Archive for August, 2010

Hey, here’s an idea: Manny to Braves! (Kidding. Sort of)

I'm just not sure how Manny Ramirez' dreds (or the rest of him) would play in the Braves' clubhouse.

I'm just not sure how Manny Ramirez' dreds (or the rest of him) would play in the Braves' clubhouse.

Before you start launching into a verbal assault in this direction  for a completely moronic suggestion, let me make something clear: I am NOT recommending the Braves sign Manny Ramirez. (I write that still knowing that the first “You’re an idiot” comment will be posted in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .)

Again: Not recommending Manny World here. He comes with a ton of baggage. Clubhouse chemistry has been central to the Braves’ success this season. Ramirez is not about chemistry, unless you count performance-enhancing drugs (thank you, try the veal).

But ESPN’s Buster Olney, the best national baseball writer in the business, has a really interesting blog posted on the expectation that Ramirez will be put on waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers soon. The Dodgers close out a four-game series against the Braves tonight. Ramirez is on the disabled list with a calf injury but he appears …

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Put away the shovels: Braves (13 runs) not dead yet

It's party time again. Troy Glaus is greeted in the dugout by teammates after hitting a three-run homer in the Braves' 13-1 win. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

It's party time again. Troy Glaus led a 13-run assault with a three-run homer. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

With Chipper Jones on crutches, Jason Heyward on the bench and Rick Ankiel batting second despite hitting .083 over his previous eight games, the Braves once again played out that final scene from “Carrie,” when Sissy Spacek’s hand punches through the dirt of her grave site.

They scored four runs.

In one inning.

Three times.

As Don King once opined, in all of his promotional glory: “I have risen from the great media pallet of death!”

At some point, it’s not just smoke and mirrors. There must be a third element involved with this team. Eye of newt, perhaps?

The Braves, having accounted for all of two runs and nine hits in the two games following Jones’ season-ending knee surgery, punched through the dirt Sunday. With their divisional lead down to a near hiccup, they drilled the Los Angeles Dodgers, 13-1, at Turner Field, once again elevating this spare-parts team to a new level …

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LIVE: Braves try to locate offense (with Chipper on crutches)

Chipper Jones showed up at Turner Field today, the day after having season-ending knee surgery. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Chipper Jones showed up at Turner Field today, the day after having season-ending knee surgery. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Chipper Jones was back in the Braves dugout this morning — on crutches.

“I thought if the guys saw me around, it might lift their spirits,” he said.

Yes, or depress everybody with the reminder of what the Braves need to accomplish without him. With their National League East Division lead over Philadelphia down to two games and the potential of a frenetic wild card race they would prefer to not drop into, the Braves face the Los Angeles Dodgers again today at Turner Field. They have managed to split the first two games of this series, despite scoring only two runs. (For the record, the Braves have lost only one home series all season: in April against Philadelphia, dropping games two and three to start the nine-game losing streak.)

Jason  Heyward (lingering knee bruise) also is out of today’s lineup, despite the Braves facing a right-handed pitcher (Vicente …

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McGarity steps into dream, as Georgia moves past nightmare

Greg McGarity and Michael Adams both knew McGarity probably wasn't ready for the Georgia job in 2004. (AP photo)

Greg McGarity (with Michael Adams) realizes he probably wasn't ready for the Georgia job in 2004.

(UPDATED: 7 p.m.)

ATHENS – Greg McGarity didn’t walk into an old house Friday and declare, “These couches need to go, rip up the carpeting, knock down that wall, and why does the garage door open every time I turn on the blender?”

Greg McGarity walked into a mansion. Shangri La. Eden. Bang on the walls and gold coins will fall out of the ceiling. Georgia’s athletic department is a stuffed ATM. It accrues wealth from its football program, the SEC and its very own $93 million marketing rights deal. Major expansion and renovation projects are either recently completed or well underway. Hey, it turns out they even have a basketball team.

Welcome back to Athens, Greg McGarity. Your dream job awaits.

“I’m six or seven years older now,” said McGarity, referencing his failed candidacy to become Georgia’s athletic director in 2004. “I’m more mature. This time, for whatever reason, I felt …

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Hi, did I miss anything? (And a few names for the Braves)

Not to much happens when I go on vacation. Damon Evans gets arrested ...

When I go on vacation, Damon Evans gets arrested and fired …

The summer is almost over. That’s fortunate. I figure if I take another week off, there will be a three-car pileup in a Kroger parking lot involving Matt Ryan, Jason Heyward and A.J. Green and I’ll be off somewhere, sipping a drink out of a smoking coconut,  thinking, “It’s a good thing I only take my vacation in the summer when nothing happens.”

I try to plan my time off carefully. I generally take it in the summer because: 1) That’s when my family can take it; 2) The other three seasons generally are filled with football, football, football, NBA playoffs, trade deadlines, drafts

... and Chipper Jones suffers a torn ACL, possibly ending his career. That's all.

… and Chipper Jones suffers a torn ACL. But that's pretty much it.

and recruiting. So what happens? The last two times I closed my laptop for time off, Damon Evans blew up his career and Chipper Jones tore his ACL.

I wasn’t supposed to return until Sunday. But with Georgia naming Greg McGarity its new athletic director later today and …

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Eric Hinske goes bald (and then goes deep) in Braves’ win

Here's what Eric Hinske looked like when he hit a game-winning home run Thursday night . . .

Here's what Eric Hinske looked like when he homered Thursday …

I have a deep appreciation for any pro athlete who would so something as drastic as shave their head, largely for two reasons: 1) It can show a certain belief in the unknown forces of nature, as in, “Maybe this will help me hit better”; 2) Every time somebody shaves their head, that’s one more guy with less hair than me.

Eric Hinske, mired in a 1-for-21 slump, shaved his head before Thursday’s game against San Francisco. He said he did it

... and here's what he looked like when he struck out Tuesday.

… and here's what he looked like when he struck out Tuesday.

because of the blazing summer heat, not the slump. But given that he then went out and hit the game-winning home run in the Braves’ 3-2 victory at Turner Field, this could start a trend.

“We’ve got a lot of guys in here who are bald because they don’t have a choice,” said Brooks Conrad, who’s one of them. “Hinske went with our look and it worked good for him. He looked mean before and now he looks twice as …

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LIVE from Braves (while Kawakami blows Gwinnett budget)

Kenshin Kawakami just got the news: He passed Nate McLouth as the highest paid player on the Gwinnett Braves' roster.

Kenshin Kawakami just got the news: He passed Nate McLouth as the highest paid player on the Gwinnett Braves' roster.

(Last updated at 6:30 p.m.)

I’m not sure but I think the Gwinnett Braves just shattered the International League salary cap.

If you haven’t heard the news, the Braves have: 1) Optioned pitcher Kenshin Kawakami to their Triple-A affiliate; 2) Brought up reliever Christhian Martinez, who will keep a spot warm until rookie phenom Mike Minor gets here before his first start on Monday in Houston; 3) Placed Kris Medlen (partial elbow ligament tear) on the disabled list.

The Medlen and Minor moves were expected, and Minor’s first start will be highly anticipated. He has been dominating in his five starts at the Triple A level, going 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA, 35 strikeouts and 10 walks in 31 2/3 innings. General manager Frank Wren said Minor will be joining the staff for only the short term, but it will give everybody a sneak peak of his future in the majors.

Which leads us …

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Falcons’ Weatherspoon showing he’s not empty noise

Sean Weatherspoon may talk a lot, but the Falcons have learned to embrace the noise. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Sean Weatherspoon talks a lot, but the Falcons are embracing the noise. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH — For most people, talking interrupts the silence. For Sean Weatherspoon, it’s the other way around. It’s widely believed he spent about seven minutes as a baby in the goo-goo, gah-gah period of communication, and then advanced directly to a full-blown monologue.

“If I played offense, I’d be writing down his license plate,” said linebacker Mike Peterson. “And then when I got a chance, I’d look him up — and shut him up.”

And he actually likes Weatherspoon.

How much does Weatherspoon talk? So much that in the weeks leading to the NFL draft, some teams decided to ignore the game tape from Missouri because they believed he wasn’t worth the trouble. Or the punctured ear drums.

An unnamed executive from one team was quoted in Pro Football Weekly as saying: “He never shuts up. He gives me a headache. I don’t want him in my locker room.”

To all of the detractors, the Falcons …

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An early look at NFC’s Super Bowl picks: Falcons are No. 2

A slimmer Michael Turner and more experienced Matt Ryan could be primed for a Super Bowl run.

A slimmer Michael Turner and more experienced Matt Ryan could be primed for a Super Bowl run.

If a certain quarterback from Kiln, Miss. — who remains one of the NFL’s all-time leaders in touchdowns, yards and vogueing — doesn’t play this season, the Minnesota Vikings will drop from being a Super Bowl contender to just a playoff team (maybe).

I’ll avoid typing the quarterback’s name because I understand we’re all at our limit, and have been since the Drama King’s first heart-wrenching, tearful, yes-I-really-mean-it-this-time goodbye press conference in 2008.

Which of these NFC teams will reach the Super Bowl?

  • Atlanta
  • Dallas
  • Green Bay
  • Minnesota
  • New Orleans
  • New York
  • Somebody else

View Results

Loading ... Loading …

But the potential ripple effect in the NFL from his retirement can’t be overstated. Here are the absolute five NFC teams that can go to the Super Bowl this season. I know this for a fact because I think even had former Falcons great Jeff Van …

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Hawks dropped the ball on not signing Shaq

Shaquille O'Neal squares off with Justin Bieber, who I think is playing center for the Hawks next season. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Shaquille O'Neal squares off with Justin Bieber, who I think is playing center for the Hawks next season. (Orlando Sentinel)

The Hawks want to believe they’re knocking on the door of the NBA’s elite. This is confirmation that they’re not.

Shaquille O’Neal is expected to sign with the Boston Celtics for the NBA veterans’ minimum salary of $1.4 million per season. For O’Neal, who was determined to try to play for up to two more seasons with the hopes of winning another league title, this means one of two things:

♦ Either Shaq doesn’t view the Hawks as being that close to a title (certainly behind Boston, Orlando and Miami in the Eastern Conference), or . ..

♦ The Hawks don’t believe that O’Neal does anything for them. Because for all of the smoke coming out of the organization that O’Neal wanted way too much money or was demanding way too many minutes or even a starting role, the fact is that he’s going to Boston for a bench spot and NBA pocket change.

ESPN reported Boston coach …

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