Sunday, December 30, 2012

Braves First Basemen

The AJC reviewed notable Braves first basemen over the years. I decided to rate them offensively...


.305...44...121...Andres Gallaraga...1st yr in ATL
.305...34...111...Orlando Cepeda...1970
.301...1.000 OPS...Fred McGriff...2 years
.295...37...134...Mark year
.285...32...90...Adam LaRoche...2006
.282...21...76...Freddie Freeman...2010 rookie yr
.282...18...72...Chris Chambliss...1980
.281...19...62...Adam LaRoche...4 year avg
.258...10...47...Sid Bream...3 year avg
.246...41...104...Darrell Evans...1973

Friday, December 28, 2012

Running Errands

Sometimes when I'm running errands I count all the places I stop. Yesterday I left work at 11:30. Drove through the bank. Bought a nice pair of black Cole Hahn loafers, with Nike soles in Johns Creek. Stopped at the Post Office on Old Milton. Drove through the Alpharetta Taco Bell. Bought two tires at Tire Deals. After checking out a new store on Canton Road, I found a great pair of Ecco boots in East Cobb. Then I swung by the library before heading home. Including work, that was nine stops!

After taking a nap I took Matthew to his sleepover, and checked out TJ Maxx on the way home. Ceil and Anna went to Perimeter Mall, and I went to trivia. Big crowd…I knew 20 people there, including the Hurts and Joel Norman.

Will's girlfriend's family drove up to NYC from Cartersville. They're staying at their aunt in NJ. They're mainly there so see some shows and see the sights. It's Will, Mary-Clayton, her parents, and MC's brother (16) and sister (20). Yesterday Will toured Yankee Stadium and saw the musical "Once".

I stop by the stinky Kroger 3 or 4 days a week, it seems…picking up the things I eat…breakfast cereal, popcorn, etc, and mailer envelopes to send off eBay items.

Ceil was IKEA yesterday (or was it Wednesday?). She saw Louie Giglio (Passion's pastor). Also his wife.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Six Days of Eating Big

Last Thursday’s dinner at the Halls was fun. I left work and ran, then swung by the library. By the time I got home it was time to go. Will was in a hurry because he was leaving after making an appearance to go to trivia. Then two other kids decided to go to trivia as well. I wasn’t feeling great, but the men hung out and chatted in front of the TV: Grizzlies/Mavs and the Poinsettia Bowl. Supposedly light eating, but we had pigs & blankets, meatballs, spinach dip, chicken tenders, brownies, and other goodies. Stayed until ten, then I had to go fill up the van with gas, then pack.

Friday we had to pull of a Christmas miracle for EZGo. That filled up most of my day. I hadn’t been feeling great all day, and by the time Ceil and the kids arrived after four, I felt like I had the flu. Traffic up 85 was heavy. We stopped to eat at Moes on the other side of Greenville SC. Taking a short rest and getting out in the cool air helped me feel better. While they cashed in their Starbucks gift cards I walked over to Publix for Poweraide, so I was able to drive the rest of the way.

Saturday Ceil took her mother and the girls shopping up in Monroe, NC. Will went with the boys to Florence, SC to shop and eat. Mr. Miller, Matthew, and I ate at the Smokehouse, the local BBQ buffet. Good Brunswick Stew. All day I worked on my laptop, catching up with stuff. Saturday night we ate in downtown Jefferson, at the Golden Nugget. Ceil and Will had salmon, Matthew chicken tenders, Anna a chicken sandwich, and I had a burger. Went home and watched the Falcons impressive win. Enjoyed seeing Calvin Johnson have a big game and break the record. During the game I typed out 1900 words on my experiences carrying the Olympic Torch…one event that I’d never written about in detail.

Anna spent the night and went to church with her cousins in nearby Pageland. Will took his grandmother to her church. Afterwards we all had the Sunday buffet at the Golden Nugget. When Will was throwing the football with his cousin I took Barney outside and let him run around a leach. He loved it, running full speed sprints across the yard. He also found a lot to smell. Later I took Matthew to Monroe to look at old records, gas up the van, and get him some Taco Bell. Sunday night we went to the candle-lighting service at their Methodist Church. Right at the end of the service we all heard Ceil’s friend Jackie screamed, and ran out the door. Her son surprised her by returning from Iraq a week early. There was a delicious covered dish dinner, and Santa made an appearance for the kids. Will and Matthew went to a party with the guys, and Anna’s gang rented “People Like Us”.

Monday I spent the morning packing the van, going back and forth from the warm house to the chilly outdoors. At 12:30 we had 24 over for the traditional Christmas lunch, a day early. Since we were leaving, her cousin suggested we move it up a day. Ham, turkey, roast beef, chicken salad, shrimp, salad, pimento cheese, coconut cake, pecan pie, caramel cake, etc. The twelve children sang “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (at the end everyone applauded, and Barney jumped in the middle, barking). We hit the road at 2:20, made good time, and made it to Atlanta in time for Passion’s Christmas Eve service. I sneezed all the way home, so I drove Barney home, unpacked the van, rested for 30 minutes, filled the van with gas, and drove back to pick them up. Took Will up to Alpharetta to see MC’s family. At 10:30 C and M went to eat at Waffle House. I went to bed.

Christmas morning Ceil fixed breakfast, and we opened presents. Then Will left for Cartersville (and NYC). We drove to Macon for lunch with my family. Turkey, roast beef, pork chops, sweet potato soufflĂ©, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rice, spinach, cake, brownies, ice cream, pumpkin pie. Headed back after 7 pm. Halfway back the van started skipping, but today after I refilled the tank it started running better. C, M, and A stayed up late watching M’s new Psych DVD’s. Haven’t heard many reports from Will.

I slept in a little Wednesday morning, ran to Kroger and the Post Office, then came to work at noon. A lady brought in her leftover chocolate dessert, which was a nice treat. Ceil fixed hot ham and turkey sandwiches for dinner, along with guacamole.

For Christmas we received gift cards for movies and McDonalds, so we may have a family night out this week. I’m not that interested in the Hobbit. This Friday night Joel Norman is performing at land of a Thousand Hills.

Before Christmas

Another busy evening Tuesday night. I left work at 5:15 and didn’t get to run. Ceil took Anna to art, then went Christmas shopping. Will was helping out in Cartersville, and didn’t return until after I went to bed. I did laundry. Ceil came home with the rest of the lights, so the tree finally got decorated.

Last Wednesday night we had fun at Chili’s. After work I ran, and Anna had to babysit, so we didn’t get to the restaurant until after seven. After a chips & salsa appetizer, I had the chicken fajitas. Anna and Ceil had chicken quesadillas, Matthew had the ribs and soup, and Will had a California sandwich (turkey, ham, and guacamole). The Knicks/Nets game was on TV. Back home we watched the X-Factor, and Cheer Perfection.

Looking at the 2013 Braves schedule, its interesting how they’ve spread out the interleague games. I have a few games in mind already, but will continue to look and decide. Right now we’re going back to Destin and Myrtle Beach next summer. I’ll try to consult the Pensacola minor league schedule before selecting a date. I need to figure out what else we’ll do, and work on some other goals.

Bean’s replacement has started work, and she seems to be working out well so far. I’m having to train her, but she’ll be off the next two weeks (the Ogre’s decision).

Will made a B in English (tough teacher) and four A’s. Dean’s List!

Saw basketball Connor’s dad at the stinky Kroger. Connor is playing for a prep school in NC, though he’s not taking any classes. They’ve already played over twenty games, and Connor has been getting lots of playing time. They played the famous Oak Hill Academy. I think I saw a video of him dunking, on Facebook.

The Hawks seem to play better against the better teams.

Woe is Me

Written before Christmas week, to sort through my thoughts and to relieve stress.

When you live paycheck to paycheck, Christmas can be a discouraging time of year. Life is so busy. I wear myself out during the week. Sometimes during weekends I can be so discouraged, with all the things that need to get done, that I am not able to get very much done at all. Life is not at all like it was even ten years ago. We swim against the stream, trying to keep things simple, but that only works so much. It’s so hard to have time together as a family. To make demands sometimes just doesn’t work, when those you are making the demands of are incapable of performing the task. A dog cannot turn into a cat, no matter how much you yell at it.

Tuition. An unexpected weekend plumber bill, right before Christmas. A larger plumbing bill looming. One car needs new tires. The other tire has a broken wheel. Both need windshield wipers. Two leaky faucets and a shower in need of repair. Of moldy ceiling. Maybe that’s why I’m sneezing so much. Light fixtures need to be replaced in front, back, and inside and outside of the garage. Folding doors need to be fixed. The garage door opener is broken. The yard is weeds and mud, and trees need to be cut down. I need new glasses. Ceil needs dental surgery. Her wedding ring is broken. Matthew has grown out of all of his clothes. He and Anna have raided Will’s closet for his hand me downs. No money for Christmas presents. Having an out of tune piano is the least of my worries. And these financial issues are just the tip of the iceberg.

Will manages without a car, helps pay his own tuition, earns scholarships, makes the Dean’s List at Georgia, and applies to work a time consuming job to save on costs. With little money, Anna and Matthew don’t get to participate in extracurricular activities like their older brother did (or their friends). This is unfair. It hinders their development as individuals. There simply aren’t kids in the neighborhood for them to go out and play with. It’s so much more complicated than that. Anna babysits. Ceil is working extra at Veritas. This pays tuition, and provides a little extra money. Her time is filled running Matthew around to various appointments. Tutors. Orthodontists. Dermatologists. Ceil is worn out at the end of the day. Anna can get her license, but then our auto insurance goes up. I should’ve taken an extra Christmas job. Selling on eBay helps, but not much. Decorating for Christmas can be a chore. It’s one more thing.

For someone to suggest “why don’t you just…” without knowing our whole situation, is much more discouraging than helpful. It’s not worth trying to explain our situation to people who have a hard time understanding things from other people’s viewpoints. Many people are too wrapped up in themselves to be able to read these words and understand them. I am certainly that way. Lots of people can only accept having things their way. Otherwise feelings are hurt and walls are built. I may want to please everyone, but that is impossible. I can’t take care of my family, much less please several others. I don’t have time to write this down, but it helps me sort out my thoughts.

As a family we have made and communicated decisions. They may be right or wrong. There’s no use subjecting ourselves to abuse and being even more miserable when there are other options. We certainly struggle with this. Others may have forgotten these decisions, been blind to the reasoning, or not understood. At times these decisions are seemingly heart-breaking, but the reasoning is still sound.

I’m certainly not perfect. It’s easy to see why non-Christians can be turned off by observing self-professed Christians as they copy and post religious homilies on Facebook and email, then act completely the opposite to family members. With so much emotion involved, it is so hard to think before speaking.    

I do have so many things to thank God for. Despite the above, our family is so blessed. Looking around, we certainly aren’t the only ones with issues. Those around me may be frustrated as well, but we all see silver linings in the clouds. I will continue to trust in God, and do what is best for my family.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Torch Relay Part 1

My interest in the Olympic torch relay can be traced back to 1984. I happened to be driving down Peachtree Street near Colony Square when I passed the very small torch relay convoy, headed toward the Los Angeles Olympics. Little did I know the level of my future involvement.

Before the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Coca-Cola took applications for what was to be the largest torch relay ever. I carefully read the rules, and sent in an application. Actually, several applications. I figured that since interest in the 96 Olympics were highest in Atlanta, my chances of being selected were better in other places. So I applied wherever I knew people. Besides Atlanta, I applied in Macon, Jefferson SC, Tarkio Missouri, Auburn Indiana, and Winston Salem, NC.

Quite fortuitously, I was selected TWICE: in northern Indiana to represent Ceil’s cousin Dic Dac Rollins’ Auburn residence, and near Wake Forest University in Winston Salem. Auburn jumped on the bandwagon, including my name in an article in the local paper.

GARY, INDIANA: In early June Ceil and I packed our three year old son Will into our car and hit the road past Indianapolis, and on up to Auburn. I was able to tour Dic Dac’s new steel mill, Steel Dynamics. We drove to Gary in two cars, and I reported for duty with the other torchbearers.

Interestingly, my small group of torchbearers included another employee from my company. Ryerson brought along a photographer to capture the action. Later photographs were published both in the Ryerson company newsletter and the southeastern Tull Today magazine. After some shots were taken of me with the other employee, and with Ceil, Will, and the Rollins, we boarded the bus and we were on our way.

The bus traveled through Gary and fell in place with the multi-vehicle relay. Several motorcycles, decked-out Chevys, a media truck, and two other torchbearer busses made up the parade. Advance vehicles passed out small flags and pennants. The first bus dropped off the torchbearers one at a time, and the second bus picked them up after their run. Day after day for one hundred days and ten thousand torchbearers…all highly organized.

The sun was setting, and the relay was bathed in the glow of streetlights, the lights from all the relay vehicles, and flashing police lights. I was amazed at all the people lining the streets of Gary, cheering and waving. At stops our guide encouraged us torchbearers to step out and greet the onlookers. This was quite fun.

Finally it was my turn. The bus pulled up to where Ceil and her gang stood. Dic and Debbie’s daughter Hillary waved the torch relay flag, marking the drop off point. I stepped off the bus, holding my torch. An exuberant black lady stepped in to greet me. The Ryerson photographer snapped away. The official torch expert hopped off the back of a motorcycle to make sure my torch was turned on, and working properly. Things were starting to happen faster.

All set, I looked back down the street and watched as the torchbearer before me approached. He took his job seriously, with buzz cut hair and the sleeves of his white torch relay shirt cut off (against the torch relay regulations). The guy ran his quarter-mile fast, taxing the endurance of the two hefty policeman/escort runners trying to keep up.

Showtime. I stepped out into the street, turned on my torch (by twisting the base), and held it outstretched in the air. As the big escort runners caught their breath, Buzz Cut lit my torch with his. I smiled, turned, and took off in a trot. The photographer snapped a picture that would later appear on the cover of Tull Today. Dic Dac captured the moment on our videocamera.

My quarter mile run was relatively uneventful. I remember all the lights, the media truck in front of me, my escorts appreciative of my slower pace. I could’ve run faster, but I wanted to enjoy the moment. A moment that seemed to pass all too quickly. I ran to the base of the interstate bridge and lit the next torchbearer’s torch, and it was over. The torch man drained the remaining fuel from my torch, and I boarded the torchbearer pickup bus.

The rest of the evening was anticlimactic. As the last bus of the evening, by the time we reached the Gary torch relay celebration stage, we had missed the ceremony. Former Olympic gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, now husband and wife, were honored. Ceil and the Rollins drove back to Auburn, and I checked into a nearby hotel. The next day I toured Ryerson’s Chicago plant, drove around Chicago a little, and stopped by the Notre Dame campus in South Bend on the way back to Auburn.

Torch Relay Part 2

WINSTON SALEM, NC: Carrying the torch in Gary was one of the most memorable events in my life. But several weeks later I was able to do it all over again. For some reason I had a hard time receiving instructions for my second run in Winston Salem. In the age before the internet and cell phones, it wasn’t until we were on the way before I received the official confirmation…on a pay phone near Lake Oconee.

After driving to Jefferson, the next morning Ceil’s father and I drove up to Winston Salem. Ceil was eight months pregnant, and didn’t need to spend another long day in the car and out in the summer sun. We met the torch relay bus at Wake Forest, and I changed into my new uniform in the library bathroom. As it turned out, the bus guide was the same guy I’d met in Gary.

Unlike the nighttime run in Gary, the Winston Salem relay would take place at noon. It was a bright, sunny, cloudless, beautiful day. Since it was a weekday, there weren’t as many spectators on the streets. Mr. Miller had made his way to my drop-off point, but he was pretty much alone.

This torch transfer seemed to happen quicker in Winston Salem. The drop-off bus was right ahead of the torch, so I barely had time to say hello to Mr. Miller. The cast of characters was the same: same torch expert, same hefty escort runners. I took off running with the torch, ran around a curve to the right, and was greeted with a semi-steep hill.

The crowd was growing thicker, and I had no problem running up the hill. At the top of the hill the relay made a left toward downtown Winston Salem. The street was jammed with workers outside on their lunch breaks, all loudly cheering in the noonday sun. Sweet.

The guide on the torchbearer pickup bus had a familiar last name: Payne. Porter was the son of Olympic organizer Billy Payne. We talked the rest of the way.

Carrying the torch two times during the run-up to the 96 Olympics was something I will always remember and cherish. I wore my white torch relay outfit one more time: in the July 4th Peachtree Road Race. We were able to see the torch a few other times on its route. In July I took off work and drove Ceil and Will down to Callaway Gardens. I knew the torch relay was nearby, and made a short detour to see it. As we drove down the country two-lane, the torch passed us going the other way.

On the Friday afternoon of the Opening Ceremony the relay made its way south from the Roswell Square down Atlanta Street, crossing Azalea Drive and the Chattahoochee. We walked over from the Norman’s house, and were able to see all the vehicles slowly make their way down the hill. The road was so packed with spectators that the relay was barely able to pass. On the way back to the Norman’s, Steve led pregnant Ceil and I through the woods and over a fence back to the house.

That evening the torch relay culminated in Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium. Like me, swimmer Janet Evans carried the torch for a second time, then lit Muhammad Ali’s torch. At home, I was proud to have been part of history.

Torch Relay Part 3

2002 in HICKORY, NC. Six years later the Olympics returned to the United States. Coke made it harder to become a torchbearer, but did take applications for torch relay escorts. I was selected to participate in Hickory, NC. In advance of the February Olympics, the torch passed through Hickory in early December 2001.

I received my purple uniform in the mail: long-sleeve tee, warmup pants, zip-front pullover, stocking cap, and gloves. All quite nice. With the advent of the internet, I was able to follow the relay’s progress across the country.

On the day of the relay I headed out before sunrise and drove up I-85. We assembled at Dale Jarrett Ford in Hickory. The day was sunny, but chilly. I left the gloves and pullover in my car, opting to run in the long-sleeve tee. A good choice.

Each escort would run with three or four torchbearers. On the drop-off bus we went around and introduced ourselves. Each torchbearer had an inspirational story. One torchbearer did not show, and it was later announced that they had just passed away. It was unclear what would happen to their spot.

I got off the bus with a torchbearer, and soon we were on our way. Though I wasn’t the one in the white uniform carrying the torch, I was still able to soak up the experience. One of my torchbearers was the principal of the elementary school we passed. All his students lined the road, cheering him on. A very touching moment.

When my turn was over, I boarded the pickup bus. It was then that I realized I hadn’t asked one of the torchbearers to let me briefly hold the lit torch. At that moment, and even now, that hardly mattered to me. I was so happy to have been part of the experience.

The escort after me, a young girl, ran alongside the first torchbearer on her route. The second torchbearer was the absent one. Unbeknownst to the young escort, the plan all along was for her to carry that leg of the relay. Looking out the front window, we were witness to the excitement sweeping her face as the torch was handed to her. Later when she boarded our bus, we all gathered around and congratulated her.

When we returned to Dale Jarrett Ford, it was unclear what would happen to the escort’s torch. She eventually was able to purchase it. Had she not bought it, I was ready to write a check and add it to my collection. Even without it, participating in the relay remains a cherished memory.

That evening the relay stopped in Charleston. Later it came through Atlanta. Knowing the route, during lunch I drove some co-workers down Peachtree Industrial. Near Oglethorpe we saw a transfer point to wait at, but the relay was running behind schedule. We hopped back in the car and drove south down Peachtree. Near Lenox Square traffic stopped. I rolled down the window and saw Evander Holyfield run past, carrying the torch.

Two years later the Rome Olympic Torch Relay made a quick stop in Atlanta on Father’s Day weekend. Will and I were able to see it pass by Ansley Mall. To this day, tracking the torch relay is a fun, and personal, experience.

2012 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends,

Our family would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas. We hope you had a wonderful 2012. We all had another fun, busy year…mostly good, with just a few bumps along the way.

Matthew (14) continues to make strides as a student at the Veritas Academy. He loves being a part of Passion Students, attending summer camp with them in July at Daytona Beach. His highlight was having Switchfoot lead guitarist Drew Shirley swing him around in the air after their Chattanooga concert.

Anna turned 16, and attended her first prom. She makes great grades, and is active at Passion City Church. Her Sandy Springs art instructor says her work is the best in the class. In addition to the Daytona trip, Anna spent Spring Break at Seaside.

This fall Will (19) earned the Zell Miller Scholarship, then made Dean’s List his first semester at UGA. He was one of ten students selected to lead a national 4-H conference, ran a half marathon, led his baseball team to a third place finish in the national tournament, and was voted onto the All-American team for the second straight year. His catch of a home run at Turner Field was featured in the AJC and on  

Ceil’s highlight was a trip to Paris in May. She also visited her friend in Virginia, took several trips back to Jefferson, and helped out at Anna and Matthew’s school.

Dave enjoyed road-tripping to Will’s national tournament in Orlando, and playing trivia at the Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Shop. He celebrated his 25th work anniversary at Ryerson.

We also celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and enjoyed family vacations to Destin, Myrtle Beach, and the north Georgia mountains. In July we added a new family member: Barney, a fun-loving 80 pound Labradoodle who loves to sit in Ceil’s lap, ride in the car, and bark at animals on TV.

We hope your year was so blessed. Merry Christmas!


Friday night we ate at Moes, and decorated the tree.

Saturday Ceil cooked scones for breakfast. We decorated more, and cleaned up. W, M, and I raked leaves. Had to call a plumber for an emergency, who wasn’t pleasant. Saturday night Will and MC went to a party, and Ceil cooked spaghetti and meatballs.

Sunday Ceil cooked breakfast sandwiches. I put more on eBay. After Passion Church I cooked pancakes. Watched a good chunk of the Falcon game. I had expected the Giants to win, so now I think the Falcons could make a run deep into the playoffs.

Trained the new employee Monday, so I’m even busier. A vendor brought in goodies. Typical crazy Monday night for my family. Training went ok, but slow. I worked through lunch, and then until 5:30 pm. I still went running, finishing in the dark. Everyone else had already left the park.

C, W, and M had gone shopping after school, to the mall and then to Buckhead. Anna and her friends were going ice skating, but the rink on Mansell was closed. Instead they saw Red Dawn, ate at California Pizza Kitchen, and trolled North Point Mall. I stopped by Kroger, went home and ate, then drove over to pick up Anna. We arrived back home before Ceil.

Matthew ate, then went to sleep. C, A, and W watched a movie, and I watched MNF. I went to bed, but everyone else was running around making noise at 11:30, including the dog. When I woke up before 6 am I wanted to turn all the lights and make a bunch of noise, but then I thought I’d better not.

Christmas luncheon at work on Tuesday. I also ran over to the safe deposit box. Left work at 5:15 and didn’t get to run. Ceil took Anna to art, then went Christmas shopping. Will was helping out in Cartersville, and didn’t return until after I went to bed. I did laundry. Ceil came home with the rest of the lights, so now the tree is finally decorated.

Ceil was given a Chili’s gift certificate, so we’re going there tonight. Last year it was Outback, and the year before that Olive Garden.

How did UGA get so bad in basketball? Goodness. The Hawks will probably play better against the better team.

There was a Dick Stuart that played with the Pirates, whose nickname was Dr. Strangeglove. His rookie year was 1958, according to my Baseball Encyclopedia that I keep here on my desk. Hit 227 homers in 9 seasons, with a high of 42 in 1962. But the 42 came when he was playing for the Red Sox. A righty, he hit them over the Green Monster. Stuart hit one of the longest home runs ever in Atlanta’s old Ponce de Leon Park.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Confined to the Car

Didn't feel well all day on Thursday. Then I got dragged into a meeting that lasted all morning. Lunch at the Norcross Station was great, but the afternoon was busy.

Left work at five and drove over near Northside Hospital to make a pickup. Then traffic was gridlocked on the way home…got home around 6:40. Ceil cooked burgers. Joel Norman was over to pick up Will.

We left at 7:10 for trivia…I played with David and Charles Norman, and prep-school basketball star Connor Smith. Left the coffee house at 9:25 and drove over to the Gwinnett Arena to pick up Anna from the Jingle Jam concert. Left there at 11 pm and took Emily home to Milton. Saw five deer. Got a little lost, and didn't get home until after 12:30…over 5 hours in the car.

Trained a new employee Friday, so no free time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why Dale Murphy = HOF

Dale Murphy’s stats are just borderline HOF. Better than Bill Mazerowski, just less than Jim Rice. Maz’s candidacy was helped by hitting one of the greatest home runs in history. Rice had a surly personality. As a borderline case, playing in Boston tipped the scales in his favor. Andre Dawson and Murphy were undoubtedly the best two players in the 1980’s. Dawson is in, but not Dale. Not only was Murphy the most feared hitter, he also won a collection of Gold Gloves.

Many writers say that had Murphy played in New York, he would’ve been voted in years ago. Murphy’s son mentioned something I did not know: one of Dale’s MVP years was statistically all-around unequalled, in MLB history. Only a few players in history won back to back MVP’s, and they’re all in the Hall. Had Murphy retired earlier, after his knees gave out, his career stats would’ve looked better. Playing 162 games a season for five straight seasons (the seventh longest streak in history), wore out his body.

Dave O’Brien’s article this week was pretty good. One of the five criteria for enshrinement into the HOF is integrity. More than football or basketball, the baseball HOF takes this seriously…in the NEGATIVE sense. Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmiero, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens have been excluded. If the integrity clause is so important that it keeps so many of the game’s greats OUT of the Hall, one would think having unsurpassable integrity would be enough to put a borderline HOF player INTO the Hall. That was the crux of O’Brien’s argument.

In addition to not playing in New York, the Braves did not win a World Series during Murphy’s career. Like Ron Santo, this too took away from Dale’s resume.

If Maz, Rice, Santo, Tinker, Evers, and Chance are in the HOF, Dale Murphy certainly deserves to be as well. It’s doubtful he’ll be voted in this year, but I think down the road the Veterans Committee will vote him in.

The Eating Season

It’s the eating season here at work. Tuesday morning we had Goldberg’s bagels. Then for lunch we had sandwiches and salad from Panera Bread. Wednesday a vendor surprised us with sandwiches from Einstein Bagels. Next Tuesday we have our annual Christmas Luncheon.

Thursday our department is eating lunch at the Norcross Station CafĂ©. Located in the old train station in downtown Norcross, freight trains rumble past just a few feet from your table. Back in the good old days we would eat there all the time. I already know my order: chicken fingers, broccoli rice casserole, and apple & cranberry cobbler. Can’t wait.

Tuesday night Anna had art class, and Ceil had a meeting. Matthew and I had to go pick up Anna. Later I had to go get gas in the van. Saw some of both NBA games. Also the Cosby Show, which Matthew loves. Saturday night Matthew found out a longtime classmate is moving away, and Matthew was very sad.

Will’s last final was Wednesday. He comes home Thursday. He was asked to speak at Walton High School’s Young Life meeting Thursday, but I’m not sure he will be back in time.

Don’t tell Ceil where the Container Store moved. She loves it.

Ceil and I (and Anna and Matthew) have been sleeping later and later on Saturdays. We don’t need the dog to sleep in our room, because he is a heavy breather, and the tags on his collar jingle. At my age I have enough going on to wake me up at night, and don’t need any more distractions.

Bowl Predictions

After several years of poor results, I did my homework this year…by watching games all season, as well as studying the polls and spreads. I’ve mixed in a few upsets, though I usually stick with the favorites. I’ve included each team’s won-loss record, as well as their Saragin computer rating. Enjoy!

NEW MEXICO: #76 Nevada (7-5) vs. #29 Arizona (7-5), Dec 15 in Albuquerque
IDAHO POTATO: #64 Toledo (9-3) vs. #25 Utah State (10-2), Dec 15 in Boise.
POINSETTIA: #36 Brigham Young (7-5) vs. #50 San Diego State (9-3), Dec 20
BEEF O’BRADY: #60 Ball State (9-3) vs. #59 Central Florida (9-4), Dec 21 in St Pete

NEW ORLEANS: #88 East Carolina (8-4) vs. 63 Louisiana Lafayette (8-4), Dec 22
MAACO: #33 Washington (7-5) vs. #42 Boise State (10-2), Dec 22
HAWAII: #40 Fresno State (9-3) vs. #78 Southern Methodist (6-6), Dec 24. June Jones’ triumphant return to the islands will be spoiled by the Bulldogs.
LITTLE CAESARS: Western Kentucky (7-5) vs. #120 Central Michigan (6-6), Dec 26

MILITARY: #30 San Jose State (10-2) vs. #75 Bowling Green (8-4), Dec 27
BELK: #45 Cincinnati (9-3) vs. #79 Duke (6-6), Dec 27 in Charlotte.
HOLIDAY: #20 Baylor (7-5) vs. #18 UCLA (9-4), Dec 27. Should be one of the better games to watch. The Bears are known to come up big in games like this, and their fans can be on the obnoxious side. The Bruins sometimes lack a finishing touch.
INDEPENDENCE: #98 Ohio (8-4) vs. #62 Louisiana-Monroe (8-4), Dec 27 in Shreveport
RUSSELL ATHLETIC: #66 Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. #46 Rutgers (9-3), Dec 27
MEINEKE: #72 Minnesota (6-6) vs. #27 Texas Tech (7-5), Dec 27. Texas Tech should win, despite losing head coach Tommy Tuberville.

ARMED FORCES: Rice (6-6) vs. #107 Air Force (6-6), Dec 29.
FIGHT HUNGER: #74 Navy (7-4) vs. #23 Arizona State (7-5), Dec 29.
PINSTRIPE: #28 West Virginia (7-5) vs. #53 Syracuse (7-5), Dec 29 in NYC.
ALAMO: #15 Texas (8-4) vs. #12 Oregon State (9-3), Dec 29 in San Antonio.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS: #26 TCU (7-5) vs. #41 Michigan State (6-6), Dec 29 in Tempe.
MUSIC CITY: #69 NC State (7-5) at #31 Vanderbilt (8-4), Dec 29 on Vandy’s home field. SEC beats ACC once again.

SUN: #16 USC (7-5) vs. #65 Georgia Tech (6-7), Dec 31 in El Paso. Will either team play motivated football? USC has been playing lackluster football. Tech returns to the distant Sun Bowl for the second straight year, and has lost seven straight bowl games. Matt Barkley wants to show out for the NFL scouts, and with his talented receiving core should be able to outscore any number the Jackets put on the board. Could be another ugly Tech loss, or it could be a high-scoring track meet.
LIBERTY: #38 Iowa State (6-6) vs. #57 Tulsa (10-3), Dec 31 in Memphis. Should be a close game.
CHICKFILA: #11 LSU (10-2) vs. #24 Clemson (10-2), Dec 31 in Atlanta. Battle of the Death Valley Tigers.

GATOR: #32 Northwestern (9-3) vs. #39 Mississippi State (8-4), Jan 1 in Jacksonville.
HEART of DALLAS: #61 Purdue (6-6) vs. #14 Oklahoma State (7-5), Jan 1 in the Cotton Bowl Stadium
OUTBACK: #10 South Carolina (10-2) vs. #19 Michigan (8-4), Jan 1 in Tampa. Michigan played undefeated Ohio State close, but will be missing several players due to injuries.
CAPITAL ONE: #7 Georgia (11-2) vs. #22 Nebraska (10-3), Jan 1 in Orlando. Nebraska gave up 70 to Wisconsin, and Aaron Murray is licking his chops. The Bulldog defense will be wanting to regain their swagger after being humbled in the SEC Championship Game.
ROSE: #21 Wisconsin (8-5) vs. #8 Stanford (11-2), Jan 1 in Pasadena. The Badgers lost their coach.
ORANGE: #34 Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. #17 FSU (11-2), Jan 1 in Miami. Northern Illinois lost their coach. Their talented QB will find the Seminoles speed faster than anything he’s seen before. FSU has been known to come out flat in big games, including their last two. The game may be closer than the 14 point spread, but it’s doubtful Northern Illinois can off the upset.  

SUGAR: #4 Florida (11-1) vs. #52 Louisville 10-2), Jan 2 in New Orleans. The Gators on a team on a mission.
FIESTA: #3 Oregon (11-1) vs. # 5 Kansas State (11-1), Jan 3 in Tempe. Collin Klein’s college career will end on a frustrating note.
COTTON: #9 Oklahoma (10-2) vs. #6 Texas A&M (10-2), Jan 4 in Arlington. The Sooners lost a coach, and there will be no Heisman slump for Johnny Football.
COMPASS: #37 Ole Miss (6-6) vs. #58 Pittsburg (6-6), Jan 5 in Birmingham. The Panthers always show up in big games.
GODADDY: #55 Kent State (11-2) vs. #48 Arkansas State (9-3), Jan 6 in Mobile. Arkansas State lost their coach.
BCS: #2 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. #1 Alabama (12-1), Jan 7 in Miami. The Irish defense is similar to Georgia’s, but their offense isn’t as strong as the Dawgs. Bama is peaking at the right time, and should win decisively.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Roommates & Abodes

I've lived in twelve different places…

Vineville Avenue, Macon (1959)
669 Wimbush Road, Macon (1960 – 1970)
Kathryn Drive in north Macon (1971 – 1977)
Long Island Drive, Sandy Springs (1977 – 1978)
Tempo Trail Apartment, off Shallowford Road in Chamblee (1978 – 1979)
Baptist Center, 750 Techwood Ave, Georgia Tech (1979 – 1981 and 1982)

Peachtree Park Apartments, Buckhead (1981 – 1982)
Goldsboro Road Apartment, near Little 5 Points (1983)
The Hubcap, Greenwood Ave near Piedmont Park (1983 – 1986)
627 Hillpine Drive, in Morningside (1987 – 1993)
East Cobb (1994 – present)

My roommates along the way…

1. Aunt Martha Wayt…Long Island Drive
2. Wayne Smith…Tempo Trail (FB)
3. Don Sells…Tempo Trail (FB)
4. Mike Kirkland…Tempo Trail (LI)
5. Wayne Price…Tempo Trail (FB)
6. Mike Jackson…Baptist Center (FB)
7. Tennis England…Baptist Center
8. Bill Headley…Baptist Center (FB)
9. Tom Leuze…BSU, Hubcap, Hillpine (FB)
10. Jeff Yearwood…Peachtree Park (FB)
11. Warren Hammonds…Peachtree Park
12. Eddie Parker…Peachtree Park
13. Jim Johnson…Little 5 Points (FB)
14. Lindsay McKinley…Little 5 Points
15. Brett Freemon…Greenwood Ave (FB)
16. Keith Harp...Greenwood Ave (FB)
17. Curt Shaw…Greenwood Ave (FB)
18. Billy Brundage…Greenwood, Hillpine (FB)

Hard to remember, but I'm pretty sure that I was in the following ten weddings: Mike Jackson, Tom Leuze, Jeff Yearwood, Warren Hammonds, Jim Johnson, Brett Freemon, Don Lott, Curt Shaw, David Walker, and David Hurt.

My mother went to North Fulton, and grew up at the house on the corner of Peachtree and Stratford Road, that eventually became the Christian Scientist Church. Her Uncle John Wayt Senior lived a few houses down Stratford. My grandmother eventually moved to a house further down Stratford…I think it was across the street from Mr. Key's house. Grandmother's house was eventually torn down when GA 400 was built. She moved to a Pharr Court high-rise just behind Brio, then later to the high-rise at the corner of Peachtree and Lindbergh. My grandmother was a charter member of Peachtree Presbyterian.

Last night on Costas, John McEnroe was talking about how he hated losing Jeremy Lin. Then he acknowledged that the Knicks were doing well without him. Charles Barkley was on Costas as well. Costas said it would be interesting if McEnroe announced a NBA game, and Barkley called a match at Wimbledon. Both liked the idea.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon

Thursday night Ceil was exhausted after working for two straight days, plus carting Matthew around to several appointments. I drove her up to get Trader Joes frozen Orange Chicken dinner…Matthew’s favorite. Watched X Factor and Elf. Anna went out to Lawrenceville to crate up Operation Christmas Child boxes. She spent the night at Brittany’s. Friday morning I dropped off her school books.

For lunch Friday I had leftover roast beef, from our Wednesday night dinner. Friday night Ceil was waiting for her homemade pizza dough to rise, so she and Matthew went to the dollar movie. She cooked the pizza when she got home, and we didn’t eat until 10 pm. Took leftover pizza to work today. Then I had to drive over to Peachtree Corners to pick up Anna.

Saturday Ceil cooked cinnamon rolls for breakfast. After cleaning upstairs I took Matthew out looking for something to wear to his Christmas party. Finally found a fun vest at the fifth store we went to. By the time we got back home it was time to take his to his party, in Alpharetta. Drove back home, but later I had to go back and pick him up. Got home just in time to watch the Heisman presentation.

Sunday I finished cleaning upstairs and worked on my eBay for a while. Ceil cooked burgers for lunch. When it was time to go to church Ceil realized that Will’s care package had to be taken over to our friends, for them to deliver. That meant me. It was good I didn’t go to church, because I started sneezing at 1:30, and stayed really sick until I went to bed. I didn’t get into the Falcons game. I like the Giants but not the Saints, so I watched other shows. Later I watched the ESPN bowl special.

Felt weak this morning, but was better by noon. Had several customer emergencies, and also problems with our phone lines and computer network.


From: Dylan
To: David & Ceil
Subject: Anna Watercolor
Sent: Sat, Dec 8, 2012 1:11:16 AM
Hi David and Ceil,

I just wanted to tell you how exceptional Anna did with watercolor. Watercolor is said by many to be the most difficult medium and many people try it in my class and decide out of frustration that it's not for them because it's too hard. I believe her ability to handle the medium is as good and better than many people who have done watercolor for months or even years.

If she has the time, she is welcome to keep coming this new session for no cost. There is extra room in the Tuesday night class.



Best Bowl Matchups

In the pursuit of revenue, college bowl games will always match nearby teams that travel well over a pairing of the highest possible teams. What follows is a ranking of the bowl games based on the lowest combined BCS ranking of the two teams. After ranking all bowls that included at least one team ranked in the BCS, the rest of the bowls are ranked based on the teams combined Saragin ranking.

This year the Chickfila Bowl boasts a higher ranked matchup than the Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls. In fact, only the Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and BCS National Championship Game. The Cotton Bowl is played at Jerry-World in Arlington, and continues to give the Chickfila Bowl stiff competition for the best non-BCS bowl game. The poor Gator Bowl’s matchup ranks below the Alamo, Holiday, and Maaco Bowls. The first bowl game to be played this season, the Idaho Potato Bowl, boasts a team ranked in the BCS.

Since the BCS only ranks the top 25, the rankings for each team below is the Saragin Computer Ranking.

1. BCS: #2 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. #1 Alabama (12-1), Jan 7         
2. FIESTA: #3 Oregon (11-1) vs. # 5 Kansas State (11-1), Jan 3
3. COTTON: #9 Oklahoma (10-2) vs. #6 Texas A&M (10-2), Jan 4
4. CHICKFILA: #11 LSU (10-2) vs. #24 Clemson (10-2), Dec 31
5. CAPITAL ONE: #7 Georgia (11-2) vs. #22 Nebraska (10-3), Jan 1
6. SUGAR: #4 Florida (11-1) vs. #52 Louisville 10-2), Jan 2
7. ORANGE: #34 Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. #17 FSU (11-2) Jan 1
8. OUTBACK: #10 South Carolina (10-2) vs. #19 Michigan (8-4) Jan 1
9. ROSE: #21 Wisconsin (8-5) vs. #8 Stanford (11-2), Jan 1
10. ALAMO: #15 Texas (8-4) vs. #12 Oregon State (9-3) Dec 29

11. HOLIDAY: #20 Baylor (7-5) vs. #18 UCLA (9-4) Dec 27
12. MAACO: #33 Washington (7-5) vs. #42 Boise State (10-2) Dec 22
13. GATOR: #32 Northwestern (9-3) vs. #39 Mississippi State (8-4) Jan 1
14. IDAHO POTATO: #64 Toledo (9-3) vs. #25 Utah State (10-2) Dec 15
15. MILITARY: #30 San Jose State (10-2) vs. #75 Bowling Green (8-4)
16. GODADDY: #55 Kent State (11-2) vs. #48 Arkansas State (9-3) Jan 6
17. BUFFALO WILD WINGS: #26 TCU (7-5) vs. #41 Michigan State (6-6)
18. HEART of DALLAS: #61 Purdue (6-6) vs. #14 Oklahoma State (7-5)
19. SUN: #16 USC (7-5) vs. #65 Georgia Tech (6-7) Dec 31
20. PINSTRIPE: #28 West Virginia (7-5) vs. #53 Syracuse (7-5) Dec 29

21. POINSETTIA: #36 Brigham Young (7-5) vs. #50 San Diego State (9-3)
22. COMPASS: #37 Ole Miss (6-6) vs. #58 Pittsburg 6-6) Jan 5
23. LIBERTY: #38 Iowa State (6-6) vs. #57 Tulsa (10-3) Dec 31
24. FIGHT HUNGER: #74 Navy (7-4) vs. #23 Arizona State (7-5) Dec 29
25. MEINEKE: #72 Minnesota (6-6) vs. #27 Texas Tech (7-5) Dec 27
26. MUSIC CITY: #69 NC State (7-5) at #31 Vanderbilt (8-4) Dec 29
27. NEW MEXICO: #76 Nevada (7-5) vs. #29 Arizona (7-5) Dec 15
28. RUSSELL ATHLETIC: #66 Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. #46 Rutgers (9-3)
29. HAWAII: #40 Fresno State (9-3) vs. #78 Southern Methodist (6-6)
30. BEEF O’BRADY: #60 Ball State (9-3) vs. #59 Central Florida (9-4)

31. BELK: #45 Cincinnati (9-3) vs. #79 Duke (6-6) Dec 27
32. NEW ORLEANS: #88 East Carolina (8-4) vs. #63 La Lafayette (8-4)
33. INDEPENDENCE: #98 Ohio (8-4) vs. #62 Louisiana-Monroe (8-4)
34. ARMED FORCES: Rice (6-6) vs. #107 Air Force (6-6) Dec 29
35. LITTLE CAESARS: W Kentucky (7-5) vs. #120 Central Michigan (6-6)