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Fred McGriff is a Hall of Famer

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Kennesaw’s downtown thronged with thousands Saturday afternoon as the city kicked off the holiday season with a parade down Main Street. The procession featured marching bands, twirlers, and floats from local bands, along with Santa Claus himself perched on the bed of a pickup truck. The parade also featured businesses, such as Whataburger, and the local Scout troops.

Fred McGriff is finally a Hall of Famer.

McGriff was voted in Sunday by the Contemporary Era committee, which was formed by the Hall to consider players who starred since 1980 and were not elected in the annual voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

McGriff, 59, hit 493 home runs during a 19-year controversy-free career that included 13 seasons of 27 or more homers, seven straight top-10 league MVP finishes and a World Series championship with the Atlanta Braves. He had two stints with his hometown Tampa Bay Rays, as well as time with the Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. McGriff was elected unanimously by the 16-member committee. He was the only player elected from an eight-man ballot that also included Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling. During 10 years on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot, McGriff never came close to the 75% threshold needed for election, surpassing 24 percent only in 2019, his final year of eligibility, when he got to 39.8. That lack of support was a source of considerable frustration for his supporters, who felt he was being overlooked and even penalized in comparison to players who were connected to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. McGriff chose to not say much, often just saying that he was happy to be considered.

 

By the time early voting ended Friday, nearly one in every three Cobb County voters had already cast a ballot in the runoff election between U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

More than 155,510 Cobb voters, or 30.4%, have voted early in person or by absentee ballot, according to data from the Secretary of State’s office.

That turnout rate surpasses the state at-large, where 1,852,593 voters, or 26.4%, have cast a ballot.

Early voting totals in Cobb weren’t as high as before the November 8 general election, but voters had far less time to cast a ballot — one week before the runoff, as opposed to three weeks before the general election. That resulted in single-day totals that blew past the previous election. Last Monday, for example, saw over 27,000 voters cast a ballot in person, resulting in long lines at some Cobb polling locations. On Friday, the county said 29,699 people voted early.

By way of comparison, the largest single-day total in the general election, which saw short wait times, was around 14,600.

In Cobb, the huge early voting turnout was overshadowed Friday by a legal dispute over absentee ballots. The American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Poverty Law Center sued the county, alleging that delays in ballot mailing caused by the Thanksgiving holiday had disenfranchised voters.

After hours of negotiation, Superior Court Judge Kellie Hill signed off on an agreement to extend the absentee ballot deadline by three days — to December 9 — for any voter whose absentee ballot application was accepted on or before Nov. 26.

Ballots in that category must be postmarked by Tuesday, December 6, which is Election Day.

 

Three players scored in double figures, and Kell used an opportunistic defense to keep McEachern at bay and win their matchup 67-62 in the Tournament of Champions Showcase at Wheeler High School on Saturday. 

The Longhorns, the Number 1 team in Class AAAAA, trailed only twice the entire game -- at 8-6 in the first quarter, and then 40-39 in the third -- and found a way to win despite missing 7-foot center Peyton Marshall. Coach Jermaine Sellers said Marshall could have played if it was a playoff game, but the team did not want to take the chance this early in the season. To offset his absence, Kell played the entire game with a added sense of urgency, grabbing nearly every loose ball, getting hands in passing lanes and creating steals. Each time McEachern, which was playing without starting guard Moses Hipps, seemed to get back into the game, Kell would force a turnover to two and push its lead back to four or five points, which it was the majority of the second half. The Longhorns needed to do all those things to help offset the performance of the Indians' Ace Bailey. The 6-foot-9 junior forward, a day after scoring 34 points against South Cobb, he kept McEachern, ranked third in Class AAAAAAA, in the game with a 30-point performance.

The Cobb Galleria and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre released its annual report this week, and business for both is back in full swing.

For the first time since 2019, both venues were financially in the black.

That was made possible due to the full return of live entertainment and events at two of Cobb’s largest and busiest destinations. The Galleria hosted 187 events, up from less than 100 events in its previous fiscal year.

Approximately 229,000 people visited the venue.

CEPAC, meanwhile, held 178 events and brought in 180,000 guests after hosting next to no events during the depths of the pandemic.

The Galleria posted an operating profit of just shy of $2 million, while the Galleria hit $3.53 million, the latter topping its 2019 numbers by roughly $750,000. The authority also boasted its best sales tax proceeds since before the pandemic. After generating about $1.7 million last year, the authority reported its venues generated $7.5 million in revenue from sales, liquor, hotel-motel and other taxes.

Wheeler opened the second half on a 10-2 run to build a double-digit lead and gradually pulled away from a pesky Kimball High School from Texas squad 77-61 in the final game of the Tournament of Champions Showcase at Wheeler High School on Saturday.

Kimball kept the game close throughout the first half and trailed only 30-28 at the break, so coach Larry Thompson said it was important to get off to a good start in the third quarter. The main big guy in the middle was 6-foot-9 forward Arrinten Page. The USC signee took full advantage, finishing the night with a team-high 21 points, including six dunks, along with 12 rebounds. Leading 41-34 a 3-pointer and a dunk by Jelani Hamilton, who finished with 12 points, pushed the Wildcats' lead to 46-34. Back-to-back dunks by Page late in the quarter gave Wheeler, the Number 1 team in Class AAAAAAA, a 50-40 advantage before five straight points by T’Johnn Brown, who led all scorers with 24 points, cut the lead to five to start the fourth quarter. 

Isaiah Collier, who had 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds, finally found his groove in the final 8 minutes. He opened the quarter with a driving layup, got fouled, and made the free throw. He added four more points as the game came to a close, but he set up three of Page's four dunks down the stretch with some big-time assists.

A Page dunk and a 3-pointer by Hamilton pushed the lead back into double-digits at 65-54. A dunk and a putback by Ricky McKenzie made the lead 13 at the 2:48 mark, and two more dunks by Page put Wheeler up 75-61. 

Josh Hill scored nine points and McKenzie added eight.

 

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The Marietta Daily Journal Podcast is local news for Marietta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, and all of Cobb County.            

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