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Weekly Whatup 6/16
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We’ll start this week by sending out a big congratulations to the six local athletes who saw their name scrawl — that’s scroll plus crawl equals scrawl — across the big board during the 2009 MLB Draft this past week.

            No matter what round, no matter what team, that’s pretty cool to say you were selected by a Major League ball club.

            The future of these six young men is uncertain. They could all reach the majors for storied careers. They could all have a sip of coffee. They all might hang ‘em up within the next five years.

            Whichever the case, it sure has been fun to say you got to see them play in Statesboro. Whether out at Mill Creek or over at J.I Clements Stadium, there they were — throwing, pitching, catching and hitting.

            And that’s what makes the path to the Big’s so much fun. You never know where the next “someone special” is hiding. So you go, you watch and hope someday you can tell your buddy, “Yeah, I saw him play when he was just an amateur…jealous?”

            So good luck to Griffin Benedict, Ty Wright, Chris Mederos, Dexter Bobo, Crawford Simmons and Zach Taylor. The latter four may choose to stay as amateurs next spring and we can congratulate them for a second time down the road. But for now, we wish all six of you nothing but the best.


National stuff

            Two weeks and two losses later, perhaps it were best I didn’t make any foolish predictions last week.

            The Lakers pretty much dismantled the Magic. I thought Dwight Howard’s size may be something the Magic may want to exploit against L.A. Instead, they never went down that road, allowing Kobe and Co. an easy five-game series win. The Magic in six? I must’ve been smokin’ some magic.

            As for hockey, we got it half right. The Penguins did come back to force a Game 7, but nobody thought they’d actually win the thing. But win it they did, giving two titles to one city and leaving the other yet more depressed.


U.S. Open

            When picking golf — I always go Tiger. This week, however, I think we’re all hoping something special will happen to Phil Mickelson.

            Sure, Lefty isn’t the only golfer in the world who’s had to deal with some sort of harsh reality on a personal level. But rarely does it capture the gallery’s full attention. Mickelson is already a fan favorite and everyone at Bethpage Black will be rooting for him to win this weekend.

            We will be, too. Mickelson beats the field to win the U.S. Open.


The Braves

            They’re down to 100, and things aren’t looking good.

            The Braves are 30-32 and 61⁄2 back of the Fightin’ Phils. I thought the Nate McLouth trade may turn things around, but alas, the offense is still mediocre and the middle relief is still troublesome.

            What becomes the question now is how long do you wait to make a change? How long do you wait for Garrett Anderson to get hot? How long do you wait for Jeff Francoeur to become a hitter and not a hacker? How long do you wait before you start questioning the teachings of hitting coach Terry Pendleton?

            The starting pitchers and the back end of the bullpen are too good for the Atlanta Braves to be this average 62 games in. Atlanta ends this month against Cincinnati and then 10 against the Red Sox, Yankees and Philadelphia. If they haven’t made a move up in the standings by July 1, it could be a long rest of the summer.