Archive for July, 2009

Is this a Vick story or, ‘Who’s on first?’

Just wanted to check in real quick about something. It seems that ESPN is backing off a little bit on its, “VIck will get a four-game suspension” story. Here’s their new story, which basically says the same thing but softens it somewhat:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may be close to reaching a decision on Michael Vick, NFL sources told ESPN.

League sources told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio and Chris Mortensen Thursday that sometime next week Goodell is expected to announce a conditional reinstatement of Vick, which would allow Vick to go to training camp if he signed with a team but that could also include a four-game suspension.

“Can we suspend him in basically double jeopardy?” asked the league source. “That’s the question.”

Honestly, my first instinct when I was asked to blog on the ESPN report was to hold off because the NFL hadn’t issued a response — and I’m kind of burned out on the whole thing. But I went with it. Then I got home late last night and I saw a Twitter (I’m …

Continue reading Is this a Vick story or, ‘Who’s on first?’ »

Vick may get four-game suspension (and some bad pub)

The last time Vick was on a football field in 2006, he finished the game on the bench with an ankle injury at Philadelphia.

The last time Michael Vick was on a football field in 2006, he finished the game on the bench with an ankle injury at Philadelphia. (AP photo)

Michael Vick may finally be getting some clarity about his NFL future. Now all we need is some clarity about Michael Vick.

Vick is free to sign with an NFL team but may be suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for the first four games of the season, ESPN is reporting. (UPDATE:NFL spokesman Greg Aiello is denying the report, sort of, writing on his Twitter account: “Despite what ESPN says, commish has made no decisions on MVick.”)

Vick has been on indefinite suspension since Aug. 24, 2007, following an indictment for dog-fighting and related charges that led to an eventual guilty plea.  Goodell reportedly is going to opt for a conditional reinstatement that would allow him to sign with a team, even with the impending suspension. He is holding off on the announcement, waiting to see if Vick commits further transgressions, according to …

Continue reading Vick may get four-game suspension (and some bad pub) »

Schultz’s Digi-Blog goes to SEC Media Daze

I have been to several media days in sports. But there really is none quite like the SEC’s. What can you about an event that’s so big it lasts three days! And for what — post-spring, pre-practice interviews? SEC Media Days still draws close to 1,000 media members, even in this economy, at at time when I’m being asked by editors whether I planned to supersize my drive-thru meal on the way home, because, well, that they won’t cover. (Employee of the Year potential: I stole a free banana from the lobby and ate that on the way home.) But I do have this cool little camera now that allows me to take pictures and spend less time trying to think of words. Unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented me from posting this earlier. And for anybody who tells you Alabama has come a long way in the last 100 years, they’ve never experienced the wireless at the Wynfrey Hotel. But here you go: The first in a series of Schultz’s Digi-Blogs. You see what I see. Fortunately, you don’t smell …

Continue reading Schultz’s Digi-Blog goes to SEC Media Daze »

Richt experiencing the upside of low expectations

Mark Richt looks a little more relaxed these days. Gee. Wonder why?

Mark Richt looks more relaxed these days. Gee. Wonder why?

HOOVER, Ala. — The two stars were pictured on the cover of last year’s media guide. The dog is on this year’s cover. The logical assumption is that nobody doubts that Uga will live up to expectations.

Georgia is here and Mark Richt is here and it’s a lot different from a year ago. No questions about a pre-season No. 1 ranking or championship aspirations. No Matthew Stafford swoon parade walking through the lobby. No circus. Barely a buzz.

“It’s been different in a lot of ways this summer,” Richt said Thursday morning. “It’s been a blessing.”

If the Bulldogs aren’t an afterthought at these SEC meetings, they at least are having an easier time blending into the scenery. They’re south of LSU but north of Vanderbilt. If you’re Richt, you’re experiencing the head coach’s dream. Yes, there were injuries last season. Those injuries affected not only the team’s depth but the surviving players’ mindset.

But most of all …

Continue reading Richt experiencing the upside of low expectations »

It’s not a fair fight, and the SEC likes it that way

Here's SEC commissioner Mike Slive, I believe informing the media Wednesday of the conference's new Swiss bank accounts and land acquisitions along the Mediterranean.

Here's SEC commissioner Mike Slive, I believe informing the media of the conference's new Swiss bank accounts and possible land acquisitions off the coast of Spain. (AP photo)

The real SEC — which is believed to have once been less powerful and lower in stature than the government agency with the same acronym –opened its three-day media bazaar Wednesday at a nice hotel in Alabama. I’m guessing it’s because all of the nice hotels in the Caymans were booked.

The SEC isn’t a conference anymore. It’s an ATM with a practice facility. The conference recently signed two television contracts worth $3 billion. That apparently didn’t satisfy Georgia’s thirst for disposable income, because the school then negotiated its own marketing rights deal with ISP Sports for $92.8 million.

Why General Motors went to Washington for a bailout and not Athens is beyond me.

“Sometimes, it does make you stop and think a little, especially with this economy we’re in,” Georgia athletics director Damon …

Continue reading It’s not a fair fight, and the SEC likes it that way »

Braves scoring, so did Pendleton just get smarter?

If Terry Pendleton is so bad, how come Brian McCann is so good? (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Funny how the Braves' Terry Pendleton is ripped for being such a bad hitting coach. It hasn't seemed to affect Brian McCann. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

In the past couple of weeks, the Braves have won games by scores of 8-1, 11-3, 7-1 and 11-0 and scored four or more runs in 10 out of 11 games. They have 103 runs in the month of July, which is second most in the major leagues to the Angels’ 119. They scored only 93 runs in all of June, when they ranked 26th in the majors.

(I’m going somewhere with this, promise. But first, more numbers. It saves me from having to think of new adjectives and stuff.)

In July, the Braves also have the most hits (186), the most doubles (44), the eighth most home runs (19), the second-best slugging percentage (.479) and the second best OPS (.851). I still have no idea what an OPS is, nor do I care to. But I understand it’s really big with stat geeks, so I’m going with it.

Now, I don’t know how long this power surge is going to last. Maybe …

Continue reading Braves scoring, so did Pendleton just get smarter? »

Until Goodell moves on, none of us can move on

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to get over the fact that Michael Vick lied to him the same day this picture was taken for the sake of the league and the rest of us.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to get over the fact that Michael Vick lied to him about his crimes for the sake of the league and the rest of us. (AP photo)

It was about two years ago in New York when Roger Goodell asked Michael Vick if he participated in — or had any knowledge of — a dog fighting operation that investigators believed was being run out of his house in Surry County, Va. Vick lied. He said no.

This picture to the left was taken the same day as that meeting, as both were in New York for the 2007 draft and to honor Virginia Tech after the campus shootings. You know the rest of inglorious history — for Vick, for football fans, for the Falcons’ franchise, for Arthur Blank (who had similar pre-indictment conversations with Vick) and for the NFL. So we won’t rehash it. (Again.)

Now, I understand that the NFL has become the People’s Republic of Goodell. He has been tough on crime. Between the looks of disgust, he actually seems to enjoy being judge and jury. …

Continue reading Until Goodell moves on, none of us can move on »

Countdown: Morris skinny, Richt banned, J-Lo in NFL

The Count's also getting a little pudgy.

Fortunately, a part-time Hawk finally started "Counting" his calories.

The Hawks are holding a rookie and free agent mini-camp this week. For those who don’t know, rookie and free agent mini-camps generally are reserved for three types of players: 1) recent draft picks; 2) players who are trying to transition from Europe back to the NBA; 3) players who sit on the end of the bench and occasionally break their folding chairs (assuming they can fit in them).

On Tuesday, I went looking for a player in category 3 but I only found part of him. Randolph Morris was only too happy to tell me the rest of him was lost.

That and other items in this week’s Tuesday Countdown. Take it Count (who by the way could lose a few pounds himself):

10. Hawks don’t need THAT kind of big man

The Hawks need a big man. It might be a stretch to say a guy who played less than four minutes a game last season can fill the void, but Morris is giving it a run. He is 6-foot-11 and now weighs about 270 pounds. …

Continue reading Countdown: Morris skinny, Richt banned, J-Lo in NFL »

Trade deadline special: Salty an afterthought in Teixeira deal

The real two keys in the Mark Teixeira trade: shortstop Elvis Andrus, left, and pitcher Neftali Feliz. (Texas Rangers photo)

As it turns out, these are the two real keys for Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade with the Braves: shortstop Elvis Andrus, left, and pitcher Neftali Feliz. (Texas Rangers photo)

I noticed something interesting — and fairly unusual for sports fans — in the two blogs I posted Monday about the Braves — the first asking you if the Braves should be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, and the second being the column off the team’s current hot streak but circling around the same subject.

Many (if not most) of you commented that the Braves should not be buyers if it meant giving up more prospects in a trade. I’m guessing most fans are gun shy from past prospect-for-veteran deals that didn’t work out. I’m also guessing most of that fear stems from the Mark Teixeira trade. The deal two years ago — the last major move of the John Schuerholz regime — sent Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four other minor-leaguers (that’s how most stories presented it) to Texas for Teixeira and Ron Mahay. …

Continue reading Trade deadline special: Salty an afterthought in Teixeira deal »

Deadline approaches but Braves not in all-or-nothing mindset

Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer in Monday's 11-3 rout of San Francisco. But is all this too late to catch Philadelphia in the East?	(Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer in Monday's 11-3 win over San Francisco. But is all this too late to catch Philadelphia in the East? (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The meat of the comment sounded like a concession speech, which really wasn’t Chipper Jones’ intent. But when you play for a .500 team going into game No. 93 and the team ahead of you in first place is starting to resemble the one from last October, a sense of realism sets in.

“We’re not going to be sellers, I don’t think,” Jones said early Monday when asked about how the Braves should approach the trade deadline. “We’ve been buyers to this point, adding pieces here and there. But I think we’ve got our eyes toward next year and the year after, and whatever comes this year is gravy. I don’t mean that we’re waving the white flag this year by any means. But we got off to a relatively slow start, and the Phillies are what they are. They’re the world champs, they’re playing well right now and it’s going to be hard …

Continue reading Deadline approaches but Braves not in all-or-nothing mindset »