The Man In Black could’ve written a song about Heyward

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – I’m sure there are probably better places to be on  Johnny Cash’s birthday than here at a ballpark in Florida, but there aren’t many. Bccause it’s niiiice out. It was 40 degrees this morning, but it’s already 60 with brilliant sun and no wind.

The Braves are taking batting practice right now – spring training is like Groundhog Day right now, until the games start Tuesday — here at Dark Star Park (aka Champion Stadium at ESPN Is-Taking-Over-The-World Sports Complex).

Before we go any further, gotta share something Bobby Cox said this morning. ESPN had some sort of grand renaming ceremony here last night, lots of big-name athletes and coaches, and TV people covering it like it was actual news. Anyway, a certain former Gators football coach took part. As did the Braves manager, who’d never really met Steve Spurrier before last night.

How’d last night go, Bobby?

As much as Cox wanted to hate him....

As much as Cox wanted to hate him....

“Good,” he said. “I like Steve Spurrier now.”

Come again?

“You live in Georgia, you’ve got to hate him,” Cox said. “But no. I talked to him, and he’s great.”

Speaking of The Network That Ate Sports, I was talking to Buster Olney downstairs while ago, and he’s bummed that he has to leave at 10 a.m., driving to another camp. He’s disappointed because he’s going to miss the latest installment of Jason Heyward’s Vehicle Destruction Tour … er, batting practice.

Buster was somewhere prepping for Baseball Tonight’s remote from here yesterday when Heyward hit, so he’s only read about the now-legendary early displays of prodigious power from the McDonough Masher, who has dented metal and shattered glass on a few cars in the team-officials parking lot beyond right field.

Heyward's BP is stuff of legend

Heyward's BP is stuff of legend

We should remind everyone at this point, it’s coaches throwing BP. He’s not hitting 450-foot lasers against real pitchers; few guys are putting much wood at all the pitchers’ offerings this early in BP, just the nature of this. In the first week or so of spring training, pitchers are always ahead of the hitters.

That said, Heyward is hitting them harder and farther than anyone else here, or anyone else on the team in recent years.

Yes, Andruw hit a few awe-inspiring shots over the entire scoreboard that towers over the outfield wall here from left-center to right-center, but those were more moon shots than the line drives that Heyward hits. Jeff Francoeur and Javy Lopez and others have hit some bullets onto and even over the left-field berm.

But this … this is something different. The 245-pound Heyward hits them with such ferocity that the ball not only makes a different sound coming off the bat – as Bobby Cox, Tim Hudson and others have noted – but it also whistles past with a different sound when you’re standing between the dugout and first-base line. Seriously, it does. I noticed that yesterday when I was standing over there with my back turned, talking to someone.

Heyward hit a ball that sounded like it was dangerously close to me (it wasn’t) and at the same time one of the other hitters in his group shouted something that was guttural, an instinctive sort of response indicating disbelief.

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OK, I’ll stop the myth-making for now. We don’t want to go completely overboard (if we’re not already there) talking about how impressive the kid’s BP sessions have been against straight, 60-mph “fast”balls. (But they have been). I’ll just add that he hits harder line drives than anyone I’ve seen taking batting practice with the exceptions of Gary Sheffield and Cliff Floyd. They hit them this hard.

I've only seen a couple of guys hit line drives as hard. Sheff is one.

I've only seen a couple of guys hit line drives as hard. Sheff is one.

And as entertaining as his BP sessions have been, they still don’t’ compare to watching Mark McGwire during his roid-ragin’ peak years, the year he broke the record specifically. Opposing players would come out of the clubhouse to see McGwire take BP, and watch him take these seemingly effortless and entirely distinctive cuts, letting go of the bat with one hand earlier than most guys and following through with only his bottom hand.

(It probably didn’t look as effortless when he was injecting ‘roids through all the scar tissue, but that’s another story….)

Oh, and speaking of long balls, two I was fortunate to witness in person and will never forget. First, the Big Cat, Andres Galarraga, hit a 529-foot titanic shot off Florida volcano Kevin Brown that I initially believed was going to sail completely out of the stadium formerly known as Joe Robbie, in Miami (it landed more than halfway up the tarped upper deck and actually rolled upward several rows before it retreated and rolled down to the walkway; that’s how hard it was hit. When a reporter asked Brown afterward if he’d ever had one hit that far off him, and the reporter smiled as he asked, Brown’s stare could have burned holes through the guy’s skull. “You think that’s funny?” Brown said back, and we practically ducked for cover and called home to mommy.

A few years later, I watched  McGwire hit what was, at least at that time and perhaps still is, the longest homer he’d ever hit. It was estimated at 545 feet, a massive shot to almost straightaway center off Florida’s Livan Hernandez, a ball that caromed off the second-deck façade at old Busch Stadium. The next day, they had put a large, faux band-aid over the spot. It was absurd, the distance.

There have been others that made my jaw drop, including one that Vlad Guerrero hit off Mike Hampton at Olympic Stadium in Montreal in 2003. Screaming line drive. Barely fair, pulled down the left-field line, hit off a back wall of that domed stadium. (By the way, Javy Vazquez was the opposing pitcher that day, and Marcus Giles hit a grand slam against him.)

Vlad Guerrero

Vlad Guerrero

One other home run comes immediately to mind, not so much for the distance but the situation.  Sheffield had missed most of the 1995 season with the Marlins because of a torn thumb ligament. Came off the DL for a game against Houston at the Astrodome. His first at-bat off the DL, he absolutely destroyed a pitch, turned on it and hit a line drive that didn’t appear to get more than 20 feet off the ground before it smashed into the scoreboard above the left-field fence. It was frightening, that dude’s bat speed back then. Frightening.

And get this: “He told us he was going to go deep in his first at-bat,” said Terry Pendleton, who was playing third base for the Marlins. “We said, what? Get out of here. Then he did it.”

♣ Jurrjens update to come: OK, enough for now. I’m headed back down to the field to watch the last few groups hit, including the one with the big kid from Henry County High. (Forgot to mention, the Braves have already measured for the protective nets, the Heyward Nets, they want to order to protect the cars in the lot for the rest of spring.) We’ll have an update on Jair Jurrjens for you after the workout. I asked Bobby about him this morning and he said Jurrjens didn’t throw yesterday but might long-toss today.

♣ Cash forever: We’ll take this out with our own tribute to The Man In Black.  Happy 78th birthday, Mr. Cash.  Here’s a couple of videos of two of my favorites, Big River and  Sunday Morning Coming Down. And also check out this.

johnny-cash-135-1

“BIG RIVER” by Johnny Cash

Now I taught the weeping willow how to cry,

And I showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.

And the tears that I cried for that woman are gonna flood you Big River.

Then I’m gonna sit right here until I die.

I met her accidentally in St. Paul, Minnesota.

And it tore me up every time I heard her drawl, Southern drawl.

Then I heard my dream was back Downstream cavortin’ in Davenport,

And I followed you, Big River, when you called.

Then you took me to St. Louis later on (down the river).

A freighter said she’s been here but she’s gone, boy, she’s gone.

I found her trail in Memphis, but she just walked up the block.

She raised a few eyebrows and then she went on down alone.

Now, won’t you batter down by Baton Rouge, River Queen, roll it on.

Take that woman on down to New Orleans, New Orleans.

Go on, I’ve had enough; dump my blues down in the gulf.

She loves you, Big River, more than me.

Now I taught the weeping willow how to cry, cry, cry

And I showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.

And the tears that I cried for that woman are gonna flood you Big River.

Then I’m gonna sit right here until I die.

1,152 comments Add your comment

Heath

February 26th, 2010
12:40 pm

Poor Buster. :(

Crime Dog

February 26th, 2010
12:42 pm

Longest bomb I ever saw in person was one Bonds hit off Smoltz in the (2002?) NLDS. Braves still won, I was sitting in right field seats and it looked like it was on its way up as it flew over my head.

Crime Dog

February 26th, 2010
12:43 pm

I should say the Braves won that game. Obviously, they lost the series.

Jarryd

February 26th, 2010
12:46 pm

i saw a clip of that espn renaming ceremony and the president of disney or whatever attributed the success of the WWOS to the braves. it was cool to finally see someone give the braves some love.

hagood

February 26th, 2010
12:51 pm

Never got that song was about the Mississippi

TennesseePaul

February 26th, 2010
12:52 pm

Nice DOB.

I enjoy the memory of McGwire vs Johnson back when they were both in the AL. Johnson flung one up there at 99mph, McGwire turned it around and sent it to the top of the Mariners old Dome at 104mph. It’s amazing the ball didn’t explode having its momentum altered 180 degrees at such speeds.

The Official Skip Caray T-Shirt

February 26th, 2010
12:54 pm

The Official Skip Caray T-Shirt is available online NOW! A portion of the proceeds benefit the Skip Caray Family of Charities.

Get yours at http://www.skipshirt.com

bigchiefrg

February 26th, 2010
12:55 pm

Is that you John Wayne? Is this me?

Reuben Mindali

February 26th, 2010
12:55 pm

DOB, I was wondering what your impressions were of Prado so far this ST? Any reason to think that he won’t have another solid year?

Bruce Chen

February 26th, 2010
12:56 pm

This one time in band camp…

ChipperFan

February 26th, 2010
12:57 pm

The legend grows….

DOB I’m loving how impressed you are with the kid. I’m sure I’d feel the same if I could watch him take BP. Keep up the doting!

brian

February 26th, 2010
12:58 pm

may have to redo the commercial “Chicks dig the Long Ball” one day with Heyward taking BP. Hopefully we will have Hanson and maybe Jurrjens as the Cy Young award winning pitchers.

Still one of my favorite commercials of all time

Tommy

February 26th, 2010
12:58 pm

So glad you are enjoying your work! I’m staring at a pool in my backyard with a probable water temp of about 50º while sitting in my house freezing! Wish I was there hanging out with you and our Braves!!! GO BRAVOS!

Mike Hancho

February 26th, 2010
12:59 pm

Saw Cecil Fielder hit one in the old Texas Rangers’ park. Dang near took it outta the stadium in left.

NRBQ

February 26th, 2010
1:03 pm

DAP

February 26th, 2010
1:11 pm

thin, dpelfry

1. rollins
2. polanco
3. utley
4. werth
5. ibanez
6. victorino
7. gload
8. ruiz

even with their biggest hitter out, that lineup might be as good as our is if everyone is healthy. having good backups and lots of flexibility is great, but it doesnt make us better than the phillies in case of injury.

reron-nj

February 26th, 2010
1:12 pm

DOB
Just wanted to thank you for the glutton of information and spring training blogs. Going through the 4th blizzard (a blizzard as far as Jersey goes) of the winter, it’s nice to have something to look forward to after breaking my back attempting to shovel my way to civilization.

Well done!

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
1:14 pm

DAP-
Sure, you take out 45HRs and 140RBIs in combination with their pitching staff and IMO – They’re team dynamic changes quite a bit more than the Braves losing Glaus.

BravesfaninWis

February 26th, 2010
1:15 pm

DOB,

How come there hasn’t been any updated pictures of ST the past few days?

Venice Jim

February 26th, 2010
1:17 pm

BravesfaninWis – the AJC photographer headed back to Atlanta…

Rich

February 26th, 2010
1:19 pm

Neither a better song nor artist could you have closed with today …

Can’t wait to see Heyward. If he can be half as great facing live pitching as reports say he is against softballs, this is gonna be a fun year.

RHR

February 26th, 2010
1:22 pm

It felt wrong not to have an ode to the original outlaw here on his birth date. I like it.

Ignatius J. Reilly

February 26th, 2010
1:24 pm

David O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
1:24 pm

Jair Jurrjens was told not to throw for second straight day, although Cox said Jurrjens “begged” Roger McDowell to let him throw. Cox agreed that was a good sign that Jurrjens is feeling better.

He long-tossed Wednesday, could do some throwing tomorrow. Still no word when he’ll get on mound, though. It’s a day-to-day thing, Cox still seems to be downplaying it. Give it another day or two and we should have better idea, at least if he’s still not throwing.

Nevermind that. Turns out the info from Bobby wasn’t accurate. Jurrjens did long-toss again today and had only a little discomfort, apparently less than he had Wednesday when he long-tossed. Next step could be throwing off mound, probably not before next week.

Jersey Gil

February 26th, 2010
1:24 pm

http://crashburnalley.com/2010/02/25/why-a-ryan-howard-trade-makes-sense/
Saw this article in MLBTR, this follow the article on yesterday about the Phillis, that Make sense to trade Ryan Howard this yr and move Chase Utley to First with Polanco to Second.

About the Biggest Moon Shot that i saw.. was Frank “Hondo” Howard in Puerto Rico when he was a Rookies from the LA Dodger, the ball hit the water on the beach.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
1:25 pm

The Braves offense in 2010 is going to live or die based on the double. It really is identical to last years but exponentially different with the replacement of Frenchy, KJ and 2 mos of a guy trying to hit ML pitching with a broken wrist. The Braves scored 10 times the runs last year with good at bats than they did hitting the HR. Glaus biggest asset to this team is making pitchers throw Chipper strikes.

Rhett

February 26th, 2010
1:25 pm

DOB – I hear you on Sheffield’s line drives. I was at the Vet in 2002 when Sheffield was with the Braves, and he hit a laser that I think was still rising when it went over the fence. The left fielder didn’t even take a step, just turned his head slightly and the ball was already past him. I haven’t been to a ton of MLB games, but that was the hardest hit ball I’ve seen/heard.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

February 26th, 2010
1:27 pm

Dale Murphy hit a line drive over short at Wrigley Field that just cleared the basket at the top of the fence and it bounced back to the infield. I’ve said for years that it was the hardest hit ball I’ve ever seen. Earl Williams hit an upper deck shot at Fulton County his rookie yr (I think) sparking one of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard, Ernie Johnson had been on a 3 or 4 minute rant about how a baseball will not carry as far in damp conditions (it had begun to rain) Williams then mashes a towering upper deck shot that had Milo Hamilton screaming. After it calms down for a few seconds Ernie says….. just think how far that would have gone if it hadn’t been raining.

dpelfrey

February 26th, 2010
1:28 pm

I read an article a while back about how all the estimates for homerun distances were exaggerated back in the 80’s and 90’s. Something about how the formula didn’t take into account that a baseball doesn’t travel the same distance after it reaches it’s apex as it does before. Not to say there haven’t been 500-foot shots. I think that article used Galarraga’s 529-footer in Miami as an example. According to some physics professor, a 500-foot shot at sea level is nearly impossible without help from a strong breeze. Of course, that professor might have been basing his calculations on the typical “unassisted” strength of ballplayers at the time.

DAP

February 26th, 2010
1:28 pm

thinbreakness They’re team dynamic changes quite a bit more than the Braves losing Glaus.

of course it does, but if their lineup is a 10 then ours is like a 7.

if losing howard brings them down 3 points, and losing glaus bring us down only one point, they were effected alot more than us, but they are still ahead 7 to 6.

timthebrave

February 26th, 2010
1:30 pm

I might just weat black tonight in honor of johnny cash. He sings what country music should be and not this pop/country garbage

Coldwork

February 26th, 2010
1:30 pm

I agree with Cliff Floyd hitting some unreal line drives. I saw him in a spring training game about 6-7 years ago at the Dark Star against the Braves and he hit a HR over the right center field wall that couldn’t have gotten more than 25 off the ground. Left the park in th 3 seconds. I was in awe.

n

February 26th, 2010
1:32 pm

Griffey and Jay Buhner used to hit some bombs. I remember Griffey in the Home Run Derby in Baltimore was the first to hit the warehouse beyond right field.

DAP

February 26th, 2010
1:34 pm

jersey gil that Make sense to trade Ryan Howard this yr and move Chase Utley to First with Polanco to Second.

i dont think that makes sense. utley is too good of a 2nd baseman to move. if you trade howard, you go find a 1st baseman or move polanco there and get a third baseman. (probably the first one.)

thinbreakness The Braves scored 10 times the runs last year with good at bats than they did hitting the HR.

hitting for extra bases is absolutely the key. they ranked near the top in batting average and OBP, but were way down the list in slg%. by the way, in the 2nd half least season when the braves were scoring gobs of runs….they were hitting lots of homers.

David O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
1:35 pm

JURRJENS corrected update: He did long-toss again today, despite what we’d been told by Bobby immediately after the workout. Apparently he had only a little discomfort, less than he had Wednesday when he long-tossed. Next step could be throwing off mound, though probably not before next week.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
1:36 pm

DAP-
That’s cool, the Fillies did score 820 times last year while we only scored 735 times.

Bill W.

February 26th, 2010
1:37 pm

talking about long homers here is one for you. i wish i could remember the time period i think mid seventies. hank aron was up to bat and a friend and myself were sitting in the old Atlnata Stadium nose bleed seats in left field maybe 15 rows from the top. Aron smoked a ball that hit the seats three rows down from us still rising and chiped wood from the seat. i swear i think that ball could have departed the Stadium. i will never forget that, way to go Hank you are still the man as far as i am concerned.

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
1:38 pm

Well DOB’s accounts of RF Heyward’s bombs(yes, he will start in RF for Atlanta opening day)are indeed nothing that evokes impossibility stature. Got me thinking about ole’ Mick. Always heard he hit the longest but couldn’t remember where.

It is interesting reading to google The Mick as there are dozens of websites with actual eyewitness accounts of the homers. While many have been measured and verified at over 600 feet, the one at 734 feet against KC at Yankee Stadium is the one of conjecture, lore, and calculus. You can look it up as they say but this ball failed by a foot from totally leaving Yankee Stadium and was still rising by eyewitness accounts when it left an indention in the facade and bounded all the way back to the pitchers mound. Of course, the 734 feet comes from what if and scientific re-enactments if you will but regardless what remains from that blast is still with us today.

The term “tape-measure shot” apparently originated from a scribe indicating that Mantle had hit another tape-measure shot when describing the Yankee Stadium blast. Earlier Mantle had hit a shot out of Griffith Stadium in DC when a reporter used a tape to try to figure the distance, thus the phrase.

Many thought Ruth had hit the longest and may well have were it not for the fact the ball hit two parked cars. Sound familiar. Look forward to seeing how far Heyward hits them when they are coming in at 90.

DAP

February 26th, 2010
1:39 pm

remember the walk off nick green hit at fenway last season? that was the shortest homer ive ever seen.

Steve McP

February 26th, 2010
1:39 pm

Love a Skip Carey T-shirt, but they don’t have 3XLT and I don’t have time to lose 50 pounds before the season starts!

18 Wheels of Love

February 26th, 2010
1:40 pm

Jason Heyward should change his name to Toe Nash.

http://espn.go.com/gammons/s/2001/0111/1007850.html

eltrompoBRAVESfan

February 26th, 2010
1:41 pm

I’m just worried Heyward is gonna buckle under the pressure. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard so much buzz about a prospect.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m pumped up about what I’m hearing!

PiersonBrave

February 26th, 2010
1:42 pm

DOB: If you get the chance on Sunday morning you might listen to Real Radio 104.1 @ 9 or 10 AM for the show “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. It is a really good listen for a week day talk station. The show runs for 2-3 hours.

All I'm Saying Is...

February 26th, 2010
1:43 pm

Great stuff, DOB and we appreciate it.

As I recall, the Big Hurt put on a real show during the home run derby at an all star game some years back — I think the game was in Pittsburgh that year but not sure. His career numbers sure look a lot better now given all that crap that was going which he was never a part of. I think Frank is from Georgia too and definitely headed to the HOF.

And let’s not forget Reggie Jackson as an Oakland Athletic hitting one out of old Tiger Stadium during an all star game — dude always had a flair for the dramatic and he came through back when it was rare to see an AL player on TV when you lived in a NL town.

LET’S GO BRAVES!

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
1:43 pm

DAP-
In the first 88 games 68 HRs and 373 R
In the last 74 names 81 HRs and 362 R

13 more Home Runs but only 11 more runs scored.

David O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
1:44 pm

Cox said of Schafer, who rested surgically repaired hand for third day without live hitting: “He’s going to have a hard spring, getting that thing ready. We were hoping he’d be ready to open the season somewhere, and get to that stage. And right now it’s still sore.”…

Schafer hasn’t had setbacks, but rather is just trying to regain strength in a hand that atrophied when he had cast on for four months about three months after Sept. 5 surgery.

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
1:45 pm

dpelfrey….may I suggest you google Mantle. Verified, proven and in the record books numerous times at over 600 feet on both coasts. Longest HR in recorded baseball history that could actually be verified “after the fact”. Place-643′ @ Tiger Stadium in 1960.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
1:48 pm

DAP-
You’re correct, the bombs do bring them in and hopefully can hit with more power this year.

18 Wheels of Love

February 26th, 2010
1:48 pm

I was thinking of the Heyward nicknames and I came up with one…let me preface it with that I was trying to think of something that would go with ‘jack’ as in “He jacked that one out of here!”. There was no intent to take color into account….none whatsoever. OK, here goes…

Blackjack Heyward

Is that too over the top? Conjure up bad voodoo? I guess it could be taken the wrong way, kind of like Principle Blackman on ‘Strangers With Candy’. But anyway I kind of like it.

Will L

February 26th, 2010
1:51 pm

I was watching that Marlins Rockies game when Galarraga hit that massive shot in Dolphin stadium. During the rest of the game and on Sportscenter that night they had it estimated at 600+ feet and very possibly longer that than Bobby Thompson homer that went out of the Polo Grounds (making it the longest homer ever). It wasn’t until later that the Marlins people “officially” called it at 529ft, which was a fairly big controversy because everbody thought there was no way it was that short. It was almost directly over that deepest part of the outfield (434ft) and it had just started coming down before it landed halfway up the upper deck, just about as far away from home plate as you can get in that place. McGuire’s homer was a moon shot that was most of the way down when it hit that facade. I still say there is no way McGuire’s shot was longer than the Big Cat’s. NO WAY

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
1:53 pm

18 Wheels-
The best one I’ve heard is “McDonough Masher”. Not sucking up to DOB as I don’t know if he coined it or not. Pays homeage to his home and ability – short and simple.

ncscoots

February 26th, 2010
1:54 pm

The Braves offense in 2010 is going to live or die based on the double…The Braves scored 10 times the runs last year with good at bats than they did hitting the HR.

That’s because they didn’t hit enough homers, not because “good at bats” are better than homers, LOL. Your first line is half-right: you can die by the double. A double produces slightly less than half the runs of a homer per event, unsurprisingly. An offense that doesn’t leave the park with the baseball can’t expect to consistently leave the park with a win, either. It’s pretty simple math.

As a case in point, the Phillies were pretty bad at both average and OBP last year, but led the league in slugging. Not coincidentally, they led the league in runs, also. Braves were 4 or 5 in both average and OBP, yet scored 100 fewer runs. Because their slugging was pitiful.

I know, there are folks here who love all the small-ball stuff, tout gap-doubles hitters, sneer disdainfully at three-run homers, and all that. Doesn’t change the math, no matter how much one might wish it were 1961 again.

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
1:55 pm

I kinda like the Mcdonough Masher or whatever, but the name I think will stick is when he hits a monster shot off the cow at The Ted. The Milk Man is born. Not to mention a lifetime supply of Chick-Fil-A.

DAP

February 26th, 2010
1:58 pm

thinbreakness In the first 88 games 68 HRs and 373 R
In the last 74 names 81 HRs and 362 R

13 more Home Runs but only 11 more runs scored.

hm…your statement doesnt really go with the stats you posted…but using the stats you have here, over the course of a season, their first half homer/run production would have come out to 125 homers and 686 runs. the second half number over 162 games would have been 177 homers and 792 runs. the homers (or extra base hits, in general) really helped get us going in the 2nd half last season.

18 Wheels of Love

February 26th, 2010
1:58 pm

I like McDonough Masher myself…reminds me of the old boxing nicknames.

He shouldwear #4 in the bigs….as in “Foooooooooore!!!!!”

All I'm Saying Is...

February 26th, 2010
1:58 pm

18 Wheels–good try but no matter how you slice it Blackjack will always be misinterpreted plus it also conjures up the image of a knife or illicit weapon and I think we can do better than put those images on a kid.

I vote McDonough Masher — after he earns it by hitting a mess of dingers and earning a high slugging percentage in the Bigs.

LET’S GO BRAVES!

Bailey

February 26th, 2010
2:00 pm

Rock On, I would think it would be near impossible to hit an opposite field HR that far.

Jersey Gil

February 26th, 2010
2:01 pm

DAP..I think the whole situation with Utley is he’s not 100% healthy with the Hip surgery that he has last yr, moved him to first make sense, with Howard is different, they tried to get some Prospect to stack their minor league system or find a third base for next yr.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:02 pm

ncscoots-
81 home games 408 Runs, .455 slugging
81 road games 412 Runs, .439 slugging

Funny how they slugged less yet scored more runs last year on the road. LOL

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
2:03 pm

scoots….little base path speed and a non-aggressive manager=3-run homer time. If we had a strong baserunning team we would have more to show for gap doubles. Doubles are great, homers are better. Actually I would take a double then a homer. Yep, that works better than a homer then a double. duh huh!

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:03 pm

DAP-
I know, you missed my 1:48.

Bailey

February 26th, 2010
2:05 pm

Has anyone begun worring about all the young left-handed hitter we have about to be in the bigs? It is possible that next year, we could have 5 of the 9 starters be left handed hitters (McLouth, McCann, Heyward, Schafer, & Freeman) and 3 of them under 24. The only 2 righties would be Escobar and Prado. This could make it awfully hard against a tough lefty.

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
2:05 pm

Bailey….how far is that? Doesn’t look that far to me. I almost hit it with a sand wedge last year. Seriously.

Choppinmama

February 26th, 2010
2:06 pm

C’mon DOB. The “”Heyward Net” is sooooooo boring. Let me again suggest “The Heyzilla Memorial Net.” OK folks, any other suggestions?

GLB

February 26th, 2010
2:06 pm

There’s no way I’ll ever believe that Mantle ever hit a homerun over 600 feet. Not unless the ball for that game was a giant version of a golf ball.

Choppinmama

February 26th, 2010
2:08 pm

The McDonough Masher Memorial Net.

claudell

February 26th, 2010
2:08 pm

GLB, Do you have any idea what kind of athlete Mantle was?

Ted M

February 26th, 2010
2:08 pm

DOB – When did Schafer get his cast taken off? and when did start rebuilding strength in the hand?

Don’t you have your laptop with you and connected to the net at the field. You keep saying you have to go back now.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:10 pm

ncscoots-
I’m wrong again because I didn’t factor in the extra plate appearances playing on the road, oh well. Love the Long Ball like a chick.

GLB

February 26th, 2010
2:10 pm

Claudell, yes I’m aware Mantle was a great player. I don’t believe his bat speed was greater than the top players today, nor was he stronger.

DAP

February 26th, 2010
2:11 pm

thinbreakness Funny how they slugged less yet scored more runs last year on the road. LOL

im not sure what you looking at, but the team splits i see have the braves hitting .269/.341/.418 with 80 homers and 403 runs on the road and .257/.336/.392 with 69 homers and 332 runs at home.

your stats are way off, man.

timthebrave

February 26th, 2010
2:12 pm

GLB, Do you have any idea what kind of athlete Mantle was?
One of the greatest of all times but I doubt he hit it 600 feet. Anything over 450 is smashed. anything over 500 is one for the record books. I think 600 feet is a myth

ncscoots

February 26th, 2010
2:12 pm

Thin, how is possibly germane to the conversation that the team slugged more or less in any particular split? They won by slugging, regardless of the venue. The point was, and is, that teams without sufficient power, those that “live or die by the double” as you put it, mostly, well, die.

DAP

February 26th, 2010
2:13 pm

baily It is possible that next year, we could have 5 of the 9 starters be left handed hitters

not a problem.

Bailey

February 26th, 2010
2:13 pm

Rock On,
Think about the fact that it’s on the same level as the Coke Bottle and not too far in front of it (It’s to the right of it). Then think, that during the Homerun Derby here in 2000, Sosa and McGwire (all roided up) were hitting towards the Coke Bottle in left field and no one even got it to the same level. So, I find it highly unlikely that ANYONE would be able to hit an opposite field homerun that far.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:15 pm

DAP-
Not the Braves stats, those were the Fills stats. But I’ve conceded the point to you and scoots. Like a Chick, I too dig the long ball. But you do make the point about Turner being less HR friendly which is were we play 81 times a year.

dpelfrey

February 26th, 2010
2:15 pm

Coldwork,

Heyward hit one of those last year in a ST game. I looked down for a second to pick up my drink, heard the crack, looked up and it was already past the right fielder. I think the Cliff Floyd comparisons are probably spot on. It’s kind of funny, Floyd was also drafted 14th overall and put up some similar numbers to Heyward in the minors (a few more longballs).

Let’s hope Heyward doesn’t have an injury-plagued under-achieving career like Floyd. Based on talent alone, Floyd should have been one of the top players of the past 20 years.

David O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
2:16 pm

DOB – When did Schafer get his cast taken off? and when did start rebuilding strength in the hand? Don’t you have your laptop with you and connected to the net at the field. You keep saying you have to go back now. Ted M

He got the cast off in December. (He told another reporter that he had it on 18 weeks, but I think he might have miscalculated. Probably about three months).

Do I lug my laptop around on the field? Absolutely not. There’s a certain protocol to follow, and sitting in the dugout blogging isn’t part of it. Not to mention it’d make jotting down observations and interviewing people a little difficult. (”Here, let me put my laptop down and get out my notepad out.”)

LitiGator

February 26th, 2010
2:16 pm

One of the longest bombs I remember. Glenallen Hill to the roof across the street at Wrigley. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMZpTQmA-I8&sns=em

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:16 pm

ncscoots-
see 2:10 and 2:15, you guys are correct, we will not win if we do not slug.

timthebrave

February 26th, 2010
2:19 pm

I think almost all home runs are exaggerated. I’ve seen them clear a 400 foot fence barely. Would have gone about 410 and they say it went 435 or something like that. Me thinks the tape measure guys dont understand physics

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
2:19 pm

GLB…..believe what you want. May I add he also hit a golf ball 425 yards. Measured in a tourney(not downhill) with a persimmon driver and old balata ball in the 60’s. I actually played with Mantle in the later years in Dallas (on the winning side thankfully) at Preston Trail GC. Avid golfer and absolutely strong as an ox. My friend, Mantle was no myth. What he did you just can’t make up. Some of his golf exploits are as documented as his baseball and off-field escapades.

ncscoots

February 26th, 2010
2:20 pm

If we had a strong baserunning team we would have more to show for gap doubles.

Not appreciably. Eight guys who ran like Usain Bolt wouldn’t change the runs-per-event math more than a smidge, LOL.

I’m with you, though, I love doubles…when they’re followed by a homer!
But that’s enough of that, LOL. By now, I should know better than to start pontificating on the value of home runs…it never leads to anything worthwhile. :-)

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:22 pm

ncscoots-
If only the HR could occur as often as the double.

Wayne in Utah (Vote Jason Heyward for King of Baseball)

February 26th, 2010
2:23 pm

Good to see some folks not getting their hopes up too much on Heyward….

:twisted:

Daslied

February 26th, 2010
2:24 pm

LitiGator – thanks for the Chip Caray. Been missing him. :) Surprised he didn’t say “Shallow fly ball to le…WHOA THAT’S GONE!”

claudell

February 26th, 2010
2:24 pm

Claudell, yes I’m aware Mantle was a great player. I don’t believe his bat speed was greater than the top players today, nor was he stronger.

Maybe 600 is an exaggeration but he had to be putting them out there close to that. He was definitely stronger than the majority of hitters out there today.

Choppinmama

February 26th, 2010
2:25 pm

”Here, let me put my laptop down and get out my notepad out.”

Answered all the Braves players and coaches: “Sure, no problem DOB. And, I have all the time in the world to answer all the questions your denizens have submitted to you during the off-season and early ST.”

And, #6 hollers from the depths of the clubhouse, “Hey, DOB. C’mon in here and let’s strategize our opening day line-up and how I should use Prado, Heyward and DIaz this season.”

……only in Bizzaro Baseball Writer’s World.

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
2:25 pm

Mantle was documented in the Guinness Book of World Records-Sports division as hitting the longest HR ever fully documented and authenticated. Well over 600 feet-twice.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:26 pm

I think the whole conversation veered from the relevance or irrelevance of Howard in the Fillie lineup. Without Howard, the Fillies lineup is still superior to the Braves or as good (DAP @ 1:11).

David O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
2:26 pm

Thinbreakness: Yes, until I hear one better, I’m gonna stick with my own McDonough Masher. I like it, has an old-school ring to it. And most of the others suggested are too clunky and not usable for our purposes.

David O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
2:28 pm

I thought about using the McDonough Menace, but I didn’t propose that because it might be taken the wrong way. He seems like too nice a kid to be called a menace, even though it wouldn’t be meant in anything but flattering terms.

Just Pat

February 26th, 2010
2:32 pm

DOB

Besides, McDonough NEEDS some kind of “recognition”. ;-)

Ignatius J. Reilly

February 26th, 2010
2:33 pm

is there gonna be a heyward fan club in the stands this yr?

heywards hommies??

Ignatius J. Reilly

February 26th, 2010
2:33 pm

everyone dress like hommie da clown or somethin..

Just Pat

February 26th, 2010
2:34 pm

The only thing I remember about McDonough from my time in Atlanta is that my best friend’s crazy mother lived there and my ex moved there after we split.

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
2:35 pm

As far as Mantle goes-as they say you can look it up. A Mantle interview indicated that the HR hit at Yankee Stadium that is subject of lore was the hardest baseball he ever hit anywhere. Given that he is said to have hit 7 over 600 feet perhaps 700 feet is a stretch. 600 feet was not a stretch of the imagination for Mantle. He hit one in an exhibition game against USC in LA at 19 before ever having an official MLB at bat. Not in the record books but that one was measured by the USC coach at 635 feet. Cleared the stadium and landed across the football field behind it. Many homers hit with a hangover but I guess that isn’t part of the metric.

thinbreakness

February 26th, 2010
2:37 pm

DOB-
OK, now I’m a suck-up. McDonough and Masher are positive, superhero type of an onomatopoeia. “Masher” – simple and powerful hyperbole.

David O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
2:38 pm

Among the younger pitchers, Minor and Ortegano drew praise from Cox today. The lefty Ortegano really sounds like he could be up here at some point this season if needed.

Talking to people here, it sounds like most of the other young pitchers who are in camp have plenty of work to do on pitch command before they’re candidates for callups. Not surprising, really. I mean, they all have stuff, so if they also had good command, they’d probably be in the bigs or knocking on the door.

Rock On......

February 26th, 2010
2:38 pm

Really I thought the Cow was hittable. Only go to a few games a year but seems I remember it being pretty close(or it is so out of place looking that it appears closer than it is). OK then, how far is the cow? Somebody get on that right away.

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