Monday, June 30, 2014

GBraves & More

Surprised to see a four-man MLB umpiring crew work the Gwinnett game Saturday night. Usually they have three man crews. Dana Demuth was behind the plate, Brian Whitson at first, and Jim Joyce at third. When Joyce made a call that went against the GBraves I hollered “Blue – you’ll never make the show!” Doubt he heard me, though.

David Carpenter threw a lot of pitches in the first, to only three batters. The leadoff hitter reached on an error by the third baseman, that should’ve been ruled a hit. Kameron Lowe came on in the second and was shelled. Gave up eight runs in 2-2/3 innings.

Todd Cunningham ranged back to the centerfield fence, leaped, and took a home run away from a Charlotte Knight to end the fifth inning. One of several nice plays by Cunningham. Terdo made several nice scoops at first. Constanza’s defense was shaky in left, but he overcame misjudgements with his speed. No Bethancourt, of course.  Charlotte made at least four errors, mostly from infielders throwing to odd bases: (1) first-baseman throwing to second, (2) pitcher throwing to third, (3) third-baseman throwing home, and (4) catcher throwing to first.

The rains came in the bottom of the sixth, so I made for the exit to beat the traffic jam. Took Hwy 20 west for thirty miles to pick up M at a party in Canton. His friend from church rode back with M and spent the night. Will was at a bachelors party in Johns Creek.

Not as big a fuss when the Braves take four straight in Philadelphia as when the Phillies win four straight here. Drove me crazy when BJ admired his fly ball to center, trotted to first, then turned on the jets to reach third. At least the Braves aren’t the only team to have fielding problems in the outfield.

Friday afternoon I called Ceil when I left work. Got home to find that she had taken Will and Anna shopping. Matthew spent the day at Six Flags.

Saturday morning I took M to meet his girlfriend. Her parents were throwing her a birthday party that afternoon/evening. Bought a nice pair of Pumas. Stopped by McDonalds at 10:45 and received two horrendous Egg McMuffins. Later I drove downtown to Coke headquarters for a focus group on those Freestyle machines you see in restaurants. Didn’t get to drink any Coke, though.  

Heard Rob Suggs re-joined SPdL. Sunday afternoon Ceil and I attended a parents meeting at PCC. The youngest Hargreaves daughter was baptized at the 5 pm service. Got stuck in a traffic jam on Piedmont on the way home. Later drove Anna back to PCC to get her car, showed her how to get to Atlantic Station, stopped by Kroger, and picked up M at Menchies Yogurt at the corner of Piedmont and Roswell.  

Matthew left for Tennessee this am. Chattanooga Aquarium and UT Knoxville. Threw a frisbee on the Vols baseball field.  Thanks to me, the family Matthew is vacationing with added the Wednesday night Tennessee Smokies game to their itinerary. They might go see The Cotton Patch Gospel in Asheville. He returns Friday night.

Interesting Oakland A’s article in Sports Illustrated, and a good column on Tony Gwynn.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Will's Home Runs

I am proud that Will always played well against tough competition, and never left one team to join another team playing against weaker teams. While he could have easily played for a small college team (the coaches at Bellhaven were impressed at his tryout) or even joined UGA’s club team, I’m sure his all-around college experience is being maximized by not played baseball.

Recently I wondered if I’d ever listed some of his more memorable home runs. Without researching, here are a few I remember, in chronological order:

Mt. Paran: numerous inside the park home runs.

Shaw Park: first over-the-fence home run to centerfield.

Cooperstown NY: line drive over centerfield fence.

Mt. Paran Pony Field: hit top of left-centerfield fence. Would’ve become the youngest Mt. Paran Pony League player to hit an over-the-fence home run on that field - a full calendar year younger than the only pony leaguer to homer there.

Roswell Area Park: blast to left-center versus Roswell Hornets.

Panama City Beach Florida: line drive home run to right-center.

Huntsville Alabama: his first High School home run, in March of his freshman year. A low line drive down left field line, on a cold, overcast Saturday.

Sandy Plains Park: first inning leadoff low line drive home run pulled down left field line.

Walton High School: blast hit high off the tall right-centerfield fence, for a long single in Perfect Game Tournament. Would have been a long home run anywhere else.

Central Forsyth High School: Friday evening late-inning home run to left-center with Hurt family in attendance.

Central Forsyth High School: Saturday morning first inning leadoff home run on his next swing, to the very same spot.

Ringold GA: junior year first inning leadoff home run, over centerfield fence.

East Cobb Complex: senior year blast over tall centerfield fence.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Legacy Community Academy

Took a long lunch Thursday to attend Matthew's interview at the Legacy Community Academy in Alpharetta. Very impressive – hopefully we can afford it. Friday M went to Six Flags with his longtime friends Daniel, Nathan, and John for our long-time East Cobb small group. Next week Matthew is going to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Seiverville/Dollywood. They may go to a Tennessee Smokies minor league game. 

The lady at Chick-fil-a now says M can start working in August…the CFA in Roswell across from Stoney River, at the corner of Holcomb Bridge and Hwy 9. She's been putting him off since August, so he is ready to start looking elsewhere. M says the Steak & Shake is hiring near Claire's. While CFA would be a good job, he wouldn't work too much. He will need to get rolling with his schoolwork before starting to work lots of hours. He is focused on buying an expensive, new electric guitar. He'd do better getting a cheaper, used starter guitar. Or sticking with the his nice acoustic guitar.

Wednesday and Thursday I made to spend several hours in my old boss's office working on a project. Not fun, and very hard to understand. I had made so much headway cleaning off my desk, but now it is messy again. Also got extra work dumped on me for Monday's month end.

Hamburgers and French fries Thursday night. Will played golf with David Norman. Anna went to art. Ceil and Matthew went to Perimeter Mall. I worked late.

Saturday I'm attending a focus group down at the Coca-Cola Headquarters about the Coke Freestyle machines, where you can mix your own soft drink from over 100 combinations. Should be interesting. The bad thing about those Coke machines is that they run out of certain drinks/flavors, like lemonade or cherry (two of my favorites).

Reid grew up was about a block north of where Piedmont crosses Peachtree in Buckhead. I remember when there used to be houses there, and a gas station on the corner where Rooms to Go is now, with a car dealership across the street where Bricktops is now. We used to drive up Lenox Road from 85, and there were house the entire way up to a much smaller Lenox Square.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Where's Your Pulitzer?

Writers and fans that want to bat BJ eighth and constantly rearrange the batting order don't take into account the effect that has on a player's approach (and his psyche). Would they treat their own subordinates (or children) that way? The next time Mark Bradley or Jeff Schultz complain about a lack of world championships, I will be tempted to ask why aren't they fired for not winning a Pulitzer Prize.

When I set out on my 2014 bobblehead journey I did not realize how busy June and July would be. If things work out I could attend games on five straight weekends, and seven games in eight weeks.

SAT June 7 Gwinnett Mike Minor
TUE June 17 Greg Maddux
SAT June 28 Gwinnett Chopper
SAT July 5 Gwinnett Julio Teheran
SAT July 12 Myrtle Beach Pelicans T-shirts
SAT July 19 Gwinnett Ron Gant
FRI June 25 Rome Freddie Freeman
WED Aug 13 Evan Gattis

Spotted a Dallas Star hockey bobblehead, but for once I passed. Had never heard of the player. Also passed on a plastic Donald Trump and Upper Deck Michael Vick and Edgerrin James. Just learned my father-in-law's heart surgery is scheduled for July 25.

Monday Matthew leaves for Gatlinburg with a friend. Dollywood/Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Chattanooga Aquarium. The dad goes to Braves games, so I told him the nearby Tennessee Smokies were playing home games all week. He said he was glad I told him.

Will is in a wedding on July 4 & 5. Instead of renting tuxes the guys all bought seersucker suits at Joseph A Bank "at a discount" - $100.00 each.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wayt Geneology

JOHN CHILES WAYT (b.10/12/1864, d.12/06/1940)
       Married 04/10/1895
HARRIET REYNOLDS DUNNINGTON (b.07/25/1865 d.01/26/1924)
     Beverley Dunnington Wayt (b.03/24/1896 d.01/1996)
     John Augustus Wayt (b.08/20/1897 d.09/08/1980)
     Helen Brice Wayt (b.08/05/1899  d.l989)
     Isabel Dunnington Wayt (b.08/12/1901 d.01/31/1996)

BEVERLEY DUNNINGTON WAYT ( b 03/24/1896  d 1996)
HELEN BEATRICE NARROCOTT (b 01/01/05  d.1994)
    Beverley Dunnington Wayt, Jr. (b 04/26/26  d. 1995)
    Helen Narracott Wayt (b.07/23/1929) m.08/19/1950 to William Wood Wells: 4 Children
    Thomas Randolph Wayt (b 04/1933) m. Joyce Smith 2 Children

JOHN AUGUSTUS WAYT (b.08/20/1897 d.09/08/1980)
JOSEPHINE KLINE GIBBS (b.03/22/1898 d.06/1971)
      John Augustus Wayt, Jr. (b.10/05/1927) m. Martha Finley Kiser (02/15) 4 Children
      Josephine Kline Wayt (b.04/10/1931) m.07/31/1959 Frederic Williams 2 Children

HELEN BRICE WAYT (b.08/05/1899 d.1989)
DAVID FRANCIS COCKS, JR  (b.9/1897 d.12/31/1983)
    David Francis Cocks, III (b.7/1930) m.Wanda McKenhan (b.1/30) 2 Children
    Helen Dunnington Cocks (b.4//1934) m.9/02/54 John Fuller Russell 3 Children
    Phillip Brenton Cocks (b.1//40) m.6/18/60 Jean Ward Gatliff 2 Children

ISABEL DUNNINGTON WAYT  (b 8/12/1901 d.1/31/96)
WILLIAM CECIL McBATH (b.9/09/1897 d.1/15/1988)
     Harriet Dunnington McBath (b.10/23/1925 d.6/13/1970) m.Wm.Byron Brooks II (b.7/01/1921 d.7/04/1976) 2 Children 
     William Lowry McBath (b.6/18/1927 d.1995)  m.Janice Rose Strang  (b.6/02) 1 Child; m. Windy 3 Children
     Marion Isabel McBath (b.7/1930) m.William Hollis Murphy, Jr..(3/31) m8.27.54 3 Children

       Billy Brooks m Jan 1 child Heather Rose Brooks
       Jimmy Brooks

       Betsy McBath m
       Becca McBath m
       Andrew McBath m

       Anita Carol Murphy b.2.56 m Bradley Smith b.8/1959 m. 1986
       David Christopher Murphy b 8.59 m.Celia Ann Miller b.11.58 m.9.12.87
       Franklyn Stuart Murphy m Lori 2 children Stuart & Sarah

       William Middleton Murphy b 7.1996
       Anna Elizabeth Murphy b 8 1996
       Matthew Miller Murphy b 10.1998

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Cone of Shame

Last Thursday our dog Barney had surgery to remove several blemishes. They knocked him out, shaved three or four areas, removed the blemishes, and stitched him up. The stitches on back of his head are several inches long, making him look like Frankendog. Since Friday he’s been wearing the cone of shame. He’s so big that he can’t walk around the table like he used to, and the cone makes it a challenge for him to climb the stairs of jump on the bed. He’s so strong that he scratches his chin through the cone. It makes a huge racket, especially in the middle of the night. The stitches are taking forever to heal.

At work in the afternoon co-worker Chris will says she needs chocolate. Since I am one of the few people in our office to have extra cabinets, she keeps some of her notebooks in my cabinet. Whenever she needs the notebook she just comes over and gets it. We also keep a few spare EZGo parts in the same cabinets, in boxes. Once during Christmas we had a bunch of candies and snacks, so I kept some chocolates in the cabinets until some of the other candies and been eaten up, so they would last longer.

A few weeks ago I got the idea to take one of the boxes in the cabinet and put it next to Chris’ notebooks. I labeled the box “CHOCOLATE – DO NOT TOUCH.” When she finally saw the box she broke out laughing.

Not much going on with me. Customer is shut down, so I am catching up and helping others at work. Nothing to write about, though.

On the way back from picking up Anna Sunday night we were going to stop and get her something to eat. Chickfila was closed, and she’s not crazy about Wendys, Burger King, McDonalds, or Arbys. Not much selection on 85 south. Finally got to the Mall of Georgia at 9:15 and Moes was closed. Next exit the Dunkin Donuts was out of everything except coffee – but was still open.

Monday night we watched 24. Ceil cooked these little stuffed boneless chicken breasts for dinner. Stuffed with spinach. Good. Had the leftovers for lunch on Tuesday.

After work Tuesday I got a warm cookie at RaceTrac. Big and good. Then at the library I checked out Stephen King’s “Under the Dome.” Thirty CD’s. Good so far. After the library I hit the Dollar Tree next door. Ceil called, needing salsa from El Porton. While there I also bought yogurt at Kroger.

For dinner Ceil cooked burrito fixins: shredded chicken, cut steak, chips, and two kinds of rice. Afterwards I watched the Braves and read my Zimmer book. Kimbrel has been driving me crazy. Last night it was an error by defensive replacement Pena that put the tying run on base. Stayed up too late, and around 11 pm I got sick. It woke me up in the middle of the night, but this morning I think I feel better.      

Ceil had an interview today to teach art.

Have you tried that new menu item at Taco Bell – the combination of the quesadilla and burrito? Not bad – but for some reason they use spicy melted cheese, that you know I am not crazy about.

Matthew got one of those Wendys key fobs for a dollar. The rest of the year he get a free mini frosty with any purchase. I’ll have to borrow it when he’s away at camp.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Basketball

Last Wednesday night I went with W and M to Joel’s basketball game. Johnson Ferry Baptist runs a men’s summer league, mainly for competitive players in their twenties. Most played in high school, and several played college ball. Joel’s team had four really good players, plus four others. Six played with Will at Flight. The team, in decreasing order of ability:

Connor: Plays for Oglethorpe. A beast.
DJ: the Basketball Marvel has improved since high school.
Jack: white 3-point shooter, shaved head, beard.
Pearl: black 3-point shooter in Syracuse shorts.

David Norman: improved rebounding & inside game
Willis Norman: out of practice, but held his own inside
Joel Norman has improved since high school.
McKay Smith: Connor’s little brother.

Our guys were playing a decent team of older guys that included two good big men and a couple of good outside shooters. But our guys jumped out to a quick lead and held it the entire game. The lead swelled to double digits several times. The league issues reversible jerseys and has an interesting rule – everyone must tuck their jersey into their shorts. The refs did a good job, especially the one who looked like young Michael Wilbon.   

Connor did not enter the game until three minutes remained in the first half (20 minutes each – running clock). Connor used the game to try out shots, passes, and moves he might not normally attempt in an Oglethorpe game. He entered the game wearing his sister’s hard plastic headband to keep his long flowing hair out of his face, but the referee made him take it off.

DJ shot more consistently than he did in high school, and drained several three-pointers and drove inside with impunity. Like Connor, he physically used positioning to create shots and draw fouls. DJ played most of the game, showing no fatigue from coming straight from an afternoon intramural softball game down at Georgia Tech.

Young McKay did not play until deep in the second half, but was able to keep up and blend in with players twice his age. Going into the 10th grade, he made most of his three-pointers during warmups. The Norman boys all got considerable playing time, and showed no fear battling inside. Late in the game, with several of our best players on the bench, the opponents cut the lead to three points. Jack sat out the last ten minutes. Our guys held on to win, but the game wouldn’t have been as close had Jack played more at the end of the game. Final score 92-89.

A good game to watch. Both teams played tight defense and moved the ball around on offense, often working the ball inside. Plenty of three pointers were taken, and many made, but it was far from a run & gun fast break shootout. Almost all shots were contested. Contrastingly, the next game was completely the opposite: two all black teams hoisting uncontested three pointers, little movement, and snowbirds hanging back on the offensive end.

Becky Norman came to watch. I did not keep score, but Connor’s mom kept track on her phone as she chatted. Connor’s dad did not watch. Later he said Oglethorpe was only playing ten home games next year in an effort to make the tournament. Connor said he would add me to the pass list.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ceil's Resume

Last week I helped Ceil put together her resume. Figured I would post it here. Leave a message if you want to offer her a six-figure job. At this point a five-figure job would be tremendous.


Veritas Classical School 2011-2014 
classroom helper, accounting, and office worker; graded papers, etc.

Living Science Home Studies 2003-2010 
zoo trip planner, expedition chaperone, office worker

Freelance Graphics Consultation 1993-1996
worked on signage for olympic stadium and georgia dome

Cunningham Architects 1992 interiors and architectural graphics
worked on signage for emory university 

URS Architects 1991 interiors and architectural graphics
worked on signage for atlanta airport concourse e

Second-Ponce de Leon Early Childhood School 1988-1890 
classroom teacher

Stevens and Wilkinson Architects - Atlanta, GA 1986-1988

Stevens and Wilkinson Architects - Columbia, SC 1983-1986


Passion City Church 2011-2014 
door holder, volunteer in toddler classroom

North Point Community Church 2001-2011 
kidstuf volunteer, waumbaland volunteer

Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church 1988-1999 
youth camp counselor, sunday school teacher


Clemson University - Bachelors of Architectural Design 1983

Georgia State University 1986 - 1988
post graduate art classes, art, and art education classes

di Domizios Art Center, Sandy Springs, GA - 2013-2014
studied drawing and painting

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Greatest of These is Pitching

The old adage says baseball is made up of pitching, hitting, and defense. If your team is good at any two they can win. Do all three and you’re unbeatable.
Despite Andrelton and Heyward, the Braves defense is sub-par. Neither Upton brother is a good defender. Gattis is a serviceable catcher, but Laird is showing his age. Hhe should be better than Gattis, but isn’t. I wonder if Freddie Freeman’s eyes sometime betray him on defense – he isn’t making as many great plays as he used to. LaStella has been an upgrade at second base.

Pitching has actually been the best part of the Braves season. The offense has been much worse – streaky at best – yet they’re only a game out of first place. Any NL East team that heats up can win the division. The Marlins don’t have the pitching to maintain their current pace. The Nationals have been worse than the Braves. The Dodgers are struggling, so the Cardinals are the team to beat. If the Braves heat up they could wreak some havoc in the playoffs.     

Fielding, Hitting, and Pitching, these three. But the greatest of these is Pitching. Perhaps I should re-write I Corinthians 13 for baseball. Just read that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is a daily Bible reader. He hates how his players don’t prepare mentally for games. Says they think they’re so good that they can just show up and win. No wonder they have a losing record.

Any NL East that heats up could take the division. Would these “fire the GM!” people want their job performance to hinge on every decision they make at work? People don’t take into account that bringing in a new regime means rebuilding, meaning even more lost seasons before a World Series win (their only benchmark) could be achieved.

Rob says: You are right - basically what we have right now is the start of a 90 game season, since only 1 1/2 games separate the Braves, Gnats and Marlins.  I remember on opening day when someone called into 680 and claimed that the Nats would have the division wrapped up by Sunday of that week.

I don't understand why the Braves are so bad offensively this year.  They are 14th in the NL in runs per game.  However, they are 9th in OPs, 12th in OBP, 3rd(worse) in K% and 8th in BB%.  Even with advanced sabr stat wRC+, which I am hesitant to use since I can't see the math, they are 12th. Compare all of this to last year where they were 4th in the NL in runs/game, with 3rd in OPS, 6th in OBP, 1st(worse) in K% and 2nd in BB%.  They were also 3rd in wRC+.

My takeaway is that they have been "unlucky", with much of that lack of luck being their own fault, with poorly executed situational hitting, not playing the best players (Uggla over LaStella early) and giving bad hitters (BJ) too may plate appearances. All that being said, it would not surprise me if they go on the road and play well.  The Nats, like the Braves, have a lot of outs in their lineup.

I try to avoid the "fire the manager/GM" talk.  It is not the managers/GM's fault if Chris Johnsons OPS is 167 points lower than last seasons.  However throwing away yesterday's game because the bullpen is overtaxed is inexcusable.  If your bullpen is that spent, they could have called up Gus Schlosser and sent down David Hale after Tuesday's game.  Leaving Harang out to throw BP was not the best choice they had. 

Unless someone violates a specific rule or policy, you are harming yourself if you fire someone because of a past action.  The question to ask is "who am I better off with my GM/Coach/Manager today?"  I thought about that today as people called into 680 and said Richt should be fired because he has not won a title like the other teams in the SEC have in the last few years.

Me: If I were a sports talk radio host (a) the callers would drive me crazy…no wonder most hosts talk all the time and don’t accept many calls, and (b) I would keep a computer file on repeat callers, keeping track of what they say and holding them accountable. Like Mark Bradley, I would hold myself and my co-hosts accountable as well.

Nice win Thursday night. Guess Wren won’t be trading Floyd. Makes the Wood to Gwinnett move look smart. What do you think about LaStella batting leadoff? He’d been hitting the ball right at people, so I wasn’t too worried about his 0-15 stretch.

Paul Lukas, the Uni-Watch guy, has been giving daily updates on the Redskins name change topic for well over six months. He also dislikes Chief Wahoo and the Braves’ laughing Indian logo, but he doesn’t think the name Braves is nearly as bad as Redskins. Since it is his party, opposing viewpoints are ridiculed and deemed wrong. During the 2013 season I thought the Redskins might wait until after the season and then announce a name change, but I was wrong. I was thinking the team and league could make even more merchandising money by selling gear with the new team name as well as throwback Redskins merchandise. Looks like they want to keep the Redskins name.

Rob: I like LaStella batting leadoff.  Like many others, I don't like BJ batting second.  When Justin returns tonight, I hope that puts Justin in the #2 spot, with BJ 6th or 7th.  When Gattis sits, he can move BJ back to #2 and Justin to #4.  With BJ batting 6th or 7th, he could steal more bases than he is now.  He seems hesitant to run with the heart of the order up.

I was hoping he would not trade Floyd, but now we get to keep Harang in the rotation.  I shouldn't complain about Harang since 12 of his 15 starts have been Quality Starts, but it is hard to watch him pitch.

One of the 680 shows were talking about the Redskin name change driving new revenue as well.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Father of the "Bride" Part 3?

Steve Martin wrote an interesting four-part harmony "hymn" with lyrics about the great music sung by various Christian denominations – contrasting the fact that "atheists don't have no songs to call their own." If anything, the song pokes fun of atheists - a rare thing. The bluegrass band Martin tours with, The Steep Canyon Rangers, sang the song on Letterman and at concerts. They also perform Martin's classic song "King Tut." Last year they performed at the US Capitol in the Fourth of July concert.

There is talk of filming a third "Father of the Bride" movie. The first two movies were relatively family-oriented films (though portraying the father as a bumbling buffoon, as Hollywood so often does. But the filmmakers are going out of their way to offend traditional families with the third edition. In the story the father of the bride's grandson has grown up, come out as gay, with plans to marry a Navy Seal. Perhaps this is why Steve Martin said he was interested to read that he was starring in the film, considering he hadn't been offered the role or even seen a script. Hopefully he will turn it down.

Blast from the past: a friend reminded me that when the TV show Murphy Brown came out there was such a fuss because it was the first show where a single woman had a baby. Now such a show is commonplace.

Tuesday was the only day this week Will could spend time with MC. Anna is out of town celebrating a birthday. Matthew had a youth group event in Buckhead – a corn hole tournament. Ceil took him, and ran errands (Lenox, etc). I almost ran out of gas, but made it to a station. Also tried out the new Taco Bell quesadilla / burrito combination. It was ok – but a little on the spicy side. Doubt I'll order it again.

Did I tell you that the CRV got hit? Didn't realize I parked on a side street – at the end of someone's driveway. A girl backed out and hit the driver's side door. Her insurance (Geico) was very efficient in getting it fixed. Ceil took it up to Classic Collision in Alpharetta, and was able to drive a Camry while it was repaired. He dropped it off last Monday and they finished late Wednesday. They even detailed the CRV inside and out.

My knock on wood: The Civic check engine light was on, but since getting the oil changed and transmission serviced the light has stayed off for a few weeks. I need to get the emissions tested now. I'll be needing at least 2 tires for the Civic soon. They're not rear bad, but they have a lot of miles on them. Now I've got to keep track of maintenance for Will's Jeep and my father-in-law's Jeep that Anna drives. Saturday Anna was driving M somewhere, and ran over her first squirrel. M took a picture of her crying.

Guess you didn't take advantage of that $24 off at Express Oil Change, did you? Bet the line was long.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ted Tuesday

Left work at 3:10 and traffic on 285 and downtown was still so bad. A thunderstorm hit about the time I got on 85 south and again when I passed Atlantic Station. To my horror the Low Fuel light came on – I hadn't realized I was so low. Walked from my car to the stadium with an umbrella, but the rain stopped by the time the gates opened. Saw several of the regulars, plus Matthew's former teammate Tanner.

The Braves skipped BP, but I found Johnny and Marshal sitting in the shade in LF. Their topic of conversation – BJ Upton. Johnny admitted he enjoyed weekday games because the crowds were lighter, and was glad attendance was lower at baseball games Had a long chat with Marshal as the Phillies prepared for their BP. I clumsily missed a bouncing BP ball that should've been an easy grab. Delta was giving away H&F burgers to every 10th person to register for a free flight, but I didn't win. Cashed in my 250 all-star ballots – they were still giving away BJ Upton bobble heads. I was out of town when they originally had the BJ Upton bobblehead giveaway.

During BP Ryan Howard effortlessly sprayed line drive singles, then came up in the first inning and launched the home run to left. After the 5th inning I left my perch in section 415 and watched the 6th and 7th from the eating tables behind the third base dugout. Without much gas I didn't want to get stuck in traffic, so I left after that. As I walked out I passed people holding tickets on their way into the game.

After being called out on strikes in the first (and jawing with the plate umpire on the way back to the dugout), BJ later lined a first-pitch single to left. That's what I'm talking about – swinging to make contact and not thinking so much, using his athletic ability instead of his brain. But later instead of attempting a diving catch, BJ slowing up, faked catching the ball, grabbed the ball on the bounce barehanded, and fired home – allowing the batter to reach second. Perhaps it was a good time to take the chance, though they rarely work out for BJ. I'll try not to not single out every mistake he makes – he is doing better than last year.
Saw at least one fan wearing an old brown Padres cap, giving tribute to Tony Gwynn. Saw where several teams gave tribute to Gwynn with symbols in the hole between short and third. Amazing career – after hitting .289 in 54 games in his rookie season, Gwynn never batted under .309. In my mind a comparable hitter was Rod Carew, if not Ichiro.
338 394 20 3141 9288 2440 15 Gwynn
328 388 19 3053 9315 2469 18 Carew
319 372 14 2781 8731 2118 10 Ichiro MLB

200 hit seasons: Ichiro 10, Carew 4, Gwynn 5 (plus two 197 hit seasons). 

Batting championships: Gwynn 8, Carew 6, Ichiro 2

Rob says: You mentioned BJ and Stanton trade. I think the Braves have a better trade partner in the LA Dodgers. As of July 1, the Braves owe BJ $53MM (thru 2017) and Uggla $19.5MM (thru 2015). As of that same date, the Dodgers owe Matt Kemp $117.5MM (thru 2019), Carl Crawford $72.38MM (thru 2017) and Andre Ethier $78.75MM (thru 2018).

Kemp and BJ are 29; Crawford and Ethier are 32 and Uggla is 34. If you look at their production over 2013 and 2014 and average that over 600 plate appearances, BJ has a WAR of (1.0) per 600 PA's, Uggla (2.3), Kemp (0.4), Crawford 2.2 and Ethier 2.8. As a reminder, a 2.0 WAR over a full season (600 PA's) is considered an "average" major league starter.

The Dodgers owe more money, for a longer time to their bad contracts, although their bad contract players are slightly more productive than ours. Puig and Scott Van Slyke are better players in 2014 than any of the 3 veteran outfielders they have.

Though now that I look at it, maybe it is better that the Braves stay away from this idea. BTW, BJ and Uggla combine to make $143,000 per day.

Did I tell you that my CRV got hit? Didn't realize I parked on a side street – at the end of someone's driveway. A girl backed out and hit the driver's side door. Her insurance (Geico) was very efficient in getting it fixed. Ceil took it up to Classic Collision in Alpharetta, and was able to drive a Camry while it was repaired. He dropped it off last Monday and they finished late Wednesday. They even detailed the CRV inside and out.

My knock on wood: The Civic check engine light was on, but since getting the oil changed and transmission serviced the light has stayed off for a few weeks. I need to get the emissions tested now. I'll be needing at least 2 tires for the Civic soon. They're not rear bad, but they have a lot of miles on them.  Now I've got to keep track of maintenance for Will's Jeep and my father-in-law's Jeep that Anna drives.

Guess you didn't take advantage of that $24 off at Express Oil Change, did you? Bet the line was long.

So far "The Zen of Zim" is good, though a good chunk of it is how Steinbrenner turned against Zimmer. His first book, more of an autobiography, is probably better.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Another Weekend

Typical weekend for me. Friday afternoon Will played golf at Chastain Park, and Ceil tagged along. Earlier she had taken M to guitar in Woodstock, then down 575 and 75 and across 285 to FBC so Matthew could redie to SixFlags. After work I picked up Willy’s for me and Anna, then drove down to FBC Atlanta to pick up Matthew.

Saturday morning Will left out at 5 am for the big sale at REI. Anna left at 7:30 to take the ACT. My phone rang, and I had to arrange to hot shipment to EZGo. Then Ceil and I took Barney for a walk. Will and Joel came home and set up the tent he had bought. Did some housework and watched the US Open. Saw a deer right outside our back window. Anna had to run an errand, and took Matthew to his friend’s house. On the way Anna hit her first squirrel. Ceil went grocery shopping. Later I drove up to Forsyth County to get Matthew.

Will went to the Braves game with MC’s family. They ate in the 755 Club, and Will said his club sandwich wasn’t very good. He was sitting right in front of Steve Bedrosian, whose son pitched the 9th inning for the Angels. I stayed up past 12:30, but finally went to bed after David Hale blew up, walking the American league pitcher trying to bunt.

Sunday morning Ceil fixed me an egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Later Will, Matthew, and I joined C and A for the 12:30 service at PCC. On the walk in from the parking lot the rain started pounding down, and M in particular got drenched. During her welcome Shelly Giglio singled out the introverts and also made those fathers who didn’t like coffee raise their hands. Though I consider myself an introvert, I proudly raised my hand. As usual the service, music, and message were all great, but going on and on for almost two hours just wears me out. M was cold and wanted to go home instead of staying for youth, and we swung by Taco Bell to warm his insides.

Back home I washed the dishes and folded clothes while watching the Open, and around five we ate burgers, fries, and baked beans. I had read an article about how English Muffins make great burger buns, so I tried it out. Pretty good.   

I’ll be needing at least two tires for the Civic soon. They’re not in real bad shape, but they have a lot of miles on them. Now I’ve got to keep track of maintenance for Will’s Jeep and my father-in-law’s Jeep that Anna drives. Didn’t take advantage of that $24 off at Express Oil Change, did you? I bet the line was long.

I was glad to see the Spurs win. Last week a co-worker was talking like there was no way LeBron could lose. Last night it sounded like it wasn’t his fault. Now will LeBron jump to another team?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Diagnosing BJ

Seems like a waste of time to wonder about BJ. Like Kruck mentioned last night, he is all messed up, guessing wrong on pitches and not swinging at balls down the middle. 
Earlier yesterday I was reminded of an old study showing how athletes of a particular race performed certain sports actions better than those of other races. While Caucasian athletes were better at repetitive things like shooting foul shots, African-American athletes were better at making decisions on the fly, like driving the lane and either passing or shooting. While digging up such info may be treading on thin ice, it is obvious BJ needs to stop thinking so much and let his athletic ability take over.

The tepid outfield defense by the Upton brothers will severely hamper the Braves chances to advance in the playoffs. Too often both attempt feet-first sliding catches on balls dropping in front of them, instead of diving headfirst with their glove stretched out in front of them, like Jason Heyward and most other outfielders. Last night Mike Trout robbed BJ of a hit by charging hard and diving head and glove first – after BJ had complained to the inconsistent plate umpire for calling him out on a pitch "that was a ball to Trout". Both Justin and BJ play so deep that baserunners routinely go first to third on them.

BJ's attitude hurts him worse than anything. I can't blame him for taking the Braves $75 million. With few other centerfield options at the time, do you think Wren's signing of BJ was a roll of the dice? Wren probably wouldn't have been able to pull off the Justin Upton/Chris Johnson for Martin Prado trade had BJ not already have been signed. A MLB GM has a tough job. Everyone (including me) makes mistakes. Based on the Braves record and circumstances, I find few reasons to fire Wren or Fredi.  
Chuck Oliver had an interesting suggestion: trade BJ to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton, and play ALL of BJ's salary. Good idea, though I doubt either team would pull the deal, for differing reasons. As you can tell, I'm really struggling with BJ.

No one can maintain Gattis' blistering pace, but do you think he can be a consistent .280-.290 hitter slugging 35-40 home runs? Bethancourt may be up to .270, but is that a better option than Gattis? I won't hold my breath to see Gattis in the All-Star Game, with at least three other NL catchers having good years.

Will went to Saturday night's Braves game with MC's family. I didn't know where they were sitting until her brother posted a photo on Facebook from the 755 Club above left field. In the bottom of the ninth they showed Steve Bedrosian sitting in the 755 Club seats. I looked for Will sitting nearby but didn't see him. I texted Will, and he saw Bedrock sitting behind them. Will may have played against Bedrosian's son. Wild that neither Will nor Joel knew who Bedrosian was. Joel went to the Friday night game.

Saturday's loss made me wonder what the Braves' record is on national TV, particularly in the Fox/ESPN era. I had resigned myself to another ESPN loss last night, but enjoyed the nice comeback. ESPN loved talking about Gattis and Freeman. Fun Fox interview with Santana on Saturday. On the radio Saturday night Powell blasted Angels' Howie Kendrick for his lack of hustle on two plays.

So far "The Zen of Zim" is good, though a good chunk of it is how Steinbrenner turned against Zimmer. His first book, more of an autobiography, is probably better.

Rob replys: If Gattis played every day in LF, he would be a .270 - .290 hitter with 30-40 HR's and 90 - 100+ RBI.  He might not get to some balls in LF that Justin would, however he would do the right thing with the balls he could get to.  What gets lost in the hoopla surrounding his power, is the fact that he is a very smart ballplayer.  If he continues to catch, his numbers won't stay where they are at.  Last year we talked about how McCann's OPS declined by month over his career.  We will see something similar with Gattis.

I don't think the BJ signing was a dice roll.  If BJ had of only replicated his Tampa performance, there would not be an issue.  BJ was cheaper than what Bourn was asking for (though Bourn eventually received less).  BJ also had more skills than Span or Revere, who signed for less money.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Just tracked down a copy of a recent portrait of our kids.

My theory on portraits: it seems like so many facilities spend inordinate amounts of time taking and posing for portraits and pictures. What did people do before they had cameras? Portraits show children cleaned up and dressed up in their finest. Not always an accurate representation of the people in the picture. Like my kids above, often times a portrait whitewashes away all the issues of the day. All seems well, when in fact there are actually a lot of issues going on. 

An old, previously unposted recap of March 19: Wednesday night C and A had art, and M was off at a friend’s house, so I took my time getting home. Left the office at 5:45 and stopped by a Cheeseburger Bobbys near the office. Perhaps if I stop using A1 steak sauce and instead use ketchup the burger will taste better (that turned out to be true). Still not as good as Fuddruckers (not as thick a burger). Passed on the fries, which are good and plentiful. 

On the way home I found an Ilya Kovalchuk bobblehead for my collection.

About 9:15 I returned a library book and mailed some letters, then drove 38 miles, past Six Flags to Douglasville to pick up Matthew. I’d noticed that 285 traffic was backed up northbound, so on the way back I took 20 east downtown, then 75 north to Delk Road…adding another ten miles to my already long trip. Of course downtown traffic was backed up as well. Got home about 11:15.

Finally got somewhat caught up at work yesterday, but this morning we’ve already had a rejection on one part and a shutdown on another - plus other issues kept coming up.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My All-Fun Guy Team

I am commemorating the passing of Don Zimmer by reading his book “The Zen of Zim” Quite good so far. As a resident of Tampa, the Gerbil had been a long-time friend of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. George hired Zim as a coach before firing manager Gene Michael to bring in Billy Martin for the third time. But in 2002 Steinbrenner, irate over losing the chance to win a fourth straight World Series, turned against Zimmer.

Zimmer is on the short list of what could be called my All-Fun Guy Team. Zimmer played second, short, and third, and when he finished his career as a minor leaguer he even pitched a game or two. When he was the player/manager for the Knoxville Smokies in 1967 I might have seen him play against the Macon Peaches.
Yogi Berra C, OF (several books)
Jeff Blauser SS
Matt Diaz OF
Moe Drabowsky P
Joe Garagiola C (Baseball is a Funny Game)
Eric Hinske 3B
Mark Lemke 2B
Greg Maddux SP
Kris Medlen P
Peter Moylan RP
John Smoltz P (Starting and Closing)
Bob Uecker C (Catcher in the Wry)
Don Zimmer 2B (The Zen of Zim)
When Bill Mazeroski hit his historic World Series home run to left field in Forbes Field, there were photos of the dejected left fielder for the New York Yankees leaning against the fence and looking up…Yogi Berra. Berra and Garagiola were pals growing up in St. Louis.
Can you think of someone who needs to be added?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Memory Verses

Fred O recites the Sermon on the Mount from time to time. He will even dress up in Biblical garb. I think I started memorizing it a long time ago. Also memorized Romans 12. Back at GT we were in small groups and we would memorize verses.

Every year the GT BSU had a 24 hour basketball game against the UGA Baptist Student Union to raise money for student missions. Every hour would be different: guys, girls, co-ed, freshmen, alumni, even an hour with girls on guys shoulders. I would always try to play the most hours. One year I played in the memory verse hour – whoever made a basket had to recite a Bible verse for the basket to count. Wouldn’t you know that was the hour all my shots went in.

Tuesday: drove straight home last night. C cooked Mexican, even though all three kids were gone. M was at Six Flags and Felinis. A went to Brittanys. W was with MC. After dinner C went to Belks and to get M. I watched the Braves offensive explosion, and typed up a resume for Ceil.

Wednesday: Ceil had a rough day, and decided not to go to art – even though Will and Anna were out last night. Then C and W went to watch a swim meet.

I watched several Duck Dynasty episodes that I hadn’t seen before. Though many reality shows get  old after a while and start repeating, Duck Dynasty does a good job of staying fresh. In last night’s season 6 premiere the Governor of Louisiana visited and gave a speech praising the Robertson family’s Christian values, and joined the family in prayer. He also shot some basketballs in the Duck Commander warehouse. In the season 5 finale Jase’s young daughter gave her testimony at the family reunion – and professional wrestlers gave a demonstration.    

Thursday: Crazy day all day long. Some people drive me crazy. What a day. Took my time getting home. Will went to trivia.

Friday: Will took Ceil to play golf. M is at Six Flags again. Anna is probably off somewhere as well. Guess I’ll watch the Braves.

Good rule – never call anyone between 9 pm and 9 am. But kids today keep ODD hours – stay up late. They don’t have a “land line” but rarely call each other on their cell phones either – they’re always texting or face-timing or snap-chatting. I hear phones buzzing at all hours. It’s the EBay notifications that buzz on my phone in the middle of the night.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Statute on Statues?

One of the great things about Washington DC is all the monuments and statues. They are located not just on the national mall and in the capitol building, but throughout the city in various parks and street corners. There are several statues adorning the grounds of the Georgia state capitol, and three outside Turner Field: Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, and Phil Niekro. The Braves have also erected monuments honoring each of the retired numbers, and markers for each member of the Braves Hall of Fame.

Monday afternoon 680’s Chuck Oliver was discussing statues on college campuses. He thought any coach winning a national college football championship deserved a statue. That’s what the University of Alabama has decided as well, with five statues so far. Perhaps the best policy is to wait until the coach retires on moves on before erecting the statue, to make sure he doesn’t disgrace the school. Former UGA president Michael Adams decreed that Vince Dooley’s statue be located far away from Sanford Stadium, past the athletic fields at the edge of the campus. Sour grapes? Statues need to be where fans attending games can see them.

Heisman Trophy winners also deserve a statue. Stadiums have such large perimeters that numerous statues can be spaced out far enough away so as to not seem crowded. The University of South Carolina is spending $100,000 on a statue of Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers. Good for them. But Gene Sapakoff of the Charleston Post and Courier thinks the money would be better spent elsewhere: lower ticket prices, scholarships, etc. He worries, that like so many other things in sports, that statue building will explode across the state and turn South Carolina into another Alabama. Clemson will surely counter with statues of their own (The Fridge’s huge statue would cost millions) and smaller SC schools, with smaller budgets, would be caught up in the trend. Does a law need to be enacted to limit the overuse of these monuments? Sapakoff makes a good point, though he’s in the minority in our sports-crazed society.

An Athens artist has begun work on statues of former Georgia greats Frank Sinkwich, Charlie Trippi, and Herschel Walker, but needs more money to be raised to finish the project. Florida honored its three Heisman winners with statues: Spurrier, Wuerfful, and Tebow (above). Fans are welcomed to Georgia Tech’s Grant Field by statues of former coaches Bobby Dodd and John Heisman (below). Tech has not sired a Heisman winner, but boasts two runner-ups and several members of the college football hall of fame (which soon will be located just a few blocks south of the Tech campus, downtown next to Centennial Olympic Park).

Auburn could do well to erect statues of Heisman winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson, though any bronze statue of Cam Newton would be tarnished by the numerous NCAA investigations into his recruitment. Southern Cal has the same problem with disgraced Heisman winners OJ Simpson and Reggie Bush. Instead perhaps a display case can be filled with bobblehead likenesses of all head coaches and All-Americans.  

More 680: I am liking the addition of Chris Dimino to the morning show. As a sports expert, he does not tolerate Perry’s blabbering. Dimino will stop mid-sentence to call out Perry, saying “don’t give me that…” or “don’t roll your eyes”. This has given Christopher Rude the courage to speak out against Perry as well, leaving Laurentino somewhat speechless at times. This two against one setup makes the show much more pleasant listening.