Closing the book on Billy Wagner

Closers thrive on neat finishes. Three up, three down game over. So it was awkward Monday night when Billy Wagner’s career ended with the Braves’ ouster from the division series because it came with jagged edges.

The 39-year-old has been saying he’d retire all season. But he pictured it ending like the regular season did, with both his arms extended high on the mound, having just saved a clinching game.

Wagner fell short of his goal when he signed with the Braves last winter of reaching the World Series. He came three saves shy of passing John Franco for the most all-time by a left-hander. And he walked off the field for the last time Friday night in Game 2, hunched over with a strained oblique muscle.

But good closers also know how to move on.

“I’ve done everything that I can do,” said Wagner, who went 7-2 with a career-best 1.43 ERA and 37 saves this season. “I’ve got my kids at home that I need to raise more than I need to look at records and championships. That stuff will melt, but my kids are important.”

Wagner finished with 422 saves, which is fifth all-time. Not that he’s basking in it. A World Series ring is what he wanted most.

“You only achieve something when your team achieves it,” Wagner said. “Unfortunately I played 14 years of accomplishing nothing because I had nothing to wear home. It’s tough. But I just thank God I got to meet so many great people and experience this fantasy world.”

It wasn’t the way he wanted to finish, but it was with the right team.

“This year has been nothing but great for me, meeting the guys and getting to retire as a Brave,” said Wagner, who grew up in rural Virginia. “It’s the greatest honor I could ever have is to be on my childhood favorite team. About the only other thing is if I could have sneaked Dale (Murphy’s) number on; that would have been about it.”

For his teammates, Wagner’s departure feels abrupt. They’ve been trying to dissuade him for months.

“He’s never wavered a second,” Derek Lowe said. “…I just couldn’t imagine having my best year and saying, ‘That’s it.’ There’s something to be said, I guess, about going out on top and not hanging on. But a left-hander that throws 97?”

95 comments Add your comment


October 12th, 2010
4:48 pm

I’m glad Wags ended his career with the Braves. He was crucial to us ending up in the post season. Congrats to Wags!

Mike G

October 12th, 2010
4:50 pm

Thanks Billy, you were awesome and we will miss you!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown Hinson

October 12th, 2010
4:54 pm

Classy guy Billy was, I wish we could have enjoyed more than just one year. Good luck in family life Billy, you will always be a Brave in my eyes. Godspeed to one of greatest closers of all time.


October 12th, 2010
4:55 pm

Would love to have him back, but gotta say I think Kimbrel or Venters would do awesome in closers role, maybe use both, depending on righty / lefty matchups. Great year of baseball, already looking forward to next season. Go Bravos!

Bill in VA

October 12th, 2010
4:57 pm

Thanks Billy. Hope to see ya around in VA.

Sweet Daddy

October 12th, 2010
4:58 pm

I admire someone who leaves and everyone says “Why is he?” as opposed to not leaving and everyone saying “Why won’t he?”


October 12th, 2010
4:58 pm

Wags is going to be bored to tears by Christmas. He’s too proud to admit it, but he’s going to want to come back and try to get that world series ring. And if we can somehow get the ownership to spend some money, we can put together a championship caliber ballclub.


October 12th, 2010
5:00 pm

I used to pretty much hate that guy, you know…being a Met, an Astro and a Philly…3 teams i just can’t stand.

Now I have the utmost respect for him, true class guy with the very bad luck to play for 3 crappy, stupid teams.


October 12th, 2010
5:03 pm

Great year, Billy. Thanks for giving us (the fans) all that you had. Please remember to instruct your
heir(s) apparent to put those 0-2 and 1-2 pitches “in the dirt” (or at least out of the zone), where the batter can’t get wood on it. Particularly, when they go with something “off-speed.”
Thanks, again for bringing “Hell” to the ninth at Turner for at least one season!


October 12th, 2010
5:07 pm

Any more Braves post mortem blogging to come, DOB? There’s a lot of ground to cover, without even touching the various holes in the lineup that must be filled between now and next April.
Hope you have saved your perspective on the ending of 6’s career last night for a soon-to-be-finished blog.


October 12th, 2010
5:10 pm

Billy, you’ll probably never read this, which is okay. You define the word closer in my mind. Others did it differently, but you always were a power pitcher, and you finished as a power pitcher. I appreciate not only your on the field contributions to the Braves but also what you taught and instilled in the bull pen this year. In a way it is totally fitting that one of the greatest Closers and one of the greatest Managers ride off into the sunset at the same time. The game is better because you were part of it, you define grit and class seldom words put together. Simply said THANK YOU for your year with the Braves, and your contribution to Baseball. Enjoy your retirement.


October 12th, 2010
5:10 pm

WAGS! I hated him too, mostly ’cause he wasn’t playing for us. It’s a shame it took so long to get him here, but I’m glad I was able to see him pitch at The Ted and retire as a Brave.

If he changes his mind, door’s open.


October 12th, 2010
5:13 pm

He is what a baseball player should be. He is the best.


October 12th, 2010
5:13 pm

I’m with everyone else … thanks, Billy … wish we could have had you around longer!


October 12th, 2010
5:29 pm

How about this, Billy… Come back to spring training as a bullpen coach. I’m not asking you to play. Just coach the youngsters. If they retain just a piece of your work ethic and attitude, it would be awesome.


October 12th, 2010
5:30 pm

Billy Wagner and John Smoltz were the two most dominating closers the Atlanta Braves ever had. Thanks for a great season, Mr. Wagner. Here’s wishing you every happiness with your family.

SC Ace

October 12th, 2010
5:31 pm

You have to respect a man like that. You don’t see that perspective much anymore:

“That stuff will melt, but my kids are important.”

Darryl Blackberry

October 12th, 2010
5:32 pm

To go out when you’re doing well takes a lot more guts than going the Roger Clemens/Brett Favre route. Congrats on a good season, Billy.


October 12th, 2010
5:44 pm

Great season Wags.

Its going to be hard to see possibly 3 hall of famers (Cox, Chipper, Wagner) going out on the same year and the same team. I’m really hoping Chipper sticks with coming back next year, he will be a huge influence on the new manager.

Great season Braves!!


October 12th, 2010
5:49 pm

He didn’t go out with a championship but as Lowe said “a left-hander who throws 97″ with the bulldog closer mentality to match. He may have hit 40 saves if he had a little more help in the field, I seem to recall a few of those blown saves were helped along with some errors. Good Luck Billy.


October 12th, 2010
5:55 pm

Billy God bless you and your family and thanks for spending your final year of a great career with us here in Atlanta. We will never forget you. Sorry you missed out on the goal but the fans here in Atlanta cherish these past 162 games and for the stablizing force you became in that bullpen. Your influence I hope lives on in these young guns we got coming back next year. God’s speed

Ron Meany

October 12th, 2010
6:20 pm

Go Wagner! And take Chipper with you!

Bob McHyman

October 12th, 2010
6:21 pm

I admire someone who leaves and everyone says “Why is he?” as opposed to not leaving and everyone saying “Why won’t he?”

But yet you worship Booby…


October 12th, 2010
6:34 pm

at his age, he’s an injury waiting to happen. we could have kept Soriano for about the same money.
instead, we lost a #1 draft pick for Wagner.
he’s not the type to change his mind -like a football player everyone jokes about now.
even with him, we still need offense. I’m surprised we had so many leads to turn over to him

Randal Patrick McMurphy

October 12th, 2010
6:37 pm

Can’t question this guy… he’s got nothing to prove, really. If he wanted a ring THAT badly, he wouldn’t be retiring. Good luck Wags in all your endeavors!

Bobby's Booger

October 12th, 2010
6:40 pm

If he really wanted a ring he’d end his career elsewhere – in 2011

GOP Cannon

October 12th, 2010
6:44 pm

Billy, thank you for all that you did for us here in Atlanta, it was awesome having you on the team!


October 12th, 2010
7:02 pm

It’s really amazing when you see someone in another uniform and think
that person has an attitude problem. Getting to read about Billy Wagner,
especially the last few weeks, I saw a very classy individual praising the
heir apparent (Kimbrel) that he’s ready to take on the closer’s role.
All the best to Billy Wagner and his family. What a great year!!!!


October 12th, 2010
7:13 pm

I love Billy. He’s a class act like no other. I takes balls to walk away after the year he’s had. Time to be a dad? I dig it.


October 12th, 2010
7:20 pm


urban redneck

October 12th, 2010
7:25 pm

going out on while you’re on top. i like it. he’s a fine American–glad he went out with America’s team.

the kudos he heaps upon kimbrel mean almost as much as that 97,98 mph fastball the kid keeps hurling. almost.

David O'Brien

October 12th, 2010
7:30 pm

StingerSplash, I filed a manager/Gonzalez story while ago, but it was one filed to our copy desk instead of straight to blog. It should be up shortly.


October 12th, 2010
7:37 pm

Good luck Billy. Thanks for all the thrills of watching you pitch. God Bless.


October 12th, 2010
7:53 pm

I wont lie, Wagner, at first, wasnt my number one choice for a closer when i heard of the deal this offseason. But Im going to miss hearing Enter Sandman and seeing him warm up. Gave me chills.


October 12th, 2010
8:35 pm

Enjoy your family and your farm, Wags. Thanks for coming, it was great to see you wear the tomahawk. Kudos for going out on top.

It's a chopper to Chipper

October 12th, 2010
8:42 pm

Oh, Billy, we hardly knew ye! Wish you could have played for the Brave’s earlier in your career. You will be missed in the ATL. Go enjoy watching your kids grow up. It was a pleasure watching you.

Hoosier Aaron

October 12th, 2010
8:44 pm

“It’s the greatest honor I could ever have is to be on my childhood favorite team. About the only other thing is if I could have sneaked Dale (Murphy’s) number on; that would have been about it.”

Only one year but what an impact.
It was absolutely a pleasure.

Let him enter The Hall as a Brave!


October 12th, 2010
8:55 pm

Billy Wagner – You were the best!

Best thing you did – prove all of these negative commenter’s
who said you were old, washed up, past your prime – WRONG!

Frank Wren – thank you for this acquisition – one of your best!
Bobby Cox – thank you for taking the trip to VA. to get Wags on board!


October 12th, 2010
9:01 pm

Damnit Wags come back for next year!!!


October 12th, 2010
9:03 pm

Love you Wags<3
Best of luck in the future:)


October 12th, 2010
9:09 pm

Thanks for playing for us this year. I really enjoyed watching you perform and getting to know you through our announcers. I wish you the best in your retirement. And if you get bored, just remember how to get to Turner Field.


October 12th, 2010
9:40 pm

He could change his mind and no one would care. This isn’t Brett Favre. I will miss playing “Ride of the Valkyries” on the piano before every appearance.


October 12th, 2010
9:47 pm

Picked me up a nice #13 autographed ball at the Braves’ Foundation room. One of my best memories and keepsakes of this phenomenal season. Best Wishes One-Three, there is more to being a champion than a ring. Ride into Cooperstown with a Braves hat on, after all they were your favorite childhood team, what better way to round out a career in a game you began as a child.

chris webb

October 12th, 2010
10:37 pm

the consumate professional glad to have him as a brave for one year wish it coulda been more


October 12th, 2010
10:37 pm

LOVE YOU B ILLY!!! Best wishes to you and your family in the future! They must be so proud to have a man so well-respected and admired as the head of the family~


October 12th, 2010
10:42 pm

Thanks Billy. You were one of those rare closers like Smoltz was, scary good, and cool as a cucumber under pressure.
Thanks, it was such a pleasure watching you. We will miss you but I bet you taught the young guys a lot while you could. Have a great retirement and life with your kids. If you ever get bored, well, we’ll be here for you.


October 12th, 2010
10:58 pm

DOB, I guess something like that needed another set of eyes to go over, no, before hitting the Interweb (to steal directly from Jim James of My Morning Jacket in “Librarian”)?
And I as sit here in office watching feed of ALDS, will be it MFIKY (former Brave) vs. Neftali Feliz (former future Brave) in the ninth? MFIKY is on. And Frenchy is on deck.

Packer Ed-Braves fan since 1957

October 12th, 2010
11:50 pm

Billy, you were on the right team, both you and the Braves are classy! Sure going to miss you, good luck and we wish you the best.


October 13th, 2010
12:02 am

I was highly skeptical on the signing, too many concerns about age & what not. I was dead wrong. Thank Billy, for both your efforts on the mound & the absolute class & character you displayed while a member of the Braves for too short a time.


October 13th, 2010
12:03 am

Congratulations Billy! I hope retirement is everything you hope for. Someone mentioned what he admired about Billy. I admire his conviction to be with his family. We all greatly enjoy baseball. But, baseball can’t hold a candle to one’s family. Billy said he’s done everything in baseball (except win a World Series) and that doesn’t mean *anything* compared to his family. So, I salute Billy Wagner. I’ll miss him next year, but I’m glad he’ll be where he’s the happiest.

Frank Schilling

October 13th, 2010
12:27 am

Billy was as dominant a lefty reliever as I’ve seen since following baseball starting in the late 40s. He was a big factor in getting the Braves to the wild card and left it all on the field. Hope he has an enjoyable retirement and will look forward to his HOF induction.


October 13th, 2010
12:30 am

Loved your work this year Billy. Wish you were coming back, but you do have your priorities in the correct order. Hope you gave lots of good advice and instruction to Kimbrell and Venters.

Innocent Bystander

October 13th, 2010
12:50 am

Absolutely loved having Billy with us this year. Can’t believe he’s retiring after arguably the most dominant year of his career (as DOB mentioned, the lowest season ERA of his 15 year career). He helped make this season a really special one, and he’ll always be an Atlanta Brave in my eyes.

Terry B.

October 13th, 2010
2:19 am

Billy- we have all seen “Field of Dreams”. The best compliment all baseball players can recieve from their peers is “You were good, kid”. I know no.6 feels that way, and all true baseball fans know that also. You will be missed by your teammates, your coaches, and your fans. You came, you competed, and you are a winner!


October 13th, 2010
5:37 am

Best wishes to Billy Wagner in his retirement. He’s always been a great player playing on teams I hated. I am so happy that he got to pitch in Atlanta for his final season. He was a perfect fit with the team. It’s just too bad his season ended the way it did. He was a huge part of Atlanta being in the playoffs at all, and it was sad to see it end with an injury.

I hope Billy is blessed with time for his wife, his children, and his farming life. He’s a good guy and deserves the best in retirement, just like Bobby.

Vinny D

October 13th, 2010
7:45 am

How terrific would a Sept signing be next year? If the Braves are in the heat of it all next year, Whats 2 months? If he stays in good pitching shape while on the farm, whats to say that he doesn’t come out of retirement next Sept. I’d be good with that.

The Booby and Brooksy show

October 13th, 2010
7:55 am

Hope Roger McDowell goes with him and Booby.Need a pitching coach that is pro-active.


October 13th, 2010
8:04 am

I wish Billy all the best in retirement. If we didn’t have young, developing arms like Kimbrel and Venters waiting in the wings to be looked at for the closer’s role, maybe — just maybe — Billy could have been convinced to hang on one more season. But his reasons (e.g., raising his kids) for retirement are honorable. I’m sorry he didn’t get a WS Ring. But then again, a LOT of MLB players go their entire careers without getting one. I hope once he is away from the game awhile and has time to think back over his career from a different perspective, he’ll find that he didn’t pitch for “nothing”. Thanks, Billy. Happy Retirement!


October 13th, 2010
8:08 am

Thank you, Billy Wagner! You will be missed by all of baseball! Enjoy your kids.


October 13th, 2010
8:17 am

Even though Wags was only with us for a year, it is amazing the impact he had on the Braves. I was hoping all year that he would change his mind and come back for one last season but I suppose that will not happen. Thanks for a great year Wags and for always being a great example of what a baseball player should be.


October 13th, 2010
9:02 am

Hey, Booby and Brooksy….I have been involved in baseball for about 40 years, but for the life of me,don’t know what a “proactive pitching coach” is. Why don’t you share your pitching coach expertise with us?


October 13th, 2010
9:14 am

It’s a great gift to fans to have a closer who fills you with hope, not worry, when he walks to the mound. I just hope Fredi can find another one like Wagner, because no one on the current staff inspires that hopeful feeling!

Space Monkey

October 13th, 2010
9:19 am

Class act, all the way. Enjoy your retirement, Billy. Hated seeing you pitch against. Loved having you on our mound.


October 13th, 2010
9:22 am

Thanks Billy and enjoy those kids they grow so fast, best of luck !


October 13th, 2010
9:25 am

There’s a man with a good head on his shoulders. Going to miss “Enter Sandman” and the Tombstone video whenever he’d enter the game, but wish him all the best in his retirement.


October 13th, 2010
9:27 am

I salute you Billy. You were a great closer and I’m glad I got to watch you this season. Thanks.


October 13th, 2010
9:45 am

I’m with Vinny D. September (and October) are a GREAT time to pitch. Stay in shape, and collect a couple of mil for a few months work. Hope the Braves are in a position to pick Wags up for a late season run for the pennant in 2011!


October 13th, 2010
10:10 am

Billy Wagner has his priorities in the right order. It was great to see him in a Braves uniform for the final year of his career. Best wishes, Wags. We could use more like you, and I’m not talking about how you throw a baseball.


October 13th, 2010
10:28 am

I just want to say one thing.. Wags is one of the best I’ve ever seen at his position. The best closer for the Braves while he was doing it was Smoltz. Maybe if the Braves make a serious run in the beginning of next season, which is possible with all of the talent and will power we have on this team.. Just maybe we can talk him into coming back for the 2nd half of next season for one final run at a world championship. Godspeed Wags! We love you in Braves Country!!! I would like to see nothing more than you put on a championship ring with the Braves! Go Braves!


October 13th, 2010
12:18 pm

Thanks, Billy. Watching you pitch in the ninth was one of the best things about this season, and I’m so glad you were mentor in the bullpen. I hope you’ll come around and see how your successors perform. Even more, thanks for knowing what’s important and sticking with your decision to retire. It takes a smart man with the right priorities to walk out on top.


October 13th, 2010
12:18 pm

Great. No longer have to put up with the thin-skinned hill-Billy. Couldn’t cut it in Philly or Queens — could only thrive in low-pressure burgs like Atlanta or Houston. Could have had a ring, Billy, if only you weren’t such a self-absorbed, low-class hick!


October 13th, 2010
12:29 pm

But props to the rest of the over-achieving Braves — you’ll be back. And to Bobby Cox. World-class skipper.


October 13th, 2010
12:36 pm

Hey Billy, I can only hope that Kimbrel, and Venters, have learned a lot about being a closer. Also, I can only hope that they(Kimbreel/Venters), also learned how to be a classy person and true to himself!!! Enough said. Congates Billy, and enjoy your retiement and spend a lot of qualkity time with your kids….Even though you didn’t get your W/S ring, you are a true champion!!!!!!


October 13th, 2010
12:40 pm

Enter your comments here


October 13th, 2010
12:47 pm

Wagner is a class act no doubt. I hope he enjoys retirement. No doubt the series would have been different if he was around. The season would have drastically different if Soriano was still on the roster. At the time, Soriano was a question mark and the front office went out for the best.

I do respect how Wagner made his decision and allowed himself to enjoy the season. It would have nice to see Smoltz and Glavine go out that way./


October 13th, 2010
12:56 pm

Having Billy Wagner on this team was one of the highlight of a great year. Sure, he and the Braves got beat up and limped into the playoffs. But they were one or two plays away from continuing to the next round. I’m really saddened to see Wagner go. Wish he could be associated with the team even if he’s not playing. He’s the definition of a Stand-Up Guy, based on everything I’ve seen and read about him this year. Hard-core competitor, fabulous and supportive teammate, and a very astute student of the game. The Braves have a great future, but I think they need Carl Crawford. Hope they go after him, or someone like him, aggressively. I also think they need a new hitting coach. Their offensive anemia needs instructional treatment, as in, don’t always let that first-pitch gutshot go by. Braves looked at waaaaay to many of the most hittable pitches.

Don Vito

October 13th, 2010
2:01 pm

I think Pat Burrell said it best…Billy Wagner is a rat!! He should of retired as a Met…that’s what he deserved!! So long, Wagner…now you can take your ringless fingers back to Bugtussle…where you can spend your retirement shooting varmints and swimming in the “cement pond”.


October 13th, 2010
2:26 pm

I always thought Pat Burrell was an idiot….thanks for reminding me, Don Vito…you sound like a true Philly.

I’ve wanted Wags since Smoltz stopped closing. So glad he was a part of this great year. Good luck, Billy.

Don Vito

October 13th, 2010
3:12 pm

Dav…i’m sure “Wags” wants you too…ever see “Deliverance”??


October 13th, 2010
3:18 pm

Wags – your family is so lucky and so blessed to have you as a dad and husband. You’re putting them first at this time in your career, and you’ve kept the promise you made to them at the start of this season… matter who or how long you were begged to do it one more season.

Thanks so much for giving your all – and your oblique – for the Bravos this year. We loved it when you took the mound late in the game – game over at almost every appearance!!!

Looking forward to seeing you at the ballfield in the future when time or occasion permits. Don’t cut yourself off completely from the team and your fans. Good luck in the woods this season too!


October 13th, 2010
4:16 pm

Rat. Snake. Beady little rat-snake.


October 13th, 2010
4:26 pm

Wagner is and always will be a Brave…what a true ball player and I wish him the best.


October 13th, 2010
6:28 pm

I hope he reconsiders retirement for just one more year.

Daddy Bean

October 13th, 2010
7:31 pm

The older you get the faster time just can’t turn it back.I can understand what billy is going through.when they were youg i worked out of town and talking to then on the phone at bedtime and the trip home on the 36 hour weekend went by so fast.However those Summers when they were out of school trips are all they talk about these days.The citys I work In always had sites to see and things to do.Those too are the stories i hear when we get together.NEVER have they said anything about how the other fathers were at the games and me on the road working.The oldest ask me If he should play football his last year of high school after ALL others said it would END HIS CHANCES TO PLAY BASEBASE IN THE NEXT LEVEL?All I could say is you cant go back and do it again!YOU ONLY GOT THIS CHANCE.Well he did play and had a good year took some good hits made some GREAT PASSES and has Listen to everything you have said to him?Bill I hope you do read this One morning watching to sun rise drinking a cup of Coffee waiting on the family to get up so the day can start and see one more year wont hurt and show up In spring training so I can have one with you this spring and watch the sunset In a goodway.MDK


October 13th, 2010
7:52 pm

Let’s only hope that MEEKLY Cabrera goes with Cox and Wagner. I have maligned MEEKLY in this blog all year and in the cruelest of ironies, it had to be him that, as I have repeated many times, MEEKLY grounded out to end the season. He couldn’t hit a ball over a high school softball fence much less a Turner Field. He is a joke and hopefully the Braves brass will realize this….HELLO!….DUH!!!!…that he must go. We need a power hitting OF, not a meekly hitting WUSS!!!!! All this being said, let’s face it Braves fans….even if we had survived S, the Phils would have swept us so it was best to end the misery. Despite all the injuries, we did the best we could. And really, that’s all one could ask for.


October 13th, 2010
10:27 pm

Billy was one of the main reasons the Braves were able to make it back to the post-season one last time for Bobby. Thank you for a great season Billy. You will be missed, and we are glad you were able to retire as a Brave. Although we wouldn’t mind if you changed your mind to come back for one more season…

[...] Phillie Billy Wagner, despite a career year, is officially calling it an [...]


October 14th, 2010
1:52 am

Only the Braves care about making the playoffs as some huge accomplishment. Anybody want WAGS trying to close the door for your team with your season on the line? No thanks


October 14th, 2010
6:54 am

I’m sure he intends to call it quits, and I give him credit for following it through. Yet check back in a year. A year alone with the family should all but ensure his return by 2012!

OneEyed Jack

October 14th, 2010
8:40 am

Billy Wags has got his priorities right. Good for him.

But we will miss him. His slider reminded me of Smoltz, that sucker was wicked. Seldom do you see a pitcher retire at the top of his game, and seldom do you see a pitcher at the top of his game at his age.

Class act all the way, hope his style has rubbed off on the bullpen to follow.


October 14th, 2010
9:11 am

Thanks, Billy Wagner
It has been a blast watching you this year, finally in a Braves uniform
you are one of the best
Congratulations and good luck

tha hitting fool

October 14th, 2010
11:20 am

Goog luck billy….we luv us some Wag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


October 14th, 2010
12:03 pm

I always hated when we had to face Wagner when he was with other clubs, glad he was on our side this year and it was great to root for him instead of against him, he didn’t disappoint! Thanks for the memories Billy!

Plate Appearance

October 14th, 2010
4:33 pm

I wish you’d reconsider Billy!

The way you approach the game and conduct yourself both on and off the field is indeed refreshing!

But you’re entitled to at least one “Brett Favre”! Give us one more year with the Braves!


October 17th, 2010
6:28 am

Long weekend so getting in y words kind of late. Billy, if you did come back, I would love it. You were a rock this year and we have a ton of kids on this team that can learn from you. That being said, even if you retire it woouldn’t put a scratch on what should be a HOF career.

I look back and wonder that if the Braves had you for a closer all those yars how things might have turned out (one of the things I do to kill time until Spring). Smotlzie would not have felt the need to try to close, and him starting, even at the risk of injury, might have put the Braes over the hump a couple of those years. Not to mention wewould not have gone thru the Wohlers breakdown, or the Rocker episodes that had to have caused some troubles in the dugout.

Even more importantly the trade for Gonzalez (costing us Adam LaRoche) would not have happened. With LaRoche in tow, we would likely not have traded for Tex. Though he played well for us, he cost us significants prospects that we could have used to get that big bat in the OF (say Matt Holliday maybe). Even better, we would have stayed far away from Kasey Kotchman, as we lost out on those deals as well. Of course, all this is based on Atlanta giving you and LaRoche contracts you would have appreciated .. but with a few more wins each year they might have had more money from playoff games to spend a little more. I sure would have loved to see all that, though it might have cost the Braves fans the chanceto cheer on Glaus, Hinske and the rest of the guys we added that played as hard as they could for us.

In any event, it was great finally getting to cheer for you instead of against. Best of luck in your future.

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