Hanson + Lowe = “Howe” – I like it!
Fredi – I’d be surprised if he gets ejected once a month. Whenever we get a bum call from the umpire he barely budges from his seat.
Minor – I agree that Minor will probably be traded. We should start putting together a wish list.
An update on the run differential stat — we are now number one in the league with a +41. Who’s the worst? the team we’re playing next: Houston, with a -44. The Braves really have to go into that series with a “no mercy” attitude. Blow them away, and carry a winning streak when we head out west.
Curt, I don’t know. I find it more disappointing than I can even say.
My only hope is that my observations were still valid. I saw lots of signs of energetic movement and facial expressions. However they are up against what Chipper and you guys saw as lethargy.
I’m not sure McCann, Ross, Uggla, Freeman, Hinske, and Prado would like for Chipper to include them in the sleepwalking, and maybe that wasn’t his intention. In fact, on the off chance that Chipper is talking out his ass – as he is wont to do – I’ll remind us that Chipper is the only Brave I’ve ever heard talking in the first person about taking at bats off, and he’s said those words a bunch.
Then again, maybe he’s the only one being candid. If so, it’s pretty disgusting.
There is one other piece of unfortunate evidence that Chipper and you are correct: they have won an inordinate amount of first games of the series. This matches the picture of getting a little breathing room and then resting on their laurels.
Maybe they’ll dazzle us with energy against the Astros. Yeesh.
Oh, and as to the Braves being a team that doesn’t blow people out, I have to disagree. I think with the power numbers they have (2nd in the league in homers to the Reds, who play in a happy meal carton) to go along with the starting pitching and talented back end, they will blow teams out about as much as anyone once they get going.
Scoring is down across baseball. The fact that the Braves have the best run differential in the game while having nowhere near the best record tells you already that their winning and losing have been by wider margins than anyone else. At least I THINK that’s what it tells you; can’t think of another scnenario that works there.
Great show as usual! I just wanted to chime in on the Atlanta Crackers/Black Cracker nomenclature issue that was discussed at the end of the show. Admittedly, at first glance the term “Black Crackers” does seem very much like an oxymoron.
However, in my research on the Atlanta Crackers’ team origins (from whom the Black Crackers took their name) the name was not necessarily chosen to as a variation on the pejorative term but more likely has it’s roots in the Atlanta Firecrackers minor league team that played in 1892 for the Southern Association. This seems more reasonable to me than to think that the team was named after poorer class white southerners but “Crackers” may have been not only a shorter version of “Firecrackers” but also a way to include the baseball reference by indicating “crack” of the bat by Atlanta players.
Fellas…on your Civil Rights game talk and the lack of black players. Why is this a big deal? We don’t worry about the lack of Asian players in the NHL? Or lack of really short people in the NBA, fat white track stars or disabled athletes playing professional tennis. MLB as a whole is the MOST diverse arena sports has to offer. Latin, Asian, white, black, etc. They’re able to have a “World Baseball Classic” because they’re so much diversity. So while the number of American black players may be smaller than in the past, baseball should actually be held up as the melting pot of sports. So I think we worry way too much about who’s playing what sports.
Foul – Agree, can’t move him down while Chipper is out. Won’t go toward helping him. Play on Sunday may have “broken him out”. (On a personal note, I wish he would move closer to the plate – I don’t think they can “get one by him” inside and maybe he could foul off that outside pitch they are killing him with when he gets two strikes). I agree with Hammy (just threw up in my mouth a bit ) I think that pushing Uggla down would tend to make him press…
Fair – I’m ok with giving McDowell a chance to redeem.
Foul – Not sure there is much new. Or much that can be done w/o a cultural change.
Basketball is taking the greatest chunk of Afro-American players. It is just easy to play basketball almost anywhere. You can play by yourself, two-on-two, three-on-three, half court, no court… It takes one ball and something to use as a hoop to shoot through… Also, not a lot of risk of accidently breaking someone’s window with a basketball…
Baseball, however is “equipment heavy” (ball, bat, several gloves) and requires a minimum of five to six players for each side to make a decent game. It is tough to have a “pick-up” baseball game. You can play variations with tennis balls and broomsticks, but it really doesn’t translate a great deal to baseball skill.
Like the fact that all little babies are able to speak all languages, they only retain what they hear. For the most part, what children learn they retain and concentrate on. It is a great deal easier to identify with one of five basketball players when they are on the court for most of the game than it is for one of 25 baseball players when you probably see their face three to four times in a game when they are at bat.
You can take your basketball, go out and pretend to be taking that last shot to win the game, visualize your success and actually shoot the ball through the hoop; and in doing so, practice something you can take to the court.
It is rather easy to practice basketball by yourself – just dribbling a basketball with each hand for 15 to 20 minutes a day can translate to bettering on court play, something you can do indoors, at your house (if you don’t drive your mom nuts…).
It is much, much tougher to do something to practice baseball by yourself that will actually translate to the field.
If we must talk about it, then here’s my take. I think the lack of black players and black spectators at baseball games has more to do with a cultural shift than anything else. Over the past several decades the focus in the black community has been on basketball and football. I’m not sure why this is, but these sports resonate with the black population more than baseball does, generally speaking.
But I think its silly how MLB seeks out racism as a scape goat for its “diversity” issues where there isn’t any racism at all. A cultural shift has occured, and I’m affraid there’s not much MLB or anybody else can do about it. Ludacris performing after a game isn’t going to get more black folks interested in baseball.
But anyhow, I wish MLB would stop looking at this as their own fault. This isn’t something of their own doing. It is what it is. I don’t like it either, but perhaps instead of focusing on black/white attendance, maybe MLB should make the game of baseball a more exciting experience for everyone. One problem I see is that the seasons are considered by many would-be fans as too long. If you shortened the season by 60 games (the season going from beginning of May to end of August) people would put more value on each game played. Then take the post season and add more teams so each team has a better chance of entering. Of course this would never happen, but I think adding more weight to each game would make the game of baseball better. Just my opinion.
I agree with Brad. The number of black players in the MLB reached its peak in the 70’s and has dwindled ever since. The rising popularity of the NFL and Michael Jordan coincides with this dip. The whole thing is cultural. Black people quite simply see baseball as boring. Basketball and football have have more moving around and are easier to learn at a later age. Baseball is to be started in the early ages. Baseball has a fail rate greater than the other sports. Even overall baseball isn’t as popular as football and basketball because people don’t have long attention spans and only want to see a slam dunk, or a tackle. The sad thing is, if people really took the time to learn the game of baseball , they would like it. I swear, some people just know the terms “strike three” and “home run”. All I have to say is to just learn the game. Teach your kids the game.
Also the MLB may not have as many black players in the game as they would like but Major League baseball is the most diverse of all the pro sports league.
NFL- Black and White
NBA- Black and White (European)
MBL White, Black, Asian, Latinos
Shouldn’t have been that close – true. But this is the classic kind of game the Braves have given away all season. Except they didn’t tonight. I think this was a huge win. And, to echo Anne’s sentiments, it was really freaking cold there tonight.
I agree with much of what was said here about the dwindling numbers of black ball players. My only point is that when you take a big chunk of the potential fan base out of the equation, it’s not good for the long term health of the sport. And I want the sport to be as healthy as possible.
I just finished watching the crazy marlins-mets game. I was of course rooting for the mets so that the marlins will drop down. Top of the 11th and 2 outs they let Badenhop (pitcher) hit, and he delivered on a full-count, run-scoring, go-ahead single. Prior to that he was 1 for 23 lifetime. Then in the bottom of the 11th and 2 outs, count full, bases empty, mets pitcher Niese hit a triple and represented the tying run. But Jose Reyes struck out to end the game.
I will admit, that my source was actually my father who is generally in the know about a lot of things. This goes to show you, once again, that you should never trust your dads (this will ring true especially for kids named Jack, Charlie, Ike, Harry, and Oscar). Personally, I like the Shakespeare etymology, but that’s how I doth rolle.
Last night, I saw a replay of the entire Daily Show episode that had the McDowell clip. It was fantastic. The whole bit with Will Farrell was great.
guys, there are alot more than 3 black players on the teams between the phillies and braves. just fyi.
would more black players encourage more black fans at the park? this is a weird question to me. ill answer it with another question…does it really work that way? do white people go to see white players? do hispanic people go to see hispanic players? i dont think having black players or not has much to do with who comes to see the games, and part of me kinda hopes I’m right. Does that make sense? Is it ok if we just like baseball and dont worry about the race of the players?
I would be willing to bet that the % demographics of players in MLB is fairly close to the % demographics of the US.
I love the celebration of Civil Rights in Baseball, which had a huge influence on the Civil Rights movement, by the way. I hope they continue to have the weekend in Atlanta.
DAP, re #42. I realize that some people look at it as a big diversity issue. That’s not where I’m coming from. My point is, if MLB can stem this shift, they should, because it will help the long term health of the sport. And I’m not just talking about increasing the number of black players. I’m talking about marketing to the black community in general. You may be right that it is an oversimplification (and an incorrect one) that more black players on the field would equate to more black fans in the stands. Regardless, a big part of the population is turning it’s collective back on the sport and that’s never a good thing.
Nate (#43), here are the particulars on Granderson’s contract:
08:$1M, 09:$3.5M, 10:$5.5M, 11:$8.25M, 12:$10M, 13:$13M club option ($2M buyout)
For what it’s worth, I have trouble believing this rumor. I realize their pitching is bad, but their offensive weapons are dropping like flies, too. Posada, Jeter, A-Rod … seems hard to fathom they’d give up Granderson.
I realize that the whole race conversation is fraught with the opportunity to say politically incorrect things, so I tread lightly here. For me, I think that with fewer black players on the field, it COULD lead to fewer black role models that are baseball players, which could lead to fewer young black people identifying with baseball players and as a result not wanting to play the game (as much) when they grow up. This seems like, if valid, it would be a downward spiral.
I also agree with a lot of what else is being said on the comments. I don’t think that the demographic of baseball equal the demographics of the US (the World quite possibly), but I definitely don’t think that the Braves’ demographics mirror those of the city of Atlanta. Not sure if it is a major problem for baseball overall, but I do wonder if it would boost attendance at Braves’ home games.
No way the Yankees trade Granderson for Lowe straight-up. Sounds like wishful thinking.
One more thing, why doesn’t Chipper just go ahead and have the surgery?! Is the tear in his meniscus going to heal itself? Is that even possible? If so, then that is the only reason that he shouldn’t have surgery immediately, right? What is the upside of him waiting?! Injuring it further? Playing sub-optimally?
. . .
Okay, so I took a break and actually looked up if a meniscus can heal itself – the answer is it can in some situations, but generally only if you give it a lot of rest. There is a real danger of injuring it further if you try to come back too quickly. I think my above point is still valid then.
(I think I just threw up in Mark in Memphis’ mouth.)
I don’t think the suggestion that more black players would bring out more black fans is an oversimplification. I also don’t think it suggests that blacks would only be fans if there were more players representative of their culture on the field. Being a Falcons season ticket holder, I see plenty of black guys wearing Matt Ryan jerseys. You root for the team and the players, not their race (hopefully).
But for the Braves, being in Atlanta, you are missing out on a large swath of people in the city if you are somehow not reaching the African American community. There have been whispers for years that there is some racial element to the constuction of the Braves because of their lack of black players, which I personally find ridiculous. Hank Aaron is the iconic Atlanta Brave. Jason Heyward is the face of the Braves.
I think the point I was wondering about, is why aren’t there more African Americans at Braves games? Or at baseball games in general?
Like I said in my earlier comment. I think black people just find baseball boring. I really think the glamour of the NFL is more attractive to them. Also Michael Jordan has such a huge influence here. Here is an extremely famous African American sports legend who is also a huge businessman. A whole generation of young black men wanted to be like Mike and strayed away from baseball. Ken Griffey Jr. tried but couldn’t come close to that kind of stature.
Also, if anyone thinks the Braves organization is racist, they are completely irrational and unintelligent. This just takes away the attention from the real racial discrimination and inequalities that takes place every day in this country.
I am with Walker on the Braves not being racist (unless you count their discrimination against scoring runs or beating bad teams). I think they want to win without spending a ton of money, regardless of who is on the field or in the back office. They may not have the best judgement, but I don’t think they are racist.
As far as the debate on black players in MLB, I wonder if Dave Winfield was in high school today if he would choose baseball over basketball and football. Elite high school athletes dream of shoe contracts and 8 figure salaries, not 8 hour bus rides in the Sally League.
A lot of the problem is money. Have you seen Dick’s Sporting Goods spot with Ken Griffey? In 20 years Nike and other apparel companies haven’t progressed with the marketing of its baseball products. I’m not sure you can blame MLB for this trend.
Yowzers! Brian McCann!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Steve, Proctor was wild and lucky. Ross had to throw up a glove in desperation to stop a sky high pitch and block another in the dirt. And he was a pitch away from walking in a run twice. I’ll take the result, but I’m just sayin’…
Paul, I think the manager can pick anyone he feels fits the role, including everyday players who can field a few different spots. But we lucked out with a divisional manager last year in Manuel. Not sure how much Prado exposure will catch the SF manager’s eye.
Back to the CRG discussion. It feels like we’re debating something here that was never actually raised on the podcast. I realize that the discourse on this topic often ends up with MLB (and the Braves to keep it topical) are racists and that’s why there are fewer black players, but we never ventured into that. Nor do I believe it. Is there still profound racism in this country? Absolutely. Is that why there aren’t more black players on the Braves? Absolutely not.
Since 2007, the Phillies are 56-22 against the Nationals. The Braves are 40-38. That’s a 16-game difference. Last season, the Braves went 23-20 against Washington, Florida and Arizona. That’s 6½ games worse than the Phillies did (29-13). The difference in the division race was six games.
Taking it at face value, we should expect our record to even get better when things even out and we get to play more sub-500 teams. But then this goes back to the discussion that we don’t seem to gear up against teams like the Nationals.
Bub, in full disclosure, that stat came from Jeff Schultz. I just thought it was interesting. I spent too much time the other night researching the Braves record against sub-.500 teams, and couldn’t find anything.
I think the Braves should save their major trading pieces for the
off season. We have some big holes to fill this winter because McLouth, Alex, and Chipper may not be back. So we may have to find a major league third basemen, shortstop, and centerfielder to be competitive. Minor, Delgado, Schafer would bring these back. I hope Frank Wren doesn’t go too crazy at the summer deadline. All we need is some bench help and a couple of relievers. We should think about the future.
Walker, unless the Braves get sold to some deep pocketed billionaire, they are filling all those spots from their farm system. Schafer might very will be the CF, or Jose Costanza, Wilkin Ramirez. You’ve got guys like Diory, Hicks, Pastornicky, etc. to play infield. They might go out to fill one of these spots. No way they do it to fill all 3.
Agreed on all of it. I just have watched how the Braves have plied their trade the last couple of years, and replacing 3 positions on the team with high priced, and/or moderately priced, free agents isn’t part of the plan.
As a friend of mine used to say “I was going to think that…”
Unfortunately, the four or five baseball reasons to remove him from the major league roster do not outwiegh the 1.5 million non-baseball reasons to keep him on the major league roster, as far as the Braves are concerned… (Can you say K.K.?)
I guess hope springs eternal that he will “return to form” (again, can yo say “K.K.”? Did Linebrink ever really have “form”? Is that like saying “get back into shape” implies that at one point in time you were “in shape”…?)
Mark, Linebrink has been absolutely terrible for all of 2009, all of 2010, and thus far in 2011. No bad luck BABIP. No unfortunate strand rate. Just very, very bad pitching. He will cost the Braves on this road trip unless we are very lucky.
4 blown saves over the course of the season is fine. But 4 blown saves concentrated in less than 2 months if worrisome. He’s our future so we live and die with him. If only Wagner would have stuck it out another year.
Not only do the Braves play down to their competition (or up), but they ALWAYS lose the first game of a west coast road trip. Always. Doesn’t matter if we are facing Ted Lilly or Joe Saunders. As soon as they cross the Mississippi, they get a 24 hour losing/non-hitting bug.
At least they’re consistent?
Slightly worried about Kimbrel . . . . when does Fredi start doing a lil flip-flop with Most Everyday Johnny?
Bobby Cox is missed more on some days than others. Not a sharp game.
The “ifs” from the spring still have time to develop.
If: McLouth can have a good year
Kimbrel can be a solid closer
Chipper can stay healthy
Freeman can hit in majors
Heyward can get even better
Bench is strong enough
Prado can play left and be happy
Uggla is worth the trade and the money
In just a couple more months, most of these “ifs” will be answered. About half of them are on track.
In baseball, an earned run is any run for which the pitcher is held accountable (i.e., the run scored as a result of normal pitching, and not due to a fielding error or a passed ball). Any runner(s) who tags his base and reaches home plate is scored against the pitcher as an earned run(s). An error made by the pitcher in fielding at his position is counted the same as an error by any other player.
So a pitcher that makes an error is considered as any other fielder making an error, but a wild pitch doesn’t exempt him from acountability for the run. A passed ball would have…
Unfortunately not. They will continue using him in situations where it counts as (appearently) “hope springs eternal”…
He was ok for one batter, mostly I think because he didn’t have to throw too many pitches. I wish some team would have everyone facing him to take every pitch and see if he could actually get enough pitches in the zone to get three outs… without a run scoring…
McCann couldn’t find the ball and Proctor had to run and get it. By the time he got there and threw to McCann covering, the guy had made it home.
Worst part about Proctor is that there were several teams vying for his services when he was at Gwinnett, but the Braves guaranteed him that they would bring him up come May 15, so he stuck around and here he is.
I was so depressed about yesterday’s game that I couldn’t even force myself to read the recap or watch the highlights. But things always look better after a good night’s sleep. Go Braves! Phillies and Marlins are both losing. Today will be a good day to get a win.
I agree with most on the lack of blacks in MLB. Like somehow the inner city youths are being kept from playing baseball? Where is the outrage of lack of whites or hispanics in the NBA? For that matter Americans in the NHL? Lack of blacks on the Golf tour? This is USA and all races are free to try to play whatever sport they wish.
It’s these kind of games where the Braves just can’t, for whatever reason, get up for a sub .500 team that is going to keep us out of the playoffs this year. I’m not throwing in the towel yet but you cannot be a championship team if you cannot beat the teams below you — it’s just that simple.
Like i said before, I really believe that Dan Uggla is suffering frm the same thing Nate McLouth suffered from: Micro-market to larger-market team pressure. He’s freakin’ pressing.
A couple of games ago, Alex Gonzales was looking like the free swinging Frenchy up there.
…but as far as Alex Gonzales goes, whatever he gives us with his bat is gravy because his and Freeman’s D prevents a lot of runs against — which our run differential is pretty darn good (if we could just start hitting constitently).
I would be cool with Dan making a few less plays defensively if he would hit the ball where it wasn’t an out. Just a thought. I think some of the 50 mil was intended for offense. At this rate we will see a pre-deadline deal. Our offense looks atrocious. You can put up run differential stats all you want, but it’s bad. This is why we won 1 World Series with 3 HOF pitchers. It doesn’t matter if you hold them to 1,2, or even 3 runs if you don’t score any. I was as frustrated with Bobby as the rest, but he can’t swing the bats for ‘em, nor can Fredi. You can’t get that creative with a bench that sucks, so someone has to start hitting. Rant. rant. rant.
Do our players have a strategy when they go to the plate? Because if they do, its horrible, if they don’t then develop one. The current model is not working. You barely beat the Astros twice and just got swept in 2 by the D’bags. pathetic.
The Braves have this arrogance about “oh,we think this pitcher will come around, or we think this bench player adds a lot to the chemistry” that costs them many games every year. It’s a bad cliche, like Curt said.
I have to say, I’m kind of tired of reading the reactions to these games. “We have to get up for everyone.” “No disrespect to the Diamondbacks, but…” The Phillies take care of their business…” blah, blah, blah. Here’s a suggestion – play up for everyone. Have a gameplan. Don’t take your opponent lightly, specifically in a place you normally don’t play well.
How is it that the same issues arise with this team regardless of who is in charge. I understand that Fredi is Bobby 2.0, but couldn’t we have broken some of these habits? Can’t we beat some rookies? Can’t we play up, regardless the opponent? Can’t the players not respond as if it is just a foregone conclusion that we are going to lose these games? They have a new manager too. This “oh well, we never play well in these situations” attitude. This thing with the Diamondbacks is no different than the one with the Nats, we just don’t play them as much.
And I think it is time for Venters to close. Kimbrel can set up and close in certain situations. We have the second most blown saves in the NL. 10 of them. Have to rectify a situation where the answer is so obvious.
I had the tv on while I was doing work, and it was like every time I looked up the D’Backs were hitting. Chip gave a stat where he said that most of our players were swinging at the first pitch, and those that weren’t were swinging at the second (except for Chipper and someone else).
On the other plus side, the offense could wake up tonight and all will feel well. I realize these last two games were really, really grim but the streak of 5 runs a game was not that long ago.
And Curt – I disagree on moving Kimbrel (right now). I’m prescribing to the whole “these are the growing pains we need to live with to get him to reliable closer status” thing. I’m not sure what number of blown saves + games out + depth in to the season will change my mind, but I believe it will become clear. May be time for a F or F this weekend on this.
I agree with Steve- Kimbrel needs to stay in the closers position. Billy Wagner was one of the best closers of 2010 and he blew 7 saves. It is going to happen, granted it shouldn’t be this often.
He has to continue in the 9th inning to really flourish…he isn’t going to get the same adrenaline rush pitching in the 8th. Venters is great don’t get me wrong, but I feel that since Kimbrel is the guy, they need to stick with him. The worst possible thing for him is to change his role and make him think his job is on the line every time he goes out on the mound.
WHY IS HE THE GUY??????????????? WHAT HAS HE DONE IN HIS “CAREER” TO BE ANNOINTED “THE GUY”? WHY ISN’T VENTERS THE GUY?
Fredi said this spring that he would flip-flop these guys. These are all important games we are talking about. Even the godlike Mariano Rivera had to wait to be the closer when there was a better option.
Curt – I guess it comes down to which kind of pitching style and which kind of personality is best suited for the 8th and for the 9th. I think our two guys are lined up in the correct innings right now.
But … if he keeps blowing saves, obviously my opinion changes.
Venters seems to have a better mental approach. Kimbrel looked totally shaken after he blew that double play ball in GM 1 against the D-Backs. With that said, he might not respond well to a demotion from the closers role.
At 10 years of age, I used to watch Macho Man Randy Savage on Saturday mornings while I ironed my dad’s shirts and my grammar school uniform shirts for the following week. Almost as close as Steve. Almost…
I’m all-in for a bench brawl. Just like hockey — In that sport it seems to get a team up.
Man, top 4 spots were all 0-fers tonight. Mather and Hinski were the only two to get hits. I hope they can invert those stats fast or we’re going to sink quickly and have to live on other teams doing our work — whicih usually doesn’t bode well.
Santana had been 1-3 with a 5.56 ERA and seven homers allowed in his past six starts, while Hudson was 2-1 with a 2.27 ER in his past five before Friday.
On top of that, Hudson was up against an Anaheim team that had mustered just one run in its previous three games combined, and hadn’t scored more than four runs in any game during their 1-7 skid before Friday.
Granted, Hudson is hurt – why they didn’t just have Martinez just start? – but it sure does seem like these things pop up a lot on our offensive end.
On Venters v. Kimbrel,
I think the Gonz wants to be an old-school kind of manager: He who throws the hardest must be thou closer. I am with you Curt, Venters seems to have nerves of steel. However, it is pretty exciting when you have a closer who can hit triPle digits, of course, that is when he’s not trying to hit triple digits and forgets to hit the strike zone.
hi guys….this weeks was the first podcast id listened to all year…few nuclear explosions and few tsunamis and things been keeping me away. My post above is my view on todays game…thats the way i like it, uh huh.
i stopped watching it in the 6th…was a bit disgusted that we were going to drop 4 in a row to crap teams…but they dont give up, this team. Ive lurked pretty regularly actually and am slowly becoming a believer..
my sons little league team beat the meanest, biggest, most obnoxiously competitive team in the league today to advance to the tournament finals! This is a sign, I tell you.
My son has an incredible OBP of .666! (two walks and a SO). He’s basically Spud Webb of little league with a five inch strike zone..