When Fredi Gonzalez was named manager of the Braves I, like many Braves fans, thought he was the right guy for the job. No one was ever going to ‘replace’ Bobby Cox, but Gonzalez made the transition as smooth as could be—and it definitely was…
Like Cox, Gonzalez has done a good job not getting to high during winning streaks and not getting too low during losing streaks. The Braves remain a very professional team and are still a top MLB franchise. There is just one place that the two managers differ, and it’s something I think needs to change…
We all know Cox was famous for getting ejected; He’s done it more than anyone else in baseball history. We could all hear him cheer his players at bat or bark at the umpires for what seemed like every pitch that went against the Braves for 20+ years. Gonzalez on the other hand, is the most quiet manger I have ever heard—or NOT heard.
There have been a good deal of calls that have gone against the Braves recently, and for the most part Gonzalez was nowhere to be found. A couple times he has peeked out of the dugout and had what seemed like a gentleman’s talk about the call, but I haven’t seen him get fired up once (Cox-158, Matt-1, Fredi-0; as a Brave). I saw his face get red once, but it just turned out to be gas.
I want to see Fredi get fired up and yell! I want to see him get red-faced, in an umpire’s grill letting him know, in no uncertain terms, he blew the call…Just once! I want him to fire his team up, which they have desperately needed on more than one occasion. Like when they are losing 2 of 3 to the Padres; twice! Or, when the Mets are kicking their butts; twice! The offense has been slumping on and off all year and maybe a profanity-laced tirade would get them going—it worked for Bobby. So here is what I’m proposing…
We need to set up a quota for Fredi Gonzalez. He needs to get the boot a minimum of 6 times a year (just once a month), or there will be consequences (he needs to squeeze one in before the All-Star break too, just to get off on the right foot). I’m not asking him to be Ozzie Guillen or to challenge Bobby’s record, I just want to see a guy who gets behind his team and lights a fire under their butts when they need it.
Of course there is only one Bobby Cox; With a new regime comes a new way of life. Braves fans can adjust to a new face in the dugout, but a manager who isn’t getting rung-up on a regular basis? We’re only human for God’s sake!
Obscure Brave of the Week: Albie Lopez.
Since we are on the topic of getting angry and yelling, here’s a guy that made me, and the rest of Braves Nation, scream at their TV on a regular basis.
Lopez was drafted in the 20th round (529th) in the 1991 Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians. He made his MLB debut with the tribe in 1993 and played there a few seasons before being selected in the 2nd round (48th) of the 1997 Expansion Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He moved on to Arizona, Atlanta and finally the Royals before moving on the Independent baseball in 2004.
Lopez signed with the Braves prior to the 2002 season (I am still asking myself why) and was horrendous, going 1-4 4.37 ERA. Luckily, he was hurt most of the year. WOW—I know that sounded horrible, but we were all thinking it, right? Signing Lopez has to go down as one of the worst Braves decisions in the last 25 years.
He currently pitches for the Edmonton Capitals of the Northern League. At least the Canadians have to put up with him now…
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