V Vernacular

05/01/2008 (4:20 pm)

What’s Wrong With This Picture

Filed under: Gonzo

From an AJC article about Gonzo’s impending return:

Gonzalez ate dinner at Smokey Bones barbecue every night in early April so he could catch Braves games on satellite.

Every NIGHT? Isn’t he like . . . a millionaire? I suspect even the guys making the league minimum could afford satellite TV, yes? Maybe he’s in love with one of the waitresses. Chipper might want to warn him about that.

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.

04/17/2007 (11:10 am)

“Like An Alimony Payment”

Filed under: Bobby,Frenchy,Gonzo,Skip

The only things I really enjoyed about last night’s game were the Wrath of Bobby and Skip comparing the game to an alimony payment, which makes absolutely no sense, but was wonderful just for that reason.

Much like Skip’s first wife, I guess the Nationals deserved the win. They’ve been through a lot.

I’m now officially worried about:

1) Our offense. We rely too much on home runs and fly out too much. A home run is never a bad thing, but something is philosophically off.

2) Gonzo. What in the hell. I’m still glad we offloaded LaRoche, though. If he busts loose in July and makes a huge difference for the Pirates, I’ll eat my words, but until then, I’ve got more hope for Thor. And hopefully Gonzo will remember how to locate pitches sometime soon.

3) The nearing apocalypse. Frenchy walked twice.

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.

03/28/2007 (10:49 am)

When Your Batting Coach Laughs In Your Face . . .

Filed under: Frenchy,Gonzo,Preseason

You know what, Terry, when Frenchy comes up to you and says he wants to improve his plate discipline, your response probably shouldn’t be “yeah, right.” You can think it, I don’t blame you, but damn. As if the press isn’t giving him enough of a (deserved, but still) complex. How many times now has he had to repeat that he looked at tape of Heap in the offseason? I wonder if he regrets admitting that yet.

Did anyone else see the random hot blond sitting next to Bobby in the dugout at the start of the game last night? She was wearing a jersey and everything. She disappeared pretty quick, but I had a couple conspiracy theories in mind when they were playing like the What The Hell Did You Guys DO Last Night? Braves for a few innings there.

Everybody go read Talking Chop’s interview with Gonzo, it’s a masterpiece. And don’t forget to watch the game against the Mets at 1:00 on ESPN. And check out this Dugout about the A’s if you’re so inclined. It’s my favorite of the spring training strips so far.

03/23/2007 (4:52 pm)

Baseball: Best Enjoyed In Your Boxers, With Donuts

My notes from the game on ESPN today (we beat the Phillies 7-4), and explanations:

Chipper mohawk? — Did anyone else notice that Chipper was rocking this kind of half-mohawk thing? The hair on the side of his head was shorter, and on top it was pointed in kind of a v-shape. Is that just how his baldness pattern is working out or what?

2 ESPN announcers said Braves would win the NL East! — They sounded a little cavalier, but I thought it was funny, since ESPN seemed to really revel in the end of our division winning streak last year, and many mainstream media predictions had us finishing third even at the beginning of spring training. Suddenly we’re getting talked up a lot — I still credit Gammons for setting that trend.

(In other news, this is only the second Braves broadcast I’ve watched on ESPN, and I already want to strangle John Kruk, which is unfortunately impossible, as he is not currently in possession of a neck).

Brett Myers – hidden away – HA! — Apparently Myers was afraid to pitch to us today, thinking he would give away some of his opening day magic, and pitched in a minor league game instead. Jesus. There has been a lot of talk about the Phillies’ weak bullpen, but I’m not too worried about their starters, either.

Frenchy: Heap — boxers — donuts — I hope everyone saw that little in-game interview with Frenchy. Asked about his amazing rookie year, he told Kruk and friends he had a “horseshoe up [his] rear end” that year, and told them Heap was at home watching the game in his boxers and eating donuts. C’mon, Frenchy, we all know he was watching the game while swimming through his Scrooge McDuck-style pile of money and eating caviar. Seriously, though, funny to think that Heap was watching that ESPN broadcast from his couch like the rest of us, donuts or not.

Gonzo licks his fingers a lot — Self explanatory, I think.

Also: bye, Tony Pena. I was pleasantly surprised with you this spring, and I’m glad we got pitching for you. Sorry it’s Kansas of all places.

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.

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.

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.

02/20/2007 (6:40 pm)

Andruw’s Culinary Adventures

Andruw has arrived at camp, amid lots of questions and speculation about what he’ll do next season. I’m sure it’s on his nerves, and it’s damn well started to get on mine. It’s unlikely that he knows what he’s going to do at this point, and even if he did, he’s not going to talk about it. Not now, not after the All-Star break, probably not until the offseason.

I’m much more interested in talk of his weight loss, personally. Apparently he gained an extra twenty pounds in Japan because the guys ate KFC and McDonald’s every day while they were over there for their All-Star game. Geez, he could have at least tried Kobe steak or some shrimp tempura. But anyway, the story is that he bet his wife he could lose weight faster than her, and she won because he was “partying.” Nicole Jones is my favorite Braves wife by far, and I appreciate her scheme to get Andruw at least relatively back in shape. Smoltz claims Andruw looks like he did in 2005, a career year for him, so hopefully he’ll give us a season to remember him by, just in case he does leave.

Tons of great pictures from Yahoo Sports

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