March 23, 2010

Smoltz Back in Atlanta

It was announced last Tuesday that John Smoltz will be returning to Atlanta (and other MLB cities) for the 2010 seasononly now it will be as a broadcaster. Smoltz will be joining the cast of Ernie Johnson Jr. and Joe Simpson to call Braves’ games on Peachtree TV this season, as well as Sunday and MLB Playoff games for TBS, and will also serve as the newest analyst for the MLB Network. There aren’t many things that can make the MLB Network better, but this is one of them!

Now Smoltz and future HOF Tom Glavine will be broadcasting games this season for the Braves, which is wildly exciting for every true Braves fan, including myself. After last year’s nightmare exit to Boston and a mid-season switch to St. Louis, Smoltz, like Glavine, is returning to his baseball home. And hey, if the Braves need a little bullpen help in July, they don’t have to look very far—I’m just saying…

The 42-year-old Smoltz has “not officially” announced his retirement, and isn’t expected to do so anytime soon as he leaves the door open for a possible mid-season comeback, though it’s not likely— as Smoltz put it, “The odds aren’t very high.”

I have found it great to see a number of former Braves active with the franchise in recent years. Javy Lopez, Dale Murphy, Bruce Benedict, Otis Nixon, Jeff Blauser, Marquis Grissom, Fred McGriff…the list goes on and on, and it now includes the likes of Smoltz and Glavine. This gesture gives us the feeling of nostalgia, as it brings us all back to those years in the early 90’s when the Braves began their run of greatness. Not all teams do this, but I’m glad the Braves are one that does.

As I am writing, I am doing a live fantasy baseball draft. This doesn’t have too much to do with the Braves, except that in each on my leagues (no rational person needs to be in 6 leagues) I am drafting Troy Glaus as a bench player. I bring this up because I, like most people with an eye on the Braves, are expecting a big year from Glaus.

The former UCLA star came into the majors back in 1998 and in every year he has compiled 350 at-bats, he has hit at least 20 home runs. The only season that he hasn’t hit at least 16 HR was last year when he missed all but 14 games due to shoulder surgery. The spring numbers he is putting up don’t mean a whole lot, I know, but the fact that he is continuously making solid contact is an indicator to me that he is once again healthy and ready to hit 25-30 HR and close to 100 RBI’s.

I also expect solid defense from Glaus at 1B. He was drafted as a SS out of UCLA (which he played in Toronto as well) and has always been a plus defender at 3B. As long as he is healthy, which I guess goes for everyone, I see him having a MONSTER year in Atlanta.

By the way…Just under 2 weeks ‘til Opening Day!

Follow me on Twitter @ BRAVEinNY.

Until Next time…Go Braves!



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