V Vernacular

04/04/2008 (8:18 am)

A Bleak End to a Bleak Series

Filed under: Diaz,Hampton

One run, extra-inning losses. Hampton strains a boob five minutes before game time and this is what we get: more of last year. Let’s hope Eliot was right about April being the cruelest month. If this is how we look against the Pirates at the start of the season, imagine what we’ll look like when our perennial nemesis June rolls around.

Hyde from That 70’s Show tried to liven things up at one point by charging the field. I don’t know if anyone else caught Joe reminiscing about the days at Yankee Stadium when the security guards would just kick your ass instead of sending you to jail (who knows if this is even accurate, or just some Joe fantasy), but he was disturbingly nostalgic about it, true to form.

The only really shining moment, for me, was Matty’s hilarious take out of Jack Wilson. Who knew he had it in him? Matty just gets more impressive every day.

Meanwhile, Ted Turner envisions the end of the world. I think he just read The Road, had a drunken nightmare and immediately called a press conference. Nevertheless: Ted. We miss your money. Though our bargain bullpen isn’t the entirety of the problem at the moment, clearly.

03/07/2008 (2:43 pm)


Filed under: Hampton

Hampton is injured again, a day to day kind of situation. It’s gone way beyond being funny, and I just feel sorry for him, honestly. I know what’s it’s like to be determined to do something, physical reality be damned, and to find out it’s impossible. Hopefully it’s not a big deal, and not something we’ll have to see again and again throughout the season . . . though at this point, I would be a fool to hold out for either of those things.

I’ve really, really overbooked myself this month, and won’t be able to post my spring training pictures until around St. Patrick’s Day, which is lame, I know. I have friends arriving in town tonight, they’re staying through Sunday and we’re flying to Cambridge at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon and staying for a week. Plus I’m sick, and things are crazy at work, and blah blah. I’ll be back, hopefully to a mostly intact roster.

03/03/2008 (9:57 pm)

Back to Reality

Filed under: Hampton

We had a great time down at spring training — next year we’ll definitely do a full week and try to make it to five or six games. We went to the February 29 game against the Dodgers and the March 2 game against the Astros. The Braves won both. Hampton pitched the second game — I nearly fainted when it was announced, having expected him to remain frozen in carbonite* for at least two more weeks. He looked good! Jarr Jurgens looked less good on Friday.

I got a ton of pictures, but I’ll have to size them down, and I’ll try to post them on Wednesday. Here’s a little preview:

I had forgotten how happy Heap’s hair makes me. After he came out of the game on Sunday, he was jogging around in the outfield with his hat off, and his hair was ridiculously fluffy and blond and just a delight. Frenchy was as impressive with the fans as ever, signing autographs and tossing a random shouter his gloves when he couldn’t stop to sign. Javy was also friendly with the fans, and he hit a home run, which I missed because I had just realized Peter Gammons was standing two feet in front of me.

I’ll post more about my experience along with my pictures on Wednesday, but here are a few quick observations:

–Jordan Schafer is hot as hell in person, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.
–Kotsay didn’t speak a word to any of his teammates and seemed very standoffish in general. Shades of Wicky!
–At one point I saw the back of Bobby Dews’ jersey and thought he was Devy. It was a bittersweet moment, because I miss Devy, but I do love Bobby Dews. He was sitting by the on deck circle on Sunday and everyone chatted him up while they waited to hit . . . except Kotsay.
–There was a moment on Sunday when the second or third batter Hampton faced hit one right back to the mound and he reached for it — the whole crowd gasped in terror. Fortunately he did not lose an arm. I think he ought to take a duck and cover approach to that situation for the rest of spring training. No one would hold it against him.

Oh, and the Frenchy contract drama has officially begun! Did anyone not see this coming? I love it, particularly this Molly woman who holds the title of “one of Francoeur’s representatives.” I’m guessing he has at least six, including one who exclusively handles endorsing sunglasses. And there has got to be one who is in charge of The Teeth. Someday Frenchy is going to see a picture of those veneers in profile and fire that guy.

*My husband gets credit for this joke.

01/31/2008 (10:14 pm)

If I’m Thinking Of The Right Guy

Filed under: Hampton

Saw this headline on AJC.com’s front page, and assumed the Hampton in question was an obscure folk singer, or maybe a particular haircut that was popular in the seventies:

I do appreciate the fact that they put “ready” and “comeback” in quotes, as if to mock the suggestion, though I think they should take that tactic one step further:

“Hampton” “ready” for “comeback”

Maybe “for” should be in quotes, too. Personally, I’m more interested in the cute kids who are helping feed strays.

I can’t even believe I have a Hampton tag. When and why did I create that?

04/10/2007 (12:22 pm)

Frankenhampton Out for the Season

Filed under: Frenchy,Hampton

You’ve all heard it by now: Hampton is gone for the season. I’m having a hard time even mustering up any righteous indignation; it’s just redundant after a certain point. If Davies had been horrible in his start, maybe I would be more upset. Perhaps we can still get our money’s worth out of Hampton by putting him to use in the clubhouse: he could do some laundry, go on beer runs and hand out towels. But knowing Hampton, he’d claim that any of those things would be too much of a strain on his elbow/shoulder/left ear/whatever else has fallen off or gotten sore since the last time I bothered to check the continuing updates on his stitched together corpse body.

I know it wasn’t his fault; he didn’t intend to get hurt again and is probably upset. But I can’t help it: he has now officially entered Kerry Wood and Mark Prior territory.

What could possibly make us feel better in light of the continuing bad news about one of our most expensive players? The AJC smartly offers up a guaranteed crowd pleaser: embarrassing high school pictures of Frenchy!

Yeah, not much has changed.

04/09/2007 (11:29 am)

First Place For Now

Filed under: Davies,Field Trips,Hampton

I’m so glad I went to all three games this weekend, and not just the miserable home opener. The other two were a blast: my throat’s all sore from screaming, I’m sunburned, and I somehow pulled a muscle in my shoulder, I think from throwing up my arms after Andruw made that catch on Sunday. There’s nothing like being worn out after watching them take a series from the Mets, but I’ll be happy to watch the series against the Nationals from my couch after suffering through that weather.

I’m surprised that only 24,000-ish people showed up to the Easter game — the crowd did look pretty sparse, but we were sitting behind the dugout, and everyone in our section was really into it. There were a few Met fans — one, notably, was wearing a dorky ass white golf cap, and some drunk Braves fans behind us (possibly the same ones who were behind us on Saturday) mistook it for a beret and started calling the guy “Pierre,” which was excellent. Anyway, it was a good crowd, with everybody on their feet for Wicky at the end.

Davies reminded me a lot of Chuckie on Sunday. He made his mistakes, got the hell over it, and moved on. And he was getting a lot of fly ball outs — the drunk guys joked at one point that everyone but Davies and Andruw could leave the field. I wonder how much of a difference having Heap catch him made? I know Pena was catching for him for most of spring training, and I like Pena, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near as good with the pitchers as Heap, and I get the feeling that Chuckie’s game strategy is just whatever Heap tells him, so it was interesting to see Davies doing a bit of a Chuckie imitation when Heap caught him (he even gave up Chuckie’s usual two home runs in early innings). Either way, it was nice to see Davies get over his mistakes and go on to have a great game. Mental blocks always seemed to be a problem for him, and it really looked like he conquered himself on Sunday.

How great was Heap going into McCanDoNoWrong mode there at the end? And Heap getting on base has lately brought out the best in Frenchy, who put together a very mature, smart at-bat to score the winning run. Now if only their elders could start hitting, but Chipper seems to be coming around, and I’m sure Andruw will, hopefully sooner rather than later. The Nationals are coming up, so maybe their pitiable pitching staff will kick-start him.

While we face the Nationals at home, the Mets are hosting the Phillies, who have been playing like the Nationals and could very well get swept again. It’s extremely early, but I’m excited, and I can’t believe we already have to suffer through another off day.

Oh yeah, and Hampton’s injured again, or something, whatever. I’ve gone back to forgetting that he’s on our team, anyway.

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.

03/08/2007 (8:47 pm)

“A Little Time of Sulking”

Filed under: Frenchy,Hampton,Heap,Preseason

I guess we shouldn’t exactly start panicking at the news of Hampton’s injury, but I don’t think it would be rash to feel significantly disheartened. I mean, shit, you guys. Now we don’t just get stuck with Davies or Cormier, whoever sucks less out of spring training, we get to enjoy both of them on a weekly basis. And if we can’t rely on starting pitching, our bullpen is just going to get overused and tired like they did last season, even if they are more talented at the outset than the guys we started off with last year.

Here’s what Kerry Wood II had to say for himself:

“I guess I can officially say sand has been kicked in my face,” said Hampton, who met with reporters with an ace bandage around his midriff. “I was pretty upset about it yesterday and just then I went through a little time of sulking. There’s nothing you can do about it now except try to get it healed up and get it better.

Go ahead and spend a lot of time sulking, Hampton, I think it would make us all feel better while we sit around wishing we could have a refund. I do feel bad for him, but what pitcher is swinging that hard in freaking batting practice, anyway? He’s such a problem child, I’m sick of it.

In other news, we lost to the Yankees today, but it was a good game, close all the way through. I got to watch some of it on MLB.tv. They were running the Yankees’ YES network’s broadcast, so it was interesting to hear the game analyzed by the enemies. The announcers were surprisingly dull and complimentary of the Braves, but maybe they just didn’t have their more colorful regular season guys in there yet. They mispronounced Diaz’s name, which is understandable, but they also called Heap “McCain” in the first inning, and acted like they were certain that Prado would get the starting job at second, for some reason; maybe they just glanced at his spring training batting average.

Huddy looked pretty good, but he’s still nitpicking a little bit, throwing a lot of pitches. He gave up a home run to Giambi, but I don’t consider anything that idiot does legitimate. Frenchy hit a homer off of Mussina, and Tony Pena Jr. showed off for his dad, the first base coach for the Yankees, by turning some really good plays and nearly hitting a home run himself, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth to bring us our third extra inning game of the spring.

So we have another set of three related incidents to consider . . . what do three extra inning preseason games mean? I’m trying to work out a prophecy for this season, and I had a dream last night that may or may not prove helpful:

Okay, in the dream, I turn on the TV and Heap and Frenchy are on The Price is Right, and they’re competing against each other in the Showcase Showdown. They’re both really excited about winning dinette sets and such, even though they’re rich. Then suddenly it’s revealed that this Price is Right taping is all an elaborate setup, and someone is trying assassinate them. But they’re like, crime fighters or something, so they’re totally expecting this and they kick some ass. Then the show turns into a cartoon about Heap and Frenchy as rogue warriors who are also baseball players, and they’re on the way to the ballpark when they have to stop to rescue this woman from a villain who has kidnapped her in a hot air balloon. They kind of grin at each other and shrug, like, “Ain’t that the way it goes!” then the show ends.

So, what does that mean for our season? I hope these dreams come in threes, too, because I was really amused by that one and wouldn’t mind two more.

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.

02/23/2007 (6:41 pm)

“I Went In On The Bounce”

First of all: I have the 2007 portraits in my possession, and they are magnificent. I’ll post them on Sunday night; we’re going away for the weekend so this will probably be my last post until then. I’ve got a ton of normal pictures to post for now, and ALSO:

The first Heap and Frenchy article of the season! Alright, now spring has officially begun. And let me tell you guys, this one really sets the bar high. Bowman like, recreates their couch time in front of the TV and everything. He’s officially a fangirl and I’m so pleased, even though he totally stole my observation about Frenchy saying “neat” all the time, which was so original and insightful.

This cracked me up:

It’s Francoeur’s youthful exuberance that has always been so appealing to the mild-mannered McCann. From the time they began playing on youth All-Star teams together, their Type A and Type B personalities have created a perfect match.

“I was always so upbeat and in his face,” Francoeur said. “And he was just always so calm and like, ‘This guy is crazy.’ But we got along so well. He’s always done a great job of complementing the other side of me.”

They are a marketing department’s dream and I can’t wait to see what they do with them this year on the new Sports South. Hopefully the discrepancy in their performances won’t be so noticeable and the PR girls can really go wild. Though they probably will anyway.

If you liked this, you may also enjoy:

-An article in which Frenchy is referred to as “a polite, enthusiastic child of a man.”

-An article in which Chuckie is referred to as “a wisp of a pitcher.” It also includes a full recounting of the night Chuckie broke both of his wrists jumping off a shed into a pool the week before the draft.

-And finally: Looks like somebody hurt O’Brien’s feelings this morning! But he doesn’t care. He doesn’t! Totally not important! I mean why would he care? Sheesh! Let’s devote the entire AJC Braves page to Soriano’s cockiness and get over it, people!

Friday Images from AJC and Yahoo

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