Monday, August 31, 2015

Gehrig > McGriff > Ortiz

This weekend Boston Designated Hitter David Ortiz hit his 494th home run, passing Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff on the all-time list. As a ballplayer Ortiz hardly deserves mention in the same sentence as Gehrig.

To out-homer the Iron Man it took Ortiz two more seasons and 65 more games. Gehrig has 448 more hits, has scored 565 more runs, drove in 385 more runs, hit 145 more triples, walked 283 more times, struck out a whopping 855 fewer times, had 700 more total bases, and stole 87 more bases. Ortiz may have more doubles, mostly due to the friendly confines of Fenway Park. Gehrig’s career batting average is 60 points higher, his On Base Percentage 69 points higher, his Slugging Percentage 87 points higher, and his OPS 157 points higher. of course, almost all modern day players fall short of Gehrig's marks.

Gehrig played first base every day, never missing a game. Traveled by rail. Hotels without air conditioning. All day games. Despite all the modern day luxuries, Ortiz rarely plays in the field.

.PL.AVG.OBP.SLG..OPS...TB...SB
LG..340.447.632.1.080.5060.102
DO.284.378.545.0.923.4360.015   
FM.284.377.509.0.886.4458.075

In his day McGriff was one of the most feared sluggers in the game, particularly during his time in Toronto. Aside from his time in Atlanta, the Crime Dog played for teams out of contention – unlike Gehrig and Ortiz. McGriff’s stats equal or better those of Ortiz. McGriff was an everyday first-baseman, as opposed to a one-dimensional DH like Ortiz. Is one more deserving of the Hall of Fame? I would think so – McGriff.

.PL.YR.games.AB…runs...hits..2B...3B...RBI
LG. 17.2164.8001.1888.2721.534.163.1995
DO.19.2229.8006.1323.2273.572.018.1610
FM.17.2460.8757.1349.2490.441.024.1550
Both Gehrig and Ortiz made famous on field speeches: Gehrig for his farewell, Ortiz in memory of the Boston bombing victims. While both speeches were moving, one was humble and classy, the other actually vulgar. Ortiz’s on field actions and comments to the media show his true side. He thinks he is bigger than the game, which he is clearly is not.  

No DH has ever been elected to the Hall of Fame. Will an exception be made for Ortiz?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

CoolRay Saturday

Broke out my newest pair of New Balance 990s for Saturday's John Smoltz bobblehead night at CoolRay Field in Gwinnett. Arrived over an hour before the gates opened and was soon joined in line by Cumming Justice of the Peace Johnny Tallant (green shirt above), his friend Max, and my newest bobblehead friend: former Single A general manager RJ.

Above: obligatory photo of the GBraves relievers make their way to the bullpen after greeting the starters warming up in short left field.
That's RJ above, sitting behind Old Max, dressed in tan. Max always brings his glove to the game. Gotta like that. Also saw five other bobblehead friends, including Bobblehead Bobby Myers, Joe da Kid Shirley, and Jessica from work. Saw another co-worker as well.

Several condo-dwellers took in the game from their deck. John Smoltz made a brief appearance to throw out the first pitch - caught by his son, who apparently works for the GBraves.

Centerfielder Mallex Smith led off the bottom of the first for the GBraves with a bunt single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Rightfielder Todd Cunningham sacrificed Smith to third. Smith scored on a 5-3 groundout by the Braves latest acquisition: Cuban third-baseman Hector Olivera.

In the first five innings the GBraves leadoff hitter reached base on a hit, but they were the only five hits the team collected.
Since I was nearby I snapped the above photo of the Can Race, quite artfully choreographed by the three participants. Earlier in the game the fella in the white Heyward jersey (two rows in front of me) muffed a foul ball. Luckily for him the ball dropped down to his wife (dark hair in blue).
In the eighth inning I walked back down the right field line and noticed a visitor in the Norfolk Tides bullpen wearing street clothes. Didn't take long to figure out who it was: Braves Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, a frequent visitor to CoolRay Field. Niekro was in deep discussion about his signature pitch: the knuckleball.
I wasn't the only one snapping pictures, by the way. RJ walked by and I directed his attention to the bullpen visitor.
Before I left I happened to notice the crocked right field line (above).

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Comparison Time

Another update comparing the seasons of several former Braves players to their replacements. For the most part every current Braves has out-performed the player they replaced. The lone exception: the Braves should’ve signed Ichiro instead of Jonny Gomes. Ichiro has appeared in 40 more games than Gomes, has almost twice as many hits and half the strikeouts. His average is 40 points higher, he’s stolen 11 bases, and played better defense. Gomes may have 7 home runs but Ichiro has 7 triples and home runs combined. Unquestionably a better performer. Ichiro can probably pitch better as well.

PL..G…..AB..R..H.2B.3B.HR.BI.BB..K.avg
JG.079.190.27.41.7…0….7..21.28.66.216
IS..120.307.37.79.3…6….1..20.27.38.257

While Jason Heyward has put together perhaps his best season as a pro, he has predictably done so in the last year of his contract. Whether he will be worth what his next contract will bring is questionable. The Cardinals, Yankees, and other teams with the larger payrolls will drive up Jason’s salary. The Braves were smart to trade him for all-star pitcher Shelby Miller and lock in gold glove rightfielder Nick Markakis for the long term. Hometown boy Markakis was loved in Baltimore, and despite missing offseason training and much of the preseason his out-hitting Heyward by 14 points – while walking more and striking out less. While Jeff Francoeur has put up a respectable 272 average in far fewer games, he strikes out at a rate five times greater than Markakis. Heyward does look good on the cover of last week’s Sports Illustrated. Hope it doesn’t jinx him.

Pl….G….AB..R...H..2B..HR.BI.BB.K..avg.obp.ops
M.125.488.51.147.30.02.48.53.66.301.371.750
JH.121.428.62.123.25.11.46.38.76.287.346.783
JF..093.254.27.069.13.12.39.10.51.272.299.771

Cameron Maybin has outperformed BJ Upton offensive, defensively, and in the clubhouse. In many areas Maybin has kept pace and even outperformed Justin Upton and Martin Prado as well.

PL….G…..AB..R….H…2B.HR.BI..BB...K...avg.obp.slg.ops
CM.116.428.58.118.17.10.52..41.079.276.339.395.734
BJ…056.137.20.032.04..05.13.12.042.234.295.401.697
JU..119.434.68.112.17..22.70.55.128.258.342.459.802
MP.100.393.36.106.17..06.40.24.054.270.316.364.680

Fans marvel at the 22 home runs Evan Gattis has hit in Houston, forgetting The White Bear is now strictly an American League Designated Hitter. Even so, Braves catcher AJ Pierzynski has out-hit Gattis in many departments, batting 50 points higher, walking more, and striking out less. In fact AJ has also out-performed perennial All-Stars Yadier Molina and ex-Brave Brian McCann in many categories as well. And don’t forget youngster Christian Bethancourt hit .327 this summer in Gwinnett.

PL….G….AB...R….H..2B..HR.BI.BB..K..avg.obp.slg.ops
EG..121.453.53.110.16.22.49.20.95.243.276.464.740
AJP.091.331.33.097.21.07.40.18.32.293.334.426.760
BM.104.367.49.090.14.22.75.32.79.245.314.469.783
YM.117.427.32.119.21.04.53.26.50.280.316.367.683

People who still bring up the Mark Teixeira trade can find solace in Freddie Freeman, who despite little protection around him in the lineup has out-hit Teixeira 277 to 255. And those complaining about second-year shortstop Andrelton Simmons’ offense  need to know: Simmons is out-hitting former prospect/current Texas Ranger Elvis Andrus (while walking more and striking out less).  

Fans too dense to see the greatness of the Craig Kimbrel/BJ Upton trade also probably don’t see how the Braves closers have all but kept pace with Kimbrel. When Jason Grilli went down his stats were actually superior to Kimbrel’s. Anthony Vavaro is a perfect 4 of 4 in save opportunities and has a lower ERA, WHIP, and Average Against than Kimbrel.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I'm Yelling Timber

Thursday was the big tree cutting day. Took down two huge trees in the backyard that were hanging over the house. Also the four 25 year old Bradford Pears in the front yard that are leaning out over the street. It was only a matter of time before one or more of them split off and did some damage. Also took out several smaller trees in back to clean things up, and one smaller tree in the front that had recently cracked. Additionally our next door neighbors had the four Bradford Pears lining our driveways cut down. It’s a big needed change that looks great, but will take some getting used to.

Thursday I left work at three and zipped over to M’s school in Alpharetta for a meeting with the principal. Daniel cares deeply for his students, teaching a life lessons class where he can share his story and stay tuned to how and where the kids are. Daniel helped start up Passion City Church, and met Matthew there while working as a youth leader. At Legacy Matthew is in his life class. Through his interactions with Matthew and other students Daniel had spotted some issues he wanted to address, and called Ceil and me in to discuss them. This kind of thing makes Legacy such a great school for Matthew to be at.

After the Legacy meeting we met with the guy from the Little Bear Tree Service, who I heartily recommend. Then C and M went to the grocery. Exhausted from the busy week, I vegged out at the computer. At 5:30 I ate leftovers: pigs in a blanket, a piece of pizza, and a bowl of ice cream. Later Ceil fixed meatballs and salad, but I just tasted both. Later we watched a few episodes of The Middle.

Dock’s dad had a hole in one a week or so ago. It was the 5th or 6th of his career. I think I’ve made one hole in one at Wii golf, which is pretty fun to play. I like the basic 9 hole setup, and the practice stuff is fun as well. My Wii Masters golf game is harder, but the good thing is that it’s the Augusta National course.

Today’s first meeting was a conference call I listened to from my desk.  

I’m looking forward to GT’s first game next week. I need to make my predictions for them, UGA, and Clemson.

Earlier this week at Taco Bell Matthew got one of each of the three spicy grillers: mild, medium, and hot. I tried to get him to start with the hottest one first so I could eat any mild leftovers. M gobbled up the mild and medium grillers and ate half the hot one. He may have finished it later. Two beefy frito burritos are too much for me. I figured those bowls would be mostly rice. Those breakfast bowls at Krystal are probably the same way.

I usually don’t get a soft drink when I go to a fast food place, but I do when I’m eating Mexican or a fancy burger. I’m not crazy about Pepsi products either. Diet Pepsi isn’t great and fast food places usually don’t have diet Mtn Dew. I like Coke Zero better than Diet Coke. Sometimes I mix in a little Cherry Coke with my Diet Coke or Coke Zero. Chickfila has diet Dr. Pepper, which is nice.

I love those new machines where you can mix whatever drink you want. I often get cherry lemonade or cherry PowerAde. Last week at Yeah Burger all the soft drink choices were weird – some healthy brand. I tried the vanilla cola but stayed away from the ginger flavored drink.

The paragraph I wrote for Ceil’s bio: This is Ceil’s first year teaching art at Legacy, and she loves it. Ceil received an architecture degree from Clemson University and helped out on such projects as the Centennial Olympic Stadium, the Georgia Dome, and the Hartsfield Airport Terminal before focusing on home-schooling her three children. She is mom to Legacy student Matthew and UGA students Will and Anna, and wife to husband David. Ceil enjoys sewing, painting, and drawing.

Old stuff: AUG 11: After taking Anna to move in, Ceil, MC, and I ate a late lunch at Five Guys before driving back. I was famished from all the moving so the burger was extra good. Got caught in traffic on the way back. When we got home I had to drive to Cumming to retrieve Matthew. Didn’t get home until 8 pm. 

AUG 12: I was exhausted, and this morning I’m still tired. Left at 1:30 to pick up M and take him to the doctor. (people will ask “when do you ever work? Here’s the answer: 17 hours on Sunday and Monday. Yesterday I monitored emails all day until my phone died, and took a few calls. I’ll be over 40 hours this week easy). 

Tons to do here at work, especially since we moved. I worked straight through to 1:45 then left to pick up M at school. Seemed like I caught every red light. Ate a Moe’s burrito on the way. Took a few work calls on the way and checked emails in line at the school. M was famished so he ate a bunch from Wendy’s on the way to his appointment. C had given me the wrong address and my GPS wasn’t helping, so I drove around the Northside Hospital area for 30 minutes. Arrived on time and C surprised me by showing up. Got finished at 4:25. I needed to go back to work but with traffic it would’ve taken an hour. Stopped by to get a haircut but Denise was off, so I passed.

Got home just as my neighbor was getting a quote to cut down several trees, including the four 25-year old Bradford Pears that separate our driveways. They need to come down. I had him quote on taking out the two huge trees in back that hang over our house. There’s never money for stuff like this, but it needs to be done. After that hour I had a little more work to do. Supper was hot dogs, fries, and slaw. Hopefully soon the meals will get healthier, but Ceil had been gone all day at school, a wedding meeting, and that doctor’s appointment.

Delle Donne is almost as good as Kyle Korver’s mother – who AVERAGED 45 points per game. Donne probably did too. Her secret is making the free throws. Lots of scorers (like Shaq) could add 5 points a game to their average if they’d practice their foul shots. I think Steph Curry averaged 90%, which is almost as good as Mark Price.

I was looking at the video I took of Kyle Korver shooting against his teammate Kent Bazemore that Sunday at Passion City Church. Korver hit 23 shots in a row. That’s hard to do on a little rinky dink goal when the rim and backboard move every time the ball hits it – especially when you’re sitting in a chair. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrjCxDzfByw and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q1gc1Eo_Hs  When they called Korver to the stage he swished his first practice shot. Then Louie Giglio attempted a shot while trying to make it look easy – and shot an airball.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Monster Shoes


Got another clunky pair of trail running shoes similar to the ones I wore to the Gwinnett game. The 2013 Hoka One One Mafate 3. Very comfortable but really weird looking. Like Herman Munster's running shoes.

Yesterday Ceil had a rough day. She went out to return some things she'd bought and that made it worse. She was gone when I got home so I changed into shorts and put on the trail shoes. Later we were sitting on the couch watching The Middle and she noticed the shoes. She pointed and started laughing so hard she couldn't stop. Made me laugh long and hard as well. I guess they're great for the trail but not just lounging around. They're slightly on the too big side, but hopefully they'll work out.

Still busy at work. Helping others with their work so much that my stuff is beginning to suffer. An hour of meetings today and another 2-1/2 hours of meetings tomorrow will put me even further behind.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

AJC: At it Again

As usual it looks like half the AJC articles below are less Atlanta news and more designed to stir up the readers.

1. Is it a top headline in Atlanta that a team in Pennsylvania signed an aging backup QB? Would you rather have Vick or Tebow on your team? Vick gets hurt but is a better passer. Tebow isn’t that bad, but based on his record in Denver and Florida he does everything possible to win. In the Eagles second preseason game the analyist was critical of Tebow for running for the goal line when super slow motion showed an open receiver. The analyist didn’t mention how fast that decision had to be made. I’m pretty sure the great RGIII and Super Bowl MVP Russell Wilson would’ve made the same decision.

2. That the DH for Houston hit his 20th home run? Shouldn’t all designated hitters hit 20 home runs? The Braves are in a league that doesn’t use the DH, so Evan Gattis was of little use for them. I doubt the article mentioned how good all the players are doing that the Braves got in return for Gattis – or that Braves catcher AJ is a clubhouse leader, catching every day, and hitting .300 (70 points higher than Gattis) - and Bethancourt is batting .327. I doubt the article made a big deal about Gattis’ low batting average. Is one home run in every 30 at bats really good baseball? Hank and Babe homered once every ten at bats. Jonny Gomes woke up and hit a home run Monday. Did the Boston Globe notice?

3. Should a news article describe a local team as blundering? Shouldn’t that be left to the editorials? Did the article mention that the third-baseman who made the three errors was scheduled to be replaced next week? Whatever happened to good journalism?

Tuesday I didn’t get a single bit of my own work done. Didn’t leave until 7 pm. Picked up another pair of goofy looking trail running shoes and drove to Cumming to retrieve Matthew. Got him Taco Bell, which took entirely too long. While we were waiting (over 5 minutes – 300 seconds - for fast food) the drive in girl actually asked us to fill out the survey. She had no clue how bad the service was. Didn’t get home until 8:30.  

John Pierce, my friend who writes for the Baptist Press, got to join the meeting at home plate between the umpires and managers before Monday night’s Braves game. Season ticket holders get to do that, throw out the first pitch, and holler “Play Ball!’

Good stuff on Jerry Seinfeld: http://www.complex.com/sneakers/jerry-seinfeld-effect-on-sneaker-culture This is at least the third web article I’ve read on the subject of Jerry’s shoes. One article profiled the specific episode Jerry wore each specific Nike sneaker. I never knew he’d wore my all-time favorite Huarache running shoes.  

I had also noticed on Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee that Jerry still wears the Nikes, but I’m not a fan of many of his current kicks. There are so many good looking Nikes out these days: several of the Nike Frees, the KD’s, the Kobes, but Jerry wears the Shox, which I dislike. Will has been binge watching Seinfeld on Netflix, so we can share the same obscure references. So you have that to look forward to with Beck.

I almost bought a pair of grey pair of low cut Kobes, but the heel was pink and the toe box was too tight.




Evan Gattis

Photos: Gattis hits 20th home run for Astros

Former Braves player goes deep in August 25, 2015 game between the Astros and Yankees.


Photos: Georgia Tech players in NFL uniforms

Photos of Georgia Tech players in 2015 NFL training camps.





 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cover Girl

I was right – Sports Illustrated did profile Elena Delle Donne – in the new August 24 issue (with Jason Heyward on the cover). Also good articles about the Cards, Speith's caddie, Day's PGA win, Randy Johnson, and the Ravens center/mathmetician.

Drove back last night and arrived before 11 pm. Lots of emails and texts and Facebook posts that had my mind clicking, so it was tough to get to sleep.

BUSY today but management is working to make things better. They've already added a fifth Beatle – a vet just back from Afghanistan.

Sold a pair of Sherrys, a pair of expensive clogs that didn't fit Ceil, and the Bo Jackson jersey. More shipping – my favorite thing!

My dad's nurse was the sister-in-law of former Bulldog / current PGA golfer Russell Henley.

Leftover chicken for lunch. Leftovers still at home: spaghetti, a little chili, and Friday's leftover burritos from El Porton. Perhaps tonight will be what we call "restaurant night."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Musings in Macon

Sunday: Did housework then drove down to Macon late Sunday afternoon. Went to bed at 9:45. Good thing, its been a long day today.

Left home at 8:55 and walked into the hospital at 9:30. My dad had some bloodwork done and we all waited around until he was taken back at 1:10. Took the doctor 1:45 to put in 5 stints, and he was back in the room at 3 pm.

He was moved to a regular room just after six, and he's scheduled to be released at 8 am.

I think some people argue so much because they so want to say what they think, to the point of not listening to what the other person is saying. Doesn't help that so many of us are hard of hearing. People voice opinions and ask questions and tell stories that could be completely unrelated - all long after the opportunity to apply said "advice" has passed (and often without bothering to do so in person). If I don't show up I shouldn't expect to have a voice in the decision.

So many people are so focused on themselves that they completely miss what's going on in the world around them. I know that's the case with me. People don't get certain needs met and then over-compensate in other areas. For me it's hoarding 175 bobbleheads. For someone else it might be having to have their own way instead of putting others ahead of themselves, as Jesus told us to do. Wait, that might be me as well.

I do such a poor job loving my neighbor (and family, and my Lord). I have no business posting Bible verses on social media instructing others to do something I'm failing at myself. As much of a hypocrite as I am, that would be even more so.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday in the City


The Buckhead Diner was featured on Atlanta Eats, the show on Peachtree TV. They call it a legendary Atlanta restaurant. Like me you probably remember when it was new.

Friday night we ate at El Porton next to the stinky Kroger.

Was on the run all day Saturday: took M to the Avalon, then an hour at the post office packaging and mailing 5 packages. Wendy's, three thrift stores, RaceTrac, and a haircut.
Came home to open the package of 5 bobbleheads. Hank the Brewers Ballpark Pup looks a lot like Barney.
Then I drove Ceil down to the old Sears building on Ponce, which will be reopening soon as the Ponce City Market. Then over to Howell Mill to eat at Yeah Burger, which really hit the spot. Mine had onions, tomato, and a fried egg.
As always downtown traffic was gridlocked - on and off the interstates. Much worse than around the new Braves stadium, where cars were speeding along at 80 mph. Gassed up on the way home while Ceil ran into the Trader Joes at Pine Straw Plaza.

Sunday: Headed to Macon for my dad's Monday heart cath. Will drives up to Clemson to golf with cousin Ben. Ceil is driving over to Athens to deliver some needed art supplies

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Week that Was

MONDAY: Worked past 6:15 Monday night and drove straight home. Made good time. Ceil cooked a big pot of chili for dinner. Later I had to go to Office Max to get M's project printed. Listened to Chuck Oliver's College Football radio show and the Braves pregame on the way. Got home and worked on the computer. Forgot the Braves were on late.

Of the 52 items I posted on eBay two have already sold: three shirts and six shirts. I'm liking the Buy it Now option that lasts for 30 days, I think. The guy in Kennesaw is returning the Teixeira jersey. He didn't look at the pictures – three of which clearly showed the former player's name on back. But if I don't accept the return I get a bad seller rating. Unfair. I also need to pay attention to all the emails eBay is sending me, to find more deals like the 50 free posts.

Anna got in the sorority she wanted. Will drove her across campus to her first class and later ate lunch with her. Ceil is enjoying teaching.

WEDNESDAY: Left work at 6:20 so frustrated I could hardly function. Swung by the library, Taco Bell, the Dollar Tree, and Kroger – all in the same Parkaire shopping center. Was almost 8 pm before I got home. I was a zombie the rest of the evening. Watched The Middle and John Luke and Mary Kate's wedding on the season finale of Duck Dynasty. Then I turned on the Braves. Packaged two eBay packages but I have three more shipments I need boxes for.

I am a LOT less money worried than I used to be. I used to be super tight and never buy anything, but these days if I added it up I'd probably be amazed at how much money I spend. I just wish when I find a penny it would be head's up!

Lately I sure have been getting real anxious about things. More money going out than coming in. Tuition. Doctors. House. Trees. Dog. Cars. Bills. Some people just don't think. Some could care less. No urgency. Ugh.

THURSDAY: Today I had meetings at 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, and 12 noon. Willy's lunch was served. Most people fixed themselves soft tacos and cheese nacho chips but I made a salad with lettuce, chicken, black beans, and salsa. Big crowd, hosted by my new department but also attended by the VP and several managers from the plant. Seems like some people from other departments came just to attend the meeting. I'm pending more time helping others than doing my own stuff. Not fun.

Left work at 5:45 so I could make it to the post office before six. Took five empty boxes home. Ceil grilled chicken, baked potato wedges, and tossed a salad for dinner. Then I packed three eBay boxes of 16 shirts and headed out. Stopped by the Roswell WalMart. M gave me an address to pick him up, but I typed Orchard instead of Orchid. The GPS took me 12 miles north of McFarland Road to a dark street. Turned out he was at a place I'd been before near downtown Alpharetta. After mailing the three packages we didn't get back home until after 10:30. I had been gone almost two hours.

Sold three pairs of shoes on eBay Thursday - and a fourth pair on Saturday.
 
FRIDAY: I was elected sergeant of arms, so the next email I sent closed with "Respectfully submitted, David Murphy, Sergeant at Arms" – stealing the line from Animal House: "Faithfully submitted... Douglas C. Neidermeyer... Sergeant at Arms."

A UGA student at last Saturday's wedding shower was talking about a Twitter account that pointed students to where free food was being served. He said he attended a lecture on embalming for a free lunch.

Guy at work has his arm in a sling. He looks like Eugene Levy in the movie Splash - scientist Dr. Walter Kornbluth, who had a broken arm.
 
Free lunch Friday at the Duluth Diner.

Kroger sells those miniature  cars. They also have Hot Wheels for a dollar, but most of them don't look as good because they're so "souped up." Matthew didn't want the bobbleheads in his room but he has a few of those cars: Fiat, VM Bus, VW Bug and a few others. As a kid I loved going to the toy store on Ingleside and looking at all the Matchbox cars, and later the first few years of the Hot Wheels.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Heisman Watch List

Sports Illustrated's pre-season Heisman Trophy candidates:

Top Tier:
QB Connor Cook (Michigan State)
RB Leonard Fournette (LSU) 1177 yards sophomore
RB Derrick Henry (Alabama) 990 yards 11 TD
QB Jeremy Johnson (Auburn)
QB Dak Prescott (Mississippi State).

Second Tier:
QB Trevone Boykin (TCU)
RB Nick Chubb (UGA) 1547 yards 14 TD
RB Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State)
QB DeShaun Watson (Clemson)
QB JT Barrett or Cardale Jones (Ohio State)

Long Shots:
DE Joey Bosa (Ohio State)
QB Taysom Hill (BYU)
RB Samaje Perine (Oklahoma)
QB Justin Thomas (Georgia Tech) 1086 yards rushing
LB Scooby Wright (Arizona)

If UGA has a better shot at winning their SEC Division (and the conference championship) than LSU, why would Fournette be ranked higher than Chubb? Both were freshmen, but Chubb rushed for more yards in less playing time.

Losses will hurt Cook, Fournette, Prescott, Perine, and Hill. I expect Boykin to finish in the top three.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lego vs Duplo vs Brio

There are larger Legos for little kids, called Duplo. Not as fun. But Brio was what my kids liked. Kits to put together toy fire trucks, ambulances, Noah's Ark, gas stations, pirate ships, etc.

I knew the storm was coming but dilly-dallied at my desk. Walked out at 6:20 to find a deluge coming down. My car was is the furthest space, so I had to wait five minutes for the rain to let up.

Ceil cooked spaghetti and salad. Later M grilled chicken for a sandwich and baked cookies. I did the dishes and played on the computer. Ceil was working on her lessons for art class. When I flipped past the MLB Network the Yankees were on there. We watched The Middle, and later a little of the Braves.

After supper my phone kept buzzing with eBay sales. Sold three shirts, then another 8 shirts, then 5 more shirts, then a Chicago Cardinals T-shirt. Tonight I gotta box them all up. Also gotta ship the 5 bobbleheads I've traded to the guy in Milwaukee.

Some kids play sports. Others music or church. A few teens do ROTC. A co-worker's son is in the Young Marines. They're selling candles as a fundraiser to help finance their trips and maneuvers and encampments. Sounds serious – something that's probably needed considering all the secret radical Islamist training bases scattered around the US.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Braves Diamondbacks


Left work at 2:45 Friday afternoon and headed to Turner Field. Bad was bad but not terrible. As I walked up to Turner Field I could tell I hadn't worn my compression socks all week. While I was talking to some of my dollar line buddies, the outside door to the Braves Museum opened and the Braves employee come out. Looked like he was 70 years old.

One thing about going to games alone is the interesting conversations I'm getting into. I've fallen into the routine of sitting in the shade with John Parkes, an older guy I knew from Second-Ponce, who attends every game on the 81 dollar ticket plan. Next to him was another old guy I've seen the past few years in line on bobblehead games in Gwinnett and Turner Field that I had never met. He used to have a card shop and still does shows. He also used to be a GM for a few single A minor league teams. These days he only attends the promotional games. Last Saturday he got the 1995 replica ring (which looked pretty good) and THEN drove out to Gwinnett for the Glavine bobble. Why didn't I think of that?

Near them in line were Bobblehead Bobby Myers from McDonough and longtime collector Johnny Tallant from Cumming. The Jewish collector who looks like Jimmy Fallon's doctor friend in Fever Pitch was behind them. Crazy Darrell was playing catch in the fan plaza.

As we waiting for the dollar ticket booth to open a guy walked up and gave me a $36.00 ticket. I stayed in line to get my dollar ticket, so I could collect two bobbleheads. Inside I chatted with BP ballhawks John and Marshall. Norman, the Chocolate Papa, was nearby. Said hello to the Designated Driver lady and got my free Coke. At the concession stand I wasn't thinking when I ordered a "small Coke." I meant to say Coke Zero. Oh well.
John Schuerholz introduced the newest member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. John Smoltz gave a pregame speech and rode off in a Camaro convertible.
Traditional photo of the relievers making their way to the bullpen. Why do they always walk in a line? Somehow I missed Roger McDowell's visit to the stands down the first base line.

During the game I sat with the chap who gave me the ticket. Torey had just moved to Lake Lanier from Utah, and he was a talker. I tried to explain background info of lots of the stuff that goes on during the game. We were talking about stadium food when the girl in front of asked if Turner Field sold helmet nachos, something I really hadn't heard of. She said in Michigan she'd pay $30.00 for a regular sized batting helmet full of nachos.
Coke should sell space on their big bottle to post people's names.
The game dragged on. With the later than weekday 7:40 start it got later faster. By 10 pm I was ready to go, and we hadn't even made the Seventh Inning Stretch. Torey walked out with me. Made it home by 11 pm, just after the game ended. I didn't even stop for supper on the way home (good) but snacked on some ice cream when I got home (bad).

Working at the Braves Museum would be similar to my teenage dream of working at Disney World. I also liked the tour guides at Six Flags on the old river boat ride that would get attacked by Indians. Those tour guides would get to crack the corny jokes.

I'm beginning to feel like Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch (second straight Fever Pitch preference – sorry). Every time something came up he'd have to mentally check the Red Sox schedule to determine whether he could attend. Ceil was talking about doing something on Labor Day weekend. That's when Gwinnett gives away Maddux bobbleheads, and you know how I like Maddux. And I'm supposed to get one for my friend in Birmingham as well. My plan is to attend Julio Teheran night. Would've been interesting if Hart had traded Julio. Would they have still given out the bobblehead? The Dodgers traded Uribe and still gave out his bobblehead.

My new desk is close to the lady who doles out Braves and Falcons and Bulldogs tickets. She's extremely fair about extra tickets, always raffling them off, but at least now I'll be more in the know.

Monday, August 17, 2015

At the Shower

Saturday morning I cleaned upstairs. With Anna gone I got a lot done in her room. Will was packing to go back to Athens. Moved downstairs to do some cleaning while Ceil ran out to get some things Anna had forgotten. I cut the grass and later watched some of the PGA.

Later we left and drove to Athens. First we swung by Will’s new place (above), next door to the house he rented last year. The new house is nice, but he and Fuerniss have the efficiency around back: bedroom, kitchen, and bath. More quaint than any place I ever lived, including The Hubcap on Greenwood Avenue. Then we coasted downhill to Anna’s dorm. She and Emily were worn out from sorority rush – both physically and socially.
 
Next we made the short drive to MC’s uncle’s house, a few blocks from the Five Points part of campus. The shower was for Will and MC’s Athens friends, mostly all students.
Supper was BBQ sandwiches, cole slaw, a mixed bean dish, BBQ chips, and brownies. MC’s uncle’s house is well inside the Athens perimeter highway, less than one mile from downtown and the campus. We saw a deer in their backyard. A swell time, but we didn’t get home until after midnight.

Slept through the start of Sunday School but made it to the service at JFBC. Heather Swilley Taylor led the singing. Stopped by Whole Foods and BP on the way home. M had grilled chicken so Ceil made quesadillas. Worked on eBay – they had a 50 free posts weekend, so I’m trying to add all 50. Ferried M down to church, but the rest of the time I worked on eBay until 12:30 am. Stopped M by Taco Bell to try their new griller items, which were of course too hot for my tastes.
    
Here at my new office on the second floor it seems like all the guys wear the same thing – from the new guys to the GM. They all wear khakis and navy or black or red golf shirts. An ok look but I refer black or navy slacks. All my nice golf shirts are black and navy, but when I wear them with my dark slacks I look like Johnny Cash. And when I wear dress shirts I look professional, but I look like The Old Guy.
 
I recently broke three bobbles, including my prized Don Zimmer Then and Now double bobble.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Celebrating Smoltz


John Smoltz addresses the crowd Friday night at Turner Field before the game against the Diamondbacks.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Athens Shower

Tripped to Athens for tonight's shower for W & MC's shower for their school friends, hosted at MC's uncle and aunt's house not far from Five Points.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Food and Fun

They eat more in my new department. One manager is on vacation. His fill-in loves to eat and arranged for everyone to bring in food today. The Ogre used to call it “an all-day eat.” Then I have a lunch meeting, probably the Ruby Tuesday salad bar. I’ll save my lunch for Monday. The fridge at home is full of leftovers as well.

My old department is also bringing in food this morning, but I’ll only partake in my new department. My old department let a lady go who had only been with the company a year or two. She’s being replaced by someone with slightly less seniority whose department was dissolved. Everyone in my old department is swapping desks per management direction. Not sure if the most senior people will be given their choice. Not long before my move they’d hired a brand new employee.

Since my desk is along a walkway from one part of the office to another, the Human Resources lady stopped by to ask how my move went. I played it nice and didn’t bring up any gripes, because it wouldn’t have done any good anyway. Last night I did get a nice welcome email from the big boss, who has been out of town all week.

Wearing my blue Heyward jersey to the Braves game tonight. This year I’ll be attending a record number of baseball games (Braves / Gwinnett / Rome / Chattanooga – 16 in all). Without ball practice and games tying up three or four nights a week it is easy to break away to as many as 3 or 4 Braves games a month. It’s no big production and most times I can spend a night at Turner Field for as little as one dollar, plus only the gas it takes to get there.

This week I sold my old blue Teixeira jersey to a guy in Kennesaw. Also bought a royal blue 1982 cap. Now I have every Atlanta cap plus two Boston caps – and a Greenville and Macon Braves cap. Too bad I don’t look good in them.

Trading five bobbleheads to a guy in Milwaukee for five of his: my Grilli Star Wars, David Justice, Gwinnett Bobby Cox, Gwinnett Tom Glavine, and the Rome HOF triple for his talking Harry Doyle, Bob Uecker, Bud Selig, Hank the Pup, and Paul Molitor. Tonight it’s the John Smoltz HOF bobblehead.

I just wonder if working at the stadium would get boring or problematic after a while. The museum would be less of a hassle than being an usher, but you’d miss more of the games. BP friend Marshall has a brother who ushers in Rome. Would be tough getting off work early 50 times a year. I do need a part time job.

Ceil is always leaving to go places right when rush hour is starting. I try to plan around it.

Nothing new here. Didn’t leave work until 6:45 last night. As soon as I walked in the door I got a work call. Matthew cooked tequila jerk chicken to go with Ceil’s taco fixings: rice, black beans, etc. Did a little more work while Ceil watched Project Runway and the movie Matilda, which looked interesting. Left work early again today but I’ll get in my eight hours.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Swinging Sis

Bittersweet day moving Anna to Athens. She and I left early, just not early enough. Athens traffic was gridlocked but miraculously I cut down a side street and avoided most of it. While A stood in the long line I moved stuff upstairs to the third floor. Her roommate arrived just in time for us dads to carry the heavy stuff. C and MC arrived when we were about finished moving (they'd taken M to school).
 
Besides Anna's roommate, at least eight others I knew had kids moving in at UGA on Tuesday. All were coeds. A Walton girl lives across the hall and I chatted up a Roswell family as well. Lots of Cobb County plates. Anna is going through sorority rush. She said yesterday was lots of fun. Will first moved into a smaller dorm (Anna's is 9 stories tall). The smart people waited until after lunch when the crowd had died down. The roads around the dorms were still jammed, but there were spaces in parking lots.
By 1:30 Anna and Emily were ready for us to leave so they could begin their adventure. C, MC, and I ate downtown at Five Guys before returning home. We go back to Athens Saturday for a shower. MC has an uncle in Athens and all the UGA friends will attend. Emily's parents may have parents weekend football tickets for us: UGA vs Southern.
 
Will ya'll be at the game Friday night? I plan on being there. Last Tuesday M and I went to the Giants game with M's friend and his dad. Left Sandy Springs at 6 pm and made it to our seats in time for first pitch. This past Saturday I went out to Gwinnett for the Glavine bobblehead. Took Lang's dad Reid and saw 2 co-workers and a few bobblehead groupies.
 
ROB: I never did answer your Hector Olivera question a few weeks ago.  Puig and Escobar have had issues, but plenty of Cubans like Chapman (Reds) and Juan Abreu (White Sox) don't seem to have issues.  I think it will help that Fredi is a native Cuban and can speak fluent spanish.  They also have other Cubans in the organization (Adonis Garcia and DOB's favorite Dion Toscano) who they could put on the bench and help Olivera feel more comfortable.  I think the Braves made a mistake with Escobar by shipping off his best friend, backup Catcher, Bryan Pena.
 
ME: Ceil is working three days a week and is stressed, with school starting and wedding meetings.
 
With tuition and housing and meal plans and everything else due this month, the purse strings are tight. Our neighbor is getting a quote to cut down some trees, so now might be a good time to take down the two hanging over our house. Not long ago a limb fell in the back yard and damaged the little playhouse roof.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Moving Day

Today was the first day to move into dorms at UGA. Anna and I left at 6:15, stopped once at the Hamilton Mill Chickfila, and joined the Milledge Avenue gridlock at 7:45. I bypassed Baxter and negotiated a back way to campus. Anna joined the 100 yard registration line and I parked and carried two loads up to her third floor dorm.
After returning to the car I found Anna's roommate stuck in traffic and directed them to a parking spot. Ken and I carried up the fridge and futon and the rest of the stuff. Then line of families comng and going seemed endless. I saw a new friend from JFBC Sunday School. On another trip I made another new friend:

Just as we were putting the finishing touches on the room Ceil and Mary-Clayton arrived with Anna's hanging clothes.
Anna and Emily were anxious to embark on their college careers. Before the Mortons left Julie videoed the room, which I felt moved to document:
The girls have a decent view, including part of Sanford Stadium:
Ceil, MC, and I ate at the downtown Five Guys. I was famished making the burger and free refills all the better. Drove home, then up to Cumming to retrieve Matthew.

Monday, August 10, 2015

On the Move


Sunday morning I got to JFBC early and was talking to my friend Steve who runs sound. The guest Sunday School speaker came up to get his mic and introduced himself as Lee Taylor. Later I found out he is Heather Swilley’s husband. As part of his presentation Heather spoke for a while. After church I took Johnson Ferry Road home instead of cutting through the neighborhood. Big mistake number one: gridlock traffic. Went through the Wendys drive-thru – big mistake number two. I would’ve driven away but my friend Noelle was in line behind me. I ordered a Frosty and told the cashier to give it to them. Service was so bad they almost gave me Noelle’s huge order.

M had to meet his small group at 3:45 at Five Guys so I drove him down there. Then I drove up to work to move all my stuff from the third floor to the second. Threw a bunch of stuff away, and boxed up three years of Sports Illustrateds to take home. Worked for four hours and could’ve stayed longer. Worked up a good sweat. Drove to Sandy Springs to pick up M. Didn’t get home until ten.

Got to work at 6:30 am and helped my co-worker move downstairs. Worked up another good sweat.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Double Standard?

Gwinnett Braves manager / third base coach Brian Snitker has a rule: all players most wear high-cuffed pants - yet he and the other coaches wear the long pajama style pants. The players look great. The coaches not so much.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Saturday at Coolray

Lovely night for baseball tonight at Coolray Field in Gwinnett for Tom Glavine bobblehead night. Details to follow tomorrow.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Busy Thursday afternoon. Work wasn’t as bad yesterday as I thought. Left at 3 pm and drove all the way over to the East Cobb Government Office not far from JFBC to renew my driver’s license. Rushed out of the office and forgot to bring proof of residence (2 bills). On the way I pulled out all the junk from my briefcase and found some papers that would work. Went inside the office and realized you couldn’t renew your license there. The last two times I had done it on line, but this was the first time I had to renew since they changed the law requiring presentation of my birth certificate, social security card, and proof of residence. While successfully looking for my SS card I fortuitously stumbled across my birth certificate – both in my sock drawer. I shall relocate them to somewhere more secure.
 
Made good time across the river through Sandy Springs neighborhoods over to Roswell Road to the North Fulton government office. Went inside and learned this still wasn’t the right place. Finally a young lady with a heavy Caribbean accent gave me a paper with directions. Headed north, took a number, and waited in line for 30 minutes. When I was finally called the lady looked at my SS card and BC but not the proof of residence I had so searched for. I was done before five. The place was open until 6:30, meaning I really didn’t need to miss so much work. Oh well.
 
Got home early, to an empty house. Took a nap. C had taken M to a late doctor’s appointment, Will was working, and Anna was shopping with MC. Later I did some laundry, straightened up a bit. Cleaned out Ceil’s car so I could drive it to work – I’d forgotten it needed emissions as well. While outside three deer dashed across the street two houses down, into the woods behind our house. Two of the deer were graceful but the third slipped and skidded on the concrete. They went right in front of a couple walking the cul-de-sac.
 
Ceil cooked a chicken tomato pasta dish, salad, and French bread. Turned on the GOP debate and worked on paying UGA tuition for both Anna and Will. Tons of fun. The storm had knocked out our cable but Will finally got it working again. The Braves were in commercial so I turned over to the debate. Interesting since I was familiar with most of the candidates. Never a dull moment with Trump and Cristie. Dr. Carson wasn’t asked much, but gave intelligent answers when he was. Continued working on my laptop and packaged another eBay box. Was almost midnight by the time I went to bed.   
 
Busy day today. My customer is working this weekend. My co-worker still on vacation (she has extra Friday duties I must perform). Lunch meeting – and I have to sneak out and get the emissions test.  
 
Big shakeup at the lunch meeting – a complete blind side to me. Hopefully the changes will be for the best but we’ll have to wait and see. Not the greatest to first hear about it in front of the entire department. The retirement of a co-worker was announced – in October he celebrates 50 years with the company. The high point for me was that when his replacement was discussed a co-worker suggested me, but that notion was quickly poo-pooed.
 
Co-workers W and Dialysis are moving downstairs with me. The Ogre and his new sidekick are also moving downstairs, but around the corner. The weekend was all set to be special but this sure puts a damper on things. Happy birthday to me. At least my new boss had the decency to take time from his busy day to go out of his way to come upstairs and welcome me.
 
I’d rather not vote than vote for Hillary. Even Trump would be better than her. Even Biden would be better than her. Reading about the old days of political conventions – Lincoln up to Kennedy – it seemed like more of that went on back on the old days than now. I’m probably wrong. That neurosurgeon has some good ideas but he talks so slow the other candidates talk circles around him. But talking slower as saying less may just resonate with the voters – a simpler message. But he’s far back in the pack. Of course I know little of politics – much less than what network baseball games are shown on.
 
Heard a church in West End has minister drives a fancy white-on-white twin turbo Mercedes – over 100 miles an hour. His friends are scared to ride with him. Guy I know has a son who is married with a baby. They live in a small apartment in Duluth. The son was recently released from the military and now hangs around rappers all day, trying to break into the business. The rappers encouraged him to buy a black-on-black Mercedes to “get in the game.” He did  – without even telling his wife. He backed out of a contract to build a new house, therefore losing $3,000.00 on the deal. Not that my family are paragons of financial responsibility.