Archive for June, 2012

Let’s play hide and don’t seek . . .

globe_west_2048

In case you need to reach me in the next couple of weeks, I’m somewhere in this picture.

Questions to answer when I get back:

– Where will the Braves be?

– Where will Josh Smith be?

– Where will Jonathan Vilma be in his quest to become the most litigious player in NFL history?

Taking all predictions below.

south-pacific-hammock

Jeff Schultz

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Jason Heyward healthy, happy and meeting expectations

Jason Heyward has raised his batting average 45 points in the past month. (Getty Images)

Jason Heyward has raised his batting average 45 points in the past month. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

(Updated: 10:15 p.m.)

Jason Heyward just completed a week in which he hit .522 with three homers, three doubles, nine runs, five RBIs, 26 total bases, four multi-hit games and a slugging percentage of 1.130, which sounds good even to all of those people who don’t really know what a slugging percentage is.

Do you realize that if Heyward continues at this pace, he would break, like, probably every record in baseball history, even those set by mutant chemical creations?

I bring this up because from the moment Heyward announced his arrival with the Braves and the major leagues two years ago with a first at-bat homer that traveled about 800 feet – it’s like the fish that got away: it just keeps getting bigger – expectations have been cartoon-like. People expected so much so soon. Then, predictably when Heyward struggled, was injured, then struggled some more, many …

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Countdown: Comic relief, Olympic mudwrestling, UK urinal

Let me tell you about "Honest Abe."

Let me tell you about "Honest Abe."

There’s nothing like a good movie to escape reality once in a while. The Count loves to kick back with a trough of popcorn and a banana-and-plasma smoothie, then wait for the lights to dim in the theater and just hope it’s not a full moon outside because, well, you don’t want to know. Anyway, The Count walked into the wrong theater the other day. He thought he was about to see “Snow White And The Huntsman” because Charlize Theron kind of does something for him in a full length coat of evil (again, you don’t want to know).  But instead, he inadvertently walked into, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” and he has been catatonic ever since. Abe — yeah, yeah, president, freed the slaves, wore a hat, blahblahblah. Let me tell you: Abe wasn’t cool. He was obsessed withvampire obliterating The Count’s entire family, just because I dunked on him in high school. (Abe was tall but couldn’t jump. Think: Mel Counts. But The Count could flyyyyy! No really, I …

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VIDEO: Talking about Hawks, Danny Ferry, Joe and Josh

I chatted with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov on the Hawks’ hiring of Danny Ferry as their new general manager and the contract situations of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

Just one question: Does this video make me look bald?

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Hawks make the right move (honest) hiring Danny Ferry

Danny Ferry. (Getty Images)

Sorry, Danny Ferry is no longer in a position to bring LeBron James with him if he takes the Hawks' GM job. (Getty Images)

(This Sunday blog has been updated with the news this morning that Danny Ferry has been hired as the Hawks’ new president and general manager.)

There will be a blur of issues for the Hawks’ new architect to deal with, but all that really matters today is the organization seems to have the right guy in charge.

The Hawks have finalized the hiring of Danny Ferry as their new team president and general manager, replacing Rick Sund. New general managers, like new coaches and first-round draft picks, come with no guarantees. But Ferry has a strong reputation around the league as a sharp personnel guy and he did a solid job for five years as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ general manager.

Ferry spent the last two years as vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, following his resignation from the Cavs in 2010. He and owner Dan Gilbert split …

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Falcons’ line improvement needs to start with Sam Baker

With it's injuries or inadequacies, Sam Baker has struggled at left tackle for Falcons.

Sam Baker, whether because of injuries or inadequacies, has struggled for Falcons. (Getty Images)

There are a lot of words that can make one feel comfortable about a football team. These two shouldn’t be considered among them: open competition. Because more often than not, open competition is a euphemism for uncertainty and involves unproven or unspectacular players — and words like uncertainty, unproven and unspectacular don’t play well in season-ticket brochures.

Which brings us to the Falcons. They have just completed their mandatory minicamp. There is a lot of optimism around the team, mostly centered on a made-over coaching staff (two new coordinators and a new offensive coach) and the addition of Asante Samuel. But if you’re not optimistic in June, there’s a problem.

There’s still vagueness (or doubt) concerning the offensive line, particularly at left tackle, where Sam Baker is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. When asked about Baker on …

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Sandusky scandal is the sports story that really matters

The Jerry Sandusky case is one that no sports fan can afford to ignore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Jerry Sandusky case is one that no sports fan can afford to ignore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

It’s not a typical sports story. It’s uncomfortable. It’s ugly.

Some of the testimony was so repulsive, so evil, that it was difficult for the brain to even process it. This partly explains why the masses often lean toward the candy of the sports world. A college football playoff debate. Cheering or mocking of LeBron James. A baseball pennant race. It’s simple. It’s easy to digest. Real-life drama such as the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation case gets pushed aside, even if it’s potentially one of the more impactful sports stories of our generation.

“I really wish ESPN and other national sports outlets would start covering this more,” Tammy Lerner, co-founder of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) said Thursday. “So many stories like Sandusky are coming out. Pedophiles are drawn to places with access to kids, like sports. We’re seeing stories about …

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Clemens may be ‘not guilty’ but it won’t change legacy

Roger Clemens' legal record remains clean, but his legacy remains tainted. (AP photo)

Roger Clemens' legal record remains clean, but his legacy is still damaged. (AP photo)

The final shot from the defense attorney came on the front steps of a federal courthouse in Washington on Monday when Rusty Hardin stood before the assembled media, Roger Clemens at his side, and said, “He was not only a seven-time Cy Young winner, he’s a hell of a man” – and suffice to say, Mindy McCready was not standing anywhere nearby.

This is the way it ends for the guilty winners. They cheer. They hug. They cry. It doesn’t make them any more believable, it’s just the expected gloating that comes after the litigation finish line. O.J. Simpson cried, too. Then he held a party for jurors on a yacht.

The jurors in the 1919 Chicago “Black Sox” trial celebrated, too. They acquitted eight players on charges of fixing a World Series following only three hours of deliberation — and you think the Clemens’ jury was fast — and then they threw their hats and confetti in the …

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Jurrjens suddenly has chance to rescue his career, Braves

Jair Jurrjens will be back on the mound for the Braves in Boston. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Jair Jurrjens will be back on the mound for the Braves in Boston on Friday. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Updated: 7 p.m.)

There is a scene in the movie Bull Durham when Crash Davis learns he is close to breaking the minor league home run record. Because a minor-league record generally isn’t something a professional athlete embraces, Crash asks that the pursuit be kept quiet (and the fact he eventually hooks up with Susan Sarandon really has nobody feeling sorry for him, anyway).

Well, here’s the good news for Jair Jurrjens: He will return to the big leagues long before any Triple A record is within his reach and, in his words, “I’m not planning to come back here.”

Jurrjens is expected to pitch one or two innings for the Gwinnett Braves on Tuesday night. Then he’ll join the organization that pays his major league salary in time for a Friday start at Boston.

Unfortunately, Jurrjens couldn’t make it out of Lawrenceville before being included in the Gwinnett …

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Smoltz’s greatness with Braves doesn’t have to be over

John Smoltz would be an asset if Braves brought him back. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

John Smoltz would be an asset if Braves brought him back. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

The last time I doubted John Smoltz was April 6, 2005. No sense denying it because electronic libraries, like DNA evidence, would convict me in court anyway.

The Braves lost their season opener that year at Florida 9-0. In what was to be Smoltz’s celebrated return to starter after three seasons as a closer, he allowed six runs and seven hits in roughly five minutes (or 1 2/3 innings). For one of the few times in his career, people could scream: “Hah! Told you so!”

The cynical, know-it-all columnist that day seized the moment. The review of Smoltz’s start included this excerpt, “Smoltz didn’t have a bad day. Five runs in four innings — that’s a bad day. Seven runs in 1 2/3 innings is not a bad day — it’s usually the last day. It’s the kind of start that usually comes with a bus ticket. Or a bullpen assignment. Or both.”

If you’re looking for the rest of column, it’s in the …

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