Baseball season is over. Well, it’s been over for Braves fans for about a week now. I enjoy watching the playoffs and honestly, not having an emotional attachment makes it more enjoyable in some ways. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sideways about the Braves’ collapse. I’m still very much perplexed on how a team this good (on paper) couldn’t close out the WildCard. And while I think it would be AWESOME if the Phillies were bumped out of the playoffs by the team they helped get into the playoffs (Cardinals), watching these 2011 playoffs makes me realize that the Braves would have gotten trounced. It’s like when you’re driving and a chipmunk is in the middle of the road. You yell at it to get out of the way and just pray you miss it. But then you hear a small “bump” and you know things didn’t go the way you wanted. The Braves would have been that chipmunk. If you’re a chipmunk lover and don’t like the analogy, my apologies. Just insert your least favorite politician instead. There, is that better?
With the Fall Classic around the corner and the weather getting cooler here in the South, school is in full swing as well. And one of the things all kids look forward to with school is yearbooks. Getting your picture taken, hoping all your “besties” will write super long notes in the back pages of your book, thumbing through the candid shots to see how many you’re in and of course, Senior Superlatives. I think every high school kid secretly hopes and prays to get one of these awards in the yearbook. Even the ultra reclusive, non-fiction reading, 10,000 Maniacs listening, aloof, ponytail/uni-cycle guy in your English class secretly wants to be “best all around” or “cutest”.
So I’ve heard the Atlanta Braves yearbook is out now. And the guys are passing them around the clubhouse getting everyone to sign them before they leave for the year. Why don’t we take a peek and see who won some of those coveted superlatives?
Best All Around – Dan Uggla. I know, I know. How can a guy with a .233 average be best all around? But that’s just it…best ALL AROUND. You know I’m not a SABR guy. I’m a perception guy. And my perception is that without Uggla, the Braves don’t sniff the WildCard. His defense is severely underrated and without his play during and after his hitting streak, the Braves don’t have a chance to have their infamous collapse.
Class Clown – Peter Moylan. He gets the vote for two reasons. One, he supposedly is a great clubhouse guy, funny guy, twitter guy and for some reason every Braves fan loves him. I like him fine. But reason #2 he gets this vote is because he “clowned” all of you Braves fans into thinking he was an important piece to the puzzle. This is not a slam on the guy. But I’m trying to figure out how a guy who really hasn’t played much recently and really only had one decent season with the club is SO vital to its success. He’s a sidearm middle reliever. Not Billy Wagner.
Smartest – Larry Parrish, former hitting coach. This cat has to be the smartest guy in MLB, period. He gets hired to be a hitting coach, gets paid to be a hitting coach, even gets a uniform. Then he does absolutely nothing to improve the team’s hitting. I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard him interviewed this year to be held accountable for the team’s shortcomings. His philosophy was to be free swinging and see what happens. Yea…what happens sucks, Larry. Honorable mention goes to Kenshin Kawakami. He got PAID big time to hang out in Gwinnett and eat funnel cakes at Coolray Field all summer. Pretty darn smart if you ask me.
Cutest Couple – Eric, O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel. These guys were absolutely great this season. Anybody who blames Kimbrel for the last game loss to Philly is a Jose Reyes…umm…I mean…a sub human, no account jerk. The guys were used more than the smoosh room on “Jersey Shore”. Every time the Braves were up by 4/5/27 runs…I never understood why the lesser bullpen mates weren’t brought in to save these guy’s arms. But what do I know? Oh that’s right. Even I know that’s stupid.
Most Likely to Succeed – Freddie Freeman. This is the one category where I could have put 4 different Braves. I even thought I’d put Jose Constanza as the winner. But then I remembered, according to some of you, he was already the Dominican Mickey Mantle and was packing for Cooperstown as we speak. His greatness transcends a silly high school superlative. Give me a break. He’ll be installing windows with Chuck James next year. Back to Freeman. This kid was everything we could have hoped for. And his stats back up the perception that he’s the new BMOC. And while Chipper Jones is still the ultimate Braves on this team, Freddie may well be the best Atlanta has to offer for the next 10 years.
Most Likely to Tip his Cap – Fredi Gonzalez. Enough said.
Mr. Atlanta Braves – Chipper Jones. Ok, most of you know that while I think Chipper is great, he has some MAJOR leadership flaws and is not the greatest face of a franchise I’ve ever seen. But you know what, I’m warming up to an idea. This guy is truly the greatest Atlanta Brave there’s ever been and it would be nearly impossible to have a player better than him. Also, I’m starting to realize he is a much more effective leader than most give him credit for. When they show those dugout meeting he holds, every player is riveted to Chipper. And he may be the second greatest switch hitter in baseball history. So while he REALLY needs to work on strengthening his oblique this off-season, my apologies to Chipper. If 2012 is his last year, Braves fans will see one last year of the greatest Atlanta sports “idol” the city ever had to offer.
Some superlatives I left off like, “Most Awesome Player Ever”. Eric Hinske wins that in a run away and everybody should know that. “Most Likely to Screw Himself into the Ground While Striking Out” was left off as both Alex Gonzalez and Martin Prado were in a dead heat to win that award. “Most Likely to be Working at Olive Garden Next Season” was a three way tie between Scott Linbrink, George Sherrill and Scott Proctor. These three make Manny Acosta or Blayne Boyer look like world beaters. And “Most Likely to be Better at Drag Racing Drunk than Throwing a Ball Over a White Plate” goes to Derek Lowe. Too bad we’ll see him again next year.
So Braves Fans, thanks a bunch for putting up with me and reading my blogs. I’ll be writing over the winter break and getting ready for the 2012 season. I hope we have some classes together!
If you want more of my shenanigans during the week, follow me on Twitter @yourdailyvinnie. Thanks!