The Atlanta Falcons made a huge splash Thursday night at the NFL Draft trading up to pick WR Julio Jones at the No. 6 spot. I would have preferred the Falcons get their first choice if they were going to give up so much, but I think it could be just what their offense needed. Also, the Atlanta Hawks won their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic (I couldn’t care less though, sorry).
But the week wasn’t all roses…it was a rough West Coast trip; there is no other way to say it. I wasn’t talking about the Braves—I meant it was rough for me. The majority of games didn’t start until 10:00pm and the Dodgers series really got me bummed after those losses, and worse yet, the Playstation Network is STILL down after being hacked! This has no effect on my MLB 11 The Show season (which I am up to June in BTW)…it has everything to do with how I watch the Braves (or DON’T).
As I’ve mentioned, I have an MLB.TV subscription. In the past I had DirecTV and Fios but am now stuck with Time Warner Cable so the best option to see all the Braves’ games was MLB.TV because I can watch on my laptop, my computer at work (don’t tell my boss), my iPhone and best of all, my PS3. OF course, with their network down and (oh by the way) my laptop screen busted, I’m left with a 2×3 inch screen. Look, I am happy I can still see the games, but try holding a phone 3 inches from your face (and plugged in) every night—it gets to you…
Something good about MLV.TV is that it doesn’t show commercials, so no annoying singing fish or anything. Sounds good right? Wrong! Instead, they show Volvo ads. Only Volvo ads. One can only take so many pictures of Volvos before they key every one they see.
My other option is to listen to Jim Powell and Don Sutton call the game on the radio. It may be a nice throwback to catch a game on the radio. It takes me back a little bit hearing Sutton call a game. There is no more Ernie Johnson (I am old enough to remember him on Sportsouth), Pete Van Wieren, Skip Caray. I still miss Skip—a lot.
In terms of baseball, it was really an up and down week and a half. Losing 3 of 4 from the Dodgers was a kick in the groin, but a totally unexpected sweep of the Giants, in San Francisco (where the Braves are lucky to lose by only 3 runs) was euphoric shock. Of course, it wasn’t great for everyone, as Roger McDowell showed his inner-Met by yelling a gay slur at some fans. Although, in all fairness, he may have just thought he saw Tony Romo in the stands.
Then the series in San Diego…well, coming into the series the Padres couldn’t have beat San Diego State (Tony Gwynn shout-out). Of course (like some type of cruel joke) they looked like a playoff team against the Braves in game 1. I feel for Cristhian Martinez; he is NOT this bad…I guess he had a worse week than I did. But games 2 and 3 were terrific. The ‘real’ J.J. is back on the mound (I can’t put into words how great that CG was) and Tommy Hanson has put his shaky start behind him. I’ll definitely take a 6-4 west coast trip any day.
I won’t take a player on the front page for making a poor decision though. I made my morning visit to the AJC to see our Opening Day pitcher Derek Lowe was arrested for suspicion of DUI. Lowe is the last guy I would have expected to see in a situation like this…
Matt’s Rant of the Month: OK, so I was sick when the Braves lost to the Giants last year in the playoffs; we all were. Like Bobby Cox, since the Braves couldn’t win, I was glad to the Giants (and my friend Roger) win the series. It was fun to see Brian Wilson and the rest of the bullpen grow those jet-black beards, like they were part of the Stanly Cup Playoffs.
Then during the off-season they came out with a few commercials with Wilson and his beard; MLB 2K11 had a couple good ones. Now it seems like every time I turn on the TV there’s Brian Wilson and his big black hobo beard…enough is enough! I can’t take it anymore! I hate that beard, I hate the ninjas that live in it, I hate the Irish dancers and I hate the lumberjacks in it. It’s Johnny Damon in his Red Sox “Caveman” phase. Brian Wilson, PLEASE SHAVE YOU SLOB!
Obscure Brave of the week: Chad Paronto.
Paronto is a relief pitcher that played for the braves from 2006-07. He was best known for his ability to come in a game and get a ground-ball out with his heavy sinker, oh yeah and he was freaking’ HUGE! Paronto is listed at 6’5” 285 lbs., but we all know better, this guy is three-bills, come on! (Remember Bobby Cox said he and Bob Wickman weren’t allowed to share a cab for fear of busting the shocks).
Paronto was born and raised in New Hampshire and played college baseball at U-Mass. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 1996 Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He made his MLB debut in 2001 before being moved to the Cleveland Indians, then eventually the Braves. After leaving Atlanta, Paronto played a couple years in the Houston Astros before joining the Boston Red Sox system.
I have to say, Paronto was a personal favorite of me and my friends. I think I bought the only #54 Paronto Braves T-Shirt ever printed—it has to be rare.
Here’s to you Paronto-Saurus Rex!! You were a key part of (arguably) the heaviest bullpen in baseball history.
Follow me on Twitter @BRAVEinNY…or else.