Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Umpire makes surprisingly good call, sources say.

3B umpire Gary Darling made what sources said was "a surprisingly good call" on a close play at 3rd base on Tuesday night during the Braves vs. Marlins game. Darling deflected the praise as usual. "My job really isn't that hard", the humble Darling said following the game , "all I really have to do is pay attention to 3B, and every once in a while I get to watch that long white line that goes clear out into the outfield to see which side the ball lands on." Fellow umpires were quick to give Gary credit for the highlight. "You don't see good calls by umpires that often so when a guy like Gary is able to come in make a descent call that everyone expects, well that just shows us that maybe all that hard work spent at the MLB umpires camp last winter really was worth it." said fellow crewman Bill Hohn. Hohn, who is known for his beautiful mustache, also made a halfway descent call in the game. When home plate umpire Jerry Meals was asked about the incident he complained saying, "I would have made some good calls at home like say on balls and strikes, but I have this stupid mask on my face and I can't really see all that well." Other umpires were quick to accuse Darling of taking performance enhancing drugs. One umpire who asked to remain anonymous said, "I think it's pretty obvious that Gary is taking something, it's just not possible to make that kind of a call in a game." Sources close to the umpires union say that if Darling is indeed using performance enhancing drugs then, "his chances of making the umpire hall of fame may be in question". This after his good call on Tuesday was sure to have guaranteed him a spot on next years ballot.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Local Girl calls recend trade "rude"

After being informed of a recent trade between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets, local resident Ashleigh Kaiser responded by saying that the trade was "rude and not very nice". Kaiser continued, "So what he just has to leave and go to New York right away? That's just rude." A source very close to Kaiser also confirmed that she did indeed compare the players to "slaves because they are owned by the team" until she learned that the players involved in the trade make a lot more money than her. "I still don't think it's very fair," Ashleigh continued, "They don't even have a choice." After being questioned about the incident, MLB commisioner Bud Selieg told reporters that "If we let players choose where they played no one would play for the Nationals or the Mets, and we would probably have a hard time fielding teams in places like Toronto or Denver, people just don't want to live there." An MLB spokesman has stated that dispite the discontent of trades not being fair, MLB will continue with it's current trading setup.

Friday, July 24, 2009

25 Dead in Mass Suicide police say

At least 25 people were found dead in there homes Thursday evening following the Braves loss to the Giants. Police chief James Conderson said that "We believe these suicides have something to do with last weeks suicides following the loss to the Rockies." Conderson continued saying that "It had been a while since Moylen had pitched and so there hadn't been any recent suicides in the area." Jenny Palacio, wife of suicide victim Johnny Palacio, said that her husband shot himself before Moylen even threw a pitch, "I just heard him yell 'What Moylen? What is Cox thinking? Then I heard the gunshot", Palacio stated.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Despondent Lincecum found in Atlanta area restroom

A visibly shaken Tim Lincecum was found by police in an area bathroom stall late Wednesday night following the Giants 4-2 loss to the Braves. Police say that they recieved a call from Gina's Diner at about 11:30 pm local time from an upset owner because "someone was making weird noises in the stall next to him." When Police arrived the Giants' pitcher was curled up in a ball repeating between sobs, "But I haven't given up a home run to a right hander in over 175 innings!" Lincecum had also unexplicably shaved the entire left side of his head. When asked about his missing mullet he started crying as he explained that he had missed the team bus. "I was just trying to find my way back to the hotel when everyone started making fun of my hair", Lincecum told reporters. Tim was taken to an area hospital where he will try and recover from his 3rd loss of the season.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hanson the next "Ace".

After striking out a career high 11 batters in 7 innings of work, Tommy Hanson's fastball is officially un-hittable. OK so I'm drooling a little bit. Seriously though, it was fun just to watch him challenge the Giants' hitters with his fast ball all night long. Then after settling down and throwing strikes, his slider got down right nasty. This got me thinking, Is Tommy the next Atlanta Braves Ace?
First of all, it's an understatement to say that Hanson came out of no where. The Braves drafted him in the 22nd round of the 2005 amateur players draft as a draft and follow player. This allowed them to hang on to his rights up until a week before the following draft at which time he could enter the draft again or sign a contract with the Braves, but no other team could try and sign him or "tamper" with him. The rest is history as Hanson dominated the minor leagues in the 3.5 seasons that followed, compiling 463 K's in 389 innings. For those of you that are "mathematically impaired" that's more than a strike-out per inning. Those are definitely numbers more fitting of a 1st round Draft choice and not a 22nd round choice. Somebody deserves a big pat on the back for finding this diamond in the rough, but somebody else deserves a swift kick in the butt for not finding him sooner.
So I think that yes Hanson is going to be an ace, but he's not the next one as Jurrjens may have already beaten him to that post. Tommy came up to the major's this year touted as the organization's #1 pitching prospect and he has not disappointed. He actually reminds me a lot of a young John Smoltz who took the Braves from worst to first in the 1991 season. Expect Hanson to co-anchor a young pitching staff that includes Jair Jurrjens and Kris Medlen, sometime in the near future. Braves fans have a lot to look forward to with this young core of excellent pitchers. Hanson will defiantly be an ace in the coming years, if he isn't already, but don't expect him to be the only one as it is more likely that this staff will be reminiscent of the Glavine-Maddux-Smoltz days. OK now I am really drooling.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Atlanta local commits suicide during Braves game

Local Atlanta man, James de la Brusa, was found dead in his apartment Sunday night after apparently having hanged himself. James' neighbor Jacob Johnson said he heard shouting coming from his long time friend and next door neighbor. "I thought I heard some yelling", Jacob said, "The last thing I heard was 'WHAT? MOYLEN? IF HE LOSES ONE MORE GAME FOR US I'M GONNA HANG MYSELF". During police questioning Jacob was asked why didn't respond to the yelling and go over and try and calm his friend down. Jacob said, "I didn't think he was serious, I mean Moylen has already lost like what 5 games this year? I just thought it was another hallow threat. If I would have known he was serious this time, I probably would have tried to go over there." James de la Brusa was survived by his wife Jamie and his brother Juan.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Obama Announces new bailout plan for MLB

During the 2nd inning of the MLB Allstar game President Obama unfurrled a new plan that he said would "save Major League Baseball". Obama cited falling attendence and the high price of beer at game for reasons of instituting his new plan. "I went to a Nationals game last week and it was terrible. I don't know what I was offended more by, the fact that the Nationals didn't get a runner past 1st base or that I had to pay 8 Dollars for a glass of beer. Americans deserve better than this." The new bailout plan centers around D.C. area team that is locally known as the 'Nats' or the Nationals. Obama says that "it has been way too long since the Nationals won a game and that just doesn't fit into my vision of the American dream". Obama said he was working a a bill that would grant the Nationals upwards of 15 Billion dollars to sign a new player. "It would be great for baseball to see the Nationals compete on a day to day basis. If Alex Rodriguez can avoid any suspensions for steriod use in the future, maybe they can use the 15 Billion to sign him to a 1 or 2 year deal and they can get back on their feet." Obama also noted that it would be terrible to see the Nationals end up like the Montreal Expos. "We need to show those Canadians how to support a failing baseball team", a visually flustered Obama stated.
Obama also said that The Nationals would use part of the bailout money to build a bigger stadium for the struggling franchise. "Not many people go to the games right now and although adding more seats may not be very logical, it will definitly look like I am concerned for their success."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Comparing 1995 to 2009

I know wishful thinking. Or is it? The Braves of 2009 compare very favorably to the Braves of 1995. I just got done watching "Braves Win...It all" and besides giving me chills it also got me thinking. Whats the difference between the two teams? Why did the '95 team comeback 1.5 more in late innings than they gave up the lead and the 2009 team gives up the lead just as much as they take it? So I did some research and decided to do a side by side, position by position comparison and this is what I came up with: (all 2009 Batting stats are projected to a full season)
Starting Pitching
Greg Maddux 1.63 ERA vs. Derek Lowe 4.39 ERA
Tom Glavine 3.08 ERA vs. Javier Vasquez 2.95 ERA
John Smoltz 3.18 ERA vs. Jair Jurrjens 2.91 ERA
Steve Avery 4.67 ERA vs. Tommy Hanson 2.85 ERA
Kent Mercker 4.15 ERA vs. Kenshin Kawakami 4.26 ERA

Edge: Wash. Before you throw me to the wolves for this call let me explain. No one can top the three-some of Maddux Glavine and Smoltz. All Cy Young winners. Maddux was incredible, 1.63 seriously? But I think the 2009 Braves are deeper 1-5. Tommy Hanson is heads and shoulders above Avery and although Kenshin has a similar ERA to Mercker, he is a big game pitcher. He has only given up more than 3 runs once in the last 2 months so he is better than that ERA would lead you to believe. Derek Lowe is underperfoming obviously and if he comes around this year he is a legitimate ace. That leaves two more aces in Vasquez and Jurrjens at the 2 and 3 spots. The only spot where the 1995 Braves have a clear advantage is with Maddux vs. Lowe. Everywhere else looks to be ad. 2009 Braves. Smoltz and Glavin would both later win Cy Young awards but who knows, Jurrjens and Vasquez would be sure contenders for a Cy Young this year if they only had a little run support.

Bullpen: Taking the top 5 relievers from each club, both teams have ERA's around 3.20. The big difference is in a set up man. Unless Moylen steps up and so does Gonzalez, then the 2009 Braves are in a world of hurt. Soriano is better than Wholers but it just drops off like a cliff from there. If the 2 aforementioned players step it up in the second half then we will make a run at the playoffs. If they don't then we will be sellers by mid august. Advantage right now goes to the 1995 Braves.


Javy Lopez, .315 BA 14 hr 51 RBI vs. Brian McCann .298 16 hr 72 RBI

Edge: Pretty much a wash especially considering McCann is batting well over .300 since getting glasses.

1B: Fred McGriff .280 27 hr 93 RBI vs anyone the 2009 Braves throw out there

Edge: 1995 Braves. This is a clear winner for the 1995 Braves. 1B has been a position this year that we just can't seam to get any production out of this season.

2B: Mark Lemke .253 5 hr 38 RBI vs Prado/Infante .335 10 hr 58 RBI

Edge: 2009 Braves. As long as Prado and Infante play solid defense at second, the 2009 Braves have a clear offensive advantage here. (I left out Kelly Johnson on purpose cause I don't think he'll see the field much the rest of the year)

SS: Jeff Blauser .211 12 hr 31 RBI vs Yunel Escobar .293 14 hr 88 RBI

Edge 2009 Braves. Seriously anyone would be better than Blauser. I have no fond memories of him at all. As long as Escobar doesn't make too many mental errors at short, this is a huge upgrade.

3B: Chipper Jones .265 23 hr 86 RBI vs Chipper Jones .290 18 hr 82 RBI

Edge: 2009 Braves. Chipper hasn't had a great first half of the season and will probably improve on those numbers. Even so the seasoned Chipper beats out his own stellar rookie season.

LF: Ryan Klesko .310 23 hr 70 RBI vs Garret Anderson .272 10 hr 64 RBI

Edge: 1995 Braves. Klesko was really big for this team. Garret Anderson is an ok batter for us this season but his defense is demoralizing. He loafs around and has cost us runs on more than one occasion. This is a big advantage for the 1995 team IMO.

CF: Marquis Grisom .258 12 hr 42 RBI vs Nate McLouth .288 20 hr 60 RBI
Edge: 2009 Braves. Mclouth was a huge get for the Braves this year. If they go on and somehow win the east, this could turn out to be the trade of the decade.
RF: David Justice .253 24 hr 78 RBI vs Jeff Franceour .250 10 hr 70 RBI
Edge: It's a wash, both players underperformed. Justice has twice as many homers and a few more RBI but not enough contribution to give him the clear edge here. Throw Diaz into the mix in right field and get Church who has a .280 BA and the 2009 Braves all of the sudden have an advantage here.
Bench: I give the edge here to the 2009 Braves cause since they are platooning guys like Prado Diaz and Infante, that always leaves 1 of these guys on the bench and then another once Kotchman comes back. The only reason I would give the 95 guys any edge is because my memory is telling me that they were clutch in late innings but I've got nothing other than that to back it up. I do wish we could get Mike Mordacai to come play again.
Coaching: 1995 Braves. Same Cox same odd decisions but the 1995 Braves had Rockin Leo Mazzone and they were less Terry Pendelton as hitting coach. Those factors alone give the 1995 Braves a point here.

Overall most of the advantages went to the 2009 Braves so there is hope that they can turn out just like the 1995 Braves. First the Braves need to fix some of the majors chinks in the armour.
I think they are: Middle relievers to set up men, no power at 1B, consistency in the corner outfields. They have already began to fix the chink in right field and I think the platoon of Diaz/Church will work out well. I don't think you can fix Anderson but we could be ok there. Kotchman is serviceable at 1b and I don't see us with enough money to get anything there. As far as the middle relievers go I really think we have the talent to see something special. Moylen has some nasty stuff and so does Gonzalez. If they stop giving up runs in critical situations our bullpen will be lights out. And just in case you are down cause we are 6 games out at the all-star break, just remember the 1995 Braves were 5 back of the Phillies at mid-season. They went on a winning streak and ended up winning the division by more than 15 games.

Here's to a World Series Championship in 2009!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Impatient Hitters

So I am watching the Braves losing to the Cubs 4-1 right now. It's kind of frustrating cause I just watched Diaz swing at 4 pitches out of the strike zone with the bases loaded and only one out. With that I think the Braves hitters' problem is that they are not playing baseball... they are playing wak-a-mole. They are swinging at everything they see. I think it's time that Pendleton move to bench coach and the braves should pick up a new hitting coach. Someone who will teach these guys a bit of patience. Pendleton is teaching these guys the same style of hitting that he employed in his hitting days. The problem with this style is the extremely low OBP. When you're hot you're hot but when you go on a slump there is nothing. This would explain why it's either feast or famine with the Braves this year. The only two guys on the team with half an eye at he plate (Chipper and McCann) both get their hitting advice from their dads. Everyone else employs a free swinging mentality. If the Braves want to win a pennant this year they are going to have to be more patient at the plate and I think that starts with moving Pendleton elsewhere.