August 10, 2011

Our Special Tonight is Constanza…

I love going out to eat.  Food is one of my great passions.  But don’t get it twisted.  When I say I love food, I’m not one of those strange “Foodie” types.  I’m not down with fancy food with small portions served by some “hippie wanna be acoustic guitar player” waiter.  Sir…here is your seared baby seal on a bed of bear cub skin…as you requested, the tears of three lost kittens are on the side for dipping.  NO WAY!  I’m a wings and beer guy.  I’m a “fold the pizza slice in half and eat it” guy.  Every time I go out to eat, I’m thinking about what I’m going to get while I’m on the way there.  I don’t need a menu!  Just give me the same thing I’ve ordered for the last 4 years.  Why mess with a good thing?

You go to one of your favorite eateries and have a seat.  The waitress comes over and takes your drink order and says “let me tell you about our specials tonight”.  And then it happens. WOW, that special sounds GOOD!  Your mind starts racing.  You think, “I know what I’m in the mood for, and I know what I usually order here is good, and even when it’s not that good it’s still pretty good…ARRRRGGGHHH”!  Dammit!  Why did she have to tell you the specials?  Now you’re totally torn.  You make a game time call and you go for it!  “The Special” it is.  It comes to your table and it’s “ok”, but you kinda wish you’d stayed with what you really came for.  So much for your yummy night out on the town.  Right now, Jason Heyward is that old faithful meal and Jose Constanza is that really good sounding special.

Look, I know what most of you will say.  The Braves have to play the hot hand.  They have to go with who is playing well.  And, on the whole, I’ve always believed that, too.  There’s no “I” in TEAM.  The collective is greater than the individual.  Winning and team success trumps individual achievement.  But baseball is different.  It’s not really a team sport.  It’s an individual sport masquerading as a team endeavor.  And the Braves need Jason Heyward to develop as an individually singular “great player”.  I’m sorry, Constanza is not Heyward.  He’s not even in the same ballpark as Heyward…well, physically he IS…but you get my point.  Jason Heyward NEEDS to be great.  He needs to be successful.  And Fredi Gonzalez needs to let Heyward play everyday.  I know, I know.  You don’t have to tell me about Heyward’s struggles.  Look, I took the guy in the second round of my fantasy draft.  He’s been stinking it up more than you will after eating that special you shouldn’t have ordered.  And for a long while I’ve been in the “sit him down, send him down, put him down, whatever” camp.  But I’ve changed my thinking.  He JUST turned 22.  He’s never struggled to perform at a high level in his life.  He’s a superior athlete with tremendous skill.  Growing up, there were times where I just wanted to say “I got it, I got it, don’t worry” when faced with a challenging task.  Even though I had NO IDEA how I was going to achieve that success.  It’s all part of maturation.  Failing…sometimes failing badly.  Heyward has no choice (and the Braves don’t either) but to work through his struggles and overcome them. 

Yes, the Braves have a team that can win now.  And if Heyward isn’t playing up to snuff, he’s hurting Atlanta’s chances to make the playoffs, go deep and maybe win it all.  But at the beginning of this season, didn’t everyone consider Heyward a BIG part of this team and its estimated success in 2011?  Wasn’t he thought of as the present AND future of the Braves ballclub?  The Braves MUST let Heyward play.  Constanza is a good story, but he’ll be irrelevant by the time this blog gets posted.  If you need a real world Braves example, remember Wilson Betemit?  Remember when people were calling for him to take over 3rd base and for Atlanta to get rid of Chipper?  Chipper may now be a shell of what he was, but at that time, getting rid of him would have been pretty stupid.  Not letting Heyward play through this would also be pretty stupid.

So an open request to the Atlanta Braves.  Don’t bring me a menu, don’t read me the specials.  Just give me “The Jason Heyward”…with a World Series on the side for dipping.

If you want more of my shenanigans during the week, follow me on Twitter @yourdailyvinnie.  Thanks!



20 Responses to “Our Special Tonight is Constanza…”

  1. 1
    Chad Says:

    How appropriate that I was reading this while taking a dump.
    YOU need Jason Heyward to be great. The Braves would love for him to be great as well, but they have a RESPONSIBILITY to win and they can win now. It’s possible that Jason Heyward could be the next “can’t miss” prospect that wears the golden sombero. What’s Todd Van Poppel’s career record again?

  2. 2
    Braden Says:

    Chad, that was very unnecessary sir. Maybe if you knew a thing or two about baseball you wouldn’t post such crap. Jason Heyward is no Van Poppel and he will be a star. Recognize talent when you see it.

  3. 3
    COACH Says:

    Eat the crust first–then fold if you must

  4. 4
    ham Says:

    Braden – it’s “Curt” and let’s not get personal. Save that for DOB’s blog. And it is not a matter of talent, it’s a matter of winning now. You all make a very valid argument, but if J-Hey continues to struggle through the end of the year and for some reason it contributes to the Braves not making the post-season, would you still feel the same way. I know that it is not as binary as this, but if you were offered “Heyward plays every day and the Braves don’t make the playoffs” vs. “Heyward does not play every day and the Braves do make the playoffs”, which one do you take? It sounds like a lot of you are pushing for option one, and all Curt and I (and some others) are asking is if that is really what you want. I don’t think any of us are suggesting that we think Georgie is more talented than Heyward.

    (I think Curt’s comment was referring to the elements of bad food referenced in Vinnie’s blog, not the quality of it.)

    Great blog as always, Vinnie.

  5. 5
    Chad Says:

    Braden- I’ve forgotten more about baseball than you will ever know so please spare me. I’d be thrilled if Heyward started reaching some of his potential. So far he hasn’t…. Period. You wanna see talent being realized at the big league level watch the Nats play so you can see Espinoza or Morse.
    I want Fredi to do what’s in the best interest of the Braves winning a championship, Braden.
    Good gracious, don’t waste my time dude.

  6. 6
    Chad Says:

    After getting in as a pinch runner and promptly getting picked off last night, Heyward gets the start tonight and goes DONUT for 5 with 3 K’s, stranding 5 baserunners.

  7. 7
    Chad Says:

    Don’t get e wrong fellas… I am rooting for Heyward to start performing but it is indefensible to advocate him starting over Constanza right now. Absolutely ridiculous.
    BTW… Another 3 hit night for Jose with another swipe.

  8. 8
    ham Says:

    As always, I am an idiot. I read this on my phone and thought that the first “Chad” was “Curt”. Therefore (like always) 90% of what I said didn’t make sense.

    I still think you play the hot hand and I still think Vinnie is the man.

    (I also still think that the personal attacks are better suited for other blogs.)

  9. 9
    Danny Says:

    Agreed Hammy! I think that this past week has been a much needed break for Heyward. Sounds like he’s been able to focus on the cage and getting his mechanics and timing back. He’ll definitely be starting every game in the playoffs.

  10. 10
    Vinnie Says:

    Whether this blog is an entertaining read or simply used for colon cleaning…doesn’t matter to me. Something a good “clearing out” helps me think better. Yes, Heyward wet the bed last night, but that’s the point. Any player needs consistent ABs to get out of slumps. Uggla wasn’t sat games at a time. While Constanza IS ‘makin’ it happen”, it can’t be long term. Eventually, rabbit’s feet, rainbows, throwing coins in fountains and 4 leaf clovers wears off. But don’t get me wrong, playing Heyward everyday is a hard stance to take. And we all pulled out hair out when Bobby Cox didn’t play the hot hand and didn’t sit struggling players. So maybe I’m wrong. But that happens so infreuqently, I just can’t see it.

  11. 11
    Royceb Says:

    Could not agree with the blog less. I bought the Heyward kool-aid like everyone else. I bought his tshirt and wore it proudly to the games. I still feel he has POTENTIAL to become a great baseball player if injuries don’t derail the train. It is very clear Heyward was brought up too soon. Another year in the minors would have done him good. You don’t play a .200 hitter over a .400 hitter over potential. Heyward should sit until Chipper needs resting then move Constanza to left and let him play.

    Am I the only one that notices how many fastballs right down the middle Heyward takes??? He has got to become more aggressive at the plate if he wants to succeed.

  12. 12
    Vinnie Says:

    Royceb, I agree with the fastballs. But if you think they should sit Heyward, I don’t want to hear a thing about Chipper. Any “Chipper’s so important to this team” people can’t say “sit Heyward because he’s not playing well”. Chipper needs a “rascal” wheel chair to get around and he’s NOT a solution to the Braves making the playoffs either. Every day that Chipper can’t play and sits in the dugout dreaming of deerstands and Adam LaRoche…he’s keeping the Braves from getting an everyday lineup together. So I’ll agree to bench Heyward if everyone else will agree that Chipper needs to sit as well.

  13. 13
    Curt Says:

    I’m just trying to figure out how I got dragged into all of this.

    For the record (and it’s on tape):

    1. I’m for playing the hot hand – this place being Constanza
    2. I’m hoping Chipper retires so we can start building for life without him
    3. My name is not now, nor will ever be Chad

  14. 14
    Braden Says:

    @10 Completely agree. Dale Murphy, Kelly Johnson, Andruw, were allowed to play out of slumps.

    @11 Heyward wasn’t brought up too soon. If he spends 2010 in AAA, the Braves don’t make the playoffs. I would say it was a great decision.

    @ 5 Actually Heyward’s talent WAS realized at the Big League level. You must have had amnesia in 2010. Talk to me in 10 years and we will see who had the best career out of Espinoza, Morse, and Heyward. This is baseball people, The hardest sport. Just look at Adam Dunn right now. Slumps happen. Don’t kill yourself over it. You people are bandwagoners.

  15. 15
    Jo-Bu Says:

    My biggest concern with Heyward is how consistently healthy he can stay. If he can stay in the lineup without being bothered by some nagging ache or even an injury and still play at a high level, then he’ll be that projected superstar that we all think he can be. History is littered with super-special talent that never could stay healthy enough.

  16. 16
    Chad Says:

    Constanza goes 3-3 with another run scored and RBI. Heyward with another 0-4.

    If Heyward realized his potential at the big league level in 2010 then he’ll struggle to put up similar numbers as Wally Joyner.

    Braden, you don’t know anything to call anyone here a bandwagon jumper. You my friend need to take a look in the rearview the mirror… and see yourself driving that Jason Heyward bandwagon in the opposite direction of ATLANTA BRAVES success. Get over yourself kid. Didn’t I tell you to stop wasting my time?????

    You can keep riding that horse that’s running like a dog. I take the thoroughbred who is actually producing.

    I’m through with you son…. you’re boring.

  17. 17
    Braden Says:

    LOL. Be my guest and put your Constanza poster on your wall. If you can find one #Constanza stan.

    Thank God you aren’t a MLB scout. I must have hit a nerve with the bandwagoner comment. Maybe because its true. Let me guess, did you become a Braves fan after the 1995 season.

  18. 18
    Chad Says:


  19. 19
    Dan Says:

    Heyward was overhyped. The media anointed him before he did anything. Now the pressure coupled with injury has really set him back.

  20. 20
    Dan Says:

    Btw, Uggla stayed in the lineup while struggling because he is the best option defensively at second, but mostly because it would make the front office look bad to pay him big money and then bench him. Oh yeah, and because he is a proven big leaguer. Heyward is not.

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