Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Question on new stadium remains: Why so soon?

If you haven’t yet read Jeff Schultz’s column today about whether it would be “the worst thing in the world if the Falcons moved to the suburbs,” I recommend it. Spoiler alert: Schultz thinks it would not be the worst thing in the world if that were to happen.

Although I think downtown is ultimately far preferable to the suburbs for the Falcons’ home games, Schultz makes a number of good arguments. But this is the part to which I want to draw your attention (with emphasis added):

The [San Francisco] 49ers couldn’t get a downtown stadium deal done, so they’re moving to Santa Clara, 30 to 45 minutes away. … By the way, Candlestick Park is 53 years old.

The [New York] Giants left the old Meadowlands stadium, which was 34 years old. The [Miami] Dolphins left the Orange Bowl, which was built in 1939. The [Dallas] Cowboys and [New England] Patriots left stadiums that were opened in 1971. The [Washington] Redskins left RFK Stadium, built in 1961.

The Georgia Dome opened in 1992.

For …

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Poll Position: Which big win would make you happiest?

Now for something completely different …

As my longtime readers know, I’m a sports fan. And if there’s been a bigger four-day stretch of big and potentially big sports news in Atlanta than we’ve seen beginning Wednesday, I don’t recall it.

Which of these big wins makes (or would make) you happiest?

  • UGA’s (potential) SEC title/BCS title game berth (120 Votes)
  • The Falcons’ big win (64 Votes)
  • Sports? I’d rather be shopping … or raking leaves! (21 Votes)
  • Tech’s (potential) ACC title (18 Votes)
  • The Braves’ big moves (13 Votes)

Total Voters: 236

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Wednesday: The Braves reached a deal with free-agent CF B.J. Upton.

Thursday: The Falcons beat their arch-nemesis, the Saints, to move within a whisker of the NFC South title and a step closer to home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. (As a bonus, a loss Sunday by Tampa Bay would give the division title to the Falcons.)

Friday: The Braves traded pitcher Tommy Hanson, freeing up payroll funds for another …

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Some questions for those pursuing a new Falcons stadium

Gov. Nathan Deal recently said “there’s got to be a little further explanation to the public, and probably to the members of the General Assembly,” as to why tax dollars should be used to replace the Georgia Dome before its 25th birthday. He’s right.

That explanation must come from the Georgia World Congress Authority, the state agency that runs the Dome, and/or the Atlanta Falcons, the loudest voice calling for the Dome’s replacement with a $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium. About $300 million of that cost would be paid by Atlanta hotel/motel tax revenues, but only if legislators and Deal agree to raise the authority’s bonding limit. The Falcons and the NFL would cover the rest.

I’m hardly naive about the ability of powerful people to get what they want, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank no doubt qualifies as just such a person. So does Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who backs the project. And I’m hardly a supporter of ditching the Dome, as I’ve written before.

But if the GWCA and …

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How the NLCS might decide the election — and why Obama supporters should root for . . .

Tonight, while President Obama and Mitt Romney debate foreign policy, the deciding Game 7 of the National League Championship Series will pit the San Francisco Giants against the St. Louis Cardinals. If you want to know which candidate has the best chance of winning the White House, you might want to watch the baseball game — and root for the Cardinals if you’re a Romney fan, the Giants if you support Obama.

Because, apparently, the baseball gods like to dabble in politics every four years.

There have been 26 World Series played in presidential election years — every election year since 1908. In 22 of these years, one candidate won all the electoral votes of states represented by the World Series teams**. And that candidate has won the presidency in 20 of those 22 years.

That’s a 91 percent record in those 22 years, and 85 percent overall. (Yes, I know, — it’s still a pretty small sample. Work with me here.)

Need an illustration? Look no further than 2008, when the World …

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Build public trust by using taxes for transportation, not stadium

The AJC’s polling ahead of tomorrow’s T-SPLOST referendum shows pretty much what I expected: A little over half of the voters in metro Atlanta reject the 10-year, $7.2 billion sales tax, with enough folks still undecided that the final margin will probably be in single digits. (I started to write it’s what “most people” would expect. But, given that we still are getting vastly divergent reports of the decisions of even those voters who have already cast their ballots, I’m not sure there is a prevailing view here.)

That said, there was a somewhat surprising result for one of the questions asked with the main queries about the transportation tax: Two-thirds of metro Atlanta residents also reject the idea of using hotel/motel tax revenues to build a new Falcons stadium downtown.

That’s a stout show of disapproval for spending $300 million of public money to replace the Georgia Dome. Unfortunately, there are no geographic splits for this question. Those would have been useful …

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The best plan for a college football playoff

This topic is a departure from our normal diet of politics. I don’t do this often, and ask the indulgence of my regular, non-pigskin readers.

The college football world has been abuzz for weeks with the prospect that, in a series of meetings this month, the powers-that-be will finally settle on a system for a playoff. Major college football is the only team sport that lacks one, in the NCAA or professional leagues. Controversies over the years about which teams are chosen to play for the national championship have led the sport to the threshold of adopting a playoff. The questions have centered on how to do it. Among the thorniest: Should the field include only teams that won their conferences, or be opened to other highly ranked teams? Should the games be played apart from the traditional bowl games, or incorporate those games in the format?

So far, the fan’s voice has been missing from the debate, if only because few fans have the kind of platform available to university …

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Falcons stadium proposal begs a look at football’s future

Before spending a few hundred million taxpayer dollars — for example, on a new stadium for the Falcons — it is worth mulling worst-case scenarios. The worst of the worst cases for the stadium is that, within a few decades, football as we know it is extinct.

Get this straight: I’m not predicting football’s death. The NFL and college football have never been bigger. Projecting the sport’s demise would seem to put one in the company of Harold Camping, the nonagenarian preacher who (twice!) last year forecast Doomsday, not among UGA football’s season-ticket holders.

That said, there are some dark clouds on the sport’s horizon. What better time to pause and consider those clouds than before a deal is signed and the bonds — for which Atlanta’s hotel tax revenues would be committed until 2050 — are sold.

The place to start is with the dominant story this NFL offseason, which concerns player safety. The NFL faces 70 lawsuits covering more than 1,800 ex-players who claim the league …

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Poll Position: What will be Michael Adams’ legacy at UGA?

Michael Adams arrived at the University of Georgia at the same time I did, in the fall of 1997. I left four years later. At that time, no one would have guessed he’d still be there in 2012, much less 2013. He was always rumored to have other ambitions, from moving on to other universities to heading the NCAA, or even seeking political office. But it will be June of next year, Adams announced yesterday, when he retires from the job.

At just shy of 16 years, his tenure will have been longer than all but three UGA presidents in the 20th century. And a lengthy tenure often makes for a number of possible ways for a person to be remembered. Oh, how that will be the case with Michael Adams.

Adams presided over UGA during a time of marked improvement in both its students’ credentials and its facilities. The HOPE scholarship and metro Atlanta’s population boom certainly contributed to the former. But Adams capitalized on those advantages in many ways, including the expansion of merit …

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Growing tired of the omnitopical presidency

Our bitter, aggravated politics has many fathers, from gerrymandering to genuine, deep and abiding differences of opinion about how to move the country forward. But here’s another problem with our politics I’ve noticed lately: We can’t escape it.

I don’t mean the 24-7 frequency of our news media — in the age of Twitter, it’s really 60-60-24-7 — although that bears part of the blame. Rather, I’m talking about the increasing tendency of our politicians, especially our presidents and those who would be president, to pop up everywhere else, too: on Oprah and The View, on Leno and Letterman, during SportsCenter and the Super Bowl and the Final Four.

A friend’s mother calls this “inmaface.” As in, you can do things with which I disagree, just don’t do them “inmaface.” When it’s harder and harder to enjoy the apolitical without the intrusion of the politicos, they’re inmaface.

I think political handlers think this is a way to soften their man’s (or woman’s) image, to make him seem …

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Augusta National and the female question

Two rites of spring for many Georgians arrive today: the first round of the Masters in Augusta, and opening day for the Braves (albeit in New York this year). I’m a bigger fan of football than baseball or, especially, golf. But whether it’s because of the length of the season, the arguably greater unpredictability of the game, or simply the fact that it takes place in nature’s own season of renewal, there’s nothing quite like the blue-sky optimism of game No. 1 of 162 for a major league baseball team. (For the record, I like the Braves’ chances of making the postseason as long as we get health from the pitchers and merely average years from the hitters.)

As for the Masters, for the first time in awhile part of the storyline there centers on the Augusta National’s lack hitherto of female members. This once hot discussion was rekindled when a woman, Virginia Rometty, became chief executive of IBM — a position that, because of IBM’s longstanding role as a sponsor of the golf …

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