March 13, 2011

Show #138: Our Interview with David O’Brien

We sit down with the man, the myth, to discuss team chemistry, Bobby, Nate, and KK



61 Responses to “Show #138: Our Interview with David O’Brien”

  1. 1
    Nate Says:

    Awesome interview, guys. I just read FOS’s article on Ramirez. He sounds like he could be a great addition off the bench. I love Brooksy, but I’m leaning towards Diory in that battle.

  2. 2
    brandon Says:

    Hey guys great interview. I’m kind of thinking right now Ramirez and Lucas. However I personally hope Conrad.

  3. 3
    Nate Says:

    Beachy had a good day. Minor is having a good day. This fifth starter thing is a great problem to have. I think Minor has the edge. The team would be better with Minor starting and Beachy as a Medlen-sub, imo. We’ll need both guys.

  4. 4
    Nate Says:

    KK is in. we should see some runs now.

  5. 5
    Nate Says:

    And there’s a dinger for Holliday.

  6. 6
    brandon Says:

    Yea I agree nate minor is my choice for the 5th starter.

  7. 7
    Curt Says:

    I have no clue on the bench. Ramirez has been great. Conrad has been awful, but DOB seems to think that Conrad’s power and late inning heroics will win out. Seems like his complete inability to play in the field would hurt him. Diory has been solid and has shown that he can play 2nd, so that helps. Lucas has been a great surprise. Mather has been pretty lame, but it seems like his versatility is a real key for him. No clue.

    Great start for Minor, though. KK wasn’t terrible, if we are simply looking at his value. Giving up a homer to Holliday does not make you a bum. Going 1-10 makes you a bum. But props to the guy for being able to perform now a couple of times when his country has had an apocalyptic disaster happen to it. Can’t help but think he is a little distracted.

  8. 8
    Steve Says:

    Curt – you’re weirding me out with you level headed sympathy for KK. But it’s a great point.

    KK looked very average today. And had trouble finding the strikezone at times but he did make an AMAZING catch of a line drive straight at his head and then, without hesitation, made a laser throw to third, almost doubling a guy off. It was a great sequence.

    I know people have said it before, but the sea of red that are Cardinals fans at a baseball game is nothing but impressive. There were about 100 Braves fans there with us today.

  9. 9
    Walker Says:

    As far as bench options, im going with ramirez and hernadez. However where is our 2nd left handed bat off the bench? Do we need one? Maybe this will help Conrad’s case.



  10. 10
    Curt Says:

    Surely there is no way Proctor is making this team, right?

  11. 11
    Kate Says:

    All 3 of his runs were unearned today.

  12. 12
    Curt Says:

    Yes Kate. Thanks. I just read that. Was in a meeting and missed the game and just looked boxscore. Shame on me.

    But he isn’t making this team, is he?

    Oh, the defense

  13. 13
    TooSlim73 Says:

    DOB, said Latinos and Anglos…

    LoL …nice.

  14. 14
    Steve Says:

    Curt, I’d say no way on Proctor. I realize that his bad inning started with Freeman’s errors and the runs were unearned, but he still looked awful today. Bad commaand and balls hit squarely. Not a great combo.

  15. 15
    Kate Says:

    Today’s game against the Red Sox is on ESPN.

    Didn’t we all think there was no chance guys like Acosta, Chavez, and Jo Jo would make the team? Until the roster is set I’m going to assume the worst and expect Proctor to make the team.

  16. 16
    Anne Says:

    TooSlim – I was expecting “white guys” and was pleasantly surprised to hear “anglos,” too!

  17. 17
    Curt Says:

    Not a lot of African American guys on the team this year, are there? 1? Is that right?

  18. 18
    Curt Says:

    McLouth getting some love from CBS Sportsline as a fantasy sleeper.

  19. 19
    Steve Says:

    Yeah. J-Hey.

  20. 20
    brandon Says:

    Hey guys anybody else starting to be concerned about J-Hey’s back? A bad back is not a good thing for a hitter.

  21. 21
    Anne Says:

    McCann’s gonna have to name is first child Luis. Poor, poor guy.

  22. 22
    Curt Says:

    brandon, yes.

  23. 23
    Nate Says:

    #22, ditto. #21, ditto.

    As for J-Hey, I know it’s Spring Training, but the guy is what, 21,22. There always seems to be something going on with him, and for a guy his age it should be a major concern. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have if you can’t get on the field. Yes, it is only Spring Training, but this was a pretty big issue last year, as well. When he’s hurt his performance drops off significantly. What’s the point of playing through an injury if you look lost in the field and struggle at the plate? And Braves’ players have a knack for playing through injuries and hurting the team. That’s why I don’t buy the “if it were the season he would play” approach to the injury issue. When it’s the season and Braves’ players play through injuries they usually don’t perform well. Fact. See Schafer, Mac, Heyward last year, Glaus, Chipper (multiple examples here), McLouth, Hudson pre TJ surgery, JJ last year, and the list could go on and on.

  24. 24
    Nate Says:

    I just read the update from the ajc. Thoughts and prayers with the Salazar family.

  25. 25
    Steve Says:

    No doubt, the Heyward stuff is worrisome. And his swing is so violent that it seems to invite this kind of thing.

    First and foremost, I feel terrible for Luis Salazar and losing his eye. But I’ve got to add that, in the most selfish way, I’m worried about this affecting Mac.

  26. 26
    brandon Says:

    Omg sherril again with a bad outting. Horrible pick up.

  27. 27
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    I have great fear how Brian McCann will be affected this year by the injury to Luis Salazar.

    McCann was “shaken” by the event and left the game immeaditely following the at bat. Now that Salazar has lost an eye, I think it might hit McCann even harder…

  28. 28
    Kate Says:

    I was listening to the ESPN baseball today podcast and one of the hosts (Keith Law) was killing Fredi for his decision to bat J-Hey 6th. His argument was that you don’t take 70 at bats away from your best hitter. Does anyone else feel this way?

  29. 29
    Curt Says:

    I agree with both of you. Beyond the baseball, you worry as a young man how it will impact him and his very promising career. I think of Dany Heatley and how, I think, his life and career were ruined by the crash that killed Dan Snyder. Heatley was so great and had so much in front of him and came off as such a likeable guy. Now he has jumped from team to team, has been rejected by fans in two cities where he formally played, and he has accomplished very little. It’s sad.

    On a more positive note, I read this article and it was really great. I know it isn’t baseball, but you get hope that all players aren’t self-serving jerks when you read something like this.

  30. 30
    Curt Says:

    Back to baseball, I looked at Sherrill’s line to see if it was maybe righties he had troubles with, hoping to be encouraged in the fact that he will be a situational guy when the season begins. No such luck. Righties, lefties, didn’t really matter.

  31. 31
    Steve Says:

    Kate, re #28: it depends on what you value most. OBP or RBI. It is true that Heyward was one of our best OBP guys last year. On the other hand, he can hit for power and drive guys in. I’m not wound up about it.

  32. 32
    Steve Says:

    From DOB: #Braves will start Lowe on opening day, followed by Hanson, Hudson and Jurrjens. Braves will skip 5th starter until April 6 at Milwaukee (6th game). Hudson starts home opener.

    Anyone care that Lowe gets start over Huddy? For the record, I don’t. Lowe finished the season our best starter. And I like the juggling that lands Hudson the home opener.

  33. 33
    brandon Says:

    I like heyward 6th for rbi’s and clutch hits he’ll probably slot into the 5th hole, after time maybe next year or the 3. As for Lowe as the #1 starter I like the rotation with huddy 3it balances out the rotation a little better.

  34. 34
    Leah Says:

    So I have been refreshing the screen from #137 over and over and over again wondering why no one is chatting. It’s Spring Training for the love of baseball! And here you all are. Yes, I’m worried about Mac as well. Hopefully Luis will callbhim in and give him the ole ‘such is life’ speech’, slap his behind and tell him to get out there and play ball!

    Sherrill…I don’t wanna talk about it.

  35. 35
    Tim in Orlando Says:

    “Sweet County Boy”

    Another great day at the ballpark, but hot. Biggest crowd of the year – 11,000+. Lots, and I mean lots, of Red Sox fans. Traffic getting into the complex was terrible. But I like the Sox fans a lot better than Yankee fans. It’s like Yankee fans tolerate non-Yankee fans in the stadium and don’t seem to understand why everybody’s not a Yankee fan. Sox fans just root for their guys. Like the Cardinal fans. For example, they gave Big Poppy a rousing cheer when he went out to shag fly balls before the game. Gene Garber took out the lineup card again today.

    Won’t go into too much detail on the game since it was on ESPN. Pitching, except for Sherrill, was excellent. Hanson just had the one bad pitch to Scutaro. Finishing his 5 inning effort by striking out the side was a nice touch. Linebrink, Moylan and O’Flaherty were rock-solid. The Sox had all their big guns in the lineup today except Carl Crawford so holding them to three runs in nine innings is a good sign.

    Interesting defensive positioning on Big Poppy’s at-bats (don’t know if the TV guys picked up on this?) We had the big shift on verses Ortiz – 3 infielders on the right side of the infield. But was what curious was that Fredi moved Chipper over into the 2nd baseman’s position leaving the Short Stop (Diore Hernandez) on the left side of the infield. Why? Less stress on Chipper’s knee to cover the large exposed area between 2nd & 3rd? Hmmmm?

    Good offense. Prado hit the ball solid all four at-bats. Chipper good day – 2 hits and great hustle from 2nd base to score on Mather’s single. Afraid Hinske was going to be the goat by leaving folks stranded at 3rd but he came thought with the big sacrifice fly to score a go-ahead run in the 5th inning. Loved the bunt by Ross.

    Gotta root for those Disney folks. In the bottom of the 6th inning, the PA started playing the opening notes from Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” like in Fenway Park. The Sox fans got all excited. But before the first words came out of Neil’s mouth, they switched to “Thank God I’m a County Boy.” The Sox fans were pissed. I loved it. All-in-all good tight game. Very enjoyable. Fast and we win!

    Tomorrow our first evening game (6:05 PM start) of the year against the Nats. Guest the Nats have been having a pretty good spring. I haven’t seen Huddy pitch yet this year, so I’m looking forward to it. And it should be cooler. Yea!

  36. 36
    Steve Says:

    Hey Tim. Love the recap. And refreshing to get some offense after the two games I saw in Jupiter. The offense looked abysmal against the Cards.

  37. 37
    Walker Says:


    There may be only one Black American on the team but counting Christian Martinez and Jurrjens there will be 3 black guys on the roster even though they are Afro-Caribbean.

  38. 38
    Curt Says:

    Walker, agreed. It was just interesting to thing about it when DOB mentioned latinos and anglos, and obviously in his point, Heyward is an anglo, as in non-Hispanic.

    I’m sure you all know that the Braves have been criticized in the past for being so white. I found this argument to be absolutely ridiculous and insulting. The Braves have done their best to secure the best talent available to them. When that was David Justice, Ron Gant, Otis Nixon, whomever, they got them. Heyward is their poster boy. And the fact is that African Americans are not playing baseball as the rates they play football and basketball. I was reading the new SI last night and there was an article on the Royals and the ridiculous talent they have in their farm system – a very good article for those interested – but none of the guys profiled were African Americans. I don’t think people are suggesting they are racists as a result. But being in the deep south, you get that crap.

  39. 39
    Steve Says:

    And don’t forget that Frenchy’s blinding, million dollar smile shields the Royals from criticism they might otherwise receive.

  40. 40
    Curt Says:

    Dayton Moore might take all our castoffs on the major league level, and our ridicule, but this article notes that he also pilfered away two of the Braves’ best talent evaluators. Not that we haven’t found some studs, but the Royals are pregnant with riches. Apparently, they have top prospects at every position ready to move in to Kaufman Stadium in the next couple of years. 5 of the top-19 and 10 in the top-100 in all of baseball. The article noted that they have as many top prosects as all other teams combined. The projected value of these players was listed at something like $245 million.

  41. 41
    Nate Says:

    I think the percentage of African American players in baseball is under 9% now.

  42. 42
    Nate Says:

    You also have to consider that basketball and football are both more popular than baseball and have been since the strike in ’93. Kids just don’t grow up wanting to be baseball players anymore. In the early 80s like 20-25 % of all MLB players were African American. When you break it down, most of those players grew up experiencing iconic African American players playing baseball, which perhaps created a desire amongst those kids to grow up and play the game themselves. Most guys who are Jason Heyward’s age grew up in the post ’93 strike era….

  43. 43
    Leah Says:

    I may have just become a Royals fan.

  44. 44
    Curt Says:

    Is this good?

    “Heyward said he was examined by a team physician on Wednesday who told him he was predisposed to some back soreness because he had less cartilage between the discs of his spine than most, but that he couldn’t further injure himself by playing.”

  45. 45
    Leah Says:

    I’d say a big no.

  46. 46
    Leah Says:

    Is there such thing as a cartilage transplant? I’ll gladly volunteer.

  47. 47
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    I would agree with Heyward not batting sixth if it get Chipper out of spots 2 – 4.

    Bat Chipper leadoff… he gets on base all the time and the pitchers in front of him will see nothing but fastballs.

    My line-up card:
    1 Chipper
    2 McLouth
    3 Heyward
    4 Uggla
    5 McCann
    6 Prado
    7 Gonzalez
    8 Freeman
    9 Pitcher

  48. 48
    Walker Says:

    3 Things

    1.Mark R u serious? Chipper leadoff? LOL You don’t maximize his abilities that way. And McClouth batting second is a bad idea. The #2 spot in the batting order is the most misused spot in baseball. Slap hitting second basemen are not the ideal hitters in that spot. We maximized Heyward’s abilities last year putting him there.

    2. I can say with complete confidence that no team in the majors are racists. Maybe some players are racists.(Luke Scott, Jeff Kent, Mark Beuhle). But not the teams. They just want to find the best talent no matter what their color.

    3. Even though there are not a lot of Black Americans in the game there are alot Black American stars. Hunter, Fielder, Crawford, Heyward,Kemp, Upton, Sabathia. There are alot of Black Latinos also. I wonder the percentage?

  49. 49
    Leah Says:

    I think J-hey’s back feels better. Also, could Jordan Schafer’s head be smaller? I don’t think so.

  50. 50
    Leah Says:

    MiM- #27 me too.

  51. 51
    Leah Says:

    Poor Jordan. Dan Uggla is no longer worried about looking stupid defensively.

  52. 52
    Kate Says:

    Two more errors for Conrad today. He’s not going to make the team right?

  53. 53
    Curt Says:

    I can’t see it. He hasn’t hit at all either. Apparently there are holes in all of his equipment. Royals, hello.

  54. 54
    Leah Says:

    Nice interview with Nate McLouth. Positive, excited, able to laugh at himself. I like it.

  55. 55
    Curt Says:

    While the Braves’ pitching looks terrific, one scout worries about their defense. That scout also said rookie Freddie Freeman “doesn’t look great” at first base. Freeman’s rep is that he is smooth with great hands but alltime slow (almost to the degree of Bengie Molina).

    Read more:

  56. 56
    Tim in Orlando Says:

    “We Like Being Appreciated”

    Today was Fan Appreciation Day. All season tickets holders are invited to a special event prior to the game that includes free food (hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.), give-a-ways (autographed items and an autographed jersey), signing sessions by some players and a State-of-the-Braves address from Frank Wren. Our good friends Mike and Janeice always join my wife Jackie and me for this day. This is Jackie’s one baseball game of the year. Unfortunately, no baseball fan she. Sigh. We didn’t win any prizes this year. Mike won the autographed jersey back in 1999. Nice. Did get two balls autographed by Martin Prado and Jason Heyward.

    Frank spoke to the crowd and said that he thought that this team is better than last year’s team and can complete with anybody. He said the games must be played on the field and not on paper. If it was only on paper, then they would be printing World Series tickets in Philadelphia right now. That got a big cheer from the crowd. He thought Kimbrel has the inside track for the closer’s job, but that they wouldn’t make a final decision until the last week of spring training. He’s really happy with the physical condition of the team. He stated that he thought some 20 guys came into camp in top physical condition. I asked him about the status of the World Baseball Classic for next year. He stated that he didn’t have any details but that they would probably be firmed up in the fall. Tim Editorial Comment: Cancel it! Takes players away from spring training and only gives them an opportunity to get hurt.

    Oh yeah, we did play a game today. DLowe pitched well today: 3 earned runs, 7 hits, 5 Ks, 1 BB on 95 pitches (62 strikes, 33 balls) in 5 1/3 innings. He had some tough luck on the 3 runs. It looked like he had Hall struck out in the 4th but the ump didn’t call it. He walked instead. A fly out and a strike out followed so the inning should have been over, but no. The next guy gets a single to drive in a run. In the 6th with two outs and runners at 1st and 2nd, he got Johnson to pop up behind the plate but Brian couldn’t catch the ball right at the fence – it was a very, very tough chance. And, of course, he then hit a double on the next pitch to drive in two runs. Fudge! All the other pitchers pitched great: Moylan, Sherrill, O’Flaherty and Redmond. Huh? Redmond? This is one of the quirks of spring training. Bottom of the 9th, we’re holding on to a two run lead and in comes this guy with number 98. He’s so new his name isn’t even on the back of his jersey. We’re all asking, who is this kid? So we’re all griping about some unknown at a critical part of the game, but this kid is probably pitching the most important inning in his young life. He did well – one fly out and 2 Ks.

    For the offense, another great day for Chipper: 3 for 3. My friend Bob from Minnesota, who sits directly behind me, and I both agree that this is the best spring training that we’ve ever seen from Chipper. And we’ve been to a lot. Bob goes all the way back to West Palm. Nate McLouth was leading off and only got one hit but was on base three times (hit, error, BB.) And that’s what you want from your leadoff guy. Clutch hit from BMac in the 5th to drive in two runs and put us in the lead, at least for the time being. The subs (Boscan, Lucas, Ramirez) came through in the 7th to win the game for the Bravos: 5-3.

    Over all a good game. No real negatives to speak of. Would like to see Uggla get his first HR of the spring soon. Next game is against the Fish on Wednesday. I’m sure Fredi and Dan are looking forward to meeting their old team. Perfect time for Dan to unload a long one.

  57. 57
    Leah Says:

    I like Ed Lucas.

  58. 58
    Steve Says:

    Tim- great, great write-up. I’m really heartened by Chipper’s spring and your assessment of it.

  59. 59
    Leah Says:

    Awesome observation about Chipper TiO! Very jealous of your signed baseballs and that you were so close to Prado.

  60. 60
    Leah Says:

    Have some run support KK! Wonderful offense, beating up on Pelfrey.

  61. 61
    Leah Says:

    All for naught.

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