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Shame on Adam Silver!

Shame on Adam Silver!
Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young (11) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers’ Isaac Okoro (35) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 112-111. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Feb. 24, 2021
BY MATT EDGAR
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – I’m not really a Trae Young fan, I admit that, but I’ve got his back on this one! Tuesday night Trae was left off the Eastern Conference reserves and Adam Silver should be ashamed of himself! First, he has the stupid idea of an All-Star Game during the grind of an NBA season during the pandemic, when these players actually deserve a break. Then, he can’t even make sure that our home town Hawks have one player on the Eastern Conference roster! Seriously? You bestow on us “the honor” of allowing Atlanta to the host the NBA All-Star Game in the midst of a season beset by COVID and you can’t even throw us a bone and let one of our own have a seat on the bench and represent the ATL? It’s truly a slap in the face!

I know Trae isn’t liked all that much by his peers and coaches. I know that because he couldn’t find his way onto the reserves in the first place, but that is a story for another day. Heck, I’m not fond of the kid myself but this is about Adam Silver doing what is right and letting a long-suffering fan base have a little pride. By the way, there isn’t one person in the NBA sphere….media, fans, experts, players, etc.….that would have batted an eye at Trae being announced as an All-Star, not one! I would imagine Tony Ressler isn’t too pleased either as this doesn’t bode well for him and his beleaguered franchise in league circles. To add insult to injury, not long after the reserves were announced and Trae wasn’t included, the Hawks fell to the lowly Cavs, who had lost ten in a row. Welcome back from paternity leave, Coach Pierce….yet another story for another day.

Within minutes of the announcement and Trae’s snubbing, I had a friend text me with the simple phrase of “That’s so Atlanta”. Maybe he’s right.

Thank goodness Tiger Woods is still with us

Thank goodness Tiger Woods is still with us
File-This Dec. 19, 2020, file photo shows Tiger Woods watching his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the PNC Championship golf tournament, in Orlando, Fla. Woods announced Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, he had a fifth back surgery and will miss tournaments in San Diego and Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Feb. 23, 2021 –
DAN MATHEWS
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – The greatest words we heard on Tuesday afternoon was ‘non-life threatening’ injuries for Tiger Woods. 

Tiger Woods was called “lucky” to be alive by one of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies on Tuesday, following the single car accident that sent him to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Southern California with leg injuries. The report of leg fractures and a broken ankle is much better than what we’ve seen happen over the last year. 

It is still hard to believe that Kobe Bryant left us over a year ago. It has hurt us locally to see legends like Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro and Don Sutton pass away. 

Athletes are the ticket to our youth in so many cases. We grow up watching and rooting for them. When they pass, in some cases it feels like a family member or a close friend has died. Thank goodness we didn’t have to grieve the loss of another legend we’ve come to watch over the years. 

A crane is used to lift a vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The most important part of all following this accident? We can be very thankful that Tiger’s children, Charlie and Sam will get the chance to grow up with their father. I cannot even imagine how scared they must have been, when hearing what happened to their Dad. 

Tiger’s future on the course is way on the back burner right now. His recovery and rehabilitation is the foremost important focus for him. 

From a golf standpoint, let us be thankful for what he’s given us as fans over the years. The dominance that he held over golf’s highest level of play for the better part of a decade, is one accomplishment that comes to mind. 

Tiger has made golf “cool.” Before his arrival, it was an incredibly stiff sport. Players were mostly out of peak physical shape and in some cases wore goofy clothes on the course. Tiger changed all of this for the game. He showed that your ticket to dominating play, is to keep yourself in great physical condition. Also, you can dress and look like an athlete on the course when you play. 

Think of the people who have been brought to the game, because of Tiger’s influence? The Rory McIlroy’s, Jordan Spieth’s, Brooks Koepka’s and Justin Thomas’s of the game are here because of Tiger Woods. I love the game, because of Tiger Woods. 

We may never see Tiger Woods play a competitive round of golf at a high level ever again. Honestly? I’m good with that. He’s given us and the game more than we could have ever dreamed to see. 

Another thing that has been awesome to see over the years with Tiger, is his growth as a man. Gone are the days of on-course swearing tantrums and staring down members of the media for questions they asked following a round. He’s gained wisdom from his past mistakes, to frankly become more likable than ever. 

You cannot talk about the life of Tiger Woods, without mentioning the infidelities that came to light after Thanksgiving 2009. He made amends for the past mistakes in his personal life. He became Tiger Woods the human and not just Tiger Woods the golf god. Maybe we haven’t committed wrongdoings to this level, but chances are we’ve made huge mistakes in our past. Isn’t it great to learn from those mistakes and redeem yourself? I know I always enjoy getting that chance, after I’ve done something wrong. 

This very easily could have read today like an obituary for a sporting legend. After the events of 2020-21, thank goodness we can all take a deep sigh of relief. While broken bones are painful and need time to heal; a loss of life is the wound that never fully closes up.

DAN MATHEWS

Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host 
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7
WFOM-AM 106.3 FM ‘XTRA SPORTS AND TALK’

Braves take the field for first full squad workout

Braves take the field for first full squad workout
FILE – Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith throws during spring training baseball camp Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in North Port, Fla. (AP FILE Photo/John Bazemore)

Feb. 23, 2021 –
KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – As the Braves prepared to take the field for their first full squad workout this morning, manager Brian Snitker and other members of the organization gave their usual speeches. However, this year things were a bit different, due to health and safety guidelines. Since fans aren’t in the ballpark, the club gathered in the seating bowl at CoolToday Park and the team utilized the PA system to deliver the various addresses. But things were even more inspirational as the players and staff members also honored and paid tribute to legends that we’ve lost over the last year. That list, unfortunately, is much longer than it’s ever been. In addition to losing the legendary Hank Aaron last month, the Braves also had to say goodbye to Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro, Hall of Fame pitcher and club broadcaster Don Sutton and Bill Bartholomay, the man who brought Atlanta a Major League team in 1966.

“We were able to honor the great members of this organization who unfortunately passed away. Saw a couple great videos about their life…very inspirtational” said Travis d’Arnaud on Tuesday afternoon. “I think to honor them was very special and humbling to know everybody cares about them. I think it was big and it was motivational, for sure” d’Arnaud added.

While the team went about their first full squad workout, Freddie Freeman remains with his family after the birth of his son recently. Brian Snitker expects to have Freeman arrive in North Port by the end of the week, and he will no doubt have more than enough time to get himself and in the swing of things. Let’s be honest, Freddie looks like he’s ready for Opening Day by about March 3rd!

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

My take on the kid who trash talked Cam Newton: Let it go, it’s done

My take on the kid who trash talked Cam Newton: Let it go, it’s done
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton leaves the field after an NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 29, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Feb. 23, 2021 –
BY DAN MATHEWS
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Like many of you, I was incredibly annoyed by Jseth Owens’ comments caught on camera and directed at Cam Newton during a recent 7-on-7 tournament. But, it’s time to let it go. 

The rising senior was a clown in calling Newton soon to be “poor” as a free agent and “ass.” He won’t be the first part and while not the player he used to be; Newton is still one of the best in the history of the game to play the position. 

I think if we’re being honest with ourselves, we’d soon enough let it be between Cam and Owens. They’ve seemingly put it behind them and the young kid apologized on Twitter. While his apology might have missed the mark a little, he’s still a kid and it won’t be perfect. 

This is now where the adults need to step in with him and other kids that are like him. If we want kids to have self-discipline, then we have to set those boundaries of accountability. 

One way could have been to punish his teammates for his clownish behavior and have him watch while they ran (an idea shared by “Hometeam” Brandon Leak). It would have hopefully caused him to feel bad about his actions forcing them to pay the punishment for him. Plus, one of the team captains would have likely addressed it with him, in hopes that it doesn’t happen again. It could be a learning lesson for him to focus on what he can do in order to improve as a player and help the team grow together. 

It’s not the fault of “kids today,” that they are… Kids. They’ll do stupid things and have to learn some hard lessons. Lord willing, hopefully their actions allow for them to learn from their previous mistakes. 

If Jseth wants to be successful in this game, this needs to be the last time he’s known for something like this. I don’t know anything about Owens as a college prospect. At least from the Rivals profile I saw of him, he doesn’t seem to have many suitors at the moment. Want to know how to keep it that way? Keep doing things like you were when videoed and you’ll get a reputation of being a clown and un-coachable. Trust me, no coach wants that headache. 

If I had a piece of advice for young Jseth, it would be to stay true to who he is and focus on his efforts in the game. Pay attention to the effort you give in your workouts, school work, the practices and on Friday nights. You do that and worry less about what comes out of your mouth? You’ll likely be pleased with where you’re at in life. But if you want to keep being the “class clown?” I’d say you won’t like the end result for your football career.


Dan Mathews

Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7
WFOM-AM 106.3 FM ‘XTRA SPORTS AND TALK’

A Quick Reminder of What Wins Games

A Quick Reminder of What Wins Games
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix (10) dodges a tackle by Northwestern defensive end Earnest Brown IV (99) during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

BY CHUCK OLIVER
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – When it comes to playing college football, especially in the SEC,
I don’t believe in magic shirts. I believe in winning the line of scrimmage and not committing turnovers, ever, and that’s what you should believe in as well!

Auburn’s new head coach comes from a Boise State program that, very successfully, shouted to the college football world, “Look at our blue field and chrome helmets!” This has led to speculation in some corners about what changes Auburn may have when it comes to the team’s uniforms. 

I’ll address this thoroughly, right now: none.

An orange face mask or a blue one, or a white one, or maybe a gray one, that’s about as Oregon as you’ve ever seen on the Plains. Though I don’t remember I’ve ever seen a gray face mask on an Auburn helmet, other than a 2007 one-off commemoration of the 1957 national championship team. 

Beyond that, the closest I’ve seen to Auburn changing its threads was an all-blue helmet-jersey-pants thing someone mocked up online before the opener against, I believe, Clemson in 2012. It was snazzy looking, no arguing it. And there was zero chance that uniform was ever going to be manufactured or worn, at least not at Auburn.

If you’re wanting a special uniform, a one-time uniform, a uniform overhaul, whatever, that’s all fine if you think your unis are ugly or you DO want to honor a previous special team by wearing the uniforms from their season But, at least at Auburn, that’s what you do at home against Vanderbilt in Week 3. If you’re thinking there’s something MORE to be had, that’s where I jump off the bus.

If Auburn runs out of the tunnel September 4 onto a bright orange plastic field, OK, I’ll believe the coach has pull. Otherwise, those uniforms aren’t changing!

CHUCK OLIVER – CO-HOST OF “CHUCK & CHERNOFF”
HOST OF “THE CHUCK OLIVER SHOW” on the Southern Sports Today Network

Braves Pitchers make progress in the first four days of camp

Braves Pitchers make progress in the first four days of camp
FILE – Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker (43) gives a sign from the dugout during a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP FILE Photo/John Bazemore)

Feb. 22, 2021 –
BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – As Monday’s workout wrapped up, pitchers have already made quite a bit of progress in the first four days of camp. Brian Snitker says everyone has had a chance to throw a pair of sides, which is the first step in the ramp up progression of camp. Next up, will be the teams first full squad workout on Tuesday, and later this week, pitchers will begin throwing live bullpen sessions to actual hitters. As far as how the day will go tomorrow, it will essentially be split into two groups where pitchers and catchers will continue through their series of drills, while the rest of the squad begins batting practice, and all the normal pre season infield and outfield work.

One position player who isn’t in camp yet is the reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman. Snit said he expects to have his first baseman arrive in North Port later this week, after his wife Chelsea gave birth over the weekend. In all honesty, Freeman won’t really miss much. He typically needs around 40 at bats to have himself ready for the regular season, and he typically gets out to a hot start and wishes he can hit the fast forward button to Opening Day.

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

Black History Month – Josh Gibson

Black History Month – Josh Gibson
An American baseball catcher primarily in the Negro leagues. Baseball historians consider Gibson to be among the very best power hitters and catchers in baseball history. In 1972, he became the second Negro league player to be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Feb. 22, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – “The Black Babe Ruth,” that’s what many called Josh Gibson, the negro league power hitting catcher. The Buena Vista, Georgia, native played 16 seasons in the Negro Leagues and was the second Negro Leaguer inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. With a career average of .359, many considered Gibson better than Jackie Robinson, who of course was major league baseball’s first black player. Gibson also played professionally in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic & Mexico and passed away at the young age of 35 in Pittsburgh in 1947. His son Josh Gibson, Jr. operates the Josh Gibson Foundation, who provides academic & athletic programs that foster leadership & scholarship.

Hope on The Flats for Georgia Tech

Hope on The Flats for Georgia Tech
FILE – In this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 file photo, a Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets player chooses a helmet in the second half of their NCAA college football game against the Pitt Panthers in Atlanta, GA. Georgia Tech won 21-10. (AP Photo/David Tulis, File)

Feb. 22, 2021 –
MATT EDGAR
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – It’s the last week of February and I’m finally getting over my disappointment of the 2020 football season on The Flats. A spark has ignited inside me as of late, I guess it’s all the talk about Spring Practice, and I’m starting to think about how compelling the 2021 season should be for those of us in Yellow Jacket nation.

I’ve often thought about my disappointment from last season and if it’s truly warranted. Was it supposed to be better than 3-7 in the crazy Covid year of sports? There were three games that just killed my enthusiasm for what Coach Collins is building and even now as I think back on those losses, I get ticked off all over again!

First, there was the Syracuse debacle, losing 37-20 on the road, giving the Orange their one & only win on the season. Did you know that? Cuse went 1-10 with their only victory coming at the Jackets’ expense. Wtf?!

Three weeks later came letdown number two with the 73-7 beat down at home to No.1 Clemson on national television. No shame in losing to Trevor Lawrence and his crew but by 66 points?! The Tigers only scored more than 50 points one other time last season and that was their 52-17 win over Pittsburgh.

The final annoyance came a week after Clemson when I expected us to bounce back at Boston College. Instead, we lost 48-27, allowing the Eagles their highest scoring output of the season and their largest margin of victory! If you’re wondering, BC was their usual average selves and went 6-5 on the season.

Okay, time for me to move on from 2020 and allow that flicker of excitement I mentioned earlier to return. If you told me in season two of the rebuild that we’d go 3-7 I guess I would have been fine with that. I do believe in Coach Collins and his vision, and I absolutely know this is as astronomical of a resurrection as there has been in college football in many years. Some Tech faithful still clamor for Coach Johnson and that is just crazy! CPJ’s style of play, specifically his offense, has no business in the ACC. It belongs in the Sun Belt, the MAC and at the military academies. There is no doubt in my mind that we are back playing big boy football and the best is yet to come! Is the 2021 season when we finally catch a glimpse of that? It better be! LOL

Matt Edgar
Assistant Program Director – 680 The Fan, Atlanta

Alex Anthopoulos proves yet again why he’s so good

Alex Anthopoulos proves yet again why he’s so good
Arizona Diamondbacks Jake Lamb follows through on a two-RBI double against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

FEB. 22, 2021
BY DAN MATHEWS
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA –

The best front office executive in Atlanta pro sports is Alex Anthopoulos and it’s not even close. 

The announced agreement between the Braves and former All-Star third baseman Jake Lamb is just another example of how good Anthopoulos is at this job. Lamb is not being brought in to help be a middle of the order bat and everyday player. He’s being asked to provide depth off the bench and get a spot start here in there. 

Austin Riley is your third baseman. However, giving him a night off here and there will not be a bad thing. Plus, we all know how streaky he can be at the plate. 

Anthopoulos have shown the ability to be able to find players that bring value to this team. Adam Duvall, Adeiny Hechavarria, Tyler Matzek and Charlie Culberson are just some players that you can point to. 

Lamb has been a National League All-Star in 2017 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He hit 30 home runs during that season. Shoulder and quadriceps issues have struck him during the last few seasons. It even lead him to eventually being released by Arizona. 

The good news is that a change of scenery has already benefited Lamb. Just this last season, he caught on with the Oakland A’s, after being designated for assignment by the D-Backs. He hit .267, with 3 home runs and 9 RBI in 49 plate appearances with Oakland. 

If Lamb comes in to bring the Braves quality at-bats in pinch hitting and spot start situations, then this will be a huge success. This is only a deal that can provide upside. He’s not blocking any player’s development. 

These “ifs” are not going to be a mark against Anthopoulos, should Lamb not work out. If he doesn’t, then you can find another option to handle his role. Don’t forget that Jason Kipnis is here now too. These type of players have been hits with the Braves during Alex Anthopoulos’ tenure. There is no reason to doubt him with Lamb.

Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host 
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7
WFOM-AM 106.3 FM ‘XTRA SPORTS AND TALK’