Hello, my name is Matt, and I am STILL a Braves fan. It has been another long New York winter that has helped Pfizer stock rise. The reporting of pitchers and catchers to Disney World couldn’t come soon enough so I can stop watching Winter League games on MLB Network—with our old pal Vinny Castilla playing for Mexico! He is 42 years old but still has the same semi-mullet hairdo and crouched stance. I felt like something was right with the universe watching him repeatedly swing and miss at 88 MPH fastballs.
Another… well interesting, offseason for the Braves started with the signing of veteran closer Billy Wagner. I cheered louder than anyone when Wagner blew save after save in big sports for the Mets, but now that he is a Brave, I can finally take my ‘Exit Sandman’ NY Daily News back page off my office wall. I actually like the Wagner signing. He will finally provide a (somewhat) stable force in the 9th inning; something the Braves haven’t had since Smoltz closed a few years back.
I wasn’t as thrilled though with the signing of Takashi Saito which came a few days later. This makes the back-end of the bullpen a combined 79-years-old—and something that doesn’t let me sleep at night. Well, at least the whole -soap opera thing that happened last season with Peavey, Griffey, Glavine and Smoltz is through, right?
Ugh…enter the Derek Lowe saga. He was going to be traded; not a question of if, but when. We all know how this worked out, and I feel bad for Javy Vasquez. He’s not poised to have an enjoyable season his second tour in the Bronx. After the dust settles, it’s a potentially a good deal for the Braves. Potentially. Melky Cabrera is not nearly enough for Vazquez, but if Arodys Vizcaino lives up to his potential; it may just be a steal. By adding Vizcaino, the Braves have a trio of 19-year old pitchers (Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado) who could once again give the Braves a dominant, home-grown rotation. From what the Yankee fans up here tell me, Melky will be solid and give the Braves outfield depth—and hey, he’s a better fielder than Garret Anderson…of course so is Stephen Hawking.
I was close, very close, to guzzling a case of Nyquil to hibernate through the rest of winter…then finally…FINALLY came the news that the Braves had landed the big-time right-handed power bat they were looking for……Troy Glaus. Really?! I thought I’d woken from a really long dream and it was 2001 but no….the Nyquil case was intact and I was holding out hope that the Braves might still get another Yankee outfielder……Eric Hinske!
Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps the toll off-season drama has on me can easily be avoided if I just had something else to do. Maybe I need a hobby—I should start wildling…I’d probably cut myself, giving Pfizer more money… that’s no good. Well, I will work on that as I wait for spring games to begin. Hey, at least we had a better off-season than Tiger Woods!
Sure, Glaus has been a solid hitter and 3B in the past, but that was the past. Now, he will be at 1B—a position he has only played for about 15 minutes in his life and will (most likely) serve as the Braves cleanup hitter. Sure, the Braves got him on the cheap, and if he does pan out it will a top signing of the off-season, but that’s a big IF!
Just before the spring, when my baseball jones becomes too strong, I have to break out my baseball DVDs to get a fix. Nothing rivals Ken Burns’ Baseball, but it got me thinking of the best baseball movies of all time. Here’s my top ten list:
10. The Slugger’s Wife (the only reason being he was a Brave…terrible movie)
8. Eight Men Out
7. Bad News Bears
6. The Sandlot
5. Major League
4. The Natural
3. A League of Their Own
2. Bull Durham
1. Field of Dreams
I swear it’s just a coincidence that Kevin Costner is in both top two. I don’t think I’ve ever (thankfully) seen anything else he has been in (and notice For the Love of the Game is nowhere to be seen on my list). I’m sure there are a number of movies left off that many could argue for, so feel free to correct my rankings/post yours in the comments section.
Finally, when will the Johnny Damon talk end? Sure, it would be great to have a proven leadoff hitter and a great clubhouse guy, but there comes a time when one has to move on. The Braves did the right thing by offering Damon a 1-year deal, showing they were at least interested and willing to finally spend that extra $5 Million. I can’t see Damon accepting the Braves offer now that the Tigers and White Sox have offered him more money and an extra year (by Detroit). Like him or not, you’ve got to give Scott Boras credit. He gets players the best deals possible. Of course, like last season, it will come at the Braves’ expense. All in all, this means that Mr. Jason Heyward will have an opportunity to begin the season as the Braves’ starting RF—something much more exciting than Johnny Damon, Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske combined!
Follow me on Twitter @ BRAVEinNY.
Until Next time…Go Braves!