Dodgers 3, Braves 0

ESPN – Braves vs. Dodgers – Box Score – July 07, 2008

So, the Braves got one-hit. In fact, a perfect game into the eighth. I wish I could blame Francoeur, but he didn’t play. I considered it, though.

Jorge Campillo pitched well, giving up three runs in seven innings (and incidentally taking pressure off the bullpen). His problems were all in the fifth, a two-run homer by Nomar and a run scoring two-out single. He threw 95 pitches, 61 for strikes, and generally did what he needed to do, except that the Braves needed him to give up negative runs.

Their only hit was a leadoff double by Teixeira in the eighth inning. You could maybe say that this was a hangover from the long game yesterday, but I don’t buy it; when the game started, it was more than 24 hours since the end of the previous game. They just sucked.

139 thoughts on “Dodgers 3, Braves 0”

  1. Mac,

    Do you think we can figure out how to give up negative runs? That might be a solution for this wretched offense.

    The TV guys were talking about the obvious attempt by the team to “go after the first ptich because it may be the best one”. My thinking is that Kuroda shouldn’t have earned that type of respect and that probably contributed to the futility.

  2. I think it was more the pitcher than it was the Braves. I think we had two hard hit balls.

  3. Would Kuroda have been more embarrassing to be “perfected” by than David Wells? I don’t figure our no-hitter at the hands of Randy Johnson is too embarrassing, seeing as he’s one of the better pitchers over the last 20 years.

  4. I paid good money to go see this game. No really, I did. Stayed until the end too. It would have been more entertaining to just light that wad of cash on fire.

    It, of course, was my wife’s favorite game ever since the Braves insistence in swinging at every single pitch thrown meant it was over in the blink of an eye.

  5. As anemic as the Braves offense has been at times, it was really the Kuroda show, and he was dealing. Lots of funny swings by our good hitters tells you he was tough to hit. I think Kotsay and Texeria each hit a ball hard, but that’s it. He had Chipper, KJ and McCann swinging funny at some pitches, so i’ll tip my cap to him. He was pretty tough when he pitched in Atlanta too.

  6. i have no real idea what the hitting records are for teams that play basically two games on sunday and the spend all night traveling to the left coast, but i’d wager that they’re fairly poor.

  7. Well, David Wells was a pretty good pitcher. How about the Dodgers having a perfect game thrown aqainst them in the World Series by Don Larsen? That was pretty embarrassing.

    Re the no-hitter: if a guy broke up the no-hitter with a swinging bunt or a bloop hit, should that not count? As ububba says, there is nothing that says you can’t make a play on a bunt.

    I was more or less against trading Teixera (or at least thought the Braves would not do so) because I figured they would not get much. But Buck Showalter made a good point last night about the Indians trading Sabbathia and why getting the players is better than draft picks. The Brewers have already paid the bonuses so the Indians are getting guys that were considered good prospects without having to pay for them. Given the way the Braves are playing, I hope they are considering doing the same with Tex. Maybe the Braves could make another deal with the Tigers; those seem to work out pretty well.

  8. I don’t know… Someone on the board wrote that the Braves would be sellers if they are 6 games behind at the break?
    I say go for it. No way the Braves will go all the way with this team. And that’s fine. No way you can compensate losing your #1 pitcher, your #3 and #4 pitchers plus having the worts outfield in the Majors.
    Trade Tex (although I really like him, no way we’ll be able to resign him) and Ohman and start focussing on ’09. They have a pretty decent core, a decent young rotation, a good bullpen and should have the budget available to trade for a halfway decent OF.

  9. The Tigers system has got to be getting pretty thin, though, after losing Miller,Maybin,Hernandez, and Jurrjens in one offseason. I don’t think they’ll be giving up Porcello for anything the way their team has turned out this year with spending.

    I assume you’ve read the U.S.S. Mariner blog on deadline deals for prospects versus just taking the draft picks? I vaguely recall it being linked on here, and it’s pretty much set my stance on trading Tex versus keeping him. If you haven’t read it, here’s the link:

    http://ussmariner.com/2007/06/20/letting-ichiro-leave-for-nothing/

  10. This team has no heart. I think in their minds they were using the long game Sunday as a reason to come out and hack at the first pitch. I don’t think it was a strategy, i think it was a way to make the game end sooner.

    Maybe they wanted it to end so Jeff wouldn’t get to the stadium in time to PH…

  11. The Braves need to trade Tex and quit fooling themselves. This offense has only three hitters who can hit really good pitching consistently: Chipper, McCann and Escobar.

    The rest of the hitters are average at best. McCann will be worn out by the end of July. Tex has been a flop. KJ is not consistent. For all the good work Blanco has done, he is still a .266 hitter with no pop. This is not a very good offense.

    Meanwhile, the Mets are just 2.5 out…looks like another Mets, Phillies finish. Don’t know if the Marlins pitching will hold up.

  12. way to go, Bethany………we made it all the way to post #11 without mentioning the dreaded frenchman.

  13. @10 Thanks for that. I love that blog. I think that post is reason enough to keep the picks–but only if you have the confidence of a Billy Beane in your player evaluation. Do we have that of Wren? (of course, on the other hand, do we have confidence he’d get a good return on Teixeira? not likely)

  14. Wow. Shame I didn’t take time out to listen to this one.

    That said, I actually do buy that there were some tired bodies out there tonight. I mean, play a double-header (sans-break) and then catch a cross-country flight to play another game? That ain’t easy, even if you don’t have to wait in the crazy security lines. Especially McCann. I kinda wish Cox had started Corky. (Actually, I really do given how the game turned out. But even before that, giving McCann a REAL game off might’ve been a good plan.)

  15. From the previous thread:

    Don’t know if anyone has already posted this, but the Braves signed DeVall and Stovall today, along with Adam Milligan.

    Crushing news to this VU fan. While Milligan may or may not make it with the Braves organization, he almost certainly would have been VU’s starting CF and #3 or #4 hitter next season.

    If Tex is also leaving through FA, the Braves will get two picks in return. At the end, the Tex trade will be a 5 for 5 deal.

    Well, when Salty and Andrus and Harrison and Feliz leave the Rangers via free agency, they’ll be compensated with draft picks, so it could be a 13 for 5 deal. And when DeVall becomes a free agent, we’ll be compensated, so…when do you stop counting?

    From this thread:

    This offense has only three hitters who can hit really good pitching consistently: Chipper, McCann and Escobar…Tex has been a flop. KJ is not consistent.

    LOL. God bless you, Tony.

    Re: trading Teix vs. hanging onto him — the Sabathia deal (half-season rental) has me wondering if we might be able to get more for him in a deal than I previously expected. Pitching is more expensive than hitting, and there probably isn’t quite the demand for Teix that there was for Sabathia, but if we could get 3 good prospects (the Brewers got 4), that’d be tough for me to be against.

  16. Stu,

    You definitely lost a good one in Milligan, but I am really excited to have him in the organization. I hope he does well.

  17. Recalling Jeff after 3 games is an absolute joke. There’s no way he could learn the plate discipline he has been lacking his entire life in that short of a time. That Wren has been hoodwinked by a handful of multi-hit games vs AA pitchers speaks very poorly of his ability to analyze player performance.

    I’d say give the Braves a couple more weeks to pull things together. If they go on a run and get around .500 and 4 games back of the Phillies or closer, then it would make sense to take a shot at winning the division and acquire a powerful outfield bat that is signed for next year too. If they’re still the epic fail they’ve been the last 2 months, then trade Tex, Ohman, and possibly a few others if you can acquire players that will be ready to help the big league team next year.

  18. That Mariner blog was interesting. Now I’m totally confused. The only thing I know is, the Braves aren’t going anywhere this year.

    But as far as having no heart, that’s an eassy thing to say when a team is losing but what does it really mean? That they don’t care if they win or lose? That they choke in close games? Those are really two contradictory choices–if they didn’t care, presumably, they wouldn’t feel enough pressure to choke.

    The problem, IMO, is not lack of heart, it’s lack of talent (partly, but not wholly, due to injuries).

  19. In regards to my Tex…he has been subpar, maybe not a flop, but definitely subpar. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought KJ would be a .300 hitter this year or at least hit 20HRs, after all he is a former corner outfielder. However, I’m not blaming him for the Braves failures this year.

    Kotsay is 1 for 20 since he came back…I hope he didn’t come back too soon. Keyword being back…

    Just looking at the standings again, and the Dodgers are now tied with the Diamondbacks…

  20. No, Bethany is right.

    This team has no heart, no guts, no cojones, no whateverthehellitis that separates winners from also rans.

    Even with the injuries, this bunch (and last year’s bunch) is less than the sum of their parts.

    And Wren looks like a complete buffoon. This feels like Bobby’s work …

  21. I don’t care about batting average. KJ is producing runs — maybe more sporadically than I’d like, but we knew he was streaky. He’s a guy who does just about everything a little better than average — a few more hits, a few more homers, a few more walks, a few more stolen bases, etc. — and that’s extremely valuable. He’s creating 5.8 runs a game. An extremely rough calculation, using the Braves’ actual runs allowed, produces a .662 winning percentage from that.

    He’s not the problem.

  22. EVERYONE,

    There is a big misunderstanding on how traveling works. Yes, the players don’t have to wait in the big security lines at the airport. They still have to go thru security. On top of this they have no flight time. They are projected to leave at a certain time and when your game goes twice as long as it should it messes up your travel.

    Just because they are the Braves doesn’t mean they can leave as soon as they are ready to go. They sat on the airplane Sunday night until 11:45 EST. They were on the plane for almost two hours more then you or I would have with a scheduled flight.

    I knew they weren’t going to have much last night. It’s not a lack of heart; it’s a lack of energy. My point about traveling that most people don’t understand or know is it takes them LONGER to travel to cities then it would for us on a scheduled flight.

  23. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought KJ would be a .300 hitter this year or at least hit 20HRs, after all he is a former corner outfielder.

    Tony, do you realize that batting average is an incredibly limited statistic? According to OPS+, KJ has been 12% more productive than the average major league hitter—among all positions, not just second basemen—this season. (By way of comparison, Yunel has been 1% more productive than the average major league hitter.) When looking at RC27, KJ leads Yunel 5.78 to 4.65. (In other words, a lineup full of KJs would score more than a run per game more than a lineup full of Yunels.)

    And this bit about KJ being a “former corner outfielder”…he was drafted as a shortstop and played a good bit of third base in the minor leagues. They moved him to the outfield because he wasn’t very good defensively at those positions. That said, who cares? He’s currently a 2B and will be for the foreseeable future—it’s his production at that spot that’s relevant, and his production as a second baseman is very good. (Yunel is a former third baseman, and he certainly doesn’t provide the power (.387 SLG) you’d expect from a corner infielder. Again, though, that doesn’t matter; you look at what he provides you from the position he plays for your team, and he provides good offense for a shortstop.)

    For what it’s worth, I’m not trying to argue that KJ is more valuable to the Braves than Yunel (and the above certainly doesn’t take defense into account), but I do have trouble understanding why you love the latter and consistently take shots at the former, who, at least offensively, is quite obviously the more productive player.

  24. Hankonly,

    Maybe you are an ex-ballplayer so you have some place to speak, but I know that I cannot speak to someone else’s heart and desire when I don’t know them. Every single player in the major leagues is an incredibly competitive, strong-willed person or he would not be there. I think it’s sort of laughable for people sitting home watching TV to call major league players heartless. I guess that Roger Federer guy is a real loser for hitting that last forehand into the net. I saw him do that on TV and it looked like an easy shot to me.

  25. Tony – the Dodgers and D’backs are tied for first in their division and are both 1 game under .500 – that’s sad.

    Kotsay seems to be hitting the ball better lately. Hopefully he’s found his stroke and the hits will start falling.

  26. I don’t doubt the team has heart. I think we’ve taken on considerable injuries coupled with mediocre performances by Diaz and Teix. Kelly Johnson has been good at times and Frenchy has been outright poor and will not even admit it or understand why batting .239 is reason enough to be sent down. I can blame the latter on Andruw Jones hitting .220 for the whole year and getting paid for it. Frenchy established precedence and assumed that the Braves wouldn’t do that to anyone.

    I will say that I think our starting pitching has displayed a lot of character. Our relatively inexperienced staff has hung in there and their efforts should be recognized. However, we shouldn’t do it too much so as to not anger Frenchy b/c we know he wants all the attention.

  27. I saw this today, probably on a previous thread, but Devall got a $1.1 million signing bonus and a 7-year contract. Stovall got a $750K ($800K with college plan) signing bonus and I’m unsure of the years. I haven’t seen a story on Milligan. On another note, below is a website that details all of the signees, but are still missing the Braves info because apparently they don’t give it out (the signees or their families apparently released the above info).
    http://www.pgcrosschecker.com/draft/2008/bonuses/signing_bonuses_08.aspx

  28. Stu,

    You are right about KJ. I will just think of KJ as another Ken Oberkfell, who was an ok major leaguer.

  29. That’s an insult. Oberkfell hit 29 homers in his entire 16-year career. KJ has hit 33 in a career that is basically two years long. Kelly Johnson is a good player.

  30. You guys sure love KJ. No mention of his popup with a guy on 3rd and 1 out last night? What if Frenchy had done that?

  31. Ken Oberkfell…famous for once breaking up a Mike Scott no-hitter with 2 outs in the top of the ninth at the Astrodome (June 12, 1988).

  32. Jake, “My point about traveling that most people don’t understand or know is it takes them LONGER to travel to cities then it would for us on a scheduled flight.”

    You are nuts and don’t know what you are talking about! People fly charter flights and private jets because it is faster, among other things.

  33. So we lost 3-0 instead of 3-1. Big deal. If Francoeur had done that, I would probably have been all over him, but KJ is, as I said, a good player. Francoeur is a bad player, who literally does nothing as well as Johnson. If a good player messes up, he’s not as likely to get called out.

  34. As far as the Braves having no heart…haven’t we being saying that for the last 10 to 12 years. No heart, no mental toughness. Mainly it was in the playoffs…now it’s the regular season. And not to knock his HOF career, but unfortunately Chipper will not go down as mentally tough or a player with a lot of heart. That’s why 2005 was so exciting. Frenchy and McCann brought new excitement and emotion to a team that lacked both.

    Stu,

    I’m not taking shots at KJ. I just honestly thought this would be his breakout year. As far as KJ vs Esco, I’m not going there. However, with 2 outs and RISP, one is hitting .353(Esco) and the other is hitting .200(KJ).

  35. I’m rather disappointed that the Mets have A) been winning against the Phils (since we can’t) and B) have not deemed it necessary to stick around with us in our mediocre to sucky play.

    I think the Braves are going to make some marginal move and hold near .500 and a smidge above, just enough to stay “in it” but not be one of the top 2 teams in our week division, for the rest of the season and end up looking up at the Phils and Mets… that is going to SUCK (or I guess it would be more appropriate to call it “continue to suck”).

  36. MGL,

    I am not nuts. I know more about it then you ever would. I received a text message from a player on the team saying thank god we are about to finally leave. The text came at 11:46 PM. There are many reasons professional baseball teams charter planes. I guarantee you it’s not because it saves time. FWIW, many players have private planes they fly on so they don’t have to sit on the charter flights for hours and hours.

    Please don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about because I have more access to this team then you know.

  37. What’s the update on Mike Hampton BTW? Any word on when he’s next scheduled to lose a limb while warming up to “start” in the majors?

  38. Tony, with all due respect, what the hell are you talking about? The man has maybe played two games all year where he has not had an injury of some kind. You can still see that his quad’s not right, but he just refused to go on the DL, even though he probably could/should have. How in the world can you say that Chipper Jones is not tough and doesn’t play with heart? Especially when one of those players you’re talking about that provided heart in ’05 turned out to be Jeff Francoeur.

    As far as Kelly Johnson, he is by far the most underappreciated player on this team. Hell, he’s not even the regular starter. His senile manager insists on platooning him with a walking punch line. I thought for sure that Kelly had proven himself over the couple of months that Prado was injured and that Cox wouldn’t start that insanity again, but oops. I guess I overestimated our senile manager.

    Meanwhile, he who shall not be named is singlehandedly losing us multiple games and was (and I assume again will be after that mind-numbing cop out yesterday) starting every single day. I didn’t even post about that whole thing yesterday for fear that it would devolve into me smashing the keyboard and typing in random swear words. I can honestly say that I have never been more pissed off and fed up with the Braves than I am right now.

  39. Mac,

    I would agree with you, KJ is a good 2nd basemen. I do think if he played any other position other then 2nd base he would be below average. I think that’s fair. That being said, he IS a 2nd basemen, so he’s a good player.

  40. According to somewhere (AJC? Yahoo?) the delays to the flight the other night were due to a missing pilot (guess he figured if the passengers were going to be late by 5 hours he’d go grab a ham sandwich… or something).

  41. CharlesP,

    I last heard that he was two more minor league starts away from returning to ATL. They project him ready after allstar break. Let’s cross our fingers. I truly feel for Hampton, he’s a nice guy who has tried everything. Everyone understands the frustration all of us have felt. Here’s hoping he can play injury free the rest of the year, that is a huge hope.

  42. CharlesP,

    Most of the charter team flights are delayed to some extent. This flight was delayed longer then most are. My point was it’s not like they jump on the plane and take off. 90% of the time they are waiting around at least an hour on the plane once they are ready to go.

  43. I don’t know for certain, but I also expect that the smaller planes used for charter flights aren’t as fast as commercial jets used for coast-to-coast routes.

    That’s just a guess. I try not to fly, or go anywhere, really, if I can avoid it.

  44. Mac,

    The braves charter a delta plane, it’s a large plane. The plane consists of players, management, media, and wives(only allowed on plane two road trips a year).

  45. Tony,

    I can’t believe you are actually saying Chipper Jones has no heart. I hope you are being sarcastic. Yes, people did say the Braves had no heart when they lost in the playoffs–and it was even more ridiculous then than it is now. You don’t win that many games without having some heart. As for Chipper, I guess he had no heart when he hit two home runs in Game 4 of the 2003 playoffs to send the series back to Atlanta. I guess he had no heart when he destroyed the Mets in 1999 and basically got the Braves in the playoffs. You can’t judge heart just on results; the other team is trying to win too.

    Jake, if you are going to keep bragging about your access to the team, you need to give us some hint about what it is.

  46. Jake, if you are going to keep bragging about your access to the team, you need to give us some hint about what it is.

    I disagree. While I’d love to know what his connection is, I’m just hapy to get a sort-of-insider’s perspective.

    (I say this as someone guilty of chasing off at least one previous insider by getting greedy/nosey.)

  47. Marc,

    I can’t do man, hope you understand. I hate being the guy who says he knows stuff but won’t tell you how. I do promise i’m not full of shit. haha.

    Saying any of these players have no heart is so false it’s not even funny. Everyone of these guys care and try 100%. It doesn’t matter what they are doing, they are competitive. Half the team is hurt, tired, and to be honest not that talented. But saying they don’t have heart is not correct.

    Honest question: How can you say someone who you do not know has no heart?

  48. Stu,

    I just realize how big of braves fans all of you seem to be and like to share any information I can get that you might not get on tv or newspaper. I think you’ll see much more energy out of the team tonight, in fact i’d be suprised if we don’t see a “W”.

  49. Wait…Ken Oberkfell was a good player for a few years with the Cardinals. And KJ is a GOOD player. Who said he is not a good player?

    Nick,

    Chipper is one of my favorite Braves of all-time. His ’99 season will be remembered forever, but saying he has played hurt this year…doesn’t really mean a lot. Obviously Frenchy plays hurt, McCann wrist was hurting basically all of last year, AJ played hurt probably more than we will ever know at this time of year everyone is hurting.

    Chipper’s problem and the whole organization’s problem, is that he and the organization are so laid back. Sometimes that can be perceived as have no heart. It’s not me saying it.

  50. Well I’d argue that 3-1 is quite different than 3-0, esp with Chipper and Tex and McCann in the lineup.
    I don’t have a problem with KJ, just seems like people point out every bad thing Francoeur has ever done in his life and give KJ a pass for choking in the same (albeit fewer) instances. I’d have loved to see the reactions on here if Frenchy had pinch hit in that situation and done the same thing.

  51. But it was you that just said it. Also, we seemed to do better when basically the whole team had that laid back attitude, so maybe it’s not as bad as you think. Chipper is by far the best clutch hitter on the team, so his laid back attitude has never been a problem as far as that’s concerned (and yes, I know a lot of people on here don’t believe in the concept of clutch hitting…but I disagree). In fact, while I wouldn’t necessarily go this far, I think it could be argued that the youth movement happened too fast and took away the laid back nature of the team, perhaps to its detriment.

  52. To me, “heart” is code word for effort. You see it more in basketball & hockey, when one team is noticeably dragging. Baseball? You see it here & there on the basepaths, but it’s not as easily detected, IMO.

    I hear the “no-heart” thing out of Met fans all the time. When they say that, it usually translates to “bad baseball” or “stupid baseball.” They were saying it last night & today after they almost blew a 10-1 lead. But it didn’t really fit.

    Example: Last night, Mets up 10-7, bottom 9th, Phils up with runners on 1st & 3rd, 2 outs. Single to center, run scores, runner on 1st goes to third.

    And CF Carlos Beltran…tries to throw the meaningless runner out at 3rd! Ball gets away from Wright, runner scores and, most crucially, the batter cruises into 2nd as the tying run.

    That has nothing to do with heart. It has to do with judgment, which Beltran totally punted on that play. They got the last out & won, but it’s the kind of play that’ll cost you a game.

  53. OK, if it’s not heart, what is it?

    What do you call it when the team consistently fails in the clutch?

    That 1-run loss record is not some hater’s creation. It’s a real (and real damning) statistic.

    Oh, and btw, Chipper’s got more heart than just about anybody in the league. He and Smoltz formed the backbone of a team that won clutch games at a remarkable rate.

    Those days seem long ago.

  54. “What do you call it when a team consistently fails in the clutch?”

    Lack of talent.

  55. I don’t have a problem with KJ, just seems like people point out every bad thing Francoeur has ever done in his life and give KJ a pass for choking in the same (albeit fewer) instances.

    Sort of the opposite of what the organization does, huh? Sort of ironic.

    I’d have loved to see the reactions on here if Frenchy had pinch hit in that situation and done the same thing.

    You understand that Francoeur’s much worse than Kelly Johnson, right? That any frustration expressed over failure in such a situation would also include the frustrations built up over a season (career) of being a not-good player?

    I was frustrated with that AB by Kelly last night. I said so to my wife. I wasn’t online at the time, so I didn’t comment on it, but it’s not like anyone’s failures go unnnoticed. But KJ’s generally a good player—remember, this is in stark contrast to the other guy to whom you’re comparing him—so common sense dictates that you’re going to see less vitriol about him, even when he fails in a particular instance.

  56. What do you call it when the team consistently fails in the clutch?

    A tribute to Jeff Francoeur!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  57. Jake,

    if you can answer this one. Has there been any discussion on getting someone up to this team that’s capable of giving McCann a full night off. Corky sucks, and def. has no talent. He’s not even good defensively, but for some reason they kept him over Pena, Javy, and Sammons. Please tell me there has been at least a thought of getting Sammons up here.

  58. Nick,

    I would not disagree about the laid back approach in the regular season, but the Braves’ problem had during the good years, was that is carried over into the postseason. Again I love Chipper to death and he is having an unbelievable year, but I’m not going to pretend that he along with the rest of the offense did not come up short in situations during the Braves’ postseason run. That wouldn’t be honest.

    I’m not going to blame the team struggles now on the team not being laid back.

    Why would someone not be a fan of clutch hitting? That’s why Papi is a god in Boston, and why Esco is rapidly becoming one of my favorite Braves.

  59. Obviously, not all of these close losses are due to bad luck, but they are definitely pressing. I don’t think this team has that much of a talent problem. They obviously are capable of being fantastic. There’s just something missing mentally.

  60. Norton, Gotay, Lillibridge, Perry, Nunez, and Miller

    yes, there is a lack of talent on this team

  61. Jake, you are still full of it regarding flight times. You made a generalized statement and it is wrong. Braves may have to wait at times, probably for clearance since they use Hartsfield, but as a rule, charter flights and business jets are much more time friendly than commercial. Don’t be so arrogant, I have direct experience, not just friends on the team.

    Mac, smaller planes are not always slower. Gulfstream business jets, for example can fly faster than airliners

  62. Those are all minor players in the grand scheme, I’d guess you could break down any team and find more than a few worthless pieces. Miller, Lillibridge, Nunez and Gotay are the biggest offenders in my eyes, and the only ones who flat out shouldn’t be on the team. Norton is great when he’s used for his original purpose, and Perry is new.

  63. Yeah, the Infanteless bench (I have been really pleasantly surprised by Omar) is a sinkhole. And none of the outfielders except Kotsay is really good at all, and Kotsay is no all-star. The Braves are a really weird team. They have two perennial all-stars at third and catcher, another all-star type player at first, a middle infield that would stand out a lot more if it wasn’t for the Phillies… and a huge, huge dropoff after that.

  64. Tony, check this out:

    Yunel: http://tinyurl.com/6gfy4o

    Chipper: http://tinyurl.com/5sjk6k

    Leaving aside the (major!) fact that Chipper’s career high-leverage OPS is .941, compared to Yunel’s .783, note that Chipper’s number represents a 3% drop-off from his normal level of production, compared to Yunel’s 2% drop-off.

    How can you possibly think of Yunel as a clutch savior while disparaging Chipper’s clutch-ness? Your love of Yunel…is very strong.

  65. I wish Kelly Johnson had morphed into Chase Utley, too, Tony, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. :-)

    Personally, I’m just hoping the team puts this in its collective rear-view mirror and concentrates on winning tonight. The quotes I’ve heard (“It was just his night”, etc.) leave me optimistic.

    Only problem is, now they’ve got to deal with Chad Billingsly. Yuck.

    Let’s hope Jurrjens continues to bring it. :-)

  66. #65, if your role players were actually good, they wouldn’t be role players; they’d be starters. (Granted that doesn’t explain why you would ever want as bad a player as Miller on a major league roster.) The real problem is when your everyday right fielder’s performance would fit right in with the players you list.

  67. Here’s another Bill James idea, that bad organizations (and presumably, fans of bad organizations) take out their frustrations on their best players. So far, people have gone after Chipper, KJ, and Teixeira, which just leaves McCann.

  68. Also, with respect to Chipper’s postseason performance, he has a career .870 OPS there. Now, while that represents a significant drop-off from his .957 career regular-season OPS (in less than 1/20th of the ABs, it should be noted), I don’t think it’s fair to classify him as a postseason choker.

  69. I think if we just annouced we were sellers, the team would play better. They are pressing like they use to do in October.

  70. Here’s another Bill James idea, that bad organizations (and presumably, fans of bad organizations) take out their frustrations on their best players. So far, people have gone after Chipper, KJ, and Teixeira, which just leaves McCann.

    Just one person, really. Most here target Francoeur.

  71. Everyone of these guys care and try 100%.

    I don’t think the Braves problem is lack of heart/effort (unless that’s today’s euphemism for Francoeur :-) ), but claiming that every guy gives 100% is a bit strong. Over a 162 game season with lots of travel (whether or not charter is faster :-) ), some (all?) guys on all teams (not just the Braves) are probably going to have a few days where they just “mail it in.” Indeed, it’s probably true of all of us in our jobs.

  72. Well, McCann is still pretty terrible defensively. There’s certainly something there to irrationally complain about if we wanted to…heh.

    Also, I agree with Stu that it’s not as bad as it could be because Francouer acts as a lightning rod, drawing our ire away from everyone else. That appears to especially be the case with Chipper. There’s normally a whole lot more people taking potshots at him than there have been this year.

  73. I guess, Nick, but we shouldn’t forget that he hit only .222 against the Dodgers in the 1996 NLDS.

  74. Speaking of fans taking it out on their best players…

    I’ll never forget when I moved to NY in 1990. I’d take the LIRR from Port Washington, LI, thru the Shea Stadium stop in Flushing & I’d alway hear fans of the Mets (who finished a close second that year) bitching about Strawberry.

    “He only hits HRs when the game’s out of hand,” “He acts like he doesn’t care,” “He’s a choker,” blah-blah…

    Part of it, I thought at the time, was just racial stuff (it was a little more in-your-face back then), but mostly I thought: “Man, I wish the Braves had a guy that ‘sucked’ this bad. I’d love to have a slugger like this to complain about. I’m rooting for people like Andres Thomas.”

  75. “He only hits HRs when the game’s out of hand,” “He acts like he doesn’t care,” “He’s a choker,” blah-blah…

    1990 Darryl Strawberry, meet 2008 Alex Rodriguez.

  76. Saying they’re pressing is really vague and really cute, but the fact of the matter is the offense is substandard. They’re 4th in the division in runs scored for a reason. Chipper, McCann and Teixeira are very good. KJ and Escobar are good. But that’s it. The OF is dreck. The bench is dreck. Yeah, they’ve had some bad luck in extra innings, but is it any surprise they’re not scoring more runs?

  77. Fun With Facts!

    A-Rod (choker!!!) career high-leverage OPS: .982

    Big Papi (clutch god!!!) career high-leverage OPS: .993

  78. I wasn’t really comparing KJ and JF, just pointing out that the hatred for JF is ridiculous compared to the “free passes” some other guys get. JF’s certainly not a great player, but his faults get dissected more than any other players combined, and yet, as Chipper said yesterday, the problem is guys not doing little things…KJ last night, pitchers not getting bunts down, McCann swinging at the first pitch, etc. Maybe JF is the whipping boy for all our frustrations b/c of the marketing campaign, etc…it just bugs me when other guys do the same stuff he gets killed for, and they don’t even get mentioned. Looking back, we probably weren’t going to score any more than a run there…but that’s a MAJOR spot in a pretty important game and KJ choked. It could have been anyone, but that right there was our season in a nutshell. And, amazingly, it wasn’t JF’s fault.
    I’m not a JF apologist, just would like the blame to be spread around a little more.

  79. I went after Tex hardcore in the first couple months, when he was actively bad. Since he’s picked it up this summer, I haven’t gone after him as much, but I sure haven’t forgotten. He was an offensive hole in April and aggressively mediocre in May.

    Of the position players, of course, Frenchy has been by far the worst. KJ has been inconsistent as always, and so has Yunel, but I don’t really blame them. It’s not really Blanco’s fault that he’s a 4th outfielder pressed into full-time service, but he’s basically Willie Harris. And our bench sucks beyond Infante, who’s injured for the third time this year.

    There are a lot of people to blame, but really it’s a lot easier to spare your breath. There’s just one guy you really need to point at.

  80. Stu,

    I don’t need to look at Chipper’s career postseason stats to know that there were a number of times he didn’t come through. I think I saw just about everyone his postseason games, including the last years of the postseason run when he was really bad. However, I never said he wasn’t clutch, I definitely didn’t compare him to Yunel and never used the word “choker”.

    As far as me “targeting” players…so we can’t make observation w/o being seen as bashing a player? Good grief.

    McCann can walk on water in my mind, despite his terrible defense. And I hope he watches that waistline in the offseason.

  81. it just bugs me when other guys do the same stuff he gets killed for, and they don’t even get mentioned.

    But he does that stuff approximately 3 times as much as any other regular. Seriously, he’s been the worst—that’s why fans complain about him the most.

    just would like the blame to be spread around a little more.

    I do agree with the idea that the current (approximate) 100:1 Francoeur complaints : Francoeur’s teammate complaints ratio is out of whack, but I have a hard time getting too worked up about it when he is so clearly the biggest problem. Especially after his post-demotion temper tantrum.

  82. Stu,
    Compare A-Rod’s Pinstripe post-season career with Ortiz’s. It’s not so favorable for #13.

    And if you want to go for big post-season moments, Ortiz has a ton of them for the Sawx. A-Rod, not so many good ones.

    Up here, that’s how they add up the numbers, and I don’t disagree. On that team, the rules are different. They just are.

  83. He’s been a huge problem, but we did the same things last night and he wasn’t even there. I’d venture to say that if he stayed in AA the rest of the year, we’d keep doing the same things and our record wouldn’t be any better. So if you take the biggest problem away, and we’re not any better, what does that say?

  84. Maybe Jake can answer…
    Is there a Kangaroo court on this team?

    I’m a fan of this concept in that it’s a form of leadership. If a player makes a mental mistake, he gets fined. It sets standards and expectations.

    However, it also serves a function as a tension tamer with some humorous fines, like ugly ties.

    Heart? I couldn’t quantify it. I doubt even JC could produce a meaningful stat. But I can see when a team is down on itself.

    I hearby promise not to ridicule the FrancoAmerican Meatball for one full week. ‘Cause it’s clear nobody in charge is listening, anyway

  85. The Braves are third in the NL in on-base percentage and eighth in slugging percentage, but only ninth in runs per game. To my mind, this is pretty suggestive of a team that presses with runners on base.

  86. Yeah, that too.

    I’ve been meaning to defend Chipper’s comments on that, by the way. Not that I really agree with them, but considering that Bobby keeps playing for one run, the team’s inability to execute these tactics is costing them runs, and is probably to blame for at least some losses. It’s a big enough problem that they’re bunting so much, but when it’s compounded by an inability to “successfully” bunt, the problem is enormous.

  87. It would be interesting to count how many outs they gave away with attempted or successful bunts in the one run losses this year versus game they won and scored over 5.

  88. So the Red Sox are interested in Tex…hmmm.

    If Tex were to go via FA or trade who plays first? Man this team has a lot of questions.

  89. Look at Mickey Mantle’s World Series stats. He played in a lot so the numbers are pretty large. You will see a number of Series in which he struggled, yet I don’t think anyone thinks of Mantle as a choker, mainly because the Yankees won most of the time. The point is, whether someone is a choker depends on perspective. The best hitters are going to make outs 65-70% of their at bats (ignoring OBP for a moment). You can’t expect someone to do demonstrably better in “clutch” situations so that inevitably means that any hitter is going to fail in certain situations. So, what is the standard for “clutch?” You can think of times Chipper didn’t come through and I can think of times he did. Obviously, the context matters but it also matters what the rest of the team does. If David Justice doesn’t hit the home run in Game 6, we would be talking about how the Braves choked. But the fact is, no matter how good the hitter is, if the pitcher throws a perfect pitch in a given situation, he will almost always get the hitter out. The hitter cannot simply decide to get a hit whenever he wants to. The pitcher has something to say about it as well. I’m not saying some hitters don’t perform better in pressure situtations–that seems up for grabs now–but I think the idea of clutch is overstated because people will often ignore a guy failing to come through if the team wins anyway. At least some of A-Rod’s problems stem from the fact that the Yankees have not won.

    The point is, you can’t take one instance of a guy not coming through–i.e., KJ–and use that to condemn him as not being clutch. Francouer, on the other hand, has struggled all year; he has been much more of a drag on the team than KJ.

    There were lots of times Hank Aaron did not come through and I remember Milo Hamilton creating a to-do about it once. So, do we say that Hank Aaron lacked heart? It’s just the nature of the game.

  90. Also after Sat’s loss…Chipper mentioned that the young players need to step up…quit waiting on Tex, McCann and himself to do something. Which young players was Chipper referring to?

  91. Fair point at 89, ububba. I have heard a lot of criticism of A-Rod’s regular season “pressure” hitting, too, though.

  92. It sickens me that (1) that these guys can vote, and (2) may one day procreate.

  93. Stu,
    For big regular-season moments, A-Rod was bad (for him) in ’05 & he was off-the-charts great in ’06.

    In his time in NY, the A-Rod Era Yankees are 1-4 in its 5 post-season series (10-14 in games) and their only series victory was also A-Rod’s only really big series (’04 ALDS vs. Twins).

    I’m not laying everything on A-Rod—their post-season pitching hasn’t been great in those years—but I believe that the best player in baseball should deliver in some of the biggest spots, and he really hasn’t in NY.

    NY is a big-event, bottom-line, no-quarter town. For athletes, there’s nothing better than winning here—you’re a hero forever like Joe Namath, LT or Mark Messier.

    But there’s nothing worse than losing here. Just ask the Mets…

  94. ububba,

    I’m curious; is Eli Manning in that pantheon now? To my mind, he was lucky as hell in the Super Bowl. He didn’t play that well but got bailed out by the defense and a phenomenal catch by Tyree, but he did win the game.

  95. I just don’t understand the criticism that KJ continually gets. The only real negative is his defense, but imagine if Prado was playing 2B full-time?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting?split=0&league=mlb&season=2008&seasonType=2&sort=OPS&type=reg&ageMin=17&ageMax=51&state=0&college=0&country=0&hand=a&pos=2b&startDate=null&endDate=null&minpa=0

    Sorted by OPS, he is currently 10th in MLB among 2B in OPS. I predict he will be higer at season’s end. Also, most of the players in front of him are around 30 and in the “prime” or his career. Kinsler might be only player his age I’d take over Kelly. Placido Polanco is perhaps the only player below him on that list I’d take over him. He is an above-avergae MLB hitter, let alone as a 2B. Uggla is having a great season, given his power…however, is he a guy that will is likely to be in the league in three years? Not if he doesn’t change his approach. I just don’t want a 2B that strikes out 160 times in a season.

  96. Marc,
    Go look up Namath’s numbers in SB III. Didn’t even throw a TD pass.

    And I’ll agree & disagree about Eli. Yes, that was a ridiculous catch on a Favre-like throw that could’ve been intercepted.

    But NFL QBs get judged on winning & the 2-minute drill. Eli came through on both. I think he’s in Phil Sims territory now—forever highly regarded by the Giant faithful.

    And that took some doing, because before this playoff run, it was a rocky ride for Eli.

  97. i think this boards opinions is generally senile in respect to last night. i didn’t see lester pitch the no no in boston. but i did see the masterpiece last night. we were lucky to have a baserunner.

    gotta figure mccann will sit wednesday with thursday being a travel day. but he has to be beat.

    i think francoeur can still give us a good second half. the publicity he got before he got to the big league club was somewhat just and then again somewhat unfair. he didn’t call sports illustrated. he didn’t move into some high schools district to become one of the greatest athletes in state history. he goes out there and plays hard everyday. the lackluster performance to start the season is on him, no doubt. but a lot of good baseball minds think they stunted his development by bringing him up a year too soon out of need. but ive seen him have too many clutch performances to give up on the guy. the law of averages always works out. he’s not as good as 2005. and he’s not as bad as 2008. but both the braves and the city hitched their wagons to him on the day they drafted him. and that he’s not at fault for. its a lot like the publicity everyone gave michael vick before he played a down. granted i dont think jeffrey will get in an ounce of the trouble that vick did.

  98. That Thursday travel day might be brutal. Just think of all that time they will have to sit on the charter plane (just ask Jake) to go from LA to San Diego. Oh well, maybe they will take a charter bus. Wonder if Jake knows if the charter busses are always delayed.

  99. Maybe the Braves did bring him up too quickly, and maybe Atlanta did decide he was a star, but he’s still not performing well. He may be suffering under some unfair expectations, but it’s not unfair to expect him to be better than one of the worst right fielders in the league, is it? Especially after three years?

  100. “I’m not laying everything on A-Rod—their post-season pitching hasn’t been great in those years—”

    The pitching is by far the bigger reason for their struggles. Leaving aside the fact that without ARod they wouldn’t even have been in the postseason the past couple years, last season’s debacle was mainly on Wang, who imploded in both his starts. In a five game series against a good team – and Cleveland last year was a great team, better than NY – that’s a killer. Don’t get me wrong: I love that the NY Press, and to a lesser extent, the equally-idiotic national media, goes after A-Rod. It gives me something to enjoy reading during these recenly Braves-less Octobers. And by ‘read’ I mean ‘mock.’

    Conversations about ‘heart’… it’s like Bill Plaschke has invaded this board.

  101. Ububba,

    I have to disagree with a little about Eli and Simms. Eli is not at Phil’s level because he hasn’t been part of a dominant team for an extended period of time. Also Bill Parcells is a god here, and Phil will forever be linked with Bill. And Phil was Brooklyn tough.

    bamachum,

    KJ is a good player, but he is not above criticism. I’m pretty
    sure KJ would tell you that he can do better than hit .200 with 2 outs and RISP. I guess it’s unfortunate that KJ is in the same division as Dan Uggla and Chase Utley. Also Ian Kinsler who is also 26, is not doing too badly. So 26 is actually a “prime” age.

  102. Tony,

    KJ’s “struggles” with 2 out and RISP is merely “sample size.” Good hitters are good hitters, people have short memories and focus on moments like that and tend to forget other times when hitters do come through in “clutch” situations, which often times appear in the 3rd innings.

  103. 107 — tony, the comment was a shot at the fan that continued on a theme in the thread. I hadn’t even realized you, personally, were the one discussing heart. Not trying to pick at you, but at the sox fan.

    I think I mentioned a few days ago that the Braves will be praised for keeping their cool and not going into panic mode if they run off a number of victories. And their heart will be questioned if they continue to scuffle. It’s pretty normal to do since we aren’t associated with the team and so we really can’t tell… I do it myself.

  104. ububba,

    I have very bad memories of SB III. I was a Colts fan at the time.

    I just think “heart” is the most overrated concept in sports. These guys all have heart, much more than most of us will ever have. Even the worst players, eg. Pete Orr, have survived a brutal weeding out process. The Braves didn’t lose in the playoffs because they didn’t have heart; they lost because (1) they were unlucky in a lot of cases;(2) they had specific weaknesses that were exposed in October; and (3) they played very good teams in a number of cases. Did they lose in 1991 because, all of a sudden, they lost their heart in Game 7?

  105. bamachum,

    Sample size or what have you, I just believe and I know I am not the only one, who thought KJ would be having a better year at this point. That’s all I am saying. Not saying KJ is not doing OK so far, or he is not a good player. Just thought he would be doing better. That’s it. I still think down the line he will be a very good hitter.

    I will not give on JFrancouer. I just think his hitting last year proves he is capable. But baseball is about adjustments, and if he doesn’t make the correct ones, he will struggle.

  106. Trade Frenchy.

    (I’ll remain a broken record on this until I will it into being)

  107. as my uncle Doug, who knocked aroud the minor leagues for a few years(back when there were hundreds of teams)was fond of saying…………….”the worst player in the major leagues, is a MAJOR LEAGUER”…………..no one with no “heart” whatever that is, even gets a sniff.

  108. Tony,
    I make the Eli/Phil Simms analogy because Simms was brutalized in the press, by the fans & by his own coach before he went 22/25 in Pasadena.

    I’ll grant you that (so far in Eli’s career) Simms would be considered the better pro. But Eli came into town with much more fanfare—remember all the draft drama with San Diego?—so he took plenty of heat.

    In the end, however, he delivered, and that’s forever.

    (Simms, BTW, is one of my very favorite NFL analysts. Check his radio interviews on WFAN, usually on Fridays or Sunday mornings in the fall. That guy imparts so much of his research in those interviews that he really does help me enjoy the games. That’s rare.)

  109. I can’t believe anybody would question Chipper’s heart at this point. He’s basically the heart and soul of this team, now that Smoltzie isn’t playing. There aren’t many players more respected among other players than Chipper, from all that I’ve ever read. He by all accounts should have gone on the DL, but how would that look right before the Phillies series if he was calling for guys to “step it up” and then he goes on the DL. Older players, especially position players have minor injuries throughout the latter parts of their careers. I think alot of us younger fans forget how rare it was pre-steriod era for players to have great seasons even in their mid-to late thirties. History is littered with people were basically done by 37, Mike Schmidt for example off the top of my head.

  110. I disagree that Fracoeur is getting too many complaints. It’s simply not okay to hit .234 at any position outside of pitcher. His performance with RISP is even worse.

    Please look at this objectively. He is our RF and he is hitting .234.

    Also the ‘no heart’ stuff is nonsense. Players not trying hard is also uncomprehendable. I’m not upset with Francouer because he’s not trying hard. I’m upset b/c he’s hitting .234 as a professional baseball player and took it personally when he was offered remediation.

  111. Not to turn this board into a Joe Namath debate (and I’m only talking professional career here, for all you Alabama fans…I don’t really know his numbers or much about his career in college), but it has always been my contention that Joe Namath is vastly, vastly overrated, quite probably the most overrated individual in sports history.

    If you look at his numbers, there is really no reason why he would be anywhere near as highly lauded as he was. If you look at his career stats, he had 173 TD passes to 220 INTs, and just a 50.1 completion percentage. I’m not sure they do the whole similar players thing in football (although there’s really no reason why they couldn’t), but the current player I would most readily compare him to is Kurt Warner. Is Kurt Warner gonna be seen as one of the greatest players in the game’s history?

    The man is living off the legend of one dumbass comment and the fact that he played for a New York team that won the Super Bowl after making that comment. I’m sure he managed the game well, but if you look at his numbers in that game, they really aren’t even all that spectacular. I’m not saying he wasn’t a good QB…probably even one of the best in the league (or in football…I guess the leagues were still split)for two or three years, but the degree to which he’s lauded is completely asinine. One of the greatest players in the history of the game, he is not.

    So anyway, I guess the point of all this is if you play for New York, you can be turned from a good/great player to an amazing/unparalleled player just for winning a championship. Or you could be turned from an amazing/unparalleled player to a bum (a la A-Rod) for not.

    Sorry for the long-winded tangent.

  112. #126………….why on earth would you take it personally? did it hurt your family somehow? or has someone been mean to you?

  113. In case anyone hasn’t checked lately, here are Jason Heyward’s stats at Rome so far this season (he doesn’t turn 19 for another month):

    .338/.399/.498
    50 Ks in 287 AB
    12 SB, 1 CS

    That’s pretty good.

  114. The man is living off the legend of one dumbass comment and the fact that he played for a New York team that won the Super Bowl after making that comment.

    At this point, after the Suzy Kolber incident, I’d say it’s two such comments.

    #126………….why on earth would you take it personally? did it hurt your family somehow? or has someone been mean to you?

    He said Francoeur took the demotion personally.

  115. For all you guys to sit here and say the no “heart” stuff is bs…then what planet are you living on? Of course there are players who could give a damn. Some athletes are blessed with talents that require little fine tuning or little effort and they just go through the motions. As long as their paycheck is ok, they are happy. I hope we are not saying professional players give it a 100% all the time or no one can question their dedication or toughness ..even on the Atlanta Braves this year. That’s just a dumb statement. Talent doesn’t equate to heart and heart most certainly does not equate to talent.

    No one is questioning Chipper’s heart this year. However, it has been questioned in the past, by you know who. John Smoltz is the epitome of heart and toughness for the Braves. He will never be questioned.

    Joe Namath changed history with one performance, who cares about his stats.

    Ububba,

    I get what you saying. Phil will always be one of my favorites.

  116. Re Namath: I agree he is largely living off the one game, but there are several points to remember.

    First, the game really changed the face of football; you can’t really conceive today of how big an upset it was for an AFL team to win, especially against the Colts.

    Second, Namath was more than a football player. He was a cultural symbol of the sixties. Believe me, as a teenager, every guy wanted to be like Joe Willie–at least with respect to the women. (Supposedly, he had a woman in his room the night before SB III at a time when some coaches forbade their players from having sex with their wives the night before the game–don’t know how they enforced that.) So, even though Joe Willie crushed me when he beat my Colts, he was just cool.

    Third, his stats are somewhat misleading. For most of his career he played for really poor teams and was forced to throw a lot because the team was behind. Thus, he threw a lot of picks, especially against the zone defenses that were prevalent then. The same thing happened with Archie Manning. Even at that, he had some games where he was unstoppable.

    But, also, it was a totally different era, akin to the pitching dominance in baseball. Before the advent of the West Coast offenses, you didn’t see quarterbacks completing 65-70% of their passes like you do today. In the sixties and early 70s, completing 50% was considered quite respectable. Johnny Unitas was NFL MVP in 1967–he completed, I think, 55% of his passes and threw 20 TDs. So the context was much different. You have to remember that teams were able to play bump and run and could really manhandle receivers which they can’t do now; offensive linemen could not use their hands to block at all. Top receivers like Paul Warfield would catch 45-50 passes a year. Defense was much more dominant than it is today. So, yes, by today’s standards, his stats in SB III (17-26, 206, 0 TDs) were modest but in the context of the time, they were very good, especially against a defense that was considered one of the best of all time.

    Having said that, I agree that Namath was probably overrated but it wasn’t just being in NY. Football people were enamored with his arm in the way that baseball scouts are enamored with someone like Francouer. He was considered the best QB for several years even though, in retrospect, you could argue that he wasn’t that good.

    As for Suzy Kolber, could you blame him?

  117. Tony,
    You beat me to it.

    Nick,
    You & Dr. Z from Sports Illustrated view Namath as overrated and, statistically, that’s true.

    But Tony nailed it: Joe Namath helped pull off one of the biggest upsets in American sports history.

    I don’t remember it, really, because I was only 5 when it happened, but I’ve had lots of older NFL fans (from NY & beyond) tell me that we can never possibly understand how big that game was to the league & for American sports.

    So, if Namath’s pro legacy is based on one game, it’s either the biggest or second-biggest game in NFL history (# 1 perhaps being the Colts/Giants OT championship game in 1958.)

    Not so bad…

  118. And Marc put it into context much better.

    Namath was more than the sum of his parts.

    He was kind of like the Steve McQueen of the NFL, just the coolest guy around.

  119. How about a comment on another cool guy from the sporting 60’s.

    The other “King of New York” at that time was Walt Frazier. For the young set who have only heard him call a game or do the “Just for Men” commercials, you have no idea WHATSOEVER.

    Walt invented the character for him to play of “Clyde.” Full length fur coats. Big fedora hats. Always sharp.

    By the way, he was from Metro Atlanta and ended up at Southern Illinois at least partly because of segregation.

    I was a big Jets fan. I knew people who were kin to backup halfback Bill Mathis (I think that is right). I told everybody I knew that the Jets would win, but nobody listened. Except Howard Cosell, I guess.

  120. What I would say is that’s all very well and good, and I’m not a big football historian, so I don’t know what the entry benchmarks tend to be for the football Hall of Fame, but I’m not sure that means he should be looked at as one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history.

  121. Along with Pete Maravich, Walt Frazier was my favorite basketball player when I was a kid.

    He even acted cool as hell on the court. No demonstrations or histrionics. He’d just beat you & you got the idea that he could do it all day long.

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