V Vernacular

06/14/2007 (9:51 pm)

As Far As I’m Concerned

Filed under: Soriano,Wicky

Soriano is now our closer.

I’ve wanted him to close for awhile now, ever since Wicky blew that win for Huddy in Florida. Every time Wicky has come in this year, I’ve been nervous.

Now, he’s dead to me. Do whatever you want with him Bobby, but Soriano comes in when it matters.

That was just . . . unbelievably awful.

05/16/2007 (2:32 pm)

Pittsburgh Gossip, Mets Rap, Frenchy vs. Heap, and Some Guy Who Bought the Team

Filed under: Frenchy,Heap,Orr,Soriano

I haven’t updated in a few days (though I have been enjoying posting at Talking Chop, where my secret identity has already been revealed), so there is a lot to cover. I’ll get right down to it:

–Thanks to Leah for letting me know that LaRoche’s fan club had some adventures in Pittsburgh with the Braves this past weekend, and posted about it on their Myspace page (beware: like most Myspace pages, it will blast music at you when you click on it). Their stories mostly just make our Braves sound like the generous, classy guys that they are, and the most interesting part is their report that Willie Harris and Soriano went to a club with Orr. How in the hell is someone as cool as Raffy putting up with Orr, especially where dancing may be involved? I’m thinking he and Willie were on their way out and ran into Orr in the elevator . . . “HAY GUYS CAN I COME?!?”

–Much is being made of Mets prospect/farmhand/public relations disaster Lastings Milledge lending his vocal talents to a friend’s rap song that features, well, your basic rap lyrics. As much as I love to see the Mets embarrassed, I have to agree with this guy:

One Mets player, speaking anonymously before Tuesday night’s game at Shea, wasn’t surprised by Milledge’s lyrics. “Language like that in a rap song? Shocking!” the player said sarcastically.

–I don’t know how I never came across this article before, but I’m pretty much in love with the story about Frenchy punching Heap after he beat him at ping pong. And the idea that they play Mario Kart never gets old. But which cars do they drive?! Frenchy — Bowser, Heap . . . Koopa Troopa? Oh, and in what universe does Frenchy know the word symbiotic?? After 10,000 questions on the subject, did he pour over a dictionary for weeks, searching for the right word? Don’t even get me started on the rest of that quote.

–So, the Braves officially have a new owner. Some old rich guy. I skimmed through the article: “stays out of the limelight” . . . “delegates well” . . . “distaste for taxes” . . . but this is all I really needed to know:

If he parties with Ted, he’s alright with me.

04/18/2007 (8:28 am)

Soriano Saves the Day (And Possibly Smoltzy’s Life)

Filed under: Frenchy,Langerhans,Smoltz,Soriano

Last night’s game felt about eight hours long, especially during those last two outs in the eighth inning. Soriano may just be the great love of my 2007 baseball season. His composure is amazing, and he even gave Rent a little pat on the back in the dugout last night, surely to raise his spirits after Error Fest ’07, so who says he’s such a hard ass? Not wanting to pal around with Dave O’Brien is hardly jerk qualification.


NO, RENT, THAT’S YOUR HAT! THE BALL’S ALREADY IN YOUR HAND! AHHHH!

That is the most emotion I’ve ever seen Langerhans display. I guess I can’t knock Bobby for playing him last night, because he did make a game-saving catch in the 8th, and made a couple of nice catches for Wicky in the 9th. He was the same ole sinkhole at the plate, though, striking out looking like the confused automaton that he is. The Former House Mates took care of most of the offense, with Kelly going 4-5, Heap 2-4 with an RBI and a walk, and Frenchy with a hit, a couple of RBIs and yes, even a walk of his own! What is going on here? Maybe he really did learn something from watching Heap Tapes during the offseason (and David Wright Tapes, too, which is almost as funny). I had hopes in spring training that were starting to falter a bit, but lately he’s got me feeling optimistic again.

Smoltz looked good for the most part, but had himself a little Maddux vs. Watercooler-style meltdown when he came out in the seventh. His quotes were kind of disturbing, too:

“I’m glad we won because I’m fearful of what I would have done to myself if we’d lost,” said Smoltz.

Oh really? Can someone take Smoltzy out for a beer or something? He seems a little tense lately, even for him.

04/12/2007 (11:31 am)

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Filed under: Soriano

After the horror of last year, I kind of forgot that watching baseball can actually be fun. Though I did feel bad for the Nats, even while enjoying our win last night. Somewhere around their 5th fielding error, it got hard for me to look at their poor pitcher without tearing up. Then Soriano gave up some runs and I got over my sympathy pretty quick. Nice win, with all of my favorite components: Jones boys homered, Heap threw out a baserunner, Chuckie pitched like the bad ass mother he is, Frenchy walked, and Wicky came through for us after giving up his required base hit and walk in the ninth. (Literally every time? I think it’s close. At this point, I don’t even worry if we’re leading by only one — he’s got to give up that hit, it’s part of his approach. Psychological warfare. Or something.)

I did not have high expectations for Kelly coming into this season, but I have grown to love him pretty quickly. He looks great on second, and he’s already coming around as our leadoff hitter. I’m just so pleasantly surprised by everyone right now, I don’t know what to do with myself. The official site even came up with an article about how gosh darn happy-go-lucky the players have been so far this season. My only complaint about yesterday was the use of Soriano in the 8th. He has pitched in almost every game so far, and clearly needs a break. With a 5-0 lead, why not throw the Vulch in there instead? Oh well.

Apparently the Nationals’ manager called a closed-door team meeting after the game yesterday. I can only imagine the atmosphere in that clubhouse. We were pretty low last year, and it’s hard to enjoy our success in this series while witnessing that familiar despair. But it’s going to be a close race in our division, and we need all the wins we can get. So get out your brooms. Sorry, Nats.

Oh, and I have to give props to Deadspin, one of my favorite sites, for their extremely subtle integration of advertising on the site today. Nice.

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.

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!

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.

02/16/2007 (5:26 pm)

Happy New Year!

For Braves fans, the year has officially begun. Sure, they’ve been practicing at Turner since the beginning of the month, and yes, they had photos and quotes taken from camp yesterday, but today is the day that spring training was slated to officially begin according to the team calendar! And that counts for something!

It also means more and better pictures!

There are also a few new articles out today. I’m morbidly fond of this Dave O’Brien masterpiece–painstakingly composed on his Blackberry over lunch, I expect–which continues last year’s tradition of comparing that smarty-pants Davies and his useless THOUGHTS! with Chuckie the mouth-breathing savant. It belittles both of them (though mostly Chuckie, but he’s got a thick accent, so he must be dumb – don’t forget to point that out eighteen times, Dave) and gets on my nerves, but it’s also just kind of funny. Poor Davies.

We also get article #52930 about how great our bullpen is, because it’s not like our bullpen has ever been jinxed before! I fear that somewhere Mark Wohlers is laughing maniacally.

The other big news from camp is that Soriano will be delayed because of visa problems. I hate to say it, but everything about this guy seems like a bad omen. Like the fact that he was knocked out last season by a line drive just like the guy we traded away for him? I hope to God I’m wrong, because if this bullpen doesn’t end world hunger by the All-Star break I think we’re all going to be sorely disappointed.