Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not
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Tiger Woods out; Masters, ratings will take hit

  • 12:45 pm Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Tiger Woods would draw crowds wherever he went at the Masters, including the practice range. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Masters has been one of the world’s premier sports events for decades, so this isn’t to suggest that Tiger Woods’ stunning announcement that he’s pulling out of the tournament because of back surgery will reduce the tournament to a local putt-putt tournament on the giraffe course at Mountasia.

But the Masters just became less interesting.

Top golfers qualify for Masters | Complete list of of field

First the Eisenhower Tree goes down, now this:

Woods, who has been suffering from back spasms recently, announced on his website TigerWoods.com that he underwent a microdiscectomy on Monday in Park City, Utah, and is [More]

Short takes on Braves’ loss to Milwaukee

  • 4:59 pm Monday, March 31st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves' Julio Teheran was not dominant but he allowed only two runs in six innings. (AP photo)

I’m not sure what the odds were in Las Vegas of the Braves going 162-0. But that bet just died.

The offense: also in need of resuscitating.

With most of the concern about this team centered on starting pitcher, it figured that the biggest problem in Monday’s season opener was the lack of offense. The Braves were held to five hits, struck out seven times and lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0.

My full column off the game will be posted on MyAJC.com. Until then, here are my three “short takes.”

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column (subscription).

1. JULIO TEHERAN DOES [More]

LIVE BLOG: 5 questions going into Braves’ season

  • 11:20 am Monday, March 31st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The very early scene from Miller Park in Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE — Let me start with this: I walked into Miller Park at the same time as Julio Teheran and his arm was not in a sling. So at least one projected Braves’ starter made it to opening day healthy.

Is he ready? Is this team ready?

To quote manager Fredi Gonzalez, when asked how he felt about his team, “Good. Good. I feel good. Whether I do or not isn’t going to matter. The season opens on Monday. Here we go.”

It’s opening day in Milwaukee.

Why does it feel like the Braves already are in a hole?

From Gonzalez before the game when [More]

Mike Mills’ song pushes Dale Murphy for Hall

  • 1:11 pm Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dale Murphy remains a popular figure at Braves games (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Dale Murphy lost his final chance to be voted into the Hall of Fame by writers in 2013. Is it possible a new song written about him by another Hall of Famer will give his candidacy new life?

Mike Mills, an avid sports fan and the talented singer, musician and composer for the Athens band R.E.M. (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007), has written a song called, “To The Veteran’s Committee,” which pleads for Murphy’s long overdue induction into Cooperstown. The song appears on the just released CD, “The Baseball Project: 3rd,” which is the [More]

UPDATED: Braves release Garcia, sign Harang to join kids

  • 2:32 pm Monday, March 24th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

From Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz to . . . Teheran, Wood and Hale?

Sure. When’s opening day?

The Braves, who lost two of their top starting pitchers, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, before making it out of spring training, released veteran Freddy Garcia on Monday.

I’m not going to express shock and disdain at general manager Frank Wren’s decision to release the 37-year-old Garcia because … well, it’s Freddy Garcia. But this is a little bit of a head-scratcher when you consider what the Braves are left with in the starting rotation, and the fact Garcia wasn’t making a ton of money ($1.25 [More]

On Dimitroff, Falcons’ draft board and Umenyiora

  • 3:32 pm Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff knows owner Arthur Blank demands success. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I spent some time earlier in the week with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The column, which can be viewed online now at MyAJC.com and is in print in Sunday’s newspaper, mostly focuses on how quickly Dimitroff lost the benefit of the doubt with many in the public after the team went from a perceived Super Bowl contender to finishing 4-12 last year.

Dimitroff has made several changes to his personnel staff and the Mike Smith’s coaching staff. He has issued a strong message to everybody in the team’s Flowery Branch complex: “OK. We’re 4-12. Adapt and deal with it.”

I [More]

Mercer (Georgia’s shining light) stuns Duke

  • 2:56 pm Friday, March 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

Playing in a state starved for college basketball excellence, Mercer University did more than just drop the Macon Whoopee down a notch in Macon’s modest sports history Friday. It emerged as the unlikely program to set the standard for other college programs in Georgia.

The 14th seeded Bears, playing in their first NCAA tournament game since 1985, shot nearly 56 percent from the field against Duke’s crumbling defense, went on a late 11-0 run and stunned the No. 3 seeded Blue Devils 78-71 in  a first-round game of the Midwest Regional in Raleigh, N.C.

Yes. That just happened.

It was the first NCAA [More]

SEC needs to expand conference schedules (column preview)

  • 10:12 am Thursday, March 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
SEC football fans deserve to see more conference opponents.

The SEC’s coaches and athletic directors are balking at going to nine-game conference schedules. The latest evidence of this comes from LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, who told the Baton Rouge Advocate, “That means seven more losses for certain teams.”

Well. So much for the Big Bad SEC.

I’ll have a full column on this later today. But the SEC will be making a mistake on several levels if it doesn’t expand from the current eight-conference/four non-conference-game format.

The Pacific 12 and Big 12 already play nine conference games. The Big Ten will expand to nine games beginning in 2016. Of [More]

More arrests at Georgia, and Herbstreit jumps Richt

  • 10:04 am Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Mark Richt needs to at least suspend his four arrested players.

There goes that quiet offseason.

By now you’ve probably heard that Georgia, not unaccustomed to unflattering headlines in the offseason, had four football players arrested for “theft by deception,” a misdemeanor.

The four players: starting safety Tray Matthews, wide receiver Uriah LeMay and defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach. Their crimes: Double-dipping on $71.50 stipend checks. They would do this by depositing the checks with a picture on their smartphone apps, then quickly cashing the same checks at a convenience store.

If we go on the assumption that the four players are not in the Terry College of Business and weren’t [More]

NFL must deal with Irsay (and Roddy White weighs in)

  • 1:21 pm Monday, March 17th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
irsay18n-1-web

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has admitted to abusing painkillers in the past and as recently as five months ago claimed to have not had a drink in 15 years. But he was arrested Sunday night on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance, and now many are wondering if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will deal with an owner as severely as he does the league’s players.

If Irsay has relapsed, that’s far more significant than anything else that may come his way, including the four felony charges stemming from his arrest. Carmel, Ind., police said they [More]

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