V Vernacular

05/14/2008 (8:00 am)

Andruw: Still Breaking My Heart

Filed under: Andruw,Ex-Braves,Frenchy,Heap

I have this thing about inanimate objects, probably from watching The Brave Little Toaster too many times as a kid. I believe they should be treated with a certain degree of respect. I don’t like it when people smash guitars, and I hate that scene in Office Space when they beat up the copier. So as I’m reading through this article about Andruw’s continued struggles, I’m feeling a little sorry for him, but also relieved we don’t have to deal with it anymore, and then I come to this quote:

“. . . I’m not going to break stuff because I strike out. It’s not the bat’s fault; it’s not the helmet’s fault.”

And that kinda crushed me. What the hell happened to him, anyway?

In happier ex-Brave news, here’s a cheerful article about Devy doing well in the A’s bullpen, and making friends with fellow Braves alum Alan Embree. He recently got a win after pitching a scoreless tenth. I hope he’ll pitch in this upcoming series with Oakland. Having Kotsay on the team has been surprisingly helpful, and I’m actually glad to see Devy doing well with another team. It came to the point where I didn’t trust this one with him.

And speaking of this team. Last night. Psssh. Many thanks to Lauren for recording one of the few worthwhile moments, as I was in the car when this happened, and would have been heartbroken forever if I didn’t get to see the Dugout Reconciliation of ’08.

12/09/2007 (4:10 pm)

And the Offseason Rolls On . . .

Filed under: Andruw,Ex-Braves,Frenchy,Heap

So Andruw ended up in L.A. (and we thought he wrecked havoc here in little old Buckhead . . . just wait!), Cormier was released, and the Braves are building a section behind home plate for the Scrooge McDucks of Atlanta baseball fandom. It’s always nice to have some news in the offseason, and to find out where players will end up for the year, but most is pretty lame. I just can’t get into it without Skip’s commentary and Bulova commercials.

HOWEVER, please see this incredibly exciting Heap n’ Frenchy video, (scroll to 1:40) which features the two of them taking in a Hawks game, of all things. Aficionados will note that Heap is wearing The Shirt. I love that Frenchy’s reaction to significant action during a game is the same as mine: stand up, remain standing up for an inappropriate amount of time, then stare at everyone who is sitting down in shock/disappointment. Many thanks to Leah for the link.

11/12/2007 (8:46 pm)

ROY

Filed under: Andruw,Non-Braves

So, I hated Troy Tulowitizki all season. The little bugger turned an unassisted triple play against us! But I felt kind of pissed off/personally insulted/confused when he didn’t win the NL Rookie of the Year award this afternoon. Why??

In other news, Andruw is still going to be macking on chicks at Twist in the near future. Good to know.

There is no other news, sadly.

05/21/2007 (3:39 pm)

Youk’s Revenge

Not much to say about that road trip except “wow, it sucked.” I mean, sucked like I didn’t even think we were capable of sucking. Not yet, not when I was just getting used to the idea of actually staying on pace with the Mets this season. I really wanted to go into this series at home on a high note, but I guess we’re just going to have to turn things around starting tomorrow.

Things I did like about this series:

–Smoltzy looked great, despite the pinky. That little collision with Kearns could have gone so much worse.

–Frenchy went through a little stupid spell in Washington, but he remembered whatever he learned from his Heap Tapes in Boston, and looked so smart up there. Unfortunately, as Mac suggests over at Braves Journal, Andruw seems to somehow have gotten ahold of Frenchy’s old brain. Didn’t Bobby tell Frenchy not to leave that thing lying around? Doesn’t he know Andruw’s at that age when he gets into everything?! But speaking of smart, how brilliant was Salty pinch hitting, looking at eleven pitches before walking in a run (after he missed a grand slam by about ten feet)? We really, really need another starter, but I want to keep him. Could we get a starter for Thor? I’ve always liked him, but he’s pretty much dead to me after grounding into that double play yesterday — at least for a week or so.

–I haven’t seen them all stupid-happy like they were during that monsoon win on Saturday night in awhile. The Former House Mates in particular: did anyone else notice the shot of Frenchy giving Kelly a pep talk before he went out there to try for a single to complete the cycle? And Heap pulling Kelly out of the high-five lineup to hug him just killed me. Classic Those Two — Frenchy being all, “EVEN IF YOU HIT IT TO THE WALL, STOP AT FIRST, OK?!?” and then Heap with the sympathetic encouragement when he couldn’t do it. Winning is always good, but they’re also so much funnier when they’re winning.

Though Heap can be pretty funny when we’re losing, too. Check out the latest pupil in the Chipper Jones School of Stink Eye:

Here he is all thrilled that he’s tagged out Youks at home, biting his tongue and trying not to grin. But then:

Youks hits a cheap, foul-ish homer, and BOY has Heap got the stink eye working. Nice. Chipper would be proud.

We’re up against our old friend Jorge Sosa tomorrow night. I wish I could be at the game to boo the living hell out of him. One of my greatest memories of last year was Bobby putting Sosa in late when we had a significant lead, and Sosa immediately giving up a walk. Before the batter had even made it down to first, Bobby stormed out to the mound (and we all know that Bobby isn’t normally very quick on his feet) to flagrantly chew Sosa out (this was well into the long season of bullpen mediocrity, plenty of it from Sosa himself), and poor Rent had to stand there and translate. The best part was Heap standing in the middle of all of this and looking terrified, his eyes bouncing back and forth between Sosa, Bobby and Rent like one of those cat clocks.

But anyway, we’d better absolutely annihilate Sosa tomorrow. I wonder if he and Rent still have their matching purses?

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.

04/17/2007 (3:41 pm)

Tonight’s Forecast

Filed under: Andruw

The Weather Channel’s website has a feature that allows you to look up the weather for your team, along with a history of how they’ve performed under various conditions in the past. Kind of neat, as Heap and Frenchy would say.

I just checked the weather for the game against the Nationals tonight, and while the low for tonight is listed at 42 degrees, the high is “N/A,” or “not applicable.”

Does that mean the weather won’t affect the game, or that even if the temperature was higher than forty degrees, it wouldn’t matter, we’re doomed?? Or maybe it just means that there’s no chance in hell it won’t be cold and miserable tonight in Washington D.C.? Get ready to see some stylish face-hugging hoodies modeled by our guys once again. I love how they spread from just Andruw, to Andruw and Frenchy, to Andruw, Frenchy, Rent, Diaz, Woodward and others — that Andruw, always a trendsetter.

04/05/2007 (5:56 pm)

You Said It, Pal

Hey, you know what, Jimmy Rollins was right. The Phillies are the team to best in the National League East. The Braves enjoyed besting them so much, they did it three times in a row! Let’s hope many more teams get to best the Phillies as the season goes on. It was quite fun, what with the hateful fans turning on everybody (even Ryan Howard got booed! Ryan Howard! Twice! Do you think Braves fans would have booed Heap if he got off to a slow start at home? I kind of doubt it!), and in general just being as miserable as possible. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of people!

Admittedly, the end of that game was embarrassing, but then Soriano came in there and took care of business, so all is well. I can’t figure McBride out. I thought he had confidence problems in high-pressure situations, but getting Howard out last night in a tense moment was no problem, and with a six run lead he fell apart. Maybe he was affected by the cold? That was probably the case with Paronto, who didn’t have much time to get re-warmed up. But I just don’t know what to say about McBride. He definitely gets frazzled out there, but the moments that stress him out don’t make any sense (last year he often cruised through the first two outs, and would then be completely unable to get the third).

My notes from today:

–Could there have possibly been any more trash on the field? Oh wait, MYERS COULD HAVE BEEN PITCHING! Haaaaa.

–At one point, I swear, Skip joined in on the Burrell booing.

–I had to switch to the television audio when Chip and Joe did a little segment on Heap’s dugout hair. They even zoomed in on it and drew lines on it to represent “gel.” It was excellent.

–Batman Jones’ slide at home was pretty excellent as well: in true Andruw style, he basically laid down, and wouldn’t get up until Thor came over to give him a hand.

–I guess they only let people who liked Frenchy into the right field stands today: some guy shook his hand when he went over to chase a foul into the seats. Quite a change from yesterday.

Please tell me you guys heard the story about Heap and the cookies? There is a little kid in Philly who is obsessed with Heap (who isn’t, right? Even Dave O’Brien admits he wants to be Heap), and he waits for him when they get off the bus at the park every day. According to Pete, the kid had two boxes full of cookies waiting for Heap yesterday. Heap, in true Heap form, “passed them out to everybody on the bus.” Oh man. The Heap folk legends have begun: yesterday Skip was talking about Heap taking optional batting practice at the park on Tuesday, in a total “while the rest of those bums were sleeping in, Heap was walking to the park, ten miles, uphill, in the snow, and he helped an old lady across the street on the way there!” tone.

I love that Heap is getting shamelessly marketed as perfect this season, because, by all accounts, he is: nicest guy ever, etc. It’s fun, in a “Heap’s tears could cure cancer, too bad he’s never cried” sort of way. It’ll be interesting to see how they treat Frenchy, in the meantime. He was supposed to be this marketing dream come true, originally. At the moment, they’re still a charming little matching set, but Frenchy needs to match Heap on the ballfield a little bit better if the franchise wants to keep singing that song.

04/05/2007 (8:06 am)

Let the Wacky Races Begin!

Every now and then, the Braves play a game that comes off looking like an episode of the Wacky Races. A Wacky Races game necessarily involves extra innings, some combination of weird errors and amazing plays, and fans acting like morons. Usually, it also involves the Cubs. Like that game last year, where we hit nine homers in twelve innings, Reitsma gave up about eighty runs at some point, a crazed Cubs fan ran onto the field and got tackled, and we ended up winning because of a Cubs error that involved a ball bouncing off an infielder’s head. This was also the game where Reitsma ate part of a towel in the dugout.

So anyway, that game, last night? I can’t believe we’re pulling out the Wacky Races shit this early in the season, I love it! Not only was game play weird, there was a ton of crazy crap going on all night.

At first, it was just a great pitching duel. I hate Cole Hamels, but I have to admit he looked good, and Huddy! Where have you been all my life? But there were little pockets of weirdness even early on. I was listening to the audio from the radio, so I didn’t hear the explanation for this if there was one, but just WHAT was Chuckie doing with those cups of coffee?? Cause he certainly wasn’t drinking them, though he looked like he might have had about eight cups before the game. He was pretty constantly jumping, when he wasn’t mysteriously pouring coffee back and forth between two cups. And Heap calling time for his eyedrops was pretty bizarre, too, though I sympathize with him. My contacts drive me crazy on a regular basis, and I don’t go to work in a huge bowl of dust and dirt every day.

Is is just me, or is Chipper stepping up to coach our relief staff while McDowell naps in the dugout? He again came over to give Gonzo advice during that crazy ass 8th inning. I was starting to think Heap and Gonzo were intentionally acting like they were out of their minds to scare the hitters (it didn’t work, but the runners may have been affected). Heap chucked the ball into center while trying to throw out a runner, and Gonzo was pacing all over the field, muttering to himself. But of course, the inning ended pretty memorably, cause he wouldn’t be Heap if he didn’t instantly redeem himself, and the Frenchy-Kelly-Heap tag at the plate was just lovely.

And speaking of Pitching Coach Chipper Jones, when Chipper snuck up behind Wicky and scared the shit out of him??! Yeah, I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile, though I was also laughing hysterically after Heap’s ninth inning home run. I don’t know, there was just no way Heap was going to hit a two-run homer off of Gordon on the first pitch, but then he did, it was funny.

Of course, the Philly fans, in their typical classy fashion, immediately began throwing “debris” onto the field after Heap’s homer. And the Sports South broadcast replayed the little dip thing that Heap does with Andruw now (you’ll know if/when you’ve seen it, it’s dorky) almost as many times as they replayed him tagging Howard out at the plate.

The Philly fans were really giving Frenchy hell over there in the corner, and I hope I’m not the only one who caught the psycho-killer grins he gave them. Only Frenchy punching a drunken Philly fan in the face could have made this game more wacky. If only they let ballplayers get away with that kind of thing, I’m pretty sure he would have been up for it.

Anyway, it was a really fun, satisfying win, with Thor as the 11th inning hero. If this is the way the games are going to go this season, bring it the hell on. I’m starting to think the whole season is going to be one long Wacky Race.

On a slightly different note, thanks to reader Daniel for directing my attention to this amusing video of Andruw drinking whynatte (coffee and Jagermeister). And speaking of coffee, seriously, someone explain what was up with Chuckie and that coffee. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Jagermeister was involved somehow.

03/04/2007 (7:25 pm)

Preseason Frenchy Drama?

The AJC revealed last night that Frenchy turned down the original salary the Braves offered him, and was then bitch-slapped with an even smaller salary in return. It seems strange to me that a player with less than two years of service would think that he could negotiate for more money when the team could easily just give him the league minimum and tell him to shut up, but maybe it happens more than I’d realized? The whole thing is bizarre, but I’m not sure if it warrants much attention.

Is Frenchy really stirring up some salary melodrama, or is the AJC just having another “ANDRUW IS ON WAIVERS AND THE SKY IS FALLING” moment? Either way, I really enjoyed the picture they selected to accompany the story, which showed up on the front page of their website this morning:

Dude — what? Where is he? Was there some sort of “Frenchy Frolics in the Ocean!” AJC photoshoot that I was not aware of? Or did someone just find his old vacation pictures lying around? And in what universe is this picture appropriate for this story? Were they going for the “How could you play hardball with this face!” angle?

There was a game against the Dodgers today, and we won 4-1. Nothing too exciting, though Pete mentioned that Skip will be down to call a few games this coming weekend, so I’m pretty excited about that. Speaking of the radio broadcasts, I hope they’re just waiting to premiere their new commercials for the 2007 season when the actual games begin. If I have to hear how to ask for a hotdog in Hindi one more time, people are gonna die.

Chuckie gave up a few hits in his first inning today, but I’m not too worried — I think it was the lack of Heap behind the plate that threw him off. Nothing against Pena, I just get the impression that Chuckie and Heap have a particularly symbiotic relationship as a battery.

This morning, a friend of mine let me know that the 2007 roster pictures are up on the website. A few highlights:

Most Enthusiastic:
Brayan Pena

Most Depressingly Resigned:
Pete Orr

Most Likely to Pass for a Mugshot:
Ryan Langerhans

Too Cool to Wear His Uniform for his Roster Portrait:
Andruw Jones

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.

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