Thursday, April 30, 2009
Pitching has been really good. Vazquez took a hard-luck loss last night, after going 8 innings (longest Braves outing all year) and throwing only 99 pitches! Better yet, only 27 of those 99 pitches were outside the strike zone. Then Soriano came in with a lights out performance in the 9th.
Ted Williams said: "The hardest thing to do in baseball is to hit a round baseball with a round bat, squarely." And St. Louis can attest to that, it wasn't square hits but dinky little bloop singles strung together in the 5th that put the Braves down last night. Unfortunately, the Braves, while squaring up a few, were unable yet again to string together enough hits to push across more than 3 runs.
Our pitching is great, but we've got to do more on the offensive side. Where's that bat that Frank Wren promised? Garret??? Garret?? Bueller? The Braves have averaged just over 3 runs per game in our last 15, and it's only that high thanks to an 11 and a 10 run game thrown in there. We need more consistency scoring runs, but I think we look good to be a contender all year. Perhaps we'll even pick up that big bat before the trade deadline!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In a related note... Albert "don't call me the greatest player of all time" Pujols had an impressive at bat the 9th. Representing the tying run for St. Louie with 1 out in the 9th, Pujols came to plate with the bat on his shoulder, and left it there! Gonzo threw 3 out of the zone, so you can't blame Pujols for not swinging at the 3-0 95 mph heater right down the heart of the plate. But once the count moved to 3-1, Gonzo blazed the outside corner with another heater that Pujols just stared at. You are the man in the StL line-up Pujols... you're supposed to be hitting the ball, not looking for a walk in the 9th inning of a one-run ballgame! Gonzo finished him off with that nasty slider that came back over the plate, again Pujols was staring. You may recall, the last widely proclaimed "best hitter in baseball" to stare at 3 straight strikes in the 9th inning of a close ballgame was promtly removed from the roster in Bean Town.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
His M.O. has been creating a "story" (read a bunch of words together in a column) when there was no story by inserting the proverbial race card. Fortunately for us all, he's putting down the pen.
If you've not had the torture of reading his columns, google "Terence Moore Race" or "Racist." Here's one of my favorite editorial responses to a T-Mo column: "Terrence is the biggest racist POS in Atlanta. After 5 years of living in Atlanta and reading the AJC I would rather cut off my own nuts then read his garbage. " This was written in 2006, so after another 3 years of enduring "his garbage" this poor commenter is likely among the nut-less today. Here is an interesting article responding to one of his columns as well, brought to you by the good folks at "Every day should be Saturday."
Also, thanks to Mackie at BloggingPantsless for bringing this shit-canning to my attention.
Rejoice Atlanta sports readers, today is a day to celebrate.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I was never tall enough to ride Z-Force before they took it out and moved it to California (Six Flags Magic Mountain (according to Wiki). What I did ride this time was Goliath (3X actually).
By far the coolest roller coaster I've ever ridden. Very comfortable, no jerky ass beating, and FAST. Because the park was only open to Georgia State students (and family and friends) we didn't wait for anything. We even rode the Mindbender when our crew of 4 were the only people on the ride! We finished the night with one last hurrah on Goliath, and this time we waited a few minutes to get a ride in the front car... it was worth every minute.
We rode all the roller coasters (didn't catch some of the other rides: Wheelie, Acrophobia), here's how I'd rank them:
- Georgia Scorcher
- Georgia Cyclone
- Dalonaga Mine Train
- Scream Machine (it beats you up worse than ever before)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Gonzo has been wild and his fast ball a bit lame, we're seeing a lot more 91 than 93+. While Soriano's fastball has come to life, we saw 94 last night, and it moves. I would make the switch to Soriano now, if not for this fear: Is Gonzo going to give you anything in a non-save situation?
He was great last night when he came in in the 8th to face a lefty, but that was a tied ballgame, and he was likely to pitch the ninth, had his place in the lineup not come due the next inning. As it was, Prado pinch hit, had a great at bat to draw a walk, which eventually lead to the go-ahead run. But what happens when you need him in the 8th with a 3 run lead? Or in the 7th when you're down 2 and need to keep the game within reach? Does he have that mentality? Will his feelings be hurt if he views this as "losing his job?"
I think these guys have the potential to be great stoppers in any order, but today Soriano definitely has the hot hand. Hopefully Bobby can get them to work together put "titles" aside and get outs.
In a related story, the bullpen as a whole has been great since ditching Boyer. No earned runs in the Nats series. Hopefully we're building on something here!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Apparently the professionals have forgotten how to run the bases. I won't recount all the blunders for fear that I'll be pissed off for the rest of the day, and if you saw them I'm sure you don't want to hear about it again. You are major leaguers boys... these are the easy parts of the game.
At least 4 base running mistakes, arguably more, in the past 2 one-run games could easily be the difference in trying to avoid the sweep and going for the sweep ourselves.
Let Teddy Win!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The Braves dropped another one early this morning, and we can't blame the bullpen. We can't blame any of the pitching really. Lowe wasn't outstanding, in fact he didn't have good stuff at all. But to not have the stuff he didn't have last night, 6 innings and 3 runs was a great outing and the Braves had a great chance to win that game. And the Bullpen did their job through the rain and rain delay to not allow any runs.
Sometimes you drop 1 run games to inferior teams; in 162 games schedule it's going to happen. If you're going to blame the loss on someone, let's blame it on the ridiculous non-call @ 2nd base when David Ross was plunked in the head by a throw from 1st trying to double him up after Lowe's second terrible bunt attempt. After getting hit with the throw, Ross should have been able to cruise into second and sit in scoring position with one out for the top of the order. Instead, Nat's shortstop Guzman collided with Ross knocking him down, then tagged him out once the throw came in from the outfield. For those of you who don't know baseball, that's textbook obstruction. When a fielder prevents a runner from advancing to a base by making contact or altering his route, the runner is entitled to the base he would have obtained had the fielder not been a moron. Yet on this night, the moron was third base umpire Brian O'Nora (who was covering the play at second thanks to the crew being a man down--MLB games usually have 4 umpires, last night we had a 3 man crew). And don't let the "man down" be an excuse, this is a play that any little league umpire working in a 2 man crew could have made. There is no excuse for a professional umpire (how awesome would it be to make a damn good living umpiring professional baseball) to miss that call.
Friday, April 17, 2009
"Everything is the same only more expensive."
It starts with parking, last year, parking was $10, except for premium games, then it was $12. It was $12 yesterday, and will likely be $15 on premium days.
Tickets, on their face appear to be the same price. Outfield Pavillion (my seat of choice for nearly every game) $22. Problem is, last year you could buy the tickets at the game for face value ($22), or pay ticket master an inconvenient "convenience charge" to get them online in advance. This year, there is a $2 price increase for tickets purchased the day of the game. They've got us by the nuts!
And speaking of nuts... I was a bit annoyed by one particular junk-in-the-trunk 30 year old vender lady with a prison style neck tat attempting to sale assorted nuts. As she walked the stairs of the right field pavillion, which was adorned with an Elementary School kids enjoying a field trip, she used sales lines like: "I've got the best nuts in the stadium." "Come get my nuts." "My nuts are the sweetest" and "You can't get these nuts on the internet (what does that even mean?)" That's right, it's as unfunny now as it was then, but she thought she was cool and sadly her sales strategy appeared to be working.
Back to prices... Beer (the most important price) is up $.50 to $6.75. You may remember a few years ago, beer was $7, but you got a 24oz beer. Then they "dropped the price" to $6.25 and it stayed that way for a few years, but you only got a 16oz, plastic doesn't keep your beer cold, bottle. Now you get the same crappy bottle with the new increased price.
Not that $.50 or $2 is that big of a deal, but it annoyed me in light of all the off-season comments regarding the economy. I heard several interviews with Frank Wren regarding what they were going to do to try and keep people coming to the ballgame during the recession. None of the ideas he mentioned included increased ticket, parking, or beer prices. I didn't make it to concession and I rarely do, so I can't comment on whether Skip & Pete's HOF BBQ has joined in the price parade.
It may or may not keep me from attending games, but consider this:
If I drink 1 beer in stead of 2, the Braves forego $6.25 for the chance to earn an additional $.50 if I had drank another.
Moreover, if I go to one less ballgame this year, that's $10 in parking, $44 in tickets, and $12.50 in beer ($66.50) they didn't get, because they increased prices by $2, $4 (2 tix), and $1 (2 beers) ($7).
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Thank you Jackie, you made the game great.
#6- "Plenty of bright spots in today's game, 'cept the score."
ALI- "You're the eternal optomist Bobbo, what was so great?"
#6- "Did you watch the game? Javy struck out 12 in his 6 innings of work. I know goats are terrible at math, so I'll help you out. That's 2/3 of the total outs he recorded by way of stike out. He gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, that's a 'quality start' for all you stat geeks."
ALI- "Damn, that's pretty impressive. So what's up with Garrett Anderson? Did he forget that you can get outs by catching fly balls even in foul territory?"
#6- "You know Goat, your attitude is a bit condescending. Garrett's old and a bit fragile, I think his eyesight is deteriorating, but we'll have him fitted for bi-focals soon. Didn't I say there was positive things to take from this game?"
ALI- "You're right Bobbo, what else you got?"
#6- "How about Johnson? Kelly popped his 3rd long ball. He's really got some pop in this bat."
ALI- "So why's he hitting lead-off?"
#6- "Who's the soon to be Hall-of-Fame manager here Goat? There's another pretty decent manager in Chicago that has a lead-off man with pop."
ALI- "You make a good point, sir, as you always do. Speaking of other good managers, LaRussa likes to bat the pitcher 8th, and place a high on-base-percentage guy in the 9 hole which is designed to provide more RBI opportunities for the top of the line up. With Schafer's speed and OBP, what do you think of hitting him 9th, and potentially having ducks on the pond when Johnson takes to the dish?"
#6- "LaRussa is a moron. I'm tired of being compared to him. This interview is over."
Monday, April 13, 2009
Today I salute the Seals, and despite the prevailing baseball theme here at ALI, I'm not referring to the 1931 San Fran minor league club. Today I salute the US Navy Seals for plunking 3 of 4 pirates from their homely little vessel and causing the fourth to crap his pants in submission. I also tip my cap to our President and Commander in Chief for authorizing the use of deadly force to bring these ass-hats to their knees (and/or turn them into shark chum as the case may be). Finally, to Captain Phillips who negotiated with the aforementioned ass-hats and volunteered to be taken hostage in exchange for the release of his crew and ship.
I know many others are joining me in celebration today. Great job men.
Braves cleaned house this weekend, although if it weren't for XM radio and Verizon Wireless ESPN MVP, I would have never known. We had a beautiful weekend at the beach, but Masters weekend and baseball's opening weekend are not a good time to be stuck with only broadcast television!
Several guys played well this weekend, but I think Soriano's performance deserves to be noted. He took the ball in all three games and was lights out come Sunday night pushing his fastball into the mid 90s!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 09, 2009
What I will tell you about is an otherwise awesome day. 4:30pm Tuesday evening I get a call from a great friend (you'll know why she's so great in a moment... keep reading). "Goat," she says, "I know this is short notice, but can you get out of work tomorrow?" "Probably not, I'm already out Friday." "Bummer, my husband just got 4 tickets to the Masters Practice Round and Par 3 tournament tomorrow." "HELL YEA I CAN GET OUT OF WORK."
3 phone calls, 2 voicemails, and 1 conversation with my boss later, and I'm free for a trip to Augusta. I am one of fortunate few to have been, now twice, to the Mecca of Golf (in the US) that is Augusta National. If you ever get the chance, it's one of those "can't turn down" opportunities, even for a practice round. Sell your youngest child or promise your first-born, it's an incredible sight.
The highlight of the day was Greg "The Shark" Norman drilling a turtle in the shell with an errant shot that he attempted to skip across the pond on the par three 16 (they do cool stuff like that during practice rounds). The ball never touched the water, just a raced 1 foot foot in the air from the blade of his 4 iron to the shell of that unsuspecting turtle. Priceless entertainment.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Not acceptable for any reason!
I noted yesterday watching the O's kick the snot out of the Yanks that O's catcher Gregg "Don't call me washed up" Zaun bears a striking resemblance to famed catcher Jake Taylor. As Zaun (age 38) was trying to calm hurler Jeremy Guthrie as he attempted to squander a 6-1 lead, I had flashbacks to 1989, when as a 7 year old, I was first subjected the F-bombs and public urination that comprise the ROTFLMAO flick "Major League."
If you haven't seen the movie, I hereby declare you are NOT a baseball fan. Essentially Jake Taylor is a washed up major league catcher struggling with his old-ness and broken down body while he's got a team of misfits to lead. The more I think about this analogy the more it sounds just like Zaun and the O's. Don't worry Zaun, you get the girl in the end.
Monday, April 06, 2009
If you watched the game last night, you'll know most everything was good. Primarily Lowe was flat out nasty. Next time you see him on the mound, check out how every pitch moves at the tail end, no wonder noone hits him. And I don't mean your average sinker-ball movement, this ball goes in, tails back, drops straight down... he can do anything with a baseball. It was purely Maddux-esce.
More good. Francouer's swing was spot on when he drove a first-pitch inside fastball over the left field wall. An inning earlier, Buffalo Wild Wings errupted when McCann parked one in the second deck of the right field porch that rivaled the shots Josh Hamilton was taking in making a mockery of the 2008 home run derby.
Finally, Schafer was as good as advertised. His first major league at-bat resulted in taking Brett Meyers over the 409 mark in centerfield on a pitch that was a bit low and away, not the power zone pitch that McCann and Francouer got. He followed with single up the middle in his second at bat and an intentional pass in his third.
Not related to on the field action, it was great to hear Don Sutton back on the radio! Welcome back curly.
All in a all, a great night for Braves fans.
ESPN commentary. I despise Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN for the same reason I hate Sunday Night Football, the commentary is down-right terrible. From September to January I'm constantly pleading for someone to shove a turducken in Madden's fat throat just to keep him from talking. Likewise if they'd put Joe Morgan in a comfy chair in the corner of Cooperstown to celebrate this fantastic career as a player it would keep him from tarnishing this reputation by opening his mouth. And finally Jon Miller has lost it. I'm not sure if he just doesn't do the requisite homework or just doesn't care, but his meaningless comments and confusing player names causes me to mute the TV in favor of an un-synchronized radio broadcast!
Somehow Gonzo got out of it with only a small tarnish on Lowe's stellar night. The right handers in the line up ate him up, but he ended striking out Ryan Howard and the new lefty bat of Raul Ibanez. In the end we got the W, but I'm not sure I can take a season of that type 9th inning.
I need to learn how to capture and insert video clips. Meanwhile check out www.braves.com.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
We're finally just a few hours from seeing what the $16M man is going to bring to the table. Colby's got her Braves jersey on and the TV will be on ESPN all day (now that Mighty Ducks has ended on TBS). So grab a bag (too bad they don't come in boxes anymore) of Cracker Jacks and a 40oz of Schaefer... It's ballgame time!
Friday, April 03, 2009
Nice perspective I thought.
AL East- Yanks- Why is noone picking them? They're loaded with pitching, and despite the fact that I hate them, they're going to be good.
AL Central- Indians- this is going to be probably the weakest division in baseball. However, look for it to be extremely competitive. In the battle of the suckies, Cleveland will suck the least.
AL West- another weak division, but like everyone else you've got to pick the Angels.
AL Wild Card- Boston, they're deep in pitching and can Tampa really repeat?
NL West- Giants. Dodgers get all the talk, but they have no pitching. The Giants are loaded with pitching and have an improved line-up.
NL Central- Cubs, duh.
NL East- Braves. Maybe a homer pick, but I really like the new look and pitching depth. If not the division they'll take the wild card, but I can't pick against them.
NL Wild Card- Phils, because I can't pick the Mets. I think the Phils left handed line-up is suspect and so is their pitching after Hamels. Hamels is a young ace, but the next starters have a combined age of 874,699.
The playoffs are a crap-shoot. I'll say the Red Sox eventually win it all. Still would love to see a Braves/Sox Series!
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Fortunately, I can find nothing on www.braves.com to verify this rumor. But there is plenty of news throughout www.mlb.com of other teams that are interested. Hopefully the other teams interest will drive him away from the Braves, even though Cox is basically the only manager that Sheff has ever worked well with.
My problem with Sheff (whom I loved in his prime) is that he's old, his bat doesn't move like it used to, he's always hurt and he has played a total of 48 games in the outfield in the last 3 years!!! For those of you new to this game... the National League, of the which the Braves (and Phils) are a member requires all everyone who hits also plays in the field. OK, that's more than 1 problem, but you get my point. Much less, who would you cut for a guy that has proven he can't swing or run anymore?
Prove me wrong Sheff.
It was nice to flirt with the idea that we could be among the ranks of the luxury car drivers for a while (but honestly, we're no Mrs. Mackilicious--- ooooohhhh smack!). But like I said this Murano SL has all of the features of the Infiniti... sorry no pics, it was late.