Countdown: Hall of Cheats, Hall of Fame, Hall of Nuts (Leavitt)

There's a reason The Count doesn't use his left hand.

The Count's right-handed for a reason.

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.

10. It’s still OK to vote for Cooperstown and D.C.

The Hawk goes in on my ballot.

The Hawk goes in on my ballot.

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 …

9. Elin goes in on my ballot. So do Dawson, McGriff, Murphy

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

Murphy's got no shot, but what the heck.

Murphy's got no shot, but what the heck.

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.

8. Maybe Babineaux’s attorney needs to be drug tested

Wonder if Cheech and Chong ever cruised in Duluth?

Wonder if Cheech and Chong ever cruised in Duluth?

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.

7. Special teams is REALLY important to Jim Leavitt

Remind me never to play on punt coverage for Jim Leavitt.

Note to self: Don't cover punts for Jim Leavitt.

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.

6. First we emasculate, then we embrace?

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.

5. Ssssh: Tuberville to Dogs. Pass it on

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.

4. Welcome to Ms. Rogers Neighborhood

Rachel Uchitel did not bring her own bags. Bad girl.

Rachel Uchitel did not bring her own bags. Bad girl.

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?

3. Wait, even more Tiger!

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.

2. Does a breast constitute illegal contact?

The are two high school players and the two Tennessee hostesses that they never came in contact with. Wait. What? (SI.com)

Here's two high school players and the Tennessee hostesses they never met. Wait. Huh? (SI.com)

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.

1. Smith falls on the “Wildcat” sword

Mike Smith's being a stand-up guy, as usual.

Mike Smith's being a stand-up guy, as usual.

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.

150 comments Add your comment

jack

December 15th, 2009
1:41 am

MightyQuinn

December 15th, 2009
4:08 am

Second? I love to count like the Count!

Ted Striker

December 15th, 2009
4:15 am

Bad for Leavitt to be accused of grabbing/slapping a Bulls player. But infinitely better than being accused of grabbing/slapping a Bull’s player’s b… — oh, nevermind. Look at the time — gotta go!

bowman

December 15th, 2009
4:30 am

This is a pathetic excuse for a sports column. Based on your talent and depth of sources, Jeff, I expect better from you. Is it true that your compensation, if not your job, is partly based on how many page views your blogs get?

curious,
bowman
– -
“Art will always be Art.” – Goethe

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 15th, 2009
5:18 am

Hawk and Murph? Either people don’t remember or people don’t know.

Both are worthy beyond votes.

El Bravo

December 15th, 2009
6:11 am

I love the count but in what planet is Robby Alomar not a hall of famer? That’s right; Neptune… some day you’ll have to explain that one to me Jeff…

Cleavage police

December 15th, 2009
6:51 am

As Barney Fife used to day, “Nip it in the Bud.” The NCAA needs someone to stay abreast of this kind of incidental contact… I suggest they harden their stance, perhaps form an exploratory committee (any volunteers? … um I mean people willing to help) … if they don’t rein things in there could be national fallout from a lack of support. I, for one, only hope that the sagging effectivenesss of NCAA control is implanted with new initiatives that can bridge this critical cleavage which threatens the very paragons of virtue that we hold so dear.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

December 15th, 2009
6:52 am

Maybe Mr. Slappy Walkon just earned himself a scholarship.

I love Dale Murphy, but don’t think he’s a hall of famer.

The best part of being Tiger is not the money.

The cheap paper towels are just fine.

I like Mike.

dirk

December 15th, 2009
6:57 am

Bowman: Go sit in a tree stand if you don’t like it. Some of us need to laugh every now and then.

haywood jablomey

December 15th, 2009
7:00 am

Nick Satan

December 15th, 2009
7:04 am

Is that a real bee-hive hairdo on that Tennessee cutie-pie. Jeff you are the best! I love you man!!!

schleydawg

December 15th, 2009
7:06 am

Mike Smith is a quality coach. The Falcons are a competitive team that is well prepared each week. The pre-season free agency loss and the injury bug this year have had a tremendous impact, but the Falcons are still fun to follow. Class act.

Mr. P

December 15th, 2009
7:09 am

I didn’t do it…It wasn’t me…you can’t prove it…those photo’s were doctored by an Alabama Alum working for Hugh Hefner.

brave1

December 15th, 2009
7:11 am

Why do coaches feel the need to announce that they “take full responsibility” for their team performance?

Do they think it makes them look heroic or extremely honest and stand up?

We know you are responsible guys. Stop patting your self on the back.

haywood jablomey

December 15th, 2009
7:19 am

Nick Satan, that’s not a bee-hive, that’s a “BumpIt”
and if u call in the next 10 minutes they’ll double the
order for only $9.99.

bet those byrnes guys want to “BumpIt” and it
wouldn’t even cost em 10 bucks.

Northern Songs, Ltd.

December 15th, 2009
7:20 am

Not your best, except maybe the Kiffan is a doofus line.

“Art will be Art.” – Paul Simon

MiltonDawg

December 15th, 2009
7:22 am

Great Stuff JS- i’m a diehard Murphy fan, how can the voters go wrong with him? He is the only person in the countdown thats not morally challenged. Next we will hear that Kiffin & Co have a brothel just outside of Knoxville called Rocky Tip!!! Can the Tiger thing just go away? Babs and his attorney are complete morons…i guess the reefer was mistaken for oregano.

haywood ...

December 15th, 2009
7:26 am

hey! where’s my comments? one was actually pretty good.

SimpleDawg

December 15th, 2009
7:36 am

I have never seen so many hillbillie Vowel fans on the AJC blogs as I have recently. Every single one of them vehemently proclaiming the “Hostess Scandal” as harmless and fueled by jealousy over a revived juggernaut UT program. Sorry inbreds, it’s real, it’s scandalous, and it’s against the rules….except in Tennysee, where mating with sisters and cousins is not only desired, it’s preferred.

A well known DC will have to be paid big $$$$$ to leave their current position to come to Athens. Kirby may be the easiest to lure away from his boss….ol’ Lucifer himself.

Ellis Johnson and his wife are both from South Carolina. Ellis has many recruiting connections throughout the state; I don’t see him leaving USC east.

All of you morons heckling UGA for not being able to hire Bud Foster away from Va Tech…..you’re showing your ignorance of his history at Va Tech.

Eldick will never be Tiger again.

SimpleDawg

December 15th, 2009
7:37 am

Oh, excuse me…..I meant Eldrick. Freudian slip…..

M Anthony

December 15th, 2009
7:43 am

Trying to figure out what is the purpose of this column. Other than showing a losing coach of a losing falconette team, I guess it is a lame attempt at calling out athletes and people in the news. I guess this what you do when you have nothing sportwise to be proud of in this city. I even heard a local sports radio show yesterday talking about all the bad plays the New Orleans coach called in Sundays game. At the end of the day, I believe the Saints flew home with a still undefeated record.

Nativebird

December 15th, 2009
7:48 am

While the jury is still out and will be out on Smitty as a NFL HC for some time, I must say, you’ve simply got to like the spunk, the fire and the accountability.
However, I believe the jury has come in on Mularky…and it isn’t “not guilty”. Way too many game-day brain cramps.

The Count

December 15th, 2009
7:50 am

1 stupid article by Schultz…….. 2 stupid articles by Schultz………..3 stupid articles by Schultz…..shall I go on?

FBR

December 15th, 2009
7:59 am

Cleavage police —— Hilariously, Wonderfully Written!!!!!!!!!

Larvell "Sugar Bear" Blanks

December 15th, 2009
7:59 am

Jeff,

Thanks for stepping up to the plate and knocking this paticular column out of the park! However, I am quite intrigued by the reports of T. Tuberville to Athens. I am somewhat surprised that his name hasn’t been linked to an upcoming HC position with some school located here in the south.

Kudos on the nods to Hawk and Murph! I remember when he retired that he might not have the votes to get in on the ballot but I am not sure.

Lastly, and not lustily this Tiger Woods story has to be the story of the year! My vote for woman of the year definitely goes to Elin! Why no mention of the report that when Tiger got the word that his father passed away he was actually in bed with yet another woman! Just stunned beyond description is the only way to describe this!

SimpleDawg

December 15th, 2009
8:00 am

Falling on your sword for something really stupid isn’t gallant……it’s just stupid. 2 stupids don’t erase the first stupid.

Dale Murphy is a Hall of Famer. He dominated baseball for many years like very few had done before or have since….and without steroids or scandalous behavior.

Elin is way beyond Bikini Hallof Fame. She is a Goddess…..a very rich Goddess.

appalachian-american

December 15th, 2009
8:02 am

I am shocked that a football program would stoop to t&a to use as bait for players. That has never been done by any school before. Jeff you left off Pete Rose for the Hall. Has there ever been a guy more crapped on than him when every kind of thief,wife beater ,druggie have just been hand slapped.

MiltonDawg

December 15th, 2009
8:06 am

M Anthony- apparently this is your first time on here. Get a clue and relax

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:07 am

Appalachian — I agree. Unfortunately, Rose isn’t on the ballot so I didn’t have a choice to make.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:08 am

Simple Dawg — He didn’t have take the hit for Mularkey. I guess that was my point. … On Dale–agree. … On Elin–Definitely agree.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:10 am

Larvell — Thanks. I’m just not sure Tuberville’s in a huge hurry. He’s got a ton of money and is not going to take just any job. … Yeah, I saw the story about Tiger supposedly being with another women when his father died. Sick, if it’s true.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:11 am

The Count — You sir, are impersonating the Count. That’s a felony.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:13 am

MiltonDawg — Thanks. Most voters are just looking at this total numbers and don’t consider them sufficient.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:14 am

Haywood — Caught in spam fiter. You’re up now.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:15 am

Nick Satan — Yes, real bee-hive. And I think the bees come out for the Florida game.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:16 am

Barnacle Bill — I use the cheap paper towels too. Unless I have a coupon for the better stuff.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:18 am

El Bravo — Alomar might be an HOFer. But I have to think about it, which means he doesn’t go in on the first ballot.

SimpleDawg

December 15th, 2009
8:19 am

I know he didn’t have to take the hit for Mularky….I get it. It was a bad time to call such a risky play….especially since you had no way to change it at the line. We out-smarted ourselves.

I almost missed the bouffant hairdo on the blond UT bimbo for looking at her little short dress……it would’ve been hard to follow the game action if you were sitting below her in the stands.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:20 am

Jack — I see you were up as late as me (as I?).

Paddy

December 15th, 2009
8:24 am

Bowman…..I believe you are in the minority. Most fans of Jeff love this column every week. It is sports, you know, not philosophy class. Or for that matter, not logic class either.

Eric

December 15th, 2009
8:39 am

Babs real crime was driving around with an expired tag. Now that’s stupid. Tubs to UGA…not a chance!

Reid Adair

December 15th, 2009
8:39 am

Jeff, like your Hall of Fame selections – and good luck with that Elin thing.

As for the rest … “official university boobage”? Absolutely hilarious.

And I agree 100 percent about Mike Smith. Just another example of how things have changed with the Falcons. I can’t imagine Jim Mora, Jr., standing up and taking responsibility like that.

Todd - Dacula

December 15th, 2009
8:44 am

Jeff Schultz – The reports are nthat Jim Leavitt only grabbed this kid by the shoulder pads; my daugher attends USF and dates one of the starting players. The reposrts appear to be false; the reposrts are that the palyers’ father has retracted statements as well.

Facts please.

Lane Kiffin

December 15th, 2009
8:46 am

A redneck from Georgia passed away and left his entire estate to his wife. Sadly, she cannot touch any assets until she is 14.

You might be a Georgia redneck if the Kelly BlueBook value of your pick-up truck goes up and down based on
how much gas is in it.

You migh be a Georgia redneck if you think “Genitalia” is an Italian airline.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:50 am

Lane — That first one’s pretty funny.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:52 am

Todd — That’s in the Countdown item, if you read it. But let me ask you this. The kid’s dad five separate phone conversations with the Fanhouse report. Five. Now, after an apology from Leavitt, he suddenly says it never happened (or that it was only a slap on the shoulder). Which do you believe to be true?

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:54 am

Thanks Reid. Elin and I are meeting at Starbucks tonight in Smyrna. We’re trying to keep this thing under wraps until after her $80 million settlement. Then I will become a houseboy.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
8:55 am

Paddy — Thanks. Different strokes . . .

Jimbo

December 15th, 2009
9:15 am

If Richt took penalties as seriously as Leavitt, the Dawgs might have fewer players but they would also have fewer penalties.

Jeff Schultz

December 15th, 2009
9:17 am

Jimbo — True.