Braves 8, Nats 5

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – April 12, 2009 – ESPN

Hey, a sweep! If the Braves had played like this against the Nats last year… well, it wouldn’t have made much difference, but it would have been less annoying.

After nothing much happened the first time through the order, the Braves took the lead in a weird fourth inning that involved:

  • McCann walking with two out and stealing second;
  • Diaz grounding up the middle for a double;
  • Francoeur tripling him in;
  • Slugging First Baseman Martin Prado bringing him in with a single.

So that was unusual. Unfortunately, Jurrjens gave the lead back in the fifth on a two-run double and a run-scoring Prado error. Chipper and McCann had RBI singles in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-3. Bennett relieved Jurrjens with a runner on in the sixth and allowed that run to score.

Escobar doubled home Infante in the seventh, and came home on a single by Chipper. O’Failurety and Carlyle teamed up in the eighth to allow a run to make it 7-5. But Francoeur tripled again in the bottom of the inning, and came home on a single by Defensive Replacement Casey Kotchman. Soriano, pitching for the third day in a row, had a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. Eventful game.

All the Braves’ starters but Schafer had at least one hit. Infante played second and led off, in addition to Prado’s first base antics… Glavine left his minor league outing today with a “sore arm”.

274 thoughts on “Braves 8, Nats 5”

  1. Although let’s be clear, the second Frenchy triple was almost certainly an error on Kearns.

  2. “All the Braves’ starters but Kotchman had at least one hit”

    Shouldn’t that be Shafer, as he in fact started but did not get a hit, while Kotchman did not start?

  3. Recovering what we discussed in the last thread, while Kearns certainly erred on the play. The official scoring was right on the second Frenchy triple because Kearns never touched the ball until after it had gotten past him. Sure it was luck, but the official scoring was correct.

  4. And also, posing the question I asked again. Would this be a Prado?

    It fits the description in that it’s a hit that “should” be scored an error. But a Prado usually involves a booted ball that was scored a hit because it looked “hard to handle” or the like. In this case, the player never got in position enough to boot the ball. Thus as far as official scoring goes it is rightfully scored a hit…

    Prado or no Prado?

  5. Errors are stupid, and that official scoring was there correct only further demonstrates that errors–and judging fielding by their existence or lack thereof–are stupid.

    What are the odds that Glavine pitches a game for the Braves this year?

  6. It is a Prado. A Prado is often worse than an error. The most usual sort is the play that is so bad that the fielder never gets his glove on the ball. (Others are over- or underplaying a ball so that you can’t make a throw and it’s called an infield single, or screwing up the relay on a potential double play, which isn’t an error because you “can’t assume the double play”. A particularly egregious fielder’s choice/no out would also be a Prado; these are usually charged to pitchers on bunts, but Chipper’s come close on some of those throws to second with two out.)

  7. Great sentence:

    “But Francoeur tripled again in the bottom of the inning, and came home on a single by Defensive Replacement Casey Kotchman.”

    Those things usually happen to good teams. Maybe the Braves are a good team? Huh?

  8. Thanks for clearing that up, Mac. I agree with your thinking on the subject. Definite Prado.


  9. I missed the game because the paper had the wrong time :( Didn’t someone say that you can watch the games a few hours after they’ve aired somewhere online?

  10. Hanson won’t be up until after June 1 to delay his arbitration and free agency a year.

  11. I hate the whole lets wait till June 1st thing, its cheap in my opinion. I completely understand it though. Anyone seen Morton’s #’s so far. 6IP 1H 1R 12K’s

  12. csg,

    see Hamels, Cole.

    Then come back and say we are being cheap. We are already costing ourselves some cash with Schafer up, (but rightfully so with how he has played thus far), so lets keep Hanson down and use Jojo or Charlie until mid-season.

  13. I hate the whole lets wait till June 1st thing, its cheap in my opinion.

    Would you as a fan rather the Braves lose lose an ENTIRE YEAR of Hansen’s service to early free agency, just so he can get 4 – 6 starts in April/May?

    by the way, is everything ok?

  14. Just put the person who gives us the best chance of winning in the rotation, that us what it is all about.

  15. #10 – You used to be able to watch the games later on most of last season. Now it requires an subscription though. :/

  16. Stu, sorry I missed your question in the last thread.

    He seems to be getting a little better, still having some rough coughing spells, but we’ll take any improvement that we can get. Thanks for asking about him. I figure we’ve got about another two weeks worth of this stuff, but hopefully the worst is behind us.

    Spike, thanks for asking also

  17. I will try Campillo, Morton, and Reyes before I consider bringing Hanson up. Besides, Hanson is NOT on the 40-men roster. Is it full already?

  18. They must have a spot available for Glavine, so if he’s not usable they could add Hanson. My guess is that they’ll use Reyes. Gotta have a lefty!

  19. I don’t buy the lefty thing Mac. Based on what Morton did today, I will pick Morton again of JoJo.

    But Glavine is on the 40-men roster already as he is only on the 15-day DL right? If they move Tommy to 60-day DL (unlikely), then they will have a spot open.

  20. I had thought that Glavine was signed to a minor league deal and was left off the roster — but he’s on there. However, I count only 38 players on the 40-man, plus Hudson on the 60-day DL. Also, you could always waive O’Failurety.

  21. Just to clarify, bringing up Hanson now wouldn’t make him a free agent one year sooner would it? I thought it just allows him to have four arbitration years instead of three.

  22. It would make him a free agent one year sooner. The way it works is that a “year’s” service time is actually somewhat less than a season, but you can’t earn more than one year in any one season. I’m not sure when the line is. If he comes up before that, he can earn a full year’s service time (though he might get sent down again); if he comes up after that, he won’t.

  23. If Tommy Hanson is as good as everyone is acting like he is, couldn’t he just become a “super two” player?

    That’d make bringing Hanson up after June pointless because the Braves would still end up with the same amount of time till free agency as they would if they called him up right now I believe.

  24. “Free Agent / arb Clock” is based on number of games to the point in the season. I think it usually hits around June 10.

    I believe, however, that you can stop it running by sending them back down. I think it is 110 games on the 25 man roster in a year not counting the last 30 days of expanded roster.

  25. O’Failurety…another classic from Mr Mac Thomason. You should consider including that into the glossary.

    I think a reliable lefty in the bullpen is actually more urgent than a lefty in the rotation now. We could have used the Glavine money to sign Ohman back…

  26. @27: Jo-Jo, Morton, Campillo, Carlyle, Bennett, and James Parr are all on the 40-man already, and they’re all more likely to get the call, for this one spot start, than Hanson.

    I know you must find the O’Failurety moniker entertaining, but it is really sad how you’ve never even attempted to give the guy a chance. His results so far haven’t been outstanding outside of that first appearance, but he’s throwing strikes and from what I’ve seen he’s got some pretty decent stuff. Can we maybe give him more than 2 1/3 innings before we call for his head?

  27. I think, who cares about June 1 or anything else. Hanson needs to come up. There is no way Glavine gets anything done for us.

    Point 2, This bullpen needs to get fixed. We have good starting pitching, we have a decent lineup, but we NEED a BP

  28. I agree. Do whatever gives the Braves the best chance to win ballgames this year. Heck, currently that might be Reyes over Hanson.

    Are people really worried about the 2015 season right now?

    “Super Two” doesn’t advance free agency, it just means they get an extra year of arbitration. Costs money, but not control.

    Okay, now I understand.

  29. If Hanson is the best Minor League option for the big club, why wait to bring him up to suffer through Jo Jo or Charlie Morton? I might be simplifying this, but put your best guy in te spot

  30. The effect of Hanson pitching 6 or 7 games between now and June as opposed to Reyes, Glavine or Morton is pretty marginal. Especially when compared to the effect of Hanson pitching a whole season with 6 years experience.

    Hanson coming up later gives the Braves the best chance to win ballgames over the next 6/7 years, not just the next two months.

  31. @34: We have a good ‘pen they just aren’t in rythym yet. You can’t get too critical after 20 innings, 7 of which were pieced together after a rain delay.

    Once Gonzo gets back into his comfort zone, and Soriano and Moylan get back to 100%, the rest of the ‘pen will fall into place just fine.

  32. 39
    I understand, im being probably overly critical, and its a good thing to focus on such a small sample peice, and the bottom like is we are 5-1. Im just unhappy with the overall job they have done, im sure they will turn it around, but, im still nervous!

  33. Here’s Paul DePo’s arb primer.

    Relevent passage:

    Pre-Arbitration players are those players who have accumulated fewer than three full years of Major League service time (172 days counts as a full year even though the season is actually 183)… except those players in the top 17% of the two year class, which is usually around two years and 130 days. How did that exception get in there? That’s collective bargaining for you.

    So, two full years and 130 days makes you a Super Two, and since 172 minus 130 is 42, you can avoid a player becoming a Super Two by keeping them in the minors for about a month and a half at the beginning of the season.

  34. Gadfly, can you take a joke? I wish the guy will do well as well.

    Morton is more advanced than Hanson in his development. Check Morton’s stat at Richmond last year. We should give Morton every chance we have before we give the chance to Hanson. Besides, based on what Campy did last year, he deserves his chance before Hanson as well. Don’t rush the kid, I don’t want to see another Kyle Davies.

  35. 42, I feel so conflicted about this. I dont want to be overdramatic and over the top but the guy has been awful, lets hope he turns it around, and i will be his biggest fan. But im just nervous from what he gives us right now

  36. I expect Campillo to jump in the rotation for a start or two in place of Glavine. This won’t require the team to make any official baseball moves. It is, of course, not the move I want to see, which would be Hanson in the 5th spot all year long.

  37. I guess the Hanson thing could go either way. he could come up and struggle, and become Kyle Davies, or he could come up and be lights out and give us a big bump. Im trying to think positive. I just dont see Glavine making it through an entire year. Though, that isnt a stretch or some great claim, its just, he is 43, and coming off shoulder surgery

  38. njbravesfan, then why subject to the risk when you have other options available and can give Hanson more time to develop? I want him to get at least 100 innings at AAA before he gets promoted.

  39. Yeah, I see your point of view. Im obviously not the authority on this. I suppose, Im looking at this too much like a fan who wants to see the kid come up and be lights out!

    Obviously if we have some short term options to give him some seasoning, im all for that as well. Good point KC.

  40. Jurrjens needs to develop an out pitch to become an elite pitcher. He gets plenty of hitters to 0-2 counts, but he can’t put them away. It gets a little frustrating.

  41. Your right David, he loses alot of 0-2 counts. I would love to go back through the numbers and see how many he has lost. I think he walked Dunn today after being up 0-2

  42. njbravesfan, don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the kid comes up and be lights out as well, but we need to be more careful this time around after seeing how we ruined Kyle’s career. We got lucky with JJ last year honestly.

    David, I am not too concerned. JJ is still young and needs more refinement, but he is so advanced for his age that I am very sure he will figure it out. At the end of the day, he is winning ball games for us when he is developing at the same time!

  43. KC. Thanks for your opinion, you might definatley have a point. I agree with you JJ is definatley advanced and is a competitor, im excited about watching him develop. We did get lucky with him, and really he saved our hides, we were terrible, but he was a huge bright side for us!

  44. Morton and Reyes are guys we’ve been developing since 2002 and 2003, respectively. There’s a return-on-investment aspect to that which can’t be ignored — at least one of them should get a last shot, if not both. Especially since they’ve both been pretty damn good at AAA. Morton’s first start this year was even better than Hanson’s, and Reyes was dominant in ’07 and ’08 in Richmond.

    I’d give Morton the start on the 18th, and save Reyes for the LOOGY spot if O’Flaherty doesn’t get better quick. Morton gets one or two chances, and if he flunks, give Reyes a try. If they both flunk, Morton gets to try a new organization and Reyes goes back to LOOGY.

    Edit: Oh yeah, Campillo. Well, the big point is we have options that, despite all the vitriol, aren’t exactly guaranteed to fail.

  45. Ill give you that sansho, great point. Lets give em a shot, you guys sold me! I like the Morton kid, I tihnk he has the better upside. I could be wrong though. Hey, if he works out, and we can have JJ-Morton-Hanson, that could be the next big three?! Wishful thinking, yes, but hey we are allowed to as fans

  46. I’m sorry, but “O’Failurety” is just too easy to pass up. If he starts pitching better — he could hardly be worse — I will reassess.

  47. sansho1, I would agree with using JoJo as a LOOGY if he has better control!

    njbravesfan, I just realize JJ (23) is only seven months older than Hanson (22)! Morton is 26 and Reyes is 24.

  48. I think it has to stay O Failurety. Too funny, and wayyyyy too good not too keep, if he becomes the next alejandro pena, then we can rejoice! jk

  49. “The Reds had not hit into a triple play since April 21, 2007, vs. Philadelphia, when catcher David Ross grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play.”

    Not built for speed, obviously.

  50. The reason I don’t mind delaying Hanson’s arrival a bit has nothing to do with money/arb clock stuff and everything to do with managing his ML workload. I’d just rather give a couple starts to JoJo, et al. and make sure Hanson’s arm doesn’t blow up. Bring him up in May/June and let him throw 120-150 innings at the ML level. That’s reasonable.

  51. This is in no way baseball related, but I want to know why the heck some mutant or mongrel would invent rick rolling. Why? WHY?!?! It’s probably al-Queda.

  52. re: JJ

    I still love the guy though. I think I’m more frustrated because he’s THIS close to being something really special.

  53. David, it took Smoltzie a while to figure things out. This is only JJ’s second season. So, patience is needed.

  54. I love it when the Mets waste a strong outing of Santana…but Josh Johnson is becoming scary…

  55. Alex, Mac,
    with all due respect to your opinion, your bashing of O’Flaherty is really unfair. I remember well that people put Moylan into the doghouse here two years ago (they even sent pictures in) after ONE bad outing, only to see him turn in one of the best years of any reliever ever in an Atlanta Braves uniform.

    Let me say this here and now: We have a great bullpen! Yes, I am aware of the season’s first six games, but I don’t care one bit about a small samplesize like that. Our 8-9 punch of Soriano/Gonzo is second to none (except for the Mets, maybe), and the rest is above average as well. If our starters can give us 6-7 innings, like they did so far, we’ll be fine.

  56. And regarding Hanson: Let’s just trust Wren and Bobby on that one, alright? THEY do know when to start his clock, don’t they? And yes, they WILL already care about your 2015 Atlanta Braves, like any responsible person would.

  57. 69, I agree with you, when the pen throws strikes. Sample size or not, that has been an issue this year and in years past. Boyer, O’Flarrety, etc have to throw strikes. The stuff they all have is good. They all have the potential to be effective, but he command has lacked all year. If they keep walking a batter or more an inning they are going to keep getting shelled. We can’t just rely on Soriano and Gonzo, they need some help.

    Everyone, before I hope a plane to AZ and miss the Marlins series due to work reasons, I’m dying inside because I will miss the games, I have to ask one question. Do we really want Franceur trying to slap everything to RF? I don’t want him to be uncoachable like Andruw, but I think he screws himself up as much trying to hit EVERYTHING to RF in games and gets beat on inside pitches that he could hammer to LF. It seems he has found out that good things happen when you put the bat on the ball, but wouldn’t we be better off if he would get closer to the plate and try to unload on middle in stuff????

    Just a thought. Everyone have a good week. Go Bravos!!!!!!!!!!

    PS I am adding ballpark no 16 to the list when I hit the Diamondbacks stadium on Tuesday.

  58. O’Flaherty may be decent at some point, but he hasn’t looked that way so far. Watching him for the first time on Sunday was scary. Everything he threw was up in the strike zone and he had a looping curve that looked very hittable. Here’s hoping he turns it around, but O’Failurety is fine with me for now.

    I can’t agree that we have a great bullpen. Even if Boyer and Moylan pitch at a high level, we have at least 5 guys who have a very high risk for injury. The problem as I see it is that we have very few minor leaguers that seem capable of stepping in and righting the ship. I’m concerned that we’ll get rid of one of Reyes, Campillo or Morton before the trading deadline in a desperate move to upgrade the pen.

  59. Tom, I’ve argued that Jo-Jo Reyes deserves O’Flaherty’s spot on the roster. Reyes has better minor league stats, better major league stats, and O’Flaherty currently has an ERA over 11 in an absurdly small sample size.

    You can certainly point out the small sample size, but I still don’t honestly think that’s a strong argument against giving Reyes the spot that O’Flaherty currently has.

    By the way, did you used to comment at Chop-n-Change? If so, can I email you?

  60. OK, I’m all for bashing the ‘pen all season long if we keep winning at a .833 clip.

  61. Taking outside pitches to right cannot be overdone – especially if we’re talking about Francouer. (If Andruw would have done that, he’d still be here.)

  62. Taking outside pitches to right cannot be overdone

    Unfortunately, Joe Simpson agrees and won’t shut up about it.

  63. “Taking outside pitches to right cannot be overdone”
    Unless of course, you’re left-handed.

    I’m not bashing the bullpen, I simply have the same concerns I had when the season began. I hope it works out, but don’t be surprised to see some trades.

  64. Taking outside pitches to the opposite field is only natural and should be common sense for hitters by the time they graduate high school. Any hitter who doesn’t do that is handcuffing himself and should be forced to spend 15 minutes every day with Ted Williams severed frozen head.

  65. #74
    Santana did a lot of finger pointing last year, too, mostly at the bullpen. It became an issue, especially during the Randolph regime.

    There’s a tiny bit of Roger Clemens in Johan Santana, as in, “It’s not my fault.” The difference is that Santana is usually justified when he brings it up—even though it’s uncool because it upsets his teammates.

    Clemens would just make ridiculous excuses when he pitched lousy. He had a nagging injury, or the ump squeezed him, a voodoo curse, always something. For Clemens, it was never his fault.

  66. Taking outside pitches to the opposite field is only natural and should be common sense for hitters by the time they graduate high school. Any hitter who doesn’t do that is handcuffing himself and should be forced to spend 15 minutes every day with Ted Williams severed frozen head.

    Ted Williams is one of the most notorious pull-hitters in the history of the game. The first defensive shifts were against him.

  67. The Idiot and Lust for Life are clearly the cream. (I tend to like The Idiot even better — “Mass Production” and “Dum Dum Boys” were stuck in my head for almost all of 2005.) New Values is also very solid from the ’70s stuff.

    His comebacks Brick By Brick and American Caesar are really nice, though. And the title track to Repo Man might be my favorite song of his post-Stooges work.

    Speaking of Iggy, I’m going to interview the co-creator of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, arguably the best kid’s show of the ’90s, on which Iggy Pop gueststarred as Michelle Trachtenberg’s dad.

  68. Is that the one where Michael Stipe was an ice-cream man?

    From Iggy’s Arista era, I like Party. It may not be the best ’80s Iggy, but I listened to it a lot when I was a freshman in college. Sheer nostalgia.

  69. Iggy hit me in the head with a mike stand when I was doing a double bill with him at the Old Town Music Hall in Birmingham Alabama, in 1983. Of course, I had just thrown a drink in his face while performing, so I didn’t really hold it against him. Somehow, that sort of behavior just didn’t seem outrageous back then.

  70. That was a nice interview with Gene Garber. A former baseball player with both feet firmly on the ground.
    However I don’t understand why he gets (so much) of the credit for ending Rose’s streak. I remember watching the game on TBS. In my vague memory Larry McWilliams pitched a great game and held Rose hitless through most of the game.
    Can anybody confirm this?

  71. I’d like to personally congratulate Stu for the very thorough ass kicking his team gave my team in the fantasy league this first week, 13-0-4. Wasn’t even close in most of the categories. Well done.

  72. Just watch the replay of the Sunday game, Sori looked excellent in terms of velocity and control. If Gonzo, Sori, and Moylan all turn out to have a healthy season, our bullpen will not be a big problem.

  73. KC, I wish I could agree with you, and I’m sorry to be relentlessly negative, but if the back end of the bullpen keeps spitting out the bit and forcing Bobby to keep going to Gonzo, Sori, and Moylan, then those three are going to get reinjured.

  74. Wow…13-0-4…thank goodness it’s only the first week. You have plenty of time to catch up!

  75. AAR, I understand your concern. Somehow, I think Sori will be the one who is getting killed by Bobby this year. Since Sori and Gonzo are both becoming FAs, it’s actually Moylan who I hope Bobby will protect a little bit this year.

    I do believe we actually have a decent bullpen but short of one dependable loogy. I think Boyer, Campy, Bennett, and Carlyle will all be fine. The key question is still the health of the top three. I don’t want to see any of the four above pitching the eighth and the ninth in a close game.

  76. The bullpen shouldn’t be that big of a concern. Only if Moylan and Boyer are as bad as they were in that last game in Philly…and they’ll never be that bad again, right? O’Flaherty might be a bit of a weak spot, though, and I’m starting to warm to the idea of Reyes-as-LOOGY. I mean, how many more chances is he going to have in the rotation?

    Pete and Pete was a truly bizarre show. That’s about all I remember of it. The mom had a plate in her head that picked up the radio and the father named his kids just like George Foreman. Oh, and the strongest man in the world…come to think of it, you should ask that guy what the hell he was on back then. I don’t think that show could have been created without a healthy dose of psilocybin.

  77. I just re-read the Braves Journal Glossary and found out we must refer O’Failurety as Kim Jong-Il. How fitting amazingly.

  78. I’d like to personally congratulate Stu for the very thorough ass kicking his team gave my team in the fantasy league this first week, 13-0-4. Wasn’t even close in most of the categories. Well done.

    Thanks for reminding me I had a team in that league! Now that I’m actively managing it, my results are sure to decline.

  79. Anyone else find it curious that Boyer’s only sniffed one appearance this season? Granted his performance that day was horrific, but Moylan’s was equally bad, and Bobby keeps sending him out there.

    A few other observations from the weekend:

    1. Soriano looks to be rounding into form. I saw 94 MPH on Sunday.

    2. After he got the first out on Saturday, Gonzo seemed like a completely different pitcher. I got the sense that he knew what he was doing, whereas before, it just seemed like he was winging them in there.

    3. KJ and Escobar look really good. This could be that hypothetical “put it all together” season that occasionally gets referenced when their names are thrown out there.

    4. While Kotchman’s offense has left something to be desired, he is a BAMF defensively. As someone who saw the Royals’ Mike Jacobs lumber/flail aimlessly firsthand yesterday to the effect of giving up two runs, this should not be undervalued.

    Overall, while I share AAR’s concerns about the back of the bullpen, I’m pretty stoked about how the team has done so far. The Marlins should be a fantastic test, but I actually think we should be up to it.

  80. Ethan,
    I wondered in the previous thread whether Boyer might be hurt. Really weird that we haven’t seen him since the Philly debacle, given how many innings our relievers have had to throw.

  81. WOW , 5-1 and people are calling for patience with the bullpen, Amazing what a couple of wins will do. IMO Braves should give other options a try before bringing Hanson up unless the wheels fall of the cart and he has to be brought up. right now I think the Braves are looking pretty good. Oh’Failurey is pretty funny tho.

  82. I just re-read the Braves Journal Glossary and found out we must refer O’Failurety as Kim Jong-Il. How fitting amazingly.

    That #34 is Jorge Sosa.

  83. Williams knew the strike zone and rarely swung at pitches outside tht strike zone. Francoeur was making outs on outside pitches. Once pitchers know he can handle outside pitches (or just lay off) he will adjust and pull the ball more.

  84. @103

    That was my concern as well. I think Mac referenced it first during the Saturday game, but I was surprised Campillo was put in instead of Blaine, especially as it was a strikeout situation.

    RE reliever’s innings:

    Recently, it has struck me that Bobby’s SOP for his starters is to automatically pull them if they encounter any trouble after the fifth inning. Granted, I’m not really old enough to have any credibility when referring to “how it used to be”, but logically, it would seem to me that the trouble a pitcher gets into in the sixth inning could be the same type of trouble he encounters in the third and not necessarily fatigue.

    Obviously, take circumstances into consideration, but it’d be nice to see the starters be allowed to occasionally work themselves out of jams in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings (even if they cross the sacred 100 pitch barrier). The bullpen would probably appreciate it as well.

  85. How many inning should a 22 year old prospect pitch? Hanson’s pitch count should be better handled in AAA.

  86. “Hanson’s pitch count should be better handled in AAA.”

    To me this is the critical reason to keep him in AAA for a while. No one wants to say this out loud, but winning in AAA is less important than winning with the Braves, so he can be pulled, for example, after 4 and 1/3 innings in AAA, when you decide he has had enough pitches for the day. With the fear of too much wear and tear on the bullpen, as well as the fear of poor performance, I would guess he would not be pulled at the MLB level if he has a 1 hit shut out after 4 and 1/3 innings. You know that if that game were at the MLB level, he would go 6, meaning he gets to throw a bunch of pitches above the 100 pitch level.

    I think Hanson is going to be a very good pitcher for the Braves for many years, and I wouldn’t mind him being kind of babied in AAA this year, while he ages and gets him arm strength up.

  87. I think Hanson is going to be a very good pitcher for the Braves for many years, and I wouldn’t mind him being kind of babied in AAA this year, while he ages and gets him arm strength up.

    See, this is where you get creative. In AAA you have a stellar starting pitcher who is young and a little wild, shouldn’t throw more than 90 pitches a game, but who throws hard and strikes out batters. In the majors you have a bullpen with exactly two reliable arms. Oh, what to do; what to do?!

    Move Campillo to the fifth slot and put Hanson in the pen to pitch the seventh. If the starters can’t get through six, you have to look at Carlyle/Bennett/etc. If the starters get through six, you have Hanson/Soriano/Gonzalez to shut things down. Move him back into the rotation next year with a season of ML experience under his belt.

  88. Hanson usually seems to have control issues in the first inning he pitches. He needs a little time to settle down.

    That’s not a good formula to fix our pen.

    Let the guy become what we need him to be, a top of the rotation starter with 4 above average pitches.

  89. Hanson usually seems to have control issues in the first inning he pitches. He needs a little time to settle down.

    Hmmmm. He needs to work on that.

    Let the guy become what we need him to be, a top of the rotation starter with 4 above average pitches.

    In that case he needs to stay in Gwinnett.

  90. Glavine used to suck in the first inning also. He probably still does, but at least in the 90s he used to limit his suck to the first inning.

  91. Sam, I like that idea.

    Hanson could be our Joba, right down to the Joba rules.

    Pitchers actually tend to have better control in the pen, not to mention a stiffer fastball, because they don’t have to worry about pacing themselves. This is one reason I don’t think Reyes in the pen would have quite the command problems he’s had in the major league rotation.

  92. Well, Harry Kalas died. We all know how that kind of thing feels. Best wishes go out to any Phils fans who might make their way over to this board.

  93. hahahahaha, from

    “With Corky Miller showing he is a legitimate backup catcher, the White Sox’s plan is to give A.J. Pierzynski more games off, the Chicago Tribune reported.

  94. Hanson could be our Joba, right down to the Joba rules.

    I don’t think it could hurt to try. Right now, the clear weakness is the pen, RF and 1B. They don’t have internal options for RF or 1B (but they sure could offer Washington Gorkys Hernandez for Nick Johnson), but they do have internal options for the pen. Hanson qualifies for the basic rules of bullpen work: throw hard, throw strikes. If he’s a little wild a la Gonzalez rather than dominant like Soriano, well, that’s a risk I’d take. Relying on Bennett/Carlyle/O’Flaherty, et al to get outs in key situations is a recipe for disaster.

  95. @125, Keep Gorkys and offer Washington two pitching arms for 1B-Nick Johnson and OF-Josh Willingham. Medlen & Locke (or Rohrbough, or Kimbrel, if you prefer) and away we go.

    They need pitching in the worst way and have an awful logjam at 1B/OF.

  96. I think he is getting better. The fact that he is going the other way and not having terrible AB’s is a good thing.

    His numbers aren’t showing it, but I really like his new approach. I think he is going to be fine.

  97. Johnson looked terrible to me. His bat was almost as slow as his legs. It’s early yet, but he has the same number of extra-base hits as Kotchman — one.

  98. The only one I would really want within the Natspos OF/1B surplus (outside Dunn) would be Dukes. Freakishly talented with a great eye.

    The only issues would be off the field and I think there are enough solid characters on the team to handle one nutjob.

  99. Through 6 games, I dont think you can be too critical of anyones performances. I’ll give Frenchy a month and then decide on if Im ready to start bashing him again

  100. O’Flaherty is only on this team because of lefty affirmative action.

    My belief is the bullpen should be made up of the best seven relief pitchers a team has; handedness be damned. I hate keeping superior relief pitchers (in this case, Acosta) off the team because you JUST GOTTA have that left handed one out guy who can’t get right handed hitters out in there.

  101. @127: Again with the small sample sizes. I’ll guarantee you Jeff ends the year with an OBP that is much higher than .269… and he’ll likely end the year with a SLUG% somewhere below his current .520.

    You don’t judge Jeff’s performance so far based on the results of 26 PAs. Just watch him play and you can tell he’s a much different ballplayer than the guy who showed up last year. He’s having lots of quality at-bats that he wasn’t putting up last year.

    @125: Where does the extra $5+ million come from to pay Johnson? AND do you really want to give up prospects for one year of an injury prone player who’s batting .236 since 2007? I’m gonna take a pass on that one, and maybe give Kotchman more than 23 PAs before I panic.

  102. @136: Bobby obviously believes he can get RH hitters out, and so far he’s used him in a different manner than I thought would be the case early on. More importantly, his handedness has many side benefits that increased his stock enough to justify leaving Acosta in AAA.

    The bigger case might be with Bennett getting a spot due to being out of options. Manny obviously had the better Spring, but I don’t think that is enough to counter the experience Jeff has. I think we broke camp with the right group, and I know we’ll see Acosta making an impact sooner or later.

  103. Real bummer about Harry Kalas. My cousin in Coal Country does a pretty mean impression. I’ll bet he’s breaking that out about now. Condolences to Phils fans. Sorry to say, but we know how you feel. A tip of the Yuengling to you, Mr. K.

    Yep, I remember those days. Lotsa flying loogies, too.

    Same Iggy tour (Zombie Birdhouse, I think), I was reviewing his show at Athens’ old i and i Club for the UGA daily newspaper.

    It was a great show, actually. He had 2 of the guys from Blondie in his band, but I was stupidly front-and-center, right in the fallout zone, pretty much covered with beer and whatever else was getting flung around.

    Near the end of the show, Iggy reached down and pulled me onstage. Before I knew it, I was in front of 800 people.

    Iggy had a big smile on his face. He said, “You know ‘Hang On, Sloopy,’ doncha?” Of course, I did—and we did a duet, of sorts.

    Properly sensing that nobody paid their money to see my dumb ass up there, I then gave Ig a headbutt & did a stage dive into the crowd before the song ended. People seemed to like it—and yes, I was sober.

    I went home & reviewed the show for the next day’s paper. It ended with something like, “…and then some goofball got onstage with Mr. Osterberg…”

    That wasn’t the kind of participatory journalism I had in mind when I was reading Hunter Thompson’s “Hell’s Angels,” but it got me started somehow.

  104. If in the official scorer’s judgment Kearns missed the ball because he was blinded by the sun (and it looked like that to me), then calling it a triple is the right call, isn’t it? Kind of the equivalent of a bad-hop grounder. Also, he never really made an attempt at the ball, which I really think should be the rule of thumb over whether or not the ball hit his glove. He just kind of bailed out because he would’ve gotten hit in the face and had no idea where the ball was. Diaz in the ninth on Friday night was absolutely an error, on the other hand. He was standing upright and made a stab at the ball and missed.

    Also, there is zero doubt in my mind that either Morton or Reyes will get called up instead of Hanson if Glavine can’t make his first start. Although I do really like the idea of calling Hanson up and sticking him in the bullpen. From what I saw of him in spring training, he could definitely be a solution in bridging between the starter and Soriano in the eighth.

  105. In 1463 MLB at-bats (about the equivalent of 3 full seasons), Casey Kotchman has a lifetime OPS+ of 96 (meaning below average hitter, at the premium hitting position). Just because Frenchie has a new hitting approach doesn’t mean everybody gets a clean slate, meaning that Kotchman isn’t just failing in 23 AB’s; this isn’t about too small a sample size. it could be if you were drawing conclusions based on the 23 AB’s this year, but I am not.

  106. #145, that’s only slightly below average, and as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with being average at his pricetag. Also, he plays very good defense at 1B.

    Besides, how many players at this “premium hitting position” are better than him and affordable to the Braves?

  107. Gadfly,

    @127: Again with the small sample sizes. I’ll guarantee you Jeff ends the year with an OBP that is much higher than .269… and he’ll likely end the year with a SLUG% somewhere below his current .520.

    Safe guarantee, because if he doesn’t get the OBP consistently well above .269 he won’t finish the year. Not in Atlanta anyway.

    What’s the average OPS+ among 1B in the last 3 seasons?

  108. Kotchman concerns me a little more than Francoeur. He’s hitting .286 with a .348 OBP and a .333 SLG%. I don’t expect him to hit for a much higher avg than .286 – if he gives us that kind of slugging percent, he won’t cut it.

  109. I don’t know about all of baseball, but OPS+ for 1B in our division last year were 127, 124, 123 and 109. Tex was 136 while he was here. And then there was Casey.

    I understand there are no cheap solutions (although Nick Johnson mid-year seems pretty viable, as we can let some of that 5 million burn off), but we are giving away 5 games, vs. our competitors in the division, at 1B. Casey needs to hit much better, or we need to find a replacement at the easiest place in MLB to find a hitter. Heck, bring up canizares, or whatever the heck his name is, from Gwinnett; the guy can rake.

  110. I don’t know about all of baseball, but OPS+ for 1B in our division last year were 127, 124, 123 and 109. Tex was 136 while he was here. And then there was Casey.

    I understand there are no cheap solutions (although Nick Johnson mid-year seems pretty viable, as we can let some of that 5 million burn off), but we are giving away 5 games, vs. our competitors in the division, at 1B. Casey needs to hit much better, or we need to find a replacement at the easiest place in MLB to find a hitter. Heck, bring up Canizares, or whatever the heck his name is, from Gwinnett; the guy can rake. He gets no love because he is 29, and has no long-term upside. But it gets the albatross out of the line-up.

  111. I’m not willing to give up on Kotchman yet. For one thing, he’s not making a ton of outs, so he’s not costing the Braves runs so much as he is not producing them. For another, I think he’s still trying to work through the Angels’ mishandling of him. He’s never going to be a big power threat, but he’s capable of putting up a .380-.400 OBP. With his defense, that’s a mighty useful player even if he slugs .420.

  112. I agree about Kotchman Mac. Hopefully he will start showing some more power and he’ll at least be league average – maybe he’s a slow starter.

  113. For what it’s worth, Kotchman over his career has had a “cold weather player” pattern, not that he’s ever played in a cold climate — his best months are April, May, and September/October, and June by far his worst. It’s not a huge sample size.

  114. He’s never going to be a big power threat, but he’s capable of putting up a .380-.400 OBP.

    Could you explicate your reasoning here? Has Kotchman ever approached a .400 OBP in his career?

  115. His OBP was .372 in 2007, as a 24 year old in his first full season; if he’d made the normal sort of progress (instead of falling under the spell of Mickey Hackster) he would be a .400 OBP man already. His minor league OBP was .404. That’s the sort of player he was supposed to be when he was a prospect.

  116. They just showed a Fidrych game on MLB network last weekend. Sad way to start the baseball season.

  117. @142 – That makes no sense. Both players lost sight of the ball. So your only assessment of why Diaz’ should have been ruled an error is that he actually made a stab at where he thought the ball might be? Really? The only difference is that Kearns didn’t want to take a stab at it b/c it could have hit him in the face. Diaz didn’t have to worry about it b/c the ball was too low. In either case, they both lost sight of the ball. They are either both errors, or both non-errors. There is no good argument as to why one should be and one shouldn’t be.

  118. And in my opinion, they are both errors. It is your job as a fielder to make sure you don’t lose sight of the ball.

  119. Kalas and Bird, just a couple days after losing Adenhart… there’s an all-star game going on behind the pearly gates.

    At my cousin’s bar mitzvah a few years ago, I met a guy who once hit a homer off Fidrych in the low minors. His career didn’t go anywhere, and he ended up a doctor with one great bar story from a former life.

  120. Has Kotchman ever approached a .400 OBP in his career?

    Kotchman has a career .404 minor league OBP.

  121. Jody Gerut gives The Park That Chipper Built a proper welcome as its first batter ever, hitting a home run off of Mike Pelfrey.

  122. And in my opinion, they are both errors.

    Per the rule they almost certainly are not. If the player loses the ball in lights, sun or bright shirts it’s almost always ruled a hit. What we need is an interim category of misplay that acknowledges the fielder’s inability to control all of the variables in the play but also fails to give the batter credit for an extra base hit for plays that should by all rights be outs.

    Or we could just assume that both of the players will, at some point this year, rope an extra base hit to a gap where a real defender will rob him, and it will all even out.

  123. Re: Boyer

    Hopefully Bobby realizes that he grossly overused him last year and is planning to go easy on him this year.

  124. @169 – I understand that by the rule they are not errors. Just saying, in my opinion, the rule should be that they are errors.

  125. @169: I’ve got my problems with defensive statistics, but adding more subjectivity is probably not going to help anything. I figure over a 600 AB season, or over a 6000 AB career these things will generally equal out. For every lost-in-the-lights triple there will be a home run that gets robbed, a triple that gets shortened to a double because of fan interference, and probably two singles that end up in a fielder’s glove.

    @151: As I said before I’m still not sold on Kotchman, but I haven’t actually watched him play enough to come to a conclusion as to where he’ll settle in. I’m quite certain he’s a better option than Barbaro Canizares at this point, though, and unless a viable option comes out of nowhere I think its fair to say he’s got the job for now.

    Again, its too early in the season to start judging based on the usual metrics of complex percentage statistics. Yahoo! says that Adam Lind is the 2nd best player in baseball so far this year, and he really isn’t… let’s give the season a little time to mature before we start throwing the towel in on our own players.

  126. I like the Rays’ chances of winning that ballgame. On a related note, I won two free tickets to a Rays game by Googling the only person to have 500 hits for 4 different teams for a ESPN Radio giveaway. Ballin’. Is that cheating?

  127. Per the rule they almost certainly are not. If the player loses the ball in lights, sun or bright shirts it’s almost always ruled a hit.

    Sam, though you’re right that it’s usually ruled that way, that’s not actually what the rulebook prescribes. According to the official rulebook (I have emphasized the text in bold):

    It is not necessary that the fielder touch the ball to be charged with an error. If a ground ball goes through a fielder’s legs or a fly ball falls untouched and, in the scorer’s judgment, the fielder could have handled the ball with ordinary effort, the official scorer shall charge such fielder with an error. For example, the official scorer shall charge an infielder with an error when a ground ball passes to either side of such infielder if, in the official scorer’s judgment, a fielder at that position making ordinary effort would have fielded such ground ball and retired a runner. The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball. If a throw is low, wide or high, or strikes the ground, and a runner reaches base who otherwise would have been put out by such throw, the official scorer shall charge the player making the throw with an error.

  128. I like the Rays’ chances of winning that ballgame.

    Yeah and I liked the Braves chance of winning the 3rd game of the series with the Phils …

  129. If you think blowing a lead like that is at all common, then you are watching some funky baseball.

  130. Interesting stuff about official scoring there, Another Alex.

    I’ll come forward and admit that that was not my understanding of the rule. I guess it’s because it’s become common practice to score it otherwise, but somewhere over the past twenty years, I thought I had heard what I was trumpeting yesterday. I was wrong.

    In that case, if I were an official scorer, I would definitely have given Kearns the E9, modern conventions be damned!

  131. This is one reason that Mac’s been leading his crusade against unearned runs for years. Errors are stupid, and the way that they’re traditionally given out is utterly ridiculous — not to mention contrary to what the rulebook mandates.

  132. #158

    I saw that video a few months ago when Josh Wilker linked to it. You watch it and think Fidrych was a guy at peace with the time he had in major league baseball — somebody who didn’t really need it anymore, or who had figured out a way to deal with the fact that his career was cut short. But the panel afterwards — Steve Stone, Jack Brickhouse, and someone I don’t recognize (John Wockenfuss?) — seem unable to process this notion, so they ignore it altogether. (Then Brickhouse indulges all of us in his fantasy of Steve Stone in a postal carrier uniform, servicing various housewives…and people said The Bird was strange….)

  133. Hey Alex Remington, can you ask the Pete & Pete guy if they’re ever going to release the 3rd season? It’d be nice to have a complete set.

  134. Why is there not more violent opposition to this Hanson to the pen idea? I think it was of the worst ideas I’ve heard this year.

    And considering this was an election year, that’s saying something.

  135. @188

    I’m not on board with it; however, pretty much all my objections have already been posted.

    In any case, the main reason I’m not trying pick a fight is that unless something completely unexpected happens, (as I think AAR and Sam know) there isn’t a shot in hell that Bobby/Frank make that move.

  136. Well, that Prado error created the definition of an unearned run.

    Yeah, the end of that Fidrych piece offered some real dum-dum talk.

  137. So, the Rays scored 15 on the Yanks today and Nick Swisher pitched. Looks like he was the only effective arm they had.

  138. I will come out and say I really don’t like Hanson in the pen. He’s not Joba Chamberlain. He’s Tommy Hanson in a different organization in a different situation with a different arm. Tommy Hanson would be best served developing an adequate repertoire in AAA where he is now. If the Braves HAVE to use him, they should bring him up, but you can’t really hurt the guy keeping him in AAA and working on stuff outside of a pressure situation. I’m sorry, but there are enough options right now for our 5th starter and the pen that he’s not needed. I know we wanna start the Tommy Hanson era soon, but let’s just have some patience.

  139. I apologize if this was mentioned earlier (I just did a quick Control-F through the page) …

    … but one of the longtime punching bags for many Braves fans (and probably the team itself, for that matter), Terence Moore, will no longer be writing for the AJ-C. He took the latest buyout as the sports section becomes UGA/Tech football, Braves, Falcons and little else:

  140. Alright, when Griffey came up with the idea a few years back I thought it was a touching tribute, and even though it started to get out of hand that year, it wasn’t too bad. It has gotten progressively worse since, but this has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life… and I’ve heard a lot of stupid things.

    Am I alone on this one?

  141. Not much is going to be left at the AJ-C. “Covers Dixie like the dew,” was once the slogan. Now it can barely cover downtown.

  142. Shame about the Bird and Kalas….With the Bird and Marilyn Chambers it seemed like back to the 70s on the NYT obit page….

    I think Hanson definitely needs some more time at AAA…

  143. #196
    Stupid to honor Jackie Robinson?

    I was at the Dodgers-Mets game in 1997 where MLB & President Clinton honored the 50th anniversary of baseball’s integration.

    Got lucky with a “Diamond Club” pass that night & after the game, I shared an elevator with Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s wife. I don’t do autographs, but I did get her to sign my scorebook. That one was special.

  144. I don’t think that’s where he was going with that, ububba. I don’t think it’s stupid at all to honor Jackie Robinson, but it seems silly to me to have everyone wear his number.

  145. I think complaining about honoring Jackie Robinson is right up there with something I find pretty insensitive and insulting.

    That said, I’m still 100% certain that #169 is running out his regular trot line. I give it 7 of 10, heck, 8 of 10 for brevity.

  146. As I’ve said many times, I just hope he’s getting paid for it. For his sake. Otherwise, L. O. L.

  147. Maybe Gadfly thinks it’s stupid for every player to wear No 42 at the same time but not the part about honoring Jackie
    Robinson…that’s the only “logical” way to read his statement…ar, billy-jay, we think alike…I just read your statement…when I am typing mine…

  148. Schaferiffic already? He has certainly played a very important role in the first six games. If there is anything I can complain about his game, it’s his strikeout rate. If he can fix that, he will be one terrific player…heck, he is better than Frenchy right now already…but that doesn’t really say much, ha.

  149. The problem is that it’s silly to base judgements, good or bad, off the first six games of the season. We have no idea, really, whether the bullpen will be good or not. Obviously, it’s pretty bad right now but things do change for the better and the worse. Looking at each individual game (or even a few games)as if it is determinative makes no sense.

  150. Wow, hating on Jackie Robinson, all these off days are making for difficult posts.

    MLB.TV is much better these days. I subscribed yesterday and watched for about 30 minutes, i was very impressed with the quality and I am running a 2 year old Macbook.
    I tried it 2 years ago and it was fir at best, excellent improvements.

  151. I think people are jumping on Gadfly because he is generally unpopular here. As I read it, he did not mean it was stupid to honor Jackie Robinson but just this particular way of doing it. Chill people.

    I also don’t quite understand the idea that we should ignore errors. While defining what an error is is clearly often nebulous and can be misleading, there are obviously some misplays that a major league player should make. Certainly, using errors as the sole criterion for evaluating a player’s defense is wrong, it doesn’t make much sense to simply ignore errors, at least at the extremes. As for unearned runs, again, as currently defined, the rule leads to some bizaare results (eg, a pitcher gives up a bunch of hits after an error and all the runs are unearned). On the other hand, if there is a runner at third and the second baseman lets a ball go through his legs, that’s not the pitcher’s fault; you can’t expect a pitcher to have to get four or five outs an inning. Perhaps the way to address it is to refine the rule so that only runs directly caused by the error are unearned or that only x number of runs are unearned from a given play.

    I understand there are more sophisticated stats to evaluate defense but not everyone has the time or inclination to study them.

  152. now that we’re all colorblind and enlightened here in the good ol’ USA, maybe its time to tip our cap one more time and let the JR thing go. it seems that every year MLB finds a new way to pat itself on the back over this …………..or maybe we can just start calling it Robinsonball.

  153. We are rapidly approaching the time when no one will be alive who remembers when baseball wasn’t integrated.

    I think that is cause for celebration.

  154. hank,
    Are you saying you’ll be excited when my grandparents die???

    FWIW, I’m pretty much with ububba on this one, but I really wish folks would just stop acknowledging the comments of the one who started this line of discussion…

  155. You know, I’m a little bit with Gadfly on this one. Not the “stupid” part, mind you. If there’s anyone in baseball history worthy of ongoing tributes, it’s certainly Jackie Robinson.

    But MLB, in my opinion, has begun to fetishize Jackie Robinson tributes 1) to the detriment of other worthwhile candidates for tribute (Clemente, Moe Berg, Bob Feller, Jim Abbott, Terry Blocker, and many more for many different reasons), and 2) in an environment of declining African-American participation in the sport.

    In my opinion, the good folks at MLB are spending too much time trying to figure out ways to constantly up the ante on Jackie tributes, and not enough time educating young people about the myriad contributions of other players to the greater society. It speaks to a lack of imagination, ambition, and effort.

    And if they think that honoring Jackie is going to spur more black kids to play baseball — well, the decline in the number of black players COINCIDES with the elevation of the profile of the Jackie tributes, which has been going on for a dozen years now. MLB wants people to think the Jackie tributes are a sign that they’re doing all they can. But uniform numbers and speeches aren’t going to do it. Ballparks, equipment, and coaches would.

  156. You saying you want my grandfather dead, hank? (edit: should hit refresh more. Sorry Stu)

    Mac, you have to warn us when there’s going to be a large Kige Ramsey picture in the comments section. God, that guy has a big head.
    Dude can shoot a free throw, though.

  157. One development that’s flown under the radar is Matt Diaz’s much improved plate discipline. Through 18 plate appearances, he already has more walks (4) than he did in 138 plate appearances last season (3).

    That said, he could go out and put together 50 or 60 plate appearances without another walk, but its an encouraging development nonetheless.

  158. Hmmm … two posts suggesting I favor gentricide.

    Not since Jimmy Carter said (in Polish in Poland) that he wanted to go all Marilyn Chambers on the Polish people has a statement been so misunderstood.

    What I was trying to say is that it’s been a really long time since anyone was barred from playing Major League Baseball because of where his ancestors were from. And that, in my opinion, is a very good thing.

  159. If Diaz would let a few bad pitches go, he could 320/ 400 / 500 and that would be good.

  160. Awesome! This conversation devolved to the point that Hankonly eagerly anticipates the deaths of old people, then transparently attempts to mask his senicidal tendencies by claiming he is not against murderous gentrification (the killing of entire communities in the name of real estate development).

    That’s great Hank, very admirable of you.

    Not only that, but despite the efforts to get away from the Robinson discussion, we managed to invoke the corresponding Clemente discussion. Rather than fuel the fire, I’ll incorporate by reference all my previous comments on the honoring of Roberto Clemente.

  161. well, the decline in the number of black players COINCIDES with the elevation of the profile of the Jackie tributes, which has been going on for a dozen years now.

    Really, because I admire what you post, I am not going to try and parse the logic here.

    “Black” – and by this I assume you mean African-American – participation may in fact be down, but I really think there are larger reasons than the number of Jackie Robinson tributes. Secondly, so what? If a group of people prefers apples to oranges, I really don’t think the apple growers would be concerned unless they weren’t selling enough apples, which is certainly not the case for MLB. The WBC, among other things, has energized Hispanic and Asian participation. Should the NFL be doing more to combat this? Should the NBA be worried about dropping Caucasian participation? Do we really know that a lack of participation correlates with a lack of consumption on the part of ethnic groups? I am rambling here, but I’ll sum up by saying Jackie Robinson tributes are fine, and aren’t mutually exclusive to other efforts that could be undertaken. It’s far from proven in my eyes that these efforts are successful in expanding participation, or are a necessity to the health of the sport.

  162. You pretty much did exactly what you said you wouldn’t do.

    Well, you didn’t try to parse the logic, but you still attacked it, so you obviously parsed it. So smart you can parse logic without trying??

  163. I think Moore realized that the Braves screwed up their last chance to get Ken Griffey Jr., and he just couldn’t take it any more.

    Re: Jackie, I like that MLB honors him. I agree that I think he’s fetishized to some extent, treated as a proxy for the race line when he was simply one courageous man who crossed it. (Much as St. Martin Luther King is treated as a proxy for the civil rights movement, when he was simply one man who led in it, and made the ultimate sacrifice for it.)

    After their deaths, many people’s sins are forgotten and virtues lionized to the point of caricature. At that point, they stop being people and start being a figurehead.

    But it’s nice that MLB continues to honor Jackie: he’s a man who still has a great deal of meaning for the game of baseball, for many players in the game of baseball, and for American society as a whole. While there’s a line that should be respected, the act of honoring him itself is laudable.

    The uniform thing — eh. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s a one-day gimmick.

  164. I don’t appreciate Hank wishing death on my grandmother. She’s a very nice lady.

    I’m just kidding…

  165. Not sure if anyone has posted this but I just saw where Dotel has 9 Ks in 3.1 innings. I think that is like a 24.3 K/9.

  166. yeah, he’s mad about them not getting Griffey, not signing Bonds, and missing out on every other black athlete. I usually dont ignore writers columns on purpose, but he’s one that I avoid at all cost. There is nothing positive in any of his writings and he wont be missed by me.

  167. You can only be angry at Hank for wishing swift immediate death on our elderly. Simply supporting death as a natural conclusion to life is perfectly acceptable. Imagine how massive our problems would be if we (as a species) didn’t die.

    I think that if we’re going to attack writers we need to at least use better grammar.

  168. #228 – thats what the Braves were hoping for when we traded Davies. Still a stupid trade in my opinion. They knew Dotel was going to be useless that year and we just gave away Davies for nothing.

  169. Not sure if anyone has posted this but I just saw where Dotel has 9 Ks in 3.1 innings.

    #228 – thats what the Braves were hoping for when we traded Davies.

    Hey, now, that’s about what we got, innings-wise.

  170. Michael Pearson is also out at the AJC. He covered a majority of the Gwinnett Braves story for the paper.

    As much as Terence Moore annoys me, he knows everyone. I’m surprised he was offered a buyout. He had the source on the Griffey story and really deserves the credit/blame for breaking (pun not intended) it. I’m not sure why Tim Hudson yelled at DOB.

    He’s still got press credentials and fantastic sources. I suspect we’ll see a blog shortly. It makes a lot of sense for these guys to go out on their own.

    The AJC handled the web transition badly. Charging fees for content that was available for free elsewhere was a bad idea. And the indignant attitude when readers complained didn’t help. They went elsewhere and didn’t come back.

    The paper will survive, and I would not be surprised if the paper starts hiring new personnel and expands in the near future. The demand for Atlanta news isn’t going away.

  171. “Black” – and by this I assume you mean African-American

    A safe assumption, since I used African-American first, so let’s not get started.

    participation may in fact be down, but I really think there are larger reasons than the number of Jackie Robinson tributes.

    I noted the correlation, I didn’t imply causation. I believe MLB wants to be seen as addressing the decline in African-American participation, and that they think a way to be seen as doing so is to add additional layers to Jackie tributes. In fact, I think it’s quite possible that this year’s twist (everybody wears 42) is in order to obscure the fact that there are more teams now than ever which do not have a single African-American player.

    Secondly, so what? If a group of people prefers apples to oranges, I really don’t think the apple growers would be concerned unless they weren’t selling enough apples, which is certainly not the case for MLB.

    Try that line of reasoning at a Coca-Cola board meeting. If sales of Coke in, say, the rust belt, were down 60%, do they attempt to address it, or say “that’s okay, we’re killing in Taiwan”? MLB’s job, in addition to making money, is or should be to be an advocate for the playing of the sport. And if participation is cratering in the areas right next door to most of the ballparks — well, I think that’s a problem. You might not.

  172. The paper will survive, and I would not be surprised if the paper starts hiring new personnel and expands in the near future. The demand for Atlanta news isn’t going away.

    I think print newpapers are doomed and only still exist because of the people Hankonly would eliminate if he were in charge of the world. I see this at work, we have computer systems in place that are obviously less efficient than others, but because the partners (read: old people) are used to it and not adept at adapting to new technology, we stick with what we’ve got.

  173. @223 spike

    You’re missing sansho’s point, which was a good one. The point isn’t that tributes are causing the decline in African American representation; it’s that they correlate with it. MLB has started to substitute tributes for more genuine active engagement with American-born black communities, and so in that way it’s turning its back on Robinson’s real legacy. This is not to say that there haven’t been great strides in recent years, especially with baseball’s growing popularity and exposure around the world, but it is to say that there comes a point where tributes become poor–and in some cases false–substitutes for actual engagement.

  174. Also, Cynthia Tucker is moving to Washington. She’ll still be writing for the AJC, but that’s one less influential voice on local matters. And they replaced Jim Wooten by having an open casting call of amateurs. It’s not a good time to be a paid journalist….

  175. Wellll….I think you missed my point in that a) I am not convinced of a link between participation and consumption, and b) it’s not a regional drop so the analogy of rust belt v. Taiwan isn’t apt. By focusing on one demographic WITHIN a region, you are by necessity taking marketing dollars away from other groups in that region who may like your product better. If I am looking for ROI, I think I am better off peddling my wares to groups predisposed to buy it. I just don’t see anything sinister in that. I further don’t think it’s incumbent upon MLB (and I am as lib as they come) that they ensure proportional participation so long as the environment is inherently fair. If some folks don’t want to play because they prefer other games, I just can’t see the hand wringing, when their are plenty left who do.

  176. Wooten’s replacement (Kyle Wingfield) isn’t some local yahoo. He’s a professional journalist (WSJ Europe) who’s been writing for a while. The open call was just a creative way to get input on candidates.

  177. spike, I think it is a regional drop. Inner cities. I saw not too long ago a comparison of aerial photos (wish I could find it now) showing how many baseball fields there used to be in urban centers, compared to now. The dropoff has been precipitous, not least because of the value of property. People anywhere will choose among the choices available to them, and I think MLB has come up short in its dedication to ensuring baseball as an available choice here at home.

    Edit: Fair enough, JC. I didn’t know anything about who was selected — I just remembered the unusual process.

  178. Yeah, I was a bit surprised at the quality they brought in. I initially thought it was shoe-string search when it started. I wish more newspapers would try this.

  179. Joe Posnanski started a blog not long ago called The Future of Newspapers which is collecting the ruminations of longtime professional journalists and observers about where newsgathering is headed. His link to a piece by Clay Shirky is a particular must-read.

  180. I think Moore realized that the Braves screwed up their last chance to get Ken Griffey Jr., and he just couldn’t take it any more.

    I will be the last to bemoan the exit of Terrence Moore, but now seems an appropriate time to note that the Braves are a very, very white team.

  181. Haha, note to self: don’t make fleeting, vague, potentially racially inflamatory remarks late at night.

    As some have noted, I wasn’t saying that having a tribute to Jackie Robinson is a bad thing. I’m not old enough to have seen Jackie play live, but growing up as a second baseman he was one of the people I idolized for the way he played. Beyond that, he faced a very tough task, and faced it as a true gentleman, very much deserving of accolades.

    That said, the idea of mandating that all uniformed personnel wear his number is just plain silly, wasteful, and in my opinion one that Jackie would find embarrassing. There are certainly better ways to utilize that money… like lets say inviting inner-city kids to the game (more than the handul that are on JR-MLB scholarships,) or donating a portion to the Negro Leagues museum in Kansas City. (Of course if the uniforms are auctioned off after the game they could still make money off of it, but they’re not going to make any money for a Corky Miller #42… and just the overall aesthetic of having every player wear the number, I find laughable. Having a few on one team who volunteered I thought was a bit much, but understandable. Having the Dodgers or Mets do it as a team seemed a bit excessive, but fitting. The whole league being mandated is absurd.)

    Most importantly, it misrepresents history in its focus, which ignores the hundreds of other black pioneers in the game (and yes, I mean black here, because some of them aren’t/weren’t American.) I’d much rather see an Indians player wear Larry Doby’s number, a Yankee wear Elston Howard, a Brave wear Sam Jethroe, a Met/Giant wear Monte Irvin, etc. etc. Where’s the love for Pumpsie Green, who certainly faced just as stiff a task breaking the color barrier with the Red Sox 12, 12!, years after Jackie, a full 3 years after Robinson’s career was over? Not to mention the Josh Gibson, Martin Dihigos, and Cool Papa Bells who never were given a chance, or the Satchel Paiges and Moses Fleetwood Walkers whose chances came too late, or ended too soon.

    I mean how many of you guys could’ve told me Sam Jethroe was the first Brave to break the line? I had to look it up, and that’s just not right. Let’s stop deifying a man, a great man and a great player, and start focusing on the wider movement and the injustices of the era. I think Jackie, as humble as he was, would be the first to agree.

  182. MLB= 60% American
    America= 15% African Americans

    Using the art of multiplication, MLB SHOULD consists of roughly 9% African Americans.

    Anybody want to guess the percentage of African Americans in MLB?

  183. @250: Haha, yeah, at this pace we’ll only win 135 games… there’s no way we make the playoffs with that low a total.

  184. @251: Not second guessing, but just wondering where you got that 60% figure for American players.

    Also, according to the 2008 Racial and Gender Report Card 8.2% of MLB players were “African-American” in 2007, down from 17% just 10 years earlier. Okay, now I am second guessing, that same study says only 31% of players were “international,” which suggests that 69% were presumably American.

  185. #251

    OK, so why is MLB only 60% American in participation, but +95% (help, JC?) of the revenue generated by MLB is US + Canadian consumption? Primarily because Latin American pipelines have proven to be more cost-efficient than home-grown talent. Many people consider that to be a peachy state of affairs, but personally, my advocacy of baseball as our national pastime trumps my advocacy of free-market global capitalism.

  186. Nice quick edit Dix… and just to finish the math from above, using the CIA figure of 12.85% for the proportion of black people among the general population.

    12.85% * 69% = 8.9%

  187. Great work, David and Gadfly.

    Now does anybody want to run that statistic for either the NFL or the NBA?

  188. @255: I’m pretty sure the American percentage of consumption isn’t anywhere near 95%. I think MLB does a pretty decent job in filtering the best talent to the highest levels, and with the extensive history in the Caribbean, and parts of Central and South America there are a lot of high talent players.

    In America, a lot of the kids who would prove to be the most talented at baseball get siphoned off by basketball, football, and many other pursuits. In places like the Dominican Republic or Venezuala, baseball and soccer are about the only two options for many kids to lift themselves out of poverty… not to mention saving them from boredom. In the DR if you’re young and talented, a scout, coach or agent will likely take you under his wing and push you in baseball’s direction, so that he can eventually cash in on your success… this incentive doesn’t exist for Americans who are subject to the draft, compulsory schooling, and other restrictions. Without this sort of structured large-scale, profit-driven, mentorship it is much harder for a low-to-middle-class American kid to get into a sport like baseball, which requires more organization and costlier facilities than a sport like basketball. Thankfully, there are organizations making in-roads in this area, so that perhaps baseball can reassert its place as America’s national pasttime.

  189. @desert: Not sure exactly what you meant by “that statistic” regarding the NFL and NBA, but according to the same tidesport organization ( has all the various report cards listed… I don’t know a whole lot about the organization, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they do their math right and don’t overstretch too much on labeling statistics.)

    In 2007 the NFL had only 2% “international” players, presumably 98% Americans. Using the black population figure from before, we’d then expect:

    98% * 12.85% = 12.6% expected African-American composition.

    According to the study, the actual figure was 66% (Is anyone else surprised that Asians account for a higher percentage, 2%, than Latinos, 1%? I assume they erroneously count Pacific Islanders as Asians.)

    In the NBA, 18% of players were considered “international,” which seems shockingly low to me. We can then expect:

    82% * 12.85% = 10.5% expected African-American composition.

    According to the study, the actual figure was 76%.

    The discrepancy is pretty shocking, if not entirely unexpected.

  190. Just for fun, here’s the MLS numbers, given 31% “international” players:

    69% * 12.85% = 8.9% expected

    Actual: 22%

  191. OK I’ll stop talking about it until next year’s tribute. And for each succeeding year, until that time in the future when there are no African-American players remaining, save for the 30 lab-created Jackie Robinson clones that Bud Selig will mandate get to start at second base for each team.

  192. Heath Bell:

    “I saw John Kruk on “Baseball Tonight” and he said, ‘They’re playing really well, but I don’t believe in them,’” Bell said before Monday’s game. “And I saw ESPN’s promo for tonight’s game. They mention the Mets are opening Citi Field, they mentioned the starting time, but nowhere did they mention the Padres. That gave me the (expletive).”

    “I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else,” said the closer, a former Met. “That’s why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I’m really turned off by ESPN and ‘Baseball Tonight.’ When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It’s all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”

  193. ESPN is not a public service; it’s a business.* It profits most by focusing its efforts on the things which will, you know, bring it the most profit.

    *This does not apply to UConn, which ESPN pimps because of proximity.

  194. my guess really was a guess. I am good at guessing, hence my SAT and LSAT scores.

    I was going to guess 1% and be the closest without going over, but then I figured someone behind me might bid 2%.

    Also, regarding the WWL, they just opened a local branch to the website, ESPNChicago. My guess is that we won’t see any less Chicago related content on the main site despite the new focused site.

  195. #262 – sad thing is, he speaks the truth. In our extra innings game they only showed Kelly’s game winning hit. Then turned it over to the Yanks to show every hit and almost every pitch. Out of the 1 hr baseball tonight show, 45 minutes goes to three teams

  196. Heath Bell is 1000% correct and he’s my new favorite non Brave!!!! Go, Heath – preach it, brother!

  197. sansho1 = protectionist. (shakes head sadly)

    I never thought I’d see the day…


  198. #262

    It used to be that Baseball Tonight was where you went to get good MLB coverage, because SportsCenter sucked. Now, it appears like the suckage has crept into Baseball Tonight.

    Bell’s right about MLB Network, too. They show stuff from every run-scoring inning and spend 5-10 minutes talking about it afterward.

  199. ESPN is self-aware of this “problem”.

    It’s nonstop overexposure of Yankees, Red-Sox, Mets, Cubs, Tiger, Lebron, Kobe, Lakers, Celtics, Hansbrough, Tebow, Quinn, etc…

    They know, and they do it on purpose. They practically ignore the Army All-American H.S. game and focus only on their sponsored Underarmor game. They’re not interested in covering sports, they’re interested in making money by pandering to the largest markets. That’s fine, as there are other outlets designed to provide more specific content for more specific interests.

    Just pay for what you want to see and ignore the free crap that you don’t care about.

  200. I certainly agree with the above comments on ESPN, but hey, since a greater percentage of baseball fans (and I have no numbers to back this up, just in my personal experience) identify themselves with the Red Sox, Yankees, or Mets than, lets say, the Marlins, Rays, Mariners, or Padres, ESPN is just catering to the fans’ taste.

    Also, when I (used to) watch baseball tonight, I did it for two reasons- 1. To watch Braves highlights, and 2. To listen to “insightful” commentary on the state of the teams. Number 1 is easily available on ESPN’s website, and actually provides decent coverage. As I grew up, I realized that number 2 is slowly becoming less and less insightful; and decent commentary (and in some cases, much more well-thought out and coherent) can be found on the web. So, no real need to watch Baseball Tonight anymore, or any of ESPN for that matter.

  201. The whole point is that it is not racist to think having everyone wear number 42 is silly. I agree with Gadfly in that I suspect Robinson would find it embarrassing as well.

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