Archive for August, 2012

Hanson not buying into talk of decline, looks to win spot

Tommy Hanson will come off the disabled list and start Friday against the Dodgers. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Tommy Hanson will be activated and start Friday against the Dodgers. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

(Hi folks. I’m ready to live blog off tonight’s Braves game against San Diego. It’s Tim Hudson vs. Clayton Richard. Following is a column I’ve written on Tommy Hanson, who will come off the disabled list after a back injury to start Friday’s game against Los Angeles. Hanson is in the unexpected position of trying to win a spot in the Braves’ five-man rotation down the stretch. The team currently is going with six pitchers.)


If there is one jolting reality about the blur surrounding the Braves’ pitching rotation these days, it’s this: Tommy Hanson is not a clear-cut No. 1. Or 2. Or 3.

This doesn’t mean Hanson is going to struggle over the next two weeks. It certainly doesn’t mean he’s not going to reaffirm his value to the Braves over time, nor that he isn’t destined to have a great career, presumably in Atlanta.

But there are doubts. There was the shoulder injury last year. The back pain …

Continue reading Hanson not buying into talk of decline, looks to win spot »

Countdown: Mizzou paranoia, Mora rant and Auburn (again)

School time means counting time!

School time means counting time!

The Count never liked back-to-school sales as a young winged mammal. Back-to-school sales meant going back to school. Also getting out of bed. Also going to Sears instead of the cool dudes store and, “No mom, I don’t think that shirt hanging by the deluxe set of 68 screwdrivers and drill bits is cute. Can we go now?” But now back-to-school stuff is great, because we get things like spies in sports bras at Missouri football practice, and Jim Mora trying to feign innocence at UCLA, and more potential problems at Auburn. Here we go again. We count down . . .

10. Is that just a clever disguise?

Gary Pinkel: "Ahh, but the strawberries. That's where I had them. They laughed at me but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic..."

Capt. Gary Pinkel Queeg: "Ahh, but the strawberries. That's where I had them. They laughed at me but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic… Hello?"

Lilly is hoping for some company.

Lilly is hoping for some company.

The paranoia of football coaches never ceases to amaze the Count. The Falcons, like every NFL team, doesn’t want media to report on certain things in …

Continue reading Countdown: Mizzou paranoia, Mora rant and Auburn (again) »

VIDEO: Why Braves need to keep Kris Medlen in rotation

When will Kris Medlen be cleared for takeoff with the Braves? (Jason Getz/AJC)

When will Kris Medlen be cleared for takeoff with the Braves? (Jason Getz/AJC)

Earlier today I reiterated in a blog why I believe Kris Medlen needs to stay in the Braves’ rotation, and why it makes sense for the team to go to a six-man starting rotation for at least the next couple of weeks.


Here’s a link to that blog.

Now, here’s me with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov on the subject. (I think Noah hurried back from vacation after hearing how much I preferred working with Tara Petrolino last week.)

Blogs on demand:
– Braves can’t sit Medlen, need to go with six-man rotation

– Danny Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short

– VIDEO: This is what I think about Falcons (with Tara!)

– Lights, camera, action! Petrino wants you to know he’s sorry

– Expect Julio Jones to take over for Falcons

By Jeff Schultz

Continue reading VIDEO: Why Braves need to keep Kris Medlen in rotation »

Braves can’t sit Medlen, need to go with six-man rotation (UPDATED)

Kris Medlen gave up one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings at New York on Saturday. (AP photo)

Kris Medlen gave up one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings at New York on Saturday. (AP photo)

(UPDATE: The Braves have made the move: Manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Monday night that the team will use a six-man rotation until the next off day on Aug. 30. Obviously, I agree. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have written the following earlier . . .)

(Also, here’s a link to a video blog on the subject)

Tommy Hanson wasn’t happy when the Braves told him the other day to go to Gwinnett for a rehab start, and it’s easy to understand why. As much as the Braves may have legitimate concerns about his back and general health and want to be cautious before activating him off the disabled list, there are two underlying issues here:

Kris Medlen has just been too good since being elevated to a starter to send him back to the bullpen (2-0 with a 1.62 ERA in three starts).

– Manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell logically want to stall a little before making a decision on whether …

Continue reading Braves can’t sit Medlen, need to go with six-man rotation (UPDATED) »

Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short

Your Hawks fantasy for a day: Danny Ferry hands LeBron James a jersey (Hawks, not USA). (Getty Images)

Your Hawks fantasy for a day: Danny Ferry hands LeBron James a jersey — Hawks, not USA. (Getty Images)

Area codes may help. Pacific breezes and Hollywood on the West Coast, and South Beach and night life on the East may have served as advantages for the Los Angeles Lakers in their ability to land Dwight Howard and the Miami Heat in luring LeBron James.

But that’s really not what this is all about.

If Los Angeles, Miami and Boston always seem to land the best players, it’s not because of the scenery or the local cuisine or the proximity to Universal Studios. It’s because of what those franchises stand for. They chase titles. They don’t act satisfied when the team wins a playoff series. They don’t limit themselves to “safe” moves in the offseason to fill out the bench. They have a vision.

They don’t give elite-level contracts to players who couldn’t spell elite if you spotted them the e-l-i-t. (Joe: Brooklyn is that way.)

“History and tradition,” Hawks general manager Danny …

Continue reading Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short »

Dwight Howard had the power (Hawks didn’t have chance)

The chance of these two guys being teammates in Atlanta was always a longshot. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The chance of Dwight Howard, Josh Smith being Atlanta teammates was always a longshot. (Curtis Compton)

(This blog will be updated or replaced by a full column later.)

Dwight Howard is about to become a Los Angeles Laker and — if this deal doesn’t fall apart and the principles don’t change — this will be the Lakers’  lineup next season: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace (see: Ron Artest) and Howard.

Wonder what it’s like to be king?

Even if the Lakers weren’t Howard’s first choice (strangely, Brooklyn was), this expected deal just reaffirms how star players have all the power in the NBA. As much as the owners hate it and NBA commissioner David Stern keeps trying to rewrite the rule book to prevent it, elite players will always have the hammer in the NBA because rosters are so small relative to other team sports and one star can make a significant difference.

There was a time when Howard, an Atlanta native and former star at Southwest Atlanta Christian …

Continue reading Dwight Howard had the power (Hawks didn’t have chance) »

VIDEO: This is what I think about Falcons (with Tara!)

Hello. I’m in living color again. Here’s are my views on the Falcons, what we can expect from wide receiver Julio Jones and the team’s reshaped defense. I think you’ll find this video is superior to previous ones because I’m speaking with CineSport’s Tara Petrolino, who is a significant upgrade over Noah Coslov. (Please don’t tell Noah I said that when he gets back from vacation. On second thought, he’s probably heard it before.)

Recent blogs

Lights, camera, action! Petrino wants you to know he’s sorry (with video)

Get ready for Julio Jones to take over

Over/unders: Dogs 9.5 wins, Jackets 8 wins (agree or disagree)

Medlen should give Braves a reason to consider 6-man rotation

Crowell had issues but replacing him won’t be easy for Georgia

By Jeff Schultz

Continue reading VIDEO: This is what I think about Falcons (with Tara!) »

Lights, camera, action! Petrino wants you to know he’s sorry (UPDATED with video)

You know, I can't look at this photo enough times. (AP photo)

Unfortunately, Petrino won't be wearing neck brace tonight. (AP)

(Updated with link to ESPN story and video below)

So of the least-enviable jobs tasks imaginable, where would “Bobby Petrino-image repair rank”? North of Barry Bonds (post-[alleged]-steroid use) but south of BP (post-oil spill)?

Petrino has agreed to/orchestrated his first television interview since a somewhat comical motorcycle crash and face plant exposed his affair with an Arkansas subordinate and submarined both his career and his personal life. (Not his reputation. That already was a wreck.)

Petrino recently sat down with ESPN’s Joe Schad. The interview will air sometime tonight during the 6 p.m. Sportscenter. Maybe the Falcons for a chuckle to loosen up before their exhibition game against Baltimore. It totally should be on the big screen at the Georgia Dome.

According to Schad, Petrino appears both “remorseful” and “apologetic.” Both emotions would, of course, qualify as precedent-setting.

The funniest …

Continue reading Lights, camera, action! Petrino wants you to know he’s sorry (UPDATED with video) »

Expect Julio Jones (only a ‘5 or 6′ last year?) to take over

Julio Jones (between Roddy White and Harry Douglas) could be center of Falcons offense this season. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Julio Jones (center) may make more impact plays than Roddy White (left). (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Julio Jones is different. He is not different just because of his rare combination of size, strength and speed for a wide receiver, or because he possesses the ability to be one of the premier players in the NFL. We’ve seen guys with talent.

Jones is quiet. He is humble. He doesn’t spend every waking minute tripping over his ego, his tongue or his Tweets.

Do you know how rare that is for an NFL wide receiver? The position breeds divas. Keyshawn Johnson spent a career screaming, “Throw me the damn ball!” but he might as well have been a spokesman for the position.

Jones doesn’t set goals. He doesn’t write numbers down on a piece of paper and put them in the top desk drawer to check after the season. He doesn’t even think, “I want to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history.”

His career objectives are simpler. More common-man-like.

“When it’s over,” he said, “I just …

Continue reading Expect Julio Jones (only a ‘5 or 6′ last year?) to take over »

Over/unders: Dogs 9.5 wins, Jackets 8 (agree or disagree?)

The guys who set odds see Alabama winning 10 to 11 games, most among SEC schools.

Alabama (10.5), FSU (10) project to win most games in SEC, ACC

FLOWERY BRANCH — I’m out at Falcons’ camp today for a column I’ll be posting later. But until then, I just received these college football over/unders from the online sportsbook Bovada, which must have me on their email list because they think I’m a degenerate gambler (and I have NO idea how they came to that conclusion).

So I thought, well, here’s a good conversation starter. Below are all of the odds from Bovada. But

Which way would you go on Dogs? More or less than 9.5?

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Which way would you go on Jacket? More or less than 8?

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here are the ones that you’re probably most interested in. The over/under on Georgia’s win total is 9½. The over/under for Georgia Tech is 8.

For what it’s worth, I would go over on both.

The SEC schools listed: Alabama 10½, LSU 10, Georgia 9½, Arkansas 8½, South Carolina 8½, …

Continue reading Over/unders: Dogs 9.5 wins, Jackets 8 (agree or disagree?) »