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Weekly Whatup 7.14
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Guess who’s back... back again... Chad is back... sip some Hen.

            That’s right party people, throw your hands in the air, tear the roof off this mutha and let down yah hair.

            Did yah miss me? Don’t answer that. The point is after a little ceremony and a simple va-cay, your’s truly has returned to help burn two minutes of your long and dreadful Tuesday.

            This week, it’s all about baseball. From the Braves to the Derby to the All- Star Shame, err, I mean ‘game’ —  let’s call the shots for the near future.

            First, the Home Run Derby. This monster has gotten out of control, but like that stalled vehicle sitting in the median on I-16, we can’t turn away.

            I’m picking Albert Pujols to win it — and you’ll have to trust me I did so before the telecast hit the air live.

            I’m a big Pujols guy, which is a lot considering I don’t usually cheer for individual athletes or ballplayers.

            But Big Al is — fingers crossed — the savior for the sport of baseball.

            As for tonight’s game — which allegedly matters this time around — I’ll be rootin’ for the National League.

            Not for the selfish and wild assumption that the Braves will make the World Series and thus be awarded home-field advantage, but... OK that’s exactly why I’ll cheer on the NL.

            Natty’s go into 9th tied before Brian McCann hits a walk-off deep into the St. Louis night.        

            And speaking of B-Mac and the Bravos, the outlook looks dim if not all but loss.

            The club sits six out — not insurmountable — but the fire has yet to be lit and even the spark for that flame seems weak.

            The good news is is that Omar Infante and Tim Hudson are nearing the end of their DL stint, Martin Prado should become the everyday second baseman in the second half and the pitching staff continues to throw solid baseball.

            If Ryan Church or Garret Anderson or Casey Kotchman can just go on a month-long rip to get this team rolling — anything’s possible.

            The bad news? Philadelphia and New York — even Florida can say the same thing.

            Biggest prediction of the all (one made before opening day): Braves make the playoffs.

            Finally, a note on one Jeff Francoeur. I saw the boy wonder play in high school — on both the gridiron and the diamond — when he was at Parkview and I attended his archrival Brookwood.

            It’s a wild story to see an athlete so bulletproof fall so from from grace. Trading the hometown hero by the Braves front office had to be tough, and I for one thought they’d never do it for PR purposes. Sending him to a division rival and a rival still in playoff contention could turn out to be a deathblow not only in the standings but in the seats as well.

            Those three predictions could get me back to .500: A USA loss in the Confederations Cup Final plus an Andy Roddick loss at Wimbledon equals an 8-11 record for the year.