Wagner says he’s no Favre — he’s retiring. Period.

CHICAGO — When Billy Wagner notched his 30th save Friday, he also recorded his league-high 50th game finished, which vested a $6.5 million option on his contract for the 2011 season.

Doesn’t matter. Wagner, for the umpteenth time, reiterated Saturday that he’s done after this season. He hasn’t wavered on that since he announced it earlier this season, and says he won’t.

“I’m retiring,” the 38-year-old lefty said today as he prepped for the Braves’ afternoon game against the Cubs. “I don’t know how to say it in a politically correct way, that anybody’s going to believe me.

One can certainly see where Billy Wagner, at 38, would need a lot of ice packs to keep pitching as he has this saeson.

Look at this picuture and one can certainly see where Billy Wagner, at 38, would need a lot of ice packs to keep pitching like he has.

“Until I don’t show up next year, nobody’s going to believe me. Brett Favre’s f—ed it up for everybody.”

Wagner is a no-nonsense dude in every way. He answers questions much like he faces hitters – aggressively, without much subtlety. In this day and age, he’s refreshing to talk to.

He had two strikeouts in the ninth inning of Friday’s 5-3 win against the Cubs to give him 1,169 K’s for his career, matching Jesse Orosco for the most in history by a lefty reliever. Before he’s done this season, Wagner will put that record out of reach for quite some time.

But what people can’t seem to grasp is how anyone having the kind of season that Wagner is having — a 1.68 ERA, 30 saves, a .170 opponents’ average and 77 strikeouts with 15 walks in 53-2/3 innings – could walk away from the game.

Lefty hitters will certainly be glad he is,  as they’re an absurd 3-for-41 (.073) with three walks and 19 strikeouts against him.

Wagner just shrugs and says, it’s time. He’s got a wife and four kids, three boys and a girl ages 12 and under, and he’s eager to join them on the family farm in Virginia and get on with the next phase of his life. The full-time dad phase.

“Me and my family have made plans for retirement,” he said. “I don’t need it anymore. I’m tired of the expectations, tired of the criticism, tired of people who never played trying to tell me how to play.

“And I enjoy my family, unlike [some others]. So I want to be there for them. I want to get to see them play ball, and be a dad.”

But in the meantime, don’t get the wrong impression – Wagner is having a blast with these Braves. He’s having one of the most enjoyable seasons he’s had in his career, and it’s working out just as he’d hoped, with him pitching effectively for a team with World Series aspirations, a team in first place in late August.

“I didn’t come into this season just to play it,” Wagner it. “I’ve played at a high level for my whole career, and I expect it. I don’t expect to suck. Even if I decided to play next year, I’m still not going to say, gee, it’s alright if a suck. I couldn’t live with that.”

He ranks fourth among NL relievers in ERA and second in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (12.9). And in his past 40 appearances, Wagner has a 1.40 ERA and .156 opponents’ average, with 53 strikeouts and nine walks in 38-2/3 innings.

“Wags has been dynamite all season,” manager Bobby Cox said after Friday’s win. “He’s been just great.”

Again, said Wagner, “This is what I expected. I didn’t expect any different than coming in, being successful and helping the team win. But I still have, what, six weeks until the end of the season? A lot of things can happen in six weeks. I can’t sit here and say, I’ve had a great year. Because it’s not great yet.”

Wagner has had nine 30-save seasons and made nearly $93 million over 17 seasons while amassing 415 saves and pitching 887-1/3 innings for five teams in 837 games, all in relief.

He could top 450 saves and get his career earnings to nearly $100 million if he’d come back and pitch another season. But Wagner said that’s not happening. The money and climbing statistical charts aren’t important to him, not at this point of his career.

Wagner says he's headed to the family farm after this season. Retiring. Period.

Wagner says he's headed to the family farm after this season. Retiring. Period.

Teammates including Peter Moylan have pleaded with him to come back, just for one more year.

“I know I could pitch another year or two,” Wagner said. “But I’m at the point where all the ice packs that it takes to get me on the field every day is not worth it any more.”

“[His kids] have travel baseball, we started that this year. Travel basketball. I have one that’s in Little League baseball and travel basketball. And my daughter’s in tap-jazz and hip-hop [dancing] and I like to see her do that. I enjoy it.”

Wagner said when the Braves were in New York recently, he heard a reporter there suggest that if the Braves offered him more money next year, he’d probably come back. That irked Wagner.

“You know what? I made a lot of money,” he said. “I never held a gun to anybody’s head that’s paid me. This game’s a great game, and I love it and I’ll miss it. But I won’t miss [comments like that one]. I won’t miss the B.S. about the game. I’ve been very lucky to be on a lot of good teams and to finish with Atlanta, with people who are baseball players and a manager who treats you like a human being. I’m very happy.”

But not even Cox can talk him into returning?

“Bobby’s asked me a couple of times, ‘Are you sure?’ Wagner said, smiling. “I said, well if you don’t retire, I won’t retire.”

♣ OK, game’s about to start. Gorgeous afternoono here at Wrigley, can see the sailboats on Lake Michigan in the distance. I’ve got some stuff about Omar Infante and a few other note, but I’ll write them as separates or comments here on the blog. Need to get this posted before first pitch.

Derrek Lee has a son named Dylan. Derrek assured me he’s not named after Bob. Still, let’s close with a tune by Mr. Zimmerman.

dylan_bob_420_420x300

ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’ by Bob Dylan

I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long

I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long

Woke up this mornin’, I must have bet my money wrong

I got troubles so hard, I can’t stand the strain

I got troubles so hard, I just can’t stand the strain

Some young lazy slut has charmed away my brains

The landscape is glowin’, gleamin’ in the golden light of day

The landscape is glowin’, gleamin’ in the gold light of day

I ain’t holding nothin’ back now, I ain’t standin’ in anybody’s way

Well, I did all I know just to keep you off my mind

Well, I did all I know just to keep you off my mind

Well, I paid and I paid and my sufferin’ heart is always on the line

Well, I get up in the dawn and I go down and lay in the shade

I get up in the dawn and I go down and lay in the shade

I ain’t nobody’s house boy, I ain’t nobody’s well trained maid

I’m flat out spent, this woman been drivin’ me to tears

I’m flat out spent, this woman she been drivin’ me to tears

This woman so crazy, I swear I ain’t gonna touch another one for years

Well, the warm weather is comin’ and the buds are on the vine

The warm weather’s comin’, the buds are on the vine

Ain’t nothing so depressing as trying to satisfy this woman of mine

I got up this mornin’, saw the rising sun return

Well, I got up this mornin’, seen the rising sun return

Sooner or later you too shall burn

The night’s filled with shadows, the years are filled with early doom

The night’s filled with shadows, the years are filled with early doom

I’ve been conjuring up all these long dead souls from their crumblin’ tombs

Let’s forgive each other darlin’, let’s go down to the Greenwood Glen

Let’s forgive each other darlin’, let’s go down to the Greenwood Glen

Let’s put our heads together, let’s put old matters to an end

Now I rolled and I tumbled and I cried the whole night long

Ah, I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long

I woke up this morning, I think I must be travelin’ wrong

1,948 comments Add your comment

BravesFanChris25

August 21st, 2010
4:14 pm

BravesFanChris25

August 21st, 2010
4:17 pm

Nova Scotia Steve

August 21st, 2010
4:18 pm

Go Braves!!! :D

Jeff321

August 21st, 2010
4:18 pm

Did I miss anything juicy in the new blog?

Steve OH – As a “true Braves fan” I read about WTBS being in Canada years ago because they were owned by the same company as the Braves. Oh, and I’m a Ted Turner groupie.

DC Brave

August 21st, 2010
4:18 pm

1st RBI for D-Lee coming up.

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 21st, 2010
4:18 pm

Love the blog headline. Good for you Billy!

bravesgrl4lifeeeee ♥ Heap Prado JHey Venters Wagner Huddy Hanson ♥

August 21st, 2010
4:18 pm

Nice to have 2 on with only 1 out. Now, come on D-Lee, do something great for your new team!

Nova Scotia Steve

August 21st, 2010
4:19 pm

Damn – Looked like Lee destroyed that

nola braves fan

August 21st, 2010
4:19 pm

great post on Wags DOB. Seems like that is the kind of guy you could hang with a bar, talk baseball, hunting, fishing, parenting, etc.. for hours. A no BS kind of guy.

prediction for today – D-Lee gets 2 xtra base hits

BravesFanChris25

August 21st, 2010
4:19 pm

Dang. Every time it comes off his bat like that it seems as if it’s out of the park.

fastasballs

August 21st, 2010
4:19 pm

Wind blowing in or out?

cbweathermaneeeee

August 21st, 2010
4:20 pm

Wind seems to be blowing in from left field, according to weather.com… Probably knocked it down.

BravesFanChris25

August 21st, 2010
4:20 pm

Looks like wind blowing in. He hit that hard enough to fly out.

JC from DR!

August 21st, 2010
4:22 pm

DC Brave

August 21st, 2010
4:22 pm

Wagner: “I don’t expect to suck.” Awesome!

.590

August 21st, 2010
4:22 pm

Typical Braves first inning. No big thang.

Darryl Blackberry

August 21st, 2010
4:23 pm

Too many at’em balls. Guess the Braves should’ve adopted the Astros’ blooper approach.

Nova Scotia Steve

August 21st, 2010
4:24 pm

Jeff321

August 21st, 2010
4:24 pm

Diaz boots it and we have a runner on second.

Rob from SC

August 21st, 2010
4:24 pm

shmoe

August 21st, 2010
4:24 pm

great. lets play a clean game fellas, cmon

fastasballs

August 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

Wags is a good quote, no BS. I’m going to miss him. He lives a few hours up the road from me.

.590

August 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

Nice Matty….real nice.

hootdaddy -22

August 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

I see TP has been speaking to Lee. TP, leave him alone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

August 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

My ears are bleeding, McCarver is an idiot.

Mitchell

August 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

This team clearly has an aversion to scoring runs in the first inning.

Jeff321

August 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

Don’t see how he gets a double on that.

chris

August 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

hanson already in trouble

Mitchell

August 21st, 2010
4:26 pm

A well played ball by Diaz.

But what else is new.

Darryl Blackberry

August 21st, 2010
4:26 pm

Tommy’s early-in-the-game troubles remind me of Kevin Millwood’s time with the Braves. Similar demeanor, too.

fastasballs

August 21st, 2010
4:26 pm

Typical game so far for the Braves. 0-2 with RISP. Made the starter throw 23 or so pitches to get out of the inning.

TennesseePaul

August 21st, 2010
4:27 pm

89, 91 on Tommy’s fastball? Is this a GameDay failure or for real?

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 21st, 2010
4:27 pm

Good job there Tommy!

fastasballs

August 21st, 2010
4:27 pm

Where’s the instant gratification crowd at?

DC Brave

August 21st, 2010
4:27 pm

Hunker down Tommy.

chris

August 21st, 2010
4:27 pm

that will help

Sopheeeee

August 21st, 2010
4:28 pm

“Until I don’t show up next year, nobody’s going to believe me. Brett Favre’s f—ed it up for everybody.”

cab’s going to love this comment.

Well said, Wags. :lol:

nola braves fan

August 21st, 2010
4:28 pm

funny to me how negative the posts are on this blog. if you didn’t know the standings, you’d think the braves were 10 games under and playing out the string.

Leo Mabaloney

August 21st, 2010
4:29 pm

Great to get a break from Chip and Dip today and get a little more objective commentary on the game.

Darryl Blackberry

August 21st, 2010
4:29 pm

We ain’t no homers, Nola. ;-)

chris

August 21st, 2010
4:29 pm

tennessePaul- wigley field’s radar gun are one of the few remaining ballparks that carry accurate readings to the mph pitches. jurrjens was throwing around 90 mph last night as well

Rob from SC

August 21st, 2010
4:29 pm

too many two out hits

DC Brave

August 21st, 2010
4:29 pm

Well that sucked. I wonder if McCarver still remembers the treatment he got from Deion Sanders….what was that, 91 or 92?

Nova Scotia Steve

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

Sloppy…Sloppy…Sloppy…

Sopheeeee

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

Ugh, Martin. Whyyy?

fastasballs

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

He hung that a bit

lexbrave

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

more awesome d fellas!

bravesgrl4lifeeeee ♥ Heap Prado JHey Venters Wagner Huddy Hanson ♥

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

WTH is happening here???

Jeff321

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

Prado throws it into center field…

njbraves

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

Great defense as usual.

BoroBall3

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

par for the course… they get their runners in w/ two outs

Mitchell

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

If you watched them play sometimes you’d think the Braves were 10 games under and playing out the string.

.590

August 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

chris

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

shmoe

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

wtf is going on here

Jeff321

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Infante throws it away.

Tim

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Good aggressive baserunning. Something we could use.

BravesFanChris25

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Rob from SC

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

.590

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Sopheeeee

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Mitchell

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

bravesgrl4lifeeeee ♥ Heap Prado JHey Venters Wagner Huddy Hanson ♥

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

This is getting ugly :(

JC from DR!

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

:D That’s how you score runs!

shmoe

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

making it tough on themselves

DC Brave

August 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Enter your comments here

Fastball

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

Hanson..is 89-90. CB is hanging. Yuck

chris

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

good lord, the defense is HORRIBLE :-(

N8

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

Yes. The offense has been silly bad, despite the winning. But the defense has been pathetic.

First Diaz bobbles a ball that allows the runner to get to 2B. Then he can’t make a decent throw to get the guy at the plate (can ANYBODY throw out runners at the plate in our outfield?).

Runners LOB and poor defense…. not a good combination for winning.

Yikes.

BoroBall3

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

ok WTF is happening here… even gamecase cant even keep up?

Jay Dubu

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

Braves 0 for 2 with runner in scoring position, and have created 2 runs for Cubs with great defense.

CaptainMudderland

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

Very not major league

Don

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

hahaha look at that defense! nice pitching hanson!! braves are going to get smoked today while the phillies cruise to an easy victory and the lead will be down to 1.5

lexbrave

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

turning singles into triples and outs into rbi. hands down the worst defensive team i have ever seen. and that includes tee ball.

Darryl Blackberry

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

The infielders apparently watch too much Sportscenter. Ixnay on the ighlights-hay, guys.

Nick 3.0

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

BALLGAME! 2-0 is a blowout against this offense.

Fastball

August 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

Lets get the bats going!

Marc in FL

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

No problem, we got this is in the bag, I’ll just leave and turn it on around the 8th inning or so to see the fireworks.

njbraves

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

They look like a bad Little League team.

Mitchell

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

They might not have even gotten a single run if not for that God awful play by fan favorite Matt Diaz.

chris

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

HANSON THROWS LIKE 13 PITCHES AND THE CUBS SCORE 2 RUNS. GOSH!

Jeff321

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

Will have to check MLB’s team error totals after this one.. Perhaps the Braves are trying to take over first place again.

hootdaddy -22

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

Looking to keep TH’s earned runs down so they make them unearned

David O'Brien

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

At least for now, Aramis Ramirez has replaced Alfonso Soriano as No. 1 Braves nemesis on Cubs.

Ramirez has hit .417 with 5 homers, .493 OBP and 14 RBIs in past 17 games vs. Braves before today.

Soriano, after hitting .346 with 16 homers and 35 RBI in his first 37 games against the Braves, has hit .231 with no RBI in his last seven against them.

.590

August 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

BoroBall3 – We’re throwin’ the ball all over the infield. :(

Just stupid s***.

Katherine

August 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

LOL come on people….already starting with the negative crap?

David O'Brien

August 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

One of the two runs against Hanson was earned in first inning

Chad

August 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

Can Hanson have a 123 inning to start a game for once?

BoroBall3

August 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

if i remember correctly, Don was the @sshole who was saying the same thing yesterday about the Phillies catching ATL during this blog… apparently he has nothing else better to do that to simply highlight everytime ATL gives up runs

Steve from OH

August 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

Don’s really gone off the deep end.

chris

August 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

if diaz couldnt hit lefties like he has, he would not be playing baseball right now

JC from DR!

August 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

Now I get it, they didn’t score in the first because they had to make at least 1 error before scoring! Isn’t that the norm for this team?

.590

August 21st, 2010
4:35 pm

Thanks Matty, hope you’ll atone later.

Nick 3.0

August 21st, 2010
4:35 pm

EASY 1-2-3 inning here.

Trey - 10

August 21st, 2010
4:35 pm

Has Dick… I mean Nick called the game?

Don

August 21st, 2010
4:35 pm

that derrek lee sure is good! 0-5

Katherine

August 21st, 2010
4:35 pm

Georgia is leading hawaii in the llws 4-2 bottom of the 4th

fastasballs

August 21st, 2010
4:36 pm

Who pressed the play button on Don & Nick? Those two, no matter how many times they are wrong keep right on beating the drum.

birdbrain

August 21st, 2010
4:36 pm

We are 14-24 when DOB is late with his blog. I DO realize that sitting in the Hotel room , rolling doobies and listening to obscure music is fun (I do it all the time), but I beg him to get the Blog in before the game starts or this season is history.

hootdaddy -22

August 21st, 2010
4:36 pm

I am the biggest Strasburger fan today!!! Please throw a no-no Steve-O!!!

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