V Vernacular

05/11/2008 (8:36 am)

Wyatt Earp

Filed under: Announcers,Frenchy,Pete

That story last night about LaRoche wanting to meet Wyatt Earp is the reason I will always listen to the radio, even it’s lagging a full inning behind the television broadcast. Well played, Mr. Van Wieren.

In shocking news: I agree with Dave O’Brien! I love Frenchy and look forward to seeing him play, but enough is enough, Bobby. He can sit once in awhile. Though actually, now may not be the time. I think Lauren’s picture vividly captures the look I’ve been noticing on him a lot this season. I don’t know if this amounts to “bench him” or “don’t even look at him the wrong way,” but regardless, I’m going to take a wild guess that he’ll play every game this season as long as he’s at least semi-physically able.

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.

03/18/2007 (5:25 pm)

“Dude, I Might Be Able To Throw”

We won both of our games today, Hudson looked good, Heap and Frenchy almost simultaneously hit homers while playing across town from each other, our top outfield prospect (whose name is Jones, naturally) looked great at the plate, Chipper’s injury is minor (again) and hell, even on the Hampton front, things are looking up: he’s “amazed” with his relative health. Good news all around for the Braves today.

I think the best broadcast moment of the season may have already occurred. Sports South showed our game against the Tigers today, and right at the start of the ninth inning, they came back from commercial and showed one of the Disney vendors dancing around in the outfield picnic area, presumably trying to sell sodas or whatever the hell was in the little black cooler he was slinging around. I wish I had recorded this game so I could post a video — there is no way I can accurately describe the manufactured fey-ness of this gentleman. I guess Disney wants their vendors to act like “characters,” but he was clearly terrifying the fans out there, who all stared at him in horror as he skipped around with maniacal glee. He also appeared to be singing.

Anyway, Joe of course had to comment on this. Without the slightest hint of amusement, he says in disgust (and if you’ve never heard Completely Disgusted Joe, well, I guess you weren’t watching the games in June last year, but anyway it’s a treat): “Obviously, whatever he had in that container he’s already consumed.” To which Sciambi says, “Scary to think there might be more.” Not bad, Sciambi!

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Dave for directing my attention to actual video of the vendor dancing! It is the greatest/scariest thing you will see all night, I promise. Also, I was wrong on one point: I thought everyone in the picnic area motionlessly stared at him like he was insane, but there is actually ONE sort of sketchy looking, possibly drunk guy down by the fence who is clapping and encouraging him. Look for him toward the end, he’s pretty incredible himself.

03/17/2007 (3:58 pm)

One Week At Disney and Skip Is Already Contemplating Murder

How awful were those green hats? I was embarrassed for everyone involved.

We lost to the Cards this afternoon, but no big deal — Smoltz got hit but he looked fine, Wicky looked sort of terrible. I have a bad feeling about Wicky this season, I don’t know. I hope I’m wrong. Anyway, we were on pace with the Cards for most of the game, hitting Looper pretty well (Wilson homered, Frenchy went 2-3, Thor displayed some amusing baserunning after hitting a triple), then the consistently horrible Jonathon Johnson (where did he come from and why?) threw the game away at the end. Last night we tied the Cards, and to be honest I don’t remember much of it, as I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day early this year. One thing I do remember: the announcers mentioned that Kelly got some tips on his stance from Heap. I love it. When Bobby retires, I think we need to reinstate the old player-manager role and just let Heap whip everybody into shape.

I noticed the commercials for Sports South’s pre- and post-game Braves features for the first time today. I guess it will be similar to the old “Dodge Braves Report” and the “Around the South” that followed the game, but it should be interesting to see what they do with it. Their spring training broadcasts are really interview-heavy (sticking headsets on players as soon as they leave the game and speaking with them for quite awhile), and I normally like this sort of thing, but I wonder if they’re going to do it throughout the regular season? It seems like the players would get tired of it pretty quick. I do hope TBS continues making players wear mikes on the field from time to time . . . really enjoyed Diaz talking about time travel in the dugout last year, and everyone staring at him like he was insane. I also loved how Heap went completely silent when he was miked, to the point that Smoltz walked by and told him he should “probably say something.”

Skip was pretty great today (I muted the Sports South broadcast, sorry Joe), making fun of the way the horrid Disney PA announcer says “Thorman” and adding that “no jury in the world would convict you if you shot this PA man.” I don’t blame him; the Disney-fied park antics annoy me even from my couch. And what was up with playing the Star Wars theme when Smoltz came up to bat? Skip mentioned something about the players’ hotel, and said that they stayed in “the Safari hotel” last year. I can’t believe they stick them in the theme hotels! How great would be it if they made them stay in this one? Maybe the minor leaguers have to stay there as part of their hazing. That place looks nightmare-inducing — could that be what happened to poor Joey?

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.

02/03/2007 (10:16 am)

Announcers, East Cobb and the Wisdom of Heap

Filed under: Announcers,Heap,Preseason

Much has been made about Skip and Pete not announcing the televised games for Sports South this season, and while I agree that it’s disturbing that the network that will show most of our games from now on doesn’t want anything to do with our best announcers, I personally don’t see this as a huge problem. Introduce yourself to such concepts as the “mute button” and the “radio” and the problem is solved. It’s how I got through the entire 2006 season under the Torborg-Rathbun reign of terror. I don’t see how people can be anything but thankful after Braves fans stood up and collectively said “No” to those two, and since the management refused to sit back and listen to Don Sutton call the Nationals the Marlins and just chug ahead with whatever point he’s making about whichever team he actually thinks we’re playing, probably the Expos. I will not miss Don’s slurring and calling players by the wrong name (“Mark Diaz” comes to mind), and let’s just never mention the names of those other two jokers again.

Skip and Pete on the radio is all I need, and I’m especially grateful for it as they get older and closer to retirement. They’ll also do a few TBS games, and some combination of Joe, Chip and Jon Sciambi, who worked for the Marlins last year, will handle the rest. I’m fond of Joe and Chip, and the new guy is young and not a former ballplayer, so this all sounds pretty ideal to me.

A few quick things from AJC this morning:

An article about my kickass hometown and how we turn out the best ballplayers in the country. Hell yeah! I first came to really love baseball when my brother played for the East Cobb All-Stars, most of my favorite current Braves played in or around Cobb when they were kids, and I really love that blowhard trainer’s attitude toward pitchers in this article.

Finally, an article about the pitchers working out at Turner this week. Something about McDowell’s posture as he watches Huddy work makes me a little nervous, but never mind. We’ll be in Atlanta on Tuesday and it will be really hard to stay away from the field when I know they’re working out there, but it’s not like the gates will be open. I could of course stand outside the parking lot in the freezing cold for a few hours on the off chance that one of them will be milling around his car, but I’m not quite that desperate to see signs of baseball life.

The best part about this pitching article is of course the quote from Heap:

“We’ve got one of the best bullpens in the league now,” catcher Brian McCann said. “You get the starters to go six innings and bring those three big horsemen in and they can shut ‘em down.”

Those three big horsemen?! Heap, how did I survive the winter without your quotes?