216 thoughts on “Game Thread: September 5, Mets at Braves”

  1. Adam LaRoche–LOSER
    Bobby Cox–senile
    Dan Kolbb–fat & stupid
    Jim Brower–High School Pitcher

    As I said, I won’t cuss but I am definitely not cutting off personal attacks on the current Braves Major Leaguers who absolutely DESERVE IT.

  2. I love it when people tell me that ineffectual bozos are nice guys and are trying hard. I even believe them! But it’s beside the point.
    Baseball is a COMPETITION! They keep score!
    The day-to-day performance of an individual gets appraisal on this site, but not crticism. Only the continued-often inexplicable–poor performance gets skewered.
    If they suck; say they suck. And if they suck big time-SCREAM IT!
    I hope they pummell the Mets, leaving them angry and hurt, so that they take it out on our competitors.

    Nothing personal.

  3. I cannot express how glad I am to hear Pete’s voice. Another broadcast of Skip and Don, and my head would explode.

  4. Actually, let me amend that…I am sick to death of Don, especially having met him, what a jerk. I wish it was Joe Simpson and Skip in a perfect world.

  5. Too bad the minors are gone for the year. Thomson needs a rehab assignment. He can’t place his pitches.

  6. Thomson looks GREAT so far.

    I will wait for now but add him to the list of people who deserve to be personally insulted.

    And I wish Don (and Chip as well) would stop spreading the lie that Thomson’s last starts was GOOD.

  7. By the way, does anyone know LaRoche’s spot in the batting order?

    Also, when we are generally struggling on offense (compounded by playing a loser like LaRoche), why is MCCANN not playing everyday ahead of the perpetually light hitting Estrada?

    Cox’s PATIENCE on all these guys is going to cost us the division.

    Also, if Thomson has a BAD start, can we move Lerew into the rotation? I am just so TIRED of all these bad players (Thomson, LaRoche, Estrada, Kolbb, Brower), that Cox keeps playing over and over and over.

  8. I’m in NYC so they are blacking out TBS in favor of the local Mets broadcast. Trust me, you haven’t heard bad broadcasting until you sit through half an inning of Tom Seaver trying to put two thoughts together in a row. The worst part is he manages to make stupid comments while sounding really pleased with himself at the same time.

  9. So…Cox moves LaRoche down to 7th but then BATS HOLLANDSWORTH WHO IS DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AS WELL 5TH?

    Bobby…STOP WORRYING ABOUT SWITCHING LEFTIES AND RIGHTIES ALREADY. MY GOD. WHY WON’T YOU JUST BAT FRANCOUER AFTER JONES SO THEY PITCH TO JONES? NO NONE RESPECTS OR IS AFRAID OF TODD HOLLANDSWORTH.

    ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

  10. Seriously, has it come yet to Bobby’s attention that LaRoche, Hollandsworth, Kelly Johnson asnjd Langerhans are all NOT THAT GOOD, and that, maybe, just MAYBE, Francouer should get the 5th spot already?

    Thank God for Marcus.

  11. Alex, he is absolutely right about the lefty-righty thing. I saw too many Braves teams have three lefties or three righties in a row and get burned. I’d use the catchers here, myself, but I don’t see why giving Hollandsworth a shot (ONE shot) is a bad idea.

  12. Yes, Chipper!

    Of course with 1st base open, if I were Willie Randolph, I would WALK to Andruw and pitch to that piece of garbage we call Todd Hollandsworth.

  13. I, too, live in NYC, which blacks out TBS for Braves/Mets games. Seaver is bad, but Fran Healy downright stupid.

    Recent Healy quote during Furcal’s AB: “In the old days, you had leadoff guys like Richie Ashburn who got 100 walks and got on base any way they could. But Reyes & Furcal are part of the new school, they go up there swinging & running. Give me the new school!”
    He sounds like a wetbrained Little League coach.

    Way to belt ’em, Chipp-ah!

  14. Well, he probably doesn’t want Estrada there, as he probably likes some kind of power in that spot.

    McCann has some pop. We’ll see how the lineup goes when Brian gets his next start.

    Thomson gets his run back. He needs to not lose this game.

  15. Lefty-righty is fine when your lefties DON’T SUCK AND HIT LIKE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS.

    My god already with the righty lefty thing. Best players hit 5th, cruddy players hit after that.

    Does anyone else find it insane that an NL MVP candidate has NO PROTECTION BEHIND HIM? How the heck can you justify Hollandsworth or LaRoche, a piece of garbage like those guys, hitting behind the NL MVP candidate????

  16. Mac your use of numbers is interesting, actually.

    It further proves that OLD SCHOOL Cox never checks a darn stat sheet.

    I am muttering and cursing under my breath.

  17. Mac is right about another thing he always gripes about:

    Steve Traschel is a REALLY……SLOW…….PITCHER…..WHO…..TAKES….HIS…..TIME.

  18. The Braves have lefty hitters who have looked good — the two catchers. As for Estrada’s power, okay, but I’ve seen Bobby hit him cleanup.

    Well, a walk’s okay. Here. Francoeur may not see many strikes, though.

  19. I am excited and encouraged though by Hollandsworth’s walk…that is the kind of thing that helps, Todd!

  20. I love how Pete comments on what an outstanding “defensive” first baseman Mientkiwicz is. Because that is ALWAYS the first thing I look for in a first baseman, you dolt.

  21. Minky, Jr?

    Mientkiewicz hit .306 in 2001 and .300 in 2003.

    I’d like to see Adam get within 20 points of that.

    30?

  22. Since Adam LOOKS like a SLUG, I guess it must be hard for him TO slug. Oh wait…was that a personal attack on a player who reminds me of an amoeba?

  23. Hey, JoeyT and Mac, should this be my TBS Mailbag question to Don Sutton?

    “How did you get your hair so curly and why did you hit on my married friend in an elevator when you have a wife & kids at home?”

    Or would that be too mean? Just wondering.

  24. A glimpse’s of Don’s response:

    “Well, Alex, first I LOVE me some afro sheen for my hair combined with a little peroxide. As for your friend, she was hot, I was in a hotel and I figured what the hell? Plus, I have no tact and I figured my wife would be ‘cool’ with it…know what I mean?”

  25. Great link, JoeyT!

    And yes, bravo to John for a 1-2-3 inning. Do that several more times and he might resemble Smoltz or Hudson more.

    Of course, a face lift would do that to and oh, so much more :-)

  26. I love Skip & Joe, but Joe wears on me – ever notice how, when the opposing starting pitcher is introduced, Joe always makes it sound like this guy has been pitching great over the last month.

    “Well, Vogelsong only gave up 12 earned runs last time out, but his outfielders mistimed some balls that went over the fence, and they should have robbed about half of them, so the Braves will have to make adjustments throughout the evening..”

  27. Nice shot, Dru.

    Hey, Adam/bird boy…go stand near him and he may rub off on you.

    or wait…does that sound like a Gold Club reference? Yikes!

  28. I’m looking forward to either Marte or Chipper at 1st next year. 2 through 6 Giles, Chipper, AJ, Marte, Francoeur only because Booby likes Francoeur at 6th place.

  29. That’s three righties in a row, fjensen.

    I would think Giles moves to leadoff, and Betemit squeezes into the 5 spot.

  30. Wow. Looks like the old Thomson. He’s really keeping ’em off balance with the change of speeds. Those little pop ups are great.

    He’s over 100 pitches now. Does Bobby pull him & let Boyer (I’m guessing) face the heart of the Mets order? Or does he let Thomson go until someone gets on base?

  31. Before the break, LaRoche had grounded into three double plays. Since (in more than 100 fewer AB) he’s grounded into ten.

    Before the break, he was hitting .275. Since, he’s hit .196.

    Before the break, he was slugging .478. Since, .326.

    I find now that he was born in Orange County. Go back to the OC, bitch.

  32. Your right Joey. Maybe McCann will end up in there somewhere. Seems a shame to have either Marte or Francoeur batting 7th.

  33. I was on the phone and Mac, I saw you said the word ‘bitch’…be careful, you don’t want to cross the no curse rule on here. I think I am going to go have some milk and cookies with June Cleaver now.

    C’mon Davies…

  34. Regardless of the fact that Furcal’s rough half was “better” than LaRoche’s recent struggles, it is still a slump.

  35. I am backing MAC on LaRoche.

    Tha main difference between LaRoche and Furcal is rpetty evident. Furcal has shown to be an All Star level player. LaRoche has shown that at his best he is Travis Lee/Rico Brogna/Doug Mienktkwicz.

    That’s why a 2 month ‘slide’ for a Traveis Lee level hitter like LaRoche is alarming…because even if he BREAKS out of it, we aren’t getting that much.

    With Furcal, when he breaks out of slump he might hit .300 with some power, steals and great defense. Defense is ALL LaRoche is giving us.

  36. Oh, but those intangibles!

    The Braves have reason to be loyal to Furcal. (And he was giving them great defense at a key position.) There is no reason to be that loyal to LaRoche, who’s only been up a year and a half and isn’t an All-Star at his best. And Bobby has always been willing to drop players like Andruw and Estrada in the order when they slumped. I don’t get why he waited so long on LaRoche.

  37. I think we forget that LaRoche is still growing. He was, as we know, scouted as a pitcher and is in year two of his career in the majors. I still think the daily bashing is a bit too much. I just don’t understand it. It isn’t like the guy is trying to suck. Give him a damn break for once.

    (Excuse the language, since censorship seems to be the sarcasmic hot topic of today)

  38. LaRoche turns 26 this offseason, and he’s been a hitter since the Braves drafted him so I don’t know what “scouted as a pitcher” means. He’s not going to get much better. Even if he rebounds, he never projected to be much better than average. Marte projects to be a 40-homer guy.

  39. Well then I suppose Bobby knows something we don’t.

    As I recall, his stupid antics and mind-boggling roster shufflings have won us 13 division titles. But yea, what does he know about baseball anyways.

  40. Look, Mike & David,

    Why are you so willing to accept CONTINUING sucktitude by LaRoche? I don’t get it?

    I mean, he’s NEVER been that good to begin with and his best year in the Majors will never be any better then like Brogna’s or T. lee’s best year?

    I just don’t get this defiance in defending LaRoche.

    I have this very simple outlook when it comes to my 3 favorite teams (Georgia, the Braves, and the Spurs)—don’t suck if you can avoid it!

    I mean, if you see a guy out there, who can’t play, yank him. For some reason, Mark Richt at Georgia and Greg Popovich with the Spurs seem to follow this rule and when they see a guy NOT performing, they pull him….but not Cox. He’s patient way too much. He needs to have a shorter leash. I am not saying if Andruw goes 0 for 4 tomorrow we bench him, I am saying two months of badness needs to go…enough is enough.

    It’s like Kolbb…I mean, this guy has stunk for 5 consecutive months…what gthe heck does it take to get a guy removed from KEY innings? really? I ONLY care about the Braves winning and if LaRoche and Kolbb’s feelings are hurt…BOO FREAKING HOO. I want to win. I am a Braves fan and I am selfish that way!!!!!

  41. I love the mind numbing defenses of Cox with reckless abandon.

    Good God…yes, hes won 13 division titles and ONE freaking World Series. Do you want Baseball to be this yearly purgatory of never getting beyond the 1st round? Is that REALLY what you want?

  42. Projections, Projections, Projections…

    I’m sure expert analysis from the media is exactly what Bobby thinks about when deciding who he wants on his roster.
    I’m no scout, but like I said, I’m sure Bobby has his reasons for keeping Adam around. This franchise has the best scouts in the game and I would imagine they know more about what to expect from Andy and Adam than these projections you speak of.

  43. Actually, Alex, I consider a funk to be much worse than a slump, and I would like to see Julio see more playing time–that is, if his body can hold up. At the very least, LaRoche should be moved back in the line-up.

  44. Furthermore, baseball is the most mind-grueling game I can think of. Chemistry, state of mind, confidence , etc are more important than anything. If you are afraid you are going to lose your spot in the order, it is harder to concentrate on playing the game. Sure, LaRoche may not ever be Albert Pujols, but damn, give him a break.

    Also, to say he isnt going to get any better is absurd. I guarantee he improves down the road.

  45. This thing is so easy to fix from within:

    1. If Davies pitches better then Thomson in September, switch them in the rotation

    2. Make Blaine Boyer your righty set up man alreasdy with Foster the lefty. what do these guys have to do to show they have earned setting up Farnsworth?

    3. Make Julio Franco the regular first baseman. LaRoche isn’t hitting. A September pennant race is not the time to be patient.

    4. DFA Brower and Kolbb. Enough is enough. Give a kid like Lerew a shot…a nice home gorwn talent who can start or relieve and can fill the current Davies middle relief or emergency starter role.

    5. Start McCann, bench Estrada. Wouldn’t we ALL like the upgrade in both offense and defense. Think the Mets would be running as wild today if Mcann were back there, like he SHOULD be?

    6. Bat Francouer 6th. To heck with righty-lefty. Get me the best possible hitter behind our MVP candidate ‘Druw.

  46. Sorry david Remy, for lumping you in with Mike Clay…I wholeheartedly agree with you about Julio playing over LaRoche. Easily the most glaring change the Braves must make.

  47. You underestimate the importance of veteran leadership come playoff time. That is going to bite us, regardless, but adding even more rookies into the everyday playoff lineup is not a super idea. But thats just me.

  48. This LaRoche conversation is tiring. He’s our first baseman this year, whether we like it or not.

    Overall, the other guy is better, but he’s 47-years old. LaRoche is better in the field than Julio, but perhaps not enough to make up for his obvious offensive shortcomings. Just don’t bat him 5th & let’s re-evaluate this in the off-season.

    LaRoche is gonna play, so take your medicine & get used to it.

    Bold, wreckless prediction: LaRoche will do something surprising in a big spot (like the HR in Houston last year) to win a big game this year.

    Omigod, Francoeur!

  49. Estrada blocks the plate!

    I don’t mind, Alex. Mike’s good company. He’s a fan like the rest of us.

  50. That gun down by Frenchy might be the diff’rence in the game and HOP TO GOD, comes back to haunt the Mets.

    JD Drew WHO?

    bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

  51. Thank you David. It’s too bad I appear to be on bad terms with everyone only because I try to defend a guy who gets bashed for every little thing he does. Sad, really, but what can you do.

  52. in terms of playing julio as a regular, heres a thought – first, dont get me wrong, i hate laroche as much as the next guy. i think hes terrible, and should not be part of the organization next year. but, as long as we have a five game lead, why play julio as a everyday starter? presumably, if laroche keeps sucking like he is now, julio will (hopefully) be the everyday starter come the playoffs. if the division race gets tighter, again hopefully julio will get the starts. but as long as we have a (moderately) comfortable lead, why risk tiring out julio playing him everyday (i know hes amazing, but hes still 47), and why not try to get laroche out of this slump?

  53. For as much as I come in here and complain about Kolbb, LaRoche, Cox etc., I LOVE ME SOME JEFF FRANCOUER. How can you be a Braves fan and not love the kid?

    I am framing my SI cover :-)

    And now a double. again, LOVE ME SOME FRANCOUER!

  54. I don’t understand these defenses of Cox’s handling of his offensive personnel.

    The Braves have won 13 division titles because of their pitching program. Period. That could be grabbing the right pitchers to “help” (JS). It could be the manager using the pitchers in the best way (Cox). Most likely, it’s the pitching coach (Leo).

    The Braves take pitchers who have struggled elsewhere and make them better. Like Sosa this year. You take away the Braves pitching program, they don’t win the titles.

    Cox is a pretty good manager when handling offensive players, but far from perfect. Any criticism on that front is completely fair.

  55. First pitch flyout for Adam LaRoche.

    Shocking.

    But let’s be patient, continuously, right?

    At least Francouer got the extra base.

    Talk about 2 players headed in completely opposite directions. Could LaRoche be any more hateable while Francouer is so loveable?

    What a difference. Man, what a difference.

  56. chris m, I like that chain of thought, but the Braves should wait until the division is a little more of a sure thing. The lead isn’t THAT comfortable.

  57. Is it just me or does everyone else love the ‘grout cleaner’ ad behind home plate? It’s just sooo great :-)

  58. Hah. I can’t wait to read threads on here when Francoeur slumps.

    and to say Cox doesnt deserve ALOT of credit for 13 division titles is one of the msot absurd things I’ve ever heard.

  59. I wouldn’t call LaRoche hateable. His performance certainly has been, at least in the second half, but he’s a good guy by ALL accounts. I think it’s important to separate the person from the performance. But as long as you aren’t swearing about him, say what you want. ;)

    By the way, JoeyT, you never answered me. I know that’s by design, but I’d appreciate your response.

  60. Stu,

    We are respecting eachother’s boundaries and that’s cool…JoeyT was mainly defending me so could you drop it with him? he’s a good guy.

    By the way, how bad are Estrada and LaRoche when I am ‘relieved’ to see Brian Jordan?

  61. Jordan does have pretty good stats against Trachsel. I guess that explains the pinch-hit. Good to see Boyer about to finally be used in an appropriate situation.

  62. Of course he does. That doesn’t make him proof to criticism.

    For instance, Jordan when you have Julio and two lefthanded outfielders on the bench? I don’t get it.

    The grout cleaner ad… Sigh. It’s so low.

  63. Oh well, not this time. I guess we won’t have to worry about Jordan pinch-hitting if this thing goes to extra innings.

  64. Stu—Boyer is coming in the top of the 8th!!! Yeah!!!!

    Cool…one thing of my Braves ‘Christmas’ list and five more things to go :-)

  65. The best way to get guys going on the right track again (LaRoche, Estrada, Jordan, etc) is to play them. This is the team we are going into the playoffs with (knock on wood) and we need them to be hot come October.

  66. I never got all these people with their “LaRoche is better in the field than Julio”. Where does that come from? I see Julio play, and I see better defense than LaRoche.

    I don’t know how LaRoche got this reputation, when, really, he looks pretty average. Julio also looks pretty average, if not a bit better. Regardless, it’s so close between the two, it shouldn’t even be a consideration.

  67. Estrada’s AB was pretty good. He worked the count and fouled some balls off. He just couldn’t get one in play. It’s not like LaRoche’s GIDP/three pitch strikeoutphilia.

    Hey, Boyer!

  68. Bob Horner in the restaurant business? bwa ha ha ha ha!!!! Good for him…I can’t think of anyone that would be a better expert on food except maybe Terry Forster!

  69. Boy, I hope Boyer succeeds here. I wonder if Bobby has had a mental block about him since the Piazza HR at Shea. He’s been about perfect since then.

  70. Again, Alex, I’d like to hear what JoeyT has to say on the matter, not what you think he has to say.

    Back to the Braves, though…is Furcal a serious contender for the Gold Glove this year? I haven’t heard much discussion on the subject, but it sure seems like he should be.

  71. comparison of McCovey and Francoeur’s
    rookie seasons
    Mc Fran
    G 52 48
    ab 192 171
    r 32 32
    2b 9 15
    3b 5 1
    hr 13 12
    rbi 38 38
    ba.354 .345
    ob.429 .386
    slg.656.671

  72. LaRoche throws better than Julio and is lefthanded, so he’s better on the 3-6-3 and 3-6-1 double play attempts. But that’s pretty much it from what I can tell.

  73. LaRoche is a BLACK HOLE in this bullpen, bottom line. Julio isn’t an All Star but he’s solid and consistent and isn’t prone to two month slumps, even at age 47, so Julio SHOULD play.

  74. Well Julio still is 47 and I would imagine is not durable enough to play everyday. Thus, we need Mr. LaRoche to hit. Since he is slumping, like I said, you need to keep him in there so he can hopefully bounce out of it.
    Worry about replacing him in the offseason if thats your objective.

  75. He’d have been safe anyway, but did y’all notice how far off the plate Estrada was on that one? Did he forget how to block the plate between innings?

  76. Darnit. Thank God the Mets have a bad ‘pen so we have a shot still to end this in regulation if we bear down.

    Stu…I am trying to be the nice guy here and make peace in general. You can’t fault me for that. Plus, I have respected your no cursing requests.

    I am trying to make sure now we all get along.

    By the way…great put out by Chipper…his defense really gets a bad wrap sometimes.

  77. I also really like the Cher ‘Weight Watchers’ Ads…since overweight women and gay men really are the Braves top demo!!! :-)

  78. Alex, I’m not trying to stir anything up. I’m trying to finish something that was never finished by getting an explanation. I’ll be happy to apologize to JoeyT if he’ll let me know how I offended him (as I did to you). And I appreciate the non-profanity, but again, that has little to do with me getting an answer from JoeyT.

  79. I’m rooting for Boyer & I’m glad he got a chance there, but, for the record, he gave up a walk & two hard-hit balls.

  80. I always thought throws to first should be added in under pitch counts. A separate category, not balls and strikes, but surely you have to count that as a measure of durability out of a pitcher — first base isn’t any closer to the mound than home. Or not much.

  81. Ububba…

    a shame that Boyer had a rough inning. My concern now is that Cox won’t be patient he is with Blaine like he is with LaRoche and put Kolbb or Borwer right in there.

    He always has patience with the wrong guys.

    To me, Boyer was due at some point to give up one earned and I am more then happy to see him get more time out of the 8th inning role.

    Darnit, Marcus. Geez.

  82. 2-hole hitters are expected to get sacrifice bunts down. In that situation, it wasn’t a bad call. Just bad execution.

  83. Bobby, read moneyball!!! A sacrifice bunt is stupid, and it’s stupid stupid with a hitter like Giles at bat! These things cost us games!

  84. How do you figure he is always patient with the wrong guys? He was patient with all the BS Andruw gave him in his youth and look at him today. He has been patient with struggling pitchers in turning them around. He gives guys chances to make a neam for themselves and it wins games for him. Again, 13 titles is alot.

    Chipper is absoultely on fireee. Wow.

  85. Stu-

    Doesn’t matter now of course (thank you Chipper), but I don’t disagree with you about sac bunts…I just am against all star second basemen, who hit second and are currently on like a .350 clip.

    Pitchers, Adam LaRoche, Todd Hollandsworth, Estrada…those are the calibre of people who should BUNT.

    Not Giles. Ever.

  86. How many World Series has the Moneyball philosophy won? Seriously, the book has value, but to say that any managerial decision inconsistent with the principles of Moneyball is wrong is absurd.

  87. Mike Clay,

    I’m wit’ you, bro’. Great example on Andruw.

    And how ’bout another salvo into the side of the sinking New York Mets?

  88. But Alex, those very things are expected of hitters batting second. They’re there to make contact and get speedy leadoff men into scoring position. Sure, his average is great, but he still gets out 70% of the time, and I don’t disagree with asking him to get a bunt down in that situation.

  89. To answer Stu: 1, last year.

    But as Beane says, his.. erm.. crap, doesn’t work in the playoffs.

    Personally I hate to see Giles bunt in that situation. Especially if Furcal could have stolen second, but right now things are looking ok despite the failed bunt.

  90. Since the discussion has been continued in this thread, I’ll respond here…

    “Joel and Rob, what’s your definition of “personal attack”?”

    To borrow a phrase a phrase from Justice Brennan, “I Know It When I See It”.

    Since Alex brought it up, the more relevant question would seem to be what does Alex consider a personal attack. I suspect that he’ll continue to provide us with plenty of examples.

    “I hardly find anything on this site which criticize a player beyond his pure performance on the field.”

    Really? I’m not sure we’ve been reading the same web site.

    I remember reading numerous posts mocking Dan Kolb as a barely literate mental retard with an apparent emotional age of 6. This is a pretty regular occurrence, and some people (presumably, at least the faux Dan Kolb poster or posters) apparently think that this is really funny. An entire fake Dan Kolb blog has been set up as part of this running gag (not necessarily by the same person who continues to post as Dan Kolb to threads). This strikes me as just a tad bit “personal”. (It also seems to me like it’s surely been run into the ground by now, but whatever.)

    I remember reading a post a couple of weeks ago with statements like “AT WHAT POINT DOES BRAVES MANAGEMENT HAVE THE F***ING B***SACK TO DUMP KOLB’S FAT, UGLY ASS ALREADY?”, “If you are not ready to go out there and pitch like a Mike Hampton should, then sit your stumpy little goatee’d ass on the DL until you are ready you ugly, little f***face troll” (censored from the original posting).

    “Yes, I believe LaRoche must be a nice person, but he sucks right now and drags the whole offense down with him. Whats wrong with complains like that?!”

    I don’t believe that anyone said that anything is wrong with that. I would assume that virtually everyone likely to be reading this forum realizes that saying that “Player X sucks” is just a more succinct (and enjoyable) way of saying that “Player X is not getting the job done to an acceptable level”.

    A few days ago, Mac posted a game summary that said “Brower sucks. He knows he sucks, and Bobby must know he sucks, and everybody knows he sucks. Aliens know he sucks. He sucked four runs worth tonight.”. See, that’s just a funny way of saying that Brower sucks. I don’t think that many people are going to interpret “Aliens know he sucks” as a personal attack.

    I follow college sports pretty closely, and “no personal attacks on student-athletes” is a pretty common rule for college sports forums. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of posts criticizing coaches decisions and how the team is actually playing. It does mean that anyone posting something like the recurring posts pretending Dan Kolb is retarded would get banned pretty quickly.

    If you can’t see the difference between “Hampton’s sucked since he came back from the DL” and “sit your stumpy little goatee’d ass on the DL until you are ready you ugly, little f***face troll”, I can’t help you.

    This is Mac (and apparently Alex’s) site. So this whole discussion is obviously moot – they’ll post however they like and the culture here will reflect that tone. Lurkers and posters who become uncomfortable here will eventually adapt or move on to one of the other forums with Braves game threads. The internet is a big place, so it’s all good.

  91. And that’s my point, Mac. One. And you can point to an awful lot of other reasons they won besides Billy Beane’s philosophy.

  92. I’m going to have to agree with leaving giles bunt there. Tie game late with speedy Raffy on first. Giles should get him over in that scenerio and that puts him in scoring position for our 3-4 hitters. Giles isn’t perfect however. It happens.

  93. But Giles right now is one of the three best hitters on the Braves right now.

    Just because the 2nd place hitter has been traditionally a guy who could bunt, doesn’t mean Giles should do it. His bat is too potent and too valued right now to WASTE an out when you have 4 automatic outs currently in todays lineup: LaRoche, Hollandsworth, the pitcher, Estrada.

  94. Latnam: “Especially if Furcal could have stolen second.” Well, again, do you know that he was going to make it safely? I’ll agree–I probably would have tried for the steal and then let Marcus hit away. Or, as Mac suggests, tried a hit-and-run. But nobody was complaining about the bunt attempt until he failed to get it down. The reason is it’s not a bad strategy. Maybe not what you’d choose, but it’s often effective, especially when you have a Major Leaguer who should be capable of getting a bunt down at the plate.

  95. Also continued from the prior thread…

    “I don’t think “unquestionably” is accurate. These things are always up for debate.”

    I’m not really interested in debating existential philosophy, or quibbling over semantics. Everything is debatable, in the sense that unanimous consent about reality is hard to achieve (some surveys show that 5-10% of the population thinks that the moon shots were faked).

    So fine, let me clarify. Bobby Cox is “unquestionably” one of the winningest and most successful managers in baseball history.

    Furthermore, he is “unquestionably” going to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. IMO, he will be elected on the first ballot where he is eligible, and he will be viewed as an inner-circle hall of fame manager by many hall of fame voters.

    Here is his HoF case in a nutshell:
    1) Cox is 7th all-time in wins as a manager.
    2) Cox is 3rd all-time in winning percentage as a manager (minimum 1500 wins).
    3) Cox is 13th all-time in winning percentage as a manager (minimum 1000 games managed).
    4) Cox is 1st in career winning percentage among active managers with at least 1000 games managed.
    5) Every retired manager with more than 2000 wins is in the Hall of Fame.
    6) Of the 12 managers with a higher career winning percentage than Cox, 10 of them are in the Hall of Fame (the other 2 had managerial careers less than half as long as Cox).
    7) He is one of only 2 managers to have won both the NL Manager of the Year and the AL Manager of the Year.
    8) In complete seasons (where the season was completed and Bobby Cox was the manager for the full season), Cox’s teams have won their division an unprecedented 14 consecutive times, beginning with his last season in Toronto. (Hopefully, soon to be 15 straight.)
    9) In seasons where Bobby Cox was the manager for the full season, his teams have finished above .500 for 17 consecutive years (even more remarkably, he’s actually had a winning percentage of .543 or higher for 17 consecutive years – again, hopefully soon to be 18). In other words, the last time a team managed by Bobby Cox for a full season finished the year with less than 88 wins was 1982, his first season with Toronto. AFAICT, this is a streak rivaled only by Joe McCarthy. (As a trivia note, two-thirds of the retired managers with a winning percentage of .543 or higher have been elected to the Hall of Fame.)

    Statistically, Cox is “unquestionably” one of the all-time greatest baseball managers by any reasonable definition of the word “greatest” (or the word “unquestionably”), with only a couple of managers having had clearly superior careers.

    If you think that there is a reasonable statistical case to be made that Cox is NOT one of the all-time greatest baseball managers (particularly one that does not depend on arbitrarily excluding two-thirds of his career), I suspect that you are using a different definition of “greatest” than I am.

  96. “Cox’s record without Mazzone? 621-615 (.502)”

    Isn’t that a little like telling me that Earl Weaver’s record without Jim Palmer is .472?

    I mean, it’s true in the literal sense, but since Palmer wasn’t the actual manager of those great Orioles teams I’m not sure that it significantly detracts from Weaver’s career record. Weaver still has a career winning percentage of .583.

    In Cox’s case, I think that this is particularly misleading. As strong as Cox’s career numbers are, if anything I think that the case for Cox only gets stronger the more one looks at the details of his career.

    Cox has taken over 3 exceptionally bad teams. The first team he made respectable within 3 years. The second team he made competitive almost at once, and excellent within a few years. The third team he made excellent in less than a year, and then sustained an almost unparalleled streak of excellence.

    The Braves had 3 straight losing seasons before Cox was hired as manager in 1978. The year before Cox was hired (1977), they had a .377 record – the worst record in the NL, and the worst record of any Braves team since 1935. The only worse team in MLB was one of the 2 first year expansion teams in the AL, the Toronto Blue Jays (yes, the expansion Seattle Mariners had a better record than the Braves in their first season). The Braves showed some improvement under Cox, but they did not break through to a winning record until his 3rd season as manager (when he converted C/1B Dale Murphy to a CF). When the Braves regressed slightly during the strike-shortened 1981 season, Turner fired Cox in what was largely a PR move to try to boost attendance. (Sadly, relative to the rest of the league, attendance was actually up in 1981 – the attendance problems had more to do with the strike than with Cox.) Turner famously commented at the time that if he wasn’t firing him that Bobby Cox would be at the top of his list of potential replacements. He also later called firing Cox one of the dumbest decisions he ever made.

    The Toronto Blue Jays had never even come close to a winning season before Cox was hired as manager for the 1982 season. They had a cumulative franchise record of .359 when Cox was hired. They had finished last in their 7-team division every single season. The last season before Cox was hired (1981), they had a .349 record – the worst record in baseball.

    Under Cox, the Blue Jays went:
    1982: 78-84 (.481) – 6th in division
    1983: 89-73 (.549) – 4th in division
    1984: 89-73 (.549) – 2nd in division
    1985: 99-62 (.615) – 1st in division

    The 1985 Blue Jays had the best record in the AL. 20 years later, that team still holds the franchise record for most wins and highest winning percentage. Overall, Bobby took over what was the worst team in baseball and had a .549 winning percentage. Clearly, this period has to count heavily in his favor.

    After 1985, Turner lured Cox back to Atlanta to take over as GM for the struggling franchise. Cox decided to place his emphasis on rebuilding the franchise from the ground up, with a heavy emphasis on the farm system. By the end of the decade, the Braves were widely acknowledged as having one of the deepest farm systems (particularly for pitchers). Unfortunately, the major league team was failing to show signs of improvement.

    When Bobby took over the manager’s job for the Braves in 1990, they were in the middle of their 7th consecutive losing season (and the 3rd consecutive season with the worst record in the NL). The 1988 Braves had the worst record of any Braves team since 1935 (yes, surpassing 1977 as the worst season of the last 70 years). I would hope that everyone here understands what Cox has done with the Braves since 1990, but for perspective, under Cox the Braves have had their 7 winningest seasons as a franchise in the modern baseball era (i.e., since 1900).

    Overall, counting this year Cox has posted a winning record in 19 of the 23 seasons where he started the year as the manager. That’s John McGraw/Walter Alston territory.

  97. Considering that nobody even tried the sabermetric philosophy per se (a lot of it is the same sort of stuff Branch Rickey advocated) until the A’s did about a decade ago, and nobody else until about three years ago, one is a pretty good return.

  98. “The three of them (Leo & Cox & JS) have been working together so long, it’s hard to separate any one of them has being more influential than the others. If anything, the success of the Braves pitching staff points to Mazzone as being the most valuable member. However, it can be argued that Cox is the most important, but it’s far from “unquestionable”.

    I don’t recall making the claim that Bobby Cox was the “most valuable”, or “most important”, or most “influential” member of the Braves triumvirate. I said that Cox was “unquestionably one of the all-time greatest baseball managers”. Cox can certainly be one of the all-time greatest baseball managers regardless of who deserves the most credit for the 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves. That’s really a separate argument. But since you’ve started it…

    Bobby Cox was the GM who traded Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz. He was the GM who drafted Chipper Jones, Ryan Klesko, Steve Avery, Kent Mercker, Mike Stanton, Mark Wohlers, and various other members of the ’90s Braves. He was the GM when Javy Lopez was signed as a 16-year old free agent out of Puerto Rico. In short, in 5 years as Braves GM he acquired prospects that turned into 3 starting position players, 3 starting pitchers, and the closer for the 1995 World Series champions – more than one of which may eventually make the hall of fame.

    When Bobby Cox took over as manager, he hand picked Mazzone as his pitching coach. Mazzone, who is widely regarded as one of the top pitching coaches in baseball, has stayed with the Braves in that role for 15 years largely out of personal loyalty to Cox.

    At the major league level, coaches are almost always picked by the manager – and managers are, as a general rule, held responsible for the successes and failures of their coaches. Mazzone’s case for being the best pitching coach in baseball is quite strong, but since picking (and keeping) a good pitching coach is part of Cox’s responsibility, I fail to see how that diminishes Cox’s accomplishments as manager one iota.

    As for Schuerholz, the entire 1991 rotation was already in Braves’ uniforms the day Cox handed the GM’s job over to Schuerholz (8 of the 9 top pitchers from the ’91 pitching staff were acquired by Cox or promoted to the ML level by Cox, including Glavine, Smoltz, Avery, Leibrandt, Pete Smith, Mercker, Stanton, and Freeman). Gant, Justice, Blauser, Lemke, and Olson were also already Braves when Cox was replaced by Schuerholz. As previously noted, numerous prospects (including Chipper, Klesko, Lopez, and Wohlers) were already in the farm system when Schuerholz was hired.

    I think that Schuerholz has done a fine job as GM, and he deserves a lot of credit for working well with Cox and Mazzone to extend the Braves’ streak for so long. But I don’t find it hard at all to determine who has had the most overall impact over the Braves of the past 15 years – particularly the early years of the dynasty. The early ’90s Braves were a Bobby Cox production to an extent that is extremely rare in the last half century (since GM/Managers have become quite rare).

  99. I will quickly address Joel and then be done with this.

    Stu has requested I not curse anymore. I have agreed to this and we have verbally shaken hands.

    Can these issues be dropped now?

    As for personal attacks on playhers, this site should allow the freedom of that whether it’s funny or mean. I am sorry, I won’t cuss but I won’t stop talking about how much Kolbb and LaRoche stink.

    I just won’t use cuss words per the request of Stu and Jenny and others for that matter.

    Since I am choosing to respect other folks on here, a happy medioum is to allow us all the happy ‘medium’ solution of being abnle to speak honestly about hjow bad a guy like LaRoche is.

    But I agree the cussing can and should stop.

    Why drudge up anything new? let’s all move on already.

  100. Marcus is a doubles machine. Maybe with a .300 singles hitter you bunt, but the chances of Giles getting the runner to third or, in Furcal’s case, home with an extra base hit is high enough you take your shot.

    With Chipper up next, I like the chances of third base and a sac fly better than a successful bunt and a deep single.

  101. Bobby is unquestionably one of the greatest managers ever. Certain people magnify his faults.

    I’ll link to my Bobby Cox In A Box article (which I still need to update) again. And I quote:

    Mac (Tuscaloosa, AL): Going to another book’s subject… Where do you think Bobby Cox ranks among managers now? Top 15? Top 10?

    Bill James: Top three. Nobody else in history ever managed as long as he did without having an off year, without having five, six, seven off years. He’s had zero. But I’d turn the team over to a coach for the post-season…

  102. In that hug from Chipper, I think he and Blaine were talking about how they would plan to ‘pants’ Kolbb after the game if Bobby tried to give him back his 8th inning role.

  103. When Bobby Cox took over as manager, he hand picked Mazzone as his pitching coach. Mazzone, who is widely regarded as one of the top pitching coaches in baseball, has stayed with the Braves in that role for 15 years largely out of personal loyalty to Cox.

    That’s a really good point, Joel.

  104. Deep single? With Furcal running? Seriously? Any single scores him.

    Marcus is a doubles machine compared to the rest of the league. If you compare number of times he gets out to the number of times he hits a double–or even reaches base–well, I think you know what I’m saying.

  105. And I have a rule. Personal attacks are allowed when the player has said or done something remarkably stupid. Kolb has done a number of those things; he opened himself up on May 19.

    Just to clarify… I will call a player out if he’s not performing. That’s easy. I won’t be personally mean to a player unless he says or does something outrageous. Dan Kolb, with his “leadoff walks don’t bother me” nonsense and his apparent feelings of entitlement to the closer role, has become the seventh Brave to meet this lofty standard. The others, in reverse chronological order:

    Rafael Furcal… For DUI #2.
    Keith Lockhart… For attacking Bobby Cox for not playing him when he was hugging the Mendoza line and Bobby had been propping his sorry career up for three years.
    John Rocker… Oh, you know this one.
    Kenny Lofton… For the whole “The Braves wouldn’t let me play my music loud” thing.
    David Justice… For fanbaiting at the World Series.
    Deion Sanders… For just being himself.

    Therefore, attacks on Kolb in the future will have less to do with his sorry play and more to do with his sorry ass. Expect to see moronic ramblings supposedly written by the pitcher. Attacks on his fitness, personal hygeine, and family. Finding out his email address and signing him up for spam. If anyone out there can draw a little (I can’t) or has some Photoshop skills (I don’t) I have some cartoon ideas I’d like to do.

  106. And AMEN to Leo for being so loyal to Cox. Without Leo, there’s no consecutive 13 years of division titles. Leo, not Bobby, is the biggest reason for the continuing greatness.

    Just look at some of the mediocre careers Leo has temporarily turned around as Braves: Jaret Wright, Jorge Sosa, Mike Remlinger, Alejandro Pena, Russ Ortiz, Kerry Ligtenberg, Mike Stanton, John Burkett, and the list goes on and on.

  107. You would not have asked for Chipper or Andruw to bunt in that situation. Giles doesn’t have the power of either of those two, but hits for a high average and is the team leader in doubles. He should be hitting away.

  108. Kenny Lofton maybe the ONLY guy in the last 13 years who had a ‘problem’ in the Braves clubhouse.

    EVEN Gary Sheffield and JD Drew….two well known malcontents, behaved as Braves.

  109. That list isn’t entirely accurate. Stanton came up with the Braves and pitched well in ’89, and has pitched well for other teams. Ligtenberg was another rookie, and Ortiz pitched about as well for the Braves as he did with the Giants.

    Farnsworth looks really good.

  110. Oh, and by the way, currently LaRoche really does suck. He had a .571 OPS in August – that’s terrible. Of course, he had a .924 OPS in July…

  111. I love ME some Kyle Farnsworth. If all our starters can pitch 8 innings in the playoffs, we’re money.

  112. Alex, I think Joel has a point in what keeps Leo in the Braves organization is the loyalty engendered by Cox. Everytime rumors crop up about him splitting for more cash somewhere else, he always says that as long as Cox and JS are around, he is.

    Part of being a good manager is keeping good talent around. Leo might be the most direct reason for the long string of success, but Joel has a point that Bobby should get some credit for getting him to stay.

    Farnsworth is so F-bombing money.

  113. Mac…it’s not perfect, my analysis, fair enough, but those pitchers in my view all pitched best under the direction of Leo…whether they came to the Braves or came from Richmond. I do feel this way.

  114. Does anybody remember stories of Brett Boone being a malcontent? For some reason, I’ve always had the idea that he was a problem in the clubhouse. Anybody with any supporting/contrary memories?

  115. Hey, let’s all sing kumbayah together when the Braves beat the Mets.

    And Joey, I don’t disagree about Bobby’s ability to foster loyalty. You & Joel are right on the money about that one.

    Bobby has one of the most likeable personalities in Baseball and let me say this…when my dad & I met Bobby in 1995, He was REALLY nice. Our camera didn’t work and he was nice & patient in us wanting to take a pic with him.

    So, from a personal standpoint, I really like Cox. I am strictly unhappy with some of his managerial moves. That’s all.

  116. Game just finished… absolutely brilliant performance by the Braves. One of the best of the season. Sure this team has flaws like any other, but damn. If they play like this next month I like our chances.

  117. “I will quickly address Joel and then be done with this.”

    Alex, I won’t post any more about it either. From my point of view, I didn’t bring it up – I was just having my say while the discussion was open. I’ve no interest in arguing about it with anyone – ultimately what is appropriate is a matter of personal taste.

  118. Stu–

    You are right on about Boone and I forgot about him. Bret was one of the other ‘rare’ malcontents’ in the clubhouse. I definitely back that up. It was in 2000.

  119. Joel,

    No problem…I respect your opinion and will leave it at that. I really want to make sure after a few days ago that while we may differ on LaRoche, Giles bunting, Cox’s managing–whatever…that we all do our best to get along with one another.

    At the end of the day, we are ALL Braves fans.

    “Zoolander” is really an underrated comedy I have to say.

  120. There are few things in this world I enjoy more than beating the Mets. Listening on WFAN to the Met fans moan after a game like this is priceless.

    I’m off to JFK for a weeklong vacation. I’ll check in from the beach. Best to all.

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