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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Links (2/26)

Before we get to a truly heroic edition of the links, I had a couple personal notes I wanted to add to today's post...

-- First off, a happy 30th birthday to my buddy Tom, who looks like he's 49, acts like he's 19 and drafts a fantasy football team like he's never seen and NFL game in his life. Happy birthday, buddy.

-- Also, I want to send a big contrats to my former coworker at the Albany Herald, Mr. Scott Chancey, who won an APSE award for a game story he wrote last year, and to my replacement at the Albany Herald, Mr. Paul Dehner, who in addition to his fine UGA coverage this year, penned a fantastic series of stories on former Westover High basketball star Dontonio Wingfield. The series earned Paul an APSE award for project writing.

You can check out all the APSE award winners HERE if you're interested in such things. I was a little miffed that I didn't win one for "Best Live Blog Post Making Fun of Tim Tebow While Using Excessive Circumcision References" until I was informed there was no such category. I'm going to lobby for that addition in 2010 though.

Also, if you followed Georgia prep basketball in the early '90s and remember Dontonio Wingfield's dominance, I highly recommend taking the time to go back and read the stories that earned Paul the award. Here's Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Now, on to today's links...

-- OK, so winning two of four games isn't usually something to celebrate, but Bulldogs fans can be proud of the effort Georgia showed in beating Vandy last night.

-- I'll be very interested to hear the reaction from Bulldogs fans to Terence Moore's latest column on Asher Allen's post-Georgia life. I generally really enjoy Terence's work, but I don't see a single argument here for why leaving school was the right choice for Asher other than the fact that Terence likes him.

-- Orson Charles won't be going to Florida, and he's getting closer to deciding where he will be playing in 2009.

-- Apparently Urban Meyer isn't handling the Orson Charles news too well. It's good to see he's an adult about such things.

-- Of course, the big Charles-related news is that apparently I am now part of the recruiting process. And after reading this, I'm honestly not sure if that's supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing. I'm guessing bad though. (And boy, if I had known this was going to happen, I'd have proof read the story more carefully and not used the word "notion" twice in the first sentence.)

-- The recovery process for Josh Davis isn't going too smoothly.

-- Just when I was starting to wonder if the grueling offseason workouts had taken their toll on Jeff Owens' blog, he has a great post up today listing his top five all-time Georgia players. The stories of Greg Blue and Knowshon Moreno on the practice field are a perfect example of why it's great that Owens has this blog.

-- Speaking of Mr. Owens, he chats with ESPN's Chris Low in this Q&A on Low's blog.

-- And speaking of Mr. Low, he listed five things he loves and five things he hates about the SEC, too. I must say, I couldn't agree more with No. 3 on his "hate" list.

-- If you want to watch the UGA-Tech game at Bobby Dodd next year, you'll need to purchase season tickets.

-- Paul Westerdawg writes that Shandon Anderson's inclusion as an SEC legend makes him feel old. The fact that on Thursday I'm still exhausted from celebrating Fat Tuesday makes me feel old.

-- While you're visiting Georgia Sports Blog, be sure to read this post on offseason arrests that includes some absolutely hilarious quips from Paul. The dig about the speed of Big 10 police not matching that of the SEC was comedy gold.

-- Speaking of off-field problems, Ole Miss dismissed two players from the team for a "violation of team rules." (By the way, this post may contain a record number of "speaking of..." segues.)

-- Bryce Massanari's grand slam helped get the Diamond Dogs off to a 5-0 start to their season.

-- Two days ago, ESPN golf writer Jason Sobel chatted with the guys over at 960 the Ref. Then yesterday, he makes a somewhat inappropriate boner joke in his ESPN blog. I have absolutely no doubt there is a direct correlation between these two events. (And by the way, if we're not going to be allowed to make boner jokes in a live blog, I might as well just turn in my laptop now.)

-- One of the great things about baseball these days is the advancement in statistical analysis being done by a bunch of stat geeks all over the world. From OPS to VORP to a bunch of other numbers I don't remotely understand, only in baseball could math be so interesting. But I think this new theoretical research is perhaps the most groundbreaking work done in recent years. It's the Alyssa Milano Effect.

-- Speaking of baseball, I can't tell you how much I hate when people say the sport needs a salary cap. Look at this story from the NFL and you'll see why a salary cap stinks. Look at the NBA trade deadline and notice that the most valuable commodities are scrubs with expiring contracts and you'll see why the salary cap stinks. Then look at how many different teams have made the playoffs and played in the World Series since 2001 and you'll see that the current system isn't so bad after all.

-- Jerry Seinfeld is coming back to NBC... sort of. I loved this quote from NBC president Ben Silverman from the article: "Jerry called us up and told us he had an idea," Silverman said. "We were laughing the whole time as they went through the concept." So, you see, I get in an accident, and the guy has no insurance, so the judge decrees that he becomes my butler!

-- Similar to the Orson Charles news, I'm not sure if this is good or bad. Again, I suspect it's bad.

-- As a huge fan of "Friday Night Lights," I'm certain this is bad news. Oh, and were you aware that FNL star Kyle Chandler is actually a UGA grad? Bit of trivia for you.

-- And some sad news... the guitarist for Athens-based band Pylon has died.

-- If the Telegraph ever runs a cheeriest headline contest, I'm pretty sure this one would come in dead last.

-- I opened with some personal notes, and I'm going to end on one, too. If you have no interest in pointless stories that have nothing to do with Georgia sports, feel free to move on with your day. If, however, you're excited to waste five minutes of your day reading my snide remarks about a former coworker, then enjoy...

Back before I got into sports writing, I spent two years living in San Diego, where my official job title would probably best be described as "bum." I worked roughly 18 different jobs while I was out there, ranging from accountant to nightclub bouncer, but the only one that I really cared about was a job I landed working in public relations for a minor league hockey team. It was my first opportunity to work in sports, and my first taste of writing sports stories on a deadline. In many ways, it's the job that set me on the path that led me here.

While I learned a ton during my tenure with the hockey team, it was far from all work. I spent large chunks of my days playing baseball trivia games with my boss, making fun of foreign players with funny sounding names, and taking extended lunch breaks at an all-you-can-eat soup and salad place that gave us free dining coupons as part of their sponsorship agreement with the team. It was a sweet gig.

Anyway, in addition to myself and my boss, the public relations department consisted of a small group of unpaid interns. As unpaid interns tend to do, several stopped showing up as our season went along, and we were forced to bring in some new recruits. One of these newbies was a kid by the name of Richard.

In the years I've worked in sports, I've realized that the industry tends to attract arrogant jerks, but before I learned that important life lesson, Richard was my personal posterboy for obnoxious coworkers.

I have since developed a theory that everyone who graduated from the University of Virginia is a complete and total tool -- a little something I call the Richard Rule. Typical of most UVA grads, he was an arrogant jackass, who lacked any sort of basic respect for the people around him because, as a UVA grad, he most certainly was smarter than any of them anyway.

During our brief tenure working together, he managed to anger just about every full-time employee of the team for one reason or another, including telling my boss that he would be happy to proof read any press releases because my boss clearly didn't know how to write. At one point Richard insisted all elipses should include a space before the ... and no space after. (As in, "Richard was a total tool ...And he was also a moron.") A quick perusal of a basic AP Style Guide was not enough to convince him otherwise, given that he did, after all, graduate from UVA, so he clearly knew more than the folks at the Associated Press.

Anyway, I'm not entirely sure what event brought the contemptuous relationship between Richard, my boss and I to a head, but suffice it to say that he was informed his services were no longer needed. It takes a lot to fire a guy who doesn't earn a salary, but that's what it had come to.

So a day or two went by, and my boss and I received an email from Richard. Rather than simply take his termination lying down, he had a counter offer. He challenged us to an intern decathalon, which consisted of various stupid stunts requiring varying degrees of athletic or intellectual prowess. Looking back, the whole thing would have been amusing if he hadn't been such a cocky jackass to begin with.

Anyway, I had completely forgotten about this until yesterday, when my former boss sent me a link to this blog post.

Now, before you read it, there are a few things I need to clarify, as the writer of this blog has not shared the true story:

1.) Despite the implication from this blogger, my former boss was EXACTLY the type of person who valued a "willingness to dream up wacky stunts." Our game night competitions to see how many times we could use the term "bug-a-boo" in one press release should attest to that.

2.) Richard's insistance that he was shunned because he insulted the intelligence of a female intern whom my boss had a crush on is simply untrue. My boss actually had a crush on every female intern we had working for us, so there was absolutely no special treatment given to any one in particular.

3.) If Richard "gets along famously" with everyone else, I can only assume it is because he only associates with other UVA grads. Either that, or people are nice to him because they are under the assumption he is mentally challenged.

4.) While Richard has apparently "toured the country" in the years since this event, my former boss is now working in PR for the Los Angeles Kings and, obviously, I have gone on to reach the pinnacle of sports journalism.

5.) Please also keep in mind Richard's propensity toward correcting my boss's grammar when reading his letter. I suppose the spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word is rendered useless when you assume you know the English language better than the program does.

Anyway, you may now feel free to enjoy this blast from my past, and while I would certainly never encourage you to leave insulting comments on someone else's blog, I also will not think less of you should you decide on your own to do so.


Anonymous said...

I think Mr.Low seems to forget that Mark Richt's record on the road is 30-4.

Anonymous said...

So i read the blurb that they took from this blog, and all i got out of it was that last year the tight ends werent used much because of the o-line and small numbers. How would this be an indicator of next year? If I was a TE and read that i'd be excited.

Anonymous said...

Kinda cool story: I saw Pylon once in Athens at Nuci space after a Modern Skirts concert. The venue is really small and my 2 friends and I were 3 of about 12 people there. At one point during Pylon's concert, we looked over and just to the right of us (about 10 ft away) was Michael Stipe and some other REM members dancing away to Pylon's music. At one point I was standing right next to him but I didn't want to be THAT girl and ask for his autograph and all that nonsense. He seemed to really like their music, though, and I think he was friends with them. Anyways, it was one of the cooler things I saw in Athens.

R.I.P.Randy Bewley

David Hale said...

That's a great story... having spent a good bit of time in a number of different cities, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the music scene in Athens. It's really one of the things that makes this city great.

Tommy said...


I may have misinterpreted you about your story on the TEs being used as a recruiting tool. If there were some implication that the story was planted in order to get on Charles' radar, then obviously that would be cause for some heartburn.

As it is, a journalist's role (and I'm saying this as a Fourth Estate alum, and certainly not to tell you how to do a job at which you clearly excel), is to lay it out so that others can play it out. Your average Bloomberg reporter sees his stories used as ammo all day long on Wall Street. And they take it as a point of pride when markets move on something they reported.

Plus, I think of Feldman as one of the few good eggs at ESPN, certainly one of the few whom I wouldn't begrudge linking to something I'd written.

Anyway, great work as always. Thanks for what you do.


David Hale said...

Oh, you're completely right, Tommy. If anyone really did use the story to convince Orson to go one place or another, I'm just amused by it, if for no other reason than there was no actual news in the article. If Charles wasn't aware of what the TEs did last season already, I'd be shocked.

Trust me, I'm not really concerned with who's using my stories for what. Just think the whole thing is funny, if true.