Ask the players

As most of you know, B.B. Abbott stopped by today. I’ve been in email contact with him, and we’ve set up an interview idea for Braves Journal.

B.B. is the agent for Chipper, and also for Brian McCann, Macay McBride, and Chuck James. I’m going to ask you guys to come up with some questions for these guys, and I’ll give the best of them to B.B. Deadline is noon ET Tuesday.

UPDATE: Okay, I’ve frontdated this to Tuesday. I’m going to ask that you use the comments here simply to submit questions, and other threads for other commentary.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Closed for now; I’ve sent off the questions a little early because I already had 30 or so, which is more than I planned.

98 thoughts on “Ask the players”

  1. I got a question for Brian McCann – ask him if he still wants to / expects to catch John Smoltz next year, or if whoever our #2 catcher ends up as will take over that reponsibility of catching Smoltz to give McCann those days off.

  2. Speaking of McCann, Shanks is reporting that the Braves have signed Todd Pratt to back him up. Pratt’s 38, but he can’t possibly be any worse at the dish than Bako/Blanco/Eddie Part II.

  3. 1. What does Chuck James think about the possibility of being a closer? Would it interest him? I guess another question would be, does he think the position is necessary?

    2. Since McBride seemed to be shuttled up and down from the majors a lot last season, how did he feel about this and does he feel it’s a good idea in general for a player’s development? Watching it frustrates me sometimes, it would be nice to know what the victims think ;-)

    3. Would Chipper be amenable to a possible move to first base at any point in his career or is this not appetizing? And how is his foot doing? Is it going to be a recurring problem?

    4. How does BMac feel about being so suddenly handed the starting job? And who is really the slob, him or Francouer? I’ve heard conflicting reports :-)

  4. My questions are for Chuck James. According to Baseball America, you allowed a higher ratio of fly balls to ground balls than almost every other pitcher in the minors. Why do you think that was? Also, left-handed hitters had almost zero success against you. How do you change your approach when facing a lefty, and what do you think are the main contributing factors to your success against them?

  5. to all:
    if the moon was made of cheese, would you eat it?

    also to all:
    if you had a choice between watching a braves game on fox sportsouth w/ brilliant commentator mr. paciorek or sticking forks in your eyes, what would it be?

  6. Chipper,
    When fans of other teams (Mets) all start chanting your first name (Larry) does it really motivate you to give something extra just to shut them up, or is this just a conincidence?

  7. I’d like to know what Chipper’s thoughts will be if, after having restructured his contract, this is the team we take to camp. Did he have anybody specific in mind when he agreed to this?

    By the way, I’d also like to let Chipper know how much I appreciate his selflessness. I’ve never seen anyone more epitomize “Team Player,” and I’m thankful to have had the privilege of cheering for him these many years.

  8. Mac,

    Chippah! This is really cool. Big props to these guys for doing it.

    I’d ask Chipper why he rooted for the Dodgers when he was a kid–why not the Braves?

    Also, would he ever play first? Has he ever played it?

    Also, as a Braves fan living & working near Shea Stadium, I just want him to know how genuinely crazy he makes Mets fans. He’s like what Reggie Miller was to the Knicks. Thanks for everything.

  9. For the two pitchers:
    Are you looking forward to working with McDowell? Do you think his experience as a pitcher will help you out any?

    Some fun ones (that I really have wondered):

    To the rookies:
    What was the dumbest thing you were found guilty of in the kangaroo court this year?

    To Chipper:
    How much fun is it really to hand out kangaroo court penalties?

    Since you have Trey and Shea, why donít you call Tristan Clay?

    To McCann:
    Is it a family thing to wear your hat backwards, or is it just coincidence both you and Brad are doing so in the picture of you two and Francoeur in the December issue of ChopTalk?

    To James:
    Do you expect your batting average to drop any in the coming season?

  10. And Mac, you will be editing these questions? Because otherwise Chipper will think we’re all idiots because Smitty can’t spell “coincidence.”

    :-p to Smitty.

  11. I can’t think of any questions yet, but I do have a message to Chipper…

    …please convince Andruw to change his agent to BB sometimes next year!

  12. For Chipper:
    How do the position players react when a relief pitcher(Dan Kolb [cough]) blows leads repeatedly?

    How important is plate discipline to your game? Does your patience lead to better pitches to hit, or does your power cause pitchers to walk you, or is it a combination?

    Do you read Sabernomics? :-)

  13. Im sure this has been added to the list but:

    Was Chipper approached about moving to 1b and would he be willing to consider it?

    For Chuck James, what went through when you learned that the Braves had changed their mind on picking you in the 3rd round after the drunken roof dive that broke 2 amrs, and that would cost you an insane amount of money. What was your reaction? And where would he have gone if you didn’t sign since (im pretty sure) he had just finished his 2nd yr at Chattahooce River JC

  14. Ryan C, heck yeah, I’d have seconds. And then I’ll polish it off with a tall, cool, Coca Cola.

    Here’s the real question, if you had a choice between being the top scientist in your field, and getting mad cow disease, what would you pick?

  15. Another question for Brian McCann: We all watched and cringed at the collision between Johnny Estrada and Darin Erstad last year, and saw what it did to his health (and his play, if you buy into that; you may not want to throw him under the bus and I understand that). Has anything like that ever happened to you, and what does it do to you as a catcher? How do you prepare and practice for hits like that, and do you enjoy it or just tolerate it as part of the job?

    Also, have you had any artifacts of your famous NLDS home run autographed by Roger Clemens? Because I think you should :-)

  16. Has Brian McCann ever thought about moving to first base when Salty comes up, and would he be ok with that if the Braves asked him?

  17. Gee Michael, punish the guy forever why don’t ya. I don’t condone adultry either but if everyone reminded me of my life’s mistakes in perpetuity I’d request to be traded to the DRays for Julio Lugo.

  18. Who said anything about adultery? Just wondering which chicken dish Chipper would recommend if I were going to patronize my local Hooters.

    P.S.- lighten up.

  19. Updated: 09:33 PM EST
    All-Star Tejada Says He Wants Out of Baltimore
    Source Cites Red Sox as Possible Destination for Disgruntled Shortstop
    By DIONISIO SOLDEVILA, AP Sports

  20. I would like to see James asked whether he expects the Braves to use him for a trade (like Meyer, for instance).

    Also, did the Braves tell McBride when he was signed that he would begin as a starter, but that his eventual destination would be the bullpen (which is apparently what they told Boyer).

  21. I agree with many of the rest of you in that what I would say to Chipper isn’t a question so much as a sincere expression of thanks for all he’s done for the organization–he has gone well beyond even what “team leaders” are supposed to do. So: thanks, Chipper.

    And I’d also like to thank Mr. Abbott: In helping Chipper restructure his deal (especially working around the strictures placed on restructures by the MLBPA), you too have provided the Braves with fantastic service. Thank you. I’d like to know how you came to be an agent for Braves players, and how you came to be the agent for these players specifically.

    For James and McBride (slightly different from ‘Rissa’s): Have you had the chance to meet with Roger McDowell, and if so, what are your initial impressions of what we can expect from him as a pitching coach? Also, what throwing program do you follow during the offseason?

    For McCann: What is the greatest challenge in catching John Smoltz? And how do you prepare your knees for 90 minutes of squatting, 5 days a week, 7 months a year?

  22. For Chipper/his agent. If Chipper can’t answer/I would enjoy his agent making a comment.
    1)During seasons past, has Chipper made any comments about a specific player’s suitablility for being with the Braves to either BC or JS, and that specific (unnamed) player finally wound up on the Braves team? If yes, do any comments about veteran player go to BC rather than JS.
    2) Does JS ever ask Chipper or (if you know) John Smoltz their opinion about a potential trade or free agent during the off-season? Does JS encourage this type of communication from players or does he only consult BC/other mgt members on this matter?
    3) If asked, back when Barry Bonds left the Pirates, would Chipper have voted for having him signed by the Braves?
    4) Did Chipper and David Justice have chemistry differences?
    5) what does Chipper think is the cause of some player who have had their worst, or one of their worst years while playing for the Braves, while pitchers seem to thrive? I am thinking of Boone (who came from Padres), Saunders (who came from Reds) and others?

    6) Is there the equivalent to Leo Mazzone’s effect on some pitchers that exists among Batting coaches for regular players? If so who?
    7) Regarding Dan Kolb’s unfortunate experience, contrary to the poisonous, almost libelous, comments I even now read on this site, I regard his problem as a mystery. Can Chipper make any observations on what he saw based on his experience?
    8) Chipper’s observations on last year’s repeated pattern of going to AA for players rather than AAA Richmond? How does this make Richmond players probably feel?
    9) After Chipper retires, would he like to be a manager for a Non-Braves club at first and then later manage for the Braves?
    10) Where would Chipper live after retirement, Texas?
    11) Who (as 1 example) among ex-Braves, if any, does Chipper regard as a friend he looks up when he gets the chance?
    12) Who among non-Braves, who has never played for the team, does Chipper go hunting with?
    13) Are Chipper’s off season friends mostly in baseball or other sports. If other sports which one? Is that by coincidence?
    14)Why did Chipper choose to buy the Texas ranch?
    15) What are Chipper’s observations about major league players as parent-coaches of their own kids? How successful does he/you think they are?
    16) If Chipper had a choice of going hunting/fishing alone, or watching a sports game on TV with a few beers and John Smoltz and another player, which would he choose?
    17) What other MLB team would Chipper consider playing for if he were a rookie and it couldn’t be the Braves?
    18) What is an INSIDER’s guess for the average number of games Chipper will play in AT 100% over the life of his contract (ACTUALLY I am VERY interested in his honest best projections, but of course this is a political thing and I understand he can’t say what he really feels, But I can’t help but ask.)
    19) Did Chipper’s injury when he first came up, looking back have an impact on his way of playing or approach to the game?
    20) CHipper always mentions “consistency”. I don’t think I have read much of anything without him saying this. Does he think this is the usual emphasis that MLB players have? Ones who remain more than 2 or 3 years?
    21) I greatly respect the sacrifices that he has made to be a sports entertainer. I realize there probably wasn’t much choice in the matter, it was done by Dad. But still he has had to turn down alot of alternatives. what early in his life made it easier to focus on baseball, to the exclusion of anything else?

  23. For agent or James, McBride, McCann,
    I have an English class for 13 Japanese elementary school children. One of the things they can do is write simple letters in English. How likely is it that ALL of these kids could get 1 card signed by either of these 3 between now and April? (I have limited this to these three because I am a big fan of these guys, but actually the kids don’t care as long as any Braves player would answer)

  24. If all of my questions can’t be answered on this site? Can I get answers for use in a MLB fan newsletter here in Japan?

  25. Questions for agent/ James, McBride, McCann.
    1) What unusual kind of community relations work do you guys do or plan to do? I expect you do the “usual 3” visit children’s hospitals, guest speak for community groups, and contribute to auctions for baseball clubs. Are you completely free to choose or does the team have assignments for rookies/young players, and later you have more flexibility?
    2) Do players generally live near one another? Among your circle of friends do you have more than one or two non-sports playing friends?
    3) Do you have any Black team member friends you would invite to dinner?
    4) Do you guess that Black and white and latin players get together any more often than in the outside community?

  26. Ok, I realize that probably on a good day 3 of my questions would be chosen, and of those 3 probably only 1 will get a thoughtful answer.

    But, these are 85% of the questions I would really like to ask (relegated to the fantasy league of agents and players ;-) I reviewed them all and couldn’t eliminate any one compared to the others. I have more for James, McBride, McCann. I don’t want to hog the time. I DON’T view my questions more important than anyone elses. It’s only that these are all sincere respectful questions I would really like to ask someone, especially Chipper,and the others and the agent.

  27. For the Agent,
    1) Was Chipper your first MLB #1 round client?
    2)How did he notice you more than the others?
    3) How big is your agency?
    4)Are you specialized in MLB and in the South?
    5) Do you think Chipper would be interested in writing a book about his experiences? I am sure a limited edition run would sell well among Braves fans. Would you be able to ghost write it?
    6) I am very interested in the time when Chipper decided to move to Left Field. Did he ask you for advice? Did you give any comment on how it would affect his HOF chances by moving?
    7) If that book gets written I would want to read about that year in Left Field which did not culminate in a World Series appearance. That had to be the pits. I imagine Chipper just adjusted his mind for the future, but the year must have been a bitter taste in October as again the Braves fell short. I really take my hat off for his sucking up the discomfort and other random annoyances (both real and imaginary) that happened during that time, for the sake of the team. Even if JS would never say so, I like to believe JS in his mind said, “Chipper, old boy, I owe you one for that.”
    8) Can you give a comment about what JS jr. is going through? Strictly your opinion, do you think he will find happiness (probably in another organization) playing ball, or coaching? I was an early cynic, but I respect what he did in the Arizona fall league, despite the small sample size.
    9) What does it take for a MLB agent to get their first client?
    10) Do you have a sliding scale for “misc. services rendered”, I mean how do you differentiate what you offer Chipper and what you offer Davies or James?
    11) Are you accessible for advising parents of young teenage players who are possible talents?

  28. I have a few fun, lightweight questions for McCann, James, McBride regarding the changes they have experienced by the outside society. 2 questions about friendships stress betweem them and those friends who are still struggling back in AA. and finally a couple of “what if” questions regarding the future, but I know there’s not a snowball’s chance these would get in….I end it here, bite my tongue, and wait for the conclusion of this little program.

  29. Chipper: What do you think should be done to reverse the trend of low attendence by fans in Atlanta?

    Macay McBride: What is the most difficult part about transitioning from the rotation to the bullpen?

    Brian McCann: What part of your game do you feel we will all see rapidly improve this coming season, now that you have earned the opportunity to start full time?

  30. one rumor for today, if not already reported by someone here you go

    In terms of righthanders, the Yanks have some interest in Rudy Seanez, who was not offered arbitration by the Padres. The 37-year-old was 7-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 57 games. He recorded 84 strikeouts in 60-1/3 innings.

    Seanez is believed to prefer a return to Atlanta, where he pitched from 1998-2001, and the Yanks also are considering other options, including Octavio Dotel, Rick White and Julian Tavarez.

  31. According to Rosenthal:

    The Braves were scheduled to meet Wednesday with the representatives for Nomar Garciaparra, who is drawing significant interest from nearly a dozen clubs, including the Yankees, Orioles, Blue Jays, Padres, Dodgers and Indians. Garciaparra could play left field for the Braves and serve as a backup at shortstop and third base.

    What do you think? I would love his bat in the lineup, but his glove and attitude problems, I dont know!

  32. I don’t see the relevance in asking these guys which black team members they’d have over for dinner, or a question about the interaction between black and white latin players, considering they’re three white males from Georgia.

    Are those even serious questions?

  33. When Chipper renegotiated his contract for the upcoming years, was that the first time you had seen a big time athlete do that for his team?

  34. Jim, didnt Smoltz also do something renegotiate his contract as well. It might not have been as significant as Chipper’s, but I could be wrong.

    Jim, also no one around here really appreciates what Chipper has done. They just want to blame him for not changing positions, but I guess everyone cant be happy!

  35. Mac, Any chance you can get Roger McDowell to answer some questions? I would love to hear who he thinks could help the Braves.

  36. I’m just surprised that, as Japanese baseball fans, EdoRiver and his class took such an interest in the Braves, who are one of the few baseball teams at this point who have NO Asian players–even Bruce Chen was from Panama.

    But, damn. That was a lot of questions. CSG, I know you were just guessing, but you weren’t far off–I counted 41 questions. I think we’ll be lucky if B.B. Abbott answers 15 in total. I’m kind of hoping that EdoRiver didn’t scare other people away from posting.

  37. The only way Chipper’s gonna answer even half EdoRiver’s questions is if he were starved, beaten & handcuffed to a radiator.

  38. For Chipper,

    Do you approach at bats differently in different situations and how? In other words, for example, do you do anything differently with a runner on third and one out in a tie game late as opposed to no one on, early in the game. Do you change how you swing, what kind of pitch you look for, etc.?

  39. Another Alex R – I guess it was a pretty good guess. Most people post a question, but he posted 41. Good grief, Mac you should just start another page just for Edo’s questions. Dont let anyone else post a question there and that way we will know for sure how many questions he has.

  40. And I submitted 6ish questions and I thought THAT was too much! Just trying to increase the odds of having one answered, but wow. If Chipper gets that list, he’s gonna think he’s taking the LSAT or something.

  41. i am not necessarily sure we have LOW attendance. it is just lower than what it probably should be. what was the avg. attendance for a home game last year, and how did it rate with the league?

  42. we were very average for the league, so it is not LOW attendance. Unenthusiastic, maybe. if we got nomar, i bet that would boost attendance a little. he is an icon. it would be good to have his bat also.
    To players: what would they think if the organization signed nomar?

  43. I have a question for all the guys: Do you get tired of these dumb questions being asked, like whats your favorite meal at a certain restaraunt, or who do you think management should bring into the club, or how you would address the low attendance rates?

  44. Please have him ask Chipper:

    1)Was part of your agreement to restructure a codicil that guarenteed they’d trade Marte so you wouldn’t have to move to first base, where we really needed you, anyway?

    2)What drunk sumbitch come up with the idea for that trade for a shortstop as nearly prone to injury as you, if it wasn’t in your deal?

    I’ll get over it when I’m good and ready, thank you. God, we need Alex right about now.

  45. I don’t think attendance questions are dumb. Fact is, I’ve heard Smoltz go out of his way to address it on radio several times. It’s obviously an issue to some Braves players. Most of them sidestep the issue, however–no reason to piss off the fans that do attend.

    I understand the reasons why it is that way in ATL, but getting a player’s perspective is fine with me.

  46. not saying to not question attendance, but just saying the attendance was not low. i think the question could be rephrased to “crowd atmosphere” instead of “low attendance”.

  47. mac, where could i get the braves avg. attendance per year over the last 30-40 years?
    i can only find avg. attendance dating back to 2001

  48. Hey Guys, I am not a big fan of Closer By Committee. It never works……the Bravos need a real closer. Does JS have something up his sleeve which he is keeping it a secret from us on a closer he’s got in mind. Any guesses???

  49. For Brian: What steps, if any, are you taking this offseason to improve your ability to control the opponent’s running game?

    For Brian: The Braves traded Estrada, an all-star, ostensibly to make room for you as the full-time catcher. Do you think it will be difficult to handle that pressure? Do you think you’ve done enough to deserve the role?

    For Chipper: Why did you give such a sweetheart deal to the Braves? Are you aware Time Warner would sell your rights to the Anchorage Bucs if they thought it would net them a profit? Isn’t it the responsibly of the owner to allocate more money for player payroll?

    For James: Do you think you have a chance at the 2006 Major League rotation? Does the dearth of left handed starting options make you optimistic regarding your future in the organization?

    For Mcbride: What do you think about the nickname “K-Mac”? Your most valuable skill is your ability to strike batters out, which you did at a crazy rate in the bigs last season.

    For Mcbride: What advice have you been given about improving your control, and do you think that any dramatic steps taken in that direction will reduce your ability to strike batters out?

  50. In ref. to attendance…if someone can check the Braves attendance back in 1991, 1992 and 1993. I bet you they were high. And yes…i agree the Braves attendance for the past 5 seasons suck. The fans are spoiled. Remember the past 5 seasons the Braves playoff games stink. I will never forget the seventh game playoff with the Pirates when Sid Bream made that great slide especially he had 2 bad wheels. When that famous last of the 9th inning started….at least 7 or 8 thousand fans left early. What is wrong with the fans. In matter of fact I have that game on video. I grew up in Massachusetts and NO I was not a Red Sox fan. But those Red Sox fans are loyal and smart. They always filled Fenway Park.

  51. Also Atlanta had an exciting team to watch back then. I think we saw a little bit of that last year when Frenchy and McCann and the rest of the rookies came up and started playing well, it was exciting again.

  52. I have another question for the gang, can you tell us with any accuracy, who out of Atlanta’s vast farm system will make it to the big league roster and be a superstar? Remember we will be grading your answers.

  53. CHill,

    As far as I know the only player the Braves lost in the Rule 5 Draft was Cole Armstrong. He was taken in the Minor League version. Armstrong can catch and play first. He had a great year in 2004 with Danville, but fared badly at Rome: batting just .228 and hitting 7 HRs.

    The good news for Braves fans was that Glenn Tucker was not drafted: he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League and I would not be surprised to see him compete for a position in the bullpen.

  54. I read some of the Boston newspapers the other day
    and they were relieved that they traded Edgar. What I read I don’t think Edgar is a big fan of the American League. In the National League Edgar is a excellent number 2 batter because he loves to bunt, steal bases and play hit and run. I really think you are going to see the old Edgar and the way he played for the Marlins and Cards. Keep your fingers cross.

  55. For Chipper-
    How did you make that diving grab in game 2 of the division series? The ball was behind you and should have ended up in the outfield. Amazing.

    For McCann-
    Besides “neat,”how did it feel to hit the huge homer off the Rocket? I actually love the “neat” answer you gave but now that you’ve had 2 months to think about it, do you care to elaborate?

    For all the rookies-
    Is andy marte as good as everyone says he is and how was he in the clubhouse with you guys in the minor leagues?

  56. I would like to know from Chipper and Brian if that disgusting growth on Eziquel Astacio’s face is a distraction in the batter’s box. Seriously, what the hell is that?

  57. It was a mistake moving Chipper to left field. Moving him back to third was a good idea and while he was rusty at first in second half of season he played excellent defensive third. It takes a while to learn to play first well. Chipper has good reasons not to switch. LaRoche will be in his third year and offensive improvement can be expected. His walk tota; will increase. If not it is easier to get another 1B

  58. Correction; there are 2 current Japanese players on the Braves minor league rosters, (somewhere).
    Last March I met Hamaoka-san,outfielder, at Disney Wide World of Sports and his translator. He was going to play in Australia. Tokuda-san, a RHP, I don7t know anything about. check japaneseplayers.com, English version.
    And in the past I met another Minor league pitcher a few years ago, can’t remember his name.

  59. Last I heard Hamaoka-san went to Spring Training, but the Braves decided to wait until 2006 to start him in the GCL.

    Otherwise, there were three other Braves drafted in the minor league version of the Rule 5 Draft:
    pither Jason Richardson, second basemen Jason Bourgeois, and catcher Ike Franco. I doubt that any of these players are to be regarded as important loses.

  60. This question is for Chipper:

    I’ve been a fan of yours since I first saw you come up in a utility role back in 1993.

    To my point … I’m 21 years old, play left field, and I’m constantly working on my game. Playing american leigon and park league ball dosen’t really attract attention. I was just wondering if you could give me a few tips on how to get noticed by a minor league club?

  61. All of a sudden the baseball news is all quiet on the western front. Any you guys heard baseball rumors lately???

  62. Two questions for Cipper:

    1. Which pitcher do you like to face the least and
    why?

    2. Which pitcher do you like to face the most and
    why?

  63. I’d like to ask Larry if it’s ok if I call him Larry. I’ve never even been to New York, and I hate the Mets if that helps at all. It’s just a thing I have.

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