My Catharsis

Editor’s Note: We are going to tackle this offseason with a Lawrence Taylor-like vengeance. We will drown our sorrows together in the aftermaths of the worst 1st inning in MLB postseason history with a few pieces, and then we will move on to reflecting on a great regular season and its players. From there, it will be full on 2020 season and looking toward a bright future for this franchise.

If any of you are interested in writing some offseason pieces for Braves Journal and have yet to reach out to me our join our Braves Journal Group Me, email me and let’s make that happen.

Let the grieving commence so the healing of the offseason can prepare us to be broken hearted again.

Pennants that Fly, by Kirk H.

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Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

64 thoughts on “My Catharsis”

  1. JC’d by the narrowest of margins:

    I would favor becoming “The Hammers” if – and only if – it meant that we would also adopt “2 Legit 2 Quit” as our team chant

  2. I’m with you MOWE. There are so many great opportunites from Hammerin’ Hank to Home Depot tie-ins (we’d really need to get Thor from the Mets though right?)

    Great song, do you think Weird Al would sing it for us? He’s already covered American Pie for a Star Wars song.

  3. Also JC’d response to Nick:

    If I’m picking decisions to quibble with, my top 2 were 1) not sticking with Fried in game 1 for one more inning as he looked great (would’ve just let him finish the game honestly) and 2) not sticking with Tomlin in game 4 especially after already letting him pitch to one batter in the 8th.

    On bullpens, the more arms you use, the greater the chance they are going to find one they can hit, so as long as someone is rolling, I prefer to stick with them.

  4. The chop has been washed for about 20 years now, if the only thing we get out of this series is the team to take a fresh look at when and how they apply it to the in game experience then that’s a win.

  5. I think it’s a nice way to placate the people that don’t like the chop for political reasons by just saying you’re going to reduce the use of it. I agree that they need to anyway, so it’s a win-win.

  6. If that offends someone on here, then I apologize. I haven’t read anyone on here that doesn’t like the chop because it’s offensive. I’ve read countless people say it’s simply over-played.

  7. I don’t like the chop because I believe it is taken by some to be offensive and that is enough for me, a fine line I know. Not trying to be PC and say you can’t offend anyone, that would be impossible, but those who are offended as least have a point in this case, even though I feel that 99% of people who chop (if not 100%) have benign intentions (doesn’t make it unoffensive).

    That said, I really don’t feel ill towards anyone who holds a different opinion.

  8. From the last thread: Is it really that bad of Freddie to want Acuna to face the consequences of his actions?

    Yes. Handling discipline inside the clubhouse is one thing, but letting another team take a cheap shot that could have led to an injury without any protest is completely egregious. Allowing another team to legislate the opaque, unwritten rules of baseball that way sends a horrible message to a young player; it sends the message that your organization values “playing the right way” over results on the field and that we’ll let another player punish you. This again is after Freddie already called him out publicly.

  9. I’ve loved the Braves as long as I even knew what baseball was. I am overwhelmingly for The Hammers. It’s time for a change. Hell, SunTrust Park won’t even be SunTrust Park since the merger. Agreed on Hank Aaron, Home Depot, MC Hammer, and so many fun phrases/merch opportunities abound. Also, Chip says every hard hit ball is “hammered” anyway. It’s time to retire using a group of people as mascots. I’m not overly sensitive, but the team needs to look at it from the financial aspect. More inclusive equals more dinero.

  10. The either-or thing on Acuna is dumb.

    He should’ve been thrown under the bus by everybody for not running out a fly ball that really wasn’t close to being a home run late in a tight playoff game. It’s really not hard to keep that from happening, and it shouldn’t just be “part of the deal.” It’s not laziness, it’s the insistence on showboating at every possible opportunity, and there have been several instances this year where prematurely showboating was obviously more important to Ronald than actually making the play. It needs to stop, and it’s not cute or OK.

    None of that makes it OK that, or really has anything to do frankly, with the fact that the Cardinals got a rod up their asses over Acuna watching a 450-foot home run later in the game and then repeatedly threw at him as the series continued. Or that they ridiculously and hilariously seem to have taken exception to the play where Ronald didn’t run out a double…thereby basically taking exception to the fact that Ronald increased their chances of winning. The Braves calling Acuna out for making it harder to win due to his showboating does not mean they’re on the Cardinals’ side as they make complete asses of themselves over five games over Acuna’s antics.

    I don’t see the two things as related at all, and any insinuation that the Braves have to accept Acuna doing things like walking down to first base on high fly balls to right field and dropping already caught fly balls because he’s celebrating before securing the out (which really didn’t get enough play when it happened for what it was BTW), because not doing so makes it OK for opponents to throw at him, is ridiculous.

  11. Also, since it was referenced, I’ll post my JC’d comment about the dumb Fried decision from the last thread:

    The biggest mistake made in this series is actually two-fold, and is related to the handling of the bullpen and the rotation.

    The biggest mistake was a) not leaving Fried in for the eighth in Game 1, and b) not subsequently setting him up for the start in Game 4. Neither move made any sense, and we didn’t gain anything by using Fried in the role that we did. We gained one inning of good relief work in Game 2…that’s it. It was an inning that would’ve been less meaningful had we won Game 1 in the first place, and that probably could’ve been (though not necessarily would’ve been) replicated by Newcomb or somebody else, anyway.

    After the eighth inning of Game 1, we pretty much lost the initiative for the rest of the series. Even though we were the better team on paper, after Game 1 it always seemed (to me, anyway) like the Cardinals were dictating everything and we were just trying to hang on. That’s all traced back to the somewhat limp forfeiture of Game 1 to the Cardinals for no particular reason.

    And even when we won Game 3, neither of our starting pitching choices for Game 4 (the guy who was rejected from the series roster originally or an under-rested Dallas Keuchel) inspired much confidence. Had we won that game and then had Max Fried ready to roll for Game 4, I think you’re looking at a bit of a different story. At the very least, we’d have been back to dictating the action as opposed to just rolling out what we rolled out and hoping that it went OK.

  12. Other than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays changing to The Rays are there any other teams in recent history who have changed their name?

  13. My father, a strange but wonderful man, loved to tell us that he had a friend, Joe Hogbristle, that changed his name to Sam Hogbristle.

    Change the name or keep it, banish the chop or not, I care not one whit. This is my team.

  14. Since we’re polling the site, count me as one who thinks the chop is offensive and dumb.

    I’m good with Hammers and would also propose ATLiens.

  15. Changing names when changing cities is not that uncommon, but changing the name while staying put doesn’t happen that often. If they just dropped the Native American symbology they probably wouldn’t get much pressure to change the name. That said, I’d be perfectly fine with Hammers.

  16. This site did such an astute job avoiding the Chop nonsense too during the postseason, but I guess now that the Braves are eliminated, it’s been drug down into that mire.

    Braves aren’t changing their team name. It’s such a non-starter than I don’t even want to bandy that about at the start of a long offseason, and I see no one else discussing this outside this website. What they do with the Chop will probably boil down to Florida State’s thing, where they’ll say they discussed it with some native American group and got their blessing. It still irks me that this became an issue because of one attention-seeking reporter with The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

  17. I’ve watched St. Pete/Tampa Bay have a bit of a branding issue with the Devil Rays to Rays conversion. Everything changed. The colors, the logo, the name, and I still feel like there’s a weird identity issue where the new logo still hasn’t been unanimously embraced, and the purple from the Devil Rays still fills the stadium. At worst, it’s a 90/10 thing (90% Rays, 10% Devil Rays), but it’s still weird to be walking through a stadium (and city) and seeing all these people treating the Devil Rays stuff as a “throwback”.

    The Braves have been the Braves since ought diggity whatever, and it would be really difficult to change a brand that late in the game. At least the Devil Rays didn’t have much of one before they did it.

  18. @Dan

    We are going to continue pieces daily the rest of this week so hopefully the talk of it can mostly die out in a new thread. I don’t mind talking about to but most definitely don’t want to be something discussed the whole offseason.

  19. @10 and @12- Pretty sure I’m agreeing with both of you, but just let me add: Somewhere there’s a line where, once crossed, you cannot reasonably expect your teammates to have your back when the opposition is targeting you/calling you out or whatever. By not hustling/pimping a HR that proved not to be one, Acuna did not come within a hundred feet of crossing that line. For his team not to stand behind him when the Cardinals were clearly singling him out was therefore, to my mind, a pretty shameful moment for the Braves.

  20. Yeah, changing the name from the Braves just isn’t gonna happen. Even if they removed all American Indian iconography entirely, they’d still stay the Braves, I would think. It wouldn’t mean much of anything, but they’d still have the name and figure out a way to brand it in a non-American Indian direction somehow.

    And I don’t like the name Hammers nearly as much as everybody else seems to, anyway. You may relish having to explain why the team is named after a tool every time someone from out of town finds out you’re a fan, but I do not.

    Getting rid of the Chop very well might happen, and probably will eventually. And when a bunch of people seem more concerned with the fact that they backed off a bit on the Chop (NOTE: I know, nobody on this site has said this…I’m not talking about anyone on this site) than that they were again pantsed in a playoff series, maybe it is time to get rid of it. It seems more people thought of it primarily as an anti-PC middle finger in the air than I thought, and if that’s the primary reason to keep it, it should be trashed posthaste.

  21. @9 I’ve said once before that I’m for keeping the chop; and that’s part because it’s a tradition, and also because I don’t think there’s a single Braves fan doing it with ill intent behind it.

    I recognize some people may feel different, and that’s fine. I respect their right to that. My mind won’t change from my stance most likely, if I’m to be honest.

    I do hate the name Hammers, y’all. I’m sorry! Lol. I said it a few times aloud, and it just doesn’t roll. I also would never want to wear my “Hammers” apparel into the local hardware store, and be asked for assistance. I also almost always hate re-branding a sports franchise. The Bullets should’ve always stayed the Bullets, and never the Wiz. Now they’ve got the curse of Dumbledore. I also hated saying Charlotte Bobcats, but that’s a bit apples to oranges.

    Anyway, just throwing my two cents in on the other side because the question was raised.

    Now can we please decline Kakes option, like, today?

  22. @10 I’m very much with you on this, Alex.

    If Snit, Freeman, Markakis, Donaldson or anybody else wants to say something to Acuna in the clubhouse, I have zero issue with it. You say what needs to be said in private, and you move on.

    Publicly, you support your teammate though no matter what when it comes to on field stuff. That’s especially important when you’re talking about a 21 year old. Let’s not forget that it was only a few short months ago that the law recognized him as being legally mature enough to drink. There are going to be times enthusiasm is going to cross the line into showboating, and a playoff game shouldn’t be one. It’s easy to forget though that he was surely excited.

    If Freeman ever once, even for a second, thought when Acuna was drilled it was justified for any reason, he’s a poor fit for a team leader. Fact is the benches should’ve cleared, and guys should’ve been ready to whoop some Cardinal tail. You’re down by more than a TD anyway because you showed no heart, so show some fight for just once.

    I’ve long felt the reason this team fails so frequently in the playoffs though is “the Braves way.” This idea that there’s a certain way you’ve got to win, and I guess apparently part of that is you can’t be disliked by the opposition. Where’s the guy who doesn’t want to have tea with Molina though? Show me the dude who could give a crap less if he’s on Flaherty’s Christmas card list, or the man who ain’t scared to put a Redbird in the dirt if he has to in order to stand up for his teammate.

    When the Braves find a handful of those, that’s when I feel you’ll see more World Series winners.

  23. Sorry that the formatting on this piece made it a bit wonky to get to the comments section. That’s fixed now. Apparently I didn’t have enough text lines on there for the “continue reading” configuration to appear.

    Read the editor’s note that I inserted as I think it’s important as we keep the bar hopping this offseason.

  24. @8, I don’t like the Chop and I believe it’s offensive – generally, I’d have much less of a problem if the Braves had a relationship with the Native American community that the Chop is meant to evoke, like the FSU Seminoles do, or the Chicago Blackhawks do. But ultimately, I’m not the judge. Enough people are uncomfortable that I will be happy to see the back of it.

  25. Changing the team name would be great for the merchandizing department. Hell you could change it every two years or so. Who gives a flip about tradition anyway? People can look back at Hank’s numbers and think; Braves? who were they?

  26. That’s what they used to do. You know we used to be the Red Stockings and the Beans and the Bees, right? We only got named the Braves because our former owner was a Tammany Hall man and he wanted to honor the mascot of his club. It’s a pretty weird story for the franchise’s longest-tenured – but by no means first – nickname.

  27. I have an old friend who’s Native American. She doesn’t mind the team moniker, but she is disgusted by the chop. That’s just one person, of course.

  28. @28: “You may relish having to explain why the team is named after a tool every time someone from out of town finds out you’re a fan, but I do not.”

    Do you often get asked why the team is called the Braves? And what do you say? Do you share the obscure, but correct, background that AAR mentions @36?

    I, for one, would rather tell the story of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, arguably the best all-around player in the history of the major leagues, than the Tamany Hall story. And if it keeps me from having to wade into the muddy waters of racial insensitivity, all the better.

    The Indians used to be called the Naps, in honor of Nap Lajoie. If tradition is so important in baseball, why not celebrate a great player of an earlier era?

  29. PSA: if the “Continue Reading” button is ever missing you can also click the Braves Journal home plate logo just under the the post title to get to the comments section.

  30. Several of y’all, incl. AAR @33 & Dusty @9, have summed up how I feel about the Chop pretty well. It’s one thing to make a mascot out of marginalized people. It’s another thing to stereotypically mimic said marginalized folks dozens of times per game. I am not at all trying to castigate folks for doing it– as y’all have said, I know that it’s likely done benignly by 99.9% of us (hell, I grew up with it), but I agree that it’s long past time for it to go, and just b/c it might not offend you, I feel like you have to at least see how someone else could pretty easily take it another way. And it would be so easy to just not do it.

    Re: name changes, imagine not what we’d be losing but what we could gain. Like, tens of thousands of people waving foam Cadillacs, screaming the chorus to “So Fresh, So Clean” after the ATLiens load the bases.

  31. Perhaps the polls need to be separated as in 1) keep the chop vs. ditch the chop and 2) keep the name vs change the name (doesn’t have to be hammers but you are missing a great opportunity IMO).

  32. Give the Twitter poll on our Braves Journal page a retweet if you don’t mind. Would love to get a wide-ranging sample on this.

  33. I’d rather avoid discussion of the chop and the team name in this forum. FWIW (not much) I’d ditch the chop and change the name, but the whole discussion runs the risk of violating the no politics rule. That rule is one of Mac’s many influences that makes this site so good.

  34. I expected more like 60/40 in favor of keeping, but I’m much more interested in how the folks on here breakdown as opposed to “Braves Twitter.”

  35. 46 – While I sympathize with that view and agree it could move us into divisive places, we are talking about our team name and the cheer done at our stadium. If there’s a discussion to be had about it, there’s no place I’d rather have it than with the thoughtful people who traffic this site.

    I don’t think the issue is political though some could certainly politicize it and we should avoid doing that as much as we can.

  36. It’s not political. The chop is bad for business – maybe not specifically bad for Atlanta Braves business, but bad for MLB as a whole. We’re going to be pressured to end it, probably already have been. So just end it. Maybe that can change the karma. Atlanta sports (and FSU, lol) could use a change.

    ATLiens will never happen in million years, but oh man think of all the opportunities for excellence here. “I’m sorry Luke Jackson…”.

  37. I knew twitter folks and folks here were different, but wow, after 200+ votes on twitter it’s 82-18 in favor of keeping and here (admittedly very early) it’s 5-1 in favor of ditching it.

  38. Folks here don’t participate in the polls very much. Our unique visitor number is about triple what the poll participants are. That’s why I incorporated Twitter to get a larger sample.

    To be honest, I thought we’d see Twitter be more in favor of ditching it and Braves Journal be more in favor of keeping it.

    What do I know…

  39. I am still just reveling in the idea that the Nats had to get rid of Harper before winning a playoff series. As far as I can tell, the first playoff series win in franchise history going back through Spos.

    And combine that with the fact that neither Harper’s nor Machado’s teams were above .500 much less playoff teams. It takes more than one $300M player to win in this league. Trout’s teams don’t win many playoff games either.

    I don’t think the Nats will keep up, though, if they lose Rendon.

  40. @54 I don’t always think the overall $300 million contract is prohibitive to winning. In fairness to Machado, it’s tough to win when your GM surrounds you with guys like Hosmer and Myers on large deals; and you have to tell him it might be a good idea if they keep Tatis and Paddack in the Bigs. Lol.

  41. @51–I wasn’t but it’s now in my head to stay. And KirkH, even if this does turn out to be your peak, you’ve reached heights the rest of us will never attain.

  42. Looking ahead to 2020 position player wise:

    First base, second base, and whichever corner Acuña plays in are concrete for next season.

    With the amount of other question marks, I think the Braves will stay with Dansby at shortstop especially since he is still cheap. I also think the Braves will stay with Ender Inciarte in CF though he has a higher possibility of being traded.

    Catcher: I think the Braves exercise the option on Tyler Flowers. He is a cromulent part time catcher in a poor market. They need to find a second catcher. Bringing back Cervelli is one possibility. Alex Jackson wouldn’t be my choice…he struck out way too many times in Triple A and I think he might not even break the Mendoza line in the big leagues. There aren’t a lot of appealing options on the free agent market. ( I expect the Brewers to exercise the option on Yasmani Grandal.). I expect the Braves to try to bring back Cervelli and if they can’t then they will have to settle for someone on the free agent market like Jason Castro.

    Third base: If the Braves can’t keep Donaldson, then I expect them to let Camargo and Riley battle for the job in Spring Training.

    I don’t know if the Braves will be willing to go more than 2 years on a contract with Donaldson with him going into his age 34 season. My feeling is that another team will give him 3 or even 4 years. The Braves will probably give him a qualifying offer and get a 1st round draft pick for compensation.

    OF — I predict that the Braves finally cut the cord with Markakis this offseason: his age and performance down the stretch and in the NLDS making them wary. With Inciarte and Acuña pencilled in for CF and RF, look for them to make a splash to acquire a big bat for LF. If they somehow fail to do that, Duvall and/or Riley would be the fallback options with the Braves looking to make an acquisition at the trade deadline. I feel like the Braves want to start Pache and Waters at Gwinnett. Both have some warts and are not can’t miss guys.

  43. Ryan.

    If you want winter copy from additional sources I have been known to have an opinion or two, some of it in verse. If you and Rob can stand that thought put me down for it please. Thanks.

  44. @58, it’s questionable whether Cervelli wants to be a C anymore. He was willing to for our stretch run but may not have any interest over a full season. My guess is we go look for a LH partner for Flowers as a FA.

    I expect Pache to be in CF by June 2020. Whether that means you play Ender there until he arrives or trade Ender in the offseason and let Acuna keep the seat warm, I dunno. Might be easier to trade Ender in the offseason if they’re going to.

    I also think Donaldson’s market may not be quite as robust as he’d probably hope, given his age and teams’ general reluctance to sign older players to longer deals.

  45. Inciarte and Markakis are in the same do-not-want boat for me. We need 2 OF and most likely a 3B. Riley *might* fill one of those roles, but obviously there’s reason for worry. You might be able to play Pache in CF if you don’t care about his offense, but that will strain the rest of the lineup. Waters needs more time in AAA.

    The front office is going to have a tough time fielding a better team in 2020 unless they upon up the purse strings.

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