Laughed a lot at the “one contact and a monocle” line.
I agree with most of the reality/overreactions except Lowe and McLouth. I think the buffoon angle on Lowe is crazy. Flakey, yeah, but a hard worker (lots of comments from the team about his work outs and stretch routines when he first arrived last year). And that he’s changed his mechanics to “pitch taller” makes good sense. Today he was quoted as being resolved not to change little things along the way, but to stick to what he’s worked out this offseason.
No, I don’t think he’ll go 19-7 or whatever. The blisters in Atl humidity will keep him a little inconsistant. Another 15 win season probably, with a lower ERA. But I don’t think his flakery is the detriment some of you do.
And I’m not quite ready to give up on Nate. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see him spiral into oblivion. But I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a couple of line drives in one game and then completely turn it around.
I wish Bobby would say no to his “keep putting me in there so I can find my timing” request, though. Take charge of the team. Start Melky/Diaz/Heyward and then put McLouth in as the first replacement. Can’t be held hostage by a slump the way we were with Kelly and the French.
Both of the Japanese pitchers have me worried. I took a peak at KK’s splits the other day with an eye to how teams are doing after they’ve seen him a few times. Don’t look. It’s not pretty.
Bub – I havent had time to listen yet – but remember what we were saying a while back – that there are two views on KK. The first is that he improves after settling in, the second is that his pitch variety is limited and he is getting figured out. Put me into the worried group.
Hi Danny – welcome to the board. I’m with you on Nate. But, given last season’s early team struggles, I believe that Bobby will act more quickly and move him. Ham and Curt don’t share that same level of faith.
Will – I believe that Conrad is on the team on Opening Day. Not only is he hitting (something we saw him do last year) but he’s also looking much better defensively than he did last year.
Bub – I agree with you on Lowe and the flakiness. I really don’t believe the non-taping incident has much of any significance other than an uncharacteristic moment of laziness/flakiness on his part.
Getting my first official look at the Braves on SportsSouth. *very deep ever loving sigh*. It really is a drug isn’t it. I like Tommy G in the broadcast booth. I hope to see a ball fly off J. Hey KID’s bat.
Great show by the way. My favorite moment was around minute six when Hammy makes the excellent observation that we aren’t a team that has a Johnny Damon. I find great comfort in the fact that I’m concerned about Chipper. When I disagree with one or all of you I’m always wrong. So Yippee! McLouth is disheartening. I don’t see Bobby trotting him out there like a JS or Frenchy. I don’t see him having the love for him (like Steve said). Finally, I know it’s spring training and the season is long but I expect the players to prepare and play their butts off every game. I acknowledge that this is unrealistic but anything less hurts my feelers. In other words Lowe better shape up and keep his head in the game. Keep it together mister!
Just a thought, what if Jason H. hit leadoff? Move Nate down in the order and bat Prado or Melky second depending on the starting pitcher. As far as Lowe,Saito or any of them its SPRING TRAINING the only goal on anyone persons mind is getting into shape and timing,timing and more timing.
Princess..that was hilarious! ABT, a great show as usual. It’s so hard to tell how ST will translate to on the field performance once the season gets started. I like McLouth a lot but would keep him on a short leash if he can’t get out of the box. Hoping for the best.
As far as “reality vs over reaction” on Heyward..there is so much pressure on this young guy I can’t imagine how he is dealing with all the hype. But! He seems to be doing that and passing the performance tests so far. How great would that be?
Off topic, if you don’t mind but you guys were talking about GT losing in the first round against OSU. Do you think Hewitt’s job is in jeapordy having a lineup of Favors, Lawal, and Shumpert ( all NBA prospects ) and not going to the sweet 16 is a failure. And who takes the blame??
MattChu, I’ve been clamoring for Heyward in the leadoff role for a week. He sees soooo many pitches. And he hits line drives, walks, and generally scares pitchers. Some might call it a waste of power, but I think he’d have a better rookie campaign if there was as little pressure for power as possible. The one hole is good for that idea.
Against RHP, I would absolutely hit him lead off if he puts in a month of league average+ ball in the 6, 7, and 8 hole.
Chipper (I’d go with Escobar, but Stevie won’t let me)
Tcc, being a huge, life-long GT hoops fan, I would offer that Hewitt is safe regardless of what happens. I think had they lost to UNC in the 1st round of the ACC tournament, I think he would have been fired. Given the run in the ACC tournament, and honestly a near championship, I find it impossible to believe that he doesn’t survive until next season. I definitely think his leash grows shorter every year, and his antics at the end of the season have earned him no friends in the AD at Tech. Add to that the booing he received at the end of the home loss to Va Tech to end the season, he better get his act together.
Pros on Hewitt are his recruiting and his character. He can still recruit, but his character took some hits this year. The fact that he has two lottery picks and finished under .500 in the league, barely made the tournament, and had such a mediocre regular season that despite making the ACC championship game they are a 10 seed -meaning should he win the first round he gets a 2 seed in the 2nd – all tell me he isn’t doing a good job. The team is very undisciplined, have no identity, can’t run a half court offense, can’t handle late game pressure, can’t make free throws, and have copious amounts of turnovers. There have to be better options out there. It doesn’t seem to hard to find a guy who can recruit and coach. The talent base in Atlanta is unmatched, as is the allure of coaching in the ACC.
Sorry. I could go on and on. Hewitt has outlived his purpose. He is getting nothing out of these guys and when they are only there for a year, you can’t let all these opportunities pass by. And I know that the Tech community feels the same for the most part. His contract makes him tough to fire though. He gets more than $7 mill should he be terminated and Tech’s AD is strapped for cash.
To the Braves, we were doing this show with tongue somewhat in cheek as we have so little to go on and ST is so tough to gauge. McLouth does concern me a lot. But that is why they are down there. To get straightened out. Saito apparently had a nice outing today. Heyward and Glaus continue to kill it. It certainly feels early on that we have much fewer issues than we had in the past few years, and isn’t that nice.
Bub i agree with most everything. One thing i might change just to see how it would translate to more production is move the pitcher to the 8th spot and put Nate in the 9 hole with Heyward/diaz at the top of the order depending on pitcher
Pitcher in the 8 hole gives the 7th hitter fewer pitches over the plate. When Heyward’s the 7th hitter, that would be okay, since he’ll just take his walk. Not sure about putting Esco in that kind of spot, though. Does he take? I can’t really remember.
Another nice thing about Heyward at lead off (this’ll never happen, but a guy can blog, I guess), is that his doubles and even triples would be very handy for limiting double plays on grounders by the 2nd batter (not to mention that his speed would help that, too).
Heyward at lead-off = a lot of 1 & 2 run first innings. I’m falling in love with this idea. They’ll never do it, though. Not in a millon years.
I rarely look at the AJC, but I did this morning (stole it from my neighbor) (and then put it back…so BORROWED from my neighbor). WTF is John Smoltz’s problem? “Asked if his new assignments with Peachtree TV, TBS and the MLB networks signal the end of his pitching career, Smoltz told the AJC ‘not officially.’”
It’s not like he’s hurting for cash, and it’s not like there’s some kind of time clock ticking (like rookie year to contract or something)…so what’s the deal?
I dislike him as a person almost as much as I dislike Chipper as a person (nothing to do with talent, y’all) so I’m biased, but seriously, Johnny? Go gentle into that good night. Of retirement.
Anne – I don’t think that Smoltz is being coy or evasive, I think he believes (and it may be true) that some team will come knocking at mid-season (ala Pedro) and that he may pitch this year. I would put the possiblity at 50%.
Curtis – R.E. GT – I agree with everything you are saying. I also think Hewitt is still riding the coat tails of the magical run to the Final Four (even though they should have won the Championship the following year – classic Hewitt).
I think we might eventually get to Heyward at the leadoff spot, but I don’t see it happening before mid-season at best. Too much pressure for the Kid, and Bobby doesn’t like to put that kind of pressure on anyone. I think Melky is our leadoff guy if Nate can’t get his act together.
Glaus looks natural at 1st to me. McCann lost a pop up in the rainy sky and Glaus ran in and bailed him out. Maybe Mac saw him coming and just let him take it but it looked like Glaus had to come in fast (I’m tired of trying to re-word potentially euphemistic phrases so bring on the guy humor).
“Maybe Mac saw him coming and just let him take it but it looked like Glaus had to come in fast” …. would not have registerd on me until Leah pointed it out. Now inappropriately loud laughter at my desk.
Anne – I wasn’t even trying to defend Smoltz. I truly believe there’s a legitimate chance that he’s pitching for someone before the end of the season.
Agreed on Heyward and batting first. There’s just no way they’ll take this AA, 20 year old and bat him leadoff. But, I agree that it’s not a bad idea.
Bub, I have two blog topic requests. 1)bulletpoints that go into deciding the order of the lineup. The basics are obvious but some of us are clueless on the specifics. 2)Characteristics of different types of pitches and how simple minded people can tell the difference. For instance how does a breaking ball differ from a sinker to the naked eye or are they basically the same pitch?
Some bloggers assume to much when it comes to the knowledge of their readers. I could just google but where’s the fun in that?
Pssh. I don’t know that stuff. I could make it up, I guess, like I do all my other “serious” posts.
A sinker kind of goes WOOSH whereas a curve goes *whistles, spits*
A fast ball goes ZOOM, unless Chavez throws it, and this it goes CRACK.
A slider goes SHEOWWW and a change up goes S-L-O-W.
Your lead-off guy should typically bat above .036
Your #’s 7 and 8 hitters should not have feminine or French names.
Your #3 hitter should be the best hitter on the team or a veteran you don’t want to start pouting.
S’all I got.
(Really, your baseball IQ is plenty a match for mine. I just use a tone of authority to peddle my B.S. opinions. Try it! It really works!)
Well, okay, the sinker/curve I can tell a little bit.
A curve is kind of loopy, especially if it’s like Hanson’s 12-6 curve (think: 12:00 and 6:00 on your clock). It’s slower than the sinker.
Sinker is short for “sinking fast ball.” It’s about as fast as a slowish fast ball. It doesn’t so much loop in a curve as it just goes straight toward the plate and then the bottom drops out of it and it sinks down. Induces a lot of weak hits/ grounders.
Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.
Now, what I would like to understand is what a slider looks like. Just a fast ball, like the sinker, than fades to one side at the end? Is that it? Anyone? It’s bad to be a Braves fan (Smoltz) and not know that, isn’t it?
Speaking of shirt-backs…so, the FanGirls or whatever we call the fake cheerleaders with the t-shirt potato guns…I think I mentioned last year (or it was in my head) my thought that no way will they all wear “10″ on their backs this year (due to Chipper) – I bet they’ll all wear “2010.”
Anne: Or maybe “6″ for Bobby. Anne, yes they are “fake cheerleaders” and Curt, yes they are future fantasy wives….sigh/gulp!
After work today I met a couple of friends for dinner, had some beers and genuine belly laughs..much needed. Came home and found the Braves on TV (replay)..and in time to see Heyward and Chipper get back to back hits.
I remember when Chipper first came up as a scrawny/lanky shortstop, and then filled out and became the power guy he is now. Jason Heyward is “HUGE” in comparison at the beginning of his MLB career.
I remember the weeks of “hanging tough” we credited Francoeur with when he was making more contact, taking more pitches (randomly taking pitches, never seemed to have anything to do with whether a strike was coming or not). Generally ending in dribblers to the SS or fly outs to three steps in front of the outfielders. Strike out machine became a GIDP machine. Sort of burned me out on the hanging-in-there joy.
I hope we see alternate lead-offs continue through the rest of Spring. I think even Bobby Cox can learn if the lesson is emphatic enough. And Kelly Johnson/Jeff Francoeur surely, SURELY will give him pause about his famous patience, with all the potential of returning to the playoffs in the balance.
Not giving up on Nate, but something is way, way wrong. Another week or ten days of this and I’m thinking Minor League assignment to regain his stroke. I’m not buying the “just my timing” argument much longer. Trusting players (especially non-veterans) to have the best handle on their own struggles has never seemed smart to me. Even in regular life, outside eyes see what we can’t. Get some help, Natester. McCann’s dad or Chipper’s dad. Even, Lord help us, Terry Pendleton.
Let’s get this solved so we can enter the season with a solid game plan. C’mon, Bobby. Take charge.
Morbid curiosity led me to the official Jeff Francoeur blog. He doesn’t write in it much, but man, when he does: “blah blah Atlanta blah blah in Atlanta blah blah to Atlanta Atlanta blah.” He’s not being obnoxious about it. It’s just very clear how much an Atlantan he still is. For the first time, I feel really sad, maybe even a little tragic, about it. It’s his own damn fault. But I doubt there’s ever been a player more loyal to a city & club than that guy. Even if that loyalty was built around some delusional dream of his own role in the city/ club.
I’m comforted by this: it’s much, much better that he fell on his face than moderately succeeded. He’d have never accepted a non-star role or non-star money. Offseason contract tension all over the place. His awkward, hyper quotes would be a part of our daily lives. He’d be giving advice to Heyward, McLouth, all the new kids – while their eyes rolling behind his back. The kind of guy that makes work a drag even when it’s baseball. Comparatively, Yunel’s antics are easier to absorb than that.
I give him props for smiling through the Mets trade. But I imagine it was an unbelievable blow to the guy. All those dreams. Traded to your rival team. In New York. And not even to the Yankees.
I guess I’m going soft. It’s temporary? I can’t wish him well while he’s in that city. But can I go on relishing his failure?
*waits five minutes for another press release of Francoeur quotes*
I am with you on WTF with all of the dissing on Lost this season. What do people want? To have Sawyer or Kate (or whoever does it for you) come out of the television and make out with you. I think the expectations for this season are beyond realistic. I am digging it.
The whole McLouth thing is putting a big damper on my outlook for the season. Such a pivotal role – such disastrous spring. Don’t trust our fearless skipper to make a bold move. Even if we keep Nate in for his D and move him down in the order, who leads off? (And Steve, don’t say Garret Anderson – it’s just as implausible this year as it was last year.) Maybe Melky, but what if the OF is Diaz, the Kid, and McWhiff? Is it Diaz? YuniEsco? Very troubling.
Ok…one tee tiny Lost comment. Where is Doc Jensen’s blog this week? I read his little mini blog but where is the real one? Slacker. Note to Sayid, help a sister out when she has a knife to her throat that’s being held by a crazy woman in desperate need of hair products. Also, I love the scene where Little House on the Prairie gets to James Ford and makes him revisit his lady friend. I start off watching an episode of that show thinking how corny it is and end up shedding real tears before it’s over.
I am aware of the fact that this comment will cause all you unlosties to think I’m a buffoon and…I’m ok with that.
Steve – They did interviews with Huddy, Wagner, Chipper, Heyward, and Glavine. Huddy talked about TJ surgery and how good he feels. Chipper talked about what went wrong last year and what he’s doing to improve. Hazel Mae asked Tommy G what his new job is and he said they’re still trying to figure it out. Only other interesting thing they did (that I remember) was count down the prime 9 moments in Braves history.
I don’t remember all 9 of them but here’s what I do remember. Andruw hitting 2 HRs in a game in the 96 WS. The slide. Aarons walk-off HR to clinch the pennant. #2 was the 95 WS. #1 was Aarons 715th HR.
Yeah, NO. The Nats can say all they want that he was released solely for on the field performance. But, given that a team needs to clarify that a surprise, middle of ST dismissal was only related to performance confirms, 100%, that he’s a whack-job/club house cancer.
“Well, Mickey Mantle,Willie Mays and Hank Aaron did it,” manager Bobby Cox said.
Good job, Bobby. Good job. So, the answer to the question Heyward’s gotta be askin’ himself: “What have I got to do to get Bobby to stop inducting me into the HOF before my first MLB game?” apparently isn’t “go hitless.”
I mean, he was still being a little careful when he first laid down his sound-off-the-bat Hank Aaron comment, but now it’s like he’s just thrown that out the window. Is Bobby about to become a caricature of himself? It’s like if Elvis just started saying “mama” after every single sentence he spoke.
Steve, my mom recently took a trip with her Aunt and got the scoop. We had always been told that he was robbed and his throat was slit under the boardwalk, but not by the sea. Now we know the whole truth. I’m so glad to hear you recognize my general badassness.
If by “disturbing,” you mean fascinatingly odd and great all at the same time, then YES! Speaking of pitchers, I hear good things about Dontrelle Willis this spring. He grew up in my ‘hood (many years after me) and I’ve been sick about his troubles of late. Hope he gets it together for real and can help the Tigers.
Out from under Terry Pendleton’s “tuck this, lift that, be tall, don’t shift,” McLouth relaxed and put wood on the ball. The difference between 3 for 3 with a walk and 1 for 35 isn’t minor league pitching.
Unless, of course, they had the minor leaguers throwing straight on purpose.
So seriously you don’t think the minor league pitchers made the difference? If not, does that really say something unpleasant about our hitting couch? Logic would seem to point to one or the other but I’m willing to entertain a third option.
I was lobbying for the Braves to go and get Willis last year. I’m sure he could have been had for nothing with the Tigers eating a lot of contract. Guy has too much stuff and demeanor not to get it together and would loved to have seen the Braves benefit from that rebirth. Good for him either way.