Archive for March, 2009

Dogs defend their title! Seriously, though …

Athens – It was a year ago this week when implausible acts of God resulted in a tornado hitting Atlanta and Dennis Felton saving his job.

Raise your hand if you think this is a doctored photo.

Raise your hand if you believe this actually is a doctored photo.

It’s difficult to determine which event was less likely. But let’s just say that 12 months later, downtown is still struggling to forget and the Georgia basketball program is struggling to remember. I was hoping to get some perspective on it all from former Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton. But let’s just say our conversation was brief.

“I don’t really have time right now,” Felton said by phone. “I’m kind of busy. Let me call you back.”

Now, I’ve played this game before. He says he’ll call you back and sounds so earnest saying it. But he doesn’t. Then you call him back but he doesn’t answer. I had thought about trying to keep Felton on the line with some offbeat conversation. “Hey, how ’bout those Thrashers?” But I figured he’d just hang up. So I went along with it.

And …

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Nice guys don’t get a pass — not even Bowden

The Count can be quite charming in daylight.

The Count can be quite charming in daylight.

The advantage of doing this job is you get a chance to see people for who they really are, or at least who they want you to think they are, or maybe who they are in the daylight, which is not to say who they are when the sun goes down, like my friend, The Count. Take Bobby Bowden. Several years ago I was in Tallahassee working on some Florida State story and sitting in Bowden’s office. It was the let’s-just-chat portion of the interview, which not every coach makes time for but is a regular practice for Bowden. We talked sports and family and he asked me about my son, Josh, who at the time was very young. The next thing I know, he reaches into a bottom desk drawer, pulls out a Florida State hat, and signs it, “To Josh. Bobby Bowden.” It was a nice gesture, even if my son didn’t know a Seminole from a purple dinosaur at the time. It was the type of move that has led several media members to allow themselves to go easy on Bowden …

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Woodson-Smith feud keeping Hawks from moving forward

Sixty-two games into the season, Mike Woodson and Josh Smith got into another spat the other night. We have watched this for five years. If their relationship were any more dysfunctional, they would be in the ownership group.

Hmmm. What do these three photos have in common?

This is March, not November. The playoffs start in six weeks. This is when NBA coaches are supposed to be finalizing rotations and good teams should be coming together. This generally is not when a head coach spontaneously combusts at halftime and benches one of his best, even if impetuous, players for the next two quarters.

Notwithstanding Saturday’s 87-83 win over Detroit, the Hawks remain too inconsistent for us to assume they’re coming together. More often of late, they look like they’re coming apart. They have several issues, but the biggest is Woodson’s and Smith’s inability to coexist.

They both arrived here in 2004. It hasn’t been a marriage. It’s been a pie fight.

One of two things …

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Dimitroff is playing a dangerous game

In the past two weeks, the Falcons have politely folded up Keith Brooking, Lawyer Milloy, Grady Jackson, Michael Boley and Domonique Foxworth and left them on the front porch like used sweaters for the Salvation Army.

That’s the thing about having one great season: Nobody is going to say general manager Thomas Dimitroff has goofed because his transcripts are still Harvard-grade. His team just orchestrated one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. His benefit of the doubt isn’t anywhere close to expiring.

But at the very least, Dimitroff is playing a dangerous game.

Locker-room chemistry and leadership are important commodities in any sport but particularly the NFL, where a hard salary cap limits depth and the number of veterans a team can carry. Say what you want about how little we expected from the Falcons last season, even after Dimitroff’s first veteran bloodletting (Warrick Dunn, Alge Crumpler, Rod Coleman, et. al): Keeping Milloy and Brooking at least …

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WBC: It’s a global pop-up (and girls: equal time)


Please welcome The Count, the new executive producer of The Countdown, with his twin, Steve Belkin

You would think a strapping half-man, half-bat like The Count would satisfy the women. But no.

  Before our new executive producer, The Count, helps us with this week’s Countdown, a slight disclaimer. The remarkable, stunning and even slightly disturbing popularity of our weekly Babe-o-pedia shot has sparked a new movement among Countdown readers. Specifically, the females. I was accosted a few times this past week by some occasionally humorless women, one of whom lives with me. They are seeking equal time. They want their own eye candy. While I’m not convinced this necessarily will help my page views given the majority of my Neanderthal clickers, I understand their position. So as a tribute this week to women and David Bowie, all the young dudes, carry the news: There are guys pictured below, too. And now, we Count:

10. The WBC(rock)

I love spring training. The weather. The small ballparks. The fact teams bring in like, 12,000, minor-leaguers to work on seven fields …

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It’s the Spirit, not fans, who should bag their faces

If it's the NHL trade deadline, it must be time for the Thrashers to clear inventory.

The NHL trade deadline is this week? Then it must be time for the Thrashers to clear some inventory.


The franchise is in season nine but remains maybe a two on the evolutionary scale. The owners are in year five, but their juvenile battles have lasted nearly as long. Hockey isn’t failing in Atlanta so much as the product is, and it turns out even the sports’ most die-hard fans have a breaking point.

“You can only put up with losing for so long,” Joe Harris said. “And I grew up a Cubs fan.”

The NHL trade deadline is Wednesday. Once again the Thrashers have morphed into a going-out-of-business sale. Take a defenseman, a fourth-line center, some shelving. Just send back prospects. They can sell those as “hope.”

Good teams add players for playoff runs, but this outfit has been amateur from day one. Local hockey fans should be used to this by now. This will be the Thrashers’ eighth non-playoff season of a possible nine. But it seems the fans have more of a …

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