V Vernacular

05/08/2008 (6:58 pm)

Sweeps Week

Filed under: Diaz

I had to watch Matty save the day on Gametracker at work, and I could see Turner Field from my office building. I spent a few minutes staring at it longingly in the eighth. At least I have these marvelous AP pictures:

All this physical affection seems to be doing them good.

Meanwhile, we’re down two more pitchers. Onward to Pittsburgh! I fully expect to see Omar Infante pitch in relief at some point.

04/30/2008 (9:03 am)

Another Loss to the Nationals

Filed under: Diaz,Frenchy

Oh man. Talk of Smoltz returning to the bullpen. I laughed when it was Barry Zito; perhaps this is karma coming back to haunt me.

I don’t know what to say about this season so far. I thought we would at least have one of those excitingly awful years. You know what I mean? Where you’re so low that it just starts to get hilarious? But there’s a zombie quality to this team right now that prevents even that. Also, they occasionally win games and get my hopes up. Maybe kicking some ass would turn things around:

I mean kicking ass the old fashioned way, since we can’t seem to do it the baseball way: grab someone’s head and pop ‘em in the face! Matty has the right idea here. I still say a long overdue inaugural Baby Braves brawl would solve all our problems.

And one more thing:

Umpire: Frenchy. I am your father.

04/04/2008 (8:18 am)

A Bleak End to a Bleak Series

Filed under: Diaz,Hampton

One run, extra-inning losses. Hampton strains a boob five minutes before game time and this is what we get: more of last year. Let’s hope Eliot was right about April being the cruelest month. If this is how we look against the Pirates at the start of the season, imagine what we’ll look like when our perennial nemesis June rolls around.

Hyde from That 70’s Show tried to liven things up at one point by charging the field. I don’t know if anyone else caught Joe reminiscing about the days at Yankee Stadium when the security guards would just kick your ass instead of sending you to jail (who knows if this is even accurate, or just some Joe fantasy), but he was disturbingly nostalgic about it, true to form.

The only really shining moment, for me, was Matty’s hilarious take out of Jack Wilson. Who knew he had it in him? Matty just gets more impressive every day.

Meanwhile, Ted Turner envisions the end of the world. I think he just read The Road, had a drunken nightmare and immediately called a press conference. Nevertheless: Ted. We miss your money. Though our bargain bullpen isn’t the entirety of the problem at the moment, clearly.

02/14/2008 (8:57 am)

Happy Pitchers and Catchers Day!

Filed under: Diaz,Heap

Is anyone surprised that Matty arrived seven days early? One of my wishes for this season is that he finally gets the regular starting respect he deserves. Heap also showed up as soon as possible, not surprisingly. Sadly, he will be spending Valentine’s Day without his significant other. Maybe the Australians will take him out drinking.

And if anyone out there has been daydreaming about an intimate Valentine’s Day evening with John Rocker, here’s a little sneak peek into his plans. As former Braves go, he isn’t exactly the first one I’d approach for the Valentine’s Day article. Where’s the Lemmer when you need him?

08/30/2007 (5:50 am)

Bobby Seems To Be Confused

Filed under: Diaz

One thing before I go:

Diaz, sporting a fresh haircut by Dolphin Stadium’s resident barber, continued his inexplicable mastery of Florida pitching with two homers and a double in the Braves’ badly needed 7-4 win against the Marlins on Wednesday night.

“I wish he had enough at-bats — he’d lead the league in hitting,” manager Bobby Cox said after his Braves came away with a 2-1 series win to salvage something from an otherwise disappointing road trip in which they lost six of 10 games.

You do know that you’re the one who has control over how many at-bats he gets . . . right, Bobby?? This is like saying, “too bad I cost him the batting title and the team a shitload of runs! C’est la vie!” I liked the platoon with Willie, I’m just sayin’. Weird quote.

Slightly related, for radio listeners: how great was Pete when Escobar got hit and Matty followed up with a homer and “fist pump” in the direction of Dontrelle? “It’s as if he’s saying, take that, for hitting my teammate!” Too cute, Pete.

Have a good Labor Day weekend, everyone . . . see you at the Mets series!

08/28/2007 (9:29 am)

Captain Obvious

Filed under: Diaz,Joey Devine

Matty on our postseason chances:

“… It’s up to us. We’re in it together. We’re gonna figure it out together. And if we don’t figure it out, we’re gonna do that together.”

Well, alright then. Good to know some of you won’t be seceding from the team if things go wrong.

Meanwhile, pardon me while I effing puke:

“I apologized to him,” Cox said of Devine, who struck out two in a scoreless inning Sunday at St. Louis. “He had a good outing.”

Devine has allowed one run and six hits with six strikeouts in five innings with the Braves between his frequent trips back and forth to the minors. Cox said the right-hander understands how the system works.

“They understand, but it’s still hard,” Cox said.

Meanwhile, the manager was glad to have back one of his favorites, Orr.

Christ. I hope they just sent Devy back to the McCann McMansion (his foster home in years past) to wait for the roster expansion this weekend. After the way they’ve dicked him around this season, they should just pay for his damn hotel room for the remaining two days in Miami, give him a little vacation, some meal money. Hell, they should have Dontrelle make a few calls, get him into some posh clubs. Though, actually, that might be a little too much pressure for the Devinator. Maybe they could just pay for an hour of parasailing, or a glass bottom boat cruise.*

*Do they have those in Miami? All of my beach experience is based in the Redneck Riviera, so . . .

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.

04/16/2007 (11:15 am)

Playing Favorites (Literally)

Filed under: Aybar,Diaz,Langerhans,Orr

Try to guess which sentence from this article about Aybar’s suspension infuriated me.

That’s right, it’s this one:

Even if he reaches a point where he’s healthy enough to play, the Braves may have a hard time placing him on the roster in favor of Pete Orr, who is a clubhouse favorite, beloved by teammates, coaches and manager Bobby Cox.

And no, it’s not because I hate Orr (though I don’t usually relish seeing him the lineup) or because I don’t think Aybar’s inability to show up for work is probably a sign that he’s a lazy asshole. If he can’t be professional, he has no place in this organization, and that attitude is one of the reasons I love the Braves. But one of the things that drives me insane about the Braves is the attitude displayed in the above statement (from the official site). If you’re one of the cool kids, in with the gang, then you have a better chance of starting games. Why is Orr is still around? They like him. How did Reitsma get so many opportunities to destroy our season last year? He was well-liked in the clubhouse, a great guy, etc.

If Aybar apologizes and starts actually showing up to the park, I would rather see him at the plate than Orr any day. I understand that not following team policy will hurt him — it should. But being “beloved” really shouldn’t help Orr that much. Playing favorites has hurt the team in the past, and it’s already made an impact this season, with Langerhans getting to play instead of Diaz because of his “intangibles,” I guess. I think this is going to change soon — Joe and Chip were making some noise about it during one of the weekend broadcasts, and there is a defense of Diaz’s fielding in these recent Braves notes on the official site.

I’m more worried about seeing Diaz get a real chance in left than whatever will happen with Aybar and Orr off our bench, but I hope the better player — providing he also abides by club rules — will get the job, not the guy who makes everyone laugh and remembers to send birthday cards. Aybar’s attendance matters, but his friendliness in the clubhouse (or lack thereof) shouldn’t count for anything. I’m sure it’s nicer to play with guys who get along well with everyone, and team chemistry is important, but it should never eclipse actual performance.

That said, Diaz seems like one of the nicest guys on the team — maybe Langerhans gets preferential treatment just because he’s cooler. After all, look at what Diaz says when someone comments on how well he played at first the other day:

“I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none,” said Diaz, who entered Saturday, hitting .350 (7-for-20).

Dammit, Matt, learn how to sell yourself! Apparently it’s important.

04/13/2007 (7:19 am)

Bizarro World

Filed under: Diaz,Frenchy,Langerhans

Losing to the Nationals with Smoltz on the mound wasn’t even the strangest thing about last night, nor was being shut out by the infamous Nationals pitching staff. The strangest part about last night was Heap striking out and Frenchy following with a two-out walk. What is going on here. The worst thing about this is that I’m sure it’s convinced Frenchy that walking=bad, and that we won’t see him taking a free ride again for awhile.

I really can’t believe that we’re suffering through Langerhans starting more often than Diaz again this year. What in God’s name could be the possible reason for this? Stick Diaz in there for awhile, and if he makes errors and costs us runs with his less-spectacular defense, keep the platoon. But I think he’s at least earned the chance to lose that position. Starting Langerhans is like an act of submission to the other team’s pitcher. He senses weakness and becomes dominant, even when he’s some no-name, double-digit ERA bastard from the Nationals.

Maybe last night was just part of the Braves’ charity work for the year. Along with low-income inner city families and terminally ill children, we’re also lending a hand to emotionally distraught major league ballclubs. Or maybe the Nats won because of Manny Acta’s much-talked-about team meeting after Wednesday’s game. I wonder what it takes to inspire the Nationals to shut-out victory — did Acta promise to buy them all hookers after the win? Probably not — the Nationals can’t afford hookers. Ice cream sandwiches? Either way, this is the difference an encouraging manager can make — Frank Robinson would just have promised that he wouldn’t personally punch all of them in the face after the game.

Heap’s explanation is simpler:

“That’s the way baseball goes, I guess.”

03/26/2007 (4:46 pm)

The Team That Looks for Teeth Together . . .

Filed under: Diaz,Frenchy,Heap,Preseason

Great image from Dave O’Brien’s blog today: Diaz lost part of a tooth during batting practice, as I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, and here’s Dave’s description of the ordeal:

He was knocked to the ground by the impact, but got up and finished his round of batting practice as teammates and others looked for the bottom half of his damaged tooth, though it was doubtful that anything could be done with it.

I know the news about Cormier is depressing, but dude, they helped him look for his tooth! That’s fuckin’ teamwork! I’m so proud. And who are these “others” who pitched in? There were just random people hanging around who volunteered to look for part of poor Diaz’s tooth? Well, heck, that seems like a good sign, too.

I want to know who made the “You really look like you’re from Lakeland now!” joke. Because (as someone who went to school down there and really loves the area, mind you) that guy is my new favorite. Dave tastefully declines to identify him, simply quoting him as “another Brave.”

I’m going to have to disagree with Dave’s estimation of Frenchy as the new “Golden Boy,” rather than Heap (who he gives “no offense” props to). I do think Heap is the Golden Boy in the eyes of most fans at the moment — Frenchy is like Golden Boy’s slightly evil but still mostly likable sidekick. Like maybe he defected from the bad guy’s camp and we’re not quite sure he’s on our side all the time? But probably he is? Something like that.

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