Wednesday, April 30, 2014

FedEx Shooting

On Facebook you can ask people to be your friend, or people ask you to be their friend. Once you accept them as a friend you see what they post. Whenever I log onto Facebook I can scan down the various posts to see what’s happening in different people’s life (or view the endless cartoons and pictures of kittens people post). Through the years I’ve accumulated friends from various parts of my life. When Will was in school playing sports, often times his friends would ask to be my friends so they could read the various game and trip recaps that I’d post on Facebook. Some of these friends are familiar to me, and others not so much.

One of these young men has been posting how he has become closer to God in the past few months. Shane was also happy to report that he had started a new job. I think he even made employee of the month. Things were going well in his life.

Yesterday I read in horror about the shooting at the FedEx facility in Kennesaw. This is where Shane works. Throughout the day and evening I scanned Facebook posts, looking for an update from Shane. Had he been one of the victims? I prayed for his safety. Finally he posted – the shooting had taken place on a different shift, when he was not there. Still, he was shaken.

Today three metro Atlanta schools were on lockdown. And so it continues.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Scandal Du Jour

TV and radio hosts everywhere love what 680's Christopher Rude called the "scandal of the week" – Donald Starling's racist comments. That's all 680 and 99.7 were talking about this morning, all I heard on the radio yesterday and Saturday (except the Braves games). Seems like a talk show host would want to talk about something different, especially since everyone is on the same side.

While Magic Johnson addressed the controversy with tact, other entertainers used the opportunity to hurl profane epitaphs Sterling's way. Had a white celebrity made those same comments about a black public figure they would be castigated by the media. Obama was quick to call out Starling, though he never mentioned similarly racist comments by Spike Lee or other entertainers, rappers, musicians, comedians, and athletes - just like he did nothing about the Ukraine, Benghazi, or Christians imprisoned and tortured overseas.

Evidently the tape of Sterling was edited to highlight his worst comments and leave out comments that would exonerate him. His "girlfriend" may have grown tired of the way he views the world, but as a much younger woman clearly more interested in his money and fame, she should've realized that a much older married man of a different race would look at life differently than she. Just because his view of the world may not have been right, did she have to call him out so publicly? It is a shame that after so many years of losing records, all this happens when the Clippers are in the playoffs.

You have to look hard for any media support for Christianity these days. Several groups make it their business to attack Christianity. It's hard for the defenders of the faith to be heard. Are we living in the last days? Meanwhile radical Islamists, who torture and kill homosexuals, are rarely called out. Seems like the media and Washington are scared of Muslims. All the while the Muslim population in the United States continues to quietly grow and grow. Like in France and other parts of Europe they slowly continued to immigrate and immigrate until they were the majority race. Then they began to take over the political process. The world is turning into a different place.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Veritas Prom

Two pictures taken Saturday at the Hargreaves' barn, before the Veritas prom.

Anna, Emily, Brittany, and Caroline

Matthew and Sarah horse around.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Top 12 Braves Games

Twelve Most Memorable Braves Games I've Attended:

Braves/Twins 1991 World Series. Longest game in series history. Extra innings. Had more players enter the game than any other World Series game.

Braves/Yankees 1996 World Series. Last game ever played at Atlanta Stadium. Yankees come from behind to win on Jim Leyrich home run off Mark Wohlers.

Braves/Marlins 2014. ROY Jose Fernandez/Alex Wood combine for 25 strikeouts/zero walks/one run. Marlins win 1-0.

Braves/Astros NLDS – Braves beat Roger Clemens.

Braves/Marlins NLCS

Braves/Pirates (1970) Saturday NBC game of the week / my Braves birthday party. Set record for most home runs by both teams in one inning. Included homers by Aaron, Stargell, and Clemente.

Braves/Mets September 1999 pennant race. Pregame home school day parade around field with Anna, holding Matthew. Will plays tee ball in the outfield, spots Chipper, and throws him the ball. In the game Chipper slugs two home runs. Braves win to increase their division lead.

Gwinnett Braves (2013) Joey Terdoslovich walk off home run.

Braves/Dodgers 1982 doubleheader during pennant race

Myrtle Beach Pelicans / Wilmington Blue Rocks 13 inning game in 2011.

Braves game the day after McGriff trade/press box fire.

Braves game the day after Pascual Perez misses start while lost on 285.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Week

MONDAY: On the way home I listened to a good chunk of the pregame, as well as the top of the first. Stayed up, but was planning on going to bed after the Braves batted in the tenth. Kimbrel seemed to get back on track with his three straight strikeouts to end the inning. You could tell he wasn’t happy as he walked off the field even after the third strikeout. I was worried when Gattis came into home and jumped up and landed on the plate. When Angels all-star first baseman Kendry Morales did that he broke his leg. Gattis’ play has been encouraging, and hopefully his good hitting will continue.

Glad I watched til the end. Nice that Floyd doesn’t have to rush back to fill a need.

Here at work they raffled off Monday’s tickets, and a deserving guy in traffic got to go. Turns out he is a huge fan who played in high school. He and his wife stayed til the end. The new guy I’m answering a lot of questions for also went with his wife and baby, but they left around ten pm.

Took off last Friday and we picked up Will in Athens at noon and dropped him back off Sunday night. He studied all day Saturday. This week will be a killer for him – four tests (two finals) and a project due. Monday night Ceil cooked Mexican for burritos and salad. Ground beef for me, her, and Matthew and also fish for her and Anna. Ate the leftovers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY: Rough day at work. Was brain dead by the end of the day. I did get a lot done. Left at 5:40 and listened to Chuck and Chernoff on the way home. Knew Ceil would be at art, so I would have to forage for supper. Got home and was pleased to find BBQ in the crock pot. Shouldn’t have, but I slammed down two BBQ sandwiches. They were great. Caught up on some computer work with the Braves replay on in the background. Anna came home from art to work on homework, so I had to go pick up Ceil. Went to bed when we got home (9:50). Slept through the night and didn’t head Ceil and barney come to bed. Usually everyone makes a racket when they come upstairs, but I heard nothing.

Got plenty of work to do both here at work and at home.  

THURSDAY: Worked til six. Didn’t feel like making any stops on the way home, then decided at the last minute to get my hair cut. Ceil is arranging the flowers for Saturday night’s prom, so the house was full of flowers and she ran to run out and get more. I ate leftover pot roast. Worked on the computer and packaged eBay items, and didn’t go to bed until eleven.

FRIDAY: Drove a coworker down to get his car from the shop at lunch. We stopped at Jimmy Johns on the way back.

SATURDAY: C, A, and M are busy decorating for prom tonight, so I'll get a jump on the chores I won't have time for on Saturday. Lots of cleaning and laundry and cars to wash. Then Ceil goes to set up for prom. Anna goes out with friends. I’ll be Matthew’s chauffer for the evening: driving to Canton to pick up Sarah, taking them to their restaurant of choice and then to prom. Then I’ll hang out at the prom, then take Sarah home. Hopefully they won’t want to go out to eat afterwards, but they might. A long Saturday, then we’ll get up early and drive to Athens for Will’s baptism. The church is having a pot luck lunch afterwards. I’ll have to come back to work on Monday so I can get some rest.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Historic Game

Tuesday's Braves game was one of the best I have ever attended – top five perhaps, and surely in the top ten. The 28 strikeouts combined by the Braves and Marlins without a single walk is the most in a game since 1914. The game only took two hours and eight minutes to finish, and ended at 9:19 pm.

Jose Fernandez matched his career high with 14 strikeouts. After Jason Heyward led off the bottom of the first with a single, Fernandez did not allow a hit to the next 22 batters. In the first seven innings he only faced one batter over the minimum.

After surrendering a single to the leadoff hitter, Alex Wood retired ten in a row, surrendered two straight hits, retired four in a row, another infield single, then retired the last ten batters he faced. He struck out a career high eleven. In the ninth David Carpenter struck out two more Marlins. There were no walks in the game. Wood lost his second straight 1-0 game.

TOP ONE: Yelich infield single. Ozuna K. Stanton F7. McGehee K.
BOTTOM ONE: Heyward single to left. BJ 6-4-3 DP. Freeman K.
TOP TWO: Salty F9. Jones K. Hechavarria 4-3.
BOTTOM TWO: Justin K. Johnson P4. Uggla K.
TOP THREE: Solano L3. Fernandez K. Yelich 4-3.
BOTTOM THREE: Gattis K. Simmons F9. Wood 4-3.
TOP FOUR: Ozuna F3 (foul). Stanton 2B. McGehee's single to center scores Stanton. Salty K. Jones K.
BOTTOM FOUR: Heyward K. BJ E5, balked to 2nd. Freeman K. Justin K.
TOP FIVE: Hechavarria K. Solano K. Fernandez infield single. Yelich 4-3.
BOTTOM FIVE: Johnson K. Uggla K. Gattis K.
TOP SIX: Ozuna 6-3. Stanton K. McGehee F8.
BOTTOM SIX: Simmons 5-3. Wood L9. Heyward K.
TOP SEVEN: Salty 5-3. Jones F7 (foul). Hechavarria K.
BOTTOM SEVEN: BJ F8. Freeman F7. Justin K.
TOP EIGHT: Solano F7. Fernandez K. Yelich 4-3.
BOTTOM EIGHT: Johnson singles to right. Pastornicky PR. Uggla K. Gattis K. Simmons infield single. PH Doumit 1U.
TOP NINE: Carpenter pitching. Pena plays 3B. Ozuna K. Stanton K. McGehee F9
BOTTOM NINE: Cishek pitching. Heyward 3U. BJ 4-3. Freeman K.
Gattis won Wednesday's game with a two-RBI pinch hit double.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Furthest From the Pin

Monday my company raffled off that evening’s Braves/Marlins tickets. I put my name in the hat, but was happy that two deserving coworkers won, went, and enjoyed the exciting game. It’s always nice to discover devoted Braves fans.

Tuesday’s tickets were raffled off as well. With rookie of the year Jose Fernandez toing the rubber for the Fish, I was happy to win the tickets. Left work at 3:15 and headed south on PIB. Traffic on 285 was crawling at 10 MPH, but 85 south was clear. Picked up Reid, who has taken me to a couple of Gwinnett games. The Downtown Connector was slow, but we made it to the Blue Lot off the Fulton Street exit by 4:35 pm. Walked through the gates ten minutes later. The rain made the day chilly, so I swapped my dress shirt and loafers for a long sleeve tee, red golf pullover, and New Balance running shoes. Since all my Braves caps were back at the house, I warmed my head with a white Adams Golf cap.

Batting practice had been cancelled due to the rain, giving us over two hours to kill. We checked out the game-used jerseys for sale and toured the Braves Museum, which Reid enjoyed. Walked past the Turner Field Waffle House, but since it only sold waffles and hash browns we opted for delicious H&F burgers instead. We were the very first in line, and ate the burgers and fries at a picnic table in the Fan Plaza. The Tomahawk Team was conducting a Braves math contest, and later a trivia contest. I spotted Johnny Pierce and introduced him to Reid. They had a fun chat about people in various Baptist circles they knew.

As we talked a member of the Tomahawk Team approached and asked if I was a golfer. “Kind of” I replied. She recruited me for the pre-game closest-to-the-pin completion on the field. Since I have embarrassed myself several times before in front of large crowds, I eagerly accepted her invite. Reid and I walked to our seats, then I made my way down to the seats near the Braves dugout. There I met legendary Braves usher Walter Banks, who has worked at Turner Field and Atlanta Stadium forever. My fellow competitors also arrived: a 40 year old Acworth man also wearing a golf pullover (he’s a country club member) and a senior at Jones County High School (golf team member, wearing a Masters cap, who knew who Randy Griffin is). Usually a Braves player participates, but not this time. Guess Craig Kimbrel was keeping a low profile.
We stepped out on the field, grabbed a 56 degree wedge, and lined up for our introductions. The jumbotron displayed the image of the same middle-aged man who just months before was on the Georgia Dome jumbotron kicking for a Kia. I snapped a photo of Acworth pitching to 38 feet. Jones County’s shot carried to the left. I stepped up and swung. My shot went high but short, a Texas Leaguer that landed in very short right-center. Not too embarrassing. My consolation prize was an adjustable Braves cap, size large Braves T-shirt, and foam tomahawk. First prize was $150 to the Palm Restaurant and $50 at Academy Sports. The rich get richer.

The game was a great pitcher’s duel. We enjoyed the between innings crowd shots, which included a Fredie Freeman variation on the Kiss Cam – the Hug Cam. After showing several replays of Freddie hugging various teammates, the camera zoomed in on couples in the stands. Most hugged (including a Braves fan and a Marlins fan), but one lady refused.

The crowd was small but enthusiastic. Fortunately the wave never broke out, but the Tomahawk Chop received over 90% participation. The lady in front of me performed more of a windmill dunk than short chop, almost whacking me with every backswing. She needed an instructional “This is How We Chop” t-shirt. I donned my new Braves cap for good luck and dutifully chopped the tomahawk, but the Braves failed to rally. Only one foul ball was hit near our section 215, but it bounded the other way. I had forgotten my glove anyway.

The game ended early, at 9:19 pm. We walked out the right field gate, completing a loop all the way around the stadium. “Know what the best part of the game was?” asked Reid. “The burger!” The small crowd made for less traffic. I was able to drive out of the Blue Lot without stopping, and made it onto the Fulton Street interstate ramp and onto the highway with no trouble at all. Had Reid home in a jiffy. From there I foolishly abandoned my usual 75 north route home, taking 400 instead. Construction blocked two lanes at my exit, and then the light at Roswell Road and Riverside was stuck.

On the way home my phone was lighting up with Ebay auctions ending. Sold three more items, so when I got home I packaged them up. Also helped Anna and Matthew on their history homework, so I didn’t get to bed until after 12:30 am. A long, but good, day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Weekend

Thursday night we had spaghetti and meatballs. I had worked late, then stopped by the library and FedEx on the way home. Put in a load of laundry before I went to bed.

Packed up and left home at ten Friday morning. Stopped for gas and got to Athens before noon. Got Chickfila to go, then headed to Will’s dorm. On the way out of town we drove by the house Will is renting this fall. Just off Millege Ave not far from the Varsity, Clarke Central High School, and Five Points. He may get a job at his favorite coffee shop.

After the 6 pm Good Friday service we drove to the Steak House. I’ve eaten there several times before. My small filet was excellent. Also baked potato and salad. There were twelve of us at dinner. Went to bed relatively early.

Saturday the Golf Channel was on all day. Watched some of the Heritage. Ben Martin finished third, after leading after the first two rounds. He went to Clemson and is from Greenwood SC. My nephew had played against him and had beaten him on the front nine. Without my laptop I read, went through emails on my phone, and spent a little time on the internet. Ceil and Matthew went to the grocery store. At 6:30 the same twelve ate at the Golden Nugget. Ceil and Will got salmon. My grilled chicken fingers were the best dish I’d ever eaten there before. After supper we watched the Braves. I stayed up and watched the last 15 minutes of the Evan Gattis story. Good column by Dave O’Brien about him in the AJC.

Sunday morning I ironed Anna’s dress. Matthew shaved off his “beard” and Will cut himself shaving. Sunday dinner: ham, chicken tetrazzini, chicken salad, macaroni and cheese, brown rice, congealed salad, tossed salad, rolls, strawberry shortcake, etc. Later we had a family portrait made. Nothing was open for supper, so we got two Dominos pizzas. Made it to Athens by nine and home by eleven. There was a steady stream of cars on 316 all the way from I-85 to Athens. After we unloaded I drove over to QT to fill up with gas.

The children’s service was led by the young, female children’s minister. She told the children that at the Good Friday service the cloth draped over the cross was purple, and asked what color the cloth was on Easter Sunday. One child replied “Orange!” You could tell he was a Clemson fan. Later the children’s minister and pastor joined the choir for the anthems – children’s minister on the front row and pastor on the back row. During the lively anthem the children’s minister was moving around from side to side with the beat, while all the other (older) choir members stood still. After the anthems the choir filed out. As the pastor approached the pulpit he said “You can sure tell which one is the youth and children’s minister!”. When the children’s minister finally came out to take her seat she didn’t look quite as happy.

While we were waiting for our pizza Ceil, Will, and Anna took Barney for a little walk – on the same street behind the Chickfila/Dominos that I had walked Barney one time before. The first house had two cute young boys. They ran out wanting to pet Barney. Ceil thought it was funny when one of the boys giggled “He’s licking my private parts!” When we got to Athens I walked Barney around while the others took Will’s bags to his room. The campus was dark and quiet, with just a few students unpacking their cars and walking around. When Ceil, Will, Anna, and Matthew came back outside I let go of the leash so Barney could run over to them. Too loudly Ceil joked “He’s licking my private parts!” Anna was embarrassed.

How was your Easter? That was something that the Hawks won game one. Hopefully they can continue to give Indiana a hard time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jackie Robinson Day

Vin Scully told a great story about Jackie Robinson last night. The Dodgers were playing in Cincinnati and the FBI had received several death threats. Snipers were positioned on top of all the surrounding buildings. In the locker room before the game Dodger outfielder Gene Hermanski suggested that if the entire team wore number 42 the killer wouldn’t know who to shoot. Little did Hermanski know that years later his suggestion would come true.

This year for Jackie Robinson Day the Dodgers wore their new road jersey with “Dodgers” on the front instead of “Los Angeles”. I wish the Braves would put “Braves” back on their road jerseys. Every time the Braves all wear 42 it makes me think they’re honoring Rick Mahler. Though the Yankees had long ago retired Robinson’s number 42 like every other team, last September the Yankees retired number 42 again, for Mariano Rivera.

On the radio last night Don Sutton and Jim Powell also told several stories about Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby. Robinson spent a year in the minors to prepare himself for his debut, but the next July Doby came straight from the Negro Leagues to play for Cleveland. Sutton thought Doby had it every bit as tough as Robinson, since he didn’t have a year in the minors to acclimate. Every time we drive through Camden SC I see the city limits sign that honors Doby.

On the radio last night the Braves announcer Jim Powell said he followed two adages in life: (1) To love God and his family. (2) To NEVER watch a Yankees/Red Sox game. Don Sutton said that if he added #3 to bleed Dodger blue he’d match up with Tommy Lasorda. Powell said the Fredi Gonzalez had never before witnessed back to back to back home runs before Monday night. Sutton said that he had – up close.  In 1978 against the Big Red Machine.

Another great game last night. In the ninth when Chase Utley was batting it seemed like the umpire decided to not call anything a strike. In the ninth down one run with two strikes Jimmy Rollins did what I which more braves hitters would do: shorten his swing and just poke the ball over the infielders’ head to get on base. So many braves try to hit 500 foot home runs. The Braves’ starters’ league leading ERA continues to drop lower and lower.

Gattis goes 4-4 with another home run. Wish he would play in today’s day game since he hits so well in that stadium. Seems like every time he connects with the ball that he doesn’t hit it solid. Always seems like hits it off the end of the bat or the handle. When he finally connects on the sweet spot he really hits it hard. Gattis should follow Justin Upton as NL player of the week.

Over 200 players have enough plate appearances to qualify to be ranked amoung the league leaders. Of those 200 only one player has not struck out yet this year: Andrelton Simmons. What’s even more remarkable about that is that he’s batted eighth all year – not seeing many good pitches to hit because the pitcher is on deck. After I sent that email this morning, Andrelton struck out for the first time this afternoon. I jinxed him.

Worked til 6 pm last night then made a few stops on my way to Crabapple to pick Matthew up at 7:45. Went home and watched the Braves game. Anna went to art, and Ceil was out running errands – buying dog food and eating Chipotle since she had missed lunch. Chickfila told Ceil that Matthew could start working in May. Sunday afternoon we’re posing for a portrait, so Matthew will be pressured to shave his fledgling beard. Will has already shaved his beard, and will catch grief if he hasn’t shaved his moustache.     

Just realized I titled an email “Friday” when in fact it is only Thursday. Shows you the kind of week I’ve had.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Masters Viewership Down

Real golfers watch the Masters because it’s the best tournament of the year. Seems like as many golfers dislike Tiger as like him. Old school golfers that love the masters usually dislike Tiger. I bet the great weather also had something to do with fewer viewers. After so much bad weather, people were finally able to get outside.

I bought a book called “Then Everything Changed” about what had happened if a certain historical event had turned out differently. First section was what if JFK had been killed by the bomber in Palm Beach after he was elected but before his inauguration. Too much detail, and I quit after 100 pages. Also stories about RFK and others. I still like Steven King’s “11-22-63” about the man who traveled back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination.      
Last week Will nabbed this Gordon Beckham bobblehead at the Georgia/Tennessee baseball game.

Lots of people will watch a football game no matter who is playing. I’ve gotten to where the only baseball I watch is the Braves (plus a little Yankees and Mike Trout). I am an oddball in other ways. People look at me weird when they see my calendar or hear about my blog or my thrift store adventures, or entering sweepstakes or bobbleheads  My friend can’t wait to retire and do stuff (he’s younger than me). Once we were at a Braves game and Charles’s friend Johnny was talking about his friend who counted everything. After John left I told Rob that I’d almost said that we were the same way. Rob remembers everyone who ever played for the Atlanta Braves, and what year. He knows how much everyone makes, and how long their contract is for (same with the Hawks).  

After my day and a half long meeting ended yesterday afternoon, another meeting was scheduled for this morning. Since the Braves were rained out and the kids were home studying, I worked past 7 pm last night. Had leftover sandwiches for dinner at work (we had more today). At home I packaged several eBay items and posted more. Here at work we have thousands of rusty nuts and grommets that are no good. Someone suggested we sell them on eBay, so maybe I will.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday Meeting

Last of the photos of the Braves in the 70's uniforms. Note how Justin Upton holds his batting gloves in his hand so he won't slide with his fingers out, to avoid injury. Had Ryan Zimmerman done this he might not have broken his thumb.

Credit cards will be replaced with the mark of the beast. Some people think the new bitcoin is the mark of the beast. Red moon on Passover. Are we are living in the last days?

Chicken with grits with BBQ sauce sounds good. I go through the BBQ sauce at home, and even keep a stash here at work. Lunch yesterday and today was sandwiches, salad, pickles, and cookies from Atlanta Bread Company and Jason's Deli.

You would have enjoyed our catered gourmet meal last night at my boss Sue's nice house in downtown Norcross. Sue cooked stuffed chicken and flank steak, potatoes, and vegetables. Also a variety of breads, a large bowl of tossed salad, fruit kebab, and bacon wrapped calamari. Meeting yesterday broke up around 4:30. I worked at my desk until almost six then drove over. Left the dinner at 7:35 and stopped by Kroger on the way home.

Turned over to the Braves game just after Gattis' first home run. Exciting game. Like you, I thought Fredi left Avilan in too long. At the time we didn't know Kimbrel wasn't available and the bullpen was shorthanded. Nice to see Uggla hit the ball. His grand slam won the game, but he had two or three defensive plays in ESPN's Top Ten plays. That never happens to the Braves players.

That is hard to believe about the Dream selling out. I wonder if there's a place to go back and look at last year's attendance game by game. I checked several places on the internet and could not find it.

Sold: Masters cap, LL Bean barn coat, Nike ACG convertible pants, Patagonia pants, Indians pullover, Tiger Woods PSP game, Hawks jacket, and kids Grant Hill Olympic jersey.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Triumphal Entry

Friday was busy because a co-worker was out with a hurt back. By the end of the day I was brain dead. Went home and watched the Braves. Also picked up Matthew at the movies (God's Not Dead).

Saturday I stayed upstairs cleaning until after 1 pm. I had even started earlier than usual. For lunch I had a couple of slices of Matthew's thick crust frozen pepperoni pizza. Anna was going to the Braves game with Caroline Hargreaves. Didn't want her to take the CRV, so I washed all the pollen off the filthy Jeep. Afterwards the pollen had worn me out, so I went inside and watched the Masters, then later the Braves. As usual, Ceil had disappeared on one of her long Saturday afternoon shopping trips. By the time she got back after eight, I had already fixed myself burritos out of leftover rice and beans. Folded clothes, did some laundry, and worked on eBay.

Sunday I watched House of Cards and took M down to PCC. Later I watched the Masters and Braves and worked on my taxes, which always frustrates me. Went back and picked up Matthew. Got him Taco Bell and stopped by WalMart for printer cartridges. Went to bed early.

Meeting started at lunch today, followed by a dinner at the boss's house in downtown Norcross.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Anna's Turn

Caroline, Anna, and Brittany at Saturday night's Braves game. They had great seats.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Former Hawk Lou Hudson passed away this week. 
Above he models the franchise's best looking uniforms.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bad D > Good O

Mets leadoff hitter Young swung at strike three to open the game, but the Braves third string catcher dropped the foul tip. With new life Young singled on the first pitch, stole second, and took third when third string catcher’s throw sailed into centerfield, where centerfielder BJ Upton failed to back up the play. Next batter Daniel Murphy hit a sac fly to score Young from third. Bad pitching.

Later a Met hit a long fly to deep centerfield. Upton had a bead on it but, being scared of the fence, dropped the ball. Triple. Jordan Schafer would’ve had it. Another “unearned” run. More bad pitching.

Later another Met batter was barely safe at first on double play ball that Andrelton would’ve turned, but second string shortstop Ramiro Pena couldn’t. This allowed a third run to score that shouldn’t have. Even more bad pitching. Had the Braves made these three plays they would’ve won.

But Braves still have at least three more good pitchers that will be activated over the next few weeks. The first pitcher they activated threw eight shutout innings in his debut, requiring only 88 pitches, and also had an RBI single.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


Tuesday night baseball commissioner Bud Selig gave a terrible speech during the Hank Aaron ceremony. You could tell the crowd was tuned out. Earlier the crowd was on the edge of their seats, in tears and excitement. No wonder baseball is in such terrible shape. I do have to give Selig credit for staying active. Like Aaron, he is about to turn 80. Last night Bud was in Atlanta for the game. Today he is teaching a class in Milwaukee. After he retires he will continue to teach, and he says he will write a book as well.

The Braves will be adding at least FOUR good pitchers over the next few weeks. But even Sandy Koufax can’t win if they don’t score runs. They need contact hitters like the Cardinals have. The only contact hitters the Braves have are Freeman, Simmons, Johnson, Gattis, and Laird – maybe Heyward. The others just swing from the heels and hope they connect.

Anna was at art most of the afternoon, then went to see the new Captain America movie. I watched most of the pregame and most of the game on TV. Matthew went to the game with a family of rabid Braves fans. The parents wore Braves T shirts and they sat on the first base side. M got a souvenir Braves bear similar to C’s Yunel Escobar bear…probably for his girlfriend. They stayed until the end of the game, and it was after midnight by the time we met in Sandy Springs. I let M drive home, and he did ok.

Thursday night I was planning on wearing my cream colored jersey to match Rob, but after last night I might just wear my feather jersey. Those 44 jerseys they had the fans wear looked nice. Not sure if they were just cheap shirts like the Murphy jerseys they gave out a few years ago. I was surprised my friend Johnny wasn’t down there on the field. The big guy who sits behind the visitors’ dugout had been on the field, as was his wife. Will be interesting to get details on that. This morning Uni Watch covered the Braves uniforms.
Will may go on Wednesday or Thursday. Just found out that Will has a 12 week paid internship this summer at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Ceil is thrilled that he will be home. This fall Will is rooming with the son of one of my buddies from high school. Ceil says the place is a dump, but it’s in a nice neighborhood. His summer job in NYC fell through.

Glad UConn beat Kentucky. Also that the women beat Notre Dame.

Last FRIDAY: When the NOLA tourney results arrived Ceil did open the envelope to get her prize. Later I saw the stamps over in her pile of stuff. Drove to Cumberland Mall after work – traffic city. Anna had spent the night at her friend’s house, so she dropped by the office with some paperwork she needed delivered. She came upstairs so all my co-workers could see her.

Last Thursday night I picked up Matthew and Sarah at the movies and drove Sarah home to Canton. Traffic wasn’t bad, so we made good time. Didn’t get back until eleven. I did see the SMU/Minnesota game.

A few weeks ago Ceil sat next to Maya Moore at Passion City Church.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Meatless Monday

Monday morning I had an appointment in Roswell, so I was away from work for over two hours – I worked until well past six. Ceil cooked "Meatless Monday" – burritos with beans, rice, tomatoes, etc. I only are one. Later I had yogurt. Afterwards I cleaned up the kitchen…most of it, anyway.

Monday night Ceil was saying we needed to take a trip because W is turning 21 and Anna is turning 18. I suggested Destin. But Ceil won't want to go anywhere because she doesn't want to leave our dog for more than the week at Myrtle Beach.

Final Four: I watched most of the second half last night. I wasn't rooting for UConn just because I want their women to win as well. Not a big Kentucky fan.
M is going to opening night tonight. Will might come over to a game this week as well, with some friends from school. As traditional as baseball is, I couldn't see them shortening games to seven innings. I like the strike zone idea better.

Read the D League article and watched the video. The video was slick. I showed it to Ceil. I had wondered what Lang was doing in Iowa. It made me wonder if Will's old JV teammate Jeremy Lamb from Norcross High/UConn was still in the D League at Tulsa. Looks like he has been on the OKC roster all this year. Scored 18 in one game.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

NFL Team Home Fields

Various stadiums each NFL team has called home:

Cardinals (5) Chicago, St Louis, Busch, Fiesta Bowl, U of Phoenix Stadium
Falcons (4) Atlanta Stadium, Grant Field, Georgia Dome, new dome
Ravens (1) current stadium
Bills (2-3) War Memorial Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium
Panthers (2) Clemson Memorial Stadium, current stadium
Bears (2-3) Wrigley Field, Soldier Field
Bengals (3) first stadium, Riverfront Stadium, current stadium
Browns (2-3) Municipal Stadium, current stadium
Cowboys (3) Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium, AT&T Stadium
Lions (3-4) Tiger Stadium, Pontiac Silverdome, Ford Field
Broncos (3) Bears Field, Mile High Stadium, current
Packers (1-2) Lambeau Field
Colts (3-4) Memorial Stadium, Hoosier Dome, Lucas Oil Field
Jaguars (1) Gator Bowl
Chiefs (3-4) Dallas, first KC field, Arrowhead Stadium
Dolphins (2) Orange Bowl, current stadium
Vikings (3) Metropolitan Stadium, HH Humphrey Dome, current
Patriots (3) first stadium, Faucett Stadium, Gillette Stadium
Saints (3) Tulane Stadium, Superdome, LSU’s Death Valley  
Giants (3-4) Yankee Stadium, Meadowlands, current
Jets (3) Shea Stadium, Meadowlands Stadium, current
Raiders (3-4) Oakland Coliseum, LA Coliseum
Eagles (3-4) Franklin Field, Veterans Stadium, current
Steelers (3-4) Forbes Field, Three Rivers, Heinz Field
Chargers (2-3) Jack Murphy Stadium, other
49ers (3-4) Stanford Stadium, Candlestick, Levis Field
Seahawks (2) Kingdome, current stadium
Rams (4-5) LA Coliseum, Anaheim Stadium, Busch Stadium, current
Buccaneers (2) Tampa Stadium, current stadium
Titans (4) Rice Stadium, Astrodome, Liberty Bowl, current
Redskins (3-4) first stadium, RFK, current

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Uni Watchdog

There are just a few web sites I read every day. I check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and EBay on my phone. Personal email may get skipped for a day or two. But besides, the only real website I check every day is Uni Watch, which features daily news and articles about uniforms. Very interesting to me. Been reading it for several years now.

Some of the information is overkill. I skip the news on hockey and soccer, and usually tennis as well. As an old fogie the latest shiny uniforms put out by Nike and her cousins turn me off, so I don’t read the news about all the smaller schools trying to make their mark on the uni landscape. Every morning new content is posted and the comments build throughout the day. By the time I read the post in the evening just about every conceivable comment has been posted. I would have to browse through over a hundred comments to see if my contribution had already been posted by another commenter, lest I look dumb for making a duplicate comment.

Every now and then I will post something obscure about the Braves, Tech, or Clemson, and sometimes the Falcons or Hawks. Photos of Will playing baseball in stirrups have been featured on the site, and other contributions I’ve made have been credited to me by name. But I am in no way a major contributor.    
The site was originated by New Yorker Paul Lukas, who has written for ESPN, the Village Voice, and several other media outlets. Single. Jewish. Mets fan. Lives in jeans, Chuck Taylors, and vintage clothing bought off EBay. Plays softball in stirrups and Brooklyn Dodgers cap. While we have several interests in common, we also have marked differences. While he has so many readers that I would be vain to think he knows who I am, we have swapped a few emails over the years. In the early days of Uni Watch I had made a point on Christmas and Easter to leave Christ-centered comments, something he probably disdained. Strike one?

During the college bowl season Paul went out of his way to call out the ChickfilA Bowl as over-commercialization at its finest, when in fact every other bowl was guilty of the same crime. I was quick to object, pointing out how the CFA Bowl is near the top in attendance and money given to charity. Strike two? This past year Paul caved and gave every bowl the same treatment, which was fine with me.

Uni Watch is an excellent site, with all the new content and links that get published with very few foul-ups. Quite professional for such a small operation – he has just a few helpers. Something well beyond the scope of what I could accomplish. Another very hard task Paul has is putting up with the many commenters to his site. Sometimes he has to draw the line on arguments. Not an easy job – making him an easy target for criticism. It’s his party, so he gets to make the rules. I have no problem with that.

A recent target of debate on Uni Watch has been the use of derogatory Indian names as team mascots and names. Paul had been a leader of this debate, primarily focusing on the Washington Redskins and Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians. The Braves have their issues, but are not yet a prime target (NOTE: while I have noticed decreased use of the tomahawk, the Braves continued to promote the tomahawk chop last season. The tomahawk was dropped from the red jersey this season, and the alternate cap with the tomahawk A may be dropped as well. It will be interesting to see if the tomahawk will be phased out completely by the time the Braves move to their new stadium).    

To raise money and to give Uni Watch more of a family atmosphere, several years ago Paul instituted a membership program. Readers pay $25.00 and receive a custom-designed membership card and receive extra entries into various Uni Watch giveaways. Cheapskate that I am, I have never joined – though I’ve always had in mind what my card would look like. Every Christmas Day Paul generously stages a large contest to give away dozens of uni-related items he accumulated throughout the year. Every year I eagerly enter but have never won. I’m guessing most of the winners are members who get automatic multiple entries. I have no problem with this, but in my frustration I sometimes wonder if Christian/Braves fans like me have been placed on a blackballed list.  

Recently Paul added yet another interesting feature to Uni Watch, featuring a short “get to know you” write-up about the Uni Watch readers who submit them. Though I am not a major contributer I wrote up a submission about myself, though I have yet to send it. Then I learned Uni Watch memberships could be paid for with Amazon giftcards, which I have. I quickly checked out the rules of the membership program (no purple – Paul’s hated color). I was dismayed to read that no Braves card design would be accepted. Paul’s website – Paul’s rules. Perhaps I won’t become a member after all. Still, I wonder what my chances are to have my profile published?

Friday, April 04, 2014

NFL Stadium Rankings also ranked the NFL stadiums. Appears to me the ranking was influenced by the team’s success, fan support, and the area immediately surrounding the stadium. I am amazed that the Superdome (11) and Candlestick Park (15) received such high ratings. At least ten of the thirty stadiums have hosted Super Bowls.

Like baseball, most NFL teams play in state of the art palaces – many quite similar to each other. The following outdoor football-only stadiums are similar enough to make one wonder how one was ranked above another: Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Denver, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Washington, Tampa, Cleveland, Tennessee, and Carolina. Age may be a factor, but also perhaps some media bias.

1. Lambeau Field, Green Bay Packers
2. Seattle Seahawks (downtown)
3. AT&T Stadium, Dallas Cowboys (dome) SB
4. Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City Chiefs (next to ballpark)
5. Soldier Field, Chicago Bears (refurbished) on the lake
6. Lucas Oil Field, Indianapolis Colts (dome) SB
7. Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers (next to river)
8. Gillette Field, New England Patriots
9. University of Phoenix Stadium (dome) SB
10. New York Jets/New York Giants (new) SB
11. Superdome, New Orleans Saints (dome) SB
12. Denver Broncos (new)
13. Baltimore Ravens (next to ballpark)
14. Cincinnati Bengals (by the river)
15. Candlestick Park, San Francisco (on the bay)
16. Philadelphia Eagles (next to ballparks)
17. Ford Field, Detroit Lions (dome)
18. Georgia Dome, Atlanta Falcons (downtown) SB
19. Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo Bills
20. Washington Redskins
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (pirate ship) SB
22. Cleveland Browns (downtown)
23. Tennessee Titans (downtown on river)
24. Carolina Panthers (downtown)
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (downtown on river) SB
26. Miami Dolphins (SB)
27. Minnesota Vikings (dome)
28. St Louis Rams (dome) downtown on river
29. San Diego Chargers SB
30. Oakland Coliseum, Raiders (on bay)

Candlestick will be replaced this year by Levi’s Stadium, and in a few years the Georgia Dome will also be replaced.

I have only been games in the Georgia Dome and Superdome (also Atlanta Stadium, Grant Field, RFK Stadium, Shea Stadium, old Busch Stadium, Wrigley Field, the Orange Bowl, and old Cowboys Stadium. I’ve seen the current stadiums in Jacksonville, Charlotte, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Kansas City, Chicago, and Baltimore as well as old stadiums in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.    

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Baseball Begins Again

I need to do a better job of not replying to all the uneducated Braves comments on Facebook and the AJC. Drew’s original comment about the Braves pitchers started off “At this rate…”  - talking about who the Braves would have to add to replace Minor and Beachy. A joke, but I didn't think it was very funny. It certainly wasn't timely. Perhaps if he had made the jokes two weeks ago, right after the injuries.

Drew was forgetting the Braves will soon activate Minor, Santana, Floyd, and Venters. So I started out my reply the same way he did - “At this rate…the Braves will set a team ERA record” – meaning that there wasn’t anything wrong with the pitchers the Braves have. Wood and Hale may be rookies, and Teheran a sophomore, but at some point you have to give the ball to young talent. Remember back when Glavine and Smoltz were rookies?   

Kelly Curran Johnson’s father Bill passed away. He was 72 and lived in a Greenville senior home, not far from Kelly’s brother Billy (who is a doctor). The obit is on and the funeral is in Greensboro.

SUNDAY: Ricky Richardson posted pictures of the SPdL service, including Dock carrying the baby around the church. Drew Kelly mentioned the favorite hymn special. Kelly Clark Lewis Vonfeldt recently re-joined SPdL. Her husband recently completed a course making him a chaplain at a Gwinnett County Hospital. We see them occasionally around East Cobb.  

MONDAY: A very busy last day of the month. Worked until six, got a lot done. Worn out afterwards. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that I realized the Braves had played a day game, so I didn’t keep up with it on my phone. Drove straight home. Anna had washed the Jeep and CRV before driving downtown for her Grace church gathering. Ceil cooked two chicken casseroles – one to eat and one to freeze. Also salad. Matthew ate hot wings. Did the dishes and helped M write a paper about a short story. Since he is in a class with students in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders I thought the assignment was tough for a 9 grade boy. Went to bed kinda early.        

Watched some of the Marlins/Rockies game, since Miami had last year’s rookie of the year on the mound. As usual, Hernandez dominated. We’ll see how instant replay affects baseball. Saw were Fredi won a challenge yesterday on a Ryan Braun play. Baseball is already mindful of the time of games. The endless commercials between innings make games longer, especially on Fox and ESPN. That kid Hernandez in Miami pitches faster than anyone. Read where Kershaw was hurting. Whatever the sport, the experts always say the best college teams could never beat the worst pro teams. They are probably right.

TUESDAY: Worked until 6 pm again then drove straight home. Ceil served the Costco roasted chicken, green beans, and pigs-in-a-blanket for M and A. C went off to Michaels, WalMart, and to pick up a book. She ran into a friend and talked to her for a long time about a school M might go to next year. I cleaned the kitchen and watched the Braves. Caroline Hargreaves got Anna with an April Fool’s prank.

WEDNESDAY: C and A had art. I stopped by Kroger and rented Gravity from the RedBox. Very suspenseful the whole way through. Sandra Bulloch isn’t one of my favorites, but she’s ok. Lots more of her in the movie than George Clooney. Never seen a movie that had only two actors in it. Even Castaway had other actors at the beginning and end.

Been having trouble getting M to study. He knows he’s dug himself into a hole and it’s really eating on him. C and I are trying to help but he’s just angry. He and Anna were voted “most artistic” in their high school yearbook. Anna is on the yearbook staff. Spring break starts Thursday – they may go up to SC for a few days.

Both M and A are going to the prom in late April. M will take girlfriend Sarah, but Anna said her gang has gotten the word out – “no dates.” I asked her what band was playing, and she said “Band? All we get is a DJ!”. Ceil is helping out. Not sure if I will get dragged in. I’ll have to chauffer M. The prom is at Anna’s friend’s HUGE house up north of Crabapple.  

In their ranking of the thirty MLB stadiums, rated city-run Turner Field fourth from last. Only Toronto, Oakland, and Tampa were worse. Guess the Braves decision to not renew their lease was justified.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

MLB Ballpark Rankings did a decent job of ranking the thirty MLB ballparks. May have been a little media bias ranking Turner Field behind Anaheim and US Cellular Field. It’s bad when new York spent all that money on two new ballparks and only have them ranked tenth and twelfth. Even worse for Miami to build a new park and have it ranked fourth from last.

With so many great new ballparks having opened the last fifteen years it is easy to see how city-run Turner Field has fallen to twenty-seventh of thirty. Another reason to see why the Braves opted not to renew their lease and instead build a new ballpark.  

1. Wrigley Field, Chicago (been there)
2. Fenway Park, Boston (been there)
3. PNC Park, Pittsburgh
4. AT&T Park, San Francisco (been there)
5. Busch Stadium, St. Louis (been to the old stadium)
6. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore (been there)
7. Petco Park, San Diego
8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles (I’ve seen)
9. Miller Park, Milwaukee (retractable)
10. Yankee Stadium, New York
11. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
12. Citi Field, New York (been to Shea Stadium)
13. Coors Field, Denver
14. Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati (saw Riverfront)
15. Comerica Park, Detroit (I saw Tiger Stadium)
16. Target Field, Minneapolis
17. Nationals Park, Washington (been to old RFK)
18. Safeco Field, Seattle (retractable)
19. Progressive Field, Cleveland
20. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City (I’ve seen)
21. Globe Life Park, Arlington (been there)
22. US Cellular Field, Chicago (I’ve seen)
23. Chase Field, Phoenix (retractable) (I’ve seen)
24. Minute Maid Park, Houston (retractable) (been there)
25. Angels Stadium, Anaheim (I’ve seen)
26. Marlins Park, Miami (retractable)
27. Turner Field, Atlanta (been there)
28. Rogers Centre, Toronto (retractable)
29. Oakland Coliseum (I’ve seen)
30. Tropicana Field, St Petersburg (dome) (been there)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Grizzlies tie Ga College

Saturday we drove out to Conyers to see my niece Sarah’s soccer game: her Gwinnett College Grizzlies vs Georgia College at Milledgeville. My sister and brother in law drove my parents up for the game. My brother’s family was there, including his mother in law. Sarah and the two other forwards appeared to be the quickest and best ball handlers. Gwinnett’s two goals came on strong, hard, long kicks, but GC’s goals both came from close in. With the score tied Sarah’s teammate Amanda went down hard. It took her a long time to stand back up. Looked like she was ready to cry. Then the ball immediately came back to her in the middle of the field, in a one on one situation. She got off a strong shot for the go-ahead goal.

After the game we had my father’s birthday dinner. He wanted to eat nearby at Sonny’s, but for some reason my brother had us all drive ten miles down the interstate to Stonecrest Mall. Smokey Joes had a 1:45 wait at 3:30 in the afternoon - a party of 15 had just been seated. We walked next door to Chilis. Several of us were still wondering what had happened to Sonnys. Our party of eleven had numerous special orders. Water, water no ice, water lots of ice, water with lime, etc. The food orders were even more complex. Considering all the hoops we made the poor waiter jump through, the service was exceptional. Ceil ordered loaded quesadillas even though it had been dropped from the menu. My burger was good, the fries hot and tasty. The manager even brought out two free desserts to celebrate my dad’s and sister-in-law’s birthdays. We didn’t leave until 6:30.

Friday I read a Sports Illustrated article about UConn’s star sophomore. Saturday I got to see her play Saturday on the TV’s at Chilis.

Saw a video clip of Heather Swilley singing in the JFBC contemporary service. She was singing the song “10,000 Reasons” – originally written and sung by a Passion City Church artist.

Ceil will be thrilled that I won the NOLA tourney. She will want to go to Bonefish, but it might be fun to try out The Big Ketch. I have no idea about how fancy it is…I’ve only driven past it. I’d be happy with The Pie Place or The Counter in Roswell. When the letter arrived with the bracket Ceil was afraid to open it because of what was written on the envelope. Something like ‘personal’ or something. Then she kept asking because she never saw what was inside.

Thursday night I watched Linsanity, the documentary on Netflix about Jeremy Lin. Very good. Anna was off at her Grace home church service. Ceil cooked orange chicken.

Usually Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday nights are best for Ceil. This Thursday and next Thursday are bad for us, and I know this Saturday is off limits. Spring break starts this Thursday.