Ryan Church

He must be talented, because apparently everyone hates him. His managers, at any rate. Church was a fourteenth round pick of the Indians in 2000, out of Nevada-Reno, which two years earlier had graced the baseball world with Corky Miller. (Thanks, guys!) He rose up the minor leagues putting up strong numbers — OBPs around .370, SLG around .500 or a little above — but the Indians traded him and Maicer Izturis to the Expos before the 2004 season to get the legendary Scott Stewart. He got a callup to the last, depressing season of the Expos in 2004, but didn’t hit much.

With the Nats in 2005, he blossomed, hitting .287/.353/.466 in 301 PA. In 2006, the Nats looked at his .215 BA and sent him down in May, ignoring a .346 OBP and a .477 SLG; he tore up the league when he returned in July, hitting .305/.376/.550 in the second half. One reason he was sent down was that Frank Robinson apparently hated his guts. Manny Acta gave him a full-time, or nearly so, job in 2007, and he hit .272/.349/.464. He really played too much, as it’s become clear that Church has to be platooned; he hit .287/.360/.506 against righthanders, but only .229/.316/.339 against lefties, and got about a quarter of his plate appearances against them.

He was still one of the Nats’ better players, so being the Nats they dealt him and Brian Schneider to the Mets for Lastings “Jeff Francoeur If He Were An Insufferable Jerk” Milledge. In spring training, Church collided with Marlon Anderson and suffered a concussion. He came back from that, and through May was one of the better players in the league, hitting .311 /.379/.534 through May 20. On that day, his head collided with the knee of Yunel Escobar, as part of the Braves’ secret “Win the division for the Phillies” plan. It was labeled a minor concussion, not as bad as the one in spring, and the Mets kept playing him… and his season fell apart. He went on the DL for most of June and against for most of July and August. The main problem is that his power disappeared; he has hit only five homers since then. He started to have problems with his manager again; I don’t know if he ever had issues with Randolph, but Manuel apparently hates him.

Doesn’t run a whole lot, average success when he does (20 of 30 career SB). Is a really good rightfielder, and probably a better centerfielder than McLouth.

Ryan Church Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com

296 thoughts on “Ryan Church”

  1. All that really matters is

    a) He’s not Francoeur.
    b) Since he’s not Francoeur, Bobby will be willing to use him correctly as a platoon player.
    c) Since he’s not Francoeur, Wren can keep him, trade him, or non-tender him at the end of the year based strictly on his performance not on garbage like “fans love him” or “he sells t-shirts”.
    d) Did I mention he’s not Francoeur?

  2. And once again, round out a thread after it’s been closed down.
    I repeat:

    I think Bill James Online is worthwhile for the stats. Though, the site is clunky. Too many pages and subpages and a main page that tells you almost nothing. Should I check out articles or columns? Why can’t player names, years, and teams be linked. The search button doesn’t work when hitting return in Firefox. Very annoying. I wish they’d just team up with Sean Forman who knows how to present baseball data on the web.

  3. From previous thread:

    Great article from James and Ponanski. I think that the society generally takes things-including sports–much more seriously and they have become much more business-like to the extent that they have driven out frivolousness. I think people take their favorite teams much more seriously, in part because of things like the internet, than they did back in the day. Perhaps this is because we are a more affluent society and people just generally have more time to take sports seriously.

    One example of how much more seriously people take sports is ties. At one time, ties were considered a part of football and hockey. Now, people are outraged at the idea of ties, to the extent that on the rare occasions when there is a tie in the NFL, people immediately start calling for some change to the rules to prevent ties. It’s just an example of how seriously people now take sports–they want a resolution to every game.

    Obviously, this hurts All-Star games, which, by their nature, are not serious competition. And I think Ububba is right in that, at one time, the ASG and the World Series were the only opportunities to see certain players play so people were less concerned about the outcome.

    I’m as guilty as anyone. When I was a kid, I would listen to Milo Hamilton and Ernie Johnson do the Braves games and, while I would be upset if they lost (which they did a lot of), I would still enjoy the game. Now, it’s very difficult for me to enjoy the Braves when they are losing. IN part, this is probably the difference between TV and radio.

  4. mlb trade rumors…

    Yunel + Prospects for Holliday and Cabrera + cash

    Terrible terrible offer

  5. That would be one of the worst trades in baseball history. It’s not happening (I hope?)

  6. What worries me is we keep seeing Escobar in Braves-related trade rumors. I could understand trading him if the Braves had a great SS prospect ready to step in which they don’t, but unless you’re getting back Pujols for him I don’t see how trading Escobar and replacing him with Infante, Conrad, or some similar new acquisition helps the offense overall. Certainly Holliday + Cabrera for Escobar is not the answer.

  7. Here’s something to try and grasp…

    Holliday .274 avg .792 OPS
    Yunel .293 avg .789 OPS
    Diaz .301 avg .837 OPS

    Im trying to understand how Diaz can be a better hitter than Holliday, but that shouldnt be the case. However, Yunel and Diaz make us a better team than Cabrera and Holliday and they are still under team control

  8. I could see us trading Yunel for a young outfielder, but at the same time we’d need to move Vasquez for position prospects like Alcides Escobar and a reliever or something like that

  9. Braves had said they aren’t taking on payroll, and the A’s have said they aren’t trading Holliday. Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t change their minds, I guess.

  10. Ryan Church is sort Andruw Jones like around the midsection and he’s needs to shave. Hopefully he will understand that Bobby runs a tight ship and requires professionalism at all times.

    Trading Escobar would be so stupid. Diaz is a platoon player, period.

  11. I have faith in Wren. We will not see that trade happening. If anything, I would think the A’s would be interested in KJ and Kotchman.

    Church is a perfect platoon partner with Diaz.

    I am looking forward to see what are Wren’s next steps. All signs point toward that Heyward and Freeman will be called up to Atlanta in next June. It will be fun to see how Wren builds the club between now and next June. No more Smoltz, no more Glavine, not more Frenchy. Wren is getting more and more freedom in making his moves.

  12. @10 He could have dealt with Woodson for one more season and get his freedom. Instead he drags this on for one more year and wastes one more of his prime years in Europe (and he will be in the same situation next year). I guess he is not that smart afterall…

    …or does he hate Woodson that much?!

  13. MLBTR may be a joke, but it links to a guy who covers the A’s for MLB.com (which may be a joke, too; I don’t know). If Yunel goes, that has to mean that Infante or Prado play SS the rest of the year.

    BTW-I don’t like the trade one bit either, and I imagine that now that we have our OF settled a little better now, that the rumor, even if possible a few days ago, is stale now.

  14. It would be nice to replace the former Homerun Derby Champ (affectionately known as ACHE) with someone who can still actually hit homeruns in real games. Unfortunately, Holliday is not the man.

  15. MLBTR just reports any rumor it finds whether the rumor makes sense or not. It leaves it up to the readers to judge the plausibility.

  16. csg @ 11,

    I pointed out that problem (Holliday’s less than sterling numbers) a few days ago. I contend Holliday is a Coors Field creation and outside that environment, he is barely above league average as a hitter. CERTAINLY not an elite or near elite hitter.

    I included Ryan Spillborghs in “l’d rather have…” and forgot that he is also a Coors Field creation until proven otherwise.

    I would not swap Diaz (two more arb years and at least as good, possibly even better now), McLouth (duh), or Church “one up” for Holliday.

    And, I think that anybody offering arb to Holliday is going to choke when he accepts. I know Wren and Schuerholz aren’t going there again, so they have no value coming out of Holliday for “draft picks”.

  17. Replacing Schafer with McLouth, KJ with Prado, and Escobar with anyone in one season takes a pretty good group of up-the-middle defenders and replaces them with a much worse group. Trying to make a playoff push like that….. I doubt it will work. JC & Alex, I agree on BJOL. Very clunky site and difficult to navigate at times.

  18. I’ll probably do a poll in a little while. I’ll leave Bobby off because I think he deserves some respect even if he’s lost it. So the candidates right now would be Kotchman, ACHE, Snitker, maybe TP.

  19. Any idea why there is managerial hatred toward Church?

    I just haven’t heard any attitude or hustle-related criticisms of him.

  20. I don’t know. You can look up Church and find some things he’s said that we are not going to discuss here. However, I don’t know why those things would annoy his managers.

  21. The loss of the good ol’ “draft and follow” is certainly likely to cause some heartburn to us and our front office. That is where we cleaned everybody’s clock in the draft.

    I haven’t seen it on here, but Teheran had a great start last night. 7 innings, 8 k’s, 1 bb, 1 run. If he takes his next turn on time and is effective, I am more pleased with the innings than anything else.

  22. Ahhh back from vacation and now have regular access to the internet. You don’t realize how much you miss the dang thing until you are reduced to buying pastries and smoothies to get it. My girls liked the trips to Panera with me but I think the kid working the register there was on to me. ‘UHHH let me guess a scone and 4 waters again?’

    So while I’ve been away the Braves got a real live ballplayer for Jeff Francouer. The trifecta. We get a servicable player, get rid of of a drag on our lineup and give our most hated division rivals the Conficker Virus of ball players. Wren is a genius. Or is Omar Minaya a moron?

    For whoever cares, the college tour completed.
    Duke: The gothic wonderland. My daughter called the place Hogwarts in Carolina. Cool place with lots of opportunities.
    Davidson: Again a beautiful campus in a quaint college town. Right up there with UVa and Duke as far as entrance requirements.

    So tired of looking at colleges. I am going to limit my daughter to one more out of state and she has to tour Ohio State as well to give her a local option. Stu, she has a friend starting Vandy this fall so I am hoping that she’ll get an invite to visit.

  23. 30


    Thank you for maintaining your politically neutral stance FOR THIS BOARD. There has already been a discussion of Church’s opinions on this site 2 or 3 years ago.

  24. I’d always heard that Church had a little Chad Curtis in him, which is to say he wasn’t good enough to get away with the things we won’t discuss.

  25. Tony @ 14,

    What do you mean about Bobby running a tight ship on professionalism? He requires coats (and ties?) on road trips He has let the facial hair thing disintegrate into nothing.

    And, as to the idea that the Cox administration promotes fit players, come on. This (over the last 5 years of so) is probably the most unfit and out of shape outfit in the bigs. Kolb, Wickman, Paronto, Bennett (for a while). Diaz (went to his home P90X program, not a Braves trainer), McCann (he got better), and your own example, Andruw Jones.

    This team needs real required fitness work. I say hire Julio Franco and give him authority over it.

  26. Dammit, I guess I need to search to find out what Church said.

    Holliday is a joke. Trading Yunel for him will not enhance the Braves chances. He is a creation of Coors Field, like Dante, Vinny, Garrett Adkins, etc.

    Wait. Holliday has 8 HRs????

  27. Y’all have probably all seen Carroll Rogers article in the AJC by now where she sums up the Braves mid-season. In it she gives the numbers for the Braves at every position OPS wise compared to the rest of the league. Right field for the Braves was 15th.

    My question, who actually did worse than Francouer to get 16th?

    Link to the article:

  28. Don’t follow the Padres much and didn’t realize how far he’d fallen apart. Wow. A .548 OPS made up of a .277 on base and a .217 slugging. Just last year his OPS was .854 for the season.

    The article also doesn’t say much for Kotchman as the Braves were also 15th in OPS at first. But the Kotchman’s .742 15th OPS is still 108 points higher than Francouer’s.634 15th OPS.

  29. Man, ever since the Giles boys stopped juicing…their careers really have been disasters.

  30. “as good as Kotchmans is on defense, is that enough to keep him around at $4-5 million?”

    No, it is not. First, would someone with access to defensive stats tell me once and for all whether Casey is a top 5 guy; or a top 10 guy; or lower, on defense? I sometimes think that because Kotchman cannot hit like a 1B, and because he isn’t fat, people assume he is a great fielder.

    Second, Casey either needs to pick it up in the second half, or be gone. In basically a full season with Atlanta, he has 2 HR’s at Turner field (and 4 on the road). Someone pointed out that the stadium he played in with LA has much friendlier RF distances, and the Braves front office need to decide whether Casey’s HR drop is park related (and thus cannot be cured); power related; or just based on a small sample size. A 6 HR 1B with an weak average and okay on-base skills just isn’t going to cut it. Is he a doubles machine? Right now, 40 other players in the national league have the same number of doubles as he has, so that isn’t the answer either.

  31. I seriously doubt Kotchman is going to hit for power in Atlanta. Check out his HR log from B-REF. 28 of his 37 career HRs have come in hitter’s parks or parks with short porches in RF. (Angel Stadium is 370 to the RF power alleys, compared to 390 in Turner Field.)

    Angel Stad 12
    Fenway Pk 3
    Camden Yards 3
    Rangers Bpk 3
    CitizensBank 3
    Yankee Stad 1
    GreatAmer BP 1
    Metrodome 1
    Wrigley Fld 1

    He’s only hit 9 career homeruns in neutral or pitcher friendly parks.

    Turner Fld 2
    Safeco Fld 2
    NetworkAssoc 1
    Dolphin Stad 1
    US Cellular 1
    TropicanaFld 1
    Comerica Pk 1

    Turner plays neutral in a good year and leans toward pitchers every now and then. It is particularly deep in the RCF and LCF power alleys. All but 2 of Kotchman’s career HRs have been pulled to RCF or strait-away RF. His two opposite field HRs have come in notorious band boxes (Chase Field in Philly and the Ballpark in Arlington.

    Trade him to the Red Sox and he’s a useful player, gaining BA and OBP by converting warning track outs to HRs. In Turner Field he’s Rico Brogna.


  32. Kotchman is just a placeholder until Freeman is ready in a year or two. Bobby should probably platoon him with Prado or Canizares for the rest of the year to maximize the offensive production from the position. I’d take my chances on the pitching staff overcoming whatever extra errors those 2 would make over being able to score enough runs playing Kotchman every day.

  33. @43,

    bfan, agree completely. To me, Kotchman has shown he is nothing but an average player, at best. (His OPS ranking would suggest he is considerably worse than average.) Maybe there is more there but we have yet to see it other than a few periods where he has hit some doubles. Why do the Braves seem to be the only team in the majors that cannot find a first baseman that can hit (other than Teixera, of course)?

    If I were a pitcher, I would pitch on two days rest to face this lineup, even without Francouer. With the lack of power, you can give up a lot of hits and not really get hurt.

  34. Looking at what the rest of the National League First basemen are doing here’s what I found. First while still a quality player Ryan Howard is a tad overrated this year. Second there appears to be two groups of first basemen.

    Top Group
    Pujols – St. Louis – 1.179 OPS
    Fielder – Milwaukee – 1.055 OPS
    Votto – Cincinnati – 1.027 OPS
    Berkman – Houston – .929 OPS
    Helton – Colorado – .916 OPS
    Gonzalez – San Diego – .910 OPS
    Howard – Philadelphia – .870 OPS
    Lee – Chicago – .865 OPS
    Johnson – Washington – .838 OPS

    Second Group
    Jorge Cantu – Florida – .787 OPS
    LaRoche – Pittsburgh – .784 OPS
    Ishikawa – San Fransico – .754 OPS
    Loney – Los Angles – .752 OPS
    Kotchman – Atlanta – .742 OPS
    Tatis – New York – .713 OPS
    Murphy – New York – .677 OPS
    Tracy – Arizona – .670 OPS

    Kotchman’s clearly not in the top group but is pretty close to the rest of the second group.

  35. Sorry I’m not that sophisticated. I’ll have to leave that up to someone else. I figure my point about Howard still stands though as Citizen’s Bank is a pretty easy place to hit one out.

  36. I agree that Kotchman isn’t cutting it and probably needs to go and that we could use an upgrade in left. However, I don’t think we need to trade too much away to get a short-term solution. It seems that we’re on pace to bring in Heyward and Freeman in June of next year – obviously things can change quickly. If that’s the case, I think Kotchman will improve enough in the 2nd half to possibly justify a roster spot. If not, I say let Prado play and trade Kotchman for a good reliever. A lineup with Prado at first, Conrad and/or a rejuvinated KJ at second and Infante in left works for me until we get help from Heyward and Freeman next June or beyond.

  37. Kotchman will be around next year no doubt, he is a placeholder for Freeman and is the only player from the Tex trade on the big team.
    To dump him after one full season would be bad.
    Marek had a horrible start and got better but his AAA promotion has been rough so far.

    KJ is the bigger question at over 2 mill per season, i think he will be either traded or set free.

  38. Thanks for the break-out on 1B; that is interesting. In that second group, it kind of breaks down into “holding the place while waiting for the [much better] injured guy to return” (the 2 mets for Delgado, and Tracey for Conor Jackson); 2 younger guys whom they hope develop some power (Loney and Ishikawa); and crap franchises just sticking someone there until someone takes them off their hands (LaRoche and Cantu, both of whom are being actively marketed). I don’t think any of the teams in the second group, with the exception of the Braves, view their 1B as currently playing at an acceptable solution.

  39. Looking a Kotchman’s spray chart is kind of funny. If you look at his Turner Field spray chart for 2009 (on mlb.com), it looks like four of his doubles would have gone for HR at Anaheim. If you flip those four doubles to HR, you get rate stats across the board nearly identical to his 2005 season.

    I don’t know what this tells us. When you’re dealing with single digit numbers, there’s a whole lot of error, so I’m not taking much from it. My gut says to let Kotchman play the rest of the year and see what happens. He’s under 27, and I think he had mono one year IIRC, so my gut says he does nothing but get better over the next season and a half.

  40. I’ve written before and will probably write again… Howard is the most overrated player in baseball, because all he does is hit homers.

  41. #52-thanks; that was the data I was referring to, when I said Kotchman’s 2B’s at Turner maybe were HR’s in Anaheim. I absolutely agree; he needs to be given the chance to pick it up the second half, and I hope he does. If he doesn’t this notion of him being a place-holder for Freeman gets a little dicey. At $3,000,000.00 maybe you do that; if he is going to get much more than that, paying Canizares the league minimum and using the $3,000,000.00 difference to upgrade somewhere else, or retain one of the top-performing relievers, just makes more sense. This team cannot afford to pay league average salaries for below average performance.

  42. “take Citizens Bank Park away from Howard and you don’t have all that much left.”

    Ryan Howard has 100 HR’s at home in his career, and 99 HR’s on the road in his career. His HR power has nothing to do with the park he plays in.

  43. Against lefties, Kotchman is hitting .250/.298/.329. I’ve said this before: he needs to be platooned.

  44. I wonder what it would take to land Nick Johnson?

    In my experience, it takes Adrian Gonzalez, Paul Konerko, and Kenshin Kawakami. But AAR drives a hard bargain.

  45. The point is that even armed with CBBP, Howard is only in the middle of NL first basemen. He’s a peer of Adam LaRoche, not Prince Fielder — much less Albert Pujols.

  46. I think it would take more to get Nick Johnson than the Braves would want to give up, at least if they really believe that Freeman is a viable solution. The Nats aren’t just going to give the guy away, IMO. There really is no reason too; even though attendence is down, I don’t sense that the Nats are looking to shed payroll and they don’t have a replacement for Johnson.

  47. #50 – People put too much emphasis on “the Tex trade” and getting something out of it and oh we gave so much for him and got nothing to show for it. Well, that’s baseball. The front office thought we had a chance to win a WS. With a few breaks our way and without a few injuries, we might have. It is a philosophy, “pay to win now” because you never know when the chance will come again. For the first time in several years, the Braves looked like they were “one player away”. Tex was that player. We got what we paid for. However, we paid for one year, hoping maybe we could convince him to take a home town discount. He wasn’t going to, so they made the best deal they could to salvage.

    That being said, like everything else, keeping Kotchman just because he was part of the “Tex trade” is NOT a good reason just like hanging onto Frenchy because he was “a home town boy” or because he was “liked by the fans”. Get someone who can regularly hit homeruns and they fans will like him. Barry Bonds was loved by Giant’s fans WHILE HE WAS PLAYING THERE.

  48. Peer of Adam LaRoche?? C’mon now.

    Okay I read Church’s page. I’m satisfied. Thanks.

  49. Howard may be “overrated,” relative to players who are “underrated or undervalued,” but I’ll take a 1B who cranks out 75 XBHs & walks 80+ times every year.

    I know how counting numbers can make people’s eyes glaze over, but 498 RBI in the last 3 1/2 years? As they say, that’s not nothing.

    We’ll see how long he does keeps it up, but he’s still an upper-tier 1B.

  50. About Kotchman:
    He is actually a really good fielding first baseman. Now one can argue if that means anything at his position given his offensive numbers, but his fielding is not a mirage. It is actually good. Also, I do see that his OPS is slightly higher this year, but aren’t Nick Johnson and Casey Kotchman pretty much the exact same player?

    About Escobar:
    Not that Holliday is a good choice, but if Escobar is gonna be benched in half the games for being an idiot, why would we not trade him? If he’s playing every day and not acting like a schmuck, he’s valuable, but neither of those things are happening right now, and if they’re not going to happen, trading him is the best possible solution because we can probably get something pretty good for him based on his talent and age. If he doesn’t pull his head out of his ass quickly, keeping him will not be worth the trouble IMO.

    On Woodson, @16:
    I know I hate Woodson that much, and I’ve never even met the man.

    On ties, @3:
    The concept of ties in this country as opposed to others has always been fascinating to me. It’s not like other countries take their sports any less seriously than we do ours, yet we’re the only country (and perhaps Canada, although I think they may just go along with us to placate us) that has this borderline sociopathic hatred of ties. So much so that we take a sport (hockey) that is perfectly well-suited to ties and has had them for 100 years or however long, and continues to have them in Europe, and still uses a point system in the standings for crying out loud, and slap this contrived and dumb penalty shootout tiebreaker thing on the back end of it. Up until relatively recently, every tie MLS game ended in a penalty shootout. College football games have an idiotic tiebreaker as well, although they could very easily use the NFL’s perfectly good system if they wanted, so I’m hesitant to blame that solely on this country’s rejection of ties. We were so outraged that an exhibition baseball game that mattered for precisely squat ended in a tie at like 1 a.m. when all pitchers had been used that we forced baseball to make wholesale changes to the system revolving around the totally meaningless exhibtion game. Why is that, I wonder? I’ve had friends from England ask me that and I simply don’t have a satisfactory answer for them.

  51. National League First Basemen, by Offensive Winning Percentage:

    Pujols .839
    Fielder .801
    Helton .709
    Berkman .701
    Gonzalez .653
    Lee .642
    Johnson .641
    HOWARD .615
    Cantu .552
    LAROCHE .528
    Loney .520
    Kotchrocket .516
    League Average .495 (I don’t know why it’s not .500, it just isn’t)
    Murphy .399 (Poor Mets)

    It was closer a week ago, before Howard had a strong week — but he’s obviously a lot more like LaRoche than he is Pujols.

  52. I, too, think Kotchman is a terrific defensive 1B, but he’s been brutal at the plate this year. Ours is not a lineup that can carry a player like that.

  53. but aren’t Nick Johnson and Casey Kotchman pretty much the exact same player?


    Krotch – 270/338/410
    Johnson – 274/398/452

    Hmm, no.

  54. @67,


    Although I should hesitate about getting into amateur socialogical analysis, I wonder if the dislike of ties stems from the American characteristic that there are solutions to every problem. A tie is like a non-solution and, therefore, inimical to our can-do spirit. Of course, we didn’t always use to hate ties so much and, personally, I sort of like an occasional tie in football.

  55. #67

    Trading Escobar would be a terrible decision. He’s young, good and cheap, and there is no heir apparent within the organization. He’s having some maturity issues for sure, but many young players go through that and go on to become solid players and teammates. It’s as much the Braves responsibility to guide him through his maturing years (which it appears they are doing), as it is his responsibility to grow up.

    Also, from a $$$ standpoint, the Braves appear to only be able to accept $$$ if the trade $$$.

  56. I agree, trading Escobar for attitude issues is dumb. I’d only trade him if the return was too good to be true.

  57. Howard does exactly what Philly needs him to do in the middle of their line-up.

    In regards to trading Escobar. So he is demonstrative. So what? That’s the way they play in Cuba. At least he shows emotion. I hope they do trade him for a stale, overrated outfielder like Holliday.

  58. Quick question about the game tonight, isn’t Hawpe supposed to be the one starting in place of Beltran? Hes the one who got the next most votes, right? So why is Victorino in the starting lineup?

  59. Heading to the game in a bit. Just got my $35.00 authentic Brian McCann AS tshirt. Woot

    Since Barack is throwing out the first pitch, gotta get down early to get through security. Hopefully, there won’t be a tie tonight.

    Also, cool thing: know a manager at Lure down here and got to go to the playboy party last night. Saw Jeter there. I now believe every story I’ve heard about the guy. So many hot girls falling over him it was unreal. Bastard.

    Anyway, looking for a good game tonight; let everyone know if anything cool happens

  60. I watched the 1971 all-star game on the MLB network…and was surprised to hear Tony Kubek during color w/Curt Gowdy(play by play). I grew up listening to Costas/Kubek so that was sort of cool to hear one of my all-time favorites during games b4 I was born.

  61. #77

    I’ve never thought of Escobar as a dumb player, if that is what you’re saying. Rather, words like lackadaisical, immature and showy come to mind. His baseball acumen seems just fine to me. If he’ll keep his head in the game and his emotions under control, he’ll be alright.

  62. The Reggie monster shot in 1971 is my most vivid All Star memory. I still wonder how far that would have gone if it didn’t bounce off the transformer. It looked then and it still does like the ball was still going up. 300 feet from home plate and still going up.


    I took Kotchman. The “why”‘s.

    Cox isn’t on the list and as long as he is manager, we can’t move Pendleton or Snitker (at least not in season).

    ACHE is irrelevant after this season. Kotchman either gets better or continues to cause damage.

    Moylan is a good pitcher with flashes of great that has been trampled by Cox. It is unfair to label him negatively for Cox’ problems.

    So that leaves Kotchman.

  64. Voted Garret Anderson. 701 OPS + terrible defense = bigger problem than Kotchman in my book.

  65. By the way, on the “tiny url” thing, I went to one of those the other day and got “Rick Rolled.” I like Rick Astley o.k. I just couldn’t get the site to let go of my computer for about 5 minutes.

  66. Rose knocking out Fosse like the cheap shot, red ass he will always be is my enduring all star memory.

  67. Yunel is both dumb and lazy, and the free passes he gets on here astonish me.

    And frankly, he’s No. 1 on my shit list right now. Or bete noire, as it were.

  68. Yes, Snitker is the worst 3B coach I have witnessed in the majors.

    Yunel is an excellent player who is a little crazy and gets himself out of the game with his emotions.

  69. Can’t we wait for someone to do something (or a chain of things) that is egregiously stupid or terrible in the post-Francoeur era before choosing a new whipping boy? I’d rather just put a delenda est on the Phillies for a couple weeks and enjoy the end of Frenchy.

  70. @Nick

    Yunel is a stud. If you watched the series at Wrigley, you would have seen one of the best defensive displays in your lifetime. He was outstanding.

    And no he is not dumb. His approach to hitting is perhaps the smartest of any Brave, along with Prado.

  71. Yunel is not lazy, you don’t make the kind of defensive plays he makes by being lazy. If anything he is so talented he gets a little lax because of his skills and boots an easy play now and then and that seems to really irk Bobby, but he more then makes up for it by getting to balls that few other shortstops would.

    Not to mention the fact that he’s cheap for the next 3 years, he’s very good, we have nobody to replace him and ss is one of the most difficult positions to fill and we would be nuts to trade him.

  72. #91

    I don’t see how you can say Anderson is hitting just enough to go to Kotchman.

    Kotchman has a .742 OPS to Anderson’s .701. Casey’s on base .346 to Anderson’s .304. Casey’s slugging .395 to Anderson’s 397 and has a .274 average to Anderson’s .272. 98 total bases for Casey to Anderson’s 92. And only 24 strike outs to Anderson’s 33. Casey has 26 walks to Anderson’s 13.
    Casey has 4 home runs to Anderson’s 5.
    Casey has 248 at bats to Anderson’s 232 so pretty close to the same number of attempts.

    So the averages, slugging, at bats and total bases are pretty close.

    Casey has twice the walks, strikes out a third of the time less, gets on base forty points higher and has an OPS forty points higher.

    Anderson has one more home run.

  73. It boggles my mind that people think a mere handful of bad plays by Escobar and his excessive enthusiasm outweighs all the positive things he brings to the Braves at the plate, in the field, and on the payroll. If Schafer or Heyward were a shortstop, then I maybe could see the point of moving Escobar now to open up a spot for one of them next year while also acquiring a useful player or prospects. But the next player in line behind Escobar is Diory Hernandez and he’s not even hitting above the Francoeur line in the majors.

  74. Why is Escobar thought of as lazy? I’m trying to remember an instance where I thought that, but I’m drawing a blank.

  75. Oh, Chip and Brian are bad. But these are merely matters of aesthetics. Someone, somewhere, might enjoy what they’re doing, though it’s hard to see how. Snitker is objectively bad. He’s so bad that players now routinely ignore him and make their own decisions. Over the last two weeks, the only difference between a world with Brian Snitker and one without is that the one without would have slightly more oxygen and slightly less carbon dioxide.

  76. Alternatively, to bring back a phrase I used to use in college of large, useless basketball players (I think Kevin Duckworth was the first), Snitker is a waste of protein.

  77. I am amazed that people continue to spell Stinker’s name correctly. It practically mis-spells itself appropriately.

  78. That’s better than my friend suggestion of Jeff Pearlman. I suspect we could stand each other’s company for no more than 10 seconds.

  79. I’ve never believed that Yunel’s asshead moves outweigh his value on the team, and I wouldn’t say the same about Jose Reyes either. But he keeps making them & it’s annoying.

    Still, I’m against dealing him unless the deal was completely drool-worthy.

    FWIW, I voted for Kotchman and, as a former 1B, I kinda like him—or rather, I wanna like him. But he’s another guy who has killed us at the plate so far this year.

    Despite his indifferent defense, The Mighty ACHE has gotten too many (relatively) big hits lately to get my vote.

  80. Pearlman is a self-Googler. I know this because three years ago I said something critical on my old 30-hits-per-day Braves blog about something he wrote, and he actually showed up to snark on it. I thought that was an unintentionally revealing act.

    P.S. Hi Jeff.

    P.P.S. In the future, please post your comments to the pertinent blog post, not the “About Us” link. I didn’t notice them for a week.

  81. and I respect your decision but I don’t have any similar qualms. I am usually loathe to criticize players for not performing. Baseball is really hard and it’s not surprising that most people won’t be able to play it at a high level. What isn’t hard is discerning that player is not performing up to par and replacing him with a guy that may be more capable.

  82. So, this week I am in upstate New York… Today, I went to the Hall of Fame, in cooperstown. it’s pretty amazing. And surprisingly crowded.

  83. 109 — Mac, Facebook has been suggesting I add you as a friend for a while now. I’d be all for it if I thought you had any clue who I was. Would they have suggested you because I have Braves status updates every once in a while?

  84. Make you miss Ozzie? I’d like to see him still run out there and do his back flip.

  85. That one McCann at-bat definitely wasn’t worth sitting here watching this whole thing.

  86. Hello, everyone.

    I really detest Tim McCarver.

    I think he is actually worse than Chip Caray.

  87. Parish, Tim McCarver is in another class of annoyance. I refuse to watch any baseball game which I can hear the voice of McCarver.

  88. Anybody wondering if the NL will ever host another World Series?

    Why couldn’t this have been the way to decide WS home field advantage when the Braves were going? It would have worked in our favor, right?

  89. @132 Because Selig hates us…wait, I thought we actually had home field advantage in three of the five WSs…

  90. I looked through the posts, not sure if anyone saw this from CBSsports.com, on the power rankings, this is what he wrote about francouer

    Jeff Francoeur is a terrible, terrible baseball player

    I was thinking someone on here wrote it!

  91. ’96 is the only year it would’ve changed anything, and we all know what we did with the home-field advantage we went out and gave ourselves in that series. ’95 we had it anyway, and the AL won every other year.

  92. About as much as I’m following Long Island lacrosse. People talk about it & I know it’s going on, but I don’t actively pay attention.

    Headed to LA this week. Gonna try to catch a game at Dodger Stadium, one of the great ballparks people rarely discuss. Wish they were playing someone other than Houston, but what are you gonna do?

  93. ” rel=”nofollow”>Gwinnett Daily Post

    “Sign a banner for our hometown hero, Jeff Francoeur as he makes his move to the Big Apple.”

  94. Nick @136.

    I say we win in 1991 if you reverse home field (don’t know if NL won ASG).

    The maintenance guy at the Metrodome admitted turning on a/c fans in outfield when Braves were batting and turning them off when Twins were batting. Braves win all 3 home games. Braves lose all 4 road games, 1 by 2 runs, 3 by 1 run, 2 in extra innings.

  95. For some reason, Kotchman annoys me more than anyone else now that Frenchy is gone. He just seems to add so little for someone playing first base that was supposed to be a good player. In a league with awesome first basement, Kotchman is like a movie with Keanu Reeves when the other options are Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, and Al Pacino.

  96. Kotchman has disappointed me too. I still want to give him all of the benefit of doubt that I can, because he was such a great hitter coming up (maybe the 1st position player drafted when coming out of HS), and such a good hitter in the minors. Looking at where he was back then, I would have expected him to grow into maybe a .290/.370/.460 guy (which was his 2007 season with the Angels), and an .830 OPS at first base keeps you in the mix. He obviously hasn’t come close to that here. if he is too weak to hit HR in this stadium, then it just isn’t going to happen. If it just takes him more than a year to stop moping, because southern california is his home, then maybe he can grow up and start to hit here. In any event, lets see what he can do post-AS break. if he doesn’t break .800 OPS, then I cannot see paying him his next salary bump, when we can get a league minimum salary at the position who can.

  97. Kotchman doesn’t really annoy me at all. He hits plenty of doubles, doesn’t strike out much, plays good defense, and gets on base at a respectable percentage. Would I like more homers from him? Sure. But he’s a player you could easily live with if not for the epic fail that has been left and right field for the Braves this year. I wouldn’t complain if he were traded, platooned, or replaced with a new acquisition, but he’s not even close to replacing Jeffy as my new bete noir. I’d lean more to Moylan although Anderson is right there too.

  98. @140 – I see the blue bible batting gloves haven’t come in yet.

  99. If Kotchman were hitting in the 7th or 8th hole all the time I wouldn’t have a problem with him, but we are a team filled with 7/8 type hitters, no power.
    Damn, we need some power from somewhere, maybe Wren can d some more magic in the offseason and find us an OF’er with 35 hr potential.

    Not that I want him too, but do you guys see Chipper retiring after this season?
    Say he hits 280 with 15 HR’s, do you think he would pack it in?

    Just a random thought.

  100. So I get this email from TicketMaster highlighting deals on the Braves.

    They drop in this graphic box from the Braves highlighting the retiring of the jersey of:

    Tommy Maddux

    I kid you not.

  101. Reminds me of the time my brother-in-law got a good deal on a:

    Bruce Springstein


  102. #147, those stats would still make Chipper one of the top offensive 3rd basemen in the league. I’d be shocked if he retired since he only recently signed an extension. Much more likely he’ll chalk it up to injuries and try again next year.

  103. 154,
    I think the break will probably be good for everyone. Except maybe Prado, who probably didn’t want to stop playing the way he was hitting.

  104. I think Escobar would (have, and still would) benefit from a mature Spanish speaking presence on the team that could have kicked his butt at the appropriate times. His inability to communicate with Bobby is one of the problems.

  105. #157, McCarver annoys me far more than any other baseball broadcaster. He and Chris Berman are the only ones that makes me mute the sound and turn on the Braves radio broadcast when the team is on a national broadcast.

  106. @161 I’ve assumed all along that the Madoff thing has been a factor in the Mets’ unwillingness to make any high-profile moves since they signed K-Rod and Putz. But it still doesn’t explain why they would sign Ollie Perez for $12 million per and trade for Francoeur. Only Minaya’s idiocy explains that.

  107. This year’s Met talk has always involved the money lost to Madoff.

    BTW, Mr. Madoff attended the University of Alabama.

  108. @141

    I agree, but the AL won the All-Star Game that year. The only year that we did not already have home-field advantage and the NL won the All-Star Game was 1996.

  109. We Georgia fans just have to shut up after you use the trump card of Chip Caray. Outside of criminals (and Madoff fits there) it is hard to trump that.

  110. From Mark Bowman:

    “Here’s how the comical exchange developed from there:

    Chipper: You’ve been summoned to the batting cage.
    McCann: What do you need? All I’m going to do is go in there and make fun of people.
    Chipper: In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve lost four straight and we need you in there to get the guys loose.

    With that, McCann immediately walked toward the batting cage and seemingly helped to lighten the mood. The Braves responded with a 7-0 win that afternoon.”

    It was a blog about McCann, but this part says more about Chipper. Wow!

  111. @158. I agree. I can imagine it doesn’t help Escobar with a player like Chipper ripping him through the media.

    No one has ever heard of the bench coach/translator they have now. Maybe a fellow Cuban who someone actually knows would help….

  112. To prove the baseball savy of AJC readers there is a poll that asks if you would trade Yunel Escobar to Oakland for Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera. The incredible thing is that 47% have voted yes.

    In looking over the Oakland roster I can’t think of one position player that I would want. With their lineup it’s amazing that they’re only 12 games below 500.

  113. The AJC readers would trade Hank Aaron for Jeff Francouer (which wouldn’t even be a good trade with Hank being 75.)

  114. #157, McCarver annoys me far more than any other baseball broadcaster.

    Clearly, you have not heard Chip Caray refer to baseball as “our game” as many times as I have.

  115. UGA grads? Don’t stop there. Let’s not forget Deborah Norville & the entire Talmadge clan.

    And yes, Chip & I graduated from the same J-School.

    My fave Univ. of Alabama grad: Melvin Israel (aka Mel Allen).

  116. Ryan Seacrest and Chip Caray went to Georgia?

    I can’t make fun…. no one of note or notoriety that I know of went to The College of Charleston.

    #174 Unless its to wonder about the intellect of the very casual uninformed fan why would you read the AJC blog?

  117. @179,

    But there is a quality to the stupidity combined with, at times, some latent racism displayed on the AJC blog that makes it entertaining and appalling at the same time. If H.L. Mencken could have read the AJC blog, his head would have exploded for having too much material.

  118. My alma mater has the guy with the mustache from Simon and Simon, one of the Charlie’s Angels and the blond from Northern Exposure.

    Thats about it except for some writers, politicians, news reporters and a Miss America.

    So nobody that famous.

  119. #181 Orlando who?

    Never mind just Wikied him. Still don’t know who he is.

    #182 183 – Yeah I know but the stupid shit factor starts driving me nuts right about at post number 3 and I have to stop reading. Thank God for Mac and Braves Journal.

  120. C of C also graced the world with Anthony Johnson, the platonic ideal of a backup point guard. Also a deadball era baseball player named “Fritz Von Kolnitz”, who belongs on the all-name team if nothing else.

  121. Mel Allen kicks ass. Fritz Von Kolnitz clearly should have been a character in McHale’s Navy 2.

    Stu, you prefer McCarver to Chip Caray? I think we may have to fight. I like to think of Chip as a moron, but he’s our moron.

  122. McCarver is annoying, but he did play the MLB game, so, like Joe Morgan, he’s sometimes able to convey some useful insight. Or at least relay a mildly interesting anecdote from his playing days.

    Chip Caray offers nothing positive.

  123. I am not so sure Chip is our moron.

    His voice is less annoying than McCarver’s though.

  124. Dang. Just Wikied College of Charleston. Hell I was lucky I attended when I did. I couldn’t meet the entrance requirements now. :)

    Yeah you how prominent your alma mater is in the grand scheme of things when Anthony Johnson is listed as a prominent alum.

  125. True story…My 8th grade science teacher was named Dwight Von Kolnitz. He was similar to the Ed Rooney character in Ferris Bueller. Everyone called him Mr. Cold Nuts.

  126. When I changed jobs and moved to Texas my point of contact was a woman named Amy Von Storch. For some reason I pictured a heavy set woman with a bun, a severe scowl and a wardrobe with gray as the primary color. Wrong. Total hottie.
    Something about those German sounding names I reckon.

  127. Stu,
    depressing picture, but I doubt they ever went- Florida/Georgia is one of the biggest non alumni fan games I’ve ever seen- somewhere in those lots are some identical looking uga fans who’ve probably never stepped foot in Athens.

  128. Last thing you want to do is stand pat. If they feel we aren’t going to win it, we need to trade for some depth in our minor leagues at the least. Soriano is a free agent after this year, and we have another surplus of SP when Hudson comes back. If we are out of it, we need to make some trades. If we are in it – we need another bat.

  129. 203—It was me. (I really love the picture.) I asked if those two were Rob and mraver.

    201—I wish VU had a few more of those sidewalk fans. Maybe soon.

  130. Re@164
    What kind of career can our dearly departed expect?


    Okay, not seemingly innocent, but heartfelt.

  131. Looking through Wikipedia’s list of University of Florida people, I don’t see anyone too embarrassing, at least not anyone I could name with violating the politics rule. Not even among football players. (Compare with Tennessee, which seemingly can’t go a week without someone getting indicted or a year without someone killing somebody.) I would say that the most embarrassing alum I could find was White Chocolate. Well, the Bellamy Brothers, but that’s really a matter of taste.

  132. @200,

    I think we need to make some moves IF they are good moves. And, where we (and everybody else) are by late next week will decide wether those are buy or sell moves.

    IF SELL: If Gonzo comes back o.k., he can bring something. I think Soriano could get something very useful out of the Yankees and maybe some other people. Depending on health between now and end of year, I wouldn’t mind offering arb to either of them.

    KJ will have to play a little at ML level to maximize him. But, if he hits a little at ML level, he is bette moved than held with Prado, Conrad, and Diory all $400,000 guys and Infante under contract for next year.

    IF BUY: KJ can possibly help with a buy. Kotchman if we get a first baseman in our “buy”. We might deal a back end reliever / 5th starter type (Parr, Jo Jo, Bennett, Carlyle) but probably none of them bring back much.

    But, if we buy, it is limited and focused. And don’t sell unless it is almost hopeless.

    BP Daily on ESPN .com has stuff on 3rd order pythags. Basically, the Phillies hae only been about .002 better than us so far. Mets, worse. So, the division is wide open if the Braves can just play a good bit better (unlikely, but wished for).

  133. I was going to save this for tomorrow’s game thread, but we play the Mets 4 games at home, and they do not have 3 of their 4 best position players (Beltran; Delgado; Reyes). We are under .500 and need to make up ground every week, to have a chance for the play-offs. If we cannot beat them 3 out of 4 at home, with our pitching rested, we have no business pretending to be able to climb back in the race. No excuses; no bad breaks; no Bobby crap about Derek Lowe having great stuff, but they just luckily pecked out 11 hits, but by-gum we will get them next week. We need 3 out of 4, or we need to be sellers, come July 31.

  134. Y’all are right I guess about the sell part. Especially Sori and Gonzo. They become expendable if we fall completely out.

    The thing I fear is that our rivals suck just enough for us to hang around at just the level that we aren’t really in it but we aren’t really out of it either. That could tempt Wren into holding on to the team’s trade chips. Or worse it could tempt him into doing something dumb and trading a prospect for a rental hitter.

  135. I think everyone can agree that there’s someone from Yale who’s loathsome, we just don’t have to agree who.

    If the Mets fall more than eight out, will Omar sell? Will he be allowed to sell?

  136. @182

    You should see the Falcons AJC blogs. If the Braves one teeters on the edge, the Falcons one takes a confident swan dive over it. You could remove “at times”, and replace “some latent” (racism) with “shockingly upfront” and you would be describing the Falcons blogs. They are absolutely unreadable, and frankly the ability to comment on them should be taken away by the AJC they’re so bad.

  137. It will be interesting to see what the Braves and Mets do if Halladay becomes a Phillie. At least the Mets have some guys getting healthy to look forward too.

  138. so how can the Phils sign Pedro and immediately place him on the DL with shoulder problems. Didnt he pass a physical yesterday??

  139. The Mets cannot afford to appear as if they’re giving up. Though the woe-is-us attitude has sunk into the fanbase, the team has to try to fill the new stadium as best it can. Trading established talent for prospects will further upset an already angry group.

    The Church deal doesn’t upset them that much—not because they expect a lot from Frenchy, but because they look at it more as a wash.

    The hardcore Met fans sort of realize that this year’s Mets are kinda like last year’s Braves—too injury-depleted to really compete.

  140. Bobby Parnell is someone that teams have asked for, apparently. Really good stuff, got off to a fast start, but seems to have hit a wall in the last month.

  141. @213,

    The AJC blog makes you wonder about the wisdom of universal suffrage since these people are mostly allowed to vote.

  142. 222 — Wow. Good for VU.

    People are pretty excited about BYU’s 2010 class (even though they couldn’t land Te’o). Heaps has been recruiting more guys to come there. Recruits are only as good as they actually play, though.

    204 — and it is a wonderful picture…

  143. No consensus on the bête noire. I think there will be a runoff, but I am undecided if it should be between the top two votegetters no matter who, or the top playing votegetter and the top nonplaying votegetter. If Snitker catches back up with ACHE, it wouldn’t matter.

  144. Recruits are only as good as they actually play, though.

    Yeah, I just hope the trend continues wherein VU recruits play much better than their rating suggests they will. Then, we might really have something.

  145. Why do people want to dump Gonzo and Soriano?
    Shouldnt we keep one of them as our closer.
    I am all for getting rid of Gonzo if he comes back and pitches again this year, he is a ticking time bomb.

  146. I remain convinced that the recruiting services largely rate players by who’s recruiting them and not by how good they actually are. Notre Dame is automatically worth at least one extra star. Vandy: minus one-half star.

  147. Is there any reason why I’m getting so many searches for “Atlanta Braves number 44” and the like? Besides massive historical ignorance?

  148. Oh, I agree with you, Mac. Notre Dame and Alabama have a lot more internet fans—internet fans being the ones paying the recruiting services’ bills—to please than does Vanderbilt.

    People always say Bobby Johnson does more with less, but I think it goes largely unnoticed that the staff recruits a lot of SEC-caliber players that just don’t have the recognition coming in that others do, for whatever reason. Our coaches are great at development, and they get a lot of credit for that, but they don’t get enough credit for the recruiting they do, IMO.

  149. I read somewhere that the Indians might trade Cliff Lee to the Phillies if they are willing to give up a top prospect (e.g., Drabeck). Two questions:

    Even though I live in the Philly ‘burbs, I studiously avoid reading or watching anything about the baseball team here, so would Philly be willing to make that trade?

    And how much should we Braves fans fear it?

  150. Who was the ND TE recruit last year that had some extra stars for being a former player’s son but couldn’t even bench more than I can? Dubious system for sure.

  151. Re: Lee.
    Cliff Lee xFIP:
    2004 – 5.06
    2005 – 4.56
    2006 – 5.46
    2007 – 5.57
    2008 – 3.69
    2009 – 4.13

    Plus his HR/FB has hovered around 6% for the past 2 years and 12% in the rest of his career. That likely will regress in Citizens Bank Park. Doesn’t scare me all that much. Though he would help their rotation. Unlike Pedro, who most likely won’t be any better than their Kids.

  152. Anyone see the story a few weeks ago about Miami (under Larry Coker) basing their offers on star ratings from Rivals? That’s the kind of “system” that gets you from the Gables to starting a program up at Texas-San Antonio.

  153. I believe it was Mike Golic’s kid, c. shorter. I remember him being invited to some elite All-American camp despite being pretty mediocre.

  154. It’s between VU and Stanford for Chris Collinsworth’s kid. If he doesn’t decide soon, it’ll be Stanford by default, because our class, at least at his position (WR), is about to fill up.

  155. There’s actually a mini-controversy ’round here about legacy players, Bobby Humphrey’s kid (a WR at Hoover) in particular. Apparently, he’s good enough to play at Arkansas or Ole Miss or Kentucky, but not good enough for Alabama, or at least that’s Saban’s opinion. If he becomes a star, it would be embarrassing to say the least. There’s yet another Castille around, too, but he’s apparently not SEC caliber.

  156. The reason we perhaps should not be sellers is that we may truly get more in compensation picks in the next draft than in trade for Sori or Gonzo.

    Standing pat isn’t always a bad solution. I do wonder if two more 1st round picks would have worked out better than we got for Tex.

  157. “I do wonder if two more 1st round picks would have worked out better than we got for Tex.”

    I do think picks would have been better; I think Kotchman is fodder given his salary; we could find someone else as good for league minimum salary, and have 2 kids in the system. I saw a recent rating of the Braves top prospects, and 16 of the top 19 were pitchers, meaning that as great as Heyward; Freeman; and C. Johnson are (and I think they will be), we have zero middle infield; catching; and 3B prospects. We have CF covered hopefully with Schafer, but there is no infielder (other than 1B) in the entire system right now with MLB potential (with Hicks and Campbell’s flame out this year). We will have to sign someone to replace Chipper; hope like hell McCann holds up; put up with Yunel because we have no alternatives; and hope that between Prado and KJ we have 2B covered. I mean its not like the alternatives are merely bad; they just don’t exist.

  158. Stu,
    You’re right it was Jake Golic.

    he was a two star recruit according to Rivals.

  159. 242 — I see. I just remember the conjecture on this blog regarding the possibility of a better write up because of his dad.

  160. Just got back from the AS game. Was a blast. St. Louis did a great job. My liver is pretty much a rock now.

    Couple of notes:

    Security was intense. Very thorough. Snipers on the roofs, Secret Service everywhere, lots of police. Some guy made a stupid gun comment and (after being checked again) was kicked out in about 10 seconds.

    Everyone I met thought that the B2 flyover was awesome. Most of the B2’s are housed at Whiteman AFB in central Missouri and they used to do bombing runs on the dorms in college. They are really cool though

    Game was good. Seemed like it went pretty quick though. It sucked McCann only got one at bat.

    Very underrated part of AS games: all the different fan jerseys in the same stadium. Very cool to be walking around in that kind of mix.

    After the game, we went to J.Bucks for drinks. The back section was roped off for the Fox Sports after party, but the bathrooms were common. Later on, after going in to pee, I check out the stall next to me, and guess who it is? None other than Tim “I make Chip Caray look good” McCarver. He looked HAMMERED. I couldn’t go into his work, (cause I didn’t want to lie/get kicked out) so I asked him what he thought of the President. Million different things he could say. However, it IS Tim McCarver, so what do you guess the insight was?

    His response: “He was really tall”

    It was priceless. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, but I thought I had to share that.

  161. Tim McCarver: “I find that most Presidents are tall. Tall people tend to run for President. Dave Winfield is tall. You see, when you’re tall, you generate a lot of torque, but you also have a large strike zone. However, some umpires call the same strike zone no matter who the batter is. When I was a catcher, I used to set up in the middle of the plate, but some catchers like to frame pitches. As you can see on the replay here…”

    Ethan: [KILLS SELF]

  162. “In my view, as good as the Yankees were in the first half of this game, that’s how as bad they’ve been now!”

  163. Great stuff, Ethan. Note to self: no gun jokes in the presence of Secret Service. Yep, that’s one I can remember.

  164. doesnt it also depend on who Soriano and Gonzo sign with in the offseason as to how good of draft picks we get

  165. csg, another problem is that we can’t assume Sori and Gonzo will be signed by the other teams. They can both accept arbitration and our payroll will be a mess.

  166. KC,

    I think that both of your situations have a chance of occurring, but the chance is probably not high enough for us to lose sleep over. Soriano has been lights out this year, and Gonzalez has been a relatively reliable, if not overused. They are both top-notch relievers, and have done more than enough to get signed.
    You second concern is probably more realistic, in my opinion. With Rafael Soriano being 29 at the end of the season, and Mike Gonzalez being 31, there is a very real chance that one of them takes the one-year deal while waiting for player salaries to escalate.
    I could be completely wrong, but my money is on the Braves re-signing one and the other rejecting arbitration and going to free agency.

  167. Just read this (and I’m pretty sure that the inspiration was from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers)-


    Twice the amount of MLB players are born in August than in July, with the next highest month being September, and the third highest month- you guessed it- October. He thinks that the reason is the Little League Cutoff date- July 31. This means that the kid born on July 31, 1996 will play in the same division as the kid born on August 1, 1995. Interesting read. Here is another article on the same subject-


  168. desert, my bet is on Gonzo being resigned and Sori will be going to the Cubs. The chance of either one of them being hurt next year is the same in my opinion.

  169. I agree with desert, one stays and one goes.

    I would trade the other though, we need prospects, but we need help now.
    This team could have a large overhaul in the offseason, it is feasible that we will lose one closer, one starter, two middle relievers, a 2B, maybe both ACHE and Diaz, Norton, KJ and probably another in there somewhere, we are looking at like a 1/3 of the roster.

    I dont think I would miss any of them either.

  170. damn Ethan…..you ran into McCarver in the bathroom? sounds like you had a perfect chance to one-up Deion and let it get away.

  171. @241,

    bfan, I agree with you but, in fairness, Kotchman was considered one of the Angels best prospects and had done some good things in the majors. Plus, there is no guarantee that the draft picks would pan out. But, even given that, it wasn’t like it was an overwhelming offer. The big thing seemed to be that the Braves had no other first base prospects so they had to get a first baseman. As mediocre as he is, Kotchman is probably as good or better than anyone else the Braves could have had playing first base, which, as you note, reflects the paucity of positon talent (other than Heyward and, I guess Freeman) in the system. I just hate the idea of having such a mediocrity playing first base; first base is supposed to be a power offensive position.

  172. 241, All I know is, right now, we traded Andrus Harrison, Saltilamachia for Kotchman, pretty one sided!

  173. “All I know is, right now, we traded Andrus Harrison, Saltilamachia for Kotchman, pretty one sided!”

    And Neftali Feliz, one of the top 10 prospects in all of the minors right now, for Kotchman and a year of Teixera. However, the talent for Teix. wasn’t Kotchman’s fault or on his tab; that was just in retrospect a bad decision trying to squeeze one more title out of the chipper/smoltz core (a bad decision I can’t complain about, because I was thrilled to get Teix at the time). Chalk that one up to Frenchie, whose below WAR for the year sucked us out of a devision title the year we acquired Teix.

    The mistake (IMHO) is getting a competant 1B (Kotchman) for fair market salary for Teix., instead of 2 high draft picks. My contention is that you can always find 1B to pay fair market value for (usually good hitters that are athletically challenged); there is no value in trading for that, because you can get it for free on the free agent market. Therefore, we could have just bought a Kotchman on the market, and had the 2 draft choices, by holding on to Teix. for the rest of the year, and offering him arbitration.

  174. #259, yeah if we only had Andrus’ .666 OPS, Salty’s .664 OPS, and Harrison’s 6.11 era instead of Kotchman’s .742 OPS we’d be leading the division.

  175. Ron, the problem with the trade was that in the end, it did not make us a better team.

  176. At this point, Escobar >> Andrus, though Andrus has greater upside.

    I don’t miss Saltalamacchia or Harrison. Feliz is really the only one that really irritates me.

  177. “#259, yeah if we only had Andrus’ .666 OPS, Salty’s .664 OPS, and Harrison’s 6.11 era instead of Kotchman’s .742 OPS we’d be leading the division.”

    I think Harrison will turn out to be fodder/easily replaceable.

    As to the other 2, they occupy the 2 worst hitting positions (SS and catcher); 1B is on average the best hitting position. You simply cannot compare hitting stats of shortstops and 1st basemen. Kotchman’s relevant class is other NL 1B, and as someone showed yesterday, he is lower division and in fact, among 1B with enough AB’s in the national league this year, he is ahead of only Murphy of NY, who is ackowledged to be a disaster and a fill-in for Carlos Delgado, who had an OPS of above .900 last year.

    I don’t know where Andrus and salty sit vs. their own relevant classes, but also note that Elvis is 21; he has a lot of room to grow.

  178. Any chance we can pry Beckham away from the White Sox if they trade for Scott Roland?

    When is Prince Fielder’s contract up? His Dad lives in Atlanta these days. (Not sure if that helps …)

  179. I voted for Pendleton in the poll. I fear him more than any of the others, because he’s widely considered to be Bobby’s heir-apparent. I’m not sure if I agree with that wisdom, but I certainly haven’t seen anything from outside that makes me want TP as manager.

  180. “Any chance we can pry Beckham away from the White Sox if they trade for Scott Roland?

    When is Prince Fielder’s contract up? His Dad lives in Atlanta these days. (Not sure if that helps …)”

    No chance on Beckham.

    I think Milwaukee has a lot of younger cheaper 1B types, and will let Fielder go, perhaps. The question is whether we would pay Ryan Howard money for him, as a FA. With 2 very good-hitting 1B in the pipe-line, or maybe 3 if you count Meija, it would make no sense for us to clog that position with Fielder, as good as he is; we are going to have other holes to fill.

  181. #262, July trades aren’t made for the end. They are made for that season. Tex and Mahay were great in ’07. The Braves just couldn’t get enough good starts out of their starting pitching to win the division. Tex was solid in ’08 too and if the entire rotation other than Jurrjens and much of the bullpen not had major injuries he wouldn’t have been traded and might possibly have won MVP and led the Braves to a championship. You can’t complain about a trade because other players not involved in the trade got injured and made it impossible for your team to win.

    #264, you’re just making excuses now. You wouldn’t accept crap production like that from an actual Braves player. The Braves are better off with Escobar at SS, McCann at C, and Kotchman at 1B than they would be with Andrus, Salty, and… who exactly?

  182. Ethan,

    Great story!

    I saw McCarver in Memphis once at a red light. I looked three times to see if was him. When I confirmed it, I realized there was only one thing I could do, so I rolled down my window and motioned to him to roll down his. I knew I only had one shot at this so I yelled:
    “Hey McCarver, you suck!” and drove off.

    Was it juvenile? Yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

  183. “#264, you’re just making excuses now.”

    Excuses? Comparing the OPS of a SS and a 1B is about as shallow as comparing the OPS of a Colorado Rockie and a San Diego Padre, and not taking context into account. Ask Billy Beane how that has worked out, for Matt Holliday. Go see how Vinny Castillo worked out, outside of Colorado. Kotchman hit sbetter than Andrus? He darn well should; he plays at the biggest hitting position at MLB, where he is failing relative to his peers.

    The Braves would not be better off with Kotchman vs. the 5. Salty would probably be at 1B, and either Andrus or Yunel could be flipped for someone with value. Kotchman has zero value at his position. Even so, that isn’t even the discussion. the discussion is a much lower bar than that; Kotchman vs. Canizares (at league minimum salary) and 2 high draft choices. To me, even that one is clear. Kotchman at this level of production a fair salary for his experience provides no value.

  184. #270, they were brought in to bring us to the playoffs.
    We did not reach that goal, then in the end, we lost out miserably as all those prospects brought us Kotchman and Marek.

    If we signed Tex, or even had a real intention to do so, I would have liked the trade, but we were in the process of stabilizing our payroll around 100 million and we were not going to re-sign him.
    Those are the kinds of trades I do not like nor do I think we can afford.
    It is all about personal philosophy though of what is too much to pay for a player (i mean in trades) and what isn’t.

  185. “I voted for Pendleton in the poll. I fear him more than any of the others, because he’s widely considered to be Bobby’s heir-apparent. I’m not sure if I agree with that wisdom, but I certainly haven’t seen anything from outside that makes me want TP as manager.”

    That’s the key. We are looking from the outside. We just don’t know how good of manager TP will be. He has done wonders with Prado, keeping Yunel consistent, etc.

    Second half: McCann and Chipper have to provide more power period.

  186. 268—Fielder is signed through 2010. We could let him go just in time for one of the young guys—I’m looking at you, Freddie Freeman—to arrive.

  187. From Carroll Rogers story this morning:

    “Look at the dip in numbers for some key hitters late in games, when they face specialist relievers and closers: Garret Anderson’s batting average drops from .313 to .195, Escobar’s from .325 to .217, Casey Kotchman’s from .305 to .210 and Jones’ from .305 to .250.”

  188. if anybody is good enough at their research, i would like to know how many braves’/ex braves’ arms have had to undergo some sort of arm/shoulder surgery. tyler yates is the latest to go down. we should call it the “bobby cox effect”.

  189. Aren’t those OPSs awful even for their respective positions?

    And isn’t Kotchman’s OPS higher than Salty’s, who you said would be playing first right now?

  190. Streaks: L1
    Last 10: 5-5
    Home: 21-21 Road: 22-24
    Runs Scored: 373
    Runs Against: 379

    if we win our next 2 games by 3 runs, we will be the most average team in baseball.

  191. Tonight, we get to laugh at the Mets playing against us with Stenchy in RF. Oh, happy day!

    Hopefully we won’t intentionally walk him.

  192. The folks at Soul Detective wrote up J Hines a few years ago.


    Scroll about halfway down for the bio and killer photo’s.

  193. @281 – Well, why don’t we just blame Cox for Devine as well. I mean, he pitched the guy almost everyday, right? He had to, or else why would he have needed surgery. Oh yeah, they are pitchers – it happens.

  194. @286

    There’s supposed to be about a 50-50 chance of rain this evening, last I heard.



  195. weather channel said like 15% chance, but I dont buy anything they ever tell us. It poured in Birmingham for about 5 hours, I would assume its heading that way. But I’m just a banker so dont worry about what I say or think either

  196. Only supposed to be 103 here in sunny California. Good think it’s a dry heat. Yeah right.

  197. If we make Oliver Perez look good tonight I will be extremely pissed.


    I know. Even though he completely lived up to my expectations, I felt afterward I could have done more with the moment. Too drunk/surprised to be overly clever I guess. It was still good though. He had the drunk guy hand on the wall while he was peeing and that was pretty funny too.

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