V Vernacular

05/23/2007 (8:53 am)

Break Out the Free Agent Jokes: Scooter’s Gettin’ Hitched!

I have actual stuff to do at work today, since I’m blowing this popsicle stand next week and heading home to Atlanta after three long years in Athens (it may be the birthplace of Heap, but this town is not for me), but I’m still going to take time out of my workday to post, because oh my God, that game! That was another, “Gee, if I’m ever actually getting murdered in here, I guess my neighbors won’t call the cops,” classic. It had me screaming pretty loud, especially for Davies’ home run. And there were plenty of other developments yesterday, too.

Obviously, Heap and Frenchy freaking out over Davies’ home run made my night, and Davies trying to act all cool about it just made Those Two hopping around him even better. Sometimes I forget that these hulking major league ballplayers are actually a year younger than me, and then they break out the antics. I love it.

But boy are they growing up fast: Scooter has joined the engagement party! I commend Scoot for waiting until the right time, and always thought it was a little — unromantic? — that the other Baby Braves got engaged within about five minutes of Frenchy popping the question to his girlfriend. I always imagined it going a little something like this . . .

Frenchy: Hey Heap, she said yes!!
Heap: Yay!
Frenchy: So, let’s go celebrate!
Heap: ‘K, just one sec.
Heap: /dials phone
Heap’s girlfriend: Hey, what’s up!
Heap: Hey babe. Just wanted to let you know — we’re getting married.
Heap’s girlfriend: Wha–what?
Heap: Yeah, Frenchy just got engaged, so, looks like it’s about that time! Just wanted to give you the heads up.
Heap’s girlfriend: Uh . . . wha . . .
Heap: Maybe we could do a double wedding!
Heap’s girlfriend: /bursts into tears

Aw, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it’s still funny that Frenchy set the whole thing off. Now that Scooter has jumped on the bandwagon, do we have any single Braves left? Who’s going to be our eligible heartthrob?

Wait, wait, what’s this? Redman is gone, and we’re bringing up Dreamboat Devy, in all his emotionally fragile number one draft pick glory! Hopefully he’s recovered from everything we put him through in 2005 — he’s been leading the Southern AA League in saves, and looked a lot more comfortable coming out of the pen when we brought him up for the roster expansion last September. Supposedly he’s only up for a short time, until we figure out who our fifth starter is, but if I know this team, he’ll be up for good if he shows any promise out of the pen. Salty was supposed to be temporary, too, but who can resist keeping another pretty face on the roster?

05/06/2007 (9:21 am)


Filed under: Davies,Frenchy,Huddy

Now that we’re back in second place, let’s check out the explanations for our loss to the Dodgers last night:

Huddy, you’re up first:

“I felt like I went out there and pitched as good as I could tonight with the kind of stuff that I had. But Derek came out there and he was throwing wiffle balls at us. He was really good.”

Reason Number One: Wiffle Balls

Frenchy, you’re always good for an ‘aw, shucks’ or two after a loss:

“That’s some of the filthiest stuff I’ve ever seen,” said Jeff Francoeur, who accounted for two of the eight strikeouts registered by Lowe. “When you’re getting behind a guy like him all night like we were, it’s not easy to score runs.”

Reason Number Two: The Filthiest Stuff Frenchy Has Ever Seen. For anyone who isn’t keeping tabs on beat quotes: he says this at least once a week.

Huddy, how about one more?

“It happened quick,” said Hudson, who has worked at least seven innings in each of his first seven starts. “I could have been better tonight. I wasn’t quite as good as I could have been, location-wise and stuff-wise.”

Reason Number Three: Stuff

Let’s hope Davies is decent this afternoon — location-wise seems to be too much to hope for with him, but “stuff-wise” . . . maybe. As long as Wolf isn’t throwing wiffle balls, we’ve got a chance.

04/24/2007 (8:25 am)

Birth Day

Filed under: Andruw,Davies

So yesterday was Andruw’s birthday, and it was also the birthday of that one poor Marlins reliever who had his entire family sitting behind home plate and watching while he almost singlehandedly blew the game there at the end. I thought something significant might happen when they faced each other, some kind of cosmic event, but Andruw just hit a double, which is nearly a major cosmic event itself so far this year, but it looks like he might be coming out of his early slump, so maybe not.

Yesterday was also the day Dontrelle’s first child was scheduled to be born. He was in usual Dontrelle form, unfazed. I think it may have freaked Davies out, though. That, or not having Heap catch him. I’m not sure what Davies’ problem is, but I’m glad to know that Cormier is doing alright and will hopefully be back soon. It will be interesting if Bobby lets Heap catch Redman tonight, to see if that has any effect (though actually Redman looked okay with Pena catching him in his last outing). I know Heap can’t keep Davies from missing the spots he sets down for him, but when I heard Heap was sitting last night, my first thought was, “Davies will be awful,” and what do you know, he sure was.

Kelly was also sitting last night, because apparently Bobby’s real mission this season is to get Woodward some more at-bats, consequences be damned. Or maybe there’s some other motivation . . .

Looks like Woody’s real purpose in this game was to go all velociraptor and re-enact the kitchen scene from Jurassic Park at the right moment. A creative plan of attack, Bobby, but ultimately not really effective, though it may have scarred Willingham there for life.

Best image of the day comes from the AJC notes:

Jeff Francoeur was rummaging through Andruw Jones’ personal case of sunglasses Monday, trying to find a pair the center fielder loaned him for Sunday’s game at New York. Jones spotted him from across the clubhouse.

“Get out of there,” Jones said with mock seriousness. “Have some respect.”

Just the phrase “Andruw Jones’ personal case of sunglasses” is rather excellent, and c’mon, Dave, mock seriousness? I doubt it.

04/19/2007 (11:41 am)

Good Game, Bad News

Filed under: Aybar,Davies,Diaz,Frenchy,Gonzo

The team really impressed me as a whole last night, and it was a fun game to watch (except when the Vulch blew the save, but Colyer and Moylan managed to not completely destroy our chances, and thank God for Wicky). Davies looked fine, seemed to give up the fly ball pitcher identity he borrowed from Chuckie after the DeRosa homer, and he had the Cubbies hitting a lot of weak grounders. Frenchy had three strikeouts, but also hit a three run homer, so it was definitely a Classic Frenchy (Vintage Frenchy? that’s probably too generous)-type evening, where I felt a little uneasy but couldn’t really work up a proper rant, what with the RBIs and all. Kelly continues to be my New Favorite, who the hell’d have thought? And I love that Diaz’s glorious moment came from “hustle”; Bobby should respect that. Even Mark Bowman is huffing about Diaz lately:

While Diaz is a longshot to earn an All-Star selection this year, his inclusion on the ballot is justified. He has proven to be a consistent offensive threat who, with continued success, may begin to get significantly more playing time than Langerhans.

Despite the “thrilling” game, as Bobby described it, and the nice news about his contract extension, there were some real downers yesterday: Gonzo is having elbow problems and Aybar is having, well. Problems. I can only imagine what would cause someone to throw away an opportunity like that. I’m starting to wonder if he’s even in the country anymore? The front office people talked to him at some point, so he’s probably still hanging around somewhere, but what the hell? Doesn’t make any sense.

We’re such a drama-free club, I’m trying to remember any personel problems we’ve ever had, aside from the Rocker disaster. I guess we had Otis with his coke problem, and Furcal got a DUI while he was with us, and of course Chipper and the Hooters girl . . . okay, maybe we’ve had our share.

On a more cheerful note, Frenchy got the quote of the evening last night, from the AJC write-up:

“I don’t know, maybe it’s all the Cubs fans here,” Francoeur said, smiling. “They’re all out they’re trying to get on us, and it gets us geeked up.”

Oh, Frenchy. Like you’re ever not geeked up. Whatever that means. I’m not even sure, and at the same time, I’m certain that it’s an accurate description of Frenchy.

04/09/2007 (11:29 am)

First Place For Now

Filed under: Davies,Field Trips,Hampton

I’m so glad I went to all three games this weekend, and not just the miserable home opener. The other two were a blast: my throat’s all sore from screaming, I’m sunburned, and I somehow pulled a muscle in my shoulder, I think from throwing up my arms after Andruw made that catch on Sunday. There’s nothing like being worn out after watching them take a series from the Mets, but I’ll be happy to watch the series against the Nationals from my couch after suffering through that weather.

I’m surprised that only 24,000-ish people showed up to the Easter game — the crowd did look pretty sparse, but we were sitting behind the dugout, and everyone in our section was really into it. There were a few Met fans — one, notably, was wearing a dorky ass white golf cap, and some drunk Braves fans behind us (possibly the same ones who were behind us on Saturday) mistook it for a beret and started calling the guy “Pierre,” which was excellent. Anyway, it was a good crowd, with everybody on their feet for Wicky at the end.

Davies reminded me a lot of Chuckie on Sunday. He made his mistakes, got the hell over it, and moved on. And he was getting a lot of fly ball outs — the drunk guys joked at one point that everyone but Davies and Andruw could leave the field. I wonder how much of a difference having Heap catch him made? I know Pena was catching for him for most of spring training, and I like Pena, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near as good with the pitchers as Heap, and I get the feeling that Chuckie’s game strategy is just whatever Heap tells him, so it was interesting to see Davies doing a bit of a Chuckie imitation when Heap caught him (he even gave up Chuckie’s usual two home runs in early innings). Either way, it was nice to see Davies get over his mistakes and go on to have a great game. Mental blocks always seemed to be a problem for him, and it really looked like he conquered himself on Sunday.

How great was Heap going into McCanDoNoWrong mode there at the end? And Heap getting on base has lately brought out the best in Frenchy, who put together a very mature, smart at-bat to score the winning run. Now if only their elders could start hitting, but Chipper seems to be coming around, and I’m sure Andruw will, hopefully sooner rather than later. The Nationals are coming up, so maybe their pitiable pitching staff will kick-start him.

While we face the Nationals at home, the Mets are hosting the Phillies, who have been playing like the Nationals and could very well get swept again. It’s extremely early, but I’m excited, and I can’t believe we already have to suffer through another off day.

Oh yeah, and Hampton’s injured again, or something, whatever. I’ve gone back to forgetting that he’s on our team, anyway.

04/08/2007 (9:04 am)

That’s More Like It

Filed under: Davies,Field Trips,Wicky

If we looked like clowns on Friday, the Mets looked like amateur clowns yesterday. I guess it’s the wind messing with everybody, but all their errors were still appreciated by the crowd. Especially Shawn Green dropping that fly ball — the right field section actually started chanting “Shawn Green sucks.” I’m not sure if Mets fans or Braves fans started that one up, but I thought it was kind of tacky — a drunk Braves fan behind us took it up at one point, and a little kid in Braves gear turned around and told him to shut up, which was really funny. The drunk guy was pretty funny himself, taunting Mets fans as they streamed out toward the end — normally obnoxious, but it’s the Mets, and man, it was a relief to win that game!

The best part was Wicky’s entrance video. My goodness. It shows the bullpen door creaking open, with an eerie orange glow emanating from within, and it’s got Dracula music, and lightening bolts — it’s a riot. Wicky of course had to make the game a little interesting there at the end, but most of the crowd was on their feet for him after that video. Really good crowd in general yesterday: on the way back to our hotel, some random Braves fan stuck his head out of his car window and screamed ‘BRAVES! WOO!’ I hear ya, man.

We’re off to the third game pretty soon here — I’m worried about Davies, but we’ve actually got good seats today, so at least we’ll have a clear view if he’s awful. I hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised, though; I would really love to take this series!

03/14/2007 (4:01 pm)

Mystery Solved

Filed under: Davies,Frenchy,Preseason

I think I figured out why Davies struggles with confidence on the mound:

The kid on the left in the back is Davies. Poor Davies; at least he’s kind of cute now. But the best part about this picture: the kid next to him, in the middle? Is Frenchy! Hahahaha. And the kid next to him is Josh Burrus, one of our minor league guys. Funny that they all came up together, with Heap, Boyer, etc. Are the Braves secretly scouting little leagues? Maybe these guys have had contracts under the table since 1996.

But seriously, Frenchy, that grin. Whoever sent that picture in to the AJC, you completely made my afternoon. Also nice: Frenchy went 2-3 in our loss to the Astros this afternoon.

03/12/2007 (7:22 pm)

“They Seem Like They’re Annoyed”

Filed under: Chipper,Davies,Heap,Preseason,Videos

We lost to the Cardinals today, but Smoltz was great, Heap went 2-3, and Chipper’s injury sounds pretty minor. Yates somehow managed to give up a home run to Rick Ankiel, of all people, which is probably not a good sign. Frenchy is continuing to hit pretty consistently in these spring training games (he got a couple of hits today), and hopefully he’ll keep it up. We beat the Cards yesterday: Davies fooled around out there with quite a few walks, but ultimately didn’t give up any runs, and Gonzo was again underwhelming, but I’m not too worried about him.

I found this Topps trading card video with some pretty funny interviews of Braves players. You get to hear Moylan’s accent, and Diaz is wonderfully dweeby as usual. McBride’s voice kind of shocked me — I didn’t expect him to actually sound like a grown man. I love the photographer they interview at the end, who says players “seem like they’re annoyed” when they get dragged in to have their picture taken. That kind of honesty is rare in major league baseball.

03/10/2007 (6:37 pm)

“Already in Midseason Form”

Now it’s officially baseball season (I know I’ve said this about three times so far this year, but for real this time): Skip is back! He called our game against the Blue Jays today with Pete, and I was grinning like an idiot the entire time. Even if he’d done the whole thing pretty dry, starting out slow or something, I would have been thrilled just to hear his voice again, but as he said to Pete at one point, he was “already in midseason form,” going on about Bark in the Park (very excited that we have two this year) and subtly ripping on the sponsors with glee. Just the phrase “Chipper’s exploits” had me laughing for ten minutes. His best comment came pretty early, remarking on the atmosphere at our Disney stadium:

“The music and sound effects here are unrelenting — they just beat you to death.”

When Bobby retires, it will be very strange, and I’ll probably be upset and thrown off for awhile. But when Skip retires, I will be an absolute wreck. Skip is the only reason I survived our 2006 season (that and the ability to mute Torborg). I have so heavily associated my whole life as a Braves fan with his voice, I can’t even imagine the team going on without him. For now, I’m just really happy that he’s shown up to do the radio broadcasts with Pete. He was trying to have Pete explain the internet broadcasts to him, and that was comedy gold in itself.

Our pitching was excellent today. Well, the new guy hit two batters, but he only allowed one run. Soriano and McBride were solid, and Cormier was surprisingly good for four whole innings. He seems more consistent this year, but it’s still early. I do have more hope for him than Davies at this point, but even he hasn’t been terrible. So I’m feeling a little more hopeful despite Hampton’s injury (Bobby is now saying “at least two months”), but I guess I should hold off getting too excited until after Davies’ start tomorrow.

I’ll leave you with a great AP picture from the game today:

If there was a “Best Overall Use of Teeth in Expressing Emotion” award for ballclubs, the Braves would win it every year. Chipper, Diaz and Heap (who hit his first home run of the spring today!) are all experts at this. Keep up the good work, Chip!

03/06/2007 (9:46 pm)

Rock’em Sock’em Braves

Filed under: Bobby,Davies,Frenchy,Gonzo,Preseason

Davies and McBride were both shaky on the mound in our game against the Nationals today, but they’re the Nationals, so we still won 10-6. But don’t worry: Davies says “[his] groin felt great!” So we can all rest easy there. McBride, I don’t know. I could feel how tense and uncomfortable he was through the radio broadcast, and this is only a spring training game. A spring training game against the Nationals. McBride needs to get some confidence or get out of the way. Same goes for Davies, really: they both strike me as very nervous pitchers, prone to succumbing to their own anxiety. I’m not sure there’s a cure for that.

At least we have our lefty Gonzalez, who is not nervous at all, and in fact almost started a fight yesterday with the Nationals’ “colorful” first baseman Robert Fick. Actually, Fick was the one causing trouble, but Gonzo shut him down quick, sounds like:

“It doesn’t even matter,” Gonzalez said. “He should keep his mouth shut.”

Damn right, he should. I’m kind of curious about seeing this new generation of Braves in a brawl someday. Thor and Chuckie would obviously be our most valuable fighters, but I definitely think Gonzo could do some damage, too. I used to think Frenchy was too much of a spaz to be very effective in a fight, but then I read this post, linked from Deadspin, about the time Frenchy challenged A-Rod to a duel for being mean to a clubhouse kid who brought him the wrong type of sandwich.

How did I never hear about this until today?! A-Rod was being a douchebag and Frenchy called him on it? MY Frenchy?? I love it, and the funny thing is, when I read this? It was just so awesome, so unbelievably perfect (defending a whimpering underling from A-Rod? Of all people?) that I actually felt guilty for ripping on Frenchy in the constructive way that I do. Which is stupid, but it got me thinking: maybe Bobby isn’t slipping when he lets Frenchy play 162 games instead of benching him to knock some humility into him (as he once famously did to Andruw), maybe Terry isn’t a big pushover for embracing Frenchy’s aggressiveness gospel. Maybe people just do whatever Frenchy wants by default. Maybe he has some kind of power over people, something to do with his looks combined with the fact that he’s this noble twelve year old stuck in an adult’s body. It never would have occurred to me if I hadn’t heard this A-Rod story, and guess who just wrote about the A-Rod story in his blog? Peter Gammons. Yep. He did a whole feature on the awesomeness of Frenchy.

He has fallen under the spell! Even Gammons is not immune!

Is this the reason Gammons has been so high on the Braves all throughout spring training? Because he met Frenchy in person and was like, holy shit, all this and he almost decked A-Rod, and not even because, who wouldn’t, but for an actual good cause? I don’t know, man. Regardless, it’s legitimate, I think, to be afraid that Frenchy might never reach his potential because people let him get away with things.

Oh, and the quote of the day isn’t even Davies talking about his groin. It goes to Bobby, for his response to the Gonzo-Fick altercation:

Braves manager Bobby Cox shook his head, chuckled, and said, “Fick … [geez].”

And all because the “geez” is in brackets. Put anything that would be censored in there and it’s pretty great. Bobby with the press is such a thing of beauty.

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