Guest Column: An Open Letter To Mark Bradley
Alex R., a longtime contributor on the old version of the site, also has some things to say to Mr. Bradley. Alex has a much lower opinion of Bobby than I do.
I have emailed you in the past, mostly to applaud your columns but I was bewildered and dismayed over your “plea” to John Schuerholz to not budge at the Trade deadline.
Do we have the best record in Baseball? Yes. Do we have the best bullpen ERA? Yes. Do we have the best Closer in Baseball? Yes. (With all apologies to Rivera, Nen, Hoffman, Eric Gagne, and Sasaki). Do we have the Best Center Fielder in Baseball? Yes. (Ok, a tie with Torii Hunter). Are we an experienced team that has played many, many playoff games? Yes again.
Those are all good things. I even started with the record, Mark, because it’s something to be proud of considering how slow are April was. But you are very very wrong when you ‘encourage’ a belt tightening AOL/Time Warner run team to not make a move. It would be a huge mistake and would all but guarantee another Playoff or World Series heartbreak.
The fact is, you are lauding us winning all games 2-1. Do you even read your own writing? Do you honestly believe this will hold up not only for the rest of the regular season, but in a let’s say, Playoff re-match with Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson? Last night was a red herring that your column is not to be trusted. Maddux pitched an average game for him and lost to AJ Burnett 2-1. Now it’s very likely AJ Burnett will not make it to the post season, nor will his Marlins, but Schilling and Johnson will be there, Matt Morris will be there, and let me re-emphasize Schilling and Johnson. Head to head, they get the slight edge over Maddux and Glavine. Where we do have an advantage is the pen. Where we are basically even with them is that both teams have terrible lineups.
How can you possibly defend our batting order? How can you possibly defend not playing DeRosa or Giles everyday with Mr. Mendoza, Keith Lockhart apparently offering sexual favors to Bobby to keep his job. I am still utterly amazed that Keith Lockhart has a job. I refuse to defend that he has a few game winning hits. Whoopety Doo as Adam Sandler would say. He has no range, no speed, a below average glove and he doesn’t get on base–and he’s our starting second baseman! Or how about Javy Lopez and Vinny Castilla, two more starters who can’t even reach .250? You are all excited about the two-headed Franco at first base, and yeah, I would be excited also when comparing Julio and Matt to Lockhart, Javy Lopez, and Vinny. There are 4 no-hit spots in the batting order and these days, Chipper is making it five.
The Braves desperately need another bat. It’s painfully obvious. Derrek Lee would be a nice addition and though we have multiple holes, placing Lee at first and letting either DeRosa or Giles play everyday at second solves two issues. I would go as far as saying I would rather see the scrappy Darren Bragg start in the outfield and Chipper replacing Vinny’s weak bat at third. It’s the more reasonable alternative.
Bobby Cox has been the Braves Manager far too long and he cannot see that his batting order choices are horrendous and the Braves would win 95 games or so this year with the good hitters or maybe even keeping the bad hitters. We would win most games 6-1 instead of 2-1. That may mean nothing to you, Mark, but come Post Season, those extra bats give us extra hope against the Diamondback aces. Hell, even if we survive the Diamondbacks and make the 2002 World Series (assuming a labor dispute doesn’t end that dream) do you honestly see us beating the Yankees with Keith Lockhart, Matt Franco, Julio Franco, Vinny Castilla, and Javy Lopez all playing significant roles? You’re crazy if you do.
Well, it’s moot anyway because I suspect Schuerholz will not do anything major (and we certainly don’t need pitching like a Paul Byrd–why???) and even if he did, Bobby “Old Man River” Cox would play his favorite .230 hitters anyway. I am sure Randy Johnson is looking forward to lowering his Postseason ERA anyway.