Author Archives: Pimpin Scott

About Pimpin Scott

I've been pimpin since pimpin was pimpin!

Dispatches from the Road: Going drag!

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Drag Strip

Gentlemen, idle your engines.

The other day I was thinking about what I could write for the blog.  Do I want to write about something embarrassing? Naw. Do I want to write about something idiotic? Hell yeah! Then I remembered a story that my wife loved so much she married me (At least I think that’s why she married me because if it’s not the story, then I have no idea).

In 2004, I was working for a newspaper and needed topics to put in columns.  When I found out that there was a, legal, dragstrip close to home I knew I could find something to write about there!  Now, my car at the time was one of the best cars I ever owned. It was a 2000 Saturn S-Series that I sadly totaled a few years later in a minor fender bender.  When I say that I loved that car, it’s because it was the best option I had available.

So my usual circle of friends – Tony, Cameron, and Joey – went with Joey’s younger brother to the Southern Dragway in Paulding County to see what times we could get on our cars.  Three of the members went early so I picked up Cameron at his house and we drove down to the race track to see what would happen.

When I pulled up at the main gate, I didn’t know that I had to get a card to go racing so I just paid my entrance fee and drove to the first check-in.  Saying that the man at the racing entrance was surprised to see me is an understatement. When I pulled up, he had a quizzical look on his face.

When you tell someone at a drag strip that you want to race and they immediately respond “You wanna what?” I would assume that is not a good reaction. I just repeated myself and he appeared to hold back a hearty chuckle when he asked me for my racing card.

Being my first time down there, I had no clue what he meant so he told me to go back to the main entrance and get a racing card. I thanked him, put the car into reverse and with the overpowering sound of an RC engine, turned my car around to go back to the gate.

The nice woman at the front gate was almost as shocked as he was, but I’m sure it was because none of them had ever seen the power that a stock Saturn engine can unleash.  After a few seconds, she gave me the card and I returned to my car with Cameron laughing at me from the passenger seat. I went back to the first chek-in and they made me sign a waiver before he sent me to the inspection.

When I rolled up to inspection, I got out of my car expecting them to do a full inspection like I’ve heard about before but they barely looked over my car. I can only assume it’s because they know that the motor from the Cracker Jack box I have under the hood is of a different breed and will almost never fail.

After Cameron gets information from him about possibly racing his Jeep in the near future, we get back in the car and, to my surprise, they had already given me a number. I was now driving the No. 90 Saturn.

So we roll into the parking lot with all of the muscle cars and other cars with engines so improved they needed new hoods on them. After a few moments, I see the guys hanging out and I pull up next to them, ready for a challenger. I, being a newcomer, look around and see that almost everyone has their hood popped open so passerby’s can look inside and catch a glimpse at where the magic happens.

What can it hurt, I ask myself as I pull the lever to open the hood. While I’m talking with my friends, finding out that Jimmy has already left because he had to go to work, someone walked by my car. They first passed Joey’s 1995 Camaro and could understand why he brought his vehicle to the track that day. Then he passed by my 2000 Saturn and, upon inspection of the engine, got a bewildered look and shrugs his shoulders as if to ask “Why?”  I can only assume that it’s because he doesn’t want to challenge that raw power.

After a couple of minutes, Tony gives me my first challenger. He gave me a quick tutorial on the starting blocks before I lined up to take on his 1989 Bonneville.  We finally arrive at the blocks with Cameron and Joey in the crowd, watching the race. When the audience sees what I’m driving, they begin to question my madness, telling each other “He’s … he’s racing a Saturn.”

The cars get into position and when the green light hits, I gun the gas as I thrust myself into the back of my seat because of both horses under the hood. Tony had a slower reaction time and I had him in the first few meters, but something happened and somehow I seemed to stop as he blew by me. I crossed the finish line, a distant second in the two-car competition.

I lick my wounds as I drive to pick up my time.  The ’89 Bonneville had beaten me by almost a second (11.246-12.223) in the eighth-mile track.

I roll back to the parking lot where Joey, in his ’95 Camaro, was worried about having to compete against me. We decide that my car would be able to handle another race and we line up again to face off.  After several minutes, we both start rolling to the starting block with the same wonderment for my Saturn as during the first race.

When the green light hits, the man with horrible eye sight and not wonderful reflexes beat me off the line and led from start to finish. I wasn’t as far behind this time, as he beat me by a little over one-half second (11.691-12.230).

Having gone 0-2 on the day, I decided that I was going to retire my Saturn from the racing circuit and head on back home where I would cherish the memory of being arguably the slowest car at the dragway.

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Braves need player with big bat!

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I doubt many people stayed up and watched the entire thing but I watched a large portion of the Atlanta Braves’ controversial 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in 19 innings last night/this morning. I’m not going to discuss the controversial call that made my wife scream out “[That umpire] just wanted to go home. That’s what that call was.”  I’m not going to discuss how the Pirates have already filed a complaint about it and MLB said “my bad.”  I’ll let the experts talk about that to death.

What interested me most about that 19 inning affair was how it represented everything wrong with this Braves team to me.  What interested me was how the Braves had 19 opportunities to pick up a hit with runners in scoring position but only connected twice (for those scoring at homes that’s a .105 batting average which makes Dan Uggla at his worst this season seem like an All-Star).  What interested me was how the team combined for a .223 batting average during a night when they were facing a struggling Pirates team.

It was fitting to me that the individual who knocked in the winning run was the pitcher who proceeded to immediately fall down in the field after he made contact.  The Braves have one of the best pitching staffs, from their No. 1 starter to the back of their bullpen, in all of baseball but their offense is abysmal.  Even considering Uggla’s struggles, the Braves still are the hitless wonder with only four players (Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann, Martin Prado, and Chipper Jones) with over 150 at bats who are hitting better than the league average (.251).  That reminds me, the best hitter on the team, McCann, strained his oblique during the 10th inning last night and is being placed on the disabled list.  And Jones has played in three games with six at bats over the last 20 days and will probably get hurt again this year.

Out of the eight teams that, if the season ended today, would qualify for the playoffs, the Braves are last in batting average and next to last in runs scored, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.  The Braves aren’t creating runs with small ball either because they’re second to last in stolen bases with the lowest stolen base percentage as well.

What this tells me is that the Braves need to make a move before Saturday’s deadline.  This fact is made even more prudent because A) the Diamondbacks are making a run at the wildcard and B) the Giants have reportedly acquired a big bat in Carlos Beltran.  There are several players available but they all have a price tag that require the Braves to give up one of its top pitching prospect (Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado, and Brandon Beachy). 

While modern GMs resist trading away their top few prospects, I think Atlanta needs to pull the trigger.  Currently, the AAA rotation in Gwinnett would be better than four or five rotations in the majors so I have no problem with them trading away a few of their gems.  Let’s look at the Braves pitching rotation: Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, and Brandon Beachy.  Hanson, Jurrjens, and Beachy are all under 25.  The Braves also have Minor (potential No. 3 starter and the No. 26 minor league prospect by Baseball Prospectus), Teheran (potential ace and the No. 5 prospect), and Delgado (No. 2/3 starter and the No. 58 prospect) in the minors who should be ready to challenge for a big league spot next spring.  That’s six potential starters under the age of 25 who should be ready for the big leagues next spring, not including Vizcaino who is should be ready by 2013 and is ranked the No. 50 prospect.  Trade one (I would rather give up Beachy or Minor) and add a big bat in the B.J. Upton or Michael Bourn mold.  Both of those players are outfielders that provide added speed and more consistent hitting at the plate, which would improve our odds of going deep in the playoffs greatly.

Either way, if this team wants to make a deep run, they’re going to have to add a bat.  As I write this, the Braves just finished another extra-inning game, winning 2-1 in the 10th inning.  Even then, they still went only 3-for-13 (a .230 average) with runners in scoring position and had runners in scoring position during six different innings.  The Braves need help to overcome this anemic offense and they have to give something up.

Skiing is not for me!

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This is me about 10 minutes after I hit the slopes for the first time ... or so I thought!

I’ve had a lot of stupid moments in my life.  Some I can print. Others I can’t. But the time I went with three of my friends to try skiing for the first time has to be high on the list.

It all started way back in 2002. I say way back because I like to think that I’m older than I actually am because it makes staying at home and doing nothing seem so much more acceptable. But in 2002, Tony, Joey, Julie (a.k.a. Devil Woman) and myself went up to SkyValley for a one-day ski trip.

Now, a little about myself. While I have very little athletic ability, I still always believe that I’m going to be awesome. The entire car trip, I kept thinking that I was going to be so good, so early that they would have to start calling me Jacque and giving me the gold medal.

So we finally get there and I put on my not-so-waterproof jacket and rented my skis. After what seems like an hour, but was probably longer, I eventually get my boots on when I realize that magically my ankles went back to Douglasville to warm up.

My friends convinced me that my ankles were still there and we headed out towards the ski lift. So I could get my balance, and a little practice in, I put my skis on my boots as soon as I walked out of the rental office.
Again, I somehow found myself in an interesting situation. I was on a Nordictrac and I wasn’t moving an inch towards the lift.

After much hard work, I eventually made it to the lift. I was warned by Joey, who was the only person in our group to have gone skiing before, that the lifts do not stop so I had to move into position quickly.

Joey easily got on his lift with the Devil Woman. Tony showed surprisingly nimble moves and bounced onto his lift.

Well, I get easily distracted so I lolly-gagged around and accidently missed the next lift, but I made it onto the one after that.

SNAP! Wondering what that sound was, I looked down and my left ski was ripped off my boot so I was going up to the top of the medium slope with only one ski. I’m sure the people behind me were wondering who the idiot with only one ski was.

I’m sitting on the lift, trying to put both feet on my lone ski, making everyone think that maybe I was just on a really skinny snowboard but I know the attempt didn’t work.

Well, we reached the top of the mountain and Joey jumps off his lift, followed by Julie. They both ski out of the way, but Tony has his feet go out from under him, hits his head on the lift and rolls around on the snow like an injured bear, forcing them to stop the lift.

After a few minutes he finally was able to move out of the way and I get my turn. I can’t ski off the lift so I lunge off and get my first taste of fake snow as I land face-first in the icy terrain.  It surprisingly tasted like chicken.

My friends were laughing at me, except Tony who looked like he didn’t know where he was, as I tried to get up. They then find out that I had lost a ski and I was trying to figure out how to get to the bottom and retrieve my ski when a nice young man brought it to me.

“Thanks,” I said with an embarrassed smile, “probably happens all the time.”

“Nope, first time I’ve every heard of it,” he said.

Well, my morale went through the roof with that comment.

Little did I know that I had just had the highlight of the afternoon.

Let’s say that I didn’t enjoy the slopes as much as most people. I was only able to move the a couple of feet at a time before I feel backwards and then it took me forever to get off the ground.

People were passing me every five or six minutes asking me if I was still in the same place.

“Nope,” I always said whether I was or not. “I was about 10 feet higher up last time.”

Joey, bless his heart, did his best to teach me but the truth was shining its bright light into my face letting me know that I was just not a gifted skier.

I heard three different bells signifying the change of the hour while I was up there.

The Devil Woman, who also was skiing for the first time, tried to give me some skiing wisdoms handed down from the Gods.

“Come on Pimpin Scott,” she said. “Just make it to the bottom of the hill on your butt.”

I got to know the snow very well that day.

While I do appreciate the advice, I offered her some friendly advice about where she could put her poles if she didn’t stop trying to help me.

I did eventually make it down the slope and I actually had a couple of good runs of about 5-10 feet before I got scared and fell down.

When I made it down to the bottom of the hill, the other three, including Tony who thought my name was Nathan, were already down waiting on me.

That’s when Tony and I decided to call it a day and I officially retired from skiing. I was sore for days and had so many bruises it wasn’t even funny.

But first thing my Mom said when I told her about it was that it would be a “fun family outing.”

Yeah. Fun family outing my butt.

CSI: Thrashers Edition

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Thrashers

Blue Land, bye bye.

Whose fault was it?  That is the question that I keep asking myself.  I was a fan of the Atlanta Thrashers.  I went to over a game a year and felt horrible that I couldn’t afford more.  When I didn’t go to the game, I saw most of their games on TV.  I bought way too much gear for my beloved hockey team.  I really want to know … whose fault was it?

I have narrowed down the suspects list to three, and only three: Don Waddell, the fans, and the Atlanta Spirit, LLC.

Suspect No. 1 Don Waddell:   Waddell was an assistant manager for the Detriot Red Wings from 1997-98 when they won the Stanley Cup.  To be the best you have to steal from the best so Ted Turner and his original ownership group handpicked Waddell to hold down the reins as General Manager of this new team.

How good was Don Waddell? His first pick (Patrik Stefan) was named the worst No. 1 pick ever in the NHL Entry Draft by NHL.com.  His second pick (Luke Sellers, 30th overall) played exactly 3:27 of hockey on the NHL level in 2002 and was never heard from again. So the first two selections for the Atlanta Thrashers were two of the biggest busts in NHL history.

Waddell put a team together over 11 years that finished with 342 wins, 437 losses, 45 ties, and 78 overtime losses. That means in 11 seasons, Waddell’s hand-selected teams finished on the losing side 173 more times than they won.  They finished fourth or fifth in their five-team division six out of 11.  They reached the playoffs one time but failed to pick up a single victory even though they were the favorite.

Suspect No.2 the fans: No matter how hard we try, we forget sometimes that sports are big businesses.  If nobody is coming to games and spending money, then the business has to take drastic actions that could include leaving. Not including the first year of the franchise, the Thrashers never averaged greater than 16,240 fans per game and averaged fewer than 15,000 fans in attendance for five seasons including the final three seasons.  During its entire tenure in Atlanta, the Thrashers averaged 14,914 fans per game.  Those are not numbers that can keep a team viable.

Suspect No. 3 Atlanta Spirit: Whenever I think of the Atlanta Spirit ownership group, I’m always reminded of the Simpsons episode “Three Men and a Comic Book.”  Bart, Milhouse, and Martin combine their money to purchase a rare copy of a Radioactive Man comic.  The three children fight over every trivial detail regarding the book and in the end the comic book is destroyed.

But in real life, it is nine people – Steven Belkin, Michael Gearon Jr., Bruce Levenson, Ed Peskowitz, J. Rutherford Seydel, II, Todd Foreman, J. Michael Gearon Sr., Bud Seretean, and Beau Turner –  divided over three cities – Atlanta, Boston, and Washington D.C. – that bought my beloved Thrashers on March 31, 2004 with a contract that was so thick and complex, it required six binders and 372 signatures.

The honeymoon period lasted just over a year as in 2005, the Atlanta Hawks wanted to make a trade to obtain guard Joe Johnson.  The majority of the Atlanta Spirit group wanted to make it but Belkin, who was named the Hawks Governor and therefore owned a controlling vote, rejected it.  Lawyers were called in and it took five years before the group ousted Belkin with a buyout on Dec. 23, 2010. Five months later on May 31, the Atlanta Spirit sold the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment and the rest was history.

My Verdict:

I’m acquitting Waddell of all charges levied against him.  Despite being horrible at his job, he did the best he could and he should not be blamed for not firing himself.

The fans did have a part in the death whether we are willing to admit it or not.  When comparing performance ranking to attendance rankings, the fans were not showing up in equal proportions over the past three years.  If more fans had come out (even as few as 400 per game) then the Thrashers would probably still be here. But with that said, they’re only an accomplice. They did not tally the fatal blow.

The Atlanta Spirit group is the ultimate killer.  The owners were never willing to put the money behind the Thrashers that was needed or to make the hard decisions that were required to own a franchise. The group were so incompetent they made Larry, Moe, and Curly look like doctors.