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.

07/31/2007 (10:45 am)

Tommy Is Jealous Of Jules

Filed under: Ex-Braves

The AJC has a story up about Glavine getting booed in Atlanta, which features Tom-Tom pouting about the fact that we never booed Julio when he was with the Mets.

I personally feel no nostalgic responsibility to Glavine whatsoever, but I never even liked him much when he was with the Braves (I appreciated his talent, of course, but he wasn’t one of my guys), I think mostly because as a kid I had this baseball card that showed him playing hockey. He looked like such an ass on that card, and as a ten year old, that was pretty much it for me and Tom Glavine.

But more importantly, how in holy hell could anyone boo Julio? He comes to the plate to gospel music about Jesus. He’s a non-threatening, Grandpa-like figure, Tommy, so don’t get all worked up. It’s more of a compliment, really, that we direct our hate toward you instead.

The Lemmer is of course sympathetic:

“I don’t care for it,” Lemke said of the boos. “I don’t know why anybody has those feelings, because Tom Glavine won the World Series for Atlanta. I know he gave everything he could, his whole heart, to the Atlanta Braves.”

Well, if he gave us his whole heart (like Smoltz has, for example), is he heartless and disinterested as a competitor for the Mets? I kind of doubt it.

Glavine will be back at Turner Field Aug. 31-Sept. 2 for a Braves-Mets series. How will Atlanta greet him as a 300-game winner?

Apologies to the Lemmer, but I’m going to that series, and I’ll be booing the hell out of Glavine during his start, just like I did on opening weekend (when Smoltz kicked his ass). Cause what’s a Mets series without booing Glavine? It’s part of the fun! Get into the rivalry and get over it, Tommy.

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?

05/11/2007 (1:35 pm)

Steal City

Filed under: Ex-Braves,Thor

It feels good to start a long road trip in first place, especially when we’re looking ahead to the Pirates and Nationals. The Mets are going against the Brewers this weekend, with Jorge Sosa on the mound tonight. Sosa somehow beat Brandon Webb in his last outing, so with that one in a million anomaly out of the way, I’m sure he’ll return to the form we’re more familiar with. I don’t think I’ve ever checked a rival team’s schedule as obsessively as I have so far this season with the Mets — I’m really enjoying the close race, even though it keeps me extremely tense over every game. It’s just the type of season where we can’t waste a single opportunity without losing important ground.

Tonight we’re facing LaRoche for the first time. I’m not at all surprised that he’s doing absolutely nothing for the Pirates. I was never a LaRoche fan, and was very happy to see him go. His good second half last year just added to my hatred of him, somehow — he only ever seemed to do anything in those blowout games we played toward the end, when he would hit multiple homers after we’d already put up seven runs. I still feel like the season just completely died (it had been dying for awhile, but even so) when he made his executive decision to bunt at the end of that game against the Marlins. I know he was well-liked in the clubhouse and is probably a nice guy, but I just never warmed up to him, and I’m thankful as hell that Schuerholz was smart enough to unload him. The Thor/Wilson offensive hole at first is frustrating, but I still think getting Gonzo for Rochy was a delightfully wicked steal.

Now that I’ve said all of this, I’m sure LaRoche will hit a walk-off slam tonight. That’s just the kind of obnoxious bastard he is.

How worried are we about Thor, by the way? I had high hopes for him this season, but he’s just insanely impatient, and after seeing Frenchy shockingly learn how to take some pitches, I’m starting to wonder how likely we are to see another miraculous turnaround.

05/09/2007 (8:02 am)

The Big Game!

Filed under: Ex-Braves,Smoltz

Every time the media makes a big deal out of a particular match-up, I’m reminded of my sixth grade drama class. At one point during the school year we had to write and perform plays, and one group in my class titled theirs “The Big Game.” On the day of the performances, this weird, skinny kid who was in “The Big Game” group — who may or may not have had some sort of undiagnosed condition — ran around the room for about an hour saying nothing but “THE BIG GAME! THE BIG GAME!” over and over again, until the teacher completely lost it on him and told him to shut up.

This is pretty much how the press treats any especially exciting sporting event: they go into hyperactive, bug-eyed kid mode and make a lot of content-free, repetitive noise until people get annoyed. I’ve actually always been fond of hype — I know a lot of people hate it, and think that it sets you up for inevitable disappointment, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that looking forward to big games is usually more fun than actually watching them. Fun in anticipation counts, too.

All of the pre-game stuff last night was centered on Smoltz vs. Maddux, which may have been good for Lerew, because he looked pretty calm out there and did a great job, despite the two homers. Since then, the AJC offers:

An article where Maddux reminds us that he and Smoltz are “not 5 years old anymore.”

Dave O’Brien recounting the snot story for the 190th time since it was first mentioned yesterday — I personally liked the version that was shown on the pre-game show last night best, with Chipper asking if he had to tell a “G-rated” story, and implying that most involving Maddux aren’t. What I wouldn’t give to hear the others — I’m sure he and Chip raised plenty of hell together during the Hooters years.

A feature on the official site that is accompanied by a priceless picture of Maddux’s old hair.

So bring it on! The Big Game! I have to say, as cool as the first match-up between these two since Maddux left is (I can’t believe it’s only been four years) . . . I’m most looking forward to Smoltz’s prank. Which probably means it’ll be an extremely subtle, inside joke letdown, but hey. That’s part of the fun.

My notes from last night:

–I can’t believe, after such solid play all month, that Kelly booted a ball hit by Gilly! How embarrassing! Poor Scooter; at least we ended up winning, and he scored the tying run. And boy was he scooting around those bases on Rent’s triple.

–Salty is a hugger. It kind of cracks me up when he hugs Soriano, I guess because Raffy’s supposed to be such a hard ass.

–What was that little book Frenchy and Andruw were reading in the dugout? I turned on the TV audio and heard Joe talking about scouting reports, but it looked like a homemade birthday card with a toddler’s scrawlings across the front. I thought maybe it was a fake Padres media guide sent over by Maddux — because if anyone fell for a handwritten media guide, it would probably be Andruw and Frenchy. Well, it would probably be Frenchy. Maybe Andruw was in on the joke.

05/08/2007 (7:49 am)

“The Always Ornery Maddux”

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

Looks like this series against the Padres going to be a pretty exciting one for the Braves: Lerew will have his first major league start today, and Maddux goes up against Smoltz tomorrow. Last night’s game was exciting in its own way, though our offense was sleepwalking and Chuckie’s pitch-count crisis continued. But anytime there’s the chance of a fight between Paronto and an eight foot tall pitcher, you know you’re getting your money’s worth.

Naturally, this was all an extension of Heap and Frenchy drama: Heap got lucky on a pick-off call, and pretty hilariously snuck his foot against the base after he’d already been tagged, but the ump must have missed that. Young proceeded to hit Frenchy with a pitch, and Heap of course called for a beaning during Young’s next at-bat, setting up the potential Fight of the Century. Paronto actually looked kind of scared, or maybe just regretful. Young ended up just taking his base — he’s a Princeton graduate, and I suppose he’d had enough of our immature tomfoolery for one evening.

Speaking of immature tomfoolery, the official site has an anecdote about Maddux’s snot up this morning, and apparently Smoltz is planning something special for Wednesday’s game. My favorite Maddux-related quote of all time was Cubs reliever Ryan Dempster saying he would miss farting on Maddux when he left the Cubs. Apparently a clubhouse presence like that is hard to find.

03/09/2007 (6:34 pm)

Braves Dig the Long Ball

We beat the Pirates today, 8-5. Aybar hit one out in the first, Kelly somehow pulled off a broken bat home run in the sixth, and Langerhans hit one in the seventh. Our strategy seems to be “overwhelm with scattered home runs,” as it was last year (after the All-Star break, at least). Hopefully this year the pitching will be able to hold these homer-fied leads. We picked up a cheap lefty, Mark Redman, recently of Royals All-Star fame. It’s kind of mean that they even send a Royal to the All-Star game, just to make him sit on the bench and feel inadequate. Redman does pretty well against lefties, but right handed batters kill him. So he’ll come in handy when we play those all-lefty teams.

Ah, but to hell with these concerns. It’s the weekend, let’s enjoy some amusing off-the-field pictures of the Braves:

In case any of you were wondering what Heap looks like holding a huge rifle. I believe this was taken at Chipper’s ranch. The guy on the left is Matt Duff.

Frenchy pulls off the “curious farm animal stares at the camera in confusion” look pretty well. He was golfing with Smoltz, Tanyon Sturtze (I forgot he existed for awhile there) and a reporter for the AJC.

Here’s a bunch of Braves (and one ex-Brave) with country singer Luke Bryan. I’ve seen a few pictures like this before, all of them out together, and Langerhans always looks like he’s about eight beers up on everybody else. I love it; who’d have thought?

And finally:

Maddux does completely insane the classy way. Maybe he’ll teach Giles a thing or two this season.

02/19/2007 (10:41 pm)

So, Is Our Bullpen Good?

Can you take it, can you take the ten thousandth article about how great our bullpen is going to be in 2007? I can’t. I mean, I’m as optimistic as anyone about the great acquisitions, and Wicky, and, hell, maybe even Joey Devine will work some miracle in spring training. I’m open to it! I’m just starting to get a bad feeling about all the great press and constant trumpeting. We should treat any good developments in the bullpen with quiet fragility, I think, after all we’ve been through. It’s mostly just strange to go from Reitsma to near BEST IN THE LEAGUE! proclamations in less than a year.

The Monday pictures from AJC are pretty excellent

Speaking of repetitious articles from the official site (imagine that), here’s another one about how Davies is planning on not “overthinking” this season. Cause talking constantly about how you’re not going to think about something really works out, in most cases.

Around the League:

This article about that “Odd Couple” Maddux and Wells is so great I actually wrote on my hand at work to remind myself to post about it when I got home. I haven’t written on my hand since sixth grade! It’s that awesome. Behold:

One could be an accountant or Sunday school teacher, remarkably average in height and build, soft-spoken, introspective, right-handed.

They’re talking about our Maddog, who I learned most of my major curses from when I was in elementary school. You couldn’t hear him cursing wildly on the mound (most of the time) with every ball or less-than-perfect strike, but man you could see it.

There’s also this:

Maddux is happy to slip off into the shadows, grinning slyly as if he has a secret he intends to keep to himself.

Oh, he does, innocent Padres beat writer. He does.

That Other League:

Yankee fans have their first crucial Jeter/A-Rod relationship status article.

A-Rod on Jeter:

“Do we go to dinner every night like we used to? No.”


02/11/2007 (5:37 pm)

Slow News Day

Filed under: Ex-Braves,Non-Braves

Not much going on with the Braves following the Smoltz divorce bombshell. From the AJC we get this extremely obvious list of things the Braves are hoping will go well in spring training. Go ahead and have a good laugh at the phrase “Ryan Langerhans hits with authority,” I know I did.

Anyway, since I’ve got nothing else, here’s a picture of LaRoche in a (red?!) Pirates jersey:

Good to see he’s rocking that same “where the hell am I?” look on his face up in Pittsburgh.

Non-braves related, I’m also gonna go ahead and laugh out loud at Barry Zito out on a date with Hilary Duff. Everyone’s making fun of Zito for robbing the cradle, but I say good game, Hilary! Huge upgrade over your last boyfriend, girl.

So, pitchers and catchers in five days. Thank God.