V Vernacular

03/26/2007 (12:34 pm)

You’re Kidding Me . . .?

Cormier just came out of the game with some kind of injury. Something happened on his right side, or possibly to his right arm, haven’t heard what yet . . .

And I was just wondering what sort of omen Diaz getting his tooth chipped while watching batting practice was. A bad one, apparently.

Update: It’s “shoulder stiffness,” according to Pete. So who knows.

03/02/2007 (6:41 pm)

Let the Jokes About Chipper’s Sex Life Begin

Chipper’s beard was a hot topic of conversation among the ESPN announcers today, during the first televised Braves spring training game (also the first game ESPN has televised this season). Apparently, the beard is Chipper’s way of “rebelling against his wife,” who hates it. Chipper was interviewed by the dudes after he was taken out of the game, and they asked him if he was more afraid of drawing the wrath of Bobby (who presumably has issues with the beard himself) or his wife. Chipper of course answered that he was more afraid of his wife, and after he left Kruk said, “Bobby can bench him, but his wife can really bench him.”

Jokes about players’ wives withholding sex? Now it’s officially spring! Hooray!

The game today was the first one I’ve seen since my husband and I got a huge new television and HD cable as a Christmas present to ourselves, so it was a religious experience for me. I did find myself getting distracted by the detail that I can now see in the crowd: I was mesmerized by a kid eating an ice cream bar at one point.

Notes from the game:

–LaRoche forgot his jersey. LaRoche. Forgot? His JERSEY. He wore an impromptu number 96. At this point I’m just really impressed that his wife was able to see that their children survived past infancy. It must have been a challenge, just making sure he didn’t burn the house down every time he tried to make toast. I thought nothing could beat going to play golf with Tiger Woods and forgetting your clubs, but LaRoche certainly has a way of topping himself.

–Smoltz looked excellent; his breaking stuff was just embarrassingly good. He tried to throw a knuckleball to Rochy. They uh, had a laugh about it. He needed only 12 pitches in his first inning.

–Diaz got a hit, and tried to overcompensate for his reputation in left by tumbling into a concrete wall in an attempt to catch a foul that was well into the bullpen:

Thankfully he was okay. Someone please tell him that he’s on the goddamn roster before he kills himself. I swear most of his problem in left is nerves.

–Heap grounded out twice and missed a chance to throw out a runner, but he did make important tag at the plate after a great assist from Andruw:

Now if nobody could get near Heap again until April 1st, that would be great. Collisions at the plate are so not happening in spring training games, ya hear me?

–Frenchy homered, and even looked at the first two pitches in his first at bat! They were both balls, but the ump called the third pitch he looked at a strike, so Frenchy swung wildly at the next one. But anyway, he homered. He looked a little asleep out there in right, but it was a half-game golf day, so I guess I won’t be too bothered.

–Chipper and Andruw both looked like goofballs at the plate. Chipper especially looked like he wasn’t having any of this practice shit. It’s to be expected, I suppose. Andruw was certainly awake in the field.

–Gonzalez gave up a two run homer and Wicky’s inning ran a little long, but I’m not really worried about either of them.

–McBride, on the other hand, looked a little weak. Moylan was surprisingly good. The Vulch gave up a home run.

–Apparently Chipper flew to Japan during the offseason to have his new cleats fitted. The idea of Chipper in Japan will never stop being funny. I’m sure he went right to KFC like Andruw did while he was there.

–I don’t care for Andruw’s new spiderweb tattoo.

Peter Gammons is in love with the Braves, by the way. I’ve heard or read about a thousand positive things from him since spring training started, and hopefully the rest of the mainstream media will follow his respected lead. They sure hated our asses last year, seemed like.

Miscellaneous:

Orr almost killed KJ this morning. Orr just needs to go home before someone loses an eye, I swear.

–Dave O’Brien mentions the cover of the new media guide in his blog today. It features — what else? — Heap and Frenchy. Dave calls it the “dawn of a new era” for the Braves, and this is certainly true of their marketing department, if nothing else. I think it’s brilliant, and it may seem like Heap and Frenchy were just handed to them, but this has happened before in major league baseball, and while those childhood friends weren’t touted as equally as Heap and Frenchy (whatever happened to Munson, anyway?), I think the shameless flaunting of their history is a great approach here. Get them on the cover of everything and keep them there as long as you can.

03/01/2007 (5:16 pm)

The Rise of the Silver Catcher

It’s promotion schedule time! This year it’s mostly the old standards — a night where you can win the game worn jerseys (tastefully abbreviated as JOOB on the schedule), t-shirt giveaways, bat nights, hat nights, and plenty of kids running the bases all summer long. They also offer a sneak preview of the Heap statue they’ll be giving out on July 19:

I guess it’s silver because he got the Silver Slugger last year? Either way, the likeness is astounding.

More than any of these other giveaways and special events, everyone must make sure to mark their calendars for the September 9th game against the Nationals, when the Braves will have Bark in the Park (one of TWO Barks scheduled in the Park this season!), Pet Calendar Night (if you don’t have the 06-07 calender that features Rent staring lovingly at his goldfish, “Little Edgar,” you’re really missing the hell out) AND Girl Scout Night. I know, you’re thinking, Girl Scout Night? What’s the big deal? Well, last year we happened to show up on one of the Girl Scout days, and they had five hundred little girls parading around the field with their mothers before the game, and who had to walk out into right field to practice throwing with the starting pitcher while all of this was going on? Why, Heap, of course! He looked like he was afraid he was hallucinating. Then a rogue mom broke away from the crowd and ran to him before the security people could stop her, got his autograph and ran back, dragging her poor daughter with her. It was fantastic.

I listened to most of the game against the Dodgers on MLB radio today. All good news: we won 7-2, Davies had a good mini-start. Brayan Pena and Thor both benefited from really hustling down to first, beating out tags that would have been made easily if they hadn’t. Corky Miller, Escobar, Salty and Frenchy had some of the more memorable hits, and Paronto and Yates were fine to close it out. On the Dodgers side, Betemit was making errors all over the place, and LaRoche’s ridiculously good looking younger brother played a little third base.

A few pictures from the two games played so far

Am I the only person who can’t get enough awkward videos of Heap signing stuff for people? Probably, but do enjoy the above if you’re so inclined. I particularly like the part where Heap picks up that guy’s used tissue and inspects it curiously, and I love how the kid immediately sniffs the card after Heap signs it (for authenticity purposes?), then accuses him of signing it with glue.

02/26/2007 (6:17 pm)

“You Want Me to Throw a Changeup With a Pepper?”

Still not a lot of news out of camp, save that Harrison will pitch against Tech on Wednesday, and Davies will start against the Dodgers on Thursday, meaning Smoltzie will start against the Pirates for the first televised game on Friday! I’m very excited to see that, and to hear about how Harrison and Davies perform.

Dave O’Brien did a little around-camp perspective on his blog today, which sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is. To surmise: Thor is a power hitter (who’d have thought), Gonzo is looking good so far, Soriano still doesn’t want to be friends with Dave, and Diaz is still hitting impressively. Dave mentions that some of his ingenious readers have already accused Diaz of using steroids based on what they’ve heard from camp, which is a real “I wish there was some way I could physically harm you via the internet” moment for me, not just because I personally like and respect Matt Diaz and don’t understand what the big deal is — he hit well last year, too, for power and otherwise, Bobby just never played him — but mostly because it just astounds me that someone can show up looking exactly like he did the year before and still get accused of using something after the first mention of hitting for power. Incredible. It also amazes me that Dave thinks he even needs to acknowledge such idiocy.

To lighten the mood, enjoy some pictures from AJC and Yahoo

One more for the road:

Barry Zito, ladies and gentlemen.

Rookie hazing is so cringe inducing for me. I’ve never been one to find men in drag hilarious as a rule. Check out what the Mets are making their rookies do – yikes! Oh wait, they all have to do that. Damn, that’s rough.

02/23/2007 (6:41 pm)

“I Went In On The Bounce”

First of all: I have the 2007 portraits in my possession, and they are magnificent. I’ll post them on Sunday night; we’re going away for the weekend so this will probably be my last post until then. I’ve got a ton of normal pictures to post for now, and ALSO:

The first Heap and Frenchy article of the season! Alright, now spring has officially begun. And let me tell you guys, this one really sets the bar high. Bowman like, recreates their couch time in front of the TV and everything. He’s officially a fangirl and I’m so pleased, even though he totally stole my observation about Frenchy saying “neat” all the time, which was so original and insightful.

This cracked me up:

It’s Francoeur’s youthful exuberance that has always been so appealing to the mild-mannered McCann. From the time they began playing on youth All-Star teams together, their Type A and Type B personalities have created a perfect match.

“I was always so upbeat and in his face,” Francoeur said. “And he was just always so calm and like, ‘This guy is crazy.’ But we got along so well. He’s always done a great job of complementing the other side of me.”

They are a marketing department’s dream and I can’t wait to see what they do with them this year on the new Sports South. Hopefully the discrepancy in their performances won’t be so noticeable and the PR girls can really go wild. Though they probably will anyway.

If you liked this, you may also enjoy:

-An article in which Frenchy is referred to as “a polite, enthusiastic child of a man.”

-An article in which Chuckie is referred to as “a wisp of a pitcher.” It also includes a full recounting of the night Chuckie broke both of his wrists jumping off a shed into a pool the week before the draft.

-And finally: Looks like somebody hurt O’Brien’s feelings this morning! But he doesn’t care. He doesn’t! Totally not important! I mean why would he care? Sheesh! Let’s devote the entire AJC Braves page to Soriano’s cockiness and get over it, people!

Friday Images from AJC and Yahoo

02/23/2007 (9:15 am)

The Official Cole Slaw of the Atlanta Braves

From yesterday’s Braves Notes, this is the best thing I’ve heard since they reported:

If Matt Diaz continues to punish the baseball the same way that he’s done the first two days in camp, his defensive woes may not be a hindrance in his attempt to beat out Ryan Langerhans and Craig Wilson for playing time in left field.

I hope to God they’re serious about this. Overusing platoons really contributed to the slaughter last year, and I want Diaz to get that job so badly. I really feel like he could improve defensively if they just expressed some confidence in him.

Speaking of confidence, Soriano has finally arrived at camp and he informs us that the rumors of his post-traumatic stress syndrome have been greatly exaggerated:

“I’m not scared, I’m not a little kid.”

I have to say, I kind of appreciate Soriano’s “how dare you” attitude about the whole thing. Bohn, who played with him in Seattle, describes him as “cocky” in those Braves Notes. After suffering through a certain Canadian openly crying on the mound last year and then returning to the dugout to eat towels (this really happened in Chicago, he took a bite out of a towel and chewed it, then the camera cut away, so I’m not sure if he swallowed), I’m all for somebody cocky out there.

The Braves Notes also mention Hampton having “significant discomfort,” which is terrifying and kind of shoved down at the bottom of the page like nobody wants to think about it much, but I guess there’s no need to panic yet. There is also talk of maybe making McBride a starter, because he’s improved a lot. I could actually see this; I don’t think he works too well in the pressure of late innings, but he’s definitely got the stuff when he’s not having a panic attack out there. So, interesting.

Pictures: Get Ready for Cheesy Team Portraits!

Sports Gone South, via Deadspin, brought my attention to a rap about the Braves that is featured on the ChopTalk website. Just scroll down, it’s on the left. I got through three whole seconds of it before I turned it off, so, enjoy!

I was more interested in the “Bonus ChopTalk Recipes!” featured on the website, but they’re just normal recipes, not “Nicole Jones’ Turkey Chili” or “Heap’s Girlfriend’s Homemade Donuts” or anything cool like that, so that was kind of a letdown as well.

02/19/2007 (10:41 pm)

So, Is Our Bullpen Good?

Can you take it, can you take the ten thousandth article about how great our bullpen is going to be in 2007? I can’t. I mean, I’m as optimistic as anyone about the great acquisitions, and Wicky, and, hell, maybe even Joey Devine will work some miracle in spring training. I’m open to it! I’m just starting to get a bad feeling about all the great press and constant trumpeting. We should treat any good developments in the bullpen with quiet fragility, I think, after all we’ve been through. It’s mostly just strange to go from Reitsma to near BEST IN THE LEAGUE! proclamations in less than a year.

The Monday pictures from AJC are pretty excellent

Speaking of repetitious articles from the official site (imagine that), here’s another one about how Davies is planning on not “overthinking” this season. Cause talking constantly about how you’re not going to think about something really works out, in most cases.

Around the League:

This article about that “Odd Couple” Maddux and Wells is so great I actually wrote on my hand at work to remind myself to post about it when I got home. I haven’t written on my hand since sixth grade! It’s that awesome. Behold:

One could be an accountant or Sunday school teacher, remarkably average in height and build, soft-spoken, introspective, right-handed.

They’re talking about our Maddog, who I learned most of my major curses from when I was in elementary school. You couldn’t hear him cursing wildly on the mound (most of the time) with every ball or less-than-perfect strike, but man you could see it.

There’s also this:

Maddux is happy to slip off into the shadows, grinning slyly as if he has a secret he intends to keep to himself.

Oh, he does, innocent Padres beat writer. He does.

That Other League:

Yankee fans have their first crucial Jeter/A-Rod relationship status article.

A-Rod on Jeter:

“Do we go to dinner every night like we used to? No.”

:*(

02/19/2007 (7:27 am)

LaRoche the Golfer and More New Hair

Filed under: Diaz,Frenchy,Langerhans,Preseason

Not a lot of real news out of camp Sunday, except the pleasant surprise that Moylan is doing well. As someone who thought Moylan was just Kevin Barry wearing glasses for two days last season, I would love to see him stand out more.

Bizarrely, the Braves Notes that mention Moylan’s performance also feature a touching section about Chipper offering Smoltz some advice about divorce. Wow. I was gonna laugh about Chipper being the go-to divorced guy on the team, but then I couldn’t think of a single other Brave who was . . .?

Finally, the golf story. Frenchy and Smoltz went golfing with Tiger Woods, and brought LaRoche along with them for undisclosed reasons. As far as I understand LaRoche has been at our camp for almost a week – Hampton reportedly asked him if he knew he’d been traded to Pittsburgh. That’s actually a legitimate question, given LaRoche’s history, and given the fact that he went golfing with mother effing Tiger Woods and forgot his clubs. Somehow I picture him showing up in full camo and carrying a few deer stands, then asking what the fuck this golf thing is, anyway.

I personally was not sorry to see LaRoche go. I know he had a good second half last year, but he had an equally shitty first half, and I will never forgive that executive decision to bunt that absolutely killed our last shred of momentum last season.

Francoeur on golfing with Tiger:

“It was a neat thrill just to hang with him.”

I love how he manages to work “neat” into almost literally every observation he makes in the press, and still it was Heap who got hell for saying hitting a homer off of Clemens in the postseason was “neat”!

A few more AJC pictures

Just a couple more days until the first full squad workout, but it looks like most of the dudes have already shown. Maybe by Wednesday LaRoche will have actually made his way up to Pittsburgh, but something tells me he’ll show up in Philadelphia or Pensacola or maybe Juno, Alaska, wondering where the hell this rumored “new team” of his is. Then he’ll decide Hampton was just pulling his leg and come back to our camp for another week.

02/02/2007 (10:17 am)

Offseason Antics

There’s always plenty of coverage about whatever douchebag things the Yankees get up to in the offseason, such as running their perfume empires and, well . . . whatever is going on here. But what about our Braves, who are more “openly reviled” by the mainstream sports media than actually “covered?” What have they been up to since October?

Marriage, Babies, and Ugly Sweaters

So there you have it: while the Yankees are running around lighting cigars with embarrassing flourish and naming fragrances after themselves, our guys are representing Atlanta well with their handyman jobs and relatively normal lives, getting dragged around to look at wedding invitations with their fiancees and such. Keep up the good work, boys.

The Braves Fan Fest is happening tomorrow at Tuner Field, so if you’re into waiting in line for autographs, head on over there. I think I’m going to pass, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting any pictures from the event, which will allow me to keep tabs on the changing hairstyles and ridiculous sweaters of my Atlanta Braves.

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