The New Orleans Saints received a warm welcome from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport workers yesterday. The NFL squad traveled to Atlanta last night for tonight's game against the Falcons, and according to several players, some airport employees egged the team's bus on the tarmac.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel first tweeted about the egg bombardment:
Wow, as we're boarding buses on the Tarmac @ Atlanta airport, we start getting eggs thrown @ us by airport workers! Guess they do hate us!
- Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) November 29, 2012
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and linebacker Will Herring also chimed in:
Bus just got egged after landing in ATL by the ramp workers. Classy! "RISE Up" smh
- Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) November 29, 2012
First time my bus has been egged by opposing fans! Tomorrow should be fun!!#WhoDatNation
- Will Herring (@wherring54) November 29, 2012
The Saints handed the Falcons their only loss of the season earlier this month. Atlanta players reportedly messed with several opposing players during that game's pregame warm-up routines, which Saints linebacker Scott Shanle called "disrespectful and classless."
We've reached out to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the New Orleans Saints for more information. If any one of them rise up with a comment on what some are referring to as EggGate, we'll post an update.
UPDATE, 12:47 p.m.: An airport representative confirmed with 11 Alive that egging happened, and said that Atlanta Police will provide additional security for the Saints' flight back to New Orleans.
UPDATE: It's been pointed out that, although all twelve teams who participated in the competition were from the United States, the championships included international teams as well, making it the Roller Derby International Championships.
The Women's Flat Track Derby Association Championships took place this weekend at the Georgia World Congress Center. Twelve teams from four regions competed for glory including Atlanta's own Dirty South Derby Girls.
On Friday evening, the Atlanta Rollergirls' all-star team, the Dirty South Derby Girls, played its first-ever national-level bout against the Indianapolis Naptown Roller Girls. Chants of "A-T-L" boomed from the majority of the crowd as the intensity of the game grew. But after taking a commanding lead in the first half, Indianapolis slowly chipped away to catch up and surpass Atlanta, finishing the game with a final score of Atlanta: 153 to Naptown: 169.
Despite the loss, the team was in high spirits. Atlanta's team manager Sara, aka Hot Legs Hooligan, wrote CL: "I think any one of our league members would tell you that playing in a championship tourney was part of our 5-year plan, and we wrote it two years ago, so we're 3 years ahead of our goal ... We've definitely come a long way from skating around at roller rinks on the weekend."
Steve Hatchell, the National Football Foundation's president and CEO, told the AJC that "all systems are go" after hearing reports from the Atlanta Hall Management — the local non-profit group responsible for constructing and maintaining the Hall of Fame once it opens.
John Stephenson, Atlanta Hall Management's interim CEO, informed the NFF board on Wednesday that the group has signed contracts for $51.5 million in sponsorships and has arranged $22.5 million in loans — on top of $15 million promised in state funding. Projected costs for the new Hall of Fame are estimated at $66.9 million.
Even after the Braves pulled their annual October disappearing act losing a heartbreaking one-game playoff to the Cards, Atlanta continues to shine in MLB's postseason thanks to TBS' terrific coverage of the League Division Series games.
It all starts with the studio team in the A: Matt Winer, Dennis Eckersley, and David Wells who deliver "On-Deck presented by Dodge Dart." While Winer plays straight man, former pitchers Wells and Eckersley dish and verbally jostle like two smartass guys at the end of the bar. Their anecdotes are endlessly entertaining, as is the insight they bring to the game. Killing time during a rain delay, Wells, a former Baltimore Oriole and former New York Yankee, discussed the rivalry—which may pale in comparison to Sox/Yanks (Wells also pitched for Boston) but burns just as hot in the postseason. Eckersley, on the other hand, shared his personal reflections of his most infamous postseason moment: giving up a game-winning homer to hobbled Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series vs. the Dodgers. Despite a brilliant career, Eckersley now embraces the fact that this time of year, his dinger is the climax of every dramatic postseason highlights package. Even as Eckersley was dropping Kung Fu/Grasshopper-style wisdom about accepting his Nietzchean fate to relive this moment in perpetuity, Wells saw fit to comment on how uncomfortable Eck's old school nut-huggers look. Pull up a stool, watch and learn.
In the booth, the three-man team handling the Orioles/Yankees series bears a strong Atlanta pedigree: Ernie Johnson, Jr. (son of late Braves broadcaster) handles the play-by-play, with color from Braves Hall of Famer John Smoltz, joined by Iron Man Cal Ripken.
Compared to the freewheeling loose cannons back in the studio, Smoltz and Ripken are buttoned down, and consummate professionals—with the exception of Smoltzey's tendency to pepper the dialogue with groan-inducing puns.
The inside baseball stuff Smoltz and Ripken discuss is far more pertinent than the nonsense Fox's Joe Buck and dottering sidekick Tim McCarver dish up. While the game has passed McCarver by, Smotlz and Ripken effortlessly describe scenarios, discuss strategy, and forecast pitches. Ernie Johnson asks pointed questions, tosses asides, and calls a smooth game, unlike Fox gasbag Joe Buck who hurls himself into every syllable like he's Russ Hodges calling the shot heard round the world.
Often, folks complain that national announcers favor one team over another. This is especially challenging when a lifelong Oriole like Ripken is covering his former team, but his insights, knowledge and professionalism carry the day. In addition, having played against and along side (in All Star games) on the field, he is a peer of Yankees Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, both of whom site Cal as a mentor. He references personal conversations he's had with the stars, while maintaining enough distance to critique their on-field performances.
In case you haven't seen it yet, Chipper Jones is on this week's CL cover. You can read the full 22-person oral history here, which goes into detail about the life and times of the Braves legend as his career comes to an end. In putting together that story, it was safe to say that there was an abundance of content that we simply couldn't fit into the oral history. Many of these individuals spoke about other parts of Jones' story — like his love for hunting or his relationship with the media. We wanted to share those as well, so here are 10 additional quotes from that didn't quite make it to print.
B.B. Abbott on Jones as a high school baseball player:
I think he learned how to act more mature. He learned how to play the game the right way before people of his age group. Not to mention that his dad was a tremendous baseball guy. He really allowed him to see how he should act on the field — in between the lines. His mom was a professional equestrian. I think from a mental standpoint, she brought that toughness to him that he needed. As an eighth or ninth grader playing with some seniors, you can imagine some of the talent he had on the athletic field. But by the time he got to be in the 10th, 11th, and obviously the 12th grade, you saw him really mature as a person and become more of the person that he is today. Especially his senior year, he really came of age. For the first time he was "the guy." He was "the guy" on the field.
Jim Powell on Jones' hitting talents:
I do think if he had tried to hit 700 home runs, he probably could’ve approached [it]. His batting average would’ve suffered. If he decided he would’ve gotten 3000 hits, I have no doubt he would’ve gotten them. Here is at 40 years old, and people want to throw fastballs by him because he’s so old he can’t possibly catch up to them. His brain has become — his experience and his baseball intelligence have kept his bat from looking slow. Whatever he decides he’s going to do on the baseball field, he just does.
If he decided he wanted to play until he was 45, I bet you he could find a way to be productive, but the fact that he’s chosen to go out on top the way he has... . we always say that about every athlete. When Joe Montana is out there, you say “why is he out there? Why didn’t he just walk away?” That’s easier said than done, there’s a reason why nobody walks away on top. It’s hard to walk away when you can still play such a great game that you’ve dedicated your life too. He’s done that too, a Hall of Famer in that regard too. He’s one of the few guys that’s announced before the season so the fan could really enjoy it. He’s walking away from the game when he can still play and still on top. That’s just another part of his legend.
On Sept. 13, 1993, Chipper Jones made his major league debut. He entered the game as a ninth-inning defensive replacement for starting shortstop Jeff Blauser in a 13-1 blowout — a forgettable game by most measures. Despite that start, the young third base prospect would soon epitomize consistency within one of the greatest professional sports dynasties ever. Along the way, he became an eight-time all-star, MVP, batting champion and a future hall of famer.
As the 2012 season winds down, Chipper Jones’ 19-year run also comes to an end. While you’ll have to wait a couple days before reading CL’s Chipper Jones cover story, we're taking a look back today at 10 great moments from no. 10’s career with the Atlanta Braves.
1990: Three years before his major-league debut, the Atlanta Braves chose Chipper Jones in the 1990 MLB draft. Leading up to the draft, the organization had briefly considered choosing top pitching prospect Todd Van Poppel. After the Texas pitcher refused to sign with the Braves, the ultimately ended up selecting Jones with the first overall pick.
1993: Two games after his professional debut, Jones notched his first-ever career hit. As former Braves outfielder recalls: "My best memory [of Chipper] was him getting his first base hit. I think I went three-for-four or four-for-four in the game. I drove in like [four] RBIs or something. He had gotten a little dribbler or something, an infield hit for his first major league hit."
According to the request for ideas, or RFI, prepared by Invest Atlanta and obtained by CL, respondents should propose concepts for the 55-acre site that "must support thousands of fans and fan activities on game days, and a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood and active street environment on non-game days."
Invest Atlanta officials want to be sure the proposals: "provide a dynamic urban destination for community life, including significant amounts of street-oriented and neighborhood-serving retail and parks and greenspace; construct 10,000 structured parking spaces which are integrated into the mixed-use development; commemorate Hank Aaron’s record-breaking home runs and "other significant Atlanta Braves accomplishments;" and "improve connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods to effect property values, quality of life and public safety," among many other goals. UPDATE, 7:07 p.m.: Here's a PDF of the RFI.
For an idea of what Invest Atlanta and the Braves might be considering, look to the Banks in Cincinnati. In 2007, Atlanta-based Carter and Dawson Company were selected to transform 18 acres of undeveloped riverfront land and parking lots between the city's two sports stadiums into a "live, work, play" district. Or Petco Park in San Diego. Or PNC Park in PIttsburgh.
Developers who need some ideas might want to sneak a peek at a 2010 study (PDF) conducted by a group of Georgia Tech's College of Architecture students that reimagined — in a variety of ways — the very same Turner Field parking lot the city's now interested in redeveloping.
Why are we seeing this request now? Well, Invest Atlanta officials obviously read our recent cover story about stadiums' effects on surrounding neighborhoods. What? They didn't? Hmmph.
The Braves' lease with the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, which owns and operates Turner Field and the parking lot in question, ends in 2016. The team's probably looking to enhance its gameday environment as it begins to negotiate the new contract. And considering that Atlanta doesn't exactly have a surplus of baseball teams looking to take the Braves' space at Turner Field, the powers that be are most likely interested in keeping them happy.
Are you a "highly qualified developers with experience in large scale mixed-use, retail and sports-related development" with an idea to share? You've got until Oct. 31 to submit your plan.
The announcement that sometime New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan has been tapped to replace Regis as Kelly Ripa's new co-host on ABC's long-running morning cupcake "Live with...!" came one day before Strahan's former team kicks off the NFL season tonight vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
Strahan is the latest, highest-profile case of a former NFL player successfully leveraging his charisma and persona to cross-over into mainstream non-football related stardom in movies or television.
Looking back, one of the most notable examples is Jim Brown:
Sometimes called the greatest player in NFL history, the Cleveland Brown fullback literally walked-away from the NFL at the peak of his career to pursue opportunities on the silver screen, parlaying supporting roles in films like The Dirty Dozen and Ice Station Zebra into Bad Mother Fucker lead roles in Blaxploitation films like Slaughter in the early 70's:
OJ Simpson (...more after the jump)
The ultra-exclusive Georgia golf club that's home to the annual Masters Golf tournament and which for decades has only offered memberships to men has finally changed its tune. Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne — who some of y'all might remember for organizing the 1996 Atlanta Olympics — today said that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore would become the club's first female members. Via USA Today:
"This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club," Payne said in a statement. "We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National. Consideration with regard to any candidate is deliberate, held in strict confidence and always takes place over an extended period of time. The process for Condoleezza and Darla was no different.
"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership. It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their Green Jackets when the Club opens this fall.
To say it's about time is an understatement. It has been well past time for Augusta to end its stubborn, sexist ways and acknowledge women are not only a vital part of the golf industry, but are important participants in the corridors of power in America - and we can certainly say that Augusta National is one of the biggest, boldest and most iconic corridors of power.
Today, one of the last bastions of male supremacy is no more. Today, Augusta National has made a crucial statement to every girl and woman who has thought about picking up a golf club. The message is simple: You are welcome.
That same message is being sent to every girl and woman who has even thought about trying to enter a sport or a field of study or a job that boys and men have dominated. If Augusta National can bring in women, then anyone can.
That's how big of a deal this is.
(teaser image credit: mbrooks/Wikipedia)
Sixty-seven percent of metro Atlantans disapprove of using such funds for the stadium, according to the poll conducted last week for the AJC by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
Twenty-three percent of those polled said they approve of using hotel-motel tax money on the stadium, and the remaining 10 percent were unsure. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. [...]
In the poll, disapproval was expressed by 75 percent of men, 61 percent of women, 59 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of independents.
Unlike the T-SPLOST, which has also polled low, the use of hotel-motel tax revenues to build a new football arena would not first require voter approval. But you'd think politicians would think twice before doing so if the funding mechanism was very unpopular.
We can't wait to see how project supporters spin the proposal to win public support. Vague threats by Falcons executives of moving the team from Atlanta, perhaps? Skywriters drawing Arthur Blank's face looking very angry? Commercials featuring Samuel L. Jackson weeping uncontrollably, asking the city why we refuse to "rise up?"
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