LEADOFF: Braves coach Eddie Perez linked to two manager jobs


LEADOFF: Braves coach Eddie Perez linked to two manager jobs

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Braves first-base coach Eddie Perez (right) and manager Brian Snitker look on from the dugout during a game at Turner Field this past season. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Good morning. LEADOFF has today’s early buzz in Atlanta sports.

Eddie Perez, the Braves’ popular first-base coach and former catcher, has been linked to the open manager jobs with Colorado and Arizona. How high he is on those teams’ lists of candidates isn’t clear.

report out of Venezuela, where Perez is managing a winter league team, said he had been contacted by the Rockies. And the AJC’s David O’Brien tweeted over the weekend that Perez also was drawing managerial interest from the Diamondbacks.

The interest is well earned after Perez’s 11 years as a major-league player and 10 years as a Braves coach.

Other names reportedly on the Rockies’ radar include former Padres manager Bud Black, Triple-A Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill, former Astros manager (and former Braves third-base coach/current Braves special-assistant-to-the-GM) Bo Porter and a number of others, including coaches on teams still alive in the postseason.

At Arizona, Sunday’s hiring of highly regarded Mike Hazen from Boston’s front office as general manager could make Red Sox bench coach (and former Boston interim manager) Torey Lovullo a leading candidate for the manager’s job. Hazen said at his introductory news conference Monday in Phoenix that he has no timetable for naming a manager.

There are only 30 of these gigs in MLB. Competition for them is keen.

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This would be a dream matchup for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Alabama vs. Clemson in a rematch of last season’s national championship game, with a berth in this year’s title game on the line.

And that is this week’s projection from ESPN.com college football writers Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy, both of whom see an Alabama-Clemson matchup in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 31.

They project Washington vs. Ohio State in the other semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl.

As we reported last week, the Peach Bowl is likely to feature the nation’s top-ranked team because playoff selection committee guidelines call for the No. 1 seed to typically play in the semifinal closest to its campus. That means a No. 1-ranked team from the SEC, ACC or even Big Ten is likely to be Atlanta-bound to face the No. 4 seed.

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Speaking of bowls, ESPN projects underwhelming postseason berths for Georgia and Georgia Tech — not surprising, given the teams’ matching 4-3 records.

Schlabach this week projects Tech vs. South Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl and Georgia vs. Iowa in the Music City Bowl.

McMurphy projects Tech vs. Connecticut in the Independence Bowl and Georgia vs. TCU in the Liberty Bowl.

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Almost one-third of the households in the Atlanta TV market watched the finish of the Falcons’ game at Seattle on Sunday.

The Falcons’ loss to the Seahawks averaged a Nielsen rating of 25.2 in the Atlanta market for the three-hour-plus telecast, spiking to a 30.2 rating for the final 15 minutes.

The rating represents the percentage of households watching the telecast.

The 25.2 rating in the Atlanta market for the Seattle game was up sharply from 20.8 for the Falcons’ win over Denver a week earlier. Translation: About 100,000 more Atlanta households watched the game against Seattle than the game against Denver (597,000 vs. 493,000).

Across the nation, ratings are down significantly this season for NFL games. The AJC’s Michael Cunningham explores that issue here.

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