The New Guy

Alex has told you that I’ll be serving as editor for the site going forward. I’ve been able to do some writing here in the last few years, and you obviously see me in the comments on the daily. I’m happy to do it since this is my favorite blog on the internet, it’s been my go-to for as far back as my internet days go, and I really like the cast of characters here.

I seem to remember reading this site as far back as when I was in middle school. Not all of the comments survived Mac’s conversion of the site, but the first comment I can find was June 2003. I would have been 15 at the time, and I’m 31 now. I’ve enjoyed this site as a high schooler, a college student, a 20-something, and now in my 30’s. I definitely remember my Mom walking into the computer room and saying, “You need to stop reading that Braves Journal and go do your homework.”

Just a little bit more about me. My name is Rob Copenhaver. I’m 31, as I mentioned, and I sell real estate in St. Petersburg, FL. I’ve been a Braves fan as far back as I can remember, and I’ve resisted the urges to become a Tampa Bay Rays fan even though my home is about 10 minutes from the Trop. My earliest memory of the Braves was Dwight Smith’s walk-off grand slam in 1995. As a result, for a long time, I thought Dwight Smith was the best player on the Braves. We grow up, don’t we? I’m also a big Florida Gators fan. I’m married, and we have 2 dogs. Over the last couple years, I’ve become not so much an overall sports fan as simply a major league baseball and college football fan, and the older I get, the more I just want to be a student of baseball, not so much just a fan.

As for Mac, I never met the man, but I felt like I knew him really well. His sense of humor, his knowledge, his creativity, and his overall temperament made this site fun. He always had a special place in my heart. I remember the day I read that he had passed. I went to a quiet spot, and I cried. I cried like I lost a friend. I did lose a friend. But fortunately, a lot of the style of Braves Journal has continued over 5 years later. There are bigger blogs. They have the affiliation of large networks and the benefit of search engine optimization and all sorts of things that make it difficult for a small, independent blog to reach their size. But they don’t have this.

Going forward, I’m hoping to bring back some things that Mac did well. I’d like to introduce similar things like his “Road from Bristol” and “64 Worst Atlanta Braves” (certainly some recent names we can add to that list). And we have plenty of SEC football fans, so you’ll see some more SEC content on here. But otherwise, you’ll see the same place. I wouldn’t mind a few more people joining us.

I appreciate you letting me help.

85 thoughts on “The New Guy”

  1. Very happy to have you leading this blog now, Rob. I must have started reading and sometimes commenting here around the same time as you. This site has been a constant for me while moving through three different countries to work and live. Thank you so much for keeping it running. Best place on the internet.

  2. 31? Whippersnapper!

    Thank you, Rob. We’uns at the old folks palace pledge to keep grumbling and grumping about all things Braves.

  3. Congrats Rob and thank you to Alex for guiding this blog after Mac. I don’t comment often but read pretty much daily and I do enjoy this blog a lot. Am so ready for P&C to return and need to find a way to sneak my daughter out of school (Sr in HS this year) down for a couple of games. She may feel some kind of bug coming on – who knows…


  4. All right, picture this. Snowy ash drizzles from the sky. A rabid pack of dogs surrounds you as the flame at the end of your stick dies out. You look to your left. There’s Sam Hutcheson. You look to your right. There’s Sam Hutcheson. This is what the end of times will look like.

    (I plagiarized Dwight Schrute slightly.)

  5. @9

    ‘most multi-generational’…

    either we have a bunch of teenagers on here…

    or, rather more likely…

    he is referring, obliquely, to us old farts, we special few..

    Alex, God speed, in my native tongue –

    ‘You’re no awa’ tae bide awa’.


    A good time I think to assess what the wishes of you and the membership are regarding verse on this blog. A new year, a new editor. There’s been evidence enough these last couple of years that if there is a problem it’s not one of input from my end – ha ha – but rather you guys reaction to it which has been missing this last year. Previously we did have one healthy exchange on the topic, the majority but not all against. I wrote Alex, he gave me carte blanche so i did.

    Now it strikes me i need to ask you all to give some indication. This past year i’m worried it’s been ‘toujours la politesse’ – input please, thanks. I don’t want to guess.

  6. I will weigh in… I don’t mind your poetry most of the time because I can page down if I’m not in the mood to read it. The one time I definitely do not care for it is when you are trying to make some legitimate point to some on going discussion but you embed the point in poetry. I hate having to try to parse and interpret what the point you are really trying to make is when it is dressed up in poetry. I wish you would keep the poetry to non-relevant stuff so it is more clear (can I say that?) what exactly you are saying for relevant statements. My $0.02.

  7. A rabid pack of dogs surrounds you as the flame at the end of your stick dies out. You look to your left. There’s Sam Hutcheson. You look to your right. There’s Sam Hutcheson. This is what the end of times will look like.

    A world with multiple me would be amazeballs. We should start replacing people with my clones.

  8. @21 Hap, thanks for breaking the ice.

    Pure Black Mirror. You and Rob should join forces and submit a script for Series 5.

  9. I enjoy poetry about as much as anyone. I actually go to 2-4 poetry festivals a year. But, I would rather do without it on this blog

  10. Great to have you Rob. As a Braves fan in Michigan, I have held this blog dear for many years and truly appreciate all of you!

  11. Poetry is fine. It lightens the mood, can be fun to unravel, and it fits the carnivalesque atmosphere around the Braves right now.

  12. As a general thought process, like Mac and Alex, I really appreciate all of the different ways people express themselves on here, like how Sam does so by being a moron (kidding). I think that’s one of the best things about this place. I would prefer capitalization and punctuation where appropriate, but obviously nothing like that would be required. But also as a general rule, be respectful to the people on here. I think that’s the one thing Mac stressed continually, so if a lot of people don’t like the rhymes, then take note. That doesn’t appear to be the case, though.

  13. I don’t mind the poetry. I tend to scroll past when I’m not in the mood. But even when I’m not in the mood to read it, I don’t get mad it’s here. So, I’d say keep on rhyming.

    EDIT: Yeah, what Rob said. Don’t be a dick to each other. Even if you’re being a dick. If you catch my drift.

  14. I believe the first autograph I ever got was from Gil Garrido, so that puts me firmly on the you-kids-get-off-my-lawn side of the age spectrum. I enjoy the poetry.

  15. I played that damn Braves version of “Talking Baseball” a thousand times on my crappy record player as a kid…Garr and Gil Garrido, Sugar Bear and Pete and Davey May…argghhh get out of my head.

  16. Personally, I find some of the military history a bit much but love the weird range of the talents on this board. I’d make this into a poem, but I kind of suck at that.

  17. Re: poetry, military history, college football, etc, I’ll repeat a point I’ve made here and there over the years. Stable, quality, effective digital communities thrive on weirdness, diversity* of conversation and styles, and the willingness and ability of the members to chatter about random “off topic” threads with the same ease they have with on topic debates. The more tightly admins and mods demand on topic fealty the deader and more staid the forum will become. Human beings banter. They wander and meander. They don’t stick religiously to the proper topic. The more folks here are allowed their personal weirdness, the better and more stable this community will remain.

    *the extent to which this is true in real communities as well should be obvious, but I’d hate to trigger folks’ “NO POLITICS!” trick knees.

  18. Sam Freeman avoided arbitration with basically a $1M deal. Pretty cheap for a half-way decent lefty in the pen. He held LHBs to a .189 BA last year, so if used right, he could be a real asset. Sadly, only 2/5 of the hitters he faced were lefties. He got Snitkered.

  19. @38, If Rob wants to get rid of the rule that says “No politics” as one of his first acts as editor, he’s free to do so.

    Here’s what Mac wrote and enshrined on the About page:

    “The commenting policy is simple. Be nice to me, and be nice to your fellow posters. Don’t use extreme profanity. Don’t make comments slandering entire groups of people. Use common sense. Basically, treat this forum like a civilized conversation. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother to hear you say, or that would likely provoke a fight in person. Don’t discuss politics or religion, two things that get people riled up and which nobody’s going to come to an agreement on.”

    There’s a lot of wisdom in that: “Be nice…” “Don’t slander entire groups of people”… “No politics or religion…” “Don’t rile people up…”

    Forums that adhere to those precepts live on, those that don’t almost always become something far different and more fragmented than how they began. Some commenters are unaware of how they drive the forum into a more fragmented direction, or they don’t care. Why modify their own behavior when through sheer force of will they can dominate others into modifying their own…or just simply leave and not come back?

    Me, I’m not a flagrant rule breaker so I’m always going to be at a disadvantage. I’ll always look like the uptight paintywaist when some commenters evoke the slander of entire groups of people. But Mac’s posted rules are pretty clear and I try to adhere to them the best I can, and when I don’t I’m pretty quick to falling in line when the whip is cracked.

    But like I said, if the mayhem of politics is what y’all want, then it’s pretty easy to change that rule. Just click the site editor and modify the text on Mac’s old rules. Easy and done. I’ll obey those rules, too.

    PS: Blazon, I like your poetry, even when I don’t like a particular poem. The criticism of burying the advancement of an argument inside a poem ought to be well taken, but otherwise I dig them.

  20. I post what makes me happy. Sometimes I imagine that it made one other person happy. The site’s not designed for people to give easy feedback, so it’s not a place to come looking for “likes.”

    Things that make me happy include referring to hilarious things that happened in the last century, following the community standards, and making lists of 3. Y’all got your own show to run.

  21. Yeah, the “no politics or religion” long-standing rule is still in effect.

    Genuinely curious of how Sam speaks to his mother. I’ll never know, and that’s probably a good thing.

    In other news, if you’re on the Twitter machine, a new Twitter account was created: @Braves_Journal. We gave it the old college try and wasn’t able to recover Mac’s password. It wasn’t a very active account anyway. But give us a follow if you’re so inclined.

    Coop, Twitter is a website.

  22. @38

    That was one of the most perceptive comments I’ve read online anywhere, and I definitely agree. And as for rambling and meandering, well, i’m as good at that as anyb…


  23. @47

    Jo Po
    his career was all go
    then a large advance
    locked him in to the Penn State dance.

    He was very unlucky with the timing of the scandal as it broke. He had planned a year plus for the book and had Joe’s ok to live on campus with unlimited access to the Great Man. The advance, 250K, used to keep the wolf far from the door. It was all hunky dory, one of the family, blah blah.

    Inevitably then, when the story broke and only got bigger and Paterno lied through his teeth till the day he died, Jo’s loyalties were torn. He took too long to put his reporter’s cap back on and had an embarrassing time explaining himself then and later. Presumably the book’s sales and his anticipated royalties were way off.

    I’ve always liked Jo for two reasons. He can write – rather like Vin Scully can talk except with Jo you never knew what he was going to say next- (lifelong Royals fan).

    He was also a fighter. Set up in fancy sounding jobs he then moved to, SI and others, he did not get the support required and had to move on – cf Frank Deford at The National. But move on he always did and it’s good to see him today. A lesson learned though, he may be best remembered for this.

  24. @ 50 – Agreed; when we moved to KC, he was the local columnist for the Kansas City newspaper, and I quickly became a fan.

    Outside of the pure talent with prose; he’s always had the ability (at least for me) to be able to capture my attention and hold it without having to devolve into the “hot-take” style of journalism that seems to be so prevalent today.

    His article on Mac was wonderful as well.

  25. Donaldson just resigned for $23 MM on his final year of arbitration. That’s got to be close to a record. Will be interesting to see what kind of deal he gets next offseason if he puts together another 5+ WAR season.

    He’ll be the Harper/Machado consolation price, but something like 5 years $175 million wouldn’t shock me.

  26. I don’t post much but I’ve lurked here for years. Let me say congrats to Rob, and look forward to many more good years of Braves Journal.

    Blazon, put me down in favor of your verse as well. Poetry and baseball should be combined far more often. I don’t come here for hard hitting analysis, I come here for community and tradition. I could care less about how effective Blazon’s rhymes are at winning an argument.

  27. @60 .220/.300/.450. An all or nothing guy that could work a walk. You could make an argument that that would help his HoF case.

  28. Folty and the Braves did not come to an agreement for arb so they are likely headed to an arb hearing figures to be exchanged tonight. The exception the Braves make to their file and trial policy is if a player works out a multi-year deal before the arb hearings.

    The only other arb hearing the Braves have had in the last 17 years was Mike Minor (who won his arb hearing ($5.6 vs. $5.1).

  29. Vizzy avoids @ $3.4M. Winkler avoids @ $600K.

    Things will be interesting with Folty. In this case, I feel like it says more about the player than the team that they can’t reach an agreement.

  30. I agree somewhat Rob. If I had to choose the one I thought wouldn’t come to terms he would’ve been the one. However all of ATL’s agreement have been below MLBTR’s estimates so it’s possible the Braves were really low-balling and he was right to bet on himself.

    ATL was $200,000 under MLBTR on Winkler and Freeman and $300,000 under on Vizzy. Folty was projected at $2.7 so if ATL was offering $2.4, I can see seeking $2.8-$3.0 thru arb.

  31. Well, that’s sort of why I said that. With MLBTR projecting $2.7M and Vizzy and Winkler coming in below that, does Folty really think he deserves more than $2.5-2.7M, and is it worth it to go to arbitration to get that? Before Donaldson reached his agreement, he had said on MLB Network this morning that the arbitration process, to his understanding, could hurt long-term negotiations, and based on our understanding, obviously we can see that. Is it worth it for Folty to go to arb to pull that much out when his performance to date makes him a fringe MLB starter and a candidate for the bullpen as soon as this year? Why not take $2.5M and earn a much bigger number in arb-2?

    Sadly, I think there’s a gap between how Folty perceives himself and the way umpires, hitters, his team, and autograph seekers at Chick-fil-A do. The John Maxwell principle of “if Bob is consistently having problems with people, Bob is probably the problem” is starting to apply to him.

  32. I’m with you, I see both sides of why you wouldn’t come to an agreement though. For a pitcher especially, who could blow out an elbow or shoulder at anytime you’ve got to get what you can while you can. Teams don’t typically show great care in the usage of pitchers so I think it’s right to try and get compensated as soon as the system allows.

    From the Braves side, Folty is in the first of 4 arb years so this year will set the baseline. I get trying to start that baseline as low as you can.

  33. Do you think he’ll get above his MLBTR projection? They’ve been high on almost everybody who avoided arbitration today.

  34. I would ask $2.7-$3.0 and I’d think the Braves counter around $2.3-$2.5.

    Before researching I would’ve bet on Folty, however, Thor only got $2.975 this year and looking at last year’s super twos is a mixed bag. Of the ones that went to arb: Stroman won ($3.4 vs $3.1) and Chase Anderson ($2.85 vs $2.45) and Taijaun Walker ($2.6 vs $2.25) lost.

    Also of note from last year Bauer settled at $3.55, DeGrom $4.05, Gausman $3.45, Paxton $2.35 and Salazar $3.4.

  35. Were the names in your last paragraph all arb-1?

    And Chief, I actually think his slugging would be closer to .350 to .400 vs the .450 I said earlier. But I still think he could must a .300 OBP if he could put a few balls over the fence every now and again.

    Raffy Palm would hit .150/.175/.200. I don’t know what he thinks he’s trying to do, but I don’t think it’s happening.

  36. @61/62

    Thanks to both. Yes, exactly, there is a natural connection, surely. There is so much romance – and nonsense- in the game it’s fun having such a broad swath to follow and dig around in. And as far as i know our mix here is unique.

  37. This hot stove league
    there is no danger of trading fatigue
    what might help things along
    Yellich calls and says ‘I’m yours for a song’.

  38. This hot stove league
    there is little danger of trading fatigue
    what might help things along
    Yellich calls and says ‘I’m yours for a song’.

  39. Late comment, but congratulations, Rob! I may infrequently post, but like you, have enjoyed reading the site for many years. Happy to have you stewarding the site – and happy that Alex will still be joining in the conversation when time allows.

  40. This hot stove league
    there seems little danger of trading fatigue
    what might help things along
    Yellich calls and says ‘I’m yours for a song’.

  41. Catching up on the thread – I like the poetry; I can skip reading if I’m not in the mood. And please, please keep the editorial guidelines in place regarding civil discourse and no politics. The intelligent and civil dialog (about the Braves, of course) creates the appeal. When I read the site, I feel like I’m joining a bunch of Braves fans over a beer. There’s no better place to be than that.

  42. A pitcher awaiting his arb
    has appeared in full legal garb
    his wig though is blondish
    and he’s rather too fondish
    of sulking, a likely rhubarb.

  43. @74 – Agreed. Even if I don’t believe it probable at this point, I think we’re all still hoping Folty breaks out, and even if he doesn’t, there is still an elite reliever in there. The value to the future relationship should be easily worth the 100k in avoiding him hearing you bash him to an arb board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *