Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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3 thoughts on the Braves’ sweep of the Nats

  • 4:30 pm Sunday, April 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Gio Gonzalez contemplates another loss to Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP)

In the wake of the Atlanta Braves’ latest sweep of the Washington Nationals, we offer three variations on a theme:

1. The Braves own the Nats. The Braves are 18-7 against Washington since the start of the 2013 season. That’s a winning percentage of .720. Carried over a full season, that would leave the Braves with 117 wins. In the history of baseball, no team has ever won 117 games.

2. The Braves own the Nats. Of the past nine series between the two, the Braves have won seven, halved one and swept four. The Nationals are 6-0 against every other team [More]

3 thoughts on G-Day, starting with Hutson Mason

  • 3:20 pm Saturday, April 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The scene at sunny Sanford. (M. Bradley/AJC)

ATHENS – These not-entirely-random thoughts are presented in the wake of G-Day, which was staged Saturday at Sanford Stadium. The Georgia Bulldogs won. The Georgia Bulldogs also lost. Sometimes I crack myself up.

1. Georgia’s new No. 1 quarterback looked like the greatest football player named Hutson since Don. The catch is that there haven’t been many football players so named since Don Hutson was catching Dixie Howell’s passes at Alabama 80 years ago. (For you young ‘uns, Don Hutson was the NFL’s first great split end.) As for Hutson Mason: He did well enough to make you think what Mark Richt [More]

3 thoughts as the Braves again swat the Nats

  • 11:28 pm Friday, April 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
There was a lot of standing around Friday. (David Goldman/AP)

Three quick thoughts — quick because I have to be in Athens for G-Day on Saturday — after watching the Atlanta Braves beat Washington 7-6 in a game that ended at 11:28 p.m.

1. The Washington Nationals, not for the first time, are wondering how they lost this one. They outhit the Braves 14-9, scored three unearned runs after a Dan Uggla throwing error and overrode a 4-0 deficit to take a 6-5 lead in the eighth. They lost anyway. (Justin Upton tied it with a homer off Tyler Clippard in the eighth and won it with a bloop single off [More]

The 2014 Fiasco champ is Ronnie Turner of Vidalia

  • 3:49 pm Thursday, April 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Our fabulous Fiasco winner. (Photo courtesy Ronnie Turner)

The 27th edition of Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco was true to its name. For most of the 3,253 entrants, predicting the winners was indeed a forlorn hope. For Ronnie Turner of Vidalia, an NCAA tournament that all but defied prognostication somehow became easy pickings.

Turner, 57, picked 25 of the 32 second-round winners correctly, 11 of the Sweet Sixteen, five of the Elite Eight and three of the Final Four. He tabbed Kentucky, a No. 8 seed, as the 2014 national champion, which didn’t seem likely when the Big Dance began but darn near happened. For such inspired forecasting, Turner is [More]

3 thoughts on the Santana-powered Braves

  • 10:56 pm Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Here's guessing this pitch was a strike. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

These random ravings are presented in the aftermath of Ervin Santana’s dazzling debut — eight innings, three hits, no runs, no walks, six strikeouts, 88 pitches, 65 strikes — as an Atlanta Brave.

1. Is Ervin Santana really Greg Maddux with a better fastball? Yes, I’m exaggerating. Maddux did this sort of precision thing every night for two decades, but still: When you don’t throw your second non-strike until you’re facing the leadoff man in the fourth inning, you’re dealing at the highest level. On his first night with his new team, Santana needed 29 pitches, 28 of them strikes, to [More]

3 thoughts on the good-pitch, bad-hit Braves

  • 10:44 pm Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
B.J. Upton after striking out in the first inning. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Three (im)pertinent thoughts from the Atlanta Braves’ home opener –  a 4-0 loss to the last-place Mets.

1. The starting pitcher remains stellar, somehow. The journeyman Aaron Harang (career record: 111-117) yielded  two hits and one run in six innings after yielding two hits and no runs in 6 2/3 last week in Milwaukee. Those are quality starts, people, and they’re coming at a needed time, what with the Braves scrambling to fill out a rotation. Harang was maybe more impressive in this one than in his win over the Brewers, in which he carried a no-hitter into the seventh. He [More]

The Hawks need Indiana to be the No. 1 seed

  • 9:10 am Monday, April 7th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Pero Antic shreds the frazzled Pacers. (Brent Smith/AP)

For better or worse, the Atlanta Hawks are playoff-bound. They lead the ninth-place Knicks by two games with six to play, and the Hawks have the edge in the pertinent tiebreaker (conference record) and the easier schedule.

The bad part of this is that the Hawks, by qualifying for postseason, won’t participate in the draft lottery and will be matched against the conference’s No. 1 seed. At the moment, Miami holds first place in the East. If the Hawks get outrageously lucky, the Indiana Pacers will reclaim No. 1. Having Indiana as a Round 1 opponent would definitely qualify as better.

The [More]

UGA’s Fox: Two winning seasons, two extensions

  • 10:38 am Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
We can assume this was not Mark Fox's reaction to his new deal. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Mark Fox has had two winning seasons in the five years he has coached Georgia basketball. After each winning season, he has received a contract extension. The second came yesterday, adding two years to a contract that runs through 2018.

The extension itself wasn’t surprising. It’s the way colleges work. Brian Gregory has had one winning season at Georgia Tech and got a year’s extension afterward; his record over three years at Tech is 43-52. But two more years for Fox, whose record at Georgia is 85-77 and who has reached the NCAA tournament only in 2011, only fuels [More]

ESPN’s Jaworski really likes Zach Mettenberger

  • 10:08 am Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Mettenberger and Murray, back in the day. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Zach Mettenberger had a strange collegiate career. He signed with Georgia in 2009, which only made sense: He was from nearby Oconee County and his mother worked in UGA’s football office. In the spring of 2010, there were those who believed Mettenberger outplayed fellow redshirt freshman Aaron Murray on G-Day and could have become the front-runner to fill Georgia’s quarterback vacancy. This soon became a moot point.

Mettenberger was dismissed from the team after being arrested in South Georgia while on spring break. (He would plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.) He spent the 2010 season at [More]

Awful: Baylor breaks leg on ceremonial first pitch

  • 9:35 am Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Don Baylor is helped to the dugout. (Wally Skalij/L.A. Times - MCT)

The Ceremonial First Pitch is among baseball’s most benign traditions. Sometimes somebody famous will throw the ball in the dirt, and last October the famous Chipper Jones had to deliver not to a former Atlanta Braves teammate but to mascot Homer the Brave. (This happened because Jones, not being a homer, picked the Dodgers to beat the Braves in the NLDS, which wound up happening but which miffed his touchy ex-mates.)

In sum, CFP doings tend to be funny. What happened to Don Baylor in Anaheim on Monday night was the polar opposite of funny. It was make-you-sick-at-your stomach awful, Kevin-Ware-in-Indianapolis [More]

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