Archive for August, 2012

Tech in 2012: It’s a chance for Paul Johnson to look smart

That's Paul Johnson on the right, in case you wondered. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

That's Paul Johnson on the right, in case you wondered. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

On the morning of Nov. 28, 2009, Paul Johnson was poised to become the unchallenged king of football in a state that takes the sport seriously. He was 19-5 in two seasons as Georgia Tech’s coach. That night his Jackets would play Georgia, whom they’d famously beaten 45-42 in Athens the year before.

Tech was 10-1, ranked No. 7 nationally and champion of the ACC Coastal Division. Georgia was 6-5, having just lost at home to Kentucky. Not since George O’Leary was working against Jim Donnan had Tech beaten the Bulldogs twice in a row – Chan Gailey, O’Leary’s successor, hadn’t done it even once – and now Johnson was roundly favored to make it 2-for-2 against the hated Mutts.

But Georgia won. The Bulldogs pounded the Jackets on the ground, and Tech’s final chance was wasted when Demaryius Thomas dropped a fourth-down pass. For Tech and for Johnson, nothing since has been nearly as good.

From …

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Again, the Braves’ Dan Uggla pursues a weird slice of history

It might take more than tape to fix what ails Dan Uggla's bat. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

It might take more than tape to fix what ails Dan Uggla's bat. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

This not just in: Dan Uggla had a weird 2011 season. His batting average was .173 on the Fourth of July, whereupon he embarked on a 33-game hitting streak, the longest in Atlanta Braves annals and probably the strangest in the history of baseball.

So it shouldn’t come as a total shock that, in 2012, the same Uggla could join a select group of players, one of whom is the sainted Dale Murphy and another of whom is the rather famous George Herman Ruth, in another statistical oddity. At this moment, Uggla is tied for the National League lead in strikeouts (118) and walks (66).

According to Baseball-Reference.com, only nine big-leaguers have ever done that double over a full season: Babe Ruth (four times), Hack Wilson, Dolph Camilli, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, the aforementioned Murphy (in 1985), Jason Giambi, Jim Thome and the immortal Jack Cust. (Though it’s all but a given that Adam …

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#NBCfail? If everyone hates the Olympics, why do we watch?

Some of these people are live. Others are on tape. (AP photo)

Some of these smiling Americans are coming to us live. Others are on tape. (AP photo)

It does seem silly: A sporting event occurs before noon (our time) and the American television rights-holder waits until 10 p.m. (again, our time) to air it. If you prefer not to know who won before actually seeing who wins — my lovely wife is such a person — you have to cover one eye before clicking on the Internet.

Also silly is the Internet-fueled outcry toward NBC, which holds the American broadcasting rights to these Olympics. (Twitter hashtag: #NBCfail.) At a time when everything is available via the aforementioned click, why can’t the network give us everything as it happens?

Allow me to introduce myself: I have come to dislike TV immensely. I watch less of it than anyone I know. When duty calls and I’m compelled to monitor a sporting event, I often mute the sound. (Twitter hashtag: #McCarverEffect.) Ordinarily I’m greatly amused by any hint of TV-bashing, but here I have to say …

I …

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ESPN’s Law: The Braves overpaid for Maholm and Johnson

The young and gifted Arodys Vizcaino: A Brave no longer. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

The young and gifted Arodys Vizcaino: A Brave no longer. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Keith Law might or might not be the shrewdest analyst of minor-league talent — me, I think he’s pretty sharp — but because he works for the Worldwide Leader he has the biggest audience. And when Law writes something on ESPN Insider, it resonates.

About the Braves’ trade with the Cubs, Law wrote this (link requires registration): “The price for Atlanta … was too high.”

Also this: “Atlanta gets marginally better for this year with the additions of [Paul] Maholm and [Reed] Johnson, but the Cubs land the best prospect they’re likely to obtain in this year’s trade market in exchange for two players they didn’t need.”

Law calls Maholm “a back-end starter with a proven record for durability” and Johnson “a capable extra outfielder … who has a long history of mashing left-handed pitching.”

About Arodys Vizcaino, the 21-year-old pitcher the Braves sent to the Cubs: This spring, Law ranked him as the …

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