Bureau.” Ceil, Anna, and Matthew drove to Carterville to see Thomas Gilbert’s play.

SUNDAY JULY 24: After the NP 9 am service we lunched at the Ellijay Zaxby’s with Will, Joel, and Kara (another fried chicken salad). After rock-climbing, riding zip lines, and traversing the high ropes course all afternoon at Camp Highland Family Day, we ate sandwiches with the summer staff. Hung out at the Normans for a while with Becky (and DJ & Ben Hoffer), then finally got home at 10 pm.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Survived the high ropes course at Camp Highland, during friends and family day. Joel, Will, and Kara traversed it with me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July Reading List

The Ezekiel Option, by Joel C Rosenberg. Knocked it out at the beach, in the condo and down by the pool at night (while Matthew hung out in the hot tub).

The Copper Scroll, by Joel C Rosenberg (2006). The third and fourth of the five book series.

The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell (2008), ...examines the New England Puritans and their journey to and impact on America. She studies John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” – and the bloody story that resulted from American exceptionalism. And she also traces the relationship of Winthrop, Massachusetts’ first governor, and Roger Williams, the Calvinist minister who founded Rhode Island – an unlikely friendship that was emblematic of the polar extremes of the American foundation. Throughout, she reveals how American history can show up in the most unexpected places in our modern culture, often in unexpected ways.

Finally read Vowell's Assassination Vacation on the beach. Hilarious history, even though tomes by an atheist Democrat usually aren't my style.

Kennedy and Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America, by Christopher Matthews (1996). The TV guy, but thats not why I checked it out.

First Family: Abigail & John Adams, by Joseph J Ellis (2010)

The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry (a Mercer grad). I listened to this book a year or two ago, but accidentally checked it out again. But it's so good I will listen to the whole thing a second time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tags I've Seen This Week

AL, DC, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, MD, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OT, PA, QB, SC, TN, VA, WV. After seeing all the tags last month on our trip to DC, I've been looking at license plates all this week. Twenty-one isn't too bad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2011 Beach Crowd

5. Ceil, Anna, Matthew, Josiah, me
2. Ceil's parents
5. Rusty, Kelly, Ben, Katherine, Jordan
2. Donnie and Donna
2. Ben's two friends, Billy and Preston
6. Phil, Trish, Zane, Beau, Victoria, Zane's girlfriend
6. Dic, Deb, Chase, Grant, Chase's girlfriend, Corey
2. Lennie and Corine
5. Susan's family
2. Susan's father and brother
1. Jane
5. Monte's family
5. George's family
4. Chuck, Jackie, Whitney, boyfriend Thomas
2. Darlene and Courtney
3. Dic's business associate, wife, son
1. Jamie
2. Honey and wife
60. Total so far

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Will got a haircut when he went back to camp, after his July 4th break. He may have already buzzed off the top.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pepsi's Field of Dreams

Pepsi has a contest where the winner gets to field a team to play against the Hall of Famers in the current Pepsi “Field of Dreams” ad. You vote from the following…

SP…Maddux, Carlton, Randy Johnson

RP…Fingers, Gossage, Eckersley

C…Fisk, Bench, Piazza

1B…Garvey, Murray, Frank Thomas

2B…Carew, Sandburg, Biggio

SS…Ozzie, Ripken, Larkin

3B…Schmidt, Brooks, Boggs

OF…Reggie, Junior, Gwynn, Rice, Winfield, Rickey Henderson

DH…Baines, Molitor, Edgar Martinez

A few of those pitchers would still try and strike you out. I voted on the ones with the most personality, who would be the easiest to talk to, and the most fun to play with.

Nothing on TV last night, so I had the Yankees/Blue Jays game on. Jose Bautista caught his ankle and left the game, hurt. Andruw hit two HRs, giving him six for the year. Both were off JoJo Reyes. It was the second time this season Jones hit two homers in one game, both against the Jays. Shortstop Jeter made another heads-up play, tagging out a runner at third, after the third-baseman cut off the throw home.

Watched some of the Gwinnett game, because my company had a sales event there in a rented box. Unless there’s a particular prospect to watch, I’d much rather watch big league teams.

I’ve seen Mel Stottlemyer making comments on the MLB Network shows lately, on tape. Or it might’ve been on that ‘Boys in the Hall’ show that Tom Brokaw hosts.

In Washington we went into the Old Post Office, hoping to see something historic. But inside it was like a shopping mall, with a food court and small shops. Ceil spent a long time in the stamp store. She loved the stamp stuff you sent yesterday. I’m showing my coworker Lang’s article, then I’ll mail it to Will at camp.

The Ogre took me to the Chinese buffet for lunch. Then his boss walked in, so he ate with us. When I return from the beach EZGo will be much busier.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jeter's 3000th

Much has been written about Jeter’s 3000th hit. Few mentioned that he batted leadoff in that Saturday game. SI did, but didn’t elaborate. Perhaps Giraldi wanted to give him as many chances as possible to get hit 3000 in Yankee Stadium.

It would’ve been nice if Jeter had gone to the ASG so everyone could celebrate his accomplishment, but that’s not really Jeter’s way. People forget about injuries, and how players aren’t completely recovered when they return to the lineup. Did Tony Gwynn ever miss an ASG due to injury? Probably. Ripken probably didn’t. Even after the 5-5 game Jeter is probably very concerned about how his offensive skills have declined over the last two years. People will soon forget that he wasn’t there, even with Willie Mays calling him out in the Wall Street Journal (New York Times?). Today’s media places stars like Jeter in the spotlight much more than Mays ever was.

Former Brave Tommy Gregg was coaching first base in the Triple A all star game last night, for the Pacific Coast League. He serves as the hitting coach for the Omaha Storm Chasers, in the Royals organization.

I’m quickly getting hooked on the MLB Network. The content is as good as what’s on ESPN, and I like most of the personalities better. Lots of good shows, like the top 9 all star game moments, top 9 left-handed pitchers, etc. Matthew enjoyed the top 50 bizarre baseball plays, especially when Randy Johnson hit the bird with the pitch.

I don’t think Wren and Fredi are in panic mode, though many fans seem to be.

Saw where Jerry Glanville is coaching that Hartford UFL team. He said he had the “best coaches anywhere.” Guess he lives in Georgia when he’s not coaching.

Will and Haley and Kevin and David & Joel Norman are big into the soccer stuff, as well as all their friends. Last summer on his baseball trip to Nashville we purposely eat at a Taco Mac – like place to watch a men’s World Cup game. The place was packed.

Will finishes up camp on the 14th or 15th. Anna’s birthday is that Thursday, on the Braves bobblehead night. I’ll only have one more week of vacation. It’s fun to take it a week at a time, as long as I’m going somewhere…but that leaves no days left in case something comes up.

Josiah is going to the beach with us, so Matthew is thrilled. Now Matthew will spend more time out on the beach and at the pool, and behave better in the condo. Everyone will like Josiah, whose older brother Pierce graduated with Will. Don’t know if they’ll want to go to a Pelicans game. I knew bringing Josiah would change things around, but I didn’t consider everything. We’ll take the van instead of the Civic, and Anna will sleep with Ceil, and I’ll sleep with Matthew.

Matthew never has anyone to play with at the beach, especially now that the girls have gotten older. One cousin is his age, but she’d rather hang out with Anna and another cousin (who are turning 15). Another cousin is Anna’s age, but she’s dating a guy who just graduated from high school. The rising senior says he’ll miss having Will there, but he hangs out more with cousin that’s a college junior. Often they play golf during the vacation, without Will.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mid-Summer Classic

Watched the first eight innings of the ASG. McCann fouled out twice…once on a great sliding catch by Bautista in right. JJ, Kimbrel, and Venters pitched the 6th, 7th, and 8th, all back to back. The huge Padres closer relieved Venters, sprinting in from the bullpen, then stopping with a slide, tearing up the infield grass.

Felder hit a 3 run HR, Adrian Gonzalez a solo shot. Hunter Pence threw out a runner at the plate, and went first to third on a passed ball.

During introductions that weird Giants reliever Brian Wilson gave an extra weird wave, right into the camera. Then when David Ortiz was introduced, he executed the same wave.

Got a new bobblehead that I didn’t have before…another Bobby Cox.

David Norman left for California this morning, along with Jos, Isaac, and Kevin Howes. David was Facebooking every time they entered another state. They were in Mississippi before noon. Becky said they have to make it before a highway closes down.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

H O M E . R U N . D E R B Y

The home run derby got old fast, but it was interesting to get a more personal glimpse of so many players through the various interviews. You don’t get as much of this with the other sports. The derby could also not be drug out so much. Instead of 3 hours, they could easily finish in two or 2-1/2 hours.

Cano beat Adrian Gonzalez. Bautista fizzled, as did Rickie Weeks, Matt Kemp, and Matt Holiday. Captains Ortiz and Felder barely made it into the second round. Robinson Cano’s father held up well, pitching several rounds to his son and David Ortiz. Made for better TV. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina pitched to Holliday.

The celebrity softball game didn’t air until 11 pm, so I didn’t watch the whole thing. Knowing there weren’t announcers in the booth, the miced captains should’ve described the action more. For as long as Erin Andrews has been around, she should’ve known better. The Jonas brother (not Joe) played it too serious. Mild-mannered Lois Gonzalez robbed Rollie Fingers of a home run, but let two wiper-snappers cut in front of him to attempt diving catches.

Anna and Matthew played the Wii and watched a movie on DVD.

Bought two tires this morning at Claire’s favorite place, Tire Deals. The owner still records every purchase in his spiral notebook, but later I thought I saw a laptop computer. Might’ve just been his cash box. His prices have hardly changed in ten years. His help didn’t look too shady…I noticed a help wanted sign on the street.

We met with Colton’s dad about insurance. He wants Will to go to a weekend baseball clinic at the Citadel. Colton is playing for the East Cobb 16U Saints. Said the 18U Saints only lost to the ECB Yankees by one run.

Bought a realistic Tim Tebow Florida Gators jersey.

Monday, July 11, 2011

MLB Mid-Season Awards: Media Bias?

My thoughts on Sports Illustrated’s mid-season awards (runner-ups in parenthesis):

AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez (Jose Bautista)…Gonzalez could win the triple crown. Good for him! he’s wearing out the Green Monster. Bautista has captured the eye of America, despite playing in lowly Toronto.

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (Jared Weaver)…Verlander rented a plane to ferry his All-Star Tigers teammates to Phoenix…and the Royals rookie reliever Aaron Crow, who was leaving at the same time.

AL ROY: Michael Pineda, Mariners RHP (Jeremy Hellickson, Rays RHP)

NL MVP: Prince Felder (Matt Kemp)…should Brian McCann continue on his torrid pace and lead the Braves into the postseason, he will garner his share of votes…especially if Felder is traded to the American League. Dodger Kemp is helped by the media machine.

NL Cy Young: Cole Hamels (Roy Halladay): Jurrigans has more wins and fewer losses in three less starts…and a much better ERA. The complete games racked up by Halladay (6) and Cliff Lee (4) are impressive. Tommy Hanson should also be in the mix.

NL ROY: Danny Espinosa, Nationals 2B (Craig Kimbrel): Freddie Freeman’s recent hot streak has evened his stats with Espinosa, who will benefit from northeastern media bias. Statistically, the ROY will be won these last three months of the year. While the Nats wallow in 4th place, Freeman is batting cleanup for the Braves, owners of the League’s second-best record. Both play excellent defense.

Kimbrel shattered the rookie record for most saves by the All-Star break. He was also the fastest in MLB history to record 100 strikeouts, besting Stephen Stassburg. His save total could get him a few Cy Young votes. Should Espinosa and Freeman falter, Kimbrel could easily snatch the ROY (in fact, he won the midseason vote on




Phenom Bryce Harper went 0-4 in the Futures game. After demolishing Class A pitching, Harper was recently promoted to Class AA Harrisburg in the Eastern League. The furthest south Harrisburg plays is Richmond. Mentoring Harper’s move from center and right to leftfield is ex-Brave Tony Tarasco, Harrisburg’s outfield coach.

Nice to see Derek Jeter have a huge game to reach the 3000 hit mark, going five for five with a game-winning single to center. Also heart-warming for the fan who caught the 3000 hit (a home run) not demand anything in return for the ball. Nice that Jeter and the Yankees loaded him up, anyway. Coupled with the fan who caught Barry Bonds’ record-breaking home run ball, it’s interesting to see the big business of high-stakes instant memorabilia. Jeter is the fourth youngest to reach 3000, after Honus Wagner, Hank Aaron, and Robin Yount…the first shortstop since Wagner, and the first Yankee. Say what you will about Jeter, but he’s played his entire career in the Bronx pressure-cooker, winning more World Series (and getting more hits) than any player in his era.

Interesting that Beachy, Minor, and Guerrin are Buckhead roommates. The CPA doesn’t think Lowe will repeat his last September. Reid thought Fredi lost yesterday’s game with his choice of relievers. They only scored one run. Down several when Lowe tired, there was no need to waste the already overworked O'Flanery, Vinters, and Kimbrel. Tommy Hanson got the all-star shaft. I love his long hair.

Margaret’s baby shower was a small but fun gathering. The host Hurts (minus Margaret), Mark and Leah, Bob and Myra, Becky, and all the Ewings (Jim, Jimmy, Tyler, George, Margaret, and Will). Mary insisted some play the ‘Guess the Baby Food” game. Anna and Matthew joined in the fun. When George was blindfolded, Mark and Jimmy dumped Tabasco sauce in his baby food. At least we didn’t have to play the “Guess What’s in the Diaper” game (melted candy bars). The evening ran late, and then Mark’s SUV wouldn’t start. Sunday Haley sat behind us in the 9 am service.

Saturday’s trip to Macon was uneventful. That morning I checked my tires, since my ride has been rough lately. Sure enough, one was showing lots of metal. We drove the van to Macon, and also Sunday down to Passion. Will’s entire crew of counselors bussed down to PCC Sunday night, so we got to see him. The camp’s founder was also there. His kids used to attend Living Science.

Another Living Science parent passed away yesterday, after a long fight with cancer. Bill Donovan was Margaret and Patrick’s dad. Patrick, Will’s Crown teammate, always plays at 125%.

Between vacations I’m trying to work around the house. I want to get the woods cleared out some, and wash the gutters and garage doors…projects like that. Also put things on Craig’s List and eBay. I’m only making moderate progress. It would’ve helped had I trained for the Peachtree in the morning instead of after work. Last week I was too sore. I need to go to the doctor this week about my knee. Friday we leave for the beach.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Braves vs Phillies: NOT Do or Die

This weekend in Philly isn’t a make or break series, though some will tell you it is. Surely Kincaid has been downplaying it this week, but should the Phils sweep or take two of three, we’ll never hear the end of it next week.

It does seem like the Phillies do respect the Braves. After going on their recent run, creeping with 2-1/2 games of first place, it would be just like the Braves to get swept this weekend. I just hope they play well, which they often do against the Phils. It would be great to see Uggla have a big series.

As the trade deadline approaches “experts” like Kincaid will once again start saying the Braves need to add a piece to get them over the hump. And once again, I don’t think they do. The Braves could add an arm in the bullpen, but at what cost? Prado will be returning from the DL, Uggla is starting to hit, and Heyward, McLouth, and Shafer are getting back in the swing of things.

Freeman is pretty hot. If he keeps it up, he should be in the ROY competition. The press is still pushing the Nats 2B. His average is below .250, though his HRs and RBIs are up there.

I wouldn’t trade Beachy for Juan Pierre. Would you? Since the Braves don’t have any glaring needs, they should be dealing from strength, and not have to give away the farm. Should Chipper retire, any trade would hopefully bring a decent RH bat.

As always, I’m looking forward to Monday and Tuesday’s All Star festivities…even more so this year with all the Braves that will be there. Still, it’s doubtful I’ll hang onto every moment of the Derby and ASG. Will has gotten me into the ESPYs as well, but I’ll probably have to watch a repeat of that.

The local media is pushing for JJ to start, and his stats might have the edge. Having an all-Braves battery would be something, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

Did they make a big deal about Joe Mauer playing first base?

Last night co-worker Dialysis called, asking “did the Braves trade Uggla back to the Marlins?” He was watching the 2008 HR Derby. Minutes later Ceil excitedly texted: “Josh Hamilton has 26 homers, and only has 2 outs!” She fell in the same trap.

This week’s Sports Illustrated has great articles on Yogi Berra, retired seven-footers, the Major League movie, and the 71 Pirates 40th reunion. There’s a photo of Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Vann Lingle Mungo. As a kid, Ceil used to visit with him in SC before he passed away. I’ve been to his grave in Pageland. He was in the line of players behind Lou Gehrig during his “luckiest man” speech.

I’ll probably miss most of the Saturday game…we’re all going to Macon for the day. Tonight we’ll all be at the Hurts for Margaret’s baby shower, with most of the old Super Bowl crowd.

The Separation Between Church and Hate

...Will's notes from Andy Stanley’s July 3, 2011 sermon at North Point Community Church

It’s easier to make a point than to make a difference.

In the mid-80’s the Gay Pride parade route was intentionally altered to march past FBC Atlanta just as the morning worship service let out. FBC had taken the stance the homosexuality was sin. “Change and become like us, and then we’ll accept you” was apparently FBC’s view.

Andy (28) asked his father if he could preach on homosexuality. The place was packed, with members and visitors alike. A tape of the sermon is not available in the resource center.

FBC changed the service time and ushered worshipers out the back, hoping to avoid a confrontation. It didn’t work. People were hiding, peering through the bushes. Meanwhile, the church across the street handed out cups of cold water.

Jesus and Paul spent the most time with those they disagreed with the most. Though the theology of Jesus and the Pharisees was the same, their approach was different.

Jesus was not concerned with being judged guilty by association. By associating with sinners and tax collectors, the religious leaders thought Jesus was supporting them, and Rome.

Sometimes questions are asked that should not be answered. The Pharisees often questioned Jesus, trying to trap Him. “By whose authority did John baptize?” Jesus refused to be dragged into debates that distracted from the primary issues.

Colossians 4:5-6: Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity…full of grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt.

In the next 300 years Christians thrived because of their response to the plagues. Emperor Julian had promoted paganism. “The Christians are moral; they are just good people, and that’s hard to compete with. The Christians take care of their poor, and ours as well.” They didn’t make points. They made a difference.

Jesus and Paul did not judge non Christians, who are not bound by God’s Word. Paul walked through towns that were filled with idolatry. The people erected statues to every god they knew, and even to Gods they didn’t know.

.It would have been easy for Paul to make a point about idolatry being wrong…but the people would not have listened to him. Instead he talked about the unknown God (unknown to them). This way, some listened.

Matthew 5:14-16: You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify God who is heaven. Verse 17 talks about how the law should still be in order.

The purpose of the church is to tell the world that Jesus died for them. Love your neighbors. That’s how the nation can be changed.