Baseball’s ‘beautiful marathon’ begins today

Atlanta – The first game that Bobby Cox managed in the majors was opening day 1978, Braves against the Dodgers at old Fulton County Stadium. Don Sutton was the winning pitcher for the Dodgers, Phil Niekro the loser for Cox’s Braves.

I was 15.bobby_cox_cigar

This afternoon, 68-year-old Cox will manage what he steadfastly insists will be his last opening day in the dugout. Sutton will be in the Braves’ broadcast booth. Niekro turned 71 last week.

I’m not 15.

And so it goes.

Chipper Jones was slowly pulling on his uniform before yesterday’s workout, moving at that Chipper pace that says, “I’m creaky and cranky, so make sure the question’s damn good.”

The question was about Cox, the only major league manager that nearly 38-year-old Chipper has played for. He perked up a little, because though he’s answered about 1,000 similar questions since the day last year when Cox announced this would be his final season as manager, Chipper doesn’t tire of these questions.

“We want to do what we can to make it a special one for him,” he said. “It’s crazy how the time has passed so quickly; I always thought Bobby would be here long after me.”

They all want to do what they can to send Cox out on a high note. All the current Braves and, if they could, the vast majority of former Braves. But you know how much they love the old man, so we’ll not go there again today.

hank-aaron-6

Hank

Because today, after all, is about rebirth, right? The season will feel like a curtain call in a lot of cities, as Cox makes his final appearance in NL ballparks, gets some standing ovations and lot of parting gifts, etc.

Today at Turner Field, however, will be more about the possibilities ahead this season than about all that’s happened in a quarter-century of Braves baseball under Cox. There will be more than enough time to reflect on all that during the six-month marathon that begins today.

The beautiful marathon. Grueling and tedious at times. And yet so rewarding for those who stick with it, day after day. I’m not really even talking about the players getting paid big bucks to do this for a living, either.

I mean you all. And me. All of us in the booths, the pressboxes, the box seats and nosebleeds, in front of TVs or listening to radios. This is so much of what we’re about, isn’t it? For better or worse, and I sure like to think for better.

Nothing else compares. No other sport is even remotely similar to the epic nature of baseball. The thick, complex novel that is a baseball season. Sure, it can be enjoyed in bits and pieces, with a good series here or an exciting game there. But being there for every game, turning every page at the pace it was meant to be turned, that’s where baseball gives us the most satisfaction.

And that, of couse, is also why it’s fallen out of favor with a big segment of the population over the last few decades. Because these days, some don’t think it’s worth taking the time to appreciate and enjoy any leisure activity that moves at such a relatively slow pace for nine innings, much less for 162 games of nine innings apiece.

Then again, this isn’t really a leisure activity anyway, right? This is baseball, man. This is for the serious sports fan. The thinking sports fan. Sure, there will be vitriol flying and “ballgame” called after four innings if the Braves fall behind by a few runs.

There will be a segment of us that swear it’s the same-old, same-old if Cox makes a call to the bullpen and what some here deem to be the wrong pitcher starts warming up after that call.

Murph

Murph

And if Melky Cabrera goes 0-for-4 and Jason Heyward is 2-for-4 with a walk in his much-anticipated debut, there will be plenty who suggest Cox is crazy for not having the kid bat leadoff when his OBP was so much higher this spring and throughout his brief minor league career and blah blah blah.

But that’s all part of it, right? Jim Leyland once said, when we asked the then-Marlins manager about a guy that fell off the Miami Metrorail while partying during the week of the 1997 World Series, that it “was all part of it.”

A guy falling off the train, of course, was not part of it. The point is, Leyland was such a ridiculously focused human being at that time, he didn’t even hear the question, or was thinking about seven other things and couldn’t devote the thought required to answer the question with anything other than his stock answer for most questions that afternoon.

And that little anecdote I just shared really has nothing to do with my original point in this now-rambling blog intro.

No, wait. It does. Let’s bring it back around.

The thick novel. The long, twisting, turning, always-interesting narrative that is a baseball season.

Leyland is a fascinating character in the best of such novels. Much like Cox or Lou Piniella, who’ll be in the other dugout today as the Braves face the Cubbies before a standing-room only crowd at Turner Field, a crowd that for once, I’m going to bet, will not be split evenly between Braves and Cubs fans.

This will clearly be  a pro-Braves crowd. Because it’s opening day, and there’s excitement around Atlanta and Braves Nation. The Bravos are legitimate postseason contenders in the view of most pundits around the nation, including a few who’ve picked them to win the NL East and more who’ve tabbed them wild-card favorites.

Knucksie

Knucksie

Heyward is an overwhelming favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year, and some believe any of three Braves pitchers — Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson — could be in the running for NL Cy Young.

Who knows? None of us do. We can only speculate now. That’s the beauty of what’s ahead. So many storylines. So many possibilities. So many highs and lows and rewards (or heartache) for those who invest their time and emotions in following a team for the full 162.

We’ll be here. I know most of you will be.

It starts today. On a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Atlanta, with the great Hank Aaron throwing the ceremonial first pitch.

Baseball. Glorious freakin’ baseball.

MY PICKS

AL East: Yankees

AL Central: White Sox

AL West: Rangers

AL Wild Card: Red Sox

NL East: Phillies

NL Central: Cardinals

NL West: Rockies

NL Wild Card: Braves

AL champion: Yankees

NL champion: Cardinals

World Series champion: Yankees

MVPs: Evan Longoria (AL), Albert Pujols (NL).

Cy Young Awards: Justin Verlander (AL), Roy Halladay (NL).

Rookies of the Year: Rays pitcher Wade Davis (AL), Jason Heyward (NL)

BRAVES LINEUP vs. CUBS

  1. Melky Cabrera, LF
  2. Martin Prado, 2B
  3. Chipper Jones, 3B
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Troy Glaus, 1B
  6. Yunel Escobar, SS
  7. Jason Heyward, RF
  8. Nate McLouth, CF
  9. Derek Lowe, RHP

“There is no sports event like Opening Day of baseball, the sense of beating back the forces of darkness and the National Football League.” - George Vecsey

Talking_Heads

“NO COMPASSION” by David Byrne (Talking Heads)

In a world

where people have problems

In this world

where decisions are a way of life

Other people`s problems they overwhelm my mind

They say compassion is a virtue, but I don`t have the time

So many people…have their problems

I`m not interested…in their problems

I guess I`ve…experienced some problems

But now I`ve…made some decisions

Takes a lot of time to push away the nonsense

Take my compassion…Push it as far as it goes

My interest level`s dropping, my interest level is dropping

I`ve heard all I want to, I don`t want to hear any more

What are you, in love with your problems?

I think you take it…a little too far

It`s…not so cool to have so many problems

But don`t expect me to explain your indecisions

Go…talk to your analyst, isn`t that what they`re paid for

You walk, you talk…You still function like you used to

It`s not a question…Of your personality or style

Be a little more selfish, it might do you some good

In a world where people have problems

In this world where decisions are a way of life

Other people`s problems, they overwhelm my mind

They say compassion is a virtue, but I don`t have the time

(Here we go again)

2,166 comments Add your comment

sidslidkid

April 5th, 2010
10:29 am

I love opening day!

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
10:33 am

Very good blog today, DOB. Happy Opening Day.

AL HRABOSKY

April 5th, 2010
10:34 am

Cox is not going to retire this year.

Mid Town Joe

April 5th, 2010
10:34 am

Wish I could be there!

RHR

April 5th, 2010
10:35 am

The beautiful marathon. Grueling and tedious at times. But so rewarding for those who stick with it, day after day. And I’m not even talking about the players getting paid big bucks to do this for a living.

I mean you all. And me. All of us in the booths, the pressboxes, the box seats and nosebleeds, in front of TVs or listening to radios. This is so much of what we’re about, isn’t it? For better or worse, and I sure like to think for better.

*tear* I love you guys.

Go Braves!

Wiger Toods

April 5th, 2010
10:36 am

Brian the Brain

April 5th, 2010
10:37 am

I’ve been away since the playoffs….*yawn and stretch* did I miss anything?

toga party

April 5th, 2010
10:38 am

Excellent, excellent blog today Dave. Thanks for setting the stage so eloquently.

RHR

April 5th, 2010
10:38 am

And I extra love that DOB quoted the “ballgame!” guys. :lol:

RHR

April 5th, 2010
10:38 am

Oh now I gotta be 10th.

Cooper S

April 5th, 2010
10:39 am

Great blog, DOB. Really set the mood (along with the amazing weather) for the beginning of what should be a great season.

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
10:39 am

Here is the first MLB lineup Cox put together, on Opening Day 1978:
2B Jerry Royster
CF Rowland Office
RF Gary Matthews
LF Jeff Burroughs
C Biff Pocoroba
1B Dale Murphy
3B Barry Bonnell
SS Pat Rockett
P Phil Niekro

If you take Niekro out of the equation, the Braves averaged under 26 years old in ‘78.

RC

April 5th, 2010
10:41 am

How is it only 10:40!!! I’m ready for 1:00 when I can head down to the stadium and watch a little BP. This is worse than waiting for Christmas! (And I mean that in the best possible way)

AustinBrave

April 5th, 2010
10:41 am

I think I’m more excited than the Braves players. I just put off to sales meetings to tomorrow and I have the chips, salsa, beer, and cigars waiting. It just don’t get any better than Atlanta Braves opening day. GO BRAVES!!

Atown

April 5th, 2010
10:41 am

DOB, VERY well written piece. You conveyed so well how must of us feel. A truly beautiful marathon it is. “Baseball. Glorious freakin’ baseball.”

Joey

April 5th, 2010
10:44 am

I’m trying to remember, is Lowe due for a good or poor outing? He’s been rotating them this spring. I woulda started the season with JJ on the mound.

But, I woulda never let Charlie Leibrandt throw to Puckett either. No, I can’t let go of it!

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
10:44 am

How does anyone expect me to get any work done today? Why did I even come to work today? I’ve accidentally addressed three e-mails to Jason Heyward.

Mark

April 5th, 2010
10:44 am

Awesome blog today….Best of the year….It’s “go” time!

Wiger Toods

April 5th, 2010
10:45 am

DOB, what’s the Braves lineup today? Also, do you think McLouth is feeling any pressure to respond to all the negativity lately in that he hasn’t done squat for the team and has been injured quite a bit in the short time that he’s been with the Braves?

He seems to be the missing link for the Braves. I hope I’m wrong.

come on

April 5th, 2010
10:45 am

i don’t know if we are good enough or able to stay healthy enough to make the playoffs, but i hope it happens

Billy (TBFKB)

April 5th, 2010
10:46 am

(TBFKB = the blogger formerly known as Billy)

Opening day. Yea!

McDT

April 5th, 2010
10:46 am

Wow, what a great read to start the season…..and it is so cool to be able to read all the comments from the “regulars” — and to be able to laugh and shake my head at the call of “ballgame” after the second inning — it is going to be a great ride…

Thanks DOB for all you do and for having such an imagination in the way you express it — nobody does it better.

Snotboogie

April 5th, 2010
10:48 am

Great blog DOB, very fitting and a considerable deviation from the usual storylines. Best of luck on the season ahead and thanks for everything in advance too.

BravesAC

April 5th, 2010
10:48 am

DOB -
Rreally enjoyed the opener….especially the “I’m not 15″. I’m not either but I still have that kid’s “this could be great year” optimism. Go Braves!

Don

April 5th, 2010
10:50 am

“Braves improved team will be a legit contender” – Woops! – I forgot that Bobby Cox is still the manager. Well, that takes care of that.

DAP

April 5th, 2010
10:50 am

DOB, you picked the yanks over the red sox in the AL east, but the sox are ahead by a game with only 161 games to go. clocks ticking on the yanks if your prediction is gonna hold…

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
10:52 am

Don, even you can’t dampen the mood today. Happy Opening Day to you, and may you be filled with angst after every Braves win this season.

Thanagar

April 5th, 2010
10:53 am

Once again, it’s as if you took a six-month vacation, worked for a day…and then took the next day off! The grand poobahs of baseball have rocks in their heads.

WYO Fan

April 5th, 2010
10:53 am

GO BRAVES! Scheduling my lunch hour around the first pitch. Damn I’m excited.

Rudy Stein

April 5th, 2010
10:54 am

Joey,
Leibrandt handled Puckett just fine in Game 1.

Tyler

April 5th, 2010
10:54 am

Q: Going to game and want to set up the Directv to record. Will the game on ESPN be blacked out or will the game shown on SS be blacked out?

Braves win today 5-2. Heyward goes 2-4 and McCann hits a bomb. Lowe goes 6 innings giving up 2 runs and Wags gets the save.

O.J.

April 5th, 2010
10:55 am

That was a really great and inspiring blog DOB, your best yet. I have waited for opening day for so long!!!!!!! Go Bravos!

Joey

April 5th, 2010
10:55 am

Can anyone tell me why Chipper is so “creaky?” Jeez, he’s still in his 30s, and this is MLB, after all, not the NFL or NBA. There’s hardly any running, unless you get a hit one out of 3 times at bat, no jumping, virtually no contact with anything or anyone. Swinging a bat, throwing a ball. Traveling first-class, staying in the nicest hotels, eating the best food money can buy, world-class training facilities with the best trainers. All of that AND getting paid $80K play each game!And Chipper’s already “creaky.”

Does anyone else tire of this?

ATXRainDog

April 5th, 2010
10:55 am

Well, here we go. Here’s hoping the Braves come w/ the ruckus.

AustinBrave, are you going anywhere to watch the game? Or just taking it in at home?

Thrillhouse44

April 5th, 2010
10:55 am

Let’s get it on!

Mad Mike

April 5th, 2010
10:55 am

best writer in baseball. **great** blog today DOB. go braves.

Joey

April 5th, 2010
10:57 am

Yeah, Rudy, but game 7, and Puckett’s career before the series? Not so much.

Mark C.

April 5th, 2010
10:57 am

Great blog DOB

Braveone

April 5th, 2010
10:57 am

DOB – GREAT rambling Opening Day blog! Braves fans are lucky to have you!

Bailey

April 5th, 2010
10:57 am

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuild, and erased again. But, baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray, people will most definitely come.”

Don

April 5th, 2010
10:57 am

With all the uncertainties and things that have go right on this team, getting off to a GOOD START in the first part of the season could be extremely important. So in this situation, more than ever, you want to open with your best pitchers. Then, I assume that Lowe is our best pitcher. If not, how do you Cox supporters justify this. Or is this just more of the unbelievable stuff that Cox does. I am not saying that Lowe will lose the game – hope he wins — But if he is not our best pitcher (who is not injured), then this is still a dumb move.

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
10:58 am

Joey, I think you’re making too much of what was probably a comment made in jest.

Eh Oh

April 5th, 2010
10:58 am

“And so it goes.”

If this was a Vonnegut reference you just went up a notch Mr. O’Brien

Anders

April 5th, 2010
10:58 am

Well, you’ve got your opening day blog now so I’ll say my goodbyes and let you folks enjoy your teams opening day without any inteference. Once again best of luck this season and I’ll catch up with you later this week.

Thrillhouse44

April 5th, 2010
10:58 am

Joey, I get tired of posts like yours.

Did you read the rest of the blog that talked about how long of a season it is? You’re right, it’s not the NBA or NFL – the MLB season is 162 9-inning games. There is contact – it’s not the Little League ball you used to play. But, why even consider that when you just want to complain? It’s opening day, man. It’s a day of optimism…optimism and whatever it is you call your attitude.

Cody

April 5th, 2010
10:59 am

Excellent Blog.. now I am even more PUMPED about today! I am going to make my wife read it, maybe she see why I refuse to miss a game :)

Pierson Brave

April 5th, 2010
10:59 am

My wife can/ will not ever understand the JOY I get from this game of BASEBALL. Woooo-Hoooo It’s baseball season Gooooo Braves.

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
10:59 am

Don, you were answered thoroughly in the last blog, and I know you did read it, because you responded. Why do you keep on posting the same thing over and over again?

The one thing I disagree with most in your post is “hope he wins”. I don’t believe you when you say that. I’m 99% sure you hope the Braves lose every game they play this year.

toga party

April 5th, 2010
10:59 am

Q: Going to game and want to set up the Directv to record. Will the game on ESPN be blacked out or will the game shown on SS be blacked out? – Tyler

If you’re in the Braves’ home region, the ESPN game will be blacked out.

Rudy Stein

April 5th, 2010
10:59 am

That wasn’t game 7

Wiger Toods

April 5th, 2010
11:00 am

One of the coolest think about being a Braves fan is watching the Mets implode every season.

Mets powerful 3rd baseman David Wright had a whopping 10 home runs last season. Well whoop-te-do the Braves outfield almost had that many.

Blackberry Cobbler

April 5th, 2010
11:01 am

From the way the Braves stunk up the place against the Chisox, they better hope Heyward is the “savior” cause this team ain’t got much else partner.

sportsmandh

April 5th, 2010
11:01 am

Great blog. You know what they say, and DOB proved it again, baseball is a talking sport. Like no other. Yeah football has armchair quarterbacks and Monday morning coaches, but I don’t think there’s any sport that compares to baseball for those that love it to b!tch, moan, and complain about coaching moves, players, bad calls, etc. and all that goes with it.

Here’s a good example of the idea of the whole subject. There were some sportstalk radio guys I used to listen to that said if they ever ran out of topics, all they would have to do is throw out the ‘Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame debate? question”, and they could talk all day. Still 20 years later, that one would still work, and people could still argue all around it.

As for the Braves, I still think they’re gonna be really good this year. There’s good reason for all the optimism.

Simon

April 5th, 2010
11:02 am

First of all what’s up without having any margin whatsoever on the left of the page?

Secondly, you have the Braves not winning the East?! You are mistaken as they will with the divison by 5 games.

Well that was it, two things.

Joey

April 5th, 2010
11:02 am

Okay, game 6, Mr Trivia.

Simon

April 5th, 2010
11:02 am

First of all what’s up without having any margin whatsoever on the left of the page?

Secondly, you have the Braves not winning the East?! You are mistaken as they will win the divison by 5 games.

Well that was it, two things.

Don

April 5th, 2010
11:03 am

Do I understand that Bobby Cox plans to use McLouth and Melky in two of the three outfield spots for many games. And in the other spot we will have a unproven rookie, who I think and hope will be great. But McLouth is a .250s hitter – who has hit in the .250s or below in all but one season in his major league career – And Melky is even worse – having a slightly better caree BA but a far worse On Base Average and less power. AND THIS IS GOING TO BE 2/3 OF OUR OUTFIED?????? Do either one of them qualify to be anything better than a FOURTH OUTFIELDER???

Venice Jim

April 5th, 2010
11:03 am

Happy Opening Day to all from the non-shaking (for now) West Coast!

Knox MC

April 5th, 2010
11:04 am

Great Blog, DOB. Here we go!!!!

RC

April 5th, 2010
11:05 am

Q: Going to game and want to set up the Directv to record. Will the game on ESPN be blacked out or will the game shown on SS be blacked out?

If either is blacked out, it will be the ESPN game. SS game will definitely NOT be blacked out in ATL area.

Dan Kolb's Mom

April 5th, 2010
11:05 am

Oh it’s good to be back. Looking forward to a great season. Let’s start by throttling Zambranos ass.

Best day of the year.

RC

April 5th, 2010
11:06 am

Don,

Quit being the turd in the punchbowl.

chin music

April 5th, 2010
11:06 am

just got our bobby cox six-game passes this morning, and we’re heading to the ballpark in a couple hours. what a beautiful day!

toga party

April 5th, 2010
11:06 am

Simon, now it’s 4 things.

viking3417

April 5th, 2010
11:06 am

The articles that come out on opening day are probably some of the easiest to write, and I have read many of them today. It’s something that true baseball enthusiasts get excited about and there is no comparable feeling. That said, I had chills reading this article. Fantastic writing and thank you. But for God’s sake please be a homer and change your NL champion pick.

pryguy

April 5th, 2010
11:06 am

Let the second guessing begin on the Braves season from all the uninformed, egotistical bloggers. They seem to come out in numbers during the season, especially during some sort of losing streaks. It was a refreshing break in the offseason not to have to deal with their ramblings.

The Braves have constructed a lineup capable of winning baseball this year, it’s going to be an exciting, frustrating, and hopefully rewarding season.

Mad Mike

April 5th, 2010
11:07 am

please don’t ever leave us like boog did DOB…i was just starting to warm up to him.

bravesgirlnc

April 5th, 2010
11:07 am

Great, great blog to start off the season DOB. Seriously, one of your best.

ITP Brave

April 5th, 2010
11:07 am

DOB:

Thanks for getting us through the offseason. Hopefully, things will come together in Atlanta this year.

Hope springs eternal on Opening Day for every team (outside of Pittsburgh and San Diego). It’s a truly wonderful time of year.

Jared

April 5th, 2010
11:07 am

great post Dave. It truly is great for those of us who will stick with it for the next 162 games. That’s 1458 innings, 8748 outs, and probably in the neighborhood of 50,000 pitches, and that’s not counting the post-season.

AustinBrave

April 5th, 2010
11:08 am

ATXRainDog

April 5th, 2010
10:55 am
Well, here we go. Here’s hoping the Braves come w/ the ruckus.

AustinBrave, are you going anywhere to watch the game? Or just taking it in at home

Just take it in at home, not to many bars in Austin, TX put on the Braves, but if you live here and know of one I’m ready.

AdirondackDave

April 5th, 2010
11:08 am

Nice piece, DOB. November always comes too soon for me. Let’s play some baseball.

njbraves

April 5th, 2010
11:09 am

Is McCann going to be hitting 4th every day, or is Bobby going to switch him and Glaus depending on who’s pitching??

Saff

April 5th, 2010
11:09 am

Blackberry Cobbler
Look man you must be upset about something, but don’t come on this blog saying the Braves don’t have anything but Heyward. Have you heard of McCann the best catcher in baseball not named Mauer, how about Escobar and oh yea two young studs named Hanson and Jurjens. But hey most of us love the Braves and are so excited about opening day so instead of posting ignorant comments. GO Braves!

toga party

April 5th, 2010
11:12 am

Is McCann going to be hitting 4th every day, or is Bobby going to switch him and Glaus depending on who’s pitching??

Probably the latter until Glaus finds his power stroke. McCann is 7 for 12 facing Zambrano, and has had a scorching spring, so Bobby probably went with the matchup.

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
11:13 am

Let’s look at today’s matchups.

Derek Lowe is 2-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 9 starts against the Cubs.
Carlos Zambrano is 2-3 with a 4.48 ERA in 11 starts against Atlanta.

Derrek Lee has great career numbers against Lowe (.400 hitter). The rest are so-so.
Glaus and McCann have lit up Zambrano. Chipper’s hit him pretty good, McLouth so-so.

If it gets to the ninth with the Cubs ahead, maybe we can get McLouth up there. He’s 5-7 with two homers against Carlos Marmol.

ATXRainDog

April 5th, 2010
11:13 am

@AustinBrave

I’ll probably head down to the Tavern on 12th & Lamar. Not sure where you are in the ATX, but it’s right down the road from my place. They generally have all the sports packages (that’s where I go to watch my Charlotte Bobcats), and since this is on ESPN, I imagine it’ll be on. The Astros don’t play until 6, so we shouldn’t have to deal w/ any interruption there.

Of course, this all assumes I’ll be able to get out of the office…

tampabrave

April 5th, 2010
11:14 am

Heyward has to continue the tradition of rookies homering in the opener.

AL HRABOSKY

April 5th, 2010
11:14 am

Go MIGHTY BRAVES GO – This will be the year Atlanta gets their 2nd World Series Championship. Cox will go out to pasture in style.
BRAVES are going to go on warpath, and kick some Philly and Mets beeeehind! GO MIGHTY BRAVES GO!!!!!!!!!

Supes

April 5th, 2010
11:15 am

OK here we go. Go Braves…beat down the Cubs today!

Lets hope D-Lowe repeats last year’s opening day’s outing :)

OHBravesGirl

April 5th, 2010
11:16 am

Great blog today, DOB. I want to copy and paste parts of it into an e-mail to those skeptics who don’t understand how or why I follow every single one of the team’s 162 games each season. Go Braves! I can’t wait to see what this season holds.

Lew

April 5th, 2010
11:17 am

Let the season begin. The And Idiots are already in mid-season form. Kind of makes you wonder what mountain they will find to jump off of by the time the All Star break arrives, or what their reaction might be when the Braves actually win.

Wiger Toods

April 5th, 2010
11:18 am

Nate, Melky & Diaz can all help a team as role players, but to count on them to be a top notch MLB outfield is another thing. Heyward’s ” 1 ” spring training home run should help with our total lack of outfield power…….I agree with Don.

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
11:18 am

tampabrave, you piqued my curiousity, so I looked it up: Jordan Schafer (2009), Ryan Klesko (1994), Dale Murphy (1978), and Tommy Gregg (1989) all homered in the opener as rookies. Only Schafer did it in his major league debut, though.

Patron Saint of the Lost Art

April 5th, 2010
11:18 am

Wow, Dave. Great close.

*starts slow clap*

Sandlot

April 5th, 2010
11:18 am

It starts today. On a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Atlanta, with the great Hank Aaron throwing the ceremonial first pitch.

Baseball. Glorious freakin’ baseball.

I can’t imagine a better way for it to start.

Fabulous blog, DOB. Happy Opening Day, everyone!

brandon

April 5th, 2010
11:18 am

Dave, you’re one of my favorite writers.

DCbrave

April 5th, 2010
11:18 am

Beautiful freakin’ intro for the season, DOB!
Love it.

Lew

April 5th, 2010
11:21 am

I wonder if The Chicken Little Squad will buy tickets and actually attend today’s game, or just sit in their Mommy’s basement typing trivial trash?

P'cola Brave

April 5th, 2010
11:21 am

Don do you have all your posts saved because you say the same crap everyday. Don’t you get tired of it?

runtt

April 5th, 2010
11:21 am

How could you possibly bat Biff Pocaroba ahead of Dale Murphy?

Brian from SC

April 5th, 2010
11:22 am

This one’s from the Milwaukee days, but Chuck Tanner hit a game-tying home run in the 8th inning of opening day 1955 in his first major league at-bat. He was pinch hitting for Warren Spahn, who got credit with the win against Cincinnati.

NEW CARS

April 5th, 2010
11:22 am

Brian from SC and Saff,
As I was named Don by my mother and have grown to love blackberry cobbler as my favorite, I vote that we rename the two above mentioned sources as PL2 and PL3 to brighten my day and make our lives simpler

George

April 5th, 2010
11:23 am

Dave, great piece. As a life long Baseball fan and Brave’s follower since 1966 I am always excited on opening day. There is really something fresh and new about starting over. This should be a solid club and I look forward to watching every game. There won’t be another Bobby and I will miss him greatly.

Josh B

April 5th, 2010
11:25 am

Man I wish I was back in Atlanta right now…the thought of Opening Day has me excited ! Can’t wait to my Braves play on TV today though

Joey

April 5th, 2010
11:25 am

I am optimistic, just not where CJ is concerned. I believe Heyward is all that. I think JJ is one of the very best in MLB and could easily win 20 games with average run support, and Hanson will be hot on his heels. I think KK is gonna be really good this year, now that he has adjusted to the smaller strike zone and larger ball. He outdueled some great pitchers last year. I hope Mac doesn’t change a thing. I love him and his obvious love of playing a game for a living (unlike CJ). If Glaus and Huddy hold up, health-wise, I think the division will dome down to the last week-end of the season.

I am optimistic. Just saying…

RHR

April 5th, 2010
11:25 am

Like many others have already said, this is one of your best, DOB. And I’ve read them all for the past 3 years.

Speaking of bests…Lew, your Heyward drawing is one of your best as well.

Boonie

April 5th, 2010
11:25 am

Gotta love opening day!! I predict the Bravos to ride a 91 win season all the way to the WORLD SERIES!!

Don

April 5th, 2010
11:25 am

There is a good chance that all the other questions/uncertainties will work out favorably; but my guess is that we are not going to get production from First Base (Glaus) or from Center Field (either McLouth or Melky). And certianly not from the manager.

Lew

April 5th, 2010
11:26 am

New Cars-Onl;y problem is that He Who SDhall Not Be Named has likely registered all variations of the PL moniker so he can come back and haunt us with new IP Addresses.

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