Countdown: Blank scoreboards, Bear’s plot, lingerie football! (UPDATED)

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The Count knows about budget cutbacks.

The Count hates budget cutbacks.

(11:40 a.m. Updated below with comments from Bob Williams about plans for new scoreboards after the season.)

Hello. With football season about over, our resident mathematician and mocker, Count Von Count, has returned to this cyber-page for periodic appearances. (Periodic is defined as: “Are there enough items this week? Am I hungry? Is there something else to do? What’s on TV? Oh look, the couch.) Anyway, We’re trying to spiff up these page a little bit — note, the Chalkboard borrowed from Weekend Predictions, Inc. — but we’ve been given a limited budget. Everybody is cutting back. Employees. Payroll. Fat grams. The Count hates cutbacks. Mrs. Count keeps trying to get him to switch to low-cholesterol plasma, but, sorry, it just doesn’t taste the same. More cutbacks: The Count has been to a few Hawks games this season and noticed something: Several scoreboards at Philips Arena are turned off. Did somebody pull a plug? Did something break? Was the scoreboard operator sold and moved to Winnipeg? Ready, kids? We count down . . .

10. Hey, how many points does Josh have?

See the picture from The CountCam below? It shows the three ad boards and the two message boards that are hanging at either end of Philips Arena. The message boards usually show statistics during the game. They’re off. I asked a Hawks employee about it and he responded, “No comment.” I asked another employee and he said, “I’m not saying a word.” I asked long-time Hawks vice president of media relations Arthur Triche to help me solve this mystery and he said he would seek an official comment from the management offices of the Atlanta Spirit, LLC (Liar Liar, Catch me if you can). Because see, there is this rumor going around that those scoreboards are kaput — I mean, completely kaput — they can’t be fixed, and they don’t have a buy-one-get-0ne-free coupon, and nobody wants to spend the money for new ones, anyway. Oh, geez . . .

There's two empty scoreboards.

Scoreboards are great for providing fans with necessary information. Wait a minute.

9. “Tell him I’m in South America . . .”

So Triche, truly one of the finest individuals The Count has ever worked with, sought a comment from Tracy White, who is the Hawks’ senior vice president of sales and marketing. White either struggled to come up with a public response or he had his mind on other things, like his next job, which would make sense because word is that this is his last week working for the team. He took another job. So just when it appeared there would be no official response, Arthur phoned me Monday night to say that Hawks and Philips Arena president Bob Williams wanted to comment. Presumably, this would go better than when Bob was asked why an NHL All-Star Game mural was painted over in the arena, seemingly furthering owners’ efforts to erase any signs that a hockey team ever existed here, and he responded: “I don’t deem the subject you inquired about to be newsworthy and therefore don’t feel the need to comment on it.” (That went over real well.) The Count looked forward to talking to Bob. And we still look forward to it. But he hasn’t phoned. It’s like that line from an old country-western song, “If the phone don’t ring, you know it’s me.” So here we are with no comment from Hawks management or ownership as to why four scoreboards are out. Here are the five emailed questions: 1.) Why have the end zone scoreboards not been operating? 2.) Can they be fixed or do they need to be replaced? 3.) Is there some reason they haven’t been fixed or replaced and is there a time frame? 4.) What is the cost of fixing or replacing? 5.) Have they not been fixed or replaced because of cost-cutting measures? Almost finished . . .

8. Public comment: They’re not for sale. Logic: They’re for sale

Hawks part owner Michael Gearon Jr. went to great lengths to assure the masses that ownership is not cheap. Maybe he wasn’t counting scoreboards. It’s let’s-be-real time at the Countdown: The Spirit saw a potential sale of the Hawks and arena fall through two months ago. The team still isn’t drawing well. Owners want you to think that they’re suddenly rejuvenated and nothing is for sale. But the reality is they would love to sell and there aren’t any buyers. Oh, and the last thing they really want to do right now is pay another six- or seven-digit bill for new scoreboards. So the next time you go to Philips Arena, feel free to look up at the broken arena parts. And let’s just hope the roof doesn’t leak.

UPDATE: Williams phoned back. In short, this is their story: The boards began to malfunction during the Atlanta Dream season. The plan was to “re-bulb” them, but manufacturers said doing that would risk burning out the drivers. This, according to Williams, was in September. The plan now is to replace the boards after the season with new high-definition boards that will cost “well into seven figures.”

When I asked Williams why wait until after the season, he responded that the boards take four to six months to design and manufacture, and with other arena events they believed it would be difficult to get the boards operating during the season. “We know we compromised our fans, but this wasn’t unexpected,” he said. “Our plan was to replace them at the end of the season, anyway.” (Sudden thought: Strange how none of this was mentioned until somebody asked and wrote about it. Just saying.)

Williams said the four boards represents the first part of a high-def phase-in project with all of the arena boards. When asked if ownership balked at spending the money for this, Williams responded: “Once the [Alex] Meruelo deal [for the potential sale] fell apart, Bruce [Levenson] and Michael took control again. They had approved to spend last year and were in that transition of  phasing it to Meruelo. When that deal terminated, it stayed in our [plans].”

So the boards will remain blank during the season. Might be a good place for “Post No Bills” signs.

These are the two boards on the other side.

Here's the other end of arena. I sure hope Home Depot mails me a check for showing their ads.

7. Want to be neighbors with Bear Bryant in the afterlife? No, seriously

Is this considered prime real estate in Birmingham?

This is prime real estate in Birmingham.

Every once in a while I have to start an item that reads, “I’m not making this up.” And so, I’m not making this up. A classified ad ran in the Birmingham News advertising five cemetery plots for sale (via LostLetterman.com). These plots are going for $2,200 each (or best offer), a steep rate because they’re adjacent to the resting corpse of Paul “Bear” Bryant.  Here’s the actual ad:

Cemetery Lots. ELMWOOD- ROLL TIDE!!! Block 30, spend eternity near Bear Bryant! 5 plots in a row $2,200 ea. OBO. Call 205-967-8982. Published in The Birmingham News 1/15. Updated 1/23.

And  this is when we must interject: Yes, they are different over there.

6. OK, degenerates: Here you go . . .

The Count has a certain appreciation for leagues that don’t pretend to be something they’re not. I mean, give the Lingerie Football League credit for this: They’re not stepping out of character. Here’s the commercial for Lingerie Bowl 2012. (The game takes place in Las Vegas, probably because it’s easier to recruit strippers for, you know, the skill positions.) The hilarious thing about this ad is it never even mentions a player or a team. After viewing the one-minute commercial, just leave the $1 on the stage.

Now playing at Bada Bing Dome!

5. You too can look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Geek

Not only is this dude wearing one of these, he chose pink. By the way, his friend doesn't look well.

Not only is this dude wearing one of these, he chose pink. By the way, his friend doesn't look well.

As you’ve probably noticed, the Falcons haven’t hosted a Super Bowl since 2000. There was an ice storm that week, and as a general rule NFL officials don’t like ice storms for their hoity-toity party. However, if a city wants to build a new stadium and lavish league executives with IOC-level graft, well, then the NFL just loves ice storms. Loves them! That’s why since 2000 we’ve seen Super Bowls awarded to Detroit, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York and Vostok Station, Antartica. Next week, it’s Indy. Projected temps: Highs in the mid-30s, lows in the 20s, definitely NOT Count weather. So it follows that this week’s in the Count’s inbox, there was an email advertising “The Selk’bag.” Selk’bag is Swedish for, “You have no friends, people will mock you and random Chihuahuas will walk up and tinkle on your puffy shoe if you dare to wear this.” Reading directly from the news release: “With the Velcro hand release system, you can hold your coozie-clad beer and throw your cornhole bag, all while staying warm. Endowed with the power to maintain optimum body temperature in any situation, it is rumored that God himself wears one. The bag comes in several team-friendly colors and retails for $99.” God himself wears one?

4. Jose Canseco’s Tweets himself to a new low

Some folks, the Count follows on Twitter for news value. Others, he follows for obvious mocking material. Enter: Jose Canseco. He apparently watched the movie “Moneyball” and it prompted him to go on a Twitter spree Sunday night, during which he asked Oakland general manager Billy Beane for a tryout. He would’ve had better luck if asked NASA. The Tweets: 10:42 p.m. I am going to play this year. 11:07 p.m. Billy beane call me would love to dh for you just give me a tryout that’s all I ask. 11:09 p.m. Billy beane email me Jc7264@yahoo.com. 11:21 p.m. I am hitting at on deck baseball academy in Vegas ask Andy about me. 2:32 a.m. (Monday): Baseball hates bill James but the Boston red sox hired him .that’s from the movie money ball. baseball hates me maybe they can hire me. I think I liked Canseco better when he was losing to wrestlers. Speaking of which, this never gets old:

Canseco gets clocked by Vai Sikahema (via IcePromo.com)

3. Don Waddell is scouting players again

Don Waddell's scouting eye wasn't highly thought of.

Penguins want Don Waddell's scouting eye?

Former Thrashers general manager Don Waddell, who for the last several months has been paid by the Atlanta Spirit to, well, we’re still trying to figure that one out, is employed by an NHL team again. The Pittsburgh Penguins have given Waddell a job as a pro scout. We share this news not because we believe anybody in Atlanta really cares that much, but rather as a warning to any Penguins fans who might be reading this. Pittsburgh could soon see a rise in a 37-goal forwards from the minor leagues who get called up, score two goals with a plus-minus of minus-17 in 28 games and then suffer a groin injury.

2. Free Super Bowl tickets!

Jim Irsay: not your typical NFL owner.

Jim Irsay: not your typical NFL owner.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, one of the more entertaining follows on Twitter (@jimirsay), is giving away free Super Bowl tickets. Honest. All you have to do is guess the Colts’ next head coach and, I guess, hope that Irsay picks. Here are some of Irsay’s Tweets over the past several hours. If you wade through, you’ll get to the contest. I already Tweeted my pick to him: Bobby Petrino.

Predict pre-game coin flip and win SupBowl tics!
Oh, I guess that won’t work:(
The podium rocks with the crowded ways, the speaker talks of the beautiful sage…that went down long before, he played this role
My earliest weather predictors,although bromidic n nature n groundhoggash n stature,call 4 highs of 39 n lows of 28,slight precip SupWeekend
Although they could be wrong…
Predict new Indianapolis Colts Head Coach,win 2 Super Bowl Tics! 1 guess only,u must guess by midnight tonight EST,Abby’s hatpick! GOOD LUCK
If you predict Rob Lowe,I’ll have to hunt you down like a rabid rat in the dark night and tease your kin and soak ur shoes n salted waters!

1. And finally . . .

Maybe this is amusing only to me, but a fight broke out at a soccer game in England. Between teammates. Over who would get to take a penalty kick. It’s not like one guy picked up the ball and ran away with it,  but . . . well, actually it was like that. Take a look:

By Jeff Schultz

93 comments Add your comment

AUight

January 24th, 2012
9:47 am

It’s great to see Countdown again.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

The Real Fan

January 24th, 2012
10:01 am

Woe be to Pittsburg

5150 UOAD

January 24th, 2012
10:01 am

Real slow day when the Hawks and Baseball take up that much space.

Jeff try this link for your Women of the week…http://www.idontlikeyouinthatway.com/

5150 UOAD

January 24th, 2012
10:02 am

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

NCBravesFan

January 24th, 2012
10:06 am

When it comes to Jumbotrons and scoreboards, you ALWAYS need to get the extended warranty plan or BOGO free coupon! That there is just how it is.

Purple and Gold

January 24th, 2012
10:07 am

Yes they are different over there in Bama………………They win!

Dominated us 21-0, and we crushed uga, they are different, they win.

Period.

PMC

January 24th, 2012
10:09 am

Ha, maybe they can ask Coca Cola to get them a new scoreboard like all the recreational parks do.

Hilarious that a professional franchise needs a booster club.

JB

January 24th, 2012
10:11 am

When LSU was pounding the Dawgs in the second half of the SECCG, I was waiting for subs to go in and help………………………….But we don’t have any. Richt will fail again this year to sign a full class, thus leaving empty spots on the roster, who will be filled by walkons with Scholarships, who will never see the field. Schultz, you ought to do a story on this ( it would take a little work) as the numbers are down in Athens. Days to go and only 16 commits and Richt said publicly he would sign 25 this year. No headline players left. Will he get 7 or 8 to flip? Doubt it. Yes, I’m hard on him, and at 3 mil + somebody should be. Asleep over there.

RedandBlackDAWG

January 24th, 2012
10:13 am

Come on Jeff, Canseco can still hit. The Canvas that is. He takes a mean upper cut before hitting said canvas.

Atlanta Spirit Sucks

January 24th, 2012
10:14 am

No they aren’t cheap, they just don’t want to spend any money on things like SCOREBOARDS.

Hankie Aron

January 24th, 2012
10:14 am

PMC

January 24th, 2012
10:16 am

I feel bad for Penguin fans. First 2 years worth of Sidney Crosby headaches and now their team is going to lose a decade having hired Waddell.

5150 UOAD

January 24th, 2012
10:19 am

Not #### on the count involving Jay Cutler getting trapped by his Prego Girlfriend?

Mid Town Joe

January 24th, 2012
10:30 am

GGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

January 24th, 2012
10:52 am

@Jeff

I look forward to you and Mark making wrong Falcant predictions.

What is your prediction for 2012?

Still a CHOKE believer?

4 years and no playoff wins.

HA HA HA :)

SimpleDawg

January 24th, 2012
10:54 am

Stupid column…. You get paid for this $#!+ ?

dawg tired

January 24th, 2012
11:06 am

Maybe the Spirit will make the Hawks fly Air Tran and stay in Econolodges while on the road.

Matt from MN

January 24th, 2012
11:07 am

Hahahaha….the ASG (Atlanta Scumbag Group) is just the gift that keeps ON giving. You know I was actually interested in going to see the Hawks play the Timberwolves a couple of weeks ago (Ricky Rubio for ROY), but decided to pass as these clowns are still the owners. Not ONE cent to the Hawks or Philps Arena until they are run out of town.

Has anyone noticed that the former Thrashers franchise is in the midst of it’s annual January swoon? I believe that they have lost 8 out of the last 11 games, are currently in 10th place in the East and dropping like a stone. I guess you can take the Thrash out of the ATL, but can’t take the “suck” out of the Thrash.

Danny O

January 24th, 2012
11:28 am

Hooray! The Count is back!

wxwax

January 24th, 2012
11:35 am

I feel very sorry for the women who play in the lingerie league.

Leering people like you, Schulz, are the reason why. In the past you’ve shown you don’t have any respect for women’s sports.

Girls who are jocks, who are good at sports, have extremely limited options if they want to make money at sports.

So they sign up for lingerie football. And they’re forced to wear humiliating outfits and suffer idiots jerking off on their sofas.

Watch a game sometime. These aren’t models. They’re not, you creep, strippers.

They’re athletic women trying to make a living in sports. And in this male world, they’re forced to play in underwear in order to do so.

Y’all are pitiful.

Adam

January 24th, 2012
11:39 am

Jeff, great stuff, but don’t forget that ASG hasn’t bothered to fix the tornado-damaged Philips Arena sign, clock, and jumbotron at the corner of Marietta and Centennial Park Drive. That damage occurred almost FOUR YEARS AGO. Don’t they look down out of Centennial Tower every day and see that eyesore?!?

Hollywould

January 24th, 2012
11:50 am

Good job Jeff, Now about the t.v.’s in the bar that did not work for the last 2 years. Philips does sell t.v.’s right?

5150 UOAD

January 24th, 2012
11:51 am

wxwax….you have never seen a lingerie football game IF YOU THINK THOSE WOMEN ARE ATHLETES. They are NOT FORCED to wear anything like NFL players are not FORCED to risk injury. THEY CHOOSE to do what they do for the money and fame. 1st requirement for lingerie football isn’t athletic ability, but how good they look in bras and panties.

rusty

January 24th, 2012
11:52 am

If the lights went out on the scoreboard where the ads are, you bet they would be fixed in a heartbeat.

BS!

January 24th, 2012
11:55 am

I am in the LED/Videoboard business and what they are saying is completely FALSE! Those boards are comprised of 12″x12″ or 24″x24″ modules of bulbs. Each module can be easily replaced. But, if they did not purchase a “maintenance plan” they would be extremely expensive to replace. If they did purchase this plan from the manufacturer, it’s a simple replacement at no cost.

THEY (Atlanta Spirit, LLC -Liar Liar, Catch me if you can. LOL) ARE LYING AGAIN!

Just shut up and sell the team already.

Atlanta Spirit Sucks

January 24th, 2012
12:00 pm

When are they going to fix the tiolets and sinks in the non-club part of the arena? These guys are little more than arena slum lords.

5150 UOAD

January 24th, 2012
12:01 pm

Where are the 210-300lb O & D Lineladies? Shouldn’t there be some ladies built for the Chubby Chasers to drool over too?

Trojan

January 24th, 2012
12:06 pm

How could any professional organization not have “Pro” level scoreboards? It’s called CHEAP, CHEAP or Incompetent.

Good Grief

January 24th, 2012
12:17 pm

Dang-it, Jeff. I was having a good day, happy to see the Countdown again, and then it’s nothing but Hawks and Atlanta Spirit. The day these guys leave Atlanta for good cannot come soon enough.

Maybe ....

January 24th, 2012
12:22 pm

if the league didn’t have the Hawks hopskotching north and south over the next 4 games, and instead routed those games north to south, the hawks could save some money on jetfuel!!!

Big Crimson 75

January 24th, 2012
12:25 pm

Shultz, you are the biggest idiot in the history of sports-writing.
not even a close 2nd.
you call this journalism?
no wonder this town is a 1 paper town.
you make bradley look like Jim Murray.

Big Crimson 75

January 24th, 2012
12:27 pm

You can’t write anything about the Hawks success this season?

DawginLex

January 24th, 2012
12:36 pm

Someone defended the lingerie football players as athletes?

LOL

Hillbilly D

January 24th, 2012
12:37 pm

The Spirit saw a potential sale of the Hawks and arena fall through two months ago. The team still isn’t drawing well. Owners want you to think that they’re suddenly rejuvenated and nothing is for sale. But the reality is they would love to sell and there aren’t any buyers.

Haven’t we seen this movie before?

5150 UOAD

January 24th, 2012
12:40 pm

DiLex I know can you believe it? They are probably Aerobic/Fitness Models so they are athletes but not like Bball, softball, soccer, and the such Athletes. Where are the Big O-Lineladies if it not about beauty?

bamaguy

January 24th, 2012
12:43 pm

I just called my accountant. No one is going to beat my “Next to Bear” offer unless it is perhaps Saban. He is out of my league financially. I mean, if his statue is next to Bear’s, his plot might as well be.

Seriously: I always though that the fact that his marker simply says “BRYANT/FOLMAR (his wife’s family) said a lot about him or at least about his family. I mean, in the end “daddy, husband, grandfather” tops “greatest college football coach of all time”.

Michael Gearon

January 24th, 2012
12:47 pm

You’re a joke Schultz! You have no idea how difficult it is to own an NBA team.

Doc

January 24th, 2012
12:51 pm

I hear Auburn is taking up a collection to buy the plot for Harvey Updyke. He must take immediate occupancy though….

Najeh Davenpoop

January 24th, 2012
12:58 pm

“They’re athletic women trying to make a living in sports. And in this male world, they’re forced to play in underwear in order to do so.”

Are you saying that Earth has a penis hidden somewhere?

BamaGuy

January 24th, 2012
1:00 pm

Sorry Jeff but We are different over here…We win BCS Championships and you guys don’t

5150 UOAD

January 24th, 2012
1:01 pm

Najeh………..Penis is not Hidden it is K2 and the VeeJayJ has to be the Marianas Trench then. LOL

BamaGuy

January 24th, 2012
1:02 pm

bamaguy….find your own name please

C'mon man!

January 24th, 2012
1:03 pm

Schultz, why do you keep trying to make fun of Alabama? What are you trying to prove? This paper’s continuous childish articles are getting old. Do you not have any positive news out of the University of Georgia to report? I am sure you do. Grow up. Georgia high school football players must think highly of the State of Alabama, the University and the people. Several of them choose to go there every year and we are very proud to have them. Roll Tide!

DUKEofBLUELAND

January 24th, 2012
1:04 pm

Really Jeff?

“We share this news not because we believe anybody in Atlanta really cares that much, but rather…”

Was that really necessary? I didn’t think so. Don’t take this the wrong way. I really enjoy your articles, blogs, etc, and the fact that you (on occasion) stick up for the Thrashers fans. In this case, however, you don’t need to toss that quote around because guess what? THERE ARE HOCKEY FANS IN THIS TOWN. Plenty of them. Ever been to a Glads game? You see plenty of Thrashers and other hockey jerseys there. It can work here, you just need good solid owners to put a consistent (or at least progressing) product on the ice.

DawginLex

January 24th, 2012
1:15 pm

Best hockey in the world?

Friday night midnight at Lexington Ice Arena

University of Kentucky

Club sport. Pure love of the game

Jimmy Crack

January 24th, 2012
1:21 pm

Jeff, so funny. Really. It is amazing how these conglomerate owners can operate in the public arena without a reachable spokesman. Also the Conseco thing was great. Gotta like Vai’s haymakers.

You also know Jeff I love the Lingerie Football League. If no one has watched LFL, I suggest either watch it or shad up. This league is not your daddy’s bra and panties league that Angie Everhart “played”. Yes Lex, these are real ATHLETES and this league is here to stay. These athletic women playing football make the WNBA look like ice curling. They break arms, legs, lose teeth, rupture spleens and never cry on camera, plus they are HAWT! Even the down linechicks have a little something something going on. And the Quarterbacks! Give me that naked bootleg! I also didn’t mention the tight ends because…they’re ALL tight ends! Swack! Watch a game and you will turn faster than a virgin at a Jägermeister party. I jest, but really, great fun to watch, alot of hard hits, some serious effort and skill, plus the games aren’t that long in time but fast moving.

Harvey U.

January 24th, 2012
1:23 pm

I deserve one of those plots next to the Bear. Send donations to my website.

that #12

January 24th, 2012
1:24 pm

she’s got some tig ol bitties…. i’ll be tuned in and turned on baby. go dawgs