Archive for September, 2009

Weekend Predictions: Dogs over Petrino in Netherworld

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According to my favorite source, legend, which I once again came across while clicking through several chapters in the religious book of Google-rotomy, the first exorcism was performed a really really long time ago and — I am not making this up — involved pigs. There was an evil spirit called “Legion,” which apparently was creating all sorts of mayhem in the world, like MTV and the BCS. So evil dude was exorcised into a herd of pigs, which then ran over a cliff and, well, unlike Wile E. Coyote, Legion did not make it to the next cartoon.

I made the trip south and approached Petrino for an interview, but he declined.

I made the trip south and approached Petrino for an interview, but he declined.

We quote, from actual scripture-like stuff (throat-clearing):  “…So the devils besought him, saying, ‘If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ And he said unto them, ‘Go.’ And they went into the herd of swine, and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran …

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You’re in charge: Cut a coach’s or GM’s salary

I just came across a fascinating story from out of town, at least to me, and thought this could be a blog topic. Besides, I need a short break to refuel before tearing into Bobby Petrino again. (Give me 10 or 15 minutes.)

Which Atlanta coach or general manager should have their salary cut?

  • John Anderson (Thrashers coach)
  • Bobby Cox (Braves manager)
  • Thomas Dimitroff (Falcons general manager)
  • Mike Smith (Falcons coach)
  • Rick Sund (Hawks general manager)
  • Don Waddell (Thrashers general manager)
  • Mike Woodson (Hawks coach)
  • Frank Wren (Braves general manager)

View Results

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The financial situation with the Miami Heat apparently is so bad that the team could be operating below the roster limit next season, and everybody in basketball operations (save the players) will take a 20-percent cut in pay — including team president Pat Riley and coach Eric Spoelstra. After losing a first-round playoff series to the Hawks, I’m assuming 20 percent …

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Crowds indicate Braves’ fans have checked out

I bring you this photo only to show you how few people were sitting in even the good seats behind the Mets' dugout Tuesday night at Turner Field.

I bring you this photo only to show you how few people were sitting in even the good seats behind the New York Mets' dugout Tuesday night at Turner Field.

Let’s start with all of the factors/excuses that might have led to the crowd at the Tuesday night Braves-Mets game at Turner Field looking like a crowd at a Tuesday night Thrashers-Lightning game at Philips Arena.

♦ 1) Tuesday night.

♦ 2) The weather.

♦ 3) The economy.

♦ 4) The lack of a playoff race, or perceived playoff race, and I would imagine the Braves’ position on that would depend on the timing of the discussion, as in either: 1)  “Come see us! We’re in a playoff race!” Or, 2) “Well, or course nobody came to see us. We’re not in a playoff race.”

Here’s what my view on a team’s attendance always has been: If people feel there’s a reason to go, they go. They find a way. They battle elements. They don’t worry about traffic or “driving all the way downtown.” They cut back on one thing so they can spend money on …

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Cox won’t commit to returning for another season

Could we be witnessing Bobby Cox's final season as manager? (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Could this be Bobby Cox's final season as manager? (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The Braves released their 2010 schedule Tuesday. But that is the extent of guarantees we’re going to get from the organization right now — and I’m including the return of Bobby Cox.

When asked if he would come back for a 25th season as the Braves’ manager next year, Cox would not commit one way or the other.

“We’ll see,” he said. Anticipating a follow-up question, he repeated, “We’ll see, OK?”

He is 68 years old. The Braves are likely to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Cox has come under more criticism than at any time in the past, primarily from a frustrated segment of the fan base (and I’ll get back to that in a little bit).

But he says the age isn’t an issue, the competition still fuels him and the criticism — well, that’s a new one on him.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” he said. “That’s why I don’t read them.”

But there is …

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A peek into Braves’ future (and they’re a bit unsettled)

Chipper Jones needs to have a bounce-back year.

Chipper needs to have a bounce-back year.

Warning: This is blog is not for the Braves’ fan who sleeps in his Braves pajamas and puts his head on his Braves’ pillow case and rocks himself to sleep by repeating, “It’s not over ’til it’s over. It’s not over ’til it’s over…” This is for the rest of you, who I’d venture to say are most of you, who are realists.

Heading out to Turner Field later because it has been a while since I’ve seen the Braves play, and it could be a while before I see them again (April?).

This blog looks to next season, and here’s my question: How set are the Braves really? Most of the conversation has been about what to do with the starting rotation, and how horrible it would be if the Braves had to trade Javier Vazquez. But Chipper Jones’ season and talk of retirement and the recent return to earth of Martin Prado

Ready to commit to LaRoche again?

Ready to commit to LaRoche again?

made me start to wonder.

So here we go. Tell me what you think. I considered a poll but figured I would have to …

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Countdown (apology edition): Kanye, Serena and D-Hall video

The Count's also getting a little pudgy.

The Count knew his times tables until MTV fried his brain.

The Count loves to count apologies. One stupid statement, two stupid statements and — oh, here comes the public relations machine – three stupid statements. Why can’t everybody just admit to who they are? Like The Count’s neighbor, Oscar The Grouch? You never see him apologizing. The Count didn’t mind when Janet Jackson tried to rescue her music career in a Super Bowl halftime show by intentionally-accidentally losing her top and exposing the Jackson Two. But it was somewhat anti-climactic, sort of like when The Count opened his cape in the bat cave and even Elmo laughed. Anyway, with apologies to Taylor Swift, that poor line judge at the U.S. Open in New York who’s now halfway through a bottle of Zoloft, and the members of the Washington Redskins’ secondary who aren’t named DeAngelo Hall,  it’s now that time. We count down …

10: Do I sense a future “Behind The Music” coming?

And what's with the sunglasses, anyway? Were we not supposed to recognize him?

This is when Taylor Swift …

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Is Miami taking Georgia Tech lightly?

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This was the scene after Georgia Tech defeated visiting Miami, 41-23, last season. That's tackle Nick Claytor, somewhere in a crowd of fans. (Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com)

In my continuing quest to peek behind enemy lines during game week, I have a question about the Miami Hurricanes: Huh?

Maybe I’m making too much of this: But when a football coach finds it necessary to tell his players, “Don’t take this opponent lightly,” isn’t there some built-in assumption that said opponent is considered to be in the “light” category?

Here’s why I ask. Miami coach Randy Shannon, who has done a terrific job rebuilding the Hurricanes, seems concerned because his team is coming off a big win over Florida State and now must prepare for Georgia Tech Thursday night.

Who wins the Georgia Tech-Miami game Thursday night?

  • Georgia Tech
  • Miami
  • I have no idea

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The Yellow Jackets are 2-0. They’ve beaten the Hurricanes four straight years (twice in Miami). …

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NFC South Report: Falcons up, others in pieces

Here's Arizona's Antonio Smith, not treating Jake Delhomme very nicely. (AP photo)

Here's Arizona's Antonio Smith, not treating Jake Delhomme very nicely. (AP photo)

This will be the first in a series of blogs during the NFL season checking on the Falcons’ competition in the NFC South, and not a minute too soon because they won their season opener and I think their magic number for clinching the division is down to 16 . . .

♦ New Orleans Saints: They’re pretty good. We’ll get back to them in a minute.

♦ Carolina Panthers: Not so good. Most figured the Panthers, who come to Atlanta Sunday, would contend for the division title. But after Jake Delhomme went 7-for-17 with four interceptions and a fumble, and Carolina was pounded at home by Philadelphia, 38-10 — the worst opening day loss in franchise history –  the

So I'm assuming Tony Romo is laughing at Tampa's defense and not telling a Jessica Simpson joke. (AP photo.)

So I'm assuming Tony Romo is laughing at Tampa's defense and not telling a Jessica Simpson joke. (AP photo.)

Panthers’ home now is that they can just stay ahead of Tampa Bay. The enterprising Charles Chandler of the Charlotte Observer figured out …

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With McNabb out, pressure to start Vick already building

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I'm baaaack. Here's Michael Vick arriving in Charlotte for Philadelphia's opener. Soon he may be arriving back in the starting lineup, with Donovan McNabb now injured. (AP photo.)

The Philadelphia Eagles seemed to be the perfect destination for Michael Vick to sign with. Why? Because they were a solid organization with a veteran quarterback (Donovan McNabb) whom Vick could learn from. Equally important: There would be no rush for him to play.

But that last thing just changed.

McNabb was injured in the Eagles opener at Carolina. He suffered a cracked rib and will miss at least one game. The slow-and-steady approach with Vick might not be possible anymore.

Vick still has one game left on his suspension, but one high-profile former head coach, Jimmy Johnson, already is pushing for coach Andy Reid to get Vick ready to start again.

In his weekly column for the Fox Sports website, Johnson wrote:  “I would be concerned if McNabb is out an extended period of time. Yes, they have …

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Falcons make an impressive opening statement

The Falcons celebrate their first touchdown. Get used to seeing this. (AJC photo)

The Falcons celebrate their first touchdown. Get used to this. (Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com)

Remember the season opener a year ago, when it became so clear so early that every move had worked? The general manager who rebuilt the roster. The coach who chose a different path than his predecessor and convinced his players they really weren’t a sub-standard life form. The quarterback who played like some flawless lab creation.

It happened again Sunday.

This is the part where we caution: It’s only one game. Even Mike Smith, the coach, felt compelled to say, “It’s Week 1 of a long journey.”

But it looks like everything worked again. The second-year moves by second-year general manager Thomas Dimitroff  leave some sense of clairvoyance. The Falcons look better than good, better than last year, almost certainly better than we expected. They won their opener, 19-7, and it wasn’t nearly that close. Two missed field goals and a botched extra point  — OK, Jason Elam: not so …

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