Archive for June, 2010



The Front Porch Song

We here at TGT are Robert Earl Keen fans.  As Ucheedawg commented in today’s Lewis Grizzard Wednesday, the column made us think of the Keen song, The Front Porch Song. 

So, for any Keen fans out there, enjoy…

Scheduling Rumors

Since this is the internet and obviously you can spread any rumor just hoping it comes true, there is talk of Texas negotiating a home and home with Georgia.  I’ll believe it when Orangebloods.com reports it.

Looking ahead to our future schedule, 2012 is a longshot because we play Louisville on the road and pick up Alabama in our rotation.  2013-2014 have home and home’s with Clemson and 2015-2016 have home and home’s with Oregon.  That leaves the 2017-2018 seasons as the earliest open spot on our schedule and by then Texas will have left the UT/OU plus 8 conference for greener pastures.  I would love to see this happen but wouldn’t recommend anyone to hold their breath just yet.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday:: Front Porch

Watching the World From My Front Porch

I’ve been doing a lot of sitting on my front porch lately. I do this late in the evenings after the intense summer heat has subsided.

I supposed there are two primary reasons. One is, television just gets more rotten by the day. I’ve got 50 channels but I still have trouble finding anything worth watching. I’m even tired of the Spice Channel. The plots never change.

I also come from a long line of front-porch sitters, and before air-conditioning and television, that’s the way a lot of people used to spend their evenings. I did that with my own family when I was growing up. My grandfather and I used to count cars and listen for trains.

I’ve been sitting on my front porch with my dog Catfish, the black Lab. I count BMWs. He growls when Volvos come by. I live on a nice street and I have a nice front porch. I have a swing and two rocking chairs. I sit in one of the rocking chairs. The swing is a little hard on what is left of my rear. Where do men’s butts go when they get older?

One thing I have noticed is there are a lot of other people, at least in my neighborhood, who aren’t sitting inside watching television in the evenings, either. They aren’t sitting on their porches, however. They are out engaging in some sort of exercise.

There aren’t just joggers anymore. A lot of bicycle riders come by my house while Catfish and I are on the porch. They wear helmets and tight pants and race past in large packs. The other evening, maybe 15 came by in a blur. Three minutes later a lone cyclist raced past, trying to catch up with the others. “He reminds me of the last horse I bet on,” I said to Catfish.

I get a lot of people out walking their dogs. A man comes by walking a dog that looks like a rat. The man sort of looks like a rat, too. They say people often begin resembling their pets after a time. Catfish and I have been together for over a decade, but my ears don’t seem any longer.

There’s another group that comes by my house that is exercising in a manner to which I am not familiar. They aren’t jogging, but they aren’t simply strolling, either. They are walking very fast and slinging their arms back and forth.

“That’s power walking,” somebody told me. “It’s not as hard on your knees as jogging.”

It looks like prissing to me, but I’m nearly 50 and don’t own a Nordic Trac.

It once was the custom to speak pleasantly to anybody who happened to come past while one was sitting on one’s porch. I wondered how that would play in a large American city in the ’90s.

So one night whenever the joggers, power walkers or dog walkers would come by (the roller skaters and cyclists were going too fast,) I would call out, “Good evening.” Amazing. To a person, each called back, “Good evening.” I must have said “Good Evening” twenty times, and not once did anybody ignore my attempt to be pleasant. That made me feel awfully good. Made me feel good about myself, my neighbors and my region.

We may even take up front porch sitting full time, me and ol’ Catfish. He said he though the power walkers looked like they were prissing, too, by the way. We don’t look alike, but I guess we’re starting to think alike as we enter our rocking chair years.

Godspeed, David Hale

We heard the rumor last week, but as the interwebs go, we wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth. 

We are disappointed to hear that David Hale is leaving us for greener pastures another opportunity.  Delaware and covering the Phillies?  To each their own, I guess (just kidding). 

I thought when David started a couple years ago, it would be hard to top the phenomenial work of his predecessor on the UGA beat, David Ching.  David has far surpassed the work of Ching. 

The thing I like the most about David Hale’s blog is its objectivity.  We are UGA fans.  We are passionate about the Dawgs.  David is not.  He can look at situations through normal glasses, not Red and Black colored ones.   When he has been critical, it has been deserved.  When he has been level headed, it has been with casue, too.

I also started watching LOST because of David Hale.  I caught up on Hulu in time for the Finale. 

From everyone at The Grit Tree, congratulations and good luck!

The Grit Tree

5 Questions with 960 The Ref Chris Brame

The Grit Tree: Coach Richt and company seem to be assembling a nice recruiting class, and this Dream Team approach seems to be working.  We chronicled recent commitment Nick Marshall’s recruitment on our blog back in the Winter.  What do you make of the QB turned DB Athlete?

Chris Brame: Marshall’s a big get for Georgia.  One the coaches obviously had their eyes on for a while.  You can connect the dots to the signing of Lonnie Outlaw, his high school teammate, in the 2010 class.  Plus, Marshall brings the added bonus of playing basketball for the Dogs.  Landing one of the best athletes in the state is the kind of thing Georgia needs to be doing.  Overall, though, Georgia hasn’t begun to scratch the surface with recruiting this year.  One player they really needed to get, James Vaughters, has committed to Stanford.  Ray Drew, Isaiah Crowell and Gabe Wright are must haves and Thomasville and Columbus are two areas the dogs have struggled to get players from recently.

TGT:       I spent a significant amount of time driving through the Hillbilly state Arkansas last week.  Is Arkansas going to be this year’s version of the 2009 Ole Miss Rebels? 

CB: Because Alabama is the defending national champs, I don’t know that Arkansas will be thought of as a potential division winner like Ole Miss last season, but I don’t think the Hogs will be as good as some suspect.  Offensively, they’ll be great.  To think they’ll be better on defense, though, takes a pretty big leap of faith.  Even with Ryan Mallett last season, the Razorbacks were still outgained by an average of 36 yards per game in SEC play.  Only Vanderbilt and Kentucky were worse.  It’s not a good sign when you give up 25 points per game (9th in the SEC) and go 8-5, while finishing with the sixth best turnover margin in college football.  Their 30 takewaways were second only to Alabama in the league.  How many points will they give up without that good luck?

TGT:        Coming off two huge games vs. South Carolina and Arkansas, some believe Miss State could be a trap game.  They are a feisty little bunch, and Dan Mullen is a heck of a coach.  Will the Mississippi State Bulldogs upset the Dawgs and/or go bowling this year?

CB: No, they won’t beat Georgia.  I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but Georgia has better personnel.  Georgia needs to get back to the point where you don’t even notice a team like State is on the schedule.  That’s the difference right now between where Florida and Alabama are at compared to the rest of the league.  The Gators and Tide play the Bizarro Bulldogs, too.  Their fans aren’t sweating that game.  Georgia fans shouldn’t have to either.  Getting to a bowl is going to be tough for them.  They have conference road games at Florida, LSU, Alabama, and Ole Miss.  Plus, a non-conference trip to Houston.  They will only be favored in maybe three games this season.  I’ll say no bowl

TGT:       Chipper appears poised to announce his retirement at season’s end.  I think he is a first ballot hall of famer.  Where does Chipper stack up in terms of “All-Time Braves”? 

CB: I think Chipper is the greatest all-time “Atlanta” Brave. Keep in mind Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews played most of their careers in other towns.  Consider this with Chipper.  Ten third baseman are in the Hall of Fame.  His career on base percentage (.406) is higher than all but Wade Boggs.  His career slugging percentage (.537) is higher than all ten.  His 430 home runs are third behind only Eddie Mathews and Mike Schmidt.  Chipper gets extra credit, too, for being the best left fielder the franchise has had since Ryan Klesko.

TGT:       This is a reader generated question from our friend Bulldog in Exile:  Have you visited Ty Cobb’s Tomb, and if so, how was it?

CB: I’ve been several times.  A friend of mine and I would take field trips every so often to the tomb and toast the Georgia Peach with a beer.  Domestic, of course.  We were pretty sure Cobb wouldn’t have approved of any imported shit.  If you’re near Royston, it’s worth making a pilgrimage to it.  They have a whole Ty Cobb thing going on in that town.  There’s another Hall of Famer buried near Athens.  Johnny Mize.  He’s somewhere in Demorest.

You can hear Chris Brame and Jeff Dantzler host “The Home Team” every afternoon 4-6 at 960 AM or on at www.960theref.com

Braves Review and Preview

I had to be in the car an awful lot last week.  An AWFUL LOT. 

As the white line was getting longer and the saddle was getting cold, one thing helped ease the butt pain.  That was some good Braves games last week.

After a tough luck loss on Friday, when Tim Hudson once again pitched a gem, the Braves showed those jerks the Twins that the American League can have their big bats.  National League small ball works just fine, thank you very much

Of course, Troy Glaus was still feeling some of his old American League roots, so the Braves showed they can play both ways and gave the Twins an American League butt whoopin on Sunday.  I was in the car for 12 hours on Sunday, so it was a thrill to listen to the Braves for ¼ of the trip lay the smack down on the Twins.   

The Braves had a nice week, winning 2/3 against the Twins and Devil Rays, two of the top teams in the American League.  I thought that the good guys were going to screw around and drop some games to the Royals, but the Braves got it done against a bottom feeder to get a sweep. 

Historically, the Braves have played well against the stronger teams in the NL East, but struggles against the Expos/Nationals have derailed pennant dreams the last few years.  Its games like the Royals’ series the Braves need to win.    

Troy Glaus continues to come up big, and Chipper has had a few nice cracks of the bat.  Even Melky Cabberra is batting close to .400 over the last 12 games!  If the offense could mesh, then the pitching would make the Braves a tough team to face.  The bats have woken up, bubba.  Earlier in the season, as rookie sensation Jason Heyward went, so did the Braves.  That is no longer the case.  Everyone has woken up, and despite Heyward’s struggles over the last 12 or so games, the offense has not really missed a beat. 

The Braves are undefeated when scoring 5 or more runs.  Outstanding starting pitching and bullpen.  Outstanding.  How on earth Derek Lowe has more wins than Roy Halladay is beyond me.

Chipper toyed with retirement last week.  I think he handled it the right way.  He reiterated that he will make a decision at the end of the season.  This is not to take away from the team’s play or Bobby’s last season.

It really speaks to the depth of the Braves organization to have had Escobar on the DL, and currently have McClouth, Jurrjens, Diaz and Saito on the DL.  Those guys are slated to come off soon, and it will be interesting to see who gets sent back down to the minors.  I figure Conrad to be the odd man out again, which is too bad because he has really made the most of his opportunity while up.

The Braves wrap up interleague play against the Tigers and White Sox.   Going into the All-Star break, the Braves have series against the NL East.

The Braves face off against the surging Mets in last series before the Midsummer Classic, and the three game set will be played at Shea.  If the Braves can continue this high of level that they are at now through the divisional matchups, the rest of the summer should be pretty good…

Weekly BBQ Review

I am proud to say that Corbin and I ate more bbq than should be humanly possible this week on our journey through America’s heartland. Reviews of 2 of Memphis’ finest will be forthcoming. In the meantime, to get you by until next week, we hope you enjoy this bbq video, sent to us by friends of TGT.

Highly entertaining, yet probably pretty accurate. Don’t mistake them for Tennesseeans or Floridians, they’re from North Carolina. God bless those guys.

ucheedawg

“Phil the Thrill” Open Style

I’m a huge Lefty homer. I’ve liked him from day 1. I make it no secret that I hope he overcomes 3 bogeys on the front 9 today and wins The Open.

I read this article by Alan Shipnuck yesterday and thought it was worth sharing. It is rather lengthy but shares some insight into Phil’s preparations for the week and his life in general. Hope you enjoy.

ucheedawg

Thoughts on Expansion After A Long Road Trip

Corbin and I have been across the nation this week, and honestly have done little following of all the talk of expansion. We have, however, had many conversations about this intriguing topic and have come up with some thoughts (many of which no doubt have been discussed already, but I haven’t followed closely enough to know if I am repeating anyone or not. If so, my apologies.)

On the Big XII

The Big XII did it right by staying aligned. Texas did not need to leave. The way they do things in Texas does not open them up to leaving the conference. If they had jumped ship, it would have done a number of things. First, it would have taken the Texas Conference (Texas, TT, A & M) apart and they would no longer be in control of a Conference. Secondly, it would have opened up the floodgates for California and the SEC to the fertile recruiting grounds that is Texas. By staying pat, they did themselves the biggest favor they could have. A&M comes out the best, as they proved how much clout they carry in that state. They truly are one of the Big 3, along with Oklahoma and Texas.

So, Corbin and I discussed this issue at length, and we have come up with a proposal for the Big XII. Again, this may have been discussed somewhere else, so I hate to be an old hat, but we thought it was clever. The Big XII needs to extend 2 invitations. One should be to SMU. Located in Dallas, and a program on the rise, they would be a great fit in that Conference. They’d also help cap off the state of Texas in the Big XII. The second invitation should be extended to Notre Dame. They need to join a Conference, and they have proven they have no interest in joining the Big 10 or the Big East. Joining Texas and Oklahoma should be intriguing to them, and the money could be right if ND joined.

With that said, we have one more suggestion for the Big XII. Get ND and SMU, but then re-align your Conference. Move Oklahoma to the North, where they would join Missouri, K-State, Kansas, Iowa State, and Notre Dame. Have Texas, SMU, TT, A&M, Baylor, and OK State fill out the South. My recommendation would not be to play like the SEC does, with 1 natural and 2 rotating games, but be to have a 3 game rotation between divisions each year.  The Red River Shootout causes some bit of confusion here, but they would have to figure that out. They’re smart enough to do so.

Of course, if Arkansas did want to go back, that would be fine. We’ll burn that bridge when we get there.

On the Pac 10

This is simple, and may already be solved. Like I said, I haven’t had the time to follow what they’re doing out there close enough, so if it’s done with, my bad.

Our recommendation would be to have 2 divisions, a North and a South. This would be fairly even, or as even as you can get by splitting USC from the crowd. Have the 4 California schools (USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford) play ball with Arizona and Arizona State in the South. Then put the 2 Washington schools, 2 Oregon schools, and Colorado and Utah in the North. That would preserve all the rivalries and split Oregon and USC, which we thought would be the most fair way to divide them up. You form a natural rivalry with Utah and Colorado, and everyone is happy.

On the Big 10 (or 11, or 12, or whatever they’ll call themselves)

This was fun. Bottom line, we broke it down this way. Have an East and West Division, just like the SEC. In the East, have Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Purdon’t. In the West, have Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Northwestern. I’d recommend the Big 10 being formatted like the SEC, having a natural each year and 2 rotating. Nebraska and Penn State would play every year, Iowa and Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State, Minnesota and Indiana, and Northwestern and Illinois. You may have some years where Michigan and Ohio State play on back-to-back weekends if they keep The Big Game on the last weekend, but that’s ok. You have natural rivalries, and Penn State v. Nebraska would be a great game to watch each year.

These thoughts need to be metered to an extent, as many of them were shared in a car riding through rural Arkansas running on slight amounts of sleep and intertwined with good food, golf, and other conversation. It’s the best we could come up with though, and it sure helped the miles fly by. If they’ve already figured it out, it was fun discussing it with a friend anyway.

ucheedawg

Pebble Beach Full of UGA Golfers

Arguably the most exciting made for TV golf event kicks off today at Pebble Beach Golf Links as the U.S. Open gets underway. 

Now, of course, we at the Grit Tree feel that the Masters is BY FAR the biggest and most important major in the annual rotation, but there is no denying that the challenging conditions the Open presents every year make it the toughest test in all of golf.

With all the storylines regarding Tiger Woods getting his game back on track and Phil Mickelson pursuing the Grand Slam, UGA will have a group of golfers competing in the event as well.

Russell Henley

The Macon native and current #1 rated amateur in the world qualified for the U.S. Open 10 days ago at the U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Ansley Golf Club in Roswell.  Henley was a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award this season that goes to the NCAA’s top golfer.  Henley made national  headlines this week as he made a 13 year old boy’s day by picking him to caddie  in Monday’s practice round.

Of all the UGA golfers who qualified for the event, Henley may actually have the best chance to make a run at the title.  He is the two time defending Georgia state amateur champion and the SEC golfer of the year.  Don’t me surprised if he is somewhere on the 2nd page of the leaderboard come Sunday.

Hudson Swafford

I first heard of Swafford when I was living in Tallahassee, FL and he was a senior at The Maclay School.  Swafford went on to sign a scholarship at UGA and has enjoyed an excellent career in the Red and Black.  His junior season Swafford was a 2nd team All-American and was All-SEC.  His senior season was a disappointment, however, as he suffered a shoulder injury and was unable to compete.

Swafford qualifed for the U.S. Open by winning the sectional in Germantown, TN.

Erik Compton

There may not be a more heartwarming story in Pebble Beach than that of former UGA star Eric Compton.  The former UGA All-American has twice had to undergo heart bypass surgery once as a 12 year old and again in 2007, when he suffered a heart attack.  Compton struggles today with quick fatigue, but that has not deterred his efforts to one day make the PGA Tour. 

Compton will be on one of golf’s biggest stages beginning today and fighting on to achieve his dreams.

Kensingtondawg



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