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23 Jul

Stupid Slate

How the media abuse Hank Aaron. – By Tommy Craggs – Slate Magazine

This article bugs me. This claim of “abuse” — comparing Aaron favorably to Bonds — is one thing, but the author falls into the trap that really angers me, the framing of Aaron’s career as somehow the triumph of a slow-and-steady “good player”, the refusal to see Aaron’s greatness.

Hank Aaron’s career is, of course, marked by consistency and length. It’s also marked by greatness, by him being a great player from his second season, 1955, to his twentieth, 1973, when at age 39 he hit 40 homers and slugged .643, second in the league. In every one of those seasons, he got at least one MVP vote. In every one, and in the two following, he made the All-Star team — two All-Star teams from 1959-62, when the game was played twice a year.

I’ve talked about the Black Ink Test, a measure of league-leading totals, in the context of Chipper. Unlike Chipper, Hank led the league. A lot. He’s eighth all-time in the Black Ink Test. He led the league in homers four times, in slugging six times. He won two batting titles and twice led the league in hits. (The dumbest line in the article is that Aaron never hit higher than .355. .355 would be a respectable league-leading total even today.) The all-time leader in total bases, he led the league a remarkable eight times. He led the league in doubles and RBI four times each, three times in runs scored. He finished seven points of batting average short of the Triple Crown in 1963. As for near-league-leading seasons, he’s second to Cobb in the Grey Ink Test, which measures finishes in the Top Ten, and Cobb’s total is boosted by relatively high finishes in home runs, which were far less important in 1919 than in Aaron’s day or ours; the Test isn’t really suited for dead ball players.

Speaking of, Aaron never hit fifty home runs, but his career sits in an era when such high home run totals were rare. There were only five 50+ homer seasons during Aaron’s career, only two in the NL, both by Willie Mays — 51 in 1955, 52 ten years later. Of course, that’s part of the problem, that Hank is getting compared to his more glamourous contemporary Alabamian. But Willie, great as he was, wasn’t as good of a hitter. He won only one batting title, in 1954, and never led the league in RBI. He’s 18th on the Black Ink Test.

Another part of the problem is that Hank played the best part of his career in one of the most run-depressed environments in modern baseball history. The fifties were a relatively low-offense era, and the sixties more so, and County Stadium in Milwaukee was a difficult place to hit home runs. It’s been written that Hank got a boost from Fulton County, and of course that’s so, but that only made up for what he lost from County Stadium. In his career, he hit nearly as many homers on the road as at home. He certainly would have hit 50 in a season if he’d played in a neutral park, and if he’d played under Fulton County conditions probably would have hit 62 or more, and have 850 or more career homers. The “neutralize stats” option on Baseball-Reference gives him 801 homers for his career — and 4030 hits.

115 Responses to “Stupid Slate”

  1. 1
    csg Says:

    here’s to hoping that we can jump all over Morris and make sure that he loses all trade value to us. Here’s also hoping that we can actually score some runs vs Smoltz tonight

  2. 2
    Sam Says:

    Hank’s career still goes pretty unappreciated even to this day.

    Plus, any writer from Slate writing about baseball, is like me writing an article about opera. :P

  3. 3
    Stu Says:

    But how do you really feel, Mac?

  4. 4
    Sam Says:

    Clearly, you weren’t firing on all cylinders, Mac. ;)

  5. 5
    Kenny Says:

    Great point, Mac. I get tired of people talking about how “steady” Aaron was over his career. It has always has struck me as a back-handed compliment.

  6. 6
    Sam Says:

    Rafael Palmeiro, he was steady.

  7. 7
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Maybe that’s why they rejected me. I don’t know anything about opera.

  8. 8
    Sam Says:

    Mac,

    Yep, that’s it. Glad you can see your faults. :)

  9. 9
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    Sorry to change topic… but I noticed that sam and mac are on here now.

    what’s the deal with the renteria for garland rumors? that doesn’t sound very favorable to the braves. doesn’t renteria have another year that the sox are mostly paying for?

  10. 10
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    renteria and yates need another all-star break. they’ve been terrible lately.

  11. 11
    JoshQ Says:

    Just a thought, but maybe JS is waiting this thing out a little. If he can get Snell or Tex for Salty, maybe he is just stuck as to which would be better. That would be a great place to be because I think both of them are wins for the team. I also am beginning to side w/ AlexR on his big bat better than starter theory in the previous thread. If we fielded a team w/ Tex in the middle of the lineup, we would have a top notch lineup in the NL. Frankly, nobody scares me in the NL. I’d love to be that team that scares others though.

  12. 12
    Justin Parker Says:

    Hank Aaron was an amazing baseball player, and is probably the best ever, but because he didn’t play in a big market, and because he is not a self promoter,like Joe Morgan, he is never talked about in greatest player debates. It’s usually former Yankees, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, and soon Barry Bonds, but by all measurables, and written accounts, Hank Aaron should be at the top of the list. Maybe if he would have played in New York, or made a spectacular catch in a World Series then he there wouldn’t even be a debate. Furthermore, being the Homerun King probably hurts more than it helps, because it overshadows his other accomplishments as a hitter. From a statistical perspective, he is the greatest offensive player ever.

  13. 13
    Stu Says:

    Well, if the rumors that we can get Snell for Salty and Teix without including Salty are true…let’s do both. :)

    Sorry to change topic… but I noticed that sam and mac are on here now.

    Do you guys know each other?

    Also, something I’ve been wondering but forgetting to ask—Alex R., Mac, and I believe Cary (and maybe others I’m forgetting about), you guys know each other personally, right? How did y’all become friends?

  14. 14
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    edit #10… i meant soriano and yates. you probably figured that.

  15. 15
    JoshQ Says:

    I agree Stu, but somehow the fact that this hasn’t happened makes me believe that the rumors are not true.

  16. 16
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Please allow me to share my favorite quotes on
    Hank Aaron:
    As far as I’m concerned, (Hank) Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He’s never received the credit he’s due.” – Mickey Mantle

    “More than anyone else, he’s (Hank Aaron) made me wish I wasn’t a manager.” – Walter Alston

    Trying to throw a fastball by Henry Aaron is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster.” -Curt Simmons

    Go Braves!

  17. 17
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    i don’t know sam or mac, but they contribute a lot to the conversation threads here (they seem to be on top of the rumors from what i’ve seen). and because i like to make sam laugh with references to jonathon schuerholz. heh heh.

    i didn’t mean to exclude anyone’s insight. :)

    have the pirates hinted that snell is available? people keep referring to him in trades talks but i don’t see any reason why they would deal him. good, young, cheap pitchers aren’t very plentiful.

  18. 18
    Alex R. Says:

    Stu-

    I have known Mac since freshman year of college at Alabama (before I transfered to Georgia). 1993. I met Mac at our dorm (Friedman Hall) NBA Fantasy Draft and Mac was the snarky guy in the corner making sarcastic comments in his Braves hat the whole time. Besides sports, Mac also had a huge TV in his dorm room, vs. the 5 inch TV my parents allowed me to have…needless, I watched a lot of Braves games, Star Trek and played a lot of Tecmo Bowl on that big TV with Mac.

    As for Aaron vs. Bonds, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to say that Aaron was steady, but he was absolutely great.

    As for Tex, I don’t see how we get him without dealing Salty.

  19. 19
    Alex R. Says:

    Also, Mac shared a bathroom with his dorm neighbor Tim, who was blind. It’s safe to say Tim and Mac got on one another’s nerves ;-)

  20. 20
    Stu Says:

    Hence the smiley face, JoshQ.

  21. 21
    david15 Says:

    To be fair to the writer of that article, what you’re harping on is only really discussed in one paragraph. Plus, that paragraph is the shortest in the column. In fact, if the paragraph was longer the writer could have explained it a lot better, because the true statement that Aaron’s career didn’t have those two or three peak years that are just eye-popping fits his thesis. He could have explained that without the comparison to Mays, which I find a little strange anyway.

    But it’s somewhat unfair to pick out what is ostensibly an aside to discredit the article. Now, whether Aaron has forever been used by sports writers as a convenient figure to sort of project whatever image they wished is something that is debatable. I think that would yield a more interesting discussion than whether that particular writer fully appreciates Aaron’s performance. Because, really, what he’s questioning is others’ perceptions of Aaron’s humanity.

  22. 22
    Stu Says:

    Ah, didn’t know you’d started at Bama, Alex. That clears that up. What about Cary? Don’t you guys know him? Another Alabama guy?

  23. 23
    Ethan Says:

    Alex, I agree with you on Tex. I am wondering though, with regard to winning this year. Would we be better served to trade Salty for Tex or Snell or neither? (assuming Pitt and Texas would play ball)

    I would say Snell, but the rotation hasn’t been horrible lately, and our lineup is unreal with Tex in the middle of it. I guess Snell because of the financial aspect, but I could see it either way.

  24. 24
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    from buster olney’s chat wrap…

    *”[I] am hearing today that the asking price for Teixeira is dropping; the perception of a couple of rival executives is that the Rangers are intent on making the best deal and moving on (think Padres, Sheffield, 1993…)”*

    interesting…

  25. 25
    MGL Says:

    If we cannot get Tex, what about Todd Helton?

  26. 26
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    more from olney:

    “I wish I could give you a better answer about how the price for Teixeira is going down, but that’s what some execs are saying; the last word I got on the Yankees/Rangers talks, however, was that Texas was saying that either Chamberlain or Hughes would have to be involved. That could change, of course… GMs are talking a ton these days. Remember how last year, the Phillies kept saying, no, no, no on Abreu to the Yankees, and then at the last second, they capitulated, in order to dump him. That’s the most important development in the Teixeira thing, at this point — the perception is that the Rangers seem intent on cutting and running, making their best deal possible and moving on. He makes sense for Atlanta, in particular.”

  27. 27
    Another Alex R. Says:

    What makes Hank so unusual is that very few players have been consistently excellent for quite as long as he was. It’s a bit like Greg Maddux winning at least 15 games 15 years in a row. A combination of freakish talent, relentless work ethic, and the luck of not being injured. Hank didn’t really have career years: he basically had a career career, which is why he’s so underrated.

  28. 28
    Sam Says:

    No, Mac and I don’t know each other.

  29. 29
    Sam Says:

    That’s pretty sweet about the Teixeira thing. :D

  30. 30
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I agree with mac that the statement about Aaron being only steady is unfair. He was truly a great player and the writer simply does not have enough historical knowledge to know how good his statistics were in context. Part of it was playing in small markets, part of it, frankly, was being black and being on the same team with a white superstar Eddie Mathews. People forget how good Mathews was during the fifties but he was never the player Aaron was. (I also agree with the comment that this was a small piece of the article.) But, there also seems to be a bit of Willie Mays bashing. The fact is, Willie lost two prime years to the army; otherwise, he almost surely would have passed the Babe first and would have had another 300 to 400 hits. For much of his career, he played in a very difficult park for right-handed hitters. And, frankly, he played a more important defensive position than Hank. The implication is that Mays was rated over Aaron only because he played in a big market (which he only did for the first six years, two of which he missed). I don’t think that’s fair. I think it is fair to say that Aaron and Mays were comparable players (don’t even mention Roberto Clemente in teh same breath) but it’s not unreasonable to say Mays was better. Aaron, however, did “age” better than Mays and had much better years in his late thirties than Mays did. (Aaron’s Strat-0-Matic card for 1971 is amazing.)

    But, in response to another comment, as much as I dislike Joe Morgan as an announcer, I think it’s unfair to call him a self-promoter. If anything, he has always been quite modest about his own career; he has consistently refused to compare himself favorably to people like Rogers Hornsby, who was known for being a great hitter but unable catch popups. Yet, Morgan was a truly great player–he was probably the most important player on the Big Red Machine.

  31. 31
    Sam Says:

    I think Joe Morgan is the best second baseman of all time, but that doesn’t make him a good announcer. Notice last night that Rolen was “definitely” safe in the first two looks, live and replay, but then Miller and Morgan saw that Renteria got Rolen on the back and they shut up for about a minute? *laughs*

  32. 32
    Coz Says:

    Sam – I’d take Hornsby at 2nd if I had my pick of any from all time

  33. 33
    Coz Says:

    And the idea that Tex can be had for less than last week is indeed good news…but does that mean Tex without having to deal Salty? That would allow us to move him to the Pirates for Snell

  34. 34
    Sam Says:

    Coz,

    Who knows. It might be possible.

  35. 35
    Nick Says:

    This was always the problem with acquiring Julio. He is simply going to be our starting first baseman for the rest of the year and the only possible way to change that would be to trade for Texeira. And even then I bet Bobby would hilariously find a way to start Julio more than we can possibly imagine that he would in that situation.

    A thought that’s even more hilarious to me is what would have happened if we still had LaRoche. I’m guessing Bobby would have taken the guy who at that point would have been our starting first baseman for a year and a half and thrown him back into a platoon with Julio. Now that would have been an interesting situation.

    On Edgar, I don’t think that we would have traded him for Garland (Gammons seems to be branching out. Most of his BS rumors involve everybody trading all their good players to the Red Sox for complete dreck), but I’m starting to get a very sick feeling in my stomach that we are going to get rid of Edgar in the offseason and give Escobar the starting shortstop job. This would be a very bad move as it would devastate our lineup, but based on this rumor and the thing Mark Bowman wrote a couple days ago saying we’d rather trade Salty than Escobar, I’m starting to wonder. We’re already hurting our lineup by having Escobar platoon with KJ. KJ has come out of his slump yet is only playing in half the games while Escobar doesn’t really do much of anything. I’m afraid we are way overrating Escobar.

  36. 36
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Hornsby didn’t play defense. Prior to Babe Ruth, when the bunt was an important weapon and the double play was a small part of the game (because one way or another, with a runner on first that guy’s going in motion) second base was the slugger position, third base the fielder. That switched with the live ball, but Hornsby, for whatever reason, was a Ty Cobb Era second baseman in the Babe Ruth Era.

    It’s very close as to if Willie would have passed Ruth if he hadn’t been in the Army. Probably, but it’s not guaranteed. He hit 20 HR as a rookie; he hit 40 his first year back. Let’s say he would have increased his 1952 total from 4 to 25, and hit 30 in 1953. That gives him 51 more homers, bringing him to… 711. Give him a little bigger boost, say to 30 and 35, and he clears the bar at 721.

    There’s also the factor of his brief tenure with the Mets, where he hit his last 14 homers. He certainly wouldn’t have been traded if he had a shot at the record. I don’t know how much that would have changed things. The Giants at that time had an outfield of Bobby Bonds, Ken Henderson, and Garry Maddox, and McCovey at first base, with Kingman playing various corners; Willie as he was then would have had trouble getting into the lineup more than a couple times a week.

  37. 37
    ububba Says:

    I don’t care about Joe Morgan the announcer, but anyone who saw Joe Morgan actually play would never denigrate his talent.

    I always found the Hornsby/Morgan debate entertaining, from Bill James on down. I understand different eras & that Hornsby was a lousy fielding 2B & Morgan was a great one, but:

    JM: 22 seasons 271/392/427
    RH: 23 seasons 358/434/577

    That takes lots of explaning.

  38. 38
    Sam Says:

    Isn’t that a good thing? Surely we can get more for him if people think he’s worth more than he actually is.

  39. 39
    Sam Says:

    Hornsby played in an era where EVERYONE hit, didn’t he?

  40. 40
    Coz Says:

    Interesting, Mac. I’d still take Horsnby though. He’s one of my favorites. I’d just need a really good SS on the team too – like Wagner. ;)

  41. 41
    Coz Says:

    And please don’t get me wrong – I am not saying anything about Morgan. I’ll leave the bashing to plenty of others (who I am sure will be along presently.)

  42. 42
    King Diamond Says:

    Even if the price on Tex is dropping, there are still several teams who are reportedly after him. If the Braves are not including Salty, their offer could not possibly surpass that of, say, the Angels or Dodgers. Salty is the Braves best chit, and likely would be the single best prospect Texas could receive for Teixeira. Of course, both LA teams can overwhelm Atlanta’s offer if they dig deep anough and if the Yankees suddenly make Hughes available, Texas should pounce…

  43. 43
    Sam Says:

    The Yanks would be insane to get Teixeira for Hughes. They need pitching because most of their staff is damn old, and they can’t afford to lose Hughes.

  44. 44
    ububba Says:

    Yanks aren’t trading Hughes for anyone. Cashman has repeated that over and over for a year.

  45. 45
    Dix Says:

    Stu seems like he feels left out because he doesn’t have any friends on Braves Journal.

  46. 46
    Sam Says:

    Like I said, they’d have to be insane.

  47. 47
    Sam Says:

    I don’t know anyone here at Braves Journal in real life either. :P

  48. 48
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Mac,

    You might be right about Mays’ last years but I think his HR totals the two years he missed would have been much higher. He hit 40 after not having played for two years. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to project at least 35 in 1952 and 1953. But I grant it would have been close because of how much he tailed off at the end. If he hadn’t been traded and was close to the record, there would presumably have been a lot of pressure to play him–especially since the Giants did not draw well in those years and presumably would have wanted the boost from Mays chasing the record. On the other hand, the Giants were a pretty good team–they won the division in 1971–and might have been reluctant to lose games to allow an aging Mays to play. That certainly wasn’t an issue with the Braves even if Aaron hadn’t still been a good player.

  49. 49
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    i can’t see the yanks giving up hughes at all.

    of course, i thought the same about salty and the braves a couple of weeks ago. now, i’m beginning to soften that. even though i think it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to give him a winter and spring to see how he fields at 1B, i would understand a move for tex.

    to nick #35, i agree that escobar is being overrated. i’d rather see KJ play everyday unless escobar is being showcased.

  50. 50
    Stu Says:

    I know a few of the Braves Journal posters personally. One just got downgraded from the “friend” category.

  51. 51
    Stu Says:

    And it doesn’t exactly sound like good news that Teix’s price is “dropping”. As King Diamond alludes to, that just increases the number of teams in the competion for his services. I hope “Tony” is really Jon Daniels.

  52. 52
    Sam Says:

    Murphy,

    I’d like that to happen too, but clearly, being a “veteran” trumps actual results in Bobby Cox’s eyes. I still like Julio, but I hope he doesn’t start too much longer.

  53. 53
    Coz Says:

    One must ask – why is Tex’s price dropping? Why is Texas so ready to “move on?” They have another year before his free agency, and even if they have to deal with a larger than arbitration # (which I understand he’ll have this offseason) they can deal him anytime before the end of 2008.

    They must think his value will never be higher. Is it possible they know something the rest of us don’t?

  54. 54
    Sam Says:

    Maybe that thing he had when he was on the DL is acting up again or something.

  55. 55
    King Diamond Says:

    Tex doesn’t like Texas–he said as much last week in an interview. He’s tired of losing and management is ready to cash in. Most players are not allowed to rip their team/ownership in public for too long.

    As an aside, where will Scott Olsen end up? He is now the best arm on the market, bar none–you just have to deal with an Elijah Dukes/Milton Bradley-type attitude if you take him on.

  56. 56
    Sam Says:

    Man, I wish the trading deadline would come up already. Stop the suspense!

  57. 57
    Jeff M. Says:

    Texas would be smart to part ways with Tex–he’s already indicated that he’s done with them. But, they’ve been playing better lately (and thus they might still be in it, yeah right), and they are awful dumb. So, they are just as likely to hold on to him for a year and then send him to the Yankees for A-Rod’s used jock strap and a couple of AA pitchers with ERAs in the stratosphere.

  58. 58
    Murphy3Ever Says:

    sam… i’m not convinced that salty is the answer at 1B for the rest of this year. but maybe with more time at the position. i am convinced that julio and thorman are not the answer though.

    i think it would be sweet for julio to keep playing until he’s 50, but i wasn’t exactly excited about the signing. looked like he couldn’t handle the fastballs last night… but he still swings a tree trunk. and the leadership aspect that he brings certainly doesn’t hurt, but it might be a little overrated in a clubhouse that doesn’t *seem* to have problems. but, we’ll see…

    as far as scott olsen goes… he’d be a great talent to have. but it’s difficult to cheer for a douche (and unless this guy is just extremely misunderstood and misrepresented, he’s got problems). hard to tell where he’ll land.

  59. 59
    sunbelt Says:

    On the proposed Garland for Renteria trade – “One concern is that Garland has a persistent knot in his throwing shoulder, though it doesn’t hurt and he thinks he will just pitch through it for the rest of his career.”
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/ ……………………….. yah and Pittsburgh said Gonzalez just had a little tendonidis in his elbow.

  60. 60
    Sam Says:

    But they didn’t exactly pull a fast one on us. I don’t think either organization could have predicted that he’d need Tommy John surgery. Was it better to do that trade or not?

  61. 61
    sunbelt Says:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/giantsheadlines/ci_6441635 ………… Anyone up for a return of Ryan Klesko?

  62. 62
    Sam Says:

    I don’t know if Klesko’s that much better than Thorman.

  63. 63
    Coz Says:

    @61 – Nope.

  64. 64
    ububba Says:

    Maybe the rain has put me in a good mood, but I feel strangely optimistic about this series.

    Fact is, we can’t go backward this week.

  65. 65
    Tom L Says:

    The fact the price for Tex is dropping is a lot better than the price rising. If this does enter in a few new teams, all it’ll do is just raise the price back to what it was. And I’m sure the only reason for all this is its getting close to the deadline and they want to make the move before the offseason, not of any lingering injury which would be found in a physical before the trade becomes official.

  66. 66
    Sam Says:

    Nowhere to go but up, a trade can only make us better.

  67. 67
    Sam Says:

    … actually, Klesko has been miles better than Thorman. He would be an upgrade in any situation, but it would be better to get Teixeira if they can.

  68. 68
    Marc Schneider Says:

    One of the “problems” with Salty is that he probably shouldn’t be in the majors yet. This is becomine increasingly a problem with the Braves as they have to rush players to the big league because of payroll restrictions; arguably, Salty, McCann, Francoeur, and certainly Davies were called up too soon. Everyone extolls the Braves for being able to plug in guys from the farm system but I think it has hurt the team because, other than McCann, the others have struggled to one extent or another. It’s pretty clear Davies wasn’t ready, Francoeur could probably have used some more seasoning, and, arguably even Salty would be better off in the minors. And going into the season relying on Thorman has obviously not worked out. It’s one thing to have a bunch of young players learning at the big league level when they aren’t expected to win, but it’s another counting on them to make the playoffs.

  69. 69
    Stu Says:

    Francoeur could probably have used some more seasoning

    Smurph was definitely promoted too soon.

  70. 70
    Sam Says:

    An outfield of Diaz, Jones and Harris.

    Yeah, I think I can deal with that.

  71. 71
    Sam Says:

    Francoeur’s milk has been spilt long ago. There is no use complaining about that now.

  72. 72
    Sam Says:

    Marc,

    The Braves didn’t have to bring up Saltalamacchia at all. They could have just as easily brought up Brayan Pena, but they didn’t.

  73. 73
    Stu Says:

    Sam,

    I’m not sure what your’e talking about exactly, but it’s entirely reasonable to bring up the fact that Francoeur was rushed in the context of pointing out a potential flaw in the team over the past few years.

  74. 74
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Pena started the year on the roster. They brought up Saltalamacchia because Pena was hurt.

  75. 75
    Stu Says:

    Sam,

    Pena was up when they brought up Salty. He and McCann were injured on the same night, remember?

  76. 76
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Funnily enough, Francouer drew a full-count walk to load the bases last night. (After missing horribly on a slider far off the plate.) For most players, you wouldn’t think twice, but for him, I take it as an encouraging sign.

  77. 77
    Sam Says:

    But there is no use in complaining about that now. Besides, how can we be certain that a year in Richmond would actually have improved Francoeur? Yes, it would have given him a year of experience with little to no pressure, but would he be a better slugger for it?

  78. 78
    Stu Says:

    I agree AAR. And I don’t mean to imply that he shouldn’t be our RF today—I just think his growth was stunted somewhat by seemingly having been brought up before he was ready.

  79. 79
    Sam Says:

    All right, well, Pena is healthy now and playing in Richmond, why not bring him back up again?

    Yes, I do remember that.

  80. 80
    Stu Says:

    No, Sam, the point is that there is use in complaining about it now. Because it’s part of the larger trend to which Marc is alluding. A trend that seems to be continuing.

  81. 81
    Sam Says:

    Well, I’m not going to complain about it. I don’t see that they can “damage” anyone else right now.

  82. 82
    Stu Says:

    I dunno, because they think they need an “impact bat” or something? Pena’s useful, but he doesn’t have Salty’s upside right now.

    The point is that the payroll restrictions prevent the Braves from having some league-average to above-average free agent first baseman they signed this winter. They can’t afford one, so they have to bring up young players who might develop better in the more instructional setting of the minor leagues.

  83. 83
    Marc Schneider Says:

    The point is that, I think, the team has had to rush people because they can’t afford to acquire veterans (or hold onto veterans they have). Of course, the Braves do have veterans so it’s not like they field a team of rookies, but a lot of these guys are still learning how to play. It seems to me that it’s one thing to rush up guys like Pena, whom you expect to be a marginal player anyway,and another to rush top prospects. Again, it goes back to payroll; the team’s record has gotten worse each year since the big payroll cut (although it will probably be better this year than last year).

  84. 84
    Sam Says:

    So this is the best way to deal with that payroll squeeze. It may not be the best solution in developing players, but you can’t win if you don’t put your best out of the field. At worst, I think that the Braves are trying to do two things at once with their prospects at the top club.

  85. 85
    Stu Says:

    Sam,

    You continue to miss the point. Nobody’s saying this isn’t the best way to deal with the squeeze. We’re saying the squeeze results in this problem. We wish the squeeze weren’t there.

  86. 86
    Sam Says:

    Well, that’s something that only Liberty Media can control now. Cox can’t control it. Schuerholz can’t control it. We most certainly can’t control it. So why complain?

  87. 87
    Stu Says:

    Because we’re fans of the team? Because we want the best possible product?

    We can’t control who Cox puts in the lineup or brings out of the bullpen, either, but we complain about that.

  88. 88
    Justin Parker Says:

    One problem I saw last year was an unwillingness to give up on the season, and deal Andruw for two top level prospects. Having said that, it might have been done if the right trade was out there, and JS never received a fair trade. There also seems to be a reluctance these days of trading prospects for proven quality, and it might be the fault of the Marlins for being so successful at it, but I am leaning towards the power of the internet, and the constant sports coverage that we see nowadays.

    Another factor may also be the rising salaries vs. the shrinking budgets, something that as Braves fans we know all about. JS doesn’t seem to be afraid to move prospects, but he has limits on what he can add to the budget.

    PS: I would like everyone to know that I didn’t denigrate Joe Morgan’s talent as a baseball player or his place in history. What I did say is that he is a self promoter, if you ever pay attention when he is commentating a game, he always has a story about something he did while he was playing, or about who he rubbed elbows with. It might be the worst thing about his announcing.

  89. 89
    Marc Schneider Says:

    If JS had as much money to spend as he did in the early 2000s, I guarantee the Braves wouldn’t be hanging around .500. And, let me make it clear, I don’t want the Braves to be like the Yankees. I like a team with home grown players; I’m not saying they need to get every top free agent, just that it’s hard to win with just your farm system. I think JS does a fabulous job of maximizing his payroll but, structured as it is, he is limited and it affects the product on the field.

  90. 90
    Stu Says:

    Speaking of Joe, did you hear when he threw Sammy Sosa under the bus last night? Something along the lines of:

    “Sammy Sosa hugged Mark McGwire after he broke Maris’ record a few years ago. I made eye contact with Hank Aaron as he rounded the basebaths after tying Babe Ruth’s record. But I didn’t hug him or anything…I didn’t want to embarrass my teammates.”

    I chuckled out loud.

  91. 91
    Stu Says:

    I agree 100%, Marc.

  92. 92
    Sam Says:

    Yes, I can agree that JS is limited and it has affected the team. I just don’t want to complain much anymore. I’m getting sick of it.

  93. 93
    Stu Says:

    We’ll complain about the team, and you can just continue to complain about us. Fair enough?

  94. 94
    Hate King Says:

    I will take my chances with JS against the Texas GM (Jon Daniels). This is the guy that traded Chris Young and Gonzalez for Eaton and Otsuka, plus he resigned Padilla. I’m starting to warm up to Teixeria. We would be able to get some draft picks when he bolts and he would probably enjoy playing for Cox since he has had problems with Showalter and Ron Washington. If his value drops, like Olney speculated, I’d welcome a Teixeria trade.

    Renteria for Garland is absurd. I would not like that trade. I hope the Braves’ aren’t starting to believe the Yunel propoganda they have been spreading around the league.

  95. 95
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I think Gammons (who is clearly not all there anymore) mispoke and meant Garland for Escobar. Forget the Braves’ side of it, the Sox need young players.

  96. 96
    Sam Says:

    Stu,

    Yes, Stu, that’a fair. :P

  97. 97
    Ethan Says:

    Detroit just called up Mike Hessman

  98. 98
    Stu Says:

    Hessmania!

  99. 99
    Mac Thomason Says:

    It’s like the Incompetent Braves Fraterity up there. McBride looks like Koufax in comparison to the other guys.

  100. 100
    ububba Says:

    Mac,

    That makes way more sense for the ChiSox.

  101. 101
    Stu Says:

    I thought so, too, Mac, but somebody on here last night (I think) said they’d heard it independently on ESPN radio that afternoon.

  102. 102
    Stu Says:

    I’ll go ahead and predict a Tigers-Dodgers World Series.

  103. 103
    Sam Says:

    Dodgers? What makes you say that, Stu? I’d think the Mets are more worthy than the Dodgers.

  104. 104
    Stu Says:

    Because they’re loaded with former Braves.

  105. 105
    ububba Says:

    A.B.T.M.

    Anybody but the Mets.

  106. 106
    Stu Says:

    Well, they aren’t necessarily loaded anymore, but they’ve shown a similar affinity for former Braves over the past couple of years.

  107. 107
    Stu Says:

    As a team with an affinity for former Mets, we are doomed.

  108. 108
    ububba Says:

    Ex-Mets becoming Braves, not the greatest scenario.

    I’m sure there are exceptions, but it seems to me that, whether you’re Chris Woodward (Bad Met, Bad Brave), Charlie Puleo (Bad Met, Bad Brave) or Danny Frisella (dies in a dune-buggy accident), it hasn’t worked out too well.

  109. 109
    Sam Says:

    I thought the Braves beat the Mets all the time, so that means that the Braves will beat a team of former Mets.

  110. 110
    'Rissa Says:

    I saw Mike Hessman play Friday night against the R-Braves, and we were all wondering when he’d get called up. The guy had 83 RBIs on the season as well as 27 homeruns. His average wasn’t all that great (.259ish), but the 83 RBIs blew everyone else on either team out of the water (and he was teammates with Chirs Shelton, who still doesn’t look anything like the player he was in the first half of the season last year).

  111. 111
    Sam Says:

    Oh wait… dangit! *laughs*

  112. 112
    Sam Says:

    Seems like Hessman is a classic AAAA player.

  113. 113
    Sam Says:

    In 2005 this is his line in Toldeo:

    .214/.313/.436, 28 HR, 74 RBI

    2006:

    .165/.269/.406, 24 HR, 49 RBI

    He’s a Rob Deer clone. :D

  114. 114
    Stu Says:

    No, Deer was at least able to put those numbers up in the majors.

  115. 115
    frank Says:

    hey ububbA,

    check puleos stats as a brave
    not bad for playing on teams with no defense and no offense.

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