Archive for March, 2011

What NBA Owners Should Do (ft. The Looney Tunes)

Fair warning…long post alert. The start of the tourney last weekend got me thinking, and I finally had the time to write some things down…

I’d be the first to admit I followed the NBA religiously when I was younger.   While I traded baseball cards with my friends in grade school, I had a collection of basketball cards that rivaled their collection of football ones.  I still have a box of old basketball  jerseys stuff in closet too.

Ah…the good ole days:

Fast forward today, and I could care less about the NBA.  Other than the big “stars” of LeBron, Wade, Kobe and a few more, I have no idea who plays pro ball.  Anyone know the starting 5 for the Toronto Raptors? neither (which by the way…why is there a pro-basketball team in Canada? eh..oh well, that’s another post.)

The NBA and college basketball has one problem that should be fixed immediately. I don’t like the one and done rule. It’s just that simple. Steve Kerr and Bill Simmons nail the argument about college players in Simmon’s recent podcast:

I won’t type too much about what they say in the podcast, but they talk a lot about improving the game in both the NBA and college by giving players more time to develop.  Kerr’s point about Kobe potentially playing for Duke is interesting, so check it out the podcast if you have a few minutes.

The biggest benefit to me for underclassmen staying in college is for NBA team owners.  What motivates the average sports fan to pay attention to a pro-sports league? Knowing the players.

I don’t think that the NBA is relevant to the average fan because people have no idea who plays in the league.  Keeping basketball players in college for  solves the NBA’s problem.  Have you ever watched the starting lineups of a NFL game and wondered why random names look familiar? Its probably because most of them played 3-4 years of football in the SEC. The average sports fan that watches the NCAA tourney hardly knows any of the “star” players for the good teams. And once these star players leave for the NBA, the average fans couldn’t care less.  Keep these players on national spotlight during 3 or 4 years of NCAA tourney games, and everyone will know who they are.

Take a look at the top prospects from freshmen classes that would be seniors and juniors during this season of college basketball:
OJ Mayo – USC – Now plays for Memphis Grizzlies
Eric Gordon – Indiana – Now plays for LA Clippers
Kyle Singler – Duke
Michael Beasley- Kansas State – Now plays for Minnesota
Kevin Love- UCLA – Now plays for Minnesota
Derrick Rose- Memphis – Now plays for Chicago Bulls (in case you have noticed)
Jerryd Bayless- Arizona – Now plays for Portland Blazers

Now…the class of 2008
Tyreke Evans – Memphis – Sacramento Kings
Brandon Jennings – Arizona- Milwaukee Bucks
Jrue Holliday – UCLA – Philadelphia 76ers
DeMar DeRozan- USC  – Toronto Raptors
Scotty Hopson – Tennessee
Kemba Walker – Connecticut
JaMychael Green – Alabama
Trey Thompkins- UGA
Greg Monroe – Georgetown – Detroit Pistons

Of these listed, only Singler, Hopson, Walker, Green, and Thompkins continued to play for their collegiate teams after one year.  The possibilities and “what ifs?” if these players had stayed in school are endless. Could you imagine if both Jerryd Bayless (if he stayed all 4 years), Brandon Jennings (If he stayed in the country) paired with current forward Derrick Williams at ‘Zona? Unreal. Yet, by the time a collegiate basketball player was a junior, he not only would elevate his talent ceiling, but for team owners…his name recognition improves along with profit potential for tickets, jerseys, and etc.

Have you ever seen a problem where that hasn’t been fixed, because..well…it makes too much sense to fix it? This goes in that category for me. College basketball should take a page from college football as soon as they can.  It just makes more sense to me.


Catfish and Cornbread: More Than Lewis’ Pets, More Than Food

Yesterday marked our online draft for Fantasy Baseball.  The Grit Tree League had 10/10 members participating at some point in our draft last night, and accordingly, the draft took just under 2 hours to complete.  When we started doing Fantasy Baseball a couple of years ago, it was started to just help pass the time in the dog days of summer.  Now, for me at least, it has turned into one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Instead of the typical Rotisserie style format, we are splitting up into two seperate leagues and playing head to head.  This alters your strategy a little bit.  Our two divisions are “Catfish” and “Cornbread”.  I am in the Cornbread Division with several friends of the blog, while Ucheedawg, Granite and Barndawg are 3/5 in the “Catfish Division.”  Uchee won it all in our first year in 2009, followed by Granite winning it all last year.  I have finished second both years.   

Will someone new finish at the top?  Will Corbindawg finally go from 2nd to 1st?  Will Granite and Uchee win it all again?  So many story lines in our league, so little time! 


Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Lewis Talks Football

No column today, but rather some of his stand up.  Here, Lewis talks about Bubba an’ Earl, and an Alabama fan trying to get an RC Cola and a Moon Pie. 


How Does Mike Hamilton Still Have A Job?

In this economy, you would think the the tolerance for stupidity in the work place would be nil, especially in the big time world of collegiate athletics.  In the SEC, margin for error is less than zero.  Afterr running an Athletic Department that has faced NCAA violatioins in football and men’s basketball and the whole Lane Kiffin fiasco, you would think that Mike Hamilton would be looking for employment elsewhere. 

I am not going to bother looking up what Mike Hamilton’s salary is, but I am sure there are capable people out there who would do a better job than him to at least handle a crisis better than what he’s done.

You could say that Kiffin blindsided him, but Hamilton is the guy that hired Kiffin in the first place.  And the way he handled the Bruce Pearl situation was a classic example of what not to do.  He threw his team under the bus before the Tournament even started.   I don’t have any insight to Tennessee athletics (thank goodness), but it seems that Mike Hamilton should be on thin ice, if he wasn’t there before all this.


Good News For Georgia Basketball?

A news story that should surprise exactly no one, it is being reported that Tennessee and Bruce Pearl parted ways today.

Bruce Pearl is sleezy, but a dern good coach.  Tennessee has been to the NCAA Tournament 6 consecutive years.  They have really had a good program going.  It is going to be hard for Tennessee to find another coach the caliber of Pearl.    when one of Georgia’s  division rivals takes a step back, it should be better for the Dawgs. 


What John Elway and Corbindawg Have In Common

According to Jeff Schultz, A.J. Bombed the Wondrelic test.  I don’t think it really matters…A.J. will be a great NFL wide reciever, and despite his percieved poor showing in the combine, stands to get drafted very high in just a few weeks. 

For fun, I took 5 minutes and took the Wonderlic sample test online.  It is a condensded version.  Print off the sheet and set your alarm on your phone for five minutes in the future.  Then go to the answer sheet and find out how many out got right.  I finished 13/20 questions in  5 minutes and got 12/20 right.  Multiply your number correct by 2.5. 

My score is 30, same as John Elway. 

How did you do?


Remembering Lewis Grizzard



This cartoon by AJC's Mike Luckovich shows Lewis Grizzard being greeted by his dog, Catfish, at the entrance to heaven.


17 years ago yesterday, Lewis Grizzard up and died, and was called home to see his momma and  Catfish.  No internet access yesterday to properly pay tribute, but here is his obituary as it ran in the AJC.   Here is a photo gallery from the AJC, also. 

Son of the South

Famed columnist dies at 47 following fourth heart surgery
By Charles Seabrook,Tom Bennett

Toward the end, Lewis Grizzard, knowing his chances of seeing another springtime in his beloved Georgia were slim, still made people laugh.

Even his doctors.

They recounted Sunday that in a tense moment last week, after they had explained to Grizzard that he had less than a 50-50 chance of surviving his fourth open-heart surgery, he responded:

“When’s the next bus to Albuquerque?”

Grizzard, whose thrice-weekly syndicated humor column made hundreds of thousands of readers laugh, died Sunday morning at Emory University Hospital in an intensive care unit after a life-support system was removed. He was 47.

Death came from massive brain damage, apparently caused by an obstruction that broke off from his aorta before or during surgery and lodged in an artery that fed oxygenated blood to his brain.

His body will be on public view at the McKoon Funeral Home in Newnan from 3-9 p.m. today. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Moreland Methodist Church, the church he called “so dear to my childhood.”

He married there for the first time (at age 19) in 1966 to Nancy Jones. He married for the fourth time four days ago (to Dedra Kyle) in the hospital where he died.

He once said he wanted “somebody, preferably Willie Nelson,” to sing his favorite hymn, “Precious Memories,” at his funeral. His body, however, will be cremated, and the ashes buried next to his mother’s grave in Moreland.

His mother, Christine Word Atkinson, died in 1989 after a long illness. In many poignant columns and books, Grizzard wrote with near reverence of the former first-grade schoolteacher.

“Mama taught me that an education was necessary for a fuller life,” he wrote. “She taught me an appreciation of the language. She taught a love of words, of how they should be used and how they can fill a creative soul with a passion and lead it to a life’s work.”

The Washington Post wrote: “He compares every woman to his mother, who spoiled him rotten.”

But he reserved some of his most moving columns for his father, Lewis Grizzard Sr., a highly decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean War who died in 1970 of a stroke.

Grizzard said that after his father returned from the Korean War, he was a changed man. “He began to bender-drink heavily. He couldn’t handle the family finances and borrowed large sums of money. He eventually left the army, or the army left him.

“My mother could no longer cope with my father’s problems and had a 6-year-old on her hands. She moved us to her parents’ home and eventually divorced my father.”

Jim Minter, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor and one of Grizzard’s closest friends, said “one of Lewis’s worries . . . was that he didn’t measure up to his dad.”

Grizzard said his book about his father, “Daddy Was a Pistol and I’m a Son of a Gun,” was his favorite.

Humor to the hilt

In large part, his family roots were responsible for making Grizzard a fiercely proud Southerner. His 20 books and syndicated columns in the Journal-Constitution and 450 other newspapers played redneck humor to the hilt. He took special delight in attacking Yankees, liberal politicians, draft evaders and feminists.

Many readers, instead of laughing at his wit, became enraged. Some called him a racist, a label Grizzard vehemently denied.

Divorced three times, Grizzard wrote that women’s activities should be limited to rubbing his back, hugging his neck, baking pies, frying chicken and washing his clothes.

“He’s pricked some people once considered off-limits to pricking,” Minter said. “He [was] absolutely the best of anyone I know at walking up to the edge of bad taste without being in bad taste.”

Pat Conroy, another best-selling Southern author whose novels often decried racism and other problems of the South, once suggested that Grizzard represented mostly what was wrong with the South.

Conroy wrote that he “loathed” the South that Grizzard revered.

Grizzard, who loathed neckties, once acknowledged in a television interview that “I’m not a modern man.” Many of his friends said he was born two centuries too late.

Grizzard poked fun at his record of marital problems and his greatest phobia – flying in airplanes. Whenever possible, he preferred to travel by car or bus.

A favorite target was Georgia Tech, the football rival of his alma mater, the University of Georgia. Grizzard was a fixture at Sanford Stadium on the Georgia campus on Saturday afternoons when his beloved football Dawgs played at home.

Former Georgia head football coach Vince Dooley, whose team won the national championship in 1980 with running great Herschel Walker, was one of Grizzard’s closest friends. Dooley’s successor, Ray Goff, was at the hospital Sunday when Grizzard died.

Grizzard left the university needing one course to graduate. Years later, UGA gave it to him and awarded him a journalism degree.

Popular on lecture circuit

Grizzard was a popular figure on the lecture circuit, commanding up to $20,000 a speech. He occasionally appeared on television, including guest spots on “The Tonight Show,” “Designing Women” and “Larry King Live.”

The columns, books and personal appearances made him wealthy, but Grizzard yearned to be taken seriously as a writer.

“I wish one time in my life I could do what other writers do . . . get me a villa in Spain and go there to write a book,” he said in a 1992 magazine interview. “I’d like to know what I could do if I really had the time to spend on writing a book, with no columns or shows to do at the same time.”

Lewis McDonald Grizzard Jr. was born Oct. 20, 1946, at Fort Benning, Ga.

After his mother divorced his father, she returned to Moreland and remarried. The young Grizzard grew up there and went to Moreland Elementary. He graduated from high school in nearby Newnan in 1964.

As a UGA freshman, he was a summertime feature writer for the Newnan Times-Herald. That September, he joined the 2-month-old Athens Daily News.

Newspaper ‘boy wonder’

He became a “boy wonder” of the newspaper business. He was named sports editor of the Athens newspaper at 19, and, at 21, became sports editor of The Atlanta Journal. He became an assistant city editor of The Journal in 1975, but left after a short stint to free-lance for Sports Illustrated and other publications.

Later that year, however, he joined the sports department of the Chicago Sun-Times, and that October was named executive sports editor.

But Grizzard disliked Chicago intensely, especially its bitter winters. Last year, when he was facing his third open-heart operation, which almost killed him, he said the surgery would be about as pleasant as “having to move back to Chicago.”

In April 1977, pining for Georgia, Grizzard phoned his old friend and mentor, Minter, then The Constitution’s managing editor. Minter said he was thinking of hiring a sports columnist.

“Hire me!” Grizzard said, and Minter did. The column began in The Constitution’s sports section.

In February 1978, the newspaper announced that Grizzard’s column would move over to the news section. Veteran reporters at the newspaper speculated that Grizzard might fall flat on his face because he lacked experience in news.

Column caught on

But his columns caught on like wildfire. They became the talk of Atlanta, and then the South. He was syndicated to other papers by King Features.

Decrying computers, he pounded out his columns on a vintage Royal manual typewriter, and phoned them in to his assistant, Gerrie Ferris – “Wanda Fribish” in his columns.

The fictional characters from his childhood, so familiar to his readers, began to emerge: Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr., Kathy Sue Loudermilk and Cordie Mae Poovey.

His move into book-writing became a Southern publishing event. Peachtree Publishers of Atlanta distributed his first book, the 1979 collection of his columns titled “Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You,” and it sold 75,000 copies the first week.

His second book, “Elvis Is Dead And I Don’t Feel So Good Myself,” made The New York Times best-seller list. He was annually the region’s best-selling author.

He chronicled his newspaper career in a book that also summed up his feelings about the South: “If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground.”

At the time of his death, he was planning his 21st book – about dogs, especially his Labrador retriever, Catfish, who died five months ago.

Stage and album

Grizzard added concert stage appearances in 1985. A favorite closing line: “Life is like a dog-sled team; if you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”

That same year he released a comedy album, “On the Road With Lewis Grizzard – I’ve Seen England, I’ve Seen France, I’ve Seen Miss America Without Her Underpants.”

Most readers, however, knew him through his newspaper columns.

As his fame spread, he let readers and audiences in on the details of a playboy lifestyle he had adopted. In one column, the onetime country boy from Moreland described how he had shot the rapids on a river in Idaho; in another, how he had spent the day sunning himself on the Cote d’Azur in the south of France – and taking note of the topless swimsuit attire.

Some of his newspaper colleagues were models for some of the characters. Journal-Constitution reporter Bill Robinson, his longtime friend, became Billy Bob Bailey, the world’s most obnoxious Alabama fan.

He wrote about things he liked – home-grown tomatoes, Moon Pies, doughnuts and especially barbecue – and things he disliked: buttermilk, fishing, computers, electric typewriters, Dom DeLuise and TV evangelists.

Columnists are fair game for every cause and complaint, and Grizzard frequently gave the space to them – a hit-and-run victim, a couple whose home had been burglarized.

But more commonly he wrote about his passions: trains, patriotism, pickup trucks, cowboys, his dog Catfish and country music.

The trivialities of his life filled the column: He couldn’t build or repair anything. At age 7 he wanted to be Roy Rogers. His mother made him bathe. No one could cook eggs over medium-well the way his mother could.

Commentary and criticism

But he also ventured into social commentary, sometimes drawing sharp criticism.

When some friends who had been rafting on the Chattahoochee River found themselves in the midst of a gay raft race, Grizzard wrote that people “have a right to float down the river without having to see a sex show, gay or otherwise. If sex had been meant to be an outdoor activity, we would never have been given motel rooms.” Gays blasted the column as unfair.

But he frustrated his conservative readers, too, when he supported abortion and gun control. Of the latter, he wrote: “The National Rifle Association [members] are bullet brains. I’d like to see the animals armed.”

After his 1993 heart surgery, Grizzard took a softer tone in his columns, writing appreciatively of his recovery and his relationship with Dedra.

Mainly, he loved life, and it showed, said his friends. Grizzard said one of his big worries was that “somewhere there is a great party going on, and I’m missing it.”


The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture called Lewis Grizzard “the Faulkner of the common man.” Here’s a list of his books:

“Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You,” 1979.

“Elvis Is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself” and “Won’t You Come Home, Billy Bob Bailey?,” 1980.

`Don’t Sit Under the Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me,” 1981.

“They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat,” about his first open-heart surgery, 1982.

“If Love Were Oil, I’d Be About a Quart Low,” 1983.

“Shoot Low Boys, They’re Ridin’ Shetland Ponies,” 1985.

“My Daddy Was a Pistol and I’m a Son of a Gun” and “When My Love Returns From the Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old to Care?,” 1987.

“Don’t Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them ‘Taters Got Eyes,” 1988.

“Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night” and “Lewis Grizzard on Fear of Flying,” 1989.

“If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground,” “Advice to Newly Wed . . . & the Newly Divorced” and “Does a Wild Bear Chip in the Woods?,” about golf, 1990.

“You Can’t Put No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll,” “Don’t Forget to Call Your Mama, I Wish I Could Call Mine,” and “Heapin’ Helping of True Grizzard: Down Home Again With Lewis Grizzard,” 1991.
“I Haven’t Understood Anything Since 1962: And Other Nekkid Truths,” 1992.

“I Took a Lickin’ and Kept on Tickin’ and Now I Believe in Miracles,” 1993.

A Cinderella Story

I’m thankful that UGA vs U-Dub isn’t during the day, because 80 degree days in Georgia were not made to watch basketball indoors. Or work inside either..but that’s my fault. 

Please enjoy…that “other” Cinderella Story:


Quarterback > Receivers

Losing A.J. Green, and underappreciated Kris  Durham, will no doubt be a big blow to UGA’s receiving corps next season.

But how big of a blow will it be? 

Chris Low did this chart showcasing how much firepower Arkansas is going to have coming back next year.  What I took away from the chart, though, is that Georgia is not that far off from the rest of the conference when it comes to returning receivers.

Arkansas and South Carolina have the most returning receiving yardage, but the Georgia is not that far off from the rest of the SEC.  I must say I am totally surprised by that.

I have said many times, but this team reminds me a lot of the 2005 team.  Look at this post I did last May, and a lot the same points hold true. 

We may not have A.J. Green and Kris Durham in 2011, but the 2005 team didn’t have Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown.  D.J. Shockley still had one of the most prolific seasons for a Quarterback in UGA history,  with 2,588 yards passing and 25-4 TD/INT ratio.  Shockley did this with a 2005 receiving corps that was, in my opinion, made up of mostly scrubs.  Massaquoi was a true freshman and Leonard Pope was a freak of nature.  Other than that, Shockley wasn’t working with much.

If Aaron Murray had not been wearing that stinking, #!@$%%#**^% glove against Central Florida, he might could have broken Shockley’s records. 

What Shockley had to his advantage is he was a mobile quarterback.  He could extend plays with his feet and make throws on the run.  Murray is just as athletic as Shockley.  He can make the big plays.  I think Aaron Murray is the kind of quarterback who can make players around him seem better than they actually are.   I mean, Bruce Figgins caught a TD pass against Georgia Tech.

Bottom line is, it won’t matter as much who the receivers are as much as the one who is throwing them the ball.  Kellen Moore will still put up good numbers despite the fact he doesn’t have Titus Young and Austin Pettis anymore. 

Really good quarterbacks will make everyone around them better.  And Georgia has a really good QB.


Baseball’s Early Days

I get a bad rap from the other bloggers here about being a barefoot hippie for listening to NPR but they had a really good interview yesterday at lunch and it fits perfectly for a beautiful warm spring day like today.  John Thorn was on talking about his book “Baseball in the Garden of Eden” where he gives accounts of the game being played all the way back in 1735, long before that damn yankee Doubleday was even born.  Some of the more interesting points he made that I didn’t know was that baseball was originally a boys game played on the farms and would have never caught on if men in the cities hadn’t started betting on everything from how a single player would do at bat to the outcome of the game.  Stadiums even had a special section in the stands where the bookies sat and you could walk up and make your bets.  Now it would be fitting to bring this back to Turner Field and would make the Golden Moon Casino Pavilion a lot more entertaining.  If you have time today I’d recommended you let this interview play in the background while you are watching the tournament this afternoon cause if you’re reading this blog your productivity is already a few points below normal.

The ‘Secret History’ of Baseball’s Earliest Days