Archive for the 'Baseball' Category

Perno’s Goff Legacy

At some point, you knew the day was coming. Fans like Kensington Dawg have wished for this day for a few years.

In a sport like SEC baseball, you are judged against your peers in the now, not the past. And David Perno’s past wasn’t enough to keep his job in the present.

As for his replacement? Greg McGarity should have little trouble attracting a strong field of candidates. You are an hour and change from one of the most fertile recruiting grounds on baseball and compete in the premiere conference in college baseball. 

But what about the one who this coach replaces? What is Perno’s legacy?

To me, Perno is a lot like Ray Goff with a bit better circumstances and without coming up with ways to use the word ‘adversity and character’ frequently when describing his team.

Both coaches are what can be very accurately described as DGDs. Neither were the top choice when they were hired, but stepped into the roles and did as best they could. 

Getting quality players, at times, helped both coaches. 

While Perno’s teams made a handful of trips to Omaha and would have won a national title had a few breaks gone Georgia’s way, Goff nearly won an SEC East title in 1992 – who knows where things would have turned if that would have happened?

And then there was Tech. When it mattered most, Perno’s teams got the best of more talented teams at Georgia Tech. Goff, for his part, knew how important it was to beat Georgia Tech, and it showed. 

In the end, Perno met a similar fate as Goff. The league in which he was in moved forward, and through various factors, he was unable to keep pace.

Perno’s legacy? To me, he is and will forever be a true and loyal Bulldog. That’s a fine approach to be a head coach at a mid-level high school somewhere. But in the SEC, it does not hold water.

To compete for championships at the level of play in the SEC today, though, you need something more than a loyalist who loves the program. Georgia saw some good times, off and on, under David Perno. But it has the potential to see some great times depending on who Perno’s replacement is.

To whom much is given, much is expected. 

Lugnut Dawg

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Lewis Grizzard Wednesday

Lewis wrote this one coming out of the 1991 season looking towards 1992. Oddly enough, he shared some of the same uneasiness about the upcoming season as many of us do now.

 

The Boys Of Summer Go Under The Dome 
   
   
Baseball season came to a rather rotten end for me in 1991. There I was in Minneapolis’s house of horrors, the Metrodome, covering the seventh game of the World Series between Atlanta’s Braves (with apologies to the Portland Oregonian) and the Minnesota Twins, a nickname a clever person said was insensitive to couples who couldn’t have children. 

Around the fifth inning, with no score in the game, the ribbon on my typewriter, which was manufactured sometime around the turn of the century, suddenly wouldn’t advance. I couldn’t make letters and words appear on the white paper in front of me. 

I fiddled with the problem for six more outs and was nearing a panic stage. What if I couldn’t figure out a way to free the ribbon? 

The game would end and I would have to write my column longhand and I hadn’t written anything in longhand since my last essay-type test in college. 

And who could I get to help me with the ribbon? Everybody else in the press box was writing on a Star Wars computer. Who would remember about typewriter ribbons? 

By the grace of God, I finally hit the right lever inside my typewriter and the ribbon started moving again. 

Then the Braves lost 1-0 because Lonnie Smith went brain dead on the base path. 

I finished my column and left the Metrodome. Outside, Twins fans were celebrating by doing such things as climbing onto the tops of buses. 

I had hired a car and driver to take me back to my hotel. 

Some kids had asked my driver for whom he was waiting. 

“Some guy from Atlanta,” he told them. 

When I arrived at the car the kids began heckling me. 

“We beat your [bad word]!” one screamed. 

“Go home, you redneck!” screamed another. 

Once I was inside the car and had locked my doors, they banged on the windows and roof and one of the Norse waifs pressed his nose and mouth on one of the windows. 

As I recall the incident now, I think he looked a little like Paul Tsongas. 

When I finally reached my hotel, shaken but unscathed, the bar was closed. 

I made a mental note that Minnesota calling itself the gopher state was an insult to gophers, and went to sleep. 

It is difficult for me to believe the 1992 baseball season is upon us so quickly. 

Wasn’t the nightmare in Minneapolis just yesterday? 

Indeed not. The 1992 Atlanta Braves, defending National League champions, are about to open their season, and many questions arise. 

I will attempt to answer some of them: 

Can the Braves repeat as National League champions? 

Sure. 

You really think so? 

If you really must know, I’m extremely concerned about Cincinnati. 

What can we expect of David Justice this season? 

A lot of pouting when things don’t go his way. 

Does the team have a drug problem? 

Well, they were drug all over the field during spring training but you can’t really go by that. 

Will the chop come back? 

Was Custer surprised at little Big Horn? 

Will Jane and Ted have a successful marriage? 

Who do I look like, Dear Abby? Let’s stick to baseball. 

What part of the Braves do you think will be the most improved? 

Their bank accounts. 

What would you like to see out of Lonnie Smith this season? 

An apology. 

If the Braves get to the World Series and have to play the Twins again, would you go back to Minneapolis? 

If I can take along a typewriter technician, and my own bat.

“What are you saying, some of these guys are furniture movers?”

Major League is one of my favorite sports movies of all-time. Not the best, but it’s up there pretty high. Part of that is that movie greatly reminds you of the Atlanta Braves 1991 season.

Unfortunately, it also reminds of another baseball fortune within the peach state, the state of the Georgia baseball program.

This program isn’t just having a bad spell. It’s one that it has fallen into and not gotten back up from, and that falls completely on David Perno.

Look, I know David Perno is well-liked, especially in Athens. But keeping someone on because they are well-liked works fine on some lower levels, but not in the top conference in college baseball.

The funny thing is, things were set up for the opposite. Remember 2008, when one of the greatest flukes of all-time, Fresno State kept Georgia from a national title? One would a think a national runner-up finish would catapult the program. Instead it has done the opposite. In the four seasons since, Georgia has failed to advance to the regionals and in its two regional appearances has failed to advance. 

Look, I know there has been adversity within the roster. Injuries happen. But when you have a recruiting base that Georgia has, there’s no reason not to have depth built up. 

Perno’s apologists will be quick to point to the fact that Georgia is playing in the toughest division within the a major baseball conference. I won’t dispute that, but there was a time when Georgia was one of those teams that teams tried to beat.

Think about it. Kentucky is now a top-five caliber baseball program. Yep, Kentucky, a program that was a laughingstock like most other sports at UK except for basketball.

If you can recruit players at a place like Kentucky, why in the world can’t you recruit at the flagship school that’s a gold mine for baseball prospects?

The fact is, pretty much the rest of the SEC has moved past of further ahead of Georgia. If it wants to catch up, it’ll have to be with someone besides David Perno leading the way.

Lugnut Dawg

 

 


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