Category: “Braves Notes”

The Mindset of the Braves Fan

I’m not going to pretend that my heart hasn’t been broken by the play of the Braves the past five weeks or so. It has.

I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t gotten frustrated watching the Braves play lately. I have.

Still, the most I read the comments on Braves blogs like Talking Chop and AJC Braves, the more I realize that I seem to have precious little in common with many of my fellow Braves fans. Reading the comments you would think that Bobby Cox and his Braves purposely tanked their season just to ruin their lives. Is your happiness really that dependent upon the performance of a baseball team?

I don’t understand the anger, at least not the lasting anger. Have the Braves attacked you personally? At the very least, these people need to find something in their life that will make them happy. The Braves clearly aren’t capable.

Here’s a two point reality check for these fans:

1. The Braves are simply not as good as the Phillies. Man for man, our lineup just doesn’t match up with theirs. There’s no shame in that; the Phillies are a darn good baseball team. They’ve been to the big dance the last two years. September is their month. Hats of to them. Don’t sit there and blame Bobby and his decisions for our descent from first; just recognize that the better team, at the end, rose to the top.

2. The season is NOT over yet. Every time this Braves team had a chance to quit, they didn’t. I was afraid the season was going to come off the rails after they blew that 10-1 lead in Colorado, but it didn’t. I thought the fight had gone out of the team after that last homestand, but then they swept the Mets. Of course, we can’t forget the month of April after which the Braves responded with their best summer in many a moon. No doubt, the last three games were bad. A disaster for our NL East hopes even. Still, here’s the thing. We are tied for the Wild Card birth. Is it the same thing as winning the division? No, but come on, it gives us that shot. Once you’re in the post season, anything can happen. Why, the Braves could even beat the Phillies. I’m not saying they will, but to say it’s all over is not only ridiculous, it’s factually inaccurate.

I’m not saying fans need to be loyal when they aren’t happy with their team’s play; I’m just saying grow up a little and stop acting like a child who had a toy stolen from them. As I learned from one of my many books on Anger Management, if you’re still upset about the performance of a baseball team more than an hour or so after a game, and I mean angry, then please, get yourself a shrink.

The comments on the major blogs are worse that sports talk radio.

Braves Notes: July 21, 2010

First Place
Is it really late July? Are the Braves really 6.5 games ahead of the Mets and 7 games ahead of the Phillies? Can they keep this up? Man, I hope so. This is such a fun team to watch and I’m awfully glad that Atlanta seems to be getting out and supporting the team. Of course, there’s a lot of baseball left, and there’s no doubt that the Phillies and the Mets are looking to better their teams. Still, you won’t see this Braves team quit. No way. I think it will be exciting right down to the wire.

Matt Diaz
How can you not love Matt Diaz? How did this hitting fool end up on the scrap heap? Man, his first two months this season were dismal and were so out of character. I think it’s safe to say that his performance since coming off the disabled list is more in line with the player that he is. Personally, as much as I like Eric Hinske, and I do like him a lot, I would leave Diaz out there until he slows down. Platoons are fine, but so is going with the hot hand.

The Princess
I’ve always considered myself a minor Brewers fan. My favorite Brewers team was the early 80s version with Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper and Gorman Thomas. I even met Ben Oglive’s sister who lived in my hometown, Columbus, Georgia. I think its great that they have so many good young players. Ryan Braun is a future MVP and Yovani Gallardo could win the Cy Young award one day. They’re a hard team not to like, but they sure made it easier in this past series against the Braves.

Now, I don’t want to come off like a cranky old guy (although … I am), but Princess Fielder should consider himself lucky he’s playing in this day and age. Seriously, if he flipped his bat at the Cardinals bench after hitting a home run off of Bob Gibson, the next time up, they would have had to carry his fat ass off the field after Gibson nailed his ass with one of his patented fastballs. That said, I don’t see any way that Venters hit the Princess on purpose. Still, even if he did, it was a minor shot to the back. He got his payback with the hard slide, and then with Heyward and Glaus getting hit on Sunday. This is called “The Code” and it is how baseball is played.

Still, the whiny ass Princess and his worthless manager (for now … this guy can’t keep his job much longer) go whining to Bob Watson who simply isn’t very bright and decides to suspend our Hall of Fame manager for a game and our talented young reliever for four games for, you know, playing baseball. I gotta say, when we face the Brewers next year, if the Princess is still there, I think we gotta drill him again. This time, on purpose.

Braves Notes: JJ is Damn Good. Duh.

Danny Knobler at has written an excellent little article on Jair Jurrjens where we have learned that Derek Lowe says that Jurrjens is the team’s best pitcher. That’s high praise indeed. It also seems that many scouts think he’s one of the best young pitchers in baseball who’s a true number two starter now, and could be an ace within five years.

None of this comes as any surprise to most Braves fans. Jurrjens showed us last year what he was capable of. If not for the Braves offense and the bullpen, the whole league would be paying attention to Jurrjens’ season so far. 

Can you imagine a rotation with Jurrjens, Medlen and Hanson? Especially if they all live up to their hype?

Braves Notes: Say What?

While searching for information about Glavine’s recovery this morning, I came acorss this article from the Birmingham News. His premise that the Braves struggles over the past few seasons are a result of the lack of home-grown starting pitching talent is one thing. He’s welcome to make that argument and I don’t disagree completely, but there are a few things about the article that have gotten under my skin.

I think it is obvious at this point that if the Braves had any intention of dealing Tommy Hanson, they would have done so this past off-season. They had plenty of opportunities to deal him, but I think they view him as a potential ace and I expect he’ll get his chance as a Brave in the very near future.

Smoltz at bat
Credit My Wife MNicoleM
I also disagree with his assertion that John Smoltz was a product of the Braves developmental system. The Detroit Tigers traded Smoltz to the Braves in late 1987 for Doyle Alexander and he was already a AAA player. I’m not sure that starting 20 games in Richmond in 1988 really qualifies Smoltz as a product of the developmental system. (Of course, it was a rare occasion where we traded a veteran for a young guy with a high ceiling.)
Really, this is the kind of commentary I would have expected from someone who only follows the Braves from a distance. It isn’t the type yo would expect from a major newspaper. My recommendation? For Braves news, stick to the AJC, MLB.COM, and especially Talking Chop.

Braves Notes: Week One

Bullpen Disaster

It’s hard to imagine better results for the Braves for the week of the season, but there’s never any excuse for a bullpen to blow a 10-3 lead. The final game of the Phillies series was excruciating. Four bases loaded walks in one inning? I felt especially bad for Peter Moylan. To have to go through that experience in your first game since surgery … OUCH. He looked like he was crying when Bobby came out to the mound to yank him.

On the Other Hand

The bullpen performed exactly as expected in the second game against the Nats. A scoreless 7th from Moylan (which brought his ERA down from infinity to 45.00), a scoreless 8th from Rafael Soriano (after giving up a lead off double) and a scoreless 9th from Mike Gonzales (who it appears was straightened out by Yunel Escobar after his first few pitches). That’s what the Braves are expecting this season, and that’s what the Braves need to win. The starting pitching is good enough that if these three guys can close the door night after night, I think we’ll win the division.

Meanwhile in Gwinnett

In his first start of the season for Gwinnett, Tommy Hanson looked every bit the ace he’s projected to be. He pitched 4.1 innings and didn’t give up a run. How dominating was he? Of the 13 outs he recorded, 10 were strikeouts. I expect we will see him in the big leagues sooner rather than later, especially if Glavine is done. With any luck, he and Jordan Schafer will battle for the National League Rookie of the Year award.

Braves Notes: Opening Day

The Ace

Derek Lowe looked like he was worth every penny of that contract. He had the Phillies banging balls into the ground all night. His curve (which looks like a slider, but is not a slider, as the announcers kept pointing out over and over and over and over and over again) was just outstanding and had the Phillies in fits. It was nice to get out of a game in Philadelphia without Ryan Howard beating us like a narc at a biker rally.

The Return of the Home Run

It seems like all the announcers could talk about at the beginning of the game was the Braves lack of home run power. Hey, I don’t disagree with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on this point. Still, the Braves came out blasting last night. Brian McCann’s first inning home run was absolutely crushed and would land in the second deck. Jeff Francouer and Jordan Schafer hit line drive home runs that were out of the park in the blink of an eye. Yunel Escobar was inches away from a home run himself. It was fun to watch and gives this Braves fan a little bit of hope that we can have a good offensive season.

Welcome to the Big Leagues

This time last year, promising young Braves prospect Jordan Schafer was about to begin a 50 game suspension. It was not a great year for Schafer by any means, but he persevered and now he’s the starting center fielder for the Atlanta Braves. In his first at-bat as an Atlanta Brave, he smacked a Brett Myers pitch over the center field fence. He would then stroke a single up the middle, intentionally walk and strike out on a wicked Brad Lidge slider. Welcome to the show Jordan. If this is a sign of things to come, I’m looking forward to the season.

Gonzalez Makes Things Interesting

Braves closer Mike Gonzales must have thought that Lowe had made the game too boring. I think anyone who saw the damage that Ryan Howard inflicted on the Braves in 2008 had major heartburn when he came up with one out as the tying run. Fortunately, Gonzo would get Howard and Ibanez to strike out and the Braves won their first game of the year.