Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Football in the city

I was never much of a football girl. I grew up with a vague notion of hating aggies (whatever those were) and as a toddler would hook ‘em horns on command, but the actual football part never caught my eye. In college I always thought I had better things to do than cheer on my tiny college football team with 1,000 other people in an empty, echoey Super Dome.

Evidence. Actually enjoying myself at a football game.

In grad school I was lured to a tailgate with promises of sun, friends, BBQ, and beer on a pretty Saturday afternoon. I grudgingly went. We are not sports people. I don’t paint my face and support the team. Please. That day – who knew? I enjoyed a few sweetwaters, good company and a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Well, huh! Football is awesome! I eventually even made it to a game! And, slowly, grew to be a Georgia Tech football fan.

And now, Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field is where I spend my home-game Saturdays. We sit in the back row of the east stands, where you can see the entire field and still catch a breeze wafting off the connector, where a group of friends congregates and stomps and cheers and sings and toasts the Yellow Jackets. It’s completely different from the typical small-town college football experience, as we are smack dab in the center of midtown Atlanta. Over my left shoulder towers the Bank of America building, and to my right, the midtown skyline. Night games are gorgeous, and if we’ve had too much to drink, we’ll walk a few blocks down Peachtree and catch a cab home. (more…)

So little time

Labor Day weekend in Atlanta – once again, too many things going on to enjoy them all! Definitely not the worst problem to have. We’ve got the Georgia Tech season opener, Dragon*Con all weekend (with the parade just before kickoff, I might add), Decatur Book Festival, Trailer Vic’s Beach Party at the EARL, and LSU and UNC at the Dome. Ah, one of the ubiquitous restaurant weeks is starting, too!

I plan to check out the Dragon Con parade, the GT game, and hopefully a bit of the book festival. All on bikes (parking downtown and in midtown, I assume, will be pretty miserable with two football games going on), and some neighborhood park-grilling may be in my near future, too. What am I missing? What will you guys be up to?

Hey Sportsfans!

So this morning the USA beat Algeria, BARELY, to secure our progression in the World Cup in South Africa. This has sparked a good bit of discussion in my office, not to mention an overloaded network from people streaming the game and yet another short-term twitter fail whale.

I would be making an even more horrific face than the ones on the Algerian team here. Photo from AJC.

I thought this was a good reason to tell you three about the work going on to bring the World Cup to the US. Details are at gousabid.com, but the short version of it is that we MAY see a world cup game in Atlanta in 2018 or 2022 (I know, I know, it’s Beltline years away). That’s why we hosted a game of the World Football Challenge last summer, AC Milan versus Club America, to prove that we have the ability to host a large-scale soccer game (I think this was a test more of our ability to bring in fans than logistics like parking and facilities. Which we passed, apparently).

So the gousabid people have a petition that damn near 600,000 people have already signed to bring the games here.  (When the world cup goes to a country, the games are spread out all over the place, so it’s a big deal if your city is picked to be a host, but we’ve got to get them to the US first). You enter your zip code upon signing, and apparently Atlanta is up there in the top five for signees out of 18 cities, which is pretty major.

So let’s practice a little bit of long-term planning, dear metblogs reader(s), and support Atlanta’s bid for some World Cup action. Check details and sign here.

Most miserable sports city? Sounds about right

I forgot to blog about this the other day, but Forbes recently ranked Atlanta as the second most miserable sports town in America.  Out of all the seasons of professional sports in this town, the Braves 1995 World Series win is the only championship.  The magazine takes note of all the finals losses, semi-finals losses, and even the Hawks run of 25 playoff teams without even making the finals.  Awesome.

This jives pretty well with my experience as a sports fan.  Not only the pro sports, but college sports as well.  The misery comes not from just plain sucking – you can kind of get used to that and just go do something else.  It is that every year they have a chance, or at least you think they do.  Your teams get close.  They make the playoffs, win a round.  Then, of course, like always, they tank.  Ugh.  It is brutal.  And spare me the “poor me’s,” Cubs fans.  That is one team.  Chicago has had many other championships over the years.  Apparently Forbes thinks Seattle is the only more miserable city to be a sports fan in.  Sigh.  Second place.  Again.

Could these Braves be the real deal?

It is so tempting to take the Braves dramatic win against the Phillies tonight and make it a bigger deal than it is.  Baseball is a cruel mistress, as these Braves have already shown us.  These are the same Braves that got no-hit the other day.  Jason Heyward’s dramatic game-winning single only came about after some help from the umpires.  Still, it is hard to watch a 3-run comeback in the bottom of the 9th against the reigning NL champs and not get excited.

I was most surprised by the source of the comeback.  This was my thought process during the last two innings:

  • Troy Glaus comes up with two outs and a runner on.  He had come up with the bases loaded earlier in the game and one out, and prompted grounded into a double play, just as I expected.  The fans were booing him the at-bat before this one.  I thought, “This game is over.”  I was pretty slack-jawed when he actually knocked it out.  “Well, good for him.  He really needed that.”  Still down a run with two out, no point in getting TOO excited.
  • Heyward comes up.  “It is too much to expect him to do it again.  Maybe he’ll get a hit, keep it going.”  Holy crap.  This kid is the real deal.  It says a lot about him that this event was the LEAST surprising part about the comeback.
  • I see that McLouth, the pitcher’s spot, and Diaz are up in the bottom of the 10th.  “Great, the worst part of the order.  This will go to 11 innings.”  How wrong I was.

One thing that was great about the early 90’s Braves (the completely biased standard by which I judge all great baseball teams) is that they had very timely hits.  Guys like Lemke and Belliard didn’t put up great numbers, but they came through in the clutch.  That kind of clutch performance has been missing for what feels like a decade.  When Glaus hit into that bases loaded double play, it just felt like typical Braves.  The 9th inning was NOT typical Braves, although I hope it becomes typical of THESE Braves.

Dear Falcons: Please pick Graham

Apparently the Falcons have zoned in on Michigan DE Brandon Graham as their pick in the first round of the NFL draft.  While Mark Bradley wonders if the Falcons should take Derrick Morgan, I would like to selfishly state that the Falcons should pick Graham.

He is a beast, and is generally regarded among Michigan fans as being at least equal to Pro-Bowl Steelers Linebacker LaMarr Woodley, another monster DE out of That State Up North.  Michigan has really sucked the last few years, so Graham has flown under the radar, but check him out tearing up the Senior Bowl:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AINhjlisAMk&feature=player_embedded#[/youtube]

Also, I want some Wolverines around to root for around these parts.  I keep an eye on Chad Henne and Jake Long down in Miami, but I want some Wolverines to play for the Falcons!

Go, Team, Go!

I had every intention of writing a post after reading this but upon sitting down here at my computer, I’m at a loss for words. Probably because I can’t stop laughing about the “New South” girls they want to find. So I’ll pull a Linda Richman. Talk amongst yourselves. Here’s a topic. The Atlanta Falcons want new cheerleaders. Discuss.

OMG Heyward shirtless!!

I was reading the local fish wrapping this morning when I came across an odd article about the Braves’ Jason Heyward. Apparently Heyward has put on some weight from last year, which is cause for uncomfortable sentences like these:

Jason Heyward reported to spring training Monday, then jaws hit the floor. Millionaire athletes reached for words to describe the masher from McDonough, whose already epic physique has become more so…

Most of his added weight appears to have been distributed across his muscular shoulders. Simply put: dude is shredded.

And yet, Heyward has maintained the narrow waist and V-shaped back that he had last spring training.
Um.  Right.  So I get that the guy is big.  But am I the only one who found this an odd lede for a sports article?  Well, maybe for baseball – middle aged men slobbering over the physique of teenagers is pretty common in football, so much so that my alma mater’s leading blog has coined the term ‘shirtless’ for 5-star recruits.  So I guess we can wait for posts that scream “OMG Heyward shirtless!”

Also, La Madre reaction to the article was “he’s on steroids, right?”.  I think part of the oddity of this article is that I remember when guys like portly Terry Pendleton and lanky Fred McGriff were typical ball players – as a smaller youth I was drawn to the game precisely because you didn’t have to be omg shirtless to play it well.  Mark Lemke was entirely average at 5’10” and 167 lbs – as a 10 year old, I could aspire to this.  I’m not used to viewing ball players as physical specimens like this, even though I get entirely too excited when I read about all the weight some sophomore defensive lineman put on over the summer.

When Atlanta owned the dunk contest

Perhaps you aren’t the only person who thinks the NBA All-Star dunk contest has lost its luster.  As the self-appointed purveyor of all things nostalgic, I feel obligated to post this clip of the 1986 contest, which was waged between two Atlanta Hawks.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1pykLK_CUs[/youtube]

I still think that is awesome.  My favorite part is Jordan’s reaction to Spud’s last dunk.  I mean, Spud’s my height – 5’7″!!  And ‘Nique was a living legend at that point.

And while I’m thinking about the 80’s, can I just say that I miss TBS and Andy Griffith re-runs during Braces rain delays?  I wish Ted still owned the team.

Bah!  Get off my lawn!  Damn kids…..

Blueland in Vancouver

With NBC Universal owning practically a thousand cable channels, it’s hard to escape even the most obscure Winter Games event (curling, anyone?*). But, for the most diehard winter sports fan, it all comes down to hockey. For those of us here in Blueland, several names in Vancouver will ring a bell.

Maxim Afinogenov (Right Wing) and the Russian team (including the recently traded Ilya Kovalchuk) will take on Latvia in their first match Tuesday night.

Tobias Enstrom (Defenseman) and Johnny Oduya (Defenseman), and their fellow Swedes, will take on Germany in their first match Wednesday afternoon.

Pavel Kubina (Defenseman) and Ondrej Pavelec (Goaltender), along with the rest of the Czech Republic team, will take on Slovakia in their first match Wednesday night.

None of them are official Atlantans or even Americans by birth (who is in hockey these days? LOL) but they’re Blueland boys and that’s what counts. So unless they’re playing the good ol’ US of A, give a cheer (even if it’s a silent one) to our boys in Blue. Go Thrashers!!!

*Attention curling enthusiasts: Save your emails! I actually find the sport oddly fascinating. And, BTW, the USA takes on Germany tomorrow morning.

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