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Latest from Mark Bradley

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The hype for Ronald Acuna Jr. was immense. We’re seeing why
 Ronald Acuna Jr. made an out today. One of his hits – he had three – was an infield single. Another was a bloop double. The other was a home run, and even that was a cheapie. It only landed in the upper deck of Great American Ball Park. Have to say I expected more.  Yes. I’m kidding.  What can I say? What can anybody...

Posted: a minute ago

Ronald Acuna Jr. made an out today. One of his hits – he had three – was an infield single. Another was a bloop double. The other was a home run, and even that was a cheapie. It only landed in the upper deck of Great American Ball Park. Have to say I expected more.  Yes. I’m kidding.  What can I say? What can anybody...
Nipped in the Bud: Hawks ‘part ways’ with Budenholzer
 The Atlanta Hawks just announced they have “mutually agreed to part ways” with coach Mike Budenholzer. This is a surprise only in that Budenholzer hasn’t yet taken another job, which could happen momentarily. But if he takes another job now, the Hawks could well be owed nothing for his services.  Budenholzer was under...

Posted: 14 hours ago

The Atlanta Hawks just announced they have “mutually agreed to part ways” with coach Mike Budenholzer. This is a surprise only in that Budenholzer hasn’t yet taken another job, which could happen momentarily. But if he takes another job now, the Hawks could well be owed nothing for his services.  Budenholzer was under...
If you’re excited about Ronald Acuna’s advent, you’re not alone
 Willie Mays was hitting .477 for the Minneapolis Millers when the New York Giants summoned to the majors. He began his big-league career 1-for-26. (The hit was a home run off Warren Spahn that cleared the roof of Boston’s Braves Field. According to Mays biographer Mary Kay Linge, Giants manager Leo Durocher said, “I&rsquo...

Posted: 23 hours ago

Willie Mays was hitting .477 for the Minneapolis Millers when the New York Giants summoned to the majors. He began his big-league career 1-for-26. (The hit was a home run off Warren Spahn that cleared the roof of Boston’s Braves Field. According to Mays biographer Mary Kay Linge, Giants manager Leo Durocher said, “I&rsquo...
For college hoops, the Rice Report offers a way up and out
 We stress that these are recommendations. There’s no assurance that all, or any, of them will become reality. But those among us who awaited the findings of the commission chaired by Condoleezza Rice with bated breath – and, it must be said, with more than a bit of skepticism – the report’s arrival early Wednesday...

Posted: a day ago

We stress that these are recommendations. There’s no assurance that all, or any, of them will become reality. But those among us who awaited the findings of the commission chaired by Condoleezza Rice with bated breath – and, it must be said, with more than a bit of skepticism – the report’s arrival early Wednesday...
Folty’s foible: He just throws so ... many ... pitches
 There’s a reason some baseball observers still believe Mike Foltynewicz is destined to be a closer. For one thing, he has closer-type stuff. For another, he’s among the least economical starters in the business.  Foltynewicz is averaging 99.8 pitches over five starts. He has reached the sixth inning once. His ERA is outstanding...

Posted: 2 days ago

There’s a reason some baseball observers still believe Mike Foltynewicz is destined to be a closer. For one thing, he has closer-type stuff. For another, he’s among the least economical starters in the business.  Foltynewicz is averaging 99.8 pitches over five starts. He has reached the sixth inning once. His ERA is outstanding...
The Braves so far: pretty darn good. Needed ASAP: bullpen help
 Here’s a fun stat: The Atlanta Braves have played 20 games; they’ve trailed after nine innings only four times. They’re 12-8, half their losses coming in bonus cantos.  Here’s another: The Braves have played seven series; they’ve lost one.  And another: Of the Braves’ first 20 games, 14 were against...

Posted: 2 days ago

Here’s a fun stat: The Atlanta Braves have played 20 games; they’ve trailed after nine innings only four times. They’re 12-8, half their losses coming in bonus cantos.  Here’s another: The Braves have played seven series; they’ve lost one.  And another: Of the Braves’ first 20 games, 14 were against...
A first look at Georgia Tech’s new defense is not discouraging
 Two Georgia Tech fans walk into a bar. They’ve just witnessed another come-from-ahead loss. One Techie says, “If only this team could play defense ...” The other says: “Are we allowed to do that?”  Apologies for going Bad Henny Youngman on you, but the continuing saga of Paul Johnson and the abject scorn...

Posted: 5 days ago

Two Georgia Tech fans walk into a bar. They’ve just witnessed another come-from-ahead loss. One Techie says, “If only this team could play defense ...” The other says: “Are we allowed to do that?”  Apologies for going Bad Henny Youngman on you, but the continuing saga of Paul Johnson and the abject scorn...
The Falcons’ schedule is tough at the start and finish. Maybe too tough
 With this schedule, a well-coached team might win 10 games. When last we saw the Atlanta Falcons, they were not a well-coached team. If that latter part changes, this club could dream realistic dreams of playing host to the Super Bowl. If it doesn’t, I doubt they’ll make the playoffs.  The kneejerk response is to say the...

Posted: 6 days ago

With this schedule, a well-coached team might win 10 games. When last we saw the Atlanta Falcons, they were not a well-coached team. If that latter part changes, this club could dream realistic dreams of playing host to the Super Bowl. If it doesn’t, I doubt they’ll make the playoffs.  The kneejerk response is to say the...
The Braves sign Jose Bautista to a minor-league deal - to play 3B!
 This is fascinating. The Atlanta Braves have signed Jose Bautista, one of the best power hitters of the past decade, to a minor-league contract. But that’s not the fascinating part. This is.  Per the Braves’ release: “He has reported to Atlanta’s extended spring training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He will...

Posted: 7 days ago

This is fascinating. The Atlanta Braves have signed Jose Bautista, one of the best power hitters of the past decade, to a minor-league contract. But that’s not the fascinating part. This is.  Per the Braves’ release: “He has reported to Atlanta’s extended spring training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He will...
In this draft, the Falcons’ biggest need is on offense
 Credit where it’s due: Through the ongoing influx of young talent, the Falcons have brought their defense, which not so long ago was a swinging gate, up from oblivion. The 2017 Falcons were ninth among NFL teams in yards against. It marked only the second time since 2007 – and the first since 2012 – this club had cracked...

Posted: 8 days ago

Credit where it’s due: Through the ongoing influx of young talent, the Falcons have brought their defense, which not so long ago was a swinging gate, up from oblivion. The 2017 Falcons were ninth among NFL teams in yards against. It marked only the second time since 2007 – and the first since 2012 – this club had cracked...
The Braves’ Teheran has been better lately, but this still isn’t Peak Julio
 If you’re keeping score – and this being baseball, somebody’s always keeping score – that makes two strong starts in succession for Julio Teheran, whose first two turns of 2018 were rather less strong. He has cut his ERA nearly in half, from 10.13 to 5.40. He struck out five in his first eight innings this season;...

Posted: 9 days ago

If you’re keeping score – and this being baseball, somebody’s always keeping score – that makes two strong starts in succession for Julio Teheran, whose first two turns of 2018 were rather less strong. He has cut his ERA nearly in half, from 10.13 to 5.40. He struck out five in his first eight innings this season;...
Some Braves won’t keep hitting like this. Ozzie Albies just might
 Fourteen games in, the Braves have been pretty good overall and very good when wielding the warclub. (Old-time sports writing for “swinging the bat.”) They entered Monday’s game against the Phillies second among National League teams in runs, batting average and slugging percentage; they were first in on-base percentage...

Posted: 9 days ago

Fourteen games in, the Braves have been pretty good overall and very good when wielding the warclub. (Old-time sports writing for “swinging the bat.”) They entered Monday’s game against the Phillies second among National League teams in runs, batting average and slugging percentage; they were first in on-base percentage...
A guess: Budenholzer has coached his last Hawks game
 If I had to guess – and I don’t, but for the purposes of this exercise I will – I’d say Mike Budenholzer has coached his last game for the Atlanta Hawks. Once you’ve made the decision to interview for another job and that interview becomes public, it’s very difficult to return to the one you have. And I&rsquo...

Posted: 10 days ago

If I had to guess – and I don’t, but for the purposes of this exercise I will – I’d say Mike Budenholzer has coached his last game for the Atlanta Hawks. Once you’ve made the decision to interview for another job and that interview becomes public, it’s very difficult to return to the one you have. And I&rsquo...
Pay Matt Ryan? Sure. But the Falcons might buy a better OC, too
 The Falcons will soon – and again – make Matt Ryan the NFL’s highest-paid player. (They did it once before, you’ll recall.) No argument here. He’s worth it. He’s the franchise. Anything the Falcons can do to make him happy should be done.  Much of making any quarterback happy isn’t just paying...

Posted: 12 days ago

The Falcons will soon – and again – make Matt Ryan the NFL’s highest-paid player. (They did it once before, you’ll recall.) No argument here. He’s worth it. He’s the franchise. Anything the Falcons can do to make him happy should be done.  Much of making any quarterback happy isn’t just paying...
The Hawks’ lottery candidates: Ayton, Bagley, Doncic et al.
 The tanking Hawks – and I don’t say that with disapproval – tied with Dallas for the NBA’s third-worst record. According to the invaluable site Tankathon, they have a 13.8 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick via the lottery and a 42.8 percent shot of selecting in the top three. They cannot fall lower than...

Posted: 13 days ago

The tanking Hawks – and I don’t say that with disapproval – tied with Dallas for the NBA’s third-worst record. According to the invaluable site Tankathon, they have a 13.8 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick via the lottery and a 42.8 percent shot of selecting in the top three. They cannot fall lower than...
In defense of Paul Johnson’s contract extension. (Really)
 Georgia Tech, which leads the world in bad contracts, just handed a two-year extension to a coach whose teams have gone 17-19 – and 9-15 in ACC play – over the past three seasons. This coach already had three years remaining. He now has five. On the scale of regrettable deal-making, this doesn’t match the perpetual five-year...

Posted: 14 days ago

Georgia Tech, which leads the world in bad contracts, just handed a two-year extension to a coach whose teams have gone 17-19 – and 9-15 in ACC play – over the past three seasons. This coach already had three years remaining. He now has five. On the scale of regrettable deal-making, this doesn’t match the perpetual five-year...
Early jolts for UGA’s Tom Crean: Jonas Hayes to Xavier, Ashton Hagans to Kentucky
 Losing Jonas Hayes was a blow to Georgia, and to Tom Crean. There’s no sugar-coating that. Crean acted as if he wanted the guy who’d become the best thing about Georgia basketball to stay, which shows that the new man is no dummy. He and Hayes went out recruiting together, prompting Crean to say in a statement released Monday...

Posted: 15 days ago

Losing Jonas Hayes was a blow to Georgia, and to Tom Crean. There’s no sugar-coating that. Crean acted as if he wanted the guy who’d become the best thing about Georgia basketball to stay, which shows that the new man is no dummy. He and Hayes went out recruiting together, prompting Crean to say in a statement released Monday...
The Braves’ bright start makes us ask: How good can 2018 be?
 Run differential was, and presumably remains, Frank Wren’s favorite stat. Ten days in, Wren’s former team – which bears scant resemblance to the one he left behind in September 2014 – leads the majors in run differential. Even as we pause to inject the boilerplate “small sample size,” we also note: These...

Posted: 16 days ago

Run differential was, and presumably remains, Frank Wren’s favorite stat. Ten days in, Wren’s former team – which bears scant resemblance to the one he left behind in September 2014 – leads the majors in run differential. Even as we pause to inject the boilerplate “small sample size,” we also note: These...
Villanova winning again was nice. What comes next mightn’t be
 One of the more troubling seasons in the history of a sport that has known its troubles ended with a celebration of – let’s say it – beautiful basketball. Villanova is easy on the eyes, and also the ears. This is a program that actually enjoys attention. Heck, Jay Wright even likes the media. (Roll over, Bobby Knight, and...

Posted: 22 days ago

One of the more troubling seasons in the history of a sport that has known its troubles ended with a celebration of – let’s say it – beautiful basketball. Villanova is easy on the eyes, and also the ears. This is a program that actually enjoys attention. Heck, Jay Wright even likes the media. (Roll over, Bobby Knight, and...
Greatness affirmed: Villanova wins another national championship
 It’s often said, sometimes even by me, that the sign of a great team is to win on an off-night. On its off-night, Villanova won the national championship.  This wasn’t the Villanova of Saturday, when the Wildcats blitzed Kansas with 13 first-half 3-pointers en route to a 17-point victory. The result, however, was the same...

Posted: 23 days ago

It’s often said, sometimes even by me, that the sign of a great team is to win on an off-night. On its off-night, Villanova won the national championship.  This wasn’t the Villanova of Saturday, when the Wildcats blitzed Kansas with 13 first-half 3-pointers en route to a 17-point victory. The result, however, was the same...
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