Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thrift Store Recap: March-June

navy Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear golf shirt
green Masters golf shirt
blue check dress shirt
blue dri-fit T-shirt. I needed other colors besides black
black dri-fit T-shirt
red Brooks running pullover. So I can be seen while running in the dark.
navy Abercrombie wool sweater
navy New Balance 993 running shoes, to go with my grey and black pairs
blue/grey Nike warm-up pants. I have black warm-ups, and needed a nice dark blue pair.
Crocs Athens flip flops. I wear them every day
black Nike backpack. Nice. To take to Braves games, etc. My old backpack was torn up.
Manny Sanguillen bobblehead
Rafael Furcal bobblehead
three Oregon football jerseys to sell on eBay
Utah Jazz Andre Kirilenko jersey to sell on eBay
navy Cubs Cooperstown Collection jersey to sell on eBay
autographed Yogi Berra book. I will read, then sell on eBay
Anne Rice book: Christ the Lord
Steve Martin book: Shopgirl
Italy soccer jersey for Matthew
Honduras soccer jersey for Matthew
CD’s for Matthew: REM, Beatles, Beach Boys, Jonas Brothers, Relient K
Skateboard for Matthew
Wicker Basket for Ceil

The eBay items will more than pay for all the other purchases.

Thrift Store Blitz

On vacation I figured out something that would be fun to get, so I’m trying to hit all the nearby thrift stores this week. I’m about halfway through the list.

1. America’s Thrift Store Marietta
2. Atlanta Union Mission Roswell…Friday
3. Atlanta Union Mission Marietta
4. B&R Thrift – Sandy Springs…Sunday
5. Buckhead Goodwill…Sunday
6. Dunwoody Goodwill…Sunday
7. Duluth Goodwill…next Monday
8. East Roswell Goodwill…Thursday
9. Johns Creek Goodwill…Wednesday
10. Kennesaw Goodwill…Sunday
11. Marietta Goodwill…this weekend?
12. Norcross Goodwill…Monday
13. Roswell Goodwill…Friday
14. Sandy Springs Goodwill…Sunday
15. Shallowford Goodwill…Tuesday
16. Woodstock Goodwill…Tuesday
17. Park Ave East Cobb…this weekend?
18. Park Ave Roswell…Thursday
19. Park Ave Woodstock…next Tuesday
20. Salvation Army Duluth…next Monday
21. Salvation Army Roswell…Friday
22. Value Village Marietta…this weekend?
23. Value Village Roswell…Wednesday

One store had something close, but I held off. Wrong size.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Walk off at the G-Braves

I was hit and miss with the Braves last week. Sounds like I didn’t miss much. Still a six game lead.

Saturday afternoon I drove out to see the Gwinnett Braves. Got there early and walked around. Saw “Crazy Darrell”, the fellow who attends every game at Turner Field, usually in full uniform. He’s the one who is always smiling at Mark Lemke, and Lemke always messes with Darrell. Darrell got a kick out of being recognized, and he gave me a hug and bumped fists with me. Read my Grisham paperback while standing in line waiting for the gates to open.

On a rehab assignment, the Nationals Danny Espinosa played shortstop and batted second. Late in the game ex-Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings blooped an opposite-field pinch-hit double down the right field line…much to the delight of a full section of family and friends sitting not far from the Syracuse Chiefs dugout.

Luis Avilan pitched well in the eighth. With a 7-5 lead, Corey Rasmus came in to pitch the ninth. He quickly gave up a walk, line drive single, and a three-run home run to blow the save. Later he gave up another single before retiring the side. But in the bottom of the ninth centerfielder Todd Cunningham led off with a single, then Joey Terdoslavich swatted a walk-off home run to win the game. It was Terdoslavich’s third hit (and second home run) of the game. A lefty, Joey deserves a September call-up to provide added pinch-hitting depth.   

So after allowing four of the seven batters he faced to reach base (and three to score), Corey Rasmus earned a blown save AND was the game’s winning pitcher.

Back home, Ceil watched the last few innings on TV. Alyssa’s family went over to the game in Rome.

Sunday I traded for a BJ Upton bobblehead, to go with my G-Braves Heyward bobblehead from Saturday’s game. Wednesday I stumbled across a Pirates Manny Sanguillen bobblehead.

Pitch Counts & Tommy Johns

Earlier in Tuesday night's game the Royals had a runner on third. The infield came in, and 3B Chris Johnson fielded a grounder and threw home. Johnson eventually tagged out the runner, so he did not score. The batter made it to second, and he scored on a single up the middle. Had the runner at third had not run on the grounder to third, he would've scored on the single up the middle.
The ninth inning runner didn't score because it was an above average pitcher on the mound: Craig Kimbrel.
The pitch count difference between now and yesteryear is directly related to another difference: player salary. There have been numerous articles agreeing with your point of view, saying that pitchers are coddled too much. Texas Rangers owner Nolan Ryan has directed his team to let pitchers go deeper into games. A recent top draft pick from UCLA had said he would not sign with a team unless they let him throw as much as he wanted. He made it to the majors with Arizona, but this off-season was traded to Cleveland (I think). Managers and pitching coaches are slow to change. Earlier this season when O'Flaherty and Venters (and other Braves' relievers) were hurt Fredi made a point to letting his starters pitch deeper into games.
Many wonder if overuse had to do with the injuries suffered by O'Flaherty and Venters. A more likely culprit is their pitching motion, which is similar to Stephen Strasburg's, who also succumbed to Tommy John surgery.  
Had to take Matthew to his small group last night. While I waited I ran into a friend at a store, and talked to him for a long time. After I picked up Matthew we made several stops on the way home, including Taco Bell. Back home I turned on the Braves game. Anna had art class, and Ceil and Matthew went to Michaels and Publix. I tried to do some work on the computer, but was worn out from a headache I'd had all day.

Minivan's Last Days

Back at work, after several days of being constantly on the go.

Wednesday night when we returned from the 33 mile trip up to Holden Beach NC to eat dinner, I noticed the van was running hot. Thursday I woke up early and was going to take it to be repaired when I realized that I could check the coolant level. Then I drove to WalMart for antifreeze, put it in, and drove around for awhile. Problem solved. But I did notice the van was having trouble cranking. Ceil had the same problem Thursday evening.

Friday morning I got up early again. I cranked the van, and remembered it sounded back while idling. Then I saw the check engine light was on, so I left the van at Firestone. Walked the three blocks to the ocean, then walked back to the condo…two miles total. Ate breakfast, helped Phil put up the tents on the beach, played on the computer some, then started packing up. Picked up the van at 1 pm, loaded it up, and left for Atlanta at 3:33 pm. Van ran well, and we made it all the way to Augusta before stopping at Moes to eat. Stopped by work to get my car, and made it home shortly after 11 pm.

Wanting to sell the van, on Saturday I took it to the carwash to get the emissions tested. They cleaned the car inside and out, and tested the battery (It needed to be replaced, but it was over five years old). Back home I cleaned the van: wax, shampooed the carpets, etc. By Sunday night my back was hurting.

Sunday afternoon I traded for a BJ Upton bobblehead and took Matthew to Passion (Anna was coming from a sleepover). Watched the Braves and Nik Wallenda’s walk over the Grand Canyon.       

Matthew had a better time than usual at the beach. His older cousins accepted him more this year, and he went on shopping trips and fix in better while sitting with them at meals. His grandmother bought him several new outfits, that he enjoyed wearing when we went out to eat. Matthew would come out to the beach once a day, and we’d go out in the ocean for our swim. Then he would disappear back to the room. He cooked himself quite a few grilled cheese sandwiches.

I was just talking to Coach O’Leary’s daughter Chris about Ralph Sampson’s son. Her dad recently ran into Bobby Cremins, who loves his no-pressure fund-raising job at Tech. That reminded Chris of how Bobby Cremins bought her first car. O’leary and Ralph Freidgen were golfing with Cremins and his assistant Kevin Cantwell. Cremins kept losing bets, and kept doubling the bets trying to get even. Cantwell was horrified. Cremins lost big time, and O’Leary bought his daughter a car with his winnings.

The Sexton book arrived on June 14. Ceil was packing the car, but left the package at home. So I didn’t get it until we got back from the beach. I have thumbed through it, and will start on it soon. I’m enjoying Grisham’s A Painted House so much, that I want to finish it.

“Proof of Heaven”…I have that one on my list to read. Interesting that it is too scientific. Some people in the church aren’t crazy about books like “Proof”, but I have read three so far. I remember that you read Heaven is For Real. I read some of my Tim Wakefield book, which I had never finished. I was all worked up last night because of a huge problem some co-workers in North Carolina created. Back in April I told them I would help, but they wanted to mess it up themselves. I’ve already spent five hours on it.

On the way home Monday I stopped by Kroger. Had a nice chat with The Chief, the guy that goes to all the Braves games dressed as an Indian. Ceil went out with the girls. I looked on line at car prices, then went to bed early. Tuesday morning I got a new battery for the van. Tonight I’ll put it up for sale.

Bonefish Bunch

Tuesday morning Ceil and I went for a walk on the beach. She loves to look for shells. That is one thing better about the Atlantic: More seashells. Matthew came out and we went out in the waves with Anna and her cousins. Dic Dac had an interesting book: A Walk in the Woods, a humorous book about hiking the Appalachian Trail. I read 40 pages. Dic Dac says he will let me read it when he's finished. Then I read The Street Lawyer and am already 200 pages in. Went up to the room and ate a chicken salad sandwich and peach ice cream. Back on the beach I got updates on the first Braves game.
At one point I was standing on the beach talking to someone. I was pawing in the sand with my foot, and I felt something rubber-like. I dug down and found a football buried in the sand. For the third straight day I was one of the last from our group off the beach, at around 6:30. We had 8 pm reservations at Bonefish, and we had 19 in our party. Last year our service took forever, and we didn't get out of there until after 10:30. This year the service was much better. I had the Cobb Salad, with grilled chicken. Got back to the room and had to work on the focus group thing I had signed up for.

I did see where those 680 guys got fired. Steak Shapiro pretty much started that station. Ever watch him on Atlanta Eats, his restaurant show on Saturday mornings? You would like it. I hear there is a third sports talk radio station now, but I have never tuned it in yet.

The Millers are into the College World Series, so that is what is always on the main TV. I had seen where there was a rain delay. When I was going to bed Monday night I turned on the Braves game in our room. It was after 11 pm and it was still early in the game, so I turned it off.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Life's a Beach

Every day my father in law cooks eggs, grits, and bacon for breakfast, so every day I eat a bacon egg and cheese on toast sandwich. Sunday morning I got up at nine and went for a run. Got out on the beach and stayed all day, except for coming in for for lunch: leftover spagetti. Didn't read too much on the first day, but I did start Grisham's The Street Lawyer. KFC for dinner, and after the US Open ended I got to watch the Braves beat the Giants on Sunday Night Baseball.

Zane, Phil's oldest, brought his two Columbia roomates. They provided entertainment on the beach, always on the lookout for girls. They ran into South Carolina QB Connor Shaw at a nearby nightclub. The roomates chatted up some nearby girls. Later a male beachgoer had lost a bet and had to walk down the beach wearing a red, white, and blue  Speedo swimsuit. When the poor guy walked past the nearby girls, they stopped the Speedo guy to get thier pictures taken with him.

After breakfast Monday I went out on the balcony and finished reading The Third Bullet. Ceil and Matthew had come up sick on Friday, and both slept until noon. I went out on the beach, where it was cloudy most of the day. Anna and cousins Jordan and Victoria drove to Bass Pro Shop to get trendy Columbia fishing shirts. Matthew came out and we went swimming in the ocean. Read over 100 pages of The Street Lawyer.  Lunch was more leftover spagetti. Monday night Ceil's mom took Ceil, Anna, Matthew, Jordan, and Victoria out shopping, so Mr. Miller and I picked us up Chickfila sandwiches.

This summer Will's cousin Ben is working at his aunt's seafood restaurant in Holden Beach, NC. Says the work is much harder than his duties as a student manager for the Clemson football team. Isn't able to save much money (even though he's making decent money) because he's spending so much on rent and food. Sunday Ben texted a detailed list of ingredients he wanted his grandfather to buy so Ben could make the restaurant's cucumber salad. Then Ben took the salad out out the beach for everyone to taste. Ben isn't the only grandchild that cooks: Monday Anna cooked lunch for her cousins. Matthew has taken to cooking chicken wings. Monday he cooked up his own grilled cheese sandwich. For many years Will has both shopped for and cooked family dinners, grilled burgers and other meats, cooked casseroles, and helped his grandfather in the kitchen.

Upcoming food: homemade peach ice cream, the Bonefish Grille, Stephens Seafood restaurant, homemade chicken salad, boiled peanuts, and Provisions Seafood Restaurant in Holden Beach NC.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

2013 Beach Crowd

1. Dave
2. Ceil
3. Anna
4. Matthew
5. Bubba
6. Joan
7. Rusty
8. Kelly
9. Ben
10. Katherine
11. Jordan
12. Ben's girlfriend
13. Phil
14. Tersa
15. Zane
16. Beau
17. Victoria
18. Zane's roommate Kenny
19. Zane's roomate
20. Dic Dac
21. Debbie
22. Grant
23. Jeff
24. Jeff's wife
25. Debbie's mother
26. Larry
27. Susan
28. Slade
29. Hart
30. Baby Ryn
31. Jane
32. Honey
33. Honey's wife
34. Billy
35. Stephanie
36. Gracie
37. kid two
38. Georgia
39. Rusty Ingram
40. Rusty's wife
41. Rusty's daughter Kirby
42. Rusty's son in law
43. Rusty's grandbaby
44. Monte
45. Monte's wife
46. Stone
47. kid two
48. Monte's father
49. Uncle David R Webb
50. Wade
51. Shelia
52. Joy
53. Lennie
54. Corrine
55. Grandparent
56. Grandparent
57. Grandparent
58. Grandparent
59. Mattie
60. Ansel
61. Ben's friend
62. Ben's friend's sister
63. Deb's dad
64. Darlene
65. Tanner
66. Janice
67. Don
68. Russell
69. Roger P
70. Preston
71. Preston's friend
72. Stephanie's mother
73. Lindsey
74. Corey

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Burning the Candle

Killer week at work: ten hours Monday and Tuesday, 13 hours Wednesday and Thursday (until 9 pm), and another ten hours on Friday. Most days were spent putting out fires and handling emergencies, then after 5 pm I finally got to do my normal job. But I did so much that perhaps there won't be too much to do for the next few weeks.

Thursday night I ran by Target and worked on an on-line focus group, so I didn't get to bed until 1 am. Got up at six on Friday, got to work at seven, and worked straight through to five. After taking some pictures at Publix, Ceil didn't pick me up at work until quarter til eight. Picked up Chickfila for supper. Traffic was bumper to bumber all the way to Clemson. There I bought gas for $3.089. Didn't get to Jefferson until 1 am. Stayed up until 3 am working on the focus group.

Matthew and Ceil aren't feeling too good. Saturday morning I spent several hours packing the cars. Ate lunch in Hartville at Wendys with Rusty & Kelly and Phil & Teresa. Unpacked the cars in four trips, thanks to the hotel-type luggage cart. Ceil and Anna went clothes shopping with Ceil's mother's credit card. Ceil's dad and Matthew went grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. I watched the US Open and the Braves come from behind win over the Giants. Also read a good chunk of The Third Bullet. Almost finished. Ceil's dad cooked spagetti with some good meat sauce for supper.


Matthew and Will came home late last Saturday afternoon. Ceil cooked stuffed manicotti shells. I did Will’s laundry, cleaned house, watched the Braves (and the movie Safe Haven, which was good). Also cleaned out the garage, which had flooded more than usual. Got more work to do on that.

Tuesday night I worked until 6:50 pm. Ran by the library on the way home. Almost checked out the RA Dickey book. Ceil had run up to Dick Blick to buy supplies for Anna’s art class. Matthew was at a sleepover, and Anna at a Bible Study. Ceil and I walked in the door at Moxie Burger at 8:57. Their kitchen closes at 9 pm, so we just made it. I had a plain burger and Ceil a chicken sandwich. Very good.

Stayed up later than normal playing on the computer while the Braves game was on. Researched the Braves’ 1986 season. I have another twenty years (and days, at one per day) to go.    

My boss has been on diets a couple of times over the years. A few years ago he lost 60 pounds. Right now he has lost over 30 pounds on his current diet. Every day for lunch he eats grilled chicken and lettuce…even if he goes out on a business lunch.

Ceil LOVES beef. Says she’s tired of chicken. Lean beef isn’t too bad…I need all the protein I can get. Usually I am subject to what she fixes. She loves to make homemade pizza or burritos, but all she eats is one piece of chicken or a burrito salad. Of course, I’m the one not training hard enough for the Peachtree.

There a burger and fries joint up in north Roswell/Alpharetta called Burgerfi. The photos look good…may be a good place to take Claire’s brood. Anna went last night with Caroline Hargreaves, then spent the night at her house. I haven’t been to Burgerfi, but I’ve heard a couple of good reports. Matthew likes the IKEA hot dogs. At least they’re only 50 cents, because they are not special.

If LeBron and the Heat are good enough to blow out the Spurs in Game Two, why did they lose games one and three? But the more I read, it seems LeBron is eclipsing MJ as an all-around PLAYER. James still has a ways to go to pass Jordan as a winner and competitor. Of course, I am far from being an expert. Another thing: LeBron’s shoes are uglier than Michael’s.

Trick Shot Titus

Have you seen the YouTube Videos of Trick Shot Titus? Google him if you haven’t seen him. He is a two-year old basketball shooting machine from Kansas. His dad made a video that went viral on YouTube.

Jimmy Kimmel had him on the show, and Titus beat Kimmel in a 45 second contest. A month or so later Titus went back on Kimmel and beat Shaq 8-0. For 30 seconds Shaq missed every shot he took.

Anna like the Jimmy Kimmel three “Baby Bachelor” videos, which are also on YouTube. Kimmel filmed his young nephew, dressed in a tux, in the format of the Bachelor shows. The girls that were picked were given toy dinosaurs.

Speaking of viral videos, Joel Norman’s music video has over 45,000 hits. Sunday night I gave Joel the pair of blue canvas Pumas that I rarely wear.

Good Sports Illustrated article arguing that the best hitter should bat second instead of third. And we keep seeing Tweets on how poorly the Braves’ second spot in the order has fared statistically, thought Heyward is showing somewhat of a resurgence. Not sure I’d want Justin batting second: I’d rather stick with Heyward.
Jason, Justin, BJ, and Uggla have all shown signs of life lately, putting the ball in play more than striking out. I laugh when people say Gattis is cooling off, as if they expect him to continue his torrid pace over the course of a season. When his .750 pinch hitting average goes down they will wonder what went wrong. The same thing will happen to Puig of the Dodgers.
Good to see Lang tweeting about the Braves. Will David Wright pick Gattis to be in the home run derby?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Matthew was named Most Courageous Camper last week at Camp Highland, and accepted the award from Will (above). He seemed to have a good time. I think they really try to get the campers out of their comfort zones and try things (high ropes course, zip lines, etc) that they might not do without encouragement. Saw lots of photos of M wiping out on the inner tube, towed by a boat, and whitewater rafting. Photos of Will whitewater rafting while wearing his Oakley sunglasses, and holding onto TWO inner tubes while being towed at high speed.

Today the Ogre brought in Mellow Mushroom for lunch, to celebrate co-worker Tim's impending nuptials.

A week or so ago I was messing with GoodReads on my phone. I think I accidentally sent a friend request to every Facebook friend who is also on GoodReads. That was not my plan, but I do have several new friends. I don't like updating GoodReads on my phone because I don't want it to update Facebook.

Before last night's game someone was gushing about Teheran, saying they hoped he did ok without Laird catching. I replied that pitchers had greatly complimented Brian McCann's ability to call a good game after his major league debut so many years ago. This year several pitchers have complimented Gattis' catching prowess as well, though he did have a rough game in LA (though those were wild pitches, not passed balls).

Finishing up my Third Bullet book. I plan on taking a couple Grisham paperbacks to read out on the beach. Also need to finish my Tim Wakefield book. Sunday I watched the Netflix movie "Knuckler" about him, RA Dickey. Phil Niekro was in the movie. We also watched Safe Haven…pretty good. Adapted from the Nicholas Sparks book.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Medoza Report

Justin Upton has struck out 30 times in his last 76 at bats, if I remember the tweet correctly. BJ and Heyward mis-communicate again in right-centerfield. Jason goes after the ball to prevent a triple. BJ stands there in the way, blocking his view of the diamond and almost getting hit in the head by Heyward's throw. Same thing happened in the Wednesday game when the wild pitch caromed over to the on deck circle. BJ hopped out of the way of the ball, then just stood there as the pitcher rushed by. Once again BJ almost got hit in the head as the pitcher threw he ball to third. Those in the know report how hard-working these Upton brothers are. They take part in team celebrations and are animated in the dugout, but still their results can be frustrating to me.

Watching them is very similar to watching young African-American players at East Cobb baseball. Lots of athletic ability that sometimes looks out of place on the baseball field. The Uptons played travel ball growing up. Wonder if they started later (12?) than some of their teammates who started years earlier (6 or 7). Both can hit, but BJ looks much more at ease in the field than Justin. But BJ has more rough edges than a Michael Bourne, Kenny Lofton, Curtis Granderson, or Juan Pierre. Are these observations politically incorrect?

See Don Sutton's first pitch BOUNCE to the plate? Last night he was looking older than his 68 years. Nice that the Dodgers honored him so. Has a twenty year old daughter.

After all the articles that have been written about Evan Gattis, as usual Sports Illustrated finds a way to report new information. Every previous article and interview hadn't dug as deeply and left out gaps, never telling the entire story. I was always wanting to learn more about his interest in "spirituality" (or maybe I didn't). Seemed like his whole spiritual journey ended on an anticlimactic note. Made me wonder what type church or Bible teacher would be the best to introduce Gattis to God from the spiritual perspective – and what places would not be good. You can tell from the length of Gattis' beard that the bear photo, taken at Turner Field before his teammates arrived, was taken back in late April or early May.

Co-worker Dialysis asked about the MLB draft, and we got to talking about Loganville's Clint Frazier, who went 5th in the first round. When I showed Dialysis his photo in Sports Illustrated, he said "I know him. He used to play football with my son." He also knows Frazier's coach at Loganville.

Most Courageous

This morning Matthew capped his week at Camp Highland by being named the Most Courageous Camper. Looks like he had a good time.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Chicago Bears Retired Numbers

The Chicago Bears announced they would be retiring Mike Ditka’s number this season. This will be the 14th number they have retired. For this reason, they also announced they will no longer retire player numbers. This means great players like Mike Singletary and Brian Urlaker will not get their numbers retired, even though they played their entire Hall of Fame careers for the Bears. Just because a player makes the Hall of Fame does not necessarily mean their number should be retired, for instance, if the player played on several different teams. Deion Sanders is a sure Hall of Famer, but he played for five teams.

From early on the Bears were all about retiring player numbers, a practice that continued decade after decade. I appreciate the celebration of history that goes into the retiring of a number. Too bad the Bears have to put an end to it. The fourteen retired numbers:  

03 Bronko Nagurski 1943
05 George McAfee 1950
07 George Halas 1983
28 Willie Gallimore 1963
34 Walter Payton 1987
40 Gale Sayers 1971
41 Brian Piccolo 1969
42 Sid Luckman 1950
51 Dick Butkus 1973
56 Bill Hewitt 1936
61 Bill George 1965
66 Bulldog Turner 1952
77 Red Grange 1934
89 Mike Ditka 1967

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Near No-No

Wednesday night I watched most of the Braves game and worked on the computer. Still compiling the list of Braves team rosters and stats, working backwards from 2013. Last night was 1992. Twenty-one down, 26 to go. Then on to the Falcons, or UGA or GT. Later I read my Third Bullet book.

Carroll, DOB, and Mark Bowman were mentioning the no-hitter on Twitter. Even the AJC Gametracker was mentioning it. I didn't hear the Braves TV crew mention that Teheran until they came back from commercial to start the eighth inning. Only then did Teheran lost the no-hitter. Earlier Chip and Joe did beat around the bush, talking about how it was a "special day." Chip should've said what his father Skip would always say, that nothing they say up in the booth has any impact on what happens down on the field.

I love all those old baseball superstitions, like not talking about a no hitter. Great how the Turner Field crowd knew to stand and applaud after Teheran gave up the single. They gave him another ovation was he walked off the field when the inning ended.

Stephen Stasburg has only pitched into the eighth inning once in his 57 major league starts. Teheran has now pitched into the eighth in two of his 15 starts. Some say its because the Nationals were coddling Strasburg, but last year the Braves were quick to pull Teheran as well. Good thing the Braves didn't trade Teheran after he struggled so last season.

Haven't mentioned how Gattis won Rookie of the Month for the second straight month. With yesterday's homer, he may be on his way to winning the award for June. Soon we'll have to compare his rookie season to Bryce Harper's 2012 season.

Good SI article on the two highly ranked high school players from outside Atlanta. More mentions of the extensive travel ball program. Said that 75% of Georgia high school players play summer travel ball. In the Atlanta metroplex the number has got to be closer to 100%. Interesting that Georgia only ranks behind California, Texas, and Florida in the number of MLB players, as well as the number of number one draft picks. The article mentioned how those two players were "jetted around" to showcases and tournaments around the northern hemisphere. Sounds like AAU basketball. Rarely do articles like this make the jump to why there are few African-American baseball players. African American youths are recruited into the jet-setting world of AAU basketball, but it usually takes the time and money of two devoted parents to produce a college or pro baseball player in the United States.

Frank Wren Reply

It's not every day I receive a letter from the Atlanta Braves. Frank Wren responded with a personal, typed reply to my letter suggesting the Braves switch back to striped stirrups and socks. Here's what Wren said:

Dear David:

I can tell that you follow the Braves very closely. I agree that the striped socks are a classic look. Unfortunately, they are not part of our regular uniform. hopefully you will continue to basic high-socks look that some of our players wear. Thank you for supporting the Atlanta Braves and taking the time to write. Keep cheering us on as we look forward to another exciting year.


Frank Wren

Executive Vice President
General Manager

Not much of a response, but at least he took the time. Typed in black Arial, the letter was initialed "FW" in blue. Interestingly, there were no initials below his name, signifying that a secretary had typed the letter.

No word yet from John Schuerholz or Bill Acree, who received the same letter. I have also yet to hear from Bud Selig on my Jackie Robinson Day idea.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Frosty Night

Will holds onto both rafts, and takes a beating.

Tuesday night Anna went out with a bunch of her friends, so it was just Ceil and me. She couldn't decide where she wanted to go eat, so she cooked stir fried vegetables and beef. Later she wanted to go to Wendy's drive-thru for a small Frosty. Watched the Braves game as well. I often go to bed when they go into extra innings, but I was still working on my laptop.

Joel Norman posted a song on YouTube and has gotten over 25,000 hits. He's trying to get it trending on Twitter.

More on Twitter: you can set up an account on your iPad or laptop, then go there any time like you would any other website. You can follow anyone you want (even me). Lots of golfers tweet, both male and female.

Wave Runner

That's Matthew on the far left, taking a ride on Carter's Lake with his buddies from Camp Highland.

My Bobblehead Collection

Over the past few years I have built up a decent bobblehead collection, mostly by checking the schedule and attending those games.

Hank Aaron - Braves
Hank Aaron - 2014
Bango - Milwaukee Bucks mascot - 2011
Brandon Beachy - Gwinnett - 2013
Gordon Beckham - UGA 2014

Braves boy bobble head
Sid Bream, Mike LaValliere, & Randy Marsh 2012
Brewers Racing Sausage - 2012
Boise State Buster Bronco - 2014
Brett Boone Seattle Mariners 2002

Captain America - 2014
Sean Casey – Pirates
Clemson Tiger - 1996
Bobby Cox – handrail
Bobby Cox – sitting

Ray Ferraro - Thrashers
John Franco - Mets 2013
Jeff Francoeur – Rome
Freddie Freeman – batting - Gwinnett - 2013
Freddie Freeman – fielding

Rafael Furcal - Braves
Evan Gattis - 2013 Gwinnett
Georgia Tech boy bobblehead
Tony Gonzalez - Mellow Mushroom 2013
John Gruden - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Harry the Hawk 2003 All Star Game
Dany Heatley – Thrashers
Kirk Herbstreit - Coke Zero
Jason Heyward - Braves
Jason Heyward - Gwinnett - 2013

Tim Hudson - Braves
Integris bobblehead
Steve Irwin The Crocodile Hunter
Thomas Jefferson – Nationals
Andruw Jones figurine

Andruw Jones nesting dolls
Chipper Jones – batting
Chipper Jones – waving - 2012
Chipper Jones figurine
Chubby - Charlotte Checkers mascot

Craig Kimbrel - 2012 Atlanta
Craig Kimbrel - 2013 Gwinnett
Craig Kimbrel - 2013 Rome bobble-arm
Ilya Kovalchuck - Thrashers
Kari Lehtonen - Thrashers

Greg Maddux Las Vegas Toros 2001
Russell Martin – Dodgers
Eddie Matthews – Milwaukee
Kris Medlen - Gwinnett 2013
Corky Miller – Lookouts

Moe - Three Stooges
Mike Minor - Gwinnett 2014 Dale Murphy standing
Dale Murphy batting - 2013
Penn State Vintage Football - battery operated

Philadelphia Phil & Phyllis – Phillies
Pittsburgh Penquins mascot Iceberg
Pittsburgh Pirate
Alex Rodriquez - Rangers
Alex Rodriguez nesting dolls – Rangers

Romie - Rome Braves mascot
Runaway Bride - Gwinnett Gladiators
San Diego Chicken - Padres
Manny Sanguillen - Pirates
Andrelton Simmons - 2014 Platinum Glove

Josh Smith – Hawks
Warren Spahn – Boston
Patrik Stephan - Thrashers
Stuff the Magic Dragon - Orlando Magic
Mark Teixeira - Braves

Bob Uecker - 2012 Brewers SGA
Dan Uggla - 2012 Braves
UPS Driver - 2014
BJ Upton - 2013 (74 total)

I could’ve gotten more, including several Thrashers bobble heads and figurines, but chose not to (I later changed my mind). Also a Falcons Keith Brooking, but I’m not a fan of his. Sometimes I will stumble across a bobble head at a thrift store, but I’ll pass if its not a baseball player, an obscure minor leaguer, or a high-priced non-Brave (changed my mind about this as well). 

Usually minor league bobbleheads aren’t as high quality as their major league counterparts. Minor league dolls are usually smaller, have more advertising, are outfitted in the minor league uniform, and don’t look like the player. I was so dissatisfied with the Rome Braves Jeff Francoeur bobblehead (doesn’t look like him: too generic) that I didn’t make the effort to return to Rome for the Brian McCann bobblehead. Interestingly, this year’s Gwinnett Braves Freddie Freeman bobblehead stands much taller than the Freeman doll given away a few weeks later.

I’m not hell-bent on acquiring every single Braves bobble head in recent history, though I would like to get my hands on three: Greg Maddux (done), Bob Uecker (done), and the Twins’ Kent Hrbek pushing Ron Gant off first base.

Several more bobblehead days to come this year:
Braves: BJ Upton and Dale Murphy
Gwinnett: Jason Heyward, Kris Medlin, Craig Kimbrel
Rome: Craig Kimbrel

More junk that someone will have to deal with when I’m gone.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Will at Camp


Work is super busy right now. Worked til six last night. Ceil went to prayer group, so Anna and I went to Zaxbys for high calorie/fat Zalads. Got home and watched the Braves.

The pastries at Winn Dixie always look good. I try to stay away from them. There are so many foods that I do a good job of avoiding…more and more all the time. But there are other foods that do me in. A and M are such picky eaters that she’s always cooking pizza and burgers and spaghetti. I need grilled chicken and lettuce.

Lydia, Mark and Leah’s youngest, is a counselor at Camp Highland with Will this summer. She worked there last summer as well.

Haley, David and Mary’s oldest, is transferring to Auburn this fall. She spent her freshman year at Union in Tennessee, where Hurt ancestors went. The Hurts have just returned from daughter Margaret’s horse show in Jacksonville, with a side trip to Disney World.

Anna’s 14 year-old girl cousin from Jefferson is spending part of the summer at Holden Beach NC, working at a relative’s seafood restaurant.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Braves: Is Something Wrong?

Here we are on June 4th, over a third of the way through the season. Of all the division leaders, the Braves have the biggest lead: 6-1/2 games. Since last July 4th the Braves have the best record in the National League. The Oakland A's have the best record over that span, just one game better than the Braves. Only three teams have a better 2013 record, and only one of those teams is in the National League. They have the best home record in baseball.

Atlanta has done this despite numerous injuries and slumps. Brandon Beachy is still several weeks away from his return. So is veteran reliever Christian Martinez. Key relievers Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty are out for the year. Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, Jordan Walden, Luis Ayala, Blake Dewitt, and Kris Medlin have all missed time due to injury. Three starters are hitting under .200: BJ Upton, Jason Heyward, and Dan Uggla. After winning Player of the Month in April, leftfielder Justin Upton struggled the entire month of May. Tim Hudson has struggled at times, particularly on the road.

The experts' pick to win the World Series, the Washington Nationals, have a losing record. Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Jason Werth are all hurt. Danny Espinosa is playing with a broken bone in his hand. As formidable as the Nats are, so far this season things have gone the Braves way. Mike Minor has emerged as the ace of the Atlanta staff, going 4-0 in May and compiling one of the best records in baseball since last July. Hopefully he will represent the Braves in the All-Star Game. Minor seemed at ease when Tom Verducci interviewed him during Saturday night's game.

Despite the record, many irate fans are complaining about Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez playing struggling players. Some say beat writer Dave O'Brien is toeing the company line, when his salary is paid by the AJC, not the Braves. He doesn't even fly on the team charter. Fans are on him for not agreeing with their wacko opinions, or supporting good baseball decisions that aren't executed properly on the field. Though DOB has repeatedly written how the presence of a third catcher on the roster has allowed Evan Gattis to pinch-hit and play other positions, fans belittle the decision because no other team in baseball has three catchers. It's so bad that DOB felt the need to write a column on this. Unfortunately, the very fans who need to read and understand don't bother with these details. Veteran that he is, DOB lets this abuse roll off his back.

Since the Braves have led the division all year, Fredi has been able to let struggling players try to work through their problems during games. Instead of further frustrating or humiliating already struggling starters by benching them or sending them to the minors, the Braves' division lead gives them the luxury of letting players work their way out of slumps in games. They may sit out a game here or there against a tough pitcher or to avoid a righty/righty or lefty/lefty matchup, which would only make matters worse. ESPN erroneously reported the Braves were considering sending centerfielder BJ Upton to the minors. This weekend BJ seemed more relaxed at the plate. All the extra work BJ has put in is beginning to pay off, with the walk-off single Saturday and home run on Sunday. This turnaround wouldn't have happened had many fans had their way.

Weekend Shopping

Busy work week last week. So busy I didn't have time to write much. Might've been why I was so drained this weekend.

Will let us know on Friday that there was an opening for Matthew at Camp Highland this week, so we spend the weekend getting ready for his departure this morning. As usual, I helped out by catching up with the laundry.

Matthew decided he wanted to get a skateboard he had seen at a store earlier in the week. We went looking for it Friday night, but of course it was gone. We drove over to Roswell and checked two other stores. Didn't find a skateboard, but he got a nice soccer jersey and I found a Rafael Furcal bobblehead.

Got home and Matthew looked on Craig's List for a skateboard. Then I sat down at the computer. For fun I searched for shoes, and found a new pair of red shoes I'd been wanting. The buyer made it a quick, easy sell. Woke up Saturday and drove down to the Plaza Theater in Virginia Highlands to meet him. The shoes fit perfectly. Since I was Virginia Highlands Monday morning I considered playing nine holes of golf at Chandler Park. My back is much better, but still not quite 100%, so I didn't want to chance it.

On the way home I stopped by five other stores looking for a skateboard. Found a cheap one to fill the bill, as well as a pair of Crocs flip flops to wear on the beach. My old beach shoes were over ten years old. Also got some half lemonade/half tea drink mix.

Back home I started in on the laundry. Watched the Memorial Tournament and then the Braves extra-inning victory over the Nationals. Glad that the Yankees/Red Sox drew McCarver and Joe Buck – I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Tom Verducci and Dick Stockton. Ceil cooked burritos for lunch and spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

Sunday morning I cleaned upstairs and did more laundry. Finally got to read more of my book. Watched the Braves, ran to Kroger, and got gas in the van. Ceil cooked burgers Sunday night after church. Then I paid bills and caught up on other paperwork. Sounds like I did a lot this weekend, but I really didn't. Only got about 25% of what I should've gotten done.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Kevin Brock, Chew on These

My red Puma California's fell apart. My red Puma Suedes aren't the coolest. I always knew these Puma Ligas would be nice to have. Friday night Matthew left the computer up on Craig's List. On impulse I typed in Puma. Found these in my size. Fellow in Virgina-Highlands was dying to sell them to me. They were too big for him, so they'd only been tried on for ten minutes. A complete impulse buy. 

Big decision: keep the red shoestrings, or switch to white?