Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

20 Jul

Bob Wickman

Bob Wickman Statistics –

Sort of a cross between Jeff Reardon, ca. 1992, and Danny Kolb, ca. whenever. He’s a great big fat guy who used to be a top closer. Wickman was one of the many, many young players whose career was almost derailed by the Yankees’ free agent gluttony in the early nineties. He managed to stay in the majors and eventually was dealt to the Brewers.

After a year in middle relief, he became their closer in 1998. He was traded to the Indians in 2000 and has been there since. Last season, he made the all-star team for the second time and led the league in saves. However, his strikeout rate went from one per inning to about 2/3 per inning, and this year it’s dropped to 17 in 28 IP. It’s very worrisome. His 4.18 ERA is inflated by one really bad outing, and he is 15 of 18 in save opportunities.

Wickman has 229 career saves. I don’t really believe in the closer mystique. I figure any good reliever (except LaTroy Hawkins) can close games. Wickman’s capable. But I am nervous about that strikeout rate.

241 Responses to “Bob Wickman”

  1. 1
    Jeremy Says:

    The good news about his periphs is his HR rate is way down – from 1.2 last year to .5 this year. So there’s that. His low K rate coupled with a high WHIP is a bit worrisome. Plus his G/F ratio is at a career low, although it isn’t affecting his HR rate.

    He’s far from great, but I can live with this deal.

  2. 2
    Kyle S Says:

    Max Ramirez is not a blue chipper; he’s a little too old for the Sally league, and my spidey sense tells me he’s not going to stick at catcher.

    Still, Wickman is a slightly less crappy version of Dan Kolb. I mean, he’s better than nothing I guess, but certainly nothing special.

  3. 3
    jfwiii Says:

    Max Ramirez was one of the few guys who actually looked good in the Braves’ system. He was hitting .285/.408/.449 at Rome and was #6 on John Sickels’ list of Braves prospects heading into the year (probably headed for the top 3 next year, since Salty and James were ahead of him). Rob Neyer seemed to think he’s been converted to third base this year (I don’t know myself), presumably because of Salty and McCann. That makes this trade slighly more disappointing, since the Braves could probably use a solid 3B prospect for a few years from now.

    I don’t think Wickman’s enough help to make a big difference this year. This is a short-sighted (though not devastating) move if you ask me.

  4. 4
    Andy H. Says:

    I like this deal. Not a pennant-clencher by any means, but it helps at little cost. I’d like to get a set-up guy (I’m assuming there is no chance that Wickman won’t be the closer, regardless of who else might be aquired), but I wonder if JS is looking for another starter.

  5. 5
    Smitty Says:

    He was the best clsoer out there. He has been in this situation and he adds some stability. I would now like to go out and get a guy who can strike people out. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. 6
    jj3bagger Says:

    Wickman always seems to make things interesting in the 9th, but more often than not, he gets the job done, which is a helluva lot more than I can say for the other folks we’ve tried at closer this season. Ray seems more comfortable in the 8th than he does in the 9th. Wickman is big and fat and this is most likely his last season, which gives us flexibility next year. As has been said, the Braves dealt from organizational depth, so no complaints there. I had read where the Braves were looking at Mota and Wickman, I guess they couldn’t match up on Mota. One or two more guys and the bullpen and we’ll be set. Wickman isn’t great, but he’s better than what he had and I don’t really see much better out there (unless Tom Gordon becomes available). Another arm like Scott Williamson or Scott Linebrink would be appreciated, but at least JS isn’t “just doing book signings and not on the phones,” like others have suggested in here.

  7. 7
    ububba Says:

    Funny, my first thought was Jeff Reardon—y’know, in an older-closer-on-his-last-legs, probably-gonna-give-it-up-in-some-painful-fashion, but-better-than-what-we-got-now sense.

    But I wasn’t gonna go there for fear of stirring too many bad memories. And we’d be lucky if he faced the Blue Jays again this year.

  8. 8
    Godot Says:

    Max ramirez is not going to stick as catcher but he has some pop.
    the following link talks about his splits…
    also his BABIP was very high early in the year when he was going good, dont know how much of that was skill.

    Max Ramirez

  9. 9
    pedro Says:

    I don’t know if it would be wise to trade Betemit to San Diego for Linebrink. He’s pitching in a BIG pitcher’s ballpark. Now that Bobby has a “closer” he can figure how to use the bullpen. Let’s hope Hudson and Ramirez can turn things around. I think we have a chance at a pennant.

  10. 10
    Johnny Says:

    A salary dump by the Indians, plain and simple. I’m ok with this since I didn’t think that the Braves would do anything. Even Bob Wickman is better than handing a 1 run lead to (insert the name of a sucky Brave’s reliever here). I just hope that the Reardon effect and he goes straight down the crapper.

  11. 11
    Johnny Says:

    I can’t type. I meant to say I hope that the Reardon effect doesn’t take hold of Wickman. Of course its been pointed out here that Reardon actually pitched good for us down the stretch. However my enduring memories of him are from his disasterous stint in the World Series against the Jays.

  12. 12
    oldtimer? Says:

    It is not a bad trade, should we try and trade Giles for another reliever now?

  13. 13
    bmac Says:

    I like Kyle’s analysis of this move. Picking up a serviceable (I hope) reliever for a low minors prospect makses sense, but I’m leery of Wickman’s similarities to Kolb.

  14. 14
    Johnny Says:

    Sorry for the triple post, but I’m echoing comments from the previous thread. I’d love to see another arm acquired. Because we are in the sucky league we still have a chance at the post season.

  15. 15
    pedro Says:

    I hope Reardon has at least one good season with the Indians, that way it would be a nice trade for both teams. You don’t want to make a bad trade with other teams.(Ask the Yankees )

  16. 16
    pedro Says:

    I wonder when he will have his first blown save with an Atlanta uniform.

  17. 17
    doubledawg Says:

    The real ticket would have been to deal Giles to chicago for Maddux. Giles hits nearly .400 wrigley and needs the tiny park in the post-roid era.

    Maddux would be lights out as a closer. If he knew he only had to pitch one inning, see each batter once, he’d dominate. I bet he’d have the fastball back up and just humiliate guys.

  18. 18
    Grst Says:

    All that being true, Mac, he still instantly becomes the best pitcher in our pen. Given what was available, I’m pleased.

  19. 19
    oldtimer? Says:

    Maddux as a closer?

  20. 20
    Colin Says:

    A trade that’s worth a whirl. Low cost for ATL (iespected to see the name Saltalamacchia in the article), and even the medicrity of wickman is an improvement over Sosa/Reitsma/etc.


    I hope.

    I bet there’s more to come.

  21. 21
    Colin Says:

    The real ticket would have been to deal Giles to chicago for Maddux.

    Um, no. Maddux is a mediocrity now – a cheap tim hudson, and there’s absolutely no way in hell that a player’s manager like Bobby would ever, ever try Maddux at closer. Never.

  22. 22
    Smitty Says:

    Is anyone else pumped?

  23. 23
    ububba Says:

    I’d say I’m more encouraged than pumped.

  24. 24
    Smitty Says:

    Now our starters only HAVE to go 7

  25. 25
    JoshEngleman Says:

    I’m just not sure we couldn’t have gotten a more live arm for Max. Wickman has been bad this year. His WXRL (basically reliever wins, for those not familiar) is -0.85, which would put him ahead of only Remlinger and Sosa. Every single other reliever on the Braves has been better. I don’t know if it could be used as a mental thing, with everyone on the team getting picked up by the fact that they have a “closer” coming in, but I don’t see it. There are alot of guys doing as bad as Wickman on the market which have alot more life in the arm than him.

  26. 26
    Smitty Says:

    The Blue Jays are about to fall out of it. I wonder if they have any arms we could have

  27. 27
    Stu Says:

    We could have perhaps packaged Ramirez to get a more live arm, but there’s no way we get anything better than Wickman straight-up. Ramirez is stil in A-ball, and we only got Wickman because the Indians are looking to dump salary.

  28. 28
    doubledawg Says:

    thats mostly based on Leo’s book where he speaks about how Maddux liked pitching relief in the post-season. Maddux was thrilled to go out and face batters knowing that he could use any and all pitches against them, without having to reserve something for the next 2 at bats.

    given that the cubs stink, maddux cannot pitch effectively as a starter anymore, he’s still solid in the 1st inning, he probably still has a house in country club, his golfing buddies are here, possible play-off run, and the general suckiness of the Cubs, their fans, and WGN, he may consider it.

    its not a serious proposal, but I like the idea of the Maddog being back. The only braves t-shirt I own is a Maddux one that I bought after soaking through a dress shirt in the heat of a business man’s special. i’d like it to be relevant again.

  29. 29
    csg Says:

    Is Wickman a FA after this year…Whats his current salary

  30. 30
    Smitty Says:

    Maddux makes too much money and isn’t coming back. Let’s not talk about it anymore.

    New name for our bull pen:

    Tubby McGoo and Gasoline!

  31. 31
    Stu Says:

    Yes, and he makes $5MM this season, less than half of which we’re on the hook for.

  32. 32
    Smitty Says:

    Wickman is a free agent after this season. He only signs one year deals

  33. 33
    Smitty Says:

    I still think we need to go out and get a guy who can throw the heat.

  34. 34
    Mike M. Says:

    Majewski just gave up the go ahead run to the Mets in the top of the 10th. I hope the Reds have a comeback in them today……

    I like the trade. Just having someone with closer experience and the right mentality may take some pressure off the pen. Guess we’ll see.

  35. 35
    Smitty Says:

    Getting a closer lets everyone else move into a role and get comfortable.

  36. 36
    Mike M. Says:

    I agree Smitty. They sat down there every night not knowing who Bobby was going to call on to close out the game, err, screw it up, and for now it is a given.

    Mets got another one off Mercker. Going to take a 2-run rally now.

  37. 37
    jj3bagger Says:

    The other thing to consider when evaluating this trade is the current market for relievers. The Reds had to overpay for relief help and that was trading major league players for major league players. I’d rather take a shot with an unproven commodity than trade major league proven talent. Every single “contending” team out there is looking for the same thing, bullpen help. With what else is out there on the market currently, while Ramirez may be a good prospect, that’s what it was going to take to get the bullpen help we need and what everybody else covets.

    As I mentioned earlier, we still need another “veteran” arm like Linebrink or Williamson, but this was a much needed step in the right direction.

  38. 38
    Smitty Says:

    Well the Mets are helping us get to the playoffs!

  39. 39
    Mike M. Says:

    The silver lining…..

  40. 40
    Ron Says:

    The important thing to me is Wickman’s save conversion %. That has been what has killed the Braves’ bullpen this year. They have blown like half of their save opportunities. And we got him for practically nothing. Great trade. Now we just need to get rid of Sosa and maybe find another average or better starter and we can at least make a run at the wild card although the odds are still against us.

  41. 41
    Nick Says:

    Yeah, I think we’re actually rooting for the Mets here. Well, I guess “rooting for” is a little strong. Hoping they win, perhaps? But I certainly do understand. I’m sure it was probably just force of habit.

  42. 42
    Johnny W. Says:

    Hell no, I want the Mets to lose…..therefore a better chance for us to get what is rightfully ours….the division……

    No, I haven’t been drinking……yet..haha

  43. 43
    Marc Says:

    Everyone says anyone can close, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Whatever we think, the pitchers themselves seem to have a thing about pitching the ninth. LaTroy Hawkins is the obvious example. In theory, I agree the ninth shouldn’t be any different than the 8th, but I don’t think ballplayers see it that way. Psychology is a mysterious thing; these arent’ Strat-o-Matic cards.

    I know nothing about Ramirez, but I don’t see how JS could possibly have done better without giving away more. I’m sure there are livlier arms out there, but no is just going to give them away. I’m sure Wickman will blow a save or two, but I also think he won’t be blowing 3 or 4 run leads like our previous closers have.

  44. 44
    Stu Says:

    Excellent point, jj3bagger. You’re so right about the value of this trade in the current market.

    And to Alex, from the other thread, I don’t think that’s necessarily a sign that JS is done. He does say he thinks Wickman will “help,” not that he’s the answer. I’m like you; I hope he’s still going after another arm or two (and I suspect that he is).

  45. 45
    Alex R. Says:

    I agree…at this point, catch the team thats 5 gms. on front over the team thats 12 games in front. I just wish these teams were playing the Pirates and the Nationals both losing.

    As for Wickman, I will say what I said to Mac before: We have the fattest, most out of shape bullpen in Baseball and someone has to introduce a salad to these guys.

    Anyhoo…he’s still the best reliever we have now!

  46. 46
    Alex R. Says:


    I want to be a glass half full guy along with you on this issue and keep hope that JS has at least 1 more trade in him.

  47. 47
    Brian J. Says:

    Apparently, the bullpen does not have a weight limit. If it did, Paronto and Wickman would definitely exceed it.

    We just needed the Reds- Mets series not to end in a sweep, so I’m fine with the way it ended.

    I kind of like this trade- a little stability for the ‘pen is a good thing, and although Ramirez was a good prospect, he’s blocked seven ways from Sunday by McCann, B. Pena, and Salty.

  48. 48
    Smitty Says:

    Ken thinks we might be done:

    I say we will give this a week and see what happens. If the pen becomes lights out, then we will stand, if not we may make another move.

  49. 49
    John Adcox Says:

    Given the current market, I am thrilled with this trade, especially since it doesn’t include names like Giles, Salty, or Betemit. and frankly, I’m another in the camp that feels that the Braves aren’t done.

    Hmmm. I wonder what this means for Stockman rejoining the team? I assume Barry goes down to make room for Wickman. I guess there’s also a rookie starter who can go down, but likely won’t until someone’s healthy enough to replace him in the rotation.

    Makes me wonder about Sosa. I’d rather have Stockman filling that seat.


  50. 50
    Alex R. Says:

    Has anyone heard anymore rumors on Gonzalez, McDougal or anything else? Just wondering…

  51. 51
    Smitty Says:

    I bet Sheill goes down. With the off day to day, he would be skiped anyways.

  52. 52
    Alex R. Says:

    Taking stock of current Relief Corps Now:

    Bob Wickman
    Ken Ray
    Macay McBride
    Chad Paronto
    Tyler Yates
    Kevin Barry
    Jorge Sosa
    Phil Stockman
    Peter Moylan

    Not sure if I am leaving anyone out, but of that “current” group (and assuming Stockman is healthy by tomorrow, teh 2 most likely to leave the team now (assuming we keep 7) have to be Barry & Moylan. For as bad as Sosa is, I think he survives the current Stockman, Wickman arrivals.

    Anyone else’s thoughts?

  53. 53
    bfan Says:

    Can we pry anyone from the Minnesota bullpen? They are flipping amazing, and there are bunches of them. Don’t they need a solid hitting 2B?

  54. 54
    Smitty Says:

    Moylan got sent down yesterday

  55. 55
    Another Alex R. Says:

    As mentioned earlier, I think Minnesota’s still pretty happy with Luis Castillo. Although I would happily trade Salty, Lerew, and a kidney or two for Liriano or Nathan.

  56. 56
    Alex R. Says:

    I doubt we could offer our entire Major League roster and get Liriano.

  57. 57
    Landogarner Says:

    Hmmm, don’t know what to think of this trade. I guess I will withold judgement until Wickman gives me a reason to love/hate him.

  58. 58
    LanceinFL Says:

    I think its going to be a mental thing. This is Wickman’s role…..he knows it, the rest of the guys in the bullpen know it, and the opposing team will know it. Plus, Wickman has been an AL guy, he should have a leg up on the NL for a few go arounds anyway. I like the deal, we dealt from our position of strength (Catcher) and got what we needed (Closer)

  59. 59
    Jeff M. Says:

    I’m curious to know who they are sending down or dfa-ing. As it stands, it seems that the 7th inning will belong to Paronto, Yates, and McBride, the 8th will belong to Ray, and the 9th will belong to Wickman. Villareal will no doubt continue his fine work as Vulture extraordinare beginning in the 1st inning through the 5th. This leaves in my estimation one slot. Does Sosa continue or is he gone? I’m pretty much assuming that Barry will be sent down…

  60. 60
    ububba Says:

    Hey, this trade is an 10-week dice roll. In my mind, it’s well worth the gamble.

    Dunno what kind of bullpen it’ll give us, but between Wickman & Paronto we may have the next NWA world tag-team champions.

  61. 61
    Hate KIng Says:

    I like the deal. Another reliever would be nice, but this could possibly be enough if Bobby is now able to define roles for everyone in the pen. Ramirez has some promise, but that’s it, he’s probably a couple of years away. Let’s hope JS can pull off another similar deal. I’d give up A ball prospects for decent bullpen arms all day.

  62. 62
    Kyle S Says:

    I doubt we could offer our entire Major League roster and get Liriano.

    alex, i think you’re exactly right. I couldn’t come up with a feasible scenario that MINN would accept for liriano from the totality of players under our control. even mccann + francoeur + campbell + salty + andrus – if I’m the twins, I probably _dont_ make that trade. amazing.

  63. 63
    tigger101023 Says:

    I like this trade, too. I don’t think he’s another Dan Kolb. Kolb melted under the pressure of succeeding Smoltz and clashed with Leo. Leo is no longer here to clash with and by Cleveland fans’ accounts, is plenty mentally tough. Obviously doesn’t freak out if there are baserunners :)

    It’s not the closer you want in a huge game, but in this relief pitching market, I’d rather have Wickman for a good price than get absolutely hammered on a deal for a better reliever.

  64. 64
    JoeyT Says:

    Considering he cost a single A prospect who’s double blocked, this trade is awesome. Wickman’s nothing special anymore, but he’s servicable, and we got him for a completely expendible part. Good deal.

  65. 65
    Colin Says:

    The important thing to me is Wickman’s save conversion %. That has been what has killed the Braves’ bullpen this year. They have blown like half of their save opportunities.

    Bear in mind that team blown save stats include “saves” blown by guys in the 7th and 8th innings too. Reitsma actually saved at a 70% rate despite his stinky stats. Sosa, however, was at 50%. So your point is largely a good one, but team blown save stats are almost always bogus.

  66. 66
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Especially considering that the last time we traded a catcher we got Cormier and the Vulture.

  67. 67
    Jonathan Says:

    Count me as one who is very happy to see this trade. He’s not Lidge/Rivera/whatever-lights-out-name, but (as others have mentioned) they weren’t available. Basically they made and upgrade & should get additional stability, while JS kept his powder dry to still have flexibility to make a blockbuster later (if the opportunity presents).
    No doubt we’ll gripe the 1st time he blows a lead, but it’s nice to feel like there will be some semblance of order at the end of a game now.

  68. 68
    Another Alex R. Says:

    By the way, there’s a diary over at John Sickels’ about how bomb Brian McCann is, including a poll about whether you prefer him to Joe Mauer. (I’m on record as saying that I do.) I’d recommend everyone go over and bear witness.

  69. 69
    JoshQ Says:

    In the current market that JS is trading in, this is a fantastic trade. Anytime you can get a proven entity for a single A prospect that is blocked, you should do it.

  70. 70
    Stu Says:

    You really prefer him to Mauer? I dunno about that. He’s easily the 2nd most valuable catcher in baseball, though.

  71. 71
    Another Alex R. Says:

    I mean, I admit to being a homer–the rational argument for preferring McCann to Mauer is not overwhelming. I think McCann’s a little less fragile than Mauer (who is tall and had knee surgery at age 21, never a good sign). Plus, at age 22, he’s the best hitter on the Braves, better and more valuable than the Joneses. With his uncanny clutch hitting, his ridiculous knack for coming up big when we need it most, and carrying our offense on his broad, pudgy shoulders, he’s like our Big Papi, another player the Minnesota Twins undervalued.

  72. 72
    Grst Says:

    I don’t think JS is done looking, but we may be done dealing. Not because we don’t want more, but because there just may not be any more we can get for an acceptable price.

  73. 73
    Landogarner Says:

    Interesting debate, thanks for posting that Alex.
    I think McCann calls a better game, Mauer just happends to catch two of the best pitchers in the game right now. Nobody mentioned that in the debate.

    I am going to see the Detroit vs Twins on the 29th, should be a fun game.
    I have seats 18 rows back from first base!

  74. 74
    Kyle S Says:

    i’d go with mauer – much more athletic frame, more likely to age gracefully. still, it’s like saying you’d take jessica alba over angelina jolie – you’re a winner either way.

  75. 75
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Nice analogy, Kyle. I’d also take Jessica Alba over Angelina Jolie (albeit for different reasons than McCann over Mauer; Alba’s not from Atlanta, she’s just hotter than the sun). Still, I totally understand some guys might call me crazy for making that choice.

    But I’m happy with it. Alba’s VORP might not be as high as Jolie, but she sure calls a good game.

  76. 76
    Landogarner Says:

    Age more gracefully??? How is a 6 foot 8 catcher going to age more gracefully than a 6 foot 3 catcher? If anything it’s the other way around.

  77. 77
    Robert Says:

    i love McCann, but I’d take Mauer every time.

  78. 78
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Playoff odds report. Braves with 15 percent chance of making the playoffs, and the second wildcard favorite (third if you count the Cards) after the Reds. This doesn’t take into full account that the Reds made that stupid trade.

  79. 79
    Landogarner Says:

    Has McCann played any other position than catcher? I’d love to get see him at first base where he doesn’t need days off. So we can keep his bat in the lineup.

  80. 80
    flournoy Says:

    Good question Landogarner, except that Mauer is 6’4″, making him just one inch taller than McCann and with a much more athletic body. Better luck next time.

  81. 81
    Landogarner Says:

    A much more athletic body that’s had knee surgery at age 21. Good luck with that after 10 years of being a catcher.

  82. 82
    burdog5 Says:

    the wickman trade is good, considering how many teams are still in the hunt! I think there are not going to be a high number of trades made this year. I wish his k/per inning was better, but hr allowed are very low, and pitching in American league makes that stat impressive. Hopefully a change in leagues will be a plus, I seen that V Guerrero is 0-11 against wickman so that’s something, Let’s take 3-4 from the phils – maybe we can have the breaks go our way ( arena baseball ) = citizens bank park

  83. 83
    Uncle Charlie Says:

    Wasn’t Wickman a 10 and 5 guy, meaning he had to agree to the trade? Maybe Wickman only had a few teams on his list, that could have helped JS’s bargaining position immensely.

  84. 84
    Landogarner Says:

    Yes, he was a ten and five guy.

  85. 85
    Ron Says:

    I’ll take McCann because the Braves already have him. :p

  86. 86
    Mac Thomason Says:

    It’s my belief that if Mauer doesn’t develop his power soon, he’s not going to have a Hall of Fame type career. Of course, that’s a very high standard. But there are very few catchers who make an offensive contributions with batting average for very long. There are only eight catchers (min. 3000 PA) with career batting averages over .300; one of them, Kendall, will probably slip out of that list if he hasn’t already.


    1 Mickey Cochrane .320
    2 Mike Piazza .315
    3 Bill Dickey .313
    4 Spud Davis .308
    5 Ernie Lombardi .306
    6 Ivan Rodriguez .304
    7 Jason Kendall .302
    8 Buck Ewing .301
    9 Manny Sanguillen .298
    10 Joe Torre .298

    I was actually concerned, until this week, at McCann’s seeming power outage, but he was hitting a lot of balls to the wall.

  87. 87
    Uncle Charlie Says:

    Right, so if Wickman told Cleveland he only wanted to go somewhere he would close, and he had the ability to veto any trade, JS would have been in the driver’s seat. Cincy is the only other contender I can think of that didn’t have a closer, and they already got theirs (sort of) in Guardardo.

    Plus, how many teams are there out there who had room to add payroll like the Braves? Not too many.

    A nice deal by JS all around. Doesn’t give up too much, deals from a position of strength, waits out the other team in the market looking for a closer (said team overpays), and arguably gets the guy he wants in the end anyway (at least between Everyday Eddie and Wickman, Wickman’s the better bet).

    Maybe JS needs to write a sequel.

  88. 88
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I have no idea if this is real.

  89. 89
    'Rissa Says:

    That’s interesting.

  90. 90
    second bass Says:

    Buried at the end of the last thread about Max Ramirez who, by the way, has not played a day of third base this year in Rome (that’s Campbell’s spot), but has DH’d because of shouder problems. Anyway, this is what I posted:
    For those who keep saying they’ve never heard of Max Ramirez, he was the co-player of the year last year for the entire Appalachain League (along with Eric Campbell, also a Braves prospect). He hits for average and some power, but his defensive skills are still developing….I think he was actually a third baseman before Danville. This year in Rome, where I’ve personally watched him in 15 games or so, he’s been doing great again, especially considering he has had a sore shoulder since spring training. His numbers were good enough to earn him a spot on the SAL all star team this year, in spite of the fact that his shoulder has caused him to DH more than catch.

    Now I know some will say that he’s still too low on the chain to judge, and too old, and that may be true, but he’s had nearly 2 years thus far with the Braves and has been outstanding. Really outstanding. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually happy with the trade…..JS and company needed to get a real closer, and it looks like we got one. I’m just afraid Wickman may be our Doyle Alexander and Ramirez = Smoltz.
    And yes, Johnny W., I agree….Ramirez is a nice guy. He spent time chatting with me and my kids before games from time to time, and I hate to see him go.

  91. 91
    ububba Says:

    Ramirez can turn out to be Smoltz if McCann continues to be Yogi Berra.

    Today, I had a Met fan try to tell me that LoDuca was better than McCann. I threw him out of my office.

  92. 92
    Ron Says:

    We get a closer and pick up .5 game on the Reds. Pretty good day.

  93. 93
    second bass Says:

    Amen to the McCann comment, but if he’s a bust (which I don’t think he is), there’s always Salty……one hopes…

  94. 94
    Davey Says:

    Luckily there aren’t any Mets fans where I live… (good times indeed)

  95. 95
    ububba Says:

    I’m surrounded by Met fans. I work with them, they’re at the deli, they’re in the bars. And like Red Sox fans, they’ve had such little success that they don’t know how to act when it happens—which, of course, makes them all the more insufferable/contemptible.

    I hate the Wild Card almost as much as the DH (another rant for another time), but an NLCS matchup with the Mets is all I’m thinking about these days.

  96. 96
    Smitty Says:

    Any word on who got sent down?

  97. 97
    second bass Says:

    Speaking of Salty, he’s hit #6 tonight for Mississippi….

    Didn’t Moylen get sent down? Was that to make room for Wickman?

  98. 98
    Rob Cope Says:

    Good call, ububba. You made the right decision. By the way, do you mind sharing what you do for a living? It must be pretty sweet if you can decide where and when you go on business trips.

  99. 99
    kc Says:

    Just have a chance to catch on today’s news and found out the Wickman deal. Like a lot of you, I like this deal as well. Not that Wickman will be easy to watch, but at least he has shown that he can handle the role. Considering the Braves still have money left in their budget, I am sure JS is still on the phone for further help.

    Like a lot of you, I like Ramirez as well, but all his shortcomings have been said earlier.

    Overall, I agree with ububba, I am not overly excited, but I am encouraged about this deal. Finally, something is being done. I hate it when there is an issue being left open and unsolved for so long.

  100. 100
    Davey Says:

    Hmmm…those are akward circumstances Ububba..

    Well, down here obviosly most of the baseball fans are Braves fans, but that is because of Andruw being from here. And actually I hate that..
    Me and my family are the only people down here that have been Braves fans before the streak started..and before ‘Druw came on board. Most people here say they’re Brave fans..but they’re not. They’re Andruw fans and they know harldy anything about the Braves..

    If Druw would get traded tomorrow to the Royals, most of the island would become Royals fans..and that’s what kinda miffs me..

    There are some bandwagon Yankee fans down here..some Marlin fans and some Dodgers and Reds fans…but that’s about it i guess..

  101. 101
    RB Says:

    Bottom line — we need bullpen help, and there aren’t a lot of teams who are looking to deal. We got an established closer who adds depth to the bullpen and clearly improves the team. And in a seller’s market, we gave up a mid-tier prospect at a position where the organization has a lot of young talent. It’s a very solid move.

    He’s not inspirational, he’s not the sandman, he won’t single-handedly turn us into a WS champ, but I think it’s another great late season Schuerholz pickup. Just hope he has another pickup or two in his sleeve because we really could use all the arms we could get in the pen.

  102. 102
    ububba Says:

    If you’re in Curacao, I hear you’ve got your own kinda paradise down there.

    I am editor of a music magazine that covers club & mobile DJs, and people who produce club music. I’m putting that UGA J-school degree to use, good or otherwise. If nothing else, it beats covering high-school football & city-council meetings.

  103. 103
    Davey Says:

    That’s a pretty sweet gig Ububba…

    And yes, in some ways you could call it a paradise down here. The sun, the beaches..the island life..
    Tourists and foreigners see it as a paradise, but the locals take it for granted i guess and usually want to get away…
    It has positives and negatives, like mostly everywhere on earth i guess…

  104. 104
    Elizabeth Says:

    Random Question: Was Kyle Davies’ injury one that he was hiding?

  105. 105
    Jeff M. Says:

    Yes, it was sore before the start where he injured it. He didn’t tell Bobby or anyone else apparantly, leaving Bobby a bit miffed, if I recall.

  106. 106
    Elizabeth Says:


  107. 107
    kc Says:

    Elizabethand Jeff, you can’t really say he is hiding an injury. Being a yound kid, it’s just normal to have a little body pain or sore and think nothing about it.

  108. 108
    JB Says:

    The gist of what I’m hearing is: We just traded a – best case scenario – future Todd Pratt for Bob Wickman.

    Given our current cirumstances seems like a decent move to me. My main concern is that Wickman may Klobmogrify into George Sosa II. I’ve just never thought of him as dominant reliever, just a guy that gets by ala Kerry Lightenberg.

  109. 109
    td Says:

    Kerry Lightenberg at his best is better than any closer we’ve had (actually, so is just about any reliever who has ever pitched a big league inning), so I’m in full agreement that this is a good deal for the Braves. I heard some speculation on a Nashville talk show that Wickman isn’t suited well for the NL game because they play more small ball. The guy said that Wickman stood a better chance against American League power hitters. I don’t think he had a clue, but it’s an interesting perspective.

    Wickman was 83% in save opportunities, which if this holds true, will be light years ahead of what we’ve had.

  110. 110
    Bell Curve Says:

    I have to post a link to this old Onion article that mentions our new boy. It’s pretty good … obviously written by someone who knows baseball.

  111. 111
    Alex R. Says:

    Bradley is getting attacked in the Blog, but I am sorry to say, he’s 100% right. If JS had grabbed us a proper reliever in the offseason, or we had even just gotten Wickman then, at worst, we’d be 10 games better (at least).

    I can only hope JS gets us another pitcher, as we still need some more help.

    But I am glad we didn’t have to give up anything to get one quality pitcher.

  112. 112
    kc Says:

    Bell Curve, that’s so funny. Thanks for the link.

  113. 113
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Just so everyone knows, “poker” is back on the blacklist. &@%%#$ spammers.

  114. 114
    Alex R. Says:


  115. 115
    RB Says:

    ububba — I take it that you are a fellow Bravo-backer in the NYC area, where I recently moved. Are there any locations, bars or otherwise, at all up here that serve as gathering points for Braves expatriates? There are a lot of “red sox bars” and “cubs bars,” but I’ve yet to find anything that remotely resembles a “braves bar.”

  116. 116
    mraver Says:

    Well, this was probably the right move to make. Ramirez is a good catching prospect (I’ve heard him mentioned as an up-and-comer often), so it hurts to see him go. But Wickman is a legitimate closer and that’s the price you have to pay. The fact that we didn’t give up anything substantial to the major league club is, I think, important. Giles, Betemit, Salty are all still around, and I think we’ve now got a shot. I feel fine about Ray pitching the 8th, I feel fine with McBride as a LOOGY, I feel fine about Paranto and others taking the 7th in turns, etc. Perhaps some structure will be what the pen really needs.

  117. 117
    ububba Says:

    Wow. What a bummer.


    First off, where do you live? That makes some difference.

    Braves bars? Not so much in Manhattan. You’d have better luck finding a collegiate alum society to watch the football games.

    Most of us Georgia people tend to visit with each other, esp. for the bigger games—getting a bar to flip on a Braves game while the Yanks or Mets are also on TV is often problematic.

    I moved here in 1990 & the vast majority of times I’ve seen Braves games on TV in NYC in a bar they were 1) playing a New York team 2) playing during a time when a New York team wasn’t playing or 3) in the post-season.

    As you may soon find, the Braves are among the very-most-hated sports teams in the NYC area. Even Yankee & Met fans often agree on that. And you’ll get a variety of reasons. For Met fans, it’s the “rivalry” (it’s really years of the Braves stomping their guts out, but they like to call it a “rivalry”); for others, it’s a North-South thing (can’t imagine why); I’ve even come across military vets here who hate the Braves because of Jane Fonda (c’mon, I say, she was awesome in “Klute”!)

    From genuine baseball fans you’ll get some grudging respect—I go to about 20 Yankee games & 5-7 Mets games each year—but generally the Braves are roundly detested. I’ve been in bars when they were eliminated from the playoffs–and it ain’t fun to watch the vindictive euphoria.

    But if you’re ever in town & wanna watch a game, lemme know. We’ll pull a guerilla action on these people.

  118. 118
    Tennessee Brave Says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned that Wickman is coming to another team that has a native american mascot. Not that it matters, I just thought it was cool.

  119. 119
    Brian J. Says:

    Another oddity- we’ve employed a reliever with extra fingers (Alfonseca). Now Wickman gives us one with fewer than normal, as he lost part of a finger in a farming accident as a kid.

  120. 120
    Jason Says:

    Heh. Just to give a bit of perspective to ububba’s #95 comment:

    As a Met fan Manhattanite (who moved here in 2000), I want to say that I feel the EXACT same way about Yankee fans in this city. I really moved here at THE wrong time when, not only was the Yankee dynasty at it’s peak, but everyone had a Yankee bandwagon in their apartment. I grew up in upstate NY where, traditionally, Yankee fans outnumbered Mets fans 3-1 – but I had never experienced anything like this before. I didn’t used to hate the Yankees and their fans, but now I hate them with the white-hot fire of a thousand suns.

    So while I apologize for all the giddy, obnoxious Met fans you have to deal with on a regular basis, you just have to realize how browbeaten city fans have been the last decade or so. And this team is certainly the most enjoyable team we’ve had to root for since the 1986 bunch – surprisingly, much moreso than that 1998-2000 group, largely because Wright, Reyes, Heilman, and Pelfrey are homegrown.

  121. 121
    Dan Says:

    “During a childhood farming accident, Wickman lost part of his index finger on his right hand, to which he credits much of the sinking motion on his fastball.”

  122. 122
    Dan Says:

    “I don’t think anyone has mentioned that Wickman is coming to another team that has a native american mascot.”

    Where is Chief Knock-a-home-a these days?

  123. 123
    oldtimer? Says:

    I lived in Manhattan for five years too, no place special to go, just go with a friendly Met fan who knows baseball, I know, there are not many of them, then you can enjoy a game.

  124. 124
    JoshQ Says:

    The Chief was probably run out of town by the PC police.

  125. 125
    Alex R. Says:

    Well, I know a friendly Met fan in Reading, Pennsylvania and I call him, “Dad”.

  126. 126
    oldtimer? Says:

    Alex R.,
    How did you become a Brave fan with your pop as a Met fan? My father was a Yankee fan who became so disgusted with the way Steinbrenner treated people he lost interest in baseball all together, then came TBS at vitrually the same moment and I was hooked on the Braves.

  127. 127
    Ron Says:

    I used to be a Yankees fan until Jim Leyritz.

  128. 128
    Stu Says:

    Wow, you jumped ship at exactly the wrong time, Ron.

  129. 129
    Kevin Lee Says:

    I don’t like it!
    It’s a half-measure, a reputation saver. It caused a little stir on the wires, got the Braves some p.r. That’s coporate baseball for you.

    I hope to Heaven JS has something better in mind. If you’re marvelling at my pessimism please consider these two points.

    All GM’s–all people–have strengths and weaknesses. When did JS and his organization develope a closer? They’ve has some success at recognizing strong arms in peak performance-Farnsworth, Lightenberg, Wohler, et al-but the only door slammer has been Smoltzie when the team asked him to step in.

    And speaking of our Ace, remember last year, after the All-Star break at trade time, when the guys on the field were saying that they believed they had enough to win, even with all the kids on the field?
    This year, Smoltzie looked dead into a camera and said they needed help.

    Do you think Bob Wickman is enough?

  130. 130
    Kevin Lee Says:

    That was supposed to be “corporate” baseball. I can’t get past the feeling that JS is looking over his shoulder every time he spends a dollar, so I guess I can’t even spell corporate these days.

  131. 131
    Stu Says:

    You guys read about the Dontrelle-for-the-entire-Cardinals-farm-system rumor? Apparently, it’s Reyes, Duncan, Rasmus and one more for Willis. We can and should try to beat that, if Willis is actually available.

  132. 132
    Smitty Says:

    ububa, if I am in NYC and the Braves are in town, we are going. I’ll bring the foam tomahawks

  133. 133
    Kyle S Says:

    davies, langerhans, salty, eric campbell? that seems pretty comparable to me, except that davies is hurt.

  134. 134
    Dan Says:

    “When did JS and his organization develope a closer?”

    Isn’t Devine a closer the Braves are trying to develop? I’m pretty sure the Braves developed John Rocker too.

    My fear is after this season when Wickman could retire. Who will Schuerholz get? My fear is he won’t sign or trade for anyone and say Devine or Boyer can do it, and the most gullible 5% of Braves’ fans will believe, the same ones who trusted Reitsma for this season.

    Maybe Wickman will pitch great down the stretch and decide not to retire and the Braves could resign. Anything is possible.

  135. 135
    Stu Says:

    I’d do it in a heartbeat, Kyle. You? Could we throw Chuck James in for the injured Davies? Or do you think his value is that much lower? I like to pretend.

  136. 136
    Dan Says:

    Has anyone else noticed that everytime ESPN talks about a good player and shows that said player hit a homerun, it’s always against the Braves? Next time you see ESPN talking about Alex Rodriguez, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Bobby Abreu, Alfonzo Soriano or whoever and they shows that player hitting a home run, see who the home run is against. It always seems to be against the Braves.

  137. 137
    Dan Says:

    I’d perfer to keep Chuck James. I think he’ll be solid for the Braves for many years to come. And 2005 may have been Dontrelle’s career year.

  138. 138
    Kevin Lee Says:

    I have high hopes for Devine, but he’s unproven. Thank you for reminding me. I can’t see how Rocker could be considered a success, especially considering JS’s own comments about him in his book.

    There is something special about the Braves, something I have to give credit to JS for helping create. It’s the nagging feeling that other teams are feeling right now-that you just can’t count out the Braves. But the main hole in the team in Decememer was still there at the All-Star break.

    It may be the best playoff run we’ve ever seen!

  139. 139
    Smitty Says:


    It is because we are always on TV

  140. 140
    Stu Says:

    You think Chuck James will be better than Dontrelle? That’s insane.

  141. 141
    ububba Says:


    You’re on.

    I got the foam ‘hawks in my office, but mostly as a mildly obnoxious joke to the Met fans at work. If they enter my office, they see the tomahawks, right next to bobblehead dolls of Cox, Murphy, Aaron, NIekro, Mathews & Spahn. When they step in there, they’re not in Metland anymore.

  142. 142
    Daniel Says:

    I’m not very familiar with Wickman, but after reading the stats about him, I think this was a good swap. It’s certainly not a blockbuster, but it got us a potentially reliable closer.

    Considering the amount of blown saves and one run losses we’ve got, I think this was the number one priority. And considering the multitude of general managers after bullpen help right now, I think we got away with a sweet deal considering the competition.

  143. 143
    oldtimer? Says:

    How many organizations have developed great closers?

  144. 144
    Smitty Says:

    Maybe we got Wickman to come in to eat Sosa

  145. 145
    Dan Says:

    “You think Chuck James will be better than Dontrelle?”

    Did I say that? I said I think Chuck James will be solid for the Braves for many years to come. And I said I think Dontrelle may have had his career year in 2005. I don’t think James is overall a better player, at least not now.

  146. 146
    Dan Says:

    Yahoo has Wickman on the Braves’ roster, but took no one off, so there are 26 players. I think Barry will be sent down, though it could be Shiell or hopefully Sosa. If not Barry, he’ll go down when Stockman comes back, which could be today.

  147. 147
    Smitty Says:

    James migt turn out to be better tham Willis. Dontrell could get hit by a bus. I think James could turn out to be very good or he wil get lit up. I think he has the mental make up to be great

  148. 148
    Stu Says:

    Well, if you’re using the “hit by a bus” rationale, Smitty, then Pete Orr might end up being better than Chase Utley. But in the real world, given all reasonable expectations, there’s no way James ever even sniffs Dontrelle territory.

    Dan, when you say you’d “prefer to keep Chuck James” instead of trading him for Dontrelle, that kind of implies that you think Chuck’s better or likely to be better. Dontrelle’s only 24, so it can’t be an age thing.

  149. 149
    Kyle S Says:

    Yes, I would exchange James for Davies if it would get the trade done. I was just trying to envision an equal package of talent; I think James is a lesser talent than Davies. Sadly, after following them both very closely as they came up through the minors, I can’t see either of them ever being more than 3rd starter material, and in James’ case that may be generous. Although, to his credit, his 2nd pitch is better than Davies’.

  150. 150
    Smitty Says:

    He could turn out to be better than Dontrelle, Stu. However, I would still trade him, Salty, and (insert prospect) for him.

  151. 151
    Alex R. Says:


    I think I may have relayed some or parts of my story before as to being a Braves fan with a father (and a brother) who are Mets fans.

    My dad is from England, my mom is American and they met and married overseas.

    My parents came back to this country together in 1970ish and they flew into New York so my dad was exposed right away to the Mets, Jets and Knicks, all who had big years in 1969. I was not in existence yet but it obviously made quite an impression (in 1970) on my father. (who is still a Soccer fan, first and foremost).

    After my parents moved to Birmingham, Alabama (where my father went to school at UAB and became an enormous UAB and Bama football fan as well), my brother and I were both born there; When I was a year old in 1976, we moved to Savannah, Georgia, the city I grew up in until I was 16 yrs. old in 1991.

    But it was really around 1983 or 1984 that the Braves became my first sports love. I was in Cub Scouts and me & my buddies used to win Baseball Cards playing Bingo at Cub Scout meetings and then I got into Baseball and started watching the Braves on TBS and fell in love. Plus, I had already been going with my family to Savannah Braves games for some years seeing some “kids” named Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Bruce Benedict, & Glenn Hubbard et all come through.

    Interestingly, in the 1980’s the Mets were easily my 2nd favorite team and there was no issues whatsoever–the Braves were a terrible NL West team, the Mets were a good NL East team and there was simply no rivalry to speak of. But once the Braves jumped to the East in the early 90’s, my dynamic with the Mets changed and they are mortal enemies. My father and brother stayed loyal to the Mets, me to the Braves. (my father does root for the Braves 2nd, it’s my brother who’s openly anti Brave).

    However, there are some pictures of me as a chubby, cherubic faced 10 year old in Atlanta in July of 1985 in a Mets cap meeting the 1985 Mets!!! (had botha mets and a Braves cap that I wore!!!) Nicest Met and one of the nicest players I have ever come across was Gary Carter.

    (sorry for the long back story but it’s rather interesting considering the 2 teams).

  152. 152
    Stu Says:

    Barring major injury or Steve Blass Disease, no, he could not turn out to be better than Dontrelle.

  153. 153
    Cliff Harpe Says:

    A big time step up STARTER is what the Braves need for a run INTO the post season now. However, the nucleus is too good to give up for just anybody.

    Willis is PROVEN in post season. He HITS (which a National League club needs). He has fire and really lifts his team and the fan base. He is the only suitable target to give up anything of value for that might actually be moved.

    Early this year, the bull pen was a disaster. Lately, with all the switch and sorts, it is at least half ass. With Wickman averaged over the whole pen, it is at least three quarters ass (figuratively and literally).

  154. 154
    Alex R. Says:

    Dontrelle vs. James

    James is going to be a very good starting pitcher and is abundantly cheaper then Willis. Willis is better, but he’s also shown to be inconsistent and that worries me…especially given what we are all going through with Hudson. Tremendous talent, wildly inconsistent.

    James is not the “problem” for the Braves right now and trading to get Willis, while helpful, is not our biggest need right now. Another reliver, a good reliever, is.

    But yes, I agree with you Stu in principal that Willis is better then James. I just don’t see the need to get Willis and give up a ton for him, other then preventing the Mets or Cardinals from acquiring him?

  155. 155
    Alex R. Says:


    I like your point about Willis’ personality. I would consider that one of his biggest pluses so thanks for bringing that up. The Braves need even more “ra ra” guys who can also be star players.

    A Dontrelle would give the team and clubhouse the kind of energy needed for a stretch run.

  156. 156
    glitch Says:

    I lived a couple yrs in the DWI and the NYC and the best place I found to watch Braves games in either was the sofa.

    The carribean little league world series came to my island while I was there, but mostly it was completely devoid of bball fans. Braves Journal was invaluable at the time as far as the desperately clinging to sanity went.

    There was one regular at the down the road watering hole who was a Dutch Greg Maddux replicon and I used to amuse myself (barely) during the tail end of extended happy hours by convincing American tourists that he was the real thing. The poor guy had never even heard of the Atlanta Braves before and was no doubt less than broken up over my departure.

  157. 157
    Ron Says:

    Willis is still young and has already been a Cy Young caliber pitcher. If the Braves could get him for James and/or other unproven minor leaguers, they should do it in a heartbeat. While he has been somewhat inconsistent, Willis only figures to get better unlike, say, Tim Hudson whose best days are most likely behind him. This team needs another quality starter given the uncertainty with Ramirez’s and Thompson’s health, the inexperience of James, the baffling cluelessness of Tim Hudson, and the real question of whether John Smoltz can pitch an entire season as a starting pitcher and have anything left should the Braves make the playoffs.

  158. 158
    Daniel Says:

    A note for everyone, digg has finally added a sports category. So the WordPress feature on here is finally useful for something. As long as you have an account with digg.

  159. 159
    Stu Says:

    Seriously, folks, Chuck James is OK and, as Kyle said, a third or fourth starter at best. Dontrelle is an ace. Not potential ace; current ace. And he’s 24 years old.

    Not that this is even going to happen, but if it could, there is no question that the Braves should be willing to part with James (and a lot of other minor leaguers) for Willis.

  160. 160
    Smitty Says:

    I think Hudson is trying too hard. I know that sounds odd, but remember gaem one of the NLDS? Game four he came out calm and focused. I am not sure he is a staff ace, but a great number two guy.

  161. 161
    bfan Says:

    James has had unbelievably good minor league numbers, with peripherals to match (lots of strike-outs; few walks). I cannot imagine anyone following his minor league career and saying they don’t see him more than a #3 starter.

    All of that is based on the simple fact that James doesn’t throw the ball 96 MPH and he isn’t 6′ 2″ with broad shoulders. if you get over that and look at the numbers, you see a success path that is very strong, and much, much better than Davies. James just knows how to pitch; or he has late movement on his pitches; or something. All he has done is get lots of outs with lots of strike-outs, forever.

  162. 162
    Stu Says:

    And lots and lots of flyballs.

  163. 163
    Smitty Says:

    Fly balls are ok with our outfiled, though we may not want to see him pitch in Houston or Colorado

  164. 164
    bfan Says:

    As to James, yes there has been the thought that MLB batters would change enough fly-ball outs to HR’s. if that happens, it will be a problem. But low hits; low walks; lots of strike-outs; and too many HR’s? That is Ferguson jenkins, and I would take his career in a heart-beat.

    Kyle davies is a nice, strong lad who throws the ball real hard, but he is going to have to find the strike-zone. 5 walks per 9 innings is not going to get it done.

    Right now, everything I have seen other than measuring their height and weight, and seeing who would win a fight, makes me take james over davies.

  165. 165
    Stu Says:

    Really? Chuck James is Ferguson Jenkins? Forgive me if I don’t buy that projection.

  166. 166
    Smitty Says:

    I would say the best we can hope for with James is Tom Glavine with more fly balls, not a bad thing.

  167. 167
    bfan Says:

    I am not saying he is Fergie, but that was Fergie’s profile. He gave up lots of HR’s; but because he kept batters off base by not walking them, he kept hie ERA’s at good levels. Giving up more HR’s than average is not good, but if you keep base-runners off base, you can come up well, in the end.

  168. 168
    Robert Says:

    I would say the best we can hope for with James is Tom Glavine with more fly balls, not a bad thing.

    I think an anorexic Sid Fernandez is the best case. El Sid is always who I think of for the lefty strike out/fly ball proflie.

  169. 169
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Speaking of Braves fans in different locales, I just moved to DC a couple weeks ago after graduating from college, and I’m looking for people to watch Braves games with. There’s a sports bar I like in Chinatown called Regional Food & Drink that has the satellite package so they can show Braves games on FSN or Turner South, a major advantage. But mainly I’m just looking for people to root with. Alex, I know you’re around here; who else is in the DC area?

  170. 170
    jenny Says:

    I am, but my parents would be less than thrilled at the idea of an 18-year-old girl hanging out in a DC bar with some guys she met online. There is no possible way I can explain that to make it sound good. :-D

  171. 171
    Jeff K Says:

    I am, but my wife would be less than trilled at the idea of a new father hanging out in a DC bar with some guys he met online. There is no possible way I can explain that to make it sound good. [I don’t know how to make smiley face image.]

  172. 172
    Kyle S Says:

    FWIW, I know all about Chuck’s minor league stats. As I said, I’ve followed him start-by-start since early 2004 (along with Jake Stevens, Davies, Jose Capellan, and more recently Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, etc). He got his strikeouts for two reasons: he has a deceptive delivery, and he has a good changeup. Both of those things are great and actually both translate pretty well to the bigs. However, he’s probably not going to be an ace.

    He is not very aggressive with his lower body (short stride, does not generate much velocity with quick hip rotation and deep back bend), and his delivery puts a lot of stress on his throwing arm. While his changeup is good, it’s not good enough that it will ever allow him to be an ace. There are only a handful of guys I can think of who could be considered “ace” material without a good fastball: Glavine and Barry Zito are two recent examples, but no one else springs to mind immediately. (Maddux doesn’t count because while he didn’t throw his fastball all that hard, he located it unbelievably well and also put tons of movement on it – CJames, sadly, is not greg maddux). in addition, he’s going to give up tons of HRs. That’s okay, as long as you keep guys off the bases; his command has been pretty good, but not nearly what it was in the minors.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to sound like i’m completely down on the guy. I think he’ll be a nice rotation option for the braves for the foreseeable future. I just wouldn’t hesitate to include him in a package for Willis, because Willis is a much better pitcher. We’re not going to trade for Dontrelle, though, so it’s really not worth getting worked up about.

  173. 173
    Kyle S Says:

    hey alex, i live in alexandria VA and work in the Farragut Square area of the city. we should do a DC meetup and make up stories to our spouses/significant others about how we know each other. “i swear, honey, its some guys i met at Sign of the Whale during happy hour last month.” she’d totally buy that… :)

  174. 174
    Tennessee Brave Says:

    AAR, I lived in DC all last summer while working for the Senate, and I searched for a place to even WATCH a Braves game. I was living in a house with no cable. It was tough. If there was a game I HAD to see, I usually ended up going to the ESPNZone. They had every sporting event known to man on TV there. Sometimes I would find some Braves fans watching, but not too many.

  175. 175
    Tennessee Brave Says:

    By the way, has anyone discovered a free/default login & password for ESPN insider? Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking anyone who actually PAYS for a subscription to give me theirs, but I thought maybe someone had come across one online somewhere. It really ticks me off that they try to charge you to read some of their columns. It just seems like every time I click on a story, it’s only for super-cool “insiders.” Lame…

  176. 176
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Jenny and Jeff, I don’t know what you mean about “guys,” but as John Goodman said in the movie version of The Flintstones, I’m only one man.

    Besides, and this is for the benefit of Jenny’s parents and Jeff’s wife, I’m not just anybody from the internet. I’m a Braves fan: literate, intelligent, modest, and engaged in sports. So worry no longer.

  177. 177
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Kyle, you work at Farragut square? I work next to Macpherson square. How can I email you?

  178. 178
    Kyle S Says:

    kyle.sturgeon at, or ksturgeon at both work, pick your poison.

  179. 179
    ububba Says:


    I hate to break the news to you, but I don’t think they’d let you in the bar anyway—the ‘rents don’t have to worry.

    My 2-cents on an a Willis deal the would include Chucky James: Without getting caught up in the salary issues, I’d get Dontrelle and not worry how good James is or will be.

    But I’m with Kyle in that I don’t believe we’ll have to consider such an issue. I still fail to believe that Florida will deal him.

    I’m kinda psyched about Saturday. I’m gonna be in Philly & I’m gonna get to the park early to watch Chucky warm up before the game (as long as it’s not raining). At that park, you can get up close & see the action on the pitches, etc. It’s one of those small pleasures in life that I enjoy way too much.

    I saw Maddux warm up that close in Fenway back in ’99 & it looked like anyone could hit him—until you saw that late dip on his pitches. Amazing.

    Before Game 5 of the ’01 NLCS, I saw Randy Johnson warm up (as close as you can get at the Ted) and his pitches were popping the mitt something fierce. Some yahoo yelled, “Hey Randy, you got nothing tonight!”

    I turned to the guy & admonished, “Shut up, don’t make him mad.” And we know how that game ended.

  180. 180
    Alex R. Says:

    Sorry, was gone all day and missed the DC love fest.

    Kyle and AAR, two of my favorites in here, would love to grab a beer with our Braves hats on and watch us kick (fill in the blanks teams) butts.

    This weekend is tough (if the Braves had a normal 1 pm Game Sunday I would say lets get together then), but would love to connect with my BravesJournal/DC area brethren.

    By the way, “Cary” who posts in here occasionally (he’s the one who’s a Nats fan too) is a good friend of mine who I hang with regularly. He does Fantasy Baseball with both Mac and myself.

  181. 181
    Bravesfan1 Says:

    I think Alex R was the one who said we need more “rah rah guys?” What would you consider Giles, Francoeur, Tim Hudson for example? McCann probably fits in there too as far as showing emotion. We have a good mix of youthful exuberance and veteran leadership.

    And don’t confuse RAH RAH with fire. Rah rah is showing emotion, but whether a player shows emotion or not, they ALL have a fire in their bellies, and that even comes out in shown emotion from time to time from guys who aren’t thought of as rah rah. Like Chipper pumping his fist after scoring the walk off run against Cincinnati before the break, Andruw slapping his bat down to the ground in anger after striking out, etc.

    As I said, EVERYONE has a FIRE inside particuarly ATHLETES who by nature are competetive. They all WANT to win. All the people that have suggested over the years that the Braves lose in the postseason b/c of not having rah rah guys are IDIOTS! Terence Moore is the godfather of this and he’s IDIOT # 1A!

    Was Tom Glavine rah rah? No, but all he did was win a World Series MVP. John Smoltz usually is reserved out there, but is considered one of the greatest postseason pitchers EVER. Freddy McGriff, Marquis Grissom weren’t RAH RAH, and they both were tremendous in October. So was Chipper up until the last couple postseasons. Andruw has been great in the postseason the last couple years. These guys weren’t known as players who wore their emotions on their sleeves, but they produced.

    — Bravesfan1

  182. 182
    Bravesfan1 Says:

    In other words we’re not looking for cheerleaders, we’re looking for baseball players.

    — Bravesfan1

  183. 183
    Elizabeth Says:

    I’m going to the Philly game on Monday. Don’t think it will affect the game tonight, but it was absolutely pouring rain with thunder and some lightning for about 30-45 minutes but I think it’s stopped now, so everything should be fine by 7.

  184. 184
    Alex R. Says:


    Yeah, I am sure Keith Lockart cheered a lot but he stunk. :-) I say ‘rah rah’ and ‘fire in the belly’ of course + that caveat of having all star level stuff and actually being a leader on the field in terms of productivity as well as in the clubhouse.

    Willis definitely has strong leadership capabilities all the way around.

  185. 185
    Alex R. Says:

    Oh, and definitely not to leave Jenny out, because Jenny your awesome and you’d be welcome to join everyone of course, but as long as the restaurant/bar is legal and it’s OK with the parents.

    But I think we should gather as many Bravos fans in the area as possible…maybe even start a local fan club? Unofficially of course.

  186. 186
    Stu Says:

    See, Alex, there’s even more common ground: we both appreciate the contributions of Kyle and AAR, and we both (apparently) like drinking beer. There’s hope for us yet, my friend.

  187. 187
    Stu Says:

    I think we should all vote on our top 10 favorite contributors here and induct them into the Braves Journal HOF. As long as we could agree that people who don’t get voted in won’t have hurt feelings. Of course, we’d have to adjust for the ever growing number of contributors in here. I dunno…anybody think this would be entertaining and worthwhile?

  188. 188
    RB Says:

    A local NYC fan club would be great — somebody should organize it on the forums. It would be pretty sweet to have a rowdy crowd of even 9-10 people to invade some unsuspecting city bar.

    I had figured as much about any strongholds up here — I’m in Manhattan. I’ve lived in the area before, so I am definitely familiar with the hostility towards our Georgia heros. In many ways, the Mets are to the Braves, or at least for the past 15 years, as the Red Sox are to the Yankees. The fun codex is that to the extent I find myself rooting for an AL team, I usually pull for the Red Sox. Talk about pissing people off left and right (although there are a few genuine RS bars around, which I find is at least some sort of safe harbor).

  189. 189
    csg Says:

    Stu, it would be entertaining and would give us something else to debate about. At least rain outs could be more enjoyable. Fox Sports talks about how Wickman isnt a big improvement over Ken Ray. Sorry dont have the link. Just click on Wickmans picture if you care to see them rank the closers.

  190. 190
    ububba Says:


    Let’s not turn this into a fraternity. I successfully avoided them in college.

  191. 191
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Thanks, Stu and Alex. I really appreciate that.

    As regards a Braves Journal Hall of Fame… I think it’s hard to do any sort of Hall of Fame without making people feel left out. I really enjoy the posters on here, and I wouldn’t want to make people feel excluded, or not want to post just because they didn’t get into the BJHoF.

  192. 192
    Alex R. Says:


    The only people I know (99% of the cases) who don’t like Beer, I generally don’t get along with. So, yeah, Beer is definitely good common ground. In fact, speaking of the D.C. area, one of my favorite places (and haven’t been in ages living in Alexandria) is “The Brickskellar” near Georgetown and Upper Dupont because they have a variety of over 700 national and international beers.

    My wife is also a beer fan too…Beer & liking sports were big factors for me when we started dating!

    As for the BravesJournal HOF, as long as our ‘founder’ Mac is the first inductee, then fine with me!

  193. 193
    LanceinFL Says:

    Hmmm….the BJ Hall of Fame….might want to think of another moniker for that…….

  194. 194
    Stu Says:

    Obviously this is divisive. Maybe a bad idea. I, for one, wouldn’t care at all if I were left off such a list.

    How about secret balloting? Everyone emails a list of worthy inductees (no limit on numbers) to Mac, who posts a list of all those whose names appear on more than X % of the ballots.

    Of course, deciding on X would be tough, and this would give more work to Mac. And some people seem to not be interested in the idea, anyway. I’m just bored.

  195. 195
    Marc Says:

    The Marlins are known for getting the other team’s best prospects when they deal, so even if they wanted to trade Dontrelle, the prive would likely be very high, especially since he is still a relative bargain, even for the Marlins. I can’t see that trade ever happening.

    The first game James pitched, I was very impressed by the way he went after hitters and was not afraid to throw strikes. For a guy without great stuff, that has its pros and cons; not many walks, but much more likely to get taken deep. In recent games, he hasn’t pitched particularly well, so I don’t know what to say except that his minor league numbers suggest he should do well. Unfortunately, the Braves don’t have a great record since Glavine and Avery of producing pitchers. They especially don’t have a history of developing power pitchers. It’s sort of discouraging to me that their best pitching prospect is a soft tossing flyball pitcher. And Davies, their other top prospect, can’t throw strikes. One thing is sure, if some of these guys don’t start panning out, the prospects for the Bravos in the future is not bright.

  196. 196
    Alex R. Says:

    I know the opinions on Salty are split, but I for one would package him gladly if the net gain was Dontrelle Willis.

    Though he has been inconsistent, Stu’s right that he has ace stuff and guts down the stretch. He could be the face of the Braves rotation for years, theoretically and he is only 24.

    So yeah, if it’s James, Salty and 1-2 other guys to get Dontrelle Willis, I would back that deal up with some applause.

  197. 197
    Cary Says:

    I can think of a good place to meet up to see the Braves.. and there’s beer.. and Jenny can legally join.

    RFK Stadium.

    The Braves are back for a 4-game series, August 14-17 (Mon-Thurs). Unfortunately, the only other series in town this season is a Mon-Wed one, so we can’t get a weekender this year.

    Just a thought.

  198. 198
    Alex R. Says:


    That was funny. I had something else really funny to say that I know Ububba would get a kick out of it as a former Athens resident, but it would be crass and inappropriate so I won’t say it–but it did make me laugh what you posted!!!

  199. 199
    Cary Says:

    Though I am concerned about the ramifications of having “Alex R.” and “Another Alex R.” in the same physical space.

    Wouldn’t want to invert the universe in the middle of our kick-ass comeback season.

  200. 200
    Alex R. Says:

    Hey Cary,

    You up for joining Kyle, AAR and myself at this Regional place (Chinatown) tomorrow–would that be before one of the fantastic dates your about to go on?

  201. 201
    jenny Says:

    I don’t like beer. It tastes like floor cleaner. Of course, all anybody ever buys at my school is Milwaukee’s Best and other such toxic waste. Maybe that’s the problem.

    *cough* Well, I mean, if I were old enough to drink beer, I think I probably wouldn’t like it and that it would probably taste like floor cleaner. *cough*

  202. 202
    Stu Says:

    Don’t worry, jenny: you’ll eventually mature and learn how wrong you have been about beer.

  203. 203
    Alex R. Says:

    Cary, AAR, Kyle, Jenny…we should definitely plan to all get tickets togetehr for at least one of the Braves games. That would be cool.

  204. 204
    Alex R. Says:

    I gotta back Stu on the beer thing. Of course, my first 2 years of college, all I mostly drank was Natty Light at Keggers (when I wasn’t hanging out with Mac who like Jenny is part of that cool 1% non beer drinker crowd) so I was skewed negatively…until one day I discovered Killian’s Irish Red, which is my personal favorite.

  205. 205
    ububba Says:

    Speaking from experience, I can tell you that Milwaukee’s Best is cheap swill.

    When I was in school we could buy it for $6.36 a case at the Navy School PX in Athens. Four guys, $1.59 each, a night of low-rent merriment, often watching The Rick Mahler Era Braves.

  206. 206
    Stu Says:

    Guinness. Murphy’s. Newcastle. Terrapin Rye. Bellhaven. Whitbread. Fuller’s ESB. And basically anything Samuel Smith’s brews.

    If you’re drinking any of that cheap crap, it’s not worth your time.

  207. 207
    Alex R. Says:

    Ububba, not sure when you were in Athens, but there was this gas station not too far from the further away Dial America location (on a corner) that when i was there between 94-97, used to have gas at 87 cents a gallon!!! I still have dreams about it ;-)

    Stu, I am impressed…you have very eclectic (sp?) Beer tastes. I am a bit more mainstream but I agree…not much of a fan of Milwaukee’s Best, Bud, Coors, etc.

  208. 208
    LanceinFL Says:

    Just a side note, I did live in Athens for almost 2 years. Not as a student, but owned a small auto repair shop there. The funnest 2 years of my life….it was pre-marriage

  209. 209
    ububba Says:

    I’m a gainfully employed adult now—and, with the exception of a few sloppy lagers, a complete beer snob. Guinness is my beverage of choice.

  210. 210
    Dix Says:

    Nice one Alex, Killians Irish Red is also the beer that ushered me in to the post-Coors Light era. The beer era naturally bagan the day after the ‘glass full of straight rum that I thought was water catastrophe’. The sequence of events is remarkably similar to the demise of the dinosaurs. Liquor ruled the world, until one horrific event led the way to the time of beer. And beer is still going strong!

    Hopefully soon I’ll up my tolerance to 2 beers per night

  211. 211
    Another Alex R. Says:

    I used to hate the taste of beer too, Jenny. But the good stuff really does make a difference. Try to find someone whose tastes you agree with in most other respects–a parent, a friend, a sibling, whatever–and let them take you under their wing. The best way to do it is to drink beer on tap at a bar that knows what it’s doing, but the most important thing is to make sure it’s cold and make sure it’s quality. Then grab some nachos. That ought to do the trick.

  212. 212
    Stu Says:

    Gas was 87 cents a gallon in Marietta when I was in high school and first got my license (late ’98). I was spoiled on the cheap stuff.

  213. 213
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Oh, and Guinness is my poison of choice too, although I also really like Brooklyn Brown Ale.

  214. 214
    Stu Says:

    Cold? Not if it’s a Guinness.


    I’m hardly gainfully employed, but I, too, am a beer snob.

  215. 215
    Stu Says:

    And, yeah, I was with Dix at an Old Crow Medicine Show last week, and one Miller Lite did him in. I was embarrassed for his family.

  216. 216
    Alex R. Says:

    Gosh I miss cheap gas. It makes me weepy to think about.

    AAR brought up a great point, Jenny, one is you may ‘grow’ a taste for it. I hated Beer too when I was younger but I thought wine was supposed to take like White Zin (somewhere, Paul Giamatti just cringed…) and now my wife & I travel once a year to visit her sister in San Francisco and take a detour for an overnight to Napa Valley. Somethings you just grow into when your body is ready to appreciate certain tastes. (I think this year we want to hit Sonoma, never been!).

    I also agree that Beer has an enormous variety of flavors and certain beers taste better with certain foods. Like I generally drink a Corona if we are having Mexican food, or if we are having Thai food, I specifically get Thai Beer! It really makes the whole eating experience kind of fun.

    But then again, since you are not of legal age, I don’t mean to say this as encouragement to drink now–try some cool beers out down the road with friends and with the right food mix.

  217. 217
    Stu Says:

    In an attempt to completely hijack this thread, 2 more anecdotes.

    1) I’m Presbyterian (we’re pretty dang straight-laced), and the pastor at my college church (the same one who gave my wife and me pre-marital counseling) refers to Guinness as “milk from the breast of God.”

    2) In 2009, I plan to be in Dublin for Guinness’ 250th birthday party. Anyone care to join me?

  218. 218
    Kyle S Says:

    a place near my house in Atlanta (I lived in a nice neighborhood but less than a mile from a housing project where some Techwood residents were relocated) once sold gas for 78 cents a gallon when I was in high school. Ahh, the good old days.

  219. 219
    ububba Says:


    Not including a few summers, I lived in Athens between fall 1981 & spring 1990.

    When The Globe bar opened downtown in the late ’80s, I began to appreciate imported tap beer. After growing up on PBR, Bud & worse, I needed something else.

  220. 220
    Cary Says:

    Hall of Fame of Beers > Hall of Fame of BJ posters

    Be bored no more, Stu. Looks like we’re definitely on the same brew page.

    I’m going to go with:

    Newcastle Brown Ale
    Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
    Sam Smith’s Scotch Ale
    Negra Modelo
    Dos Equis
    Tsing Tao
    Kirin Ichiban
    Miller High Life (the Champagne of Beers is definitely the outlier here)

  221. 221
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Stu, in case I can’t make it to Dublin with you, would you bring back a couple pitchers through U.S. Customs for me?

  222. 222
    Stu Says:

    Ichiban is not bad at all. Have you had Sam Smith’s Imperial Stout? It will make you want to smack your mama. The Taddy Porter is also outstanding.

    I desparately crave beer.

  223. 223
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Ahem… pitchers of Guinness, that is. Although if you can find some pitchers of baseballs from Peter Moylan’s ancestral home, feel free to bring them along too.

  224. 224
    ububba Says:


    The Irish call Guinness “Mother’s Milk” because it has iron.

    I’ve done a couple trips to Ireland. Did the Dublin thing and what you hear is true: The Guinness is way better over there.

    One morning outside my hotel in Dublin, I saw a small, Euro truck pull up to the hotel’s pub. It was painted like a pint of Guinness with logos all over the vehicle. A man in the Guinness uniform got out and I asked him what he was doing this early. He replied, “I’m giving the pub its weekly check of the Guinness draft lines.”

    I wept.

  225. 225
    Alex R. Says:


    I definitely like most of your beer list–Newcastle is also one of my favorites. Of course…you already knew Killian’s was one of my favorites and have very generously brought it to my house many times. It’s always appreciated!

    I see a lot of Guiness love…I had a huge Guiness hankoring (for some reason) during the time I lived in Austin (between 1997-2000) and drank it all the time, then got kind of sick of it. I guess I also am prone to go through “beer phases”.

    Stu, if you want to see a big beer fest closer to home (not sure what are you live again?), my hometown of Savannah does the best St. Pattie’s Day parade in the country. There’s lot of beer choices there during that!

    Are we bordering on Mac needing to start a Beer thread?

    By the way, I think it’s fairly evident that most of our bullpen are huge beer fans too ;-) I think Wickman and Paronto could ‘tie one on’!

  226. 226
    Alex R. Says:

    Yes, thumbs up to Ichiban and Kirin Lager, for the Asian set.

  227. 227
    Stu Says:

    Well, Alex, I’m in Nashville for the summer, but my wife and I live in Athens. At least for another year, after which we’ll hopefully be up in Music City permanently.

  228. 228
    Alex R. Says:

    My old DC roommate Jon was a Vandy guy and as far as he’s concerned, Nashville is his favorite city. I myself am an Austin guy first, but Jon swore by Nashville though now he’s living back near his mom & dad in Jacksonville.

  229. 229
    Stu Says:

    Austin is kinda like Nashville Lite. I prefer the real thing.

  230. 230
    Davey Says:

    All this talk of Guinness would make my grandmother very happy..

    She has one every single day…around 6:30 in the evening, when she prepares for the Braves game.
    Heineken early on..and Guinnes to end the day, that’s her routine..

  231. 231
    Stu Says:

    Wait…Heineken? That’s like drinking pee-pee. Your grandmother has simultaneously great and terrible taste.

  232. 232
    Kyle S Says:

    In terms of beer, I like stouts but am more partial to Belgian trappist ales and hefeweizens. My beer HOF would include

    Paulaner hefeweizen

    Plus a lot of American microbrews. My favorite light beer is Amstel Light; my favorite American “big brewery” beer is Rolling Rock.

  233. 233
    LanceinFL Says:

    How about YingLing? I have my brother bring me some from PA everytime he visits…..

  234. 234
    Davey Says:

    Our local Amstel brewery shut down down here a few months ago I think.

    People here usually drink Heineken (being a Dutch beer and us being a Dutch colony), Polar ( a Venezuelan beer) , Guinness or Balashi ( an Aruban beer).

  235. 235
    ububba Says:

    We all know the story of Samuel Adams, brewer, patriot; but another founding father, Ben Franklin, had this to say:

    “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

  236. 236
    Cary Says:

    Stu, I’ll have to give the Imperial Stout and Taddy Porter a shot the next time I’m at The Brickskellar–probably can’t pick them up most places, even here in the Nation’s Capital.

  237. 237
    Cary Says:

    Yeungling and Bass are two that should be included as well.

    Alex, I can’t make it tomorrow. I’ll be at the Nats-Cubs game. Lift a few for the Bravos though.

  238. 238
    glitch Says:

    I remember the Glob opening in the middle of the Bar-muda triangle, ububba. I had friends who worked there but I was all GA bar until Alec went nuts and fired all his bartenders via their answering machines. Then I moved over to the Manhattan.

  239. 239
    ububba Says:


    I did my stint at GA Bar, too, but that place could get so packed it would be brutal. When I go back to Athens, The Manhattan is where I hang. Cozy, dark, not so many young’uns.

  240. 240
    Stu Says:

    Check out The Arch. It’s really a great place.

  241. 241
    glitch Says:

    Sorry so late to get back. I had a grill, a whiskey, and a wife all clearing their throats loudly and looking pointedly in my direction…

    Wish I knew there was a fellow GAbar alum when I lived in NYC. My only sports fan friend (also a denizen of the late 90s athens bar/music scene) lived down in Ft Greene, which was hellish (for either) transportation wise with me in Bushwick.

    Last time I was in ATH I ended up spending alot of time at Little Kings, but I usually am at the Manhattan when I go back. It’s funny you mention the no young-uns aspect. We were calling it adult swim back in the pre-aughts.

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