Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is tagged out by Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies at second during the eighth inning of Game 1 in baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Houston (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Braves fast start

It wasn't perfect, but a precious few things are.

A mother's love. A crisp, sun-splashed college football Saturday morning. That first Thursday and Friday of March Madness. Don Larsen's gem and Junior's swing. A found $10 in the dryer, maybe.

Atlanta's Game 1 win was not that, but it was mighty sweet and made sweeter by the wait.

Atlanta cruised behind an offense that was relentless early and a revamped bullpen that has been at its best in these 'er' months.

The 6-2 Game 1 was not perfect though with the news that Game 1 starter Charlie Morton is done after suffering a broken right leg on a come-backer.

That he made more than a dozen pitches after the ball broke his fibula is a testament to the adrenaline of the moment and the determination of the man. That he was apologetic to the rest of the Braves for not being able to throw more — on a broken leg mind you — tells you everything you need to know about Morton the dude and the teammate.

But his loss is a major concern, and it will juggle the Braves pitching plans significantly.

Those juggles though are made more than a bit easier by having a 1-0 lead and taking home-field advantage away from Houston.

Perfect? No, not after the Morton news. But a mighty sweet and downright critical Game 1 win in the Braves first World Series moment in 22 years.


So, there's the line

Rob Manfred gives a state of the baseball union when the World Series opens each year.

OK, back story, I think Rob Manfred is a goof. A bumbling excuse for a commissioner who has mismanaged almost every meaningful decision, walked his sport down a path of clear haves and have nots, left baseball with regional TV deals as he other leagues look beyond national to global and digital and has the game standing on the edge of a work stoppage all the while trying to figure out if a pitch clock can save baseball three minutes per game on average and whether anyone is noticing the growing river of missed calls all over the field.

OK, so I'm not a member of the Rob Manfred fan club, clearly.

 Well, Manfred told reporters that is fine with the Braves nickname and even the Tomahawk Chop because "The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop," according to the Washington Post.

In other words, the Native American coalitions in and around Georgia do not have a political figure head with the swagger of Stacy Abrams, who helped drive the MLB All-Star game out of Atlanta before changing her position when the backlash revealed that a) MLB moved its nine-figure midsummer festival from a town with a majority of Black to Denver, this 90-plus-percent white and b) the move would hurt a slew of small business owners and employees of all races.

(Side note: I got covered up Tuesday so I did not comment, but the timeline of events I'm aware of clearly shows Abrams heavily changed her formal position as outlined in an Op-Ed she wrote about the issue and the boycott, which stemmed from opposition to Georgia's proposed voting law changes. In fact, USA Today inexplicably allowed Abrams to edit her column extensively online from a place of understanding and  the boycott to blaming and shaming Republicans for the move after the fact and when the details of the lost $100 million would impact all Atlantans.)

(Side note on the side note: It took multiple searches to find a non-conservative site that wrote about the Abrams edits. That's the unspoken horrors of this perceived media bias. If the NYT or the Washington Post doesn't touch it, and the only links are from the Washington Times or the National Review, then it instantly loses credibility. So I finally found one normal-to-left-leaning operation that covered Abrams' edits and it was the AJC. And trying to think of a conservative voice on the state/national level similar in stature to Abrams nationally, let's imagine the field day the media outlets would have if, say, Ron DeSantis after-the-fact altered his position in a USA Today op-ed in a similar fashion about an issue of similar size. And bigger picture, would USA Today let him?)


First, I am OK with the Braves name. And the Chiefs. Those are revered roles in the history of the Native American communities. I also thought for years that Washington needed to change the name of its football team since 'Redskins' was always used as a derogatory term, at least in the movies.

But I also am not Native American, so I'm not entirely sure if my opinion on what offends Native Americans amounts to enough to fill a saddle bag. (And while we're here, not sure which Native American groups Manfred has talked to, but there are plenty of groups who have voiced displeasure with the name and especially the Chop, which the team has backed away from but fans still embrace whenever possible.)

Which leads us to the big picture conversation of all of this, and this is not a vote for "the shut-up and dribble" claptrap. That's never been our sentiment around these parts because it's never been the way it's ever been. Ask Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.

This feels more like a pertinent and direct reminder that when sports leagues play specific politics, then you are open for criticism about why this issue is more important than that one and why that cause makes you rip away an all-star game and this one generates a shoulder shrug.

Same with the NBA and its gutless, ostrich-like position on China. Same with the NFL, which will allow social justice slogans on the back of its helmet but will fine players for messages of personal importance that deviate from the anything-but-uniform uniform. Same with a long list of others.


Which leads us to

The NFL is refusing to share the reports on the mess involving the workplace allegations and investigations against the Washington Football Team.(Well, unless you are Jon Gruden and in those 650,000 emails, you insulted Roger Goodell, then you're going to get pushed on to the Ridge Cut during 5 o'clock traffic.)

This also comes as reports surface that the Dolphins and Texans have agreed in principle for a trade for Deshaun Watson.

(Side question: Have two more awful teams swapped more forgettable pieces in recent years than the way the Dolphins and Texans have traded players and picks?)

There's a rather large caveat, though. The deal is contingent on a) Watson settling his almost two dozen sexual harassment and assault suits, and b) the NFL providing clarity on any possible Watson suspension.


I think it's fair to ask why so little is being said about the Watson mess from Houston and league leadership. I also think it's fair to wonder how seriously the league takes bad and even illegal treatment of women, considering the culture in Washington and the Watson allegations.

Routinely those answers have hinged on phrases like the legal process is slow, and there has been nothing other than civil charges filed against Watson to this point.

OK. But, if the NFL is going to say they are going to let the legal process play out — and lean on the civil nature of these charges rather than criminal — then is it not fair conversely to ask why is Watson not on the field then?

And all this time I thought the references to The Shield were about the NFL logo.

This and that

— Gang, we got a few but are still looking for nominations for the best college football game-day experience. Leave them in the comments or go here to the nomination page for the 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge.

— You know the rules. Here's David Paschall, the TFP college football expert, on Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. Side note: Paschall has a Heisman vote — as well he should considering his knowledge and experience covering the game — but I wonder if he has Davis as a top-three Heisman finalist at this moment. I know I do.

— Side question: Charles Woodson, of course, is the last defensive player to win the Heisman and he beat Peyton that year because of a slew of factors. I think more defensive players should be in the conversation. Case in point, I think Tyrann Mathieu and Ndamukong Suh were as deserving as anyone in their respective final years in college football.

— So Ringling Bros. is making a circus comeback without animals? Hmmmmm, as Pepper told Cotton in Dodgeball, "That's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if it pays off for him." Of course because of PETA protests, the self-dubbed greatest show on Earth will return without animals involved. Again, a bold strategy for sure. Side question: A circus without the animals is a clown-filled Gong Show, no?

— Side question: Is Jason Batemon on the current Hollywood underrated Rushmore? Dude is great in everything. And his sidekick in those memorial announcing scenes for ESPN the Ocho in Dodgeball is played by Gary Cole, who also is simply great in everything he does.

— If we're being completely honest, I would rather re-listen to insurance seminars than 90-plus% of Luke Bryan's music, but the country music superstar did a cool thing earlier this month. He pulled over and helped a mom with two kids in her car change a flat. Love it when megastars reveal themselves as decent folks, you know?


Today's questions

Which way Wednesday is open-ended this morning.

Which was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?

Also, an auction offered a person willing to pay $500,000 the chance to throw out the first pitch before a World Series game.I wish I was kidding. Talk about more dollars than sense.Yes, they get tickets and airfare and the bells and whistles, but half-a-mil? Yeah, no. And while we're here, whomever ponied up the 500 large better have been practicing because you simply can't spend that kind of coin and short hop one can you?

Anywell, WWW (which way Wednesday) wonders, "Which sporting tradition — not an actual sporting competition, mind you — would you pay an exorbitant amount of money to participate?"

I'll start and say, if given the chance to be in the Par 3 on Wednesday of Masters week, I'd have to hide the checkbook from the Mrs. 5-at-10 for a while. Discuss.

As for today, Oct. 27, let's review.

Thirty years ago today, Jack Morris and the Twins beat the Braves 1-0 in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. That one hurt, even for fringe Braves fans.

I'll offer that, even though the '95 team won it all, the 1991 team was the most beloved by the city of Atlanta because of the worst-to-first stuff.

Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle would have been 80 today.    

It's also national Navy day, and with all the respect to those who served in our fight to protest the seas, what's the Rushmore of things/phrases with the word 'Navy' in them?Go and remember the mailbag and the Bracket Challenge.