Moving!

Moving to http://www.fewproudbrave.wordpress.com !

Same everything, just different layout. Maybe new writers. Who knows, anything is possible on WordPress!

Braves Blog of the Week: “Toma(T)alk”

When I started this blog however many months ago, I had a goal, a vision, a dream. That goal/vision/dream was to create an engaging community of intelligent Braves fans. It’s slipped the past couple of weeks, but no biggy. I want to introduce a new series on “The Few, The Proud, The Braves” called, “Braves Blog of the Week”or fortnight depending on how busy I am. I’m going to start with “Toma(T)alk”.

The author is “an Atlanta native and overly-obsessed baseball fan,” and in his spare time likes fantasy baseball, reading baseball books and re-watching “Field of Dreams.”

How long have you been a Braves fan?
Since I can remember watching sports.  I grew up in Marietta, GA,
which is a northwest suburb of Atlanta, and I immediately took to all
of my hometown teams.

Who is your favorite Brave of all time?

Probably Dale Murphy.  He was the Brave during my childhood years so it was just natural to love the guy.  I’d put in a strong “honorable mention” to Greg Maddux who I always loved watching pitch during the 90’s.

Who is your favorite current Brave?
B-Mac.  I’ve been impressed with his hitting and poise ever since
he made his debut.  Plus, the guy’s just so goofy and lighthearted that
it’s difficult to find anything to dislike.  I also appreciate that he
grows a beard about as well as I do, and yet he still wears it more
often than not.

When was your first baseball game? Did anything special happen? Who Took you?
Honestly, I don’t remember my first baseball game.  I’m sure it
was at Fulton County Stadium, and I’m sure my Dad took me, but that’s
about as positive I can be.  That’s probably attributable to the rather
forgetful decade the Braves had in the 80’s as a whole.

What inspired you to create a Braves blog?
I’ve messed around with writing online about baseball for years. 
I tend to be a bit long-winded to merely reply to other people’s blogs
so I figured I’d make my own blog where I could be as long-winded as I
felt like.

How does the Braves’ future look? (2009 and beyond)
I think the Braves are in pretty good hands.  It’s tough not to
get excited when you see a rookie like Tommy Hanson come up and do so
well without being fully mature yet.  Having guys like Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Cody Johnson,
and Julio Teheran in the minors gives me even more encouragement. So
long as the Braves develop these guys to their potential, the team has
a bright future.  I was happy to see the Braves essentially pull off
the bandages this year letting Smoltz walk, cutting Glavine, and
trading Francoeur.  Many have given the front office a lot of grief in
recent years, but they’ve gone a long ways in transitioning this team
for the future.

What do you do when the Braves don’t play?
I’m a music person having played the guitar for about a decade
now.  I also love to read just about anything non-fiction, and I love
to pretend to work out.

Fan or Fanatic?
I guess I’d say “Fan.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big time Braves
guy, but I’m not someone who hoots and hollers a whole lot, and about
as crazy dressed as I get for a game is perhaps wearing a Braves
jersey.  I also tend to get annoyed quickly at games when I see my
fellow Braves fans demonstrate a lot of ignorance about our team, the
opponent, or baseball in general.

It’s worth noting that by “fanatic,” I didn’t mean someone who is crazy at games, but rather a level of “fan-a-tism”

Braves biggest rival? (In your opinion)

It had been the Mets for years but it’s tough to deny that the
Phillies are the team I get most ramped up about us playing.  They’re
the defending champions and have been the most consistent team in the
N.L. East for the past 4 years.  Since Atlanta
doesn’t have that traditional rival or geographic rival, our biggest
opponent should always be the team we’re chasing most frequently.

Who is worse? Jon Miller or Joe Morgan?
Joe Morgan…..really, it’s not close.

Do you have an Braves related goals?
When I was growing up I had this baseball that I used to take
around to autograph signings.  Over the years the baseball got the
autographs of Glavine, Smoltz, Avery, Justice, Lemke, Blauser, Olson,
Chipper, and a few others….the guy I never got was Greg Maddux.  I
suppose I would still want him to sign it, though I highly doubt that
chance will ever come.

Do you have a goal for your blog?
Nah.  If I make someone think about something a little
differently, give them a piece of information they’d never heard, or
just generally strike up a good debate, my only goal’s complete.

Coke or Pepsi?

Anyone who calls them self a Georgian must answer this
question Coke.  Aside from geography (well, it’s not really “aside” as
the two are related, but) my dad’s worked for The Coca-Cola Company for
over 30 years and I worked there on and off over the course of 5
years.  It’s safe to say that Pepsi is simply known as the “P” word in
our household. 

Be sure to check out his blog @ http://tomatalk.mlblogs.com

And follow me on twitter @ http://twitter.com/Few_Proud_Brave

Oh and the Braves sign Takishe Saito (another name I have to memorize spelling, ARRGH!)

Go Braves!

That’s all for me, folks!

Braves sign Billy Wagner

The Atlanta Braves certainly made a splash in the free agent pool, breaking seemingly endless hours of consecutive boredom.

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“The team reached preliminary agreement Tuesday with free-agent
left-hander Billy Wagner on a one-year, $7 million contract with a
vesting option for a second season, according to a major-league source.” – Ken Rosenthal

The $6.5 million vesting option is guaranteed if Wagner “finishes 50 games next season.”

Wagner will be coming off Tommy John surgery, which is no uncharted waters for the Braves, who have had pitchers Tim Hudson, Peter Moylan, Rafael Soriano, John Smoltz, Mike Gonzalez and others come off major surgery and still post very successful seasons.

Wagner had an amazingly incredible 2009 campaign. Although it was significantly shortened season, its was incredible; 1.02 WHIP, 1.72 ERA, and nearly 15 K’s for every 9 innings. Think about that, 15 K’s per 9 innings.

Bill James predicts Wagner’s 2010 line to be: 6 – 1, 2.18 ERA, 62 IP, and 75Ks

Which would be tremendous for the Braves.

The Braves lose their 20th round pick which will go to the Boston RedSox assuming the physical, to be executed on Wednesday, goes through.

If you ask me, this is a good deal. Wagner becomes the closer, Moylan takes Gonzo’s job. and perhaps O’Flarity moves into the 7th inning role. 7 million is a lot, I’d have thought somewhere around 5 with incentives would be
better… Wren must have a lot of confidence in him, and if Wren does,
then so do I!

Wagner is 15 saves short of of 400 saves and 40 saves away from becoming the all time leader among left handed pitchers in saves, passing Franco.

Also:

This mysterious Wren that works in mysterious ways is a good color on him.

GO BRAVES!
 
That’s All For Me, Folks!
 

If I’m Frank Wren: Braves’ Offseason Re-Preview

Assuming the payroll stays at $96,726,166, here’s a look at possible solutions for the offseason.


2010 Obligations:

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These 17 roster spots cost $77,850,334. Leaving $18,875,832 to spend on the following needs.

Needs:
1B
OF
BN
BN
BN
RP

RP
RP

1B Candidates:

Adam LaRoche
Nick Johnson
Russel Branyan
Hank Blalock
Jermaine Dye

If I’m Frank Wren, I look at LaRoche, Johnson, Branyan and Blalock. LaRoche wants a three year deal in the 25M – 27M range. I’d give it to him. Freeman’s struggles have shown that he shouldn’t be rushed to the show. I’d bring him up up in mid 2012. Nick “OBP Machine” Johnson would get a good fit for the Braves. However, he has a scary history of injuries and such. Russel Branyan would be a perfect power fit. He could probably hit clean up too. Bill James predicts he’ll hit 27 HRs, and unless Chipper REALLY breaks out of a slump, he’d lead the team in HRs. Hank Blalock is kind of a safety option for first, as is Dye.  

OF Candidates:

Mike Cameron
Marlon Byrd
Mark DeRosa
Xavier Nady
Cody Ross
Josh Willingham
Eric Brynes
Jordan Schafer
Jason Heyward

If I’m Frank Wren, and I have to pick one to acquire, I’ll go with Mike Cameron or Mark DeRosa. However, that may be too expensive, so I’ll pick, Cody Ross. Shifting Diaz to right, leaving McLouth at center and Ross at left could bring 50 to 60 HRs to the outfield. Ross could cost some good AAA players. I wouldn’t bring up with Jordon or Jason until mid-season.

RP Candidates:

Billy Wagner
J.J. Putz
Kiko Calero
Brendan Donnelly
Takashi Saito
Rafael Betancourt
Darren Oliver
Bobby Jenks
Matt Caps
Boone Logan
Manny Acosta

One of the 3 needed RP should be filled with in house options, so whose a better 12th pitcher? Logan or Acosta? Probably Logan… To save a draft pick I’d skip out on Wagner. Instead, sign Saito (2yrs./9M) and Putz (1yr/2M base, up to 5M in incentives, with a 7M mutual option for 2011). If those fail, there are nearly a million options, like Abreu and Procter.

BN Candidates:

Mike Jacobs
Eric Hinske

Nomar Garciaparra
Austi
n Kearns

Brooks Conrad
Barbro Canizares
Diory Hernadez
Reid Gorecki
Gregor Blanco


With Infante on the team, Diory, Reid, or Gregor are not needed, Barbo won’t NEED to be either because Conrad could slip into 2B and Prado over to first if injury occurs. So my first slot goes to Conrad. I love the idea on Jacobs on the team, or Hinske, one of them, with Ross, would add some nice POP! to the bench. Especially with Norton gone, the bench will be a strong point. My last spot has to go to Barbo because he’s cheaper and would produce waaaaay more 

Departures:
Kelly Johnson
Ryan Church
Buddy Carlye
Jorge Campillo
Rafael Soriano
Mike Gonzalez
Garret Anderson
GREG NORTON!!

Final 2010 25 man roster:
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For a final payroll of $96,450,334.

Keep in mind, this is all IF the Braves don’t raise their payroll, I’m 100% sure they will…

That’s all for me folks!

GO BRAVES AND FRANK WREN!!!

Seems I Have To Write About Something…

Well, the postseason is upon us. Actually, it’s been upon us for quite some time now. While I haven’t watch any full games, I’ve kept up with a few things. For instance, there is no God. Yes, yes, all of you dammed atheists were right. God does not exist. For the simple evidence concludes that a true God would pull the rug under the Yankees’ and Phillies’ momentum.

You expect me to believe that the likes of Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard produce by “free will” and “talent” WITHOUT divine intervention?

Oh no, no, no. If Jesus sits at the right hand of God, A-Rod and J-Roll surely sit and the left.

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…..or something to that extent.

BUT! I finally have Braves related news! Here’s what happened:

  • Tim Hudson didn’t want to sign with the Braves
  • Tim Hudson wanted to sign with the Braves
  • McCann had lasik surgery
  • The AFL started

 
 Tim Hudson

Folks, this whole thing was baloney from the start. There is about a 5% chance Hudson isn’t a Brave next season. He is too involved in Atlanta’s community to just be shipped out, and he’s a clubhouse guy. Now, I know what your saying: “But Kris! John Smoltz was involved in Atlanta, was a great clubhouse guy and a legend, and he was tossed out on his *** (aka the BoSox).” Well, the difference is Hudson still knows how to get batters out without the 15 run intervals.

Brian McCann    

The only thing I know about this is that McCann had lasik surgery. I don’t know if it helped or not, although as soon as word comes out, I, as well as hundreds of other people, well give our thoughts and opinoins on it.

The Arizona Fall League

Ah yes, the AFL is back, the only thing that gives Braves hope in October. You may recall that at last years AFL, a young Tommy Hanson tore up batters all around. So much so, that he was awarded that years MVP crown. That mearly paved the way for young Hanson to a succseful rookie season at the show.

This year the Braves are sending another batch of hopefulls. I’ll go over who they are and how they’re doing so far:

Jason Heyward (.286/.375/.500):

The biggest prospect in baseball today has had a fine first 14 at bats. He has 2 BB, 2 SB, and 3 of his first 4 hits are doubles. 

Freedie Freeman (.100/.308/.100)

Freeman suffered a slump in his last portion of MiLB play. It appears to have carried over to the AFL, although, he’s barrely played three games. He has, however, managed to draw 3 walks, but K 3 times. He has one hit, it was a single. But! You know what they say, “You can’t judge a book by it’s first 16 plate appearnces!

(NOTE: I’m told “he has lined out several times”)

Who I’m Rooting For And Why…

I’ll start with the American League.

Twins vs Yankees:

Twins.
Why?
Because their the underdogs…
America loves the underdogs.
America loves to love the underdogs
America loves to hate the Yankees.
Pretty simple.

Red Sox vs. Angels:

Angels.
Why?
Because I like them more, I guess.
Also because I like Mike Scioscia.  
And Nick Adenhart

Now the National League…

Rockies vs. Phillies:

I don’t care, like at all. This series is bittersweet for me. Why? Because I know one of these teams will fail (YEY!!!), but one will succeed (BOO!!!).

Cardinals vs. Dodgers:

In a way I want to see the Cardinals win it all, but I would mind watching the Dodgers win…

So, Who are you rooting for??

 

Its The Most Wonderful Time of The Year…

Anyone remember that commercial from Staples where the Dad took the two kids school shopping? They played that classic Christmas song, the kids were depressed and pissed, and the Dad was dancing with glee…

No?

Why, here it is.

) verses a suddenly hot Chicago lineup. While The Twins are matching KC’s Hochevar (7-12, 6.24) with veteran pitcher and mid season pick up, Carl Pavano (13-12, 5.07).

In my opinoin, both the Twins and Tiger have advantages in their respective games. So, their season’s could both be decided by a tie-breaker. THATS EXCITING!

In a tie-breaker would insue, Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36) would face off against Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.04).

I like the move the Twins made. I like haing the veteran pitcher playing in the must win game, and playing their best pitcher in the tie-breaker. You want a guys whos been there, a guy who could pitch under pressure.

Both teams are in 1st place, both team are good, both can make the playoffs.
Its all up in the air!

Whoever wins will face the Yankees on 10/7/09 or 10/8/09 and swept out of the postseason on 10/11/09…

…Just kidding!

That’s all for me folks!

I’mmmmmmmmmmm BACK!

The last time I came back from a break, this blog finished first among all Braves blogs in August. Lets see what kind of magic we can come up with this time.

Why I Left?:

Because of Hewlett Packer. Those expletives took forever to give me my laptop back!

Anyways:

The Braves are eliminated from the playoffs, and they sure are playing like it. Having dropped three in a row, two to the Nationals no less, that spark in the team certainly has left. I’m a bit tardy on covering their near-historic streak, but I will say that pitching and timely hitting carried them.

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Fridays loss was disappointing. Lowe needs to go, for one big reason:

  • His contract: Lowe makes 45 million dollars over the next three years. Thats good for      the highest paid player on the Braves…
  • His performance: Derek was brought in to lead the staff, and a 4.55 ERA doesn’t really say, “leader”. Sadly, he does lead the team in wins, but thats a totally different story.
  • His age: The man is 36 years old. While thats young in our world, he’s old in baseball years. Much like dog years, you have to convert it. So Derek Lowe is actually 72 years old, until he retires.
  • His sweat: Its amazing how much sweat he can produce. Does he ever stop? He could have an endorsement deal with speed stick…

Oh look at that, I had four reasons, well isn’t that something… [Rolls Eyes]

Nate McLouth deserves some serious props for this incredible play.
 
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Award Picks (without explanation):

AL ROY: Gordon Beckham
NL ROY: Chris Coghlan

AL MVP: Joe Mauer
NL MVP: Albert Pujols

AL Cy Young: Zack Greinke
NL Cy Young: Adam Wainwright

Also, I will be covering select playoff games, so, there is something to look forward to do.
(I guess)

GO TWINS!! (and Braves!)

That’s all for me folks!

Hiatus!

Until October…

Have this to hold you over:

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So Where Are We Now? Elated? Or Frustrated?

Forgive me, but right now I’m writing a parody to “Behind Blue Eyes” and I’m a little distracted. And now Church… Ok, I’ll be back.

Ok. So. Where are we now?

Well, we’re now elated…
 
Three 1/2 back in the wild card, coming off a big win against arguably the best pitcher in the past 7 or so weeks, and having Jurrjens on the mound isn’t to shabby either…

(If you don’t know by now, I’ve fallen in love with the ellipsis…)

The SD Padre series was horrible. Should have taken swept ‘em., or taken two outta three, or not under perform with the bases juiced, OR, pitched better, OR let Vasquez continue his bid for a shutout…

Its worth noting that the Padres are killing right now. But thats in the past. Now we’re are looking toward the future! FUTURE! Its an electric word, future, its means forever and thats a mighty long time. But I got to tell you, there is something else… The present. Yes, the present. Right now we have to win this game, its not “must win” but its pretty darn tootin close. Why?

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  1. The most important is to gain ground on the The Rockies and The Giants.
  2. To gain ground on the Philles. Yes, I said it. They might take the division, but I’m won’t let them to it easily. What I’m I going to do? Fire words of hate across the internet… That’ll show ‘em.
  3. Give Jurrjens a win! This fella deserves it like no other! I wish my ‘pen name’ (Jurrjens4NLCY) was not just a pen name…

Right. So now we have our reasons. The goal?
 
STAY ELATED! and stray from FRUSTRATED!

A few notes:

  • Matty D is not just hot, he’s a flipping supernova!
  • McLouth reagravated his injury
  • LaRoche tweaked his hand or thigh, or something, but he should be fine
  • Church tweaked his back again.

Now, Today is Sunday and even if you are not a big christain, by the by, I don’t consider myself a big christain either, you should pray for the Braves. Hands crossed, head bowed, eyes closed (OKAY! You got me, eyes open to read.)

Dear Lord/Higher Power/Jesus/Budda/Moses/Space Monster Scientology thingy,

We have endured so much during this season, please guide the Braves to finish strong enough to take the wild card or perhaps the division. If you could find it in your heart/space monster thing to do so, that would be greatly appraciated. Push the Braves to win now, and forever more!

Can I get an AMEN!!!

GO BRAVES!

Thats all for me folks!

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