Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ten Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

1. UGA Thoughts
Not many UGA thoughts but that goes with the territory this time of the year. This is what I do have.

a. For the 2010-2011 academic year UGA and Florida were the only SEC teams to play in bowl game, NCAA Men's Tournament and make a NCAA Baseball regional.
b. Does it count if you lose to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl?
c. When you read this Wednesday morning we will be 94 days away from kickoff. Here is to a quick summer.
d. The guys over at the great UGA blog Bubba N Earl are doing a great job with a daily countdown. You should visit everyday. It will only make the summer go quicker.
e. The more I break down our team the more I love our Defensive Line and Linebackers. WIth that being said we are really weak at the back end of the defense especially at Safety.
f. While UGA is traveling across the country to play in the Oregon State regional. It will not be the first time these teams have met on the Diamond.
g. In 2006 when I was living in the Big Apple Oregon State eliminated UGA in the College World Series. The Beavers would go on to emerge from the losers bracket to win the whole that year.
h. In 2007 the Beavers swept a series in Athens while the Dawgs lost two out of three in Portland against Oregon State in 2008.
i. Oregon State has ended the season on a skid, dropping six of their last seven outings, including five straight. The Beavers’ next win will be their first since May 20, and Oregon State’s losing streak has included two three-run decisions, a five-run setback, and, most recently, a six-run loss.
j. The Beavers have lost five of its last nine outings in Corvallis, which could become the fourth different city to have hosted a Georgia-Oregon State baseball game in the last six seasons.

k. A couple of weeks ago it was announced that the UGA hoops team would be hosting the Cincinnati Bearcats in the ESPN made for television event SEC/BIGEAST challenge.
l. As a UGA season ticket holder for hoops I am liking next year's home schedule. Along with the SEC home schedule the Dawgs also get Georgia Tech at the Stegasorous. This is a big time step up from last seasons out of conference schedule.
m. The question now becomes; do we have the players to handle a step up in quality of opponent?

2. MLB Thoughts
a. Has Bobby Abreu ever swung at a pitch outside the strikezone with two strikes? That guy is an OBP machine.
b. BlueJays' Bautista has 80 home runs since Sept. 26, 2009. No other player has more than 50. For those wondering, Cabrera, Pujols and Teixeira are the players with 50 homers behind Bautista's 80 since Sept. 26, 2009.
c. Pirates have now reached double-digit runs three times in their last 137 road games. All three came against the Cubs in Wrigley Field.
d. Something to keep an eye on this summer: The RedSox are a major league-best 64-27 in interleague play since the start of 2006. Keep this in mind as the Boston 9 have interleague series at the Fens against the Padres and the Brewers. The Sox do have to visit the Pirates, Phillies and Astros.

e. When the Nation takes on the Phillies in late June I guess I can join the good doc and everyone else who is not from the Northeast and cheer for the Red Sox.

f. CC Sabathia threw a complete game last Tuesday, and it was the first by a Yankee in 341 starts, an American League record. The major league record was set by the Nationals from 2006-09 with 388 straight games.
g. The 19-inning Phillies-Reds game Thursday wasn’t even the longest game of the week in professional baseball. Jupiter beat Clearwater, 2-1, in a 23-inning Florida State League game. The next night’s game had the same score but was played in 2:11.(great nugget from The Boston Globe's Sunday Baseball Notes)

h. Last week the Cubs for the first time in their history played 10 games in a row at night.

i. I remember watching their first night game as a kid and the game was eventually rained out. The best part of the night was watching Mark Grace, Greg Maddux and others tarp slide. Good stuff.

j. The Cardinals have a 28-12 record when Carpenter does not start. When he starts, they’re 2-9. How does that make any sort of sense?

k. Here is a great nugget from Jayson Stark, other than Jose Bautista, only one active outfielder as won a home run title. I racked my brain for the answer and came up blank (that should not be a surprise), however the other active outfielder to win a home run title is Andruw Jones. How about that stat.

l. It needs to be mentioned that right now outfielders lead in both leagues. Bautista in the AL and Jay Bruce in the NL.

m. For a while on Sunday night it looked as if the Reds were going to win 1-0. This would have been fascinating while irritating. The reason I what have found it fascinating is the fact the Reds have never won a 1-0 game in Atlanta. Last 1-0 road win at Braves-- 1958! (we were the Milwaukee Braves then).
n. I am so glad that did not happen. Also, David Ross Sunday night picked a guy off of first base and threw another Red out at second. He has thrown out 3 of 5 would be baserunners this season.

o. On Saturday night Chipper Jones had his 12th career walk-off hit as the Braves beat Reds in 12 innings...7 of Jones' 12 walk-off hits have come in extras.

p. Why does it seem he has more than 12 career walk off hits?

q. How crazy are the Brewers and the way they win games? On Saturday the Crew won on a pinch-hit walk-off bunt by Jonathan Lucroy.. Last time the MIL won game on any bunt single: April 28, 2004 (Bill Hall).
r. Even more crazier is the fact The last PINCH-HIT "bunt-off" in the majors was also by the Brewers. (Former Met great) Glendon Rusch in 14th inning against the Astros on April 19, 2003.
s. Earlier in the week Brewer closer John Axford accomplished this feat...loaded the bases in the ninth inning Tuesday -- AFTER he'd already struck out the side. How'd that happen? Easy. Axford whiffed the first three hitters in the ninth, but the third (Ian Desmond) reached base on a strike-three wild pitch. Then Axford allowed a single and a walk, and only then got the final out for real, on a fly ball to right.
t. I love when something crazy like that happens!

3. Some fun September Weekends
Everyone knows I enjoy a good multi-city, multi-sport legendary weekend. If I win the lottery between now and then this is what I will be doing every weekend in September.

Labor Day Weekend-My birthday is on Friday
9/2 Friday Night- Dodgers @ Braves
9/3 Saturday- College Football Season starts w. Boise St-UGA at the Georgia Dome

An Empire State/Keystone State/Garden State extravaganza
9/8 Thursday- US Open, Flushing Meadow
9/9 Friday- Cubs @ Mets, Citi Field
9/10 Saturday- Alabama-Penn State, Happy Valley
9/11 Sunday- Cowboys @ Jets, Meadowlands Stadium

A visit to Chicagoland and the Hoosier State
9/16 Friday- Astros @ Cubs, Wrigley Field
9/17 Saturday- Michigan State @ Notre Dame, South Bend
9/18 Sunday- Browns @ Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium

A MLB Legendary Weekend in the Big Apple
9/23 Friday- Red Sox @ Yankees, Yankee Stadium or Phillies @ Mets, Citi Field
9/24 Saturday- Red Sox @ Yankees, Yankee Stadium or Phillies @ Mets, Citi Field
9/25 Sunday- Either of the games above or a quick Amtrak ride to DC for Braves-Nats
Only football option is Giants @ Eagles on the 25th.

4. Some Fun October Weekends

A Sunshine State Trifecta
10/1 Saturday Alabama @ Florida
10/2 Sunday New Orleans @ Jacksonville
10/3 Monday Indy @ Tampa Bay

Rocky Top, Carolina and the ATL
10/8 Saturday UGA @ Tenn
10/9 Sunday Saints @ Panthers 1:00
Drive like a Bat Out of Hell
10/9 Sunday Packers @ Falcons 8:20

Mid-Atlantic to The Big Apple
10/15 Saturday Purdue @ Penn State 12:00
10/15 Saturday Clemson @ Maryland TBA (Could be done if Night game. 199 miles between State College and College Park).
10/16 Sunday Bills @ Giants 1:00
10/16 Playoff Baseball TBA
10/17 Monday Dolphins @ Jets (Monday night in the Meadowlands, enough said)

Another Sun Shine State Trifecta
10/22 Saturday Maryland at FSU
10/22 Saturday Georgia Tech @ Miami
10/23 Sunday Broncos @ Miami
10/24 Monday Ravens @ Jaguars

Texas Four Step
10/27 Thursday Rice @ Houston
10/28 Friday BYU @ TCU
10/29 Saturday Missouri @ Texas A&M or Kansas @ Texas
 10/30 Sunday Jaguars @ Texans

5. Podcasts
Last weekend I mentioned my love for twitter and how it has changed how we get our news, sports information and communicate with those who 5 years old ago seemed untouchable. This year I will tell you my favorite Podcasts. I believe in 5 years every new car that we purchase will have the availability to download podcast automatically. No more downloading Dan Patrick to the IPOD, plugging in the IPOD to the adapter, etc. Dan Patrick will now be waiting on me when I crank up my car every afternoon for the ride home. As a big fan of Sports Talk radio how awesome would it be to have interviews from the top Sports Radio programs waiting on me when I get in my car every afternoon. One should also imagine the possibilities on the business side. The ability to focus your advertising by knowing who is listening to certain podcasts etc is knowledge that some will pay top dollar.

I was listening to Jonah Keri's Podcast from May 6th when he interviewed the great Sean McDonough. Sean who is the son of the late Will McDonough the go to NFL scribe for the Boston Globe from the 1960's through the early 90's. One of the items I found so fascinating is that one of Sean's brother is the Director of Player Personnel for the Jacksonville Jaguars. His other brother Ryan is Director of Player Personnel for the Boston Celtics. One sister is at Harvard Business School and another sister is head of Baptist General Hospital in Boston. What a family.

Here are my must list Podcasts Downloads
1. Rich Eisen- Every time I listen I learn something new about the game of football. Eisen is the master at interviewing his guests and often the subject does leave football. I also enjoy hearing the background info on the workings of the NFL Network and this includes the travel schedules that fascinate me.
2. Bill Simmons- The Sports Guy who is a basketball expert but is well versed in every sport. Sometimes the podcasts get to Boston centric but who am I to judge? I respect the passion the people in that town have for sports.
3. Up and In: The Baseball Podcasts- This should be number 1, they only problem is this podcast gets a little lengthy but still awesome none the less.
4.  The Poscast- My current favorite writer interviews some intriguing guests. How is it not awesome?
5. Behind The Bets with ESPN- I love hearing from wise guys and the house on how the numbers gets set up etc. The casino's do not get built by mistake.
6. Jonah Keri- I have only listened to the one podcast which I referenced earlier. Still fascinated by the opportunities that are available.

What am I missing? What are you downloading?

6. Halftime
Instead of linking one awesome song that Smoak and myself used to rockout to while juveniles in the metropolis of Sylvania I will give you two songs that we listened to on the way back from TMAC's wedding to the hotel. I thought it was ironic that we played two songs about cheating after seeing one of our best friends get married but who am I to judge? The first song is I Let Her Lie and comes from Darryl Worley who has a Scotty McCreery sound to his voice. The second song that we listened to was All These Years by Sawyer Band. Random fun fact: I once saw Sawyer Band at Effingham County High School when I was in high school. What does that even mean?

Last Ten Things trivia question was not answered correctly by anyone. The four sets of Father/Son combos with 200 homeruns apiece are Gus and Buddy Bell, Cecil and Prince Fielder, Bobby and Barry Bonds, Felipe and Moises Alou.

This week trivia question is just as difficult. Their have been 6 players to have hit at least one homerun in 40 different ballparks. Name them. Just some hints for everyone. Think players who have played in both leagues and in the not so distant past with the Stadium Boom and Interleague Play.

7. College Baseball Thoughts
This weekend will mark the start of the NCAA Baseball tournament with 16 four team regionals set up throughout the country. My Dawgs will make a west coast trip to Corvalis, Oregon. I hear it is lovely their this time of year. Hear are some thoughts and my predictions which should help you fill out your college baseball bracket. You are filing out a bracket right?

a. The ACC has never had a team win a National Championship. Yes, Miami has won multiple National Championships but none as a member of the ACC.

b. UGA is playing in its 7 NCAA tournament since 2001. Before 2001 the Dawgs had only made 3 NCAA tournaments. Those were 1987 when they went to Omaha, 1990 when the Dawgs won it all and 1992 when UGA lost in the Tallahassee regional.

c. In this years tournament seven SEC teams made the tournament, as did seven teams from the ACC. The Pac-10 joined the Big 12 with six teams selected.
d. One shocker was six time NCAA champion failing to make the field of 64. The Bayou Bengals went 36-20 overall record, an RPI of 26 and 18 wins vs. RPI Top 100 teams. The negatives include a dismal ninth-place finish in the SEC, 13-17 record in conference, and perhaps the most damming statistic, just three true non-conference road games.
e. Meanwhile, the St. John's Red Storm of the Big East finished the season with an RPI of 54 and a 35-20 overall record. They also finished second in the Big East in the regular season and reached the Big East tournament title game. However, they were just 1-3 vs. RPI Top 25, 1-6 vs. RPI Top 50 and 9-16 vs. RPI Top 100.
f. With LSU missing out on the tournament it makes me wonder if the SEC invited all 12 teams instead of the top 8 could they have still made the NCAA tournament? I know if I was on the NCAA Baseball Committee and we were discussing teams I would say how can we invite them to the National tournament when they can not make the SEC tournament.

g. With that being said the Bayou Bengals need to play more than three true non-conference road games.

h. St. John's on the other hand played 26 road games this season. The Johnnies also played an early-season series at Georgia Tech, won a series at Georgia Southern (a postseason club) and played North Carolina in a midweek bout.
i. Safe to say RPI was not a major factor when a team like Arkansas with an RPI of 14 gets shipped to Arizona State as #2 seed. Also, UGA is a 3 seed in the Corvalis regional despite having the best RPI of all the teams involved.

j. For the first time since the NCAA tournament was expanded to 64 teams, the West does not have a team seeded in the top eight. Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, defending champion South Carolina, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Texas and Rice are the top eight teams.
k. My 16 Regional winners are Virginia, UCLA, Florida, Southern Miss, UNC, Cal State Fullerton, South Carolina, UCONN, Florida State, Texas A&M, Vandy, UGA, Texas, Arkansas, Rice, TCU.

l. I do love the SEC and not the ACC with Clemson and GaTech losing home regionals. Besides those upsets I was mostly chalk.

m. My 8 College World Series finalists are Virginia, Florida, Cal State Fullerton, South Carolina, Texas A&M, UGA, Texas and TCU.
n. We will have a Virginia-Florida final with the Gators winning it all. (I can not believe I just typed that).

8. MLB Power 9
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Boston Red Sox

3. Cleveland Indians
4. New York Yankees

5. St. Louis Cardinals

6. Arizona Diamondbacks

7. Tampa Bay Rays

8. Texas Rangers
9. San Fransico Giants

9. What I Read This Week
A couple of long reads about the sporting world. The first one is the New Yorker profile of Fred Wilpon that made news last week. While Wilpon does call out his three marquee players those comments come in one paragraph of an article that is 21 pages when printed. Also last week Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated profiled Wilpon as well for the magazine. Here is that article. I am still fascinated how Wilpon went from a middle class Brooklyn kid to owner of the New York Mets. His American Dream.

The next article can be found in this week's Sports Illustrated and it is the story that forced Ohio State to deal with Jim Tressel since the school would not investigate on their own. Fascinated that Tressel did not think what he was doing was wrong and how he underestimated the severity of the issues in Columbus. Where was the Athletic Director when all of this was going on? How silly does school president Gordon Gee look today?

10. Non Football or Baseball Thoughts
a. Saw the Hangover 2 twice this past week. Very funny, not as funny as the first but who would have expect that?

b. They used the same formula as the first movie but why change? The first Hangover was the highest grossing "R" rated movie of all time.

c. Mr. Chow is one amazing character. I can not remember another like him. Also, Doug's wife is amazingly gorgeous. She needs a better agent, or on screen credits only include Hangover, Hangover 2, American Pie (where she was a random hot girl), Jezebel's Kiss, Homer and Eddie (when she was four).

d. The actress I am discussing is Sasha Barrese. How does she not have a major role in a movie or television show?

e. Went to Kenny Chesney about ten days ago. As always a very good show even though I was dissapointed in only one encore song. The encore song was "Boys of Fall" while very good, not what I am looking for in an encore song.

f. Kenny did cover the David Allen Coe song, You Never Even Called Me By My Name....has that song ever been played when it has not turned into a great sing along?
g. Billy Currington is a better artist than I give him credit. I totally forgot how many really good songs that he has. Who doesn't love "Good Directions" "People Are Crazy" "Pretty Good at Drinking Beer" and "Let Me Down Easy"?

h. It has to be noted that Luke Bryan actually wrote Good Directions...here is Mr. Bryan singing one of my favorite country songs.

i. Does anyone realize that Billy Currington is from the 912 and Rincon, Ga? He also recorded this song with Shania Twain which might be the worst song ever recorded.
j. I think my wedding season is coming to a close...one more wedding in Athens the last weekend in June. One thing about wedding season is that I get to see and hang out with an A-list crew that I do not see that often.
k.With that being said if I ever find someone who is as awesome as me (let's be serious I am perfect and look like Brad Pitt) the festivities will not be outside in May. With that being said it was still an awesome time.
l. In a couple weeks Peter King (the guy I stole the 10 things from) is looking for guest writers for his column. If I were him I would ask Mike Mayock or Joe Posnanski. King also gets players or coaches to write for him and I would to hear from guys like Kurt Warner, Tony Dungy, Tom Coughlin, either Harbaugh brother, Marshall Faulk or Drew Brees. I will email or tweet him my thoughts. Let's see who he chooses?
m. Three years ago I could not tell you a thing about Mike Mayock. Today I think he is the premiere football analyst whether college or professional. This season he will team with Brad Nessler who is one of the best in the business for the NFL Network's Thursday Night Football. Mayock will also color commentate Notre Dame football on NBC.
n. Because I am a geek I looked up the NFL Networks and Notre Dame's schedule to find potential crazy travel schedules.
o. Their are two weeks that Mayock will have to pull double duty. The first is Thursday November 10th with the Raiders at the Chargers on a Thursday night. Mayock will then take the Red Eye to the East Coast for a Notre Dame home game against Maryland at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. The second crazy travel week for Mayock will be the following weekend when the Jets take on the Broncos in the Mile High City. After the game or the next morning Mayock will fly to Indy or Chicago and drive over to South Bend for Saturday's battle of the Jesuits when Boston College plays Notre Dome. That's a cool schedule.
p. With the Mav's in the NBA finals is everyone else surprised by how quiet Mark Cuban has been?
q. Week away from a trip to Tinsel Town, has anyone ever been? Does anyone have any recommendations?

Text of The Week
From the Good Doctor in the SAV who was doing what Doctors do in the summer.....visit the beach.
Eating breakfast at the Donut Hole in sunny Destin, Florida. If you ever in the area, I highly recommend the pancakes and the red velvet donuts. If Charlie Weis finds this place during the SEC meetings he will be buying a fat boy seat belt extender for the vehicle.

I need to learn more about these red velvet donuts.

Tweet of The Week
Actually last weekend but who is counting? This week's tweet comes from who is Steve Politi a columnist for The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)

Quote of The Week
From Allen who is played by Zach Galifianakis in Hangover 2

Are we not desert any more? I didn't get the memo.

Photo of The Week
One more item from The Star-Ledger (how does New Jersey's paper get two references in 10 Things)

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