V Vernacular

05/05/2007 (8:29 am)

Juan “Double Cheeseburger” Pierre

Filed under: Aybar,Heap

That game was just fun — our pitching was brilliant, Heap was back and hitting again, and Willie is already a huge upgrade over Langerhans at the plate, and looked great in left, too. Not only was the actual game play impressive, the peripheral broadcast junk was pretty entertaining. Dave did a nice job of capturing most of it in his highlights video, in case you missed Heap happily showing off his dirty boxers, Terry ripping on Juan Pierre, and the most hilariously awkward product placement of all time, featuring Joe and a straw.

I’m on my way out the door, headed to Atlanta this morning, and I may get to go to the game tonight. If I do, I’ll be sure to provide a thrilling account of the comments made by drunks in my section, batting practice, and the tool races.

The AJC has a small story in their Braves notes that assures us that Aybar is at least alive, and “with family,” so that’s a relief. I’ve been thinking about him since Josh Hancock’s death; hopefully he can take something away from that tragedy and start to turn things around.

04/22/2007 (8:57 am)

The Fearsome Oliver Perez

Filed under: Aybar,Chuckie

For some reason, we bring out the competent side of goofy ass (that jumping thing? I wanted to trip him pretty badly by the seventh), walk-happy Oliver Perez. Still, he wasn’t that spectacular, and we wasted a lot of scoring opportunities (so did the Mets, strangely, even though they well outscored us. Bases loaded situations seem to bring out the best in Chuckie, even when he’s having an off day). Personally I think the Braves all went out and got drunk Friday night. I wouldn’t blame them — they had a great game, they’re in the big city, why not. I was joking that they would be hungover on Saturday, but was hoping Chuckie would be exempt. Certainly pitchers don’t get trashed the night before they pitch? But that may have been a factor — this is “broke both my wrists jumping off the roof of a pool house the day before a scout came out to see me pitch” Chuckie, after all. Hopefully they were repentantly sober last night, and we can take the series with Smoltzy on the mound.

The Aybar situation has gone from bad to worse, meanwhile. For some reason the bit about Vlad trying in vain to get involved broke my heart more than the image of his mother crying. This is starting to sound like it might end badly; I hope someone can reach him soon.

04/19/2007 (2:25 pm)

Aybar Update

Filed under: Aybar,Breaking News

The AJC is reporting that Aybar’s problem is pretty much what everyone suspected. I feel sorry for him, even though he handled things horribly. Plenty of successful athletic figures have faced DUI charges and worse, so if he gets some help, there’s no reason to think he can’t turn things around. I can sympathize with someone who has problems and just acts like an idiot more than someone who drives drunk and gets picked up sleeping at the wheel of his car like a certain Cardinals manager. I’m glad to hear Aybar has a brother here in the states who can support him (hopefully in a positive way). Good luck to Willy.

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.

04/16/2007 (11:15 am)

Playing Favorites (Literally)

Filed under: Aybar,Diaz,Langerhans,Orr

Try to guess which sentence from this article about Aybar’s suspension infuriated me.

That’s right, it’s this one:

Even if he reaches a point where he’s healthy enough to play, the Braves may have a hard time placing him on the roster in favor of Pete Orr, who is a clubhouse favorite, beloved by teammates, coaches and manager Bobby Cox.

And no, it’s not because I hate Orr (though I don’t usually relish seeing him the lineup) or because I don’t think Aybar’s inability to show up for work is probably a sign that he’s a lazy asshole. If he can’t be professional, he has no place in this organization, and that attitude is one of the reasons I love the Braves. But one of the things that drives me insane about the Braves is the attitude displayed in the above statement (from the official site). If you’re one of the cool kids, in with the gang, then you have a better chance of starting games. Why is Orr is still around? They like him. How did Reitsma get so many opportunities to destroy our season last year? He was well-liked in the clubhouse, a great guy, etc.

If Aybar apologizes and starts actually showing up to the park, I would rather see him at the plate than Orr any day. I understand that not following team policy will hurt him — it should. But being “beloved” really shouldn’t help Orr that much. Playing favorites has hurt the team in the past, and it’s already made an impact this season, with Langerhans getting to play instead of Diaz because of his “intangibles,” I guess. I think this is going to change soon — Joe and Chip were making some noise about it during one of the weekend broadcasts, and there is a defense of Diaz’s fielding in these recent Braves notes on the official site.

I’m more worried about seeing Diaz get a real chance in left than whatever will happen with Aybar and Orr off our bench, but I hope the better player — providing he also abides by club rules — will get the job, not the guy who makes everyone laugh and remembers to send birthday cards. Aybar’s attendance matters, but his friendliness in the clubhouse (or lack thereof) shouldn’t count for anything. I’m sure it’s nicer to play with guys who get along well with everyone, and team chemistry is important, but it should never eclipse actual performance.

That said, Diaz seems like one of the nicest guys on the team — maybe Langerhans gets preferential treatment just because he’s cooler. After all, look at what Diaz says when someone comments on how well he played at first the other day:

“I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none,” said Diaz, who entered Saturday, hitting .350 (7-for-20).

Dammit, Matt, learn how to sell yourself! Apparently it’s important.