Bill Shanks’ Christmas sports wishes

sports@macon.comDecember 24, 2013 

Well, Santa is getting his workout in with his sleigh this Christmas. While he’s doing that, let’s hope he can bring a few important things to sports teams and celebrities we know in Georgia.

For Braves second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder B.J. Upton: the Tom Emanski hitting video. Maybe if we can’t get Tom in person, at least former Braves star Fred McGriff can come and teach Uggla and Upton a thing or two. But for some reason, don’t you get the feeling that somewhere on Christmas morning both Uggla and Upton will once again be striking out?

For Braves general manager Frank Wren: looser purse strings from the folks at Liberty Media or whoever is making the decision to keep the team payroll near last year’s limit, even though the franchise has $25 million extra coming this year with the new national television contract. It has been a long time since the Braves have won anything significant, and the fans are getting restless seeing all the other teams use the extra money on talent when the Braves are saving their money for a new ballpark.

For Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez: a straightjacket so he can’t get out that quick hook and take his starters out too soon next season.

For Georgia basketball head coach Mark Fox: a new job. It’s not working. He’s a nice guy, but aren’t we tired of nice guys getting a pass in Athens? Win or go home, and Fox is not winning. Well, he’s beating bad teams. Fox has padded his schedule with weak opponents, and when the conference play rolls around it could get ugly.

For Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham: a new job. It has been four years, and your defense is still not good. Simplify things or take the complicated system back to the NFL.

For Georgia running back Todd Gurley: health. Just stay healthy, Todd, and the rest will be easy.

For the football programs at Georgia and Georgia Tech: a little more support from the administrations of both schools. Look to your west and see what Auburn and Alabama are doing and see the tremendous secondary benefits to having a great -- not good, but great -- football program at your learning institution. It matters.

For Georgia Tech football head coach Paul Johnson: a quarterback who can understand exactly what you are trying to do. If he ever gets that, look out.

For Mercer football head coach Bobby Lamb: whatever he wants. Just give it to him. He performed a miracle with a bunch of players who might not have known what they were doing early on, but they won. They kept winning. Let’s hope it continues.

For the Falcons: the perfect draft pick in May. They need a slam dunk, a home run, a touchdown. They need to have the best selection in the first round to get this team right back on track next season.

For Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan: some protection. He’s kind of like Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor. He doesn’t carry a gun, and yet one day Ernest T. Bass is going to knock him down with a rock. Ryan needs a better offensive line or he’s going to find himself in a body cast one day.

For the Hawks: more losses by Brooklyn, which will give them a shot at a significant player in next June’s draft. Atlanta can swap places with the Nets in the first round, a provision from the Joe Johnson trade last year. They desperately need someone to make this franchise relevant again. How long do we have to wait for them to find another Dominique Wilkins?

For Mercer head basketball coach Bob Hoffman: a conference tournament title. He has come so close so many times. Wouldn’t it be fitting for Mercer to leave the A-Sun with a trophy?

And for you, the readers of this column: all the best in the holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and email him at

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