Sunday, October 14, 2018

New Throwbacks For Sale

I usually quickly delete the daily junk email from NFLShop.com, but a recent one caught my eye: selling a Bartkowski-era Falcons jersey. Hadn’t seen one of those for sale in quite a long time. It was a red Deion Sanders jersey. In addition to the inevitable black and white Deion jerseys for sale as well, also offered were a black Andre Rison jersey, and a long sleeve black Deion “jersey shirt.” While the black throwback Julio Jones jersey you see so many fans wearing is nice, now they'll have more options.

There were eleven pages of jerseys and shirts to scroll through. Along with the standard past stars (Walter Payton, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Dan Marino) there were numerous new options: Archie Manning, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Doug Williams, Eric Dickerson, Steve Largent, Fred Belitnikoff, Lance Alworth, and more. Also a few semi-obscure jerseys like the Saints Steve Gleason.
 
Here’s a complete list of throwback jerseys and long sleeve jersey shirts, by team. In parenthesis are player jerseys I’d like to see.
 
ARIZ Pat Tillman Jake Plumber (Larry Wilson)
ATL D Sanders A Rison Brooking Ray Buchanan J Anderson (Nobis)
BALT Ray Lewis Ed Reed
BUF Thurman Thomas Kelly Andre Reed Bruce Smith (Jack Kemp)
CAR (Reggie White)
CHI Butkus Ditka Urlacher Gale Sayers Singletary (Piccolo)
CIN Anthony Munoz Boomer Esiason (Chris Collinsworth)
CLE Jim Brown (Lou Groza)
DAL Staubach Emmitt Aikman D Sanders T Owens M Irvin (Don Meredith)
DEN J Elway S Sharpe T Davis (Floyd Little)
DET Barry Sanders Herman Moore (George Plimpton)
GB Starr Hornung Donald Driver Favre Reggie White Nitschke S Sharpe (Don Hutson)
HOU (Matt Schaub)
IND Unitas Manning Faulk M Harrison (John Mackey)
JAX Mark Brunell Fred Taylor
KC Gonzalez Derrick Thomas Marcus Allen (Jan Stenerud)
LAR Dickerson Warner Bettis (Norm Van Brocklin)
MIA Csonka Marino Griese Nat Moore Mark Clayton Duper Zack Thomas R Harrison J Taylor (Jim Kiick)
MIN Randy Moss Chris Carter (Joe Kapp)
NE Bledsoe Curtis Martin Bruschi (Geno Cappaletti)
NO Manning Gleason Morten Andersen Horn (Tom Dempsey, Bill Kilmer, Dan Abramovicz)
NYG O Anderson Carl Banks L Taylor Simms (Frank Gifford)
NYJ Namath Riggins Klecko C Martin W Chrebet (Don Maynard)
OAK Belitnikoff Tim Brown Howie Long Woodson Plunkett M Allen Jackson Lott (George Blanda)
PHIL Cunningham R White R Jaworski B Westbrook B Dawkins J Brown T Owens (Norm Van Brocklin)
PITT Bradshaw Greene F Harris Bettis Lambert H Ward (Rocky Blier)
SD Alworth Tomlinson Seau (John Hadl)
SF Montana Rice Sanders Craig Lott Dwight Clark T Owens Rathman Young Keena Turner (YA Tittle)
SEA Largent Cortez Kennedy Kenny Easley 12th Man (Jim Zorn)
TB Lynch Derrick Brooks (Steve Spurrier)
TEN Earl Campbell (George Blanda)
WASH D Williams Riggins Sean Taylor Clinton Porter (Sonny Jurgenson Sammy Baugh)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sports and Social

This past Monday morning of course Steak and the 680 gang were going on and on about their beloved 1-4 Falcons. Nothing about the number two team in the country. Finally they moved on to Sunday’s playoff game, which took place right across the street from their studio.  Sandra said the Braves walked 27 times. Finneran said he could do without Nick Markakis, who led the league in doubles. Steak went on and on about the Dodgers trading for Manny Machado, never mentioning the five prospects they surrendered or that he’s an ultra-expensive free agent this off-season. No analysis, or why the trade may have been good for the rich Dodgers but one the Braves could never have pulled off. Nor did Steak mention how the Dodgers might be able to sign Machado for the long term, but not the Braves.
 
Atlanta may be in a position this off-season to have the money to sign a big contract like Machado, and perhaps he should be their target. Or Camargo could play short if the third base prospect is ready. Do the Braves re-sign Markakis? Do they move Ender and sign a corner infielder? Whither Suzuki? Albies needs to be re-taught how to remove the holes from his swing. It goes unsaid that quality relievers are needed for the bullpen. Perhaps Julio Teheran will be moved to the bullpen. And the Braves will never advance much further unless they quit walking so many batters.
 
Was an interesting looking Tech game to watch. Tech’s wearing gold helmets, white jerseys, and navy pants. Knowing Tech would be wearing white jerseys, Duke decided to wear grey helmets and jerseys and royal blue pants. The Blue Devils could’ve worn royal jerseys with white or royal helmets and saved the grey for some other day. The officials could've penalize Duke if the jerseys hadn’t contrasted enough. I emailed Georgia Tech voicing my displease with the navy pants but have yet to receive a response.
 
Article in Sports Illustrated about the option. Lots of quotes from Paul Johnson. They think the option is doomed because of new rules outlawing the chop block. Come to think of it I haven’t heard of a chop block penalty all season. Johnson said he knows he’s on the tail end of the craze, but likes that he’s one of the very few to run it. A few years ago Johnson considered switching to the shotgun option, but correctly knew that under center the ball hits the line of scrimmage quicker. He is right – so often you’ll see someone like Clemson run the ball of short yardage and get stuffed, because the handoff takes place five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
 
Max Howell was a good’un. These days in the afternoons on 680 Chuck Oliver knows more about college football than anyone I’ve ever heard. His coworkers tell stories of trips to broadcast games in a place like Las Vegas. Everyone goes out on the town the night before the game – except Chuck, who stays in his room to watch whatever obscure football game is on TV, like Weber State vs. Towson State. 680’s Chris Dimino knows more baseball than anyone I’ve heard. Smoltz is a good announcer and tells good, topical stories, but Dimino knows history as well as the current stuff.
 
I’ve been better about not stopping for fast food for the last week or so, but Ceil is headed out of town and the fridge isn’t stocked that well. My first fast food choice is Taco Bell (stopped there last Saturday, and the usual ok service was super slow). Just downloaded the Wendys app on my phone and there’s plenty of good deals there, but the Wendys and Taco Bell closest to work both closed due to such poor service. The next closest Wendys also has terrible service, as does the Wendys in East Cobb. Another East Cobb Wendys closed due to bad service.
 
In East Cobb next to a thriving Moes a Burger King closed down because of poor service. They tore it down and built another fast food restaurant from the ground up. Looked very nice. They sent out coupons. They closed down after a year. The Houlihans had been in business for years, one of the few nice restaurants in East Cobb. It closed and now a Jason’s Deli is opening it it’s place. I think the Uncle Maddio’s Pizza only lasted a year before they closed. The Chucky Cheese Pizza closed. Also the Del Taco, which always had bad service. It was right next to an Arbys and Panda Express. The Panda Express is always crowded, as is Chipotle. A tough business to be in. Gotta be trendy and in a good location.  
 
Monday lunch at the Medlock Tavern. Great bar food but I had a salad with chicken. Every single customer was a middle aged man. All the waitresses are in their 30’s or 40’s, wearing skimpy black outfits. Kinda creepy. There was one older lady on the patio. Otherwise Medlock Tavern is a good lunch option. Taco Mac is more crowded, and it’s hard to hear in there. Duluth Diner is ok. Lots of options and the food is good, but maybe not great.

Friday, October 12, 2018

News of the Week

Guess I was the last to know: Lydia Abernathy founded a cosmetics company and married into the Mandavi family, the winemaking family. Lydia has a line of products that are sold by Williams Sonoma. They have homes in Napa and Beaufort South Carolina. Joel Norman and sister Catherine are out in Colorado hiking and camping. Snow and elk.
 
Last weekend: worked until six last Friday afternoon. Got a new stand up desk, bigger than my previous one. Was setting it up after 5 pm. Gonna take time to get used to. Stopped by the bank on the way home. By the time I got home and turned on the game Tech was already winning 14-0. Ceil went grocery shopping so I sat down and watched the rest of the game. Tech was moving the ball, gaining ten, fifteen yards at a pop, so it was entertaining. Watched the whole thing until the Braves came on, then switched back and forth. Watched a good chunk of the Braves while playing on my laptop. Didn’t stay up until the end.
 
Had our first men’s small group meeting Saturday morning at eight. Afterwards I was driving away and realized my Civic needed an oil change, and that went quick. Helped clean up around the house, then went out to trade bobbleheads with a guy in Marietta. Stopped by the library and Tao Bell on the way home. Ceil was running errands at the same time. Watched Clemson/Wake and GA/Vandy.
 
Sunday School, then back home to get ready for M’s birthday meal. He was working until three. Ceil was cooking, vacuuming, and doing other stuff. I did dishes, blew off the driveway, deck, and front yard, took out trash, and cleaned up other stuff. Ran to the grocery. Anna and W&MC arrived, much to Okie’s delight. W grilled chicken outside. Anna made the guacamole and painted the sign. MC pitched in. The Mexican fixing included homemade corn tortilias, flour tortilias, ground beed, salsa, homemade refried beans, Mexican rice, lettuce, sour cream, blue chips, white chips, and more. Dessert was blueberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream. We ate at four, and didn’t need supper after that.
 
I missed the Falcon game, which wasn’t missing much. MC and Okie left to take Will to the Braves game. C and A made a Target run. I took a nap. M stayed up and watched most of the Braves game with me. Ceil went to bed after Freddie’s home run. Third Braves game this year I watched from start to finish. The other two I was at, the first with Ceil, Anna, and Matthew in late July, and the one with Will on September 14. Also one Gwinnett game in May. Was going to wear my Braves socks to work Monday, but forgot. Brought my new Braves cap just in case someone wanted to drag me to the game. I probably won’t leave work any earlier than usual.
 
Monday night I worked until just after six. Didn’t have a good feeling about the game so I didn’t leave earlier than usual. Then I had to stop for gas, and later Ceil had me double back to get eggs at Kroger. Made it home after seven but there was plenty of game still remaining. Changed the channel just after Freddie swung and missed to end the game. Ceil cooked stir fry with rice noodles. M ate with us and hung around, then took a trip to Whole Foods. Sunday night he had watched most of the game with me. After Monday’s game we watched The Voice and Manifest.
 
Tuesday: same old for me. Worked past 6:30. Straight home. Spaghetti (rice noodles and tomato sauce) and tossed salad. Good thing I’m taking protein supplements. Helped with the dishes. The Voice and This is Us. Ceil was watching the hospital show at 10 pm but I went to bed.  
 
Ceil had her small group Wednesday night so I worked until 6:30. Hit the rain coming home. Stopped by the auto parts store. Had leftover BBQ and spaghetti. M went to a concert with a friend. C got home during Chicago Med. I went to bed shortly after ten, after taking Barney out in the pouring rain.
 
Heard the storm surge was seven to nine feet or more. Coworker who just got back from the cruise has a daughter living in Panama City. She went inland twenty miles to a friend’s parents’ house. The roof had blown off my coworker’s daughter’s apartment, but supposedly not in her bedroom. But the place flooded, so not sure how much is salvageable. The storm passed just south of Macon, then right through downtown Thomson, where our painter is located. Headed straight toward Jefferson and Lancaster, where my mother-in-law was moved earlier this week. Then the storm will pass north of the the Albermarle Sound, where our retired friends live. They were hit hard by the storm a few weeks ago.
 
Thursday: worked until six. With Barney waiting on me I drove straight home, and walked him around outside longer than usual. Hung around outside a bit longer. Ate leftover Chipotle. Watched some Seinfeld, then Murphy Brown, then upstairs to bed.
 
Murphy Brown addressed the me too movement. Sure it was compelling and dealt with the issue of sexual harassment, but in doing so the only entertaining parts were the minor subplots. Nice that three of the original four other main characters are back. Faith Ford / Corky Sherwood has barely aged.

This morning I was getting dressed. I usually don’t wear jeans but decided to make an exception. Walked out of the closet and laid down the jeans to put on my shirt. Then I grabbed a pair of khakis and put them on. Got to work and saw someone in jeans, and realized what I had done.  
 
Anything on tap for the weekend? Tonight I’ll make final preparations for Saturday morning small group (though it looks like the time might be changed). Tech and their navy pants play at 12:20, and UGA/LSU kicks off at 3:30. Hopefully I’ll get some housework done during the games. I’m liking the cool weather. I think I saw that Martian movie, starring Matt Damon. I want to watch the sequel to Independence Day, perhaps this weekend.
 
Yesterday we received my niece’s wedding invitation. They’re getting married Monday December 17 at 9 am on the beach on St John in the Virgin Islands. It’s where they got engaged while on a vacation with her fiancĂ© Kyle’s family. Should be beautiful. Only way to the island is by ferry, then you rent a jeep to get around.  Interestingly, Kyle has the same last name as Mary-Clayton’s mother’s maiden name. Pretty sure Kyle’s family migrated from the north, while Regina’s family has lived in the South longer.
 
Anna is applying for two new jobs. She’s already working two jobs. She also earned a $90,000.00 college scholarship. She’s on dean's list roll at UGA and made straight A's last semester. She cooks her own meals. Doubt anyone will be giving her a tricked out Honda Odyssey minivan for graduation, so I guess a Subaru Forester will have to do. Matthew works and is paying for his car repair. He buys his own food and cooks his own healthy meals.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Week 6 Total QB Rating

I like the ESPN Total Quarterback Rating system because it rates passers and runners equally. Good QB’s rise to the top of the ratings and bad QB’s to the bottom. It’s fair. Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas spent three years near the top of the list, as did Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. 
 
Liberals may think the rating system is biased and prejudiced, because so many dual threat QB’s are grouped near the bottom of the rankings. Josh Jackson, Brandon Wimbush, Deondre Francois, Anthony Brown, TaQuon Marshall, Chazz Surratt, Kelly Bryant, Jowan Pass. Fine athletes all, they’re just below average quarterbacks.    
 
After a slow start Bama’s Jalen Hurts has risen up to 25th in the ratings. UGA’s Jake Fromm is also on the rise, now ranked 22nd
 
I had expected to look at the non-qualifiers and find Clemson senior Hunter Renfrow at the top. He completed his only pass attempt last week in his debut against Wake Forest. Perhaps he’s high up on the ACC punting leaders list, after punting once for 42 yards.
 
1. 98.5 Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
2. 96.8 Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
4. 92.9 Justin Fields, Georgia backup
7. 87.1 Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
9. 86.6 Will Grier, West Virginia senior
 
10. 86.4 Tobias Oliver, Georgia Tech backup
14. 84.2 Ryan Finley, NC State
18. 82.3 Ryan Willis, Virginia Tech
21. 80.3 Ian Book, Notre Dame up and comer (above)
22. 80.1 Jake Fromm, Georgia QB on the rise
24. 79.0 Jake Browning, Washington senior
25. 78.5 Jalen Hurts, Alabama QB on the rise
27. 78.2 Shea Patterson, Michigan
30. 76.7 Drew Lock, Missouri senior
33. 76.3 Shea Werts, Georgia Southern dual threat
 
38. 74.5 Trevor Lawrence, Clemson starter
43. 72.7 Trace McSorley, Penn State Heisman hopeful
44. 72.4 Joe Burrow, LSU
45. 72.2 Cole McDonald, Hawaii wunderkind
48. 70.9 Sam Ehlinger, Texas – title hopes?
51. 70.4 Daniel Jones, Duke
56. 69.2 Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
58. 68.6 Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
64. 65.6 Eric Dungey, Syracuse
67. 65.0 Jarrett Guarantona, Tennessee
 
74. 62.7 JT Daniels, USC wunderkind
78. 62.1 Malik Rosier, Miami
79. 61.8 Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech dual threat
80. 61.4 Jake Bentley, South Carolina starter
84. 60.0 Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
85. 59.9 N’Kosi Perry, Miami up and comer
90. 58.3 Feleipe Franks, Florida
93. 57.7 Michael Scarnecchia, South Carolina up and comer
94. 57.6 Bryce Perkins, Virginia
98. 56.3 Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
 
109. 52.9 Quentin Harris, Duke backup
116. 51.5 Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame dual threat
118. 50.8 Dan Ellington, Georgia State
124. 49.5 Deondre Francois, FSU dual threat
125. 49.3 Anthony Brown, Boston College dual threat
128. 47.7 Chase Brice, Clemson backup
132. 46.4 TaQuon Marshall, Georgia Tech starter
135. 45.6 Malik Cunningham, Louisville
137. 45.4 Chazz Surratt, UNC dual threat
139. 44.9 Nathan Elliott, UNC
148. 42.4 Kelly Bryant, former Clemson dual threat
160. 37.2 Jawon Pass, Louisville dual threat backup

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

GT: ?NAVY PANTS?

Well everyone got their wish. Tech switched from Russell Athletics to adidas. The last couple of years Russell had stopped making the unis with the crazy stripes and gone back to Tech’s traditional uni set. Then adidas took over and with two jerseys, two helmets, and two pants they’ve been mixing and matching every week. The light “Tech” gold numbers on the white home jerseys are virtually invisible on TV. 
 
Against Clemson a navy jersey was added to the mix, calling them a tribute to the 1990 national championship uniforms (they looked nothing like them). This week for Duke they’ve added navy pants, to go with the white jersey and gold helmet. This will be Tech’s fifth different uniform set worn in seven games.
 
Aside from the schools who wear traditional uniforms (USC, Texas, UGA, Bama, Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan, and a few others) almost every other team in the country sometimes wears dark pants with white jerseys. Since everyone does it, there’s nothing special about it. Appalachian State looks like Vandy who looks like Purdue who looks like Wake Forest who looks like everyone else – college and especially high school. Just one more step away from Tech’s glory days. What uni has created the most buzz this season? Pitt’s throwback uniform. What does that tell you?
 
Mark my words: later this year Tech will wear their navy jerseys and navy pants together. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them come out with a navy helmet as well. Just like Louisville and Wake Forest and Vandy and so many average college and high school teams across the country. Tech has jumped the shark – they are less relevant than ever.
 
One of the reasons Tech went with adidas was to help with recruiting. OK then I’m expecting Johnson’s best recruiting class ever. The “partnership with adidas” rated a recent article in the alumni magazine, calling the response on social media to be overwhelmingly positive. From what I’ve read, the response has been far from overwhelming and at best mixed. Another case of the Emperor’s new clothes. Glad the players like them so much.
 
09.01 vs Alcorn State: gold helmet gold numbers gold pants (1)
09.08 at South Florida: gold helmet navy numbers white pants (2)
09.15 at Pitt: white helmet navy numbers white pants (3)
09.22 vs Clemson: gold helmet navy jersey white pants (4)
09.29 vs Bowling Green:  gold helmet gold numbers gold pants
10.05 at Louisville: white helmet navy numbers white pants
10.13 vs Duke: gold helmet navy numbers navy pants (5)
 
What would make me happy? My demands:
1. Helmets: a white alternate is fine. Heck the stinger stripe is ok. But grey masks would look loads better than a dark one.
2. Numbers: large block numbers look best, like Virginia Tech used to wear. If you’re gonna wear a fancy font, just make sure they’re large and thick. Makes the players look tougher. I’m ok with gold numbers as long as they can be seen on TV. The tops of the numbers should touch the bottom on the V neck, instead of starting  far lower.
3. Name on back: plain block letters. Fancy letters look cheap, or small-time.
4. Jersey: current jersey with plain neck is great. The stinger stripes can hardly be seen. Thicker stripes are best.
5. Pants without stripes, or hardly any stripes, make players look fat and slow. Last years pants were great: black-white-black stripes on the gold pants,  black-gold-black on the white pants.

Looks like Saturday's game against Duke will be a real feast for the eyes. A new low.

I was so mad I fired off an email to Simit Shah, the assistant AD for brand and Ideation” whatever that means. Shah is a 1999 Tech grad with a fine technical background, though I’m not sure how much of a sports background he has (though he is a long-time season ticketholder, if you consider eighteen years a long time). I tried a diplomatic approach.
 
From: Murphy, David
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 2:54 PM
To: sshah@athletics.gatech.edu
Cc: bmalone@athletics.gatech.edu
Subject: Football Uniforms
 
Tech’s new adidas football uniforms – mark me down as not liking them.
 
I’m sure the high-tech fabrics make for greater flexibility and performance. Standardizing fonts, typefaces, and the color gold adds needed professionalism to the school and athletic department. Having nicer fan apparel to purchase after all these years is nice. But in my experience the social media reaction has been far from “overwhelmingly positive.” From what I’ve seen it’s been mixed at best.
 
When Tech wears a different “kit” almost every week it destroys the uniqueness of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. I get it, the players and hopefully recruits like it. I’m ok with the white helmets and the white pants and even the stinger stripes aren’t horrible (you just can’t see much of the stinger stripes on the jerseys). You may have figured out the Tech Gold jersey numbers are hard to see on TV.
 
Those navy pants are taking it too far. Tech is looking more and more like just any other team, another Appalachian State. Looks like a high school team or a small college. Just because everyone’s wearing dark pants means Georgia Tech should. You don’t see Alabama wearing dark pants. Or other teams with iconic identities: LSU, Auburn, USC, Texas, Michigan, Penn State, or our rivals in Athens.
 
I’m know what’s coming: before the end of the season Tech will couple the navy pants with the navy jerseys. Wouldn’t surprise me to see a new navy helmet to go with them. Again: just because every other team does it doesn’t mean Georgia Tech should. Nothing special or unique about it, since so many others do it (in the past two weeks at least 15 teams wore light jerseys and dark pants, and 15 more wore dark over dark). And those are just teams from the major conferences. Does Tech want to look like Mercer, Kennesaw, and Georgia State?
 
I may have graduated from Tech over 35 years ago, but my feelings about uniforms hasn’t changed since then: simple is best-looking. You want to turn on the TV and recognize that it’s Georgia Tech. That day has passed.
 
My suggestions: (1) stinger stripes on the pants make the players look fat and slow. Go back to last year’s thicker, longer stripes (2) find a way to make the jersey sleeve stinger stripes to be more prominent/show more color (3) ditch the ugly dark facemasks – wear grey masks instead (4) no navy pants, for goodness sakes.
 
Feel free to contact me about anything uniform related – a topic I’ve researched and studied (and loved) all my life.
 
Go Jackets!

David Murphy
Industrial Management 1982

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Week 6 Recap

I was shocked Tech won so big, but not surprised the Tech defense gave up 31 points. Would’ve been more had Tech not intercepted that pass. Before the season and after the first game Drew Kelly was crowing on social media about Tech’s new defensive coordinator, who came from his alma mater Wofford by way of Appalachian State. I’m not impressed. Tech is averaging what, 45 points a game, and they’re 3-3. Only team in years to score 36+ points in two straight games, and lose both games. Duke comes to town on Saturday, and there’s a good chance GT could lose. 
 
Tech didn’t punt. They scored on all nine possessions. TaQuon had a big game. Backup Oliver broke off a 65 yard run (below). Didn’t turn the ball over. Louisville is bad – on both offense and defense. Poor QB play by the Cardinals. Over 540 yards rushing for Tech, the second most ever under Johnson at Tech. Tech only passed twice, completing one. Least number of passes since the famous 1976 homecoming upset of Notre Dame, when the Jackets didn’t pass at all.

Some say Paul Johnson turned on the gas as a get back at Louisville defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder, who succeeded Johnson at Georgia Southern. When Van Gorder took the helm he ditched Johnson’s option, calling it an antiquated offense. Hey a week or two ago, back in September did you read Mark Bradley’s column about Paul Johnson? He came to the conclusion that maybe Tech can do no better than Johnson, considering he has been one of the most successful coaches since Heisman and Dodd. Bradley is probably right. What top young coach would want to come to Tech? Plus most of the other ACC schools have upgraded their coaches in recent years: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, and others. The conference has become more competitive.
 
A humble Nick Fitzgerald broke Tim Tebow’s SEC career rushing record for QB’s. Stidham missed an open receiver. Auburn ain’t looking good.

As expected, Kentucky fell from the ranks from the unbeatens. Running back benny Snell had a whirlybird mouthpiece that twirled whenever he breathed. The Wildcats had a chance in OT, but the QB took a sack, and the kicker came up short on a 43 yard field goal.

Both Fromm and Fields played well. Jake threw for a career high, including a 75 yarder to senior Terry Godwin. Swift finally had a breakout game, and perhaps has now fully recovered from his groin injury. Swift, Holyfield, Herrien, Godwin, and Ridley scored. Cook had a long touchdown run called back. Vandy called time with six seconds remaining and scored a meaningless touchdown as time expired.
 
Rodrigo nailed a 53 yarder. He became Georgia’s all-time leader in consecutive extra points.

Some say Vandy would be a better fit in the ACC. But they might be a better team because they’re in the SEC. If they moved to the ACC they’d have the temptation to not try so hard. As it is Vandy would be a top tier ACC team, still several notches below Clemson. The Tigers would be a better fit for the SEC, but I’m sure they’re happy dominating the ACC. Gives them all year to tune up for the playoffs. Some think the ACC is so weak this year that an undefeated Clemson team might still be on the outside of the playoff, looking in. Especially if there are four other undefeated teams remaining.  

Clemson put up 65, but only seven in the first quarter. Wake’s defense couldn’t stop the run. Dabo gave his son a chance to run the ball and return a punt, and let emergency QB Hunter Renfrow take a few snaps from the shotgun. Hunter also caught several passes and booted a 42 yard punt.
 
FSU has really gone downhill. Some say Jimbo jumped to A&M because he knew this year was going to be bad.

LSU also lost, making them hungrier to win next Saturday in Baton Rouge. The Dawgs were called for several pass interference penalties, which could haunt them should they do the same next week. Kirby was livid in his post-game press conference, calling his team undisciplined.
 
Gamecocks got lucky, outkicking Mizzou to win a soggy, lightning-delayed marathon.
 
Bama put up 65 on Arkansas, but gave up a season high 31. Unlike Clemson and Georgia, the Tide scored early and often. Both Tua and Hurts had big plays.
 
Ole Miss put up 70 points, and gained over 800 yards – the second most in SEC history.
 
Indiana played Ohio State tough. Oklahoma lost the Red River Rivalry to Texas. Longhorns fans are thinking they could sneak into the Playoff ahead of the Irish, who struggled against Virginia Tech.
 
With five key defenders out with injuries, the Falcons looked hapless in Pittsburgh. Take back the blocked punt and sack/fumble of Ryan in the end zone, and it’s a little closer. Maybe next year.
 
Kicker Graham Gano of the Panthers kicked a game-winning 63 yard field goal, tying for the second-longest in NFL history.
I’m not as good at convincing people of stuff. I get lucky sometimes. Will is better than me but not in others class. There are some real smooth talkers in the bobblehead group. Sometimes they just can’t help themselves.

Monday, October 08, 2018

NLDS: One Glorious Win

Not many bright spots for the Braves, but they edged the out Dodgers Sunday night to show they weren't dead yet. Hard for me to do anything but watch, and jot down the following notes from the game.

Good job by Newcomb in the bottom of the second to take four pitches, driving in the first run of the game with a four pitch baes loaded walk. Then Acuna hit his grand slam, breaking Micky Mantle's record as the youngest player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in the playoffs. In the next inning Acuna gave back a run, letting a routine roller get past him. In his next at bat the rookie struck out. Smoltz correctly took Acuna to task. Hopefully next season the kid won't make so many mistakes.
Newcomb walked one of the batters that scored on Acuna's error. So at least two of the first four runs the Braves allowed were gifts.

In the next inning Acuna misjudged Matt Kemp's line drive to his left, allowing it to bounce into the stands for a ground rule double. Kemp advanced to third on a groundout to second. But with the infield in Charlie Culbertson threw out Kemp at the plate. Can't believe the Dodgers didn't ask for a replay: Kemp looked safe.
Smoltz correctly pointed out how Gausman should've known that guy was swinging for the fences. Instead of taking advantage of the knowledge and throwing another pitch in the same location (high and outside) Gausman pitched inside, giving up a two run home run. Earlier he had walked the leadoff batter on four pitches. Then Winkler, perhaps the Braves best reliever, allowed the game-tying home run to Muncie. Luckily Manny Machado's ensuing deep drive was caught by Acuna with a Michael Jordan-like spread legged catch up against the 385 foot sign.

The Dodgers Hernandez: nice stirrups and black shoes, but the buzz cut / mohawk not as much. A bit of a fireplug so often disliked by the fans of opposing teams.

The Braves walked more batters than any other team this year. The Dodgers walked more times than any other team. After the fielder's choice in the sixth, Tuki walked two batters to load the bases. Finally Tuki ended the inning with a strikeout. Freddie Freeman slugged the first Alex Wood pitch In the bottom of the inning into the Chop House for the go ahead run.
In the eighth after Suzuki couldn't find a pitch at his feet, the runner reached second with two out. Minter walked the next batter on four pitches, preferring to pitch to Puig, who promptly grounded out to shortstop Culbertson.

Had a bad feeling about Vizcaino. He did well to not walk the leadoff hitter, but Peterson fouled off enough pitches to be able to time an inside pitch past Markakis for a leadoff hitter. Had a bad feeling about Turner, who worked the count full. Viz walked the go ahead run. Two on, nobody out. Had a bad feeling about Muncie as well. Anyone else in the bullpen? Ball one. Looks like Viz doesn't want to let go of the ball. Ball two. BALL THREE. Finally a strike. Full count. Strikeout!

Can't let up now. Keep focused. Now Machado. Doesn't get any easier, especially with Manny 0-3. A strikeout, but the runners advance. Two out. Dozier up. Strike one. The crowd chants. Ball. Strike two. The crowd roars. Good shots of the crowd. Strike three – Braves win! See you at four tomorrow.

Ranking the uniforms of the eight remaining playoff teams, includes four of the best unis in baseball:
1. Yankees
2. Braves
3. Dodgers
4. Red Sox…will win the ALCS
5. Astros
6. Indians
7. Rockies
8. Brewers: will win the NLCS

Not surprising that the Braves left most of their relievers off the postseason roster, opting to use their excess starters instead. Wish they'd use one of the starters as a closer. That inability to throw a strike drives. Me. Crazy. Viz may have gotten away with the two baserunners last night, but he might not be so lucky tonight. Something about playing one of the best offenses in baseball.
Will went to the game with Joel Norman.
Tom Verducci told a cool story: the catcher's mitt Kevin Cosner used in Bull Durham had been borrowed from Brian Snitker, who was the manager of the Durham Bulls at the time.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Los Bravos


A few pictures of this year's Los Bravos Day a few weeks ago.

I like the Los Bravos gear, and could've gotten these socks,
but they weren't my favorite.
An old photo from Turner Field: the pregame radio guys salute Darrell.
 
Loved me some Hollywood Squares back in the day.
Anna attended tonight's homecoming game against Vanderbilt.
With W&MC at a wedding in Spartanburg,
Okie spent the weekend with us.

Friday, October 05, 2018

The NLDS

In the postseason you can throw out what happened in the regular season. It’s who’s hot right now that matters. Right now it appears the Brewers are the hottest team in the National League. I keep reminding myself the Braves lost 90 games just one year ago. No one predicted them to win the division title. Their rebuild is ahead of schedule.
 
Down four runs in game one, why change pitchers so much? Not enough pinch hitters on the bench. But a good move to pull Folty after two innings. Now he’s available to pitch game four or five, or even game three if needed. But leave Newcomb in longer. You still got Tuki in the pen. Why bring in Winkler when down four? Then you gotta take him out of the game, and some dude I’ve never heard of comes in and gives up another homer. Save Winkler and Venters for game two.
 
Tyler Flowers bats .227 during the regular season, only catches half the games, and the Braves give him a raise? Three straight strikeouts in game one.
 
Overheard a guy at work saying “I don’t like the Cubs because they traded Greg Maddux.” No they didn’t. Maddux left via free agency. Same when he left the Braves, when he was 38 years old. He wound up pitching five more years, winning 64 more games.  
 
TV wants to have a 30 min pregame show starting at 8 pm, then commercials, then introductions and the national anthem, then commercials, then the game doesn’t start until 8:40 eastern – 5:40 on the west coast. That’ll be the Braves game tonight. I can’t stay up either. Will is going to the Braves playoff game Sunday night.

The President is Missing, by James Patterson and William Jefferson Clinton. I’d like to read it. Of course Sports illustrated wrote an article about the book. The writer of the story tagged along when Clinton and Patterson played golf. SI slams Trump for the liberties he takes on the golf course, but says nothing when Clinton does the same thing. If you like that Patterson/Clinton book, you’d like the series of Joel Rosenberg’s fictional books. Similar stuff. Very similar to what’s happening / could happen in the real world. Some call him prophetic. Written from the Christian perspective with the end times in mind.
 
The new issue of Sports Illustrated has more stories about protesting. Kaepernick is mentioned again. Less and less about sports. Still nothing about the Braves.  
 
Our Sunday School class is starting small discipleship groups. Ceil’s women’s group starts tonight. I couldn’t be in a weekday morning group because I wouldn’t get to work until nine. I signed up for a weeknight group, then at the last minute added Saturday morning as an option. Of course Saturday morning was what I got. But it’s me and three good guys, so it should work out well. Some people call them accountability groups. Since the group is small, if one of the four members isn’t there, they are missed.  The level of accountability can be decided by the group…nothing too super strict or serious.
 
Tuesday: worked past six. Ceil didn’t start supper until late, stir fry and grilled chicken. I didn’t eat the potato dish, but brought it today for lunch. Watched Manifest, the new show where a strange force has infiltrated the lives of passengers from a flight. Some good things are happening to the passengers, but also some bad.
 
The new hospital show came on at ten, but I went to bed at 10:30 after taking Barney out. Sounds like I’ll be dog-sitting both Okie and Barney this weekend. Ceil has to go back to SC to help move her mother to a new rehab facility in SC. She’s currently in one in NC, and Medicaid will only pay for so long in another state. Or something like that.
 
Wednesday: since Ceil had her group last night, and I had such a crazy day, I worked until 7:15. Stopped by Goodwill to give things away but didn’t go in to browse. Didn’t stop for fast food and I forgot on the way home that I needed gas. When I remembered I had to go past the house to the station.
 
Got home and was going to make two quesadillas on the panini press but I only had one shell. Made nachos as well. Ceil arrived home while I was still cooking. Checked on the game and the Yanks were winning. Watched Chicago Med, played on the laptop, took Barney out, and went to bed.    
 
Thursday: went through over 130 emails before 11:30 am. Over 200 for the day. When I got a new laptop, I send stuff from my old computer to my new computer via email.
 
Not much else. Worked until 6:30. So much to do. Ceil had taken Matthew birthday shopping for a good portion of the day, and was worn out mentally, physically, and emotionally. We grabbed a small pie at Pizzeria Lucca on the Roswell Square, and brought half of it home. Nothing on TV but the Braves.
 
Lunch meeting today, catered by Jason’s Deli again. Getting the same brisket sandwich and potato salad. Tech kicks off at seven, then the Braves at 9:40. Saturday men’s group meeting is just one mile from my house. Clemson at 3:30 and UGA at 7:30.
 
Today in our office three people are wearing peach. I broke out my new Arrow short sleeve shirt with the baseball print to hopefully change the Braves luck, and the millennials loved it.