Monday, July 26, 2010

Ten Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

Before we begin again I want to thank The Captain, Nabil, Lawyer Dan and the Good Doctor for their work on 10 Things while I took few weeks office this summer. Saturday two days ago marked 6 weeks to September 4th and kickoff for the college football season. Just as a heads up the Ten Things might not post to Tuesday of next week as I am going to the Natti this weekend to watch the Braves-Reds. Should be fun trip.  As always any ideas for content please do not hesitate to contact me. Some of the items I have had the most fun writing were your ideas. The Captain and myself will begin a countdown when we are 30 days away from the start of the college football season. Each day we will look at a different UGA or FSU player who wore a number that corresponds with the amount of days to the college football season. I have started working on some of the UGA greats and this will be alot of fun.

1. Georgia Thoughts

I know the Damon Evans situation has been addressed by everyone with access to a computer and the internet but how does someone have their (and mine) dream job ruined by such stupidity. For the cost of about $50 (a cab ride home at night and back to the car in the morning) he decides to drive and have his whole career crash down. I found the quote odd at the press conference, "I have a beautiful wife, who is going through a lot right now, of which it haunts me and troubles me." The quote does not bother me as much as Evans cell phone records. They show Evans made an 8 minute call about an hour after the press conference to Courtney Fuhrmann. He must have been really haunted and troubled but what his wife was going through.

On to better news. Mark Fox with the hoops team got a verbal commitment this week from Kentavious Caldwell. Caldwell who was also being recruited by Florida and Tennessee is a top 15 ranked player in the nation. This is after Fox got a late signee in Marcus Thornton this past May. Fox was able to coach up an under manned UGA team last year. Let's see what he can do now that he is starting to get some talent to Athens.

2. Reasons for Hope/Worry UGA Football 2010

a. AJ Green-In every game this year he will be the best player on the field.
b. The offense returns 10 of 11 starters to a team that scored the most points in SEC game last season.
c. We are closer to the Gators than most realize. Despite being outscored 90-27 the last two seasons the Dawgs have only been outgained by 63 yards per game in those two contests.
d. We were -16 in turnovers last season and -3 in 2008. Some simple regression to the mean (to steal a phrase from the Senator at and the Dawgs can not help but be better.
e. Phil Steele ranks our offensive line number 1 in the country, our running backs #5 and our wide receivers #2.
f. The defense can not be worse as it allowed 25.9 points per game last season. In 08 we allowed 24.5 points per game. In 07 the unit allowed 20.2 points per game. I am not saying we are going to allow 14.5 points per game (the 2003 numbers) but it should be around 26 points a game.
g. Under Mark Richt Georgia is 20-5 after a loss.
h. This years Florida team is the most vulnerable team in years. New QB, new defensive coordinator, lots of turnover on the defensive side of the ball. And then their is this little detail about Florida heading into the 2010 season:  “For the first time in three years, there are no returning first-team All-Americans.”(thanks to The Senator for the stat)
i. This year is UGA's easiest schedule in a couple years. We skip LSU and Alabama from the SEC west and replace them with Mississippi State and Arkansas.
j. We return the best punter and placekicker in the country. Plus coaches who will let them use their talemts.

 Reasons for Worry

a. Will someone step up opposite AJ Green.
b.Only one returning starter on the defensive line.
c. Very thin at the outside linebacker position.
d. Despite all the returning starters on offense our QB is still a redshirt freshman. Let's not forget he had shoulder issues last season and was red-shirted. His senior year at Plant High is Tampa he broke his leg and missed most of the season. What happens if the unthinkable happens and Murray gets hurt.
e. The secondary is extremely talented but inexperienced.
f. We could not stop Stephen Garcia and Ryan Mallett, how are we going to do so this season?

3. Movies I want to see and Books I need to read.

1. The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant
2. Of Mikes and Men: A Lifetime of Braves Baseball by Pete Van Wieren and Jack Wilkinson
3. The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran
4. Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball by Bill Madden
5. Are We Winning?: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball by Will Leitch
6. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

7. Heart of the Game: Life, Death, and Mercy in Minor League America by S. L. Price
8. Sports Illustrated Monday Morning Quarterback: A fully caffeinated guide to everything you need to know about the NFL by Peter King
9. Sh*t My Dad Says
10. The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks

Summer Movies
1. The Other Guys
2. Takers
3. A-Team
4. The Grown Ups
5. Karate Kid
6. Get Him To The Greek
7. Get Low
8. Knight and Day
9. Killers
10. Little Fockers

4. Football Notes

a. September 11 is going to be a great day for college football. Miami at Ohio St, Florida St @ Oklahoma, Michigan @ Notre Dame, and Penn State @ Alabama. Who is getting excited?
b. How did I forget Georgia Southern @ Navy on the 11th? Or for that matter Georgia Tech @ Kansas or UGA at South Carolina or Oregon @ Tennessee.
c. How good is Bama's offense going to be this season. Both of their running backs were voted first team All-SEC. I think that is a little excessive but they might have their best offense in school history.
d. Speaking of BAMA how do they get stuck playing 6 teams coming off Bye weeks. Who at the SEC office overlooked that and how did you miss something like that?
e. I really like Iowa in the Big Ten this season. Ohio St probably has more talent but this Iowa team went 11-2 last season holding GaTech to 155 total yards in the Orange Bowl and they still know how to play defense. Let's not forget Ricky Stanzi should be healthy in his senior season. They also play Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State at home this season. How many trips to Iowa City is Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Mustberger taking this season?
f. As a programming reminder The Captain and myself will begin a countdown when we are 30 days away from the start of the college football season. Each day we will look at a different UGA or FSU player who wore a number that corresponds with the amount of days to the college football season. I have started working on some of the UGA greats and this will be alot of fun.
g. Here are so things I am looking at as NFL training camps open this week: Where will TO sign? Will he be a distrction or quiet and productive like he was in Buffalo last season?
h. Now that Kevin Kolb is the starter in Philly can he play 16 games like he played 2 last season?
i.  The Lions will be improved, but will it show up in their performance as they have six games against the Bears, Packers and Vikings.
j. Can the Falcons stay healthy this year and improve on defense? The NFC south might get three playoff teams with the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers.

k. I am tired of all the drama that comes with this question but is Brett Favre going to play this season? I think he will but you know he will get all eyes on him before making a decision.
l. Is this the year the Jets or a team besides the Pats win the AFC East? The Jets are 6-14 and 2-18 ATS in games played before their annual trip to Foxboro.
m.Can the Titans or Texans stop the Colts run of AFC South titles? Vince Young is 10-5 and 12-3 ATS vs division opponents.

5. Fun with homeruns-3 in one game

a. Through June 1, 2010 hitting three home runs in one game has been accomplished 478 times by 337 different players. If you count the guys who have hit four home runs in a game the totals are 493 times by 345 players.
b. Mark Teixeira has hit three homers in a game for the Rangers, Braves and Yankees.
c. Among the 25 players with 500 or more career home runs only Rafael Palmeiro and Gary Sheffield never hit three or more homers in a game. Palmeiro hit 569 big flies with 34 multi-homer games. Sheffield hit 509 career homers with 38 multi-homer games. Crazy how neither hit three in a game.
d. Stan Musial is the oldest to hit three in a game when he did so at 41 years 229 days in July 1962 against the Mets.
e. The youngest player is Al Kaline  who was 20 years, 120 days when he hit three HR for Tigers in 1955 against the A's.
f. The only pitcher to hit three home runs in a game was Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves against the Cubs in 1942.
g. Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa are the players with the most three homer games with six apiece. Dave Kingman, Joe Carter and Mark McGwire have all hit three homers in a game 5 times.
h. Sammy Sosa has had the most three homer games in one season with 3. This was accomplished in 2001.
i.Reggie Jackson, Dave Kingman, Johnny Mize, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are the only players to hit three homers in a game with three different teams. 27 players have hit three home runs with two different teams.
j. 21 catchers have hit three home runs in a game. Some names you might not know include Andy Semincik, Walker Cooper, Wes Westrum, Smokey Burgess and Ed Bailey.
k.Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth (twice) are the only players to hit three homers in a World Series game.
l. The Rays and Diamondbacks both came into existence in 1998. The Rays have two guys who have hit three homers in a game while the Diamondbacks have hit three homers in a game 8 times.
m. I never hit three home runs in little league pr adult softball for that matter. I did once hit three homeruns with slugger Paste and team Jersey in the original Bases Loaded.

Haltime: This week's song that Smoak and myself used to listen to is a cover by Jason Aldean titled 'Heaven". This is probably as good as it gets for cover. Here are Smoak's words, "probably the best cover I have ever heard."  I can not remember the last triva question and who got the answer right, plus I am to lazy to go back and look so lets start new. This week's trivia question is tricky so I will give a hint. Since 1901, only three players have totaled 200 or more hits and 100-plus walks in consecutive seasons. Name them. The hint: All three players are in the Hall of Fame. Since that is a weak hint here is another. Two of the three were Red Sox at one point in their careers. Ted Williams is not a correct answer. Enjoy.

6. Baseball Notes
a. In Tuesday night's Rays-Orioles game the first six runs were scored via solo home runs. The last time that happened? September 25th, 2008. I am surprised this has happened twice within two seasons.
b. Tony Gwynn of the Padres has hit two inside the park homeruns this season. Jimmy Rollins was the last player to hit two inside the park homeruns in the same season.
c. On Tuesday & Wednesday of this past week Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates hit 2+ HR in back-to-back games. He is the first Pirate to do this since Jason Thompson in 1984 and the 5th Pirate to do it since 1960.
d. On Thursday the Nationals scored 1 run in the 1st, 2 runs in the 2nd and 3 runs in the 3rd, the first team this season to do this.
e. The Cardinals had 1 hit in 11 innings Thursday. The last team to have only 1 hit in an 11+ inning game was the Angels in 1962
f. I found this stat very interesting when reading Baseball Digest over the past few weeks. No player has gone homer-less in a season in which he hit 50 plus doubles. The fewest homers by a player with 50 plus doubles in a season is three and this feat was accomplished by Wade Boggs, George Burns and Tris Speaker. Oddly enough both Burns and Speaker were both Cleveland Indians.
g. If anyone is in the mood for a legendary Wade Boggs story this website is a must visit.
h. What has happened to my man Ubaldo Jimenez? He has an ERA over 7.60 the past six trips to hill as his ERA has gone up more than 1.50 to 2.75.
i. A lot of people, myself included have talked how Teixeira is struggling this season. I did not know he is 5th in AL in HR, 6th in RBI and first in runs.
j. Entering 2010, Astros Roy Oswalt was 23-1 lifetime vs. Reds with a 2.58 ERA. His two starts vs. Cincinnati this season: 0-2, 6.75 ERA
k. Speaking of Oswalt and the trade rumors we hear this time of year I think the Cardinals and Twins make the most sense for the ace of the Astros. I would not count out the Yankees either.
l.We have a very interesting off-season ahead of us this year with potential of 15 teams looking at new managers. Teams include, Mets, Orioles, Braves, Marlins, Cubs, Brewers, Royals, Astros, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Mariners, White Sox (you never know with Ozzie) and the Reds, Cardinals, and Yankees have managers in the final year of their contract. Will all 15 change mangers? No but it will be interesting to follow this offseason.
m. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe in his weekly Notes column writes how former D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes has had about 15 job offers since being fired in June. 
n. Cafardo also brings up an interesting point when he asks...why do bad teams need closers? Thus he questions the availability of Joakim Soria and Mike Gonzalez. I never thought of this but both the Royals and Orioles can get some nice prospects for these two pictures.
o. Boy was I way wrong on the Mariners this season. The M's .234 team batting average is the worst in American League since Jays hit .226 in 1981.
p. I shocked how little the Angels had to give up for Dan Haren. While Haren has had a down year this year for him he has a great answer to the Rangers move for Cliff Lee. Let's not forget that the Diamondbacks gave up Chris Carter (minors), Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith for Haren and Connor Robertson.
q. It is going to be an interesting week to see what deals get done and ones that do not get done. Almost every team has question marks so look for a lot of rumors and some deals.
r. Here are some interesting nuggets from Bill Chuck and his BillyBall website. Jayson Werth is batting .279, but only .167 with runners in scoring position.
s. Albert Pujols leads the Cardinals with 11 stolen bases.
t. Through Wednesday, Josh Hamilton had 131 hits, including 23 homers. Adam Dunn finished the 2006 season and Jay Buhner finished the 1997 season with 131 hits and 40 homers each. 
u. How good has Mike Leake been for the Reds this season? He is 7-1 with a 3.45 ERA and is hitting .385, tops among major league pitchers with at least 40 plate appearances. Leake is 15-for-39 this year with a double, two RBI and four runs scored. Leake has walked four times and has an on-base percentage of .442. Leake has struck out only nine times.
v. Yes he is a rookie PITCHER. The following hitters only have 15 hits this season: Brett Carroll, Andy Marte, Adam Everett, Max Ramirez, Rick Ankiel, Anderson Hernandez and Ramon Castro.

7. MLB Power 5

1. New York Yankees- Adam Dunn would be a perfect fit here (and in Chicago with the White Sox). This team may also need one more reliever and starter.
2. Texas Rangers- Despite the Angels deal for Haren they still have to be favorites in the West and maybe the American League with an impressive offense and now Cliff Lee.
3. Tampa Bay Rays - The thoughts of a Tampa-Texas ALCS is scaring the people at FOX right now.
4. San Diego Padres-Raise your hand if you had San Diego having the best record in the NL on July 26th. They have gone from sellers to buyers.
5. Atlanta Braves-Probably should have been four on this list but I am still upset about the Sunday loss to the Marlins.

8. Thoughts on The Boss & The Voice of God

I know this story is a couple of weeks old but I feel like George Steinbrenner needs to have a few words written about him. He has totally changed the business of sports and this includes all four major sports. I have heard and read lots of great Steinbrenner stories in my time. One of the best comes from a Braves clubhouse manager who tells me the story of the one time when the boss found one of the young Yankee clubhouse guys using the teams washer and dryers to wash his personal laundry year during spring training. Forgetting that this young employee was probably working 15-16 hour days for peanuts Steinbrenner fired him on the spot. This employee was crushed and went to his boss to see if he was really fired. His boss told him to show up the next day like nothing happened and wait to see if Steinbrenner said anything. The young employee showed up the next day, The Boss said nothing and he kept working for the Yankees for the next few years.

Multiple great reads about The Boss. The New York Times does a great job with his obituary and the New York Post and New York Daily News devoted sections of their papers to him.

Joe Posnanski is right on with his obituary of The Boss and LA Time scribe Sam Farmer writes how Steinbrenner created a business model for all owners to follow. I seriously doubt I would have a job today if Steinbrenner never bought the Yankees.

Instead of reading about Bob Sheppard lets listen to his mastery of speech and the English language. Here is Mr. Sheppard in 1968 after the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Here is Sheppard announcing Derek Jeter. Below is a video tribute to Bob Sheppard from Bob Sheppard in May of 2000.

9. What I Read These Few Weeks

One good thing about not writing the Ten Things on Sunday's the past few week is that I have read a lot of great articles. A couple of weeks ago the NY Times magazine had two great reads. The first one was on the great Mariano Rivera. In my opinion he is the reason the Yankees have 5 rings since 95 and the Braves only have one. For as great of a pitcher that he is, he might be a better person. 

The second great read from the NY Times Magazine takes a look at Lindsey Graham, the republican Senator from South Carolina. Fascinating look at the new Maverick in the Republican Party. I love the fact that Graham does not cook for himself.

The third read comes from Esquire and takes a look at The Price Is Right which is must watch televison when I have a mid-week day off. With this said I miss Bob Barker as host of the show and I do not think Drew Carey is funny at all. In thirty-eight years, The Price is Right never had a contestant guess the exact value of prizes in the Showcase showdown. Until Terry Kniess outsmarted everyone — and changed everything.

10. Non Football or Baseball Thoughts
a. I found this fun game on Thursday night. The first time I named 96 teams out of the 122 teams that play in the four major sports. Just as a helpful hint, it is easier to name teams by cities than by sport. The second time about two hours later I named 119. Damn you Hockey.
b. How about the summer Spain has had...Nadal wins Wimbledon, Spain wins the World Cup, and Contador wins the tour de France again. I almost forgot that Pau Gasol won a NBA title.
c. You have to love the enthusiasm from the Baltimore cops in this video. It is like they do not even care.
d. A lot of you might ask what I have been up to the last few week's and their are only two answers; 1. working and 2. shenanigans
e. In early June an A-list crew of Smoak, Shep, Ben and myself went on a 5 day, 4 night, 3 city trip. We saw ballgames at the new Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards and Nationals Ballpark. Our nations capital in early June is undefeated.
f. Very impressed with Yankee Stadium, the great hall is presumptuous (typical Yankee). The food selections and options are very good. By the way Turner Field has televisions in their elevators while Yankee Stadium does not. Score one for the Atlanta 9.
g. On Friday morning we took the AMTRAK from NYC to our Nation's capital and I absolutely loved the ride and the scenery. I think it was my first AMTRAK since I was a little boy (maybe 3 or 4) and on that trip we took the train from Albany, NY to Buffalo, NY.
h. On a very side and random note, I find it unbelievable that it is 2010 and I can not take a train to Athens, Ga or to Savannah or even to Augusta. No excuses that the cities of Atlanta and Birmingham, Montgomery, Nashville, Charlotte, Greenville-Spartanburg, Augusta, Columbia, Savannah, and Jacksonville are not inter-connected via rail.
i. Also, if you ever find yourself in our nation's capital and in the need of a solid meal of food I recommend Hank's Oyster Bar. I went Crabcakes and Mac and Cheesy. Solid very solid. Hat tip to the greatest kicker in Screven County history Donald Sheppard in doing the research in finding Hank's.
j. If you want more details of the trip you should come with us next year as we go to destination TBA.
k. I would have had a Ten Things up last week but I had an A-list crew of A-list crews visit the ATL last weekend and it was Shenanigan city. Picture this crew: Smoak, Shepp, Tmac, Daley and the Coach.
l. A perfect weekend with the Kichafoonee Cowboys and a Braves game. I can not remember the last time that crew was together and who knows when we will be together again. It was legendary.
m. Entourage was above average last night. I think we need more Bob Saget and the antics that he brings to the show.  We definetly need more Sloan. Her having a 45 second conversation with E in the car does not suffice for me.
n. As far as other summer television, Hung has been decent while both Leverage and Royal Pains have been awesome. If you are not watching Leverage, do so now. It is Oceans 11 esque with the capers etc.
o. I also attended a Kansas, Styx, and Foreigner concert at Chastain this summer. Foreigner very good, Styx is average.
p. Yes, I am a jukebox hero.
q. It was my first time to Chastain. Very cool setup for a concert.
r. Again, I would like to thank The Captain, Nabil, Dan, and The Good Doctor for their great work while I took a vacation. I was hoping to post some smaller things but I never got around to that and I apologize.
s. I am heading to Cincinnati next weekend to watch the Braves-Reds in what could very easily be a playoff preview (that would be awesome). The last time we played the Reds Brooks Conrad did this and I am still in shock. Note: I have seen this highlight hundreds of time but for the first time you hear the theme from the Natural in the background.
t. I know all about Skyline Chilli and Graeters Ice Cream. Any other spots in the Natti I should know about?
u. I saw Inception Saturday afternoon and it is one strange movie. I am going to have to see this movie again and do some reading on the movie before I ever begin to understand what I saw.

Text Of The Week
The text of the week is from me to co-worker Jennifer Holman after she tweeted that she spotted Sara Evans and her husband (former Alabama great Jay Barker) at a bar in Destin.....heeeeyyyyyyy paparazzi...I need some Sara Evans photos or I might never talk to you again...u know I dont mean that.

Quote Of The Week
I can not recall any great quotes so I will give you some from Ari Gold and this seasons Entourage.

Ari: Even with a million man army sometimes you got to do some groundwork yourself. Saddam Hussein had to hang a few without assistants, no? 

Ari: Well tell the school, that when they schedule a parent teacher conference for 2:30 on a weekday, that’s just their way of saying we don’t care about daddy.  

Ari: Maybe they don’t want to make a show with you Drama.
Drama: They gave me a holding deal.
Ari: The guy who grills my hot dog at Carney’s had a holding deal in 1978.

Mrs. Ari: [This chandelier] is murano glass and it was originally owned by Sophie Loren.
Ari: I’d rather look at nude photos of her original body

Mrs. Ari: Why were you spinning her around Ari?
Ari: I have dreamt, since I was a kid, about owning a football team. I would have spun Lloyd around if he was in front of me. And if I could lift him. 

 Tweet Of The Week
The first tweet comes from Eric Stangel one of the cowriters for Letterman.

NFL: St. Louis Rams going after Terrell Owens. First they have to make sure his head can fit through the Gateway Arch

Tweet Of The Week II
From @Real_BP_CEO
Anyone watch that LeBron James special? Wow, and people call me a selfish prick. 

Photo Of The Week
The newest survivor and Super Bowl winning Coach Johnson. Ht (Hat tip) to the Captain and the guys at Kissing Suzy Kolberg blog for the picture. 

1 comment:

  1. sports writer bill chastain has writion a new book on the newyork jets "100 things jets fans should knowand do before they die