The Count held a grudge once. His dentist mixed up his patients. So the Count goes in for a routine cleaning and comes out with freshly capped teeth. Freshly FLAT capped teeth. Not funny. You know what it’s like for a vampire to go out on a Friday night and struggle just to give a hickey? He’s a vampire! Anyway, the Count started thinking about grudges this week after gauging the hatred of Atlanta sports fans toward one Keith Brooking. And he started wondering: Gee, whom do fans hate most? And then he wondered: Wait, is it whom or who? We count down . . .
So I put up a blog the other day, musing (again) at Keith Brooking’s sudden emotional TNT tendencies this season. I made the mistake of saying he was justified in calling Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings “classless” for throwing a meaningless, late-game, rub-it-in touchdown pass in Sunday’s playoff game against Dallas. Whoa! I knew Brooking wasn’t exactly popular in Atlanta these days. But you would’ve thought I’d just written: “Himmler: He was largely misunderstood.”
The vast majority of comments ripped Brooking. Or me for sticking up for him. Or both. A few bozos were banned from commenting because it seemed they were mixing their meds again, and then took the daring leap from the Crayola box to a keyboard. The online poll (still open) was 81 percent to 19 percent that Brooking was wrong. Just a guess: The fact that it was Brooking skewed the results. Yes, I imagine that if the Falcons were getting drilled by the Vikings, and Favre rubbed it in with a late touchdown, and it was Curtis Lofton walking over to the Minnesota sideline to taunt Brad Childress, some of you would’ve agreed. But since the hatred for Brooking is at an all-time high, here we go. I’ve picked out seven former Atlanta athletes from the last few years who still upset the populace. The factors: boos, comments, emails. It’s my new unpopularity quotient. I’m working with Bill James to come up with an actual statistic. It’s all very scientific.
It’s just like a contest — except nobody has home-field advantage. The seven finalists: Brooking, Jeff Francoeur, Tom Glavine, Dany Heatley, DeAngelo Hall, John Smoltz, Michael Vick. I didn’t want to go too far back, which is why Deion Sanders is not included. In short: Brooking trash-talked and flapped his arms in the Falcons-Cowboys game; Francoeur did a career face plant, whined a couple of times and now plays for the Mets; Heatley asked out of Atlanta after the Thrashers and city stood behind him following a car accident, then asked out of his next team (Ottawa) as well; Hall was a great cover cornerback — in his head. And then there was that tussle with Mike Smith; Smoltz — well, I’m not sure exactly what Smoltz did wrong, except for ripping Frank Wren out the door but Wren had it coming; Glavine — players union, left f0r the Mets, came back, ugly exit; Vick went from making a franchise to wrecking it. So pick one. You only get one.
Stephon Marbury is going to play basketball in China. Apparently, no other team or planet would have him. Marbury signed with the Shanx club. The owner of that team, Wang Xingjiang, said, “The aim of signing Marbury is to pay back our fans and try to win more games in the rest of the season.” I don’t speak Chinese. But I’m pretty sure Wang Xingjiang translates to Donald Sterling. News of Marbury’s late-career meltdowns probably didn’t make to Beijing. There’s restrictions on Internet use there. But if somebody drops their guard and types Marbury into search window on YouTube, I’m sure they can find this video. It shows him eating Vaseline and crying while listening to a song, “Lean On Me” during his live online show, “Starbury Marbury.”
Marbury’s China video application
What’s it been – not even two weeks since the last college football game? So of course everybody already is coming out with their pre-spring, pre-season and certainly pre-logic top 25 rankings already. The latest comes from CBSSports.com. No surprise: Alabama is No. 1. CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd also ranks Georgia Tech 10th and does not have Georgia in the top 25. Dodd on the Jackets: “Forget the Orange Bowl. It was an anomaly. It’s the system that works. The bowl performance overshadowed the fact that Paul Johnson won the ACC with his signature offense in his second season. This year Johnson loses his best receiver (Demaryius Thomas), defensive end (Derrick Morgan), tailback (Jonathan Dwyer) and safety (Morgan Burnett). The ACC still will have to catch up to the Jackets. Thousand-yard rushing quarterback Josh Nesbitt is elusive. Anthony Allen and/or Roddy Jones should get a chance to make up for Dwyer’s absence. …The early NFL defections hurt but it’s an even trade for new defensive coordinator Al Groh.” Dodd did not have a direct comment on the Dogs since he didn’t rank them, but made a passing reference with the Alabama pick: “Not exactly going out on a limb here but look for Alabama to keep dominating. College football’s worst nightmare is that Nick Saban puts a chokehold on the SEC. That appears to be the case with uncertain situations at Florida, LSU, Georgia and Tennessee.”
If there was any question how disingenuous, hypocritical and phony PETA is, this should remove all doubt. PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk released a statement defending the Washington Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas, who has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA for gun play in the locker room. Why did PETA defend Arenas? Because he did an anti-fur ad for them, of course, and they don’t want to look bad. So let me get this straight. The same outfit that asked Georgia to replace its deceased mascot, Uga, with an animatronic bulldog and lambasted Manu Ginobili for swatting a bat out of midair during a game (see video below) has no problem with somebody bringing guns into a sports arena in Washington D.C.? May I suggest that PETA replace its real president with an animatronic one?
I’ve posted this before but can’t see it enough. It’s from a Spurs-Kings game.
4. Tiger found the only place where he can’t have fun — Hattiesburg
A New York Times Magazine writer reports on his blog that Tiger Woods has checked into a treatment center for sex addicts. The center is in Hattiesburg, Miss. Woods picked the center because of the female Jello wrestling on Thursday nights. The Count has a question: Do sex addicts have a 12-step program, too, or is it just four bases?
3. Hawks since 11-2 start: 15-12
The Count has a headache. He is trying to get a fix on the Hawks. They are 26-14. That’s the good. But they’re 7-8 in the last 15 games (not good) and fairly average (15-12) since starting the season 11-2. And Joe Johnson: He’s shooting 41 percent in January (73 for 176). Teams generally don’t give some indication if they’re going to be a serious contender until March. But wouldn’t it be nice to get a hint now?
2. His eyes were spitting fire . . .
For the record, Dallas owner Jerry Jones only said that he supports the job coach Wade Phillips has done this season and reports suggest the Cowboys coach is going to get a contract extension. But Jones never said he wouldn’t fry Phillips’ braincells with his laser beam eyes. (Check out the photo.)
Tragically, Haiti has been in the news quite a bit lately. I can only assume that with word leaking of the 50-year-old Jim Nantz having an affair with a 26-year-old, leading to his divorce and a whopping $916,000 a year in alimony, he is still a little bit frazzled and hasn’t kept up on world events. So he manufactured a new republic in the Caribbean: “Hay-sha.”