Quick hits: Spirit mute; Thomas climbs; Obama goes red

Has anybody seen the Atlanta Spirit? They were here just a minute ago . . .
I'm not saying anything and you can't make me.

I'm not saying anything and you can't make me.

ITEM: The New York Times writes an interesting story on pro sports ownership and the economy. The article mentions the Hawks and the Thrashers as teams that may be on the market. Hmmm.

POSTSCRIPT: So I posted this blog Wednesday morning on the Times story. Sent emails to two owners (Mike Gearon, Bruce Levenson), two general managers (Rick Sund, Don Waddell) and the heads of the teams’ respective public relations departments. Our Chris Vivlamore requested to speak to Waddell, who has been the quasi-CEO of the two sports teams since Bernie Mullin’s exit.  No response. No denial. Certainly no confirmation. Not even a, “We’re not going to comment on every story that comes out” non-denial/denial. Now, I don’t know if the Atlanta Spirit has put the two teams up for sale. I don’t know if one team is for sale and one isn’t and they didn’t want to put out a split statement. I don’t know if all of the owners couldn’t decide what they wanted the statement to say so they just bagged the whole thing. Maybe this was Waddell’s call, maybe it wasn’t. But to flat out respond to a story with silence is flat out unprofessional and allows speculation to linger in an already unsettled economic sports market. Nice job, guys.

Demaryius Thomas need not worry about his draft status.

Demaryius Thomas need not worry about the draft.

ITEM: Former Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is forced to sit out the NFL combine and the Jackets’ pro day while he recovers from a broken foot.

POSTSCRIPT: Even though he was told by NFL teams not to be concerned, Thomas was worried that he wouldn’t be able to improve his stock before the draft. He may not have to. The receiver just moved onto Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” of top 25 players for the first time. Kiper doesn’t draft for NFL teams but his ranking of top players usually is pretty solid. Former Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan remains Kiper’s No. 6 overall player, and Thomas is listed 25th, with the comment: “Big, physical wideout; constant home run threat in vertical scheme.”

NCAA-POTUS-Picks-2010

ITEM: Looking for a long shot in the NCAA tournament? Georgia Tech would be a good start. The online sportsbook Bodog.com has listed the Jackets at 150-1 to win the championship, which ranks 35th out of 64 teams. That’s at least ahead of East Tennessee State, Lehigh, Montana, Morgan State, North Texas, Oakland, Robert Morris, Sam Houston, U.C. Santa Barbara, Vermont and Wofford. All 11 are at 500-1.

POSTSCRIPT:  OK, here are some of the fun prop bets:

– Over/under on how many picks President Obama gets right in his bracket: 22 1/2. His bracket is to the left: He has Kansas  beating Kentucky (two red states in the last election) in the finals.

– What percentage will be higher: Obama’s bracket or House of Representatives who vote to pass the Health Care Reform Bill in the next 72 hours: (Obama’s bracket slightly better than even-money favorite.)

– Odds on the mascot of the winning team: mammal (5-4), human (2-1), bird (2-1), reptile (40-1) or other (17-4). For what it’s worth, a “Blue Devil” is considered human. Some might dispute that.

– Odds to win the tournament MVP: C0-favorites: Sherron Collins of Kansas and John Wall of Kentucky at 5-1 each. Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal is 150-1, Derrick Favors is 200-1.

– How many buzzer-beater winning shots will there be in the first round: 0 is the favorite at 5-7.

– Conference with the best tournament winning percentage: Big Ten (2-1), Big 12 (2-1),  Big East (3-1), ACC (6-1), SEC (6-1), Atlantic 10 (7-1), Pacific 10 (10-1), West Coast Conference (10-1).

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

93 comments Add your comment

The Dream

March 17th, 2010
11:18 pm

First FINALLY!

And all the way from Seattle!

The Dream

March 17th, 2010
11:19 pm

Okay Jeff, so I think I should win a prize for furthest west reader of your blogs.

Herschel Talker

March 17th, 2010
11:58 pm

After 3 hours, there’s only 3 comments. That’s still 3 more than Terence would have gotten after an hour.

go thrash/Hawks

March 18th, 2010
12:03 am

3 comments because its the same old sheet of music but right now jeff has the ink and the Hawks and Thrash do not have a ton of victories to shut this guy up, who has no access because he has not managed the relationship nor does he have their respect, obviously.

Jeff doesn't write many Hawks articles anymore . .

March 18th, 2010
12:18 am

just about Hawks basketball (which I mean he could drop some lines about JSmoove’s improvement this year, or Horford’s improvement—or the fact the Hawks will win more games this season than any Hawks teams since 1994). He writes about the ASG everyday . .i think he finds it therapeutic.

jcwfalcon

March 18th, 2010
1:24 am

If they are going to sell I just hope they do it quickly (which wont happen, that group cant seem to come to a consensus on the price of milk).

The Thrashers are pretty dry now talent wise, and they arent going to spend any real money for a while…especially if they are ‘considering’ selling.

The Hawks are about to lose Joe Johnson because they arent going to ante up. We got a glimpse tonight of what that will be like…down by more than 10 at a couple of points…rallying back…and blowing a lead late. If they dont resign JJ, what would make anyone think ASG will open up the purse for a key replacement? They wont. They will sell you on Crawford stepping into his starting role.

As a fan of both, I hope they sell. At least the new ownership would hopefully have a definitive yes or no. With ASG the answer is always “maybe” because, collectively, they dont know…they cant come to consensus. With new ownership the answer might be yes or no, but maybe “pretty much always means no” as Jack Johnson once sang.

[...] Schultz: No response from Spirit Has anybody seen the Atlanta Spirit? They were here just a minute ago . . . a I’m not saying anything and you can’t make me. [...]

junebaby

March 18th, 2010
5:05 am

i don’t believe any management group in atlanta has any respect for “SGT SHULTZ”. nor any individual athlete, for that matter. negativity has it drawbacks. isn’t it about time for another mike vick article? or is tiger woods the new mike vick for you?

O-bomb-uh

March 18th, 2010
6:28 am

Who gives a rats ass who ‘The President’ picks? His time would better spent on a jobs pool vs. a basketball pool. Like Tech, he is ONE AND DONE!

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

March 18th, 2010
6:41 am

Jeff, your timing is off: you needed to put this out *before* these guys drank that cheap-ass green beer.

GTFan1

March 18th, 2010
6:48 am

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 18th, 2010
7:24 am

Finally, the President’s first action since taking the Oval Office.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

March 18th, 2010
7:25 am

i guess this will suffice for the lack of tuesday’s countdown (i’m assuming the Count had a low red blood cell count). didn’t obama pick the winner last year? maybe if we flood the ATL Spirit’s phones with phone calls, they’ll come up with a statement.

Don Waddell

March 18th, 2010
8:10 am

Jeff, I think you do a great job. The reason i didnt call back was because I am keeping a low profile in hopes that I may be able to keep my job yet another year…suckers!!!!

rduck

March 18th, 2010
8:31 am

well it’s a done deal that Tech will go out in rd 1 now that Obama has picked them to win against OSU. Everything else he backs turns into a huge failure so this is the “kiss of death” on GT’s season…

rduck

March 18th, 2010
8:33 am

Hey Dr. Noisewater- 3/4 of the U.S. had UNC cutting the nets last year. Not a big reach on that one…

Paddy

March 18th, 2010
8:33 am

Good job Jeff.Is it any wonder that attendace is poor for these two teams when the ownership has no interest in keeping them viable. You could have also added The Spirit is broke.

Greg

March 18th, 2010
8:38 am

Obama is the worst president this country has ever seen. Instead of doing what he said he would do at the state of the union, work on job creation, he’s attempting the continued takeover of the economy and ignores the high unemployment. His liberal agenda of controling your life through health care is more important than jobs. Just today the number of jobs lost was back over 400k. Liberals are trying to destroy and bankrupt this country and if this awful health care passes, it will do that and cause your premiums to skyrocket. But Ahh he created a bracket!! With all that’s going on he has a bracket and people think this is important to talk about! Yeah true loyal subjects of the liberal take over regime. Time to revolt.

F-105 Thunderchief

March 18th, 2010
8:41 am

“Nice job, guys,” said with sarcasm as you did, is something these guys should be used to. It’s a miracle the Hawks are as good as they are under this group.

Elmer Eskimo

March 18th, 2010
8:44 am

Sorry, The Dream, but I read from the Aleutian Islands. We’re so far west, we’re almost the Far East.

State unemployment rate hits record 10.5%

March 18th, 2010
8:52 am

Keep filling out those brackets and ignoring the imminent threat the president and his party pose to this country.

Jacket Backer

March 18th, 2010
8:56 am

agree with above comment…..

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

March 18th, 2010
9:04 am

“– Odds on the mascot of the winning team: mammal (5-4), human (2-1), bird (2-1), reptile (40-1) or other (17-4). For what it’s worth, a “Blue Devil” is considered human. Some might dispute that.” – JS

And what are the odds of the little mascot having a painted a$$? What are the odds of the little mascot being pulled into an electrical closet, held down, and having his a$$ painted? Not very good.

rob

March 18th, 2010
9:08 am

I would bet that if/when the Thrashers and/or Hawks are for sale, we will know pretty quick. I would also bet that the “sports” writers for the AJC will be the last ones to report it. As stated above and on most blogs by Schultz, there is only negative written here, nothing positive to support the players on the teams that play here. I would suggest they maybe try something like that, but any time someone actually tries to input an idea they may want to hear about, he has some idiotic response which shows he has little if any interest in any of the readers who actually take the time to read what he writes. The “sports” writers at the AJC should be the last place you go for a story concerning sports in Atlanta, which is a sad comment to make, considering the extensive population and variety of sports played and viewed in the metro area.

US Taxpayer

March 18th, 2010
9:10 am

Thank you, Greg.

azcat225

March 18th, 2010
9:10 am

Sorry, Dr. Noisewater, but this definitely does NOT suffice for the lack of a countdown this week. Now, if Jeff had added an Item 4 containing a gratuitous reference to some hot babe with an accompanying picture, well…I’m just sayin’. And Jeff, I can’t believe you’re letting Jim Mora Jr’s new job go by without some kind of shot. Are you feeling ok, man?

wesleywhatwhat

March 18th, 2010
9:19 am

i love that the right wing nutjobs that atlanta is famous for come on a sports blog to spread their hate.

keep typing, fellas. just reminds everyone why the republicans were voted out in the first place.

Bill

March 18th, 2010
9:41 am

Tech will lose to osu. the coach is not even coaching. he’s spending time arguing and whining.

Kovalchuk - The FORMER NHL Superstar

March 18th, 2010
9:41 am

Uh, guys…..Can I come back now? This whole New Jersey thing isn’t quite working out. Nobody talks to me in the locker room and the guys making just over league minimum look at me every day like, “Did you REALLY turn down a $101 Million contract?”

I do have the best view of our offense scoring goals though. I’m usually right behind the guys who are shooting and scoring. I miss Atlanta. I finally found out what they meant about the whole, “Kiss her where it smells…..So I took her to New Jersey” thing.

Anyways, can I come back now? I’d LOVE to take that $101 Million now…..I’ll even take less. If you’ll only take me back, I promise I’ll never leave again…..really.

Otto

March 18th, 2010
9:53 am

Can the fans take a vote to run Waddell out of town?

It is sad the most credible thing Obama has done is a basketball bracket.

Dr. Statisto

March 18th, 2010
10:26 am

“Keep filling out those brackets and ignoring the imminent threat the president and his party pose to this country.”

I’ll just point out the economic collapse predates the current administration. Thanks for trying, though.

C. Tampa Ironworse

March 18th, 2010
11:43 am

JS + Omaba = Man Love. Can Schultz be any more clear on where he stands? Isn’t this a sports column? Who care what the president picks?

C. Tampa Ironworse

March 18th, 2010
11:48 am

PS: Jeff…we read the sports page so that maybe SOMEWHERE we don’t get Obama and how great he is shoved into our faces. Please leave him out. I’m just suprised Obama did say that some schools have an unfair advantage and we need to “redistribute” the players so everyone could be a winner…oh, wait…winners aren’t allowed anymore, I forgot. Participation Trophies for EVERYONE!!! No winners, no losers. Competition and excellence based on performance is something Obama and Dems are totally against…so why does his bracket even matter?

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 18th, 2010
11:53 am

Atlanta Spirit Group = Worst ownership group ever put together. Maybe once the ownership issue is decided, (and who really cares) then they can sell to some competent ownership group.

Sarah Palin

March 18th, 2010
11:54 am

I live in Alaska. Its so far west that I can see Russia from my house!! Now Beat That.

Gravy Train

March 18th, 2010
12:01 pm

You nimrods better wake up and see that Sonny and Saxby have more ability to get jobs to Georgia than the President. Why don’t you hold them accountable? Because they claim to be conservative? They are using elected offices conserve their individual wealth. And by the way, if the health care plan is so bad, why do both of them already have health insurance paid for by your tax dollars? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

TNT

March 18th, 2010
12:09 pm

Oh Boy, just what I was looking for, a political blog.

Sarah Palin

March 18th, 2010
12:24 pm

I have been thinking lately of moving from the west coast of Alaska to the east coast of Alaska. I’m tired of looking at Russia everyday but if I move to the east coast of Alaska I can look at Europe everyday. What a great idea, I’m glad I thought of it.

DDT

March 18th, 2010
12:47 pm

azcat225

March 18th, 2010
1:25 pm

TNT: I couldn’t agree more.

DDT: We can only hope (ignoring this post). ;-)

last of the AJC subscribers

March 18th, 2010
1:55 pm

Man, the Hawks are playing great basketball, are going to be the third seed in the East, and Josh Smith is being feature in SI. And all you can do is snipe at the owners about stuff nobdody cares about. Are you a sports reporter anymore?

Paddy

March 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

last of the ajc subscribers……You are correct the Hawks are playing well and Smith is having a fine year. But for the few fans left of theses two clubs, it is of interest to them,would be my guess. This ownership group is news worth only because it is so pathetic and the teams could be relocating in the near future.. Both sports have serious image problems that is only exaserbated here because of poor ownership/public relations.guffaws that seem endless. It is like a dog you finally get rid of because you see no hope that it will ever be a worthwhile companion and it bites the neighbors kids.

I can spot a shill a mile away

March 18th, 2010
2:29 pm

last of the AJC subscribers = Atlanta Spirit staffer

Lee

March 18th, 2010
3:09 pm

Screw Obama, the Hawks and Thrashers are worth A LOT more than he is. I spend more time watching their games than listening to some idiot blab his mouth off about healthcare.

Lee

March 18th, 2010
3:10 pm

Jeff – Please post a blog once you get a reply/denial….if you get one.

BobinBuford

March 18th, 2010
3:10 pm

Gravy Train:

Good post – instead of worrying about Obama, why not talk about the bang up job that Sonny and the GOP have done here in Georgia the past 8 years??? Police and teacher furloughs, etc. But the GOP faithful still keep electing these guys back to office.

Jeff Schultz

March 18th, 2010
3:12 pm

The Dream – I think I’ve had posts from Hawaii, but I’ll check with the judges and get back to you.

Jeff Schultz

March 18th, 2010
3:13 pm

June Baby — I have good relationships with every ownership group except one. But thanks for your concern.

Jeff Schultz

March 18th, 2010
3:14 pm

Chris Murphy — never touch the stuff.

Jeff Schultz

March 18th, 2010
3:15 pm

Dr. Ken — Some extenuating circumstances I can’t get into right now. Count may be sidelined next week also as I take some personal time.