Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Offensive Team Names

The national outcry to change the offensive name of the Washington Redskins is growing louder. Last fall I thought the name would be changed at the end of the season, but it was not to be. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has remained firm, despite losing trademark protection from the government. Many believe changing the name will be a financial windfall for the NFL, giving the league merchandise from a new team to sell – while still selling plenty of throwback Redskins merchandise as well.

Supposedly the Cleveland Indians are on somewhat safer ground, with the Atlanta Braves’ ground firmer still. No telling how long it will be before that thinking changes. I already see the Braves distancing themselves from the tomahawk and retired laughing Indian head logo in printed materials and commercials, and wonder if the tomahawk will also be retired by the time the team moves into its new ballpark. The braves are having enough trouble with the media and fans offended by the move from their unprofitable lease in the downtown slums.

Once the Redskins change their name, the masses and media can turn their attention to wiping out other offensive team names. Below is a list of other offensive team names in the NFL:   

BEARS…offensive to salmon.
BENGALS…endangered species.
BROWNS…offensive to other colors.
BILLS…name offensive to consumers.
BRONCOS…offensive to horse-trainers.
BUCCANEERS…glorifies criminals.
CARDINALS…offensive to blue jays.
CHARGERS…name offensive to consumers.
CHIEFS…offensive to the Indian nation.
COLTS…offensive to small horses.
COWBOYS…offensive to Indians.
DOLPHINS…causes intelligent animals to be imprisoned.
EAGLES…offensive to pigeons.
FALCONS…offensive to pigeons.
49ERS…offensive to those flunking history.
GIANTS…offensive to midgets.
JAGUARS…offensive to safe drivers.
JETS…loud machines that sometimes crash.
LIONS…offensive to gazelles.
PACKERS…offensive to management.
PANTHERS…name has racist connotations.
PATRIOTS…offensive to non-Americans.
RAIDERS…glorifies criminals.
RAMS…glorifies head-butting, a cause of concussions.
RAVENS…offensive to the infirmed.
REDSKINS…offensive to the Indian nation.
SAINTS…offensive to non-Christians.
SEAHAWKS…offensive to salmon.
STEELERS…glorifies shoplifting.
TEXANS…offensive to Oklahomans.
TITANS…offensive to normal-sized people.
VIKINGS…glorifies looters.

Like the Saints, soon the San Diego Padres and Wake Forest Demon Deacons will incur the wrath of the growing anti-Christian movement in our country. The ACLU will file suit, and three move teams will change their names. Just wait and see.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Maddux: Lowest ERA Ever

When it comes to Earned Run Average, Greg Maddux was the greatest in history. Experts say Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, and Maddux were so dominant because their ERA was so much lower than the league ERA, but Maddux’s comparative ERA was the lowest. Gibson and Koufax played in an era when pitching was so dominant that the mound was lowered. Maddux pitched against a league full of juiced up players hitting home runs at a record pace. Maddux put up four straight years where his ERA was less than 2/3 the league average. Only Walter Johnson, who pitched in the dead ball era, can match that.
Maddux led the majors in ERA in 4 years out of 6, and finished in the top 5 in the majors 9 times in the 10 year period from 1993 - 2002. Since 1920 only five pitchers had seasons with an ERA lower than 1.65: Spud Chandler (1943), Bob Gibson (68), Luis Tiant (68), and Dwight Gooden (85). Maddux did it twice, in 94 and 95.

Only three active pitchers have careers ERAs lower than Maddux, who pitched for 23 seasons. Today pitchers are dominant because players are trying to hit home runs, and instead strike out in record numbers.

Of all the players in MLB history who pitched as long as Maddux, only one had a lower ERA. Maddux is the only pitcher in history with more than 300 wins and 3000 strikeouts, and less than 1000 walks. The Hall of Famers he faced only hit .273 off him – 14 points lower than their career average.

era.league.% of
1.56 4.21 37.1% Maddux 3.16
1.12 2.99 37.5% Gibson   2.91
When the greatness of Roger Clemens is discussed, most will fail to compare him to Maddux. Though some of their statistics are comparable, Maddux was the better all-around pitcher: ERA, strikeouts, walks, wins, consistency, fielding, and even bunting (The Mad Dog had more sacrifice bunts than any right-handed pitcher in history, and is second all-time behind Tom Glavine). And Maddux did it without using performance-enhancing drugs.

Sunday night I looked at all the photos on, looking for my two friends who had made the trip. Tom said his view wasn’t that good. Baptist John was at Turner Field. Yesterday I finally got to look at those commemorative HOF AJC’s. Thought about cutting out some photos for my scrapbook calendar, but decided to save them intact. Also bought the special commemorative Sports Illustrated HOF edition off the newsstands, with Maddux and Glavine on the cover. Filled with neat info and articles I hadn’t read before.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Longest Day

Friday I was all set to take a relaxing vacation day – or so I thought. EZGo was supposedly only running one line until 8:30 am. I was going to sleep in. Then my phone rang at 6:30 - two hot parts. Went downstairs to charge my phone. One part turned out to be EZGo’s problem, though I had to make a few calls to figure that out. The other one would require more work. Tried to ship parts from the painter, but after several more calls it was determined their count was off. Grabbed a bottle of lemonade to drink, but I didn’t take time for breakfast.

I’d wanted to take Will’s car to the shop early, to give me time to walk/run the 3.5 miles back home in time to take M to his 10 am guitar lesson. But I didn’t leave home until eight. Spent the walk back working the phones. Instructed a co-worker to run two plays, getting material shipped quickly. I shouldn’t have stopped at a church yard sale, but it was too tempting. When I realized I was cutting it close on time I tried to call Matthew, but he was still asleep.

Arrived home at 9:30 all hot and sweaty. Woke M and we were on the road in ten minutes. Working the phone caused me to miss my exit, and we didn’t get to the lesson until 10:15. While M was inside at his lesson I spent the entire hour on the phone, with work and with Ceil. At the same time I cleaned out my car. Two hours had passed, and the co-worker had yet to get the material moving. Called the new boss to have him play bird-dog. He graciously only charged me a half day vacation. On the way home I got M some Wendy’s, but I passed. Also gassed up the Civic.

Back home meant more work – emails and phone calls about the hot part. Jonathan did a great job pulling a one week lead time at a brand new shop up to a 24 hour lead time. We both worked out the logistics. The material was ready at 12 but the pickup was inexplicably set for two – causing an unnecessary delay. No one asked the customer when parts were needed, so I had to do that as well. Another truck had been set up for Monday, but again that wasn’t good enough. I had to set up a truck for Saturday, and worked out all those logistics.

In the meantime I couldn’t get the tickets printed for the game. Reid was also having printer problems, so finally I got M’s friend Nathan to print them out. Took a quick shower, fed and walked the dog, then M and I left home – almost 30 minutes late. At 2 pm Atlanta traffic was already bad. Changed plans and first picked up Reid in Buckhead before Nathan in Douglasville. Was still taking a call or two for work. With the downtown connector already clogged, from Shardondale I took Piedmont to Juniper to Memorial to 20 West. Good call. Passed Six Flags with a line of traffic headed back east toward 285. No way we’d make it back 20 East – 285 North – and 75 North to Rome by 6 pm. I was stressed, and remembered why I so often attend games alone – working out all the group logistics ain’t easy.

As we neared Nathan’s house God gave me a great idea – drive back-roads due north to Rome. If anything it would add to the adventure. The GPS wasn’t working, so I grabbed my old-school 2008 road map and saw it was feasible. Best part of the day. Mostly four lanes with hardly any traffic. We were able to enjoy the scenery: green trees and pastures and blue sky above. A couple more work calls, but my mood had improved. Stopped for tea at a Walgreens – my first nourishment since the 8 am lemonade before my 3-1/2 miles in the sun. While M grabbed the teas I finally had time to put on my shoes.
After some directional issues, we pulled up to State Mutual Stadium at 5:40 – perfect timing. There was a long line outside the main gate, but I parked up the first base line. We were fourth in line at the first base gate. I was finally able to relax. Gates opened at six, and we secured out Freddie Freeman bobbleheads. Ate my first meal of the day – delicious BBQ nachos. Sat in the shade at the picnic table for a while, then walked around. Reid thanked a soldier for his service, and showed him his Alaska unit’s cap. I’d bought seats at what I though was the end of the row – but they were jammed up against the next section. I just laughed.
We weren’t familiar with any of the Rome players, but the manager was young Jonathan Schuerholz – son of the Braves longtime GM. At least the players were swinging the bat, instead of taking pitch after pitch. Two baserunners scored from first – always an exciting play. Some good plays, some bad plays. After the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch they played John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” – like they used to at Turner Field. The three young siblings behind us were cuties, eating ice cream, dancing between innings, and dutifully screaming when the noise-meter told them to.

Around 9:30 we made our exit, after the top of the 8th. Rome eventually won. Nothing happened after we left, except the teams stayed and finished the game. Uneventful drive home, except I was fading fast. In my head I calculated how much I’d driven that day – over 320 miles. After taking young Nathan home to Douglasville, we didn’t get home until after 12:30 am. I was bushed. Walking/running the 3-1/2 miles Friday morning, then not eating or drinking anything all day until we got that tea at 5 pm and BBQ at 6:15 – then staying up so late - had me messed up all day Saturday as well. But the Rome trip was big fun, and quite the adventure.  

Didn’t sleep well Friday night. Woke up early for a Saturday. Cleaned upstairs, walked the dog, took Will’s car to get the oil changed – then waxed it. Did lots of laundry. Had to do a little work to finish off the Friday problem. Packaged and shipped two EBay boxes. On my feet again for most of the day. So busy I forgot to post to the blog.

Saturday night Will and I went to David Norman’s wedding shower in Roswell. Ashley Corbett and his wife were there. A fun time, except I was worn out. Being tired helped me crack more jokes during the fun present-opening time. Saturday night I finally slept well – after making an 11 pm run to gas up Anna’s Jeep.
Sunday: more laundry, did the dishes twice, and blew the driveway. Took M to church. Got the emissions done on my car. Caught up on emails. Did more late after picking up M – WalMart, gassing up my car again, more work, and boxing up another EBay package. Didn’t get to bed until after 11 pm – then up early Monday. M rode with W downtown to meet his small group for the Braves day game. Afterward he went home with friend Jaimen for a sleepover and Tuesday at Six Flags.

Which means I’ll be driving back out to Douglasville again Tuesday night. No rest for the weary.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

HOF Induction

Today is the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown. At least two of my friends made the trip: Rob and Tom. Thumbnails of the inductees:

Greg Maddux: According to ESPN's Tim Kurkjian says Maddux is one of the five greatest pitchers in history. Greatest control pitcher, and greatest fielding pitcher in history. Won 15 or more games an amazing 17 straight seasons - a record that will never be broken. Won a record 18 Gold Gloves. First pitcher to win four straight Cy Young Awards.

Tom Glavine: Kurkjian calls him one of the ten greatest left-handers. Won two Cy Young Awards and was a 300 game winner. Won four Silver Slugger awards.

Frank Thomas: Kurkjian called him one of the top ten greatest right-handed hitters of all time. In 1994 he had one of the greatest all around offensive seasons in history. Hit 521 home runs and won two straight MVPs. From Columbus, GA. Played football and baseball at Auburn.

Tony LaRussa: Third on all-time managerial win list. Managed the White Sox, A's, and Cardinals. Only manager to win 500 games for three teams. Briefly played for the Braves.

Bobby Cox: Fourth on the all-time managerial win list.

Joe Torre: Fifth on the all-time managerial win list. Played for the Braves, Cardinals, and Mets - then later managed all three teams.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Terrible Thing to Waste

On Friday the 11th Will drove my Civic to work so he and MC could leave early for SC. I drove his Jeep to work, and hung my sportcoat in the back to attend a morning funeral for a co-worker’s father-in-law. After I snuck out of the funeral I tossed to jacket in the back and rushed back to work. Later I moved the Jeep to the gated parking lot when Ceil and Anna picked me up on the way out of town.

This past Saturday the 19th I dropped Will off to pick up the Jeep. Planning on getting the oil changed, I cleaned out his Jeep Sunday afternoon. Among the stuff in the back was a wadded up sportcoat. As I hung it up I muttered to myself that Will should take better care of his clothes.

Went back to work Monday the 21st. Saw the co-worker, who thanked me for coming to the funeral. Then it hit me – that wadded up sportcoat was mine!

Like BJ Upton and Dan Uggla, when Jeff Francoeur was with the Braves he was statistically the worst offensive player in baseball. Yet this weekend many fans will say that Wren should’ve picked Francoeur back up…after he was also released by the Mets, Rangers, and lowly Royals. The Padres have given up – they are 12 games under .500 and 12-1/2 games behind the first place Dodgers. They just traded away their best relief pitcher. The Braves are 9 games over .500.

Had a lunch meeting Wednesday – BBQ. Also a lunch meeting with EZGo Thursday. Trying to eat better. So far this week I have turned down chocolate cake, chikfila biscuits, macaroni and cheese, banana pudding, cookies, and burritos. Also ordered Wendys for M but nothing for me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thomas Lake the Snake

Can’t believe Sports Illustrated published such a one-sided “My Town My Team” article by the Braves “fan” Thomas Lake. Made me mad just reading it. As a subscriber for almost 35 years, this was absolutely the worst article I have ever read in the magazine. Such drivel could be expected from the Bleacher Report, but not Sports Illustrated. Not factual, nor representative of the opinion or experience of the majority of fans. Most all the reasons for the stadium move were ignored.

Before nailing the writer to a cross I decided to learn a little about him. Like Andy Stanley, Thomas Lake grew up as a preacher’s kid in Tucker. Their hundred-member church met in a YMCA. Thomas was homeschooled and went to Gordon College. As a long-form writer he is well thought of nationally, and was profiled by the Gospel Coalition as “the finest young sportswriter in the nation.” Lives in East Lake and is a member of Oakhurst Church. Wrote the 15,000 word Sports Illustrated article “The Book of Tebow” without much help from the subject. Sounds like a stand-up guy.

But like many in-town Braves fans, Lake is obviously upset over the City of Atlanta’s mismanagement of the Braves stadium and lease (though he left out those details). Inaccurate statements like “the Braves will leave Atlanta” make it sound like the team is moving far away, when in fact the new field is just twelve miles up the road - with an Atlanta address.  He fails to mention the Falcons are leaving a facility just as “new” as Turner Field, despite the Dome having recently received millions in improvements.  

In his article Lake writes about the bad rush hour traffic on his drive from Decatur to Midtown, but fails to mention how all fans traveling to Turner Field currently suffer that same misery. You’d think a native Atlantan would know a few back roads and alternate routes (unless he took the most clogged route on purpose).  

For me, living in Little Five Points, Midtown, Morningside, Buckhead, and Chamblee was great – but there are many things I do not miss. Inside-the-perimeter traffic and crime are bad, prices are higher, and at the time some stores were only located outside the Perimeter. Given the choice today, I would not move back. I understand and accept that those living there enjoy their way of life. Same goes for those who live in places like DC, LA, or NYC.

These smart, educated, seemingly open-minded in-towners understand and accept some things - that all people don’t share the same race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation (according to studies, 97% are heterosexual and 3% are homosexual) – while not accepting other things, like a different political ideology or place of residence. They ignore the fact that suburbs have nice amenities – trendy restaurants, shops, theaters, museums, schools, and lower taxes, prices, traffic, and crime – that make living there worthwhile. Perhaps we’ll keep that our little secret.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2014 Beach Crowd

1. Me
2. Ceil
3. Anna
4. Will
5. Mary-Clayton
6. Edwin
7. Joan
8. Rusty
9. Kelly
10. Ben
11. Katherine
12. Jordan
13. Kelly’s friend
14. Ally
15. Donnie
16. Donna
17. Phil
18. Teresa
19. Zane
20. Beau
21. Victoria
22. Billy
23. Jack
24. Larry
25. Susan
26. Son
27. Son
28. Red
29. Ryn
30. Cousin at Bonefish
31. Wife
32. Daughter
33. George
34. Stephanie
35. Bud
36. Daughter
37. Georgia
38. Cousin on beach
39. Wife
40. Son
41. Baby
42. Cousin the Coach
43. Husband
44. Lennie
45. Corrine
46. Ben's friend

Not a bad number, considering two regular families were missing: Dic Dac’s and Monte’s.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ten Days in July

This year I had so much planned for my vacation that I wasn’t able to do everything. Number one was hang out on the beach as much as possible, and reading Grisham paperbacks as much as possible. Did OK on that. Could’ve entered more Coke Rewards points. Spent a decent amount of time on my laptop, but didn’t write much. Posted to the blog most every day. Not enough in room time to read or work on EBay, but you can’t do everything. Ate much more than I needed, as usual.

FRI Aug 11: C & A picked me up at work shortly after five. Stopped at Chickfila and we received two free items for Cow Appreciation Day. Later we stopped at Starbucks for Ceil. Made it to SC in good time.

SAT Aug 12: Drove the Civic and CRV to Pageland for gas. Wearing my new orange Nikes, I packed three cars for the beach. Made our usual lunch stop at Wendys. Anna rode with cousins and Ceil drove her parents, so I rode alone. Got to listen to my book on CD. After unloading at the condo I drove down to the MB Pelicans game. Got there early, so I ate me some Burger King. My crowd ate Dominos Pizza.

SUN Aug 13: All day at the beach. Over the course of the week I counted 45 people. Many came and went. Some stayed the whole week. Breakfast every day was the usual bacon egg & cheese sandwich. Lunch every day was chicken salad sandwiches. Sunday supper was pasta with chicken or shrimp. After eating I read some of my Zimmer book.

MON Aug 14: After breakfast I drove Ceil to WalMart and Bi-Lo. More beach. Larry and Susan had to head back to Jefferson. Dinner at Stevens Restaurant across the intracoastal waterway in Little River. Got back in time for the final episode of 24, and a little of the Home Run Derby.

TUE Aug 15: Went for an AM walk on the beach with Ceil. Walked for over an hour. Didn’t find many shells. After breakfast I drove down to the baseball stadium to pick up my prize winnings. Around noon we saw Will & MC off. Beach. Supper was a low country boil. Passed on the shrimp and potatoes and ate sausage and corn on the cob. Watched the All-Star Game and played on the new Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

WED Aug 16: After breakfast I mailed an EBay package at the Post Office. Beach, then a late supper at Bonefish. Nephew Zane volunteered to ask the blessing. Ate my usual angus burger, which came with a huge onion slice. I like a little onion, but this was huge. Didn’t realize there was a tomato slice underneath. There were sixteen in our party.

THU Aug 17: Breakfast watching the British Open, then a full day at the beach. Managed to finish only 350 pages of John Grisham’s 500 page “A Time to Kill.” Will finish it at home after finishing the Zimmer library book. At seven we left for the hour’s drive to Holden NC, where Rusty’s sister in law runs the Provision Company seafood restaurant. Had 18 in our party, including newcomers Billy Hogge and Jack Heda. The burger was better this year, but the bun and onion rings were nothing to write about.

FRI Aug 18: Breakfast, then I gassed up the CRV. Packed. Rusty headed out with his parents at noon, followed by Catherine and Jordan. Took us an hour to finish packing and hit the road. Packed myself sandwiches for lunch. Stopped in Florence for Chickfila for C and Anna. A little ten year old boy got all excited when he saw my shoes. Made good time, except for gridlock on I-20 in Lithonia. Arrived home at 7:45 and unpacked. Ceil went to the grocery store. Will had set up the new 40” TV, so I watched the Braves and went to bed.

SAT Aug 19: Spent the morning unpacking and cleaning upstairs. Got the oil changed in Anna’s Jeep, then quickly waxed it. The roof needs work. Drove Will and MC to get his Jeep, then went to the Gwinnett Braves game. Got a few more comments on my new Nikes. Befriended a couple of bobblehead freaks.

SUN Aug 20: Worked on the computer. Washed and folded all the laundry while watching the Braves. Unpacked all the extra bags from the beach and Matthew’s trip. Cleaned out Will’s Jeep. Took Anna to Roswell to meet her ride to her week-long mission trip. Finished folding clothes while watching The Blind Side. C, M, and W ate with the families of Matthew’s friends at Cheeseburger Bobbys.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Who I Met at the Beach

 A couple of guys in our beach crowd are big Washington Redskins fans, because before the Panthers came to town the Charlotte TV stations aired Redskins games. Sunday afternoon out on the beach George recognized a grey-haired man on the beach as a Redskins assistant coach Danny Smith, The coach was happy to talk football with George, Larry, and Phil. When Smith saw the Clemson umbrella he mentioned that he had served as an assistant coach at Clemson under Danny Ford.

I happened to be wearing a gold Georgia Tech Football T-shirt. I was sitting in my chair facing the ocean, in front of where the coach was sitting. After he finished talking Redskins and Clemson football, Smith went out of his way to walk over and talk to me about Georgia Tech. He was on Bobby Ross' staff in 1990 when the Jackets won the national championship. He showed me the attache he was carrying - from his days at Tech. I mentioned that I work with George O'Leary's daughter, whom he remembered. Smith said that Ralph Freidgen was his son's godfather. I asked him if he was the same Danny Smith who quarterbacked Tech in the 70's, but he wasn't. Smith and his wife are staying in the same high-rise that we're in.

The Coach Danny Smith we met is the special teams coach of the Steelers. That's why big Larry spoke to him for so long - Larry is a Steelers fan. Monday we were out on the beach and Danny walked up and handed Larry a Steelers T-shirt, a Steelers shaving razor, and other Steelers items. Nice guy.

Read 50 pages of John Grisham's first novel A Time to Kill out on the beach Sunday. Great so far, but at 500 pages I've got a long way to go. Also started Don Zimmer's first book last night after a late dinner of pasta, chicken, salad, garlic bread, and watermelon.

The ban on tents on the beach is being enforced. Sunday I was able to stay in the shade of one of Phil's three umbrellas. The ban was enacted because supposedly emergency beach vehicles could not move about quickly enough. Yesterday the vehicles had plenty of room. There were no emergencies, but the vehicles were going so fast that had a small child darted out from the dunes, the vehicles would not have been able to stop in time (later in the week this very thing happened, and a tragedy was narrowly avoided). Our condo gave out the mayor's contact info so vacationers could protest. I am told the mayor's other job is hairdresser.

Monday night we ate at Stevens, the little seafood restaurant in Little River that my mother in law likes so much. Got back in time for the last episode of 24. Watched a little Home Run Derby, but then I went to bed.

Guy, my new friend from the Pelicans, called while I was out on the beach Monday. Finally got in tough with him Tuesday morning. He had my prizes, so I drove my Civic down to the stadium to pick them up. They had the scoreboard turned on showing the HTC triple play ad, and they had me stand on the dugout and pose for pictures with the loot - Vizio 40" HGTV, a Hewlett Packard laptop, and 7" Samsung Galaxy tablet. I left the laptop and TV in the car, and at noon Will and MC left for home.

Tuesday afternoon it rained, so I played on my laptop.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

KD7 35000 Degrees

On June 26 Nike unveiled the latest edition of NBA MVP Kevin Durant’s signature shoe, the KD7. A few months ago I professed my love for the KD sneaker on the “SHOES” tab of my blog, and the new model is another hit. The shoe appear to provide plenty of support all the way up to the ankle, which I love. Unlike all the low profile shoes I’ve been coming across, these KD7’s are more built up. They are quite comfy as well. The “bright mango” colored “35000 Degrees” model hit stores July 12 – three days after mine arrived.

Thanks to a dear friend I was one of the first to wear the KD7s. Already I've been counting the opportunities to wear them: at work on casual Friday, to games at Turner Field, Coolray Field, in Rome, and Myrtle Beach. To Passion City Church (Louie, Chris Tomlin, and Brett Yonker are all shoe hounds). On vacation, when I’m out and about. At football games in the fall, and basketball games after that. They’ll look great both with jeans and with shorts. It will be so fun to own the KD7’s without having to think about selling them on EBay – I won’t. I recently got rid of my two pair of red Pumas, so I “need” a flashy pair of sneakers. Was also thrilled to receive the pair of matching socks.

Will just bought a pair of similar-colored running shoes at the REI tent sale. Ceil has a crazy-colored pair of Asics. It’s doubtful my brother-law or his son, the Clemson equipment manager, will say anything. But since they’re always wearing the latest Clemson-issued Nikes, they’ll check them out. At work sneakerhead Darryl will be jealous. Last week I discussed sneakers with my new boss – he has a decent looking lightweight blue pair he wears from time to time. Last week I wore my comfortable blue Jordan RCVR shoes, which look similar to his.    
Since I’ve been busy populating the SHOES tab of my blog with my latest finds, I have failed to mention many shoes here on the blog’s main page. This stops now. In addition to the KD7’s, in late June I snapped up a pair of low-profile Puma TT-Super shoes that I couldn’t resist. Wore them to my focus group and had planned on wearing them to the Gwinnett Braves game, but I correctly determined they would’ve gotten wet in the rain. Wore flip-flops instead.

Since the Pumas are in such good shape, I might eventually sell them. The first thing I did was to buy a pair of cushy inner soles so I wouldn’t dirty up the nice Puma liner. Sunday I wore the Pumas to church. Later when I picked up Matthew at Menchies Yogurt, the shopping center parking lot had just been tarred, and the bottom of my Pumas were all black. Just my luck.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ranking the SEC Stadiums

Athlon Sports assembled a team of twelve SEC media experts to rank the SEC’s football stadiums based on several factors: atmosphere, fan support, home-field advantage, amenities, tailgating, the surrounding campus, and the college town. Each expert ranked the stadiums in order 1-14, the the results were combined. Voters included Tim Brando and Macon’s Seth Emerson.

Tiger Stadium, LSU 100000 1924
Kyle Field, Texas A&M 102500 1904
Sanford Stadium, UGA 92746 1929
Neyland Stadium, Tennessee 102455 1921
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama 101821 1929
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida 88548 1930
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn 87451 1939
Williams-Brice Stadium, SC 80250 1934
Donald T Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium, Ark 72000 1938
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss 60580 1915
Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Mo 77000 1927
Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State 61337 1914
Commonwealth Stadium, Kentucky 67692 1973
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville 40350 1922

I’ve attended games in Sanford Stadium, Neyland Stadium, and Jordan-Hare Stadium, and have driven past Williams-Brice Stadium, Commonwealth Stadium, and Vanderbilt Stadium.   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ranking the ACC Stadiums

Athlon Sports also ranked the ACC football stadiums by the same criteria. Quite interesting how the ACC stadiums differ from those in the SEC. Wes Durham was among the ACC voters.

Memorial Stadium, Clemson 82500 1942
Doak Campbell Stadium, FSU 82300 1950
Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech 65632 1965
PaPa Johns Stadium, Louisville 55000 1998
Carter-Finley Stadium, NC State 60000 1966
Bobby Dodd Stadium, Ga Tech 55000 1913
Kenan Stadium, North Carolina 62980 1927
Scott Stadium, Virginia 61500 1931
Carrier Dome, Syracuse 49262 1980
Sun Life Stadium, Miami 80120 1987
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh 65050 2001
Alumni Stadium, Boston College 44500 1957
BB&T Field, Wake Forest 31500 1968
Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke 33941 1929

Clemson's Memorial Stadium was ranked first on 9 of the 12 ballots, second on two, and third on the remaining ballot. FSU received two first-place votes, and Lane Stadium received the remaining first place vote. Georgia Tech's Grant Field garnered two 4th place votes and two 10th place votes.

I have attended games at Georgia Tech, Clemson, UNC, and the Orange Bowl in Miami. I've driven past Wake Forest's BB&T Field.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Van Earl: The Return

Sports Illustrated has a "where are they now" article about Van Earl Wright. His father was chairman of the deacons at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist, and a great Sunday School teacher and motivational speaker. The Wrights lived in Buckhead off Wieuca Road. When I started attending SPdL in the late 70's the three Wright boys had already gone off to South Carolina. Big brother Bryant is the longtime pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist.

Middle brother Scotland served with me on Advisory Council and the Board of Deacons. When the new Family Life Center was built Scotland and I would exercise together before work in the mornings, with David McDaniel. I ran one Peachtree Road Race with Scotland. He and McDaniel led a bunch of young married people out of SPdL to form what later became Buckhead Church. Scotland was one of the first Buckhead Elders, and McDaniel served on staff for several years, heading up the construction of Buckhead Church and other North Point locations. Their background in commercial real estate certainly helped.

The other day Matthew was on the computer. Usually he listens to music and watches videos, but yesterday he was on Last week at the Tennessee Smokies game he and his friend Daniel had sat near the Montgomery Biscuits bullpen. While there they chatted with journeyman pitcher Santiago Garrido, who has bounced around the minors since 2007. M said Garrido gave a younger "quiet kid" a baseball. While M had the website up I pointed out different bits of information so M would know more about Garrido. Where he was from, the teams he'd played on, his +4 career era, and his 0-129 history at the plate. Though he's not a cap person, evidentially he and his friends got Smokies caps at the game.
Watched some of the Kimbrel special on Sports South. In it they interview Grainne Owen of Coaches Curing Cancer (the lady with the accent). Will was playing baseball with her son when their other son was dying of cancer. The Owen's started Coaches Curing Cancer, and it has grown and grown. At Mt. Paran Will won the league-wide Killian Owen Sportsmanship Award.

I have the Thomas Jefferson bobblehead that the Washington Nationals gave out a few years ago. Not gonna sell it, but they're pretty expensive on EBay. I don't have display room – until Matthew moves out! Even then his shelves might not hold the 82 bobbleheads I have now. Last week I bought a Georgia Tech Buzz bobblehead to go with the Clemson Tiger bobblehead I got Ceil last year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Big Papi: Bigger Than the Game?

Seems like David Ortiz has begun to think of himself as bigger than the game. Not just that pitchers should be tossed for throwing in his vicinity. He doesn't think the rules of the game apply to him any more. Perhaps it started when he was all the more honored after cussing when speaking to a sold-out Fenway Park crowd, as well as a regional TV audience. His act may have been cute in years past, but now it's just getting old. Next week in Minneapolis I'm sure we'll be treated to endless shots of Ortiz – coaching derby contestants and nursing them with Gatorade and towels.

If NL manager Mike Matheny was going to pick Posey and the Brewers catcher over Gaddis anyway, since Gattis was hurt it would've been a nice touch for Matheny to have picked Gattis to the team, then picked Posey as his replacement. Posey would've understood and not had his feelings hurt. Perhaps MLB doesn't let that happen because incentive clauses would kick in.

Ushers at Coolray Field said the July 4th crowd was so large (over 11,000) that people were turned away. People were parking down the street at BrandsMart, Publix, and on Highway 20. The July 5th crowd was considerably smaller. Wilson Betemit played first base for Durham, hitting only .232 but with 12 home runs. Jose Constanza recently broke the record for most games played by a Gwinnett Brave: 314. A dubious record.

I tweeted about Nature Boy Ric Flair giving starting pitcher Cody Martin a high five. Last night Cody Martin favorited and retweeted my tweet. It had been odd that instead of the earlier ceremonial first pitch before the national anthem, the GBraves waiting until the nine starters took the field to start the game to announce Flair's first pitch. Flair took a little kid with him to the mound (his own grandson?). Martin backed off the mound, but Flair went out of his way to give him five. Flair was moving pretty slow, and bounced his slow toss to the catcher. Pretty weird.
Any substance to the rumor that the Braves would include Shea Simmons in an Uggla trade? I think it highly unlikely, since the Braves need more bullpen help than they need an extra bat. Shea Simmons is too good to trade, even with Kimbrel locked up in the closer role.

ROB: I would hope there would be nothing to the S Simmons rumor.  As dominant as Kimbrel is, you are only 1 pitch away from needing another closer.  I thought they could have done that with Gattis as well. tweeted out that the NL has never had a more athletic OF than Puig-Mccutcheon-Gomez.  I am assuming the person who wrote that had no idea who Aaron-Mays-Clemente were.

Since he has been leading off, BJ has an OPS of .740 and his strikeout rate is 'down' to 25%.  Small sample size for sure, but the last 9 games he has been the player they thought he was when he was signed. Sorry I missed the Ric Flair thing.

ME: Good point about the NL all-star outfield. Not one of them will ever come close to 3000 hits or 500 home runs. Puig's diving catch and throw to third was replayed endlessly on ESPN. No mention of him obviously taking the wrong path to the ball. A truly elite outfielder would have been able to make the catch standing up, and the runner would have never even tried for third.

Several calls were going against the Braves Monday night. Later on one or two went the Braves way. Interesting game, though I went to bed when S Simmons was pulled. Good to see Johnson pounding fists when he was removed from the game.

At the beach next week it's doubtful I'll be able to do any of the following: (1) attend Saturday's Pelicans game, (2) watch Monday's Home Run Derby, (3) watch Tuesday's All-Star Game, and (4) watch Wednesday's ESPYs. UPDATE: So far I am two for two.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lost But Now Found

Drove Anna's Jeep to work Thursday, and two co-workers took apart the middle console and fixed the ignition so the keys could be removed. No CD player for my book. That afternoon I cancelled the last of five accounts…two credit cards (personal and work), two banks cards, and my library card. Planned to get a new drivers license on Friday.

On the way home I called my dad. Was still talking to him in the driveway after I arrived home. Will drove up, got out of his Jeep – and handed me my wallet. How did it get in his car? Last Saturday night I had my wallet in the CRV. Sunday morning Ceil drove the CRV. When I drove M Sunday afternoon I took Will's Jeep, but I remember not having my wallet then. I made some stops knowing I couldn't buy anything. Not sure what happened. Wednesday one replacement credit card was delivered, and another should arrive today. That same day I drove to Dunwoody to a bank that could give me a replacement bank card right then. So I'm set.

Found out Thursday we have an expensive plumbing problem to fix. Probably well over $1,000.00. Last night C went shopping for the beach with A and M. I packed, cleaned up from our homemade pizza dinner, watched some Braves, and went to bed. To me, Aaron Harang's face looks like Rich Morris. Whitey Ford wouldn't have won Wednesday's game with all-star wannabe Justin Upton lollygagging around in the outfield. It's a shame that slowpokes like David Wright can take second on a single to left. I saw photos that Lang took at the game.

Will and MC leaves for SC around 1 pm. Anna might ride with them. We drop M off at his friend's house in Gwinnett County on the way out of town.

Reading Stephen King's "Under the Dome." I hear the TV show is nothing like the book. Last night I went on line to read about the TV show, and discovered one of the young actresses on the show was in the play Anna performed in.

Mary-Clayton's parents have season tickets to whatever series the Little Mermaid was a part of. Her mom is currently serving at Camp Winshape, and couldn't go. I told Will to look for E and C and the girls, but he said the place was full of little girls and their moms. I was in bed when Will got home, so I don't know how he liked it. Wednesday night Ceil went to art after working at her new art school all day. Anna to a movie after we ate leftover burritos. Matthew did summer schoolwork, so I took him to Zaxbys.

Blog posts are looking different this week because I'm posting off my laptop. That's also the reason there aren't any pictures.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Triple Play Prize Pack

Made my annual pilgrimage to see the Myrtle Beach Pelicans shortly arriving on the Grand Strand Saturday afternoon. Just after I arrived a girl drove up and hopped out of her car wearing a 70's miniskirt and white boots. I knew it was disco night, and thought these fans were really going all out. Turned out she was the girl who announced all the promotions.

After waiting out in the hot sun I was one of the first fans in the gate at 6 pm. Enjoyed the shade under the stands for a while, saying hello to the men at the guest relations booth. I noticed entry forms for a sweepstakes, but uncharacteristically did not enter. Went out to my seats in the sun and chatted with the usher. There was still plenty of time before the game.

Heard an announcement that fans could enter a contest: if the Pelicans turn a triple play an entrant would win. Wanting to get out of the sun, I went back to the guest relations booth to enter. At that time only one other fan had entered. I knew winning was a longshot – later I learned the Pelicans had never turned a triple play at home in their entire history.

Found a seat in the shade and the game began. As the umpires were announced I noticed a difference: AA games have two umpires, AAA games have three, and MLB games have four. During umpire introductions the Pelicans played amusing Star Wars music.

I kept score, making note of the player's stats and hometowns. The opposing Lynchburg Hillcats, a Braves affiliate, had one player from Athens and a catcher from Birmingham. Pelicans first baseman Preston Beck was from Dallas. In the first few innings third baseman Luis Mendez made several nice defensive plays, including tagging a runner caught between second and third.

For the most part I watched and scored the game, enjoying the crowd and between-inning promotions. From time to time my cell phone would distract me. Snapped a photo of the super moon rising over the left field stands and posted it on Instagram. At worst, the crack of the bat brought my attention back to the game – unlike one young fan sitting in the front row beyond the third base dugout who was hit with a foul ball.

In the top of the fourth the first two Hillcat batters led off with base hits. Catcher Joe Odom hit a grounder right at Mendez at third. He took three steps to his right to step on the bag, wheeled, and fired a one-hopper to second. It was a close play at second, and I thought there was no time to get the out at first. Odom had seemingly crossed the bag as Beck stretched to his right for the throw, but the base umpire, having just completed his out call at first, pointed toward first and made another out call. Triple play!

The Pelicans flew off the field in celebration. The fans gave them a standing ovation. Lynchburg manager Luis Salazar went out to argue, to no avail. I was thankful the minor leagues don't have replay – had this been a MLB game it call would surely been reviewed. The stadium announcer said one lucky fan had won the HTC Triple Play prize pack, but didn't say when the winner's name would be announced.

I kept my phone close just in case, but it wasn't until after the Pelicans batted that the announcement was made: "The prize winner is…" …and my name was called. Heart beating, I excitedly gathered my stuff and made my way to the guest relations booth. Met the very friendly Guy Schuman, who gave me the details of my prize. Guy used to live near me in East Cobb, and is the fourth-highest ranking Pelicans official. Had my picture taken with Splash, the Pelican mascot, for Facebook. HTC, the local cable company, and the Pelicans ran the promotion last year, but since no triple play was turned the prize was given away at the end of the season. My prize: a tablet computer, a laptop computer, and a 39" flat screen HDTV.

Returned to my seat but was too excited to keep score. The smile on my face wouldn't go away. Texted Ceil and Will with the news. Stood and sang during the seventh inning stretch. By then the long day was taking its toll: taking two cars to Pageland for gas, packing the trunks of three cars to the brim, driving to the beach, unloading all three cars without a luggage cart, and standing in line for 30 minutes in the sun.

I'd wanted to attend the Saturday game because of the "Pelicans Disco" T-shirt giveaway, thought fortunately the nice T-shirt turned out to be a footnote in the bigger story. It was also the first time I'd ever worn my flashy new "light mango" colored Nike KD7 basketball shoes. I thought it would be hard for me to wear such bright shoes. Now they're my lucky shoes, so I'll have to wear them every day.

Here are two links: one to video hightlights of the game, and other to a game story:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Braves: Baseball's Best Record

See the Mark Bradley column about Frank Wren being one of the better GM’s in baseball? All teams have injuries, strike out a lot, and make a bad move or three. But only one team has the best record in baseball over the last 4-1/2 years – the Braves. They’re in first place, having won 9 or their last 12 (and 11 of their last 15). Even with three starting pitchers and their second best reliever out for the year. Even with the starting catcher on the DL, and a top reliever just off the DL. Even with at least three recent minor league call-ups logging considerable playing time. OK to use these as talking points the next time someone at the coffee shop badmouths the Braves.   

Went by the library on the way home Tuesday night. Checked out Don Zimmer’s first book. Also a Brad Thor book. Currently on CD 21 (of 30) of Under the Dome. I won’t finish before the beach. I was hoping Under the Dome wouldn’t be a typically gory Stephen King novel, but it is. Still interesting. When I’m down on the beach I’ll read two or three John Grisham books.

Tuesday night Matthew’s friend Sarah ate burgers and fries with us. They had spent the day at Six Flags. Sarah is so nice and fun to be around. The burgers were half beef and half chicken. Matthew and I were the only ones to eat an entire burger. To me they were on the dry side. Afterwards I cleaned up a little and drove Sarah up to the Roswell Olive Garden, where her parents ate dinner.

This past Saturday night I lost my wallet. Might’ve thrown it in the trash. Been working on cancelling credit cards and bank cards, and getting them replaced. Not fun. The biggest loss, aside from the time its taking to replace everything: vouchers for two Braves tickets. Not much cash. Might’ve been the trash at home, might’ve been at the BP, where I got gas at 10 pm before heading home. Sunday I stopped by the BP and asked if a wallet had been turned in. The clerk looked, then remembered that he had been working the night before. He knew no wallet had been tuned in. All the accounts are now cancelled. I’ve checked, and there have been no odd charges. Lost my current license, but I still have an expired license card. My current license expires in one year, so I guess I’ll renew.

One night a few years ago I was filling up at a different BP in East Cobb. I went to throw something away and there was an almost new pair of Nike basketball shoes in the top of the trash can. Size 16, which are hard to find. I know a kid with huge feet, and they were perfect for him. Since then I’ve stumbled across three more pairs of size 16’s that I got for him.

Will and Mary-Clayton went to the Little Mermaid Wednesday night. So did Edie and Claire and the girls.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Four Cars

Got lots of car maintenance to do. Mine needs tires and emissions. Filled Anna’s Jeep with coolant. It also needs servicing and a new tag. Her key is stuck in the ignition. Will’s and Ceil’s need oil changes.

We have as many as four cars in the driveway until Will goes back to school in August. Since Anna is home more I tell her to park in the garage, to get her Jeep out of the way. Ceil’s CRV is usually in the garage as well. Will leaves for work about 5 minutes before me. There’s a spot outside the garage where he can park and both cars in the garage can still get out. Our driveway is wide up near the street, so I can park there and the other three cars can still pass by. Driving off the garage really wears down the dirt, which isn’t good for the driveway or yard, but nobody understands that but me.   

Ceil cooked fish tacos Monday night (I had chicken in mine). Had all five family members at the table. Watched 24 and the Braves. Worked on Will’s financial aid. Went to bed when Tosca pulled Shea Simmons from the game. With an ineffective Avilan, there’s no way the Braves trade young Shea.

Matthew’s friend Sarah got a Six Flags season pass, so Tuesday was their first time going together. M has the whole “eat at Wendy’s” thing down to a science. He gets a free kids frosty every time he eats there, and he’s wearing that thing out. I might borrow it for the beach.

Will and I were able to secure a Peachtree number for Rob Kelly. In the few days before that I’d been communicating more with Drew. That’s why Friday he asked me where his doughnut was. Publix quit handing them out to runners, since most were dropped on the road…creating a slippery mess.

Jim Watterson’s obit is on now. His service will be August 16 – the same day as David Norman’s wedding. The next weekend is the Miller Reunion, which we’ve been too busy to attend the last several years. Very doubtful we’ll go this year either. Things are so crazy it is hard make plans in advance. I want to go to the July 25 Rome Braves game. Ceil might be in SC for her dad’s surgery, but perhaps I can still go. We’re headed to Macon on August 30 or 31 to celebrate my parent’s 60th anniversary. Will will be away at school. Georgia and Clemson play at 5:30 on Saturday, so maybe the celebration will be on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

What the Race Has Come To

Like people driving cars, more and more Peachtree runners participate in the event while staring down at the phones the whole time. They’re in their own little world, not realizing faster runners are whizzing by – narrowly missing collisions. I realize that unlike most road races, the Peachtree Road Race is an event. For a vast majority of participants (including me) it is the only race of the year. People are more concerned with taking pictures to post on Facebook than their fellow man.

Novices strolled three abreast down the left hand side of the road, chatting away, blissfully unaware that walkers are instructed to stay right. They’re more interested in posting pictures on Facebook than actually experiencing the event. During the race I saw three people drop their phones on the ground. One big guy didn’t even realize he had dropped it – someone had to holler at him. The Atlanta Track Club sent out a survey about the race, so I’ll be sure to add my two cents.

During the race whenever I was about to stop running to walk I made a point of running to the right hand side of the road, then picking a spot in front or behind someone already walking to walk. I’d walk for thirty seconds then pick a break in the crowd to start back running. I’d cut to the left where people were running, but I’d still have to dodge walkers.  

Last Thursday my co-worker suggested I stop and dance a jig as I passed under the photographers’ bridge. He wasn’t thinking about all the runners behind me who would run into me. His excuse to people glued to their phone: “It’s the world we live in.” That doesn’t make it right.

The 11Alive finish line camera showed a joker holding his cell phone high over his head, filming the finish – oblivious to dozens of runners accelerating toward the finish line all around him. It’s a wonder no one ran him over. Just who is going to watch his video? Runners could view their finish at Unfortunately, a technical glitch wiped out the finish video between 9:30 and 9:40 – right when I finished.  

Drove M down to Passion Sunday afternoon. On the way home after the service I passed a brand new Ford Mustang on GA 400. Still had the dealer plates. The driver was holding his cell phone in front of his face, staring at it. I honked. Should’ve known something was up when I my old Honda Civic was able to pass his new Mustang. Perhaps he was checking directions, but still it’s illegal.