V Vernacular

06/28/2007 (2:31 pm)

Bobby Can’t Believe This [Stuff]

Filed under: Bobby

ESPN is messing with our shit and Bobby is pissed. You tell ‘em, Bobby. There is a reason the games on GETAWAY DAY are at 1:00. Can’t we just refuse to cooperate with ESPN? They hate us passionately as it is, so there’s not really much of a bridge to burn there.

I think Jimmy Carter needs to attend every game for the rest of the season. He was powerful good luck last night:

“But why do they call him Heap, grandpa?!”

05/26/2007 (11:45 am)

Pick Up After Yourself, Frenchy

Filed under: Bobby,Frenchy,Heap

First Andruw ends up with Frenchy’s old brain, and now, just when I was rejoicing that Frenchy finally shaved that godawful beard he was sporting for about a week, Heap has slapped Frenchy’s old beard on his own face. Heap, WHY?! You had the lumberjack stubble thing down so well, and you’ve never made the same sort of awful facial hair mistakes that the rest of these yokels are capable of (remember the fu manchus? Heap wisely abstained from that disaster). Is this just a slump busting attempt? Is it just a “Frenchy did it so it must be cool” thing? Whatever it is, I really don’t need this right now, Heap. Gonzo is out for the season, Huddy has had two bad outings in a row, and poor Devy got sent back to the minors without a single appearance (unless you count his bit part in Thursday’s Eddie Perez comedy routine). But really I don’t blame Heap. Frenchy just needs to quit leaving his old stuff lying around.

Speaking of Heap, has anyone else noticed that he just has to get the last word in whenever there is a meeting on the mound? McDowell will come out, and Heap will stand there listening stoically, but when McDowell trots off Heap will kind of pretend to leave, then will turn back to the mound with the subtlety of a good pick-off move and start whispering frantically to the pitcher. Every time he does it, I can’t help imagining him saying, “Okay, forget everything he just said. Here’s what we’re really gonna do.”

The one bright moment of that game last night was Bobby moving up on the all-time ejections chart. Everyone must have been bitching about the ump in the dugout, because Rent was ready for a fight, very uncharacteristically. His ejection definitely hurt our offense, but I appreciated the opportunity to see Bobby thrown out yet again. The replays are the best part: I could watch Bobby saying “bullshit” in slow motion for hours.

04/25/2007 (7:56 am)

Quotable

Filed under: Bobby,Frenchy,Heap,Redman,Videos

This is probably obvious, but I’m ridiculously fond of ballplayers’ quotes in throwaway articles about their performances. The whole exercise is a little insane when you really think about it, and reminds me of an old episode of Dr. Katz where a Conan O’Brien-type late night host is interviewing a model and says, “So, you’re very beautiful. How do you do that?” Post-game interviews aren’t quite that absurd, but they’re always funny, and can be a little excruciating when players have to come up with an explanation for a horrible game. I can’t fault the players for offering stupid sound bytes, or the beat reporters for collecting them, because as a fan I certainly look forward to them. Last night’s crop was rather excellent:

“Geesh … whiz … I don’t know what to tell you,” Cox said, trying to find words to evaluate Redman’s performance. “Balls were hit hard. He’s got to get inside [with pitches] more. … I still have confidence in him.”

I like how Dave included that “sh” to save Bobby the humiliation of a literal “gee whiz,” and yet, with the “geesh,” does the “whiz” really make sense? Anyway, “balls were hit hard” is a great response to a horrible outing for a starter, and Bobby is so good about sticking up for his guys in the press, even when you know he’s giving them hell in the clubhouse.

“Some nights you’re going to have pitching, some nights you’re going to have hitting,” said catcher Brian McCann, whose sacrifice fly in the sixth provided a 7-6 lead the Braves wouldn’t relinquish. “Tonight we scored a lot of runs.”

Heap usually sticks with the obvious. Good strategy. Sometimes there is pitching, sometimes there is hitting, sometimes you score runs. You can just picture Heap smiling politely and walking away during these quotes.

Redman has faced the Marlins twice in 12 days — and given up 13 runs and 13 hits in 5-2/3 innings. “They have my number,” he said.

Well, yeah. Who doesn’t? I think someone in major league baseball has been writing your number on bathroom stalls, Redman.

Speaking of ballplayers and the press: just in case I’m not the only one who is fascinated by lengthy Christian media interviews with Frenchy, here’s a good one. This is the second one I’ve seen where he tells the interviewer that his biggest temptation as a professional athlete is cursing. Oh, Frenchy. You’re so good at this it’s scary. Though actually, while his solo interviews are charming works of art, if you’ve ever seen him interviewed alongside Heap (hopefully everyone saw the Katy Temple one last year, with the nachos and the cheese fries? If not, I’ve got it transcribed and can post a link), he becomes a hyperactive five year old and interrupts everyone constantly. Which is also charming, in a way.

How predictable was Chip’s mention that Frenchy got advice from Heap in the batting cage just before he went on his four hit tear on Monday? You tell him, Heap. Keep him in line! And please work on Diaz while you’re at it.

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.

03/14/2007 (7:50 am)

Open-Minded Frenchy??

The game last night was a fun one to watch, despite the rookie pitcher Acosta who threw it away in the 9th.

Bobby probably has Nam Flashback-like memories of pulling pitchers after last year — he didn’t look too happy when he had to take Acosta out in the 9th.

Hitting looked good, relief pitching was excellent (until Acosta and the random rook who followed), and Huddy was, well, pretty good. Not bad, I guess. He still looks shaky with his location, and he gave up some hits and two runs. I don’t know — he wasn’t bad, but he looked an awful lot like the Huddy of last season, which makes me nervous.

Last night was the first Sports South broadcast of the season, and our first look at Jon Sciambi, the new announcer who will be working with Joe. To be honest, I found myself tuning them both out. Not intentionally, but the broadcast didn’t really captivate me. I did like their interviews with Frenchy, Chipper and Heap from the dugout. Hopefully these broadcasts will liven up a little bit throughout the season — one of my favorite broadcast moments of last season was Joe screaming, with complete sincerity, “OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THOSE COOKIES!” during a shot of the Devil Rays’ Lexus-Level type buffet area, which featured a giant tray of chocolate chip cookies. I also love Cynical Joe, who was of course constantly present after June last season, and in fact morphed into Angry Joe toward the end of the year. I actually thought he was going to physically attack Don Sutton a few times.

During the dugout interview with Frenchy, I almost fell off the couch when he said — TWICE — that he watched tapes of Heap hitting in the offseason! No wonder he’s been consistent during spring training. I’m really impressed that he would swallow his pride and do that, and especially admit to it, good job, Frenchy. Chipper said that his foot was fine, he could have stayed in the game Monday but didn’t want to risk it, and also mentioned that he works on his swing with his dad, which is interesting. Heap of course had them both beat, bringing up his engagement and saying he “found the right woman,” then blaming himself for being bad luck when the Astros got the lead during his interview. Aw, Heap, don’t be so hard on yourself.

In other news, they cut poor, beleaguered Joey yesterday. Hopefully he’ll come back later this season with some confidence, or at least looking less like he thinks the other players are giant spiders who want to eat him.

03/07/2007 (8:05 pm)

The Death-Defying Atlanta Braves

Filed under: Bobby,Preseason,Smoltz

First, our new bench coach had his SUV flip on the way to the park. Thankfully, he came away with just bruises. Then, Orr nearly offed Kelly with a line drive to his throat. And today, Smoltzie took a line drive to the chest while he was on the mound. He’s okay, very luckily. A major injury to Smoltz in spring training is just . . . really unthinkable.

What do all these close calls mean? Hopefully things like this come in threes and we’ve seen the last of them. I’m glad I wasn’t able to listen to the first half of the game today; I can only imagine how scary it was to see Smoltz take a liner to the chest. Yikes.

My two favorite managers, together at last! If they coached a team together, they would be unstoppable. Dave O’Brien, who worked for the Marlins while Leyland managed there, got some pretty good quotes from him in his blog:

“I can tell you this. Hands down, take it to the bank, John Smoltz is the best postseason pitcher I’ve ever seen — by far. Such a competitor. I don’t know him very well, but I’ve always had the utmost respect for what he’s accomplished. But he’s the best I’ve ever seen in the postseason.”

Then I said Smoltz wasn’t bad in the regular season, either.

And Leyland said, “Slam dunk Hall of Famer. He’s a special guy. One of those freaks who….” He stopped to re-phrase. “There are certain players and pitchers who, when they come on the field, people — fans, other players — stare at them a little longer and say, ‘What is it about this guy?’ There’s something special, an air about them.

“Even as an opponent, I enjoyed competing against John Smoltz. That’s what this business is all about.”

Then Leyland turned to go do his group press conference with Detroit writers. But he stopped and said again, “But without question, best postseason pitcher I’ve ever seen.”

Repeating himself for emphasis is classic Leyland. There’s a great anecdote in Dave Rosenbaum’s The Year the Marlins Bought the World Series (one of my all-time favorite books for the Leyland quotes alone) about Leyland saying over and over again, in astonishment: “It only took Elton John an hour to write Candle in the Wind.”

Oh, and apparently Moylan doesn’t want to be friends with Dave O’Brien, either. He’s not having much luck with the relief pitchers.

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.

03/03/2007 (7:27 pm)

Bobby Has Heard A Lot About Prague

The AJC is reporting that Bobby will retire after 2008. I think that seems about right. I’m not ready to see him go next year, but the year after that, it might be interesting to have someone new take over. I’d of course like Jim Leyland, but he’ll probably retire with the Tigers. I’d rather not see Terry try to take over . . . I like him, but he seems like a pushover (at least with the way he’s allowed Frenchy to behave so willfully when it comes to plate discipline). I’m ready to have a real hard ass in there. I think Bobby used to be a hard ass, but as the kids on the team get closer to the age of his own children, I don’t know. There are some signs that he’s loosened up on them, such as Frenchy playing 162 games last year. I also think he has his favorites and can be pretty subjective in sticking with certain guys he likes, and I’d like to see more of a bottom line kind of guy in there.

The best thing about Bobby seems to be the respect he has for his players. He’s not egotistical or petty and he stands up for his team. Whatever he decides to do, he’ll be leaving behind an amazing legacy.

The game today was pretty dull, and we lost to the Astros, which is always humiliating, even in spring training. Joey had a weird inning where he hit two batters back to back, and almost hit a third. Can someone get the poor dear into therapy? And can whoever signed him up to pitch against the Astros today and not the Dodgers yesterday please get kicked in the balls? I don’t think he needs any 2005 postseason memories right at the moment.

How much have I missed screaming “YOU TELL HIM, HEAP!” every time he goes out to the mound for a conference? A lot. And this Johnson guy stinks, I don’t care how moving his sob story is. I got my heart broken by Ray and his traumatic everything last season, and I don’t think we need a repeat performance.

That’s the Huddy we know and love! Or at least, the Huddy we once heard good things about out of Oakland.

In other news, Heap is now making more money than Frenchy. Discounting endorsements, of course (and I can’t wait until Heap gets endorsement deals — the day he starts showing up in cheesy commercials for local hot wing restaurants is going to be a very good one indeed). But anyway, it’s nice to see someone in the organization finally acknowledge, even in a subtle way, that Frenchy’s 2006 was lacking. Maybe this will motivate him to grow up a little bit and shut the hell up about his aggressiveness.

02/27/2007 (6:16 pm)

“Whatever. We’ve Got Yoga.”

I’m starting to feel the pangs of real discouragement for the first time this preseason: Hampton says he’s a no go, despite Bobby’s optimism. I don’t know what scares me more, the idea that Hampton might flake out this season, or the possibility that Bobby’s ability to judge who is capable and who isn’t is fading. Last season sure made it look that way, with the Jordan platoon at first, keeping Pratt around when he might have tried Pena a little earlier, and the Reitsma Reign of Terror that Bobby staunchly supported well into June. If Hampton was an irresponsible jackass like Reitsma and wanted to hide an injury (or discomfort, in this case), we might have been in real trouble until the assassination attempts began around the All-Star break.

Maybe I’m taking Bobby’s ra-ra quotes to the press too literally, but I did notice his willingness to give eighth, tenth, thousandth chances significantly hurting the team last year. At any rate, good for Hampton for admitting when things are not right — I guess. I know pitchers have a tendency to be delicate flowers and sometimes wilt more readily than they need to. There’s really no telling, but either way, this leaves us with only three starting pitchers. Shit. No wonder everyone keeps talking about the bullpen nonstop . . .

Again, I need pictures to calm me down

I miss Maddux. This exchange from his recent interview with the AJC had me crying laughing:

Q: What are you thinking today?

A: I’m thinking today, whatever. We’ve got yoga today. So I’m going to go in there and do a little yoga, get all stretched out, then work on the fundamentals and figure out what to do until it gets dark.

Just the idea of Maddog doing the Downward Facing Dog pose makes me feel better about everything. And I can’t wait to hear about how Harrison does in his start against Tech tomorrow. Fun with rookies! Too bad I can’t watch on TV or even listen on the radio . . . around 1:00 I’m going to be going crazy just knowing there is Braves baseball going on somewhere without me.

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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