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Little Donkey at AvondaleBricksGallery
Enjoy tapas from Little Donkey, Wine Tasting by Athens Imports, Art Exhibition Opening. $15. Friday, November 30, 5-9 p.m.
Visit us during the Avondale/Forest Park Holiday Crafts Bazaar at Avondale Bricks Gallery, 130 41st Street South in Avondale. Must be 21 for wine tasting.
Write firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or questions. Thank you for joining the Revolution in Avondale.
[Editor's Note: This post was written on Aug. 12th, but do to an egregious oversight it and one other will be posted today instead.]
It seems more and more likely that Darrelle Revis, cornerback for the New York Jets, will extend his holdout into the season. Considered by many the top cover corner/shutdown corner (or at least as close to any such thing that exists in the NFL these days thanks to receiver-biased rules) in the league, Revis wants to be the highest paid cornerback in the league, seeking a deal to eclipse the 3-year $45.3 million contract given to Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Revis is scheduled to make $1 million this season, which is part of the deal he held out for 3 years ago.
Reportedly, the Jets have laid out a deal in which Revis would make $120 million over 10 years. That sounds super great, right? Well not to Revis apparently. This would still leave Revis $40 million short of his desire to be paid more per year than Asomugha, who makes just over $15 million per year. Revis would only be making $12 million.
$12 million? Are you kidding me? And it’s a 10 year contract? Unless you are a stud franchise QB, that is unheard of in the NFL. I understand that you want to be compensated what you feel is fair. You think you are the best CB in the league, and widely considered by your peers to be such, but it just seems to me at some point you have to say, “Holy Schnikes that’s a lot of money!”
And you’ve got a chance to be playing for a Super Bowl. At what point does the desire to win and succeed eclipse the narcissistic need for self-worth and recognition? Maybe as a person who couldn’t be further removed from the talent and success of an elite professional athlete I can just never understand. I don’t know.
I guess I can respect the fact of a person trying to make the money they feel they deserve (and to be, what others think they deserve). That amount of money just overwhelms me and I just cease to function logically. But like one ESPN analyst said, if the situation was reversed and Revis was under-performing his contract, then he would just be cut. So it seems logical that he should seek fair compensation.
There is good news though. After Rex Ryan threw down the gauntlet telling both sides to just sit down together, talk it out, and make it happen, both sides did meet and agreed to keep things civil – and most importantly private. Maybe we won't have schmucks like me talking about it anymore. Here’s to hoping they get something worked out, because Revis is a lot of fun to watch.
The Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals are fighting for first place in the NL Central – literally. After a verbal exchanged between Reds’ 2B Brandon Phillips and Cards’ C Yadier Molina, the benches cleared and pandemonium ensued. It started out pretty tame with some general yelling and name calling, but eventually the mass of people, which started at home plate, moved to the netting behind home plate.
There Chris Carpenter, pitcher for St. Louis, got pushed into the net by Scott Rolen, a former teammate. Johnny Cueto, red hot pitcher for Cinci got pushed into the net as well, where he proceeded to kick any and everyone around him.
Baseball “brawls” are notorious for being drawn out, machismo-infused staring contests. Most of the time both benches clear, everyone runs out onto the field in a rush of uncontrollable anger, tempers flare, and the tension crescendos into a wild fire culminating in … looking (albeit intensely and pointedly).
Standard operating procedure dictates that you take these steps:
Let’s face it. Basically, you get staring, glaring, some yelling. And if you’re lucky, you get some pushing and shoving.
That being said, every once in a while, we get to witness magical moments in baseball bickering, which typically turn out more comical than ferocious. Here are some of my favs:
No, it’s not a new Star Wars character that has popped out of George Lucas’s brain. It’s the new promotion that ESPN and the ACC are unveiling for this fall. That’s right sports fans, now even you can watch your sports in the Third Dimension. It’s almost like you actually watching a game live, where the players appear real. And not just flat. And in color and everything. Holy schnikes. It’s the greatest thing since High-Definition. It’s been so long.
As of right now, ESPN is scheduled to show 4 ACC college football games (all out of conference) this fall in 3D. Boise State vs. Virginia Tech on September 6 will kick things off on a high note as early season Cinderella/favorite sleeper/underdog/Top 5 team Boise comes cross-country to visit the Hokies in Blacksburg.
September 11 brings together perennial powerhouses Ohio State and Miami in a non-conference barn-burner (thanks Keith). 2 teams that are preseason to win their conferences – Big Ten and ACC, respectively – meet at the Horseshoe in Columbus for some early season, Miami and Ohio State are looking to use this early pivotal game as a springboard towards loftier goals – a National Championship.
The Tigers meet the Tigers in an intraspecies clash on September 18 as Auburn plays host to Clemson in a rematch of the 2007 Chick-Fil-A (Peach) Bowl, which Auburn took 23-20 in OT.
In addition to these regular season games, the ACC Championship will be shown on ESPN 3D on December 4.
So what do you need to view these marquee match-ups in 3D? You need a 3D-ready TV (who doesn’t have one of those?), a pair of 3D glasses to go with your 3D-ready TV, plus a 3D-ready top box and 3D service from your service provider. That’s it. All you need to do is spend a crazy amount of money.
Or: you could just buy a ticket and watch one of them in person. It’s probably cheaper. And I promise it will still be in 3D at the stadium.
It was announced Thursday that the Astros had accepted the Phillies offer for P Roy Oswalt. However, the pitcher has a no-trade clause in his current contract and has to approve any trade. It was reported that Oswalt wanted to be traded to a contender, a team that would pick up his option, and specifically, he was interested in going to intradivision rival St. Louis Cardinals.
I guess he’ll have to settle for two-time defending National League Champion Phillies.
According to ESPN.com, Oswalt plans to accept the Phillies offer. Oh really? You mean he’s down with going from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies? I am shocked. This will be the BIGGEST deal in baseball since…well, the Phillies went and got Halladay from the Blue Jays in the offseason. Oh, and when they got defending Cy Young champion Cliff Lee the season before.
Reportedly, the deal includes P J.A. Happ, and 2 Phillies prospects. In return to sending Oswalt to the City of Brotherly Love, the Astros will pay $11 million of the $23 million owed to Roy. Oswalt, now 32, has dropped his demand that a team pick up his option for 2012.
Thank goodness the Phillies shipped Lee off to the Mariners the day after they acquired Halladay. How would you like to face Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, then Hamels. No thanks. Hitting a 95 mph fastball is already impossible when it’s from a pitching machine that throws it right down the middle. I’d rather not face four guys in a row that are All-Stars, if not Cy Young winners.
So what does this mean for the hometown Braves? (Thanks Atlanta for loaning us your Major League Baseball team).
Well, the already smoking hot Phils, winners of 7 straight, have cut the Braves’ NL East lead to 3.5 games. Now, the pesky Phillies can send a 3-day rotation of Roy, Roy, and Cole. That’s a nasty 3-headed monster, especially if the Phillies make the postseason. I don’t imagine any team looks forward to facing Hallady, Oswalt, and then Hamels, probably only to then face the ‘Roys’ again should the series make it that far.
But the Braves are strong and the National League as a whole is on the weaker side. So keep the faith Bravos. The team is actually hitting this season and scoring runs. Hudson still looks solid and healthy. Oh, and Bobby Cox is still getting kicked out of games. Never underestimate the power of the Bobby.
Well, it seems to fit the Jeopardy! m.o—an answer in the form of a question. Many questions, actually. How do T.O. and Ochocinco co-exist? Where does the renewed Cedric Benson fit in (if he isnt suspended)? What about Antonio Bryant? Is T.O. actually good anymore? Can Carson Palmer cope with all the attitude and attention?
Only time will tell. If nothing else, there will certainly be a lot to tell. Shenanigans and hoop-la will be in high gear, of that I'm certain. The T.O. Ochocinco tandem will be exciting to watch, on and off the field.
The Bengals won the AFC North last year. Thats right sports fans, those Bengals. They beat out the defending-champion Steelers (who didnt even make the playoffs) and perennial division powerhouse Ravens to swipe one of the most hotly contested and competitive divisions in football. Its just not normally them competing. And not only did they compete they dominated, sweeping the division (6-0).
In a division always ruled by defense, the Bengals fit right in last season. They were ranked in the top ten against both the pass and the run 6th and 7th, respectively. And all of that was without some key players for most of the season. DE Antwan Odom (you might remember him from his days at Alabama) and LB Keith Rivers missed the majority of the season. DT Tank Williams was hampered by a foot injury all season. Safety Roy Williams was in and out of the lineup more times than he had tackles it seems. Nonetheless, they are a strong unit led by LB Dhani Jones in the middle. The 2010 version should be even better if it can stay healthy.
With a defense that kept the team in most ball games last year, consistently forcing turnovers in key situations, the Bengals showed a new side to the NFL and everyone else watching. They ran the ball and did it well. The hitherto underachieving Cedric Benson exploded for 1,251 yards, scoring 6 times. And he did it all in 13 games. Add in backup Benard Scott who is a speedy, explosive back that offers an excellent change-of-pace option, plus that solid defense, and you have a recipe for success.
The question was the passing attack. What had been the Bengals strong suit in the past, behind the arm of Carson Palmer and a flashy core of receivers, the Bengals ranked a kitten-like 26th in the NFL last season. Enter Terrell Owens.
He used to be a physically dominating presence on the field, a great deep threat that was strong enough to cross the middle of the field as well. While he is still physically impressive on the sidelines and in front of the camera, his numbers on the field are not. Catching only 55 passes for 829 yards last season, T.O. had the worst season of his NFL career since he was a rookie way back in 1996 (barring the injury shortened season of 2005 when he only played 7 games). But hey, perhaps that is due to the horrid QB situation in Buffalo. But T.O. seems to create terrible QB situations.
So why add a guy like that to the Bengals who are finally on the upswing? Well, they have almost no depth and experience at wide receiver for starters. Chad Eight-five is pretty much the only established receiver besides new signee Antonio Bryant, who didn't exactly light it up down in Tampa. Carsons got to have someone to throw the damn ball to, right?
And for some reason, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals are very adept at handling some of those over-the-top diva personalities (e.g. Cedric Benson, Chris Henry, and Ochocinco).
Maybe T.O. can be Batman to Ochocincos Robin (Chads choice). It should be exciting to watch anyway. Youre fall reality show is set.
Current Alabama and Auburn players on the Bengals roster include DT Pat Sims (Auburn), OL Andre Smith (Alabama), DE Antwan Odom (Alabama), and OL Evan Mathis (Alabama).
So what’s the answer?
But paying them isn’t the answer. Perhaps we could alter the definition of ‘paying them’ and increase stipends, or allow them to collect royalties of money made from the use of their likeness. There is certainly not a clear answer, but outright paying players can’t be the answer. It’s still college football. I hope it’s still about kids coming to play football, a game that they love, maybe get an education – a bit ambitious – and experience college and campus life. The atmosphere, the passion, the tradition. You can’t get those in pro football because the players are paid.
Is Nick Saban right? Should we monitor and police the agents? Should we attempt to persuade the NFL to discipline agents who are caught colluding and interfering with college players? Perhaps. It seems like a decent idea. If we can eliminate, or at least reduce, the temptation at its source, then it stands to reason that players wouldn’t fall into the trap. But realistically, we’d probably just create an atmosphere where agents would come up with new and cleverer ways of tampering. There’s just too much money at stake.
Also, I think that Saban (which is seems like a good strategy) is diverting the focus from himself and his team, as well as the responsibility of the colleges as a whole. While I agree with Saban that coaches can’t be everywhere, and they do a great job of monitoring their players to an extent, to assert (lookin’ at you Pete Carroll) that the head coach of a top-flight school doesn’t know where his players are and/or getting brand-new houses seems ludicrous. And if it is true, then that’s just unacceptable. You will be scrutinized harder than anyone. You must be aware of this. If I’m being optimistic to think that players still want to play college football for the experience, you are being optimistic to believe that your players are going to be on their best behavior. Keep tabs. Make your players check-in. I don’t care. Do whatever it takes.
So maybe it’s both. Maybe we police the agents. Maybe we do a better job of policing ourselves. Maybe we just do a more thorough job of screening to whom we give our scholarships.
Saturday saw the return of a behemoth of the Birmingham sports world – Charity Mudbowl. Okay, so it’s the younger sister tournament of the biggest Ultimate (Frisbee) tournament in Alabama, Mudbowl. And you probably haven’t heard of Mudbowl either. In fact, there’s a good chance you don’t even know what Ultimate is. So you might be surprised to find that there is a substantial subculture that has a foothold in our city.
Ultimate – a sport played with a disc (a Frisbee to the layperson… isn’t being pretentious fun?) – combines elements of football, basketball, and soccer into a distinct and fun game of fast breaks and huge throws, called hucks. Zone defense, layouts, sky-high catches, and Callahans (kind of like a safety, it’s when a defender intercepts a pass in the opponents endzone for a score) are some highlights of an exciting, fast-paced game that athletes and fans from all walks of life can appreciate. Precision passing and methodical movement are essential for more competitive levels, levels of skill that all sports enthusiasts can a enjoy and respect.
Ultimate is played on a field laid out much like a football field, 70 yards long with two endzones 25 yards deep with a width of 40 yards. Each team puts seven “on the line” (you start at your endzone before the pull, which is like a kickoff). The disc is moved by throwing it from person to person, with the holder of the disc unable to move. You score by throwing it to a person into the endzone – kind of like football with no running game.
BUDA (Birmingham Ultimate Disc Association) is the governing body for Ultimate in Birmingham. BUDA sponsors annual summer and winter leagues as well as men’s and women’s traveling teams. Summer League 2010 is comprised of 16 teams with rosters of 20 players. Lawyers and writers, doctors and teachers, businesspersons, the unemployed, writers, bankers, pastors, and more. People with football backgrounds, basketball, baseball, soccer, and no athletic background at all.
Charity Mudbowl is indicative of this diverse population of Ultimate in Birmingham. 8 teams participated: BE & K, Jim ‘N’ Nicks, Alabama Power, Regions, Merrill Lynch/BBVA Compass, Redeemer/Mountain Brook Community Churches, UAB, and Southern Progress.
Held at George Ward Park, games were fun and competitive. Each team played 3 pool games with the top 2 from each advancing to the semifinals. BE&K played UAB while RCC/MBCC matched up against Merrill Lynch/BBVA Compass with BE&K and RCC/MBCC advancing to the finals.
RCC/MBCC emerged as the victors defeating defending-champion BE&K 13-11 in an exciting and competitive game throughout. RCC/MBCC led at the half 7-6. BE&K came roaring out of the gates, taking the first 3 points following halftime. RCC/MBCC tied the game at 10, then again at 11. Intense defense dominated the last two points, but it was the church-folk who came out on top.
All-in-all the day was great. Good spirit (that’s what we hippies like to call attitude and sportsmanship), good play, and good fun was displayed by most of the participants. But more important than the “Mudbowl” part of the tournament was the charity. All the money raised went to support Pathways.
2010 Pathways Mud Bowl Sponsors
Title Sponsor: Regions Bank
Platinum Sponsor: Southern Progress Corporation
BE&K / KBR
Mountain Brook Community Church and Redeemer Community Church
Robinson Fast Tax Service
Lunch Sponsor: Jim ‘N Nick’s
Total raised: $8,500
According to an employee, "Pathways will be able to provide 586 days of shelter and meals for the homeless women and children of Birmingham. That means 20 women and children in need will get the basics they need for a month, thanks to your support for Pathways. Our mission is to end homelessness for women and children through hospitality, housing, and hope. With your support, which represents the communities we live and work in, Pathways will continue to grow and serve those in need.”
Cheers to a great day full of sports, fun, and lending a hand! Thanks to all who participated and donated.
Oh, and come play Ultimate. It’s super fun.
If you didn't pick up on my Commodores puns, shame on you (thanks Lionel).
Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson announced his retirement as of Wednesday. The news comes as a bit of a shock given the timing of the announcement. Just one week before media day, a few weeks before players report for fall practice, and less than two months before Vanderbilt opens its season against Northwestern on September 4, Coach Johnson is leaving a few people (probably a few players as well) scratching their heads.
According to sources, Johnson has stated this is not a decision made due to health concerns, either for himself or his wife Catherine. Johnson emphasized the fact that it was not a decision made lightly. In fact, he asserts that this is it. The end of the line. All she wrote. Sailing into the sunset...you get the idea. He's not walking away from the Vanderbilt job, he's walking away from coaching, period.
For me, I hate to see him go. I think he was a good coach, who did it the right way, and did more with less than most anyone. While Johnson's record at Vanderbilt was a seemingly sub-par 29-66, he has the fourth most victories in school history. Most impressively, he changed the perception of Vanderbilt from a team you booked for homecoming to beat them 70-0 to a team that can compete with any team on any given day. It seems he won the most important battle of getting his players to believe that. While they are still the 'darlings' of the SEC, their improvement is good for the SEC as a whole.
2008 was Johnson's most successful season at the helm. Johnson got the Commodores as high as #13 in the polls - the national poll, not the SEC (yes, I'm aware there are only 12 teams in the SEC) - beating South Carolina and Auburn, both of whom were ranked in the top 25. Vanderbilt got off to a roaring 5-0 before cooling off a bit. They capped off their dream season with a Music City miracle beating Boston College in the Music City Bowl.
Along the way, Johnson halted many of Vanderbilt's less than flattering skids. 2008 was the team's first winning, well, non-losing season season 1982. I wasn't even alive. He put the ax to a 22-game losing streak to rival Tennessee in 2005, as well as a losing streak to almost every SEC team (I believe 9 in total) during his tenure.
Assistant Coach Robbie Caldwell will assume the reins as Interim Head Coach. I stand by Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams in saying I respect Johnson's decision if his heart is no longer in it. It just seems the timing could have been better.
All in all, I think Johnson's absence will be felt not only by Vanderbilt, but the SEC as a whole. You're only as strong as your weakest link, or something sappy like that. I hope Vanderbilt can find someone as classy and driven to run a program like Vanderbilt. It can't be the easiest of jobs. Good luck Bobby.