Heat Check: Hot Braves, cold Honey Badger, a final #NBCfail

The Honey Badger will not be playing in the Dome on Dec. 1. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The Honey Badger will not be playing in the Dome on Dec. 1. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Our weekly Heat Check begins with baseball’s hottest team, and no, I don’t mean the Mets.

BRAVES: On July 5, the day the season’s second half officially began, manager Fredi Gonzalez assessed his team’s first half as “just OK.” They’re 24-9 since. They went 4-2 last week but managed to slide 4 1/2 games behind Washington, which went 6-1. Which leads us to say: No big deal.

There are two wild cards this season. Even if there were only one, the Braves are two games ahead of Pittsburgh, and the Pirates probably won’t hold up much longer. Baseball Prospectus gives the Braves only a 17.1 percent chance of winning the National League East but a 91.1 percent chance of making the playoffs.

The rest of August will be intriguing. Over the next 2 1/2 weeks, the Braves will play three games in Washington, three here against the Dodgers, four against the Giants and seven (four here, three there) against the Padres. Only San Diego is under .500, and the Padres are 17-12 since the All-Star break. Heat Index: After Aug. 26, the Braves’ schedule could not be more inviting. They’ll have only six remaining games against plus-.500 opposition.

FALCONS: Looked good in taking a 14-0 lead against the Ravens in the exhibition opener. Looked bad in getting outscored 31-3 thereafter. But it would have been a lot more worrisome had it been the other way around. Let’s face it — once the real season begins, nobody who played in the second half of that game is apt to see significant time.

Fans are a-dither about Akeem Dent’s concussion, suffered while playing on punt coverage. But a non-third-down linebacker will often have to do duty on special teams. This isn’t college, where you’ve got 85 scholarships. Heat Index: OK, middle linebacker is becoming an issue, but all teams have issues. And the rest of the team is shaping up nicely.

HAWKS: They didn’t trade for Dwight Howard. Good for them. The quickest way to oblivion would have been to lose Al Hoford in trade and then see Howard leave next summer as a free agent, with his buddy Josh Smith possibly in tow. Heat Index: Have I mentioned lately that Howard is also overrated?

GEORGIA BULLDOGS: They were leading the SEC championship game 10-0, whereupon the Honey Badger seized the game. LSU announced Friday that Tyrann Mathieu had been booted off the squad. Given that the Honey Badger played defense and returned kicks, and given that LSU wound up routing Georgia (and not just Georgia) essentially by playing defense and returning kicks, this would seem a major blow to a major contender in both Georgia’s conference and the whole U.S. of A. Heat Index: Have I mentioned lately that I think Georgia will again play LSU for the SEC title?

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS: From reading esteemed colleague Ken Sugiura’s report on the Saturday scrimmage, I note that Tech coaches were pleased with the offense and pleased with the defense. I also note that Tech missed its only field-goal try. Heat Index: So much for special-teams coordinators, huh? (Kidding! I’m kidding!)

NBC: After being ripped for its Olympics coverage for 16 days, the Peacock apparently said, “You think what we’ve done so far is terrible? Try this!” And then it cut away from the end of the closing ceremonies to air a commercial-free version of “Animal Practice,” a new show that apparently stars both humans and, er, animals. Yes, NBC did air The Who’s performance in its late-night slot, but still … Heat Check: I’m officially joining the chorus. #NBCfail.

By Mark Bradley

109 comments Add your comment

don

August 13th, 2012
8:26 am

And The Who, coming up next……..NOT!

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2012
8:28 am

Kudos, Tony.

dtanner

August 13th, 2012
8:28 am

damn, third! close but no cigar

Old School

August 13th, 2012
8:34 am

I wish Bob Costas would retire or go away.

matt

August 13th, 2012
8:39 am

Bob Costas is smarter than you, knows better than you do so you’ll take his, oh so insightful, commentary and like it. NBC coverage of the Games was a joke.

Andy

August 13th, 2012
8:40 am

Mark, I don’t think Matthew Perry is in Animal Practice. He is in another one of their shows. Get your facts straight! Kidding.

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2012
8:42 am

Thanks, Andy. Those promos all kind of ran together.

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2012
8:44 am

Did I mention that I haven’t watched a network TV show since “The Wild Wild West”?

Andy

August 13th, 2012
8:46 am

I only know because of the endless promos. If I see that dancing monkey again I will scream.

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2012
8:48 am

I will say that Ms. Elizabeth Bradley, who has been known to watch TV on occasion, said of “Animal Practice”: “That show looks awful.”

lanier

August 13th, 2012
8:49 am

the honey badger was a shooting star. didn’t show up in the national game
would be a returner in the NFL.
think 5′9″ corners influence big games there?
ask Danny White and Drew Pearson about Rolland Lawrence

Resident Georgia Fan

August 13th, 2012
8:51 am

Bob Costas please retire. Please go away. Please do anything but put your stiff, ugly, repulsive mug and brittle delivery on TV.

Sideline Dude

August 13th, 2012
8:53 am

I didn’t see a promo that makes me want to watch any of the new fall shows. More of the same old drival. Thank goodness for History & Discovery.

nate from detroit

August 13th, 2012
8:56 am

If you believe the internet, and you know nobody lies on the internet, this was the Honey Tokers 6th (count’em 6th) failed drug test. I will bet you a dollar to doughnuts that this dismissal came from the LSU president not from Leslie Miles. Miles would have figured out a way to keep this failed test on the downlow.

Resident Georgia Fan

August 13th, 2012
9:03 am

Mark, have you blocked me? My comments never post on your blog.

PapaDawg

August 13th, 2012
9:06 am

How long do you think before they bring the honey bear back to the team.

GRD

August 13th, 2012
9:11 am

Funny i recall last year you mentioning those % numbers again for making the playoffs and it was about the same as last year for making the playoffs. How’d that turn out? And making a one game playoff with this pitching? Can u say one and done.

Gene

August 13th, 2012
9:18 am

That was almost a great Braves’ comeback last night. It would have been an appropriate farewell for Chipper had the Braves pulled it out. Honey Badger and Dyer should join the AL State Gunslingers. That’s one way to build a team.

TheTruth

August 13th, 2012
9:20 am

NBC….Heidi #2

JSS

August 13th, 2012
9:30 am

The Brits do know how to have a Sing-a-long! It is the only thing they’d passed along to the former colonies… Bradley, How can you have a closing ceremony in the UK and have no Sir Errol Brown or the remnants of New Order?

Tom Hammonds makes me miss Keith Jackson and Jim McKay more and more!

Maxwell the chihuahua hunter

August 13th, 2012
9:32 am

Nate, you don’t know that. PaPadawg, how soon does Georgia bring IC back? See how this works? You Georgia fans think you are somehow the moral authority for the world of college athletics. Do everyone a favor and check the CCSO blotter for dawgs in the can. And, sthu…

BobDawg

August 13th, 2012
9:34 am

You really have to screw up bad to get kicked off any SEC team (other than the Dawgs) as there are so many free drug passes out there with all the teams. Doesn’t even Florida give you 5 failed tests??? What a joke…..

Atlanta Olympics 2020

August 13th, 2012
9:37 am

NBC cut off part of the Vancouver closing ceremonies too, for some stupid show involving Seinfeld, I think. The only network TV I care about involves the Atlanta Falcons.

dean

August 13th, 2012
9:41 am

Can I come in, please?

dean

August 13th, 2012
9:42 am

Ok. I’ll ask again. Am I a communista for not watching 4 hours of closing ceremonies last night?

Peadawg

August 13th, 2012
9:42 am

I still think that return by Honey Badger before half-time last time shouldn’t have been counted. He flipped it out of his hands before he cross the goal line.

Ted M

August 13th, 2012
9:50 am

Mark – What do you watch other then sports?

Columbus Dawg

August 13th, 2012
9:51 am

Mark, I want to see LSU play a couple of games before I give them the West. Like wise, I want to see my Dawgs play a couple of real games before I give them the East. We will see if the team chemistry in Baton Rouge is still in flux. Dawgs are hungry, but must show that they have matured in three areas, special teams (all), turnovers (not just Murray, but everyone), emergence of run game (will help Murray’s cause). Mizzou game will be important first test, but will be far from biggest test. Ready to get it going! GO DAWGS!!!!!

Ted M

August 13th, 2012
9:56 am

That’s exactly right GRD…the Braves were a freakin lock last yr and still blew but the team just looks so much better this yr and Fredi hasn’t ruined his bullpen. Even if they are exactly the same as last yr we couldn’t possibly have another epic collapse.

Ted M

August 13th, 2012
10:01 am

If only “The Badger” stuck with honey…I bet he ends up playing with Crowell this year.

Ted M

August 13th, 2012
10:03 am

Enter your comments here

Pippa's hiney

August 13th, 2012
10:11 am

Costas seems to think every moment he covers is like the apocalypse or some such.

GRD

August 13th, 2012
10:11 am

Ted
I think they will squeak into the playoffs, but with their pitching, i don’t think they win the inane one game wild card playoff.

bigbadbob

August 13th, 2012
10:16 am

NBC= nothing but crap coverage of the Olympics. Announced closing ceremony coverage to start of 8:30…too bad it actually started at about 8:15. Missed half the medals while playing all those boring athlete profiles. So obvious the diving lady announcer was doing the tape-delayed “play by play” after she knew all the results even down to the scores for each dive, just so she could sound like an “expert”. (Sounded too much like Nancy Grace for my tastes.) And what was up with the endless hours of coverage of beach volleyball?! Did NBC have a secret side deal with the beach volleyball associatin to TRY to make anyone care about the fat old hags from the US who won. It is SOOO boring…95% of the points are serve-set-spike, over in 3 seconds.

Tana

August 13th, 2012
10:18 am

Won’t win a game with this pitching…..I think the reason we are so hot right now is riding on one of the best group of pitchers for the last two months…….

Tana

August 13th, 2012
10:22 am

The pitching you all are so down on has the second lowest ERA since the All Star break. Don’t make stupid assumptions on public forums people.

jarvis

August 13th, 2012
10:30 am

GRD, Have you watched any baseball since June?

Wilson Pickett

August 13th, 2012
10:46 am

Alabama will play someone in the SECCG…not LSU. I know you don’t wish to hear that but it’s coming. This Bama team will as good if not better than last years. This is the 1st time Nick Saban has been at a program for his 6th year and the roster is loaded from 1 to 82…lost one to grades,1 homesick, and one knee surgery. Best of luck to you and your team in 2012. Don’t expect Bama to backup if that is your plan for victory.

dtanner

August 13th, 2012
10:46 am

bob costas is like that fat a@@ chris berman,egomaniacs who think what they are doing is actually important and think they are the show

BillytheKid

August 13th, 2012
10:47 am

Mark, the Braves do finish the year with three games on the road against the Pirates, who are over .500 now, barring a big collapse. Which could happen but I don’t see it.

ARdawg

August 13th, 2012
10:52 am

Segiura’s report certainly got the Nerd’s all up in a froth over on his blog. It was rumored that the Tech offense was effective?…That’s just funny right there

Columbus Dawg

August 13th, 2012
10:58 am

Yeah, Wilson, keep thinking that the Turds of Tuscaloosa can’t be beaten. Just because your little man syndrome coach is still in Turd Town does not mean you won’t drop a couple this year. A LOT of people that are not Turd fans think that the Michigan Wolverines are going to start that ball rolling right off the bat. I know that your team got lucky and finally won one against the Dawgs depleted OL in 2008, but there ain’t nobody in Athens skeered of you inbreds. I hope to goodness that the Mulligans do win the West. Nothing would be sweeter.

Tide Rising

August 13th, 2012
11:08 am

Lanier was right. Honey badger was nothing in the bcs title game. We went after him all night long and just abused the poor kid. We didn’t even look in the direction of the other corner Morris Claiborne. The Alabama team should have been arrested for animal cruelty the way honey badger got abused.

As for this year’s seccg its clear it will be Bama vs probably S. Carolina or Florida. Bama’s massive O-line will go down as possibly the greatest O-line ever assembled. All 5 starters will be in the pros and the 3 guys coming out after this year are all projected 1st rounders. The D will be breathing fire again. I would love it if we got to meet the dawgs in the seccg. The dawgs? I don’t think they want that. They DO NOT want Alabama.

j.t.keene

August 13th, 2012
11:12 am

I liked baseball better when we just had 2 divisions and 2 champions playing for it all. But, if it was that way now our braves wouldn’t have 14 “divisional” championships would they? How long before baseball becomes like the nba and lets everyone in but the worst few teams? Guess it keeps the sportswriters employed.

Gorilla Biscuit

August 13th, 2012
11:18 am

“It was rumored that the Tech offense was effective?…That’s just funny right there”

It’s to be assumed that Tech’s offense would be effective in pre-season scrimmages, since they are going against Tech’s defense, and 2nd defense at that. The defense will cost them 3 games, the offense 1, and the special teams 1.

Gorilla Biscuit

August 13th, 2012
11:25 am

“The Alabama team should have been arrested for animal cruelty the way honey badger got abused.”

Did ya’ll dart him with some THC? He must have considered himself out of weed the weekend before. He coulda hit up IC for a spliff.

MikeY

August 13th, 2012
11:33 am

I will say that the ability to live stream the events (all of them, and with mainly British commetary) on the internet was fabulous. I watched nearly all the track eents, with most prelims in the mornings and most finals in the afternoon (Eastern Daylight Time).

So I applaud the NBC coverage, for giving me he oportunity to see the events I really wanted, live.

Freedom from insanity

August 13th, 2012
11:39 am

NBC did as well as anyone on their coverage. Can you imagine the work involved in covering weeks of sports….many of which Americans have no knowledge! When was thempastmtimeyoplayed team handball, or rowed, sailed or did movements with stuff in our hands (by the way, why is that a sport?)
If you don’t like the coverage or Bob Costas, their is a switch on yourmtv to turn it off or change the channel.
Honey Badger is a mess and will probably not finish college and try to go pro….and endup like all the other prima donnas who refuse to follow the rules of civilized society. What a waste of talent!

Space Monkey

August 13th, 2012
11:40 am

Anybody who thinks getting the wild card in MLB is good enough this year is not paying attention. The wild card is worthless. You’d be better off finishing last. At least you’d get a good draft pick. The wild card requires a one-game play-in. Boom, you’ve burned your ace and probably your bullpen. Two days later you start the playoff never having the home field advantage. That means your number two faces Cueto, Strasburgh, or Kershaw at their field. Our number two is likely to be Hanson because that’s how stupid our manager is. We are down 7-0 before we get out of the third inning. Game over. Then our number three faces their number two. Series over. Wild card teams will not be going very far this year, and I see no conceivable way that the Braves win the division the way the Nats are playing.

Pitbull

August 13th, 2012
11:42 am

What’s the latest on the Tennessee QB?

Is he enrolling in LSU too?