Thursday, July 27, 2017

Greatest 2-Sport Athletes 21-30

Spend time yesterday making up a list of the greatest all-time multi-sport athletes. Sports Illustrated ran three stories about the topic, including one by a young guy who proposed that Deion Sanders was the greatest two sport athlete in history. I rank him no higher than fifth. For athletes 31-40 click here.
 
30. Lolo Jones competed in the Summer Olympics as a hurdler,
and in the Winter Olympics on the bobsled team.

29. NFL Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino was drafted by the Royals.
28. Hall of Fame QB John Elway played minor league ball
in the Yankees system.
27. Tom Brady has won more Super Bowls than any QB in NFL history.
He was drafted as a catcher by the Expos.
26. Braves hall of fame pitcher Tom Glavine won over 300 games in the majors. Coming out of high school he was drafted by the LA Kings.
25. Tim Tebow was one of the top three football players in SEC history. 
NFL QB. Now he’s playing minor league baseball in the Mets system.
24. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player in history, a six-time NBA champion (and NCAA champion). After he won his first three championships he took a break from basketball to play minor league baseball (and shoot the movie Space Jam).
23. Before Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn collected more than 3000 hits for the Padres, he played college basketball for San Diego State.
22. All-Pro defensive lineman Julius Peppers was named one of the greatest kick blockers in NFL history...
...perhaps because he played basketball at North Carolina.
21. Hale Irwin: Hall of Fame golfer. He also played quarterback and defensive back at Colorado.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Greatest 2-Sport Athletes 31-40

A recent series of articles on TheMMQB.com had me thinking of other great two sport athletes. I’ll publish my list of the top 40 in sets of ten. If the list tilts a little toward my corner of the world, so be it.
 
One young writer labeling Deion Sanders as perhaps the greatest two sport athlete in history. Was he? Stay tuned.
 
40. Steph Curry: two-time NBA champion. Recently finished third in the celebrity golf tourney at Lake Tahoe, posting the low round of the day on Sunday.


39. Greyson Lambert: record-setting QB at Virginia and Georgia.
Now playing minor league baseball.


38. All-SEC QB David Greene set NCAA records at UGA.
He later won second place on “The Knuckler.”


37. Garth Brooks is one of the greatest stars in country music history. He was good enough at baseball to go to spring training with the San Diego Padres.


36. Cam Bonifay played baseball and football at Georgia Tech.
Later served as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.


35. Bobby Dews was a star baseball and basketball player at Georgia Tech. Minor league baseball player. Coached in the majors and minors. Published a novel and collection of poems.


34. Former Braves infielder Mark DeRosa was an Ivy League QB. at Penn


33. Buck Belue was an All-SEC QB at UGA,
leading the Dawgs to the 1980 national championship.


32. Jace Peterson currently plays for the Atlanta Braves,
and started at QB for Tulane.


31. Carl Lewis set world records and won Olympic Gold Medals as both a sprinter and long jumper. Was also an alternate on the Winter Olympic bobsled team. Dallas Cowboys draft pick.
For athletes 21-30, click here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ballplayer

Stay up and watch the Braves? If you were like me you changed the channel when they fell behind. All those wild pitches looked like passed balls to me. Flowers was on one knew, and not shifting his body to block the pitch. What was Dickey supposed to do, stop throwing knuckleballs? He gets shelled when he throws his fastball.
 
In his book Chipper said he thought Maddux kept playing until Roger Clemens retired to make sure Maddux was the winningest pitcher of his generation. Jones said once Leo came out and told Maddux to walk Louis Gonzales to set up the double play. Maddux never wanted to walk anyone (less than one thousand in his career, perhaps the lowest K/BB ratio in history). Maddux told Leo he would get Gonzales to pop up to third. And that’s exactly what happened.
 
In his second season Chipper asked Barry Bonds to autograph two balls. Bonds refused. Years later Bonds reached third base and asked Jones why he didn’t talk to him anymore. “Are you serious?” Chipper thought. Jones said David Justice was like a big brother to him, helping him master the mental part of the game.
 
Left work at 5:50 and drove straight to dance class, our last. We had a special class made up of married couples we know, all recruited by Ceil’s friend Nancy. Seems like most of the people who frequent that studio are singles looking for dates. After the class everyone went over to Nancy’s. I was tired and didn’t want to go hang around a bunch of people I didn’t know well, but I did have a good time. Didn’t get home until almost ten. Too tired to go to bed so I crashed on the couch for an hour.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Rough weekend. On the go the whole time. Friday night I worked until six. Got home and we went to Mellow Mushroom. C got a small Greek salad and we split a small pizza. Was after nine before we got home.

Saturday morning we got outside and worked in the yard. Moved limbs that had fallen, cleared out the wooded area, pulled ivy off trees, then I cut the grass. Worked until it started raining. It was so hot that I had to take breaks. Drank 60 ounces of water.

At 2:30 I drove out to Gwinnett. As usual traffic was bad. Drove through a thunderstorm. Got a front row parking spot just as the rain hit. The rain cooled everything off. Good game. Lucas Sims pitched seven shutout innings. Ozzie Albies hit a home run. Saw prospects Rio Ruiz, Ronald Acuna, and Lane Adams. Phil Gosselin and Joey Terdoslavich played for Indianapolis. But the heat came back, even as the sun set. Drank 40 ounces of Gatorade on the way home. 

I was talking to Johnny and Hugh at the Gwinnett Braves game. I had shown them the Crackers tickets. Hugh wanted one so he could show people what tickets cost back in the day. Another guy was talking about the ballpark in Montgomery, and how a train track ran through the outfield. The old railroad station is the ticket booth. We drove past the Nashville park. Was on top of a hill as I recall. Big scoreboard shaped like a guitar. Didn’t know that about the right field.
I’m reading the Chipper Jones book. He only played a short while in Durham but said he hit the bull, but never received his certificate for a free steak.
Late Sunday morning C and I drove to Macon. As usual traffic was heavy through downtown and south of turn. Got cut off so many times that I finally pulled into the far right lane and quit passing cars. Watched the end of the British Open. C cooked spaghetti and meatballs, mixed vegetables, fruit salad, French bread, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. More traffic on the way home, including a ten mile stretch of 5 mph due to an accident near Barnesville. Got home at eight and I crashed on the couch.

Barney enjoyed the trip but I think it wore him out. After we got home he laid out on the floor, and slept downstairs on the cool floor. Even when I got up this morning he wouldn’t jump in the bed.

After my shower this morning I was in and out of hot and cold places, so by the time I got to work I was sweating. I’m worried poison ivy might break out on my neck. Forgot a shirt to change into for this evening’s dance class. Spilt cereal all over my car. Not a good start to the week.

Got a comment on an old blog post about SunTrust, that the Braves moved from downtown “because racists refused to spend their money to build” a similar development surrounding Turner Field. Guess the guy missed all the AJC stories over the past twenty years of the Braves repeated attempts to build bars and restaurants and give the city 75% of the profit, but the city didn’t want to give up their parking revenues. Guess the guy forgot about the putt putt course next to Turner Field that didn’t last a year.      
 
The Brookwood Grill is catty corner across from Olive Garden, just down the street from HOLA. A salesman brought in Chickfila biscuits this morning. I’m still not quite right from all the heat this weekend. Need to drink more. Dance class tonight.

Jim Johnson will hopefully be traded. A better team can use him in the bullpen but not as a closer.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mellow Mushroom

Friday night we cashed in a free pizza bracelet at Mellow Mushroom
(so the bill was $14.00).
Interesting d├ęcor - especially the ceiling.
Saturday morning we got tons done outside in the yard:
pulling up ivy, cutting weeds, taking limbs to the ravine, cutting the grass, and clearing the woods - all in the extreme heat.
My watch tracked every step, even my trek down to the creek.
The new Niekro bobble.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Phil Niekro Night

The usual heavy traffic up 85 north to Coolray Field. Got there early enough to be waved into one of the closest parking spots. Pulled in just as a thunderstorm rolled in - cooling the afternoon air. Luckily my car was not hit by a foul ball.

Ran into the Coach up at the gate. He detailed his whirlwind trip last weekend to Myrtle Beach. Standing in line last Friday night before the gates opened with Katie, Michael, and Bobby, the four debated whether to go. Coach and Katie left SunTrust Park at 8 pm, drove up 85 north (perhaps they stopped by Katie's place in Cumming), made it to Charleston by 3:30 am, left at noon for MB, attended the Pelicans game, and made it back to Cumming by 8:30 am. Coach still had to drive to Warner Robins. Coach said Kevin was buying Heyward bobbles for $5.00 - that's cheaper than Gwinnett bobbles.
There was a super long line to get Phil Niekro's autograph,
so I snapped a photo instead.
With nothing to do while the grounds crew readied the field, I got in the back of the autograph line. Made several friends, including the guy in the old blue cap above. He had a vintage poster to be signed. Chatted with a dad and his son. Behind me was a young man from Macon, who now lived in Montgomery. Later his wife (from Portland) and two year old son joined him, and the talk turned from ballparks and autographs to child-rearing. Befriended a retired usher from Pensacola, and talked to LJ. As we all suspected, we were too far back for an autograph. 
To our dismay, Phil had been ushered down to the field to throw out the first pitch. He warmed up with a youngster (below), then retreated to the dugout to autograph balls for the Little league team in light blue.
After being introduced, Niekro climbed the mound to the pitching rubber,
then walked down to the front of the mound.
Then wound up, and... 
 ...tossed a knuckler for a strike.
 After the pitch Niekro struck a familiar pose,
drawing cheers from the crowd.

After shaking hands with the catcher,
Phil made a point to greet the umpires.
Sat in the right field corner with LJ (left) and Johnny (right).
Coach and Katie had second row seats by Gwinnett's on deck circle.
Norman snapped a picture of the lineups, studded with prospects:
Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, Rio Ruiz, Lane Adams, & Lucas Sims.
Former Braves Phil Gosselin and Joey Terdoslovich played for Indianapols,
whose hitting coach was Butch Wyneger.
When a line drive rocketed into our little corner
one of Johnny's grandsons picked it up.
The ball came in so fast that young Saylors (below) started crying...
...but he recovered nicely.
The red T-shirt said "Yes, it's me."
Batting left-handed, Ozzie Albies hit a home run
just over the right-centerfield fence onto the berm.
With glove on, Hugh sat at the ready.
Good talking to him. Hugh had studied the lineups of both teams,
and knew who was hot. Just like always.
Gift shop had team issued fidget spinners.
And MLB Fourth of July socks. I passed.
 Took my black adidas Campus sneakers out for a spin. It was hot. 
Super long lines before the gates opened, stretching further than I'd ever seen - around the third base side of the stadium. I had several bobbles to get, and absolutely no help. Didn't get as many as I needed to get.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Entitlements



Entitlement is a word I hear a lot these days. Webster defines it as “the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges and treatment), or a type of financial help provided by the government of a particular group.” People hear about the government providing cell phones, health insurance, and other “entitlements” in addition to the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed in the Constitution, and get mad.
 
But oftentimes those mad at those abusing the system exhibit entitled behavior as well. Exceeding the speed limit. Parking at yellow curbs. Rolling through stop signs. Ignoring rules. I have certainly been guilty of a few of these myself. Why is ok for me to be above the law, but it’s not ok for others? It isn’t.
 
In a related note, this article suggests what used to be known as the post-Christian world is now a world made up of millions of individuals who live as if they themselves are gods.
 
 
Worked until six again Wednesday. Stood at my new desk for 2 or 3 hours. Drove to the library and checked out books by Ken Follett and Chipper Jones.
 
C had supper ready: grilled chicken, spinach, and rice. We ate, then went to Perimeter Mall. Got home at nine. Not much on TV.
 
This morning our GM saw my standup desk and said he didn’t want to catch me sitting. Asked if I had a pad to stand on. Not yet. So far so good, but I need to take sitting breaks. Forgot to wear my watch yesterday so I couldn’t see an uptick in steps, but I’m expecting today to be more than usual.


Today’s Seinfeld story: talking about these stand-up desks reminded me of the episode where George asked why the security guard at the clothing store had to stand all day. “Why couldn’t he sit?” asked George. The guard was given a chair, and soon thereafter the guard fell asleep, and the store was robbed.
 
So Thursday was the first day I stood most of the day at my new desk. OK so far, but by the end of the day I was a little tired and sore. Wanted to knock out a project so I stayed past 6:30. It was almost 7:30 when I got home. Ceil wanted me to clear out the ivy on the far side of the house – something that needed to get done. I hate starting a project I can’t finish the same day, but I put on long pants and long sleeves, and gloves. It was the hottest day of the year, and I was really sweating. Pulled out a wire, but hopefully it was one that isn’t used anymore. Got about halfway done by dark. Went in and took a shower. Was bushed, and slept well last night. Except…
 
Barney was acting odd for some reason. He slept downstairs but came upstairs at the exact minute my alarm usually goes off. He was standing next to my side of the bed, smiling and panting. Then he jumped on the bed and dug around on my pillow. I pulled the covers over my head so he wouldn’t lick me to death. We both went to sleep with him between my head and the baseboard. Later he crawled down to the foot of the bed closer to the ceiling fan, and but his head on my legs. I had to move him so I could get out of bed.  
 
The people who keep wondering if the Braves will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline – they must be the people who sell their stocks the first time they take a dip. They’ve forgotten that the Braves have a long term plan. Just because the team is doing better is no reason to throw the plan out the window and trade prospects in the hopes of maybe earning a wild card berth. Goodness gracious, have a tiny bit of patience.  
 
Think the Braves will make many moves before the deadline? You’d think if Snit wanted to send Dansby down he’d have done it in this time before the trade deadline, to get his stroke back before August.
 
Rob: We were at the game on Friday.  We did not get there until 7:15, but there were still plenty of Kemp bobbleheads.  Are you going to the game with the replica Aaron statue?
 
I am  hoping the Braves move out some veterans to clear up space for younger players.  We will know after this road trip, but if we are not seriously in contention for a wild card spot, I would rather see Dansby, Albie, Camargo every day in the infield as opposed to them splitting time with Phillips and Matt Adams.  I also want to see a spot cleared for Lucas Sims.
 
Not sure about the Aaron statue game. A guy I’m getting the Gwinnett bobbles for owes me two SunTrust tickets, I guess for the Aaron and the upcoming Freeman. I think there is a giveaway TBA on August 4 and in September.
 
M went to the Tuesday Cubs game with a group of Whole Foods coworkers. He probably didn’t mind the rain delays. M’s car may need to be replaced. Taillights don’t work, and I’m not sure it will pass emissions. Might give him my 2005 Civic and get me something newer. Another Civic, or a CR-Z.
 
Ceil’s teaching is expending from 3 to 4 days this next year. She starts back August 1. We won’t have to pay M’s tuition (at least for now) so hopefully we can make some headway financially.
I see GT QB Justin Thomas was signed by the Saints as a wide receiver. He’s staying in New Orleans to work out and learn the system. Training camp starts soon. 
 
I hated missing Jerry Head’s funeral. I dressed for the funeral but this morning things got crazy and four of six team members were out. So sorry Don.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

'17 Heisman Frontrunners

2017 Heisman frontrunners, according to Sports Illustrated:
 
Saquon Barkley, Penn State senior RB.
1496 yards 18 TD last year.

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma senior QB.
76 TDs to 15 int’s. Broke FBS pass efficiency rating.

Sam Darold, USC sophomore QB. Media darling.
Finished third in TQBR – behind Mayfield.

JT Barrett, Ohio State senior QB. Ranked 35th in TQBR.

Derrius Guice, LSU junior RB. Led the SEC in rushing last season and boasted a 7.6 yards per carry. The Guice is loose?


Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State senior QB. 4091 yards 28 TDs in 2016. Ranked 20th in TQBR.

Who did they miss? Someone from FSU, for sure. 

 
With a big senior year Nick Chubb has a chance to break Herschel Walker’s UGA career rushing record (set in only three seasons). Chubb’s dismal junior season removed him from most of this year’s Heisman talk. With backfield mate Sony Michel also returning, Chubb will have to share yards.