Yeah, yeah, everybody knows already

Minor League Baseball: News: Article
Hanson hurls Braves’ first no-hitter

For what it is worth, throwing a no-hitter on the major league level is itself an argument for being an outstanding pitcher; nearly all no-hitters are thrown by good pitchers. (Remarkably, this is a controversial statement in some quarters.) Therefore, it seems quite likely that this is a data point for Hanson being a top prospect. The fourteen strikeouts are as well.

157 thoughts on “Yeah, yeah, everybody knows already”

  1. mlb rumors on Tex

    The Braves could opt for draft picks rather than a Mark Teixeira trade, even if they fall out of the race. They’re only 4.5 games out though

  2. Marc,

    With all due respect (and I’m saying “with all due respect”; check the Geneva Convention for what that allows me to say), if it’s just a game, then why are we on here for hours a day, losing sleep over this game, and vehemently arguing about all the tiniest little finer points of this game? This is a multi-billion dollar industry built on the offensive aspect of the game. I’m all about safety, of course, but you can’t just write off a legitimate advantage for all hitters and then just say, “Eh, it’s just a game.”

  3. Bring forward my post from the last thread:

    I’m not saying that’s a walk in the park, but is that enough to get rid of effective bats?

    Uh, yeah. You’ve got wooden stakes flying around the ballpark on a regular basis, they are going to have to do something about it. It a legal liability nightmare. Writing it off as an occupational hazard isn’t going to fly. Usually something really, really bad has to happen before things get fixed (like the little girl getting killed at an NHL game), hopefully that won’t be the case this time.

  4. Rob, is there any statistical evidence that it really is providing an advantage?

    And businesses get shut down over silly things like their customers being skewered with wood shards.

  5. what does our top 10 prospect list look like now? Im guessing the no no from Hanson helps him move up a bit

  6. Glad for Tommy… Maybe he’ll come up and replace Huddy in a couple years when his contract runs out and we can’t afford him anymore. I actually have started to like our long-term prospects for winning with the current success of our young starting pitchers. Of course somebody will have to hit the ball or we turn into the Padres, but hopefully Yesco, McCann, and KJ can keep it up… and hopefully Francour and Diaz turn things around… and hopefully Schaefer and Heyward and such develop as expected… ok… that’s a lot of hopefully’s… but in theory we’ll have at least SOME payroll to play with to fill in the gaps for some of those hopefully’s not panning out.

  7. Bud Smith threw a no-hitter once. Therefore, all no-hitters are thrown by terrible pitchers. This proves that Tommy Hanson will never live up to his potential.

  8. Well, here was Sickels’ Top 20 prior to the season, with the guys who no longer qualify as prospects and the guys who are no longer ours removed:

    1. Jason Heyward, OF, Grade B+
    2. Jordan Schafer, OF, Grade B+
    3. Brandon Jones, OF, Grade B+
    4. Tommy Hanson, RHP, Grade B+
    5. Joey Devine, RHP, Grade B
    6. Brent Lillibridge, SS, Grade B
    7. Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Grade B
    8. Jair Jurrjens, RHP, Grade B (worried about his health)
    9. Cole Rohrbough, LHP, Grade B
    10. Brandon Hicks, SS, Grade B
    11. Jeff Locke, LHP, Grade B-
    12. Steve Evarts, LHP, Grade C+
    13. Jamie Richmond, RHP, Grade C+
    14. Jose Ortegano, LHP, Grade C+
    15. Kris Medlen, RHP, Grade C+
    16. Julio Teheran, RHP, Grade C+ (all hype and scouting reports at this point)
    17. Tyler Flowers, C-1B, Grade C+
    18. Chad Rodgers, LHP, Grade C+
    19. Jose Ascanio, RHP, Grade C+
    20. Cody Johnson, 1B, Grade C+

    My guess for the current Top 10 would be something like:

    1. Heyward
    2. Schafer
    3. Hanson
    4. Hernandez
    5. Rohrbough
    6. Hicks
    7. Lillibridge
    8. Teheran
    9. Freddie Freeman
    10. Locke

    I might be forgetting someone(s).

    (BTW, note that Chaz Morton wasn’t even on Sickels’ Top 20!)

  9. csg… they also have our best slider as Joey Devine… and our 1st baseman as Tex… I’m not sure they’ve really taken all the factors into account there.

  10. Yes, sports do adapt to its inherent dangers & they attempt to best protect themselves from liability. Check the back of your ticket, with its litany of warnings, for proof of that. (“Bearer of this ticket assumes all risks and dangers…” etc.)

    Many years ago, Dodger catcher Steve Yeager took a splintered bat in the neck (while he was in the on-deck circle). He nearly died. We began to see those catcher’s neckguards soon after.

    Put me on the side of safety because it’s both good business & the right thing to do.

  11. Forget it Rob. Banning maple bats is now inevitable. The mob (media-driven baseball fans) has been set in full motion, they got their pitchforks and they’re not shutting up about this until they get their way. No logic, debate or facts will stop the mob once it’s gotten going.

  12. Yes, Dan, the diabolical safety-first crowd is out to get you. You should be very wary of those who want to preserve human life.

  13. Oh wait, it’s a Vampire you kill by put a wooden stake through the heart.

    My bad.

  14. “Preserve human life”? No one has ever died from a broken maple bat in an MLB game. No one ever will.

    Someone did die from getting hit in the head with a baseball during an MLB game; Ray Chapman. Guess we should ban baseballs next.

  15. I personally am of the school that holds that it’s bat design, not materials, that is the problem; we were having broken bat epidemics long before maple bats were widely used. And personally, I’m not particularly fond of the style of play the thin-handled bats have wrought.

  16. Yeah, Dan, let’s just accuse everyone that disagrees with you of being a mob that disregards logic. Excuse me for not recognizing your inherent intellectual superiority.

  17. Dan, that’s a cop out argument, don’t misdirect. The bat problem can be solved, so it should be. If that ump would have gotten cut somewhere on his neck, he could have died. It’s bad enough that people can get hurt with flying balls, but that doesn’t make it OK to allow a style of bat that adds to that problem.

  18. Someone did die from getting hit in the head with a baseball during an MLB game; Ray Chapman. Guess we should ban baseballs next.

    Or you could require the use of batting helmets. Oh, wait…

    We could similarly decrease the safety risk of bats by (a) requiring the use of full-body armor, or (b) making the bats themselves safer, either by design or by composition.

    I can understand the argument against changing the design of the bat, and I can understand the argument against changing the composition of the bat…what I can’t understand is the argument that we shouldn’t worry about the obvious safety hazard at all.

  19. Not to be picky (I am, I know.) Stu, but I think that B. Jones still qualifies. I think 150 ABs in the Majors is the line of demarcation for hitters.

  20. Yeah, I just figured he wouldn’t qualify much longer so he wasn’t worth including, but you’re right, Parish. I’d probably put him 5th on my list if I included him.

  21. nice pic of the ump after he got hit… oh and the AJC piece it came from: where a senile old man (that’s sarcasm) says something like:

    “There are four or five a night, we’re going to lose an eye or something. It could be a fan, could be an umpire, could be a player, could be guys in the dugout, could be anybody. They’re going that far.”
    ” I think it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed now. Tomorrow. I think it’s that serious.”

  22. Well, Kotsay is at it in AA right now. I think he must be close. B. Jones might be the first to go down.

  23. I am not saying I believe Brandon Jones should be the one sent to AAA, I just think he will be. I would rather have his power and ability to hit lefties in Atlanta than Blanco’s speed.

  24. Wasn’t there talk some time ago about using Aluminum bats in MLB, just deadened so that they played the same as wood bats? I doubt you could build an Al bat that “cracked” instead of “pinged,” so maybe this was a stillborn idea, but it would completely solve the broken-bat problem, not to mention the lack of ash bat manufacturers…

  25. “Crack” and “ping” referring to the sound of the bat hitting the ball, of course- I should have made that clear in a post about bats breaking though.

  26. Or you could require the use of batting helmets. Oh, wait…

    Pitchers don’t wear them, and they’re the ones standing sixty feet away and totally unprepared when those missiles go flying off the bat towards them.

  27. My issue is this: I forget exactly when maple bats started being used in earnest, but they have been around for between five and 10 years, I believe. And this is really the first year where we’ve had this rash of broken bats. I’ve seen tons of ash bats splinter this year, too. In fact, one did during yesterday’s game and flew right by Campillo’s head and Chip and Joe pretty much ignored it because it was ash and would have ruined their point.

    So while it’s obvious to me that there is a problem with broken bats, it’s not as obvious to me that it’s a problem specifically dealing with maple bats. Simply banning maple bats is a really unimaginative and knee-jerk solution to the problem and it quite possible won’t solve it at all. There’s got to be a way to make bats more durable or start using composite bats that don’t break but have all the properties of wood or something along those lines.

    And there is a definite mob mentality involved in this maple bat thing, like it or not. In my opinion, it would be hard for anyone to prove that maple provides that much more of a danger to players and umpires than ash.

  28. Pitchers don’t wear them, and they’re the ones standing sixty feet away and totally unprepared when those missiles go flying off the bat towards them.

    So, your argument is that, if we can’t be totally safe in one respect, we should ignore safety concerns in others?

  29. Well why not? Let’s make a aluminum bats mandatory and the only bat allowed in major league baseball. Also let’s move the fences in another one hundred feet, lower the pitching mound more, add instant replay for everything and put a 15-foot tall safety net around the entire stadium where the fans are.

    Sounds like a rip-roaring good time.

  30. Bethany,

    It would be very difficult to isolate offensive statistics to somehow say that bats with thinner handles produce better offense. There are so many variables (expansion, ballparks, quality of pitchers, PEDs, etc.) that it would be difficult to prove. However, it’s physics, which is something that is a little more inarguable. Now, I’m no expert, but it is been proven that you generate more bat speed with heavier barrels and thinner handles. That’s why hitters don’t swing long, thick wooden sticks that are still the same size.

    Relating it to metal bats, most high school and college hitters hit with 33/30, 32/29, or 34/31 size bats (bat weight in ounces/bat length in inches). Now, there are tools you can use during practice that are the same size, but they are made differently (Rawlings makes one called the Hit Stick or something). It’s a 33/30 “bat” but it’s just a denser piece of metal (lead?) but it’s the size of the handle all the way to the end of it, but you generate much less bat speed than with a regular bat. They’re the same size, but structured differently, and the regular bats generate more bat speed. Why? Because you can generate more bat speed with a thicker barrel.

    So, back to the question: if you generate more bat speed, you will have better bat control, you will hit balls harder and farther. So, yes, a thinner handle will increase offensive production strictly because of physics principles.

    Of course, that doesn’t settle the argument at all. Who cares if it’s an advantage for hitters? It’s just a game.

  31. So, your argument is that, if we can’t be totally safe in one respect, we should ignore safety concerns in others?

    Not at all. I’m all for reasonable safety. I just don’t think banning all maple wood bats is reasonable or fair. That’s all.

  32. Well, Dan, steroids are an advantage for hitters too, aren’t they? And hey, at least they aren’t endangering the fans, so let’s go ahead and make those legal!

  33. Rob Cope – Isn’t that called a “torque arm” or something?

    Signed – not a physician, er, a guy who works in Physics.

  34. We’re probably close to the day when MLB goes to the composite bat. Probably could be voted in tomorrow and started next year.

    No safety issues that I’m aware of if they amp down the trampoline effect.

    While we’re at it: Why don’t Major Leaguers wear facemasks? Macho posturing?

    Bet Conigliaro wishes he’d had one …

  35. I just don’t think banning all maple wood bats is reasonable or fair. That’s all.

    I gotcha. I’ve been misinterpreting your argument. I thought you were saying we shouldn’t worry about the problem at all, not that banning maple wasn’t the answer. My apologies.

  36. On another subject: I think Prado is set for a rehab appearance in Mississippi tonight. He may be back at the beginning of next week.

    So, who goes down?

    My first thought is Lillibridge, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to have his defense at short if needed? How about a pitcher that is never used? Could Bobby Cox survive?

  37. I don’t see the problem in having rules about the bats. The small handle, big barrle in s problem, but the maple bats do break easier. I don’t have a problem with a good pice of ash.

  38. Rob, yes it is just a game. It is also a business and entertainment. The fact that people take it seriously doesn’t make it not a game. What difference does it make if there is some reduction in offense? There have been years where pitching was ascendent and the game was still popular. You seem to assume that if we take any advantage at all away from the hitter, baseball will suck.

    I’m not saying we can or should try to eliminate all risk. And I have no idea whether the problem is maple bats or something else. But your attitude seems to be that it’s not a problem unless you can point to scores of people getting maimed or killed. I’m sure if one person got killed, you would then say, what’s the big deal, one person in 120 years. I guess it’s not a problem unless people are getting knocked off on a regular basis.

    And, as for pitchers wearing helmets or something, I think that is going to happen, just like goalies wear facemasks (wimps, what happened to the good old days when men were men and hockey players lost all their teeth?) We are this far away from a pitcher getting killed and with the added power (steroid induced or not) of hitters, it’s just getting more dangerous. But I guess I’m a Nervous Nellie; it probably won’t happen, so why worry about it?

  39. This broken bat thing is driven by some sort of hysteria. How long has baseball been played? How many people have ever received even minor injuries from broken bats? Has a piece of a broken bat ever made it into the stands? I haven’t seen it and I watch alot of baseball. I’m sure if it happened in any of the games I listen to on radio our broken-bat obsessed announcers would have made mention of it. Is it even possible that a piece of a broken bat can travel fast enough to penetrate skin?

    Top arguments used by people that really have no argument:

    1. “the children”
    2. “someone (probably ‘the children’) is/are going to get hurt”.

  40. I’m sure if one person got killed, you would then say, what’s the big deal, one person in 120 years.

    I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t.

  41. Stu,
    What’s the point? Everyone knows what President Adams’ priorities are. It’s no secret.

    I’ve had this conversation until I’m blue in the face with UGA people and, at the end of the day, many of them don’t care. They are happy with their degrees, see no impact on their lives from these types of reports, and they want to win, even if it means admitting plenty of people who have no business taking university-level classes.

    Double standard in the that sense? Sure. We’re certainly holding up our place in that very long line. But that’s the situation that the majority of revenue-generating collegiate sports has embraced to some degree.

    The fallout from Jan Kemp Affair gave us a moment of sanctimony—UGA adopted stricter admission guidelines—but that wasn’t going to last.

  42. We’re certainly holding up our place in a very long line.

    Based on the data, that place in line appears to be the first.

    Anyway, I know you’re right about the majority of public opinion. (Although I, with my degree from UGA, am of course in the minority on that one.)

    Really, I just wish Vanderbilt would leave the SEC. We and the rest of the conference are operating in two totally different universes. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  43. It may be that an action can be hysteria driven and also the right thing to do but in my mind it’s never the right thing to do to act based on hysteria. Let’s do some research on the thing and see if action is necessary.

  44. By the way, you guys know Joe Simpson is probably sitting in the airport, reading braves journal, sporting wood, jerking it to y’all’s maple bat argument right now. Jerking it, I tell you.

  45. Not since Francoeur last homered to the opposite field has Joe jerked with such passion.

  46. Not since the Braves made 19 ‘productive outs’ in one inning has Joe felt this aroused…

  47. Stu,
    Those numbers will rise & dip over the years, but it all goes back to the school’s sports culture. And that formed from the top down.

    The single-digit hoops number, I suspect, has lots to do with the Harrick Era & immediate aftermath. Lots of transfers, lots of dropouts, lots of guys getting kicked off the team and exactly one guy leaving school early for the NBA.

    I didn’t read the methodology, but those types of reports often include the previous 5 or 6 years of a program, which puts us into HarrickLand.

    And we know the circumstances with that hire & his cozy relationship with Adams. He was a great X-and-O coach, but he was also a used-car dealer.

  48. However, once he scrolled down farther and my nonsensical posts and an irrelevant NCAA graduation rate argument took over the thread, he quickly lost his momentum…

    …Joe hasn’t gone flaccid that fast since the first time he stepped into the press box at the nationals new stadium…

    …Not since Ryan Freel made an unnecessary dive in the outfield has Joe been so disappointed…

    …Not since the Mariners put “Ichiro” on the back of Ichiro’s uniform has Joe felt such frustration.

    …Not since, well now that you mention it, not since he noticed that the new thin handled Maple Bats were breaking at an alarming rate has Joe had this hard of a time getting one up.

  49. Wow, this was a fun discussion to read all the way through.


    I’m not particularly sure that people are the same as they were when the sport was still popular during the dead ball era. The biggest knock on baseball seems to be that it’s slow and there’s not enough action. I think the fact that offense has increased in the past couple decades has increased fan interest for that reason.

    If we made some sort of change in the structure or material of the bats, it would inevitably have an impact on the offensive side of baseball. How much? I have no idea; I’m just saying there will be. Will it be enough of one to cause people to like baseball less? Well, probably not. It’s still with that in mind that I don’t think we should tinker with the game when it can only reduce fan interest.

    Of course, it still doesn’t solve the safety issue. If someone was seriously hurt by a flying bat piece, then Stu rightly pointed out that I wouldn’t look at it the same way. I know that that gory picture of the umpire right when he got nailed is supposed to elicit emotional responses of “GET THOSE PEOPLE-MAIMING BATS OUT OF AMERICA’S GAME!” But I’m just not quite sure this is such a huge deal that we need to go messing with something so important to the most popular part of the game.

    That’s just what I think.

  50. The “original” Yahoo hysteria piece I recall seeing a couple weeks ago:
    Which should, coupled with the shot of the ump bleeding from his head I linked to earlier, answer Mr Swing’s very silly question “Is it even possible that a piece of a broken bat can travel fast enough to penetrate skin?”… to summarize: Bat Broke, went flying into stands, shattered fan’s jaw.

    I’m not saying ban them outright, I think investigating and looking into it is a good first step. I’ve not used much Ash in wood working before, but I’ve used Maple and many other types of wood and they all have different shatter/break/splinter characteristics.

  51. This has gotta be one of the best threads in a really long time. We’re talking about (at the same time mind you) maple bats and the people they could seriously injure, UGA’s low gradution rates, and Joe Simpson jerkin’ it. Wow.

  52. Rob,

    No doubt the increase in offense has helped baseball’s popularity. But given how skewed the game has become toward offense (smaller strike zone, livlier balls, smaller ball parks, stronger hitters (legal or not), lower mound, etc.) it’s hard for me to see how changing the bats is going to have such a huge effect on the game. But if the cost of increased safety is a marginal reduction in offense, I think that’s a fair tradeoff. Again, I’m not saying eliminate maple bats just to eliminate maple bats. Maybe maple bats isn’t the problem. But ballplayers don’t operate in a vacuum. If they are doing something that creates risks to others, they are just going to have to adjust to doing things differently.

    As for the issue with academics, it’s not just athletes. Most big state schools really don’t give a damn about education but, generally, middle class kids have the wherewithal to get through. I know UGA had me teaching a freshman government class even though I had never taught before and I was pretty awful the first semester. The issue with athletes which I didn’t understand is whether he is saying the school isn’t doing enough to graduate these people (especially African-Americans) or whether, as Ububba implies, they are taking kids that should not be in college in the first place. If it’s the latter, frankly, I don’t see the problem. A lot of these kids are there to play professional sports and it’s really not a lot different from kids majoring in drama–most people aren’t going to make a living on the stage. At worst, they are getting exposed to at least some college. Clearly, Stanford is recruiting a different type of athlete than is UGA but they are also recruiting–with no disrespect intended to UGA graduates–a different kind of student generally.

    The question is really whether the school, having recruited kids that are often not college material, then have an obligation to get them through. In many cases, the degrees that athletes get are sort of meaningless anyway. I suspect you can get almost anyone through if you give them easy enough courses and grease the skids.

  53. With the rash of broken bats, ash and maple (indicating it’s possibly another factor), and lower power numbers this year, is it possible that MLB thought

    “Hey, let’s show everyone the steroids era is over and subtley change the ball so it looks like everything is back to normal”?

  54. Marc,
    Do you think a kid who wants to major in drama enjoys the same admission standard as a kid who runs a 4.4 40 or can shoot a 3?

    I don’t get bent out of shape over it, but when I lived in Athens, I saw plenty of evidence that gave me fairly informed answer.

    It may not seem like a big deal to many people, but I remember how the athletes were allowed to register for classes before the honor students. And I recall thinking, “Well, this says a lot.”

  55. Dock Ellis once threw a no hitter on LSD

    Me too! Then I flew around the neighborhood to celebrate!

  56. I remember how the athletes were allowed to register for classes before the honor students.

    I agree with the sentiment, but I hardly think they wanted the same classes.

  57. Wow, guys, I can think of so many things I’d rather talk about than Joe Simpson’s other hand.

    For example: why does the porridge-bird lay his eggs in the air?

  58. I work at a small college. I like the athletes, for the most part — they’re the only ones who consistently do what they’re supposed to in terms of registration and paying their bills. A bit different on the big time level, though.

  59. nearly all no-hitters are thrown by good pitchers

    Unless their name is Kevin Gross, Len Barker or *gasp* Kent Mercker!

    Isn’t it amazing that of all the great pitchers we’ve had…the only one to make it through a no-no was the pride of Dublin (OH), freakin’ Kent Mercker?

  60. Wow. Phils lost today and we’re 4 back.

    A good way to gain on the Phillies is to take a day off while they play.

  61. Here’s a shocking assessment:

    Seeing as I can remember the days (way back, like 5 or 10 years ago! 8-0 ) when bats simply broke rather than splintered, I think it’s fair to say that the Maple bats have some effect in this regard.

    But the splintering thing isn’t the only issue: Mac is correct when he talks about the thinning of the handles and such.

    So I say we ban Maple bats and have some kind of mandatory thing like they do for College ball where the difference between the weight of the bat and the length can be at maximum 3. (So a 32 inch bat must weigh at least 29 ounces. ) Or just mandate some width for the neck. Or whatever. Bam, both problems solved.

    Of course, the real issue here is that all of this would have to be negotiated in the CBA, and the players don’t want the change, which means the owners would have to give something up, which means money, which they’re not going to want to give.

    So nothing is going to happen until one of these splinters scratches someone’s cornea and everyone gets scared that they were inches from going blind. Or a fan gets killed or something. That’d probably do it, too.

  62. Strangely, the Braves are 7-5 vs. the AL this year (incl. 2/3 each from LAA, Oak & Sea), a far cry from last year’s rollover act.

    If we could just do that to the NL Central…

  63. The Braves have shifted their focus from starting pitching to an impact bat in left field. Stark suggests Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay, and Xavier Nady would make sense. Matt Holliday would be too costly; Adam Dunn is not mentioned.

    I think Nady would be good. It wouldn’t take less in terms of talent to get him and the Braves could probably afford to resign him.

  64. I’m pretty sure we would hate Dunn’s defense, and we would tire quickly of hearing Simpson saying for him to go the other way more often and stop striking out!

  65. Plus, if we get Nady, he can play right field in place of that guy we run out there currently.

  66. I was checking to see if the edit thing didn’t take 5 minutes anymore since I subscribed.

  67. The Blue Jays are really hitting Volquez tonight. 6-1 in the 5th…Jays still batting

  68. Chat from Keith Law today:

    Ed (CT): Is Tommy Hanson, Cole Rohrbough and Brandon Jones enough to get Jason Bay?

    SportsNation Keith Law: Probably … but Atlanta’s not really in a position to do that now, are they? I’d like to think they’d get a few games over .500 first.

    I wouldn’t do that trade, yes Bay may be a huge upgrade in left (yes, RF would be better, but we know Frenchy isn’t being replaced), but I rather stick Brandon out there and keep the pitching prospects.

  69. Yeah, silly trade. We don’t need to get a star bat for LF, just a guy who is adequate. I think Ibanez would be fine. I don’t like Nady, since he seems to be a “first half” player.

  70. I think a guy we could get for cheap is Jay Payton. And he has a long record of killing lefties and playing good defence.

  71. Ububba,

    I certainly don’t disagree with you about the special treatment athletes get. (Obviously, drama students have higher standards than athletes.) I saw it when I was at UGA. Schools like UGA and other big sports schools essentially run two parallel educational systems–one for non-athletes and one for athletes. But, for the most part, I don’t think it really affects the quality of the education the “normal” students get. My point is the article was bewailing the low graduation rates by major sport athletes, especially African-Americans. But many of those guys are there only as a stepping stone to professional sports. If UGA or any school had higher standards, many, if not most, of the athletes wouldn’t be there. Personally, I think the NFL and the NBA should run minor leagues like baseball does so these kids don’t have to pretend that they are students. To the extent they get degress, they are often meaningless so I suspect there really is not that much difference between UGA and Florida in terms of how they approach the education of athletes.

    Why would Pittsburgh want to trade any of their outfielders? They are only a few games below .500 and finishing at .500 would be a big deal for them.

  72. I saw where at least one putative “incoming freshman” basketball player has decided to give Europe a try. That could start to happen soon, but the European teams aren’t crazy about being minor leagues, and also about one-and-out players.

  73. Pittsburgh would be stupid not to get a couple prospects for Nady. They know he’s not a big-time player, and if they could get two decent prospects, that’s going to mean more when they’re starting to get competitive than a .500 record at the end of the season.

    I go to a college where few are actually there just for sports (because they’d be crazy to be), so I can’t really relate first-hand in what I’ve seen in my undergraduate pursuits, but does this really bother you guys? UGA has thousands and thousands of students. Who cares if a couple hundred student-athletes get a cheap degree or take up space someone that has to go a community college for a couple years should be getting. At the end of the day, isn’t the big money that those athletes are getting for the college going right back into the education? Or am I just ridiculously naive and way off-base? Please tell me either way. :)

  74. FWIW, I just read my post again, and that wasn’t meant to sound antagonistic at all. Like, I really want to know about how this portion of our world works.

  75. I enjoyed my UGA education and my UGA sports. Now if only I could figure out how to open my diploma tube…

  76. But Bay would be our mandatory Canadian player. Or do we already have one? Maybe Corky(the Hamster) Miller is secretly Canadian and that’s why Bobby keeps him around:)

  77. I wonder how much of the money made by college sports goes back into the education and how much of it goes back into the sports (bigger, nicer, newer facilities…).

    Back at BYU as an undergrad it kinda chapped a little when they asked the students to donate towards the remaining $10million (I think it was) to complete the new facilities. I think it rubbed many of us the wrong way because the student gym was absolutely terrible and we were poor students already paying to be there (even though tuition there is astronomically better than many comparable schools).

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever thought about athletes breezing through and getting a degree as cheapening my own. I don’t think so, though. Although Joe Morgan getting an honorary doctorate still grates. heh heh. Yet… however much I enjoy college athletics (and I do!), as an educator I’d sure like to see more money going into education. It’d be great for all student athletes to take their education more seriously. If you’d like any more less than thought out opinions, I’ll be in my ivory tower.

    Go Braves!

  78. C. Shorter?

    When did you attend the Y? I am starting this fall… Any advice? And as for the tuition being astronomically better… that’s why I’m attending.

  79. If I were the braves and going to pull the trigger on a trade:

    Hanson, Schafer, and B. Jones for Zach Greinke

    It’s a lot to give, but I live in KC now and after seeing him pitch, the kid is a legit #1. The rotation has quality pitchers as it is, but no ace and Greinke can be dominant. The only knock on him is that he’s been a head case in the past, but I can’t think of a better environment to put him in after the joke that the Royals clubhouse has been the past couple of years.

    Plus, in spite of the interleague record, the Royals aren’t close to contending and there’s talk in town they haven’t made up their mind between shopping him and signing him long term. It leaves a hole in center, but a rotation of Greinke, Hudson, Jurrjens, Reyes, and Morton/Campillo would be filthy.

  80. I’m a grad student and have TA’d a bunch of semesters at a Big Ten university. I have to say that I’ve grown disgusted at the way the university uses the student athletes–most of whom won’t go pro. In many ways, in fact, the football program prevents the players from getting almost anything done scholastically. Everyone involved pays a bunch of lip service to academics–see the commercials–but in the end, both the universities and the NCAA make a helluva lot off these kids. The whole system is a joke. And that’s why things like the NBA age-limit–and these discussions about ‘college experience’–make many of us here raise our eyebrows in knowing condescension.

    I will say, though, that I have had some good students who played football, hockey, and basketball, among other sports. It varies, as you’d expect.

  81. The football and baseball graduation rates are really indefensible, but as it was mentioned, a lot of the basketball can be attributed to the Harrick fallout as well as Felton driving out Mercer/Toney/etc. I’d be curious to see the difference in a few years when all of Felton’s kids are finishing up. Anecdotally, I’m taking Organic Chemistry with Corey Butler right now, and it takes some sort of desire for a degree to waste away your summer to take a morning class. Especially that morning class.

  82. Stu–one brief comment on your prospect list: Tyler Flowers! he is definitely in any top 10 list of Braves’ prospects….

  83. “Hanson, Schafer, and B. Jones for Zach Greinke.”
    worst. trade. ever. lets see, our outfield is a big concern so lets trade our 2 major league ready prospects and a legit 2-3 starter for zach greinke? thanks.

  84. This team doesn’t lack any talent. This team lacks heart in a major way.

    I honestly don’t think we need to make any trade. Give Brandon Jones a chance. There is nobody out there available which I would give up good prospects for.

  85. Agreed. I am actually optimistic: we have weathered just about all that the baseball gods can throw at us and we are only 4 games out right now. The Braves are competitive and might easily have a better second half. However, my real point is this: that if the Braves hang on to their key prospects the future should be bright. The team will have lots of money off the books next year (especially if Tex leaves) giving the Braves the flexibility they have not enjoyed in more than a decade. 2008 may yet turn out alright and 2009 could be the beginning of new era for the Braves.

    The worst thing which we could do is part with key prospects and only slightly improve the team….

  86. Brandon, I saw that question on KLaw’s chat today, and I find KLaw’s chat’s wildly entertaining, but I threw up a little when I saw that. I can’t believe the Braves would think about doing that. The Pirates would do that trade in a minute. I wouldn’t trade Hanson for Bay straight up, let alone throw in BJones and Rohrbough.

  87. jj3bag,
    OK, so I’m up late still cleaning out my closets, etc., putting aside Braves-related items & I came across something that made me laugh out loud: The 8/29/05 SI cover of Frenchy.

    It reads: Atlanta Rookie JEFF FRANCOEUR Is Off To An Impossibly Hot Start. CAN ANYONE BE THIS GOOD?

    I mean, what can you say?

    I also found every Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the ’95 post-season stretch drive—all 4 games of the ’95 NLCS & all 6 games of the ’95 WS, plus the parade issue. I may keep that batch.

    Found a t-shirt of the AJC’s pic of the clinching moment of the ’91 NL West, Smoltz jumping into Olson’s arms. But it’s falling apart, so I had to toss it. Bummer. That was some cool, old-school shiznit.

  88. ububba, I was also throwing away some old video tapes and was reminded that the Braves went to the World Series with the likes of Damon Berryhill, Belliard, and the other “close-to-zero-offense” type of players. We also went to the World Series with a first base platoon of Sid Bream and Brain Hunter…

    …and my conclusion is (as I said above): Our current team does not lack any talent. This team lacks heart in a major way…

    …and Blanco can be our new Otis Nixon…too bad we have Schafer and Gorkys…Blanco can still be our fourth outfielder for the coming years…

  89. kc,
    You may be right—that was a unique bunch. Of course, dominant pitching can make make up for a lotta shortcomings. (Check those ’60s era Dodgers.)

    People give Belliard a tough time, but he made some big defensive plays in the ’95 post-season. Remember those record 5 DPs in the first game of the NLCS vs the Reds? Huge.

    Defense is not overrated. It can win you a title.

  90. I love Belliard. I mean, everybody would love Belliard if they had a chance in seeing how “well” Andre Thomas was playing at shortstop in 1990.

  91. I remember Belliard for his suicide squeeze in the 1995 Game 1 WS. It gave the Mad Dog that all important buffer he needed for that game. That’s probably the best call I consider Bobby has ever made.

  92. Ladies (do we have anymore ladies posting anymore?) and gentlemen, Martin Prado is rehabbing with M-Braves. ..his bat is ok, but I surely is not missing his defense…

  93. kc,
    And let’s not forget the nice running catch he made in the 9th inning of WS Game 6.

    I’ll always regret not seeing Belliard’s one HR at Shea. I was at Candlestick Park that day & saw it in the Chronicle the next day. Almost didn’t believe it. Still haven’t seen it, actually, so maybe I don’t believe it.

  94. I remember watching couple of Belliard’s hard hit flyballs reaching the warning track of the Fulton County Stadium but fell just short of the wall…

  95. Belliard’s HR was a joy to behold…I remember Chipper hugging him not long after he touched home plate….

  96. Somewhere I’ve got either a 95 WS AJC, or 91… I know I’ve got my ticket stubs for the 91 playoffs and WS still… I need to frame those things as it looks like my chances of seeing them in the playoffs again anytime soon is slim. That 91 series I was almost 16, my mom had grown up a Dodger fan but after 10 years of crappy Braves teams (well I guess there was a year or two they weren’t crappy) somehow she was won over and she sprung for 2-3 nice seats to the playoffs and WS, only about 3 rows back out on the 3rd base side.

  97. OK, normally Metsblog is useful somewhat for an eye into what the other team’s fans are thinking, but mostly for the humor in listening to Mets fans @#$% and moan about this or that (though it’s not like we’re above that here… maybe it’s just fun to see other’s misery). Today however, Matt Cerrone (who runs the place I think) had the best line I’ve read there in a while (and not in a “it’s so stupid it’s funny” way).

    Lou Pinella will replace Willie Randolph on Clint Hurdle’s coaching staff during this year’s All Star Game at Yankee Stadium, writes Brian Costello in a report for the New York Post.

    According to Costello, ‘MLB is working with Randolph to see if he still wants to be involved in the game in some capacity.’

    …note to MLB: if you invite willie, i suggest you call him before 11 pm PDT, or before 2 am EDT…again, just a suggestion…

  98. I honestly don’t think the Royals would trade Greinke. He is absolutely as good as you say he is, but that’s exactly the reason they won’t let go of him. I would say he’s basically untouchable.

  99. DOB was reporting on Wednesday that Chipper will DH in Toronto. I haven’t heard anything since then.

  100. “I think a guy we could get for cheap is Jay Payton. And he has a long record of killing lefties and playing good defence.”

    We already have that player in Diaz and he’ll be back in a couple of weeks. I’ve been on the Nady bandwagon for most of the year, But I’m alarmed with him now. He’s got a lot of injuries right now and I dont think he’s played in two weeks. Should be careful with that one right now

    I also dont think this team will have any plans in trading Schafer now or this offseason.

  101. I have a tape of the radio broadcast of Game 6 in ’95 and Skip is just at his peak. His call of Belliard’s catch is magnificent; listening to it the other day still brought chills. I will probably never hear Skip do another game again but it was sort of sad listening to him the last couple of years when he was clearly physically deteriorating.

    Re sports in college. IMO, on a practical basis, big time sports is beneficial or at least not harmful to non athletes. It doesn’t affect their education and it provides entertainment and a lot of fun. The fact that some players got carried through school or never finished didn’t make any difference to the usefulness of my degree. The problem, though, is that this kind of endemic corruption that you see in most big-time college sports programs (regardless of graduation rates)sends a bad message to students. Universities are supposed to be bastions of integrity and knowledge and while that is certainly naive, it bothers me that schools like UGA and others seem to have so little concern with the ethical environment that they create. Increasingly (and not just in sports) universities are being run as businesses, with the educational mission seemingly secondary. That’s why I really don’t enjoy college sports that much. I’d rather watch the NFL, which is a business.

    The earlier point someone made about the schools making it hard for even those athletes that want to learn is well taken. At Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer makes a big deal about his players attending class, yet at the same time, the team plays numerous mid-week night games. Maybe they go to class but how can they possibly be prepared? It’s that kind of hypocrisy that stains college sports–what are kids to think about the importance of ethics when they see the school pursuing profit at the expense of every other value.

    One last point. I agree with Stephen. The Braves should not give up prospects for some marginal improvement this year.

  102. Has anybody else pointed out that Gorkys has been selected to the Futures All-Star game (or whatever that thing is called)?

  103. csg, I think you might be putting too much faith in Diaz… I don’t know, I feel like pitchers have gotten a long enough look at him to figure out his oddball tendencies and pick them apart. I hope I’m wrong, because we really need a right handed bat.

  104. This is why you target Nady. Nady won’t cost the prospects that Bay would.

    I’d like to see the Braves sign Bonds for the prorated minimum and let him play LF. No prospect cost at all. And essentially pocket change.

    And if thousands of fans want to show up at Turner Field to boo him, so much the better.

  105. Getting a right-handed bat who can play the OF and maybe back up 1B would be huge. But I really wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these moves wait until Kotsay and Diaz have been back for a while so management can get a better idea of what they’ll be able to contribute the rest of the way.

  106. Its not that I have to much faith in Diaz, but he can hit lefties and I think he’s superior to Payton

    Diaz vs LH 475AB 18HR .331/.363/.512/.874
    Payton vs LH 1112AB 45HR .287/.345/.465/.810

  107. Bethany, I think we all collectively put too much faith in Diaz. But Payton’s really not a good hitter. Outside of Colorado, he’s never had a single season as good as Diaz had in each of the last two years. He’s five years older, and I’m not sure there’s a single thing he does better than Diaz — other than the fact that he hasn’t completely fallen off a cliff, as Diaz did the first couple months of the season.

  108. *rose colored glasses on*
    I’m not sure we put too much faith in Diaz, though it’s entirely possible we did. I didn’t expect him to hit .330 all year, but I did expect .290-.300 range. The fact he had a bad first couple of months doesn’t mean we misplaced our faith in him per se… he may still be that good in the long run and just had a couple off months.
    *rose colored glasses off*

  109. Houston says Chacon violated a provision in the uniform player contract that states the player may be terminated if he shall “fail, refuse, or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey to the club’s training rules.”

    Seriously? how the heck did Wickman, Wells, or even Andruw sneak past this? oh wait, probably because it’s an optional firing… not that grabbing your GM is a good idea, but if you’re doing a good job anyway it’s not as likely to get your fired as if you’re sucking anyway.

  110. desert — I started at BYU in the fall of 96 and finished in 2003 (two years away in between).

    advice? I guess that would depend on any questions you’d have. send me an email if you’d like.

    shortino12 (hotmail).

  111. Adam M — I’ve been teaching at 3 different major universities for 7 years now (BYU, UVa, UW). I really haven’t had too many athletes, but their efforts and results have varied and seems to depend on the individual. In general they really do seem to have less time on their hands.

    You’re with UW-Mad too, right? Which department?

  112. If Diaz could come back and hit .300, I would be thrilled. I don’t know much about Payton, so I’ll take your word on that.

    I still can’t believe the thing about Chacon… It doesn’t matter how badly someone is treating you, you can’t just tackle them!

  113. Well, he wasn’t charged with any errors, so the possibility of a couple of “Prados” is strong.

  114. I wonder how much of the money made by college sports goes back into the education and how much of it goes back into the sports (bigger, nicer, newer facilities…).

    Most all the money made by football and basketball goes towards covering athletic scholarships, paying coaches, building/upkeeping sports facilities, and paying for non-revenue generating sports to comply with Title IX. In other words, the money made by sports never makes it back to the students in any meaningful way unless you are hired to tutor an athlete.

    Still, having major college sports on campus enhances your college experience in any number of ways. But it’s better to view the athletic department as separate from the actual university as they have completely different goals.

    I really haven’t had too many athletes, but their efforts and results have varied and seems to depend on the individual.

    Much like the other students.

    The earlier point someone made about the schools making it hard for even those athletes that want to learn is well taken.

    This point is generally overstated and offered as an excuse by underperforming athletes. USC – which is a football factory in every sense – had two would-be-seniors who play give up their scholarships so they could focus on law school in the fall. The Ting Twins walked away from their senior seasons a few years back to go to medical school. It certainly can be done but, like anything worthwhile in life, it’s not easy.

  115. The talk of a trade for Greinke intrigues me. The Braves will definitely need one more top of the rotation guy over the next three years, or so. Most of these youngsters, including Jurrjens, are likely to be middle to bottom of the rotation pitchers.

    No way would I be willing to give up Brandon Jones, Schafer, and Rorhbough (That was the suggestion, right?) for him though. If AAR is right, it would take a “blow me away” offer to pry him away from the Royals. It is not worth it to do that for a guy who has been a head case and is in his 5th year in the Majors.

    Chuck James and Brandon Jones? James and Schafer?

    I think I would be willing to trade one of our young threes or fours to get a guy with a higher ceiling, even if he is under our control for less time and costs more.

    Who would we let go and who could we get?

  116. The edit feature is indeed awesome.

    Robert, your explanation of where the money goes sounds like what I expected. I’ve never seen the credits and debits to see how it all goes down… not really inclined to at this point.

    I think a great athletic program does lead to a better overall undergrad experience. I had a lot of fun at sporting events for good (great on select occasions) teams. Thinking of the athletic department as separate might work… instead of everyone trying so hard to pretend like they’re not.

  117. #154 – Ian Snell comes to mind. If the Pirates are going to trade their whole outfield they could be interested in Brandon. I would trade him and Chuckie for Ian

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