Archive for the ‘Braves’ Category

Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde and Baseball

What do these three things have in common? Well, I’m glad you asked. It just so happens that the lovely import from the North and Maxim’s Hottest Woman of 2009 are filming a new movie, The Change-Up, in Atlanta. And, they want you to be a part of it. This weekend, at Turner Field, the production needs extras…and lots of them. Extras get free parking, a free lunch and a chance at some raffle prizes. But, here’s an even better reason to check it out. For every extra that attends, the production company will donate five dollars to the Atlanta Braves Foundation Charity on their behalf. Check out the details here and register here. Someone say hi to Ryan for me, eh?

Could these Braves be the real deal?

It is so tempting to take the Braves dramatic win against the Phillies tonight and make it a bigger deal than it is.  Baseball is a cruel mistress, as these Braves have already shown us.  These are the same Braves that got no-hit the other day.  Jason Heyward’s dramatic game-winning single only came about after some help from the umpires.  Still, it is hard to watch a 3-run comeback in the bottom of the 9th against the reigning NL champs and not get excited.

I was most surprised by the source of the comeback.  This was my thought process during the last two innings:

  • Troy Glaus comes up with two outs and a runner on.  He had come up with the bases loaded earlier in the game and one out, and prompted grounded into a double play, just as I expected.  The fans were booing him the at-bat before this one.  I thought, “This game is over.”  I was pretty slack-jawed when he actually knocked it out.  “Well, good for him.  He really needed that.”  Still down a run with two out, no point in getting TOO excited.
  • Heyward comes up.  “It is too much to expect him to do it again.  Maybe he’ll get a hit, keep it going.”  Holy crap.  This kid is the real deal.  It says a lot about him that this event was the LEAST surprising part about the comeback.
  • I see that McLouth, the pitcher’s spot, and Diaz are up in the bottom of the 10th.  “Great, the worst part of the order.  This will go to 11 innings.”  How wrong I was.

One thing that was great about the early 90’s Braves (the completely biased standard by which I judge all great baseball teams) is that they had very timely hits.  Guys like Lemke and Belliard didn’t put up great numbers, but they came through in the clutch.  That kind of clutch performance has been missing for what feels like a decade.  When Glaus hit into that bases loaded double play, it just felt like typical Braves.  The 9th inning was NOT typical Braves, although I hope it becomes typical of THESE Braves.

i’m gonna be *that* guy.

i hate to say it.

even though i love the hawks and want to see the braves do good, and consider myself to now firmly be an atlantan, when it comes to baseball i will never be able to cheat on my one true love.

the lovable losers from chicgao’s northside, the one and only, chicago cubs.

as most of you know, the braves will be opening the 2010 major league campaign today at turner field. and they will be doing it against the cubs.

so my mark grace jersey from 1998 is now out and ready to go. and yes, i am going to be *that* guy. the obnoxious guy who shows up decked out for the visiting team and cheers so loud for them you want to kill him. the guy who knows every stat about every player that’s ever played for the visiting team and won’t shut up about it.

so if you see me out at the ted today and you have the urge to punch me, i understand. i feel it every time i go to philips to see the hawks play the lakers or the cavs or the knicks.

but before you cock back and aim a fist my way, remember, 102 years. that’s how long it will be this year since the cubs one the world series.

btw – the best part of all of this is that atlanta metblogs own ben k. will be going with me and my cheering for the cubs is going to annoy the ever living daylight out of him. BONUS!!!!

OMG Heyward shirtless!!

I was reading the local fish wrapping this morning when I came across an odd article about the Braves’ Jason Heyward. Apparently Heyward has put on some weight from last year, which is cause for uncomfortable sentences like these:

Jason Heyward reported to spring training Monday, then jaws hit the floor. Millionaire athletes reached for words to describe the masher from McDonough, whose already epic physique has become more so…

Most of his added weight appears to have been distributed across his muscular shoulders. Simply put: dude is shredded.

And yet, Heyward has maintained the narrow waist and V-shaped back that he had last spring training.
Um.  Right.  So I get that the guy is big.  But am I the only one who found this an odd lede for a sports article?  Well, maybe for baseball – middle aged men slobbering over the physique of teenagers is pretty common in football, so much so that my alma mater’s leading blog has coined the term ‘shirtless’ for 5-star recruits.  So I guess we can wait for posts that scream “OMG Heyward shirtless!”

Also, La Madre reaction to the article was “he’s on steroids, right?”.  I think part of the oddity of this article is that I remember when guys like portly Terry Pendleton and lanky Fred McGriff were typical ball players – as a smaller youth I was drawn to the game precisely because you didn’t have to be omg shirtless to play it well.  Mark Lemke was entirely average at 5’10” and 167 lbs – as a 10 year old, I could aspire to this.  I’m not used to viewing ball players as physical specimens like this, even though I get entirely too excited when I read about all the weight some sophomore defensive lineman put on over the summer.

I miss Ted and crappy baseball

Growing up in Atlanta in the late 80’s, one thing was pretty much a certainty – the Braves would suck.  There were some good side effects to this of course – you could get cheapo tickets for Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and the just walk down the aisle to much better seats.  No one really seemed to care, because you were pretty much the only folks in the stadium anyway.  Also, the Braves had these great “half-season” ticket packages where you could get like 20 or 40 home game tickets if you were too cheap to buy a full 81 game season ticket.  The fam-dam-ily I went to lots of Braves games in the late 80’s and early 90’s (with el hermano often taking a book to read – he wasn’t much of a baseball fan).

I used to like baseball a lot more than I do now.  Baseball was the one sport I was half-decent at, and it was kind of ‘my sport’.  Then I discovered football in high school, and when I went to Michigan the football obsession really took off.  Football is simply a much more exciting spectator sport.  However, in those halycon days of Braves baseball, I watched the Braves every night.  Dale Murphy was my hero, and I can’t tell you how many Andy Griffith re-runs I watched on TBS waiting out rain delays.  Thankfully, I didn’t know what Mormon meant when I was 8.

The point I’m trying to make here, other than rampant, blathering, nostalgia, is that I had a lot more fun watching the Braves when they sucked than I do lately.  Part of that is that I have gotten older and my attention span has shrunk (thanks, modern life!), but I think part of it is that the Braves don’t really feel like they are “our team” anymore.  Part of it is that they were owned by the local eccentric millionaire – and when you have as much money as Ted Turner, you get to be called “eccentric” and not “crazy”.  They were on ALL THE TIME, and there was a certain lovable-loser quality to the team.  Ted crashed ostrich carts on the infield and it was all a lot more fun.

Still, Ted loved the team and cared about them winning.  He was willing to invest not only money, but time and oversight to the team.  Slowly, he built a powerhouse franchise that this city loved deeply in the 90s.  This city absolutely worshiped not only Smoltz, Glavine, and Maddux, but McGriff, Bream, Pendleton, Gant, Belliard, and Nixon.  Give me those guys over Sheffield, Teixeira, Lofton (remember that!), or any of the high priced guys out there these days.  At least Chipper still has that underdog thing going on.  He is the most underrated player in the MLB, IMO – but he isn’t a prima dona, so there ya go.

That feeling is gone.  Every week it seems like we get snubbed by some free agent or another.  The team doesn’t even really have the “professional” attitude it had in the mid 90’s.  It doesn’t really know who it is, and the city can’t really rally behind it.  It is hard to escape the feeling that the team is sliding back into obscurity.  I might be okay with that – maybe it’ll find its soul again.

Turner Field: 19th best MLB Stadium?

SI.com has a new feature article/report on fan experiences at MLB stadiums and Turner Field, home of the Braves, ranks 19th out of 30 venues.

Turner Field

I’ve never been a huge fan of “The Ted” but I don’t dislike it either. It just seems to lack some of the character of an older stadium, the neighborhood feel of some of those same stadiums and it comes off a bit vanilla.

Don’t get me wrong. The old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was as cookie cutter as they come, but isn’t “The Ted” just a newer version, following a different trend.

Sure, this trend is better, but it just lacks character.

Of course, cheap ticket prices and a winning tradition make any experience above average, but on the whole, I think ranking solidly in the middle seems about right to me.

What about you? How does “The Ted” stack up against other ballparks in your mind?

For the record, I like Wrigley Field, but I have roots in the Midwest and I saw my first game their at age 6. I also watched a game at the old Comiskey Park in it’s last season, but was unimpressed.

Report: Schuerholz stepping down

SI.com is reporting that longtime Braves GM John Schuerholz is stepping down and that Frank Wren, currently an assistant GM, would take over.

Schuerholz was the architect of the Braves success in the 90’s and 00’s and – despite only 1 World Series victory – is hailed by many as the best GM in MLB.

If the report is true, it’s been a great ride and we were lucky to have him. Schuerholz will reportedly stay on as team president (a post formerly held by Yankee-lover and Nationals president, Stan Kasten).

Discuss.

Lamentation for the Braves

Andruw’s not staying, TBS cedes Braves coverage to Peachtree TV and I don’t feel so good myself.

:-(

At least the Mets aren’t in the playoffs.

Martin Prado: Bat Man

Keep your eyes on the bat.

Another version, just in case you think you’re seeing things.

From Wednesday, September 12, 2007 against the Mets @ Shea; your daily dose of YouTube video.

The Mark Teixiera Song

The husband and I were watching the Braves tonight and they mentioned some Auburn University kids who wrote a song about Mark Teixeira. Husband is an Auburn native and graduate, so we had to find the song on YouTube. Not bad for a couple kids sitting on a nasty-looking couch in a crappy college apartment. Turns out that Jeff Francoeur found their video on YouTube (shouldn’t he be practicing or something?), and then somehow the Braves PR department got a hold of it. The Auburn boys were invited to play it at Turner Field. Unfortunately, I can’t find out when or where. Might just be in the Braves live studio there at the field.

Know what rhymes with Mark Teixeira? “Probly marr-ya.” “Mass hysteria.” Stuff like that.

We already set the Tivo up to record it.

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