September 12, 2010

Show #125: No Longer Atop the NL East

The re-emergence of Nate McLouth.  The decline of the starting pitching.  And following the team day to day.



85 Responses to “Show #125: No Longer Atop the NL East”

  1. 1
    Curt Says:

    We have offically depressed everyone into a stupor.

    On a positive note, everyone should check out the Dawes and their album North Hills. From the limited knowledge of some musical tastes out there, I think everyone would enjoy it.

  2. 2
    Mara Wanna Says:

    Curt, haven’t had time to listen.

    Tonight’s lineup (7:10, SportSouth): Infante – 4 Heyward – 9 Prado – 5 McCann – 2 Lee – 3 McLouth – 8 Gonzalez – 6 Diaz – 7 Lowe – 1

  3. 3
    Steve Says:

    Hey Mara – then completely disregard Curt’s comment. The show is an absolute ray of sunshine.

    Here’s my pop culture recommendation for the day: The Other Guys (the cop comedy with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg). Damn funny. And not oppressively stupid like a lot of Will Ferrell vehicles. I’m not saying you should run out tonight and catch it in the theatre, but it is absolutely worth a rental.

  4. 4
    Mara Wanna Says:

    Steve, the Rev and I have been wanting to see that. I could use a ray of sunshine. A kid in our church was murdered two years ago and the trial is this week. Heavy.

  5. 5
    Bub Says:

    I’ll check out “The Other Guys.” I was already a little interested.

    Pop Culture Rec’s? I wanna play! Five at random:

    1. Frost/Nixon
    2. Good Night and Good Luck
    3. Seasame Street “40 Years of Sunny Days” (2 DVD compilation)
    4. Yo Yo Ma’s “Appalachian Waltz”
    5. (Raising Arizona meets John Prine)

    (The creator of #5 tells me his mood was trapped between making a spoof and being serious and thus the tone suffers, but he assures me the Coen Brothers have the same problem,)

  6. 6
    Bub Says:

    I’m with Curt, and I’m not basing it on one game or series, cuz I haven’t been watching any. But the pitchers are giving up a lot of runs, the offense is still plenty bad, the Phillies are good at both more nights than not.

    The upcoming road trip is going to knock the Braves out of the Wild Card lead.

  7. 7
    Mara Wanna WS Win Says:

    Awe…sad. After reading #6 do I even want to listen?

  8. 8
    Curt Says:

    #5 has a copyright block on it now.

  9. 9
    Curt Says:

    Why is it that the Marlins only give us fits. The Phils beat them like a redheaded stepchild, seemingly every game.

  10. 10
    Bub Says:

    Copyright block? Not when I click on it. Oh well.

  11. 11
    Steve Says:

    Bub – I get the following message on that link: This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.

    Lowe is a stud and our best pitcher all of the sudden. Which I’m not saying is a good thing. But damn he was dominating tonight. Still very much in it, people.

    Bub – I loved Frost/Nixon as well. I always intended to rent Good Night …, I will do it.

  12. 12
    Curt Says:

    Good Nihht is brilliant. Back when the news meant something.

  13. 13
    Bub Says:

    Yeah, Steve, do get GNAGL. There’s this slightly unnecessary featuring of a jazz singer between the scenes, but aside from that it’s an absolute masterpiece. Wonderfully cast small roles from R Downey Junior, Frank Langella (who plays Nixon in F/N), Jeff Daniels, and some other faces you’ve seen here and there in smart movies. Clooney’s great as usual, and David Straithern(sp?), who I loved in Eight Men Out and always wanted to see him get a leading role, really nailed the Murrow part. It’s more than an impersonation, but it definitely includes impersonation, and a good one.

    One of the cleverest things they did was to use only real footage of McCarthy himself, and it’s seamlessly executed. The acting is subtle times ten. Let me know what you think. Unless you hated it. If you hate it, just tell me lies.

  14. 14
    Jess Says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast, even during our 9 game losing streak but at this point it is really a complete downer. We have played poorly but I have faith in this team to make that push and finish this season off on a good note. Now that things have gotten worse we seem to have lost a few things that made this podcast entertaining: witty humor, consistent segments and talking with any shred of optimism about our Atlanta braves. This has been replaced with sheer nonsense about college football, what we had for dinner last night and pessimism, pessimism and more pessimism. The thirty or so minutes seem forced and so little of it is about the Atlanta Braves. Stick to your guns or shut it down and let some true Braves fans host this podcast.

  15. 15
    Mara Wanna Says:

    DON’T SHUT IT DOWN! What would I DO? Still haven’t been able to listen but will soon. I wish I was as optimistic about the team as Jess. Even with last night’s win hope seems hard to come by.

  16. 16
    Steve Says:

    Jess – I think you should absolutely start your own Braves podcast. The more of us the better.

  17. 17
    Nate Says:

    I actually enjoyed the show. It was very cathartic for me, especially considered the way our team played last week. You beat Carpenter, but you can’t beat Lohse, Burress, or that other no name in Pittsburgh. Listening to it is like atoning for the sins of bad baseball. It makes you shred the thought of “Oh, we’re only 1 game out” and think about the fact that we blew a 7 game lead and are now treading water in the East while hotter teams nip at our heels in a Wild Card race.
    I thought there were good segments on whether or not Bobby deserves credit for McLouth, which he doesn’t, and the worry over our starting pitching is necessary at this point. Huddy has had 3 stinkers in a row, JJ has really struggled, and Minor looks like a rookie with a lot of talent but an equal amount of inexperience. The show had some very funny moments. The line about Ankiel striking out on deck was brilliant. Steve remained the voice of optimism, and Curt and Ham sounded like 2 people who have been forced by their fandom to experience the Braves for the past 2 months. What more do you want? We dropped out of first and finished a 2-7 stretch on the road. Tell me if I missed something for the guys to be optimistic about. We’re being sandwiched by 2 races where the teams around us are playing much better, and we have 9 road games left.

  18. 18
    Kate Says:

    Braves lineup: 1. Infante 2B, 2. Heyward RF, 3. Prado 3B, 4. McCann C, 5. Lee 1B, 6. McLouth CF, 7. Gonzalez SS, 8. Diaz LF, 9. Jurrjens P

  19. 19
    Steve Says:

    I really like this lineup, by the way. I am STILL a proponent of letting Diaz be our everyday left fielder. With the whole unlikely Nate resurgence (which I still find unfathomable, by the way), let’s just use Melky sparingly and Ankiel only as a pinch runner and go with this. Who’s with me?!?!?!?

  20. 20
    Curt Says:

    Good news is that Johan Santana and Josh Johnson are shut down for the year. Bad news is that Scott Olsen and Andrew Miller are not.

  21. 21
    Bub Says:

    Jess, the little red “X” in the top right had corner of your screen will adjust the podcast to your liking.

  22. 22
    Bub Says:

    *or top right HAND. Depending on your operating system.

  23. 23
    Will Says:

    I’m in Chicago Thursday, Friday, and Saturday..
    …just on the random chance anybody will be there..
    …or wants to know more about a machine tool trade show
    …or robots

  24. 24
    Danny Says:

    Where is SuperNate when you need him?

  25. 25
    Nate Says:

    Just got home. Livan Ruth? Who knew?

  26. 26
    Nate Says:

    This sucks. I hate you Farnsworth. Have since 2005. Probably will from here on. Thanks.

  27. 27
    Bub Says:

    Who is the last true impact player the Braves have acquired? Javy Vazquez? We’ve seen a bunch of new Braves since he came (and went). And let’s face it, Javy had a career year or we’d have to go further back.

  28. 28
    Nate Says:

    Dear Braves, you might want to swing if it’s close with this ump. The Nats have figured this out. See if you can do the same. Thanks.

  29. 29
    Nate Says:

    When J-Hey dropped that ball, did anyone else see KK’s interpreter clap in the bullpen?

  30. 30
    Nate Says:

    Are you kidding?

  31. 31
    Curt Says:

    Phils #3: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K
    Our #2: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

  32. 32
    Nate Says:

    I don’t know what’s more disappointing, JJ’s performance or our offense’s performance against Livan?

  33. 33
    Nate Says:

    Go Dodgers, is this what it’s come to…

  34. 34
    Steve Says:

    Re #29 – I saw that as well. I think he thought Heyward caught the ball. Got to be.

    The playing below .500 ball is depressing enough. Giving up homers to opposing pitchers is pushing me over the edge.

  35. 35
    Nate Says:

    That makes sense. I did not see the whole play. I looked up to see the drop and the interpreter clap. I tend to look away when guys like Pujols, Howard, or Dunn come up against us. I used to do the same for Bonds in his day as well. Those guys will always kill us. You can put Uggla on that list, too.

  36. 36
    Nate Says:

    This team is a nightmare. A Nat just got his first hit of the year. It was a grand slam.

  37. 37
    Kate Says:

    My hope meter is broken.

  38. 38
    Nate Says:

    Did anyone else just hear that Omar is batting .354 since he’s been starting everyday? Ridiculous that he only got a starting gig because Chipper went down.

  39. 39
    Nate Says:

    I think we used up all of our luck during that 99 game stint in 1st. Deflected double play with RISP, Jason getting hit by that ball, a questionable K-zone in the bottom of the 2nd, Gonzo not being able to get to that liner… what has happened to this team? BTW, we’ve now been shutout in 18 straight innings by the Natinals pitching.

  40. 40
    Curt Says:

    Who came in losing 6 in a row before yesterday.

  41. 41
    Nate Says:

    That was obviously not Maxwell’s first hit of the year. I hope Chip retires after this year too. When he said “Maxwell House, good to the last pot” after that kid’s slam, I was hoping someone might walk in the booth and beat the crap out of him on the air. Maybe we can pay the organ player to do it?

  42. 42
    Curt Says:

    If the Nats win today they win the season series in Atlanta. Point to that when you don’t make the playoffs.

  43. 43
    Nate Says:

    The guys don’t know they just got 3 outs. WTF, guys? It is painfully obvious that these guys aren’t focused. If only we had a manager willing to do something about that. This is why players love Bobby. He will literally let them show up and just go through the motions, as long as they are on time to the park, are friends with one another, and show a robotic demeanor on the field.

  44. 44
    Curt Says:

    2nd and 3rd, no outs and all we can do is score a run on a ground out. We have 5 extra base hits? Maybe 4? and 1 run.

  45. 45
    Curt Says:

    Braves have won one road series post All Star break. that’s a great stat.

  46. 46
    Nate Says:

    Geez, did Wriggleman attend the LaRussa School for Slowing Down a Game?

  47. 47
    Bub Says:

    That soft line-out by Heyward was … irrelevant.

  48. 48
    Nate Says:

    Bub, awesome.

  49. 49
    Nate Says:

    We’re really gonna leave Venters in???

  50. 50
    Nate Says:

    Wow, Zimmerman just did the Braves a huge favor by swinging at that pitch.

  51. 51
    Ham Says:

    Wow – you guys are so negative. Where are the true Braves’ fans?

  52. 52
    Anonymous Says:

    The Braves on field play has murdered all of them.

  53. 53
    Curt Says:

    So the Phils are going to pitch Oswalt on 4 days rest this weekend to set up Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt for both Braves series (if necessary). Bobby’s response? Nothing. Status quo. Minor will get the middle game in Philly.

  54. 54
    Steve Says:

    Yeah – and JJ gets the first start in Philly.

    I’m frustrated by it too. But it ain’t the Bobby way. It’s like his crazy Sunday lineups – these guys are all professionals and they should be able to win, regardless of who we throw out there.

    The post season opportunity is slipping away. These games should be managed differently, like it’s the post season. But, Bobby doesn’t manage post season games differently, hence no change in the rotation.

  55. 55
    Bub Says:

    If I was actually watching/listening to these games all the way through, I would need prescription medication by now.

    I want to say, “Well, this is what we get with Bobby Cox, and it’s fitting for it to end this way instead of solidifying what’s already a false legacy…”

    However, this is Wren/Liberty’s doing as much as Bobby’s. Though, I have to take note of this, because, Curt if I remember it right, this kind of proves you wrong on one sentiment: some of this is owed to the sorry Atlanta attendance. You said (IIRC) “if we build it, they will come.” But the Braves were in first place for 3 months, and the Ted was half empty.

    If not for the unusual luck of graduating Hanson, Venters, Medlen, and Heyward in back to back years, AND getting a month of MVP play from the scrap heap (Glaus), this team would be nowhere. As it is, it’s still not enough.

    We don’t show up to games.
    We don’t spend money on talent.
    We aren’t managed well.

    And only one of those is going to change next year.

  56. 56
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    I just listened to the podcast.
    Well, you guys better get working on what you are going to do for 20 minutes a podcast once you don’t have Bobby to bash next year…

    As for what Bobby thinks and how he manages, EVERYTHING is based on a rather “pessimistic slant”. Yeah, right, Bobby just get lucky sometimes on his decisions… That’s how the Braves won 14 straight…

    Reminds me of Christoph saying to Truman “I’ve watched you your whole life. I know you better than you know yourself”. To which Truman replies “You NEVER had a camera in my head!”

    Do I think he is always right? No. Might not be the way I would manage if I were there. However, I am honest and realistic enough to know that he has probably FORGOTTEN more than I will ever know about baseball. For Hamilton and Curt to say that you are smarter than Bobby when it comes to baseball?!?!?!

    Podcaster please! The only thing that is a shame about that, is that you weren’t kidding!

    Nate’s play should show you how fine a line it is between doing well and not doing well in MLB. A small suggestion or two from Chipper and he is smacking the ball again. (Yet, of course, as has been your MO since I have been listening, you are waiting for him to fail).

    Lowe was doing pretty well against everyone else, but he was 0-9 against the Nats. He goes and talks to Roger for a little while, makes a small change in his approach and he dominates them.

    My guess as to why Bobby tends to stick with veterans: They have proven they can play. They know what it is like to have success at the major league level. They know they can play here.

    Rookies can have all sorts of issues: thinking they have to play better than what got them there, worrying about being sent back if they don’t perform, if they get off to a slow start is there something they need to change, etc. With veterans, they have success in the past to look back to (i.e. video from when they did well).

    The Jason Heyward interview. The pessimistic slant again (wow, you were fast to put a “beat down” on him).

    I think you hit it on the head Steve when you said he was guarded with the media. You have to know, if he said “Yes, it is feeling better” some journalist would have written that the reason he was having trouble earlier was his thumb – even though that isn’t what he said.

    What was he supposed to say? Most anything could be interpreted as him saying something he didn’t: “I am not going to use it as an excuse” – it contributed to my troubles, “It is not an issue” – it is better now or it was an issue before, etc. “ Irrevelent” just stops the conversation without any implications. (That first question may have made it wary about the rest of them, also).

    I think he has seen “hyped” guys hit the major leagues before and get themselves in trouble with their mouth. He plays the game the right way. He has had a couple of things (flipping the bat in front of the umps on outs he didn’t agree with), but overall he has been fine. If you look at the interviews after Braves’ games with JJ, you hear the same type of stuff. The attitude of “it isn’t about me, it is about the team” and there seems to be where he tries to go all the time. (IMHO)

  57. 57
    Bub Says:

    “[Bobby Cox] has probably FORGOTTEN more than I will ever know about baseball.”

    I’m afraid that’s the trouble.

  58. 58
    Bub Says:

    It’s an illusion that managers know more about the game than hard core fans. Of course they know more about some aspects, but they are actually at a disadvantage in some ways. They’re too close. This has been seen time and again.

    It’s not (just) arrogance that makes arm-chair fans think they know a shot better than a manager. Time after time after time after time we Braves fans have watched Bobby abuse bullpen arms, and known exactly when it would blow up, and sat by helplessly while it did indeed blow up.

    Chavez in the pen out of Spring Training and McLouth hitting lead-off were two Bobby choices almost universally damned by the fan base, and guess what? The fans were right and Bobby was dead wrong.

    Or if you want proof from something simpler: Bobby doesn’t know reverse splits. He’ll put in a LHP to face a lefty that has a reverse split 10 times a year. There’s no getting around this. These are the facts:

    1. The RHP that was in was doing fine. Cruising.
    2. The LHP that went in only went in to face the one LH batter.
    3. The LH batter had a reverse split.

    You can’t get around that. The fans knew it. Bobby didn’t. They’re not perfect just because they’ve been doing it a long time.

    And PLEASE don’t give me that about 14 straight division runs. Maddux. Smoltz. Glavine. Do you understand just how incredible that is? Name 3 hall of fame pitchers from any era. Go ahead, do it. Now imagine they all played on one team.

  59. 59
    Ham Says:

    Just for the record, Mark – we said we felt smarter about Bobby “in that particular situation” (the playing of McLouth). I don’t think for a second that I am a smarter baseball person than Bobby. There are just times . . .

    Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

  60. 60
    Bub Says:

    Now, if you people are going to be all balanced and friendly, I’m going home.

  61. 61
    Curt Says:

    Have no fear Bub. I’m still doing it.

  62. 62
    Nate Says:

    Yeah, if you guys did a show where all of you were completely optimistic and agreed on everything, then, wow, that just sounds boring. What team have these ABT naysayers been watching?

  63. 63
    Anne Says:

    Hey, you know what was great? Montreal and Quebec City. What’d I miss? When I left town, we were in 1st place…surely it can’t be all THAT bad…

    Joking – I know what’s up. Steve & Curt will be saddest to hear: I did NOT buy post-season tickets. Even though I’d get my money back…fool me once…

  64. 64
    Curt Says:

    A wise choice Anne. Unless you also had Giants tickets.

  65. 65
    Steve Says:

    I’m glad we’re firing people up. It’s not some contrived, manipulated move on our parts, so I’m happy for the dialogue. And, bottom line, it comes down to difference of opinion and one’s particular brand of fanaticism. These last few weeks (the team is 6 – 9 in September) have been tortuous to the three of us. But that’s our relationship to the team and how we follow them. There are lots of others out there who look at the standings and satisfied with where the team is and are sure a big turn around will start with the next game.

    Regarding Bobby, he’s polarizing. Not much more to say on that. But I will step off the high road for a minute and mention that on our mid-season show, where we discussed team MVP, we all discussed Bobby as deserving of the award.

  66. 66
    Steve Says:

    This is funny:

  67. 67
    Curt Says:

    To your point Bub, I am surprised that attendance wasn’t better. Not only were you in first place, you had the best home record in baseball. I know attendance was up this year, and I’m hoping that our playoff crowds will be huge.

    So I have no idea. I just can’t go with the “Atlanta fans suck” meme. I don’t believe that. Never will.

  68. 68
    Steve Says:

    Alright, people. It’s do or die time, here. Got to get off to a good start, take advantage of the woeful Mets and get some road-swagger going. It is time.

  69. 69
    Steve Says:

    LINE UP: Infante – 4 Heyward – 9 Prado – 5 Lee – 3 McCann – 2 Diaz – 7 Gonzalez – 6 Cabrera – 8 Hanson – 1

    I know it’s a lefty, but I kinda hate not having McLouth in there. And two seconds after writing that previous sentence, I was struck by lightning.

  70. 70
    Bub Says:

    I don’t think “Atlanta fans suck” either. (I really don’t think Americans are that different from region to region, and I’ve lived in quite a few of them). I’m just pointing to the fact that whatever weird confluence of traffic/ghetto/football/school/fan displacement/etc all equals out to a half empty field for a ball team, it doesn’t change much in Atlanta according to team performance.

    In the long run, which do you think is more likely true:

    a. If we build it, they will come, or

    b. If they come, we will build it.

    I think we can rule out “a” pretty well now. We built it. They watched it on tv. And without “a,” we can’t find the answer to “b.”

    In short, it’s not going to happen, period. The Ted isn’t going to become a regular sell-out ever. For three months, during a HOF coach’s swan song season, the Braves were in first place and playing ridiculously great at home, and the attendance showed modest increases over last year’s crapfest. Move the thing out of the ghetto or make it smaller. Something.

  71. 71
    Ham Says:

    Is it too early or too ridiculous to ask if Torre is contention for replacing Bobby. News out of LA is that Mattingly with replace him there next year. I remember hearing that Joe would probably not come back unless it was with the Dodgers, but you never know.

    Would we want him?

  72. 72
    Bub Says:

    In the clubhouse,

    Chipper: Bobby’s out!

    Bullpen in unison: HURRAYYYYY!

    Chipper: Torre’s in!

    Bullpen in unison: AWWWWWWW NAWWW!!!!

  73. 73
    Steve Says:

    #72 – Very funny.

    Ham, I realize it’s probably crazy, but I’m solely focused on Fredi. I want him here. This team is only getting younger. There’s a bunch of guys from Latin America. I realize that Joe’s forgotten more baseball than Fredi’s ever known, but I think Fredi’s the best man for the job.

  74. 74
    Curt Says:

    Amazing how many people have forgotten more baseball than others will ever know.

    Bub, I think diminishing the size of the park is a good start. It’s a big place and it hurts the team that they can pull in 40k and it looks empty. I know this will signal some sort of defeatism, but I think it’s the most logical solution. I think if you move the team to the suburbs you lose the spirit of the team. Baseball belongs in the city.

  75. 75
    Steve Says:

    What a great, great win tonight. While, of course, I’d rather Tommy had gone out and thrown 7 shut out innings, maybe it’s better in the end that we had to come back on the road to start this trip. I like it from a mental/momentum stand point.

  76. 76
    Will Says:

    ….i think i said it already a few months ago…its the economy. Going to the baseball game is disposable income…first thing that goes in a recession. which isnt over by a long shot. and the long laundry list of other junk special to atlanta – location, parking, ghetto

    only Curt would go to the games and not pay his mortgage or buy toys for his kids

  77. 77
    Bub Says:

    Will, does Philadelphia have its own economy?

  78. 78
    Steve Says:

    How about McLouth? It continues to stagger me what a turnaround he’s had. I’m starting to feel all funny in my hope meter right now.

  79. 79
    Bub Says:

    Steve, that’ll pass. It’s gonna get ugly in Pennsylvania.

  80. 80
    Mara Wanna Says:

    Howdy folks. Steve, the radio guys said Chipper’s been helping Nate in the batting cages. Telling him to try and hit the ball through the fence instead of over it. This could very well be old news…I’m way outta the loop. In any case, fire TP!

  81. 81
    Will Says:

    Its a bit unfair to compare Atl with Philly as we have nothing but sucked and they are coming off multiple WS appearances. Interested in Atl vs Phil attendance nos in 1997 Or so. Prob much better, no?

  82. 82
    Curt Says:

    1997 was the first year at Turner Field, and you are coming off two WS appearances, so you might get a big bump there, but attendance that year was nearly 3.5 million. Biggest year for attendance for the Braves was 1993 at 3.88 million.

    In 97 the Phils had just south of 1.5 MM fans. Their biggest year was last year, also after two WS appearances, and it was 3.8 MM.

  83. 83
    Steve Says:

    Bub – I hear ya. But we could also get dominant starts out of JJ and Hanson in games 1 and 3 (my faith in Minor is plummeting, and I know it’s just been a couple of bad innings for him, but…) and that could reshape the whole series. The Braves offense can show up. They can produce. And they seem to get up for the stud pitchers more than the middling or crappy ones.

    I’m not saying it will happen, but these last two games have heartened me enough to believe it could.

  84. 84
    Bub Says:

    We swept on the road? To (mis)quote Mr. Griswold, “I couldn’t be more surprised if I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sewn to the carpet.”

    Will, I guess you have a point about the Philly attendance. How is Atlanta doing compared with other new first placers, the Reds, Padres (as was), Rangers? (Not rhetorical: I don’t know.)

    I went and watched the Heyward homer off the do-hickey in Citi. Yowzers. It looked like the thing JUST started getting into its flight pattern as it left the yard! It’s amazing how his “irrelevant” comment sounded milder and milder as the ball flew on.

  85. 85
    Steve Says:

    Alright folks. New show in about 30 – 60 minutes. Big interview with Ernie Johnson and lots of stuff on the past week.

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