If there’s one thing The Count hates more than anything else, it’s a cheater. Back in his younger carousing days, when he’d stay up late, even on Thursday nights of a work week, riding shotgun with Jonathan Babineaux, The Count always tried to bite by the book. Oh sure, he could search out necklines of female athletes with artificially oxygenated blood and steroid-chiseled shoulders. Or maybe just take down the entire East German women’s swim team. True story: He once dated Marion Jones. Tried to bite her at the drive-in movie during, “Lethal Weapon 4,” and she broke his arm. Ever notice how his left arm always kind of hangs low? Any way, I digress. About those cheaters: The Count abhors them and will never, NEVER vote one into the Hall of Fame. Oh look, my ballot just came in the mail. Hey, McGwire: Don’t bother counting down. The rest of you, let’s take it from the top.
We have a rule here at the AJC that we’re not allowed to vote on things like polls and awards. It’s a good rule. I don’t want any part of making decisions that help get a school into a $14 million bowl game or an player trigger a $2 million MVP incentive bonus. Not my job. Fact is, I stopped voting on a lot of things before they ever asked me to stop, including the Heisman. The lone exception is the baseball Hall of Fame. The rationalization: It’s post career, and I think I can live with the fact Andre Dawson’s signature on a baseball will be worth more if he finally gets in because of my vote. So here we go …
There are 26 names on this ballot. I’m not going to make arguments here. Just giving you the names. Because frankly arguments take too long. And they’re boring. And not nearly as interesting as the fact Elin Nordegren is now walking around without a wedding ring, a clear sign that she’s advertising her availability and, yes, she wants me. Where was I? Right. Neptune. So here’s how I’m voting: Six get in (Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris, Dave Parker and Dale Murphy. Why Murphy? Because he won
consecutive MVP awards, hit 398 home runs and the closest illegal thing he put in his body was a Dolly Madison Zinger.”) Twenty don’t get in: Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Harold Baines, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile. Oh yeah. And Mark McGwire. Hah! If you missed it, Barry Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris, lamented the fact that Bonds probably is retired. I guess not getting a phone call returned for two years tipped him off. Nobody is phoning Roger Clemens, either. Once Bonds and Clemens have filed their retirement papers, they’ll be on the Hall of Fame ballot in five years. Then we can officially ignore them.
Jonathan Babineaux chose not to speak after the Falcons’ game Sunday. I suppose he’s resting his voice for his next court appearance. But here’s a stunning revelation. In arguably the lamest news release in the history of news releases, Babineaux’s personal publicist (He has one? He needs one?) released a statement from defense attorney Patrick McDonough, saying, “After my preliminary investigation, I believe Jonathan Babineaux is innocent of these charges.” I, for one, am shocked. Most defense attorneys usually come right out and say, “I believe my client is a complete moron for driving at night with three bags of weed in the car, which, by the way, smelled a lot like that new car deodorizer, ‘Fresh Bong Hit.’” You’re not going to hear anybody in Flowery Branch officially address this subject. Why? Because they’re smart. But you can feel safe in assuming they would like to drop Mr. McDonough from an observation tower.
Jim Leavitt has received a lot of attention (and job offers) for the job he has done at South Florida, a start-up program in Tampa. I’m thinking maybe he has stayed too long. There’s a report that Leavitt grabbed a player by the throat and slapped him in the face twice at halftime. Why? Apparently because he committed a penalty. On special teams. Goodness. Can you imagine if Mark Richt took penalties that serious? Georgia would be out of players by November.
The incident reportedly took place at halftime of a game against Louisville Nov. 21. Paul Miller, father of walk-on player Joel Miller, told AOL Fanhouse: “You do something like that [on the street], you put them in jail.” He should know. He used to be a police officer. If you click the link, there are some other great quotes in the story from the dad and five unnamed players, who witnessed the alleged incident in shock. Strange, though. Twelve days later, Leavitt reportedly apologized to the player, according to Fanhouse. Now the father suddenly is changing his tune. He told the St. Petersburg Times, ” I truly believe there as no malicious intent to hit anyone. He grabbed his shoulder pad … but it was like a motivational thing. After talking with Joel, he was satisfied there was not a slap, not at all.” And Leavitt? After initially declining comment, he’s suddenly issuing vehement denials. I think somebody just got extra meal money.
Georgia’s defensive coordinator position is not filled yet, nor should anybody have expected it would be. I don’t know if coach Mark Richt is actually going to land somebody as lofty as the names that have been bounced around. But it’s safe to assume a lot of assistant coaches are getting raises to not go anywhere. For starters: Tyrone Nix (Mississippi), Kirby Smart (Alabama), Ellis Johnson (South Carolina) and now, likely, Bud Foster (Virginia Tech). By the way, I’ve got to pass this along: Got an email the other day from a devoted reader whom I won’t name because I like him and I don’t want a white truck to come to his house and drag him away. But this is what it said, “Jeff. Tuberville to Athens. It’s a done deal.” And I thought the other candidates was shooting high.
OK, stop shouting. Heres’ another Tiger Woods update: He officially has filled his bag with the maximum: 14. A website, RadarOnline – which has been reporting half of this stuff and for all we know only started shortly after Woods’ drove it into the rough (a tree) — just exposed mistress No. 14. It says Theresa Rogers is in her 40s. I’m not sure if that’s a reference to her age or the number of horses in her stable. Wait, did I say that?
Actually, this has been a relatively quiet week in Tiger’s clubhouse. This is how desperate TMZ.com is for something new. They ran these two photos of Rachel Uchitel, Woods’ hookup No. 1, pushing her grocery cart in Florida. So we now know that Rachel drinks Fresca and buys the cheap paper towels.
You know, maybe it’s just the whole Tiger story that keeps taking me down this road. But the most amusing part of the whole Tennessee hostesses recruiting scandal – outside of the fact it again makes Lane Kiffin look like a complete doofus – was this excerpt from a New York Times story:
Also on Friday, Keith Easterwood, a veteran summer basketball coach, said that on a visit last year with his son, a football recruit, he had to ask a hostess to stop brushing her breasts against both him and his son. He recalled saying, “Young lady, if you don’t stop doing that, we’ve got a problem.”
Easterwood said that he took a group of basketball players to a Western Kentucky football game at Tennessee this year, and that the presence of the hostesses had his players “literally reduced to blubbering idiots. … My observation is that this is a very organized operation. These girls have obviously been groomed. There’s a lot of eye contact and touching.”
I’m fairly certain there’s no specific NCAA bylaw prohibiting contract between a recruit’s elbow and official university boobage. But I can’t wait to see the report from this investigation.
In case you missed it, Falcons coach Mike Smith stepped up and take took responsibility for the 12-yard loss on strange “Wildcat” play call late in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans, saying inn his Monday press conference, “It was obvious, while we were getting ready to run that play that they were coming off the edge. It should be my responsibility as the head coach to call time out and make sure that we don’t run that play. I take full responsibility for that play. It’s not on the players. There is nothing in our system for us to get out of that play. It’s something that I should have handled.” One more reason why players, coaches and certainly The Count like Mike Smith.