Archive for April, 2009

Countdown to Season Opener

   Can’t you almost taste it now? The season is all but upon us. Day after tomorrow, people, day after tomorrow!

   While DOB unpacks and repacks, to go from spring training to the season opener Sunday night in Philadelphia, let me bring this exhibition season to a close. There’s just a little tidying up to be done on the roster, and then we’ll be on our way.

   First and foremost is whether Jordan Schafer gets the center field nod, or the Braves choose to give the job back to Gregor Blanco to give Schafer a little more seasoning time in Gwinnett. I, for one, figure it’ll be Schafer, who was in the starting lineup yesterday in Kissimmee with all the regulars, but we’ll have to see for sure.

   I’d guess the Braves will announce roster decisions after tonight’s game against the Tigers. That way those guys can have their things packed and ready to go to fly to Philadelphia on Saturday night.

   This time last year (only it was a week earlier), the first of two exhibition games …

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Spring training’s already over?


  Kissimmee, Fla., Day 50 – Greetings from the old ballpark next to Silver Spurs rodeo arena, where today we’ll mercifully wrap up the War and Peace version of spring training with a supposed Grapefruit League game against a team of Astros minor leaguers in humidity that could make a grapefruit wipe its brow and say WTF?
  No, seriously. The humidity was 97 percent when I left the rental compound for the last time this morning. And it is a team of ‘Stros minor leaguers. Their Triple-A team, specifically. It’s 82 degrees. Very sticky.
  The big-league crew is busing to the airport now, headed to Texas for an exhibition game at the Double-A Corpus Christi affiliate. (Pause while we sing a little Robert Earl Keen in the still-empty pressbox: “If I could live my life all over, it wouldn’t matter anyway. ‘Cause I never could stay sober, on the Corpus Christi Bay….”)
   Most of the Braves regulars will probably get a couple of at-bats and come out, and the team will fly back to …

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How good are these Braves?

 

  Lakeland, Fla. – Back at Tiger Town, where it feels like we never actually left. Braves were here a few days ago, right? It’s all blending together now, the 6 a.m. alarms going off (and me already up), the drives on I-4 (motorcycle is gone now, in a trailer headed back to Atlanta), the batting-practice soundtracks of ‘70s rock/golden oldies (”Wild Thing” playing as I type this) mixed randomly with nondescript current cheese rock and hip-hop, and the intoxicating smell of sausages and burgers being grilled by vendors beneath the grandstands, causing hunger pangs and bringing back memories of Little League summers.
   OK, so last day before we pack it up and head north. And what have we learned about these Bravos?
   Well, we know the starting rotation should be a lot better than it was last season, and that in and of itself should assure the Braves win more games. But what else do we know? I mean, other than they use more mayonnaise for food preparation at the Dark Star …

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