Mazzone misses his old gig with Braves

Leo Mazzone was down in the dugout and on the field for batting practice at a couple of Braves games last week, the first time the longtime former Atlanta pitching coach was on the field for a Braves game since working two of them as a Fox TV analyst in 2008.b5qTnvgK

Those are the only times he’s been down there for any Braves games since 2005, when he left Atlanta for a three-year, $1.5 million contract with Baltimore that made him the highest paid pitching coach in baseball at that time, and gave him a chance to work with his best friend in baseball, then-Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo. The two grew up together in Maryland.

Perlozzo ended up fired in June 2007, and Leo was fired by new manager Dave Trembley at the end of the season with a year left on his contract. Leo hasn’t coached since, but has said many times that he’d like to.

He’s worked the past year as one of the morning sports-talk hosts on 680 The Fan in Atlanta, which this year became the flagship station of the Braves radio network. Leo will do the radio pregame shows this season, and last week he did a couple of games (680 has sent various on-air talent down this spring to broadcast all the spring games on its main station or two AM sister stations).

I talked to Leo for a while on the field, first to get some stuff about Bobby Cox for something the AJC is doing later on Cox. Then I got talking to him about the current Braves team, its resurgent pitching staff, what he thought about the division this season, that kind of thing.

There were a couple of times where I could hear the emotion in his voice and see it in his face. He took a shot at the Orioles, but only had praise for the Braves and particularly for Cox, whom he worked with for the entire run of 14 consecutive division titles.

The man still misses this badly, that much seemed obvious to me.

So anyway, in place of a usual blog today, since we have a freelancer covering the Braves-Mets game in Port St. Lucie and no one there to blog, I thought I’d share with you the Mazzone interview, what he said (well, except for some of the Cox stuff, which we’re saving for later).

Carroll Rogers covered Georgia Tech in the NCAA tournament, and had a day at home before she heads down to cover Braves for a few days.

I will return to Dark Star this weekend for the final stretch before the Braves break camp and bring the whole thing north. Opening day is less than two weeks away, folks. We’re almost there.

And here’s Leo.

♦ On being down on the field and in the dugout, talking to Cox and others before a Braves game: “You get some mixed emotions. It’s fun to see everybody, and it’s sad that I’m not wearing that uniform. So it’s mixed emotions.”

♦ On the quality of the current pitching staff — starters and relievers — compared to the great ones led by Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz: “It’s getting close. Let me tell you something, that was quite impressive yesterday. When I see the bullpen changing speeds the way they did, and I’ve always felt that if a reliever looks like a starting pitcher when they’re coming into a game, that you’ve got yourself a good reliever. And those guys look like starting pitchers when they come in.”

Mazzone vists Tom Glavine on mound

Mazzone vists Tom Glavine on mound

♦ On the Braves’ chances this season: “There’s no reason why they can’t pull this thing off, maybe win the division. The key to the club is the health of the first baseman [Troy Glaus] and the third baseman [Chipper Jones]. If they can stay healthy, I think there’s a real good chance they can win the division. They can take it away from Philly. Philly doesn’t have the depth and the pitching staff that the Braves do.”

♦ On the Braves’ long run of playoff appearances: “Let me tell you something, that 14 straight, when you’re a part of that, that’s history. I mean … you end up getting very emotional talking about it, to be honest with you.”

♦ On why former Braves pitchers talk about Cox’s importance to their success: “He let them have some input. And the other thing, he made pitchers first-class citizens in spring training. Whereas you go to a lot of organizations –- if someone from another organization would say to me, ‘Let’s get the pitchers over with [in spring training workouts] so we can get them out of the way,’ they’re losing.

“He built spring training around the pitching staff, whereas there’s a lot of organizations that build spring training around getting the pitchers’ done, getting it over with.”

On what made the Braves such a great place for pitchers: “It’s funny. I try to explain that to other organizations, how it was run here and how you get it done, and they don’t want to believe you. ‘What kind of running program did you have?’ I told them, Well they ran out in the outfield, then I told them to add two [sprints] every day, but I wasn’t counting. And they [other teams' officials] say, well what about …

“The other day there was a thing where [former Braves starter Kevin] Millwood, who’s with the Orioles now, said he loved throwing twice in-between starts here [when he was with Atlanta]. Of course Dave Trembley said, ‘Well we’re not going to do that.’ Of course he [Trembley] has had too much success.

“But it’s amazing what people do not want to believe – how this [Braves] operation is run, the way the coaches work… They don’t want to believe that it’s that simple. They think there’s some secret. The secret is that it’s the manager and some good pitchers. And good players. And good coaches.”

On Cox being a manager known for letting his coaches coach: “Oh. When first became a pitching coach, he said, ‘Leo, I don’t care what else you do, just take care of those pitchers. Be with them all the time.’

“And we had some tremendous conversations in the dugout over the years…. We had a lot of fun with Mad Dog [Greg Maddux], trying to figure out things. Bobby goes, ‘Any time he asks me a question, I’m sending him to you.’ He told [Maddux] one time how to get a guy out, and then [Cox] he says to me, ‘If that guy gets a hit on that pitch, I’m gonna shoot myself. Next time I’m sending him to you.’”

On Tom Glavine and John Smoltz doing some broadcasting this season: “You’ve got Smoltzy in the booth, you’ve got Glavine in the booth, and you’ve got Mad Dog in the [Chicago Cubs] front office. I can’t see Mad Dog in a coat and tie. I can see Glavine in one, but not Maddux…. Smoltzy can B.S. his way through. They’ll be good at it, like anything else.”

James+McMurtry+JamesMcMurtry1

NO MORE BUFFALO by James McMurtry

I guess we knew the cards were stacked

Started out the best of friends

And we beat that highway ’till it quit beating back

It didn’t mean much in the end

Some you win, some you lose, some you throw away

We headed South across those Colorado plains

Just as empty as the day

We looked around at all we saw

Remembered all we’d hoped to see

Looking out through the bugs on the windshield

Somebody said to me

No more buffalo, blue skies or open road

No more rodeo, no more noise

Take this Cadillac, park it out in back

Mama’s calling, put away the toys

Don’t chase that carrot till it makes you sick

What do you think you’re gonna prove

Kust let it dangle till it falls off that stick

That’s when you make your move

Don’t go chasing after shooting stars

Trying to make yourself a name

You could joust at the windmills with that old Fender guitar

You’d probably do about the same

No more buffalo, blue skies or open road

No more rodeo, no more noise

Take this Cadillac, park it out in back

Mama’s calling, put away the toys

I never thought they’d ever doubt my words

I guess they were just too tired to care

I’d point to the horizon, to the dust of the herds

Still hovering in the air

Somebody said it ain’t any such

Man you wish so hard you’re scaring me

‘Cause those are combines kicking up that dust

But I guess you can see what you want to see

You can keep on chasing what used to be there

Top that rise and face the pain

But man they were here, they were here I swear

Not just these bleaching bones stretching across the plain

No more buffalo, blue skies or open road

No more rodeo, no more noise

Take this Cadillac, park it out in back

Mama’s calling, put away the toys

995 comments Add your comment

SoCal MOM

March 23rd, 2010
12:47 pm

DOB–Who is schedule to pitch after Hanson

sidslidkid

March 23rd, 2010
12:49 pm

Awesome. Thanks DOB!

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
12:54 pm

Jose Reyes to resume playing activities. I thought he was supposed to be out for awhile

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AlfPMhhXqXV3sXaMTuUcY0c5nYcB?slug=ap-mets-reyes

Brian from SC

March 23rd, 2010
12:54 pm

Turd, I mean third.

Yurtle_the_turtle

March 23rd, 2010
12:55 pm

So Leo thinks the Braves can top the Phillies? So what? He ALWAYS says that, so this is no news. Hell, the Braves could trot out the Class-A affiliate for the year and Mazzone would say they should win their conference..Can’t stand rose- colored glasses.

bravesgrl4life

March 23rd, 2010
12:56 pm

Is anybody going to get to watch today and do PBP?

whensidslid92

March 23rd, 2010
12:57 pm

DOB–When can we expect this Bobby article? Don’t want to miss that…

Renegator

March 23rd, 2010
12:59 pm

You can’t trust what Leo says – he is the definition of a homer.

whensidslid92

March 23rd, 2010
12:59 pm

why isn’t this game on espn360? Tomorrow’s game is on there, but not today’s? What’s the difference? Anywhere else to watch online?

O.J.

March 23rd, 2010
1:00 pm

pryguy

March 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

Wow, can’t wait to watch the Braves on ESPN…. first look at some of these dudes.

MFin04

March 23rd, 2010
1:03 pm

Is today going to be a real game or a spring training type game?

whensidslid92

March 23rd, 2010
1:03 pm

Thanks juiceman

joerochester

March 23rd, 2010
1:04 pm

Can someone do PBP today? Stuck at work per the usual.

fleming

March 23rd, 2010
1:04 pm

Unless they starting the season early I would assume that it is a spring training game

Brian from SC

March 23rd, 2010
1:04 pm

Hey, a lot of people, not just homers, are saying the Braves can top the Phillies this year.

O.J.

March 23rd, 2010
1:04 pm

No Problem, credit goes to someone on the other blog for me, lol

FEAR

March 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

yeah um if ya do PBP. I will give ya a dollar.

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

turle-
nobody is saying that Leo Mazzone has determined the braves fate this season, we know its not “news”…its blog entertainment, its good to hear from a guy that gave the organization a lot of really good years, good to hear the he misses it…give him some credit for retaining some loyalty to the organization, and let him build it up a little in a freakin spring interview…relax dude.

MFin04

March 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

Just FYI – there is really slow delayed play-by-play here as well. Usually updates after each half of the inning. Not the greatest but it does have a box score as well.

http://m.mlb.com/2010_03_23_atlmlb_nynmlb_1/

Roman Gal

March 23rd, 2010
1:06 pm

You should expect a package by week’s end with your 2nd Wurlitzer. No ears, but it’s autographed. Lew

Ooh! I can’t wait! I had actually been going to my mailbox every day looking for it…and will continue to do so until it arrives!

pryguy

March 23rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Joeinrochester, I’ll try my best for as long as I can…been up since 6:45 so I may start to snooze.

JTH

March 23rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Leo Mazzone had the easiest job in the world. You could have put nearly anyone in his spot and there would have been no difference. Right place, right time. 3 Cy Young winners and guaranteed first ballot HoFers makes your job easy.

It’s when things got tough (Russ Ortiz as your ace for example) Mazzone bailed on the Braves and now realises what a huge mistake that was.

Sorry Leo, your sucking up to the team and fans will do you no good now.

Roman Gal

March 23rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Ok, we’ll get PBP done for those slckers who are at work…

joerochester

March 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

No problem. I appreciate everyone who does.

GoBraves123

March 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

John Miller, Joe Morgan, and Orel Hershieser (sp?) doing broadcast today…..oh brother

TnBrian

March 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

joerochester, I’ll try. Man, I just don’t know how long I’ll be with a tv, but I’ll try.

Venice Jim

March 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

I finally got to listen to DOB’s interview – wow, I feel like a celebrity now, even if he didn’t mention our names…the part about the Braves was great, too…

David O'Brien

March 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

Is today going to be a real game or a spring training type game? — MFin04

Real season starts April 5. That’s when you’ll see real games. When the results count for something. These are glorified workouts, for all intents and purposes.

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

I only like important play by play. Not “Hanson throws a ball in the dirt, 2-1″

TnBrian

March 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

joerochester, How bout they give PBP while I give a spin on it?

The Ghost of P.L.

March 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

Interesting lineup. No Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth batting 8th.

MFin04

March 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm

MLBTV has the Mets broadcasters…they can be pretty bad at times, but usually compliment other teams players, so that funny.

The ESPN team is terrible though. I wonder if Logan Schafer is going to be playing today?

PMC

March 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm

Yeah but…. When has Leo NOT liked the Braves chances EVER???

pryguy

March 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm

Melky bounces single up the middle.

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm

Seriously, I need to hear this interview when I get home. I’m expecting it to be so beautiful that I should weep by the time it’s over.

Lunatic Fringe

March 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm

I am stuck at work as well, and the link to the internet site is blocked, so thanks in advance for the PBP

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

DOB…i always think the phrase “intents and purposes” is “intensive purposes” for some reason. thanks for clearing that up for me today.

cabravesfan

March 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

Just listened to DOB’s interview from sunday- loved the mention of the guy that moved to California… :D

Roman Gal

March 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

I feel like a celebrity now

Oh, you are Venice Jim. Next thing you know, they’ll be making a movie about y’all. It’ll be a bestseller!

Well…I’d watch it, anyways!

joerochester

March 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

thanks pryguy.

Guys

I don’t mean literal play by play… just when something happens like an out, hit, etc. I don’t need pitch by pitch, haha.

PMC

March 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

Here’s hoping someone hires Leo to COACH. I mean why not?

Goonies 2 Dang It!

March 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

wish mcdowell would get fired and leo would get back in the saddle again:)

Section 412

March 23rd, 2010
1:12 pm

Melky lead off single up the middle

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
1:12 pm

I’d watch it too. But only if I could be an extra

TnBrian

March 23rd, 2010
1:12 pm

I don’t see Perez being all that good again for the Mets, but if he does throw K’s with the deception in his delivery then he could be very good. I think he’s just a headcase though– from things I’ve read on him anyways.

Section 412

March 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

Prado double down 3b line. 2nd and 3rd no out.

cabravesfan

March 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

Jeffrey-

Of course you could be an extra! We would need bloggers after all… ;)

pryguy

March 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

Prado works count 2-2……….
Hits one down the line, Prado doubles, Melk-man goes to third.

Prado is a good hitter at the top of the lineup

MFin04

March 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

Oliver Perez, worst contract in baseball, in midseason form today!

Mekons

March 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

Martin was on that inside pitch like a wolf on a lambchop.

TnBrian

March 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

Prado SMOKED a double just now!

Snotboogie

March 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

DOB

I cant believe you are blogging and answering questions on your day off. Hats-off to you.

People need to realize that DOB is off today and might not have as much info as usual. So i say, follow ESPN and take the info as it comes.

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

nice prado…wonder if nate is getting some AB’s elsewhere again? he needs all the plate appearances he can get right now doesn’t he…

joerochester

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Who’s pitching for the Mets?

CB

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

jeffrey, we only weep when we have an accident and read PL’s “postings”.

Greg in TN

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Afternoon folks…

Couple quick thoughts before the Braves and mets tee things up. DOB, listened to the interview on the ABT podcast, well played sir.

At the time Mazzone left to go to the O’s, I was happy for him seeing that he was long time friends with Sam Perlozzo and was hoping for the best for him, however I can’t say I’m surprised with how badly it ended up just because I feel Peter Angelos is a train wreck as an owner. Having said that, I’m very happy with the performance that Roger McDowell has turned in as pitching coach. It stinks that it didn’t work out for Leo, but I am sure he knew what he was getting into by going to Baltimore. Hopefully he’ll have a chance to get back into the game somewhere down the road. I really feel for the guy.

Thanks for posting his thoughts, DOB.

Now, bring on the mets…

buzzmeat

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Cant wait till opening day!!!!

MFin04

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Melky Cabrera is a pretty fat quick guy isn’t he?

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

I’m talking about an extra for the car chase or helicopter shooting scene

FEAR

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

thanks pals. I’m donating your dollars to the Human Fund

O.J.

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

well, apparently that video feed doesnt work that I posted. Sucks

pryguy

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Chipper drives one to right, Melky tags to make it Braves 1-0

Roman Gal

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Prado proves Kelly Johnson fans everywhere wrong.

Signed, the Assistant to the Vice President of the Kelly Johnson Fan Club’s Assistant

Section 412

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Chipper Sac fly shy of RF track. Run scores, Prado to 3rd.

shmoe

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

time for a glaus homer

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

how old is Leo?…if he wants to coach again, he better get started…

MFin04

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Great at bat by Chipper though, moved both runners over.

abwright

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

As Chipper knocks in a sac fly that moves Prado to third, Joe Morgan mentions that “at least Oliver Perez is throwing strikes.”

McCann Fan

March 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

DOB,
What’s with Heyward not playing today? Didn’t he essentially just have two days off in a row?

Brian from SC

March 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Right-handed hitters had a 1.029 OPS against Perez last year. So basically, righties were somewhere between Hank Greenberg and Jimmie Foxx against Perez.

sidslidkid

March 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Love that Chipper Jones.

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

which side was chip swingin from? i can’t remember if Perez is lefty or righty…wanna say lefty…?

Roman Gal

March 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

wonder if nate is getting some AB’s elsewhere again?

If by “elsewhere” you mean “Port St. Lucy,” then yes…

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Prado proves Kelly Johnson fans everywhere wrong.

I never said that Prado sucked, I said that KJ is a lot better than he played last year and a lot of people gave up on him too soon (it wasn’t his fault he was continually thrown into the leadoff spot)

Good Will Hunting

March 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Just listened to DOB’s interview from sunday- loved the mention of the guy that moved to California…

Just wondering if before Vinings Jim left to go become Venice Jim in California, if he stopped by DOB’s house, and left a note that said:

“David, if the editor calls about that job, just tell him, sorry, I have to go see about a girl.”

To which DOB, of course, replied: “Son of a bitch… He stole my line.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoPT4p1Iwg4

joerochester

March 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Looks like Chip is back to form this season.

Greg

March 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

JTH – were Glavine and Smoltz Cy winners before Leo got there? You do realize he coached those guys in the minors too, right? They weren’t established pitchers when he took over…

I’ll give you Maddux…but in addition to Smoltz and Glavine, you had randoms like Steve Avery, John Burkett, Jaret Wright, Charlie Liebrandt, and your aforementioned Russ Ortiz, all having very productive years under Leo.

The Ghost of P.L.

March 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

ESPN just put up a list of both key Braves addictions and losses. Kelly Johnson was noticeably absent from the key losses column.

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Perez is a lefty, so Chipper’s batting righty

Brian from SC

March 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Kelly Johnson will be a great value for the D-Backs this year. We have Prado, who is very good, so everybody should be happy.

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

roman gal-
by elsewhere i mean that somebody earlier said he wasn’t in the lineup, and i was wondering why…

Section 412

March 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Glaus had some good cuts, but struck out on 3-2 count.

pryguy

March 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Glaus is a freakin big dude.

Regardless, he K’s, brings up Mac

jeffrey d

March 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

PL – what were some of the Braves’ listed addictions?

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

so chipper drove the ball oppo….nice

TnBrian

March 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

I get the feeling the ESPN announcers are rootin’ for Perez here. Could be wrong, but seems that way.

fsuseminoles

March 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

does anyone else have the feeling Leo is dying to become the manager of the Braves

Roman Gal

March 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

I never said that Prado sucked

Me neither. But I did always think KJ was better…

[sigh] I miss KJ.

Frank Robinson (Rockmart)

March 23rd, 2010
1:20 pm

MFin04 – The video link isn’t working

Roman Gal

March 23rd, 2010
1:20 pm

jeff blauser-

McLouth’s in the lineup. I think he’s hitting 8th.

Rodney

March 23rd, 2010
1:20 pm

The Phillies are 8-10 games better than the Braves. I don’t see the Braves challenging the Phillies.

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:20 pm

u seriously think KJ was better than Prado?

fsuseminoles

March 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

anyone heard who Sheffield talking to in the NL

jeff blauser

March 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

roman-
ok thanks…somebody said he was not, but obviously they were wrong.

Snotboogie

March 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

Also missing from the list was Adam Laroche- thought he was much more key to the 2nd half success than Garret Anderson (who was on the list).

timthebrave

March 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

DOB, thanks for the new blog. Of course Leo Mazzone is a little bit of a homer. All true fans are but he is right in saying that we have more depth in our pitching staff and could win it if we stay healthy. That’s what I see as well. Go Braves. Can’t wait for season to start

Escobart Simpson

March 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

pryguy

March 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

Mac grounds to 1st, end of the 1st.

Mark Biles

March 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

If Mazzone missing being Braves pitching coach so much, why did he leave us and go to the Orioles in the first place?

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