Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Thanks to Mac's family, bravesjournal.com is back.

17 Oct

I wish I had good news.

And I wish there was an easier way to say it. The surgeons were unable to operate on Tuesday, because scans showed the regrowth of tumors that had been removed in July. From all appearances, the remaining cancer has entered a virulent stage. It is not likely to kill me directly; instead it will decrease the effectiveness of my organs by taking away the space they need to operate. The time frame is unclear, but basically I was told that the best measure if they don’t find a treatment is months rather than years.

We’re not giving up. We are, if we can, going to talk to the doctor in Indianapolis with whom I talked last year, and see if he has any ideas. There is a protocol in trials in Philadelphia which looks promising and applicable to my case. And dammit, a lot of people (including a great-uncle of mine) have lived for a long time with cancer hanging over them. Maybe it’s just the drugs talking, but I don’t expect to go any time soon. I fully expect to celebrate when the Braves lift the 2012 World Series trophy over their heads.

That said, I am preparing, and I have talked with Stu and the Alexes. More than anything — well, other than getting to tell bill collectors to take it up with my estate — I want to make sure that this place stays open, because it’s my legacy and I’m damned proud of it. There will be some changes, but we go on. I’ll be with you in some form, I promise.

253 Responses to “I wish I had good news.”

  1. 1
    Timo Says:

    My thoughts are with you, Mac. You keep fighting. We will be here for you, pretty much spread across the world as you made it happen to bring all of us together here. You keep fighting!

  2. 2
    csg Says:

    Mac, stay strong and dont give up. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your doctors.

  3. 3
    c. shorter Says:

    You’re in my thoughts and prayers, Mac. I sincerely wish you the best.

  4. 4
    Remy Says:

    I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Mac. We will not lose hope.

  5. 5
    John R. Says:

    Well ain’t that a bitch. I’m really sorry to hear about the prognosis but heartened with paragraph #2. I’ve been lurking here since the early years of Francouer, just started posting this summer, and will be here with you for the rest of the game. In the best spirit of Frediball, let’s hope it’s a game that goes well into extra innings with the good guys winning!

    * And when I say “good guys” i don’t mean Ken Harrelson’s favorite team. :-)

  6. 6
    Andy H Says:

    Prayers to you Mac.

  7. 7
    ryan c Says:

    Man, Mac. That really stinks. I’ve been around for over a decade now and this place has been my mainstay. Along with my email, this is the only site I check every time I get on the net. You and all of the others here have made me proud to be a Braves’ fan when Francoeur, Melky, Treadway, Rocker, Agony, LOAF, Craig Wilson, Thorman, Kolb, and, Reitsma did not.

    I’m going to make a commitment to keep you in my daily prayers and I hope to see you around for a long time.

    LONG LIVE BRAVES JOURNAL!!!!

  8. 8
    ralphdibny Says:

    Keep fighting the good fight, Mac. My thoughts are with you.

  9. 9
    krugerindustrialsmoothing Says:

    I came here this morning because I (thought I) had kind of a crappy weekend and could use a little cheering up. Funny what a little perspective will do. Now I can’t wait to get home and hug my kids and kiss my wife, I should probably just call right now.

    Mac, courage is a word that gets thrown around alot when people are dealing with life issues. You probably don’t feel all that courageous right about now, but know that through your struggles, you’re presence is an inspiration to us.

    If I can be so selfish as to ask, please keep writing. Your legacy is your words, and you’ve done well.

  10. 10
    Hizouse Says:

    I’m terribly sorry to hear this news, and I will keep you in my prayers.

    I’m a long-time long-time reader of the daily recaps but infrequent poster. This really is a great site and a highlight of my morning during the season. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do (I’m in Birmingham, and I really would be happy to bring you dinner or mow your lawn or something)

  11. 11
    Mike Says:

    Hang in there Mac.

  12. 12
    Tom O. Says:

    Mac, I’m looking forward to celebrating not just the ’12 world Series with you, but many more after that.

    Keep the faith. We’re all pulling for you.

  13. 13
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Whatever happens, I’m going to be here and do my best to make sure that Braves Journal remains the best community of Braves fans on the web.

  14. 14
    Smitty Says:

    As long as there is Braves Journal, Mac will be here.

    Let us know if there is anything we can do.

    Also, may you beat cancer like your Crimson Tide will beat my Vols on Saturday.

    Stu and Alex (x2) let me know if I can help in anyway.

  15. 15
    Jonathan Says:

    Mac,
    Sorry to hear that – you will definitely be in our thoughts & prayers. If I can echo some thoughts of others, let me encourage you to continue writing (to the extent you are able to, obviously). I appreciate what you’ve done to make this a great Braves website & fan gathering place.

  16. 16
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Hang in there, Mac.

    For a long time now, you’re the first idea that pops in my head when I hear the word Brave.

  17. 17
    MLT Says:

    The same sentiments as everyone else. Good thoughts go your way.

  18. 18
    @fauxfrankwren Says:

    Mac, stay positive. Thoughts and prayers will be with you every time I see your name on Twitter or visit the site. Keep fighting.

  19. 19
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Thanks, everybody. Still fighting here!

  20. 20
    Smitty Says:

    Jonathan is right. I speak to cancer patients everyday. The best thing to do is to keep as active as possible.

  21. 21
    Alex R. Says:

    Mac,

    Thank you for a great 19 years of friendship and I am praying for another 19 or more. Keep fighting.

    As we talked about last week, AAR, Stu, myself and loads of others are for you. My family is all praying for you and as we talked about, I intend to purchase a flight to Birmingham this week and hope to see you in the next few weeks. Looking forward to a visit.

  22. 22
    Dusty Says:

    I blame the hitting coach.

    Seriously though, wife and I are praying for you Mac. I may even root for Bama this year…no sorry can’t do it.

  23. 23
    Scott Says:

    Long-time reader and silent complainer. Don’t know how I’d get through the season without having this community to relate to. Only a few more months til Bama brings home 14, Mac. Make cancer’s ass quit. RTR.

  24. 24
    billy-jay Says:

    Mac, I just sent a little something your way via your donation button. I’m pretty much at a loss for words. Well, I had a few, but they weren’t printable in a family environment. They’re still the first things that want to come out when my fingers hit the keyboard. As empty as these words sound from here: best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. Let us know if you need anything.

    Bill

  25. 25
    Adam R Says:

    We’re right there with you, Mac. I’m happy to see you seem plenty positive.

  26. 26
    Mike Clay Says:

    I’m thinking about you, Mac. Get better and we’ll celebrate health and a World Series this time next year.

  27. 27
    ASG Says:

    Give ‘em hell, Mac. If you do end up coming to Philly, and need anything, don’t hesitate to look me up. Greerscott50@gmail.com

  28. 28
    Johnny Says:

    Mac, I hope you aren’t insulted by this but please let us know if there is anything we can do from a financial perspective. I know you can defeat this.

  29. 29
    Coop Says:

    God bless you, Mac.

    You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for this wonderful site and the dignity with which you have maintained it.

    Roll Tide.

  30. 30
    Alex R. Says:

    Hey Bravesjournal,

    The first thing we can all do to help Mac? Root against Tony LaRussa. One of the many things Mac & I share his a seering hatred of the Cardinals Manager. I know it’s many of our DNA to root for the National League, but I feel especially motivated to root for the Rangers (and all those ex-Braves) as a “win one for Mac!” opportunity.

    Then I’m gonna ask every one of you to pull for Bama to beat LSU on Nov 5th – it’s what Mac wants so a little sports love for our fearless leader would be golden. Alex.

  31. 31
    JonathanF Says:

    Medical science knows a lot and it doesn’t know a lot. Here’s hoping that the things they’re right about and the things they’re wrong about work out the right way. And hell yeah, let us know what we can do, if anything.

  32. 32
    Smitty Says:

    Alex, what is your email?

  33. 33
    sansho1 Says:

    Hang in there, Mac — even DOB is on your side on this one!

  34. 34
    Alex R. Says:

    Smitty, just sent it to you on Facebook.

  35. 35
    Rusty S. Says:

    It was a long weekend here as I slowly began to piece together what might be going on, and hoping for an an overactive imagination.

    Mac, go as hard as you can, as long as you can.

  36. 36
    Stu Says:

    Luckily, I already hate LSU and Tony LaRussa (and his face).

  37. 37
    Alex R. Says:

    Stu, Tony LaRussa will always have a hateable face. Amen.

  38. 38
    Alex Says:

    We’re praying for you, Mac.

  39. 39
    Remy Says:

    Texas in five.

  40. 40
    desert Says:

    Best of luck, Mac. You’ll not only be here for the Braves’ 2012 Championship, but I’m also looking forward to your recap of the unceremonious canning of Fredi Gonzalez in 2015.

    My prayers are with you; I think that between us posters, we should have the majorities of religions covered.

  41. 41
    Ben Says:

    Thoughts and prayers are with you Mac. Can’t wait for next October

  42. 42
    Nick Says:

    I really don’t know what to say. You’re in all of our thoughts and prayers, Mac. Keep fighting!

  43. 43
    Alex R. Says:

    If the Braves wouldn’t wait until 2015 and get rid of Fredi now, Mac could make big strides in improving his health. Just a thought, Braves!

  44. 44
    Mark Graybill Says:

    I hope things take a much-deserved positive turn for you, Mac. I live in the Philadelphia area. If you come up here for the trials and there’s anything I can do for you, let me know.

  45. 45
    Mike N. Says:

    Wow, didn’t expect to hear this. Started lurking here since about the time of the Hudson trade. Been commenting kind of regularly for the past few years, although I’m afraid I don’t offer much insight. But I check this website just about every day. Stay strong, Mac. We’re all thinking about you.

  46. 46
    csg Says:

    DOB…

    •Mac Thomason of #Braves Journal. Good dude is battling cancer. http://t.co/I2yL2HXg RT @OvOMegatron21: @ajcbraves wait who is that about? 1 hour ago

    •Stay strong, Mac. Lot of folks thinking, praying and pulling for you. http://t.co/I2yL2HXg 1 hour ago

  47. 47
    Ike Says:

    Stay strong, keep fighting! best of luck to you in your battle. go braves!

  48. 48
    Colin Says:

    Mac,
    I am so sorry to read this. I’ve followed your journal since its earliest years. I don’t so much comment anymore, given the overall comment volume, but I do read it daily. I think you’ve done a great job with it over the years, and I appreciate all the time you’ve put into it. I will be pulling for you to navigate some way through all of this.
    Colin

  49. 49
    sdp Says:

    :(

    :(

    :(

  50. 50
    Alex R. Says:

    The official, “Mac Thomason” facebook page has begun.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mac-Thomason/224716647592784?v=wall

    Please invite your friends and it’s only fitting we should show Mac the love on his facebook page as well.

  51. 51
    csg Says:

    From the Q&A with Chipper. Link top left.

    MLB.com: General manager Frank Wren has not revealed whom he might hire to serve as his new hitting coach. Do you think Triple-A Gwinnett’s hitting coach, Jamie Dismuke, is a solid candidate?

    Jones: I love Jamie. I like Jamie a lot. He’s very hands-on and positive. I know all the Minor League guys that come up love him.

    When guys are struggling, they send them to the Minors to see Jamie Dismuke, so the organization must feel pretty confident that Jamie knows what he is doing. If that is the case, Jamie would be a great candidate for this job. There are a bunch of great candidates for this job. But if you want to keep it in-house, Jamie is your guy.

  52. 52
    Trace Says:

    Prayers sent your way, Mac. Keep fighting. If the Dawgs somehow make it to the SEC title game and subsequently get destroyed by the Tide, I don’t think I’ll be too upset.

  53. 53
    Alex R. Says:

    Trace, as a fellow Dawg fan, I second that.

  54. 54
    Remy Says:

    Has Parrish actually been fired? I may have missed something.

  55. 55
    Ethan Says:

    Stay strong, Mac. We’re not going anywhere

  56. 56
    Alex R. Says:

    Remy, yeah, you probably couldn’t hear the champaigne bottle I uncorked here in Texas, the day it happened.

  57. 57
    mravery Says:

    Mac-

    Thoughts are with you. This place is great and that’s because of you. If it is your legacy, then it’s a great one. But right now, I think I’ll just keep focusing on you being able to beat this thing.

  58. 58
    Remy Says:

    Thanks, Alex. Thank god that experiment didn’t last more than one season.

  59. 59
    Adam M Says:

    I’m truly sorry to read this. My thoughts are with you, Mac. Please keep fighting!

  60. 60
    John Adcox Says:

    Thoughts, prayers, and best wishes from a long-time lurker who sincerely appreciates what you do here. God bless.

    Thanks for everything. I’m hoping Frank Wren acquires Matt Kemp for you.

  61. 61
    Tom Says:

    Mac, I don’t know what to say except stay strong and keep fighting. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  62. 62
    clarke Says:

    Good luck Mac. Thank you for this website. I found this when I lived in Japan for high school over ten years ago. This was before streaming sport sites and up to the minute gamecasts- I came to this site every morning at my school library to find out if the Braves won.
    I’ve probably been on this site at every week, if not daily, since I found it. I dont post much because everyone else says it so much better.

    Keep up the fight! Go Mac!

  63. 63
    ububba Says:

    Here’s to the fight, Mac, and here’s to everything you do for us. If you need anything at all, just holla. We’re all on your side.

  64. 64
    Seat Painter Says:

    Positive attitudes tend to help beat cancer, so I’m glad to see mac talking about being here for a long time. I don’t think I have much pull with the Man Upstairs, but what I do have, I’ll use to help you out. Keep the faith.

  65. 65
    JC Says:

    If Ban the Dan worked, maybe Ban the Can(cer) will too. You are hanging in there, Mac. Keep it going. You’ve got a lot of people with you.

  66. 66
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Mac, You will be in our prayers. Keep up the fight and the spirit….

  67. 67
    Smitty Says:

    I vote we start calling cancer “Kolbb”

  68. 68
    mikemc Says:

    Keep fighting Mac.

  69. 69
    Marty Winn Says:

    Mac,
    I’m sorry to hear this. I have appreciated this site and your efforts. I have and will pray for you. If desired I’d be happy to help out however I can spiritually (from a Christian perspective). I have no idea where you stand on that kind of thing.
    Shining the Light,
    Marty Winn

  70. 70
    Hiawatha Terrell Wade Says:

    Thinking of you buddy. May the cancer be the ’95 Reds and your body be Mike Devereaux

  71. 71
    MikeM Says:

    Thinking of ya, Mac.

  72. 72
    Jorgbacca Says:

    May Alabama destroy everyone for the rest of the season as bad as they did Ole Miss for Mac.

    Prayers are with you.

  73. 73
    Rob Cope Says:

    Mac, prayers and best wishes are with you. I’ve been reading here for over a decade, and I greatly appreciate what you’ve accomplished thus far. From a word count perspective, you’re probably my most read author.

    I echo the fellow posters for you to keep writing as you’re able. My prayer is that it will encourage you.

    This is quite a community of people we have here.

  74. 74
    JB Says:

    Mac,

    Get well, keep fighting.

    Jim Blaine

  75. 75
    TomL Says:

    Stay strong and keep the positive attitude Mac!

  76. 76
    c. shorter Says:

    I like Craig’s final comment:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/10/17/bad-news-for-a-great-guy/

  77. 77
    td Says:

    Mac – not much can be said at this point except you are greatly appreciated and I’m pulling for you and praying for – along with a lot of other people from around the country. Don’t hesitate to call on any of us if there’s some way we can help. I know a lot of people around here (myself included) would be honored to help out in any way possible.

  78. 78
    Coop Says:

    Amen, td.

  79. 79
    PeteOrr Says:

    I’m in the same boat as Craig – Braves Journal brought me back to the team after years of barely paying attention thanks to Mac’s great writing and the uncommonly smart and reasonable collection of commenters he’s amassed. Thanks for all you’ve done Mac. This is a good place.

  80. 80
    urlhix Says:

    Yep, you are still the man, Mac.

  81. 81
    Weldon Says:

    Keep fighting, Mac.

  82. 82
    jdpeace Says:

    I’m praying for you in the half-assed way an agnostic can. Keep fighting Mac. I hope it goes without saying we love this place and think the world of you.

  83. 83
    Linkmeister Says:

    Mac,

    I’m putting my bets on you, pal. You’ll beat this.

  84. 84
    Jeff M. Says:

    Keep fighting, Mac. Thoughts and prayers headed your way.

  85. 85
    PeteOrr Says:

    Since Bravesbeat appears to no longer exist, who ended up winning (losing?) The Road from Bristol tournament Mac engineered a few years back? I’ve only seen references to it.

  86. 86
    bamadan Says:

    I started reading Mac Thomason missives back on baseballboards in — if I remember correctly — the late 90s. I’ve read him through Boone and Veras and Lockhart and even through the Sucking Vortex of Doom Vinny Castilla. As I’ve traveled, I’ve relied on Mac to get me caught up on Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine and I’ve relied on him to keep me current on Chris Reitsma, Danny Kolb, and Kevin Gryboski. Heck, on another website, I’ve even relied on your words to stay up-to-date on the doings of the Troy King. I haven’t posted here in years, but still read nearly daily. Mac, you’ve brought me a lot of joy over the years. May you have the strength to keep doing so for many years yet to come.

  87. 87
    John Gaines Says:

    Hey Mac, I don’t post often, but I’ve visited your site nearly everyday for probably the last 5 or 6 years. I burnt myself out on baseball while playing 7 days a week in high school, but I eventually found my way back to following the Braves, and you and the regulars here deserve most of the credit.

    A blog of this quality is a rare thing, and you should definitely be proud of everything BravesJournal. Hell, I’m proud just to be a follower.

    Stay strong Mac…

    And here’s to your cancer slipping into a hibernation mode the likes which we hope to never witness with the Braves. A hibernation mode so deep and dark that even a bunting Proctologist would be powerless against it.

  88. 88
    Shawn Says:

    Seconding everyone’s thoughts. Mac, you helped me to fall in love with the game and the Braves all over again. Thoughts and prayers for you to beat this.

  89. 89
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Stu Scott won the final in a sort-of upset over Skip Bayless. (Scott was the #1 seed but Bayless looked unstoppable.)

  90. 90
    Stu Says:

    Go ‘Dores!

  91. 91
    Covert Says:

    I’ll be praying for you Mac.

    This place made the Braves’ collapse so much more tolerable.

  92. 92
    Parish Says:

    Mac, you have my prayers.

    I have a friend who is now cancer free after going through stage 4 esophageal cancer and then getting an unexpected recurrence.

    You can lick this.

  93. 93
    Smitty Says:

    The Road From Bristol. That was fun

  94. 94
    reaganman Says:

    Mac, I’m praying for you. My mom lived for 15 years after she was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma the first time. I pray that you have many more to go.

  95. 95
    Nasa from france Says:

    Best of luck, Mac!
    My grandpa was supposed to live for a few months “at best” after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and he lived for years and years, so, don’t give up!
    Cancer delenda est.

  96. 96
    Smitty Says:

    Peanut on Twitter:

    Thoughts and prayers are with #Braves blogger Mac Thomason (@bravesjournal) who is battling cancer again.

    Mac began blogging about the #Braves long before many of us had ever heard of a blog.

  97. 97
    PeteOrr Says:

    Oh man, the Sportscentury and Beyond about Bayless is hilarious.

    “This was a mistake. After his third column, calling for the lynching of the school volleyball team, was published, three students were hospitalized. Larry Eng was sent to juvenile detention, the paper was shut down, the advisor was fired, and yet somehow Skip escaped with no punishment.”

    How could that not have won?!

  98. 98
    Mike N. Says:

    That picture of Stuart Scott is from my sister’s graduation! I was there!

  99. 99
    PeteOrr Says:

    @98 – I’m so sorry.

  100. 100
    Smitty Says:

    It was a huge upset when Steven A. went down.

  101. 101
    Eric R. Says:

    I am truly sorry to hear this. I’ve been a long-time lurker at this site after being a frequent poster on Usenet back in the day.

    Here’s a link to an article that you may find interesting. Problematic and anecdotal, yes, but something that I’ve thought I would consider if I were in a situation similar to yours.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/05/dichloroacetate_dca_and_cancer_deja_vu_a.php

  102. 102
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Just so you guys know, Stu, Alex R. and I have been in touch with the Braves and with a number of other baseball writers, both nationally-focused and Braves-specific, including Craig Calcaterra and Martin Gandy, both of whom wrote very nice pieces today. Many other prominent baseball writers, including David Pinto, Jonah Keri, Aaron Gleeman, and David O’Brien, have mentioned him on Twitter or their blogs. We’re hoping to get the Braves to recognize Mac’s many years of service to the team — he’s the first Braves blogger on the internet, and has done as much as anyone to build the Braves’ online community — and to help him fight. Please tweet, Facebook, and spread the word. Mac deserves it.

  103. 103
    Robert Says:

    Really sorry to hear about this. Stay strong buddy, nothing is impossible.

  104. 104
    DJ Says:

    I love this website and it’s something to be very proud of. Prayers sent.

  105. 105
    Kirk H Says:

    Just like so many others, I am a regular reader and infrequent poster who greatly appreciates the work you have done over the years writing about the Braves and maintaining this on-line community. Keep fighting, and remember that “nobody knows nothing”.

  106. 106
    Douglass Says:

    Mac,

    Don’t get to check in as much as I used to, but just wanted to say that I’m thinking about you. I’ve been reading your stuff on the Braves for a decade now, which only being 26, is most of my life as a fan. Still my favorite voice in the Braves blogosphere. I love this site for your concise, informative, hilarious posts and the interesting cast of characters you’ve attracted over the years. You’re a great shit. Hang in there brother. (Roll Tide!)

  107. 107
    Smitty Says:

    This will lighten the mood. It is Bruce Hornsby’s son dunking. LISTEN TO THE MANDOLIN RAIN!

    http://deadspin.com/5850709/bruce-hornsbys-son-has-a-rangy-dunk-arsenal

  108. 108
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Mac,

    If even Mets and Phillies fans are rooting for you, you already have a miracle.

    Keep fighting. We are all rooting for you.

  109. 109
    kc Says:

    Mac, You are damn right and you should be proud of what you have accomplished here. Keep fighting and we all will be with you through the ups and downs.

  110. 110
    braves14 Says:

    Mac your site has been one of my favorites and one of my first daily reads for years. Thanks for all the work you have done and continue to do. Keep fighting against that cancer and know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  111. 111
    Randy Says:

    Mac, Best wishes. I love this site and you’re the biggest reason why, keep fighting.

  112. 112
    W.C.G. Says:

    Mac,

    I’ve been lurking most every day at this site since my law school buddy Stu introduced it to me not long after the Brad Ausmus game in 2005. It’s been the best thing about the subsequent six years of Braves baseball, and I want to thank you for bringing it to us.

    As a fellow Alabama alum, I second the guy above who advised “make its ass quit.” Run it over like Trent Richardson. There are a lot of us pulling for you.

  113. 113
    Jarad Smith Says:

    I think it was 2001 when I first found this site, and rarely a day goes by during the entire year that I don’t check in. Braves Journal is first place I go to get Mac and everyone else’s reactions to the last play, game, transaction, rumor, or news event. I recuperate with the Where Do We Go From Here peices and this place helps get me through until the Player Analysis in the new year. I share in the love of SEC football and the discontent of being a Falcons fan. Being from Georgia, I think I speak for everybody on this side of the border when I say the best two things to come out of Alabama are Henry Aaron and Mac Thomason. You should be damn proud of this.

  114. 114
    OneEye Says:

    Keep fighting. You can beat it.

  115. 115
    Big D Says:

    Praying for you, Mac.

    I’ve been around since about 2004, when my buddy told me about this site that was full of other passionate and knowledgeable Braves fans. I’ve been off and on as an infrequent poster, but I’ve always been here reading, nearly every day.

    This site is more than just a collection of Braves fans, and we’re all here for you, friend.

  116. 116
    Brandon Says:

    Mac, also a lurker here, but wanted to pass along my well wishes to you. Best of luck, and thank you for making being a Braves fan that much more enjoyable.

  117. 117
    Oi! Says:

    Mac,
    Prayers definitely going your way from my family. I’ve been coming here for years. My (mostly dormant) blog was designed to not try and replicate what you do here, because I knew I’d never do it as well.

  118. 118
    Dix Says:

    Mac I wish you all the best and sincerely hope you’re able to beat this and run the site for many years to come. I don’t do prayers, but I’ll be thinking about you and hoping you hear some good news soon.

  119. 119
    hawk Says:

    Mac, another longtime lurker and lover of Braves Journal. Thanks for setting the tone with your smart and fun writing and here’s to you continuing to do so for a long time to come. Hit some three run homers and beat it.

  120. 120
    Alex R. Says:

    For those who missed this earlier, I created a Mac Thomason community fan page today. Please like it:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mac-Thomason/224716647592784

    The page will be a nice blend of support for Mac (and the donation link has been posted there, too) and posting some facts about Mac as well as people and things/shows/sports he likes.

    If anyone deserves a good fan page, it’s Mac.

  121. 121
    Dicecon Says:

    I’ve never commented here before, but I have enjoyed your work.

    My Dad died of this stupid disease this summer and it sucked and still does, but God has a plan regardless. This has always been a fun and interesting sight for me and I really hope you beat this thing.

    Go Braves and Go you,
    -Alatair

  122. 122
    ermoore Says:

    Mac, best of luck and wishes to you. You got lots of friends you don’t know out here pulling for you. God bless.

  123. 123
    lisa gray Says:

    dear mac,

    i know you;ve been blogging longer than me and i’ve been at it almost 10 years now. and if you have what it takes to keep blogging that long, you got what it takes to fight this cancer.

    good luck there boy

    doesn’t do any good to say it wish it was bud selig and jim crane instead of you, does it?

    lisa

  124. 124
    jason h in los angeles Says:

    Be strong. We will all be thinking about you and goddamnit just fight man. Just fight. And no matter what happens I bet you know how much you are loved.

  125. 125
    nick manning Says:

    dear mac i hope the very much best for you <3

  126. 126
    James Says:

    stay strong and keep fighting Mac!

    This site was the 1st Braves site I can remember visiting once I start looking for Braves specific internet sites, and it remains one of the best. I may check out others, but this is the one I make certain to keep current with. Keep up the great work and beat this stupid disease.

  127. 127
    RobBroad4th Says:

    What awful news. Here’s hoping the 2012 Braves and 2012 Mac Thomason come back strong.

  128. 128
    jj3bagger Says:

    Damn Mac, just horrible. Keep on fighting. Thoughts and prayers will be with you.

  129. 129
    Hate King Says:

    Mac, keep pounding.

  130. 130
    sansho1 Says:

    To illustrate how great a community you have built here, Mac, I count at least 55 poster names in this thread that I recognize. How cool is that?

  131. 131
    KB 34 Says:

    Best of luck to you Mac. You’ve been the most consistent Braves analyst on the internet for as long as I can remember and hope you are able to continue writing for years to come.

  132. 132
    Jaik Jarrkjens Says:

    Keep fighting, Mac. If you figure that life is like an 162-game schedule, then we all saw this year what can happen when you fight until then end: The cancer you’re fighting against could self-destruct on its own.

    Braves Journal is special to me. My Dad and I share Braves baseball, and when I’m not with my Dad to share the Braves – as has been the case over the past few years, while I’ve been in Korea – Braves Journal keeps me close to my Dad. I bring up stuff that I read here whenever my Dad and I talk on the phone, and when we talk on the phone, we always, without exception, talk Braves.

    I’m not ready to think of a Braves Journal lacking your voice, though. It’s your writing and insight that makes this place special. So hang in there for yourself, and hang in there for all of us, too.

  133. 133
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    http://playdeeper.blogspot.com/2011/10/memorializing-living-seems-weird.html

  134. 134
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    That’s really cool, Sam. 13 years ago on Usenet — that’s like a century in internet time!

  135. 135
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Yeah, it’s totally way-back machine stuff at this point. We’ve been at this a while (which is why Mac puts up with my shit, I suspect.)

    I really did think the first conversation would be about Bret Boone, though.

  136. 136
    DougM66 Says:

    Mac, you’ve been a daily part of many of our lives for years; and always a good part at that. We are pulling for you. Beat this thing!

  137. 137
    justhank Says:

    To create a community out of ether is truly remarkable. To create one that maintains a high level of discussion over a long period of time is reflective of its creator.

    To create one where the tragedies of people I’ve never met can bring tears to my eyes is indicative of the heart of its creator.

    God bless you, Mac. Kick its’ fucking ass.

  138. 138
    joelk Says:

    I’ve been thinking alot about you Mac, and have also shed a few tears. I’ve never met you but owe you a lot for this wonderful site and the community you’ve created here!

  139. 139
    Gren Says:

    Mac, I’m a long time free-rider here on Braves Journal who’s never posted before. As a Braves fan in London, throughout the months of April to September I wake up each day and check the recap to find out exactly what happened the night before over in Bravesland. No place else compares to Braves Journal.

    There’s people rooting for you on this side of the pond. All the best fella.

  140. 140
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Gren, whereabouts in London? I’m sort of here for another five days.

  141. 141
    Clark Says:

    Been lurking for a few years here, but wanted to wish you all the best, Mac, with your fight against cancer.

  142. 142
    rb Says:

    As I have been traveling all over the country the past many years, it’s always been reassuring to come to braves journal every day during the season and offseason. Reading this site, and the commentary provided by you, Mac, brings me back home to Georgia every day, and connects me with the team and people I love.

    Know that you’ve got people all over the country, and me wherever I may be, in your corner and wishing you the best and a full recovery.

    Get well.

    Ben

  143. 143
    david15 Says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for the better part of ten years, but haven’t commented much. I remember The Road From Bristol as perhaps the greatest singular thing in my personal internet history. Basically, I just wanted to add my name to the chorus of well-wishers.

  144. 144
    AA Says:

    Hey Mac,

    I often see/hear something happen in a Braves game that makes me think, “I wonder what Mac’s going to say about that tomorrow.” Basically, this blog rocks.

    Hang tough, fight hard. I’m pulling for you.

  145. 145
    Smitty Says:

    The Series start tomorrow, who you all got?

    My barber says Rangers in 4. Puljos decides to sign with the Braves. We trade Lowe, Pastornicky and Freeman to the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Then we send Tehran and Constanza to the Tigers for Verlander and Joaquin Benoit

  146. 146
    HawkeyeFan Says:

    Mac, you’re in my thoughts and prayers. Don’t know what else to say, except thanks for the awesome service you provide to Braves fans everywhere, and get better, dammit.

  147. 147
    justhank Says:

    Smitty – quit stealing Mac’s drugs.

    Or, at least pass it around.

  148. 148
    kc Says:

    @145 I say the Cards will win because we all hate LaRussa. The Cards will win because they want to thank Charlie Manuel for everything he has done to the Cardinals team this year.

    I want the Rangers to lose because we contribute so much to their success.

  149. 149
    john Says:

    Mac,
    Been reading Braves Journal a long time, never commented before. Keep up the fight. You can overcome this, just like Braves Nation can overcome Fredi. See you in the World Series next year!

  150. 150
    desert Says:

    I’ve got the Cards in 6. Not because of anything logical, but because:

    a) If the Rangers win, we’re going to have thousands upon thousands of articles chronicling how the Teixeira trade was ‘the turning point’ for this now majestic franchise, and how the Rangers have the Braves to thank for all of their success.

    b) If the Cardinals win, we’re going to have dozens of ‘old school journalists’ that will point to the trade of Colby Rasmus being ‘the turning point’ for the Cards, and how clubhouse chemistry is so much more important than actual production. Those articles always make for a fun read.

    c) If the Cardinals win, all of a sudden (at least in my eyes), Pujols doesn’t have any regrets about the season, and will leave in free agency. And that’ll be fun. I’m sorely disappointed every time a free agent-to-be signs with his home team. I feel we miss out on the unsubstantiated rumors that I enjoy so much.

    d) If the Cardinals win, Philly fans will not be happy that they worked extra hard to let the eventual WS champions into the playoffs. And pissed-off Philly fans are the best kind of Philly fans.

    e) If the Cards do win, they do it without Wainwright. Which doesn’t make me feel as bad about the Braves trading him.

  151. 151
    Tiger224 Says:

    Mac-

    Wish I had something witty, relevant, uplifting, and appropriate to say. But I don’t have your talent.

    Best wishes to you. I hope you beat the hell out of your cancer. I know you can.

    Cheers my friend-

    Scott aka Tiger224

  152. 152
    Steve K Says:

    Mac,

    So sorry to hear this disappointing news. I have always enjoyed your blog. Keep up the fight, and I’ll keep praying for you.

  153. 153
    kc Says:

    @149 I like your last point the most!!!

  154. 154
    Smitty Says:

    The Cardinals are the Yankees of the National League.

    I usually pull for the NL, but these are the teams I won’t pull for in most cases:

    Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Cards and DBacks.

  155. 155
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Rooting for the Cardinals because of Lance Berkman.
    HOF candidate? Probably not
    Ballplayer? You bet.

    Hit more home runs in games I attended (4) than any other player. (Includes 20+ games I saw of the Big Red Machine and 10 games with Ken Griffey, Jr.)

  156. 156
    Alex R. Says:

    @Smitty, Agreed.

    Every Braves fan SHOULD be pulling for the Texas Rangers.

  157. 157
    Alex R. Says:

    For those who missed my post on this the other day, I started a Mac Thomason community fan page on Facebook – please like it:

    https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mac-Thomason/224716647592784

  158. 158
    sansho1 Says:

    Actually, I think if Berkman can keep it up for at least two more seasons he’ll bear some HOF consideration. Six-time All-Star, four top-5 MVP finishes, and the 45th best career adjusted OPS.

    Given the pre-2011 trajectory of his career, there’s a 50/50 or so chance that this was his last true HOF-type season. His offensive WAR is 54.1 — add another 10-12 and he’s right around Santo, Raines, Bench. He gets no extra points for defensive ability or position, but he’d still have to get a decent look.

  159. 159
    desert Says:

    158,

    Having a really great WS this year would do a lot for his candidacy. Everyone loves a good narrative.

    154, 156

    I’m not old enough to remember the Cards’ dominance, and 2 titles in 44 years doesn’t immediately scream ‘Yanks’ to me. I guess I’ll grow to hate them.

  160. 160
    Adam R Says:

    For KJ fanboys like me, this is good reading: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-kelly-johnson-sabermetrically-savvy-fa/

    DL: You were originally with the Atlanta Braves. Coming up through their system, was a specific hitting philosophy espoused, or did they mostly let guys be themselves?

    KJ: There was no philosophy, that I [saw]. I felt like it was more, for them, either you can do it or you can’t.

  161. 161
    Smitty Says:

    The Cards have 10 World Titles and 18 NL Pennants. They have won the Central eight times.

    They have the second most championships in the game.

    They have a huge fan base that is so indifferent to everyone, but the Cubs, that it is kind of insulting and they know it.

  162. 162
    Johnny Says:

    @160 – great interview. KJ is a smart kid. I love the honest answers. I really like him as a player but I understand why the Braves chose to let him go.

  163. 163
    desert Says:

    161,

    Yes, but they won 6 of those 10 titles before 1950, and another two in the 1960’s. 2011 is their 8th NL pennant since their WS win in 1964, and they’ve only won 2 WS in their 7 attempts.

    They’ve got a Hall of Fame manager, a transcendent corner player with Hall of Fame credentials, and a rich history. They seem to value clubhouse chemistry and traditional scouting over statistical analysis.

    As you point out, they seem to have a concern with fan apathy.

    Holy crap, all of that sounds really familiar….

  164. 164
    Alex R. Says:

    I have always hated the Cardinals, from even the time when I was a kid in the 1980s. I hated John Tudor and Joaqin Andujar and Whitey Herzog. McGee, Tommy Herr…even Ozzie. Just a GUT reaction.

    But my long festering hatred of the Cardinals was driven home during the final 2 days of the Braves formally blowing the wild card lead. A rather arrogant girl I am friends with on Facebook is a HUGE Cardinals fan and she was posting nasty comments about the Braves over those final days. I finally had to unsubscribe TO HER in my newsfeed but she was poking the angry bear to say the least. a LOT.

    Plus, as a Georgia fan, I loved the Rangers class in drafting a paralyzed Bulldog baseball player in the draft, Johnathan Taylor. It was a gerat moment.

    Definitely, GO RANGERS.

  165. 165
    spike Says:

    @163, I hear their 1B is pretty good too.

  166. 166
    Coop Says:

    In the 50’s and early 60’s, it was hard not to like Musial. He always came across as a class act and a transcendent ballplayer.

  167. 167
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Have you seen the report that Arthur Rhodes will get a ring no matter who wins because he played for both teams this year?

  168. 168
    Timo Says:

    Gren, I am in London right now. In Chelsea for a few days.

  169. 169
    desert Says:

    165,

    Yup, I was thinking of Chipper and Albert as the corner players.

    167,

    I think the same thing happened with Bengie Molina last year, but I may be wrong.

  170. 170
    Smitty Says:

    @169

    It did happen. I think it was the first time.

  171. 171
    sansho1 Says:

    I’m glad for Rhodes — pretty cool to be turning 42 during one’s first World Series. He’s the last of the original Bass O’Matics (my fantasy team, circa 1992), as well as a vital cog in the most exciting team I’ve ever rooted for, the ’01 M’s.

  172. 172
    ryan c Says:

    Kelly Johnson inteviewed on Fangraphs…

    “You were originally with the Atlanta Braves. Coming up through their system, was a specific hitting philosophy espoused, or did they mostly let guys be themselves?”

    KJ: There was no philosophy, that I [saw]. I felt like it was more, for them, either you can do it or you can’t.

    So…that doesn’t sound good.

  173. 173
    Adam R Says:

    My bad feelings toward the Cardinals stem from: 1) TLR’s hate-ability, 2) the amount of media fellating Yadier Molina gets compared to Brian McCann, the Best Catcher in Baseball.

  174. 174
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    So…that doesn’t sound good.

    Kelly hasn’t been with the team in a while.

  175. 175
    desert Says:

    174,

    Yeah, but if true, it may be indicative of an organizational shortcoming. (Lots of ifs, but you don’t want to be in a situation where there are any doubts).

    Personally, Kelly was quite amicable when he left Atlanta. I’m surprised he said something like that.

  176. 176
    spike Says:

    @169 – I misread as “corner of”. Sorry

  177. 177
    PeteOrr Says:

    @172 – That’s not really surprising given the relative strength of the team at developing pitchers compared to hitters. If you can be better than almost everyone else in one area, it makes sense that you can just as easily be worse than a lot of other teams in another different but similar area. Why you wouldn’t make the weak area a point of focus in an attempt to improve things, I’m not sure, but it’s a pretty good system that we’ve got going anyway – develop the crap out of pitchers and trade them off for established hitters that other teams were much more adept at developing themselves. It works.

  178. 178
    cliff Says:

    Desert at 175,

    I don’t think KJ’s comments were as bad in context as that makes them sound.

    However, I have perceived that the Braves were going through a “transistion” in organizational philosophy in hitting which (ironically) ties us back to the “first undervalued asset” in Moneyball. That is, that obp and slg needed to be considered more important relatively to what ba had been considered. Kelly and Langerhans and the guys around then seemed to be the first to be allowed to be called “good prospects” when they had good obp’s and “good for position” slg’s with some higher k’s and lesser ba’s.

    If my weird walk down memory lane is accurate, then I think they really did give him a “if you want to get walks like that and hit late in the count that is good to us.”

  179. 179
    cliff Says:

    PeteOrr at 177,

    Also, the Braves have for years tended not to get players who could hit if they could not project them playing a field position to their defensive standard somewhere. Also, they emphasized the people who they thought might be good enough fielders to play the tough middle spots (C, CF, and SS) whihc furhter narrows the players in the “potential batters universe.”
    Their theory was (and to a lessr extent, still is) that if you get a shortstop and he isn’t fast enough, you move him to 3rd; not good enough arm, move him to 2B. With centerfielders, not fast enough, move to right if he still shows the good arm, left if he doesn’t.

  180. 180
    Johnny Says:

    The lack of an organizational hitting philosophy doesn’t surprise me. The Braves are a scouting first team. They’ve been correct at identifying good, see McCann and Freeman, they’ve been correct about identifying bad, Andy Marte, they’ve been wrong and astonishingly stubborn about admitting it, Jeff Francouer. They’ve been lucky, Martin Prado. Personally I’d like for the Braves to preach patience, having a game plan and hitting to the situation but in the end its simply you can either hit or you can’t.

  181. 181
    cliff Says:

    Maybe I can cheer Mac up.

    Pete Orr (not our poster, but Peterson Gord Orr and another middle name in there somewhere) is now a free agent.

    Wouldn’t it be great to pick him up?

  182. 182
    ububba Says:

    Greetings from Amsterdam…

    I’ll say Rangers in 6 with the Cards staff getting blasted in 4 of them.

    MVP? Who else? Nelson Cruz.

    I always kinda liked the Cards from the early ’70s. Part of the reason was that I actually visited St. Louis in 1973 & caught a couple Cards/Giants games. Hated that Astroturf, though.

    I even liked those mid-’80s teams. In fact, I think that 1985 team was one of the great teams of the decade. They got ripped off in the WS, but that team was relentless & damn-near impossible to play.

    (I mean, they used to kill the Braves. I remember an early season game that Andujar pitched where they beat us by 2 TDs & 2 PATs & I remember thinking, “God, this is really going to be a long season.”)

    But, since ’96 I can’t root for them or TLR.

    Also…
    Mac, you’re in my thoughts bigtime. Rooting for you & wishing you all the best.

  183. 183
    Marc Schneider Says:

    “As you point out, they seem to have a concern with fan apathy.”

    That’s sure not my perception. I went to the final game of the season in St. Louis a couple of years ago when the Cards were out of the race and there were 40,000 people cheering as if it were the World Series. I don’t think you can at all compare the Cardinals fan base to the Braves; it’s not close. It was a lot of fun and I didn’t feel like I would have been in danger if I was rooting for the other team.

    Other than LaRussa, I don’t understand the antipathy toward the Cards. As someone said, they have a rich history–much better than the Red Sox, for example, who benefit from so many of their fans becoming writers. It’s not as if St. Louis is like Philadelphia.

    Plus, St. Louis, despite being a border state, was one of the first truly integrated teams. Read October 1964. It’s really a great organization with a great history.

    If you’re going to hate a team because of a couple of fans, you wouldn’t like any team, including the Braves. Just read the AJC blog.

  184. 184
    ryan c Says:

    @174
    Thanks for the expert analysis, Sam. Following the Braves for over 25 years, of course I was completely unaware of that tidbit.

    And why is it not possible to have a hitting and pitching philosophy? Is it really that difficult to have good coaches to develop both?

  185. 185
    spike Says:

    Ububba –

    Coolest place I went to last time –

    http://andrewnicholls.com/2011/02/21/lb-whisky-bar-amsterdam-2/

    This place is open REALLY late every night off Rembrandtplein. It’s just awesome at 3am.

    Mix Cafe (might have a different name, but address is good
    Amstel 50, 1017 AB Amsterdam

  186. 186
    PaulV Says:

    I was in mourning about losing playoff berth. Go here and find out what bad news really is. I was happy seeing Phils and Yanks lose. Now I do not really care who wins.

  187. 187
    desert Says:

    183,

    I was just trying to draw some parallels between the Braves and the Cardinals. I didn’t think they had too much of an attendance issue ( as Busch is seemingly full every time I see the Cards play), but I don’t really have any true knowledge about the team’s fans. I went to a game there a few years back, and the place was packed (but, it was a Cubs game).

    I’m with you on everything else. I didn’t know about the integration thing, but kudos to them.

  188. 188
    Rusty S. Says:

    @182 – I remember a game, it might have been the same game, but anyway it was a Cardinals blowout in the horrible part of the 80’s. Andujar hit, if I remember corrrectly, a grand slam. And they showed him in the dugout afterward, flexing his muscle.

    They used to talk about Andujar being a switch hitter, but rather than being concerned about pitcher handedness, he would claim to bat from one side for “power” and one side for “average.” Or they claimed sometimes he would just get in whichever batter’s box was closest to the dugout he was in.

    I thought he was an interesting character, butopinionsvary. :)

  189. 189
    kc Says:

    @172 Given what we have seen in the past 20 years, what KJ said is simply a confirmation on what I knew already.

  190. 190
    Smitty Says:

    Tim McCarver and Joe Buck make me miss Chip and Joe

  191. 191
    sansho1 Says:

    #188

    Ahh, I see what you did there!

  192. 192
    Jeff K Says:

    Mac – I have never thought more about a Braves Journal post than I did this one. When I read the news I didn’t know how to respond. It’s no better now. I guess I want you to know that you and the community you bring together have become an extension of my family. Sarah, my ever patient wife (and no baseball fan), asks about how the “Journal people” are doing.

    I hope and, as much as I do it, I pray for you a long and healthy life. This family would be better for it.

  193. 193
    glizzy Says:

    Mac – I don’t imagine you need another voice from the lurker chorus to tell you how much you mean to Braves fans everywhere, but I wanted to say so anyway. I’ve been reading you for around 10 years now, and for me (since Van Wieren retired, at least) you are the voice of the Braves.

    I don’t comment often, but this place you created has been where I’ve come for Braves conversation over those years. Thank you, and my thoughts/prayers are with you.

    -Graham

  194. 194
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @184

    I’m not sure what sort of in depth analysis you’re looking for. I doubt there’s much “there” there with regards to this interview. I don’t think it’s news that the Braves don’t preach a certain “hitting philosophy” per se, nor do I think that’s a terribly bad thing. I think the Braves believe that a given hitter has a given skill set and he will either be successful with that skill set or he will not. I suspect that they are close to a functional truth in that theory, personally.

    Andruw Jones wasn’t Chipper Jones. He didn’t have Chipper’s eye at the plate, and no amount of “philosophy” was ever going to change that fact. Similarly, he was not Terry Pendleton, and no amount of “hit for higher average” philosophy was going to turn him into that player either. He had a skill set, with certain strengths and other weaknesses.

    Martin Prado isn’t Jason Heyward, nor vice versa. Both, when executing their personal skill sets effectively, are quality players, nonetheless.

    I think that’s what Johnson was getting to here, more than anything else. And again, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that the Braves don’t have a one-size-fits-all “hitting philosophy.” Sure, they have goals. “Don’t make outs” is probably part of those goals. But the idea that they need a “philosophy” – and by that we all know everyone means “Moneyball theory of hitting” – is overblown, IMHO.

    Better?

  195. 195
    justhank Says:

    “Don’t make outs” is about as good as any (other than learning the obvious “hit behind the runner”, “take until you get a strike” in the appropriate situations).

    I think my gripe over the years with our “Hitting Department” is that we never could seem to get our potentially great hitters to overcome (or minimize) their fatal flaw.

    Andruw and Francouer are the best examples. How is it possible to not be able to teach such good hitters to lay off the outside slider? If you got two strikes on either of those guys they might as well have headed to the dugout.

    I remember a night that Andruw hit a rocket homerun to right center. His approach was perfect – kept his shoulder strong, elbow in, drove it where it was pitched. Had great hopes that the light would go on after that.

    Nah.

  196. 196
    Smitty Says:

    Remember how Andruw would hit a homerun everyonce in a while that would be a low hanging curve ball. Then he would start swinging and missing at balls in the dirt and go like 0-9?

  197. 197
    John R. Says:

    182: Andujar pitched a complete game 14-0 shutout against the Zane Smith-led Braves on May 20, 1985. (Future Braves 3B Terry Pendleton went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI and 2 doubles against Rick Camp and Craig McMurtry.)

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN198505200.shtml

    188: Andujar hit a grand slam against Jeff Dedmon in a 9-1 complete game blowout on May 15, 1984. (Future Braves 3B Ken Oberkfell went 2 for 3.)

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN198405150.shtml

    Boy, I really didn’t like Andujar back then.

  198. 198
    John R. Says:

    193: “Similarly, he was not Terry Pendleton, and no amount of “hit for higher average” philosophy was going to turn him into that player either. He had a skill set, with certain strengths and other weaknesses.”

    You sure TP is your best example of this? He of the .259 career BA upon becoming a Brave at age 30? If you’re alleging that TP had a “hit for higher average” ethos with the Braves, it was apparently a strength he worked to develop.

  199. 199
    Rusty S. Says:

    Ah, the 80’s. Of course they were two different games. Thanks for the lookup.

  200. 200
    Johnny Says:

    Once they get into the batter’s box they are going to swing at what they think they can hit no matter what the organizational philosphy is.

  201. 201
    Smitty Says:

    @197

    Well, he did win a batting title

  202. 202
    spike Says:

    With the second lowest average of all time, but he sure did.

  203. 203
    Mac Thomason Says:

    To follow up Sam, one pivotal point in, yes, Moneyball is when Billy Beane essentially rejects Sandy Alderson’s minor league program to encourage young players (Eric Chavez was specifically mentioned) to walk more. Beane, mostly as a result of his own experience, became convinced that batting eye was a talent and not a skill — as least by the time a player was 16-18 years old. So instead of making his own OBP machines, he started to draft and sign them. Andruw had loads of talent, but he was never going to be a consistent .390 OBP guy.

  204. 204
    Smitty Says:

    @202

    What is the expression? “You can’t walk off the island”

  205. 205
    Mac Thomason Says:

    BTW, by Sim Scores Andruw’s most-similar player is now… Dale Murphy. (Reggie Jackson through Age 34.)

  206. 206
    kc Says:

    But I think things would start changing a little bit for the Braves. As Wren fired Parrish and highlighted that he is impressed by the Phillies’ way of not giving away at-bats, I would imagine he would like similar philosophy to be preached in the minor.

  207. 207
    Dan Says:

    Pete Orr (not our poster, but Peterson Gord Orr and another middle name in there somewhere) is now a free agent. Wouldn’t it be great to pick him up?

    Remember liking Orr in 2005, because of the .300 batting average and speed. First full season following the Braves.

  208. 208
    Scump Says:

    @194 & 203 (Sam and Mac)-

    Maybe you can’t encourage players to walk more, but it seems as though it would be possible to train for, say, better pitch recognition (and, though it may be a stretch, to make the leap from recognizing the pitch to laying off those you identify you can’t hit). As an example, albeit a risky one, I remember reading about how USA softball used to write numbers on the balls used for BP. Initially, nobody had much luck at reading them, but over time they improved dramatically- and you’d have to think that by doing that, they improved their batting eye somewhat. Now, for all I know the Braves are doing something like that in the minors, but I think it would be wrong to suggest that these incredibly gifted athletes can’t adapt as they come through the minors. Curious to hear what others think.

  209. 209
    Marc Schneider Says:

    The Yankees and Red Sox both got players (whether by design or not) who took a lot of pitchers, fouled off a lot of pitches and ran up pitch counts. They created problems for even good pitching staffs. I guess that’s what I would mean by a “hitting philosophy.” You obviously can’t make a hitter do what he isn’t capable of doing so I think a hitting coach’s job is not to remake hitters but to try to make them better at what they do best. For example, if you are a dead pull hitter, don’t try to force him to hit the other way but make sure he gets pitches he can pull with authority.

  210. 210
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Andruw and Francouer are the best examples. How is it possible to not be able to teach such good hitters to lay off the outside slider? If you got two strikes on either of those guys they might as well have headed to the dugout.

    Actually, I think this is exactly wrong. (Not trying to be short or dismissive, just clear.) As Mac references re: Beane and batting eye as a skill, Andruw and the great American French Fry were never going to learn to lay off of those breaking pitches away from them, any more than Mike Hessman was going to learn to not have that big, gaping loop in his swing, or Damon Berryhill was going to learn to run faster. Batting eye is like bat speed. You either have it or you don’t. You can’t *teach* someone to be Chipper Jones*. He just is.

    Andruw and Francoeur were playing within their skill sets. They couldn’t lay off the slider away because they couldn’t see that it *was* a slider away until after they had started their swings. They saw fastball and swung, which is the action that made them great (or occasionally less than putrid, in Francouer’s case) in the first place. Because when it *was* fastball… WHAMMO!

    *The most frustrating part of Heyward’s 2011 is that by all evidence to date, prior to 2011, he _is_ Chipper Jones. He has the eye. He’s got the entire skill set to be ANOTHER CHIPPER JONES. Which makes him more special, in potential, than any hitter we’ve seen since 1995.

  211. 211
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    You sure TP is your best example of this? He of the .259 career BA upon becoming a Brave at age 30?

    Adjust for era? A .260 hitter in the 80s and early 90s is more impressive that it might initially seem.

    With that said, during Andruw’s final years in Atlanta there were a ton of words spent by the organization and the announcing teams detailing TP’s work with Andruw to try to turn him into a “.300 hitter.”

  212. 212
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @208

    It’s an interesting question, and the first organization that figures out how to teach pitch recognition in a repeatable fashion will have truly, unironically, found the most valuable “market inefficiency” to date.

  213. 213
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    But I think things would start changing a little bit for the Braves. As Wren fired Parrish and highlighted that he is impressed by the Phillies’ way of not giving away at-bats, I would imagine he would like similar philosophy to be preached in the minor.I

    I seriously doubt Frank Wren means, when he says “not giving away at bats” that the franchise needs to embrace OBP-uber-alles. I think the fan base is reading into that very vague, very “baseball man saying baseball cliche” statement what they want to hear.

  214. 214
    justhank Says:

    Hmmm …,

    we’ve been able to teach our 16-year-olds to identify the “red dot” of the slider. Now, there’s a huge difference between a Travel Ball slider and the one thrown by, say, John Smoltz, but I think the learning process is similar.

    I didn’t mind so much when Andruw and Jeffy waived at the slider with less than two strikes, but, dammit, you’ve got to change your approach when your history with two strikes is to be as easy as a Georgia Theta on Saturday night.

    But you’re right, pitch recogntion at the highest levels is truly a gift. I’ve seen some film of Hank Aaron that compares his swing on an inside and an outside pitch. He is actually able to adjust his stride depending on whether the pitch was inside or outside. It is simply uncanny. Bonds wasn’t able to do that (although I think his hitting approach is textbook).

    Aaron was just other-worldly at the plate.

  215. 215
    sansho1 Says:

    I glanced at the walk rates for several players who joined the Yankees in mid-career. The theory being, if these fully-formed ballplayers remain suggestible to the preaching of patience, their Yankee walk rate should be higher than their pre-Yankee walk rate.

    I looked at Sierra, Strawberry, O’Neill, ARod, Andrew, Teixeira, Knoblauch. I found a fairly consistent increase of about .005 to .01 difference in the quick-n-dirty OBP minus BA calculation. This translates to approximately one extra walk per 150 plate appearances. But even that small difference can be explained away by the natural tendency of older talented hitters to walk more as they age.

  216. 216
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’ve seen some film of Hank Aaron that compares his swing on an inside and an outside pitch. He is actually able to adjust his stride depending on whether the pitch was inside or outside. It is simply uncanny. Bonds wasn’t able to do that (although I think his hitting approach is textbook).

    During the Constanza Bonanza (trademark, dammit!) when Chipper was working with Heyward in the cages, he made a public comment about Heyward only having “one swing” and how that wouldn’t work and how he had something like “five different swings” he’d use in different situations.

    On the one hand, I thought, “Yeah, that’s exactly it. Help him out, Chipper!”

    On the other hand I though “Dude, you do realize that the number of players in Major League history who had five different successful swings they could trot out at any given time is, like, maybe 12 players or something, right?”

  217. 217
    PaulV Says:

    @215 or yankee umps? You rarely see them called out on marginal pitch like the Braves are

  218. 218
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @215

    I wouldn’t discount the general “learning by osmosis” that might happen over the course of a season, where just being in a clubhouse of “patience” guys rubs off slightly on a hitter, either. You hate to write off “philosophy” completely, or out of magnitude of error analysis, but in the end, I think you sort of have to. In a more in depth study of your selected players above, you’d also probably need to account for role and usage. Andruw, for example, was basically a platoon player for the Yankees. How would that impact his walk rates? (Does he see the ball better out of LHP’s hand and thus walk more, for example?)

  219. 219
    Scump Says:

    Apropos of this recent conversation- which I hope goes on inside the Braves organization at even more enlightened levels of discourse than we’re seeing here- I wonder if anybody has ever done a really fundamental study on what, in terms of baseball activity, is a skill versus a talent? A skill, to me, is something that you can learn- and while it might be better to learn it young, is still ostensibly teachable and thus improvable even to mature major leaguers. Whereas a talent is just that- you’ve either got it or you don’t. That’s probably too black and white but if you could conclusively identify that, in fact, pitch recognition was a skill- and not some hardwired brain stem-type function- then you’d be able to work confidently on means of effectively teaching it.

  220. 220
    spike Says:

    Adjust for era? A .260 hitter in the 80s and early 90s is more impressive that it might initially seem.

    Certainly true. In Pendleton’s case, however, his BA was at (within 5 points or so) or below league average 4 of the 6 full seasons prior to those two golden years with Atlanta, and right back to average or below 5 of the next 6. So on balance, 2 good, 3 decent BA years out of 15, for whatever that’s worth. His OPS, of course was generally pretty bad compared to league average

  221. 221
    MikeM Says:

    As far as “learning” pitch recognition goes, I remember reading, when Beltran went to the Mets, how he used a special pitching machine in the cage that shot tennis balls at speeds approaching 150 MPH, with random spins. Each ball had a number on it (1-9) and each number was one of two colors (red or green I think). He would stand in the batters box as if to swing and watch the balls come in, yelling out to the coach (who was feeding the machine) what the number and it’s color was on each ball. The process was supposed to improve his batting eye and pitch recognition. This seemed really cool to me at the time. I have no clue if he kept up with it or if other players used it to any degree of success. But at least he tried.

    And just to throw out some examples, I seem to remember that once he finally learned to recognize and lay off the outside slider, Sammy Sosa really took his game to the next level. (Everyone at this point is well versed in the beat-to-death “steroids don’t help your eyesight or reflexes” debate so no need for anyone to exhume it). I would also say that Jose Bautista is another example of somebody who learned (however he did it) to be more selective and is reaping benefits.

  222. 222
    cliff Says:

    Mike M at 221,

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Another example. During the early years of the Royals franchise (when they were doing “The acedemy” and all sorts of innovative things), they used a dark room with a trampoline. They would have players bounce on the trampoline and try to set their hand (I remember it that way) at the level of a red light. They found that many players could do it accurately at certain heights, but not other heights. They were able to tell guys with “low ball recogniton problems” how to realize that they didn’t know where the ball was when it was low so to avoid it. It helped some players. Not that it made them able TO see it, but to be more cognizant of the fact that they couldn’t see it and adjust for that.

  223. 223
    Smitty Says:

    @222

    The Royals actually developed some really good hitters for a time in the late 90s early 00s. Though most of them went other places and became great.

    Damon, Beltran, Dye (they improved him), Sweeney, Ibanez, Randa

  224. 224
    volfan Says:

    im very familiar with the philadelphia protocols and connected. they are high vitamin c intravenous treatments primarily for pancreatic cancer but have other applications like renal cancer, etc. they are being performed at thomas jefferson university hospital.

  225. 225
    cliff Says:

    Smitty @ 223,

    Remember that Charlie Lau was either their team or Brett’s personal hitting coach and he coached Brett.

    One thing Lau “coached” was having a two strike approach and swing to spoil pitches the other way. Brett later became more of a pull hitter and I don’t know if that was consistent with Lau teaching or not.

  226. 226
    Bethany Says:

    Mac, I’m praying for you, if anyone can get through this, it’s you. Like many, I can point to Bravesjournal as the core of how I watch and understand baseball today. I’d be a worse fan without you.

  227. 227
    justhank Says:

    The Charlie Lau approach fell out of favor partly because of the emphasis on power that engulfed baseball in the Nineties.

    Still think the Bonds approach is the best “accessible” swing. He wouldn’t have hit as many homeruns without the roids but he still would have been one of if not the best hitter in the game for awhile.

  228. 228
    Smitty Says:

    Bonds got on base a good bit because of the IBB. Plus his strike zone was tiny and he took up 2/3 of the plate.

  229. 229
    justhank Says:

    That’s all true, Smitty, but no one (and I mean No One) could pitch to him. You simply couldn’t throw him a strike.

    And he simply wouldn’t get himself out.

  230. 230
    desert Says:

    226,

    There was a Joe Posnanski piece (http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/2011/07/saving-bonds.html) that asked whether Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he supposedly started using steroids. I don’t remember the exact data, but he came to the conclusion that Bonds would have been one of the top ten to play the game (with his defense, offense, and baserunning) regardless, a Willy Mays in minor, if you may.

  231. 231
    Johnny Says:

    # 227 228
    yes and yes. Bonds simply wouldn’t offer at anything outside his strike zone and with his armored elbow he effectively took away the inside pitch. I think he got a lot of the benefit of the doubt from umpires, but when he hit it the ball flew. It is uncanny how consistently he could strike the ball with the sweet spot of the bat.

  232. 232
    chuckb Says:

    Best of luck to you, Mac. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  233. 233
    kc Says:

    @229 Barry Bonds was an awesome player even before he took steroids. He just couldn’t handle the fact that McGwire and Sosa were more popular then he was, but he never realized it has more to do with his personality then his performance. Sad.

    Love Bradley’s article title because it essentially tells me that I don’t need to waste my time reading it.

  234. 234
    csg Says:

    Pretty good read here on the Bourn trade and how it all took place.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/anatomy-of-a-baseball-trade-10202011.html

  235. 235
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Unless you saw Mays, Mantle or Ted Williams play in their prime, Barry Bonds is the best baseball player you’ve ever seen.

  236. 236
    kc Says:

    @232 Another prove that Ed Wade is stupid…oh wait, there is no need for further prove. It has always been a fact.

  237. 237
    desert Says:

    233,

    Hitters, yes. Pitchers… Pedro may be in contention.

  238. 238
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Pedro is the second best pitcher of the last 20 years. Maddux was better. Bonds was more dominant than either, as he was on the field every day.

  239. 239
    ububba Says:

    Pendleton, I seem to remember that he was as much acquired for his defense as anything else. (FWIW, I wasn’t jumping up and down when we signed him.) He could pick it, but I was never terribly scared of him as an offensive threat. He had speed, but he wasn’t one of those Cardinal blazers like Coleman, McGee or Ozzie.

    That he ended up winning the batting title & MVP was as shocking then as it is now. But, of course, that was a pretty heady season. Just about anything seemed possible that year.

    And oddly, Pendleton played on 5 WS teams with his club losing each time (StL ’85 & ’87, ATL ’91, ’92, ’96).

    Spike,
    Hmmm, I’m staying at Amstel 144, so it must be down the canal from me.

  240. 240
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Every acquisition John Schuerholz made prior to the 1991 season – Pendleton, Otis Nixon, Sid Bream, Raffy Belliard – were defensive acquisitions. The idea was that the Braves had a stable of ace-quality young pitching, and they needed to shore up the defense in order to support those pitchers and not destroy their confidence with bad defense behind them.

    The offense was a bonus, and mostly unexpected. The plan was to compete by 1993 or thereabouts.

  241. 241
    Johnny Says:

    @232 – Thanks for that link. Great story. One of the things I got out of it was that the offer for Pence was Delgado and Minor. Whoa. Sometimes its the deals you don’t make.

  242. 242
    spike Says:

    If that’s the Amstel River and not a canal, then yes. Up the corner from Die Kleine Komedie. It a pretty divey, gay but not flamingly so place that just happens to be open pretty much all night. Very handy. Probably not your bag, but across the river and down a bit is a terrific old guitar shop called Palm Guitars. Stuff is just piled up everywhere, but the owner has some really cool things, and is a total hoot.

  243. 243
    spike Says:

    Oh, and I love Smokey’s on the Rembrandtplein, junky old touristy coffee shop that it is.

  244. 244
    Michael Haynes Says:

    Mac, I can’t even remember how long I’ve been reading your blog. Long enough that I think it might have had a different URL, though I couldn’t swear to that.

    Terribly sorry to hear about the not-good news and hoping that things work out for you with the other treatments that are being considered.

  245. 245
    Aaron Says:

    Mac – I’ve read your blog for years, and you’ve kept me feeling connected to the Braves in a way I couldn’t imagine after I didn’t have TBS anymore. God bless and good luck. I’m praying for you.

  246. 246
    beedee Says:

    Mac,
    hang in there man. Braves baseball can’t take another loss right now. Your blog provides us all a place to celebrate, suffer, bitch, moan and dish out sarcasm of likes not seen by most of the South.
    Best to you and your family, can’t wait for your moans about how meaningless spring training is and how you can’t believe Lowe finished the 2012 season with the CYA! ;)

  247. 247
    CJ Says:

    Mac, I wish you the best. I’ve followed you on this blog for several years and it’s one the main reasons I still follow baseball and the Braves. Don’t lose hope.

  248. 248
    PA Says:

    Mac,

    Not a regular reader, but came over from Rany on the Royals to wish you all the best. It may be the bottom of the ninth, and you may be down by three, but you’re still at bat with runners on. Good luck and we’ve got rally caps on…

  249. 249
    Mike Says:

    Mac,

    Like PA above, I learned of your situation through your friend, Rany Jazayerli. I’m here to wish you well in your fight for more time, and will keep you and your family in my prayers. Live every day to its fullest, and know that what lies beyond our existence on this Earth is more amazing than anyone can even fathom. May God be with you.

    Mike

  250. 250
    Big E Says:

    Mac,

    You are in our prayers. Your recaps are the only game summary that I ever read. It’s all there, and more.

    All the best.

  251. 251
    JR Says:

    Mac,

    I’ve been reading bravesjournal for over 10 years by now. Just try to keep up the good spirits just as you do with every recap when things doesn’t go our way. Keep positive and try everything you think might help you regain health. I’m damn sure that even Danny Kolb is with you in this one.

    Go Mac!!!

  252. 252
    Don Says:

    I have been a reader for years. I am so sorry to hear this. You are in my prayers and I wish you the best.

  253. 253
    Kathy Says:

    Mac, I’m so sorry to hear this. We will keep you and your family in our prayers and send healing energy your way.

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