Anyone who does a bunch of traveling knows the horrors of packing. It’s almost too much to bear these days. Everything from power cords, reading material, electronic devices and medicines to shoes, fingernail clippers, underpants and deodorant. I’m a pillow snob, so I also pack my pillow when I can (no, I’m not a 12 year old girl, but I do pack like one). And when you fly as oppose to drive, packing becomes SERIOUS. Meaning what can I NOT, under any circumstance, forget to pack? Listing EVERYTHING in your head that you might need and giving yourself the clothing options you require so you don’t look like a hobo sitting in 34F on Delta’s flight back home is exhausting. Trying to keep track of anything that might be liquid that has to be checked is a total pain in the rear and knowing that the TSA won’t be the brightest people you deal with on your trip isn’t pleasant either. And, NO, even though I love my pillow, I don’t walk though the “Terminal B” like a teenager in my Hello Kitty pajamas and pillow (but I really, really want to). So as the Atlanta Braves move into June, I was thinking. If the Braves keep this going and they make the playoffs (not the wildcard, but win the division), what would they need to pack? More specifically, WHO would they need to pack? Whom, under NO circumstances, could they forget to bring with them on that playoff trip? I think that packable player is Tim Hudson.
My first inclination on this was Chipper Jones. Since that home run at the beginning of the year to present, Chipper’s body in the line-up changes everything for these Braves. He’s the driving force behind the success of this team and he is the ultimate Brave. Chipper’s influence on this club is well documented. But even if Chipper’s presence in the line-up is more perception than reality, that’s not a terrible thing. Baseball players are creatures of habit, more prone to superstition and rely more on gut feelings than a drunken palm reader. But the REAL key to any playoff run the Braves have in 2012 is going to be Tim Hudson. There’s a case to be made that Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman or even Brian McCann or Craig Kimbrel need to be stuffed in our overhead compartment, but I just don’t think so. When the post season comes, pitching, ACE pitching, that ONE singular “gamer” pitcher, is key. I know this may be somewhat of a stretch, but Hudson MIGHT be the best pitcher the Braves have had in the last 20 years not named Glavine, Maddux or Smoltz. In his 8 seasons with Atlanta, he’s never won more than 17 games. He’s had a sub 3.0 ERA only once and his lowest WHIP is 1.14 (2009). 2010 has been Huddy’s best year with the club. He got those 17 wins, sub 3.0 ERA (2.83) and most innings pitched (228.2) two years ago. But I’ve watched a lot of Braves baseball in the last 10 years. Tim Hudson IS the Braves stopper. He IS the leader of Atlanta’s pitching staff. Hudson is the one constant the Braves can count on to pitch a professional baseball outing every time he’s on the mound. I understand he’s older and he’s been injured. But so has the aforementioned Chipper Jones. I guess a battle tested player with a little mileage on them suits the Braves well. I don’t trust ANY of the Braves pitchers the way I do Tim Hudson. Brandon Beachy is getting there. Beachy is a total stud with some real, long term upside. Jonny Venters is getting there, too. That’s if you define getting there to mean “trade Venters ASAP while he still has some value and closers are in high demand”. Tommy Hanson just doesn’t do it for me. He kinda has that Eli Manning look to him. Like he’s overwhelmed OR doesn’t care. But Eli has two Super Bowl rings…Hanson has Scott Boras.
I know the end is a loooooooong way off. And these 2012 Braves could totally tank like last year. But I just feel like this team can hit its way into the division crown. But once the playoffs begin, they’re going to need a horse to ride to the World Series. So saddle up Tin Hudson, because Atlanta needs you to carry us to another title.
For more of my shenanigans, follow me on Twitter at @YourDailyVinnie. Thanks!