Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Braves will open their exhibition season tomorrow against the University of Georgia. (I checked, and yes, it's against their baseball club and not the entire university.) Horacio Ramirez will pitch the first two innings, followed by Oscar Villarreal, Sean White, Jose Ascanio, and Chris Reitsma.

Jorge Sosa opens the Grapefruit League Thursday against the Dodgers, followed by John Thomson on Friday (Dodgers), and Tim Hudson on Saturday (Astros).

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I just found out that Don Knotts has passed away. It's not too often a celebrity dies and I take it personally; Johnny Cash was one of those I did. Jerry Orbach too. And now I'll add Don Knotts to that list.

In my humble opinion, Knotts was the creator of the single greatest television character ever created: namely, one crime-fighting extraordinaire, Deputy Barney Fife.

You've got to nip it in the bud. Nip it, nip it, nip it...
A few Braves Notes to end your week (or start it, depending on how you view the Sunday).

*New Atlanta shortstop Edgar Renteria suffered a minor back strain during batting practice Thursday. Reports insisted the injury was minor and he was kept off the field Friday for precautionary purposes only. He did resume practice yesterday, but was held to fielding grounders.

*Blaine Boyer has begun to throw off the mound for the first time this year. He's expected to throw again later in the week and will begin pitching in Grapefruit League games around March 11th.

*Adam LaRoche wants to be the everyday first baseman this season and it seems as though he'll be given the opportunity. Only problem for Adam is he's got rightie James Jurries to contend with. Bobby Cox likes what he's seeing from Jurries' bat, and he's working every morning to improve his defensive skills. Might we have another platoon at first this season? Along with the left field situation, this'll be an interesting story to follow all Spring.

*The great(?!) MC Hammer was in camp last week to film a commercial for the Turner South network; he even took BP with the team. Here's an interesting sidenote about Mr. Hammer: he was a batboy for the Oakland A's and ex-owner Charles Finley gave him the nickname "Hammer" because he thought he looked like a young Henry Aaron.

And so musical history began...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Just a little info about a certain Brave I'll be rooting for this season 'cause he's such a nice guy.
So who wants to play a little free fantasy baseball? I've set up a NL only league with a live draft on Yahoo. The league number is 154045 and the password is baseball.

The top manager of the season wins a free chicken liver dinner with Tommy. Of course, I'll have to clear this with him first. But I'm sure he'll go for it. If there's one thing I know about Tommy, it's that he loves to buy folks chicken liver dinners. Loves it, I tell ya!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Please don't tease me, Barry.

The Gracious One says this is quite possibly his final season playing baseball. Of course, he provided us with conflicting reports about this very subject just last week, so I hate to get my hopes up. But still...

I seriously doubt he can pass Henry's record in one season; he's only seven away from the Babe, though. Any way I can talk alla you pitchers into giving Cap'n Steroid nothing but bases on balls this season?

Here's another link for ya: Joe over at Talking Chop nabbed an interview with new Braves pitching coach, Roger McDowell. You should check it out.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm posting this tonight, as I'll probably not get up in time tomorrow to do it (stupid third shift...).

Just wanted to wish a happy birthday to the biggest, stupidest, Tommy I know. Like I told you today, dude- ya gots 366 more days until you're officially old (like me).

And please let me be there when you cash in that "Hello Kitty" gift card. Please?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Man, wouldn't it have been great to have been in Florida yesterday? Bright sunny skies, temperatures in the 80's, and the first workout for Atlanta's pitchers and catchers. Now that's the way to spend a Friday in February!

Here's some points of interest from the first workout:

With the exception of Mike Hampton, the starting rotation looks healthy.

Blaine Boyer still hasn't been cleared to throw from the mound; he spent his afternoon long-tossing with Roger McDowell.

Mike Remlinger says his gimpy shoulder feels strong and he'll be competing against Macay McBride and John Foster for a bullpen spot.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The beginning of the 2006 season is under way: pitchers and catchers reported to camp today.

And there was much rejoicing.

For those who enjoy fantasy baseball, here's a list of the Top Ten Braves fantasy players.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I know the recent tantrums of one Sammy Sosa have been discussed ad nauseam, but this latest chunk of insight from "Mr. Home Run" begs pointing out.

The Nationals have proposed a $500,000 non-guaranteed contract. Sammy wants at least a million bucks, because he's "done a lot for baseball and should be treated with respect". Hey Sammy- a half-mil non-guaranteed contract offered to a 37-year-old former steroid-junkie cheater who puts himself on the Disabled List by sneezing IS respect!

The fact of the matter is Sammy stunk last year. Blame it on age. Blame it on a new league. Blame it on a guy who has to come off the 'roids suddenly finding a giant void where what's left of his batting skills used to be. The fact of the matter is, a clubhouse cancer with diminishing skills who only manages 102 games, a .221 batting average, and 14 home runs during the course of a season isn't worth much more than the contract being offered.

Sammy says it's all about respect. How about showing a little respect to the fans, Sammy? How about showing a little respect to your fellow players, not to mention the game itself? You've got a lot to prove, and you're being given the opportunity to do it. I think you're a washed-up, steroid-dependent cheater with nothing left to offer the game; prove me wrong. Then you can come back for the 2007 season and demand that big fat contract you so richly "deserve".

One of my former Chattanooga Lookouts hit the jackpot last night: Adam Dunn signed a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the Reds. The club holds an $18 million option for the 2008 season.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I saw college baseball's shadow yesterday: that means only six more weeks 'til Opening Day. Made my way up to Knoxville yesterday afternoon with my buddy Tommy for a little University of Tennessee baseball.

I like the college game, but I'm not a huge fan of it. Never been able to put my finger on a real reason for that. Probably comes down to the aluminum bats. I hate 'em. Makes me think of Little League, high school, and the softball leagues I sometimes play in. It just doesn't feel "real" to me. Add to that the fact I absolutely hate the *DOINK* sound of a baseball making contact with one of those metal jobs and you may actually have a reason for it. (Ironically enough, I think the sound of a wood bat meeting a baseball is one of the best sounds in the world. Go figure.)

Anyhoo, we met up with the Joebo on campus,who met up with some of his friends at the game. The first game was pretty good; neither team was hitting particularly well and UT's pitcher had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. I mention this because Joebo- now known as Scurvy Joe, by the way- blew said no-hitter by mentioning it. Bad Scurvy Joe. Bad, BAD Scurvy Joe.

Eastern Michigan made it interesting in the ninth, but Tennessee managed to hold on for a 3-2 win. Not sure what happened in the second half of the double-header; we only made it through the first inning, due to some wicked cold weather and near-fatal hungriness on my part. Both of these problems were remedied at the Half Barrel Pub, where some good food and excellent beers kept the three of us (and Joe's friend, Sergei) entertained for hours.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

As promised, here's a few pictures from yesterday's Braves Caravan at Hamilton Place:

I was really surprised how few turned out for the event; couldn't have been more than 250 people. Seemed rather silly to have gotten there so early (hoping to beat the crowds), only to find I was one of the first ones there. Got the seventh spot in line, and had a nice conversation with a lady and her son sitting next to me (he was out of school to "visit his grandmother", naturally.)

Anyway, I got an official MLB baseball (the Bud "Used Car Salesman" Selig model) signed by Pat, John, Pete, and Horacio. And speaking of Horacio, let me just say that I'll be rooting for the guy this season. He really went out of his way yesterday morning to be friendly with all the fans. Classy guy.

Picked up the 2006 Street & Smith Baseball Yearbook on my way home. Seems like it's out early this year, but that's okay with me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'm planning on heading down to Chattanooga this morning for the Braves Caravan. Hope to have some pictures to share either tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I finally found some information verifying a radio announcement I heard last weekend regarding the Braves Caravan being at Hamilton Place Mall. It's scheduled for this Tuesday (the 7th) at 11:30 in the Center Court (whatever the hell that is).

The list of guests include:

Horacio Ramirez
Pat Corrales
John Schuerholz
Pete Van Wieren
It would stand to reason that I'd need to get my Super Bowl pick aired before the game commences, so here it is: Pittsburgh beats Seattle, rather handily.

It's very likely the two week break has killed the momentum the Steelers had throughout the playoffs, but I still like their defense to shut down Alexander and Matt H. Unlike Washington and Chicago, the Steelers will be able to put a few points on the board. So, I goes with the Steel Curtain to win.

Not sure how much of the game I'll get to watch. I'm supposed to be at work by 7:30 tonight; if the game is good though, I may call in for an hour or two. Just have to wait and see, I suspect.

Yahoo has got their fantasy baseball leagues up and running; would anyone be interested in playing? I could create the official home version of Home of the Braves Fantasy Baseball 2006? It'd be free, of course- unless people wanted to play in a pay league with prizes.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Whew- I slept eleven hours last night and almost feel human again.

Not much to talk about in the world o' baseball. I spent an hour last night soft-sleeving and top-loading my fledgling collection of 1959 Topps baseball cards. Ordered the sleeves, top-loaders, and a super shoebox to store them in from BCW; the UPS man was kind enough to leave them on my back step Thursday.

I've currently got 95 cards, with one heading this way via the postal service. Got a loong way to go, as there are 572 in the set. It's something I enjoy doing and is fairly simple and inexpensive to do with the help of that beautiful lady known as Ebay.

Anybody else still collecting cards, or is this yet another example of my anal-retentive, fan boy geekiness?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ugh, what a week. I've had to stay at work until noon every day for a QC tools class; I'm normally home at 7:30 and sound asleep by 8:00. I've gotten very little sleep during the past four days and I'm very tired. And mean. But I still smell pretty, dammit. Anywho- we finished the class today and I can have my normal life back. There was much rejoicing...

I found this article about the Coen brothers working on a new picture. New Coen brothers pictures make me bery, bery happy.