Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former player: “I told him, ‘Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?’ He said, ‘Coach, I don’t know and I don’t care.’”
Welcome to the Brave new world and a 1-6 homestand. Pete Van Wieren was wondering aloud if the finale against the Giants featured one of the smallest crowds in Turner Field history. Add to that, the complete lack of pride that seems to be playing out on the field. Monday’s game featured one of our better starters, Jorge Campillo, and a virtually complete lineup, sans Matt Diaz, who apparently isn’t playing again this year, and the long since departed Mark Teixeira. It also came against a gentleman who was leading the league in losses – one Barry Zito. The result? An all too familiar 7-hit shutout. Oh, and Jeff Francoeur hit into a bases loaded fielder’s choice (that makes 3-25, for those of you keeping track at home). Oh, the humanity.
Yesterday’s game also saw Omar Infante lose track of the number of outs and Brian McCann lose track of the pitch count while he was catching! All this left the AJC’s Carroll Rogers waxing poetic about the Braves of the 90s. That would be 1990, when the Braves finished a blistering 67-95. Yikes. Charlie Morton apparently can’t win at home – I sense a problem here – and frankly neither can the team. Remember when the Braves were clipping along with the best home record in baseball, while failing to win on the road? The sense was that this would all even out in the long run and right itself appropriately. So, it evened out alright. The Braves are 9-23 with a 5.48 ERA at home since June 6. They’ve won two home games in a row once since then. They have the worst ERA in the NL since the All Star break, behind the likes of Cincinnati and Washington, by a half run. They scored 22 runs during this last homestand, 11 of which came in one game. 7 more came in a loss to the Cubs. That leaves four runs in the other five games. Losing to the Cubs is no great crime. Getting embarrassed by them is. Losing 3 of 4 to one of the worst teams in baseball, who came in losing 7 of 8, is another matter. The Braves are awful. There is no getting around it. As I have been writing they have given up 5 runs in the 8th to lose to the Mets. Just awful.
Baltimore, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Francisco – the dregs of the league. Some of the worst franchises in sport. All teams that currently have virtually the same record as your Atlanta Braves. The depth to which this team has fallen is really staggering. Even CC Sabathia can’t save these guys. Maybe Chuck Tanner and Bruce Benedict can. Rick Camp? Roland Office? Anyone?