Thursday, December 30, 2004

D.C. Mayor signs ballpark bill

Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams signed the funding bill that'll allow the city to build a new 41,000 seat stadium for their new club, the Washington Nationals. The park should be ready for the 2008 season; the team will play within the "lovely confines" of RFK stadium until then. Fortunately, the bill will provide additional funding to help renovate RFK before the 2005 season begins.

I bet those former Expos will be shocked by their initial Washington fan base: 15,000 season tickets have already been reserved for 2005. That number probably surpasses their 2004 admission total for the year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Wright officially a Yankee

The New York Yankee$ and SP Jaret Wright got all the x-rays, MRIs, and paperwork sorted out today and officially announced his signing-- on his 29th birthday, no less. The three-year contract will pay Wright seven mil annually, although management can opt out of the deal if he spends a combined 75 days on the DL (the first two years) due to shoulder problems, which is the issue that had the Yankee$ concerned.

Quote of the day

I don't have anything baseball-related to share with you this morning-- so I give you my favorite quote of the day, found in a "Strange News" story:

"I turn it to Channel 15 and there's this naked lady on the screen — I mean full-frontal, get-the-hell-out-of-here pornography," said David Umana.

You can read all about Mr. Umana's adventures here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Millwood talking to Indians

It appears as though the Cleveland Indians are interested in former Braves and Phillies SP Kevin Millwood. Although no specifics have been released, the offer is believed to be in the area of $7 million a year. That may be more to Millwood's liking, as he recently turned down a one-year deal from Atlanta that was worth considerably less.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Murphy on ballet for final time?

I ran across this article on MLB's official site and thought I'd pass it along to youse guys, just in case you hadn't run across it. Like I did. Because I spend my time looking at porn for baseball news to share with youse guys.

Personally, I'd like to see Dale Murphy in Cooperstown. He was the one saving grace for Atlanta during the '80s (damn, they were a horrible club); he was a pretty darn good ball player-- and a classy guy, as well. He won back-to-back NL MVP awards in 1982 and 1983 and compiled more total bases than any other player during the decade. He was second only to Mike Schmidt in HR and Eddie Murray in RBI-- and both those guys are in the Hall. I suppose his career .265 lifetime batting average is the primary hindrance to his being elected by the voters. What do you think?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Will Eisner has bypass surgery

For those of you who don't know me personally, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I'm not just a baseball geek. I'm also a card-carrying member of the Secret Society of Comic Book Geeks. Okay-- there isn't really a secret society; I did have a membership card to the JLA at one time, but we won't get into that right now...

The point of my early morning confessional is to share the news about Will Eisner's quadruple bypass surgery last week. The details can be found at The Comics Reporter.

For those of you not familiar with Eisner's work-- he's both a pioneer and a living legend in the comic book genre. I met him a few years back at DragonCon; he was a very gracious man and happily signed the few items I'd brought along with me.

Here's wishing Mr. Eisner a speedy and successful recovery!

PlayStation 2

I've finally entered the 20th Century: I got a PlayStation 2 for Christmas (probably only scant seconds before PS 3 comes out). I'm not much of a gaming junkie; actually, this is the first game console I've owned since my Atari 2600. (It still works, by the way. C'mon over and we'll play Missile Command).

Anyhoo, I really wanted it so's I could play baseball games. The hope is it'll occupy my mind during the offseason. Along with the console, my wife got me a copy of MVP Baseball 2004. I played it a bit last night: pretty darn cool.

So I pose the question: is there a 2005 version for the MVP Baseball series and what other baseball games would you guys recommend?

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

No real posts today-- just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and to remind you that it's never too late to buy me a gift.

I've got to go clean up the pretzel bags and empty beer cans some fat guy in a red suit left in the living room last night...

Friday, December 24, 2004

Festivus for the rest of us

Festivus really snuck up on me this year. I was hardly even prepared for it.

Bill, Tommy, and I got together for our annual celebration of this joyous holiday. We began the day with the Airing of Grievances. This took some seven-and-a-half hours and we were mighty hungry afterwards. After a lovely dinner at Applebee's, the Feats of Strength began. As usual, Tommy crushed Bill and myself rather handily. (He never gloats about it though, and for that, I thank him.) As the F.O.S only took about a half-hour, we decided to bowl a few games. Bill won two; I was the victor in one. Tommy, well...lets just say it's a good thing he's smart and looks real pretty in his bowling mini-skirt and leave it at that, shall we?

The one traditional Christmas activity we still hold onto is the exchanging of gifts: Bill gave me a couple of Simpsons figures and a Menudo video from 1986 (I think it came from his own personal Menudo collection); Tommy gave me a Julius Schwartz autobiography and a sweet Roberto Clemente card for my 1959 Topps baseball card set.

I think I'll now go and watch the first season of Wonder Woman that my sister and brother-in-law gave me last night...

Former Brave updates

Things may get interesting in Los Angeles during Spring Training:

"Not to start a controversy," Drew told a Thursday press conference to announce his five-year contract, "but I'd like to start in center field. Playing behind Jim Edmonds [in St. Louis] and Andruw Jones [in Atlanta], there was no opportunity. You tip your cap and carry their Gold Gloves home for them. If the opportunity presents itself, I'd like to give it a shot."

I wonder what a certain feller already occupying center field for the Dodgers thinks about this? Has anyone pointed out to J.D. that Milton Bradley is CRAZY? As in fightin', spittin', yellin', throwing-beer-bottles-at-your-head kee-ray-zee?

In other former Brave news, Andres Galarraga has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets and will be invited to Spring Training. Andres is currently third on the list of oldest players in the MLB; he's 42. Only Julio Franco (46) and John Franco (44) are older. (No relation between those Franco boys, by the way.)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Ted goes Hi-Def

Braves management recently began a $15 million operation to improve the park: the most notable improvement (and a large chunk of that fifteen mil), will be the addition of the world's largest high-definition video display to the center field scoreboard. Mitsubishi Electric Power Products (the manufacturers and installers of the screen) say it'll be 80 feet by 72 feet. Wow-- that's a big screen.

I wonder if Braves management will let me come over in a few weeks and give the screen a test drive with the LOTR trilogy? I promise not to make a mess while I'm there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Drew in Dodger blue?

The Los Angeles Dodgers and OF J.D. Drew have agreed in principle on a five-year, $55 million contract. The $11 million annual salary is about a million bucks more per year than what the Dodgers were offering 3B Adrian Beltre.

I'll be honest: the entire thing perplexes me. Granted, I am easily confused, but I cannot understand WHY the Dodgers were willing to let Beltre walk-- and don't give me any of that "Jeff Kent is gonna play third base" nonsense; he's padded his career stats with the protection Barry Bonds provided in the San Fran line-up. (Color me not impressed.) I do realize that Beltre had a career year in 2004 and that those numbers could have been a fluke. However, many persons (myself included) believe Beltre's finally put it all together and should be a great third baseman for many years to come. And I'd much rather take a gamble with a 25-year-old guy with a lot of promise and potential, rather than some 37-year-old feller on the back-side of his career.

J.D. Drew is a guy I'd love to have on my club if I were a GM. He is a legitimate five-tool kind of player; his 2004 numbers prove it. What I question is giving someone a five-year deal for that kind of money when he's had a major problem staying healthy. Drew played in 145 games this year (career best); he's averaged less than 117 during five previous MLB seasons. Were I a GM, I would have liked to see J.D. have a similar season in 2005 and prove he's healthy and worth that type of deal BEFORE I offered it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

NL East: Expos will move to D.C.

After a lot of wheeling and dealing, Major League Baseball and the politicos of the District of Columbia have finally got all their ducks in a row, so baseball will be returning to Washington. The legislation, which passed by a 7-6 margin, needs only to be signed by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to complete the deal.

And there was much rejoicing...

Monday, December 20, 2004

DeRosa, Hessman non-tendered

The Braves decided before the Monday deadline to not tender contracts to IF Mark DeRosa and IF Mike Hessman, although they do have some interest in retaining their services.

DeRosa had enough success during the past few seasons to earn a shot as the starting third-baseman in 2004. Not only did he struggle (.239, 31 RBI, 3 HR), he also lost his starting position and later tore his right ACL. Still, he is a versatile utility/bench player and is popular in the clubhouse. He'll look at options with other clubs before deciding whether or not to re-sign with the Braves.

Mike Hessman had a brief stint in the Bigs this year- and it wasn't good (.131 in 69 at-bats). His 2004 Triple-A numbers weren't too shabby (.287, 54 RBI, 19 HR) and the Braves have enough interest in him to offer a minor league contract for next year.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

New links added

I haven't stumbled across anything newsworthy to mention today (nor is my brain alert enough to string together coherent sentences), so I thought I'd mention a couple of new additions to my "Recommended Reads" list:

Baseball Musings
Braves News World

Both are really good sites and you should check 'em out.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Dan Meyer interview

With all the discussions surrounding the recent Tim Hudson trade, I found it interesting that someone took the time to talk to one of the "other guys" involved.

Here's an interview with newly acquired A's pitcher Dan Meyer, by Todd Morgan.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Former Braves sign contracts

SP Jaret Wright signed a two-year, $14 million contract with the New York Yankee$ today. He has a third-year player option worth $7 million.

As a follow-up to my post from this morning, The Florida Marlins reworked Antonio Alfonseca's offer into a one-year deal, with a team option for 2006. The financial specifics weren't released.

Hudson formally introduced

Newly acquired SP Tim Hudson was formally introduced to the media at Turner Field this afternoon.

The more I look at the trade that brought Hudson to Atlanta, the more I like it. Hudson's a bona fide ace. (I'm not sure if he's a suiter). With Smoltz, Hampton, Thomson, and Ramirez behind him, you've got one of the best rotations in all of baseball. Even though Dan Meyer is a top pitching prospect who some project as a potenial All-Star pitcher- he's still a prospect. MLB history is littered with "can't miss" guys who never lived up to their hype or expectations. If a GM has the opportunity to trade a highly touted minor leaguer for an already established star of Hudson's caliber- he has to take it. If Meyer does pan out- well, that's the farm system serving its purpose. And as much as I like Thomas and Cruz, maybe they'll do bigger and better things in Oakland; I wish them well.

Another important factor to consider is Hudson's "local" ties to the Braves. He grew up two hours south of Atlanta and rooted for the Braves as a kid. He's made comments that he'd like to get any contract business taken care of before Spring Training begins. Hopefully that'll include a contract extention.

NL East: Alfonseca's bad back

A "significant herniation" in Antonio Alfonseca's lower back, found during a recent physical, has put his status with the Marlins in jeopardy. Although a two-year, $4.75 million contract had been agreed upon last week, Florida has a policy of only announcing signings after a player has passed his physical.

Supposedly the Marlins are looking to rework the offer into an incentive-laden, one-year contract.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Braves Trading Extravaganza

So...what'd you do today? Me? I tried to sleep. That didn't work out too well, by the way. (Just in case you were wondering about my sleeping habits.) John Schuerholz had a much more productive day. He struck a deal with the Oakland A's that's bringing SP Tim Hudson to Atlanta, in exchange for OF Charles Thomas, RH Juan Cruz, and pitching prospect Dan Meyer.

I'm pretty excited about Hudson joining the Braves, even if a bit disappointed to see Thomas going elswhere. He quickly became my favorite Brave last year; his hustle and excellent defensive play won me over.

In other trade news, OF Eli Marrero (and some guy named Cash?) were traded to Kansas City for minor league pitcher Jorge Vasquez. I must admit I'm not familiar with Vasquez but he posted a 4-5 record with 18 saves and a 4.68 ERA with Double-A Wichita last year.

J.D. Drew's departure and the trading of Thomas and Marrero leave Andruw Jones the sole man left in the outfield. I can't imagine JS not having specific plans to fill those voids, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming weeks ahead.

And finally- John Smoltz received a contract extension today that'll keep him in Atlanta through the 2006 season, with an option for 2007.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Byrd heading to Anaheim

The Angels and SP Paul Byrd agreed to terms one a one-year deal today. (I'm not sure if financial terms have been disclosed yet.)

I've not posted anything regarding the Braves/Tim Hudson rumors because my mama taught me that it's bad to go 'round telling stories about others- BUT Byrd's departure does leave a void in the rotation. Mayhaps Mr. Hudson would like to fill that spot?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Kolb happy to be a Brave

Dan Kolb seems thrilled to be the new closer for Atlanta.

Is Millwood returning?

The Braves are awaiting word from SP Kevin Millwood whether or not he'll be a Brave in 2005. He and his agent are mulling over an offer, believed to be for one year and worth three to four million bucks. If no deal is in place by Monday afternoon, Atlanta will look elswhere for trades to bring in another starter.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Kolb in, Capellan out

The Braves have been looking for a top-notch ace for the starting rotation: turns out he's been in the bullpen the whole time.

GM John Schuerholz made news Saturday by trading highly touted pitching prospect Jose Capellan and a player to be named later to the Brewers for Dan Kolb. The move will allow John Smoltz to return to the starting rotation.

I'm not going to delve into the numbers of each guy involved; lots of other sites have already done a fine job of it. (Other than the stats listed on the backs of bubble-gum cards, I'm not much of a numbers guy, anyway). I'm very much a realist and as such, I look at life in a rather pragmatic fashion:

The Braves needed a legitimate ace of the staff. The guy who's name kept creeping up was Oakland's Tim Hudson. Billy Beane is no dummy; he wanted Marcus Giles in return. Do you give up a great position player for a starting pitcher you'll probably only be able to keep for one year? Not if you want to keep your GM job for very long. Smoltz has been a dominant starter in the not-so-distant past, is practically being paid like one now, and he wants to return to the starting rotation. Why not try to get 200 innings from him, rather than just 80? Many folks question whether his arm can hold up to the rigors of starting over the course of a season. Well, in my neighborhood we don't live with could haves, should haves, and would haves. You just do it, dammit- and deal with the fall-out, if and when it occurs. Smoltz says the arm will hold up: the doctors agree. I'll buy that for a dollar.

A lot of folks are down on Kolb. Was 2004 a fluke, or was it his break-out season? I can't answer that, but I do know he converted 39 of 44 save opportunities with a 2.98 ERA this year. And that was with the Brewers, for crying out loud.

Who knows if the Braves made a mistake trading away Capellan? He's one of the most highly regarded prospects in all of baseball. He's a strike-out machine that can chuck it 100 mph. Hey- so can Kyle Farnsworth. (I got two words for ya: Bull Durham.) The Braves are well known for being able to recognize pitching talent. They've also got a pretty sharp eye when it comes to evaluating said talent. They think Cappy is expendable? Fine by me.

What it all boils down to is the Braves now have an ace, they've still got Marcus Giles, and they've got a pretty good closer locked in through the 2006 season. What else have you got up your sleeve, Mr. Schuerholz?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Arizona signs Ortiz

Former Braves pitcher Russ Ortiz signed a four-year, $33 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Brazelton wins Conigliaro Award

I just wanted to point out Dewon Brazelton won the Tony Conigliaro Award today. (You can read about it here).

What does Dewon have to do with the Atlanta Braves, or the National League East, for that matter? Not a damn thing. I just wanted to single him out because he's an alumnus of Middle Tennessee State University- as are myself, Tommy, and the Hippy.

I like to tell people that the four of us used to get together at Fuddrucker's on the weekends. But it's not true.

Franco remains a Brave

Julio Franco came to camp the past two seasons a non-roster invitee, with assurances from management that he'd be with the club when Spring Training ended. Due to recent interest in Julio's services by a couple of other teams (including the Marlins), management quickly signed him to a one-year, $1 million dollar contract yesterday. Although Franco is the oldest player in the Bigs (he's 46), his 2004 numbers weren't too shabby: .309, 57 RBI, 6 HR. He'll continue to platoon at first base with Adam LaRoche during the 2005 season.

I'm a bit surprised by the amount of the contract; I'm not surprised that the Braves wanted him back enough to offer it. Even at the ridiculous age of 46, he's in incredible physical condition and still a productive player. With a club house filled with young guys, it's important to have solid, veteran leadership- and you can't get much more "veteran" than Julio. Besides- it's nice for Bobby Cox to have someone close in age to chat the time away on those long road trips...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Theater Thursday

And in a suprise turn of events, I'm actually posting it on Thursday...Theater Thursday.

Week 29 - Merry Christmas.
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas.

1) Which holiday movie/special do you have to watch every single year?

I have the Holy Trinity of Christmas movies that must be viewed each year: White Christmas, A Christmas Story, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It simply isn't Christmas until I've seen each and every one of these nuggets of Yuletide gold.

2) Which holiday movie/special could you live without every year?
Man, I am not a fan of It's a Wonderful Life. Heartwarming, my ass. It makes ME want to jump off a bridge...

3) Do you have any special traditions that you do while watching the holiday films? (i.e - decorating the tree, drinking eggnog, opening gifts)
My family likes to decorate the Festivus pole and air our grievances during TNT's twenty-four hour marathon of A Christmas Story; otherwise, you keep your mouth shut and watch the movie, dammit!

BONUS) Is there any holiday classic that you would like to see remade? If so, what is it, and who would you like to see play the parts?
No. See, that's why it's called a "classic". The very name implies perfection. If a movie is perfect, you don't need to remake it. Live-action Grinchs and Whos? Yeesh...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Phillies, Marlins sign pitchers

SP Jon Lieber signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Phillies today. Jon posted a 14-8 record with a 4.33 ERA in New York this year. This is a great signing for the Phils; I watched Lieber when he was with the Cubbies, and he's an excellent pitcher when healthy. You have to figure his being a couple of years removed from Tommy John surgery means next year's numbers should be even better.

In other NL East news, the Marlins signed SP Al Leiter to a one-year, $8 million contract. I liken this deal to Chicago bringing Greg Maddux back: a solid, (even if past his prime) veteran pitcher who'll eat some innings and mentor a young rotation.

Arbitration aftermath

I hated J.D. Drew when he played for St. Looie. I'm talking 'bout a deep-down, soul-searing, Rage O' Hatred- the likes of which I reserve for few persons on this planet. (Don't ask me why I hated the man so much, because I don't understand it myself: it simply was the way it was.) I actually heckled the man at a Sounds/Red Birds game a few years ago- and I don't heckle at ball games. Ever.

I got over my hatred when he came to Atlanta; I wasn't neccessarily a fan of his, but I learned to respect him in his role as a productive member of the team. Well, those days are officially over, as the Braves did not offer Drew arbitration. Scott (the Devil) Boras has tagged J.D. out of Atlanta's price range and he'll be looking for bigger payouts elsewhere. So long, Mr. Drew.

The Braves also declined to offer arbitration to SP Russ Ortiz and RP Antonio Alfonseca. Ortiz's departure likely paves the way for John Smoltz's return to the starting rotation. Alfonseca's departure simply puts a smile on my face; I'm not a fan of the six-fingered man.

Management did offer arbitration to three players they'd like to keep: SP Paul Byrd, 1B Julio Franco, and SP Jaret Wright, although it looks as though Wright is very close to signing a three-year, $20 million contract with the Yankee$. (Has anyone bothered to tell Yankee$' management they can scout, sign, and develop their own talent, rather than signing every hot free-agent during the offseason?)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Subtraction by addition

Last week I said to myself, "Self, don't get involved in the Bonds steriod mess." There are many others on the 'net who will do a far better job discussing this topic than I ever could. I suppose part of me likes to bury my head in the sand regarding this subject matter, because it makes me angry. And a little sad.

With that being said, I wanted to link to an article by Jacob Luft that I found rather interesting.

Monday, December 06, 2004

NL East: Pratt stays put

C Todd Pratt signed a one-year, $750,000 contract to continue his back-up back-stop duties with the Phillies.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Paul Byrd

The Braves have made a "modest" offer to SP Paul Byrd, although he and GM John Schuerholz aren't providing any specifics. Needless to say, it'll be a significant pay cut from the $7 million he earned in 2004. Byrd went 8-7 with a 3.94 ERA in Atlanta this year.

Resigning Byrd to an inexpensive contract makes sense: he's a solid bottom of the rotation guy; nothing spectacular, but he won't embarrass your club, either. If he can return to his pre-surgery form (17 wins with Kansas City in 2002), so much the better. Possible John Smoltz/starting rotation news aside, I'd really like to see the Braves pursue a top-notch ace for the starting rotation. John Thomson, Mike Hampton, and Horacio Ramirez are all under contract through 2005, but none of them really fit the "ace of the staff" mold.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

NL East news

The Phillies have acquired outfielder Kenny Lofton via trade with the New York Yankee$. The Phils sent RP Felix Rodriguez and just over $1 million in cash to complete the trade. Even though Kenny can be a bit of an egocentric ass at times, he's still a productive player- not to mention being money during the post-season. (And he always seems to wind up on a playoff team, doesn't he?)

RP Felix Heredia will ply his trade on the other side of town next season. The Yankee$ sent him and an unspecified amount of cash to the Mets for RP Mike Stanton. Heredia's 2004 season was less than stellar (1-1, 6.28 ERA), but he's eight years younger and a good deal cheaper than Stanton.

MLB owners voted 29-1 to approve the Montreal move to Washington. Who cast the one vote, you ask? Why, none other than Baltimore Orioles owner, Peter Angelos. He feels another ball club playing 35 miles away from his club will cut into the fan base and ultimately, his profits. Note to Mr. Angelos: put a quality product on the field and you'll deserve a fan base. It absolutely amazes me that MLB has to compensate this guy because another team in a different league will be playing nearby. Two teams in Chicago. Two teams in New York. Three teams in the LA area. I don't hear any of those owners complaining about a bit of geographic competition.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Theater Thursday

It's once again time for Theater Thursday.

The past couple of weeks saw the opening of several big-budget and high-concept films: The Polar Express, Alexander, and National Treasure. These movies starred Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell and Nicholas Cage, respectively.

Only one question this week. Which of these three is the better actor, and why?

This is a no-brainer: Tom Hanks is hands down the best actor of the three. His versatility and range are his two biggest assets and what make him one of the finest actors currently working, in my humble opinion. Throw out Turner and Hooch and you've got one jim dandy of a filmography- not to mention some of the finest films made in the past twenty years.

I've only seen a couple of pictures with Colin Farrell, so I may be a bit uninformed about his talent. I've liked his performances in the few movies I have seen him in, but nothing he's done has really made me sit up and say, "...damn".

I'll be honest with you: I don't think Nicolas Cage is all that great an actor. He doesn't have a lot of range; sometimes he does a credible job portraying a character and sometimes he seems horribly miscast for a role (see: Keanu Reeves). However, I loved his performance in my favorite movie of all time, Raising Arizona, so I can't be too hard on the guy.

Free agent news

The Arizona Diamondbacks have apparently offered Russ Ortiz a three-year, $24 million contract; he's looking for something closer to ten mil per year. I'm not sure how many other teams are interested in his services- but I know the Braves aren't.

I've been a bit curious about exactly what kind of numbers Scott (the Devil) Boras is seeking for J.D. Drew: have you? (Of course you have.) Well, ol' Scotty figures J.D. is worth something in the area of five years and $50 million. He "stupposedly" -to quote the great wordsmith, Latrell Spreewell- has several teams interested and willing to give it up. I've said it once, and I'll probably say it at least six more times- one good season in a career filled with injuries does not qualify you for the Big Fat Contract. If J.D. can squeeze this out of some team with more salary cap space than common sense, bully for him and the Devil, but it seems logical to me for someone like Drew (or Nomar, for that matter) to sign a one-year deal with their respective teams, prove they're healthy and worthy of the big money, and then shop their services to the highest bidder. But hey, I'm just Joe Blow (not JoeBo) writing a crummy blog about baseball and not a hotshot agent fleecing MLB teams for gazillions of dollars...

Jermaine Dye's name keeps coming up as a possible replacement for Drew, if he does go elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

TV Tuesday

It's time for TV Tuesday:

Week 34 - What'd you watch?
ACK! It can't be Tuesday can it? *checks calendar* Oops! Sure is! Since I took a week off let's find out what you were watching!

1. What's your favorite thing you've watched in the past week?
Although I didn't watch a lot of tele during the past week, I most enjoyed the couple of Abbott and Costello pictures TCM aired Thanksgiving afternoon. (I rank Bud and Lou second only to the Marx Brothers for best comedy team ever.)

2. Have you found anything new you liked?(You can use disliked or any other adjective you want.)
I can't say as though I found anything new I liked or disliked.

3. For those who had access to them, did you see any really cool parades on TV?
Nope- I'm not much for parades.

~Bonus~ Holiday dinner: TV on or off?

Remember to leave your link or answers in the comments!! :)

Wright offers

The Seattle Mariners have offered Jaret Wright a three year, $15 mil contract. I'd like to see him stay with Atlanta, but I think they've made the right decision in not offering him a big contract. Wright had a solid year with the Braves in 2004, but they claimed him from the scrap heap that is the waiver wire before the season began. One good season in a career of mediocrity does not earn you the big money: a couple of good seasons does. (I hope J.D. Drew is reading this...)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Saturday night out

I went to Chattanooga last night with my friends, Big Stupid Tommy and Evil Hippy. We decided to stop in Cleveland on they way, since we were hungry and such. After much debating, we decided Jenkin's Deli would be the place to get some vittles and appease our hungry bellies. (If you're ever in Cleveland, I highly recommend Jenkin's: they've got good food and it's not too 'spensive.)

Have you ever wanted to order something on a menu but were too embarrassed to, either because you weren't sure how to pronounce the item or it had a really stupid name? Even better- have you been with someone when they decided to order the item with the really stupid name? It happened to me last night. The Evil One had himself a Zippy Chippy Chicken Sandwich. (It made me think about tales of young men asking the pharmicist for condoms for the very first time.)

Just for the record: he said it was a good sammich, but he didn't find it all that "zippy".

Saturday, November 27, 2004

You call this a vacation?!

I'm going to have to rethink this whole "time off from work" bit.

My place of employment was kind enough to give me four days off for the Thanksgiving holiday. That's mighty kind of them, considering I've had approximately the same number of days off during the past two months. (I don't like working Saturdays and Sundays, dammit.)

The problem is no one told the doors and trim in my Still-Not-Finished-Brand-New-House that I'm not supposed to be working. They've demanded to be painted. I don't like painting trim (although the doors aren't so bad) and even after several hours of painting yesterday, I've still got a LONG way to go. Jeez...

It looks like them folks what play baseball and such for a living are taking the Thanksgiving holiday seriously. Nothing going on as far as signings and talks and other baseball business the past coupla days. Wouldn't it be cool if the GMs had after-Thanksgiving sales with player contracts? I can see it now: Jim Hendry offering Sammy Sosa for 60% off from six a.m. til noon, Friday only. Or, "Buy one middle infielder, get another one half-price" specials.

Why MLB isn't exploiting my Big Ideas is beyond me...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Tales from the starting rotation

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that Jaret Wright declined the Braves' latest contract offer; his agent has all but said he'll not be back, as Atlanta doesn't have the resources to keep him there. In addition, the team hasn't expressed much interest in bringing Russ Ortiz back for the 2005 campaign.

Looks like ol' Smoltzie is heading out of the 'pen and back to the rotation, doesn't it?

Monday, November 22, 2004

NL East News

The New York Mets have signed Chris Benson to a three-year, $22.5 million contract. Several teams (the Braves included) had expressed interest in Benson, but he opted to stay in New York. I suppose he likes living under a microscope...

The Florida Marlins have re-signed Damion Easley to a one-year contract: the financial details were not disclosed. They've also offered a one-year contract to Al Leiter. The interesting point to this offer is that it includes an option for Leiter to move to the broadcaster's booth when he retires. I think it's a good move on the Marlins' part: Leiter did a great job in the Fox broadcast booth with Buck and McCarver stinking it up. Imagine what he could do without those two talking heads monopolizing every available moment?

40 Man Roster

The Braves have added seven players to their 40 man roster, bringing the total up to 37.

Kyle Davies
Anthony Lerew
Macay McBride

Pete Orr
Andy Marte
Luis Hernandez

Bill McCarthy

Saturday, November 20, 2004


As a general rule I don't watch (or even follow) the NBA. A one-time fan of the Los Angeles Lakers back in the 1980's glory days of NBA basketball, I looked forward to each new season because I knew I'd have fun arguing with my good friend, Jimmy (a hard-core Celtics fan). Actually, we could never figure out why they even bothered with the season: just let L.A. and Boston duke it out in a seven-game Finals series and be done with it.

Over the years, the game has devolved into a sport played by street thugs, drug dealers, and inexperienced 18-year-old children. It's all about the highlight-reel dunks, and "defense" has become a dirty word. Because of this, I'd rather watch fruit decompose rather than watch an NBA game.

I happened to be channel surfing last night before I went to work and came upon ESPN just as Ben Wallace shoved Ron Artest. I was shocked by what that seemingly insignificant skirmish escalated into.

Ron Artest is a crazy man. Something's not right in his head. I'm sure he'll take the brunt of the punishment doled out to the players involved because of his past, and I suppose he deserves it. As a professional athlete, you simply cannot allow yourself to go into the stands. All pro athletes are paid ridiculous sums of money to play children's games and with it comes the burden of taking abuse from the fans. But I'd like to know how much abuse should the players have to take? At what point have the fans crossed the line? Think about it: you're at your job, minding your own business. Someone comes in and starts screaming obscenities and epithets at you. You'd probably have security or the police escort that person out. What would you do if that same person came in and threw a bottle of beer or a chair at you? I realize this comparison is very exaggerated (Milton Bradley and I don't have the same job), but the point I'm trying to make is that although retaliation by the players isn't right- I can completely understand why they do it.

I'm not trying to excuse the actions of the Ron Artests and Milton Bradleys of the professional sports world- but fan behaviour has gotten out of control. Paying an admission fee to watch a ball game does not give you carte blanche to act like a moronic thug. Fans throwing objects at players is inexcusable. Fans running onto the field and attacking coaches is inexcusable. These idiots are getting more and more daring and something needs to be done to hold them accountable for their actions, just as the athletes are held responsible for theirs.

Washington Nationals

The Expos should officially become the Washington Nationals on Monday: a news conference is supposed to make the announcement and reveal the new cap and red, white, and blue color scheme. (As opposed to the old red, white, and blue color scheme?)

I do feel bad for those sixteen fans in Montreal who actually showed up for the games and supported their Expos, but I'm glad to see the players getting a permanent home (and hopefully a REAL fan base, with real fan support).

Perhaps in an effort to drum up support for the new team, Expos management has been busy signing free agents. Christian Guzman makes sense to me, but I'm not sure why they'd give Vinny Castilla 6.2 mil or even want the clubhouse pariah that is Jose Guillen?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

2004 Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team

Congratulations to Adam LaRoche for winning a roster spot on the 46th annual Topps All-Star Rookie Team. Here's a complete list of winners:

The 2004 Topps Rookie All-Star Team:

1B Adam LaRoche, Atlanta (110 games, 13 HRs, 45 RBIs, .278 BA)
2B Aaron Miles, Colorado (134, 6, 47, .293)
3B Chad Tracy, Arizona (143, 8, 53, .285)
SS Khalil Greene, San Diego (139, 15, 65, .273)
OF Jason Bay, Pittsburgh (120, 26, 82, .282)
OF Matt Holliday, Colorado (121, 14, 57, .290)
OF Terrmel Sledge, Montreal (133, 15, 62, .269)
C Joe Mauer, Minnesota (35, 6, 17, .308)
RHP Daniel Cabrera, Baltimore (147.2 IP, 12-8, 5.00, 76 K, 89 BB)
LHP Mike Gonzalez, Pittsburgh (43.1 IP, 3-1, 1.25, 55 K, 6 BB)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Sutton will return to booth

I was almost certain Don Sutton's days with the Braves were numbered: his contract was the only one that hadn't been renewed and Chip Caray had recently been signed to join the broadcast team. A no brainer, right?

Wrong. Things have been squared away with Don's contract, so the Braves broadcast team will now consist of Chip and Skip Caray, Joe Simpson, Pete Van Wieren, and Sutton. Although the specifics haven't been worked out, a rotation will be developed for the radio broadcasts, as well as all TBS and Turner South televised games.

The Braves have also announced a new radio partner for the 2005 season. WGST 640 AM and 96 Rock will become part of the Braves Radio Network, as will all Clear Channels affiliates throughout the Southeast.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Free Agent signings

Former Braves third baseman Vinny Castilla has signed a two year, 6.2 million dollar contract with the Expos.

American League MVP

Congratulations to Vlad Guerrero for winning the 2004 AL MVP award. While the National League's contest really wasn't much of a contest (we all knew Barry would win), I didn't have any one player picked to win the AL: several guys were worthy, in my opinion. In the end, Vladdie came out on top, beating the likes of Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz. I suspect hitting .337, with 126 RBI and 39 home runs had something to do with it.

To be honest, I've always liked Guerrero. He's got a cannon for an arm, runs the bases like a flailing madman, and will swing at anything within the confines of the Western Hemisphere- and make contact. But the thing that I like best about him is the fact that he always seems to be enjoying the game of baseball. That's not so common in today's game and it puts a smile on my face, dammit.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Sundry items

There isn't much news coming from the Braves camp. The Andruw trade rumours are swirling about. Drew will probably look for greener, center field pastures, thanks to Scott Boras (see: The Devil). There's been talk of Kevin Brown coming to Atlanta. I hope this never happens. If the Braves are looking for an aging, moronic starting pitcher, I can be had for one tenth of the price...

The answer to yesterday's trivia question is Gary Gaetti. Thanks for playing the Feud.

The Sloth is going into hibernation: I hope it's a short one. I really enjoy his take on all things Cubs. He's a master of The Rant and he works in obscenities the way a master artist works in oils and pastels.

National League MVP

Barry Bonds won his seventh MVP award. And I don't really care.

Don't get me wrong: the guy deserved to win. The numbers he put up during the 2004 season were nothing short of incredible. He does this season after season, at an age when most MLB players are former MLB players working on their golf swing. My problem is with Barry Bonds, the person- NOT Barry Bonds, the player.

Difficulties with the media aside- you don't put yourself above your teammates. Barry seems to feel as though he's better than the gents he takes the field with and that's something I do take offense with. Teamwork wins championships (see the 2004 Boston Red Sox).

The steroids situation doesn't help either. C'mon Barry...give us a little credit. Forty-year-old men don't bulk up like Ahnold unless they've got a chemical crutch. Even though steroid-derived muscles won't help you hit a pitch, it does help you drive it a mile and a half out of the park. It sullies the home run record and it makes me cringe every time I think about how close he is to Hank's record. Maris's numbers were legit. So are Henry's.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Baseball quote trivia

Because this is the second day in a row where I couldn't scrounge up anything newsworthy (or even moderately interesting) to post about, I decided to bring out the ol' trivia bit. Feel free to answer in the comments section and I'll post the answer tomorrow.

Speaking of his dislike for hitting in Comiskey Park, this player said, "At Wrigley Field, I feel like King Kong. Here, I feel like Donkey Kong."

Which former MLB player (and current coach) said it?

Friday, November 12, 2004

Top five favorite baseball names

Since there isn't much in the way of newsworthy news in either the Braves or MLB camps, I thought I'd fill in the dead space share with you five of my favorite names in baseball. Although there are lots of cool baseball names throughout the game's history, these are the special few I hold near and dear to my heart (right next to my Tim McCarver Game-Worn-Jersey Holo-foil chocolate-chip Franklin-Mint medallion jumbo refractor card).

5. Coco Crisp -I like any baseball player's name when it sounds like a box of breakfast cereal. Why does he go by the name "Coco"? Because his given name is Covelli Loyce Crisp.

4. Bucky Dent -A good name, although I prefer the widescreen version: Bucky F*cking Dent. Even though the guy was a Yankee, I like his name and don't hold his team affiliation against him.

3. Satchel Paige -This is just a cool name; it sounds so larger than life, which is fitting because Satchel WAS larger than life. I wish my momma had named me Satchel...

2. Cool Pappa Bell -No comments needed. A guy named "Cool Pappa" is going to be a great ballplayer, musican, barber, or anything else his heart desires. Man, I wish my momma had named me Cool Pappa...

1. Stubby Clapp -This is the greatest name in the history of names. For those of you familiar with the PCL league and/or the St. Louis minor league system- you know Stubby. My good friend Tommy and I saw him several times when the Redbirds came to Nashville to play. Anytime he'd bat or make a play in the field we'd yell, "Stub-bee!". Sometimes we'd yell it for no apparent reason. We're funny that way.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Theater Thursday

This'll be my first time playing the ' I mean, Theater Tursday.

1) Which war movie is your favorite? (Nothing about war could be considered a 'favorite', but ya get my meaning.)

My favorite war movie would probably be Flying Leathernecks: ya can't go wrong with John Wayne and WWII fighter planes. For some reason, I get sucked into Kelly's Heroes every time it's on the tube . I loves me some Donald Sutherland.

2) What movie about war do you consider to be 'unwatchable', poorly done, or of poor taste?

Although I don't think it's such a horrible film, I was really disappointed with Gods and Generals. I had such high hopes when I first saw the previews; not so happy after I actually saw the picture.

3) Which actor/actress gave the best performance as a soldier? What movie?

I really like John Wayne in just about any war picture.

BONUS) If there was a movie to be made about the current war in Iraq, who would you most like to see as the leading man/woman?

Ben the Fleck. And I'd like the movie to be about horrible things happening to his character. I'm not a big fan of the Ben. The leading lady should be Salma Hayek, 'cause she's pretty hot.

Happy Veterans day to all the Veterans out there.

American League Cy Young Award

2.61 ERA
265 K
0.92 WHIP
Damn near unhittable...

If Johan Santana doesn't get the nod for the Cy- I'm going to go Zambrano on somebody! I don't care what Curt Shilling did in the post-season: the Cy goes to the best pitcher during the SEASON. Period. And I'll treat anyone who disagrees with me to a poke in the eye with a sharpened carp!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Managers of the Year

National League: I gots two words for ya: Bobby Cox. The man lead a team riddled with inexperienced starters and bench players to their 13th straight divisional title. Most pre-season experts didn't expect the Braves to finish higher than third in the NL East.

American League: My prediction is Terry Francona. Any man who leads the Red Sox to their first World Series win in 86 years is automatically named manager of the year. (Nominations for sainthood will be heard in the spring.)

Francona isn't my personal pick, however. If'n I was important enough that someone cared about my opinion, I'd have to go with Buck Showalter. He did a great job with the Rangers. Many baseball folks (including myself) expected Texas to finish last. Again. Good job, Bucky!

NL Cy Young revisited...

In true form- as I'm never wrong (a bad habit I've learned from my wife), Roger Clemens supported my prediction by rather handily winning the Cy Young. Just for the record, I do not begrudge him the honor. He had a helluva year and almost took the Astros to the Series. I suppose in my less than lucid moments, I regress back to my days as a skinny, little kid in elementary school and root for the underdog. Or, it could by my need to rail against the great injustices of the world and I simply feel bad for a guy (Randy Johnson) who has an awesome year on a pigshit team that gives him no run support. Oh well, he has his millions of dollars and cool nickname to console him through the winter months...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

National League Cy Young Award

Because there hasn't been much on the ol' Braves news wire to talk about lately- and since it's my blog (and I'm probably the only one reading it), I thought I'd post my two cents about the pending NL Cy Young Award.

Although there are several quality pitchers on the short list, it's really come down to two names: Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. Clemens put up some tremendous numbers this season (18-4, 2.98 ERA, 218 K). Johnson's are equally impressive: 16-14, 2.60 ERA, 290 K. Clemens led the National League in winning percentage and was in the Top 10 in wins, ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, and opponent batting average. Johnson pitched a perfect game, led the league in strikeouts, was near the top in ERA, and opponents only hit .194 against him.

If I were a betting man, my money would be on Clemens. His numbers are impressive and he led his team to the NLCS (as important as Beltran was, Houston wasn't going anywhere without Rog). With that being said, I'd like to make a case for Randy Johnson. With the exception of the win-loss column, his numbers are even better than Clemens', and he played in front of a horrible team (even a little bit of run support would have helped him win more games). The Astros were a much better team than the Diamondbacks, and the run support in Houston with THAT line-up was almost unfair. But ultimately, the voters look at wins and losses, and that will probably be the end of Johnson's chances for winning.

So, does the voting come down to the best pitcher in the league- or to the one who's most valuable to their team?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Ernie, Skip, and Pete need your vote!

The nominations ballot for the 2005 Ford C. Frick Award, which is presented annually to sports broadcasters, is currently available online (click here). Voting runs from November 1st thru December 1st and the top three vote-getters will be placed on the final ballot for consideration of the award.

Ernie Johnson, Skip Caray, and Pete Van Wieren are on the nomination list- and all three deserve to be in the Broadcasters Hall of Fame. That means you should get off yer duff and vote!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

NL East news

The Washington Times is reporting that the Expos could be renamed the Nationals some time during the next few weeks. Other names being considered are the Senators and the Grays.

I don't have any problems with the Nationals, but I'd much prefer seeing the Senators back in baseball. Of course, the Grays (in tribute to the Negro League team) would be pretty cool as well.

Random thoughts

When I began writing this blog- six whole days ago- I promised myself that I'd try to post something every day, if humanly possible. Well, I missed a day. But it wasn't my fault... I swear it wasn't. I haven't decided whether to blame my rickety dial-up connection or Blogger's site, but the stupid 'puter ate my posts each time I attempted to publish them. After a few tries, I calmly turned said 'puter off and walked away, so's not to put my foot in its ass. Yes, computers do have asses...

You know what they sell on the Internet these days? Tiny little Atlanta Braves baseball caps for tiny little heads. (My big ol' punkin head requires a 7 3/4, by the way). I ordered one of those tiny little caps for my two-year-old niece. It's high time she learned about baseball and such. I wonder if I'll have to use a ping-pong ball to break the bill in?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

2005 Home game schedule

Here's a link to the tentative 2005 Atlanta Braves home game schedule.

A couple of points of interest to the schedule:

  • First home visits by the A's and the Angels
  • Four game series with Cubs begins on July 4th
  • Home opener begins April 8th against the Mets (same as the 2004 season)

Methinks I'll be making vacation plans for the Fourth of July weekend to watch the Braves and the Cubbies duke it out.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Andruw wins another Gold Glove

In other award-related news, Andruw Jones wins his seventh consecutive Gold Glove. No real suprise: the only thing smoother than Andruw's glove is BigStupidTommy's skin.

I love to watch the guy play in the outfield, even if he usually makes me cringe when he's at the plate. The guy has absolutely no patience, nor does he seem to understand the theory of going the other way.

New commenting system

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

If anyone has actually seen this site (besides me), please post a quick comment so's I know I'm not talking to myself here. Other than the voices in my head, I mean.

Estrada wins award

Johnny Estrada was awarded the Silver Slugger award yesterday (this is the award given to the top offensive player at each position in each league). Why'd he win it? The guy only batted .314 for the season, driving in 76 RBI and knocking out 9 home runs. That .314 was the highest batting average by ANY Braves player, by the way. Pretty impressive numbers from almost any catcher, much less a rookie...

I'll admit it: I was one of those people asking why Atlanta traded Kevin Millwood for what little they seemingly got in return. I know, I know.... salary dump and all that jazz. But Estrada strolled into Atlanta and impressed the hell out of me. He calls a pretty good game and he's solid defensively. He's great with the bat, which is something you don't usually get from a catcher who's "solid defensively". (See Paul Bako if you need an example.) I think the greatest asset Johnny brings to the team is his ability (and willingness) to choke up with two outs and runners on and actually put the ball in play to drive those runners home. I'm sick to death of stupid baseball and players insisting it's a home run or NO runs. Estrada is a team-first guy, like a lot of the other young players who carried the Braves for most of the season. That's the type of baseball I like watching and am missing already. Dammit- when does April get here?!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Smoltz back in the rotation?

It seems as though John Smoltz, GM John Schuerholz, and manager Bobby Cox have been discussing the possibility of Smoltzie returning to the starting rotation. His desire to do so hasn't been secret during the past few seasons and three of the five current starters are free agents (it's unlikely the Braves can- or will- bring all three back). Hence, the discussions...

My feelings are split on this: on the one hand, a rotation with Smoltz is a better rotation. He's money during the playoffs, and that's something that's been missing during the past couple of post-seasons. But a bullpen without him is a liability, especially when the idea of Antonio Alfonsucka moving to the closer's spot is being mentioned. If the Braves need a large, yellow-haired, six fingered man to blow games for them I can be had for one tenth of the price.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Jail Break '04

Rafael Furcal, master of leather larceny and shotgunning beer cans, has been released from the Cobb County jail. He'd been serving a 21 day sentence for a second offense drunken-driving arrest. Rafie will now go through a 28 day in-house treatment program and perform 240 hours of community service.

An FYI for Mr. Furcal: Drink your High Life AFTER you get home. Jeez...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Free Agency Filings

Current Atlanta Braves players filing for free agency this past week:

Thursday, October 28th: J.D. Drew, Jaret Wright, and Paul Byrd
Friday, October 29th: Russ Ortiz and Julio Franco

Drew and Wright seem to be the top priorities for the Braves. Drew's stats for the 2004 season were pretty darn good (.305, 93 RBI, 31 HR) and he provided an excellent glove in right field. Most impressive was the fact that he didn't spend any time on the DL for the first time during his career. Equally impressive is the fact that this was the first time during his career that I didn't hate his guts.

After being claimed from the scrap heap of "has-been" pitchers, Wright put up some great numbers (15-8, 3.28 ERA) and emerged as the ace of the staff.

I'd like to see Franco brought back for another season for the simple fact that I'm impressed by any 82 year-old man who can still hit a Big League fastball.

Why am I doing this?

I really couldn't give you a reason for starting this blog. I have no real writing skills, nor have I ever laid claim to such (although I'm hella good at reading). I like baseball and I like the Braves. As such, I read a goodly bit about the Atlanta ball club on the Internet. I haven't found any blogs dedicated to the Braves, although I'm sure they're out there (I'm too lazy to look very hard, I suppose). This is my feeble attempt to take the Braves news and information I gather from several sources and compile it into one for the other lazy folks like me. I'll post as information and my own limited free-time permits. Or whenever I get off my lazy ass and write something...