Countdown: Bettman, Spirit on Facebook and Monta’s tattoo

The Count must now acnowledge . . .

The Count must now acnowledge . . .

Every family has its skeletons, and it’s with that as a backdrop that The Count begins today’s blog with this confession: He has an evil twin brother whom he seldom talks about. His name is Gary. The Count loves numbers, as you know. He learned his times tables the old fashioned way in school. But not Gary. Sure, he promised his parents and teachers he would study and do things the right way. But he took shortcuts and stole test papers from his friends and then sold them on the black market in far away foreign

. . . his evil twin brother Gary.

. . . his evil twin brother Gary.

lands, like Winnipeg. Of course, nobody saw it coming. Gary is skilled in that way. Eventually he was kicked out of school and the family cave. But he didn’t care because by then he had made $60 million for math test relocations in Canada. The Count had hoped to never speak of Gary again. But unfortunately, then the photo on the left showed up on the Internet and he had to come clean. Everybody would pick up on the obvious likeness. Don’t trust that smile. The smile lies. Actually, this dark force is full of so many lies and half-truths, it’s stunning that he’s not an Atlanta Spirit partner. And speaking of the [evil] Spirits, they certainly are popular in the [anti-]social media world. We count down . . .

10. Atlanta Spirit: Facebook’s favorite punching bag

asgsuxasggroupsucksIt’s possible that the Atlanta Spirit is near official implosion. The Thrashers’ sale and move to Winnipeg is close to being finalized. The Hawks and Philips Arena rights also are up for auction. When it’s all over, I propose we all get together and have a cleansing ceremony and burn some incense or something. Any way, the Spirit has become quite the hit in the social media world. Did you know that there’s an Atlanta Spirit Sucks Facebook page? This should not be confused with the Atlanta Spirit Group Sucks Facebook page. Since I often get accused by ownership group members of having an agenda to make them look stupid, I want you to know that I looked for “Atlanta Spirit Rocks!” and “Atlanta Spirit You Are Visionaries And My Guiding Light” Facebook pages.  But I couldn’t find them. I’m sure Bruce Levenson will get to it once he is finished building a Stanley Cup team. (There I go again with my agenda. Damn me.) But wait, there’s more!

9. Rest in pieces, Thrashers fans

Thrashers fans: Victims of an 11-season hit-and-run.

Thrashers fans: Victims of an 11-season hit-and-run.

On Facebook, you’ll also find an Arthur Blank Buy The Thrashers page. In the Spirit’s defense — I’m Johnnie Cochran! — I couldn’t find any positive Facebook fan page for a local ownership group. But I did find a Dump Liberty Media page for the Braves. It’s pretty much like a ghost town right now but it could become more active if Dan Uggla continues to hit like Greg Norton. Radio personality Steve McCoy doesn’t have an official Thrashers’ fan page but he is a hockey fan and he snapped the picture on the left, which is on his Facebook page. Poor little fella. Never had a chance. But wait, there’s even more!

8. And then there’s Captain Queeg

Author of the faux Bruce Levenson Twitter page prefers to remain anonymous but he did email a picture of his shoe.

Author of the faux Bruce Levenson Twitter page prefers to remain anonymous but he did email a picture of his shoe.

It figured that since Levenson is the point[less] man for the Thrashers and, as far as I know, the only Spirit member to once verbally spar with a fan at a townhall meeting — nice community building there — that he would be recognized individually somewhere. And yes, there’s now a Bruce Levenson Twitter page! The Count’s puppeteer, undercover at @JeffSchultzAJC, received a Tweet the other day from @BruceLevenson. Sure enough, somebody has started a faux Bruce Levenson Twitter account, at least until such time as he threatens litigation and purchases the army of a small South American nation with the money he gets from the Thrashers’ sale. Among faux Bruce’s recent Tweets: “Truly wish the banks in Canada weren’t close[d] today.” And: “The Devil didn’t go down to Georgia. He was always here. You’re looking at him, Atlanta.” And: “Flying out to Canada in the morning. Middle finger waving on one hand. #60M [$60 million] in the other. Holla.” The site also has a lovely avatar of Levenson and partner Ed Peskowitz wearing chef hats. I’ll just link here to limit the chance they sue for copyright infringement. They like to sue, you know.

7. Fifteen years later, is it a new, improved Winnipeg?

OK, one last thing on the expected mugging of Atlanta with regards to the NHL. (At least until after lunch.)  Somebody dug up this YouTube video of a Canadian newscast from 15 years ago, when the Winnipeg Jets were moved to Phoenix. No need to watch the entire video. Just fast forward (drag the indicator) to about the 3:10 mark when you’ll see a graphic of Bettman’s statement from the Netherworld. Ahem: “We regret that the Jets appear to be leaving Winnipeg. The fans of the Winnipeg Jets have been loyal throughout the team’s 16 seasons in the NHL. We have exhausted every avenue in the hopes that the Jets could remain but it appears that no one in the private sector believes after extensive analysis, that a team in Winnipeg is economically viable.” Wait, Winnipeg is not economically viable for an NHL franchise? Has it become a booming metropolis since then?

6. Win, place and showbiz

horses

Here's a picture of four beach volleyball players and three horses (we think).

OK, we need a little break here. The National Volleyball League (which I’ve never heard of) emailed me this picture to promote the “beach” volleyball tournament at the Preakness last weekend. I’m all for women athletes doing whatever they think is necessary to bring attention to their sport. But is that really Trigger sticking his head out of the stall on the right, or is it a guy in a horse suit with a wandering eye?

5. Biggest story in Canada after Thrashers: Angry beaver

Another potential Winnipeg season-ticket holder.

Another potential Winnipeg season-ticket holder.

OK, back to Canada. (Sorry, I lied. It’s the Gary in me.) Canadians are consumed by the Thrashers’ expected move to Winnipeg, which isn’t surprising considering some of the things that are considered major news up there. The CBC carried this story of an angry beaver — angry, I say! — wandering through the town of Fort Smith, N.W.T. (Northwest Territories), which is somewhere between Missoula, Montana, and the North Pole. (If it’s late May and you’re still freezing, you found it.) Any way, about this beaver:  “It looked huge. I always thought beavers would be smaller,” Mike Keizer told CBC news. “All the beavers I’ve ever seen have been in water, so you only ever see pieces of them. Like, you don’t get to see the whole beaver.” Wow. I feel like Marlin Perkins. (Kids: Google.) There’s exciting video on the link.

4. Bruce Pearl: From Vols to Red Claws?

Hello. My name is Bruce.

Hello. My name is Bruce.

Well, this should be a smooth transition for Bruce Pearl. First he slithered through Knoxville and around the NCAA rulebook. Now he may crawl in the NBA’s Developmental League as the head man of the Maine Red Claws. Coaching under the logo of a beady-eyed crustacean somehow seems appropriate. So far, Pearl isn’t talking. Most honest he’s been in years. But given that he’ll need at least a one-year cleansing before he gets another college job and he won’t find work in the NBA, the D-League seems about right. Of  course, the leader of young men thing still doesn’t seem right.

3. More attacks on ‘LieStrong’? The Count says ‘Feh’

Do you swear to ... ah, forget it.

Do you swear to ... ah, forget it.

The Count isn’t sure what to make of the latest drug allegations against Lance Armstrong from former teammate Tyler Hamilton. On one hand, Hamilton isn’t the first to call Armstrong a cheater. On the other hand, Mark Fabiani, Armstrong’s lieutenant of crisis management, makes a good point when he references Hamilton as “a confessed liar. For years and years and years he maintained that he did not dope in any way shape or form. Second of all, he is now trying to sell a book and he has scammed ‘60 Minutes.’ … If these were his allegations then why all these years, he was talking about 1999, so 12 or 13 years later, he’s finally making these allegations? …This is trash for cash from a washed up cyclist.” On the third hand – vampires have three hands; I read it in Wikipedia – who really cares? See, as much as I hate the thought of cheatin’ athletes and artificially inflated statistics, I’ve always believed that anybody who had stage three testicular cancer that spread into their abdomen, lungs and brain and at any time were told, “You have about a 38 percent chance to live” – you get a pass. Bottom line: I don’t care if Lance Armstrong was cheating. You don’t like it? Get your own blog.

2. Monta Ellis painfully traces his roots

Monta Ellis and his lovely garden setting.

Monta Ellis and his lovely garden setting.

I didn’t think anything could ever top Eric Hinske’s back Japanese warrior, breathing snake thingy tattoo that I wrote about in spring training two years ago. But I just saw Monta Ellis’s roots thing and he might have Hinske beat. He pays homage to his family tree, even having the words “Family First” burned written across his chest, and then, well, there are these branches and roots and stuff. The tattoo comes with a lifetime warranty, as long he doesn’t collide with a player wearing a “Roundup” tattoo. Thanks to TheBasketballJones.

1. And finally . . .

The Count isn’t a big fan of politics in general or political ads in particular. But give California Congressional candidate Dan Adler credit for some mildly entertaining goofiness in his recent TV commercial. (Thanks to SI.com’s Jimmy Traina.) Enter Rudy . . .

xxx

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

83 comments Add your comment

allan in texas

May 24th, 2011
10:53 am

allan in texas

May 24th, 2011
10:54 am

First!!!!!!!!!!

sisu

May 24th, 2011
10:54 am

Thanks for the laughs, they were much needed!

[...] Journal Constitution:  Count Bettman & Spirit Group get killed on Facebook, Twitter.  People of Winnipeg won’t be rolling out red carpet for [...]

allan in texas

May 24th, 2011
10:58 am

Do you think the Hawks would trade Josh Smith to the Cavs for Anderson Varejo and the 4th pick in this years draft? Would that be enough for the Hawks to get back in return for Jsmoove? The Hawks could then draft Kanter or the kid from Arizona if he’s still available! Thanks.

gary

May 24th, 2011
10:59 am

people who post “first!!” should get banned

allan in texas

May 24th, 2011
11:00 am

God bless you GARY!

Danny O

May 24th, 2011
11:01 am

Finally, some more of the Count!

Daniel

May 24th, 2011
11:06 am

OK, Jeff that may be your funniest blog of all time. “…The Atlanta Spirit Group You are visionaries and my guiding light facebook page[s]. But,I couldn’t find them.” Perhaps, the best sentence and fragment you have ever written. Congrats, even in our dark days of Atlanta sports you may have earned your Pulitzer. Please, keep up the good work.

VOLinATL

May 24th, 2011
11:06 am

Good stuff as always!!

BBrown

May 24th, 2011
11:08 am

The Count is Back!! Good work here, Jeff. You hit the nail on the head. I’m still wondering how in the wide world of hockey can Winnipeg financially sustain the Thrashers in a better manner than Atlanta. Last I checked, Winnipeg has never hosted an Olympics, Super Bowl, Final Four, etc. Maybe it’s their airport, that’s it. Oh well, maybe not, Atlanta only has the busiest airport in the world.

Arthur Blank Became Keep The Thrashers

May 24th, 2011
11:08 am

The current website KEEP THE THRASHERS is here:

http://www.keepthethrashers.com/

The current facebook page is here (with over 5,000 likes):

http://www.facebook.com/pages/KeepTheThrashers/188894621145432

Come vent with us – and drop Mr. Bettman a friendly email.

Reid Adair

May 24th, 2011
11:10 am

If you do have an anti-Atlanta Spirit Group agenda, Jeff, they’ve got no one to blame for that but themselves.

Once again, a great countdown.

Tech Tard

May 24th, 2011
11:11 am

Nice belly button.

GaVaHokie

May 24th, 2011
11:11 am

Why are you dragging the Count into this? I find this to be a far better Bettman reference for looks and attitude. :)

http://www.foxnews.com/photoessay/photoessay_6029_images/1218081054_M_penguin_devito.jpg

The numbers

May 24th, 2011
11:11 am

So, Winnipeg’s “new” arena seats only 1,700 more than the Thrashers drew last year. Say they sell out every game at an overall average of $70 a ticket that would be an overall increase in seat revenue of about $4.8 million. The Thrashers lost $20 million last year. Have fun True North.

UGA Rules

May 24th, 2011
11:22 am

Good stuff…especially including the Rudy political ad since we all know how the Yech’s of 10th street hate their role in the real Rudy’s moment of fame! But I disagree on Armstrong. I am glad he beat his cancer but he should have his name removed as the winner of all Tour de France competitions he won. The field wasn’t level since he was juiced. Is there anyone left who doubts it???

SelanneMan

May 24th, 2011
11:23 am

@BBrown. You’re wondering why Winnipeg would be a better fit than Atlanta? That’s a good question. Maybe it’s because in a gate driven league 15,000 tickets at average or above average prices is better than 13,000 or less at well below average prices. Maybe it’s because Winnipeg’s ownership group would easily become one of the most stable in the league, intuitive local businessman with 15 yrs exp. running a pro-hockey team and a billionaire media mogul for a partner. Maybe it’s because Winnipeg has a new arena (owned AND operated by above mentioned potential owners), maybe it’s because Wpg’s economy is in fact thriving (among the lowest unemployment rate in N.A.) and more of Canada’s largest companies’ HQ’s are here than in Edm and Ottawa. The NHL has a salary cap and the loonie is worth more than the greenback. Atlanta is a big city and has hosted world class sporting events, but your team often played to a half empty building and an avg of 6000 households watched games on cable (Edm averaged 150,000 households btw). I sincerely feel empathy for the die-hard fans of the Thrashers, but to suggest Wpg ISN’T a better option than Atl is foolish…don’t hate us, hate Bettman and the lousy owners who put you in this position.

Dr. Phil

May 24th, 2011
11:28 am

That beaver video was awesome!

BLUELANDbeliever

May 24th, 2011
11:31 am

Question… what are the comments that have links as the authors?

The Real JC

May 24th, 2011
11:34 am

Love #3, right there with you. I don’t care what Lance used, his story is still among the best of all time in sports.

The stuff used by cyclists increases and white blood cell count, which mirrors the effects of living at a high altitude or sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber (both of which aren’t illegal). While it does increase aerobic perfomance, there’s no indication that it gives people an advantage not achievable by the aforementioned legal means.

Also, winning the Tour de France isn’t like turning a pop-out into a home run like Bonds – it’s still really, really difficult. You’ll notice that Hamilton never won it, even though he was doping the whole time as well.

Let us have our heros, Tyler.

Miguel Indurain

May 24th, 2011
11:34 am

Lance is a fraud and a phony. I’m taking off this stupid yellow bracelet.

Duck a Fawg

May 24th, 2011
11:34 am

June: “You sure were hard on the Beaver last night, Ward.”

R. Stroz

May 24th, 2011
11:36 am

That’s a “Brutually Good Countdown.”

schmeckdawg

May 24th, 2011
11:38 am

Does Bettman look like Vladimir Putin or is it just me? That could explain a lot!!!!!!!!!!

The Real JC

May 24th, 2011
11:38 am

Also, can we agree that the Fort Smith Angry Beavers would be a great NBDL expansion team?

P-Man

May 24th, 2011
11:42 am

I haven’t laughed this hard in I don’t know how long! great stuff, Jeff!

mbjets

May 24th, 2011
11:48 am

I wish everyone would stop being so bitter about this Thrasher move to Winnipeg “thing”. Stop making it so personal. Yes, we are talking about a game. But there is a business side to it, due to the fact that the owners pay the players to play the game. As far as making money, True North is one of the most successful businesses in Canada(dare I say North America). Why is that? Responsible human beings at the helm. These guys don’t throw money away. That is why they are able to purchase a team right now. As a former resident of Winnipeg, I know what the Thrasher fans are going through. But, you have to realize that when you only get an “average” of 13,000+ per game, and only 9,000 households are tuning in to watch Thrasher games on TV, there is not enough of a fan base to support the team. You need more than just people in the seats(doesn’t hurt , though). You need people to buy merchandise, buy concessions at the games, etc, etc. I think I speak for just about everyone, including some of the owners when I say that the salaries for these players is once again, getting out of hand. When you make millions of dollars to do your job, you don’t need more millions. This is also one reason some teams are in such financial trouble. Too many spoiled rich kids playing a game. Anyway, enough ranting. Winnipeg is in much better shape to support a team than Phoenix(I really mean Glendale, Phoenix would be better than Glendale), Atlanta, Miami, etc., etc. The recent global recession barely caused a dent in the Canadian economy, because we have rules as to what banks/mortgage companies are allowed to do with our money. They have every right to run their business and make as much money as they can, but they must do it within the rules. This is why Winnipeg is in much better shape than Atlanta. Less abuse of consumer funds. This leaves more money for consumers to buy that merchandise and concessions(not just a ticket). When you only have 6000 households tuning in to watch, that means that not very many people in your metro area are buying Thrasher merchandise. Enough said. Oh, yeah. Bettman could go anytime!

mbjets

May 24th, 2011
11:51 am

6,000 or 9,000. Not much difference. Sorry, about the typo.

party time

May 24th, 2011
11:55 am

how about another blowout party at the gulch with the atlanta hawks mascot and 200 people to convince the thrashers to stay??? Each person can contribute a few bucks to give to the owners as “a token” of appreciation!

Richard Alpert

May 24th, 2011
12:01 pm

Dan Adler commercial is great!

Bruce L.

May 24th, 2011
12:02 pm

OK, guys, as soon as that check from TNSE clears I want you to start suing the pants off that Schultz character! And if he doesn’t like it, well, he’ll just have to deal with it!

Brendan

May 24th, 2011
12:08 pm

Jeff, how about a column chronicling just how badly Don Waddell mismanaged the team out of existence, in Atlanta? He truly did a masterful job of it. If you or I set out to make hockey fail in Atlanta, I’m pretty sure this is the “blueprint” we’d use to do it.

Gary Bettman, you failed this market. Truthfully, I don’t know why you put a team here, if this was the way you were going to have the market run. Bettman would vehemently deny any wrongdoing, blaming ownership decisions and stewardship. But SOMEBODY had to approve these guys to run the team. And if “fans” could figure out that they only wanted the NBA franchise, and were forced to take on the Thrashers, why couldn’t you, Mr. Bettman? You couldn’t suss that one out?

I thought there was something afoul when the group’s assets and holdings weren’t made public, and it became known that, on several occassions, they’d take their entire company, in some cases, 414 employees, to Aruba, or Seychelles, or Las Vegas, etc. Not any of those locations are known havens for money laundering. Oops. I made a typo, inventing a term that doesn’t exist.

atlvol55

May 24th, 2011
12:09 pm

Jeff,

What is your hatred for Pearl?? While certainly I was disappointed when I heard of the lying to invistigators, Pearl is a good man. Nothing Pearl did ever gained TN a competitive advantage. There was no grade fixing, $100 handshakes, or the such.

Basically Pearl had a bbq at his house and invited some recruits over. First of all, its ridiculous that is a violation anyway. Both of the recruits ended up going to other schools anyway.

By the way, if you ask some folks, Pearl is very active in Knoxville in many different volunteers groups. His own cancer group has raised tons of money and he was always getting asked and GOING to many different groups to speak. While most TN fans are certainly disappointed in his actions, most also realize how much he embraced TN and its traditions in the relatively short time he was there.

Trust me, there are many coaches out there doing much worse than Pearl; both professionally and personally.

No Kiffin on the other hand is a different story.

Canada...really?

May 24th, 2011
12:13 pm

You want to hear a great joke: Canada’s economy

Ward Cleaver

May 24th, 2011
12:19 pm

I’ve never been fond of an angry beaver

Editor

May 24th, 2011
12:23 pm

Go back and edit this. It looks like a pitiful high school writer did it.

PROOF-READ YOUR WORK JEFF

Buckeye

May 24th, 2011
12:26 pm

Shibdaddy

May 24th, 2011
12:30 pm

My stupid boss loves the Thrashers. I pretend but my team is Buffalo. Go away Thrashers! Atlantans do not deserve a hockey team. Stupid name anyway. LOL

Sellout

May 24th, 2011
12:31 pm

Here’s a picture of an ‘average’ 13,500 fans in ‘attendance’ at a Thrashers game

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee50/kurtenblog/thrashers.jpg

Tripple Lindy

May 24th, 2011
12:36 pm

Not all Canadian beavers are angry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sekLEG8xsOs

The nice ones probably want Winnipeg to get a team through expansion and not have it ripped from other hockey fans.

Mr. The Sky Is Falling

May 24th, 2011
12:37 pm

Outstanding, Jeff. As far as I’m concerned, the ASG can’t be trashed enough considering how inept they were at running this franchise. The only silver lining here (indeed, if there is one) is that the ASG has screwed up so badly that they will never be able to take a public ownership stake in Atlanta professional sports, again.

JCC

May 24th, 2011
12:38 pm

Any chance David McDavid might want to spend some of that money he got from TBS for screwing him over in favor of this bunch of clowns. The brilliant guys that run the NHL and NBA surely knew that a bunch of wannabes who had to crack open piggy banks to scrape together enough change to make the deal was bad idea for both franchises.
This bunch makes Liberty Media look like the Steinbrenners or the Rooneys.

Andrew

May 24th, 2011
12:41 pm

Jeff, you don’t have to care whether Lance was cheating, but do not think for a second that he wasn’t. Of course, all of these riders were lying before when they denied using PEDs. Duh, they were still competing and making money, or they were still trying to maintain their reputations. Once they were exposed by positive drug tests, they lost the motivation to maintain the code of silence. And do you think for one second that Lance Armstrong could have dominated the sport clean when probably 25% or more of the top riders were doping? It seems obvious that Lance was doping, and he is no more or less honorable than the others who doped. His courageous battle against cancer has nothing to do with the doping issue.

jarvis

May 24th, 2011
12:45 pm

Not that Winnipeg is French Canadian, but this still seems to work at the moment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF43P-FJrFo

Michael J. Mahoney

May 24th, 2011
1:03 pm

Easy on Canada Jeff. At least they understand and appreciate hockey. A lot more than I can say for this town. The most ironic thing about the name Atlanta Spirit is that those two words just don’t make sense when put together. This town has no Spirit when it comes to professional sports. Honestly this town doesn’t deserve a hockey team.

Take Beavers over Pigs

May 24th, 2011
1:06 pm

Here’s some down home Atlanta culture. These guys are great but don’t think they can afford Thrashers tickets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gLN3QoN-q8

Inman Parker

May 24th, 2011
1:06 pm

Can’t hate on Winnipeg; they deserve a hockey team more than Atlanta does. Just a shame to feel like Atlanta never got a fair chance to get behind their team.

Cujo

May 24th, 2011
1:07 pm

Say what you will about beavers, at least we don’t bet on Beaver fights. How’s dog fighting down there since Michael Vick went to prison? Probably more fun now isn’t it? The thrill of it all.

Inman Parker

May 24th, 2011
1:16 pm

Why all the hate for Bruce Pearl? He has taken his medicine for lying. Dont hate him, hate college bball for its corrupt system. He was fired for doing something that 98% of college coaches do all the time. He has been nothing but class since his termination and will continue to be better at his job than you Jeff. The fact that the AJC make low blow comments about out of state schools just perpetuates the stereotype that the AJC is low rent. If you guys were smart you would start a big SEC section and get rid of the only UGA and Tech garbage.