In Bravesland… Nothing happened. Much argument and debate was had around the nothingness. Sturm followed drang, which fed back into the next round of sturm. Maybe this week they’ll sign Little Eddy Nunez and everybody will be joyous and happy. Or not. Anywho; here’s a link to a Fox Sports bit headlined “Ten storylines that will define Braves’ spring training.” Be warned, it leads with “how healthy is Scott Kazmir.” That’s where we are, folks. “How healthy is Scott Kazmir.” Feel the excitement!
In Falconia… My dudes. My dudettes. You want to know what is more soul-crushingly boring than MLB off-season? NFL off-season. I mean, we’re talking about a process of scouting, drafting and free agency that is so devoid of anything of actual interest the league turned Mel friggin’ Kiper into “something to watch.” Mel. Kiper. Biggest story for the Birds this week came from their former offensive coordinator’s new team out in San Fran. By giving Jimmy Garrapolo $27 million per year, the 49er’s pretty much guaranteed a $30+ mil deal for Matt Ryan. And let’s be honest. The Falcons aren’t going to let Matt Ryan, the second best quarterback in the league at this point, walk. They’re in a win-now window. (Don’t be shocked if they trade for Michael Bennett to pair with Vic Beasley on the d-line next year. Win-now mode.)
Over in Hawkmanistan… Oh god. Please. Don’t make me look at this. The NBA trade deadline came and went. They traded one journeyman mediocrity you’ve never heard (Luke Babbit) for another guy you’ve never heard of (Okaro White), who they will almost certainly waive immediately. Then they took a player who is injured (Sheldon Mac) off of the Wizard’s hands for cash considerations. All of this is moving pieces around for small cash savings and cap space that may one day be used for acquiring actually talented players, assuming they lose enough to draft a quality young core before then. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Although right there at the tale end of a week in which they lost to the Magic and got torched by Kyle Korver and the completely rebuild Cavs, Dewayne Dedmond went off on Detroit and reeled in an unexpected win. Dewayne Dedmond. I’ll wait while you look him up.
Ahhhhh, United. God bless you Arthur Blank. The local footballers-who-play-the-version-that-uses-your-feet kicked off their sophomore campaign with a preseason friendly in Nashville. This was a big deal for Nashville as it’s the first professional soccer match ever for that city. Their new club, Nashville SC (Nashville Soccer Club; soccer clubs are not expansive with their naming conventions, man) will play at least a couple of seasons in the USL. As we learned last week, the USL is sort of the AAA option of professional soccer in America. Nashville intends to graduate up to the MLS level in a couple of years, but for now, they’ll actually compete against United’s second club, Atlanta United 2. The match itself was a sloppy mess on both ends, due to being played on a poorly draining minor league baseball field in the middle of a downpour. It was nice to see the UTD stars line up and play (unexpectedly for more than just a few minutes.) But mostly, it was nice to not see anyone injured in the swamp of a pitch. To their credit, Nashville’s starting 11 held steady against a much more talented lineup from Atlanta in the first half. In the second period, the depth of one of MLS’s most electric (and expensive) roster proved out and ATL walked away with a 3-1 win. Aside from pre-season work, the match mostly showed the potential for a real Nashville SC – United 2 rivalry to develop in the USL this year. Of course, the new guys have a long, long way to go before they would challenge the MLS club in Atlanta regularly, because ATLUTD is one of the most professionally run, well funded, and intelligent front offices in the league. Remember when that happened with the Braves?
Finally, did you know that Atlanta has a professional lacrosse team? Did you know that there was a professional lacrosse league?! Well, there is, and we do. The Georgia Swarm are apparently about to kick off the second half of a split season, starting in February. PROFESSIONAL LACROSSE!