Saturday, May 31, 2008

Richt Getting The Best of Tubberville: Priceless

On a shuttle bus at Scott Air Force Base before the Coaches Tour left for Germany, Georgia's Mark Richt and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville are talking about how cold it might be on the plane. Richt tells Tuberville he has five Georgia stocking caps if TT gets too cold. To which Tuberville replies: "I'll do anything to keep warm." Richt responds: "Good, I've got my picture phone." Ain't it great to be a Dawg!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Jack Nicklaus and The Memorial Tournament

The 33rd Memorial Tournament is being played this week at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The tournament was founded by and is hosted annually by Jack Nicklaus, and is played on the course he designed. The Memorial is so named because it honors present and past golfers who have made significant contributions to the game. This is "Jack's Tournament", and because of that it is considered to be one of the most important stops on the PGA tour. The first Memorial was played in 1976 and was won by Roger Maltbie in a playoff over Hale Irwin. Incidentally, Nicklaus won his own tournament the next year, and in 1984 he became the Memorial's first two-time winner. He last played in the tournament in 2005. In 2000, he was selected by the Captain's Club as that year's honoree.

A Blast From the Past: Bird -vs- Dominique

As Boston advances in this year's NBA playoffs, I'm reminded of the 1988 Eastern Conference Playoffs. Bird and his Boston Celtics defeated Dominique and his Atlanta Hawks in 7 games to advance to the next round. It was a classic confrontation of two super stars going head to head. Wilkins displayed all of his enormous talent, but it just wasn't enough to overcome the tenacious and savy Larry Bird. There probably have not been many, if any, athletes to maximize what they had more than Bird. The two main things he brought to the table were the canny ability to make everyone around him better, and the 'know how' to win. Thanks for two great careers guys!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

SEC Coaches Vote Yes For Early Signing Date

On Wednesday the SEC football coaches voted by a 9-3 margin to add an early signing day in late November. Now the athletic directors and presidents of the universities must endorse the proposal and sponsor it on a national level. So to say the least, this plan is in its infancy. Interesting enough, just a year ago these coaches voted 9-3 against the early signing day. This year however, the language was changed to allow players who already knew where they wanted to go to school to sign in November, but continue the present system for those high school student athletes who needed until February to decide. Thus the coaches are voting to add an additional signing date, not move the February date up. Now so many kids commit early but the universities have no assurance they will honor their commitment. With an early signing date, these high school seniors could sign in November, thus taking pressure off themselves as well as the college coaches who recruited them. Not to mention the fact that the kid is assured of a scholarship early on in the process. If this proposal does make it to the national level, there will be much more debate on the subject before any decisions are made. Whatever happens, the early date does have some validity to it.

Quincy Carter: Day to Day

So much talent. So much potential. So many chances. So many expectations. So many temptations. So many challenges. So many mistakes. Such is the life of one Quincy Carter. You may add to the 'so list' above so many identities: a Bulldog, a Cowboy, a Jet, an Alouette, and a Brigade among probably others. He has just been activated by the Arena Football League's Kansas City Brigades as their backup quarterback. Another opportunity, this time with no expectations at all. In the post just before this one, I wrote how D.J. Shockley could really use a good break for a change. Now as I consider Quincy, I wonder how many more breaks will he get.
He has been controlled by substances that have addicted his talented body. Was his time spent with former cowboy Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson rehab enough to sustain him this time? He states he has learned to live day by day because that is all he can handle. Handle it wisely QC. Even though there have been many thus far, there might not be another tomorrow.

D. J. Shockley: He Really Needs A Break!

D.J. Shockley became a Georgia Bulldog in 2001 out of North Clayton High School. He is regarded as Mark Richt's first recruit, as this was Richt's first year in Athens and he already knew D.J. from earlier football camps. Had Mark Richt turned down the Georgia job and remained at Florida State, Shockley probably would have played in college as a Seminole. He was a highly rated prep player and could have played for any number of college programs. He was red-shirted his freshman year in 2001, and then had to play behind college football's winningest quarterback, David Greene. In his senior year of 2005, "Shock" became the starter for the Dawgs. He suffered a strained ligament in the season's 7th game, but came back to play in the Dawgs 10th game. In the SEC Championship game he was named MVP. The Atlanta Falcons drafted him in the 7th round in 2006, and he made the team as the 3rd string QB. As the troubles mounted for Falcons starter, Michael Vick, it seemed as though Shockley's shot at serious playing time had finally arrived. However, a torn ACL forced him to miss all of the 2007 season. The post-high school football gods have not been kind to D.J. He really needs a break from these guys! This week he was given clearance from his doctors to return to full scale workouts with the team. He says the knee feels fine, he is comfortable with the offense, and he is ready to go. Good luck D.J.! You certainly deserve it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Georgia's Buck Belue

Throw back time again. Georgia-vs-Florida, November 8, 1980. Buck Belue scrambles on third down just before completing the now famous 93 yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott late in the fourth quarter to defeat the Gators 26-21. The year began with a victory for the Dawgs on September 6, 1980 in Knoxville, Tennessee in front of 95,288 mostly orange clad fans. That night not only began the legend of UGA's national championship run, but also the legend of one Herschel Walker. Georgia fans have the image of Herschel bulldozing UT's Bill Bates emblazoned in their minds forever, not to mention Larry Munson's call of "my God, a freshman!" The year culminated with a 17-10 victory over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to secure Georgia's 1980 National Championship. Will it take a miracle play similar to the one above for the Dawgs to capture the 2008 Championship? Just hang around guys. As good as baseball season is, it won't last forever. Coming soon to a college campus near you! Stay tuned.....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day to you all! To those of you who serve, as well as those of you who have served, we thank you immensely. We all love sports, but we realize what you do, and have done, is no game. Thank you for preserving all the freedoms we enjoy, and for helping us to keep things in the proper perspective. All gave some. Some gave all.

Mohamed Massaquoi: Break-Out Year

Mohamed Massaquoi was recruited by the University of Georgia out of Independence High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Coming out of high school in 2004, he was rated the number 4 receiver by During his career at UGA, he has been over 500 yards receiving in only one year, and has not established himself as the 'go-to' receiver everyone thought he would be. He hasn't had a bad career, but it hasn't been of the super star caliber either. All of that could change as he enters this, his senior season. Mo-Mass is kind of like a pro player in the final year of his contract. He needs to have a breakout year not only to help Georgia achieve all of its goals, but also for himself to show the scouts he is ready for the next level. He has proven he can be a big play receiver, but he has to develop consistency. Consistency in his ability to ALWAYS make not only the big catch, but every catch thrown his way. He has to be Georgia's receiver that other teams fear. He can be. He has that much talent. He runs great routes. He has improved tremendously as a blocker. He has a great supporting cast around him. This is his year!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Louisville Cardinals: Just WHEN Do You Play?

I just read an article regarding the Louisville Cardinals 2008 college football schedule. Of the Cards 12 games, only 6 are played on Saturday. I did a double take on that one. One half of their games are not played on the 'Traditional Saturday"! Two or even three games would not have surprised me at all, especially with the revenue payout popular Thursday Night tilts. But six games? Wow! Louisville does jump into three of the Thursday deals, along with a Sunday, a Wednesday and a Friday matchup. Is it TV revenue, a craving for exposure, or a crazed athletic director getting his kicks messing up a college football season? I thought you guys were concerned about football players missing too much class time. Playing more week-night games helps take care of that concern? I sure hope Georgia's AD Damon Evans never stumbles down that scheduling road. If he ever does, I believe the "Bulldog Nation" would make sure it was the last schedule he ever helped make. I don't want UGA to even play on Thursday nights, much less a Wednesday or Friday. Nope, Saturdays are fine with me all season, every season. Our state counterparts over in Atlanta take care of enough Thursday P.M. games playing in the weak ACC. But then the Jackets probably need all the revenue they can get! If 'Deal or No Deal' comes up with too many re-runs during football season, Ill try and check some of you Thursday night boys out. I would hate to see your ratings fall, you might have to learn to play all Saturdays like the Big Boys then!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Come on Back, Bobby Cox!

Bobby Cox is in his 23rd year of managing the Atlanta Braves. He has been a manager in the 'Bigs' for 27 years. This week, at the age of 67, Cox signed a one year contract extension to manage Atlanta through the 2009 season. At least 2009. The contract could have been for as many years as he wanted it to be for, but at this stage of his career, he prefers to take it one year at a time. He says he's having fun, and as long as he 's having fun, he will continue to consider returning. Some refer to Cox as the best tactical manager in the game. I note the success he has in handling his players. He has no problems relating to veterans, rookies, free agents who land in Atlanta for just a season or two, or kids who come up through the Braves tremendously fruitful farm system. All of them say they love playing for BC. He has 14 division titles and five pennants to go along with his lone World Series ring. He has been manager of the year four times. He holds the Major League Baseball ejection record at 137 and counting. This is a notable statistic because one heck of a lot of his dismissals have been due to him taking up for one of his players. He has sacrificed himself often to keep a player in the game. Don't think for a minute this goes unnoticed by those players. This is just one of the reasons he is known as a 'player's manager'. He's also known for letting players play through slumps without the fear of getting benched. He tries to play as many players as possible throughout the season, keeping regulars fresh and helping his bench players stay sharp, focused, and productive. He likes to get relief pitchers back into games as soon as possible after bad outings, letting them know his confidence in them hasn't wavered. He's constantly shouting encouragement from the dugout when Braves players are at the plate. There are many reasons to want to play for this guy. Not to mention the fact that he wins. He has more than 1,927 victories with Atlanta. His teams are always competitive year in and year out, and for the most part play good, sound, fundamental baseball. It is true he has had a lot of talent to work with in Atlanta since the early 1990's, but he also has had a lot of player turnover during those years (thanks free agency), yet he has always been able to mold winning teams. So Bobby, keep molding this year, in 2009, and for as many down the road as you choose. We'll take a "BC Powder" and come back strong!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jason Taylor: Give the Guy a Break

All of the off-season NFL gab, at the present time anyway, seems to be centered around Miami's Jason Taylor. You know, the All-Pro defensive end and 'Dancing With The Stars' finalist. Well it seems that everyone is up in arms about Taylor's failing to take part in voluntary off season workouts, mini-camps, and perhaps even training camp itself. But I don't think any of those things is really the big problem here. Everyone knows Jason Taylor can play football. And didn't the Giants Michael Strahan miss most of training camp last year? He seemed to have a pretty 'sweet' season! No, the big deal here is Mr. Bill Parcells. Parcells is the executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins. Which means he is the football boss; the czar if you will. No one upstages Bill Parcells. Not the media, not an owner, and certainly not a player. He exerts control over all he surveys, and right now Taylor is not playing his part as one being controlled. Make no mistake, the Dolphins hold the cards here because they have Mr. Taylor under contract. But Taylor is by far their best player, so that gives him a bit of leverage as well.
I buy into the "team" concept, but I do believe Jason Taylor has earned this little escape from off season participation. Everyone knows what the guy can do, he's no rookie trying to earn a roster spot. He definitely does not have a reputation as a disruptive force on the team. There are no attitude or conduct issues with this guy, and he has given the francise their money's worth (if that's even possible in professional sports inflated contract days). So give the veteran a break. Lighten up big Tuna! No one is going to usurp your majestic authority. And when this all blows over and JT returns to the game he loves and plays so well, then you can resume your role as one of the biggest jerks in pro football. Being a jerk, a game you play so well.

Instant Replay or Not?

Major League Baseball Umpires blew three home run calls in the short span of three days. Those travesties have apparently caused MLB officials to speed up their efforts in consideration of instant replay for certain situations in professional baseball. Those particular situations primarily involve fair or foul home run balls. I would personally like to see them include catch or trap plays also in the review process. However, I do agree with many of the baseball traditionalists who insist that the 'human element' is a part of the game. Always has been, always should be. Yea, let's not get too robotic with this thing. Just get the call right and take as little time as possible in doing that. A booth replay of A-Rod's homer that was ruled a double a couple of days ago would have been much faster than the four umpires huddled together discussing it and still getting it wrong. A trap or catch call in the outfield could be handled the same way, and if it's indecisive in the booth, let the call on the field stand and continue to play ball. The so called purists who are concerned about the time it takes to complete an MLB game should realize that the review of just these two situations we've mentioned could actually speed up the game. In reality, the length of a game hasn't increased but a few minutes over the years. I think the figure I heard was 11 minutes. Come on guys, it's eleven minutes at the ballpark, not in the dentist's chair having a root canal. "Take me out to the ballgame" is a FUN thing; it's fine to me if it runs over eleven minutes. But back to the subject at hand. Leave the ball and strikes, the safe or outs, the ejections(they're fun too!), and all the other traditional baseball 'stuff' during the course of a game to the umps. Just bring in the modern technology to get the fair/fouls and the catch/trap calls correct. And don't forget, it's still a grand ole game, so don't ever tamper with that!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jeff Francoeur Busts Back Out

Jeff Francoeur had gone into a funk. At the plate he was just there. He couldn't buy a clutch hit. For me, if he was up with 2 outs, it was inning over as far as I was concerned. I had been thinking for weeks: Bobby, sit him down a game or two. Give him a different perspective on the game; the one from the bench. He was hitting below .270, with only 4 dingers. I suspect many of his 30 RBI's came when a games outcome was not in question. He had played in 370 consecutive games. It was time for that mini streak to end. Come on, he wasn't shooting for Cal's record or anything. He needed to sit. And sit he did. After playing in game one of a day/night doubleheader against the Mets on Tuesday, Cox didn't pencil him in the lineup for game two. Goodbye streak, hello rejuvenation!. In Wednesday night's game against the dreaded Mets, Frenchy goes 3 for 4 with a triple, homer and four RBI's. The Braves go on to pound the Mets 11-4. Well rested and battle tested! Now he and BC both know Francoeur can have a day off, so I'm guessing he will have several more this season. That will again be good for Jeff and the team.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mickey Mantle: Power Personified

And speaking of the best power hitting switch hitter of all times. It's throw back time! Number 7 in pinstripes, The Mick! 1956 Triple Crown Winner with 536 career home runs. Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle!

Chipper Jones Won't Hit .400

Chipper Jones is the epitome of a baseball player. He grew up loving and playing the game. He was taught the game by his Dad, who trained him to pinch hit because his Dad loved Mickey Mantle, perhaps the greatest power switch hitter of all time. He even has a great name to be an athlete: "Chipper". He still plays the game today with the same love and enthusiasm he played it with as a kid. He's a 'Player's Player". He knows how to play the game: he has baseball instincts.
He came up as a shortstop, has played in the outfield in 'The Bigs', and of course is now an All-Star 3rd baseman. And he can hit. Oh can he hit! Did I mention he can hit? He will eventually hit and field his way into the Hall of Fame. But he will not hit .400 this season. I want him to. Badly. It would be a tremendous accomplishment for him as well as Major League Baseball. No one is more deserving of a .400 year. But it just isn't gonna happen. The MLB season is just too long to sustain that kind of consistency at that level. There are too many fresh relief arms coming at you game after game because starters don't have to work as deep into games anymore. The hot, humid, muggy days of July and August are tough on a ballplayer, and Chipper 'ain't as young as he used to be'. Chipper certainly is not known for his speed, so he isn't going to leg out many infield singles. But Chipper is consistent. He has a beautiful, natural swing. Being a switch hitter could be a plus simply because that doesn't give the pitcher an advantage, and he doesn't give up much when he goes right handed. Over his career he hasn't been known to go into long, prolonged slumps. So there are a lot of positives to figure into the equation. However, I just think it's to tough to pull off. But he's tough himself. Tough enough? I sure hope so. I would love to be wrong on this one! As Bobby Cox can be heard to yell from the dugout: "Come on Chip"!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hey Charles Barkley: Just Because You Can!

Charles Barkley has paid Wynn Las Vegas the $400,000 gambling debt he owed them. Now he must fork out $40,000 more to pay the DA's office for processing the Wynn's civil complaint against him. No sweat! Sir Charles says even though Vegas is a fun place, he will quit gambling for "a year or two" now. Oh really? He says just because he has the money to lose, that doesn't make it right. What? In a 2006 interview, he estimated that he had lost over $10 million gambling. I'm always reminded of what a friend once said about Vegas: they didn't build all those beautiful hotels with all those amenities because people came to LV and WON! Here that Charles, you will ALWAYS lose in Las Vegas! But after your self-imposed sabbatical has ended, you go back to that fun place and feed that kitty some more. Help 'em build some more inspiring architecture. Just because you can. The Round Mound of Rebound will again be found in Vegas town! But remember: it's still a loss even though you've got it to lose. Good L-U-C-K....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Falcons Should Sign Thurman

I have a friend who lives in Odell Thurman's hometown of Monticello, Ga. He once told me, when Odell was a linebacker at UGA, that it wasn't IF Odell would get into trouble in Athens, it was WHEN. Sure enough, he did get in the proverbial dog house while in college. On to the NFL and the extended suspension from the commissioner, the eventual reinstatement, and now the outright release by the Cincinnati Bengals. I really think Thurman is a star-crossed linebacker. By that I mean he probably will be in trouble again. It's almost his nature. Wrong place, wrong time. My fault, your fault, nobody's fault (remember John Wayne?). Whatever the reason or circumstance, fate will probably intercede. Maybe just bad karma. Even though you can see I am not real high on Odell the person, the dude can play some football. That certainly doesn't justify the character issues, it's just the truth. So yes, I think the Falcons should take a chance on him. They can get him cheap. They can structure his contract so that he's gone at the first hint of trouble. Brian VanGorder, the Atlanta defensive coordinator, is familiar with him from Georgia where he was DC and his position coach. And after all their roster cuts, they can use him. It is true, the Falcons can take no more shots in the bad behavior department (wasn't there some dog fighting issue not long ago with a quarterback?). So, Mr. Blank, sign him, work him, then keep him or cut him. The roads that lead into Atlanta also lead out of Atlanta. That interstate system might doze, but it don't ever close!

Nothing Should Be Free in NASCAR!

I'm not a big fan of NASCAR. When I was younger, I thought the sport was pretty awesome. You had characters like Fireball Roberts, Fred Lorenzen, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and others who would, and could, get after it pretty good. The 'stock cars' they drove were truly stock cars, and at tracks like Daytona and Talladega, they could bust 200 MPH wide open. In fact, the speeds they achieved at the Super Speedways is the reason NASCAR implemented the infamous 'restrictor plates'. The increasing fear of an automobile rocketing into the grandstands at perhaps over 225 MPH prompted the need to attempt to put a cap on maximum speeds. Once restrictor plates became mandated at Super Speedways, it became single file racing, which led to huge packs of cars being bunched up together at super speeds. This now is what we have with drivers, crews, owners, and fans all just waiting for "The Big One", as in big crash that takes out several cars in one incident. For the most part, it's kind of boring. And now "'teammates" are big in NASCAR. One owner owns a stable of cars and the drivers are expected to work together on the track and share information in the garage. That means if my crew finds something that works well for me, I have to share that with you so you can be better and then even run faster than me. Now to my favorite term in NASCAR: The Free Pass, or "Lucky Dog Rule". If you are a lapped car but the first in line of the cars lapped, you get your lap back on the next caution flag. It's given to you, you don't have to drive your way back on the lead lap. After this 'gift', you might even go on to win the race. Even though at one point, the other drivers worked hard to put you a lap down in the first place. Nothing in racing should be 'free'! NASCAR has a fantastically popular, money making game going on. The ticket dollars, the TV money, and the licensing royalties make it a huge, huge industry. It is the biggest spectator sport in America. So, having said that, I suppose I need to lay off my critisisms of this over controlled sport. After all, they're the Lucky Dogs!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Danica Patrick Can Win the Indianapolis 500. 10 Reasons Why!

10 reasons why Danica Patrick can win the Indy 500:

1. She has finally shown she can win an Indy Car race.

2. She has a top-notch team and equipment.

3. She runs well at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

4. She is focused, poised and confident.

5. She is talented enough to not only compete, but to win at Indy.

6. She has experience and maturity as a driver.

7. She will be starting in the 2nd row.

8. She understands race, pit, tire and fuel strategy at Indianapolis.

9. She is not completely satisfied to just 'run well' anymore.

10. She has paid her dues.

Danica Patrick, who drives for Andretti Green Racing, has already won once this season, she is currently 5th in the season point standings, and she has qualified in the 5th position for Sunday's Indianapolis 500. She is driving the fastest car she has ever had, and she believes now is her time to win the 500. For a career that has encompassed 17 tough years, an Indy victory would be validation that she is truly a very good race car driver, not just a good female race car driver. This year, her chances are as good as any driver's in the field. This is not to say she will win the race. In motor sports, you must have good breaks in order to win; racing 'luck' if you prefer. Your crew chief and pit crew must be at the top of their game. Your in-race decisions must be accurate all race long. You must keep your emotions in check. But now the playing field is level for her. These things must happen in order for any team to be able to kiss the bricks at the end of a long, gruelling day. Why not her team? Why not Danica Patrick? Yep, this just might be her year...Got Milk?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

2008 SEC Baseball Tournament

The 2008 SEC Baseball Tournament will be held May 21-25 at Regions Park in Hoover, Alabama. Last years tournament drew almost 90,000 fans. The eight team, double elimination format is modeled after the College World Series. The top two teams from the SEC's Eastern and Western Divisions plus six at large bids make up the select field. The at large teams are selected based on conference winning percentage. This year, Georgia is the #1 overall seed as the conference regular season champion, with LSU from the West drawing the #2 seed. The other six teams in seeding order are Florida, Kentucky,Alabama,Vanderbilt,South Carolina, and Ole Miss. Vanderbilt is the defending tournament champion.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh No, Not 12 & 0

I love our Georgia Bulldogs as much as anyone. I don't ever want us to lose, and I hate it badly when we do. But we will lose a football game in 2008. I say this because the Atlanta Constitution had an article and a poll on this very subject this week. Our schedule is tough; if you play in the SEC East, your schedule will always be tough. Then you pick up Auburn, Alabama, and LSU out of the West, add a little Arizona State at their place in for good measure, and you do have a humdinger of a "row to hoe". Notice I didn't mention anything about the 'Bees' in game 12. In the mid October thru mid November stretch, we play consecutively @ LSU, in Jax -vs- Florida, @Kentucky, and @ Auburn. Brutal! And in the SEC, we beat each other up each Saturday, week in and week out. I'm not crying here, just trying to make a point of how difficult it would be to play our 12 games and go undefeated. Not to mention following all that up with the SEC championship game against the West champ, most likely against a team we would have already played. If anyone in the conference is 13 & 0 after all that, go ahead and give 'em the Sears crystal trophy along with the SEC trophy! Let the bowl game be an exhibition for crying out loud. We will be very good, but we also must be fortunate on the injury front, and we must be lucky on the good call, good bounce fronts. All great teams must be opportunistic, and we will certainly need to be. SEC teams face the most hostile crowds and loudest stadiums on the road of any conference in America. That calls for maturity and poise in crucial situations. I'm just trying to say here it will take all the intangibles for us to run the table. You might have to win in spite of a key injury; you might have to win in inclement weather conditions; you might have to win in overtime(s). It's not impossible, but I do think it is unlikely. I'll take winning the SEC East, winning the SEC championship, and winning the National title. If we accomplish those 3 obtainable goals, who cares what the record is!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spygate -vs- Pay at the Pump

While we're on the NFL here today, how about a few Spygate comments? Yesterday, the league said that the book had been closed on Spygate. The Patriots had been exonerated. End of story. Done deal. But wait, Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania has called for an independent investigation into the Patriots' alleged taping of opposing coaches signals. He pretty much said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league did a shoddy job in their own investigation. He is seeking objectivity and credibility. O.K., I like those two terms, and I really don't think I care if the Pats and Belichick are guilty or innocent. I enjoy watching them play because they are good, and because Tom Braddy is at the top of his game at his position. But Senator, don't you have a few 'bigger fish to fry' than worrying about Spygate. I understand your Steelers and Eagles fell prey to the mighty Patriots, but isn't there a fuel crisis in our country? Aren't we in a tremendously unpopular war in Iraq? Does illegal immigration ring a bell? The national deficit? The home mortgage industry? There are other problems, but I think I've made my point. The NFL is definitely a huge and powerful industry, but I don't think they need your intervention on the Spygate issue. I'm reminded of Allen Iverson's "Practice" press conference, and I want to say "we're talking about a game, not life and death, but a game; not $3.75 at the pump, but a game..."you get the picture! But respectfully Mr. Spector, I need your complete attention to what it costs to fill up my gas tank at the pump now. That is not a game. Leave the game to Mr. Goodell.

Brooks Not in the Bucks Yet

I've been conditioned to think 'Big Bucks' when I hear anything about NFL salaries. But not all players in NFL mini camps have it so good. For example, I posted a column on Georgia Tech's outstanding punter, Durant Brooks, back on 4-24-08. Durant was drafted in the seventh round of last month's draft by the Washington Redskins. The 7th round isn't too shabby for a specialty player. He has reported to Washington for the 'Skins first mini-camp, works out at the Redskins training facility, and has an apartment in Virginia. Brooks, like other rookies all around the NFL, is competing for a roster spot. This is the surprising part to me: Brooks officially works 4 days per week at $100 per day. Yep, that's $400 a week with an apartment that costs about $1400 per month. Doesn't leave much for meals, much less spending money. Granted if he makes the team he will not have financial problems like these, but making the team could be 3 months away. I'm sure this is not just an isolated case with Washington; it must be a standard procedure around the league. But come on front office personnel, help the guys out. In most cases you used draft choices on them. They have enough pressure on them just trying to make the roster, don't make them worry about general finances too! You don't have to make them 'rich' yet, just do a little better than $400 per week. You won't even have to increase ticket prices to do that. These guys are right out of college. They know how to stretch a buck. Just do what's right and keep the stretching to the conditioning coaches!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The 17th at Sawgrass

The road to winning the Player's Championship at Sawgrass always passes through its signature hole. That would be #17, and it must be negotiated successfully in order to win the Championship. I would imagine that the island green looks even smaller on Sunday afternoon!

A Sad Gator 'Tale"

The University of Florida has kicked a member of its football team off the roster for: USING THE CREDIT CARD OF A DECEASED FEMALE - FOR SIX MONTHS! The woman was killed with another UF player in a motorcycle accident last October. What a teammate! I wonder if he thought about his fellow player each time he used the girl's credit card? That would have been 70 thoughts at $40+ per thought. Jamar Hornsby, the 'former' Gator player , surrendered to authorities after a warrant for his arrest was issued. He has been suspended from the team before, as well as been arrested in 2007. Perhaps in the future he will have plenty of time to think about his deceased teammate, just wearing a very different uniform.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bowling for Dollars...Not Always

According to figures obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The University of Georgia spent around $2.2 million during the week long Sugar Bowl experience. Livin' large in New Orleans - Party on Garth! However, these expenses will be absorbed by the $10+ million UGA will receive as its share of the SEC revenue distribution payments. Now don't think that Mark Richt's Dawgs ran up this huge tab by themselves. Oh no, they had the assistance of an almost 750 member traveling party. The Redcoat Band, the Cheerleaders and the 'President's Party'.
And to put this in proper perspective, the Florida Gators and The Ohio State Buckeyes combined for $5+ million in expenses for their match-up in the 2007 BCS Championship. Florida's traveling party totaled 771 revelers. For BCS schools, just like the 3 mentioned above, revenue sharing agreements ease the crunch of these huge expenses. However, nearly half of the schools who compete in bowls lose money. And it isn't just because of expenses like those mentioned already. Most bowl agreements require schools to buy tickets to resell to their fan base. Many schools, particularly those playing in non-BCS games, end up losing thousands of dollars in unsold tickets. Hotel costs and lengths of stay are many times pre-set and are non-negotiable. Schools routinely absorb the loss of unused hotel room nights. But don't despair... two new bowls have been created for this post season, giving four teams with mediocre records the opportunity to cost their athletic departments thousands of dollars! And all the while, the hosting sites continue to profit from college football and the tremendous fans who love to follow their teams and see them play. And to party, and to party, and to party. For all that fun, what's a few dollars lost here and there? Come on, let's go bowling!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Howdy Doody Darrell Waltrip

Here I go again after another commentator. During the late stages of Saturday night's Nascar Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond, race leader and dominator up to this point, Denny Hamlin,
begins slowing and radios his crew he has a tire going down. He gives up the lead, even falling out of the top 10. In the broadcast booth, Darrell Waltrip says that Hamlin has to be sure he has a tire going down before he pits. He relates that at this point in the race you just have to be positive. All this time, Hamlin continues to fall back in the pack. I'm with you DW, but I don't think Denny would be losing ground if something wasn't amiss. Well, Hamlin ends up blowing the tire that DW defended, crashes into the wall and brings out the caution flag. It was an inevitable event. Now this is when Waltrip blows it for me and I KNEW he was going to say it. He contradicts himself by saying maybe Hamlin should have pitted before the accident happened. DW, you're the one who said he had to be sure. Well he certainly is sure now! And I'm sure now that you are as inept in the booth as I have always thought. I'm glad I'm not a Nascar nut, because guys like Darrell and his partner 'Country Bumpkin' Larry would 'drive' (no pun intended) me nuts! Keep 'tuning up' those grammar tenses too, Good Buddies! Oh yea, it's a shame your #88 didn't win boys. I could tell by your "partiality" ya'll really wanted him to end that losing streak. Maybe next race...then again, maybe not.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Oh You Tim McCarver

Today, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were doing the commentary for the nationally televised game of the week between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. In the top of the 7th inning, the Cubs have men on first and second with only one out. A grounder is hit to the third baseman who knocks the ball down a step from 3rd base. Derrek Lee, the runner at 3rd, touches the base just before the fielder recovers and throws on to first for the out. McCarver says that Lee should have tried to score on the play, because at worst, Chicago would have men on first and third with two out. Hey Tim, they still have men on second and third with two outs. Isn't second base, unlike first base, scoring position? It didn't matter since Lee eventually scored on a bases loaded walk and the Cubs went on to win the game handily 9-3, but McCarver's take on the play was way off. Lee had no chance to score on the play. He didn't have a big lead off third to begin with. I'm certainly not on D-Lee's payroll, but it was stupid for TM to dog him on that particular play. I thought he should have said Lee did a good job of getting back to the bag before a tag could be made. You did play this game yourself at one time didn't you Timmy? You appear to be in need of a cold shower to loosen up those cobwebs...perhaps another like this one!

The Essence of Sports

If you missed the story about tremendous sportsmanship in the Western Oregon -vs- Central Washington softball game last Saturday, I need to do you a huge favor and share it with you. In the WO/CW game, WO's Sarah Tucholsky blasted a home run OVER the center field fence. However, at first base she wrenched her knee and could not continue around the bases. Rules state that a runner cannot be aided by teammates, and a pinch runner could only be allowed first base. After consulting the umpires, CW's Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace carried the injured Tucholsky around the bases to complete the home run. As they reached home plate, they were greeted by a standing ovation from the fans. The two Central Washington players then handed the slugger into the arms of her teammates and went back to their respective positions. The home run, the first of her career, propelled Western Oregon to a 4-2 victory. CW's coach, Gary Frederick, called the gesture of sportsmanship 'unbelievable'. Holtman said since she hit it over the fence and was in obvious pain, she deserved it! The injury has been diagnosed as a possible torn ligament, likely ending the senior's season and career. She is perhaps leaving the game, but she and the CW players left us with a great story.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Elite 11

Each summer 11 of the nation's top high school quarterbacks are selected to participate in a unique camp in California known as The Elite 11. It is both a camp and competition, and the instruction is from top QB's and QB coaches from throughout the nation. The invited QB's are put through passing drills, footwork drills, film sessions, and taught how to read defense pass coverages. A passing competition comes at the end of the 3 day camp. The first quarterback to receive an invitation to this years event is Georgia commit Aaron Murray of Tampa, Florida. He was selected after a very impressive showing at the Gainesville, Florida Nike Camp. His future teammate in Athens, Matthew Stafford, was an invitee to the 2005 Elite 11. With redshirt freshman Logan Gray already in the fold at UGA, the verbals of Murray, as well as highly touted Zach Mettenberger from Watkinsville, Georgia, seem to insure the Bulldogs of tremendous QB progression for several years. Both Mettenberger and Murray are rated in the nation's top 100 of the National 300. The contrasting styles of the two would seem to compliment each other well during their days "Between the Hedges". ZM being the more prototypical pocket QB, and AM more adept at accumulating a few rushing yards and making things happen. Both are rated in the Top 10 nationally at their position. Murray is also one of seven QB's nationally ranked as 5-Star recruits. He was an especially 'sweet' commitment because the Dawgs went in and snatched him directly out of 'the jaws of the Gators'! Georgia now has 10 verbal commitments for 2009 in a class that will have to total less than 20. The quantity might not be there, but the quality is already evident. Each year more high school players are committing early. If they are recruited by high profile programs, they are realizing if they play a 'waiting game', that slot may not be available as long as it would have been in earlier years. High school programs are turning out tremendous athletes, and colleges are being more selective in the type of players they choose to go after. And, thank goodness, grades and character seem to be playing a significant role now. So if you're looking at one of those 8 or so remaining slots in Athens, remenber: That Bulldog train is rolling, and if you want to be a 'Dawg', you better get on board!