Returning back to the Ranch tributes, this weeks theme music goes out to a Cerean friend who's a videographer by day and radio host by night.
And for the record I despise Toby Keith.
Friday, June 22, 2007
The Magnum Award goes to the best Male Athlete.
This years winner is Ole Miss Baseball pitcher Lance Lynn. It was easy at first to write in Patrick Willis but if your team looses nearly every game what's the point? Isn't the point of sports at some point to win games? So the award goes to the Ole Miss pitcher who set the school record for strikeouts with 146 (2nd in SEC after the #1 pick in the draft) and lead the team with 8 wins (7th in SEC), a 2.85 ERA (4th in the SEC), and a .209 Average against (3rd in SEC). Also the baseball team had, while inconsistent, a pretty solid year and hosted a regional for the third straight year. Barring injury Lynn is a first round draft pick next year. Expect big things for the 2007 baseball team.
The Dukes of Hazzard Daisy Duke award goes to the Lady Rebel Athlete of the Year.
This year the award goes to Rebel softball player Amber Tramp. Besides from having a great name, Amber batted .265 with 1 home run and 20 RBIs for the season for the surprisingly competitive Lady Rebs who made the SEC tournament.
The Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci award to honor his years of faithful guidance goes to the Rebels best coach.
The award goes Men's Basketball Coach Andy Kennedy. Kennedy guided the Rebels to their first winning season in four years on the way to the NIT tournament. Most impressively he did this with predominately Barnes recruited players who did not fit his system. However Kennedy adapted and won the most possible games with what he had and lead to a solid and surprisingly fun season. Alternatively Kennedy could have won the MacGyver award for getting the most out of the what appeared at first glance to be the least.
The A-Team award goes to the Best team that achieved the most success.
The award obviously goes to the Lady Rebel women's basketball team that earned their way to the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight and a top ten final ranking. Carol Ross and Armintie Price had the Lady Reb's in every game and pulled off some great upsets and had a few more Rebel fans turning into women's basketball.
Bonus points since its for the fourth of July and nothing says patriotism like former wrestlers/ G.I. Joe action figures.
Speaking of Southern League action sadly no good Philip Wellman sightings lately. And if anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas this year might I suggest this.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
I've been putting off this topic because Bobby Cox is easily my favorite current manager or coach currently and possibly of all time. John Vaught is a legend but quit coaching essentially 9 years before I was born unless you count the half season he coached in '73. I love Bill Parcells ant think he's one of the greatest football minds and love watching him insult the media but seeing him coach for the Cowboys kind of tarnishes the luster just a bit.
Bobby has been the manager or general manager for the Braves all but four years of my life. And since he returned to managing in 1990 they've all been pretty good years. Only two of those years did the Braves fail to win the National League East. He even captured the 1995 World Series which is pretty much the only one of my teams to win championship since I've been an avid follower. (The Giants won two superbowls in my life but I wasn't a huge Giants fan at the time and was too young to really appreciate it.)
I also think Cox is a masterful manager that gets the absolute most out of his players. He's won in completely different ways with completely different teams. In the early nineties the team did not have the bats but had great pitching. He built the team around this pitching and had some of the best defensive players to play behind those pitchers so they could win low scoring games. Early in the 2000's after Smoltz became a reliever and Maddux and Glavine left the Braves had to out hit everyone and he changed the offensive philosophy of the team to maximize what he had. And still won. In 2005 the team was decimated by injuries and payroll cuts. The team was forced to play a record number of rookies many of whom one starting jobs. The team still won.
The biggest reason that the team's always win: they love to play for Bobby Cox. I've never read an interview with a single player who said he did not enjoy playing for him. Or seen stories citing locker roomer rumors. Even players who do not get along with anyone and were traded to the Braves because they were viewed as bad locker room guys like Gary Sheffield spoke of the respect he had for Cox. And they credit it to the respect he gives them. Its why he's one ejection away from the all time Major League Baseball ejection list because he always defends his players. He does a good job of developing the young guys and staying loose with the veterans.
But all that said he does somethings that absolutely blow my mind. I can not for the life of me understand why he would keep two career backup middle infielders who can't hit .200 on the roster at the expense of either quality pinch hitters that he would use, another back up catcher so he could use Saltalamachia regularly, or more pitchers that he would use. The Braves have to be the only team with three back up middle infielders. Four if you count the fact that the man currently playing left field came up as a second baseman. It doesn't make sense because nearly once a game one of the twin automatic outs of Pete Orr and Chris Woodward comes up late in the game as a necessity to pinch hit with runners in scoring position and the chance for the Braves to take the lead and Orr grounds out or Woodward strikes out. I can understand why he would have one of them for defensive reason but both?
Before Chipper came off the DL he had McCann nursing a sore ankle yet played him in the field and had his backup serving as the designated hitter thanks to interleague play.
Then there's the I'm giving everybody the day off day games. I understand giving the regulars a day off here in there to keep them fresh but why have them all take the same off day? Earlier this year he sent out a line up with Woodward at First Base, Orr for Chipper, Pena for McCann, Martin Prado at second and another with Woodward replacing Renterria. The only one who starts constantly everyday is Jeff Francouer. Some of these line ups just look like Bobby says, "Screw it we play 162 games I'm forfeiting this one to give the guys the day off physically and mentally."
For a while I thought he did these things just to torment me. But I've come to realize that as fans we over critize our coaches because of the ability to look back on it with 20/20 vision. Even the greats like Bobby Cox are not free of critisim. And never will be. So while you try to figure out a method to the maddness you have to understand that even the best have there faults and make mistakes. What makes them great is that they have such few mistakes is even more pronounced when it happens. But when you compare them to the dregs like the Ogerzook you wonder why you ever questioned them to begin with.
Friday, June 8, 2007
In other Rebel news a few players made it into the first year player draft. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays took Will Kline with the first pick of the second round. Zack Cozart also went in the second round to the Cincinnati Reds. Craig Rodriquez went to the Rockies in the 28th round and so far it does not appear any of the Rebels recruits are suspect to skipping Oxford.
The most amazing selection is that Justin Henry did not get selected until the Tigers took him near the end of the ninth round. But then the lack of respect for Henry doesn't even start there. After a third straight year of making the All SEC Tournament Team Henry failed to make the all SEC team. No not the all first team but second or third. Unbelievable for a guy who was hitting around .400 all year and finished the season at .385. Which was tied for third best in the entire SEC. Other Rebels including Cozart, Cody Satterwhite and Henry's own little brother, Jordan, made All Sec Teams with numbers and clutch play that did not come close to his. The only reasoning I can think of for this and its quite faulty is that he switched positions and that kept him from getting the votes at a position that he needed.
At least the team knows how special Justin Henry is. They've elected him as the captain the last two years.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
My vote/Prediction is Henry County OF/1st JasonHeyward with the Braves first pick 14th overall. The Braves love taking local kids early because they think it helps marketing and gives them a better chance to sign them. Other option is Georgia LHP Jeff Smoker who could fall to the Braves pick in the Sandwhich round. Of course like everyone else I expect the Devil Rays to select Vandy pitcher David Price first overall.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Didn't have internet access Friday. Hope that doesn't upset my three readers.
Anyway as we continue to mourn the end of the Ranch era; this weeks video is dedicated to a Shistavanen Wolfman friend of mine. While the Rebs are hungry for a Super regional win I leave you to determine what the wolf is hungry for.