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05 Mar

Francoeur homered, whoopie!

Boxscore: Venezuela vs. Atlanta – March 5, 2009 | MLB.com: News

Braves win, it doesn’t matter. Venezuela had several real players, and got a run off of Lowe and three off of Ridgway, who is a terrible, terrible pitcher. The Braves had just five hits, but nine walks, including two by Prado, of all people. In addition to his homer, Francoeur also walked. Weird. I don’t even have anything to make up about him here. Barbaro Canizares had a three-run double to win it. Blanco played for the Venezuelans (I am guessing that he is resigned to starting the season in Gwinnett) and had a hit. Somebody named “Fruto” got the win.

127 Responses to “Francoeur homered, whoopie!”

  1. 1
    NickC Says:

    From Joel Sherman at the NY Post,

    “Martin Prado, Braves – With the signing of Garret Anderson, the Braves may no longer have any lust for Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady. But maybe something could be done for this jack-of-all-trades who has a sweet glove.”

    I’m presuming he means like Chien-Ming Wang’s.

  2. 2
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I don’t think this is a sad excuse for a recap — considering the box score, I’d call it a happy excuse!

  3. 3
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I am almost giddy — man, if only the Yankees’d trade us Swish or Nady (and maybe a couple of rubles) for Prado, I’d feel 30% better about this team.

  4. 4
    drew Says:

    From Rotoworld:

    “Ohman has drawn surprisingly little interest as a free agent despite going 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA and 53/22 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings out of the Braves’ bullpen last season and the Philadelphia Inquirer speculates that he may have to settle for a minor league deal.”

    Seriously? We’re running Ridgway out there, while this useful LOOGY arm goes to a division rival on a minor league deal?

    Aiya.

  5. 5
    mraver Says:

    Okay, I didn’t really mind signing Glavine. I figured, can’t really hurt us that much, etc. But if his deal precludes us getting Ohman cheap, I’ll be kinda pissed.

  6. 6
    Weldon Says:

    I don’t think Ridgway has much of a chance to make the club. He’s just out there for spring training. We’ll have Logan or O’Flaherty, I guess.

    Yankees are denying the whole ARod surgery thing now, by the way. That, along with our strapped budget, makes the whole thing seem a long shot. But Swisher as our starting CF would make me feel a lot better about this team.

  7. 7
    ryan c Says:

    prado and soriano for swisher. swisher plays centerfield and anderson takes 5th outfielder/pinch runner. that would make for a hell of a lineup. plus, it frees up the pitching logjam and gives someone like stockman a chance to break with the big club.

  8. 8
    oldtimer? Says:

    Prado and Blanco for Swisher, no way I give up Soriano for him.

  9. 9
    ryan c Says:

    it wouldnt let me edit, but here’s how the roster would work out.

    roster:
    infield: chipper, escobar, kj, kotchman, norton, infante, ross, mccann
    outfield: diaz, ganderson, janderson, swisher, francoeur
    starters: lowe, vazquez, jurrjens, kawakami, glavine

  10. 10
    ryan c Says:

    #8
    Why? Contract year. Hurt all the time. Overkill with Moylan and Gonzalez in there already. Plus, Stockman could very well be a Soriano.

  11. 11
    cliff Says:

    The other reason to consider moving Soriano is that his contract is as big as Swisher’s or Nady’s. Thus, it is a “no net cost” (in 2009) move.

    Yes, add Swisher and this becomes a much better team.

  12. 12
    oldtimer? Says:

    I am not that high on Swisher, I think you can get more for Soriano than him, or at least not have to send Soriano and Prado.
    I now he hit 30+ homers once, but he is a 20 homer guy with no speed or average and is not a very good outfielder, if we trade Soriano, we better go for a bigger fish than that.
    He also has comparable stats to lots of busts, Butch Huskey, Dan Pasqua, and our old friend Nick Esasky.

  13. 13
    oldtimer? Says:

    Also, you can NEVER have to much pitching.

  14. 14
    Gadfly Says:

    From previous thread: You got me Alex. It is hard to justify Ridgway’s spot on the roster, other than that he throws left-handed, it is a big roster, and he’s more likely to be claimed than Lerew was.

    On the other hand, I have a real hard time knocking the trade that brought him to the Braves. Willy Aybar was done in this organization, and desperately needed a change of scenery. I was surprised to see us actually get anyone for him when we cut the deal.

    Swisher would be nice, but for Prado AND Soriano we better be able to get a mid-level prospect of two. I’m really liking what Josh Anderson is showing us so far this spring, so I’m pretty sure we could manage without Nick.

  15. 15
    Gadfly Says:

    @12: Nick Swisher doesn’t have vertigo… yet.

  16. 16
    NickC Says:

    Ah, Brad Nelson, that well known Venezuelan. Inside job on giving Francoeur a home run for a confidence boost?

  17. 17
    Dan Says:

    Damn Bowman is shameless:

    Francoeur breaks out for Braves

  18. 18
    Chino Cadahia's Fupa Says:

    The best thing about it is, Francoeur hit the measly homer off a *BRAVES MINOR LEAGUE PITCHER* who was lent to the Venezuela squad because they were short-handed! And Bowman said he “[broke] out for Braves.” Ha! Haha! It may as well have been a batting-practice homer.

    Oh, dear God. The humor is just too much.

  19. 19
    Mr.swings@everything Says:

    You know what would (not really) be awesome? If to counter the AL’s offensive advantage, the NL introduces the “taxi rule”. Instead of pitchers hitting, each team designates one player to hit for the pitcher but instead of facing live pitching he gets to yell “taxi”, toss a ball up to himself, and hit it. I’m pretty sure Francoeur would be our taxi batter.

  20. 20
    Mr.swings@everything Says:

    In that scenario we would lose the awesomeness that is Jeff Francoeur in the field. We’d need to do a sophisticated cost/benefit analysis to see if his awesome taxiing abilities would be enough to overcome his fantastic glovework.

  21. 21
    csg Says:

    can we hold off on bashing Frenchy at least until the season starts?

    oldtimer, no way you get more for Soriano than Swisher. No one wants Soriano and his $6 mil contract. Until he proves healthy, he has a ton of negative value. You trade Soriano + Prado for Swisher, you make up enough money to sign Ohman or someone else. Give me Swisher and Ohman and Ill gladly give up Soriano. Downside though, Swisher future years could hurt us from resigning Hudson, Chipper, or both

  22. 22
    oldtimer? Says:

    Solid points on Soriano, but with the injury track record of our bullpen I would not trade him, we can get rid of Prado and is “sweet glove” though.

    There must be a reason why NOBODY has signed Ohman, it is strange for a good lefty to be in zero demand.

    I don’t think Hudson will pitch for the Braves again, maybe the end of this season when the rosters expand, thats it for him though, i don’t see the Braves dropping 12 mill or so on him next season.

  23. 23
    sansho1 Says:

    I’d love to see Barbaro Canizares get a shot. I realize it would probably require a 26-man roster, but nobody has been through more to get here than BCanz (and yes, I just made that up). Attempted to defect from Cuba four times before finally making it here. Used to catch, apparently has an iron glove no matter where you’d put him, but you can wind him up and he’ll hit .300.

  24. 24
    Mr.swings@everything Says:

    @ 23

    That help with our severe I can haz RHB problem also.

  25. 25
    drewdat Says:

    Beimel is still out there as well. Reyes signed today. I don’t think there’s any excuse for us to enter 2009 with a left-handed closer and Boog Lohan as the only other option.

  26. 26
    Gadfly Says:

    @25: I haven’t seen much of Boone Logan, but he sounds pretty legit. Tall, imposing frame with a live arm… if he’s our lefty specialist I think we’ll be fine. I wouldn’t mind adding Ohman back, but the money would probably be better saved to give us more trade flexibility at the deadline.

    @22: Unless the economy or Huddy’s arm gets much worse I have a hard time seeing the Braves give up one of the best pitchers in the league at only $12 million. Even if the budget is tight, I’d expect that we’d pick up the option and then deal on of the veteran starters.

    @18: It is nothing like a batting practice homerun, at least not anymore so than any ST homerun ever is. I guarantee Brad Nelson was throwing just as earnestly, if not more so, than he would in any other game. That said, I laughed my ass off at the “breaks out for Braves” line myself… then again the idea of a slow week in March being a “slump” is pretty funny too.

  27. 27
    Smitty Says:

    We are having a good spring so far. Sure, it doesn’t count, but better than having a bad spring.

  28. 28
    Smitty Says:

    Oh…

    Your 2008-2009 SEC East Champion Tennessee Volunteers!

  29. 29
    kc Says:

    I expect the Braves will keep Hudson and trade Vazquez in the next offseason. The rotation for next season should be Lowe, Hudson, Jurrjens, Kawakami, and Hanson. I honestly don’t think Morton and Reyes are part of the Braves’ future.

  30. 30
    csg Says:

    the Braves should move Reyes to the pen, give him a shot at the loogy role. I doubt he has much value, nothing left to learn at AAA, and he wont beat out any of Glavine, Carlyle, Bennett, Campillo, Hanson, Medlen, Parr, or Morton for the #5 spot

  31. 31
    drewdat Says:

    Loogy Bonan’s splits vs. LH’s aren’t great for his (brief) career, and they were even worse last year (.829 OPS against).

    Hopefully he’s just been hiding his true talent in an attempt to get traded as a throw-in to the Braves, where he’ll go on to dominate and ask for the veteran minimum every year in negotiations.

  32. 32
    Chino Cadahia's Fupa Says:

    What the hell is a Boone Logan? Does it taste good?

  33. 33
    kc Says:

    JoJo can definitely spend some time at Gwinnett to work on his control.

  34. 34
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    I wonder if Brad Nelson–who should be at Gwinnett this season–became a citzen of Venezuela just to compete….

    and, of course, we all know that ‘Frenchy is back’….

  35. 35
    Weldon Says:

    Smitty – congratulations, man. The Vols beat the hell out of my Gamecocks last night. They were just too long for our guys to deal with…

    I’ve been all for trading Soriano. I think his ‘respiratory infection’ hurts our ability to actually get rid of him, though. I think he’s just thrown one bullpen so far.

  36. 36
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    One other point: a couple of days ago the thread entertained some reflections on how the Braves can get pissed off with a player (Lerew was mentioned); I am only guessing–but I think the Braves were so desperate to move Willy Aybar (who came to Atlanta when the Braves wanted to trade Betemit) that they gave up not only Aybar but Chase Fontaine–for Ridgway–who has never been a decent pitcher. Two players for Ridgway….it may not have been rage–but it certainly produced some anger for Braves’ fans….

    I just wish that they would get way of Ridgway….

  37. 37
    Anonymous Says:

    I know Brad Nelson. Genuinely nice guy and I could imagine him purposely giving up a meaty pitch to Frenchy to help a brother out. But then I looked at the box score and saw his line (1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 ER… ouch) which makes it seem more unlikely that he would not make the most of an opportunity like this. He’s been bouncing around the minors for a long time.

    I bet the commie Venezuelans were pissed, they were ahead before BN came in the game for them.

  38. 38
    kc Says:

    Sori was coming back from an elbow injury and has a $6M price tag on him. Who on earth would want him?

  39. 39
    CourtneyC Says:

    Why aren’t we screaming for the Braves to have Fruto on the roster? I mean his hame is Fruto. FRUTO!!!

  40. 40
    Fla Back Doc Says:

    Sounds way too much like Fredo…..

  41. 41
    oldtimer? Says:

    Fruto!

    If Soriano pitches well he will be in great demand by many teams.

  42. 42
    hankonly Says:

    So the team that lost twice to the team that lost to Georgia at home is the SEC East champions.

    Shoot.
    Me.
    Now.

  43. 43
    ububba Says:

    Three UGA wins at Rupp Arena this decade. Yippee, that’s a first.

  44. 44
    CharlesP Says:

    oldtimer… wouldn’t that apply to most people? If I pitched well in the majors I’d probably be in demand too. :D

    I kid, I kid…. but I would love to hear the announcers have to say “Fruto” a few times a game.

  45. 45
    oldtimer? Says:

    True true.
    but we know he has ability, so health is the “only” risk with him.

    I cant wait for the season to start.

  46. 46
    Stu Says:

    Nick Swisher is good.

  47. 47
    cliff Says:

    Stu,

    You beat me to it. i ws just going to post that link.

  48. 48
    oldtimer? Says:

    I would pick Manny over Swisher in a heartbeat if money is irrelevant, not even a question about it.

    Damn i am bored at work today, my students are taking tests, like watching paint dry.

  49. 49
    Stu Says:

    oldtimer,
    The point is just that Swisher’s a much more valuable player than most fans realize.

  50. 50
    Joshua Says:

    @33 – Reyes has no problem in AAA – he has dominated his last few stints there. At this point he is either a AAAA or a Major League pitcher. More time at AAA won’t help much.

  51. 51
    Joshua Says:

    @29 – Not saying y0u are wrong, but I believe that Vasquez is going to have a year where he makes it extremely tough for the Braves to let him go. The Braves might still do it with salary considerations, but it’s going to be a tough decision. 12 mil for Vasquez or 12 mil for a pitcher just coming off Tommy John surgery. We’ll see.

  52. 52
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Manny is much better than Swisher but he also makes much more money. The point is that Swisher is a very valuable player. This is the kind of guy the Braves should go after, if they were really into analytics instead of someone like Garrett Anderson that appeals to Bobby’s aesthetic instincts. (He loves GA’s beautiful swing). I realize that getting Swisher might not have been possible but when you see who they ended up with (and I’m not saying GA is the worst solution), it is discouraging. I’m not that impressed with the organization’s ability to analyze talent.

    Increasingly, I’m wondering just how good the Braves organization really is. I understand they have a lot of good prospects and I’m pretty happy with their pitching acquisitions, but they have always made mistakes with their offense and bullpen, even when they were winning. I think a lot of it is that the decision makers are very traditional and place a lot of weight on “veteran leadership” and how a player looks rather than on actual performance. In the 90s, they put together a pitching staff for the ages that maybe will never be duplicated and that carried them for many years. But the rest of the team was not that great.

    @49,

    Most pitchers that have TJ surgery come back pretty strongly. Hudson wouldn’t be that old; unless Vazquez has a really good year, I have to believe that Hudson’s career suggests he is a better bet.

  53. 53
    Dutch Says:

    Can we please PLEASE fire Terry Pendleton.

    Kelly Johnson on being more aggressive at the plate, something that helped him during his 22-game hitting streak last September:

    “I’m just going up and being ready to hit from pitch one,”

    Johnson said. “I made a point to be looking to swing the bat early in the count, regardless of pitch, just put bat on ball and the ball in play and good things will happen.”

    It’s something Cox sand Terry Pendleton have wanted him to work on for a while now, and he’s taking it to heart. What he said next sounds like TP’s influence to me:

    “You don’t get three great pitches to hit every at-bat,” Johnson said. “If you did everybody would probably hit a lot better than they do. Be ready to hit the one they might get.”

  54. 54
    Rob Cope Says:

    Dutch, that doesn’t sound that ridiculous. Think about it:

    Few pitchers pitch backwards. That means, they usually throw their offspeed pitches when they’re ahead in the count. So, they will usually try to throw a first pitch fastball. A patient guy like Kelly will usually try to work the count deep. But if the pitcher is on his game, he’s going to throw that first pitch strike, and then maybe come back with some offspeed stuff for second and third strikes (if it gets that far). So, Kelly’s saying that if that first pitch fastball is there, he’s going to rip it. There’s no sense in getting down two strikes just for the sake of saying you worked the count, when you know an offspeed pitch you probably can’t do much with is coming with two strikes.

    An isolated discipline of .100 is pretty good, right? That means that a batter is walking once out of every 10 plate appearances. Inevitably, he’s going to get an at-bat where the pitcher’s going to struggle with his command and walk him on four or five pitchers. So, if you’re looking at things from a stat side, he’s going to get a high OBP by walking every 10 PAs and getting his hits by being more aggressive. Makes sense to me…

  55. 55
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Agree, Rob. KJ isn’t the problem.

  56. 56
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @51,

    In fairness, there is a balance between being overly aggressive and not being aggressive enough. You can’t just take every pitch and wait for walks. For example, if you are facing Greg Maddux in his prime, it doesn’t really make much sense to take pitches because he isn’t going to walk you and the best pitch might be the first pitch. If your approach results in always being behind in the count, that isn’t good either. And, as much as we bash TP for those kinds of comments, the Braves had pretty good OBPs last year and got a lot of walks. So, other than Jeffy, you can’t really say they were overly aggressive.

    Now, certainly, if KJ’s approach is going to be swing at the first pitch regardless of where it is, that’s stupid. But I think (and hope) what he means is that he isn’t going to ignore a good pitch to hit just because it’s early in the count. Even Ted Williams noted that sometimes the first pitch is too good to take.

  57. 57
    mikemc Says:

    Braves prospect Scott Diamond leads Team Canada over Yanks.

    http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090305.wsptwbcc5/GSStory/GlobeSportsBaseball/home

  58. 58
    Rob Cope Says:

    Plus, if you’re insinuating that TP is having his hitters be too aggressive and not willing to take a walk, check out the ISOs on our starters:

    Chipper – .106
    Escobar – .072
    Blanco – .115
    Francoeur – .055 (bad, but not absolutely terrible if you can believe it))
    Johnson – .062
    McCann – .072
    Kotchman (with Altanta) – .094
    Diaz’s sucks

    Those are all pretty good ISOs, and with those in your lineup, you’ll win ball games. We’re getting runners on, but we don’t have the extra base power to score ones, which is really an organization flaw, not a TP flaw. The aggressive is not the problem; it’s the lack of extra base power that hurts our offense. I can’t throw that on TP.

  59. 59
    Gadfly Says:

    @50: What part of 14 straight division titles are you missing here?

    The Braves way is more traditional than the A’s or the recent Red Sox, but the only place I’ve seen that hurt us is in the postseason, where the 5-game series should be abolished. The Braves have had to be a little more nuanced in their decision making, because unlike Epstein’s BoSox we can’t just throw money at the people we want and expect them to suit up for us. The Braves end up working a loyalty angle, which doesn’t always pan out and which is becoming less effective as Bobby ages and the roster transitions. Ultimately, I love the new wave of talent we’re working on, and I can’t wait to see the next generation (Heyward, Freeman, Hanson, etc) take us to the next level.

    Money Ball worked for Epstein, but it really hasn’t paid dividends for Billy Beane… Oakland is a much more similar market than Boston, compared to Atlanta. I’ll stick with JS, Frank Wren, and the traditionalists… it worked before, we’ll get it to work for us again.

    Also, let me add my voice to the TP supporters. I have no logical reason for loving the guy, but I’ve had a mad man-crush on him since the early days, and I hope that he’ll be the Braves next manager… again, no rational reason for this, other than that I love the guy, and I think he has the potential to carry on Bobby’s legacy and demeanor. The guy could one-hop a throw from third better than anyone.

  60. 60
    Ethan Says:

    My vote is for Fredi when Bobby is done.

    Been really impressed with the job he’s done in Florida. He’d got ties and the pedigree.

    Still like Yost too though. He got shafted in Milwaukee.

  61. 61
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @59,

    I don’t know how you can possibly say “Money Ball” hasn’t worked for Billy Beane. How many times has Oakland, in a small,poor market and a lousy ballpark been in the playoffs in recent years. The same argument you make about the Braves and the flukiness of the playoffs applies to the A’s as well. As to throwing money at players, the whole point of Money Ball is not to throw money but to spend money efficiently. Obviously, Boston has a much larger payroll than most teams, but they also spend money wisely.

    The foundation of the Braves run was built on a once-in-a lifetime pitching staff, AND, the financial wherewithal to keep the staff intact for 10 years. Without that staff and the resources, no way the Braves win all those divisions. If you look at the offense and the bullpen during the title streak, it was generally not that good. I just think their focus on certain kinds of players, such as, in earlier years, Mondesi and Jordan, and, now, Garrett Anderson, reflects a decision-making process that is now anachronistic. They got away with it in the 90s because they had three HOF pitchers and another that might have been if he hadn’t gotten hurt (Avery).

    And, I’m not saying this now just because they aren’t winning. Even during the run, it was obvious that they were often a flawed team that would struggle in October. The difference now, without that pitching, is that they are struggling earlier.

  62. 62
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Steven in the UAE’s Rome preview is up at Chop-n-Change.

  63. 63
    ububba Says:

    Taking nothing away from Beane’s success or his approach to the game, but let’s not forget Oakland’s cheap, talented rotation in the early decade, either. It wasn’t just the Olmedo Saenz & Scott Hattebergs of the world.

  64. 64
    Parish Says:

    Oh – I know I am really late on this but…

    The biggest problem with the Ridgway trade is that we were snookered into throwing Chase Fontaine in too. Now, Fontaine may never amount to anything, but our system lacks middle infielders, so we shouldn’t be tossing them in for longshot pitchers.

    Also, didn’t this happen right after we felt a need to toss in Richmond to convince the A’s to take Devine off our hands?

  65. 65
    Gadfly Says:

    Marc, I didn’t mean to suggest that Boston just throws money around. They do spend it much more wisely than the Yankees, but because of their large budget they are able to take risks (like the Mike Lowell/Beckett deal, or the Daisuke signing) that mid-market teams wouldn’t be able to make. They also had one outstanding hitter fall into their laps (Ortiz,) and laid out a huge financial offer to lure Manny to Fenway.

    The A’s haven’t been completely unsuccesful, but they don’t have any league pennants hanging in that lousy ballpark since Beane took over, and only have one postseason series win since 1990… they haven’t been as succesful as the Braves, and they’ve been in an even weaker division than Atlanta had in the late ’90s heyday. Beane does a good job for what he has to work with, but I don’t think I could stand rooting for a team with the kind of revolving door they have in Oakland.

    Of course Atlanta’s success depended on the outstanding rotation. We could’ve done a better job in keeping the pieces around them together, especially in the ‘pen, but it isn’t always as easy as it looks. Just look at the talent that the Braves developed during the run (off the top of my head): Chipper, Klesko, Lopez, Furcal, Giles, DeRosa, Schmidt, Andruw, LaRoche, McCann (not to mention a large part of the ’91 roster)… the guys they stole in trades: Renteria, Hudson, Soriano… and how about the crazy diamonds in the rough they plucked out of obscurity: Burkett, Hammond, Holmes, Charles Thomas, Willie Harris, Julio Franco, Moylan, Campillo, Carlyle…

    I’m not sure why the Mondesi move gets such a bad rap around here, but we paid $1 million for a former All-Star who had put up above average numbers just two seasons earlier… and when it was obvious he couldn’t produce anymore we cut him lose. I imagine Garret’s probably liable to the same fate if he can’t hack it.

    In my opinion, Schuerholz and Bobby Cox are two of the best talent evaluators the game has seen over the last 30-40 years. Bobby’s susceptible to getting overly sentimental at times, but I’d take that over a cold, slimy heart like Tony LaRussa’s any day. (Not to disparage LaRussa, he’s clearly one of the brightest baseball minds of the last 30-40 years, but he just makes my skin crawl.)

  66. 66
    Gadfly Says:

    @64: It was, according to baseball-reference, three days after the Devine deal. I’ll say it again though, at the time I was shocked we got anything for Aybar and an A-ball utility man. Willy’s got talent, but he had clearly run out of chances in Atlanta, and deperately needed a change of scenery, and everyone else knew this. Ridgway might not produce anything at the major league level, but he should play a pivotal role in Gwinett this year, and that should hopefully help develop the outstanding starting staff we’ve put together down there. Plus, he’s from Port Angeles, Washington which is a beautiful town… just saying.

  67. 67
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @63,

    That is a good point, ububba. But regardless, considering their limited resources, the A’s have done pretty well under Beane. Money Ball might not be the reason but it obviously hasn’t hurt.

    I’m not saying the Braves are a bunch of incompetent bums. Obviously, you don’t win 14 titles in a row just on luck. But, their decision making is open to question and I just think the way they analyze players is hurting them even more now that they can’t dominate on the mound (and have relatively fewer resources).

  68. 68
    Stu Says:

    I see we’re still responding to Gadfly.

  69. 69
    td Says:

    I think the Braves organization is solid. I believe that Bobby Cox is holding us back at this point. Players still want to play for him, but his hyper-loyalty continues to mess up the team. Hopefully if our starters go longer this year he won’t be able to totally screw up the bullpen like he’s done over the last few years. Cox has been great and is a HOF manager, but his best managing days are well behind him.

    I liked TP at first, then I thought he was horrible for a few years. At this point I think he’s better than many hitting coaches, but not the best by far. As has been pointed out, the importance of a hitting coach is probably not as much as it used to be.

  70. 70
    Ethan Says:

    This definitely sucked me into the guilt trip. I will try to now get behind it.

    EDIT: Look at Chipper’s quotes for example 234583548 of his awesomeness

  71. 71
    Stu Says:

    Ethan, I was just about to say something similar. I have to follow it, now.

  72. 72
    ububba Says:

    #70

    The WBC might be somewhat entertaining. It might fill a void. But it’s not a real competition. If pitchers are on pitch counts, it’s not real.

    Then there’s the matter of the best players not playing.

  73. 73
    Marc Schneider Says:

    As if there isn’t enough nationalism in the world, we now have to create another spectacle. I understand that some of these countries see this (and the World Cup) as ways of showing they count, but that’s silly. The great thing about MLB now is that people root for players from all over the globe regardless of where they are from. And, let’s face it, the United States of America hardly needs to make a statement about how great we are by winning a baseball tournament. So what if Cuba beats us? Are people going to flock to Cuba because this shows the superiority of the Cuban system? That’s not to say I don’t root for the US to win, especially in the Olympics, but I can’t get excited about the WBC. I would much rather the Braves win the World Series.

    The WBC can never be like the World Cup anyway unless they completely change the format. As it is, you have guys competing after a week or two of spring training. How is that fair? I say get it over with without anyone getting hurt and start the season.

  74. 74
    hankonly Says:

    How much money would be lost if MLB reduced the regular season back to 154 games?

  75. 75
    hankonly Says:

    Rumors around the office that FSU Football is about to get hammered by the NCAA.

    ‘Sup? Anything?

  76. 76
    Mr.swings@everything Says:

    Working the count has positive value in and of itself. It’s one of the few “team” plays a player can make in baseball.

  77. 77
    Mr.swings@everything Says:

    Also, if anyone else ever manages to pitch like Maddux in his prime that will be the time to work on batting strategies for that particular pitcher. I don’t think that forming an overall strategy of “swing early and often” based on the improbably scenario of facing a Maddux-like pitcher is going to help the team win many games.

  78. 78
    Ethan Says:

    @73

    And, let’s face it, the United States of America hardly needs to make a statement about how great we are by winning a baseball tournament.

    I’m not sure I understand all of the insinuations, but I don’t agree at all with your premise. For all its flaws, (and ububba points out just a few) the WBC still is an international competition. For someone who claims to be a baseball fan in the country where it was invented, I feel a little embarrassed when I see how other countries get behind their teams compared to the apathy we see here.

    Of course I’d rather have the Braves win a WS, but these guys are going out of their way to represent us, (when there is definitely no pressure on them to do so) and for all the issues I have with the format, I feel it’s the least we can do to support them.

  79. 79
    Mr.swings@everything Says:

    Proposal to fix WBC:

    This time it counts. The entirety of MLB will be transferred to the winning country for the upcoming season.

  80. 80
    ububba Says:

    Don’t we have better things to do than feel some notion of embarrassment about a bogus competition thought up by MLB for marketing purposes?

    Baseball to Americans is not like, say, hockey is to Canadians. Our identity is not at stake here.

    BTW, baseball isn’t even the most popular sport in the USA anymore. A crappy Monday Night Football matchup does way better TV ratings than a World Series game. That’s been the case for nearly 20 years now.

  81. 81
    Ethan Says:

    @80

    “bogus”, at least to me, implies that it isn’t real. Obviously, there are issues, but it’s ridiculous to suggest that the players aren’t competing to the fullest extent of their abilities. The pitch counts are annoying, but they are there in the MLB as well. (whens the last time you’ve seen a pitcher throw 150 pitches in a game?)

    It’s also currently the only international venue for baseball that there is. And yeah, we invented the game. I take a little pride in the fact that we do well at it. I guarantee the players on the USA team feel the same way. If you don’t…well, then I guess that’s your prerogative.

    With regard to the NFL, they are two different sports. Football, by it’s inherent nature, is better suited for television. Baseball has evolved so that demand is more geared by team toward corresponding geographic regions. Obviously, NY/Boston/LA has some national carryover, (which is why ESPN kisses their a$$es) but the countries of baseball map posted here earlier isn’t entirely inaccurate. With that type of breakdown, it’s hard to get the entire nation behind one team; however, that isn’t to say that the nation in general isn’t behind baseball as a whole.

    An additional point is that when one compares a 17 game schedule to a 162 game schedule, there is obviously going to be some dilution. The concentration of NFL games almost necessitates higher ratings because there are less games to view and therefore, options are more limited. However, MLB drew in 78.6 MM at the gate compared to the NFL’s 17.3 MM. They are just different games.

    While I will agree that football is probably a more popular than baseball, the difference is nowhere near what you are implying.

    Sorry for the diatribe, but this was the subject of a fairly large research paper at school.

  82. 82
    ububba Says:

    Nobody ever forced Sandy Koufax or Josh Beckett to come out of a World Series game (while he was shutting out the Yankees) because he threw too many pitches.

    That’s what they do that in the WBC. Therefore, it’s not real competition. The rules and the circumstances of the tournament don’t allow for teams to compete at optimum level. Therefore, I’m not completely interested.

    To be honest, I get off more on the Little League World Series—even though it’s rigged to include a US team in the Final.

  83. 83
    Ethan Says:

    I don’t like the pitch counts either. As usual, it boils down to money.

    I guess the point I was trying to make was that, for all its flaws, if some of the best players in the world are volunteering/maybe risking potential injury (which is another part I don’t like) to represent our nation, I should maybe try to support them a little.

  84. 84
    Stu Says:

    “Get off on” and “Little League World Series” probably don’t ever belong in the same sentence.

  85. 85
    Rob Cope Says:

    I think Herbert from Family Guy said that once.

  86. 86
    ububba Says:

    My conscience is clean.

  87. 87
    Ethan Says:

    A point of clarification cause it annoys me when people make sweeping statements and are unclear: with the NFL, the percentage of games that a person can watch compared to the total number of games in a season is astronomical as compared to MLB. People follow their team in MLB; they don’t have time to follow the game in general to the extent that one can do in the NFL. In the NFL there are only 16 games a week; in MLB there are easily 60.

    This is what I meant when I spoke of geographical ranges in baseball. It’s broken down much more parochially

  88. 88
    sansho1 Says:

    My conscience is clean.

    This gets ever more disturbing….

  89. 89
    hankonly Says:

    So, no one wants to gnash teeth one way or the other about FSU’s punishment?

  90. 90
    billy-jay Says:

    I have a ticket to the Asian Region final on Monday at the Tokyo Dome. Should be a blast.

  91. 91
    sansho1 Says:

    #89

    I don’t have much to say about it, except I’m glad this would seem to give Paterno an insurmountable edge on the wins list.

  92. 92
    ububba Says:

    Re: FSU
    I guess this might be one swift way to get Bowden to finally retire.

    And looking at it selfishly, I’m guessing there may be a couple south Georgia-based recruits who’ll scratch FSU off their list of potential schools. This can’t be bad for the other Sunshine State football schools either.

  93. 93
    hankonly Says:

    But no post-season ban?

    “The hangman isn’t hanging and they put you on the street.”

  94. 94
    Rob Cope Says:

    Re: FSU

    It’s been a good night.

  95. 95
    billy-jay Says:

    Japan beat the holy hell out of Korea. I think the final was 14-2. I wonder if Monday’s game will be a rematch.

  96. 96
    barrycuda Says:

    dont go celebrating FSU’s demise just yet. the big punishment amounts to one scholership per year for four years. Considering that about a third of the recruited players are never heard from again anyway, thats no big deal…………Contrary to the reports, the forfieted games are not a done deal yet. If it stands,Bowden is the one really getting screwed here because he(or anyone else in the athletic dept.) has nothing at all to do with the players academics once they’re in school. The coaches have no say in how the players are tutored, what classes they enroll in or how their progress is monitored.

  97. 97
    Parish Says:

    More bad PR than anything. Seems like the news might hurt recruiting efforts for FSU, despite the minor penalties.

  98. 98
    ububba Says:

    Hey, the Braves are on YES today.

    Kotchman hits a bomb off a Wang slider that didn’t slide.

  99. 99
    NickC Says:

    Ganderson injured apparently.

  100. 100
    ububba Says:

    Well, it doesn’t seem like KJ’s range has improved any…

  101. 101
    Mikey@OU Says:

    I don’t know what’s better? Watching the Braves/Yankees game or watching the entire Speedy Canada team play the USA. I’m watching both, but that entire team is speedy. The speedy Pete Orr is anchoring the team of course.

  102. 102
    Nasa from france Says:

    As a european, I have to say Netherlands winning over the Dominican Republic is #@$~% epic!

  103. 103
    ryan c Says:

    marcus giles playing left field for the phils. he really is trying to pull a derosa.

  104. 104
    Nick Says:

    McCann with a go-ahead home run in the WBC game!

  105. 105
    Gadfly Says:

    @96: I highly doubt that Bobby Bowden has “no say” in anything that goes on with his players.

    @102: I’m not sure the Netherlands team is all that more “European” than the D.R. team. Less than half of the active roster was born in Europe… though that is still a good deal more European than any other team around. Still glad to see the Curacaoans doing well though.

  106. 106
    jjschiller Says:

    Just FYI, according to Bowman, “Last year, (Josh Anderson) quieted the critics who have described him as a left-handed slap hitter who can’t hit lefty pitchers.”

    So.. You Josh Anderson critics, be on notice: you are to be quiet(ed).

  107. 107
    Parish Says:

    C’mon Chipper. That’s disappointing.

  108. 108
    Putter Says:

    Did I just hear Sutcliff say Chipper has always been better from the right side then the left? And then he said there would be no strikeout here either. He is obviously well prepared…

  109. 109
    Parish Says:

    Putz is not looking too good, really. They said his velocity has been down all spring.

  110. 110
    Putter Says:

    Putz isn’t really fooling anybody

  111. 111
    Parish Says:

    Team Canada has a ton more power than Atlanta.

    Votto, Morneau, Bay in the 9th…

  112. 112
    Nasa from france Says:

    @Gafly: that’s true, and it’s even worse for team Italy, but that was still a huge upset and if it can get european baseball some talk on ESPN and in the pubs, it’s all for the better!
    And that was a really nice game by Pete Orr’s team and Larry McCann’s team, the WBC has been great so far!

  113. 113
    jjschiller Says:

    I can understand how people are against the IDEA of the WBC.. But as a baseball fan, these games beat the hell out of spring training games.

    Vazquez starting for PR. Curveball looks good, but he’s nibbling. I hope that isn’t a continuing trend for him..

  114. 114
    Nathan Says:

    The Canada/USA game was straightforwardly great baseball.

  115. 115
    Ethan Says:

    @113

    I agree. Vasquez is one pitcher who I would like to see angrier/more aggressive on the mound. In any case, it makes me think he wasn’t on ‘roids.

  116. 116
    rehabreject Says:

    Was Bruce Chen always this bad? He looks awful against PR right now

  117. 117
    jjschiller Says:

    He’s been pretty bad lately… Apparently he’s coming back from tommy john though.

    Looking at Canada’s roster.. they have an infielder named Stubby Clapp.

  118. 118
    Ethan Says:

    Really, the one thing that the WBC demonstrates to me is what douchebags Jacques Rogge and the rest of the IOC are. As flawed as the WBC is, I really feel bad for softball. There’s no MLB backing an international tournament for them.

    Maybe baseball/softball aren’t as international as some sports, but seriously, they’re getting dumped over “modern pentathlon” and “handball.” What a F*&$ing joke. Still pisses me off.

    Anyway, as usual Joe Posnanski makes my point better that I ever could.

    The ironic part with regard to baseball is that twenty years ago, pros weren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics. Now, one of the reasons that the sport is kicked out is that they aren’t.

  119. 119
    Parish Says:

    Don’t forget rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized diving.

  120. 120
    Dan Says:

    Last year, (Josh Anderson) quieted the critics who have described him as a left-handed slap hitter who can’t hit lefty pitchers.

    Looks like Bowman is on to us.

  121. 121
    c. shorter Says:

    I watched a couple of innings today on espn360. The picture always hiccuped when the batter swung. But it was nice just to see a little baseball.

    My son (almost 2) got up from his nap and actually watched a few at bats with me (he doesn’t have a long attention span). He jumped up after that and ran to his trucks… but grabbed his toy baseball instead and got back on the chair to watch a few more ABs with me. It was pretty cool. Good times.

  122. 122
    Ethan Says:

    @121

    That’s awesome. If he’s in the bigs in 20 years, we heard it here first!

  123. 123
    csg Says:

    c shorter, good story, enjoyed that one. Mine is two months old and he was forced to watch McCann’s bomb today. Doubt he’ll remember it though

  124. 124
    Parish Says:

    I started taking both of my kids to Braves’ games when each was 6 months old. It could only be good for them.

  125. 125
    oldtimer? Says:

    @121
    Thats what its all about man.

  126. 126
    jjschiller Says:

    Well since we’re talking about kids…

    In 1991, I was 7 years old, and I’d played my first season of Little League. (The pitching machine level.) So I guess I lucked in to Braves fan-dom, because I was just learning baseball at the same time that being a Braves fan was finally something my dad saw as worth passing on to me. He’d send me to bed whenever it looked like the outcome was no longer in question.. But I think we had an unspoken agreement that my door was always left open just enough that the TV in the living room could still be seen. This, coincidentally, also led to my lasting preference for Letterman over Leno…

  127. 127
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I put up a new thread.

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