Heads Up Braves Fans: The Future is Bright in Atlanta

In mid-March, Major League Baseball halted their Spring Training workouts to the outbreak of COVID-19, and fans were not allowed into the stadiums for the entire regular season.

In fact, a week into the season in late-July and early August, Major League Baseball was sitting on its proverbial heels due to multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 in Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati.

With the bulk of the positive tests coming out of Miami and St. Louis, league officials were contemplating the thought of shutting the season down even though it had literally just gotten started.

When the league reached an agreement with its clubs to play a 60-game regular-season schedule as opposed to the normal 162-game schedule in a non-pandemic year, we knew every game would matter that much more.

Winning streaks would seem longer than they were and would mean five times more than they would in a regular 162-game season. Losing streaks would seem to drag on longer than usual and every pitch mattered.

Even though the Atlanta Braves may have lost in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, there’s still a lot to be proud of when you look at the bigger picture.

This team won its first postseason series since 2001, advanced to the National League Championship Series, spent the final month and a half without ace Mike Soroka, missed outfield phenom Ronald Acuña Jr for two weeks twice due to a left wrist injury, lost four of five-man starting rotation, with Max Fried being the only projected starting pitcher left standing, and still won their division and won not just one but two postseason series.

This team isn’t done, they’re just getting started. For every minor setback there’s a major comeback. And with the young, raw talent of guys like Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Ian Anderson, Max Fried, Cristian Pache, and a healthy Mike Soroka, you can’t help but imagine just how good this team will be in the next few seasons with some of the best young talent in the game.

Hold your heads up Braves fans, the best is yet to come.

Remembering Eddie Van Halen: The Real Guitar Hero

Eddie Van Halen, the founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, passed away Tuesday of cancer at the age of 65.

Born Edward Van Halen on January 26, 1955, in the Netherlands, he moved with his family to California in the early 1960s. While growing up in Pasadena, California, Eddie and Alex Van Halen took classical piano lessons, playing mostly improvised classical, and Eddie, in particular, proved to be an early musical standout. As teenagers, the brothers switched instruments, Eddie to guitar and Alex to drums, leaving Classical music behind and spearheading a rock band called Mammoth.

He formed Van Halen in 1974 with his brother Alex. Eddie’s quick-fingered guitar riffs and David Lee Roth’s onstage antics caught the attention of KISS guitarist Gene Simmons in 1977.

Simmons discovered Van Halen at a local club in 1977 and financed and recorded the band’s first recording session. Not long afterwards, Eddie Van Halen and his band Van Halen signed a record deal with Warner Brothers, and in 1978, the band put out its self-titled debut album, which featured the hit “Runnin’ With the Devil.”

The combination of Eddie’s incredible guitar riffs and Roth’s vocal antics, launched the album to platinum status within six months of its release.

Some Van Halen’s most-known songs include “Jump” and “Panama” on the 1984 album “1984”. “Runnin’ With the Devil” and “Erupon 1978’s “Van Halen”.

The album “1984” also showcased the now classic mega-hit “Hot For Teacher”. The videos for “Jump”, “Panama”, “Hot For Teacher,” each lit up MTV.

During his time in the industry, Eddie Van Halen teamed up with Michael Jackson for the guitar solo in Jackson’s hit song “Beat it”, and also welcomed a new frontman in 1985, by the name of Sammy Hagar.

If I took the time to list all of Van Halen’s hits through the years, we’d be here all day. When people discuss the greatest guitarist in Rock history the two names that are seemingly always in the conversation are Slash, Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Allen Collins, among others.

It’s safe to say that Mr. Eddie Van Halen has cemented his place in Rock and Roll history.

Rest In Peace, Eddie, we love you brother.

Source: Twitter

Pruitt Leads No. 14/12 Tennessee to Athens for Top 15 Showdown with No. 3 Georgia

For the first time since their October 7, 2006, No. 12 Tennessee and No. 3 Georgia will square off against each other as top 15 teams at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Athens. The then-No. 13 Vols bested the then-No. 10 Bulldogs, 51-33, in Sanford Stadium that day.

Saturday’s game will be available for viewing on CBS with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), and Jamie Erdahl (sideline) on the call.

Across the airwaves in Tennessee, Vol fans can listen to the game on their radios by tuning their radios to the Vol Network, available on WIVK-FM 107.7 and WNML-FM 99.1, where Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest (analyst), Brent Hubbs (analyst), and Kasey Funderburg (sideline) will describe the action.

Tennessee is making its first appearance on CBS since November 17, 2018. This will mark the 50th all-time meeting between the Volunteers and Bulldogs, with Georgia holding a slim 24-23-2 edge in the series to this point. Tennessee will be seeking their first 3-0 overall start since 2016 and their first 3-0 start in conference play since 1998.

The Volunteers carry an eight-game winning streak and a six-game SEC win streak into Week 3. That mark is currently the second-longest in the country, the longest in the Southeastern Conference, and tied for the longest in the Power Five. It’s Tennessee’s second-longest winning streak since the 1998 national championship season. The Volunteers trail only Air Force (9) for the longest win streak in the nation.

The Volunteers have won nine of their last 10 games, and three straight SEC road games. The six-game conference winning streak is Tennessee’s longest since winning six in a row from October 31, 2015 to October 1, 2016.

Will Jeremy Pruitt and the Volunteers of Tennessee extend their winning streak to nine games on Saturday or will Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs have other plans?

Find out a 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

No. 16/21-ranked Vols to Kick 2020 off in Palmetto State at South Carolina

Its been a long offseason, but the wait is almost over. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his 16th-ranked Volunteers will kickoff the 2020 campaign with the first of its 10-game-conference-only schedule on Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Kickoff for the lid-lifter the Volunteers and Gamecocks is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network, with Taylor Zarzour (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (analyst), and Alyssa Lang (sideline) on the call.

Across the airwaves of Knoxville, Tennessee, Volunteer fans will the familiar “Voice of the Volunteers”, Bob Kesling (play-by-play) on the call, with Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs providing commentary, and Kasey Funderburg will provide updates to Bob, Tim, and Brent, from the sidelines.

September 26 will be the latest opener for Tennessee on the calendar since opening the 1962 campaign on September 29 against Auburn in Birmingham, at historic Legion Field.

The Vols carry a six-game overall win streak and a four-game conference win streak into Williams-Brice on Saturday, which is currently the fifth-longest “active” streak in the country, the third-longest among Power 5 schools, and the longest among SEC East foes.

Tennessee only trails LSU (16), Air Force (8), Notre Dame (8), and Florida-Atlantic for the longest win streak in the nation.

This will mark the 39th all-time meeting between Tennessee and South Carolina on the gridiron, Tennessee leads the all-time series (26-10-2). The series dates back to 1903.

The Volunteers hold a (9-4-2) record in games played on September 26, with last one coming September 26, 2015, a 28-27 loss to Florida.

The last games on September 26 came in: 1992 – (40-0 W vs Cincinnati), 1998 – (42-7 W vs. Houston), 2005 – (30-27 overtime W at #4 LSU), 2009 – (34-23 W vs. Ohio) and the aforementioned 2015 loss to Florida in Gainesville.

Tennessee ranks 10th in the NCAA in all-time wins with 846, trailing only Michigan (962), Ohio State (924), Texas (917), Alabama (916), Notre Dame (910), Oklahoma (909), Nebraska (902), Penn State (898), and USC (847).

Will Tennessee extend their current win streak to seven on Saturday in Columbia against Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks?

Find out at 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

Source: UTSports.com.

In Loving Memory of Paula Caray, 1946-2020

Saturday afternoon, the Braves family lost a treasured member when Paula Caray, the wife of longtime Braves broadcaster, Skip Caray, passed away after a brief illness.

Paula Caray moved to Atlanta with Skip in 1976, when he was added to the Braves broadcasting team, a position he held until his death in August of 2008.

While many of us knew and loved Skip, to know Skip and to love him, was to love Paula too. Because after all, behind every great man, is an even greater woman.

In addition to being the wife of a broadcaster, she was also the stepmom to a broadcaster and his siblings.

She was the stepmother to current Atlanta Braves broadcaster, Chip Caray, Josh Caray, Shayelyn Caray Woodbery, and Cindy Caray Hines.

Rest In Peace, Ms. Paula Caray, we love you, your life and legacy will never be forgotten.

Source: Twitter.

Locked In: Wetumpka Set to Take Gridiron for First Time in Unprecedented Season vs. Rival Prattville

With all the uncertainty surrounding sports these days and everything being so close-to-the-vest so to speak, it’s safe to say that we are living and playing sports in unprecedented times.

But that doesn’t mean that this season means less than any other season in the past. In fact, you could make a case by saying this season actually means more than any other season.

Not because it’s just another season, but because of everything that has threatened the sports world in the past few months.

A Look at the Opponent:

Prattville High School Football is led by third-year head coach, Caleb Ross.

Ross led the Lions to a (9-3), third-place finish in Class 7A Region 2 in 2019.

Prattville’s wins came over Foley (39-0), Stanhope Elmore (42-0), Enterprise, (28-14), Wetumpka, (31-13), Lee-Montgomery, (20-3), Jeff Davis, (44-7), Smiths Station, (49-21), Sidney Lanier, (38-24), and Theodore, (24-17 in double overtime in the first round of the playoffs.

The Lions’ losses in 2019, came at the hands of Central Phenix City, (45-20), Auburn, (17-3), and Central Phenix City again, (24-6) in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.

A Glance at the History Between Prattville and Wetumpka:

Friday night’s meeting between the two arch rivals separated by just 19 miles, will be the first-known neutral site game played between the two bitter rivals in the history of the two programs.

Friday night’s game will be the 58th all-time meeting between the crosstown rivals, with the first meeting coming all the way back on September 29, 1922, a game that Wetumpka won 25-6, and the most-recent meeting coming on September 27, 2019, with Prattville winning by a score of 31-13.

Each team enters Friday’s matchup having won 27 contests each with three ties.

Friday’s game is slated for a 7 p.,m., kickoff from Montgomery, Alabama’s historic Cramton Bowl as part of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Kickoff Classic.

Expectations are high, but so are the rewards.

Source: Tannehill Photography

All is Right With the World: Baseball is Back

For fans like myself, who grew up around and love the game of baseball. After waiting all offseason plus four more months.

You add that up and you’ll get 267 days of boredom, waiting, impatience, and so much more.

But for me, all is right considering that the Braves are off to a (2-1) season after the first series of the season.

Following a well-pitched 1-0 loss on Opening Day Friday, Atlanta found the New York Mets weakness and pulled out two consecutive wins.

Saturday, the Braves were literally down to their last strike, but then game newcomer Marcell Ozuna, who blasted a game-tying home run and then Dansby Swanson scored the game-winning run in the top of the tenth.

On Sunday, the Braves brought out what we’ve been waiting all offseason to see, a 17-hit, 14-run outburst to cruise past the Mets 14-1.

Tonight the Braves will take on the Tampa Bay Rays for two games in Tampa, Florida, and the Rays will follow the Braves back to Atlanta for two more Wednesday and Thursday.

Baseball is back and everything is right in my world.

Tomahawk Chop: Why Are We Considering Removing Such a Harmless Storied Tradition

Around 2:45 Monday afternoon, I read from a credible source that the Atlanta Braves are considering removing one of their longest traditions; the Tomahawk Chop.

Here’s my take on it, why are even considering removing such a long-standing tradition? What’s it hurting?

For 22 years, as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been going to Braves games and honestly I can’t imagine going to a Braves game without there being a tomahawk chop.

For 22 years, I’ve done the tomahawk chop, whether it be at athletic events at my alma mater, or at a Braves game, not once have I thought it was offensive to anybody of any race.

Native Americans should look at it as an honor, because that’s exactly what it is and that way it’s meant to be.

When I have kids, I will take them to Braves games and yes, I will allow them to do the tomahawk chop. Just as I have done and will continue to do as long as God is willing to let me live.

Last year during the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the staff didn’t allow our fans to have foam tomahawks.

Why, you ask? Because somebody, somewhere complained about it being demeaning and offensive to the Native American race.

Whether we have the tomahawk chop from this point on or not, as for me and my house, we will continue to chop.

Source: WGHP.

The Last of The Bulldog: My Last Trip to Turner Field and Met “The Bulldog” Five Years Later

Saying Goodbye to Turner Field

ttended my last game at Turner Field on July 13, 2012, when the Braves took on their National League East division-rival, New York Mets, out of Flushing, New York, a suburb of New York City.

The starting pitchers that night were Dillon Gee from the New York Mets and the Braves handed the ball to Auburn, Alabama’s Tim Hudson. Hudson is a 1997 graduate of Auburn University, where he was teammates with that night’s starting catcher, David Ross. Together in college, those two won the College World Series during Hudson and Ross’ Senior year of 1997.

When I was heading to Turner Field that afternoon, I could feel my chest getting tighter the closer we got to the field.

I knew that this would most-likely be the very last time I ever stepped foot into the place where I fell in love with the game of baseball.

That night it rained for three hours before the game ever got started and it was 12:30 before the game got started.

We started until the end of the sixth inning. Fittingly, Chipper Jones had the last at-bat I ever witnessed at Turner Field.

But this was much different than the first time I ever saw him at the plate in person, he didn’t get out.

In fact, he sent a ball deep into the Atlanta night, over the right-center field wall. He must’ve known I was in the stands, because otherwise, he would’ve probably gotten out as was often the case.

The Braves ended up winning the game 8-5.

Meeting Tim Hudson Five Years Later:

On April 7, 2017, my uncle, who coached my cousin’s travel ball team, called me to tell me that they would be playing a team out of Auburn, Alabama, called the Colt 45’s, and it was coached by Tim Hudson.

When he told me this, I knew immediately that I would be in attendance just to see the game.

But, I didn’t know it would result in me meeting the last pitcher I ever saw start at Turner Field face-to-face and having a conversation with him.

On April 8, 2017, I woke up early, my uncle picked me up and we headed to Lagoon Park in Montgomery, Alabama.

As I approached the field, I could see Tim was carrying his San Francisco Giants warmup bag, for those of you that aren’t familiar with him, he won a World Series title in San Francisco in 2014.

He was busy when I approached, so I waited until he wasn’t busy to get his attention. After his team had taken the field for pregame warmups, he approached the dugout that I was standing beside, I took this opportunity to yell “Tim!” And then motioned for him to come over to me. He did so politely.

I mentioned to him that my goal was to become a Major League Baseball broadcaster one day and then he and I talked a few more minutes, I asked him “Would you mind if I got a picture with you?” He responded “Absolutely brother, come on.” Afterwards I told him that he was the last pitcher a game at Turner Field that I attended, he said “Is that the game when it rained forever?” I said “It was, y’all didn’t start playing until 12:30 a.m., he responded “That’s it.” He and I both shared a laugh because we both knew how that turned out for the New York Mets, whom both of us hated. The last thing I asked him was “Who gave you the nickname ‘The Bulldog’ he smiled and said, “Two people are responsible for that nickname, Chipper and Bobby Cox, Chipper started it first because he said I went after hitters like a bulldog and after a few weeks, the skipper only called me “Bulldog”. I thanked him and before I sat down I said “Go Braves!” He said “Chop on, my brother.”

Image Source: Wikipedia
Image Source: Call to the Pen

Be Patient Braves Fans, Baseball Will Be Back

As many of you know, I’ve always been a huge Braves fan and I’m devastated that the Braves didn’t start on time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t start at all.

For 22 years, I’ve very rarely missed a game, and I don’t plan on missing any this year once they take the field.

Friday afternoon, the MLB announced that it had come to an agreement to shorten the 2020 season to what I assume would be anywhere from 125 to 82 games, but they won’t start until the mass gathering and travel bans are lifted.

While I’m anxious for the start of the season, I know that the Braves and the MLB have the safety and well-being of their fans, players, staff etc. as a first priority.

I’ve always heard good things come to those who wait. While I never thought I would see the day that anything like this took place, I’ve seen it.

As fans, all that we can do now is wait and ride this chaotic proverbial storm out. Baseball will be back at some point in 2020.

While we don’t know exactly when that will be, we will wait as long as we have to because when it does return, that will make it just that much sweeter.

They aren’t doing this for spite, they are doing this for the safety and well-being of millions of people.

As much as I miss Braves baseball, I understand completely why they are doing this.

They are doing this because they genuinely care about their fans, players, staff etc. and I appreciate the fact that they are taking these necessary precautions.

Be patient, baseball will be back before we know.

God Bless and Go Braves.

Picture: Bleacher Report.