Ramblings about the Braves by True Braves Fans
As I sit here and rejoice in the fact that Spring Training is here, I realize Spring Training is like a clean slate and a new beginning for each season. All 32 teams go into Spring Training excited about the chance of a new dawn. Even the Padres… But, this is the Braves blog, and I’m a Braves fan. So, let’s talk about the Braves.
This off season (up until 3 weeks ago?) was very quiet. Most of us were upset the Braves didn’t try to sign Huddy, Eric, or Macattack or even test the free agency pool. Random resginees began to happen (Pena, Schafer, Walden, etc.). Then one afternoon, I’m sitting here doing homework and I get a phone alert. “Braves avoid arbitration and sign Jason Heyward to a 2 year deal” wait what? The Braves didn’t give up? So, I log on Twitter and see a Freddie deal is coming to a close. “Braves sign Freddie Freeman to an 8 year 135 million dollar deal” WAIT, WHAT? I was ecstatic, like many of you. Wren didn’t quit there. Tehran and Killa Craig were next, and hopefully soon, Simmons will get his turn. In a matter of 2-3 weeks, a disappointing off season turned into 8 years of hope and excitement.
Not only did HUGE contracts happen recently, the entire team (except Simmons who had travel issues or something) reported to Orlando early. That right there says something about the excitement of the players. So Freddie, Heyward, J. Upton, and CJ23 are there working hard, taking pictures, signing autographs, and being awesome. And then there’s Uggla. Honestly, where do you begin? I’ve rooted for this dude for 2 years and what do I get? Nothing other than a guy who can’t get to the Mendoza line. It’s sad really. And disappointing. But the Uggla does an interview with Jeff Schultz (of the AJC) and explains he “was a mess” last season. He’s worked hard, redone his swing, lost some weight, and is ready to get back to business. So, Dan, YOU HAVE ONE MORE SEASON BEFORE I’M DONE WITH YOU! Clean slate and all that, Uggz. One more season and I’m with the rest of Braves Country. I’m not going to start the BJ Upton rant.
So here we go. Spring Training is here. Palm trees, fresh grass, sun, and baseball. It’s beautiful. It’s refreshing. It’s America’s past time. And, it’s back again for us.
Getcha choppin’ arm ready and LET’S GO BRAVES!
The league apparently is hoping the new caps spark additional sales to fans.
–Well, I can tell you they’ve lost at least one sale! I would have bought the original design in a heartbeat!
“Who’s the real leader on that club now?” asked one longtime scout. “Losing Martin Prado is huge from an intangible standpoint.”
“That’s my question,” said an NL executive. “Does this trade make them better talent-wise? No question. But team-wise? I don’t think so. I’m not faulting them on the deal. I’m just asking: Who’s been the heart and soul of the Atlanta Braves for the last 18 years? That’s Chipper Jones. And who’s been the player for the last two years who looked like he was sliding in to assume that responsibility? Martin Prado. So that’s a big, big loss for that team.”
Prado certainly wasn’t the most famous name on this team’s roster. But he was so beloved by his teammates and carried so much weight in everything he said and did that his exit in this deal will reverberate more than most people would think.
It was the biggest reason, in fact, the same NL exec was the only person we surveyed who gave a thumbs-down on this trade.
So I am sure all Braves fans know by now that the team let (the best backup catcher in MLB) David Ross sign with the Boston Red Sox. I for one was at first shocked, then deeply saddened, then infuriated that the team would allow this to happen. Not only was Ross a great player, always doing what was asked of him, but he was also an excellent clubhouse guy. He was a leader in the locker room. And that cannot be so simply replaced by Gerald Laird (no offense to him).
Ross was given a 2 year deal worth $6.2 million. Laird was also given a 2 year contract the value of which has yet to be released. However, if that amount is anything greater than 3-4 million then it is a JOKE! I would have much rather spent an extra 2 million on a guy like Ross that already has a presence in the clubhouse and, more importantly, with the fan base.
Brian McCann is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season due to surgery on his shoulder. And as a side note I think we should give him props for continuing to tough it out for as long as he was hurting (and Ross just the same). This means that Ross would have most likely started the season for us; now we can assume it will be Laird. Again, not knocking Laird’s skills as a player as he has proven himself more than capable, but he will only have the offseason to try to work on a rapport with the pitching staff to learn how they like to pitch. The other options are minor leaguers such as Christian Bethancourt and Evan Gattis both of whom are not really ready for everyday duty in the majors as of yet.
This seems to me like a very cheap move by the current ownership and another case of Frank Wren being Frank Wren. I hope it all works out in the end and the Braves can return to past glory, but I am still not going to be happy about losing out on such a great person as David Wade Ross.
There has been much discussion of who should start the Wild Card play-in game for the Atlanta Braves, from John Smoltz suggesting the team’s third best starter should start, to FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron suggesting Craig Kimbrel should start and the Braves should play bullpen match-ups for most of the game.
Kris Medlen is 12-2 with a 3.08 ERA in the first 25 starts of his major league career, which is more than impressive enough. But what he’s done this year since a end-of-July move from the bullpen to the starting rotation has simply surpassed all expectations. He’s making it look way easier than it is for any pitcher, much less one with such little experience as a starter.
The budding ace of the Braves staff went 4-0 in five starts last month, while allowing only two earned runs in 35 2/3 innings. He struck out 35 while walking only four, and that was before he pitched a complete game with a career-high 12 strikeouts to beat the Rockies 6-1 on Monday.
Veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay and reliever Peter Moylan are among four players the Braves are planning to call up Saturday when rosters expand. This will be the first wave of September call-ups, as the Braves plan to bring up another wave when the minor league season ends on Monday
Congratulations to Felix Hernandez for pitching the 23rd perfect game in MLB history a few minutes ago. Personally I would LOVE to have Felix as a Brave but I realistically realize that is all but impossible. The only way we would get him if he had a catastrophic injury or it was in the final years of his career. A truly amazing pitcher and one of the best in the league right now. Thank you for pitching in the AL West and not the NL East.
So apparently Melky Cabrera tested positive for testosterone and admitting using a substance that was illegal. He has been suspended 50 games. All this in the midst of what was the best year of his career. As basically EVERY Braves fan that actually watched games could tell you, this comes as NO surprise at all. Melky is, was, and always will be a mediocre at best player.
Flashback to 2010. One of the WORST statistical seasons not just for his career but for the entire league. Not to mention the infamous “throwing a wet bar of soap” incident. Suddenly he goes from some schmuck hitter to an MVP candidate in less than 2 years and people didnt think to question that? He had a good year in KC but no telling what if anything he used there.
My belief is that he didnt use in KC or at the most just experimented with it. His usage didnt really begin until he joined the Giants franchise which earlier this season had another player suspended under the league’s drug policy. A franchise which was home to one of the most notorious suspected users of PEDs, Barry Bonds. I joked on my twitter that Melky had gotten Bonds’ old locker and found some leftover “flaxseed oil” which is what Bonds claimed he thought he was taking.
Obviously this is purely opinion, but for a player that had never even been above average to suddenly be an MVP candidate and get caught using illegal substances I think it speaks pretty clearly to the advantages said drugs can give a player.
It has been said that steroids can only make you hit harder, that it can’t make you a better hitter. Well in the case of one Melky Cabrera, it DID. He had no uptick in power numbers and his hitting was really the result of a lot of luck and fluky hits. Obviously testosterone doesn’t increase luck. But perhaps it helped his timing, his vision?, or something else. I’m not a doctor so I don’t know.
But at the end of the day the truth about Melky has come to light. That his meteoric rise has an equally brilliant crash back to earth. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig…er Melky.
I would like to, on behalf of all Braves fans everywhere, extend a genuine and heartfelt “Thank You” to Melky Cabrera. It wasn’t that you just sucked for us, it’s that you cheated for them. And I guess all that crotch chopping and other antics were just part of your roid rage?