Posts Tagged ‘Falcons’

We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade

Forgot what a sports parade looks like? Here's Braves World Series hero Tom Glavine in 1995.

Forgot what Atlanta parade looked like? Here's 1995 Braves World Series MVP Tom Glavine.

It is that time of year when two leagues are close to determining new champions and every sports fan in Atlanta thinks, “There goes another parade.”

A potential NBA title in Oklahoma City? A possible Stanley Cup in Los Angeles (only slightly better than if Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey)? Are the sporting gods planning any more shots to the groin area? Is Mike Mularkey destined to lead Jacksonville to a Super Bowl? (On second thought, we’re probably safe.)

Not counting minor leagues or sports teams that would make you pause and think, “Wait, do they count?” Atlanta has celebrated only one pro championship since the Braves and Falcons theoretically lifted the city out of amateur status in 1966.

Depending on how generous you want to be with the math, Atlanta is 1-for-46 years, which equates to an annual parade percentage of .022, or 1-for-155 seasons (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL), which is a …

Continue reading We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade »

How they really stand, from Braves (1) to Weasels (12)

Hey look, the Braves have new uniforms. So how about a new finish? (AP photo)

Hey look, the Braves have new uniforms. So how about a new finish? (AP photo)

Welcome to this year’s edition of “How They Really Stand,” my ranking of all area sports teams, taking into account wins, losses, direction, potential, coaches, general managers, owners, recruiting coordinators and whether anybody provides us with more civic pride than, say, The Big Chicken (the bar is low).

I’m unveiling this a month earlier than usual because it seemed like a natural break in the sports schedule with the Braves getting ready to start spring training and the Hawks taking an off day between personalities. Two tweaks this year: I’m adding Georgia State football and basketball and replacing the Thrashers with a new entry. (Last year’s ranking in parenthesis.)

1. Braves (1): The best team in town lost 20 of its last 30 games. How about a nice embalming smoothie to go with those chicken fingers? But the Braves looked like a potential World Series team on paper last season until the paper …

Continue reading How they really stand, from Braves (1) to Weasels (12) »

Al Horford was one player Hawks couldn’t afford to lose (UPDATED)

Center Al Horford is the biggest of losses for the Hawks.

Center Al Horford is the biggest of losses for the Hawks.

(UPDATED: 7:50 p.m.)

Not that anybody had been worn out by victory parades at any time in recent history (or ancient history). But it seems like the Atlanta pro sports world has been strapped to a wrecking ball lately.

Since last May, an NHL franchise was crushed by local ownership, then packaged, sold and shipped to Winnipeg. The Braves collapsed down the stretch of the season and missed the playoffs. The Falcons could’ve avoided a lot of pain by missing the playoffs, for when they got there they were dismembered again.

The Hawks had been our shining light. OK, maybe a 60-watt bulb. But they eliminated Orlando in the first round of the playoffs last season and gave Chicago a run in Round 2.

Then on Thursday, Atlanta gravity pulled them back down into the rubble.

Al Horford — the one player the Hawks could not afford to lose, the one player on the roster that other teams actually want, was counted out by an MRI. Horford …

Continue reading Al Horford was one player Hawks couldn’t afford to lose (UPDATED) »

It won’t be easy for Braves to turn fans back into believers

Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren should understand Braves just created a lot of doubt about the future. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren have a lot of damage to overcome. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This has been, as a general rule, a pro sports market of misery and hangovers, not celebrations and … well, hangovers.

The Falcons lost an NFL playoff game in 1980, and it evolved into some perceived mutant voodoo curse for the next two decades. The Hawks last won an NBA title in an era of canvas high tops (1957-58), and when they were based in St. Louis. The NHL – two teams, come and gone (the first winning a Stanley Cup after it moved to Calgary).

Even when the Braves’ lone World Series title in 1995 is referenced, it’s usually with some verbal slap about 13 other Octobers when the team fell flat, fell short or outright imploded (1996 vs. the Yankees)?

It’s for that reason that Fredi Gonzalez, Frank Wren, Terence McGuirk and the corporate weasel owner behind the curtain should be aware of something: This city-wide vitriol that they’re hearing, seeing and feeling in the aftermath of a …

Continue reading It won’t be easy for Braves to turn fans back into believers »

Atlanta Spirit hammered again in all-sports franchise rankings

Braves fared well in rankings, current problems notwithstanding.

Braves fared well in rankings, current problems notwithstanding.

I acknowledge that we don’t need any more affirmation of the pecking order of Atlanta’s major pro sports franchises — or more specifically, their owners. But it’s always comforting when a national publication echoes the same sentiment.

And so, we give you ESPN The Magazine’s ninth annual “Ultimate Standings” of 2011. The magazine ranked all 122 sports franchises, including those who might be moving to Winnipeg. Their eight criteria were bang for the buck (wins vs.

Guess which team ranked No. 122 (last) in ownership?

Guess which team ranked No. 122 (last) in ownership?

revenue in the last three years); fan relations; ownership (the word “honesty” was invoked); affordability; stadium experience; players (effort and likability); coaching; and title track (championships won or expected in lifetime of current fans).

The Braves and Falcons fared well, ranking 19th and 20th, respectively. You’ll have to go lower to find the Hawks and Thrashers.

Lower. Still lower. Almost …

Continue reading Atlanta Spirit hammered again in all-sports franchise rankings »

Minus NHL, did Atlanta just drop to Triple A of sports towns?

Here's a word we didn't see in banners very often at Thrashers' games: playoffs.

There's a banner we did not see very often in Philips Arena for Thrashers' games: playoffs.

Good morning. Did Atlanta just drop out of the majors?

This probably would carry a little more weight if Los Angeles still had an NFL team (which remains the funniest thing in sports, only because it drives Roger Goodell nuts). But when Atlanta was officially mugged by Atlanta Spirit, LLC and the NHL on Tuesday and the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg, the city dropped out of an elite group. There are only 12 remaining metropolitan areas that still have teams in all four pro sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). Those 12: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco (San Jose), Boston, Washington, Detroit, Phoenix (until the Coyotes move), Minneapolis, Denver and Miami.

Atlanta is now the second-biggest market (behind only Los Angeles) that doesn’t have teams in all four leagues. The second tier group of seven cities with teams in three leagues: L.A. (no NFL), Atlanta …

Continue reading Minus NHL, did Atlanta just drop to Triple A of sports towns? »

How they really stand — from Braves (1) to Jacket hoops (10)

Original Caption:  	101010 Atlanta : Braves pinch hitter Eric Hinske is celebrated by teammate for his 2-run homer for a 2-1 lead over the Giants during 8th inning of the Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Turner Field on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2010 at Turner Field in Atlanta. Hyosub Shin hshin@ajc.com

Expect Braves to do some postseason celebrating, and maybe win division. (Hyosub Shin)

I was going to wait until after the NBA playoffs to reveal this year’s edition of the, “How They Really Stand” rankings, just on the chance that Hawks guard Jeff Teague (based on his Monday playoff debut) suddenly morphs into Oscar Robertson and Atlanta’s NBA franchise becomes the standard for area sports teams. But I’ll take a chance. Following are my completely unscientific rankings of the local pro and major college teams. (No Georgia State football yet; longer resume is needed). It’s impossible to do this without somebody reacting, “Schultz, you’re an idiot.” But I get that at breakfast every morning, so I’m OK with it.  Rankings are based on current strength of team, franchise/program stability and direction. Last year’s rankings are in parenthesis.

♦ 1. Braves (2): They’ve tripped out of the starting gate. But this is too good of a roster to stay down for long. They have the …

Continue reading How they really stand — from Braves (1) to Jacket hoops (10) »

Poll time: Where would Hawks’ series win over Magic rank?

Record producer Jermaine Dupri was among those to witness the Hawks pull to within one win of a series upset over Orlando. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Record producer Jermaine Dupri was among those who witnessed Hawks close in on series upset over Orlando. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

If the Hawks win any of the next three games — their first chance coming Tuesday night in Orlando — they’ll upset the Magic in the first round of the NBA playoffs. I’m not an Atlanta native but I’ve lived here long enough to know postseason series (or game) wins are not the norm for the pro teams.

The Hawks were 9-2 underdogs to Orlando to win this series. The online sportsbook Bodog also had them at 30-1 to win in five games, 9-1 to win it in six and 20-1 to win it in seven.

Here are what I believe are the top four postseason moments/upsets. There’s room for No. 5, which we’ll get to shortly.

♦ 1.) Braves win the World Series (1995): Duh. Tom Glavine’s one-hitter and David Justice’s home run in game 6 against Cleveland gave Atlanta its only championship in the four major pro sports.

♦ 2.) Falcons go to the Super Bowl (1998): Morten Andersen kicks …

Continue reading Poll time: Where would Hawks’ series win over Magic rank? »

Brian Gregory will have to create own excitement for Tech

Brian Gregory coached at Dayton eight years, going 1-2 in NCAA tournament.

Brian Gregory coached at Dayton for eight seasons. (AP photo)

(UPDATED: 8:56 a.m.)

Sometimes you don’t get the buzz hire (and in this case we don’t mean Buzz Williams). Sometimes you don’t sell tickets or get anybody to run through a wall at the news conference. But sometimes all of that is overrated.

Georgia Tech has hired Brian Gregory of Dayton as its next basketball coach, and we’ll find out soon enough if it was the right decision.

Does he get a lot of people excited? Judging by the reaction when his name leaked out on Twitter a few days ago, no. But that really doesn’t mean anything, unless athletic director Dan Radakovich was hoping to sell season tickets this week.

Georgia didn’t get buzz with Mark Fox. The Falcons didn’t get buzz with Mike Smith.

Excitement from coach hiring last only until the open tipoff or kickoff. After that, you have to win. Gregory has done that. He was 172-94 in eight seasons at Dayton, including 97-46 in the last four. He went to the NCAA …

Continue reading Brian Gregory will have to create own excitement for Tech »

GM rankings: Is Braves’ Wren or Falcons’ Dimitroff on top?

falcons.0507+CC14

Dimitroff hired Mike Smith and rebuilt team.

Wren got Braves back to playoffs.

Wren got Braves back to playoffs.

Only two weeks after Braves general manager Frank Wren received a contract extension, the Falcons have signed GM Thomas Dimtroff to a new deal.

This suggests a level of stability in sports franchises that we’re genuinely not used to in Atlanta. It also got me thinking: Who’s the best GM in Atlanta pro sports?

The candidates are: Wren, whose moves helped get the Braves back to the playoffs last season; Dimitroff, who rebuilt the franchise into one that has had three straight winning seasons and two playoff berths; the Thrashers’ Rick Dudley, who’s done a solid job with no budget to work with; the Hawks’ Rick Sund, who presides over the only team that has made the playoffs three straight years.

Here is my ranking. Take a look. Then feel free to agree, mock and/or ridicule. I know you’re not shy.

♦ 1.) DIMITROFF: After the Michael Vick and Bobby Petrino infernos, nobody inherited a worse situation …

Continue reading GM rankings: Is Braves’ Wren or Falcons’ Dimitroff on top? »