Thursday, August 31, 2017

First Look: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Was fortunate enough to be asked to tonight's Falcons / Jaguars preseason game, the second at brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Look close at the Georgia Dome above. That's a huge crane on the roof. We arrived five minutes before the gates opened.
The device below is the electronic ticket scanner,
which takes the place of the traditional ticket taker employee.
Behind it looms the huge metal falcon statue.
Looking up.
Just inside is the open east end, a large gathering spot for fans.
The east end of the south stands. So much to look at.
Looking out the east end,
past the falcon at Phillips Arena and downtown Atlanta.
Broke a personal rule and allowed my photo to be taken.
Accidentally wore sneakers in Jaguar team colors.
Windows offered views in all directions,
including north to Kennesaw Mountain.
Looking east from the west end zone. Good view of the bridges connecting the second and third decks: excellent viewing areas all.
The stands in the east end zone are interestingly shaped. 
The other sports radio station was broadcasting on the second level.
Dude was wearing a cape.
When I first saw pictures of the inside,
I thought the upper deck could've been larger.
After climbing the steps to the third from the top row, I'm glad I didn't.
In addition to the exclusive Hundred Yard Bar, us regular fans in the upper level have one hundred yards of concessions. 
Took me awhile to figure out where the rows were numbered:
behind the step.
The Falcons take the field.
Note the field level luxury suites behind the Jags bench.
Note the Jags lined up for the national anthem.
I checked both benches and could not locate one protester.  
The rook was supported by these huge concrete pillars.
The falcon statue at night, surrounded by fans taking pictures.
Fans near the top of the upper deck
can't see the top of the 360 degree halo board.
Dominique soars in front of Phillips Arena.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

No More Pinktober

Every October all NFL teams wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness. Pink shoes. Pink towels. Pink sweatbands. Pink socks. Pink chinstraps. Pink gloves. Pink mouthpieces. I am all for breast cancer awareness, but these days players on all levels (all the way down to pee wee) deck themselves out in pink. 99% are just showing out. They could care less about breast cancer. If they cared that much about it, you’d think their cars and houses and the clothes they wore home after the game would all be festooned in pink as well. But they aren’t. 

But not this year. No Pinktober. Thank goodness, I say. No way the NFL should devote a full one quarter of its regular season to wearing non-standard uniforms, especially as rigid as they are about adhering to standardized uniforms. Which is another good thing in my book. NBA players dress alike. MLB players wear the same thing. Everyone on Wall Street wears the same uniform. No reason it shouldn’t be the same way in a billion dollar industry like football. Tom Brady (below, #12) is a man who doesn't bow to the whims of fashion.

Suggestion: wear special pink uniforms in a preseason game. Perhaps the first Hall of Fame game. Might draw more interest to an otherwise unwatched game. Or in the Pro Bowl the AFC can wear pink for breast cancer and the NFC can wear light blue for prostate cancer. Or the cheerleaders can still wear pink during October. Nobody notices them anyway.
What do you think about NFL players not standing during the national anthem? And what do you think about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying all his employees and players will stand for the anthem – or else be sent packing? I agree. The players are at work, being paid millions to represent an organization and an industry. If I were to blatantly misrepresent my company, I’d certainly be shown the door. And I’m in a far less public arena.
Owners have businesses to run and ticket buyers to please. And CK’s style of play doesn’t fit with most NFL offenses. Tim Tebow is no longer in the NFL – for the same reason. Doesn’t help that the guy’s girlfriend is an “activist.” Michael Vick said the guy needed to get a haircut. Early in his career Vick had his hair in braids, but after he got out of jail he kept his hair neatly trimmed, worked hard, and didn’t mouth off. He knew he’d blown a golden opportunity, and worked hard to stay in the league. I hear he just got a job in television. Good for him.
Just a few years ago, after Pat Tillman died, players were fighting for the privilege to carry the American flag when the team ran out on the field before the game started. There would be a huge flag stretched out across the field, and the crowd would hold up cards spelling out USA as jet fighters flew overhead. How times have changed.
Last weekend I thought about cooking an eggy-boy: fried egg, cheese, English muffin. There was other stuff to eat. While M was home alone this weekend he made up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  
Saturday night at the Gwinnett Braves game I met David Edwards’ mother, who once attended an Atlanta Crackers game at Ponce de Leon Park. She was seating in seat number 13 – and was struck in the face by a foul ball. There at CoolRay Field she was seated down the right field line, in the path of potential line drives. She was once again sitting in seat 13. I pointed down to my friends Johnny and Hugh, who’d also gone to Crackers games.
Spinning my wheels. Doesn’t seem like I am getting much done. Worked until almost 7 pm Monday night. Left work and went looking for something to wear to the Falcons game. Bought a pair of shoes in Duluth. Drove south on Peachtree Industrial thinking I would get gas, then decided to wait. Took Holcomb Bridge through Roswell and stopped at the BP across from the QT and Slopes BBQ place. Couldn’t find my credit card. Couldn’t find the phone number for the store I had just left. Internet said the store was closed. I was worried that I had dropped the credit card in the parking lot, so I drove all the way back. Store was still open so I went in. The lady saw me and breathed a sigh of relief, and handed me my credit card. Didn’t get home until 9:30.
Then I stayed up past midnight packaging four eBay shipments, so I could mail them this morning. Left home just a little bit earlier. Stopped at the post office. There was a lady outside with a broom, but all she was doing was talking on her cell phone. Not getting much work done. I carried the four boxes inside – and the machine wasn’t worked. Loaded them back in my car.
The next post office is in a high traffic area near Norcross High. Pulled up, unloaded the boxes, went inside – and that machine was broken as well. There was a lady with a broom at this post office as well. She asked my how my day was going. I wasn’t honest. So I was later to work than I wanted to be. Then instead of working on something that was two weeks old I had to get ready for a conference call.
Worked until seven Tuesday night. Am I over the hump? Hopefully it won’t be so late this afternoon.
Stopped at the post office to mail the four boxes, plus at one thrift store looking for Falcons gear. Didn’t get home until eight. C had fallen asleep, and had a headache. He fixing chicken and dumplings. Good. Didn’t finish eating until nine. Nothing much on TV. Didn’t feel like boxing up more eBay, so I’ll need to tonight.
The great thing about the movie Groundhog Day is being able to repeat the same day over and over again. Bill Murray is able to work to live a perfect day. He takes piano lessons, nurses a homeless man back to health, changes an old lay’s flat tire, catches a kid falling out of a tree, gets to know everyone in town, saves a man from choking to death, and learns to sculpt ice. He also has some fun. I could be comfortable doing those things.
A recent issue of the Atlanta Business Chronicle had pictures of Blake McBurney, Bob Voyles, and David Allman. I taught Allman’s son in ECS. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium was Allman’s project. Guess I fell in with the wrong crowd at SPdL.

Speaking of plaques I may have mentioned how I had doctored a plaque on the wall here in our office. Lots of people walk right past the plaque every day but pay it no mind. It was for sales group of the year, with a new group to be added every year. After 3 or 4 years it was forgotten about, or a new regime came in and didn’t keep it up. They’ve been sitting there unnoticed for several years, so I printed out paper additions with my group as the winner every year. Did this over a month ago but no one has noticed. I finally gave a hint to the two girls who work with me, and they figured it out. But no one else knows.

Working on my pre-season football predictions for GT, UGA, and Clemson. How do you think they’ll do?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Players Weekend

Last weekend all MLB teams wore Players Weekend uniforms.
Some of the players wore nicknames on their backs, like Lane Adams.
Matt Kemp.
Dansby and Ozzie.
Players from all teams wore the same socks,
available for sale at
The patch was worn on the sleeve and the backs of the jerseys and caps. The white space at the bottom was for the players to write in who they are thankful for.
Julio Teheran - aka "JT"
Evan Gattis was activated from the disabled list
just in time for Players Weekend.
Stanton proved he could hit home runs in any uniform.
So did Kurt Suzuki.
Mike Trout was the Kiiid.
Not all nicknames are created equal.
Houston had several good nicknames.
Though Gattis chose BULL instead of El Oso Blanco or the White Bear.
Bryce Harper posed in a snapback cap.
The entire collection.

Most of the Braves. Several could use work.;postID=7695380667886940404;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=link

Monday, August 28, 2017

Chicken Feet

Ate lunch Friday at a Chinese Dim Sum place a coworker took me to near Gwinnett Place Mall. Survived it. Didn’t leave hungry, though I wasn't exactly sure what I ate. Passed on the chicken feet (top).

Left work at 2:45 for SunTrust Park. While standing in line I saw someone who looked familiar. Zack Hample, famous for snatching BP homers from everyone else. Big following of 13-14 year old boys who think what he does is cool. He caught Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit – a home run. He crashed the Fort Bragg game that only soldier were supposed to attend. Now you know why adult fans dislike him.
The JFBC choir sang the national anthem, though they were only introduced as the “Johnson Ferry Choir.” Had a good time at the game. Kurt Sukuki hit a home run during the RaceTrac inning, and I had four tickets to cash in for food and drinks on Saturday. Ran by Cheeseburger Bobby’s on the way home.

Saturday I did laundry and washed dishes and tried to clean the house. Was on my feet the whole time. M worked the early shift. Left at 1:45 and headed to Gwinnett. Saw several people I knew at the game. Met former pro wrestling announcer Tony Schiavone, a really nice guy. I usually don’t get autographs but the line was short and I didn’t have anything else to do. He had his dog sitting there with him on the table. Hadn’t realized how big his role had been in professional wrestling back in the day. Chuck Dowdle and Nick Green were there was well.
The Charlotte Knights’ pitcher was a top prospect, Brian Clark. He struck out Acuna to lead off the first, then later got him to weakly ground to third. Clark took a no hitter into the fifth. Acuna was nice to the little leaguer who’d been sent out to greet him in right field.

Left the game and drove to Macon, arriving at 10:15.

Sunday morning we went to Northside Christian Church, celebrating its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1967, we started going there around 1973. The original pastor Charles Turner was back to preach. He baptized me and my family on Easter Sunday 1975. Saw several families we knew. My sister still babysits for Ken and Carolyn Gay’s granddaughters. Bill Roe is now 82, but is still active tinkering around and fixing things, His wife and two daughters were there. My old boss Danny Brooks is retired, but looked good. The second pastor has passed away, but his entire family was there, including his son Aaron from Raleigh. We used to play church softball together. There had a nice covered dish lunch in the gym, and there were albums with old pictures to look at.

Watched some of the Braves game with my parents before heading back. Stopped by Cheeseburger Bobby’s again, and Moes for Matthew. Ceil and Barney got back from SC around 7:30. Gotta find some boxes cause I sold ten bobbleheads this weekend.
This morning I lucked into tickets to Thursday night’s Falcons exhibition, so you know I’ll be loving that. Coworker is lending me a pass to park. So we’re set.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tony Schiavone Night

Saturday was Tony Schiavone Day at the Gwinnett Braves game. Schiavone is a name I've been hearing for years,
but I had to stop and consider exactly who he is. More on that below.
Broke out my obscure Greenville Braves cap for the occasion. 
Johnny Tallant and Old Hugh secured front row seats in the right field corner. I had glued up my old Huarache cross trainers,
but they had a blow out before I could leave.
Before first pitch I was able to get Schiavone to autograph a bobblehead.
Nice, regular guy about my age.
I tried to take a selfie of us, but hit the wrong button. He laughed.
Before leaving the field Schiavone's dog Bug peed in front of the Charlotte dugout, much to the delight of the crowd.
I sat next to the ballboy, with Johnny and Hugh on my left. Hung out with LJ, and ran into several friends: Paul Smiley, Jeff Richards, Joe Shirley, Ginger and her husband, Albert Sender, Kristen, and Bobby Myers.
Ilse posted that she was at the game,
and when I turned around I saw her practically sitting behind me.
The game was a battle of the phenoms:
the Braves Ronald Acuna against the Knights' flamethrower Brian Clark.
In his first two at bats Acuna struck out and grounded out weakly to third.
Clark had a no-hitter going through four innings. I hated to leave.
The night's prize: a good likeness. I bought four tickets, and Ilse generously gave me her bobble. I'd already sold one and traded two. I got the other two bobbles autographed, so hopefully they'll fetch a higher price.
With Bug looking on, Schiavone took time to make each autograph legible.
In addition to his Gwinnett gig,
Tony hosts the postgame Bulldog Hotline after UGA football games.
But Schiavone is most famous for his earlier gig as the host of professional wrestling on TBS: WWE, WWF, WCW, NWA. Many of the fans in line to get his autograph were wrestling fans.
I just had time to kill before the game started. 
After visiting with friends I had to head out to drive to Macon. On my way to the exit I noticed Schiavone was back signing more autographs,
so I had him sign my extra. Was also able to snap that elusive selfie.
After packing up my bobble I looked up to see Chuck Dowdle standing next to me. Tony was introducing someone to the guy in the red Players Weekend Braves cap: former Brave / current Fox Sports South host Nick Green, who occasionally calls Gwinnett games with Schiavone.
Nice of Chuck to pose for me.
An autograph.
After I left, for some reason the stadium had to be evacuated.
Not sure why. Eventually the gates were reopened.
Before the game while people-watching I traded glances with a guy about my age. Later while looking around I noticed a decent looking pair of Nikes. I looked up to see who was wearing them, and it was the guy from before. I nodded to him. he walked over and complimented me on my Hauraches - years ago he had a pair just like them. We had us a little chat about sneakers. Nice to know I'm not the only old guy who wears nice shoes.