Thursday, September 19, 2019

Week 3 Football Recap

Clemson dominated the first three quarters against Syracuse, even if the 24-6 score might not have showed it. The Orangemen failed to score a touchdown despite four red zone appearances. On the fourth possession Syracuse could not score on four plays inside the Clemson five. The goal line stand was needed after sophomore QB Trevor Lawrence threw his second interception of the evening.
On the interception return an obvious clip was not called. Neither were several illegal hits by Syracuse. Nor interference on Clemson’s touchdown pass. Had Clemson not so dominated the game, the officials just about let the game get out of hand, with no calls and delays to review needless replays.
Nice to see former Falcon Tim Green’s Syracuse jersey retired at halftime.
Clemson’s kicker missed a field goal, banging it off the upright perhaps after a high snap. UGA kicker Rodrigo Blankenship remained perfect for the year, booting two field goals and seven extra points.
After routing Syracuse last week, this week Maryland lost to Temple – for the second straight year.

As usual Kentucky got all fired up dressed head to toe in blue, came out and led Florida most of the game, only to miss a late field goal and lose to the Gators.
South Carolina fans thought they were robbed, but the calls I saw were correct, like on the fake field goal and on the punt downed on the one yard line.

Justin Fields was only 14-24 passing against mighty Indiana.
I’ve already written about Georgia Tech. To a knowledgeable fan this was no surprise. The schedule doesn’t get any easier. Tobias Oliver is Tech’s best athlete and has been returning kicks. Johnson is too indecisive. Graham is hurt. If Geoff Collins is a good coach he will take the redshirt off his true freshman QB.
UGA big over Arkansas State. Football experts are saying the Dawgs should beat Notre Dame easily. They just need to come ready to play.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Braves Phillies Game Two

 Had to meet up to sell a bobble
so I bought a cheap $9 ticket to Wednesday's Braves Phillies game.
 Happened to run into Will at the game.
He was there with his friends.
Busy day at work. No rush to get to the game (no bobblehead giveaway). Left work at 4:30, grabbed a free burger at Cheeseburger Bobbys (with purchase of fries and drink). Traffic not bad on 285. Despite the blister on my foot I hobbled the mile and a half to the park. Spent some time with Miss Marion. Grabbed the free season ticketholder Hank Aaron bobble. Met up with the bobblehead gang, who were there to pick up $65 special ticket set of the four Home Depot Tool Race bobbles (I'd passed). Dusty, Kristin, Bobby, Coach, Katie, Darrell, Norman, the old couple from McDonough. Got my free designated driver Coke Zero. Went upstairs to my seat. Sold the Hank bobble for $34 and met up with the buyer.
Charlie Culbertson and family made an appearance, much to the delight of the crowd - many of whom were wearing Charlie jerseys and t-shirts. Culbertson accepted the Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work.
Will, basketball marvel DJ, Joel, Josiah, David and Charles Norman. I hadn't checked on Will's whereabouts, but saw Joel's post. Didn't know where they were sitting. Went downstairs to see a friend in section 218. On the way I ran into Joel and Josiah. That's when I learned Will was there. Spent the rest of the game with the buds. They'd brought umbrellas to open when Josh Donaldson came to bat. They were shown on the ESPN game broadcast: Charles, Joel, David, Will, Josiah, and DJ.
The six had all played basketball in high school together. Interestingly, one of their old teammates was sitting in the same section: Gerald Perry Jr, the son of the former Brave. Gerald Senior was there as well, and he looked great. The Perrys stopped to say goodbye as they left.
Besides Perry, former closer Mark Wohlers sat in the section. Will's former coach George White was there with Leo Mazzone's son. Also Ronald Acuna's translator (below right). In the 9th inning Joel and Josiah moved down behind the translator, and had a little chat as the rest of us looked on in amusement.
Will, DJ, Joel, Josiah, David. All but Joel are married and live near each other in West Atlanta. Josiah is the only one with kids so far. After the game I took the guys down to meet Miss Marion at the First Base Gate.
With the blister - and since I try to wear a different pair of shoes to each game - I wore my Hoka running shoes, heavily cushioned. I call them my Herman Munster shoes. When David Norman first saw me he looked down to see what shoes I was wearing.

Legendary usher Walter Banks had been on the field before Tuesday night's game, presenting the Walter Banks Hospitality Award. After the award, manager Brian Snitker walked over and stood next to banks during the national anthem, then gave Walter a hug. Banks was using a cane. Not sure if he will return next year. Last Saturday the Chocolate Poppa saw him out and about at a charity game. Wednesday I told Miss Marion she should've won the award. Every time I stop to see her there's several other fans there to see her.  
Long shadows over Mark Lemke's brick. Unlike Garber, Lemke's brick is surrounded by commemorative bricks bought by fans.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Braves Phillies

Last bobblehead game of the year,
so I broke down and bought a ticket.
This year at a few of the bobblehead games the lines at the gates were long at 4 pm, an hour and a half early. So I left work extra early - 2:15. Got behind a fire truck on 285 so I made good time. Dropped off two bobbles with a buyer in the Battery, then was still among the first in line at the Chop House Gate. During the long wait in the 94 degree heat two fans had to be carted off for medical attention.    
Had a nice chats in line with Darrell, Red and his mom, the old couple from Tennessee, Larry the Usher, and the lady in the Braves shoes. Saw Kevin and the couple from Rome. Later I ran into Duke fan Michael, who like me was wearing his 1969 pinstripe jersey, matching the one on the Hank Aaron bobblehead given out. 
After gates opened I did more walking: from the Chop House Gate to the First base Gate to see miss Marion. Then back to the Right Field Gate with Michael, then halfway around the stadium and upstairs looking for a guy, then downstairs to give him the bobble he'd bought. Checked to see if there would be a pregame parade (no), back by Miss Marion, then to the customer service booth for my free Coke Zero. Then to centerfield to sit for a spell. 
These photos ain't in order. After resting in centerfield I realized my actual seat was in the shade. Made a tactical error and walked counterclockwise, not realizing my seat was nearby had I walked clockwise. I'd worn a blister on my foot walking in my black leather Jack Purcell sneakers. Not exactly walking shoes.

Miss Marion had remembered to gift me with a recent giveaway I'd missed: Blooper backpack clips. As Anna would say: Love!
Stole this photo from Johnny Pierce.
I'm across the way in the third deck, below the top deck, second section from the left, one of the white blobs in the middle.
Checked out the Clubhouse Store. Prices still expensive.
 Usually I take my brick photo in the center memorial section. Spanning out to the left and right (to the First Base Gate to the right and Third Base Gate to the left) are the regular bricks, with messages from fans who'd bought bricks. A few sections have yet to be filled. Each section's center brick has the name of a Braves player: Lemke, Pendleton, Blauser. Horner. Poor Gene Garber's brick must be loney.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Two Down

Came home Friday night and turned on the Braves. I was reading about Christian Yelich’s injury when Johan Carmago (who’d slugged a home run the night before) fouled a ball off his chin just like Yelich, cracking the bone. Not sure if he’ll be back for any of the playoffs. Tough loss – Camargo has been hot, he switch-hits, and can play every infield position plus the two corner outfield spots.
Saturday afternoon I received a notification on my phone that Charlie Culbertson had been carried off from the 4 pm game, but it took me awhile to grasp what happened. Tie game: one all. Charlie squared to bunt. The 93 MPH fastball bore in on Culbertson. As the pitch approached, Charlie forgot all about bunting and went into survivor mode. The ball hit him in the face, and Culbertson went down in pain, bleeding and writhing. As the Braves staff attended to Charlie and as a cart was summoned, Nationals manager Dave Martinez asked the umpires if Culbertson had offered at the bench – i.e. attempted to get the bat on the ball. With the Nats fighting for a playoff spot, the team that pays Martinez hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, it was Martinez’ job to ask the question. It was the umpire’s job to make the call. They blew it.
The plate umpire deferred to the first base umpire. Common sense would make it apparent that as the pitch closed in, Culbertson was doing nothing but trying not to get hit. Will Charlie say he froze? The bat was not moving forward or toward the ball. If anything the bat moved backward. But inexplicably the first base umpire ruled that Culbertson had indeed offered at the pitch. Instead of a hit by pitch, runner on first, the pitch that nearly killed Charlie Culbertson was called a strike.
Braves manager Brian Snitker raced out to argue the call. The umpires wouldn’t have it. Instead they threw Snitker out of the game. Speaking of Charlie after the game, Snit was in tears. He had to stop to compose himself. Other Braves had only good things to say about Charlie. Folty lauded Culbertson’s example as a father, noting that Sunday was the birthday for one of Charlie’s three kids. Culbertson had ridden off the field in the cart, sitting up instead of laying down. As the crowd gave him a standing ovation, Charlie had given the thumbs’ up gesture. After the game the Braves wanted to go to the hospital to visit. But Culbertson had been allowed to leave the hospital and sleep in his hotel. On Sunday he was allowed to fly home for further examination. Broken cheekbone. Out of the playoffs.
Charlie “Clutch” was even more versatile than Camargo: he can play the same six spots AND served as the emergency catcher and pitcher. With Culbertson and Camargo out the only middle infield backup for the playoffs is the weak-hitting shortstop whose name I hadn’t bothered to learn: Adeiny Hechavarria. With Matt Joyce starting, the once-strong bench is completely depleted: hitting defensive replacement Billy Hamilton, Tyler Flowers, Ender Inciarte, young Austin Riley, Rafael Ortega, and third-catcher Francisco Cervelli – weak hitters all. Only Gwinnett Stripers MVP Adam Duvall poses as a threat.

Decent weekend. Thursday night was our anniversary, so we back to King+Duke. Last time it was dark because it was November later in the evening. With rush hour from the house I took Johnson Ferry across the river to Sandy Springs, then Lake Forrest past Chastain Park to Roswell Road to Buckhead. With just the two of us we were seated at a smaller table, but it was fine. Our menus were stamped HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. No salmon and C wasn’t sure about the Alaskan Halibut so she ordered the half chicken (which was really a whole chicken). I ordered the burger, which again was tremendous. Fries were good too, better than the new potatoes Ceil had ordered. We also split an appetizer salad.
Friday night Ceil needed to go to Perimeter Mall. Also Costco, so we both got the all-beef hot dog and soda for $1.50 each at the Costco snack bar. Ceil even got Mountain Dew. We visited Anna at the mall.

Saturday morning small group. Then I mailed a bobblehead, ran to Office Depot, ate lunch, met a guy who bought a bobblehead, did the dishes, watched GA/ARKST and GT/Citadel. Later SC/AL came on but I put together my new mower. It cranked on its first try. Cut the grass and blew the drive. Then supper: BBQ pork loin with homemade sauce, and jalapeno cole slaw – all in a burrito. Watched Clemson/Syracuse.
The day before the East Cobb Fall Parade ended at JFBC, where a carnival was set up in the parking lot. The new pastor and his family were there. Since the parade involves the entire community, including several high school marching bands, this carnival better reached out than the community than the well-attended Labor Day Carnival or Fall Festival formerly held on Halloween weekend.          
Sunday School and Worship. In between while waiting on Ceil the new pastor Clay Smith came down the hall, making eye contact, smiling, saying hello, stopping to speak with folk. Not long afterward his wife came through doing the same thing. Clay had on his microphone headed to the gym, where the 11:15 service is held. But when it came time for preaching it was a tape of him preaching the 9 am service. Perhaps his voice had given out. I can understand why this may be done (Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio sometimes do the same thing). But on his third time preaching? Good sermon though. I took notes.
After lunch (tossed salad, rice, chicken in a sauce) we cleaned up. Braves were on, but I took a nap. Anna had attended Grace Midtown, then drove to Lawrenceville to meet Christian.

At 4:45 pm we drove over to Roswell for Molly & Cole’s wedding at Primrose Cottage. Very nice. About 120 guests from what I could tell. Ceil broke my rule, snapping a few photos during the ceremony, though others did as well. Caught up with several folk we hadn’t seen in a while. Sit down dinner at the reception in the same room where Charles Norman had his. Roast beef, breaded chicken, noodles, salad, wedding cake, and a chocolate groom’s cake. Got home at 9 pm.

Monday was going okay. Had everything set up to celebrate my boss’s birthday, then he had a flat tire. His 60’s aren’t starting well. Took a guy from Minnesota on a plant tour, then spent 22 minutes on a call with Texas. All that talking wore out my voice.  
LDS players who played in the LDS (League Division Series)…
Roy Halladay: 5th to win the Cy Young in both leagues.
Dennis Eckersley surrendered the HR that ended his team’s dynasty.
Bryce Harper once walked 6 times & HBP in one game.
Jeff Kent hit most HR for a 2nd-baseman. 
Jacoby Ellsbury was 1st native Navajo Indian to reach majors.
Rick Aguilera: 1st pitcher to pinch hit in World Series since Drysdale.  
Wally Joyner played at BYU with Rick Aguilera & Cory Snyder.  
Shawn Estes won more games than any other BRTL pitcher.
John Buck tied Bench for most HR hit in April.
Not Vern Law, Harmon Killebrew, or Dale Murphy.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Braves Games on the Cheap

People often ask how I am able to go to so many expensive Braves games. My answer. One can go to a game cheaper than two. The person I go with will want to eat at the game or not want to walk as far, or sit or stand in the nosebleed seats. Ceil really doesn't want to go. If I want to go, I have to go by myself or with someone else.

Parking: thanks to a friend I found free parking at an office complex. Sure it's well over a mile away, outside the perimeter of Braves parking lots. It's uphill going, and on hot days you can work up a sweat. I need the exercise. Walking back after the game is downhill and much cooler.

There are shopping centers on Cobb Parkway as well, like the Olive Garden. Or across the Perimeter on the other side of the Galleria, near Chickfila and Chuys. These are further from my house.

Tickets: no fees if you buy at the box office. Otherwise an app like StubHub or Gametime. One ticket ain't too bad, but two or more can add up. The people who complain about ticket prices are the ones wanting to see weekend games against the Nats, Phils, Cubs, or Dodgers. Weekdays against the Royals are cheaper.

GasSouth customers can get two free Braves tickets a year.

Traffic: NOTE – traffic in Atlanta is bad, especially at rush hour at 75 & 285 where the park is located. That's why I go early. Not a problem on Saturdays and Sundays, though that's when everyone goes early. Shoot if you're breaking down and going to the game, you might as well arrive early and stay late. How many games do you actually attend?

Pregame parade: once gates open at 5;30 a fun way to pass the time before the game is to line up for the pregame parade. You have to wait in the bowels of the stadium. Gives you time to cool off in the shade. Then you get to walk down and see the inner workings of the stadium, then out and around the field. Cool little adventure. And free.

Concessions are expensive. Eat before or after the game. Heck I wouldn't starve to death if I skipped a meal. If I score the company tickets and take people to the game, it's hard to stay under the $10.00 per ticket concessions allotment. But I try. An okay burger and fries are ten bucks. By now I'm friends with the customer service employees handing out the free designated driver Cokes.

Souvenirs are even more expensive. Hardly anything for sale under $40.00. Check the sale rack. Girl got a pair of Stance Braves Star Wars socks for five bucks. Once in a blue moon I'll score last minute tickets with concessions money on them. If no one can go I'll cash in the $40.00 on an item at the store. A cap or shirt, or Stance socks.

Be sure to pay attention during the RaceTrac inning. If a Brave hits a home run you get $5.00 off food and drink the next day at RaceTrac. Find a BOGO and you might get five free drinks.

Bobbleheads can be a way to pay for your outing. After collecting over two hundred, I don't need more. But might as well go to the bobblehead game and sell it for $30-$40. Buy one ticket. Got a friend who often gives me their bobble, plus I can get another from the work season ticket account. At Gwinnett the tickets are cheap enough to go in and out two or three times. Try to sell one or two before the game – that's when they're worth the most. Selling bobbles have paid for all my Braves/Stripers outings for the past few years. For me going to games is pretty much free.

Some crazies put the pedal to the metal and presale 20 bobbles. Then the pressure's on to get that many. Most stand near the gate an offer five bucks to fans how might be willing to sell, or outside after the game as fans leave. No way I could do that. I'm a small time operator compared to them.

Example: July 21 buy one $13.00 ticket, including fees. Park for free. Free Coke. Obtain two Braves giveaway backpacks and a season ticket bobblehead. Sold the extra backpack for $22.00 after shipping. Should be able to sell the bobble for a similar price. $79.00 of value. Came out $31.00 ahead.

July 23 buy one $11.00 ticket at the box office. Park for free. Free Coke. Obtain three bobbles. Sell all three for $86.00 after shipping. $119.00 of value, come out $75.00 ahead.

Not every game can be so lucrative: June 18 with the Hurts: David covered the four tickets, so I paid the $20.00 parking, my $11.00 BBQ, and my $5.00 souvenir Coke – a $36.00 evening. Worth it for the fun time and good company. I just can't afford to do that several times.

I love getting to the park early, even if I have to wait for the gates to open. My journey to the park begins at 2:45 and I'd been inside the stadium since five, so by nine I've been there four hours. I enjoy the pregame festivities as well: batting practice, seeing the players stretch and sprint, the battery walking in from the bullpen, the national anthem and introductions. The first pitch.

At football and basketball games I would never leave early. Or any place I rarely get to. Braves and Gwinnett are the only places I leave early, especially weeknights. Started leaving early when I was taking the kids to games. Now the long walk back to the car also factors in.

See you at the park!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sinking Ships

Last week a huge container ship turned over while exiting the Port of St. Simons, damaging the hundreds of vehicles it was carrying and temporarily blocking the port.. 
 The accident took place just south of St. Simons Island
and just north of Jekyll Island.

Speaking of overturned ships, today Tech lost to the Citadel.
No kind words from the AJC's Steve Hummer. Tech never led, yet inexplicably the Jackets were penalized three times in a six minute span for taunting. Pathetic.

Geoff Collins cap tracker:
4. white with navy bill (below).
5. today's navy with gold GT.
Collins also wore a white vest over a white shirt, after not wearing white for last week's white out. More on the embarrassment on Monday. But shouldn't the goal of the program be to win games?.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Luke in the House

At the Braves game last month, manager Brian Snitker’s former minor league teammate Scott Patterson.

My friend Katie got to meet Patterson.
Katie got his autograph for me.
Lucy also got a glimpse of Patterson.
Pretty sure at some point his number with the Braves was 42.
Scott went on to star in Gilmore Girls.