Monthly Archives: July 2012

Ode to a Politically Incorrect Mascot

In 1986, the Atlanta Braves did away with their longtime mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa. It wasn’t over the fact that a man who lives in a teepee in the outfield and emerges to dance after home runs is offensive to Native Americans. It was over a contract dispute.

The Chief had been a staple of the Braves since their last decade in Milwaukee. Now, Atlanta scuzz rockers the Black Lips have penned the song “Noc-A-Homa” about the once beloved mascot and the possible hard times he’s had over the past 26 years since he’s been out of a job. It’s a fantastically catchy track and, in a way, a bit of a redemption story (at least in the video). And, of course, it’s a nostalgia trip for longtime Braves fans.

Oddly enough, it debuts a mere four days before the 29th anniversary of the Braves temporarily pulling Chief Noc-A-Homa out of his left field perch in 1983 to make room for more seats for fans. The Braves promptly lost 19 of their next 21 games, and the mascot along with his teepee was restored.


We’ll Always Have the Memories…and Danny Farquhar

Ichiro Suzuki, the last remaining link to the Mariners’ magical 2001 season, has moved on.  And with him to the Yankees goes the apparently dreadful stench of success, anathema to the Mariners’ front office wizards.

Left behind are a patchwork of also-rans, never-rans and coulda-rans.  Soft-hitting Dustin Ackley, Carlos Peguero and Michael Saunders aren’t likely to pack the Safeco stands.  And what’s to bring fans to the Mariners store once the marked down Ichiro jerseys are sold out other than Felix Hernandez memorabilia.  He’ll undoubtedly start pressing for a trade of his own soon.

J.P. Patches Was 84

“I am going from a team with the most losses to a team with the most wins,” Ichiro said, “so I am not able to contain my excitement in that regard.”

Not that Ichiro was pulling $90 million worth of weight anymore. Batting a mere .261, he is off-pace to crack 200 hits again and is responsible for just 28 runs batted in.

We’ll have DJ Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to look forward to, hardly household names and hardly intimidating pitchers. Mitchell has a dominating 5.04 ERA in Scranton/Wilkes Barre, while hot potato Farquhar has eked out 2 wins in 5 decisions for Toronto, Oakland and New York this season for a respectable 3.33 ERA.

Adding in the untimely death of J.P. Patches this week, Seattle just can’t seem to get a break.

A Night to Remember

I just got back from the sports bar, where I watched the Braves claw back from a 9-0 deficit to Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. I don’t know what to say. But, that was phenomenal.

It’s a wonderful day to be a sports fan. Even an Atlanta sports fan.

Good With the Bad for Seattleites

First the good news.  With a mini win streak going against the Royals — read: two games — the Mariners have ascended to merely second worst in the American League. The M’s also aren’t dead last in the Major Leagues in batting average (29th) or slugging percentage (28th).

The bad news, they are still a dreadful team that IS dead last in on-base percentage. Our best everyday hitter is batting .259 and our star of the future Justin Smoak is a mere point above the Mendoza line.

Marshawn Lynch poses for a familiar camera

Oh, and Seahags running back Marshawn Lynch was just arrested for driving under the influence, after nearly plowing his Ford Econoline van into two other cars in Oakland. He’s scheduled for trial August 14, just days after the Hawks’ first preseason game. Not a good thing for Seattle football fans and definitely not a good thing for Lynch.

Way to come up small Beast Mode.

Happy Independence Day!

Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye! Later sk8ters.

It’s July 4th, the day that each year our nation celebrates its independence from British rule. This year, I’m dedicating this holiday to the newly minted general manager of the National Basketball Association team from my hometown. This one’s for you, Danny Ferry—for authoring a declaration of independence from toxic contracts that threatened to mire the Atlanta Hawks in mediocrity for the foreseeable future. I’ve decided to give you a pass on your Duke bona fides and anoint you the title of “possible savior,” which I reserve the right to either shorten to “savior” or pull from you entirely at any time.

Ferry worked not one, but two miracles on July 2nd—at the tail end of his first week on the job. He traded the inflated contract of team star Joe Johnson to the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets, who were desperate for star power, for a fleet “who gives a shit?” that will all be off the books in a year’s time. That positions the Hawks to make a run at some simply delectable possible free agents, including Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Andrew Bynum. It also just offers the Hawks some flexibility and allows them to build around a younger nucleus starring Josh Smith and/or Al Horford.

It’s not that Johnson was bad. He was the team’s best player and a regular All-Star. But, he tended to disappear in the playoffs and didn’t endear himself to the fanbase (or whatever was left of it since its peak in the early-1990s). But, he had the richest contract in the game and was, at best, a third tier star. The math didn’t work, and with him on board, the Hawks were destined to be the fourth or fifth seed in the playoffs yearly, crashing out in the first or second round.

That’s not it, though. He also evicted another albatross who was unjustly flying with the Hawks: Marvin Williams. It wasn’t so much that Marvin Williams was terrible. Were he a mid-first round pick who materialized into a reliable rotation player, he’d have been much appreciated. But, he was picked 2nd overall, ahead of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Andrew Bynum, and Danny Granger. This, despite the fact that he never started a game during his only year at UNC. He was dealt to the Utah Jazz straight up for Devin Harris, who is also entering a contract year.

Look, the result of these moves is the Hawks grab one of the last tickets to the playoffs and crash out in Round 1, probably getting swept by the Heat. But, the future—beyond next year—is looking bright.