But enough about that

Braves’ catchers feel pressure of Lopez’s return | ajc.com

Escobar or K.J. likely to lead off

Manager Bobby Cox isn’t certain who will hit first and second in front of Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira, but it sounds as if he’s leaning toward Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson.

Chipper wants Kotsay to hit second for reasons of “contact”. This is foolish, of course, but Kotsay’s a veteran.

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135 thoughts on “But enough about that”

  1. Kotsay: .337 career OBP
    Johnson: .360 career OBP + .366 career minor league OBP
    Escobar: .385 “career” OBP + .367 career minor league OBP

    Really, Chipper, making contact does you no good if it still leads to your walking to the dugout afterwards.

  2. Hey Mac,

    I’m wondering what you think the percentage chances are that Hampton and Kotsay put up the league averages at their positions?

    Right now, I go 33% for Kotsay and the recent stories on Hampton have gotten me excited to the point of a 4%.

  3. In terms of batting, I think Hampton will well exceed the league averages for his position.

    I also put his pitching odds at over 50%. He’s a good player when he plays.

  4. Chipper’s a baseball player, people. We’re baseball fans. Therefore, we know more than he does. ;)

    But seriously, that is quite silly of him to think that.

  5. The AJC poll
    Who should back-up Brian McCann?
    Javy Lopez 75.54% 244
    Clint Sammans 11.15% 36
    Brayan Pena 13.31% 43

    75% of the AJC’s reader are either dumb or girls… Or both, I don’t know. Am I the only one who’d rather have a young guy there instead of a washed up roids user?

  6. also, i know he’s a former braves farmhand, but this is bad…

    say a prayer, people

    Piniella: DeRosa experienced irregular heartbeat

  7. Nasa,

    I would say that most AJC readers are dumb, but I also think there is a “familiar name” thing going on.

    Be that as it may, we all know that Lopez is going to get the backup job because

    – he’s a veteran and Bobby never gives that job to a rookie (Sammons)

    and

    – if Pena hasn’t been the backup catcher by now, I don’t think he ever will be.

  8. It’s not like Yunel doesn’t “make contact” either.

    Neither Yunel nor Kotsay walk a whole lot (about once every 13 PA each); neither strike out much (Kotsay once every 9.25 PA, Yunel once every 8 PA); but Yunel would seem to be a much better hitter.

    As long as that trend continues, Yunel in the # 2 slot would make more sense—plus, I’d so much rather have him get an extra AB in a tight game over Kotsay.

    AJC: Rick Camp Returns to the World

    http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/braves/stories/2008/02/23/camp_0224.html

  9. javy being a backup is not a bad idea if they decide to keep brayan pena on the 25 man. pena, to me, will be a much better option off the bench than thorman. pena can be used a 5th outfielder/catcher/1b/pinch run/pinch hit guy, while thorman can only do 3 of those 5. in order for javy to be used in a successful role, bobby needs to not be afraid to use him as power off the bench. with pena on the 25 man, javy can be used in that role as well as the backup catcher.

  10. I know I’m not always one of the best or most popular posters on this site, but I need your help and prayers. My mom suffered a major heart attack this afternoon and things are looking bad. I’m a big believer in the power of prayer, so any of you who would be inclined, a quiet prayer would be greatly appreciated…..

  11. Your mother will be in my thoughts, TSS.

    And BP is at it again. They’ve started their own “Free Brent Lillibridge” campaign, because he projects to be better than Escobar and “a third of the starting shortstops in the bigs.

    I guess they really, REALLY hate people who don’t walk.

  12. Even for BP, that’s fairly insane. Players don’t get benched the year after they hit .326 even if they don’t have any secondary offense at all, and Escobar has some. Escobar’s isolated on-base last year was better than McCann’s, far better than Francoeur’s, and about the same as Renteria’s. He wasn’t getting cheap walks, either; he had only one IBB last season. He doesn’t strike out, he doesn’t ground into double plays, and while I doubt he’s really a .326 hitter, bear in mind that he hit .325 in 2005 (rookie and A-ball) and .333 in AAA last season; he had a bad year in Mississippi in 2006, but that was a terrible offensive environment where the team as a whole hit .247 .308 .346. Escobar was about as good as Saltalamacchia in that park and league.

    I think there’s a good chance that Lillibridge is a better major league player, long term, than Escobar. I’d even say it’s likely. It seems extremely unlikely that he’s a better hitter right now.

    Have they started talking about moving Chipper to the outfield so Lillibridge can play third base yet?

  13. Speaking of BP, Pecota hitter cards are out, and once again, BP’s projection system is a better read than their articles. If you look at just offense, ignoring their sketchy defensive stat, they project Escobar better than Lillibridge every year for the next seven years. lol.

    And something’s screwy with their similarity scores. They have Francoeur matched up with Vernon Wells’ 1981 season (when he was 2?) and Joe Adcock’s 1992 year (when he was 65?).

  14. Second Splitter,

    I wish the best for you and your family. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  15. Bobby’s thoughts on the 1-2 hitters, according to DOB:

    I should tell you, when I asked Bobby about leadoff and No. 2 after the workout just now, he said he thought Kelly and Escobar would work well in either order in those spots. And as for Kotsay in the 2-hole, Bobby said “We’ll see.” In other words, I think they want to make sure Kotsay holds up in games as he’s held up so far in early work.

    But I still believe if Kotsay hits this spring and stays healthy, he’ll be in the 2-hole.

    When I asked Kelly about it 15 minutes ago, and told him what Bobby had said, Kelly said doesn’t matter to him, that any of those combos would work, etc. He also said, “I would think Kotsay would have one of those [first] two spots.”

    So we’ll see. But it did sound like Bobby is thinking about Kelly and Yunel in those first two spots. I asked about batting second, does it matter if they can hit behind the runner and move him over like Edgar did, etc, and Cox said that Yunel hits behind the runner as well as anyone, and that Kelly’s left-handed, so it’s easy for him to do it.

  16. Heh heh. Must be a glitch or something.

    And, Mac, they’ve been talking about moving Chipper to the outfield for at least seven years as far as I know.

    Baseball Prospectus comments that I have that concern his defense:

    2001: “His bat can carry first base, and he has experience in the outfield, so the threat of a position change is serious.”

    2002: “Chipper Jones generally gets what Chipper Jones wants, and apparently being something less than a great third baseman makes him want to move to an easier defensive position. The decision may hurt how he’s perceived historically…”

    2004: “[Chipper] has become an equal-opporunity defensive liability… [Chipper] could be an albatross by the time he rakes in $17 million in ’06 [due to offensive decline].”

    2005: “As for his defense, make this man a DH, stat. As a thid baseman for his career, JOnes is a ghastly -116 runs below average in the field. With his bat in decline, he squandering much of his value with his shoddy work afield. Since the Braves don’t have the DH at their disposal and they have a need for a productive first baseman, Jones should be moved across the diamond. That is, short of making every glove he’s ever used apart of the next Viking funeral.”

    2006: “But for all his hitting prowess, Jones is a brutal fielder according to Clay Davenport’s fielding numbers – 12 runs below average per 100 games over the course of his career. Rather than move him to left (where he played in 2002-2003), or to first base, where he’d out-produce LaRoche, the Brave dealt potential third base replacement Andy Marte to get Edgar Renteria. And yet, sooner or later, Jones will have to shift to left or first.”

    2007: “Jones’s defense has been much closer to league average during his second tour of duty at third, so his return to the hot corner hasn’t been the disaster some expected.”

    Yeah, the disaster they expected.

  17. If those were the choices, I might well choose Lopez to be our backup catcher. Sammons looks like he’ll never hit enough to help, and Pena’s settling in as close to replacement level with both bat and glove. Lopez might offer some power, and if not, he cost us nothing.

  18. Javy should not be the back-up. Sure, he gives us power off the bench, but even Thorman could give us that, and Javy won’t hit 50 points higher than Thorman anyway. I don’t think Javy will be the catcher he used to be.

  19. I tend to think like Brian J on this one. Pena is a reasonable backup catcher and would probably hit for a decent average, but if Javy has any of his power left, he’s probably a better option. Javy isn’t that far removed from being exceptional. A lot of it comes down to how he looks this spring, I imagine.

    We might be lucking out that Javy would rather backup in Atlanta than be a backup and part time DH with an AL club, which would probably be a better fit.

  20. @23 and 25. I agree. I think if Javy has any power left, I think he’s the better option. Not sure why, but Brayan just doesn’t impress me at all. I’d rather take the chance with Javy(if he shows anything in the Spring) then if he doesn’t work out, bring in Sammons/Pena.

  21. well, bringing in pena is unlike to be an option because he will likely be claimed since he is out of options, or traded because of it (probably for a bag of balls, since we have never had him up enough and healthy to establish any serious trade value)

    and i dont think were lucky that javy isnt DHing somewhere, if there was a serious chance for more money/playing time elsewhere he would have taken it, hes not doing us any favours, and he was cut in camp by the rockies last year, who played yorvit torrealba (sp?) at catcher last year

  22. for the record, i am in favour of keeping either pena/lopez or pena/sammons, largely because pena has more value than prado or any second utility infielder would have considering we already have infante…and despite what DOB says i will believe it when i see it that bobby uses javy as a pinch hitter because he has diaz as an emergency catcher

    so i guess best case IMO is that, javy shows he can still play a little…and we keep:

    Thorman
    Infante/lillibridge, depending on health of omar
    Pena
    Lopez
    Anderson/Jones

    i was leaning fully towards the platoon in left and still wouldnt mind seeing it, but at the same time it wouldnt kill jones and lillibridge to start in AAA the same way it wouldnt kill jurrjens and reyes…and by no means am i suggesting an anderson/diaz platoon, diaz would be the fulltime starter…but anderson would be here to spell kotsay and diaz defensively, and would allow omar to worry more about short backup than both center and short backup

  23. Mac,
    I showed your Hampton series videos to my wife; and, even though she is only a casual fan, she thought they were hilarious.

    Also, I started an auction league on CBS sportsline. I’ve always done Yahoo! in the past, but wanted to do an auction league (& CBS is the only one I could find, where you don’t have to pay $40/person). But I don’t know enough people personally who are interested in an auction league to fill it. Cost is $7 per person. You can email me at mrfyde – at – yahoo.com, or can send me a message on facebook (I’m in the Bravesjournal ‘group’ – one of the most recent ones to join).
    And if anyone knows another good place to post information for people who might be interested, let me know…I don’t have a very big platform to get word out on things

  24. If we end up batting Kotsay in the two hole, I forsee a “Kotsay delenda est” movement in our future…

    …after the “Dane Cook delenda est” movement is complete, naturally.

  25. Just wanted to throw out another invite to the Braves Journal Facebook group for those that are new (Jonathan reminded me that I hadn’t done this in a while). So if you have Facebook, and you wanna be a part of the coolest group in the world, then click here:

    Braves Journal

  26. I really hope they end up giving Brandon Jones a shot at CF. He played there in Mexico, so he’s not new to the position, and I’m near certain he’d be an upgrade over Kotsay. Even though it ruins Bobby’s dream of a Jones/Diaz platoon, I’m pretty sure Frenchy/Jones/Diaz full time is a better option than Frenchy/Kotsay/(Jones/Diaz) situation, although the latter is more likely.

  27. Hell, as much as we are paying Chipper we should just make him manager. It is not like Bobby Cox has won 16 division titles and a World Serise or anything. Chipper Jones knows a lot more about putting a line up together than would somebody like a Bobby Cox. Maybe this season Chipper will take his sebatical and durring Spring Traning so he can focus on making a line-up.

  28. Because they got a good relief prospect. I was under the impression that they picked up so much of his salary because we gave up Devine, and that it was less-cash-for-less-prospect down the line.

  29. So nice to see the Oscars getting it very right with Daniel Day-Lewis & Javier Bardem tonight. Those are the only 2 performances anyone will really remember from this year.

  30. Gotta say, I think Norbit got snubbed tonight. Seriously though, I am kinda surprised Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End didn’t win either best makeup or visual effects.

  31. The best thing about the Oscars tonight was Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova winning for best song. Her acceptance speech was the best of anyone’s and it was nice to see Hansard get some mainstream recognition.

  32. ’07 was a horrible year for movies. I deserve an Oscar just for staying awake during “No Country” and “Pirates III.”

  33. (This is especially for the DC area bloggers like Marc, AAR, Cary, etc.)

    Yesterday, a buddy of mine and I went and met up with my friend who runs the Nats Sales Department over at the new stadium in S.E. Washington and got a quick tour of the unfinished park (which the Braves open with the Nats on March 30th).

    The stadium’s going to be fantastic. It will have all the bells and whistles and beautfiul corporate suites & total ‘look’ of the Baseball stadiums that have been built since Camden Yards on.

    It holds about 41,000+ (which like most stadiums in the modern era, less regular seats, but more suites and total walking space and activities). It will be very easy and fast to go around the stadium with the sheer amount of walking space + plus leather backs, cup holders, and even netting to hold your programs under the seats – on every seat in the stadium.

    The other thing that’s impressive is that they have really done amazing work by the Metro Stop near the stadium – ‘Navy Yard’ – there’s tons of brand new office buildings and new retail already in and g0ing in the next few years. My buddy told me the plan (this will make sense to the DC residents) is to turn this into “Gallery Place, Part II” which is the area completely revitalized in and around the Verizon Center – where the Wizards, Capitals and Georgetown play.

    All in all, going to Nats games (well, at least when the Braves are here) will be 100X better experience than going to that festering dump, RFK. He did say parking will still be a major issue and those wanting to go to games, use Metro.

    (he did tell me they’ve still not be able to sell out all the suites yet or as many season tickets as they’d like – and one thing my buddy and I talked about when we were driving away is they have not added any marquee players here nor have they done any major advertising campaign).

    I did make a joke during the tour that Paul LoDuca as the “major” free agent signing aint gonna get it done for the Nats…

  34. TSS;
    Praying for you.
    MSN says Mark DeRosa has been released. Any further update would be appreciated.

    Smitty;
    Go Vols!
    My alma mater fired Kelvin Sampson last week. The Vols were the highlight of my weekend.

  35. Prayers sent on your family’s behalf.

    Makes it sound like it was a letter or email. I think you understand. Best to you.

  36. #48

    That refers to DeRosa being released from the hospital. ESPN has the same misleading headline: “DeRosa released after having irregular heartbeat”. I said aloud “What? They can’t do that!” before clicking on the link.

  37. Stu,

    I have a bad feeling about the Vandy game for the Vols. It screems trap game. I think Memorial is the third most difficult place to place in the SEC right now. Behind Rupp and Thompson-Boling

  38. stapler, that’s probably the dumbest comment i’ve ever read here (and i’ve written some dooseys).

    even though i MUCH prefer “There will be blood” and “Atonement” to “No country for Old Men”, I can’t argue with the academy giving a nod to the Cohen’s for their body of work (see: Fargo–it should have won best picture) and it is, interestingly enough, probably their 4th best film.

    Tennessee better watch out, people are gunning for them (the did well beating an OVERRATED Memphis team, but i wonder what happens when a really good, disciplined team (see: Vandy) or one that is FAR more talented and can hit their free throws (see: UNC/Kansas) plays Tenn. Remember what UCLA did?

  39. Smitty,
    I know—well, I think—you didn’t mean it as such, but I find your post insulting on a couple of levels.

    (1) Trap game? We’re ranked among the top 15 teams in the country. Playing us would be difficult if you were coming off a 30-point win over Auburn in which your starters only played 25 minutes each. This is certainly a tough game for UT, but it’s not a trap. You see us coming. You know to be worried about us.

    (2) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; there is no greater home court advantage in the conference than here in Nashville.

    Your point about us being the third most difficult place to play is confusing. You include Thompson-Boling, which is true if you’re sorting based on the fact that UT is the best team in conference; it’s certainly going to be tougher to beat the best team at their place than it is going to be to get a win in anyone else’s gym.

    But you also include Rupp, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless you’re doing sorting based on home court advantage, in which case playing in front of 24K can be tough (although, again, I don’t think it’s any tougher than Vanderbilt’s gym for opponents).

    But if you’re sorting based on quality of team, Vanderbilt is pretty clearly better than UK, and if you’re sorting on venue alone, there’s absolutely no way TBA is a tougher place to play.

    By any measure, coming to Memorial is going to be any teams second-toughest trip at least. I suspect you’re just biased because UT lost at Rupp; therefore, you assume it’s a really tough place to play. It is tough, but UT just played a brutal game that night.

    Anyway, my dad’s coming up for the game (my wife is graciously giving him her ticket); should be a whole lotta fun. I’m expecting an electric crowd.

  40. Hahahaha.

    Saturday, February 9, 2008
    TEAM
    Cincinnati Reds Signed outfielder Craig Wilson, who had been with the Chicago White Sox, to a minor league contract.

    Friday, February 22, 2008
    TEAM
    Cincinnati Reds Released outfielder Craig Wilson.

  41. chris,

    A couple of quibbles:

    (1) My Commodores are not always disciplined. See the game at Thompson-Boling (and each of our other 3 losses), in which we turned the ball over 20+ times. That’s actually the key to the game, IMO. If we are disciplined, I fully expect to win.

    (2) I don’t think UNC or Kansas are FAR more talented than Tennessee is. UT is a very talented squad, and they go 9 deep. I think Kansas probably has better talent, but it’s not by a lot. And without Frasor and Lawson, UNC does not have more talent than UT, IMO. With Lawson, UNC probably is more talented, but again, I don’t think it’s by a lot.

  42. Stu,

    The Vandy game is a trap game on the fact that Tennessee SHOULD beat Vandy. Vandy is a good team and Tennessee could still be on high from winning Saturday and that could cause them to overlook the Doors, which would be a mistake.

    I still say Rupp is the toughest place in the confrence to go win a game. The Vols played bad there, so did Vandy. The Cats are a little down this year, but I bet if you took a poll of all the players in the confrence, they would pick Rupp.

    No one is going into Knoxville and beating the Vols. Not this year at least. They are a diffrent team at home.

    Memorial is a tough place to play, no doubt. I will agree that it is a subjective thing, but I have seen all three of these teams play at home and I think Rupp and TBA are a little tougher (though only slightly) than Memorial. But like I said, it is subjective.

    Well here is my order of the toughest places to go in the SEC:

    1. Kentucky
    2 a. Tennessee
    2 b. Vandy
    4. Florida
    5. Miss. St.
    6. South Carolina
    7. Arkansas
    8. LSU
    9. Alabama
    10. Ole Miss
    11. Georgia
    12. Auburn

    The first 10 are really difficult, but Athens and Auburn are romps.

  43. There are a handful of teams that I think might give the Vols a run for their money:

    Texas
    Kansas
    UNC
    Geogretown
    Indiana (though that may change)

    Not that I think those teams are better than Tennessee, but they can cause the Vols match-up issues. I wouldn’t be shocked either way if Tennessee won or lost to them. Any one who thinks Tennessee isn’t that good, just go ahead and think that. We play the #2 hardest schedual in America and have only lost twice. We are #1 in RPI (which is a good way to evaluate a team).

  44. Mikey, Wilson failed his physical. That’s why the Reds released him. He’s clearly not a well man.

    And, hate to disagree with you, Ububba, but my fave performances of the year were Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises and Amy Adams in Enchanted. Bardem and Day-Lewis were memorable, but not quite my cup of tea.

    The ceremony goes on too damn long, and it’s really stupid that they start it at 8 — they should start around 6:30 like the Super Bowl, if they want to keep people watching until Best Picture. But if time was no issue, I’d love it if they came up with one more award: Best Year, given to an actor who managed to appear in a ridiculous number of awesome roles in a given year. In 2005, it would have been Heath Ledger, who was in Lords of Dogtown, Brokeback Mountain, Casanova, and the Brothers Grimm.

    This year, it has to be Josh Brolin, who was the dirty cop in American Gangster, the evil doctor in Grindhouse, and the main character in No Country for Old Men, and Chief Buchwald in In the Valley of Elah. He was clearly the breakout star of the year. I wish there was a way to recognize it.

  45. Smitty,
    You’re aware that Vanderbilt is undefeated at home this season, right? And that Kentucky lost to both Gardner-Webb and San Diego at Rupp?

    And we’ll have to agree to disagree on whether UT “should” win in Nashville.

    Either way, it has the makings of a classic. I’m pumped! (I was actually pulling for UT to beat Memphis just so we could get a crack at No. 1. That Florida game last year was awesome, and if this game stays close, I imagine the atmosphere will be even better, given the rivalry.)

  46. My wife and I didn’t even bother with the Oscars last night.

    I have no interest at all in any of what the ancient Oscar voters consider the “top movies” and the only Oscar nominees I saw and had real interest in were “Juno” (a bit overrated) and “Michael Clayton” – which was fantastic and deserved its nomination.

    But amongst the best movies I saw in 2007 weer “The Bourne Ultimatum”, “Gone, Baby Gone”,” American Gangster” and “Ocean’s 13”. I have also heard excellent things from many sources about “Charlie Wilson’s War”.

    Most people I have talked to about “No Country for Old men” thought it was confusing and extremely overrated. This is my problem with Oscar in general – they love to pick obscure or dark films tat don’t have any wider appeal. I may see it but I can’t say I want to.

    I am not saying they should pick only mainstream films to nominate, but they should cut out all those stupid technical and dance numbers (and especially the montages), have a ‘comedy’ category like the Globes do for movies like “Juno”, and the brilliant “Superbad” and “Knocked Up”, and put more interesting and more broad appeal movies like “Bourne” and “Gangster” in the mix for best picture. (and if they cut montages and dance routines, the show could be a more manageable 2-2 1/2 hours).

    Not only would the show draw far higher ratings, but people might have actually seen all the nominees for best picture.

    2000 and 2006 were the only years where I saw all the best picture nominees prior to the show, and that’s only because I did a mad dash to the theaters and video store, the weekend before, just so I could say I saw all the nominated movies.

    But the Oscars (like other award shows) really only care about what the so called elite thinkers in New York and L.A. think, and don’t actually look at what might be say a great movie and a commercial success (like Bourne or Gangster).

  47. Well, when you make a movie that is a commercial success your reward is a boatload of $$$. I think that’s consolation enough.

  48. I was surprised that 3:10 to Yuma didn’t get more attention. I thought it was a great film—certainly better than Atonement and Juno.

    UT’s a tough team to play, and it’s amazing what Pearl has done in Knoxville in such a short time, but I cannot envision them winning a championship. For one thing, they have nobody to guard a quality post player. While UNC is not more “talented” than UT, the Vols have nobody that could stop Tyler Hansbrough. He would run amok.

    UT’s main downfall, though, is going to be the same thing it was last season: Bruce Pearl’s lack of a Plan B. They run, run, run, shoot; shoot, shoot. They build big leads and then let them evaporate by continuing to jack up crazy 3s with 20+ seconds remaining on the clock. I believe that strategy, or lack thereof, will catch up to them in the tournament, as it did last year.

  49. In fairness to the Oscar voters, Alex, they did vote 3 Oscars to Bourne in the technical categories. I mostly agree with you about their preference for movies no one sees, and though I liked No Country, my three favorite movies of the year weren’t in the running for Best Picture: Ratatouille, Eastern Promises, and Black Book. (Neither was my fourth favorite, Planet Terror from Grindhouse, but I guess we all knew that wouldn’t get nominated.)

    I think they nominated Juno in a misguided effort to give a sop to the voters who weren’t into the whole homicidal maniac thing, which would also explain why they snubbed Eastern Promises.

    Also, the Boston Red Sox just signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal. That’s really smart. I honestly wish we’d thought of that.

  50. I’m sorry, Smitty. I didn’t mean it like that. I was just trying to settle the controversy over SEC basketball which unfortunately I’m unable to participate in this year by reminding us of our first love, the ole Atlanta Braves.

    I just read Bowman’s article about Teixeira and Chipper, and, I’ll be honest, I’m really stoked about this year. Those guys are going to put up HUGE numbers, and our offense is going to score a lot of runs. The lineup that we will have will definitely cover up the concerns that we have about the back-end of our rotation and the bullpen. Things are looking good, friends.

  51. Oh, and I went to the Phillies’ Spring Training last week down here in Clearwater, and got some pretty sweet autographs (none of the crazy awesome players though). I saw Jimy Williams and asked him he it was working with Bobby Cox and for the Atlanta Braves. He was short, but he said he loved it. I doubt he would have told me he hated Atlanta, but it was nice to see him speak so well of his division rival.

    Just one negative about it: for a non-superstar type of player Shane Victorino is, he really was a jerk about signing autographs. Charlie Manuel had to grab him by the arm and tell him to go sign autographs. With the days of the MLBPA, I was pleasantly surprised to see a manager scorn his player on behalf of the fans. Good stuff.

  52. Oh, and just one last thing: Kristin Benson hates it when you call him by his real name. Heh, heh, heh. :)

  53. From Wikipedia: Anna Benson was born outside of Atlanta, Georgia on February 12, 1976. In 1992, Benson moved out of her parents’ house at the age of sixteen. In 1993, she married a seventeen-year old dentist. The two had a daughter named Alyssa, and were divorced in 1994.

  54. #74

    Mike – 3 hours I will never ever get back with ‘At World’s End’.

    “Pirates of the Carribean”, just like “The Matrix”, is an example of a really terrific movie with high octane action, great performances, and beaucoup box office – that should have quit after their first film.

    You couldn’t pay me to watch any of the Matrix or Pirates sequels, EVER again.

    It’s why I was so impressed this past year with mainstream commercial sequels like Bourne and Ocean’s because they were actually good sequels (unlike say the 2nd Ocean’s flick is unwatchable).

  55. Stu,

    Well Tennessee SHOULD beat Vandy. I mean really, they are the number one team and Vandy is 15.

    I think Wayne Chism is as good of a post defender as there is in America. Hansbrough would give anyone fits though. The misconception is that you can beat Tennessee inside, I think they guard the paint much better than they get credit for. Just ask Memphis.

    As far as having a strategy for every game, I think they are doing an excellent at prepairing and having a game plan. Hell they have only lost two games and play the second hardest scheduel in the country.

    The Texas loss was a day after a very physical game to West Virgina. Texas is an excellent team and it could be argued that they are one of the top three teams in the country. Of course, they Vols blew a lead in Lexington, a place they have only one once or twice EVER!

    Anyway, if Tennessee is clicking on all cylinders, I don’t think anyone can beat them. But if everyone wants to disrespect them and say they are over-rated, that is their opinion, there is a tournament at the end of the year to decide this and we will see.

    Do I thnk Tennessee will win it all? Maybe-Maybe not. Do they have a very credible chance? Absolutly.

  56. I think Wayne Chism is as good of a post defender as there is in America.

    LOL.

    Well Tennessee SHOULD beat Vandy. I mean really, they are the number one team and Vandy is 15.

    You said yourself that RPI is a better way of measuring. Tennessee is #1; Vanderbilt is #10. Both teams are very, very good. This game is on Vanderbilt’s home court. That’s at least a three-point advantage, generally speaking, and when you consider that this is the SEC, where it seems to be especially tough to win on the road, and that this is Memorial Gym, one of the toughest venues for opposing teams to win at in the entire country, I think Tennessee’s marginal talent advantage is more than offset.

    For what it’s worth, Ken Pomeroy projects a 4-point win for the Vols. But Pomeroy’s metric has been selling Vanderbilt a bit short all season long.

  57. movie critic time…………..easily the best acting performance of the year was Chris Woodward playing a major leaguer. incredible.

  58. For me, flicks fall into three categories.

    1) Pay-at-the-theater movies—as in, “I gotta see this movie.” (eg.—“No Country for Old Men”)

    1a) Pay-at-the-theater movies—as in, “I’m bored to tears, let’s go see a movie.” (eg.—“American Gangster”)

    2) If-it’s-on-HBO movies—as in, “I won’t go out to see it, but if nothing else is on, I’ll check it out.” (eg.—The Johnny Depp pirate movies.)

    3) Airplane movies—as in, “Only if I’m held hostage and I don’t have a good book.” (eg.—The “Ocean’s 11” movies, any number of RomComs, “Catwoman”)

    Of course, this can lead to relative disappointments (“American Gangster”) and pleasant surprises (“Georgia Rule”).

    As for “Catwoman,” I saw it on an 11-hour flight & it was so amusingly bad I watched it twice. The bottles of Malbec helped.

  59. for me, flicks fall into one category……….whatever i can borrow from my neighbors huge collection so naturally i’m always a year or so behind with whats happening but thats ok with me. going to the theater feels like punishment to me and i cancelled HBO years ago on general principles. since i tend to fall asleep while trying to get through most movies , it takes me a week or so to see them, renting isnt a good option either.

  60. Well, ububba…your opinion’s noted but I don’t know how two people could watch a film like “American Gangster” and get such varied reactions.

    Give me Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe over Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin, any day., acting-wise.

  61. Say what you want about Wayne Chism, he has been getting the job done on the defensive end.

    Stu, do you really think Vandy should the FAVORITE going into the game? RPI of one is still higher than ten. The Vols SHOULD win this game. I am not sure they will, but they SHOULD.

  62. At this point in the college BB season, we should be settling on a short list of teams that have a legitimate shot to win it all.

    I see the following on the list (in no particular order):

    Tennesee
    UNC
    Kansas
    UCLA
    Texas
    Memphis

  63. I love Denzel & I love Russell Crowe, but I found neither very convincing in “American Gangster.”

    I was supposed to be afraid of Denzel & I just wasn’t. And Russell Crowe was just…OK. I thought Brolin was the best thing in the movie.

    Fave Denzel: “Training Day”
    Fave Crowe: “The Insider”

    And Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh was like the shark in “Jaws,” almost supernatural.

  64. Smitty, I think the game should probably be a pick’em. 1 vs. 10 on a neutral site, yes, 1 is favored. You understand that home court is a significant factor in picking games, right?

  65. Seat Painter,
    I think that list is way too short. I’d pretty much agree that those are the favorites and that the national champion will most likely come from that group, but i think there are several other teams that could legitimately (read: realistically) win the Tourney.

  66. Gotta go with Man on Fire for Denzel. For Crowe, either Gladiator or 3:10 to Yuma. Also, I am still wondering how Golden Compass won best visual effects.

  67. The Atlanta Sports Stations had good info on the Braves this morning. 790 is in Orlando and Sandra Golden (Montgomery, AL product) said that Bobby Cox told her off the record that there were three guys at Spring Training that would not be around for the start of the season due to bad attitudes, etc. She would not name them, although I would put Chuck James on that list after listening to Frank Wren on 680. He was talking about the lineup and said that Chuck was two weeks behind the other pitchers because he didn’t throw off the mound before coming to Orlando. Sounds like he didn’t do much in the offseason. He also talked about having the youngest starting 8 in the majors. They are:

    Texiera
    Johnson
    Escobar
    C Jones
    Diaz
    Kotsay
    Franceuor
    McCann

    He is impressed with Hampton’s progress, and mentioned JJ Reyes and Bennett as part of their future plans.

    I can’t even think of who the other two malcontents.

  68. I wonder if Royce Ring is one.

    I know nothing about Ring, and I’m not saying he does have a bad attitude; it’s just seemed strange to me that he’s constantly listed among those “battling for a spot,” when it sure looks to me like he should have a secure roster spot, at least until Gonzo comes back.

  69. I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Smoltz who’s attitude has deteriorated so much that has been refusing to throw in games and insists only on throwing simulated ones. Bobby probably thinks he’s being a pansy and still hasn’t forgotten Smoltz talking about signing with another team a year or so ago.

  70. I would hope the starting 8 would get a bit younger with Brandon Jones replacing Kotsay.

    Of course, older wouldn’t be bad if we could, say, sign the greatest offensive player in baseball history.

  71. @99,

    George Herman is deceased. The second or third best offensive player is potentially available, but I can’t imagine he isn’t a worse attitude problem than whoever the Braves may send packing.

  72. We could move Chipper to left field and sign Bonds to platoon with him. We’d need a replacement for either of them anyway as they’ll both miss about half the games out there. This way we get high quality production out of left field for 162 games a year.

    We could trade Jurrjens and Hernandez for Andy Marte to fill in the gap at 3rd on the cheap.

  73. I think we should just trade Martin Prado for Ryan Braun and put him at third after we’ve moved Chipper to left field. We can platoon Chipper with Josh Anderson, and sign Bonds to play center.

  74. Sorry AAR, Braun is a left fielder now, so he’d have to move to LF on the days that both Bonds and Chipper are injured (you know there would probably be several). We’d need Marte to back up 3B. Maybe we could pry Betemit away from the Yankees, they could use a player like Chuck James to make A-rod look more like a team player.

  75. “I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Smoltz who’s attitude has deteriorated so much that has been refusing to throw in games and insists only on throwing simulated ones. Bobby probably thinks he’s being a pansy and still hasn’t forgotten Smoltz talking about signing with another team a year or so ago.”

    You think Smoltz won’t be around for the start of the season?

  76. Wanna see something really scary?

    Go check out Tom Glavine’s PECOTA card for this year.

    Look at this:
    W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR
    8 7 0 22 22 126 141 40 60 14

    Not a pretty line, no? Well, that’s their 90th percentile projection, meaning they think he’ll do a lot worse. (The actual line has an ERA well over 5.00.)

    On the other hand, he’s got a very low “similarity score” which basically means he’s a very unique player as far as MLB history goes. I dunno if this is what it means, but it seems to me that this would indicate that he’s far harder to predict than most players. And at his age, it’s not like there’s a wealth of other guys who’ve been there.

    So I’m still optimistic. I guess it was just a reminder of me that there’s a distinct possibility that Glavine just absolutely tanks.

  77. Mraver, that’s not particularly fun to read. But I find it kind of hard to believe he’d only make 22 starts unless he literally pitches his way out of the rotation. I don’t think he’s exactly a major injury risk.

    Likewise, I think it’s very possible that his FIP will look somewhere around 5.00 — he’s never been a strikeout pitcher, and his K-skills have eroded more than ever, and his K/BB this year is going to be downright ugly. But I don’t think it’s at all unlikely he’d be able to give us stats comparable to what Chuckie gave us last year, over a few more innings. Of course, he might even do better than that.

  78. People, people, people…

    …we need to stay focused on what’s really important…

    WILL the Dane Cook “This is Acktober” campaign return this year?

    Surely not. If there is a God, surely he heard us here at bravesjournal cry from the mountain tops (or just the witty tagline under the title line) that “Dane Cook delenda est” and put an end to that abortion of an ad campaign.

    Shit, if he were a compassionate god, he (or she) definitely would’ve mutilated Cook’s corpse in some kind of comically ironic twist of fate already, but as we all know, that unfortunately has not happened yet.

    But until we get to that point, we’re just left here hoping and praying to whatever divine force it is up there runnin this thing that at the very least, that #$&*%*@^# “This is Acktober” ad campaign will not be returning in 2008.

    Dane Cook delenda est, mi amici; Dane Cook delenda est.

  79. I thought that Pirates III was bad, but at least I understood how someone, somewhere might enjoy it. With NCFOM I’m beginning to think that everyone is just putting me on. Someone mentioned Bourne III earlier. All things considered that might as well be the best picture for ’07. Seems like the Bourne films got better with two and three, when usually sequels get worse and worse.

    One last thing and then I’ll let it go. I saw NCFOM on a Friday night. When it was over and the credits began to roll a guy on the other side of the theatre yelled, “next time I’m staying home for Deal or No Deal.” Still cracks me up.

  80. I’m hope sick and just rented “We Own the Night”, “American Gangster”, “Miami Vice”,
    and “Chaos”…any reviews on these???

  81. Put me down for about 180 innings, a 4.50 ERA, and a trip to the bullpen in September with a “tired arm.” (For Glavine, I mean. Put me down for 0 innings.)

    Douglass, you speak the truth. Ditching Dane Cook is even more important than getting rid of steroids in baseball.

    CSG, I’m just going from what I hear, but you should watch “American Gangster” first and then burn the other three. Unless they’re rentals or something.

  82. Brian J.,

    I’m on board for the 180 IP and 4.50 ERA. But given that Glavine holds the all-time MLB record for most starts without ever having a relief appearance, I’m not sure about the second part of your prediction. ;)

  83. Bill James has a pretty optimistic projection for Glavine: 194 IP with a 3.99 ERA.

    The innings look about right; I’ll take the over on the ERA, though. I’m expecting something in the 4.5 range as well.

  84. Completely off topic but hopefully well worth it to music fans out there: The National.

    My goodness, these guys are incredible. Easily my favorite new discovery in a good long while. Seriously, if you haven’t already had the privilege of doing so, check out Boxer. It will knock your socks off.

  85. Saw some of our old friends at the Rockies camp in Tucson yesterday: Jose Capellan, Vinnie Castilla, Marcus Giles and — are you ready? — Mark Redman.

  86. I drafted Jason Heyward with the 5th pick in my sim league last night and it felt grrreat!

    Picks went:
    1. David Price
    2. Matt Wieters
    3. Rick Porcello
    4. Mike Moustakas
    5. Jason Heyward

    Which is to say that we got a real steal with “No Bid’ness”, I believe. (so did the Tigers with Porcello, obviously)

    His is a career I will follow with great interest.

  87. ummmm…

    The National have been around for a at LEAST 5 years.

    Their discography:

    1.) The National (ok, but not nearly as good as others)
    2.) Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (better, but sounds too much like Leonard Cohen (which is great…but not if you’re an indie rock band)).
    3.) Cherry Tree EP( FABULOUS)
    4.) Alligator (The best album of 2005, hands down)
    5.) Boxer (REALLY REALLY good album, but suffers in comparison to Alligator).

    Cary, interesting picks. Porcello is AT LEAST 2 years away. Heyward is probably 3. Price, Wieters and Moustakas are probably in the bigs at the end of the season.

    PS–The Rays are going to be very very very good very very very soon.

  88. Yeah, I didn’t mean to say that The National is a new band. Only that they’re new to me. I haven’t listened to Alligator, but I know multiple people who’ve said exactly what you do, chris. And I wouldn’t quite call Cherry Tree “FABULOUS,” but it’s certainly good.

    ububba,
    Yeah, I know. Too bad that tour doesn’t stop in Nashville. That’s probably one worth heading out of town for, though…

  89. @130: This sim league has a 40-man Major League roster and 30-man minor league roster, so Heyward will have plenty of time to develop.

    My other Braves are Matt Diaz, Peter Moylan, and Mike Gonzalez on 40-man roster with RHP-Tommy Hanson, LHP-Steve Evarts, C-Clint Sammons, OF-Cody Johnson and now OF-Jason Heyward in the minors.

    I did have KJ, put traded him for starting pitching sine I had Utley as well (one of the very few 2B I’d take over him).

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